Letters 12-05-2016

Trump going back on promises I’m beginning to suspect that we’ve been conned by our new president. He’s backpedaling on nearly every campaign promise he made to us...

This Christmas, think before you speak Now that Trump has won the election, a lot of folks who call themselves Christians seem to believe they have a mandate to force their beliefs on the rest of us. Think about doing this before you start yelling about people saying “happy holidays,” whining about Starbucks coffee cup image(s), complaining about other’s lifestyles…

First Amendment protects prayer (Re: Atheist Gary Singer’s contribution to the Crossed column titled “What will it take to make America great again?” in the Nov. 21 edition of Northern Express.) Mr. Singer, the First Amendment states: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof …”

Evidence of global warming Two basic facts underlay climate science: first, carbon dioxide was known to be a heat-trapping gas as early as 1850; and second, humans are significantly increasing the amount of CO2 in Earth’s atmosphere through the burning of fossil fuels and other activities. We are in fact well on our way to doubling the CO2 concentrations in our atmosphere...

Other community backpack programs I just read your article in the Nov. 28 issue titled “Beneficial backpacks: Two local programs help children.” It is a good article, but there are at least two other such programs in the Traverse City area that I am aware of...

A ‘fox’ in the schoolhouse Trump’s proposed secretary of education, Betsy DeVos (“the fox” in Dutch), is a right-wing billionaire; relentless promoter of unlimited, unregulated charter schools and vouchers; and enemy of public schooling...

Home · Articles · News · Letters · Letters 7/12/07
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Letters 7/12/07

- July 12th, 2007
Education, not diversity
My son attends a nearly all-white school. There’s not much diversity, tragically. The school, believe it or not, just educates any kid who enters its doors. Radical idea! After all, how can the kids learn if there aren’t different colors of faces around them?
I asked my son if it’s hurting him to be in a predominantly white school. He was mystified, since he just made the B honor roll and is proud of his achievement. His sixth grade project was, his teachers said, the best in 10 years. I don’t know how he did it. It’s unimaginable for him to have succeeded.
You see, my son is Guatemalan. We adopted him at the age of three months. His skin is brown. His hair is very black. According to the “diversity” crowd, he’s being damaged by attending a non-diverse public school in our mid-Michigan district. The diversity pushers think his white pals should be put on buses and shipped to, say, Flint, because there aren’t enough white faces in the Flint schools. The black children of Flint should be shipped 30 miles back to our district so they can show their black faces, so the school can claim it’s “diverse.”
Fortunately, the Supreme Court just struck down the Mengele-esque concept that public schools should be able to hold a color wheel up to a child’s face and decide on the value of his hue, so diversity can be “created.”
Justice Stephen Breyer says that not having diversity as a primary goal undermines the promise of integrated schools the landmark decision in Brown v. Board of Education from 53 years past.
“To invalidate the plans under review is to threaten the promise of Brown,” Breyer said.
The “promise of Brown”? When did the promise of the Brown morph from educating children without regard to race into forcing diversity by looking only at children’s faces? The “promise” was that public schools in America would be open to all children of any color who resided within a school’s district. The promise does not involve shuffling kids like marbles to achieve color balances. Any child, of any color, in any order, in any balance, should be educated equally with the others.
“What was wrong in 1954 cannot be right today,” says Justice Clarence Thomas, the Court’s only black member. “The plans before us base school assignment decisions on students’ race. Because ‘our Constitution is colorblind, and neither knows nor tolerates classes among citizens,’ such race-based decisionmaking is unconstitutional.”
My son agrees. “Diversity” should not be a goal of schools. Education should be the goal of schools. Radical idea, huh?

Diane Carey • Owosso

Machines of death
I wonder if anyone else was overwhelmed with the irony apparent in the publication of blatantly contradicting stories in last week’s Express. Let me get this straight, there’s no apparent conflict of interest in promoting the “Hippie Dream” – complete with peace dances and non-violent communication – decrying noise pollution, and, wait for it...THE SPECTACULAR COMBO OF FIGHTER JETS AND ROCK!!! Because, yeah, nothing’s cooler than using machines of death coupled with traditionally anti-establishment music as family entertainment. Hey kids, not old enough to sign up to die for your government? Why wait?! The Grayling Rock & Roll Airshow features live-fire sniper demonstrations, Apache attack helicopters, an Army marksmanship truck, and an enticing “Virtual Army Experience.”
Shoot, since the Express seemingly sees nothing to criticize in the transformation of warfare into family fun, how about advocating an unexploded ordinance scavenger hunt? We could play “pin the prosthetic limb on the amputee” or have a naked prisoner pyramid building contest! Or perhaps a “torture race” to see who can get their victim to spill the beans first. Oh, wait, I know! Camp Grayling can set up a “rape booth” stocked with plenty of Iraqi women. Isn’t war just awesome? As long as rock’s involved, it sounds fun to me...
There are plenty of folks in Northern Michigan who see such glorification of militarism as an overt recruitment tool at best, and at worst, another reason why it’s so easy to get America pumped up about illegal wars based on false pretenses. Not that I’d expect you guys to cast anything that takes place in fantabulous Northern Michigan in a negative light, but maybe next time you could at least ask the local peace and justice community for a statement when you are covering issues related to the mechanizations of war.

Jason M. Glover • TC

Thought-provoking story
I just wanted to compliment your paper on recent issue which included a story on Chris Morden of Elk Rapids. Very well written. It‘s nice to have a real in-depth, well-composed article to read. I sent it to a friend who is a child psychiatrist at the University of Wisconsin and he was sadly intrigued about what happened. A thought- provoking piece -- good for you for finding space for “non-entertaining” but serious topics.

