Letters

Letters 08-25-14

Save America

I read your paper because it’s free and I enjoy the ads. But I struggle through the left wing tripe that fills every page, from political cartoons to the vitriolic pen of Mr. Tuttle. What a shame this beautiful area of the state has such an abundance of Socialist/democrats. Or perhaps the silent majority chooses to stay silent...

Doom, Yet a Cup Half Full

In the news we are told of the civil unrest at Ferguson, Mo; ISIS war radicals in Iraq and Syria; the great corporate tax heist at home. You name it. Trouble, trouble, everywhere. It seems to me the U.S. Congress is partially to blame...

Uncomfortable Questions

defending the positions of the Israelis vs Hamas are far too narrow. Even Mr. Tuttle seems to have failed in looking deeply into the divide. American media is not biased against Israel, nor or are they pro Palestine or Hamas...

The Evolution of Man Revisited

As the expectations of manhood evolve, so too do the rules of love. In Mr. Holmes’s statement [from “Our Therapist Will See Us Now” in last week’s issue] he narrows the key to a successful relationship to the basic need to have your wants and needs understood, and it is on this point I expand...

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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Minifest concert series

Music The Northern Express MiniFest will present some of the best of local music over the course of four Thursday evenings in June in a free concert series to be held at Lay Park in Traverse City’s Old Town.
“We’re inviting everyone to come down and to hear some great music in the park and celebrate the 20th anniversary of Northern Express Weekly,” said George Foster, co-publisher of the free newsweekly. Co-sponsoring the series is the Traverse City Parks & Recreation Commission.
The acoustic-oriented concerts will be held from 7-9 p.m. on Thursdays June 9-30 in Lay Park on Union Street (the tiny park just south of the Union Street dam).     The lineup includes Sour Mash (June 9), Soul Patch (June 16), Miriam Pico and David Chown (June 23) and the Fresh Fossils (June 30).  Warming up the shows will be the Acoustic Dynamite duo and special guests.
 
Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Writers remember

Features Writers Remember
Northern Express Weekly has always been a place where writers could flex
their literary and journalistic muscles and let ‘er rip on stories ranging
from lifestyle choices to national issues brought close to home.
Following are some reflections from a few of our favorite -- and most
enduring -- scribblers.
Memories from 20 years of Northern Express
Still keeping
it simple

By George Foster
20 Years ago Bob Downes and I launched Northern Express with our total
life savings - about $2,000 each.
There was no business plan or backup plan. We estimated that our savings
would pay for two issues of printing our new-fangled paper. We felt that
we had no choice but to keep our operations and the publication as simple
as possible.
What we did have was an idea – well, sort of. We wanted to print several
thousand free newspapers and hope for enough advertising revenue to break
even. Despite (or maybe because of) our paper’s humble beginnings and low
aspirations, some people told us we wouldn’t survive more than a year or
we were downright loony.
 
Monday, May 23, 2011

letters 5/23/11

Letters Corporate takeover
The first anniversary of Citizens United v. FEC, the Supreme Court
decision conferring full political personhood on corporations, slipped by
in January with little notice, sadly, from the two political parties and
the media.
This incredibly bad and immensely unpopular decision allowed --
encouraged? -- corporations to pump money directly (usually through
“front” groups like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce) into the political
process. Nearly all of the unmarked bills flowed into Republican coffers,
no doubt greasing the skids for the GOP landslide last November. So it
makes sense that Republicans wouldn’t invite attention to this decision
and its very favorable consequences for them.
It makes less sense, though, why the Tea Partiers aren’t screaming bloody
murder about it, given their well-demonstrated anger about various threats
to freedom. When powerful corporations can covertly operate politically,
everyone else’s freedom is surely diminished.
But let’s be clear about what this Supreme Court decision does: it turns
over the financing of our political campaigns to the direct and more or
less complete control of corporations and the wealthy.
Of course, with our pre-Citizens United v. FEC “system” of campaign
finance our democracy was already on the proverbial slippery slope. Now we
are in free fall. Corporations will spend whatever they want to in the
next election to get what they want. Unless we --the people-- decide
this is unacceptable, and take action, we will soon lose what’s left of
our democracy.

