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, October 19, 2006

The 2006 October Surprise Detroit Tigers

Random Thoughts George Foster If this season’s Detroit Tigers wins the World Series, it may be the most unusual club to do so. Their run through the regular season and playoffs has brought unusual drama to the sport.
How can a team stampede toward the World Series only three years after compiling the 2nd worst record in Major League Baseball history? Even a year ago the team lost 19 more games than it won. It would be different if the Tigers spent mega-millions for several stud players before the season, but - no. This baseball team somehow wins without a bonafide superstar.
Thursday, October 5, 2006

Why our troops must leave Iraq

Random Thoughts George Foster Most Iraqis now hate Americans and can’t wait for us to get the hell out of their country. More alarmingly, the number of Iraqis who feel this way is still growing.
If you doubt this fact, as I did, you probably haven’t seen the latest polls from Iraq, itself. These results hit me like a thunderbolt, but unfortunately didn’t attract many headlines in the U.S.
The shocking conclusions from the latest independent study shows that 61% of Iraqis approve attacks on U.S. forces in Iraq. Not attacks “by” our troops, they support attacks “on” the U.S. military.
Thursday, September 7, 2006

Men deserve purses, too

Random Thoughts George Foster In a song from the 1960s, an old Motown band rates the various qualities to look for in women, but concludes, “...first I look at the purse.”
I, too, have made a study of the purse... those carried by men. We need to brace ourselves, guys. In the future, every man will own a purse. Not a wallet, I mean a real honest-to-goodness handbag with shoulder straps, multi-pocketed, and room enough to fill with guy’s stuff.
I knew this was coming. You see, in the late 1960s and early 1970s, I admit to using a purse. At college, some kind of bag to carry books seemed only reasonable. After observing a star basketball player on campus using a purse (a frilly one at that), I decided not to concern myself with how my manhood might be perceived in public. When asked, I informed friends that I had purchased a “pouch” at the army surplus store. At that moment in my maturity, I was still not ready to concede I had been reduced to carrying a purse.
Thursday, August 24, 2006

Innocent until proven...

Random Thoughts George Foster Recently, when John Karr was arrested and confessed to the killing of then six-year old JonBenet Ramsey, it was stunning news. This is a ten-year-old case that many thought would never be solved.
Well, hold on. This bizarre murder appears ready to take a few more wild turns before it is done. At this moment, there are few details of the accused man and circumstances. Some don’t believe the suspect was anywhere near Boulder on Christmas, 1996 - he might just like the attention.
Thursday, August 10, 2006

End of an Era in Cuba

Random Thoughts George Foster When it was announced last week that Fidel Castro was turning over control of Cuba’s government to brother Raul, wild dancing broke out in the streets of Miami’s Cuban-American community.
Many of these Cuban exiles and their children have waited almost 50 years for this news. Beginning in 1959, Fidel’s Communist government outlawed political opposition and scooped up most of the island’s property, prompting hundreds of thousands of the educated and affluent Cubans to leave for the U.S. For them, Fidel represents everything bad that has happened to Cuba.
Some dreamers in Miami and elsewhere believe Cuba will soon become a democracy, an idea as foreign there as in Iraq. “I don’t know why people are jumping around,” Cuban-American and former Detroit Tiger Barbaro Garbey said this week. “We hope that the system changes, a little more democracy. But it will be very difficult to change that system in Cuba - Fidel, Raul or whoever is coming from the Communist Party, it’s going to be the same thing.”
Thursday, July 27, 2006

Say Goodbye to the Bush Doctrine

Random Thoughts George Foster Whatever happened to this administration’s crusade to create and prop up
democracies - by force if necessary - as the cornerstone of U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East?
The fledgling, democratic government in Lebanon has been brought to its knees
after being pounded by Israel’s military with
support from the Bush adminstration. While it is true that the terrorist wing of the
Hezbollah party in Lebanon provoked the latest explosion of violence, it is difficult to justify wiping out scores of innocent
Lebanese at the expense of killing relatively few terrorists.
Israel has the right to defend itself and is understandably angry by the unprovoked attack on its troops by Hezbollah. But, does Israel really expect the weak Lebanese government to subdue Hezbollah terrorists?
Israel itself was unable to extricate Hezbollah during its 18 years of occupying southern Lebanon. Israel knows that the defenseless Lebanese government couldn’t kick out the June Taylor Dancers if they were holed up in Beirut.
Thursday, June 29, 2006

World Cup and Other Observations

Random Thoughts George Foster No one should have been surprised.
Compared to expectations, the U.S. performance was the poorest of any team in the World Cup soccer tournament. The Americans meekly scored only two goals in three games - and one was by an opponent into the wrong net. Talk about not having a chance, the U.S. never held the lead in any game.
Thursday, June 22, 2006

Still another turning point in Iraq

Random Thoughts George Foster It is about time.
For three years, thousands of Iraqi and U.S. military agents have chased the murderous terrorist, Abu Mousab al-Zaqawi, in a country not much larger than the state of Michigan. When the elusive leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq was recently killed in a farmhouse by two 500 pound bombs launched by F-16 fighter jets, many including President Bush tempered their response as to its significance.
Thursday, June 1, 2006

