WUOMFM

Opinion

GOP schism deepens after Flint water crisis

Jul 9, 2016
The Detroit News

Credit good ol’ politics for the widening split separating Michigan’s top two Republicans. The legal jeopardy posed by the Flint water crisis—and controversial decisions affecting special interests—are exposing Attorney General Bill Schuette’s unmistakable desire to succeed Rick Snyder as governor come 2018.
Not that the AG will say so. The growing record of disagreements between Schuette and Snyder is producing a special kind of political fallout: It’s positioning the AG for the state’s top office, and sometimes doing it at the expense of the sitting governor.

Most people don’t spend a lot of time thinking about politics; they have lives instead. They go to work or practice their professions; raise their kids, spend time on their hobbies. Many of them do get somewhat interested every four years, when the time comes to pick a new president. Slightly more than half of them actually vote, which doesn’t happen in other elections.

JOHN AUCHTER / AUCHTOON.COM

Artist's POV: Last month, Rick DeVos complained aloud via Twitter that the state flag of Michigan was "ugly" and "non-useful." Well, sharing needlessly judgmental observations is what Twitter is for, so we likely would have all moved quickly on to the next snark if DeVos wasn't (a) the founder of ArtPrize, and (b) offering $500 to the best three redesigns. At the time I was going to do a cartoon with three of my own submissions. But, as is often the case, a different idea came along and...

Yesterday, I talked about how Lake Erie is endangered by pollution from factory farms, which dump hundreds of millions of gallons of animal waste onto the ground every year. This is far too much for the soil to absorb, and a considerable amount gets into the lake. There, the nitrates and phosphorous it contains help spur huge toxic algae blooms.

You might remember two years ago, when people in Toledo couldn’t drink the water for a couple days because it had been poisoned by toxic cyanobacteria in Lake Erie.

Well, the Fourth of July is over and it is now, emotionally as well as officially, summer. The presidential primary season is over too. That, unlike even a Michigan winter, seemed to last forever. But we now know – with all due respect to the Libertarian and Green party candidates – either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump will be our next president. The only excitement remaining is to find out who they will select as their vice presidential candidates.

Daniel Howes / Detroit News

Don’t believe the smart folks who say Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, and the wild show that passes for American presidential politics today, are just evidence of one big, transatlantic hissy fit. They’re wrong. Republican and Democratic leaders here, political classes on both sides of the pond and financial markets around the globe are demonstrating, once again, a remarkable disconnect from the concerns of everyday people from Liverpool to Lansing.

Dogs as Weapons

Jul 1, 2016

To me, one of the most horrific stories over the last year came in December, when a lady named Lucille Strickland was walking her five-year-old son to kindergarten in Detroit. Suddenly, a pack of four pit bull-type dogs appeared, grabbed the child, pulled him under a fence and into their yard and killed him. Neither the child nor his mother had done anything to provoke the dogs. Police came and killed the dogs, but were too late to save the child.

Auchter's Art: Celebrating July 4th

Jul 1, 2016
Auchter's Art
JOHN AUCHTER / AUCHTOON.COM

Artist's POV: I was trying to work up some righteous indignation about Michigan's fireworks laws and the decision in 2011 to allow in-state sales of the loud, semi-dangerous variety. Maybe it was being awoken at 1:00 a.m. Tuesday by somebody’s sudden need to express their patriotism very close to my bedroom window.

This has been a surprising political year, to put it mildly, and there are still more than four months to go before the actual election. Whatever happens, it is safe to say that nobody a year ago really thought Donald Trump would be the Republican Presidential nominee. Hillary Clinton was expected to be the Democratic choice – but nobody imagined that a grumpy old socialist named Bernie Sanders would do as well as he did. In fact, the biggest upset on the Democratic side this spring was Sanders’ stunning victory in the Michigan primary.

Detroit is commonly and correctly thought to be doing better than it has been in a long time. There’s a sense of hope again. The streetlights are back, and the bankruptcy’s over. There are still more problems than solutions.