Ron Tschudy • Central Lake
 
Friday, May 20, 2011

Letters 5/30/11

Letters Truth about education
   Howard Walker’s Northern View (May 16) editorial did not express the whole truth.  The first part tries to mollify voters by saying education cuts are really much less than cuts to other departments.  Look at the history of state education funding rather than the past year only: since my retirement from education in 2003, state funding to the Traverse City district has remained approximately constant.  The state has not kept up with inflation and has begun to defund public education.  
   Walker is outraged that salary and benefits make up about 80% of school budgets, but what does he expect from school districts—that most of the money go to computers and textbooks?  Education delivers a service, not a product.  Its very nature assumes most expenditures will go to pay for jobs.
   Then there are his complaints about rising healthcare costs of educators.  Those rising costs belong to the economy generally, not to teachers alone.  If rising healthcare costs are a problem, deal with that.  Don’t blame educators.  His figure of $24,000 “some districts” spend for healthcare is hardly representative of plans in most districts.  In general, teachers’ healthcare policies are no more expensive than those for other  workers.
    Finally, comes the attack on retirement benefits.  Walker says retirement is eating up the finances of school districts, but he ignores the fact that contracts include healthcare, retirements, and salary.  In other words, most teachers have taken hits in salary and healthcare in order to keep their retirement benefit. It is unfair to consider reducing retirement benefits without examining the reductions in salary and healthcare that teachers have already agreed to.
   Let us be honest here: The present government of Michigan is intentionally underfunding public education for political purposes.  The next election should put an end to it.

Richard Fidler • TC
 
Monday, May 16, 2011

Thunder down under/Something to carp about/Choo-choo

Region Watch Please be seated..
At last year’s Traverse City Film
Festival, organizer Michael Moore made a spur-of-the-moment promise based
on an idea from a member of the audience: if the TC Area Public Schools
would officially honor the Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday for the first
time since its inception 26 years ago, Moore said he would lead a campaign
to provide new seats for the Lars Hockstad
Auditorium, located at Central Grade School on 7th Street.
 
Monday, May 16, 2011

Letters 5/16/11

Letters The Republicans & Big Oil
For the past two weeks, Republican congressmen faced blistering attacks at
town hall meetings for their vote on the Ryan Plan, which lowers the tax
rate for the wealthy another 10% while dismantling Medicare and Medicaid.
Republicans all claim they are carrying out the “will of the people” so
let’s look at what the people told them: Leave Medicare alone, tax the
rich and stop the oil subsidies. When confronted with the news that oil
companies posted profits of $38 billion in the first quarter, a few
sheepishly agreed, “maybe we should take a look at it.”
But that is not what they did. On May 5, with the media consumed with
Osama bin Laden, they quietly and unanimously passed the Restarting
American Offshore Drilling Act which, among other things, extends oil
subsidies. This is the second vote in three months they have taken to
protect oil companies’ taxpayer handouts.
It is no surprise that the GOP protects big oil. The Republican sponsors
of the bill took in $8.8 million from big oil in campaign cash. Rep. Dave
Camp received $77,000. Before the first vote in March, BP contributed
$1,000 to Camp, who is chairman of House Ways and Means. Three other key
players, Speaker Boehner, Kevin McCarthy, House Whip and Michigan’s Fred
Upton, chairman of Energy and Commerce were all gifted $5,000. Upton was
given $100,000 in the 2010 election. All defeated the Democrats’ bill to
rescind the subsidies in order to reduce the deficit.
In the past 10 years, Big Oil has contributed $238.7 million to congress,
75% to Republicans. In addition to the Republicans guarding their
subsidies, Dave Camp’s taxation committee has written thousands of
loopholes in the tax code for them. Last year they paid nothing.
Follow the money, Dave Camp is not looking out for you.

