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 · Art · Poets Rock!
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Poets Rock!

Robert Downes - September 29th, 2008
There’s no other way to say it: poet Derrick Brown kicks ass. He’s an action-adventure poet, swinging to the stage from the end of a vine with a ululating Tarzan yell and a ray gun in his belt. Well, not really, but the one thing you can expect from Brown’s multi-media poetry readings is the unexpected -- and that it will be the best night of poetry you can imagine.
A former paratrooper, gondolier, magician, and “fired weatherman,” Brown is bringing some of the world’s top-gun poets to the Traverse City Opera House stage on Saturday, Oct. 4 as part of his “Junkyard Ghost Revival” show that blends comedy, music and performance art with poetry.
“It’s more like a theater experience than a poetry reading, with everything planned out,” Brown says by phone from his home in Venice, California.
“Most of the poets who will be appearing are those I met at the National Poetry Slam in Madison, Wisconsin,” he adds. “We’ve got a world champion on our team, who won slams in Munich and Paris. We decided that it would be better if we all got together and went on tour.”

The lineup at the upcoming show includes the following:
•Buddy Wakefield, a two-time Individual World Poetry Slam Champion has been featured on NPR, BBC, CBC, HBO’s Def Poetry Jam, and venues all across the globe.
• Anis Mojgani, a two-time National Poetry Slam Individual Champion, one of only two people to ever win the title more than once. He also took first place at France’s 2007 World Cup Poetry Slam, and has been on HBO and NPR.
• Rotating in will be up-and-comers Andrea Gibson, Sonya Renee, Robbie Q, and Cristin O’Keefe Aptowicz.
Then there’s Brown, a resident of Nashville who performs 130 shows per year and has appeared on 1,200 stages a round the world. Poetry has been his magic carpet, taking him to a number of countries along with every state in the U.S. except for Alaska and Maine (which he plans to hit on this tour).
Perhaps it was his experience as a paratrooper with the 82nd U.S. Airborne that gave him the confidence to drop from dizzying heights into the hearts and minds of his audiences, overpowering them with wit and words. “I try to go for the cutthroat images,” he says.
That stint in the military was preceded by a career as a magician, which also energizes his work. “It was a strange transition going from those worlds to this one,” he notes. “After getting out of the service, I didn’t know what I wanted to do, except that I didn’t want to work in a warehouse or something like that. Then the coffeehouse explosion came along in the early ‘90s and I started doing poetry.”
Something clicked, foremost of which is the power of his words. Brown is a writer who paints whimsical images and exotic vistas in the listener’s mind. His words are so true and filled with visions that you wonder if writing comes naturally.
“No, for me it’s definitely work,” he says. “I slave over these suckers. I feel like every other writer I’ve met: it’s better to have written than to write. My work comes to me in little pieces -- I write ideas on bar napkins or my arm and then file them away.”
But those nuggets are paying off with a new book, “Scandalabra,” which has won the endorsement of a number of actors and comedians. Brown plans to take his new material on the road to Europe next May.
What about his showmanship? He frequently opens for the Indie rock group, Cold War Kids and has performed with The White Stripes and Clap Your Hands Say Yeah. Does he ever get stage fright?
“Yeah, I feel like I’m going to wet my pants,” Brown says. “I have a little backstage ritual that involves beer to get ready for a show.”
The soundtrack for his show tends to be electronic music -- often songs direct from his iPod which people have given him to check out.
“The thing we’re trying to do with the Junkyard Ghost Revival is to make it the most amazing and unique theater experience for the audience,” Brown says. “We’ve got a mission to charge the people up -- there’s going to be a lot of laughs and a lot of literary power.”

Tickets for the 8 p.m. show are $15, Saturday, Oct. 4 at the TC Opera House.

Other Upcoming Opera House Shows:

• Saturday October 18, 8pm: Comedy Central Comedian John Caparulo fresh off Vince Vaughn’s Wild West Comedy Tour. ($35 Ticket)

• Friday October 31, 8pm and Midnight: Rocky Horror Picture Show - 8pm & Midnight. Dress to kill, cash bar. ($10 Ticket & $5 Prop Bag)

• Monday November 10, 8pm: Folk Singer Martin Sexton with Mike Moran. (Tickets $20, $25, $32)

• Friday November 21, 7:30pm: Chinese Pianist Xiayin Wang - before her Carnegie Hall CD debut. (Tickets $29 Adults & $15 Students)

• Saturday November 29, 11:30am and 2pm: Junie B Jones - Live NY Children’s Theater. (Tickets $10 Adults & $5 Children 12 & under)

• Friday January 30, 7pm and 9:30pm: NBC’s Last Comic Standing top 5 finalist live.
(Tickets: $35, $45, $55)

See www.cityoperahouse.org
for tickets and details.
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