Susan Estrich from Creators Syndicate Creators Syndicate is an international syndication company that represents cartoonists and columnists of the highest caliber. en Tue, 28 Mar 2017 13:51:07 -0700 Susan Estrich from Creators Syndicate 3a066efb8cb5340e4ae37094a33216a1 His Way or the Highway for 03/24/2017 Fri, 24 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>What a leader. </p> <p>Faced with the certain defeat of his effort to take health insurance away from millions of Americans, our fearless leader did not attempt to compromise, negotiate or even mend the program that has allowed millions of Americans access to health care. <p>Updated: Fri Mar 24, 2017</p> bb1713007012a39a9cd08d162514ac05 Dear American Express: Don't Punish an Honest Man for Your Mistakes for 03/22/2017 Wed, 22 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>I've been an American Express cardholder for longer than I care to say. Let's just say it's been close to 40 years, and American Express has always been the first card I use. No more. Hello, MasterCard and Visa! </p> <p>Here's the short version. I bought a suit for my son at an off-retail store. For the next few months, the store's owner (aka thief) charged me $1,400 per month, month after month. The first time we caught it, she cried and cried and refunded the money. The second time, we called American Express. Turns out she had done it time and time again. I'm still waiting for thousands of dollars. But that's just the prologue.<p>Updated: Wed Mar 22, 2017</p> d57039d3c92f98427f59b509c99c9ec2 The Powerless President for 03/17/2017 Fri, 17 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Donald Trump is learning a lesson he should have known during the campaign. Being president is not like being the host of "Celebrity Apprentice" or a billionaire boss. Not everyone works for you. They don't all run around saying that you're a genius, doing whatever you tell them, literally treating you like a king. Being president is nothing like being a king.</p> <p>Trump likes to say that when it comes to the Constitution, he believes in abiding by its original intent. Now, it's very difficult to determine the original intent of the founders as to things they couldn't possibly imagine &#8212; like email searches and drones and sophisticated surveillance. But every school child knows what the founders thought of kings: <span class="column--highlighted-text">They were against them; they rebelled to be free of them; they risked their lives to create a nation with no king. </span><p>Updated: Fri Mar 17, 2017</p> 053382d17e110dc65906e7be4aac47ba Be Well for 03/10/2017 Fri, 10 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>If President Trump and his party have their way, you'd better be well. Or have a lifetime employment contract with a company large enough to negotiate reasonable group insurance. Or have never been sick in your life.</p> <p>In the bad old days, I tried to buy health insurance for the woman who helped me raise my children, maybe the most important job in the world to me. I explained that nobody is rich enough (Donald Trump's cabinet excluded) to afford to pay for health care if they get sick, but I was, at least, rich enough to buy insurance for her. <p>Updated: Fri Mar 10, 2017</p> 7abc3ac84bfa7e2f61962e3d163a49ad Trivial Pursuits for 03/03/2017 Fri, 03 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0800 <p>The president who gave the joint session address on Tuesday night wants Washington to put aside "trivial fights" and "compromise." He actually said this: "The time for small thinking is over. The time for trivial fights is behind us," that president said. "From now on, America will be empowered by our aspirations, not burdened by our fears."</p> <p>Who was that masked man who stood dully reading a prepared text from a teleprompter to predictable applause from Republicans and silence from Democrats &#8212; a testament to the ugliest partisan divide I have seen in this country since Vietnam?</p> <p>Earlier in the day, there were reports that the president of the United States, who as a candidate called Mexicans "criminals" and "rapists," might have finally realized that he was wrong, and was agreeing that those without papers who have been living and working in this country, and who have committed no crimes, deserve a path to citizenship. During the campaign, that widely accepted view was dismissed as "amnesty" and used by Team Trump to drive another wedge between Americans. The idea that Trump moved us past identity politics ignores that he just played it differently, pitting us against each other. Better that we blame you than blame each other, I tell myself. <p>Updated: Fri Mar 03, 2017</p> e4c26c200657e40b32b4b3d60f3dfae8 Hail to The New York Times for 02/28/2017 Tue, 28 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0800 <p>On the verge of irrelevancy in an age where people are used to getting their news for free, The New York Times, pay wall and all, is on a roll. </p> <p>And thank God for that. </p> <p>Having declared the press the enemy of the people and banned The New York Times from a White House press briefing, Team Trump has managed to give the press in general, and The New York Times in particular, the boost they needed. Subscriptions are going straight up, as they should. The "old media," the much-maligned "mainstream media," is doing its job, while the apologists on the right try to figure out whether they are cheerleaders or journalists.<p>Updated: Tue Feb 28, 2017</p> b0635a97ebd964d76c8400a12148383a Enough About the Shoes for 02/24/2017 Fri, 24 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>That the two most prominent women in the Trump administration should be caught up in a controversy about shoes tells you (if not our new leader) how far we have to go. </p> <p>In a world threatened by ISIS, in a nation of immigrants wondering who will next be deported, is Kellyanne Conway's endorsement of Ivanka Trump's shoes really worthy of a federal investigation, really enough to hold up her security clearance, really deserving of the millions of words that have been written about it, most of them fairly vicious?