Karen Martin seems to think that the
Constitution is just kidding when it says that Congress shall make no law
abridging freedom of speech (re: letters 2/8/10). She is appalled that the
U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that corporations be afforded freedom of
political speech. Oddly, she voices no concerns over labor unions having
the same freedom.
Both corporations and labor unions are typically wealthy and powerful
organizations comprised of thousands of individual Americans. Both
corporations and labor unions have political lobbyists who promote their
agendas. To restrict the political freedom of speech of one of these
groups and not the other cannot be lawfully justified.
Charles Finley Beulah
National debt blues
The reason for our national debt is not due to careless spending by
Congress but rather from the following: waging two wars without increasing
taxes to pay for them, spiraling health care costs which the government
pays 50% of the health care cost, and the economic collapse in 2008. While
I am not endorsing our congressional spending, it is not the main reason
for our deficits. We certainly could reduce/eliminate government waste and
political pork, but unfortunately would not do much to reduce our national
debt. In the short run, the economy is too weak to curtail our debt, but
in the long run changes need to be made.
The cost of two wars has added significantly to our national debt. At the
same time, our government lowered taxes which further increased our debt.
Unfortunately, raising taxes now would not be very prudent, since it could
lead back to another recession.
Besides the significant debt accumulated by two wars, spiraling health
care costs are significantly adding to our national debt. Our health care
costs are twice as high as other developed countries (France, Germany, and
Japan) which have similar health care systems. Heath care reform is
necessary to reduce our national debt. The aforementioned countries
control their health care costs by only allowing not-for-profit health
insurance companies, streamlining administrative costs, and setting
national price rates.
The last factor contributing to our national debt was our collapsed
economy. In order to avoid another depression, the government poured
significant amounts of borrowed money into our economy. The lead
indicators indicate that the recession is over, but the lag indicator of
unemployment is still being felt. As the economy improves the percentage
of our national debt to national economy will decrease.
Currently, Congress is looking at ways to stimulate employment.
Unfortunately, such stimulus money will add to our national debt. Perhaps
we could minimize our borrowing by taxing the speculators and others who
contribute to the economic crisis.
Ronald Marshall Petoskey
The ‘X‘ factor
With regard to the article on Dan Oberski, who runs a school for expelled
kids: Please tell me he is not telling these vulnerable kids Malcolm X
was a positive role model? Martin Luther King, Jr. yes, but from what I
know about Malcolm X he was a bitter, vengeful man.
Claire Scerbak TC
Vandalism usually happens to things like cars, mailboxes, etc. But it can
also happen to something less tangible, like truth. Its amazing how easy
it is to start a rumor just by circulating misinformation.
Recently articles have been published that state either outright or by
implication that HB 5319, sponsored by Representative Dan Scripps, would
tax our private well-water and is therefore an example of government
take-over of our private property. In fact, the bill does just the
opposite. It empowers us as citizens to maintain the control we have
always enjoyed over our water, whether in lakes and streams or
underground. Water is a public trust and is held in trust by us all as a
common good. Therefore, it should not be privatized and sold for private
profit for the benefit of the few, leaving the rest of us high and dry,
as our watershed is depleted of this precious resource.
Lets stop vandalizing the truth. HB 5319 is not about intrusive
government taking away private property rights. Rather, it provides
protection for the water with which we here in Michigan are so richly
blessed. If you desire further clarification, call Representative Scripps.
You will find him to be a very approachable, dedicated public servant.
Bill Hansen Williamsburg
I am writing in response to the February 1 article about Christine
Blackledge and the two letters to the editor in the February 8 issue.
I have had a concealed carry permit for about 10 years now. I do not carry
everywhere I go but I have carried a weapon quite a bit. Every time I
holster a firearm before leaving the house I consider my actions and weigh
my options. Where am I going, what might I face and what my
responsibilities will be. I NEVER take these responsibilities lightly.
I always (whether armed or not) evaluate my surroundings and those people
in it. I have been taught to do this in order to avoid any dangerous
situation and it has worked. I am not some sort of gun nut just waiting
for the chance to wave a gun around and play hero, or have some sort of
wild-west style shootout in the streets. My fondest hope is to never
have to point a gun at another human being again.
Thats right, I have pointed a weapon at a fellow human and I didnt like
the feeling one bit. Before I had a concealed weapon permit, I did own
two rifles and one handgun that I took out to target shoot with. Then one
evening a little more than 10 years ago, someone entered my home, someone
that I didnt invite in but wanted to have it out with me. In that
moment the house phone seemed 100 yards away and the police on the other
end of it 100 miles away. I pulled my handgun from its case and pointed it
at this person. In this instance, I am a true believer of the saying a
kind word and a gun will get you further that just a kind word.
That pointed gun stopped the person from advancing but didnt drive them
out of the house. I spent the next 90 minutes talking to the person to
defuse the situation; no violence or threats of retribution on my part,
but without that gun there to make the person stop and consider their
actions, who knows what would have happened. After that 90 minutes the
person left my home and has never bothered me or my family again. Even
though there was never a problem with that person again, I said NEVER
Shortly after that I paid for and took the required courses in handgun
safety and personal protection and applied for a concealed carry permit.
The courses I took didnt just train me on how to properly use and care
for a weapon but to also assess my situation and proactively take steps to
avoid confrontation and danger for both me and my family.
In closing, Ms. Blackledge please pay more attention to your situation,
your responsibilities and learn from your mistakes. This is an awesome
responsibility that you have; prove to yourself and all of us that you
deserve it. And to (letter writer) Chris Campbell, not all problems are
caused by guns, not all guns are out of the lawless west. And lastly,
guns do protect when they are in the hands of someone who knows and
accepts the responsibilities when they slide that gun into that holster.
Whether that person wears the badge of the State or local police or just
carry a concealed permit, the life they save in the future may be your
David Lakos Manistee
Peter Wandoff deserves credit for shooting the photos in a recent story on
Shoe and Snacks for Backpacks.