Letters

Letters 05-23-2016

Examine The Priorities Are you disgusted about closing schools, crumbling roads and bridges, and cuts everywhere? Investigate funding priorities of legislators. In 1985 at the request of President Reagan, Grover Norquist founded Americans for Tax Reform (ATR). For 30 years Norquist asked every federal and state candidate and incumbent to sign the pledge to vote against any increase in taxes. The cost of living has risen significantly since 1985; think houses, cars, health care, college, etc...

Make TC A Community For Children Let’s be that town that invests in children actively getting themselves to school in all of our neighborhoods. Let’s be that town that supports active, healthy, ready-to-learn children in all of our neighborhoods...

Where Are Real Christian Politicians? As a practicing Christian, I was very disappointed with the Rev. Dr. William C. Myers statements concerning the current presidential primaries (May 8). Instead of using the opportunity to share the message of Christ, he focused on Old Testament prophecies. Christ gave us a new commandment: to love one another...

Not A Great Plant Pick As outreach specialist for the Northwest Michigan Invasive Species Network and a citizen concerned about the health of our region’s natural areas, I was disappointed by the recent “Listen to the Local Experts” feature. When asked for their “best native plant pick,” three of the four garden centers referenced non-native plants including myrtle, which is incredibly invasive...

Truth About Plants Your feature, “listen to the local experts” contains an error that is not helpful for the birds and butterflies that try to live in northwest Michigan. Myrtle is not a native plant. The plant is also known as vinca and periwinkle...

Ask the Real Plant Experts This letter is written to express my serious concern about a recent “Listen To Your Local Experts” article where local nurseries suggested their favorite native plant. Three of the four suggested non-native plants and one suggested is an invasive and cause of serious damage to Michigan native plants in the woods. The article is both sad and alarming...

My Plant Picks In last week’s featured article “Listen to the Local Experts,” I was shocked at the responses from the local “experts” to the question about best native plant pick. Of the four “experts” two were completely wrong and one acknowledged that their pick, gingko tree, was from East Asia, only one responded with an excellent native plant, the serviceberry tree...

NOTE: Thank you to TC-based Eagle Eye Drone Service for the cover photo, taken high over Sixth Street in Traverse City.

Home · Articles · News · Random Thoughts · Looming questions for...
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Looming questions for the Beijing Olympics

George Foster - August 11th, 2008
This year’s Olympic Games in China have been hyped even beyond the normal fevered pitch that we are used to every four years. By spending $40 billion on the games, razing many miles of slums, and deploying ten of thousands of security forces for a Gestapo-like atmosphere, the story of China’s rise into the modern world has overshadowed the competitive events themselves.
Let’s talk about the participants for a change. Going into the games, the following are the biggest issues concerning the athletes:

Question 1: Will Ann Arbor’s Michael Phelps earn a record eight gold medals? Four years ago in Athens, with six golds and two bronze medals from eight different swimming events, Phelps came close to equaling Mark Spitz’s Olympic record for gold medals in one Olympiad. Spitz swam to seven gold medal victories in the 1972 Munich Games.
This time around, Phelps is entered in eight events, owning the world record in five of them. If Michael Phelps does somehow win eight gold medals in Beijing, he should be considered the greatest athlete of all time. Only four more gold medals will give him the record for all Olympiads combined.
Watch for revolutionary Speedo LZR full-body swimsuits (for men, too) that are changing the sport. Swimmers using the LZR have already set 47 world records this year. On the down side, even keen observers such as myself can no longer easily differentiate men from women racers at the pool.
Answer: Phelps will fall just short of eight. Three of his eight events are relays involving three other swimmers, opening many more possibilities for small mistakes that are critical in races often decided by fractions of a second.

Question 2: Will Liu Xiang win a gold medal? Despite Michael Phelps’ highly publicized quest, no one in the history of organized sports is under more pressure to win than Liu Xiang. Liu is the 110 meter hurdles favorite, but more importantly1.3 billion Chinese are all expecting him to bring home the gold for the fatherland on home turf.
With his surprise 110m win in the Athens Games of 2004, Liu is the biggest sports hero in China. Liu’s celebrity there even eclipses Yao Ming, the 7’6” NBA star who is beloved by his countrymen and hounded by Chinese paparazzi wherever he goes.
The competition in Liu’s race specialty should be stiff. Dyron Robles of Cuba broke Liu’s world record time recently and American Terrence Trammell already has two silver medals from previous Olympics in the same event to his credit.
Answer: The American, Trammell, will surprise by snatching the gold from Xiang and Robles.

Question 3: Will the Dream Team bring back the gold? Last time around, Team USA’s basketball squad did not win a gold medal - Argentina won it all in 2004.
You may be thinking that with superstars such as Lebron James, Kobe Bryant, Dawayne Wade, and others, this Dream Team will be trouncing any basketball team that dares show up on the same court. And besides, we invented hoops so there is no way Puerto Rico or China can beat us, right?
Not so fast, many other countries have decent talent including many players that have or in the future will play in the NBA. A big advantage for a team like Argentina is that their players are no mere All Star roster. They have been performing together for many years in international competition, adjusting to the international rules long ago.
Answer: No. The Dream Team has a chance, but there are too many good teams such as Greece and Spain that can play with the Americans. Team USA should earn another bronze medal in basketball.

Question 4: Can the U.S. win more gold medals than the Chinese? Answer: No. The Chinese have trained hard and spent billions on many sports that Americans could care less about such as ping-pong, women’s judo, and badminton. Four years ago China won only four less Olympic gold medals than the U.S. - before it became the Chinese national obsession.
2008 will be the year that we will later note when China passed the rest of the world in sports achievements and dominated many Olympics to come.
 
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