Archive for Michigan Press Association

Southern Governors and the UAW

Southern Governors and the UAW

This week — perhaps even by the time you read this — autoworkers at a Volkswagen assembly plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee, are voting on whether to join the United Autoworkers (UAW) union. This is the start of a drive by the UAW to get autoworkers currently in non-union plants (mostly in the south) to join them. Republican governors from six southern states (Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, South Carolina, and Texas) put out a joint statement warning that doing so will put jobs in jeopardy and, by the way, you can’t trust them unionizers.

As Michiganders, we know well that there are compelling arguments for and against unions in general and the UAW in particular. But “disingenuous” is the most charitable way that I can describe southern politicians accusing the UAW of running campaigns “driven by misinformation and scare tactics.” Misinformation and scare tactics have been their favorite tools for union prevention (and union busting) for generations!

Careful readers will notice that there are six states but only five governors in the cartoon. Six was just too crowded, and Tennessee Governor Bill Lee was by far the least interesting to draw.

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You Know What, Governor Whitmer?

You Know What, Governor Whitmer?

I don’t think Governor Whitmer actually regrets repealing the 1931 Michigan law defining abortion access that could have very well become active law after Roe v. Wade was overturned. But — you know what? — it really shouldn’t matter what I think Whitmer thinks.

In fact, we would all be much better off if we spent less time trying to imagine the motivations of candidates and elected officials.

I believe getting rid of that zombie law was the right thing to do, specifically from a women’s health point of view. You may have a different position. That’s fine. We both then should do our best to learn about the issue, understand it, and vote accordingly — and not be trying to use our votes to effect some sort of strategic outcome.

Arizona did not successfully remove its even more ancient and draconian abortion law, and now it is the actual law in that state. This is an inconvenience for Donald Trump and his campaign. But it’s women and families who will suffer the real-life consequences. Learn about that, understand it, and vote accordingly.

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Like Nagasaki and Hiroshima

Like Nagasaki and Hiroshima

With such a deep saturation of bonkers-level behavior by elected officials and the blink-and-you-missed-it news cycle, you may not be aware of Rep. Tim Walberg (R-Mich.) recently saying in a town hall that Gaza should be dealt with “like Nagasaki and Hiroshima.”

All right. Let’s be fair. Let’s explore what he said around that quote. (Spoiler: It makes it worse.)

This from the Washington Post:

Rep. Tim Walberg (R-Mich.) was answering a question from a constituent during a town hall in Dundee, Mich., on Monday, about the United States’ plan to build a floating pier off the coast of Gaza to deliver humanitarian aid.

“Why are we spending our money to build a port for them?” someone asks in the video.

Walberg, who is not seen in the video, responds by saying that the United States “shouldn’t be spending a dime on humanitarian aid” and then references the two Japanese cities where the United States dropped atomic bombs during World War II.

“It should be like Nagasaki and Hiroshima. Get it over quick,” Walberg said.

Walberg’s office responded saying he “clearly uses a metaphor to support Israel’s swift elimination of Hamas, which is the best chance to save lives long-term and the only hope at achieving a permanent peace in the region.”

Uh-huh. Metaphor. Okay. Sure. But what a terrible, tone-deaf, dangerous metaphor. And let’s not look past the whole “not a dime of humanitarian aid” bit. My God. But it gets worse. Again, from the Washington Post:

…after the congressman said “Get it over quick,” he added, “The same should be in Ukraine.”

“Defeat [Russian President Vladimir] Putin quick,” Walberg continued. “Instead [of] 80 percent in Ukraine being used for humanitarian purposes, it should be 80 to 100 percent to wipe out Russia — if that’s what we want to do.”

Walberg seems to be seriously channeling General Buck Turgidson, the George C. Scott character in Dr. Stangelove. That was political satire. It’s not so funny when it’s real.

Editor’s note: John Auchter is a freelance political cartoonist. His views are his own and do not necessarily reflect those of Michigan Public, its management, or its license holder, the University of Michigan.

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Everybody Knows That Doesn’t Work

Everybody Knows That Doesn't Work

I’ve attempted to knit a couple of stories together that, at first glance, may not seem to have much to do with each other.

First, there is the ongoing brouhaha regarding electric vehicles (EVs). It’s no surprise that the issue has become quite political. And, actually, it should be political because it very much affects our lives, particularly in Michigan where we have a vested interest in producing them.

This week there has been much discussion about the right level of government involvement, whether it’s tax breaks to retain and attract EV-related industry or how to invest in programs to train workers for battery manufacturing jobs.

Second, there was an interview I heard on NPR with Abrahm Lustgarten who has written a new book, On the Move. It’s about climate-driven migration and how the effects of climate change have been and will continue to be a major factor in causing migration both to our borders and within our borders. (I’ve touched on this in past cartoons, but Lustgarten suspects that Michigan and our Great Lakes will soon be a major attraction to Sun Belters who will grow weary of droughts, fires, and rising temperatures.)

