Letters 12-05-2016

Trump going back on promises I’m beginning to suspect that we’ve been conned by our new president. He’s backpedaling on nearly every campaign promise he made to us...

This Christmas, think before you speak Now that Trump has won the election, a lot of folks who call themselves Christians seem to believe they have a mandate to force their beliefs on the rest of us. Think about doing this before you start yelling about people saying “happy holidays,” whining about Starbucks coffee cup image(s), complaining about other’s lifestyles…

First Amendment protects prayer (Re: Atheist Gary Singer’s contribution to the Crossed column titled “What will it take to make America great again?” in the Nov. 21 edition of Northern Express.) Mr. Singer, the First Amendment states: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof …”

Evidence of global warming Two basic facts underlay climate science: first, carbon dioxide was known to be a heat-trapping gas as early as 1850; and second, humans are significantly increasing the amount of CO2 in Earth’s atmosphere through the burning of fossil fuels and other activities. We are in fact well on our way to doubling the CO2 concentrations in our atmosphere...

Other community backpack programs I just read your article in the Nov. 28 issue titled “Beneficial backpacks: Two local programs help children.” It is a good article, but there are at least two other such programs in the Traverse City area that I am aware of...

A ‘fox’ in the schoolhouse Trump’s proposed secretary of education, Betsy DeVos (“the fox” in Dutch), is a right-wing billionaire; relentless promoter of unlimited, unregulated charter schools and vouchers; and enemy of public schooling...

Home · Articles · News · Letters · Letters 5/22/03
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Letters 5/22/03

Various - May 22nd, 2003
War profiteers a ‘patriotic‘ disgrace

As a Vietnam infantry veteran, I am very tired of our government using
“patriotism“ and slogans as the tools to rally us to give up our lives,
mental health and tax dollars for wars or conflicts that are designed to
generate huge profits for a select few. The “support the troops“ slogan is a
disgrace to our military. It is a slap in the face to the very people who
took an oath to defenc the Constitution and all that is right and good about
the USA. Good people are waving the flag and getting emotionally tied into
slogans like “support our troops,“ “freedom isn‘t free,“ and “God bless America.“
The government bureaucrats are cheering. They see these actions as a green
light for more invasions, more destruction, and more profits. Our military
is being used to cover their greed.
We, the citizens of the USA, must stand up and speak out. We need to PROTECT
OUR TROOPS. Protect them from greed, protect them from a government which
forgets them after they leave the military, protect them from the mental pain
of separation and fear, protect them from the physical pain of unjust and
unnecessary combat, protect them from being used as a tool for global
domination, wealth building and oppression.
In a democracy, WE are the ones who are supposed to have the power. Our
government is supposed to serve US. Since the “troops“ are part of us, WE
must decide when and where our military should be used. WE must decide if
they are doing the right thing, are paid enough, are treated fairly when they
When I read about the money being made by bureaucrats, “defense“
corporations, and many other military related companies I get sick. A recent
Boston Globe article said that the CEOs of the major “defense“ companies make
$11,000,000/year. I also recently read that over 300 executives of
military related corporations got bonuses of over $1,000,000 for the first
quarter of this year. We die, we suffer, we wave the flag -- they vote for
wars and run to the bank. Some 50% of our tax dollars are going to support the
life styles of the fat cats.
The government (directed by the military contractors and the super rich) have
plans for more wars, and more destruction, and more “rebuilding.“ They will
keep feeding us the slogans as long as we let them. Stand up America --

Arny Stiber, Vietnam Vet • Grass Lake

Vitriolic howl response

After reading sally MacFarlane Neal‘s logically convoluted and vitriolic howl (Letters 5/8) I thought it incumbent upon me as a “pro-war exhibitionist“ (you may have seen me holding a sign on the highway in downtown Petoskey which read: “Anti-war protesters are killing our troops“) to point out the egregious flaws in several of her arguments.
The first problem Ms. Neal created for herself in her pseudo realpolitik diatribe is: “I am one of the eight who participated in the March 17 symbolic blockade of the deployment of the 182nd Army Reserve units...“ Symbolic: The word symbol is defined thus in my Webster‘s dictionary: “Something that represents or stands for something else, as by resemblance or association.“ It therefore (by definition) is not a “symbolic blockade“ when you have “actually“ blockaded the deployment of a military convoy during a time of national emergency, or a state of war.
Ms. Neal continues her ideologically gerrymandered speech with a vicious ad hominem attack upon the President of the United States, an international oil cartel, a construction company, and then unscrupulously disseminates a number of unsubstantiated allegations in a further attempt to prop up her argument as to why she and her comrades performed their March 17, 2003 act of treason against our state and national governments. (Treason: ... the betrayal of one‘s own country by waging war against it or by consciously and purposely acting to aid its enemies.)
The last problem of note in Ms. Neal‘s vindictive “personal statement“ is as follows. She correctly claims her constitutional right to “... freedom of speech, ... the right of the people peaceably to assemble...“ but when she has purposefully violated one or more of her enumerated First Amendment rights, as she had on March 17, she surreptitiously attempts to convince the reader that Henry David Thoreau‘s essay on “Civil Disobedience“ somehow bears more moral and legal weight than the legislated, established laws of the land.
Hardly, if Ms. Neal‘s form of civil disobedience was a “civil right,“ she would not have been charged and convicted of a crime.
Although I do not support illegal radicalism, I do wish to encouage the TC-8 to remain ever vigilent in defense of our rights and liberties; but when a public demonstration has been deemed necessary, do so in accordance with all local, state and federal laws.

