Opinion

State diverting funds for poor

Letters to the Editor

To the editor: Over the past 20 years, Michigan has spent roughly a half-billion dollars annually on what it characterizes as welfare. In return, Washington has rewarded the state with an even greater amount — $775 million a year in federal block grants — which, when joined together, are ...

Shirts vs. Skins contest in 2017 Democratic Party

Columns

Back before kids sports — with their pricey equipment, expensive coaches and summer camps — had become a major American industry, American boys, when playing pickup basketball on a neighborhood court, would simply separate themselves into competing teams, the Skins (without their T-shirts) ...

Toward better relations with press

Columns

Before becoming a newspaper columnist I was a broadcast news reporter for local TV stations and occasionally appeared on the NBC radio and television networks. I have some experience at being on the receiving end of hostilities directed at the media. At a pro-Nixon, pro-Vietnam war rally I ...

Bloated military not good for country

Columns

Donald Trump once wanted to cut military spending. Before running for president, he said Congress’ automatic “sequestration” cuts didn’t go far enough, that they were “a very small percentage of the cuts that should be made.” Then he ran for office and said he would “make our ...

Naming of NMU poet laureate good for UP

Columns

Poetry and the Upper Peninsula are intertwined, and that’s a good thing. Marty Achatz, an Ishpeming native, has just been named the U.P.’s third poet laureate, succeeding Andrea Scarpino and Russ Thorburn. Achatz was to give a reading, along with other poets and writers, Tuesday night ...

Races promote youth skiing

Letters to the Editor

To the editor: The 10th annual Barnelopet children’s cross-country ski races were held on Feb. 12 at the Maasto Hiihto Trails in Hancock. Over 40 kids and their families were treated to a fun and breezy day of skiing, treats, and socializing. Thanks to sponsorship by Portage Health ...

Wall Street plowboys get rich working system, not land

Columns

John Steinbeck’s novel “Grapes of Wrath.” Woody Guthrie’s ballad “Deportee.” Edward R. Murrow’s documentary “Harvest of Shame.” Every decade or so, the public is shocked by yet another discovery that migrant farmworkers are being horribly abused by the wealthy masters of the ...

Words about Trayvon, 5 years later

Columns

A few words on the innocence of Trayvon Martin. The very idea will outrage certain people. Experience says the notion of Trayvon Martin being innocent will offend them deeply. But they can get over it. Or not. Because it is five years now since Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin’s unarmed ...

Proposed enviro panels is step in right direction

Editorial

State legislative moves to reestablish a pair of citizen oversight committees to keep an eye on environmental enforcement have a lot of people talking — in and out of the capital. House and Senate Democrats have introduced bills in the respective chambers to set up panels to monitor the ...

Build casino on lodge site

Letters to the Editor

To the editor: I have a suggestion for a solution to the fiscal issues facing Keweenaw County in regards to the Keweenaw Mountain Lodge. Sell the property for a dollar to the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community under the condition that it builds a casino on the acreage of land not currently ...

Has GOP been rebranded as a Trump property?

Columns

WASHINGTON — Last week’s Conservative Political Action Conference, featuring lengthy remarks from President Trump and his chief strategist, Stephen K. Bannon, telegraphed their plans to commit the whole Republican Party to their concept of economic nationalism. Bannon declared that ...

New Rules, Same Old Humans

Columns

On Tuesday morning, less than an hour after U.S. officials deported Guadalupe Olivas Valencia to Mexico, the 45-year-old man leapt to his death from a bridge that connects our two countries. BBC News reported witnesses describing Olivas as distressed and saying he shouted that he did not want ...

MSU must redouble scrutiny of sexual abuse

Editorial

High-brow credentials and impressive titles don’t give anyone the right to inappropriately touch vulnerable young women. Sadly, it appears Michigan State University gymnasts were lulled into trusting an alleged sexual predator because he bore the imprimatur of the college. That makes MSU ...

Global warming in post-truth era

Letters to the Editor

To the editor: I particularly appreciate your willingness to publish articles about the science and economics of climate change. Today we are shocked that, suddenly, we live in an era of “post truth.” We have people who purport to have “alternative facts.” For many years, I have ...

Whatever happened to conservative optimism?

Columns

I had never heard of Milo Yiannopoulos until recently, perhaps because I don’t visit some of the websites where his musings are published. Milo, as he calls himself because of the difficulty some have pronouncing his last name, was disinvited from this week’s Conservative Political Action ...

Press is not the enemy, but …

Columns

Mika Brzezinski, co-host of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” had an unfortunate turn of phrase the other day. She said it’s the mission of the press to “control exactly what people think.” My suspicion is that this was less a Freudian slip than a simple slip-up. Brzezinski was referring to ...

What’s up with sexual assault in Sweden?

Columns

President Donald Trump was more right than wrong about Sweden. Fox News was slightly misleading. As you’ve heard, Trump referred to “(what happened) last night in Sweden.” On Twitter, smug critics circulated lists of anodyne events like concerts and road accidents and accused the ...

Green space makes an area a living place

Editorial

One of the key factors that mobile, professional types often cite in deciding where to live is the amount of publicly available green space that’s in a given area. What is the status of the local parks system? What amenities can be found and where? How about trails, non-motorized and ...

Where are deep thinkers, big ideas?

Columns

WASHINGTON — Remember when conservatism meant deep thinkers and big ideas? Get over it. Today, conservatism means get your Miley (Cyrus) on and show us your tongue, shout Trump to the rafters, if you can pony up the privilege of “free speech,” and young -- very young -- ...

Trumponomics is recipe for failure

Columns

When Donald Trump gave a speech last Friday at Boeing’s factory in North Charleston, S.C., unveiling Boeing’s new 787 Dreamliner, he congratulated Boeing for building the whole plane “right here” in South Carolina. It’s pure fantasy. I’ll let you know why in a moment. Trump also ...