An Independent Voice
East Hampton Village
April 24, 2022
I would like to let the village voters know that I am running for re-election to the village board of trustees. My past five years on the board have been productive, and I am asking for your vote so I can continue to represent the best interests of village residents.
As we all know, the Newtown Party has full control of the board, and that will not change in this cycle. The village needs an independent voice on the board that can make sure that all sides of a position are explored and all voices are heard.
While I am not involved in the formulation of the Newtown Party’s initiatives, I can ensure that they are properly debated in public session. If you would like to learn more about me and what I have been doing on the board, go to fishhooksparty.org to see where we are and where we need to go.
ARTHUR (TIGER) GRAHAM
April 25, 2022
So grateful for our strong, community-minded neighborhood. This Saturday, about 30 of us shared a special morning working together, cleaning up the Crandall-Norfolk woodlands.
Together, we carried out a ton of trash that had accumulated there over the years. Literally over 2,000 pounds. Kudos to the town dump folks for not charging us to throw the stuff away.
Protecting our environment and natural resources has always been a priority in East Hampton, and for good reason. This past February, our community nominated these 6.9 acres of woodlands to be added to the town’s official nature preserves. Such designation would require the town to establish a management plan for the land. However, the town board, contrary to the black letter of the law, has not yet considered our nomination.
We look forward to the town doing the right thing and working with us to preserve and protect one of the few remaining woodlands in Springs.
Let’s work together to allow our green spaces to benefit the public health and recreation. Green spaces are special and increasingly rare. As public spaces, they are a treasured natural asset to everyone.
April 25, 2022
On Saturday, in connection with Earth Day, approximately 20 neighbors came together to clean the Crandall-Norfolk woodlands in Springs that has long been neglected by the town. We removed approximately 2,000 pounds of trash (more than three truckloads), including aerosol cans, a motor, a gas grill, an oil tank, electronic equipment, plastic bottles, tires, a box spring, and old bikes.
The town’s neglect of this designated open space has made it clear that in order to preserve one of the last open spaces in Springs it’s time for the town to formally acknowledge what has long been clear: that the woodlands should be added to the town’s nature preserves. There’s currently a nomination to do just that pending with the nature preserve committee. We trust the committee and the town board will do the right thing to follow through on their commitment to protect our natural resources.
Science and Policy
April 24, 2022
To the Editor:
Recently, an editorial (“A Plea for More Science,” April 7) was published in The East Hampton Star that made a series of statements about data, science, and policy including “lack of baseline data to support nitrogen reduction efforts,” “federal water tests in the Peconic Estuary showed acceptable nitrogen levels,” “environmental policy that is developed without understanding the complexities of the causes,” “there is a shortage of quality information about East Hampton bays and harbors.”
For the past decade, the East Hampton Town Trustees have supported analyses of two dozen marine and freshwater locations across the town using Stony Brook University labs with New York State Department of Health Environmental Laboratory Accreditation. Each year, thousands of data points are collected, and more than a dozen of these sites have been found to violate federal, state, and local guidelines for algae, toxic blue-green algae, the cyanotoxin, microcystin, water clarity, dissolved oxygen, and total nitrogen. These conditions have been shown both locally and globally to be promoted by excessive nitrogen loading.
These conditions also contribute to both the collapse of fisheries like bay scallop and represent public and animal health risk from algal toxins. Dogs have died and become ill consuming water from East Hampton water bodies. The same locations with water quality impairment have excessive levels of nitrogen in groundwater surrounding the water bodies and excessive levels of nitrogen in surface waters.
From 2015-20, Suffolk County conducted its subwatersheds study which collected and compiled hundreds of thousands of data points and was built on a scientific consensus generated by the United States Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Geological Service, Suffolk County, Cornell University, Stony Brook University, and the consulting firm CDM Smith and demonstrated that the primary source of nitrogen to the groundwater discharging to East Hampton’s impaired water bodies is on site wastewater, affirming a conclusion drawn by a previous, large independent study by the Nature Conservancy completed five years earlier.
Collectively, there has been more than a decade of science and study that has generated hundreds of thousands of legally defensible data points collected by Suffolk County, Stony Brook University, and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation in East Hampton Town and the studies have all reached the same conclusion: There is a problem (water quality impairment threatening fisheries and public health), we know the cause (excessive nitrogen loading from septic systems), and we have the solution (upgrading septic systems).
