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 · Music · Asia brings continent-shaking prog...
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Asia brings continent-shaking prog rock

Rick Coates - May 9th, 2011
Asia brings continent-shaking prog rock
By Rick Coates
Bass player and vocalist John Wetton’s middle name must be “Supergroup.”
Wetton was on the forefront of the Progressive (prog rock) scene in the
late ’60s and its heyday of the ’70s lending his vocal, songwriting and
musical talents to several “super” groups, including King Crimson, Roxy
Music, Uriah Heep and UK before forming Asia in 1981. 
Wetton joined forces with keyboardist Geoff Downes, formally of The
Buggles  and Yes (Downes pulls double duty and still tours with Yes),
guitarist Steve Howe of Yes (who also pulls double duty) and drummer Carl
Palmer of Emerson, Lake & Palmer to form the first ’80s “supergroup.”
The original members of Asia will come to Northern Michigan this week,
performing all of their hits plus a few classics from some of their
previous bands. They will take the stage at 7:30 pm, Thursday, May 12 at
the Leelanau Sands Showroom. 

Asia was quickly given “supergroup” status by the media, music critics and
their own label, Geffen Records, before their first album was released. It
was a moniker that the band was not seeking for themselves. 
“I was looking to form a new band and some sort of a supergroup was not my
intention, it just happens that the guys I wanted to be in the band were
all top-notch and had enjoyed success in other groups,” said Wetton. “We
all knew each other and had wanted to play together for some time. It just
all worked out in 1981.”
When they went into the studio in the summer of 1981 they felt the magic
right away.
“It was really everything we expected,” said Wetton. “I don’t think we
knew, however, until we recorded ‘Heat Of The Moment’ that we had a
monster on our hands.  I think that once we had done that, everyone knew
that Asia was going to be successful.”
When their self-titled debut was released in 1982, it quickly climbed to
the top of the charts and remained the number one album on the Billboard
Charts for nine weeks and was the number one album of the year. It would
go on to sell over 10 million copies behind the strength of such songs as
“Heat Of The Moment” that went to number one on the singles charts, along
with “Only Time Will Tell,” and “Sole Survivor,” both Top 10 hits. “Here
Comes The Feeling,” and “Wildest Dreams” were Top 40 hits as well.
Asia quickly found themselves on a sold-out world tour.  The group also
seemed to be benefitting from the 1979 foreshadowing song “Video Killed
The Radio Star,” co-written by Downes during his tenure with The Buggles.
The song would be the first video played on the new MTV Network (launched
August of 1981) and Asia certainly rode the music video wave.
“Certainly MTV was influential at that time, there was some definite
parallels between us,” said Wetton. “MTV and Asia were successful at the
same time and of course, MTV was instrumental in Asia’s success, but then,
Asia was also instrumental in MTV’s success.”

In 1983 the band met with a combination of challenges, from fan
expectations to a record industry that was looking to control the creative
process to score big hits. The honeymoon was also over and the band was
confronted with ego and creative differences. 
“We had instant success and started at the top from our first day, and not
many bands can say that,” said Wetton. “But when you are at the top it is
an illusion to think that you can stay there. We never got a chance to
develop in a way that a band should, and it made it difficult.”
They would release two more albums, but by 1986 for all practical purposes
Asia broke up despite the band not making any official announcement. 
“We broke up too soon,” said Carl Palmer. “We were unique then, and we
still are: English rock with a technical side; sophisticated rock mixed in
with melodies and singles. It was taboo in those days, and you very rarely
hear that today either.”
Since 1986 the group has been on again off again, and has seen various
line-ups. In 2006, the original members came together; they’ve released
two new albums and have been touring ever since. “Asia is the last of the
bands with its original members that plays this style of music,” said
Asia is currently on the the third leg of their “Omega” tour (named after
their 2010 album “Omega.”) The tour will take them around the world
including a few dates with Yes. 
So should Asia fans take the Omega (last) tour literally? 
“I would like to stress that despite the title, ‘Omega’ doesn’t mean the
end,” said Wetton. “In many ways, it signifies a beginning. Only time will
tell.” (hmm, a crafty reference to their hit song).

Asia will take the stage of Leelanau Sands Showroom Thursday May 12. Doors
open at 6:45 pm with the concert starting at 7:30 pm. Tickets are
available at the Leelanau Sands Grand Rewards Players Club and the
Leelanau Sands Showroom Box Office on the day of the show  or in advance
online  StarTicketsPlus.com or at all Meijer outlets. Ticket holders must
be 18 years or older to enter and additional information is at
www.casino2win.com. For info on Asia go to www.originalasia.com .
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