Letters

Letters 10-27-2014

Paging Doctor Dan: The doctor’s promise to repeal Obamacare reminds me of the frantic restaurant owner hurrying to install an exhaust fan after the kitchen burns down. He voted 51 times to replace the ACA law; a colossal waste of money and time. It’s here to stay and he has nothing to replace it.

Evolution Is Real Science: Breathtaking inanity. That was the term used by Judge John Jones III in his elegant evisceration of creationist arguments attempting to equate it to evolutionary theory in his landmark Kitzmiller vs. Dover Board of Education decision in 2005.

U.S. No Global Police: Steven Tuttle in the October 13 issue is correct: our military, under the leadership of the President (not the Congress) is charged with protecting the country, its citizens, and its borders. It is not charged with  performing military missions in other places in the world just because they have something we want (oil), or we don’t like their form of government, or we want to force them to live by the UN or our rules.

Graffiti: Art Or Vandalism?: I walk the [Grand Traverse] Commons frequently and sometimes I include the loop up to the cistern just to go and see how the art on the cistern has evolved. Granted there is the occasional gross image or word but generally there is a flurry of color.

NMEAC Snubbed: Northern Michigan Environmental Action Council (NMEAC) is the Grand Traverse region’s oldest grassroots environmental advocacy organization. Preserving the environment through citizen action and education is our mission.

Vote, Everyone: Election Day on November 4 is fast approaching, and now is the time to make a commitment to vote. You may be getting sick of the political ads on TV, but instead, be grateful that you live in a free country with open elections. Take the time to learn about the candidates by contacting your county parties and doing research.

Do Fluoride Research: Hydrofluorosilicic acid, H2SiF6, is a byproduct from the production of fertilizer. This liquid, not environmentally safe, is scrubbed from the chimney of the fertilizer plant, put into containers, and shipped. Now it is a ‘product’ added to the public drinking water.

Meet The Homeless: As someone who volunteers for a Traverse City organization that works with homeless people, I am appalled at what is happening at the meetings regarding the homeless shelter. The people fighting this shelter need to get to know some homeless families. They have the wrong idea about who the homeless are.

Home · Articles · News · Letters

Letters

 
Monday, March 10, 2008

Letters 3/10/08

Letters In defense of sculpture
I am amazed that a person who enjoys and profits from the process of creative open communication, would attempt to attack the entire field of creative communication that you call “modern sculpture“ (Random Thoughts 2/25).
First of all, I agree with your general views on the faulty process that has been used in an attempt to place this particular piece of art in the Open Space. You have however made a couple of errors. It is my understanding that the $800,000 was an amount that included much more than the original price of the sculpture. Secondly, the advertisement on the Internet listed in 2006, estimates the value of the piece is as low as $50,000. The price is listed as “Make an Offer.”
Apparently nobody made an offer. It would seem that the sculpture has no monetary value. Apparently a decision was made to give it away.
As to your reflections on “modern sculpture,” according to your wording, I would assume that you mean non-representational, or non-objective sculpture. I am of course a sculptor. I have several large outdoor sculptures on display in several regional cities. Most people would say my sculptures look like machine parts. Some people are amazed with my work. Some people have compared it to “ugly junk.” Although I have a price on my sculptures that are reflective of the cost of materials, the hours of labor, and the 40% to 50% that galleries have to charge to cover their expenses, most of my work is worth absolutely nothing, as no one makes monetary offers for it.
Some of my best discussions about my work have been with individuals that are not impressed with “modern sculpture.” I generally ask, what kind of music do you enjoy? Do you enjoy instrumentals? In the discussion that follows, we usually agree that instrumental music is something that is appreciated. But instrumentals are a completely abstract form of communication. Sound patterns with varying pitch, meter and intensity.
If we can appreciate the abstract arrangement of sound, why do we not accept the abstract arrangement of form? We seem to have a need to link sculpture with representational images. Oh! That is what we do with music; an instrumental conjures up images in our minds of memories of our experiences.
As the discussion continues, I can generally have the person generate a narrative of what they think my sculpture is, and how those thoughts relate to their past. I always answer the same way. Yes, you are right. That is exactly what my sculpture represents. It is amazing that you understand what was in my mind. We part after sharing experiences from our past as ignited by observing the sculpture that they thought was valueless.
Of course, if I have the same discussion with 10 different individuals, I usually come up with 10 different scenerios. All are right as they relate to the person observing the sculpture. Many leave thinking that it is all a lot of nonsense. However, each person will have the image of my sculpture, and what it means to them, forever engraved in their mind.
The world would be a very boring place if everyone thought and saw things the same way. “Modern sculpture” allows each viewer to put something of themselvs in the art work that they are observing. Good or bad, it evokes a creative and unique response.
I think that your article may be misguided. It however, caused me to take the time to write this response. I would assume that my response might generate other responses. Just imagine a world of people thinking for themselves. People discussing what is important to them. It seems that we are both in the same business. You accomplish it with the written word. I do it with “modern sculpture.”
By the way, it seems that you give your product away at no charge. Apparently we share something else. Like this sculpture by John Piet, our work seems to have no monetary value.

