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 · 2 Degrees and counting
. . . .

2 Degrees and counting

Robert Downes - December 14th, 2009
2 Degrees & Counting
Was the monster storm that terrorized two-thirds of the United
States last week a sign of global climate change? Hawaii was swept by
40-foot waves, it snowed in San Diego, 70 mph winds buzzed Texas, and
of course, snow ensued here in the Midwest -- lots of it.
Well, who knows? Yet it did seem like something of an omen that the
U.S. got socked the same week as the U.N. Climate Change Conference
was chatting up the weather in Copenhagen, Dec. 7-18.
Mostly, the news media obsessed over Tiger Woods‘ booty count last
week, yet here and there you heard a slight mention about that little
problem involving our mass extinction, fretted over by a few eggheads
in faraway Denmark. It‘s good to know that someone is paying
Like a frog in a beaker who doesn’t know it‘s slowly being boiled
alive as the temperature increases, we’re starting to accept these
freak occurrences of heavy weather as part of the natural scheme of
things. These days, when New Orleans is destroyed by a hurricane, or
the western forests go up in smoke, or Illinois slips beneath the
flood waters, we take it all in stride until the next weather
Last week, the World Meteorological Organization announced that the
‘00s have been the hottest decade since temperatures first started
being recorded in the 1850s. It‘s predicted that 2009 may rank as the
fifth hottest year of all time on the record books.
Also noted was that the earth‘s temperature has increased by 2
degrees since the days of the Industrial Revolution, 150 years ago.
As pointed out elsewhere in this issue in the article “Have We Run Out
of Time?” by Ted Rall, many scientists feel we‘ve passed a point of no
return on that 2 degree mark.
They also claim that the 2 degree warming mark is the point at which
things start to get really interesting -- in a bad way -- with our
planet’s climate.
Several years ago, a conference on Climate Change and the Great
Lakes was held at Crystal Mountain in Benzie County. Based on
computer models created by researchers in Canada and Michigan State
University, it was predicted that by the end of the century, our state
could have a climate similar to that of Arkansas or southern Missouri.
The MSU researchers predicted that we’d have an average winter
temperature increase of up to 5 degrees in the Great Lakes region by
2100, with the Canadian researchers claiming that temperatures could
increase by as much as 10 degrees.
The bad news at that conference was that we’ll most likely have
very little snow by the end of this century -- a fact of nature that
would kill off the ski tourism industry in Michigan, other than in
isolated parts of the Upper Peninsula.
But if you believe the prophets of the climate apocalypse, balmy
winter temperatures and a lack of snow in Michigan will be the least
of our worries.
In 2007, an Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change predicted
that world temperatures could rise anywhere from 1.1 to 6.4 additional
degrees Celsius by 2100. This is on top of the 2 degrees of additional
warmth we’ve already generated.
Environmental activist Mark Lynas, author of the book Six Degrees,
lays out what could happen from here on. This is just a bare mention
of the calamities he predicts if we don’t get a handle on global
A increase of +2.4 degrees will mean the end of agriculture and
cattle ranching in the heart of America, with deserts spreading across
the center of the country. Coral reefs will disappear in North
America and the tropics, along with the Great Barrier Reef in
Australia. Check out the new sand dunes in Nebraska.
+3.4 degrees means the Amazon rain forest will turn to desert. The
ice cap on the North Pole will disappear in the summer months and many
arctic animals will be extinct.
+4.4 degrees means the release of millions of tons of methane and
CO2 from the permafrost of Alaska and Siberia. Half of all species
are wiped out. Billions of people on the run...
Well, why go on? At +5.4 degrees the level of our oceans rises 210
feet and the earth is unable to feed whoever is left alive. At +6.4
degrees most life on earth is extinct, with methane fireballs
criss-crossing the sky and super storms churning up what’s left of us.
It makes for interesting reading, but one can only imagine we’ll
put the brakes on such a bleak scenario long before any of us make
plans to move to sunny Antarctica. The perfection of nuclear fusion,
solar microwave energy and semi-superconductors for the better
transmission of electricity are a few things that could save our bacon
and cool the planet.
In the meantime, I’m planning a new banana plantation in the U.P.
in the hope that we’ll look more like south Florida than Saudi Arabia
by 2100. Investor inquiries are welcome.

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