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 · Fitness 2010 and beyond
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Fitness 2010 and beyond

Robert Downes - January 11th, 2010
Fitness 2010 & beyond
The Snuggie and Facebook -- there’s a perfect match in sync with our time,
don’t you think? Just swaddle up in a giant synthetic sock, tap into the
‘book and chat with your imaginary friends -- some of whom you’ve never
met in the ‘real’ world.
And there in your cocoon through the long winter nights, you will
metamorphose into a beautiful butterfly come springtime!
Or not.
But seriously, folks, this is our annual ‘Real Fitness’ issue, timed to
coincide with the time of year when many of us throw off the Snuggie
habits of the holidays and hit the gym, the yoga class, the ski trails,
pilates, you name it, for a few weeks at least.
In this issue, we’ve focusedmore on the fun side of fitness, with articles
on snowshoeing, mountain climbing, skating and running, among others.
Fitness philosophies come and go. In the early ’80s the credo was “no
pain, no gain.” Arnold Schwarzenegger, who won the Mr. Olympia contest in
1976 and 1981 personified this approach with his advice to “stay hungry”
in a film by the same name. The idea was to stay hungry in a figurative
way to pursue your fitness goal while literally staying hungry on a diet
of egg whites and skinless chicken to get a body builder’s physique.
By the late ’80s, however, a cadre of newly-graduated exercise
physiologists were preaching the gospel of moderation with the notion that
one could get fit through 20 minutes of aerobic exercise a few times a
week, with no need to “feel the burn.”
This approach converted a lot of former slugs to what was called the
fitness lifestyle, and on balance, the emphasis on moderate exercise was a
good idea. But the personal trainers and exercise physiologists who urged
moderation in exercise rarely practiced what they preached. More likely,
they were doing 20-mile training runs to prepare for a marathon, or doing
leg-kick crunches with ankle weights until they were ready to puke.
That’s because those of us who are fitness freaks know in our secret
hearts that “no pain, no gain” really is the golden rule for getting in
Of course, you can ignore that dictum once you arrive at that happy state
of being “in shape,” provided that you are consistent with your workouts.
Perhaps that’s what should be the fitness gospel of the 2010s:
consistency -- keeping on keeping on. Since muscle tone starts to
deteriorate within 72 hours of inactivity, being fit requires that you get
back on that horse (or elliptical runner, yoga mat, exercycle, etc.) at
least every other day.
This isn’t to say that fitness can’t be fun while being honest about the
need to put in the time and effort. Yesterday I saw a group of five
snowshoers, all in their early 20s, who came in fresh off the trail for a
cup of coffee. They were pretty beat, but they looked healthy and strong
too. Keep it goin’.

The Smoking Dividend
It’s a trend: Michigan will ban smoking in public places on May 1,
becoming the 38th state to stamp out the nasty weed. Some of us look
forward to going back to the smoke-pits we haunted in our youth to enjoy
dinner once again without leaving the place smelling like an ashtray,
while others are no doubt cryin’ in their beer over the decision.
Bonus: the gradual elimination of smoking in our country should decrease
the nation’s health care costs.
Currently, smoking-related deaths and health care issues cost the U.S. an
estimated $167 billion per year, according to the federal Centers for
Disease Control. The more than 400,000 people who die each year from
cancer, stroke and heart disease not only forfeit their lives, but add to
everyone’s insurance premiums, along with Medicare and Medicaid.
But the trend toward the elimination of smoking should produce a
‘dividend’ to cut the costs of health reform.
As a former smoker (from ages 15-22), I wish all of you who still struggle
with that addiction all the best for quitting in 2010.

A Winter Walk
Over the past five years, I’ve tried to walk to work for some portion of
the winter, rebelling against what tends to be a bleak, soul-killing drive
through the dirty slush in my car.
This requires the heroic effort of waking up a half-hour early in order to
make the hike, but I’ve found much to recommend in this throwback to our
ancestors’ habit of walking to work.
For one thing, you find a stillness in the heart of winter of the sort
Robert Frost described in his poems of New England. As you crunch along
through the snow in the dark of the morning, you find yourself drawn
closer to the earth and nature’s power.
It’s a reflective time. You marvel at how our postal workers manage to
wade through the drifted sidewalks each day in what must be a thankless
task, delivering mail to people too lazy to shovel their walkways. You see
kids gathering for school, and even an occasional adult who enjoys walking
too. And as with any repetitive exercise, the march through the snow tends
to shift your brainwaves from beta to alpha and the hemispheres of your
right-left brain thinking flip, arousing new and unexpected thoughts.
Funny thing, the only way to conquer winter and thoroughly enjoy it is to
embrace the cold and snow in an “up close and personal” way. Rather than
shivering behind an icy windshield in the tin can of your car, walking to
work gives you the sense of taking charge of winter.
You arrive at work with your metabolism flaring, already burning off the
calories of breakfast. And the walk home finds your body shedding the
stress of the day until you arrive relaxed for the evening.
My walk is long enough to feel like I’ve had some fun and gotten a bit of
a workout in to boot. “Going the extra mile” in winter is well worth it.

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