Re: Curt Guyette's "Fast times in Washington, D.C." (Dec. 16), Thomas Mahaney seems to function from the same sort of resilience that the federal government expects from its Army. More than once, the man starved himself to make a point, and more than once he lost weight and went largely unheard. The difference is, he was young the first time he picketed government policy in the midst of the war his generation was deeply involved in. He was representative of the conscious battle between mind-sets of the time, as he was a veteran fresh from Vietnam but also a person perceptive about collectively banding against it. This time in Washington, D.C., he was an older man with the same beliefs, but he was no longer of the age or social caliber to represent his fellows — he seemed to have tried to do the job, this December, of the younger men and women currently in Iraq, Afghanistan, or at home suffering post-traumatic depression or worse.
I have nothing but praise for Mahany's spirit. It is not right to continue the length of service for reasons of technicality or national emergency, and there is an obvious connection between that sort of betrayal and PTSD. But is this his debate to picket? He was quoted in Guyette's article in this paper last week as saying "Back then [in the Vietnam era], everyone was involved … now, it feels like no one is involved." It is certainly his debate to picket, if only because it doesn't appear that anyone else is doing it. —Braden Bell, Bloomfield
By the book
Re: Bill Holdship's "Rockin' Reads" (Nov. 25), I would add It Was All Right: Mitch Ryder's Life in Music, by James A. Mitchell, to the list. I really enjoyed it and learned a lot about the music business and the specifics of what really happened to the Detroit Wheels. It also gives me a chance to stump a few colleagues at work when I ask what the connection to Mitch and Frankie Valli is? Not that anyone cares!
The part where Jerry Lubin gets Mellencamp to own up and collaborate with Mitch was the best. Come to think of it, maybe an MT story on former radio legend Jerry Lubin is in order for the new year. In my life, he's had a great impact on my love for rock and roll. —Ken Hreha
Not for faint hearts
In response to Jack Lessenberry's "Christmas cheer" (Dec. 23), MIKAR posted:
We've got a pack of fools in Lansing doing their best to ruin our state. The words of Molly Ivins come to mind, "All anyone needs to enjoy the state legislature is a strong stomach and a complete insensitivity to the needs of the people. As long as you don't think about what that perculiar body should be doing to the quality of life in Texas (insert Michigan as appropiate), then it's all marvelous fun." —Ivins, Notes from a Rookie, March 1971
JoAnn Watson: Enviro fighter
In response to our Dec. 23 blog post about honors JoAnn Watson received from The Nation, Scott posted:
Good point about The Nation missing Watson's environmental record, which has been her most praiseworthy activity over the past term.
Also, Rebecca Solnit had an excellent piece on Detroit back in July 2007 in Harper's, well before Detroit became the place for national media outlets to camp out for a fun few months of recording urban blight.
Heed the warning, save the schools
In response to Sandra Svoboda's "Parent power" (Dec. 23), EastsideAlan posted:
DPN is the "canary in the coal mine," a warning bell that there is a need not provided, that is pivotal in children's chance to be educated. Remember: An after-breakfast speech is not an affidavit. Please allow some figurative, if not literal, comments to lead to open and progressive discussion. To be followed by some useful, helpful activities. This is a chance for any detractors to provide better alternatives. After all, nothing succeeds better than success.Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org