Saturday, December 27, 2008

Obama's Purpose-Driven Inaugural

Rick Warren Cartoon
Originally uploaded by rbtenorio

President-elect Barack Obama has chosen Pastor Rick Warren to deliver the invocation at Obama's inaugural. Does this represent a betrayal to Obama's supporters? Satan and his liberal pal discuss this in the latest episode of "The Devil Made Me Blog It"!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

From Salman Rushdie to shoe-throwing

ARLINGTON, Mass. -- Tuesday's snowfall has created a holiday atmosphere across the greater Boston area, and Christmas tunes abound on radio stations. The news headlines, however, focus on another religion: Islam.

On Sunday, Iraqi journalist Muntadar al-Zaidi threw a pair of shoes at President Bush during Dubya's farewell visit to the nation. Shows of support for al-Zaidi took place in the Middle East, and fellow journalists explain his gesture as one of contempt for the president.

It's easy for some Westerners to paint al-Zaidi as representative of Islamic sentiment. Easy, but misleading. In a story depicting approval of al-Zaidi, the New York Times nevertheless reported that "A number of Iraqis said they were dismayed by what Mr. Zaidi had done," that Lebanese "reactions varied by political affiliation," and that across the Middle East, people "deplored Mr. Zaidi’s act as a breach of respect or of traditional Arab hospitality toward guests, even if they shared the sentiment." Yet the headline read: "In Iraqi’s Shoe-Hurling Protest, Arabs Find a Hero. (It’s Not Bush.) "

This misrepresentation is only the continuation of a trend.

Consider another conflict: the Iranian Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini's 1988 fatwa against author Salman Rushdie for his portrayal of Islam in his novel "The Satanic Verses." Twenty years later, people still interpret the fatwa as emblematic of Muslims' reaction, when the actual situation shows more nuance. "When Saudi Arabia tried at the end of 1988 to get the novel banned in Muslim countries worldwide, few responded except those with large subcontinental populations, such as South Africa or Malaysia," spiked reported. "Even in Iran the book was openly available and was reviewed in many newspapers."

Are some Muslims upset at the West? Yes. Is some of this anger justified? Rushdie merely wrote a book; al-Zaidi's anger has more concrete causes. (A Baghdad editor "said he recalled that in (the) last year his colleague told him that 'the criminal Bush' would pay two-fold for the crimes he committed against innocent Iraqis," the Times reported.) Should we continue portraying these conflicts as pitting all Muslims against the West? No. There are some who see the nuance -- including our much-maligned president. "Mothers and fathers and children across the Islamic world, and all the world, share the same fears and aspirations," he told the West Point graduates of 2002. "In poverty, they struggle. In tyranny, they suffer. And as we saw in Afghanistan, in liberation they celebrate."

Let's hope the present anger dies down. And let's hope that we in the West can see the nuances in thought across Iraq and the Islamic world.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

George Bush's Shoe-manship

Shoe Cartoon
Originally uploaded by rbtenorio

While visiting Iraq, President Bush had two shoes thrown at him by Iraqi journalist Muntadar al-Zaidi. Satan thinks Dubya should have responded creatively, as he explains in the latest episode of "The Devil Made Me Blog It"!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Satan to Blagojevich: Stage a Sit-In!

Blagojevich Cartoon
Originally uploaded by rbtenorio

Good news from Chicago: The window manufacturers' sit-in has succeeded. Bad news from Chicago: Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich has been charged with putting President-elect Barack Obama's former Senate seat up for sale. Those under consideration for the seat, according to news sources, included Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., Obama White House advisor-to-be Valerie Jarrett, and a deputy governor.
What can Blagojevich do? Satan suggests he take a page from the window-makers in the latest episode of "The Devil Made Me Blog It"!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Damp day for politicians

