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 · Wedding bell blues
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Wedding bell blues

Robert Downes - January 25th, 2010
Wedding Bell Blues
Sad, but true: I tend to have a hard time getting stoked for our annual
wedding insert each January, possibly because I haven’t personally
channeled getting hitched in quite some time now.
My last experience with holy matrimony was serving as best man several
years ago. I became reacquainted with a rented tux, shiny wing-tips and
the solemn responsibility of holding onto the ring until the proper
moment. But otherwise, I haven’t been to many weddings since my own
nearly 14 years ago and am a bit out of the loop on the subject.
Being clueless makes it tough to come up with story ideas year after year.
We have access to a news syndicate that offers a number of wedding
stories, but they never seem quite “right.” There are numerous stories
available on the political fight over gay marriage in places like New
Jersey, for instance, but I can‘t imagine the young brides who check out
this week’s issue will consider that a ‘must’ read for their own wedding
Our syndicate also has a very funny story about how we’ll most likely
be falling in love and marrying humanoid robots a few years down the
road, including some kinky stuff about what to expect in the sack on
your wedding night in 2050... but maybe we’ll save that one for
Valentine’s Day.
At any rate, “canned” features always bring a whiff of staleness to the
sad collection of other wedding guides you see this time of year; we like
that local, authentic flavor here at the Express.
Fortunately, our staff and team of freelancers always come through with
local story ideas to save the issue. We’re pleased to point out, for
instance, that Northern Michigan brides-to-be are feeling more optimistic
about 2010 as a good year to get married, having faith that the economy
will bounce back for the better.
I do have one wedding tip to share, however. It happened the first time
around when I was 24, kneeling at the altar in front of 120 people at a
little church on the east side of Detroit in a ridiculous white suit
(Saturday Night Fever was the big hit film that year, if that explains
it). All of my best buds were on hand, having made the trip back home from
around the country just to see me take the plunge.
Suddenly, I remembered that my best friends in those days were a pretty
reckless bunch of jokers -- the sort of guys who would write “Help Me!” on
the soles of your shoes just before you were about to get hitched. I had
a mini panic attack at the altar, imagining that they had done just that.
But of course they didn’t, and the worst of it was a cold sweat prompted
by my imagination. But even so... take my advice young men (and maybe even
women too): be sure to take off your shoes and examine them carefully
before you take that long walk down the aisle to wedded bliss, because you
just never know.

It was clear in last week’s Senate election in Massachusetts that the
public is out in force, marching with torches and pitchforks to overthrow
the status quo... just like they did in November, 2008 when the Democrats
swept into office.
Just a year ago, some political pundits were predicting that the
Republicans were finished for at least a generation -- whoops!
Since both Democrats and Republicans have taken their lumps over the past
year, perhaps last week’s upset in the deep blue state of Massachusetts is
a product of anger, anxiety and frustration over whoever is in office, no
matter what party.
You can see an anti-government impulse shaping up in the race for governor
here in Michigan. Republican candidate Mike Bouchard is calling for the
creation of a part-time legislature which would meet for 120 days every
other year. He notes that most other states in the country have part-time
legislatures and seem to do just fine. He’d also eliminate the life-time
health insurance perk for legislators along with their pensions, and would
lower term limits from 14 years to 12.
Meanwhile candidate Rick Snyder -- also a Republican -- is calling for
a 25% cut in legislators’ pay as well as an end to the lifetime health
insurance that lawmakers receive after serving for just six years in
Considering some of the costly (if not crazy) ideas put forward as bills
each year, perhaps it’s high time for a trim at the top. At any rate,
that‘s certainly the mood of the country, and God help anyone in office
who’s big enough to serve as a target for public wrath.
But consider this: blaming people in leadership positions during hard
times is as old as the Stone Age, even when the top dogs are powerless
to do a thing about whatever famine, plague or economic meltdown is
riling up the public.
In The Golden Bough: A Study in Magic and Religion, published in 1890,
Scottish anthropologist James Gordon Frazier wrote that in times of
trouble, the king, pharaoh, sultan, or whoever was in charge inevitably
took the blame for not pleasing the gods who brought rain and sunny
conditions to the crops. Frazier claimed that in ancient times,
fertility cults required the sacrifice of a sacred king whenever the
tribe was in deep doo-doo.
True? Who knows? But that’s just how things still play out today in the
angry, bewildered tribe of America.

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