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, March 3, 2005

On the Shoulders of Giants at OTP: Shaw, Chekhov, and Moliere and why They Matter

Features Nancy Sundstrom Shaw, Chekhov, and Moliere are three of the most influential, acclaimed, and groundbreaking masters of theatre. So why is it that most people would have trouble naming one play that each had written, let alone identify when they last - if ever - saw one performed?
Old Town Playhouse (OTP) in Traverse City is hoping to change that, at least for local audiences, when they begin their two-week run of 3 Classic One Acts: Shaw, Chekhov and Moliere on Friday, March 11 at 8 pm in the Studio Theatre. Overruled by George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950), The Brute by Anton Chekhov (1860-1904), and Jean-Baptiste Moliere’s (1622-1673) The Pretentious Young Ladies are the trio of chosen comedic works by the classic playwrights, and will play Friday-Saturday opening weekend, and Thursday-Saturday March 17-19.
Thursday, December 23, 2004

Red Mesa‘s New Home: Popular Boyne City Restaurant Makes a Splash in TC

Features Nancy Sundstrom When chef Mary Palmer moved to Boyne City seven years ago, she saw a void in the region for affordable, high-spice, fun ethnic food. In a quest to help fill that void, Red Mesa Grill (RMG) was created in Palmer’s new hometown. The response was overwhelming, with customers traveling from all over northwestern Michigan to enjoy its Latin American-inspired cuisine.
Fast forward to 2004, when a second RMG opened in Traverse City on November 23, at its new home on US 31 North, just 1/8 mile east of the Traverse City State Park. Now fans don’t have to travel quite so far to partake of signature RMG dishes such as Corn Roasted Walleye, Tequila and Lime Fajitas, Roast Pork Enchiladas, and Achiote Citrus Chicken. Add in great service, a selection of more than 100 specialty tequilas, and regularly-scheduled special events like the Caribbean Tour and Cinco de Mayo, and it’s not hard to see why the new eatery has been packing them in.
Thursday, December 9, 2004

All the North‘s a Stage this Winter: A Preview of the Region‘s Theater Scene

Features Nancy Sundstrom We‘re well into the season of celebration, and if you’re an aficionado of theatre, there’s much throughout the region, and even the state, to get you excited.
From special concerts to perennial favorites like “The Nutcracker,” most every event will be infused with the holiday spirit. For some great live performance options, here’s a look at a range of musicals, dance presentations, solo shows and other stage revues that cover the region, from Cheboygan to Grand Rapids and Detroit. After the new year, look for a slate of new offerings that will continue well into the spring, before the summer theatre season begins.
Thursday, October 14, 2004

The Glamour, Glory and Guardedness of Grant

Books Nancy Sundstrom Just in time for harvest season comes a bumper crop of books by and about celebrities of all sorts, from Hollywood royalty to those a little further down the feeding chain, such as Paris Hilton, Sean Astin and Tom Green.
Arguably, one can expect more from a biography spanning the four-decade career of Cary Grant than one can from Jenna Jameson’s “How to Make Love Like a Porn Star,” but one can assume caveat empteur here. It’s all a matter of taste, isn’t it? And let’s face it, don’t some of these tomes, such as the latter-mentioned above, at least intrigue a reader to pick it up in the bookstore and scan the back cover and the photos, even while hiding inside an open copy of Philip Roth’s latest?
Thursday, September 30, 2004

History Lesson: The Folly of Empire

Books Nancy Sundstrom As Election Day looms closer, there is no slowing of the steady stream of new books dedicated to a wide range of facets, perspectives and tales about the two candidates heading for what many believe will be one of the closest races in some time.
One of the latest of these tomes is a thoughtful, interesting and well-researched, though quite academic-minded, work by John Judis entitled “The Folly of Empire: What George W. Bush Could Learn from Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson.”
Thursday, September 16, 2004

The Agony and the Ecstasy of Being Committed

Books Nancy Sundstrom Summer is officially over, but that doesn’t seem tohave slowed down some solid offerings in the beach read department. In fact, one of the best of the season just rolled out in the form of Anna Maxted’s fourth novel, Being Committed.

This is the best effort yet from the English, bestselling Maxted (Getting Over It, Behaving Like Adults, Running in Heels), who has endeared readers and critics alike with her own unique blend of heartache, hope and hope, particularly as it applies to romance. Maxted has a true gift for creating endearing characters and flushing out optimism and warmth from dismal situations. These gifts as a writer have aided not only in raising her to the forefront of chick lit authors, but elevating regard and standards for the genre itself.
Thursday, September 9, 2004

Is 15 Minutes of Fame too Much or too Little?

