The Week in Editorial Cartoons – The Oily Axis of Evil

(4PM EST – promoted by Nightprowlkitty)

Crossposted at Daily Kos

THE WEEK IN EDITORIAL CARTOONS

This weekly diary takes a look at the past week’s important news stories from the perspective of our leading editorial cartoonists (including a few foreign ones) with analysis and commentary added in by me.

When evaluating a cartoon, ask yourself these questions:

1. Does a cartoon add to my existing knowledge base and help crystallize my thinking about the issue depicted?

2. Does the cartoonist have any obvious biases that distort reality?

3. Is the cartoonist reflecting prevailing public opinion or trying to shape it?

The answers will help determine the effectiveness of the cartoonist’s message.

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Steve Sack

Steve Sack, Comics.com (Minneapolis Star-Tribune)

PLEASE READ THIS: For some reason, I wasn’t able to post all the editorial cartoons into the main text of my diary over at the GOS.  So, there are an additional 40 or so cartoons sprinkled all over the comments section at Daily Kos.  

Take at look at the DK comments if you can’t get enough of cartoons.  🙂

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INTRODUCTION    



Mark Streeter, Savannah Morning News, Buy this cartoon

Given the comical performances by heads of these three oil companies in hearings before Congress, I half expected George W. Bush to come out of the woodwork and label them as the new “axis of evil.” Granted it was only a dream but I would have expected Bush to say something like this

Corporations like these and their allies constitute an axis of

evil, aiming to threaten the prosperity of our country and, by extension, the world
. By soiling the environment, these companies pose a grave and growing danger.  They could set an example for terrorists, giving them the means to match their hatred.  They could attack our allies or attempt to blackmail the United States.  In any of these cases, the price of indifference would be catastrophic for the environment.

Of course, Bush never made that statement.  That’s why “some say” he was President of the United States from 2001-2009, a fact whose veracity cannot be confirmed at this point!  However, plenty of editorial cartoonists came (figuratively speaking) guns blazing after these corporations and painted their behavior in the most negative light possible.

Bob Englehart of the Hartford Courant summarized the oil executives’ appearance before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee and also examined their indifferent ways over the past few years.  In doing so, he didn’t pull any punches and laid the blame for this fiasco squarely at the oil industry-friendly policies of the Bush-Cheney Mal-administration



Bob Englehart, see reader comments in the Hartford Courant, Buy this cartoon

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Oh boy, here we go.  The finger-pointing has started.  BP says it’s the other guy’s fault and the other guy says they were just doing what BP wanted and, and, and.  Plenty of blame to go around.  What if British Petroleum can’t stop the oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico.  What if the thing just keeps going and going, leaking and leaking.  At what point does the gulf become the Desert of Mexico, the Dead Sea of Mexico, the Tar Pit of Mexico.

You know whose fault this really is, don’t you.  You know where I’m going to go with this.  You know the two jerks … well, one’s a jerk.  The other’s an idiot.  I’ve pointed the finger at these two, well, POINTED isn’t exactly the right word.  GIVEN is more accurate. You know who I’m talking about. Say it with me.  BUSH and CHENEY, the Frick and Frack of failure, the suck-up oil men and their corrupt team of sycophants, the Heroes of Haliburton.  They were in bed with the oil companies from the beginning and gave them everything they wanted, including and most important very little regulation.  I think we should make Bush and Cheney pay for part of the cleanup.  Maybe split it 50-50 with BP.

Let’s see now.  Let’s take a little inventory.  Bush and Cheney ruined the economy, the Gulf of Mexico, failed with Hurricane Katrina, got us into the wrong war, didn’t put resources into the right war … I’m exhausted already.  Let’s just say we’ll be paying for Bush and Cheney for a very, very long time.

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Don Wright

Don Wright, Comics.com (formerly of the Palm Beach Post)

Although many cartoonists are indeed pointing the finger at British Petroleum, Transocean, and Halliburton as the chief culprits in this ecological disaster, some are also focusing on our own self-destructive ways by not aggressively pursuing a long-term strategy of energy independence and transitioning to alternative fuels

Ed Stein

Speechless by Ed Stein, Comics.com (formerly with the Rocky Mountain News), see reader comments on Stein’s blog

By refusing to wean ourselves of fossil fuels, Stein wonders if we are doing more damage to ourselves than any terrorists possibly can.  Although initially unsure if he had expressed his inner thoughts in appropriate graphical fashion, he might have stumbled onto the truth

Okay, this one may be a reach.  I wanted somehow to relate two unrelated events with the idea that the eco-terror we inflict on ourselves is as dangerous (probably far more so, in fact) than anything terrorists can do to us.  I’ve looked at this cartoon about a dozen times in the last 12 hours, and six times I’ve thought it was brilliant and the other six really dumb.  What the heck.  It’s already drawn.  I might as well post it.

