Monday, February 28, 2011

Why Can't We Be Friends?

Hey, I'm a published writer! One of the pieces I wrote for my senior show got picked up by the Stoutonia!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Scott Walker: Douche Weasel of the Year

I'm sure you all have heard of and formed your opinion on the Scott Walker debacle. I could not imagine a more slimy terrible politician. I hope to write a piece on the situation and probably draw at least one more cartoon. But in the meantime, this is the cartoon I'm submitting to the Stoutonia, and it will suffice for now.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Senior Show Madness!

Well folks, all the work for my senior show has been hung, and I've decided it's high time I posted some of my paintings and writing. Blogger doesn't have an option for publishing PDF files, so I guess I'm just going to have to do a post for each article and image. A laborious task to be sure, however, after several all nighters last week, I feel that I'm up to it. I'll be going in reverse order, so when all is said and done, it will flow chronologically like I had it printed in the final book format. So here goes:

A Better Business Model

As the typical college graduate (or anyone trying to get into a higher paying job) knows, there is a strange dichotomy between remaining ethical and true to yourself in a job search and actually finding any work at all. As an artist just starting out, I feel this doubly so. Anyone worthwhile wants to see your published work before hiring you, yet in order to get any published work, you are forced to work for a pittance or on a supposed wage of “exposure.” I would indeed work for exposure, but exposure, given a dollar amount in relation to the art industry, has a negative value. It’s a way of undercutting a sea of other professionals who require higher payment to survive, thereby inflating the worth of the profession. I once inflated an inner tube and much like working on an exposure basis, it was exasperating, and my reward was a light-headed euphoria followed by a splitting migraine. Damn inner tubes.

This sort of frustration is not limited to the art world. The entire newspaper industry is more than likely far worse off than I am, never mind the light-headed euphoria and migraine it will likely experience. “Which factor has been most pivotal in the decline of newspapers?” you ask. Well, disregarding newspapers’ falling readerships during much of the ‘80s and ‘90s, we see that the internet hasn’t done them any favors. It would seem that the internet is a great venue for news writers to reach hungry news readers, and it is. The possibilities with web-based news are almost as endless as pointless, amateur blogs. It’s a close race there, but blogging about kittens is the last great source of untapped revenue and billions of bloggers know this. Streaming videos, instant news updates, links to other high interest sites, and catchy little animations are all being employed on bigger news sites. The list could go on forever, but for the sake of saving time, you can read a more extensive coverage of the topic on Wikipedia. The great thing about web-based news media is that it is brought to you for the low cost of… free. Sure, there are a few regional newspapers that charge a nominal fee comparable to a subscription of the print version, but the only people who pay for anything online are Netflix users, online gamblers, and one middle-aged man in northern Montana who peruses Ebay trying to piece together his nearly complete Beanie Baby collection. The idea of paying for content on the web has become such an offensive concept to most. How, then, can a legitimate news source expect to procure a sustainable profit? We should probably just destroy Craigslist, and by doing that we would take care of a lot of advertising sales issues. Or, if someone deleted the word frugal from the online dictionary, readers would be less hesitant to pay for web-based reporting.

While I’m still struggling to get work published, I have met limited success here and there. I have been guilty of doing work for next to nothing just so that I could see it on a nice glossy page with this fine print text adjacent: “Illustration by Marc Anderson.” I’d hate to think that that is what larger newspapers are doing on the web. They definitely don’t need the kind of validation that a scrawny 23 year-old from Wisconsin does. If the bulk of web-based news outlets can band together and adopt a functional business model that still allows for competition and affordability, maybe they will survive this e-advent. If not, we’ll all just have to take in and enjoy that light-headed euphoria and then preemptively take a handful of Advil.

Why Can't We Be Friends?

Why Can’t We Be Friends?

In the world of physics, there are several well-established rules about opposing forces. One might note the popular “for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.” For instance, in the case of affirmative action (pun both incidental and lame), the opposite reaction might be a notion that affirmative action encourages laziness and destroys fair competition in the job market, or that educated white males are continually getting screwed and held down by the man. We see all manner of opposing forces in governmental policy. Everyone has an opinion, and as far as I’m concerned Christine O’Donnell is the only guiding light who really should be entitled to it.