In the realm of science, studies can always be repeated, and repetition of findings enhances the veracity of conclusions. Still, science is quantitative, and conclusions can never be 100 percent certain. In policy, however, actions must be taken once the science supports a policy change that will improve a given condition. For example, there is now a greater than 99 percent certainty that anthropogenically generated carbon dioxide from fossil fuels is the cause of global warming and there are now federal, state, and local policies in place to curb fossil fuel emissions and fight climate change. Vaccines against SARS-COV-2 infection were approved by the Food and Drug Administration following hundreds of thousands of tests proving their effectiveness. Still, some people will deny the role of mankind in causing climate change. Some are suspicious of vaccines. Perhaps some such individuals would have their minds changed with more data. But, perhaps not.
Knowing when there is enough science to warrant implementation of effective policy can be a gray zone. When a water body suffers from hypoxia, anoxia, and toxic algal blooms annually for a decade and pets and other animals are sickened or die, policy makers must decide whether to take action, or to collect more data while overseeing the continued decline of ecosystem and public health and fisheries. Given the clarity of the data and science regarding East Hampton waters, the decision to act seems black and white.
CHRISTOPHER J. GOBLER, Ph.D.
School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences
Stony Brook University
April 25, 2022
Dear Mr. Editor,
Well, it’s that time of year: commissioning time; let’s hope you have been upgrading the varnish on your boat.
So your editorial of April 14, “Arts for Whom,” struck home. You pointed out a very obvious trend in our community, “disconnection.” You also mentioned the current cast of characters losing sight of the traditions we cherish. You are correct. You see, I come from a time when we were a real community. You could purchase a TV set or washing machine on a Saturday afternoon at Parsons Electric. Monday morning, you could shop for a new car at Lester Motors or Mark R. Buick. We had six new-car dealers in town!
If you needed socks or underwear, you went to Oscar Brill or Mrs. Epstein. Shoes could be purchased next door at Pat McElroy’s. I mean, everything you needed was right here. Going west was unheard of. If you wanted a nice, family Sunday dinner you could go to several home-style restaurants like Rem and Mills’. We all lived and breathed community.
Now, I am not a Guild Hall, LongHouse Reserve, or Bay Street person. I don’t believe any of these institutions serve the broader population, as you mentioned. You may remember in the past I have referred to Norton Daniels’s book on old East Hampton. In the first few pages he mentions in the late 1960s and early 1970s, a “strange brood” starting to move into town. That’s when things started going downhill.
So, do you think we can turn things around or at least just drag the brakes?
I don’t get to think much about the North Fork. I should — I spent five years over there working. I picked up one of their papers the other day and, lo and behold, they have a same problems we do, except their opinions are a little more direct than yours. Here is some reality: “What has long been true on the glittering, private-jet world of the South Fork seems to have arrived in full bloom on the North Fork.” What is feared on the North Fork is “that once the Hamptons became overbuilt, overrun with wealthy homeowners, and the quiet peace of the area became fouled by extreme traffic and expensive high end stores and restaurants the Hamptons glitterati would invade us,” and, “I have learned the hard way promises are meaningless from politicians and agencies.” Pretty accurate sampling. What say you?
Yours to command,
Breach of Trust
April 24, 2022
For the record, I have been a member of LongHouse since 1995 and also a minor donor.
Your commendable editorial of April 14 did not go deep enough, at least with respect to LongHouse. In its case, the grandiose plans you criticize are being used as a distraction from the fact that the LongHouse trustees are under investigation by the New York State attorney general for breach of trust in connection with Jack Lenor Larsen’s estate.
The article also of April 14 featuring Carrie Barratt, the new executive director, served as a platform for her to minimize the ongoing investigation. She speaks as if it was just a matter of a few telephone calls and a “distraction.” She is reported as saying the investigation involves “just a small group of people who were there with Larsen at his bedside, some of whom were board members.” That cozy scene would hardly need investigation.
In reality, it’s a much more serious matter. The investigation centers on a complaint by major donors that millions of dollars originally left to LongHouse by its founder, Jack Lenor Larsen, were improperly transferred to one of the trustees, Peter Olsen. In addition to being a trustee of LongHouse, Mr. Olsen was the companion of Larsen for 30 years, the beneficiary of a prior bequest of more than $1 million from Mr. Larsen, and Mr. Larsen’s principal caretaker during the period of his final illness.
