Letters to the Editor

Here comes the judge

Jack Lessenberry's jeremiad regarding Michigan's current system of selecting Supreme Court justices ("Let's make a deal," Sept. 1), while perhaps rhetorically satisfying to him, displays a lack of understanding and appreciation of how well the mixed system of appointment and election of judges, and particularly supreme court justices in Michigan, has worked over the years.

While the way in which Justice Davis came to the high court may leave something to be desired, no one has suggested he is not well qualified for the job. A look back at the composition of the high court over the years suggests that rarely has a justice been chosen, whether by election or appointment, who was not qualified. The deep difference displayed in the justices' decision-making comes from their differences in life experience and world outlook.

Lessenberry's way with words is no substitute for judgment. Before he goes any further in his criticism (raising the level of his writing from a jeremiad to a diatribe), he ought to talk to professor Melinda Gann Hall of the Political Science Department at Michigan State University. She is one of the foremost authorities in the country on judicial selection, and particularly the election of judges, and co-author of In Defense of Judicial Elections, an authoritative work on the subject. —Avern Cohn, U.S. District Judge, Eastern District of Michigan, Detroit

We need good dads

How have our leaders allowed the city to fall apart? Jack Lessenberry opines about that (Sept. 8). One can blame this on all of us. I grew up in Detroit — lived there for decades and loved the people. We're responsible for the decline in numbers — and families, for sure.

Waging war on the fractured family may well be the progress we need in Michigan as school starts. We should support marriage and family to keep this foundational institution in America intact. Otherwise, we will continue to see the demise of civility, and, the escalation of violence.

We all need to take the lead beginning with parents at home who are the primary educators of children — as my own Catholic tradition teaches. Students are in school a limited time, and parents are their first supervisors — not friends or pals, as some parents are calling themselves.

While mothers tend to do a better job of bonding with their girls, fathers and sons require time well spent — sons staring in the eyes of their own dads. This means time together.

Much of the modern men's movement fizzled in the mid-'90s and went underground. But only dads and moms will make the most sense for a solution to schoolyard violence, school drop-outs and families breaking apart at even more alarming rates.

While men are encouraged and rewarded for living an outer life, and to perform, beat the other guy, and team, they are taught only to win or lose.

Developing an inner life that entails dealing with suffering and the mysteries of life mentioned above, is off the compass for parents today as a task to teach their sons about suffering. —Lawrence Ventline, Harrison Twp.

Loaded rhetoric

Jack Lessenberry's column "Arts, Beats and Ammo" (Sept. 1) was right on, but the chance for gun control is a waste of time.

These reactionary gun zealots, I believe, are a response to Barack Obama. They are using the same twisted logic as the "birther" movement; no one has even mentioned gun control, but these fools somehow think Obama will take their weapons away. Someone will have to explain to me how they logically came to this conclusion.

I know the right will claim I'm going to play the race card, but how could this reaction be anything but racist?

Seems to me, the Tea Party has a biased element to it. If not — if they are really all about the horrible economic trouble America finds itself in — then where were they during the eight years in which Bush took us from a surplus to the largest debt, up to that time, in U.S. history, a foolish war, corporate cronyism, warrantless wire taps and the PATRIOT Act.

They claim Obama is not following the Constitution. So, with all the shenanigans Bush pulled, why was there no large "grass roots" response then?

If that ain't racist, 'splain it, Lucy! —Mike Moore, Auburn Hills

Parting shot

Catching up on past issues of Metro Times, I just read the fawning cover story on Frontier Ruckus ("Kings of the wild frontier," Aug. 11). Yikes! Suburban sprawl and messy bedrooms never sounded more inspirational. I thought stroke jobs were the province of teen or tween mags writing about Justin Bieber. —Ken Marten, Detroit

Send letters (250 words or less, please) to 733 St. Antoine, Detroit, MI 48226; faxes to 313-961-6598;  e-mail to [email protected]. Please include your telephone number.  We reserve the right to edit for length, clarity and libel.

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