Letters 10-24-2016

It’s Obama’s 1984 Several editions ago I concluded a short letter to the editor with an ominous rhetorical flourish: “Welcome to George Orwell’s 1984 and the grand opening of the Federal Department of Truth!” At the time I am sure most of the readers laughed off my comments as right-wing hyperbole. Shame on you for doubting me...

Gun Bans Don’t Work It is said that mass violence only happens in the USA. A lone gunman in a rubber boat, drifted ashore at a popular resort in Tunisia and randomly shot and killed 38 mostly British and Irish tourists. Tunisian gun laws, which are among the most restrictive in the world, didn’t stop this mass slaughter. And in January 2015, two armed men killed 11 and wounded 11 others in an attack on the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo. French gun laws didn’t stop these assassins...

Scripps’ Good Deed No good deed shall go unpunished! When Dan Scripps was the 101st District State Representative, he introduced legislation to prevent corporations from contaminating (e.g. fracking) or depleting (e.g. Nestle) Michigan’s water table for corporate profit. There are no property lines in the water table, and many of us depend on private wells for abundant, safe, clean water. In the subsequent election, Dan’s opponents ran a negative campaign almost solely on the misrepresentation that Dan’s good deed was a government takeover of your private water well...

Political Definitions As the time to vote draws near it’s a good time to check into what you stand for. According to Dictionary.com the meanings for liberal and conservative are as follows:

Liberal: Favorable to progress or reform as in political or religious affairs.

Conservative: Disposed to preserve existing conditions, institutions, etc., or to restore traditions and limit change...

Voting Takes A Month? Hurricane Matthew hit the Florida coast Oct. 6, over three weeks before Election Day. Bob Ross (Oct. 17th issue) posits that perhaps evacuation orders from Governor Scott may have had political motivations to diminish turnout and seems to praise Hillary Clinton’s call for Gov. Scott to extend Florida’s voter registration deadline due to evacuations...

Clinton Foundation Facts Does the Clinton Foundation really spend a mere 10 percent (per Mike Pence) or 20 percent (per Reince Priebus) of its money on charity? Not true. Charity Watch gives it an A rating (the same as it gives the NRA Foundation) and says it spends 88 percent on charitable causes, and 12 percent on overhead. Here is the source of the misunderstanding: The Foundation does give only a small percentage of its money to charitable organizations, but it spends far more money directly running a number of programs...

America Needs Change Trump supports our constitution, will appoint judges that will keep our freedoms safe. He supports the partial-birth ban; Hillary voted against it. Regardless of how you feel about Trump, critical issues are at stake. Trump will increase national security, monitor refugee admissions, endorse our vital military forces while fighting ISIS. Vice-presidential candidate Mike Pence will be an intelligent asset for the country. Hillary wants open borders, increased government regulation, and more demilitarization at a time when we need strong military defenses...

My Process For No I will be voting “no” on Prop 3 because I am supportive of the process that is in place to review and approve developments. I was on the Traverse City Planning Commission in the 1990s and gained an appreciation for all of the work that goes into a review. The staff reviews the project and makes a recommendation. The developer then makes a presentation, and fellow commissioners and the public can ask questions and make comments. By the end of the process, I knew how to vote for a project, up or down. This process then repeats itself at the City Commission...

Regarding Your Postcard If you received a “Vote No” postcard from StandUp TC, don’t believe their lies. Prop 3 is not illegal. It won’t cost city taxpayers thousands of dollars in legal bills or special elections. Prop 3 is about protecting our downtown -- not Munson, NMC or the Commons -- from a future of ugly skyscrapers that will diminish the very character of our downtown...

Vote Yes It has been suggested that a recall or re-election of current city staff and Traverse City Commission would work better than Prop 3. I disagree. A recall campaign is the most divisive, costly type of election possible. Prop 3, when passed, will allow all city residents an opportunity to vote on any proposed development over 60 feet tall at no cost to the taxpayer...

Yes Vote Explained A “yes” vote on Prop 3 will give Traverse City the right to vote on developments over 60 feet high. It doesn’t require votes on every future building, as incorrectly stated by a previous letter writer. If referendums are held during general elections, taxpayers pay nothing...

Beware Trump When the country you love have have served for 33 years is threatened, you have an obligation and a duty to speak out. Now is the time for all Americans to speak out against a possible Donald Trump presidency. During the past year Trump has been exposed as a pathological liar, a demagogue and a person who is totally unfit to assume the presidency of our already great country...

Picture Worth 1,000 Words Nobody disagrees with the need for affordable housing or that a certain level of density is dollar smart for TC. The issue is the proposed solution. If you haven’t already seen the architect’s rendition for the site, please Google “Pine Street Development Traverse City”...

Living Wage, Not Tall Buildings Our community deserves better than the StandUp TC “vote no” arguments. They are not truthful. Their yard signs say: “More Housing. Less Red Tape. Vote like you want your kids to live here.” The truth: More housing, but for whom? At what price..

