Saturday, September 17, 2011

EXCUSES. EXCUSES, EXCUSES...

Okay, so I fell over a watermelon June 29th, landed on my elbows, & jammed my right shoulder violently upward (see blog entry "Watermelons and Yellow Jackets.").

It's been hurting ever since--and the right is my dominant hand.  For a cartoonist, pretty devastating.

It hurts REALLY bad if I try to use my right hand for any length of time, as in, say, playing "Angry Birds" or drawing cartoons.

After shots in the joint and weeks of physical therapy, I still can't draw with my right hand (or play "Angry Birds) without significant pain.

My young whippersnapper of an orthopedic surgeon (who LOVES his job) says I have a tear in my rotator cuff, which is apparently a muscle you need to draw or play Angry Birds.  

He's gonna have to go in there, drag the muscle back into place, and suture it.  He says it's "easy."

I'll have surgery September 23, and won't even have to spend the night in the hospital.  But my arm will have to be immobilized for several weeks--after which--yep--MORE weeks of physical therapy.

The last cartoons I did for my blog with my right hand were Grover Norquist and Rick Perry as J.C. Calhoun.  

They both nearabout kilt me.
And drawing with my left hand takes DAYS.

So any new cartoons may have to wait for a month or two.

Meanwhile, maybe you'll enjoy the cartoon I did for Dr. John Heller and the surgical team at the Emory Spine Hospital after they spent nine and a half hours one day last January, fusing many of my lumbar vertebrae together.

They left so much hardware in my back that I'll never be able to board a plane again without the full body scan.

But they fixed my back so well that by the time of the watermelon incident, 6 months later, my spine scoffed at the jolt.  No pain there!

Anyway--that's why no good cartoons for a while.

But I'll be back!

 

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Again with Grover Norquist--because you just can't have enough Grover

Tonight, I was working on a rather complicated cartoon about the Supercommitteee, and listening to the President's Jobs speech.
When President Obama mentioned that "some of you have signed a pledge promising never, ever, to raise taxes for the rest of your lives..."
I thought of Grover.
So I put the Supercommittee cartoon aside for later, and reprised Grover Norquist.






I believe this Grover will be, as we say in the cartooning bidniss,  an "Evergreen."

Saturday, September 3, 2011

OBAMA'S SPEECH TO CONGRESS--A SUGGESTION

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Mr. Speaker, Mr. President, Members of Congress (except Joe Walsh), and my fellow Americans:

As many of you already know, our country is in a grave economic crisis tonight.  Jobs are disappearing, wages are low, our banking system is dysfunctional, and America's credit rating has been downgraded for the first time in our history. 

The great federal safety nets for the poor and elderly are under attack as never before.  Decent, affordable health care continues to elude the most vulnerable members of our society.

But these difficult problems are being made harder to solve by your inexplicably personal animosity towards me, which began with my 2008 election.  You won't admit this--even to yourselves--but since you let Rush Limbaugh do your talking (and much of your thinking) for you, he's made that pretty clear.

It was my health care reform plan, or, as you Republicans like to call it, "ObamaCare," which eventually formed the excuse you needed to summon an AstroTurf rebellion against "Big Government Spending" in 2010.  From this bogus boogeyman arose the "Tea Party"--a group of people whose horror of my occupation of the White House is one thing they all have in common.

That year, conservative Republicans captured a majority of seats in the House of Representatives--many of you defeating more moderate Republicans or long-serving Democrats.  You freshman class of the House, and some older-serving members, call yourselves Tea Party Republicans.

Another element of the 2010 election outcome is the large number of you who have signed the decades-old Grover Norquist anti-tax pledge.  You have thoughtlessly sworn with your signatures to oppose any and all tax measures, no matter how much sense they make or how badly revenues are needed. 

If Grover says it's a tax, it's a tax.
Because you could never be trusted to figure that out for yourselves.

The goal of this newly empowered group of Republicans is--as expressed by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell-- to deny me a second term as President.
And you are apparently ready & willing to cause major financial hardships to your own constituents to achieve that goal.

This became clear to me during the Debt Ceiling Debate, when I sought to work with you in a bipartisan way to solve the Deficit problem.  I accepted so many of your demands that I angered my own party.

Every time I have reached across the aisle, no matter how outrageously insane my offer seemed to me and to my party, I got my hand bitten.

So, you want me to be a one-term president?
Fine.  I'm a one-term president.

I'm a one-term president facing a legacy shaped largely by you. 
My legacy will be that I wanted to do good things, but that I was "too weak” to pass my own programs while you controlled the House and veto-proofed the Senate.

