Letters to the Editor

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Pro-liberty, anti-Bush

Re: Jack Lessenberry’s “God bless us, every one” (Metro Times, Dec. 21), thanks, Jack Lessenberry, for calling for the impeachment of Bush. I only hope many more commentators and newspapers will show similar courage and wisdom in the face of the great threat to our freedoms the Bush regime poses.

Some people will dismiss calls for impeachment as being just “liberal” or “Democratic.” But this is very wrong. Some of the loudest protests against the war — and how it is being waged at home and abroad — are coming from prominent conservatives and free-market libertarians. The left would greatly benefit by understanding this and making alliances to insure Bush’s madness is halted.

Just a few examples of conservatives opposed to the war: Pat Buchanan; MSNBC’s Tucker Carlson; columnists Joseph Sobran and Charlie Reese; Jeffrey Hart, speechwriter for President Reagan; Paul Craig Roberts, one of President Reagan’s highest-ranking Treasury Department officials; former Reagan Secretary of the Navy James Webb; Brent Scowcroft, national-security adviser to the Ford and Bush Senior administrations; Scott McConnell, executive editor of The American Conservative magazine. There are endless others.

Similarly, free-market libertarians have long opposed the war and Bush’s domestic tyranny. Antiwar.com, the largest anti-interventionist Web site, with over 85,000 visitors per day, is run by libertarians. The Libertarian Party, America’s third-largest political party, opposes the war and published an exit strategy long ago. The libertarian Cato Institute, one of America’s most influential think tanks, opposes the war. The great libertarian Republican congressman Ron Paul of Texas is one of the leading congressional opponents of the war and the police-state laws that have accompanied it.

Defending the Bill of Rights is not about liberal versus conservative. It’s about freedom versus tyranny. A diverse pro-liberty, anti-Bush coalition exists and is growing daily. Let the cry go up: Impeach Bush! —James Harris, Rydal, Ga.


Keep U.S. a no-spy zone

If we as Americans become so afraid of the possibility of terrorist attack that we condone spying on private citizens — including, but not limited to, peace advocates — then the terrorists have won. There are many avenues to stopping terrorists, but giving up our Fourth Amendment rights — or any other rights — is not acceptable. This is not Nazi Germany or a monarchy. This is the United States of America. I strongly protest the actions of Bush and his administration in carrying on their war against the citizens of this country that do not agree with his politics. Nixon tried much of the same thing. He was threatened with impeachment and ended up stepping down. Bush has done far worse and it is time to bring impeachment charges against him and his officers. —William Rice, Detroit


Our terrorist brothers?

Boy, you sure have a poor memory — or is it a convenient one? Carter did the same thing, as did Slick Willie, as far as eavesdropping — except he did it against his enemies. All President Bush asked was that any incoming phone calls to United States from suspected terrorists would be monitored. Which is how we stopped the Brooklyn Bridge from being blown up. I’ll bet that frosted you that your terrorist brothers didn’t succeed. You want as many roadblocks put in front of this administration as you can so when the next 9/11 comes you can demand to know what was done to stop it. Thank god the rest of the country doesn’t think like you. As a matter of fact, two Americans have been arrested for working with the terrorists. Does the name Terry Nichols ring a bell? He was working under instructions from the Arabs.

As far as torture goes, that is something your Arab bros specialize in. You weren’t against Saddam’s torture or the recent beheadings. During all our wars we never tortured any soldier yet our enemies tortured ours. Terrorists are not soldiers and have no rights. John McCain was a joke as a “prisoner of war” — he sang like a canary and caused the torture of many American captured because of where he came from.

It must be very frustrating for you to see the United States winning the war against terrorism and the most Americans behind the president. —Marc Adels, Clawson


Orwellian times

Thanks to Jack Lessenberry for this article. Unfortunately, the Bush administration has lost the war to the terrorists. They have already turned the United States into what Iraq was. Bush has used fear and “patriotism” to justify heinous acts. When asked for justification we get, “It’s confidential.” We should be starting the proceedings for a war crimes trial of the Bush administration, not passing another so-called Patriot Act. So next we’ll have a Ministry of Love to administer torture? —Bruce L. Kirkland, Detroit


An open letter on WDET

To Michael Coleman: I appreciate your comments on how listeners are sensitive to any changes at WDET-FM. But it was too ironic when I received my copy of WDET Live! Volume IV, compiled by Martin Bandyke, on the second day of your recent changes.

I understand how public radio stations are under a lot of pressure to take more NPR programming. The problem with your recent changes is not the concentration of such programming, but the choices you’ve made.

You’ve dropped WDET veterans Martin Bandyke and Judy Adams while expanding Ed Love’s program to five evening hours. I love bebop and modern jazz, and I haven’t been able to stomach Love’s show since I moved to metro Detroit in 1996. I know other jazz fans in the area who feel the same.

Compounding this is the fact that your daytime programming falls short of WUOM’s daytime programming. I’ve never been able to contribute a lot of money to WDET, but I have made contributions consistently for nearly 10 years. Now I’m looking more closely at alternate sources. Unfortunately, few of them are available during my considerable amount of drive time.

