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Last updateTue, 18 Sep 2018 1pm

On this week's beautiful Independent comics page: Red Meat decides to avoid the criminal underbelly; Jen Sorenson examines Republican feminism; The K Chronicles binges on football; and This Modern World looks at the false equivalency of Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders.

Published in Comics

Every woman I know was thrilled by Carly Fiorina’s response at the second Republican debate to Donald Trump’s denigrating comment about her looks. Whether you agree with her policies or believe she is qualified to be president, her confident and direct hit at Trump was the standout moment.

“Look at that face!” Trump had proclaimed to a Rolling Stone reporter. “Who would vote for that?” When pushed to explain his denigrating comment, Trump claimed he was only talking about Fiorina’s “persona.”

During the debate, after Trump confronted Jeb Bush on his awkward comments about women’s health funding (which Bush claimed was a “mis-speak”), Fiorina was asked about Trump’s comments regarding her looks. With a calm, deliberate tone, she responded, “Mr. Trump said that he heard Mr. Bush very clearly and what Mr. Bush said. I think women all over this country heard very clearly what Mr. Trump said.” Bam!

Trump then followed with what every woman knows is the equivalent of a pat on the head: “She’s got a beautiful face, and she’s a beautiful woman.”

Sorry, Donald. Too little, too late.

Why were women so pleased with Fiorina’s response? Too few of us ever feel that confident to respond effectively to a man belittling us based on our looks. Having someone say, “You look nice today,” is always welcome. But when you’re in the boardroom, or the planning meeting, or a presidential debate, your looks are the last attribute you want noticed. It’s one of the small but persistent things that diminish women in public and private venues. When comments are made like, “That dress makes you look really sexy,” or, “Why would anyone vote for someone who looks like that?” it’s not only not OK; it should be socially unacceptable.

Statistics and analyses frequently illustrate the disparity between women and men in salaries and career opportunities, including the 85 percent dominance by men in Silicon Valley; the recently successful book, Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead, by Sheryl Sandberg; and disappointing numbers of women in creative leadership roles, such as those in movies and television (with a few notable exceptions like Tina Fey, the Amys—Schumer and Poehler, and Shonda Rhimes, used to refute the complaints: “Hey, they made it, so what are you complaining about?”).

All of this came to mind as I was reading Palm Springs resident Carlynne McDonnell’s book, The Every Woman’s Guide to Equality, which contains helpful advice for women on how to respond to situations in which they are treated with less than the full measure of respect they deserve.

McDonnell has been in the Coachella Valley for about three years. Her background includes a degree in humanities and a master’s in public policy. She has always been involved in writing, but professionally, it was usually of the technical variety, involving contracts, specifications, policies and procedures. Carlynne worked primarily in what she describes as “male-centric industries”—on the docks in Houston, and with the railroad in New Jersey. She felt compelled to write about the basics for women’s equality, particularly in the workplace.

“I felt I had not done enough to help other women,” she said. “Just listen to the way women are described, and the way women are talked about publicly. We’ve been desensitized to it, and it doesn’t seem like anyone stands up and says, ‘Stop it!’ It reaches the point where there is so much negativity, it can become overwhelming.”

Last year, McDonnell decided it was time to speak up and make a difference.

“I started the book last April, because I wanted to address how women can come together to have the greatest impact,” she says. “Women need to stop being so divided and talk in terms of our most-common factor: We are all women. Although we are not encouraged to speak our minds, we must do something instead of nothing. We can effect change as a group with the power of our voices and our dollars, but we need a continuous effort. We can and must change the world.”

For McDonnell, individual activism is a key component of the change she sees as necessary: “We need to demand a culture of success where the most qualified, regardless of gender or race or any other factor, is the one hired to do the job.”

She sees too much reliance on old ways of doing things, or people wanting to hire people just like themselves, or policies that don’t make a conscious effort to overcome old biases.

“I have a problem with the idea of ‘unconscious bias,’” she said. “On some level, it becomes conscious exclusion, and that’s what policies have to overcome. These things should not have to be legislated—they’re just good policies. But ultimately, the long-term message must be, ‘You can pay me now, or it will cost you a lot more later.’”

McDonnell also focuses on violence against women, as she sees a shifting view of responsibility: “People don’t realize how many women are killed every year. We call it ‘domestic’ violence, but the way we view women in crisis is often that the onus falls on the woman. Even women will say, ‘Why didn’t she just leave?’”

