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Jeffco Schoolboard Recall


To start out this post, I have to say, I hate recall elections.  They are a blight on the democratic process. I have always been consistent in this. I spoke out when Republicans used the “recall” process to remove two Democrat Senators in Colorado Springs just as strongly as when I spoke out against the Scott Walker recall. It is disgusting, it undermines the will of the people. In the case of the Colorado Springs’ Senators, the excuse was, oh, well, they passed laws that were anti-second amendment. Yes, so did a majority of State Senators, and so did Governor John Hickenlooper. Was it a bad law? Yes, it was a terrible law, but I’m sorry, when you elect anti-second amendment Democrats, that’s what you are going to get. Why should there be any surprise in this?

The same goes for Scott Walker. He spelled out exactly what he was going to do when elected. The people elected him anyway. Then he did exactly what he said he was going to do. And we are shocked, why? Yes, there’s a small minority interest group (with a national, organized powerbase) that doesn’t like what he did, but that should not give them the right to out him like they tried to do.

The same is true for this current Jeffco recall. The conservative school board ran on a platform that included many of the changes they said they would enact. The people who elected them were fully aware that this was the type of board they were going to get. These members did not hide their intentions when trying to get elected. To recall them is to completely disregard the collective will of the people of Jeffco. If they are doing a crappy job, then let that be determined properly and legally, when their term ends and they are up for re-election.

In researching this cartoon, I wanted to get inside of the heads of those behind the recall. I went on their websites. I watched their TV clips. I listened as they spelled out a variety of reasons for the recall.

First, they claim that the state of Jeffco schools is a disaster. I suppose this is subjective, because I, as a Jeffco resident and tax payer, am very happy with the changes. Based upon the increase in higher teacher pay, more local control, and more financial equity among individual schools, to me, it looks like things are actually moving in the right direction.

Secondly, these proponents of the recall kept pointing back to the changing of the AP program and the consequent student walk out. That whole debacle was a manufactured farce to begin with, as I have documented in other blogs. The school board only mentioned they wanted to bring the curriculum up for review, to see if it needed to be changed. The outrage over the review was remarkable. Accountability comes with reviews. To be outraged at the review indicates zero desire for accountability. And of course, the student walk outs, make no mistake about this either, had nothing to do with ideology, and everything to do with taking the afternoon off. Most students, when pressed, could not even answer why they were marching.

Another big claim they make is that the board “broke the law,” in regards to the compensation of the new superintendent. My guess is that these people realized that simple policy differences are not enough to warrant a recall, and in order to get enough signatures to hold the recall, if they added “and they broke the law,” people would sign the petition, most likely without even asking questions.

When you say “broke the law,” the imagery most people get initially is probably going to be something like bank robbers with guns. I have not done enough research into the alleged accusation to know if it is warranted, but from what I have read, it sounds much more of a technical issue than anything else, and the conservative board insists that the charges are baseless. If they truly did break the law, then a prosecutor should have already brought charges. And, in case anybody forgot, this is America, where you are supposed to be innocent until proven guilty. If they did break the law, a recall is not what you need, you need a trial. Due process is guaranteed to everybody, not just those who politically agree with you.

Finally, there is one website that makes the claim that these school board members should not serve as head of public education because (wait for it)… they are Christian. Well, there you go. Didn’t realize that Christian discrimination is a cause for recall. (Granted, it was a line item among several other reasons, but it still caught my attention.)

The point of the cartoon is, there is a lot of good the school board has done, whether the haters wish to acknowledge it or not. This good has been documented. Some mistakes have been made as well, yes, but if we ousted everybody who made a mistake, no Democrat would be holding office (and to be fair, neither would Republicans). This recall is disruptive and ruinous. Achievement rates in Jeffco have improved since these changes have been implemented. The unions who are ultimately behind the recall are destroying the train of progress that has been established. This recall hurts the children most of all. These conservatives have put a system into place. Let’s let it run its course and let these school board members do their jobs.

In full disclosure, I happen to be good friends with one of the conservative board members. Does this taint my perspective? Of course, and I’m willing to admit it. However, because I do know this individual, I can give personal testimony that this person is a good and decent individual, who desires only the best for the children of Jeffco. None of the villainous accusations made against him are true. He is a family man, a genuine guy, and a true American. 

Relics of an American Past


So if you are waiting for my response on the Supreme Court’s decision last Friday, here it is. To sum up what it is really about, let me quote for you the first posting I saw on Facebook the following morning from someone I considered a friend. “The fight is far from over as long as we still have Christians in America,” as she posted a picture of James Dobson. In response, she received several likes and approving comments, many of them taking the occasion to Christian bash.

For the record, I will neither come out condemning nor condoning marriage redefinition, so as to not sully the greater point I’m trying to make. I entertained the idea of using the time to clarify the Christian doctrine of sexual discipline, but apparently such held beliefs are hateful, and it doesn’t matter how many times Christians online have tried to spell out in love and with compassion what they believe in this matter and why, they are completely ignored, misrepresented, and distorted, with few attempts by the other side to try and achieve mutual understanding. Realizing it is a lost cause, I gave up. My biggest concern now is the right of conscientious objection, and after reading that Facebook post, I believe my concerns are legitimate.