ARLINGTON -- Dead leaves paper sidewalks. Raindrops ripple across puddles. It is a damp day in the greater Boston area.
In Massachusetts and in the nation in general, accusations of misdeeds have dampened political fortunes. On Tuesday, Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich became the latest politician to face charges -- in his case, that he allegedly put President-elect Barack Obama's recently vacated US Senate seat up for sale.
Blagojevich joined a trio of Boston-area public figures to confront politically damaging situations. Lorraine Henderson, who supervised the Port of Boston as its Homeland Security Director, met federal accusations of hiring an illegal immigrant to clean her condo. Meanwhile, the feds have charged both Boston City Councilor Chuck Turner and ex-State Sen. Dianne Wilkerson with multiple offenses stemming from the same probe into the alleged extortion of a nightclub operator.
The accusations against three of these public figures -- Blagojevich, Turner, and Wilkerson -- are rooted in that admirable American trait of entrepreneurship -- adding to one's personal profit. The accusations against the fourth -- Henderson -- are connected with another admirable American trait, the beautification and preservation of a home (which has the side virtue of providing employment for others).
When the vices signified by these accusations are considered, however, against whatever subliminal merits they contain, it shows that the national enthusiasm for politics created by the election of Obama should be tempered by a consideration that for every inspirational public figure, there are others whose misdeeds are waiting to rise to the surface and cast a gloom over politics like falling raindrops.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Baroque Obama

Messiah Cartoon
Originally uploaded by rbtenorio

Satan and his liberal friend celebrate the holiday season by attending a performance of Handel's "Messiah" -- and drawing a modern-day parallel to President-elect Barack Obama -- in the latest episode of "The Devil Made Me Blog It"!

Merci to my muse for her help with this one.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Mumbai: India's 9/11?

Mumbai Cartoon
Originally uploaded by rbtenorio

People have been comparing the Mumbai terror attacks in India with the attacks on the US on Sept. 11, 2001. How much validity does this comparison have? And how much should we look at past terror attacks in India -- like the Delhi train bombings and the Mumbai train bombings -- when considering the current situation in the country? Read more in the latest episode of "The Devil Made Me Blog It."

My sympathies go out to all of the victims of terrorism in India.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Thoughts on turning 30

Today is my birthday, faithful readers, and this year I turned 30. A few songs on the radio seemed appropriate -- John Lennon singing "I'm just sitting here watching the wheels go round and round," and Toby Keith observing, "I'm not as good as I once was, but I'm as good once as I ever was."
Some people see three decades as the confirmation of adulthood. Sixties-era protesters wouldn't trust anyone over 30, and twenty-first-century twentysomethings angst over leaving behind the Never-Never Land of their youth. There are even books of wisdom from people who've already passed the triple-decade milestone, stuffed with advice for those observing their 30th birthday.
My advice? Remember that there are plenty of reasons for 30-year-olds, including this one, to feel both old and young. After all, I'm still not old enough to be president. And as for any adulthood angst? Thanks to my Bar Mitzvah in 1991, I joined the ranks of adulthood long ago. Summing up my feelings on this day, I'll go with another country song I heard on the radio, this one from Jo Dee Messina: "I guess I'm doin' alright."

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Hillary's Imaginary Independence

Hillary Cartoon
Originally uploaded by rbtenorio

So now the media wonders whether Sen. Hillary Clinton -- who is President-elect Barack Obama's pick for Secretary of State -- will get to keep her independence in the Obama Administration. But as a senator and former presidential candidate, is Clinton really that independent? Read more in the latest episode of "The Devil Made Me Blog It"!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Barack betrays liberals, vindicates Bush

Homeland Security Cartoon
Originally uploaded by rbtenorio

President-elect Barack Obama is considering who to head up the Department of Homeland Security. (Sources say he's favoring Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano.) But Satan wonders whether a true liberal president would ask a more basic question: Should I even continue a program associated with George W. Bush? Find out more in the latest episode of "The Devil Made Me Blog It"!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Dubya fans can't get even a quantum of solace

On Saturday, my muse and I saw two movies -- "W" and "Quantum of Solace" -- at the Somerville Theater. While only one was a portrayal of Bush, and while only one was truly fictional, both contained lessons in how we see the Bush Administration.
First, the protagonist of each film wants revenge. Josh Brolin's Bush seeks revenge on Saddam Hussein after the Iraqi leader's alleged involvement in an assassination plot against Dubya's dad, ex-president George H.W. Bush. (The Huffington Post disputes whether such a plot existed.) Daniel Craig's 007, meanwhile, pursues revenge for the death of his lover, Vesper Lynd.
Just as common as the revenge element are conspiracy theories. Which is more believable -- Richard Dreyfuss' Dick Cheney arguing that an occupation of Iraq would help the US rule the oil market and preserve American global hegemony? (Um, no comment.) Or Bond villain Dominic Greene sparking distrust of environmental groups through his portrayal of an eco-do-gooder with bad motives? (He wants to manipulate the Bolivian water supply.)
Revenge and conspiracies abound in both films, and maybe it's no mistake that they each contain characters who go by one initial -- Judi Dench's M and, of course, the president. What this also reveals, though, is how disturbing the presidency has become when the cartoonish elements of a cloack-and-dagger flick permeate it.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Barack Obama, Sarah Palin, and Big Oil

