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"They died in service to our country".  That sentence will be heard may times as the nation observes Memorial Day. 

I'm a father, a businessperson and a Viet Nam veteran.  Over the past several years I've examined my military experience.  Two time Medal of Honor recipient, Marine Major General Smedley Butler helped me.  He finished his career, looked back and wrote a booklet titled "War is a Racket".  He said he was a thug for big business. My studies confirm what the General said.  Behind all of the flag waving, and the shouts of freedom, democracy and service, is a massive empire devoted to profit by any means.  Weapons are our number one export product.  The military is a tool.  We are taught to puff our chests, and honor the military - alive and dead - but we are never taught to question the business of war.  

They died in "service" to our country.  I hope we think about those words.

Arnold Stieber
Grass Lake, MI


Sending more troops into Iraq is like pouring more water on a gasoline fire. It will never work, and it only makes things worse. You cannot put out a gasoline fire with water, because the water rolls off the gasoline, spreading the fire. And if you pour more water on a gasoline fire, you only make things worse.

Likewise with sending more troops into Iraq: The troops we already have in there are a big part of the problem, and adding more of them will only make things worse.

Here is a clue from the common experience of mankind: If you doing something the wrong way, doing more of it the same way will never fix the problem. Example: You are trying to loosen a bolt by turning it clockwise instead of counter-clockwise. So instead of loosening the bolt, you are making it tighter. If you apply more force in the same wrong direction, you will never loosen the bolt, and you will probably break off its head. The solution is to recognize the problem and change the direction of your efforts. In Iraq, we are doing things the wrong way. Our invasion was the original cause of the problem, because there was no way a Christian-majority army from an infidel country supporting Israel could have ever been welcomed as liberators by the Muslim Arabs of Iraq. The whole idea was ignorant and delusional from the beginning. But we invaded anyway, and now their country is falling apart because of us, and we are stuck in a great big mess of our own creation. So can any reasonable person truly believe that we will make things better by sending in more troops now? No! We should be doing the very opposite: withdrawing our troops immediately, then trying to clean up the mess in some other way. Blessings to you.

May God help us all.
Rev. Bill McGinnis, Director - LoveAllPeople.org http://www.loveallpeople.org/searchallpages.html CONTACT William McGinnis (Rev. Bill McGinnis) 1908 Mt Vernon Ave #2543 Alexandria, VA 22301 7037686710 bmcgin@patriot.net


Seeking Peace is Patriotic

As a new resident of Holland, I've followed with interest your series on the peace pole. That a pole stating the fervent wish of most humanity, "May peace prevail on Earth," should spark prolonged discussion puzzled me. I understood the logical argument against two peace poles but still couldn't grasp the underlying reason for such long debate.

After reading Carolyn Marquis' statement opposing the pole, it became clear that in her view peace advocacy is somehow unpatriotic. Such beliefs would certainly lengthen debate over the placement of a peace symbol. What she and those who share her opinion fail to comprehend is that people who oppose war, especially an ill-conceived war like the Iraq war, do "love, support and defend our country."

It is precisely because we love our country that we wish to uphold our own democratic ideals by not invading and occupying another country and imposing those ideals on a culture we little understand. The Iraq war has tarnished our world reputation and shaken the faith, for some of us, that our leaders will honor democratic principles. Because we love our country we deplore initiating death and destruction in another country based on our leaders' precipitous decision. Because we love and support our military we don't want them killed, maimed or emotionally scarred doing the world's most harrowing job for a questionable goal.

We best support our country by holding our leaders accountable, by protesting unjustified wars and by dissenting when we believe leaders' decisions endanger us. Similarly, we support our country's founding tenets when we demand that free speech, free press and privacy rights be maintained and hope that our voices still count in a government allegedly "of, by and for the people."

We best defend our country when we are educated not only about our own democracy but other world cultures. Cooperating in efforts that help nations understand and respect each other and urging leaders to pursue diplomatic options ultimately protect us. Perhaps recognizing our shared humanity is our best defense.

Peace promoters revere the bravery and sacrifice of our war veterans and their families. We separate loathing the war from loving the warrior. Perhaps critics could separate advocating peace from lacking patriotism.

Marty Mulitz,
Park Township


This is a pathetic situation.

To be a radical today -- by the standards of "conventional wisdom" and the mainstream media -- is to be someone who stands up for the rule of law, the Constitution, and holding an administration accountable for launching a failed war that they lied us into. This war resulted in Tens of Thousands of Americans and Iraqis dead and injured, and nearly a trillion dollars of taxpayer money and debt. Every American now owes $30,000 in national debt.

Is it radical to stand up for our Constitution and honesty?

But it is mainstream to implement such policies, break the law, and not be held accountable. It is mainstream to continue to lie the same lies for five years and have the White House press corps, with the exception of Helen Thomas, nod their heads.

Is there something I'm missing? Has the national press corps had a lobotomy when I was out mowing the lawn one day?

Someone please let me know, because I can't figure it out.

Unless, of course, some people high up in the corporate media are getting a quid pro quo for their corporations -- and in the case of some reporters we have seen cash payments.

Of course, no such thing could happen in a nation with a free press. That would just be too radical a thought?

Right?

Mike O'Donnell

"Under the influence of politicians, masses of people tend to ascribe the responsibility for wars to those who wield power at any given time. In World War I it was the munitions industrialists; in World War II it was the psychopathic generals who were said to be guilty. This is passing the buck.

The responsibility for wars falls solely upon the shoulders of these same masses of people, for they have all the necessary means to avert war in their own hands. In part by their apathy, in part by their passivity, and in part actively, these same masses of people make possible the catastrophes under which they themselves suffer more than anyone else. To stress this guilt on the part of the masses of people, to hold them solely responsible, means to take them seriously. On the other hand, to commiserate masses of people as victims, means to treat them as small, helpless children. The former is the attitude held by genuine freedom fighters; the latter that attitude held by power-thirsty politicians."

Wilhelm Reich, The Mass Psychology of Fascism


Does True Islam Require Freedom Of Religion?

The case of Christian convert Abdul Rahman in Afghanistan has sharply focused international attention on what may be the most important question in the world today: Does true Islam require freedom of religion, or not?

The government of Afghanistan had been preparing to bring Rahman to trial on the criminal charge of renouncing his former religion of Islam to become a convert to Christianity. According to some authorities, this act of apostasy violates Islamic law and is punishable by death. Other authorities believe that true Islamic law requires freedom of religion and that Rahman and everybody else should be free to follow whatever religion (or none at all) they choose, without fear or penalty.

The importance of this question could not possibly be greater, because if true Islam requires freedom of religion, then there is no theological basis for militant action against people of other religions, merely because of their religion. Islamic Democracy becomes a possibility, and long-term peaceful co-existence for Muslims and non-Muslims seems likely. The supposed justification for terrorism largely disappears, and a new era of hopefulness in the world can soon begin.

Read the rest of this question by clicking here

Blessings to you. And may God bless us all.
Rev. Bill McGinnis, Director - LoveAllPeople.org


We are living in a society whereas everyone is out for themselves.The so-called journalists is bona-fided liers who never tell the story straight,and the suburbian people who once lived in the inner-city is now trying to re-takeover the city.People should stop blaming Bush for the mess we're in ,individuals should be blaming themselves because they allowed Bush to get in office.

Here in the Metro Detroit area we're having a WaterWar. Why? Because of the Six City Council Members who is so self-centered until they can't see straight (Excluding..Queen Sisters JoAnn Watson, Brenda Jones, and Barbara Rose Collins).

The director of the dwsd is really enjoying seen the battle between the Inner-City and the Suburbs with his $250.000 home in West Bloomfield Hills. Yet the city of Detroit tax payers are paying his salary, and the money he is making off of the people in Detroit is going to oakland county. In closing as a official member and researcher with the Michigan Welfare Rights Organization I hope that the inner-city as well as the suburbs will join together to agree on the proposed affordibility plan. Water is a free gift from GOD remember that.

WilliamX (Community Activist)


Although I am not a Muslim and do have visceral antagonism to and against all sectarian people (of all different religious flavors whatsoever), there is no doubt that Muslims (i.e. ordinary people whose crime was to be born to Muslim parents) in the United States are being treated similar to the early stages of how Nazi Germany treated gypsies, communists, anti-Nazis, Jews and others.

The problem is that some people think that Muslims and Arabs are "worse than dogs." This is probably what private Lyndie England had in mind when she wrapped a dog leash around the neck of an Iraqi prisoner in Abu Ghraib in Iraq.

Unless we value humans equally irrespective of religion, nationality, race, creed, etc., we are all a bunch of, for lack of better terms, racist bigoted hypocrites.

Ask yourself this question: If you lived at the time when crucifixions and lynchings where how mobs impunitively dealt with whom they designated as public enemy number one, will you be doing your best to persuade the mob not to crucify or lynch the anti-establishment Jew or an African slave or will you be the one who will drive the first nail into the flesh or wrap the rope around the neck?

Judging from our present day attitude, I guess we all know what each one of us would have been doing at such dark times.

Sami


Dear Editor:

When I am reading or listening to commentary about Bush and the Republicans that is produced by some of the gay community, I can't help but disagree with the usual slanderous liberal ideology.

In some comments it is stated that the right lied to go to war in Iraq and played dirty during the 2004 presidential race. The many accusations of Bush's motives make me wonder who is playing dirty and lying, especially since many of these indictments have been proven false.

Some ask where are all the liberal leaders, the obvious and accurate truth is that liberal leaders have tried, and failed to get into office. If the majority of the government is Republican, then maybe it is telling us that the Left needs to readjust its beliefs and stop whining like society's self-anointed super victims. Gay liberal leaders have raised millions of dollars from us to blindly align ourselves with a Democratic Party that has turned its back on our legislation and policy proposals in California, Indiana, Maryland and Louisiana during the past 30 days.

What has Howard Dean done to stop liberal Blue States like California and Maryland besides his lavish campaign to become the nation's class clown? What has Howard Dean done to stop Democrats from going into Red Bush States and saying they are against gay marriage? All we hear is name-calling directed at the Republicans and barely a word of protest when our Democratic friends take our money to get re-elected across the country but abandon us when we need their votes.

If government officials are corrupt, or dishonest, then the loser must have been worse, or the Democrats would have been in the majority. How much gay corruption in managing funds and organizations for the AIDS epidemic or ineffective national campaigns must we tolerate before we realize that we might be more corrupt than the GOP? At least some of our strongest GOP critics sit on committees that allocate money for AIDS and they faithfully vote for more money each year without trying to get one word of praise from the gay community.

There has to be a reason why more than half of America is Republican. I believe that the apparent explanation is that, like the Whig, or Federalist Parties, the Democratic Party is out of date.

Let's face it people, not every gay person is left-wing or liberal.

Respectfully Submitted,

Matthew Veritas Tsien
V.P. Development. Florida Gold Coast Log Cabin Republicans
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301
954-6142301

Matthew Veritas Tsienr is a former Air Force Captain and Director of President Ronald Reagan's lobbying organization. He also served as a senior staff member for two United Nations Ambassadors in Washington, D.C.


As salaamu alaikoum,

I am Michigan resident seeking advice. I will try my best to explain this in as few words as possible as I do not want to type a long drawn out story. There is a brother in Pakistan that I feel I am obligated to help as a fellow Muslim. This brother just popped up on my messenger one day. He said he found my name in a page of web search results after typing in 'Allah'. So as a result of this he feels I am a Godsend in some way because he has no friends. He is a sickly brother, struggling to take care of his mother and siblings. I know there are some people out there who just try to scam you. I know these types very well, but this brother is not out to get anyone. He is working for free right now, barely paying the bills, always in pain, depressed- and I dont know what to do to assist him. He has a pretty impressive resume, but I'm not sure if in these days and times it is enough. I thought perhaps you could review it and think about his overall situation and tell me what I can do for this brother. I fear he will overdose on pills or something because he is always speaking of wanting to die. Many times I try to joke with him to lift his spirits but its only temporary. I make du'a for him as often as I can remember to do so. He is waiting for a job response from Du'bai, but as I said before his job (working for the Military College) has not paid him this month, and he has family to care for with his father being deceased. My parents are also deceased and I am looking out for my siblings so I know the feeling. This brother is 31 and has never been married. His life is not a healthy one for someone his age. Plus he has stopped eating, and he is smoking cigarettes like crazy. I'm not wealthy or even middle class, and I have offered this brother monetary assistance but he always declines. He needs an opportunity that will create a sense of confidence in himself. I know there are many other people in this world that need help, and we can't reach them all. Please if there is anything at all you can do or any advice you can give, reply to this email. Allah Hafiz

Read Resume, click here

~N. Gardner

"Surah 28:56 It is true you will not be able to guide everyone whom you love; but Allah guides those whom He will. And He knows best those who receive guidance."


Here is what we need to do for our county to cut down on return offenders please pass this along to the judges and police courts etc.

Sheriff Joe Arpaio (in Arizona) who created the "tent city jail": He has jail meals down to 40 cents a serving and charges the inmates for them.

He stopped smoking and porno magazines in the jails. Took away their weights. Cut off all but G" movies.

He started chain gangs so the inmates could do free work on county and city projects.

Then he started chain gangs for women so he wouldn't get sued for discrimination.

This letter is continued on another page, click here...

Deesdaonegirl@aol.com


Basic Needs Of Michigan Poor Continue To Be Under Attack.

While Michigan's food pantries remain under stocked and school age poverty levels remain high, over 220,000, an additional aspect to this reality for hundreds of thousands living in Michigan was the subject of an article in the Muskegon Chronicle. "Agencies struggle to meet medical needs of the poor." While those living in poverty with medical needs have risen throughout 2004 a federal funding freeze for those living in extreme poverty went into effect July 1 of 2004.

At the time of the freeze state aid was budgeted for 63,000 people. The numbers now exceed 89,000 leaving the state's various charities scrambling to meet the medical needs of the poor. Many, no doubt, are left in crisis situations when considering cancer and AIDs patients.

Diana Stubbs, director of one of Muskegon's aid agencies, said that they remain "In dire need of donations if they are to continue." Diabetes and heart disease, both of which require medication, are common among the poor being helped in Michigan. But the delays in the paperwork that the charities are forced to do under a capitalist health care system can be life threatening. Cheryl Schneider, of Muskegon Care, says "Many are homeless, living friend to friend. $30 for a prescription may not seem like much, but when you have no income it may as well be $300."

The poorest of the poor, some seriously ill, also often homeless, living through the winter months in Michigan, are in urgent need of a common sense, humane solution to their problems.

Brian McAfee
Muskegon Heights, MI


The wellness of "our" nation has been, and is being - "given " away. Too much "politally correct" & "special needs" nonsence, aid to other nations (billions&billions yearly), peoples, minorities, etc. I have a plan; STOP giving away "America's wealth". While we go without insurance, and face no social security ; which is due to those that are, and were "tax payers"; not life time wellfare recipients, immigrants new to the states that conveniently arrive here ready to retire on social security, have children born here and are then immediatly given "special" immigration and minority status and privilages (college,medical,etc); while we that were born here give it to them out of our hard labor.

