Letters to the Editor

The name’s not James

That was a nice story written about my son, Mike Boulan, and his record label, No Cover Productions (“Burnin’ the blues,” Metro Times, Dec. 28, 2005). I just wish you could have gotten his name right. It is Mike Boulan, not James. Mike eats, sleeps and lives the blues. He has done a lot for the Detroit blues community, so I am sure they knew who you were talking about. —Joyce Boulan, Auburn Hills


Childfree, not anti-child

Ms. Klein: Thank you very much for running an article about childfree people (“Oh, baby,” Metro Times, Dec. 28, 2005). The truth is that I love children — I just don’t want any myself. Yes, I have been told by older men that I was selfish and self-centered to not have children. I found that, without a major income and stability in my life, I wouldn’t want to raise a child, nor would I ever want to be a single parent (for any unforeseen reason). And, yes, I would prefer to date a man with similar opinions. Men with children have so much other baggage — childcare, ex-wife, ex-girlfriend, etc. Having a great relationship would be hard for any man to handle with those obstacles.

There are quite a lot of us out here and someday soon we will be a force in many areas of decision-making in this country. Having a child never made any woman a good mother. I know this from my family.

Thank you again for your honest article. —Gwen Cantrell, Raleigh, N.C.


Refreshingly fair

Dear Ms. Klein: I just wanted to quickly thank you for writing that article you did on the childfree movement. It was a refreshing change to see us discussed as people with a valid lifestyle choice rather than as a group of horrid misanthropes who are out to get kids for simply being kids, or people who are just going through some ridiculous rebellion or phase. I (and I’m sure many other childfree people) really appreciate it. The next time someone tries to demonize me for even considering a vasectomy, I shall have to send this their way. —Jesse Powell, Toronto, Ontario


A capital column

Keith: Thanks for your thoughts on the death penalty (“The questions are dead serious,” Metro Times, Dec. 21, 2005). As a liberal-progressive, I too struggle with the issue. For me it all comes down to my opinion that there are some crimes that so offend any moral standard that only the death penalty will suffice. I believe that society is harmed by not putting those murderers to death, not out of some recidivism argument, but because society demands that they not exist at all. Murder is one of those crimes, but especially the murder of children. I believe that Ronald Bailey (Michigan), Paul Ray Byers (Michigan), Joel Steinberg (New York) and the guy who killed the girl in Florida that he kidnapped at the car wash deserve the death penalty to a greater degree because they killed innocent children.

I could go on, but I wanted to say what a brilliant column you wrote. The problem with pro-libs, as shown by Michael Dukakis during his presidential debate, is that they refuse to consider the death penalty on this level. —Scott Brodie, Saline


Canadian discontent

Dear Jack: I enjoy your work every week, but your effort on the homeless (“Power walking down the year,” Metro Times, Dec. 28, 2005) really struck home, so to speak.

We self-complacent Canadians love to cast aspersions on you Yanks without checking the facts in our own snow-filled backyards. Our world-class city (so we’re told), Toronto, has plenty of homeless persons, and, like Michigan, it’s not entirely the fault of our right-wing provincial government of 1995-2003. Homelessness was rampant before they came to power and continues today.

Very little affordable housing, gentrification, lack of decent-paying jobs all form a part of our own brand. We, too, have the resources to eliminate homelessness, but like you we prefer tax breaks and more for the hard-done-by wealthy, be they individuals or corporations.

Just thought you’d like to know. Happy new year. —Tom Henderson, Windsor, Ontario


Milking terrorism

Mr. Lessenberry: I could not agree more with your recent comment, “The entire ‘terrorist threat’ is the most overblown political tactic in the world” (“God bless us, every one,” Metro Times, Dec. 21). Unfortunately the tactic is overwhelmingly successful.

I do not have the precise date (online archival searches do not go back far enough), but a St. Petersburg Times op-ed piece that ran sometime between 1986 and 1988, spoke to the point that using the “red scare” of communism would no longer be the catchphrase for manipulating the general public through fear with the “cold war” winding down. The op-ed piece said the words “terror” and “terrorist” would be the key words for getting the American public to lay down their lives, bodies and treasure at the altar of the military-industrial complex.

How terribly correct the writer was. —Matthew Evans, Southfield


All-terror TV news

In your “God bless us, every one” column, the second sentence contained the essence of a big part of the terrorist threat problem. CNN and every other communication outlet is eating it up. This represents the cheapest source of news material imaginable. Tsunamis, earthquakes and hurricanes are good for a flash in the pan, but they have no long-lasting news appeal. Besides, they take work to cover.

I strongly feel that the news services should simply quit propagating all stories related to terrorism. —Bernard W. Joseph, Royal Oak


Wiretapping is OK

Mr. Lessenberry: If unapproved surveillance means that we do not have to worry about terrorist attacks, then I have no problem with that. It allows us to have a happy holiday knowing that we have people preventing attacks. What do you have to hide or fear? It is not taking away our freedom to talk to people, to live our lives. It’s taking away the ability for terrorists to inflict their plans on us. They can tap my phones all they want and I bet you most of the country feels the same way. —Chris Winkler, Wyandotte


A welcome crackdown

Thanks for your article on the WCP Nuisance Abatement program (“Abate and switch,” Metro Times, Dec. 28, 2005).

Though the city could always use more Chris Garlands, it is of little use to have concerned citizens when a city government is deaf to their complaints.

I am currently rehabbing a property purchased from the Wayne County Prosecutor, and I can say that their program creates a win-win situation. In my case, the former property owner, who had placed Styrofoam coffee cups under gaping 2-foot holes in the roof, was compensated for his property and I got a fun fix-up project.