Home · Articles · News · Art · Mehndi Madness
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Mehndi Madness

Kristi Kates - July 19th, 2007
In the U.S., it’s typically called “henna tattooing” (although this term is quite incorrect–we’ll ex-plain in a minute) and it can be found everywhere from upscale galleries and cultural events to amusement parks, county fairs, and sidewalk vendors. But exactly what is it?
Well, the simplest ex-planation for Westerners is that it’s a trendy and beautiful form of body art that is most popular in the summer months, especially in resort areas like Northern Michigan. But henna’s history reaches much farther than a mere seasonal fad.
Henna is actually a flowering plant that grows primarily in South Asia and North Africa. The plant has been used for a wide range of applications, including as a preservative and dye for cloth and leather, as a medical paste that is said to wick fever out of the body, as a medicinal herb, and as both an insect and mildew repellant.
When its leaves are dried and ground into a fine powder, then mixed into a paste with various oils, teas, and lemon juice, henna also has a high natural staining factor on human skin and hair. It has been used as a hair dye and body art medium since as far back as the late Bronze Age (around 1,400 BC.)

The paste itself is also called henna - but the art of the paste’s application is called Mehndi. The paste is applied using a variety of methods depending on the culture.
Here’s where we discover the reason that “henna tattooing” is an incorrect term.
A tattoo is a permanent insertion of pigments underneath the skin, while Mehndi uses organic staining pigments that rest on the outermost layers of the skin creating a temporary design that gradually wears away. Seeing “henna tattooing” on a sign can, unfortunately, frighten people away from trying this fascinating and fun cultural art, as they assume that needles are used when nothing could be farther from the truth. However, even reputable Mehndi artists are now reluctantly using this terminology because it has become the most recognizable term for Mehndi in the Western world.
Henna is applied to the skin in several ways, none of which involve needles or puncturing. The paste may be painted onto the skin with a paintbrush, porcupine quill, plastic cone, or metal-tipped plastic bottle.
Quick-draw henna artists - the kind more concerned with the money than the art form - will often use stencils (meaning cookie-cutter designs that look pretty much the same on anyone). But if you want a truer-to-form Mehndi experience, find a henna artist who draws everything freehand. Most offer books of design ideas; if you prefer, you can suggest a theme to the artist (flowers, tribal designs, geometrics, etc.) and you’ll get a design that’s unique to you.

Mehndi is usually drawn on the hands (tops or palms) and tops of the feet, where the color will be darkest, as the skin is stronger in these places and contains higher levels of keratin.
It is also often applied to the upper arm or
upper back, especially in the West, and is sometimes attempted on the face, although the color in these places won’t be as dark.
The paste design is left to dry for at least an hour or two. The longer the paste is left on, the darker and more long-lasting the design will be. The dried paste is later gently scraped off at home to reveal a reddish-brown design (henna’s natural color) that can last anywhere from a week to a month depending on the quality of the henna and the care of the skin.
In India, henna is most often applied for weddings and festivals, while in Persian and Arabic-speaking countries, it’s done for many special occasions and events.
Mehndi was adapted to Western culture beginning in the late 1990s, when everyone from Gwen Stefani and Madonna to Sting and Prince were seen adorned with henna patterns. It is, of course, frequently seen in Bollywood films (“Bride and Prejudice,” “Lagaan”), and it’s now a popular form of summer adornment for the hands, feet or ankles, replacing metal jewelry in the hotter seasons.

With all of this henna activity, one would assume Mehndi is safe. And, for the most part, you’d be exactly right. Since henna is usually mixed with all-organic ingredients, allergic reactions are rare–if anything, a person may be allergic to another of the ingredients used in the henna paste mix, which range from oils such as eucalyptus or geranium to the aforementioned lemon or lime juice.
The one exception to safe henna is something mistakenly called “black henna,” which is often requested due to its extremely dark, jet-black color. Black henna - which usually doesn’t even have any actual henna in it - is currently in widespread use in many tourist areas, especially in Mexico. Although you might appreciate the darkness of your design at first, you’re taking a huge risk with what might happen a few days later, which is why a genuine henna artist who’s studied the history of real henna art will refuse to use it.
In an effort to capitalize on the Mehndi’s popularity, many fly-by-night body art vendors began experimenting with new ingredients in order to compete in the henna art market and get darker designs. Most of these new ingredients are primarily comprised of either pen inks or PPDs (para-phenylenediamine), which are most often used in hair dyes. Neither of these sub-stances are safe in high concentrations for skin.
PPDs in hair dye are generally strongly regulated in Western countries; only very small percentages are allowed in over-the-counter or salon hair formulations. In black henna pastes, however, the PPD percentages can range anywhere from 10 to 60 percent. The result?
Well, usually nothing for the first couple of days, which is why many eager tourists scoff
at the warnings against black henna–
but shortly thereafter, up to 20 percent of people who receive these falsely-labeled henna tattoos will experience side
effects as mild as itching and as extreme as blistering and perm-anent scarring. Even
if it’s well-drawn, do you really want that flower or tribal design permanently embedded into your arm?

So how do you tell if you’re actually getting organic henna - or a concoction of other dyes? Simply ask and observe. Real henna artists will be able to tell you what is in their henna mix, and suggest you leave your henna paste on for a minimum of one hour. The paste itself will be a dark brown or olive green color, not black. The resulting design stain after the paste is removed will range from orange to a dark reddish-brown, and will darken over 24 hours, but you will rarely get anything even near a black color. What you will get will be an exotic, one-of-a-kind design that will last through your vacation, and the memory of your fun and unique Mehndi experience will likely last even longer than that.

Writer Kristi Kates is a Mehndi artist. Mehndi/henna art is available in Charlevoix at C2 Gallery (327 Bridge Street downtown, most summer weekends), through Bijani Mehndi at Blissfest and Petoskey Sidewalk Sales, and at various beauty salons throughout Northern Michigan. For more info, check out www.myspace.com/bijanimehndi and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mehndi
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