Others abroad can feel comforted by the yearly freebies from the good ole USA as well. Seems there are too many lobbyists, and over payed politicians as well. As I remember; politics (way back when) was something that people saw in the interest of their fellow man (neighbors), and set about as a mouthpiece for them. Imagine: people such as Kwame M. Kilpatrick (Detroit mayor) having a million dollars worth of bodyguards. NONSENCE!! We have too many people-with too much power, and over payed for it. With judges, a president, senators, and such making descisions 'for us"; why do we bother to vote? They get into office with the premise of "serving" us; nothing doing! Understand this: I believe poiticians should be payed; but not $200,000.00 or more a year. I work hard and sweat for my money while they read, lobby, and leisure about--- BULL! It's not worth that much. Then think of how many people get this (or less) un-patriotic amout to "serve" and represent their fellow man. GRRRR    The "real" America needs pulled out of the shadow of "special needs" and "special interest's", and let this again be a land thriving: a "DEMOCRACY"; not a "DICTATORSHIP" of judges elected among themselves!! And as for the presidential nominee's; We never get a good choice. The ones that (in my view) seem "down to earth", "real people"; get tossed aside by the media (newspaper and television).

PS: my "families" "ancestors" have been in the States for 200+ years (some inTC for 150); I feel a sense of patriotism to their labors, beliefs, what they worked so hard for, and affirmations; not to those "forced" upon me by the suppositional "elite" politicians, special interest groups, and civil rights groups that have set about to "make" America a vessel of outreach to uplift the entire world (at the working classes expense), while they seemingly demand aid to a country of "their" own choosing or heritage. And if a elected person not give it or appear to help  meet their demands ... be labeled a RACIST!! Heaven forbid recognition of those worthy of helping (those that help themselves), and cutting those such as many African countries that have been aided since the 50's and 60's; and stop fighting other countries battles for them (primarily religious bourne) at ours (taxes) and our childrens expense (their lives). Let them fight among themselves. Give them nukes to hurry and be done with it. We as a country have no interest in these countries (only oil co.'s and minority religious groups do). = JEWS vs MUSLIMS

And; this labeling of Americans; ie: "African American". HOGWASH! Then i'm a "European American", and speaking as a world-wide population; I / we are the minority and should demand special care as well. But that will be overlooked. "I speak of "constitution";not (necessarily) "revolution".

signed:
Durga
(not living in TC)


Please join me in my effort to build on the morality tide initiated by George W. Bush and his evangelical constituency. I think some of the people I have blind carbon copied this message to will find my proposal especially exciting! Mark 10: 11 reads "He (Jesus) told them, 'When a man divorces his wife to marry someone else, he commits adultery against her. And if a wife divorces her husband and remarries, she, too, commits adultery." (The Living Bible). I feel very strongly that the government should not be in the business of legitimizing immoral marriages.

I believe that marriage is between a man who has never been divorced and a woman who has never been divorced. Please do me the favor of e-mailing all of your evangelical friends and all those who oppose civil rights for gay people to help in a drive to stamp out all of these morally illicit marriages and to dissolve all present such relationships. Now that we have control of the White House and Congress I am sure that we can be succesful! Yes I know it will be a hardship for those sinners to give up all the many financial, social, and political privelages of a government issued marriage license, but after all this is God's will (or at least our understanding of God's will) and it is good and right to force others to be subject to our religious beleifs.I am sure that your evangelical friends will not respond hypocritically to my proposal or reveal that they pick and choose which verses to affirm and which to ignore-- they are after all God-fearing people.

I think it is high time that God-fearing people stand truly accountable to God's word.

Kelly


The Fight Goes On.... We have no choice! If we can change the mind of one in a hundred voters over the next four years, we can win in 2008. They did not win in a blowout! It feels bad. It is bad. However, we only need to learn a few lessons to win next time.

We need to oppose economic globalization policies that are not in the interest of middle class Americans. Outsourced jobs should mean no access to the American market for that company and group of companies if that applies. Free trade with third world countries that lower the general standard of living for American workers should cease. Immigration rates should be tied to unemployment rates. We should stop accepting the idea that globalization is the result of market forces. Globalization is more the result of policy decisions as market forces. We need to tie the Bush Republicans to globalization. READ THE WHOLE LETTER

Stephen Crockett
Fayetteville, TN 37334


We are a thoroughly TV-bred nation, force fed daily a daily regimen of empty rhetoric and flashy 1984 doublespeak. Again and again, that Jack Nicholson quote from The Shining plays through my head: "It's ok, he saw it on the television!" These aren't real people dying. They're terrorists. They're harboring terrorists. They live in a land infested by terrorists. Whoever's left after the holocaust will be forever grateful to us, truly. People in foreign countries are like bacteria. We know they're there, all around us, multiplying and spreading from place to place... and that's sort of icky. We don't like thinking about things like that. READ THE WHOLE LETTER

C. Jackson


There is a proposed amendment that will be on this November’s ballot which will change our state constitution forever, the proposal reads: “To secure and preserve the benefits of marriage for our society and for future generations of children, the union of one man and one woman in marriage shall be the only agreement recognized as a marriage or similar union for any purpose.” – Now for the creative advertising. This proposed amendment is being passed off to Michigan’s citizens as the “Gay Amendment”, hoping that with such terminology, many of our citizens would go immediately for such an amendment believing it is to ban gay marriages. You may have already seen advertising showing that this is their only goal, but that statement is FAR from the truth. In fact, this amendment has much more to do with straight couples than gay couples, being the sheer difference in population numbers. READ LETTER

Jason Endert
Lansing, MI


Anyone out there interested in helping Ann Arbor get instant runoff voting back? We had it back in 1975, but the Republicans took it away. Libby Hunter, Craig Harvey, and a few others (including me) are trying to get an IRV campaign going, and we need help! If you'd like to help with our petition drive, education, publicity, or whatever, please let me know.

If you're not familiar with IRV, check out http://a2irv.org. IRV has been endorsed by Dennis Kucinich, Howard Dean, and John McCain, and of course the Green Party. It's a necessary step in bringing democracy to America. Please help if you can!

Bob Goodsell


The next time someone quotes anti-gay statistics to you, check the source. In his July 16 letter, "Discrimination OK against gay lifestyle," Dan Ziegler cites a "professional journal, Psychological Reports" as his source for condemning gay parents. So, wanting to learn more about his point of view, I checked it out.

I was disgusted to learn that Psychological Reports is not a respected scientific record, but a "pay to publish" journal that requires you to pay them to print your work. Worse yet, the evidence Ziegler cites was authored by Paul Cameron, whose anti-gay "research" is so biased that he was kicked out of The American Psychological Association in 1983. And in 1985, The American Sociological Association announced, "Dr. Paul Cameron has consistently misinterpreted and misrepresented sociological research on sexuality, homosexuality and lesbianism," and he's leading a campaign against gays "on the basis of his distorted interpretation of this research."

Learn more for yourself: A simple Google search of "Paul Cameron" or "Psychological Reports, homosexuality" will lead you to a wealth of information. The University of California at Davis alone has many pages debunking Cameron, including the statistics Ziegler cites.

I would like to believe that Dan Ziegler and others who believe this garbage, might take the time to learn that legitimate researchers have completely discredited Cameron and his writings in Psychological Reports, but instead, I fear that he'll just find some more junk science to support his bigotry and fire off some more poorly informed rhetoric to be printed.

Mike Byrne


I am a Vietnam infantry veteran and a member of Veterans For Peace. I spent last weekend expressing my views on peace in Oak Ridge, TN. Oak Ridge is home to the world's largest weapons of mass destruction plant.. This plant is currently upgrading our 10,000 nuclear bombs, and building more. This plant, via the Department of Energy, is requesting $12 billion of our tax dollars to continue this work. The House of Representatives bill (HR 4614) has a misleading title - "Making Appropriations for Energy and Water Development for the Fiscal Year ending September 30, 2005, and for other purposes".

I saw eleven people arrested at Oak Ridge for peacefully expressing their views. Most of these people were women. Some of these women were over 70. One was a teenager in Germany during the Holocaust.

If we as a nation truly want peace in the world, and peace for our children, then we must lead by example. We must reduce, or better yet, eliminate our weapons of mass destruction.

Arnold Stieber


Will the VFW Posts Stand Up or Cave In to the Pussies of Politics

Gay / Child Molesters / Muslim Leaders / NAACP are Blackmailing Political Aides even if they are not Gay. They have ousted one Jew Boy, and targeting others. The NAACP lead by Muslims is targeting the Catholic Church, while Gays are Going after Christian Aides to Congress and the Senate.

Does the VFW have the Guts to Stand up to these weirdo’s or have you all ready caved in. If you have not caved in then lets see how well you can air your opinions to those on this email list. Which includes the Democrates, GOP, California Green Party, Texas Constitutional Party and other parties – groups.

Stand up and deliver or Cave in and be the Bitchs of the Gay / Muslim / NAACP

VFW StandorCave
<vfwstandorcave@yahoo.com


When President Bush addressed the Southern Baptist Convention on June 15, he brought the 8,000 delegates in Indianapolis to their feet when he said, "Government, by strengthening and protecting marriage, serves the interests of all." While I agree that strong marriages are good for all Americans, I fail to understand how Bush's desire to ban gay marriage and write discrimination into our nation's Constitution will strengthen marriages or our country. Furthermore, Bush offers nothing to support and protect the relationships of gay couples, many with children, health-care expenses, and mortgages.

John Kerry feels committed gay couples should be recognized with full rights and benefits and responsibilities in civil unions. Kerry cares that right now, gay couples, even men and women together for 20 or 30 years, remain strangers to each other in the eyes of the federal government when one of them gets sick, has an accident, goes into the hospital, or dies.

Bush, on the other hand, cares nothing about protecting and supporting gay couples and their families.

Marc Paige
Fort Lauderdale


I believe that Our Senior Citizens deserve better nursing home rating than they are getting, over 150 nursing homes remain on the watch list at www.memberofthefamily.net just take a good look at this.  Is this Michigan, We are Michigan  so lets act like civil human beings and give our Senior Citizens what they deserve they have been around a long time and have witnessed many things we have not, this is Michigan's History.  Have a little consideration for them, be a compassionate State instead of kicking them under the bus. Alot of these Senior Citizens made Michigan what it is.

Sue Mildren


Today, as Massachusetts becomes the first state in the nation to extend marriage rights to same-sex couples, and our nation also marks the 50th anniversary of Brown vs. Board of Education, there is a connection between these two events -- besides sharing the day -- that is unmistakable.

In 1954, when the Supreme Court delivered its momentous decision in the Brown case, striking down the "separate but equal" doctrine that fostered decades of segregation between whites and African-Americans as a violation of the equal protection clause of the U.S. Constitution, echoes of that ruling came back this year when the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled that marriage rights must be extended to same-sex couples.Last November, when the Massachusetts court ruled 4-3 in Goodridge et al vs. Department of Public Health that denying same-sex couples the right to marry violated the equal protection clause of Massachusetts' constitution, legislators were so taken aback they asked the court if Vermont-style civil unions would suffice. In February, the court ruled civil unions are not the same as marriage.Civil unions "maintain an unconstitutional, inferior and discriminatory status for same-sex couples," wrote Chief Justice Margaret Marshall. And obviously recalling the effects of segregation and the Brown ruling, she noted that "the history of our nation has demonstrated that separate is seldom, if ever, equal."But is it an ugly chapter of history our nation is condemned to repeat?As gay couples in Massachusetts line up outside city halls waiting to be wed, Gov. Mitt Romney and many of the states' legislators are making every effort -- reminiscent of Southern states' efforts to circumvent the Brown ruling and keep their schools segregated -- to circumvent the Goodridge ruling and keep gays from marrying. This includes Romney banning out-of-state gay couples from marrying by enforcing a 1913 state law once used to prevent interracial couples from states with miscegenation laws from marrying in Massachusetts. But places like Provincetown and Worchester plan to defy the governor's edict and issue out-of-state couples marriage licenses.Of course, social and religious conservatives -- with a reaction similar to that on ending school segregation -- are trying to create an uproar on extending marriage rights to same-sex couples, this time around going so far as to propose an amendment to the U.S. Constitution that would prevent gay couples from marrying. And they've updated their rallying cry from "Segregation forever!" to "No rights for sodomites!"In the 1950s, equal rights for African-Americans was a goal caught between our nation's secular ideal and certain religious and social beliefs -- that God intended the races to be separate (or "mongrelization" of the human race would occur), and that African-Americans were mentally inferior -- which fostered blatant discrimination including segregated schools.Today, unfortunately, equal rights for the gay community including the right to marry, is also a goal caught between the secular and the sacred, between the Jeffersonian ideal "that all men are created equal" and an overwhelmingly Christian citizenry fervently claiming "in God we trust."But the beliefs behind denying same-sex couples marriage rights ring as hollow as the beliefs that once supported segregated schools: That marriage is "sacred," when half of all marriages end in divorce. And with such a high divorce rate and almost 1 million children in foster care nationally, it's gay couples marrying that will destabilize the marriage concept. That marriage's purpose is for "procreation," when we live on a planet with over 6 billion people, and 11 children starve to death every minute. That marriage will lose its "special standing" if gays can marry, which likens marriage to a segregated-for-heterosexual-couples-only country club, leaving gay couples outside the gates looking in. That it's OK to discriminate against "behavior," while conveniently ignoring "love."Nevertheless, just as African-American children in the 1950s courageously stepped across once-segregated schoolhouse thresholds, today in Massachusetts, same-sex couples will courageously step across courthouse thresholds to get their marriage licenses in a continuing civil rights goal of equality and to secure the American dream of "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness."

William Butte
Deerfield Beach


Nursing Homes should have to tell people that they are graded by performance and their grade should be used like a school grade using A+, A, A-,B+,B,B-, ect..... to F as a failed grade then the state should have weekly reports until they have completed the probation period of 6 months, using an outside agency to do observations. Rather than doing ANNUAL reports by OMBUDSMAN during the day when nothing is happening but busy with residents. Most of reports by Ombudsman are during the day well what about what happens at night while these people are alone with no Administrator on duty. I've worked in these homes and I know what goes on, it's terrible and the staff cover each. You see during the day families visit and Doctors come in, PT, OT, Social Workers, busy daytime hours. Does Ombudsman go visit whenever they want or do they have schedules to follow during the DAY, what do you think?

Make it Happen use the grading system and probation it will work then the Nursing Homes will get a better name for themselves because right now in Michigan there are approx. 150 Nursing Homes on the National Watch List that's just for Michigan. Is your loved one in one of those homes ?? WE need a better system than this. Much better..

Clean it up..Don't just talk about it make it happen

Signature withheld by request


The Macomb County Probate Court has been making the mistake of appointing outside Guardians for families who are willing to take the responsibility of the guardianship. The Judges think that because of family issues and or problems that an outsider is a better choose. What to do you think? Well, I think they are very wrong especially when talking about senior citizens. Take a look at what has happen already in Washtenaw County and Macomb County; those same guardians the Judges appointed are now under investigation from the same Judges . This tells me that they don't keep up their records to see what is going on in their own court. Some of those investigations are from 2 or 3 years ago. Who is watching those GUARDIANS? Also they keep families away from loved ones and that is shame ... They have taken the rights of the elderly into their own hands and see what happens. The Judges need to use the NEW MEDIATION plans and keep those Court Appointed Guardians OUT of the picture. If you have family issues or disagreements regarding a loved one try to work it out yourself with the help of the MEDIATION by calling The Center For Social Gerontology /
TOLL FREE 1-866-665-1126 or
visit the web site at www. tcsg.org or
e-mail / Sbutterwick@tcsg.org
e-mail / phommel@tcsg.org

The courts need to start using this process for families who have difficulty getting along or just can not decide who will be in charge. Small fees for this service and the service fees can be waived. I only wish I knew about it sooner it would have been a wonderful thing for our family.