In Colorado, the legislature eventually decided to legally change the definition of marriage to include same sex individuals. While I may disagree with that ruling, I completely support the legislature’s right to do so, as that is their constitutional authority. However, it is NOT the role of the court to make such decisions.

Marriage redefinition was already spreading across the nation, with 23 states already having laws that allowed it. It was pretty easy to see that within five years, it would become legal in all 50 states. Such decisions should be left up to the states, as the Tenth Amendment clearly states. But the Supreme Court completely ran right over the Bill of Rights in this decision. For those who are celebrating the decision because you agree with it, my question is, are you okay with the fact that it came about illegally? Are you okay that you got your way by violating the Constitution, and by giving excess powers to a branch of government that should not have it, according to the Constitution? If this was a conservative decision that came about in the exact same manner, would you legitimize it like you are doing with this decision? And the biggest question now is, will you have tolerance for those whose ideas and beliefs about this subject are different than yours?

Finally, the broader point is this: Between the president’s illegal executive orders and the Supreme Court, a lot of law has been created over the past 6 years. It is the job of Congress, when this starts to happen, according to the Constitution, to be that check and balance and to bring about retribution to a lawless president and a lawless court. There are plenty of actions available to them to allow them to do this. Unfortunately, we now have an inept Congress, unwilling to speak up or act out when their rightful power is taken from them. Our founders clearly wanted laws to be created only by the representatives of the people, taken from a broad swath of the country. The president only represents one ideology, his own, and if all power is left to him, he is free to make decisions that marginalizes large portions of the republic. This is something the founders feared the most, which is why they severely limited his power in the Constitution. But if the Congress is unwilling to stand up against it, the onus is on them, and in the end, they are the ones who are making themselves obsolete, relics of a bygone era.

Hold That Thought


Here’s a Hummel Heights cartoon for your mutual enjoyment.

Totally inspired by the way Bill Watterson could tell a complete story by using pictures and visual allegory. That’s my attempt with this. Illustrating it made me smile the whole time.



We were made in God’s image. That’s what is promised to us in Genesis. And yet, while we hold on to this, and we are encouraged by it, knowing that attributes like creativity and compassion are a part of that image, we look around at the depravity of the world and we wonder, is this a part of God’s image? What’s going on here?

In Isaiah (chapter 14), the Bible calls Satan the destroyer. The reason is that Satan has destroyed one aspect of the image of God that was initially in us that is no longer a part of our being. The result of this destruction is the reason for all of the hell we see in the world. What did Satan destroy? Submission.

Submission? That doesn’t sound like fun. That sounds all old school and Victorian like. Thus my point. Our natural inclination is to NOT submit. And while we may have periods of submission, sometimes even willful, perfect submission is not a part of our being and it is not a natural response. Without perfect submission, we cannot be right with God.

Submission has to be learned. If left to our own devices, we will spin into a mess of depravity and of selfish ambition. Look at any society or individual who has done so. Look at the biggest jerks of the world. What’s one thing they have in common? A refusal to submit. We glorify the rebel. Oh, what a free thinker! He bucks societal norms! Yes, I want to break the law, too!

Submission is how we stay bonded with God. It is through this bond that we can get the free flow of the Spirit, bringing to us the fruits of the Spirit: Love, Joy, Peace, among others. You break this bond and you break the connection. Submission is not something that should be dreaded, it is something that should be sought after and cherished!

Every healthy relationship is about submission. True love is submitting oneself to another. True love is saying my ambitions are secondary to your well-being. True love is sacrificial, eternal and most importantly, willful. You must choose true love. It’s not a feeling that is conjured in the moment. It is an active choice and duty.

Submission is the part of His Image that was destroyed during the fall. This means, then, that one part of God’s image is submission! Now you may be saying, wha-? God? Submissive? Who on earth is God submissive to? That’s not like the God I know. And it may not be the God you’ve been taught about, but look at Scripture more closely. God made us in His image and before the fall, this included submission. Now if we were made to be submissive to God, then who is God submissive to?

Himself. Now this may not make a lot of sense, but hang in there with me. God is submissive to Himself. Meaning, he cannot, will not, violate His own precepts. God is a God of order and of natural law. He establishes the universe and He submits Himself to His own laws. As the example of perfect submission, He cannot violate His own laws, His own nature. If He did, all of creation will be unraveled and we would be lost in our sin forever. That’s how vital it is that God remain submissive to Himself.

Because of this, as a part of God’s own submission to Himself, He cannot look upon sin. He cannot violate that aspect of Himself that has been established since before time began. So many people ask, well if God is real, why does He… The answer is He can’t. Doing so would violate His submission to Himself. He also will not violate man’s free will. This is another part of God’s nature that He is submissive to. God’s law instructs that true love is measured by free will.

Because God submits perfectly and completely to Himself, it is man’s free will and man’s sin which makes it so that man can no longer be in the presence of God. The Destroyer knew this. Like the White Witch in the Chronicles of Narnia, Satan knew of the old magic, that old magic being the inability of God to violate His submission to His own nature. But like Aslan, God knew of an even deeper magic. Death was the result of sin and only death would allow God to stay in submission to Himself and still be able to look upon the sinner. It was the spilt blood that would harmonize everything together.

