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 Beach Reads -- Part I
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Great Beach Reads -- Part I

Nancy Sundstrom - June 13th, 2002
This avid reader loves to plan summer “beach reads“ the way oddsmakers handicap sports events, and as I plan ahead for this year’s picks, it looks like a clear case of so many books, so little time.
Beaches, a venue of escape themselves, provide a singularly unique backdrop for escapist reading, which is no doubt why many opt for that locale to enjoy thrillers, steamy romances, and other fare that transport us to other worlds, the way the best books do. In the hotter months, when we do take the time to soak up sun and bask a bit, be it in the hammock in the back yard, or with a cold one near the water somewhere, it’s perfectly acceptable - and even encouraged - to indulge yourself in a “beach read.“
How you define that is your choice, but here’s a few new releases that I plan to lose myself in over the next few months.

The Emperor of Ocean Park by Stephen L. Carter
Hailed as smart, complex, scathing, and the book that insiders of Washington’s legal/political scene will be the most likely to read first this summer, this is the first work of fiction from Carter, a professor of law at Yale University whose seven non-fiction books include the acclaimed “The Culture of Disbelief and Civility.“
This is a big, strapping novel about two privileged worlds - the upper crust African American society who summer on Martha’s Vineyard, and the inner circle of an Ivy League law school. Protagonist Talcott is the son of a disgraced, powerful father, a federal judge whose mysterious death includes instructions for his son to carry out “the arrangements.“ This edict means danger, deception, and denizens, and seems geared for the kind of success generated 11 years ago when John Grisham’s “The Firm“ hit stands.

Sin Killer by Larry McMurtry
Even this distinctly American author’s lesser efforts are wildly entertaining, but advance buzz on this one, the first of a new four-volume work, is that he’s crafted another “Lonesome Dove“ epic.
Set largely along the Missouri River in 1832 and with a decidedly comic bent, this is the tale of the rich, aristocratic Berrybender Family from England, who decide to tackle the West, and are tamed themselves, especially their beautiful eldest daughter, Tasmin, who falls in love with Jim Snow, a strong, silent Westerner known for his prowess at both religion and killing Indians (earning him the name “Sin Killer“). In true McMurtry fashion, a colorful cast of characters keep the considerable action moving along. Can’t wait.

The Nanny Diaries: A Novel by Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Krause
Amazon.com describes this best-seller as “an absolutely addictive peek into the utterly weird world of child rearing in the upper reaches of Manhattan’s social strata,“ and the audio version, with its reading by Julia Roberts, is as hot as the book.
McLaughlin and Krause are two former Manhattan-based nannies who blow the lid off private child care and eccentric employers as they fictionalize their story in the form of Nan, a modern day Mary Poppins who loves Grayer, her young charge, but has little use for employers Mr. And Mrs. X. It’s a world where kids attend Mommy and Me group with their nannies, women wrap themselves in Prada and ignore marital infidelity, and husbands make passes at the sitters, when they’re not being masters of their universe or arranging appointments with mistresses. Already a national phenomenon, it should make its way to the big screen in short order.

Face the Fire by Nora Roberts
This is the third and final book in Roberts’s top-selling Sisters Island trilogy of witches and magic that was preceded by “Dance Upon the Air“ and “Heaven and Earth,“ true beach reads if ever there were.
Here, Mia, a sexy and powerful witch who posses the gift of Fire, is reunited with Sam Logan, who broke her heart more than a decade ago when he left Sisters Island. He has returned to claim the family business, the Magick Inn, and Mia, and though passion still burns, their complicated relationship is haunted by an ancient, looming curse that threatens to destroy everything around them. Roberts’s considerable legion of fans have been eagerly awaiting this one, and report that it might be the best installment yet in a captivating series.

In This Mountain by Jan Karon
Another episodic book, this is Karon’s seventh in the popular Mitford series, which has included “At Home in Mitford“ and “Out of Canaan,“ books that have been as well received with critics and booksellers as they have readers.
Three years have passed since Father Tim Kavanaugh and his wife, Cynthia, have been at home in Mitford since returning from Whitecap Island. While her new career as a children’s book author holds great promise, he struggles to deal with the challenges of health and retirement, issues that raise Karon’s familiar themes of failure and forgiveness. The many inhabitants of Mitford, “the little town with the big heart,“ are around to either lend support or complicate matters, and those that have followed the series should expect to be rewarded once again by Karon’s honest, humorous writing of little miracles in everyday life.

The Beach House by James Patterson, Peter DeJonge
I have saved the best for last, as I just might do in waiting until closer to the end of summer to pick up this one, only because Patterson is a guilty pleasure for me, and I don’t mind savoring it a bit. And, after all, doesn’t a beach read list have to have either “summer“ or “beach“ in the title?
Suspense master Patterson is joined by “Miracle on the 17th Green“ author de Jonge in a classic summer tale that opens with the death of a good-looking townie on Memorial Day weekend in the Hamptons. When Peter, a high school dropout who parks cars at private parties, is found dead, members of a wealthy family insist he drowned, but Peter’s brother Jack knows that he was beaten. As Jack begins to uncover Peter’s secret life, he realizes that the world of the haves is very different from the have-nots, and begins to patiently plot revenge. While those who know aren’t saying (except t each other), the end boasts a page-turning, totally shocking denouement that some say Patterson will never be able to top. We’ll see...

Coming in the next edition of Express: summer beach reads for the more serious-minded, or those who want to look impressive while doing some low-key profiling.
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