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John Auchter / Michigan Radio

I considered holding off on drawing this cartoon and saving it for next week and the Independence Day holiday. It would have been more of an indictment of how, we as a nation, have seemingly forgotten our ideals, how the United States was once young, scrappy, and hungry and we didn't throw away our shot. (I can steal from Hamilton, too, Mr. Bolton.)

This week, the City of Detroit removed a bust of Christopher Columbus from its pedestal near the entrance of the Detroit-Windsor Tunnel. It's in storage for now as the mayor and city officials decide what to do with it. No doubt it has historical value — it's 110 years-old. Like many Columbus-related honors, this one came as a gift from Italian-Americans.

John Auchter / Michigan Radio

I am very happy not talking about stuff I find uncomfortable. And I especially prefer avoiding discussions about things that make me feel terrible. Racism qualifies here. I can understand the inclination to deflect, side-step, or look-past the subject. But obviously that isn't solving the problem. (Heck, talking isn't even the hard part! It's the doing after the talking.)

John Auchter / Michigan Radio

Whenever I travel on a business trip or attend a conference, I like to go running. It gets me outside to actually experience the place I'm visiting. I'm used to getting up super early, so I run in the pre-dawn hours. City streets, parks, cemeteries, neighborhoods — my only real concern for safety being avoiding cars. As a 6 foot 3 inch white male, I just never considered myself a target.

Marcel Fable Price sitting on a set of stairs in a hoodie and khakis
Courtesy of Marcel "Fable" Price

Marcel “Fable” Price is poet laureate of Grand Rapids. He’s also the executive director of The Diatribe, a youth-focused performing arts nonprofit in Grand Rapids. He recently put out a statement about the protests against excessive police force happening here in Michigan and beyond. It read to us more like an essay, or dare we say, poetry. Listen below to hear Marcel share his thoughts on this moment in America. 


Dustin Dwyer / Michigan Radio

Update: The Grand Rapids City Commission met Tuesday and discussed the events of Saturday night. The mayor and city commissioners decided not to extend the city's 7 p.m. curfew. The full meeting is available online here.

I walked the streets of my city on the night of mayhem Saturday, and witnessed the destruction. I saw the fires burning in the street. I heard the sound of glass shattering, of people cheering. I felt the warmth from a fire as it swallowed a police vehicle on a quiet intersection.

John Auchter / Michigan Radio

My niece works as a chemical engineer in a petroleum refinery. When the pandemic hit, there was both a glut of oil and a sharp reduction in demand for oil products. That, along with stay-at-home orders for workers, led to the difficult decision to turn off the refinery for a bit.

John Auchter / Michigan Radio

Americans have always been prone to conspiracy theories — from the McCarthyism and the John Birch Society to pizzagate and anti-vaxxers. But it certainly seems to have hit a higher gear lately, hasn't it? Of course it doesn't help having a president who gins up outrage as a matter of course and doesn't feel confined by details (or truth).

John Auchter / Michigan Radio

Justin Amash is the current U.S. Representative for Michigan's 3rd congressional district. He was part of the Tea Party wave of Republicans elected in 2010. (I used to draw him as Sarah Palin back then.) He turned out to be a bit more substantive, earning a reputation for being thoughtful and deliberative, holding firm to his beliefs. Some would say (including many of his colleagues) too firm.

comic featuring lee chatfield
John Auchter / Michigan Radio

In my house, the current quarantine binge watch of choice is the comedy series "Veep." My wife and I had seen a few episodes here and there over its run this past decade, but the dearth of live sports events to watch has afforded us the opportunity.

Auchter's Art: It's them, not you

May 1, 2020
auchter's art for may 1
John Auchter / Michigan Radio

I have a life hack for you. It applies mostly to guys (at least that has been my experience), but I think everybody could find it useful. Here it is: If you are ever in a situation where people are encouraging you to do something by telling you "don't be a sissy," then don't do it. In other words, never do what they are encouraging you to do. Simple, right? Not following their advice is 100% always the right choice.

Auchter's art for April 24
John Auchter / Michigan Radio

Show of hands — who wants to talk more about coronavirus? Yeah, I'm fatigued myself. Unfortunately, it is destined to be a trending topic for quite some time. As German Chancellor, Angela Merkel said this week, "This is not the end phase but still just the beginning." It was a timely reality check from an experienced leader. 

John Auchter

When our son was three years-old, and my wife or I needed to take him away from something he was enjoying (typically a computer game) and move him to something else (typically anything but a computer game), he would get very frustrated and say, "No! I want to do what I want to do." As we forged ahead, he would slow it down: "I want to do. What. I want. To do!" It was so sublimely simple — how could his stupid parents possibly not get it?! He would be totally exasperated with us.

