Wednesday, May 27, 2009

My take on Sonia Sotomayor

Well, it didn't take long for others to ask my take on President Obama's pick for the Supreme Court, Sonia Sotomayor. The quick answer: I'm still working on that.

However, I will say that it kind of bugs me that she wasn't picked so much on her judicial abilities as she was picked based on her race and gender. Would a white male of the very same ideological qualities and personality type been nominated? So what does that make Sotomayor - a token Hispanic and woman? Is that something to be proud of?

I've always said all along that if I am ever fortunate to be famous for my opinion writing or my editorial cartoons (or both), then I want to be known for those skills alone, and not that I happen to be Hispanic while exercising those skills. Don't get me wrong - I am proud to be Hispanic, and I most certainly want Hispanics to succeed in life, and I certainly support Hispanics that have "made it" to try to be role models for other Hispanics to follow in their footsteps.


...if I'm ever given the privilege of being a role model for other opinion writers or editorial cartoonists (regardless of their race or gender), then I want it to be because I have proven to be that good at those skills. You know what I'm saying? In other words, I want to be known as an opinion writer and edtoonist who is Hispanic - I DON'T want to be known as a Hispanic opinion writer and edtoonist, because being Hispanic is NOT why I write and draw.

I am Hispanic - I had no control over that, it simply is what I was born into. Again, while I'm proud to be Hispanic, I am not Hispanic because I worked at it and became one; I can't take an achievement pride over being Hispanic, because I did nothing to become one.

However, I am also proud of being an opinion writer and an edtoonist. That IS something that I worked at. And that I happen to be a Hispanic who is from the "wrong side of the tracks" and still became a writer and artist is gravy.

Some of you might be thinking that I want to hide my Hispanicness. Far from it. However, being a "Hispanic writer and artist" is too limiting, because this implies that I will limit myself to "Hispanic" themes and topics (however that is defined). No, I demand the freedom that comes with being a writer and artist PERIOD. No cultural definer attached.

Thus, I have to wait and see how things turn out with Sotomayor and how she is presented, and how she is received. If she's qualified to be a Supreme Court judge because she is Hispanic, then you might as well nominate me too, because I likewise satisfy that qualification.

If she's going to be the token Hispanic on the bench, then I can't support that, because she did nothing more to become Hispanic than I did. Am I supposed to feel some sort of justice done or vindication for the country's past and present racist sins against Hispanics just because a sitting president uses tokenism to pick his candidate? Isn't that instead, something of an insult - that Sotomayor would not have otherwise been nominated had she not been something that she had no control over being?

To be nominated just for being Hispanic, I think, is about as bad as being denied nomination just for being Hispanic. In either instance, it's the cover, not the book's contents, that are being judged. So was Sotomayor a token nomination? Time will tell.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Texas Dems stall legislative activity in Austin

So. Who's going to win in the short term and the long term from this?

It seems to me that the Dems are going to look the worse for having blocked the passage of this bill, and it could end up jeopardizing the passage of other bills. My question is, is the Voter ID bill worth the bad PR that the Dems might get if the other bills go down as a result?

I don't see any good coming from this. All the GOP has to do is stand pat and let the Dems hold things up, and they'll end up looking like the bad guys. I'm going to keep this blog entry short, because I want to see how this plays out. To be continued....

Friday, May 22, 2009

Benny Baloney, P.I.

Benny Baloney is a 1940's private eye character in the tradition of Sam Spade and others like him. Thing is, I created him on a lark, but my readers have enjoyed him so much that I've pretty much created a little universe of him and the surrounding characters. It's been awhile since I've written a BB story, but yet again on a lark, I started a BB story on my Facebook page. Having gotten something of a rhythm going, I'll post to there maybe about 3-5 times a week, and each Friday I'll post the whole week's worth of work here as a way of archiving it. Here is what I had this week:


Benny Baloney and the case of Rhode Island Red

She was a hot lookin' dame, with hair so red it set off smoke alarms and legs so long giraffes were jealous. But I've been in this business long enough to know that hot dames often pack trouble in their purses, and hers was named Smith & Wesson. I should have seen this coming, but I could never resist a pretty face. Just another day in my line of work.

Her name was Rhode Island Red, and she had been running the mob on the south side of town for the past 6 months. "Sticking your nose where it doesn't belong, detective?", she said as she waved her pistol in my face. "Red, you know that sticking my nose where it don't belong comes with the job." She answered by conking my noggin with her gun, dropping me to my knees. As I shook that off, I heard the gun click.

