Letters 12-05-2016

Trump going back on promises I’m beginning to suspect that we’ve been conned by our new president. He’s backpedaling on nearly every campaign promise he made to us...

This Christmas, think before you speak Now that Trump has won the election, a lot of folks who call themselves Christians seem to believe they have a mandate to force their beliefs on the rest of us. Think about doing this before you start yelling about people saying “happy holidays,” whining about Starbucks coffee cup image(s), complaining about other’s lifestyles…

First Amendment protects prayer (Re: Atheist Gary Singer’s contribution to the Crossed column titled “What will it take to make America great again?” in the Nov. 21 edition of Northern Express.) Mr. Singer, the First Amendment states: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof …”

Evidence of global warming Two basic facts underlay climate science: first, carbon dioxide was known to be a heat-trapping gas as early as 1850; and second, humans are significantly increasing the amount of CO2 in Earth’s atmosphere through the burning of fossil fuels and other activities. We are in fact well on our way to doubling the CO2 concentrations in our atmosphere...

Other community backpack programs I just read your article in the Nov. 28 issue titled “Beneficial backpacks: Two local programs help children.” It is a good article, but there are at least two other such programs in the Traverse City area that I am aware of...

A ‘fox’ in the schoolhouse Trump’s proposed secretary of education, Betsy DeVos (“the fox” in Dutch), is a right-wing billionaire; relentless promoter of unlimited, unregulated charter schools and vouchers; and enemy of public schooling...

Home · Articles · News · Letters · Letters 8/15/02
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Letters 8/15/02

Various - August 15th, 2002
A burning (CD) issue

After reading Robert Downes‘ latest “Random Thoughts“ (“The Day the Music Died“ 8/1) I am compelled to
pooh-pooh the entire notion that the music industry as we know it is
something we should keep alive or are somehow obligated to preserve by
purchasing CDs. I have no compunction about burning CD copies of music any
more than I feel guilty about switching television channels during
commercials. While I do feel compassion for those who might be thrown out
of work because of the closing of the traditional record store, it is a
natural and unavoidable consequence of an evolving technology base and those
who choose not to cling to the old model are not to blame for the change.
Perhaps the huge, money-driven, lowest-common-denominator Entertainment
Industry giants are to blame for not adapting their tactics to the changing
world. If I can burn copies of CDs for mere pennies, why can‘t I purchase
music from the internet or in stores for a reasonable price? Or is it that
the Entertainment Industry gods have decided that I need to subsidize Bad
Boys and Pop Tarts peddling mindless drivel with a wicked rhythm track and
soft-porn images?
Music won‘t die - it‘s an art form practiced by tens of thousands of
little-known and poorly paid musicians, songwriters, and performers all over
the nation who, please God, might just get a better break if Britney Spears
and Aerosmith weren‘t sucking up all the corporate dollars available. If we
can‘t buy CDs because the music companies can‘t make a profit, we might just
have to become a society that frequents small venue live performances to get
our musical fix.
Is the era of the rock star and the pop goddess over? Please, let it be

Ginny MacDonald • via email

God and the Pledge

It seems to me, that since the Constitution of the United States was patterned after the Constitution of the Presbyterian Church, that our founding fathers were very cognizant and accepting of the existence of God.
I believe that their intent when they wrote “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion...“ was a conscientious effort to deny a specific system of belief (i.e. Christianity - belief in the Trinity of God, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit; Judaism - belief in the same God but accepting Jesus Christ as a prophet only; Islam - belief in the same God but with Mohammed as a greater prophet than the prophet Jesus Christ) from becoming the law of the land. However, there was no specific exclusion of the God of all religions (by whatever name we wish to give God).
If the Pledge of Allegiance specifically said “under the Bible“, or “under the Torah“ or “under the Koran“ I would agree with you that it has no place in our government (re: Random Thoughts, George Foster 7/25). However, it does not say these things. It says “under God“ referring to the “God of all“ regardless of which specific religion one chooses to believe in, and who was specifically present in the minds of the founding fathers who used the Presbyterian denomination as a guide to the establishment of the Constitution of the United States.

