Letters to the Editor: 12.13.18

Our readers' comments

Step Outside

East Hampton 

December 9, 2018 

Dear Editor: 

This letter is bound to cause controversy — some will agree, some will disagree, similar to what is happening in our country right now. However, it has nothing to do with politics; it has to do with family and friends.

As the holiday season arrives, this may be the year for family to visit after years of separation, since we are now scattered over various states. We, as family, all share wonderful holiday memories from past decades when our parents and grandparents were alive — dinners at Gurney’s on Christmas Day, photos at the windmill, the beauty of East Hampton Village all lit up at night, trips to the ocean to view snow replacing sand, singing holiday songs in the car as we traveled to Sag Harbor for after-Christmas sales, short family acting skits with music, magic, and dance at the house. But there was one thing we did not have years ago — cellphones. They did not exist, nor did they interfere with our family joy, our singing, our discussions, our laughter at episodes we shared.

Recently at a family gathering, I found myself apologizing to a family member seated next to me, as I turned to engage the person in conversation because he was on a cellphone. When I returned home, I had to ask myself why I felt I had to apologize. And then I thought ahead to what might be a long-overdue holiday family visit here in East Hampton. 

So, after considerable thought, here are my ground rules: Cellphones will not be allowed in the house. If a person needs to make a call, they will have to step outside, regardless of the weather, to make the call, away from any conversation reaching the ears of those of us in the house. At our traditional restaurant Christmas dinner, anyone who brings and uses a cellphone will be given the bill for their individual dinner, as I will not pick up their part of the check. (Bah, humbug, yes.)

I recall that when my grandparents came to America, it took months for a letter to arrive from family in Europe. I have watched with amazement while in restaurants, where husbands and wives and dating couples, as well as others, engage with their cellphones and not with each other. This will be forbidden at my family gathering; and while I may offend some, and perhaps deter some from visiting, so be it.

But these family get-togethers are much too valuable and precious to be interrupted by this technology. It will be the memory of our person-to-person engagement that will be the most important. I wish you all a happy holiday season. 


John de Cuevas


December 10, 2018

Dear David,

I read this week’s obituary for John de  Cuevas with a great sense of affection and gratitude. He was a regular presence along Stony Hill Road on his bike and recently, more slowly and bravely, on foot, walking to his beloved Quail Hill Farm, and on down to Amagansett village. To me, his reappearance in early summer had the quality of an arriving migrant bird, a marker of the new season’s arrival. And he often spoke of the radical decline in songbird numbers in our forest and their collapse across the planet.

It is characteristic of John and his generous family that the obituary touched so lightly on his greatest contribution to our town, the permanent preservation of hundreds of acres of forest at Stony Hill. This beautiful beech, oak, and hickory forest will be his enduring legacy to us all. He might gently remind us that this gift confers a responsibility to manage the woodlands vigilantly — and to protect the aquifer beneath it. 

We are fortunate in life to meet a few people of vision, who do so much good for others and ask for no glory for themselves. 

We’ll miss you around here, John!



Great Day

East Hampton

December 9, 2018 

Dear David:

The East Hampton Chamber of Commerce hosted its 30th annual historical inn and interesting places tour this past Saturday, Dec. 8. The tour was self-guided and locations included Guild Hall, Thomas Moran Studio, Huntting Inn, Ladies Village Improvement Society, the Pollock-Krasner House, BookHampton, Ashawagh Hall, Baker House 1650, Maidstone Hotel, 1770 House, Mill House Inn, White Fence Inn, 434 on Main, Art House, Bridgehampton Inn, Topping Rose House, Home, Sweet Home, Clinton Academy, East Hampton Star, and the Hedges Inn. 

My wife, Lisa, and I want to publicly thank the chamber and all the owners for participating in such a great event. It was such a great day, and we look forward to going again next year.


Growth Ahead


December 7, 2018

Dear Editor,

For those who have quietly been watching, the East Hampton Chamber of Commerce is back! As I pass on the presidency in 2019 to the very capable hands of Glenn O. Vickers II, executive director of the Y.M.C.A. RECenter, I’d like to take this opportunity to thank the tireless board of directors for their support, effort, and commitment, and Keith E. Davis, who has generously contributed Golden Pear Cafe food platters for several mixers. Kudos are also in order for our bookkeeper, Kathleen Shannon. I intend to remain on the board.

