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..

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Thursday, May 22, 2003

Notes from the Underground

Books Nancy Sundstrom Most readers of Eric Schlosser’s 2001 best seller “Fast Food Nation“ found themselves bewildered, outraged, horrified, and called to rise up in action, and appropriately so. Those who tackle his latest expose, “Reefer Madness: Sex, Drugs, and Cheap Labor in the American Black Market“ can count on having the same sort of reaction.
Thursday, May 15, 2003

Take a Ride on the Baghdad Express

Books Nancy Sundstrom In the summer of 1990, writer Joel Turnipseed was adrift and aimless. He was homeless, and had been unceremoniously kicked out of a college philosophy program and dumped by his girlfriend. Being AWOL from his Marine Corps Reserve unit for more than three months and spending day after day hanging out in coffee shops were also on his list of dubious achievements.
Thursday, May 8, 2003

An Addict Torn into A Million Little Pieces

Books Nancy Sundstrom I don’t know whether to give this next statement a caveat, or simply make it. I have just now decided to opt for the latter.
Thursday, May 1, 2003

A Problem from Hell: America and the Age of Genocide

Books Nancy Sundstrom This year‘s coveted Pulitzer Prize for General Non-fiction went to Samantha Power’s “A Problem from Hell: America and the Age of Genocide,“ a gripping, heartbreaking saga of the years she spent as a journalist covering the grisly events in Bosnia and Srebrenica, circa 1993-1996.
Thursday, April 17, 2003

Tune In and Turn On to Drop City

Books Nancy Sundstrom Singer-songwriter Greg Brown has a wonderful line about most baby boomers being a “cross between our parents and hippies in a tent,“ and if that sentiment rings at all true for you, you’ll find it beautifully reinforced in T. Coraghessan Boyle’s fabulous new novel, “Drop City.“
Thursday, April 10, 2003

Fresh Treatments on the Age-old Battle of the Sexes

Books Nancy Sundstrom The good, the bad, the ugly, and the downright laughable about the business of life as it applies to relationships and family all get a fresh perspective in two new books from writers who obviously know the terrain well.
Thursday, April 3, 2003

Survival Guides for a Brave, New World

Books Nancy Sundstrom Been stocking up on duct tape Viscleen, bottled water, and gas masks? Thought about it?
It is not a coincidence that a crop of new and re-released books have hit bookshelves that deal with tips for surviving a staggering array of emergencies, be they biological, chemical, nuclear, or worse. Not surprisingly, these somber tomes are selling well, causing publishers to have a growing belief that there’s a market for advice of this sort, especially as talk of a potential war in Iraq looms closer every day.
Thursday, March 27, 2003

The Master Butcher‘s Singing Club is a Soaring American Aria

Books Nancy Sundstrom Louise Erdrich‘s mixed German-American, French, and Ojibwe Indian heritage has played an important role in the eight other novels she has written, but never before has it come as sharply into focus as it has in her latest effort, an unforgettable epic entitled “The Master Butchers Singing Club.“
Thursday, March 20, 2003

Jack the Ripper - Case Closed?

Books Nancy Sundstrom “No doubt there will always be skeptics, and critics tainted by self-interest who will refuse to accept that [Walter] Sickert was a serial killer, a damaged diabolical man driven by megalomania and hate. There will be those who will argue that it’s all coincidence. As FBI profiler Ed Sulzbach says, ‘There really aren’t many coincidences in life. And to call coincidence after coincidence after coincidence a coincidence is just plain stupid.“
—Patricia Cornwell, Portrait of a Killer
Thursday, March 13, 2003

Proulx Plays the Right Cards in That Old Ace in the Hole

Books Nancy Sundstrom One of the great joys of reading iin the recent years has been settling in with the latest effort from Annie Proulx, the author of wonderful tales of hardworking scrappers constantly down on their look, such as “The Shipping News, “Close Range,““Postcards,“ and “Accordion Crimes.“
Thursday, March 6, 2003

A Home Run and a Slam Dunk in Two Must-reads

Books Nancy Sundstrom This past fall, two acclaimed books on sports arrived on the literary scene - one a biography about one of the legendary figures of baseball written by a respected female sports journalist, the other a memoir set against the backdrop of basketball penned by a best-selling author.
Thursday, February 27, 2003

A Trek Across the Map of Cool

Books Nancy Sundstrom hip••ster - \hip-stur (s)\ n. One who possesses tastes, social attitudes, and opinions deemed cool by the cool. (Note: it is no longer recommended that one use the term “cool“; a Hipster would instead say “deck.“) The Hipster walks among the masses in daily life but is not a part of them and shuns or reduces to kitsch anything held dear by the mainstream. A Hipster ideally possesses no more than 2% body fat.
Thursday, February 20, 2003

Hot off the Presses, and Hot, Period

Books Nancy Sundstrom The film “Chicago“ is burning up movie screens all over the country, and in the publishing industry, a Windy City tome entitled “The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair That Changed America“ is not just hot-off-the-presses, but hot period.
Wednesday, February 12, 2003

Hollywood Tell-Alls - Again

Books Nancy Sundstrom Curling up with a hot tell-all about Hollywood isn‘t a bad way to pass a cold winter‘s night, and there are a few new ones out there that fit the bill quite nicely.

“Hollywood Animal: A Memoir“ by Joe Eszterhas
Hands down, this is the most entertaining of the bunch, and certainly the most outrageous. If his name doesn‘t ring a bell, then some of his credits should. Eszterhas has a reputation as a highly overpaid and moderately talented scribe who has made an indelible contribution to world culture with screenplays like “Basic Instinct,“ “Jade,“ “Jagged Edge,“ “Flashdance“ and, most notably, “Showgirls.“ As a result, he‘s become both the most famous - and infamous - scribe in Hollywood.
Thursday, February 6, 2003

Great Samaritan

Books Nancy Sundstrom It has been four years since Richard Price wrote his last book, the vastly underrated “Freedomland,“ which was a follow-up to the brilliant “Clockers.“ For those, like this reviewer, who had to tough out the wait, the promise of good things to come began with the fact that Price had returned to the muse he has found in the fictional setting of Dempsey, New Jersey. Dempsey is the blighted, gritty city that has served as the backdrop for his past three novels, and just like those tour-de-force works of urban drama and despair, his newest, “Samaritan,“ builds its moral complexity from the streets on up to create a modern parable.