Letters

Letters 12-14-2014

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

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

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

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Thursday, December 9, 2004

Letters 12/9/04

Letters Various Inane bickering
Week after week the letter section of the Northern Express is filled with inane bi-partisan bickering. Liberals write in and try to convince the conservatives that they are the ones who are really amoral, George Bush is a liar and that we should be able to live in peace because war is bad, which it is, but human nature is really pretty bad as well.
Of course there are plenty of letters written by angry, self-righteous, red-faced conservatives who blather on with a lot of AM radio-ready buzz words like “junk science” or “liberal media.” Lately, the trend has been for conservatives to gloat about the election, as if rubbing the noses of liberals in a Republican victory suddenly makes the Patriot Act a good idea. It really is quite amusing when some bleeding heart desperately pleads for all of his or her peers to “not give up just ‘cos the election is over” in response to some jingoist with a cross around his neck who just accused them of hating America because they don’t share the views of an opportunistic “war President.”
Knock it off, you’re all pathetic idiots. Except for Marian Kromkowski, in whose defense I pen this inane diatribe.
 
Thursday, December 2, 2004

Letters 12/2/04

Letters Various Let Jesus be Jesus
Dear Shawn Robinson, et al, Republicans and Democrats alike:
Could you please leave Jesus out of this argument? (Re: whether Jesus was a liberal or conservative.) In all my readings of His word I never have found a place where He told us to join this or that political cause. In fact, He told us to leave our worldly attachments behind us and follow Him.
Jesus Christ called for a separation of church and state long before the framers of our Constitution thought of it. Remember, “Render unto Caesar”...? Mr. Robinson, I agree, nothing happens in His world by mistake. But, we have been given free will; we choose the leaders who reflect that will. We have chosen good leaders and bad, holy and unholy. Then we have the opportunity to learn from what we have created.
 
Thursday, November 25, 2004

Letters 11/25/04

Letters Various Methadone clinic needed
Why are we talking about jail overcrowding again? This seems to be a perpetual topic that nothing is ever done about. I have a few suggestions.
First, have you all heard the phrase about Traverse City? “Come on vacation, leave on probation!” But seriously, jailable offenses seem to be proportionate to the severity of crimes being committed in each town. What is a serious offense here may not be seen as a serious or jailable offense in Detroit.
Second, DRUGS!!! There are many statistics out there -- let’s just agree that most crimes are related, in some way, to drugs or alcohol. Our community has three “resources“ to address this: Addiction Treatment Services (ATS), AA/ NA, and jail (for those who cannot afford treatment at Munson). ATS obviously does not cut it. If ATS does not “work” for a person, chances are AA is not going to “work” either. If you get kicked out of ATS, you really have no other substance abuse treatment options.
 
Thursday, November 18, 2004

Letters 11/18/04

Letters Various Deficit disaster coming
When Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan started lowering interest rates, I was not surprised, but when he kept lowering them, I was. He didn’t stop until rates were at 1%, way too low to accomplish what he said he was trying to do. That was to help stimulate the economy. When he started to raise rates, I was again puzzled. At that time, the economy was not doing well, job creation was falling, and inflation was mild. So why was he raising rates?
It finally dawned on me, rates were lowered not only to stimulate the economy, the primary reason was to shore up the financial industry for what is to come. He didn’t disclose his true reason so as not to create a panic.
 
Thursday, November 11, 2004

Election Autopsy: Two Reader Viewpoints on what it all Means

Letters Various A Divided Land
I am sure you are aware that the countless volunteers for the Kerry campaign are feeling quite devastated right now. As someone said on the Larry King show, many of us feel like expatriates in our own nation. We have to face the fact that we live in a culturally divided land and that a majority of our fellow citizens (a tiny majority at that) do not share our values.
Hence there is great alienation in the land. How can there be a healing in America if moral compromise is considered evil by our opponents? It seems to be an all or nothing battle.
This vast cultural divide is clearly more relevant to our political culture than any particular issue. It seems to be both intractable and troubling.
 
