Letters

Letters 09-29-2014

Benishek Doesn’t Understand

Congressman Benishek claims to understand the needs of families, yet he wants to repeal the Affordable Care Act, which would cause about 10 million people to lose their health insurance. He must think as long as families can hold fundraisers they don’t need insurance...

(Un)Truth In Advertising

Constant political candidate ads on TV are getting to be too much to bear 45 days before the election...

Rare Tuttle Rebuttal

Finally, I disagree with Stephen Tuttle. His “Cherry Bomb” column in the 8/4/14 issue totally dismayed me. I always love his wit and the slamming of the 1 percent. His use of fact and hyperbole highlights the truth; until “Cherry Bomb.” Oh man, Stephen...

Say No To Fluoride

Do you or your child’s teeth have white, yellow, orange, brown, stains, spots, streaks, cloudy splotches or pitting? If so, you may be among millions of Americans who now have a condition called dental fluorosis...

Questions Of Freedom

The administration’s “Affordable Health Care Act” has ordered religious orders to provide contraception and chemical abortions against the church’s God given beliefs and teachings … an interesting order, considering the First Amendment’s clear prohibitions...

Stop The Insults & Talk

I found it interesting that Ms. Minervini used the Northern Express to push the Safe Harbor agenda for a 90-bed homeless shelter in Traverse City with a tactic that is also being utilized by members of the city commission. Those of us who oppose the project are being labeled as uncompassionate citizens...

Roads and Republicans

Each time you hit a road crater while driving, thank the “nerd” and the Tea Party controlled Republican legislature.

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Monday, December 22, 2008

Letters 12/22/08

Letters Teach them a lesson
First Enron, Xerox, Tyco, etc., then Bear Stearns, Lehman, WaMu, Wachovia, AIG, etc., then the Big 3, now Bernie Madoff’s $50 billion Ponzi scheme.
When will the law truly punish corrupt bigwigs? Take their every dollar and possession, and give their whole families nothing but some clothes, Welfare and Section-8! And no gifts from friends either!
Poverty: isn’t this what their former workers and their families get? And by whose fault? Bastards...

J. Andrew Smith • via email

Where‘s the justice?
A local cop chokes on pizza and has an accident -- or vice-versa? Another officer runs a red light and has an accident because he was “blinded by the sun.”
The media is replete with other reports of those in uniform who drive drunk off (and on?) the clock. Often their accidents or other misjudgments result in NO ticket or significant discipline.
Contrast that with a hard worker who gets up early on an ugly morning to deliver a local paper on yet another poorly maintained Grand Traverse County Road Commission road. She has the misfortune of slipping on icy slush and is issued a ticket. Perhaps her insurance costs will increase.
Little wonder that people are losing patience as well as respect for the local “institutions”?
Ethical, dedicated, law-abiding members of the law and Road Commission must be embarrassed.

Joyce Walter • Suttons Bay

Say no to the bail out
As the disgraced Detroit Big Three automakers are asking Congress for tens of billions of taxpayer dollars, we should remember the last several billion that we gave the industry, and its outcome.
In the 1990s, the Partnership for a New Generation of Vehicles worked to make 80+ miles-per-gallon cars and allowed for communications amongst scientists between the big three auto makers to help speed that process along.
The Partnership was a huge success, with three 70+ miles-per-gallon prototypes. General Motors had the Precept, with one version getting 108 miles-per-gallon, equivalent running on hydrogen. Ford had the Prodigy getting 72 miles-per-gallon, and Daimler-Chrysler also had a 72 miles-per-gallon vehicle. Taxpayers were proud that their billions were not wasted, and expected these vehicles on the market.
But none of the automakers put any of these vehicles into production, or anything similar.
Instead, they chose gas-guzzling SUVs, the epitome of stupidity from a climate change and energy conservation perspective. Using slick ads to push their behemoth vehicles, the auto makers are among the biggest culprits in the fast rise in greenhouse gas emissions in the United States.
What happened to the efficient vehicles? The failure to incorporate that technology was also a major cause of our economic collapse. With the rise in gas prices this past summer, the values of SUV’s plummeted, and for many, their gas guzzlers are now worth less than the loan they have on them.
Why should we give a bail-out when the automakers are the ones who put themselves into the crisis they are in through their own idiocy? Why don’t they dust off these efficient vehicles and put them into production, something both our wallets and our planet could have used a decade ago?
They say those who forget history are bound to repeat it. After the foolish follies of the auto industries, in pushing gas guzzlers on the American public (along with tax breaks that they manipulated through Congress), why should we bail them out?

Chad Kister • Nelsonville, Ohio

Where was Shelby?
Alabama Senator Richard Shelby has expressed his outrage at the proposed bailout for U. S. automakers. Could it be because of his anti-union animus towards labor unions in general, and the United Auto Workers in particular? It is apparent that Senator Shelby is interested only in protecting the interests of the union-free foreign auto manufacturers in his state.
The $14 billion bailout package proposed for the Big Three U.S. auto manufacturers pales in comparison to the open-ended $700 billion bailout package given to mortgage lenders. At least there are payback provisions attached to any bailout for the automakers.
It’s also obvious that Senator Shelby’s record demonstrates his contempt for collective bargaining, rationalizing that union workers make too much money. Really? Where was Senator Shelby’s outrage when corporate CEO’s were (are) raking in millions of dollars in wages, stock options and bonuses? Where was his outrage when they got paid this outrageous compensation while at the same time leading their corporations into an economic abyss?
Where was Senator Shelby when the mortgage-lending shell game was being played out?