Joel Secrist • Traverse City

Don‘t deny access

I have an idea. For those who believe denying access to Lake Michigan by the National Park Service by purchasing and closing off several miles of county roads is a good thing... stay out now. Quit going in. Simple as that.
The NPS‘s nationwide push to deny access in several National Parks, while noble in some aspects, will truly serve only one result.
Those areas will be preserved for the rich who live there and the privileged, those who work for the National Park Service.
Those who have suggested the hike from M-22 down Esch road to Lake Michigan is merely 20 minutes are obviously healthy and able-bodied. Many differently-abled folks use these sites. Those of older years and those not so able to walk need a little more enlightened thinking from those of us still lucky enough to be healthy.
Those who presently use the sites are exceedingly considerate. I am a life-long Lake Michigan lover. My soul is there... I am a fierce protector of it. The care and respect most visitors use on the beach and in the woods is phenomenal.They generally stay within a two-mile radius of the road, clean up after themselves and rarely leave anything but footprints.
The “pristine*“ areas the park is seeking to preserve are cut-over forests revegetated from the logging era. What Once Was is gone already. What remains is pretty much as it has been since that time albeit natural erosion occurs.
Shutting off the access. The words alone are negative. Shutting off the access only denies common folk a chance to get away for a few hours and enjoy the water.
No matter what the National Park Service chooses to do or not do, I , for one, will not be denied.

Chris Convissor • Lake Ann

(Check out this week‘s Guest Opinion from Park Superintendent Dusty Schultz regarding the NPS‘s turnabout on this issue -- ed.)

Leelanau‘s spacious boondoggle

Leelanau County taxpayers, voters and residents, all in the second smallest county in the State, should be proud and overjoyed with the proposed jail and courthouse/office complex when finished. The 52,000/ft jail, up from 24,196/ft, and the 35,000/ft courthouse, up from 29,100/ft will be the most captivating and spacious out-of-the way government offices of any in the State. This does not include the office still talked about in Lake Leelanau.
This appears to be the county board‘s way to correct past mistakes; not only at a high cost to the taxpayers, but also, the most inefficient way to conduct court and county business with offices miles apart. However, there is some benefit in the board‘s thinking. There will be plenty of room to increase county government and staff to handle the predicted 200,000 population cited by commissioner Pisor
at a recent meeting.
Total construction cost on data given by the architect could reach as high as $14,750,000, not including cost overruns in Leland reconstruction. Add to this the bond interest that could be as high as $11,000,000, depending upon 20 or 30 year pay-off, for a total of $25,750,000.
The board gave very little thought to the additional taxpayer burden in light of other planned costs. To the best of my knowledge, not one commissioner has ever been involved in a multi-million dollar construction project. Two experienced people voiced their opinion how $5 million could be saved by consolidation and thousands more each year in operating expenses.
Whatever happens, time is of the essence. Several board members are determined to have all contracts signed before the new seven-member board takes office on 1/1/03.
So, just be proud and overjoyed that the facilities issue is being settled without a plan, cost data and most of all, your VOTE.

Bernard U. Glettler • Maple City

Torture and Israel

As the United States, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Israel congregate to address the status of the current situation within the Occupied Territories, many obstacles and understatements come into play. It is not something published on the front page of any major newspaper or magazine. It is not an issue addressed on any of the major news channels in the U.S. as readily as are the Hamas or Islamic Jihad suicide bombings or attacks against the Israeli settlers. However, brutal suppressive cruelty is a means of maintaining control over the Palestinians.
It is a fact that the Israeli Army, with the support of Arik Sharon‘s Zionist militant governing faction, is an advocate of torture in numerous instances against the Palestinians. The behavior and method of interrogation that has been endorsed by the Zionist government for some time, and their generalized attitude towards the PLO as representatives of third-class citizens who are taking up valued land that could be used for the raising of new illegal settlements reflects the nature of an oppressive force. Does South Africa, Bosnia, or the Native American struggle ring any bells?
Not only Palestinian militants who are carrying out attacks are being subjected to the brutal interrogations of the Israelis, but also Palestinians participating in nonmilitant demonstrations who are not conforming with the Israeli leadership‘s motives, directives, and goals. Many instances of the indefinite incarceration and brutal torture of women and children by the Israeli Army have been recorded but not reported by the mainstream media. It has been reported that these torturous interrogations are not to gain vital information about the planning of terrorist attacks, but to gain information about “crimes“ that have already been committed.
I believe that the United States of America, a country that advocates humanitarian rights for every individual regardless of nationality, race, and even if the individuals are a “detainee“ status, needs to stand up for Palestinians at least on the level of basic human respect and common decency, and say enough is enough.
The United States influence on Israel is great. Edward Said, author of the Politics of Dispossession, reports that 48% of American foreign aid money goes directly to Israel with no strings attached. When Israel invaded South Lebanon in I982, the United States sent $2.5 billion in virtually free foreign aid used primarily by Israel to fund the invasion.
To justify any militant action in the Middle East (Palestine, Afghanistan, and possibly Iraq} should we not advocate unconditional humane treatment for the innocents that happen to be stuck in this mess, and that are more deeply affected by it than we will ever be able to comprehend?

