Thanks to So Many
May 4, 2022
We just wanted to take an opportunity to give our thanks to so many people who helped make the Stop the Stigma May Day 5K race so successful. We would like to start by thanking the Village of East Hampton, The East Hampton Village Foundation and Mayor Larsen for sponsoring the race and for the beautiful banners throughout the village that promoted the race as well. Their help and involvement helped to make this race such a wonderful community event. We would also like to thank the East Hampton Village Police Department, East Hampton Village ambulance, and the East Hampton Village lifeguards for all their work and effort they put in, especially on race day, that helped facilitate such a wonderful day.
We are truly so lucky to have had the support and guidance from the Old Montauk Athletic Club and Jennifer Fowkes and all the amazing OMAC members who helped us bring this race to reality. We could not be more thankful for all that they did to make this race the success it was. Thank you also to all of the sponsors who donated money toward the Family Service League so we can continue our efforts of offering help and support to those in crisis. Those sponsors include Truth Training, Tarbet and Lester, Amaden Gay Agency, Men at Work Construction, Handy Hands, Dancehampton, East Hampton Teachers Association, Amagansett Teachers Association, the Rotary Club, the Kiwanis Club, Dan Scotti, Harbor Bistro Mobile Kitchen, Andrew Sabin Family Foundation, Treewise, Springs Fire Department, Body Tech, Compass, East End Land Planning, Gubbins, Ridge Walk, Cashin Coffee, East Hampton Town P.B.A., East Hampton Village P.B.A., Goldberg’s, and Ruddy & Sons.
Thank you also to Mr. Brussell for providing the wonderful music to help get our runners pumped for the race and to Mr. Fine, Mrs. Smith, Coach Vas, and all our teachers at East Hampton High School for their support in promoting the race. Thank you also to all the volunteers who came out on race day to help make the day run smoothly and successfully — specifically all our fellow student-athletes who woke up early to either volunteer or participate in the race.
This truly was a community event, and we came together as a community to raise $18,000 for the Family Service League. Our hope is to continue this race annually and to keep getting our message across to all those who may be suffering in silence. Let’s stop the stigma together.
It’s okay to ask for help, and it’s okay to talk about what you may be going through. Mental struggles and racing run a parallel course. As we go through our battles in life it can feel like an uphill battle, but when you raise your knees and pump your arms, you push through and make it to the finish line.
Thank you again to everyone who helped make our first Stop the Stigma May Day 5K such a wonderful event and day! We are so very grateful to live in such a wonderful town and have such great mentors who helped us see our vision through to the end.
May 3, 2022
To the Editor:
This past Tuesday, still dreary and a bleak from Monday’s rain, my dog and I needed a free run. Off to Louse Point we go but, parking the car lower, where the working boats are moored.
After a while, we come on to the street several hundred yards from where I parked my car and a stranger pulls up asking me if that was my car he just passed. I was thinking how to respond, was I negligent, was there an issue that upset him to question such?
I replied yes and he asked if I wanted some oil filters that would fit my car. Still bewildered, thinking why would some stranger want to sell me some oil filters that I do not need, I asked do you know the make, year, and model of my car? And what’s the story here?
Well, he replies, “I just had to get rid of mine, same as yours, too much trouble, couldn’t keep up with it. A friend lent me the one I’m driving, but before I let her go, I kept some oil filters that I believe could work for you, in case you need them.”
I am flabbergasted. Such out-of-nowhere thoughtfulness from a stranger.
“Well, sorry to hear your car is out of commission,” I reply, “Mine is doing just fine except once and once-in-a-while oil changes, knock on wood,” tapping my head.
He gets out of his car and retrieves two “in-the-box” oil filters and hands them to me.
“Thank you,” my voice rises, as he drives off, waving his hand out the window.
Real Living Wage
May 9, 2022
To the Editor,
In response to the article on help being hard to find out east, I have some suggestions. First, I had a difficult time reading this story without feeling deeply disturbed with how our local labor force was portrayed. Ms. Amity not only accused workers of stealing government money in the form of unemployment while making cash on the side, she also likened landscapers to “a little mafia.” The mafia, as I understand, is a group of murderous thugs who instill fear in their communities through coercion and violence. In case there is any confusion, landscapers make our homes look nice on the outside with the use of leaf blowers, hedge trimmers, and heavy labor. Instead of assuming all hard-working people are criminals, perhaps Ms. Amity’s recruitment agency would be more successful if she treated people with respect.