McDonnell’s book includes a chapter on health-care bias, where the emphasis is too often on diseases that get the most financial profile and support, such as breast cancer, compared to those that have higher death rates for women, like heart disease or stroke.

She also highlights the role of men and the need for them to have raised consciousness about the often subtle ways in which women are publicly disrespected. Her husband “has walked out of car dealer showrooms and declined to move forward with contractors who showed disrespect for me. He not only gets it; he acts on it.”

How can women learn to respond, like Fiorina, when their efforts are trivialized or disrespected? McDonnell includes many helpful suggestions that women can incorporate into their everyday lives. If you’re treated inappropriately at a store or restaurant, speak to someone in charge, and let them know why you will no longer spend your money in their establishment. Ask questions of your health-care providers about whether their recommended treatment is specific to women, or whether the testing and protocols were only researched with men. Stand up for women whose voices may not be heard. Get angry and vocal with police departments and elected officials who do not make safety, security and equality for women high priorities. Speak up when people use trivializing language about women and girls: “Don’t let ‘like a girl’ be anything more than an empowering battle cry to strive and succeed.”

McDonnell’s bottom-line message is that women must stand up and be heard, be role models, mentor others and educate without intimidating. “We allow our power to be diminished by not responding. Every time you stand up for yourself, you stand up for those who cannot do so. ”

Carly Fiorina gave us a good model of how to do that. Carlynne McDonnell is attempting to empower us all to do the same.

Anita Rufus is also known as “The Lovable Liberal,” and her radio show airs Sundays from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on KNews Radio 94.3 FM. Email her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Know Your Neighbors appears every other Wednesday.

Published in Know Your Neighbors

Dear Mexican: I’m white, and Donald Trump scares the crap out of me. Mexicans must be shaking in their boots. Does The Donald give Mexicans the willies? Do Mexicans get the willies?

Dump Trump

Dear Gabacho: Scared of him? Donald Trump is the best thing to happen to Mexicans since the bacon-wrapped hot dog. Oh, his rhetoric is straight out of The Turner Diaries, and Trump’s fans make slack-jawed yokels seem as cultured as Aristophanes. But the piñata pendejo is exactly what Mexicans need—a kick in the nalgas to wake us up and get ready for the 2016 elections.

Mexicans vote best when raza is threatened, and given he’s vowing to deport 11 million undocumented folks and their anchor babies (otherwise known as “American citizens” by the Constitution), we’re going to make sure that neither Trump nor any of the candidates copying his ideas get into the Oval Office. And if he does? Let’s have a double-revolution in Mexico and the U.S., and boot the bastards out in both of our countries, ¿qué no?

Can you clue me in as to what it means when someone is called jarocho? I know it’s a traditional Mexican style of music—son jarocho—but in what other ways is it used?

Colas, Colas

Dear Nicholas Gabacho: A quick description for your fellow gabas: Son jaracho is a style of music from the Mexican state of Veracruz that involves high-strung, quickly strummed tiny guitars called jaranas; a distinctive lead guitar called a requinto; and other instruments that can range from a harp to a donkey’s jawbone to a drum. Together, they create a beautiful genre (“La Bamba” is its most famous song) that, while known in Mexico, is an obsession of Chicano yaktivists; they arrange academic conferences around all-night parties, lionizing its supposedly proletarian spirit while relegating other, more-popular Mexican regional music forms like tamborazo and chilenas to quinceañeras in Montebello.

No es surprise, then, that jarocho also refers to someone from Veracruz. But this is where its etymological roots get fun: The Real Academia Española defines a jarocho as someone “of brusque manners, not courteous, and something insolent,” and traces its roots to the word farota, which means “shameless woman” (and that word comes from a classical Arabic term referring to the act of getting angry). In other words, jarocho is a word originally used as an insult, but reappropriated by veracruzanos as a point of pride. Such linguistic tactics are popular around Mexico: Words like chilango (someone from Mexico City) and paisa (a hillbilly) are other such intended regional slurs. This shows Mexicans can make beauty out of shit at all times, which explains the continued popularity of Maná.

And speaking of caca

Your people have destroyed your own country, and like any good virus, when you run out of things to destroy, you move on to somewhere else to destroy.

Do you know why Mexico is a shithole, and America is great? Because Mexico is full of Mexicans, and America is full of whites. That’s literally the only reason. Congratulations: You will never be more than a poor, brown-trash spic. Viva la Caca!

The Donald Devotee

Dear Gabacho: Viva! Manure is a wonderful, natural miracle worker that can fertilize the most wasted of terrains. Why, with all us shit-Mexicans smearing across the United States, our cosecha in 50 years will bring this country back to the Garden of Eden.

