Letters to the Editor

Jun 23, 2010 at 12:00 am

Sin-tax errors

Re: "Tax the brewskis" (June 16), oh, my good golly, was I pissed when I saw Jack Lessenberry's latest mind fart. I slammed the motherfucking paper down on the counter when I saw that headline.

First of all, Jack may be cool with the forced interaction that is taxation, but not everybody else is. There are people in America and Michigan who believe that people should only interact for mutual benefit, and with consent.

Then there are the practical implications. As Jack mentions in his article, Michigan has its economic foundations in industry. Some of the few solid areas left are tourism and entertainment.

Raising the beer tax is going to make Michigan less appealing to visitors from out of state, and even make suburbanites less inclined to spend money in Detroit's venues.

Jack's quest to find new and inventive ways to plunder the product of individuals' labor is not going to help Michigan or its citizens. I wish he would turn his attention to making people stronger rather than making the state strong. —Dan Keizer, Eastpointe

Pour it on

I read Jack Lessenberry's article on beer taxes with interest and must say he has "hit the nail on the head" about raising the tax on beer. Raising the tax by 10 cents isn't going to put anyone in the poor house. As Jack wrote, "Beer is not a necessity." And while beer is being taxed, why not raise the taxes on alcohol and cigarettes. They are not necessities either. And there may be enough money raised to balance the state's budget! —Thomas A. Wilson Jr., Detroit 

Fair on Thomas

It was glad to see you not jumping on the bandwagon with your article on Helen Thomas ("Thomas' bombshell," June 9). She said something rude on camera and now it is time for everyone in the country to prove the negative and distance themselves from her as far as possible. Now that she's a media pariah, everyone is rushing to cover up and bury any evidence that they ever gave her the thumbs-up for anything. They're not fooling anyone. This isn't about Helen Thomas being anti-Semitic; this is about people thinking that they are too by association. It's like watching children freak out over cooties.

Even more depressing is that we all know that Murdoch's talking puppets spew thinly veiled hate talk as if their careers depended on making some kind of hate quota (and they probably do). Had anyone on Fox said something along those lines about Mexicans, Afro-Americans or Arabs, no one would bat an eyelash. It's not only expected of them, it's practically in their job descriptions. Do they bash Jews too? Not on camera, but, let's face it: That is just a matter of political convenience, not act of love. To the far right, Israel is just a matter of "the enemy of my enemy is my friend" — every "jihadist" Israel puts down first is one less threatening the United States. 

So how come what is OK for the right isn't OK for the left? Well, obviously, because the left holds itself to a different moral standard, one that preaches equality, tolerance and understanding instead of shooting, bombing and stabbing. For the left, being associated with hate talk is a far more serious faux pas than for someone on the right. So far so good, but there is another angle that I believe is sadly missing from this Helen Thomas scandal.

Specifically, the First Amendment. The left are supposed to be the big defenders of freedom of speech, no matter what the circumstances. Let me repeat that: No matter what the circumstances. That same First Amendment that let Martin Luther King Jr. do his "I have a dream" speech is the same First Amendment that lets the Ku Klux Klan hold public rallies. You have to take the bad with the good — that's how the First Amendment works. Most of the time the left solemnly acknowledges this, but, apparently, the ghost of Joseph McCarthy has risen again — and his new scheme to destroy the left is apparently to choke it to death on its own sense of political correctness. Watch as they grovel for forgiveness before the camera audience for the crime of having once had tea with Helen Thomas. I mean, what happened, did their balls drop off?

It's nice to see, then, someone actually mentioning the whole story — that she had a long and prestigious career, and that being of Lebanese decent might have helped shape her opinions in a way not congruent with the rest of mainstream America. And most of all, let us not forget that there is something that should be far more important in the hearts of the left than simply being PC and covering their butts by jumping on the anti-Thomas bandwagon — that everyone is entitled to their own opinion, even if we don't like it.

I disagree with what Helen Thomas had to say, but I'll defend to the death her right to say it. —Von Neely, Hamtramck

Erratum: In "Blinded by the arts" (June 16), we credited Christine Bossler with the benches in southwest Detroit. Bossler did work on the benches as an assistant, but Mary Laredo Herbeck was the grant recipient, designer and lead project coordinator.

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