Editorial Roundup: Michigan

Detroit News. September 24, 2022.

Editorial: Congress, leave abortion to the states

Sen. Lindsay Graham’s proposal for a nationwide ban on abortions is not just a political disaster for Republicans, it’s bad policy for the nation.

The South Carolina senator is asking the Democratic-controlled Senate to vote on a bill that would outlaw abortion in every state after 15 weeks into the pregnancy, with exceptions for rape, incest and the life of the mother.

It obviously won’t pass. But it does give Democrats another hammer with which to hit Republican Senate candidates in the midterm elections.

Democrats are already spending the largest amount of their money — $124 million so far — on warning voters that Republicans, if they retake the Senate this fall, will do exactly what Graham is proposing.

Graham’s aim is to put Democrats on record voting against what he sees as a reasonable regulation of abortion. But Democrats aren’t afraid of doing so. A majority of the electorate supports keeping abortion legal. It’s Republican candidates who are walking a tight line on the abortion issue, and most would rather not have the question dominate the campaign conversation.

Graham’s proposal makes it nearly impossible for those Republicans to keep the focus on issues such as inflation, failing schools and rising crime.

Aside from the political blunder, Graham’s proposal flies in the face of the argument Republicans have pressed for decades, that abortion regulation is a state’s rights issue and not under the realm of federal authority.

This summer’s Supreme Court ruling overturning Roe v. Wade gave a boost to that contention.

The court returned abortion lawmaking to the states. And that’s where it belongs.

Graham said last week he doesn’t see abortion as a states’ rights issue, but as one of human rights.

Even if he’s right, it doesn’t give Congress a green light to charge in and attempt to impose a national standard.

As the court said, state legislatures and ballot boxes are the correct venues for making abortion law. Voters in Michigan and several other states will vote in the upcoming election on ballot proposals that will decide the matter. Some states will adopt more restrictive measures, and some will loosen abortion access. That’s precisely the scenario the court envisioned.

The decisions of voters hopefully will reflect the values and will of the people of those states.

Graham’s initiative would again make abortion a federal matter and continue the bitter and divisive battle that has raged since Roe was decided in 1973.

In most states, voters will assure, one way or another, that abortion remains legal.

Graham’s proposal — a ban after 15 weeks with some exceptions — could serve as a model for state Legislatures who are honestly attempting to craft laws to appease the maximum number of their citizens. Polls show strong support for keeping abortion legal in the first trimester, but it falls off for later-term abortions.

Graham should be encouraging state lawmakers to adopt his standard, including those in Michigan, which is hurtling toward passage of a much more permissive ballot measure that could shield abortion from all but the barest regulations.

That’s where resolution of the issue should remain — with the states.

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Traverse City Record-Eagle. September 22, 2022.

Editorial: Working together to heal Great Lakes mistakes

Big fish eat the little ones. It takes a lot of little ones to sustain the king of salmon — the voracious chinook.

In the ‘60s, the thinking was, better those little ones — scads and scads of alewives — end up in the belly of a game fish than stinking up the beaches of Lake Michigan. The salmon, from the Pacific Ocean, would also end up dead in the rivers after the spawn, and there were no guarantees that the planted fish would reproduce on their own.

It was just the beginning of a long, tangled story that in some places, still ended up pretty stinky.

The salmon fishery changed the lakes’ food web again, which was now reliant on the alewives. The alewives eat zooplankton, but further invasive species incursions began squeezing the population from the other side, as zebra and quagga mussels impacted its food supply.

The salmon sport fishery brought terrible territorial battles almost immediately, on scales big and small, from brawling fishermen elbow-to-elbow at the dams, to large-scale mistrust and discord over fishing treaty rights. Port communities battled each for fish stocks as the charter boat fishing industry exploded, and everyone wanted to fill coolers and coffers, and catch, catch, catch.

Predictably, the fat days did not last. Alewife and chinook populations sputtered. And after all the blaming and finger-pointing ran its course, we learned something — that all “Great Lakes experiments” have unintended consequences and that we handle these best when we work together.