Oil Cartoon
Originally uploaded by rbtenorio

President-elect Barack Obama is already talking about his environmentally-friendly energy ideas, which might adversely affect the oil industry (but also help greener industries). Mephistopheles yearns for the oil-friendlier ideas of another politician, one Sarah Palin, in the latest episode of "The Devil Made Me Blog It"!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Bush 'Strategery' on Obama

Bush Cartoon
Originally uploaded by rbtenorio

On Monday, President Bush welcomed his successor, Barack Obama, to the White House. Bush explained the details of the presidency to Obama. But wouldn't it have been a nice parting ploy if Dubya somehow sabotaged his presentation? Satan envisions such a scenario in the latest episode of "The Devil Made Me Blog It"!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Obama to create a "Hope Tax"?

Taxes Cartoon
Originally uploaded by rbtenorio

President-elect Barack Obama is busy putting together his economic team. What will be his first major economic step? Mephistopheles thinks our 44th president will soon institute a "Hope Tax" in the latest episode of "The Devil Made Me Blog It"!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Obama: How he won, and what's next

On Tuesday night, Boston felt like Times Square on New Year's Eve. People celebrated the end of one era and the beginning of another, only this time it was the end of the George W. Bush years and the ascension of Sen. Barack Obama as the 44th US president.
The crowd at an election-eve party at the Fairmount Copley Plaza erupted when televised reports announced Obama's victory. People jumped up and down, cheered, and chanted. Later, they gathered on the steps of the Boston Public Library, high-fiving and playing musical instruments. Car horns honked on the surrounding streets, and it felt heartening to hear Boston drivers slam down on their steering wheels in joy instead of the usual anger.
Obama will enter office with several advantages: public support reflected in once-red states turning blue (like Ohio), a gift for communication, a reputation for diplomacy and bipartisanship. Yet he also has question marks -- he has only served two years as a US senator, and this inexperience has made him seem naive when discussing foreign policy.
Let us hope, however, that he will fulfill his promise as our 44th president, and that he will eventually turn doubts over his inexperience into praise for his achievements.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

God endorses Obama

God Cartoon
Originally uploaded by rbtenorio

It's Election Day, and a process that started going into motion two years ago is approaching its end. For this historic occasion, I've brought together two experienced pundits -- namely, God and Satan -- to talk about the final stages of the campaign and, of course, which candidate they prefer. Find out more in the latest episode of "The Devil Made Me Blog It"!

Friday, October 31, 2008

Scary spells in Salem

Halloween Cartoon
Originally uploaded by rbtenorio

Happy Halloween, everyone! To celebrate, Mephistopheles and his liberal pal take a break from politics and go trick-or-treating in a most apropos locale -- Salem, Massachusetts -- in the latest episode of "The Devil Made Me Blog It"!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

"The Devil Made Me Blog It" comic book update

The Devil Made Me Blog it
Originally uploaded by rbtenorio

"The Devil Made Me Blog It" is enjoying a successful opening week as a comic book. It debuted at five stores in the greater Boston area.
On Tuesday night, my muse and I, along with friends, celebrated the release at a party at Hub Comics. Thanks to all who came, as well as to the folks at Hub Comics who allowed us to hold the party there.
On Sunday, Nov. 2, I will be exhibiting the book and selling copies at the Boston Comic Con in the Back Bay. Stay tuned for more news! And enjoy a look at the cover page! If you'd like to purchase copies, please contact me at

Monday, October 27, 2008

"The Devil Made Me Blog It" is now a comic book!

