Sunday, May 24, 2015

Sunday morning toons: Maybe he fought with the Abraham Lincoln Brigade against Franco

By way of background, I have my dad's WWII army dog tags, and I often wear them when I ride. The theory being, of course, that he got home in one piece, so –

Anyway, a few nights ago, a fellow probably in his twenties (I didn't know him) pointed at the tags and mumbled shyly, "Thank you for your service."

I shrugged and said. "They were my dad's, not mine." He looked a little embarrassed. I suppose I could have left it there, but as some of my readers may be aware, "leaving it there" is not always my strongest suit. So I added, "He was in World War Two."

Now he didn't look embarrassed anymore. He just looked baffled. I think I might just as well have said "He was in the French and Indian War." Or "He was in the second Battle of Bull Run." Would have been all the same to him, I suspect.

Or I could have said, "He fought with Anakin Skywalker and Obiwan Kenobi in the Clone Wars." That might have made a light bulb come on.

You'd think all those years in the classroom, watching that look of gradually-increasing horror on the students' faces as they thought, "Oh lord, he's going to over-explain again!" would have cured me of that habit. Apparently not.

Too bad. I was going to buy him an espresso and tell him the story about my dad hunting wild boar off the back of a jeep with a 50-caliber machine gun in Burma, the country which renamed itself Mayanmar in 1989 as part of the process of throwing off its history as a British colony. Or maybe the story of how I went from 2-S to 1-S to 1-A to 1-H, and how that kept me out of Vietnam.

Yeah, I bet he would have enjoyed that one.

By the way, only two "knowing what you know now" toons made the cut – Jeff Danziger's and Ruben Bolling's, below – because they found something to say other than "hindsight is 20-20."

Today's toons were selected from the week's offerings at McClatchy DC, Cartoon Movement, Go Comics, Politico's Cartoon Gallery, Daryl Cagle's Political Cartoons, About.com, and other fine sources of toony goodness.


p3 Best of Show: Matt Davies.

p3 Legion of Merit: Chris Britt.

p3 Grandfather Paradox Medal: Jeff Danziger.

p3 Certificate of Harmonic Toon Convergence: Jeff Stahler, Steve Kelley and Ingrid Rice.


Ann Telnaes' animation today makes more sense if you know that training on a stationary bike is called spinning. That being said, it's also about other things we should remember this weekend, aside from the obvious.

Mark Fiore considers the difference between a dynasty and an inherited predisposition.


Tom Tomorrow has an observation about soft targets (and a revelation about white high-tops).

Keith Knight returns to his alma mater for a refresher on media history.

Ruben Bolling takes us into dangerous territory: Jeb's brain.

Red Meat's Bug-Eyed Earl demystifies a common urban sight.


The Comic Strip Curmudgeon celebrates the setting of a new record.

Comic Strip of the Day stresses the significance of the clipboard, and confirms in passing my belief that everyone who ever owned a VW bus has a moment when they say they miss it. (A real VW bus, by the way, not this joke, about which the owners of which will never, ever wax sentimental, I promise you. The "new Beetles" may be just a different shell on a Golf chassis, but at least they had a passing resemblance to the original.)


So you wanna be a sailor, huh? Popeye was a civilian sailor – or in the Coast Guard – for most of his early career (not counting a one-off animated "clip" story where he joined the Army to please Olive in 1936). He joined the Navy in this theatrical short released November 14, 1941 – slightly over three weeks before Pearl Harbor. What did Paramount Pictures know, and when did they know it? The attacking ships' flag simply says "Enemy (Name Your Own)," which at least spares us the ugly Japanese stereotypes that are typical of most wartime Popeyes. Uncredited voice work by Jack Mercer as Popeye and Ted Pierce as the Captain. Pierce also had a co-credit as story writer, a job he would later fill at Warner Bros as Tedd Pierce, where he created some classic stories with animator Chuck Jones (hint: "Wabbit season!" "Duck season!") The story at the end about the Popeye insignia on Navy bombers was true.





The Big, And Getting Bigger Since We Began Cheating And Welcomed Back The Departed, Oregon Toon Block:

Ex-Oregonian Jack Ohman has a plan to fit all those candidates on stage.

Ex-Oregonian Jen Sorensen takes us on a tour of the going-rogue gallery.

Matt Bors has a message for bikers: Pull your damned pants up!

Jesse Springer asks a fair question: Rather than look to inefficient and inequitible pay-per-mile fees to replace road-maintenance revenue lost from fuel efficiency, why not just raise the damned gas tax?




Test your toon-captioning superpowers at The New Yorker's weekly caption-the-cartoon contest. (Rules here.) And you can browse The New Yorker's cartoon gallery here.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Saturday afternoon tunes: Pretty lookin' people

Eighty-one years ago today, Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow were shot down in a stolen car by Louisiana and Texas state troopers.

This is from the sound track of the 1967 film, directed by Robert Penn:




Friday, May 22, 2015

A synoptic history of the separation of church and state: Fourth update for 2015 (and it's still May!)

