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 · Features · A comic affair
. . . .

A comic affair

Erin Crowell - February 15th, 2010
A Comic Affair:Gettin’ crazy with TJ &Dave and Whitney Cummings
By Erin Crowell
Laughter. The best way to unfreeze your face – and TJ Jagodowski and
Dave Pasquesi are a couple of guys that will help you do it. The
Second City veterans are among several comedians scheduled to perform
at the first-ever Traverse City Comedy Arts Festival, Feb. 19-21.
The two have been performing together in the Chicago area for eight
years. It will be Jagodowski’s first time to Traverse City, and a
return visit for Pasquesi, who says it’s been awhile.
“About a thousand years,” he says. ‘Well. Really, about 35 years.”
TJ and Dave will perform on Saturday, Feb. 20, at the Old Town Playhouse.
Pasquesi says they got the invite from fellow comedian and co-founder
of the festival Jeff Garlin, who is also a long-time friend.
“I figured he wouldn’t ask us to do something that wasn’t a blast,”
says Pasquesi. “It’s a nice lineup, I’m looking forward to seeing all
this stuff.”

The duo, who simply go by “TJ and Dave,” will give audiences a taste
of improv comedy, where the material is fabricated on-stage.
“Basically, the lights come up and we start. It’s been called
instaplays – that’s not too far off, I think. It may be more towards
theater than sketch comedy. There aren’t separate scenes where we jump
around, although we do some of that.”
TJ and Dave’s improv comedy involves zero audience participation.
“Except, their interest is required,” says Pasquesi. “We’re always
aware of what they’re responding to, but our job is to find out what
is already going on rather than to make something up. Improv can be
scary, but it’s part of the fun.”
So, what is like being part of a two-man team?
“From the first time we ever were on stage, it’s been easy. Do I want
to slap him? Usually no,” Pasquesi laughs.
“The more people in the audience the better time everyone has. It’s
usually pretty funny. Sometimes it gets weird. (The audience) can
expect to have a good time. Either that, or if it doesn’t go well, and
they enjoy watching people go down in flames, then they’ll enjoy
themselves, too.“

While TJ and Dave are making a quick jaunt across the pond,
comedienne, writer and actress Whitney Cummings will leave the sunny
shores of the West Coast.
We talked with her while she was working out at a gym in Los Angeles.
“I’m walking on the treadmill. I’ve got like nine pieces of paper,
waters, wheat grass shots… I’m like that lady at the gym where you’re
like ‘aww, geez.’ I’m a multi-tasker. Otherwise, I would get no sleep.
I’m shooting an hour special in May so I’m pretty much on the road
every weekend.”
This weekend, Cummings will perform Friday, Feb. 19, at the State
Theatre; along with a duo performance with Jeff Garlin on Saturday,
Feb. 20, at the State.
“It’s a three-day festival so it’s kind of a vacation for me. Being on
the road is good because I get so much more work done on planes and in
hotel rooms…even though the cable’s bad.”
Cummings also got the invite from Garlin, whom she worked with several
times at the Comedy Store in Hollywood.
“He asked me about doing this and it was kind of a no-brainer,” says
Cummings. “I am so excited because pretty much everyone who is doing
this festival is like, one of my heroes, for real. I remember when I
was in college, in like 2002, I was so obsessed with Michael Moore. I
wrote him a five-page letter that was like, ‘I’ll work for you, I’ll
intern for free, I’ll bring you coffee!’ So this is kind of surreal.”
Cummings is the producer of the hit Showtime comedy series “Live!
Nude! Comedy!” a show, that she says, was “specifically designed to
let edgy comedians do their thing without being censored.”
Cummings says her comedy has taken on that same edgy persona.
“My emphasis used to be on jokes, and the biggest compliment I could
receive is ‘Oh my God, your jokes are so funny.’ But now, I think I’ve
broken open and I want it to be less confined about jokes, which is
basically just a lot of math – and to be more of what I feel and what
my opinions are. And now the biggest compliment I can get is, ‘Oh my
God, what you say is so true’ or ‘I totally relate to that.’ I’ve
definitely gotten angrier and crazier for sure.”

Like the rest of the Comedy Arts Festival lineup, Cummings will offer
the Northern Michigan audience her own unique style.
“I think Jeff and Michael have programmed a really interesting
festival. It’s such a diverse array of different comedians of
different generations and ages. I’m coming from the point of view of
younger, edgy—you know—girl who is fiercely attacking modern love and
sex dynamic. That’s kind of what I do. I pretty much stay in the realm
of love and sex and body image, so that’s definitely what to expect
from me. Every show is going to be something new. For me, yeah,
relationships, sex and balls. That’s my selling point.”
There is, however, one thing Cummings says she’s not looking forward to.
“The weather. I don’t want to get started on it. I don’t know why we
couldn’t do this thing in August, but okay.”

For more information on TJ and Dave and Whitney Cummings, visit the
Traverse City Comedy Arts Festival website at comedyartsfest.org. For
ticket information, call 947-3446.

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