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Opinion

Daniel Howes / Detroit News

Detroit lost a giant this week: the diminutive David DiChiera died at 83. He founded Michigan Opera Theatre just a few short years after the ’67 riots, prompting friends to question his sanity.

He envisioned transforming a decrepit Roaring Twenties movie theater into a European-style opera house long before Comerica Park or Ford Field became reality near Madison Avenue.

John Auchter / Michigan Radio

Earlier this week, the Washington Post had an article, "American paradox: Voters want the anger to stop but can’t stop being angry." It really could have been about anyplace in the United States, but the dateline was from Rochester, Michigan and centered on Elissa Slotkin's campaign against incumbent Mike Bishop for Michigan's 8th Congressional District.

Daniel Howes / Detroit News

What do you get when you combine Detroit Public Schools, the Kresge Foundation and the University of Michigan?

Answer: A place called Hope.

Nearly two years after Detroit’s Marygrove College faced financial collapse, the tiny school is opening a new chapter, thanks to some of the region’s biggest players. And the Detroit Public Schools Community District gets a chance to prove its mettle under new leadership.

John Auchter / Michigan Radio

I gotta admit, it was a great summer. Hot. Dry. Lovely. If you could stand the heat (and I have a pretty high tolerance), there was no reason not to be outside. I spent many happy moments shooting hoops, chilling on the back patio, playing with the cats, putzing around the yard.

This isn't good

Sep 8, 2018
Daniel Howes / Detroit News

Out in flyover country, football season’s here again. The Spartans are up, the Maize and Blue is stumbling, and the spectacle in Washington is morphing from absurd to surreal.

That’s what you get with a drama queen as president a news media stretching the creed of its own business and the rest of official Washington standing aside, helpless agog or both.

John U. Bacon

After a few low years, the Big Ten has been riding high lately. Last year, seven Big Ten schools won their bowl games, with only Michigan on the losing side.

Going into this season, five Big Ten teams were ranked in the nation’s top 14, with four from the Big Ten East Division alone: Ohio State, Penn State, Michigan State, and Michigan.

John Auchter

Michigan schools are back in session. Many started two weeks before Labor Day. I don't think it's an exaggeration to say it has been oppressively hot and humid. Can you imagine what the learning environment has been like in classrooms with no air conditioning? I can almost hear the chorus of students and teachers reply, "It was miserable!"

Daniel Howes / Detroit News

The Blue Oval is stuck in neutral. Again.

Just a few years after superstar CEO Alan Mulally retired and left town, Ford Motor is embarking on another 25 billion dollar restructuring. If you think this sounds like déjà vu all over again, that’s because it is.

What happened?

Ford’s second largest business – China – is in free-fall.

South America remains a money loser.

Its European business -- just a couple of years ago hailed for its turnaround -- is losing steam.

John Auchter

My wife and I have been watching the Netflix series Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events. Our kids were big fans of the books, so I read them many years ago. I'm happy to report the TV show does a fantastic job of capturing their dark, over-the-top humor.

Big Ten Preview 2018

Aug 31, 2018
John U. Bacon

I usually spend the Friday before Labor Day predicting what’s going to happen in Big Ten football. But this year, so much has already happened off the field that it threatens to eclipse whatever might happen on it.

Daniel Howes / Detroit News

Governor Rick Snyder’s been the de facto head of Michigan’s Republicans for eight years, but he won’t be at the GOP convention this weekend.

His people say it’s a scheduling conflict. I say that’s baloney. He’s making a statement. And it’s aimed squarely at Attorney General Bill Schuette: “You’re on your own.”

Auchter's Art

Sometimes the point of a conversation is to discuss an issue, not necessarily to resolve it. This goes against my middle-aged man tendencies. I'm inclined to want to find the resolution by providing the answer (or, let's be honest, appearing as if I have the answer). 

Tesla Tweets Trouble

Aug 18, 2018
Daniel Howes / Detroit News

Tesla CEO Elon Musk needs a timeout.

Big-league auto industry pressure is getting to the, quote, “visionary” hailed by tech fan boys and true believers. You don’t need to take my word for it. Look at his Twitter feed. Less than two weeks ago, he rips one off saying that he’s thinking about taking the electric-car maker private. 

John Auchter

I'm on my annual summer family vacation, so I drew this cartoon a week ahead of time. It's always a challenge to guess at what will remain topical for 24 hours, let alone a full week. These days it's darn near impossible.

Auchter cartoon
John Auchter

It's heartening to see the reaction to the per-and-polyfluoroalkyl chemicals, known collectively as PFAS, found contaminating the water supply of Parchment, Michigan. 

John Auchter

I try never to repeat an idea for a cartoon, but every once in a while I'll do a variation on a theme. Sixteen years ago, I had a cartoon in the Grand Rapids Business Journal with the gubernatorial candidates for the 2002 primaries. The title was "A Flavor for Everybody!" and the candidates were listed below with their heads drawn as ice cream on top of cones.

Daniel Howes / Detroit News

Chrysler and its storied American brands live today because ol’ Sergio Marchionne – a poker player – gambled and won.

