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 12, 2006

Marriage survival tips ( for husbands)

Random Thoughts George Foster How did weddings suddenly become a high-end, growth industry?
In the 1960s and 1970s, most marriage ceremonies I attended consisted of  barefootin’ on the beach and other creative, casual affairs. The newlyweds gratefully received my standard gift of freshly baked, whole-grain bread along with candles, incense, and love beads from others. 
By 2005, though, more than two million weddings were performed in the U.S. with an average price tag of $25,000 each. Just try bringing a gift of homemade bread to one of these costly, highly choreographed events now. 
Thursday, December 22, 2005

Bigotry and Christmas

Random Thoughts George Foster December 11, 2005 - Sydney, Australia: A mob of five thousand whites roam the beaches, trains, and shopping malls chanting racist slogans, waving national flags, and assaulting Middle-Easterners. Scores are injured.
On the next day, hundreds of young Arab men drive to Anglo suburbs with cricket (baseball) bats, smashing the windows of neighborhood cars and creating havoc. It is thought to be the worst race riot in Aussie history.
Thursday, November 17, 2005

Back to School for the White House

Random Thoughts George Foster When President Bush recently sent White House staff officials to required classes for ethics instruction it raised many questions.
After reaching middle age, will completing a course in good behavior change someone who has not exhibited ethical conduct before? Specifically, what are the ethical violations of the White House staff that the
Bush administration acknowledges led to such remedial study for its officials? Just what is to be done with any staffer who fails an ethics class?
In part, the President must be requiring such courses because a majority of Americans now say the indictment of White House aide Scooter Libby is an indication of wider ethical problems in the Bush administration. The same polls also show that nearly half of Americans believe that honesty in the government has declined since President Bush took office.
The following is a list of appropriate courses and instructors for the White House staff.
Thursday, November 3, 2005

The return of the dress code

Random Thoughts George Foster It is about time someone put their foot down and forced those gangsta’ professional athletes to clean up their act. Right?
When NBA commissioner David Stern indicated that a dress code would be instituted for all NBA players in public, requiring a collared shirt, sport coat, and no jeans - many fans rejoiced. Predictably, though, a majority of players groaned.
It will be interesting to see how the notoriously dressed-down Allen Iverson of the Philadelphia 76ers will react. Soon, he will not have the freedom to wear his do-rag, chains, baggy shirts and pants, and expose his numerous tattoos on the streets as his peers do.
David Stern must know what he is doing, though. By emulating Iverson and others, can you imagine millions of kids in the inner-cities discarding their hip-hop attire while aspiring to buy expensive Armani suits? Expect gangs and the drug-culture to soon evaporate as a result of basketball celebrities’ conversion to the GQ look.
Thursday, October 20, 2005

The fight to keep religion free

Random Thoughts George Foster Do you ever get informational mass emails from friends that sometime seem like a chore to read… if you even bother? Recently, I received an article written by radio personality Paul Harvey from a well-meaning Christian friend who probably didn’t expect anyone on his email list to actually reply. He sent me an opinion piece about Harvey’s outrage leveled against a court decision that disallowed organized prayer before one town’s high school football games.
Since I also need to fill space for this column, here was my friendly email response:
Thursday, October 6, 2005

Supreme Women

Random Thoughts George Foster First Lady Laura Bush was only partly right when she suggested the next Supreme Court justice should be a woman.
Come on, Mr. President. The U.S. has nine justices that serve on the highest court in the land. After Sandra Day O’Connor’s retirement, one woman remains. The fact that only two females have served in over two hundred years of Supreme Court rulings is shameful. Hundreds of male justices have been confirmed, but only two women?
The best solution is to appoint women for the next four openings on the bench. A five to four majority favoring female justices would help make up for past discrimination. The following are my choices for the next four Supreme Court vacancies.
Thursday, September 15, 2005

On our own in New Orleans and beyond

Random Thoughts George Foster Images of hurricane victims fighting for their lives in rising waters of the Gulf Coast, while looters rape the cities, will not soon be forgotten - if ever.
But what did you expect? The Lone Ranger riding into downtown New Orleans to save the good guys from the bad? Superman using his super-breath to dry up the flood-waters before carrying the victims to safety?
Thursday, September 8, 2005

Why the Lions will contend for the Super Bowl

Random Thoughts George Foster I know what you are thinking. Those miserable Detroit pussycats, masquerading as professional football players, have about as much chance of winning the Super Bowl as the price of gas returning to $1.50/gallon.
If you saw the Lions being pummeled by the Rams in a nationally televised exhibition game last week, you are probably laughing at the idea of any Lions success. Well now, you are hopelessly misinformed, my friends. Here are just some of the reasons why Detroit will make the playoffs this season and make a run for the Super Bowl itself.
Thursday, September 8, 2005

