Blog Newsletter Syndicate

California’s War on Journalism!

Today’s cartoon is about California’s new law, AB 5, that went into effect this week. The law is terrible for cartoonists and It was intended to force Uber to make their drivers into employees, but overzealous lawmakers overextended into other areas that they didn’t understand, including journalism. Here’s my cartoon …

The law is decimating publishers throughout California. AB 5 affects us at California-based Cagle Cartoons also, because we publish, we’re defined as a publisher rather than just as a syndicate. We’ve dropped a number of California cartoonists from our roster and some of the changes that we were forced to make were painful. Some contributors who were paid are now paid nothing, to comply with AB 5. features almost all non-California cartoonists and columnists now. (Out-of-state cartoonists and columnists are exempt from AB 5.)

Under AB 5, self-syndicating California cartoonists and columnists are screwed. The bill has a limit of 35 “contributions” per year that a writer or cartoonist can make to a publisher. The bill’s author is quoted as saying that the arbitrary number was selected so that weekly newspaper columnists could not be freelancers and must be employees.

A self-syndicating California cartoonist or columnist might have ten newspaper clients who each subscribe to the same cartoons or columns, each might pay $40/month; AB 5 mandates that this cartoonist or columnist has to be taken on as an hourly employee by each and all of her ten subscribers –of-course, no subscriber would take on a self-syndicating cartoonist or columnist as an employee.

Thirty years ago, altie weeklies were thriving and there were a bunch of self-syndicating cartoonists. It used to be that young cartoonists were advised to start their careers drawing local cartoons for their local paper for a tiny fee. Self-syndicating cartoonists were diverse, with more women and minorities and more diverse points of view than among the mainstream editorial cartoonists. AB 5 would have had a big impact years ago, snuffing out these California cartoonists –but today I fear that the self-syndicating California cartoonists have already died off; young, local cartoonists no longer exist, so there are few or no independent newspaper cartoonists that are left for AB 5 to crush. (If there are any, I’d like to hear about them.)

There’s another interesting point about AB 5 and editorial cartoonists. Some years ago it was conventional wisdom that, “in the future,” editorial cartoons would be animated. The big editorial cartooning awards wanted to be seen as forward-thinking so they selected award winners who did animated cartoons and many award-hungry editorial cartoonists spent a lot of time learning animation techniques. With very few exceptions, animation never caught on in the editorial cartooning business. The Web never developed a culture of paying for content and the remaining political cartoonists have been clinging to the sinking ship of print. AB 5 expressly bans freelance cartoonists from doing even one animation. Animated editorial cartoons can only be done by employees in California. California Democrats slammed the door on our future that never happened.

Legislators who supported AB 5 argue that it is good for journalists and cartoonists, because they need better jobs that get employee benefits. What is actually happening is that the journalists simply don’t get hired and they lose their freelance gigs; the journalism doesn’t get done and the publishers are shrinking and suffering even more. At Cagle Cartoons, we can’t afford to hire any cartoonists or columnists as employees, and none of them would want to suffer the restrictions of being our employees. The idea that publishers, including little Web sites, would hire cartoonists as employees now is whimsical nonsense from another era. In California, the “Gig Economy” is now the “can’t get a gig” economy.

It is ironic that we read so much about President Trump attacking journalism, but the truly effective attacks on journalism come from liberal Democrats in Sacramento.

Another new California law that is costly and risky for us is the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA). This new, over-reaching, sloppy law is another bludgeon in my state’s war on journalism. The law is intended to protect consumers by affecting only large companies that trade in consumer information which should be confidential –but it has the added effect of crushing little journalism sites like  Read my post about CCPA!.

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Blog Newsletter Syndicate

California Burger Police

My cartoon today is bound to anger many of my readers, who expect me to draw liberal cartoons consistently. I’ll explain it! (But my readers will still be angry. Sorry.)

First, notice how I made San Francisco Bay into the state’s mouth? (You have to consider his purple tongue as part of the land defining the shape of the bay.)

My blue, California Burger Policeman is yelling a list of War Against Burgers issues that I face when I go out to eat in Los Angeles. Here’s what the burger policeman is yelling about …

Only small cups for soda!
The California legislature is expected to pass a bill soon that will limit restaurant sales of sugary drinks, like Coca Cola, to small sized cups only. A punitive tax on sugary drinks is also expected to pass statewide, following a similar measure in the city of Berkeley that is seen as successful because it has succeeded in getting poor people to drink more water instead of more expensive soda.

