Tuesday, March 31, 2009

'The Devil Made Me Blog It' returns for Boston Comic Con!

"The Devil Made Me Blog It: The First 100 Sways," the second print collection of my Web comic "The Devil Made Me Blog It," will be available for purchase at the Boston Comic Con at the Back Bay Events Center in Boston this weekend -- Saturday, April 4, and Sunday, April 5.
"The First 100 Sways" chronicles the opening months of the Obama administration, as well as the events that preceded it, from Election Day to Obama's Cabinet decisions to the inaugural festivities in Washington, DC. Look for cameos from former president George W. Bush, new Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and some extraterrestrial visitors.
Also look for "The First 100 Sways" to be on sale at selected comic book stores in the next couple of weeks.
"The Devil Made Me Blog It" is a regular feature of my blog, http://richardtenorio.blogspot.com. The strip made its debut in print form at the Comic Con and stores across the greater Boston area last fall, just in time for Halloween and Election Day. For more information, email me at rich.tenorio@gmail.com.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Supporters: Would Israel Have "Lost Them Anyway"?

"Could've tried just a little bit harder

Kissed you just a little bit sweeter

Held on just a little bit longer

Dug down just a little bit deeper" ~Toby Keith

Even if he had taken all these measures, the imaginary lover in TK's country anthem notes to his ex, he would have "Lost You Anyway." The State of Israel, however, is hoping this won't be the case with its support abroad.
"Global opinion surveys are being closely examined and the Foreign Ministry has been granted an extra $2 million to improve Israel’s image through cultural and information diplomacy," the New York Times reported.
Why the push to "improve Israel's image"? Well, the country has recently concluded a war with Hamas in the Gaza Strip that prompted accusations of atrocities committed by the Israeli Defense Forces. And the unsavory Avigdor Lieberman, head of the Yisrael Beytenu party, has risen to the forefront with calls for deportation of Israeli Arabs who won't take a loyalty oath. With friends like these...well, let the Times finish the sentence.
The gap between Israelis and many liberal American Jews could be seen Tuesday in
a blog by Bradley Burston, who writes on the Web site of the left-leaning
newspaper Haaretz. He said that while visiting Los Angeles he faced many
questions that amounted to “What is wrong with these people, your friends, the
He quoted an article by Anne Roiphe, an American Jewish liberal,
which said that witnessing the popularity of Mr. Lieberman in Israel made her
feel “as if my spouse had cheated on me with Mussolini.”
In the Boston area, where this correspondent is based, organizations such as Combined Jewish Philanthropies and the Jewish Community Relations Council have led efforts to reach out to American Jews, sponsoring lunchtime lectures by Israeli authorities such as Hebrew University professor Reuven Hazan and activist Avi Melamed to explain aspects of Israeli politics to Jews in the diaspora. And that's important, given that other voices in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict have been far from silent -- like those who hold "Israeli Apartheid Week" events.
It also sounds like the Israeli reaction to criticism of its actions contains more seriousness than spin. That's important, too, because it shows a more realistic response than what it did when it invaded Lebanon in 1982. Quoth Thomas Friedman in "From Beirut to Jerusalem":
The Hadassah women and the big donors to the United Jewish appeal were
bussed up to East Beirut and taken by the Israeli army on special tours of the
front, where they got to pose in flak jackets atop mud-splattered tanks and peer
through binoculars at real live artillery blasting real live "terrorists." The
really big donors -- $100,000 a year and above -- got special intelligence
briefings with topographical maps. (132)
When Israel invaded Lebanon, we got the massacres of Sabra and Shatila. Let's hope that in the wake of its current crises with its neighbors and within, Israel acts humanely -- and conveys that message to people abroad.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Let a hundred economic crises bloom

China-US cartoon, originally uploaded by rbtenorio.

To paraphrase Chairman Mao, this looks like the state of the US economy. And China's worried -- Premier Wen Jiabao said so last week. Satan thinks President Obama can capitalize on Beijing's fears, though, and lays out his plan in the latest episode of "The Devil Made Me Blog It"!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Frankie Goes to Alaska, Will Chavez Follow?