Under the leadership of our executive director, Steven Ringel, the East Hampton Chamber of Commerce has organized and executed two outstanding spring street fairs and two popular fall festivals, thus bringing life — and locals  — back into the village for a day of fun for all. As well, the Santa Parade and annual bed and breakfast and historical places tour continue to please. 

In addition, membership has increased, there’s a new website, new logo, social media pages, monthly e-blasts, monthly mixers, and a desire to do more for businesses and locals as we head into the new year. 

Plans for the future include an off-season event, an in-season farmers market, and a possible concert series. Mr. Vickers is a formidable administrator, and I’m certain there’s more growth ahead for our chamber. If you were ever thinking of joining, now would be a good time.



A list of East Hampton Chamber of Commerce board members appears in our Card of Thanks section of this week’s classifieds. Ed.



December 6, 2018


Yesterday, I saw workers picketing the Amagansett I.G.A. According to their literature, “U.F.C.W. Local 342 proudly represents the Meat Department workers” who have been “without a contract since May of 2017.” The I.G.A. is my supermarket of choice, and I shop there several times every week, but I did not enter the store and will not so long as the striking workers are standing there.

Even in normal times, unions were an important building block of the world I aspire to, part of a structure assuring democracy, equality, economic fairness, and justice. These are not normal times. Labor is sustaining tremendous damage around the country, the target of egregious political campaigns financed by billionaires and carried out by elected Republicans, who have now achieved the Supreme Court that will aid in the dismantling.

 I could write a book about the phenomenon of tricking working people into voting against their own jobs and incomes; the loudly shouted but incoherent claim that unions violate a liberty interest translates only into a sacred right to work two or three minimum wage jobs and live in your car. 

Gandhi never actually said “We must be the change we wish to see in the world” but those are still words to live by. Values are meaningless unless you act on them. If you agree with me that we need unions in America, please do not cross a picket line. 



Shut Down


December 9, 2018

Dear David:

On Thursday, Dec. 3, The New York Times greeted readers with yet another alarming climate change headline, “Emissions Surge, Hastening Perils Across The Globe: Two New Warming Studies, Rising Greenhouse Gases Likened to ‘Speeding Freight Train.’ ”

 Here in East Hampton we willfully contribute to the demise of our own community, as well as our planet, by simply ignoring the largest carbon polluter in our midst, East Hampton Airport. Aircraft there generate more than 38 million pounds of emissions annually, none of which is necessary. Yet this grossest of polluters is not even factored into the carbon footprint the town is using to calculate its movement to a “sustainable” energy equation. The cocktail party “environmentalists” here may be doing more harm than good: saving the piping plovers’ nests while destroying the very climate those birds, as well as every other creature, need to survive. If the airport were a coal-fired plant it would have been shut down decades ago. It should be shut down now.


Republican Reformer


December 10, 2018

Dear Editor,

This past Thursday I accepted the nomination to be chairman of the East Hampton Town Republican Committee, and as such, I would like first to take this opportunity to thank everyone for your support and trust in me in my runs for supervisor, town board, and now as East Hampton Town Republican Committee chairman. 

I am a traditionalist Republican. I believe in the founding principles so starkly evident in the writings and actions of progressive reform-minded Republican President Abe Lincoln. President Lincoln understood that slavery was a scourge that needed to be eradicated. President Lincoln not only led us to victory during the Civil War to achieve that goal but also with legislation including the Emancipation Proclamation of 1863. 

Years later another progressive, reform-minded Republican president, Teddy Roosevelt, would be elected and bring us environmental conservation, anti-trust laws, and Civil Service reforms for the government.

After years of involvement in union organizing and leadership serving my membership and the greater communities that we serve, I became concerned about the direction our town government was headed. In Albany, I have been involved in a wide range of issues not only dealing with criminal justice, society, education, environmental conservation, budget, and finance. My first thought was to run for office to bring my many years of experience in a vast and complex New York State government, and the last thing on my radar was to be East Hampton Town Republican Committee chairman.

So here I am, a progressive Republican reformer that is a study of Presidents Lincoln and Roosevelt, New York City Mayor Fiorello H. La Guardia, and chairman of the East Hampton Town Republican Committee.

