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 · Coming Together
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Coming Together

Robert Downes - February 2nd, 2009
Talk about bad timing.
When Rush Limbaugh states his wish that President Barack Obama’s policies fail, he might as well desire that millions of Americans be laid off. Of course rich talk-show hosts are unlikely to experience the anguish of unemployment, but it seems astonishing that anyone could hope for more suffering by his countrymen.
Is Limbaugh also hoping that Obama is a failure as Commander-in-Chief, leading to unnecessary deaths of our troops? If Rush really feels this way, he must be enjoying attempts to sabotage bi-partisan efforts by our lawmakers that might relieve the pain of Americans unemployed and not covered by health insurance.
No one, including Obama and Limbaugh, knows for sure what, if anything, the government can do to fix the economy. Yet, we only need to flash back a couple of generations to discover the short-term solution for helping Americans who are hurting financially.
During the 1930s, the Great Depression ravaged the United States and global economy far beyond what we are currently experiencing. By the peak of the Depression, 11,000 of the 25,000 banks in the United States had failed. 25 percent of Americans were unemployed compared to less than 10 percent unable to find work today. The average household income dropped by 40 percent between 1929 and 1932.
Still, the impact of such economic crises goes far beyond a stack of dire statistics. Many of us recall or have relatives who have strong memories of surviving the Great Depression era.
During that time, my dad’s family took in two children left homeless by the sudden death of a co-worker. My grandparents didn’t think twice about raising these young children and opening their home to others in need.
My mother is old enough to remember that her grandparents lost all of their life savings by bank failure during that period. Not long afterward her grandfather died, forcing his wife (and daughter) to move in with another family as a full-time housekeeper. A little later, my mother’s parents took in her recently divorced uncle who was recuperating from a leg being amputated. While he recovered, the six other family members slept in the home’s only other bedroom.
Bottom line - there was no government safety net for financially distressed families during the Great Depression. There were stimulus programs that helped put people back to work over a period of years, but in the interim most people pooled their resources to help each other survive until the good times returned.
Today, we can’t expect politicians to bail us out of our financial problems. Even the president stated that government is not the ultimate answer. He implored us in front of the largest gathering in Washington D.C. history that “we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin the work of remaking America.”
Immediately after September 11, 2001, virtually everyone stood behind our president, George W. Bush, in unity. The current economic crisis, too, is not a time for divisiveness or to wish failure on anyone.
The moment has come, again, to pull together as Americans. Sometimes we forget that life isn’t all about money and possessions - which come and go. I believe my mother when she tells me, “People are the important thing.”
 
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