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Crossposted at Docudharma and The Stars Hollow Gazette

Peter King - Ghost of Hearings Past by Taylor Jones, Politicalcartoons.com, Buy this cartoon

You must enter an Intro for your Diary Entry between 300 and 1150 characters long (that's approximately 50-175 words without any html or formatting markup).

PLEASE READ THIS - on Japan and Libya.

There have been an overwhelming number of editorial cartoons (close to 500) published in the past week or so just about the awful human tragedy in Japan and the escalating War in Libya.  

I have posted a few in this diary but, frankly, both issues deserve their separate diaries and as I find the time over the next few days to sift through the large number of cartoons and (in some instances) commentary by editorial cartoonists, I will try to include as many as I can in future diaries and as soon as possible.  

(Joel Pett, McLatchy Cartoons/Lexington Herald-Leader, click link to enlarge above cartoon)

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About This Diary

After experiencing annoying HTML problems last night, I gave up in trying to post this diary.  If elfling or any of the other programmers working on eliminating irritating DK4 bugs are reading this, I hope they are also working on this request that I made and detailed it in this comment over a month ago.  It would certainly make my life easier and save me a few hours in compiling this long diary.

In any case, in addition to posting some more editorial cartoons in the comments section, I am also going to add another 20 or so in the main body of the diary.  I'll update as I go along.  Feel free to leave your comments but I may not respond until the complete diary has been posted.

:: ::

1. Update #1 - new section added (10 cartoons)
-- Section 5. Sports Talk: On to the Final Four

2.  Update #2 - new section added (11 cartoons)
-- Section 4. A Collection of Dunces: The Emerging 2012 Republican Presidential Field.  You'll love the cartoon (and commentary) by Chan Lowe in this section.

3. More editorial cartoons coming tomorrow if this diary is still "alive."


:: ::


This weekly diary takes a look at the past week's important news stories from the perspective of our leading editorial cartoonists (including a few foreign ones) with analysis and commentary added in by me.

When evaluating a cartoon, ask yourself these questions:
1. Does a cartoon add to my existing knowledge base and help crystallize my thinking about the issue depicted?
2. Does the cartoonist have any obvious biases that distort reality?
3. Is the cartoonist reflecting prevailing public opinion or trying to shape it?

The answers will help determine the effectiveness of the cartoonist's message.

:: ::
Nick Anderson
Radical Ideas by Nick Anderson, Comics.com, see reader comments in the Houston Chronicle

John Sherffius
John Sherffius, Comics.com (Boulder Daily Camera)

Muslim Witchhunt by David Fitzsimmons, Arizona Star, Buy this cartoon

Herblock, Washington Post, October 31, 1947, Library of Congress

"It's Okay - We're Hunting Communists"

The Cold War revived the anti-communist hysteria that had gripped the United States after World War I.  In 1947 Congress revived the House Committee on Un-American Activities (HUAC), opposed by Herb Block since its inception in the 1930s and declared by President Truman to be itself the most un-American activity.  Herb Block comments: "The FBI, under J. Edgar Hoover, helped provide the committee with material from its aptly named 'raw files'.  Some producers, directors and screen writers refused to testify or to play the 'name game' in which the committee demanded the names of associates, who could then be called on to name others thus providing an ever-expanding list of suspects to be summoned." link

Homegrown Terrorism by RJ Matson, Roll Call, Buy this cartoon

Dan Wasserman
Muslim Hearings by Dan Wasserman, Comics.com (Boston Globe)

FBI Director J.Edgar Hoover, Hat tip: Labor Arts

Chris Britt
Chris Britt, Comics.com (State Journal-Register, Springfield, IL)

Herblock, Washington Post, May 7, 1954, Library of Congress

"I Have Here in my Hand..."

In 1954, Senator Joseph McCarthy went too far when he took on the United States Army, accusing it of promoting communists.  The Senate held special hearings, known as the Army-McCarthy hearings, which were among the first to be televised nationally.  In the course of testimony McCarthy submitted evidence that was identified as fraudulent.  As both public and politicians watched the bullying antics of the Senator, they became increasingly disenchanted.  Before the year was out McCarthy, whose charges had first hit the headlines in February 1950, was censured by his colleagues for "conduct unbecoming a senator."  link

Peter King's Muslim Hearings by Randall Enos, Cagle Cartoons, Buy this cartoon

Steve Benson
Steve Benson, Comics.com (Arizona Republic)

Steve Sack
Steve Sack, Comics.com (Minneapolis Star-Tribune)


Two Different Approaches to Politics

At any given point in a nation's history, domestic and international events move on different -- and, often, contradictory -- policy tracks. So is the case at present in the United States.  