Doug Gruizenga • Interlochen
 
Monday, March 3, 2008

Letters 3/3/08

Letters Take back the Court
Over the past year I’ve had the privilege of working with a wonderful group of your neighbors from Leelanau, Benzie and Grand Traverse Counties. We share a deep concern for one of the critical institutions necessary for a thriving democracy: fair and impartial courts.
In our state, like many others, Supreme Court election campaigns have become an embarrassment. In the words of retired U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, “Judicial elections are becoming political prizefights where partisans and special interests seek to install judges who will answer to them instead of the law and the constitution.”
We believe public financing of Michigan Supreme Court election campaigns would provide a viable alternative to the special interests’ campaign finance tug of war to control the Court. Public financing could remove one cause of the erosion of trust and confidence in our judiciary. The existing State Campaign Fund, which has become insignificant in gubernatorial campaigns, could fund contemporary Supreme Court campaigns very adequately.
In a visit to Lansing on February 19th, your neighbors acquitted themselves beautifully in meetings with their state senators and other legislators.
But, realistically, we are not expecting quick victory for an idea as revolutionary as taking special interest money out of Supreme Court elections. The truth is, we need your help. Go to the web site of the Michigan Independent Supreme Court Campaign, www.miscc.org, and sign the online petition. Sometimes ordinary citizens have to lead the leaders. We’re prepared to do that.

Rich Robinson • Michigan
Campaign Finance
Network • Lansing
Remembering Reggie
I can’t believe it’s 13 years since Reggie Box died -- the world is now a much darker place. I remember Reggie as a true revolutionary who wanted to change the system from within. He used to come over to my brother’s house as an escape from the extraordinary pressures that were put on him -- political, corporate and other.
Every move he made was scrutinized by the owners of the radio station he made great. Reggie didn’t want a “radio powerhouse,” he wanted a radio station free from the dictums of this corporate world. He wanted a WABX-style station that could play music reflective of the times. He was so happy when KLT was number one in its prospective market, but the pressure to keep that status was more than he could bear. He told me once: “If only I had a million dollars... “
Now, I hear the last of his legacy is to be auctioned off to the highest bidder -- I am floored! This will remove the last bit of his presence, won’t it? Everyone can move on with their lives. When he passed away and I remember that day, WKLT played non-stop music to honor his life and impact -- Kinks music! Terry Ray was all busted-up, as were we all because we realized the great person we lost. Then there was the memorial and the first auction of his things. WKLT than launched the “Reggie Box Annual Memorial Music Show,” or something because I only remember one! Now this!

Eric Alandt • TC
 
Monday, February 25, 2008

Letters 2/25/08

Letters Cry for Help
I commend the Northern Express for its article and interview regarding the tragic death of Craig Carlson.
Craig was someone to many people. He was a son, grandson, brother, uncle, cousin and friend. On Nov. 10, a Grand Traverse County Sheriff’s sniper decided that Craig’s life would end. I find it appalling that up to 60 officers were involved with this tragedy, which lasted approximately 12 hours, and nobody was successful in assisting Craig with his cry for help!
Twelve hours to talk him down... to find someone that Craig loved and trusted to help... to find a trained professional to assist.
It’s unacceptable that Craig had to die this way. With all of the sketchy details surrounding Craig’s shooting, many questions are being raised that need to be answered. We, as a society, should not “accept” the fact that it is okay for law enforcement to shoot and kill a suicidal person.
I am hopeful that justice will be served for Craig, his family and his friends.

Christie Niesen • Bear Lake

License to kill
Police actions in Craig Carlson’s case give them a license to kill at will without being held accountable. All they need to say is that he was a threat, or lie to have things in the cops‘ favor.
This is why I would never call a cop for any reason, for they always make a bad situation even worse with their lies, bullying, stealing, torture, and now even murder.
You may think I just have a few bad mishaps with police or that there are just a few bad apples, but I am qualified to say that I have experienced all these abuses personally, and some more than once. I never have any need for police for any reason and consider them far worse than any criminal.
I once was trustful enough to give cops money as charity, support their mission, and believe the constant propaganda on TV.
I now know better than to ever ask for any assistance, protection, or help, for I will be the one going to jail, paying a fine, or getting harassed for asking. This has happened more than once. Even going to the police to ‘police‘ themselves brought about no action in my favor -- instead it brought more harm my way. Yes, they have ruined my life, my faith in American justice, and any reason to trust in this fascist illegal government.

Brad Hargett • via email
 
Monday, February 18, 2008

Letters 2/18/08

Letters A $10 million fiasco
Michigan’s recent accelerated primary election, according to State Senator Michelle McManus, was an exemplar of Lansing’s political strategy and a whopping success which thrust our state into the national limelight, greatly increasing its citizens‘ influence on national politics. What on earth was she thinking?
First of all, those of us of the non-Republican persuasion were effectively cut out of the election altogether, even as we cast our meaningless votes for Senator Clinton or “uncommitted.” Even the Republicans, while at least having a full slate of candidates, should know that the National Republican Party slashed their delegate allocation in half.
McManus goes on to state how the acceleration brought candidates to Michigan.
Again, nothing could be further from the truth. No viable Democrats came to Michigan and only a couple of Republicans. We paid out $10 million for this fiasco.
McManus represents the deepest flaw in our state’s entire political process: The modern day professional politician. They have no clue!
They come to the party, but bring nothing; feeding from the table that we the people fill. It‘s an Orwellian nightmare come true: Less is More, War is Peace and Michigan has again benefitted from the benevolent vision of its professional politicians.