Paul G. Jaehnert • via email

Advent Conspiracy
In the life of the Christian church, the season of Advent (the four weeks before Christmas) is a time of preparation, waiting and hope. Advent is a time to take stock of our values, priorities and goals.
Christ’s birth is a story of promise, hope and revolutionary love. Yet how do most people celebrate this? Some trample Wal-Mart employees to death to save 30 bucks on a DVD player (an ironic twist to ‘Black Friday’ if there ever were one). Others spend hours sitting in traffic jams. Some are overwhelmed with stress while others accrue massive amounts of debt. And even when the last trash can of holiday refuse is dumped and out of sight, the earth continues to pay the price.
Enter The Advent Conspiracy. The Potter’s House is joining with other progressive faith communities by encouraging its people to do four simple things this Advent.
Worship Fully: Advent is a time to lay down your burdens and lift your hearts to God. Life is difficult, we know, but Advent reminds us that love triumphs and peace will reign.
Spend Less: Buy one less gift and use the money for something good. You need not be a Scrooge; just be intentional.
Give More: Time is the real gift of Christmas. Go sledding with your kids, bake cookies together, call your mom.
Love All: Do something compassionate for those in need. Jesus loved people in ways that broke down barriers. Jesus loved those who were poor, forgotten, oppressed and hurting. We have the opportunity to do the same.
I recently learned that 1.8 million people die each year from lack of clean water. That figure includes about 3,900 children a day. It’s estimated that it would take about $10 billion to solve this problem. But that’s chump-change when you consider Americans spend an estimated $450 billion on Christmas.
Do something on your own. Partner with our church to dig wells. Support a local non-profit. Just do something dangerous this year. Give ‘presence‘ and join the conspiracy.

Rev. Corey Sanderson • Potter’s House, United Church of Christ


 
Monday, December 15, 2008

Letters 12/15/08

Letters In defense of Israel
I will not attempt to deny any of Ms. Young’s second-hand accounts of incidents described to her in Israel, however I would like to counter her letter with some first-hand evidence (re: Letters, 12/8).
I had the opportunity, honor, and great privelage to work alongside the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) and never once witnessed a single incident of unprofessional behavior. In fact, in my 22 years of army service (working with many foreign armies) I never worked with a more professional and disciplined military force than the IDF.
I personally witnessed several incidents where these men actually held their fire at great risk to themselves in order to prevent possible civilian casualties; and I know, if it had been me, a highly trained U.S. soldier, I probably would have reacted differently.
To besmirch the men and women of the IDF based upon heresay (and I suspect a certain level of anti-Semitism) is disgraceful, as the nation of Israel is a true friend and dependable ally in a part of the world where these qualities are rare.

Michael W. Rutledge
• SFC, USA (Ret)

Michigan & Israel
I find it unconscionable that Governor Granholm would consider encouraging companies from Israel to invest in Michigan.
Israel is about the size of Baghdad and a little smaller than New York City, yet it receives one-third of all U.S. foreign aid. Yes, our tax dollars. It has the sixth most destructive military in the world and has nuclear weapons. It has defied hundreds of U.N. resolutions going back to 1948. It is wreaking death and destruction on the people of Palestine with U.S.-made weapons.
Most of the people of Israel abhor what their government is doing. Michigan can help them in their quest and set an example for human rights. The South African government stopped their repression only after the international community used the financial power of divestment and other economic tools. Michigan needs to do the same with Israel.
Economic times are tough in Michigan, but we need to put our morality above our wallets and find better investors.

Arnold Stieber • Grass Lake

Memorable story
I was moved by Nancy Vogl’s article, “Breaking the Cycle of Racism.” The Record-Eagle did a responsible job reporting the Hampel story, and the community made a wonderful statement when it rose with one voice to speak against racism. But Vogl’s piece in the Northern Express was something special -- something memorable.
Vogl did something only a neighbor with a big heart in a small community can do -- she went next door and knocked, and the door opened on a larger understanding of a divisive problem. Vogl is an excellent writer with a sense of drama. More important to me, she conveyed a courageous sense of faith in the ultimate rightness of our community. She discovered in a person who was scorned for a mistake a redemptive humanity.
Thanks to Vogl and her neighbor, Rod, and to the Express for this very meaningful article.

Grant Parsons • TC


In memory
I am writing to marvel at the beauty of a memorial service that seemed to embody Lori Hall Steele.
There was a blend of Celtic, Christian, gutsy blues, solo guitar, a touch of rock and roll, precious children -- especially Jackson, Lori’s son -- who directed a
solo concert with one rehearsal in the back of the church right before the service. The entire event was slightly edgy, as passionate people are. In the end, a beautiful woman emphasized the power of love.

