November 2, 2020
To the Editor,
On Wednesday I voted early at the Windmill Village polling station on Accabonac Road, and I would like to thank the polling workers for their assistance. In a very friendly atmosphere, all were attentive, helpful, and courteous.
I felt a wonderful sense of community as I went through the process of voting. I was so encouraged to see so many people, workers and voters, joining together in support of our democratic election.
Perhaps our nation, once this year’s alarmingly combative election ends, will be able to move toward what I experienced at Windmill Village
— a sense of community coupled with support for our democratic institutions. I certainly hope so.
Good Wins Out
November 1, 2020
It is the eve of the election, and I ponder what will be.
It occurs to me that this election is about the forces of good and evil battling it out. This could actually be a Superman movie, and Superman is standing poised to face huge, ferocious evildoers in an effort to save our world. (Or Bill Murray facing off against the huge Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man, firing madly.)
In my view, Trump represents all the negative destructive forces that have existed in history — combined. He’s done nothing but destroy our democracy and harm Americans for four years. Our Constitution is tattered and barely holding together. People are dying across the country from an uncontrolled virus because of the president’s choice to do nothing. Global warming is willfully being ignored and fed, and the latest prophecy is it will end our world within 100 years. At the same time there is an evil, frightening battle to defeat our election process and silence our voices.
There is a chance to rid ourselves of evil and set things back to a positive healthier environment for our country to stop the dying, the destruction of our planet, and hang onto our democracy. As Luke Skywalker would say, “Let the force be with us.”
I am a strong believer that good wins out over evil. It is such a powerful force that no matter what has arisen in our world, good ultimately shines through, despite the heavy toll that evil takes, and no matter what happens on Election Day, good will prevail.
October 24, 2020
Dear Mr. Rattray,
As you know, the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) maintains a system of presidential libraries that was initially established in 1939. That was the year a library was built on Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Hyde Park estate as a public repository for his White House files, as well as book collection, early writings, and memorabilia. Every president since then has had a library established in his name, following the term in office, of course, to house important records, papers, and artifacts of the presidency, both personal and public. Usually the libraries are built with nonfederal funds in the home state of the president, while organization and upkeep responsibilities are assumed by NARA through its Office of Presidential Libraries. William J. Clinton Presidential Library and Museum, for example, is in Little Rock, Ark. (Not on my bucket list of places to visit, I have to admit.)
I hope I’m not jumping the gun, Mr. Rattray, but I’ve begun thinking seriously about President Trump’s library, where it should be built, what it should look like. I have no doubt there will be an open call for architectural submissions when the time is appropriate — usually within 60 days of Jan. 20. You’ll recall the 2003 competition to reimagine the site of the World Trade Center towers — a momentous endeavor that drew over 5,000 entries from 49 states and 63 nations. The seven semifinalists had their three-dimensional proposals on display downtown in the Winter Garden Atrium near the site of the horrifying attack, and people could actually vote for their “favorite.” It was an emotional thing, walking among those miniature structures, created with passion and artistry, with thoughts of what they were intended to replace, which on some spiritual level they never could.
But I digress, Mr. Rattray. We’re talking about a presidential library that will be designed 20 years after 9/11. Shame on me. Just trying to establish some context here so stop having those thoughts. By planning our president’s library before his term in office is finished, I’d hoped to pre-empt the inevitable competition and offer a proposal so compelling there literally could be no “competition,” only a parade of losers who failed to think out of the library box. Right now I’m in the pencil-rendering stage, but I’m also working closely with one of East Hampton’s pre-eminent engineers to make sure, for example, that bearing weight projections are realistic and can be achieved with the chosen materials (marble, unobtanium, gold, frankincense, myrrh, etc.). Obviously, I needed to start with the basic concept, a very big idea, and there were a few non-negotiable: First, this had to be the greatest, most amazing library ever built. Anywhere. Ever. Boom. Next, it had to be the world’s tallest building. Finally, the name: the Donald John Trump Presidential Library, Casino and Tower (DJTPLCT, as it will be most commonly referred to). Location: Atlantic City, N.J.
