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...

Home · Articles · News · Random Thoughts · When good intentions go...
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When good intentions go off the rails

Robert Downes - September 15th, 2008
There was an historic moment last month which Michigan Senator Carl Levin can be proud of: the U.S. Senate passed his legislation for the Great Lakes Compact by a unanimous vote, protecting our water for all time.
Or does it?
The Compact bans the diversion of water from the Great Lakes. The agreement has already been signed by the governors of eight states along the lakes, including Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.
“Senate passage of this compact will help us protect the Great Lakes from water diversions and preserve this invaluable resource for future generations,” said Sen. Levin in a published report.
The Compact is also considered a slam-dunk for approval by the U.S. House of Representatives, and President Bush will surely sign it. Plus, the Canadian provinces of Ontario and Quebec have already passed the Compact.
“It’s looking like an unstoppable tide now,” said Cameron Davis, president of the Alliance for the Great Lakes.
So, why worry? Two words: offshore drilling.
Like the Great Lakes Compact, the struggle to limit offshore drilling involved many state and federal government units and three decades of legislation and solemn vows.
Congress has voted to ban offshore drilling on both the Atlantic and Pacific as well as in the Gulf of Mexico and coast of Florida every year since the 1980s, with the support of both Republicans and Democrats.
Why? To protect our shores from oil spills and eyesores, plain and simple.
But with the recent bump in gas prices, all of those years of work by thousands of people have been tossed to the wind by our presidential candidates and their parties. The attitude now is: “Damn right, we want offshore drilling.” And no one can seem to recall any good reasons not to clutter our shores with oil rigs and the threat of spills.
Even Barack Obama, who was initially against offshore drilling, had to backpedal to avoid political annihilation on an issue that seems like a no-brainer for voters who don’t have a clue about things like conservation.
And at the Republican Convention, a chant of “Drill! Drill! Drill!” filled the air, with few considering the consequences.
That’s why when Congress reconvenes this month, one of the first items on their agenda will be deep-sixing its commitment to protecting America‘s coastline from offshore oil rigs.
Hmmm... how about for starters, we place a few oil rigs just off West Palm Beach in Florida, the home of numerous millionaires and Rush Limbaugh? These wealthy conservatives will no doubt welcome the oil platforms with open arms.
Speaking of the new Compact, there’s even a push by some to revive the idea of drilling in the Great Lakes. Why divert our water when we can gum it up with an oil spill instead? Fortunately, no one seems to be taking this idea too seriously, although directional drilling under the lakes from the shore seems to be getting a fresh look.
So, we can all hope that the Great Lakes are safe for all time from water diversion schemes. They comprise 90 percent of the fresh surface water in the United States, yet less than one percent of their mass is renewed each year.
But will anyone be surprised if 20 years from now, our future presidential candidates demand the diversion of our waters to save the parched West from the effects of global warming? Will anyone be surprised if at a future political convention, the delegates are hammering the air and chanting: “Divert! Divert! Divert!”
Who will stand in the way?
Like with offshore drilling, the good reasons for protecting a valuable resource may someday be lost to serve a political agenda that no one has the courage to refute.
But victory is no time to fret about such things. Let’s raise a glass of that good Great Lakes drinking water and toast a fine agreement while it lasts.

 
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