East Hampton town government, as was New York City in the 1930s, is in dire straights, ruled by a handful of Democratic Committee members that is reminiscent of the control Tammany Hall had in New York City. To combat this, we must adopt new strategies and new thinking. We must build coalitions, appeal across party lines with Demo­crats, independents, and all others regardless of party affiliation who are disenfranchised by the East Hampton Town Tammany Hall establishment. 

We must revitalize Town Hall and restore public faith in government. We must develop a unified transit system, get serious about the building of affordable housing and workspace, establish a long-term, townwide economic policy and plan, enhance our public playgrounds and parks, address the noise problems at the East Hampton Airport, develop a long-term viable plan to address septic pollution of our drinking water and harbors, conduct a comprehensive evaluation of town government to re-establish employment on merit in place of patronage jobs, make town government open and transparent, and support our commercial fishing community over the interests of big corporations.

However, first, the East Hampton Town Republican Committee must get its house in order. We want anyone interested in reforming town government to join us as a committee member, alternate committee member, friend of good governance member, and candidates interested in progressive change and reform at Town Hall to contact me. My phone number is 631-324-0528 or via social media.

As to those that think the East Hampton Town Republican Committee is defunct and that there is no path to success, I say they are wrong. If you believe in the values of Lincoln, Roosevelt, and La Guardia, come join us.

Lastly, I believe it is more than time to define ourselves as East Hampton Republicans. One has only to look at history to know that our traditional Republican values are alive and well, that the East Hampton Town Republican Committee is the political party of the working family, the oppressed, the downtrodden, concerned about environmental conservation, economic empowerment, defenders against racism and intolerance, and protectors of freedom.

Please find below a brief list of 25 Republican accomplishments.

1. Emancipation Proclamation (1863): The first Republican president, Abraham Lincoln, issued an order freeing all slaves in the confederacy.

2. End of the Civil War (1865): Abe Lincoln guides the North to victory in the Civil War and reunites the nation.

3. The 13th Amendment (1865): ratified just after the close of the Civil War, once and for all abolished the system of slavery and involuntary servitude in the United States, except as a punishment for a crime. Republicans in Congress saw slavery as a malignant cancer, which had only fostered disunity in the county. Many were abolitionists who saw slavery for the great evil it indeed was, and how it was antithetical to American values.

4. The 14th Amendment (1870): remains the single most important amendment in modern American legal history. The 14th Amendment guaranteed a host of rights, many of which are integral to the American system of government.

The first right guaranteed was “birth­right citizenship.” This right guarantees that all people, born or otherwise naturalized, shall be citizens of the United States and remain citizens. Thanks to this right, citizenship remains one of the most fundamental and guarded rights by our legal system.

The second right guaranteed was “privileges and immunities clauses,” which protect citizens’ rights against infringement by other states. This right has been interpreted to mean general protections afforded to citizens cannot be abrogated or infringed on by other states, in which the citizen is not a resident. 

The third right guaranteed was “due process.” Mirroring the language in the 5th Amendment, the due process clause guarantees your right to process against the states. 

Lastly and the most critical right guaranteed was the “equal protection clause.” This right was intended to solve the state-sponsored racial discrimination, which had been instituted in much of the country, and guarantee citizens the same protections regardless of sex, race, religion, national origin, age, wealth, or poverty. 

5. The 15th Amendment (1870): was the last of the Reconstruction amendments. This amendment stands as a cornerstone to the American democratic system. The amendment guarantees that the states shall not infringe on the right to vote of all citizens on the basis of race, color, or previous condition.

6. Women’s right to vote (1872): Republicans Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton write the text of the 19th Amendment, which was introduced by Republican Senator Aaron A. Sargent of California. The amendment was finally ratified in 1920. 

7. Construction of the Panama Canal (1904): Under Republican Teddy Roosevelt, America takes control of the Panama Canal and builds it into one of the most crucial locations in world shipping.

8. Created the U.S. Forest Service (1905): Along with being a conservationist, President Roosevelt protected public lands and wildlife by creating the United States Forest Service under the Department of Agriculture. One of his main goals of establishing the U.S.F.S. was to create sustainability of the country’s resources. He wanted the forests to be around for continued use for years to come.

9. The Meat Inspection and Pure Food and Drug Act (1906), Theodore Roosevelt: The act included inspection requirements, including seeing animals before slaughter, separating diseased animals from healthy ones, destroying condemned meat, and sanitary inspections. Pure Food and Drug Act, putting similar inspection and safety requirements on other foods and drugs.

