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Letters to the Editor for May 2, 2024

Wed, 05/01/2024 - 18:13

Vigilante Rooster
April 26, 2024

Dear Mr. Editor,

Hope all is well. Just wanted to report that I got a very nice voice message from a Kevin Scott of the Freetown community coalition a few weeks ago. The recording cut off his return number, if he is still interested in a chat. So, as you know, the Letters to the Editor is my favorite section. Aside from a few nitwits, they have such pizzazz and flavor. They can really give a good sense of the pulse of the community. While reading the letters section, I would say about 25 to 35 percent of letters point to failed local government. Now, I am not talking about worker bees, the police, code enforcement, office personnel, and the like. It’s the decision makers on the 13th floor. Hard to believe that in such a small town we have so many quality-of-life issues.

Just from the April 11 edition, we have the rooster letters. Now, I am not a fan of rooster crowing, but for the owner of the “sleeps-10 party house” to complain seems a little obtuse. I have my own party-house problem. I filed 12 complaints in 2023 and I have been hanging in there for many years. Never thought of getting a rooster. What a great form of vigilante justice. I would imagine after two or three nights, the renters would vacate the premises, tell the story on social media, and that would end it. Just for the sheer reason of the party house, I pray Mr. Rooster keeps it up.

Then, the car “parked for days” on the shoulder of Two Holes of Water Road and the commercial equipment left there. I don’t know about signs helping. The fine would be less than the trouble of moving the equipment. The big quagmire is that Mr. Deep Pockets doesn’t want that stuff on his property, either. It’s an eyesore.

Then we have [the letter titled] “Severely Maimed,” which I can really relate to. I lived on David’s Lane in the late 1950s and 60s. Right behind the house on David’s Lane was a vast expanse of potato fields. My father would bring home a junk car and we would tow an upside-down DeSoto hood as a sled. We went for miles and hours. Now, instead of fields as far as the Maidstone Club, we have oversize homes with no one in them.

Then we have [the letter titled] “Pick It Up.” The litter is out of control. The problem is the people government invites here have no respect for our natural beauty and rural atmosphere.

Then, the two letters, “The Wrong One” and “Engineers’ Walkabout,” concerning the proposed senior center, both pointing out the wrongs of the project and the political push to get it done even if the public does not want or need the project. All I see is a tax-dollar sponge and an environmental catastrophe.

So there you go.

You have to wonder when East Hampton will cease to be East Hampton.

As always, best regards,



I Miss the Bull
East Hampton Village
April 28, 2024

To the Editor,

This Sunday morning, my wife and I went for a walk in Herrick Park to find it haphazardly cluttered with market tents. I understood the renovation of the park was to make it a place for local families to relax and enjoy. Instead, it continues to be used as a private estate belonging to the administration and its patrons. First the silver bull and now this. The park belongs to us.

As for this “Farmers Market,” there was not a single farmer or vegetable to be seen. Most vendors were from mid-Island, and one was from Brooklyn. Why are these people in our park on Sunday morning? Besides all the local farm stands there are over half a dozen actual farmers markets during the week and weekend, including a 20-year-old East Hampton one.

Whose idea was this? Was there a public hearing or input? Who gets to decide who does what in this park? Between silver bulls and now Sunday tents, obviously the wrong people. As a village, we need to get some control or oversight here. If not, what’s next? A Sunday-afternoon tag sale? Oh, and remember to avoid Newtown Lane and that part of the village between 1 and 2 on Sundays as the vendors disrupt traffic and parking while they load and leave – only to return next week. I miss the bull.



Have Some Backbone
North Haven
April 29, 2024

Dear David:

I remember when the term “exclusive” was understood to be inappropriate in New York State for real estate advertising. According to the current Housing and Urban Development agency’s Fair Housing Institute:

“There are certain ‘buzz’ words you should still avoid. These are words or phrases that have been associated with discriminatory practices in the past. They include such words as ‘restricted,’ ‘exclusive,’ ‘limited,’ and so forth.”

