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

End Affirmative Action Now

Random Thoughts George Foster “I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.“ - Martin Luther King

It is time to end racial intolerance and preferences. Just ask conservatives Walter Williams and Armstrong Williams. Each of these respective commentators feels that affirmative action policies emphasize that minorities are victims above and beyond anything else. They believe the time has come when white, black, Hispanic... all American citizens must rise or fall based on their own merits in this country. Walter Williams and Armstrong Williams happen to be African-Americans.
Thursday, January 16, 2003

Women‘s Ski Tour: for Women, only?

Random Thoughts George Foster Let‘s face it, the most hyped event in all of sports - the Super Bowl - is about as inspiring as watching an accountant balancing his books each month. Each year, one team clobbers the other in a game so one-sided the winner is rarely in doubt. I finally got fed up and began my Super Bowl boycott after Dallas thumped Buffalo 52-17 in 1993.
Thursday, January 9, 2003

Whatever Happened to the Men‘s Movement?

Random Thoughts George Foster Remember the Men‘s Movement? Probably not -- it got lost somewhere in the shuffle between Y2K and 9/11. But the Men‘s Movement was big 10 years ago, as fathers vowed to get back in touch with their sons and forge a “new masculinity“ that would be more in touch with modern times.
Thursday, December 26, 2002

The Fearless Forecast for 2003

Random Thoughts George Foster You may think it‘s insane to even attempt predictions for next year in such turbulent times. However, the following conclusions come from a tested, reliable source - the feeling in my bones. Best wishes for 2003.
Thursday, December 12, 2002

The Return of Dr. Kissinger

Random Thoughts George Foster You must be joking, not Henry Kissinger. Please... anyone but the doctor of death. Oliver North, Bill Clinton, or Osama bin Laden would be more independent. Give us Pierre Salinger or Kim Basinger - but not Kissinger.
The families of 9/11 victims are reportedly very upset with Kissinger‘s selection as the chairman of a new commission overseeing a 9/11 investigation. Can you blame them? At 79, Kissinger has spent decades as a player in the federal institutions he would be investigating.
Friday, November 29, 2002

Things to be Grateful for on this Thanksgiving

Random Thoughts George Foster Saddam Hussein. Yes, we should be grateful for the Iraqi dictator. Though he has never attacked us, our obsession with Hussein has blinded us to the faltering economy, our failed Israel/Palestinian policies, spiraling budget deficits, Enron and other corporate scandals, the depressed stock market, and the suspension of many Constitutional rights in the name of security. Sometimes, ignorance is bliss.
Thursday, November 7, 2002

U of M Basketball Deserves the Death Penalty

Random Thoughts George Foster Sometimes a crime is so heinous, with such severe violations of civilized behavior, that the maximum sentence possible is the only just punishment. So, congratulations to the University of Michigan basketball program. The level of cheating committed in Ann Arbor over the last decade or so may be the worst in the history of the NCAA. If even half of the allegations charged are true, you are an embarrassment to the state of Michigan and have delivered a crushing blow to the integrity of college sports everywhere.
Thursday, October 24, 2002

The Drug Testing Debate in Petoskey

Random Thoughts George Foster Is drug testing the best way to deter substance abuse by our youth? Community forums discussing this issue were triggered recently when a Petoskey school board member suggested drug testing for schools. The reason: to help prevent students from becoming problem drug users.
Drug abuse has obviously been difficult to resolve nationwide, let alone in Petoskey. So, it shouldn‘t be surprising there was no consensus in favor or against testing among those attending the Petoskey meetings. I have always believed emphasis of personal responsibility for one‘s own actions is the best policy attacking drug abuse. Tough drug laws, TV ad campaigns, and presidential proclamations have all failed to make a dent into the problem.
Thursday, October 10, 2002

Invading Iraq doesn‘t Add up

Random Thoughts George Foster I keep hoping George W. Bush has top-secret, sensational information relating to Iraq that has not been revealed to us. Otherwise, invading Iraq at this time is a crazy idea, bordering on insanity.
I know, I know... it was impressive how political leaders, Republican and Democrat, liberal and conservative, lined up behind Bush last week. These congressmen and women were prepared to vote the president authority to attack Iraq whenever and however the commander-in-chief sees fit. The polls also show that most Americans are now convinced that forcing a regime change in Iraq should be the top priority for the Bush administration. Do they all know Bush‘s big secret, too?
Thursday, September 26, 2002

