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 · Coolest job in the world: Jason...
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Coolest job in the world: Jason Pratt

Erin Crowell - August 23rd, 2010
‘Coolest Job in the World’: Microbiologist Jason Pratt uses science — and taste buds — at MillerCoors
By Erin Crowell
Jason Pratt may have one of the best jobs in the world – at least
that’s what his buddies think.
The 30-year-old Traverse City native is a yeast and fermentation
scientist for MillerCoors, meaning, he gets paid to swig beer every
With a Masters in microbiology and molecular genetics from Michigan
State University, Pratt uses his scientific expertise—as well as his
nose and taste buds—to assure consistent taste and quality during the
fermentation process of Miller and Coors suds.
This involves regulating the specific strains of yeast that gives the
company’s beers their signature color, texture and taste.
“It’s one of the coolest jobs in the world,” says Pratt, a 1998 graduate from
St. Francis High School.
Pratt was featured on the May 2010 cover of Black Enterprise Magazine
as one of several young professionals who are paving the way in the
math and science industry.

While it’s mostly lab work, Pratt says his job has its perks,
including his role on the MillerCoors expert tasting panel, a position
that won him the 2009 Golden Nose award among the company’s tasters in
Milwaukee, his current home and central location for his job.
“When you’re evaluating a beer, you look at its appearance, color,
haziness and foam. Then you go for aromas, taste, mouth feel and
finish of the beer,” he explains. “There’s certainly different
characteristics you can identify and say with certainty about them.”
Although Pratt lives in Wisconsin, he often travels throughout the
country to all eight head MillerCoors breweries, helping the company’s
50-plus microbiologists with training and troubleshooting.
“We make sure our brands are consistent,” he says, “so the same beer
made in Milwaukee is the same stuff as what’s made in Texas.”
The job also takes him across the world.
“I send our yeast strains out to breweries in places like Vietnam,
Panama, Italy and Australia.”
Another aspect of his job includes training new MillerCoors
employees—from the brewery to the marketing desks—about the history,
ingredients, brewing process, new products and enemies of beer
What are its enemies?
“Time – when the beer starts to oxidize and stale; heat – keeping it
in hot places like the car trunk actually helps it age faster; and
light – a lot of people call it ‘import character.’ Brown bottles are
the only things that are going to protect the beer from getting
‘skunky,’” Pratt explains.

It may be neat having a keen sense of taste and smell, but Pratt says
it’s also a downfall.
“I’ll be out having a beer somewhere and I’ll constantly be evaluating
it,” he laughs. “My friends call me a beer snob.”
Pratt says he’d always been a beer drinker, but never dreamed he’d
have this job.
“I kind of stumbled onto it when I was online and thought, ‘that’d be
a cool industry to go into,’” he says.
With several job offers already on the table, Pratt interviewed with
the company in 2007 (before the Miller/ Coors merger) and was hired on
the spot.
He hasn’t looked back since.
“I found a home here and I really love what I do,” he enthuses.
As far as advice to those who want to follow in Pratt’s footsteps, he
offers this advice:
“It’s a tough industry to crack because there’s so much interest now;
but there’s some really good beer schools out there where you can
actually get a degree in beer. Just throw yourself in and take some
training courses.
Oh, and it helps to have a good nose.”

To read the Black Enterprise May 2010 article on Jason Pratt, go to
www.blackenterprise.com/magazine. You can also find an article on
expert tasters, which includes Pratt, entitled “No Glass Ceiling for
the Best Job in the World,” which appeared June 29 in The Wall Street
Journal by going to www.online.wsj.com.

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