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Letters to the Editor for April 21, 2022

Wed, 04/20/2022 - 12:25

Kinder, Gentler
Montauk
April 17, 2022

Dear David,

I would like to commend Carissa Katz for her superb commentary on the humanitarian efforts and work of Mark Smith in Poland to help Ukrainian refugees.

Today, many people talk the talk, but very few walk the walk. Mark Smith is one of them; he is a mensch. The world would be a kinder and gentler place if we had more Mark Smiths.

Regards,

BRIAN POPE

 

Who Is Being Served?
Springs
April 17, 2022

To the Editor,

Bay Street doesn’t need to become Shubert Alley to serve the community.

LongHouse doesn’t need to become the Getty to be loved.

Guild Hall doesn’t need to be Carnegie Hall or Geffen Hall to attract talent.

Duck Creek and the Brooks-Park Art and Nature Center don’t need to become “Summer in the Berkshires” before they are considered a suitable place for summer art.

Our beaches don’t need to serve alcohol to remain world class.

Our neighborhoods don’t need beer halls or taverns to make them great places to live.

Our airport shouldn’t aim to be La Guardia instead of Idlewild.

Springs doesn’t have to experience a significant tragedy before it gets reliable cell service.

Farmers markets are great resources and meeting places for friends and family; they don’t need to add “attractions” as they do at Venice Beach.

We don’t need take-a-way outdoor wine bars and taverns to add convenience to our neighborhoods.

Who is actually being served by unlimited expansion and the prevalent “more is better” ethos in our town?

Life in East Hampton (and surrounding communities) won’t be improved by making us more like Manhattan. Or like Hollywood.

DON SUSSIS

 

Heartbreaking Waste
Springs
April 12, 2022

Dear Readers of The Star:

This morning I was devastated by something I observed from the big parking lot next to the East Hampton Stop and Shop: Behind the grocery store, an employee was removing hamburger buns from their bags, tossing them into a cardboard box, which, when full, was emptied onto the Dumpster’s mound of previously-dumped buns. I presume the task requires removing the packaging so people won’t Dumpster-dive for free (clean) food.

Inside, I asked a clerk if this food destruction went on regularly. She replied, “Yes, and they don’t even let us have free food.”

This waste is heartbreaking, especially since food insecurity is a serious ongoing issue in our community.

Years ago I volunteered with San Francisco Food Runners (foodrunners.org). Once a week, I picked up expired food from specified grocery stores that were expecting me, and delivered it to soup kitchens that could immediately use it. Many other volunteers were doing the same thing all around town, seven days a week. San Francisco Food Runners volunteers also pick up excess food from restaurants, offices, and parties and deliver it to designated nonprofit organizations where it is welcomed.

I’m curious, do you think our community needs and would support a nonprofit like Food Runners if one could be set up here? I’d love to hear your thoughts. [email protected]

NICOLE YOUNG

 

In Honor of John Drew
Amagansett
April 18, 2022

Dear David,

I am writing this letter as the East Hampton Village historian.

To think that the theater at Guild Hall was named in honor of John Drew Jr., commonly referred to as John Drew, because at one time he was considered the dean of American actors and he summered in East Hampton would be misleading.

For 25 years, starting after he built his house in 1901 on Lily Pond Lane, he remained a vital part of the area that eventually became the Village of East Hampton in 1920, endearing himself to all and assisting in many community ventures.

His early settlement in what became the village attracted many artists along various lines, as well as his friends on the stage and in the social world, including Percy Hammond, Ring Lardner, Grantland Rice, Philip Barry, Robert E. Sherwood, Laurette Taylor and his niece and nephews Ethel Barrymore and John and Lionel Barrymore.

He officiated at everything from Fourth of July Parades to fashion shows at Ladies Village Improvement Society fairs. He attended 17 consecutive East Hampton Village Fire Department dinners and was the guest of honor at the dinner in 1923. Also in 1923, 65 residents of the village bought a portrait of Mr. Drew by Delmont Smith and presented it to the village. (What happened to the portrait is another letter for another time.)