John Auchter / Michigan Radio

A stranger comes to your front door, introduces himself as LibTriggerPatriot69, and immediately engages you in conversation about politics. Well, not really a conversation — more like a one-sided rant that you're expected to agree with and share with everybody you know. Would this be acceptable to you?

auchter's art
John Auchter / Michigan Radio

I hope and pray you are all dealing with your coronavirus contradictions as best you can.

John Auchter

Admittedly, comparing the financial crisis that precipitated the Great Recession to the crisis we're currently experiencing is kinda apples-to-oranges. Different economics, different timelines, different triggers. Still, am I the only one feeling disorientated by the stunning contrast of the GOP and the bailout money?

John Auchter

Let me be clear: opinion pieces are not all inherently bad. Good ones can provide context for complex concepts and hard to understand situations. The late, great Jeff MacNelly once said this about editorial cartoonists:

"We violate all the rules of journalism. We misquote and slander and distort. [But] the interesting thing is, the political cartoonist usually, if he’s any good, gets a hell of a lot closer to the truth than a responsible reporter.”

Gary Jones stands at a UAW podium
United Auto Workers

The biggest of the United Auto Workers’ bad apples fell to earth this week in the crackdown on union corruption.

The feds charged former President Gary Jones with embezzling union funds in a racketeering conspiracy … and with defrauding the IRS of income taxes. Each of the counts could land the 63-year-old union leader in prison for up to five years.

John Auchter / Michigan Radio

I'm sure many of you have seen the meme going around social media meant to assuage voters whose preferred presidential candidate has dropped. It's just a block of words that says this:

Time to remember the best voting advice I have heard: Voting isn't marriage, it's public transportation. You are not waiting for "the one" who is absolutely perfect. You are getting the bus. And if there isn't one going exactly to your destination, you don't stay at home and sulk — you take the one going closest to where you want to be.

Old Main building exterior
Wayne State University

How screwed up is the governance of Wayne State University? So much so that Governor Gretchen Whitmer, Attorney General Dana Nessel, and bi-partisan leaders in the state Legislature signed a letter this week urging Wayne State’s warring board of trustees to, quote, “make the right decision.”

Not on hiring a new football coach or building a new business school. Not on anything that would improve the educational product coming out of Midtown. No – the full complement of Michigan’s political leadership wants the dysfunctional trustees to – wait for it – adopt a “code of conduct.”

John Auchter / Michigan Radio

It's interesting the effects of even a small amount of passing time.

Robert E. Anderson pictured in 1967.
University of Michigan / Bentley Historical Library

This month we’ve learned the University of Michigan is facing a version of the same problem that has recently beset Penn State, Ohio State, and Michigan State: A former staff member has been accused of sexually abusing students.

4 democrats ignore Elizabeth Warren
John Auchter / Michigan Radio

Saturday night, my dad, my son, and I spent 40 minutes in the waiting area of a local restaurant. 

Mel Tucker in East Lansing
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

After a week of the usual chaos, Michigan State University has a new football coach.

Welcome to the asylum, Coach Mel Tucker. It’s where the inmates otherwise known as the Board of Trustees repeatedly show zero understanding of the difference between management and governance, and where MSU’s new president, Samuel Stanley, is nowhere to be found beyond a simple news release.

John Auchter / Michigan Radio

There was an article in the Detroit Free Press this week, "Some Michigan libraries join nationwide trend: Eliminating late fees on overdue books." Here's an excerpt:

blue welcome to michigan sign
spiritofamerica / Adobe Stock

Michigan Democratic Congresswoman Debbie Dingell is on a mission.

The morning after the Iowa Democratic Caucuses produced no clear votes and no winner, Dingell denounced what she called a “total screw-up.” She dubbed the current nominating system “broken,” and one that does not “reflect the diversity of this country.”

John Auchter / Michigan Radio

I didn't actually watch much of the State of the Union speech. I opted for college basketball. But that turned out to be pretty painful, too, as both Michigan and Michigan State lost their games in the waning seconds. Punishment for not being a good citizen, I suppose.

Gretchen Whitmer delivering her 2nd state of the state address in 2020.
Jake Neher / WDET

Governor Gretchen Whitmer took office a year ago promising to be something her past two predecessors were not: a veteran legislator who could work with the other party to get things done.

John Auchter / Michigan Radio

Story #1: A couple of weeks ago, Michigan State Senator Peter Lucido made an inappropriate comment to Allison Donahue, a reporter for the Michigan Advance. Donahue confronted Lucido and then reported it. Subsequently, two more women reported experiencing inappropriate actions by Lucido.

a glass scale with a tape measurer laying on top
Vidmir Raic / Pixabay

Last time I checked in with you, I made a few confessions:

  • I turned 55 this past summer.
  • That same day I tipped the scale at a staggering 205 pounds – a full 40 pounds over my, um, “Coaching Weight.” And I stand only 5-foot-8. According to the Body Mass Index, I was technically obese.

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