(This timeline was originally published in shorter form in 2009, driven by the somewhat-naive thought that the process of theocratic overreach in the US was probably already at or near its zenith. Now it appears that p3 must stand ready for further revisions from time to time, as the exigencies of Republican electoral politics require it. We welcome the task.)



1791 James MadisonCongress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.

1802 Thomas Jefferson: The Establishment Clause of the First Amendment guarantees Americans a wall of separation between church and state.

1954 Dwight Eisenhower: The separation of church and state surely won't be hurt by adding "under God" to The Pledge of Allegiance in the name of anti-Communism, will it?

1960 John F. Kennedy: The separation of church and state is absolute. My church will not dictate my policy decisions.

2008 Mitt Romney: The separation of church and state is relative. My church will dictate my policy decisions, but only to the extent that I will discriminate against the same people Christian conservatives would already be discriminating against anyway.

2009 Bart Stupack: The separation of church and state is a fairy tale. My church will show up at the Capitol steps in a limo to dictate policy.

2012 Rick Santorum: The separation of church and state is an abomination. "Earlier in my political career, I had the opportunity to read the speech [by JFK to the Greater Houston Ministerial Association in 1960], and I almost threw up."

2012 Sally Quinn: The separation of church and state is impossible. “This is a religious country. Part of claiming your citizenship is claiming a belief in God, even if you are not Christian.” Agnostics, atheists, and other nonbelievers need not apply.

2014 Rick Santorum (again): The very notion of the separation of church and state is "a Communist idea that has no place in America."

2015 Fifty-seven percent of surveyed Republicans: The separation of church and state is sacreligious, since the U.S. Constitution is a document inspired by Our Lord Jesus Christ, so it counts as Holy Scripture.

2015 Rand Paul, libertarian-of-convenience:  The separation of church and state is a one-way street: "The First Amendment says keep government out of religion. It doesn't say keep religion out of government."

2015 Jeb Bush, "moderate" GOP presidential candidate: The separation of church and state is nothing more than a "game" of "political correctness."

2015 Bobby Jindal, 2016 vice-presidential hopeful (and staunch opponent of executive orders, when it's Obama, who not that long ago told fellow Republicans they had to stop being "the party of stupid"): The separation of church and state can be disposed of by simple executive order from the governor, even after the GOP-controlled state legislature killed the same anti-LGBT bill the week before.





Thursday, May 21, 2015

Quote of the day: Presidential hopes and breakfast

It seems that, like several other governors who are exploring the idea of becoming president, Big Chicken's numbers back home have sunk like so many bowling balls in oatmeal.

- Charlie Pierce, on the struggle by NJ Governor Chris "Big Chicken" Christie to get the respect he feels he's owed.

Here at p3, we consider Pierce the unacclaimed master of the well-tempered analogy.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Sunday morning toons: Renouncing him thrice before the cock crowed

Well, this week must have been an awkward one for the elder Bush brothers – Jeb "If I Knew Then What I Know Now" Bush had to walk back, one embarrassing step at a time, his support for George W. "This Is The Guy Who Tried To Kill My Dad" Bush's two disastrous wars of opportunity and family honor. Honestly, all that family needs is another son named "Regan." Or, I suppose, "Reagan."

Oh, yeah. And George Stephanopolous donating $75K to a Clinton foundation was both professionally tone-deaf and politically ill-timed, but anyone who's worried about what chump change like that might do to influence elite media coverage of a presidential election hasn't been paying attention since January 21, 2010. They're probably shocked to discover that cheating goes on in professional sports, too.

If you drew B.B. King bringing Lucille up to St. Peter at the Pearly Gates, or you pulled up a too-obvious visual comparison between the Philadelphia Amtrak crash and the thirty-five year refusal of congressional Republicans to fund Amtrak, let alone the rest of our nation's infrastructure (some of which, as Pat Bagley notes below, is pre-Civil War), you probably didn't make the cut today.

Today's toons were selected by the hallowed system of primogeniture from the week's offerings at McClatchy DC, Cartoon Movement, Go Comics, Politico's Cartoon Gallery, Daryl Cagle's Political Cartoons, About.com, and other fine sources of cartoon goodness.


p3 Best of Show: Kevin Kallaugher.

p3 Legion of Merit: Chan Lowe.

p3 Legion of Extraordinary Merit: Jeff Stahler.

p3 Certificate of Harmonic Toon Convergence: Robert Ariail and Bob Gorrell.

p3 Special "When Did Syndicated Cartoonists Decide To Go Gross?" Mention: Matt Davies and Matt Davies.

p3 "Gaudeamus Igitur" Chorus to: Drew Sheneman.

p3 World Toon Review: Petar Pismestrovic (Austria), Ingrid Rice (Canada), and Andreas Völlinger & Flavia Scuderi (Germany).


Ann Telnaes actually makes me nostalgic for the good old days when "Bush's Brain" meant Karl Rove.


Mark Fiore pays tribute to The Most Transparent Administration Ever.


