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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Bird Flu and Intelligent Design

Harley Sachs - October 27th, 2005
By now readers have been exposed to a massive amount of information about the threat of avian flu. Countries all over the world are alert to the risk that the flu that is so catastrophic to birds will make the leap to humans. Already, many people who work with chickens, ducks, and other poultry have caught the disease and an alarming number -- more than 50% -- have died of it.
The fear is that the virus may evolve to a form that passes not only from bird-to-person but from person-to-person.
Researchers who are haunted by the so-called Spanish flu of 1918, which killed more people worldwide than died in the blood bath of World War I, have probed the samples taken from the bodies of dead soldiers in search of the DNA of the now long-gone Spanish flu. They found only bits and pieces until the frozen corpse of an Eskimo woman, preserved in the tundra, yielded a whole sample for study.
The link has been established: the old Spanish flu was derived from a bird flu, similar to the current avian flu, and knowing about that evolution will make it easier to develop a vaccine for this one.
The problem is not only to develop a vaccine that works on the not-yet-evolved human-to-human strain, but to make enough vaccine to protect billions of people.
Aside from the logistics of that huge problem, there’s another aspect that has not been discussed in the media: the evolution of these diseases is proof of Darwin’s work on the origin of species and may be used to debunk the thinly disguised theology of so-called “intelligent design,” previously called Creationism.
The Biblical theology behind so-called “intelligent design” is, according to the Genesis myth of the Hebrew Scriptures, that everything was created about 5000 years ago. If that were true, bird flu would have been created then, too. It would also have been created by an “intelligent designer” (a.k.a. God). The trouble is, following that path takes you into dangerous waters.
In Judeo-Christian theology, in spite of vindictive beginnings in which God brought down a flood to punish humans for their sin, the current view of God is a deity of love and salvation. If the “intelligent designer” implied is God, then why would this love deity create the bird flu?
Surely there are not many worse examples of massive evil than a disease that threatens the entire human population.
Going back a bit, did the “intelligent designer” create the Black Death (Bubonic plague) of the 12th century, the Spanish flu of 1918, and AIDS? Surely a God of love wouldn’t do that indiscriminately. Even a
God of vengeance and punishment would not destroy the innocent as in the tsunami and recent hurricanes.
Supporters of “intelligent design” must surely be hard-pressed to devise some head game logic to get around that one. Stated simply, would Jesus give us the bird flu?
The bird flu is a product of evolution, just as the super rat is descended from the few rats who could eat Warfarin poison and live and the super mosquito could survive DDT. Not everyone who got it died from the Spanish flu and not everyone will die of the bird flu should it evolve as feared.
The risk is that the number of deaths will decimate the culture and civilization. If you doubt that, remember that when Lewis and Clark reached the western Native American tribes they found that whole villages had already been wiped out by foreign diseases such as smallpox and measles carried on the trade routes from Spanish colonies. The Inca and Aztec cultures were wiped out by a deadly combination of disease and missionaries.
An irony of this bird flu panic is that the Swiss company that does have an antiviral drug refuses to release the patent for generic mass production. They’re protecting their profits and to hell with the rest of the world. Typical.

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