This is the beautiful thing about what submission looks like. God gives us the perfect example. He found a way to remain perfectly submissive to Himself, while rescuing humanity. And just in case we weren’t clear, He sent His Son to earth, to live and demonstrate in our physical presence exactly what submission to God looks like. Christ, being a part of God Himself, remained in perfect submission to the triune God in every step that He took. God’s submission to Himself was demonstrated in the person of Christ, so that when God asks us for the same submission to Himself, we can know what it looks like. The Bible reports that Christ was so submissive, that He even submitted Himself to the cross, so that His death would become the atonement needed to restore what Satan had destroyed.

When you think about what it cost to restore our ability to be submissive to God once again, perhaps you won’t look at submission with such dread and aversion in the future. Satan is also the father of lies. Godly submission has never been a bad thing. It’s the Destroyer that has sought to convince us otherwise. God, in His perfection, submitted Himself to Himself. He created us to do the same, as a part of being in His Image. Satan destroyed this part of human nature. Christ restored it. To Him be the Glory!

Just So We’re Clear

As a conservative and as an economic libertarian, I (and my ilk) are often accused of being cold hearted, uncaring, and most importantly, uncharitable. And by the same people, they try and point to Christian charity as a validation for socialist or “shared wealth” policies. The claim Christian liberals sometimes make is that Jesus, himself, was a socialist, as he commanded the rich upper class of his day to sell all of their possessions and to give to the poor. “If you believe in capitalism,” I heard one radio caller make the claim, “then you are not a true Christian.”

So to be clear and to make sure there is no confusion, I will lay it out right here, on record, on this blog that all five of you lovely fans read: I absolutely believe in sharing the wealth. One hundred percent. Yep. So there you have it.

Here’s the distinction. I believe God (Jesus) commanded us to give and take care of the poor and the lesser among us on an individual basis. The issue is about the heart. I believe each individual is responsible for the gifts that God has given them and each person should, in the conviction of their own heart, give a portion of that away to charity. (2 Cor. 9:6-8) At the end of the day (or life period) we each will stand account for what we did with the worldly possessions that we cannot take with us anyway. If an individual chooses to hoard what has been given to them, that is their unfortunate prerogative. They are the ones who will have to answer for this, individually.

As a society, absolutely, sure, we should do what we can to encourage charity. However, I am deeply opposed to forcing it through redistribution taxation and policies. And indeed, if you look at Jesus’s life, he never forced anybody to give. He commanded the rich man, “sell all of your possessions, give to the poor, and FOLLOW ME.” When the rich man did not, Jesus did not chase after him. He let the rich man keep what he had. Jesus also did not say, “I tell you the truth, this is why we need a Marxist society.” In fact, in that passage, we tend to emphasize the wrong part. We look at the ‘give to the poor’ part and completely gloss over the ‘follow Me’ part. It wasn’t as much about giving to the poor as it was about following Christ.

The problems with federalizing charity are multiple. First, there is no conscious heart effort when our taxes are taken out of our paycheck. We don’t think about it, it’s automatic, and for some under a certain income bracket, they don’t even pay income taxes. There is nothing willful or intention about “giving” through our taxes. True giving often leads us to ponder about the recipients, which may, in turn, inspire us to further action, such as volunteering our time. This does not happen when we do not think about our giving.

The second problem is that we cannot control where our money is going. Our tax “charity” often ends up supporting programs that may not align with our moral convictions. Which brings me to the most critical downfall of federalized charity, and that is that in reality, the idea that taxing the rich is somehow “charity” is an illusion. Those that assign themselves as the “redistributors” find themselves very rich. The only transferring that occurs is from the pockets of the business owners to the bureaucratic fat cats. Very little of that tax dollar ends up in the hands of those who really need it. By comparison, the average rate of return for every dollar given to a private charity is 85%! The Bible never makes any claim to support higher governmental taxes, but it does frequently encourage us to be good stewards of our income. When given the choice between 1% or 85% of my charitable dollar going to the poor, any reasonable person would have to conclude that the latter would be the wiser, and by consequence, more Christian thing to do.

If you say, “I support higher taxes on the rich, therefore, that makes me more charitable,” you are deceiving yourself. Do the rich have more than their fair share? In some cases, yes. Should the rich be more charitable? Most definitely. But Christianity is all about individual conviction. Not once do I see in Scriptures, “look to your rich neighbor and see what you can take from him to give to the poor.” In fact, what I do see is that the societies with the strongest free market policies have the highest charitable giving rates, by far. You don’t hear of the massive giving efforts by the people of North Korea. And while North Korea and China are premised on redistributionist Marxism, during global disasters, you never see them pour forth with aid.

Just so we are clear, I will say it again: I support socialism (what?!)

Socialism, or redistributionism, or whatever you want to call it, works best when it is not forced. If people want to gather together into small communes of “shared prosperity” on the local level, more power to them. However, even in small microcosms, these shared communities have proven to be disastrous. Ever heard of Jonestown? Jamestown? What about Acts 5?

Belief in a Creator God who holds us responsible for our hearts and actions is what brings about charity. And it is this kind of belief that allows us to operate with free markets. I love free markets, because I love freedom. The foundation of any free society starts with their free markets. Take away free markets, and all other freedoms fall away. I also love charity. I believe charity is a byproduct of free markets, which are the result of a moral nation.