Signature withheld by request


The Palestinian American Congress strongly condemns the assassination of Sheikh Ahmad Yaseen, the founder and spiritual leader of Hamas and his aides by the Israeli air force.The air strikes that resulted in the killing of Sheikh Ahmed Yaseen as he was being pushed in his wheelchair.The United States must take a firm position in condemning this crime which not only resulted in the murder of a senior Palestinian leader, but also in the assassination of any remaining hope for peace in the Middle East. This assassination is yet another proof that the United States should no longer support Sharon’s barbaric policy. Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon has shown through his tactics that he does not qualify to be a partner in peace. This assassination only serves as an invitation to escalating the cycle of violence in the region. History will hold Sharon and his supporters responsible for any blood shed that will follow.

Marwan ElMasri


Incredible! The Democratic Party really is a bunch a gutless, spineless cowards when it comes to taking a stand on any issue. How hard is it for just one Democrat of national prominence (a presidential candidate, preferably) to say: "I support every American's right to be treated equally and fairly under the law. I support every American's right to the pursuit of happiness that is one of the great traditions of this country. Therefore, I support gay marriage. But whether you agree with me on this specific issue or not, every American should be troubled that the current president of the United States is willing to tamper with the most sacred document of our Union, the Constitution, in an effort to discriminate against a minority of Americans. At the very least, let each state decide in its own way how to protect the right of its citizens to be happy in life and love, and let us not meddle with the Constitution for political ends." Fortunately for us, all the fear of the Christian right that leads Democrats to cower in submission, is proving to be a bit premature, as even Republicans in the House and Senate have already voiced their skepticism over using a constitutional amendment to decide this issue, and have pretty much stated that there is no way a two-thirds majority of each chamber will vote for this. But we as liberals and Democrats should ask ourselves, are we really afraid of a fringe group of conservatives that makes statements such as "When you create counterfeit marriages and put them into the law, you're undermining society's most important safeguard against tyranny"? I think that an overwhelming majority of moderate Americans are likely to view statements such as that as more radical than statements affirming support of gay marriage.

Ray D'Antuono


OPEC decided to cut oil production. Our infrastructure badly needs repair. Our educational system needs attention. Air and water pollution cause real health problems. Our economy is suffering. People are homeless, hungry, out of work. Our unelected president has misled, deceived and, maybe, lied to us.

With all the real need in the world today, why would some folks spend time attacking love? This love may be in the form of same-sex marriage, but it is love nonetheless. If we cannot celebrate a healthy commitment between two individuals, what can we celebrate? If we oppose a true sense of caring, what are we for?

There are genuine issues and real needs in this country and in the world today. Putting our energy and our resources into attacking those who are different from us doesn't seem productive. Making an issue out of Sid and Tom or Sally and Mary getting married seems shortsighted and distracts us from legitimate issues that need to be addressed.

Willowbei Eversole
Huntington Woods


The national debate over a ban against gay marriage has become mired in emotions, rather than focused on legal definitions. Marriage, from the standpoint of governance, is a contractual agreement that binds two people together, providing certain tax and inheritance benefits as well as financial responsibilities. This is a basic civil right accorded to citizens by the state.

The problem arises when outdated religious, moral, social and cultural beliefs and definitions of marriage are being purposefully confused and drawn into what is a personal contractual arrangement between individual citizens and the state.

The emotional arguments against gay marriage only create an environment of hostility and intolerance, not to mention violating the fundamental and basic civil and human rights protected by the U.S. Constitution.

One possible solution to the debate might be for all people, regardless of life-style or sexual orientation, to enter into a contractual agreement with the state called a "civil union license" instead of a "marriage license." Then let individual religious congregations and the moral conscience of ministers determine whether or not they will support conducting religious marriage ceremonies.

Kerry M. Berger
Farmington Hills


The gay marriage issue has infuriated those who feel it will poison morality and threaten traditional marriage. They should keep in mind the fundamental principle under which this nation was created: freedom -- such as the freedom to pursue your own personal identity and happiness, regardless of popular opinion or religious conviction.

If a gay person is a peaceful, law-abiding citizen who wants nothing more than to live and love with his or her significant other, how can that be interpreted as an abomination of the human soul?

Those who scream the virtues of traditional marriage can't escape the reality of an alarming 50-percent divorce rate. By denouncing gay marriage, their own hypocrisy emerges. Perhaps by expanding the definition, thus broadening the dimensions of marriage, its ethics can be properly applied to the modern world.

David Nowak
Rochester Hills


As Ann Landers might have asked: does writer Tracey Lee have strudel in her noodle regarding the "defense" of marriage? No one, anywhere, is proposing to eliminate heterosexual marriage. This is an example of neocon Bush-speak, where we call something the opposite of what it does (a la "Clear Skies" initiative.) Using Lee's logic, 150 years ago, slavery would have been promoted as "defense of plantations." Ninety years ago, she would have fought women's voting rights as "defense of voting". Fifty years ago, school segregation would be called "defense of education." If gays are allowed to marry, does this threaten anyone's marriage? No. Will it be harder for heterosexual couples to marry? No. Will heterosexuals stop getting married? No. How does this rate tops on the agenda? Are all crimes solved? Schools fully equipped and funded? The economy fully charged? Everyone has health care now?I thought not.

Dennis Blankenship
East Lansing


Seeking submissions for Wives of War: From the Hearts of Those Left Behind, to be published in 2005. Wives of War: From the Hearts of Those Left Behind is an anthology of narrative non-fiction essays covering five American wars beginning with World War II to our most recent Gulf War II. The stories must be original and from the military
wife left behind during a wartime season covering one of the following themes: Wives of Courage, Wives of Love, Wives of Fear, Wives of Hope, and
Wives of Loss. Each story must take place while the husband is away serving in combat.Novice and experienced authors are encouraged, as well as previously published work. Length: 1,000 to 4,000 words. Small honorarium. Deadline: January 15, 2004. Include your name, phone number, e-mail address and a brief bio in manuscript.For inquiries e-mail: wivesofwar@yahoo.com

Guidelines or submit to:
Marlo Brooks
C/O Epiphany Management
P.O. Box 152049
San Diego, CA 92115


Dear Mr. Bush, Well, it's going on two weeks now since your surprise visit to one of the two countries you now run and, I have to say, I'm still warmed by the gesture. Man, take me along next time! I understand only 13 members of the media went with you -- and it turns out only ONE of them was an actual reporter for a newspaper. But you did take along FIVE photographers (hey, I get it, screw the words, it's all about the pictures!), a couple wire service guys, and a crew from the Fox News Channel (fair and balanced!). READ THIS LETTER

Michael Moore


The Presidential Prayer Team is currently urging us to: "Pray for the President as he seeks wisdom on how to legally codify the definition of marriage. Pray that it will be according to Biblical principles. With any forces insisting on variant definitions of marriage, pray that God's Word and His standards will be honored by our government." Any good religious person believes prayer should be balanced by action. So here, in support of the Prayer Team's admirable goals, is a proposed Constitutional Amendment codifying marriage entirely on biblical principles: A. Marriage in the United States shall consist of a union between one man and one or more women.(Gen 29:17-28; II Sam 3:2-5.) B. Marriage shall not impede a man's right to take concubines in addition to his wife or wives. (II Sam 5:13; I Kings 11:3; II Chron 11:21) C. A marriage shall be considered valid only if the wife is a virgin. If the wife is not a virgin, she shall be executed (Deut 22:13-21) D. Marriage of a believer and a non-believer shall be forbidden.(Gen 24:3; Num 25:1-9; Ezra 9:12; Neh 10:30) E. Since marriage is for life, neither this Constitution nor the constitution of any State, nor any state or federal law, shall be construed to permit divorce. (Deut 22:19; Mark 10:9) F. If a married man dies without children, his brother shall marry the widow. If he refuses to marry his brother's widow or deliberately does not give her children, he shall pay a fine of one shoe and be otherwise punished in a manner to be determined by law. (Gen. 38:6-10; Deut 25:5-10) * G. In lieu of marriage, if there are no acceptable men in your town, it is required that you get your dad drunk and have sex with him (even if he had previously offered you up as a sex toy to men young and old), tag-teaming with any sisters you may have. Of course, this rule applies only if you are female. (Gen 19:31-36)*Aside from the above, American's may choose to follow Moses' example and allow some variation from "divine law" as observed by Jesus at Matt 19:8: "Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so."

James


Dear Fellow Citizen:

You are receiving this because I, or someone you know, believe(s) that you are a rare and cherished citizen who understands the threat facing our country today. Many Americans take the actions of George Walker Bush in good faith, bolstered by a media machine that, for the most part, seems unwilling to question his motives on so many issues. READ THIS LETTER


The House Appropriations Committee doesn't know where $79B went!While driving 10/15 I listened to a C-Span broadcast of the House Appropriation Committee hearings on the $87B Bush & crew have requested for their buddies "rebuilding" Iraq. One Committee member asked what happend to the $79B that's already been spent. The Chairman (Bill Young of Florida) said he wished he had an answer. He said he repeatedly asked the Administration, but they don't respond.Someone pointed out that the interest (ah yes, the bankers love war) on this loan will be $4B/yr. And that that's enough to fund medical research for every major disease. (There was virtually no response to this statement.)Anyone have any backbone pills?

Peace,
ARNY


I live in Lake County,, and ALOT fo people with shallow wells, have been running dry. I have a distinct feeling alot as to do with the ICE MOUNTAIN plant. What can be done? As a group, can we do something, as a community ?? Any info is appreciated.

Thanks, STAN


Dumbyaonic Plague — An affliction which carries a self-righteous, condescending and arrogant minority into the fevered delusion that they are called upon to dupe an ill-informed and naive citizenry into believing that endless war, economic inequities, environmental pollution, domestic surveillance, irrational paranoia, religious zealotry, sexual insecurity, media suppression and abdication of civil rights are necessary components of a democracy. Its symptoms include equating debate with sedition and opposition with treason. Persons suffering from this affliction can often be heard uttering phrases like “It’s all Clinton’s fault”, "liberal whackos", "love it or leave it", “Bring ‘em on” and "more tax cuts".Ineffective treatments have included wrapping oneself in a large flag and singing "God Bless America".

Former Conservative
New York , NY


Everyone may or may not have their own god and beliefs, but using a god to defend an argument is the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard, and lately I've been hearing it quite a lot. Would you wear a burqa because someone told you their God said you were required to? Would you make a pilgrimage to Mecca? Would you wear a Jewish skull cap or Mormon garment? I don't think so unless you believed in the same God. Now the Christians are using their God to defend their beliefs about marriage. I don't understand, because since people can be married in a civil service outside a church, what does anyone's god have to do with the decision about who is allowed to marry, anyway? It's a civil court decision. Take your god out of your argument against gay marriage, or anything else for that matter, and you probably won't have much of an argument, just an opinion or bias. I wish for once that people could discuss a topic logically and intelligently without using a god to defend their position. Earth would be a better and less complicated place.

Tom Morse


Those who suggest amending the U.S. Constitution to forbid same-sex marriage on the grounds that "marriage is a sacrament" need to reconsider. Their belief that marriage is a sacrament is one of the strongest arguments AGAINST a constitutional amendment.

The Constitution of a secular republic is NOT the place to institutionalize the qualifications for participation in the sacraments. To address such matters in the Constitution is an exceedingly dangerous idea. Not only would it institutionalize antigay bigotry, it would establish government control of religion.

I can accept that marriage is a sacrament. Baptism is also a sacrament. So is "communion." The Roman Catholic Church teaches that there are seven sacraments.

Shall we amend the constitution to say that gay people can't get Baptized, or can't take communion? Of course not. Regulating sacraments is not the purpose of the constitution. The proposed amendment is one of the most radical and dangerous instances of pandering to conservatives that has been suggested in a long time.

The church decides whether a person can partake of the sacraments of that church. Marriage is no different.

If gay people are permitted to get married by the civil law, this does NOT compel any church to host the wedding ceremony, nor does it require the church to recognize the "sacramental" nature of the marriage.

Rudy Serra
Attorney at Law


Hello,I, like many Americans, believe that we were maneuvered into an unnecessary war through active deception on the part of George Bush and his administration. Although I applaud and support all groups who are fighting to keep this issue at the forefront of American consciousness, I do think there is one weapon that has gone largely unused in that battle. That is the power of the catch phrase. By that I mean associating a situation with a phrase that summons immediate negative feelings in the mind of the listener. Consider the following two examples:Viet-raq: If the various anti-war groups were to succeed in tagging the war in Iraq with this label and somehow getting the phrase into the common language, they will have struck a hard blow against the war by associating it with a powerful historical negative.Iraqgate: If those opposed to George Bush's tactics in leading this nation into war were able to associate his behavior with this phrase, they will have gone a long way in establishing his guilt in the eyes of the average person. Very few people could tell you what "travelgate" was all about but most of them could tell you it involved Hillary Clinton and was somehow bad.

Dan Kacsir


"If gays can change, homosexuality is not genetic. If homosexuality isn't genetic, then gays aren't entitled to the same equal-rights protections as other minority groups." Let's put that argument to the test. "If Jews can change, Judaism is not genetic. If Judaism isn't genetic, then Jews aren't entitled to the same equal-rights protections as other minority groups." Strikes the ear as a bit dangerous, doesn't it? - a slippery slope we've slid down before. Let's assume for argument's sake that homosexuality is a choice. So are one's political party and religion. The mere fact that something is a choice does not make it a legitimate basis for discrimination. The real question is whether I can legally discriminate against you if I don't like your choice. It really doesn't matter whether homosexuality is genetic, determined by infant nurture (as Freud believed), or a matter of reasoned adult choice. Those who object to homosexuality base their views on religion - that is to say, their interpretation of certain Biblical verses - and on religion alone. Millions of people in this country, including (obviously) most homosexuals, don't share their religion or their Biblical interpretations. Thus, laws which discriminate (or allow discrimination) against homosexuals are laws which align the state with a particular religious viewpoint and which force a particular Biblical interpretation not only on Christians and Jews who might disagree, but also upon millions of citizens who do not even recognize the Bible as a religious authority. That such laws therefore constitute an "establishment of religion" could not be more clear. And that is what the First Amendment absolutely forbids.