Bill Brown, Maple City

Imagine
Imagine spending $2 trillion not on a brutal, unjust war, but instead reaching out to our poor and oppressed fellow humans... feeding the hungry, providing shelter and access to clean water.
Imagine America the beloved – not feared and hated.
Imagine Al Qaeda unable to find new recruits, and the hatred of terrorism defeated finally in the only way it can be – with love!
Imagine Americans awakening from this nightmare of endless war, waged by greedy fear mongers willing to shed the blood of not only their perceived enemy... but of our own children!
Imagine America leading the world to peace through disarmament, and ceasing the insidious manufacture and dissemination of weaponry.
Imagine our military reinvented, that our youth might serve as stewards and humanitarians and begin the healing and rebuilding of the ruin that a century of reckless destruction has wrought. We are on a bus called global warming and we are headed for a cliff my friends.
We cannot – must not – trust our short-sighted driver!
Imagine a bright and promising future for our grandchildren and for theirs, a future based on love and respect for each other and the natural world.

Richard Allen • Leland
 
Monday, February 11, 2008

Letters 2/11/08

Letters A growing trend?
In the world I grew up in policemen didn’t shoot a man in the head to save him from himself.
There are many different ways to deal with a man in Craig Carlson’s state of mind on the night he died, but I absolutely believe the tactics used by the 60 law enforcement officials on the scene that night, to resolve a crisis initiated by this man’s call for help, are criminal and should be investigated as that.
Even more disturbing is the fact this tactic seems to be a growing trend, as exhibited in the deaths of the “Wolf Man” in the Manistee area a couple of years ago, and again in a another stand-off in the Cheboygan area last year.
I’m sure there is a lot I don’t know about each of these situations, and maybe my distance from these incidents allows me a more rational perspective, but I just can’t believe that the resolution in each case had to lead to the death of the PEOPLE involved. I hope the sympathy I have for the people who had to pull the trigger and end these lives isn’t the naive compassion of someone who still wants to believe in the principle of ‘Protect and Serve’.
What I’m witnessing of police behavior leads me to believe law enforcement sees itself as more separate; a brotherhood apart from the general public, not a part of the general public. I realize this is not a recently developed social phenomenon.
I’m pushing 60 years old and I’ve witnessed some degree of separation throughout my life -- it seems to come with the nature of the position of authority. There appears to be more of an ‘us and them’ mentality lately, combined with an increase in available armaments and an air of being above the law somehow themselves. Taken to the extreme it becomes a case of shooting to kill and walking away without consequence.
These actions cause me great concern, not only for what they represent as an acceptable action within the realm of our rural Northern Michigan society, but also because it can only lead to more separation between law enforcement officials and the people they are sworn to serve.
I am very apprehensive of even questioning the actions of these officers and trying to make this issue part of a more open and public debate. I would regret this letter leading to a misunderstanding between myself and law enforcement officers I am acquainted with, but, I very strongly believe the death of Craig Carlson could have been avoided and would hate to see another incident of a similar nature occur.

Robert A. Wallick, Cross Village

 
Monday, February 4, 2008

Letters 2/4/08

Letters Making the grade
Thank you for exploring and writing about the issues surrounding the fatal shooting of a local citizen by a law enforcement employee (“The Story of Craig Carlson,” 1/21).
I work with head injury victims in accessing benefits and have learned that it is not uncommon for individuals suffering from head injury to have occasional bouts of serious depression and/or disorientation with accompanying symptoms. Some of the symptoms are brought on directly by the head injury, other symptoms are the results of medication that needs adjusting, and/or unanticipated life stressors or other factors.
When an individual with a head injury is experiencing an exacerbation of symptoms, it may be better for family members and individuals to contact physicians, mental health care providers, an ambulance or the local ER (unless a police agency has a protocol in place to work with family and mental health professionals during crisis times).
As mentioned at the end of your article, Third Level Crisis Center is most helpful 24/7 in this region.
Our community should be on the alert for more of these types of situations in the future. As a member of a variety of national health concern list-serves, I am acutely aware that thousands of our Iraq veterans will be returning with repetitive concussive head injuries from exposure to powerful, constant blasting that creates environmental vibration acute and significant enough to damage the brain without visible external injury.
It is my hope that our regional health programs that work with head injury victims will also reach out to police agencies to cooperate in these situations in the future – and that police agencies will reach out to the regional health care programs. There are training programs and instructors that could be called upon to help educate our local service providers.
Cooperation among agencies is critical to avoiding such tragedies in the future. I shudder to think about how many of our young, injured veterans all over the country will be returning home from the traumas of war only to face a sniper in their own living room due to lack of agency foresight, cooperation and preparedness.
Can our community learn from this horrible tragedy and work cooperatively in the future when these crisis situations arise?
I hope and pray so.
I feel for the family who is grieving; and I also feel for the police, health, and non-profit agencies that are overburdened and under-funded during these times of great need.

