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Take a peek over Jim Borgman's shoulder

Jim Borgman has been the Enquirer's editorial cartoonist since 1976. Borgman has won every major award in his field, including the 1991 Pulitzer Prize, the National Cartoonists Society's Reuben Award for Outstanding Cartoonist of the Year in 1993, and most recently, the Adamson Award in 2005 as International Cartoonist of the Year. His award-winning daily comic strip Zits, co-created with Jerry Scott, chronicles the life of 15-year-old Jeremy Duncan, his family and friends through the glories and challenges of the teenage years. Since debuting in July 1997, Zits has regularly finished #1 in reader comics polls across America and is syndicated in more than 1300 newspapers around the world.

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Tuesday, August 14, 2007

More Toy Recalls


at 8/15/07, 11:57 AM Blogger Jim in DC said...

Great cartoon, but I still disagree with the broken english.

Brings to mind the great Akroyd SNL skit - "Bag o' Glass"..

Irwin Mainway: No! Look, we put a label on every bag that says, "Kid! Be careful - broken glass!" I mean, we sell a lot of products in the "Bag O'" line.. like Bag O' Glass, Bag O' Nails, Bag O' Bugs, Bag O' Vipers, Bag O' Sulfuric Acid. They're decent toys, you know what I mean?

at 8/15/07, 12:56 PM Blogger Steve Willhite said...

The broken english is fine. If you're offended then i suspect you might be one of those people that are offended by everything.

Nowhere near the level of parody the South Park revels in or even an old episode of Benny Hill.

The SNL skits were great. Wasn't there one with the same character selling a Halloween costume that was basically a plastic bag with a rubber band to hold it around your neck? heh heh...

at 8/15/07, 3:10 PM Blogger Jim in DC said...

Your suspicions are unfounded. Very little offends me.

To me, it's similar to what another commenter noted about pronunciation. Jim wouldn't have written this:

"NOW wat dey comprane bow ?!?!?"

Nor would he have given them buck teeth and pointy hats - all the sad old tropes of Asian stereotypes. The broken english gets in the way of the cartoon, which I think is excellent.

Some of Mainway's other toys...
Pretty Peggy Ear-Piercing Set, Mr. Skin-Grafter, General Tron's Secret Police Confession Kit, Doggie Dentist, and Johnny Switchblade: Adventure Punk.

at 8/16/07, 8:59 AM Anonymous wanglaw said...

My comment on the cartoon is that there is some exaggeration such as glass shards, asbestos and dirty needles being linked to a toy teddy bear. This is not factual but hey it is a caricature. The Chinese regulatory attack on P & G's SK-II probably was exaggerated too. When glass breaks we all get to sweep the glass shards (an old American saying about throwing rocks at a glass house).

A technical detail about SK-II. The official allegation was that this skin care product has unsafe levels of CHROMIUM and NEODYMIUM, something that most people and perhaps Mr. Jim Borgman has not heard of because these 2 are not in his cartoon!

at 8/16/07, 9:47 AM Blogger Steve Willhite said...

Jim in DC - Sorry, I didn't mean YOU. It was meant as kind of an open statement to whoever might have been offened. I enjoy your comments and they're usually dead-on.

Doggy Dentist - THAT'S funny!

at 8/17/07, 12:08 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Are people missing the point? After a recall of some "bogus" crest toothpaste from China, the very large toy recall from China, and a recent tire recall from China, do we not see a pattern? Maybe we should spend more to offer these jobs again in the U.S. and have safer products. With the money companies are losing through recalls and the loss of U.S. jobs by sending jobs oversees, I am sure companies would come out better in the long run and so would the consumers! Saving a few pennies is not worth the safety of our families.

at 8/18/07, 2:53 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

broken toys, broken english, broken promises, broken trust, broken brains, broken integrity, broken country, broken corporate america, what else, eh?

at 8/18/07, 2:57 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind and said, Who is this that darkeneth counsel by words without knowledge? Gird up now thy loins like a man; for I will demand of thee, and answer thou me, Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding. Who hast laid the measures thereof, if thou knowest? or who hath stretched the line upon it? Whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened? or who laid the corner stone thereof; when the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?" (Job 38:1-7)

at 8/18/07, 2:57 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Straight from the gut

at 8/18/07, 5:28 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

what if China couldn't make holes in jet engines, and what if 50% of jet engine and gas turbine design are holes?

at 8/18/07, 5:30 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

a doctor, a lawyer and an engineer were scheduled to go to the guillotine. they put the doctor and then the lawyer under and it got stuck, so they had to let them go; they put the engineer under and he/she said, I think I know what's wrong with it!

at 8/19/07, 1:42 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

beats dogfighting!

at 8/20/07, 12:11 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

China, India, Mexico, Puerto Rico

at 8/21/07, 12:51 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Consumer Reports March 2007 "An Accident Waiting to Happen."

at 8/21/07, 3:21 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

the good news is, the grinch can't steal Christmas, so start shopping NOW!!

