The Sorensen Monologues

Archive for April, 2024

Virtual Spring

I truly don’t understand how anyone accepts the constant wailing of leaf blowers as normal. It’s like sitting on a plane with a screaming baby, except an internal combustion baby. I read a little while ago that Portland, Oregon is phasing out gas-powered leaf blowers starting in 2026, with the goal of “improving public health and quality of life for landscape workers and other residents.” Now THAT’S civilized.

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America’s Most Wanted Librarians

GOP-controlled statehouses have been cranking out reams of preposterous and frightening library legislation. One proposed bill in Louisiana, HB 777, would make it a crime for librarians to use public funds to join the American Librarian Association or attend an ALA conference, punishable with prison time and hard labor for up to two years. I think Deborah Caldwell-Stone of the ALA put it best: “This is not a culture war; it’s a threat to our democracy.”

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If media talked about the donor class the way it talks about college students

Insulting college students is part of a long history of right-wing demonization of academia. Many current pundits, appealing to a lefty-hating donor class, continue this long tradition. It seems like hardly a day goes by without a hand-wringing article about those CRAZY COLLEGE KIDS appearing somewhere in the mainstream press. Obviously there’s been tension over the last year due to the Israel-Gaza conflict, including some ugly incidents of antisemitism and Islamophobia that should be condemned. But to take a wider lens, it seems to me that college protesters have mostly been on the right side of history — from the civil rights movement to the Vietnam War to apartheid in South Africa. The draconian crackdown on student protests by university administrators (and the doxxing and bullying we’ve seen from right-leaning donors over this and other issues) has been an appalling attack on the First Amendment. 

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The Dirty Food Dilemma

This Guardian article lists various foods that tend to be high in toxic PFAS, commonly known as “forever chemicals,” which are used to make products stain- and water-resistant. To quote from the report, “Among the main sources of food contamination are tainted water, greaseproof food wrappers, some plastics, pesticides, or farms where PFAS-tainted sewage sludge is spread as fertilizer.” As for microplastics, where to begin? They’re everywhere, from human placentas to the oceans to Mount Everest. 

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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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