Sharon Neumann • TC
 
Monday, January 28, 2008

Letters 1/28/08

Letters Dear Climate Confused:
We need the temperature measurements you mentioned to more accurately predict the weather, but we don’t need them to know that our earth is warming (re: Letters 1/21). Many measurements indicate that our earth is warming, such as, the increase in ocean temperature, the lengthening of our growing season, the melting of glaciers, etc. These things cannot happen unless our earth is warming.
We can measure the amount of carbon dioxide and oxygen in our atmosphere very accurately, and the ice cores from Greenland and Antarctica allow us to measure both over long periods of time.
For me the most significate measurement is that of oxygen in our atmosphere: in 1976 it was 20.9476, in ‘88 it was 20.9429, and in ‘99 it was 20.9362.
This is a small decrease in oxygen, but the only way we can lose oxygen is through the burning of fosil fuels, and this decrease proves beyond any doubt that we are changing our world.
If you would like to know more, go to my web site and click on comments and then ‘It’s more than carbon dioxide’ and ‘It’s more than global warming.’ http://my.freeway.net/~rrriker.

Richard R Riker Mackinaw City

Conspiracy theorist?
One evening while I was watching TV, I saw a 15-second announcement stating that sometime in 2009 everyone will need to update their TV set because (digital) TV signals will only be broadcast through a cable box. I thought first, “this doesn’t change anything, I already have cable, and so does most everyone else.” My second thought was, “why does it matter how anyone chooses to receive their TV signal?”
Days later I noticed Public Access channel 2 had a U.S. Army-endorsed show about the great things our Army is up to. It didn’t appear to me to be local access anymore.
Today, I read in “The Eagle” that scheduled local access shows are to be broadcast on “Governmental channel 99.” Suddenly, I remembered hearing somewhere... “The revolution will not be televised...”.
I was always told to ask questions, and this is my question: Is something happening to our public access channel?

Gary Wittig • via email

 
Monday, January 21, 2008

Letters 1/21/08

Letters Hellooo Big Brother
Please join me in scrutinizing the costs and ramifications of the Federal REAL ID rider which was attached to a military spending bill (H.R. 1268) and passed without any debate, and signed into law by President Bush on May 11, 2005.
I encourage you to become informed about this legislation. Folks with web access might consider Googling “REAL ID.” The issue has become more relevant to Michigan taxpayers due to a package of bills recently introduced by the Michigan Secretary of State supposedly intended to bring Michigan into compliance with federal requirements that 33 other states have rejected as too costly, and an invasion of individual privacy.
The unfunded mandates of the federal legislation are projected to cost the nation’s taxpayers $23B, according to the Department of Homeland Security. More troubling are concerns about the “show me your papers” mentality of a defacto National ID Card.
Benjamin Franklin said, “Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both...”

Thomas P. O‘Rourke • TC

And Next Up On ESPN,
Windshield Scraping
Your recent fitness issue was hugely disappointing in terms of the absence in coverage of seasonal Northern Michigan activities. Especially for newcomers to the area, it’s a disservice not to review fitness pursuits favored by locals. Since this is the winter season, I’ll focus on just one of the best winter activities that was not covered: roof shoveling.
This rigorous former Winter Olympic event, discontinued due to the death of all participants during the Moscow Onion Dome shoveling debacle, is a regional favorite and can be performed in two forms.
The “ladder form” of course involves climbing a ladder, standing on the step labeled “do not stand on this step,” and using an implement to reach up on the roof and drag snow into the body until the ladder is safely buried in snow and unable to be moved until spring. It’s largely an upper body workout and quite helpful in developing rotator cuff problems.
The more avant-garde form is called the “roof mount” and involves freestyle climbing to the roof’s peak, then the use of smaller implements such as shovels and axes until damage is done to the roof. Labeled an extreme sport by Evil Knievel, the roof mount style actually combines a variety of training techniques, including Pilates-like movement for flexibility and reach, skating/skiing/luging techniques while sliding down the roof’s pitch, and upper back strength while hanging from rain gutters or satellite dishes.
I would like to suggest that future fitness issues be produced by season and include other local favorites, such as spring “Sorel Boot Beach Volleyball,” summer “Men Grilling Meat on Boats Near Flammable Outboard Motors,” and a personal favorite of autumn, “Leaf Piling on City Streets Until Oncoming Traffic Can’t be Seen.”

Dave Murphy • TC

Turkey Quiz
Are you going to tell me that the white domestic turkey was not developed by some sort of selective breeding program? That some turkeys are not now so docile the noise of thunder can influence them to look up, and in heavy rain fill their lungs with enough water to cause a condition just like pneumonia? That Ben Franklin was only just kidding around about the wild turkey?
I ask you this. Is there much white meat on a wild turkey? Can Wild turkeys be very aggressive if the need arises? Have you ever seen two toms fight? Do they roost in the trees? Do you really think that Old Ben was just kidding about this magnificent bird?
I would lay my life on the line for the flag topped by the symbol of our country. But, I also know the eagle. I have seen them in a state called rapture. Have you ever seen eagles dance in the sky? Have you ever seen them eating road kill?
I‘ve picked up lifeless bodies of turkeys that were outside during a thunderstorm. Held them head down. Squished them a bit and had them revive. Not all but some.

