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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.

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.

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.

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. 

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.

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.

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