Steve Brodner
June 2010

Drilling Suspension of Disbelief

A federal judge has struck down the Obama administration’s six-month ban on deepwater oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico. The White House imposed the ban last month as the BP oil spill spiraled into what many have called the worst environmental disaster in US history. But on Tuesday, US District Judge Martin Feldman called the suspension “heavy-handed” and “overbearing.” A Reagan appointee, Feldman has extensive stock holdings in energy companies, including Transocean, which owned the Deepwater Horizon oil rig where the explosion occurred, and Halliburton, which also performed work at the site. Feldman also owns stock in two of BP’s largest shareholders, BlackRock and JPMorgan Chase. White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said the Obama administration will appeal the ruling.
White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs: “We will immediately appeal to the Fifth Circuit. The President strongly believes, as the Department of Interior and the Department of Justice argued yesterday, that continuing to drill at these depths, without knowing what happened, is—does not make any sense and puts the safety of those involved—potentially puts safety of those on the rigs and safety of the environment in the Gulf at a danger that the President does not believe we can afford right now.”
In a statement, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said he will issue a new order reimposing the drilling ban. Salazar says he will detail the reasons for the ban to address Judge Feldman’s concerns.
Democracy Now
Black Hole

Our latest for PBS' Need to Know, running this weekend. How big is the spill area really?  Size does matter.
I Apologize


The winner of the special Sundance prize for docs this year was Gasland by Josh Fox (airing on HBO June 21). It discusses a kind of drilling called hydraulic fracturing and what a bright idea that is . . . or isn’t.  Get a load of this trailer for the film in which this guy is able to light up his faucet.

Sharp increases in pollution, illness and death are a big price for this gas.  Seems like the same story all over.  Killing ourselves chasing down the last drop of fossil.
Now, here’s the solution.  The people of Samso Island in Denmark decided to chase, instead, every possible non-fossil solution to the problem.  Today they produce more energy than they need and sell it at a profit. Two very close dots, very easy to connect. If only we move the greed machine out of the way.

Oil Painting

Our film, embedded, on the Minerals Management Service, as seen on PBS this weekend.
Gulf Balls
This our second short for PBS’ Need to Know: “Oil Painting”, based on new revelations about the Minerals Management Agency, charged with regulating drilling enterprises, as well as collecting royalties.

It turns out the Industry AND the Agency were pretty tightly connected.  So when one goes down, so does the other.

The MMS is part of the Interior Department so our little inspector is seen coming out of the White House. The “cozy” culture between Government and Oil has been going on as far back as the ’90s.  It reached its fullest expression under Bush/Cheney when regs were a joke and Industry was always right. This didn’t really change under Obama.

Here our little regulator sails up to the rig, about to be seduced.  It was a true romance.  Gifts were exchanged; friendships of an extreme nature blossomed (or bloomed).  The Culture of Oil meant that all these folks thought of themselves as part of the same group.  “We’re all oil”, one of them said.  Even now we are relying on BP, the criminals in the case, to save the gulf!

So finally, the royalties are paid, but by the gulf, by the animals and by the people.
Read more HERE
Directed by Gail Levin, Animation by Asterisk, Ben Shapiro, DP.
Great thanks to Tom Casciato, Shelley Lewis, Stephen Segaller, NTK.
Exit 14C on the Turnpike
Saturday night I was honored to get to hang out with the National Cartoonists Society at their annual banquet.  This was at the Hyatt in Jersey City (yes Jersey City!) It was a memorable evening.  The hall was filled with wonderful artists and amazing legends.  Bill Gallo, George Booth, Randall Enos (yes, THE Randall Enos), Mort Gerberg, Mell Lazarus, Mort Walker, Nick Meglin, Sam Viviano, Mike Lynch, Rob Rogers were all there.  The president is Jeff Keane. Yep, Jeffy. A very warm host and funny guy.
They gave the advertising award to an editorial illustrator who slipped on a banana peel and did an ad campaign. But hey, this is life and sometimes it is absolutely sublime! I am extremely grateful to the NCS.
Here's the campaign I've been having fun with this year:
It's the Big ERP guys for PJA Advertising out of Cambridge.  Amy Frith, Paul Yokoda, Chris Frame and many other great people.  The animations are done by my pals at Asterisk, Brian O'Connell and Richard O'Connor.  Thanks also to Justin Rucker and Tammy Shannon of Shannon Associates, my reps.
Here's the first one in this series. The big ugly guys trampling the customer. They represent Infor's competitors, Oracle and Cisco. Sort of like, "We're Number Three and we try harder."

So these run as huge airport posters as well as on-line (animated by Asterisk). This one is on the back page of the current Forbes.

There's this one. Actually pasted on a luggage carousel at O'Hare. You can watch him eat your bags!

This thing knocks me out.  A motion sensing technology. Working with Monster Media, Asterisk took my two stages and made this move.  But they only move when you walk past . . .  and apparently have your money vacuumed up. Art that constantly sucks!
My deepest gratitude to the Society and all the great folks I met Saturday night. Here's a complete list of the awards.  A special shout out to Ray Alma. A very just and righteous award.
THE REUBEN AWARD for Outstanding Cartoonist of the Year:
Dan Piraro
Seth McFarlane - “Family Guy”
Ronnie del Carmen - Storyboard Artist - “Up”
Tom Richmond
Glenn McCoy
Debbie Tomassi
Jerry Scott & Jim Borgman - “Zits”
Hilary Price - “Rhymes with Orange”
Ray Alma
Dave Whamond - “My Think-A-Ma-Jink”
John Sherffius
Steve Brodner
Paul Pope - “Strange Adventures”
David Mazzucchelli - “Asterios Polyp”
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