Michael H. MacCready • Manton


 
Monday, January 14, 2008

Letters 1/14/08

Letters Our Intrepid Traveler
I wonder how many readers have been as inspired as I have been by Managing Editor Robert Downes’ recent accounts of his “Downes and dirty” globe-circling prowls through the underbelly of the third world’s teeming cities. Maybe you have to have visited some of these places to appreciate that his sort of seat-of-the-pants travel, flopping in two-star hostelries and assorted caravanserai, dining on peasant fare and mixing it up with the locals, is a daunting experience even for twenty-somethings. And Downes has more than a few miles on him.
His column entitled “The Missing” (Northern Express, 12-17-07) is on target, if I may say so, regarding the “missing” American world travelers, once one gets beyond the “safe” destinations. There is a fascinating world out there, folks. The Western Europeans, Canadians, and Aussies don’t shy from it. Our mass media (but certainly not the Express) have traumatized us with exaggerated images of the dangers out there.
I’ll be off to Jerusalem and Israeli-occupied Palestine in a few weeks; my eighth time over there. Should I be afraid? Not at all. Will I watch where I go, and avoid trouble spots? Sure, but no more so than in any American city. And, yes, the attractions are irresistible.
Come on, fellow yankees. American travelers are great ambassadors of goodwill. As a group we are probably as friendly, egalitarian, and generous as any travelers in the world. People may resent the actions of our government, but they like the casual, curious, smiling and unpretentious Americans who do roam the globe. Hasn’t Downes whetted your appetite? Vamanos!
James R. McCormick • TC
On Boardman Pond
As I wake this morning I’m absolutely beside myself with joy. There could never be a better birthday present for me. My prayers have been answered. The water level on the pond has nearly reached the three foot (theatrical) draw-down level.
I don’t know if the DEQ and County have conceded after reviewing all of the evidence we have compiled, or if they just pushed the wrong buttons when attempting to control the Roller Gates, blocking the flow of water instead of letting it flow naturally as we were told.
The wildlife has now taken another shot to the head. Any life living in or around the pond after rebuilding their homes, burrows, or nests have now been caught in a death trap while hibernating.

Bruce Carpenter • TC
 
Monday, January 7, 2008

Letters 1/7/08

Letters Holler? Hello?
Everyone in Antrim, Charlevoix, Grand Traverse, or Emmet County, or all of Michigan, who knew who Benazir Bhutto was, holler.
Everyone who couldn’t answer that question, then identify where Pakistan is, and holler. Everyone who didn’t answer either question, holler.
The probable overwhelming silence is deafening. One faltering-light possibility of democracy in Pakistan and perhaps one which could then have spread to the rest of the Mid East has been doused by an assassination that should never have happened to a peace loving woman.
Why should we respond? We are no longer an agricultural, tourist directed, who-cares-about-what-happens-in-those-places-in-the-world-where-nothing-affects-us people. What happens in Pakistan, in Somalia, in Darfur, in Dubai, happens to us. We must stop being ostriches with our heads in the sand and the resulting rest of our bodies abundantly exposing our true natures.
We are a necessary part of the whole world. Our involvement in our world is a must. How do we start? Do you know where?

Patricia W. Fox • Bellaire

Thank You Officers
During the late evening on Christmas Eve, I was faced with a very scary and potentially dangerous situation while taking care of the dogs of some friends at their home near Frankfort while they were away for the holiday. As soon as I realized what I was facing (a home
invasion with, it appeared, the intruder still in the home), I took the dogs and left in my car.
Afraid and quite shaken, I called 911. The dispatcher was professional, reassuring and helped me stay calm. She told me the police would be on their way immediately. She called me back a few moments later to confirm my safe location (a nearby church parking lot) and her voice on the other end of the phone reminded me that, although frightened, I was not alone.
The police officers arrived within 5 minutes, bringing with them their K9 dog. I would like to take this opportunity to thank them publicly for their fast response, professionalism and genuine concern.
The Benzie County police force has come under intense scrutiny and the reputation of the Department has been questioned several times over the past few years. I am not writing this letter to defend, repute, condone or condemn those allegations. In fact, I do not know any of the officers that work at the Department personally.
I am simply writing to say that on Christmas Eve 2007, the Benzie County Police Department acted swiftly and with great competence. They treated me with the utmost respect and made me feel protected and safe. They were honest, upfront and acted with integrity. As a woman, I did not, for one moment, feel like I was not being taken seriously. They did a thorough search, returned and explained their findings, assuring me that the home was again safe and secure.
And so, to the Benzie County Sheriff’s Department, I would like them to know that I was, and am, extremely grateful. Thank you for being there. Thank you for your service. And thank you for a job well done.