Paul Tegel • Elk Rapids

Don‘t end term limits
The long sustained push for a part-time citizen legislature may soon bear fruit for Michigan taxpayers, but some senior legislators in Lansing are behind a knock-off effort to pervert this great idea into a ruse for eliminating term limits.
Term-limited State Rep. Palmer (R-Romeo) is shopping a legislative initiative to amend the Michigan Constitution to create what he calls “a part-time, term-limit-free legislature.” This is an obvious ploy which should go nowhere, since the coveted committee chairmanships that drive the legislative agenda would remain in the hands of a few senior legislators forever (like they used to) if term limits were eliminated.
Freshman and junior legislators may be new, but they are not stupid; they know that without term limits, entrenched senior incumbents with special interest financial backing would once again rule Lansing with an iron fist, relegating them to languish in the obscure role of “yes men.” They would be voting against their own self interests and the interest of their districts to support a proposal that would effectively doom their own political aspirations. In the old days, legislators term-limited themselves. From 1835 to 1900, a total of 2,700 people served in the legislature in Michigan; only 11 stayed in office more than six years.
Besides, Michigan voters love term limits. They voted to impose term limits by a 59% landslide, and very few people outside the seat of political power regret that choice.
Taxpayers have an unlimited will to fight for this issue, and voters will punish any would-be career politician who dares to touch the new “third rail” of citizen-driven politics.
A main reason people like the idea of a part-time legislature is that it finishes the job that term limits started; to promote a citizen Legislature. Under session limits, private sector people would go to Lansing for a few months each year to represent their local district, and then return to their home to live and work with their own constituents under the laws they have made.
This won’t deter the legislature’s ability to get the job done, since they rarely meet more than 90 session days anyway.
The term limits movement was a big step in the right direction because it controlled the natural appetite for perpetual re-election that made professional politicians the best legislators money could buy. Phony campaign finance laws, written by incumbents for the benefit of incumbents, could not get big money out of politics and only exacerbated the problems they promised to solve by creating barriers to entry for fresh candidates who were not the products of elite recruitment.
Voters are tired of a self-perpetuating privileged ruling class of high salaried powerful politicians who legislate themselves pay raises (over $79,000), expense accounts ($12,000), and lifetime retirement benefits (vesting after only six years service).
A part-time legislature would eliminate those state pensions and bring salaries more into line with real Michigan families. Legislators must submit to the will of the people whom they are supposed to serve, and stop trying to tinker with term limits. If they truly have the calling to serve, then they should expect more of themselves and become qualified experts in public policy and lawmaking before they ask for your vote, rather than claiming to need years of on-the-job training to get up to speed. If they really want to earn the people’s trust, they should listen to our cry now: “Don’t Touch Term Limits.”

Gregory C. Schmid, Attorney at Law • Saginaw

Local preference
First, we’d like to express our gratitude to Rick Coates for the recent review of our new restaurant, Aerie. We appreciate the kind words.
However, I have to take issue with his statement about our lack of sourcing locally. I have made a tremendous effort to use local products wherever possible, including produce, meats, cheese and of course beer and wine. As a matter of fact, we have switched to using Dick Zenner’s hydroponic tomatoes (Kingsley) resort-wide. Other local vendors include: Matchett Farms, Ebel’s meats in Falmouth, Shetler’s Dairy, Halpin Farms, Werp’s farm, Food for Thought, Cherry Capital Foods, By the Light of Day Tea and a host of foragers.
The issue becomes supply and quality. We have basically wiped out Mike Werp (who used to deliver to me in Chicago) in the last two weeks and other local suppliers are just not geared up to meet our demand. So, we take what we can and supplement where we need to, as well as reprinting the menu frequently to reflect availability (we’re on version 3.5 after two weeks).
In regard to wine, my desire is to have a world-class list, which means representing wine-growing regions from around the world. We have wines from virtually every winemaker in the area, and in most cases offer them by the glass. I believe that ours is the only establishment offering Larry Mawby’s “Conservancy” sparkling wine by the glass, benefiting the Leelanau Conservancy.
I am proud to be a transplanted Michigander and am striving to do the right thing, as well as working to reduce our overall footprint.
We invite you, Mr. Coates, and your readers to stop by when you get a chance. We have our tap system operating and are offering Michigan craft brews exclusively. You can even try a “flight” of three six-ounce pours in custom mini-pilsner glasses. (At the appropriate price, of course, since Michigan liquor laws do not allow us to give away alcohol beverages in our restaurants.)

Ted Cizma, Executive Chef • Aerie Grand Traverse Resort

Paddlers‘ plus
I read with interest the article by Rick Coates about the Camelot Inn’s “Paddle the Chain“ kayak trip. I can only second the rave reviews that the retired schoolteachers gave to this trip. The accommodations, service, and especially the ability to sample everything at gourmet restaurants would rate as a four-star vacation. However, as a retiree myself at age 73, I would heartily recommend this trip to most paddlers.
Expertise is not a requirement, just the desire to have fun and to see nature in all its finery. I paddled with a group of four gals, through rain, cold, wind and some of the best scenery Northern Michigan can offer in late September. I could go on and on about this fantastic trip.
I would and could do it again. Don’t ever think you can’t do it!

Mary Meyers • Treasure Island, FL

  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
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