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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Northern View/Region Watch

- April 27th, 2006
On March 27th, I delivered a statement in the Senate reporting on my recent trip to Iraq and Afghanistan. The focus of the trip was to assess the situation in both counties. During my trip, I had the opportunity to meet with our troops, including many from Michigan; senior U.S. military and civilian officials; and Afghan and Iraqi leaders. I thought you might be interested in this  brief report.
Each time I have visited Iraq and Afghanistan, I have been deeply impressed by the very high morale, dedication and professionalism of our servicemen and women. During my trip, I conveyed to them the extraordinary support they have from Congress and from the American people, regardless of our debates and differences over
policy matters.
I was encouraged by the progress in the political and security situation in Afghanistan. While much work remains, President Karzai has led his nation with a firm and steady hand, and I am hopeful about the future of Afghanistan.
Sadly, the same cannot be said of Iraq. The political and security situation in Iraq is deeply troubling and threatens to grow worse. The recent increase in sectarian violence has become the number one security problem, and Iraq’s political leadership continues to struggle with the formation of a national unity government. 
During my trip, I told Iraqi political leaders, including Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari and representatives from the two main Sunni Arab parties, that the Iraqis and only the Iraqis can decide their fate.
I believe we need to be successful in Iraq because the outcome there will have a major effect on the region and on our own security. To achieve this success, I believe it is important that the U.S. make it clear to the Iraqis that if they are unable to come together and form  a government of national unity, we must reconsider our presence in Iraq and that all options will be on the table, including withdrawal of our forces. The Iraqis must understand that our willingness to bear the burden of providing security in Iraq has limits.
My complete statement on my trip to Afghanistan and Iraq can be found on my website at  [http://levin.senate.gov/newsroom/release.cfm?id=253153].

Sen. Levin was recently named one of America‘s Top 10 Senators by Time magazine.

LET THERE BE MUSIC:  Two Northern Michigan musical powerhouses have announced their summer line-ups.
The Blissfest, to be held July 7-9 in Cross Village will be headlined this year by ‘70s western acoustic rockers Poco.  It’s perhaps the most creative year ever for band names, with performers including Gandalf Murphy and the Slambovian Circus of Dreams, Rani Arbo and Daisy Mayhem, Samite, Harry Manx, Eliza Gilkyson, Todd Snider, Robin Nolan Trio, Kevin Collins & the Kuungana dance Troup, The David Munnelly Band, Otis Taylor, Bio Ritmo Salsa Machine, Ritmo Flamenco, James Hill, Mustard’s Retreat, Seth & Daisy Mae, Breathe Owl Breathe, Nu-Tones, Horton Creek Bluegrass, Potato Moon, Vincent Hayes Project, Benzie Playboyz, Something Different in the Homemade Jam, Cold Water, Earthwork Project, Garbha-Grha, Great Lakes Chamber Orchestra, Mudbugz, Petoskey Steel Drum Band, Satin Peaches, Rhythmic Adventures, Harmony & Grits & more.  Blissfest members can buy early bird tickets now, with general sales beginning May 15.
Interlochen debuted its season last week with heavy hitters including Cheap Trick (July 5), Willy Nelson (July 6), Lee Ann Womack (July 13), Ian Anderson w/Orchestra (July 19) The Irish Tenors (Aug. 8), Big Bad Voodoo Daddy (Aug. 15), B.B. King (Aug. 18) and The Beach Boys (Aug. 19).  Classical offerings and shows by the World Youth Symphony Orchestra fill in many of the remaining dates.  See the full schedule on page 24. Tickets are on sale now.

$3 GAS GOT YOU DOWN?   Congressman Bart Stupak (D-MI) is urging the  House of Representatives to consider legislation that would address price gouging by major oil companies. 
“Crude oil prices have exceeded the previous record set after Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast, reaching over $70 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange,” Stupak wrote.  “As prices climb, the potential for price gouging increases.” 
Stupak’s bill, the Federal Response to Energy Emergencies Act (H.R. 3936), would provide the Federal Trade Commission with the authority to investigate and punish those who artificially inflate the price of energy.  For the first time ever, the FTC would be required to develop a price gouging definition, taking into account consumer-friendly guidelines set forth in the bill.    

REMEMBERING ANNE:  A group of friends and family who appreciated the late Anne Melichar, the feisty TC city commissioner with a leftist bent, are privately collecting donations to plant a Living Memorial Tree in her honor.  The hope is to plant a long living Oak or Maple in late Spring that’s as tough and beautiful as Melichar, said Ann Rogers, who is collecting the donations. If enough funds are collected, a bench could be added to the memorial. 
“Please be a contributor to this living
memorial for Anne—it’s a  way to recognize all that she gave to Traverse City and its people, a city she loved and called home,”
Rogers said.
Rogers will make all the arrangements with the TC Park and Recreation Authority for the planting and care of the tree.
Send your contribution to: Ann Rogers,
1236 Peninsula Drive, Traverse City,
Michigan 49686.

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