Another idea I had while reading this troubling, frankly classist and racist article, is to consider the true cost of living and working on the East End where most labor-oriented work is seasonal. While $30 an hour seems like a good wage for a landscaper, that wage does not take into account that the landscaping season ends in November and is weather-dependent, or that $30 an hour is simply not enough to rent a room anywhere east of the Shinnecock canal, much less pay for all the other things a human being requires to survive.
I’m afraid the trade parade, as it’s so endearingly called, will continue to worsen until the issue of affordable housing is addressed. However there is an alternative. Pay a real living wage. A real living wage on the East End has nothing to do with our state’s minimum wage, so do not feel generous when you are paying someone $30 dollars an hour to labor on your behalf.
Factor in the cost of renting a room out here — the last one I rented cost $2,500 per month and doesn’t exist anymore. Factor in the cost of food, gas, health care, child care, and then hire employees based on that real cost of living. Double that number for seasonal workers. It’s a big number, isn’t it? Seems impossible? But any number below that, you’d have to ask yourself what the person trimming your hedges is going without in order to service your home.
There are no ethical solutions to the trade parade and worker shortage other than building affordable housing or paying a real living wage. People are not lazy. Workers are not criminals. The cost of living has just gone up, again. Welcome to the island that inequality built.
May 9, 2022
I write to you as a private individual and not in any of my professional capacities.
It is not my habit to bombard the local paper of record with letters to the editor about one specific topic, but I find the proposed outdoor dining, and complete renovation of the interior spaces at Guild Hall, to be alarming.
Earlier this year, the village board adopted a new committee, ostensibly to help fill the void left by Robert Hefner’s retirement as village historic consultant, that would meet to review and support the various village agencies as applications came before them for properties in the historic districts of the village.
Initially I was relieved that the village board recognized this extremely important attribute and how it not only contributes to village character, representing as it does the maritime and agricultural foundations upon which this community was formed, but the important economic contribution that preserving that very character has made to the community at large.
I am very concerned because, to my knowledge, this committee has not yet been convened, nor assigned to review the very important changes to Guild Hall, a contributing property in the Main Street Historic District, also zoned residential. Approving outdoor dining in a residential district alone drifts seriously from long-held regulatory practices, not to mention in a district that is also historic in nature.
Why the zoning board of appeals or the design review board of the village has not convened this committee is a puzzlement.
As a contributing property to the Main Street Historic District and as a site on the National Register of Historic Places, surely this is a natural fit for review by this new committee. While issuance of certificates of appropriateness fall under the purview of the design review board, it is appropriate for the zoning board to have the benefit of this review as well. The special permit application for this property and environmental reviews the Z.B.A. is considering include assessing the historic setting and nature of the property within the context of its historic setting or in this case, an entire district.
As beloved as Guild Hall is by me and others, permitting that organization to serve food and drink outdoors will be surely a watershed moment. And one that I firmly believe we will all live to regret.
East Hampton Village
May 8, 2022
Thank you for your May 5 article on the ceremonial groundbreaking for the new Stony Brook Southampton Hospital satellite emergency department. Long Island’s East End will benefit from a state-of-the-art emergency facility, located in East Hampton, operating under the Stony Brook Medicine health care system. In addressing this significant investment in a new health care facility, the hospital planners are to be lauded for including a solar panel roof and other environmentally credited design opportunities in the 22,000-square-foot center. It is important to know those who are providing the center’s health care services are doing so in a facility that has also been considerate by design to our environment and will greatly benefit our entire community.
Renewable Energy Long Island
May 7, 2022
Postscript to the message I sent last week about buying and using the new LED light “bulbs” (they are diodes not bulbs): It is best to use “bug” lights on your porch lights, as they will attract fewer bugs to your doorway and your night vision is less impaired than with “white” light bulbs. Plus you will be using 6 watts of electricity instead of 60 for the same amount of light, saving considerably on your electric bill.
International Dark Sky Association
May 9, 2022
To the Editor,
So I read with great interest the regulations pertaining to the soon to be created East Hampton Town airport (KJPX): 27 pages of lawyerese, which could have been expressed more concisely and at significantly less expense to the airport fund:
Whatever is not expressly permitted is strictly prohibited. The airport director (in the name of the town) can charge, judge, condemn, and execute at his sole discretion. Users, or anybody else for that matter, are responsible for everything; the town is liable for nothing.
Apparently, this is, after all, the land of the not-so free.