When he died in 1927, the East Hampton Village Board at a special session passed resolutions expressing their admiration for Mr. Drew for his ever-ready willingness to respond to every call made upon him to assist in every way possible to the betterment of every community event. The flag on Village Green was ordered to be at half-staff for three days.

Couldn’t the first-rate design team working on the renovations of the John Drew Theater find a way to keep part of the theater named in honor of John Drew and still design a place where acclaimed actors such as Alec Baldwin, Harris Yulin, Mercedes Ruehl, and Blythe Danner can perform their magic?

Change is necessary to move ahead, but so is remembering and honoring our past.

Yours truly,

HUGH R. KING

East Hampton Village historian

 

Egregious Assault
East Hampton Village
April 14, 2022

To the Editor:

The village code Chapter 176 that references historic preservation states that its purpose is to “Protect and enhance the landmarks and historic districts which represent distinctive elements of the Village’s historic, architectural and cultural heritage.” It goes on to describe the criteria for preservation:

“The village board of trustees may designate an individual property as a landmark if it: 1. Possesses special character or historic or aesthetic interest or value as part of the cultural, political, economic or social history of the locality, region, state or nation; 2. Is identified with historic personages; 3. Embodies the distinguishing characteristics of an architectural style; 4. Is the work of an architect, designer or builder of local or regional importance; or 5. Because of a unique location or singular physical characteristic, represents an established and familiar visual feature of the neighborhood.”

Guild Hall would, I feel, qualify for all these reasons as a landmark (especially numbers 1, 4, and 5). It was designed by Aymar Embury II in 1931, and it, along with Embury’s East Hampton Library across the street, are the focal points one encounters upon entering the village. I feel the changes that are proposed for the exterior entrance of Guild Hall are appropriate and will return it to its original design. However, removing the chimneys from the exterior is not appropriate.

The plans to change the interior of the theater are an egregious assault on the building. Among other changes to the galleries, the charming 1930s theater would be turned into an over-designed Disneyesque space. Changing it drastically violates all the code description above.

Mrs. Lorenzo Woodhouse donated the site and some of the building funds to the community 92 years ago. It would be a shame to erase its history and part of the history of East Hampton. Perhaps what should happen now, rather than radically change the interior of the theater, a new theater should be constructed elsewhere. Let those who criticize the conditions of the theater build their own New York-style facility elsewhere.

Sincerely,

GEORGIA DE HAVENON

 

Under One Roof
East Hampton
April 18, 2022

Dear David,

In response to your editorial “Art for Whom?” in last week’s East Hampton Star, and as residents of East Hampton for more than 40 years, we would like to enumerate some of the many many ways that Guild Hall is deeply involved with the community, past, present, and future.

We are proud to be affiliated with Guild Hall, an institution that, since its founding, has existed to support artists and the East End community. One of the first multidisciplinary centers in the country to combine a museum, theater, and education space under one roof, Guild Hall was established in 1931 as a visionary gathering place for community where an appreciation for the arts would serve to encourage greater civic participation. We would like to give you a small snapshot of all that Guild Hall does for this community.

In addition to supporting artists of all ages, Guild Hall makes its facilities and resources available to help neighboring institutions meet their own goals. Through partnerships, subsidized rentals, or making space and staff resources available, Guild Hall has worked with over 50 community organizations in the last five years, including East Hampton High School, East Hampton Middle School, John M. Marshall Elementary School, South Fork Performing Arts, Hampton Film, Hampton Ballet Theatre School, iTri, Longhouse Reserve, Sag Harbor Cinema, Bridgehampton Child Care and Recreational Center, Project Most, Surfrider Foundation, The Retreat, East End Special Players, Ladies Village Improvement Society, OLA, Hamptons Observatory, Paddlers for Humanity, Planned Parenthood Hudson Peconic, Eastville Historical Society, and Southampton Hospital.

In 2017, Guild Hall established the Guild Hall Teen Arts Council, the only education program in the region that gives teens a paid opportunity to work in the arts, addressing the 76 percent teen unemployment rate in Suffolk County. Today, with over 20 area high school students compensated as staff and gaining professional job skills in the arts, the Teen Arts Council has donated hours to The East Hampton Star and Plain Sight Project, as well as partnered on beach cleanups and other service-oriented activities.