That final period included the more than six weeks when Mr. Larsen was in the intensive care unit of Stony Brook University Hospital. That’s when the challenged transfer was arranged and that’s when trustees are alleged to have done much more than just sit passively at Larsen’s bedside.
If indeed one or more LongHouse trustees, organized by Mr. Olsen, himself a trustee, contrived to have millions of dollars, previously intended to benefit LongHouse, shifted to benefit Mr. Olsen, then, in my opinion, that belied the loyalty trustees should have shown. They were trustees of LongHouse, not trustees of Mr. Olsen. I expect the attorney general to reach that conclusion and take appropriate remedial steps.
Rather than stonewall or concoct distractions or defend the indefensible, wouldn’t it be better for the trustees to save time and money and make a genuine contribution to the future of this wonderful institution?
To that end I make a modest proposal. A simple and truly noble solution would be for Mr. Olsen to renounce the benefits that were transferred to him and restore them to LongHouse. Those “bedside” trustees who violated their duties in one way or another could also redeem themselves somewhat by admitting to their mistakes, resigning, and allowing new trustees to take their place.
After the present trustees resign, the new trustees can work to restore the spirit and reputation of LongHouse. I imagine that a priority will be to bring back Matko Tomicic, the former executive director. The firing of this much-admired stalwart last September has never been adequately explained and it now seems likely it was connected to his attempts to deal with trustee misconduct.
The Heart and Soul
Chevy Chase, Md.
April 25, 2022
To the Editor:
As longtime donors to the education programs at LongHouse Reserve, we noted with particular interest Ayse Kenmore’s recent letter to the editor (“Anyone and Everyone,” April 21), in which Ms. Kenmore omitted the fact that she currently serves as a trustee of LongHouse.
Ms. Kenmore rightly lauded the educational programs that LongHouse offers — internships, scholarships, school visits, community outreach, and more — all of which were created, expanded, and nurtured by Selena Rothwell, an esteemed East End retired educator who chaired the education committee at LongHouse for 19 years. She was responsible for the education programs that have been developed over decades.
Now we learn to our great dismay that Selena is resigning from LongHouse. This follows the recent resignation of its curator, Wendy Van Deusen, after more than 22 years. Moreover, the three employees of INstore, LongHouse’s museum shop, have also resigned in the past few months.
We were drawn to LongHouse by its beauty, its tranquillity, its compelling blend of art and nature, but what sustained us was its staff, the heart and soul of LongHouse. They made it the special place that it is by working hand in glove over decades with founder Jack Lenor Larsen to implement his vision and create a true gift to the community and beyond. With the abrupt, cruel firing of Matko Tomicic, LongHouse’s much-beloved executive director, last Labor Day weekend, and the recent resignations of the remaining senior staff, there is no one left at LongHouse who knew Jack well and understood his intentions for LongHouse’s future. This includes his intention to leave the bulk of his estate to LongHouse, which has been compromised by deathbed changes to his final revocable trust, a matter under investigation by the New York State attorney general. It should also be noted that Carrie Barratt, the current director, has acknowledged that she never met Jack Lenor Larsen.
Change is inevitable for any institution, especially after the passing of its founder and creator. However, what sets LongHouse apart is not just that it is an idyllic sculpture garden (albeit one that is now missing some of its seminal sculptures, so integral to the education program, that were removed by artists in protest), but as the place where Jack lived, worked, and brought his vision to reality over many decades. With key senior staff now gone, who remains at LongHouse “to fulfill Jack Larsen’s dream and promise,” as Ms. Kenmore claims she aspires to do?
Matko, Wendy, and Selena are all cherished members of our community who well understood the need to blend local and global needs in furtherance of LongHouse’s mission “to teach the fostering of a creative life” through its collections, gardens, sculpture, and programs. The institutional memory and the relationships with LongHouse’s constituencies — educators, artists, volunteers, docents, and donors — that they collectively represent are irreplaceable, and this loss does not bode well for LongHouse’s future, about which we care deeply.
A major course correction is necessary to preserve this beloved institution for the future.