Torture and Torment
May 8, 2022
Hurra for syttende Mai (hooray for seventeenth of May), also written, 17.mai, Norway’s Constitution Day and also Liberation Day, after occupying German forces surrendered on May 8, 1945, ending World War II, which is also celebrated on 17.mai. In 2009 I was invited to march in the 17.mai parade in my hometown of Porsgrunn, Norway; it was a great honor. Perhaps on this 17th of May all residents on the East End will celebrate the liberation from the torture and torment caused by the commercial operations of dirty, noisy helicopters at East Hampton Airport.
The phrase, “torture and torment” was coined by United States Senator Charles E. Schumer and former Representative Timothy Bishop in a joint letter to the Federal Aviation Administration dated Dec. 9, 2009: “These low-flying helicopters have tortured and tormented Long Island communities for far too long,” Mr. Schumer said. “Those of us who live in Suffolk County are tired of the roar of helicopters disrupting the serenity of our island,” said Mr. Bishop.
When one is being tortured, one desperately wants the torture to end, not to be reduced by 20 percent, 40 percent, or even 70 percent. Not all people complain when tortured, some suffer quietly after they realize complaining accomplished nothing. Counting complainers is ridiculous. There is no relief from torture unless it stops completely, the same holds true for the torture emanating from East Hampton Airport.
As a pilot, I don’t want to close the airport and believe there is an alternative solution, a compromise to closing the airport to stop the torture. Except the local pilots continue to shoot themselves in the foot by suing the Town of East Hampton again and again, making themselves adversaries to all citizens of the town. This is foolhardy, they will crash and burn in the end if another crazy judge decides for the pilots and against the town’s noise reduction plan by restricting aircraft. The town board will simply close the airport for good, no one can stop that and the local pilots will have to take their noisy, polluting toys somewhere else. Those who have charter businesses will have to commute to Westhampton — it’s an easy commute against the trade parade’s rush hours.
If the airport closes for good, I will be sad but will also celebrate turning the airport property into a utility-scale solar farm, in the long term more beneficial to the planet and the folks on the East End.
As far as the carpetbaggers from New Jersey, flying their carbon-spewing, magic carpets, the Blade-type operators of helicopter taxi services: You’re arrogant, selfish, obnoxious, disrespectful, and mean-spirited for torturing and tormenting the citizens of the East End, go back to New Jersey; you’re not welcome here in this beautiful place.
Hurra for 17.mai!
May 9, 2022
To the Editor,
The month of April passes by into May. Flowers begin to bloom, spring is giving us warmer days, the Town of East Hampton elected officials, remember, we have coastal issues. It’s cyclical every April into May. It almost seems to be the only time it’s a conversation unless someone from the public appears at a meeting. Days become weeks, weeks to months, months to years, years to decades.
Dredge Napeague. Do it right. Do it right by the people who live here. The time is now. We’ve already given you the answers — to where, to how, what needs to be done, what needs to be protected. The most environmentally sound option. We’ve been given empty promises. We’ve been forgotten.
We aren’t asking anymore. We demand it. We’re still here.
May 8, 2022
To the Editor,
PSEG-Long Island supplies electrical power to all of East Hampton, right? But at what cost? At least what “cost” in secret, probably sky-high executives’ salaries? Who knows? Because PSEG-Long Island has “redacted” those salaries (probably in black-marker ink from Sharpies possibly lent to them by Donald Trump?) in documents available to the public.
PSEG-Long Island’s law-breaking refusal to publicly disclose executive salary figures leads me to reasonably assume that these well-paid executives are all redactedly receiving multimillion-dollar annual payments that include not only their official salaries but also deferred compensation, bonuses, stock options, and life insurance premiums.
Jeffrey Greenblatt, PSEG’s assistant counsel, has disingenuously claimed that disclosing these secret compensation figures to PSEG’s bill-paying customers “would create unreasonable and unnecessary risks for the employees identified,” and also that these redactions are necessary to “protect named employees from financial scam”! I say that any PSEG executive dumb (and greedy) enough to fall for a financial scam is not bright enough to be entrusted with an important, high-level, highly-paid job.
As for PSEG-Long Island’s $9.4 million bonus compensation for “exceeding target scores on 24 of 26 performance metrics,” this retired teacher gives PSEG-Long Island an A-plus in the 27th metric of “Redacting.”
Keep Things Simple
May 3, 2022
Dear Mr. Rattray,
Like many of your readers, we are residents of East Hampton and have some strong concerns on local issues, two in particular: offshore wind and East Hampton Airport.
East Hampton is the most beautiful town and village, and our beaches the most amazing of anywhere. People come here from all over the world to live or to visit and they come for the beauty of the beaches and vistas of farmland, for our fresh fish and bountiful harvests, for the usually lovely weather, and delightful shops and restaurants and friendly people.