Jeffco Sick Outs


I was actually working on this cartoon before the fallout from all of the staged protests that have occurred the past week or so. This cartoon was triggered by a video of the teachers union, during a recent conference here in Colorado. In the presentation, the speaker encourages out of state union members to come in and be “boots” on the ground to protest the lawfully elected board members of Jefferson County. This kind of intentional rabble rousing infuriates me. If the conservative right was to protest every single election we don’t agree with, we’d never get any other work done. And certainly when we do finally protest, when things swing too far left, we immediately get tarred and feathered as racist, sexist, pick your own epithet.

But what’s more infuriating is the complete distortion and lies being fed to these high school students about this issue. These kids have no clue about the source of their protests. In order to hide the fact that it’s about disgruntled election results, the unions have convinced the teachers that it’s somehow about pay or the latest, it’s somehow about taking away American history.

I’ve had conservative friends who mistakenly spoke out saying that they support teachers and that if the teachers are protesting then they must have a legitimate beef against the school board. All the school board did, their only pinnable crime, is that they said, “let’s talk about creating an advisory board to review the history curriculum.” And with that, the distortion begins. Kids on streets claiming that the school board wants to take slavery out of the curriculum?! Obviously, these ignorant children have been fed this poison from somewhere, perhaps from the very teachers that we are bending over backwards to protect?

Look, I’m not against the teachers. Some are probably just as hoodwinked by the unions as the kids they indoctrinate. All the board is suggesting is creating a system of accountability over what is being taught to our impressionable youth (and the student protests demonstrate just how impressionable they really are!!!). It is as if you worked in an office and one day the boss says, you know what, I’m going to form an advisory committee that will review employee performance to make sure it is in line with the objectives of the company. Should the employees suddenly protest such a move, what does that telegraph about their performance?

Not that I’m equating the content of the curriculum with the performance of the teachers. No doubt they are doing their very best instructing the kids, but if the material is incorrect or irrelevant, or perhaps too biased one direction, then all of their best efforts cannot overcome this. The fact that these kids believe that the board wants to remove slavery from the curriculum demonstrates just how little they even really know about the subject. If American history was properly taught, they would have learned that the Republican Party was formed as the Abolitionist party!

Seriously, though, I was in high school once. I remember exactly how it was. Any chance to get on TV and get out of class, we would take. We probably couldn’t even care less about what we were protesting. That wasn’t important. What was important is that it was 80 degrees and sunshine on a September day. Hello! Give me some cardboard, I’ll write down something stupid, and then I’m out of here. The real issue is that the media is turning ordinary teenage angst into some sort of deep meaningful, heartfealt protest movement, when in reality, it isn’t.

About Hobby Lobby

Apparently FB has exploded today, so I felt compelled to respond. Since I need to maintain a reputation on social media, I think I’ll use my blog as a forum to respond. In reality, it’s a bit dangerous to interject, for many of the voices out there are sounding like fools and to respond to a fool, one becomes one himself. It’s a risk I’m willing to take, I guess.

Several are now making the argument that if Hobby Lobby can force their religion on their employees (again, not happening, a complete straw man) then what next, forcing a Jehovah Witness to drink blood? This doesn’t even make sense. And actually that argument works in favor of Hobby Lobby, the failure to see so is almost comical. What next? How about forcing Christians to pay for abortion pills? Isn’t that what is at stake here?

Another argument is that Hobby Lobby won the right to deny women health care. Wow. Really? Do you really believe that’s what happened, or you just posting this complete lie to trump up your cause? Anybody working at HL can get whatever treatment they want. I have not heard of a case where the CEO of HL follows his employees to Walgreens to make sure she doesn’t acquire certain pills. All this is about is the money. The issue is whether HL should be forced to pay for it. They are not denying anybody anything. Remember, the employees work FOR HL, not the other way around. A person works at a job in an agreement to do labor in exchange for compensation and benefits, but even the benefits should be determined by the company, should it not? It is the owners who make the decisions that either make or break the business. They need the employee to help make it happen. By agreeing to help HL run its stores, does that suddenly give the employee the right to demand that their employer suddenly pay for a bunch of controversial birth control pills? By forcing HL to pay for the controversial pills is it not that the employee, via the government, is forcing ITS worldview (religion) on HL? If we are talking about Constitution liberties, should not HL be afforded theirs?

In the end, those who are screaming foul at the Supreme Court decision, when you break it down to its simplest point, are upset that the government does not have the right to tell a company what it should pay its employees.

I find it rather curious how outraged some are over the idea that Hobby Lobby won protection against being forced to pay for something that violates their religion. Somehow, this is a grand crime against humanity, meanwhile real hate crime is being perpetrated all over the Middle East… teenagers in Israel are being murdered in cold blood for being Jewish, Sudanese woman sentenced to death for marrying a Christian, Iraq being taken over by force, girls being kidnapped and sold into sex slavery in Nigeria. Shouldn’t we be collectively focusing our venom on these real human violations?


Day Two at the Colorado House

This was a repeat invitation to come to the floor of the Colorado House and to sketch the proceedings. The first time I was invited, all heck broke loose, as the two sides fought bitterly over a certain partisan issue. Unfortunately, I was also sicker than a dog that day and my productive output was minimum.