For the next two years, Guild Hall will pay stipends to 23 local creatives to lead approximately 350 workshops in 14 schools throughout the East End, serving approximately 4,000 students. The workshops will help students produce work for the 2024 Student Art Festival: Eco V Ego exhibition.

It is in Guild Hall’s DNA to give back to its community, so when the institution was forced to close its facilities in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, it found immediate ways to continue meeting its mission by producing streaming programs, putting exhibitions online, and opening a backyard theater. In the most challenging year on record, Guild Hall redirected over $100,000 in fees to area artists and performers, and led the charge of creating an Artist Relief Fund with Hamptons Arts Network (and artists Clifford Ross and Eric Fischl), distributing $168,000 in emergency grants to visual artists, performers, filmmakers, dancers, writers, and musicians living and working on the East End.

As of 2022, Guild Hall employs 43 members of our community (21 are full-time staff, 21 are teens). During the pandemic, Guild Hall did not furlough or reduce compensation for salaried staff at any time.

The Guild Hall Museum is the only entirely free-admission accredited museum in the region. The theater offers free student rush tickets and gave away over 21,000 tickets in the last five years. The average ticket price was $42, with dozens of free programs as well.

Ninety-one years later, Guild Hall continues to provide a welcoming environment for the public to engage in more than 200 annual programs that illuminate the institution’s civic-minded mission. Guild Hall has continued to adapt and evolve with the times. We are but momentary stewards of an idea and a vision that will serve many more generations.

Sincerely,

ALBERT BELLAS

MARY JANE BROCK

DAVID DE LEEUW

The writers are members of the Guild Hall board of directors. Ed.

 

An Integral Part
East Hampton
April 18, 2022

Dear David,

Guild Hall is an integral part of this community more now than it ever has been in my almost 15 years as a staff member. Since I began working at Guild Hall in 2008, I have witnessed our team deepening their support for local community, students, and artists. On a personal note, Guild Hall has changed the direction of my life for the better in the town where I was born and raised. Much more than that, my appreciation for this area has grown.

Sure, it’s been an incredible opportunity to work with high profile artists in a professional setting, but even more rewarding and stimulating is the work I’ve participated in with just about every local group and organization from Montauk School to the Shinnecock Nation and back again. This institution is a melting pot of local ideas and progress. It’s an honor to be a part of Guild Hall because of what we support and nurture.

My wife, Jennifer, (who also works at Guild Hall) and I have been able to raise our son, Ivy, in East Hampton. We were able to take Ivy to work every day for the first several years of his life to make parenthood easier for us. I haven’t heard of this kind of accommodation made almost anywhere else. The Guild Hall programs Ivy has been able to participate in during his first six years of life have given him an incredible appreciation for the arts and the world around him. These programs are free for him to attend — not because he is the son of two staff members — but because so many of these programs for young people are free, and exhibitions are free for everyone in our community and beyond all year round. As parents, we are grateful to have this resource available to our local youth.

This year, the Student Art Festival has moved toward direct collaborations with artists workshopping in the classroom to create original work with our local students, at no cost to our schools. Our teen arts council gives real voice and mentorship to over 20 young people in our community who also are paid members of our staff. Our performances, talks, lectures, workshops, and exhibitions delve into local issues led by local thinkers, creators, and doers. In short, I know firsthand the direction we’ve been heading and it is fully in support of community in an even greater way than when I started.

If you need any more evidence, Guild Hall and Ma’s House and BIPOC Art Studio were just last week awarded a Museum Association of New York’s 2022 Engaging Communities Award of Merit for “GATHER: Conversations Led by Black and Indigenous Changemakers.” The committee was impressed by the project’s strength in engaging the local community and forging longstanding relationships, and they further stated that this was a model for the field.

I support Guild Hall because I know firsthand that the community is at its heart.