Very truly yours,
Paul Morgan Fredrix


For me, being American is something like having white privilege, that is, an unearned privilege, that brings me all sorts of benefits just by virtue of where I happened to be born. I have the benefits of liberty, choice, safety, comfort, education, travel, energy resources, information, satisfying employment, a great variety of food all seasons of the year, street lights that work, phones, clean water, garbage disposal, a great public health system, ditto emergency medicine, no restrictions on who I can marry or how many children I can have; I can own property, rely on a functioning court system, protest my government, and be supported by an array of social services when I need them, all because I happened to be born here and carry a US passport. (we all can think of egregious exceptions to each of these privileges, but you get my drift).As with white privilege, I also have the privilege of not concerning myself with what happens to people who don't have these privileges, that is, people in other countries who suffer as a result of my standard of living, or my government's business interests or its wars of liberation.Because all this privelege is unearned (I might just as easily have been born in Afghanistan or Tierra del Fuego) it's not really something to be proud about. It's not the result of something I accomplished or helped my group accomplish, really, even though I try to be a "good citizen." Those enormous benefits are a result of a lot of history, some of it very grisly and greedy, some of it inspired and creative and humanitarian.But the fact that I personally happen to benefit from it all is sheer accident. Now I could feel guilty and ashamed of my privilege, which I never asked for (but for which I am grateful, -- ANY fool would be grateful for these priveleges, after all!) But feeling that way (or getting stuck there) misses the point, I think. As with white privilege, if you happen to have it, you know you can't really divest yourself from it, but you CAN use that privelege to work for a more egalitarian world, refusing to shut your eyes to people who are getting tromped on because of the skewed system. Which is what we're all doing.So I would say that I'm not proud to be American any more than I'm proud to be white. However, I AM proud to be a peacemaker, and as a white American peacemaker my voice is louder than others. That's why I need to use it.

Helen


I'm an 80 year old "length of service military retiree". I have been betrayed for 39 years by the U.S. Government on the monthly retired pay loss, and for 31 years on the loss of my "earned" health care. Our government has been and is the epitome of lies, lies, lies, lies. I am not an authority on the Geneva Convention or Protocol but it's parameters are out of date. When it came into being there were no 11 ton (21,000 lb) bombs. There were no night sighting devices, etc. The list could go on an on. We use these night devices but if the Iraqi have one pair of them them they were terrorists attacking an American trooper unfairly. My wife of over 55 years who served with General George S. Patton's Third Army Field Hospital in France, Germany and Austria has had to endure these injustices also.

Willard D. Gray
Sumner, IL


Many people in the USA stand behind and with Michael Moore's anti-war statement at the Oscar awards ceremony on March 23, 2003. If it is not already clear, let me say that my heart and the collective hearts of the patriots who have publicly assailed this rush to war, grieve for the anguish of soldiers of the allied forces as well as the Iraqi people. There remains no justification for a war with Iraq. It was the Bush administration that created the sham necessity and urgency, playing on the fears from September 11, 2001. The rule of Saddam Hussein is a despicable example of how a terrible regime can become more firmly entrenched when companies such as those in the U.S. and Europe freely sell materials of war and mass destruction. People who produce and articulate the mainstream news through television, radio and print have largely let the facts be overshadowed by the Bush administration's zeal for war, along with the Pentagon public relations campaign. These messengers for the Bush administration, who cooperate to keep their jobs, bear untold and unmeasurable responsibility for the reality that many Americans have been fraudulently convinced that this is a war for freedom, rather than a war for natural resources and strategic access to the Persian Gulf. The suffering of families in the U.S. along with Iraq as a result of this devastating invasion only adds to the suffering perpetrated by the regime of Saddam Hussein.

The net result of punishment of the very victims of the Hussein regime is absolutely inevitable under circumstances of a war whose spokespeople boast that more weaponry was used in the first three days than that of the entire first gulf war.

The verbal attacks which appear to be brazen acts of scapegoating, on celebrities who speak out against the Bush administration are further cause for concern because these attacks serve to threaten those who dare to support the troops by questioning the rationale for the attack on Iraq.

Cindy Shapiro
Benzie County


Is censorship patriotic? Are death threats an expression of patriotism? Does war put a president suddenly beyond reproach? Is the supply of freeedom so limited that we must surrender ours to Iraq? Absolutely Not! "To announce that there must be no criticism of the president, or that we are to stand by the president, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public."
Theodore Roosevelt, 1918 Nothing is more American, and more democratic, than our right to disagree, and disagree publicly, with our government. War does not change that. War doesn’t revoke the bill of rights. There are conservatives who believe that dissenters should be charged with sedition once the war starts. When did fascism become patriotism? (And where does the constitution give Congress the right to limit freedom of speech?)I am a veteran, and a patriot. Here's what I have to say to those who say that we need to unite behind Bush. Neither you, nor Bush, nor the republican party, own the flag. You don't have the right to define patriotism. Nothing is more cynical, more disingenuous, more un-American, than saying that support for our troops and George Bush are one and the same. There is no legal or moral justification for this war. Bush has cynically manipulated and lied to the American people to build support for this war, and he continues to do so. He contines to invoke the memory of 9/11 to justify the war, despite the fact that Iraq doesn't support al-Qaida. He continues to refer to weapons of mass destruction, even though the "proof" that he has provided to weapons inspectors has been laughable. A building identified as a "chemical weapons facility" was found to have no plumbing. A "al-Qaida training camp" in northern Iraq (why wasn't it bombed?), when visited by journalists, was found to be some dusty shacks with no sign of human activity. A "mobile chemical weapons facility" was found to be a mobile food inspection facility. In fact, UN weapons inspectors characterized the US intelligence to consist of "garbage after garbage". Bush continues to refer to nuclear weapons, even though Iraq has no nuclear program (and has never explained why he claimed that the International Atomic Energy Agency had concluded that Iraq was "6 months from producing an atomic weapon", when they have never said anything that could be interpreted as such.)The reason that Canada (How dumb do you have to be to insult the Canadians? We now know.), France, Germany, Mexico, China, Russia, and 120 other countries don't support the US because they know that 1) Bush is a liar (see above), and 2) There is no credible evidence that Iraq is a threat. Even Spain, a stauch supporter of the war, denies the existance of an al-Qaida link. Tony Blair said, " ...we do not know of a link between Iraq and the September 11 attack." There is exactly one country in the world where a majority of the population supported Bush's position. It's not the US. (It was Israel). Could we be more isolated?Bush spent a couple days with Blair and Aznar in the Azores just prior to issuing the deadline. The White House characterized this as "going the last mile for diplomacy". Now... he went to a remote island, met with the two people who agree with him, and that's "going the last mile for diplomacy"? Given what seems to be his idea of diplomacy, he must have been trying to alienate them, too. Bush has NEVER engaged in diplomacy! His efforts have been dedicated toward getting authorization for war. Any suggestion that further diplomatic action might be possible were dismissed out of hand.

Name Withheld
Kalamazoo, MI


Teach peace and nonviolence, if you don't know about peace and nonviolence, feel free to email me I have textbooks and recommended reading to learn peaceful living. Peace and nonviolence must be at the center of all of our actions. Buying gasoline is not a peaceful action, it is a product of hate, war, and violence. We must educate ourselves our families and our local communities, together collectively we can change the world. It won't happen overnight but together we can hope and bring about a brighter future. Boycott all products of hate and violence. Don't think that there is nothing you can do. Every individual has his/her part in resistance to violence and hatred. Where there is no love, put love there and draw love from it, you must know that even the people who are closest to you will try to put hatred and negative energy into your hearts but remain strong love those who try to make you hate, if something is negative do not dwell on the negativity or mourn the negativity but rather tell yourself and others around you that you are going to change that negative energy into love and peace. Love everyone during these times of hatred and violence, it willd o no good to anyone to declare your hatred for BUSH and his administration, of course disagree with him, dislike his ways but love him and create a loving and positive atmosphere wherever you go by remaining calm and peaceful. If you believe that walking rather than driving will stop fueling the war than do it, don not let negative energy and people keep you from your hearts desires and your willingness to create a better world. Practice kindness and beauty in every action, word, thought the comes from your body. This is what will turn the tide, collective energy and civil disobedience against the wrongs of the world will create peace. PEACE LOVE AND UNITY THROUGHOUT ALL HUMANITY.

Sincerely,
Gabriel Barrio


Some people like to bring up Hitler as a reason we must kill. Hitler was not the sharpest knife in the drawer. What he did have was attitude. He could walk up to the podium and proclaim that he had a solution to Germany's problems.He selected an easily identifiable enemy. He said if you will kill that enemy, that is a good thing. He then said that if you kill other enemies, that will be even better. And the majority of the German people cheered and followed their leader and began the killing. And the ultimate goal was to take over the world and make it a better place.Sound familiar?I give my whole hearted support to those who oppose war. I am one of them. Dwight D. Eisenhower, in 1954 said, "Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies, in the final sense, a theft - from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. The world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of laborers, the genius of scientists, and the hopes of its children." I agree. Killing to solve a conflict is ignorance. At this point in time in my life I have come to realize that there is always a peaceful way to solve every conflict. It may take time. It may take negotiations. It will take skill. It will take intelligence. But there is ALWAYS a way.People MUST SPEAK OUT and persistently demand that their leaders develop the skill to peacefully deal with conflict. To do otherwise is to be a lemming.

Arnold Stieber
Vietnam Veteran
Grass Lake


If in a democratic nation millions of citizens march to protest the actions of their government and not even a hesitation is warranted by that government, is it not their same commission as citizens to challenge the validity of the very democracy to which they cling? Millions of people across the globe took to the streets in support of a peace that seems to balance on a razor’s edge, but the imminence and tide of war seem too strong to stop - even hesitate. The administrations of the UK and the US have become so attached to securing a ‘lasting’ peace that they are willing to sacrifice the fragile one that already exists.Any peace, no matter how timid, must be harbored by democracies around the world. If there is any alternative to war, it must be allowed full maturation and its every facet fully expended. The loss of life must deter us at every possible junction away from war. These things must occur, because in a democracy peace is the greatest virtue. Peaceable, lawful advancement is the foundation by which all democracies are allowed to survive. War, though, is a great stumble, and its outcomes widely variable.The US claims to be the symbol of democracy throughout the world, a symbol other countries use to navigate toward democracy. What then do other countries do when their compass steers them from course? When their guide becomes reckless and ignores their voices? The United Nations stands alone as the greatest example of a world struggling toward egalitarianism, yet the United States, a pillar of this international dialogue, withdraws from the discussion when it cannot impose its will. It steps away from the table when democracy is at its finest.The US is undeterred in its war preparations and appears uninterested in global democracy. Is, then, the acclaimed symbol of democracy in default, and will this default be but the first domino in a world of teetering freedom?

Bryan Siddall


I'm really excited by George Bush's latest reason for bombing Iraq: he's running out of patience. And so am I! I'm Losing My Patience With My Neighbors.For some time now I've been really pissed off with Mr Johnson, who lives a couple of doors down the street. READ THE REST OF THE STORY

Terry Jones
Terry Jones is a founding member of Monty Python


I've written Rabbi Lerner very polite letters and he has not once taken the time to respond to even one even so briefly. Sorry to say.

Mik


A KKK cannot demand being a main speaker at an NAACP rally the same way a Zionist cannot demand being a main speaker at an anti-war rally.Rabbi Lerner is free to make his own little Zionist demonstration without demanding unearned legitimacy from ANSWER by insisting on being a speaker at an ANSWER, and not a TIKKUN rally.

Sami


An idea for a news article: I was in the first graduating class from Southfield High School in 1954. We had about 160 in our graduating class and it was all white. Southfield has changed a great deal since then, especially in population and racial make-up. The current Southfield High School is largely African American.

Why don't we hear news reports about Southfield? Maybe because the residents are middle class; they mow their lawns, pay their taxes and send their children to college (check the percentage of Southfield HS grads who enter college). The NEWS is dominated by negatives, it is about people who have difficulty making it in society, commit crimes and/or call attention to themselves in some (usually negative) way. Why not an article on the current Southfield, or Southfield High School? (I can't write it, but it needs to be written.)

Larry Smith


Their smooth descent was burned through and through
until on a cloudless morning they became a man-made comet
streaking across the Texas sky.
Texas, which last week executed three in such quick succession
that the national comedian joked their last meal was a buffet.
Texas, where Crawford Ranch sits astride a tyrant's pride,
hosting unctuous Saudi princes and rickety Chinese presidents.
Texas, where a small man straddles the world
and spurs it on to wider war,
his bombast and buffoonery beyond laughter,
no longer funny to anyone. What does the comet auger apocalypse or opening?
Did God pick our best and brightest as sacrifices
to demonstrate this nation's spectacular demise?
Or is it just more media fodder,
a diversion from a diversion? That space-plane fireball careening across a perfect sky
"the most complicated machine man has ever built"
reduced to chunks of metal raining down on America,
silently driven into the Texas soil.
Not bombs here, just debris.

Martin LeFevre


"Colin Powell's departure to the "Dark Side" signals the serious and swift nature Bush intends to make war. Now is the best time to seriously ratchet up all possible criticism of the White House, Bush and the senseless nature of this proposed war. Timing is everything. The war can still be averted but it is utterly critical to ratchet up the criticism to peak decibel levels. Now is the time to scream "No War!!" if this war is going to be averted. Start criticizing with sheer and punishing intensity. Today, tommorrow and Wednesday are key windows of opportunity given the State of the Union address." Sincerely,

Eric E. Johansson
Ex-US Army Paratrooper and Infantryman
President, SF Bay Area Veterans for Peace, Chapter 69
San Francisco, CA
http://www.veteransforpeace.org


Perhaps we are asking the wrong questions during election years. Our Senators and Congress men &women do not pay into Social Security and, of course, they do not collect from it. You see, Social Security benefits were not suitable for persons of their rare elevation in society. They felt they should have a special plan for themselves. So, many years ago they voted in their own benefit plan. In more recent years, no congressperson has felt the need to change it. After all, it is a great plan. For all practical purposes their plan works like this: When they retire, they continue to draw the same pay until they die, except it may increase from time to time for cost of living adjustments. For example, former Senator Byrd and Congressman White and their wives may expect to draw $7,800,000.00 (that's Seven Million, Eight-Hundred Thousand Dollars), with their wives drawing $275,000.00 during the last years of their lives. This is calculated on an average life span for each. Their cost for this excellent plan is $00.00. Nada. Zilch. This little perk they voted for themselves is free to them. You and I pick up the tab for this plan. The funds for this fine retirement plan come directly from the General Funds-our tax dollars at work! From our own Social Security Plan, which you and I pay (or have paid) into-every payday until we retire (which amount is matched by our employer) --we can expect to get an average $1,000 per month after retirement. Or, in other words, we would have to collect our average of $1,000. monthly benefits for 68 years and one (1) month to equal Senator Bill Bradley's benefits! Social Security could be very good if only one small change were made. That change would be to jerk the Golden Fleece Retirement Plan from under the Senators and Congressmen. Put them into the Social Security plan with the rest of us ... then sit back and watch how fast they would fix it.