The connection I found is the irony of those who tend to oppose EVs are also those who are seemingly most alarmed by increased immigration — when embracing the former may be a plausible way to mitigate the latter.

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One of Those Politicians

One of Those Politicians

Every once in a while I like to remind people (including myself) that it may not be entirely the fault of politicians that they are the way they are. I mean, this in no way excuses the Mitch McConnells of our world for being such loathsome Mitch McConnells. But it can’t always be easy dealing with our not quite achievable expectations.

I’ll leave it at that. Next week, back to holding politicians accountable.

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That Old Bottle Return Law

That Old Bottle Return Law

Back in 2016, part of then candidate Donald Trump’s platform (remember back to the quaint days when the Republican Party actually had platforms?) was a plank that for every new federal regulation two would be removed.

I thought, well, okay. I understand the feeling that there are too many rules and regulations — or more specifically, ones that are no longer needed or simply not relevant. But to arbitrarily remove two to make way for a new one? That seemed extremely shortsighted. (Remember back to the quaint days when “shortsighted” was the way you’d describe something you thought was dangerously stupid?)

But back to common ground: Michigan has had a bottle returns law now for nearly 50 years. It is fair to ask whether it is still a good idea to require a 10 cent deposit on soft drink and malt beverage containers. More so recently because the law has apparently been less effective. Recycling rates hit a high of 89% in 2019 but dropped during the complete system shutdown of the pandemic, falling to 75.6% in 2022.

This could be because retailers have been loath to return to making bottle returns as convenient as they were before the pandemic. It could also be because the public at large has been less motivated to take on a chore that pays back much less in buying power than it once did.

But before wiping the law off the books, it is also important to consider the benefits. Three out of four bottles/cans are returned for recycling in Michigan while only one out of four are in states without deposit laws. Is there an alternative that can guarantee the same or less landfill waste and litter?

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What’s So Bad About Climate Change?

What's So Bad About Climate Change?

Both Catholicism and The Twilight Zone have trained me to beware pleasant situations — enjoy them too much and there will be unpleasant consequences. It’s either just straight-up guilt or you’re granted your wish to be the ruler of a powerful nation and — poof! — you’re Hitler at the end of the war in a bunker.

So, sorry, this recent lack of winter and beautiful spring days? It can’t all be good. One of the reasons why Michigan is such a beautiful place is that the harsh winters do a great job of making dormant (or killing off) annoying, nasty, disease-carrying pests. If you want it to be above freezing all year long, well, then you also get the bugs, flies, spiders, reptiles, and other creepy-crawly things that come with it.

Isn’t that reason enough to be concerned about climate change?

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You’re Gonna Make Me Work for This?

You're Gonna Make Me Work for This?

It’s fair to say that these have not been the best of times for the Michigan Republican Party. They’ve recently experienced statewide losses, a leadership crisis, diminishing donations, infighting, actual fighting, scandal, and general dysfunction.

For the upcoming election, it is understandable how Michigan Democrats might be tempted to run on a platform of “we’re not them.” But voters — at least the undecided ones, the ones who actually sway elections — need something more than that.

It’s easy to point to what you’re against — it takes effort to thoughtfully consider and then articulate what you’re for. That’s what worked for Reagan. That’s what worked for Obama. We’ll see if  Michigan Democrats figure it out.

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First World Problems

First World Problems

You haven’t used one of your many streaming services for a while, and now they are making you log in again! The carafe at the cafe with your favorite coffee is empty, so you either have to wait three minutes or go with your second favorite! Your spouse needs the “good” car, so now you’re stuck with that abomination of a vehicle that doesn’t have heated seats!

Okay, so not having a candidate that you’re excited about voting for in the upcoming primary next week is not really on the same level of pettiness, by I do think it qualifies as a first-world problem. I, too, wish for a selection of more engaging choices.

Biden is an old-school politician, which has its merits, but definitely leaves a wanting for a more dynamic and (yeah, I’ll say it) younger choice.

Haley seems an opportunist without convictions — more interested in achieving the office than actually doing the job.

And Trump is an existential threat to our nation. Plus, you know, the living embodiment of the seven deadly sins.

But in the end, we are voting. So let’s vote, appreciate the opportunity, and do what we can to make the next election better.

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Those Other Also Not Racists

Those Other Also Not Racists

This week, State Representative Josh Schriver (R-Oxford) was reprimanded for promoting a racist conspiracy known as the Great Replacement. No need for me to give that conspiracy theory any more oxygen by explaining it here. It’s enough to know that it grows out of (and continues to be incubated by) the Neo-Nazi/Klu Klux Klan/Proud Boys groups among us.

You’d think we’d know enough from history that there’s nothing good down the hyper-nativist path. And yet, rallying to the nativist calls is often seen as the most patriotic thing we can do. For a country of immigrants, we sure have a particular disdain for immigrants.

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