(Libya News by David Horsey, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, click link to enlarge cartoon at right)

The country is engaged in three wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and, now, in Libya.  The Obama Administration calls it an humanitarian intervention but when military jets invade a sovereign country's air space and engage in bombing targets, the end result is civilian casualties.  By anyone's definition, this would be called a "war."  In another major international development, the country of Japan is trying to recover from a devastating earthquake which triggered a tsunami which, in turn, has caused serious problems at several nuclear reactors.  The human death toll is already over 10,000 and sure to rise much higher.  International help is needed to alleviate human suffering and misery in Japan.  

Both of these issues -- assisting the Libyan rebels overthrow a ruthless and murderous dictator and helping Japan through a terrible crisis -- require active governmental action.  Indeed, these are the kinds of situations where only "Big Government" can help in the most efficient manner.

On the domestic front, the Great Economic Recession seems to be over but unemployment (though trending downwards) is still unacceptably high.  The housing market is anemic at best and a surge in housing starts and sales (nowhere to be found as yet) could certainly invigorate the economy.  While the country is trying to recover from prolonged economic problems, the Republican Party -- which won the U.S. House of Representatives while making significant gains in the U.S. Senate, state houses, and state assemblies in the 2010 Elections -- is engaged in a ferocious battle to drastically reduce the size and scope of national and state governments while actively trying to destroy the shrinking middle class, particularly in states like Wisconsin, Ohio, and Michigan through draconian anti-labor initiatives.  They have not forgotten to offer huge tax cuts to their corporate benefactors.  At the same time, national Republicans are engaged in attacking National Public Radio and the Public Broadcasting Service while trying to gut the Healthcare Reform Law passed just last year.  And they haven't ruled out making substantial cuts in two programs which have provided seniors with a level of respectability in their twilight years, Social Security and Medicare.

Instead of offering constructive alternatives to end this economic recession, presenting a substantive economic plan, assisting in creating jobs and reducing unemployment, one of the first high-profile hearings held by the Republican-controlled U.S. House of Representatives was to investigate the corrosive impact the Muslim community was having on this country.  Never mind that there was no compelling evidence presented to justify this clownish behavior.

Republicans surely know this: historically, the electorate has not necessarily rewarded the party in power even after successes in foreign affairs.  Only when when foreign policy initiatives go haywire, does the ruling party pay a heavy political price.  I am sure that President Barack Obama and his political team are acutely aware of political history, which explains why they are hesitant to get involved in a prolonged military operation in Libya.  Since the end of World War II, there are several examples which demonstrate that failure -- or the lack of obvious success -- can dearly cost a political party.  In 1952, the stalemate in Korea made Harry Truman and Congressional Democrats very unpopular.  The result?  It cost them not only the White House but both Houses of Congress in the 1952 Elections.  In 1968, Richard Nixon rode into power after growing public opposition to the Vietnam War.  And in 1980, although there were many economic problems facing the country, the Iranian Hostage Crisis sealed Jimmy Carter's fate.  In 1992, after George H.W. Bush had seen his presidential approval ratings jump to 90% following the Gulf War, he could not even muster 40% against Bill Clinton.

I think the Republicans are on to something.  In tough economic times, only one thing will decide the 2012 Elections: an overall improving economy and a meaningful reduction in the unemployment rate.  No amount of success in Libya or helping Japan avoid a nuclear meltdown will politically help the Democratic Party.  History suggests otherwise.  Even so, this relentless barrage by the GOP must be countered as effectively as Democrats in Wisconsin have done so. By unifying and strongly resisting their opponents, they have put Wisconsin Republicans on the defensive.  The spillover effect may well take place in other states like Ohio and Michigan, creating additional problems for Republicans in power in those states.  

One would think that this unnecessary focus on investigating Muslim-Americans by Peter King is an isolated incident.  It is not.  As pointed out in two recent posts on the front page -- here and here -- Republicans are busy on several fronts trying to gin up anger against Muslim-Americans amongst their base.  

As you will see in this diary, most of the editorial cartoonists had scathing remarks for the Grand Inquisitor who called these phony hearings.  To say that Congressman Peter King (R-NY) was criticized for his McCarthy-like tactics is to understate the graphical beating he's taken from these cartoonists.

