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 · Rebooting the Mating...
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Rebooting the Mating Ritual

Robert Downes - January 3rd, 2011
Rebooting the Mating Ritual
Anthropologists often study the habits of primitive tribes, including
their mating rituals, dances, tattoos, dining practices and such.
It makes you wonder what they’d think of the odd and exotic practices
of the natives here in Northern Michigan.
Recently, I went to a popular nightclub in the area and noticed that
the dance floor was packed with women in their 20s, dancing to DJ
music by Ke$ha, Kanye, Prince and the like. Where are all the young
dudes? the anthropologist in me wondered. Sitting at the bar with glum
looks on their faces, dressed in their hip-hop baseball caps and
oversized sweatshirts, watching the girls dance.
Finally a couple of guys got up to dance -- with each other.
Then the band came on -- a great power-pop group made up of players in
their 20s.
Instead of remaining on the dance floor, the women fled back to their
tables as soon as the DJ music and the THUNK-THUNK-THUNK of the drum &
bass sound stopped.
But the dance floor didn’t stay empty for long: Replacing them were a
group of dancers in their 40s and 50s. This crowd -- old enough to be
the parents of most of the people in the bar -- had a great time
dancing the entire set to the live music.
The younger crowd sat and watched until the DJ came back on, and then
the 20-something women came back out. Finally, late in evening, some
of the guys got buzzed enough to get out there too and it wuz a
I’ve noticed this same routine at other nightclubs -- mostly the big
places where live music isn’t the main motivation for showing up.
Maybe it says more about the popularity of DJs and tunes like
“TiK-ToK” than live music. But it also says something about the way
people connect these days -- or don’t, as the case may be.
Sneer all you like at the much-maligned disco era, but back in those
gallant days of yore, young men didn’t sit on their hands at the bar
while the women went out on the dance floor alone. It was more like a
cavalry charge, and quite usual to do the funky boogaloo with a dozen
or so partners during the course of the evening. Everybody was kung-fu
fighting; those moves was fast as lightning...
You don’t see a lot of that sort of thing today; the solitary
pogo-stick bounce seems more the norm. A pity, because dancing is
body-speak for basic principles of anthropology and biology. Dancing
in any culture is a ritual display meant to say, “I’m sexy, vital,
fun, and a happening dude who’s the perfect partner for making your
babies.” If you were a Sioux warrior or a Masai tribesman and
declined to join in an all-nighter dance-a-thon on the eve of the
warpath or a lion hunt, folks would have considered you an odd duck at
Well, each to their own, and there seems to be no threat to the
survival of the species, but a number of old mating rituals seem to be
fading away. The ‘date,’ for one thing seems to be a tradition in
transition. These days, group dates seem more the norm for
college-aged persons. For another, the ‘personals’ disappeared years
ago from papers like the Express, replaced by online dating.
Currently, an estimated 20 million Americans are searching for each
other online through services such as eHarmony.com, Match.com and
specialty sites such as ChristianMingle.com. A side effect of this
trend is a boom in new web services which run background checks on
your potential soul mate to let you know if he‘s a convicted sex
offender, bank robber on the lam, or delinquent in paying his child
Can’t knock it, if it works: I have friends who met online and got
married despite living hundreds of miles apart. Given the relatively
small dating pool here in Northern Michigan, it makes sense for some
singles to import their partners from downstate.
Makes you wonder, though, if we’re starting to lose the ‘personal
touch’ at the expense of our networking technology. Does anyone have
it together these days to just call someone up and ask if they’d like
to go to dinner and a show? Has asking someone at a nightclub if
they‘d like to dance become a lost art? Or are we getting to be like
those groovy black silhouettes in the iPod commercials, plugged into
our MP3 players and dancing in the middle of nowhere, alone?

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