Steve A. Redder • Petoskey

To charge or not to charge

The skateboard park at the Civic Center in Traverse City was built and opened free to the community. Now a hefty charge? Wasn‘t there a study and vote on the design and policy, and community input prior to building this grand structure?
I have been there with my child before and since the charge of $2.50 per skateboard person per skate time. I have interviewed parents in the Civic Center parking lot. My luck was even to speak with one of the original high school students (now at NMC) who helped scrape together a $250 donation to start the park. He boycotts the park now, but said he was “jonesin‘“ to skateboard and broke down to pay.
Here is a student studying hard, but needs to have healthy physical activity. So if he comes over for lunch for a quick skate, does that warrant $2.50? What about all the other kids who can only skate for a half-hour while parents walk around the park?
No matter where you go, someone tries to deface public property. Do we charge the public to walk the sidewalks?
Skateboarding is a sport. Come see the talent and the challenge. It should be free!
The city should absorb the cost. that is how the park was initially established. It should stay that way. Maybe more parents should stick around and watch the action. The mall is a dumping ground for kids. Do we charge admittance there?
Kids can learn to be a healthy representation of themselves and their sport with positive peer and adult role models. It takes time. Boycott and rally for no charge to skateboard at the Civic Center.

Lois Bedtelyon • Suttons Bay

More on disc golf

I am not a Boyne City resident, although I do spend a fair amount of time
working and playing there. I have played the first nine holes of the
Avalanche Park Disc Golf course on many occasions and walked the area where
the second nine holes have been installed. It is a beautiful setting for
any type of recreation. In my opinion, the addition of a disc golf course
will not change that fact anymore than the mountain bike trails, hiking
trails, snowmobile trails and other sports that currently co-exist in this
Disc golf is conceptually similar to regular golf. However, instead of hitting a ball you throw a Frisbee-like plastic disc. The target is not a hole in the ground but what we sometimes call a ‘pole-hole‘ -- a galvanized metal basket about
three feet in diameter attached to a metal pole about five feet high. A set
of chains is suspended above the basket to aid in ‘catching‘ the disc. It
is not big or obtrusive and once the shiny metal finish dulls a little, it
can at times be difficult to see one from over 100 feet. Another difference
between the two sports is that a disc golf course installation has very
minimal impact to the natural surroundings where a regular golf course is
usually made by clearing trees and bulldozing ground.
Game play and disc golf terms are are very similar to regular golf,
including golf etiquette. The first shot is a drive, then an approach shot
and then hopefully a putt. Disc golf holes are measured in feet rather
yards and an average hole is 300 to 400 feet in length. The best disc golf
courses have natural beauty, objects to throw around (trees) and elevation
changes. Avalanche has an abundance of all of those characteristics and
because it does, it is poised to become one of the premiere disc golf
courses in the state.
The sport of disc golf has been around for over 30 years but has been
experiencing dramatic growth all over the state and the country. Why? For
several reasons. It is one of the least expensive and lowest impact
recreational sports that a park can install. It can be learned and played
by virtually anyone regardless of age or athletic ability. It costs less
than $20 to purchase a few beginner‘s golf discs and almost all
courses are open to the public and free. And it appeals to many people that
choose not to participate in other forms of recreation.
Thousands of disc golf courses all over the world peacefully
and safely co-exist in public parks. This includes the River Road Disc
Golf course that the City of Petoskey installed several years ago. It is a
shame that a few people are upset about sharing this small portion of a very
large park. I do know that most of the frequent disc golfers that use the
course will not litter (in fact most routinely pick litter up while
playing), they will be respectful of other park users and mindful of their
impact on the park habitat. I know this from years of disc golfing
experience and because I know that the people who designed and maintain the
course will constantly be teaching and promoting this type of conduct.
As I see it, the issue is NOT about the disc golf course or the manner in
which it was implemented (which from my understanding was done properly and
legitimately), the issue is SHARING. A few people that in the past have
used the area where the course is now installed are unwilling to share this
area. Having failed at preventing the course, they now turn to mudslinging
and exaggeration. I invite anyone interested in learning more about this
controversy to take a walk in the park and see for themselves what impact
the course has made.

