Letters

Letters 09-01-2014

Hamas Shares Some Blame

Even when I disagree with Mr. Tuttle, I always credit him with a degree of fairness. Unfortunately, in his piece regarding the Palestinian/Israeli conflict he falls well short of offering any insights that might advance his readers’ understanding of the conflict...

The True Northport

I was disappointed by your piece on Northport. While I agree that the sewer system had a big impact on the village, I don’t agree with your “power of retirees” position. I see that I am thrown in with the group of new businesses started by “well-off retirees” and I feel that I have been thoroughly misrepresented, as has the village...

Conservatives and Obamacare

What is it about Obamacare that sends conservatives over the edge? There are some obvious answers...

Republican Times

I read the letter from Don Turner of Beulah and it seems he lives in that magical part of the Fox News Universe where no matter how many offices the Republican Party controls they are not responsible for anything bad that happens...

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Thursday, September 14, 2006

Real Diversity

Random Thoughts Robert Downes Was that you I saw at the recent Clover Festival by the bay in TC? Probably not, since it was very sparsely attended.
A pity, because this world-class event looked like a million bucks and the few hundred who turned out seemed blown away by the performances, which included many Grammy winners and stars of the gospel and techno world. For once, Northern Michigan was ahead of the curve.
 
Thursday, September 7, 2006

Men deserve purses, too

Random Thoughts George Foster In a song from the 1960s, an old Motown band rates the various qualities to look for in women, but concludes, “...first I look at the purse.”
I, too, have made a study of the purse... those carried by men. We need to brace ourselves, guys. In the future, every man will own a purse. Not a wallet, I mean a real honest-to-goodness handbag with shoulder straps, multi-pocketed, and room enough to fill with guy’s stuff.
I knew this was coming. You see, in the late 1960s and early 1970s, I admit to using a purse. At college, some kind of bag to carry books seemed only reasonable. After observing a star basketball player on campus using a purse (a frilly one at that), I decided not to concern myself with how my manhood might be perceived in public. When asked, I informed friends that I had purchased a “pouch” at the army surplus store. At that moment in my maturity, I was still not ready to concede I had been reduced to carrying a purse.
 
Thursday, August 31, 2006

Danger Everywhere

Random Thoughts Robert Downes You have to give the human race credit: if there’s a beautiful, untouched spot anywhere on earth that inspires an uplifting, spiritual experience just by its very existence, then you can be sure there’s some busybody scheming to do whatever it takes to wreck it.
Such is often the case right here in Northern Michigan.
There’s a plan in the works to drain Boardman Pond -- also known as Keystone Pond -- a lovely mirror of nature just south of Traverse City.
According to engineers working with Michigan’s DNR and DEQ, if a 104-year-old dam downstream from the pond ever collapsed or overfilled its rim, the resulting splash could give a few area businesses and residents a bad case of soggy shorts.
 
Thursday, August 24, 2006

Innocent until proven...

Random Thoughts George Foster Recently, when John Karr was arrested and confessed to the killing of then six-year old JonBenet Ramsey, it was stunning news. This is a ten-year-old case that many thought would never be solved.
Well, hold on. This bizarre murder appears ready to take a few more wild turns before it is done. At this moment, there are few details of the accused man and circumstances. Some don’t believe the suspect was anywhere near Boulder on Christmas, 1996 - he might just like the attention.
 
Thursday, August 17, 2006

Music Festival Autopsy

Random Thoughts Robert Downes Over the past 15 years, we at the Express have had front-row seats on the success and failure of many music festivals here in Northern Michigan. We’ve written about many festivals in advance, we’ve attended them, and we’ve seen them bob up and down on the waves of fate.
Some, like the BlissFest, have made steady gains through the years. Others, such as a series of rock & reggae festivals at Castle Farms in the early ’90s or a riverfront festival two years ago in TC, had poor attendance and sank like stones.
 
Thursday, August 10, 2006

End of an Era in Cuba

Random Thoughts George Foster When it was announced last week that Fidel Castro was turning over control of Cuba’s government to brother Raul, wild dancing broke out in the streets of Miami’s Cuban-American community.
Many of these Cuban exiles and their children have waited almost 50 years for this news. Beginning in 1959, Fidel’s Communist government outlawed political opposition and scooped up most of the island’s property, prompting hundreds of thousands of the educated and affluent Cubans to leave for the U.S. For them, Fidel represents everything bad that has happened to Cuba.
Some dreamers in Miami and elsewhere believe Cuba will soon become a democracy, an idea as foreign there as in Iraq. “I don’t know why people are jumping around,” Cuban-American and former Detroit Tiger Barbaro Garbey said this week. “We hope that the system changes, a little more democracy. But it will be very difficult to change that system in Cuba - Fidel, Raul or whoever is coming from the Communist Party, it’s going to be the same thing.”
 
Thursday, August 3, 2006

The Body Count

Random Thoughts Robert Downes “Iraqi Death Toll Rises Above 100 Per Day, U.N. Says” -- July 18 headline in the New York Times
That headline was repeated in newspapers around the country recently. No doubt it barely raised a yawn from most Americans, for whom the war is just a rumor. The war is just heat lightning far beyond the horizon -- you can’t even hear the thunder, it’s half a world away.
 