But where does this dissension in politics come from? We, as Americans and millions of illegal aliens, have a fascination with conflict. The recent educational and uplifting fad of reality television, for instance, has been known to display little spats from time to time. More so than viewing these conflicts that are very real and in no way staged (perhaps truer than life itself!), we love to hate stuff. But much like Rush Limbaugh at McDonalds, we do tend to overindulge. When it comes to politics, we have a high level of animosity for just about anything we disagree with. I would know because your opinions are uninformed and silly while mine are infallible.

Partisanship is in no way new to this country. There has always been a level of dissent in America, but there are several explanations for the increased awareness of the hostility in recent years such as: 1) the shrinking of the middle class and disproportioning of wealth 2) development of highly successful media and communication outlets (i.e. news networks, internet, and social networking); and 3) the invention of Viagra (if debates last longer than four years, consult your physician). Speaking of performance enhancers, there are few better ways to dissuade your opponent, or better yet, dissuade your opponent’s constituents, than to blindly take a conflicting view on an issue. Generally being the loudest about an issue is a pretty good tactic as well. Just like my mother used to say, “The squeaky wheel gets the grease.”

In many cases it can be difficult to gauge just how much vigor a particular politician or constituent actually feels about an issue or ideology. While there are a few damn squeaky wheels out there, not all should warrant our attention. Of course there in lies a problem. When everyone holds extreme ideologies in accordance with their political parties’ agenda, we completely lose a valuable discourse (also the leading cause of hair loss). We all carry our own biases, but when those begin to prevent any sort of progress, they cause us to regress in a way akin to the Land Before Time animated films.

Political discussion is always important, much like brushing your teeth and wiping your ass. Following a major shift in leadership or a big bowl of chili, it isn’t always pretty, but deadpan; uncompromising opposition is not a recipe for progress.


What Would Jesus Do?

Giving up ground is not easy to do. As a youngster, I could argue any point to absolute exhaustion, and regardless of any debating success or failure, my views wouldn’t budge an inch. In the second grade I had one such debate with my good friend Maxwell. If parents ever stop naming their children Maxwell, Maxamillian, or any similar variation of the name, so help me, I’m moving to Canada. Our little exchange began when Maxwell inquired why I wasn’t eating my pork hot dog during our school lunch hour. I was raised to eat only kosher foods since my family was Seventh-day Adventist. I began to explain to Max that pork was an unclean food, and no matter how many times you washed it, it still would not be clean. Given that the basis for my argument was as intellectually sound as my rubbery hot dog, Maxwell remained unmoved and rebutted with some nutritional facts about other not-so kosher foods such as crab and lobster saying they were in fact good for you. After a few minutes, our teacher, Mrs. Rait joined the conversation and tried to enlighten me in the flaws of my argument. “Nope,” I’d say, “just try washing it. It still won’t be clean.” Illustrator and cartoonist Steve Brodner once said, “Orthodoxy of any kind is another word for learning disability.” Learning disability? Well, I have since discovered that washing hot dogs doesn’t make much sense no matter what your ideologies may be.

Though my misunderstanding of kosher foods isn’t a typical representation of Seventh-day Adventists’ intelligence, I do feel that on some level religious types get locked into their divine canons, slowing societal progress. For instance, when discussing curriculum for textbooks, the Texas school board members revised what would be taught in several subjects. In social studies they placed an emphasis on Christian aspects of the world and much less focus on Islam. Everyone knows that we have a better understanding of the Muslim community than our own Christian nation anyway, so what’s the big deal? Science also took a heavy blow when Christian, conservative, board members decided that the creation theory warranted just as much attention as evolution. A combination of the two would probably serve students well if presented in an entertaining fashion: “Jesus Smote the Dinosaurs with Five Loaves of Bread and Two Fish,” “Moses and the Ten Missing Links,” and of course “The Big Bang Theory: How a Virgin got Pregnant.” Any objection to the conservative Texan board has been seen as an attack on patriotic America, and wouldn’t be tolerated. The board even put a ban on Brown Bear, Brown Bear because the beloved children’s book’s author, Bill Martin, wrote a book on communism. In fact Ethical Marxism was written by a different Bill Martin who is a professor at DePaul University. When the error was discovered, Brown Bear, Brown Bear was rectified and put back in the curriculum.