:: ::

Mark Streeter, Savannah Morning News, Buy this cartoon

Martin Kozlowski, inxart.com, Buy this cartoon

:: ::
Rob Rogers
Islamophobia by Rob Rogers, Comics.com, see reader comments in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
:: ::

Rogers channels Herblock -- the late, great editorial cartoonist of the Washington Post -- in going after Peter King and his sleazy tactics to demonize an entire community of millions of American-Muslims

Just when you thought the dark days of the McCarthy era were way behind us, Republican congressman Peter King begins holding hearings on the "radicalization of Muslim Americans."  Naturally, we all want our government to be diligently rooting out all kinds of terrorism at home and abroad, but to single out Muslims is wrong.  By not including all homegrown terror groups (Ku Klux Klan, Skinheads, Militias, etc.), King's effort looks like a witch hunt and sends the wrong message to those in the Muslim community who are helping in the fight against terror.

One of my heroes in the editorial cartooning field is famed Washington Post cartoonist Herb Block, or Herblock.  He is credited with coining the phrase "McCarthyism."  Over a half century ago, Herblock drew one of the quintessential editorial cartoons of the McCarthy era.  Rather than try to improve on his perfect cartoon, I decided to pay homage to Herblock and his message that is as poignant today as it was in 1949.

:: ::

The Herblock cartoon that Rogers referred to above shows the extent to which Senator Joe McCarthy (R-WI) was willing to go in the 1950's to further his political career while actively engaging in destroying the careers and lives of countless others


In the aftermath of World War II, Americans reacted with dismay as relations between the United States and the Soviet Union deteriorated, the Russians imposed communist control over much of Eastern Europe, and China was on the verge of going communist.  

People worried that communists might try to subvert schools, labor unions, and other institutions.  Government agencies and private groups began to look for evidence of subversive activity.  In this climate of fear and suspicion, the House Committee on Un-American Activities, which Herb Block had opposed since its inception in the 1930s, became active.  And in 1950, a young senator from Wisconsin, Joseph McCarthy, seeking political gain, began a well-publicized campaign using smear tactics, bullying and innuendo to identify and purge communists and "fellow travelers" in government.  Herb Block recognized the danger to civil liberties posed by such activities and warned of them in his work.  He coined the phrase "McCarthyism" in his cartoon for March 29, 1950, naming the era just weeks after Senator McCarthy's spectacular pronouncement that he had in his hand a list of communists in the State Department.  His accusations became headline news, vaulting him into the national political spotlight.  For four years McCarthy attacked communism, while in his cartoons Herb Block relentlessly attacked his heavy-handed tactics.  In June 1954, McCarthy was censured and in December condemned by the Senate.

:: ::
Chan Lowe
Chan Lowe, Comics.com, see reader comments in the South Florida Sun-Sentinel
:: ::

Lowe destroys the arguments used by Peter King to justify these hearings and essentially calls King an opportunist, racist, and a demagogue

House Muslim Hearings

There are two kinds of "American Way."  The one we prefer to dwell upon is the one based on idealistic principles like fairness, equality, and opportunity. The Bill of Rights embodies this kind of American Way.  It’s the kind that prompts a tightening of the throat when we hear God Bless America being sung.

The other is the characterization we all too often tend to slide into as a nation: vindictive, xenophobic, paranoid, isolationist, racist, willfully ignorant.

While our better sides define our nationhood by a concept and not by race, ethnicity, religion or culture, our worse sides find that we need an "other" to demonize in order to achieve that warm "e pluribus unum" feeling. There was a time when the "other" was black, and we repressed him.  Or he was an Indian, and we massacred him.  Or he was a Communist, and we ruined him professionally and personally.  Now, our most convenient goat has become the American Muslim.

Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, with his hearings on the so-called radicalization of American Muslims, is poised to follow in the footsteps of Senator Joseph McCarthy (R-WI) -- whose tactics against suspected Communists were so ruthless they earned him an "ism" after his name.  Congressman King ought to be ashamed, but that would be to credit him with an awareness of his actions in the context of the darker side of our history that he surely does not possess.

King, sadly, has fallen prey to the other "American Way."  It’s easy and tempting for the rest of us to do the same.  Let us hope, for all our sakes, that the better angels of our nature haven’t abandoned us.

