When Republicans turn into rogue elephants.

Kind of a funny situation in California now.

Jerry Brown wants to hurry up and put a proposition on the ballot in June for voters: can he set up a special election to extend higher tax rates on sales, vehicles and income for five years. It’s not exactly raising taxes, but doesn’t lower anything. (Our sales tax is almost 10%, outrageous.)

From the Sacramento Bee:

Brown is negotiating with a splinter group of five GOP lawmakers, whose wish list contains issues that have divided the Capitol for decades.

Republicans want to curb union power and demands, and put a hard cap on spending.  So why are these 5 Republicans acting like rogue elephants (dangerous when separated from their herd!) and acting beguiled by Governor Brown’s tax increases? Beats me.

Business Week says:

Republicans are seeking rollbacks of public employee pensions, a cap on state spending in future budgets and business-friendly regulatory changes…

Steinberg and Brown have complained that Republican lawmakers have not been specific about what they are willing to trade for their votes on a special election.

However, 2 of the Republican runaway leaders said they gave Brown a “wish list.” Oh, Amazon.

Even John and Ken, some of my favorite hosts on  California, here I am, Pick a Political Party!

Yahoo! News Editorial Cartoon on food stamps.

An alert reader notified me that Yahoo! News Comics no longer has a link for me. The list of editorial cartoons is at the bottom – my name is usually under B for Barstow, of course. My political cartoons (Sorry, no link now. Uclick Gocomics threw away 2 years of my cartoons on Slate, Gocomics and Yahoo News when they kicked me out.) are still there, and are still being supplied by Gocomics, but without a link to them…

I think it’s just a temporary glitch – at least I hope so. Otherwise my Christmas will be rather glum… We only get paid by hits, you know! read more

The cop who ordered green ice cream.

Cool creamy ice cream and money for your summer vacation.

My editor at CalWatchdog, Steven Greenhut, like many journalists in many states now, is really interested in pension reform, and what pensions are doing to the rest of the state as they grow more humongous. I haven’t read his new book yet, Plunder: How Public Employee Unions are Raiding Treasuries, Controlling Our Lives and Bankrupting the Nation (I prefer serial killer novels for the summer), but he’s been on the radio and tv talking about it, so it must be great!

Yeah, I had to read up about it to understand the nuances. Or to understand anything, really.  It’s actually very simple: unions (mostly) arranged for moderate to low wages in certain industries, by including benefits on the back end, like retirement pensions, that laborers could feel reassured with.

This makes sense. Until you think about pyramid schemes. I’ve known for a while that the police can retire super young, like 40, and still get a livable pension, while even starting a different career. Since they work so hard, in dangerous situations, it seems fair. But somehow the pensions start to multiply, and with interest rates less than 1%, where will all this new money come from? The city, county and state. Oh.

It becomes more annoying when it’s state workers, who live in cubicles or offices and aren’t in danger at all, unless they jump out a window. I went to a seminar just a couple years ago at the LA Press Club when a smart entrepreneur said that all of us laid off journalists should go get state jobs, with little experience, with wonderful benefits, which you got no matter your age when you started. He teaches courses in Sacramento and other cities, and has a book out on this, too. He made it seem very enticing!

I’m into unions, really – have been in a real Hollywood one, and the NWU, which is sort of a quasi-union. And people should have a comfortable retirement. But I have no idea how to solve this problem, except have people in charge who are economists and realists.

This article by Steve on police and crime isn’t exactly about pensions, but gave me a beginning idea for the cartoon. But the ice screams truck was all mine.

Caption: Policeman: Yes, little girl, I promise to k

ESL doesn’t work. So stop it.

Last week someone emailed me complaining that I “explained” my cartoons. Let’s call him “Chris.”

Well, my main issue is that not only do I often not understand them, it’s that you often admit in the commentary below your cartoons that you have grave doubts that your audience will understand them. I think there was one in which you said you didn’t even get it yourself. Other times, you go to great lengths to explain the cartoon and why you think it’s funny. Chris

Another man wrote me to complain about the cartoon above. (We’ll call him Anthony, since his name is Anthony.)

I saw this cartoon and decided immediately that you are out of touch with reality.  For you information, even school districts in Kentucky, (not known as a bastion of education reform) require all students in high school to take Spanish as a second language. It’s obvious from your cartoon your are a RACIST AND BIGOT!

Spanish is spoken by thirty four million Americans in the U.S. and that number is growing. Only right wing, Bible thumping school districts, like those in Texas, would not teach the fastest growing second language in the U.S.!

A little education for you, since it’s apparent you failed your ESL!

Spanish was the language spoken by the first permanent European settlers in North America. It was brought to the territory of what is the contemporary U.S. in 1513 by Ponce de León. In 1565, the Spaniards, by way of Juan Ponce de Leon, founded St. Augustine, Florida, the oldest, continuously occupied European settlement in the continental U.S. …

Your Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh mentality is apparent!

Chris, meet Anthony.

Actually, I don’t normally explain my cartoons – I write about why I did them, and talk about the news. But in this case, I guess I do have to explain it, since you say you often don’t get them, Chris, and for sure Anthony didn’t get a word of this. And Anthony, I don̵

Meg Whitman and Steve Poizner are rich and Republican!

Who ya going to vote for in the California Primary?

I thought everyone could use some help on this. I’ve been doing cartoons on California and the upcoming elections for almost 6 months now for CalWatchdog, this extraordinary journalism site for a think tank in Northern California, but haven’t posted many of them here yet. It’s time.

Okay, now this was  a pretty impressive campaign move. This Youtube on Tom Campbell as a demon sheep – or is it all other Republicans in general are sheep? – by Republican Carly Fiorina is classic Hollywood, and it went viral in days! Gather calls it “the most bizarre political ad ever.” And oddly enough, the makers of this video, just set up their own website 2 days ago, calling this a trilogy!

I think Fiorina’s…exaggerating. Plus, it’s not my voting dealie, so no comment on that election. More cartoons below.

I found the California Governor campaign much more shocking!! CalWatch journalist Steve Greenhut (formerly of the Orange County Register, and author of the best-selling Plunder: How Public Employee Unions are Raiding Treasuries, Controlling Our Lives) said he thought these exchanges between the 2 candidates for Republican governor were rather silly and much ado about nothing, but I was truly horrified. (the words in the cartoon

Santa was laid off. AGAIN.

This is normally a Christmas cartoon, but should it run before or after Christmas?!

Santa visits the unemployment office cartoon

It seems logical that Santa would visit the unemployment office AFTER Christmas, of course, but those pesky editors just aren’t in the mood to buy Santa Claus anything after Christmas Day – I guess they think the cartoon should be half price! This year, with over 10% unemployed (as Obama confirmed  in the oh so casual before Christmas White House Special that Oprah did, that has already aired twice – yeah, it’s over 10%.) seems like unemployment is any time of the year. There’s a good chance many Santas didn’t get to work this year at all, so I hope this makes sense both before and after Christmas.

Yikes, unemployment went up to 12.5% in California, the Los Angeles Times said!

California still has the fourth-highest unemployment rate in the nation, yes, and its unemployment rate is a whopping 4.5 percentage points higher than it was in October 2008. But the job gains are a significant part of a trend that’s seen the pace of job loss slow as the economy pulled itself back together again.

What the hell do they mean?