While the media continues to keep us in a constant state of anxiety, a psychic code orange unrelated to terrorism, not one word is ever mentioned about the most insidious health risk we and especially our children face on a daily basis. That risk comes from breathing air polluted by emissions from diesel engines. This is by far the single most toxic, carcinogenic air contaminant. In fact, 70% of cancers caused by air pollution are the result of diesel exhaust.
The United States has over 400,000 diesel-powered school buses, 130 of which serve Traverse City Area Public Schools. Each bus on average produces 364 lbs. of emissions per year, resulting in more than 23 tons of what has been identified as the most carcinogenic air contaminant being released in our school district alone. Children, whose lungs are more vulnerable than those of adults, ride these buses often for long distances, and according to a Yale study, pollution inside each bus is 5-15 times greater than the average outside air.
The Federal goal is to clean up all the nations school buses by 2010. Traverse City Area Public Schools is applying for Federal funding that will hopefully result in the eventual retrofit of at least some buses, but I would like your help to raise public awareness of this real threat, and encourage legislators to place a high priority on fixing something that can be, and needs to be fixed sooner rather than later.
Margaret B. Dodd
Where is Mike Cox?
I think its sad that Michigans Attorney General, Mike Cox, has done nothing to help the communities of Petoskey and Manistee to fight powerful assaults by unwanted developers. Thats his job. Why isnt he doing it? Emmet County commissioners threw in the towel recently and settled a lawsuit with the draconian Strathmore Development Co. of East Lansing.
Yet, the State of MICHIGAN has an obligation to help and protect the com-munities within our borders from assaultive legal challenges from unwanted development projects. Developers wear communities out financially, then force them to either accept the development project or face the possibility of devastating monetary losses. No small town or township can withstand this kind of attack. That is why there is an attorney general‘s office.
The current office holder, Mike Cox, is no prize. He, in no way, could measure up to the standards set by Frank Kelly and other great attorney generals of the past. He has demonstrated no effort to effectively uphold the responsibilities of his position.
In addition, if I remember correctly, the first thing Mike Cox did as the new attorney general was to hand the prime portion of Fox Island over to the developer of Bay Harbor. This same developer reportedly contributed to Cox‘s political campaign fund. He was repaid in spades for his support. This brings up an interesting question. Did Mike Cox receive any campaign contributions from Strathmore Development Co. or any of their subsidiaries? If he did, I think some serious ethical questions need to be raised. An additional issue could be raised out of all this; if wrongdoing is demonstrated by a sitting attorney general, how would you go about removing and replacing him midterm?
Lets go folks. Our communities are being trashed from one end of Northern Michigan to the other by unwanted development. Take off the gloves and fight to preserve the integrity of your lifestyle. Fight with all the tools available, not just the legal ones. Our very cultures are being crushed or compromised by downstate money. If you lose your culture, youve lost your community. ( An example would be Traverse City now being called North Detroit or the Redneck Rivera by the neighborhood kids.) Take this fight to a new level of intensity. Be more offensive minded. Get involved with the process rather than reading about the results after the fact. Fight!
Rick Buckhalter TC
When I saw Kathryn Meads picture (Traverse City Central High School social studies teacher) in Eartha Melzers article, Cracks in the Stronghold, identifying her as a celebrity, I nearly fell over. Ms. Meads ticket to see President Bush at a Traverse City rally was ripped up and she was denied access because she was wearing a Kerry/Edwards button. Ms. Mead said she had seen Queen Elizabeth and the Pope. Why was she never asked if she got to see the Queen and the Pope by wearing buttons that said Replace the Queen or Atheism is Best. Some of you Democrats just have no clue!
Dan Crawford via email
Let‘s review our President‘s financial endeavors.
His oil ventures were financial failures. The Texas Rangers debacle, the Saudi-connected involvement to minimize the Arbusto venture loss. As governor of Texas, he inherited a $6 billion surplus and just two years after he left, Texas was left with a $10 billion deficit.
Now, he and his administration have not only ruined our economy, but alienated our country throughout the world. To shield the many wrongdoings, we are bombarded with Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Bill O‘Reilly and others via General Electrics‘ MSNBC and the FOX right-wing news networks using the fear tactic, religious involvement, anti-union propaganda and class warfare to fudge the economic stats.
Looking at the stock market juggling acts and the looters of Enron, Comcast and other company CEOs that have destroyed peoples‘ life savings, pensions, healthcare and jobs, we must not allow our elected officials to consider privatizing the Social Security system.
We should look at our trade policies of the world, outsourcing jobs to bring in manufactured goods while telling us that purchasing drugs from countries such as Canada can harm us. To add insult to injury, the American public has no say about the millions of tons of garbage dumped into this country from Canada.
Much is spent on corporate welfare, but this money could be better spent on the same U.S. taxpayers who support the government. A case in fact, these industrialized countries provide health care for all: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Japan, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom. On the list of the industrialized countries that don‘t provide health care for their citizens: the U.S.A.
