Sunday, February 7, 2016

Sunday morning toons: And I read about it in Willamette Week!

Three days' worth of Non Sequitur cartoons, by Wiley Miller, were pulled from the Oregonian's comics page last week. (You can see the strips beginning here.) The editor's justification was that the strips, which gently ridiculed (though not by name) the Bundy brothers' takeover of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in eastern Oregon, "seemed jarring and in poor taste given that someone now was dead." He added:
That decision has yielded a grand total of two reader complaints.
– although that may be more a gauge of shrinking Oregonian readership numbers than of any reaction to the decision to withhold the strips in question.

Alert p3 readers may recall that the O had a similar bout of the fantods (albeit suffered by a different editor) in 2012, also resulting in a week's worth of strips getting pulled. In that case the cause of the disturbance was a Doonesbury series ridiculing Virginia and Texas Republican legislators attempting to mandate transvaginal ultrasounds for all women seeking an abortion. (The p3 coverage of that dust-up began here, and continued here, here, here, here, here, and here.)

It's probably a coincidence that in both cases the O's editorial judgment came down on the side of gentle handling for right-wing extremism. Just an abundance of caution.

Today's toons were selected – with appropriate concern for the delicate sensibilities of our readers – from the week's offerings at McClatchy DC, Cartoon Movement, Go Comics, Politico's Cartoon Gallery, Daryl Cagle's Political Cartoons,, and other fine sources of toony goodness.

p3 Best of Show: Jeff Stahler.

Ann Telnaes sketched this week's Democratic Town Hall.

Mark Fiore ponders: Does the pointless focus on Iowa's caucuses prove the existence of God? Or something else entirely? Or . . . ?

Tom Tomorrow follows the election coverage so you don't have to.

Keith Knight thinks about the poor Iowans who will never get better.

As we approach the Super Bowl, Reuben Bolling reminds us that a neuronic cluster is only as strong its weakest ganglion. And there's no "I" in CTE!

Marriage: Tricky business. Marriage to Red Meat's Ted Johnson: Doubly so.

The Comic Strip Curmudgeon itemizes a million ways to die in a Dick Tracy strip, the newest of which appears to be narcotizing plot lines. (And yes, I know he only lists seven ways, but the one about the rats sounds pretty bad, and without the reference to a million I lose the hook for this entry.)

Comic Strip of the Day celebrates the only indigenous American art form other than jazz.

Mrrrff? Simon's Cat's latest adventure, "Tough Love," directed by Simon Tofield, is a convincing excuse for giving the whole Valentine's Day thing a miss. Come for the meditation on the fickleness of romance, stay for the hilarious moment of embarrassment for Simon's Cat (you'll know it; trust me).

The Comfort-Fit Oregon Toon Block:

Ex-Oregonian Jack Ohman got this shot in on The Man Whose Face You'd Love to Punch even before he'd smirked his way through the Fifth Amendment before Congress.

Maybe/Maybe Not Ex-Oregonian Jen Sorensen considers the virtues of knowing where he stands. (Thirty-six years ago, I had a dream of buying an old station wagon and driving the country roads of Iowa. Every time we saw a farm house, we'd pull up the drive, knock on the door, and ask the person who answered if they'd voted for Reagan. If they said yes, we'd laugh uproariously and drive on to the next farm. If they said no, we'd say Hop in – we're going to have some fun. 'Twas ever thus, I suppose.)

Matt Bors brings up a pretty widely-held sentiment. Lucky think he's not carried by the Oregonian, eh?

Jesse Springer thinks that popular Oregon passtime isn't as simple as its enthusiasts make it sound.

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.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Ten years ago on p3: Punxutawny Phil's corporate sponsors, and other glimpses under the fur coat

Do you know what the little rascal's prediction accuracy rate is? Don't sweat it; no one else does either. And that's not the only reason that the prognosticating rodent bid fair to have a bright future in government service.  

Monday, February 1, 2016

The unforgiving minute: Explaining the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge occupation in 51 words

First they locked themselves in and refused to come out.

Then they wanted someone to bring them snacks and got mad when it wasn't what they wanted..

These aren't "militiamen;" these are spoiled teenagers who hate their parents.

Minute's up.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Sunday morning toons: Nothing's over until we decide it is!

So here's the state of play at the federal wildlife facility near Burns, Oregon: First, the local ranchers whose sentencing for committing arson on federal property was notionally the excuse for the occupation repeatedly urged the Bundys to call it off and go home; they didn't.

Then, after a month-long exchange of non-negotiable demands and Clif Bars, the two Bundy brothers (who, with their deadbeat father in Nevada, are apparently the militia movement's answer to Hank and Rusty Venture and their father) were captured, along with several of their fellow seditionists, while on a field trip and are being held without bail. In the process, their comrade-in-arms LaVoy Finicum achieved his boyhood ambition of suicide by cop.

Next, four holdouts continuing to occupy the federal facility insisted that they wouldn't leave until authorities agree to drop all charges against themselves and everyone else involved – thus providing a more win-win updating of Patrick Henry's famous challenge: Give me Liberty, or Give me a Full and Complete Pardon for my Actions!

