Letters

Letters 05-02-2016

Facts About Trails I would like to correct some misinformation provided in Kristi Kates’ article about the Shore-to-Shore Trail in your April 18 issue. The Shore-to-Shore Trail is not the longest continuous trail in the Lower Peninsula. That honor belongs to the North Country Trail (NCT), which stretches for over 400 miles in the Lower Peninsula. In fact, 100 miles of the NCT is within a 30-minute drive of Traverse City, and is maintained by the Grand Traverse Hiking Club...

North Korea Is Bluffing I eagerly read Jack Segal’s columns and attend his lectures whenever possible. However, I think his April 24th column falls into an all too common trap. He casually refers to a nuclear-armed North Korea when there is no proof whatever that North Korea has any such weapons. Sure, they have set off some underground explosions but so what? Tonga could do that. Every nuclear-armed country on Earth has carried out at least one aboveground test, just to prove they could do it if for no other reason. All we have is North Korea’s word for their supposed capabilities, which is no proof at all...

Double Dipping? In Greg Shy’s recent letter, he indicated that his Social Security benefit was being unfairly reduced simply due to the fact that he worked for the government. Somehow I think something is missing here. As I read it this law is only for those who worked for the government and are getting a pension from us generous taxpayers. Now Greg wants his pension and he also wants a full measure of Social Security benefits even though he did not pay into Social Security...

Critical Thinking Needed Our media gives ample coverage to some presidential candidates calling each other a liar and a sleaze bag. While entertaining to some, this certainly should lower one’s respect for either candidate. This race to the bottom comes as no surprise given their lack of respect for the rigors of critical thinking. The world’s esteemed scientists take great steps to preserve the integrity of their findings. Not only are their findings peer reviewed by fellow experts in their specialty, whenever possible the findings are cross-checked by independent studies...

Home · Articles · News · Random Thoughts · Why I Love the Dixie...
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Why I Love the Dixie Chicks

George Foster - June 1st, 2006
It has nothing to do with spring fever. Also, I have heard enough of the Dixie Chicks to know that these country stars must be talented musicians, but I can’t name one song they have recorded. All three women are easy on the eyes, but good looks alone will never be enough to capture my heart.
I know what you might be thinking, but my affection for them has nothing to do with their famous dislike for President Bush’s policies. I love the Dixie Chicks because they are not afraid to take a stand, whether or not others agree with it.
The Chicks could have just kept their mouths shut and continued to rake in millions of dollars as the hottest country act in the U.S. Instead, before the 2003 Iraq invasion, lead singer Natalie Maines expressed her shame that the President is from her home state of Texas.
Well, recently the Dixie Chicks had a new CD come out that has earned critical acclaim - and the controversy has bubbled-up all over again. The fall-out from those comments continue to result in sagging record sales, boycotting of their concerts by former fans, the elimination of the Dixie Chicks from play lists of many of the nation’s country radio stations, and even death threats to the musicians. The Dixie Chicks have paid a big, big price for exercising their First Amendment right of freedom of speech.
Several years ago, Rick Coates interviewed legendary Detroit rocker Ted Nugent for a Northern Express cover story. You may not agree with all of Nugent’s powerful convictions, but they deserve our respect. Whether Nugent is supporting hunters’ rights, promoting drug and alcohol-free lifestyles, or arguing against the “tax-and-spend welfare state,” everyone knows where he stands.
The political talk-show hosts and other media types who rant about how famous persons should “just shut up” and do their jobs are envious that the Dixie Chicks, Ted Nugent, and other celebs often have their opinions publicized. I say, “Bill O’Reilly - you shut up. Don Imus, you put a lid on it. “Northern Express columnists, you, most of all, should shut up once in awhile.”
Who has more credibility on an issue such as illegal immigration or the Iraq War - Rush Limbaugh or Al Franken who get paid to express an opinion (usually predictable) during regular programming - or a celebrity who has nothing to gain and a lucrative career to lose if he or she alienates enough people?
Let’s make one thing clear, though, no actor or musician’s opinion should have any more or less influence over the direction of our country than yours or mine - and it doesn’t. Only a person with a peabrain would have run out and demonstrated against the war in Viet Nam because that is what Jane Fonda did.
Those who say our troops and military operations are undercut by the dissent of famous Americans at home have got to be kidding. Do you really think soldiers are inclined to lay down their arms and give up because Susan Sarandon doesn’t agree with the administration’s policies in Iraq? Conversely, will our troops get fired up and do a better job in a battle zone if discovering that someone like Bruce Willis supports the President’s strategy in the Middle East?
Three years later, the Dixie Chicks have not been forgiven by many Americans. Don’t forget, they slammed Bush a couple of weeks before the invasion of Iraq when a solid majority of Americans supported Bush’s policies. It doesn’t take much backbone to criticize a beleaguered president with ratings in the gutter - instead, the Chicks’ criticism took on the majority view at the time when the idea of an Iraq War was popular.
It is because of their outspokenness that the Dixie Chicks and Ted Nugent are among the most patriotic of Americans. What we need are more Americans to stand up and speak their minds, not less. If more of us were passionate about issues that affect our country and respected the opinions of others - even celebrities - a majority of Americans might then care enough to at least vote on Election Day.
 
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