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 · The Luck of the Irish/ comedy...
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The Luck of the Irish/ comedy tour

Rick Coates - March 7th, 2011
The Luck of the Irish: Gets a Workout with Comedy Tour
By Rick Coates
According to folklore, the long tradition of Irish humor is rooted in the
tragedy, despair and tough times the Irish have faced through the years.
It is believed that comedy and prayer is what got many an Irish through
the bleakest hours of their history. Comedian Derek Richards of the Irish
Comedy Tour believes there is a simpler theory.
“The Irish just are a lot more funnier than Germans, Polish or any other
ethnic group,” said Derek Richards, a former Detroit native. “Now, I am
just joking, I don’t want to offend any of our fellow European immigrants.
“Actually,” he continues, “one thing I get asked by people who have not
been to our show is, ‘if I am not Irish will I find it funny?’ What we
find time and again is people, regardless of their ethnicity, connect with
our stories. I get people saying ‘I am Italian, German, Polish or whatever
and I had a grandpa just like yours.’ So no need to be Irish to enjoy the
The Irish Comedy Tour returns to Traverse City this Saturday, March 11 at
the City Opera House. Last year’s concert sold out and the troupe looks
forward to their return.
“We had a great time last year, the town rolled out the green carpet for
us. Put us in their Hibernian St. Patrick’s Parade, though I was a little
worried we wouldn’t be invited back because they gave us some Irish beads
to toss out and this gal was waving at me and I tossed some at her pretty
hard but missed and hit the old lady next to her in the coconut,” said
“The City Opera House is awesome and we can’t wait to get back on that
stage. I grew up in Detroit and spent a lot of time in Traverse City. We
love Northern Michigan.”

The Irish Comedy Tour will not be a part of the parade activities this
year, but not because they were not invited.
“We wanted to be in the parade again but we are filming our Traverse City
performance for either Comedy Central, Showtime or HBO. The production
company needs us in the afternoon to do some work prior to the show,” said
Derek Richards got his start in comedy via radio.
“I grew up in Detroit and when I was nine our front window took a few
bullets and my father moved us to Romeo. And the answer to the next
question is yes, I know Kid Rock; he might not know me, but I know him. I
graduated from high school with his sister,” said Richards. “After high
school I went to Specs Howard School of Broadcasting. After that I did a
tour of various Michigan radio stations. I made my last stop in Kalamazoo
and I sensed radio was becoming more corporate and less local. I was on a
rock station and we couldn’t be funny -- we were reading scripts -- so it
was a mutual departure back in 1993. I guess when your boss finds your
resume on the copier your days are numbered.”
Richards decided to give stand-up comedy a try after losing his radio gig.
“I was always a fan of comedy, but it was never a life-long dream of mine
to be a comedian,” said Richards. “So after I was fired from the radio
station I started hosting a comedy night at the Quality Inn in Kalamazoo.
After my first night on stage I didn’t bring the house down but no one
threw any shit at me so I figured hey -- this is all right -- let’s keep
doing this.

Richards toured the country on the comedy club circuit and eventually put
together the Irish Comedy Tour by accident nearly five years ago.
“I was based out of a club in Florida and it was close to St. Patrick’s
Day and they asked if I could put together something Irish themed for
them. So I agreed and the place was packed,” said Richards. “I got to
thinking that I had something here and I fine-tuned it by adding a
The Irish Comedy Tour recreates an Irish pub feel.
“We put an Irish pub scene and comedy show in a food processor and hit the
power button. Keith Aherne is right off the boat and is an Irish pub
musician and serves as the MC of the show. He mixes some Irish drinking
songs with his own comedic routine,” said Richards. “Then he brings me up,
then Keith comes back up, then Mike McCarthy from Boston who is a tornado
of energy and laughter comes up, and then all three of us come up together
to close out the show.”
In these sensitive times we live in, Richards doesn’t worry about crossing
the lines with his comedy.
“Look, this is not ala carte where you choose. Someone once told me that
comedy is all about taking turns. So if you are going to laugh at A, B and
C and then when D comes around and you are part of that group you better
damn well laugh and not be offended,” said Richards. “So when you start
line item things and say that comedian was funny but when he said this I
got mad. If you are going to get mad when you are at a comedy club just
stay home.”

The Irish Comedy Tour apparently
hasn’t been pissing off too many people. They remain in demand year round
and will even tour Ireland later this year. They will perform Saturday
March 12 at the City Opera House in Traverse City. To get a taste of their
show check out videos on YouTube or at their website
www.irishcomedytour.com to purchase tickets go to www.cityoperahouse.org
or call the box office at 231.941.8082.

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