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Nobody said solving the problems of this dysfunctional nation would be easy, but you’d think after all these years the two parties could come to a compromise to end the madness at the border. Rick Perry wants a military solution. How long would it be before it would end in bloodshed and tragedy? Isn’t Ferguson enough of a warning about how a military confrontation can go terribly wrong. And Jerry Brown…Do you really think opening up the immigration floodgates in a state that already has too many people on welfare is a great idea?
It’s just one of the issues that leads me to believe the world (and the two party system) has lost its marbles.
For the record, I know that there will never be a State of Jefferson, or six Californias, or any other configuration of counties or regions. I don’t think there are many folks who actually believe in that fantasy. There are just too many obstacles, starting with the legislature, congress, and the majority of urban voters who like to think of rural California as their personal playground. But the Golden State is and always has been the realm of dreamers, so why not indulge a little?
The majority elitists poo-poo the very concept as a waste of time, a diversion from the mountain of problems that we Californians face in the 21st Century. Drought, wildfires, pollution, crumbling infrastructure…these are things that can only be solved by cooperation and consensus. Some of my fellow bloggers have gone so far to say that we should not even mention the “s” word. It’s just too… stupid.
Maybe so, but our fledgling revolution can serve a purpose, if for no other reason than to get the attention of our coastal
neighbors. In that regard it has been a great success. Reading the letters sections of our metropolitan newspapers and websites has been very enlightening…
“Where do these hillbillies think the money for their roads and schools comes from? Without us they’d be living in third world conditions. Go ahead, dumbasses, secede! But don’t come crying to us when you have to shovel snow off your streets by hand.”
“Here’s some names for the new states… Calabama. Louisifornia. West Appalachia. LOL”
Yes…We thank you, coast people. We know that without you, we wouldn’t know the luxury of shoes. We dimly comprehend your superior wisdom in all things regulatory. It is hard at times, but we understand that your relentless oversight is necessary to protect us from ourselves.
As a native of rural CA, I have witnessed firsthand the plight of rural counties over the past four decades. I have sat through countless local government meetings and felt their frustration as they are bombarded with mandates that may make sense in cities, but have little relevance out here in the sticks. The Democrats like to chant their “keep the government out of my bedroom” mantra, but they certainly don’t feel that way about the rest of the house. They complain about what you put in your kitchen (sugar drinks, GMOs, gluten, red meat, junk food) your bathroom ( mandated politically correct low flush toilets) your garage (herbicides, pesticides, petroleum products) and the attic ( expensive government approved sprinkler system). A good portion of our locally elected representatives’ day is spent attempting to conform to the dictates of Sacramento. The rest of the time is spent trying to suck money out of The Big Cow.
Eventually, The Big Cow comes through. I’m happy that they put up some funds for our dandy new freeway interchange. It will save me valuable minutes, especially if I’m trying to get to the hospital. At my age every minute counts, and I’m surrounded by thousands of others like me. Most live on pensions and Social Security, guaranteed by the government. So yeah, we’re udder addicts. We aren’t going to get rid of government, and we shouldn’t want to.
But it doesn’t mean we need to be treated like the red county stepchild. That’s where the secession movement could have made a difference. If the Boards of Supervisors of the rural counties had united and adopted a realistic petition of grievances, the public opinion might have swayed the The Big Cow. We don’t need to be an independent state, we just need to have a voice in this one. Instead, the north and east remain dysfunctional and divided. The movement is made to look like a half-hearted resurrection of the Confederacy and dismissed as a Tea Party wet dream.
And so we’ll continue to be the butt-end of the secession joke; the urchin standing there with an empty bowl asking, please sir, could I have some more? Maybe the bureaucrats be more generous if we shut up and go with the program. They’ll call it compromise, but nine times out of ten we’ll be the ones doing the compromising. There’s only one way to get any more juice. Suck harder.
Due to massive bottle breakage and damaged barrels at Napa County wineries, authorities have issued a tsunami warning for the lower Napa River, where winos from all over the bay area are expected to congregate with buckets, jugs and winesacks in anticipation of the greatest wine tasting event in history.
Back in 1982, my then father-in-law Frank Kane invited me to submit a cartoon for the San Francisco Press Club’s annual publication, SCOOP. It was a great honor, and part of my reward was sitting next to Charles Schulz at the banquet in December. He was a soft spoken, humble person, no airs or ego. We talked cartoons. (Surprise!)