It is time to keep things simple: Don’t allow the airport to ruin our peace and quiet as we live here, out of doors, in every season. We have no need for helicopter service or jet planes; these can land at existing larger airports like MacArthur, where they can be well served and facilities exist and the noise will not threaten our health and joy in living here.
On a similar note, it is not too late to cancel all work by South Fork Wind, as installing gigantic wind turbines offshore is wrong for many reasons. The installation of these will penetrate the offshore fresh water aquifer which extends from Massachusetts to New Jersey, from shore out at least 50 miles into the ocean and this fresh water is a resource we may not need now but might need desperately in the future and drilling into the ocean floor will allow salt water to salinate and degrade that fresh water source. The turbines have been said to attract fish, as they are supposedly like artificial reefs. But we do not need artificial reefs; the sea habitat is doing just fine as long as it is not polluted by the oil and trash which come with the creation of the wind farm. Our fishermen do not want the turbines, and the turbine jobs are not for our local fishermen.
South Fork Wind has sold our town and village a bill of goods, which is sad, really, offering money and jobs and promoting “clean energy.” They are selling a lot of baloney. I do not believe they have “bought” our town and village officials, as these good people could never be bought, but they certainly have paved the way for South Fork Wind to create a massive polluting industry off our shores which will last at most 20 years before the ocean and winds and storms reclaim our clean beaches when the huge rusted structures crash into the sea floor, rotted and useless.
So I am writing to say, please all of us, keep things simple. Let us enjoy the beauty of our farms and ocean, beaches and fields and trees and gardens. Let the outsiders come as long as they don’t try to change what is beautiful and perfect here. Keep it simple and clean, peaceful and quiet and friendly. Technology is changing so fast, we should give ourselves the luxury of not having to change what is good around here as the right energy solutions will come very soon enough.
Peace for the World
May 9, 2022
To the Editor,
It was a beautiful sunny day with blue skies in the little village of Fatima, Portugal.
The day was May 13, 1917. It was on that day that Our Lady of Fatima appeared to three shepherd children for the first of six apparitions. Their names were Lucia dos Santos and her two younger cousins, Francisco and Jacinta Marto.
Our Lady appeared to them on a small holm oak tree dressed in white. Our Lady sensed the fear the children had so she calmed them by saying,
“Do not be afraid. I will do you no harm.” Once Lucia felt comfortable, she began to speak to Our Lady.
Our Lady said she wanted the children to return there on the 13th of each month for the next five months at the very same hour. Then Our Lady asked the children to pray the rosary every day to obtain peace for the world and the end of the war.
Our Lady’s request that they daily pray the rosary for peace was the only request she repeated in all six of her apparitions to all three children.
Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us.
The Year 2096
May 7, 2022
Dear Mr. Rattray,
A new baby was born into the family a few days ago, Ava Marie. She is beautiful and serene, a tiny angel. She is one of the top-three cutest babies born in the U.S. in the past two to three years. That’s not even an exaggeration. I’ve seen the baby pictures everyone’s posted, and they don’t come close. Sure, they’re wonderful and adorable, and, hey, it’s okay to not be in the top three. There’s plenty of time to catch up! But right now, no contest.
I can’t remember if I’ve written this before. Maybe it’s an age thing like, “I can’t find my glasses anywhere!” “Um, did you look in your shirt pocket?” “Oh, um, duh. Yeah, I was gonna look there.” Anyway, here’s what I’m talking about (again): When beautiful Ava is my age, the year will be 2096. There’s a good chance I won’t be here then, Mr. Rattray (sorry for our loss), so let me take this opportunity to wish Ava a very happy 74th birthday! That was a bit of a digression. Sorry. If your eggs are getting cold, stick ‘em in the microwave when I’ve finished. Point is, whenever we have a new member of the family drop in, I always try to imagine the world they’ll be living in by the time they’re my age. Not sure why. I mean, when you were a child could you ever imagine the world would be in this state today? When I was a kid we could never imagine a Vietnam, massive war protests, race riots, assassinations of our political and moral leaders.
Within a year of my mother’s birth, in 1919, World War I ended and women got the right to vote (passed by Congress in 1919, ratified in 2020, when she was 1). The right to vote! When she was 10, the Great Depression began, and when mom was 20, World War II broke out. That’s a lot of big history for one young woman. She’d probably shrug off today’s problems, though she was strongly opposed to the Vietnam War, Nixon, the appointment of Clarence Thomas to the Supreme Court. Maybe I’m thinking of her because I’m writing this on the eve of Mother’s Day, but I have to say, upon reflection, she did kick ass.
