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, January 30, 2003

Sharing the Hours with Mrs. Dalloway: Two takes on the Tragic Virginia Woolf

Books Nancy Sundstrom “There‘s just this for consolation: an hour here or there when our lives seem, against all odds and expectations, to burst open and give us everything we‘ve ever imagined.... Still, we cherish the city, the morning; we hope, more than anything, for more.“ – Virginia Woolf, “Mrs. Dalloway“

With the recent Golden Globe wins and predicted Oscar nominations for Stephen Daldry’s “The Hours,“ media and literary attention allover the world has made a cause celebre out of Michael Cunningham’s acclaimed, Pulitzer Prize-winning novel 1998 novel of the same name, and Virginia Woolf’s “Mrs. Dalloway,’ the 1925 book on which “The Hours“ is based.
Thursday, January 23, 2003

A True Blue Cop Thriller

Books Nancy Sundstrom If you read this column, you‘ve probably assumed, and I believe correctly so, that I love books and for the most part, am not a snob about them.
But a title like “Final Justice“ makes me nervous for some reason, perhaps because it evokes slightly coherent memories of cheezy movies starring the likes of Joe Don Baker and most of the ensemble cast of the first “Billy Jack“ opus that I went with high school buddies to see at drive-ins during the big, bad, beloved early 1970‘s, when the point was always (if unspoken) that little watching of the “film“ would occur.
Thursday, January 16, 2003

Get the Book and Get Fit

Books Nancy Sundstrom It’s January, which means that in an act of penance for holiday season indulgence, many of us have made resolutions for the new year about weight control, exercise, healthy living habits, and the like.
Most likely, you’re one of those who have, and if that’s the case, you may be seeking guidance from any one of a number of bestsellers devoted to diet and fitness. Currently, there are around two dozen books on those topics that are selling briskly and have garnered positive reviews. The following are summaries of a few that have risen to the top of that list, and may be worth your consideration.
Thursday, January 9, 2003

The Princess Bride: One Woman‘s Perilous Journey

Books Nancy Sundstrom Marrying a Malaysian prince after a whirlwind romance and settling on his royal family’s island, Patricia Sutherland thought she had discovered paradise. The truth was that she found herself in hell instead.
Sutherland’s story is an incredible one in every regard, especially because it is true. The idyllic island, royal life, and Muslim faith that the Suttons Bay resident found herself surrounded by each became a prison of their own, and a major obstacle to attempting to free her two children from her tyrannical husband and the powerful extremists who surrounded him.
Thursday, January 9, 2003

Bush at War: An untested President Responds to a World of Terror

Books Nancy Sundstrom It’s something of a given that any new book from journalist Bob Woodward will shoot to the top of the bestseller list. And history has repeated itself with his latest effort, even though some would argue that the history on which it is based is still being written.
Thursday, January 2, 2003

The Best of Books 2002 - part II

Books Nancy Sundstrom It’s been great fun to take a look back on some of the best books of 2002 - the only true challenge has been in narrowing it down to just ten of my favorite fictional works.
In Part Two of this column, there will be many similarities to the five works previously named for this annual Express honor. The books named here represent debuts as well as the latest from established authors, and cover ground from the great American West of the early 1800s to tony East Coast settings of today where the rich and famous make -- and play -- by their own rules. Again, if you haven’t had a chance to read any of these, consider them before the new works for 2002 are quickly ushered in.
Thursday, December 26, 2002

The Best in Books for 2002 - Part I

Books Nancy Sundstrom What a great year for books.
For both fiction and non-fiction categories and virtually every other genre, and whether it was an established author or a novice, 2002 was marked by literature that was nothing short of outstanding, with some of the selections being benchmarks. As the year comes to an end, it has become an Express tradition to take a look back at the best of the best, at least in the hungry eyes of this reviewer.
Thursday, December 19, 2002

Books for Holiday Browsing

Books Nancy Sundstrom Some of us anticipate the holiday season all year-long and approach it with an organized discipline that might even make Martha Stewart sit up and take notice. For the rest of us, it arrives before we know it, and then, as it happened this year with Thanksgiving falling so late in November, we find ourselves scrambling to get to all those plans we’ve been hatching since last year’s festivities.
Thursday, December 12, 2002