The U.S. Supreme Court has made some controversial decisions this term, including Monday, when the nation’s highest court struck down a Texas law designed to make it harder for women to get abortions, something that is now a long-established constitutional right. But the court also did something that was entirely predictable and scarcely controversial at all. They declined to hear yet another appeal by former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick of his public corruption conviction. That means that unless he comes up with yet other grounds for appeal, he is in federal prison until August 2037.

I’ve been avidly interested in presidential politics since I was about eight years old, and have followed or personally covered every election since Kennedy barely beat Nixon. I remember Michigan Governor George Romney refusing to endorse Barry Goldwater because of that year’s Republican nominee’s stand on civil rights. I remember various Michigan Democratic politicians trying not to appear on the same platform as George McGovern. But I’ve never seen a candidate like Donald Trump. The morning...

Daniel Howes / Detroit News

It’s all about the money for some Ford and General Motors shareholders. Their money, to be exact. Doesn’t matter that the Blue Oval booked all-time high North American profits last year, and probably will again this year. Or that GM is making roughly a billion dollars a month selling cars and trucks. Or that both are betting shareholder cash on an emerging mobility space said to be worth more than $5 trillion.

Earlier this week, I received a couple indignant emails from friends who had learned that Rick DeVos, the founder of the magnificent international competition ArtPrize, was willing to pay three people $500 each to redesign Michigan’s flag. Well, I was indignant too, but not for the same reason. They were upset because DeVos , one of the heirs to the Amway fortune, was offering so little. “He can afford a lot more than that,” Becca said. “Like his family hasn’t tried to buy the state already,”...

Auchter's Art: Water Diversion Worries

Jun 24, 2016
JOHN AUCHTER / AUCHTOON.COM

Artist's POV: Remember the comedian Sam Kinison? It's fine if you don't. In fact, I would advise against YouTubing him. (And I disclaim all responsibility if you do.) But back in the 1980s he had a particularly edgy standup bit about world hunger and Western popular reaction to it (Feed the World, USA for Africa, etc.). As was his style, Kinison suckered you in with a low-key, seemingly reasoned assessment of the situation, then, BANG!, smacked you upside the head with a loud, audacious...

For years, one of the nation’s most sinister figures was Roy Cohn, best known as the young chief counsel to Senator Joe McCarthy’s crusade to expose Communists in government. McCarthy and Cohn never uncovered a single Communist agent, though they ruined lives and careers and greatly worsened the climate of suspicion and fear called the Red Scare. Eventually, thanks in part to the pioneering broadcast journalist Edward R. Murrow, the true nature of McCarthy and McCarthyism was exposed to the...

I wasn’t at my university job in Detroit Tuesday, which may have been lucky for me. I normally travel the Lodge Freeway. About the time I usually come home, somebody ran into another car, and then apparently assaulted the other driver. When someone stopped to possibly try to help, the first driver started shooting at the good Samaritan, who prudently took off.

Most religions have some basic creed all members are supposed to profess. Many political parties do as well. I’m not sure what that would be for Democrats these days. But for today’s Republicans, one basic article of faith is bitter opposition to the Affordable Care Act, perhaps better known as Obamacare . Virtually every Republican running for federal office has vowed to work to repeal Obamacare . Actually, they usually say “repeal and replace,” though they are usually pretty vague about...

Wish you were more creative? Try taking a walk

Jun 20, 2016
With exercises and effort, anyone can train their brain to be more creative, says Dr. David Fessell.
Flickr/vaXzine

The Next Idea What is the mental fuel for innovation? What internal power plant do we tap into? Creativity. It drives innovation, collaboration, and in many cases, success. It involves everything from the everyday creativity of the hard­working woman who figures out how to make a pound of hamburger feed her family for a week, to the genius-­level creativity of Steve Jobs.