I will be blamed for the Bush Recession, and it won't matter that many of my earlier programs helped avoid a deeper Recession--or even a Depression. 
It won't matter that the short-lived Economic Stimulus was effective in slowing the crashing Economy.
It won't matter that I was not too "timid" to take over General Motors amidst almost universal criticism; or that, today, GM is once again standing on its own and has paid back the debt it owed to the treasury.
No one will remember that, until 2011, unemployment was on its way down.
It won't matter that "ObamaCare" will prove to have positive results.
It won't matter that I was not "too weak" or indecisive to give the order to take out Osama Bin Laden. 
It won't matter that I was not "dithering" when I gave the order to military snipers to kill Somali pirates who were holding an American ship's captain hostage. 
It won't matter that I was not "too professorial" to enlist the help of NATO to keep Libyan madman Moamar Khaddaffi from slaughtering civilians in his own country.
It won't matter that the same multi-national intervention seems to have led to Khaddaffi's retreat from Tripoli, and a brought new hope of self-government to the Libyan people. 

None of that will matter, because I will be remembered for "backing down," time and time again on domestic issues.  I will be remembered for naively trying to compromise with people who never had any intention of compromising in the first place. 

I was too blind to comprehend the monstrous truth, until it was too late--that you Republicans are actually willing to hurt your own constituents--just to keep me from getting reelected.

My bad.

So now, you have a one-term president; one with not much hope of a positive legacy.

But do you know what that is? 
That is a politician with nothing to lose, politically. 
If you didn't like me before this, you REALLY won't like me now that I have nothing to lose. 

From now until President Perry is elected, I will focus like a laser on what I, Barack Hussein Obama, think is best for the people of this country that you profess to love so much.

As it is obviously impossible for me to alienate Congress further, from now on, there will be no "discussions" or "meetings" in the White House at which your presence will be required. 

Furthermore--I will brook no personal disrespect from any one of you, public or private. I caution you strongly not to test me on this. 

I will compromise on absolutely nothing.

I have directed the Attorney General to investigate and begin drawing up indictments for the leaders of every financial institution that received TARP money and hasn't paid it back; for every executive on Wall Street and in the banking industry whose overreach got this Recession started; and for anyone else in that arena who is suspected of violating his or her fiduciary duty to the citizens of The United States of America.

Meanwhile, I am nationalizing the banking system--all of it--temporarily, just the way I did with GM.

I'll give it back after it's fixed.

CEO's and other executives of financial institutions who escape indictment by the Justice Department but whose companies have not repaid TARP monies lent to them by the US taxpayers will see their stratospheric personal compensations reduced drastically. They will lose their bonuses.

And don’t come whining to me about “Class Warfare!”  I’m just a repo man here

The millions of dollars collected from reducing the salaries of the overcompensated will be placed in an Infrastructure and education fund, to put people to work rebuilding roads, water mains, bridges, airports, and developing much-needed additional mass transit, among other projects.

Those who don't have the skills or the experience to work on such projects will benefit from the educational arm of the fund, which will partner with Community Tech Schools to see that these workers get the training they need.

Those members of Congress and the Governors of their states who have rejected federal funds for your states since my Presidency began will not be troubled by new offers of federal help.
I will leave it to you to explain to your constituents why their tax money is being used to create jobs elsewhere.

As for the rest of Congress, as I said, I am focusing like a laser on what I think is best for this country.

Therefore, I will personally go over every request for every project or earmark in your own state or district.

Those I deem worthy and in the public interest, I will promptly approve and recommend for funding.  These will be listed

Those which are obvious favors to big campaign donors, but are still worthy and in the public interest, I will put on another list.

Those that are expensive, frivolous boondoggle favors for big campaign donors, I will place on a third list.

The three lists will be posted online and copies emailed to newspapers in your states.  You will be given either: the praise and credit for serving your constituents well; or you will suffer the embarrassment of helping your constituents and yourself at the same time; or you will be humiliated by the exposure of your greed, and your constituents will make up their own minds what they want to do with you.

Then, I will send the lists of your requests to the House, where they will no doubt be tucked, as usual, into some larger bill for passage.

I have enjoyed these three years as your president, and I look forward to our remaining year together.  I think this will be fun.

Thank you,

God bless you, and God bless the United States of America.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

So, How Do You Know When Your Blog Misses One Mark and Hits Too Many Others?

When you have to explain it to a Danish friend?
Nope.
When you have to explain it to your HUSBAND!
(AND, when the explanation is longer than the original blog...)

I previously set out to write a "book report" on Rick Perry's book, FED UP!

I even drew a picture of Perry as John C.Calhoun, which further confused everyone.

So, here's my explanation to Leif, my Danish friend, of the offending blog. I hope it will enlighten some of my other flummoxed readers as well.

Great Dane--

I drew Texas Governor Rick Perry, who is running for President, as John C. Calhoun, the South Carolina senator who led SC to be the first state to secede from the Union in 1861, igniting the Civil War. (And we all know how well THAT turned out for South Carolina!)