:: ::

I hope you enjoy this week's edition.  As I mentioned above, I'll post a few more editorial cartoons in the comments section of the diary.  I will try my best to write the next diary (with Libya and Japan the main focus) as soon as time permits.  Comments are encouraged.  Thanks.

:: ::

1. Cartoons of the Week

Chan Lowe
Chan Lowe, Comics.com, see reader comments in the South Florida Sun-Sentinel
:: ::

Lowe is sick and tired of birthers and their ilk.  He urges Republican leaders to do something about this anti-intellectual and paranoid behavior displayed by many of their supporters

The Tsunami... What Really Happened

One of the oddities about listening to the utterances of people like Michele Bachmann, Sarah Palin and Newt Gingrich when they address friendly crowds is that they can say the most preposterous things, and no one among their nodding listeners ever steps up to correct them, or bursts out laughing at their inanity.

Either the crowds, too, are ignorant and selective in applying their moral standards (Imagine if Obama had tried the "passion for my country" line), or they’re just dittosheep who bleat to the tune of Rush Limbaugh and the other right-wing broadcast candy.  Those who dare to speak the truth will be cast out.  This blind acceptance may get the more interesting candidates a long way in the primaries, but historical gaffes like the Founding Fathers managing to eliminate slavery long before the Civil War was fought won’t cut it with independents.  They don’t respect the concept of ideological purity, which is why they call themselves independents, and are (we hope) more clear-eyed in their judging of competency than the orthodox faithful.  However one feels about Barack Obama, one cannot accuse him of being ignorant or in possession of an incurious mind.

The old polling question, "Which candidate would you rather have a beer with," should be accompanied by another: "Which candidate would you want representing your country at the next G8 summit of world leaders?"

Matt Bors
Matt Bors, Comics.com (Idiot Box), see reader comments on the Bors Blog

:: ::

When Mike Huckabee or any other destructively dumb leader on the Right make paranoid statements about where Obama grew up, where he was born, how his relatives indoctrinated him, or how he was brainwashed by hearing the Muslim call to prayer, it is because you can’t call black people "niggers" anymore to sell your books.

Mike Huckabee might not personally hate black people, but he’s pandering to the most vile elements in the electorate with code words to drum up resentment and fear of the Other.  It’s called the Southern Strategy and it appears it will once again be fully employed in the next presidential race.

-- Bors echoes Lowe in his distaste for racists and calls out Mike Huckabee for his despicable behavior

Scapegoating an Entire Community

Peter King Connects The Dots by RJ Matson, St. Louis Post Dispatch, Buy this cartoon

Pete King, Muslims, and the IRA by John Cole, Scranton Times-Tribune, Buy this cartoon

The Trifecta: Earthquake, Tsunami, and Nuclear Meltdown

Robert Ariail
Robert Ariail, Comics.com (formerly of The State, SC)

Steve Breen
Steve Breen, Comics.com (San Diego Union-Tribune)

Humanitarian Intervention or Regime Change in Libya?

No Fly Zone by Emad Hajjaj (Jordan), Buy this cartoon

Libyan No-fly Zone by Dave Granlund, Politicalcartoons.com, Buy this cartoon

What's Next in Wisconsin?

Anti-Union Goon Scott Walker by Taylor Jones, Politicalcartoons.com, Buy this cartoon

Anti-Union Movement by Mike Keefe, Denver Post, Buy this cartoon

An Economy on the Mend?

Mike Luckovich
Mike Luckovich, Comics.com (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Bruce Beattie
Bruce Beattie, Comics.com (Daytona Beach News-Journal)

Higher Gas Prices: A Drain on the Recovering Economy

Chip Bok
Chip Bok, Comics.com

Jeff Koterba, Omaha World Herald, Buy this cartoon

Comedian Gilbert Gottfried, Aflac, and the Health Insurance Industry

Mark Streeter, Savannah Morning News, Buy this cartoon

Matt Bors
Matt Bors, Comics.com, see reader comments on the Bors Blog

Problem Child

Obnoxious comedian Gilbert Gottfried was fired as the spokesduck for Aflac after a series of cringe-worthy tweets he rapidly deleted from his feed.  Most people agreed they were in bad taste, but then I wondered: isn’t making a butt load of money voicing the mascot of a for-profit insurance agency kind in bad taste as well?

