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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.

person holding glasses of water filled with a range of terrible contaminants
John Auchter / Michigan Radio

daniel howes
Daniel Howes / Detroit News

Not since the dark days of bankruptcy a decade ago are contract talks between the United Auto Workers and Detroit’s automakers likely to be as tough as the round beginning next week.

It’s not because times are bad. It’s because times are good – a run of profitability and strong sales not seen since the 1960s. Yet change is coming faster than four-year contracts can manage. And that’s an ominous sign for both sides, especially union members seeking certainty.

John Auchter / Michigan Radio

Show of hands — who has seen the Frank Capra movie from 1939, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington? Jimmy Stewart is Jefferson Smith, an idealistic young man who gets appointed as a United States senator by a corrupt political machine and ends up fighting against it.

John Auchter / Auchtoons.com

Is it un-American to draw an Independence Day cartoon highlighting flaws about America? That's for readers to decide. But I will defer to USA soccer player Megan Rapinoe who was asked this week about what she would say to those who consider her actions un-American:

daniel howes
Daniel Howes / Detroit News

Ford Motor is cutting another 12,000 jobs in Europe.

And global automakers have confirmed plans to close 16 plants around the world and eliminate 120,000 jobs, because the profit party is winding down.

John Auchter / Michigan Radio

The University of Michigan baseball team didn't win the College World Series, but they got closer than any Michigan teams have in a while. It's nice to have a Michigan baseball team (professional or otherwise) that does well enough to play in a championship.

daniel howes
Daniel Howes / Detroit News

Not since two Detroit automakers emerged from bankruptcy a decade ago has the hometown industry faced as much uncertainty as they do now in President Donald Trump's Washington.

Chaos on tariffs and trade, emissions standards and self-driving vehicle legislation. It conjures an F-word that hasn’t been used to describe the industry in recent years in recent years: And that word is “fragile.”

John Auchter / Michigan Radio

Credit where credit is due — this is a variation of the classic Walt Kelly cartoon where his character Pogo observes the swamp that he and his friends live in (and trashed), declaring, "We have met the enemy and he is us."

college building exterior
Marygrove College

Marygrove College is folding, three years after its financial crisis became undeniable.

cartoon of three people discussing Michigan's new social studies changes
John Auchter / Michigan Radio

To be clear: I'm proud of our nation, our history, and especially our ideals. I am proud to be an American. But some of the things we do just mystify me.

Daniel Howes / Detroit News

Fiat Chrysler’s deal of the decade is dead.

Good ol’ French politics killed it this week – exactly what you get when the federal government in Paris controls 15 percent of the hometown Renault.

John Auchter cartoon with couple arguing with cops in high lake water
John Auchter / Michigan Radio

Hulu has new mini-series of the Joseph Heller novel, Catch-22. It looks intriguing, but I don't know if I'll check it out. It's summer in Michigan for goodness sake — there will be plenty of winter for screen-based entertainment. But also because I read Catch-22 at exactly the right time in my life, as a 17 year-old primed and ready to learn just how ludicrous the world can be. I don't want to mess with the perfect picture in my head.

Daniel Howes / Detroit News

Public education in Michigan is facing a crisis ever bit as threatening to its future as the bankruptcies of Detroit and two of its automakers.

And remedies to fix the deepening problems may prove even more difficult.

Gretchen Whitmer in black and white
John Auchter

There is lots that is unfair about comparing Governor Gretchen Whitmer and the recent auto insurance agreement to Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain and the Munich Agreement of 1938. So let's start with what is fair.

daniel howes
Daniel Howes / Detroit News

Detroit’s first new auto plant in nearly 30 years is a go.

Fiat Chrysler will invest some $2.5 billion to upgrade its Jefferson North assembly and convert a nearby site into a second Jeep Grand Cherokee plant. The upshot: nearly 5,000 new jobs paying an average annual wage of $58,000 in one of the nation’s poorest major cities.

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.

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