The Sorensen Monologues

Ferguson Cops vs. Bankers

A pre-emptive alert for the satire-challenged: this strip is obviously not endorsing violence against bankers. It IS saying that many in the financial world are real thugs who are never treated the way police often treat black citizens in Ferguson and many other places. The devastation caused by white-collar criminals — the loss of so many people’s homes and life savings, leading to broken families, poor health, depression, and suicide, has caused suffering on an immense scale. Yet bankers have to try very, very hard to get themselves arrested, and even then they usually aren’t successful.

With this cartoon, I am also trying to show just how annoying and unreasonable Ferguson cops must seem to people who live there.



It’s the Excessive Force, Stupid

I will almost certainly vote for whoever the Democratic candidate is in the next presidential election because I like having health insurance, and there’s that Supreme Court thing — but I think there might be a better, and more electable, candidate out there. Hillary’s recent comments on foreign policy reinforce her neocon credentials at a time when nothing has been more discredited than neocondom. Let’s not get too attached — or should I say resigned — to her too soon. We need to consider other people for this all-important job.

 



Getting Burned

A couple articles that informed this strip: this column by Timothy Egan, and this Alternet article summarizing Republican obstruction on the issue.



Quiz Time: First Amendment



Sincerely Screwed

This comic is based on something I read on Daily Kos about the Longmont fracking ban ruling. The phrase “sincerely held beliefs” caught my eye, since that’s been in the news a lot lately, thanks to the Hobby Lobby ruling. While the judge in the fracking case cited a conflict between the local ban and state law and opened the door to further appeals, it seems like Longmont’s concerns about the health effects of fracking go beyond mere “beliefs.” You’d think such concerns might be accorded more gravitas than Hobby Lobby’s pre-Enlightenment worldview, if a corporate charter can indeed be said to have a cosmology. It is frightening how little power communities seem to have to decide very basic public safety issues when they come up against energy interests.

On an unrelated note, Hobby Lobby really needs a better logo. The Lord hath created an abundance of attractive fonts. Go forth and use one!



1-800-GOON-SQUAD



Big Box o’ Poverty



Weed War: Superweeds vs. Super-herbicides

Dow Chemical wants to put out a new herbicide called Enlist Duo to combat so-called “superweeds” that have grown resistant to Roundup and are now spreading like… weeds. It’s an absurd arms race (farms race?) against nature, which the Union of Concerned Scientists, among others, has been warning about for years.

Meanwhile, an enormous pro-industry propaganda arm muddies the debate with pseudo-scientific websites like the “Genetic Literacy Project” (part of the right-wing STATS organization) to fool clueless journalists. It’s 1984-level disinformation trying to ensure that chemical companies can do whatever they want.

Farm workers are already exposed to ridiculous levels of toxic stuff, with predictable results, which rarely gets discussed in these debates. Hence panel three.



A Salute to the Great Etta Hulme

Etta Hulme self-portrait from the Star-TelegramPioneering editorial cartoonist Etta Hulme, who worked for the Ft. Worth Star-Telegram for decades, passed away recently at the age of 90. She drew cartoons well into her eighties, retiring in 2008. Hulme was, at times in her career, the only female political cartoonist working professionally in the entire country. She was a great artist and a political iconoclast in Texas, in the Molly Ivins and Ann Richards mold.

It’s puzzling to me how this amazing woman flew under the radar of the powers-that-be for her entire life. She never won a Pulitzer, despite her high-caliber talent that, in my opinion, exceeded that of many Pulitzer winners. Her Wikipedia entry is only a few lines long. Apparently she didn’t merit a New York Times obituary — unlike many obscure businesspeople, authors, and filmmakers who populate that section. But you can read remembrances of her on the Washington Post’s Comic Riffs, which interviewed several cartoonists, including me. The Star-Telegram has more.



Buffer Buffoonery

You can see a graphic comparing the 35-foot clinic buffer zone with the Supreme Court’s luxurious 252-foot buffer zone here.

I’ve been to a couple national political conventions now where the “free speech zones” can hardly even be found by convention-goers. This has always struck me as questionable. And yet the slender measure of security afforded to visitors of Massachusetts’s abortion clinics, which have been subjected to horrific violence in the past, is unconstitutional? Seems like the justices are playing legal Calvinball here.

More recommended reading on McCullen v. Coakley: this piece and this other piece by Dahlia Lithwick on Slate. A key quote:

the First Amendment shouldn’t be a Trojan horse that swallows every other right that we cherish. I think the First Amendment and I need to see other people for a few days.

And yes, things have only gotten worse in the 24 hours since I drew this cartoon.



CD cover art: Relache “Comix Trips”

CD cover art for Relache's "Comix Trips"

Belatedly sharing this CD cover project for classical label Meyer Media. Relâche is collective of musicians in Philadelphia that has been performing avant-garde “Downtown meets Dada” compositions since 1979. I was honored to be asked to illustrate the cover of their latest album, “Comix Trips.” It’s a good album, too! Really quirky, fun, modern compositions that cartoon fans would appreciate.

 




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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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