Since these types of jokes are Gottfried’s bread and butter, the whole affair begs the question of who Aflac thought they were hiring in the first place.  But those saying Gilbert should get his job back miss the point.  Aflac doesn’t care about supporting comedians or free speech.  They exist to make money for their shareholders by providing people supplemental insurance and doing everything that they are legally allowed to do to hold on to the money they are given.  They employ complicated calculations to determine the risk and profitability of insuring potential clients, and they made a very simple calculation with Gottfried: firing their spokesman for offensive jokes ridiculing people in a country where they do a lot of business would end up being more profitable than not firing him.

-- Bors stating what really motivates large corporations

Distorted Free Speech and the Westboro Baptist Church

Nick Anderson
In the Spirit of Free Speech... by Nick Anderson, Comics.com, see reader comments in the Houston Chronicle

Westboro Baptist Church by Pat Bagley, Salt Lake Tribune, Buy this cartoon

The Emerging 2012 GOP Field of Pretenders

Another Republican Presidential Exploratory Committee by RJ Matson, Roll Call, Buy this cartoon

Clay Bennett
The Pit Crew by Clay Bennett, Comics.com, see reader comments in the Chattanooga Times Free Press

Newt Gingrich: American Patriot Extraordinaire

Newt, Newt, Newt by Bruce Plante, see the large number of reader comments in Tulsa World

Mike Luckovich
Mike Luckovich, Comics.com (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Going After a Revered National Institution

Jeff Darcy, Cleveland Plain-Dealer, Buy this cartoon

Jimmy Margulies, New Jersey Record, Buy this cartoon

Choosing Big Oil Over Big Bird

Drew Sheneman
Drew Sheneman, Comics.com (Newark Star-Ledger)

John Darkow, Columbia Daily Tribune, Buy this cartoon

President Obama: Trying to Negotiate a Large Number of Difficult Domestic and International Issues

Jerry Holbert
Jerry Holbert, Comics.com (Boston Herald)

Clay Jones, Freelance-Star (Fredericksburg, VA), Buy this cartoon

The National Rifle Association (NRA) and Guns

Obama and Guns by David Fitzsimmons, Arizona Star, Buy this cartoon

Matt Bors
Matt Bors, Comics.com, see reader comments on the Bors Blog

Stilt Magz®

Here’s one I’ve had in the hopper that might seem oddly timed given all the news events worth commenting on this week. (I’ll get to them.)  I originally drew this after the Tucson shooting, then bumped it for Egypt cartoons, then it was being held for consideration by a magazine that ultimately didn’t run with it, and now I’m dropping it off here hoping it is somewhat amusing.

-- Bors commenting on the above cartoon and the absurdity of existing gun-owning laws

Silvio Berlusconi: The Loutish Italian Casanova

Silvio Berlusconi by Martin Sutovec (Slovakia), Buy this cartoon

Berlusconi and the Politics of 'bunga bunga' by David Horsey,
see reader comments in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer
(click link to enlarge cartoon)

Shutting Down the Government and Gutting Social Security: They Better Proceed Carefully and Cautiously

March Budget Madness by RJ Matson, Roll Call, Buy this cartoon

Steve Kelley
Steve Kelley, Comics.com (New Orleans Times-Picayune)

Pentagon Psy-Ops and Preserving the Military Industrial Complex

Chan Lowe
Chan Lowe, Comics.com (South Florida Sun-Sentinel)

Army Psy-Ops Mind Games

When Rolling Stone broke the story about a U.S. Army general in Afghanistan deploying his psychological warfare specialists to brainwash visiting members of congress, there was a good deal of reference made on TV news shows to The Manchurian Candidate.

Anyone old enough to remember when the Chinese were our sworn enemies rather than our bankers recalls the general creepiness we all felt about the secretive Middle Kingdom. When the novel and movie came out that suggested the Chinese practiced mind control, it struck a paranoid nerve.

Whether or not the Army really tried to persuade pols like Sens. Carl Levin and John McCain to send in more troops (as if the latter needed persuading), any revulsion and outrage we feel is due to the fact that they may have been subjected to nefarious head games as part of the process.

In fact, just about all of our politicians are in thrall to outside parties whose interests often do not coincide with those of the American people; for us, the difference appears to lie in the methodology of the manipulation.  As long as there is money involved in "owning" a member of congress, it’s a legitimate transaction.  The congressman or senator is free to exercise his or her free will in accepting the money and screwing the public.  Evidently, the people are not surprised or offended by this.  Rather than outrage, they greet the news with a shrug.

