Click to Print
. . . .


- October 19th, 2009
Letters 10/19/09

Canada‘s public option
As a Canadian expat, I would like to assure my fellow northern Michiganders that the Canadian health care system is alive and well. Contrary to recent letters published in local papers, Canadians overwhelmingly support their universal system. A new poll conducted by the Toronto-based Nanos Research shows 86.2 percent of Canadians are for “strengthening public health care rather than expanding for-profit services.”
My family and I have had nothing but good experiences with our care north of the border. From my father’s aggressive treatment for melanoma, to my grandmother’s multiple joint replacements and my baby brother’s lengthy hospitalization for a bout with pneumonia, the care in our rural Manitoba town was professional, efficient, timely and always without co-pays, deductibles and monthly premiums.
Personally, I do not know of a single
Canadian who wishes their system to be more like ours here. With unaffordable and constantly rising premiums, caps on treatment amounts, denials of coverage to increase corporate profits and exclusion of those with preexisting conditions, can you blame them? No one should be forced into financial ruin because they could not afford health insurance. Please join me in supporting health care reform and the public option.

Ty Schmidt
TC, formerly of Dauphin, Manitoba

Crazy state spending
While the state is cutting school funding due to a lack of money, some department heads are spending money on what can only be termed “discretionary” spending. This past fiscal year, $11 million was spent with Mohawk Industries, Georgia, for carpet tile. This is enough tiles to carpet the road from Suttons Bay to Cadillac. $6.8 million was spent for ergonomic and general seating. This is enough chairs for about 10,000 state employees. This is about one-third of the state workforce that works seated. Sadly, it does not include the 100 State Police who were laid off; patrol car seating was not included.
Then, $18 million was spent with Public Consulting Group, Maine; the purpose was not stated, but with the name of the company it sounds like “help us with propaganda.“ And $28 million went to Integris of Maine for an “Executive Information System.” This begs the question of how many executives are there and what info is so valuable it
requires spending $28 million when times are tough?
These two Maine purchases total $46 million. The state slogan, “Buy Michigan First” apparently does not apply to our government. The governor has line item veto power; maybe she should start reading the line items to see where the dollars are going.

Keith Ashley • Lake Leelanau

Doesn‘t like column
I don’t mean to be a giant a-hole, but it would be really great, if you’re going to bother writing about “modern” rock, to have someone who actually seems to care about and know something about music write the column. Case in point: last issue’s column:
“Guitarist Tom Morello (Rage Against the Machine) is collaborating with rapper/MC Boots Riley to form the Street Sweeper Social Club, which features what Morello calls “crushing guitar work” and which should also appeal to Rage fans.” -- I’ve owned this CD since June. Not exactly news, this. Plus, Boots Riley is the MC for The Coup, who are responsible for what may be the most politically volatile, daring, and important hip-hop ever put on disk. Does that not deserve a mention? Beyond “should appeal to Rage fans”? Jesus.
Later on: “French studio-popsters Phoenix are offering up their fifth studio set, Love 2, but you’ll have to wait a little longer for the suave duo’s latest tunes - Love 2 will be released on October 6...” -- FAIL. It’s not Phoenix. It’s Air. The only thing they have in common, really, is that they’re French.
I know that someone who actually wants to write reviews of albums that haven’t been on the shelves for months can, with relative ease, make connections with indie labels and get promo copies of music that’s not out yet, and that won’t also be reviewed in People and Newsweek.
I know the Northern Express isn’t exactly known for being cutting edge, but seriously, I love music; you have the opportunity to introduce people to great bands that they won’t find at freaking Walmart, and you don’t. So why bother? You could totally use that space to advertise another yuppie-ass winery or talk about how much someone paid for their clothes.

Christopher Carlson • via email

(Thanks Christopher -- but are the 50-plus indie acts from Michigan that we cover each year in articles, CD reviews and cover stories dismissed as not being “cutting edge“ enough? Rest assured, you won‘t find The Ragbirds, Rootstand, Mike Moran, May Erlewine and dozens of other musicians the Express has featured over the past year in “freaking Walmart.“ -- ed.)

TC‘s bicycle junkyard
What’s with all the bikes that are always parked four weeks, sometimes even months at a time downtown on Front Street in TC?
It’s a buzzkill. I’m a local photographer and I wait all year for there to be just one day when I can get a picture of Front street without any bicycles in the photo. The bicycles are everywhere. They are chained to trees, poles, street lights; basically they are locked up to any object that is fixed to the street. They show up in the photos and are a huge eye sore. Front Street is starting to like a bicycle junkyard.
There should be some sort of law where people get ticketed for storing their bikes downtown. I could see one day or even overnight once in a while. But some of these bikes have been in the same spot forever.
Downtown should not be a free storage facility. Maybe by implementing some sort of permanent bike rack fixture located in a designated spot off the street, out of view of people and the beauty of the street might be a good idea? Also by installing a metering system on it just like the ones we all pay everyday to park our automobiles would keep people from storing their bikes downtown all year and would help generate revenue for the city.
The only thing is, there would need to be a change dispenser too! It is very hard to find change downtown and most of the stores don’t like giving away all of their quarters. A couple of change machines a block or so apart on the street corners would be awesome.

Nick Oswald • TC

Uncool insults
I’m so angered about the experience that Kiki Karpus had regarding being yelled at with homophobic slurs. (re: Letters 10/5, “A Lack of Respect.)
To think you can discriminate against someone LEGALLY in housing or employment because of their sexual orientation is ridiculous.
Yes, I know what the Bible says about sexual orientation, but are these jerks yelling slurs innocent of “drunkenness,” “adultery,” “stealing,” etc? If they say so they’re plain old liars.
Kiki: know that these people are a very few in a minority in Northern Michigan. Just like there are a few old dinosaur racists that still roam the earth.

Norm Jones • TC

  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5