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.

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Monday, October 4, 2010

Letters

Letters Mackinac’s bad plan
We are writing in regards to news reports about the City of Mackinac
Island’s efforts to purchase docks and potentially enter into a
franchise agreement with just one company, creating a monopoly on
ferry service to the island.
As elected officials, we understand the city’s efforts to ensure vital
transportation service to the island, one of our state’s most
spectacular tourist destinations. However, we would consider any
effort to achieve that security through a government-approved monopoly
inappropriate at best and devastating to the local economy at worst.
Michigan cannot afford that!
Free enterprise and robust competition among ferry operators have
served the straits region very well for many decades. They have taken
Mackinac Island from once-a-day ferries to runs as often as every 15
minutes. Without that competition, ferry service would not be what it
is today.
We believe the plan the City of Mackinac is considering would result in:
• Government interference in free enterprise;
• Government-forced monopoly;
• Destruction of healthy competition that benefits consumers;
• Destruction of a long-time local business with deep community ties;
In conclusion, we believe this plan to be needlessly and
inappropriately risky to the taxpayers and to the economy of the City
of Mackinac Island, as well as those of St. Ignace and Mackinaw City.

Michigan Senate Majority
Leader Mike Bishop &
House Speaker Andy Dillon
Who’s qualified?
Having retired after 32 years of service with Grand Traverse County
there were no medical, dental or optical benefits offered. Now a
term-limited legislator who worked in Lansing for six years receives
fully-paid benefits and a pension that we the taxpayers pay the tab
for.
Back in February, Representative Kevin Elsenheimer co-sponsored a bill
to eliminate lifetime health benefits for those newly-elected in
November 2010. Isn’t that self-serving?
Elsenheimer now wants to be the new 86th District Court Judge. The
qualification of a House seat does not match those necessary for a
judgeship. Experience is the necessary qualification. He doesn’t
mention in his mailings that he is a Legislator. WHY NOT? He also
claims to have real, practical experience with the court. Online court
records show he was involved in 86 cases.
Vote real experience with 2000-plus cases with the courts. Mike Stepka
is the truly qualified candidate.

Thomas Schmuckal, Ret. Capt. • TC
 
Monday, October 4, 2010

Awards

Features Northern Express takes high honors in MPA press contest
Independent alternative Northern Express Weekly took a number of
significant prizes in the 2010 Michigan Press Association contest,
earning the most awards in the paper’s nearly 20-year history.
With a weekly distribution of up to 33,000 papers in a 13-county area
in northwestern Michigan, the Northern Express was in the MPA’s weekly
“B” class, earning the following:

 
Monday, September 27, 2010

Letters

Letters Discrimination will never last in America
I support the proposed Traverse City ordinance to add sexual identity
to the long list of reasons why a person cannot be discriminated
against.  This list already includes religion, sex, weight, marital
status, height, disability, etc. We are talking about the equal, not
special rights, of TAX PAYING AMERICANS.  This is about liberty. I am
sorry if your religion does not condone homosexuality.  However, this
country does not make laws based on religious beliefs.  The church and
state are separate, as promised by our founders.
Those who say that this modification “stirs up hate” are suggesting
that as long as gays and lesbians remain unequal, they can be
tolerated. Who is threatened or angered by another person’s equality?
Do not indulge this fear. The proposed ordinance does not apply to
religious organizations, or a room rented in your residence. Gay
workers or tenants can still be fired or evicted, just not because of
their sexual identity. Businesses and property owners should not need
“special training” to recognize a qualified person who wants a job or
an apartment. We should be willing to risk unnecessary lawsuits, just
as we have been to protect the equality of women, racial minorities
and disabilities.
Civil rights are being extinguished by intolerance.  If we don’t
include sexual orientation to this “non-discrimination” ordinance, we
are condoning continued discrimination.