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Drew Sheneman

Drew Sheneman, Comics.com (Newark Star-Ledger)

In a show of solidaritywith their Latino fan base during the second round of the playoffs and with the team owner’s strong support, the NBA’s Phoenix Suns and point guard Steve Nash wore jerseys against the San Antonio Spurs that said “Los Suns” in a rebuke to the State of Arizona’s recently-passed anti-immigrant law.  Of course, the state’s winguts wore their own jerseys that said “Los Huns.”  Their fight song was “Where have you gone, Attila the Hun?” (try singing that song to the Simon and Garfunkel tune!)

Steve Benson

Steve Benson, Comics.com (Arizona Republic)

In this edition, you will also find a number of editorial cartoonists suggesting that the GOP has no compelling reason to block Elena Kagan’s nomination to the Supreme Court.  Many were somewhat skeptical if the Tory-Liberal Democrat alliance in the United Kingdom will hold together in the long run, given ideological differences between the two political parties.  

By the time I post another 20 or cartoons in the comments section, this diary will exceed over 100 cartoons.  Hope you enjoy them as much as I did.  Thanks.

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1. CARTOONS OF THE WEEK

Clay Bennett

Clay Bennett, Comics.com, see reader comments in the Chattanooga Times Free Press



John Darkow, Columbia Daily Tribune, Buy this cartoon

Bill Day

Bill Day, Comics.com (Memphis Commercial-Appeal)

Rob Rogers

Rob Rogers, Comics.com (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)



Dave Granlund, Politicalcartoons.com, Buy this cartoon

Jack Ohman

Jack Ohman, Comics.com (Portland Oregonian)

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2. The Oil Companies Get Skewered: Will Anything Constructive Happen?

MIke Thompson

Gulf Oil Spill by Mike Thompson, Comics. com, see reader comments in the Detroit Free Press

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Thompson reminds us that while we cannot control destructive acts of nature, surely we shouldn’t add to them.  Given the fragile nature of the eco-systems and connectivity between them, he urges us to understand the choice before us and one which is quite clear: adapt or suffer the consequences

There’s small comfort in knowing that the massive and still growing oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico isn’t the worst disaster to ever strike that region of the planet.  Just seventeen days before the Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded and sank, a group of 41 scientists published a consensus paper in Science journal, supporting the theory that dinosaurs were wiped out by a giant asteroid that crashed near Yucatan, Mexico 65 million years ago, according to BBC.com.  How massive was the prehistoric disaster? According to the Website, the meteor struck with a force one billion times greater than the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.  The impact crater left behind is centered almost smack dab on the current coastline of Yucatan and extends into the Gulf of Mexico.

While the current Gulf disaster is nowhere near as devastating and won’t lead to any mass extinction, it’s a reminder of just how fragile life is on our planet.  A few inches of topsoil and a thin layer of oxygen are all that separate this blue marble of ours from another Venus.  What happens in one region of our planet can easily impact the entire globe.  Which is why I find the lack of outrage over the oil spill to be so mind-boggling.  The impact of this current disaster will be felt for decades, if not centuries, and oil from the spill could potentially wash up on shores of Europe and Africa, killing plant and animal life across the globe.

There’s not much we can do about cataclysmic natural disasters — cataclysmic man-made disasters are another matter.

Marshall Ramsey

Marshall Ramsey, Comics.com (Clarion Ledger, Jackson, MS)



Frederick Deligne, Nice-Matin (Nice, France), Buy this cartoon



Jerry Holbert, Boston Herald, Buy this cartoon — FIND LINK!