Blues Rugby on the rise

Features George Foster Coach Bill Borre of the Traverse Bay Blues is looking for YOU to fill a position on one of his rugby teams. No experience
is necessary.
According to Borre, the Blues have had no shortage of success since the original team laced up their boots in 1972. It is just that the club can always use new players since it is now fielding four different squads: (1) men’s team, (2) alumni club, (3) under 19 boys, and (4) under 19 girls. Steffenie Kehrer coaches the ladies.
Thursday, August 25, 2005

Why the President should meet with Cindy

Random Thoughts George Foster
Certainly, you believe Cindy Sheehan must be one brave woman for her recent confrontation in Crawford, Texas with the most powerful man on earth: George W. Bush. Or maybe you think her actions are akin to traitorous in the scathing verbal attacks she has levied on the policies and motives of a president while at war.
Tragically, Ms. Sheehan’s son is one of almost 2,000 American lives that have been lost in the Iraq conflict since 2003. Though Bush met with her immediately after her son’s death, she says she decided to demand another meeting when hearing President Bush say that our troops have died for a noble cause. “What is that noble cause my son was sacrificed for?” she reportedly has asked.
Sheehan had to know she would be subjected to personal attacks when she parked herself next to the President’s ranch until he agreed to meet with her. She had to know it is unlikely Bush would arrange a meeting since his administration is notorious for being ultra-insulated. What she couldn’t have bargained for was her resulting international celebrity status, the beginning of an emotional debate on the war in Iraq that had been relatively muted, and supportive anti-war groups popping up all over the U.S.
Thursday, August 4, 2005

Film Festival-itis

Random Thoughts George Foster By the time you begin reading here, the First Annual Traverse City Film Festival will be history. Judging by the enthusiasm generated by the movies I have attended so far, this event is best thing to happen in Northern Michigan since the ice age left behind Lake Michigan.
In two short months, filmmaker/author Michael Moore and the festival committee performed a major miracle by renovating the State Theater, bringing in over two dozen new independent films, providing top-of-the-line projection equipment for all venues, and somehow rounding up hundreds of volunteers to do the work. Unbelievable - and a little overwhelming to ponder what future festivals could become with a full year of planning.
Thursday, June 30, 2005

Time to get real on Iraq

Random Thoughts George Foster Surely, we can’t be the idiots our government officials think we are.
CNN’s recent interview with Dick Cheney was jarring in the utter absence of reality on the subject of Iraq from the vice-president. His insistence that the insurgency in Iraq is in its last throes, proved once again how cavalier guys in the White House tend to become. How many times during this conflict have we heard that terrorists are now spiking up the violence in Iraq because they are on their last legs and democracy is breaking out all over the land?
Thursday, June 9, 2005

The Answer to History‘s Greatest Mysteries

Random Thoughts George Foster Thirty-some years ago, the identity of Deep Throat was the hottest issue from the most sensational scandal of the 20th century. In that spirit, here are the greatest unsolved mysteries and a stab at the answer by a noted clairvoyant - me.
Where is Osama bin Laden? The notorious terrorist is last known to have evaporated in the mountains of Tora Bora, Afghanistan. Why the world’s most famous face can’t be sniffed out by the biggest manhunt in history and a $25 million reward is a bigger mystery than his whereabouts itself.
The answer is obvious to me: bin Laden has shed his robe and turban, shaved his beard and is living a decedent life at various Club Meds under the alias of doorknob salesman Sam Laden. As a former rich playboy, bin Laden knows this fast lane as well as the Khyber Pass. In his former life bin Laden dedicated himself to booze and broads before he converted to bombs and Allah.
Thursday, May 26, 2005

Pistons will not stand the Heat

Random Thoughts George Foster So, we got what we wanted. The defending NBA champs Pistons eliminated Indiana last night as expected.
The two best teams in the Eastern Conference, Detroit and Miami, will play for the right to move on and play in the NBA Finals. Hey, we’ve got a rivalry here: Big Daddy Shaq vs. Big Ben Wallace, South Beach glitter vs. factory blue collar, Flash Wade vs. Rip Hamilton, North vs. South.
Relatively trim at 7’2” 325 lbs., Shaq O’Neil is the key to the series. With an injured thigh muscle, O’Neil has missed several games down the stretch of this season. I believe he will suit up for every game, though probably at about 50% to 75% of his ability.
Thursday, May 12, 2005

What we can learn from our Latin neighbors

Random Thoughts George Foster What we can learn from our Latin neighbors

I hope your Cinco de Mayo was a happy one.
Cinco parades are now a fixture in such diverse places as Detroit and Rupert, Idaho. In recent years, raucous parties celebrating May 5th near the University of Cincinnati campus forced police into riot gear amid fires and flipped-over cars.