Today, “exclusive” is rampant as seen in real estate listings and upscale commercial advertising. Peddling expensive Hamptons homes and superluxe venues seems to require use of this term now, which I fear is meant as code that locals, and certain others, need not feel included.

East Hampton transformed from its once-modest, but gracious and stylish, historical community with charm, to its present world-class glitz. “Exclusive” homes and businesses abound, often funded by extraordinarily wealthy outside investors.

To brokers and businesses, these big-deal corporate and residential investments might seem clever and profitable, assuming their shiny and glamorous promises. A careful look at their entire property portfolios might cause one to regard them more as “infestors” —- not unlike the beetles that are killing our native species trees everywhere around us.

An infusion of outside money and style can be exciting and valuable to the health of our beloved Hamptons, as long as it is willing to cooperate with our community concerns and not push us around with its Wall Street lawyers funded with seemingly unlimited and mysterious resources.

Development has been on a collision course for years with the character of the Hamptons. Clear-cutting the land for intense superluxe housing, and now the current Huntting Inn and Hedges Inn behavior, bring us to an emergency call for improved protective legislation.

Legal conflict should not be the expected part of development here for it to be welcome and successful. Exclusivity, as a marketing gimmick, has run its course, and become an obnoxious business model. It is best left to history.

Yes, there was a time when the Maidstone Club and many other venues were private and exclusive – of Jews, Blacks, Asians, gays, even Native Americans. Those days are thankfully over, and we are better for it. We do not need to approve a local version of what happened to the Florida Post estate Mar-a-Lago, once a historic residential landmark, transformed into a flashy restricted “exclusive” club littered with incoming wealth and political posturing.

East Hampton thrives on its civilized inclusivity. It thrives on new ideas and investments, as long as the community is allowed to have reasonable input and control.

Sag Harbor’s experience worries me because years of Save Sag Harbor efforts could not avoid the obnoxious glass boxes now obstructing our historic waterfront, as well as other reasonable zoning improvements that have been repeatedly obstructed, clearly without strong civic support during developer negotiations.

East Hampton must not fall into the trap of powerful development interests calling the shots for changes [that are] blind to the community desires and needs.

Let’s have some backbone when it comes to defending our rights.



Team Gryffindor
April 29, 2024

Dear David,

I’ve been the chairwoman of the East Hampton Town Democratic Committee since being elected in July 2022. So imagine my surprise to read in last week’s edition that one of my male colleagues has actually been doing my job this whole time (“Voldemort’s Power,” Letters to the Editor, April 25)! This was certainly news to me. Nonetheless, there it was in black and white.

First, my colleague was referred to as the “de facto head of the town Democratic Committee” in an op-ed and then Jonathan Wallace labeled him as “the private shot-caller of the Democratic machine” in a letter to the editor. I guess I really shouldn’t be surprised. This isn’t the first time the local Democratic Party and its members have been mischaracterized and it won’t be the last.

And to be fair, the idea that we are some kind of Tammany Hall is undeniably more exciting than the truth. In reality though, the East Hampton Democratic Committee is a group of 38 volunteers representing 19 election districts who together serve as the official organization of the Democratic Party in our town. In accordance with the law, we propose candidates for town offices and collect signatures for the petitions required to enable local, state, and national candidates to run for office.

While I realize that this is all pretty tedious stuff, it is nonetheless a vital part of our democratic process. Our members also volunteer at local food pantries, as E.M.T.s, and on various boards and committees. They are climate leaders, lawyers, artists, activists, veterans, and teachers. Let me put this in language that Mr. Wallace, who thought it was cute to refer to my colleague as “Voldemort,” will understand. The East Hampton Democrats are proudly Team Gryffindor, not Team Slytherin.

