Letters 10-24-2016

It’s Obama’s 1984 Several editions ago I concluded a short letter to the editor with an ominous rhetorical flourish: “Welcome to George Orwell’s 1984 and the grand opening of the Federal Department of Truth!” At the time I am sure most of the readers laughed off my comments as right-wing hyperbole. Shame on you for doubting me...

Gun Bans Don’t Work It is said that mass violence only happens in the USA. A lone gunman in a rubber boat, drifted ashore at a popular resort in Tunisia and randomly shot and killed 38 mostly British and Irish tourists. Tunisian gun laws, which are among the most restrictive in the world, didn’t stop this mass slaughter. And in January 2015, two armed men killed 11 and wounded 11 others in an attack on the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo. French gun laws didn’t stop these assassins...

Scripps’ Good Deed No good deed shall go unpunished! When Dan Scripps was the 101st District State Representative, he introduced legislation to prevent corporations from contaminating (e.g. fracking) or depleting (e.g. Nestle) Michigan’s water table for corporate profit. There are no property lines in the water table, and many of us depend on private wells for abundant, safe, clean water. In the subsequent election, Dan’s opponents ran a negative campaign almost solely on the misrepresentation that Dan’s good deed was a government takeover of your private water well...

Political Definitions As the time to vote draws near it’s a good time to check into what you stand for. According to Dictionary.com the meanings for liberal and conservative are as follows:

Liberal: Favorable to progress or reform as in political or religious affairs.

Conservative: Disposed to preserve existing conditions, institutions, etc., or to restore traditions and limit change...

Voting Takes A Month? Hurricane Matthew hit the Florida coast Oct. 6, over three weeks before Election Day. Bob Ross (Oct. 17th issue) posits that perhaps evacuation orders from Governor Scott may have had political motivations to diminish turnout and seems to praise Hillary Clinton’s call for Gov. Scott to extend Florida’s voter registration deadline due to evacuations...

Clinton Foundation Facts Does the Clinton Foundation really spend a mere 10 percent (per Mike Pence) or 20 percent (per Reince Priebus) of its money on charity? Not true. Charity Watch gives it an A rating (the same as it gives the NRA Foundation) and says it spends 88 percent on charitable causes, and 12 percent on overhead. Here is the source of the misunderstanding: The Foundation does give only a small percentage of its money to charitable organizations, but it spends far more money directly running a number of programs...

America Needs Change Trump supports our constitution, will appoint judges that will keep our freedoms safe. He supports the partial-birth ban; Hillary voted against it. Regardless of how you feel about Trump, critical issues are at stake. Trump will increase national security, monitor refugee admissions, endorse our vital military forces while fighting ISIS. Vice-presidential candidate Mike Pence will be an intelligent asset for the country. Hillary wants open borders, increased government regulation, and more demilitarization at a time when we need strong military defenses...

My Process For No I will be voting “no” on Prop 3 because I am supportive of the process that is in place to review and approve developments. I was on the Traverse City Planning Commission in the 1990s and gained an appreciation for all of the work that goes into a review. The staff reviews the project and makes a recommendation. The developer then makes a presentation, and fellow commissioners and the public can ask questions and make comments. By the end of the process, I knew how to vote for a project, up or down. This process then repeats itself at the City Commission...

Regarding Your Postcard If you received a “Vote No” postcard from StandUp TC, don’t believe their lies. Prop 3 is not illegal. It won’t cost city taxpayers thousands of dollars in legal bills or special elections. Prop 3 is about protecting our downtown -- not Munson, NMC or the Commons -- from a future of ugly skyscrapers that will diminish the very character of our downtown...

Vote Yes It has been suggested that a recall or re-election of current city staff and Traverse City Commission would work better than Prop 3. I disagree. A recall campaign is the most divisive, costly type of election possible. Prop 3, when passed, will allow all city residents an opportunity to vote on any proposed development over 60 feet tall at no cost to the taxpayer...

Yes Vote Explained A “yes” vote on Prop 3 will give Traverse City the right to vote on developments over 60 feet high. It doesn’t require votes on every future building, as incorrectly stated by a previous letter writer. If referendums are held during general elections, taxpayers pay nothing...

Beware Trump When the country you love have have served for 33 years is threatened, you have an obligation and a duty to speak out. Now is the time for all Americans to speak out against a possible Donald Trump presidency. During the past year Trump has been exposed as a pathological liar, a demagogue and a person who is totally unfit to assume the presidency of our already great country...

Picture Worth 1,000 Words Nobody disagrees with the need for affordable housing or that a certain level of density is dollar smart for TC. The issue is the proposed solution. If you haven’t already seen the architect’s rendition for the site, please Google “Pine Street Development Traverse City”...