Best and thank you,

JOE BRONDO

 

Anyone and Everyone
East Hampton Village
April 18, 2022

Dear David,

LongHouse Reserve’s answer to your editorial query last week: “Arts for Whom?” is a resounding “anyone and everyone” who loves nature, who wants to learn, who appreciates the marriage of art and nature and, by the numbers, the over 3,000 students and educators who visit LongHouse each year for free. You ask for community participation and access. I’d suggest that the free Student Annual featuring the creative work of local and area K-12 students, and eligibility for three $3,000 scholarship awards, (one for East Hampton Township students, one for wider Long Island students, and one for graduate studies) is the definition of community-friendly. Also, the internship program for college and graduate school students, which pays a stipend of $4,000, offers unmatched exposure to arts management, artists, and arts and landscape management. Moreover, all of LongHouse’s programs, both past and future, have created a faithful, loyal, and enthusiastic audience, as shown by increased membership, attendance, and participation.

David, the very reason that LongHouse wants to expand is not for “aggrandizement” (your negative characterization) but to fulfill Jack Larsen’s dream and promise to East Hampton, to create a house museum and learning center for the community.

If you had read the article in your own newspaper on the same day about Carrie Rebora Barratt, you might have realized how your rebukes were wrongfully aimed.

AYSE KENMORE

The writer is a member of the LongHouse Reserve board of trustees. Ed.

 

Doing Nothing
Southold
April 18, 2022

To the Editor,

In its April 7 editorial “A Plea for More Science,” The Star advocates for increased data on nitrogen pollution, laments ill-advised water quality projects, and calls on politicians to pay closer attention to the broader outcomes of their water quality plans (rather than blindly cheering on anything in the name of clean water).

In general, it’s hard to disagree with these views. However, what I am very concerned about is the editorial’s underpinning “plea for more science” message, which (intentionally or not) has become an all too familiar calling card for doing nothing.

Whether the issue is public health, climate change, zoning, smoking hazards, traffic impacts, cancer risks, or just about anything that requires meaningful change in the public interest, the legitimate need for adequate science has increasingly become a reflexive talking point with the effect of never having enough “science” to make any decision about anything.

Moreover, in solving systemic environmental problems, solutions are almost always a result of developing and implementing best management practices based on a reasonable degree of scientific certainty, good judgment, and experience. No matter how much data we collect, rarely is there an absolute empirical solution that will have precisely the same outcome in every case simply due to the myriad variables present in every natural system. Science is a critical guide but it is not magic.

With respect to the local water quality issue, each of the recent policy decisions taken by Suffolk County (including the need for advanced treatment wastewater disposal systems) is tied to nearly a decade’s worth of scientific inquiry, data collection, technical assessment, and extensive stakeholder and public input. The need for these wastewater policy decisions is further reinforced by objective, peer-reviewed, scientific literature focused on the environmental and health implications of wastewater and nutrients in coastal environments. By any measure, there is plenty of solid science behind these policies and it’s important that we say so.

Without a doubt, more data, scientific endeavor, and informed water quality recommendations will always be needed, and poor political decisions masquerading as sound environmental policy will always need to be checked. But measurable clean water actions are needed today, and there is ample scientific evidence to demonstrate that we need to stop dumping our household sewage into a hole in the ground, without an expectation of consequences. On this we should all be able to agree and move ahead.

Sincerely,

ROBERT S. DELUCA

President

Group for the East End

 

Pulled a Fast One
Springs
April 18, 2022

To the Editor,

Regarding the “new rules meant to balance aircraft operations against noise complaints,” all I can say is public interest is dead with this government. I have watched as our public interest has been ignored and trampled on for quite a long time, just to find that the town board has decided to pull a fast one on the public yet again.

How is it even possible that a decision by a town board, supposedly representing us all, can give the smallest group (those with planes, helicopters, jets, money) equal priority to the thousands of us affected?

How is it even conceivable that this tiny but financially dominant group gets “the transition will impact only around 40 percent of aircraft operations” and “the framework is not a ban on any aircraft or operator” while the great majority of us public folks without money for planes, jets, and helicopters get the crumbs of, “the community will have some relief.”

How did we get to a place where public concerns get bartered away so that we are literally told to live with our problems?

