Monday, February 27, 2017

More NY Times Op-Eds!

I had a few more pieces for the NY Times Op-Ed over the last several days. This piece was slotted to run last Friday, but ended up going into yesterday's Sunday paper, where I was able to give it some color. For a piece on the outrageous financial costs (the moral costs are a given) associated with Trump's plan for a border wall, detention centers, deportations, etc.

This piece ran last week, looking at Trump's pick for National Security Advisor, General McMaster, and advising Trump to defer to the General's expertise.

This one is out today, for an editorial explaining that the one proposal Trump made during the campaign that could get support across the political spectrum- his infrastructure plan- is indefinitely on hold, and might not get off the ground for years, if ever.

Always a blast working on these super-quick turnaround pieces! Thank you to my AD on these three, Sarah!

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Shine a light

This piece is in today's New York Times, for an Op-Ed recommending that congress look into various issues involving the Trump campaign/administration, if the Justice Department is too conflicted to do so. Listed are the Flynn firing, and the alleged contact between Russian Intelligence and Trump campaign members. They also threw in the various intelligence agencies' assertions about Russia trying to undermine the election (and whether Trump colluded in that respect) for good measure.

 The article describes Russia as a nation that "has tried to thwart American foreign policy since the Cold War," and demands info clarifying whether our new Prez is in cahoots with "an enemy." I wasn't aware that Russia is officially an enemy now. If it's due to the supposed attempt (or desire) to influence our election, I guess we have a lot of enemies around the world. Not because they've meddled in our elections, but because we've "meddled" in theirs. Like maybe Guatemala, Iran, Chile, Indonesia, Vietnam, and others where we either directly overthrew their governments, or supported the people that did. That's coups, to say nothing of plain old meddling or interfering, which we've engaged in dozens and dozens of times. And maybe if some of our foreign policy since the Cold War had been thwarted, those catastrophes wouldn't have happened. Along with many other catastrophes, like Iraq and Libya. It goes without saying (though I still will) that illustrators need not agree with every word in the articles they illustrate for. Investigation? Sure, why not? But I could do without the demonization that sounds an awful lot like a gin up for more interventionism. Anyone up for another round of regime change? Siganme, los malos! Meanwhile, those who decried leaks when they exposed Clinton campaign/DNC unseemliness are cheering on the Flynn leaks, while the Trump supporters giddy about leaks and whistle-blowing during the election are now crying foul. Who knew intellectual consistency was so hard to come by?
Thank you to Nathan, my AD.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Balancing act

This piece ran today in The New York Times. For an Op-Ed detailing just how much hangs in the balance, with regard to foreign policy in the Middle East (specifically, in this editorial's case, Israel and Iran.) And it's all in Trump's hands now:

Thank you to Nathan, my AD on this!

Monday, February 6, 2017

Twisting the night away

With apologies to M.C. Escher and Sam Cooke. This piece appeared in the L.A. Times Envelope section last week. For an article profiling a crop of new films that are challenging audiences with their unorthodox storytelling. Films like Manchester by the Sea, Moonlight, and Nocturnal Animals are using twists, nonlinear narratives, and other unusual methods to tell a story.

Here's the page:

Read the article here. Thanks so much to Wes!

Four lives to live

I did this New York Times Book Review piece a couple weeks back, and it ran in yesterday's Sunday paper. For the new Paul Auster novel,
4 3 2 1:

The book follows the formative years of Archie Ferguson, through four, alternate, parallel lives. One of the few commonalities between all these lives: Amy Schneiderman. As Tom Perrotta's review remarks: "The multiple love stories of Ferguson and Amy- sometimes consummated, sometimes thwarted- form the heart of the novel and bring the strengths of Auster's peculiar narrative structure into sharp focus." Read the review here, or pick up a copy of the book. Thank you to Matt!

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

I'll come to your emojinal rescue

I worked on this series for a story on The Verge that details the way the texting-based therapy app TalkSpace operates. Like many of the new app-based businesses out there promising to "disrupt" the old way of doing things, it's not without its problems. Namely, the fact that the people who sign up for the app and text with the platform's licensed therapists are completely anonymous to those therapists. A setup that becomes problematic when the patient informs his or her therapist of suicidal thoughts, urges to hurt someone else, or any behavior that can put someone in danger.

