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Daniel Howes / Detroit News

Take heart, Spartans. You’re not the only ones burdened with a dysfunctional board of trustees.

Enter Wayne State University and its board of governors, at war with itself. And at war with President Roy Wilson, whom one board member denounced this week as “divisive, incompetent or dishonest.”

John Auchter / Michigan Radio

I was at a training conference this week for my day job. It was about the future of communications (specifically public relations and marketing communication), and while I would say that it was definitely worthwhile and I learned a lot, the best conversations I had weren't about the conference topics. That seems often to be the case with me — what I find most enjoyable is not what I'm actually supposed to be doing.

Daniel Howes / Detroit News

Maybe the new name for the merger of Fiat Chrysler and Peugeot of France should be United Nations Motors.

Rarely has the global auto world seen a cultural mash-up like the one announced this week.  Jeep SUVs meet Citroën cars.

John Auchter

I know this is a fairly obscure reference but hang with me - there is a point to it:

Thirty-ish years ago the late, great Phil Hartman had a recurring character on Saturday Night Live called The Anal Retentive Guy. A sketch would have him as an instructor demonstrating how to do something. For example, a chef showing you how to create a certain dish. The humorous conceit was that he was so overly meticulous that he would never get around to doing what he was actually supposed to do. In the end, he'd pleasantly acknowledge that he'd run out of time as he continued to be sidetracked.

daniel howes
Daniel Howes / Detroit News

The United Auto Workers walkout at General Motors was inevitable, ensured by the automaker’s decision to close four U.S. plants.

Was it necessary? Probably.

John Auchter / Michigan Radio

A few years ago when President Trump was elected, I made a joke that Grand Rapids should be very grateful because they'll be able to power the city with electricity generated by Gerald Ford spinning in his grave. (Well, along with Betty Ford spinning there right beside him.)

michigan vs. notre dame football players on a field
MGoBlog / Flickr / CC BY-NC 2.0

The Michigan football team entered this season ranked 7th nationwide, and were picked to win the Big Ten title. With a lot of good players and coaches coming back from a 10-win team the year before, it made sense.

But on the season’s first play, senior quarterback Shea Patterson injured his oblique muscles, and took weeks to fully recover. The offense, and the team’s new offensive coordinator, Josh Gattis, struggled along with him.

daniel howes
Daniel Howes / Detroit News

The longest United Auto Workers national strike against General Motors in nearly 50 years is done.

Well, not exactly.

the lower peninsula of michigan talking to the upper peninsula
John Auchter / Michigan Radio

After the University of Wisconsin's football team crushed Michigan State University last week (after also crushing both the University of Michigan and Central Michigan University this season), the Twitter handle for the Upper Peninsula tweeted, "It's official, I belong to Wisconsin now." And then as if to drive the point home, the Packers (and arguably the officiating crew) beat the Lions Monday night.

Uncle Same standing between two people
John Auchter / Michigan Radio

This week the U.S. Supreme Court heard cases involving the firing of gay and transgender people from their jobs. The defendants claimed they lost their jobs because of their sexual orientation or gender identification and that this constitutes sexual discrimination. The prosecution argued that sex means strictly whether you're a male or female, not whether you're gay or straight.

UAW GM workers striking with signs
Katie Raymond / Michigan Radio

The United Auto Workers strike against General Motors is the longest in 49 years. And a lot has changed.

The union’s 49,000 GM employees are a fraction of the 340,000 who walked off the job for 67 days in 1970.

John Auchter / Auchtoons.com

This is a good example of an editorial cartoon that many will see as unfair. When Governor Whitmer used an extraordinary number of line-item vetoes to attempt to force the Republican-dominated legislature back into negotiations on the budget, there were hypocrisies all around.

daniel howes
Daniel Howes / Detroit News

Detroit’s automotive agenda in President Donald Trump’s Washington may just have gone poof.

Judging by the first few days of the impeachment inquiry, the deadly serious circus is likely to immobilize the White House — and fixate congressional Democrats on the case against Trump.

John Auchter / Michigan Radio

I can think of no better example that demonstrates the acceleration of our world than the current UAW strike of GM. If you could time travel back 20, 30, 40 years and tell a fellow Michigander, "Yeah, the UAW is striking GM, and it's barely in the top ten of things that people are talking about," they'd just look at you and say, "Well you ain't talking about Michigan."

daniel howes
Daniel Howes / Detroit News

The United Auto Workers strike against General Motors is all about economics and job security. Yet for just about everyone else, it’s about political opportunity.