SUSIE and MICHAEL GELMAN
Town Board Broken
East Hampton Village
April 21, 2022
To the Editor,
The needs of our community are not well served by a sterile approach to governance. We need debates, challenging viewpoints, and not personal attacks for expressing a different opinion.
Our town board is broken. All five board members are Democrats and the 4 council members are selected from a small group of loyalists to the supervisor. The board’s public meetings seem choreographed and scripted, without passion or an opposing viewpoint. Are board members’ sole purpose to play a supporting role for the town supervisor?
It would be far better if each hamlet elected a council member from within their own communities to offer better local representation and strong advocacy for the desired outcomes of their residents.
April 24, 2022
Recently the senior center had to be closed when several people, one attending the lunch program. contracted the SARS-CoV-2 virus. The old building on Springs-Fireplace Road has a low ceiling room for meals that crowds seniors together. A new senior center is planned for Amagansett.
When the SARS epidemic broke out, I did some research on aerial transmission of the virus. When a virus infects the lungs it can be expelled in three ways: through the water droplets you cough or sneeze out, by the aerosol of moist air that you normally breathe out, or by contact with a contaminated surface on which the water droplet has landed.
The larger coughed-out droplets can be caught by even some cotton masks. They do not stay suspended in the air for long and fall under the weight of gravity. That is why six feet of distance was recommended to allow for large coughed-out water droplets not to land on someone nearby. Luckily, the virus was not found to remain infectious on surfaces for very long but it was found to stay suspended in smaller aerosols for quite some time.
To understand aerosols just consider why a runner becomes dehydrated, even in winter, if the runner doesn’t consume liquid during a race. The runner is constantly breathing out aerosols of water vapor with each expelled breath. We do the same thing with each breath we take.
The smaller aerosols of water vapor are filled with virus in an infected person and these viruses can only be filtered out by tightly fitted N95 masks.
The original form of the coronavirus did not spread easily by aerosol transmission. As the virus mutated it became more infectious and more concentrated in the minute aerosols of water vapor you breathe in and out. The current widespread coronavirus mutation spreads easily in water vapor aerosols.
When you are outdoors these aerosols disperse quickly. When you are indoors in a confined space the air circulates through the air handling system to all parts of the room. When the room is populated by the oldest, most frail members of the community in a senior center then there is a greater potential for the virus to be inhaled through normal breathing and infect senior citizens.
For this reason I suggested to the town board that the new senior center be equipped with a state-of-the-art air-handling system — one that filters out viruses and exposes the air moved through the ducts to virus-killing ultraviolet radiation. The cost of doing this in a new facility can be capitalized at the outset.
Did the town board listen?
I have no way of knowing. They did not respond to my suggestion directly.
Unfortunately the supervisor informed me that he doesn’t listen to anything I have to say. He didn’t read your editorial on how to provide affordable housing in East Hampton or my letter on that subject last December. I have no reason to believe he listens to anyone other than those who put him in office, which the voters have done once again. That leaves us with only the collective voice of the people.
Some of your readers will remember how former Governor Cuomo covered up the scandalously high death rates amongst the elderly in nursing homes at the outbreak of the epidemic.
The chief executive officer of Moderna, one of the vaccine manufacturers, recently stated that as the more infectious aerosol-spread virus continues to randomly mutate, there is a one-in-five chance that a more deadly variant of it will emerge.
By filtering out the virus or any future virus mutation from the air of the new senior center in the design of the air handling system we can protect the enormous numbers of older residents who will eventually use that facility at minimal cost.
Your readers need to consider demanding that the town board respond to this suggestion.
April 25, 2022
To the Editor,
During a recent town board work session, Erin King Sweeney, the East Hampton Community Alliance executive director, cited Newsday as a source for her statement “40 percent of the East Hampton Airport complaints come from 10 homes.” I question both the accuracy and the source of this information, since such a disclosure would mean Newsday obtained private details known only to the East Hampton Town Board and the airport director. As a comparison, when any figures have been communicated from the airport director they are always quantified by volume of individual complaints and not per number of households.
The public information from East Hampton Airport shows an average of 50,000 complaints per year, indicating that the high percentage of concerned citizens reaches far beyond 10 homes, per Ms. Sweeney’s statement. The rise of seasonal, weekend commuters from New York City, Westchester, and other airports using HTO has been growing out of control for the past 10 years. Thinking it could not get any worse, the pandemic created a year-round, seven-day-a-week problem, resulting in even more air traffic increasing the noise and air polluion. I know many people have stopped making complaints because their efforts were met with silence, but positive change may finally be here.