I believe the gentleman on the left is cartoon historian Bill Blackbeard. (Would’ve loved to chat with him but lost him in the crowd.) I am the fourth from the left standing, and next to me is Schulz. You old timers might recognize KSFO’s Bonnie Chastain seated at left, next to hubby Dave McElhatton of KPIX.
The tradition at SCOOP is to have the yearly cover illustrated by a famous cartoonist, and in 1982, they picked Jim Davis. All the other cartoonists would “roast” him at the banquet. Davis himself was too busy counting his money to attend in person, but the others, including Schulz and Gus Arriola (Gordo) did their part. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to chat with Arriola, who has always been one of my favorite inkslingers. He and his wife disappeared right after the presentation, and didn’t even stick around for the group photo.
A few of the cartoons from SCOOP. Clockwise, from top left: Milton Caniff, Schulz, me, Tom Meyer (who was the Chron’s editorial cartoonist at the time) and Jack Gerkensmeyer.
Scoopy is complaining that I ridicule his physical appearance. (In this case, not a picture, but referring to him as Big Bubba.) Then, for good measure, he states that he could make light of my physical shortcomings, but he would never stoop to such a low blow. Well, Bubba, let me do it for you. Here are a few renditions of me by some of my peers in the cartooning biz. I wouldn’t call any of them flattering, but they all portray me with a thicker hide than crybaby Jeff…
This one was done by Lloyd Dangle, who authored the popular Troubletown in alternative newspapers from coast to coast until his retirement a few years ago. He did this at the San Diego Comic Con, where we shared a table. The sausage reference refers to my marketing ploy, a free can of Vienna Sausage with every $100 purchase. I ate a lot of sausage at that show…
At the left is a drawing of me by caricaturist Jeff Wong, executed in the kitchen of “the Crabpot”, an insane asylum masquerading a house full of cartoonists in Seattle, Washington sometime in 1993. I haven’t gotten any prettier since then…
This sketch was done by Peter Bagge, former editor of Weirdo and creator of the popular alternative comic book series, Hate. Pete actually points out my physical shortcomings, although I think he could have made my hunchback a little more pronounced.
There are more somewhere, but I think you get the point. Cartoonists are generally passive creatures, but once aroused or intoxicated, we are no better than rabid skunks. In any properly organized society we’d be put to sleep. Fortunately, we don’t live in such a society. We have a thing called the 1st amendment, no doubt passed while the founders were drunk and did not realize what chaos they were about to unleash upon an adolescent nation.
Scoopy should know better. After all, he’s the one that uses his little soapbox to rail against The Union year after year, still unable to come to grips with the fact that a bunch of ignorant hillbillies ousted him from the editor’s chair. How could they be so stupid? How could they not be dazzled by his “vision” of a newspaper that only presents his version of the truth, unsullied by opinions from conservatives and anyone else who questions his wisdom in all things journalistic?
And this is the guy who pleads with the paper to raise the bar. Yeah, he’s the guy who will cozy up to you at the fair and then slash you unmercifully on his blog the next morning. I’ve met rattlesnakes who are more trustworthy.
As we head into the fall election, candidates search for a winning strategy to attract voters. Some will rely on straight party line politics, either Republican or Democrat, and hope that the independents will ultimately vote for the lesser of two evils. Those who eschew such labels will attempt to walk the fence and avoid falling into a partisan position.
Back in the early days of the Republic, issues were important, but not as important as a friendly, down home demeanor and perhaps a little bribery. The following passage is taken from The Autobiography of Davy Crockett. He was running for reelection to the Tennessee Legislature, and debating a Doctor Butler, who was running against him…
I told him that when I set out electioneering, I would go prepared to put every man on as good a footing when I left him as how I found him. I would therefore have me a large buckskin hunting-shirt made with a couple of pockets holding about a peck each and that in one I would carry a great twist of tobacco and in the other my bottle of liquor, for I knowed that when I offered him a dram, he would throw out his quid of tobacco to take one and after he had taken his horn, I would go out with my twist and give him another chaw. And in this way he would not be worse off than when I found him and I would be sure to leave him in a first-rate humour.
Eventually, two other candidates joined the race, but Crockett carried the day by two hundred and forty-seven votes. If he were running today, he might substitute the tobacco for some fine Northern California bud. It would be sure to leave the voter in a first-rate humor.