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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The candidates and the issues

Sara Gay Dammann - September 22nd, 2008
So much is being written about this election and so much of what is being said is irrelevant. It’s time to close the silly season and turn the focus to issues, not gender, not race, not age. The question is whom do we think can best lead this country out of the morass of war and economic woes?
The issues are many. Here are a few:
TAXES: Obama’s tax plan would lower taxes for 95% of all taxpayers, virtually eliminate income tax for 10 million working Americans and for seniors with incomes lower than $50,000, and Obama proposes to let the Bush administration’s tax cuts for the wealthy expire and be returned to middle and low-income taxpayers in the form of tax credits to pay for health insurance.
McCain proposes further cuts in the corporate tax rate (10%) and to extend Bush’s tax cuts for those at the top of the economy.
Obama’s tax record in the Senate includes the Stop Fraud Bill and the 2007 Patriot Employer Tax Act, which provided tax credits to companies increasing workforce in the United States.
EDUCATION: Obama supports universal voluntary pre-school for all children, expanding head start, proper funding for No Child Left Behind, teacher service scholarships, improving science and math curriculums, and the American Opportunity Tax Credit to make college affordable for all students.
McCain supports school vouchers, has no college level programs and has not supported extending Pell Grants.
Obama led the fight to increase Pell Grants to $5,100 and introduced legislation to support summer learning and teacher residency programs.
ETHICS: Obama has a deep record on ethics legislation including bills to end “no bid” contracts, restricting corporate jet travel by legislators, requiring disclosure of contribution bundling by lobbyists, and has refused campaign contributions from lobbyists and PACs.
McCain, despite his rhetoric, voted against lobbying reform and has intensified his fundraising with lobbyists.
HEALTH CARE: Obama’s public health care plan is similar to the federal employees plan, which covers all essential medical services including preventive, maternity and mental health services, and covers all children. For those choosing private insurers, Obama proposes a National Health Insurance Exchange to monitor private plans, ensure they are fair and accessible and to evaluate the plans. To control costs Obama would reimburse employer health plans for catastrophic illness costs above threshold, lower prescription drug costs by permitting overseas purchases and negotiating with drug companies.
McCain’s plan calls for federal assistance for states to create high-risk pools to contracts with insurers and provide $2,500 individual tax credits. McCain has no plan that requires coverage for children.
Obama has co-sponsored several bills including the Healthy Kids Act and SCHIP reauthorization as well as legislation on women’s health issues in both Illinois and the US Senate.
MILITARY: Obama calls for an orderly transition of responsibility in Iraq from the United States military to the Iraqi government. He calls for a shift of focus to Afghanistan where Al Qaeda and the Taliban thrive.
McCain, while acknowledging the resurgence of Al Qaeda and the Taliban still argues for more troops in Iraq.
Obama has a strong record on Veteran’s Affairs and has passed legislation to cut red tape for veterans at VA hospitals, passed legislation to help homeless vets, introduced legislation to improve outreach to National Guard and reserves.
McCain skipped the vote on the bill to provide better education benefits to vets in May, 2008, and has consistently voted against increasing funding for veteran’s health care.
The differences in the two candidates are real. There is reliable information on these issues. We do not need to be misled and it is our responsibility as voters to become informed and make informed choices when choosing our next President and Vice President.
One final note: some brilliant community organizers – John Adams, John Hancock, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, founded our nation. Community organizing is the basis of a true democracy.

Sara Gay Dammann has been a writer and freelance journalist for the New York Times, Detroit News, Chicago Tribune, Time-Life and other publications. She has lived in Charlevoix for more than 40 years where she and her late husband, Tom Dammann, a nationally-known newspaperman, raised their children.

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