But please don’t just take my word for it. Our committee meets on the third Wednesday of every month. All are welcome. Email [email protected] to be added to our monthly meeting invite list. 



Zero Bond
East Hampton Village
April 29, 2024

Dear David,

Regarding the Zero Bond kerfuffle, the vast majority of opposition is coming from well-heeled residents in close proximity to the Hedges Inn. My Freedom of Information Law request yielded only nine emails from residents with big wallets and probably anonymous donors to Jerry’s village foundation, a.k.a. the Larsen Slush Fund. Most comments focused on the hours. Doesn’t the same issue apply to the other inns?

From a FOIL request, I received 10 emails in opposition. While there were negative comments about Zero Bond, most supported the 10 p.m. curfew. Where have the concerned residents been regarding the 1770 House, the Maidstone Hotel, and the Baker House? Zero Bond membership requirements include individuals with a high level of integrity and demonstrating an ability to contribute to the community. As a longtime member of the Soho House, I suspect it would be a similar low-key experience.

One last point: I came across several dog whistles, such as “There is an admirable traditional history of discretion among the most elite members of American society who choose to spend time with us in our community” (“Discretion,” Letters to the Editor, April 25).




Red Skies at Night
April 27, 2024

To the Editor,

One doesn’t realize the last moment you speak with a parent. For me it was a “goodnight” and “I love you” at 6 in the early evening last Monday, only to get a phone call just a bit over 12 hours later that Dad didn’t wake up. E.M.T.s were working on him and all I could do was sit helpless 1,381 miles away. Fifteen minutes later, that slice of childhood innocence one holds onto was lost as the realization I have no parents crept into reality. It’s a fact of life, don’t get me wrong. We all can’t live forever.

I reminisced the other day moving some papers off the counter and my birthday card from March that my father sent was underneath the stack. It’s a beach scene, the sun setting, some beach grass and a few ripples. The inside, written in the cursive letters now lost on so many today: “That’s what the end of your road should look like, always.” Who can argue with someone who saw the sights before a majority were here? Before our road was a road? I can’t. Heck, even the yarns that would make so many pause in disbelief, as a child, then as a young man, I would shrug off as another tall tale -– they all keep coming to light as fact and truth. How could you wrap up someone’s life in such a short synopsis?

I’m glad after his lifelong search to find again the Amagansett of his youth he found a place as close as he could. That made him happy. The stages one goes through with a father. Idolize them, demonize them, humanize them. Unlike many, I got to the last part earlier than most. Unfortunately, just like Burgess Meredith at the end of that one “Twilight Zone” episode, “Time Enough at Last,” there was time now. Now, it’s over in a blink of an eye. Here’s to fresh clams, a daily catch, red skies at night, your race car, motorcycle, guitars, banjo, mandolin, harmonicas, those damn bib overalls, family, a bountiful harvest, and the wind at your back. May you be at peace.

Still here,



First Rate
East Hampton Village
April 29, 2024

Dear Editor,

I would like to take this opportunity to give an enormous shout-out to two local organizations which put on amazing performances last weekend.

The first event was “The Wizard of Oz” live at the LTV Studios. It was a production of the Black Box Performance Project and the South Fork Performing Arts. Bravo to the participants. The musical was performed by local students of all ages –- all who showed confident stage presence and very apparent joy at creating something so good. The musical was glorious -– music, singing, and staging was first rate. The cast had me and my 10-year-old son on the edge of our seats, tapping our toes, and singing well into the next day.

The second event was the Earth Day Concert at the First Presbyterian Church of East Hampton. Beyza Yazgan, guest pianist, was poised and so very, very skilled. She presented each piece with a sense of humor and humility. She played music composed by, among others, Rachmaninoff, Villa-Lobos, Sibelius, and a very special guest composer, Brian Field. The event was completely focused on our Earth –- with pieces chosen for their having been inspired by trees and birds, fire, glaciers, and ice. The event raised money for Matthew’s Garden at the East Hampton Historical Farm Museum.

