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Letters 4/14/08

- April 14th, 2008
Cut the crap
I enjoyed reading Lisa Mai Shoemaker’s letter in the April 7 Northern Express (“So Childish”) and agree that the “Democrat/Republican crap” should just STOP. The partisanship has reached a ridiculous level.
I’m sick of receiving emails from friends/coworkers with political jokes that are word-for-word the same except for “Bush” appearing as one punch line and “Hillary” appearing as the next. Same joke, different parties/candidates/elected official.
If you honestly swear total allegiance to either political party, I have a bridge to sell you over the Boardman River. Both parties have made a mess of this country and neither party speaks for the average voter. Corporations, the rich, lobbyists and special interest groups have highjacked the political system and the rest of us are getting the shaft.
There may come a day when talk radio hosts, newspaper editorials and columnists and internet bloggers point out the problems with the behavior of both parties in an even-handed manner, but don’t hold your breath waiting for it.
To illustrate how broken the system has become, consider how much time, effort and money has been spent to determine the next president, and the best they can come up with are Obama, Clinton and McCain?

Gary Woodhams • TC

McCain‘s poor record
Your article about John McCain left out some important things about his history and thoughts about war. For if he was critical about Vietnam why can he flip-flop about Iraq? I respect the fact that he went to answer his country‘s need as a brave solder, but solders do not make leaders, only followers, and always cheer for their use of military might even when they‘re dead wrong about why it‘s needed.
Further, he is also a flip-flopper about torture, economics, ethics, lobbyist monies, and worse, he has a criminal past in being one of the Keating Five, who cheated the American taxpayer out of $1.4 trillion in the ‘80s. Why isn’t the press covering some of his “bad decisions,” as he put it, past screw-ups?
Where is the honesty in covering the truth about potential presidents? It sure didn’t happen with W; so are we ready for another incompetent, misguided and unethical leader? Look how worse off we all are now by W’s massive screwups; living in fear, over-burdened, everything is on edge, and not enjoying freedoms.
I wish Jesse Ventura was running, if he could. He put it right as to starting war a: “You would only go to war if you were willing to send your own son or daughter.”
Very wise words and where is that in McCain?

Bradford Krull • Glen Arbor

Kids & baseball
In regards to “Play Ball” by Rick Coates in the April 7 edition, I concur that there is growing enthusiasm for baseball in Northern Michigan. As a member of the American Legion Junior Baseball Board of Directors, and a parent who coached for five years, I have witnessed a strong and healthy growth in the number of children playing baseball.
Although I was a bit surprised Mr. Coates neglected to mention the American Legion Junior Baseball program in Traverse City (our website is www.tclegionbaseball.com), which holds its games at the Civic Center and has divisions from T-League (age 5) through Babe Ruth, I am sure it was a mere oversight.
Based upon literally hundreds, if not thousands, of conversations I have had over the years with parents, players and coaches, the primary reason American Legion Junior Baseball at the Civic Center has blossomed is the emphasis we place on fun, sportsmanship, and teamwork.
Yes, we use pitching machines for the youngsters. Yes, we have four outfielders for the youngsters. No, we don’t allow stealing for the youngsters. Notice how I refer to “youngsters” for those rules?! Most children between the ages of five and 10 have not developed to the point where they can effectively throw the ball consistently for strikes, much less cover the distance between home plate and second base. Thus, with a pitching machine the youngsters develop confidence in their hitting skills. The fielders improve their skills in fielding and throwing. With four outfielders more kids get to play. And the children do pitch for two of the innings. The game moves along at a brisker and more exiting pace, and the players, coaches, and fans have fun.
Of course, in the older B-League and A-League, when the players are 12 and older, the regular baseball rules apply. By that time the players have developed the necessary skills to effectively play by the standard rules of baseball.
As Mr. Flamont noted in the article, some adults have taken the fun out of sports for their kids. They have a “win at all costs” attitude. It is often true that the most fun we had, as kids, was at the neighborhood pick-up games when the parents were not there screaming about the all-or-nothing importance of winning.
I firmly believe that the primary reason for the success of the American Legion Junior Baseball program is the commitment of Larry Butcher, who leads the program, to emphasize fun, good sportsmanship, and teamwork.
If your priority is having a fun, fulfilling experience that emphasizes baseball fundamentals, sportsmanship and teamwork, then American Legion Baseball is for you and your children. If your emphasis is on competing with downstate teams, and joining travel teams, here’s a thought; your chance of obtaining that goal will probably increase if your priorities are grounded in FUNdamentals, sportsmanship, and teamwork. PLAY BALL BOYS AND GIRLS!

Michael J. Swogger • via email

Correction
Chippewa Landing has not closed as reported in an article on kayaking last week. The canoe livery on the Manistee River is open for canoe rentals and camping during the season.
 
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