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This is in reference to the political and religious bantering we are hearing. As I listen and think, I am kind of offended. The labels of right wing evangelicals and left wing liberals and Democrats who are apparently not Christian etc. You see the categories?
I object to being cornered. How can the Catholics be offended by birth control when it seems acceptable to drink and smoke and have other vices which in turn cause death? How can the right wing conservatives get the market on Jesus and God? Do they too prescribe to drugs and alcohol and lust and greed and hatred to those unlike them?
I understand the moral code we are aspiring toward. But until all are ascending into the perfection realm we are all here learning about love. Isn’t love the universal solvent? Yes, love the person, brotherly love, but not the sin.
I am a Democrat who IS a Christian. I just happen to be a non-Catholic and a non- Evangelical. I say we all should show our cross or our crown or our own peace pole or our rug. We as humanity have more in common than not.
The politicians who choose to use bullying words are not showing our children the proper example that the schools teach. Aren’t our elected officials supposed to be above the fray and able to speak and negotiate in a respectful intelligent manner, even when in the company of those with disagreeable issues?
Where is the respect, where is the choice that should be protected by our constitution in the USA?
The ministers and judges and lobbyists and corporate entities do not get to dictate to humanity for their side. We the people opt to choose how to believe and who to believe without being put down and bullied by someone else’s view. Love is the universal solvent. I believe it is OK if you believe differently. I won’t be offended.
Lois Bedtelyon • TC
We have just witnessed one of the best examples of presidential leadership in my lifetime. Women employed in Catholic businesses were in need of reproductive health care that violated Catholic teachings.
Obama proposed that Catholic businesses provide this health care through their insurance policies just like every other business. Instead of working with the president to solve this dilemma, Republicans responded by declaring that the president was waging a war on religion. Obama was left to solve this problem himself.
Within a week President Obama came up with a brilliant solution that addressed all reasonable concerns. Insurance companies would be required to provide this insurance and actually save money in doing so because birth control is much cheaper than the expense of pregnancy and abortion.
Women would get the health care they needed for free and Catholic businesses would not be required to provide it. After solving this crisis one would think that everyone that spoke out so angrily at President Obama and did nothing to help him would at least say well done.
Don’t hold your breath. Republican politicians have spent the last three years taking this same obstructionist negative do nothing approach to governing our country. This is yet another example of Republicans willing to sacrifice the best interests of their constituents to bring down Obama.
Terry Frysinger • Frankfort
Fracking endangers water
Okay, #Occupy. We’ve made our point. We are angry about a multitude of things.
And, yes, we have changed the conversation, gotten the attention of a good portion of the general public, the media and even a bit of the government, but now we have to focus! We must use this momentum to work toward change. I believe this means rallying around a single issue.
Perhaps a good beginning would be to concentrate on the bipartisan concern of getting the money out of politics. If we, as a movement, were to speak out about this particular issue, I believe the impact would be extremely powerful. Imagine if all the signs in all the @occupys were to say the same thing: “Overturn Citizens United.” Think of the impact!
At the same time, at the state level, those attending the occupy meetings could begin the process of creating a ballot initiative that would move to amend the constitution.
We, the people, must participate in this democratic process that we are so lucky to have or we may lose it.
Bottom line: I don’t believe just protesting is enough. It’s time to focus, time to coordinate, time to act.
PS. A hearty thank you to Leelanau Independent Women for Democratic Action for bringing David Cobb to TC! The forum was outstanding!
Julie Pearson • TC
President’s Day is an excellent time to remember that conservation and environmental protection have historically been bipartisan interests. Republican Theodore Roosevelt created the National Parks System. Democrat John Kennedy pushed for authorization of the Clean Air Act.
Republican Richard Nixon established the Environmental Protection Agency and approved the Clean Water Act. Republican George H.W. Bush approved a strengthened Clean Air Act. Democrat Bill Clinton strengthened the Clean Water Drinking Act and pushed for Superfund clean-ups of toxic hot spots. Every presidential administration over the last 90 years has pushed for funding to maintain these critical programs.
Unfortunately, over the last year, House Republican leadership has initiated an unprecedented number of votes to weaken our nation’s environmental and conservation policies, including several bills co-authored by Congressman Dan Benishek. Fortunately, the Democratic majority in the Senate and the Barack Obama administration have stymied these efforts.
The current administration has carried the torch for the environment – creating new limits on mercury and other toxic pollutants, rejecting the risky Keystone XL pipeline, improving auto efficiency standards, and investing in clean, renewable wind and solar energy sources.
New mercury controls in particular will have a positive impact in northern Michigan. Mercury from coal-fired power plants falls from the atmosphere, washes off the land and accumulates in fish and wildlife and humans who consume them. Regardless of political affiliation, we need to push for elimination of mercury pollution.
As a society, we successfully removed lead from paint and gasoline, as well as DDT from agricultural pesticides. As we celebrate our nation’s accomplishments this President’s Day, we should push our elected officials to continue these essential efforts.
Brenda Archambo • Cheboygan
Farm Market Woes
Recently I came across an article in your paper written by Patrick Sullivan pertaining to the owner of Farm 651 located south of Cedar.
The owner complains of unfriendly people and too much regulation.
