The Sorensen Monologues

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Archive for 2022


The current abuses and indignities so many workers must endure seem like they belong in Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle, published in 1906, instead of America in 2022. But things can always get worse!

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Height of Folly

According to Consumer Reports, 526 people died in “frontover” accidents in 2020, many of them children. Often these deadly events occur in driveways or parking lots. You can watch an NBC News report on the issue here (below the petition) that shows kids lined up in front of various trucks and SUVs. Or if that link expires, you can watch it here

Senator Richard Blumenthal has introduced a bill make front-end cameras and detection sensors standard technology in new trucks. While I’m sure this would help, it also strikes me as a Rube Goldbergian solution. Americans are using machines so tall and massive to move their bodies through space that elaborate systems of video feeds and alarms are necessary so they can see what’s directly in front of them? THIS IS COMPLETELY ABSURD.

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Hostile Takeover

With the recent takeover of Twitter by a certain cretin who shall not be named here, the information landscape feels more dominated than ever by far-right conspiratorial garbage while progressives get pushed even further to the margins. The aforementioned executive tweeted recently that the site had been propagating “far left San Francisco/Berkeley views” to the world and that he was “moving rapidly to establish a even playing field.” These guys are the true eliminationists, using money, power, and intimidation to shut down the entire project of civil rights and human rights. Yet in conventional narratives, it’s still college kids or powerless people on social media who get scolded for being some sort of authoritarian threat. 

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Predictable Pattern

I think it’s safe to say that if the GOP had not launched an aggressive demonization campaign against drag performers in recent months, falsely linking them to child abuse, those people at Club Q in Colorado Springs would still be alive today. The same applies for threats of violence against trans people and the medical professionals who provide care for them. The party now thrives on barely-veiled threats of violence and intimidation.

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Signs the Climate Conference is Falling Short

The Cop27 climate summit happening now in Egypt has been somewhat overshadowed by US election news, but it is no less important. I was struck by the statistic that global subsidies for fossil fuel production totaled $400 billion in 2019, and according to this Guardian report, these subsidies shot up to $700 billion in 2021 as governments tried help their economies rebound from the pandemic. Meanwhile, wealthier nations have failed to honor an agreement from Cop15 in 2009 (!) to provide a fraction of this — $100 billion — in aid to poorer nations ravaged by climate crises. 

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“Dems Should Move to the Right”

It cannot be emphasized enough how the GOP has ceased to be a legitimate political party and there is no meaningful way the Dems could position themselves to “the right” without trafficking in dangerous falsehoods. Mainstream commentators like to pretend elections are still determined by good-faith policy differences, because the alternative would be to acknowledge that nearly everything one “side” says has no basis in reality. And that gets awkward when you’re trying to maintain the lucrative fiction of “unbiased centrist.”

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A Brief History of Twitter

In earlier drafts of this cartoon each stage of Twitter initially had a description, which I’ll post here for posterity: 

  1. The Early Years: Innocent first-person “microblogging”
  2. The Middle Years: Outrage generation machine
  3. Later Years: Barely-contained tsunami of disinformation and abuse — but still strangely compelling
  4. Now: Plaything for deranged billionaire autocrats

Hopefully the artwork in each panel manages to convey these ideas without the explanations.

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Decision 2022

This pretty much sums up how I feel about the midterms. I can’t believe so many contests are so close. Perhaps the most depressing one is the Ohio Senate race in which far-right extremist JD Vance — who has stated that the sexual revolution made it easier for women to leave violent marriages, and that this is bad somehow — has a very good shot at winning. Republican candidates can say just about anything these days, and it doesn’t matter. The old norms are gone; actual policy has become irrelevant. 

In case you haven’t heard about the guys in tactical gear guarding a ballot drop box in Mesa, AZ, you can read more here.

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Disinformation Invasion

As this excellent column by Will Bunch explains, the organization responsible for these ads that are running during baseball playoff games on Fox Sports is a shadowy dark money group called “Citizens for Sanity” that is at least partly composed of former Trump administration officials with ties to notorious immigrant-basher Stephen Miller. This dangerously dishonest and inflammatory propaganda is simply incompatible with democracy, and it’s likely not a coincidence that it was allowed on a Rupert Murdoch-owned network. Having just finished Ken Burns’ epic documentary about US attitudes toward Jewish and other immigrants during the Holocaust, it’s especially harrowing to see some of the same ugly rhetoric resurfacing.

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What’s the Plan?

The Washington Post recently analyzed GOP candidates for the House, Senate, and key statewide offices, and found that over half — 299 out of 569 — have either challenged or refused to accept Biden’s victory in 2020. Of these, 173 are running for safe seats that they can expect to win. 

According to TPM, more than half of U.S. states, 27 to be exact, have election deniers running for positions that would give them some degree of control control over voting. 

I’m not actually sure what the best plan to stop this madness would be, but I do think good politicians need to be talking about this a LOT more than they are. We also desperately need greater moral clarity from political media. 

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Vagabond State

I’ve seen various reports lately about universities not having enough housing for students, with some being forced into homelessness, sleeping in their cars, etc. It’s apparently a global problem — I just had a conversation with a woman in the Netherlands who was telling me about the plight of students trying to attend university in the Hague. As someone who spent four years living in university housing, this is almost imaginable to me. College is hard enough without worrying about having a roof over your head.

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A Visit to the Harmacy

Many women are finding that in states with strict abortion bans, drugstores won’t fill their prescriptions without special confirmation from a doctor or a privacy-invading consultation with the pharmacist. It’s yet another way in which anti-choice extremism is upending healthcare. This article in The Guardian provides an overview.

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Jen Sorensen is a cartoonist for Daily Kos, The Nation, In These Times, Politico and other publications throughout the US. She received the 2023 Berryman Award for Editorial Cartooning from the National Press Foundation, and is a recipient of the 2014 Herblock Prize and a 2013 Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award. She is also a Pulitzer Finalist.



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