These two events last weekend were within steps of downtown East Hampton. They were terrific reminders that there really is “no place like home.” We do not need to travel to see performances like these and should not forget this fragile, glorious, salty, place we call home.

Thank you so much,



The Best Option
East Hampton
April 26,2024

Dear Editor,

This newspaper was correct in advocating the separation of the building of senior housing from the building of affordable housing. Density per acre, the number of bedrooms per unit, and the overall population of active people determine the environmental impact of housing. Seniors have less of an impact than any other demographic.

If you pack families into high-density housing, you will create the need for services. Moreover, half of the subsidized units will go to people who do not live in East Hampton.

If zoning regulations are merely relaxed and affordable housing development is left to the private sector, you will end up with a repeat of underconstruction to meet the need, or million-dollar condos for second-home owners.

The demographics also argue in favor of building high-density housing for just seniors. The 2023 census estimates show 21.8 percent of the East Hampton population (6,236) is over 65. That is more than those under 18, at 18.8 percent.

Although many stubborn politicians in East Hampton want you to believe that the town can build enough affordable housing for everyone, somehow, the facts, the waiting lists, the daily trade parade, the congestion, show this is wrong.

The town has to rely on some other mechanism to solve the problem of affordable housing for those who work here and senior housing for those who want to stay here.

The answer has been staring us in the face for some time. We have 6,236 seniors occupying mostly large single-family homes. Renting these homes to families of people who work here already and renting high-density housing to seniors who live here reduces the construction of new megamansions for second-home owners and, if rents are regulated, provides affordable housing.

The benefit to the real estate industry, the retail business community, the teachers, the manual laborers, the reduction in traffic, the cohesiveness of the community are all on the plus side of the equation.

Downsizing seniors into high-density rental housing is the best option we have. If the public demands it and it makes sense to do it, then there will be politicians who come forward.

Lend your support to this approach.




Dream Come True
East Hampton
April 14, 2024

Dear David,

I recently received in the mail a letter from a group called the Freetown Neighborhood Coalition. After carefully reading their very detailed letter and looking over the proposed plans I have to say that I don’t agree with a single point they made and I am beyond thrilled about the looks of the proposed Project Most plan.

I live directly across the street from the existing Neighborhood House which in its present incarnation is an absolute eyesore. Freetown is a vibrant family-centric neighborhood with neatly kept homes whose children, for the most part, attend the local schools.

One part of the letter that I was most struck by was the ill-informed bit about the refusal to consider either Most Holy Trinity or the former Child Development Center of the Hamptons building. First, neither property is being offered as a donation to Project Most. Further, the existing building at C.D.C.H. is in dire and serious need of renovation and, again, is not being offered as a donation.

What is being offered as a gift to Project Most and the community is a stunning building, landscaping, and 2.4-acre parcel at 92 Three Mile Harbor Road. This is an unparalleled gift to the children of our community which is deeply needed, especially as our year-round community continues to grow.

As a mother of four children who attend the local schools, I can attest to the fact that affordable and engaging after-school programs are desperately needed in East Hampton and the proposed Project Most plan at 92 Three Mile Harbor Road would be a dream come true.



Fun, Satisfying
April 29, 2024

Dear David,

The Wainscott Citizens Action Committee and Friends of Georgica Pond co-hosted a litter pickup in the Wainscott business district on Saturday morning and 20 neighbors volunteered – ranging in age from four years old to 70-plus. It turns out that picking up roadside litter with your neighbors can be fun and satisfying! The East Hampton Town Highway Department will come get 20 or more bags of trash that used to despoil our roadsides and commercial district.  Join the fun in your neighborhood at other scheduled pickups during the East Hampton Litter Action Committee’s No-Fling Spring month of events.


