Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Putdowns for Patdowns

TSA Patdowns, originally uploaded by rbtenorio.

If you've gone on an airplane for a Thanksgiving trip this year, chances are you've endured the TSA's latest security measures, including full-body scans and patdowns. Satan and Frank Faust gauge the effectiveness of such measures in the latest episode of "The Devil Made Me Blog It"!

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Can Aung San Suu Kyi Succeed? You Betcha!

Palin-Aung San Suu Kyi Cartoon, originally uploaded by rbtenorio.

The government of Myanmar has released Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi from house arrest and all signs are that she will retake the helm of the Burmese democracy movement. Yet could she work more effectively behind the scenes? Sarah Palin, who knows a thing or two about grass-roots movements, puts on her American tourist attire to chat up Suu Kyi in the latest episode of "The Devil Made Me Blog It"!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Palin's Unbearable Reviewers

Palin TV Cartoon, originally uploaded by rbtenorio.

Sometimes a cartoon just draws itself -- as was the case with this one, a reaction to the New Yorker review of Sarah Palin's upcoming reality TV show, in the latest episode of "The Devil Made Me Blog It"!

Friday, November 5, 2010

GOP to Ride Sausage Gravy Train?

Sausage Gravy Cartoon, originally uploaded by rbtenorio.

Ohio Republican Congressman John Boehner will become the next Speaker of the House ... and Satan takes him out to Bob Evans to celebrate with that Buckeye State delicacy -- sausage gravy -- in the latest episode of "The Devil Made Me Blog It"!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Can Deval Tap Into Right Outlets?

Wrentham, Massachusetts, is not only home to GOP Sen. Scott Brown ... it's home to a storied collection of outlet stores. It is these "outlet voters" -- the suburbanites and exurbanites of southern and central Massachusetts -- who will tell the final story of the Bay State governor's race in 2010.
Outlet voters swarmed to the Republican checkout line to vote for two popular members of their party in the last 10 years: Mitt Romney in the governor's race in 2002; and Brown in the special election for Senate earlier this year. Both candidates won.
You see the power in these outlet voters when you watch them at non-political events, from shopping at the IKEA in Stoughton to cheering on the Pats at Gillette Stadium. It was these outlet voters that the great New York Times columnist David Brooks unconsciously evoked when he penned his great paean to the exurbs back in the George W. Bush era. (Yes, their counterparts nationwide loved Dubya.)
For Gov. Deval Patrick, a Democrat who represents everything the outlet voters dislike -- taxing the rich to help the poor, more social services, increased government in general -- the key to winning this election is straight out of the Sun Tzu playbook: If an enemy is strong, avoid them. I'm predicting and hoping Patrick -- who represents more of what I like than Republican rival Charlie Baker -- will avoid them enough to win this race.
He has avoided them in one way by not stirring up their wrath like fellow Democrats in the past. Former state treasurer Shannon O'Brien offended their sensibilities when she joked about having a tattoo ... paving the way for Mitt's win eight years ago. Current state AG Martha Coakley slandered Fenway Park and Curt Schilling, double no-nos that cost her brownie points against Brown. Deval has played it more prudently.
He also has the fortune of a spoiler in the race, current treasurer Tim "Pick Six" Cahill. Polls report a consistent six percent for the independent from Quincy, which is sort of in the northern hemisphere of the South Shore outlet belt. Cahill's Andrew Jackson-like populism -- in debates, he spoke up for the spoils system and likened his style to the Founding Fathers' -- may resonate with outlet voters who'd otherwise go for Baker.
There are, of course, pitfalls. Patrick seems to have all but written off courting outlet voters directly, ceding the attack-ad space to Baker during sporting events on TV and talk radio. (Kudos to Coakley and Democratic auditor candidate Suzanne Bump for not following the governor's example here.) This puts a lot on Cahill's shoulders, and Cahill does not seem to have any ads during these times either. Worse yet, the treasurer has run an opera-buffa campaign that overshadows the candidate's decent performance in the debates.
Still, Patrick may have done just enough to outmaneuver the outlet voters and get the rest of Massachusetts to vote for him today.

Monday, November 1, 2010

MA Governor's Race: Mediocrity vs. Shortsightedness

Governor Patrick, you are a tough person to support. I will do so anyway, because your opponent, Charlie Baker, makes you look a little bit better.
Patrick and Baker are neck-and-neck in this Massachusetts governor's race, with Patrick's neck being a tad taller as of October 27. In a Rasmussen poll from that day, Patrick outpolled Baker 46 percent to 44. I hope that lead stands on Election Day.
Four years ago, Patrick was an intriguing insurgent, beating out Democratic Party rivals who were more establishment (Tom Reilly) or more big-money (Chris Gabrieli) and then a Republican who combined a bit of both (Kerry "Muffy" Healey). Yet as he defends his incumbency, it's clear that his administration has not lived up to its promise.
He has not delivered on the property-tax reform he promised ... and he's added new taxes to an economically hurting Commonwealth. He also fought a protracted war on a casino issue that seems like a shortsighted way to bring more dollars to Massachusetts.
That said, he does have some accomplishments to point to. He passed the politically unappetizing but pragmatic CORI reform. He's fought for green jobs in the wind industry that look more sensible in the wake of the BP oil spill. He took on the police unions in another battle, this one on flaggers, and emerged with a victory of sorts.
When I met Patrick at the State House on Inauguration Day in Boston in January 2007, he seemed positive and welcoming -- not just to me, but also to all the citizens of Massachusetts who stood in line to greet him that day. It seems that he has kept that sense of optimism despite the economic difficulties that began in the fall of 2008 ... and it is that hopefulness which strengthens Patrick's case for reelection.
In my spare time I draw cartoons about a modern-day Faust and the devil, and Baker has certainly made his own share of temptations for voters: Cut state government ... cut taxes ... cut spending projects. These seem even more misleading than Patrick's past promises to cut property taxes. Both of these Big Government/Big Business veterans know that government has been trending bigger, not smaller, over time ... and the tax increases did not begin with Patrick but rather with the "fee hikes" of his GOP predecessor, Mitt Romney.
Patrick deserves a second four years on Beacon Hill. But really Deval, I hope four years from now there'll be more achievements to tout than windmills and orange flags.