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 · So long to a dismal...
. . . .

So long to a dismal decade

Robert Downes - December 28th, 2009
So Long to a Dismal Decade
Remember what excitement there was in the air when we rang in 2000 on
New Year’s Eve 10 years ago?
No one knew whether the wheels would fall off civilization as a result
of the Y2K, but we were exhilarated by the dawn of a new millennium
and the thrill of witnessing another 1,000 years of human progress. I
recall joining friends at a local nightclub that night, listening to a
band called Daddy Longlegs as the clock ticked midnight, and wondering
what kind of amazing good time we were in for in the ’00s.
Flip ahead 10 years to a time when the joy has been sucked out of that
balloon by what has been one of the most dismal decades in American
history: a time that included 9/11, two wars,
Hurricane Katrina, and one of the worst recessions ever. In a Pew
Research Center survey, Americans stated by nearly a two-to-one (50%
to 27%) margin that the 2000s had been a negative time for America.
On the other hand, 59% of Americans believe that the 2010s will be
better, so let’s dish out another bowl of that New Year’s Eve
exhilaration in the hope of better times ahead.
Although the ’00s have been a dark time for America, and Michigan in
particular, we still have reason to be grateful that things are not as
bad off as they could be. Although we have unemployment topping more
than 10% in Michigan, we don’t have hundreds of thousands of people
living homeless on the street, with only a cardboard mattress for a
bed and the sky for a roof. That’s the fate of millions around the
world... but not here.
We still live in a land where big box stores need to take precautions
at Christmas so that customers don’t get trampled to death in the rush
for flat screen TVs when the doors open on Black Friday.
So here are a few contrarian things to be grateful for as the calendar
turns to 2010:
• Be grateful that when the Twin
Towers fell in September, 2001, that the Bill of Rights wasn’t
vaporized along with them. True, there were encroachments on privacy
with the Patriot Act, and many Americans turned a blind eye to
torture, secret prisons and a unilateral war based on lies. But
somehow we pulled through that ugly time and those ills are on the
wane. Guantanamo prison is set to close in the coming year and
waterboarding has been roundly condemned as barbaric. Are we better
people now than we were when 2000 rolled around? Probably not, but
surely we’re a bit wiser.
• We’re not in a Great Depression. Recessions are painful and seem to
last forever for those who are jobless in their midst, but they come
and go every 10 years or so in America, and this one will pass.
Things could have been much worse: Although there has been a great
deal of criticism of bailing out America’s banks with TARP funds, it
was that action which prevented the far greater disaster of a global
• The endless “War on Terror” seems to be finally over. Remember the
color-coded alerts? Remember the whole country living in a constant
state of fear over some guys wearing sandals and living in caves half
a world away?
• As imperfect as it seems, the health care reform bill moving through
Congress will ultimately benefit both citizens and our economy. I
know of many uninsured friends and relatives who’d lose their homes or
be forced into bankruptcy as the result of even a few days of a
hospital stay. That’s an ill situation which we should remedy in the
• Be thankful that Michigan still has a manufacturing infrastructure.
Our state is reinventing and rebooting itself, as is the entire world.
New ‘green’ technologies in automobiles, energy and mass transit are
taking shape, and Michigan still has the resources to benefit from
We’ll see the ice break on Michigan’s fortunes for the simple reason
that many Americans have held onto their cars and trucks for an extra
year or two through the recession. Those vehicles are wearing out, and
soon there will be a demand for the new generation of hybrid/electric
products from Michigan automakers.
• We’re thankful that the war in Iraq is winding up, even as we deal
with the consequences of 5,288 American service persons dead and
35,000 wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan. Not to mention more than
100,000 Iraqis who died, or millions driven from their homes as
On that score, there’s one thing we can’t be grateful for as 2010
comes into view: that we still believe that war is a solution, rather
than a curse.
I personally am grateful that Northern Express Weekly has weathered
the great “newspaper apocalypse” of 2008-2009, and has in fact
thrived. We owe that to our magnificent staff (hard-working, selfless
geniuses, every one) and to you, our loyal readers (smarter than
average and certainly better looking). Here’s hoping that all your
dreams come true in the 2010s. Happy New Year, and New Decade.

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