Not only is it unsafe for the patient (or the person they are threatening to harm), but it's also required by law that the therapist notify law enforcement. Impossible under the current, anonymous arrangement. Aside from this, the article also covers the unfair labor practices the company engages in (similar to other disruptors like Uber), such as treating the therapists as employees, with regard to pay structure and work schedules, while refusing to provide employee benefits like health insurance and social security.

Meanwhile, regulators are looking at the TalkSpace business model in an attempt to figure out just what exactly the app is: a simple texting platform for people and therapists to connect, or something closer to a clinic that directly employs licensed therapists, thus requiring a whole different kind of operation. One that is required to follow the rules that all healthcare outfits are bound by.
Thank you to Michael! 

Monday, December 12, 2016

Declassify it

This piece ran in The New York Times on Saturday, but was online Friday evening. It concerns the Senate Intelligence Committee's report on the CIA's use of torture, and the future of that report in upcoming administrations. Former Senators Carl Levin and Jay Rockefeller are urging President Obama to declassify the report, in order to protect it from being destroyed after he leaves office in January.

The Op-Ed includes a little background on the approximately 6,700 page report, including the fact that only little more than 500 of those pages have been declassified, leaving the vast majority of it in "limbo." The president has the power to unlock these other 6,200 pages, thereby giving a full accounting of what happened during the Bush administration's torture regime, and making it more likely these shameful deeds will not be repeated.

Here's an alternate take. Providing a glimpse of what's in the report:

Thank you to Jim, my awesome AD on this.

Even now the crosshairs are centered on the back of your neck.

Friday, November 25, 2016

This machine kills fascists

I provided the illustration for a new Mother Jones investigation into the White nationalist groups that have thrown their weight behind Donald Trump. What started out as random racist memes, Twitter trolling, and 4chan and Reddit threads, has coalesced into the "Alt-Right," a fairly large online presence of White-power groups that view Trump as their ally and leader. Whether he will disavow such groups once he enters the White House remains to be seen. 

Calling themselves "alt-right" as a way to appear more mainstream, their views are essentially the same as White-supremacist groups throughout American history: That Whites who trace their ancestry to Western and Northern Europe are the superior race, and the only true Americans. The presence of Trump, first with his "birtherism" trolling, to his presidential campaign, to his election, has engendered a feeling of vindication for groups that were previously confined to the dark fringe of the web. And they now feel comfortable making their presence known:

Update: The above piece, which was originally commissioned to accompany the opening illustration, ended up being used for a different post that's online now: defining the various terms used to refer to the groups comprising the "alt-right." Thank you so much to my wonderful AD, Ivy! And to give credit where credit is due, the visage of Trump was from a photo taken by Gage Skidmore.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Is that a unicorn or are you just happy to see me?

I had a recent assignment with Cosmopolitan, that's out now. For the Esther Perel column- "Men and Sex: Fantasy vs. Reality."

This fantastical guy worked out great to discuss the mythology surrounding men's sexuality, including the presumption that men are always ready for action, 24/7/365.

A big thanks to Betsy, my AD! It was a ton of fun to work on!

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Two can keep a secret if one of them is an ant.

I  wanted to post this while I have a free minute... Out in today's (Oct. 13) New York Times Op-Ed page:

 For an article on a little know case of espionage that occurred just prior to the 9/11 attacks, and was therefore all but forgotten. Brian Regan was an analyst at the National Reconnaissance Office, who stole thousands of pages of documents from our spy satellites, attempting to sell them to Iraq and Libya. This example, along with other leaks, such as those from Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden, show certain vulnerabilities in our intelligence agencies. The article makes the point that even if you cheer on the leaks provided by Manning and Snowden (I count myself as one of those people), there are many people with ignoble intentions that are trying to gain access to U.S. intelligence to do harm, rather than provide a service to the public about illegal activity and wrongdoing (as Manning and Snowden did). And agencies like the NSA have failed to learn from past oversights.
Thanks to Jim Datz, my AD on this, who provided the cool layout that allowed the ants to tunnel down through the copy.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Know what really grinds my gears?