10. The Square Deal (1906): President Roosevelt’s Square Deal consisted of consumer protection, control of large corporations, and conservation of natural resources. The goal of the Square Deal was to help middle-class citizens while still allowing businesses to be free from outrageous demands that often came with organized labor. Roosevelt felt strongly that the government needed to intervene between large companies who were concerned with little more than obtaining wealth and defrauding the public to their benefit.

11. The Elkins and Hepburn Acts (1906): And was closely related to Roosevelt’s Square Deal. This act stopped the practice of railroads giving rebates to companies they favored. By doing this, the railroads had put many smaller farmers into situations where they didn’t have equal access to the railroads. Later came the Hepburn Act, a response to public outcry over unregulated increases of rates. The act also stopped the Interstate Commerce Commission but strengthened federal regulations over the railroad industry.

12. First Workmen’s Compensation laws passed (1907): Injuries to workers were often common in the railroad and textile industries. As railroads expanded and textile factories became more abundant, workers began to get hurt in more significant numbers and before the act, which held companies liable for injuries on the job, workers would have to sue to try and get compensation.

13. First woman elected to U.S. House of Representatives (1916): Jeannette Rankin, Republican from Montana, becomes the first woman elected to the House of Representatives.

14. Construction of the Hoover Dam (1928): Calvin Coolidge signed a law allowing the construction of the Hoover Dam to begin.

15. Jessie Owens wins four gold medals in the Olympics (1936): Republican Jessie Owens humiliated Hitler by winning four gold medals in the Berlin Olympics. Owens said he “was treated marvelous by everyone. Anything any of the American athletes, including myself, wanted they got for us. My biggest thrill was when the American flag was raised after my victory in the 100 meters.” F.D.R. responded to Owens’s legendary victory by refusing to invite him to the White House, prompting Owens to say, “Hitler didn’t snub me. It was F.D.R. who snubbed me. The president didn’t even send me a telegram.” Truman also ignored Owens, but when Republican Dwight Eisenhower became president, he made him “Ambassador of Sports.”

16. Jackie Robinson becomes the first black American to play in the Major Leagues (1947): Republican Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in major league baseball when the owner of the Brooklyn Dodgers, Republican Branch Rickey, brought him up to the major leagues.

17. The Interstate Highway System (1956): Republican Dwight Eisenhower begins construction of the interstate highway system.

18. Desegregating schools (1957): Dwight Eisenhower “deployed the 82nd Airborne Division to desegregate Little Rock’s government schools over the strenuous resistance of Governor Orval Faubus (Democrat, Arkansas). 

19. The First Asian-American U.S. senator (1959): The first Asian-American senator, Republican Hiram Fong, is elected in Hawaii.

20. Civil Rights Act of 1960: “Eisenhower signs the G.O.P.’s 1960 Civil Rights Act after it survived a five-day, five-hour filibuster by 18 Senate Dem­ocrats.”

21. Creation of the Environmental Protection Agency (1970): President Richard Nixon in the wake of elevated concern about environmental pollution, created the E.P.A. to consolidate in one agency a variety of federal research, monitoring, standard-setting, and enforcement activities to ensure environmental protection.

22. The Reagan tax cuts (1981): Republican Ronald Reagan revitalized the sluggish U.S. economy with tax cuts that created a massive surge of jobs, economic growth, and prosperity.

23. The collapse of the Soviet Union (1991): Ronald Reagan’s tireless work against the Soviet Union finally paid off as it formally dissolved in 1991 while his former vice president, George H.W. Bush, was in office.

24. Welfare reform (1996): After Clinton vetoed two previous versions of welfare reform, Republicans sent it back to him a third time, and he finally reluctantly agreed to fulfill his campaign promise and sign the bill.

25. Condoleezza Rice becomes secretary of state (2005): George W. Bush selected Condi Rice to be his secretary of state. She was the first black woman ever to hold that position.


Don’t Give a Hoot


December 8, 2018

To the Editor,

S—t Stirrers (SS): those who manipulate events to cause trouble for other people for their own self-serving interests.

In case you haven’t noticed, there are a few but vociferous SS in our town. I won’t name names but as I describe their behavior, you’ll find it very easy to guess who they are. 