Francine Wynkoop
• via email

A better way
My Grand Vision is for anybody to safely cross Division Street in Traverse City.
Ideally, residents on either side of Division should be able to send their kids to Ace Hardware or the Grand Traverse Pie Company and feel good about it. As it is now, there are no totally safe options. There are stop lights on the Parkway, Front Street and Seventh Street, but with the amount of traffic and the vehicles turning right with the light and on red lights, it is still too dangerous.
Step one could be renaming the street. How about Water Street? There are Water streets in Petoskey, Cadillac and Boyne City, so this could in a way be a regional connection. The street takes anybody entering town from from the south straight to the water, the main reason for visiting Traverse City.
Step two would be changing the newly named street from a four-lane road into a three-lane road with a center left turn lane. There are numerous studies that explain how three-lane roads move traffic efficiently and are much safer than four lanes. A four-lane turns into a three-lane as soon as a car has to wait to make a left turn. A three-lane would eliminate getting stuck behind someone making a left turn and all the lane changing that happens from trying to avoid being stuck behind someone making a left turn.
A three-lane road would be much easier for pedestrians and bike riders to cross. It would also help connect the west side to the rest of town. It would in effect make the neighborhood feel of Traverse City expand. As it is now, Division Street is an unattractive river of metal-in-motion.
With the west side more connected to the rest of town (including the Grand Traverse Commons) property values and livibility would improve on that side of town.
To get an idea of how it would work, 14th Street between Division and Union is a three lane and Eighth Street between Rose and Garfield is a three lane. These are still busy streets, but they are safer, calmer and more crossable than Division Street.
Division Street is a busier street, but it would be good thing to slow people down when they come in to Traverse City. Tourists would be more likely to go downtown or the Grand Traverse Commons than to blow through town on their way to Leelanau County. Traverse City would be a more welcoming town with Division/Water Street as a three-lane.
No one likes being stuck in traffic, but for businesses, traffic means prosperity -- something we could currently use more of around here. It is up to us to make our roads safe and comfortable for everybody, including motorists, walkers and bike riders. Maybe a lane change would make it comfortable enough where more people would walk and ride bikes and there would be less traffic.

Patrick Ivory • TC



 
Monday, December 8, 2008

Letters 12/8/08

Letters Wine woes
I work for a wine retailer in Madison Heights. The vast majority of our business consists of us delivering wine directly to our clients.
The first week of December, the Michigan House of Representatives will likely vote on House bill 6644. This bill would make it illegal for my Michigan-licensed wine company, and other Michigan wine retailers, to deliver wine to our Michigan customers.
Advocates of this bill claim that this is the only way to stop minors from purchasing wine for delivery online, in spite of there not being one known instance of a minor successfully purchasing wine from an out of state retail wine shipper in any of the dozens of states that allow the deliveries. To penalize actual local retailers due to a phantom risk posed by out of state retailers seems foolhardy and misguided.
The practical ramifications of House Bill 6644 passing would be catastrophic for my company as well as hundreds of other wine retailers and catering companies. We would be forced to employ less delivery drivers, warehouse workers, and even customer service reps. During this particularly trying holiday season, the Michigan House of Representatives would be better served considering a bill that can create more jobs across Michigan, not one that is certain to take jobs away.

Rick Wolfe • Westland

Israel & injustice
It is hard to think that a sad event will bring a glimmer of hope. Today an email did just that.
My daughter serves as a volunteer each year in Palestine. The stories and information she brings back are heart-breaking. There seems to be a bottomless pit of injustice inflicted on a people who seem to have no options. The excuse is that there are terrorists that need to be controlled. But it isn’t terrorists who are suffering, and ordinary citizens have no influence on Hamas or Fahta.
With U.S.A. support, Israel commits constant human rights violations. They seize land with no recourse for the rightful land owner; they throw Palestinians into jail for something as simple as smiling. They cut off electricity, food, and water. They terrorize international peace volunteers and have kidnapped some from non-Israeli territory.
The email was about an Israeli soldier with his contingent firing bullets into the Palestinian fields where farmers were attempting to work. The soldier put his gun down, crossed the barrier, and joined the farmers in their planting. When he returned he likely disappeared into an Israeli prison. Reading of this selfless act, I cried for him and the people he was supposed to terrorize.
This holocaust could be stopped. Re-read They Dare to Speak Out by former congressman Paul Findley and the more recent The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy by Mearsheimer and Watt.
You can help. Replace the olive trees ripped out by the Israelis. The East Jerusalem YMCA has a campaign for this. (www.jai-pal.org ) The U.S.A funds Israel at $11 billion annually, no strings attached. To see what they’re buying, go to: www.freegaza.org. It isn’t as hopeless as it sometimes appears.