As I write this, the world’s tallest building is the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, at 2,722 feet and 163 floors. Phhht. Move over, Burj, the DJTPLCT, at 3,653 feet (not including the 100-foot solid-gold “T” at the top) will make you a puny loser. Its 246 floors aboveground will hold much more than the president’s official White House documents and correspondence, of course. (In addition there will be 20 subterranean floors housing, among other things, a cinema complex, 5,000-car garage, bowling alley, a law firm, a “gentlemen’s club,” an edible mushroom farm, a McDonald’s test kitchen, a warehouse for Ivanka’s relaunched apparel line, and on floor minus-20, housing for the tower’s workers.)
As you enter the three-story, five-acre ground floor grand concourse, a digital directory and map will guide you through massive, marble Corinthian columns to the DJTPLCT gift shop, luxury boutiques, salon de coiffure, Mar-a-Lago Pro Shop, McDonald’s food court, Trump Family Wax Museum, and, of course, the presidential library itself. There, visitors — tourists and students alike — will be able to view and study all of President Trump’s correspondence throughout his time in the White House, his personal collection of books and magazines, memorabilia, and tchotchkes from dignitaries around the world, including kings and golf pros. Ten listening stations will offer audio recordings of the president’s 21,000 tweets in 12 languages (including English). The library will also have its own gift shop, where leather-bound or gold-embossed volumes of the “Presidential Tweets” as well as individual tweet greeting cards, tweet shirts, vintage MAGA apparel, and silk McDonald’s napkins will be available for purchase.
Above the grand concourse will be the two-story, 3.5-acre mezzanine with a marble balustrade overlooking the activity below from every side. This dramatic open floor will be home to the Grand Presidential Casino and Lounge, with hologram performances by Frank, Sammy, and Dino nightly (plus unannounced surprise visits from the president himself, so be sure to purchase your DJTPLCT V.V.I.P. Platinum Black Card early). Fly me to the moon, Mr. Rattray! Actually, we’re on the way up right now, so fasten your bow tie.
Above the casino and lounge floor, a completely open-air, two-story, three-acre driving range, plus the world’s largest miniature golf course ever built anywhere in the world. Each hole will be designed to evoke a different room in the Hermitage Museum at the Winter Palace in St. Petersburg, Russia. The driving range, facing east, will allow drivers to hit special floating yellow balls into the Atlantic Ocean! (This will be a members-only club, but open to the public on Sundays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.) Mirrored pillars supporting the tower above will make it appear as if the remaining 230-some floors are literally suspended in air, like the floating mountains of Pandora! (From the movie “Avatar,” Mr. Rattray, in case you missed one of the most important moments in pop fantasy cultural history.)
Floors 9-190 will be home to the Grand Trump Middle Earth Hotel, starting with 50 very, very affordable 2,200-square-foot rooms at the “bottom,” all the way up to the 110,000-square-foot King and I Suite on the 190th floor. (It should be noted that each floor will have two ice machines and every 30th floor will be an Amazon delivery substation.) Floors 191—244, each 1.5 acres (as we know, buildings get less huge as you go up) will house the Golden Trump Supertower Condominium, with Junior King units starting at a modest 4,800 square feet, and all with sweeping views of wherever they’re facing, plus a private theater, gym, and hot tub. Ownership has its privileges, as it should, Mr. Rattray, and each G.T.S.C. owner will be given 25 complimentary “forever” casino chips worth over $300 for use any time in the Grand Presidential Casino and Lounge. Nice.