 Laurie Mackowiak • Traverse City
 
Monday, September 20, 2010

Letters

Letters No guarantee
The September 6 issue of Northern Express contained an article by
Congressman Bart Stupak called “Social Security: don’t mess with
success.”
I don’t know Bart Stupak personally. He may be a wonderful fellow. But
as I read his article I became more and more appalled at his ignorance
in regard to the Social Security system, which so many people in
Michigan rely upon for financial assistance.
In his article, Bart Stupak stated that “Social Security has been
providing (people)... a guaranteed source of income,” and that it was
“life-long wage insurance,” and that “contributions (to it) come
back.” He also said that “Social Security is a uniquely American
system ...”
However, the perception that there is a Social Security fund is, for
all practical
purposes, a myth. The federal court in
Helvering v. Davis made it very clear that “The proceeds from (Social
Security taxes) are ... paid into the treasury like other internal
revenue generally, and are not earmarked in any way.”
The court has pointed out that payroll deductions are NOT payments on
premiums for insurance of any kind, but are simply additional income
taxes. In Flemming v.
Davis, the federal court said that “eligibility for benefits ...
(does) not in any true sense depend on contribution through payment of
taxes.”
And in Flemming v. Nestor, the court said that “Congress ...has
...retained a claim expressly reserving to it the right to alter,
amend, or repeal any provision of the (Social Security) act.”
Accordingly, there is nothing that is guaranteed or life-long about
Social Security payments.
The Internal Revenue Code (Chapter 21, Section 3101) makes it clear
that payroll deductions for so-called Social Security are simply
additional income taxes. The taxes collected are more than spent each
year. In a very technical sense, one might say that there is a trust
fund, but that is only an illusion created by deceptive accounting.
The trust fund holds only paper IOUs (bonds). And those IOUs are no
more than a claim against every U.S. citizen for taxes not yet
collected. The IOUs are nothing more than the U.S. government owing
the money to itself!
In closing, if anyone believes that the Social Security system is, as
Bart Stupak stated, uniquely American, please log onto the Crown’s
website in England and look up statutory Instrument No. 1778, The
Social Security (United States of America) Order 1997. Go to
http://www.opsi.gov.uk/si/si199717.htm and look for order 1778 to see
who has the power to approve and amend “our” social security system.
Do your own research. See for yourself. You, too, Bart.

Joseph Allan • via email
 
Monday, September 13, 2010

Preserving the Pigeon/Energy Guru Nicole Foss

Region Watch Preserving the Pigeon
The Pigeon River has enjoyed the protection of the Little Traverse
Conservancy since 1983 when Agnes A. Andreae donated 27 acres and a
cabin perched along the river.
 
Monday, September 13, 2010

Letters

Letters Thoughts on 9/11
9/11/01 was a crime, not an act of war. People conspired to inflict
extensive destruction on other people and property. It should have
been handled as a crime, just as the Oklahoma bombing was, or as the
previous bombings of the World Trade Center were. We have an
extensive crime investigation structure. Yet, within hours, the
plutocracy was calling for revenge and war.
Afghanistan, a country with heavy US involvement, was invaded. Iraq,
another country with heavy US involvement, was invaded. An “axis of
evil” was promoted.
Torture was promoted. A perpetual war against anything the plutocracy
declared as contrary to “American interests” was instituted. And death
and destruction grew geometrically.
I’m a military veteran (Army, infantry, Vietnam). I read the booklet
“War is a Racket” by two-time Medal of Honor recipient Marine Major
General Smedley Butler and I agree. War is an excellent business. Tax
dollars flow into this business with little debate and with little
oversight. The tools of war are the number one export product of the
U.S.
On 9/11 think about how this country and the world would be if the
plutocracy had followed the rules of law vs. the rules of revenge.

Arnold Stieber • Grass Lake

 
Monday, August 30, 2010

Letters

Letters Beer Sacks idea
John R. Joslyn has missed the point in his Aug. 16 letter. The GearBox article about the Wine Rack, featuring a young woman displaying the gag gift — and a lot more, is offensive.
The function of the gag gift is irrelevant.
Wine Rack is another dose of lowbrow sexist entertainment. The photograph of the busty young woman wearing the ridiculous contraption belongs in a men’s magazine.
And our culture feels like men’s magazine.
These images are blasted at us 24/7: from pole dancing kits for 10 year olds, to sexualizing female athletes — including minors, to beer ads, or pornified Reebok ads. Wine Rack joins ranks.
Let’s do a gender switch on the gag gift, Wine Rack.
The gag gift for men is called Beer Sacks, and it wraps around a man’s testicles and penis. It allows him to have alcoholic beverages —like his favorite IPA —anytime, anywhere. No fussy laws are going to keep him from getting buzzed.
Next:
Northern Express hires a very young, handsome male model. The photo will focus on the giggling man’s testicles that are peeking out of his short-shorts with a sexy shot of his bulge. He’ll be taking a long, yummy sip of his favorite beer, sneakily concealed you know where, and give the photographer that coy, bad-boy smile that only a naughty man can give.
Warning! Wearing Beer Sacks may increase the size of your bulge — a pro or a con— depending on your point of view.
Can you imagine?
No, of course not.
Northern Express: Please respect your readership. The Wine Rack is in very bad taste.

Brigita Gumsey • Cedar
 
Monday, August 23, 2010

Letters

Letters Living hell
I need to thank Anne Stanton for her
exceptional reporting of the case of Joni Holbrook (8/16). The article
is excellent, important journalism. Anne’s accurate, thorough
account detailing the living hell that Joni endured throughout her
entire marriage to Benzie cop Paul Holbrook is important for people to
grasp.
There is a majority of people who know her actions were totally
justified, being her only escape from a life of torture at the hands
of a monster.
However, not surprising I guess, is the lack of support from his
fellow police who had to have had at least a clue as to the dark side
of this Jekyll and Hyde personality. Like, did they not question
Holbrook’s order to ‘check’ on her frequently? Further, I’m
incredulous at the comments and denial of Holbrook’s relatives; a
clear example of blame the victim. Denial is definitely a way of
protecting oneself from a horrible truth.
I wish peace and healing for all
involved.

