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Terrorism and the NSA
Logic and sense is called for when thinking about the recently publicized National Surveillance Program. Comparable programs are used everyday, every hour, in almost any science, manufacturing, financial industry, etc., to conduct measurement and risk. Why would we not want to protect ourselves from terrorists or those that wish us harm, in a similar way?
Personal medical information is viewed, trended, used by many people to have a “picture” of you. Banks and a slew of related individuals view, trend, use and take action on your personal banking and financial decisions. Meteorologists, seismologists, gas and oil researchers, farmers, do the same... to protect us from tornadoes, earthquakes, gas and oil leaks, food-borne illnesses.
We have to get on and over the hump in America, by wisely, safely, embracing the real value of our advancing technology. We need to make decisions, have actionable information, based on sizeable, measurable, statistically valid data.
We have been complaining about bad or non-existent intelligence. Thousands of us have been killed and our response to terrorism has raised havoc on our economy. I say, don’t bash this without knowing exactly what is going on. Let’s just make sure it does not create illegal search or seizure.
Jill Rahrig • TC
Not a fan of the Bijou
I don’t believe the Traverse City Commission has the authority to give away parkland and the buildings which stand on it (to create the new Bijou Theatre). This property belongs to the people of Traverse City, and for any project of this scope, the citizens should vote.
Many people are not happy with the Bay Front project, and don’t feel the city should enable Michael Moore’s Film Festival to compete with privately owned theaters in any way.
Anyone who would like to stop the city by means of a petition demanding a public vote can contact me. Theater owners should contact their attorneys and let the city know, the City of Traverse City cannot be part of this type of shady business practice, which in fact puts the City in direct competition with other local theaters.
Paul James Nepote • TC
While I often wonder whether some attorneys have a conscience, or, if so, do they ever listen to it, it is true that in our society every person who can afford to is entitled to buy the services of an attorney.
It may seem hypocritical for an attorney to both chair an organization dedicated to preserving our natural environment, and represent a developer of a project doing the opposite. Obviously, many attorneys and countless others effectively separate their personal beliefs from their work. Whether or not society is better off because of this practice is debatable.
Harbor Springs attorney Neil Marzella also has represented developer Ira Green, who demolished one historic downtown Mackinac Island building and wants to demolish another, and is in the process of filling in the last vacant lot with a view of the harbor from the downtown Mackinac Island.
Daniel M Robbins • Mackinaw City
Time to ban fracking
Recent exposure of the on-site water shortages experienced by Encana Corporation as it attempted to frack a new well in Kalkaska County highlight the dangers of the new technology for extracting natural gas.
The new horizontal drilling technology requires massive amounts of ground water to complete the fracturing process. One well in Excelsior Township used 21 million gallons of fresh ground water, taken for free from the aquifer and contaminated with toxic chemicals. It must be reinjected into the ground when it flows back to the surface, gone forever from the hydrologic cycle and gone from our rivers and streams.
These industrial operations must stop immediately. A request for a withdrawal of 31 million gallons for another well has not been turned down. Those of us who value the water in Michigan must act now. A ballot initiative is circulating which would amend a state law to ban horizontal fracking and fracking waste.
The Committee to Ban Fracking, at letsbanfracking.org, has volunteers at many events in the area. Let's get this on the ballot in 2014 so citizens can decide if they want their water destroyed to extract natural gas for export.
Peggy Case, Michigan Citizens for Water Conservation • Thompsonville
I a big fan of columnist Stephen Tuttle, however, his recent article regarding how we are unwilling to help pay for infrastructure repairs, and the electric grid, etc., misses the point.
The working person or middle class has been taxed to death. The teabag/Republican agenda in Michigan has been to take from the middle class (what’s left of it) and give it to “one tough nerd” and his cronies.
I don’t think most people are unwilling to pay more for better infrastructure, and an updated power grid, etc. However, when you go to work in the morning and when you leave at night to go home gas goes up 40 cents a gallon!
When the federal government spends billions on two wars, one of which has been going on for over 10 years, then what would you suspect? Wouldn’t this money be better used for better roads, and a better power grid?
I don’t think anyone is unwilling to pay their fair share, albeit, when they are taxed to death, receive no income or wage increases. They’ve basically had enough. Our state government is all about feeding its self interest and its business buddies. The federal government, well, that’s just become a joke.
Norb Bauer • via email
The Traverse City Record-Eagle never received a letter from two high school students regarding a controversy in the Black & Gold newspaper at Central High School, as claimed erroneously in last week’s Random Thoughts column. Another letter on the subject was received by the paper, but the author reportedly rescinded permission to run it when he was contacted by the editor of the Record-Eagle's letters page.