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 · Features · Socializing Online
. . . .

Socializing Online

Kristi Kates - December 15th, 2005
Ryan Luce of Petoskey uses his MySpace account as the easiest way to catch up with his friend Dayveon Meadows, who is serving with the U.S. Army in Iraq. Guitarist Andrew Klomp of Northern Michigan power-pop band Anchors For Reality uses both his MySpace account and the band’s LiveJournal account to
check in with the band’s fans and post missives on where AFR’s tour is headed next. Student Athena Sonke uses her LiveJournal to keep a record of her thoughts and self-penned prose, and to keep in
touch with her friends when she’s traveling or away at college in Grand Rapids. And Petoskey’s Roast & Toast Coffee & Cafè even has a photo-filled LiveJournal account - dubbed “toastandjammers” - solely dedicated to their Sunday night open mic show, Toast & Jam.
For those internet-surfers who feel that email is passé and instant messaging is so yesterday, these are just a few examples of the new method of keeping in touch with (and meeting) people online, namely networking or journaling sites.
Some people merely use these sites to keep track of faraway friends, set up social events more easily, or write down their activities and thoughts in a journal or diary-type format. But other users live large portions of their lives on these sites, hitting them daily much like you’d unthinkingly use the telephone or check your email - these users construct a complex virtual social group of people, some of whom they might know “IRL” (in real life) and some of whom they may never meet face-to-face.

The sites that are perpetuating this new method of socializing are popping up quicker than housewives at a Kmart blue-light special - Xanga, MyDearDiary, Friendster, Diaryland, Zorpia, Orkut, Hi5, Facebook, Tribe.net, OpenDiary - the list goes on and on. But, for the purpose of this article (and welcome brevity), we’ll focus on what are, to date, the two most popular sites out there, namely LiveJournal and MySpace.
Although both of these sites are general networking/blog sites, they differ quite a bit in presentation and overall tone. LiveJournal - or “LJ” as users call it - focuses on writing text entries and posting links and photos, and appears to be more for the literate and artsy-crafty crowds; and for those who prefer to limit exactly what’s going on in their little section of cyberspace.
Free of advertising banners and far more easily “controllable” than many of the other social networking sites, LiveJournal begins with an easy setup that involves writing a behind-the-cut profile and a list of interests (not immediately visible to everyone unless they specifically click on the link). Then you choose a layout, titles, and colors.
The depth of customization is dictated by whether the account is a free or paid account, although the free accounts, generously, have more than enough well-designed options for the average user.

LiveJournal also invokes optional security controls through a “Friends List” format on which writers can choose which of their also-on-LiveJournal-friends (or friends-to-be) can read and/or respond to their entries in a series of comment boxes. Alternatively, they can shutter their entries down to everyone but themselves.
LiveJournal has a pretty decent percentage of RPG gamers, and there is a plethora of satellite feeds, too, via which participants can include as “Friends.” In Friends, you’ll find the often quite interesting diaries of such fellow LiveJournal people as Star Trek alumnus Wil Wheaton, writer Neil Gaiman, electronica guru Moby, actor/writer Zach Braff, ex-America’s Next Top Model Elyse Sewell, and many others, plus choices of daily cartoons, horoscopes, and other diversions.

MySpace, on the other hand, has a bit of a seedier tone to it that’s apparent on first visit, when you catch site of the banner ads for such things as debt management, Mate1 Dating Service, E-Spin-the-Bottle.com, and pleas to lower the legal drinking age to 18.
MySpace can be quite useful for staying in touch with friends (many of whom can be “seen” on the comment boxes stopping by to say hello), and for meeting those with like interests. You’ll find MySpacers ranging from painters to dog breeders, goths to folk-singers, accountants to those in the military.
But MySpace is much less focused on aesthetics, slightly less focused on content, and much more devoted to “the hookup,” as evidenced by unsolicited, non-Friend comments that range more towards the likes of “U R hott, add me and we will get to KNOW each other.” Uh, yeah.
MySpace does have several interesting features that include a front-page photo gallery, the ability to have a favorite MP3 file play as the visitor enters the page, and additional customizable options, but the tone of MySpace pages end up being very much what the user chooses to make them, and, unfortunately, that often ends up being kind of sketchy.

The other interesting thing about MySpace, however, is its split personality - while some of the “personal” pages might sometimes seem as uncomfortable as being chatted up by a drunk guy at a bar, MySpace’s music sites are the opposite.
Using the same plain but well-organized layout that the personal pages use, the music MySpaces are a great forum for musicians to showcase their wares, with spaces for MP3 uploads that are easily accessed by a personal music player; a photo gallery; a section for tour dates; a blog section; and, of course, those familiar comment boxes for shout-outs and such.
And, in case you’re wondering, the ad space at MySpace Music is a little more respectable, too -- several refreshes brought forth ads from the likes of MSN, ETrade Financial Services, the American Music Awards, Cingular, and Jamster, as well as a variety of banner ads for various bands and their new albums.
MySpace Music is becoming so popular that users, in addition to tapping in to a large resource of unsigned and indie artists, can also “Friend” such MySpace major-label members as Madonna, My Chemical Romance, Fall Out Boy, Weezer, The Black Eyed Peas, and Switchfoot. The majority of these artist pages are official pages, making MySpace Music definitely something to watch, especially if the rumors about an upcoming MySpace record label actually prove true.

But there’s a dark side to sites like MySpace and LiveJournal, too (more so on MySpace than LJ). In addition to the obvious problems that any social networking site can perpetuate - namely, the unwelcome-pick-up aspect - people with ill intentions also troll these kinds of websites looking to prey on those perhaps less net-savvy. This may involve trying to coerce them into sketchy purchases of bootleg recordings, party paraphenelia, or other items, or even just doing something as simple (yet unsettling) as leaving a rude picture or obscene phrase in the unsuspecting MySpacer’s comment box.
Another trouble with these sites seems to be one that’s an equal bane in the real world; gossip and manipulation, here multiplied x100. For every friendly comment left on MySpace or LJ, there are also ample opportunities to quickly type something negative (sometimes anonymously) and figuratively “run away,” leaving the person who was “typed at” to ponder what was said and how it was meant.
Lacking the immediacy of a phone call or an in-person confrontation, friendships that lean on such sites to deal with conflicts or “get back” at others are destined for disaster, or at least a lot of unnecessary 9th-grade level drama.

That’s where LiveJournal is a step above MySpace: in its ability to severely limit who is allowed to read or comment on entries. But then MySpace has that whole MySpace Music thing that’s making quite the noise in the music industry community - so, all in all, it’s a toss-up between these two top social networking sites, depending on just what your social networking aims are and how much extraneous annoyances you’re willing to put up with.
They might have a few problems that could use a little ironing out, but, all in all, these sites can still be remarkable, fun ways to communicate, and it’s amazing how, in just a few years, the online community has embraced such forums right into their daily lives as naturally as one might brush their teeth.
Used in a way that points more towards keeping in touch with friends, meeting those with genuinely similar interests, or discovering new music, these sites are another example of how the internet continues to broaden our horizons and shorten the distances between people.
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5