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Letters 2/2/09

- February 2nd, 2009
More on the Volt
Here is some additional information to “Recharging Michigan” (Editorial, 1/19):The Volt also contains a gasoline engine assist, which generates electricity for the electric motor on longer trips. This extends the driving range to hundreds of miles.
The Volt is considered an electric car, rather than a hybrid, because the car is always being propelled by the electric motor: On short trips, batteries provide electricity to the motor. On long trips, the gasoline engine provides electricity to the motor.
A commuter driving fewer than 40 miles per day will use battery power only, and will not burn a drop of gasoline. If he or she decides to take a long trip, the gas engine assist turns on after 40 miles and generates the electricity.

Ted LeButt • TC

Not a fan
I find it puzzling and offensive that your publication would give space for Texas broadcaster Roy Henderson to suggest that he is a supporter of Traverse City. (re: “WLDR” 1/19)
He even had the nerve to imply that he’s a bigger supporter than Ross Biederman. Because of Ross Biederman, our communities have benefited from the Biederman Cancer Treatment Center and the Emergency Room at Munson Hospital. Ross and his radio stations give their time and resources to support area non-profits. There’s even a Biederman Foundation that contributes large sums of money to area non-profits.
Let’s recall what Roy Henderson has done for this community: Large eye-sore in downtown Traverse City. Sued the city leaders. I’m totally unaware of anything he has done positive for our community.
I think you show incredible blindness to this community when you choose to showcase an individual who has done nothing to deserve it. Why not showcase the real pioneers of this community who actually live here and care about this community, and who show it through “actions,” not a lot of “talk”.

W. Larson • TC

A Near-Miss Experience
Thank you and thanks to Mr. Nelson, owner of the Cash Plus in TC (re: “Nice Guys Finish Last,” 1/19). There can’t be enough warnings about these rip-offs. They are more prolific than we know.
We had a near-miss when we advertised a boat for sale. We were getting emails from a buyer in Nigeria. His story was that a friend over here was going to pick up the boat and ship it. He sent a bank draft [via FedEx] for way over the price of the boat and wanted us to send him the difference by Western Union. The credit union did not look twice at the check and only when we expressed concern, they checked it out somehow and said it was a fake. We had deposited it into our account but luckily had not yet written our own check. The State Police wanted only the emails, not the fake check. I doubt they ever were able to bring charges. Our money is made so that counterfeit is detectable. Why are not bank checks and money orders made that way? Does anyone ever recover their money?

Marian Johnson • Manistee
(sent via email)

Responsibility of the Artist
A recent letter soliciting government support for the arts (re: Letters 1/26) deserves a balanced response: The economic condition of our country and our state is poor, and reliable forecasters predict that the worst is still to come. Businesses are failing, individuals are losing their jobs, and families are losing their homes. Art is the crowning glory of civilization, but it does not take precedence over basic human needs, and it will not confer its glory on those who are being shorn of their dignity and independence by the current economy. Those of us who share a commitment and a devotion to art also share a responsibility to apply our ambition, our creativity, and our labor to help ensure its irrepressible endurance. Understanding that government funds are derived from its citizens, it is shameful to perpetuate a tax burden on all Americans to alleviate the noble obligation that lies with me and my peers and colleagues in the arts.

Harvey Gordon • Glen Arbor
(sent via email)

Co-equal Suffering?
(Re:Letters 1/19) A writer expressed dismay that someone would question whether Jews regard Israeli lives as worth more than Palestinian lives. With polls showing that 82 percent of Israelis think the Israeli military did not go “too far” in its recent assault on Gaza, it appears that way, no? Consider: In the last eight years (eight years!) 20 people in Israel have died from attacks launched by militants in Gaza. Yet, in just three weeks, some 1,300 Palestinians were killed and 4,000 were wounded.
A 20:1, 300 death ratio is not going “too far”?
“U.S.-based Jewish organizations” decry the suffering of Palestinians and Israelis “co-equally,” the writer claims. But if 20 versus 1,300 is “co-equal,” then one wonders how many more Palestinians would have to die before these organizations would denounce the pretense of such “even-handed” scorekeeping as obscene.
Moreover, for three years Israel has been choking Gaza’s 1.4 million people with a blockade that has prevented food, fuel, and medical supplies from reaching the area. Where is the outrage over this one-sided suffering? Is it only when rockets fly into Israel that suffering becomes real and worth denouncing?
For another Jewish opinion, watch UK Minister Gerald Kaufman’s address to the Houses of Parliament on YouTube. Far from pretending the suffering of Israelis and Palestinians in Gaza is co-equal, Kaufman – a man with impeccable credentials as an Orthodox Jew and early Zionist – boldly denounces Israel’s onslaught in Gaza as criminal, accusing Israel of acting like Nazis. “The present Israeli government,” Kaufman declares, “ruthlessly and cynically exploits the continuing guilt among Gentiles over the slaughter of Jews in the Holocaust as justification for their murder of Palestinians. The implication,” he concludes, “is that the lives of Jews are precious, but the lives of Palestinians don’t count.”

Tom Fenton • Cedar

Yes We Can!
It’s a couple of days after the inauguration and the medias’ professional conservatives have weighed in. Though none could find substantive fault with the inaugural speech, all heard “chinks and weaknesses”.
One couldn’t grasp the return to science bit.
Today, we accept the world as round and hardly the center of the universe, but lately folks were seriously insisting on introducing creationism into school curriculums. I’m pretty sure that’s what the President meant talking about science in schools. We are the nation that put a man on the moon! That was pure science folks, not intelligent design.
Another, equated better and more affordable health care with a handout mentality and essentially blamed high tech for today’s expensive services. You might first check with the insurance “industry” about those costs.
There was even something about subdued rhetoric. This President, unlike his predecessor, understands he is president of all Americans, not just his supporters and cronies.
Finally, one writer talked about Obama’s hope as if it were false, sighting, by example, of all presidents, Republican Herbert Hoover. Hoover presided over the Great Depression. Bush pushed privatizing Social Security.
To those whose ears were really open, the message was obvious. Yes we can!

Bill Brown • Maple City
(sent via email)

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