The Sorensen Monologues

Low-information Nation: Midterm Elections Edition

A couple articles inspired this cartoon. First, this piece from September, about Kentucky voters who love the state’s new health insurance exchange (Kynect) but still disapprove of the Affordable Care act:

“I’m tickled to death with it,” Ms. Evans, 49, said of her new coverage as she walked around the Kentucky State Fair recently with her daughter, who also qualified for Medicaid under the law. “It’s helped me out a bunch.”But Ms. Evans scowled at the mention of President Obama — “Nobody don’t care for nobody no more, and I think he’s got a lot to do with that,” she explained — and said she would vote this fall for Senator Mitch McConnell, the Kentucky Republican and minority leader, who is fond of saying the health care law should be “pulled out root and branch.”

Then there was this piece about disillusionment with Washington last Wednesday. It was full of quotes by people angry about gridlock, but not quite grasping its source:

And in Racine, Wis., Jeffrey Kowalczuk, a 56-year-old account representative for a trucking company, seemed no less disillusioned than Ms. Pizarro after voting for Republicans in that critical state.  “I’m just tired of all the fighting and bickering,”  he said. “We’re all Americans. It’s just getting old with all that stuff.”

That would be from a man who ostensibly voted for SCOTT WALKER. The article concluded:

“Obama has not accomplished what he promised to the community,” said Juan Neyra, 69, a retired security guard in Denver. He said he used to vote for Democrats, but this year had voted for the Republican Senate candidate, Representative Cory Gardner, who was challenging Senator Mark Udall, a Democrat. “And Udall supports Obama,” Mr. Neyra said.

Straight outta the GOP playbook.

 



Desperation Nation

Something’s going up for people struggling financially — and it’s not the minimum wage. The low-end consumer loan business is booming, with several states caving in to lobbyists’ efforts to let interest rates go even higher.



Trust Goes Bust



The Globola Crisis



America of the Future

I spend a lot of time thinking about the problems outlined in this cartoon. Concentrating prosperity into just a few ever-growing cities seems ridiculous and unsustainable. Having just traveled from Austin to San Francisco and back, it’s interesting to compare how this dynamic is playing out in both places. At least SF has the BART. But in both of these tech hubs, affordable housing is being pushed farther and farther out — and not everyone wants to be a commuter.

Related reading: James Howard Kunstler’s The Geography of Nowhere.



The GOP’s Fight Against Early Voting Explained

Somewhat buried in the news last week, amidst stories about Ebola and ISIS, was the Supreme Court’s 5-4 ruling on Ohio’s early voting period. The predictable majority sided with Ohio’s Republican Secretary of State Jon Husted, allowing him to delay early voting by a week. This first week is known as the “Golden Week” because people can still register to vote in the same period. The extreme Supremes reversed the rulings of lower courts that sided with plaintiffs who claimed this will disproportionately affect African-American voters, many of whom take advantage of early voting.

Ohio officials have failed to offer a compelling reason why the cutbacks in early voting are so important. Why would they spend so much effort on this, taking the fight all the way to the Supreme Court? Two year ago, The Nation reported on a moment of candor from a GOP elections official:

Franklin County (Columbus) GOP Chair Doug Preisse gave a surprisingly blunt answer to the Columbus Dispatch on Sunday: “I guess I really actually feel we shouldn’t contort the voting process to accommodate the urban—read African-American—voter-turnout machine.” Preisse is not some rogue operative but the chairman of the Republican Party in Ohio’s second-largest county and a close adviser to Ohio Governor John Kasich.

Maybe we should take a cue from the protesters in Hong Kong clamoring for democracy and express more outrage at what’s happening to our own.



March of Doom

Seeing the People’s Climate March reminded me of the global protests against the Iraq War in 2003. People protested on every continent, including Antarctica, in an effort to stop the invasion. It was a rare feat of organization and international unity — and it was largely ignored. I drew a cartoon at the time pointing out that heavy snowstorms received more prominent coverage on the front page of the Washington Post than the protests.

When I see ISIS rampaging through Iraq and Syria, butchering people and displacing families, I think about how intelligent people around the world did everything they could to prevent the colossal humanitarian disaster of the past eleven years that is still unfolding. I think protesting is our ethical obligation, but the sense of coming up against an immutable force is familiar.

Alternate strip titles included: “History Re-heats Itself”; “Between Iraq and a Hot Place”; and “Worst Learning Curve Ever.”



A Dose of Their Own Medicine



SPX 2014 Photos

I was humbled to be included in this photo of a rare multi-generational gathering of alt-weekly cartoonists (click to enlarge):

group of alt-weekly cartoonists at SPX 2014

Clockwise from left: Derf, Shannon Wheeler, Tom Tomorrow, Charles Burns, Mimi Pond, Keith Knight, me, Ben Katchor, Lynda Barry, Jules Feiffer

Here’s a nice shot of Lynda Barry and me laughing at the fact that my phone started taking a million pictures of us. Next in the sequence is me holding out my hand and saying “STOP!” (not shown).

Lynda Barry and Jen Sorensen at SPX 2014

 



Cartoon Flashback: The Guide to E-holes

I apologize for being a little bit of an e-hole myself, not updating my site until today. I was in DC at the Small Press Expo this past weekend, and came down with a nasty cold toward the end despite my prodigious use of Purell. Still feeling under the weather, although I seem to be improving slightly. On the plus side, I had an incredible time getting to rub elbows with some cartooning legends as well as hang with longtime pals, and will try to post some photos here soon.

This cartoon is from five years ago — but the message about texting while driving bears repeating.



Phone Phunnies: What Would Make the iPhone 6 Really Cool




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Jen Sorensen is a nationally-syndicated political cartoonist whose work has appeared in The Progressive, The Nation, Daily Kos, Austin Chronicle, NPR, Ms., Politico, and many other publications. The recipient of the 2014 Herblock Prize and a 2013 Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award, she tweets at @JenSorensen.

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