Monday, December 22, 2008

Cold toons

As I freeze my tuckus off this morning, I thought I'd post the drawings that ran in the Wisconsin State Journal over the weekend.

At this time of year, I look back at the cartoons I've drawn in 2008 and I think this is one of the better ones. The idea is just great, even if the drawing isn't the best.

What's sad about this cartoon is that the fact that a Wisconsin lawmaker got busted for drinking and driving has barely cracked the headlines statewide. This is sad for two reasons. One is demonstrates the state continued tolerance for drinking and driving. Two the incident illustrates that people really just don't care about state government in Wisconsin. If we did, this would have been bigger news.

The other illustration went with Rick Horowitz's yearly political christmas carol column. I must say I really liked the illustration, but it definately didn't reproduce as well in color in the newspaper, as it looks online. The purple I used in the background got muddy, the yellow highlights on the faces didn't blend nicely, and the yellow backgrounds started to look the same color as my new son's poop. I really wish I had had the opportunity to look at this before it went to the presses, because with 5 minutes in photoshop I could have really helped the colors. Oh well.

Friday, December 19, 2008

More 911 Mess

More emails are being released about the Dane County's 911 call center's mishandling of the Zimmerman phone call. Apparently the dispatcher who mishandled the call wrote several emails to her superiors complaining about the equipment at the center, and most interesting the Madison Police Department's attitude. While the equipment complaints seem bogus the local media outlets have focused on that, but what is interesting to me is the dispatchers complaint that police don't like being dispatched to GPS locations, and not full addresses. (Zimmerman called from a cellphone, and the dispatcher couldn't pinpoint her exact address, only her general location). This is contrary to the Police department repeated claim that they only if they would have been dispatched they could have caught the killer.

Now both sides are playing the blame game, and the case doesn't appear any closer to being solved.

Old Cartoons

Here a couple of cartoons I drew last week.
The idea is a little obvious, but boy did the drawing just turn out spectacular. I just love the child-like glow in Doyle's eyes.
And this cartoon was for the Tampa Tribune:

I think the caricature of Crist is my best so far, but I really wanted to this cartoon:

But it was too radical for the conservative Tampa Tribune.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Here is my most recent editorial cartoon for the Wisconsin State Journal.

This was supposed to be a quick swipe at the Yankees for stealing the Brewer's star pitcher, and it turned into a multi-day fiasco, of back and forth squabbling with my editor over the drawing of the cartoon. In the end this turned out OK, but it was a serious pain in the butt.

Here are some of the earlier incarnations.
This was what I originally sent my editor. He thought it wasn't quite clear enough and too hard to read (he was right). So I had rework the Grinch and C.C. Sabathia in about 30 minutes. Which led to this:After I was happy with the new drawing I added color and some little details (like this Homer sweet homer sign) which I thought added to the atmosphere of the cartoon, but some folks at the paper thought it was distracting, so that had to go as well. And of course I had to make many of these changes in both the black and white and color versions of the cartoon. I guess I have to learn to keep it simple stupid.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Below is today's cartoon.

Blagojevich seems like the sleeziest in a long line of sleezy Illinois governors. Sometimes when a politicians actions are so disgusting and reprenhensible, it's nice to contrast that behavior with the innocense of children.

I set this cartoon in a wintry scene because Madison and the rest of the state of Wisconsin got dumped on yesterday, not to compare Blagojevich's actions to the purity of the driven snow. I am in no way that deep. Thank God!!!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Leckrone BS

I am really starting to get sick of folks defending Mike Leckrone and the University of Wisconsin Marching Band. For those of you not privy to the goings on of Wisconsin's favorite Marching Band, for the second time since I've lived in Madison (since 2005) the marching band has come under fire for it's disgusting hazing rituals.

The Wisconsin State Journal, Madison's daily newspaper, which regularly publishes my editorial cartoons, condemned Leckrone in an editorial last week, calling for his firing if the band steps out of line again. Then the shit hit the fan.

Whether it's on talk radio or in the Capital Times, people all across madison are crawling out of snowbanks and defending Leckrone, and condemning the State Journals editorial board. The problem is all of these defenders are relying on faulty argument.

The argument goes something like this: "The band is being unfairly punished, because athletes do bad things all the time, and nobody talks about firing Bret Bielema, Bo Ryan and Barry Alverez."

