Letters

Letters 10-20-2014

Doctor Dan? After several email conversations with Rep. Benishek, he has confirmed that he doesn’t have a clue of what he does. Here’s why...

In Favor Of Our Parks [Traverse] City Proposal 1 is a creative way to improve our city parks without using our tax dollars. By using a small portion of our oil and gas royalties from the Brown Bridge Trust Fund, our parks can be improved for our children and grandchildren.

From January 1970 Popular Mechanics: “Drastic climate changes will occur within the next 50 years if the use of fossil fuels keeps rising at current rates.” That warning comes from Eugene K. Peterson of the Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Land Management.

Newcomers Might Leave: Recently we had guests from India who came over as students with the plan to stay in America. He has a master’s degree in engineering and she is doing her residency in Chicago and plans to specialize in oncology. They talked very candidly about American politics and said that after observing...

Someone Is You: On Sept 21, I joined the 400,000 who took to the streets of New York in the People’s Climate March, followed by a UN Climate Summit and many speeches. On October 13, the Pentagon issued a report calling climate change a significant threat to national security requiring immediate action. How do we move from marches, speeches and reports to meaningful work on this problem? In NYC I read a sign with a simple answer...

Necessary To Pay: Last fall, Grand Traverse voters authorized a new tax to fix roads. It is good, it is necessary.

The Real Reasons for Wolf Hunt: I have really been surprised that no one has been commenting on the true reason for the wolf hunt. All this effort has not been expended so 23 wolves can be killed each year. Instead this manufactured controversy about the wolf hunt has been very carefully crafted to get Proposal 14-2 passed.

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Letters

 
Monday, February 22, 2010

Letters

Letters Our corporate citizens
Karen Martin seems to think that the
Constitution is just kidding when it says that Congress shall make no law
abridging freedom of speech (re: letters 2/8/10). She is appalled that the
U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that corporations be afforded freedom of
political speech. Oddly, she voices no concerns over labor unions’ having
the same freedom.
Both corporations and labor unions are typically wealthy and powerful
organizations comprised of thousands of individual Americans. Both
corporations and labor unions have political lobbyists who promote their
agendas. To restrict the political freedom of speech of one of these
groups and not the other cannot be lawfully justified.

Charles Finley • Beulah
 
Monday, February 15, 2010

Letters

Letters In defense of Avatar
In his January 25, 2010 letter, “Avatar brainwashing,” David Page seems to think that there are no members of the U.S. military who will abandon core values in exchange for dollars and that our government doesn’t steal tax dollars from the middle class to fund military operations that benefit corporate interests and trample on indigenous rights and national sovereignty.
I have just a few examples which point to the contrary.
In August of 1953 the CIA and MI6 executed Operation Ajax, driving the democratically elected leader of Iran, Mohammad Mosaddegh, from office. They did this on behalf of the British Petroleum oil company.
The CIA then financed Gen. Fazlollah Zahedi’s takeover of Iran. Zahedi had been arrested during WWII for attempting to establish a pro-Nazi government in Iran. Iran’s new director of propaganda, Bahram Shahrokh, was a protege of Joseph Goebbels.
Less than a year later the CIA was doing the same thing in Guatemala. They ousted Jacobo Arbenz on behalf of the United Fruit Company.
Okay so this is all ancient history, right? During the recent American invasion of Iraq, the Iraqi seed bank in Abu Ghraib was destroyed (along with hospitals and other non-military targets.) The Coalition Provisional Authority passed Order 81 making it illegal for farmers to re-use patented seeds, thus paving the way for the Monsanto corporation to sue Iraqi farmers.
With the seed bank destroyed and coalition troops handing out Monsanto-patented GMO corn seeds to Iraqi civilians, the U.S. government was assuring windfall profits for Monsanto in a brand new market (Monsanto is a huge contributor to Democrat and Republican election campaigns.)
Other recent examples:
• U.S. military aid to Mexico used to drive indigenous people from their land during the Clinton administration.
• Plan Columbia during the Clinton and Bush II administrations.
• No-bid contracts in Iraq and Afghanistan awarded to companies Dick Cheney used to work for.
Am I bashing the military here? Were the creators of Avatar bashing the military? I don’t think so. After all the hero of Avatar is also an ex-Marine. Do some ex-military personnel become mercenaries for money hungry corporations? Yes they do, just look at Blackwater and Haliburton.
Most members of our military are fine people who have sworn an oath to uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States. Unfortunately our military is too often co-opted by a civilian leadership (right or left) focused on using our military and our tax dollars to expand profits for the richest 1%, strengthen centralized banks and financial institutions, and build an Anglo-American fascist empire.
Avatar struck me as a much needed wake-up call for a populous that needs to rescue their democracy from the influence of the military industrial complex and finally elect a leader who can get lazy corporations off government welfare, bring all our troops home now and put an end to this foreign meddling and resource stealing nonsense.
“If we fix it so’s you can’t make money on war. We’ll all forget what we’re killing folks for.” - Woody Guthrie

