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...

Home · Articles · News · Letters · Letter 8/23/07
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Letter 8/23/07

- August 23rd, 2007
Testing for safety
The current hullabaloo over imports from China is frustrating to watch. It has led to calls to ban all imports from China, set up new systems to test incoming products, and generally given politicians way too much opportunity for mindless blathering and calls for expensive or impossible safety measures.
We cannot afford to test all incoming products, and we cannot ban imports from China. A system exists right now to assure safe and effective products from all countries, and it does not cost the U.S. taxpayer anything.
The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) Conformity Assessment Committee, the International Accreditation Forum (IAF), and the International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (ILAC) have established a system of standards and processes to verify the competence of producers and to test these products for safety and proper function (depending whether the product is food, toys, pharmaceuticals, telephones or automobiles).
This system is in place now, and accreditors in most countries (including the U.S. and China) are following the rigorous process of accreditation to international standards, peer-assessment, and mutual promotion of the agreement. The system has been endorsed by the World Trade Organization, the United Nations, the World Health Organization, the International Electrotechnical Commission, and a host of other respected global organizations. Further details can be obtained from www.ilac.org.
What is needed is to have bulk customers (not consumers) require that the producers they buy from must be certified for manufacture of the product, and that the product must be tested for compliance to specific requirements by an accredited laboratory.
In the recent very visible cases, the pet food, toy, and pharmaceutical manufacturers did not demand that the products be tested by an accredited laboratory, or that the manufacturers be certified for the products they were selling. If the customers had demanded certification and accredited testing, these manufacturers would have obtained it from their government or other organizations (it varies by country). Such verification is mandatory only in Europe for some products, but almost everywhere else it is voluntary. Note that the consumer cannot do this; it is the responsibility of the bulk purchasers.
Trillions of dollars in products and services are being traded under this system, and it works. It is working not just to assure safety and that products work, but it also works to reduce the enormous amount of wasted products – Syrian oranges that arrive in Europe and must be dumped at sea because they do not meet local standards; Volkswagens that are produced for the US market but can’t be sold because they fail EPA emissions tests; Mattel toys that must be disposed as toxic waste. The examples and dollars involved every year are mind-boggling, but usually they are not publicly reported..
Anyone buying anything for resale has an obligation to require verification of competence of the supplier, and the conformity of the product to specified criteria. Purchasing on the basis of price alone only leads to unfortunate news stories.

Dan Tholen • TC

The real culprit...
I was an honors student in philosophy during college, and did extensive research in the philosophy of science during my studies.
One of the conclusions I came to in these studies is how much of modern scientific knowledge is labeled as “fact” by the general public, when in reality the knowledge should be labeled as “theory.” Among the bodies of knowledge we should be careful to label as “theory” are evolution, the “Big Bang,” and of course global warming.
The only “true” knowledge anyone has is personal experience. If you saw something happen, then to you, it is true. All other information about the world, if you did not personally see it happen, must be accepted on the basis of faith that the source of the information is valid. Additionally, one must also recognize the limitations of human language to describe occurrences in the physical world. People often see the same thing but describe it differently. In certain disciplines, such as chemistry, we can be confident that scientists have faithfully communicated the results of experimentation to the public. The results can also be seen in applications such as the creation of fuels, plastics, building materials, and so forth.
On the other hand, it is impossible to test certain theories because we cannot go back in time to make the necessary observations. The theory of evolution is a perfect example, as no one was around three billion years ago to observe an amoeba growing legs and crawling out of the primordial soup. Similarly, we do not have scientific measurements of weather conditions dating back more than 150 years or so. The only truth about global warming is that there has been an increase in average global temperatures in recent years. As to the causes of this increase, we cannot draw definite conclusions because our data is so limited. We can speculate on the reasons and begin testing, of course, but most scientists will tell you the verdict is not yet in.
Personally, I believe greenhouse gas emissions do play a part in the recent rise in average temperatures, but I would also point out that deforestation in Brazil and tropical Africa are probably doing thousands of times more harm to global climate patterns than auto exhaust in industrialized nations and people burning wood to keep warm in the third world. Also, we’re just one large volcanic eruption away from reverting back to a much colder climate, and one cataclysmic solar burst away from being burned to a cinder.
In closing, I would caution everyone to recognize the uncertainties involved in scientific theory, and refrain from ignorantly labeling certain theories as “fact.” I would bet anything the real culprit in global warming is deforestation, but I hear little or nothing about this in the media or in the hysterical pronunciations of people like Al Gore and Sheryl Crow.

Ken Carter • TC
Last week’s story on Marlin’s House of Brews in Frankfort had a number of errors:
• Andrew, the husband of Courtney Miller-Lamb, is the manager of A. Papano’s in Frankfort, not the owner.
• Andrea Randolph and Tom Metes are the owners of Marlin’s. Andrea is renting the building which houses the business.
• Courtney Miller-Lamb is the manager of Marlin’s, not the owner.
• Marlin’s hours are 8-3, not 8-4.
• There are no plans for a Halloween party this year.
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
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