Barbara Young • Bear Lake
 
Monday, December 1, 2008

Letters 12/1/08

Letters When vets disagree...
On Veterans Day, we, of the Veterans for Peace (VFP), placed at the open space in Traverse City, the symbolic crosses of 168 Michigan Iraq/Afghanistan war veterans that have been killed in action. We did so to honor our fallen brothers and sisters. Placing those crosses was difficult emotionally for all of us. Each cross and photo represented a soldier taken from his loved ones, never to return. And we know countless others are coming home severely wounded, both physically and emotionally.
As president of VFP, I feel obligated to respond to a presentation/panel discussion which was disrupted at the Old Arts Building in Leland on Veterans Day. I am a combat infantry Vietnam veteran. I have been awarded the Silver Star, Army Commendation Medal, Combat Infantry Badge, and other medals. I have suffered from post traumatic stress for the past 40+ years, due to wars horrifying experiences.
And I remember our presence in Vietnam was senseless.
My brothers of the VFP who were gracious enough to accompany me to Leiand on Veterans Day, and participate on the panel are well educated and thoughtful. We spoke to the themes given to us,, and did so to the best of our ability. I was not allowed the chance to speak of my return home from war because I was interrupted by angry veterans that disrupted our presentation. We were dubbed “not real veterans.” Referred to as “castrati.” We were personally attacked and disrespected as we tried to speak of the negative effects of war.
Our statement of purpose is: “we, having dutifully served out nation, do hereby affirm our greater responsibility to serve the cause of world peace.” Therein lies our philosophy.
Armistice day originated as a “day dedicated to peace.” What better way to honor our veterans than to talk about peace.
This I know. All veterans that have fought on the front line, infantry, and have experienced the intensity and anxiety of war, would never want their children to experience the same. Why then do some veterans glorify war when we should be glorifying the veterans, not just on Veterans Day, but each and every day of the year?

Tim Keenan • TC

The forgettable Browns
Your piece on Lion Facts (November 17-23) fifth bullet point is inaccurate. The Cleveland Browns have also never been to the Super Bowl. That’s okay -- everybody always forgets about The Browns.

Jeff Hall • via email
 
Monday, November 24, 2008

Letters 11/24/08

Letters Remembering Lori
Our little town is filled with voices: listen. Ours are the thousand beautiful voices of filmmakers and actors, authors and broadcasters, activists and
office-holders, musicians and painters and sculptors.
We lost one of those beloved voices on Wednesday. Lori Hall Steele was a writer, a journalist and essayist. She wrote about us, both from us and to us. She wrote about the heart and the hearth. She wrote about helping her toddler shovel tricycle trails in the snow. She wrote about the children who joined her “playing in the dirt” to plant flowers. “Bright crazy things were living,” she wrote, “and they helped.” She wrote about Phil Murray’s chocolate. She wrote about the re-birth of the old State Hospital. She wrote about the value of strong neighborhood schools.
Lori lived and worked from the center of this community. She wrote stories that pleased and provoked and moved us because she knew us. She cared about what mattered to us. She promoted the changes that are good for us. On fine days, she and her laptop would sit at a table outside Horizon Books. She must have gotten some writing done there, but it seems that she spent most of her time listening and responding as folks stopped to talk about the big issues, the small issues, and everything in between. Lori dwelled in the center of this community.
When her illness compelled her to ask for help, help arrived in abundance - and no wonder. It wasn’t just that we knew Lori. It wasn’t just that we loved Lori. We cherished Lori. Selfishly, we had to try to make her well, to restore her to the health that gave us those warm thoughts, those sparkling words, those big bright compassionate eyes... and oh, those dimples!
As Lori got sicker, we hoped for a miracle that didn’t come. Now that she’s gone, we’re left to do what her writings always invited us to do. Pay attention to the everyday miracles that do come. Appreciate the snowflakes, and the neighborhood sounds that float in through the windows. See the genie summoned when we polish our grandmother’s silver. Hear the love in our mother’s absent-minded chatter: “Your uncle called and we should take yoga class and how do you make apple crisp?...”
Lori Hall Steele was a vibrant voice, and it’s a sorrowful void of silence she leaves behind.

Bonnie Deigh • TC
Great Lakes cash cow?
If you doubt that Great Lakes water is at risk, see the full-page Morgan
Stanley ad on page 49 of the November 17 New Yorker magazine. Picture a gigantic water bottle superimposed on a gigantic city being built in a desert, and saying:
“WORLD WISE: Demand for water is growing twice as fast as the population. New methods of sourcing, purifying and transporting water will be essential to meet these demands. But what could these innovations mean for you? Speak to your Morgan Stanley Financial Advisor about where potential opportunities may lie. To find the smart investments today, you need to be world wise.”
Where else but in the world’s greatest supply of fresh water, the Great Lakes, would investors first look for the “sourcing” of water? We must support the efforts of Bart Stupak and the Michigan Citizens for Water Conservation to amend the Great Lakes Compact to prevent sales of our water as “products” for investors’ profits.
Anita Abbott • Northport
 
Monday, November 17, 2008

Letters 11/17/08

Letters The truth about Bambi
Re the question: “So what’s next for Bambi and Buck?” in Robert Downes’s column on deer:
Just a point of clarification - Bambi IS a buck. Unfortunately, the original novel, a classic of surpassing strength and lyrical beauty, became ‘Disney-fied” beyond recognition shortly after it was published in 1928.
I was a parent lucky enough to discover the delights of sharing the original adventure with my boys (expect requests for several readings). Its description of the coming of winter is unforgettable.