Ann Melichar
Traverse City Commissioner


Thank you for your organizational efforts and great website. Although I've
never protested against anything before, I am definitely against this
government's push for war in the Middle East.Although I don't have funds to give, I have been e-mailing information,
sending e-mails to congresspeople, meditating, and sending out prayers and
meditation.I've never been a religious person but find that we can indeed manifest
positive change through focused, loving intentions. Below I have cut and
pasted 12 Peace Prayers along with a short meditation and the science of prayer. Please feel free to use and share any of this information to anyone
open to these possibilities. Know there are millions of people around the
world, meditating, praying, and gathering for peace. Thank you for your work!Sincerely,

Dawn Shepard,
Santa Clara, CA


George W. Bush has decided to oppose the University of Michigan affirmative action policy. He intends to influence the case before the U.S. Supreme Court. Should we be surprised?Bush claimed racism was bad for America, when Trent Lott cheered on segregation. Then he re-nominated Charles Pickering to a lifetime federal court. Pickering has a racist record. Nearly all the recent Bush nominations, which have already once been rejected by the Senate, have racist, sexist, and/or homophobic records. Not to mention racial profiling against immigrants, supporting public funding of charities that discriminate, dismantling free public education, and opposing a woman's right to choose. The list goes on.Now Bush has decided to oppose affirmative action calling it "divisive." What transparent spin. It is racism that is divisive, not affirmative action, which works to remedy hundreds of years of racism.Bush has waged a war on minorities, fairness and the environment, even before he entered the White House.What are we as Americans supposed to do with a President working to dismantle our constitutional protections and destroy the very natural resources we rely on for health and sustenance.We must stand up as an anti-racist movement to support minority access to an excellent education. The only way to eradicate poverty and racism is to provide people with the tools to advance in our society.Sincerely,

Sean Kosofsky
Director of Policy
Triangle Foundation


In 45 days I will celebrate my twenty-fifth anniversary as a United Airlines pilot. I have had two employers in my thirty-one year flying career -- United and the United States Air Force, where I spent twenty years in Active and Reserve service. I know I speak for the 125,000 active, furloughed and retired United employees and the one half million stunned family members they represent, when I express my shock and anger with the recent decision to deny UAL a loan guarantee. READ MORE


I am Sheikh Azim Ahmed Tousif (Pakistani citizen) from Jeddah, Saudi Arabia and I am deeply grieved by the tragic events that took place on Sept. 11 2001. Thousands of people were killed, thousands of children were orphaned, countless people lost their jobs, their businesses, their means of survival.

Therefore I seek that the people responsible for the 11 Sept. bloodbath be brought to justice, and the punishment meted out to them be as horrific as the sin they have committed.
READ MORE


President Bush's Faith-Based Initiative is a very slippery slope. Having seen the problems with Islamic theocracies today, and Christian theocracies of days past -- such as the New England colonies under the Puritans? Have you not heard of the law of unintended consequences?Taxpayer money will be used to promote the various religions of those who take the grants. Take the case of the Florida-based National Center for Faith-Based Initiative, which, given $700,000 in tax dollars, reflects the following statement on their Internet home page: "Our goal is as simple as it is strategic: To create wealth! And empower our people to steward that wealth for the purposes of the kingdom, the strengthening of their communities and for the economic well-being of their children's children! However, for us, the prototype is not the world but rather the word..."Do you really think that this group won't use federal tax dollars to promote religion?Lastly, much of the federal funding will not directly benefit at-risk children or the homeless. Much of it will simply fund groups to learn how to apply for further public funding. This is not the most effective use of tax dollars to aid the needy.

Jim Dunn


There was a referendum in the Michigan town of Homer yesterday. More than eighty people voted to allow one family to secede from the town, because their tax bill forced them to pay for city water, but the water pipe didn't reach their home. More than fifty Scrooges voted to continue draining the family's water-budget. This "secession" business is a great idea. Think about it.

I've often said; "If you want a cop in The City of Detroit, you may as well send a letter." Suppose everyone who called 911 and didn't get a response within, say, fifteen minutes, just secedes from the city? No more 911 tax on your phone line, and no more Detroit income tax.

Better yet, the people of Homer had a referendum. Michigan voted for Gore. Suppose we Michiganians have a referendum? We could vote to have George Bush secede. The U.S. Senate Republican Caucus can vote on whether Trent Lott should secede from the position of majority leader (he supported 100 year old ideas from a 100 year old Senator from the first state the seceded from the Union). Many of us, according to the evening news, are going to secede from telemarketing lists. The concept has potential.

Rudy S


President Bush showed his zest for dark humor when he put out the word on Thanksgiving Friday that federal workers won't get part of their scheduled raise next year because of "our national situation." The White House couldn't say how many workers that affects or how much money the decision will save.There was no humor in the next announcement -- that 2,000 political appointees in government jobs paying $115,000 to $140,000 are eligible for $15,000 bonuses. What "national situation?" That gesture shows unwrapped contempt for low-level public servants.President Clinton excluded political appointees from the bonus program for upper-level officials. His reason was that employees used to be expected to match their bonuses with a contribution to the party. Civil service, which Republicans championed in the 19th century as an alternative to patronage, was designed to end that. Mr. Bush showed what he thinks of that reform when he held up homeland defense to strip civil service protection from 140,000 federal workers.Only a selective tightwad for now, Mr. Bush hopes to be be Chain-saw George in the long run. He has said he plans over time to shed 850,000 federal workers by contracting with private companies for the work. Those would be like the Defense Department contracts that make taxpayers to pay 10 times or 100 times the True Value price for hammers, screws and toilet seats. The changes he has in mind should create a "national situation" that could be called a "spoils system," in which how much you give and to whom counts for more than what you know. Funny, it all sounds like the corrupt machine politics of not that long ago.

P Beach


I am currently carrying out research for an article covering the sickness of the bottled water industry and the commercialisation of water in general. The industry is one of the fastest growing and least regulated in the world; I am shocked almost beyond belief at the lack of media coverage and public concern over the privatisation of water resources and the ecological impact of the stupendous increase in groundwater pumping. I feel that your campaign, and others like it are vital to ensure the checking of the relentless march of Perrier/Danone/PepsiCo and would be extremely grateful if you would send me any information you feel would benefit from publication in the world's most widely read environmental magazine.More specifically, I'm looking for facts and figures along the lines of: • amount of 'royalties' payed by a water bottling company to the relevant authorities vs. the annual profit/ sales markup of that company.
• figures pertaining to ecological degradation due to extract
on of groundwater resources.
• interesting, revealing quotes from industry executives; politicians; marketing campaigns and the like.
• bogus claims made about the supposed benefits (health, environmental or otherwise) of bottled water.
• anything else you feel would be of interest. Many thanks for your time, I look forward to hearing from you in due course! sincere regards,
• if you'd like to find out more about The Ecologist, feel free to visit our website at: www.theecologist.orgJon Napier

The Ecologist, Editorial
Unit 18 Chelsea Wharf
15 Lots Road
London SW10 OQJ
Tel: +44(0) 20 7351 3578
Fax: +44(0) 20 7351 3617
e-mail: jon@theecologist.org


I have been wondering what the term "compassionate conservative" meant ever since George W. Bush began calling himself one. I now have a better understanding of what a "compassionate conservative" is. A compassionate conservative is a person who never fought in Vietnam because his father got him a place in the Texas Air National Guard, from which he then went AWOL for over a year; who then campaigns against a volunteer Vietnam war hero and veteran, Max Cleland, who lost both legs and his right arm serving his country. A compassionate conservative is a person who campaigns against a widow, Jean Carnahan, whose husband and oldest son were tragically killed in a plane crash. A compassionate conservative is a person who campaigns against a respected statesman and former Vice President, Walter Mondale, who was picked to run for the seat held by a visionary U.S. Senator, Paul Wellstone, who was suspiciously killed in a plane crash just a few days before an election. George W. Bush singled out and vigorously attacked these sympathetic figures, and, as a result, these were the only incumbent Democratic seats that were lost in the Senate election.That's compassion? Sounds pretty mean to me.

Kevin Franken
Eugene, Oregon


Only 39 million people voted out of 200 million who are eligible or the 150 million registered. If the voters split 51/49 then this means about 20 million people voted for the Republicans, which is only one out of 10 voting-aged adults. If something woke non-voters up, they'd be in charge. I've heard every tired excuse. For those who work three jobs, who have young children, or even no home at all, it's hard to vote. But if you doubled your turnout, we'd have a national living wage and universal health care. Students should care about financial aid, support for colleges and universities, decreased tuition. You don't vote so no one listens. Of course, your parents vote.The richer and older you are the more likely you are to vote, to feel enfranchised, and to be heard. I'm angry at the leaderless sheep we have become as we lap up the pabulum of video games, Fox TV and brutal movies. Time to wake up, "connect the dots," and vote.

Ryan Collay


After this mid-term election, I have one question. How corrupt, vile and violent does an administration have to be before the obviously benighted voters repudiate it? I guess the pathetic Democrats just can't cope with the misguided or egregious machinations of the Republican party.There's a new world order about to dawn folks, and you ain't gonna like it, or worse yet, maybe some of you will. Back to the glorious 1950s, with updated neoMcCarthyism: anti-minority and women's reproductive rights; anti-labor and environmentalism; "compassion" based solely on our Puritanical background; and of course, religious intolerance.I'm basically a "conservative," but I'll be damned if I'll call myself a Republican.

John DeLeau


I would be ever so grateful if an American politician would explain why the Taliban's persecution of women is considered barbaric, yet persecution of gay military personnel by your government is deemed quite acceptable.

Mike Leclerc


America is to be the only place on earth to have freedom—every where else is to be enslaved by the the U.S. and its needs to make America a free place. NO other country can have weapons to defend it self—only the US. Only the US can break a treaty—no other country can. Every country is under the Rules of the US or your country is subject to war (for freedom for the US) to rule your country. No freedom for your people, only freedoms for the US to do what ever it wants in your country—otherwise your government is subject to war. This is not fair!! Israel can have weapons of mass destruction because it favors the US oil robbery. But Iraq can not have weapons because then US can not get a steal on the oil prices if the US does not have total freedom over Iraq's government??? If your slaves revolt then you will be put back in your place—but if you work for the US you slaves have less problems from the USBasically you're free only if your country gives to the US what it wants, when it wants, how it wants, or the US will take it and kill before you have a problem with it. And if you have a problem with it, the US will eventually kill you as a terrorist (run a way slave) and get it anyway. THE U.S.A. basically is the only place free to do what ever it wants in the world because it makes sure to make the rest of the world a slave to the USI say (slaves revolt) do what you want in your countries to make yourselves free from US controls if that means new weapons then so be it the US has them and it uses them to control the world) If you want to be free do the opposite of what the US wants.

Mike


To those of you who believe that homosexuality is a choice, I offer this simple challenge in two parts, each part consisting of two very simple exercises.

  1. Find the most repulsive and unattractive person you can. If you are heterosexual, perhaps someone of your same sex, just make it someone that you find so repulsive that the mere thought of being intimate with them makes you sick to your stomach. Now, make a conscious "choice" to be attracted to them.Now do just the opposite and find the most attractive person you can, someone who launches your libido into overdrive. Now choose to be un-attracted to them. In fact, if you can, "choose" to find them as repulsive to the unattractive person you found.Then try this: Find a person whom you loathe. Someone you absolutely cannot stand. Then "choose" to love that person – "choose" to feel for them how you feel for your closest loved ones.
  2. Here's probably the most difficult of these four exercises. Find someone whom you love more than life itself, someone you would lay down your own life for. Then "choose" to hate them.

Can you do it? Don't be alarmed if you can't - neither can anyone else, –regardless of their natural inclinations. But you can make a conscious "choice" to judge not. And you can "choose" not to cast the first stone.

Rev. Mark Edward Burnes
Pismo Beach


I have read your site and am quite frankly sickened by the blatant bias against Israel. you go as far as to stretch this bias to general anti semitism. what ahppened to honest reporting, showing two sides of the story? i suppose you blame the events of 9/11 on your own government, oh no wait, that seems to be Israel again: New documentary evidence points to an Israeli connection to 9/11. this is blatant anti semitism. you are beliveving a theory denounced by every newspaper in the UK. it is another fabrication, a fake like 'the protocols of the elders of zion'. you are merely falling for arab propaganda. how dare you display the flag of the USA on your website. you are totally unworthy of this. you disgust me. from: BulletinWBW@aol.com

[NOTE: This website is a public forum wherein many viewpoints are shared and considered.]


On Monday August 26, 2002, Channel 7 News reported on the case of Eddie Joe Lloyd. After almost 18 years in prison, there was empirical proof (DNA) that Lloyd did not commit the crime. This was yet another case in which an innocent person allegedly confessed to the crime.

Under prodding from newscaster Frank Turner, Lloyd explained how police officers actively engaged in his false conviction, and agreed that some compensation of eighteen years of false imprisonment might be fair.

On Monday August 26, 2002, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan recognized that Michigan's law of "governmental immunity" precludes suits for damages incident to false arrests. Days earlier, the Michigan Supreme Court had ruled, in a silent revolution in Michigan law, that governmental units are immune from civil rights suits.

The modern version of the ancient and obsolete dogma that "the emperor can do no wrong" is called "governmental immunity." That made sense when the emperor was the source of the funding, resources, authority, location and everything else related to the court. Today, tax payers are entitled to demand courts that are fair. The executive branch is not god, can buy an insurance policy, and cannot possibly be "immune" from providing recourse to individuals it abuses. No ethical system and no moral person could defend such a statist position...the Republican members of the Michigan Supreme Court can!

By strengthening that hoary old dogma, we sacrifice the rights of individuals. We prevent the victims of overt police misconduct (like that recorded on video tape in many high profile cases) from asserting any right to recovery against the perpetrators. We declare open season on individual liberty, and we concede the supremacy of 'state interests' over the pre-eminent role of the citizen, and the value of the individual.

It is certainly time to pray for America.

RAS


Lt. Gov. Dick Posthumous (a/k/a "Dead Man Walking") criticized Attorney General Jennifer Granholm for having been born in Canada and gone to Harvard. You see, educated and culturally aware females are a threat to the Lt. Gov.'s sexist stereotypes. Now, the role of Secretary of State, you could say "women like that sort of work." In fact, a Republican official recently DID say that! But a female who might "like" being Governor is a threat to Dan Quayle's.....oh, excuse me,...I mean, Dick Posthumus' stereotyped gender roles. Maybe we should elect Dick to do the sort of work men like to do. We could send him hunting and fishing.

Rudy Serra, J.D. MSW


In ancient England, whence our forefathers came, the church gained enormous power through corruption and influence. It did this by mixing politics and religion, invoking the name of God to terrify anyone who dared go against the church.The church hierarchy amassed great fortunes, and it influenced kings and queens, often to the detriment of the country and its people.This is why the framers of our beloved Constitution drove a legal barrier between church and state, to be sure that the new American republic didn't continue to subject itself to such malformation of religious principle.The barrier was meant to ensure our freedom of religion, not freedom from religion.

Dean Massingill


What is the media trying to provoke by wrongly claiming that the Pledge of Allegiance has been declared unconstitutional? What has been declared unconstitutional is saying the Pledge with the words "under God" in the public schools.When I was going through the public school system, we said the Pledge of Allegiance every morning, and said, "One nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all." I am not the worse off for not reciting "under God" nor my childhood friends. I was even in the honor guard throughout elementary, junior high and high school.I am a patriot now. I volunteer in my community, I fly my flag proudly, I am a public servant protecting your borders by profession. How about we focus on the word "indivisible"? When I was a younger, we considered this country a melting pot, and we were a nation indivisible. Now, we are publicly focusing on diversity and special emphasis programs for certain groups, and are eroding the meaning of the word indivisible.While I recognize and respect different cultural backgrounds, I am proud to be an American, and proud of separation of church and state. Look what happens when church and state are believed to be one: terrorism and teaching hate to children in the name of God. Will we be fighting holy wars in the future, or are we fighting for freedom, life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness? Worship your god in any way you want, but not in the public schools. Kudos to Michael Newdow for his courage, and to the judges for their well-reasoned opinion.

