Archive for September, 2007

September 29, 2007

Cartoon for September 29

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September 29, 2007

Congrats, Mikhaela

Masheka and Mikhaela have a certain poetry when you say the words together. I hope you and he have a long life together.

With Love, Susan 🙂

September 28, 2007

Cartoonists With Attitude in Boston/Cambridge area tonight 9/28!
Posted by Mikhaela Reid

If you’re not lucky enough to be at Stumptown in Portland this weekend with Ted and most of the Cartoonists With Attitude, a few of us (as in two: Mikhaela Reid and Masheka Wood) are doing a cartoon slideshow and book signing in Boston (CWAer Brian McFadden will be attending):

  • What: Slideshow/signing/discussion for Attack of the 50-Foot Mikhaela!: Cartoons by Mikhaela Reid w/ a foreword by Ted Rall and Deep Doodle: Cartoons by Masheka Wood!
  • When: Friday Sept. 28, 7 p.m.
  • Where: Center for New Words, 7 Temple Street, Cambridge, Mass.

“Mikhaela Reid’s cartoons are right *$%@ing on.”

— Alison Bechdel, author of Fun Home

“Masheka Wood has powers way beyond mortal cartoonists. Get on his bandwagon now before there’s no room left!”

— Keith Knight, creator of The K Chronicles and th(ink)

Bushies are bum-rushing Cheney’s secret bunker! “Ex-gays” are quaking in their closets! Abstinence educators are shivering in their shiny silver purity rings! Greedy CEOs are heading for the hills! Brooklyn-based cartoonists Mikhaela Reid and Masheka Wood are on a rampage—and no hypocrite is safe! Slideshow, discussion & signing.

September 27, 2007

Reverend Rall
Posted by Mikhaela Reid

Masheka and Mikhaela exchanging rings...

You may know Ted Rall as a cartoonist, columnist, editor, graphic novelist, radio host and/or Central Asia expert. But he’s had quite a few other odd jobs over the years, as he chronicled in one of my favorite sections of Revenge of the Latch-Key Kids: stock trader, investment banker, taxi driver…

And now, wedding officiant! On Sunday, Sept. 2, in Lowell Massachusetts (birthplace of the American Industrial Revolution and American labor movement!), Ted officiated my wedding to fellow Cartoonist With Attitude Masheka Wood. Note the official cartoonist wedding Hello Kitty binder. For the most part, Ted played it straight and serious (and sweet!), but his introductory remarks were classic Rall:

When Masheka met Mikhaela, the rivers ran red with blood. Swarms of locusts filled the skies. The dead walked among us….no, wait. That was when I officiated at George W. and Laura Bush’s wedding.

His remarks were a big hit with the friends and family–all agreed it was the best wedding officiant speech they’d ever heard.

This was not the first case of an editorial cartoonist performing a marriage of other cartoonists–Cindy Procious and Clay Bennett (both of whom were in attendance at my wedding!) were married by fellow cartoonist Dennis Draughton.

P.S. No, Ted is not an ordained anything or a judge or a sea captain. An obscure Massachusetts law allows a friend or family member to perform a single wedding with permission from the governor—good thing Mitt Romney was no longer in office when I sent in the application!

September 27, 2007

Cartoon for September 27

Thousands of people marched through Jena, Louisiana to protest the prosecution of six black high school students–jocks, members of the football team–who repeatedly kicked the head of a white student after one of them had already knocked him unconscious.

We’ve come a long way from Rosa Parks.

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September 27, 2007

Stumptown Comics Festival, Portland

I’ll be in Portland this coming weekend, attending the 4th Annual Stumptown Comics Fest. It promises to be a cool event, old enough to have become organized, new enough to be fresh and exciting. I’ll be sitting at the Cartoonists with Attitude table with Stephanie McMillan, who draws the viciously subversive comic strip “Minimum Security”.” There will be a CWA panel and slideshow with other “Attitude” cartoonists, including Matt Bors, Ben Smith, Barry Deutsch, Stephanie McMillan, and Shannon Wheeler at 11 am Saturday. I’ll do my own dog and pony show, solo, at 12 noon Sunday.

I did a special cartoon for Stumpton for the local Portland Mercury alternative weekly newspaper.

September 26, 2007

Downscaling MLK’s Dream: Response

posted by Susan Stark

Jesse Jackson and Reverend Al can go down to Louisiana to march for 6 kids, but for some reason they can’t go down to Louisiana and lead a massive march with the residents of the Lower Ninth Ward to get their land back.

Yet white liberals treat these “photo-op” black so-called leaders as if they were channelling Martin Luther King’s spirit directly.

September 26, 2007

COLUMN: Jena 6, or Downscaling MLK’s Dream

Here’s this week’s column.

White policemen patrol black neighborhoods, less as guardians of public safety than troops subduing occupied territory. They hassle young black men, subjecting them to “random” searches. Sometimes–too often–they shoot them. All-white juries acquit them, validating tall tales of squirt guns and wallets and shadows that look like guns.

Our prisons look like America–the part of America that’s downtown and predominantly African-American. Being born black means you’ll probably attend substandard, poorly funded schools, that you’ll earn less than if you’d been born another race. You’ll get sick more often and die sooner. Why aren’t these life-shattering, soul-crushing injustices, rather than the overzealous prosecution of the schoolyard thugs known as the “Jena 6,” attracting thousands of marchers?

