The Sorensen Monologues

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Archive for October, 2013

The Market Liberation Army in “Freedom Fowl”

I had recently purchased a bunch of organic Foster Farms chicken from Costco when I read this Mark Bittman column about the problems with the antibiotic-resistant, possibly heat-resistant Heidelberg strain of salmonella. Suffice it to say, the chicken wound up in the garbage, even though I hate throwing away food. See also this follow-up blog post.


Don’t let the healthcare glitches get you down

Thinking further about the bugs on Healthcare.gov, it occurred to me that I’ve *never* been able to apply for health insurance online. Perhaps things have changed since the last time I applied — which was only a couple years ago — but I’ve always had to fill out pages and pages of forms. It was excruciating, and often took upwards of a week with all the researching of my own medical history. Yes, it would have been nice if the website rollout hadn’t been fubared, but I’ll probably be able to sign up next month with the help of a navigator. I’m dreading this process much less than I did in the past.

We’d do well to remember William Kristol’s famous 1993 memo: “[A government health care program] will revive the reputation of the party that spends and regulates, the Democrats, as the generous protector of middle-class interests. And it will at the same time strike a punishing blow against Republican claims to defend the middle class by restraining government.” Despite the glitches, conservatives remain afraid of Obamacare.


Anti-abortion group fundraising off ACLU comic

This is kind of amusing. Americans United for Life, who were mentioned in my comic for the ACLU about the new anti-choice laws sweeping the nation, sent out a fundraising email to their supporters in response to the comic. The complete text:

 

Subject: Charmaine Attacked by ACLU

 

Dear Friends and Supporters,

Yesterday I received a phone call from our media team to tell me that the ACLU had targeted AUL. . . in a cartoon!

aclu-screenshot-1

I have to admit, I was taken aback. It’s a clear caricature of AUL’s President and CEO, Dr. Charmaine Yoest, mocking our efforts to defend women and unborn children.

 

Of course, personal attacks against your AUL team are nothing new. We’ve had radical bloggers post our home addresses online; family members have received hand-written threat letters in mailboxes; and just last week someone infiltrated the post office and attempted to redirect our mail in an effort slow us down.

 

At AUL, we know we will face personal risk, and we accept it knowing that saving lives and protecting women is well worth it. The more successful we are, the more virulent our opponents become.

 

But, the ACLU’s attack is particularly concerning. No longer are we facing threats from radical lone-ranger pro-aborts, but bullying from the ACLU, a well-funded nationally-known organization of attorneys. The ACLU even enlisted the help of well-known comic artist Jen Sorensen to create the cartoon.

 

The ACLU has reached a new low in professionalism by childishly mocking the individuals who make up your AUL team merely because we are effective in advancing a cause we believe in.

 

The sacrifice and dedication of our team to Life is no laughing matter. And this juvenile attack by the ACLU only serves to increase our dedication to continue fighting for Life.

 

If you would like to show your AUL team special support in light of these events, any donation you can make today is appreciated. Thank you for standing with us as we face these attacks.

***

“Radical lone-ranger pro-aborts”?! That’s one I haven’t heard before. I’m also pretty sure this is the first time I’ve ever been accused of bullying. If anything, I tried to draw Charmaine Yoest, AUL’s president, in a straightforward manner so as to present the group’s self-stated agenda as plainly as possible.

I realize fundraising emails tend to be hyperbolic, and I don’t bear AUL any particular ill will. At least they referred to me as “a well-known comic artist.” But I do find it interesting that instead of responding to the points I actually made in the cartoon, they simply resort to pejoratives like “juvenile” and “childish.” Yoest also dismissed my “cartoonish images” in a statement to the  Washington Times, which wrote an entire article about the comic. A political cartoonist drawing cartoonish images? Well, I never!


Side project: Illustrations for Book of Jezebel

perm-jezebelOne thing I’ve been working on in addition to my political cartoons is a bunch of illustrations for the Book of Jezebel, which was officially released this week. The book is laid out like a dictionary, filled with humorous entries on a variety of subjects (this illo is for “Perm”). It feels a lot like America: The Book; it’s from the same publisher (Grand Central). A number of women illustrators and writers contributed, and I’m honored to be among them.

More info at http://bookofjezebel.com/


Comic for ACLU: Stealth Attack – The New Abortion Laws

comic about new abortion TRAP lawsFinally I get to share this very cool project I’ve been working on. The ACLU commissioned a long-form comic from me about the rash of new abortion restrictions around the country. Click through for the full story.

The comic also appears on Medium with a slightly different ending.