The airport will reopen on May 19 as a new, private airport run by the Town of East Hampton (not the F.A.A.). The East Hampton Town Board will be making its own rules in supporting the future of its use. For those who would like to reclaim your yard and the peace and quiet you moved here for, please don’t stop filing your complaints. This is the time to group together and restart the fight in achieving productive results. Voicing your concerns will help bring real, meaningful changes to the town. Please make complaints at 800-376-4817.
Town Has Failed
April 25, 2022
To the Editor,
Rebuttal to editorial, March 17: “Cable Opponents’ Last-Ditch Claim,” just to state the correct facts:
I know of no one who opposes green energy and cannot imagine anyone would. The Wainscott landing site, though, results in the longest cable route. The developer never completed any in-depth study of alternative landing locations. The request for proposals states that, whenever possible, it should be located on state land, using existing transmission routes. The Wainscott route requires them to build a new transmission route — in contaminated soil and in our contaminated aquifer. The town gave away access even before environmental studies were done, which to date still have not been completed nor data released from all the required locations. The developer said they would release this information and the town said it would publish it; however, the data on the town’s website is incomplete and old.
The construction done so far has blocked residents’ access to their properties for over 15 minutes, which the developer specifically stated would never happen. Residents were told they would always have access to their homes and that one lane would always be open to transfer, drive, walk, and bike-ride. The developers’ workers claimed the entire street and right of way is now a construction zone and, as such, people and vehicles cannot be in it. They reported one resident to the police. This person was driving too slow for them when they opened the lane for vehicles to pass. They told me I could not walk on the street and had to walk on the grass, which was saturated in water and mud. I told them I was walking on my street and continued on.
Contrary to the editorial, the cable does not need to be buried under Route 27, disrupting traffic. It can and should be run down the Long Island Rail Road right of way, where other existing transmission lines are located, either overhead or in the ground. Better yet, it should be combined with Sunrise Wind, spliced offshore and run through that trench to connect to the grid.
Wainscott was only chosen because it has the least number of voters, and the town was able to negotiate a $29 million payment in exchange for the right of way through Wainscott. Importantly, the electricity generated should and could be delivered at a lower cost to ratepayers if the $29 million is not taken. This very costly project is also requiring us to pay the highest cost for the electricity, and if it was part of the Sunrise project, it would be substantially less expensive.
The more I have learned about the project and the developer, the more troubling it is to me and should be to everyone. The harm that will be done to our fishing industry, the right whales, and other sea life is not environmentally warranted. For the developer to tell me they hope the right whale survives more than saddened me.
When I asked South Fork Wind who was the onsite Department of Environmental Conservation representative, I was told that “There is no D.E.C. representative on site, and this project is subject to P.S.C. jurisdiction.” Shouldn’t there be a D.E.C. and an OSHA representative overseeing this project when digging in hazardous, contaminated soil and water? One water test well on Beach Lane tested at 82 parts per thousand and another at 15 parts per thousand for PFAS, well above the state accepted level of 10 parts per thousand. The D.E.C. is looking to lower the acceptable levels. How can the town risk/allow not only hazardous health exposure to us, but to the workers as well? Dump truck after dump truck full of excavated dirt has been traveling down Beach Lane, Main Street, and Wainscott Stone Road with billowing dust clouds. The developer continues to let its subcontractors ignore commitments the developer made to the public, and the town.
Our town has failed to protect us, especially the citizens of Wainscott. History will prove this. Just look at Block Island and what the developers failed to do for them, and the issues continue on. Just because the town is looking for the recognition of being the first to have offshore wind, that does not mean that the residents they are supposed to represent are. I am also sure history will remember this as a tragedy, a failure to provide the energy it claimed it would, and negatively impactful to the environment, sea life, and our fishing industry. The very least, our town should take this back to the drawing board, rework it to save the ratepayers money, and lessen the environmental impact. Then they will be remembered for doing good work.
