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 · Letters 2/23/09
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Letters 2/23/09

- February 23rd, 2009
Predator priorities
I read the article “Computer Cop” by Anne Stanton. I commend her on her work. I will state my position on child pornography and child abuse in this manner: I have no patience or tolerance for a person who has harmed a child, I sincerely believe that a man who has been found to have sexually abused a child should suffer public impalement on a fence post. I am NOT joking.
We must be very careful though, to separate the wheat from the chaff. The idea that a person is deemed worse for looking at a disgusting picture is WORSE than the person who actually commits such acts is ABSURD!
The authorities who hunt these predators must not be forced to do their job on a “shoestring” budget either. But, we must be aware of the pitfalls.
One of which is to become a zealot in pursuit of “sin.” We’ve seen this happen before. Recall all of the hysterical probes into the “satanic, child-sacrificial killing cults” that proved nonexistent in the 1980s?
We desperately need dedicated people to pursue these criminals on the Internet, and elsewhere, and I wish Detective Heller success in cornering his quarry; but, I sincerely hope he is not unduly influenced by the sign he has so prominently displayed on the wall behind him in what I assume is his office; to wit: “Imagination is more important than knowledge.”
No investigator should rely on his/her “imagination” rather than the use of “knowledge” to present facts.
I can “imagine” what my neighbors might be doing in their bedrooms at night; but I certainly have no “knowledge” of those activities.

Jim Parsons • Thompsonville

1st Amendment issue
Anne Stanton’s recent article on Todd Heller, the “computer cop,” raises important questions about the First Amendment which were lost in the glare of the more titillating (and apparently more newsworthy) subjects of internet child pornography and child sexual abuse.
Personally, I find that the idea of law enforcement agents having free rein to examine data on my personal computer smacks of Big Brother. The idea that my privacy is protected by the requirement of a search warrant pales in this day of the Patriot Act, which could be invoked for nothing more than an intercepted email expressing criticism of the government. The oft-used justification that “If you have nothing to hide, then you have nothing to fear” obliterates the distinction between privacy and secrecy, a distinction I feel is fundamental to our First Amendment protections.
Regarding the article: Ms. Stanton paraphrased comments from myself and Dr. John Ulrich (as experts in the evaluation and treatment of sex offenders) to respond to discrepancies in the law as it applies to internet child pornography and criminal sexual conduct law.
The fact that one can go to jail significantly longer for looking at internet child porn than for actually committing criminal sexual conduct against a child is certainly of legal interest but really speaks more about the trees than it does the forest of our society’s posture on sexual misconduct as well as sexual behavior in general.
I cannot speak for Dr. Ulrich, although I have worked in shared capacities with him on several occasions in the past and know him to be a caring, highly competent and dedicated professional. In the article, I felt that out-of-context quotes attributed to myself might lead the reader to conclude that I might feel the accused are themselves being victimized (by discrepancies in the law). I can say that in my experience, I would never let my professional empathy towards my clients minimize the seriousness of the behaviors of which they may be accused: That is for their attorneys to advocate.
As for so-called “legitimate” Internet pornography in general, while I am a staunch advocate of freedom of expression, I am at the same time a bitter critic of a capitalist economic system that panders to our society’s continuing confusion over sexuality by prostituting it on the Internet solely for monetary gain.

Michael Nunn, LMSW

Bush league
George Bush was right in keeping the nation safe after 9/11. Many times senior Democrats were briefed on interrogations, including then-Senator Clinton, who agreed there would be things done to keep us safe, including in Iran.
Then-Senator Obama voted for the Bush wiretapping program. To this day, more Americans support retaining the Guantanamo prison than oppose it, and many prisoners who have been released by Mr. Bush have come back to oppose the U.S. again in many ways.
Michigan Rep. John Conyers wants to prosecute both Bush and Dick Cheney for war crimes, but will not be allowed to do so if Obama demures.

Len Barnes • Mission Peninsula

Yogi denied entry
(Yogi Shibendu Lahiri, who was a subject of a Feb. 9 article in the
Express, was recently denied entry to the U.S. and was unable to stage a workshop in TC. - ed.)

After a 3.5 hour ordeal, the US Immigration office revoked the Visa of Shibendu Lahiri. What was done to him was unbearable, and I could only sit there as the utter abuse of power continued on and on. The abuse of that 70-years-YOUNG body was a nightmare.
After his denial, I inquired with the immigration supervisor who was rude and disrespectful. He singled out Shibendu because an event flyer from his travel bag indicated that a fee is paid [for the yogi’s workshops]. I asserted that the fees are paid to cover only the tour costs. Shibendu does not receive fees of any kind. He is a simple man we bring to the U.S. from time to time to conduct workshops on spiritual philosophy.
For 19 years, Shibendu has come and gone without problems. Now he is stopped, perhaps forever. So let us celebrate 19 years of beauty, truth, friendship. And let us vow to gently steer our country away from this horrible direction. How on Earth did we let our country get this way?!

Joe Passalaqua
Seattle resident and US tour coordinator for Mr. Lahiri

Date issue
I found your medical marijuana article, “A Puff of Hope” (Feb. 16) to be refreshingly unbiased, and very informative and helpful. But (there’s always a but!), one thing did bother me, and prompted this email. You stated “on April 4, all this will change.” This would lead the reader into thinking the law is not in effect right now. It is. It went into effect December 4, 2008.
Many publications have, through deliberate intent or simple misunderstanding, made the same statement. The citizens of Michigan need to know the truth. I believe it was not your intent to mislead, and I sincerely hope you point out this fact to your readers.

Scott Watkins
MMMA member

Readers: A reminder that letters with fake signatures are not welcome at the Express. Please have the courage of your convictions to sign your real name and include a phone number and address for verification. -- ed.

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