Monica Evans • Honor
 
Monday, December 31, 2007

Letters 12/31/07

Letters Gift of Giving
As Santa, I always like to say thank you for good deeds done with a happy heart. So first of all, thank you to Northern Express for your recent My Style that featured yours truly. I think it opened people‘s eyes to the ins and outs of Santa fashion. But I‘m really writing to say thank you to a young man named Alex who gave me a gift at my downtown Traverse City house. Imagine, a gift for Santa! It was unprecedented. I was so touched, it brought tears to my eyes. As I promised Alex, I waited for Christmas to open it and to my surprise, I found a “Wishlist Santa“ from Michigan State University, all dressed in Spartan green. Thank you so much for such a thoughtful gift, which I will keep on the mantle over my fireplace. Alex, you have realized the real gift of giving at Christmas. Maybe there‘s a future for you at the North Pole.
P.S. I hope you got the snowboard.

Santa (Al Lien)

DEMOCRATIC FYI
Here’s an FYI for Democratic primary voters. Michigan’s primary will be held January 15, 2008. The Democratic ballot will have 6 choices: Hillary Clinton; Christopher Dodd, Mike Gravel, Dennis Kucinich, Uncommitted, and Write-in.
Please notice that 4 names are missing from the list. Supporters of Joe Biden, John Edwards, Barack Obama and Bill Richardson are urged to vote “uncommitted” instead of writing in their candidates’ names because write-in votes for those candidates will not be counted under state law. A vote for “uncommitted” is a vote to send delegates to the Democratic National Convention who are not committed or pledged to any candidate. Those delegates can vote for any candidate they choose at the Convention.

Pearl Brown • Traverse City

Primary Issues
Cost of Michigan‘s Presidential primary January 15, 2008: $10,000,000+.
Influence of Michigan‘s primary: Down 75%. (We‘ve lost half our Republican delegates, and all our Democratic delegates.)
Private files on primary voters: Free for the Democratic and Republican party machines -- exclusively.
Voters‘ privacy: Priceless…which, to big-party fat cats, apparently equals worthless. (We the People must also show ID to prove we‘re the same people who registered -- or waste time, and more tax dollars, on paperwork.)
What you can do January 15: Pick a party that doesn‘t already drown you in junk mail. Vote for whichever of its candidates you like most -- or least… or an underdog or write-in. Then, whenever that party solicits you, it‘ll be delaying the next first-class postage-rate increase.
What you can do November 4: Vote for other parties and other candidates. If we elect them, the expressions on those fat cats‘ faces really will be priceless.

John Anthony La Pietra • Marshall


 
Thursday, December 27, 2007

Letters 12/27/07

Letters Sovereign Dud
Winston Churchill, Mahatma Gandhi, and Harry Truman are all reputed to have echoed the message of Matthew, Chapter 25: ‘A society is ultimately judged by how it treats its weakest members.’ Contrasting this humanitarian view is the vision of Sovereign Deed, as stated by its colorful founder Barrett Moore:
“Sovereign deeds are those actions we take that guarantee our...independence...actions that make us less reliant and... empower us to protect... ourselves.”
Thus, in Moore’s cowboy world, if you happen to have fifty thousand dollars to spend, you, the self-reliant individual, might survive the next major disaster. If, however, you are just part of the collective, dependent rabble, you probably won’t survive.
Ironically, the fittingly-trademarked motto of Sovereign Deed was the guiding principle of our government from the New Deal to the dawn of Reaganism. The government existed to attempt to “plan, protect, and provide” welfare for all its citizens. Tragically, however, since Reagan, and the rise of ‘Chicago School’ economic acolytes, the notion of a ‘commonwealth,’ and ‘common good’ has been scrapped for social Darwinist anarchy. In this Blade-Runnerist, laissez-faire nightmare, New Orleans, for example, is literally left to drown.
The social concepts of planning, protecting and providing care have become trademarks for a company like Sovereign Deed. In this world, Paris Hilton’s life is intrinsically more valuable than that of a Pellston firefighter.
Embracing fear and exclusivity is not the answer for ending the economic malaise of Pellston, Michigan, or the United States. The true answer is to embrace hope and inclusion - to imagine a reawakening of the New Frontier dream of John F. Kennedy. The answer is to spend a fraction of what is being wasted in Iraq on developing alternative energy sources and transportation services.
Governor Granholm should be ashamed of herself for accepting the promises of a late-night TV snake-oil salesman.

Matthew Malpass • East Jordan

Only the Wealthy
I just wanted to thank you for publishing the article about Sovereign Deed. I’m sure I’m not the only person, who at first thought this sounded like a wonderful opportunity for a small town. Thank you for revealing the true intentions.
I had no idea it was a service that only the wealthy can afford. No wonder they picked such a small town – the better to protect themselves from an invasion in a time of need.
I hope that Emmet County and the state reconsider giving this company incentives, and look further into the origins of this “company”.

Erin Early • Bellaire

Kings or Jokers?
Thank you for the enlightening article regarding sovereign deed (S.D.). I’m a resident of Petoskey but away from the community for the next six months or so.
I‘ve been following S.D.’s financial backing and also questioning the possible other reason for establishing their company in Pellston... if I could throw out a few names/or sites that were not mentioned, but I wonder how much of a critical playing card they are:
1) Richard Rainwater, Texas millionaire, who is financially backing S.D. has been/or is still in business with:
2) Boone Pickens, another Texas oil millionaire who admits he is searching for water to control, and as the Internet shows in many articles, is starting to buy property because he feels water is the next oil... (current holdings for water in the Texas panhandle, but there had been sites mentioning other states, even Canada).
3) The lease between S.D. and the county, which is found online. I could be wrong, but there seem to be some rather large loopholes in several key issues that have not been mentioned.
4) The bill put forth dealing with IMS (the speedway) and its S.D. connection as far as having the land and tax abatement, etc.; also on the Internet.