An SS can be fairly to highly intelligent, has a good grasp of facts, and is able to dissect issues deeply and perceptively. These qualities make an SS a formidable opponent because unlike an ignorant adversary who can be rationally dispatched with ease, SSs’ command of the issues forces you to work very hard to fend off his or her assaults.

An SS is like Darth Vader in a way. They’ve been blessed with intelligence but have decided to utilize it in support of the dark side. They don’t care about an all-inclusive assemblage in service of a higher good. They are instead motivated by their own personal self-indulgence, which could take the form of achieving personal power, or perhaps a myopic duty to a personal cause, or both. They work alone or as leaders of a pack of sycophantic minions.

The tactic that an SS uses is to prodigiously dish out criticism in the harshest of forms, combining snarky sarcasm with kernels of truth that are so exaggerated they lose any recognition to their original smidgens of veracity. These denunciations are discharged solely with the aim of knocking the target back on its heels.

The one thing that SSs stay away from is mutual, community-based problem solving. They are not interested in the greater good; nor are they interested in public service. They don’t give a hoot about other people’s perspectives or needs when they vary from theirs. This makes SSs part of the problem instead of problem solvers.

I read a letter in last week’s Star written by a prominent SS, who slung a long litany of condemnation against certain town board officials. If you were an out-of-town visitor who stumbled upon this long litany of accusations, you would come away thinking that the town is being run by the most evil, corrupt, self-serving, crooked politicians since Boss Tweed. In fact, he indeed analogized this current administration to Tammany Hall. 

This wasn’t a critical essay written to be productive as a way to solving current issues faced by the town. It was pure castigation for the sole purpose of defaming those named individuals. Moreover, it was motivated by the SS’s having failed a launched power play in the last Democratic primary. Leading with that vengeful incentive, even if the SS has some useful propositions, he’s only interested in a zero sum game because the SS’s solution is to vanquish the opposition and not to work with it collegially.

Another SS attended the public hearing this past Thursday evening where many people spoke and expressed their opinion about the Montauk hamlet study. There were informed and not so informed opinions and even some far afield ones. But the loudest and emptiest was that given by the SS. Again, it was not meant to inform or contribute or advise or even productively criticize, but rather to cut down and disparage past decisions made by town officials and mock the way the study was conducted. It was cutting, it was caustic, and it was purely obstructionist. But the most distasteful part of it was that the SS, despite her bloviated screed, seemed to garner from the audience a conspicuous aura of an in-the-know authority while more humble participants who voiced serious and sober contributions to the conversation were barely heard.

It is easy to be an SS. Here’s why: Take any controversial issue and you will find that there are honest sentiments on both sides of the argument. A decision maker needs to weigh all sides and make a judgment that’s good for the whole without too much harm to any one side. That is hard to do. But all an SS has to do is ridicule and denigrate the side it is opposed to without worrying about finding a community beneficial resolution. You could do that all day long, and some do just that.

This town is facing a lot of serious challenges. I don’t need to name them. They are distinctively clear to everyone by now. We need to work together, hear all sides of the issues, and find mutually acceptable solutions quickly. We don’t need SSs to muck things up. 




December 7, 2018

To the Editor:

Who will benefit from the Wainscott wind­mills? I understand that East Hampton will get $8 million, about the price of one not so great house on Beach Lane. A rummage through the sofa cushions of the Wainscott wealthy could raise that amount and stop this madness. Where is the Nature Conservancy or the Surfrider Foundation? As a former resident and surfer of the hamlet’s jetty, I am saddened by the silence of the environmentalists. They must know it is very bad for the fish, birds, and people, yet they say nothing for fear of being deniers. Shame on them all. 



East Hampton

December 8, 2018 

To the Editor:

Twenty-five years reading The Star have not banished — not entirely — my surprise at seeing many pages of a small-town newspaper devoted to sophisticated commentary on national and international controversies. I understand why, but nevertheless apologize for this “policy wonk” letter.

Readers know that last week, in Katowice, Poland, began the 24th session of the Conference of the Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Many will have read in The New York Times reportage and editorials related to several timely reports of a thousand or more pages on imminent “climate catastrophe.” 

Only in this season of miracles, however, will you read that on Dec. 4, in Katowice, the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC) presented the fifth volume in its “Climate Change Reconsidered” series, titled: Climate Change Reconsidered II: Fossil Fuels. (If you see this reported anywhere in the mainstream press be the first to let me know and win your congratulatory bottle of champagne.)

