Letters

Letters 12-14-2014

Come Together There is a time-honored war strategy known as “divide and conquer,” and never has it been more effective than now. The enemy is using it against us through television, internet and other social media. I opened a Facebook account a couple of years back to gain more entries in local contests. Since then I had fallen under its spell; I rushed into judgment on several social issues based on information found on those pages

Quiet The Phones! This weekend we attended two beautiful Christmas musical events and the enjoyment of both were significantly diminished by self-absorbed boors holding their stupid iPhones high overhead to capture extremely crucial and highly needed photos. We too own iPhones, but during a public concert we possess the decency and manners to leave them turned off and/or at home. Today’s performance, the annual Messiah Sing at Traverse City’s Central Methodist Church, was a new low: we watched as Mr. Self-Absorbed not only took several photos but then afterwards immediately posted them to his Facebook page. We were dumbfounded.

A Torturous Defense In defense of the C.I.A.’s use of torture in a mostly fruitless search for vital information, some suggest that the dire situation facing us after 9-11, justified the use of torture even at the expense of the potential loss of much of our nation’s moral authority.

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. . . .

What‘s new

Robert Downes - July 18th, 2011
What’s New
New in this issue is a Public Safety Map on page 12 which will include a
snapshot of crime in the region -- assault, robbery, B&Es, drug busts and
car thefts -- as well as brief reports on emergency events such as
drownings and major collisions.
The map will be compiled on a weekly basis by investigative reporter
Patrick Sullivan from police reports around the region. We expect it to
be a popular feature, as are similar maps and police blotters in
newspapers ranging from the Ann Arbor Observer to the Toronto Star.
Why a Public Safety Map? To keep you better informed. If there are a rash
of cottage break-ins in Benzie County or an increase in B&Es in Petoskey,
readers will get a heads-up.
Beyond that, as noted in Sullivan‘s June 20 story, “Fewer Cops, More
Crime,” law enforcement agencies in Northern Michigan have been hit hard
by budget cuts. Then too, we’ve seen a rise in hard drug use in the
region, as demonstrated by a number of overdose deaths over the past year.
Aside from crime, Northern Michigan also faces issues involving “growing
pains” such as car-bicycle collisions or tourists involved in snowmobile
crashes and boating mishaps.
As such, it pays us to be more aware of public safety issues in the
region. Consider our new Public Safety Map a tool for your own security
and awareness. Comments? Send them to our Letters page, care of
info@northernexpress.com.

MASTERS OF DISASTER
Nice. The Republican Congress has positioned itself between an anvil and a
sledge-hammer with nowhere to scuttle but sideways.
Consider the Republican pledge not to raise taxes even on the super rich
or the corporations that have betrayed America by taking jobs overseas.
That’s what friends are for, right?
But failing to raise the debt ceiling by the August 2 deadline could mean
a colossal stock market crash, possibly kicking off another recession. It
could also kick financially fragile Europe over a ledge, bringing on a
global depression.
Such an event would be a disaster for Wall Street and the investor class
(uh, not to mention millions of regular Americans) -- a much more painful
prospect than a tax increase.
If you believe Joe Scarborough and his “Morning Joe” crew, the Republicans
in Congress got a call from their masters on Wall Street last week who
said, “don’t go there.”
But let’s say the Republicans decided that their Tea Party principles are
so lofty that they would dare to bite the hand that feeds to make their
point. Let’s say they decided to throw the United States into default just
out of sheer spite.
Well, as President Obama warned, that could mean the United States would
lack the funds to cover more than 60 million Social Security checks as of
the first week in August. No veterans payments either, along with 700,000
federal employees thrown out of work. Medicare? Poof. And that would be
just for starters.
Hmm... stock market crash, millions more out of work, retirees in a
flaming rage... even at a distance, it’s quite obvious as to who would
catch the blame for that train wreck. As Senate Majority Leader Mitch
McConnell said last week, defaulting on the U.S. debt would mean “the end
of the Republican brand.”

ON THE TELLY
Will anyone be surprised if the British phone hacking scandal spreads to
the U.S. press (if it hasn’t already)?
The United Kingdom has no less than 12 national newspapers. And since
nuttin’ much goes in a well-ordered society of 62 million people, the
British press tends to obsess over the Royals, minor celebrities on the
order of the Spice Girls, nightclub sightings of drunken rockers, and
where Prince Willy puts his wonker.
‘Kind of like the National Enquirer, US magazine, the “E” network and the
New York Post among the gossip media in the United States.
The Brits have gone bananas over the past few weeks over revelations that
reporters from the country’s biggest tabloid, News of the World, had been
hacking into email messages of not just celebrities, but regular folks.
What really set them off were reports that reporters had purposely deleted
emails from a kidnapped 13-year-old’s cell phone in the hope of
encouraging more messages from the serial killer who murdered her.
The latest allegations: Scotland Yard and the British police looked the
other way when it came time to investigate the hackings; they accepted
$150,000 in bribes from News of the World; and partied with executives of
the paper like all good buddies do when it’s time to tuck little messes
under the rug.
Well!
It begs the question: is America’s gossip press up to snuff on its own
hacking skills?
Hacking someone’s phone or email records is something that Northern
Michigan‘s news media most likely never even imagined... but who would be
surprised if it turns out that a few of America’s own celebrity chat rags
are as dirty as their cousins across the pond?
 
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