April 20, 2022
To the Editor:
Given that offshore wind is coming to Long Island in force, the fishing industry should feel relieved by a new scientific study on commercial fishing around the Block Island wind farm. In short, no significant negative effects were found on fish or invertebrate populations around the wind farm. The seven-year study also showed that commercial trawlers could operate successfully there.
The study actually found some positive effects. According to The Boston Globe, “The only meaningful effect they found by the wind turbines was positive: a lot more black sea bass were congregating around the Block Island wind farm, probably because they like to hang out near physical structures like wind turbine foundations. The study not only looked at what fish were caught, but also what sort of condition they were in and what was in their stomachs. Some were eating more mussels, which indicated they were feeding off of mussels growing on the turbines themselves.”
Designed by scientists and commercial fishermen, the study was conducted from 2012 to 2019. It was published recently in the ICES Journal of Marine Science.
This is good news for both our clean energy future and our fishing industry. Governor Hochul should press ahead to keep New York in the lead in offshore wind development, encouraged by the scientific evidence that wind turbines do not harm the fish populations or fishing industry on which many Long Islanders depend.
Lay Down Judgment
April 21, 2002
Who are we and what are we becoming? The Shipwreck Rose column was delightful. The mere mention of vanity tables and Yardley of London, brings back a good memory of a simpler life. Eau de Love, we need that now. I can still smell it.
Pandemic and division aside, life is not too bad. The kids are long grown and have their own lives and the grands are delightful. I write my novels as a vocation without advances (one day?), and we manage. I’m rich in my heart, and I’ll go down the path with the rest of the pilgrims and find the clues and gems for free. The ocean is marvelous to witness. The bird colors! Spring is inching in. An ice cream shop is coming to town. The fun has just begun. I even feel calmer about things in general and that’s probably half my attitude and half the herbs I take from my acupuncturist. But that doesn’t mean there’s nothing to kvetch about.
After reading and listening to the interview “Why the Past 10 Years of American Life Have Been Uniquely Stupid,” by Jonathan Haidt, I paused. This ain’t Babel, as Haidt uses as a metaphor for our “country’s fracture.” Perhaps we have become babbling idiots. It’s so easy, everyone has an idiot device in their hands 24-7. That used to be the TV. Mom or Dad would say, “Shut the darn thing off. Go outside.” Can kids go outside anymore? We’ve become a bubble society for sure. I know it’s dangerous, the roads are speedways and nobody knows you, like everyone knew us growing up. But that wasn’t Shangri-La either. Stuff happened. But we can’t helicopter the kids. We should ground the helicopters though. My opinion. Don’t call me a Karen or I’ll call you a brat.
Sure we’re all guilty of our memes and rants. But who are you? A real person? Then why do you have a fake name on social media? Why is your icon a scary monster face? Creepy. You think TikTok is harmless? Wake up. The weirdos are watching. Just like they troll on Instagram. I’m a grown woman, and there’s comments I don’t want to hear and “Insta” isn’t a dating app, or is it? I only went on to promote my books. I’m off now. I have street smarts; I was raised in the city. Dad was a cop. So I lock every door, and I love outdoor lights at night, all night (sorry Dark Sky Society). Cowards hide. Light those mofos up. Trust your intuition. Wish I had years ago as a kid and young woman.
Why that rapist did not get convicted and jailed forever in a past case that came before Judge Brown-Jackson? I don’t know. Here’s what I do know, according to RAINN, Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network, the vast majority of perps do not get a conviction and do not serve long hard time. We need better laws and more vigilance, and maybe those self-defense classes that were popular in the 1970s need reviving. I-tri yes and “I kick you” if you come too near. Girl power. Never mind liking the jerk. Move on if there’s no respect. If they were sexual predators in college, they’re likely still that creepy and arrogant, now. I don’t care what robe they wear. For all the women that “lied,” there’s millions that told the truth and no one listened.
The techies need to own responsibility for what they created, a global chain of fools. If you cannot control your platform and protect the users, then take it down. It isn’t making anyone smarter, just angry. Everyone is on edge and anxious or they can’t get out of bed as they gave up on humanity. We need interaction in person, clean water and air, local outdoor music. If I have to listen to leaf blowers, you’re gonna listen to music.
