Archive for July, 2021

They’re in Cahoots with Big Pesticide!

They're in Cahoots with Big Pesticide!

I’m on vacation this week. Prudently applying mosquito spray as necessary. Hope you’re getting to enjoy some time off, too!


We Are Definitely “That One Neighbor”

We Are Definitely "That One Neighbor"

Full disclosure: I am a member of the Association of Canadian Cartoonists. I am not Canadian, nor do I have any Canadian clients. But a few years ago at a joint convention with the American Association of Editorial Cartoonists — the professional organization for U.S. cartoonists — the Canadians invited me to join their organization, too. Being based in Michigan, I draw an occasional Canada-related cartoon, and that was good enough for them. (There is a reason for the stereotype — they really are incredibly nice.)

But I am an American and proud to be one. I will be in full-throated support of our American athletes at the Olympics in the coming weeks. Already this week I woke up at 4:30AM to watch our women soccer team’s game against Sweden (and felt like throwing up after they crushed us, 3–0). They worry me now. Our men’s basketball team worries me. Simone Biles does not worry me.

I just wanted to say that to make clear that I can see both perspectives of the recent churning over who is going to be letting whom into their country. Last week, Canada announced plans to open (with restrictions) their borders to non-essential travel from the U.S. This week, the U.S. announced it was extending current restrictions on nonessential travel from Canada through August 21.

It’s complicated: Unlike Canada, the U.S. has a second significant border to manage. Officials have to take into consideration the increasingly dangerous Delta variant, vaccination levels, short and long-term economic implications. And most Michiganders know that it has always been way more strict (and stressful) coming into the U.S. than going into Canada.

Still, from the Canadian perspective, I can imagine how they would currently be perceiving us as boorish and selfish. I mean, the fact that we’re making them pay the whole cost of building a badly needed second bridge between Detroit and Windsor (for our mutual economic benefit) — that kind of sets the tone, right? At least we’re building bridges and not fences.


Michigan UIA Undermining Us Again

Michigan UIA Undermining Us Again

Undermine is a good word. It’s very intuitive from its roots what it means. Is there a category for those types of words? It’s not quite an onomatopoeia, or is it? Perhaps Rebecca Kruth can help me out with this.

In any case, under and mine together creates a clear picture:

1. erode the base or foundation of (a rock formation).
“the flow of water had undermined pillars supporting the roof”

2. lessen the effectiveness, power, or ability of, especially gradually or insidiously.
“this could undermine years of hard work”

Let me add another:

3. ruin an already tenuous trust

“the Michigan UIA again undermined the notion that our government is of the people, by the people, for the people”

This week, just as Democrats and the Biden Administration continue to build the case for a more helpful and reliable government, the Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency (as reported by Bridge Magazine) dropped this little nugget:

Nearly one-fifth of the Michigan residents who received unemployment payments during the pandemic are now learning their eligibility for jobless benefits didn’t meet federal standards.

Michigan officials will reevaluate claims filed by 690,092 people. The vast majority — 648,000 — will have to confirm their jobless status from a different set of criteria and may learn they weren’t eligible for funds they already received.

Even worse, the Michigan UIA has a well-documented past of grinding up unfortunate souls who have gotten caught in its machinery. It’s pretty awful. But does it prove that all government is fundamentally bad? I don’t think so. The Michigan UIA is to government what Enron was to capitalism — a really bad instance that undermines the whole thing.


Toyota: Let’s Support the Insurrection!

Unfortunately, I don’t have time to add much this week. Unfortunate because there is plenty to add, particularly on the half year anniversary of the January 6th insurrection.

But quickly, in regards to the Toyota story: It wouldn’t be such a story if Toyota (along with several other corporations) hadn’t pledged shortly after the events of January 6th to reconsider their political contributions to those who still voted not to certify the election. It’s fine for a corporation to change its mind or even to feign concern for PR purposes. They will do what they perceive as what’s in their best interest.

But then they shouldn’t be surprised to suffer the consequences. Especially when no other company is even close to the amount of money or number of donations that Toyota has made.


Not a Big Fan of Your Beliefs Right Now

Not a Big Fan of Your Beliefs Right Now

With ongoing posturing around spending bills in Washington, the building collapse in Florida, record high temps in the Pacific Northwest, and our own deluge of rain here in Michigan, this past week has seen plenty of opinions expressed over infrastructure and global climate change.

Which is fine and expected and, actually, necessary. There’s a lot going on that affects our lives directly and indirectly, so it’s reasonable for us to try to reconcile it.

That said, do we have to express our opinions with such confidence? Especially when those opinions are counter to what a consensus of experts are saying? You may believe that the state of our nation’s infrastructure is just fine or that climate change is a bunch of hooey, but have you considered that you might be wrong? Like that time you thought you could make it through that puddle?

It’s good to question what experts tell us — be curious, ask questions, challenge authority. But it’s not so good to dismiss what they say altogether.