Letters

Letters 08-31-2015

Inalienable Rights This is a response to the “No More State Theatre” in your August 24th edition. I think I will not be the only response to this pathetic and narrow-minded letter that seems rather out of place in the northern Michigan that I know. To think we will not be getting your 25 cents for the movie you refused to see, but more importantly we will be without your “two cents” on your thoughts of a marriage at the State Theatre...

Enthusiastically Democratic Since I was one of the approximately 160 people present at when Senator Debbie Stabenow spoke on August 14 in Charlevoix, I was surprised to read in a letter to Northern Express that there was a “rather muted” response to Debbie’s announcement that she has endorsed Hillary Clinton for president...

Not Hurting I surely think the State Theatre will survive not having the homophobic presence of Colleen Smith and her family attend any matinees. I think “Ms.” Smith might also want to make sure that any medical personnel, bank staff, grocery store staff, waiters and/or waitress, etc. are not homosexual before accepting any service or product from them...

Stay Home I did not know whether to laugh or cry when I read the letter of the extremely homophobic, “disgusted” writer. She now refuses to patronize the State Theatre because she evidently feels that its confines have been poisoned by the gay wedding ceremony held there...

Keep Away In response to Colleen Smith of Cadillac who refused to bring her family to the State Theatre because there was a gay wedding there: Keep your 25 cents and your family out of Traverse City...

Celebrating Moore And A Theatre I was 10 years old when I had the privilege to see my first film at the State Theatre. I will never forget that experience. The screen was almost the size of my bedroom I shared with my older sister. The bursting sounds made me believe I was part of the film...

Outdated Thinking This letter is in response to Colleen Smith. She made public her choice to no longer go to the State Theater due to the fact that “some homosexuals” got married there. I’m not outraged by her choice; we don’t need any more hateful, self-righteous bigots in our town. She can keep her 25 cents...

Mackinac Pipeline Must Be Shut Down Crude oil flowing through Enbridge’s 60-yearold pipeline beneath the Mackinac Straits and the largest collection of fresh water on the planet should be a serious concern for every resident of the USA and Canada. Enbridge has a very “accident” prone track record...

Your Rights To Colleen, who wrote about the State Theatre: Let me thank you for sharing your views; I think most of us are well in support of the first amendment, because as you know- it gives everyone the opportunity to express their opinions. I also wanted to thank Northern Express for not shutting down these types of letters right at the source but rather giving the community a platform for education...

No Role Model [Fascinating Person from last week’s issue] Jada quoted: “I want to be a role model for girls who are interested in being in the outdoors.” I enjoy being in the outdoors, but I don’t want to kill animals for trophy...

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. . . .

Christmas grab bag

Robert Downes - December 21st, 2009
Christmas Grab Bag
Something to Carp About
Do you lie awake nights, worrying about the Asian carp menace and its
possible migration into the Great Lakes?
Relax, we’re probably screwed on this one any way you look at it.
These carp reach up to four feet in length and weigh up to 100 lbs.
They reproduce like rabbits and eat like elephants, gobbling up enough
food to equal 40% of their own body weight each day.
Two species of the Asian carp escaped when floodwaters engulfed a
couple of fish farms down South back in the ’90s. They’ve been making
their way up the Mississippi ever since, and threaten to enter Lake
Michigan by way of the Illinois River and Chicago Ship and Sanitary
Canal.
According to the Great Lakes Fishery Commission, the carp have been
spotted approximately 40 miles from Lake Michigan. Once here, it’s
feared the ravenous fish will kill off other species and wreck the
Great Lakes’ $7 billion fishing industry.
An electrical barrier was established in the Chicago
canal in 2006. But, according to an article in the Detroit Free
Press, pressure from tugboat and barge operators kept it from being
turned on until last April. The fear was that sparks from the barrier
would electrocute boat operators, or possibly even set cargos on fire.
Eventually, the electrical barrier was turned on at one-quarter of
its power.
Currently, Senator Carl Levin is drumming up support in Congress to
have the canal sealed off by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. But
this has aroused the wrath of barge operators, who transport 24
million tons of coal, oil and other items through the canal each year.
In any case, one might note that closing off the canal may not be a
deterrent for the Asian carp, for the same reason that you can find
other species of fish thriving in lakes that are hundreds of miles
from other water sources: birds.
This is one of those “Are you smarter than a fifth grader?”
observations, but one can only imagine that any elementary school
science class is aware that fish commonly travel long distances
overland through the help of birds.
How? “Tiny fish eggs attach to the legs of birds that are visiting
populated ponds, then come off into the new ponds and hatch there,”
according to a website called askabiologist.org.
In our case, seagulls picking at the corpses of dead carp will most
likely bring some fish eggs up to Lake Michigan.
Flooding rivers also allow fish to travel long distances. Hmmm,
weren’t there some major floods in Illinois last year?
You can close the Chicago Ship and Sanitary Canal, or electrify it to
its maximum voltage, but either way -- as was the Chaos Theory lesson
in Jurassic Park -- this monster fish would seem likely to become a
guest of the Great Lakes in the very near future, no matter what we do
to stop it.