RJ Matson, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Buy this cartoon



Matt Davies, Comics.com (New York Journal News)

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Davies is quite puzzled as to why there wasn’t a back-up emergency plan — as well as equipment — ready to be deployed the moment this tragedy occurred.  Given the technical know-how available in these companies, one can only conclude from his comments that it was simply a business decision where company profits were given priority over safety and saving lives in addition to lack of oversight from the relevant federal agencies

Is anyone as puzzled as me about the lack of a comprehensive, pre-emptive oil rig-spill emergency plan?  While the thick black stuff is gushing out of the well into the Gulf of Mexico, destroying vital fisheries and a beautiful, fragile ecosystem, BP is essentially MacGyvering the cleanup as it goes along.  Why is it that oil companies – or at least Halliburton – don’t have a handful of those hastily welded together giant metal “dome” things they just built to cap the well just lying around waiting for a spill to be contained?  After being preached to by the drill-baby-drill crowd (including President Obama) about how technological advances in offshore wells have eliminated the potential for mistakes, it seems odd that crude isn’t just the stuff they are trying to clean up and contain with untested chemical oil dispersants and strips of rubber tied together – It also describes those “technological advancements” in spill remediation.



Pat Bagley, Salt Lake Tribune, Buy this cartoon

Scott Stantis

Scott Stantis, Comics.com (Chicago Tribune)



Larry Wright, Detroit News, Buy this cartoon

Robert Ariail

Robert Ariail, Comics.com {formerly with The State, SC)

John Sherffius

John Sherffius, Comics.com (Boulder Daily Camera)

Bill Day

Bill Day, Comics.com (Memphis Commercial-Appeal)



J.D. Crowe, Mobile Register, Buy this cartoon

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While recognizing that it is potentially devastating for the economy of the region, Crowe has some fun at the expense of the hapless British Petroleum Company which has, as of yet, been unable to stop this massive spillage of crude oil all over the Gulf of Mexico

This is a ridiculous cartoon for a ridiculous situation.  It’s “laugh to keep from crying” time down here on the Gulf Coast.  It’s been, what, 24 days since the explosion? And the leak still hasn’t been plugged.  The latest reports say the leak could be spewing as much as 70,000 barrels of oil a day; a broken artery bleeding toxic goo into the environment, killing wildlife and further stunting the economy.

In an effort to help clean up the oil spill, hair booms are being deployed. That’s right.  Hair booms.  Regular booms haven’t been much help, so far. May as well use our heads.  Hair.  Volunteers from all over the country are filling pantyhose and stockings with human hair, wool and scraps of fiber, which will be dragged through the water to help soak up oil.

Enter the alpaca rescue effort.  Workers from a Pennsylvania alpaca farm are shearing the animals and donating the fibers to the stuff-a-stocking effort.

Had it been left to BP, like this image depicts, the hair woulda been collected by letting the animals wear the stockings for a few days. Hmmm.  Alpacas are kinda hot in fishnets and pumps.

(I didn’t say that. More of a sheep man, myself.)

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3. Elena Kagan: Making the Rounds on Capitol Hill



Bob Englehart, see reader comments in the Hartford Courant, Buy this cartoon

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Englehart states in no uncertain terms that he is no fan of Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and advocates not only nominating more women on the U.S. Supreme Court but is also open to the idea of another kind of diversity: having non-lawyers on the bench since there is no constitutional requirement that a justice must be a lawyer  

Mitch McConnell, well, everybody’s heard of him.  He’s a Republican from Kentucky, and what a Republican he is.  He’s gotten a perfect score from the American Conservative Union.  A perfect score.  Perfecto.  He’s the minority leader in the Senate, and rode into office on Ronald Reagan’s coattails, but McConnell would make Reagan look like a left-wing radical…

I like the direction Obama is taking with The Supremes.  No more judges, that’s a good start.  How about no more lawyers?  Couple more women.  Maybe a high school dropout, a stay-at-home mom, a couple garage mechanics, that sort of thing.  The only philosophy they’d have in common is that they would all be liberals, just to frost the Republicans’ pumpkins.  That’d be perfect.

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4. What are the Teabaggers, Wingnuts, and Republicans Up To?



Lloyd Dangle, Troubletown, Buy this cartoon

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The current issue of the New York Review of Books has a superb article on the state of mind of the Tea Party Movement.  I would highly recommend that you read the article in full to gain new insights into this strange and somewhat puzzling phenomenon

The Tea Party Jacobins

by Mark Lilla

A new strain of populism is metastasizing before our eyes, nourished by the same libertarian impulses that have unsettled American society for half a century now.  Anarchistic like the Sixties, selfish like the Eighties, contradicting neither, it is estranged, aimless, and as juvenile as our new century.  It appeals to petulant individuals convinced that they can do everything themselves if they are only left alone, and that others are conspiring to keep them from doing just that.  This is the one threat that will bring Americans into the streets.