So, more time passages: I’ve mentioned my paternal grandfather before. He was very quiet and outlived my father by 25 years. He’d come over to the house for dinner on Sundays and my mother would always instruct us, “Think of something good to talk about with your grandfather!” Not easy when you’re 8 and just wanna do anything but hang out with quiet old grandpa. Now that I think of it, I was named after him. I shoulda talked him up more! Grandpa was born in Illinois in 1877 12 years after the end of the Civil War. There were no cars, anywhere! He lived through all of the above and, as a boy, through other things, good and terrible, that are now mere footnotes in our history: the first modern Olympic Games, held in Athens; the erection of the Statue of Liberty; the Wounded Knee massacre; the Klondike gold rush in Alaska, and, yes, the very first American-production cars.
If we jump ahead a century or so, into our present lifetimes — still years before Ava was born — most “historic” events are mere Wikipedia footnotes now: Bill Clinton’s impeachment, NASA losing contact with the Mars Polar Lander (oops), Tori Murden becoming the first woman to cross the Atlantic in a rowboat (bravo, Tori!), an earthquake in Izmit, Turkey, killing 17,000 people, the 9/11 attacks followed by the war in Iraq; the first iPhone, followed by the Great Recession. Which brings me, for purely arbitrary reasons, to this moment. When most of us are fortunate enough to just carry on, vote with our conscience, send money where our hearts instruct us. And take care of Ava’s immediate needs.
But what about when she’s my age in 2096? Will there still be polar ice caps? Will any maps have been redrawn? Will there have been a World War III? Will we be at peace? What will it be like living in this world, following her second term as president of the United States? I’m not sure, but I hope it’s a better place than we ever could have imagined back in 2022.
May 9, 2022
I’m just reading last week’s Star, and your editorial is certainly filled with disgust for Congressman Lee Zeldin. Freedom of speech is a right, and you sure ripped him a new one. With all the things you said about Congressman Zeldin, you gave him a zero on any issues he may have done for his constituents, one being his fight for parents against the government in school issues, e.g., critical race theory and the fact that the government is trying to take complete power over our children.
I’m sure there are right and wrongs Congressman Zeldin stands for but putting him down in such a way that you did? I don’t recall reading a single editorial ever including a liberal, progressive, or Democrat in such a same manner.
I’ll give you one to ponder, this year’s budget deficit is expected to be the third or fourth-largest in American history. Biden claims we’re on track to cut the federal deficit by another $1.5 trillion, but his spending binge triggered by the pandemic has caused the annual deficit to jump from about $900 billion in 2019 to more than $3.1 trillion in 2020. He’s bragging about his spending and very busy lying to the American people again via his large teleprompter.
In God and country,
May 8, 2022
As a Catholic woman, I am not in favor of abortion. But, more important, I am not in favor of the government interfering in the relationship between a woman, her church, and everyone else important to her in her personal decision of whether to bear a child. And here’s why:
I am for the woman who found out at her 20-week anatomy scan that the infant she had been so excited to bring into this world had developed without life-sustaining organs.
I am for the woman who was sexually assaulted on her way home from work, only to come to the horrific realization that her assailant planted his seed in her when she got a positive pregnancy test result a month later.
I am for the woman who hemorrhaged due to a placental abruption, causing her parents, spouse, and children to have to make the impossible decision on whether to save her or her unborn child.
I am for the child who had her innocence ripped away from her by someone she should have been able to trust and her 11-year-old body isn’t mature enough to bear the consequence of that betrayal.
I am for the woman who is working two jobs just to make ends meet and must choose between bringing another child into poverty or feeding the children she already has because her spouse walked out on her.
I am for the woman who realizes that she is in no way financially, emotionally, or physically able to raise a child.
I am for the woman who went through in-vitro fertilization, ending up with six viable implanted eggs requiring selective reduction to ensure the safety of her and a safe number of fetuses.
I am for the woman who is finally getting the strength to get away from her physically abusive partner only to find out that she is carrying the monster’s child.
I am for the woman who went into her confirmation appointment after years of trying to conceive only to hear silence where there should be a heartbeat.
I am for the woman who lost her virginity in her sophomore year and because of a broken condom now must choose whether to be a teenage mom or just a teenager.
I am for the woman who just found out she’s already 13 weeks along, but the egg never made it out of her fallopian tube so either she terminates the pregnancy or risks dying from internal bleeding.
