Archive for March, 2024

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.


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.


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?


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?


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.