Nathan Karnes • via email
 
Monday, February 8, 2010

Letters

Letters Where guns shouldn‘t go
Having read the article in the February 1 issue of Northern Express
titled Christine goes to jail, I must say that I have a hard time
having any sympathy for Ms. Blackledge. While I support her right to
carry a firearm and certainly understand why she does, she made a very
bad mistake. My 5-year-old daughter and my wife fly out of Traverse
City airport on a regular basis to go visit Grandma in another state.
If anyone brings a gun to the airport I want them and the gun removed
immediately!
The decision to carry a firearm is a HUGE responsibility. If Ms.
Blackledge (or anyone for that matter) isn’t responsible enough to
manage that firearm properly then they must suffer the consequences.
While her case may have been handled poorly I suggest that Ms.
Blackledge use that as a learning experience and be more responsible
in the future.

Tom Speers • Fife Lake
 
Monday, February 1, 2010

Letters

Letters Supreme threat
The Supreme Court issued a decision this week that may be the single
most dangerous blow to democracy ever conceived. By granting
individual rights to corporations they have undermined the very
premise our country was founded upon.
The Constitution and the Bill of Rights were created to protect
individual rights from being trampled by rich and powerful groups like
the court of King George III. By granting individual rights to
corporations the Supreme Court is creating openings for a new set of
royals to arise.
Incorporation was created to allow individuals to shield themselves
from the dangers of being in business. This allowed business and
industry to grow and prosper in ways it might otherwise not have done.
Corporations diffuse risk among many individuals, making the risks
easier to face for anyone growing a business. Instead of doing
business as a sole proprietor (read that as “individual”), one can
incorporate and gain a certain amount of protection not afforded
individuals in business.
Special rights applying only to corporations come with its
establishment. So, you create a corporation so as not to function as
an individual.
Now the Supreme Court says corporations are individuals. I defy
anyone on the Supreme Court to produce any individual whose rights had
been infringed upon by the ruling that was overturned. Placing
restrictions upon a corporation in no way restricts the rights of the
individuals who exist under the umbrella of incorporation.
By granting individual rights to corporations the Supreme Court has,
in effect, created super persons that have not only individual rights
but a second layer of “corporate individual” rights.
If a corporation breaks the law is it now possible to hold the entire
corporation at fault? Should every share holder be completely
responsible for corporate behavior? If not then how can they have
rights separate from, but equal to, an individual’s own rights? And,
as it has been pointed out by many other people this week, how are we
to know with any certainty who is behind the veil of the corporate
structure? We cannot.
We should all be very afraid for our democracy at this moment in time
and I believe there should be a massive outcry from the people to
remove from office the persons who have visited this plague upon our
house. Impeach them now!