Living Wage, Not Tall Buildings Our community deserves better than the StandUp TC “vote no” arguments. They are not truthful. Their yard signs say: “More Housing. Less Red Tape. Vote like you want your kids to live here.” The truth: More housing, but for whom? At what price..

Home · Articles · News · Music · Rufus Wainwright
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Rufus Wainwright

Kristi Kates - August 8th, 2011
Rufus Wainwright in the House
By Kristi Kates
House of Rufus is a new box set collection of a half-dozen studio albums, two live albums, six DVDs, and four extra albums of previously unreleased material that hit stores earlier this year.
“Rufus,” of course, is singer-songwriter Rufus Wainwright, he of the elegant, operatic-pop songs, rich tenor vocals, and stylish piano skills.
A few weeks ago, Wainwright took what’s best referred to as a “House of Rufus experience” to the Royal Opera House in London, a five-night series of live performances that made him the first solo artist to take up a musical residency there. Special guest appearances by Wainwright’s father, the famed Loudon Wainwright III; his sister, Martha Wainwright; and his half-sister Lucy Wainwright Roche added to the glitz and glamour of the shows, while the Britten Sinfonia chamber orchestra provided the musical backdrop.
Wainwright, as colorful an interviewee as he is a performer, considered the shows a huge success - and he’s not shy about saying so.
“I’m often accused of being a megalomaniac, but what can I say - they were a triumph,” Wainwright chuckles, “otherwise I would be lying. A great highlight was singing with Martha, Loudon, and Lucy; and an emotional moment certainly was the final song of the run that I dedicated to Amy Winehouse, who had died that day, a new song of mine, ‘Candles,’ which will be on my next record.”

Wainwright’s next album isn’t quite in the works yet, though. He’s still basking in the great reviews of House of Rufus, which showcases his work from old demos all the way up to collaborations with his equally-talented family members and additional artists including mother Kate McGarrigle and her sister Anna McGarrigle, Teddy Thompson, Burt Bacharach, and The Pet Shop Boys. All housed in a rich red velvet case, ‘natch. But with so many tracks included in the extensive collection, selecting them couldn’t have been easy, given Wainwright’s accomplished career to date.
“For me, the box set is more of a purge than a selection,” he says, “and I mean that in a positive way. With the new album I am working on with Mark Ronson, and another opera in the works, I wanted a clean slate.”
“It was emotional,” he agrees, “but pleasantly so.”
While fans both dedicated and casual would probably recognize such Wainwright tunes as “Cigarettes and Chocolate Milk,” “California,” and his stunning version of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah,” it’s some of the more obscure songs or alternate versions that Wainwright thinks stand out the most; asked what three of his favorite songs are from the box set, he picks an eclectic trio.
“’Going to a Town’ seems to have stood up,” Wainwright says, “there is a beautiful live version of ‘Poses’ on the set; and ‘He Ain’t Heavy’ was good to rediscover - that’s a cover song I did that appeared on the Zoolander soundtrack. You’ll hear some of these at the Interlochen show.”

Interlochen might just prove to be one of Wainwright’s most interesting venues - even held up along such sophistication as the Royal Opera House - as he was actually a student there in the early ‘90s. Yes, it’s true - the Northern Michigan camp that has seen among its campers such musical notables as Josh Groban, OK Go’s Damian Kulash and Tim Nordwind, Jewel, and Norah Jones also assigned Wainwright to one of their camp cabins, where he says he was thrown in to a far richer and more in-depth schedule than he ever expected from a summer camp.
“Though I only went once, I was struck by how intense and thorough the curriculum was,” he recollects, “it was a good wakeup call in terms of how difficult classical music was.”
And, of course, there were the requisite camp stories, one of which involved his mother, folk singer Kate McGarrigle, who had a rather rustic introduction to Up North.
“My favorite experience at Interlochen was my mother coming to visit and camping out,” Wainwright laughs, “she heard some animal in the woods and was frightened, so she pretended to be a dog in her tent to frighten the intruder away.”
Wainwright has carried at least a little of those camp sensibilities to his own summer vacation, which wraps up musically this year with the Interlochen show and one more Chicago show to follow. Relaxing is next on Wainwright’s schedule, with, as he puts it, “beach, beach, and more beach.”
“Camp Rufus is in full swing,” he smiles.

Rufus Wainwright will be performing at the Interlochen Center for the Arts’ Kresge Auditorium on Friday, August 12 at 8:00 p.m. More info and tickets may be found online at http://presents.interlochen.org/events/rufus-wainwright. Wainwright’s official website is at www.rufuswainwright.com
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