To give you a “trigger warning” of what is to come, I quote the release: “Each year the verdict becomes stronger and clearer that the scientific evidence debunks global warming alarmism. While the United Nations Conference of the Parties frantically searches for reasons to justify its continued existence, The Heartland Institute is proud to present the science that debunks U.N. alarmism.”

“We will be delivering the truth that the only thing ‘settled’ about the global warming debate is that U.N. climate reports have little credibility.”

The 700-page report, involving the work of some 117 scientists, economists, and others, is free to download, as are earlier volumes in the series with separate executive summaries that focus on research overlooked or ignored by the U.N. International Panel on Climate Change (I.P.C.C.).

The N.I.P.C.C. is an international network of climate scientists sponsored by three nonprofit organizations: the Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change, the Science and Environmental Policy Project (SEPP), and the Heartland Institute. It was convened in 2013 to provide an independent review of the reports produced by the U.N.I.P.C.C.

Even Star readers may not find time during the holiday season to read a 700-page dissenting report on climate catastrophe. So, here, brief statements from the report’s sections:

“Climate models are a subject of controversy in climate science. General circulation models ‘run hot,’ meaning they predict more warming than actually occurred or is likely to occur in the future [More than 100 ‘runs’ of models by U.N.I.P.C.C.] cast twice as much warming from 1979 to 2017 as actually occurred. Climate models are unable to reproduce many important climate phenomena, and are “tuned” to produce results that fall into an “acceptable range” of outputs. (From “Summary for Policymakers,” page 3, citations omitted.) 

“The accuracy of temperature records since preindustrial times are known to contain systematic errors due to instrument and recording errors, physical changes in the instrumentation, and database mismanagement, making them too unreliable to form the basis of scientific research, yet they are seldom questioned. More accurate satellite-based temperature records, which reach back only to 1979, reveal a range of near-global warming of approximately 0.07íC to 0.13íC per decade from 1979 to 2016.” (Summary, page 4.)

“Despite headlines claiming the opposite, there is little or no evidence of trends that lie outside natural variability in severe weather events, melting ice, sea-level rise, precipitation patterns, and adverse effects on plant life. In some cases, the historical record reveals just the opposite: more mild weather and fewer droughts, for example, than in the preindustrial past.” (Summary, page 4.)

“Today, fossil fuels supply 81 percent of global primary energy and 78 percent of U.S. primary energy. Fossil fuels are also essential for fertilizer production and the manufacture of concrete and steel. Access to affordable, plentiful, and reliable energy is closely associated with key measures of global human development, including per-capita G.D.P., consumption expenditure, urbanization rate, life expectancy at birth, and the adult literacy rate (U.N. Development Program, 2010).”

“Research reveals a positive relationship between low energy prices and human prosperity. Wind and solar power are intermittent and unreliable, much more expensive than fossil fuels, cannot be deployed without the use of fossil fuels to build them and to provide back-up power, cannot power most modes of transportation.” (Summary, page 5-6.)

“Fossil fuels have lifted billions of people out of poverty, reducing the negative effects of poverty on human health. They improve human well-being and safety by powering labor-saving and life-protecting technologies such as air-conditioning, modern medicine, cars, trucks, and planes. Fossil fuels made possible electrification of heating, lighting, manufacturing, and other processes, resulting in protection of human health and extended lives. Fossil fuels also increased the quantity and improved the reliability and safety of the food supply. Fossil fuels may also affect human health by contributing to some part of the global warming experienced during the 20th century or forecast by G.C.M.s for the 21st century and beyond. Medical science and observational research in Asia, Australia, Europe, and North America confirm that warming is associated with lower, not higher, temperature-related mortality rates.” (Summary, page 6.)

“. . . that carbon and hydrogen are ubiquitous in the natural world helps to explain why the rest of the physical world is compatible with them and even depends on them for life itself. The carbon cycle minimizes the environmental impact of human emissions of CO2 by reforming it into other compounds and sequestering it in the oceans, plants, and rocks. According to the I.P.C.C., the residual of the human contribution of CO2 that remains in the atmosphere after natural processes move the rest to other reservoirs is as little as 0.53 percent of the carbon entering the air each year and 0.195 percent of the total amount of carbon thought to be in the atmosphere (I.P.C.C., 2013, page 471). (Summary, page 8.)

