Archive for August, 2018

Can’t Get More Michigan Than This

Can't Get More Michigan Than This

I’m on my annual summer family vacation, so I drew this cartoon a week ahead of time. It’s always a challenge to guess at what will remain topical for 24 hours let alone a full week. These days it’s darn near impossible.

So I punted. I didn’t even try. I went with something eternally and quintessentially Michigan: Winter is always near. (Well, at least until global climate change takes full effect.)

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Michigan Water Crisis – New and Improved

Michigan Water Crisis – New and Improved

It’s heartening to see the reaction to the per-and-polyfluoroalkyl chemicals, known collectively as PFAS, found contaminating the water supply of Parchment, Michigan. The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality appears to be engaged and vigilant. The governor and lieutenant-governor seem to be listening and involved. The local governments are actively working together, including the city of Kalamazoo quickly extending its water system.

Sure, it’s not perfect. It can’t be. Not with this many people and groups of people involved. The fact that the contamination exists is testament to our uneven track record in managing consequences. The city of Parchment was created to manufacture paper, after all, not to ensure the water remained pristine.

But now, this current set of people seem intent on doing the right thing. The mess needs to be fixed. Health and lives need to be protected. That is commendable.

Still, the real reason why intentions are so good can be directly linked to the Flint Water Crisis. Without that obvious (and continued) failure, there is no doubt Parchment would be enjoying a much lower level of attention.

So as is often the case, the biggest heroes are not necessarily the ones who are doing the right things — they’re the ones who have made the biggest sacrifice, despite it never being their intention.

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Michigan Gubernatorial Six Pack

Michigan Gubernatorial Six Pack

I try never to repeat an idea for a cartoon, but every once in a while I’ll do a variation on a theme. Sixteen years ago, I had a cartoon in the Grand Rapids Business Journal with the gubernatorial candidates for the 2002 primaries. The title was “A Flavor for Everybody!” and the candidates were listed below with their heads drawn as ice cream on top of cones:

  • Posthumus Very Vanilla: No artificial or natural color! (Dick Posthumus was the eventual Republican nominee and a very bland guy.)
  • Schwarz Swirl: Hard shell with gooey middle! (I have no memory of who this was.)
  • Blanchard Rocky Road: With real chips on the shoulder! (Jim Blanchard was attempting a comeback 12 years after John Engler had defeated him, and he had some issues.)
  • Granholm Granola Sorbet: Not sure what’s in it. Don’t worry! It’s good for you! (Jennifer Granholm was running a very clever — and ultimately successful — campaign of being vague.)
  • Bonier Donkey Tracks: Twice the size at only three times the price. (A dig at David Bonier and his support for high union wages. It made more sense pre-Great Recession.)

And then at the bottom I had a guy looking into a display case and saying, “Hey! Where’s the Fieger Pistachio Nut Job?” This of course was referring to Geoffrey Fieger who had run an unorthodox campaign (and lost big) four years earlier.

So I brought the idea back around, substituting beer for ice cream. Looking at it now, it makes me wonder — in 16 years, which joke might be as incredibly insensitive as that Fieger one?

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