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..

Home · Articles · By Harley L. Sachs

Harley L. Sachs

Top Articles from
No articles in this section
Thursday, August 23, 2007

A flying cruise ship

Features Harley L. Sachs Most Americans who remember the dirigible think only of the spectacular crash of the Hindenberg at Lakehurst, New Jersey in 1937. Some know that the U.S. Navy acquired a couple of other dirigibles which both came to tragic ends.
What you might not realize, however, is that in spite of the spectacular blaze that incinerated the Hindenberg as its hydrogen burned, only 36 of the 97 persons aboard were killed. The film of the disaster made such an impression that dirigible travel ended. Yet, the sinking of the Titanic with a loss of 1,500 lives did not end the era of the ocean liner. And a disaster in the Canary Islands when two jumbo jets collided on the runway did not end jet travel, either. Should the new gigantic jet airbus -- still not in regular service -- crash with 600 people aboard, that might end the Airbus, but not air transportation.
Thursday, July 12, 2007

Carbon Dioxide‘s impact on the seas

Features Harley L. Sachs By now we are all familiar with carbon dioxide, CO2, that infamous greenhouse gas that contributes to global warming. CO2 is spewed into the atmosphere by coal-fired power plants. Its also in comes from the exhaust of internal combustion engines, like your car, the truck that transports your groceries, the airplanes jetting at 35,000 feet, and your gasoline-powered lawnmower. Even you release carbon dioxide every time you exhale - and so does your cat.
Thursday, June 28, 2007

Are you ready for a Second Life?

Features Harley L. Sachs An amazing moment in Peter Seller’s “Being There” is when Sellers as Chauncy Gardener emerges from his cloistered residence into a now rough neighborhood. Chauncy has lived a life in front of a television set and carries his remote control. He’s accosted by a couple of black hoodlums. When he doesn’t like what he sees in the toughs he’s met he tries to change the channel to something else. His clicker doesn’t work. He has entered a new reality.
Thursday, June 14, 2007

Fishing for almost everyone

Features Harley L. Sachs Now that the ice is off the lakes and ice augers and tip-ups are put away for a few months of summer, it’s time to think about other forms of piscatorial pursuits. Isaak Walton, in his “Compleat Angler” (the first published treatise on the art of fishing,) never dreamed of the means available today.
Thursday, May 10, 2007

The Death of Privacy

Features Harley L. Sachs Bruce Schneider, author of “Beyond Fear” and one of the world’s foremost security experts, spoke at Michigan Technological University recently and his message was chilling. Privacy is dead.
He wasn’t merely referring to the surveillance cameras that are everywhere—in shopping malls, on buses, by ATM machines, at busy intersections and outside government buildings. These have played important parts in tracking down criminals, kidnappers, armed robbers, and people who run red lights. Those are external watchers outside of our control. What Schneider talked about was how we expose ourselves.
Thursday, April 19, 2007

Death of the Bees

Features Harley L. Sachs Forget global warming. Forget being struck by a giant meteorite. Forget a cataclysmic earthquake or eruption of the Yellowstone volcanic complex. You can even forget al Quaida. The most credible and impending threat to our lives is happening right now. It’s the death of bees.
Thursday, February 15, 2007

Rights for robots?

Features Harley L. Sachs Just what is a robot, anyway? At the most basic level it’s a mechanism that performs an action on orders from a human operator. In that sense, your toaster is a sort of robot because you set the control and when the toast is ready it pops up. In World War II the strength demanded for the operation of certain controls, such as the wing flaps on a bomber, required a servomechanism. Your power brakes and steering are such servomechanism. So is your car’s cruise control, which turns your car into a robot of sorts. Eventually, we’ll have a car that drives itself. Set the GPS destination and the car will take you there; and there are already mechanisms which parallel park some new cars. (We used to have a similar device. It was called a chauffeur.)
Thursday, January 11, 2007

Invaders from Mars

Features Harley L. Sachs Back in the 1960s, Sir Fred Hoyle, the astronomer whose lucidly written popular books brought an understanding of the universe to the general public, teamed up with an Indian doctor, N. C. Wickramsinghe, with a controversial book, “Diseases from Space.” In their book the two scientists postulated that certain viruses from space had infected the human population. Their theory was called “Panspermia,” the idea that life on earth is a transplant from outer space.
As examples they pointed out how totally isolated arctic communities not visited by humans or even by birds had been mysteriously infected with a virus that could have come from nowhere else but outer space. The claim was that viruses of a certain size could survive entry through the protective shields afforded by the upper atmosphere. Certain respiratory diseases, they claimed, were a form of space invader.
Other scientists debunked “Diseases from Space,” and Hoyle’s reputation as a serious scientist was tarnished.
Thursday, December 14, 2006

