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Letters 09-04-2012

- September 4th, 2012  

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Calling all women...

Women have struggled for the right to vote in 1920, for equal pay for equal work, equity in upper management jobs, the resources to care for their families, fairness in health insurance coverage, and the right to make our health care choices.

Today, with the problems confronting our nation: jobs, debt, education, wars, shrinking middle class, etc., the Republican Party has focused its priority on restricting, devaluing and disrespecting our health care choices and rights as women.

The GOP platform bans abortion in the case of incest or rape. VP candidate Paul Ryan sponsored the “personhood” amendment which would ban in-vitro fertilization and some birth control.

Romney/Ryan both support plans to prohibit all Planned Parenthood funding, such as cancer screenings or birth control.

The disrespect runs rampant, from Limbaugh’s calling a Georgetown law student a slut to the Michigan House of Representatives reprimanding a woman legislator for using the word vagina.

Ryan also voted against Ledbetter Fair Pay Act for women. This is lunacy in the 21st century and caveman politics.

In contrast, our president has been our strongest advocate. His first Act -- Ledbetter – ensured that women be paid equally for equal work, In 2010, President Obama championed the Affordable Care Act which gives women equal insurance coverage and an array of free preventive benefits such as wellness visits, cancer screenings and birth control. He placed women in high cabinet positions from Secretary of State to Health and Human Services.

He recently questioned whether male politicians should be making choices about women’s health. I am calling on all my women friends and family, particularly those of the GOP, who claim they have always supported women's rights. We need to stand together to ensure those rights remain protected as we have fought too long to elect candidates that would move us backwards.

Catherine Hunter • via email

Hazards of fracking

Think fracking for natural gas is safe?

Here’s what Cabot Energy had to say about fracking in their report to the Securities Exchange Commission:

“Our business involves a variety of operating risks, including well site blowouts; cratering and explosions; equipment failures; uncontrolled flows of natural gas, oil or well fluids; fires; formations with abnormal pressures; pollution and other environmental risks; and natural disasters. Any of these events could result in injury or loss of human life, loss of hydrocarbons, significant damage to or destruction of property, environmental pollution...”

This information, however, is not divulged to the public. Instead, we are fed the TV version of the lady in the pant suit extolling its virtues as clean and safe.

If it’s so safe and clean, why did gas industry lobbyists lobby for and win exemptions from seven environmental laws, including the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act and the Safe Drinking Water Act? If Michigan has such great regulations to protect our environment, why is the gas industry exempt from water withdrawal rules?

Industry claims ground water has never been contaminated in the fracking process. NOT TRUE! Water is contaminated every time a well is fracked! Five to eight million gallons of fresh water are mixed with toxic chemicals and sand to blow apart the shale and release the gas.

This water is now so toxic it can never be returned to the hydrologic cycle.

Gas industry subsidies and exemptions to environmental laws should be ended. Level the playing field and allow sustainable energy technologies a chance to compete.

Anne Zukowski • Charlevoix

Fracking irony

Speaking of irony, how many of the antifrack crowd are penning their condemnation of these “evil gas companies” while sitting beneath the electric lighting produced by the burning of this horrible substance?

Frank Rhine • Petoskey

Defend the law

Robert Downes’ article, “The Letter” (8/20), is a great example of why cannabis prohibition needs to end NOW.

I count as very dear friends Stephen and Venice Volas, as well as Patrick Milligan. I even married Patrick and his wife Stephanie at Stephen’s dad’s home just before he was incarcerated. I support Stephen’s dad’s business by buying all our flowers and vegetable plants from him and Steve’s brother, Tim. I pray for R.J. Hornsby because his betrayal will surely someday catch up to him.

The sad fact is that none of this would have ever happened if the cannabis was legal. No living with guilt, no destroyed lives, no wasting of taxpayer dollars. If cannabis was legal, maybe law enforcement would focus on real crime like prescription drug abuse and other addictive drugs.

Oddly, I turned the page to find Rick Coates’ article, “Reforming Medical Marijuana.” I went to this grand opening and met Republican State Rep. Mike Callton. As a Democrat myself, I did find him refreshing, and it gave me hope for the Republican Party.

Right now, there are four very bad bills (HB 4834, 4851, 4853 and 4856) before the State Senate, that if passed will basically destroy our medical Marijuana law that we fought so hard for. Please take a few moments to contact your state senator and tell them to vote no on these four bills.

We are having yet another rally at the state capitol on Sept. 19 at high noon to defend our medical marijuana law. Every patient, caregiver and sympathizer that is able to attend should do so to defend your law against these cannabis haters that have been put into power over us. Hope to see you all there.

Rev. Steven B.Thompson • Chapter Director, Benzie County NORML

Mitt’s missing taxes

Seems the Northern Express and some of its readers are concerned with Mitt Romney’s tax returns. Let’s remember his most recent two returns revealed he met all tax requirements on a large income and also showed a huge contribution to church and charities.

But wait, Harry Reid claims Romney has not paid any taxes during the past 10 years. If Harry and his “unnamed source” are right, it must mean: a.) our normally aggressive IRS is giving millionaires a free pass, or b.) Romney is adhering to the tax guidelines that are set by Congress, including Harry. I’ll bet “b” is the correct answer.

It’s very obvious this tax return rumble is just one of many distractions attempted by an administration that does not want voters to think about the real issues.

We have an economy that is in the dumper, an exploding national debt, unemployment out of control and rising prices on everything including food and gasoline. This is no kind of record to run on, so here we go with the smoke and mirrors.

Ken Rule • Eastport

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