This is the only logical conclusion one can come to, because otherwise these members of congress wouldn’t keep getting reelected.  But when money isn’t part of the equation, as in the Army case, it gives us the willies.  It suggests that our elected representatives are blindly responding to someone’s Pavlovian bell.  I know there’s a difference between the two methods in terms of effect. I just can’t figure out what it is.

-- Lowe isn't surprised a bit at the Pentagon's efforts to "persuade" Members of Congress to support its many missions

Pat Oliphant, Washington Post Comics/Universal Press Syndicate
(click link to enlarge cartoon)
Pope Benedict XVI and Controversy: Never Far Apart

Exoneration by Steve Greenberg, Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles, Buy this cartoon

The Pope and Condoms by Jozef Danglar Gertli (Slovakia), Buy this cartoon

March Madness Comes in Different Forms

Marshall Ramsey, Clarion Ledger (Jackson, MS), Buy this cartoon

Cal Grondahl, Utah Standard Examiner, Buy this cartoon

:: ::

2. Congressman Peter King and the New McCarthyism

MIke Thompson
Mike Thompson, Comics.com, see reader comments in the Detroit Free Press
:: ::

Thompson doesn't pull any punches in calling out Peter King.  As you all know, the Detroit area has some of the largest and oldest Arab-American (most are Christians) and Muslim communities in this country

Rep. King's Attack on Muslims

The official title of Rep. Peter King’s congressional hearing says it all. The Republican chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security began hearings last week on "The Extent of Radicalization in the American Muslim Community and that Community's Response."

The implication is that the "radicalization" of the American Muslim community is a foregone conclusion and all that’s left is to determine just how far over the edge this segment of American society has gone.  It’s sort of like trying to determine the extent of someone’s involvement in a crime before determining if a crime actually took place.

According to a report compiled by the Muslim Public Affairs Council and published on the organization’s Web site, since 9/11, "(T)here were 80 total (terrorist) plots by U.S.-originated non-Muslim perpetrators against the United States," while during that same time period, "there have been 45 total plots by U.S. and foreign-originated Muslim perpetrators..."   In other words, since September, 2001, non-Muslim Americans have hatched far more terrorist plots against this country than American and foreign Muslims combined.  So do you think Rep. King will hold congressional hearings on "The Extent of Radicalization in the American non-Muslim Community and that Community's Response?"

Nah, what crass political advantage can be gained by attacking a majority group?

Matt Bors
King Hearings by Matt Bors, Comics.com, see reader comments on the Bors Blog

Lalo Alcaraz, LA Weekly, Buy this cartoon

Mike Peters, Dayton Daily News
(Click link to enlarge cartoon of 3/9/11 in Peters' archives)

Bill Day
Bill Day, Comics.com (Memphis Commercial-Appeal)

:: ::

3. The Democrats of Wisconsin: a Model for National Democrats

MIke Thompson
Unions by Mike Thompson, Comics.com, see reader comments in the Detroit Free Press, click here to see an animation of this cartoon
:: ::

American Workers by David Fitzsimmons, Arizona Star, Buy this cartoon

The Governor Walker Blues by Randall Enos, Cagle Cartoons, Buy this cartoon

Corporate Tea by Steve Greenberg, Freelance Cartoonist (Los Angeles, CA), Buy this cartoon

Bill Day
Bill Day, Comics.com (Memphis Commercial-Appeal)

:: ::

* Update #2 *

4. A Collection of Dunces: The Emerging 2012 Republican Presidential Field

Chan Lowe
Chan Lowe, Comics.com, see reader comments in the South Florida Sun-Sentinel)

:: ::

Lowe echoes what Howard Dean first talked about in 2003.  Dean charged in that campaign that George W. Bush and his minions were always raising secondary issues to not only divide the electorate but, also, to appeal to their base in disgusting fashion.  Guess what?  Another election season is beginning and the more things change, the more they remain the same

Republican Cultural Politics

Maybe the electorate is beginning to tire of the relentless talk about jobs, the economy and the deficit.  If we Americans are known for anything, it’s the brevity of our national attention span.

Lately, we’ve been hearing the siren call (some call it "dog whistle") of some old, familiar themes—mostly enunciated by Republican presidential hopefuls seeking to burnish their appeal with notoriously culturally conservative Iowa caucus-goers.

There’s been a resurgence of the hot-button social issues in congress, too, in the form of an attempt to cut Planned Parenthood’s budget, and the decision by the house to go ahead and defend the Defense of Marriage Act in court (since that amoral faux-Christian foreigner in the White House won’t do it)...