Debbie Rosanski


*WOW* the left has gotten stupid. Palestinians are victims of their own bankrupt choices. Fascist Islamists wherever they live & plot are likewise victims of themselves. The left used to support people who tried to help themselves; now it supports murderers and liars. How sick and stupid you've become.

Bill Coffey


Remember Ed Coons? ... he was the "Good OLE Boy" trying to sell out Wisconsin. The people of Wis. KICKED HIM OUT OF OFFICE!!. As for the BIG TAX $$$$ check out Meg of Perrier getting busted for lying AGAIN . the clip is from Tampa Tribune. March 2002. "At the Krusen Field task force meetings, spokeswoman Meg Andronaco has stressed the economic benefits the bottler brings to the city. She told an overflow crowd Dec. 5 that the company pays $1.6 million in taxes locally. That figure turned out to be incorrect, she now admits. County records show the city got $32,398 in property taxes in 2001 from Zephyrhills Spring Water Co. The county collected $127,506. " Now listen up Michigan, impeach those Good OLE Boys before he sells the very essence of life right out from under your land.

Terri Wolfe
Florida


The word Christian has been hijacked by religious radicals who espouse hatred, judgment and bigotry. Extremist ''Christians,'' like extremist ''Muslims,'' betray the religious ideals that they pretend to embrace.

Ray Rideout


In response to the letter by Ben Green (immediately below): He is concerned with the media "idolizing" celebrities who have announced their homosexuality, but then condemning priests who are homosexual. I'm sure Ellen Degeneres, whose career was almost ruined by her "coming out," did not feel idolized. Rosie O'Donnell received all the positive attention because she "came out" to gather support for a cause she feels very strongly about. That took a lot of courage on her part. Green confuses homosexuality with pedophilia. The two are not the same and are not interchangeable, even though it seems the Catholic Church would like to try to do just that by letting homosexual priests take the fall as the cause of the current scandal.

L. Finch


When a Hollywood star or an entertainment celebrity announces that he is a homosexual, he immediately is the idol of the media.
When a priest is a homosexual, he is a criminal and his partner is a victim, and it's open season to sue the church.
We have to take an honest look at homosexuality, without bias or political correctness, decide if it is good or bad, and then apply the same rules to everyone.

Ben Green


Let's see, organizing deliberate blackouts in CA. Isn't that like blowing up an electrical facility? Isn't that terrorism? I wonder why Aschroft refuses to initiate a criminal investigation on this matter? I can't imagine that it has anything to do with the primary culprit now being Secretary of the Army.

Jim Moreno


Perrier/NestléGreat Springwaters of Florida... Great Springwaters Of America... Perrier Group of America... Zephyrhills... Ozarka... Ice Mountain... Poland Springs... Calastoga... on and on... Why so many different names for the spring stealing water miners? Could it be we are exposing them and people are finally paying attention? Just in case , keep spreading the word of their deceitful tactics and lies .
I had a call from a reporter in northern Florida. It is a fact.... after the State of Florida bought Madison Blue Springs from Anna Bruic to keep it open to the public and Perrier out, (I recall Ms. Bruic accepted a great deal less $$ from the state as Perrier offered millions more) Perrier has quietly purchased land around the spring and already have drilled their notorious borehole wells , no permits to be found as is the case here in Crystal Springs , and are going to take the water from Madison Blue springs regardless.

They claim to be such good neighbors , they will be sugar & spice , bring hundreds of jobs , give parks & cookouts , scholarships , firetrucks , new downtown beautification renovations, duck hunts , pheasant hunts , anything you desire ... as long as you permit your Gov. officials to give them your water ... but if the answer is no they just sneak in like a thief in the night and take it in some sneaky deceitful manner.

Terri Wolfe Pres.
Save Our Springs Inc.


I find the debate about creationism vs. evolution interesting, but not near titillating as the evolving human behavior patterns as regards to ownership. These days I have been wondering what global history tells us about which group actually decided that sensuality and sexuality were commodities to be owned, inconsiderate of an individual's perimeters? Really, I'm serious, how can a group rationally claim ownership of human sexuality? Many do.
These kinds of ownership mentalities prompt the need for humans to create identities for the acts of physical pleasure we share. Labels like homosexual, heterosexual, bi-sexual, transsexual, along with many stereotypical and hateful words that serve nothing but the inflammation of violence. Female and male reproductive and relationship ignorance promotes aberrant responses to pregnancy, and a host of related dilemma.
Some philosophies make statements about "the natural use of a woman."
Many organizations discuss, lecture, lobby, govern and mandate public policy adjacent to moral issues involving humans exchanging sensual touch and sexual intimacy.
Around our world, minute by minute, there are many acts of violent sexual deviance perpetrated on innocent victims. In conclusion, after reading the headlines and watching the news, I cannot consider adults who share consensual sexual intimacies as deviant.

Nancy Kile
Sturgis


We have read with some concern the misinformation about the capacity of lesbians to parent successfully. The debate in this area, and indeed the potential legislative outcome, is clearly being driven by fear and prejudice.
We have recently completed a worldwide review of research on lesbian families and the wellbeing of children. Over the past two decades, intensive investigations have revealed that lesbian parents and their children are as socially, intellectually and emotionally well-adjusted as their heterosexual peers. There is conclusive evidence that the psychosocial adjustment of children is influenced far more by family processes (such as conflict between parents) than by family structure such as the number of parents or their sexual orientation. Concerns that children will be more likely to grow up to be gay and lesbian have also been clearly demonstrated to be unfounded. In fact the research shows only one significant difference in the children of lesbian parents: an increased acceptance of diversity and empathy for minority and oppressed groups.

Dr Amaryl Perlesz, La Trobe University
Professor Marian Pitts, La Trobe University
Dr Jo Lindsay, Monash University
Dr Ruth McNair University of Melbourne


I don't understand why so many letter writers seem to misunderstand the point about the Boy Scouts of America. Could it be they confuse "public" with "government"? The BSA is a faith-based private association and, as such, may quite properly exclude anyone it chooses. I doubt anyone would deny it this right and the U.S. Supreme Court has so affirmed. I am sure virtually everyone would agree the BSA is a very moral, useful and outstanding group that provides much-desired services to society. As such, it deserves public support - but not government support. School district, city, county, state and federal governments are not to support or favor private organizations. We clearly would not allow a missionary to solicit membership at a public school during regular hours and, likewise, should not allow the BSA to do the same. Just as churches might be allowed to rent space in schools for meetings after hours so should BSA. As long as all private associations are offered equal access and pay on the same basis, no one should object. I believe the BSA to be a fine organization, deserving strong public support but not government support. I am sure this is the point writers perceived as anti-BSA have intended. It is shameful the insults some of them have received.

P. deLaubenfels


Some persons in the Catholic hierarchy propose screening out all candidates for Catholic seminaries who are homosexual. This is wrong. It only intensifies the homophobia that already permeates society. Being gay is not the problem. Homosexuals or heterosexuals can both mature into healthy, integrated, well-adjusted, sexually responsible persons.
Likewise, celibacy is not a disease. It may be a consciously chosen pathway, as in a male or female religious vocation or as in enforced celibacy due to illness or physical limitations. Others, male or female, may choose celibacy for their own personal reasons as part of a healthy way of life.
Pedophilia, or sexual abuse and manipulative/exploitive sexual behavior toward teens or adolescents, is an entirely different matter. Pedophilia is a sickness and a crime. Heterosexuals and homosexuals, male or female, are all capable of such behavior.
The crisis in the Catholic Church has at least two major dimensions. First, the cases of pedophile and abusive priests. Second, the hiding of facts by bishops and cardinals that has compounded and perpetuated some manifestly criminal behavior by way of a massive cover-up. This is the dimension that has so angered many thousands of faithful Catholics. There are some very confused areas in the current perceptions of this complex problem. Being gay is not intrinsically at the root of the problem.
I write this as a heterosexual, married, Protestant minister, greatly agonized over the pain of my Catholic brothers and sisters.

Rev. Warren Rempel


Beliefs should be treated as hypotheses, tested by evidence, logical coherence, and their experimental consequences. All forms of knowledge should be open to revision in the light of inquiry. As a result, there is a progressive growth of knowledge.

Paul Kurtz


I am a student in Milwaukee, but TC will always be my home town. I wanted to say thanks to you all for the continued work you do in our home town.

Chris Eichenlaub


The AFA Action Alert today (4/9/02) on the 'Day of Silence' includes recommendations to listen to the AFA's latest "bisexual" poster boy, masquerading as 'ex-gay.' Go to the story site and you'll see a prominent fund-raising request next to the story. Tapping into homophobic hatred is very lucrative and the main reason homosexuals are such a prime target of the AFA and other radical right social political organizations.At the site, you can also learn more about poster boy Stephen Bennett.

Scott


In another era, Dr. Martin Luther King, in his famous “Letter from Birmingham Jail”, admonished the “white moderates” who are “more devoted to ‘order’ than to justice” on their lack of active participation in the cause of human rights. To that list I would add Black, Asian, Hispanic, Christian, Muslim and Jewish “moderates”, who may recognize and acknowledge the tragedy befalling Palestinian citizens, but have not taken action. Dr. King said, “Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection.” Archbishop Desmond Tutu states, "If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor." Perhaps Gandhi said it best, “Recall the face of the poorest and most helpless person you have seen and ask yourself if the next step you contemplate is going to be of any use to that person.”

Peace,
Bill


Today's #1 ranking for "Stupid White Men" on the New York Times bestseller list has, I honestly believe, very little to do with me and a WHOLE LOT to do with you and the powerful rebuttal you have given to the media mantra of "GEORGE W. BUSH HAS THE HIGHEST APPROVAL RATINGS IN THE HISTORY OF MANKIND!" That more Americans are reading this book, this week, than any other book in the country has sent a stunning dagger to the heart of the right-wing agenda -- and they are going bonkers trying to figure it out! Well, there is nothing to figure out. Those approval ratings are the biggest bunch of B.S. since daddy Bush's 90% approval rating one year before he was sent packing. Take heart in this folks. I want you to share this day, this incredible victory with me. Let's hope it's the beginning of the end for those boys who are occupying our Oval Office.Gee, did I just break their new Patriot Act by saying that? Let's hope so!

Michael Moore


I suspect that the Catholic Church is greatly concerned that the public is quickly coming to think that all Catholic priests are pedophiles. As a gay man, I find that this misleading perception seems very similar to the old fabrication that all gays are pedophiles. Of course, both statements are incorrect!
Why must such statements be used to label the innocent as well as the guilty? Isn't our justice system made for judging an individual's behavior and not for labeling a group?
I wonder if the self-righteous religious fundamentalists will try to use this Catholic priest scandal to enhance their opposition to ordaining gays, adoption by gay couples, same-sex marriages, etc. I'm afraid they probably will. How sad!

F. D. Christensen


Michael Golojuch Jr. has applied for permission to put up a 20-foot gay pride symbol outside his home.Perhaps some “Gay” activist in Traverse City could do the same, possibly on Fifth or Tenth Streets.I find it hard to believe even Mayor Dodd would hitch her wagon to the type of insane request Michael Golojuch Jr. made in his home town.Why should anyone value Golojuch’s opinion on the rights of the Boy Scouts of America?I don’t believe the “Gay” community of Traverse City would welcome this type of over the top activism.When “Gays” act out using outrageous in your face tactics, those with anti “Gay” feelings find themselves strengthened in their beliefs that “Gays” are not to be accepted as a positive presence in the community.Paul Nepote
Traverse City
Editor:
Michael Golojuch is a Hawaii representative for Scouting For All - an inclusive Boy Scout advocacy group (see below).
Paul Nepote is a Traverse City resident and the webmaster for a local AFA affiliated anti-gay group.
Margaret Dodd is Traverse City's Mayor and is not affiliated with either individual or group mentioned above.

At issue:
The Boy Scouts of America are a private organization. As such it is their prerogative to define their membership ranks as they please. The Boy Scouts have elected to exclude from membership in their organization, non-heterosexual and non-Christian members, or children of same. As some public facilities and funding organizations have nondiscrimination policies that are violated by the Boy Scouts, they have been denied funding, and/or the use of these facilities, creating strong feelings around the reasonableness of discrimination.


The Boy Scouts of America won the right to discriminate against anyone it wants and now it seems it is having a problem paying the price that comes with discrimination.
No matter how the BSA packages it, in Learning for Life or its traditional scouting program, the organization discriminates and so has no place as part of the mandated curriculum in our public schools, according to the Board of Education's own anti-discrimination policy.
If you disagree, you need to ask yourself who is going to be next. Which group will the BSA decide is undesirable as participants in its program? Today, it is atheists and homosexuals, tomorrow it could be you.
Until the BSA rescinds its policy of discrimination, it needs to be kept out of public school classrooms.

Michael Golojuch Jr.
Hawaii representative, Scouting For All


Last time I checked, heterosexuals maintained sexual lifestyles no different from those practiced by homosexuals. Human beings are sexual creatures, regardless of which gender we choose to have sexual relations with. The ignorant, fundamental attitude being promoted by the Boy Scouts, and their self-proclaimed advocates the American Family Association, only serves to perpetuate the idiotic notion that homosexuals are child molesting perverts who suffer from a distorted sense of sexuality. This fallacy has no grounding in psychology, and is most certainly not a tenet that is held by the American Psychological Association or the American Psychiatric Association.
Homosexuals are not sex fiends, but rather individuals who are more in touch with their sexuality than many heterosexuals. Being homosexual is not a defining characteristic, it is just a part of oneself.
The Boy Scouts have no logical grounds for their discrimination, and should therefore abandon their outdated ideals and teach boys about love and respect for all the diversity of humanity.

Michael Henson


Tom Kern indicated Cherry Festival has to increase profits of corporate sponsors locally in order to keep their support. He also feels the air show of military might will cash in on the pain and suffering of 9-11 to benefit the festival.
I would hope the Cherry Festival could return a truly family oriented celebration. That it would support cherry growers, tourism and local businesses. The Cherry Festival could lead the nation in finding ways for festival-goers to become participants instead of mere consumers and passive audiences. Some activities that come to mind are: golf tournament involving several golf courses and spread out over the duration of the festival; a sailboat regatta; bicycle tours of Old Mission and/or Leelanau cherry orchards and wineries; sand sculpting on the beach; windsurfing and in-line skating events; cherry recipe contest (create new products); music/talent (or not so talented) contests.
I am sure there are many ways to make this a community festival instead of another promotion of the same old corporate stuff.

Kay Bond
Beulah


Why not organize the men who are out of work and have children in school to repair schools, as needed. It could also include men who do not have kids in school to help. It is just an idea that I think could be accomplished by people.
Let's go, American Men for the Home Front. Our kids are the future of America; let's support them in any way.

