The Sorensen Monologues

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Archive for 2012

This week’s cartoon: Handy Candidate Comparison Chart

I find that people who spew the platitude that “the candidates are the same” tend to be the ones who have the least to lose if the wrong candidate is elected. At risk of sounding melodramatic, these elections truly are a matter of life and death. If you end the Affordable Care Act and millions of Americans lose their health insurance, people will die as a result. A recent estimate puts the number at 26,000 deaths per year due to lack of insurance; that’s more than a few September 11ths. Then there’s the Global Gag Rule, which Romney would reinstate. It rarely gets mentioned, but this policy wreaks havoc on women in impoverished nations. Romney would also end contributions to the U.N. Population Fund, which combats the spread of HIV and prevents 22,000 deaths annually.

These are but a few examples. Turning Medicare into a voucher program, radicalizing the Supreme Court for a generation, and displaying an open hostility toward science probably won’t help things either. Obama isn’t perfect, but as far as I’m concerned, voting is a moral arithmetic problem with a clear answer.


This Week’s Cartoon: King of Zing

Once again, my weekly cartoon deadline fell before the debate, which I thought Obama won handily. Romney seemed Nixonesque — sweaty, uncomfortable, and oleaginous-haired. But really, this whole process of declaring winners based on zingers and memes leaves me with the feeling that the debates are, well, dumb.


National Women’s Law Center Poster: Do Your Duty!

Here’s the second installment of my vintage poster series for the National Women’s Law Center. You can get a printer-friendly PDF here.

If you’re feeling social, you can share it on Facebook here.


This Week’s Cartoon: “Lunchtime Liaisons”

October being Anti-Bullying Month, this comic is about a program created by the Southern Poverty Law Center called “Mix It Up at Lunch Day.” The American Family Association objects to the program on the grounds that — according to them — it’s actually about promoting the “homosexual lifestyle” in public schools. Sometimes these people make it easy for me.


WWII Poster Project

I wanted to share a cool project I’ve been working on. The National Women’s Law Center has commissioned me to create a series of posters as part of their voter education drive. I’ve had fun learning a thing or two about vintage poster design.

World War II style retro vintage poster for National Women's Law Center

You can share it on Facebook here.

And you can get a free printable version here.


This Week’s Cartoon: Mr. Obama’s Wild Ride

I had a hard time sitting through that debate last week. Rising above the fray through aloof non-engagement does not work when you’re being pelted with dung on live national television. It took me back to the frustrating days of not so long ago, when an overabundance of caution and unwillingness to use the bully pulpit proved disastrous. I thought the stronger rhetoric of the campaign season meant that somebody had finally learned that lesson, but apparently not.


This Week’s Cartoon: The Universal Laws of Ladies in Science

Inside Higher Ed has more on the Yale study:

Female scientists were as likely as male scientists to evaluate the students this way. For instance, the scientists were asked to rate the students’ competence on a 5-point scale. Male faculty rated the male student 4.01 and the female student 3.33. Female scientists rated the male student 4.10 and the female student 3.32.

Even I still catch myself thinking of a stereotypical doctor as a guy with a stethoscope, despite the fact that I’ve had female doctors for my entire adult life. It’s harder to get rid of these biases than we think.

The statistic about the decline of women studying computer science is taken from this NY Times op-ed by Stephanie Coontz.


This Week’s Cartoon: “The Aristocratic Old Grandpa State”

I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of hearing smug Republicans toot their success horns while nagging the rest of us to work harder.

It takes a lot of chutzpah to oppose anything that might help American workers get ahead — unions, a robust safety net, minimum wage hikes — and then blame those workers for not earning enough money to pay federal income taxes (never mind all the other taxes they do pay). You can’t have it both ways! You can’t upend people’s lives through corporate takeovers and then call the downsized “irresponsible.” You can’t sow market chaos through deregulation and scoff at the small business owner who can’t survive the downturn. The disconnect is astounding. But such is the power of ideology.


Last Week’s Cartoon: Real-Life Scenes From the DNC

I’ve been on the road for most of September, so I neglected to post this strip from last week. You can read my DNC postmortem on the Austin Chronicle.

I’m in the process of redesigning my site, which will hopefully mean more regular updates in the future. With the current design, I have to edit the HTML manually, which is a real pain while traveling.


This Week’s Cartoon: All the President’s Men

No, this one isn’t about Romney’s video fubars. But I think it makes an important point that is ignored by most media and many voters. Viewing the election as a contest between two people named Obama and Romney is a simplistic approach at best, no matter how delightful Mitt’s personality tics and one-percenter utterances may be. A vote for “Romney” is a vote for sad sack Bush-Cheney neocons seeking a new lease on life, a vote for the Heritage Foundation, a vote for more Scalias, Alitos, and Thomases. Romney’s “character” — if it can be said he has one — has little to do with any of this; people should be talking instead about the cast of characters he’d bring to the White House.

Same goes for Obama: his extended network includes Planned Parenthood, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, more Sotomayors and Kagans, and countless invisible players behind the scenes. I’m not saying every last one of them is perfect, but when you look at the groups as a whole, the difference is stark. Harder to fit on a bumper sticker maybe, but these are the candidates you’re really voting for.


Follow me at the DNC

I’m in Charlotte, where I’ve begun my dual-pronged coverage of the Democratic National Convention for C-VILLE Weekly and the Austin Chronicle. Here are the links for following along:

http://www.austinchronicle.com/authors/jen-sorensen/

http://www.c-ville.com/author/jensorensen/

If you’re in a city other than Austin or Charlottesville, pick one; posts will be more or less the same. I’m hoping to integrate my tweets and photos before too long. Go ahead, leave a comment on either site!


This Week’s Cartoon: Free Speech for Cigarettes

Hmm… so according to this 2-1 appeals court ruling, speech added to cigarette packaging limits speech. I guess the “individual liberties” of li’l old corporate persons like RJ Reynolds outweigh a democratically-elected government’s right to add a message on behalf of the public interest. Never mind that we’re talking about the packaging of a deadly commercial product with a history of being marketed to kids. Actually showing a kid being harmed on the package would interfere with whatever those Marlboros are trying to express.

Via Raw Story:

In a dissent, Judge Judith Rogers said that the regulation ordering the label “does not restrict the information conveyed to consumers, but requires additional information to be conveyed with the aid of graphic images.”

Rogers, who was appointed by former president Bill Clinton, said that tobacco companies had engaged in “decades of deception” over health risks and had no legal basis to complain about “emotional reactions” to graphic warnings.

You may recall that Judge Janice Rogers Brown, the author of the majority opinion, was one of the radical George W. Bush appointees whom the Dems tried to filibuster, until the Gang of 14 came along and opened the floodgates of nutballery. She’s an extreme libertarian who invokes Ayn Rand in speeches to the Federalist Society, and calls government a “leviathan” prone to “crushing everything in its path.” You know the type. She and Paul Ryan would make great drinking buddies.

I’ve been surprised by the number of commenters on Daily Kos who say “Oh, the labeling won’t work anyway.” To which I responded:

I think some of the labels would work, such as the one shown in the cartoon, saying “Tobacco smoke can harm your children.” Some people have no regard for their own bodies, but they care about their kids, and could use the reminder to smoke away from them.

If the warnings have no effect, then why are companies fighting them so vigorously? Why does Judge Brown say the labels are against the business interest of the companies if, as she also says, there’s “not one shred of evidence” that they work?


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Jen Sorensen is a nationally-published political cartoonist. She is a 2017 Pulitzer finalist and recipient of the 2014 Herblock Prize and a 2013 Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award.

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