Of course Texas isn’t the only place where American champions are vanquishing well-grounded science and treasonous liberal thinking (Red Bear, Red Bear). You can take a look at any public figure who loudly proclaims their Christian faith, and see exactly how it affects their ideologies. Most recently, gubernatorial hopeful Carl Paladino was put on the national spotlight with his anti-gay remarks. Using a Christian family model for comparison, Paladino divulged, “(homosexuality) isn’t an equally valid or successful option.” His remarks came as a shock to many, but even more surprising was how apathetic his supporters were. Apparently many share Paladino’s anti-gay sentiments. “It’s just disgusting,” Paladino said of Gay Pride Parades. Although one could argue uncompromising ignorance and intolerance are equally valid and successful options. Note most Tea Party candidates’ platforms.

It’s hard to say just how much weight these issues should hold when compared to other big-ticket items like unemployment, healthcare, Afghanistan, Nuclear North Korea, among others. But when we see religious ideologies creeping into topics like global warming, education, and civil rights, it might be good form to question our nation’s decision making, and who we want to make those decisions. We do have the freedom of religion, but in the same vein we have a separation of church and state. Is orthodoxy another word for learning disability? You won’t find the answer in the thesaurus. But after consulting my divine council, I was told, “Ask again later,” followed by, “Signs point to yes.” The Magic 8 Ball will never lead astray.

Migrating Money

Migrating Money
By Kyle Constalie

Most sensible Americans approach Mexican immigrants with the same general question: “Do you have any drugs I can buy?”

Whenever the answer is, “No, but I will work difficult and dangerous jobs for very little pay,” folks tend to get hissy. Those jobs are traditionally reserved for white people to reject. After all, if we don’t have jobs to turn our noses up at, we don’t really have anything at all. The American economy depends on this kind of job selectiveness.

Immigration has become a complex and polarizing issue in the United States. Which side of the immigration issue you find yourself on can be determined by asking yourself a few simple questions. For example, 1) Do I basically like other people? 2) Do I, hypothetically, and for the most part, enjoy it when other people don’t starve to death? 3) If someone asks me for change to purchase a bus ticket, am I more likely to doll out the money or punch the person in the face and accuse him or her of attempted robbery? Etc.

If right now you’re imagining slapping a foreigner and running him or her over with a bus, not only might you be a racist (I never said the person was foreign!), you are probably opposed to the Dream Act, which is a bill that, if passed, would allow people who entered the country illegally as children to live in the country legally as adults—so long as they complete either two years of military service or two years of higher education.

You might also be aghast to learn that an estimated 65,000 undocumented students graduate from high school every year, which is likely a higher level of academic attainment than most opponents of the Dream Act have achieved. “How can we allow this atrocity to happen,” you are probably asking, the atrocity being the education that is provided to thousands of people who would otherwise have gone without. Indeed, there appears to be scant hope for the gallant cause of keeping our immigrants dumb.

Which is why I have devised a solution to our expensive and unfair problem of over-education. Imagine beating these motivated foreign bastards at their own, goal-oriented game! What I am proposing is this:

California and Arizona should build faux schools designed to attract immigrants. Their mascots might be, say, piƱatas, and their school names might be something like Puerto Vallarta. With low-cost burritos for lunch, along with ponchos and sombreros for uniforms, these schools will be irresistibly enticing to the typical Mexican immigrant.

Little will these Spanish-speaking criminals suspect that they are being educated to work in high-paying executive office positions, the types of positions that their amoral occupation of our country already qualifies them to perform.

According to the Huffington Post, as of May 2010, 7.8 million Americans were millionaires. The overall U.S. population is estimated by the CIA at around 310, 232, 863, so my math puts the percentage of Americans who earn at least one million dollars at less than 3%.

This demographic is clearly aching to expand. Let us slyly siphon our population of immigrants into the upper echelons of the American workforce, away from the coveted jobs in fields, factories and hotels that we Americans, by virtue of our birth certificates, are rightfully entitled to work. This will create staggering job growth. And with new ethnic influences in big businesses, having to work on Cinco de Mayo will be an injustice of the past.