Alice Christensen
Traverse City


I was interested in the leadership change on the Grand Traverse County Board of Public Works. Bob Russell, a Peninsula Township resident with a background in science, education and environmental activism, was replaced as chairman. Some members said officials with local government ties should play a more prominent role.
That's all well and good. However, let us not forget that everyday citizens outside the traditional government loop also are important leaders.
During his 11-year tenure on the public works board, Bob worked tirelessly to include citizens in government decisions. He created humorous ads and a video to try to interest the public in what is an important but to most people boring topic: what to do with the waste that we flush down the toilet. Under his leadership, the board held nine public workshops on what to do with that voluminous waste as the region grows. It was a real county effort to involve citizens that some say hadn't been seen since the planning commission's 20-20 visioning sessions in the early 1990s. Earlier, on the county's solid waste council, he helped expand recycling services during a time of heated debate. It also was Bob's work, with Northern Michigan Environmental Action Council, that spurred what now are county-coordinated household hazardous waste collections in at least three regional counties.Not everyone wants to work on the wide-ranging issues required of elected officials. We all benefit, however, when residents are willing to devote themselves to the public good in their areas of expertise or passion. They are often dedicated, imaginative and effective leaders. I hope that Bob and others like him will continue to be involved, and that their leadership abilities will be widely tapped and recognized.

Diane Conners
Cedar


I have experienced firsthand the prejudice and venom spewed forth by fundamentalist Christians citing God's laws and scripture to justify both hypocritical and unethical judgment against homosexuals.
Much of the internal turmoil that confronts gay men and women as they struggle with accepting their sexuality is rooted in these same blasphemous teachings of organized religion that accompany us through our formative years of development and make us feel unworthy, unwanted and unaccepted. In reality, it is human fear and ignorance (homophobia) that form the basis of religious dogma and not the unconditional love that is truly professed in the teachings of Jesus Christ.

Michael Ryan, Registered nurse


Things are getting wild - the steamroller that was the organized stone-age-thinking-radical-reactionary-repository of meanies called the Republican party, assisted by the terrorists attacks, sort of paralyzed this country. All that orchestrated flag waving wrapped around the "everything in the bible is true" forced a lot of us to keep our heads down. Kind of like hunkering down while the hurricane blows.
It's blown.
Man, have they blown it. Enron, tax cuts for the wealthy under the guise of a war on terrorism while operating domestic terrorism governmental networks against women and children - and all our civil rights.
And now we're out of our bunkers and are beginning to examine the debris and get REALLY mad.
Just think if Senator Jeffords hadn't gone independent and changed the U.S. Senate to democratic control, the bushette junta plan to "privatize" social security would have probably meant an infusion of BILLIONS UPON BILLIONS of dollars into the Enrom coffers - and the inevitable bankruptcy held off for another year or two - and then bOOOM! the end of Enron and the end of social security. Nice huh?
Uncle benny? Uncle Kenny! What a recipe: Not only your mother's retirement but your children's retirement into the hands of the wealthies cheats in history.

Irene


Your recent front-page article on the cleanup of Boardman Lake begins (with a quote from the book, "The Traverse Region," published in 1884) "All accounts agree in the statement that before so-called improvements of civilization had marred the adornments of nature, this was a most beautiful spot. The waters of Boardman Lake were as clear as crystal." By removing the single word "lake" from that statement, we could be describing the entire Boardman Valley.
A walk along the trails on Keystone Pond provides a welcome opportunity to view the river and all of its natural features. The Keystone Rapids offer a bit of solitude just minutes from downtown. The area is, like Grand Traverse Bay, a natural gem.
Why, then, would any far-thinking person choose to place a water treatment facility anywhere near such a place? Aside from the obvious potential for water quality problems, the plant would alter the aesthetic nature of the entire area for years to come.
The recent decision to remove the existing power plant from the bayfront has been welcomed by the community. It opens up the waterfront and provides an aesthetically pleasing view of the bay unhampered by the sight of smoke stacks and cement walls. It was probably a mistake to put it there in the first place, but many years ago it must have seemed logical.
Let's not make the same mistake along the Boardman River. Let's be far-sighted enough to recognize that this is not the place for a water treatment facility. Let it not be said "that before so-called improvements of civilization had marred the adornments of nature, this was a most beautiful spot."

Gary Spencer
Traverse City


I find it ludicrous that Attorney General Ashcroft has ordered the draping of semi-nude statues in the Halls of Justice. I'm surprised he didn't cover them in burkas. What's next - book burning?

Judy Kempa


As a Christian, I agree that homosexuality (just like heterosexual sex before marriage) is wrong, because it denies the fullness of the blessing God created love and sex to be. However, as outspoken as the AFA leaders are about homosexuality, they rarely speak out with such energy and vehemence about sins that Christ addressed a great deal: greed, neglect of the poor, hypocrisy, etc.
While I believe that homosexuality is wrong, it is no more wrong than any other sins, particularly my own. Sin is sin; the truth I find so fundamental about Christianity is that we all are fallen people in need of redemption. And although it's not wrong to challenge people on the sin in their lives, it must be done with love, respect and humility, in the example of Christ Himself.

Erica


MICHIGAN ANNUAL XXX
A juried exhibition of Michigan fine arts Feb 10- March 14 at The Art Center, Mount Clemens, MI. Deadline to enter work (not slides) is Friday Feb. 1 and Sat. Feb. 2. For more info contact The Art Center, 125 Macomb Place, Mount Clemens MI 48043, (586) 469-8666 OR ArtCenterM@aol.com.


ARTIST NEEDED:
An elderly artist wanting to draw again is looking for an artist to help direct and instruct her at the Bortz Health Care Home once a week for 1 hour per session. The artist is confined to a wheelchair, but is alert and anxious to start drawing again with a little encouragement and company. If you are interested in helping her, call Amy Rothaug, Manager at Bortz Health Care, (231) 941-1200 to make arrangements.


The primary path that the religious right is taking is to try to paint the homosexual community as anti-American. Robert Knight director of the CFI is accusing homoseuxal groups of 'using' September 11th as a cover for trying to usurp American society. This is a tactic that will lead to violence against gays. There isn't much difference to how Germany targetted Jews before the Holocaust to what is being done here.The best way to combat these slugs is to be very upfront about the vileness of their tactics when we enter into debate on gay issues. The tactics of people like Robert Knight work best under cover of darkness. When these tactics are revealed they have a hard time defending themselves. What happened to Falwell and Roberston is indicative of what will happen to Knight and his ilk when it gets pointed out that September 11th is being used as an anti-gay fundraising tool. They have no shame. And about as much real connection to the God they profess to worship as the Taliban had to Allah.

Scott


My Name is Michael Smith a native of Grand Rapids who is now a television producer in New York City. I'm developing a program on hate crimes and intolerance.I ran across your web site (it made me proud to be from Michigan) ...

Michael S. Smith


I would like to commend Pam Reno ("Reduce/reuse/recycle," Dec. 16), on her efforts toward waste reduction here in Grand Traverse County. She demonstrates that we all have the ability to not only reduce our trash, but to considerably reduce our costs through simple acts of recycling and composting. Unfortunately, we in Grand Traverse County recycle less than 10 percent of the trash.
She is correct, that the county is working on a plan to reduce trash and increase recycling, but there is more. While we have had some success under our current system, implementation of the County Solid Waste Plan aims to provide curbside recycling to all county residents while reducing costs. Working together is the key. We plan to implement a simple "single-stream" recycling system where all recyclable materials would be collected in a single bin. Another feature of the plan is provide for year-round pick-up of the bulky items, usually collected on designated "clean-up" days. The ultimate goal of this plan is to make it easier for residents to participate in recycling, keep trash out of the woods, and reduce the cost of disposal.
While a new educational efforts will take place to educate all residents about these exciting new changes, the County Resource Recovery Office is involved in these very education efforts every day. We staff a Recycling Hotline 922-2052 to answer any questions related to recycling, composting, household hazardous waste and waste reduction tips.

Yours for better recycling,
Randall S. Smith
Traverse City


Surely it seems that there is an increasing number of spoilers watching for the opportunity to exploit governmental funds available for their egotistical projects that are unneeded and destructive to our wonderful gifts from nature.
Yes, for millions of years miracles have been created throughout this beautiful world. Rolling hills and vales with astounding variations of trees and flowers. Ponds, streams, rivers, lakes, bays and oceans. Birds, animals, water creatures, humans and love. The Great Heaven adorned with a glowing sun, moon, sparkling stars and fleecy clouds. Enormous different kinds of food for all creatures and plant life that is nourished by the rain and snow.
Within just the past few years, Traverse City and Grand Traverse County have virtually been on the road to ruin by over-zealous proliferation of our environment.
Now we are losing our bays and bathing beaches by contamination by overloading of marinas and continued enlarging the capacity of our sewage plant chemicals into Boardman River that deposits its output into West Grand Traverse Bay. A few years ago we had to divert our city water intake to East Bay. There is no denying that results of more gasoline and diesel powered motor boats berthing in and shipping out from marinas are going to increase more contamination of our beautiful beaches - the very park that we were so proud to have after clearing the beach when the lumbering days were over.
What fools we mortals be!
Who are the unnamed people who initiated the unwanted enlargement of the marina? Certainly not the majority of Traverse City citizens.
Certainly their are many more important opportunities for us citizens to fulfill. We could very easily consider the need to help our educational system with student transportation. Are marinas and parking barns more important?

Clayton K. Sporre
Traverse City


Since Susan Bondy appears to be the spokesperson for the "other side" whenever anyone in the area dares criticize the 35-years'-long Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories (now the longest-running military occupation in recent history) it's worth examining some of her recently published statements more critically.
Peace activists like the Michigan Peace Team "may give the Palestinians a feeling of legitimacy" (Dec. 11). Palestinians already are legitimate. In fact, President Bush, the Pope and the United Nations all agree that the Palestinian people have a legitimate right to their own nation.
"Arabs have different ways of describing reality and out and out lies are usable as a weapon" (Dec. 11). There are 200 million Arabs in the world. Do all Arabs lie? Substitute another word for "Arabs" (e.g., "women" or "Norwegians") and see how this statement sounds.
"Most of the recent Palestinian 'victims' are known terrorists or 'ticking bombs' " (Dec. 25). Visit the Internet site of B'Tselem, an Israeli human rights group, and read for yourself how more than 580 Palestinians (161 of them minors) have been killed.
"I still find baffling … the notion that riding buses (as Michigan Peace Team members recently did in the Occupied Territories) can do some good" (Dec. 25).
Just-returned MPT activists can explain to Ms. Bondy the persuasive power of this and other time-honored forms of nonviolent intervention.
"(Israelis) are not going to commit suicide to get (peace)," (Dec. 29).
The former head of Israeli interior security (Shin Beth) recently declared: "I favor unconditional withdrawal from the (Occupied) Territories," (Le Monde, Dec. 22). Evidently he doesn't agree with Ms. Bondy that this means suicide for Israel.
"The terrorism threat facing the Israelis is even greater than that facing the United States," (Dec. 29). A particularly insensitive statement when we're all grieving the deaths of 4,000-plus innocent Americans.

Willliam Watson
Traverse City


The catechism of the Roman Catholic Church says that homosexuals do not choose to be the way they are, must be treated with respect and compassion, and that all unjust discrimination against them is to be avoided. Bullying is part of that unjust discrimination. Simple civility requires that, if you don't like the way someone is, or what he or she does, look the other way and leave him or her alone.I might add that, as long as star athletes are allowed, with impunity, to do everything from vandalizing property to raping girls, I am not optimistic that school systems will do anything meaningful to protect any type of kid from bullying.

Edgar


Everyone needs to keep in mind that even though animals have fur, not all of them are suitable for the outdoors this time of year. But here we are, once again, in the midst of winter and some people need to be reminded not to leave their pets out in the cold. Some breeds, such as Newfoundland or Saint Bernards, are winter-loving dogs. They are a breed that can withstand long periods or cold and snow, when they have proper shelter available to them. But there are many other breeds that cannot.
So take time to stop and think, if it was you or your child, would you be cold sitting in the car with no heat on and basically no coat (when you consider a short-haired breed) for even five or ten minutes, let alone the length of time it takes to even just "run into the store for milk?" Or worse, take the dog with you to a store and tie it outside to a tree or post. Most of the time the object they are tied to is surrounded by snow so if they want to sit down or lie down, it would be in a snow bank or at best on extremely cold concrete.
If it's not someplace you would be comfortable sitting or you would not be willing to leave your child due to weather conditions, don't do it to an animal. They can't ask someone to help; they can only stand there shivering and waiting for the person they love and trust to care for them properly. If your pet is an "outside" pet, always make sure they have fresh water and adequate housing to get out of the elements. That's the least they deserve.

Shawn Hill
Traverse City


Please act now!
Please write a letter to your state representatives (in the front of your phone directory) stating that you oppose Department of Natural Resources director K. L. Cool's and the governor's decision to offer to trade 250 acres of the center of South Fox Island (owned by you, the taxpayers) for a more worthless 250 acres on the north end of South Fox Island (owned by millionaire Dave Johnson).
This must be stopped to preserve the beauty and endangered species that area there. As the people of this state, we should stand together and voice our opinions. If we don't, a millionaire and his few friends will own what we used to own.

Gary Kent Keyes
Traverse City


I want to applaud Michael Dettmer for his outspoken and candid point of view regarding measures being taken by Congress and the president relative to the investigation and prosecution of terrorist suspects. His points are well taken.
We lost much as a country on Sept. 11; but one thing we did not lose - and must not lose - is our Constitution. Our constitutional rights are not matters of convenience - rights that can be given and honored when circumstances make it easy. Our rights are ours to be protected and guarded at all costs, and in all circumstances.
President Bush, Attorney General Ashcroft and many members of Congress risk much in compromising our rights under the Constitution. In the eyes of many other nations of the world, our status as a guardian of human rights is diminished when we so quickly invoke military tribunals; compromise our beliefs regarding attorney-client privilege; and seriously degrade judicial due process. I want the terrorists and terrorist-supporting nations brought to justice. I want the world rid of the terrorist threat. But I think we as a country can accomplish those two goals without eroding our fundamental rights, and compromising the principles of the Constitution.
I truly appreciate Mr. Dettmer's willingness to speak out on this difficult and emotional issue.

Henry H. Doss
Traverse City


The people have spoken, and unbelievably the government listened. We don't want offshore drilling of our great lakes.
But what does that do for the power hungry to whom our legislature kowtows to? It forces them to look for alternatives to satisfy their greed for power and money.
Here's the answer: Biomass! A short lesson in energy production: Petrochemical production is based upon the usage of oil and coal which, as it is burned, give off hydrocarbons and sulfur dioxide which pollutes our air and depletes our ozone. Processing and burning of live plants all but eliminates this problem. Corn can be used but hemp is the preferred plant, a multi-use plant which is extremely fast growing, requires no fertilizer, and grows in bad soil.
But oh no! Hemp is marijuana, the enemy of the state! Our forefathers knew of this plant, hempseed oil-lit lamps, tubed bearings, made soap, hemp was food, clothing, paper and fuel.
Family farms could be saved, economies jump-started, industries reborn if we would stop believing the reefer-madness lies of thepast 70 years.
It's time Americans stand against pollution, big business, and the politicians they keep in office. Do it for yourselves, your children and grandchildren. Join the fight to free America from the dependence on oil, make family farms a profitable reality, and save our planet from the sins of the greedy powerbrokers and reverse the damage they and 70 years of reefer-madness have brought upon us.
Read "The Emperor Wears No Clothes," by Jack Herer, and you will be upset, astonished and shocked by what we've had to stomach for the past 70 years. Order this book from your favorite bookstore, and join the ranks of the informed.
Now if we could get them to stop selling our water to Perrier. ...