Julie A Racine • Marion
 
Monday, May 16, 2011

Leelanau Furniture Show

Features After nearly a decade’s hiatus, the Leelanau Furniture Show is back -- in
a new location inside downtown Traverse City’s Artisan Design Network
(ADN) cooperative gallery on Front Street -- ready to dazzle crowds with
handcrafted one-of-a-kind designs, May 21-28.
The weeklong invitational exhibition and sale will showcase the region’s
finest furniture makers and craftspeople whose works in wood, metal,
glass, stone, fabrics, epoxy, enamel and paint are a celebration of form,
function and the inspiration of Northern Michigan.
 
Monday, May 9, 2011

Letters 5/9/11

Letters The legacy of bin Laden
While it is just and proper for our government to do whatever is necessary
to protect we citizens, is that a moral justification for dancing in the
streets at the death of another human being? Bear in mind this individual
is highly regarded in a large segment of the earth’s disenfranchised
people. Our revelry will serve to infuriate these people.
Bin Laden himself once said that he did not hate Americans, only American
foreign policy. Didn’t we learn anything from our meddling in the affairs
of Iran? Or Venezuela? Most Americans do not realize that OPEC originated
in South America because of our exploitive practices there.
While we find it abhorrent that anyone would resort to terrorism to
achieve their political ends, Bin Laden did not set this precedent. Nor
was he the first to appeal to religious zealotries to serve his cause. Now
we must address the reprisals that are sure to come and the ones following
our actions against them etc. etc.
Again, while we must do whatever is necessary to protect we citizens, the
first thing we must do is stop exploiting other nations for our own
interests. The next thing is to admit to and address the wrongs we have
committed in the past. The last thing is to try to learn from and avoid
such actions in the future. This is not going to be easy or happen
overnight. We are still suffering from the resentments caused by the
exploitation of Native Americans and Africans more than a century after we
began to try to atone for our actions.
While it is just and right to have executed Bin Laden because of the
threat he posed to the United States and indeed the entire world, before
we rejoice in the streets we need to consider the part we played in
creating him.

Roger Paupore • TC
 
Monday, May 2, 2011

Interlochen 2011 lineup

Music Interlochen’s Summer Concert Series caters to every interest
Interlochen’s most happenin’ season in years brings several new cultural
icons to the Arts Festival this summer, along with some old favorites.
The former includes the likes of revered songwriter Elvis Costello, the
indie acoustic pop of The Decemberists, alt-country chanteuse Lucinda
Williams, and country rocker Dierks Bentley.
 
Monday, May 2, 2011

Rothbury returns as Electric Forest Festival

Music Summer Surprises
Barring some last-minute upheaval, the Electric Forest Festival is charged
up and ready to go as the replacement for the former Rothbury Music
Festival.
Located in the small town of Rothbury in western Michigan between Muskegon
and Ludington, the Rothbury Music Festival made national news and had a
two-year run before tanking and sitting out last year.
 
Monday, May 2, 2011

Letters 5/2/11

Letters Good man on the job
A few weeks ago I e-mailed the Express regarding the disappearance of Jacob Cabinaw. In this letter I mentioned the poorly run investigation by the Sheriff‘s Department, namely Detective Gomez. I have since met with him and spoke to him at length about Jake and the investigation and his possible whereabouts.
I must admit that my original opinion was uneducated and based solely on emotion. The amount of information that Detective Gomez had in his possession was staggering to say the least, and I have full faith that he is doing everything in his power to solve this mystery. He does not have the resources (read: money) to spend time flying around the country checking leads and frankly, any police force from any major city would laugh if an officer from some unknown town in Michigan wanted certain information. Tax payers would throw a fit knowing their money was spent like this.
As much as I want Jake to be found, or to come home, I must take a step back and take emotion out of this momentarily. There are several other missing persons from this area and other actual crimes being committed- asking a publicly-funded detective to spend all of his waking moments tracking down one person is ludicrous.... especially if there is no crime associated with his disappearance.
Instead of attacking the investigation I am asking that anyone with any information about Jake please come forward and please keep rumors quiet unless you can prove it to be fact. Please do not be afraid to share any and all knowledge associated with this case with Detective Gomez.

