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Opinion

John Auchter

Justin Amash is the Congressman from Michigan's 3rd district. When President Gerald Ford was a member of the U.S. House, he represented Michigan's 5th district. District boundaries evolve over time, but both claimed Grand Rapids as their population center, so it's fair to say Amash is a Ford successor.

Daniel Howes / Detroit News

President Donald Trump’s escalating trade war with China is exposing an inconvenient truth for Detroit’s automakers. Their bet on the world’s largest market may need a rethink.

Daniel Howes / Detroit News

It’s by now undeniable that President Donald Trump expects to get his way – all the time.

So imagine the surprise in the White House this week when the Wall Street Journal carried an op-ed from the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee.

John Auchter / Michigan Radio

A big hat tip this week goes to my boy Jonathan Swift who in 1729 wrote and published an essay titled A Modest Proposal For preventing the Children of Poor People From being a Burthen to Their Parents or Country, and For making them Beneficial to the Publick (or A Modest Proposal for short).

Daniel Howes / Detroit News

Detroit’s gleaming new Little Caesars Arena is a hot venue in a reviving downtown. But the surrounding district is controversial because the Ilitch family has yet to deliver the vision it promised.

John Auchter / Michigan Radio

The most difficult thing about drawing this cartoon was deciding what the two people should look like. I ended up with two vaguely middle-aged white guys. But it took me a long time to get there.

For cartoons where the appearance of age/sex/race/weight has nothing to do with the point I'm trying to make, I try to vary the character types for diversity. I am a middle-aged white guy, so I fight defaulting to my own biases. But this can be a problem, depending on what the characters are actually doing or how they are behaving.

John Auchter / Michigan Radio

In his sci-fi/satire book series, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams tells a story about the planet Golgafrincham.

Flint cartoon
John Auchter / Michigan Radio

There were at least two big lessons to be learned from the Flint Water crisis, and we have the opportunity to apply them both in deciding the best course of action for Line 5, the pipeline that carries petroleum products along the floor of the Straits of Mackinac.

John Auchter / Michigan Radio

Apologies to those who don't understand the "teal" reference. I'll explain that shortly. But I especially apologize to those who might perceive the cartoon as some sort of partisan dig in the great MSU/UofM rivalry. It's not. Michigan Radio is a licensee of the University of Michigan, but I take no side. [And neither does Michigan Radio –ed.] I'm a Michigan Tech grad, so as far as the rivalry goes, I'm an agnostic. Which is to say, I acknowledge the existence of MSU and UofM, but I worship neither.

John Auchter / Michigan Radio

Ugh. I know. This guy again. But with his campaign rally in my backyard this week, it kind of forced my hand. So... what exactly is my problem with Donald Trump? Let's peel that onion.

John Auchter / Michigan Radio

One of the challenges of editorial cartooning is finding common reference points. This week, I'm banking on most of you being familiar with the musical Hamilton, and that a production just opened in Michigan for the first time — at the Fischer Theatre in Detroit. That's a stretch, and I apologize to those who may feel left out. (Next week, back to the pothole jokes!)

John Auchter / Michigan Radio

It is so, so, so deliciously easy to hate somebody without even knowing them. In fact, not knowing somebody as a person but as part of a group is a great help.

Daniel Howes / Detroit News

Business leaders wondering whether they have a new ally in the governor’s office got an answer this week: not so much.

The net effect of Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s business tax proposals — aside from her plan to raise the gas tax by 45 cents a gallon – amounts to a tap on the economic brakes just as the hometown auto industry’s sales and profit pace is beginning to slow.

John Auchter / Auchtoons.com

One of my pet peeves is when somebody with a good paying, white collar job chooses a ginormous pickup truck for their commuter vehicle and then complains bitterly when the price of gas goes up. The world is not conspiring against you! You made your choice — deal with the consequences!

Daniel Howes / Detroit News

The last time Detroit got a new auto plant, Papa Bush was in the White House and Detroit’s real reckoning was years away. In the nearly 30 years since, Ford Motor mortgaged the Blue Oval to survive Detroit’s two other automakers collapsed into federally induced bankruptcy, and all three found profitability.