You can argue and say that I’m pro-choice all you want, but the truth is: I’m pro-life — their lives. Women’s lives. It’s not about which stories you don’t agree with. It’s about fighting for the women in these (and so many other) stories and the choices that they made.
Women’s rights are meant to protect all women, regardless of their situation. For any branch of government (and worse yet, one made up of a bunch of men) to interfere in those rights is nothing short of barbaric.
Cynically, the radical right’s war against abortion highlights its hypocrisy. They claim to favor smaller government and less regulation, except when it comes to a woman’s body. That’s why I am supporting Kara Hahn to be our next congress representative. She has promised to fight for women’s reproductive freedom and oppose the radical right’s barbaric attack on women’s rights.
May 8, 2022
Aside from the hysteria promoted in your opinion piece last week, there are lots of interesting polls out there that reasonable people should understand. A Jan. 20 Marist poll shows that 71 percent of Americans support restrictions on abortion, 54 percent oppose taxpayer funding of abortions, and 63 percent oppose new federal rules that allow sending prescription drugs for abortions through the mail. Sixty percent of Americans think should Roe be overturned and laws regarding abortion should be determined by the states.
Chuck Schumer doesn’t know jack squat; he just knows what his party represents, and shame on you for just regurgitating his same old, tired nonsense. It is understandable, not much is looking good for the Democratic Party lately. It’s led by a leering lobotomy patient with poor bowl control, the V.P. is an even less-popular giggling moron and forget about Democrats in Congress led by creepy Schumer and the Botox Queen from the poop-lined streets of San Francisco.
I don’t know who thinks the leak shifted “rapidly” to the Republicans as the source other than increasingly pathetic and desperate Democrats. While you may think undermining of the court is no big deal, it actually is. This just goes along with everything the American left has done to undermine the foundations of our institutions. Only 39 percent of Americans have any trust in the federal government to handle the issues the country faces. With the gross incompetence and authoritarian overtones of the Biden regime one can expect those numbers to go even lower.
There is no “far-right” majority on the court; there is just the increasingly extreme left overreacting every time they don’t get their damned way. We have left-wing activists firebombing pro-life offices, churches having to make security arrangements because left-wing groups threatened to protest and desecrate the Eucharist. Your beloved Chuck Schumer is making threats against the justices themselves, and their homes and family connections were doxxed by left-wing creeps; Google even had to take down a map that some lunatic had put up to their homes.
In retrospect McConnell blocking that idiot Garland was one of the greatest and most prescient decisions ever made. The “moderate” Garland is anything but and was totally unqualified to serve on the Supreme Court and is unfit to even be attorney general of the United States. And no, the court isn’t going to be arbitrarily changing other laws with regard to gay marriage, voting rights, or anything else. The decision should it stand is narrowly confined to the specifics of the before the court related to Roe and Casey if you bothered to do any actual research.
Your fearmongering aside, this is the case now: If you are so inclined to have an abortion in any of the 50 states, you can. After the court’s ruling; if you are so inclined to have an abortion in any of the 50 states you will still be able to. At some point it will allow 50 states to make their own decisions and pass the laws they feel are right for them as intended. It will return the power of choice back to the people and wrest it from the hands of unelected judges and partisan bureaucrats. It is funny how you talk selectively about democracy, freedom, and choice and how it only applies to you and your beliefs: the soft bigotry of the left.
MICHAEL D. BOUKER
May 8, 2022
It is important for all to understand that the radical right has no intention of stopping at overturning Roe and nullifying 50 years of women’s reproductive freedom. Their goals are far more insidious — and ambitious.
Justice Alito has penned an opinion (albeit in draft) that purports to target Roe but sweeps so broadly that it strikes at the heart of the doctrine underlying much of the social progress achieved in the 20th century. At its core, Roe was spawned by an earlier Supreme Court decision that struck down a Connecticut law that criminalized a woman’s use of contraceptives. This decision was based on the notion that the Constitution protects personal rights that are integral to a broader entrenched right of privacy, which the Supreme Court described as the freedom to make “intimate and personal choices” that are “central to personal dignity and autonomy.” Justice Alito then proceeds to shred this concept of privacy as it relates to abortion.
Alito’s logic can be distilled as follows: The right to privacy undergirding Roe is not mentioned in the Constitution. So, according to Alito, for such an unenumerated “right” to find constitutional protection it must be “deeply rooted in the Nation’s history and traditions.” Finding that because abortions were largely criminalized throughout the nation’s history, far from being embraced by America’s traditions, abortion was repudiated as criminal and, according to Justice Alito, is undeserving of constitutional protection.