Just in time for Halloween and Election Day, Rich Tenorio's Web comic "The Devil Made Me Blog It" has made its print debut as a comic book. "The Devil Made Me Blog It" has appeared in print form in five locations in the greater Boston area -- and potentially more! 
 A compilation of Tenorio's weekly blog postings plus heretofore-unseen samples from his sketchbooks, "The Devil Made Me Blog It" chronicles the 2008 presidential saga to date -- from Barack Obama and John McCain choosing their vice presidents to the subsequent presidential debates to the accompanying dramas of the Iraq War and the economic crisis.
 "The Devil Made Me Blog It" is currently sold at the following locations:
 Hub Comics, 19 Bow Street, Somerville, MA 02143 / (617) 718-0987 /
Comicazi, 407 Highland Ave., Somerville, MA 02144 / (617) 666-2664 /
The Million Year Picnic, 99 Mt. Auburn Street (downstairs), Cambridge, MA 02138 / (617) 492-6763
New England Comics, 14A Eliot Street, Cambridge, MA 02138 / (617) 354-5352
Harrison's Comics & Collectibles, 252 Essex Street, Salem, MA 01970 / (978) 741-0786
 Read "The Devil Made Me Blog It" each week at For more info, please email

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Volunteering for McCain -- I'm Lovin' It

McDonald's Cartoon
Originally uploaded by rbtenorio

McCain and McDonald's -- these are the two themes Satan tries to tie together, using his liberal friend's fondness for both the Arizona senator and a No. 2 value meal (Quarter Pounder with cheese) in the latest episode of "The Devil Made Me Blog It"! Merci to my muse for suggesting a Red Sox connection as well. I got the poll numbers from RealClearPolitics.

PS - On a serious note, my best wishes go out to Barack Obama for his grandmother's health.

Friday, October 17, 2008

McCain's fix-it man

Joe the Plumber Cartoon
Originally uploaded by rbtenorio

John McCain has a new buddy, Joe the Plumber, whom the senator talked about so much at the last presidential debate with Barack Obama on Wednesday. Does Joe translate into working-class appeal for McCain? Find out in the latest episode of "The Devil Made Me Blog It"!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

State and community colleges need support

The political leaders of my home state of Massachusetts -- Gov. Deval Patrick, Senate President Therese Murray, and House Speaker Sal DiMasi -- want to make budget cuts due to a worsening economic situation. One area that could be affected is state and community colleges.
Budget cuts, which Patrick will announce at 5 p.m. today, "could trigger ... tuition hikes at public colleges and universities," the Boston Globe reports. "(Higher) education administrators are scrambling to reduce spending after receiving word from state officials that their subsidies will be cut by an estimated 5.6 percent."
Patrick, Murray and DiMasi should leave state and community colleges untouched. The young people of Massachusetts, whose parents may face uncertain job prospects, need affordable educational venues. Attending the University of Massachusetts at Amherst or Bunker Hill Community College keeps tuition bills down -- and increases the likelihood that undergraduate talent will stay in Massachusetts after graduating. The fact that state and community colleges offer such excellent academic centers as the William Monroe Trotter Institute for the Study of Black History and Culture at UMass-Boston is an added incentive.
I call on Patrick, Murray, and DiMasi to avoid making any cuts to this vital section of the state budget, and encourage anyone else so concerned to do the same.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

A red October for McCain

Foliage Cartoon
Originally uploaded by rbtenorio

Autumn is a season of change, and Lucifer likes the latest change in Sen. John McCain's presidential campaign. Yet is McCain's seeming abandonment of negative politics for real? After all, it was only a few days ago that he made his latest careless remark about Sen. Barack Obama. Find out more in a foliage-themed episode of "The Devil Made Me Blog It"!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Obama tru$tworthy on economy?

Obama Economy Cartoon
Originally uploaded by rbtenorio

In the presidential debate with Sen. John McCain on Tuesday night, Sen. Barack Obama came across as compassionate in discussing the economic crisis with members of the audience. Does this qualify him to lead our nation? Mephistopheles thinks not in the latest episode of "The Devil Made Me Blog It"!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

McCain impresses on foreign policy

Sen. John McCain closed his presidential debate with Sen. Barack Obama Tuesday night on a strong note, sounding experienced, realistic, and occasionally witty on foreign policy.
"(You) have to temper your decisions with the ability to beneficially affect the situation and realize you're sending America's most precious asset, American blood, into harm's way," McCain said. "I know those situations. I've been in them all my life. And I can tell you right now the security of your young men and women who are serving in the military are my first priority right after our nation's security."
McCain preached pursuit of Osama bin Laden and congratulated himself for supporting the surge in Iraq -- neither a surprising stance. Yet he also showed thoughtfulness. When moderator Tom Brokaw asked whether he thought Russia under Vladimir Putin was an evil empire, McCain replied, "Maybe," then clarified: "Depends on how we respond to Russia and it depends on a lot of things. If I say yes, then that means that we're reigniting the old Cold War. If I say no, it ignores their behavior."
Humor and nuance, both welcome. Obama, by contrast, sounded naive at times, such as when he said, "I believe that we should have direct talks -- not just with our friends, but also with our enemies -- to deliver a tough, direct message to Iran that, if you don't change your behavior, then there will be dire consequences."
Economic issues are dominating the headlines lately. Yet if you think that foreign policy, and not ecomonic, issues will dominate the term of the next president, McCain looked like the better candidate on Tuesday night.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Sarah Palin and Yom Kippur