Then, from inside a different kind of government facility, the Bundy brothers repeatedly (through their lawyer) urged the four holdouts still in the federal facility to stand down; they didn't. (Meanwhile, down in Nevada, safely away from the flying lead, their deadbeat father insists that Finicum was murdered, and is helpfully urging escalation rather than peaceful resolution.)

Most recently, the FBI has released this video, apparently captured by security cameras inside the facility, showing part of the debate among the holdouts.

And as for the vaunted first-in-the-nation caucus and primary, both coming up in the next week or so, I'm not saying that rise of the self-funded billionaire candidate (or the dark money-funded candidate), or the fact that the institutional leadership of the GOP, one of the only two national political parties we have, has lost control of its own process and is currently flailing around on the ground like a Merganser with a wing full of buckshot, is a good thing. Not a good thing as such. I just happen to enjoy one of the unexpected side-effects of it. Remember, America: Nothing's over until Iowa and New Hampshire decide it is!

(Note that if you did a variation on the "empty Trump podium" theme this week – and there were quite a few – it had to be pretty good to make the cut.)

And not to forget the other bit of stage-managed, over-hyped competition coming up on the horizon, one that will also be picked over forever by mathematically- and historically-inclined nerds but soon forgotten by many of the rest of us, I'm told there's some sort of football championship thingy scheduled for next weekend.

Today's toons were selected, by a seven-hour process conducted last night at the Leedy Grange 339 in Cedar Mill OR, from the week's offerings at McClatchy DC, Cartoon Movement, Go Comics, Politico's Cartoon Gallery, Daryl Cagle's Political Cartoons,, and other fine sources of toony goodness.

p3 Best of Show: Tom Toles.

p3 Mixed Metaphor Medal: Matt Wuerker.

p3 Award for Best Adaptation From Another Medium: Jeff Stahler.

p3 Certificate of Appreciation for Even Noticing The Topic This Week: Chan Lowe, Lisa Benson, and Arend van Dam.

p3 Mandatory "Acknowledgement of the Return of Our Favorite Show" Commendation: Jerry Holbert.

Ann Telnaes sketches last week's Iowa GOP debates.

What would be even yooger and classier than the Sarah Palin endorsement? Mark Fiore knows.

Tom Tomorrow poses a riddle: Why is America like little Carol Anne in "Poltergeist"? (Answer: Because both should fear the light.)

Reuben Bolling presents Lucky Ducky: The Formative Years. (Reminder: Here's the origin of Lucky Ducky.)

And Red Meat's Bug-Eyed Earl – what was he thinking?

The Comic Strip Curmudgeon offers a riddle, too: What do Jeffy of The Family Circus and George W. Bush have in common?

Comic Strip of the Day offers a meditation on this unfortunate truth: You can't make someone clueful.

Twenty years of coconuts! Ah cain't stand coconuts! And there, in a nutshell as it were, is the McGuffin that drives "Rabbitson Crusoe" a mainly-Yosemite Sam short directed by Chuck Jones in 1956. Bugs doesn't even appear until after the 2:30 mark, but he does get to sing "Secret Love," written for the 1953 musical Calamity Jane, starring Doris Day. Watch "Rabbitson Crusoe" at eBaum's World. And if you're in the mood for something special, you can also watch it dubbed in Italian at Vimeo. The voice work in the latter isn't by Portland's Own Mel Blanc, of course, but it's still pretty funny; and if , like me, you don't speak Italian it's arguably even funnier. Although I do wonder how the translation handled Sam's signature western idioms. I mean, what's Italian for "long-eared galoot"?

The Adequately Sized (for now) Oregon Toon Block:

Ex-Oregonian Jack Ohman shares some Great Moments.

If Technically Ex-Oregonian Jen Sorensen got this posted before the damning emails dropped – and the dates indicate she didshe's a by-god clairvoyant.

Matt Bors asks: Who better to design a killer app than an unindicted war criminal?

While my preferred method of handling the Bundy putsch has generally tended toward ridicule followed by more ridicule, Jesse Springer is inclined toward at least a little more sympathy. One of the occupiers is dead, after all. It's just that he's dead for a cause that deserves ridicule.

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

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Reading: Garry Wills reviews E. J. Dionne's history of modern conservatism

Dionne (and Wills) pursue a question on everyone's mind: How did the modern conservative movement – which is the only thing left inside the hollow shell that only a few years ago was the national Republican Party – become the thing we see today? They cover some familiar ground, and recognize some interesting historical patterns.

For my money, here's the answer in a nutshell (although Wills quickly points out that Dionne draws a different conclusion from the same evidence):
The truth is that conservatives are right to feel that their own moderates are sell-outs. To be (even moderately) a moderate is to leave the Republican Party—to be what Buckley called an immoral Middle-of-the-Roader. To accept Enlightenment values—reason, facts, science, open-mindedness, tolerance, secularity, modernity—is to lower one’s guard against evils like evolution, concern about global warming, human equality across racial and sexual and religious lines—things Republicans have opposed for years and will not let their own members sell out to. They rightly intuit that there is only one Enlightenment party in America, and the Republicans are not it. That is why they have to oppose in every underhanded way they can the influence of younger people who are open to gays, to same-sex marriage, to feminism.

