Letters

Letters 08-01-2016

Voter Suppression And Choice In 2013, five Supreme Court justices, each appointed by Republican presidents, knocked the teeth out of the Voting Rights Act. Immediately a majority of Republican-dominated states began passing laws aimed at suppressing the votes of their majority Democrat demographics: minorities, students and the elderly. These laws – requiring voter IDs, cutting early voting, eliminating same-day registration, closing selected polling places, banning straight-ticket voting, etc. — never flat-out deny a person’s right to vote; they just make actual registering and voting more difficult, and therefore make it more likely that individuals in certain groups will not vote. Think of voter suppression as a kind of reverse marketing strategy, one aimed at getting people not to do something...

Free Parking Patrick Sullivan’s good story on parking overlooked one source of “free parking” that has become an increasing problem in Traverse City: spill-over into adjacent neighborhoods. Instead of discouraging people from bringing cars downtown, we’re allowing them to park on both sides of narrow residential streets all day long...

Real American Duality Isiah Smith didn’t really put his deep thinking hat on before writing the “American Duality” commentary. First there’s geography. His daughter feels safer in Sweden than in the United States, at least partially because of the violence in Dallas, Baton Rouge and Minnesota. Really? Safer than in northern Michigan, which is further away from Dallas and Baton Rouge than Stockholm is from Ansbach, Paris or Brussels and no closer to Minnesota than Sweden is to Germany? Did Smith miss recent supremely violent events in those places? Alrighty then...

Home · Articles · News · Random Thoughts · Fox wanted: Must be...
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Fox wanted: Must be willing to relocate

Robert Downes - June 6th, 2011
Fox wanted: must be willing to relocate
Saw a huge fox trotting alongside Crystal Lake in Benzie County a
week ago. At first I thought it was a German Shepherd because it
looked to be about four feet long from nose to tail; but drawing
closer, its low stature and rust-red fur revealed it to be a vulpes
vulpes, or red fox, for those of you who no longer speak‘a da Latin.
Anyway, this proud fox was trotting along unconcernedly by the side of
the road with a fresh baby bunny in its jaws, probably heading home to
its den to feed the kits.
Oh how I would love to borrow that fox for a weekend at the Downes
household where we are in the midst of a chipmunk and squirrel
population explosion.
Our neighborhood seems to have more squirrels than Borneo has monkeys,
and they spend most of their time digging up my wife’s tulips, playing
hell with her garden, and gobbling at the bird feeders. Speaking of
which, we are fortunate to have a small flock of cardinals who like to
nest in the neighbors’ evergreens, and last night I saw a nasty black
squirrel trying to sneak up on one of them as it was drying off from a
thunderstorm.
Then there are the chipmunks, who’ve begun a reign of terror in our
garage this spring, nibbling on the stores of bird food. I practically
trip over them each day and they’re cocky too, lingering when you head
in their direction with an I-double-dare-ya -to-stop-me attitude.
So this is a problem for you too? Going online, I checked for
predators of chipmunks and squirrels and came up with this: “Swooping
hawks, raccoons, opossums, wildcats, coyotes, foxes, large snakes,
owls, eagles.”
We have an occasional possum passing through our backyard, and a family
of raccoons lives in the storm sewer, but wildcats, coyotes, large
snakes, owls, “swooping“ hawks and eagles seem to be in short supply in
residential Traverse City. As for our cat (nicknamed “Fat Cat”), she
lays out the occasional mouse, but isn’t much of a threat when it comes
to chipmunks and squirrels. More likely, I‘d fear they‘d carry Fat Cat
off to an evil end if their squirrelly little brains ever decided to
gang up on her.
So a Fantastic Mr. Fox would be a nice addition to our backyard
menagerie to keep the varmints at bay.
I wonder how many other city dwellers suffer from this plague of
rodents? I’ve thought of buying a sling shot and a bag of paint balls,
but that seems likely to produce holes in the neighbors’ windows. I‘ve
also considered live-trapping, but carting varmints out to new homes in
the country -- one tree rat at a time -- sounds like a hassle. Better
to just live-trap that big Benzie fox and give him an all-expenses-paid
vacation in our backyard in return for services rendered.
In the meantime, if anyone has a swooping hawk available, please let me
know.
 
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