Don’t condescend to me, I’ve earned my stripes; lived, learned, and loved a long time. Like Tyrion Lannister, “I know things.” Yet, I’m still learning. I want to be part of the solution. I don’t have to smile at everyone if I don’t want to. I mostly do. And my time and kindness and forgiveness, while not conditional, are precious. I believe we can do so much better if we just lay down our judgment and need for revenge. You do you, and I’ll do me, as the song goes. Meet you in that Rumi field.
Some Kind of Sex
April 22, 2022
The France-loving gentleman writes again, as always using sex as his favorite topic. In the end he asks does anyone have a better reasoning? His reference is to Romney being called a pedophile for staying after Justice Jackson was confirmed. My opinion Romney is a phony, a hypocrite, and a RINO.
Romney did not vote to confirm this particular judge for judgeship, but because he’s different, he made sure everyone noticed his vote for justice of Supreme Court. This argument goes to all that claim that this will be the first Black woman added to the court. There are plenty of Black women that are more than capable to sit as a justice of the Supreme Court.
Justice Jackson can’t define the word woman, because she’s not a biologist, really. Jackson also gives the least amount of jail time to pedophiles, apologizes to them after sentencing. As a woman, mother, grandmother, I resent a man getting a few months after raping a child, declared time served, and the perp a few months later sexually assaulted his sister-in-law. This is what you want sitting high and mighty on the highest court?
Mr. Hausig then writes letters long about prostitution, political hookers, and politicians with marginal intellect, weak characters, and low sexual esteem, all his letters are based on some kind of sex. Needs help.
In God and country,
Control and Punish
April 25, 2022
A friend who has spent the past 50 years in Israel tells me that she is done. The combination of religious lunacy and fascism has finally worn her down.
Religion existed long before the word fascism was coined. Fascism and religion intersected long before Christianity came on the scene. Jews hadn’t had their own country for 2,000 years, but the violence that is the controlling factor in the religion/fascism mix rapidly came to the surface. It is the violence, in a multitude of ways, that is the core reason for the pain and misery in our country and the defense of violence that is destroying our democracy.
What makes democracy work is the uncertainty that comes from hundreds of millions of people participating in the system. It is unwieldy and frustrating but it is the primary lever that keeps people from their almost preternatural need to control their lives. Uncertainty, when times are good, breeds humility. When times are difficult it breeds fear and autocracy. In our current universe, only one party believes in democracy as a viable system. The other one believes in personal freedom, the individual above the collective, an autocratic vision of control by elimination instead of participation.
What is comforting about religion and autocracy is the certainty created by their established boundaries. Thought is limited, thinking unnecessary. Problem solving is scripted, not debated. Everything is so much less messy. Simplifying to the point of simple-mindedness. (See Colorado and Georgia churches selling Trump hats during services.)
At the core of all religions is a need to control and to punish, a violence bred from the need to establish certainty. Yet, how does religion establish certainty in a universe where God’s existence is uncertain? A competitive structure that pits religions in an arena akin to the “Hunger Games.” Understanding both the need for and the danger of religion, the founders constructed a Constitution separating church and state. Faith in religion was clearly a part of the thinking, but faith in this new democratic system was more important.
Like free market capitalism, whatever that exactly means, the need for competition is the life source that allows it to function. Yet, within the system everyone tries to manipulate the system and control markets by limiting competition. When it goes really bad, we have hundreds of thousands of people at our borders fleeing the violence and economic disasters created by the U.S. Sometimes only over the price of a banana.
Democracy is healthy when everyone participates. In the U.S., 40 percent of the electorate don’t vote. The country is not split in two as most pundits are ranting. Neither party has more than 30 percent. We have endured this anomaly because the 60 percent participating believed in the system. The threat to our system is the 30 percent who no longer believe (heretics religiously).
When Nixon was caught lying about Watergate, he resigned. Both Dems and Repubs supported his resignation. When Reagan lied about Iran-Contra (something way worse than Watergate), he was given a pass. Lying is now the centerpiece of one agenda. It no longer has a definition.
When the Capitol was attacked, a line was drawn in the sand. Those who support the violent overthrow of the government and those opposed. We used to call overthrowing the government treason. We used to say that negative statements about the government were treason. Even thinking negatively was punishable. Guess we should ask Kevin McCarthy (Republican, God-fearing House leader) what he thinks? Who are we as a nation? What do we want to be? Make up any story. Kevin and his gang will lead us onward, “Uber alas.”