I’m telling you, these immigrants won’t know what hit them. One minute they’re sweating over stitching garments, the next minute they’re spilling salsa on their $500 suit coats. Then they will know what it is really like to have to fight for their right to tax cuts. They will be forced between a rock and a hard place when it becomes necessary to make tough calls about where to purchase their second and third vacation homes. Those, my friends, are real American struggles.

These immigrant millionaires will be the new movers and shakers; they will be the ones who influence ideas for how to keep the rest of their immigrant families out of the country—if only so their spouses and children never have to suffer a similar fate.

Disasta' From Alaska

Disasta’ From Alaska

In the world of pop culture, it is the case, more often than not, to see an undeserving drama queen capture the attention of a large portion of the population. Pandering to less intelligent and less reasonable notions that we all share is an effective route, and I would assert that renegades like Paris Hilton and Lindsay Lohan have exploited this. These misguided women have a perpetual sense of entitlement everywhere they go, even when out at bars. Excuse me. That was supposed to read, “behind bars.” While many divas and diva-dudes discover their spotlights in tabloids and viral internet sex-tapes, (viral as in popular, I’m not a doctor) there are those who venture into less glamorous realms. My favorite of these seemingly mavericky people is of course Sarah Palin. No, the beloved ex-governor from Alaska didn’t come from the ranks of Ms. Hilton or Ms. Lohan, but her popularity does similarly come into question.

During the 2008 Presidential campaign, Sarah Palin grew from obscurity, captivating a nation with her small town charm, if such a term may be applied. There is something to be said about charm. It worked for Barack Obama, but in his case, there was a bit more substance to his character. You know… knowledge of things outside quaint Alaska, things that are more pertinent to a political discourse. How then is it that Sarah Palin could amass such a large and passionate following?

I thought it would help my understanding of the phenomenon that is Palin if I were to listen to her book Going Rogue on audio book while doing sketches illustrating Palin’s rise to fame. After a grueling nine hours, I came away with a new view of Palin, and I began to make heads or tails of what drew people to her. Throughout the book, Sarah makes biblical references and constantly praises God for just about anything. I have no quarrel with her as a religious person; I admire that kind of conviction. However, it’s easy to see how her Christian faith completely shapes her political views. If I want to listen to a sermon for nine hours, as a general rule, I don’t turn on CSPAN, yet that is not the case for many on the religious right. Religion--and all the political ideologies that tend to come with it--was perhaps the first aspect to suck people into Going Rogue.

Another appeal might have been her good looks and MILF persona. As far as I know, there isn’t a sex tape of Palin circling the internet, but there’s a plethora of creatively titled adult films involving the Palin name. Some have a pretty good look-a-like… or so I’ve heard. I’m not one to judge, but if looks alone have garnered any of your support for Palin, you and I are no longer friends.

Palin’s lowest form of pandering came as nonsensical attacks on Barack Obama. She wasn’t too proud to stoop to question the validity of his birth certificate, accusing Obama of “pallin’ around with terrorists” and eventually that whole socialist witch-hunt. It kind of makes you think back to McCarthyism—only this time it’s a little less intense and a lot more what-the-hell-can-she-really-be-serious. I can’t say Mrs. Palin would have been wily enough to come up with the socialist accusations on her own; she had plenty of help from talking heads like Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, and Bill O’Reilly. Yes, I know, Rush is a radio “entertainer”, but I just pictured him as a floating, talking head, and it made me chuckle.

The one thing that the afore mentioned trio and--through some imbecilic form of the trickle-down effect--Sarah Palin do particularly well is fear mongering. Was Barack Obama born in the United States? Of course he was, and how that fact was ever seriously questioned is beyond me. Is Obama Muslim? Well, apparently 20% of the population seems to think so, but with any research beyond FOX News, you can easily find out that he’s a Christian. And the big-ticket item: is Barack Obama a socialist? Well, you get the picture. This sort of defamation keeps Palin supporters chomping at the bit and, as was evident in the last midterm election, may be contagious. Better grab some more Purell and maybe some bleach, I think someone breathed hot air on my shirt. Granted, the latest Presidential election results stemmed around much more complex issues, it’s been Palin’s boisterous, drunk chick at a party, volume that has indeed left its lasting mark.

