Biased, militarized policing. The police state. Police corruption. Police brutality. Rebuilding trust in law enforcement. These have been serious topics of discussion in our communities lately, and it's no wonder. Just as I stepped out of the office last week after reading one of the latest news stories about yet another one of our nation's police scandals, I watched as a Denver Police Department officer turned on his emergency lights on his cruiser and backed up traffic to pull across a busy street and park on a lawn. He then got out of his vehicle swinging his baton in the air aggressively as he approached a homeless man sitting on a bench before holstering the weapon. He approached the man, asked him his name, told him to move along and nothing more - didn't check his ID, nothing. Clearly, it wasn't an important stop, but just an opportunity to badger a man down on his luck with no home. Just a chance to show how tough he was - a guy that probably got bullied in school now bullying others with his new-found authority. Disgusting. Another one of the bad ones.
There are so many good law enforcement officers out there, and yet it only takes a few bad ones to give the entire community of public servants a bad name.
And then there are the statistics - they speak for themselves. The topic of this cartoon, racially biased policing has been proven by study after study over the last several decades - moreover, by the many tragic anecdotes flashing across our television screens recently - to be a serious ongoing epidemic in America. It's time for it to stop.
This cartoon was printed in the June 5, 2015, edition of The Colorado Statesman. To subscribe to The Statesman and become a member of Colorado's premier journal for political news coverage, debate forum and exclusive commentary, click here.
Congressman Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, never one to shy away from a grandstanding opportunity, told reporters last month that Doug Hughes — you remember him, the Florida postman who flew his gyrocopter loaded with letters for each of the 535 members of Congress to the Capitol lawn — is “lucky to be alive” and should have been “blown out of the air” when he flew into Washington D.C. airspace.
More recently in interviews with Hughes, it has come to light that he was attempting to make a public statement on the need for campaign finance reform and to address money and corruption in politics. While the method of delivery was hare-brained, it’s hard to say it was one worthy of being shot down and killed over. Chaffetz’s comments represent the reactionary and hyper-security culture of Washington D.C. Arguably much of this cautious mindfulness is needed, but still, a lot of it is overreaction and nothing more than taking hold of a national issue that grabs the attention of the public and basking in its limelight, in this case Jason Chaffetz style.
Perhaps Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said it best in response to the theatrical outrage of Chaffetz to the little gyrocopter that hovered onto the people’s lawn: "We are a democracy. We don't have fences around our airspace, so we've got to find the right balance between living in a free and open society, and security and the protection of federal buildings."
Move over Gordon Ramsay! A new culinary sensation has just hit the television airwaves - Cooking with the State Treasurer! Have some decisions you made in the past you'd really like to go away? History to erase? Prior public declarations you'd like to throw in the blender, mash up and warm over? Look no further than this hit new series, Cooking with the State Treasurer, where none other than Colorado's very own Walker Stapleton will teach you how to make the most delicate, the flakiest, the softest, the most fall-apart-in-your-mouth political waffles you've ever tasted! Waffling... it's his specialty! Don't forget to tune in. The program will air whenever the treasurer decides to come into work - generally speaking, sometime after 2:00 pm.
Deflategate AND the presidential race... because I'm sure you're not tired about hearing about either topic, right?! The next stop in the evolution of any political career post-scandal would seemingly be running for POTUS. By the way, while not initially meant to be this way while I was drawing it, this cartoon ended up being a hypothetical representation of Brady after having gone on a depression induced junk food binge. It all appears to have gone to his hips. While arguably not a correct rendering of Brady's figure, it was funny, so I didn't change it. And, yes, that is the ball making the "Psst" sound, not the center lineman rattled by a similar junk food binge.
I once read somewhere that Colorado Speaker of the House Dickey Lee Hullinghorst bears some resemblance to Velma Dinkley from Scooby-Doo. Upon further inspection, I can't say I disagree. Hullinghorst is great lady - very nice and very intelligent, much like Velma the cartoon character. As a kid, I was a fan of the old Hanna-Barbera Scooby Doo cartoons and used to watch them on the weekend's with my brother, so drawing this editorial cartoon was a lot of fun - a little bit of a stroll down memory lane.
The end of Colorado's legislative session was a mad dash to get things done - to kill some bills and to force others through the process in the final hours, clearing a long, backed up calendar of legislation. Making light of that process, many of those bills that died will likely come back from the dead whether by ballot initiative, rumored special session or during the next legislative session. Why is Shaggy shown here as Rep. Steve Lebsock and Scooby as Speaker Pro Tem Dan Pabon? Well... just because. If it's funny, it works.
Can you pick out the other members of the General Assembly standing on the floor of the House of Representatives in the first panel?
This cartoon was printed in the May 8, 2015, edition of The Colorado Statesman. To subscribe to The Colorado Statesman for my weekly political cartoons and Colorado's premium political reporting and commentary, click here.
Cunning political ploy, or common sense legislative solution? You be the judge. But when it comes to the so called compromise solution in Colorado to raise the Democrat's 2013 15 round firearm magazine limit to 30, the debate was not short on characters. Democrat Colorado state Rep. Joe Salazar, depicted here as Lucy from Charles Shultz's Peanuts was one of the original founders of the compromise concept. Meanwhile, Jon Caldara of the Independence Institute either "took the bait" or "unlike many others, put on his grown up pants and joined in on crafting the compromise." It all, of course, depends on how you look at it.
Dudley Brown (Peppermint Patty - holding pom-poms here - no, not wearing a tutu) and his team at the National Association for Gun Rights on the other hand had no part in it, taking a no-compromise stance and calling the deal between Salazar, Caldara and others a sell-out plan that did little to take back Second Amendment rights lost to the Democratic Party's "grab" of 2013.
Regardless of your take, I enjoyed taking classic Peanuts characters and transforming them into Colorado political firebrands for this cartoon.
One of the fun things about being known as a cartoonist is that friends, colleagues and other associates sometimes approach me with ideas for the drawings. This particular idea came from friend and former colleague, Colorado state Senator Chris Holbert ... yes, a Republican, a gunny - and quite a good shot from what I hear.
Should the POTUS have "fast-track" Trade Promotion Authority? Such a power would allow the President of the United States to forego potential filibusters or amendments to international trade deals with the potential to close a substantial trade accord involving 11 other countries looming on the immediate horizon, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). Congress isn't exactly known for its expeditiousness - taking years to close a deal that could be settled in a matter of hours in a corporate boardroom. But isn't that the point? Congressional Democrats say the bill would give up constitutional authority granted to the legislature to review the TPP along with other future trade agreements - a necessary check and balance - resulting in what they say could end in the unwanted outsourcing of American jobs.
Thus, Obama - had he been on his journey down the Silk Road in the second millennium BC - would have likely encountered this scene, Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi fast fleeing on their camels leaving him and his desire to close a big international deal left in the dust of their quest for constitutional preservation (not that they had one of those back then.)
That's a file box he's holding by the way. They were actually created thousands of years earlier so the Neanderthals could more easily carry their rock presentations from office cave to office cave. Bet you didn't know that little piece of history... you're welcome.