DANIEL FRIEDMAN

 

Speak Up
East Hampton
April 14, 2022

Dear David,

Was there a theme to the letters last week? I think, yes. Many are speaking up in defense of our town and country. What got covered: community access, enough is enough, leave the good, protect the aquifer above all, we live in a crazy country, people have secrets, there are whores and hypocrites lurking about (no offense to “working women”).

Someone on a talk show said recently, they were going to “try not to speak my mind so quickly or so often.” She will give it a think first. I can relate. In Buddhism they say, “when you don’t know what to do, do nothing.” And if you get your facts straight, and the love or passion you have for your cause, person, town, is so strong and things need tweaking, remodeling, ditching, or saving, then speak up. We only get one go ‘round in this life. Rather it not be filled with regret that we did or said nothing.

I suggest we stay vigilant about the newbies whilst welcoming new eateries and shops (even if we may not eat in all of them and can’t afford to shop in some); they bring dollars to our town. Within reason, dudes, be what you are/were, not something more. Be happy with what you’re doing — please don’t insist on expansion. It’s a fragile ecosystem out here in paradise. Respect the land and water and locals. Let’s all be groovy this summer, together. It’s been a long couple of years.

Pick your battles. A few picnic tables, however they got there, are nice in my opinion. So are the hanging plants in the village. We live in a nice town. Let’s enjoy it. Go get a dosa! It’s healthy and delicious. Breathe.

Don’t piss down our back and tell us it’s raining. I’ll say no more. You know who you are. Knock it off. Florida has lots of cleared lots, go move your polluting stinky junk there. Count your Benjamins somewhere else.

Water: It matters. If we can’t drink the water or eat the fish and clams in the bay, what’s the point of living in a sea-loving town?

Egads, there’s so much spin from the You Ain’t Right, it’s a veritable super-cycle in a machine that never comes clean. Maybe the squandered sanitizing gels should be used to wipe out a few dirty mouths down yonder. If you’ve ever watched porn, boyos and chicks, or stepped into one of y’all’s numerous tittie bars (that’s what they call ‘em), then don’t go preaching and finger pointing. You sound like a hypocrite, because you are.

And lastly, keep your rosaries off our ovaries, men. We have our own personal Jesus, thanks. We do not answer to you.

Mic drop,

NANCI LAGARENNE

 

Start Making Investments
Springs
April 16, 2022

To the Editor,

Last week’s “Guestwords” column brought up a great question that doesn’t get asked often enough, “Why overlook the energy independence that comes from conservation?”

Given the renewed focus on the cost of oil, we hear the cries again for “Drill, baby, drill” from some in our country. Of course, most don’t realize at this point that most of our oil and natural gas come from an incredibly polluting process called fracking.

Besides exposing the 15 million Americans who live within half a mile of these types of “nonconventional” wells to significant local air, water, and noise pollution, these wells also consume over 40 billion gallons of water every year, turning it into a toxic sludge that is hard to manage. Ironically, this takes place in many areas of our country that are already experiencing drought.

Besides being incredibly polluting, fracking is also the highest-cost way to produce oil globally and its use over the last dozen years has bankrupted over 400 companies in the United States. The financial fallout from this process has also hurt even the major fossil fuel producers as the energy sector in the U.S. has underperformed the broader equity market averages by over 200 percent in the last decade. Obviously, from either an environmental or a financial standpoint, fracking is not a long-term solution to our addiction to fossil fuels that we have supposedly been trying to wean ourselves from for 50 years now.

Could it perhaps be time for this country to take a serious look at better energy-efficiency measures and conservation? Advanced economies in Europe and Japan today use 30 and 40 percent less energy per capita, respectively, than the U.S. For some reason, we still provide $30 billion to $40 billion in tax breaks and credits to the hard-lobbying fossil fuel industry. If we could allocate that type of money to investment in energy efficiency and renewable investment, we could finally take the necessary steps to combat climate change.

On a local level, our town government also needs to finally start making investments in these areas, not just talking about it. The best thing it could do if it is really serious about its 100 percent renewable pledge by 2030 would be to take the $1 million a year that will come from the South Fork Wind project and allocate all of it to sustainable investment, something it has barely done in the eight years since it first made its grandiose pledge.

