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 · Books · Thrillers Times Three
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Thrillers Times Three

Nancy Sundstrom - December 12th, 2002
Arthur Raven, Alex Cross, and Jack Forman are three tough, smart, yet sensitive guys (think a special forces operative meets Tom Hanks) who just can’t seem to stay out of harm’s way. As a result, the predicaments in which they find themselves in make for some page-turning reading and razor-sharp suspense writing.
The trio are the lead characters and heroes in the latest works from three of the toughest, smartest, and yet sensitive thriller masters around. Respectively, they are the focus of “Reversible Errors“ by Scott Turow, “Four Blind Mice“ by James Patterson, and “Prey: A Novel“ by Michael Crichton. While each has their flaws, they represent the potential of which their creators are capable of delivering, along with being highly enjoyable, worth recommending, and at present, nesting comfortably on the top of the bestseller lists.

Reversible Errors by Scott Turow
Some regard Turow, a leading lawyer by trade in his native Chicago, as the most accomplished of that elite group of writers who concoct plots involving the law, besting even John Grisham. His trademarks are layered plots with morally and ethically complicated situations and players, and he strides that turf as well as anyone.
Here, he tells the tale of Raven, a corporate lawyer who is assigned to handle the last-minute appeal of Rommy Gandolf, a death row inmate for whom the clock is ticking, years after having been - perhaps mistakenly - convicted for a brutal triple murder. Raven already has plenty on his personal plate, including caring for a schizophrenic sister and dealing with middle age feet of clay, but the challenges of the case force him to deal with greater issues, specifically the death penalty controversy.
The action heats up when another inmate, who is dying of cancer, confesses to the crime for which Gandolf is about to be executed. In ferreting out the truth about his client and what really happened, Raven encounters a series of roadblocks, especially from the judge who heard the case the first time and is back for the second round. As he becomes more determined to save Gandolf, Raven dredges up ghosts from the past, and finds he might have more in common than he thinks with those who seem to have a vested interest in seeing the convict put to death.
Turow balances the past and present storylines with ease, just as he does with exploring the legal, moral, and philosophical issues connected with the death penalty. This is a serious and compelling book with moments of true excitement, and a must for those who seek out criminal justice thrillers.

Four Blind Mice by James Patterson
Washington cop and criminal behavior expert Alex Cross has become a big time franchise for both Patterson, in books like “Kiss the Girls,“ “Along Came a Spider,“ and “Violets are Blue,“ as well as for actor Morgan Freeman, who has done a fine job of portraying him on the big screen.
Fans know that Cross’s frequent partner is John Sampson, and in this outing, a friend of Sampson’s, a U.S. Army Sergeant named Ellis Cooper, has been indicted by a military court for the murders of three women. As in Turow’s book, there is growing evidence that the man convicted of the crime did not commit it, but in this case, Cross learns that Cooper is another in a long line of military men from all over the United States who have been accused, convicted, and in some cases executed for similar crimes. There are tips from an anonymous e-mail source that may mean more trouble than help, but breaking through the walls of secrecy that come with the military becomes of more concern. In true Patterson fashion, the action peaks in a series of extremely short chapters, defying the reader to put the book down for any reason.
By the end, with Cross seemingly facing his final moments of life, the tension is almost more than one can bear, and the denouement provides a near-gushing sense of relief. “King Lear,“ this ain’t, but the fast pace, imaginative predicaments, and cliffhanger action are dished out with such gusto that this is a hard one to resist.

Prey: A Novel by Michael Crichton
Everything Crichton seems to craft turns to gold, whether its previous novels like “The Andromeda Strain,“ “Disclosure,“ or “Jurassic Park,“ or the TV series “ER.“ He has earned each of his successes, even though he can pre-sell millions of copies without even putting a word on the page.
His forte has been stories of science and technology run amok, and in “Prey,“ he delves into a horrific situation that could be pulled from the day’s headlines. Nanotechnology is the brave new world here, which Crichton describes as “the quest to build manmade machinery of extremely small size, on the order of...a hundred billionths of a meter.“ In other words, the monsters he’s conjuring up here are smaller than those in, say, “Jurassic Park,“ but have the potential to wreak even more havoc.
In this case, high-tech whistle blower Jack Forman is getting comfortable being a stay-at-home dad since being fired from his job as a computer programmer in Silicon Valley. Domestic bliss doesn’t last long, though, as Jack suspects his dynamo wife, Julia, of having an affair with a co-worker at her technology firm Xymos, their infant daughter develops a mysterious rash, Julia is hurt in a suspicious car accident, and Jack is called in to Xymos to deal with an accident at a remote laboratory in the Nevada desert.
And that’s just the start of the book. Suffice it to say, that every burner on this stove is cranking and every pot is on full boil, as Crichton layers on the plot twists that build to a rather shocking and somewhat depressing finale. Much like George Orwell’s “1984,“ “Prey“ has been written as a warning about the dangers of a world where science, technology, ambition, and a quest for power overtake common sense and human dignity, and Crichton makes a very strong case for taking what he writes seriously.

  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
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