Letters 11-23-2015

Cheering From Petoskey While red-eyed rats boil fanatically up from the ancient sewers of Paris to feast on pools of French blood, at the G20 meeting the farcical pied piper of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue thrusts a bony finger at the president of the Russian Federation and yells: “liberté, égalité, fraternité, Clinton, Kerry--Obamaism!”

The Other Mothers And Fathers Regarding the very nice recent article on “The First Lady of Yoga,” I have taken many classes with Sandy Carden, and I consider her to be a great teacher. However, I feel the article is remiss to not even give acknowledgement to other very important yoga influences in northern Michigan...

Drop The Blue Angels The last time I went to the National Cherry Festival, I picked the wrong day. The Blue Angels were forcing everyone to duck and cover from the earsplitting cacophony overhead...

Real Advice For The Sick In the Nov. 16 article “Flu Fighters,” author Kristi Kates fails to mention the most basic tool in our arsenal during Influenza season... the flu vaccine! I understand you might be afraid of being the victim of Jenny McCarthyism, but the science is there...

Keeping Traverse City in the Dark Our environment is our greatest asset. It sustains our lives; it drives our economy. We ignore it at our peril. Northern Michigan Environmental Action Council (NMEAC) has submitted letters of concern to both the city commission and planning commission regarding the proposed 9-story buildings on Pine Street. We have requested an independent environmental assessment with clear answers before a land use permit is granted...

All About Them Another cartoon by Jen Sorensen that brings out the truth! Most of her cartoons are too slanted in a Socialist manner, but when she gets it correct, she hits the nail on the target! “Arizona is the first state to put a 12-month lifetime limit on welfare benefits.” That quote is in the opening panel... 

Unfair To County Employees It appears that the commissioners of Grand Traverse County will seek to remedy a shortfall in the 2016 budget by instituting cuts in expenditures, the most notable the reduction of contributions to various insurance benefits in place for county employees. As one example, the county’s contributions to health insurance premiums will decrease from ten to six percent in 2016. What this means, of course, is that if a county employee wishes to maintain coverage at the current level next year, the employee will have to come up with the difference...

Up, Not Out I would like to congratulate the Traverse City Planning Commission on their decision to approve the River West development. Traverse City will either grow up or grow out. For countless reasons, up is better than out. Or do we enjoy such things as traffic congestion and replacing wooded hillsides with hideous spectacles like the one behind Tom’s West Bay. At least that one is on the edge of town as opposed to in the formerly beautiful rolling meadows of Acme Township...

Lessons In Winning War I am saddened to hear the response of so many of legislators tasked with keeping our country safe. I listen and wonder if they know what “winning” this kind of conflict requires or even means? Did we win in Korea? Did we win in Vietnam? Are we winning in Afghanistan? How is Israel winning against the Palestinians? Will they “take out” Hezbollah...

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Boycott Major League Baseball

George Foster - December 9th, 2004
Like many others growing up in the 1960s, I looked up to my favorite baseball players as heroes. Major Leaguers of that era weren’t perfect, but at least players weren’t drug abusers and the game wasn’t a pipeline of illicit drug trafficking for its star performers.
When Jason Giambi of the New York Yankees allegedly admitted taking steroids to a grand jury today, he lit the fuse that will rock the game of baseball to its foundations. By the time you read this article, we will know more of the details. Public disgust for baseball might then far exceed what I am expressing here. Sports fans or not, we should all be outraged.
The San Francisco Bay Chronicle reported that Giambi told grand jurors how he injected a growth hormone in his stomach, testosterone into his buttocks, rubbed an undetectable steroid knows as “the cream” on his body and placed drops of another, called “the clear,” under his tongue. And his case is just the tip of the iceberg.
A couple of years ago All-Star pitcher Curt Schilling said he stopped patting teammates on the butt after a good play because too many complained. According to Sports Illustrated, Schilling realized some backsides were tender because that’s where they shoot the steroid needles.
Giambi, former win-ner of the American League’s Most Valuable Player award, is said to have purchased his drugs illegally from Barry Bonds’ personal trainer. Yes, that Barry Bonds. The same drug connection also allegedly supplied Olympic gold medal winners Tim Montgomery and Marion Jones. Previously, all have denied ever using anabolic steroids.
Until a few years ago, Barry Bonds was pretty lean as elite baseball players go. Once a 185-pound leadoff batter, Bonds is now a 230-pound hulk. Do you think it is a coincidence that Bonds has had three of the best years consecutively in baseball history since he buffed up?
Barry Bonds is either a freak of nature or major-league’s worst cheat. 40 year-old baseball players like Bonds are usually “has-beens” - if they are playing at all. Not only did Bonds break the all-time homerun record for a season with 73 two years ago, he is hitting the ball farther now than anytime in his career.
If Bonds is busted, what will happen to his hitting records? Probably nothing. Baseball didn’t even have rules against steroids until last year. Yet, if you thought the long baseball strike of ten years ago disabled baseball for a while, the stain from this scandal could squash the sport for a generation. The game many of us loved is now a sport of cheaters and druggies. Some current players estimate that 50% of all major leaguers use steroids. Others say the percentage is much higher.
It is high time for baseball to get out of the pharmacy business and hammer the drug users. The rules against drugs that are in place and the minimal drug testing done in the Major Leagues is not enough. Pete Rose was banned from baseball for gambling on baseball. Using performance-enhancing drugs is far, far worse than anything Rose ever violated in sports.
Why is steroid use so bad, you may be asking? First of all, those who take steroids are cheating. Most sports have rules against performance-enhancing drugs. Steroids provide an uneven playing field tipped against those players who are clean. Also, the most abused steroids are illegal inside and outside of baseball for over-the-counter use.
The physical side effects of steroid use are well known. They include heart attacks and liver damage, acne and baldness, breast development in men, and shrunken testicles. Football legend, Lyle Alzado, claimed steroid use is what caused his brain tumor that eventually killed him.
Maybe the most dangerous side effect of growth enhancement drugs is the one least understood - increased aggression and vio-lence. According to a 1998 article in Sports Illustrated, “roid rage” has contributed to the large number of bodybuilders jailed for killings compared with other athletes. The article was published after Bertil Fox, former Mr. Universe, was convicted of murdering his girlfriend and her mother on the island of St. Kitts.
Major League baseball players are mostly to blame for this scandal, but team owners and the sport itself have contributed. NBA basketball and NFL football have fairly rigorous drug testing and penalties to deter players from using them. Major League Baseball has not been inclined to punish players for steroids, though epidemic use in the league is an open secret.
The solution: two strikes and you are out. Independent testing must be done on a frequent basis. The first time a player is tested positive for outlawed drugs, he should be kicked out of baseball for a year. The second time... find another career, lowlife. You don’t deserve to play America’s formerly great pastime again.
For me - I am boycotting baseball until further notice. No more TV games, no more reading of box scores, and absolutely no more attending games in stadiums littered with these criminals.
The thrill is gone, baby. Until baseball cleans up its act, I want nothing to do with it.

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