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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Bigotry and Christmas

George Foster - December 22nd, 2005
December 11, 2005 - Sydney, Australia: A mob of five thousand whites roam the beaches, trains, and shopping malls chanting racist slogans, waving national flags, and assaulting Middle-Easterners. Scores are injured.
On the next day, hundreds of young Arab men drive to Anglo suburbs with cricket (baseball) bats, smashing the windows of neighborhood cars and creating havoc. It is thought to be the worst race riot in Aussie history.
Actually, Australia has a reputation for promoting multiculturalism and diversity. Having just returned from a vacation in Australia, I found the mixed ethnicity of Arab, Asian, Indian, and European refreshing. It is jarring to know that serious hostilities could have occurred where I was frolicking in the sun only a short time ago. The seemingly laid-back, unconcerned Aussies around me have actually been riveted on immigration and minority issues for years.
I wasn’t the only one caught off guard by the racial tension there. Australian Prime Minister John Howard condemned the violence, but said, “I do not accept that there is underlying racism in this country.” Meanwhile, there are many reports of mass text messaging calling for more gatherings of whites to take place soon in Sydney and Brisbane.
One explanation for the bigoted change in Aussie outlook is Australia’s loss of 89 lives in 2002 from the terrorist bombing of a nightclub in Bali by Islamic terrorists. For a country of only 20 million, the effect of the Bali attacks was almost as traumatic as the 9/11 attacks on U.S. soil. Their world has changed, too.
This is just one of several disturbing episodes of racial strife that has exploded recently around the world. Last month Paris was the scene of Arab youths rioting for several weeks. Their beef was with the French government that Arab immigrants see as discriminating against Muslims. On top of everything else, the nutty President of Iran just launched a bombshell when he declared the Jewish Holocaust is a myth.
A growing tension in many modernized countries including the United States over immigration policies and the presence of growing minority groups seems to be fueling a return to past when racial intolerance was the norm. Isn’t it time to grow up, people?
Closer to home, Michigan has one of the highest rates of hate crimes fueled by bigotry in the U.S. and is growing according to the FBI. Statistically, Michigan may also the most segregated state in the Union. No matter - anyone, who targets others because they are different, might as well be holding a sign reading, “I am a bigot with the I.Q. of a child and am a coward to boot.”
Speaking of intolerance, you may have heard about the conspiracy against Christmas by now. According to talk-show host Bill O’Reilly, there are liberal secularists among us whose goal is to eliminate the word Christmas and take Jesus out of the holidays.
Does anyone really care if businesses refer to the holidays in the Christian tradition (Christmas) or attempt to be more inclusive with general terms such as holidays. O’Reilly and others have called for boycotts of businesses if they don’t use the word Christmas in their season’s promotions. Talk about intolerant...
What would Jesus think? I would hate to be Bill O’Reilly if Jesus ever showed up for an interview in the No-spin Zone on the subject of Christmas. When provoked,
the Lord’s rebuke could be swift and powerful. I could easily see Jesus overturning the interview table, ripping the microphone from its jack, and shaking the Christmas Crusader until he came to his senses about politicizing the commercial side of Christmas.
Jesus might tell Bill that Christmas is about giving, not buying. Christmas is about bringing people together, not promoting divisiveness laced with mean-spirited tirades.
Most of all, Jesus would probably say that Christmas is about going out of your way to love all of God’s children, not just Christians.

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