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- December 17th, 2012  

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Black marks for governor

Gov. Snyder: When I voted for you, I was encouraged by your desire to avoid issues that were divisive and provided little mileage in moving us out of a very depressed time.

With our educational system becoming increasingly more amputated, our infrastructure crumbling and our state losing people, I put my hope - and trust - in your insight to keep focused on what mattered and what was needed.

Why you have decided to veer from this course and play a major role in significantly weakening the unionized workers of Michigan is disheartening and it is wrong.

We have been a great state to live in because middle class people have had an opportunity to enjoy a quality standard of living, earn a decent wage, and provide a hand up to our children.

Your decision and that of the legislature, done in haste and with no interest in hearing points of view like mine, will change all this. We will become a great state for the business world to pay its workers lower wages, less benefits, and at the same time, increase their profits. Good for them, bad for the rest of us.

I was deceived by you, Governor, the first time around. I won’t be again.

Harriet Jones • TC

Prior to the election, Governor Snyder spoke against right-to-work laws as being too divisive. In addition, I did not notice legislators who voted for this law run on this issue in the last campaign.

The lack of transparency subverts our democratic process. We could have had the public debate on this issue, so voters could have weighed-in. Instead, we are now facing a public outcry that will be very divisive.

We are being told that right-to-work protects collective bargaining and provides freedom for workers. What we are not being told is that right-to-work laws enable someone to obtain a free ride: those who do not have to pay union dues but still receive the benefits of the union. This certainly does not coincide with my sense of fairness.

Ron Marshall • Petoskey

It comes in many forms. When our governor signed the right-to-work crap, he is just as guilty as any terrorist whose purpose it is to take us down. To destroy the AMERICAN DREAM that so many of us have paid one hell of a price to keep and preserve.

To hell with those who seek to divide us.

And to him and his pals who would rob us of our liberties.

Gary R. Baumdraher • via email

The meaning of Christmas

This time of year I’m filled with memories of Christmases past, and of them all the last Christmas my father was with us lives on in my heart.

It was 1956 and I was seven years old. Thanks to my mother, I didn’t know just how sick my father was or that we were in real money trouble and in jeopardy of losing our house. He died that coming spring and it would be sometime before I would know the whole story.

I wanted the Lionel Train advertised on the round screen television we owned. It was an oval track with an engine that made smoke and pulled three cars around a pile of presents under a Christmas tree. I just had to have it.

On Christmas morning there was a box about the right size under our tree for me. Inside were different sized boxes, all Christmas wrapped, so I opened the longest first.

It contained a meticulously cut out black and white shadow box picture of a locomotive. I tossed it aside, sure the next would be the engine, but all of the boxes contained shadowbox pictures of locomotives and I was crushed. As I asked what had happened, my mother promised me that next year Santa would have enough to go around.

Along the journey of my life I have lost those meticulously cut out pieces of black construction paper and the simple frames that held them, but I have never lost that Christmas when I was given the greatest gift of all, the deep and abiding love my mother held for me.

That is why I cringe at times when I hear adults and children speak about Christmas now. It is the gift of love that truly matters and not the presents under the tree.

Michael H. MacCready • Cadillac

Keep up the videos

Guys, even though Tom Speers wrote a blistering critique of the video clip of the Right Brain’s grand opening without any offer of help, I want to commend you on the stellar job you did on the “Man of La Mancha” clip you posted from the recent production at the Old Town Playhouse. The filming was great, the editing was perfect and the background score was spot on. Thank you for including a new video view of events in our area.

Joe Trubiroha • via email

(Thanks Joe - credit for the “ LaMancha” video goes to Wayne Erreca. - ed.)

Defending Israel

Like all too many writers, Barbara Young lumps the Israeli military occupied West Bank with Gaza. They are two different entities.

There is no question that the Israelis have been expropriating land and building settlements on the occupied territories, but Israel no longer occupies Gaza. Gaza is autonomous and controlled by Hamas, which wants an end to Israel. The Palestinians that are occupied want a two-state solution that recognizes Israel as a Jewish homeland.

Hamas in Gaza has been firing rockets into Israel for years and smuggling arms in through the Egyptian border. The Israelis finally had enough and fought back. You would, too.

But if Gaza is a prison, it is a prison in part because of its own making. No wonder the three gates into Israel are hard to cross. But the Egyptians have the fourth gate and they want nothing to do with the Gazans. Since smuggling arms into Gaza provides more ammunition for attacking Israel, the Gaza coast is blockaded to stop contraband.

As for asking the U.S. to stop aid to Israel, how about also stopping aid to Egypt’s Islamic Brotherhood government? The Islamists are not our friends. The Israelis are.

Harley Sachs • Portland, OR

An ignorant letter

Though I understand that the Northern Express has a liberal leaning, nonetheless, I find it necessary to respond to the letter from Barbara Young (“Agony in Gaza,” Dec. 9).

I can listen to, disagree with and debate with people who have a different opinion than mine, and do so respectfully if their positions are based in fact and reasonably coherent argument. What I cannot abide are letters like Ms. Young’s, which are written by the ignorant, whether it be genuine ignorance or willful ignorance. It’s clear that either way, Ms. Young’s letter is based on virtually complete ignorance of the facts and of history, outright anti-Semitism or both.

She states that civilians were deliberately targeted. That is an outright lie. Is Ms. Young completely ignorant of the fact that the terrorists in Gaza have a long history of basing their rocket sites, arms depots, headquarters and such deliberately in the midst of civilians, in places like schools, hospitals and mosques? Apparently she does not know that Israel has a history of giving the civilians in Gaza plenty of warning that an attack is coming so that they may distance themselves from those sites.

She goes on to accuse Israel of ethnic cleansing and apartheid. Again, another outright and baseless falsehood which is usually heard from the lips of rabid anti-Semites. The facts of the matter is that Israel has a sizeable Arab population within its borders who enjoy Israeli citizenship and, in fact, have a number of Arab representatives in the Knesset. As for genocide and ethnic cleansing, of course, she ignores the murder of both Jews and Christians in a good number of Arab countries in both the Middle East and in Africa.

The rest of her letter is no more than irrational ravings based on the lies that I’ve mentioned, as well as other lies she relates. I would like to suggest she actually read something about the history of the Middle east and Israel. No doubt that suggestion will be ignored. My impression is that she is one of those people to whom no amount of reason or fact would make any difference, who hold onto their ignorance with pride.

Joel Weberman • Mesick

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