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Tuttle right on
Stephen Tuttle’s column in the February 6 issue nailed it. The systematic disassembling of our Bill of Rights, through the endless prying into our personal business and matters, will be the undoing of our society.
Sadly, many, if not most of us blindly go along with it because it is always presented in an “in the interest of national security” frame of reference.
In the last month, I have had a personal package that was sent via Fed/Ex ripped open all the way down to and including the wedding card that we had sent to a former exchange student, and endured the senseless searching and seizing that doubles as Homeland Security throughout our commercial airline system.
In neither case did anyone have a shred of probable cause to investigate, yet everything I sent and everything that was traveling was violated.
How do we stop this? Thanks to Mr. Tuttle for his words on the issue, a few more people will realize that its gone way too far.
Robert E. Ford • Elk Rapids
Right to work not working
The State legislature is now considering Right to Work (for less) legislation for Michigan. The usual conservative misinformation campaign is underway, trying to make this an issue of both individual liberty and attracting new jobs. It is neither. I served as the NLRB General Counsel from 1999 to 2001. Section 14(b) of the National Labor Relations Act permits states to void (privately negotiated) union shop labor agreements.
The real objective of RTW is simply to weaken unions financially, so they have greater difficulty organizing and representing workers. In union-shop states like Michigan, even when a majority of employees select union representation, no one is required to join a union under the 1988 Supreme Court decision in Beck v. CWA.
However, all union shop employees must at least pay reduced fees for the costs directly related to collective bargaining, since they are legally entitled to receive both labor agreement benefits and union representation under the grievance procedure.
Michiganders thus already enjoy the “freedom” not to belong to a union.
In RTW states, employees get these same union benefits, but pay no dues or fees. Why then should they get union benefits for free? It’s like demanding the right not to pay any taxes because your candidate is not the governor.
Understandably, RTW states have lower labor costs and costs of living. When you are trying to be like Mississippi, you get all such “benefits” of an underpaid workforce. The recent Economic Policy Institute paper by Gordon Lafer entitled “Does RTW create Jobs?” establishes that wage earners in RTW states can expect to earn 15% less for the same work, with much poorer odds of getting health insurance or pension benefits.
Since Oklahoma adopted RTW a decade ago, the number of manufacturing jobs has declined a third. Michigan wage earners do not need to join this race to the bottom.
Leonard Page • Cheboygan
Bridge technology old
There was a short story in the latest express by Mr. Chuck Shepherd (News of the Weird) about a bridge. This bridge was built on shore and then slid over the gap. He called it “new technology.”
This is not new technology. We built bridges like this when I was in the 809th engineers in the Army in 1967. We called it the “panel bridge” or more exactly, the “Bailey bridge.”
Nolan Kerry • Manistee
Ruining the planet
Most of the world’s carbon is locked up thousands of feet down in the rock. Humans as a species are of uniquely limited use to the planet, but we mostly concentrate on extravagant restoration of past hydrocarbons into air, land and sea.
Every time I fill up with gas I am further convinced that humans have one remaining earthly function, to release as much carbon into the atmosphere as we can. Geologic happenstance has placed the future of the next dominant life form in our hands.
Nature, at some point, will have sufficient carbon to produce a replacement species, humans being hell-bent on driving to perdition rather than awaiting rapture. I am encouraged by our absent winters and warm seas, knowing that instead of ancestors, I will have produced antecedents. Where, now, is my old Chevy 450 V8?
Tom Dolembo • Kewadin
Civil vs. state religion
As we know from history, New England was settled by the Puritan separatists who left England, first for Holland and then for America. Although there were other strains of religious belief, early colonial America was dramatically a Puritan society.
By 1776, an estimate 85 percent of the European population held reformed, usually Puritan, views.
This fact makes America in this period arguably the most thoroughly Protestant nation in the history of the world.
Given this history, it is no wonder that the American psyche is based on Puritan foundations. The Puritans placed repeated emphasis on America and Americans as God’s elect.
We often hear in political dialogue about America's specialness. Even the doctrine of Manifest Destiny has Puritan roots. The Puritans so greatly affected the formation of the American spirit that even our political life has religious dimension.
America has a uniquely civil religion. The basic idea of this civil religion is that America has a higher goal or purpose. Several themes are prevalent in this American civil religion.
The first is the providential history of the United States. George Washington felt America was part of God’s plan and even our only Catholic president, John Kennedy, used this theme.
The second theme is a strong notion of covenant that comes out of the Hebrew bible. There is an implicit pact with God in the founding of America. With this belief, America shows the entire world the possibilities. Abraham Lincoln saw the Civil War as a test of this covenant.
Given the above, it is a wonder that our founding fathers had the wisdom to create the constitutional separation of church and state, which ensured that no single denomination would dominate all others and become a state religion.
Ron Marshall • Petoskey
No butts here
To all the smoking masochists that still inhabit northern Michigan: STOP throwing your cigarette butts out your windows and littering our streets!!! What is the matter with you people? Did your parents give you the OK to throw your trash out the window when you were a kid?
Why can’t you just take your cigarette butt home and throw it in your trash? Is that really too hard to do?
There are many local residents that are working diligently and tirelessly to make Traverse City and Northern Michigan a beautiful place to live, and to see people throw their spent cigs out the window just pisses me off.
If you feel the urge to throw your crap out your car window, then PLEASE do all who live here a favor and relocate to another state.
Jason Kasper • TC