Letters

Letters 12-14-2014

Come Together There is a time-honored war strategy known as “divide and conquer,” and never has it been more effective than now. The enemy is using it against us through television, internet and other social media. I opened a Facebook account a couple of years back to gain more entries in local contests. Since then I had fallen under its spell; I rushed into judgment on several social issues based on information found on those pages

Quiet The Phones! This weekend we attended two beautiful Christmas musical events and the enjoyment of both were significantly diminished by self-absorbed boors holding their stupid iPhones high overhead to capture extremely crucial and highly needed photos. We too own iPhones, but during a public concert we possess the decency and manners to leave them turned off and/or at home. Today’s performance, the annual Messiah Sing at Traverse City’s Central Methodist Church, was a new low: we watched as Mr. Self-Absorbed not only took several photos but then afterwards immediately posted them to his Facebook page. We were dumbfounded.

A Torturous Defense In defense of the C.I.A.’s use of torture in a mostly fruitless search for vital information, some suggest that the dire situation facing us after 9-11, justified the use of torture even at the expense of the potential loss of much of our nation’s moral authority.

Home · Articles · News · Random Thoughts · Bridging the truth
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Bridging the truth

Robert Downes - June 27th, 2011
If you’ve watched any TV at all in recent months you’ve been waterboarded
with a flood of ads lambasting the “Government Bridge” proposed to link
Detroit and Windsor in Canada.
These commercials have all the nuance of a wedding cake sliced with a meat
axe. It’s a wonder they don’t refer to the project as the “Gub’mint
Bridge” for Snuffy Smith types who can’t handle three syllables.
Backing the commercials is billionaire Manuel “Matty” Moroun, an
84-year-old trucking tycoon who owns the Ambassador Bridge which links the
U.S. to Canada. Moroun purchased the Ambassador Bridge 32 years ago and
has owned a monopoly over one of America’s busiest and most important
trade routes ever since.
But if you’ve ever had the misfortune to cross the 82-year-old Ambassador
Bridge, you know that it’s a narrow, run-down structure that is inadequate
to handle the 9,000 vehicles which cross it each day.
So the “Government Bridge” is mostly bad news for Moroun, whose ads
trample the truth for the sake of his own pocketbook.
The correct name of the proposed “government” bridge project is the
Detroit River International Crossing (DRIC), which would be located two
miles downriver from the Ambassador Bridge.
“How much will this ‘free’ bridge cost your family?” asks a flyer
targeting State Senator Howard Walker’s vote on the project. Although the
flyer insinuates that taxpayers will pay for the new bridge, one can
imagine it won’t cost the average Michigan family one tin nickel, since
the bridge will be paid for with tolls and bonds over the course of
decades.
Three years ago, Canadian officials offered to loan Michigan $550 million
to begin construction of a new bridge. According to the Michigan
Department of Transportation, the bridge would raise more than $70 million
in tolls during its first year, with up to $240 million raised per year by
2040.
The Big 3 automakers are all in favor of the new bridge, as is the mayor
of Detroit. General Motors employs 9,000 workers in Canada, while Chrysler
employs 11,000. A better bridge is needed to shuttle auto parts back and
forth across the border to increase trade and jobs in both countries. In
Ford’s case, dailyfinance.com reports that the company sends 600 trucks
across the border at Detroit every day.
Governor Rick Snyder is urging construction of the new bridge, as are
business interests across the state. The private/public project would
create thousands of good-paying jobs in a town that desperately needs them
and would improve Michigan’s trade and tourism with Canada.
But, according to a recent column by Phil Power of The Center for
Michigan, “Moroun has been spreading campaign contributions thick and fast
around Lansing. As a result, a bunch of legislators – primarily
Republicans – oppose the public-private project the governor favors. They
say they’ll only approve an all-private bridge — meaning one built by
Moroun himself.”
According to an investigation by the Detroit Free Press, Moroun parceled
out $1.5 million in 2009-10 to backers of his plan. That included 45
Michigan legislators.
This is outrageous. Michigan and Detroit need jobs and the trade that a
new bridge would provide. What we don’t need is a legislature that caves
in to the cash of a single billionaire -- and one who plays us all as
fools to boot.
If nothing else, the “Government Bridge” deserves our support as payback
to Moroun for interrupting American Idol and reruns of Two and a Half Men
with his irritating, insulting commercials. These ads assume that
Michigan citizens are the sort of dim bulbs who have an automatic kneejerk
reaction to anything slapped with a “government” label. “We the people”
elected our government -- we’re not all government-hating members of the
Tea Party or the Timothy McVeigh Fan Club.
Enough! Ask State Senator Walker and your local representatives to
support the new bridge proposal for more jobs in Michigan and the common
good.

 
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