Cutting business taxes is not a panacea
I read with interest Jack Lessenberry's article, "True colors in Lansing" (May 11). I didn't vote for Snyder, but I was under the impression that, akin to Gov. Milliken, he was a moderate, not an ideologue, but he either fooled us or the politics changed him. I totally disagree with the theory that slashing business taxes will attract businesses and people to the state, creating revenue streams that would help education in the long term — because it is based on a false premise that business taxes are the only criteria that businesses use to decide where they want to do business. Businesses look at a whole host of criteria besides business taxes before they decide where to locate their businesses, such as weather, quality of schools and colleges, recreational facilities, real estate prices, cost of living, public transportation, quality of air and water, medical facilities and the like. Reducing the amount of money spent on education is bound to diminish the quality of education — and what does that say about our priorities? Snyder will be a one-term governor if he falls into the category of the mean-spirited Republicans. —Pradeep Srivastava, Detroit
I want to thank Jack Lessenberry for periodically reminding us of how much the supremely untalented Mitch Albom is out of touch with journalistic integrity ("True colors in Lansing," May 11, under "Defective Albom"). One has only to recall the 2005 incident where he concocted his sighting of two former Michigan State University basketball players at an MSU game, even inventing details of what they were wearing. Then there was the time when the Free Press spiked Carl Wolff's review of Mitch's Five People You Meet in Heaven. Presumably Mitch's ego was too fragile to survive any review that was less than flattering. Fortunately, for those who have not read it, the review is printed in its entirety in Killed: Great Journalism Too Hot to Print. I've never been able to figure out Mr. Albom's enormous appeal. His writing is amateurish, and the stories he tells are mawkish to the extreme. Now he seems to be making a career out of using dying older men to promote his meager abilities. I wonder who the next victim will be. —Gail Gilchrist, Berkley
Pot ban is about politics, not health
Re: "That Hippie Sacrament" (May 11), I was born in 1934, so had little exposure to the hippie sacrament. But I do read history, and it confirms that marijuana prohibition began as a way to hold down hippies, not because marijuana is dangerous.
President Nixon's chief of staff, H.R. Haldeman, wrote in his diary on April 28, 1969, that "[Nixon] emphasized that you have to face the fact that the whole problem [welfare] is really the blacks. The key is to devise a system that recognizes this while not appearing to ..."
Nixon signed the 1971 Controlled Substances Act, which included marijuana on its most restrictive "schedule." Nixon's motive was corroborated in 1995 by Nixon's other aide, John Ehrlichman, during an interview with Dan Baum, author of Smoke and Mirrors, when he told Baum,
"Look, we understood we couldn't make it illegal to be young or poor or black in the United States, but we could criminalize their common pleasure. We understood that drugs were not the health problem we were making them out to be, but it was such a perfect issue for the Nixon White House that we couldn't resist it."
Marijuana prohibition began — and remains — about power. —John Chase, Palm Harbor, Fla.
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