John Auchter / Michigan Radio

John Auchter / Michigan Radio

It's true. Michigan is building a new bridge with Canada — the Gordie Howe Bridge between Detroit and Windsor. And Canada is indeed paying for it. In fact, credit where credit is due, that's how Governor Snyder made the deal happen — with his own kind of end run around a legislature reluctant to fund it. (The legislative branch constitutionally must appropriate funds, but Canada is taking care of the up-front costs.)

John Dingell, 29, is sworn in as a member of Congress in 1955 by House Speaker Sam Rayburn of Texas
John Dingell website

John Dingell died the same day the “Green New Deal” appeared in Washington. Michigan’s legendary congressman would not have approved.

This driving force behind the Clean Air, Medicare and Affordable Care acts was notoriously suspicious of what he called the, quote, “damn enviros” and their idealized prescriptions for the economy. They, in return, pretty much hated Dingell, considering him too cozy with Detroit’s automakers and their union members.

John Auchter / Michigan Radio

I can tell you that the cartoon this week is not partisan, but that's really for you to decide. On the surface, it's me quoting the current Democratic leader directly and without comment, then dinging the two previous Republican leaders. But I had a deeper aim. It all started with Governor Whitmer's State of the State address this week.

Daniel Howes / Detroit News

Generous Motors is officially gone.

The automaker’s plan to idle and try to close five North American plants is hurtling toward a Titanic battle over the direction of Detroit’s auto industry.

Two sides with totally opposed views of the market today where technology is heading and how it will affect jobs and investment will play out this year  the most consequential since the auto bankruptcies a decade ago.

John Auchter / Michigan Radio

There was a story on Michigan Radio this week about the hearing in Detroit's federal court challenging the validity of Michigan's 2011 redistricting maps.

Daniel Howes / Detroit News

Remember Foxconn Technology Group?

It was eyeing an investment in Michigan to the tune of $10 billion, but it ended up in Wisconsin. And it turns out that may be a good thing.

The Taiwan-based contract manufacturer now is reversing its promise to employ thousands of blue-collar workers making liquid-crystal displays outside Milwaukee.

President Donald Trump touted the deal nearly two years ago at the White House, on Twitter and in remarks calling it “the eighth wonder of the world.”

John Auchter / Michigan Radio

It appears the snow has finally stopped falling here in West Michigan. In a day or two it is supposed to turn reasonably warm enough for me to attend to the non-priority snow removal issues — the roof, patios, walkways. Before the rains come. And then the next freeze cycle. Oy!

Daniel Howes / Detroit News

Washington’s dysfunction is weighing on the auto industry. The Trump administration was supposed to be Detroit’s best friend in a couple of generations. The president was supposed to understand the industrial Midwest, if only because its voters delivered him to the White House and his team would enact policies the industry purportedly would like.

It’s not working out that way.

John Auchter / Michigan Radio

I was listening to a podcast with comedian W. Kamau Bell. It was recorded previous to the incidents on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial last weekend, but there were some very timely insights.

Michigan State University sign
Emma Winowiecki / Michigan Radio

It didn’t take long.

Just a few weeks after Democrats gained a 6-2 majority on Michigan State’s board of trustees, interim President John Engler is out. Exactly what you’d expect for the former Republican governor … especially after he handed his overseers yet one more rhetorical club to wield against him.

Namely, his own words.

John Auchter / Michigan Radio

The TV program The Good Place is about... Well, actually, it's one of those shows where the less you know at the start, the more enjoyable it is. So for those of you who haven't started or are not quite caught up, I will say only that the term "good place" is more or less a synonym for "heaven."

Daniel Howes / Detroit News

Thirty years after the Detroit’s auto dealers rebranded its hometown auto show as “international,” the era is over.

No more tramping through the snow braving biting winds listening to complaints about coming to the Motor City in January. After this year, the North American International Auto Show will take place June and it’ll be reimagined around hands-on experience and advanced technology.

John Auchter / Michigan Radio

Not too long ago when I would draw a cartoon related to the city of Detroit, a good portion of the feedback I'd get included suggestions to build some sort of wall around to the city to seal it off from the rest of Michigan. At the time, I recognized these not as legitimate proposals, but folks either venting their frustrations or mongering their fears. Now, I'm not so sure they weren't perfectly serious.

Time to kick off this New Year with our first Local Spins of 2019 as we check out the West Michigan music scene with John Sinkevics, editor and publisher of localspins.com.

Here are this month's picks:

"Lysander" by Heaters 

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