On this occasion, I was in much better health. It is a pure distinct privilege and honor to be a part of this revered process. I do not take it lightly. I am so grateful for the Representative from the Colorado Springs who has had me as his guest twice now. There was a time when I was in college that I contemplated the idea of being a courtroom sketch artist. I even took a one day seminar on the subject. Life leads other directions, obviously, but it is still fun to revisit this tucked away passion of mine.

I don’t get paid to be there, but I do get to be witness to things most people will never even see in their lives. I’m actually on the floor itself, along the sides, where the guests and the policy advisors sit. I can hi-five legislatures as they come down the sides if I wanted, that’s how close I am to the action. It would be great to one day rise to the point where I’m paid to be there (oh, the swan song of every artist), but regardless, I enjoy my time thoroughly and it’s a great way to practice drawing from life.

It was pretty much a fairly boring and straight forward session. Most of what occurred was the acceptance of Senate modified bills and so the proceedings moved fairly rapidly. Even still, I managed a few decent sketches. I worked from 9am to 11:30am and the following was my output. Comments are on the sketches.

my day at the capitol my day at the capitol2 my day at the capitol3 my day at the capitol4


This cartoon is in response to the recent banning for life of Donald Sterling from the NBA. I want to start by making two things clear. Sterling is a buffoon and said some stupid things. And two, I respect the NBA commissioner Adam Silver’s decision to do whatever he feels is best.

That said, I’m a bit troubled by how far Silver went with this punishment. While what Sterling said was offensive, they were mere words. Adam Silver came out and said that he will not have intolerance in the NBA, which makes me wonder, which was more intolerant, Silver banishing for life a guy who said racial remarks or the remarks themselves?

Again, don’t misconstrue where I’m coming. I do not support anything of what Sterling said, and to be frank, I think Sterling is a spoiled idiot, but is that enough to warrant this kind of punishment? Sure, something should have probably been done, but banned for life, with the final objective to force him to sell his property? This may seem all fine and great to most of the public, but do they realize what kind of slippery slope that puts us on? Silver went on to say that this serves as an example and the NBA will not tolerate speech that is in any way racist or homophobic.

In today’s hypersensitive society, one could easily twist and take out of context anything any enemy of theirs says in order to enact a bitter revenge. I cannot believe some of the things that are being labeled as “racist.” If you disagree with a minority on stuff like policy economics, it’s labeled as racist, and according to Silver’s rhetoric, that’s possible grounds for banishment. And what about the Christian NBA player who holds a particular belief about homosexuality? Will they now be told to change this belief or be banned from life?

And then there’s the hypocrisy. There are basketball players who have impregnated several women, some accused of rape, who obviously see woman as nothing more than objects, yet they continue to play, despite the obvious sexism. Likewise, what if what Sterling said was anti-Semetic instead? Or made horrific slurs against Christians? Would these same people be as up in arms?

“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” Unless, of course, those words are your own.

A final PS. People took to the streets and cheered after the punishment came down, without realizing what exactly they were rooting for. They were cheering for less freedom. Perhaps it had something to do with the fact that they saw Sterling as the old rich white guy and they just wanted to stick it to him. In that case, they were celebrating the politics of revenge. If racial harmony is the objective, revenge is the device that will destroy it. Societies that operate on revenge eventually plunge into chaos, distrust and sometimes even civil war. While Sterling should be properly reprimanded, (with a punishment that actually fits the infraction), as a society, we need to be willing to forgive his actions and move on. The failure to do so only fosters a deeper racial divide. That’s not what I want for this country.

What a load of !


The Colorado Legislature just banned the future sale of so-called wasteful, inefficient, high volume (in other words, effective) toilets and other plumbing fixtures. Really? Was that really necessary? While that might sound good to some people (yay, we’re saving the planet), what it is not is FREEDOM.

The truth is, the so-called “high-efficiency” toilets don’t always save water. While that may be true for some people in some communities that have high pressure water systems, for the many rural and mountain communities on well water, these toilets are a disaster. They require several flushings in order to properly and sanitarily dispose of the waste. How is this efficient? The rural home owner should have the FREEDOM to purchase whatever toilet they feel best suits their needs and their worldview. You don’t see the mountain man trying to stop an earth lover from purchasing a high-efficiency toilet. To each man his own choice of toilet.

This is a case of “mind your own business” in a huge way. The constant drumbeat by those on the left is “stay out of our bedrooms,” when conservatives try to push sexual morality. Well I say to this, stay out of our bathrooms!

I have a horrific and aggressive auto-immune disorder in which I suffer from major… ahem, let’s call it lower intestinal duress… in other words, poopy problems. I feel as if I can speak with authority about this subject matter. [um… this next paragraph is going to get graphic and personal in a hurry… you had your warning, so like, yeah, move on to the next toon if this is too much for you] The way my malfunctioning gut often works is that it stops for a few days and then in one big movement, unloads drastically. We’re talking it would make an elephant proud. I have been on those high-efficiency pots and it has required the use of coat hangers and several flushings in order for the material to finally be done away with. In my case, the “inefficient” toilet would actually be more effective in the long run! Fortunately, I have one of those at my current residence and am thankful. I should be allowed to choose whatever throne best fits my derrière, as I know my buttom best!

