A Better Michigan

A Better Michigan A place for opinion + debate about life, gov't and policies that affect Detroit, MI and U.S. Brought to you by the Editorial Board of Detroit Free Press.
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We're the Editorial Board at the Detroit Free Press. Find staff columns, interviews, chats, guest columns, feedback from our readers and more. Post a comment to share your opinion or tweet us @ABetterMI, and we'll consider publishing your comment or tweet.

Mission: A place for opinion + debate about life, gov't and policies that affect Detroit, MI and U.S.

Operating as usual

08/12/2020
A Better Michigan
11/16/2018

A Better Michigan

A Better Michigan's cover photo
11/16/2018

A Better Michigan's cover photo

Mike Thompson says all America is sweating out Robert Mueller's investigation into Trump. See the rest of my cartoon her...
11/10/2018
Can Robert Mueller save America?

Mike Thompson says all America is sweating out Robert Mueller's investigation into Trump. See the rest of my cartoon here (and please share) http://bit.ly/2DdJ0l7

Special Counsel Robert Mueller is said to be wrapping up his investigation. Could he wrap it up a bit faster, please?

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We're the Editorial Board at the Detroit Free Press. Find staff columns, interviews, chats, guest columns, feedback from our readers and more. Post a comment to share your opinion, send us a letter to the editor at [email protected] or tweet us @FreepOpinion, and we'll consider publishing your comment.

