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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Why I Love the Dixie Chicks

George Foster - June 1st, 2006
It has nothing to do with spring fever. Also, I have heard enough of the Dixie Chicks to know that these country stars must be talented musicians, but I can’t name one song they have recorded. All three women are easy on the eyes, but good looks alone will never be enough to capture my heart.
I know what you might be thinking, but my affection for them has nothing to do with their famous dislike for President Bush’s policies. I love the Dixie Chicks because they are not afraid to take a stand, whether or not others agree with it.
The Chicks could have just kept their mouths shut and continued to rake in millions of dollars as the hottest country act in the U.S. Instead, before the 2003 Iraq invasion, lead singer Natalie Maines expressed her shame that the President is from her home state of Texas.
Well, recently the Dixie Chicks had a new CD come out that has earned critical acclaim - and the controversy has bubbled-up all over again. The fall-out from those comments continue to result in sagging record sales, boycotting of their concerts by former fans, the elimination of the Dixie Chicks from play lists of many of the nation’s country radio stations, and even death threats to the musicians. The Dixie Chicks have paid a big, big price for exercising their First Amendment right of freedom of speech.
Several years ago, Rick Coates interviewed legendary Detroit rocker Ted Nugent for a Northern Express cover story. You may not agree with all of Nugent’s powerful convictions, but they deserve our respect. Whether Nugent is supporting hunters’ rights, promoting drug and alcohol-free lifestyles, or arguing against the “tax-and-spend welfare state,” everyone knows where he stands.
The political talk-show hosts and other media types who rant about how famous persons should “just shut up” and do their jobs are envious that the Dixie Chicks, Ted Nugent, and other celebs often have their opinions publicized. I say, “Bill O’Reilly - you shut up. Don Imus, you put a lid on it. “Northern Express columnists, you, most of all, should shut up once in awhile.”
Who has more credibility on an issue such as illegal immigration or the Iraq War - Rush Limbaugh or Al Franken who get paid to express an opinion (usually predictable) during regular programming - or a celebrity who has nothing to gain and a lucrative career to lose if he or she alienates enough people?
Let’s make one thing clear, though, no actor or musician’s opinion should have any more or less influence over the direction of our country than yours or mine - and it doesn’t. Only a person with a peabrain would have run out and demonstrated against the war in Viet Nam because that is what Jane Fonda did.
Those who say our troops and military operations are undercut by the dissent of famous Americans at home have got to be kidding. Do you really think soldiers are inclined to lay down their arms and give up because Susan Sarandon doesn’t agree with the administration’s policies in Iraq? Conversely, will our troops get fired up and do a better job in a battle zone if discovering that someone like Bruce Willis supports the President’s strategy in the Middle East?
Three years later, the Dixie Chicks have not been forgiven by many Americans. Don’t forget, they slammed Bush a couple of weeks before the invasion of Iraq when a solid majority of Americans supported Bush’s policies. It doesn’t take much backbone to criticize a beleaguered president with ratings in the gutter - instead, the Chicks’ criticism took on the majority view at the time when the idea of an Iraq War was popular.
It is because of their outspokenness that the Dixie Chicks and Ted Nugent are among the most patriotic of Americans. What we need are more Americans to stand up and speak their minds, not less. If more of us were passionate about issues that affect our country and respected the opinions of others - even celebrities - a majority of Americans might then care enough to at least vote on Election Day.
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