at 8/22/07, 2:29 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

company/vendor adultery:
product + FAA inspection + VendorB + VendorC + VendorD + couple drinks + VendorE (ad infinitum, exponentially, of course)

at 8/22/07, 3:31 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Science Fiction, of course! add cost reduction with a whole 'nother dimension (ALWAYS approaching safety; best to save statistics for that instead of for the actual design)

at 8/23/07, 10:43 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

New Engineering Codes:
lying, cheating, stealing, carelessness, stupidity, abuse; it don't HAVE to work, you know!

at 8/23/07, 10:54 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

how about the Olympics fraud in China?

at 8/23/07, 11:40 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Let the (fraud) games begin!!

at 8/23/07, 11:41 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Age old martyrs: priests, nuns, poets; New age martyrs: journalists, engineers

at 8/23/07, 12:31 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

New PE (professionl licensure) examination sections:
Moral ineptitude
Deals with the devil
Dens for thieves

at 8/23/07, 6:35 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

trade ya a barbie doll arm for a turbine blade on the black market!

at 8/27/07, 12:08 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

cost reduction means going behind the FAA's back and taking parts out of the commercial and military jet engines that were there when the engines were FAA certified; cost reduction means reducing performance on gas turbines; cost reduction means putting power turbines in the field that are catching fire; cost reduction means parts on gas turbines lasting 3 days in the field and blowing out millions of dollars worth of damage down the rest of the engine (great marketing stategies too!)

at 8/27/07, 12:23 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Monday, August 27, 2007
Firm pleads guilty to fraud for supplying bad concrete for Big Dig
By Sean P. Murphy and Andrew Ryan, Globe Staff

A federal judge accepted a guilty plea today from Aggregate Industries NE Inc. for supplying 5,700 truckloads of substandard concrete on the Big Dig as part of a settlement in a fraud case that will cost the company $50 million.

Roberto Huet, president of Aggregate, the region's largest concrete supplier, stood in US District Court in Boston and agreed to the terms, which will help create an endowment to fund future repairs of the Big Dig. Judge Joseph L. Tauro asked Huet how the company would plead.

"Guilty," Huet said.

Fred M. Wyshak Jr., the federal prosecutor who headed the investigation, explained that "the policy of Aggregate was to provide concrete for the Big Dig that did not meet contract specifications."

"Leftover concrete on some occasions was mixed with new concrete and used on the Big Dig," Wyshak said in court. "On other occasions, entire truckloads of concrete rejected as too old or having too much water was used."

To hide the use of bad concrete, Aggregate officials falsified company records, writing up bogus batch tickets, Wyshak said.

Aggregate -- which was paid $105 million for its work on the Big Dig, including about $4.5 million for the substandard concrete -- agreed to pay $42 million to settle a civil investigation and $8 million in criminal fines.

US Attorney Michael J. Sullivan and Attorney General Martha Coakley have said they want $27 million of the settlement to be used as a first-of-its-kind endowment to pay for future maintenance and repairs on the long-troubled highway-and-tunnel project.

Posted by the Boston Globe City & Region Desk at 11:20 AM

at 9/1/07, 12:04 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Do you want to fly on an airplane/engine made in China?
as far as I can tell, neither the republicans nor the democrats care about flight safety (does the FAA?) Consumer Reports, March 2007, "An Accident Waiting to Happen."

at 9/7/07, 6:09 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

now what if surgical instruments are made in China? and the anasthesia is fake?

at 9/12/07, 11:53 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

By HOPE YEN, Associated Press Writer
24 minutes ago

I believe they'll change, really!!

WASHINGTON - Mattel Inc. CEO Robert Eckert sought Wednesday to tamp down public outrage over unsafe Chinese-made toys, acknowledging that his company made mistakes by not closely overseeing subcontractors in China.

In testimony to Congress, Eckert disputed reports that public warnings about the dangerous products were delayed because of disputes with federal regulators.

"We are by no means perfect," Eckert said in prepared testimony to a Senate Appropriations subcommittee. "But we have tackled difficult issues before and demonstrated an ability to make change for the better, not only within our own company but for the broader industry."

In recent weeks, Mattel has recalled more than 21 million Chinese-made toys, including popular Barbie, Polly Pocket and "Cars" movie items, because of concerns about lead paint and tiny magnets that could be swallowed.

Under federal rules, manufacturers with a few exceptions must report all claims of potentially hazardous product defects within 24 hours. Mattel reportedly took months to gather information and privately investigate problems after receiving complaints from consumers.

On Wednesday, Eckert said Mattel has been working with the Consumer Product Safety Commission to "develop a new set of reporting protocols" but denied any suggestions of a feud with the agency.

"I believe that our actions, in close cooperation with the CPSC, in quickly identifying and announcing these recent lead recalls demonstrate that we are committed to the commission and its processes," Eckert said.

The hearing comes as manufacturers and retailers scramble to restore public confidence in the safety of toys made in the United States — particularly those made in China — as the busy holiday season approaches.

The CPSC, too, has come under fire for lax enforcement after seeing its budget and staff steadily drop from 786 employees in 1974 to an all-time low of 401 employees now, according to Consumers Union. Congress is currently pondering measures to improve oversight by boosting funding and stiffening fines.