Sally MacFarlane-Neal • via email
 
Monday, August 16, 2010

Letters

Letters Migrant issues
In regard to your Random Thoughts
article in the August 2 edition, this is a written reply, comment and
challenge to you.
“Deport a migrant, raise your grocery bill” gives a lopsided view of
the cost of what realistic price raising is. Do you know that 18
states in the USA with budget shortages have paid more for illegals
than the amount of their budget deficit? Illegals cost the entire
country an estimated $113 billion per year, nearly $29 billion at the
Federal level and $84.2 billion at the State and local level.
I live part of the year in the area of Tucson, AZ. I live a quarter of
a mile from a freeway (highway 19) that is the main route from Mexico
to the U.S. I have witnessed the runaway illegals, sometimes more than
20 odd numbers to a truck or van, and the news
media repeatedly covers all of the illegal migration incidents in and
around the area.
We have helicopters and border patrols on the move as they serve to
protect the safety of legal U.S. citizens. Just before I left the area
in April another raid was made on one of their “safe” houses where the
“coyotes” were holding illegals hostage until they paid another
ransom. The young girls who could not pay the ransom were sold as
prostitutes. Drive-by shootings and house invasions are common in
Tucson and other border areas.
Do you think -- and again I challenge you to research -- how the
benefits of illegal
immigration could offset in any way the cost of American lives and the
billions of dollars we spend on prisoners, health care delivery,
education, and police and border protection?
The immigrants who work on the farms, factories, businesses, etc., and
have work permits or guest worker passes to do so are welcome and
needed, but we need to enforce and monitor the manner in which they
do. You could not go into Mexico and work without identification and
permission. You cannot even vote in this country without registration
and identification. No one is saying that immigrants cannot come into
this country to work.

Donna Bauman • Manistee
 
Monday, August 9, 2010

Letters

Letters Finding the Griffon
It has been said that no matter how much you know about a subject,
you’re never an expert unless someone else says you are. Since no one
has ever claimed that about me, and I don’t have a diploma, I can’t
claim to be an expert on any subject, and therefore don’t speak with
the Voice of Authority .
However, as a Traverse City native and a lifetime avocational
archaeologist, I have studied the history and archaeology of the area
for over fifty years, with some noteworthy area archaeological
discoveries to my credit. Since my tentative plans include moving
south in a couple of years, I am currently documenting as many
archaeological sites in the area as I can, so there will be at least
some documentation of the area’s historical sites -- just in case
anyone cares.
Having a particular interest in the nautical and maritime history of
the Grand Traverse region, a subject of particular interest to me has
always been the fate of the Griffon, about which I’ve studied and
researched extensively. If Steve Libert has found it, as claimed in
your article “Search for Le Griffon,” well and good -- another Great
Lakes mystery solved, and I love it when someone solves such
historical mysteries.
However, I don’t feel, on the basis of my research, that Libert has
indeed found the Griffon. I believe his conclusions are erroneous,
based as they are on misinterpretations of existing documentation and
faulty reasoning. My research indicates that the Griffon is nowhere
near where he’s looking, nor did it sink in a storm. It was destroyed
by a storm, to be sure, but only because it was driven aground -- and
you wouldn’t believe where it ran aground. Let’s just say it’s a lot
closer than people think.
Having read internet articles about Libert’s find, I can’t say what
he’s found, although I suspect it’s a beam from a barn someone was
moving across the ice when it fell through. I do know that the beam
in question is not a bowsprit, for the simple reason that it is
squared. No ship ever built carried a square bowsprit. There’s a
reason why a ship’s spars are round.
There are a lot of things I’d like to say to refute Libert’s claim,
but this isn’t the time or place to do so. Oh, and those cannons he’s
hoping to find to prove the identity of his discovery? That’s wishful
thinking, I’m afraid. Those cannons were salvaged by a helmet diver
from Petoskey in the 1940’s, and sold to the government as scrap metal
for the war effort.
Yes, I believe I do know where the Griffon is. Not only that -- I’ve
seen it with my own eyes.

