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 · Easyt meets West: Chinese...
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Easyt meets West: Chinese journalist Li Jin on her move to Northern Michigan

Rick Coates - February 22nd, 2010
East Meets West: Chinese music journalist Li Jin
on her move to Northern Michigan
By Rick Coates
Li Jin, a music editor and senior journalist with Music Weekly, the Chinese publication that covers the music scene both within and outside the People’s Republic of China, has been in Northern Michigan for the past week working on an article about Interlochen Center For The Arts. Jin felt the story on Interlochen would be relevant to the 40 million students of music in China and that their parents would be interested in what Interlochen has to offer.
Last week Jin spoke to an audience at Interlochen about life and music and China during their Cultural Revolution, and in particular, life after the death of longtime leader Mao Zedong. Jin said it is an exciting time in China right now as they balance their cultural heritage with many western influences.
This spring in China, Jin is marrying Dr. James Quinlan, an eye surgeon with Traverse Eye. The couple will reside on the Old Mission Peninsula where Jin will continue her writing career; and couple plans to start a family. Here is the second part of her interview and insights on the differences between the cultures of China and the United States.

Northern Express: In general American youth have less interest in classical music today than previous generations, their focus is more on popular music when studying and learning to play musical instruments. Is this happening in China as well?
Li Jin: I think it is a common social phenomenon for all countries that classical music becomes an acquired taste of aged favor. But, I also think that Asian countries have more potential to develop classical music, perhaps especially in China. This is a function of an ‘older’ culture and consciousness, perhaps, and perhaps this bias is more ‘Confucian’.
In the major cities of China, Almost every child studies ‘serious’ music: no matter (with) western instruments or folk instruments. Please look, we have 40 million children who are actively, seriously, studying music. I think, and I say this seriously, that future of Western classical music is in no small part under the patronage of China, and tied into the future of China.

NE: There seems to be an emerging rock and roll music scene in China.
Li Jin: I think many Chinese do not know what rock and roll means. Yet, in some ways, the same may be true in part as they go to the classical concert hall. Often they may not really know what they really are listening to. With the rise of more Western tastes in China today, people sometimes go to concert hall or go to rock and roll performance just for the superficial reasons they take western music or pop as fashion and trend. And much of it is easy to like: like KFC or the cheeseburger, it sometimes has more appeal than it is truly nutritious.

NE: Okay, but with many western influences making their way into China, why have many rock acts not performed there?
Li Jin: The reason that the Rolling Stones, U2 or other major acts have not been able to perform in China, as far as I know: we just may not have as the broad cultural basis for rock and roll in China as western countries. Rock presumes the centrality of the individual, and is about ‘expectations’. Chinese tend to live in linkage, over time and history. These are very different phenomena, though in some ways complementary.
The second reason is perhaps practical, in that our performing/booking agencies have not enough experience to handle such well known, mega-pop acts as big business.
The third reason that rock and roll does not have strong roots in China is that it is hard to let this tree to grow bigger. It is still an exotic, a minority, without true roots in our consciousness or history. It takes time for any tree to grow bigger, and not all trees grow well in all climates.

NE: With so much western influence in China, does the government support music and the arts for open study or are there guidelines and restrictions for performers?
Li Jin: Yes, our government used to support music and art for open study, but now more music and artistic institutions and companies have to be obliged to the market, to market forces. There are certain restrictions for the performers, such as indecent, anti-governmental shows, etc. Many of these values are cultural, often rooted in centuries of traditions, such as the balance and order and harmony of Confucianism, and may be better seen in that light than in merely against the backdrop of current political trends.

NE: You are getting ready to marry Dr. Quinlan and move to the United States. what are your plans for work; will you continue to write for the Music Weekly?
Li Jin: As for planning to move to U.S, I do not have accurate day yet. You know that I have my career here in China; it will take time to prepare for having a new family in a different country. I would like to continue to write articles for my newspaper, also to teach music. I am writing a book on Jewish music; it is an academic book that chronicles Jewish music written by Chinese. I hope to finish the book by the end of the year. I also have some other books I am interested in writing. But first I am looking forward to getting acclimated to my new home here.

NE: Dr. Quinlan, how did you and Li Jin meet?
Dr. Quinlan: Jin and I met through the kind intercession of a third party, a composer friend who had a strong (and accurate) sense that we would make a good match. Jin and I began a tentative, stuttering correspondence over a year ago. She has very good English, is worldly and incisive. At first we each intimidated the other.

NE: When did you propose and how did her family react?
Dr. Quinlan: I proposed to her in Beijing this past November. I met her parents, brother, sisters, brothers-in-law at that time as well. If one is courting the favored daughter/sister, and one is from a different culture and race, then one is always going to need to win approval and acceptance.
I am Irish Catholic, her cultural background is from up Lanzhou way, Buddhist tradition, up on the old Silk Road in the north, west of Beijing several hundred miles and higher in elevation. Fortunately, Jin’s family proved to be warm, supportive and loving towards me. I think that Jin’s happiness was my salvation in this process with her family.

NE: Will you get married in China and how do you think Li Jin will like living in Northern Michigan?
Dr Quinlan: We intend to marry in Hangzhou in the spring, with her family, and then go to Beijing to spend time with her comrades and then Traverse City (my mates) for wedding festivities.
I hope that she will find living up in the vineyards and orchards of Old Mission a suitable place to begin her family and new life. Jin is a resilient, flexible and a creative woman, but also one who is used to living in one of the top cultural and artistic centers of the world. I am totally confident that she will find her niche here in this special place. She has more books to write, and I have more than a few years of medicine, surgery and consulting left in me.
We hope for two children and that by speaking Mandarin at home, and by sharing such diverse and loving parents, that our children will be prepared to enter and help to guide a world that is no longer East or West, but is instead the refinement of the best elements of each.

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