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Home · Articles · News · Letters · Letters 3/16/09
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Letters 3/16/09

- March 16th, 2009
Screening pedophiles
Anne Stanton’s “How a Pedophile Slipped Through the Cracks“ (3/9/09) raises more questions than it answers. First, if the police, the courts and Child Protective Services all knew this pedophile “was trouble,” did they notify the public and especially organizations involved with children?
If so, how was Child Guidance overlooked? If not, are the police, courts and Protective Services negligent? If huge organizations like TCAPS and TBAISD with all their resources could not identify this individual as a potential problem, why is Child Guidance expected to identify that potential?
If a “standard background check” used by “many schools and non-profits” including inquiries to state and national registries, state police and the FBI isn’t fail-proof, then what is the standard?
Attorney Blake Ringsmuth contends filing a FOIA with the Michigan State Police would have provided “reams of information” of “criminal activity” on the pedophile, and alleged Child Guidance failed by not accessing that source, so is a FOIA the standard? If so, why file with just one state’s police? Why not every state’s? And if the FOIA discloses criminal activity, when can a potential employer use that to deny an applicant employment?
Mr. Ringsmuth stated “a pattern of accusations” even without any convictions has to be taken seriously. Has he or the courts defined what a pattern is? One accusation? Two, three, four? And if a potential employer does not hire such an applicant who is legally innocent, will Mr. Ringsmuth or another attorney be taking that employer to court for discrimination?
Clearly a problem screening potential employees exists, and in my opinion the courts and legislature should develop a standard process that would safely, legally, efficiently and comprehensively identify applicants inappropriate for working around children. Mr. Ringsmuth is intelligent, involved and has demonstrated personal concern for human rights; people like him are best suited to spearhead such an effort.

Jan Vlach • TC

Say no to coal
Our elected officials in Lansing need to vote no to any new coal-fueled power plants in Michigan.
Nations around the world and various states are already realizing the enormous health, financial, and environmental risks inherent in coal. We need to speak out to help to stop the construction of dirty coal-fueled power generating plants (along with their toxic emissions) in Michigan.
Coal is dirty to handle and worse to burn. And we know that the industry’s “clean coal” message is more public relation’s spin than anything real. It‘s about as real as “safe healthy cigarettes.”
The coal industry has invested millions in their public relations, advertising and marketing campaigns to promote the myth of “clean coal.” Front groups like American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity and a downstate P.R. firm are utilizing the momentum of the elections as a platform upon which to spin their message.
Any responsible Energy Bill must drastically curtail carbon dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, sulphur dioxide, mercury, selenium, arsenic, and particulate emissions in order to protect personal health and our Michigan environment. Statistically, we must reduce our dangerous emissions by 80 percent by 2050 if we have any hope of abating global climate change. Coal combustion tools and techniques at this point in their development area are unable to comply with environmental imperatives.
No coal power plant is worth disease, suffering, and global climate change—especially when there are safe, clean, and sensible energy alternatives in Michigan that will create desperately needed jobs.

Brenda Archambo • Cheboygan

Stupak & mortgages
In these difficult economic times, Representative Bart Stupak has decided to side with the banks against the struggling homeowners trying to avoid foreclosure.
The U.S. House of Representatives recently passed a bill allowing bankruptcy judges to renegotiate the terms of mortgages on primary residences.
This bills allows mortgages to become more affordable and will prevent many foreclosures. Remember that this type of relief is being given to many homeowners who did not take out subprime mortgages to begin with. They played by the rules and now find themselves with a mortgage bill too expensive to pay.
This type of relief is already given to the very affluent who own second vacation homes and yachts, but it is not available to the vast majority of Americans who own a single home as their primary residence.
But our supposedly Democratic Representative Bart Stupak voted against this legislation. Apparently its just fine with him for the very affluent to obtain such relief; it‘s okay to renegotiate the terms of second homes and yachts, but it‘s not okay to help out the average homeowner.

Brian Morgan • Gaylord

Investigate torture claims
Regarding a formal investigation into the human rights violations of “enemy combatants” by the United States government in the course of the “War on Terror.”
Let me start by saying that my wife and I have a son who has been working the ground as an Army Ranger and then the air as a Blackhawk Medivac Captain since we first went into the Middle East “looking” for bin Laden and subsequently ousting Saddam Hussein and throwing the entire region into chaos. While we worried about all the things that could go bad in his daily duties, the most worrisome thing of all was that he might be captured and subjected to any manner of unspeakable degradation and worse. He too worried about the same thing for those under his command.
Because of the U.S. treatment of “suspected” terrorist “colusionists,” this country had no moral leg to stand on in regard to how our own war prisoners may have been treated. Try taking your son or daughter and putting them in those photos of the degraded Iraqi soldiers in our prison camps. Or, if you can, picture them as “gone missing” for years, but really knowing that they were being held in some hell-hole with no end, no resolution, and no final justice in sight.
As to John McCain perhaps chairing such an investigation, despite the obvious feeblemindedness of the Republican Party’s choice for VP, he has been there and done that as a former prisoner himself. He should also know that any political capital that remains his could surely be recouped by an honest and earnest effort in such an inquiry. All partisanship aside, he still has a modicum of credibility, even in a liberal citizen’s eyes, at least in this arena.
An investigation such as has been proposed into human rights violations could go a long way toward salving old wounds, opening a few eyes and directing government policy down the road. It is a great time to proceed, and this process should in no way impede the other numerous and daunting issues facing our new president.
Finally, as for what to do with Cuba, so long as Guantanamo remains ours, turning it from a military base and prison into a medical research facility (as has been proposed), sounds like a great idea. It would be sort of like “pounding a tank into a tractor.”

W. L. Brown • Maple City
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