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 · Other Opinions · What happened??
. . . .

What happened??

Stephen Tuttle - May 31st, 2011
What Happened?
      You might recall back on March 11 there was an earthquake off the coast of Japan that generated at least two tsunamis.  It was kind of a big deal, the worst devastation Japan had seen since World War II.  
   We were told at the time that more than 18,000 people died and thousands were still missing.  At least one and possibly three nuclear reactors suffered meltdowns or partial meltdowns.  Deadly levels of radiation were leaking into both the groundwater and ocean.  Tens of thousands of people were evacuated.  
   We had wall-to-wall coverage of it all for about a week and then it slowly slipped into the background, another milepost on the road to perpetual superficiality.  Apparently everything is fine there, now, because the national American media haven’t been much covering the story of late.  
   So, what happened?  What was the final death toll?  How many are still missing?  What’s being done for the people in the coastal areas that were obliterated?  Are they rebuilding?  What about the nuclear power plants?  Are they still spewing radioactivity? What happened to the workers who entered the plants during the meltdowns?  
   We were interested for a few days and then we moved along to something else.  
   (For those who are still interested, the official death toll as of about a month ago was 15,149 with 8,881 still listed as missing.  Temporary housing began going up in the impacted areas about two weeks after the tsunamis hit but there are still several thousand people living in shelters.  It now appears at least three nuclear reactors, not just one, suffered some kind of meltdown and radiation is still leaking and will continue doing so for several months, and there is still a mandatory evacuation zone.  One of the workers who entered the plant as the disaster unfolded has died from radiation poisoning and several others are now ill.)
   Six weeks later, from April 25 through April 28 the worst tornado outbreak in U.S. history ripped across the South.  Altogether, 328 tornadoes rampaged in 21 different states.  The damage and death toll in Alabama alone were stunning.  We watched the videos in horror as scenes of nearly unrecognizable neighborhoods unfolded in front of the cameras.    
   What happened to all those people whose homes were destroyed?  Did FEMA show up and do a decent job?  How in the world are states already struggling with budget deficits going to help leveled communities rebuild?  
   The national media, always looking for the next Big Story in a 24-hour-a-day news environment, has moved along.
   (The official death toll, for those of you wondering, is now 344.  Alabama officials say they are facing the biggest rebuilding effort since the post-Civil War era.  FEMA was on site within 12 hours and has thus far processed more than 70,000 applications for assistance and has distributed $39 million, about two-thirds of which has gone for temporary housing.)
   Then we have the Mississippi River flooding, a slow-motion disaster several chapters long.  It inundated parts of Memphis and most of Vicksburg, Mississippi.  In order to protect Baton Rouge and New Orleans, the Army Corps of Engineers blew up sections of one upstream levee and opened the floodgates on at least two spillways. 
   That’s good news for the big cities but not so good for the smaller ones west of the river.  More than 3,000 square miles were projected to be under water, destroying or severely damaging more than 30,000 structures and displacing 25,000 people. 
   Where will those people go to live?  Is FEMA on the job?  Why don’t the levee systems ever seem to work when they’re most needed?  
   (There hasn’t been any follow-up on this story because most of the media abandoned it before it was over.  In fact, the flooding is ongoing as this is being written and, once the river relaxes it will be at least weeks and more likely months before the water recedes from the flooded areas.  FEMA is on-site and helping with temporary shelter and relocation efforts.  It appears the flooding in the bottomlands west of the river will not be quite as bad as feared but still destructive.) 
   Three catastrophic disasters, three bursts of media coverage and then three quick fades to black.   
   In the middle of these disasters, the national media gave us endless days of coverage of the wedding of William and Kate, complete with a days-to-the-wedding countdown and a thorough analysis of the damned hats the women guests were wearing.  Not to mention the serial philandering (admitted) of Arnold Schwarzenegger and the serial sexual abuse (alleged) by the former head of the International Monetary Fund.
   To be fair, the large national broadcast media do a spectacular job of almost instant reporting from the scene of a disaster.  The images they produce are compelling.  But the impact is ephemeral as they quickly dart to the next story.  
   The point here is there could be lessons learned by following these disasters for more than a day or two.  
   What is happening in Japan now, weeks after the tsunamis, is important.  The United States has nuclear power plants on both coasts on seismic fault lines at risk of both earthquakes and tsunamis.  Radiation leaks at any of them would impact millions of Americans.  How large should the evacuation zones be, how long will the area be dangerous, were people evacuated quickly enough – surely all of us could learn something from the Japanese experience if only we knew what it was. 
   Now we have the Joplin, Missouri, cataclysm; the single deadliest tornado officially on record.  The devastation is so complete as to be incomprehensible, an Apocalypse without the rapture.  
   The coverage has been comprehensive but one wonders... wait a minute... this just in...
celebrity-for-no-known-reason Bitsy Bangles has been arrested in Hollywood for jaywalking... we’re going to Los Angeles now where we’ve assembled a team of reporters to cover this important, breaking story.

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