In Michigan the winners have just been elected to run a state with a
$1.5 billion dollar shortfall in its budget, massive
un-and-underemployment, and the largest city dying. Im glad I didnt
run for anything.
But really, what are you winners going to do? Cut taxes. Yet Michigan
is 25 or 26 among the 50 states in tax burden on its citizens, so that
doesnt sound like an oppressive rate.
They might make us a right-to-work state -- that works so well for
North Dakota. They have lots of highly paid jobs for the
undereducated. Ha! Some might consider Mississippi or South Carolina,
states that mortgaged most of their future tax dollars to attract a
few thousand jobs. Im not sure anyone in Michigan would want that.
Also, because of our hard winters Michigan‘s infrastructure needs more
In Northern Michigan we have two major industries, agriculture and
tourism. This is as true today as it was 100 years ago and both need
good infrastructure and a clean environment. So we must find a way to
bring in more tourists without further damage to our environment. We
cant pave the wetlands and build more four-lane roads through forests
just to allow a few more people easy access to the north. There must
be a balance between individual property rights, like sales of our
water to be bottled and shipped to Phoenix and Dallas, with our local
need for clean water.
I hope the one environmentally-sound new jobs growth engine is not
killed before it gets a chance to mature: the film industry tax
credits. This could provide healthier growth for the entire state, but
it needs time to bring in not only film crews, editors, stage
builders, electricians, etc, that every production must have behind
On the programs we do fund maybe we should look at them and see what
we are over spending on, like prisons. Michigan spends more money than
any other Great Lakes state. Is that because we have more crooked
residents or maybe because we have more strict laws that jail people
longer. Which is it? Along the same lines how much does the War on
Drugs cost us, and what is the return?
Michigan will never again be a state that has thousands of highly-paid
jobs for unskilled people. Those jobs always go where the workers are
paid the least and there are no environmental regulations. We can
develop jobs for skilled people, but that development will cost money
and take time. Have we elected the people who understand this?
Don Seman Bellaire
No dancing for the Dead
I attended the Dark Star Orchestra performance at the TC Opera House,
excited and ready to have a great time.
I bought my ticket an hour before the show and sat at Right Brain
Brewery with some friends. Examining my ticket I saw the words No
Dancing. This must be a joke, I thought, nearly falling off my stool.
How twisted would that be. It would be like a bar allowing you to
enter but not to drink any beer. Incongruous and ridiculous.
At the show, we were ushered to our assigned seats (what happened to
festival seating?) and I sat through five awesome songs, tapping my
feet and slapping my knees along with the 200 others there, feeling
the good vibes from some great musicians.
But an invisible force field was holding me down. Why? On the sixth
song or so I couldnt help myself, I knew that if I didnt dance I
would have to kill myself. So, I got up and started dancing.
Slowly, as I looked around, about 50 others joined me, and how good it
felt, how natural. The bouncers, big burly guys, who had been standing
arms akimbo with ridiculously menacing looks on their faces, came over
and tried to get people to sit down. It took a bearded and dark-haired
character out of Hogwart‘s to intimidate mostly everybody into sitting
down. I was in the second row when he approached me and gave me a
final warning. He was going to kick me out for dancing at a Dead
Supposedly, the floor is damaged, although the Opera House routinely
has weddings of up to 200 people who are allowed to dance. So, next
time a show is booked at the Opera House, please allow the patrons to
do what they want, or dont book that kind of band. Or else we should
just have bouncers at the lake shore during the summer and a sign that
says, You can look at the water, but No Swimming.
Michael Darigan Suttons Bay author of backpocket e-pistles
Religion & free speech
Robert Downes (Random Thoughts 10/25) should be a bit tougher on
himself when writing about complex issues such as the First Amendment
(ie. the Constitutions Establishment Clause). Like the professors and
law students responding with laughter to candidate Christine
ODonnells assertion that the First Amendment does not guarantee a
separation of church and state, Downes apparently fails to
appreciate either the historical origin of that phrase or the fact
that it is to be found nowhere in the U.S. Constitution.
The phrase wall of separation was most famously contained in a
letter from Thomas Jefferson to the Danbury Baptist Association,
written in support of religious free exercise. It found its way into
Supreme Court currency via Justice Hugo Blacks opinion in the 1947
Emerson case, and has been cited ever since. The wall of
separation, which the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals described as both
tiresome and extra-constitutional, never literally replaced the
actual text of the Establishment Clause.
That clause still states; Congress shall make no law respecting the
establishment of religion. What did these words mean to those
ratifying the Constitution, and what do they mean today? Those who
ratified our Constitution were well aware of European religious wars
and also knew that the term Congress, as used in the Establishment
Clause, referred only to the national government. Moreover, the widely
supported existence of state, as opposed to national, religions at the
time of the ratification is an historic fact. How might all of these
facts, seriously considered, illuminate the meaning of the
Establishment Clause? Was the intent only to stop a national
government from interfering with established state religions? Does
recognition or limited support of religion equal establishment?
Rather than laughing at efforts to seek answers, law students, their
professors, and Downes should all be grappling with such questions.
Steve Francis via email
God & government
Since Robert Downes is given a full page in your paper to spew his
left wing rants, it would be helpful to your readers that he not take
things out of context and to also research the FACTS.
The Tea Party is not a bunch of Ding-a Lings which he would be
easily able to find out if he cared to interview some of the members.
For him to say that Christine ODonnell did not have a clue as to the
meaning of the First Amendment shows HIS ignorance.
The First Amendment reads as follows: Congress shall make no law
respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free
exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the
press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to
petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
Do you see any thing in this amendment that says there is to be a
separation of church and state? Perhaps Mr. Downes would like it to
say that, just as our President would like to omit the reference to
our Creator from the Declaration of Independence. Perhaps the
President of our United States, has forgotten the last sentence of the
oath he took (supposedly) in 2009... So help me GOD.
Rebecca Carlson Rapid City
I want to tell you how very much I enjoy the writings of Stephen
Tuttle. He says with compact, meaningful words what so many of us are
thinking. I especially liked the Please Dont Vote column. He
knows how to draw you in and then get right to the point, turning it
completely around. A very thought-provoking writer, and right on.
Please continue to carry his writings.
Carol Williams via email