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 · Features · 10 Pop Culture Talking...
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10 Pop Culture Talking Points... from a Year that Ranged from the Dismal to the Divine

Ross Boissoneau - December 30th, 2004
Red vs. Blue
The divisions in the country are deep. Whether they ended up Red or Blue, most of the states were nearly evenly divided, and Michigan is no exception. But the President who has vowed to unite America rather than divide it has replaced most of his cabinet with insiders and close personal advisors, a move that doesn’t bode well for discussion of divergent viewpoints. If he is to truly unite the country, then inclusion of those who hold different viewpoints is essential. Time will tell.

Back to the future
Popular music took a look back with two of the year’s best. Perhaps the Clash wasn’t really The Only Band That Mattered, but in light of the desultory ‘90s and ‘00s, their return would have been welcome. But with Joe Strummer’s death, all we can do is look back. The remastered version of “London Calling” does that with great sound, and the addition of a demo disc and documentary DVD makes this new package a welcome return.
And return is what head Beach Boy Brian Wilson did, with the release of “Smile” a mere 36 years after he started it. Rather than remastering what had been in the vaults all this time, though, he and his cohorts redid, rearranged and re-recorded the follow-up to “Pet Sounds.” Some of it is ridiculously weird, but much of it is rich with imagery, harmony and musicality.

Ken Jennings
Geeky software developer Ken Jennings became the man who couldn’t lose, winning night after night on the syndicated game show “Jeopardy.” Whether it was history, the Bible, science, pop culture, even Potent Potables, the teetotaling champ couldn’t be fazed, waxing many of his challengers before the second commercial break. Finally he took a tumble, but while the King is dead, look for Jennings to return. The only reason he wasn’t on last year’s Tournament of Champions is that he was still running the field. Now, after 74 appearances and over $2 million in winnings, Jennings is eligible to return for this year’s Tournament. Be afraid. Be very afraid.
Pop invades jazz
Popular music has been informing jazz since the genre was invented, of course, but 2004 saw a couple interesting trends exemplified by Praful and Karrin Allyson. Dutch saxophonist Praful’s “One Day Deep” explored deep trip-hop grooves pioneered over a decade earlier and put into play in the contemporary jazz scene by outfits like Four80 East and 3rd Force. Praful takes the concept even further out, his sax lines snaking in and around the beats and loops. Some would question whether it’s even jazz at all, but the mutating lines offer themselves up in grooves that fit today’s mold.
Allyson takes a different tack. “Wild For You” covers pop gems by the likes of James Taylor, Joni Mitchell, Carole King, and noted terrorist Cat Stevens. Stevens’ “Wild World” is a perfect vehicle for her jazzy, scatty and yet easy-on-the-ears style. With a plethora of enticing female jazz singers – Tierney Sutton, Nnenna Freelon, Diana Krall, Janis Siegel and Cheryl Bentyne of the Manhattan Transfer among others – Allison stands alone at the top. Her return to her musical roots begs for repeated listenings.

World Champion Boston Red Sox
Nope, that just looks like a typo. Even those who pay only peripheral attention to sports got caught up in the saga of the team that absolutely refused to die, even when their personal nemeses, the Yankees, had them in a stranglehold. Down 3-0 in the championship series, the Sox somehow fought back one game at a time to finally topple New York and make their World Series victory a foregone conclusion. Timely hitting, game pitching (Curt Schilling’s bloody ankle will forever be the image of this team’s never-say-die attitude), and an impossibly loose clubhouse atmosphere took the Red Sox where they hadn’t been for 86 years, giving all of New England something to savor. What’s next in baseball – the Cubs in 2005?
Unfortunately, no, as the next big story is . . .

The specter of performance-enhancing drugs has been hovering in the background for a number of years, but all other issues and events pale before the unfolding scandal of Balco, Barry Bonds, Jason Giambi and track stars like Marion Jones. With Bonds, Giambi, and Gary Sheffield testifying they used such drugs, it makes those who deny it, such as Jones and her boyfriend Tim Montgomery, look like liars and cheats whatever the truth. On the other hand, Balco founder and CEO Victor Conte has sure lost a lot of hair since he was playing bass for Tower of Power.

Get “Lost”
Forget “Desperate Housewives.” This is a desperate situation: You and 45 strangers improbably survive a plane crash on an unknown tropical island, with seemingly no hope of rescue. And the pilot is killed by one of the nameless monsters out there making weird noises. Then there’s the polar bears. And other mysterious people on the island plotting no good. The great hunter of the group was only able to leave his wheelchair and walk when he crashed on the island, the hero is haunted by visions of his dead father whose body he was transporting, and everyone’s got issues. Part soap opera, part adventure, part “Twilight Zone,” “Lost” is fresh and invigorating.

Polar Express in 3D
The movie event of the year. Tom Hanks is masterful as usual, and the capture technology used to similar effect with Gollum in “The Lord of the Rings” is brilliantly executed. But if you haven’t gone to see this movie yet, don’t. At least not in northern Michigan. Go to Grand Rapids or Lansing or the Detroit area, wherever there’s an Imax theater, and see it in 3D. The animation is incredible, but even more so when the train IS COMING RIGHT AT YOU! The hot chocolate scene alone is worth the drive. A wild and wooly ride, eye-popping effects, and a story with a huge heart make this the one not to miss.

News Anchors Brokaw, Rather, & Moyers leave
The changing of the guard in network news has begun. Brokaw’s departure should have the least impact, as Brian Williams has stepped in seamlessly. And let’s face it, Brokaw didn’t have much personality anyway. Rather brings more of himself to the news. Despite the folderol over the “60 Minutes” report he did questioning President Bush’s time in the National Guard, the report was never disproven. It was merely not confirmed, something that’s been lost in the rush to judgment.
However, it’s the departure of Moyers, host of “Now” on PBS, that will leave the biggest hole in journalism on TV. While replacement David Brancaccio is more than dequate, “Now” will certainly not be the same without Moyers. The ordained Baptist minister brought dignity to the proceedings even when he was outraged. His definition of journalism was in the direct line of giants such as Edward R. Murrow, as he sought an objective truth. He will be sorely missed.

Reality TV is down, maybe out
Perhaps it’s not dropping from the airwaves as quickly as the game show craze – remember “You are the weakest link”? – but reality TV is assuredly losing its luster. The second “Joe Millionaire” failed badly, Trump wanna-bes Richard Branson and Mark Cuban plunged like a rock, even the second season of “The Apprentice” dropped hugely. Garbage like “Fear Factor” is still out there, and “Survivor” continues to survive and nearly thrive, but for the rest – Bachelors and Bachelorettes, Gilligans and Swans alike – the end can’t come a moment too soon. The only one still building an audience is the show about building, “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition,” which is also the only one with heart.

Carbo what?
From the I-told-you-so category, the biggest food trend of 2003 completely lost its steam as 2004 unfolded. The Atkins diet, South Beach diet and other similar programs questioned whether fats really made you fat and instead made carbohydrates the villain. Everywhere you looked, people were jumping on that bandwagon. Now they’re jumping off as the low-carb items gather dust on store shelves. Maybe we should all eat sensible, low-fat and relatively low-carb diets and exercise more. Hey, now there’s an idea!
Nah, never mind, just go get me another donut while I sit on the couch and rewind last week’s episode of “Lost.”
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