Letters

Letters 05-23-2016

Examine The Priorities Are you disgusted about closing schools, crumbling roads and bridges, and cuts everywhere? Investigate funding priorities of legislators. In 1985 at the request of President Reagan, Grover Norquist founded Americans for Tax Reform (ATR). For 30 years Norquist asked every federal and state candidate and incumbent to sign the pledge to vote against any increase in taxes. The cost of living has risen significantly since 1985; think houses, cars, health care, college, etc...

Make TC A Community For Children Let’s be that town that invests in children actively getting themselves to school in all of our neighborhoods. Let’s be that town that supports active, healthy, ready-to-learn children in all of our neighborhoods...

Where Are Real Christian Politicians? As a practicing Christian, I was very disappointed with the Rev. Dr. William C. Myers statements concerning the current presidential primaries (May 8). Instead of using the opportunity to share the message of Christ, he focused on Old Testament prophecies. Christ gave us a new commandment: to love one another...

Not A Great Plant Pick As outreach specialist for the Northwest Michigan Invasive Species Network and a citizen concerned about the health of our region’s natural areas, I was disappointed by the recent “Listen to the Local Experts” feature. When asked for their “best native plant pick,” three of the four garden centers referenced non-native plants including myrtle, which is incredibly invasive...

Truth About Plants Your feature, “listen to the local experts” contains an error that is not helpful for the birds and butterflies that try to live in northwest Michigan. Myrtle is not a native plant. The plant is also known as vinca and periwinkle...

Ask the Real Plant Experts This letter is written to express my serious concern about a recent “Listen To Your Local Experts” article where local nurseries suggested their favorite native plant. Three of the four suggested non-native plants and one suggested is an invasive and cause of serious damage to Michigan native plants in the woods. The article is both sad and alarming...

My Plant Picks In last week’s featured article “Listen to the Local Experts,” I was shocked at the responses from the local “experts” to the question about best native plant pick. Of the four “experts” two were completely wrong and one acknowledged that their pick, gingko tree, was from East Asia, only one responded with an excellent native plant, the serviceberry tree...

NOTE: Thank you to TC-based Eagle Eye Drone Service for the cover photo, taken high over Sixth Street in Traverse City.

Home · Articles · News · Random Thoughts · U.P. Supermax desearves...
. . . .

U.P. Supermax desearves a look

Robert Downes - June 22nd, 2009
U.P. Supermax Deserves a Look
Robert Downes 6/22/09

Recently, U.S. Rep. Bart Stupak came up with an idea for pumping an extra
$1 billion or so into the economy of the Upper Peninsula. He was turned
down flat.
The idea? Turn one of the U.P.‘s prisons into a supermax facility and
transfer the detainees of Guantanamo there in exchange for a fat check
from Uncle Sam each year.
Stupak wrote a letter to President Obama in February, suggesting that the
30-acre Camp Manistique be converted to a high-security prison to house
the Gitmo prisoners.
The 290-bed prison in Schoolcraft County was closed in 2007. It‘s one of
four prisons in the U.P. that have been closed while Michigan tries to
pare down its $2 billion Corrections budget. Hundreds of jobs have been
lost in the U.P. due to the closings.
Former Republican Gov. John Engler has endorsed Stupak‘s plan as a way to
give Michigan‘s budget a boost and bring jobs to the Upper Peninsula.
Stupak was hoping for support from his fellow Michigan lawmakers. He got
little or none. Instead, 2010 gubernatorial candidate U.S. Rep. Pete
Hoekstra took pains to fan the fires of paranoia.
As noted in the Associated Press, Hoekstra called Stupak‘s proposal “a
really bad idea... balancing Michigan’s budget on the premise of bringing
240 of the most dangerous people in the world to the Upper Peninsula.”
Other state Republicans piled on, including Attorney General Mike Cox and
Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land.
Message to U.P. residents: get used to eating stone soup, because Lansing
feels you‘re too incompetent to deal with “the most dangerous people in
the world“ -- even those under the most extreme security imaginable.
Nor did Stupak receive much support from his own party. Governor
Jennifer Granholm, who could perhaps cinch the deal with a phone call to
President Obama, has declined to pursue the matter.
Unfortunately, the idea has given rise to fearmongering from those who
watch too many Die Hard movies or episodes of 24. Scare stories and
Chicken Little letters in the U.P. press imagine escaped terrorists
tip-toeing through the pine trees. Most run along the line that the
crafty, resourceful jihadists will easily thwart the safeguards of a
supermax prison and turn the U.P. into a bloodbath. As one blogger
claims, gun-toting Arabs could drive up from their stronghold in Dearborn
and bust those baddies out of the slammer, kind of like a Nicholas Cage
thriller.
The truth is, no one has ever escaped from a U.S. “super-maximum“ prison,
which is no picnic by any standard. Some human rights advocates claim
that a life of solitary confinement in a supermax is so severe it
qualifies as “cruel and unusual punishment.“
Consider the fate of Al-Qaeda terrorist Zacarias Moussaoui, the “20th 9/11
hijacker,“ who was sentenced to life in the federal ADX Supermax prison in
Florence, Colorado -- also known as the “Alcatraz of the Rockies.“ As a
supermax prisoner, Moussaoui is monitored 24 hours a day by closed-circuit
TV. He is allowed out of his cell for only one hour per day to exercise,
and receives his meal through a port called a “chuck hole.“ The massive
reinforced steel doors of his prison are electronically controlled,
allowing no way for either a hostage or a prisoner to open them. He lives
in a windowless concrete cell, the walls and plumbing of which are
soundproofed to prevent any communication with other inmates.
It‘s unlikely that the residents of Colorado will find Moussaoui creeping
around their neighborhoods anytime soon, and such would also be the case
in the U.P.
But suppose some Arabicspeaking detainee did manage to break out, running
around the woods in an blaze-orange jumpsuit with all of those gun-toting
Yoopers in hot pursuit? We‘d have to send in the Michigan National Guard
to rescue the guy.
In a June 11 editorial endorsing Stupak‘s idea, the Detroit News made
the following point: “Could the Gitmo detainees be any more of a threat
than the Level 5 prisoners -- the worst of the worst, according to the
state Corrections Department rating system -- behind bars at Marquette
Branch Prison in the U.P.?“
It‘s possible that the idea of a supermax for Manistique isn‘t dead yet.
U.S. Senator Carl Levin has said it would be worth considering if local
officials in the U.P. give it their blessing. The plan also has the
support of the conservative Detroit News, along with former Gov. Engler.
So, who knows? With unemployment in Schoolcraft County exceeding 16
percent and no jobs in sight, it could be that the gang from Gitmo could
still receive a hearty Yooper welcome for the jobs and federal money
they‘ll bring north.
Either that, or those prisoners will head for another supermax prison --
say in Illinois or Colorado -- and our leaders in Lansing will have blown
another opportunity.

 
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