Airline of the future

Features Harley L. Sachs In spite of all the talk and alarm about greenhouse gasses and global warming, there’s almost no mention of the impact of high flying jet aircraft on the atmosphere. As we saw so vividly during the 9-11 hijackings, at any given moment there are hundreds, even thousands of planes in the air over the United States. Their exhausts are spewed out at high altitudes where they do the most damage to the ozone layer. If those emissions could be substantially reduced, it would make a big difference.
Thursday, November 23, 2006

Shopping made a Turkey out of me

Books Harley L. Sachs Don’t let anyone tell you that grocery shopping in America is boring. At holiday time, Thanksgiving and Christmas, grocery stores in the United States offer special deals. Cranberry sauce is suddenly cheap. Sweet potatoes, a staple on the menu, are also pullers. Then there’s the promise of a reduced price or even free turkey. This can be an adventure.
The store whose coupon we pursued offered three different deals. If we spent $25, our holiday turkey would be 49 cents a pound. If we spent $50 the price would drop to 39 cents a pound. If we spent $100 the bird would be free.
We had no intentions of going for a free turkey. We live in a studio apartment with a small refrigerator. A typical holiday giant frozen turkey would not fit in the freezer compartment. With only two of us to eat it, a whole turkey would last for weeks. At least, after several meals followed by turkey fricassee and even turkey soup, we would be satiated on turkey for a whole year.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

A bomb anyone?

Features Harley L. Sachs At the height of the Cold War arms race between the United States and Soviet Union (USSR) there was a well-understood reality called MAD, Mutually Assured Destruction. For anyone who fired a nuclear missile, whether from the USSR or the USA, it was well understood that retaliation would obliterate the attacker.
Thursday, October 19, 2006

Truth or Hoax...Disappearence of F89

Features Harley L. Sachs Late on November 23, 1953 radar from Kinross airbase detected an unidentified flying object over Lake Superior. An F89 jet fighter with a crew of two, pilot Felix Moncla and radar observer Robert Wilson, were dispatched to investigate. At one point the radar images of the plane and the object appeared to merge and then they disappeared. What happened to the plane and the object it was sent to investigate has been a closely guarded secret for over 50 years.
Thursday, August 17, 2006

SPACE: The final hotel frontier

Features Harley L. Sachs So you’ve “been there and done that”? Seen and done everything and have the dough to say the sky’s the limit on your next vacation? How about space?
While NASA struggles to complete a space station with what remains of its 20-year-old shuttle fleet, private investors are forging ahead with their own money. It’s a strange partnership: American and British entrepreneurs have teamed up with Russia to convert some of those menacing ICBMs, left over from the cold war, to civilian use.
On July 12 Bigelow Aerospace, using money from the sale of a chain of U.S. hotels, launched an inflatable space module to test the feasibility of what is to become a tourist attraction for the rich. Bigelow Aerospace, located in Las Vegas, is gambling on a plan to launch a string of sausage-like space modules in five years to accommodate space tourists.
Thursday, June 29, 2006

Press two for Spanish

Other Opinions Harley L. Sachs The story of the Tower of Babel applies today. The project was an attempt to reach heaven by building a high tower, a plan that failed when God made people all speak different languages. They could no longer work together. For a cohesive society, people must be able to speak the same language.
The Dutch have the right idea. Faced with a troubling influx of immigrants who want the benefits of life in Holland but do not learn Dutch, the country has changed the laws. If you want to stay in Holland and be a citizen you must learn Dutch. To not embrace the language and culture of your adopted land undermines it. We have that problem here.
English is now the official language for the state of Michigan. In the 1900s when this country had a huge influx of foreign immigrants those folks could not wait to learn English. Nobody wanted to be a “greenhorn.”
My mother was born in London and told us of a visit to an American farm. She asked what they did with all those beans and was told, “We eat what we can and what we can’t we can.” A friend explained, “Oh, they put them in tins.” Though my mother was English and knew the language, she didn’t know American.
Thursday, January 12, 2006

The Latest on Global Warming

Features Harley L. Sachs The burning of fossil fuels has two main byproducts: carbon dioxide (CO2) and water vapor. No one knows the effect of water vapor (clouds) on global warming, but the theory was that CO2 is a major contributor. CO2 emissions are the subject of the Kyoto treaty to limit emissions by industrial countries, especially the United States. Current research, however, suggests that basis may be false.
For several years the theory has been that increasing CO2 as the result of the burning of fossil fuels is warming up the earth. Turns out that assumption was a computer error. The latest conference in Montreal on climate change concludes that even a 400 percent increase in CO2 emissions will have such a small impact on world temperature that it can hardly be measured accurately. Oops. So what actually is warming up the earth?