Finally, we arrive at the piece de resistance — the top of the tower: the two-story Grand Presidential Observatory and Windows on the Universe Snack Bar, open on all sides but for its tasteful four-foot glass parapet, intended to help prevent falling off the building. Over 3,600 feet above the Earth, the views are literally breathtaking (yes, oxygen will be available to visitors experiencing altitude sickness). Gazing below, Atlantic City will appear much as it does on a Google satellite map: tiny. Looking west at noon Eastern Daylight Time, even with the naked eye, you’ll be able to see all the way to Kansas and Nebraska; to the north, Quebec and Hudson Bay; south all the way to Venezuela, French Guiana, and possibly Brazil. Now maybe you think the sun rises in the east and the sun sets in the west, Mr. Rattray — common mistake, so don’t beat yourself up. The Earth rotates in an eastward direction creating the illusion of the sun’s comings and goings! What’s my point? This: When it’s midnight at the Grand Presidential Observatory and Snack Bar, looking east you’ll be able to see the sunrise on the western coasts of Ireland, France, and Portugal, and possibly Morocco! At that time, the tower is moving toward the bottom of the Earth — thank God gravity keeps it from falling off into space. For the same reason, when it’s around 9 a.m. here the observatory is actually taller than the Rocky Mountains, and you can see sunrise in California and Oregon. Pretty sweet! (I’ll be confirming these orbital and rotational coordinates with Neil deGrasse Tyson, whose daughter went to summer camp with my wife’s youngest. He’s such a great guy and really knows his planet stuff.)
And just when you thought you couldn’t possibly get higher, Mr. Rattray, directly above the observatory will sit the Trump International Heliport and Dirigible Mooring Station. Only ticketed or arriving passengers will be permitted on this “tarmac in the sky”; however, all others, with the exception of heads of state and golf pros, will need to meet or drop off passengers in a designated area in the Grand Concourse (see digital directory, of course). Finally (yes, finally!) the 100-foot-tall golden “T” at the top of the tower. Originally I’d asked my wife if she thought it could be a lower case “t.” She looked at me in horror and said, “What in God’s name are you thinking?” So, okay, never mind.
As of today, we should all know whether I can proceed with a 3-D architectural model of my DJTPLCT. Still, I’ve reserved gallery space in the Parrish Art Museum the first week in January 2021 for a grand opening reception — a first look at the greatest, most amazing presidential library ever built. Fingers crossed!
Has No Place
October 27, 2020
To the Editor,
We now have five justices (that’s a majority!) on the Supreme Court appointed by presidents who lost the popular vote. The Electoral College has no place in a democracy. What will it take to get rid of it?
November 1, 2020
Some voters may be pleased by the outcome of the recent election; others will be less happy. The following suggestions are designed not to favor either party but over time each party should benefit.
Congressional term limits should favor the voters and not their re-election or those who supported them. How can a senator or representative enter having earned $100,000 in the year prior to being elected and exit Congress being worth many millions?
Long-term limits on Supreme Court justices would still guarantee their freedom from political influence but might place them closer to current political thinking.
If the Supreme Court makes a decision that 50 percent of each legislative house disagrees with, there should be a six-month period to allow Congress to present a new law to correct the previous law.
Why would we let an 18-year-old decide who should be president? We clearly feel that anyone under age 21 is incapable of deciding to smoke or drink. Smoking or alcohol consumption are most likely to affect the user. Exceptions to voting at age 21 should be made for those willing to risk their lives and/or health for the greater good: military, police, fire, etc.
Make English the official national language. Language is one of the few things that can bind the nation together. If you cannot read English well enough to understand the issues, you should not vote!
Only those eligible to vote should be able to vote. Proof of eligibility should be presented at each voting location and at every election.
All publicly held corporations and unions should be held to the same standard for political contributions. During the primary campaigns they can make a single contribution to one candidate from each party. The decision on who should receive the contribution should be voted on by the stockholders and union members. During the general election there should be one contribution to one party’s candidate, again approved by stockholders and union members.
Several of the above suggestions require approval as prescribed in Article V of the Constitution.
Return to Humanity
November 2, 2020
I hope with my heart and soul that what I am about to write is irrelevant because we have a new president. In grace and good will, we are celebrating a return to humanity and integrity and have put a reality show and circus of doom behind us.
May the misanthropes return to their caves. Or maybe they’ve moved to a happy commune in the faraway mountains somewhere, dancing to “Y.M.C.A.” With any luck, they took all the Screaming Mimis with them. Or lo, a light came on, and they’ve turned their cheeks toward their fellow man and woman in love and peace, finally recognizing we all bleed red and we all want fair treatment, fair pay for a fair day’s work, change to thrive in society, and no free lunch. Though we all got one at our mama’s breast, and sometimes in life we received something extra we didn’t exactly order or ask for, right? Did we always give it back? But we dared judge those less fortunate. Our ancestors ran here, too, once. Why are we so exclusive?