And gabachos? Y’all will be reduced to skid marks.

Ask the Mexican at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; be his fan on Facebook; follow him on Twitter @gustavoarellano; or follow him on Instagram @gustavo_arellano!

Published in Ask a Mexican

On this week's exciting Independent comics page: This Modern World examines the conflict between Plutocrat Pete and Tea Party Tim; Jen Sorenson wonders how the humble pickup truck became a luxury item; The K Chronicles is surprised to learn that the cartoonist doesn't "sound black"; and Red Meat prepares the clowns for combat.

Published in Comics

Dear Mexican: I’m tired of debating pasty white-breads that the Camino Real has had people going back and forth across the border for more than 500 years—and that a fence is redundant, because people will always be crossing our southern border. The white-breads insist that the wall can end this traffic; I don’t think so.

What is your thought on the history of the Camino Real?

Blanco Beaner

Dear Gabacho: Which Camino Real are we talking about? The one that connected California’s missions and was romanticized by gabachos? The one that connected Texas’ missions? El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro, which went from Mexico City to Santa Fe? Or El Camino Real, the chingón Fullerton eatery that’s the favorite Mexican restaurant of Los Angeles Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant?

All of them reflect the same idea you allude to—that la frontera has had humans going back and forth for centuries, if not millennia, and that trying to seal off the border for good is as futile of an endeavor as getting Donald Trump’s mouth not to spew caca.

I was in San Diego recently renting a car when I mentioned I might be taking it down to Tijuana for the day. The nice man behind the counter asked me if I wanted to buy Mexican insurance. I thought that was a great idea.

Do you know if it’s available here in Denver? I’m sure I would feel a lot safer driving around the streets with that policy in my glove box!

Chubby Chubbys Chump

Dear Gabacho: You know, I was going to answer your question honestly—of course you can’t get Mexican insurance to cover you in the United States; it’s called Mexican insurance for a reason. And Mexican insurance really isn’t all that necessary in Mexico, if you have a $50 bill on you to pay off a cop—but now I’m thinking you’re just fucking with me.

May Peyton Manning choke again this season as punishment for your pendejadas.

I think, by law, all al pastor should be made traditionally—on a spit, topped with a fresh pineapple. Agreed?

Su Amigo, Otro Idiota con las Mejores Intenciones

Dear Friend, Another Idiot with the Best Intentions: Yes, and no. The Mexican personally thinks al pastor—the Mexican meat that involves packing together chunks of marinated pork on a spit, slowly roasting it for hours, and shaving off slices as needed—tastes best when topped with a pineapple, the better to have jugo de piña seep into the trompo. But be careful when you talk about traditions and Mexican foods.

As seemingly all hipsters found out this year after NPR and leeches—sorry, I meant millennial publications—did stories about al pastor’s origins, the tradition owes nothing to Mexico: It’s based on the shawarmas that Middle Eastern immigrants brought to central Mexico in the 1930s. All Mexicans did was substitute puerco for the original beef and lamb. And the original al pastor didn’t have pineapple—that’s a more recent addition dating back no more than 30 years, if that.

The only Mexican food law that should be enacted is a ban on anyone ever thinking again that celebrity chef Rick Bayless is an authority on anything other than his pocketbook.

Ask the Mexican at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; be his fan on Facebook; follow him on Twitter @gustavoarellano; or follow him on Instagram @gustavo_arellano!

Published in Ask a Mexican

On this week's diversity-laden Independent comics page: Jen Sorenson imagines Donald Trump as a refugee; The K Chronicles takes on the purple people; This Modern World looks at the rationality of our free market; and Red Meat shows Milkman Dan focusing on his legacy.

Published in Comics

Dear Readers: The Mexican is currently in the rancho, scheming about how to get close enough to Donald Trump so I can smear a bean burrito in his face … HA!

But I did want to share two cosas. A couple of weeks back, I published a letter by one Dickhead in Denver, who asked 10 pendejo questions, regarding everything from why Mexicans are so fat to why Mexicans aren’t good in math. Your humble paisa easily knocked him down, but so did many of ustedes in letters sent to me—chingao!

I wish I could quote one directly, but I can’t. Let’s just say an executive from a major American company told me that company hires more engineers from Mexico than the United States, and showed me the numbers to prove it—chingao!