Health Care-mudgeons

The title of Ross Douthat’s NYT column,”Obamacare, failing ahead of schedule,” was the icing on the crap cake of criticism. Look, I wanted a simpler single-payer plan myself, but these idiots have no idea how convoluted the process already is for those of us on the individual insurance market. I’ll take a few computer glitches over the excruciating, week-long process of putting my medical history on endless pages of forms, which could later be used to drop me coverage when I most need it. Nothing could be worse than that.


New Iraq War death toll estimate

Via Science Daily:

“Researchers from four universities, including the University of Washington, estimate that nearly a half-million people died from causes attributable to the war in Iraq from 2003 through 2011… The researchers found that for every three people killed by violence during the U.S.-led invasion and occupation of Iraq from 2003 to 2011, two more died as a result of the collapse of the infrastructure that supports health care, clean water, nutrition and transportation.”

Remember when the Dems shut down the government to try to stop this from happening? Me neither. Would have been a more justifiable goal than denying people health insurance.


Template for lazy journalists writing about Wendy Davis candidacy

My friend Andrea Grimes has a funny satirical piece on RH Reality Check about attempts by non-Texans to wax knowledgeable about Wendy Davis’s candidacy for governor.

“Nevertheless, setting of the scene with cowboys, football, and cowboys playing football in demonstration of deep historico-political understanding of the Lone Star State, which it must be noted, is the insider nickname for Texas, because mavericks. Comparison of Wendy Davis to a maverick. A maverick who abortions.”

I may be a carpetbagger myself, but my driver’s license says Texas, which gives me a license to laugh at y’all.


Thomas Friedman, Please Stop Trying to Help Young People

You know when a Thomas Friedman column is titled “Sorry, Kids. We Ate It All” that it’s going to be bad. This one does not disappoint in its more-centrist-than-thou fearmongering about government spending (way to lend credibility to GOP extortion tactics, dude!). “What are the chances of [young people] getting out of Facebook and into their parents’ faces?” he cleverly ponders, not invoking cliches at all. Among the solutions to mild Social Security shortfalls projected in the distant future he touts:

“…phasing in higher age qualifications for entitlements and cutting corporate taxes to zero, so the people who actually create jobs will have more resources to do so.”

Maybe young people realize deficit spending is not the problem — unemployment is. And health insurance too, which is being remedied by the Affordable Care Act. Maybe some of us even understand that corporations are already barely paying taxes, sitting on enormous piles of cash, and not hiring people. And maybe we don’t want our benefits cut in the name of not cutting our future benefits. Because that’s absurd.


Why Can’t They Compromise?

The bit about the End Times refers to Michele Bachmann’s remarkable statement last week that Obama’s arming of Syrian rebels was a sign that the Rapture is coming. Actual quote:

“Rather than seeing this as a negative, we need to rejoice, Maranatha Come Lord Jesus, His day is at hand,” Bachmann continued. “When we see up is down and right is called wrong, when this is happening, we were told this; these days would be as the days of Noah.”

Well, who WOULD worry about the U.S. defaulting on its debt in that case? A global financial meltdown doesn’t seem so bad if you think you’re going to be Hoovered out of it by a celestial vacuum cleaner.

Previous installment of the flaming conservative here.


Janet Yellen: Triumph of the Female Wonk

Regular readers will note that I’ve had fairly strong opinions about the Fed chair debate. (See this cartoon and blog post about Janet Yellen and Larry Summers.) Naturally, I’m happy to see Obama nominate her.

If she is confirmed, this will be a victory for the quietly-competent wonkwoman. Nerds of various stripes have enjoyed a veritable Rennaissance over the past decade or so — tech developers and data gurus like Nate Silver have enjoyed immense fame and adulation. Yet the wonky lady has been somewhat elusive as a cultural archetype. Many exist, to be sure, but they are all too often rendered invisible. Wired Magazine was roundly flamed a few weeks ago for failing to name a single woman to its list of Government and Security experts you should be reading.

Of course, it took Larry Summers stepping out of the way to (hopefully) get the first female Fed Chair in U.S. history. One thing I found especially galling about that debate was that Yellen’s thorough preparation for meetings reportedly worked against her; Administration officials were said to prefer the freewheeling, off-the-cuff style of Timothy Geithner, or the chummy relationship that was cultivated with “stand-up dude” Larry Summers during the financial crisis. Lost in much of this discussion of personal style is who has been right.

Here’s hoping this glass-ceiling breaks big-time.


Sneak Preview

Wendy Davis

Is that Wendy Davis on my drawing table? Why, yes it is. This is from a long-form comic I’m working on for a nonprofit, to be published next week.


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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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