Bill Smith • Empire

Buy Made in the U.S.A.
Whatever happened to buying “Made in the U.S.A.“? And I don’t just mean “made” in U.SA. I mean “made and the money staying” here.
“Made in U.SA. only implies that an American citizen earned a paycheck, somewhere along the lines of manufacturing it. How many of you drive a Subaru? I have never seen so many Subarus in one city before! Even if it was built in Indiana, the money goes to a Japanese company, making Fuji Heavy Industries richer and driving our country’s own true all-American companies closer to going out of business.
I refuse to drive a foreign vehicle! Always have and always will.
However, I am still at fault too. And so are you. Everyone wants to save a buck nowadays. Maybe this is where we all went wrong?
A few months ago I took at look at the tags in my clothes. What used to be my favorite clothing store, because of good prices, is no longer a store I will ever shop in again. My jeans were made in Hong Kong. My shirts were made in Bangladesh, Vietnam, Indonesia, Cambodia, Pakistan and Malaysia.
From then on, I‘ve always looked for the “Made in U.SA.” labels. Toys, dishes, and home decor... It seems like China is the superpower of the world’s trade market. We’ve made them that way.
Besides the U.SA., why not support our own state? Or city? Before rushing off to your nearest national franchise for groceries or auto parts, why not consider supporting your neighbors? Olsens and Tom’s Food Markets were locally born. Meijer is a Michigan-born company. But Kmart, WalMart, and Sam’s Club probably were not. Our habits as consumers are the main cause of companies having to find ways to cut back on expenses. Sometimes this means cutting jobs, or closing doors.
Next time you need an auto part, why not buy it from a local family-owned store instead of a national franchise store? Why not pay a few extra dollars for the quality part made in the USA, instead of saving a few bucks and buying the cheap part made in China?
Don’t you get tired of hearing your friend complain about the government, & blaming them for the reason why GM laid off his uncle & then his uncle lost his home to foreclosure? Yet your friend and three of their family members all drive Subarus. Excuse me? Who’s at fault?

Cheri Anderson • TC
 
Monday, November 10, 2008

Letters 11/10/08

Letters Racism in TC
I was saddened and dismayed to read about the feelings and actions of the employees of Hampel‘s Key and Lockshop. I was, however, happy to see that the news was recognized as important enough to be reported by the Record-Eagle.
We need to know who our neighbors are. It made me sick to my stomach to know that people with that kind of proud hatred are living in the same community with me.
I can only hope that people with such ignorant racist attitudes are still cognitively able to learn the errors of their thinking. I will place my hope and my heart in the idea that someday, Hampel‘s and their loyal customers will be given the capacity for increased knowledge, understanding, and respect.

Robin Tilwick • TC
Angry veterans
Just a comment and rebuttal to the decision of Hampel‘s gun and and key shop to fly the flag inverted last week. A coworker came in Friday telling me of his father‘s total disgust with the decision of flying the flag this way. He is a WW II vet and fought for peoples‘ rights, but not this blatant disrespect.
I too am a vet and so are my two brothers and my Dad. We served to protect the rights of people like this, but this isn’t a right that Hampel‘s has as stated in the code for the flying the flag.
It usually used as a distress signal or call for help. In this case, the owner is probably not pleased with the current state of affairs: the war, the economy, whatever.
The upside down U.S. flag is an official signal of distress. It is not meant to be, and is not officially recognized as any type of disrespect when so displayed for the right reasons.
If the employee of Hampel‘s would like to be considered a traitor to America, he can continue his actions, but otherwise stop and respect our flag. Your opinion is allowed, but don’t bring our great flag into this. Many men have died to keep that flag flying in the right manner.

Joe Deater • via email
 
Monday, November 3, 2008

Letters 11/3/08

Letters Those awful liberals...
They would actually spend money helping people instead of killing people.
A pundit was predicting what would happen if the Democrats gained control of Congress and the White House. He said they would cut defense spending and increase spending on social programs.
Now, isn’t that the worst thing that could happen? Helping the average citizen and cut defense when the Martians are coming, the Martians are coming?

Richard R Riker • Mackinaw City

Letter to Obama
Let me be candid. After all the campaigning, I still don’t know you very well. You are still coming off as advocating intrusive and paternalistic national government with little faith in free enterprise or belief in personal responsibility and accountability.
I worry that your view of self reliance evolved out of your long-time membership in a Chicago church that embraced Black Liberation Theology which perpetuates a victim mentality long ago abandoned by most black Americans and other minority groups who are doing well. I worry about your belief that the role of government is to redistribute income through personal and corporate taxes.
You have not expressed much faith in or respect for the private sector as the real source of the nation’s wealth. The only incentive you have promised to encourage national corporations to locate or expand here is a threat of punitive tax policies. Read Thomas Friedman’s book The World Is Flat to understand we cannot unilaterally establish the level of competitive wages or total cost in a world market.
No matter how much you despise corporate America, companies always have choices of where to locate. You will not be able to build a wall around the country with artificial constraints to keep jobs in the U.S. We will only keep what we earn and deserve in a world of vicious competition.
Much of what you have said and not said, as well as what you have done and not done, undermines confidence in your being the president we need.