Democrats running to take on President Donald Trump are one-upping each other in a race to publicly support striking auto workers, especially in the politically crucial states of Michigan and Ohio. They should be careful.

John Auchter

Oftentimes, yes, the cartoon idea that wins and gets drawn is the one that is the most fun to draw. And that partially explains why I decided on the Mackinac Republican Leadership Conference as a topic over a looming state government shutdown and the GM/UAW strike. (C'mon now. Sanders, Pence, DeVos. These are faces made for caricature!)

John Auchter / Michigan Radio

If you've been following the ongoing battle between Governor GretchenWhitmer and the state legislature over road funding, you may forgive me for taking the easy way out for this week's cartoon.

daniel howes
Daniel Howes / Detroit News

In President Donald Trump’s America, it matters where automakers bend metal.

That’s one reason General Motors CEO Mary Barra journeyed to the Oval Office this week to meet with the man behind the desk. Among other things, Trump wants know what the Detroit automaker’s really going to do about the plants it’s moving to close across the industrial Midwest — a region he needs to win next year if he wants to remain president.

John Auchter / Michigan Radio

One of my favorite bits from the musical Hamilton has Alexander Hamilton entering George Washington's office:

cartoon drawing of man trying to convince the legislature to approve a budget
John Auchter / Michigan Radio

Several years ago, I was working for a software company that got bought by a larger software company. They wanted me to relocate. My wife and I didn't and so they bought me out of the rest of my contract — about half a year's pay. It was a lot of money as a lump sum in a single check!

two guys talking about guns
John Auchter / Michigan Radio

Look, I understand the draw of the "slippery slope" argument. It is both sneaky and effective. Which is why as a parent I used it all the time when my kids were younger.

daniel howes
Daniel Howes / Detroit News

The UAW once prided itself on being America’s “clean union.” The latest evidence and eight federal convictions so far suggest that moniker no longer may be accurate.

A former UAW vice president, Norwood Jewell, is headed to federal prison for 15 months.

John Auchter / Michigan Radio

I'm sure you are well aware of the terrible things happening in the world recently — mass shootings, violent protests, family separations, economic slowdowns — the list (unfortunately) goes on. 

daniel howes
Daniel Howes / Detroit News

Here in the industrial heartland, some old auto towns are getting some love.

It’s about time.

The latest is Flint, the “Vehicle City” laid low by its lead-tainted water crisis and General Motors’ decades-long exodus from so many operations there. Mahindra Automotive, the North American unit of its Indian parent, is angling to acquire the iconic Buick City site to build its first major assembly operation in the United States.

cartoon drawing of Coleman Young and L Brooks Patterson
John Auchter / Michigan Radio

It's a classic editorial cartooning trope: drawing a recently deceased famous person at heaven's gate. It's been overdone and often mishandled. For instance, when Steve Jobs died a few years ago, there were all sorts of cartoons featuring him at heaven's gate, making witty remarks to St. Peter about having an app for getting in. The thing is, Jobs was a Buddhist, which involves neither St. Peter nor heaven.

The Democratic debates took place over two nights at Detroit's Fox Theatre.
Malak Silmi / Michigan Radio

Twenty Democrats angling to unseat President Donald Trump graced the Fox Theatre over two nights to show what their party learned from their 2016 shellacking. The answer: not much.

When moderate contenders warned that Medicare for All would be too expensive – or that people working union jobs may not want to surrender their private insurance – progressive senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren mocked them for thinking small. And they wondered why such killjoys would even bother to run for president.

John Auchter / Michigan Radio

I hesitated to draw this one because not everybody may know the George Costanza character from the 1990s sitcom Seinfeld. But the odds against that are pretty good — Seinfeld was one of the last TV shows that everybody watched, it has been in constant reruns since, and of course its catch-phrases live on forever in memes ("No soup for you!").

daniel howes
Daniel Howes / Detroit News

President Trump proved the road to the Oval Office runs through the industrial Midwest. The Democrats vying to replace him should keep that in mind. Twenty of them will debate over two nights next week at Detroit’s historic Fox Theatre.

John Auchter / Michigan Radio

What a difference a decade makes! Remember in 2009 when Republicans were absolutely apocalyptic about the size of the national deficit? 

daniel howes
Daniel Howes / Detroit News

They’re waiting for the end at Lordstown, the giant auto plant General Motors says it no longer needs.

Local 1112 President Dave Green comes in every day. He fields calls from worried members, offers counsel about whether to take a transfer or take a chance that union bargainers back in Detroit might get a product to save the plant.

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