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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 / 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 / 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 / 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.

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

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