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..

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A Dose of Reality for the Bihlman Brothers

TV pilot to be filmed in Northern Michigan

Rick Coates - November 26th, 2012  

There’s a saying that “blood is thicker than water,” and the Bihlman Bros. plan to prove that with their new reality TV show “Blood Brothers.”

Blues rockers Jabo and Scot Little Bihlman return to Northern Michigan to join their older brother Charlie as they spend the week shooting the pilot for their new show throughout the region.

The Northern Michigan rockers moved their operation out west where Jabo is part of the Las Vegas scene and brother Scot is involved in the L.A. and Hollywood happenings. The two return to Northern Michigan each summer for a couple of shows for the hometown fans. It was during one of those shows that the reality TV show was hatched.

“We were back for the Cherry Festival show this summer and our brother Charlie was hanging around and he got into his cantankerous self, and I was thinking this guy is a reality TV star,” said Jabo Bihlman. “I called filmmaker Alby Lombardo, who we were working with on another project, and he loved the concept.”

The initial idea is for Charlie to become the band’s tour manager and organize their upcoming European tour.

“Charlie is a guy who was a great welder, but is out of work. He knows nothing about the music business and he has this kind of ‘it is what it is’ approach to everything,” said filmmaker Alby Lombardo of Gravity Arch Films. “I don’t want to say that he is being set up for failure, but this goes against all the rules of the music business. I mean the Bihlman Bros. have this major two-month tour of Europe and you have this guy that is their big brother coordinating it all and he just doesn’t have a clue what he is getting himself into. This is going to be hilarious.”

Scot Little Bihlman agrees. “Imagine a person that is a cross between Larry the Cable Guy, Ozzy and Meatloaf. That is Charlie. He is a very fun-loving American, he has these quirky things that he does,” said Little Bihlman. “Some of the best laughs I have had in my life have been when I was hanging around Charlie. Now it all is going to be captured.”


The three brothers will be in town all week, arriving on Monday November 26 and making Crystal Mountain their home base. The week will feature the Bihlman’s visiting some of their favorite places around Northern Michigan. They are heading to a gun club to do some range shooting, then they are off to Boyne Mountain for the zipline and they will also enjoy a cigar at Nolan’s Cigar Lounge among other things.

“Some of these events are open to the public, like on Tuesday Morning we will be at Oryana as Charlie goes shopping for Scot’s gluten free items. I am sure he is going to be like what the hell is this,” said Lombardo. “As with any production, schedules can change so keep an eye on their website for up to date schedules.

The Bihlmans are hoping for a big turnout at a couple events.

“On Friday November 30 from 7 to 9 pm we are going to be at Lucky Jacks in Traverse City for bumper cars, bowling and a bunch of other fun stuff happening and this is where we are asking all of our fans to come out and be a part of this,” said Jabo. “You could end up on national TV. The Lucky Jacks event is really going to be cool and a lot of footage is going to be shot here.”

The Bihlmans really wanted to make sure their hometown of Northern Michigan was highlighted in their “Blood Brothers” show. There is a lot of interest in the show already even before the first scene has been shot, with one major network asking for the first right of refusal after the pilot is completed.

“We can’t reveal who is interested, as that is the way it works in Hollywood,” said Lombardo. “There are a lot of story lines here. In addition to this inexperienced road manager there is general intrigue of the life of rock stars on the road. There is this assumption that every night is one big party, but life on the road is work with long days and you go to all of these romantic places around the world. You are not there to play, you are there to work.”


The Bihlman’s musical journey has taken them around the world. They have toured with major names in the industry, won Emmy awards, and have had their music featured in the movies and TV shows.

Little Bihlman has acted on TV and commercials and Jabo has a best-selling guitar instructional DVD. One of their songs is also slated to appear on the final episode of “Sons of Anarchy” this year. Now, they are turning their attention to becoming reality TV stars.

“Well, we are excited about this. It is going to be fun but music is what we are about and that will remain our focus,” said Jabo. “In fact, we owe a lot to where we are at today to Terri Ray of WKLT. She is going to have us on her KLT’s Garage program on Sunday December 2 at 9 pm. That will be filmed for the show, as will our appearance on the Omelette & Friends Show on Friday morning from 8 am to 10 am. They played the crap out of our music and Terri has been our biggest cheerleader.”

The six days of filming will conclude on Saturday night with what the Bihlman Bros. do best -- performing a live show.

“Yes, we are doing a concert at Union Street on Saturday. There are no advance tickets so this should be interesting,” said Little Bihlman. “It is going to be first-come, first-serve that night. We plan to hit the stage around 9 pm, so we will see how Charlie handles his first show.”

After their Northern Michigan filming the pilot will be completed and the plan is to have a TV deal in place before the Bihlman’s head to Europe in April.

Anyone interested in participating in their reality show “Blood Brothers” should follow the filming schedule on bihlmanbros.com with the biggest night being Friday, November 30 at Lucky Jacks from 7 to 9 pm. Details for the Union Street concert were still being worked out at press time; contact the club at 231-941-1930 for ticket information.

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