Yom Kippur Cartoon
Originally uploaded by rbtenorio

Starting on Wednesday evening, Jews across the world (including myself) will celebrate the holiday of Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, which lasts until Thursday night. This gives us a chance to start the New Year of 5769 by atoning for our sins before God ... including the political "sin" of liking a certain vice presidential candidate, Sarah Palin! Read more in the latest episode of "The Devil Made Me Blog It"! Guest-starring God.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Be Sensitive, Support Sarah Palin

Palin Cartoon
Originally uploaded by rbtenorio

What's the best way to convince a liberal to support Sarah Palin? Make an appeal to their sensitive side! In the wake of the Palin-Joe Biden vice presidential debate, this is Satan's tactic in the latest episode of "The Devil Made Me Blog It"!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Why Congress bucked the bailout

Looks like it's easier to convince Congress to get into Iraq than it is to get us out of an economic crisis.
President Bush's bailout bill failed in the House on Tuesday, so today it's the Senate's turn to vote on an aid package. Why is this slam dunk becoming an airball? Or, for non-sports fans, why are our Congressmen and women refusing to go along with Bush when he had such an easy time convincing the legislative branch to go to war with Iraq in 2002?
I'd say that the House, at least, has displayed more partisanship -- on both the left and the right -- in recent years. Those who voted against the bailout bill on Tuesday include not only hard-core right-wingers like Texas Rep. Ron Paul and California Congressman Duncan Hunter, but also such progressive phenoms as Dennis Kucinich of Ohio and Carol Shea-Porter of New Hampshire.
Congressmen and women aren't so willing anymore to abandon their principles for their party and/or president. But is this demonstration of principle may lead us into as disastrous a spot as the result of the pragmatism of 2002.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Liberals partying like it's 1929?

Crisis Cartoon
Originally uploaded by rbtenorio

The US economy is in financial freefall, with the Bush Administration trying to rescue it with a Brobdingnagian bailout. (The House of Representatives rejected it today.) Yet amid all the dire forecasts, are liberals secretly (or not-so-secretly) loving the sight of Wall Street laid low? Find out in "The Devil Made Me Blog It"!

Friday, September 26, 2008

McCain's Brain

Brain Cartoon
Originally uploaded by rbtenorio

New developments in the worlds of politics and science this week. The research community learned that 12 athletes had decided to donate their brains to science. Meanwhile, presidential-race watchers witnessed Sen. John McCain suspend his campaign due to his concern over the economy and desire to work toward a solution. McCain also requested that his debate tonight with rival Sen. Barack Obama be postponed. That didn't happen ... but Lucifer sure liked the way McCain's mind works. Read more in ... "The Devil Made Me Blog It"!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Ruminations and reflections

Welcome to the first installment of my weekly R&R ... only this R&R stands for "Ruminations and Reflections." I'd like to make this a Wednesday feature. Here goes:
At sunset on Tuesday, my muse and I went to an interfaith event at Harvard University. Muslim students had an opportunity to hear the Iftar prayers recited during the month of Ramadan. About 50 students came to worship. After the service, everyone got to sample Middle Eastern cuisine. Members of student cultural groups performed in concert, and then the audience listened to an address from Sally Quinn, founder and co-moderator of the "On Faith" blog hosted by Newsweek and the Washington Post. Quinn reflected on the role of religion in contemporary culture, criticizing right-wing fundamentalism and encouraging students to learn more about religion in general.
I appreciated that Harvard made room for religion; it's a subject on which the United States needs to stay up-to-date.

Monday, September 22, 2008

This Great Depression is greatly exaggerated

The Devil Made Me Blog It - 9.22.08
Originally uploaded by rbtenorio

Welcome to the first official edition of my new political comic strip, "The Devil Made Me Blog It." Today's version focuses on what everyone, from NPR to the Boston Globe to Pat Buchanan, is calling an economic crisis. But is it really a crisis? Methinks the media doth protest too much. Find out more in ... "The Devil Made Me Blog It"!