Don't buy it
I appreciate and agree with Jack Lessenberry's suggestion that we contact our representatives and express opposition to the proposed legislative gifts to Michigan's factory farm owners ("Let's pollute our water!" Metro Times, June 27). However, even if the bills fail, CAFOs will continue to ruin our water, air and land, contributing to problems ranging from spinach recalls to melting ice caps.
The good news is that we aren't dependent on politicians to protect us from the grim future these businesses offer. We can simply stop eating their abused, diseased "products."
Environmentalists who eat meat are as self-defeating as pacifists who fill up at Mobil or workers who vote Republican. American consumers are the most powerful group in the world. We should be more conscientious about how we use our power. Chad Gilchrist, Hazel Park
Cure the system
Jack Lessenberry: I have to say that what you wrote about Sicko was indeed outstanding ("Moore's grand slam," Metro Times, June 20). Not only did your review outline the film and your opinion of it, but, like the film, your article went ahead to push the issue of apathy into the light of scrutiny, which it so direly needs. Thank you. Thank you a hundred times for writing with fervor, with scrutiny and, most importantly, with strength. Thank you for endeavoring to reclaim human dignity for all people. David A. Merian, Milford
The cost of learning
Once again Mr. Lessenberry hit the nail right on the head with his column "Fund education or die" (Metro Times, May 16). In the past Detroiters thought it was their natural born right to "get in" with one of the Big Three and be taken care of for the rest of their lives. Unfortunately that was then. The reality of it now is that the auto industry has changed and will never be the same again.
I also strongly agree with Jack that any hopes of us not becoming a "Water-Winter-Wasteland" will be in those high-tech, new-economy jobs, and that we should be doing all we can to move Michigan in that direction.
Let's take advantage of the engineering and technical knowledge base that we still have before it's relocated to another state.
Where Jack and I disagree is that I don't think the answer is to always just "throw more money at it" as the fix.
It was Sarah Klein's Metro Times article last August, "In too deep" (Metro Times, Aug. 9, 2006) that got me to realize just how hard it is to get a university degree here in Michigan. A recent Detroit News article pointed out that last year Michigan's 15 public universities increased tuition and fees more than public universities in any other state in the country. A 2006 article in the Grand Rapids Press states that tuition and fees at Michigan's four-year public universities are approximately 30 percent higher than the national average.
A high school graduate wanting to get one of those high-tech, new-economy degrees from U-M will be looking at paying out more than $82,000! How can we expect any of our young adults to take on a burden like this (with only the "hope" of finding a job) when they get out?
Why are we paying so much for tuition here in Michigan? Because we're not paying enough taxes? Why don't we ask U-M president Mary Sue Coleman, who reportedly makes more than any other university president in the country! Greg Nihem, Sterling Heights
I enjoyed reading Larry Gabriel's article, "Airing dirty laundry" (Metro Times, June 27). Being a minority myself, I have no trouble believing and accepting that minorities do tend to hide their problems for the fear of being stereotyped by the mainstream communities. This has long-term adverse consequences. One, the problems that are not aired cannot be addressed. We all know that sunshine is the best disinfectant and there is something to be said for letting it all hang out. Second, it creates a credibility problem for the minority community. For example, people like Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, who openly, relentlessly and unconditionally support blacks, are usually marginalized, even by some blacks. Even if they support a black person who does deserve to be supported, people may not believe them.
Majority of the serial killers in the past have been white males, but we never hear white males apologizing for them simply because whites are in the majority in this country. The minorities have to publicize their good deeds, as well as bad deeds and that will make them more believable and less prone to stereotyping. Pradeep Srivastava, Detroit
Praise and a plug
Fred Mills: Great article on Jimmy McCarty ("Jimmy McCarty: Guitar Hero," Metro Times, June 20). He is a personal favorite of mine. Good to see people don't forget the great ones.
On a side note, my partner and I are putting on a show at the Emerald in Mt. Clemens on July 15, featuring Pat Travers, Gary Hoey and, opening the show, Detroit's own Soul Circus. Ted Gruici, Clinton Township
Regarding the possible bridge being built, how long will the people in the Delray area have to wait until they know if the bridge is to be built in their neighborhood?
No area in the city of Detroit has been treated so badly by its officials. There is so little regard for the people who live there by people in Michigan who know little about Delray and the people who live there or the people who have moved. Seniors need to be informed so that they know if they will have to move. Homeowners and renters need to be informed soon. Plans need to be made. F. Moore, Detroit, former Delray resident
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