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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Random Thoughts

 
Monday, January 12, 2009

The value of fitness

Random Thoughts Robert Downes When my partner George Foster and I started this newspaper back in 1991, it was with the idea of having a strong emphasis on health and fitness.
We were both products of the fitness boom of the ’80s -- a time when running, biking, cross-country skiing and triathlons were more a way of life than something you did for fun.
Through the years, we’ve gotten soft on that side of the paper, but I still enjoy working on this annual tribute to fitness issue each January. It’s a reminder to reinvent ourselves each year.
A lot of you apparently feel the same way. I’ve been going to the same gym since ’91 and every January since then, the place has been packed with the newcomers.
But each year, the converts gradually taper off and the gym empties as the months go by. I once heard that the average newcomer to a fitness program lasts about 11 weeks before he or she caves in, but one of our local trainers thinks it might be more like six.
 
Monday, January 5, 2009

Moving On

Random Thoughts Robert Downes Moving On
Met a young guy over the holidays who is moving to Australia this week to take on a new job.
“How’s the economy doing there?” I asked.
“Not all that great, but better than here,” he said.
It sounds like a pretty sweet deal, working as an accountant in Brisbane, which is a city on Australia’s “Gold Coast” of spectacular beaches and tropical skies. Brad said he planned to learn how to surf and would be making frequent trips to New Zealand and New Guinea to audit businesses on behalf of the firm that is sending him Down Under.
Although he‘s from Florida, Brad‘s story made me think of all the people in Michigan who are moving on in search of a job.
 
Monday, December 29, 2008

A Brave Experiment

Random Thoughts Robert Downes Got a lump in my throat recently, reading the plans of the Detroit Free Press and News to go digital four days a week. Starting in March, the papers will end home delivery Monday-Thursday and begin offering an “electronic edition“ to subscribers for $12 per month.
Having had my first serious job as a paperboy with the Free Press at the age of 15, and then writing for the paper as a freelancer, it was a bit surreal to read the news of the online switch and come to grips with the “end of an era.“
But, considering the flight of readers to online sources for their news, it seems like a good plan. The key to its success will most likely be having an exact duplicate of the print version of the paper delivered online.
The electronic facsimile is a good way to go because current newspaper websites offer little or nothing for advertisers who pay the salaries of the reporters and editors who bring us the news.
Newspaper websites make it easy for readers to ditch their subscriptions. They‘re like candy stores giving away free lollipops out the back door and then wondering why there‘s no business up front.
So, perhaps the only way newspapers will survive will be by offering an exact duplicate of their publications online, complete with the ads that pay for the news.
 
Monday, December 22, 2008

If the shoe fits...

Random Thoughts Robert Downes There’s been so little fanfare over the latest news from Iraq that most Americans probably don’t have a clue: the war is essentially over.
Okay, let’s qualify that by saying “barring some unforseen calamity, the war is over...” because you just never know.
But on Thanksgiving Day, the Iraqi parliament approved a new security pact that requires the United States to withdraw our troops by 2011.
 
Monday, December 15, 2008

What would Mr. Scrooge think?

Random Thoughts Robert Downes What does Mr. Scrooge think about the Big 3 auto bailout?
Meaning, the Republican Scrooges in the Senate who killed the rescue of the auto industry last week, at a time when the recession is expected to last for years...
Let’s take a trip with the Ghost of Christmas Present, shall we?

Mr. Scrooge: “Bah, humbug! I’ll tell you what I think of these short-sighted, fat-cat dinosaurs from Detroit, dragging 400,000 GM retirees in their wake, like the chains of Jacob Marley... (Rattle, rattle) You UAW workers never voted for me in the first place, and it’s the banks I care about! The banks, the banks! Where’s my change purse? Ah, here, my dears -- a $700 billion contribution to you good bankers. Spend it as you will! No strings attached -- it’s Christmas, after all! Bless you, my boys.
“But for you miserable automakers and your blue collar ilk, only a lump of coal, and not a penny in my purse for you!”
 
Monday, December 8, 2008

Lunch at Leopold‘s

Random Thoughts Robert Downes If you’ve ever been to the Leopold Café in Mumbai, you probably felt right at home, even though it’s on the far side of the earth.
Having had lunch there a year ago November, it was especially sad and disturbing to see the puddles of blood on the floor of the café in the TV coverage of the Mumbai massacre. Ten people died on that scuffed and dirty floor, with at least 20 wounded as the terrorists came through the wall that opens to the street along what is called the Colaba Causeway.
 
Monday, December 1, 2008

We‘re moving to Europe...

Random Thoughts Robert Downes We‘re moving to Europe...
Has anyone noticed that America is starting to look more like Europe lately?
Not that we’re sprouting castles or seeing women going topless at the beach, but there are some trends toward the Europeanization of America that are worth watching. Some good, and some ennh...
Ten years from now, you may wake up and find that you have all of the advantages of a citizen of Paris or Budapest -- and all of the disadvantages too. Consider the following:
 
Monday, November 17, 2008

A new view for Sleeping Bear

Random Thoughts Robert Downes Seven years ago, there was a scorcher at the Sleeping Bear National Lakeshore. It wasn’t a forest fire (as is an ongoing fear of some who live next the the park); it was the flames of public opinion over a proposed Wilderness Management Plan that many locals thought was a bit extreme back in 2001.
To take you back to those days of pitchforks and torches, there was speculation that the park would close several dirt roads leading down to popular beaches along Sleeping Bear’s 35-mile coast. And that fishing for coho salmon would be limited. And that large sections of the park would be declared “wilderness” territory, accessible only by hikers.
It was a public relations disaster, as park-goers blew their collective stacks over the threat of limited access. But one thing the public outcry proved is that people love Sleeping Bear, even though it sometimes seems we’re on the verge of loving it to death during the summer months when thousands seek the paradise of its beaches.
 