J. Grant • Mesick
 
Monday, January 25, 2010

Letters

Letters Performance & schools
Stephen Tuttle’s opinion piece, “Performance-based Silliness” (Spectator,
1/18) while not exactly wrong, reflects a misconception about including
student test scores as a criterion for evaluating teachers.
Legislation measures the amount of improvement a class shows over the
course of a school year so it is irrelevant whether an individual student
has learning difficulties. If that student scores a 48 one year and a 58
the next, that might be a sufficient increase to justify a bump in salary,
providing the rest of the class improves similarly.
His implied view that social promotion does not help students learn is not
supported by research. Students held back fall further and further
behind.
Also, while, “returning discipline to the teachers” might be helpful in
some situations, even better would be to design a learning experience that
does not require such a heavy hand of discipline: smaller class sizes,
better communication with home, a curriculum that fits the child’s needs,
trained counselors, and special learning environments for those that need
them.
Certainly there are “bad” teachers, though they can be fired for due
cause. If Tuttle is arguing against tenure for teachers, then he should
also specify how otherwise excellent teachers who disagree with
administration can be protected from dismissal or how those at the top of
the salary schedule can avoid being sacrificed to accommodate a less
expensive new hire.
What is glaringly missing from Tuttle’s discussion are questions about the
use of a standardized test to measure what goes on in classrooms. Do test
scores reflect the child’s attitude towards school? Do children want to
learn more even if they get high scores? What about subjects like art and
music -- which are not easily assessed by such tests—are they to be
ignored? Do standardized questions measure adequately traits such as
creativity and problem-solving? And what about the social learning that
goes on in classrooms—how can a test measure that intangible?
It’s a terrible idea to use test scores to bolster salaries of some
teachers, but let’s make an honest argument against it that recognizes all
of the pitfalls without misrepresenting the proposed rules. That way, we
build strong opposition to short-sighted policies propounded by
politicians and others far separated from schools and children.

Richard Fidler • TC
 
Monday, January 18, 2010

Letters

Letters Overwired hipsters
After reading your article, “The Great Beagle Chase,” I was struck with a
much deeper understanding of why so many people in the rest of the world
have come to hate and fear us and why we in fact have come to feel the
same way about each other.
It is not so much that they hate our freedom as much as what we do with
it. It’s true, we face many issues greater than one more over-wired,
self-absorbed urban hipster but, I do not think it was “ironic” that Lima
was found by the one person paying attention and not spending time
‘tweeting’ on their iPhone, updating Facebook and writing a blog.
While it may be that I fall on the side of Mr. Howe in matters of politics
and culture in this very divided country, let me make one thing perfectly
clear - if you have a Facebook page for your dog you are part of the
problem.

James Carpenter • via email
 
Monday, January 11, 2010

Letters

Letters Name cleared
My son and I again want to thank The Northern Express and Anne Stanton for
telling our story (“Branded For Life,” March 23, 2009) detailing our
experience with the juvenile justice system and the Michigan Sex Offender
Registry (SOR). So many positive things have happened since then.
We were successful in finally finding an attorney who understood the
nature of our situation. We only had three years from “Jim’s” release from
state custody to petition the court for removal from the SOR. We filed in
June with only days to spare. The judge saw reason and granted our
petition, but my son still has a felony conviction on his record.
Since then “Jim” has thrived. He has stopped hiding behind his hair. One
of his teachers commented that it was so good to see his face and eyes. He
is getting excellent grades and scored a 92 on his ASVAB. His enthusiasm
about his future is awesome. Last year at this time he was laying around
in his room thinking that his life was over because of a mistake that he
made when he was 10 years old.
It was bad enough that his childhood and innocence were taken away from
him by being exposed to a bunch of sexual deviants in treatment. Finding
out that he had to register quarterly as a sex offender for at least 25
years was unbearable.
More than once I left the jail in tears over the humiliation of having to
drag my child in to register as a sex offender - it was also a horrible
ordeal for my son. Every three months we were reminded of what happened.
Having the police at my door on more than one occasion has also been
embarassing for us. We are so grateful that it is over.
I am still being billed by the court for Jim’s “treatment” and I am paying
what little I can afford. As a single mom with two children there isn’t
any extra money in our budget for the $12,000 plus owed by me to the
court. I hope to address this issue in the future.
Thanks again for telling stories like ours that the mainstream media
ignore. You provide a valuable public service and we are forever grateful.

