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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On our own in New Orleans and beyond

George Foster - September 15th, 2005
Images of hurricane victims fighting for their lives in rising waters of the Gulf Coast, while looters rape the cities, will not soon be forgotten - if ever.
But what did you expect? The Lone Ranger riding into downtown New Orleans to save the good guys from the bad? Superman using his super-breath to dry up the flood-waters before carrying the victims to safety?
There is no denying that Hurricane Katrina was one of the worst natural disasters in American history. The refugees of Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama who lost everything: their homes, possessions, and jobs - happened to be the lucky ones.
Unfortunately, many victims stranded by Hurricane Katrina and waiting for rescue by EMS, Homeland Security, FEMA, or National Guard troops are gone. Tens of thousands stranded in the hurricane’s wake may have already died.
Before you join the mob and start the finger-pointing blame-game at federal, state, or local government officials - quick... think of a major crisis when any level of government rescued a significant number of people with prompt and thoughtful action.
If September 11, 2001 comes to mind as an example of swift government intervention, you are suffering from acute memory loss, my friend. Communication problems within the NYPD and NYFD cost many lives that could have been saved on 9/11. The most critical problem of all was that no one seemed to be in charge for days after the attacks.
The former chairmen of the independent 9/11 Commission are now saying these same mistakes were made during Hurricane Katrina that plagued our relief efforts for 9/11, only worse. Former federal terrorism official Richard Clark could have been referring to Hurricane Katrina when he addressed the 9/11 victims, “Your government failed you, those entrusted with protecting you failed you, and I failed you.”
Though we are paying hundreds of billions in taxes to fund Homeland Security, the Defense Department, and FEMA, first responder heroes in the Gulf Coast were unlikely rescuers such as Sean Penn, Geraldo Rivera, and the Canadian Mounties. How were these parties able to enter disaster areas and save lives before official government relief was well underway? The absence of a major disaster effort until almost five days after the hurricane struck the Gulf Coast underscores each individual American’s responsibility for their loved ones’ well-being. We have been put on notice once again - so don’t blame the police, the governor, or the president the next time we suffer a major disaster. You and I are on our own, buddy.
Speaking of Homeland Security, what good was this over-hyped new federal department during the hurricane crisis? Just as many feared - it was one more bureaucratic hoop to jump through before relief could be given to the victims. Let’s save the $50 billion spent on Homeland Security and get rid of bureaucrats that only get in the way. We don’t need more red tape - traditional agencies such as FEMA, the FBI, and CIA have to perform better, much better. These agencies do some good work, just don’t count on it.
By the way, can you believe New Orleans officials are threatening to bodily remove locals who want to stay home? It is bad enough not to show up while the neighborhood is drowning, but for government officials to kick New Orleans residents out of their homes when they finally arrive seems like an outrageous irony.
After what these victims have experienced, I couldn’t blame anyone for hunkering down in their home while stockpiling guns, water, and provisions. I would also recommend the use of a couple of good guard dogs similar to mine.
The idea isn’t to hurt anyone, just to send the message - I am not counting on Uncle Sam or anyone else to save me. Ultimately, only I can take responsibility for me.

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