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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Fear Itself

Robert Downes - October 13th, 2008
Gee, this is a great time to be young. Why? Because if you‘re in your teens or 20s, you probably have little or nothing in the stock market and haven‘t lost a dime in the crash.
While you kids were wisely investing your money in Jello shots, iTunes downloads and the latest Xbox games, your parents were foolishly gambling in the Wall Street Casino, where we‘ve lost thousands, tens of thousands, and even hundreds of thousands in the last few weeks on our 401Ks and other retirement plans.
If you‘ve been too busy playing Guitar Hero to keep up, here‘s the deal: The stock market has dropped by 40 percent of its value in the past year, with a wild roller coaster ride, spiralling ever downward.
And this time around, there hasn‘t been any inspiring leader at the helm to calm the sense of panic that‘s sweeping the world, as was the case in 1932, when presidential candidate Franklin D. Roosevelt declared that: “There is nothing to fear but fear itself.“
To put things in perspective, those were fearful days: some 9,000 banks failed in the Great Depression and stocks lost 90 percent of their value. It took decades for the stock market to climb out of that hole. Meanwhile, America‘s gross domestic product fell by 32 percent, and unemployment hit 23 percent.
President Bush has an historic moment to step into Roosevelt‘s shoes and make a zinger of a statement to comfort people about the economy. Something along the lines of his moment rallying Americans at Ground Zero after the 9/11 attacks. It‘s time to break out that bullhorn.
One thing we can take comfort in is the fact that the average American investor seems to be “keeping a grip“ and not succumbing to panic. This is no small thing: by one estimate, 60 percent of Americans own stock -- not just wealthy people, but also many members of the so-called “working poor,“ who are enrolled in their companies‘ retirement plans.
Across the Web and the lunch counters of America, it‘s comforting to hear that many are refusing to panic. Most Americans seem to be standing fast in the hope that the stock market will rebound.
The action that made the Great Depression even deeper was the panic that led millions of Americans to pull their savings out of banks, ensuring their failure. We need to hold the line on that sort of panic now because for most Americans, the modern “bank“ is the stock market in which we have deposited our 401Ks and other retirement savings.
So, 20somethings, take note, with stocks hitting new lows, this is a great time to buy. As for us oldies, we‘ll do what we can to hold on to what‘s left of your inheritance...

Maverick Memories
With all this talk about “Maverick“ lately, I can‘t help thinking about my favorite episode from the 1957 series starring wheelin‘-dealin‘, gamblin‘ man, James Garner.
Maverick didn‘t have a derringer on his belt buckle like the guy on the “Bat Masterson“ show, or a sawed-off shotgun like “Johnny Yuma,“ or a pistol with a two-foot barrel like “Wyatt Earp“ or a rapid-fire Winchester like “The Rifleman“ (TV shows in the ‘50s had a gun fetish that bordered on perversion). But he did have a pack of cards and a few tricks up his sleeve.
In one episode, Maverick and two women travelers came upon a frontier fort in the old west, where all of the soldiers were dead inside. Then, wouldn‘t you know it -- Indians attacked the fort again.
But Maverick was a smart guy: during the night, he put a bunch of dead soldiers up in the stockade and stuck their guns out of the turrets. Then I believe he set off some firecrackers and let loose with some soldierly yells to fool the Indians into believing the fort was fully staffed. They vamoosed.
Too bad he didn‘t have a talking parrot like the current maverick to help out in that jam.
Speaking of which, that “fool ‘em with fake troops“ strategy has worked well all through history.
In August, 1812, for instance, American General William Hull surrendered the fort at Detroit without firing a shot after being fooled by the Indians and the British.
All day long, a few hundred Indian warriors filed past the fort. Then, they ran behind a low hill and filed past again and again. Hull thought he was going to be massacred by thousands of well-armed warriors and surrendered the fort and his 2,000-man army. He was court-martialed for cowardice after the war, but pardoned by President James Madison.
This has nothing to do with anything, but I thought it might help take your mind off this ugly old election.

Speaking of Which...
I dread the month of October which settles like a low, black cloud on America every four years. The cartoonists in the Express seem to lose their sense of humor, the letters to the editor get ugly, people steal election signs and write in ALL CAPS!!! The political commercials on TV get so ugly that a pig must have more dignity than the people behind them. Generally, we all misbehave like a bad family Thanksgiving gathering where there‘s a divorce, a funeral, and an earthshaking argument over religion and politics going on at the same time.
So thanks for those small moments of refuge from the election.
I‘m thankful that I limited my cable TV to 12 channels this summer, and can‘t be tortured by the nattering political talk shows. I‘m thankful for the fall colors, the bravery of fellow Americans in the face of the financial crisis... and for identical twin grandsons born last week, which are all the talk in our family. Anything to avoid that nasty thought virus that comes around every four years at election time.
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