Much of this money should be put into a new local fund to help low-to-middle income residents make the necessary upgrades to heat pumps and residential solar where appropriate. Offering rebates of $4,000 for either home improvement, as it does for septics, would be a great first step and could help hundreds of local residents every year. Also, pursuing a community solar project after years of neglect would be another obvious step to take that might help hundreds, if not over a thousand local residents lower their utility bill by 10 percent while also going green. As another Earth Day passes, it is time to take action at both a local and national level.

BRAD BROOKS

 

Fish Doing Well
East Hampton
April 18, 2022

Dear David,

Much of the resistance to the South Fork Wind farm, currently being constructed 35 miles east of Montauk’s Lighthouse, has centered on the question of whether it might impact our local fishing industry. There have been numerous studies of marine species in Europe’s North Sea, probing whether their wind farms, in operation for more than 20 years, may have caused harm. They have not. Some species (like mussels) thrived, especially around the base of the wind turbines!

North America’s first offshore wind farm began operation in October 2016: The Block Island Wind Farm.  Just last month (March 2022) a study was published in the ICES Journal of Marine Science examining whether the abundance of fish was affected by either construction (2014-2015) of the Block Island turbines, or operation (2016-2019) of the Block Island turbines.  The study is available online as a pdf.  It is a highly technical study which begs for a lay language summary.

The abundance of bottom species was assessed in the area of the Block Island Wind Farm and compared to two reference areas: to the south and to the east of Block Island.  This was done both prior to, during, and after construction of the Block Island turbines, by monthly trawling. 663,970 fish, representing 61 species, were collected over 7 years.  What stands out is the following.

No species was adversely affected by the construction or operation of the Block Island turbines. Black sea bass increased nearly 10-fold in the the Block Island turbines area, but not in the reference areas, during operation 2016-2019.

During construction there were surges in the frequency of spiny dogfish. One catch was too large to be brought on board!  These are predators and their frequency is linked to that of their prey (Atlantic cod, herring, squid, butterfish, and mackerel). Maybe they were attracted to the wind farm because their prey was more abundant?

It is important to remember that an increase in a species may mean many different things. There could be increased food for the species. Or there may be a decrease in predators, etc.

The paper contains a ton of data not covered in this brief synopsis. The general gist however, is that fish are doing well around the Block Island turbines.

I note that this study was authored by marine scientists of INSPIRE Environmental in Newport R.I. This is a company that performs studies commissioned and paid for by private enterprises, like Orsted, with a vested interest in wind farms. One author is an employee of Orsted. The study also relied on commercial fishing partners although these are not listed as authors.

This is a very valuable type of study. I hope it will be repeated as further wind farms are constructed all along Atlantic shores. I also hope that other entities (not only the companies building the wind farms) become involved in funding such studies.

DAVID POSNETT, M.D.

 

Are We Hostages?
Amagansett
April 18, 2021

Dear Mr. Rattray,

As I’m certain you’re completely unaware I recently had pretty significant surgery. Don’t worry; they say it went perfectly and I feel fine, back to my regular exercise routines. So no “Get Well” cards, thanks. (But a Star T-shirt? If you insist!) I mention the operation because, prior to being put under, the anesthesiologist came into my little holding pen with her digital notepad and said, “Now Lyle, before we put you to sleep I’ll need to ask you a few questions, okay?” Sure. “Have you been feeling any changes in your mood lately?”

“Um, I don’t think so.”

“Any feelings of depression you haven’t experienced before?”

“No, though I can’t say I’ve been looking forward to this. Is that okay?”

“Sure, of course. Have you had any thoughts about hurting yourself?”

“No.”

“Any suicidal thoughts?”

“Well, no.”

“Have you had any thoughts of hurting someone else?”

“I guess so.” With that she looked up from her notepad. “I’ve been hoping for Putin’s unexpected, um, termination.” She gave a faint smile, then continued.

“All right, we’re, ah, finished with this. So, we’ll be wheeling you into the operating room in just a few moments.

