Dues and don'ts
Since Jack Lessenberry has taken it upon himself to interpret "The real GOP" (Metro Times, Feb. 20) for all of us, allow me to interpret Lessenberry's interpretation of the Right-to-Work and Paycheck Protection initiatives. When he says "that means union-busting" and "... all existing unions would be destroyed," his remarks implicitly admit that without workers being forced by a powerful minority to support unions via "closed" shops and mandatory payroll dues deductions, they would immediately stop, if given the choice. —Gregory J. Winters, Warren
Chucking the check-off
In "The real GOP," Jack Lessenberry writes that supporting Right-to-Work would "mean all existing unions would be destroyed." I support the libertarian principle that individuals should have freedom of association, and not be forced to join associations against their will. I also find Lessenberry's claim to be unfounded. Workers would voluntarily join a union if the benefits received are equal to or better than the value of the union dues. This change would force unions to become more efficient and provide higher-quality benefits and services in order to retain and recruit members. The only unions that would be destroyed would be the ones whose dues are not worth the benefits provided — and I say good riddance to them if they cannot find a way to add value to the workers. —Jim Allison, Warren
Column goes south
Jack: I believe you have been one of Detroit's finest and most honest journalists. Your perspective is often well-researched and based in objectivity. I was surprised to read your most recent column ("Focus on the facts," Metro Times, Feb. 6) surrounding the text message scandal involving Mayor Kilpatrick. In it, you mentioned that a friend of yours related the antics of Mayor Kilpatrick to the racist stereotypes found in The Birth of a Nation. This reference was insulting, demeaning and not typical of your style. I would hate for this issue to be spun into a defense for the actions of this administration.
Perhaps you should consider retracting this portion of your column. You were right on target with the rest of your piece. —Bertram L. Marks Esq., Detroit
Kwame: No public servant
Regarding Kwame's shameful situation, from an old-school black man's perspective: I really don't care who the guy sleeps with as long as he handles the city's business, and that's the problem. All this foolishness is taking away energy that should be devoted to the needs of our city. And the $8.4 million could have been spent on our children and our suffering schools — not to mention the entire Detroit infrastructure.
I really think that most of the investment capital that people want to invest in Detroit will probably come this way regardless of Kwame's mess, because that's the nature of capitalism: very little shame where a possible profit is involved. And, to some degree, Kwame is correct about the black man being highly scrutinized, all the more reason why you would expect an "intelligent" young black man to know better. Public service is just that: service to the people — and if he was not willing to sacrifice his philandering to serve the public, then he should have never run for office.
And to address the people from the church was absolutely shameful. Consult with your pastor or mentors? Absolutely! But then be man enough to go to your office (where much of the monkey business took place) and admit your guilt and take your medicine like a man. —Vincent Brown, Detroit
In the wake of a Michigan Democratic Party that has held up our right to have delegates at our national convention, it's getting tough to justify loyalty to a submissive party that has once again let us down. On the national level, the party is rolling over for the Republicans at almost every opportunity. Now, with Bush's approval rating at historic lows, it would seem that the only thing that could beat the Dems in the next election is themselves. I am afraid that our Dems are fully capable of it. —Don & Leslie Jones, Pleasant Ridge
Concerning the News Hits article "Lobby Overdose" (Metro Times, Feb. 20): If the point of the 1996 pharmaceutical immunity legislation was to "ensure pharmaceutical research dollars continue to flow into the drug development pipeline" in the state of Michigan, then why did Pfizer close three of its facilities, costing the state 6,000 jobs? Seems to me the law is a failure in its purpose to attract and keep drug manufacturers in the state and should be rescinded. —Allen Salyer, Troy
Errata: In Spun (Metro Times, Feb. 20), our review of Nick Lowe's "Jesus of Cool" misstated the title of Lowe's sophomore album. The correct title is Labour of Lust. Also, in Corey Hall's recent film review of A Detroit Thing (Cinema, Metro Times, Feb. 13), it's suggested that the movie producers made unsuccessful attempts at film festivals to sell A Detroit Thing. The producers did not — the film did see two test screenings at the 2007 Traverse City Film Festival. Tino from the Howling Diablos does not smoke in the film, as asserted in the review. Hall credits band Medusa Cyclone as performing; the band provides music but does not appear. Rapper Esham is listed in the review's film credits but he isn't in the movie.