John Sanchez TC
A beauty contest?
Can you say, the lesser of two evils?
This presidential election again is a beauty contest between two toads, posturing for the right to croak in a brackish pond filled with rotting scum.
Oh, to be able to vote for a candidate instead of against the creature. The last time I was able to do that was the race between Dwight Eisenhower and Adlai Stevenson in the early fifties. Naturally I voted for Adlai who was a statesman, not a politician... a really big difference. And of course he lost. This time Im going to vote against Bush. Hopefully he, too, will lose.
The only candidate worthy of serious consideration, from a moral point of view, is Senator Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio. Perhaps its just as well for his sake hes considered unelectable. Were he to be chosen by the masses, he might choke on the slime.
Come back, Diogenes, and bring Will Rogers with you.
William F. Brabenec Attica
The price of Bush
Can we afford four more years of Bush?
Can we afford more lives lost in a war based on a lie?
Can we afford a federal deficit that now exceeds any in the history of the U.S.?
Can we afford the continued erosion of our standing in the eyes of the international community?
Can we afford the deepening division within the people of the United States?
Can we afford Bushs sneaky appro-priations of federal funds to support mandated psychiatric screening of 50 million school children beginning this fall?
We are no longer a united people. Bushs lies have torn us apart. We, as the American people, are more divided now than we were during the Vietnam War.
Bush cannot unite us because he has divided us.
Bush sent us to war at the expense of American and Iraqi lives. He emptied the U.S. treasury, he lied to us, he undermined our standing in the international community, and to justify this, he continues to sensationalize a dangerous environment to keep us all in fear (ie. malleable). And, he has never apologized for his errors or his lies.
Who benefits from his erroneous war? Are we safer? NO. Are we more economically stable? NO. Are the Iraqi people thankful and democratic? NO.
Who benefits? Follow the dollar. Major oil corporations are the main beneficiaries of Bushs presidency. Oh, yes, and the tax cuts he has given the rich. And dont forget the $682 credit we received from Bush this year. Of course, the unprecedented deficit will plague us for years.
Solution: Require the corporations benefiting from Iraqi contracts to reimburse the U.S. Treasury for all expenses of the war on Iraq. Remove tax credits for the wealthy and ask all of us to return our $682 (a small price to pay for a balanced budget and a strong economy). And put someone in office who can rebuild the image of the United States within the international community while uniting the American people in hope, confidence, generosity, and compassion.
Ralph Nader may be a great person, but voting for him will ensure victory for Bush. Vote for Kerry/Edwards (and get a great first lady as a bonus!).
Elisa Brabenec Suttons Bay
A Clear Choice
Since the start of the Presidential race, I have learned a number of things from Mr. Kerry and his supporters. Examples:
Bush has called for abolishment of all 527 groups. Mr. Kerry only wants to get rid of those who criticize him; ads that smear the President are okay. It is okay for Terry McAuliffe to call the President a deserter when there is no evidence that he ever did, not okay for decorated veterans who served in the same swift boat division as former Lt. Kerry to question his version of events, some of which Kerry has had to recant in recent weeks. It is okay for Democratic 527‘s to spend 70 million dollars to accuse Bush of being like Hitler, and to accuse him of poisoning pregnant women, not okay for the Swift Boat Veterans to spend 1 million on their ads questioning Kerry‘s fitness to be Commander in Chief. It is okay to call 250 veterans (over sixty of whom are decorated) who served on Swift Boats pathological liars, not okay to question Kerry‘s record. It is okay for Mr. Kerry to go to Paris and meet with representatives of the enemy when our soldiers were still being tortured and killed in Viet Nam, not okay to criticize him for it. It is okay for Mr. Kerry to accuse veterans being guilty of atrocities; not okay to ask him about his hand in doing the same thing. It is okay for Army Lt. William Calley to go to courts martial for atrocities in Viet Nam, and for soldiers serving at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq to be prosecuted, just don‘t ask why Lt. Kerry didn‘t either stop or report the atrocities he allegedly witnessed and participated in. It is okay for at least half a dozen books to be published smearing the President, not okay for just one book to be published that questions Mr. Kerry. Free Speech that questions Kerry is not. What a crock.
It is sad that some Bush supporters are so rude as to offend the sensibilities of some of those who tried to get into, or were in the vicinity of the President‘s recent visit to Michigan. The Michigan Bush supporters must belong to the same groups that were responsible for the injury of 40 New York police officers during the Republican convention. The protesters in New York must have been Republicans, because anyone who doesn‘t support the President could ever do anything like that.
I am a retired military veteran, the choice to me is pretty clear. I don‘t want a President that feels a need to get the U.N.‘s permission to protect our country. I don‘t want someone who will outsource our national security. I don‘t want another of our soldiers to go to courts martial for refusing to wear a U.N. arm band. Voting against one defense system after another for 20 years does not spell national security. National security when we face this generation‘s gravest threat is spelled B U S H. The choice seems pretty clear.
Lee Oslund Mackinaw City