A Whiff of Britney
Funny what you learn each year while Christmas shopping. On a whim, I
wandered through a department store’s cosmetics aisle, looking for
some perfume for my wife, and found that just about every fragrance
was modeled around some movie star or pop singer. We’re talking about
$30-$40 perfumes from Britney Spears, Faith Hill, Paris Hilton, Liz
Taylor, J Lo and Halle Berry. And men’s colognes too, if you wish to
wear the scent of David Beckham, Usher, Sean Combs, Prince or Antonio
Banderas.
Each to their own, but the idea of splashing some Derek Jeter on
myself each day (with “the aroma of chilled grapefruit, black pepper
and oak moss”) seems kind of skanky...

Reconsidering Term Limits
Michigan voters established term limits for state legislators back in
1992 in an attempt to keep lawmakers from getting too cozy with
special interests and lobbyists.
Currently, however, there’s some retro thinking on this matter that
argues that term limits have been destructive to Michigan because we
keep putting inexperienced people in office. The new lawmakers mean
well, but they‘re poorly equipped to handle the task of forging our
state’s $40 billion budget each year.
State Rep. Timothy Bledsoe (D-Grosse Pointe) notes that there are
currently 44 freshmen out of 110 members in the State House of
Representatives and that 29 of 38 Senate seats will turn over next
year.
This high level of inexperience, lack of trust, partisanship, and lack
of long-term relationships has been widely blamed for this fall’s
budget fiasco in Lansing, where newcomers were more inclined to play
games with the governor and each other than create a balanced budget.
One newspaper editorial notes that the budget disaster made Michigan
“a laughingstock around the country.”
“More than ever, we need capable and experienced leadership in
Lansing, yet due to term limits we continually replace one group of
leaders with another,” Rep. Bledsoe wrote in a recent editorial.
He adds that making collective decisions (like hammering out the
State budget) requires the “building of coalitions and cooperative
relationships unlike anything in the hierarchal corporate world.
“Mutual trust is the cornerstone of these relationships,“ Bledsoe
adds. “Yet trust evolves only from prior shared experiences and
anticipated future dealings. In other words, I trust you because I
have dealt with you before and you have shown yourself to be
trustworthy, and because I anticipate future interactions with you
where our mutual needs will be at stake. To have a relationship of
trust, two individuals must have a past and they must anticipate a
future.”
Makes sense -- if you trust your legislators not to be corrupted by
special interests by remaining in office too long, that is. Been
there, done that...
Bledsoe will present voters with an initiative to change term limits
next year, allowing legislators to serve up to 14 years. He points
out that two of Michigan’s last three budgets have suffered from an
absence of experienced leadership in Lansing, making a strong argument
to get surer hands on the reins of government.

Robert Downes is the author of Planet Backpacker, a global travel
adventure, available at area bookstores, amazon.com, or
www.planetbackpacker.net .

 
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