Why I Love the Dixie Chicks

Random Thoughts George Foster It has nothing to do with spring fever. Also, I have heard enough of the Dixie Chicks to know that these country stars must be talented musicians, but I can’t name one song they have recorded. All three women are easy on the eyes, but good looks alone will never be enough to capture my heart.
I know what you might be thinking, but my affection for them has nothing to do with their famous dislike for President Bush’s policies. I love the Dixie Chicks because they are not afraid to take a stand, whether or not others agree with it.
The Chicks could have just kept their mouths shut and continued to rake in millions of dollars as the hottest country act in the U.S. Instead, before the 2003 Iraq invasion, lead singer Natalie Maines expressed her shame that the President is from her home state of Texas.
Thursday, May 11, 2006

The culprit for skyrocketing energy costs

Random Thoughts George Foster We should all be outraged. The cost of heating our houses has skyrocketed, gasoline is $3 per gallon and rising, and the U.S. is now dependent on foreign oil for 60% of our energy needs. Someone needs to take the fall for this scandal but who?
How about retail gas stations, oil companies, and others in the oil industry taking some responsibility for a change. Damn those price gougers. My heating bills tripled last winter over what I had ever paid previously. Of course, after remodeling recently, I doubled the size of our house. My wife and I needed four bedrooms and three baths in case family ever visits. To compensate, we do turn off most of our lights at night in order to do our part to save energy.
Thursday, April 27, 2006

Why the Pistons will lose early

Random Thoughts George Foster “The Detroit Pistons are the best team in basketball and a lock for the NBA championship.”
Recently, words to this effect came from respected basketball legend and TV analyst Bill Walton. Most sports fans in Michigan would have to agree - expectations in these playoffs are very high for the team. Anything less than an NBA championship crown will stain the Detroit Pistons as a failure this year.
All season, the confident, unselfish Pistons have done whatever is necessary to win. They have the distinction of being the only dominant NBA team in memory that doesn’t have a superstar player to bail them out when times are tough. No Michael Jordan to hit the last second championship shots, no Shaquille O’Neil to score at will inside, no Magic Johnson to transform ordinary players around him into stars.
Thursday, March 30, 2006

The Ultimate Tax Man

Random Thoughts George Foster You are not alone.
As politicians complicate the tax code more each year, more Americans have a need for professional tax services. If you have lost confidence in preparing your own income taxes, wonder if your tax practitioner is best for you, or like to save money - read on.
As a former tax-man myself, I still choose to hire someone else to prepare mine and am happy for it. Here are considerations for choosing your tax practitioner:
First, spend time comparative shopping. If you have time to look around for the best deal on your favorite melons or laundry detergent, you surely can investigate options on high-quality tax services that might save you thousands in taxes paid.
Thursday, March 9, 2006

Is the President too Liberal?

Random Thoughts George Foster George W. Bush is a flaming liberal. L-I-B-E-R-A-L. And I am not the only one saying it. More and more respected voices of the conservative establishment are labeling the President with the king of all slurs in their circles – the “L” word.
Fiscal responsibility, toughness on security issues, and strong leadership are at the core of a platform that has twice elected the Bush administration - and the mantra for conservatives everywhere. In recent years, any sign of weakness on these matters earns the deviant an automatic badge: liberal.
Fiscal responsibility. Former Reagan economist, Bruce Bartlett, scorches Bush in his new book, Imposter: How George W. Bush Bankrupted America and Betrayed the Reagan Legacy. Bartlett even states that the conservatives’ archenemy Bill Clinton employed more conservative principles than the current administration. After all, the Clinton years did come closer to balancing the budget than his immediate predecessors.
Thursday, February 23, 2006

The brave new world of home remodeling

Random Thoughts George Foster It all began a year ago when my fiancé insisted we have a real kitchen if she was going to move into my house after the wedding.
Never one to restrict her culinary expertise, I promptly agreed. After discussing all possibilities with a builder and architect, one thing led to another. Soon we had plans for a renovated house twice the size of the existing home and ten times the cost of our idea for a new kitchen. Gulp.
When mentioning the decision to undertake a major remodel of my house, friends said, “Get ready for a real ordeal. Or, “Forget about your life being the same for at least a year.”
How difficult would it be, I thought? The crews could work around me and visa versa. It will be fun. Well, because of my fun-filled building project, 2005 was easily the most stressful year of my life. Here are the rules for residential building and renovation I have learned – the hard way:
Thursday, February 2, 2006

Detroit‘s Real Super Bowl Battle

Random Thoughts George Foster Did you ever notice everyone has an opinion of the city of Detroit - even if they have never traveled to Michigan? Whether you hate, fear, feel sorry for or wish you lived in Motown - the name of that city usually triggers some emotional response.
Well, it didn’t take long for the grousing to begin after the announcement of Detroit’s Ford Field as the site for the 2006 Super Bowl. “Why Detroit?” No one wants to go there.” A Super bowl in the Murder Capital?” And on and on.