Here is what Dave Zweifel said recently on the Capital Times website:

"If Mike Leckrone's job is to be held hostage to what a few of those 300-plus band members might crudely do, then let's make coaches and other athletic administrators equally responsible for the students under their tutelage.

After all, Leckrone's kids didn't beat up their girlfriends, didn't start a fight outside a local pub that broke noses and loosened teeth, didn't drive drunk down Langdon Street, didn't buy drugs at a local crack house or commit any of the other infractions of a small minority of UW athletes. Many of those resulted in actual criminal charges."

The problem is these athlete's that are behaving badly are not HAZING, they are just acting like idiot punks. What the immature idiots punks in the band are doing is using the artificial hierarchy to exploit younger members of the band. There is a huge difference.

Individual bad behavior needs to be punished individually. Hazing needs to be handled systemattically because the hazers are using the school sponsored system to exploit there peers.

I am in no way trying to defend UW athletics. UW athletes who break the law should be punished.

Hazing on sports teams needs to be addressed, but I really doubt it's a huge issue for the big ticket sports that are always being attacked. What kind of the idiot would haze 260+ lb. freshman tailback John Clay, really.

Monkey-ing around

For some reason both of the cartoons I drew last night prominently present primates, even though the cartoons will run on opposite sides of the country.

Here are the 'toons.
This cartoon for the Wisconsin State Journal deals with the 911 center's inability to explain how they botched a call from girl who was reported screaming on the phone, and was found dead about 1 hour later. 911 did not dispatch police to the scene, and have been hesitant to admit any wrong doing.
This cartoon deals with Mel Martinez's coveted U.S. Senate Seat. Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush is considering running for the seat and would easily win the Republican nomination if he chose to run. Ironically, part of the reason Senator Martinez is retiring, is because he was too closely linked the George W. Bush administration, and that made him unpopular. But in Florida, President Bush's little brother Jeb is stil surprisingly popular.

I think I need more practice drawing monkeys but these cartoons turned out OK.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


Igor, a 130 lb. bull Mastiff, was sentenced to death earlier this week. He has attacked two dogs in separate incidents, killing one of the them, and has attacked two people in the last couple of years.

Many have to come to his defense claiming that the Judge was unfair in his sentencing, or that the dog is being punished for the sins of the owner.

First of all, how great is this society that we live in, that a dog who mauls another dog to death gets his day in court before a judge and is not shot on the spot. This is a sign of how compassionate to all creatures, even the most brutal, our society has become.

Second, despite the sins of his owner Greg Lohrke, (and he seems like a ridiculously unfit owner for such a large dog), Igor is nontheless still dangerous, and a threat to small dogs and innocent passersby.

There are thousands of Dogs in hundreds of shelters across Wisconsin who deserved to be saved from euthanasia, Igor is not one them.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Hunting and stem cells

Here are some of my recent cartoons. This is my third year in Madison so I'm starting to warm up to Hunting season and the realities of herd management. But would somebody please explain to me why some hunters feel the need to wear camouflaged pattern blaze orange vests?

Thursday, November 6, 2008

I'm a dad. Meet Owen Patrick Hands,

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

My endorsement for what it's worth

My endorsement: I'll be supporting Barack Obama in the upcoming election, but even though I live in Madison this was not a foregone conclusion. I had been excited about the prospect of having a socially progressive, moderate like McCain at the top of the Republican Party ticket.

I was hoping that McCain would be able to strip the social conservativism, xenophobia, and culture wars from a party that at its purest is about ensuring freedom, and creating an environment where American's can succeed to their greatest personal potential.

But McCain has been caught up in the "base" of the party, made up mostly of religious Zealots, who quite frankly supported Democrats in droves, only a few short decades ago. Those of us who are moderate conservatives who believe in less government and personal responsibilty have been abandoned. The biggest blow came when he choose Governor Palin to be his running mate. She is an inexeperience politician with lite credentials on key issues, but a populist appeal to social conservative, and small town people with small minded values.

For me it's easier to swallow the entitlements and intrusive government of the democrats, than the immoral position the Republicans continue to hold on a woman's right to choose, gay rights, and issue of illegal immigration.

McCain has had moderate positions all of these issues. In an election year that has been about change, I had been hoping that John McCain would have the strength of conviction to change the republican party. Unfortunately, he hasn't. Insteading changing the party, the party has changed John McCain.

