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Attach those strings

I'm writing in response to Jack Lessenberry's "Crisis and corruption." As a former Southfield resident, I would like to second his view that strict regulation must be a condition of any possible auto bailout.

Without federal assistance, it is likely that one or two of the Big Three will indeed collapse in due time. Whether it is entirely the fault of the current financial crisis or a kind of bad karma response to the immaturity and ineffective management of the auto companies themselves is irrelevant. The fact that a large chunk of working Americans could lose their jobs (and therefore their homes, etc.) is reason enough for Washington to feel charitable toward an industry that helped shape the character, image and economic strength (once upon a time) of our country.

Recently, I attended the annual "Globalization Conference" in Oslo, Norway. Much attention was directed toward the world financial crisis. Important diplomats and politicians said their parts and it was concluded, by the liberal majority, that the free market must learn to be responsible or it will mean the end of wealth as we know it in the Western world. This point must be stressed. Capitalism must be regulated. Washington must front money to GM, Ford and Chrysler upon the agreement that these companies will be responsible, fair and fixed on producing environmentally friendly vehicles.

If the government, god forbid, decides to fund Detroit, it should be out of respect for the producing sectors of our country. I fear that it will be out of pity. I fear, even more, that it will not happen in the first place. This is a dire time. It must be addressed swiftly. —Braden Bell, Inderøy, Norway


A peasant peninsula?

When reading Jack Lessenberry's "Crisis and corruption," (Nov. 19) I was reminded of several conversations I have had with family and friends over the years, around the country, on the nature of the automotive industry and Michigan. In the end, are we terribly surprised at what we are witnessing? Not with the Big Three, but with the perception of Michigan across the nation? Take a look at the last couple of censuses — with the steady drop in population. It has even drained Michigan's clout in the U.S. House of Representatives.

As for the folks down in Alabama, I would hold up on the attitude, Jack. When the textile industry, with its fledging unions, was being dismantled and being shipped overseas, we of the Northern states paid only lip service — and paid less for imported clothes. As it stands, this is merely karma in action.

Then again, given the rather brutal collapse in education in all 50 states (in favor of making our schools A, AA, AAA franchisees for athletics), can we react with such disgust at how our current generations act in such a mercenary fashion? —Matthew Sawtell, La Grange Park, Ill.


Belly-aching

Enjoyed your "People Got The Power" (Nov. 19) list of people involved in the Detroit music scene, but couldn't help but notice a glaring omission from the list: Where is Bellyache Records?? They've only released records by the GO, the Hentchmen, the Muggs and the Gore Gore Girls, not to mention quite a few others, all this year! —C. Hoff, Sterling Heights


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