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Outdated Thinking This letter is in response to Colleen Smith.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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Michigan still looking for a leader

Robert Downes - June 15th, 2009
Michigan still looking for a leader
Robert Downes 6/15/09
Each spring in Michigan, you know that the season has finally turned when you see the first crocus flowers starting to bloom, often while there is still snow on the ground.
And so it is with state politics, where some of the hardier specimens of Michigan’s long, dark night are starting to blossom with the hope of being elected governor in 2010, after eight years of Gov. Jennifer Granholm.
Love her or hate her, you‘ve got to admit Gov. Granholm was dealt a dead man‘s hand when she became Michigan‘s first female governor in 2003. She inherited a $1.7 billion budget deficit from Gov. John Engler, and it’s been downhill ever since with the meltdown of the auto industry, the loss of 140,000 manufacturing jobs, and budget deficits of $1-$2 billion each year. One can only imagine that Gov. Granholm will be happy to say “Take this job and shove it” on her way out the door.
But who will replace her? And who is up to the task? Michigan now occupies ‘last place’ in the nation for job opportunities. Michigan is also the only state in the nation to have experienced negative economic growth for 10 years in a row.
So far, we have a collection of “Great Unknowns” at the gate -- and untested, to boot.
Some might even say uninspiring.
Take Lt. Governor John Cherry, Jr., who is the presumptive Democratic frontrunner. Recently, an Express reader (and a Democrat) wrote in to note that Cherry has been pretty much missing in action these past eight years. Most of us know a lot more about Jon & Kate Plus Eight than we do John Cherry, and he’s had eight years to get his game on.
“I’d really like to see a story on what Lt. Governor Cherry has been doing for the past decade,” he wrote. “He’s had a marvelous pulpit from which to improve the lives of his constituents (and his name and face recognition) and as far as I can tell, he has done nothing.”
It makes you wonder, what does a lieutenant governor do?
Not much. If you go to Lt. Gov. Cherry’s web page at www.michigan.gov, you’ll find that he’s taken on a few ho-hum duties, such as investigating Chronic Wasting Disease in deer and elk. He is also a member of commissions on higher education, the Great Lakes and such, so perhaps he should be lauded for sitting through what must be some very dull meetings.
And recently, Cherry announced that a workgroup under his leadership “identified seven core functions of government,” such as public safety and education, which may be helpful to know in Lansing.
Cherry and his workgroup could have asked a junior high school civics class to come up with this report, saving the taxpayers the cost of bothering to write it down, but that’s what Lt. Govs do to earn their $123,900 salary per year, plus $20,000 expense account. Perhaps he could run on the platform of eliminating the lieutenant governor’s position, if elected.
On the other side of the aisle, Congressman Pete Hoekstra, R-Holland is the lead candidate for the Republicans.
Sad to say, most of the news releases Rep. Hoekstra issues involve a lot of carping and complaining about the Obama administration, with few constructive ideas for Michigan.
Even his complaints seem simplistic.
“Washington should not be in the business of running companies,” Hoekstra says in a release regarding the GM bankruptcy, adding that if we don’t watch out, GM and Chrysler could end up turning into another Amtrak, heavily-subsidized by the taxpayers.
Maybe. But what’s the alternative to trying a last-ditch effort to save America’s auto industry? Let the remaining 55,000 GM workers in Michigan go bust, along with all of the car parts suppliers? Let the empty factories stand there and rot? Under the latest plan, the American people will have a temporary, 60 percent ownership of GM until the company can get back on its feet.
Hoekstra also complains that the Obama administration is forcing automakers to improve the fuel efficiency of their cars: up to 39 mpg for cars and 30 mpg for light trucks by 2016. Like that‘s a bad thing.
In Hoekstra’s view, forcing carmakers to improve mileage could result in more job losses hemorrhaging in Michigan. Perhaps he hasn’t noticed all of the people buying those high-mileage JAPANESE cars.
At times, Hoekstra even gets simple-minded, as in a June 2 news release when he claims that moving prisoners from Guantanamo to Supermax prisons in the U.S. would be bringing terrorists into the “neighborhoods” of America.
The last I heard, few of us live in Supermax prisons where (barring an asteroid strike) there’s not a ghost of a chance of escaping from the “neighborhood.“ Try it and see.
And so it goes. At a recent debate between gubernatorial candidates on Mackinac Island, Crain’s Business News reported that the exchange of ideas was “long on civility and sometimes short on specifics.”
What Michigan needs is our own Barack Obama. A go-getter with superior intelligence, bold ideas, charisma and a steady hand working both sides of the political aisle. Someone who takes action with the verve of a jackhammer each day, instead of the partisan complaining that is the bone and gristle of politics in Lansing. Someone who has ideas beyond just tax cuts as an all-purpose cure-all (the Republicans) or pandering to state unions (the Democrats). Someone who can save us from ourselves.
President Obama, do you have any cousins out there you could send our way? Because those flowers we thought were crocuses are starting to look like skunk cabbages.

Cash for Clunkers
Calling all clunker owners: You‘ve got a year to trade in your old wreck of a car or truck to receive up to $4,500 on the purchase of a new fuel-efficient vehicle.
Last week, the U.S. House of Representatives passed “Cash for Clunkers“ legislation, hoping to spur U.S. auto sales and reduce air pollution to boot. A similar idea worked well in Germany, where auto sales shot up 40 percent.
For the next year, Uncle Sam will make $4 billion available for the trade-in program, hoping to generate sales of one million vehicles while saving 250,000 gallons of gas.
If you have a car or light truck that gets less than 18 mpg, or a large pickup that gets less than 15 mpg, you can receive a voucher worth $4,500 towards a new vehicle that gets at least four miles per gallon better mileage.
One problem: because of U.S. entanglements with world trade agreements, apparently, you can use that voucher to purchase a foreign vehicle, which means that taxpayers will be subsidizing some purchases from Toyota, Honda or Subaru. Even the new Ford Fusion is 100 percent made-in-Mexico, and other U.S. cars have drivetrains made in Japan, etc.
Here, Rep. Pete Hoekstra comes through with a better idea: he has proposed legislation that would provide a nonrefundable $3,000 tax credit for the purchase of any American-made vehicle in 2009. That would boost our auto industry and keep our dollars at home.

Check out Bob Downes unplugged with Jim Moore and Acoustic Dynamite at Left Foot Charley‘s patio at Building 50 in TC, Friday, June 19 from 6-8 p.m.

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