Letters 11-28-2016

Trump should avoid self-dealing President-elect Donald Trump plans to turn over running of The Trump Organization to his children, who are also involved in the transition and will probably be informal advisers during his administration. This is not a “blind trust.” In this scenario Trump and family could make decisions based on what’s best for them rather than what’s best for the country...

Trump the change we need?  I have had a couple of weeks to digest the results of this election and reflect. There is no way the selection of Trump as POTUS could ever come close to being normal. It is not normal to have a president-elect settle a fraud case for millions a couple of months before the inauguration. It is not normal to have racists considered for cabinet posts. It is not normal for a president-elect tweet outrageous comments on his Twitter feed to respond to supposed insults at all hours of the early morning...

Health care system should benefit all It is no secret that the health insurance situation in our country is controversial. Some say the Affordable Care Act is “the most terrible thing that has happened to our country in years”; others are thrilled that, “for the first time in years I can get and afford health insurance.” Those who have not been closely involved in the medical field cannot be expected to understand how precarious the previous medical insurance structure was...

Christmas tradition needs change The Christmas light we need most is the divine, and to receive it we do not need electricity, probably only prayers and good deeds. But not everyone has this understanding, as we see in the energy waste that follows with the Christmas decorations...


A story in last week’s edition about parasailing businesses on East Grand Traverse Bay mistakenly described Grand Traverse Parasail as a business that is affiliated with the ParkShore Resort. It operates from a beach club two doors down from the resort. The story also should have noted that prior to the filing of a civil lawsuit in federal court by Saburi Boyer and Traverse Bay Parasail against Bryan Punturo and the ParkShore Resort, a similar lawsuit was dismissed from 13th Circuit Court in Traverse City upon a motion from the defendant’s attorney. Express regrets the error and omission.

A story in last week’s edition about The Fillmore restaurant in Manistee misstated Jacob Slonecki’s job at Arcadia Bluffs Golf Course. He was a cook. Express regrets the error.

Home · Articles · News · Letters · Letters 2/12/04
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Letters 2/12/04

Various - February 12th, 2004
Kill your television

So, CBS would not allow MoveOn.org to buy air time during the Super Bowl to help expose some of the BU$H Administration’s deceptions, but they would allow Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake to bump and grind their way through a tacky halftime song-and-dance number which resulted in the exposure of one of Jackson’s breasts. Interesting.
Whether or not that display was part of the choreography doesn’t really matter much. What does matter is the message that simulated sex and gratuitous breast-grabbing is completely fine “entertainment.” People ask me why I killed my television in 1992 -- I would encourage more to do the same, starting now.
Matt McCormick
• TC

Israel’s apartheid wall

Israel continues to erect a barrier wall in the West Bank. The barrier wall is a 440 mile complex of trenches, fences, concrete walls, razor wire and electronic sensors. It does not always follow the 1967 border between Israel and the West Bank, but often dips deep into Palestinian territory. On January 15, 15 Roman Catholic bishops from Europe and the Americas issued this press release after visiting the Holy Land: “We have seen the devastating effect of the wall currently being built through the land and homes of Palestinian communities. This appears to be a permanent structure, dividing families, isolating them from their farmland and their livelihoods, and cutting off religious institutions.“
The International Court of Justice at the Hague has scheduled a hearing for February 23 on the legality of the barrier wall. The International Court of Justice (ICJ) only has the authority to render an Advisory Opinion. Despite this limitation, Israel and the United States have rallied opposition to the ICJ hearing the case citing this is a “political“ rather than “legal“ dispute. Does not international law apply to Israel?
On February 2, Israel requested that the U.S. State Department postpone its annual report on human rights abuses around the world for fear it could be used by the International Court of Justice against the barrier wall the Israelis are building. Does the U.S. State Department take orders from Israel?
Seemingly every day Israel and the United States lectures the Palestinians that they must stop the use of violence and reign in “terrorism.“ A public and legal forum is now available to discuss the Palestinians‘ complaints as to this one issue: “Yes“ the barrier wall violates international law or “no“ it does not. How much longer can Israel and our government deny the Palestinians a right to have a forum for their grievances? Time is of the essence.

Marian Kromkowski • TC

A derivative letter

Where did Neil W. Ahrens MFA get the idea that the Petoskey Contemporary Arts Group is trying to usurp New York City as art center of the world? (Re: Letters 2/5.)
And what is his bit about derivative art?
Besides, the constant obsessive push to come up with the newest, most innovative art, kind of ran out of steam, became derivative in itself, when wealthy art-ignorant super shoppers wrecked the visual arts by making innovation in art a currency in itself as opposed to basing its value on matters of transformation and vision. Anyway, calling someone else‘s art derivative is kind of.... well... derivative.
What are the Petoskey Contemporary Arts Group members trying to do? You‘d probably have to ask each one of them... but the fact is they seem to be enjoying themselves, are productive and creative, even if derivative by Ahrens‘ definition, and have found a venue outside of the Crooked Tree that works for what they are trying to accomplish in their art. And they have created a community of artists to spark and share ideas. Whether Neil Ahrens MFA agrees with their reasons or not, the Contemporary Arts Group did not find those things at CTAC.
Where is it written that all artists in the Little Traverse Bay area MUST patronize and submit to only one arts venue and its ideas? Who does that idea of community arts serve? Apparently it has not served the artists who have been involved with Petoskey Contemporary Arts Group, and I for one believe the community is richer for what they have done, derivative or not.
Besides, all the greatest art is just derivation refined; great artists have no problem admitting this.
Also, Gov. Granholm did not invent the concept of “cool cities.“ The concept is based on some fairly well-accepted, wide-ranging contemporary studies, documentation and statistical analysis of what makes one city an Ann Arbor or a Seattle, and another city a Grand Rapids or a Tulsa.
Bob Vance • Petoskey