“Sandy” and “Jim”

(“Branded for Life” involved the case of “Jim,” a 10-year-old boy who
inappropriately touched his 11-year-old cousin on the outside of her
underwear and was branded a sex offender. - ed.)
 
Monday, January 4, 2010

Letters

Letters Don‘t change term limits
I once had a professor tell me that no politician should be elected to office more than once.
His reasoning was if they aren’t smart enough to line their pockets in one term we sure don’t want them around for two terms.
If you give a politician two drinks at the well he will want three and so forth. They will never be happy with the limits we need to put on them.
Our federal government is a prime example of what you get when you give anyone power and no end to its use. I have heard the word trust used in the argument to remove term limits. If you know a politician you trust, please write a letter to the editor and tell us why. Also, tell me why they can’t get the job done in one term. We limit the highest office in our government to two terms.

Norbert Tutlis • TC
 
Monday, December 28, 2009

Letters

Letters Seek Medicare for all
The United States, the wealthiest country on earth, is the only
industrialized nation that has not accepted the moral imperative to
provide health care for all of its citizens.
Because we haven’t, tens of thousands of Americans die each year, our
infant mortality rate is double that of the other industrialized
nations, thousands of uninsured people rely on hospital emergency
departments for care which could be delivered better in an office
setting at lower cost, and overwhelming health care costs are the
leading cause of personal bankruptcy.
We have experience with various plans; private health insurance with
overhead costs exceeding 25%, HMOs and PPOs with designated care
providers, tax-supported government run systems such as military and
veterans clinics and hospitals, and Medicare. Medicare is a
single-payer government insurance plan, not a government run
(socialized) health care system. It relies on a separate private
health care delivery system, allows free choice of physicians and
hospitals, has no restrictions for pre-existing conditions and has
overhead costs of less than 5%.
There is no free lunch and no free health care. We pay twice as much
as other industrialized nations for health care and receive less in
return. But if Medicare was available to all citizens (a single-payer
option), the purchasing power could dramatically decrease drug and
medical provider costs. And if individuals or employers paid their
premiums or taxes (different names; same money) to a system such as
Medicare rather than for private insurance, savings from lower
overhead costs alone would be enormous. We could have high quality
care and add nothing to the national debt.
If you like your present insurance coverage, keep it. But if you want
good care for all of our citizens at lower cost, encourage your
congressmen to insist on a single-payer option.

William R. Olsen M.D. • Northwest Michigan Cares
 
Monday, December 21, 2009

Letters

Letters No lack of concerts
In response to Rick Coates’ article “Where Are All the Concerts?” (12/14).
Here is a list of music performances from international touring
musicians and bands that have performed at InsideOut Gallery in just
the last two of the four years we have been presenting concerts. Many
of these artists have returned two and three times. A very large
number of these acts were booked and performed during the winter
months. Sorry Mr. Coates missed them.
Many of these shows were co-produced by Seamus Shinners of Connemara
Concerts, who has been sponsoring great music in this region for
decades. Seamus produces many great music performances at many
different venues every month. If anyone should be included in a round
table discussion about the concert promoters and venue managers in
this area, it’s him.
You want to truly find out how the live music biz works? Look no
further than Traverse City’s very own Rick Shimmel. You could do a
whole separate magazine on what Rick has accomplished in the live
concert promotion world.
Coates and the Northern Express need to get off the Applebees Music
Circuit and start paying greater attention to the “truly innovative”
music that is being presented in Northern Michigan on a regular basis.
Sorry if it sounds like sour grapes on my part, but good God -- lame
classic rock and the casinos? See you at the next Chubby Checker show!
(Included was a list of more than 60 performers.)

