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 · Are you carbon nuetral?
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Are you carbon nuetral?

Robert Downes - April 19th, 2007
After he won the Oscar last month for his global warming documentary, An Inconvenient Truth, former Vice President Al Gore was blindsided by an “inconvenient truth” of his own. Turns out Gore has a whopper of an electric bill -- averaging $1,359 per month.
A conservative think tank called the Tennessee Center for Policy Research claims that Gore’s 20-room mansion uses more electricity each month than the average American family uses in a year. Plus, the natural gas bills for Gore’s home and guest house averaged $1,080 per month last year -- in balmy Tennessee. His combined electrical and gas bills for 2006 came to nearly $30,000.
Gore’s peeps claim that his electric bill is sky-high because he pays a hefty “green” rate to subsidize wind power. That, and the fact that his rambling home also houses his offices.
Gore‘s defenders claim that the exposè is just a way for right-wingers to divert attention from the threat of global warming. But that‘s like saying that Don Imus was just cracking a harmless joke. Getting caught red-handed with a $30,000 utility bill doesn‘t make it sound like Gore is singing along with the choir he‘s conducting, even if he does pay extra to go green.
That‘s the great disorder of our times: the idea that everyone else should do something about global warming, but not me. If Al Gore is sincere that we face “a global emergency,“ then shouldn‘t he be living the simple life he advocates for others? Recall that Gandhi gave up all his possessions except for a rice bowl, his spinning wheel and a robe to dramatize his cause.
One good thing to come out of the controversy, however, is that of publicizing the idea of a “carbon neutral” lifestyle. This means living in a way that offsets CO2 greenhouse gas emissions created by your way of life.
The idea is to neutralize the effect of driving around in your gas hog or cranking up your thermostat all winter by doing something nice for Mother Nature as a make-good.
Becoming carbon neutral is a new way of life for those who want to get personally involved in the fight against global warming.
Considering that 25% of greenhouse gases come from our personal activities (driving to work, heating your home), it makes sense that we as individuals should take action. It’s not just the government’s problem or industry’s problem -- it‘s our problem.
According to www.self.org, a carbon-neutral website: “The average U.S. citizen produces five tons of CO2 a year from the use of fossil fuels for their personal use, through electricity, home heating, and in vehicles and airplanes. This includes all America‘s babies and grannies, so a typical working householder might produce 10 or 15 tons a year.“
Fortunately, a carbon neutral way of life involves taking some fairly simple actions. The idea is to figure out how much CO2 your lifestyle generates, and then do something to offset it -- something that wouldn‘t have happened unless you took action:
• Plant trees: they absorb CO2 from the atmosphere.
• Support wind and solar projects. In Traverse City, 110 homeowners and 15 businesses subscribe to Light & Power’s “Green Rate.” This saves three tons of coal burned for power each year, and prevents the release of 10,000 pounds of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere by choosing wind power.
• Go green with new appliances such as solar or on-demand hot water heaters and energy-efficient fluorescent light bulbs.
• Make your next vehicle more earth-friendly with a hybrid or high-mileage car.
There are no end to ideas on the Internet for becoming carbon neutral. Spend a moment on Earth Day to Google the subject if you’d like to do your bit.
True, there’s some spotty thinking behind the carbon neutral movement. For instance, there’s no way we‘re ever likely to live as lightly on the earth as the Australian aborigines or the average citizen of India, no matter what we do. A high level of greenhouse gases is hard-wired into the American way of life, and all the good intentions and actions we might pursue aren’t going to “neutralize” that fact, short of going back to the Stone Age. Which, come to think of it, might be our next stop if the earth‘s fever keeps rising.
And does Al Gore really need that palace he’s living in down in Tennessee? As noted by some bloggers, Al and Tipper could downsize to a still-mammoth home of say, 4,000 square feet, and do a better job of walking the walk while talking the talk.
Perhaps a carbon neutral society is just another utopian dream that gets tripped up by comfort-loving human nature. Still, the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, and that’s what we’re trying to do to end global warming -- just taking a step in the right direction.
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