Howard J. Blodgett • TC
 
Friday, August 6, 2010

Letters 8/6/10

Letters Defining Islam
I was dismayed to read Bob Jones’s letter to the Northern Express
(8/30) which was full of half-witted half-truths and outright
fallacies.
In spite of what Jones might have to say, Islam is not defined by its
extremes any more than Christianity is defined by the Inquisition or
Serbian militias or the Olympic Park bomber. And Islam as practiced is
no more defined by the right wing’s quote-mined Koran than
Christianity or Judaism is defined by selective quotes from the Bible.
(Stoned any crop rotators or polyester-blend wearers to death lately?
Have you noticed how few professed followers of Jesus sell all their
goods and give the proceeds to the poor as he recommends?)
Followers of Islam are defined by their practice, and the vast
majority in this country are law-abiding people who appreciate the
freedom and opportunity this country affords them. They deserve to be
left alone to do as they please in their religious life within the
law, as our forefathers spelled out. And if that means acquiring space
for a mosque a couple blocks from Ground Zero alongside the porn shops
and fast food joints that are already there, they have a right to do
that too -- without interference from the government or gap-tooth,
values-challenged yokels fixin’ on gettin’ rid of anybody diffrint.
Jesus, Allah, Jefferson, Adam Smith and/or [insert providential figure
of your choice here] be praised.
What we ought to be worried about is not Islam’s purported war with
Christianity, but Mr. Jones’s war with reality and with the
fundamental religious and economic freedoms that make this country
great. Just ask a recent immigrant if you need convincing.
If there is one legitimate complaint about mainstream Islam in this
country it is that it sometimes seems slow to condemn those who preach
hatred, so let those of us who are native-born Americans set an
example and respond appropriately to Mr. Jones: with an ounce of shame
and a pound of contempt.

Oran Kelley • TC
 
Monday, August 2, 2010

Letters

Letters Shocking vote
Dave Camp recently voted no for the unemployment extension that was
recently passed. Camp is following the party line of not passing the
extension due to our deficit.
I don’t see how a representative from a state with one of the highest
unemployment rates in the country can do this, However he isn’t the
only one not to vote yes from our state. Pete Hoekstra, running for
governor of our state, didn’t even vote. That’s right, he wants to
lead our state but doesn’t even vote on an issue that affects
Michigan’s residents.
I urge all voters, especially the currently unemployed to not vote for
Mr. Camp or
Mr. Hoekstra.

Daniel Bronsink • McBain
 
Monday, July 26, 2010

Letters

Letters Not censorship
Your article entitled “X’ed Out” recalls a controversy that surfaced
several years ago regarding the National Endowment for the Arts and
its attempt to withhold funds from some grant applicants.
Near the crux of both controversies is the definition of censorship.
That word refers to the prohibition of the direct and open expression
of ideas and information. To the best of my knowledge, no new
prohibitions have been installed here, and the films that were denied
public support in Michigan and elsewhere may still be made in those
same places, privately, with alternative funding, and without public
impediment.
Simply witholding support, which is the right of any funding entity,
does not constitute censorship.
The author of the article is welcome to express his disapproval of the
state’s film funding process and its result, but his reference to “the
stink of censorship” is both innacurate and inflammatory. The
applicants who were denied public support were not censored by the
state. It merely refused to offer them financial benefits.

Harvey Gordon • Glen Arbor
 
Monday, July 19, 2010

Letters

Letters Finding sanctuary
This is in respectful response to recent letters from readers offended
by our ad headline using “Seek Asylum” to promote The Village at Grand
Traverse Commons. That headline was not intended to offend anyone, nor
was it intended to be funny. To those offended, we apologize.
Our objective for using the word “asylum” was simply to attract
visitors. It was meant to reference the undeniable history of the
Commons as the former Traverse City State Hospital (originally the
Northern Michigan Asylum), while at the same time invoking the
original meanings of the word, which include “sanctuary, shelter, or
refuge.” Every day, people “seek asylum” from unfavorable
circumstances. We simply repurposed the phrase to convey the positive
sense of asylum, and, contrary to its historical uses, portray The
Village as a place where people want to go to escape our everyday
world.
We respect the history of the TCSH, and acknowledge that any large
state mental institution with decades of operation will bear some sad
stories. While we cannot ease painful memories of an old asylum, we
can choose to celebrate the original noble intent of a historically
enlightened era of care for our fellow human beings. We can recognize
the efforts of hospital employees that were dedicated to truly helping
the patients. We, and the many people who have invested in this
campus, can move forward to preserve historic buildings by giving them
new uses and making them good places to live, work and do business.
That does not change the hospital’s history, especially for those who
prefer to forget it. But we hope the blossoming Village neighborhood
will empower people to see an old asylum in a new way, and maybe one
day reclaim a good word.

Raymond Minervini II
Partner, The Minervini Group LLC
 
Monday, July 12, 2010

Hometown Heros

Music Hometown heroes return with Brent James
Three of Traverse City’s top players make a swing through town next
week, backing vocalist/guitarist Brent James as members of the
ContraBand.
 
 
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