Out now in the current issue of The Atlantic is my piece for an article on the state of the U.S. economy, especially with regard to innovation and new business creation. Hint: it's not great. Why? Because we have a pretty serious monopoly problem in this country, that is looking increasingly like the gilded age of the late 19th century. As the article explains, nearly every industry is concentrated into a few humongous corporations that control a vast majority of the market in their respective sectors. Whether it's clothing, health insurance, airlines, cable, supermarkets, publishing- you name it- it's an oligopoly.

Pick up a copy, or read the article here. Thanks to, Paul!

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Work for L'OBS

I had the pleasure of working on a piece for French magazine L'OBS a couple weeks back. The article was an interview with author and sociologist Alondra Nelson, and centered around the use of genetic tests by African Americans. Using companies like African Ancestry, African Americans can use these tests to trace the roots that were cut off by the slave trade hundreds of years ago.

The tests can provide African Americans with a more in-depth understanding of their family origins. As the article points out, Africa is made up of dozens of countries, and many more languages and cultures- a fact that the term "African American" doesn't quite acknowledge. Narrowing one's roots down to a particular region or even tribe can be an exciting undertaking, that was impossible until recent advancements in genetic mapping. And by proving the family ties, it may also be used by descendants of slaves to help in obtaining reparations from companies whose wealth is directly attributable to slavery.
Here's the spread:

Thank you to Catherine!

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

This blog is protected by video surveillance

I should have posted this a couple weeks or so ago, but I've got a spare minute so here it is: a spot for The New York Times Book Review. It's for Security, by Gina Wohlsdorf, a slasher type mystery thriller about two killers that stalk their victims at a swanky hotel. What makes this story a bit different is that it's told from the perspective of the hotel's ubiquitous security cameras.

The image is pretty small, so the instructions were to keep it simple and graphic. I've always liked those "security camera in use" signs outside convenience stores, and decided to modify the image a bit. It was a fun little piece to do. Read the review here. Thank you to Matt Dorfman, my AD on this! More stuff to come when I know the publications are out...

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Rudy CAN Fail

Another quick Op-Ed piece running in today's New York Times. This one for a piece on Rudy Giuliani's recent comments regarding crime and violence in the Black community. They serve mainly to deflect attention away from the spate of high profile police shootings of African American men, and the continued racial bias in policing.

 Many Black men have commented on their experiences with police, and the feeling of being under constant surveillance, and the threat of harassment. Statistics bear out this truth, that African Americans are far more likely to be stopped by police, yet less likely to be carrying drugs or weapons than Whites. A police hat hanging overhead like a black cloud worked out as a simple way to show this omnipresent feeling.

Also in today's paper is a new report showing data that suggests police are bias against African Americans in the use of force, but not in shootings. Some people are using this report to further obfuscate the truth behind police racial bias (despite the fact that it still shows police are more likely to use force of all kinds against African Americans). This new report only takes into account data from 10 major cities, only 4% of the U.S. population, and relies solely on police testimony. It also stands at odds with other sources, like The Washington Post and The Guardian, which show just how disproportionately Black men are killed by police compared to White men. In 2015, based on all reported police killings in the U.S., Black males from age 15 to 34 were killed by police at rates five times higher than White males age 15-34.

Thank you to my AD, Sarah!

Monday, July 11, 2016

NY Times Op-Eds

I've been doing some Op-Ed work for The New York Times lately. Here are a few recent assignments:

This was for an Op-Ed on the recent Baghdad suicide bombing attack that killed over 200 people. It explains how ISIS is changing tactics in desperation as the group loses territory.

 This one detailed the recent police shootings of innocent Black men in Baton Rouge and St. Paul, and how although these types of incidents have been happening for a long, long time, they are now widely caught on video.

This piece accompanied an Op-Ed on the first fatal crash involving any kind of automated vehicle. Although the Tesla involved was not a "driverless" car, the article mentioned some of the things automakers and regulators should do to keep this technology safe, and prevent more fatalities.

Figured I'd add this one in, another Op-Ed piece on the truck attack in Nice, France, and the resilience the French have shown after 3 major tragedies in 19 months:

These Op-Ed assignments are always a fun challenge. With a deadline of only a few hours, they force you to think quick, and keep it simple. It definitely keeps you on your toes. Thank you so much to Nathan and Sarah!