Northern Express - Other Opinions http://www.northernexpress.com/michigan/articles.sec-150-1-other-opinions.html <![CDATA[The Wrong Turn - ]]> We’ll see the horrifying videos of commercial airliners being flown into
the World Trade Towers. We will once again wonder why no one was able to
“connect the dots” and take preventative action. There will be memorial
services and candlelight vigils.
We’ll collectively wonder if we’ve learned anything at all. But as bad as
9/11 was, it’s the decisions we’ve made since that should concern us.
We knew almost immediately a group calling itself al Qaida was responsible
and that the Taliban, then returning Afghanistan to the 16th century they
so love, had aided and abetted them.]]>
<![CDATA[Attorney General Bill Schuette?s attack on the law violates voters - ]]> Medical Marijuana Act into line with what he believes the voters wanted is
a waste of taxpayer time and money.
As a reminder, in 2008 Schuette led the opposition to the ballot
initiative and confidently predicted that the proposal would fail.
Ultimately it passed in every Michigan county and legislative district and
was approved by 63% of all voters statewide. It is hard to understand how
someone who got it so wrong the first time can be so confident that he
knows the mind of the voters this time.]]>
<![CDATA[The fire under the Teapots - ]]> won the Iowa straw poll. If only it actually meant something.
To be fair, tea party supporters and their feckless leaders in Congress
are on a nice roll. Their presidential aspirants keep percolating
toward the top of various polls and they control the U.S. House by
their unwillingness to agree on anything even one degree outside of
their narrow demands. Even better, their official White Knight, Texas
Governor Rick Perry, has nearly completed his I-Am-Not-A-Mormon tour
and will now start campaigning in earnest.
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<![CDATA[What I‘ll miss - ]]> By Brooke Whitten
As August arrives, I’m forced to pack my belongings into boxes and
suitcases for a third time. I’m getting ready to start my junior year at
Central Michigan University in Mount Pleasant. I’m only four semesters
away from graduating with a major in photojournalism and minor in outdoor
and environmental education.
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<![CDATA[Do little, take a break - ]]> Our collective play date in Washington has taken a break. The sandbox is
empty, the toys gone. Some of the children pretending to be our elected
representatives did not play well with others.
As John McEnroe was fond of bellowing, “You cannot be serious!”
The Great Budget Near-Disaster of 2011 has concluded round one. After
months of wrangling that was frequently surreal, Congress has agreed to a
deal that raises the debt ceiling, thereby at least forestalling a default
on obligations by the United States government for the first time in our
history. It also reduces spending by an amount that’s about the same as
the amount of increase in the debt ceiling.
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<![CDATA[What‘s over that hill? - ]]> The United States is out of the human space travel business. The recently
landed Endeavor mission was the last of our shuttle flights and we no
longer have any kind of program of our own to transport our astronauts
into space. At the very least, we’re taking a long hiatus.
The next time American men and women go to space it will be as
hitchhikers, bumming a ride on a Russian craft. We’ve become that member
of the carpool who no longer has a car.
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<![CDATA[Taking the pledge - ]]> inundated with pledges. Not to the Constitution or their constituents
because that would actually make some sense. No, they are now expected to
sign on to a number of special interest group pledges. Failure to do so
could result in a candidate being shunned by the very voters he or she
most needs.
There is a certain irony in all of this. Our Constitution includes the
specific language of the president’s oath of office but not for members of
Congress. It only requires that our Senators and Representatives “...
shall be bound by oath or affirmation...” to defend and protect that
remarkable document.
]]>
<![CDATA[Taking the pledge - ]]> inundated with pledges. Not to the Constitution or their constituents
because that would actually make some sense. No, they are now expected to
sign on to a number of special interest group pledges. Failure to do so
could result in a candidate being shunned by the very voters he or she
most needs.
There is a certain irony in all of this. Our Constitution includes the
specific language of the president’s oath of office but not for members of
Congress. It only requires that our Senators and Representatives “...
shall be bound by oath or affirmation...” to defend and protect that
remarkable document.
]]>
<![CDATA[Budget Battling Bingo - ]]> We’ve learned at least two things as Congress and the president stumble
and fumble raising the debt ceiling and creating a budget.
First, it appears President Obama is actually willing to take a crack at
changing both Social Security and Medicare. At the very least, he is at
least willing to discuss it.
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<![CDATA[Unexpected Exceptionalism - ]]> While searching YouTube for something, and I honestly don’t remember
exactly what,
I stumbled across the 2008 version of France’s incarnation of the Got
Talent franchise. Of course, they call theirs Incroyable Talent.
There, I met a beautiful 12-year-old named Caroline Costa. A giggly little
girl, it turned out she had a stage presence and voice equal to any
current mega-star. You knew within the first couple of seconds of her
audition she was something out of the ordinary.
]]>
<![CDATA[The Fifth of July - ]]> We have arrived at that uniquely American celebration, Independence Day.
We hope for good weather and fireworks, sparklers, hot dogs and family picnics. We revel in the day, celebrating 235 years of freedom from the dastardly King George and his British minions and the succession of other miscreants and despots we’ve vanquished since.
Another tradition this time of year is an e-mail that gets widely circulated. The basic premise is that none of the freedoms we enjoy would be possible without the men and women who serve and served in our armed forces.