Dick Selvala • Cross Village


End suffering: vote yes
As an 18-year-old first-time voter and a Crohn’s disease patient of six years I am urging all Michigan residents to vote yes on proposals 1 and 2.
Proposal 1 is for legalizing marijuana for medical purposes and Proposal 2 is for lifting a Michigan constitutional ban on the research of stem cells or the use of stem cells in Michigan. Both of these proposals would offer relief to patients who have been suffering through diseases such as leukemia, Parkinson’s disease, and those affected by Crohn’s disease. Legalizing these methods of treatments would offer patients hope by giving them a new treatment when all other common medicines and treatments have failed them.
The people who want these proposals legalized are not immoral or “pot heads” -- they just want something to make their bodies healthy again so they can aspire to the same health standards of a person not having these diseases.
Michigan has a chance to help end the suffering of these patients by voting yes on proposals 1 and 2. Let‘s end the suffering and give them hope on November 4th.

Matt Tomlinson • Grawn
 
Monday, October 27, 2008

Letters 10/27/08

Letters Teens & sex
I read the beautifully written short article by Jessica Schrader on Kids & the truth about sex ed. This particular subject is especially important to me. I am a child of a teen pregnancy and have a broad understanding of the struggles a teen can have raising a child. I also have witnessed many of my teen friends growing up dealing with STD and abortion issues. This is a personal and very public issue.
To provide some factual insight to Jessica’s point; the Advocates for youth website provides the following profound information:
“Each year, U.S. teens experience as many as 850,000 pregnancies, and youth under age 25 experience about 9.1 million sexually transmitted infections (STIs). By age 18, 70 percent of U.S. females and 62 percent of U.S. males have initiated vaginal sex.
Comprehensive sex education is effective at assisting young people to make healthy decisions about sex and to adopt healthy sexual behaviors.No abstinence-only-until-marriage program has been shown to help teens delay the initiation of sex or to protect themselves when they do initiate sex.Yet, the U.S. government has spent over one billion dollars supporting abstinence-only-until-marriage programs. Although the U.S. government ignores it, adolescents have a fundamental human right to accurate and comprehensive sexual health information.”
I feel that this subject could use some dedicated coverage for the health of our society. I would encourage the Northern Express to do so.

Jenn Craven • Lake Ann

Teens & responsibility
This is a response to Jessica Schrader’s article favoring teaching junior and senior high school students the how to’s of birth control. There are several reasons why this is a bad idea.
To understand these reasons, you may want to consider something else we tell teens to abstain from with less than ideal results: consuming alcohol. I’m guessing that in their health classes teens are not instructed in how to drink responsibly. If we did teach that, we would be sending the message that we expect them to break the law and drink alcohol before age 21. We would also be wasting our breath because research has shown that due to biological and developmental factors, teens are not generally capable of applying the self-restraint that would allow them to drink responsibly.
In the case of teen sex, the responsible and self-disciplined teens will wait. The less responsible and self-disciplined will have sex, but be the least likely to successfully use birth control even if educated in the greatest of detail.
Every variation on sex education has been tried in different parts of the country and different times, including handing out free condoms to students. There’s no clear evidence that unwed pregnancy or disease rates are lower where sex education has been most explicit.
The people of Michigan have decided through the political process that they want to send an unequivocal message to young people that they are not mature enough for sex. Those who decide otherwise have easy access to birth control information on the internet in the unlikely event they are inclined to be responsible.

Nancy Brimhall, RN • Alden

 
Monday, October 20, 2008

Letters 10/20/08

Letters Pollution affects us all
I read your article about the Alba well with great interest. My heart goes out to the people at CMS Energy who must incur an estimated $140,000,000 to clean up Bay Harbor. No company would knowingly cause such a problem.
Someone once asked Mother Theresa “who causes the problems in the world?” She replied “I do.” We are all polluters. Any woman who uses nail polish and especially nail polish remover is a polluter. If we multiplied our toenails with all the toenails in America it would cost more than $140,000,000 to clean up the waste if it was all dumped in one place.
I am disappointed to learn how many people think Alba, Bay Harbor and Petoskey are separate problems. We are all one community or one ohana as they say in Hawaii. Let’s think of the problem as a great big “PetAlba Bay” problem.
I am concerned about the effect Bay Harbor has on Petoskey water since two or three of the Petoskey wells are located at Bay Harbor. I checked into it and learned that no organic compounds are being tested for as recommended in the “EPA National Water Quality Standards 2006” report. I also learned Petoskey water samples are being taken downstream and not at the wellhead. That’s what a hydrologist and an environmental scientist who used to work for Dow Chemical told me.
Many people say Petoskey‘s water tastes bad. One person told me it aggravates Crohn‘s disease. Another said two nurses whispered to him: “Stop drinking Petoskey water,” when he was a patient. He did and got better.
There is a simple solution. Homes can install a reverse osmosis system which removes 99 percent of the contaminents or buy bottled water. Petoskey‘s Big Boy has installed a reverse osmosis system and Grain Train is installing a system so that water can be bought in reusable polycarbonate bottles. It would be wonderful if we could stop burying our head in the sand and just do what we can to improve our health.