Thursday, July 27, 2006

Say Goodbye to the Bush Doctrine

Random Thoughts George Foster Whatever happened to this administration’s crusade to create and prop up
democracies - by force if necessary - as the cornerstone of U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East?
The fledgling, democratic government in Lebanon has been brought to its knees
after being pounded by Israel’s military with
support from the Bush adminstration. While it is true that the terrorist wing of the
Hezbollah party in Lebanon provoked the latest explosion of violence, it is difficult to justify wiping out scores of innocent
Lebanese at the expense of killing relatively few terrorists.
Israel has the right to defend itself and is understandably angry by the unprovoked attack on its troops by Hezbollah. But, does Israel really expect the weak Lebanese government to subdue Hezbollah terrorists?
Israel itself was unable to extricate Hezbollah during its 18 years of occupying southern Lebanon. Israel knows that the defenseless Lebanese government couldn’t kick out the June Taylor Dancers if they were holed up in Beirut.
 
Thursday, July 20, 2006

Film Fest Follies & More

Random Thoughts Robert Downes What would the Traverse City Film Festival be without controversy? This year it involves Al Gore’s film, An Inconvenient Truth.
Not that the film is controversial. There’s been near-unanimous praise for Gore’s warning on the perils global warming. The film is a shoo-in to win the Oscar next year. Roger Ebert gave it a four-star review.
But members of the local Sierra Club are irritated with the film fest camp for having An Inconvenient Truth pulled from a special showing at Horizon Cinema in TC so that it could debut at the festival instead.
A Sierra Club member says that Horizon had plans to show An Inconvenient Truth for a five-day run to be kicked off with a special night with the conservation club. “Horizon Cinema was so excited about it and they were going to sell us tickets for $5.50 each,” says the club member.
The Sierra Club sold 65 tickets for the event and then -- poof -- they got a call from Horizon saying that someone had pulled strings to yank the film so it could debut at the film fest instead. The theater owners were reportedly P-O’ed and so were members of the Sierra Club.
“So many people could have seen it rather than a few elites at the film festival,” says our source.
Whodunnit? No one seems to know, but festival organizer Michael Moore is said to have been very irritated when local rabble-rouser Bruce Peterson saddled him with the blame in an email to area progressives.
Imagine the squawk there would have been if someone had tried to suppress Fahrenheit 911 at Horizon Cinema. Yet now (justified or not) Moore‘s peeps find themselves cast in that same dastardly role.

 
Thursday, July 13, 2006

The crushing debt of the college grad

Random Thoughts Robert Downes It’s the time of year when many of the big publications trot out the latest horror stories on the crushing debt that college students graduated with this summer.
USA Today reports that the average senior was more than $19,000 in debt when he or she walked across the stage to grasp a diploma.
But as writer Sandra Block notes: “That’s a problem Joe Palazzolo would love to have.”
 
Thursday, July 6, 2006

Fire on the Mountain

Random Thoughts Robert Downes Going on a trip this summer? Chances are you’ll hear something about the local impact of global warming just about anywhere you go in America.
Forest fires, floods, hurricanes, drought... Sure, some Americans still scoff at global warming when the likes of drug-addled Rush Limbaugh and the right-wing media pooh-pooh it as not even existing. But increasingly, it’s a topic of concern just about everywhere you go in America.
 
Thursday, June 29, 2006

World Cup and Other Observations

Random Thoughts George Foster No one should have been surprised.
Compared to expectations, the U.S. performance was the poorest of any team in the World Cup soccer tournament. The Americans meekly scored only two goals in three games - and one was by an opponent into the wrong net. Talk about not having a chance, the U.S. never held the lead in any game.
 
Thursday, June 22, 2006

Still another turning point in Iraq

Random Thoughts George Foster It is about time.
For three years, thousands of Iraqi and U.S. military agents have chased the murderous terrorist, Abu Mousab al-Zaqawi, in a country not much larger than the state of Michigan. When the elusive leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq was recently killed in a farmhouse by two 500 pound bombs launched by F-16 fighter jets, many including President Bush tempered their response as to its significance.
 
Thursday, June 15, 2006

Our Charm Crisis

Random Thoughts Robert Downes I was very sorry to learn last week that there are plans to pave 17 miles of the old gravel road along the Pictured Rocks between Munising and Grand Marais in the Upper Peninsula.
I’ve been down Alger County Highway 58 every few years since childhood. It’s the perfect road for getting that “lost in the woods way up north” feeling. The trip seems to take forever, through a desolate plain of pine stumps and then slowly winding through a conifer forest to Munising.
 
Thursday, June 8, 2006

Dick DeVos: Symptom or Cure

Random Thoughts Robert Downes The Pearl Tower in Shanghai is the proud symbol of China’s economic hopes. From the 1,148-foot-high observation deck of this TV tower, you can see modern China bursting with new office towers, factories, freeways and all of the signs of new jobs and prosperity. You can catch a glimpse of the tower in Tom Cruise’s new thriller, MI-III. It looks like a giant pearl attached to a knitting needle.
But look at the tower from ground level across the Huangpu River and you’ll notice something else: a giant Amway banner plastered along the waterfront at the base of the Pearl Tower.
For a visitor from Michigan, the Amway banner stirs bittersweet feelings. Do you feel proud that a Michigan company, launched in 1959 in little old Ada outside Grand Rapids, is doing so well in China? Or do you feel that there must be some truth to the claims of the Democratic Party that Amway outsourced 1,400 jobs to China?
The banner makes you wonder if Michigan workers have been screwed by Amway the same as by other multinational corporations that have fled our state for cheaper labor in Mexico, Korea, China or India.
Dick DeVos, candidate for governor and former head of Amway’s parent company, Alticor, claims that not a single Michigan job has been lost to China. In fact, he says, Alticor’s expansion to China in 1995 actually created 300 high-paying jobs in Michigan.
 
 
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