Michigan and Florida defied the Democratic Partys rules by moving their primaries to January in an attempt to leap-frog other states primaries. As a result, the Democratic National Committee is planning to deny seats to the delegates from these two states at the Democratic National Convention.
In spite of all this, a legally binding primary was held in these two states. It is only a matter of time before someone who voted in these primaries will file a lawsuit because their vote must be honored. Nobody in this country can be told that their legally cast vote does not count because leaders of a state and national party made a mistake.
Before those primaries were held, the DNC and the Michigan/Florida Democratic committees should have realized that you cannot simply disregard a vote just because they could not come to an agreement. And you cannot just re-do an election to fix a mistake.
If anything, the Democrats should have learned this from the 2000 presidential election. You must count every vote that is cast on the day, place and time that it is legally cast. Otherwise, we run the risk of putting in jeopardy the very foundation of our nation. Unfortunately, this issue will once again have to be resolved by the courts because the so-called party leaders tried to get cute with the process.
Joe Bialek Cleveland, OH
On the ballot
Great news! On March 3, the Michigan Board of Canvassers officially certified that MCCC (Michigan Coalition for Compassionate Care) collected enough signatures to transmit the medical marijuana initiative to the Michigan Legislature.
The 496,000+ signatures officially counted by the state came back with an 80.2% validity rate, far exceeding what was needed to qualify. Such a high validity rate is testament to the diligence of our petition team, whose exacting attention to detail ensured we would survive any eventuality.
The initiative will now be transmitted to the legislature, which has 40 days to either pass it into law or send it to voters in November.
Because the legislature has considered multiple medical marijuana bills in recent years and none have ever gained traction, Michiganders who support protecting patients from arrest by nearly a two-to-one margin are all but certain to vote on the issue at the polls.
The official word that we have gathered enough signatures to send the initiative to voters in November culminates a historic, monumental effort. We are one step closer to making Michigan the first medical marijuana state in the Midwest. And patients all across the state are one enormous step closer to alleviating their pain without the fear of arrest and jail.
Rev. Steven B.Thompson
Stop Alba‘s well
Alba and Mancelona are the headwaters of the great rivers of Michigan, the Black, the Jordan, the Boyne, the Manistee, the Sturgeon, the Cedar, the Au Sable.
Yet, the DEQ may permit CMS to dispose of cement kiln dust (CKD) leachate, a liquid waste laced with heavy metals, including lead and mercury, into a deep injection well in Alba. In spite of recent scientific studies that show fractures in the containment layer, the DEQ has given the green light to CMS. Why?
If a child has a wound and is bleeding to death, the paramedics do not organize a team to clean up the living room. They work diligently to stop the bleeding!
Like a tea bag, kiln dust only makes a brew when water is added. In spite of knowledge of the toxicity of CKD leachate, the DEQ allowed CMS to deposit tons of CKD in unlined pits and topped the waste pile off with a golf course.
The majority of this CKD is above ground and could be removed today and contained per the EPA, which instructs CMS to remove, isolate and contain the kiln dust.
The leachate captured at East Park in Bay Harbor amounts to less than three-fourths of one percent of the leachate from Bay Harbor. Yet the DEQ and CMS appear to be willing to risk contamination of our mighty rivers for what? The Bay Harbor golf course!
Ask the Governor to stand up for environmental justice and petition the EPA to designate CKD leachate as hazardous waste. Stop the bleeding and order CMS to contain the CKD. That means a hard hit for CMS and a golf course, but its the right thing to do.
Jo Anne Beemon Charlevoix
The torture president
In his memoir, Richard Clarke quoted George Bush as saying:
Everything is available for the pursuit of this war. Any barriers in your way, theyre gone. Any money you need, you have it. This is our only agenda...
I dont care what the international lawyers say, we are going to kick some ass.
The Bush administration has held fast to this bunker mentality through the fifth year of war. The arrogance of any president claiming constitutional license to override any lawincluding laws against tortureif he deems it necessary to wage a war is mind-boggling. Now President Bush has vetoed the Intelligence Authorization Bill (H.R. 2082) which would have outlawed the use of torture by the CIA.
The International Red Cross estimates that 80% of Iraqis incarcerated by the US military were arrested by mistake. How many of those tortured were innocent and had no information to provide to their interrogators? Have we forgot that following WWII, the U.S. prosecuted Japanese soldiers for using waterboarding? Torture is immoral. It is also a proven ineffective means of gathering information.
Stay informed of Traverse for Peace and Justices Campaign Against Torture activities at TraversePeaceAlerts.org.
Marian Kromkowski Suttons Bay
Beware of Vista
Kathy Shales wrote of her PC problems in the March 10 Northern Express. Shes not alone.
On March 9, e-mails between senior Microsoft employees were unsealed by the judge in a class action suit and published in the New York Times online edition. They show that Microsoft was aware of serious problems with its Vista operating system, and released the product anyway, misleading not only consumers, but also its business partners, including Dell and Hewlett-Packard, and large retailers, including Best Buy and Wal-Mart.
In fact, many PCs thought to be Vista-ready dont operate properly when running Vista. In addition, as many Vista users know all too well, even when their PCs work, many peripherals printers, scanners, cameras, and so on dont work with Vista because device drivers (more software) dont exist. Microsoft doesnt support a downgrade to Windows XP for most customers, although consumers can purchase Windows XP, re-format their hard drives, and then install XP. Do you have a week or so to spend backing up all of your data, and then re-installing all of your software?
Operating systems are the brains of the computer: they make all of the rest of the software and all of the devices work or not work. They are unbelievably complex. Microsoft has a history of releasing software with many known problems. Dont buy a computer that runs a brand new operating system from Microsoft unless you are able to tolerate two years of shake-out. I bought a new Dell laptop a year ago and insisted on Windows XP. Boy am I glad I did.
If youre already stuck with Windows Vista, be patient. The problems will be resolved eventually. If you bought a computer with the Vista Ready sticker, and it doesnt fully support the Vista operating system, you are part of the class action suit, which goes to trial in October. That should make you feel a little better.
If you arent a techie or you have better things to do with your time than fiddle with your PC, buy a Mac. Yes, they cost more. Thats in part because Apple spends more to make their operating systems easier to use and more stable. You do get what you pay for.
Raechel Wright Charlevoix
Matter of conscience
Express letter-writers Zachary and McIntyre (2/25) renew our attention to the Iraq War through the metaphor of a broken car and the war‘s impact on the economy.
Another piece of war we may forget is that war calls our soldiers to kill people. What does killing people on command mean, how does it feel, what does it do for a soldiers sense of well being, his or her conscience?
Traverse-area citizens have the opportunity to view how some soldiers in combat deal with the morality of the call to kill. The award-winning film,
Soldiers of Conscience, will be featured at the State Theatre, Tuesday, March 18, 7:30 p.m.
Soldiers of Conscience played here in Seattle for six days. We had the opportunity to discuss the film with one of the producers as well as with Aidan Delgado, one of the five soldiers featured in the film.
The film also shows Army instructor Major Pete Kilner helping soldiers address their underlying moral stance to support their call to kill. This recognizes that some returning combat veterans, lacking a moral basis for what they have done, may become psychologically disjointed.
Soldiers of Conscience shows the deeply personal reality of the call to duty with its moral dilemma to kill or not to kill, a question most of us do not have to answer. We recommend seeing this film.
Tom and Darylene Shea Seattle