I would like to reply to Sheryl Langdon‘s letter with a famous quote. “Half the truth is the biggest lie“. Ms. Langdon points out that the Teamster‘s union is the largest in the world but neglects to mention that it‘s also the most corrupt. She goes on to say that the striking Teamsters at Northern Michigan Hospital “deserve commendation for manning the picket line regardless of the weather.“ This is just plain ludicrous. In the first place, anyone who drove by that picket line on regular basis know that the average number of picketers was about ten. Now that the weather has improved even that average has fallen.
Secondly, the Teamsters chose the date of the strike. One can only assume that that decision was made by someone more familiar with the rather milder weather along the more sheltered waters of Grand Traverse Bay. Had the Teamsters bothered to consult anyone who has lived in Petoskey I‘m certain that they would‘ve been told that that‘s one of the coldest places in town.
Thirdly, while it‘s true, as Ms. Langdon points out, that “many of the of the nurses are working temporary jobs during this difficult time“ it is equally true that many are not, and that it‘s the Teamsters that are causing these “difficult times.“ If they had been smart, they could‘ve announced in advance that the strike was going to be for a limited time, say 5-7 days, and then gone back to the bargaining table. They would‘ve made their point without backing themselves into a corner. They probably would‘ve gotten their way and there wouldn‘t be houses in the area with both NMH Negotiate and For Sale signs in the yards.
Ms. Langdon also points out that Americans enjoy “8 hour days, weekends, paid vacation and sick days, health insurance and worker‘s compensation, because of unionized workers who dared to fight and sometime die for better working conditions.“ Again, this is at best a half truth because the modern Teamsters Union has had little or nothing to do with any of this although it has handsomely lined the pockets of a succession of corrupt Teamster officials.
Eric Smith Petoskey
There is an interesting story going on in Washington, DC that I‘ve heard very little about in any of the news media.
I am referring to an upcoming meeting of the Federal Communications Commission, where it will be decided if huge media moguls will be allowed to become even bigger.
Most of us didn‘t even realize that a free press is very dependant on autonomy and a democracy is dependent upon a free press. If a large concentration of newspapers, TV stations, radio stations, publishers and Internet Providers are allowed to be controlled by just a few corporations then all we‘ll ever hear or see will be based on the dictates of those corporations or the personalities that control them. What an undesirable circumstance that will be for all of us!
There is a bright spot though, this behind the scenes vote of the FCC over who‘ll control what America sees and hears won‘t happen until June. The FCC is still allowing public input until May 30, 2003 so now is the time to contact the FCC at: http://www.fcc.gov/contacts.html on the internet or call them toll-free at: 1-888-225-5322 (1-888-CALL FCC) for more information. Or write them at:
Federal Communications Commission
445 12th Street, SW
Washington, DC 20554
Make your voice heard.
Scott Zorc via email
Returning Jobs to America
Policies at the beginning of the Clinton Administration made it possible for some companies to move technology jobs to other countries where labor costs are generally lower. The ITAA study found that 22 percent of large information technology companies have already moved work overseas and 15 percent of all tech firms are undecided about the possibility of moving jobs in the next 12 months. A similar recent report by Cambridge, Mass.-based Forrester Research projected that 3.3 million jobs, including credit card processing and software development, will migrate to India, Russia and China in the next 15 years.
This is the middle class we are talking about, the class the Clinton Administration said it would protect. What can you do? Well, you could contact Congress and ask the following:
That all companies that sell or do business with the goverment must maintain a complete organization here in the United States. That includes data processing and development and accounting to insure corporate integrity. Failure to comply will result in loss of the right to sell here or do business here.
Besides keeping Americans working, it‘s a matter of national security. The policy must be “if you sell here, you must live here“
A Concerned American and IT Professional.
Henry Duarte via email
According to a National Academy of Sciences‘ Institute of Medicine report, between 44,000 and 98,000 Americans die in hospitals each year as a result of medical mistakes, more than those who die of car accidents, breast cancer, or AIDS.
I suggest that we build a Malpractice Memorial modeled after the Vietnam Memorial. Family members of malpractice victims could go to that wall to mourn, to touch the name of someone they loved, to place flowers of remembrance, to shed tears of loss, of anger, of despair for someone who sought to be healed, but met death instead. That would be a long, long wall.
Speaking of walls, people speak of the blue wall that policemen construct when one of their own is found wanting. There is a white wall that is constructed by doctors when one of their own is found wanting, a wall that must be demolished in order to protect patients who blindly place their trust and their lives in the hands of doctors who are known by other doctors not to be trustworthy.
Five percent of the doctors are responsible for over half of the malpractice incidents in this country. The medical profession needs to set its house in order by evicting repeat offenders.
Jane Marshall Clarksville, Tennessee
Ride your bike
The 9th Annual Traverse City Bike to Work Week (June 2-6, 2003) is featuring a Commuter Cup Challenge this year! The Commuter Cup Challenge is not just about biking. It is a friendly workplace competition to encourage co-workers to bike, walk, carpool or ride BATA to work. Commuter Cup participants earn points based on the percentage of total employees who ‘green commute‘ to work.
