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...

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Random Thoughts

George Foster - May 27th, 2004
Who do we blame for high gas prices?

Yikes. $2.19 per gallon of regular and rising.
How high can it go: $2.50? $3.00? $5.00? Unfortunately, there is no ceiling in sight. We should be outraged, yet whom do we blame?
Mine is one of the best perspectives in northern Michigan to observe this looming energy crisis. On most days, in full view of an office window, I see gasoline station employees nervously climbing up to a high billboard in order to change prices. It is not a teetering ladder they fear, but the wrath of passing motorists threatening and cussing out vulnerable attendants 20 feet off the ground, stretching to place still larger numbers after the number two and decimal point.
%$#&* I feel like punching out one of those gas station guys myself. The price has risen by 10 cents since I started writing this column. Since the reasons for bouncing gas prices remain shrouded in mystery, it is no wonder the person who physically increases the prices might take the heat.
We are now at unprecedented high levels for gasoline. Many experts say it is not evil gas station workers, but the surging economy in China that has fueled the demand for oil and, in turn, higher prices. Auto sales in China are skyrocketing as their billion-plus population becomes more affluent.
Before we jump all over China, consider that Wall Street editor Allan Sloan says a larger factor in the short-term price increases is investor anxiety about the Middle East. With U.S. generals predicting increasing violence in Iraq as we hand over governing control to undetermined Iraqis on June 30th and the Israeli/Palestinian conflict spinning into total anarchy, don‘t expect the prices to come down any time soon.
Okay, then maybe we should blame the Bush administration policies. According to presidential candidate John Kerry and Senator Debbie Stabenow from Michigan, President Bush should tap into the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) in order to ease the demand and reduce prices. The SPR is a 660-billion-barrel stash of oil set aside in our country for emergency use. Whenever gasoline prices increase, political pressure intensifies to tap into the reserves to provide price relief for consumers.
Our president is correct when he maintains that the SPR should not be used to manipulate prices - ever. In light of potential major terrorist attacks, the fall of Saudi Arabia‘s royal family, or any number of other possible crisis scenarios, we undoubtedly will need that oil reserve to save our bacon (and economy) some day.
So if Bush is not to blame, rising prices must be OPEC‘s fault. Recently, Kerry and Stabenow are also on record stating that the president should directly confront the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) to increase oil production - another bad idea. Would we want France and Germany bullying us to produce more autos or computers for export to benefit their economies? Also, I thought we were striving for the United States to become less dependent on foreign oil, not more so.
Someone must be blamed, right? Well, how about you... and me? If you calm down and think it through, it might dawn on you that we are all probably at fault for higher energy costs.
Democrats such as Kerry and Stabenow have no serious solutions but are playing politics with gas prices, pure and simple. American car companies glamorize gas-guzzlers in their marketing campaigns. The Bush administration does not even have an energy policy - only an insistence to drill for oil in environmentally sensitive areas in the U.S. and cozy up to ruthless regimes in the oil-rich Middle East. I drive an SUV and pickup truck. No one talks of energy conservation anymore. And on and on.
It boils down to this: the time has come to stop blaming gas station attendants and others for high prices and point the finger of blame at that guilty person staring at you in the mirror.


 
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