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 · Other Opinions · What‘s over that...
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What‘s over that hill?

Stephen Tuttle - August 1st, 2011
What’s Over That Hill?
The United States is out of the human space travel business. The recently
landed Endeavor mission was the last of our shuttle flights and we no
longer have any kind of program of our own to transport our astronauts
into space. At the very least, we’re taking a long hiatus.
The next time American men and women go to space it will be as
hitchhikers, bumming a ride on a Russian craft. We’ve become that member
of the carpool who no longer has a car.
Exploring those lights in the night sky has long been a fascination of
human beings. What’s out there, or might be, is part of myth and lore
going back millenia.
The cornerstone on which rocketry and space exploration sits goes all the
way back to the 17th century and Sir Isaac Newton’s laws of gravity and
motion. It just took us three centuries to figure out how to apply them.
Robert Goddard made quantum leaps in theoretical rocketry in the early
part of the 20th century and by World War II Britain, the United States
and Germany were all hell-bent on developing rockets that could be used as
weapons. War is always an excellent incentive for scientific
By the late 1950s, the Germans and British were no longer in the space
race but the late and unlamented Soviet Union and the United States were
locked in battle. The Soviets successfully launched their Sputnik, the
first man-made object to orbit earth while emitting a detectable signal,
and the United States was suffering a succession of spectacular, public
It wasn’t until 1961 when President John Kennedy declared we were going to
the moon that things picked up for us. We were woefully behind the
Soviets, who successfully put the first man into space, the first man into
orbit, the first woman in space, the first space walk and a succession of
other firsts. They even managed to crash a couple of unmanned capsules on
the moon.
We caught up, and more, with the Apollo program. When Neil Armstrong
stepped on the surface of the moon in 1969, we had won the first part of
the space race. Another 11 Americans would leave their footprints on the
dusty lunar surface. The United States was the unquestioned leader in
human space travel.
Many of us assumed this was the beginning of a glorious period of space
exploration, that we would keep going farther and reaching for more. As
President Kennedy said, because it’s the hard thing to do.
We’re not so much into the hard thing, anymore. We can’t even agree on
the easy things.
Which isn’t to suggest we haven’t had some spectacular successes with
unmanned space exploration. Both Voyager and Pioneer satellites wandered
through the solar system and beyond, the Hubble telescope continues to
provide breathtaking photographs of wonders near and very far, we
successfully landed a spacecraft on an asteroid, we put two rovers on Mars
that crept along the surface for months.
Human exploration hasn’t really kept up. Once the moon programs were over
and we moved into the shuttle program, Americans in space didn’t get
beyond the International Space Station (ISS). The ISS is another
technological marvel and it is remarkable that it has been continuously
occupied by humans for more than a decade.
But the ISS, depending on it’s orbit, is somewhere between 180 and 280
miles from earth. That’s not very adventuresome at all. It’s as if we
set out from Traverse City to explore the world and decided to stop before
we made it to Chicago. And we now have to catch a ride with someone else
just to get that far.
Aside from the pure science and joy of discovery, the space program has
given us a bounty of practical applications. MRI machines and CAT and PET
scanners, much of nuclear medicine, water purification systems, cordless
tools, hazardous gas sensors, ATM technology and more than 1,600 other
direct spin-offs have resulted in tens of thousands of jobs and trillions
of dollars in economic impact.
The science will be slower, the discoveries fewer and the practical
applications less if we’ve surrendered our leadership in space, including
human space travel.
There is a story, likely apocryphal but nonetheless telling, about one of
the first times we successfully landed a craft on Mars capable of taking
photographs. It was immobile but, still, we had landed on Mars and were
about to receive photographs of the landing site.
The photos came streaming down 95 million miles from the Martian surface
in numerical code. Computers converted the code into pixils of imagery
that appeared on a screen as thin horizontal bands. The scientists at the
Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena waited patiently as the narrow bands
stacked one atop another until a photo began to take form.
After many minutes, when the computers had finally completed their
enhancements and corrections, there was, on screen, a picture of the
surface of Mars. A salmon-colored wonderland of rocks and dirt lay in
front of us with a gentle hill on the horizon outlining a pink sky. It
was an astonishing moment in what was a staggering achievement.
The story goes that the silence was broken by someone in the room whose
thirst for discovery was not yet quenched. “I wonder,” he said, “what’s
on the other side of that hill.”
To be sure, we’re capable of creating technological wonders that will show
us what’s over that hill. But if we’ve lost the desire and the will to
see for ourselves then we’ve lost so much more.

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