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 · What to do with Winter
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What to do with Winter

Kristi Kates - December 7th, 2006
“Winter, a lingering season, is a time to enjoy every idle hour.” - John Boswell
Ah, yes.  The beginning of the true cold season.  The full force of Old Man Winter is almost upon us, and, once again, our lands have turned on their own, banishing the temperate temperatures and non-mitten days for the next nine months.
The easiest ways to just get through winter are, to most, obvious and few.  One, soak it all in and enjoy, by indulging in every winter sport that you can get your wool-socked feet into.  Two, tolerate it the best that you can, by purchasing the warmest of winter coats, stocking up on an overload of firewood, and running as fast as you can manage from your front door to your car door.  And three, go into complete denial, stroll around in shorts even when the temp hits minus 10, and, after about a month of this defiance, finally snap and purchase a one-way ticket to Antigua.
But what about the gentler pursuits that are so often overlooked just when you might need them? When was the last time you pulled out an old board game… played charades… had a theme party… created something with your friends... or made your own gourmet dinner instead of grabbing a bag of fast food on the way home? 
Winter is the perfect time to pursue these more simple pleasures, and here are a few suggestions on how to do just that.
When the wind is buffeting the heck out of your windows, call all of your friends and have a game night with the gang. This one’s easy, especially if you rely on a game of cards or traditional charades to get things started - but to really get the laughter going, just get out your old games of childhood - from checkers and Candyland to Simon and Twister - and call the gang over again for a night of acting like kids, right down to the snacks - try stuff like Doritos, Cheetos, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and Kool-Aid. 
Not adult enough fer ya?  Then step up the gaming with popular game pastimes like Trivial Pursuit, Cranium (that one’s a hoot, as it’s like six games in one), Taboo, Scattergories, or your own version of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, Survivor (vote your friends off of your own “island”) or Deal or No Deal (using gift certificates to local restaurants and stores as the mystery suitcase prizes, perhaps?). 
If analog isn’t your thing, then pull out the PS2, XBox, or Gamecube for a night of stalking spies in Goldeneye, a few rounds of Guitar Hero, or perhaps a co-op game of Mario Party. 
When a snowstorm prevents you from pursuing your out-of-town plans, don’t feel desolate - take advantage of the unexpected time off, and call the gang again for a theme party. 
Theme parties these days are highly underrated - your pals might poke fun at the idea once again, but once they’re in the midst of it, they’ll actually be glad that the storm grounded that flight to San Fran! 
A few good ones to banish the winter blues are ones that are set in warmer territories than our own. Try a party set in your favorite faraway destination… if you’d like to set your party in Spain, you could watch a travelogue on DVD, play a little flamenco music, serve up some sangria and paella, and say “Ole!” For France, put on “Amelie” or “The Umbrellas of Cherbourg,” fire up the Edith Piaf, make a hearty French Country Cassoulet, see how much French you remember from high school with some French flash cards... you get the idea.  
Have a Black and White party, where all of the decorations - and foods - think grilled black rye bread and swiss cheese sandwiches, Oreo cookies, colas and sparkling waters - are black and white; watch old black and white movies, and make up some mix tapes where the songs either have black or white in the title. 
Or, have an Academy Awards party; gather the gang to watch a favorite cult TV show (“Heroes” anyone?) or celebrate a less popular holiday - dig out your creativity and just think of the party possibilites for Alaska Admission Day (January 3), Kazoo Day (January 28), or Frozen Food Day (March 6).
Arts and Crafts nights or Project nights are great in two ways. Try developing your own game world with an RPG - or Roleplaying Game - night, or invent your own board game, with some people working on the board itself, some making the game pieces, and some outlining the game rules. 
For those who are into sewing or knitting, Stitch Nights are great, because everyone can work individually on their own project (brought along from home) while communally enjoying conversation, coffee, and snacks.  Same applies to painting, woodcarving, sketching, jewelry making - anything that can be stuffed into a bag can be taken to a friend’s house to enjoy the camaraderie while being creative. 
You can arrange your own writing workshops, whether for stories, poetry, songs, or scripts, with like-minded friends;  or if you’re into acting or dancing, get your fellow thespians or dancers together to practice. 
If you are one of those who think that everything’s better with food, then have a cooking night where everyone is in charge of one dish, from the appetizer to salad, soup to entree to dessert, and watch the fun happen right in your own kitchen.  Or go back to that theme night idea, and make up an entire menu from your chosen country or type of cuisine that’s cooperatively cooked - and eaten, of course - by your circle of friends. 
Have a random chef night, where one person is chosen to cook a special dish for everyone else (it’s someone else’s turn next time, of course). 
Have a random recipe night, or do a progressive dinner, where you go to one person’s house for appetizers, another person’s house for soup, another’s for the entree... all the way to after-dinner coffees. 
And there’s always the old-reliable potluck dinner, where everyone brings a dish and they’re all shared over conversation, laughter... and, hey, perhaps some board games.  
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