Scaling back stocking and restricting catches weren’t popular. Finding ways to cooperate and work together with all parties took time. That the Department of Natural Resources is considering raising chinook stocks speaks volumes about the virtues of cooperative fisheries management, and the recognition that all things connect.

Science and cooperation flowed together in the saltless sea to bring both the big fish and little ones back to a healthy place.

Will we still be circumspect if the fat old days return? We hope so, as the salmon madness might have filled wallets but it broke essential relationships. And those, like fisheries, take time to heal.

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Iron Mountain Daily News. September 22, 2022.

Editorial: Moderation urged for older adults when consuming alcohol

Keep tabs on your alcohol consumption especially if you are getting older, have health issues or take medications, urges the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services and the Michigan Liquor Control Commission.

Aging lowers the body’s tolerance for alcohol and slows the body’s ability to break down alcohol, remaining in a person’s system longer. Older adults generally experience the effects of alcohol more quickly than when they were younger, putting them at higher risk for falls, car crashes and other unintentional injuries that may result from drinking. Older people also have thinner bones than younger people, so their bones break more easily. Studies show that the rate of hip fractures in older adults increases with alcohol use.

Light to moderate alcohol consumption is considered acceptable for healthy adults. The National Institute on Alcohol and Alcoholism advises that people older than age 65 who are healthy and who do not take any medicines have no more than seven drinks a week. The American Diabetes Association guidelines indicate one drink or less a day for women, or two drinks or less a day for men is acceptable.

Heavy drinking can exacerbate certain health problems that are common among older adults, including: diabetes, high blood pressure, congestive heart failure, liver problems, osteoporosis, memory problems and mood disorders. Alcohol increases the amount of estrogen in the body, and for women and particularly postmenopausal women, that has a role in developing hormone-sensitive breast cancer.

For seniors who consume alcohol and take medications, consider these important safety reminders:

— Always ask your health care provider or pharmacist if the medications, whether prescribed or over the counter, that you are taking will interact with certain food and drinks.

— Adhere to warning labels on medicines that caution against consumption of alcohol. The danger is real. Mixing alcohol with certain medications can cause nausea and vomiting, headaches, drowsiness, fainting or loss of coordination. It also can increase the risk for internal bleeding, heart problems and difficulties in breathing.

— Many prescription and over-the-counter medications, as well as herbal remedies, can be dangerous or even deadly when mixed with alcohol. Medications that can interact badly with alcohol include: aspirin, acetaminophen, cold and allergy medicine, cough syrup, sleeping pills and medications for anxiety or depression.

— Be extremely cautious or avoid alcohol altogether when taking beta-blockers (used to treat high blood pressure, congestive heart failure, abnormal heart rhythms and chest pain, or angina; and sometimes used in heart attack patients to prevent future heart attacks). Alcohol can potentially make beta-blockers less effective or increase the risk of side effects.

— Alcohol can also make a medication less effective or even useless, or it may make the medication harmful or toxic to your body.

— Harmful interactions between alcohol and medicines can occur even if they are not taken at the same time.

For older people who choose to drink with permission from their health care provider and are aware of the risks, stay within your limits to help prevent any serious interactions by:

— Taking light beers and drier wines, which are lesser in alcohol content and calories.

— Not consuming sweeter alcohols or drinks which are higher in sugar.

— Mixing a mixed drink with water or sweet drinks with diet soda.

Michigan has the 14th highest percentage of residents aged 65 and older out of all 50 states, according to the U.S. Census Bureau 2019 statistics. That is, 17.5 percent of Michigan’s population is 65 years old or older, with 29.1 residents aged 65 and older for every 100 working-age residents (16-64 years old).

Almost a quarter of Michigan’s population was age 60 or over (more than 2.4 million people) in 2018, and the U.S Census projects that will increase to 2.7 million by 2030. Michiganders age 60 will live for about 23 more years on average, based on calculations by the CDC. Those age 85 and older continue to be the state’s fastest-growing population segment.

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