While Sarah Palin is somehow maintaining the spotlight for now, I can’t see her endurance lasting too long. When I start to get concerned about the popularity of Palin, I just say to myself, “Self, Sarah ‘The Maverick Diva Who Went Rogue’ Palin will most likely make some sort of run for the Presidency by 2012.” And I think even her most devout followers and I could share the sentiment that President Palin are two words that should never be spoken together. Ever.

START Getting Scared

START Getting Scared

As a nation of exceptional Christian values, it’s easy for us to see where many of our foreign and domestic policies come from. Helping the helpless, feeding the poor, healing the lame, well sort of (health care reform is of the devil). Generally speaking, we like to be thought of as good folks. Omitting at least one Koran torching reverend who was Jones’n for a barbeque, Americans do try their best to avoid provocation of others. The people of the United States apparently have no quarrel with the Koran. It’s a book. There is no use reading anything these days when we have Youtube. The combination of a Koran and a mosque, however, might garner more fervor for a bonfire when a new mosque is proposed in New York. But in all fairness, we already have a lot of churches. Do we really need more tax-exempt establishments? Not in Uncle Sam’s back yard!

Despite what those cigarette-sucking French may think, Americans are a peace loving people. Just take a look at hippies. Now I know what you’re thinking, and yes, the water table in Bethel, NY (home of Woodstock) still tests positive for all kinds of illicit drugs and trace amounts of grooviness. On the other side of the coin, (or if you prefer, a Chuck E. Cheese token) peace is attained through strength and a few protein shakes. The intimidation factor has a long track record of success: hockey players, juiced up body builders, Chris Brown. Bigger is better is not a notion lost on the US military. How better to keep our enemies at bay than to scare the living crap out of them? According to the Independent Institute, US defense spending was roughly $1.01 trillion in 2010. It might serve the military budget well if money-hoarding institutions such as social security and education were cut out of the federal budget altogether. Also militarizing the cast of Jersey Shore, as they would be worth their weight in gold chain necklaces… and hair products.

One can’t deny the threats to this country such as North Korea, Iran, the cast of Jersey Shore (it has yet to be seen exactly where their allegiances lie). The only way to scuttle these impending perils is to beat them at our game. To increase the nuclear arsenal is the only way to ensure intimidation and America’s subsequent safety. According to the Eau Claire Journal, the U.S. has over 5000 nuclear weapons and 3000 prospective locations that could pose a threat. With the 5000 deliverable warheads, we have the capacity to obliterate our current 3000 targets. Can’t you see that we need more? What if there are still signs of life after the first 3000 missiles are fired? How will we defend ourselves against terrorism when the remaining 2000 missiles are not enough to re-obliterate all 3000 targets?

With the resurgence of the START Treaty, now aptly named the New START Treaty, things might be moving the other way. It should really be called the START Getting Scared Treaty. It’s been a known fact that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Kim Jong Il have been pen pals since childhood, mailing each other baseball cards and spare bomb parts. One might note that Ahmadinejad just wants to send a gift to Israel to bury the hatchet, and Israel. Either way, it’s an unsettling prospect for America. America’s good-natured demeanor might say to turn the other cheek. That is always good advice, but only if your ass is equipped with literally millions of long range missiles. Better add an American flag and Chuck Norris just to be sure.

Global Warming

Global Warming
By Kyle Constalie

To whoever is reading this: I am pooping my pants.

That’s because I recently watched Bag It, a documentary directed by Suzan Beraza. I watched this film with my girlfriend at the Frozen Rivers Film Festival in Winona, Minnesota. A nice afternoon, for sure—albeit the wrong place and the wrong person to be with when you’re pooping your pants. But I couldn’t help myself; the content of this film scared the shit out of me.

Apparently—and I am not making this up, as it’s in quotations—“the average American produces about 4.4 lbs. of garbage every day. That’s 29 lbs. per week or 1,600 lbs. per year.” These statistics come from the Environmental Protection Agency, who happen to have been counting every Good ‘n’ Plenty container I have ever thrown away in my entire life—and I have had plenty.