Disingenuously, Justice Alito tries to cabin his constitutional test as applicable only to the right of abortion but having used the “nation’s traditions” as the crucible to test the constitutionality of unenumerated rights, all such unenumerated rights are subject to the same test. The right to obtain contraceptives was largely criminalized until the 1960s. The right to marry someone of a different race was criminalized in Virginia until 1967. The right to engage in consensual sexual acts in the privacy of one’s home was criminalized in Texas until 2003, and the right to marry someone of the same sex was criminalized until 2015. The Equal Rights Amendment was seen necessary to achieve a woman’s right to equal pay and equal treatment in the workplace — so Justice Alito would find no pre-existing protection for that existing in the Constitution, even though the detractors of the E.R.A. argued to the contrary. Each of these rights is subject to the same test for constitutionality as Alito prescribed for the right to abortion. And each of them is susceptible to the same constitutional attack that Alito used against Roe.
Fanciful? Not at all. Senator McConnell has promised to introduce a federal ban on abortions after six weeks of pregnancy. We are fortunate to live in New York in which laws protect the right an abortion in the early stages of pregnancy but McConnell’s bill would supersede this protection and that afforded by the laws of every other state that permits abortions. There has already been legislation introduced — even before Alito’s vitriolic opinion was leaked — that would criminalize providing and/or using contraceptives. Legislation is being proposed to prohibit the so-called “abortion pill.” The radical right has already targeted same-sex marriage for attack and undoubtedly it will seek to invalidate such already consummated marriages. Every one of the steps of social progress this country has made over the last 100 years is now subject to attack by radical reactionaries that would send this country back to the 1800s.
These are indeed scary times for the social rights we all once took as given. It is time for everyone who cares about preserving these rights to get out and fight for them, not in the Jan. 6 sense of overthrowing the government, but by voting and getting other like-minded voters out to the polls.
There are two important elections this November for us on the East End. The first is to reject the reactionary ideology of Lee Zeldin and elect Kathy Hochul as our governor. The second is to send to Congress a Democratic representative who will stand up for and further the social progress America has made in the last 100 years. I urge you to support Kara Hahn in the upcoming Democratic primary for our next Congress representative.
The Fight Is On
May 8, 2022
My granddaughter recently remarked, “It must have been fun to grow up in the ‘60s and ‘70s. Cool clothes, chill vibe, mellow people.” I agree, mostly. We were groovy, but not asleep. I was too young for the important protests: women’s rights and equality for all people. Peace not war. Love your neighbor no matter their skin color, as we are all the same inside. I wrote letters to senators and congressmen, about not taking away our right to choose. Orrin Hatch was one of those men. I rocked my baby with one hand and wrote a letter to him with the other. He recently died. I was reminded of that day when I composed the letter. Forty years later, here we are, needing more than letters to senators. Heck, we need a full-on protest like no other.
We have woken up in “The Handmaid’s Tale.” I read the book in the ‘80s when my other son was a toddler. To imagine that could ever come to pass is too surreal for words. At the same time Roe v. Wade is being strangled by far-right Christians and other hypocritical souls who think they’re God. I read the following in the paper this morning: “The decree by the Ministry for The Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice, women [will cover up completely in public or be imprisoned] drew condemnation from women’s right’s advocates, ‘Patriarchal control. Women are born free. It is their basic right to walk around freely.’ “ This is in Kabul, in the Middle East, not here in our free United States. Yet, I shuddered at the words and the comparison. We may not wear burkas, but how is our right to choose up for destruction, once again? Who are these men and women who would dare to suggest we lie down for this, or bleed out when one of us tries to end a pregnancy, without a doctor, that never should have happened? You don’t get to judge, you’re not God. Keep your self-righteous beliefs out of our Supreme Court. You are not the Supreme Being. This is not Gilead. We won’t stand by and allow it. The fight is on, once again.
As we celebrate Mother’s Day today and my mom lay dying, I have the fight in me that I was born with. You don’t poke an Irish and Italian woman. We will come for you. You may never see it. The way our foremothers fought for the vote, and equal rights and agency over their wombs, we will honor them by taking up the charge. We will not listen to the brainwashed and pathetic who say they are “for life,” when they are for nothing but themselves and whitewashed, controlled, by men’s religious ways.