Michael Curths • InsideOut, TC

 
Monday, December 14, 2009

Letters

Letters Riveting Read...
Anne Stanton’s articles on U.S. Rep. Bart Stupak should be reprinted
in the Washington Post and New York Times. Her Stupak interview about
the world of the C Street “Family” (12/7) is riveting.
As a Grand Traverse Democrat, I supported Mr. Stupak for years, but no
more. The Stupak Amendment to the health care bill is a pointed,
political attack on women’s health insurance rights and reproductive
rights. His association with the “Family” (a secret religious group in
Washington DC) – is very surprising news.

Grant W. Parsons • TC
 
Monday, December 7, 2009

Letters

Letters Rooster Ruckus
I would like to thank Noah Fowle and the Express for the article on
our pet bird, Beaker. A clarification on a couple things, however
-- Jim Tamlyn stated Beaker is outside crowing and the neighbors are
complaining, not noting it is only a small number of neighbors
complaining.
According to Emmet County’s own investigators, who have been on
site several times -- they never heard the rooster. Beaker lives
indoors, has his own kennel (cleaned daily) in our basement. In
limited increments, Beaker does go outside after 12 noon, and is
brought inside if he crows excessively, just as one would do with a
barking dog (like the ones owned by our complaining neighbors).
The same zoning ordinance also prohibits planting flowers,
vegetables or trees on less than two acres. Yet, while Emmet County
chooses not to enforce this obviously ridiculous part of the
ordinance, it is heavy-handedly executing orders in another part of
the same ordinance.
This is a case of discrimination and unfair application of the law.
We have tried to place Beaker on three separate farms and each time
were requested to come and get him as the people feared he would not
survive because he was so stressed. He is deathly afraid of other
chickens. He has bonded to his human and animal family and would
likely suffer from separation.
If Beaker were a special needs child, I am fairly certain our
neighbors would not object. But, he is a ‘special needs’ animal and
our neighbors simply cannot wrap their limited imaginations around the
concept that a bird is a bird.
Keeping Beaker is no different from keeping a parrot or a cockatoo
for a pet, yet these are allowed and he is NOT. Where is the so-called
‘compassion‘ in that reasoning?

Andy & Sharon Peters • Petoskey
 
Monday, November 30, 2009

Letters

Letters Escape from Afghanistan
The best way to get rid of a good idea is to give it to a committee that never meets.
Some people are growing impatient with President Obama for not making a decision about sending more troops to Afghanistan. What he’s doing is waiting for the whole idea of having troops there to die on the vine, and for good reason.
There is no definition of victory in Afghanistan. We are not going to convert Afghans to Christianity or turn them into Republicans and Democrats. An authority on what it would take for Karzai to equip and maintain a militia to hold onto power in the country estimates it would cost four billion a year, while the entire gross national product of the country is only one billion. It is not going to happen.
The Taliban are not the enemy of the
United States, though we are converting them fast to hate us. Our enemy is al Qaeda, an invisible, international group of fanatic terrorists with no borders and no uniforms. The Soviets had 300,000 troops in Afghanistan and lost. The country has been the death of empires that tried to subdue those fighting folks. You don’t go to bed with rattlesnakes.
So what’s the exist strategy? Simple: convene a conference of all countries that have their troops there and admit that the Taliban versus Karzai’s government is an internal conflict and none of our business. The U.S. cannot simply back out unilaterally without looking like a bunch of quitters and wimps, but if the consensus of the countries contributing troops is that there is no definition of victory, shutting down the effort is smart.
Sure, it will leave Karzai twisting in the wind, which he surely will at the end of a rope when the Taliban retake control of their country but remember: it is their country. We are interlopers, invaders, even crusaders if you will. We can offer Mr. Karzai asylum to save his hide, but that’s just a small factor in the end game.
With half of our own children dependent on food stamps and millions unemployed we have no business pumping money into a corrupt government where everyone steals and we stand to gain nothing but enemies whose culture believes in revenge, not reconciliation.
Keep on waiting, President Obama. Let the committee decide.