David P. Guillen


Dear L. Mostert,Michigan has been a target of the AFA for the past couple of years. While the AFA would like you to believe that their organization represents most people and that God is on their side; they are in fact a social political reconstructionist group composed of a handful of religious extremists who are attempting to effect legislation at every level in order to legally compel their compulsorily fundamentalist agenda upon us.

The fundamentalist Christian AFA is every bit as dangerous to any nation, as is the fundamentalist Islamic Taliban. The AFA seldom lets the truth interfere with the delivery of their seriously skewed propaganda campaign. They believe because they have the truth you either share their truths or you don't. If you do not embrace the AFA party line, you are a heretic and therefore a legitimate target. What it all comes down to, you are either a absolute-truth-owning-jihadi — or a freedom-loving relativist.

Our advice is to hold the AFA accountable for their deceptions and lies. They cannot stand up to the light of truth, justice and love. They cannot even stand up to the truth printed in the scripture they use to clobber people they don't like.

Michigan had three AFA led anti-gay initiatives on our ballots in 2001. The AFA was defeated in all three cities (Traverse City, Huntington Woods, Kalamazoo). Through the lens of truth and dignity the AFA is rapidly losing credibility and influence.

M Hartwell
Traverse City


I thought that America would find it interesting to know that that AFA is in Australia too. Recently we have heard a lot from the Australian Family Association (AFA).
It would appear that behind this organisation, with its innocent-sounding name, is quite a powerful lobby group with a hidden agenda. Rather than dealing with issues relevant to most families, it seems more interested in prostitution law reform, gay and lesbian law reform, abortion law reform and other contentious issues.
The AFA's published definition of what constitutes a family is somewhat disturbing, considering it excludes the very big percentage of Australians who do not live in a unit comprising a married mother and father having one or more children. Can they really claim to represent the families of Australia?
Is it merely a front for certain church groups to push their fundamentalist views in the guise of a secular family support group? It certainly seems to mirror the views of the Catholic Church and other fundamentalist Christian groups.
The AFA's recent publicity campaign and huge effort against the gay and lesbian law reforms certainly make one ask who these people are. Its shockingly graphic and factually incorrect campaign through our letterboxes and newspapers is disturbing. It seems more concerned about what happens with issues of minor significance to most families than important issues affecting a majority of families.
Who are these people?

L. Mostert
South Perth, Australia


Randy Bond describes his Michigan Peace Team trip to Bethlehem as "to get in harm's way" (Record-Eagle, Nov. 11, page one). In the same edition, "harm's way" is headlined on page eight: "2 children die as Israelis rocket militant's car." Participants in the Mideast cycle of violence waltz round and round in an escalating dance of death by rhetoric, weaponry and bloodshed. The news offers us the daily body count. We know ahead of time the count will be 90 percent innocent civilians, mainly women and children.
This cycle of violence grows larger as onlookers choose sides. "Getting in harm's way" is simply one tactic of breaking that cycle of violence for all sides. Dr. King said freeing the blacks and poor whites would also free their oppressors from the need for violence. Whether on an international level or in a case of domestic violence, intervention by neutral, nonviolent third parties can interrupt what's going on.
Understandably, it may appear to a critic of the Michigan Peace Team interveners that they are "taking sides" because they may often be standing in the way of military violence against the Palestinian residents of the occupied territories. However some of the same peacemakers have ridden specific Jerusalem bus routes previously blown up by terrorists and have gotten in the way of Arabs attacking Israeli settlers in the West Bank. All parties in a violent conflict may benefit from nonviolent interventions.
International nonviolent interventions by civilians is new. There's much to be learned, more to be tried, and larger groups needed to be effective. The United States Institute for Peace continues to study the efficacy of this work
Meanwhile, people like Randy Bond try to contribute to that effort.

Tom Shea
Traverse City


The war against the terrorists that attacked this country can, and must, be prosecuted to its fullest. However, We the People must insist that it is prosecuted within the scope of our Constitution. The Constitution was written and approved by the people of the states, delegating certain, limited powers to a federal government. The first 10 amendments, known as the Bill of Rights, without which the Constitution would not have been ratified, were added to reaffirm the limited scope of the federal government. The powers of the federal government are limited to only those specifically delegated to it by the Constitution (10th Amendment). Those powers can not be expanded constitutionally by the government, no matter how worthy the cause.
I think very highly of President Bush, but am troubled by some of the actions being taken in violation of the Constitution that both he and Congress swore before Almighty God to uphold. There is much talk of military tribunals, limited suspension of the writ of habeas corpus, and limited disregard of 4th, 5th and 6th Amendments. It's possible some of these actions can be taken when a state of war exists, but only Congress has the constitutional authority to declare that a state of war exists. It's been 60 years since we had a Congress with the guts to do their constitutional duty and make such a declaration. We the People must insist that Congress do its duty, insist the administration restrict itself to its constitutional authority, and oppose any unconstitutional expansion of federal powers. An erosion in one part of the foundation weakens the whole.
In the words of Ben Franklin, "They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."

Brett Pharo


One word keeps coming to mind to express my feeling about the way this administration is combating terrorism. It is expressed by alarm, meaning "a sudden fear or painful suspense excited by the apprehension of danger." The danger is to freedom and civil rights guaranteed in our Constitution and Bill of Rights through enactment of the so-called Patriot Act.
Alarm because, under the cloak of protecting us from terrorism, the powers of the judicial branch of government are being set aside and given to law enforcement. Legal authority to determine grounds for suspiciousness, and the guidance of judges to help police do their work, is abrogated. Alarming because "innocent until proven guilty" can now become "we consider you guilty, unless and until you prove your innocence." Alarming because the alleged guilty can now be treated like the proven guilty. Alarming because this is happening to innocent people.
For instance, a recent newspaper account tells of "Middle Easterner" working in a "sensitive" occupation whose front door was broken down in the night by federal agents. His home was ransacked, some "evidence" taken, and the man was "detained" against his will. "Detained" meant he was jailed with convicted felons and had a tooth broken and a shoulder fractured by an inmate because he "looked like an Arab." Safe in one's home? Illegal searches and seizures? Due process?
For Americans who treasure freedom this type of illegal action is alarming. And, unwittingly, it gives terrorists a victory. How? By eliminating the power of the courts, and causing law enforcement to become an agency for terrorizing ourselves. In the hunt to track down terrorists our government can use tactics like rifles whose sights are set and focused by judges, rather than tactics without judges like shotguns with no sights whose scattered shot can destroy without discrimination.

Karl E. Marsh
Suttons Bay


OK, people, you received your survey from Bart Stupak - answer it and send along other comments! If the people would just write their representatives and let them know how they feel about what they're doing or not doing. As it is, they have free reign as we sit around and just complain. Do people know that the government owes a million plus to Social Security and will probably never pay the IOUs. If your Social Security check stopped coming, would you write? Then it's too late! Do it now instead of just complaining. The addresses are always in this paper.

Doris Cook
Traverse City


I listened to a song on the radio today in its entirety, when I normally would've changed the station, since I'm not much for heavy metal music by a group called Metallica.
I listened to a country song the other day, in it's entirety, when I normally would've changed the station since I'm not much for country music.
I listened intently to my pastor's sermon in its entirety when sometimes my mind tends to wander on a Sunday morning.
I have noticed a commonality with three very different factions of life in America. The Metallica song had lines from President Bush's speech to the joint session of Congress dubbed over such lyrics as "Stand Tall" and "Settle The Score." The country song asked the question, "Where were you when the world stopped spinning, that September Day?" My pastor asked us to pray for both the victims and perpetrators of the war while we seek justice, as common sense and the laws of humanity dictates we must.
It occurred to me that the real strength of America is the vast diversity that exists within her borders ... when her diversity is ... united.

Andy Wagner
Interlochen


Who are the pathetic souls who put the "for sale" sign on the parcel of space between the Goodwill Inn and South City Limits on U.S. 31 S? After all these years, why do they have to bulldoze those pine trees and tall shrub plants for one more half-empty building we don't need? I'd like to trade one stupid strip mall for one quality strip joint. Then I wouldn't have to drive to Saginaw to have a good time.

Greg Doornbos
Traverse City


Since Sept. 11, it is considered unpatriotic to criticize President Bush, but we are in an economic recession, and it is essential to democracy that all Americans who love our country speak out on Bush's economic policy.
Some 290 TC public school system children are homeless (Record-Eagle).
The food pantries locally and nationally are running out or have run out of food.
The unemployment rate, both Michigan and nationally, is rising.
Five hundred thirty-six thousand plus Medicare beneficiaries (nationally) were dropped by their health plans, effective 2002. Thousands will lose their prescription drug coverage (AARP).
Forty-five million plus Americans are without health insurance.
Bush's economic package will not alleviate the situation, and puts our nation at the highest budget deficit since President Reagan. Bush's earlier tax cut benefited 1 percent of the nation's wealthiest, and did not stimulate the economy. His administration endorsed the House "stimulus bill," which would repeal the corporate alternative minimum tax retroactive to 1986 (New York Times). Selected companies, mainly energy and mining, would immediately receive around $25 billion from the government. In October, Bush's administration announced that the Interior Department could not veto mining projects on public land. Mining companies would pay no royalties.
President Bush's U.S. economic advisers are oil industry corporate leaders. Vice president Cheney was president of Haliburton, an oil industry suppler. Secretary of state James Baker III and commerce secretary Robert Mosbacher were consultants to Enron, a Houston-based energy marketing firm that trades in oil, gas and water.
Enron is in bankruptcy, and may be sued for lying to its stockholders. White House economic advisor Lawrence Lindsey and Robert Zoellick, U.S. trade representative, served on Enron's advisory board. These people are forming U.S. economic policy.
Bush's economic policy is injurious and costly to the health, education, welfare and environment of all Americans.

Nancy Hayward
Traverse City


It confounds me sometimes how people of different perspectives need to clash with each other to secure their own faith. I am speaking of the current cycle of filibustering over the use of religion and or artifacts within the proximity of an atheist. With both sides spewing their soy ink propaganda from this daily publication I keep asking myself where is their faith?
These champions of their own atheist, moral and religious standards or upbringing have lost the keystone to their own cause, faith.
If I were an atheist why would I gather concern over the words of religions and or icons used within my day-to-day endeavors? If I truly hold my faith that there is no God or religion to produce an existence beyond the boundaries of our own bodies, then why do I hold such a passionate concern for it to intrude in my lifestyle? Would I not find these people or actions just a waste of their own time with no effect to me seeing how there is no God to begin with in my beliefs?
And if I were a religious person why would I care what an atheist has to do with my life? Am I not at peace of mind to be content knowing my soul will be saved in the hereafter? What so deeply draws my Bible-belching wrath to thwart the nonbelievers? And why? In the belief that there is a God or not neither one of them can stand alone with what they preach and believe without harping on the other for reassurance. What has happened to their faith in what they believe?

Craig Lindsey
Traverse City


The holidays are special times and far some of us they are especially painful times. Glasses raised in merriment and cheer can shatter hopes and dreams. Drinking and driving don't mix.
Mothers Against Drunk Driving and the Michigan State Police, the Grand Traverse and Leelanau County and all area law enforcement personnel would like to remind us of our responsibility in keeping our highways and streets free of deadly impaired drivers during this holiday season and every day throughout the year.
Please take a Red Ribbon, when you see the display in the local businesses, and tie it on your vehicle, where it will be very visible when you get into the driver's seat. If you have had even one drink, you are impaired, even though you don't think you are. Pass the keys to a totally sober person or leave the car/vehicle and call for a ride from another source. Red Ribbons are a reminder to drinkers/drugging persons to not drive. It is also a symbol of life, as red is for blood and ribbons are symbols of celebration. Celebrate life by protecting life.
Two out of five Americans will be involved in an alcohol-related crash in their lifetime. Two out of five! The odds are frightening. What is even more frightening is what a vehicle crash/impact does to a human body. That is why drunk/drugged driving is everyone's problem.
Good news: alcohol-related crashes can be prevented. Public awareness is one way to do this and a thing as simple as tying a red ribbon on your vehicle could save a life - maybe yours or some one you love.
We want the holidays to always be a time of great happiness for you and yours.

Jackolyn Hill
Traverse City


The citizens of Michigan are about to lose some of the most pristine, beautiful land in all of the state. And they will lose it at the same hands that are supposed to be there to protect it and watch out for our best interests: the Department of Natural Resources and the Department of Environmental Quality and the Fish and Wildlife Service haven't done much better. Like that saying goes, "If you're not outraged, you haven't been paying attention." Well, I've been paying attention and I am outraged! Federal agencies have no business giving away or trading our land!
It's taken him quite a while to do it, but it appears David Johnson may finally get his way. He was relentless, I'll give him that much. I don't know who I'm more angry at, the agencies that are supposed to work for us, who are supposed to keep the best interest of the state at heart, or Mr. Johnson for his inability to be grateful for what he has and be content with owning two thirds of South Fox Island. I guess it's true, you always want more.
But if the swap does, in fact, go through, I will be sad but not surprised. The Island will be developed. But I have sure learned one thing. I'd rather be poor and own five acres of land and a shack in the woods than sell my soul for the sake of wealth and power.
Oh, yeah, and never trust the DNR.

Gabriel M. Evans


Being in America allows everyone in this awesome country to believe in any religion, non-religion, paganism, occult or whatever it is one wishes to believe in. This right is available to all, so long as one isn't physically or mentally harmed in the process. No one is being pressured to view local establishments' signs or believe in their beliefs!
When businesses express their belief in God by way of signs in front of their establishment, it is to help them deal with the crisis at hand. I do not believe it is to reform anyone or make one feel as if they must conform. Please do not ask them to limit what they do or one is no better than the Taliban!
One does not have to support that particular establishment or read their signs. One does, however, have to allow everyone to believe in what they wish and express their views.

Sheryl L. Grimm


I work at the Cherry Capital Airport in Traverse City. I am a security screener. I wanted you to know that we at the Cherry Capital Airport are serious about our job and do our very best at all times to make sure that nothing gets past us.
I read and hear about the airport screeners around the U.S. and get very upset that these people are taking their jobs so lightly. Where is their sense of pride? I don't know what their problem is, but I can tell you that we do daily ongoing training so we are ready to stop these people from getting any weapons past us. We take pride and we care enough to give our very best at all times. Every passenger who goes through our screening area is considered a friend that we have just met and need to look out for.
Why can't these other airport screeners have the same feelings for their fellow men, women and children that we do? Every day is a new challenge to be met and we are very proud that we are the ones to meet it.
Karen Kreiser

 

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