Bonnie Elkins • Petoskey

 
Thursday, December 20, 2007

Letters 12/20/07

Letters It‘s Not Her Style
I love the Express, but grit my teeth every time I see the “My Style” feature. I’ve always found it rather strange and pointless, but at this time of year I find it downright offensive. The total for the individual featured in the Dec. 6-12 issue was $900. The same day I read the Express, the Record-Eagle ran a front page story about a local nonprofit thrift store, which gives away children’s winter wear, not having any gloves for an 11-year-old boy.
I went to the store and told the manager I would be happy to buy him whatever he needed, but the boy could not be located. However, the newspaper story resulted in a surge of donations. They were still short on snowpants, so I went out and bought many pairs of children’s snowpants and donated them. They cost less than what the “My Style” individual spent on her hair, makeup, and nails. I don’t have a lot of money, so guess I’ll just have to do without my $900 getup.
We all spend money on ourselves, but do we have to glorify it in the pages of the Express? Why not use the space to highlight more interesting things about local people, or to recognize some of the dedicated volunteers and staff of the many nonprofits, and their philosophy of giving. Anything would be more uplifting than how many hundreds of dollars somebody spent on their clothes, shoes, handbag, jewelry, hair, makeup, and nails. Is there anybody else out there who couldn’t care less?
To all those doctors out there who pose proudly and reveal how much they spend on themselves, and to all those 11-year-old boys who have no winter gloves, I wish you Merry Christmas and Peace.

Andrea Stewart • TC

Many Voices
Regarding the words of Matt Robb, in Express’ letters Oct.11 letters section:
“....politics to me was a scattered mess of emptiness - rhetoric from on high, specifically designed to confuse our better senses. Then, a voice boomed through the TV set, setting off flashing memories of a better world in the making. ‘There is not a liberal America and a Conservative America, there is the United States of America’.......”
This government of the people, by the people, and for the people was constituted by faith-full people who had to be persuaded to enumerate the “rights” they considered to be from God and were to be protected for the good of all, the common good. These people, no doubt in my mind, were hearing from God who wanted this country founded. God not only wanted this country, he still wants it and even now God himself inspires people for the common good. Although God is communicating to people, not everyone hears or listens or pays attention. It is not easy to tell who is and who is not hearing from God today. All I know is I want people holding office and employed by the government to be God-fearing and listening for God’s leading voice.

Marian Johnson • Manistee
 
Thursday, December 13, 2007

Letters 12/13/07

Letters Unhappy Trails
Have you heard the latest news from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources? They recently announced that they will not be grooming any of their cross-country ski trails this winter, and also that there are no plans to plow any of the parking lots! This includes such popular local trail systems like Muncie Lakes, Lake Ann Pathway, Lost Lake Pathway (Lake Dubonnet) and Sand Lakes Quiet Area. It also affects numerous trail systems throughout the state that are used for both cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.
It was bad enough when they closed the toilets at the trailheads last summer, but now it will be almost impossible for any of us to use the trail systems themselves. They say that they will not allow others to plow the lots due to “insurance issues,” although in the past there were a few people who did it anyway.
At the present time, it seems like the DNR is solely interested in timber harvesting, because they certainly aren’t looking out for the recreation interests of the
citizens. This ruling affects not only those of us who live here, but also visitors to our area. Tourism will suffer once people show up and find that they can’t access the trail systems that they drove north to use. This ruling even has an effect on the health of our populace, since it will make it that much more difficult to get outdoors and enjoy the winter activities that keep us in shape in colder months.
It is not too late to do something. Feel free to send a note to anyone you think can help out. We have telephoned our legislators in Lansing, as well as Governor Jennifer Granholm. Perhaps people who are concerned with our well-being and health, or with the tourism industry, might like to exert some pressure too. It can’t hurt.

Lois Goldstein - Williamsburg

Dense Is As Dense Does?
How dense is the American population that our president thinks he can pull a repeat of the WMD scare? Today our President, when faced with the release of the facts re: Iran’s nuclear research, continued, as he had with Iraq, to try and drum up support with the pitch that IF Iran had the capability of an Atom Bomb, they would be dangerous to the world.
In the same vein, IF cows could fly, we’d all need to be under umbrellas. We can’t let him get away with this deceit and fearmongering again. We can’t allow another rush to action on a false premise by this Administration.
Speak out now or your objection may become moot. It is our right as well as our responsibility to let this Administration know that we are not going to be manipulated into another war due to his faulty reasoning and personal agenda.

Margaret Forgione - TC

Not This Time, Buddy
It was interesting to hear Rockefeller’s spin on when Bush must have had the information on Iran, since that would have meant he received the intel the same day as the Senate committee. How Bush can stand in front of the country and spew these transparent lies is beyond me.
This all sounds like a stuck record! This time around we will have no followers into the pit!