George Nemetz • via email
 
Monday, April 25, 2011

Letters 4/25/11

Letters What’s the end game?
It seems to me with all of the Republican and Tea Party ideas about the
budget floating around out there, we need to ask ourselves some basic
questions. Mainly, what is the end game here?
What does our society look like with a reduced deficit? With taxed
pensions? With no health care plan, reduced Medicare and limited or no
Social Security? So we’re out of debt, big corporations have increased tax
incentives and there are no unions. Is this what we want, Republicans?
What does our society look like when all this happens? Are there more
jobs? Is the middle class suddenly expanded? Are we all better off? Tell
me, what is it we’re aiming for?
I completely support reduced deficits and taxes and a society that doesn’t
have to rely on the government to support people in need. But tell me,
what does this look like? How do you plan to get there?
Are corporations going to take care of us by providing the jobs we need at
a sustainable wage? Who will take care of our aging citizens as their
Medicare is reduced? How long will we have to work to provide for our own
social security? I might be inclined to listen if I knew what your vision
is. Do YOU know?

Tom Speers • Fife Lake
 
Monday, April 25, 2011

Get your giggles on: Rotary show

Features Get Your Giggles On: Rotary Show rolls out 69th red carpet
Singin’, dancin’, pokin’ fun at local issues and goring sacred cows…
what’s not to like? The 69th Annual Rotary Show unrolls its irreverent
roster of skits this Wednesday-Saturday, April 27-30, 8 p.m. at Lars
Hockstead Auditorium in Traverse City.
“This is our biggest fundraiser of the year and the theme is ‘Having Fun
While Getting the Job Done,’” says Sid Lammers, of Trend Window & Design,
who served as president of the club last year.
 
Monday, April 18, 2011

Saving the Great Lakes/New Frontier/Senior Blowback

Region Watch Saving the Great Lakes
Water activists and experts from throughout the Great Lake Basin will
be flowing in for a “Saving the Great Lakes Forever” conference which
kicks off on Friday, May 6, at the State Theater in downtown Traverse
City.
“We take our incredible natural beauty and abundance for granted, but
there are very real threats facing the Great Lakes Basin.” said
environmental attorney James Olson, who serves as executive director of
the Flow for Water Coalition. “If we don’t protect these majestic
waters now, the Great Lakes could be lost for our future generations.
Our goal is to build deep citizen awareness and provide solutions to
make sure that doesn’t happen.”
 
Monday, April 18, 2011

Letters 4/18/11

Letters Art or barbarism?
In response to the “Bodies Human” show at the Dennos Museum Center. Art?
To me abomination is a more fitting term.
Most of the bodies being displayed are Chinese because Red China is one of
the few countries that will gladly sell human organs and whole bodies to
the highest bidder, especially its executed prisoners, which it leads the
world in production of.
Regardless of that, these are human beings who are someone’s father,
mother, son, daughter, brother or sister who are being exhibited like some
kind of stuffed animal for others’ amusement and profit. Or is it alright
to mount humans like hunting trophies as long as they are poor Chinese and
not rich Caucasians?
Masquerading as an education, health and science show, it is really a
third world carnival freak show, except most of the third world has more
respect for the dead. 100 weirdly posed corpses in our museum; what’s
wrong with this picture? Is our country losing its collective mind and
soul and anything goes? I hope not.
The Dennos Museum and Traverse Health Clinic are both wonderful
organizations. But whoever set this event up apparently didn’t think out
its dark side. Please give it some thought and voice your feelings. I hope
you will agree this is an assault on our humanity in our beautiful corner
of Michigan and together we can get it shut down.

Keith Lints • via email

For what it’s worth, it should be noted that the bodies in the exhibit
reportedly came from Taiwan, rather than mainland China. - ed.)
 
 
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