The following letter is one I’m allowed to share in its entirety:

I can’t address some of the B.S. addressed by this individual so aptly named, but here’s something: I taught as an intern and then as a substitute teacher in Albuquerque, N.M., almost exclusively at Dolores Gonzales Elementary by the BioPark for two years. The kids from Mexico were better in math, science and language skills (Spanish, of course) than local kids. In one of the classes where I acted as a teaching assistant, there were five of them who were placed in advanced classes the following year.

Where the kids got screwed up was a three-fold thing: 1. Dealing with “cooperative learning” crap. They were used to traditional, old-school methods with the teacher in front of the class, and the kids listening, taking notes, etc. When you broke them up into groups, that’s when problems began. 2. Learning a new language. 3. Pressures from IDIOT local Hispanic/Latino kids who ridiculed them and sometimes beat them up, because they were diligently trying to learn; and pressures at home from parents who were also dealing with a number of issues.

Le tengo odio a mitoteros/mentirosos como Dickhead: “Todo el dia, tuercen mis palabras …” —Salmos 56.5

’Burque Babe

For those who don’t habla: The maestra said at the end: “I hate nosy idiots/liars like Dickhead: ‘All day long, they twist my words…’ Psalms 56:5.” Biblical retribution? Chingao!

See, America? Mexicans come to this country all perfect and precious—and it’s this country that destroys them by making them become Americans.

BUY THIS BOOK!

#FuckCancer: The True Story of How Robert the Bold Kicked Cancer’s Ass is an awesome new book by Robert Flores, a lifelong butcher who decided to tell his tale after surviving fourth-stage colon cancer. #FuckCancer is not just the latest entry in the lengthy bookshelf of cancer literature; it also belongs in Chicano studies classrooms. In the butcher, you find everything we want our community to turn into: a fighter. A survivor. Someone who’s proud of where he’s from. Brown and down. And a pioneer: Robert is brave enough to tell his story and to become a writer despite being in his mid-50s after never having written a “professional” story, let alone a full-length book. May this book inspire people who want to be writers but are afraid to do so … to do so.

Follow him on Twitter @foxflores, and buy his book at roberttheboldstore.etsy.com!

Ask the Mexican at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; be his fan on Facebook; follow him on Twitter @gustavoarellano; or follow him on Instagram @gustavo_arellano!

Published in Ask a Mexican

On this week's magically delicious Independent comics page: Jen Sorenson examines the legacy of the Trump presidency; The K Chronicles deals with mosquitoes; This Modern World runs a simulation; and Red Meat makes a run to the drugstore.

Published in Comics

In light of the recent uproar over Donald Trump’s blast at Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly—about “blood coming out of her eyes, blood coming out of her wherever,” after she asked him a question he didn’t like—I want to announce that I am not only the Lovable Liberal; I am also the Goddess of Political Correctness.

My history includes Russian and Polish ancestors. I have exes who are Irish, Mexican-Indian (Mestizo), British, African American and Canadian. I was born Jewish; chose Unitarian, Baha’i and Buddhist; and married a lapsed Catholic. I’m a pro-choice feminist with a gay son and a lesbian cousin, was born in New Jersey, and was raised in California. I lived in the South. And, yes, I am blonde.

There is almost no group you can insult where I won’t take offense. I am hypersensitive to jokes, comments, observations or judgments based on anyone’s color, religion, nationality, region, accent, sexual orientation, gender, physical disability, appearance or size.

Yes, I can laugh at genuinely funny jokes if they’re told by someone who speaks from an insider’s experience: Italian family stories told by Italians, Jewish jokes from Jewish comedians, stereotypes about low-riders told by those who have driven them, gay dating disasters when told by gays, insider observations on women by women—if the jokes are funny, I’ll laugh.

By contrast, jokes that denigrate others based on stereotypes and that come from an assumption of superiority … not funny.

Political correctness is very much in the news as Trump, accused of misogynistic statements, responded with, “I don’t, frankly, have time for total political correctness.” Trump claims his comments about Kelly don’t require an apology, because the audience laughed and applauded when he inserted a joke saying that Rosie O’Donnell was “a fat pig” while Kelly questioned his other comments about women. Kelly was asking whether he felt his previous statements reflected “the temperament of a man we should elect as president”—a serious question, by the way.

Trump said he couldn’t recall specifics of insulting women—although he published disparaging comments about his ex-wives and others in his books, specifically about their roles as women. I don’t think he considers those comments insulting, merely descriptive. When he was subsequently disinvited to a conservative forum because of his remarks about Kelly, he said, “This is just another example of weakness through being politically correct.”

