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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- July 29th, 2013  

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Cast not the first stone...

The Defense of Marriage Act was stuck down. It’s a bitter pill for many Christians who believe that homosexuality is narrowly defined as a sexual act devoid of human emotion.

They contend that gayness is a choice. They believe that acceptance of homosexuality is the ruination of America; to the exclusion of poverty, exploitation, greed and the violence we visit upon each other and the people of other nations.

It’s not as if Christians have not erred in the judgment of others. They ethnically cleansed Native Americans. They believed black slaves were genetically equal to animals. They fought interracial marriage.

Time and time again throughout history some Christians have denounced “others” as morally and mentally inferior, denying them liberty, respect and acceptance.

Martin Luther King Jr. once described the depth of love God asked of us to show towards our neighbors as well as our enemies. “It is a love that seeks nothing in return. It is an overflowing love; it’s what theologians would call the love of God working in the lives of men. And when you rise to love on this level, you begin to love men, not because they are likeable, but because God loves them. You look at every man, and you love him because you know God loves him.”

To those who believe that gay marriage is a bridge too far, your feelings have been heard and duly noted. You are free to stand alone in judgment before God and confess you tried to stop it, socially stigmatizing homosexuals, fostering an atmosphere of discrimination, bullying, suicides and murder. God have mercy on you. Ezekiel writes God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah because of pride, haughtiness, excess food and prosperous ease, inhospitality towards strangers and indifference to the poor; ironically a perfect description of the U.S today.

Julie A Racine • Marion

The coming water wars

Water is a finite resource. All the fresh water there ever was, or will be, is on Earth now, and 20% of it is in the Great Lakes Watershed .

Threats to our precious water are already here. Pollution and invasive species are a part of this. Climate change, diversion and extraction are depleting the availability of clean water in Pure Michigan.

We allow the taking of up to 30 million gallons per well for the hydro-fracking process, poison it with numerous chemicals that don’t have to be disclosed, and it is then forever unusable.

What will that do to the needs of people and the ecosystems that support us? What will happen to our Pure Michigan economy, one that is based on tourism and agriculture?

We need a change of consciousness.

Think about it.

Ann Rogers • TC

A must-see film

I would like to thank Gary Howe for sponsoring the important film, “The Human Scale,” on Wednesday, 7/31 at Milliken Auditorium and on Thursday, 8/1 at the Bijou by the Bay. The film is about designing the future around people rather than letting cars cause such a mess. So many of our current problems, from global warming to childhood obesity are exacerbated by car-centric design. Jan Gehl’s ideas and leadership deserve our attention.

Mark Nixon • TC

A liberal definition

Fascinated by recent attempts to create definitions of “liberal” and “conservative,” I, a proud liberal, feel compelled to offer a fact-based definition.

“Liberalism (from the Latin liberalis) is a political philosophy or worldview founded on ideas of liberty and equality. In Spain, the Liberales were the first group to use the liberal label in a political context, and that is the reason why it is currently used.

Liberals espouse a wide array of views depending on their understanding of these principles, but generally they support ideas such as free and fair elections, civil rights, freedom of the press, freedom of religion, free trade, and private property (Wikipedia).”

Of course we liberals want everyone to agree with us but a main theme of liberalism is protecting the rights of all people and all opinions (even if we think those opinions are antediluvian).

One attribute of liberals is the time taken to explain complex positions and ideas. Too much of the current political conversation involves attacks on everything from Medicare, Social Security, public schools and voting rights, to nasty personal attacks on President Obama.

To me one of the burdens of being “liberal” is to be open and intellectually honest. It is ideas and the course of our nation we need to discuss, in a thoughtful manner.

One of the discouraging aspects of our current political climate is the vitriol, the misconstruction of the other’s position, a lot of outright falsification, and just plain rudeness.

And so, this is one “liberal’s” plea for honest discussion, not distortion.

Sara Gay Dammann • via email

Supreme arrogance

I’m usually in nearly total agreement with anything Stephen Tuttle writes, but I want to take slight exception to his apparent view of our current Supreme Court in “On Life Support.”

He implies in a recent column that they are a bit doddering, that they have lost touch with reality, that “Their America and the one in which the rest of us live don’t seem to be the same place,” that they have “drifted away” from us, that they “(live) in a world in which the past no longer needs to inform the present ...”

I think Roberts and Co. know exactly what they are doing. It’s all about power. In direct contradiction to Chief Justice Roberts’ promises during his confirmation, the Court has taken nearly every opportunity –-even, in Citizens United, throwing judicial restraint aside and MANUFACTURING an opportunity—to increase corporate power. And in its most important directly political case the Court threw precedent AND evidence aside to gut the Voting Rights Act, thus almost certainly increasing Republican political power. Its main “liberal” rulings --on upholding ObamaCare and striking down federal restrictions on marriage equality—have little to do with power, and in my opinion aim to create a sense of judicial even-handedness, to keep the Court from being seen for what it is, an extremely conservative and activist Court.

Of course, who knows what those five Republican-appointed justices are really thinking. But given their record on important cases, is there any question about where they want to take us? About which side of the political and corporate scales they have their thumbs on?

Ron Tschudy, Central Lake

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