Darren McCarty‘s Dream World

Random Thoughts George Foster Darren McCarty is the first to admit it: he is living a dream.
McCarty is arguably the most popular player on the Detroit Red Wings team. Though not statistically near the production of Steve Yzerman or Sergei Fedorov, McCarty is beloved for his toughness, clutch performances against the hated Colorado Avalanche, and enthusiasm he brings to each game. Darren McCarty could perform as a synchronized swimmer and sell-out any place in Michigan.
When Streeter‘s Ground Zero nightclub promoted his band Grinder for a gig on Friday, September 13th, a packed house was guaranteed. I doubt ten of the people attending had ever heard McCarty sing or even cared if he could carry a tune. Since long-time Red Wings captain Yzerman is out until 2003 with an injury, Darren McCarty is the people‘s choice. Whether it is riding his Harley, raising his arms deliriously after scoring a goal, working for his cancer foundation, or bouncing around on stage to the backdrop of head-banging rock music, McCarty has a passion for life that is infectious.
Thursday, September 12, 2002

What will I Do on 9/11?

Random Thoughts George Foster I don‘t remember who told me but the shocking news left me in a daze.
A year ago I heard about the terrorist attack as I stood in the Isle Royale ranger station. I had just hiked 10 miles that morning through some of the most beautiful wilderness in North America simultaneously while planes were ramming into skyscrapers. Without the benefit of live TV or radio coverage for most of that fateful day, images I had of the suicide attacks seemed like a horrific nightmare or surely someone‘s idea of a bad joke.
Thursday, August 29, 2002

Why We Need a Baseball Strike

Random Thoughts George Foster As baseball‘s deadline of August 30th looms ahead, the players and owners should be more than a little uneasy. No one really feels sorry for 750 millionaires fighting over how to distribute their loot with 30 billionaires. Besides, these conceited punks are ruining the greatest game ever invented by men to perpetuate childhood.
Would Ty Cobb comprehend striking .220 hitters making over $10,000 per game? Could former Commissioner Judge Landis be merciful to players arrested for punching their wives? Would Joe DiMaggio refuse to play in an All-Star game because not enough fans voted for him? Not for one second.
Thursday, August 22, 2002

Nablus: Life in a War-zone

Features George Foster Paul Larudee is a renegade piano tuner from the west coast who speaks at least four languages and seems to have trouble refusing any humanitarian project that comes along. In an email, I first learned Larudee had traveled to the West Bank of Israel in April. At that time, he was wounded slightly while standing next to a photographer who was in serious condition from a gunshot to the stomach by an Israeli soldier.
Not to be denied the full term of his vacation, Larudee returned to the West Bank around the 1st of August with other activists. A primary goal for him has been to protect a home that has been identified as a target for demolition by Israeli soldiers. Most of this Palestinian family has left after a son became a suicide-bomber in March. Two elderly grandparents remain in the home because the grandfather is disabled from a stroke. The following cell phone interview took place on August 8th.
Thursday, August 8, 2002

The State of Express Personals

Random Thoughts George Foster In recent years, the silence has been deafening.
Yet, when the Express first hit the streets of northern Michigan in 1991, there isn‘t any question which element of the paper caused the biggest buzz: our romance ads. At the moment of launching, Northern Express became the first publication that devoted a section to the personals.
We heard comments such as, “Those guys are running a dating service,“ or “Did you know people advertise for sex in that new publication?“ Of course, nothing could have been further from the truth. While similar papers in other states allow risquÈ photos to accompany ads and obvious prostitute solicitation in the listings, the Express has always had a policy of rejecting any ads that seek sex or anything too kinky.
Thursday, July 25, 2002

The Attack on Freedom of Religion

Random Thoughts George Foster I can still remember how much I looked forward to the Pledge of Allegiance in Mrs. Schultz‘s first grade class.
As soon as the last bell rang and the recording of attendance was completed, we all stood up like miniature soldiers with our hands over our hearts ready to do our duty as citizens of the greatest country in the world. The instant Mrs. Schultz turned her back on the class to face the flag and begin the reciting, though, all hell broke loose.
“I pledge allegiance to the flag...“ On cue, many of my classmates pulled out milk carton straws to pummel each other with spitballs that left nasty welts on our arms and faces. Being caught in the crossfire of these gooey little missiles could be fearsome. Sometimes a headshot could even smack a victim in the eye or draw blood. It was great fun.