WCP also rid my block of four ugly, blighted, collapsing homes, all owned by a babbling insane man who had filled them up with scrap wood and 1970s office furniture. That property owner had thumbed his nose at building codes for decades, and threatened anyone who asked him to clean up the mess.

Had a program like this been around during the Coleman Young years, when the city essentially stopped enforcing building codes, there would be a lot more existing homes and a lot more taxpaying (and responsible) residents. —Allan Barnes, Detroit


When the music’s over

Re: “‘We want the airwaves’,” (Metro Times, Dec. 21, 2005), where were all these protesters when the station (under Caryn Mathes) took down the Saturday programming? I wrote, I fumed, I even spoke directly with Caryn.

Perhaps the station went too far by eliminating all of the daytime music, but, frankly, I am one of many who almost never tuned in, and instead switched over to Michigan Public Radio to get music, news and talk. —David Fukuzawa, Troy


Give Coleman a chance

Re: Local detractors of the format change at WDET would have us believe that they represent the majority of listeners — nice try. The truth is most WDET listeners are not calling for a return to the old format. The majority of listeners are not saying the station’s new general manager, Michael Coleman, must go. The majority of WDET listeners are quiet when it comes to the format change to include more information.

It is sad to see protesters making such incoherent arguments about how popular a former personality is because patrons called in pledges during their show. Listeners pledge when it is convenient. One is not an automatic jazz aficionado because they pledge during Ed Love’s show. Those pledges, as others, are merely a function of time and convenience.

Encouraging listeners to seek refunds of their last contributions, as the detractors are doing, is clearly a move designed to damage, not improve, WDET. That is an action that raises questions about the true motives of the protesters. Before the latest format change, many listeners opted to leave WDET after 9 a.m. and move down the dial to Michigan Public Radio — an affiliate that is able to attract listeners because of its expansive information programming. Now those listeners are staying put at WDET.

Naysayers of the new format refuse to accept the fact that Michael Coleman is no neophyte to public radio. While he may only have been at WDET since August, Coleman has a career in public radio that spans nearly two decades. It is shortsighted for anyone to call for his resignation because they don’t fully understand his role.

Coleman obviously is positioning the station to become more competitive, hence stronger. His music and public radio background means he clearly knows how to create a niche for WDET — one that will distinguish it from other local music stations, the fledgling online music competition and satellite radio.

WDET is back where it belongs and that is a very good thing. Let’s all get behind it to make it the best public radio station in the country. —Glenn Reedus, Rochester Hills


Another perspective

I would like to respond to the letter from David Mackey of Livonia (“Alternate realities,” Letters to the editor, Metro Times, Dec. 14, 2005). Any actual Marine would be able to tell you that the Marine Corps birthday is Nov. 10, 1775, not Nov. 11, as Mr. Mackey states. This is important because of the history that is drummed into you in boot camp, and it is a date no one who has actually gone through it is ever likely to forget.

The military fosters a culture of conservatism (I think many who have never served would find the mix of hyperconservatism and ultraviolence an interesting combination indeed) but, when I was in, there were (and I’m sure there are now) many servicemen and women who vote independently of this culture. After all, they are the ones getting their asses blown off. What we must as a society continue to remember is that our servicemen and servicewomen do not make policy, our leaders do. Those who support this mess are the ones who should be targeted for removal from office in the next elections. Just as The Nation will not support any candidate who supports this war, I will not vote for one either. —Ed Steinberger, Royal Oak


Lay off Carrie

Re: “TV queens or farmbot squall?” (Metro Times, Dec. 7, 2005), we, the people, are lucky enough to be able to choose our American Idol.

It seems that in the last four years we have done a pretty good job given what we’ve had to choose from.

But how fortunate are we to have one that loves her God and church, family and friends, her animals, is book-smart but is well-rounded, and still has what the competition is all about — she can sing! Her beauty is not only skin-deep but goes straight to her soul. What a gamble to risk her career on a song about Jesus!

I’ve noticed it’s the males who fuss about her not being more active on stage. (I wonder why that could be.) —Cindy Cooper, Fort Smith, Ark.


Doesn’t take the cake

I read your article on the Sanders Candy & Dessert Shop in Grosse Pointe Park (Sweet comeback,” Metro Times, Dec. 21, 2005), and I find it interesting that you didn’t come out and say whether or not you liked the product. My wife spoke often of Sanders’ bumpy cakes and how good they were. Since her dad was a Sanders route driver many years ago, he would bring her home these little goodies that she raved about.

We visited the store you wrote about and found that the store was undermanned, small, cramped and poorly laid-out. The bumpy cake I had set my mouthwatering craving for was very disappointing. The cake was dry. The “butter cream” bumps were oily and bland, and the topping was bitter to taste and not the fudge topping I had heard about. I was very disappointed. —Jody Jackett, Berkley


We’d all love to see the plan

Let’s rewrite the corporate charters so that they are responsible to the common good of all living beings and end the corruption that results in the dollarocracy which now threatens the last vestiges of a democacy which never came to complete birth. —Ken Parks, Redford


Nobody’s above the law

How does Mr. Bush think he can get away with doing something like wiretapping, which would land anyone else in jail? He is an American citizen, and still bound by the laws of this nation. —David Shank, Detroit


Errata: A headline and cutline for the story “Burnin’ the blues” (Metro Times, Dec. 28, 2005) should have referred to the owner and founder of No Cover records as Mike Boulon. The title of the label’s first release was rendered inaccurately due to an editing error. That record is titled Get This by James Glass.

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