<p>Updated: Fri Feb 24, 2017</p> 9afa144fe14daf532df4f0b68d086158 The Enemy of the American People for 02/21/2017 Tue, 21 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>The president of the United States, the most powerful man in the world, on Friday declared that the news media is the "enemy of the American people."</p> <p>Could someone please remind him of that pesky document that he has been having such trouble with &#8212; the Constitution? In addition to protecting the free exercise of religion (one of the many problems with his blunderbuss immigration ban), the First Amendment protects freedom of speech and, in particular &#8212; sorry, Mr. President &#8212; a free press.<p>Updated: Tue Feb 21, 2017</p> 9fcc93f56b995fe9668944ded892ad9f Truth or Consequences for 01/25/2017 Wed, 25 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>Our new president, it appears, believes that his power includes the right to lie, to insist that black is white and white is black and that the truth is whatever he says it is.</p> <p>Harsh? I wish. <p>Updated: Wed Jan 25, 2017</p> a596c06d5889515fcd0c2e2111b494fc And Then I Cried for 01/20/2017 Fri, 20 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>I made it through election night, and the morning after, and the endless portmortems. I kept reminding myself of what Hillary Clinton said at the final debate about respecting the outcome of the election. I listened to a lot of music. When, late at night, I would finally break down and read about the endless conflicts of interest or the appointees committed to destroying the departments they hope to run, I would remind myself that there just might be two Republican Senators who would not necessarily say "How high?" when the new president said, "Jump," and even that President Donald Trump might not be the same as candidate Donald Trump, who betrayed so little respect for everything I hold dear.</p> <p>But who would give a speech like Trump did on Inauguration Day, a slap in the face to the men and women surrounding him on the platform who have given their lives not to getting rich but to trying to serve the public? Who would &#8212; during an event that should show the world everything that is best about a stable democracy &#8212; take the opportunity to give a partisan campaign speech that even some of his own partisans found hard to swallow?<p>Updated: Fri Jan 20, 2017</p> d02b3948b4a81b6f115821e8d2433d3c Keep Hope Alive for 01/18/2017 Wed, 18 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>"I could lose my health insurance," a friend whispered to me recently. He is a freelancer with a pre-existing condition. In the old days, no one would take him; freelancing was not even an option. "These days, finding staff jobs with benefits is the trick once again," I murmured back. </p> <p>"What about my daughter?" another friend asked me. Her daughter has had multiple surgeries. She and her husband are both freelancers, independent contractors, like so many people in Los Angeles.<p>Updated: Wed Jan 18, 2017</p> 1573c46fd82c808cc0461a9a947f4c9a Saying Goodbye to Obama for 01/12/2017 Thu, 12 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>We will miss him.</p> <p>We will miss his intelligence and restraint; his dignity and diplomacy; his efforts to rebuild the image of America in a world where more children grow up hating us every day. <p>Updated: Thu Jan 12, 2017</p> f95b673c546ea28db2ba284032743f66 The Man Without a Mandate for 01/06/2017 Fri, 06 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>It's hard to patch together a mandate out of an election that most pollsters believe could have been won, maybe even easily, by another Democrat &#8212; Joe Biden, say, or Barack Obama or Bill Clinton. What is his real mandate? Not to elect brainiac women to the White House?</p> <p>Beyond that, the flailing is already apparent.<p>Updated: Fri Jan 06, 2017</p> 9a97f71789a3d56625a4b191b6a2feae Out With the Old for 01/03/2017 Tue, 03 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>The holidays are never easy for anyone except the Hallmark family, but this year seemed especially disquieting: Donald Trump acts like he's still playing bully in some schoolyard somewhere; fingers of blame point in all directions in both parties; and it's a dangerous world that is impossible to ignore. My son made me watch a documentary produced by Vice News about the Islamic State; terrifying doesn't begin to describe it. And Trump only needs one intelligence briefing a week. <span class="column--highlighted-text">While 9-year-olds waving swords at a training camp where they've gone to learn to divide America in half.</span> </p> <p>"Security" was my mantra in my more active days in politics. That's what people want, I would argue to my liberal friends; that's what government exists to provide. Social security isn't just a good name; it's the lifeboat aging Americans cling to. Personal security used to be about crime and disorder; we used to just fight about racism and police abuse (as if we've solved that); now we have terrorism and counterterrorism tactics to add to the list. Do you feel more secure with Donald Trump coming in as president? Who feels secure, anyway? What about economic security? I don't know anyone who thinks government can provide it, but the empty malls in my neighborhood suggest that either online shopping has won the war (even if virtually every item I ordered was late) or that whatever the pollsters may say, things are not so golden even here in the golden state.<p>Updated: Tue Jan 03, 2017</p> b45c336be437e4d19a3060d63449d981 About Christmas for 12/23/2016 Fri, 23 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>To Christians around the world, I wish you a very merry Christmas. To those who believe in Jesus as the son of God, few days are as sacred as the one that celebrates his birth. For those of us who are Jewish, Christmas happens to fall this year on the first day of Hanukkah, a minor holiday on the Jewish calendar made major by parents worried that their children might suffer from toy deprivation.