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 · Letters · Letters 12-31-2012
. . . .

Letters 12-31-2012

- December 31st, 2012  

Email your letter to: info@northernexpress.com

Please keep your letter under 300 words (one page).

Only one letter per reader in a two month period will be accepted. may be edited for length or to correct factual errors. Letters must be signed to be considered for print and a phone number is required for verification.

Eyewitness errors

Two recent articles, “Distracted Driving” by Rick Coates and “Wrong ID in Attempted Abduction” by Patrick Sullivan had a serious and unrecognized common theme: that we cannot trust our presumed cognitive powers.

Whether you coin it “perceptual blindness” (Professor Arien Mack) or “brain blindness” (Professor Dan Simons), or simply recognize the multiple studies on eyewitness unreliability (Professor Gary Wells), the common thread is what the brain sees and does not see or processes in any situation is inherently and consistently unreliable.

As articulated in Alex Stone’s book, Fooling Houdini, “inattention all but eliminates conscious experience. Objects and events appearing directly before our eyes, in what psychologists call the zone of fixation, frequently go unnoticed when our attention is elsewhere, as if our vision somehow stops working when we are distracted.” And unfortunate accidents such as the one involving Rick Coates’ daughter, follow.

To get a sense of distraction, the readers should attempt Professor Daniel Simon’s awareness test: http://www. youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=UtKt8YF7dgQ#!

As a lawyer who has long dealt with the inherent unreliability of eyewitness testimony, this area of neuroscience and psychology is both fascinating and with consequence.

Of the 297 reported convictions in the United States so far overturned by DNA evidence, 70% were based on eyewitness testimony -- witnesses convinced that their memories were accurate; convinced of what they saw and who they saw.

As disturbing, is the representation of people injured or killed by distracted drivers -- drivers who fully had their eyes on the road but did not mentally process what they were looking at because their brain’s attention was actually on a phone or a text regardless of eye focus.

Both the Coates and Sullivan articles underlie the serious issue of cognition and its common legal impact on our lives; it deserves better understanding by all of us.

Michael Dettmer • TC

Arrogant & distracted

I think Rick Coates will find that, just like him, tragedy must be personal before distracted drivers wake up.

In 1999 my wife was rear-ended and spun into oncoming traffic. Her car was totaled and she still has issues with a hip injury. When I reached the scene the other driver was laughing with another person.

The following week I stopped at a red light on a brand new motorcycle. A pick-up stopped behind me. When the light turned green the truck driver was engrossed in a phone conversation and instantly floored it before I could shift into gear. The bike and I went flying. I suffered a fracture in my elbow and a knee injury.

Rick will soon realize as I did, that arrogant distracted drivers that are confidant they are skilled enough to multi-task, as he did, do so at the peril of others.

The Michigan law against texting while driving is stupid. What is different between dialing and texting? Perhaps if Lansing is too ineffective to deal with this problem the insurance companies should slap a $10,000 deductible on their distracted client and require them to pay the victim’s damages instead of the victim’s insurance coverage.

Bill Hagan • Acme

Union sunset

The Tuttle/Downes columns concerning the right-to-work legislation significantly misrepresent the effect of the legislation, and provide such a slanted picture of the facts of the issue as to severely undermine the credibility of both columnists.

Tuttle strongly intimates that workers will no longer be able to bargain collectively. This is, of course, untrue, but he presents it as fact. “Collective bargaining is responsible for almost every work-related improvement and benefit that currently exist.” Really? If Tuttle is referring to coffee breaks and job-classification expansion, then he’s right. If he in any way suggests that his statement includes safety improvements or job opportunity growth, then his statement has no factual basis. Does the term ‘OSHA’ ring a bell?

Nationally, according to Tuttle, 11.9% of the workforce is unionized. If the union (being protected by federal law, and all) is such a great deal, why has it not caught on more?

Why has the UAW been unable to unionize Honda, Nissan, Subaru/Isuzu, Mercedes, BMW, as well as their transplant suppliers? Are all of those workers ill-treated and underpaid? If so, why haven’t they revolted? The reason is that they are members of progressive organizations and recognize their responsibility to contribute to the progress, rather than just leech off it.

Downes slathers on the emotion words: “dictator,” “signed in the dark of night,” “financed by the far-right,” “taking bricks out of the wall,” “sneak attack vote,” etc. These bear witness to his lack of objectivity. But he ultimately displays an excessively narrow focus with his characterizations of “job-destroying forces of automation, digitalization and outsourcing.”