Did you know that the amount of trash we Americans produce in a single year could cover the entire state of Texas two and a half times? While there is absolutely no doubt that covering Texas twice would be the best use of this trash, it would be much easier for lazy people like me to avoid generating so much trash in the first place. This trash reduction can be accomplished by doing things like 1) growing your own vegetables, most of which do not sprout out of the ground with packaging on them; 2) buying less things in general, because you can’t package what you don’t have; and 3) (most importantly) never, ever, under any circumstances, purchasing bottled water or using plastic bags in stores.

So? What’s wrong with plastic? you might be asking yourself. My friend, prepare to poop.

Plastic does not biodegrade—at least not for a very, very long time. Most plastic makes its way out into the ocean where it a) accumulates and/or b) gets consumed by marine life. This means our planet is like a kid who needs to pick up his room but is running out of closet space because he got everything he wanted for his birthday even though he didn’t really need it, and his pet hamster eats what’s on the floor and dies.

Plastic bags can basically survive forever, like cockroaches, except there is no exterminator for plastic bags. In other words—and you can quote me on this because it is scientific fact—using plastic bags is exactly the same as using cockroaches to carry your groceries. And, like cockroaches, plastic bags become most active late at night while you are sleeping. They scurry about your kitchen floor, making sick rustling sounds to each other that translate roughly to let’s take over the world and kill everyone except the roaches. Their plan, of course, is to suffocate our planet in much the same way you might see a plastic bag used to suffocate a helpless victim in a horror film.

Suffocation is a grave prospect indeed, and I think it’s one that Bag It really missed an opportunity to exploit. The movie talked about plastic floating in the ocean, but in all honesty that just seems like a bathtub with lots of durable toys. Killer Plastic Bags would be far more distressing to audiences, who would surely walk away from the movie with a greater incentive to start acting less trashy—just as soon as they buy new underwear.

Don't Show, But You May Tell

Don’t Show, But You May Tell

There have been many social injustices over the course of this country’s existence. Relocating Native Americans, slavery, women’s lack of rights, Brett Favre not doing a commercial for AT&T just to name a few. Each time an advancement in civil rights occurs, it is usually met with animosity from a portion of the population that isn’t quite ready for change. Some men, myself included, are still bitter that they now have to do their own laundry. In the present day, equality is the norm for the most part, and there may even be a sense of complacency. However, gay rights, though they’ve come a long way, are not quite up to par. Even in today’s advanced society many people are reluctant to accept homosexuals’ lifestyles, due in part to personal beliefs and of course Will and Grace. One place where gay rights have been hindered the most has been in the military.

The ideals of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” have been around since Frederick Gotthold Enslin was discharged from the army under George Washington. Jonathan Katz, writer of Gay American History has listed Enslin’s situation and many similar to it. It isn’t hard to see how uncomfortable the military has been with homosexuals, especially when the furry thongs and assless chaps start running around the barracks. Sure, in those days, tolerance wasn’t really a priority. After all, they had Red Coats to kill. Since then, the actual “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy was enacted under former President Bill Clinton in hopes of reducing discrimination. However, according to Ed O’Keefe of the NY Times, around 13,000 gay troops have been discharged since 1993. The expense of which has cost taxpayers $400 million in related expenses says Devin Dwyer of ABC News. Don’t worry; you were just going to spend the money on tickets to see Spiderman on Broadway. Never the less, this policy has been costly. There has been friction between gay and straight soldiers (not the kind you’d find in Sodom or Gomorra). Could it possibly have had something to do with, I don’t know, the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy itself.

Today, gays are widely accepted in civilian life. Isn’t there a possibility that those sentiments will cross over to military life? Yes. As you know, “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” was repealed in December 2010, and across America there were flashy, neatly groomed men and flannel-covered women dancing in the streets. The repeal hasn’t been enacted just yet, but once President Obama and his DADT staff feel the military is ready for such a transition, the repeal will go into full effect. In a survey conducted by the RAND Corp., soldiers were asked, “If serving with someone who was openly gay, would that affect the group’s ability to work effectively to get the job done?” 70 percent said it would have a positive, mixed, or no effect. The other 30 percent were busy blowing kisses at their Glenn Beck posters. It seems inevitable now that “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” will go through.

