Letters

Letters 10-27-2014

Paging Doctor Dan: The doctor’s promise to repeal Obamacare reminds me of the frantic restaurant owner hurrying to install an exhaust fan after the kitchen burns down. He voted 51 times to replace the ACA law; a colossal waste of money and time. It’s here to stay and he has nothing to replace it.

Evolution Is Real Science: Breathtaking inanity. That was the term used by Judge John Jones III in his elegant evisceration of creationist arguments attempting to equate it to evolutionary theory in his landmark Kitzmiller vs. Dover Board of Education decision in 2005.

U.S. No Global Police: Steven Tuttle in the October 13 issue is correct: our military, under the leadership of the President (not the Congress) is charged with protecting the country, its citizens, and its borders. It is not charged with  performing military missions in other places in the world just because they have something we want (oil), or we don’t like their form of government, or we want to force them to live by the UN or our rules.

Graffiti: Art Or Vandalism?: I walk the [Grand Traverse] Commons frequently and sometimes I include the loop up to the cistern just to go and see how the art on the cistern has evolved. Granted there is the occasional gross image or word but generally there is a flurry of color.

NMEAC Snubbed: Northern Michigan Environmental Action Council (NMEAC) is the Grand Traverse region’s oldest grassroots environmental advocacy organization. Preserving the environment through citizen action and education is our mission.

Vote, Everyone: Election Day on November 4 is fast approaching, and now is the time to make a commitment to vote. You may be getting sick of the political ads on TV, but instead, be grateful that you live in a free country with open elections. Take the time to learn about the candidates by contacting your county parties and doing research.

Do Fluoride Research: Hydrofluorosilicic acid, H2SiF6, is a byproduct from the production of fertilizer. This liquid, not environmentally safe, is scrubbed from the chimney of the fertilizer plant, put into containers, and shipped. Now it is a ‘product’ added to the public drinking water.

Meet The Homeless: As someone who volunteers for a Traverse City organization that works with homeless people, I am appalled at what is happening at the meetings regarding the homeless shelter. The people fighting this shelter need to get to know some homeless families. They have the wrong idea about who the homeless are.

Home · Articles · News · Books · Hearts and Smarts -- Tales of Two...
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Hearts and Smarts -- Tales of Two Remarkable Women

Nancy Sundstrom - November 6th, 2003
At first blush, Mariane Pearl and Elizabeth Smart may not seem to have much in common, but they actually do, including the fact that they are the subjects of eagerly awaited and hot-off-the-presses books.
As different as each one of their incredible real-life sagas have been, these two women have been brought to and kept them in the public eye, partially because while they were all victims, they have refused to be victimized. Their personal tragedies have become media events that are still of intense fascination to the public. Now, perhaps in an attempt to shed more light on what happened, their tales are be shared in a longer and more intimate way than we‘ve previously gotten from TV interviews or magazine stories, though only one of them is told from a first-person perspective.
If you‘ve followed the ordeals that these women have been through, you may well be interested in “A Mighty Heart“ by Mariane Pearl and Sarah Crichton and “Bringing Elizabeth Home: A Journey of Faith and Hope“ by Ed and Lois Smart with Laura Morton.