As Detroit’s number three automaker slumped toward bankruptcy, the CEO of Italy’s Fiat bet he could combine the weakest players in Europe and the United States to forge a global contender. One that could generate fatter profits and carry less debt.

The new Obama administration relented. So an Italian schooled in Canada got control of Chrysler for essentially nothing  arguably the shrewdest acquisition the global auto industry has seen in a generation.

John Auchter

This week Lt. Gov. Brian Calley made a somewhat unfair accusation against fellow Republican gubernatorial candidate, Bill Schuette. 

Coach Jim Harbaugh
Maize & Blue Nation / wikimedia commons

In the news business, a lot of what we do pops up unexpectedly, forcing us to drop whatever we’re working on to handle the breaking news.

Not so the Big Ten Media Days.

Like the swallows returning to Capistrano, every summer the Big Ten football coaches, players, and reporters gather in Chicago for the Big Ten Media Days. But if you had to choose between the swallows and the coaches, you’d probably take the swallows. Why? Because the swallows would give you more interesting quotes.

Daniel Howes / Detroit News

One of the biggest things to hit Detroit since the moving assembly line marked its fifth anniversary this week. That’s when the Motor City became the largest municipality in American history to declare bankruptcy.

Just weeks before, a union official said, quote: “It’s war.” But the financial restructuring that helped deliver four balanced budgets, drew three credit upgrades, improved delivery of basic city services, and attracted billions in private-sector investment turned out to be anything but.

John Auchter / Michigan Radio

My household received a mailer this week that was jammed with praise for Lt. Governor Brian Calley and his boss, Governor Snyder. It exhorted me to "take the comeback to the next level," which included the specific goal of "making Michigan's pre K–12 system the best in America."

John U. Bacon

“Hot fun in the summertime. That’s when I had most of my fun.”

For me, the summer of ’76 stands out. I was 12.

It was the bicentennial, my family went to the Montreal Olympics, and everyone cheered for Detroit pitcher Mark “The Bird” Fidrych, the happiest ballplayer I’ve ever seen.

Daniel Howes / Detroit News

It’s not news that Flint has been struggling to get clean water into its homes and businesses, except maybe to Elon Musk.

He’s the visionary behind PayPal, Space X and Tesla. This week Musk tweeted he’s ready to deliver fresh water to the city. But the offer that has Flint officials wondering what, if anything, is next … looks awfully transparent to faithful Musk watchers. Same for people who know just what happened to the city and what it will take to fix it.

Mark Edwards is the Virginia Tech researcher who helped identify the scale of Flint’s problem. He told The Detroit News that Musk should be, quote, “more focused on meeting” his Model 3 production goals.

John Auchter / Michigan Radio

Michigan Radio had a story this week about a union, the Michigan State Employees Association, petitioning to allow state park rangers to carry guns. Some rangers do not feel safe, citing a perceived uptick in illegal activity and are suggesting guns and bulletproof vests as a solution.

Daniel Howes / Detroit News

By this time, the long-running auto boom was supposed to be coming to an end.

Quick, someone tell that to the truck and SUV buyers who powered the annual selling rate last month to 17.5 million vehicles. That’s according to a Morgan Stanley estimate. If that’s evidence of a slowdown, Detroit and its foreign-owned rivals would like more of the same, please.

John Auchter / Michigan Radio

Whether you prepare for the looming trade war with a cold beverage by the pool or panicked online shopping (may I suggest the Michigan Radio Shop if you intend to spend money?), I will not take any more of your time this week. No matter what happens, the constant remains that summer in Michigan is too short.

Daniel Howes / Detroit News

The automakers found their proverbial spines this week. After months of President Donald Trump’s haranguing about tariffs on finished vehicles and auto parts, the industry presented the country with a bill. Realizing the president’s protectionist dream would not come cheaply. The average cost of a vehicle would increase $5,800, says the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers.

Life after "The Hit"

Jun 29, 2018
John U. Bacon

If you’re a casual football fan, or even if you’re not, you’ve probably seen The Hit: one of the most famous tackles in the history of the game.

It was January 1, 2013, when Michigan played South Carolina in the Outback Bowl. In the fourth quarter, with the Wolverines hanging on to a 22-21 lead, Michigan quarterback Devin Gardner handed off to Vincent Smith.

John Auchter / Michigan Radio

Governor Snyder signed legislation this week that he has championed as a "Marshall Plan for Talent." It's not a precise metaphor — the original Marshall Plan was the post-World War II effort by the United States to fund the economic redevelopment of the war-torn Western Europe. For our version, Michigan will spend $100 million in education initiatives, training, and scholarships to help rebuild our pool of skilled trades talent. So, different scale and stakes, but similar concept.

Daniel Howes / Detroit News

After months in the making, Ford Motor’s play for the Michigan Central Depot is official. Let the grousing begin.

It will start in the suburbs, from the generation that came of age during the urban unrest of the late 1960s, witnessed the controversies and power-shifting of the 1970s, and watched during the 1980s and ‘90s as capital and jobs fled Detroit for the suburbs.

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