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Letters 9/01/08

- September 1st, 2008
Madonna & the orphans
I missed Rick Coates’ article regarding Madonna’s visit to Traverse City, so perhaps I’m not addressing the concern of Angelina Randazzo (August 18 Letters).
However, I was privileged to see Madonna and the film I Am Because We Are at the State Theatre. I applaud Madonna wholeheartedly. Her assistance to the orphans of Malawi is outstanding. Hopefully, her generosity will inspire others to follow -- not only to assist the downtrodden in foreign lands but in our many pockets of poverty. I felt uplifted and proud of this accomplished Michigan woman.
While it is easy to criticize “imperfections” (and don’t we all have them?), few are able to measure up to the many positive accomplishments of Madonna, Michael Moore, and others who have done wonderful things for Michigan, for Traverse City, and for this small world.
Thank you, Michael Moore, for your unceasing efforts to educate, to highlight Michigan talent and to further causes that elicit caring and compassion. Traverse City is a nicer place thanks to you.

Theresa Walter • Suttons Bay

Don‘t dis Madonna
The reader who wrote the letter criticizing Madonna’s appearance at the recent Traverse City Film Festival obviously missed the point of the festival and Madonna.
Madonna did not appear representing anything other than her excellent film about the plight of children, poverty and AIDS in Malawi. As a mother, a woman and an artist, she speaks volumes about the importance of giving back to the world and being involved.
Sexual exploitation in her path to stardom is another cheap shot and is ignorant of what it takes to be successful at anything -- hard work, discipline, and a point of view.
Final point: I imagine Madonna’s daughter will have the intelligence and curiosity to learn and discuss these issues with a mother who is open to dialogue and not given to ignorant, judgmental thinking. I encourage the reader to get involved with life in a more balanced way and stop worrying about Madonna.

Jim Damberg • TC

A no-class act
Regarding Angela Crandall’s letter “Quit knocking Madonna“ in your Aug. 25 issue, Angela says: “She (Madonna) rarely judges others as we do, or puts people on pedestals.”
Well, Angela, how do you explain the video interlude during Madonna’s concert in Cardiff recently, where she mixed images of Hitler, Zimbabwe’s authoritarian ruler Robert Mugabe, and John McCain?
It’s one thing to voice your displeasure of a political candidate, but comparing a former United States POW to Hitler is absolutely classless.
The AP story of Madonna’s recent concert is at

Steve Roman • Alden

The flame burns on
The flame has been doused, and I’m not sure whether I’m angry with China or proud of U.S. responses to the 29th Olympiad in Beijing.
We forgave the opening ceremony director for “digitally enhancing” the fireworks. Hey, you guys, you invented fireworks centuries ago. Why the need for the 21st century “enhancements”? Okay, we probably would have done it or something equally nationalistic to prove we were still ahead in that game.
We kinda‘ understood your concentrating on gold medals or nothing, because we hadn’t thought of it, always considering the total number of medals as the most important. For our national ego, we still must cling to that concept for now, and will probably change focus for London in 2012.
But your attitude, China, toward little kids is something I/we couldn’t handle. First, you had a cuter little girl lip sync the national anthem, because another little girl singer wasn’t “adorable” enough. OK. We swallowed hard. Then you tried lying about the ages of those little baby girls in gymnastics. That did it. In how many more years will they be 16? How long were they children of the state, not of their families? Or were they children beyond the one child per family allowable number, so somehow they belonged to Beijing? The Beijing-driven regulations probably don’t work exactly like that, but . . . .
Golly, you also had a totally controlled citizenry. Not a single request for a protest in the established protest areas was governmentally found worthy. Furthermore, citizens individually (willingly or not) gave up their roads and streets, their cars, and their jobs in polluting industries for two weeks.
Most of the U.S. thanks you, China, for the incredible technical spectacles of the opening and closing ceremonies and the brilliant presentations of the skills of international athletes.
Yeah, proud of you or not, angry or not, I (we?) thank you. Doused or not, the Olympic flame burns on.

Patricia W. Fox • Bellaire

McCain‘s corporate
My concern is not that John McCain cannot remember how many homes he owns, but how can we expect him to solve our economic problems when the “Straight Talk Express” is driven by corporate lobbyists on leave from their active influence?
McCain’s top strategist, Charlie Black, lobbied to help AT&T receive immunity for Bush’s illegal spying. Randy Scheunemann, McCain’s national security advisor, helped push through the “preemptive war policy” adopted by Bush-Cheney and drafted a national policy for the overthrow of Saddam Hussein. McCain’s fundraiser. Wayne Berman has lobbied for Chevron, Shell, various drug companies, Verizon and Ameriquest, a notorious mortgage lender. Rick Davis chairs McCain’s campaign; Davis brought the phone industry inside McCain’s camp, including their employees (lobbyists) working as staffers, advisors or fundraisers.
Corporate influence in Washington will only continue and our economic problems remain with a Bush-Cheney look alike. We need a real change!

Ronald D. Dykstra • Beulah

Urinating beachgoers
I have lived in Traverse City for nearly 24 years. As a teenager I went to the beaches of West Grand Traverse Bay and continued to do so until I became a boat owner about eight years ago.
Yes, there are many boaters I see utilizing the bay as a bathroom to urinate in. Never have I heard of anyone using the bay as a place to defecate (as stated in Letters, 8/11). That is unheard of. Mr. Hagan, do you have any idea how many beachgoers use the bay as a bathroom facility as well?
Most likely, beachgoers are urinating in the water more than boaters, as many boats have bathrooms on board. There is only one porta john by the West Beach area, which is usually very dirty and generally has no toilet paper available. When I use that porta john myself, I always bring my own paper.
You mention nothing about beachgoers urinating in the bay in your comments. For you to say that it is only boaters who urinate in the bay is not a true and correct statement.
Just this past week, we noticed more of the usual activity on the beach from our boat since the temperatures were warm. Some of which included beachgoers allowing their dogs to urinate and defecate in the sand where people sit, and beachgoers’ trash strewn along the beach, left behind when they leave.

Dawn Draper • TC

Smoking ruins
Regarding Robert Downes’ Aug. 4 column “An End to Reefer Madness,” if health outcomes determined drug laws instead of cultural norms, marijuana would be legal.
Unlike alcohol, marijuana has never been shown to cause an overdose death, nor does it share the addictive properties of tobacco. Like any drug, marijuana can be harmful if abused, but jail cells are inappropriate as health interventions and ineffective as deterrents.
The first marijuana laws were enacted in response to Mexican immigration during the early 1900s, despite opposition from the American Medical Association. Dire warnings that marijuana inspires homicidal rages have been counterproductive at best.
White Americans did not even begin to smoke pot until a soon-to-be entrenched federal bureaucracy began funding reefer madness propaganda. By raiding voter-approved medical marijuana providers in California, the very same U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration that claims illicit drug use finances terrorism is forcing cancer and AIDS patients into the hands of street dealers.
Apparently marijuana prohibition is more important than protecting the country from terrorism.

Robert Sharpe, MPA
Policy Analyst
Common Sense for Drug Policy
Washington, D.C.

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