“A Mighty Heart -- The Brave Life and Death of My Husband“ by Mariane Pearl and Sarah Crichton
On January 23, 2002, Danny Pearl, the South Asia bureau chief of the Wall Street Journal stationed in Pakistan, left his home. It was the last time his pregnant wife, fellow journalist Mariane, saw him alive, and in the weeks that followed, she initiated an intense search for her husband, only to learn in the end that he had been kidnapped, held captive and eventually brutally murdered by Pakistani terrorists.
It‘s a heartbreaking and unforgettable story, written by Mariane, an award-winning documentary film director who produced and hosted a daily radio show for Radio France International. She begins it on the morning of the final day she and Danny would spend together:
“Dawn will rise soon over Karachi. Curled in Danny‘s warm embrace, I feel safe. I like that this position is called “spooning“ in English. We are like spoons in a drawer, pressed to each another, each fitted to the other‘s shape. I love these sweet moments of oblivion and the peace they bring me. No matter where we are -- Croatia, Beirut, Bombay -- this is my shelter. This is our way of meeting the challenge, of confronting the chaos of the world.“
For the next five weeks, while the rest of the world waited for news of Pearl‘s whereabouts, Mariane launched a courageous search for the man she loved and with whom she planned to spend the rest of her life. The couple knew the risks they were taking by living in a very troubled part of the world, but as journalists, both believed that good reporting was essential to our understanding of ethnic and religious conflict around the globe. That was one of many beliefs they shared, and Pearl would end up paying for it with his life.
As the search went on, Mariane came to learn things about her husband she hadn‘t previously known, like when she finds a list on his computer about the things he most likes about her. Some of these sweet, quieter moments give balance to the book‘s more dramatic and tension-filled passages, and let the reader know more about why the world lost someone special when Pearl was killed.
Much has been written about the case, but there really only is one person who could do justice to the story, and that is the woman who lived through and wrote about it. Her skills as a journalist and her familiarity with the socio and political forces rumbling through Pakistan greatly aid in shaping the narrative, but where it really hits home is in her descriptions of a man who “gave his all to everything he did.“
This is a poignant, personal and painful story of a tragic death incurred by someone trying to do his job well and with honor and integrity, much the same way he lived his life. It was recently announced that Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston‘s production company had bought the rights to the book, so it should be headed for the silver screen soon, but don‘t shortchange yourself - read this fine book.

“Bringing Elizabeth Home: A Journey of Faith and Hope “ by Ed and Lois Smart with Laura Morton
“Since Elizabeth returned home, there have been many questions surrounding what happened to her while she was gone. As her parents, we wish to protect our daughter‘s privacy and will not share the terrifying details of her captivity. We feel privacy is something Elizabeth, having survived nine months of torment, is entitled to. Perhaps someday she will choose to publicly share her story. That is her decision to make -- not ours.“
Okay, then, one can reasonably ask, why was this book written, along with its authors having made a dizzying slate of talk show and TV appearances with everyone from Oprah to Katie Couric? (Just for the record, Couric‘s prime-time interview with Elizabeth and her parents, Ed and Lois, on Friday, October 24 snared 11.9 million viewers, beating out the Barbara Walters‘ ABC 20/20 interview with Princess Diana‘s butler Paul Burrell, which drew 8.8 million viewers.
In case you haven‘t been out of the country for most of 2003, Elizabeth Smart is a now 16-year-old Mormon girl from Utah who at age 14 was kidnapped and held captive for nine months by Brian David Mitchell and his wife, Wanda Barzee. The pair have been charged with kidnapping, burglary and sexual assault, and Elizabeth has returned home to her family and on to the business of being a healthy American teenager.
Because of the pain the family has been through, one can‘t believe that the Smarts wrote this book for reasons other than noble ones, such as thanking the many who were involved in efforts to find and rescue Elizabeth. Devout Mormons, they have also stated that part of their undertaking this effort was to reinforce their belief in the “ultimate proof that God answers prayers.“ Doubleday vice president Suzanne Herz says, “The Smarts wrote the book with the best of intentions. It raises a lot of issues about how people can help find abducted children.“
The book is heart-felt, yet curiously restrained, and does not really provide any new information on their daughter‘s ordeal, though I‘m not sure that there would be any purpose to openly discussing the sordid details of her time in captivity, the sexual abuse, and so forth. Ed and Lois alternate chapters that primarily focus on the role their religious faith played in their dealing with Elizabeth‘s absence and her final return; the strengthening of their marriage through a crisis that could have torn them apart; the details of the search; and the intrusiveness of the media.
No one but the Smart family members and those closest to them will ever truly be able to understand the personal hell they endured, but “Bringing Elizabeth Home“ is at its most touching when it describes the joy they experienced on her return. The loss temporary or otherwise - of a child is absolutely a parent‚s worst nightmare, and being reunited with a missing child must seem like nothing short of a miracle. If there‘s anything this book conveys with complete focus, it is that.

 
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