Thursday, May 29, 2008


Well, depending on the angle of the sun, it's just about warm enough to wear shorts here in Madison which means that it just about warm enough for everybody's favorite insect to hatch and devour any exposed skin.

You see, in Madison, mosquito season is a whole lot like summer, except it can be longer. Add in these $4 a gallon gas prices and one almost misses shoveling snow. And thus today's editorial cartoon.

This isn't the world greatest cartoon (it probably won't be included in my next submission to the Pulitzer Committee), but it sure was fun to draw. I really like how natural the hand looks, and my wife is still grossed out by the mosquito. I guess I must be doing something right, if I can intentionally draw something that physically repulses people.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Opening Day

Today the stench of the stale hot dogs and spilled beer will return to the moistened confines of Warner Park. Yes, the Mallards return to the Duck Pond, finally giving poor Brewer fans something to distract them from the train wreck this season is becoming, after a very promising April.

But I personally have little sympathy for the wallowing despair the Brewer faithful. No, I'm a Detroit Tigers fan, and therefore am too preoccupied with my own pity to empathize with anyone else.

Unfortunately, I won't be at the Duck Pond today. My in-laws are coming into town and their not going to pick themselves up from the airport.

So to those of you out there who do make it up to Warner Park, stay out of the Duck Blind, but drink a beer for me nonetheless.

Maybe next year, I'll make it to the ballpark, wearing my "Detroit Tigers 2008 World Champions" T-shirt, underneath my "Milwaukee Brewers 2008 NL Champions" sweatshirt. One can only hope.

Play Ball!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Brat Fest

Madisonians bought and theoretically consumed almost 192000 bratwurst this Memorial Day Weekend, breaking the record they set in 2004 for most brats consumed during a holiday weekend.

I made two separate trips to Brat Fest this weekend and did my part by eating a total of 6 bratwurst. Now it's time to hit the gym.

Friday, May 23, 2008


This cartoon was inspired by a recent State Journal article on State Street panhandlers. The figure $10-$15 an hour was reported in the story.

When I heard that these bums can rake in $10-$15 an hour I got livid. What the heck is anybody's motivation to work at McDonald's if they can pull down more asking naive college kids for money.

Heck, I don't make that much as a cartoonist, maybe I should go shake a cup for a couple of hours everyday to supplement my income.

But here in Madison one has to be careful about complaining that we shouldn't be supporting transients addiction problems a couple of the nickels at a time.

More annoying than the panhandlers are those Madison liberals, like my Alder and neighbor Brenda Konkel pictured in the cartoon, who complain that those of us who don't like being aggressively pestered for money or object to loud outbursts of profanity in public, are somehow intolerant.

I'm a pretty compassionate person, but I have little sympathy for the panhandlers on State Street. First of all, many of them are not homeless, and in fact, live in my near-eastside neighborhood. Secondly, there are a plethora of public services available to those in need in Madison, dutifully paid for by tax dollars and private donations. And we're not talking about prisons and workhouses.

Especially in Madison, there are all sort of groups that provide those who want to get back on their feet, with housing, food, and job training. Considering the services available, I have no reason to believe that throwing some spare change into a cup is anything but enabling someone destructive addiction to drugs or alcohol.

Furthermore, the dollars in that ends up in a paper cup, are dollars that won't be going to groups likes the United Way, Good Will or the YWCA, that are truly trying to help people who are down on their luck, and willing to help themselves.

Ben Burns article

Grosse Pointe News columnist Ben Burns (the newspaper that first published my editorial cartoons while I was still in high school) has written a very nice piece about the Wisconsin State Journal's "close but no cigar" bid for a Pulitzer Prize.
Hereis the article
I'll post some more cartoons over the weekend.

Have a great Memorial Day.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Obama comes to Tampa

Obama held a rally in Tampa on Wednesday, as part of his first visit to the Bay area since Florida's mock primary in February. Apparently, it was quite the event which is no surprise.

I went to an Obama rally here in Madison back in February, and the man is an incredible speaker and an incredible presence. I can't remember much of what he said, and I'm not sure he said much of anything in terms of laying out policy, but it was nonetheless a memorable experience.