"For years CPSC has been neglected and under-funded, resulting in reductions of staff levels and weakened standards," said Sen. Richard Durbin, D-Ill., who chairs the Senate Appropriations panel on financial services and general government.

Displaying photos of a CPSC laboratory strewn with boxes and uninspected toys, Durbin said he was working to increase the agency's $62 million annual budget.

Acting CPSC Chairman Nancy Nord and Commissioner Thomas Moore said the extra money would be helpful as the agency faces record imports from China.

"It has taken years for the commission to get to its present position and it will take years to correct," Moore said.

Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kan., the top Republican on the panel, agreed that the CPSC needed to provide better oversight. But he leveled his harshest criticism at China's safety standards.

"'Made in China' has now become a warning label," Brownback said. "We're seeing this in the charts and we're seeing it in the products and it's got to stop."

Separately, China's product safety chief Li Changjiang on Wednesday offered assurances that toys made in China would be "safer, better and more appealing." Li's remarks at a food safety conference in Beijing seemed intended to reassure consumers in the United States and elsewhere amid a seemingly endless series of scandals that have portrayed Chinese toys, food and other products as health threats.

China has become a center for the world's toy-making industry, exporting $7.5 billion worth of toys last year and accounting for nearly 87 percent of the toys imported by the United States, according to China's Commerce Ministry.

"Before Christmas, we will certainly provide children safer, better and more appealing toys. They will certainly like them," Li told reporters.

On Tuesday, China signed an agreement to prohibit the use of lead paint on toys exported to the U.S.

"We know consumers are asking how they can be sure the toys they buy for their families are safe," Jerry Storch, chairman of Toys "R" Us Inc., told the Senate panel. He said the company would announce new measures this week to directly notify consumers of recalls with an e-mail notification system as well as bilingual recall notices.

"We support legislation shortening the timeframes during the period between identification of a problem and the eventual recall of that product," he said. "We are troubled by the possibility that we could be continuing to sell toys that someone knows may have a problem, while we remain unaware until we receive word that a recall is coming."

Mattel is not the only company that has had to recall products made in China for a variety of reasons.

In June, toy maker RC2 Corp. voluntarily recalled 1.5 million railroad toys and set parts from its Thomas & Friends Wooden Railway product line because of lead paint. And in July, Hasbro Inc. recalled Chinese-made Easy Bake ovens on reports of second- and third-degree burns to children.


On the Net:

Consumer Product Safety Commission:

Mattel Inc.:

at 9/12/07, 12:00 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wednesday, September 12, 2007
The Tao of Junk
Source: Slate

There are issues with the junk we import from China - lead paint, tainted food, etc. "But those container ships aren't heading home empty." We fill them up with junk (literally) and ship them back. Chalk it up to "macroeconomic karma" - materials we throw out (broken-down auto bodies, old screws and nails, paper) "accounted for $6.7 billion in exports to China in 2006, second only to aerospace products." The scrap market is a $65 billion industry that employs 50,000 people. Ravenous Chinese factories "hoovered up 42 percent of U.S. scrap exports in 2006." The practice won't do much to combat global warming or tip the US-China trade deficit, "but it will make a dent in the mountains of trash that pile up."

Related - Not all junk is created equal:
Will China clean up US mess?
Where computers go to die...and kill
Portraits of the "effluent of the affluent"

Posted by mwelch at 09:52 AM
The Boston Globe

at 9/20/07, 12:58 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Need a "Surviving China in the Workplace"

Surviving China
"Survivor: China" host Jeff Probst reveals a new "kidnapping" element to the reality game.
Cincy Enq. Sept 20, 2007

at 9/20/07, 6:07 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

we have to watch the news everyday to see what's being recalled whether it's poisonous, toys, food or toothpaste; i wonder if the beer is contaminated

at 9/24/07, 3:23 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

then why are we making things in china and not the us? why are we exporting all our jobs overseas? when will all the us companies apologize to their employees, and all the unemployed in the us? it doesn't make any sense at all

"If China's toy exports depended solely on a cheap price and did not ensure quality, we would never have won such a massive worldwide market," the paper said, citing a toy-making association official in Guangdong, the southern province where Mattel produces many of its toys.

The paper said that China-based suppliers and workers had suffered unfairly because of the Mattel recalls.

The International Herald Leader, a newspaper issued by the official Xinhua news agency, called for U.S. news media to follow Mattel's example and apologize for what it called flagrant bias.

"The U.S. media have also made an irreplaceable contribution to making made-in-China wear these dark accusations for so long," the paper said.

But Xinhua has also reported that police detained four Chinese nationals accused of having supplied one of Mattel's contract manufacturers, the Lida Toy Company, with the substandard paint behind the first recall in August.

Mon Sep 24, 5:47 AM ET
BEIJING (Reuters) - China highlighted Mattel's apology over its recall of huge numbers of toys on Monday to press Beijing's claim that its exports are generally safe and foreign politicians and media have unfairly hyped quality scares.

at 9/24/07, 3:55 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

why are all the us patents going to china, too? the ones the engineers give up and don't get any credit or money for?

at 9/25/07, 7:28 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

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