Phew! That said, this legislation stinks like the anti-freedom load of crap that it is.

Justin Bieber


I’m not one to really follow much of the celebrity gossip. The furthest my gossip train goes is my local polititan and that’s about it. However, I realize that in order to expand my appeal in the marketplace as an editorial illustrator, I should start doing more apolitical individuals and I should try and have my pen on the pulse of the American tabloids, so to speak.

Thus, I’ve been putting together some ideas that would be a little more mainstream.

This first one was actually a class demo. I had been thinking about doing a caricature of Justin Bieber for some time, actually. His notorious brawls has been giving him a black eye, and I’m speaking figuratively, here. Perhaps he thinks this out-of-control tough-boy thing is attractive and helps his image, but to me, and my guess is that I’m not the only one, I’m starting to find it disgusting. Honestly, I feel sorry for the kid. He’s a product of the internet generation, sensationalized and thrown into this world of unreality in which he was able to hit fame with a meteoric rise. Virtues like responsibility and self-control have not been taught to him as they may have to someone else who may have to struggle harder for their daily survival.

Generally, my class demos are hit and miss. On this one, I think I hit it out of the ball park. Doesn’t always happen, but when it does, it makes me smile.

I plan on doing a few more in the more mainstream series coming up. Stay tooned!

Defending the First Amendment

The Supreme Court is hearing oral arguments about whether or not Hobby Lobby should be forced to pay for their employees’ contraceptives and abortions, despite religious objections, as a part of Obamacare. Four justices have already voiced that they will side with the government. I find this to be mind bogglingly shocking. These people were put there to DEFEND the Constitution, with the very first Bill of Rights being to protect religious freedom. It should be a slam dunk case, with Hobby Lobby winning easily. That fact that FOUR of the justices think otherwise is frightening. What on earth is their justification?

Their argument is that Hobby Lobby is a corporation and that the First Amendment does not apply to corporations. Say what!? First off, that makes zero sense. Corporations are nothing more than collections of people and it is my understanding that the First Amendment applies to ALL people. Corporations are owned by people, staffed by people, managed by people. Corporations are people and in that respect they are no different than government. They reflect the values and integrity of the individuals that make them up.

But even if corporations are some strange separate artificial intelligence entity, what good is the First Amendment if it doesn’t apply to EVERYBODY?? When the government can start to pick and choose who gets protected by the First Amendment and who doesn’t, you have entered into dangerous territory, and the fact that four justices think that it’s their job to decide who doesn’t get protected by the First Amendment means that we are already there!

I brought this point up to a liberal friend and his response was, “Well, I don’t like Hobby Lobby pushing their religion on their employees.” What does that have to do with the issue? Hobby Lobby is not forcing the employees to do or not do anything. The government IS forcing Hobby Lobby to do something it finds objectionable. If Sue Employee wants to have an abortion while under the employ of Hobby Lobby, Hobby Lobby will not stop her from doing so and frankly, I don’t think Hobby Lobby cares what Sue Employee decides to do with her life outside of Hobby Lobby. But why should Hobby Lobby be FORCED to pay for that abortion? It’s Sue’s abortion, not Hobby Lobby’s. She should pay for it herself, if that’s what she wants, or find somebody who does want to pay for her abortion.

Even though Hobby Lobby does not get involved in Sue Employee’s personal life, if Hobby Lobby, or any company for that matter, wishes to establish for themselves a code of ethics on how they feel their employees should conduct themselves outside of employment, I would defend their right to do so. Sound extreme? Well then, work for another company. We do not have forced employment in this country. Nobody is forcing anybody to work for any company. Why is it that so hard to understand? If Sue Employee wants her employer to pay for her abortion, she can get a job with one who will.

What does the First Amendment specifically say? It says “Congress shall make no law regarding the establishment of religion or the free exercise thereof.” The Obamacare mandate violates this on both accounts. First, it denies Hobby Lobby their free exercise of their religion. I bring this up and I hear liberals say the First Amendment is supposed to keep people from forcing their religion on others. No, it doesn’t. Considering the fact that a lot of the signers of the Constitution were ordained pastors or ministers, I doubt that this is what they had in mind when they signed it. No, the First Amendment ALLOWS people to proselytize, Bible bash, witness, share, whatever you want to call it, to one another. Don’t like it, tough, it’s their freedom. What it DOESN’T allow is for government to force ITS religion and yes, secularism IS a type of religion. By forcing Hobby Lobby and anybody else to pay for contraceptives, the government is establishing that this is their worldview (religion) and this is their way of forcing you to acknowledge it. The failure to understand this is a failure to understand the First Amendment.

John Andrews caricature

john andrews-web

This is the final caricature of the series. I couldn’t not do one of the man so instrumental in getting the Western Conservative Summit up a rolling and keeping it an entertaining and smashing success year after year. It’s also a tribute to someone I am blessed to call friend. Knowing John’s affinity for climbing 14ers, I put him on top, submitting, if you will, the Colorado Mountains. Which peak depicted is not important, what’s important is that John’s efforts are herculean, much like climbing a 14er. (which I’ve done three times, so I know). Never giving up, slowly but surely we hope to influence our culture, our generation, our politics for the good.