I ain't chattin' with St. Pete yet, so I raise my head to see what Red's up to. Gun still pointed at me, I can see the gears turning in her head. "No" she says, as an evil but sexy grin spreads on her trademark red lips. "No, not this time. This time, I want the great detective to owe me one." She steps back and says, "But I will leave a parting gift." Without looking away she says "Boys, it's playtime".

I wake up face down sucking sidewalk with my head ringing like the xylophone section of the Philharmonic Orchestra. I then remember that Red's goons had roughed me up with their watermelon-sized mitts. As I get to my feet shaking the cobwebs, I notice a notecard in my trenchcoat pocket. I spot the red lipstick print right away. "Until next time, Mr. Baloney." Underneath the lipstick print is "SWAK".


Rhode Island Red is a totally new character, who has a red-themed schtick going with her name, appearance, and so forth. What's up with the red theme? I don't know yet. It could be that it's her favorite color, or that she's trying to draw attention to herself, or some other reason. All I know is that I will know her reasons before you will. :-)

Anyway, I'll try to make this a weekly thing, and feel free to offer your suggestions and criticisms. It's still my hope to make a website of my previous BB stories, and with some time off coming up, I might finally get around to doing that. And of course, I'll include the RIR story in there, as well.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Dang! Another week went by just like that!

Sorry, folks. Just been busy lately. However, if you are on facebook, at least I've been more consistent in posting there. :-D

Still, this is for more detailed responses instead of the mundane stuff that is usually posted on facebook or Twitter. Must ... get ... back ... to blogging...

Friday, May 08, 2009

Poor Dumb Dirk

All that money and all that contact with who knows how many women, and Dallas Maverick's star Dirk Nowitzki chooses this woman. I'm disappointed in ya, Bud! It sounds like Dirk has the "lost puppy dog" syndrome, in which he falls for sob stories. Being tender-hearted ain't necessarily a bad thing, but you can't let it make you stupid - especially if you're a multi-millionaire star player for an NBA team with championship aspirations.

Surely he and other athletes were warned of such women. They're out there, and people like Dirk are like honey to these bees. The Dirks of the world simply can't afford - financially and metaphorically - to be stupid in times like this. I would imagine the temptation is enormous when women are throwing themselves at your feet. Heck, I'll be honest in saying that I don't know what I'd do in that situation; I've never had lots of beautiful women throw themselves at my feet - editorial cartoonists just don't get stuff like that happening to them.

But I'd like to think that I'd have enough willpower to realize that these women don't love me for me, they want me for my money. I can imagine that Dirk is also lonely. Still, you can't let loneliness make you stupid. I'm not sure what I'd advise Dirk to do if he ever asked me, but he was told by friends and family about this woman, and it looks like he should have listened. I suppose that's what he needs to do: let friends and family meet whomever he has an interest in and let them tell him what they think. Being in love, it is said, can make you blind - and it's in such times that you need your family and friends to help you see straight.

But relying on them telling you such things is one thing - listening to them when they tell you is another. Hopefully now Dirk will be more willing to listen next time - but then again the "lost puppy dog" syndrome can be hard to shake. In a very real sense, this whole embarrassing episode could turn out to be the best thing that ever happened to him - provided that he learns the lessons from it. Time will tell.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

There's piranhas, and then there's....

The pics below came from an e-mail that was forwarded by a friend of mine. I didn't know piranhas got that big!

Funny thing is, I had jokingly told someone that that piranha is now what's for dinner. He asked if piranhas are edible by humans. I told him that I honestly had no idea. A quick Google search shows that it is. How do you catch piranha, though? Perhaps roll up your sleeve and stick your arm in the Amazon river until some of the piranhas bite, then take your arm out of the water? That's when someone would walk up and say, "You know, you could use this..." and show me a fishing rod. Yeah, I could go the wimpy route...

Friday, May 01, 2009

So should Miss California just lie so that she can win?

I'm not sure how I feel about this whole story of Miss California stating her true beliefs on the issue of gay marriage.

So would it have been better if she just lied? I mean, it wasn't a political office or an ambassadorship she was running for, after all. Perhaps it would have been better to not have asked politically loaded questions in the first place, but that's probably going to be coming even more and more now. Perhaps beauty queens and others who vie for such public positions should just prepare their responses in advance so that they say what the judges want to hear.

She was asked for her opinion, she gave it, and no doubt the judges told themselves "Hell, do we want the PR firestorm that will come if she's made Miss USA? Let's just give the crown to somebody safe so that we won't have to deal with this messy situation." So I ask again - would it have been better if Miss California had lied instead?