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Self-driving technologies like Tesla's Autopilot mode are limited by the sensors they use to detect obstacles on the road.
Mark Brush / Michigan Radio

Tesla, the Silicon Valley automaker, is getting its revenge.

The maker of infamous electric vehicles got approval this week to sell directly to customers in Michigan – the epicenter of the automotive establishment.

the spirit of detroit wearing different team jerseys
Lauren / Flickr; Jim / Flickr; James Marvin Phelps / Flickr; Lauren / Flickr

In 1935 Detroit earned the title, “City of Champions” — and for good reason. That year the Tigers won the World Series, the Lions were NFL champions, and the following spring the Red Wings claimed their first Stanley Cup.

auchter's art
John Auchter for Michigan Radio

To be sure, there are some people who are perfectly happy working in the gig economy. Lyft drivers who appreciate the flexible hours and social engagement. Shipt pickers who enjoy the challenge of filling grocery orders for other people. 

Daniel Howes / Detroit News

It must be an election year. Right on cue, the trade wars are coming to an end.

John Auchter / Michigan Radio

Perhaps as Michiganders we are a bit more sensitive to drinking water issues than most Americans. What with our 11,000 lakes (Great and otherwise), we have constant reminders of this precious natural resource. Add to that the recent disasters of the Flint water crisis and discoveries of PFAS contamination, and, well, you could say there is ample reason for our heightened interest.

Daniel Howes / Detroit News

The birthplace of the modern American labor movement is facing a reckoning.

Thank a growing cadre of United Auto Workers leaders, including two of the past three presidents.

John Auchter / Michigan Radio

I certainly don't agree with those who deny the existence of climate change, but I can relate to the mindset. I'm a natural born contrarian, so I get the impulse to resist consensus, especially if people are telling me I have to accept it.

John Auchter / Michigan Radio

Do me a favor. Open up Google Earth and go to Hamtramck, Michigan. (Go ahead — if you're working, it's still basically the holidays, so your boss won't mind a quick diversion.)

Daniel Howes / Detroit News

President Donald Trump was here when the House tallied impeachment votes on Capitol Hill.

That’s because Michigan’s a state he needs to win re-election next year – whatever comes of the Senate trial to remove him. Trump won’t be re-elected if he fails to carry two of the industrial Midwest’s three most critical swing states: Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and the home of the Motor City.

John Auchter / auchtoons.com

The President expresses himself in superlatives: "The transcript was perfect," "I am the chosen one," "I have the best words," and so on. It's an effective rhetorical device. The absolute certainty projects a pseudo-strength that many find very appealing. And the ridiculousness always offers a backdoor escape — if it is received as too over-the-top, supporters can always say, "it was a joke" or "he didn't mean it literally. Duh!"

Daniel Howes / Detroit News

That’s right – no accidents, just intention.

This was one of the most consequential weeks since Donald Trump became president. Within just a few hours, Democrats announced they’re moving ahead with impeachment articles … and that they’d reached a deal with the Trump administration to replace NAFTA.

Strange bedfellows? Nope. Dizzying politics.

John Auchter

First, let's acknowledge that the Dr. Seuss's book How the Grinch Stole Christmas is perfection. 

And his collaboration with the great Chuck Jones on the animated special somehow took the story up another level to pure genius. But the Jim Carrey movie and everything after is an abomination. We good? All right. Let's move on then.

John Auchter

Every once is a while I come up with a cartoon that says all I have to say about a topic, so I don't really have any backstory or additional commentary. I'm just truly mystified.

cartoon showing people talking about toll roads
John Auchter / Michigan Radio

So you're vacationing with a large group, and you're hungry. You've rolled up to, through, and now well past dinner time. Several plans have been suggested and (you thought) agreed to, but never quite executed for reasons that run the gamut from passive-aggressiveness ("Oh, I guess seafood is fine. I usually break out in hives and my throat closes, but that's okay.") to over-the-top rejections ("NO! Absolutely not! Applebee's is dead to me! They know what they did!")

Daniel Howes / Detroit News

The federal crackdown on union corruption has claimed more than 10 convictions so far. And it’s resulted in the resignation of United Auto Workers President Gary Jones.

It also produced a stunner: General Motors is using a racketeering lawsuit … the stuff of mafia fighters … to charge rival Fiat Chrysler with scheming to weaken GM over the past decade. And they’re using evidence in the UAW corruption case to do it.

John Auchter

It's not that there wasn't anything going on in Michigan this week. There was plenty. 

Daniel Howes / Detroit News

The most important thing to know about this new reform package is that it’s the third such effort in as many years. The last two UAW presidents touted reforms … and they’re now known as “UAW Official A” and “UAW Official B” in federal court papers.

John Auchter

Who knows? By the time this cartoon is published, maybe Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey and Governor Gretchen Whitmer will have worked out the state budget for 2020. But I doubt it. For the very reasons why the budget was not really done on the October 1st due date: Political posturing has priority over actual work. The pollsters, the advisors, the party insiders are making the decisions.

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.

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