Chance for real reform
If you are opposing health care reform, take a good look at your bedmates -- insurance and pharmaceutical companies and those that benefit directly from their lobbying dollars: members of Congress -- Republicans, and the Blue Dog Democrats.
This is our chance for real reform. This is what the majority of Americans voted for last November. Lets not let this process get hijacked by a bunch of radicals whose primary motivating factor is a desire to see our president fail.
Our health care system has the best resources in the world. We need to manage them better as a nation while providing care to all our citizens.
David P McClary, MD TC
Health care ranters
The 2009 health care reform debate has deteriorated into what appears to be culture wars where the politicians and corporate interests on the far right are manipulating those citizens most likely to become victims of our health care debacle into doing their dirty work for them.
The ranters at these town halls are drowning out the voices of the democratic process. They are puppets, apparently unaware that the health insurance puppeteers are spending millions every week on fake Internet campaigns masquerading as grassroots movements, spewing outright lies and whipping their foot soldiers into a frenzy of dangerous anger against Obamas so-called socialism. They are playing with fire and fanning the flames with racist and anti-government rhetoric reminiscent of Timothy McVeigh and the militias.
Many of the protestors sent to these town halls rely on their (socialist) Social Security and Medicare to survive, oblivious to the inherent conflict with their position on health care reform. Indeed the same people who fire them up with anti-socialist fear-mongering also preach that Obama wants to change or diminish their valued (socialist) benefits.
Many others in these crowds will learn the truth about our health care system the hard way when they lose their insurance after filing a claim for what the industry will call a pre-existing condition or because they switch or lose their jobs or need expensive treatment for a serious illness. And no doubt they will be angry at the government for not protecting them from the heartless insurance bureaucrats.
The truth needs to be told. The proposed health care reforms, unless the wealthy puppeteers get their way, will protect us from having our lives or the lives of our loved ones destroyed by an illness or injury that forces us to file bankruptcy or even die while waiting for a denied insurance claim to be appealed.
There is no proposal to pull the plug on old people, force abortions on women, or any of the other garbage being peddled by the health care lobby.
The desperation of these people is pathetic. But their tactics are truly frightening.
Cindi DeSpelder TC
In an August 3 letter to the editor, Marsha Minervini expressed the opinion that enforcing parking fines during the Film Festival runs counter to the friendly, welcoming atmosphere that benefits our visitors and local businesses alike. In an August 10 response, Mike McGee wrote a woefully uninformed, unwarranted attack against this gracious lady.
His points about the triviality of a $5 parking fine are not unreasonable, and Im glad to read them as part of a civil discussion of a community question. The snide sarcasm directed at Marsha, however, is offensive, ill-mannered, and so misguided as to be laughable. Chiding anyone named Minervini for missing our beautiful and historical buildings is irony at its finest! The most dramatic architecture in Traverse City is the Grand Traverse Commons -- a restoration of the Traverse City State Hospital and an urban near-miracle brought about, against significant odds, by developer Ray Minervini (Marshas husband) and their company, The Minervini Group. As a realtor, Marsha brings residents to those stunning and yet -- by the Minervinis socially conscientious design -- affordable condominiums at the Commons.
She should learn to make some sacrifices for the better good, as Mr. McGee wrote? Aside from the sacrifices of hours (and hours and hours) of work, personal stress, and financial risk involved in creating the Commons, Marsha and her husband donate hard-earned dollars to our residents and visitors as sponsors of the TC Film Festival. Marsha has twice been awarded her professional associations Humanitarian/Community Service Award. At some risk to her own health, she participates in a long-term breast cancer prevention and research trial.
As Mr. McGee wrote, Consume less is a common and important theme. Another? Be nice -- or at least a little less nasty.
Bonnie Deigh TC
The subject of parking tickets received while attending the Film Festival seems to be the topic du jour. Let me put in my two cents before next week when the nit-pickers will turn to another subject.
There is a reason why meters are only two hours. I have been living and doing business in Traverse City for 68 years and I appreciate not having to park in the garage just for my five-minute stops to call on my customers downtown. Most of the year as we all know, it is not difficult to find street parking downtown. During our wonderful Film Festival, it is quite challenging.
I have also had the pleasure of traveling to many other locations around the globe and although I cannot prove it, I have a theory that parking citations are not graciously dismissed in other cities to accommodate daytime moviegoers who are inconvenienced by meters that dont jive with their itinerary.
I hold a dreaded opposing view to public opinion in that I would like to see the fine for parking meter violations increase. Most people think its charming that our city charges so little. I on the other hand would rather not have people using the few spaces available as their downtown driveway. Perhaps increasing the fine would serve as a deterrent. I imagine the city would benefit from the added revenue.