Harley Sachs • Houghton, MI
 
Monday, November 23, 2009

Letters

Letters Stupak & women
In response to the article on the Stupak amendment by Anne Stanton in the November 16 Northern Express Weekly:
Congressman Stupak, you claim in the article that National Public Radio says some groups that oppose your amendment are misrepresenting the facts. I, too, listened to the NPR analysis of your abortion ban amendment, and clearly we heard two different things.
Whereas you heard, “Keeps the law the same,” I heard, “Makes permanent a law that currently has to be renewed every year,” and, “Abortion rights could be curtailed if this bill becomes law.”
I think we both heard, “Women still have the option to buy an extra rider to cover abortion services.” Although being a woman, I think my interpretation was a little different than yours. Mr. Stupak.
I have likely never been as insulted by anyone as you at that moment in my life. I actually yelled at the nice NPR anchor. “Women do not plan unplanned pregnancies! We plan the births of our children. We plan on providing for them. We plan every last penny in our lives in order to do so! What a ridiculous notion that we will be without coverage because we didn’t plan to have an abortion.”
Hide behind the “we’ve got to get this thing passed” rhetoric all you want. But what I just heard was, “Women be damned.”
If we are poor, federal employees, members of the military, receiving Indian Health Insurance, on Medicaid, on disability, hoping for a public option, likely to receive federal subsidies on a public option – if we are in fact the women who already pay more for our medical costs than men because we pay for years of reproductive health coverage like birth control – then what I just heard was, “You are my Political Pawn.”
I would encourage men and women alike to contact their representatives and ask them to oppose this amendment.
Maybe then what I will hear from you, Congressman Stupak, is an apology.

Jennifer Kirkpatrick Johnson
• Kingsley
 
Monday, November 16, 2009

Letters

Letters No guns on campus
I live in Leelanau county, the same beautiful county where State Senator Michelle McManus resides. It is very important that I voice my opposition to having her legislation introduced to allow concealed weapons on college campuses.
I spent 25 years working with students on a college campus. Our security did not even carry guns. A college campus consists of a community of students between the ages of (approximately) 17-23 years of age. These students reside in a wonderful environment, for a few years in their lives.
I am so appalled at the concept of carrying concealed weapons on campus that I find myself searching for words to express my dismay on this issue.
Students do not want to sit in classes, go to events, or walk to parking lots knowing that the person near them is carrying a concealed weapon. Faculty and staff do not want students to have weapons. When weapons, of any dangerous kind, are found on students or in residence halls, they are confiscated, to protect themselves and the other members on campus. I sincerely hope that
Sen. McManus examines the concept of students being allowed to carry concealed weapons. I shudder at the thought.

Dorothy Mudget • Leelanau County

Heartbroken
On October 26 the Express ran an article called the “High Price of Toking.” Imagine my heartbreak as I read the article about my son, Trevor Coddington. I was not consulted about this ‘story’ and had I been, I would have reminded the writer and participants that this child is no longer with us, and disgracing his memory for monetary gain, as is mentioned in the story, is unconscionable.
Whether the court system was 100 percent correct in its treatment of my son or not, the decisions were made, years ago. As a responsible parent, I will pay for what is required by the court.
Trevor was a good and loving son. Unfortunately he will not get a chance to prove that, or what a great adult he would have been.
Might I suggest a good story called “The High Price of Grief?” Perhaps the word compassion will come up in that particular story.
Sandy Zoulek • via email

(The Express attempted to contact Sandy Zoulek for the story, but was unable to obtain her address or phone number. - ed.)
 
 
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