Letters to the Editor 

Rock bottom

I was encouraged to see you award Kid Rock "Boob of the Year" (Metro Times, Jan. 3). Beyond his personal missteps, I've always been galled by his phony patriotism. His early support of the Iraq debacle helped, in a small way, to send our soldiers there. If you really support the troops, don't paint your guitar red, white and blue, and don't just entertain and do photo-ops with them. He should enlist, so one of them can come home. The American Badass should walk the walk, and not just talk the talk. —Rob Kangas, Royal Oak

 

Ford was no saint

Re: Jack Lessenberry's "How Gerald Ford Held The Road" (Metro Times, Jan. 3), I have noticed in nearly every article I have read about President Gerald Ford the omission of his decision to allow Indonesia to invade East Timor in 1975. The day before the invasion, Ford and Secretary of State Henry Kissinger made a special trip to Indonesia to meet President Suharto in Jakarta, where Ford made it clear that "we will understand and will not press you on the issue. We understand the problem and the intentions you have." Kissinger added: "It is important that whatever you do succeeds quickly because the use of U.S.-made arms could create problems." Amnesty International has estimated Timorese deaths at 200,000 after the invasion. Knowing he allowed the slaughter of nearly a third of East Timor's population while American weapons manufacturers profited handsomely is a part of Gerald Ford's legacy that should negate the "decent guy" description. —Allen Salyer, Troy

 

Nixon went unpunished

Of course, nobody would argue with the assertion that Jerry Ford was a decent, honest man, who had common sense and was capable of making rational, logical and sensible decisions, but unlike Lessenberry, I tend to disagree with Ford's decision to pardon the infamous crook, Richard Nixon, even though it has been now accepted by most people that he did the right thing at the time, even though it cost him the presidential election. Of course, the Nixon trial would have distracted him and the nation, but nobody said that a president's job is easy. The president doesn't and shouldn't have the luxury of dropping a few balls just to make his job easier.

Pardoning Nixon may have been an expedient thing to do, but it was morally reprehensible and it sent the wrong signal to future presidents. The argument that "the acceptance of a pardon signifies admission of guilt" does not fly. It's not sufficient to admit guilt; the person admitting the guilt also needs to be punished for his guilt, and that did not happen in case of Nixon. —Pradeep Srivastava, Detroit

 

The desire for freedom

White columnist Jack Lessenberry urged Michigan minority voters not to protest Proposal 2, the imposition of "Jim Crow" into our state legal code ("Sour grapes and sick cardinals," Metro Times, Dec. 27). He stated that since the majority of Michiganders have voted to drastically curtail opportunity in bids for contracts, entry into higher education, and employment for black voters, that blacks should view this as some sort of "democracy in action."

A firm believer in equal rights for blacks himself, Lessenberry concludes that blacks desiring a better life will have available any back doors that might still remain open. "You won't win in court, anyway," he explained.

Let's be clear. Black voters will fight against Proposal 2 any way we can. This "Ban on Affirmative Action" is not a victory of democracy, it is the flagrant assertion of white supremacy. —Wallace Peace, West Bloomfield

 

Leave the pope out of it

We agree with Jack Lessenberry that expelling Bishop Gumbleton is a stupid move; however, we wonder why he concluded his report with a jibe at the pope. His quip added nothing to the position he took and marred an otherwise excellent article. —Marie & Bob Fehribach, Sterling Heights

 

Bishop not a pawn

The misleading headline on the cover, along with the mean-spirited, misinformed conclusions in Jack Lessenberry's column, do not reflect the facts or the reality of Bishop Thomas Gumbleton's departure from St. Leo Parish in Detroit.

All bishops in the Catholic Church, whether you minister in Detroit, Dakar or Dublin, are required to submit their retirement letter to the pope when they turn 75. In February of 2006, Bishop Gumbleton, an auxiliary (assistant) bishop ordained for the Archdiocese of Detroit, retired one day short of his 76th birthday. At that same time, he also resigned as pastor of St. Leo Parish. He did ask to stay on in the capacity of parish administrator to facilitate a transition to new leadership. That request was granted; he is now in his 12th month as administrator. Not unlike most other long-serving pastors in this archdiocese or elsewhere, he was asked to move out of the rectory when the new priest takes over, most likely in the first quarter of 2007.

"Fired!" "Expelled!" "Scandal?" The actions taken by Bishop Gumbleton, on his own behalf, hardly deserve or earn those descriptions. If there is an "injustice" here, as the Metro Times suggests, it involves your coverage, and, specifically, Lessenberry's column.

The anti-Catholic vitriol he spews is palpable and a disgrace. One can only wonder if Lessenberry would use — or your editors would allow — similar hate language when commenting on the leadership of other world religions. These types of attacks denigrate the million-plus Catholic faithful of southeast Michigan, whoever and wherever they may be. —Ned McGrath, director of communications, Archdiocese of Detroit, Detroit

 

Blooper reel

I just have to say that the person who did the review for Dreamgirls (Cinema, Metro Times, Dec. 27) is a complete idiot. Don't get me wrong: I respect everyone's right to their opinion but Mr. Himes didn't even have the facts straight on the characters in the movie. He had the storylines jumbled, actresses in the wrong character, and it makes me think that he possibly didn't see the movie at all. I've never been one to base whether or not I see a movie completely on the reviews, but I know now not to give any credibility to any movie review in the Metro Times. —Chalonda Mitchell, Warren

Send letters (250 words or less, please) to letters@metrotimes.com. Please include your telephone number for verification. We reserve the right to edit for length, clarity and libel.

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