Irene Parker • Petoskey

Dirty political trick
Hey, Macomb Republicans and their chair James Carabelli: kick ‘em while they’re down!
Yours was the first attempt to get rid of non-Republican votes in Michigan, disenfranchising your neighbors who lost their homes to foreclosure and no longer live at that address.
Most foreclosures happened because of Republican Congress’ dogged deregulation over the years, with considerable help from corporate greed. Now, Macomb County tried to disenfranchise those foreclosed with its “Lose your home; lose your vote” policy.
Great, dirty political ploy! Those foreclosed owners would be voting for Obama/Biden, because under their plans, 95 percent of American families would get a tax cut and a moratorium on further foreclosures, which would provide some breathing space for the little guy. The Obama campaign and the Democratic National Committee brought a lawsuit against Macomb Republicans and others like them country-wide. Now what?
Hey, we move it up a notch from a county party to a state official, Michigan Secretary of State: Republican Terry Lynn Land. She initiated her illegal voter purging program to disenfranchise thousands more. That brought out the ACLU to sue an elected official to make her do her job honestly.
Last week, Judge Stephen J. Murphy III found that Land had violated a federal law when she purged 1,500 newly registered voters this year because their mailed voter registration cards were returned undelivered. Those voters and any others since 2006 purged from the rolls for the same reason must be reinstated, because of the “motor voter” act. That federal law prevents such purging for two future general federal elections.
When the Washington Post contacted Land, neither she nor her spokesperson was available for comment.
Butt out, dirty tricksters. Let the votes fall where they may.

Patti Fox • Bellaire
 
Monday, October 13, 2008

Letters 10/13/08

Letters Sign of the times
I recently installed a political campaign sign near my home and within 10 days it was uprooted and tossed aside six times. Then it was stolen.
I realize this is bound to happen here and there, now and then, as election day draws near; and I know that people generally tend to shrug it off as something they can’t do much about anyway. But I sincerely commiserate with the people who are subjected to these callous intrusions into their lives; and I would like to address a few pertinent remarks to the misguided individuals who perpetrate them.
Attention smug, skulking minions of fear, ignorance and greed who under cover of darkness and at strategically calculated hours of the day violate our constitutional right to free speech and thumb their noses at the judicious laws of the state by vandalizing and removing lawfully placed political campaign signs: You are committing a crime.
Do you think that you’re cleverly manipulating “the system” to your advantage? Do you flatter yourselves with the notion that you’re gallantly exercising your freedom and patriotism? If so, you are deluding yourselves. In reality, you do nothing to further your political ambitions and only succeed in generating resentment, suspicion and mistrust in the hearts and minds of your neighbors. Is this your idea of the American spirit? Your self-indulgent, heedless violation of our right to free speech isn’t “freedom” -- it’s nothing more than contemptible bullying.
And “patriotism”? Someone, please, open a window! Your actions blatantly demonstrate that you have no sense of fair play and no real understanding of or respect for the just and humane principles upon which a civilized society is founded. You dishonor the true patriots who dedicate themselves to safeguarding and promoting those principles. And you abuse the better part of your own selves. (Imagine the ludicrous, feeble-minded, puerile image you project by sneaking around and attacking campaign signs!)
Come on people. Stop what you’re doing. Think. Respect the rights and dignity of others. Restore your own dignity by mustering up the moral courage and decency it takes to return those signs in their original condition to the places they were rightfully intended to be.

David Vincent • via email

 
Monday, October 6, 2008

Letters 10/6/08

Letters Who‘s to blame?
The consensus is that the crisis in financial markets relates to the sub-prime mortgage scandal. Until mortgages are under control, even the Fed cannot bail us out and return prosperity in America.
But no one is addressing the cause, or fixing the blame for the crisis. That is a bad mistake. People who get caught doing wrong always say, “Don’t look back; let’s just fix the problem.”
Blame is important because it acknowledges that a right way of doing things still exists, as opposed to what happened here. If there is no blame, then the public gets the mistaken impression that “the system” is flawed. Instead of focusing the problem where it belongs – on the crooks who created and then milked a disaster – the public sees the entire system as at fault, and takes money out of the system, further damaging it.
I‘m reminded of something I read earlier this year: a February 14 article, “Predatory Lenders’ Partner in Crime,” in the Washington Post by then-Attorney General Eliot Spitzer.
Spitzer, who was later caught in a scandal, wrote that the sub-prime crisis, which caused the current banking crisis, was not caused by a mysterious, insoluble flaw in the American system. It was caused by predatory lending – bankers and mortgage companies enticed people to borrow money without the slightest ability to pay it back. Then they sold the mortgages to others, who invested in mortgage-backed securities.
As of 2003 – years ago – 50 state attorney generals filed suit or brought civil claims against subprime lenders to stop the gathering disaster. Fifty state attorney generals saw the risk of this crisis.
The Bush administration – the “partner in crime” – forced the 50 states to stop their civil actions. The Bush administration turned loose the speculators and manipulators, and sided with financial rogues against the American public.
The financial crisis that threatens the world did not come out of nowhere. Real, live bad people caused this to happen. They hurt real, live Americans trying to make a living and save for retirement. They hurt, for example, local hospitals that invest savings and provide medical help to the community. They hurt school teachers; they hurt yard workers; they hurt Republicans and Democrats alike.
And the Bush administration intentionally assisted in this crime. As of 2003 the states were trying to stop this disaster. The Bush administration actively prevented lawyers from saving American citizens from this financial disaster – a disaster my children will be paying for over the next 50 years.
My message may be a little strange, but here it is – The American system is a good system that has worked for many decades. It has not failed. What failed is a corrupt presidential administration.

