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 · Books · Mind your manners, The Advice...
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Mind your manners, The Advice Goddess rages on the rude

Erin Cowell - January 25th, 2010
Mind Your Manners
The Advice Goddess rages at the rude
I See Rude People: One woman’s battle to beat some manners into impolite
By Amy Alkon
McGraw Hill, $16.95
By Erin Crowell
Amy Alkon, humorist and nationally syndicated columnist of “The Advice
Goddess,” has taken her bold opinions of society and had them print, set
and bound into her newest book, “I See Rude People: One woman’s battle to
beat some manners into impolite society.”
Her weekly advice column has caused a bit of a stir since appearing in
over 100 publications like The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal,
with the Northern Express being one of the first newspapers to carry it as
far back as 1994 (sixth, to be accurate). Readers, including our own, have
accused Alkon of being brash, biased, and sometimes, just a plain “bitch.”
But she is also one of the best-loved writers in the Express and many
readers report that she’s the first page they turn to when the paper comes
out each week.
“I See Rude People” doesn’t stray far from Alkon’s classic “I don’t care
what you think” attitude – actually, the only thing Alkon does care about
in this book is the common disregard for others in our society.
The back cover reads: “Alkon gives you the tools you need to confront
these abusers and restore common courtesy, respect, and good manners in
society…One chastened cellphone shouter at a time.”

The book is funny – and thoroughly researched, complete with scientific
social experiments and all the archeological dirt on homo sapiens. From
the survival of the fittest, to the need of cohabitation within a small
Alkon writes, “Our brains are programmed to respond to 21st century
problems using the adaptations that best solved prehistoric
hunter-gatherer mating and survival issues.”
So, despite all of today’s flashy gizmos, our brains are still working on
an effective, yet very outdated network. Alkon argues that we have simply
used technology as an excuse, another vehicle for being rude: The
businessman who just has to take that cell phone call at lunch.
It’s an example of rudeness that happens everyday. The thing is, many of
us quietly brush it aside like a loose hair.
Alkon writes, “What’s weird to me is how many people always suffer in
silence, even if it’s just a 13-year-old mall brat ‘like, yeah, ya
know’-ing so loud in line behind them that it’s impossible to hear the
counter guy trying to take their lunch order.”
Alkon suggests it also doesn’t mean you can’t use those gizmos to your
advantage. Like taking photos of an offender and posting it via
blogosphere -- a public humiliation. The kind of stuff that kept our
ancestors from stirring up the tribal pot. Many watchful eyes meant you
were out of the village (and likely to die) when committing a social faux

Our village has gotten too large, and Amy Alkon believes it’s time to make
it smaller.
Peeved off about that guy who cut you off in traffic? Tweet about it.
The more people who understand unaccepted social behaviors, the less
likely they are to commit the same travesty.
So is this book a get back-at-’em guidebook for self-empowerment? Hardly.
It’s about checks and balances. Knowing how to deal with jerks without
being one yourself. Of course, sometimes it means fighting fire with fire,
a method Alkon relishes, even excels at.
Here’s one example from her book:

“The lady made five very loud calls—each the same as the last—giving her
name (Carol), detailed directions to a kid’s birthday party at her house,
plus the time, plus her home phone number… I left this message on her
voice mail when I got home: ‘Carol, Carol, Carol… the microphone on a cell
phone is actually quite sensitive. There’s no need to yell. You probably
didn’t realize that your repeated shouting into your cell phone drove a
number of people out of the coffee bar today. Beyond that, you might
consider that I… know that you live at 555 Ferngrove Street… and that
you’re having a bunch of six-year-olds over at 3 p.m. on Saturday. Just a
little something to think about… Bye!’”

Alkon dedicates a couple of paragraphs to admitting she has occasionally
overstepped her bounds, her dislike of telemarketers is obvious: “I’m
hotheaded, and I have been known to scream at telemarketers and/or to ask
them if they have a suspicious vaginal odor—even if they happen to be
Although this kind of behavior might offend some, others will get a laugh,
and perhaps a newfound confidence in standing up to all the line cutters
and parking space hogs of the world.
Just keep your superhero ego in-check. There’s no need for a bloody nose
and minor concussion.

Don’t miss our interview with Amy Alkon in the February 8 issue of the
Northern Express, discussing everything from bad manners to her appearance
at the City Opera House in Traverse City, on Feb. 11. Alkon is one of
several speakers at this year’s National Writers Series.

Got a problem or question? Email them to Amy Alkon at AdviceAmy@aol.com or
visit her website: www.advicegoddess.com.

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