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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Harley L. Sachs

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Thursday, December 22, 2005

What about Chanukah?

Features Harley L. Sachs Do you really know the meaning of Chanukah? Chanukah is a holiday celebrated by Jews near the winter solstice and as such falls among other solstice holidays. Until the twentieth century in the United States, Chanukah was considered a minor holiday hardly observed until it was emphasized in the light of competition from Christmas. But except for being a Jewish holiday, there are important historical reasons why Christians as well as Jews should celebrate it.
The old Jewish joke states that all Jewish holidays boil down to one statement: “They tried to kill us; we won; let’s eat.” In the case of Chanukah, the enemy was Antiochus IV Epiphanes who tried to wipe out the Jewish religion and convert all Jews to Hellenism, the worship of Zeus.
The Jews revolted, won in 164 BC, and today they celebrate by eating potato pancakes (latkes) and jelly donuts. That’s the “let’s eat” part of the story.
The encyclopedia Britannica says of Chanukah, “a Jewish observance commemorating the rededication (164 BC) of the Second Temple of Jerusalem after its desecration three years earlier by order of Antiochus IV Epiphanes. The Syrian king was thus frustrated in his attempt to extirpate the Jewish faith.”
Thursday, June 9, 2005

Lost... Think you‘re tough enough for Michigan‘s woods? Think again

Features Harley L. Sachs Many people buy an SUV for that macho feeling of power and superiority over those measly little cars that resemble a bar of soap. They’ve been sold by those ads showing powerful off-road experiences as the erstwhile family car charges up a mountainside or fords a forest stream. Yet only about 10% of SUVs ever leave the paved roads. Drivers long for that thrilling U.P. driving experience. Now‘s your chance!
Maybe you’d better think again.
Thursday, June 9, 2005

The Soo Lochs...150 years strong

Features Harley L. Sachs This summer the Soo Locks at Sault Ste. Marie in the Upper Peninsula will celebrate the 150th anniversary with a series of celebrations and events. The Soo Locks connect Lake Superior with Lake Huron by bypassing the rapids of the St. Mary’s River.
Lake Superior is about 21 feet higher than Lake Huron, and until the first locks were built in 1797, traders and trappers had to portage their canoes around the St. Mary’s rapids. Those first locks, a mere 38 feet long, were built on the Canadian side by the Northwest Fur Company and allowed canoes and small boats to pass between the lakes.
Those locks were destroyed in the War of 1812 and the next set of two, this time built on the American side, were 350 feet long and completed in 1835. Those were done by the State of Michigan but were turned over to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in 1881.
Nowadays, as then, the size of the locks limits the capacity of ships moving into and out of Lake Superior. Not many people are aware that the Soo locks carry more tonnage than the Panama Canal. The reason is in the nature of the cargoes. The bulk carriers on Lake Superior carry iron ore, coal, and salt: all heavy products.
Thursday, March 24, 2005

Be Informed: Blog on

Features Harley L. Sachs During World War II in Germany Minister of Propaganda Goebbels controlled the news and the Gestapo secret police enforced it. To listen to Britain’s BBC broadcasts in Nazi Germany was enough to precipitate a night-time visit from the Gestapo and your mysterious disappearance. People who did dare listen to foreign radio broadcasts were careful to keep the sound level too low for the neighbors to hear and to turn the dial to another station when shutting off the receiver. Even so, a radio emits a signal matching the one it’s tuned to and it can be traced.
Here in the 21st Century there’s a hint of government control and manipulation of the news when the Republican White House plants a ringer among the press corps pretending to be a real journalist while flinging “softball” questions to the president.
Thursday, February 17, 2005

The New Reign of Censorship Terror on TV

Other Opinions Harley L. Sachs First it was B.O. and now it’s E.D. -- part of the current flap over what’s okay to broadcast on television that goes back for decades.
B.O. was part of the old radio Lifebuoy deodorant soap commercial. It was usually broadcast with the sound effect of a fog-bound buoy and stood for “body odor” as in, “Do you have B.O.?” That’s pretty personal; like who would have the nerve to walk up to someone at the office, make a fog horn sound, and hand him a bar of Lifebuoy?
The B.O. ad spawned jokes about Y.S. as in “Do you have Y.S.?” meaning “You Stink.” That was in the days’ when a shower a week was the norm. We’ve cleaned up since, most of us.
Thursday, September 23, 2004

Saving a Taste of the Summer that almost was... The Jam Jars of Autumn

Features Harley L. Sachs Spring was later this year, summer hardly came at all, and Autumn started early. In a normal summer my dwarf cherry tree produces its brave crop by July 4. This year it wasn’t pickable until the end of the month. Normally Autumn sneaks in here in the Upper Peninsula about August 13. That’s the date when the jet stream shifts south bringing with it Canadian air, changing the note of the rustle of leaves on the trees and bringing that unmistakable chill off Lake Superior. For us who yearned for the summer that never came, the question is “Now What?”
The answer is jam.