Jacob Mikus • Beulah

Don‘t break park promise

When the words “land swap“ and “ Homestead Resort“ are used in the same context, it is wise to pay attention. Currently in the works is a proposed swap, instigated by the Homestead Resort in Glen Arbor, which involves a wetland area, in Homestead ownership, and a beautiful piece of wooded land with a spectacular view of Lake Michigan, in the Park Service (our) ownership.
The Executive Committee of the Traverse Group of the Sierra Club, of which I am a member, while naturally recognizing the necessity of protecting wetlands, vehemently opposes this proposal as being unfair to the citizens of Michigan and the entire country, and most definitely unfair to the former owners who, more than 30 years ago, received a promise that their land would be protected in perpetuity as a National Park treasure. Indeed, the Sierra Club was one of the earliest and most vocal of this proposal when it first surfaced in the 1980s.
What the public should know is that Robert Kuras of the Homestead was reportedly spotted recently in Washington with former U.S. Senator from Michigan Don Riegle (remember him and his S & L buddies?), lobbying Michigan members of Congress to include this proposed swap as a tagalong on bills having to do with park issues in Oregon and Washington state. This outrageous way of sneaking the proposal through would require only House approval, almost completely bypassing citizen involvement in the decision. It properly belongs in the General Management Plan being formulated by the National Lakeshore, and open to public input through the proper process.
The Traverse Group of the Sierra Club is planning, in addition to our previously scheduled outings, one or more hikes in the area which is coveted by the Homestead. We will be able to imagine what this area would look like if it‘s “conformed“ to accomodate condos and a golf course. Many, many trees destroyed? An absolute certainty.
Those interested in hiking and exploring the area are welcomed to call me at (231) 947-9104 or johnbetty@bignetnorth.net or Monica Evans at (231) 325-6812 or imagine@bignetnorth.net. We welcome your interest and participation.