First, the owner should have done a little research before investing in a parcel that is not conducive to fruit growing as it is in a frost zone. Second, you don’t plant trees in sod and expect them to grow without any care. I don’t believe the owner had any knowledge of agriculture practices at all.
Farm markets normally produce their own products for sale instead of being a middleman trying to profit off some one else’s labors.
I wish you the best of luck with your Project 651 and hope it works out for you.
C. Ron Williams • Cedar
A recent letter (February 13) perpetuates myths about Congressional benefits. Let’s set the record straight: U.S. senators and representatives pay 6.2-percent of their salaries into Social Security, and 1.45-percent into Medicare, just as all wage-earners do.
Members of Congress participate in the same pension plan(s) available to all federal employees, and make contributions to their plan from their paychecks. They do not get full retirement at full pay after serving one term, as has often been claimed. They are not eligible for a pension until they reach the age of 50; then only if they’ve completed 20 years of service. They are eligible at any age after completing 25 years of service, or after they reach the age of 62.
They must have served for at least five years to receive a pension. The amount of a Congressperson’s pension depends upon the number of years of service and the average of the highest three years of salary. The starting amount of a member’s retirement annuity may not exceed 80% of his or her final salary.
As for health insurance, House and Senate members are allowed to purchase private health insurance (from about 300 different plans) offered through the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program, which covers more than 8 million other federal employees, retirees and their families.
Like large employers in the private sector, the government pays a major share of the cost of premiums, about 72-percent. The individual pays the rest. Members can choose a bare-bones plan or a deluxe one; the amount of an individual’s premium share will increase accordingly. Representatives and senators also can receive minor medical treatment at the Capitol’s in-house clinic, for an annual fee.
The question is not whether representatives and senators have excellent benefits. They do. Are these benefits free to the members of Congress? They are not.
Michael LeButt • Cheboygan
EPA Needs Help
Reforms to the Toxic Substances Control Act, legislation that awaits action in both the U.S. Senate, would be the first major overhaul of our nation’s chemicals policy since it was authorized more than 36 years ago. As it exists today EPA doesn’t have the necessary tools it needs to test and make sure the 80,000 chemicals on the market today are safe for you and your family.
While we await action, the threat to Michigan’s economic and environmental health from toxic chemicals is not going away. A recent report from the Political Economy Research Institute found that reform of our chemical regulatory system would result in more jobs in this sector of the economy, which is critical in Michigan. These reforms could also result in more innovation. Failing to undertake these reforms could increase costs to businesses and slow economic growth.
Revealing the dearth of support locally for these policy reforms, the Michigan House and Senate passed a resolution asserting these reforms are overdue. State action is a positive step forward, but America needs an updated and comprehensive chemicals policy at the federal level.
Toni DelGreco • Manistee
Right To Work
The term “right to work” is one of those politically slanted terms that continues to annoy me. No one is denied the right to work at any of the 88.2% of non-union work places in Michigan. One can also select a work place unionized by a majority vote of the work force and still choose not to join the union, but instead pay an agency fee which is a reduced fee to cover only those costs directly related to collective bargaining.
A “right to work” law would instead allow a worker to take a union job, but then opt out of paying for any of the union services which made this work place an attractive choice to begin with.
If this seems fair to you, then I would suggest another law which you may find equally attractive. I would call it the “right to shop” law. Since food, like work, is essential to our survival, this law would allow you to fill your cart at any grocery store and exercise the option of not paying anything at the check-out counter.
Unfortunately, grocery stores and labor unions alike would not last long in an environment of optional remuneration. But then of course, it is the elimination of unions and not the right to work that is the real goal of the “right to work” law.
Bob Ross • Pellston
Mom Was Right
“Left Alone” (NE Feb. 13) highlighted a recent ruling in the Family Division of the 13th Circuit Court. The Court’s finding that the mother’s motion to modify parenting time was frivolous is highly questionable. According to State law (MCL 600.2591(3), “frivolous” means one of the following:
1. The primary purpose of the motion is to harass, embarrass, or injure the other party 2. The party had no reasonable basis to believe that underlying facts of his or her position are true 3. The party’s legal position lacks arguable legal merit The primary purpose of the motion seems to be related to the child’s safety while in her father’s care. The father clearly used poor judgment by leaving a seven year-old girl unsupervised at a motel for extended periods of time.
The child’s mother had valid reason to be concerned about her daughter’s well-being and took appropriate legal action in order to have the issue addressed in court. It does not seem that the primary purpose of the motion was to harass, embarrass, or injure the other parent.
In addition, the mother had a reasonable basis to believe that the facts underlying the situation were true.
Referee Conlon reasoned that the motion was frivolous because its basis was not due to a change in circumstance. Does this mean that when the original order was written, the father was living in a motel and leaving his child alone while he worked?!
Considering the fact that the father had already lied under oath, it is reasonable to question whether he would follow through with finding childcare as promised.
In fact, it appears that the primary purpose of the Referee’s “frivolous motion” finding is to harass, embarrass, or injure the mother/ plaintiff. The fact that a Family Court Judge upheld this recommendation further reinforces the fact that the Family Court system is in desperate need of reform.
Chris Masley • Kewadin