It’s done. No longer does anyone swear allegiance to a dictator of our country, a bitter man who was going to save their Social Security and their suburbs. Hercules! Yet each day, another disturbing fact came to light, uncovering the darkest corners of humanity bent on destruction of our democracy and Constitution.
We were inundated with lies, heard constant denial of proven medical science putting us all in peril from a deadly pandemic. Dangerous magical thinking and bots from far pervaded our once-decent society, making us foreign even to ourselves. There were rotten apples in the barrel. “This is not us,” we cried.
There was a ton of thumping on Bibles. Holier than thou ruled the day. Push came to shove. Hardly one nation under God. Did we forget to look up in awe while we were judging our neighbor? We woke up in a Dickensian Kafkaesque nightmare. It was like two completely different countries, not one united one. This land that was “my land and yours,” resembled nothing like what we were taught to believe in, once upon a time in America.
This has truly been an incredible time. Households torn apart by not just political party, but by decency versus a staunch misguided mind-set of selfishness and clannish behavior. There was no room for understanding or compassion. But this is over now. We are seeing a unified country again, harmonious with one another and the natural world, in a safe existence that we can all live and prosper in, and we all have good health and good health care, too. I envision this and that’s no small prayer.
November 2, 2020
Hope all is well at The Star. This letter is in response to all the Trump bashing done by your editorial staff. I am in receipt of a picture of one of your senior photographers flipping her finger at the Trump parade consisting of men, women, and children.
Now I’ve had this for over a week waiting for the letters to the editor last Thursday. I had expected to see a flood of letters about her behavior. But there was only 1 out of a total of 36. What does that tell us about your readership? As we all know, the left can commit crimes and atrocities and no one says a word.
My point is one of your bashers mentioned a phrase said by Trump, “There are very fine people on both sides.” Of course, with the spin it is all taken negatively by the left. Fortunately, I understand there is a mix of people on both sides.
Now as far as Durell Godfrey’s behavior, you above all, should now understand “there are very fine people on both sides.”
Yours to command.
November 1, 2020
Dear Mr. Rattray:
I read with interest in this week’s Star the editorial endorsing the candidacy of former Stony Brook Department head-turned political candidate Nancy Goroff. While it is not incorrect to think that new brooms can sweep clean — and in this case, the new broom would come to represent the majority party in the House — the basis for supporting her is specious.
Covid-19 is a serious virus the importance and impact of which have been blown out of proportion by a combination of mainstream media outlets whose use of sensational headlines and opinions all too often are not supported by hard facts (e.g., concentrating on how many cases were reported vs. how many were “cured”) and ill-informed panic driven by even less-well-informed social media. To think that a freshman congressman can make any material difference however in the future treatment, let alone eradication, of Covid infections is at best naive. This is especially true given the avowed agenda of the radical elements of the Democrat party who will dictate what the Congress will deal with and when.
Lee Zeldin may be aligned with Trump, but during his tenure, contrary to The Star’s assessment of his performance, he has meaningfully benefited from his seniority. It is doubtful that Nancy Goroff can deliver:
• The funds to treat area 9/11 first responders, victims, and their families that Mr. Zeldin did via reauthorization of the Zadroga Act and attendant 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund worth $7.375 billion.
• Funding for hundreds of grants Mr. Zeldin helped to direct to support Stony Brook University and Brookhaven National Lab.
• That the Department of Energy’s $2 billion Electron-Ion Collider project went to the Brookhaven National Lab, injecting billions of dollars and an extensive number of jobs into New York’s First Congressional District.
• Cuts that reduced middle-income tax rates in New York to the lowest level in 60 years.
• The successful fight to repeal the M.T.A. payroll tax for 80 percent of employers, a job-killing tax that was hurting New York’s small businesses.