Thursday, November 11, 2004

Letters 11/11/04

Letters Various Condolences
A Canadian friend of mine sent me his condolences the morning after our election. I think his words may summarize the feelings of a lot of people here and abroad:
“I was reminded of that Tom Waits song, ‘Step Right Up‘, in which the narrator hocks a mythical product that will do everything. Very funny.
Anyway he says it will “give you the erection that wins the election.” I kinda‘ think Bush got his hands on this product and you’re all about to reach down for the soap in the prison shower.”

Timothy Young, President/Chef
Food For Thought, Inc. • Honor
 
Thursday, November 4, 2004

Letters 11/4/04

Letters Various Hunting & assault rifles
Jim McKimmy, Democratic candidate for the 105th District State House seat, is a hunter who fully believes in the rights bestowed by the 2nd Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. His opponent has been trying to discredit Jim by widely advertising a “D” grade he was given by the NRA. What his opponent doesn’t tell you is that Jim McKimmy got that “D” grade from NRA lobbyists simply because he believes that the federal ban on assault weapons should have been continued.
Jim agrees with the International Association of Chiefs of Police in saying that the ban on assault weapons must be continued to protect our law enforcement officers.
Jim asks, “Why would anyone who calls themselves a sportsman need an assault weapon?”

Robert D. Spencer • Kewadin
 
Thursday, October 28, 2004

Letters 10/28/04

Letters Various Hatred in our constitution
The passage of Proposal 2 would make Michigan one of the first states to write hatred into our constitution. Is passing a discriminatory amendment barring something that is already illegal our top priority?
One argument for Proposal 2 that keeps coming up is that marriage is a union under God, and since many Judeo-Christians feel that homosexual relationships are wrong, same sex marriages should not be allowed. Since one of the greatest things about our country is the separation of church and state, this should only mean that the government has no business saying who may and may not be wed in the first place. To do so would only take power away from churches. Even if same sex marriage one day becomes legal, clergy has always reserved the right not to marry any couple, and nothing will change this.
Finally, the U.S. Constitution assures all citizens the right to the pursuit of happiness. Our state has no right to override the country’s constitution and deny this right to select citizens.
I urge everyone to please join me in voting no on Proposal 2 as well as to discuss the repercussions of this proposed amendment with their friends and families.

Jeannine Crouse • TC
 
Thursday, October 21, 2004

Letters 10/21/04

Letters Various A bloody quagmire
Would you sacrifice your son, grandson or husband for the cause in Iraq? Having presented this question several times during appropriate encounters, the reaction became predictable. First, silent hesitation followed by avoidance. A patriotic American who believes in the cause, would answer yes. One man‘s blood is as good as another‘s.
The choice to invade Iraq by George W. Bush was a hostile act that created a war. There was no war prior. The “Joint Resolution“ as titled, “Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution 2002.“ It is not titled “Resolution to Go to War.“ Senator Kerry did not vote to go to war. Like others, he wished to be prepared in case of an emergency of imminent threat.
 
Thursday, October 14, 2004

Letters 10/14/04

Letters Various Lighthouse needs help
Probably one of the prettiest islands of the Great Lakes, South Fox Island lies about 16 1/2 miles north-northwest of Cathead Point in Leelanau County, making it the most isolated island in Lake Michigan. The island is Crescent shaped and has 11 1/2 miles of shoreline and 2,100 acres of nearly unspoiled wilderness. There is some evidence that French explorers visited North and South Fox Islands in the early 1600s. South Fox has no natural harbor. Even today, when visiting the state land on the island, dockage can be risky! But sometimes a ship could hide behind the island from approaching storms. A lighthouse was erected in 1867 on the southern tip of the island.
 
