If Detroit's economic point of no return does occur in April as predicted, then the city's collapse will nicely coincide with the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic. Nearer, my God to thee ... indeed! —Robert del Valle, Royal Oak
A costly failure
The drug war is largely a war on marijuana smokers. In 2010, there were 853,839 marijuana arrests in the United States, almost 90 percent for simple possession. At a time when state and local governments are laying off police, firefighters and teachers, this country continues to spend enormous public resources criminalizing Americans who prefer marijuana to martinis. The end result of this ongoing culture war is not necessarily lower rates of use.
The United States has higher rates of marijuana use than the Netherlands, where marijuana is legally available. Decriminalization is a long overdue step in the right direction. Taxing and regulating marijuana would render the drug war obsolete. As long as organized crime controls distribution, marijuana consumers will come into contact with sellers of hard drugs like methamphetamine, cocaine and heroin. This "gateway" is a direct result of marijuana prohibition. —Robert Sharpe, Policy Analyst, Common Sense for Drug Policy, Washington, D.C.
State of confusion
Gov. Snyder's State of the State speech reflected the harmful policies of Republican governors all over the country. Deep tax giveaways to big corporations and insurance companies while implementing crucial cuts to education and other programs that benefit the middle class and working folk. Retirees, local schools and workers all over the state now have to help fund big tax giveaways to insurance companies and large corporations while trying to survive in this fragile economy. Where are the programs to bring jobs to the state, governor? Where are the jobs! —Beverly Miller, West Bloomfield
Your money's no good here
"Do not pass go. Do not collect $200. Go directly to jail." This is exactly the message Wayne County Circuit Judge Prentis Edwards sent to Manuel J. "Matty" Moroun for not following through on an order Judge Edwards gave Moroun as relates to the Gateway Project. I applaud Judge Edwards for not being influenced by the smell of money and for putting the billionaire, Moroun, in jail. For once, the big fish didn't get away. —Thomas A. Wilson Jr., Detroit
Boost for extra parties
I read Jack Lessenberry's comments ("Year of decision," Jan. 4) and I agree that the sensible thing to do this fall is to vote for Obama.
But this is where we part company.
The biggest problem we have politically is that we have only two political parties (voting for a candidate for a third party is "throwing your vote away") and the two are as such:
The Republican Party is a coalition of free-market determinists, plutocratic shills and theocrats. All together, I would say they have about 36 percent of voting public. Since they are very committed and absolutely sure they are correct, they always vote, have no shortage of funds (that's where the plutocrats come in), and they can't really compromise.
The Democratic Party is like the Wal-Mart of American politics. They have something for everybody. They have leftists, such as myself, liberals, their own bunch of theocrats, their own free market determinists, and they take money from many of the same people the Republicans do.
The solution to this is to effectively destroy the two-party system.
The method for that is to bring about Instant Runoff Voting (IRV). It works like this: You vote for the candidate or party you really want, then you vote for the candidate or party you will accept.
When the votes are counted, the two highest first choice vote-getters are kept and the lesser vote getters are eliminated. The second-choice votes from those who voted for the eliminated candidates are then counted and added to their second choice (and usually surviving) candidates.
As it is now, my only choices are the proto-fascist Republican party, or its perennial enabler, the Democratic party. —Bob Cornwell, Warren
In response to Larry Gabriel's Higher Ground column, "Taking on pols at the polls" (Jan. 11), Thinking_Clearly posted:
Having any public official publicly flaunt voters' wishes as did Attorney General Bill Schuette has left a very bad taste in my mouth for elected representation in Michigan in general. I see that California's wording under their latest attempt at legalization has included wording to prevent State employees and officials from taking action in opposition to State law favoring Federal law and I would love to see such wording in Michigan. My immediate thought on any legalization issue passed by voters is this: what is to prevent Attorney General Bill Schuette or any other official in Michigan to continue to act in defiance of any voter-passed legislation in the future? I see no other alternative than legalization either at this juncture. I resent the idea of Schuette using Federal Law to trump his own state's law. This is a chosen position, not a purely lawful one. He doesn't work for the federal government and enforcing federal law in Michigan was not what Schuette was hired for. I agree with John Sinclair when he stated, "What the law specifies is that medical marijuana patients are meant to obtain their medicine, and if there aren't enough letters of the law in the statute as it stands, the intent that medicine be made available should be honored in their breach." Short of recall or just simply spelling it out, I see few other options without legislative support.