And I have thought about that, Mr. Rattray, as messed up as it might seem. Actually, the only thing I’ve ever killed other than an insect or a vole and a few fish (which I either ate or released) was a seagull. When I was a kid. With a pellet gun. I was so mortified with myself afterward that I haven’t picked up a gun since. But back to Putin: If some guy from the States did the deed, he’d be a martyr, as opposed to the devil incarnate that he clearly is. So it would need to be an inside job. One of his own people, someone from the inner circle. Unfortunately that’s where my mind goes sometimes, as you probably know.

When I first began searching online for the most useful ways I might contribute to relief in the Ukraine (and there are many), I was sort of hoping to find an organization that promised “Each $100 contribution will be five-times matched and can fully arm 10 Ukrainian soldiers!” You know, like the food and hunger charities: “Your $ contribution will feed an entire family for one month.” But ordinary folks can’t send weapons to Ukraine, or anywhere else for that matter.

I’m so respectful of what Mark Smith, of the Honest Man Restaurant Group, has done volunteering for two weeks in Poland with World Central Kitchen, to feed the tens of thousands of refugees fleeing from their homes. Bravo, Mark, and thank you.

I think, How is this immoral abuse of humanity conceivable in the modern, developed world? And how is it possible the world’s hands are tied, for fear of an unthinkable World War III, complete with the exchange of nuclear attacks and counterattacks? Are we hostages, held in the cellar, hoping for some sort of miracle? Why haven’t the world’s religious leaders united in opposition to this assault on humanity? Why hasn’t the pope flown to Kyiv and met with Zelensky in a show of support? What else can we do? And what would even constitute “defeat” for Russia, when it’s not possible to cross that border and take the war to the tyrant? And what’s Putin’s motivation to stop the bombardment? Any respect he may ever have enjoyed in the free world is gone, never to return. He’s got nothing left to lose.

I have friends and family members who are staying away from the news now. “It’s too depressing, too much to deal with every day.” I certainly know the feeling; we all want to get on with our lives, not let every emotion and thought be controlled by the overwhelming forces of negativity. And I praise the ones who carry on with their own important work and challenges, 4,500 miles from Kyiv — teachers, parents, health workers, counselors, law enforcement, volunteers in our community outreach programs, environmental activists. And all who stay focused on their own jobs. After all, there are bills to pay, kids to raise, lives to lead, and life to be enjoyed. Bless you all!

I’m just having trouble looking away.

LYLE GREENFIELD

 

Dumb and Uncaring
Plainview
April 18, 2022

To the Editor,

How dumb and uncaring about schoolchildren’s lives are those 80,000-plus drivers who passed stopped school buses in Suffolk County in a mere eight months, despite (probably) knowing they’d likely be caught by the newly-installed school bus cameras and have to pay a $250 fine? And how much dumber are the 2 percent of those law-breaking idiots who did it a second time and had to pay $275? And how brain-dead were those who did it a third time (“Three strikes and you’re out,” anybody?) and had to pay $300?

And how brainless were the legislators who made the fine for a second offense a mere $25 more than the first, instead of doubling or tripling it as a deterrent? And these same governmental officials made the third offense only $25 more costly than the second, instead of making it $1,000 or more, plus the impoundment of the car, plus perhaps 10 days in jail?

I guess Suffolk legislators care more about adults who drive and vote than about the bodies and lives of the county’s schoolchildren.

RICHARD SIEGELMAN

 

Lenient Sentence
Montauk
April 10, 2022

Dear David,

If you admire a person that has judicial views that seems to be not the philosophy of looking at what the law says and the Constitution says but what the person sees as a more flexible document in his/her view, your choice. Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson gave a lenient sentence to a child rapist for violating probation, and he struck again while prosecutors wanted him locked up. This man, Weeks, was convicted in D.C. court for raping his 13-year-old niece four years earlier, and sentenced to 16 months in jail. He was also required to register as a sex offender but failed to do so.

Prosecutors pushed for a two-year sentence the low end of the federal guidelines. Judge Jackson sentenced Weeks to 12 months with credit for time served. He should have been in prison instead he hit the radar agai; he allegedly sexual assaulted his sister-in-law. He eventually pleaded guilty in D.C. in 2016 to obstruction and failing to register as a sex offender and received sentence five years and six months, no thanks to Ms. Brown Jackson.