All Democratic strategists have to do is to start running that lucky winner’s own speech excerpts and primary ads back at him (or her) during the general election campaign, and further editorializing will be unnecessary.  Gone are the days when a candidate can deny that he ever made a certain statement, or that it was taken out of context.  Somebody always has a video camera or a cell phone running.  Just ask President George "Macaca" Allen.

Jimmy Margulies, New Jersey Record, Buy this cartoon

Newt Dives In by Jim Day, Las Vegas Review-Journal, Buy this cartoon

Steve Sack
Steve Sack, Comics.com (Minneapolis Star-Tribune)

Mark Streeter, Savannah Morning News, Buy this cartoon

Jeff Stahler
Jeff Stahler, Comics.com (Columbus Dispatch)

The Passion Of Newt by Clay Jones, Freelance-Star (Fredericksburg, VA), Buy this cartoon

Marshall Ramsey
Marshall Ramsey, Comics.com (Clarion Ledger, Jackson, MS)

Paul Szep
Paul Szep, Comics.com

Dan Wasserman
Dan Wasserman, Comics.com (Boston Globe)

GOP Dream Ticket by Taylor Jones, Politicalcartoons.com, Buy this cartoon

:: ::

* Update #1 *

5. Sports Talk: On to the Final Four

Clay Bennett
Obama's Bracket by Clay Bennett, Comics.com, see the large number of reader comments in the Chattanooga Times Free Press

Bob Gorrell, Nationally Syndicated Cartoonist, Buy this cartoon

Drew Litton
Drew Litton, Comics.com

Dana Summers
Dana Summers, Comics.com (Orlando Sentinel)

Drew Litton
Drew Litton, Comics.com

Vic Harville, Stephens Media Group (Little Rock, AR), Buy this cartoon

NFL Player Demands by Dave Granlund, Politicalcartoons.com, Buy this cartoon

Drew Litton
Drew Litton, Comics.com

NFL Strike by John Cole, Scranton Times-Tribune, Buy this cartoon

NFL Lockout by Joe Heller, Green Bay Press-Gazette, Buy this cartoon

:: ::

6. Final Thoughts

California Propositions by Andy Singer, Politicalcartoons.com, Buy this cartoon

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Is democracy by ballot referendums and propositions about to come to an end?  I distinctly recall that such measures came under scrutiny and a fair bit of criticism after Governor Gray Davis (D-CA) was re-elected in 2002.  Less than a year later, backed by slimy Republican money, Davis had been recalled and a mediocre B-grade actor became Governor.  

If your state has these referendums on a fairly regular basis, are they helping or subverting the democratic process?

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7. RIP Elizabeth Taylor, Pinetop Perkins, Duke Snider, and Bob Feller

Elizabeth Taylor Tribute by Dave Granlund, Politicalcartoons.com, Buy this cartoon
British-born actress Elizabeth Taylor (her American parents were residing in London at the time) personified grace, charm, and beauty.  The last of the great Hollywood stars, she led a remarkable life as mentioned in her obituary in the Los Angeles Times

During a career that spanned six decades, the legendary beauty with lavender eyes won two Oscars and made more than 50 films, performing alongside such fabled leading men as Spencer Tracy, Montgomery Clift, Marlon Brando and Richard Burton, whom she married twice.  She took her cues from a Who's Who of directors, including George Cukor, Joseph L. Mankiewicz, George Stevens, Vincente Minnelli and Mike Nichols.

Long after she faded from the screen, she remained a mesmerizing figure, blessed and cursed by the extraordinary celebrity that molded her life through its many phases: she was a child star who bloomed gracefully into an ingenue; a femme fatale on the screen and in life; a canny peddler of high-priced perfume; a pioneering activist in the fight against AIDS.

(Eddie Fisher pictured above with his wife Debbie Reynolds (right) and future wife Elizabeth Taylor in a 1958 photo)

Some actresses, such as Katharine Hepburn and Ingrid Bergman, won more awards and critical plaudits, but none matched Taylor's hold on the collective imagination.  In the public's mind, she was the dark goddess for whom playing Cleopatra as she did with such notoriety, required no great leap from reality.

Taylor, New York Times critic Vincent Canby once wrote, "has grown up in the full view of a voracious public for whom the triumphs and disasters of her personal life have automatically become extensions of her screen performances.  She's different from the rest of us."