Krys Lyle - Beaver Island

Go Go Granholm
Kudos to the Gov. for trying to lead us into a economic and environmentally-friendly future in realizing that changes are needed in our thirst for energy. I am so sick of the broken Federal level still making proper uses of limited resources a political issue, and states should ignore our corrupt Federal losers who only support their fat cat lobbies who control the information and uses of energy. Many examples are available, just like “Kenny Boy” (Ken Ley), Bush’s highest contributer at Enron for his reelection; we all know where that led with relaxing government controls and leadership.
You who fall along party lines without realizing the fate of being the possible last generation of humans, should be ashamed of your destruction of life, liberty, and freedom by being blind followers of such a corrupt, controlling, and sinister liar as our President. Is obvious evidence as Iran enough for you? When will we realize the potential in what we can all do, like our Governor who embraces a good change?
Thank you, Ms. Granholm, for being a smart governor in a very corrupt world! All those blaming her for Michigan’s economy, please refrain now!

Bradford Krull - TC



Defending Inequality
Marriage has been a hot button topic in America. There are those who feel the need to defend it against “the insurgent forces of homosexuals”. The arguments that are usually bandied about have been that marriage has been and always should be defined by one cardinal rule: “One man and one woman.” Michigan has twice entered into its constitution clarifications to the institution of marriage; first in 1996 by passing the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and second in 2004 with the Marriage Amendment Act. In doing so, Michigan has also clarified that it is defending inequality. Marriage exists as a dual entity in the United States. There is the religious ceremony that most are familiar with. There is also the state and federally sanctioned unions, the paperwork side of marriage. One can be had without the other, as is required by law for separation of church and state. However, laws written to exclude certain groups from partaking in the benefits given to those who marry, sets the stage for state sanctioned inequality reinforced by religious dogma. It also reinforces majority rule. If over 76% of Americans claim to be of a Christian faith, then it is almost guaranteed that this issue has been “religiousized” (as opposed to politicized).
What we are seeing is the majority oppressing the minority because of the way they (the majority) feel about same-sex marriage. There have not been any conclusive studies that prove that same-sex marriage is detrimental to the participants, children (any), the family structure, the community, the institution of marriage, or the nation. It is someone’s right to disagree with lesbian and gay couples right to marry, or to exist as lesbians or gays for that matter. It is not their right to block their rights or their happiness under the guise of Christian compassion or the protection of families/family values. One of my teachers years ago told me “Your rights end where another person’s begins”. Her lesson was about how to interpret the Constitution. I often wonder where the Constitution is when discussing same-sex marriage. People do not seem concerned for the rights of others, only in protecting their own state of being at the expense of others.

Chad Vander Henst - Brethren


 
Monday, December 3, 2007

Letters 12/3/07

Letters Do The Right Thing
Whatever happened to doing the right thing because it’s the right thing to do?
Just because our world leaders are suspect in the department of truly caring about the common person is it any reason to jump over to their seemingly thoughtless “It’s all about Me” program?
Just because our economic leaders in corporations have jumped ship and gone to outsourcing so they can supply their ever apparent constant hunger and
worship to greed, is it in our best interests to follow their simplistic, ignominious lead?
I suggest that we, as a people, are better than the folks who purport to lead and attempt to shepherd us. I believe that simple acts of kindnesses, opening a door for someone, allowing someone else to go first in traffic, helping someone cross a street, these simple acts really speak the loudest about our character as a society.
When you see someone in need, you help them; hasn’t that always been the way? I’ve adventured all over the U.S. and Canada and much of the World, and it seems these simple acts speak the loudest in every corner. I have been a stranger in a strange land, and someone’s act of kindness helped me travel safely.
I suggest we all try to do more of the right thing, especially when our world and economic leaders, our politicians, and our governments seem particularly incapable of doing it themselves.
Wouldn’t the simple act of doing
the right thing make everything better right now?
I believe it does.

Chris Convissor • Lake Ann

Usher‘s Intrigue
This letter is in regard to the incorrect and lacking information used in the “My Style” column of last week’s Northern Express (Vol. 17 No. 48 Nov 29-Dec 5.)
Mrs. Stanton writes “...someone found an old usher uniform tucked away when the dormant theatre was first
explored three years ago.” This is not true. Three years ago when Michael Moore enlisted the help of Tim Hall to renovate the State Theatre for the first Traverse City Film Festival, he embraced Mr. Hall’s idea to dress the volunteer ushers in the original red and gold uniform along with the pill box hat and concession trays that would be worn around the neck.
I know this because with two usher costumes donated graciously by the Old Towne Playhouse, I created three more just like them to be used on opening night. My time and money went into making those costumes that have once again been reinvented by the skillful
Diane Budzynowski, Pinkie Hoffman, Rebecca Davis, Nancy Monteith, and Jean Barrett.
Why is it necessary to recreate history when the original story is full of enough intrigue? Sorry, no dusty fossil of an usher uniform had any part in this segment of the State’s past, only an idea and a lot of talent. Let’s give credit where credit is due.
Breanne Russell • TC


 
 
Close
Close
Close