East Hampton Litter Action Committee,
Wainscott Citizens Action Committee


How Fabulous
April 29, 2024

Dear David,

The East Hampton town Litter Action Committee thanks you for all your shout-outs and coverage of our litter pickup events. It takes a community – the press, town organizations, and local businesses – to spread the word and make a difference.

This past Saturday, the Gerard Drive litter pickup sponsored by the Litter Action Committee in partnership with the Accabonac Protection Committee and East Hampton Trails Preservation Society was a huge success. Thirty or so volunteers including Girl Scouts from Brooklyn showed up. How fabulous is that!

Our next No-Fling Spring pickup event will meet at Ashawagh Hall on Saturday at 10 a.m. It is being sponsored by the East Hampton Litter Action Committee and the Springs Citizens Advisory Committee in partnership with Micky’s Carting, Bistrian Materials, and Corridor Watch. Everyone is welcome to join – it makes a difference and it’s fun.

And, now for our shout-out to all the businesses, organizations, and volunteers who are helping to make East Hampton litter free: Thank you for caring and participating.

With much appreciation,


East Hampton Town Litter Action Committee


Deplorable Rhetoric
April 26, 2024

Dear David,

I wanted to address the troubling sentiments recently expressed by Bea Derrico in the latest issue of The Star. It deeply concerns me to witness individuals, particularly those I can only describe as zealots, bigots, and the uneducated, spreading hate and divisive rhetoric. Bea Derrico’s remarks are not only inflammatory but also contribute nothing of value to our community discourse. Her comments reflect a lack of empathy and understanding, and they serve only to sow further discord.

Let us not forget the tragic events at Kent State University in 1970, where unarmed college students protesting the Vietnam War were met with violence from the Ohio National Guard. The senseless loss of four lives and injury to nine others should serve as a stark reminder of the devastating consequences of violence against civilians, especially young students.

Bea Derrico’s stance on these matters places her on the wrong side of history. The events of Oct. 7 were indefensible, and violence against civilians cannot be condoned. Although I wholeheartedly condemn the tragedy that befell Israeli civilians on that day and believe all Israeli hostages should be released immediately, it is undeniable that the Israeli government and military have overstepped their bounds in their response.

Recent news stories, including the heartbreaking account of an infant delivered via emergency C-section from her deceased mother, who was killed in an Israeli airstrike alongside her family, underscore the severity of the situation. Moreover, the discovery of a mass grave containing 392 bodies at the Nasser Medical Complex following the withdrawal of Israeli troops further emphasizes the need to condemn reckless loss of life and to strive for justice and peace.

It deeply troubles me to witness individuals not only fail to condemn such actions but also condone them. These individuals claim to uphold religious values, yet their actions betray a lack of compassion and empathy. It is hypocritical for them to speak of God and Christianity while spewing such deplorable rhetoric.

Furthermore, I challenge these individuals to explain precisely what Marxism entails in economic terms and cite reputable sources (Tucker Carlson and Nostradamus are not reputable), as their understanding appears to be lacking. I also urge these individuals to educate themselves before speaking and to strive for a more inclusive and compassionate society.

Warm regards,



Spend, Spend, Spend
April 29, 2024

Dear David,

Energy prices, mainly the cost of electricity, have increased since Biden took office, putting plenty of dents in our pocketbooks and checkbooks. Just wait until these so-called green energy turbines are totally completed. Best you get a third job. Be aware that within the next five to ten years, these so-called energy savers will need total maintenance. The idea of rebuilding them is a huge waste of our dollars. Since January 2021, electric prices have soared 29.4 percent. This is 50 percent more than overall inflation, rising 13 times faster than the previous seven years.

However, in this administration, there is no such thing as a waste of money. We live in spend, spend, and spend some more. Everyone should purchase helicopters at $95 billion just to find out you can’t land them as they rip up lawns.

I don’t have the full answers to student loans. I do know this administration was told they couldn’t forgive these loans as it was unconstitutional. The Biden administration is working hard on spinning this warning, as they want these students’ votes, along with the illegal immigrants’ votes.