“In 2010, fossil fuels, thermal, and hydropower required less than 0.2 percent of the Earth’s ice-free land, and nearly half that amount was surface covered by water for reservoirs. Fossil fuels required roughly the same surface area as devoted to renewable energy sources (solar photovoltaic, wind, and liquid biofuels), yet delivered 110 times as much power.” (Summary, page 8.)

“The authors of Chapter 6 conclude that air pollution caused by fossil fuels is unlikely to kill anyone in the United States in the 21st century, though it may be a legitimate health concern in rapidly growing developing countries that rely on biofuels and burning coal without modern emission control technologies.”

We all have spent many hours, over many years, getting our education and coping with our alarm at catastrophic climate change. To see much of the story rebutted (the report says “refuted”) can be intensely irritating. We are asked to believe that the U.N., governments, the cream of the media — all have been deluding themselves. The weather report for the coming century may be all wrong. Mankind’s Promethean defiance of the “natural order” may not doom us. 

But trace the lineage of this movement, half science and half radical ideological environmentalism. It is but the latest in crusades to shackle and command the market economy: Because capitalism impoverishes the masses (falsified), causes wars (falsified), has hit the “limits to growth” in natural resources (falsified), has unleashed a “population bomb” and impending famines (falsified), and turned the earth’s climate into a death trap (falsified in fact, see report, but not yet admitted).

Remember, its partisans always took great care to call Marxism “scientific socialism.”




East Hampton

December 9, 2018.

Dear David:

This is in response to the letter of Dec. 6 from Nancy Peppard. I firmly disagree with her attack on town board member Kathee Burke-Gonzalez, both its substance and its unnecessarily snide tone. I was a member of the founding group of the East Hampton Group for Good Government, and one of the factors motivating our initiative was the then-prevailing abrasive and insulting tone of the letters to the editor dealing with politics here in East Hampton. Our group uniformly treats every citizen with respect and the attention that we all deserve. Ms. Peppard’s remarks are of a different nature.

Kathee has been a dedicated, hard-working member of the town board. She has been accessible, a willing attendee at our debates, forums, and television interviews. She has helped us to secure the attendance of various experts for “G.G.G. Insights.” She has been uniformly gracious and wise in her comments. Her opinions are valued and valuable. I believe that these qualities are readily apparent to all our citizens and that should she choose to run again for office, her victories will not be “eked” out. The results will reflect the appreciation that many have for her.

As to Ms. Peppard’s analysis of the town’s purchase, her Ph.D. would seem to be in a field other than law and bankruptcy. Bankruptcy judges have broad powers to amend leases and other contractual arrangements. The town’s pre-emption of that possibility could well be a very shrewd decision, hardly one deserving of criticism.




East Hampton

December 9, 2018


Thanks to all! Thank you to the hundreds of people who have either called, texted, emailed, or high-fived me for writing the piece on Kathee Burke-Gonzalez in last week’s Star. I am overwhelmed by your kind words of encouragement, support, and neighborliness. I must have hit a resonant chord among East Hampton Town residents. I encourage all of you to make your voices heard on issues related to programming and services for people age 50-plus in East Hampton Town.

Most sincerely,


Sandy Hook


December 10, 2018

To the Editor:

I still can’t believe that Congress hasn’t passed any lifesaving, common-sense gun control bills in the six years (more than 2,000 days!) since Adam Lanza shot 20 6 and 7-year-old boys and girls to death in Newtown, Connecticut’s, Sandy Hook Elementary School. And I still can’t help wondering if its 535 members might have enacted such laws had he instead killed 20 (or 200) of them. Or, if he had murdered all 535 of them, if their 535 successors might have felt guilty or scared enough to do it!


Special Protocols

East Hampton

December 9, 2018


In a less cruel world the Vietnam War wouldn’t have happened, 55,000 Americans wouldn’t have lost their lives, and 110,000 vets probably wouldn’t have committed suicide. Two million Vietnamese might still be alive and millions more wouldn’t be cripples or suffering from the poisons of Agent Orange, etc. Our government betrayed us on so many levels that are too embarrassing to relive. Suffice to say, that Nixon and Kissinger prolonged the war, for reasons that were never clear, with no regret or contrition.