John E. Lewis • Traverse City

Women and long locks

“Feel like letting my freak flag fly.“ Yummy alliteration aside, that has to be the most personal freedom, the most individualism, the most bucking-the-system attitude ever crammed into seven short words. Not having heard that particular cut before, I thank you Robert Downes for introducing me to a little more of David Crosby‘s funny brilliance (Random Thoughts 7/18).
Your take on men‘s hair lengths and the cultural/societal meanings you ascribe to them was, as is often the case, a bit off center yet right on the mark. You might be interested to know that this is by no means a gender-specific issue. Women -- myself included -- struggle with finding a length or look we like which also transmits the “correct“ social message about who we are.
In pigtails, ponytails, braids, or left down and flying, long hair has always been the exclusive domain of the young female. Television helped to indoctrinate us to that rigid distinction. For a generation who grew up watching “Laugh In“ and “Little House on the Prairie,“ it was made abundantly clear that long hair meant young and hip and short hair meant old and “establishment.“
Case in point: Laura Ingalls was defined by her pre-adolescent zeal for life and her ever-present braids. But once she became Laura Ingalls Wilder, wife and schoolteacher, she never let her hair down again. Oh, to be sure, it was still long, but it was perennially trussed up and wound and bound to the top of her head. A long-lasting lesson was taught in that stark contrast. On TV, only Cher was able to get away with long hair, but then, as now, Cher‘s always written her own rules and played her own game so she hardly counts.
Growing up, I always had long hair. I sported differing lengths -- from shoulder-grazing to tuck-it-into-my-jeans -- but the styles were exclusively those found in the “Long Hair“ section of the hairstylists‘ books. I loved my hair, defined myself by it in emotionally weaker times, and endured physical hardships because of it. “Night strangling“ was an all too common occurrence -- when my hair would wind itself around my face and neck while I was sleeping. I woke up from many a nightmare disoriented and freaked out by the veil of brown wrapped around my head. And at its longest point, at the height of my feminine ability to grow hair, it was so full and heavy (a mixed blessing, I assure you) I actually had relentless headaches from the sheer weight of all that hair hanging off the back of my head. When I finally realized that particular cause and effect relationship, I knew my hair‘s days were short (pun indulged but not intended). Yet I put off the shearing, too comfortable with my long tresses, waiting for the right moment.
When, at 30, I enrolled in college for the first time, I knew my right moment had finally come. I felt insecure enough at being such an old college freshman; I didn‘t need people thinking I was trying to pass myself off as a teenager by wearing long hair. So off it came.
The change has been gradual -- inching its way up my neck by, well, inches every year. As my age goes up, so does the vertical length of my hair. But I‘ll let you in on a secret. Sometimes I really miss my long hair. I miss the long, slow stroke of the hairbrush from the crown all the way down to the ends. I miss the feel of strand upon strand gently swaying against my back with my every movement. I miss being able to see my hair without having to look into a mirror.
So why do I do it? Why do I keep getting it cut? Because I‘m 37 years old and it‘s just not proper to have two feet of hair hanging off my head. Regrettably, my days of braids and pigtails are long gone. But I‘ll tell you, Mr. Downes, if you ever make it to that beach in Australia, keep an eye out for a short little 50-year old woman with light blue eyes and 24 glorious inches of auburn hair flying in the wind -- unless I‘ve chosen a different color by then. You and I could exchange those high fives while reveling in the glory of, as you called it, our flowing manes of righteous hair. And, yes sir, what a fine day that will be.

Michelle Swanson • Bear Lake

(Thanks Michelle. For what it‘s worth, Sheryl Crow is one 40-year-old woman who retreated from the short-hair-after-30 syndrome. This is what she had to say in the Aug. 7 issue of Entertainment Weekly: ‘‘It sounds sexist, but (people) equate long hair with being sexy. I remember, when I had my hair short, opening a magazine and it saying that I looked like a soccer mom.‘‘ On the other hand, she also appeared half-naked at the Grammy‘s, so maybe her‘s isn‘t the best judgement. -- R.D.)

The hair police

This long hair vs. short hair morass struck a familiar chord... and a dissonant one at that (re: “Long hair and men,“ Letters 8/1). I suspect the letter‘s author was fueled by passion rather than malice when he associated buzz cuts with Nazis. Another injustice. I think of Tim Hall, whose hair style has varied in length whilehe‘s remained consistent in caring for other human beings. he was a founding member of Hate-Free TC and was responsible for bringing Unity Fest to Traverse City.
I‘ve had my own brush with the hair police. In high school my friend Renee braided her long blonde hair while I unleashed my untamed mane. Then, I too, judged others, specifically the suburban girls with chemical curls. Renee and I looked forward to finding ourselves on Glamoour magazine‘s “Don‘t“ page.
Now 30 years later, we‘re still quibbling and pigeon-holing others for their outward appearances. I suggest the high ground belongs to no particular party whether they sport their hair long or short, curly, confined, colored or convulated with barrettes and bows.
just last week a friend tried to tame my tresses. She suggested hair products and hair pieces. I just smiled. She painted her nails pink and combed her frosted blonde hair. We‘re from different eras, affected by unseen influences. We diverge. I embrace that.
After preening, we all went dancing. We met people with pink hair, perms, ponytails, buzz cuts and bowl cuts. When the evening was over we‘d drank and danced and shared an intense evening together. I am hopefuul I can continue to recognize my prejudices, then bury them. After all, there‘s another dance tomorrow night.

Ann Norris • TC

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