I used to live on a street next to a strip of park created to separate my neighborhood–which was white–from Harlem. On my side of the park the New York ritual called “alternate side of the street parking” required motorists to move their cars daily. This cleared the way for street sweepers and garbage pickup. It was clean and safe. My morning walk down the park’s stairs to the subway illustrated the nature of systemic racism.

Each step was crumblier, more trash-strewn. On the east side of the park, where every face was brown, the garbagemen came once a week. Bags of refuse broke open, their contents whipped around in those little wind vortexes that spring up in urban spaces. When the light in a lamppost blew out on the Harlem side, it stayed out for months. Many of the buildings had been abandoned.

African-Americans live lives whose despair is amplified by petty nonsense. At our post office, the clerk always demanded that my black roommate show an ID to pick up his packages. She never asked me. (Racism is complicated. She was black.) Boutiques on Madison Avenue buzzed me in wearing ripped jeans and a Dead Kennedys T-shirt; they ignored him in a suit and tie. I’m not surprised that blacks are pissed off. The shock is that they haven’t burned down the whole country.

The Jena 6 hype is bizarre, while countless innocent African-American men rot in prison–some on death row–unjustly convicted because they couldn’t afford decent lawyers.

According to a website set up for their legal defense fund, “The Jena Six are a group of black students who are being charged with attempted murder for beating up a white student who was taunting them with racial slurs, and continued to support other white students who hung three nooses from the high school’s ‘white tree’ which sits in the front yard.” (The charges have since been reduced to aggravated assault.) The implication is obvious: “hate speech” justifies physical assault.

Justin Barker, 17, was beaten unconscious and then kicked repeatedly. A sturdy sort, he spent three hours in the emergency room before attending the school’s Ring Ceremony later the same day. The accused, members of the school football team, claim that Barker had made fun of one of them for having himself been beaten up by a group of white students at an earlier event, one of a string of racially-charged incidents in the small town. Barker denies it.

“Young white males involved in the racial incidents received slaps on the wrist, at most, while young blacks received school expulsions or criminal charges,” wrote Clarence Page in The Chicago Tribune. One of the Jena 6 remains in jail despite having had his conviction overturned. That’s wrong. But, said Justice Department attorney Donald Washington, “There was no connection between the September noose incident and December attack [on Barker].” Furthermore, reports the Associated Press, “the three youths accused of hanging the nooses were not suspended for just three days–they were isolated at an alternative school for about a month, and then given an in-school suspension for two weeks.”

“They haven’t always been fair in the courthouse with us. If you’re black, they go overboard sometimes,” says Jena High School janitor Braxton Hatcher, 62, who is black. That’s easy to believe. Then he repeats the standard talking point: “I think this was just a fight between boys. I don’t think it was attempted murder.”

Six against one isn’t a schoolyard fight. I’ve been in more than my fair share of schoolyard fights, so I know. Fights are one on one. Six on one is attempted murder. Kicking someone after they’ve passed out is attempted murder. Nothing Barker said, no matter how foul, can justify such a vicious assault by bullying jocks. This is the stuff of Columbine.

Symbolic hate speech, even as vile as nooses in the context of the recent history of the Deep South, pales next to actual physical violence. The real problem is that there’s a perception that attempted murder charges wouldn’t have been filed had the races of the students involved in the Barker beatdown been reversed.

Indeed, the Urban League finds that the average black man convicted of aggravated assault–the charge pending against five of the Jena 6–faces 48 months in prison if convicted, a term about one-third longer than if he’d been white. And the Justice Department says black men who get arrested are three times more likely than whites to end up in prison.

What white apologists call the legacy of racism–does a continuing phenomenon leave a legacy?–wrecks the lives of millions of Americans. Consider the following:

“Statistically,” reports The Los Angeles Times, “black males in America are at increased risk for just about every health problem known. African Americans have a shorter life expectancy than any other racial group in America except Native Americans, and black men fare even worse than black women…It is possible, [researchers now] believe, that the ill health and premature deaths can be laid–at least in part–at the feet of continuous assaults of discrimination, real or perceived…The reaction contributes to a chain of biological events known as the stress response, which can put people at higher risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes and infectious disease, says Namdi Barnes, a [UCLA] researcher…for many African Americans, these responses may occur so frequently that they eventually result in a breakdown of the physiological system.”

In short, racism kills.

As one wag observed, the Jena 6 are no Rosa Parks. In the face of the intractable challenge of a nation so racist that it literally makes people ill, however, what passes for a civil rights movement finds that it’s easier to set its sights low.

(C) 2007 Ted Rall, All Rights Reserved.

September 24, 2007

Cartoon for September 24

Wealthy liberals are often accused as hypocrisy. Conflating liberalism with socialism, conservatives seem to believe that rich libs don’t have integrity unless they redistribute their own personal wealth evenly across the world’s population.

So I did a comic showing what would happen if the world’s wealthiest man did exactly that.

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September 22, 2007

Cartoon for September 22

Americans don’t know Anbar from Alabama. How out of touch must DC insiders be to keep yammering on about it?

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