Jenny Beth Martin caricature

Jenny martin

The caricature of Jenny Beth Martin, affectionately known as the Tea Party lady. Didn’t know her before the Western Conservative Summit, but I had a chance to meet her and we chatted a bit. Again, I didn’t mention that I was the one who did her caricature (I’m not one to toot my own horn when it comes to my art, I guess). It was fun just hearing from her and learning about her struggles and the goals she has for this country.

This is another one that I feel I just simply hit a home run on. The likeness is spot on, and speaking of spots, I couldn’t help but have her hold a spot of tea. I also loved the color scheme on this (of course, green happens to be my favorite color…)

James Golden caricature

james golden

It seemed, as I was trying to find ANY photo reference that I could of James Golden, that he is a very private individual. Because of this, I won’t call him by his pen name, but he is much more popularly known as somebody else. I’ve known who he is for a long time, but because of the business he is in, I had never seen his face before. It’s tough to paint a guy when you don’t know what he looks like. I finally found two very low resolution photos of him online, and that’s all I had to work with. I ended up making the caricature a bit more generic due to the lack of any strong photo reference.

Golden works for one of the biggest media personalities in the world. If you can catch their attention, you’re sure to make it, but both are very private and are flooded with unsolicited queries that go unnoticed. I hope, I just hope, that Mr. Golden puts this in his office and that one day, the big guy he works for will look at it and go, you know? I think I might need to hire this illustrator for my next publication.

Finally, as James Golden spoke, I couldn’t help but try and redraw him from life, so that I would have something with a little more clarity to start from the next time I wanted to do his portrait. Now that he’s right in front of me, I saw exactly what he looked like, so I quickly jotted down the following from life.

james golden sketch-web

Guy Benson caricature

guy benson

I don’t don’t have cable, so I wasn’t aware of who Guy Benson was before starting this caricature. There was plenty of reference on the web and that made a world of difference.

This was like the 13th out of the 16 caricatures I did for the Summit, so by the time I got to Mr. Benson, I was a pro. I nailed it on this one. I love the way the brush work of the underpainting becomes the pattern in his blazer. I had a great time painting the plaid, and I attempted to push the distortion and stylization of the face as far as I could and I did so while maintaining likeness. Epic score!

Guy Benson seems like a very cool guy and I like the fact that he’s young. Perhaps one day Guy will know me on a first name basis and the next time he’s on Fox News he’ll say, “oh, that reminds me of a funny cartoon my friend Benjamin once did…”

Ted Cruz caricature

ted cruz

There are few people I admire more than Ted Cruz. Knowing he is from Texas, I decided to render him as a Texas Ranger, here to restore law and order back to the Senate.

I had a fun time with this caricature. But more than that, I had the distinct and priveleged honor to meet him in person. Like the other 100 or so people, I was shuffled in line and given only a few seconds to speak with him, get my picture taken, and move on. What do you say to a guy you really admire in just a few seconds worth of time? I was scared I might choke on my words and say something really stupid, or perhaps spit in his face accidently. As you know, the constant long term use of the prednizone has wreaked havoc on my vocal chords, so I was certain I was probably just going to end up squawking in the end.

But Ted Cruz, besides being shockingly short in size, was one of the most gentle men I’ve ever met, with a firm, but reassuring handshake. He did not know that I was the one who did the caricature of him, nor did I venture to volunteer that information. Instead, I simply said, “Thank you for your courage. Never give up. We’re praying for you.” As I walked away, he called me back, “Sir!” I turned and looked. “Thank you. That means so much to me.” “Have a good day,” I called out. “You too!” he cried out in his trademark Texas drawl.

Months later, in a seemingly liberal classroom, I was giving a presentation on the art of caricature. I showed classic examples from some of the greatest caricature artists both of the past and working today. I couldn’t resist throwing this into the slide show, as I was quite pleased with how it turned out and I wanted to show how you can add other story telling elements to your piece in order to compliment the caricature. After explaining all of this to my students, I mentioned I was the artist of this particular piece. I then mentioned that sometimes as artists, our talents can sometimes give us some great opportunities we might otherwise not have, such as the chance to meet someone like Ted Cruz. I then quickly showed this slide for a few seconds before moving on, one, because it’s not a really flattering photo of me, but two, because I know how certain people feel about Ted Cruz and I didn’t want to start any trouble.

me and ted cruz-sm

But to my shock, they begged me to go back, so I did, at which point the who class erupted in “how cool!” and “that’s sweet.” Find out, Ted Cruz is admired by a lot of people for his courage, including the young generation.

Point of View


Do I need to say more about this toon? Perhaps not, but I will.

For some, this toon may come across as outrageous. It’s not my attempt, this toon is merely an observation.