Take it slow, Stupak

Bart, put your paint ball gun back into its holster and slowly back away from the Northern Michigan Hospital.
Congressman Stupak-comrade! You are not General Zhukov leading the Red armies counter-attack against elements of the German army to liberate Leningrad, nor can we be expected to believe that $22 plus dollar an hour health care workers who are fighting valiantly for their right to be represented by a union are analogous to the shattered human remnant which struggled for life inside that besieged city. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Congressman, if you somehow imagine that the voters in this region are going to forgive Mr. Hoffa, Governor Granholm and you if you are able to wield the considerable power of your offices to block all or part of the $44 million Northern Michigan Hospital receives in Medicare funds and/or pull licenses the hospital needs to provide the best possible health care to “our“ community, you sir, are sadly mistaken.
Congressman, the heretofore benign propaganda campaign waged by you and the governor is understandable and appropriate. But when you threaten a serious funding cut at NMH in an attempt to break the resolve of the hospital‘s administration and board of trustees (via a highly placed blackmail scheme), that becomes a PERSONAL THREAT leveled by you against your constituents that seriously endangers the well-being of each and every one of us.
Consequently, General Zhukov back off or come the first Tuesday in November you may be exiled to Menominee, Michigan.

Steve A. Redder • Petoskey

Selective outrage

By now everyone has heard of the stunt pulled by Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake during half-time at the Super Bowl. The reactions of moral outrage are pouring in from a variety of places, many of them unexpected.
It is with a great sense of irony that those making the charge of indecency based upon monetary gain are themselves under suspicion for doing exactly the same thing, although in a completely different context. Michael Powell, chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, recently promoted a set of rules regarding media ownership in this country. These rules relaxed antitrust provisions designed to ensure that the American public obtain a diversity of views and that media conglomerates don‘t monopolize local television, radio and newspaper outlets. These rules were so controversial that even conservative Republican members of Congress passed legislation against it under threat of veto by President Bush who supports monopoly corporate control over news outlets.
This very same gentleman, Michael Powell now takes it upon himself to persuade other members of the FCC to launch an investigation into Janet and Justin‘s antics at the Superbowl. He was quoted as saying that he found their whole performance morally offensive, not just the incident in question. Other than being the son of Colin Powell, our present Secretary Of State, and other than being an effective spokesperson for large corporate media interests, what other qualifications does Michael Powell have regarding issues of indecency? Does not the moral concept of indecency go beyond the sexual and embrace other aspects of our lives?
Should not the self-professing Christian practice morality in all areas, including their business relationships? I recently had an interesting conversation with a gentleman whom I was chatting with in a restaurant. He made frequent references to his strong belief in Christianity and yet upon further discussion he stated that he didnt feel such moral laws applied to either business or politics. In those realms anything goes, yet he felt comfortable about his Christianity simply because he was faithful to his wife and family.
One of the more galling examples of hypocrisy comes from movie director Spike Lee, who was quoted as saying that Janet Jackson sold her soul. His exact quote was, “It‘s getting crazy, and it‘s all down to money and fame.” This is a curious criticism coming from a gentleman who years ago produced a film called “Do the Right Thing,” which was full of racial provocation and many would say incitement to violence.
Indecency like morality and beauty are in the eye of the beholder. Most of us have some religious heritage that emphasizes the Judaeo-Christian ethic. We don‘t agree on all issues concerning ethics and morality in general. Yet, surely fair-minded people can recognize hypocrisy when they see it. Surely the person who says that anything goes regarding business practices and yet condemns sexual indecency cannot be considered morally consistent.
Jesus was quoted as saying to the Pharisees that, “You choke on a gnat and swallow a camel.” We seem to be doing just that regarding this incident at halftime during the recent Super Bowl. In no way do I condone the behavior of Janet Jackson or Justin Timberlake. They deserve to be censured and perhaps fined. But in a society which is riddled with pornography of all varieties, in a society in which corporate crimes go largely unpunished with consequences far more severe than public indecency, our moral outrage shouldn‘t be so selective.

Brian Morgan • Gaylord

Cowtowing to special interests

There‘s a bittersweet irony to the mad cow crisis. A year or two ago the meat packing industry paid off congressmen to vote against a law that would ban the use of downer cows for human consumption. The lobbyists persuaded the congressmen to adopt their own letter supporting the slaughter of downer cattle. The bill was narrowly defeated. The meat packers‘ triumph has now turned into a monster with the appearance of mad cow disease in the food supply. Previously determined to profit from about 20,000 downer cattle, now the meat industry is faced with a boycott by 30 countries and millions of dollars in undeliverable meat.
Is no one embarrassed here? The meat packers for being greedy? The Congress for being bought by lobbyists? Or for letting special interest groups like the drug industry and HMOs write laws in their favor? Why isn‘t the public enraged that lobbyists buy votes and congressmen reward wealthy constituents by cowtowing to their special interests?

Harley Sachs • Houghton

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