Those now serving in Iraq and Afghanistan continue the long tradition of Americans fighting on foreign soil in the name of ideals established back home. They are paying a staggering price. More than 6,000 have died, and nearly 36,000 have sustained wounds or injuries sufficient to require hospitalization. Many of those are catastrophic injuries, including brain trauma requiring months or years of rehabilitation. ]]>
<![CDATA[An economic history of my family - ]]> By Ann Krantz
I was prompted to think about this history when I heard a young woman remark, on NPR’s Marketplace Money, “We will be the first generation without pensions,” the discussion being about wise investing. That’s true, and if the current politicians have their way, this may also be the first generation in modern times without health insurance and Social Security.
My father’s parents were immigrants from Sweden at the end of the nineteenth century. They both worked as cooks in lumber camps. At some point they met, married, and bought or homesteaded a subsistence farm in Menominee County in the Upper Peninsula. My father was the youngest of three children born between 1900 and 1908. When my Aunt Vera finished high school, she went to Michigan State College and became a teacher. But the boys had to become wage earners to support themselves, their families-to-be, and as the years went on, their parents. This was before the days of Social Security which was instituted in 1935. ]]>
<![CDATA[Senseless acts - ]]> It couldn’t be more senseless.
So we search for answers that cannot be found, blame that cannot be
assigned. Nobody knows the precise genesis of the long cascade of
troubles that led to Carly Lewis’ death.
Some will insist parents are to blame or a malfunctioning school system or
the lack of social services that might have intervened. We need to find
something or someone we can pinpoint as a cause because it is so hard to
accept that which is so far beyond our understanding.]]>
<![CDATA[Free trade packed bad for Michigan agriculture - ]]> Michigan farmers and must be rejected if we are to preserve our way of
life.
All three trade treaties are based on NAFTA-style policies which have
displaced American farmers while sending jobs that support Michigan’s
rural communities offshore. In fact, our leading export is jobs even as we
reward companies that outsource jobs. Since NAFTA took effect, the United
States has lost 300,000 farms and millions of jobs.
]]>
<![CDATA[Blowing Sunshine - ]]> alternatives to fossil fuels. In that three and a half decades talk is
about all we’ve done.
To be sure there has been some incre-mental progress. Solar energy
technology has improved enough that converting sunshine to power is
easier. There is significantly more wind energy. Maine, for example, has
made a genuine commitment to wind energy and is progressing apace.
Geothermal energy production, however, seems to be still in it’s embryonic
stages and the dream of hydrogen fuel cells producing nearly perpetual
energy is still just that; a dream.
]]>
<![CDATA[Blowing Sunshine - ]]> alternatives to fossil fuels. In that three and a half decades talk is
about all we’ve done.
To be sure there has been some incre-mental progress. Solar energy
technology has improved enough that converting sunshine to power is
easier. There is significantly more wind energy. Maine, for example, has
made a genuine commitment to wind energy and is progressing apace.
Geothermal energy production, however, seems to be still in it’s embryonic
stages and the dream of hydrogen fuel cells producing nearly perpetual
energy is still just that; a dream.
]]>
<![CDATA[Spinning until we‘re woozy - ]]> State Senator Howard Walker votes for catastrophic cuts to public
education and then writes an op-ed piece claiming to be a big friend of
education and explaining how he actually did us a favor.
John Edwards gets indicted for felony-level campaign law violations and
then tells us he didn’t know anything about the money being funneled to
his mistress to keep her quiet and, even if he did, he broke no laws.
Sarah Palin tells us Paul Revere made his famous ride, in her version with
bells ringing and guns blazing, to warn the British. Then she makes it
worse by claiming she’s right and everybody else is wrong.
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<![CDATA[I hate you - ]]> Hatred is a funny thing.
It sweeps over people like a none too gentle breeze and, for most,
passes just as quickly. For others, unfortunately, it sticks like
annoying gum they can never quite scrape off the bottom of their shoe.
Some declarations of hate are easy to understand because they’re
familiar to us. The “I hate you” rants of a teenager who believes his
or her curfew is too strict. The emotional outbursts during a
contentious divorce. The deeply wounded lamentations of a crime victim
toward a criminal.
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<![CDATA[What happened?? - ]]>       You might recall back on March 11 there was an earthquake off the coast of Japan that generated at least two tsunamis.  It was kind of a big deal, the worst devastation Japan had seen since World War II.  
   We were told at the time that more than 18,000 people died and thousands were still missing.  At least one and possibly three nuclear reactors suffered meltdowns or partial meltdowns.  Deadly levels of radiation were leaking into both the groundwater and ocean.  Tens of thousands of people were evacuated.  
   We had wall-to-wall coverage of it all for about a week and then it slowly slipped into the background, another milepost on the road to perpetual superficiality.  Apparently everything is fine there, now, because the national American media haven’t been much covering the story of late.  
   So, what happened?  What was the final death toll?  How many are still missing?  What’s being done for the people in the coastal areas that were obliterated?  Are they rebuilding?  What about the nuclear power plants?  Are they still spewing radioactivity? What happened to the workers who entered the plants during the meltdowns?  
   We were interested for a few days and then we moved along to something else.  
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<![CDATA[Catching up with the Republicans - ]]> Republican presidential race. There have been some changes since last we
discussed the subject.
Let’s start with the dearly departed.
The not-quite-brave-enough who dabbled at the prospect of a run and then
ran away from it are Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour, Indiana
Congressman Mike Pence, South Dakota Senator John Thune and, most
recently, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee. All demonstrated unusual
wisdom in dropping out.
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