Thrillers Times Three

Books Nancy Sundstrom Arthur Raven, Alex Cross, and Jack Forman are three tough, smart, yet sensitive guys (think a special forces operative meets Tom Hanks) who just can’t seem to stay out of harm’s way. As a result, the predicaments in which they find themselves in make for some page-turning reading and razor-sharp suspense writing.
The trio are the lead characters and heroes in the latest works from three of the toughest, smartest, and yet sensitive thriller masters around. Respectively, they are the focus of “Reversible Errors“ by Scott Turow, “Four Blind Mice“ by James Patterson, and “Prey: A Novel“ by Michael Crichton. While each has their flaws, they represent the potential of which their creators are capable of delivering, along with being highly enjoyable, worth recommending, and at present, nesting comfortably on the top of the bestseller lists.
Thursday, December 5, 2002

Walk Down this Lane

Books Nancy Sundstrom The title of the book, “Nobody‘s Perfect: Selected Writings from the New Yorker,“ gives a nod to the classic ending line delivered by Joe E. Lewis in the movie “Some Like It Hot,“ when his character discovers that his intended, played by Jack Lemmon, is actually a man. In real life, that saying may be true, but it’s debatable when it comes to the focus here, which is the writing of film critic Anthony Lane.
Friday, November 29, 2002

A May-December Love Story Blossoms in Q Road

Books Nancy Sundstrom For those who have been awaiting the heir apparent to Sissy Hawkshaw in Tom Robbins’ legendary “Even Cowgirls Get the Blues,“ Michigander Bonnie Jo Campbell has arrived on the literary scene with “Q Road“ and delivers an equally memorable heroine in Rachel Crane, a gun-toting child bride with a loose mouth and an undying passion for the “damned land.“
Thursday, November 21, 2002

How Does She Do It? The Ups and Downs of a Working Mom

Books Nancy Sundstrom If the title doesn’t get you, the opening pages of Allison Pearson‘s debut novel, “I Don‘t Know How She Does It: The Life of Kate Reddy, Working Mother,“ will.
In those first few moments one knows they’ve discovered a treasure trove of observations about being a working mother that are so spot-on and elicit emotions from laughter to tears within even the space of a few sentences.
Thursday, November 14, 2002

Q is for Quarry is Quintessential Grafton

Books Nancy Sundstrom I was recently perusing the well-stocked shelves of a friend’s library, an eclectic collection that encompassed everyone and everything -- Kafka to the Kama Sutra, Socrates to Jacqueline Susann, Bronte to Burroughs. You get the point.
Among the extensive collections by a number of authors were the first 17 installments of Sue Grafton’s best-selling series about private investigator Kinsey Millhone, which have been done in alphabetical fashion. The latest, “Q is for Quarry“ was there, as well. Knowing that it had immediately shot to the top of the best seller lists after its recent publication, and has remained there since, I asked for an explain as to what all the fuss was about. My ignorance earned me a bit of a tongue-lashing, but by the evening’s end, I was comfortably settled in with Grafton’s newest in my hands.
Thursday, October 31, 2002

Donna Tartt‘s Little Friend is Worth the Wait

Books Nancy Sundstrom On the page and in real life, if there is one thing Donna Tartt has mastered, it’s the fine art of suspense.
After all, Tartt has held an eager audience of readers at bay for slightly more than a decade since publishing her remarkable, bestselling debut novel, “The Secret History.“ The literary world has been clamoring for her sophomore effort ever since, but Tartt opted to crank out thoughtful and provocative columns, critiques, and essays, while quietly working on “The Little Friend.“
Thursday, October 24, 2002

The Last Place Finishes First

Books Nancy Sundstrom Make no mistake about it, “The Last Place“ is a first-rate thriller.
“The Last Place“ is the seventh book in a mystery series about Baltimore, MD detective Tess Monaghan from real-life Baltimore Sun reporter Laura Lippman, whose previous novels, “The Sugar House,“ “Baltimore Blues,“ “Charm City,“ “Butcher‘s Hill,“ and “In Big Trouble,“ have won the Edgar, Agatha, Shamus, and Anthony Awards.
Like fellow Baltimorians film makers John Waters and Barry Levinson, she loves the city she lives in and has found it a rich backdrop for her well-conceived series, whose strongest asset is her savvy, wise-cracking, independent former reporter turned private investigator Monaghan.