Letters

Letters 08-01-2016

Voter Suppression And Choice In 2013, five Supreme Court justices, each appointed by Republican presidents, knocked the teeth out of the Voting Rights Act. Immediately a majority of Republican-dominated states began passing laws aimed at suppressing the votes of their majority Democrat demographics: minorities, students and the elderly. These laws – requiring voter IDs, cutting early voting, eliminating same-day registration, closing selected polling places, banning straight-ticket voting, etc. — never flat-out deny a person’s right to vote; they just make actual registering and voting more difficult, and therefore make it more likely that individuals in certain groups will not vote. Think of voter suppression as a kind of reverse marketing strategy, one aimed at getting people not to do something...

Free Parking Patrick Sullivan’s good story on parking overlooked one source of “free parking” that has become an increasing problem in Traverse City: spill-over into adjacent neighborhoods. Instead of discouraging people from bringing cars downtown, we’re allowing them to park on both sides of narrow residential streets all day long...

Real American Duality Isiah Smith didn’t really put his deep thinking hat on before writing the “American Duality” commentary. First there’s geography. His daughter feels safer in Sweden than in the United States, at least partially because of the violence in Dallas, Baton Rouge and Minnesota. Really? Safer than in northern Michigan, which is further away from Dallas and Baton Rouge than Stockholm is from Ansbach, Paris or Brussels and no closer to Minnesota than Sweden is to Germany? Did Smith miss recent supremely violent events in those places? Alrighty then...

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. . . .

The culprit for skyrocketing energy costs

George Foster - May 11th, 2006
We should all be outraged. The cost of heating our houses has skyrocketed, gasoline is $3 per gallon and rising, and the U.S. is now dependent on foreign oil for 60% of our energy needs. Someone needs to take the fall for this scandal but who?
How about retail gas stations, oil companies, and others in the oil industry taking some responsibility for a change. Damn those price gougers. My heating bills tripled last winter over what I had ever paid previously. Of course, after remodeling recently, I doubled the size of our house. My wife and I needed four bedrooms and three baths in case family ever visits. To compensate, we do turn off most of our lights at night in order to do our part to save energy.
Auto owners of gas-guzzlers should also take much of the blame. You all know who you are and ought to be ashamed. Admittedly, my wife and I own four cars – but only one slurps fuel at a rate under 10 miles per gallon. With 160,000 miles logged, my 3/4-ton pickup shouldn’t be counted against us - we don’t drive it every day. Our other vehicles run at 20-plus miles per gallon (I think). To support conservation efforts in this country, we are also thinking of selling one of the cars. After all, it is mathematically impossible for my wife and I to drive more than two cars at a time.
The Bush administration should receive much of the blame. We were tricked into voting an administration into office that has let the oil industry set the energy policy for our country. Okay, it is true we all knew that Bush and Chaney were former oil executives. Also, they were up-front about their view that the answer to our energy woes was to drill for more oil and gas in ecologically sensitive areas. Otherwise, how could Americans have dreamed that this administration would not embrace windmills, solar power, and all sources of alternative energy?
Auto manufacturers are maybe the most despicable of all – I also blame them. When I moved into my current residence, 15 miles from work, I purchased vehicles based on gasoline prices of about $1.25 per gallon. The auto companies didn’t even hint that prices could rise to levels that might be cost prohibitive to drive their products hundreds of miles every day. Now my wife and I are constantly filling the tanks of our vehicles for $3 per gallon. @#$%*&. Talk about selfishness, car companies know I don’t pay much attention to fuel efficiency. Yet, these criminals still try to sell me gas-guzzlers that threaten me with financial ruin.
When I finally got the picture of the looming energy crisis, I did purchase a commuting bicycle about a year ago. Ironically, I’ve been too busy driving and working to pay for our huge transportation costs. I can’t find the extra time to ride, so my lonely, new bike hasn’t been ridden once.
There is plenty of blame to go around for the high prices of fuel…hey, wait a minute. I know what you are thinking - this energy crisis is really my fault and people like me.
Did I mention that I recycle and keep the temperature in our house below 70 degrees whenever possible?
If not for progressive thinkers like you and me, this energy crisis might be far worse. But what are we going to do about less enlightened fellow citizens?
 
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