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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. . . .


- August 9th, 2010
Finding the Griffon
It has been said that no matter how much you know about a subject,
you’re never an expert unless someone else says you are. Since no one
has ever claimed that about me, and I don’t have a diploma, I can’t
claim to be an expert on any subject, and therefore don’t speak with
the Voice of Authority .
However, as a Traverse City native and a lifetime avocational
archaeologist, I have studied the history and archaeology of the area
for over fifty years, with some noteworthy area archaeological
discoveries to my credit. Since my tentative plans include moving
south in a couple of years, I am currently documenting as many
archaeological sites in the area as I can, so there will be at least
some documentation of the area’s historical sites -- just in case
anyone cares.
Having a particular interest in the nautical and maritime history of
the Grand Traverse region, a subject of particular interest to me has
always been the fate of the Griffon, about which I’ve studied and
researched extensively. If Steve Libert has found it, as claimed in
your article “Search for Le Griffon,” well and good -- another Great
Lakes mystery solved, and I love it when someone solves such
historical mysteries.
However, I don’t feel, on the basis of my research, that Libert has
indeed found the Griffon. I believe his conclusions are erroneous,
based as they are on misinterpretations of existing documentation and
faulty reasoning. My research indicates that the Griffon is nowhere
near where he’s looking, nor did it sink in a storm. It was destroyed
by a storm, to be sure, but only because it was driven aground -- and
you wouldn’t believe where it ran aground. Let’s just say it’s a lot
closer than people think.
Having read internet articles about Libert’s find, I can’t say what
he’s found, although I suspect it’s a beam from a barn someone was
moving across the ice when it fell through. I do know that the beam
in question is not a bowsprit, for the simple reason that it is
squared. No ship ever built carried a square bowsprit. There’s a
reason why a ship’s spars are round.
There are a lot of things I’d like to say to refute Libert’s claim,
but this isn’t the time or place to do so. Oh, and those cannons he’s
hoping to find to prove the identity of his discovery? That’s wishful
thinking, I’m afraid. Those cannons were salvaged by a helmet diver
from Petoskey in the 1940’s, and sold to the government as scrap metal
for the war effort.
Yes, I believe I do know where the Griffon is. Not only that -- I’ve
seen it with my own eyes.

Howard J. Blodgett • TC

The Wine Rack
Re: your “GearBox,” 8/2: Bras inflated with wine?
How about a “dick-definer” instead?
Either you have under-estimated your
readers, or I have over-estimated your audience. I believe the former.
You regularly include well written articles, investigative journalism
and provocative opinions. So where does breast enlargement, with sacks
of wine, figure in? I am hopeful in the future I can read more about
important issues and less of how to enlarge breast tissues with white

Anna Norris • via email
Condition Black
On any given day, NATO hospitals in southern Afghanistan enter
“CONDITION BLACK” – a status that alerts military tactical commanders
that hospital beds are full and patients should be diverted elsewhere.
Commanders’ options are limited however – in the south NATO has only
two Role-3 hospitals – those that are capable of dealing with complex
polytrauma that is a common result of IED blasts.
It’s typical for a soldier to arrive from the battlefield with
injuries requiring vascular, orthopedic, burn, and general surgery.
The most seriously wounded will stop at the British hospital in
Helmand province or the U.S. hospital in Kandahar province for
stabilization surgery prior to the long flight to Europe for further
These hospitals are modern-day “trauma factories” dealing with scores
of brutally battered patients daily, not all of whom are soldiers.
Many of the wounded are innocent Afghan civilians whose neighborhoods
have become battlefields. In fact, Afghanistan Rights Monitor (ARM)
(an independent and impartial Afghan rights group) reports that 1,074
civilians were killed and over 1,500 were injured in the first six
months of 2010.
And that’s where this gets complicated.
Even though the NATO hospitals will report CONDITION BLACK, they will
always make room for NATO troops requiring care; there just is not
another option. Not so for the civilian casualties; in CONDITION
BLACK, NATO will either refuse to collect them from the battlefield,
or deliver them to the poorly-staffed Afghan Army hospital near
Kandahar, which is not capable of complex polytrauma surgery. The
result is that NATO is triaging patients based on
Although the Geneva Conventions require the warring parties to protect
civilians and provide medical care to the wounded, the U.S. chose to
escalate the war knowing that civilians would increasingly be killed
and wounded – without a proper level of trauma care in place. While
ARM attributes 60 percent of civilian casualties to the Taliban, they
are not a signatory to the Geneva Conventions and have no medical
facilities. Such is the condition of conducting a counterinsurgency –
the burden lies with the nation states – U.S. and United Kingdom.
In July 2009, General McChrystal issued a directive that required
commanders to more carefully consider civilian casualties while
engaging the enemy. A June 29, 2010 article by Amnesty International
credits this policy with a 28% reduction in civilian deaths in the
second half of 2009 from the same period in 2008.
A small group of veterans – part of Veterans For Peace – in Traverse
City – appealed to the Chairman of the Senate Armed Services
Committee to investigate the lack of medical care to civilians.
Senator Levin has yet to respond.
Meanwhile, in this poor isolated nation with few true allies, the most
innocent bear the brunt of the suffering; six civilians are killed and
eight wounded daily. It’s time to end the war. Short of that the
Commander-In- Chief must do the morally right thing – provide medical
care to civilians at the same level offered to NATO forces.

Dave Lannen • TC

Dave Lannen is a retired U.S. Air Force colonel, a veteran of Iraq
and Afghanistan, and a volunteer with Veterans For Peace in TC.

Last week‘s article on Cafe Sante in Boyne City listed incorrect
hours. The restaurant is open 7 days a week, 8-3 breakfast and lunch,
Mon-Sat 3-11 dinner and Sun 3-10 dinner.
Also, a Northern Seen photo failed to mention that Teresa Crouse was
co-chair of the D’Art for Art fundraiser.

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