The man who was once consider a courageous war hero will have had his legacy tarnished by a campaign for president that at it's best appealed to basest instincts on the religious right and at worsts bordered on flat out racism.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Drunk Reaper

The Journal Sentinel ran a huge series of stories about Wisconsin's culture of alcohol consumption, and drinking and driving. I don't usually like to use such a common cartoon cliche, but I think the grim reaper works well in this context. Plus, Halloween costumes and themes are always fun to draw.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Budget Trouble

Wisconsin's state Budget is in trouble, which could spell disaster for Madison's economy. The cartoon does a pretty good job of explaining the situation, so I'll let it speak for itself.

The Bagers are Scary

This is the worst Badger football season in recent memory and Head Coach Brett Bielema is looking for talent behind center to step in and save the season. Actually, considering the play he's had from the quarterback position this year, the little kid in the cartoon probably couldn't do much worse.

I really like the color in this drawing. You can almost feel the glow radiating from the warm house through the open door.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Rays in the World Series

The Rays are going to the World Series for the first time in the team's history. Here is the cartoon I drew to try to capture the excitement. I think I will use this kid as model for a character in my comic strip.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Development of a strip

Below are some sketches of characters I'm developing for a comic strip. I'm working to develop a strip that lends itself to both good long storylines and quick one-day gags.

I'm thinking this will be sort of a family strip, with the parents being the type of do-good liberals that I observe regularly in Madison Wisconsin. I was thinking the family would have two children, a stuffy 12-year old type sister, who wants to become a member of the young republicans, and an imaginative 7-year-old or so younger brother who think he's a pirate. (I love pirates.)

I've worked out some early gags and would love to hear some comments but right now I thought I'd just share some of my very early character sketches.

These are the earliest sketches of the young pirate boy... I liked these but I wanted to see eyes

I liked these but I wanted to see eyes, so I did these, which are getting closer.

But I think these are the strongest, especially the one in pencil which is really too light for you to see clearly.

Here is the development of that stuffy sister, there were some quick sketches of her on the earlier pages.

And here are some early drafts of the father in the family (the sis is here too). He sort of reminds me of a guidance counselor at Kenyon College.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Rough sketches for Tampa

Below are some rough sketches of Rays cartoons for the Tampa Tribune. I'll post the finished carton tomorrow or Wednesday.

Also stay posted for more frequent updates. I've started working on a comic strip and I thought i'd share my progression with all of my friends on the web. I'll post some early rough sketches of the strip characters later today and tomorrow.

Weekend Update

Below are the the cartoons I drew over the weekend:
One time VP candidate Charlie Crist of Florida has been lack-luster in his support of John McCain in this crucial toss-up state.
The stuffy overture center will book more rock and pop acts to try to stimulate ticket sales. I guess there are just too many people in Wisconsin who would rather watch the Packers than Opera.

Finally, one of my best Wisconsin themed presidential election cartoons of the season.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Joe the Plumber

Below is the requisite "Joe the Plumber" editorial cartoon. In my own unbiased opinion, this is a pretty darn funny cartoon. I think this guy gives McCain a good talking point, but he's too little too late.

On the topic of Joe, it is despicable that the news media has dug up dirt on Joe (he's not a licensed plumber, etc.). This guy is not a public figure, he's a normal guy who got lucky enough to get his voice out there and talk to the candidates, but he is not running for office. Leave him and his family alone and, for the love of god, get off of his lawn.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Don't tell, why ask?

The candidates debated again tonight, but while they were big enough to make personal attacks at each other, neither has been able to "man up" and admit the glaring errors in their judgment in regards to the Iraq War. Now this debate didn't deal specifically with foreign policy, but I'm still waiting for some straight talk. It's obvious to me and everyone else who watches these debates, but I guess it's still too much to expect a candidate to admit a mistake.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Electoral Map

Obama appears to be pulling away from McCain. He has substantially more resources (mostly because he refused to adhere to public financing and its inherent spending limits) to compete in State the McCain had hoped to have tied up by now. This cartoon sums up the situation pretty well.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Wisconsin Supreme Court Elections

After the developments of this week, I'm absolutely convinced that elections have become an inappropriate way to select Supreme Court Justices in Wisconsin. The elections are too partisan and the politics are too dirty. This no way to choose the most impartial and fairest justices for the court. Here is my cartoon:

This week, the winner of this April's Wisconsin Supreme Court election, Michael Gableman, was charged with violating his judicial oath of the office to uphold the truth for a dishonest ad his campaign produced. In the ad, Gableman accused the incumbent, Louis Butler, of finding a loophole that set free a convicted child rapist he was representing as a public defender in the 1980s. Gableman's ad points out that the perpetatrator raped another child after he was released from prison.

