John Auchter | Michigan Radio
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John Auchter

Contributor, Auchter's Art

Since 1995 John has created Michigan-based editorial cartoons for the Grand Rapids Business Journal, the Grand Rapids Press, and MLive Newspapers. His cartoons are currently featured at MichiganRadio.org and are syndicated to newspapers through the Michigan Press Association. John is an active member of the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists. You can view an archive of his editorial work and other cartoons at Auchtoon.com. 

In addition to cartoons and essays for Michigan Radio, John works as a technical communication specialist. He has worked for a variety companies, from startups to large corporations, and has operated his own business. The job basically is the same as cartooning — putting words and images together to communicate. But in this case, John knows enough not to draw funny pictures of his boss or client. (Well, now he does.) 

John grew up on the east side of the state near Flint, graduated from Michigan Tech in da UP, and has lived in West Michigan since. He vacations Up North every summer and shovels lots of snow every winter. After his wife, he is the biggest Tigers fan in the family. He drinks Vernors when his tummy hurts.

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John Auchter / Michigan Radio

Because the lame-duck session of the Michigan Legislature will conclude at some point past my deadline, I didn't feel confident in commenting on what legislation will actually pass. Further, I have no idea what Governor Snyder may sign into law and what he may not.

John Auchter / Michigan Radio

On Wednesday this week, Governor Snyder signed a bill into law that will allow a tunnel for a new section of pipeline under the Straits of Mackinac to move forward. The intention is to resolve the status of the Enbridge Line 5 oil pipeline, which currently is laid across the bottom of the Straits and poses a potential for catastrophic disaster.

John Auchter / Michigan Radio

It was hard not to notice the stark contrast this week between events celebrating the late President George H.W. Bush's life and the shameless actions of the Michigan (and Wisconsin) lame duck legislatures.

John Auchter / Michigan Radio

I wouldn't say Michigan's relationship with General Motors is dysfunctional. I think it's more a case of unrealistic expectations. The auto industry is an integral part of our Michigan identity. So we, as people, tend to take it personally when GM does something that affects Michigan people negatively, such as the plan announced this week to layoff workers and close plants in Hamtramck/Detroit and Warren.

John Auchter / Auchtoons.com

I imagine that some Thanksgiving dinners were a lot less tense when The Game took place the weekend before the holiday instead of after. Sure, a certain amount of tribalism is inevitable — it's who we humans are. But usually we're somewhat more civil after a battle.

Whatever your particular situation, I hope you had a safe and relaxing Thanksgiving Day. I hope you were able to share time with the ones you love. I hope you were able to both give and get kindness and acceptance from those around you. And I hope that Michigan beats the crap out of Ohio State.

John Auchter / Michigan Radio

The truth is, I have lots more to say about the election next week. Lots and lots. Opinions, comments, bitter asides, personal observations. Oh, and advice. I have a tremendous amount of incredibly valuable advice!

John Auchter / Michigan Radio

Health care is a hot topic on the campaign trail this year, nationally and in Michigan. This should come as no surprise — health care is highly relatable. We all need it, we all use it, we all hope for high quality and low cost.

In our early years as a couple, my wife and I used to make a yearly visit to Pennsylvania to visit relatives — grandparents, great aunts and uncles. On one such visit in the fall of 1988, a post-dinner conversation turned to politics. Among the Sanka and Jell-O 3-2-1 Jello, opinions were expressed about the presidential candidates. 

 

John Auchter / Michigan Radio

John Auchter / Michigan Radio

Look, it's not like I'm unaware of my own inconsistencies and, well, let's just say it: hypocrisy. I've drawn cartoons on several occasions expressing my opinion that ballot proposals are a bad idea and, well, let's just say it: stupid.

John Auchter / Michigan Radio

As a general disclaimer, my deadline for the cartoon was before the actual hearings with and Christine Blasey Ford and Brett Kavanaugh started.

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.

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.

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!"

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.

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). 

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.

John Auchter

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

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 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.

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.

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.

John Auchter / Michigan Radio

I have something of a Wikipedia problem. In idle moments in between tasks, I tend to wander over to the website for a quick nip — the plotline of a half-watched movie here, the defining geographic features of an obscure African country there. 

John Auchter / Michigan Radio

Michigan state Senator and gubernatorial candidate Patrick Colbeck was involved in recent efforts to update the social studies curriculum for K–12 public schools. Colbeck's stated goals were to “remove partisanship from the classroom” and move students towards a more "politically neutral" dialogue that offers a balanced view of historical issues. 

John Auchter / Michigan Radio

It happens more or less on a regular basis. Somebody with too much time on their hands will point to the large Middle Eastern and Muslim communities in Southeast Michigan and declare their suspicions of nefarious activity. 

John Auchter / Michigan Radio

We can get so caught up with ongoing problems here in Michigan (roads, water, schools, etc.) that it's easy to forget some of the reasons we have for taking pride in our state. 

John Auchter / Michigan Radio

It may seem a little odd, but this started out as a Memorial Day cartoon. Late last year, a former neighbor passed away. He was in his mid-90s and a well-decorated World War II vet. He never talked about the medals and rarely about the experience, except to explain the significant scar on his left bicep from a sniper's bullet.

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