There are a few things I can’t stand… Arrogance and false accusations. And it seems to me that both are on a rapid crescendo. It’s funny how the side that claims there are no absolutes are the first to judge someone for the food they eat, for the religion they practice, for believing in certain economic theories. It’s not enough that we have differences of opinions. No, now it’s that what we believe is immoral. We’re haters for having these opinions. And because of this, the debate comes to a screeching halt. And if they can continue to promulgate this myth with false reports, items taken out of context, Democrat plants at Tea Party rallies, Facebook memes, then they don’t ever have to deal with the issues, because why bother, conservatives are simply that immoral. It’s gotten so bad, that every time I offer support to some conservative or Republican publicly on Facebook, I shed friends like a dog sheds hair at springtime. (to channel Dan Rather)

The left has made racism the most immoral thing anybody can ever do (more immoral, it seems, than even killing an unborn child), second, only to political incorrectness. So in order to shut up conservatives, all you have to do is label them whatever the most immoral thing on the planet happens to be at the time. Why is this dangerous? It’s because people can justify engaging in all sorts of retribution against those they consider immoral. Their leaders can work them up into a frenzied fury to the point that they don’t even care if they do violate their opposition’s basic constitutional rights, all the way down to the right to life, in some cases. Hitler’s Germany is a great case study. Why did the German people turn against the Jews? It’s because they were brainwashed over the years into believing that the Jews were IMMORAL.

It seems when I was younger I could disagree with my liberal friends and we would spend hours discussing policy and economic theory. And we both agreed we weren’t crazy about any politician, regardless of party. At the end of the day, we respected each other and knew that we both wanted essentially the same thing, just had different thoughts about how to get there. What happened to those days? Perhaps it was because we were teenagers and we hadn’t learned how to hate yet? Now I have liberal friends who will go behind my back and completely trash with distortions, lies and vitriol the very beliefs I hold dear in the anonymous forum of Facebook, yet refuse to engage in discussion in person. What happened to civility? Is it too much to ask to take a few steps back and realize that conservatives are not villains, not demons, not racists or any of the epithets normally leveled our way. I challenge you to consider that just maybe, just maybe they might want the same things as you: life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Once that happens, then we might actually learn things from each other.

God’s Party

In honor of the CHRISTmas season, I thought it would be fun to put this out there:

This notion that the God who created the universe somehow has a party affiliation is a comical one. I remember when Jon Stewart came out with the argument that Jesus was a Democrat, Facebook lit up with everybody debating one side or the other which way Jesus would cast his vote, should he step in the booth on election day.

Some discussions from both sides got fairly heated and I wanted to just jump in and say, “you silly people, He’s neither. Duh, He’s American Constitutionalist!” But I was afraid the joke would have been lost on them, so I refrained.

The truth is, God is sovereign and ALL authority has been given by Him, whether recognized or not. The idea that God belongs to a certain political party is presumptuous on our part. God doesn’t belong to a party, we belong to Him. Instead of saying, God is Republican, we should be saying, as a Republican, we belong to Him. And that’s the big distinction.

We’ve all seen the bumper sticker that says “God is not a Republican.” That’s true. But God is going to favor the party or candidate that conducts his or her life according to Biblical principles. Right now, within the very platform of the Democrat Party are violations of certain Biblical principles, such as the right to life for the unborn. And regarding the redefinition of marriage, while Christ’s blood has made it possible for all of us to find favor in His eyes, including gays, marriage is a sacred institution and one party is working to change that definition (to be fair, both parties have long desecrated it with massive divorce rates, infidelity and the like). It’s the Democrat party that has an active coalition that is working hard to remove any mention of Christ in the public arena.

And finally, it’s only one party that is built on the idea that stealing from the rich to give to the poor is somehow compassion, when all it really does is foment covetedness, a violation of one of the ten commandments.

During the 1970s, the Democrat Party owned the evangelical vote. But for some reason, during the 1980s, they slowly started removing evangelical principles from their platform. Now I’m starting to hear Republicans complain about the evangelical wing of their base. Do Republicans also want to lose favor as well? God doesn’t hold political allegiances. If you abandon Him, don’t expect Him to take your side.

I’ve known decent evangelicals who vote Democrat as much as I’ve known those who vote Republican. In the end, this earthly realm is a mere shadow of the Kingdom that is to come, in which there will only be one party, the party of Jesus Christ.

Mike Huckabee Caricature

mike huckabee

This is the first caricature I attempted in this new style. When we came up with the idea to do paintings for the dignitaries of Western Conservative Summit, there was only a week and a half until the event, and I still had days in which I taught. I realized that I needed to come up with a new style, and quickly.

I reflected on the painted animations I did for our church the previous Easter. I ended up hand painting close to 60 paintings in order for the animation to work, and as a result, I stumbled upon a painting technique and ultimately a new style for my artwork that would allow me to work in a very timely manner. For Easter, I was mostly painting backdrops and landscapes and very stylized cartoon characters. I hadn’t attempted to apply this technique to an actual person. I decided to start with Mr. Huckabee.

Using the limited and (as I now know) outdated photos of him from the internet, I pieced this together. I added the narrative element of him in front of a pulpit, something I admire deeply about him is his faith and his willingness to defend it.

I stumbled through this one, learning a lot along the way, stuff that would set me up for the other 15 caricatures. I wish I would have pushed the caricature more, but I was a bit unsure about where I was going with this, so I approached it cautiously. I took an entire day to paint Mr. Huckabee, but by the time I was wrapping up, I was cranking out four caricatures a day.

Huckabee’s schedule on the day of the summit was crazy. If I remember correctly, he flew in from New York as soon as he finished his show on Fox, his flight got delayed, he finally arrived late in Denver, drove through Denver traffic to get to the Summit, gave his presentation and then had to rush back to the airport for another engagement in Arkansas. Blech, I get airsick just thinking about it.