Stage 1: On Friday, a female house finch, somehow trapped inside the Moda Center, landed on the lectern while Bernie Sanders was speaking to a Portland rally. Fans of the Sanders campaign and the cult-TV series "Portlandia" go nuts.
Stage 2: Within 12 hours, Sanders/bird memes have flooded social media.
Stage 3: By Sunday morning, political cartoonists have started checking in with many variations on a handful of themes: What does this mean for Sanders? What animal would land on Clinton's podium? Would she get herself a bird once she saw what a boost the little feathered friend gave to Sanders? What animals would perch on the podiums of Trump, Cruz, and Kasich?
Stage 4: (This will begin Monday night.) Late-night monologues start running with it. Here's my free contribution: "Hey, you may have heard this – a finch landed on Bernie Sanders' speaker's stand at a rally last week. Dick Cheney immediately shot it." You're welcome.
Stage 5: (This one should break by Tuesday afternoon at the latest.) Right-wing truth-telling citizen-journalists demand to know: How much did George Soros pay to have the bird trained to land on the speaker's stand? How many innocent finches were killed before they finally found one that would reliably fly in on cue? Many house finches enter the US from Mexico – was this one here legally?
We've got cartoons today about that story today.
Let's put aside several disturbing patterns (e.g., Americans – especially convervatives – find mass slaughter more newsworthy if it happens in countries we feel we can relate to, or can at least somewhat-reliably find on a map). I think the insistence by Repulicans that Obama was somehow derelict in his duties by not returning from his state visits to Cuba and Argentina ducks the question of what purpose his early return to DC would have served. Or what he could have done back in DC that he couldn't do from Air Force One. Or why anyone would imagine that, had he cut short his visit and returned to DC, those same talking heads wouldn't have pointed to that as proof that Obama was "playing politics" with the Brussels bombings. We've got some cartoons about that, too.
And tell the voters in Arizona – traditionally one of the states that reminded us why the 1965 Voting Rights Act needed an enforcement clause to begin with – that those impossible lines for polling places on Tuesday were proof that the SCOTUS conservative majority's doctrine of "equal sovereignty of the states" (whatever that is) is protecting them from systematic vote suppression. Cartoonists are on the job with that one today, too.
And, really, is there much wrong with the government of North Carolina that couldn't be cured by a climate change-induced 40-foot rise in sea level long the mid-Atlantic seaboard? We even have a toon or two about that, although I don't believe any of them specifically mention the flooding angle.
Today's toons were selected after a five-hour wait in Maricopa County AZ, 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 Picks of the week: Mike Luckovich, Pat Bagley, John Deering, Nick Anderson, Steve Benson, Clay Jones, Drew Sheneman, Signe Wilkinson, Matt Wuerker, and Monte Wolverton.
p3 Best of Show: Ted Rall.
p3 Legion of Merit: Pat Bagley.
p3 Abbot and Costello Heritage Award: Clay Bennett.
Ann Telnaes does the match-the-candidate-to-the-bird thing. While she seems to be confused about the difference between a finch and a dove, and the Cruz gag was done elsewhere, all is forgiven for the Trump gag.
Mark Fiore opens a love letter.
Tom Tomorrow brings us a harrowing tale of limitless power. (FYI: The punchline I instantly thought of in panel #1 doesn't get cashed in until the middle of panel #4. Make of that what you will.)
Keith Knight reminds us why "I am not a racist" is like "I am not a crook:" If you're actually saying it, you've probably already lost the battle.
Reuben Bolling offers up a variation on a theme.
Red Meat's Milkman Dan makes Karen an offer.
Comic Strip of the Day raises a good question – at what point will the increasingly-normal stop drawing attention as being anything but normal – in a post aptly titled "Juxtaposition of the So What?"
You do wanna wake up Easter morning, don'tcha? A sadly-neglected part of the "George of the Jungle" Saturday morning TV series (produced by Jay Ward and Bill Scott, who also produced the Rocky and Bullwinkle shows) was the adventures of "Super Chicken." I remember SC, but even I had forgotten there was an Easter Bunny episode, directed in 1967 by Gerard Baldwin and featuring the voices of Bill Scott (Super Chicken and Henry Cabot Henhouse III) and Paul Frees (Fred, the even comic relief-sidekick). The manic "Super Chicken" theme was composed Sheldon Allman, who took time out from composing the music for films like "Hud," "In Cold Blood," and "The Sons of Katie Elder" to bang out this little ditty.
The Weekly Oregon Toon Block:
Ex-Oregonian Jack Ohman salutes yet another valiant and courageous victory.
Documented Ex-Oregonian Jen Sorensen knows more about fern sex than you probably do; and she's also showing some impatience with Obama – is he back to the old days of pursuing the Phantom Middle on his SCOTUS nomination?
Matt Bors demonstrates why "indoor voice" will never be a criterion for judging presidential candidates.
The same week that the ultra-dirty, ultra-Nixonian roots of the "war on drugs" became known, Jesse Springer notes with some irony who's about to become the biggest playah in Oregon's marijuana regime:
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.
The p3 Sunday Comics Read-Along: Pearls Before Swine, Doonesbury, Rhymes with Orange, Zits, Adam @ Home, Mutts, Over the Hedge, Get Fuzzy, Prince Valiant, Blondie, Bizarro, Mother Goose & Grimm, Rose is Rose, Luann, Hagar the Horrible, Pickles, Rubes, Grand Avenue, Freshly Squeezed, The Brilliant Mind of Edison Lee, and Jumble.