I haven't read all the reports on the rally yet, but I doubt this one in Tampa will be much different than the one in Madison, with the exception that now he is the presumptive nominee, and the weather was better.

The lack of substance aside, Obama is actually starting to grow on me. He seems to have a more realistic approach to dealing with our enemies in the Middle East than hard line Republicans. McCain, who I've always liked and respected, unfortunately seems to be falling into the latter category.

While I understand McCain needs to appeal to his party's base, every appeasement to the social conservatives and foreign policy radicals drives me closer into Obama's outstretched arms.

Awards, Awards and more Awards

It's been a good year for me on the award front. I just found out that I was the SPJ Mark of Excellence national winner for best college editorial cartoonist. Frankly, I didn't even know I had entered the competition.

I graduated from grad school at the University of Wisconsin-Madison last spring, and the student newspaper I used to draw cartoons for, the Daily Cardinal, must have entered some of the work from my last semester there.

I'm glad that I won, but I also feel sort of like ringer. I regularly draw cartoons professionally for both the Wisconsin State Journal and The Tampa Tribune, and most of the competition is talented undergrads, and I was a graduate student at the time. But nonetheless, it always feels good to be a winner.

The SPJ award caps off a good award season for me. In March, I won the Milwaukee Press Club award for best editorial cartoon in Wisconsin (for the third year in a row) and in April I found out that a project that I worked on for the Wisconsin State Journal was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. (alas there was no winner in our category).

But my lips are sore from tooting my own horn, and all the awards aside, I'm still waiting for someone to "show me the money."

Here is today's editorial cartoon commemorating the career of "good ol"' Uncle Rodney at the railroad. Rodney Kreunen was a great public servant, who brought passion to the position of railroad commission. He is being forced out to make way for a political appointment. He will be missed.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Wisconsin's Lawmakers need nasty Nuns

While Wisconsin's Governor still has the strongest veto pen in the nation, voters recently restricted it, by banning the so-called Frankenstein Veto. The veto power received its name from the governors ability create new legislation by stitching together unrelated sections of bills, by vetoing out individual sentences and individual words in the middle.

The governor is still able to manipulate words within a single sentence, however, and was able to dramatically alter the meaning of a recent budget bill by chopping up several long sentences full of redundant numbers.

The Wisconsin lawmakers who wrote the budget bill were either stupid to include those long-winded sentences or they were in co-hoots with the governor. But while it pains me to say this, I'm not sure the lawmakers were stupid.

Most the of the governors vetoes actually made the budget bill better, making deeper cuts to spending that lawmakers knew were necessary but unpopular.

It looks like the lawmakers enabled the veto, because there were too scared to make the cuts that needed to be made.

What the governor did was mostly in the best interest of the state, but it definitely violated the spirit of the reform that voters wanted earlier this year.

If lawmakers don't start writing some veto-proof bills, it might be time to restrict the governor's veto powers even further.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Wusses in the Wisconsin and Winners in Tampa

Wisconsin lawmakers seem incapable of making the tough decisions they need to balance the budget. They are too scared of voter backlash to either cut services or raise taxes to balance the budget, instead they've devised a series of accounting gimmicks that give the appearance of a balanced budget.

For instance, Republicans in the Assembly want to put off paying for this years school aid until next year. Democrats want to borrow against the money the state won in lawsuits against tobacco companies, which will provide the state with money now, but millions less than they were entitled to. The Governor wants to take real money out of the transportation fund to balance the budget, and borrow money to fix the state's ailing infrastructure.

Every suggestion just leaves the next budget in worse shape, and puts off the real hard decisions for another session of the legislature. Perhaps the thinking is if they put off their obligations for several more years, the economy will rebound and and revenue will increase. But I don't want to bet on that horse.

And speaking of sports, the formerly named "Devil" Rays of Tampa, have a winning record after 40 games for the first time in the organizations history.

Good for them.

And here is the rough of that cartoon.

As a Detroit Tigers fan, it's good to know that somebody is winning baseball games.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

The Cheesiest

This is probably one of my cheesiest cartoons of all time, but it's still fun.