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 · Random Thoughts · The Flutter of Wings
. . . .

The Flutter of Wings

Robert Downes - July 12th, 2007
You have to wonder if it was Detective Tom Heller’s guardian angel who put his finger in the barrel of the shotgun that misfired outside of a court in Montmorency County a couple of weeks ago.
Heller had a .20 gauge shotgun fired at his chest at point-blank range, and it failed to go off.
Don’t know if anyone heard the flutter of wings when the gun failed to fire, but it wouldn’t surprise me.
The Grand Traverse County detective was chasing Robert Becker, who had just been convicted of first-degree criminal sexual charges for molesting a 14-year-old boy. Upon hearing the jury’s verdict, Becker bolted from the courthouse and ran to his car with Heller and a sheriff’s deputy on his heels. Becker pulled a loaded shotgun from his car and fired at the detective, who wasn’t wearing his bullet-proof vest.
It’s easy to snicker at the idea of a guardian angel, but this case sure offers some food for thought. Many religions believe in some sort of protective angel, hovering around in the background like Invisible Woman Sue Storm of the Fantastic Four, ready to warn you away from the tainted chicken salad or the car flying through a red light.
Guardian angels are said to be especially attentive to children, keeping them from falling backwards down the steps and such. And some religions believe that the ghosts of ancestors step in from time to time to lend a protective hand. Or, as noted in the Encyclopedia Brittanica: “other spiritual beings that have been placated by sacrifices or other rituals, assist man in achieving a proper rapport with God...”
Of course, you only have to look in the weekly “News of the Weird” column in the Express to note that a lot of guardian angels must be sleeping on the job, if they really do exist. But in Det. Heller’s case, there is reason to believe that his supernatural sidekick deserves a departmental citation.

Have you noticed? It’s getting harder to tell the tourists from the locals in the downtowns of Northern Michigan.
You used to be able to tell tourists at a glance by the duds they wore. Pastel shorts, pastel golf shirts and brand new sneakers gleaming in the sun.
But styles change, and today’s tourists don’t seem to be wearing all of that pastel stuff on the catwalks downtown. They’re blending in more -- not as scruffy as us locals, but to their credit, they’re gettin’ there.
There are still telltale signs: if you see a family walking slowly down the sidewalk, licking ice cream cones and gazing awestruck into the store windows with the kids orbiting like electrons around the nucleus of their parents, they’re probably tourists.
Be sure to give them a big old friendly welcome and some of our famous northern hospitality.

No doubt, some smart guy or gal at the National Cherry Festival or the TC city government has already thought of this, but you’d think there would be a heck of a traffic jam out on West Bay now that the festival’s stage has been redirected to face the water.
One can only imagine there will be more boats on the bay for The Romantics, Kenny Olson, Kellie Pickler, et. al. than gondolas on the Grand Canal of Venice during a Pink Floyd concert.
Good thing we don’t have any manatees on the bay, because with all of those blasted boaters out there, the waters are likely to get pretty frothy. You might want to save that moonlight swim for another night...

Paris Hilton must be PO’d. She’s done more time than Scooter Libby, and he’s a four-time felon for lying under oath about betraying the identity of CIA agent Valerie Plame.
While America had visions of hot dogs and beer dancing in its collective head in anticipation of the Fourth of July, President Bush handed his homey a “Get Out of Jail Free” card to escape a 30-month sentence.
This, even though Libby was declared guilty of four out of five felonies by a unanimous federal jury. Is that how it works for you and me if we’re in the same shoes?
This, from the former Governor of Texas, who refused to pardon any of the 152 prisoners on death row during his watch -- more than any other governor in recent history. One report claims that Bush did little in the way of reviewing the execution cases -- his legal counsel at the time, one Alberto Gonzales -- would drop off a report the same day as the killing and Gov. Bush would sign off on it. One can only imagine the kind of clemency report Gonzo Gonzales would come up with now that we know what a genius he is as head of the Justice Department.
Somehow, all of those folks got lethal injections, but our president had it in his heart to give Scoot a break. Nice guy. If you follow any of the political talk shows or the newspaper commentary, you already know the reason why: 30 months is a long time for a Bush/Cheney crony to stew in prison... he might cough up a book with something very embarrassing -- probably even criminal -- to say about his former bosses.
Paris, do something! No one else will.
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