The ad was dishonest because Butler's "loophole" didn't have any affect on the case and the molester was let out prison on parole, after he served his term, not on some technicality.

Anyone who follows the Wisconsin Supreme Court should be shocked by the trend that is developing. The last two Judges elected to the court have been charged with judicial misconduct. Annette Ziegler, who elected the year before Gableman joined the court, was reprimanded for her ethical violations last year, for refusing to recues herself from cases involving a bank where her husband was a board member. (here is my cartoon on that).

We need a new way to select justices in this state. Only 20% of the electorate showed up to elect Gableman in April. That's not the democratic power of the people. The the power of the loudest and most partisan minority. If Wisconsinites continue to remain apathetic and ignorant about what make a good Supreme Court Justice, then they should forfeit their vote.

We need a system that will take into account a candidates judicial philosophy and impartiality, not their political connections. It's time for some kind of merit selection in Wisoconsin, where an impartial committee, made up lawyers, retired judges and members of both parties select justices.

Thursday, October 9, 2008


Above is the cartoon on UW marching band drama. Below are a bunch of cartoons that I've drawn since I last updated this blog.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Obama Stem cells

With all the discussion of the economy, I'm not sure if this cartoon is flying below the radar a bit, but Obama has started attacking McCain for soft on Stem Cells, mostly because he chose Sarah Palin as his running mate.

The ads seem somewhat unfair because McCain has been a fervent supported of stem cell research and has voted for it repeatedly.


Here is my latest attack on Bishop Morlino.

The cartoon refers to an openly gay music director who was fired from the catholic church where he worked and worshiped. Some folks think I should blame the the priest who hired the music director (he knew he was openly gay at the time) and then fired him. But the priest only fired the director after a minute group of small-minded parishioners complained to the archdiocese. It seemed pretty clear to me that the priest had little choice in the matter the and the orders came from a higher power (the bishop not god, but I think the bishop confuses the two sometimes).

I must say I was rather disappointed that I received so few complaints about this cartoon.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Brewers Debacle

Like our economy the Brewers appear to be in serious trouble. They've blown a six or seven game lead in the Wild Card standings and have won only a handful of games in September. The dream of the getting to the postseason for the first time in since 1983 is rapidly slipping away.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Laying an Egg

The Madison City Council is at it again. Instead of actually working to solve some of the cities problems, they fought for several hours on Tuesday night arguing whether people who rent units in multi-unit buildings should be allowed to keep chickens in their back yards. Owners or renters of single family homes have been allowed to keep chickens for several years. God forbid we discriminate. Here is the cartoon:

Zoo problem

Here is a cartoon from today's Tampa Tribune:

The venerable president of the Lowry Park Zoo, Lex Salibury, has made a number of questionable decisions about his private venture Safari Wild, a wildlife safari resort outside of Lakeland that would give folks and upclose experience with animals in a more natural setting.

The problem is that Salisbury keeps using resources from the Zoo he runs, which is funded by taxpayers, to benifit his private business venture. For instance he wants to give zoo animals a break from their hectic life at Lowry Park by letting them wander Safari Wild's lands.

Lex deserves a little slack. From what I can gather, he transformed Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo from a laughing stock to one of the premier zoos in the country. Also it seems like many of his poor decisions are driven by a genuine concern for the animals. But when you are funded by taxpayers, you need to have genuine concern for their needs, and most importantly respect for the money they give you.

Cartoon update

Below are a bunch of cartoons I've draw in the last week or so. Enjoy them.

I'm not really a fan of Sarah Palin.
Wisconsin is definitely in for a wild ride as the election approaches.
Why is it always the Republicans who want to make it harder for people to vote. And Attorney General J.B had been doing such a great job administering the law without letting his politics get in the way until he sued the state to take voters whose registration data doesn't match the data at other state agencies like the DMV, off the rolls.

The simple fact of the matter is that there are very few people who are truly voting illegally. Most of the irregularities occur because of typos in voters names or addresses not matching.

There are very few if any cases that have found that voters are trying to game the system. The risk of being got committing voter fraud is simply not worth the reward of voting twice for your candidate. When it comes to voting the general population is a lot more honest than Republicans think.