Use this paper straw!
Plastic straws are being banned throughout California, replaced by paper straws that get soggy quickly.

Pay an extra waiter surcharge!
The City of San Francisco has passed a law requiring restaurants to pay underpaid waiters much more. Most restaurants have passed the increased costs on to customers by raising food prices, but many San Francisco restaurants have added a separate surcharge to the bill to account for for the extra cost.

Did you request this straw first? NO? Then FIRE the waiter!
Some jurisdictions in California, including Los Angeles, have new laws that impose severe penalties on restaurants that give straws to customers who didn’t ask for a straw first. There are inspectors who go to restaurants to check on compliance with the straw law, and if they find a customer didn’t ask for a straw before the waiter gave out a straw, they sock the restaurant with a big fine –this leaves restaurants in the position of mitigating the risk of big fines by clamping down on employees. I went out to dinner at the Olive Garden last week and the waitress told me that the staff was warned that if they ever handed out a straw, without the customer asking for it first, they would be fired on the spot. Of-course, the law doesn’t require that waiters be fired, but the penalties are so severe that restaurants threaten the waiters with similarly severe penalties to strike the fear of non-compliance in the waiters.

Free the chickens!
California passed a law not long ago, that requires better living conditions for chickens, who can no longer be kept in small, efficient cages, thereby giving the chickens a better, and more costly, free-range lifestyle.

Cow Farts, Styrofoam and Banning Beef
These issues transcend California, so no explanation here.

I’m usually a liberal cartoonist, but I love my burgers and conservative complaints about the War on Burgers resonate with me, unlike the fictional War on Christmas.

My buddy Pat Bagley drew a similar cartoon from the opposite point of view, that is surely more acceptable to our liberal readers …

If I drew conservative cartoons all the time, I would have a much more successful career as an editorial cartoonist.


I should write a blog post about that.


Blog Cartoons Syndicate

John Boehner – No Mas!

House Speaker, John Boehner, just announced his resignation. I’m sorry to see him go, he’s a great character, although I didn’t draw him very often. Most of the cartoonists color him orange because of his unnatural tan, and I jumped on the bandwagon with that. Lucha Libre! (The color here is off, he’s not really that day-glow orange in the print version – I have a little compassion, at least in print.)

I also notice that politicians who are heavy smokers do a good job hiding their cigarettes whenever the cameras are around, so I make a point of giving those guys a cigarette in my cartoons. I did that for a while with Obama, but since he’s made an effort to quit, I quit giving him cigarettes also – although I notice that some conservative cartoonists still give him cigarettes.

The other thing to do with Boehner is to draw him crying. I suppose I should have given him a tear in his eye – just as I should do with the Statue of Liberty. Here’s a crying, quitting Boehner by my buddy, Rick McKee.


NRA Madness in Tennessee

The legislature here in Tennessee is considering over 50 guns bills. It doesn’t deter them that just about everyone in this red state is pro-gun – that just makes them want to fiddle around with gun stuff all the more.

The pro-gun red states like Tennessee are prime fundraising territory for the NRA. It might seem that, where there is broad support for gun culture, there would be little need for battle in the legislature about gun laws – but no – red, pro-gun culture states are the homes of constant legislative madness and NRA fundraising.


Insure Tennessee

Insure Tennessee © Daryl Cagle,,Tennessee, governor, Bill Haslam, legislature, Barack Obama, healthcare, tender, medicare, medical, stab, knives, knife, state senate, Health, Obamacare, republicans


Insure Tennessee

Insure Tennessee © Daryl Cagle,,Tennessee,governor,Bill Haslam,legislature,Barack Obama,healthcare,tender,medicare,medical,stab,knives,knife,state senate,Health, Obamacare, republicans


California Gov Brown and New Taxes

California Gov Brown and New Taxes © Daryl Cagle,,Jerry brown,Bullet Train,taxes,California,Budget,legislature,vote


California Legislature Flowers

California Legislature Flowers Color © Daryl Cagle,,flowers, bouquet, John Chiang, Controller, Legislature, balanced budget


California is Sick

California is Sick Color © Daryl Cagle,,California,flag,bear,budget,legislature,economy,tax,taxes,spending,pockets,broke,IOU,warrant,hospital,sick


California Budget Red Ink

California Budget Red Ink Color © Daryl Cagle,,flag, california, bear, california republic, budget crisis, debt, state, legislature, red ink