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Arthur Bowman Jr.’s life shined so brightly I commend “Who We Lost,” the Dec. 20 Detroit Free Press cover story about the early victims of the coronavirus epidemic. It put faces on the grim statistics and recounted precious lives tragically lost. In that spirit, I pay tribute to Arthur Bowman Jr., my dear friend. Infected in March, he died May 1. He was 65. It ended a friendship that began in our early teens. An accomplished lawyer of 35 years, Art was a fighter for change. He was an administrative aide to Detroit City Council President and social justice advocate Erma Henderson. He later became a founder of the Juvenile Law Group, an organization dedicated to serving children and their parents in criminal justice issues. Art was compassionate. A family man, Phyllis and Art were married for 40 years. Daughter Airica and son Arthur III are the fruits of their union. Art was a dedicated gardener; so much so, he was a Johnny Appleseed, only with flowers. Never content with his own gardens, he cultivated flowers in public spaces everyone could enjoy. These are the broad strokes of an exceptional human being Detroit was fortunate to call its own, but I knew Art much better. Music defined our relationship. I joined my second band at 16 (sax and occasional vocals). Art, 15, became its drummer. We once opened for Bob Seger and even shared a dressing room with him. We also opened for Al Kooper, a Bob Dylan collaborator in the artist’s controversial transition from acoustic to electric. Kooper also was the founder of the group Blood Sweat and Tears. We once were booked to play a club in Mount Clemens. The owner didn’t like what he heard and cut our power. Then, he pulled a gun and said he wouldn’t pay us. Eventually, we were compensated, thanks to the Pontiac Federation of Musicians. We couldn’t afford the Detroit local’s dues. Our band was called Detroit. Rather presumptuous considering Motown, but we were young and full of beans. Besides, the Motor City also was forging a hard rock reputation led by Seger, the MC5, the Psychedelic Stooges (Iggy Pop) and Ted Nugent. We weren’t them. Ours was a mixture of blues, rock, jazz and soul, but we were loud. So loud that WTVS included us in a feature on noise pollution. And we were ambitious. We tried to interest Barry Kramer in managing us. Kramer founded Creem Magazine, then, the rock journal of record. He also managed Mitch Ryder, formerly of the Detroit Wheels. Kramer wasn’t interested in taking us on, but he really loved our name. So, he gave it to Ryder’s new group. I won’t speak of the replacement name that followed. Let’s just say it wasn’t us. When the nation erupted in anti-war demonstrations in response to President Nixon’s May 1970 Cambodia invasion, Art and I left Cooley High School to join a Cass Avenue march that started from Wayne State University. Later, we, two other band members and another friend were arrested. Art, still a minor, wasn’t charged. I was tried and acquitted and the rest saw their charges dropped. When I graduated from Cooley in January 1972, I decided to hitch-hike to Toronto. Didn’t know a soul there, but I heard the Yonge and Bloor district was like San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury once was. You didn’t need money and you would be given a place to stay. Art and I made the trip together. You might think black teens hitching on Canada’s 401 had no chance of getting rides. Quite the contrary. We reached Toronto in about the same time it took to drive or to take a train. The only problem was our last ride left us a few miles from the city ___ in a blizzard. Even that wasn’t a problem. The storm earned us sympathy and we reached Yonge and Bloor in no time. We stayed at a youth hostel the first night and at a college the second. We had a great time. We left during another snowstorm but still got home in decent time ___ and our new friends gave us more clothing to keep us warm. The years passed and we took different paths. Art followed a career in law. I became a journalist. What didn’t change was Art’s generosity. One selflessness act comes to mind, one I’ll never forget. Some years ago, Art's friend, Reggie Carter, was stricken with kidney disease. Art gave him one of his. He did so despite the objections of his wife and son. He even had to talk Reggie into undergoing the procedure. Art donated his kidney because he knew it was the right thing to do. "I just wish that other people would take the 'love thy neighbor as thyself' instruction from the Bible as seriously as I do," he told the Detroit Metro Times. "It is more than a notion by a long shot. If you love somebody that needs a kidney, and you're blessed with good health, you ought to consider it." When I moved to Port Huron by 1988, our contact diminished. We drifted, mainly because the demands of my journalism career, marriage and the two daughters who came with the union made it less and less possible for me to keep in touch. After my divorce and retirement in 2015, I reversed that. Regrettably, I no longer had Art’s phone number or email address. So, the next time I visited Detroit, I stopped by his home. He wasn’t there, so, I left a note. I’m grateful we renewed our friendship. It probably was the most important thing we could have done. As it turned out, our time was limited. One of the ways we met was through music. I still like to perform and would sit in with groups at Detroit area blues and jazz clubs. Art often met me at these events. Art hadn’t played his drums for at least 20 years, but he started playing them at his church. I like to think I had something to do with that. It was at one of these meetings that Art told me he had been diagnosed with early stages of pancreatic cancer. Charles, his older brother, died from the disease a year or so earlier. I assured Art he would be in my prayers. The cancer diagnosis was made in February, a month later, he learned he also had COVID-19. About that: Art’s initial test was negative, but probably a false negative. Art and Phyl spent hours at Henry Ford Hospital’s emergency room in Detroit, where the initial test was taken. It was a time when the facility was deluged with COVID-19 patients. No one can say when Art contracted the virus, but it’s safe to assume he was exposed. Phyl was devoted to his care. Despite that, she never contracted the disease. After he was correctly diagnosed, Art spent the rest of his life at Henry Ford West Bloomfield. The quality of care was excellent and the facility was far less crowded, but the safety protocols meant he was treated without the physical support of his family and friends. Art was in our thoughts and our prayers and we reminded him so with our cell phones. Sadly, fighting COVID and cancer proved too great a challenge. May 1, Art was gone. He would have been 66 later that month. At least his last hours in hospice, were spent with his family. More than half a year later, I’m still in mourning. Nevertheless, I’m also celebrating a life well-lived, a life that ended too soon and a best friend I’ll cherish forever. Tom Walker, Port Huron.
We,the American People, need to know who the two top contenders would choose as their running mate. Lets face it, both have one foot in the grave and the other on a banana peel. Both will turn 80 soon and the odds are their choice of V.P. will have to take over during their first term in office.
Regardless of how you feel about disposal of radioactive fracking waste in Michigan landfills, is it a good idea to have 2 lame duck state Senators proposing laws regarding this issue? Or any issue? We know who the will be sworn in when the new term starts in January 2019; why do we wait over 2 months and allow legislators with no accountability to propose and pass ANY laws?
The Detroit News has endorsed Chris Smith for Mi. District 8. Please check him out and consider endorsing him also. He is by far the best candidate. chrissmithformich.com
unlimited access to local news? three whole days of hardcopy news paper.... wow super duper unlimited....errr unless your week consists of seven days..... im going to tell my employer they can have UNIMITED ACCESS to my labor and show up to work three days a week...... freep u suck
Go vote!!
Lisa Suhay's column could not be further from the truth. Muslims believe in the same God of Abraham? The God of Abraham is the God of the bible, and the bible tells us in both the old and new testament that Jesus Christ is God, the second member of the trinity who died on the cross for our sins (which the koran denies). The koran says that Jesus was "just a man who was a prophet, no greater than Abraham or Moses". The same God? Of course not. Jesus is called the Son of God in the bible. The koran says "surely allah has not taken to himself a son". The same God? No it isn't. The koran came from the God of the bible? How could it when it contradicts the bible over and over, not to mention that there are NO prophecies in the koran and it is scientifically, medically and historically inaccurate. And Islam embraces jews and christians? Is that why the koran calls them "the worst of creatures"? It also says "wait in ambush and slay the unbelievers wherever you may find them". There are 109 verses in the koran that say if you can't convert someone to islam you are to kill them and do it by beheading. Lisa Suhay is either unaware of what the koran actually teaches or she just blatantly lied.
I really appreciate your editorial this Sunday about how important our federal and state regulations are in protecting our disadvantaged, our environment and our freedom, and holding in check the monied powers of the ultra rich and their libratarian interests
As usual i see in the free press Chris de witt, is all up in arms about leagalizing marjunia,claiming he is backing a group, but won't say who! This clown should be thrown out, and any other person who refuses to say who they represent...If i recall in the past it was people like him who screamed bloody murder about legalizing alcohol sales on sunday, claiming people would be stumbling around drunk, and no one would be going to church any more on Sundays! Then the same thing happened when the state decided to have concealed weapons, Out came the Cry Babies, claiming our streets will turn into the O K Coral, I ask is these people ever satisfied, and do they ever quit complaining? Mr. De witt i ask, who is paying you to complain?