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Editorials and columns

Trump, Congress need to examine defense budget for waste first

President Donald Trump wants to boost defense spending by $54 billion a year. He is right to point out the armed forces need better equipment. But before shoveling that much money into the military-industrial-political complex, Trump and Congress ought to mount a surprise attack on defense ...

The journey of a native son

It goes so fast. They come, change your life, then they’re gone. My Father said his job was to teach me to walk, then walk away. As often happens a son follows his father’s parenting philosophy. I did. I think the old man would be pleased with the results. Both my sons were able to ...

It’s time the county creates a written plan for the Dark Sky Park

We have to commend the new Emmet County Board of Commissioners for holding county officials' feet to the fire concerning the Headlands International Dark Sky Park near Mackinaw City. The park, in northern Emmet County, has long been criticized by this newspaper's editorial board for its cost ...

Gang of 12 may hold all the power

Playing the legislative game is a lot like baseball. At the end you count the number of runs scored or the number of votes cast and you can determine the winner. In the Michigan House 55 votes is the magic number to pass legislation. Since Republicans have 63 votes and the Democrats 47, as ...

Congress needs to support Trump’s outline for health care reform

Implacable critics of President Donald Trump dismissed his Tuesday speech to Congress as full of platitudes and short on substance. One can only wonder whether they dozed off during much of the address. Trump offered a variety of policy prescriptions during the presentation. One of them ...

On Trump’s speech, MSP cracking down and the Tigers

Come Heller high water … ∫ Whoa, whoa, whoa, just because Trump ratcheted down the hate a bit doesn't mean his State of the Union was presidential, hopeful or optimistic, as some are saying. It was none of those things. What I heard was a guy grossly overstating the nation's problems — ...

Hats off to those we trust to keep us safe

You might think that because we've had such a mild winter in Northeast Michigan, everyone might have had one eye on the coming spring when Wednesday's storm hit despite the warnings. And who could blame them. However, those we trust with our safety and those we trust with the safety of our ...

The problems from Obamacare need to be confronted

You have to give former President Barack Obama credit for one thing: He and those in Congress who aided and abetted him did everything in their power to ensure Obamacare’s most glaring flaws could never be eliminated. They did so by crafting perhaps the most massive income transfer in ...

Aristotle and developing good habits

Aristotle is credited with the following quote, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” Someone who knows I am a quote person read this to me recently. A side note: when she first read it to me, I thought she said a quote by “Eric Stottle.” I had no ...

Untouchable line items

Government budget writers often point to fixed costs as one reason they cannot reduce spending. To an extent, they have a point. Here in West Virginia, there are several examples of untouchable line items in the budget. Funding for the state-federal Medicaid program cannot be reduced easily, ...

Alpena is appealing, rich

It is not universally understood that although we are born of the environment, we live in a man-made world. We’ve come a long way as a human population with our scientific discoveries, technological advancements, and inventions (many of which, I would not want to live without). Even Alpena ...

Leonard’s target after rollback failure

Newly installed Speaker Tom Leonard is taking some political hits for his handling of the failed income tax rollback legislation. To be sure the outward optics of his performance did not look very appealing. First of all he needed 55 votes and got 52. Next he lost 12 members of his own caucus ...

Messages might lost with too many protests

Protests are a wonderful expression of free speech that always have been part of our country’s fabric. And like all forms of speech and communication, a protest’s effectiveness depends on who is its target audience, and how the message is being shared. Such is the finding of two ...

His success has its roots in politics

One wouldn’t necessarily think the world of politics has much to do with selling furniture. If you would have asked Alpena native Joe Gammons that question years ago he would have agreed. Not so today. “Politics actually provided a great foundation,” Gammons said of his training for ...

Not disappointed by mild winter

Come Heller high water … ∫ Saying goodbye to this bizarre and wonderful spate of warm February weather is like saying goodbye to your grown-up kids going back to college and jobs after visiting. "Bye! We'll miss you! Come back soon! Are you sure you can't stay? You don't come home often ...

O’Connor a good choice for Alcona superintendent

Dan O’Connor is a great selection to become Alcona Community Schools’ new superintendent once Shawn Thornton retires March 1. Meeting earlier this week in special session, the board of education agreed as well, voting 6-1 to place O’Connor into that role. Steve Yokom cast the ...

McMaster a good choice for new national security adviser

Army Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster, named by President Donald Trump to be his new national security adviser, has been described as “a prominent military strategist known as a creative thinker.” That is precisely what the nation needs. McMaster replaces Gen. Mike Flynn, who lost his job ...

State police ‘STOP’ hood sign

As troopers, we always get the question, “What is the story with the “STOP” placard on the hood of the Michigan State Police cars?” Many people question how practical the sign really is and wonder what we even use the sign for. I can honestly say this is one of my favorite ...

Case highlights another gov’t overreach

Former President Barack Obama is infamous for his claim that, “If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that.” He might well have added, “and we in Washington will be more than happy to tear it down.” Obama was attempting to give government the credit for America’s free ...

Trump needs to have a better relationship with vice president

Several presidents have treated their vice presidents notoriously and sometimes irresponsibly badly. The late President Harry Truman knew all about that. When he took office upon the death of Franklin D. Roosevelt, he had to be told about the atomic bomb. Roosevelt had kept him in the ...