</p> <p>My parents suffered from no such worries.<p>Updated: Fri Dec 23, 2016</p> ae8ce986ff8b8f6696856dae8e6fedcd So Now It's Real for 12/21/2016 Wed, 21 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>On Monday, the Electoral College elected Donald Trump. There were more defectors than usual, but not enough to be more than a blip. As everyone who is grinning right now will tell you, more electors defected against Clinton than against Trump. Who cares? One vote does not matter in the Electoral College. Trump will be inaugurated on Jan. 20, 2017. God help us all.</p> <p>At the end of the famous movie "The Candidate," the newly elected senator says, "What do we do now?" Donald Trump will never ask that question, because, of course, he knows everything. For myself, I've decided to show Donald as much respect as he has shown the presidency. I'm going to keep calling him Donald. Donald and the first lady. Donald and the chief justice. Donald Duck. No, that's not fair to the duck.<p>Updated: Wed Dec 21, 2016</p> 0a4fd53031a7dd62bd8b6df2b454dd06 Donald Trump's Contempt for America for 12/16/2016 Fri, 16 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>It was a joke on "Saturday Night Live": The president-elect and his fossil-fuel-loving EPA administrator were going to protect us <i> from </i> the environment.</p> <p>But really, it's not a joke. It's an accurate depiction of all of Donald Trump's appointees. Instead of serving to ensure minimum standards for labor, Trump appoints an opponent of the minimum wage to be secretary of labor. An ardent opponent of civil rights and voting rights will, if confirmed, be in charge of Justice, which will not be the kind of Justice we are used to. Rick Perry wanted to eliminate the Department of Energy when he was running for president four years ago. Now, he gets to run it (into the ground). Trump's choice for secretary of education is a strong supporter of private schools. You don't know whether to laugh or cry. <p>Updated: Fri Dec 16, 2016</p> 37ee6499ffc79a79196b4fb183ca5126 The Power of the President for 12/14/2016 Wed, 14 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>For decades, political science students have been taught the late Richard Neustadt's battle-tested maxim that the power of the president is the power to persuade. I don't think he ever imagined Twitter, and he certainly didn't imagine a Donald Trump in the White House. What for decades looked like a challenge requiring skill and leadership turns out to require nothing more than a Twitter account and a nation of followers.</p> <p>With all the attention to Russia, consider this: Is Trump's MO really so different from Vladimir Putin's? The idea that every word the president says needs to be carefully considered because of its potential influence has been upended by a man who sees that very vulnerability as a source of unlimited power, so long as he is oblivious to all the criticism about being "unpresidential."<p>Updated: Wed Dec 14, 2016</p> 12ed1d91e2db95edd927bb794b349d4d This Is Not the Music of Freedom for 12/09/2016 Fri, 09 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0800 <p>When I try to come up with any way that the election of Donald Trump has hidden benefits that I have failed to recognize (other than the huge tax cut he apparently believes that I deserve far more than virtually everyone else in my family because I have and make more money), the one thing that stands out is music: Donald Trump has brought music back into my, life. Yes, music. The truth is that I've been a news junkie and a political addict since I was a little girl and woke up my parents during the Republican Convention in 1964 to tell them we had to send a telegram supporting Bill Scranton over Barry Goldwater.</p> <p>That was a long time ago, and there were years when those who were wiser than me might have chosen a different vocation or "hobby." Mine never changed. I worked in campaigns, wrote about them in books and newspapers, talked about them on radio and television, tried to share my enthusiasm (not my politics) with generations of students, Republicans Democrats. "I don't care if you are a Republican or Democrat," I would tell my students. "I only care that you care about politics." Civic literacy, I called it &#8212; which worked well when folks like George W. Bush and John McCain and Mitt Romney were running.</p> <p>Now I listen to music. On the way to and from work, I no longer sit an extra minute to catch the end of a news story; I'm listening to music. I've spent too many hours talking about what went wrong. Donald Trump won. The Republicans control the House and Senate. I remember how tough things were in 1981, when Democrats lost the White House and the Senate, but held onto the House. It was miserable. We fought. Every day, we lost. I'll read about it, but do I have to hear about it when the alarm goes off in the morning, when I'm crawling to the office?<p>Updated: Fri Dec 09, 2016</p> 5381e3c29d17db00f6d4ca77b340a0ff How to Get In for 12/02/2016 Fri, 02 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>It is that time of year. If neither you nor anyone in your family is applying, much less waiting for early decision or early action (if you don't know the difference, rejoice), if no one you love is sweating the retaking of the LSATs because they've heard that just a few points could move them into a different tier, you can chillax. Or get back to work so you can pay those student loans that will be with you till eternity.</p> <p>I've been teaching forever, so I'm always surrounded by nervous faces desperate to get in somewhere: to USC, where I teach; a particular graduate or professional school; a PhD program; or an internship program. You name it. <p>Updated: Fri Dec 02, 2016</p>