Welcome to the politics of the libertarian mob.



Clay Bennett, Comics.com, see reader comments in the Chattanooga Times Free Press

Steve Benson

Steve Benson, Comics.com (Arizona Republic)



Stuart Carlson, wpcomics.washingtonpost.com (Universal Press Syndicate)



Jim Day, Las Vegas Review Journal, Buy this cartoon



Lalo Alcaraz, news.yahoo.com/comics (LA Weekly)

John Sherffius

John Sherffius, Comics.com (Boulder Daily Camera)

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5. President Obama’s Wall Street Reform and the Pennsylvania Senate Democratic Primary

MIke Thompson

Obama the Wall Street Reformer by Mike Thompson, Comics.com, see reader comments in the Detroit Free Press

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Thompson is not impressed by President Obama’s proposals to reform Wall Street and reign in its worst excesses.  Shady banking practices that led to the 2008 financial meltdown must be addressed directly to prevent a recurrence in the future.  Absent that, he insists, it would be difficult to characterize anything as “meaningful reform”

There’s nothing wrong with President Obama’s ideas for reforming Wall Street… if you overlook the fact that President Obama’s ideas for reforming Wall St. have nothing to do with reform.

On his blog, former Clinton Labor Secretary Robert Reich points out three critical reforms that Obama has failed to embrace: Forcing mega banks out of the derivatives business, ending too big to fail and requiring the Fed to publicly disclose its lending practices.

Any reform legislation that doesn’t contain these three important elements isn’t reform; it’s an open invitation for another Wall St. bubble, another Wall St. crash and another taxpayer-funded bailout.

Signe Wilkinson

Signe Wilkinson, comics.com (Philadelphia Daily News)



Jeff Danziger, news.yahoo.com/comics (New York Times Press Syndicate)

(click link to enlarge cartoon)

Paul Szep

Paul Szep, Comics.com (Huffington Post

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6. A Space Odyssey: Wall Street Held Hostage by Hal 9000 in 2010

Ed Stein

Open the Pod Bay Doors by Ed Stein, Comics.com (formerly with the Rocky Mountain News), see reader comments on Stein’s blog

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Being a sci-fi fan, Stein sees trading on Wall Street increasingly being controlled by sophisticated computers in this brilliant cartoon and had a flash back to the famous science fiction movie 2001: A Space Odyssey.  Directed by Stanley Kubrick, the 1968 movie featured HAL 9000 (Heuristically programmed ALgorithmic Computer), a fictional computer on the spaceship Discovery which malfunctions with deadly consequences

One of the basic sci-fi dystopian plots came true yesterday, as computer -generated trading apparently took control of the stock market and nearly crashed it.  More and more trading is done according to complex programs developed for highly sophisticated computers, which can analyze data and make trades faster than we poor, limited humans can.  The problem seems to be that the programs, under the kind of market stresses exhibited yesterday, can build a feedback loop that wildly exaggerates market swings.

Hopeless science fiction fan that I am, the whole thing reminded me of HAL, the insane computer in the iconic film, “2001.”  Thus, this cartoon.

Nick Anderson

Blowout by Nick Anderson, Comics.com, see reader comments in the Houston Chronicle

Signe Wilkinson

Signe Wilkinson, comics.com (Philadelphia Daily News)

Dan Wasserman

Dan Wasserman, Comics.com (Boston Globe)

MIke Thompson

R.I.P. Law and Order by Mike Thompson, Comics.com, see reader comments in the Detroit Free Press

Dana Summers

Dana Summers, Comics.com (Orlando Sentinel)

Drew Sheneman

Drew Sheneman, Comics.com (Newark Star-Ledger)

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7. Playboy Magazine in 3-D



Bruce Plante, see reader comments in Tulsa World, Buy this cartoon

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8. The Tory-Lib Dem Deal: A Marriage of Convenience

Steve Breen

Steve Breen, Comics.com (San Diego Union-Tribune)



Mike Luckovich, Comics.com (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)



Jeff Darcy, Cleveland Plain-Dealer, Buy this cartoon



John Trever, Albuquerque Journal, Buy this cartoon

:: ::

9. RIP Robin Roberts (1926-2010): Saying Goodbye to a Baseball Legend

Signe Wilkinson

Signe Wilkinson, comics.com (Philadelphia Daily News)

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Baseball Hall of Fame pitcher Robin Roberts, who pitched for the Philadelphia Phillies (1948-1961), Baltimore Orioles (1962-1965), Houston Astros (1965-1966), and Chicago Cubs (1966) passed away recently at the age of eighty three.  

