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 · Great Summer Beach Reads
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Great Summer Beach Reads

Nancy Sundstrom - June 10th, 2004
We all have many reasons for looking forward (all year-long) to summer, and that‘s certainly the case if you love books.  Of course, there are always new “beach reads,“ but summertime also traditionally brings with it a number of paperback releases, works by new authors and eagerly-awaited titles.
The following are some new and about-to-be-released books from a number of different genres that are all on my reading hit list for Summer 2004.  Since I have not yet read any of these titles, there is no review to offer on any of them yet (look to future editions of Express for that), only an explanation of what I know about them and why they intrigue me.  Hopefully, they‘ll catch your interest, as well.

Summer 2004‘s Runaway Bestseller
Is there any question that it will be “My Life“ by Bill Clinton?  There is certainly no doubt that this tome, slated for release at the end of the month, will be one of the most debated, discussed and probably dissed books not just of the summer, but for the year.  Advance sales on Amazon.com have been impressive, and it is predicted that this will outsell wife Hillary Rodham Clinton‘s memoir, “Living History,“ the best-selling non-fiction book of last summer.  Clinton‘s rags-to-riches story, punctuated with political highs and lows and a walloping dose of scandal, may make this the first time that a presidential memoir can actually serve as a beach read.  The question now, and later, is “Did he tell the truth?“  I, for one, can‘t wait to reach my own opinion on that.

Other Memoirs
Biographies and autobiographies constitute my hands-down personal favorite book genre, and there are two in addition to Clinton‘s that I very much look forward to reading as quickly as possible.  The first is “Scribbling the Cat: Travels with an African Soldier,“ Alexandra Fuller‘s follow-up to her remarkable autobiography, “Don‘t Let‘s Go to the Dogs Tonight.“ Fuller‘s latest is her saga of falling in love with K., a much older mercenary with whom she treks across Africa.  The other is “Truth & Beauty: A Friendship“ from “Bel Canto“ author Ann Patchett.  Reviews have been positively glowing for this story (Patchett‘s first foray into nonfiction) of her friendship with the late author Lucy Grealy, a disfigured wild woman and literary talent who died of an accidental drug overdose.

Must –Read Horror, Fantasy & Chillers
“The Song of Susannah“ by Stephen King has already been hailed as the gem of his popular “Dark Tower“ series and will pave the way for its grand finale, “The Dark Tower“ in September 2004.  This is another hot prospect at Amazon.com, as is “A Feast for Crows,“ George R.R. Martin‘s highly anticipated fantasy epic that is the fourth installment of his “A Song of Fire and Ice“ series. “The Ghost Writer,“ a first effort from John Harwood has been receiving great advance buzz for the way it weaves together ghost stories and family secrets into a gripping narrative.  “A Carnivore‘s Inquiry,“ which focuses on an intelligent young globetrotting woman who is obsessed with cannibalism, is a modern gothic work from Sabrina Murray that is also gotten early attention.  Lastly, “The Coma“ is the creepy new novel from Alex Garland, who authored “The Beach“ and wrote the screenplay for “28 Days Later.“  

Debut Novels
There have been so many promising and appealing works already this year from first-time authors, but some of the more recent belong to Paul Jaskunas, Jeff Lindsay and Adam Langer.  Jakunas‘s novel is “Hidden,“ the story of a young battered spouse who is nearly beaten to death in her secluded Indiana home and must determine what really happened to her after her husband has been jailed for the crime but another man steps forward and confesses.  Lindsay‘s “Darkly Dreaming Dexter“ introduces readers to Dexter Morgan, a charming “blood splatter analyst“ for the Miami Police Department who just happens to be a serial killer.  Critics are waxing rhapsodic over Langer‘s “Crossing California,“  an epic multi-generational tale about three Chicago families.  Let me quote Brad Thomas Parsons of Amazon.com who called it his favorite book of the year and praised the way “Langer breathes life into his characters with a warmth and generosity that‘s practically unheard of in contemporary fiction.“  

When You Need to Laugh
I can‘t wait to get into the latest from the brilliant and hilarious David Sedaris, and I won‘t hesitate to laugh out loud for a minute (no matter where I am) while reading “Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim.“  For other Sedaris-philes, there is also an audiobook out now of his “Live at Carnegie Hall,“ something that would take the pain out sitting in a car with no air conditioning in a traffic jam during National Cherry Festival week.

Notable Nonfiction
Three other books, besides the compelling memoirs already identified here, look like they may be as educational and informative as they are engaging and entertaining.  Journalist Robert Kurson has written “Shadow Divers: The True Adventures of Two Americans Who Risked Everything to Solve One of the Last Mysteries of World War II,“ about two deep sea divers who discover the wreck of a Nazi U-boat off the coast of New Jersey.  The story apparently channels “The Perfect Storm,“ “Into Thin Air“ and “The Greatest Generation“ all into one page-turner.  Another is “Heft on Wheels: A Field Guide to Doing a 180,“ Mike Magnuson‘s story of giving up his life as an overweight, chain-smoking couch potato to become a cycling addict.  And even though I‘ve already read and reviewed it, perhaps you haven‘t picked it up yet, so I want to give another plug to Steve Almond‘s fabulous “Candyfreak: A Journey Through the Chocolate Underbelly of America.“  This is a book that appeals on so many levels that it‘s one of those rare tomes that you know will be loved by anyone who reads it.

Stuff for the Nightstand
“The Master,“ Colm Toibin‘s tale of the novelist Henry James; “Olivia Joules and the Overactive Imagination“ from “Bridget Jones‘ Diary author Helen Fielding; Kent Haruf‘s “Eventide,“ a sequel to “Plainsong,“ his beautiful and heartbreaking National Book Award finalist; and Chuck Hogan‘s “Prince of Thrives,“ a thriller about a plot to rob Fenway Park.
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