Books Nancy Sundstrom Four years ago, Salon columnist and playwright Cintra Wilson wrote a book that had a title so provocative that I, along with many others, couldn’t help but pick it up and dive right in: “A Massive Swelling: Celebrity Reexamined as a Grotesque and Crippling Disease.”
Every edgy, insightful and slightly vicious moment in her non-fiction diatribe on pop culture (with observations and predictions on the likes of Michael Jackson proving to be nearly Nostradamean) made the book worth every penny and paved the way for more to look forward to in terms of why we, as individuals and a society, are pop culture junkies whom 15 minutes of fame is - well - either too much or too little, depending on your perspective. At the altar of this line of thinking, I just throw in the names of William Hung, Paris Hilton and Joey Buttafucco as a case in point.
Thursday, September 2, 2004

A Den of Assassins: Musical Muses over what makes Presidential Stalkers Tick

Features Nancy Sundstrom In America, anyone can grow up to be President. Or shoot one. That’s the focus of an unusual, intelligent, dark and darkly comedic musical by Stephen Sondheim named “Assassins.” Locally, Old Town Playhouse (OTP) in Traverse City will present their version of this harrowing, yet moving examination of the underside of the American Dream, when it opens this Friday, September 3 and then runs through Saturday, September 25.
When it premiered in 1991, everyone agreed it was groundbreaking and played a key role in musical theatre reaching a new level of audacity and accomplishment, but audiences did not line up around the block for tickets. With thanks to the primarily negative reviews critics assailed it with, the show closed somewhat quickly. Many attributed it to timing, as “Assassins” opened in the middle of the Persian Gulf War and the concept of going to see a satiric, though insightful play about killing off a number of American Presidents seemed to be in bad taste, to say the least.
Thursday, August 26, 2004

Pure Joy in the Form of Corduroy

Books Nancy Sundstrom “How many people do you have to kill before you no longer qualify as pro-life?” read a homemade sign carried by one young man.
“Stop depleting my dating pool,” read another carried by a young woman who wanted to draw attention to the U.S. military’s death toll in Iraq -- now approaching 950.
Traverse City has always been known as a Republican stronghold, but last Monday -- in what local historian Larry Wakefield termed the largest demonstration in the city’s history -- over 1,000 people gathered to protest a campaign appearance by George W. Bush.
Captain Morgan of the Traverse City Police Department estimated the crowd of demonstrators at between 1,000 and 1,500.
For hours before Bush was scheduled to speak, those with tickets to the rally (organizers say 14,000 tickets were handed out) filed into the Civic Center along a sidewalk flanked by a crowd carrying signs and energetically speaking out about the war, job loss, environmental degradation, reproductive freedom and other civil rights issues.
Thursday, August 19, 2004

Secret Studies -- The Hazards of Reading Lolita in Tehran

Books Nancy Sundstrom Recently released in paperback is a book that deserved more attention than it earned when it was released in hardcover late last year. The tome has the provocative title of “Reading Lolita in Tehran,” and it has been rightfully hailed by other critics as a powerful and moving merge of memoir, political commentary and literary criticism. Though it is hardly a beach read, the fact that it is now available in paperback might help bring this insightful and provocative book the audience it should have had from the onset.
Thursday, August 5, 2004

Kerry & Edwards: The Right Stuff on the Write Stuff

Books Nancy Sundstrom In early July, as something of a primer for last week’s viewings of the Democratic National Convention, I finally got around to reading two books that had been on my nightstand for the past few months: “Four Trials” by John Edwards and “Tour of Duty: John Kerry and the Vietnam War.”
Thursday, August 5, 2004

Regional Book ROUNDUP

Books Nancy Sundstrom Local authors offer everything from poetry to postcards
In our fast-paced world, sometimes the majority of us can forget about how great it really is to crack open a book. In Northern Michigan there are a number of gifted authors who have works encompassing subjects from cooking to farming to photography. This summer offers a number of new texts from area authors that deserve attention:
Thursday, July 29, 2004

Shadow Divers: The Deep, Blue Saga of a Watery Grave

Books Nancy Sundstrom When written with a true passion for their story, non-fiction writers can craft their works into anything as gripping, compelling and powerful as that concocted by their peers in the fiction genre. The latest in an impressive, long line of these comes from Robert Kurson, and follows in the tradition of bestsellers like “A Perfect Storm,” “Into Thin Air” and “In Harm’s Way.”
Thursday, July 22, 2004

Just Take those Old Records off the Shelf....

Books Nancy Sundstrom Chris Colin is a talented young writer whose work has been featured in McSweeney’s and the New York Times Book Review, among other publications, and who served a respectable tenure as a writer and editor for Salon.com. When it was announced that his first book, a work of non-fiction, would hit the stands this summer, there was a fair amount of anticipation in literary circles.
Thursday, July 15, 2004

Get Hold of...

Books Nancy Sundstrom A familiar theme resonates through bestsel-ling British novelist Jane Green’s sixth novel, and that is to be careful what you wish for, because you might just get it. And if you do, what happens when it looks like real life will surpass your dreams? Can you trust it? Can it last? Are things too good to be true just that?
In her latest, the delightful and still substantive “To Have and to Hold,” Alice is a shy and unpretentious woman whose life consists primarily of being a loyal friend and successful caterer who takes great pride in her work. Her needs and wants are simple, and when she attracts the attention of wealthy, dashing businessman Joe Chambers, she simply can’t believe her luck. When he asks her to marry him, she thinks she’s died and gone to heaven.