I didn’t know much about him but I do recall former Orioles great Jim Palmer (now a television broadcaster) talk warmly and fondly about Roberts on more than one occasion.  Roberts served as a mentor and friend to Palmer during Palmer’s rookie season with the Baltimore Orioles in 1965.  

This is how major league baseball remembered the Phillies legend

For the second time in three days, baseball lost one of its foremost gentlemen.  Robin Roberts, as pleasant and gracious as any man in the game, died Thursday.  As readily associated with the Phillies as any player has been with any franchise, Roberts was 83 years old when he passed away in Florida due to natural causes.

The most accomplished right-handed pitcher in the history of the Phillies, Roberts was a Hall of Famer, card-carrying member of the 1950 “Whiz Kids” and an active force in the creation of the Major League Baseball Players Association.  Most of all he was an agreeable, genial man whose company was enjoyed by those who met him.

Drew Litton

Drew Litton, Comics.com, see reader comments and Litton’s blog entry on the new NASCAR Hall of Fame in North Carolina

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10. Final Thoughts

Were you (or your parents or grandparents) inspired by Betty White’s dazzling performance a week ago on Saturday Night Live?  The 88 year-old actress stole the show from the regular cast members and barring a couple of exceptions in 2008, attracted the show’s highest ratings in sixteen years.  

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Jeff Stahler

Jeff Stahler, Comics.com (Columbus Dispatch)

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A Note About the Diary Poll



Rob Rogers, Comics.com (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

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From time to time, we get a slew of meta diaries on Daily Kos that essentially are a reflection of how President Barack Obama’s performance is being perceived by different groups on this blog.  As it often cited, perception is indeed reality in politics.

The arguments go like this

  • One side asserts that President Obama was dealt a terrible hand by the departing Bush Administration in early 2009.  With the economy in (near) depression, two wars raging in Iraq and Afghanistan, healthcare costs spiraling out of control, and a host of other environmental, economic, and constitutional problems, he has done about as good a job as possibly could have been done by any President.  Progress, they insist, is going to be incremental given entrenched political and corporate interests, whose well-being is threatened by change. Moreover, given the large number of corporate campaign contributions, the United States Congress and not the President, is the real stumbling block to achieving long-desired liberal goals.
  • The opposing viewpoint is that the Obama Administration has never aggressively gone to bat for progressives and as an example, several policies are cited.  The Healthcare Reform bill that recently became law lacked the all-important Public Option to contain insurance premium costs.  Among other complaints, the GLBT community — which heavily supported Candidate Obama in the 2008 Election — has not as yet seen an end to the discriminatory Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (DADT) policy which prohibits gays from serving openly in the military.  Environmentalists are dissatisfied with slow progress of watered-down Climate Change legislation that fails to address urgent needs as well as long-term energy needs.  The unemployed and underemployed have seen very little change in their personal financial status even as roguish behavior is tolerated of Wall Street firms.  The Bush torture policies remain largely unchanged and the infamous Guantanomo Prison has yet to be closed.
  • In between these two dominant viewpoints are other positions taken by those who are neither surprised nor necessarily enthused by any actions taken by the Obama Administration.  Lacking motivation, some see a low turnout and possible disaster looming for the Democratic Party in the upcoming November Elections.

Undoubtedly there are several other more nuanced positions that are a variation of the ones I’ve described above.  What are your thoughts on how well President Obama has performed in his first sixteen months in office?

Don’t forget to take the diary poll.

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Lloyd Dangle, Troubletown, Buy this cartoon

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5 comments

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  1. Oil companies are quite good at gouging their customers for profit.  Now, birds too?  Shame on them.



    Larry Wright, Detroit News, Buy this cartoon

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    Clay Jones, Freelance-Star (Fredericksburg, VA), Buy this cartoon

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    Tips and the like here.  Thanks.  



  2. RJ Matson, Roll Call, Buy this cartoon

  3. Walt Handelsman

    Walt Handelsman, Comics.com (Newsday)

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