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Letters 6/6/11

- June 6th, 2011
Congress & public trust
Recently, Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp (R-MI) released the
following statement in reaction to the U.S. government reaching the
$14.3 trillion debt ceiling:

“It comes as no surprise that Washington’s spending spree has resulted
in us once again reaching the statutory debt limit. The American
people have no interest in simply increasing the limit absent serious
steps to rein in spending. I urge the Administration to demonstrate
the leadership America expects from Washington and work with the
Congress to enact significant reductions in government spending —
including entitlement programs like Medicare — as well as needed
structural reforms to how Washington sets the nation’s budget.”

I honestly believe that Congress has the wrong idea as to what
entitlements are.
Camp states that Medicare, Social Security and the like are
entitlements to the American people, yet as a worker I have -- along
with all workers -- contributed to the funding of these benefits which
where to be “IN TRUST” by the government for the common person as a
caution for our old age and survival. It is and was the government,
Congress to be exact, that has taken these benefits and allowed them to
be squandered away, removing them from the “TRUST” which established
them and placing them into the general fund for the raping by Congress
for other governmental uses.
Entitlements to me are the billions you give to the oil companies, the
billions you give to farmers to not produce from their land, the
billions you spend on military contractors for things we do not need,
and to the out-sourcing of governmental jobs to contractors that are
lining their pockets without responsibility to perform for the good of
the American people.
As for being chair of the committee you are on that is to oversee much
of this, I am anxious to see who you are really working for, the
American People or Corporate America and what “REFORM” you will
structure. Remember America is watching...

Jim Williams • Kalkaska

Attribution confusion
I am writing to correct some errors in your May 23 issue article
entitled “Steep Trouble.”
The article suggests that “The use of insecticides on flowering fruit
trees -- which happens this time of year -- could seriously affect
beehives in the area according to an information pamphlet published by
Dr. Robert Sirrine...”
First, farmers are not applying insecticides this time of year. Second,
I did not publish this pamphlet.
Moreover, the article says “In that same pamphlet, Sirrine wrote,
‘Insecticide products containing BT are toxic only to butterfly and
moth caterpillars. It is not toxic to other groups of insects, fish,
mammals or humans. This is not accurate - recent studies show that
humans have been suffering gastrointestinally post spray.”
I did not write any pamphlet having to do with this topic. Also, BT is
an organically approved insecticide, so it would be beneficial for your
readers to cite some sort of source for this statement. Finally, this
quote does not make sense regardless of who supposedly said it. Perhaps
an end quote should have been placed after the word “humans”?
In the future please do a better job citing sources and refrain from
attributing statements to those who did not make them.

Dr. J. Robert Sirrine
Community Food Systems Educator
Greening Michigan Institute
Michigan State University Extension

(Reporter Erin Crowell received a Q&A document from Light of Day
Organic Teas which was allegedly written by you. It includes your
byline and email address and we had no reason to assume it was not
authentic. We have the document in our possession and will be happy to
share it with you, offering our sincere apologies if this document
forged your name. -- ed.)

They‘re not stoned
Much as the members of the sub-committee of the Antrim County Parks and
Recreation Commission’s Antrim County Petoskey Stone Festival appreciate
and enjoyed the recent feature written by Kristi Kates on our annual
event in the May 23 - 29 issue of the Northern Express, we did not
appreciate the title of the article.
We can assure you that no one attending this event will “get stoned,”
either literally or figuratively.
The Antrim County Petoskey Stone Festival is a completely wholesome,
entertaining, free and fun event aimed for the entire family, aimed to
promote and preserve Michigan’s natural resources available in Antrim
County as well as the rare and unique Petoskey Stone, Michigan’s
official state stone.
Although I, more than most people, can understand the editor’s
compulsion to tag the article with a “catchy” title, and understand
the appeal such a title might have to the average reader of the
Northern Express, we did not appreciate the insinuations or
connotations attached to that title, and feel that you owe our
festival, as well as Antrim County, an apology.

Linda Gallagher, Chair • Antrim County Petoskey Stone Festival

Demand war‘s end
Here are questions that need to be asked both by people of faith and
all citizens:
Who will end the war in Iraq/Afghanistan if we, the people, don‘t
demand it?
Will Congress end the war, under strong obligation to big business?
Will the Pentagon?
Can the President end it?
The Episcopal Peace Fellowship commits to wage peace across all
boundaries, to call upon people everywhere to repent, to forgive, and
to love each person as our brother and sister.
How long will we accept more deaths of service members and civilians,
those wounded, and families grieving for the rest of their lives?
It is up to us to contact the President, the Department of Defense, our
representatives in Congress and demand that they do all they can to
bring our troops home now.

John Lewis • Grace Church Episcopal Peace Fellowship

Education, then & now
I am appalled at the attack on public education and employees by
Governor Rick Snyder and our legislature. How will we create jobs in our
state without a well educated work force?
My education began in 1938 in Aberdeen, South Dakota, a town of 12,000
people during a devastating economic depression. Our town had four
public elementary schools, three junior high schools, a high school and
a state funded college. All had certified teachers and curriculum with
many “extras.” Education was valued. Teachers were highly respected
members of the community. We received an excellent education. Many of
continued on to higher education.
What happens in a state where government seems intent on destroying its
public education system? Is the goal returning to the elitist model of
education only for the wealthy who can afford private schools? Is it to
have a take over by charter schools, which, while they receive public
funding, are for the most part privately owned?
Express your opinion to our legislators and governor.

Jeanette M. Hayes • Elmira

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