Facts about Elizabeth Taylor's life

Elizabeth Taylor, RIP by Randy Bish, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Buy this cartoon

Liz Taylor Meets Jacko in Heaven by Jozef Danglar Gertli (Slovakia), Buy this cartoon

Elizabeth Taylor by Simanca Osmani, Cagle Cartoons (Brazil), Buy this cartoon

Elizabeth Taylor by Paresh Nath, Khaleej Times (UAE), Buy this cartoon

Signe Wilkinson
Signe Wilkinson, Comics.com (Philadelphia Daily News)

Jack Ohman
Jack Ohman, Comics.com (Portland Oregonian)

Editorial cartoonist Bob Englehart of the Hartford Courant paid his tribute to one of the most beautiful actresses of all time and, in particular, noted those mesmerizing eyes

Elizabeth Taylor by Bob Englehart, Hartford Courant, Buy this cartoon

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Elizabeth Taylor was famous for having violet eyes, but were they truly that color?  Pictures show her with both violet eyes and blue eyes.  It turns out that violet eyes are commonly found in the high altitude regions of northern Kashmir.  Who knew?  Either way, her eyes were incredible.  

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Three other legendary figures died recently.  One from the world of blues music and two Hall of Famers from professional baseball

Mark Streeter, Savannah Morning News, Buy this cartoon
Pinetop Perkins, was an American blues musician, specializing in piano music.  He played with some of the most influential blues and rock and roll performers in American history, and received numerous honors during his lifetime including the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, and induction into the Blues Hall of Fame. link

Brooklyn Dodgers Great Duke Snider (on far left) with teammates Clem Labine, Roy Campanella and Gil Hodges after defeating the New York Yankees 4-3 in the 1955 World Series, which was their only World Series title while the team was still in New York, hat tip: Fred Konsky's Blog
In the 1950s, New York's three teams dominated America's national pastime, baseball.  The teams' dynamism was symbolised by their centrefielders' speed and flair.  The Yankees had Mickey Mantle and the Giants had the "Say Hey Kid", Willie Mays.  Brooklyn's Dodgers boasted the "Duke of Flatbush", Duke Snider.

The Dodgers' move to Los Angeles after the 1957 season broke the hearts of Brooklyn's fans, and shifted baseball's balance of power away from New York.  Snider hit the team's final home run in Brooklyn.  The move sorely affected his career.  Brooklyn's cosy Ebbets Field had a short right field perfectly suited to a left-handed batter like Snider, who stood to the right of home plate and "pulled" the ball to his right.  link

Bob Feller Dies by Randall Enos, Cagle Cartoons, Buy this cartoon
Bob Feller, who came off an Iowa farm with a dazzling fastball that made him a national celebrity at 17 and propelled him to the Hall of Fame as one of baseball’s greatest pitchers... where he had played for the Indians for 18 years.

"I don’t think anyone is ever going to throw a ball faster than he does," Joe DiMaggio was quoted as saying during his epic 1941 season, when he hit in a record 56 consecutive games.  "And his curveball isn’t human." link

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Note: I'm sorry I had misplaced the above cartoon about Bob Feller (who died in December 2010) or I would have posted it in a timely fashion.

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A Note About the Diary Poll

John Sherffius
John Sherffius, Comics.com (Boulder Daily Camera)
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On the silver screen, actress Elizabeth Taylor projected as much class as Audrey Hepburn, was as glamorous as Ingrid Bergman, came across as down-to-earth as Katherine Hepburn, and possessed natural beauty that rivaled Ava Gardner's.

In her long and distinguished movie career, she made over 75 movies (including television movies) and won the Academy Award for Best Actress twice for her roles in Butterfield 8 and Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? One of the very early proponents of AIDS research, she spoke out on behalf of AIDS victims in the early 1980's and explicitly when actor Rock Hudson -- her friend and co-star from the movie Giant -- died of AIDS complications in 1985.  Using her stature as an international celebrity, she forced a nation to confront this illness at a time when few, if any, celebrities did lest their careers be threatened by this association.  As for our political leaders, most of them lagged behind in coming to terms with this issue for at least a decade or so.

If you have had the opportunity to watch any of her movies, which one is your favorite? And, why?  What personal memories do you have from watching these movies?

Don't forget to take the diary poll.

Extended (Optional)

Originally posted to JekyllnHyde on Fri Mar 25, 2011 at 08:08 PM PDT.

Also republished by oo and J Town.


Which is Your Favorite Elizabeth Taylor Movie?

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