This is the conclusion I come to from a reading of Dionne’s account of Republicans across the half-century story he tells.
Wills' review of Dionne's Why the Right Went Wrong: Conservatism—from Goldwater to the Tea Party and Beyond is going on the Readings list in the sidebar.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Quote of the day: How do we solve a problem like The Donald?

"This whole thing is a disaster,” said Curt Anderson, a former Republican National Committee political director and veteran operative. “I think I’ll write a book about it.”
- A GOP "veteran operative" sensing, perhaps, the wisdom of the Hunter Thompson maxim: When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro.

The entire Politico article, by Alex Isenstadt, is hilarious and includes such gems as the characterization of the mutual recriminations among campaign directors, major donors, super PAC chairs, spokespersons, pundits, movers, shakers, hacks, and flacks, as "a ferocious round of finger-pointing."

And this gem:
"Cruz's crew should’ve done it. It was incredibly shortsighted. The longer [Trump] goes, the harder he is to kill,” said Brad Todd, a veteran Republican strategist who until recently worked for a super PAC that supported Bobby Jindal’s presidential campaign."
When you're getting armchair quarterbacked by someone connected with Bobby Jindal's sad little fizzle of a campaign, it's time to stop and rethink things.

And this:
"In some instances, anger has begun boil to over. Earlier this month, during the RNC’s winter meeting, Holland Redfield, a party committeeman from the Virgin Islands, rose during a private breakfast to vent to Priebus about Trump. During the impromptu speech, Redfield complained of the pressures to not speak out, saying, “We’re almost terrorized as members of our party.”

In an interview, Redfield said that other RNC members had privately applauded him since his speech became public."
Yes, they "privately applauded him since his speech became public." What towers of Jell-O.

No wonder Trump is making them give him their lunch money.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Sunday morning toons: Supers are living among us!

Yes, there's Austerity Man, and Invisible-Hand-Of-The-Free-Market Man, and Aunt Man! Plus two cameo appearances by supers, and the return of an animated adventure I featured here a couple of years ago because I really like it and this is my blog so there.

And we've got coverage of most of the big stories from the week: Palin and Trump, Flint and lead, Bernie and Hillary, and stuff like that too, if you're into that sort of thing.

But mainly it seems to about the supers.

Today's toons were selected deep inside the p3 Fortress of Solitude from the week's offerings at McClatchy DC, Cartoon Movement, Go Comics, Politico's Cartoon Gallery, Daryl Cagle's Political Cartoons,, and other fine sources of toony goodness.

p3 Best of Show: Steve Benson.

p3 Long Memories Medallion: Clay Bennett and Gary Varvel.

p3 Award for Best Adaptation from Another Medium: Tom Toles.

p3 Certificate of Harmonic Toon Convergence: Matt Wuerker and Adam Zyglis.

Ann Telnaes gets to the heart of the Palin endorsement.

Mark Fiore brings us the further adventures of Austerity Man! His superpower? Getting the government to come through with $1.5 billion because he saw a chance to save $15 million on drinkable water for poor Michiganders. Golly, Austerity Man – are we ever glad to see you!

Tom Tomorrow brings us the latest adventures of Invisible-Hand-Of-The-Free-Market Man. And remember: If you believe there's a giant invisible rabbit on the barstool next to you drining a martini, your family will try and put you in a sanitorium, but if you believe there's an invisible hand that guides all economic transactions toward optimal outcomes, you're a Chicago school economist.

Reuben Bolling brings another installment of Aunt Man, the hero with aunt-like powers, all a part of the latest Super-Fun-Pak Comix!

Red Meat's Ted Johnson and Wally discuss what's worth being thankful for.

The Comic Strip Curmudgeon celebrates the Earth's most selfless, and hilarious, ruler. (With another guest appearance by a super!)

Comic Strip of the Day delves into the problems currently experienced by the third-largest international comics festival, based in France. (Hint: The Academy Awards is suffering the same embarrassment. CSotD also offers some nicely-pointed advice to the advocates of an Oscars boycott.) And there's a comic cover image that brings this post into today's theme, too.

No dialog to quote here; you'll see. And that CSotD cover is all the excuse I need to bring back "Chase Me," a bonus feature released as part of a 2003 DVD collection for The New Batman Adventures series. Directed by Curt Geda from a story by Paul Dini and Andrew Burnette, with a great jazz score by Lolita Ritmanis.

The Just Right for 2016 Oregon Toon Block:

Ex-Oregonian Jack Ohman with an image that could have earned him a p3 Certificate of Harmonic Toon Convergence this week, except that he came down harder on the class analysis and lighter on the political history of plumbing.

You saw them perform – didn't you? then go here – now Allegedly Ex-Oregonian Jen Sorensen tells the inspiring true story of how the USA Freedom Kids became . . . the USA Freedom Kids.

Matt Bors notes how effortlessly people can switch positions. And, I suppose, there's an unintended and unfortunate sexual pun in there somewhere.

Jesse Springer sums it up correctly, on so many levels. Somebody needs to sit in the timeout chair and think about what they've done.

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.