Clearly, Mr. Downes would prefer that everything we purchase be made by highly paid artisans - sitting in their respective huts, crafting their respective goods, and, of course, paying union dues. The products would be crude, but Downes would be satisfied.

My father was the creator of “digitalized automation.” His invention enabled people to make much better products much more efficiently. He stated 50 years ago that he wanted not to replace machinists, but to enable them to work more accurately and productively.

What have the unions done in the last 60 years that enhanced our population’s quality of life? In my 45+ years of working in union shops, I observed that the inclination of the respective factory bargaining units was to continually push against efficiency and equity.

The unions kicked the bricks out of their own walls. Long ago, they acted against worker abuse, and they secured reasonably improved wages and working conditions. Later on, the focus moved increasingly to the growth and power of the union itself, completely ignoring the fact that uncompetitive enterprises simply will not survive in a global economy.

So, pine away for the decline of the good old unions, if you must. But, please, have some balance.

John Parsons • via email

A Chihuahua Christmas

Spirit. Something we carry in our hearts and minds, and sometimes in our hands. Her name was Tina Maria. A little spirit. A young girl who lived and died over 30 years ago. Her spirit carried in my heart and hand on a recent holiday shopping trip.

Wanting to create a thoughtful Christmas gift for my sisters, I took the tiny photo of Tina to the stores to help me find just the right sized frame for the beloved picture of our childhood chihuahua pet. The only photo of it’s kind on this earth. I know this gift would bring a smile to the faces of my siblings.

Finding the special, tiny frame proved to be a bit daunting, but I didn’t give up hope. After visiting several stores from Macy’s to the dollar stores, where no frames small enough could be found. At least the kind of frame I was searching for; a simple, quality frame that she deserved without decoration, for I wanted Tina and her memorable spirit to be the focus of the gift.

While my feet still hurt, I marched on and landed at Kmart. There, I walked and searched. Then, I finally held out the tiny photo of Tina for an employee to see, and asked if there is a small enough frame in the store? As she gazed at the picture of Tina, she told me how much she misses her lost chihuahua, named Chong.

She went on to share with me how he got lost in Kalkaska before Thanksgiving, and how Christmas won’t be the same this year without him. I felt her pain. We shared the joys of dog ownership and how much they give us as she led me to another section of the store.

I asked her if she posted Chong on the Lost and Found pets on Craigslist? She said no, that she didn’t have Internet. She had posted flyers all over her neighborhood and checks the animal shelters.

I offered to post an ad for her when I got home. She happily agreed and wrote down pertinent information about little Chong. No frame was found at Kmart. However, I left with the spirit of Christmas in my heart and Tina in my hand. Finally, I went to Michael’s craft store and found a shiny, silver Christmas tree shaped ornament-style frame the photo would fit. It wasn’t the type of frame I was searching for, but it is a Christmas gift after all.

Task accomplished. I head home, greeted by my two loving chihuahuas, we settle in with my feet up to get on-line with that child-like hope of getting Chong home for Christmas for a lady, named Sue, of whom I just met. I posted the ad on Craigslist without a picture... “Lost male chihuahua with brown spots... greatly missed... please help bring Chong home for Christmas.”

I thought again about Tina Maria and smiled at that old picture. Come Monday, I received an email from a young mother, Roberta, who lives in South Boardman. She said she may have Chong, and that he has been loved and well cared for. I replied immediately. Then contacted Sue with the hopeful news. Then they connected. All the while still no picture of Chong yet.

Next thing I knew, Sue and Chong are reunited after two months of separation. I heard the spirit of joy and gratitude in Sue’s voice over the phone. A miracle? Perhaps Tina Maria and her loving spirit was enough to bring Chong home in time for Christmas.

Cheryl Dinger • via email

A bustle in the hedgerow?

Really, the Led Zeppelin classic, “Stairway to Heaven” is about shopping addiction (re: Random Thoughts, “The Songs Remain the Same”).

When I was old enough to interpret it, I thought it was about drug addictions. A “drug song.” All that glitters is gold; well isn’t life more interesting when you’re high on something, as long as you’re having a good trip.

Buying a stairway to heaven maybe means that through addiction, she’s killing herself slowly. And even in the off hours of downtown there are still dealers working the streets and with the right code word she can still buy.

I’ve never read anything about the actual meaning of the song. Just curious, and a little more so now.

E. Kolzkowski • TC

  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5


12.31.2012 at 06:23 Reply

Stephen Tuttle is a socialist turd that can't get his facts straight. Corporations are rushing to right to work states in the south and the economy seems to be doing better down there than in Detroit. Obviously this tree hugging misinformed loudmouth needs to do his homework.