So for those downstate developers turned into local heroes, tourists and locals alike who have the luxury of attending afternoon movies followed by a day of leisure, please make arrangements for long-term parking or pay the minuscule fine so the rest of us can go about our workday. Film Festival or not.
Carl Dalzelle TC
Smell the jet fuel...
Ah, Northern Michigan and the sweet smell of jet fuel in the air, the roar of jet engines from dawn until midnight, the lovely sight of commercial and private jets turning our blue skies a strange color of milky blue gray. I was dismayed and astonished by the editors purporting the wonderful benefits of increased air traffic into TC in the article, “Our Magic Bubble,“ (July 13, 2009).
Wait a minute, isnt TC supposed to be a progressive municipality, a leader in the green movement, an environmentally friendly city? News flash, its not sustainable or green to fly! (Especially a private plane!) In fact its horribly polluting on a whole nother level! (For starts, check out this academic but straightforward article: “Greenhouse Gas Pollution in the Stratosphere Due to Increasing Airplane Traffic, Effects on the Environment“ by Katta G. Murty)
Even though there is a general lack of media coverage about the particularly polluting effects of air travel and a corresponding lack of awareness about its insidiousness, the facts are there. Honestly, there is no lack of information or scientific data, only a lack of desire to give up our communal denial about it. If we are sincere about wanting to save our home, the planet, we have to stop pretending that air travel is harmless. Far from it. Check out the facts; shucks, not as much fun as Orbitz or Expedia surfing/fantasizing maybe, but so excitingly in touch with reality!
Gail Semer TC
(Thanks Gail. You‘ll be happy to learn that those flight figures were apparently bogus. An amateur flight watcher called to note that if there were really 4,000-plus private jets landing at Cherry Capital Airport each month, it would average 133 jets per day with 5.5 planes landing every hour. “Not even close,“ he says. A ‘duh‘ moment for me... -- ed.)
Film Fest elitists
Am I the only one that noticed the two lines that formed during the film festival? One for the Haves and one for the Have Nots is how I view them. After inquiring about them I was told if you have thousands of dollars to spend on a sponsorship you got to stand in the haves line.
I mentioned that I have spent thousands of hours volunteering during the last five years and was wondering what that was worth, because I dont have the money to sponsor things, but I do have time. Im still waiting for an answer on that one.
To me, my time to the film festival was priceless because I believe it was good for the community and good for my soul, but I will be rethinking that next year and in the years to come. In my heart I felt the time I have spent volunteering for the film festival was worthless when they created lines for the haves and the have nots, Michael Moore does a movie on capitalism and it‘s being practiced at its finest at the venues during the Film Festival. Maybe the “Just Great Movies“ slogan should be changed to “Just Great Money.“
Marc Ryan via email
The value of college
In response to Kelsey Lauers article regarding A College Degree: Is It Worth It? I would emphatically say Absolutely!
I must ask, did you go to a four-year college Kelsey, and did you graduate? By the tone and writing of your article, my educated guess is no. Please set aside the cost for the next two minutes and think of these other things a college or university offers:
The chance for so many people to finally leave the protective nest of their parents and live on their own. The challenges of living in a dorm with several hundred others; sharing a room with a complete stranger; and learning to share space and energy with that person. Sharing a shower room, toilets, meals, and laundry facilities with these new people.
Think of the amazing opportunity for maturity in such areas as personal cleanliness, punctuality, work ethic, community service, learning to allow people into your life that believe differently than you, and of course exploring the many areas of new studies. How about the challenges of finding part-time work in your new town, or the excitement of internships, and the focus and dedication it will take internally to overcome shyness, joining sports clubs you may not excel at, getting an A in class for yourself, not for your parents or to impress your girlfriend, or not having a curfew for the rest of your life?
One must also overcome their own ignorance (even though at 18 every kid knows everything there is to know) in so many areas it boggles the mind. Not even mentioned was the chance to study abroad and experience a new culture. Completely ignored in the article was any mention of scholarships offered by Rotary Club, Pell Grants, deferred payment government loans, academic scholarships, among many, many other ways to pay for a college education.
If you only think of the bottom line of cost/benefit, you will only come out of school completely disillusioned with how reality moves and grooves. Get with the program people, and apply to as many colleges as you can. Buff up on your writing skills and work to get accepted to each one so that you can start your new life after high school with at least three or more choices of where to live, and open your mind to the world!
Chris Branco Lake Ann
(For the record, intern Kelsey Lauer is enrolled for her third year at Albion College after a summer of outstanding contributions to the Express. -- ed.)
Our med marijuana story
Thank you very, very much for addressing the issue of medicinal cannabis in your magazine. I read the informative, yet unbiased article written by Anne Stanton.
I must applaud the paper for understanding the importance of making this issue front-page news. It really is time for Americans to stand up for their freedom, and well-being. Thank you for being the head of, and giving the okay on such a supportive story.
Lila Frazer via email