In God and country,



Jefferson and I
April 26, 2024

To the Editor,

Here’s why Thomas Jefferson and I both support the New York State budget’s “tax credits for independently owned community newspapers”:

“Were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers, or newspaper without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.”

(His words, not mine.)



Dumber Than Rocks
St. Petersburg, Fla.
April 25, 2024

To the Editor,

The anti-Jewish and anti-American protests occurring at several American university campuses are mostly peaceful, but it doesn’t change the fact that the majority of student protesters are dumber than rocks, the international students who participate are ungrateful, parasitic, traitorous opportunists, the professors who praise them are antisemites, and the presidents of some of these institutions of Marxism and Communism indoctrination are spineless, wimpy group thinkers, more concerned with keeping their bloated salaries than protecting the rights of every and all students who wish to move freely about their ultra-expensive (flush with endowments that do not offset any of the tuition) American universities and whose loans you and I have to subsidize with our tax dollars and will eventually pay off because a large percentage of these entitled numbskulls will be unemployable.

I remember the four American student protesters in Ohio who died on a college campus protesting the American military draft sending American boys over to a jungle to fight for our freedoms against a foreign regime who wasn’t an existential threat to our American form of democracy in a war (some historians like to call it a “conflict”). Many Americans at the time, young and old, questioned and challenged the Establishment to pull out of the hand-to-hand combat exercise of futility that was killing thousands of young, college-age, virile men and returning thousands of survivors, catastrophically maimed and traumatized, creating an epidemic of opiate addicts in the generation that was supposed to lead our country into the greatest renaissance of existence. Pause. Today, the United States leads the world in the top 10 countries that use the most illicit drugs.

All speech is free speech, and all protests are protected by the Second Amendment, including anti-war protests. However, don’t confuse these anti-Israel, anti-American, pro-Hamas campus protests with the noble and patriotic duty of all Americans to protect the God-given rights of American individual freedoms and to protest wars without endangering the lives of any American who doesn’t agree with them. Protest the Establishment all you want, but when it turns into a personal vendetta as it did under Hitler, seeking the elimination of Jews, and you praise it, you might want to look into a mirror.

If you are a parent of a student protester/actor who masks their face like a coward, locks arms with other protesters, and blocks the safe passage while chanting death threats to Jewish students and other Americans, please pick them up, bring them home, stop paying for their cellphone and Wi-Fi, and make them volunteer at a community house of worship of their disliking that feeds, shelters, and clothes American homeless war veterans, because you failed.



The Ignorance
East Hampton
April 28, 2024

To the Editor,

In 1968, we were up at Columbia the night before the police came in and beat the remaining students to a pulp. We were there in support of the movement to end the Vietnam War. Lots of kids. Some said 4,000, maybe 2,000. The war seemed crazy and we didn’t know half of what was going on. Spirits were really good. When we left that night, maybe 200 kids decided to spend the night. If the police came they would resist peacefully. We were right, but didn’t have a clue about what was going to happen.

The next day, The New York Times talked about violent kids attacking the police. It fabricated a story. No police were hurt. Only kids wound up in the hospital. I never trusted The New York Times again.

Skip to the present. Again, kids occupying the campus at Columbia. Now it’s Gaza. Not our war. Not our soldiers dying. A different kind of connection. Demanding that the violence stop. Asking the university to divest from Israel. Asking the most violent country in the world to intervene on the side of peace. Being pro-Palestine is a bizarre misnomer. It would include the political and economic well-being of the Palestinian people, not just ending the violence. We are absolutely not and have never been pro-Palestine.

The students in 1968 were branded as radicals. They were more mama’s boys and girls than radicals. They knew little about the world. America was beyond ignorant about world affairs. The students were proven right when we ended the war seven years later.

