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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. . . .


- December 13th, 2010
Speak up for Liz Larios
The night after I read about Liz Larios in the Northern Express I woke
up and couldn’t get back to sleep. I could not get the vision out of
my head of this beautiful young woman who was pictured in the N.E.
with her fiance, being grabbed up in her own front yard, in her
pajamas, not being allowed to get dressed, dragged to multiple
detention centers before being dumped, still in her pajamas, across
the border.
Can this be happening in our country? Has it come to this? Liz came
here as a child; lived her life here; this is her home. Her crime? She
was born in Mexico. Her parents’ crime? They sought a better life some
18 years ago when crossing into the U.S. was what people did, trying
to escape hunger, poverty and few economic options. Wouldn’t I do the
same thing to try to provide for my family?
Those of us who don’t think this is an acceptable policy - to drag
away people who are working and living their lives - need to speak up.
Our democracy -- as broken as it is -- is all we have. We need to
contact those in power and demand that this gestapo-type behavior
stop. We must figure out a coherent, just immigration policy so that
the millions of people living in limbo can get on with their lives. In
the meantime, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency
(ICE) must be forced to stop its inhumane treatment of undocumented
Recently, it was reported that Homeland Security Secretary Janet
Napolitano said her agency should spend its resources tracking down
“criminal aliens” — threats to public safety and national security.
“What doesn’t make as much sense is the idea of spending our
enforcement resources to prosecute young people who have no criminal
records, who were brought here through no fault of their own, so they
have no individual culpability, and who now want to go to college or
serve in our armed forces,” she said. The ICE agency is not in
compliance with these guidelines.
There is a local group forming to address this issue. If you want to
get involved, contact Father Wayne Dziekan at 231-409-1387 or

Sally Van Vleck
Neahtawanta Center

Say yes to roundabouts
Traverse City has pondered & pondered, wondered & wondered -- said
yes, said no, gone on & on. About what? About roundabouts.
What’s a roundabout? A traffic circle, a rotary. You know those things
that are all over Europe -- and we Americans hate them. When do we get
on this spinning carousel? How and where do we get off? We have a
tendency to go round and round, as if on a merry-go-round. We
Americans hate roundabouts, rotaries, traffic circles. At this point,
The City of Traverse City is not about to build any roundabouts.
And yet the city of Carmel, Indiana built 60 of these things since
2001. Sixty roundabouts in nine years. Why did Carmel, Indiana, which
was one of the first cities in America to build traffic lights -- and
they are now in the process of tearing down many traffic lights in
Carmel, Indiana -- why did they build so many roundabouts?
“In revamped intersections there has been an 80% drop in crashes
involving injuries.“ Did you hear that? An 80% drop -- and those last
four words are very significant -- in crashes involving injuries. Not
fender benders, but those kind of crashes where somebody gets hurt.
Wow! Not 30% or 50%. This is much more significant: this is an 80%
drop in crashes involving injuries. Again, wow!
And here is the second statistic -- and all this is from an article in
Newsweek, October 11, written by Tom Vanderbuilt: “Roundabouts can
reduce fatal accidents by as much as 90%” And we thought an 80% drop
was significant. What about a 90% drop? “Reduce fatal accidents by as
much as 90%.”
I should stop repeating myself, yelling figures at you -- and Traverse
City should get on with it now. If not 60, we should build at least 40
roundabouts in the next 10 years.
My reasons are simple, I want to live in, I want friends and family to
visit, a city that has reduced car-related injuries by 80% and
car-related deaths by 90%.

Henry Morgenstein Southhampton, UK

Our endless wars
The NATO summit in Lisbon has concluded and the date has been set –
the Afghan war will be won and troops will come home in 2014 or 2015
or beyond, depending on the spin.
As wars go, Afghanistan is a particular conundrum; even before it
became an insurgency it was entangled in ethnic, religious and
regional discord. When the U.S. lifted the bothersome restraints of
the rule-of-law and accepted more expedient measures of torture,
extrajudicial executions, and extraordinary rendition, it ceded the
moral balance to the insurgents. This shucking-off of moral and
ethical restrictions served Al-Qaeda and the Taliban well in
recruiting men and women willing to die for their cause.
As I write, the George Washington Battle Group is off the North Korean
coast as a warning to Pyongyang in the latest game of chicken in the
60-year war across the 38th Parallel. When we did this in 1964 in the
Gulf of Tonkin, with the USS Maddox, we became entangled in Vietnam
and lost 60,000 Americans.
This brings us back to the Afghan war termination date. It is
inculcated in the psyche of American general officers that given
enough money, soldiers, and time, any war can be won. While the U.S.
is subsidizing the defense of Europe, Republic of Korea (ROK), Japan,
etc., those countries are investing in infrastructure, education,
science and technology. As we escalate the Afghan war, China – its
neighbor to the east – is out-producing the U.S. in cars and
While investing in arms and building bases in the Republic of Korea –
28,000 U.S. troops at 16 bases – this country the size of Indiana
surpassed us in academic achievement. They now rank second in math,
seventh in science, and first in reading. The U.S. ranks 27th, 22nd
and 33rd respectively. If that were not painful enough, in the past
decade the ROK’s main financial index (KOSPI) gained 50% while the
main U.S. index (DJI) gained 1.5%.
When this “war on terror” started, my oldest son was seven. Today he
turns 17 and eligible to enlist in the military with his choice of
wars - his father’s (Iraq and Afghanistan) or his grandfather’s
We are fools for engaging in religious civil wars against an enemy
beyond western comprehension, where the only winners are weapons
dealers, Karzai, and his corrupt ministers. Regardless of the
termination date, it’s certain that the generals running the war today
will have retired. Rather than debating a termination date that is
predicated on victory, let’s accept the inevitable defeat and expedite
the conclusion.

Dave Lannen • TC
Dave Lannen is a member of Veterans for Peace who served in
Afghanistan and Iraq.

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