Feeding the hungry and displaced and abused children? Uh, no, you’re not doing that so much. Standing up for your abused sisters married to violent men? No, instead you tell them to stay, they made their bed. Too many children? God will provide. How — with his Amazon account? Grow up. Please don’t say you’re for life when you don’t even believe in science. You know not when life starts. It’s arbitrary. You don’t decide. Terminating a pregnancy is only legal in your head for rape cases and incest crimes? So what about the other cases? Teen pregnancy, anyone?
You forbid teaching sex education, but you won’t talk about it at home. So where does that leave our young people? How about the macho men in many cultures, including some American men? Women have no rights in those marriages. Do they keep having children, whether they want to, can bear it physically, or can’t feed the new mouths? What about drug-addicted pregnant women? Alcoholic pregnant women? Ever see an infant suffering from the results of that after birth? Ever visit a children’s severely physically and mentally special needs home? You think everyone can handle that? No, they cannot. And where are you then? Thumping your Bible is not helping your fellow woman. Or child.
Get out there, every woman, and vote! Get your daughters and granddaughters registered now. Every woman you know. Wheel them, carry them to the polls. Carpool, ask for a lift, get on the phones. It’s time to join forces once again and get this insanity of reversing Roe v. Wade stopped. No way are we going back to the Age of No Choice. Forget it.
I chose motherhood at 20; it was my choice, fully. Mine. Not my husband’s, not my parents, not my church. I chose it again at 27. I chose not to repeat it. We chose a solution together to prevent it. Again, choice.
We women go through the pregnancies. Having and raising children is a dedication and a vocation. It is not for everyone. Stop insisting it is. Adoption? Terrific, there are already plenty of children needing homes. There’s overpopulation and not enough resources going forward. Wake up. Stay away from our bodies. Protect the living children if you need a cause — they need you. That would be very Christian.
Bless their hearts,
May 8, 2022
The recent uptick in homophobia in the United States, from the banning and burning of books, laws against discussing gender questions in schools, and the raving lunacy of our political class, i.e.: Taylor Green’s statements that pedophilia in the Catholic Church has a direct line to the immigration problem. While pedophilia has a long ugly history in the church, child pornography is and has always been a WASP affliction (they wouldn’t call it an affliction). Immigration problems are the sole responsibility of the U.S. government’s behavior and policies (run and directed by WASPS).
The homophobia issue that Republicans have gleefully embraced is due to the complications surrounding L.G.B.T.Q. Too many letters, too many questions, too much uncertainty. Our heads are aching from the too. Compared to the old homosexuality conundrum, men with men (women not only didn’t count but it was unimaginable that women could find sexual pleasure with anything but a man), male homosexuality was a no-brainer. Yet, while we fought it tooth and nail, we came to understand that it wasn’t contagious even if it might be appealing, and that it wasn’t the threat that we were told it was.
L.G.B.T.Q. raises complicated issues. Repressing and ignoring them doesn’t make them go away. It makes them go underground. Hide in the shadows. When we have kids we don’t sign up for a clean easy ride. We aren’t supposed to bail when we, as a family, are faced with issues we never expected and don’t understand. We can’t be ashamed of our lack of perfection, our confusion, our inability to comprehend the changes our kids are experiencing. We can’t be stupid, either.
Because there are no obvious prescriptions to write, potions to imbibe, we need to adjust to the needs of our kids. It is only about human interaction. Nothing political. No need to be cruel (not enough money involved).
So, while Taylor Greene is an unqualified bag of white trash, and many of our politicians are similar in nature, we are impacted by the lust for deviant behavior that drives much of our right wing political universe. In the usual fashion, as they do with all issues that are not simpleminded drivel, they transfer their deviant mind-sets onto the people they are trying to diminish. Simply put, the deviant behavior around L.G.B.T.Q. issues, derives not from the kids but from those people that are trying to control them.
Perhaps the easiest entry into the deviant mind-set is to read those parts of Alito’s abortion-repeal meme that calls for gay marriage and sodomy, along with abortion, to be rendered illegal. Cloaking in the stupidity of states’ rights, his repugnant homophobia, saying we can share a bed in New York but not Alabama.
This deranged deviance and the attenuating violence associated with it create a subhuman culture that is devoid of feelings and humanity. We look to damage our kids in order to satisfy our need for violence. We normalize it to be U.S.A.-approved. We actually claim that we are doing this for their own good and to protect our children. Killing to end misery, and always to make a buck.
So, with Alito out of the closet, the unsatisfied mass of sexual frustration finds an outlet in L.G.B.T.Q. kids and women’s bodies and goes full bore against them. The message is really clear; the deviance is unquestionable. Pathetic is the new normal. Are we not the greatest country on earth? Does it matter?