Letters

Letters 05-02-2016

Facts About Trails I would like to correct some misinformation provided in Kristi Kates’ article about the Shore-to-Shore Trail in your April 18 issue. The Shore-to-Shore Trail is not the longest continuous trail in the Lower Peninsula. That honor belongs to the North Country Trail (NCT), which stretches for over 400 miles in the Lower Peninsula. In fact, 100 miles of the NCT is within a 30-minute drive of Traverse City, and is maintained by the Grand Traverse Hiking Club...

North Korea Is Bluffing I eagerly read Jack Segal’s columns and attend his lectures whenever possible. However, I think his April 24th column falls into an all too common trap. He casually refers to a nuclear-armed North Korea when there is no proof whatever that North Korea has any such weapons. Sure, they have set off some underground explosions but so what? Tonga could do that. Every nuclear-armed country on Earth has carried out at least one aboveground test, just to prove they could do it if for no other reason. All we have is North Korea’s word for their supposed capabilities, which is no proof at all...

Double Dipping? In Greg Shy’s recent letter, he indicated that his Social Security benefit was being unfairly reduced simply due to the fact that he worked for the government. Somehow I think something is missing here. As I read it this law is only for those who worked for the government and are getting a pension from us generous taxpayers. Now Greg wants his pension and he also wants a full measure of Social Security benefits even though he did not pay into Social Security...

Critical Thinking Needed Our media gives ample coverage to some presidential candidates calling each other a liar and a sleaze bag. While entertaining to some, this certainly should lower one’s respect for either candidate. This race to the bottom comes as no surprise given their lack of respect for the rigors of critical thinking. The world’s esteemed scientists take great steps to preserve the integrity of their findings. Not only are their findings peer reviewed by fellow experts in their specialty, whenever possible the findings are cross-checked by independent studies...

Home · Articles · News · Random Thoughts · So long, Limbo
. . . .

So long, Limbo

Robert Downes - May 24th, 2007
I was sorry to learn that the Catholic Church got rid of Limbo this spring, because I was planning to stop by there someday on my way to someplace better.
For you nonbelievers, Limbo was a place the Vatican invented hundreds of years ago as a sort of Lost in Space rest stop for folks too innocent to send to Hell, but not quite ready for Heaven.
Unbaptized babies went to Limbo. So did Eskimos, Hottentots and other nice pagan folks from out-of-the-way places who were denied the chance to hear about Jesus Christ by sheer geological barriers. Jews born before Jesus got in too.
Limbo was supposed to have been a pleasant enough place, but not quite the big enchilada that Heaven is cracked up to be.
But this spring, the bigwigs at the Vatican decided that it was all a bit silly and gave Limbo the boot.
So, where will the babies go who haven’t been dished with holy water? The Vatican’s International Theological Commission is cautiously optimistic that there’s hope they’ll got straight to Heaven, though no one knows for sure.
I’m worried. If Limbo is considered too goofy to exist, then what about Purgatory? Heaven? Hell? What will we do with people with unpaid parking tickets if we can’t send them to burn in excruciating pain for billions and trillions and jillions of countless years in the lake of fire dreamed up by the religious “scholars” of the Middle Ages?
Consider Limbo, please.
“The fate of unbaptized babies has confounded Catholic scholars for centuries,” writes Michelle Tsai in a column called “The Explainer.“ “According to church teachings, babies that haven’t been splashed with holy water bear the original sin, which makes them ineligible for joining God in heaven. At the same time, as innocent beings, they surely don’t deserve eternal torment. St. Augustine concluded in the fourth century that the babies must be punished in the fire of hell, but only with the “mildest condemnation” (like maybe only second-degree burns for the wee ones, perhaps). Eight centuries later, Thomas Aquinas thought infant souls wouldn’t go to heaven, but they wouldn’t suffer in the afterlife, either.”
So, presto, although there was nothing in the Bible to indicate its existence, theologians dreamed up Limbo, just like they recently dreamed it off the charts.
Bummer. I was hoping to sneak into Limbo someday to see those millions of babies and dumbfounded New Guinea tribesmen, Aborigines, Incans, Polynesians, ancient Jews and such. Space aliens? Who knows? Now I guess it will be straight on to Purgatory (a halfway house where you get roasted over the coals for a few weeks -- or years -- depending on how bad your shelf life is) and then on to the Pearly Gates.
I’m sure to get into Heaven because as a child, I sprinkled myself with some water, just in case my parents had forgotten to do the baptism thing.

Gas Attack
We‘re living in the last days of the dinosaurs. Everywhere you go in Northern Michigan you see creatures of monstrous proportions: Suburbans, Yukons, Hummers, Mountaineers, Ford 150 Triton V8 pickup trucks...
How can folks afford to keep these behemoths running? I shudder to think as the gas pump rises to stratospheric highs on my Subaru -- like nearly $40 for a tank of go-juice. Gosh, I‘m getting a nose bleed at the pump, stressing out about these prices. Surely it must be far beyond the $100 mark for the big boys straddling those colossal gas-suckers.
Yet last week, there was an article in the Associated Press stating that few Americans seem to be fazed by the fact that gasoline will soon be $4 per gallon. That‘s great news for Northern Michigan, which depends on tourists visiting from hundreds of miles away.
$5 here we come.
According to the AP, most Americans are so locked into their lengthy commutes that they have no choice but to keep paying through the nose. As a result, other industries, such as retail, are hurting because people are buying less to support their gas habit.
It makes you wonder: How was it possible that the price of gasoline dipped down to $1.99 per gallon just prior to the last election and then magically shot up again?
Could it be because we have an oil company executive sitting as president of the United States, with a cabinet full of other former oil company execs like Condoleezza Rice (who had an oil tanker named for her by Chevron) and war profiteers like Dick Cheney (whose stock in Halliburton has gone up 3,281% since the start of the oil war in Iraq)?
Does anyone really believe this bunk being pedalled in the news -- that the reason gas prices are so high is because the world‘s oil refineries simply can‘t produce enough of it to satisfy demand? That‘s just a story from the fox guarding the henhouse.
With no regulations in place to control them, oil companies are free to raise prices at will by dragging their feet on refining oil. It‘s a raw fact of manipulating supply and demand. It‘s just like ENRON created the fake electric power shortages that gouged California in the ‘90s.
When Exxon reports record profits of $9.28 billion, with a 50% jump in oil refinery profits, you‘ve got to know that they‘ve got friends in high places keeping their sweet deal going... and a whole nation of suckers willing to sit back and take it.
 
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