From the war came a flood of Vietnamese immigrants to the U.S. We seemed to recognize our obligations to these people and over time they integrated into our society. What obligation does a country have when it enters into another country’s civil war and destroys large pieces of it? Does it matter what culture is being destroyed or what color the people are? In Latin America, it absolutely does. Is Vietnam a different story?

There are special protocols regarding Vietnamese immigrants related to crimes (felonies) they may have committed. The protocols, based on the historical context of the war, protect Vietnamese from being deported if they commit a felony. These protocols were always respected until Donald Trump was elected. Somehow, he has decided that the 8,000 Vietnamese immigrants who have committed felonies in the U.S. should be deported to Vietnam.

The story in The New York Times Op-Ed on Dec. 4 raises the issue and expresses bewilderment at the policy change. The Vietnamese felons have all served their time and have been reintegrated into the society. That they have suddenly appeared on the president’s wish list for people to abuse makes no sense. A small, innocuous group of immigrants who pose no threat to the U.S. are completely irrelevant to our immigration situation.

Furthermore, the country from which these immigrants came no longer exists. Somehow the context and connection aren’t there. Would it make more sense to put them on a boat?

Does the president think that by deporting this group we are erasing the black mark of the Vietnam War? Or is he simply going after the most defenseless groups and the Vietnamese fell into that net?

Has something in his brain gone seriously astray? Or have we just begun to pay attention? The genetic malfunction grows larger every day. At what point do we recognize this problem and say enough?


Democratic Socialists


December 10, 2018

To the Editor:

I happen to agree with The New York Times when it warned Nancy Pelosi not to give too much power to the newly elected House Democrats who call themselves “Democratic socialists.” They will be a minority of the Demo­crats in the House of Representatives.

I don’t enjoy being unkind or insulting toward anyone, even the Republicans in Congress, a sizable minority of whom are really scary “survival-of-the-fittest” Social Darwinists, but, to me, you have to be a total and complete moron and idiot to call yourself a “Democratic socialist,” and that includes Bernie Sanders, who I like a lot and agree with 90 percent of the time.

First of all, they are not true socialists because they do not advocate abolishing our capitalist economic system.

Second of all, if you really believe that anyone can be elected president of the United States who calls herself or himself a socialist, then you must live in Dreamland and must have drunk the Kool-Aid. 

Third of all, where I do agree with them is in their belief that our federal government should do more to help the poor, the near-poor, the lower middle class, and the middle class, who are struggling to survive and to pay their bills. 

They need to inform and educate the public to the fact that almost every single one of our traditional allies (if not all of them) has federal governments that do more and spend more (in proportion to their population sizes) than we do in the United States. And, to paraphrase Al Pacino in the movie “And Justice for All,” for us to be right all of these other countries have to be wrong: I don’t think so.



Liberal Idealist


December 4, 2018

To The Star: 

Well, it happened again, a repeat performance, an acclimatization, reconciliation of an adamant, admonishing, liberal idealist, the subtle, cynical, skewer of most of President’s Trump policies and actions. Thomas Friedman’s New York Times Op-Ed, Nov. 28, surprising, consenting lecture “We Need a Tall Wall With Big Gates,” followed by “Regarding the Border, the right place for Democrats to be is for a Big Wall with a Big Gate.” A far cry from “Eliminate ICE!” and “open borders,” analogies to a colleague’s, Gail Collins’s, Op-Ed, “How Hillary Holds Up,” New York Times, Jan. 27, 2018, page A19, repentant, agonizing, mea culpa addressed in this paper on Feb. 8, 2018, Letters, “Deeply Imperfect.” (My letter, of course.) 

Commendable T. Friedman, a pre-eminent columnist, engrossed in contemporaneous hard news, somersaults back into history and beyond, to biblical “gate keepers,” Matthew 16:19. It wasn’t really intended that he should be the gatekeeper of heaven, but rather the first pope. “Large, gold, white, or wrought iron gates, guarded by St. Peter, those not fit to enter heaven are denied entrance at the gates.” The archangel of salvation, Uriel, the angel left to stand guard at the Gates of Eden, and so on and on. Curious wonder, the perception of ICE, border patrol administrating its power in this new role, appellation “gate keepers.” 

Hold it, have to interrupt; it is late at night, am alone in the studio, am suddenly hearing strange utterances. There they go again, alluring, sublime, “Beware, Remember! Beware of the big gates of Troy! Beware!” What the hell do the big gates of Troy have to do with our southern border?