That use of the term “politically correct” is merely a shield. While it’s bad enough that a “politically correct” comment may be offensive to those being disparaged, it also reflects badly on the person saying it. It’s like my non-Jewish friend who emails jokes about Jews that are really offensive, and then says, “A Jewish guy sent it to me,” as if that makes it OK that he’s sending it on to others. It’s not unlike Trump’s re-tweeting of comments describing Kelly as a whore and worse, and then being unwilling to take any personal responsibility for the sentiments.

So what exactly is “political correctness? Merriam-Webster defines it as “agreeing with the idea that people should be careful to not use language or behave in a way that could offend a particular group of people.” Sounds reasonable, doesn’t it? The Free Dictionary says it is “conforming to a particular sociopolitical ideology or point of view, especially to a liberal point of view concerned with promoting tolerance and avoiding offense in matters of race, class, gender, and sexual orientation.” Does that mean promoting tolerance and avoiding offense is somehow confined to liberals? I hope not.

People who align with the political right often say political correctness is intended to stifle free thought. In other words, people shouldn’t have to self-censor before saying things that demean or insult others. Really?

When did “political correctness” even become an issue and part of our politics? It wasn’t until the early 1990s, when conservative author Dinesh D’Souza used the term to condemn efforts to promote multiculturalism in society, through policy efforts such as affirmative action, designations of hate speech, and a focus in school curricula on all aspects of American history and culture (i.e., black history and women’s studies).

In 1991, at a commencement ceremony for a graduating class of the University of Michigan, then-President George H.W. Bush spoke out against what he called “a movement (that would) declare certain topics ‘off-limits,’ certain expressions ‘off-limits,’ even certain gestures ‘off-limits.’” So I guess it was just political correctness when the Germans outlawed all public references to Nazism or displays of Nazi symbols.

Those on the right quickly adopted the term to criticize any individual reactions or public policies that they felt attempted to limit language or actions that might offend or disadvantage any group of people. Liberals responded by claiming conservatives were merely attempting to divert public attention from issues of discrimination and the need to respond with public policy. Both are right.

The best weapon we have for combating discrimination and moving toward an equal, inclusive, and tolerant civil society—the hallmark of what America stands for, if it stands for anything—is through the one weapon that has always worked to hold people accountable for their prejudices: social disapproval.

So does political correctness mean you can’t say what you think? Frankly, I hope not. I want to know how ignorant you are, and how insecure you are that you’re willing to diminish others to make yourself feel superior, and how unevolved you are in matters of race or religion or acceptance of others.

Donald Trump’s behavior reflects a boorish disregard for the reactions of others, a compulsion to take everything personally, and a willingness to appeal to “spit-in-their-eye” malcontents who don’t care about issues, but only want to feel less disempowered. In the words of Palm Springs radio host Chad Benson, “Trump says things that people think, and they don’t want to feel bad about it.”

Every woman ought to know that Trump’s comments about Megyn Kelly were implicitly “on the rag” in nature. Many other instances of his denigration of women are well-documented in his writings, tweets and public statements. Look it up!

This is not about political correctness; it’s about small-mindedness and the reality that no one can say out loud what they don’t already think. You can’t possibly use the “N” word to describe someone if that word, and its traditional meaning, isn’t already in your head. You can’t put down women if you don’t already think of them as a lesser category of human beings in your head; saying “I love women” doesn’t change that. You can’t stereotype behaviors as “gay” if you’re not afraid of being associated with such behaviors yourself.

As the Goddess of Political Correctness, I want you to get conscious about the characterizations and assumptions you actually hold about others whom you see as unlike yourself. When someone reacts negatively to something you think you said innocently, instead of getting defensive, why not ask them why they are offended and learn something? You can't self-censor until you're aware of what ought to be censored and why.

Finally, with regard to that “on the rag” nonsense—rather than being insulted, just remember what feminist icon Gloria Steinem said: “Why isn’t it logical to say that, in those few days, women behave the most like the way men behave all month long?”

The best defense is a legitimate offense—especially if it’s not only funny, but true!

Anita Rufus is also known as “The Lovable Liberal,” and her radio show airs Sundays from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on KNews Radio 94.3 FM. Email her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Know Your Neighbors appears every other Wednesday.

Published in Know Your Neighbors

On this week's Trump-y Independent comics page: The K Chronicles finds unwelcome visitors at a new home; This Modern World focuses on a terrible person who will never be president; Jen Sorenson stands up for Planned Parenthood; and Red Meat shops for some pants.

Published in Comics