Last month, Gov. Sarah Palin accompanied the Rev. Franklin Graham, son of famed pastor Billy Graham, on a relief mission to western Alaska. Franklin Graham is president and CEO of a nondenominational evangelical Christian aid organization, Samaritan's Purse, and it was in that capacity that he distributed 7,700 pounds of food (with almost 40,000 more potentially on the way) to needy people in two southwestern villages, Marshall and Russian Mission. Alaska's governor, a potential 2010 Republican nominee for president, wants to see more such efforts.
"Palin says government is not the answer and we should depend more on public-private partnerships to reach out to people in need," KTUU reported.
But will Palin draw the line on certain partnerships, as some of her constituents have done in the past? Three years ago, Alaskans made headlines for refusing offers of another commodity -- oil -- from the Venezuelan state-subsidized company Citgo, shortly after Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez called then-US President George W. Bush "the devil."
"The Aleutian Pribilof Islands Association, a native nonprofit organization that would have handled the heating oil donation on behalf of 291 households in Nelson Lagoon, Atka, St. Paul and St. George, rejected the offer because of the insults Chavez has hurled at Bush," Fox News reported.
Since then, Alaska's gotten a new governor (Frank Murkowski was in charge then), America's gotten a new president ... and conditions among the poor in Alaska seem to have stayed as bad as they were three years ago. "For years, Alaska natives have accused the state and federal governments of sending too little money to their tiny, far-flung communities, where fuel and grocery prices are bloated by the high costs of delivery by plane and barge," Fox noted during the Chavez controversy. And even though Palin and Graham brought food last month, "the village of Marshall says it needs more long-term solutions," KTUU reported. "The high cost of fuel has made it a harsh winter."
We shall see whether the situation gets dire enough for Palin to welcome Chavez to the Last Frontier.

(Hat tip to my Ohio source who mentioned Alaskans' rejection of Chavez.)

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Rush Limbaugh Goes Sleeveless

Michelle Obama-Rush Limbaugh, originally uploaded by rbtenorio.

Fashion statements and political statements -- both have created controversies lately. First Lady Michelle Obama drew criticism for wearing a sleeveless outfit for her official portrait photo, while conservative radio talk-show host Rush Limbaugh got into an argument with party chairman Michael Steele -- after which Steele apologized to El Rushbo. Liberal Susannah, conservative Bob, and a neutral cat assess the situation with some statements of their own!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

US Drug Craze to Blame for Mexico Unrest

Fourteen years ago, when I was a high school senior applying to college, I wrote an admissions essay to Harvard lamenting the popularity of American goods in my father's homeland, Mexico -- that, suffocated by American products, Mexicans had no chance to develop a national identity. Alas, it seems this is the least of Mexico's problems today.
The country is beset by drug cartels that terrorize government officials and the general public. Corruption prevents the government from combating the problem more effectively. The violence has unnerved the United States, whose military has discussed the possibility of the collapse of the Mexican state and whose government and universities warn students to stay away from Mexico on spring break.
Something tells me that yet another American import is creating the havoc in Mexico: The US yearning for illegal drugs such as cocaine, heroin and marijuana. The northwestern Mexican state of Sinaloa, site of much of the drug violence, "is the starting point for much of the drugs that pass through Mexico to the United States," the Washington Post reported last year.
The financial aspect of the drug trade seems to make the problem harder to solve. Sinaloa economist Guillermo Ibarra had some revealing words for The Post:
"If you took drug money out of Sinaloa, half the automobile dealerships would fail," Ibarra said. "Half the restaurants would fail, the real estate market would collapse. Even if you only reduced drug money by 9 percent, there would be an immediate recession, a crisis much like the subprime mortgage crisis in the United States."
I'm not sure how best the Mexican government could respond. Strengthening the economy might help, weakening the financial impact of the drug trade and making less people dependent on it. But these are dicey economic times across the globe, and it is hard to see either the Mexican economy, or the stability of the country, getting better any time soon.