Monday, November 10, 2008

Those dear little deer...

Random Thoughts Robert Downes Many years ago, the first snowfall in November used to be a cause for celebration in our family because it meant good tracking through the woods during the deer hunt. My dad and uncles were out before dawn on the first day of hunting season, and when they bagged a buck the excited talk of their deeds lit up the Thanksgiving table as they relived the fatal moment in the woods again and again. Those memories of the hunt were more precious than gold, and they would be taken out and polished for many years to come. Even when he was in his 80s, I recall my father talking about his first deer, taken at the age of 17 on the family farm outside Rockford.
I thought of those deer last week when the temperatures were in the 70s. By now, perhaps, they’re making tracks in the snow, seeking to elude the 700,000 or so deer hunters who swarm the forests and fields. But last week, they could have used some sunglasses.
 
Monday, November 3, 2008

Hope For America

Random Thoughts Robert Downes A generation ago, there was another man who brought hope to America in a time of crisis.
John F. Kennedy‘s greatest gift was bringing inspiration and a ringing challenge to young people who were hungry for hope at a time when we lived under the shadow of mushroom clouds and the Cold War.
Today, we face a new crisis: the threat of world-wide economic collapse.
And, as was the case in 1960, we need a leader who can inspire hope, especially in the hearts of young people. It‘s the young who need to be uplifted with an optimistic vision of their place in America‘s future, rather than a creeping sense of despair.
 
Monday, October 27, 2008

Looking Beyond the Election

Random Thoughts Robert Downes Here’s something we haven’t seen in many years: posted in a few yards around Traverse City you’ll find campaign signs for Obama next to those of Wayne Schmidt -- the Republican candidate for State Representative in the 104th District.
Say what? Is it possible that in some small way, we’re moving toward a spirit of bipartisanship? Sort of like a dog and cat snuggling up together when its too cold outside to bear their differences?
There’s been endless speculation in the press about undecided voters this year and who the independents will vote for in the national election.
But those “undecideds” are primarily Republicans who are thinking of jumping ship for the first time in their lives, the same way that many Democrats voted for Ronald Reagan in 1980.
This is why we’re seeing defections by the likes of Colin Powell, who served as Secretary of State under President Bush, and Christopher Buckley, the son of conservative icon William F. Buckley. Both are Republicans voting for Obama.
Call it the Reagan Effect.
 
Monday, October 20, 2008

Opponents of Proposal 2 clone around the facts

Random Thoughts Robert Downes Here are some questions for Joe Plumber:
Are you afraid that giant biomedical corporations will start pumping out human clones if Proposal 2 passes in Michigan this November?
Or, are you more afraid that you (or a member of your family) will someday come down with MS, diabetes, Lou Gehrig‘s disease, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, Krohn’s disease, blindness, cancer, heart disease, damaged organs, stroke and a host of other afflictions?
You know, things that may be cured someday by the stem cell research encouraged by Proposal 2.
Embryonic stem cell research is one of the greatest discoveries of our time. It has the potential to cure our most devastating illnesses. It’s possible that it will someday help quadriplegics rise from their beds, and make diseased hearts strong.
 
Monday, October 13, 2008

Fear Itself

Random Thoughts Robert Downes Gee, this is a great time to be young. Why? Because if you‘re in your teens or 20s, you probably have little or nothing in the stock market and haven‘t lost a dime in the crash.
While you kids were wisely investing your money in Jello shots, iTunes downloads and the latest Xbox games, your parents were foolishly gambling in the Wall Street Casino, where we‘ve lost thousands, tens of thousands, and even hundreds of thousands in the last few weeks on our 401Ks and other retirement plans.
If you‘ve been too busy playing Guitar Hero to keep up, here‘s the deal: The stock market has dropped by 40 percent of its value in the past year, with a wild roller coaster ride, spiralling ever downward.
And this time around, there hasn‘t been any inspiring leader at the helm to calm the sense of panic that‘s sweeping the world, as was the case in 1932, when presidential candidate Franklin D. Roosevelt declared that: “There is nothing to fear but fear itself.“
 
Monday, October 6, 2008

There Should Be Hell To Pay

Random Thoughts Robert Downes Back in college economics 101, we learned that the Great Depression could never happen again because our wise legislators had enacted many iron-clad regulations and safeguards to ensure that the stock market would never again reach such a state of peril.
But, like the chaos theory taught by the mathematician in Jurassic Park, you can never say never -- the destruction of those market regulations over the years has let the T-Rex out of its cage.
Thus, the rampage on Wall Street last week and terror plastered across the media. Let’s hope we don’t all get eaten alive by this thing.
Now, millions of Americans are of the opinion that the gamblers on Wall Street should bail themselves out. Why should we contribute a nickel to help these pirates? They can sink or swim.
But unfortunately, we are chained to the pirates. In some pirate navies, if you killed another sailor, your ankle was tied to his corpse and it was shoved overboard.
So, if you oppose the bailout, consider that you’re likely to go under too.
 
Monday, September 29, 2008

Big Government to the Rescue

Random Thoughts George Foster Big Government to the rescue?
Yikes, what happened over the last few days?
A little over a week ago Senator John McCain assured us the “fundamentals of our economy are strong.” Yet, last night President George Bush warned us that the economy is melting down so fast that a crisis of unprecedented proportions will occur if we don’t implement his radical plan immediately.
 
 
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