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 · Books · Howling Good Reads for Halloween
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Howling Good Reads for Halloween

Nancy Sundstrom - October 30th, 2003
It’s Halloween week and movie-goers have been flocking to the likes of the remake of the “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” and “Kill Bill,” but readers, especially fans of the horror genre, have plenty of new options, as well.
For starters, there are hot-off-the-presses release from two of the best in the biz. Advance buzz has been strong for Peter Straub and Anne Rice’s latest ventures, his being “Lost Boy, Lost Girl,” and Rice’s a continuation of her infamous vampires series. Look for reviews of both in upcoming editions of Express.
Some other works of not include Ramsey Campbell’s “The Darkest Part of the Woods,” about an ancient English forest that provides a setting for murder, madness and mayhem, and “Season of the Witch,” the latest from Topinabee, MI-based writer and media personality Christopher Knight. A collection of short stories that pays more than a nod to Stephen King, Knight’s book is his strongest effort yet and he employs a number of clever storytelling twists that connect the tales to each other. Readers will also have fun with the Northern Michigan backdrops and bits of trivia that he stirs in for regional flavor.
But two very chilling, unforgettable and well-crafted books came out this past summer that are highly recommended if you don’t mind staying up late because you can’t stop turning the pages. William Brodrick’s “The 6th lamentation” and Stan Pottinger’s “The Last Nazi” have much in common, including the fact that they both deal with the scariest of all creatures to ever walk the earth - the Nazis. Truth be told, they’re would be more appropriately classified as thrillers rather than horror novels, but they’re nail-biters all the same and loaded with suspense that sometimes borders on terror.

The 6th Lamentation by William Brodrick
This debut novel begins with an uncommon act - that of a man seeking sanctuary at a monastery:
“My bottom!”
The Prior, Father Andrew, was fond of diluting harsher well-known expressions for monastic use, but the sentiment remained largely the same. He was an unconverted Glaswegian tamed by excessive education, but shades of the street fighter were apt to break out when grappling with the more unusual community problems.
“It was abolished ages ago. He can’t be serious.”
“Well, he is,” said Anselm.
“When did he come out with that one?”
“This morning, when Wilf asked him to leave.”
The Prior scowled. “I suppose he declined to oblige?”
“Yes. And he told Wilf there’s nowhere he can go.”

The man wanting sanctuary is Eduard Schwermann, a family man who has lived quietly for the past 50 years but is suspected of being a Nazi war criminal who destroyed a French underground movement who smuggled Jewish children to safety. As a result, men, women and children were sent off to death camps, but there’s a twist to the story as it unfolds - Schwermann claims that he actually risked his own life to save a young Jewish boy. Father Anselm, a barrister turned monk becomes involved with Schwermann’s trial and the more he learns, the more reason he has to believe that the church he has devoted himself to is an accomplice in the destruction of the Round Table. Plot twists abound nothing is what it seems, especially the past, which one character notes is “not a safe place while it touches on the living.”

The Last Nazi by Stan Pottinger
When I first began this taut thriller, I feared I was reading a rip-off of Ira Levin’s “The Boys From Brazil,” but it didn’t take long to discover that the book was completely original and equally unpredictable. The action kicks in from the opening paragraphs when we meet Melissa Gale, an attorney for the U.S. Justice Department who is hot on the trail of Adalwolf, a Nazi rumored to be the foster son of Dr. Josef Mengele, the “Angel of Death” from the Third Reich:
“The FBI agents climbed the grimy wooden stairwell smoothly, five sylphs in rubber-soled boots, black Ninja suits, Kevlar vests and helmets with visors lowered...Melissa Gale followed them up the steps at a short distance, her sneakers, turtleneck, and bulletproof vest suddenly feeling inadequate. But it didn’t matter. She wanted this guy so much it made her mouth dry. “Come on, Adalwolf,” she said in a soft whisper, “be inside that room.”...It was rare for a prosecutor to join the FBI on an arrest-in addition to the danger, it could make her a witness-but there were unusual circumstances in this case...Looking straight ahead, she saw the flickering blue light of a TV set coming through the crack at the bottom of the door. He was in there. Seventy-five-year old Adalwolf-Josef Mengele’s teenage lab assistant at Auschwitz, the last Nazi on her list-was watching television in a rooming house in Atlantic City’s run-down Inlet section.”

Gale and Adalwolf have had many close encounters in the past, but he has remained elusive. Now, he has decided to make Gale key in his unrealized plot to carry out Hitler’s final solution of extermination of the Jewish race. His plan is nearly flawless, but also has an unexpected moral dilemma attached to it, and Pottinger’s story races along with economy, almost to a fault because it’s so well told that you regret having it end. It’s provocative on a number of fronts - medical, political, criminal and social, to name a few - and the resolution is quite satisfying. I’d expect to see this land on the big screen soon, but do yourself a favor and read the book first.
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
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