On Friday, I was sharply critical of Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley for a statement he made last week in an interview. The lieutenant governor, who is supporting Donald Trump, indicated he was doing so mostly because he was concerned about the next several appointments to the United States Supreme Court.

Could bankruptcy change the flow of Flint water?

Jun 18, 2016

Flint’s water war is intensifying, if that’s possible. Genesee County officials backing the new Karegnondi Water Authority are warning that Flint could “lose everything” -- if Mayor Karen Weaver turns her public second guessing into action and bolts from the city’s long-term contract with KWA.

Like most people, I haven’t paid a lot of attention to Brian Calley, Michigan’s lieutenant governor. Generally speaking, there’s a quiet understanding that lieutenant governors are standby equipment whose job is to stay out of the limelight. They break ties on important legislation before the Senate, represent the governor at all sorts of second-tier functions, and preside over the state when the governor is off on trade missions. Calley, who is 39 but looks younger, is even more invisible than most.

Auchter's Art

Jun 17, 2016
John Auchter / AUCHTOON.COM

ARTIST'S POV: There is a scene in the movie Raising Arizona where a couple of delinquent brothers go to rob a bank. They feel pretty confident about their plan because they fancy themselves sophisticated criminals. As they bust in the front door of the dusty, country bank, one of the brothers shouts out, "All right, ya hayseeds, it's a stick-up. Everybody freeze. Everybody down on the ground." There is a long awkward pause as the tellers and farmer clientele stare back at them. The criminals...

They said goodbye to Gordie Howe yesterday, after funeral ceremonies that seemed more appropriate for a former head of state than a hockey player. Howe was more than a mere athlete, of course; he was a touchstone; a link to our history. He was a memory of consistency and class, of a time when players stayed with one team most or all of their careers, before steroid scandals and when Detroit was one of the largest and richest cities in the world. Part of all this was baby boomers and those older mourning a bygone era and their own pasts.

If you don’t like being on the road, don’t run for Congress in Michigan’s First Congressional District. It is geographically huge, because so few people live up there. The district spans the entire Upper Peninsula, and about the top quarter of the Northern Lower Peninsula. That amounts to 44 percent of Michigan’s total land area. That’s two and a half times the entire state of Massachusetts – and it includes only about 700,000 people.

For many years I’ve predicted, so far incorrectly, that one of these years the Libertarian Party would achieve a breakthrough on the national political scene. Not that they would elect a president, but that they would become a serious force to be reckoned with. After all, the Libertarians have a message that ought to resonate with both the millennials and many of us aging, self-obsessed baby boomers. They say you should be able to do whatever you want in your private life. Smoke pot, have sex...

The International Symbol of Access
wikimedia user Ltljltlj / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0 / Public Domain

The Next Idea Each month, the State of Michigan releases unemployment numbers, which are seen as a major indicator of the state’s economic health. One subset of these numbers is often overlooked — the employment levels for people with disabilities. Michigan and other states struggle with the challenge of employing people in this group. The discrepancy is significant. As of March 2016, the national unemployment rate for people without disabilities was 4.9%. For people with disabilities, it was more than double that figure. Perhaps even more indicative of the challenge is the gap in the labor force participation rate of nearly 69% for people without disabilities, and almost 20% for people with disabilities.

State Senator David Knezek, a 29-year-old Democrat from Dearborn, has the kind of background most young politicians would envy. His dad was a cop; his mother, a school lunch lady. He got out of high school, walked into a U.S. Marine recruiting station, and ended up doing two tours of duty in Iraq, with a sniper platoon. He was promoted to sergeant.

When a British Prime Minister sold out Czechoslovakia to the Nazis, Winston Churchill acidly said words to the effect that he had been forced to choose between war and shame. “He’s chosen shame now; he’ll get war later,” he said. In Lansing this week, the Michigan Legislature had the choice between a plan that would actually give the Detroit schools a chance to revive, or selling out to the charter school lobby, which wants no restraints on terrible charter schools. After a day of thinking...

Pages