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 · Music · BJ Thomas
. . . .

BJ Thomas

Rick Coates - August 22nd, 2011
B.J. Thomas:Still Hooked on a Feeling
By Rick Coates
B.J. Thomas has one of the most distinctive voices in popular music
history. His vocal talents have helped him reach the top of the pop,
country and Christian charts over his 45-year recording career. It has
been 25 years since his last Top 10 hit but Thomas’s popularity has not
waned with his fans as he continues to tour the country performing to
sold-out venues.
Thomas will make a stop on his current tour to Petoskey this Saturday
August 27 at the Odawa Casino Resort. He will bring with him a collection
of hits that includes eight Number One songs and an additional 11 Top 10
hits. Plus five additional Christian top charters where he dominated the
scene in the late ‘70s and early ’80’s.
Now 69, Thomas still possesses “modelesque” good looks and his soothing
voice is as strong now as when he first hit the charts in 1966 with the
Hank Williams song “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry.” The song sold over a
million copies and reached #8 on the Billboard Hot 100 charts. Other chart
toppers that Thomas will perform on Saturday include “Hooked On A
Feeling,” “Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head,” “I just Can’t Help Stop
Believing,” “Rock and Roll Lullaby,” “(Hey Won’t You Play) Another
Somebody Done Somebody Wrong Song.” His last Top 10 hit was in 1986 “As
Long As We Got Each Other,” the theme song from the popular sitcom
“Growing Pains.”

His career that began during his high school days in Texas include over 70
million albums sold, five Grammy Awards and two Dove Awards. He music and
voice have appeared in several commercials including singing most of the
jingles for both Coke and Pepsi in the ’60s and ’70s. Thomas remembers his
musical start as if it were just yesterday.
“I started out playing in band in high school and was influenced by both
country and rock music,” said Thomas. “But I also sang in the church
choir, so I had an appreciation for old gospel standards.”
His religious roots would serve him well both musically and personally
later in his career. But by 1975, Thomas was spiraling downward. He had
developed a $3,000 a week cocaine habit, drank every day, and often popped
upwards of 40 pills a day.
“You might say I lacked direction early in my life and was a product of
the times. Basically I started performing at 15 and started drinking and
doing drugs at the same time,” said Thomas. “As my success grew so did the
drug and alcohol abuse; it seemed I popped a pill at every turn of the day
to keep going.”
His wife of seven years asked him to leave in 1975 but the separation was
short-lived after Thomas nearly overdosed. Taking nearly 80 pills on his
way to perform in Hawaii he was rushed to the hospital. It was one of
several close calls with death Thomas would experience during a six-month
“When I came to, I wished I was dead. I remember asking the nurse why I
was still alive and she responded ‘God must want you to accomplish more
here in this world.’ I guess that was the start of recovery,” said Thomas.
“I eventually called my wife when I completely hit bottom and she asked me
to come home. During our separation she strengthened her faith and helped
me to strengthen mine. I was fortunate she and my friends and family stuck
by my side through the darkest days of my life.”

Recommitting himself to his religious upbringing in 1976 Thomas pursued
Christian music, finding success on the charts but challenges on the road.
Often blending his concerts with his Christian and pop songs, his secular
music didn’t sit well with some in the audience.
“I was surprised because I felt that all of my music has always been
upbeat with a positive message to it. It was a different time and
Christian pop music was just becoming recognized and some wanted to
completely separate it from mainstream pop music. Today my audiences are
accepting of all of my music.”
Thomas has had many highlights in his career, including his hit song “Rain
Drops Keep Falling On My Head.” It was written by Burt Bacharach and Hall
David to be the theme song for the Paul Newman and Robert Redford film,
“Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.” Thomas wasn’t the first choice to
sing the song.
“Dionne Warrick liked my music and pitched the idea to them for me to sing
the song,” said Thomas. “They eventually agreed, but what I didn’t know
was they had originally asked Bob Dylan to sing the song and he turned
them down.”
The song would go to number one on the charts and win an Oscar for “Best
Song From A Motion Picture.” The song would appear in additional films
including “Forrest Gump” and in a crucial scene in “Spiderman 2” as Peter
Parker was contemplating not being Spiderman any longer.
Still married after 42 years, Thomas is now a grandfather and devotes his
time to his family, touring a 100 dates a year. He is also in demand as a
motivational speaker and is tuned into modern technology.
“I have a Facebook page and I have really seen the benefits of all of this
technology to my career,” said Thomas. “I am reaching new audiences as
result. A few years back I did this interview with an online only radio
show and in a matter of a few days a few million people had listened to it
and were exposed to my music. It would take days of touring to reach that
many people. So it is so powerful.”
B.J. Thomas has no plans of letting modern technology keep him off the
road. Now clean and sober after many years, he enjoys performing concerts
now more than during his hit-making days. “I actually know where I am
performing and remember my shows today.”
He will perform this Saturday at the Odawa Casino Resort in Petoskey. For
info and to purchase advance tickets go to

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