This is one of her cases. There are quite a few. If her thinking is not to punish a child rapist, I have a major problem with her. Besides, she can’t give a definition of the word woman, as she is “not a biologist “ really?

As far as the treatment she received, “reprehensible treatment,” and don’t want to hear how any other candidate was treated, maybe you should stop and think for a while, because Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s treatment was the worse I’ve ever seen or heard of. The idea of calling him names, even after proof that the woman lied in her testimony, as her best friend and her husband said she lied.

This not racism nor is it fascism, it is my feelings about pornography.

In God and country,

BEA DERRICO

 

Invidious Trash
East Hampton
April 18, 2022

David,

Sometimes we shake our heads after spending some time connecting the dots to get a small grasp of the sanctimonious, insidious nature of Republican politics. The problem lies not in the relentless manufacturing of make-believe problems or the relentless stream of mindless bullshit that comes from the mouths of people who are actually paid to represent our government and have a real job to do. We define political mental illness as the pursuit of a delusional outcome when the outcome is not remotely in doubt. All the lying and fantasizing make no sense for a party that is almost certain to regain control over most of the government if it keeps its mouth shut. Richard Nixon didn’t need Watergate. His paranoia and brain-dead associates drove him up the stupid tree. Whatever that might be.

So, the dots. Texas and Kentucky pass anti-abortion laws that collectively offer bounties for people who turn in abortion-connected people and refuse to recognize that rape and incest are not healthy Christian values. In conjunction with these bills, both Mitch McConnell and Ted Cruz rant and rave about child pornography and pedophilia. Trump has some serious sexual issues that defy the retarded adulation that he engenders.

The dots. Too many dots. An obsessive number of dots that, according to a psychologist friend here for the weekend, identifies substantial problems that are a combination of criminal insanity and sexual dysfunction better treated in an institution with padded cells than in the hallowed halls of government.

So, in Kentucky if you are raped by your uncle and you are 12 years old both the no-incest and no-rape clauses guarantee that you will have this reminder sleeping in a nearby bed for the rest of your life to go along with the indignity of the act. Uncle Earl will probably be banished from the family homestead and told to stay away for a few years.

So, in Texas if you know someone whose cousin gave them the name of someone who knows an abortion provider you can earn $10,000 from the state. But if you identify a beef company that’s poisoning its workers you will get your butt kicked and lose your job. Abortion uber alles, or wake up, fascist pinheads, you aren’t in 1930s Germany.

Abortion is all about sex, like when the church told us we would go blind if we masturbated. Maybe lose a finger, a hand, or an arm? Something about useless seed utilization. Unproductive sexual activity that might provide pleasure instead of progeny.

Sex was an ancient method of controlling people, eviscerating people’s natural sexual inclinations to proscribed formulaic activity that is conditioned and organized by a superior entity. Population control through redefining sex as a national activity. In other words, if you want to get your rocks off you better toe the party line.

Of course women didn’t count; women “didn’t” masturbate. There are no armless women in the streets. Until all of that was proven to be untrue. And then the issue of women’s sexual pleasure blew the lid off the sexual control mechanism that had kept people in line forever.

So, the need to get revenge on these purveyors of personal freedom and to put them back in place, in the kitchens and bathrooms and gardens and basements, was hatched. Vengeance in the form of anti-abortion laws and nasty penalties with nastier outcomes were enacted. Mindless fantasies to stop women from enjoying sex and drawing others into this cabal of pleasure and excitement.

Not everywhere, but in the land of fascist stupid we raise the flag to ignorance and enact ridiculous laws that are all unconstitutional because we are proud to be dumb. Proud, that in a country whose violence never realized any limits we would stop the killing of fetuses to stop the unborn from increasing the population of home-bred killers. Or some other idiot-box reason. Does it matter?

For Mitch and Ted and Lindsey and all the political hacks who support their extraordinary efforts to promote child pornography (Doth they protest a bit too much?) we know how your filthy minds are churning on the abortion question. The sheer evil of their commentary is pornographic enough. Can they not give the kids a pass?

NEIL HAUSIG


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