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..

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Survival Guides for a Brave, New World

Nancy Sundstrom - April 3rd, 2003
Been stocking up on duct tape Viscleen, bottled water, and gas masks? Thought about it?
It is not a coincidence that a crop of new and re-released books have hit bookshelves that deal with tips for surviving a staggering array of emergencies, be they biological, chemical, nuclear, or worse. Not surprisingly, these somber tomes are selling well, causing publishers to have a growing belief that there’s a market for advice of this sort, especially as talk of a potential war in Iraq looms closer every day.
Some have called it self-help in an age of anxiety, but speculation also exists as to whether these guides educate and thus help reduce paranoia, or reinforce it. For their part, authors like Angelo Acquista, Senator Bill Frist, and Dick Couch all claim that their books are intended to combat fear, not feed on or exploit it. Acquista has stated that “The weapon of terrorism is fear. Knowledge should never frighten people.“ Couch, a retried Navy SEAL and former CIA operative who, as a novelist, tries to think like a terrorist, has declared that his works strive to be a middle ground between “the two extreme ends of the spectrum: morbid fear that a terrorist attack with weapons of mass destruction might happen at any time and the devil-may-care attitude that if you don’t worry about it, nothing bad will happen, or it could happen - but not to me.“
The following is a description - not a review - of a quartet of some of the more highly regarded works of emergency literature that currently exist.

The Survival Guide: What to do in a Biological, Chemical or Nuclear Emergency by Angelo Acquista, M.D.

Acquista has been the medical director of the New York City Mayor’s Office of Emergency Management since 1999, and since the attacks of September 11, 2001, he has served on Mayor Giuliani’s task force on bioterrorism.
Here, he promises “straightforward language and with easy-to-understand instructions“ as he lays out a step-by-step guide to protecting one’s self and their family in large-scale emergencies. The book contains expert information about the most likely biological, chemical, and nuclear threats, and explains the basic steps to take before, during, and after a terrorist attack or other emergency situation. Among its features are a standardized chapter format with quick tips and information; complete explanations of different biological, chemical, and nuclear weapons; early identification pointers including symptoms, emergency response, testing and diagnosis, treatment, and precautions and preparation; special sections on care for children, pregnant women, and pets; and resource sections with contact numbers and information, instructions on what to do in the event of an attack, and more.

The US Armed Forces Nuclear, Biological and Chemical Survival Manual by Dick Couch (Compiler)

John Boswell Couch, Captain USN (RET.),is a former Navy SEAL captain and CIA Maritime Operations officer who has written four novels, including “SEAL Team One,“ “Pressure Point,“ “Silent Descent,“ and “Rising Wind,“ and a nonfiction book on the training of Navy Seals entitled “The Warrior Elite.“
Described as “An essential guide to the best and most practical survival information available from the American Armed Forces,“ this book has been edited for civilian use by the same packager who brought us “The U.S. Armed Forces Survival Manual,“ which sold more than 600,000 copies in the 1980s. The premise here is that experts agree that the next terrorist attack on our soil will not come in the same form as September 11, making the possibility of nuclear, chemical or biological attack increasingly likely, and that readers need to be prepared for that likelihood.
For example, readers are given information on how to gain knowledge of an impending chemical attack using a simple warning system; protect against biological threats such as anthrax with a series of inoculations; guard against fallout from a terrorist nuke; achieve basic protection during chemical or biological attacks with a simple mask; and administer first aid after nuclear, chemical or biological attacks with a simple first aid kit.

When Every Moment Counts: What You Need to Know About Bioterrorism from the Senate‘s Only Doctor by Bill Frist

Frist, a Republican senator from Tennessee, is the Senate’s only medical doctor, and has brought his experiences as a heart and lung surgeon to use as a ranking member of the Senate Subcommittee on Public Health. When anthrax began showing up in the mail in fall 2001, after the events of 9-11, he became one of the most sought-after and frequently-seen guests on news shows of all sorts.
Because Bioterrerism has become one of the most pressing and disturbing issues of the day, Frist has compiled a volume intent on delivering answers to reassure Americans about what they can do to protect themselves.
He uses a question and answer format with photographs of varying symptoms, and a full index that provides current information on biological agents like anthrax and smallpox, dangers posed by chemical weapons, the vulnerabilities of our food and water supplies, details on everything from choosing a filtration mask and putting together a disaster supply kit to preparing children for emergencies without giving them nightmares. The book has been hailed for its pragmatic and generally optimistic tone. A similar-sounding title is Dr. Philip Tierno‘s Protect Yourself Against Bioterrorism (Pocket, 2002).

Gas Masks and Civil Defense: A Practical Guide to Biological, Chemical and Radiological Protection by Richard L. Urie

Urie is a certified industrial hygienist and certified safety professional with a masters degree in environmental science from the University of Colorado. With 25 years in the health, safety and environmental fields, he has extensive expertise in public health risk assessments, toxicological evaluations, decontamination and decommissioning of laboratories, and physical and chemical agent exposure assessments.
“A practical and comprehensive guide,“ his book explains the basics of how gas masks work, what they protect from and what they don‘t, how the units can fail, and standard use and care. There is a quick reference guide to the types of biological, chemical and radiological threats known to exist, and what protections are needed for each, as well as a “bonus“ chapter on other civil defense measures.
Urie is clearly an industry expert on several facets of emergency management, but the focus here is very much on giving the layperson an unbiased reference for understanding what a gas mask actually is and how to use it effectively, if one is planning to do so.

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