Thursday, October 7, 2004

Letters 10/7/04

Letters Various Baby exposed to smoke
My wife, our seven-month-old baby girl, and I were dining recently at a restaurant in Traverse City. The hostess and wait staff were very hospitable and arranged for us to sit outside on the patio to enjoy the wonderful pre-Autumn weather.
While my wife and I were entertaining our baby and awaiting our appetizer, a gentleman arrived with three guests and sat at the table next to us. He began smoking in the direction of my baby girl. I kindly requested if he could please refrain from smoking out of consideration for the tender lungs of the baby, to which he proclaimed that he was the owner of the restaurant and said, “You should not have brought your baby to my restaurant.” It is odd that he would proclaim his restaurant to be anti-baby when he has high chairs along the wall.
 
Thursday, September 30, 2004

Letters 9/30/04

Letters Various Disastrous deficit
Something that is not getting much attention this election cycle is the national debt; the annual deficits and the trade balance. The national debt is $7.3 trillion. There are about 294 million Americans, so each one of us, from the newborn child to the very oldest senior citizen, as co-signers of the loan for our Uncle Sam, owes about $25,000 each on the national debt.
We paid $290 billion in interest last year on the debt, about $1,000 per citizen. For comparison the total that the 50 states and the federal government spend on K-12 education is $390 billion. The interest on the debt is the third largest expense of the federal government behind defense and social services. Foreign individuals and governments hold about 40% of this debt, up from 15% a couple of decades ago. Let’s hope they don’t raise the interest rate or call in the debt. The Chinese are lending us money so we can buy more goods from them. (You load 16 tons and what do you get….)
 
Thursday, September 23, 2004

Letters 9/23/04

Letters Various Are we better off?
I remember when President Clinton was running against George Bush Sr. in the presidential campaign, I heard the question over and over: “Are you better off now than you were four years ago?” Why is that question not asked today? It is a more important question to many Americans than whether George Bush Jr. was a spoiled rich kid who received special treatment in 1972.
Prior to George Bush Jr. being elected, I was employed at a Fortune 500 company making around $50,000 per year. I owned my own home in a middle class neighborhood. I owned stock. The American Dream was within reach. Now, I am unemployed, my company is bankrupt, my stock is worthless, and my home has been repossessed.
Since Bush took office:
 
Thursday, September 16, 2004

Letters 9/16/04

Letters Various Kids & diesel fumes
While the media continues to keep us in a constant state of anxiety, a psychic code orange unrelated to terrorism, not one word is ever mentioned about the most insidious health risk we and especially our children face on a daily basis. That risk comes from breathing air polluted by emissions from diesel engines. This is by far the single most toxic, carcinogenic air contaminant. In fact, 70% of cancers caused by air pollution are the result of diesel exhaust.
The United States has over 400,000 diesel-powered school buses, 130 of which serve Traverse City Area Public Schools. Each bus on average produces 364 lbs. of emissions per year, resulting in more than 23 tons of what has been identified as the most carcinogenic air contaminant being released in our school district alone. Children, whose lungs are more vulnerable than those of adults, ride these buses often for long distances, and according to a Yale study, pollution inside each bus is 5-15 times greater than the average outside air.
The Federal goal is to clean up all the nation’s school buses by 2010. Traverse City Area Public Schools is applying for Federal funding that will hopefully result in the eventual retrofit of at least some buses, but I would like your help to raise public awareness of this real threat, and encourage legislators to place a high priority on fixing something that can be, and needs to be fixed sooner rather than later.

Margaret B. Dodd
 
Thursday, September 9, 2004

Letters 9/9/04

Letters Various Beauty of the Olympics
The Olympics do not stop violence from occurring. They don’t stop people from cheating, nor are they so esteemed that a thing such as bribing becomes unthinkable. The Olympics are for humans, run by, judged by and watched by humans. And, well, humans follow their nature and this nature doesn’t always involve nice things. Since George Foster decided to focus his “Random Thoughts” (8/26) on the negative events, histories and stories involving the Olympics, I’ll focus on just a handful of the many great stories the Olympics have produced.
 
 
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