Just the gesture of repealing DADT says a lot for the momentum of the gay rights movement. The game is changing so rapidly that despite your ideologies, they’re here, and they’re queer, and they want to take you shopping. While tolerance of homosexuals is becoming a solidified facet of our society, there are still many obstacles to overcome--a little bit of getting accustomed to change. I myself can only take yea so much of Nathan Lane. With the way the DADT repeal and gay marriage are pushing forward, we can see real progress. Military men and women are accepting their queer brethren. Those who aren’t, don’t kid yourselves, you Googled that Brett Favre text too.

Cutting The Christmas Ham

Cutting The Christmas Ham

“Quit pulling my hair!” “You’re going to eat every last one of your vegetables and like it!” “Mom, Susie keeps trying to cast me into the third circle of Hell!”

I’m sure parenting must be tricky. I am the third of four sons, and I can, with out a doubt, relate to my mother’s parenting distress when my cat devours all of the plants in my apartment. So when is a parent supposed to give in to a child’s wants and tantrums? I’ve worked my fair share of retail jobs, and to me the obvious answer is never. I will allow that a strong smack on the head will deter most children’s requests in the first place. In addition, watching children acting out in public has been clinically proven to be the most effective form of birth control (look for an endorsement from the Pope on that one.)

Needless to say, incessant whining does not end with childhood. It continues on with teenagers looking for a car or pot, college age young people, looking for a degree/job or… pot, or even successful businessmen looking for… massive tax breaks (money’s green too.) The first two are common enough stereotypes, and on some level can be understood. But under what circumstances would the wealthiest three percent need tax cuts? There has been suggestion of the phantom trickle down effect, but I stopped believing in Santa years ago, and leprechauns were never really my thing. The trickle down effect revolves around the assumption that wealthy business owners would be willing to reinvest the money saved after tax cuts. However, there is no assurance of reinvestment. Only a free market capitalist hope that the companies will do the right thing—that is to say: Laissez Faire. But come on, that can’t work. It’s French.

There are plenty of the wealthiest three percent who do practice this sort of reinvestment. But what happens when companies like Harley Davidson have record profits in 2010 during the worst recession in over sixty years, and simply stash the money away. According to the NY Times, during that quarter, unemployment was still lingering around ten percent. At the same time, millions of recent, high school and college graduates who happened to be unemployed resumed their search for pot. Also that quarter, the S & P’s 500-stock index saw a seven percent rise. While for the 14 million unemployed, life was seeming pretty standard and poor.

During the Regan years some of the biggest tax cuts in history took place, and I don’t think he was compensating for his hair. By 1984, the rate of GDP growth had jumped up considerably according to Mehrun Etebari of the UFE (United for a Fair Economy). But this did not last. During the Bush Sr. administration, taxes for the wealthy were cut even more, and the GDP actually decreased. Talk about being Bushwhacked. While the recession at that time may have had something to do with it, who’s to say tax cuts were the catalyst for Regan’s temporary economic success? Etebari goes on to explain several other statistics such as income growth rate, hourly wage growth rate, and change in unemployment. He compares them to top tier tax cuts only to find that there is no correlation between any economic success and those taxes. Daddy, I got cider in my ear… or it might have been tea.

One of the more recent debacles that we’ve run into was stimulus spending versus the nation’s deficit. The economic stimuli are another matter altogether, but I think we can all agree that the deficit needs to be taken care of. How about raising taxes? Isn’t that a feasible solution since Mark Zuckerberg won’t pay off our debt with his yacht made of gold? Raising taxes won’t fix the deficit, but it’s at least a start. The latest Bush tax cuts were set to expire, and that was a great opportunity for President Obama to do a little upkeep of his own. However, with senseless opposition from the right, Obama, in the spirit of bipartisanship (bending over), agreed to extend the cuts.

In December of 2010, just like every holiday season, the whiny little brats at the local mall got mommy to cave in. Meanwhile, near the National Mall, other whiny brats got Obama to cave.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Illustration Thursday

Well, I hadn't planned on posting this till next week, but I've been painting for over 13 hours straight, and I needed a little break. I will be posting more soon.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Illustration Sketch

freelance sketch. The final illustration is due on Thursday and I'll see if I can post it then, but my senior show goes up on Sunday, and I've still got quite a bit of work to do on it. For those who care, and the millions who don't, working on my senior show has caused me to take an extended hiatus from blogging. But the cool thing is, come this weekend, I'll have lots to post.