The reason Calhoun gave for his actions was "state's rights"--by which he meant the right of any state to declare any Federal Law null and void.
The U S Senate voted against that notion, because the U S Constitution gives the states power only over property and interstate commerce, among other seemingly piddly things.

Calhoun then opined that states could therefore ignore Federal orders regarding slavery because slaves were "property" and that the institution of slavery could not be legally weakened by any Federal law. And--by the way--states also had the right to "secede" from the Union if they felt that their "rights" (in this case, the right to hold slaves), were violated.

So--Rick Perry, the Texas Governor, has written that he thinks the Federal Government sticks its nose into the business of the states way too much. Many states, including South Carolina, agree, and are happy to reject Federal funds for education and Health Care because, as they say, there are "too many strings attached.".

They don't wish to comply with such Federal regulations as: teaching Evolution in the schools; refraining from prayer in public settings (separation of church & state--1st Ammendment to the Constitution, first article of the Bill of Rights); mandating that states regulate the pollution they produce; insisting that all industries comply with workplace safety regulations; and the administration of health care and other federal programs the way that the US Government believes they should be administered.

So, even though the taxpayers of all the states contribute to the funds offered by the government, the ultraconservative leaders of South Carolina and other states proudly reject the money anyway.

Rick Perry's book (about which the blog was written), places a great deal of importance on the notion of states' rights. He bases his argument on the Tenth Ammendment to the Constitution, which stipulates that any powers not specifically granted to the United States, nor prohibited to the states by the Constitution, belong to the states.

I am comparing Rick Perry--and have drawn him--as S C's John C. Calhoun for that reason. His disdain for the very Federal Government he is running to lead makes him imminently unfit to hold the office he seeks.
I probably bit off more than I could chew with all that. I need to keep these blogs simpler.
Even Jim said it was too long...
Again, here's Rick Perry as J.C. Calhoun..the last drawing I 'll do with my right hand for a long, long time...



WATERMELONS AND YELLOW JACKETS

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Or
Why I Have to Learn to Draw with My Left Hand…


This is sort of the way the whole thing played out …on June 29, right after we got back from Edisto Beach, my daughter, son-in-law, and granddaughter came to supper.

During their visit, I was carrying the tray to the baby’s high chair to the sink to wash it off--and suddenly, I was flat on my face on the floor, with my right shoulder in a lot of pain!

"WTF???" I yelled, only I didn't use the acronym.

I had fallen over a watermelon that somebody I normally love but who gets more like his daddy every day had left smack dab in the traffic pattern of our kitchen.  I landed hard on my knees and elbows.  

My right shoulder must have gotten jammed in its socket, because that was—and is--where the pain lodged.

I couldn't use my right hand on my computer drawing tablet, among other things.

My hand is fine--but moving it really hurts my shoulder.

Jim took me to the doctor the next morning instead of playing golf, which was only fair.  My doctor x-rayed it and said she didn't see any broken bones, but was not ruling out tendon damage.  At best, it was a bad strain, she said.

After the accident, Jim had blamed the watermelon, and smashed it against the deck rail and tossed it into the back yard, where it fermented in the sun for a few days.  

Then, a day or two later, he was futzing around in the yard—and a swarm of drunken, belligerent yellow jackets who had spent too much time on the watermelon attacked him!  

15 stings.  We had to wash Jim down and apply Afterbite, Benedryl gel, and Benydril by mouth.
He couldn't sleep for the itching that night.

 I figured Justice was served, and he agreed.

Anyway—back to me--my arm kept hurting, so I went to an orthopedic surgeon.
I’ve seen him before, and I wanted his opinion on the shoulder situation. 

I trust him because his mama is a friend of mine, and when he was a kid, she used to help him collect road kill and other dead forest animals to boil the flesh off of, so he could study the bones.  I take that as a sign of dedication.  I’m pretty confident that he knows how bones are supposed to fit together.

He sent me to Physical Therapy.

I’ve been going to Physical Therapy for this shoulder for weeks now, and although it’s gotten stronger, the pain hasn’t gone away.  It still really hurts when I use my right hand to draw on the computer, like for my blog.
 
My surgeon friend has prescribed an MRI, since I’m still having pain, to see if there’s a rotator cuff tear.  If there is, depending on how bad it is, he may have to operate--after which my arm will be immobilized for a month or two.

I really don’t want to stop doing the blog, but it hurts too much to draw—so I have decided to try to learn to draw with my left hand. 

My first attempt to draw Presidential candidate Mitt Romney is, well, not up to my standards.  I may have to try to do a “cartoony-er” style to accommodate the spastic actions of my left hand…

So the art you will see here for the next few months will be part of a learning process. 

I hope yall will bear with me as I try to learn this thing….

Kate