Against this, Dr. Goroff’s agenda, even if fully delivered (which is doubtful), pales in comparison.
JAMES R. WELDON
October 24, 2020
To the Editor,
Town Supervisor Peter Van Scoyoc and Councilwoman Kathee Burke-Gonzalez drove by the homes of seniors in their 90s. We always had a 90s party at the Seniors Center in June. Now the center is closed; because of Covid-19 they came to us. They gave us our proclamation celebrating our age.
They were accompanied by Michelle Posillico, nutrition supervisor, and the staff at the center. They gave every senior an individual cake. Everyone wore a mask. The staff takes very good care of us.
We all miss going to the center and the activity. East Hampton is the place for seniors. I am 92, and my husband is 95.
Recent Jitney Trip
October 31, 2020
As an East Hampton homeowner, I write to share the experience of discovering the unacceptably low health and safety standards on the Jitney between New York City and East Hampton and my disappointing unsigned exchange with the company.
On a recent Jitney trip from East Hampton to New York City, I was dismayed to find that the Jitney did not have a distancing policy. Passengers were required to wear masks, but they were seated next to each other throughout the bus for the three-hour ride. Safe distancing was not possible. If the Jitney put safety first, rather than profit, it could solve the distancing problem by filling only 50 percent of its available seats.
When I registered my concern with the Jitney management, I received a response, essentially informing me that they are adhering to required standards while working to improve (now eight months into Covid-19).
The required standards are beside the point when those standards are insufficient for the protection of passengers, many of whom are longstanding, loyal customers.
In a major pandemic, caring for each other saves lives. Every day people step up and observe mask and distancing protocols to protect each other. We should expect the companies we rely on and support with our patronage to be at least as responsible and concerned.
The Blasphemy Test
November 1, 2020
To the Editor,
Last week in France a deranged, recently converted Islamic fundamentalist cut off the head of a public school teacher who had blasphemized (is that a word?) against Islam. Blasphemy is the act of speaking sacrilegiously about God or sacred things, an oxymoronic idea if ever there was one.
Blasphemy assumes a set of ideas or principles that are true, that can absolutely be proven to be true, not imagined or fantasized. Not because someone wrote it in a book and someone else agreed. On this basis no religion meets the blasphemy test.
When we skip to the United States Constitution we never use the word blasphemy, even though there are references to religion in the document, because the Constitution only permitted the practice of religion and clearly separated religion from every aspect of forming and running a nation. It had no greater importance than being allowed to go fishing or breathe the air. In truth, many of the framers didn’t want any reference to religion in the Constitution but they gave in to the political pressure based on religious freedom.
Almost all religions have three basic principles. Survival (self-preservation), violence, and power/wealth. Which essentially means that they will do anything and everything to survive, prosper, and exercise power, never daring to leave their existence in the hands of God. The pursuit of those goals has removed every shred of credibility our religious institutions might have had. They have always been on the wrong side of history.
One of the more horrific infamies in modern Christianity took place in France at the end of World War II. With Allied troops already in Paris, the French, under the auspices of the regional churches, continued sending detained Jews to the camps in Germany.
In the case of Amy Coney Barrett, she is bought and paid for by conservative Republican groups who want to eliminate the Affordable Care Act and abortion rights and bring conservative Christian values (all unnecessary) into our political system. Using massive amounts of dark money through the Citizens United loophole, the separation of church and state is being eviscerated by so-called originalists.
In truth, the beheading in France by the deranged religious extremist is more honest and less devious than the manipulations of the U.S. court system. Our courts sustain the idea of killing for Jesus but never having your hand on the knife or the gun. Or taking responsibility for the carnage that you’ve created.
The founders knew that the church would try to undermine the Constitution. They did a pretty good job of protecting it until Citizens United came along. Religion and democracy are a workable relationship diametrically opposed to each other. Democracy leaves a lot of space for rational verifiable ideas that require a seemingly endless process of alteration and redesigning. When confronted with absolutist, immutable religious ideology it withers and dies. When we allow religion to rear its ugly destructive nature we might as well be Saudi Arabia.