Grant W. Parsons • TC

 
Monday, September 29, 2008

Letters 9/29/08

Letters Supporting Sarah

Here we go – Wayne Erreca and Robert Downes prove Sarah Palin has something going for her and is vice presidential material. At first, reading their vicious attack, I was offended, then I had to chuckle as she really has the Democrats scrambling to cut her down. Way to go Sarah.

Donna Edgerton • Indian River

Republican Doubletalk

I am sick of one political party claiming the title “pro-life,” as if the rest of us are “anti-life.” What about “life” after birth?
What party lied to trick us into a war that has killed and maimed hundreds of thousands of God’s children?
What party is so protective of big business and the insurance industry that millions are left with poor coverage or none at all?
What party tells people: “Pull yourselves up by your bootstraps?,” “We’ll give you a hand up, not a hand out?,” then they create business incentives for companies to outsource American jobs to other countries?
What party justifies tax breaks to the wealthy, telling us it’ll create jobs…the money will “trickle down” to us? In reality, they invest in jobs overseas where labor is cheap!
Which party promises tax cuts, never reminding us about our huge debt and enormously expensive war? They don’t tell us they’ll pay for those by cutting social programs such as Social Security and Medicare? What about our crumbling infrastructure?
Which party claims “family values” while members of their party prove repeatedly that their morals are no different than anyone else’s?
Which party has created a climate of greed allowing millions of Americans to lose their homes?
Which party has denied the need for clean, renewable energy (benefiting not only the health of the environment, but human health), because of their connection to the oil industry?
My point is that all life counts! Our future depends on this election. We need to recognize all this kissing up to average, working class Americans for what it is… Republican desperation to get votes! Study the issues. Forget the emotion, gender, race and personalities. Vote on the issues that will impact us and our children’s lives for years to come.

Barbara Bernier • Manistee
 
Monday, September 22, 2008

Letters 9/22/08

Letters Our world standing
As a long-time visitor to Northern Michigan from the United Kingdom, I find visits during election years fascinating. None more so than this one.
Candidates may be ranting on about jobs, the economy, education or security, but presidential elections are also about America’s standing in the world. The last eight years have been a disaster.
It is shocking to see how reviled and ridiculed this country is around the world. That’s not healthy for the U.S. or the planet as a whole.
In a recent BBC poll conducted in 22 countries, Barak Obama was favored by a margin of 4-to-1 to become president. Not only would a McCain presidency smack of business as usual, but in his choice of running mate, the derision has reached new heights.
One can smugly declare that this does not matter since these people have no vote in the elections anyway. But the major issues facing our planet will only be resolved if we all work together to resolve them. And that will not happen if the United States continues to be disliked and mistrusted, let alone a continuous laughing stock.

Alan Deverell • TC

Exxon outrage
I saw a news story about how Exxon had made a record profit, one of their highest yet. We have paid outrageous prices at the pump for them to make this profit.
We have paid higher prices in grocery stores, retail stores, and restaurants so Exxon could make a huge profit. We have paid so they could celebrate their good fortune while record numbers fill local food banks and thousands of people are losing their homes because they can’t make ends meet.
I think it is long past time we stand up and let Exxon know this kind of business practice is not acceptable in America. It is time we stop complaining about gas prices and do something about it
Plan your shopping and work to minimize what time you spend driving, start walking whenever possible, use the bus system, ride a bike, car pool to work... do whatever you can to reduce the amount of gas you buy. Shop stations not owned by Exxon. If enough people follow through with this, it will send a very loud message through reduced profits: that doing business at the expense of the American people doesn’t work!

Peggy Zinn
via email
 
Monday, September 15, 2008

Letters 9/15/08

Letters Palin: more of the same
Who is Sarah Palin? Her nomination came like a sniper shot from nowhere, and Republican assurances that their private “due diligence” constitutes investigation is laughable.
The vetting process is crucial when the primary candidate is 72 years old. Their cavalier attitude may be emblematic of another “bums‘ rush” for the White House as conceived by Karl Rove.
Aside from the age and gender differences, I see few moderating distinctions between the Bush administration and this Republican proposal. We know that McCain voted with Bush 90% of the time during the past eight years, an indication of his presidency, but what if Palin outlives him?
President Palin would oppose abortion even in the case of rape or incest; believes that creationism should be taught in schools; does not believe humans affect global warming; actually sued the Bush administration for calling Polar Bears an endangered species; supported right-wing extremist Pat Buchanan for president in 2000; believes in a “Big Oil First” energy policy; supports the war; and she even received praise from Rush Limbaugh. This is not change.
It’s odd when a candidate touts their religiosity on a platform of “change.” Frankly, I don’t think anything new has come from religion since the Bronze Age. Change is not accepted within the evangelical realm unless it is to “change” someone else back to a 3,000-year-old sense of morality. A world where scientific inquiry was met with torture, where most sexual sins were punished by death, and when children were sold into slavery. A horrific return to the superstitious world where human sacrifice is rationalized into an “expression of love” for the purpose of placating an angry God is recidivism. It is not change.
Will the Alaskan Governor‘s foreign policy simply be big oil‘s wish list? It was. And, this is change?

Tim Wiley • TC

 
 
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