I have XM radio at home, and was thinking of dropping it and saving the monthly fee, until you changed programming. Five evening hours of Love’s bloated, self-congratulatory show featuring the least interesting jazz this side of Lite Jazz! Yeesh. The way he raises and lowers the volume on Coltrane or Miles while he chatters on about the same things over and over makes me cringe.

Another alternate is Internet radio, of course. Right now, I’m listening to KCRW’s “Morning Becomes Eclectic” while typing this. And I’ll continue to struggle to pull in WUOM during the day, and listen to 90.9-FM’s superior jazz programming in the evening.

I urge you to consider returning some local music programming to WDET daytime. Then retire Ed Love and replace him with Bandyke or Adams. —Todd Lassa, Ferndale


Put up or shut up

Michael Coleman may or may not be an idiot, but the people in Detroit most responsible for the recent unfortunate changes at WDET are the 93 percent of freeloading listeners who never called in during a fund-raiser and said, “I like what I’m hearing and here’s my $5.” Had they done that, just even once a year, a $525,000 surplus would have preserved what they valued. These are the idiots! —Tom Perkins, Clinton Township


Damned if we do ...

Re: “We want the airwaves” and “Dial straits” (Metro Times, Dec. 21), when it comes to covering WDET format changes, Metro Times has a double standard.

The latest programming changes immediately resulted in not one, but two full-blown stories, with more likely to follow. Contrast this to the September 2004 format change, when coverage was limited to one short story more than a month after it took place, with no follow-up.

Protest over the latest changes deserves to be covered, but what about last year’s changes, which alienated a lot of listeners, many of whom, like myself, had previously contributed to the station? There were plenty of protests at that time, too, but the Metro Times refused to cover them.

Thanks to this lack of coverage and follow-up, Metro Times readers were unaware until now that many alienated WDET listeners had stopped contributing, leading to the station running in the red.

Caryn Mathes’ 2004 format change gutted WDET’s very identity as a public radio station, making it sound like a commercial station with NPR news. Michael Coleman, by contrast, has once again made WDET the full-service public radio station that the Detroit area deserves. I am pleased with the changes, which have brought back a broad mix of programming, including a greater variety of music on the weekends. —Dave Hornstein, Southfield


On sounding informed

I like people who throw out numbers without context to sound informed (“Java was no joke,” Letters to the editor, Metro Times, Dec. 21). Well, here’s some more for you: A standard Starbucks coffee/espresso drink is between 160 and 180 degrees — 180 being the topper because it spoils the milk, not because of the mass graves that would apparently have to be dug if a drink were served that hot. Having served coffee at several coffee shops, I know that serving anything even close to 150 degrees will get you nothing but bitchy customers and lousy tips. It sucks for that woman that she was so badly hurt by a product she knew to be dangerous in precisely the way it proved to be. It would suck if my foot slipped off the brake pedal and I ran off the road into a tree (which, incidentally, is actually life-threatening unlike the claims Mr. Mayer makes about spilled coffee). But I know that’s one of the dangers of driving a car, and I drive accordingly. I don’t sue Ford. May I suggest a cup-holder? —Jef Tripp, Marietta, Ga.


Debunking tort myths

Many people still believe that in the 1992 case involving McDonald’s coffee, a woman was driving a car and holding a cup of McDonald’s coffee between her knees, when she spilled it and burned herself, and later hired a trial lawyer who convinced a jury to award her millions.

The hype and distortion surrounding Stella Liebeck’s case against McDonald’s is the most glaring, if not the largest, example of the power of the corporate PR blitz. Mention the McDonald’s spilled coffee lawsuit and most people groan or sneer and think “frivolous.” But that’s because most people have never heard the facts, they’ve only heard the corporate hype.

Nearly a decade after big business and insurance turned the case into a national joke and a poster case for tort reform, most Americans still have not heard all the facts. But give people the facts about the case and suddenly it’s not so funny and not so frivolous anymore. A review of the case would cause even the most jaded individual to reassess the justness of the outcome.

Tort reformers, mostly Republican conservatives who are behind the criticism of juries, are against the constitutionally guaranteed right to trial by jury found in the Michigan and U.S. constitutions. They don’t have a problem with a jury sentencing someone to death, but a jury is incompetent to assess damages against a corporation that injures a citizen! —James A. O’Toole, Sterling Heights


Pleased with the paper

Just a note to tell you how much I enjoyed the Nov. 23 issue of Metro Times — such splendid articles! Enjoyed “Story time for adults” by Andreas Supanich; was saddened by W. Kim Heron’s tale of woes endured by drummer Roy Brooks; but eminently impressed by Rebecca Mazzei’s take on Jane Austen (“Austen power”).

Normally I pick up Metro Times to check up on Jack Lessenberry’s attacks on conservatives, but Rebecca Mazzei’s finely honed article on Austen surpasses all. —John Matle, Livonia

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