Tom Tomorrow presents the cage match between Middle of the Road Man and the Populist Avenger! (By the way, am I the only one who's still looking forward to the epic intellectual-property cage match between This Modern World and Midas?)


Keith Knight finds that rare moment of intersection between Donald Rumsfeld and Martin Luther King. Although Rummy would probably deny that this comparison is accurate, and King was, you know, assassinated forty-seven years ago last month.


Tom the Dancing Bug brings Magritte Comics, and other treats, in the Super-Fun-Pak Comix. (And don't miss the continuing adventures of Aunt-Man!)


Red Meat's Bug-Eyed Earl makes a confession.


The Comic Strip Curmudgeon examines 21 generations of racially pure inbreeding dedicated to enforcing its own version of morality, and it's disturbingly reminiscent of The Venture Bros., or perhaps Super Friends.


Comic Strip of the Day explains something without which the world makes very little sense: Newspaper editors never see the funnies.


Urp! Simon's cat, goes a-courtin', with mixed results, in "Butterflies," directed in 2015 by Simon Tofield. Two questions: (1) Am I the only one who thought of Marcellus Wallace's briefcase? And (2) How did the butterfly get through the window pane?






The Big, And Getting Bigger Since We Went All Wall Street, Blew Off The Rules, And Welcomed Back The Departed, Oregon Toon Block:

If Ex-Oregonian Jack Ohman has it right, Obama is getting off easy.

Possibly Ex-Oregonian Jen Sorensen finds the unimaginable: A conservative who believes in evolution!

Matt Bors takes a moment to pay tribute to the man who saves Clarence Thomas from being the stupidest justice on the Supreme Court. (And, for the record, I use the term "stupid" in the sense of "being in a stupor," rather than a reflection upon the measured intelligence of either jurist.) (Although, heaven knows. . . . )

Jesse Springer puts his thumb on something that's grated on me since I moved to Oregon 25 years ago – three months before Measure 5 threw public education funding into the toilet: Oregon's schools used to be the envy of the nation, and now even Mississippi is grateful for us. Couldn't be prouder.




Test your toon captioning superpowers at The New Yorker's weekly caption-the-cartoon contest. (Rules here.) And you can browse The New Yorker's cartoon gallery here.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Saturday evening tunes: And I feel like I've been here before

In August 1970, I rode with some friends from Indiana to New Mexico and back in a station wagon with exactly two tapes for the 8-track player: "Glen Campbell Live" and Crosby, Still, Nash, and Young's "Déjà Vu," which we pooled our money to buy at a truck stop after about an hour on the road so we would have something other than Glen Campbell to listen to. I can't guess how many times CSNY got played over and over and over on that trip, but the finest tribute to it I can pay is that, all these years later, I still love that album.




Forty-five years ago today, CSNY's first album hit #1 on the US album chart. It also had three top 40 singles: "Teach Your Children," "Woodstock," and "Our House."

Also, on this day in 1962, B. Bumble and the Stingers hit #1 on the UK charts with this.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

A quantum of umbrage: a synoptic history of the separation of church and state (second update for 2015)

(This timeline was originally published in shorter form in 2009, driven by the thought, somewhat naive in retrospect, that the process of theocratic overreach in the US was probably already at or near its zenith. Now it appears that p3 must stand ready for further revisions from time to time, as the exigencies of Republican electoral politics require it. We welcome the task.)



James Madison, 1791: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.

Thomas Jefferson, 1802: The Establishment Clause of the First Amendment guarantees Americans a wall of separation between church and state.

Dwight Eisenhower, 1954: The separation of church and state surely won't be hurt by adding "under God" to The Pledge of Allegiance in the name of anti-Communism, will it?

John F. Kennedy, 1960: The separation of church and state is absolute. My church will not dictate my policy decisions.

Mitt Romney, 2008: The separation of church and state is relative. My church will dictate my policy decisions, but only to the extent that I will discriminate against the same people Christian conservatives would already be discriminating against anyway.

Bart Stupack, 2009: The separation of church and state is a fairy tale. My church will show up at the Capitol steps in a limo to dictate policy.

Rick Santorum, 2012: The separation of church and state is an abomination. "Earlier in my political career, I had the opportunity to read the speech [by JFK to the Greater Houston Ministerial Association in 1960], and I almost threw up."

Sally Quinn, 2012: The separation of church and state is impossible. “This is a religious country. Part of claiming your citizenship is claiming a belief in God, even if you are not Christian.” Agnostics, atheists, and other nonbelievers need not apply.

Rick Santorum (again), 2014: The very notion of the separation of church and state is "a Communist idea that has no place in America."

Fifty-seven percent of surveyed Republicans, 2015: The separation of church and state is sacreligious, since the U.S. Constitution is a document inspired by Our Lord Jesus Christ, so it counts as Holy Scripture.

Rand Paul, libertarian-of-convenience, 2015:  The separation of church and state is a one-way street: "The First Amendment says keep government out of religion. It doesn't say keep religion out of government."

Jeb Bush, "moderate" GOP presidential candidate, 2015: The separation of church and state is nothing more than "game" of "political correctness."