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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Reasons for Optimism in the World

George Foster - January 13th, 2005
Many of you have thrown up your arms in defeat over the state of this planet crumbling in crises. Violence in the Middle East,
a halting economy, and increased divisive-ness between religions and ethnic groups alone is enough to depress Pollyanna at an ice cream social.
In the past, we could hop into our cars and travel most anywhere when we grew tired our wretched lives. Now gasoline pushes $2 per gallon and SUV’s get only 10 miles per gallon. Yikes, is my math correct? That’s only five miles traveled for every dollar spent - forget it.
If all else failed, moving to a desert island in order to cut off all communications with the outside world was an option. Then we discovered tsunamis.
My solution to this dilemma has been to turn off the TV coverage of depressing news and read. And surprisingly, I have found much to be optimistic about on our good planet.
There is now, for the first time in years, reason to be hopeful for peace between the Palestin-ians and Israel. Each of the three main parties to any such Middle East agreement has simultaneously moved to a more favorable political position. Some experts believe it can be done.
Hardliner Ariel Sharon is already planning on withdrawing Israeli troops from Gaza. Yasser Arafat’s death may provide the Palestinians leadership that the U.S. can finally deal with. Most importantly, President Bush’s reelection will give him incentive to enhance his legacy by hammering out a peace accord that has eluded the Middle East for over 50 years.
Did you know that the war on drugs is being won - at least in the biggest supplier country to the United States? Colombia’s production of coca, the main component of cocaine, and poppies, the main ingredient for heroin, have gone down 30-40% in the last few years. Aided by the U.S., Colombia has cracked down more and more on drug shipments and the traffickers themselves.
Chinese women are gaining equal status with men and India has turned down foreign aid for tsunami destruction (they don’t need it). Stories like these are the flipside to the painful outsourcing of American jobs. When former third-world countries lift themselves out of subsistent level life-styles, surely the world will be a more peaceful and better place.
Last month, thousands of NATO troops including Americans, left Bosnia after being deployed for nine years in a peacekeeping mission that has eliminated most of the fighting. After a peak of 60,000 troops, only 250 American soldiers now are stationed in Bosnia. The lesson of Bosnia is that multi-national forces can save lives and bring stability to war-torn countries.
Freedom House, a nonprofit organization promoting democracy, has concluded that the number of “free” countries in the world increased by over 200% in the last 30 years while the “not free” nations decreased by 77%. Even Saudi Arabia is having its first elections in over 40 years - though they are only for municipal councils.
This survey is not entirely rosy, though, as Russia was reclassified back into the “not free” category and Afghanistan and Iraq’s democracies are fragile at best. Still, the quiet trend toward democracy in the world is jarring.
Lastly, I was heartened to see President Bush select former President Clinton as a point person for our country’s aid to the victims of the recent tsunami in the Indian Ocean. Maybe Bush will make good, yet, on his pledge to “be a uniter, not a divider.” Or then again, could there is something to the rumor that the two good ol’ boys just like each other?

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