Organizations participating in the Commuter Cup Challenge during Bike to Work Week are competing to win one of three donated commuter-style bicycles that include fenders, chain guards, baskets and adjustable seats; one each from Brick Wheels, City Bike Shop and McLain Cycle & Fitness. The idea behind offering a bike to the winning organization, is that they would use it as a ‘company bike‘ that is available for employees to run errands or ride to an in-town meeting instead of driving a single-occupant vehicle. This is the first year with donated bikes as prizes and we envision many of these commuter bikes around town in the future.
The overall message of Bike to Work Week and ‘green commuting‘ is simply to get people thinking about living in a more sustainable fashion. Bike to Work Week is an event that celebrates the Traverse City area pedestrian-friendly infrastructure and public transportation system, so hop on a bike, ride the bus, carpool with a co-worker or walk to work and get the word out about Bike to Work Week!
To learn how your Traverse City area organization can participate, call TART at 941-4300.
Missy Luyk Administrative Assistant
TART Trails, Inc.
Liberate our own citizens
The crime rate for the United States Of America is increasing despite what you might have heard. Violent crime in the 1960s was at 288,460 reported. In the year 2000, according to the United States Crime Rate Chart, 1,424,289 violent crimes were reported in America. There were also 15,517 citizens murdered in the year 2000 compared to 9,110 in the ‘60s. That is an increase in crime my friend.
The biggest fear we should have is that our elected officials will contuine to downplay the crime epidemic in our country. We must stop sending our jobs overseas, stop allowing our children to live in poverty, stop allowing our citizens to go through life without health care, and stop ignoring the gorwing social problems in this country. It‘s a sad time for Americans when our prison systems and unemployeement offices are both over crowded. We have no business liberating Iraq or any country for that matter when our own citizens need liberated.
Todd M Jordan - Kokomo, Indiana
We were originally told - as was the U.S. Congress and everyone else - that Halliburton Corporation‘s NO BID, NO COMPETITION government contract (awarded by the Army Corps of Engineers) was as an emergency measure to put out the oil field fires in Iraq. Now it emerges that Halliburton‘s contract has some “concealed details“ that neither the Defense Department nor Halliburton have previously been forthcoming about. These details are slowing emerging under pressure of inquiry by Congressman Henry Waxman of the House Government Reform Committee.
It has now emerged that Halliburton‘s contract is a little broader than just putting out oil fires, but this contract is in fact “TO RUN THE OIL INDUSTRY IN IRAQ.“ (National Public Radio morning report: interview with U.S. Congressman Waxman, 5/7/03.) This disclosure comes after we were told repeatedly by Colin Powell and others that “the oil of Iraq is for the Iraqi people to control and use for the improvement of their own nation.“
Congressman Waxman asks correctly “Why are we running the oil industry of Iraq? And why is Halliburton, in effect the oil company for the nation of Iraq?“ These dislosures include other details, including that the contract was originally for $7,000,000,000, and included provisions that “whatever costs Halliburton incurs“ above this amount we taxpayers will pay for.
Says Congressman Waxman: “This really should be a wake up call. They (Halliburton) have overcharged the government consistently, in one case they were charging the government $85 for $14 plywood. They have even overcharged the government to the point where there was a potential criminal charge that was going to be brought against them, and they paid a settlement of $2,000,000. When you have a company that has overcharged the taxpayers, and then they are given a no-bid contract, and the contract says whatever costs they incur, we are going to pay them plus, that seems to me like a green light to overcharge. What we don‘t want to see is that the war in Iraq becomes a vehicle for rewarding companies that are close to this administration.“
Halliburton Company is the corporation which Vice President Dick Cheney was CEO, and for which he is still is a paid consultant. Halliburton has drawn attention in the past for its business deals with Libya and Iran, despite Congressional trade bans with these nations.
Jim Norgaard Petoskey
Save Amina Lawal
All of us can save Amina Lawal, a Nigerian Woman sentenced to be stoned to death in Nigeria for having a child out of marriage(re: Random Thoughts, 5/22). Actually, there are other four people sentenced to the same death.
Amina will be horribly executed after having weaned her baby, around January 2004. She will be buried up to her neck, then her executioners (about 12 persons designated by authorities) will surround her and throw rocks at her head until her skull is crushed. This painful and horrible death will last several hours. According to authorities, stones will not be too big to allow a fast “merciful“ death.
Amina is now living at her parents‘ house where she is breast feeding her daughter Wasila, the reason of her barbaric sentence.
You can help save Amina and other people in similar situation. Another woman, Safia Hussaini, was saved due to international pressure of Nigerian authorities.
The decision of Amina‘s destiny will be made in a Nigerian court on June 3, 2003. Please see Amina and her daughter‘s photo gallery at the following website and take action to save her: www.saveamina.bizland.com.
Alicia Montes via email