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, July 4, 2002

Free Martha Stewart

Random Thoughts George Foster Lord have mercy, what a woman. I am in love with Martha Stewart.
None of the divas that most guys gush over can hold a candle to her. Pamela Anderson may strut around in the underbelly of the rock music scene but wouldn‘t know what to say to a corporate CEO. Cameron Dias obviously cannot cook a lick because she is just skin and bones. Britney Spears is just a girl - way, way too young. Martha Stewart, on the other hand, is ALL woman.
The feeding frenzy that has erupted in the media recently over possible charges against Stewart by federal authorities for violations of insider trading laws seems silly. Since the accusations began flying, though, I must admit I have changed my opinion of her - I am endeared to my Martha more than ever.
Thursday, May 23, 2002

Carter‘s Cuba

Random Thoughts George Foster Prediction: someday, Jimmy Carter‘s bust will be among the national heroes commemorated in parks everywhere. In Cuba, that is.
In a country where likenesses of Jose Marti and Che Guevara stare incessantly at visitors of Cuban museums and plazas, the former U.S. president‘s blinding smile is destined to accompany the steely gaze of Cuban revolutionaries. That is because Jimmy Carter, more than anyone else in the last 100 years, accelerated the day when Cuba finally becomes a democratic country - complete with freedoms of speech, fair trials, and elections.
Thursday, May 9, 2002

Mothers Day Wishes

Random Thoughts George Foster Have you noticed that since September 11th, everything seems late? Snowfall last winter, the promised economic recovery, the flowers and warmth of springtime - what‘s the holdup? The world somehow just seems out of sync, lately.
One thing we can always count on to be timely, though, is the love and protection of motherhood. My wishes for mothers around the world on this Mother‘s Day are the following:
Peace in the Middle East. Israeli mothers ought to have peace of mind that their children will not be blown up by terrorist bombs when family members leave the house to shop or attend school. Palestinian moms deserve a homeland of their own in or near traditional Palestine, not refugee camps patrolled by machine-gun toting soldiers.
Thursday, April 25, 2002

The Peace President

Random Thoughts George Foster Brace yourself. George W. Bush is about to perform the deed that will allow him to go down as one of the greatest American presidents ever.
It doesn‘t have anything to do with military responses to the 9/11 attacks. Osama bin Laden is still apparently at large and our War on Terrorism is far from being determined a success by any measure. The verdict on terrorists vs. America will be judged during future U.S. administrations.
With the failure of Secretary of State Powell‘s April trip to the Middle East, the moment is here for the leader of the world‘s most powerful nation to force Israel and the Palestinians back to the negotiating table. Please, no more public ultimatums to the warring parties, Mr. President. It is time to end any inclination to speak loudly and carry a small stick.
Bush junior will go down in history as one of the greatest presidents in American history. Just think - Lincoln, Washington, Roosevelt, and Bush on Mount Rushmore. Airports, monuments, streets, and mountains named Bush. Proprietors bragging, “George W. Bush, the peace president, slept here.“
Thursday, April 11, 2002

The Conscience of America

Random Thoughts George Foster Michael Moore makes me proud to be from Flint. Not because I agree with him on every issue (I don‘t). What I admire is his guts - the gumption to speak his conscience no matter what the conventional wisdom might be.
Some probably think Moore is just a lucky, working-class stiff from Buick Town who happened to strike a cord lately with his outrageous attacks on politicians and corporate America. His casual attire, profane tirades directed against CEO‘s of large corporations, and the ever-present baseball cap all seem to reinforce his image as just another disgruntled factory worker. Why should we listen to him?
Thursday, March 28, 2002

Random Thoughts

Random Thoughts George Foster March Madness
Is anyone else confused about the verdicts in several high-profile cases decided lately?
When Robert Noel and Marjorie Knoller were convicted for the dog mauling of a Diane Whipple, it makes me wonder about our justice system.
Whipple‘s tragic death was probably avoidable and certainly the dog owners deserve punishment - but life imprisonment? No matter what you think about any display of cold-heartedness and negligence by the defendants, Whipple‘s death was a terrible accident. There is no evidence that Noel and Knoller ordered or allowed the dogs to attack anyone. Diane Whipple was not murdered.
On the other hand, Andrea Yates was convicted of murdering her five children and also received a life sentence. Is Marjorie Knoller‘s crime of inadequate pet control equal to Andrea Yates methodically drowning each of her children? I don‘t think anyone of sound mind can argue that Knoller‘s acts begin to approach the magnitude of Yates‘.
And how does Yates avoid capital punishment in Texas, a state that is known for frying the accused and asking questions later? Yates‘ mental state was not factored into her case, so the court concluded that Yates knew what she was doing during the crime.
If so, if anyone ever deserved the death penalty, it was Andrea Yates. Her case is one more example of why capital punishment should be banned. It never has been, nor will it ever be applied fairly.
Thursday, March 7, 2002

The Return to Red Ink in Washington

Random Thoughts George Foster I hope you enjoyed the ride while it lasted.
It might be time to start saving grocery coupons and recycling those old clothes, again. Largely a result of stamping out deficit spending in the 1990‘s, the United States has recently celebrated low unemployment, low interest rates, and stock markets skyrocketing at dizzying new heights. During that period our booming economy was unprecedented in growth and duration.
When President Bush proposed an increase in defense spending of $48 billion for next year and billions in more tax cuts, he may have ended runaway prosperity for decades to come. In addition to the tax cuts passed last year and a stumbling economy that has produced less revenue than originally projected, new military spending, if enacted, will leave a budgeted deficit for next year of $106 billion. The actual shortfall of revenue compared to expenditures could be far worst when the dust settles at year-end.
Thursday, February 21, 2002

Don‘t be so Hard on the Skating Judges

Random Thoughts George Foster It is amazing how all of North American became figure skating experts after two days of this year‘s Winter Olympic Games.
Each of us now knows how to score all of the technical requirements required in the sport. Before judging any skater, we all account for short program scores in addition to tallying the long program of each pair. Technical merit and presentation in figure skating are concepts that come second nature to us. Yeah, right.
Actually, here‘s the truth: we may not be sure of the difference between a triple axle and a double toe loop but we know what we like. We love cute, English-speaking athletes and we hate those dirty, cheating Ruskies.