Letters to the Editor

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Gag work

Re: "You don't know Dick" (Metro Times, Oct. 4), I got about this far into your article before getting sleepy and woke myself up with a laugh:

"Using donations from private foundations they control, as well as personal contributions and money kicked in from their companies, these people have been funding conservative think tanks, activist groups and fundamentalist Christian organizations in an attempt to direct America's political mainstream further and further to the right.

"It is an effort that's been undeniably triumphant, according to the nonprofit National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy (NCRP). In a 2004 report titled 'Axis of Ideology,' the group noted: 'The success of these organizations is not something that NCRP or its members would necessarily celebrate. But the manner in which foundations on the right support, fund, and relate to their grantees is certainly to be admired. With resources that pale in comparison to centrist and liberal foundations, conservative funders have supported public policies that now impact the entire nation.'"

Ha ha ha! That's rich! Not only do liberals do the exact same thing (ever hear of George Soros? HAHAHAHAH!), but what do you think the NCRP is? Ha ha ha ha! Thanks for the lunchtime laffs. I couldn't finish the article because I was eating but I'm sure it had a lot of other funny stuff. —Ellen Sawyer, Ferndale


Down on DeVos

Out my way, you either love or hate what I used to call the Amway Bobbsey Twins, but to the best of my imperfect recollection I cannot recall a study at such length, albeit interviewing an expert. You kept the annoying journalese to a minimum (e.g. how you chased that last bit of egg yolk around the plate) while humanizing yourself and interviewee.

For instance, very few people in southeast Michigan would have heard of the Acton Institute, launched with black-tie fanfare by the hard-hitting Father Whatsisname, now out of the picture. Nice digs they have in the Waters Building too.

That creationism business with the Associated Press reporter did it, although the big Bible I saw in the Amway lobby 25 years ago would be a good indication, in any case. I am voting for the Empty Skirt. —G.M. Ross, Lowell


Rights' flight

Re: Jack Lessenberry's "What do we do now" (Metro Times, Oct. 4), amen, Jack! This bill may well be the nail in the coffin of our Bill of Rights. By the way, to say that we should be "deeply uneasy" about our own Sen. Debbie Stabenow's support of this constitutional violation is a grave understatement. We should be outraged! According to The New York Times, our other Michigan senator, Carl Levin, said the bill was "as legally abusive of the rights guaranteed in the Constitution as the actions at Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo and the secret prisons were physically abusive of detainees." According to Sen. Patrick Leahy, "Abolishing habeas corpus for anyone who the government thinks might have assisted enemies of the United States is unnecessary and morally wrong. It is a betrayal of the most basic values of freedom for which America stands."

Personally, I will never again send money to Sen. Stabenow, never again knock on doors for her, and most certainly never again vote for her. I have disagreed with Ms. Stabenow several times over the years, but I have always had faith in her to do what was right for the average person. With this vote, she has betrayed and violated the citizens of Michigan. And for what? I have no doubt she will look back on this vote with deep regret. Shame on you, Ms. Stabenow, shame!

And don't worry, Jack, if they come and get you, we'll mount a search and rescue! Have faith! —Katie Reiter, Southfield


Torturous reasoning

I am no fan of Bush and never voted for him, but I hate to disagree with him just for the sake of disagreement, which I suspect Lessenberry loves to do. As far as the policy on detainee torture is concerned, there is really no precedent. We are fighting a "war on terror," which is an ideological war, with global implications, against a nameless, faceless enemy bent on terrorizing us, harming us and killing us in the name of religion. Who is to decide what should be the right level of torture? If we treat them too nicely, we will never get any useful intelligence out of them because they have no incentive to provide it to us. On the other hand, if we treat them too severely, they may provide us with misleading or wrong information just to avoid torture. Either way, it is self-defeating!

The Geneva Conventions cannot help us on the torture issue either because we are waging a global "war on terror," not a war against a tyrannical nation.

Since we are facing an unprecedented issue, we will have to do some out-of-the-box thinking. It's possible that leading fiction writers who specialize in mystery and horror stories can provide us with a better perspective than bureaucrats who can only do linear thinking. —Pradeep Srivastava, Detroit


Springtime for Hitler

I've thoroughly enjoyed your article, however, I would like to add a couple of things to what you said about Adolph Hitler.

First, Randi Rhodes on Air America Radio said on her show that the bill was mostly the same as what the German parliament passed for Adolf Hitler in 1933, giving him the powers that he had (and we all know where that went).

Second, you said that you didn't think that Bush was planning genocide. What do you call the hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqi civilians killed or maimed in the last three and a half years?

Jack, I'm sure I'll be seeing you in Gitmo in a few months. (I think that's the FBI knocking now.) —Philip Brzezinski, Ypsilanti


Agreeing to ... agree!

Re: The Bush administration is a bigger threat to America's freedoms than any terrorists.

I can't believe that I actually agree with the far-left Lessenberry on anything, and that's putting it lightly, but this article sure changed that. —Mark Smith, Clarkston


Erratum: In our review of the Blarney Stone Pub ("Dublin your pleasure," Metro Times, Oct. 4), we should have said that Bo Burton is the general manager, and the son of co-owner Gail Payne.

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