A Healing Economy

ealed by Monetary Policy..Now the bill is due

Here’s a quick-turnaround job for TIME. The Federal Reserve is raising interest rates–and maybe that’s a good thing for the economy. The author says low rates and quantitative easing were the treatment for a sick economy. Now that we’re nearly back to health, er full employment, a rate hike is the equivalent of paying the doctor for his services.

17. March 2017 by John W. Tomac
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Stick to Sports

Conservative sports fans respond to a growing, vocally liberal sports writers.

Here’s a recent assignment for The Ringer. Since the run-up to last year’s election, a number of sportswriters have injected a healthy dose of political opinions in their columns and on social media. More often than not, these scribes have been extremely critical of the president and his party. Not all of their readers are thrilled by this development. Read the whole story here.

16. March 2017 by John W. Tomac
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Liberty’s Flameout

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Last Saturday, I was working in my the studio with the TV on in the background. In the middle of the afternoon, the news started reporting spontaneous protests at JFK and other airports around the country in response to the Executive Order banning residents of seven countries from entering the country. As the afternoon progressed, the crowds got larger. In the early evening word spread across twitter that a crowd was gathering outside the Federal Court House at Cadman Plaza. After the kids were in bed, I hopped on my bicycle and headed toward downtown Brooklyn. I felt that I had to do something.

I live in a neighborhood with a growing Arab population. My wife teaches at a school with a large immigrant population, primarily from Mexico. My brother married the daughter of Persian immigrants. I went to school with Muslims and refugees, they were my classmates and teammates. When people talk about building the wall, deporting all the ‘illegals’, banning Muslims and refugees they are talking about my neighbors, my friends and my family.  How can I ever hope to look any of these people in the eye if I stand on the sidelines and say or do nothing?

I reached the court house at the same moment Judge Donnelly’s decision reached the crowd. A roar went up and I hung around for a while taking in the celebration. Despite that victory and the others that followed last week, I’m still worried. We’re in a strange place. America has its warts, for sure, but right now it seems we’re being dragged somewhere dark, away from the ideals that we tell ourselves we’re striving for. The President’s autocratic and kleptocratic streaks are troubling. Couple them with cruel policies like building the wall, banning Muslims, repealing the ACA, gutting consumer and environmental protections–to say nothing of the threat of catastrophic climate change or war from all the idiotic saber-rattling and it’s hard not be afraid for the future.

Those are the things I thought about on the ride home, with the Statue of Liberty in full view for a good chunk of my trip. Are we still the to be beacon of freedom, that we like to tell ourselves that we are? Right now it feels like we’re turing off the lights and hiding in the dark.

06. February 2017 by John W. Tomac
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Digital Dutch Boy

 

Plugging Digital Leaks

Here’s some sort of new work for National Underwriter. This image appears with a story about cyber security and the difficult task of keeping up with and stopping data breaches.

I say sort of new work because this sketch for this was originally submitted for a different story in mid-2014 and rejected. However, art director Tim Schafer held onto it and gave it new life in early 2017. Two and a half years from sketch to completion makes this the longest-lasting editorial assignment I’ve had the pleasure of working on.

10. January 2017 by John W. Tomac
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Blurred Lines

Selling Insurance Across State Lines

The new year is going to give us a new Congress and a new President determined to make radical changes to health care policy. Once of the changes they are likely to pursue is allowing insurers to sell across state lines. In theory, this should increase the competition among insurers and drive down prices. In practice, economists are fairly certain that the health insurance industry would consolidate in states with few regulations and the competition would be for only the healthiest consumers, meaning those who are sick would get crushed. Read all about it in The Boston Globe.

14. December 2016 by John W. Tomac
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Pimps and Publishers

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Where does the first amendment’s protection of a free press end and sex trafficking begin? That’s the question asked by Kate Knibbs over at The Ringer. Her story follows rise and fall of the founders of the Phoenix News Times as they build an alt-weekly empire; sell it to focus on a classified advertising site, backpage.com; then find themselves in legal trouble as the site became the internet’s go-to brothel. At issue is whether or not the site is acting just like any other publisher, however objectionable its content, or whether it’s founders designed it specifically to facilitate the online sex trade.

06. December 2016 by John W. Tomac
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Parking Footprint

Parking lots at zoos leave a large footprint.

Here’s a quick assignment for the American Planning Association’s Planning Magazine. In the late 1800s, many cities opened zoological parks, or zoos for short. Most of these were added to the grand public parks that began appearing around the same time. Fast forward to the 20th Century and the rise of the automobile, many cities paved over public space to accommodate zoo visitors. Now those parking lots are increasingly viewed as an unwelcome blight. The current issue looks at ways parks and zoos can tame the beast of parking in our parks.

29. November 2016 by John W. Tomac
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