Mitch Weber • Harbor Springs

Scab nurses prolong strike

The main responsibility for the extra-long strike of the Northern Michigan Hospital nurses rests on the shoulders of scab nurses who have callously crossed the picket line to take the jobs of nurses on strike. I question the ethical standards of such nurses who would willingly -- and for “30 pieces of silver‘‘ -- further jeopardize the strikers‘ chances of getting the employer to at least resume bargaining with them.
It‘s not as though there aren‘t enough jobs to go around! Its been known for sometime there‘s a shortage of nurses, so there‘s no valid reason why any nurse has to hire her/himself out as a strike-breaker to hospitals intending to engage in the unsavory business of strike-breaking. The backbone of successful strike-breaking is a supply of workers willing to sell themselves out to anti-labor employers.
So, if there is no shortage of jobs for qualified nurses, then every one of them will be at work in respectable nursing jobs. If they are not, then presumably they‘re not qualified or simply choose not to be employed. Or, in other words, if all the qualified nurses are, indeed, employed and there are still jobs going begging, then where indeed does this private employment office specializing in strike-breaking secure hundreds of “qualiified“ nurses to fill positions left vacant temporarily by the striking nurses? Could it be that qualified nurses with jobs simply quit them in order to earn double their present pay to help break a strike of their sister/brother nurses? Probably not. Then that leaves only those not qualified, and they become the scabs hired by the strike-breaking hospital!
In any event, it‘s long past time for Northern Michigan Hospital to resume negotiations with its nurses and to do so in good faith to resolve their grievances and amicably settle this dispute.

Edwin Prong • TC

Mad tax cut

The Bush administration has used most of our national resourses funding a
war in Iraq. This has benefited many of his corporate and military
suppliers. Now he is pushing a tax cut that will benefit his other wealthy
supporters that bought his presidency. Our seniors, school children and
average citizens are suffering budget cuts while Bush is creating a huge
budget deficit. It is time to stop his mad raping and pillaging of national

Nancy Jones • Roscommon

Returning Jobs to America

Policies at the beginning of the Clinton Administration made it
possible for some companies to move technology jobs to other countries where
labor costs are generally lower. The ITAA study found that 22 percent of
large information technology companies have already moved work overseas and
15 percent of all tech firms are undecided about the possibility of moving
jobs in the next 12 months. A similar recent report by Cambridge,
Mass.-based Forrester Research projected that 3.3 million jobs, including
credit card processing and software development, will migrate to India,
Russia and China in the next 15 years.
This is the middle class we are talking about, the class the Clinton
Administration said it would protect. What can you do? Well, you could
contact Congress and ask the following:
That all companies that sell or do business with the goverment must
maintain a complete organization here in the United States. That includes
data processing and development and accounting to insure corporate
integrity. Failure to comply will result in loss of the right to sell here
or do business here.
Besides keeping Americans working, it‘s a matter of national security. The policy must be “if you sell here, you must live here“
A Concerned American and IT Professional.

Henry Duarte • via email

Malpractice Memorial

According to a National Academy of Sciences‘ Institute of Medicine report, between 44,000 and 98,000 Americans die in hospitals each year as a result of medical mistakes, more than those who die of car accidents, breast cancer, or AIDS.
I suggest that we build a Malpractice Memorial modeled after the Vietnam Memorial. Family members of malpractice victims could go to that wall to mourn, to touch the name of someone they loved, to place flowers of remembrance, to shed tears of loss, of anger, of despair for someone who sought to be healed, but met death instead. That would be a long, long wall.
Speaking of walls, people speak of the blue wall that policemen construct when one of their own is found wanting. There is a white wall that is constructed by doctors when one of their own is found wanting, a wall that must be demolished in order to protect patients who blindly place their trust and their lives in the hands of doctors who are known by other doctors not to be trustworthy.
Five percent of the doctors are responsible for over half of the malpractice incidents in this country. The medical profession needs to set its house in order by evicting repeat offenders.

Jane Marshall • Clarksville, Tennessee

Ride your bike

The 9th Annual Traverse City Bike to Work Week (June 2-6, 2003) is featuring a Commuter Cup Challenge this year! The Commuter Cup Challenge is not just about biking. It is a friendly workplace competition to encourage co-workers to bike, walk, carpool or ride BATA to work. Commuter Cup participants earn points based on the percentage of total employees who ‘green commute‘ to work.
Organizations participating in the Commuter Cup Challenge during Bike to Work Week are competing to win one of three donated commuter-style bicycles that include fenders, chain guards, baskets and adjustable seats; one each from Brick Wheels, City Bike Shop and McLain Cycle & Fitness. The idea behind offering a bike to the winning organization, is that they would use it as a ‘company bike‘ that is available for employees to run errands or ride to an in-town meeting instead of driving a single-occupant vehicle. This is the first year with donated bikes as prizes and we envision many of these commuter bikes around town in the future.
The overall message of Bike to Work Week and ‘green commuting‘ is simply to get people thinking about living in a more sustainable fashion. Bike to Work Week is an event that celebrates the Traverse City area pedestrian-friendly infrastructure and public transportation system, so hop on a bike, ride the bus, carpool with a co-worker or walk to work and get the word out about Bike to Work Week!
To learn how your Traverse City area organization can participate, call TART at 941-4300.

Missy Luyk • Administrative Assistant
TART Trails, Inc.

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