The present-day occupiers know even less about the world than we did. Not easy to believe. All the internet, cellphone, and 24-hour news cycles don’t make them any smarter or more conscious. The antisemitic tropes that some of them parrot demonstrate the ignorance.

The question posed is, aren’t our universities designed to be sanctuaries for academic learning and also learning about life? Debating, arguing, creating, and battling? Do they know that they are encouraged to cross lines but be responsible for their actions? Don’t our deranged media and our political elite understand how this process works? Were they ever young? Is there ever any resistance to exploiting a situation?

(One aside: Speaker Mike Johnson went to Columbia to suss out the situation. His Christian nationalists are a primary source of antisemitism in the country.)

There are life lessons that we never seem to learn. Killing begets killing. Every generation thinks it can kill its way out of the crap that it lives in. We reward ignorance and perpetuate it.

By 1968, we had been protesting the war for two years and went on for another seven years. Did the protesting make a difference? Nixon got reelected in 1972. We brutalized our soldiers coming home from the war (150,000 suicides). We ended the draft (to get the public off the government’s back). Did it stop the war? Did our protests matter?

On Sundays, I occasionally join an antiwar group in Sag Harbor. I don’t know that we can change the war. Still, I believe it’s necessary to be there.

The powers that be in this country know that the campus protests are little more than a pain in the neck. The war in Gaza will continue until they are ready to stop it. Yet, they turn them into a major issue to obfuscate the real problem. More deranged are the media and our politicians, for turning the protests into some kind of existential dilemma, than the kids who are sometimes off the rails because they haven’t yet figured out how the world works.



Stop Slaughtering
April 25, 2024

Dear David,

This is a response to the letter of David Saxe and Mitchell Agoos regarding my letter of April 18.

It seems to me that if the coalition government of Netanyahu would stop slaughtering Palestinian civilians via indiscriminate missile and bombing attacks, there just might be an opportunity for a cease-fire, the freeing of the many hostages, and the start of international negotiations with the goal of creating a Palestinian nation-state. It is important to remember that it was the United Nations negotiations that led to the creation of the State of Israel in 1948.

It might also be helpful if Netanyahu would end his policy of creating numerous so-called Jewish “settlements” in the supposedly self-ruled Palestinian West Bank. In 1972, there were 1,182 settlers in a few settlements. In 2023, there were 500,000 settlers in 144 settlements.

As for the role of terrorism, one must acknowledge that historically it is not a one-way street involving only the Palestine Liberation Organization and Hamas. One would hope that Mr. Saxe and Mr. Agoos are aware of the tactics of the Stern Gang and the Irgun Zvai Leumi directed against British soldiers and politicians and Palestinian Arabs during the British Mandate. The same groups cooperated in massacring hundreds of Palestinians in the village of Deir Yassin in 1948. In 1982, the Sabra and Shatila Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon were encircled by the Israeli Defense Forces, who permitted their Lebanese Christian Phalangist militia allies to enter the camps and butcher thousands of innocent men, women, and children. The Israeli defense minister at the time was Ariel Sharon. He later served as the Israeli prime minister from 2001 to 2006.

Despite the bloody history involved in the past and present, no one should deny that Israel has the right to exist as a nation. The same can be said for the Palestinians.




We Are Not Alone
April 29, 2024

To the Editor,

Are we alone?

Have you ever wondered how life started? That’s one question science has yet to answer. As Confucius says, what came first, the chicken or the egg?

In 1859, Charles Darwin came up with the theory of evolution, meaning all life forms evolve and can change into other species overtime. But that doesn’t answer the question of how life started. Darwin thought perhaps it was in a warm swamp or a tidal zone along the seashore. Which is still a leading theory today.

But there are other theories.

In 1969, Tom Brock, a biologist, discovered microorganisms living in a boiling water vent at Yellowstone National Park. No one ever imagined organisms living comfortably in such an environment. Scientists have since discovered extremophiles in freezing-cold, highly acidic, highly alkaline, highly salty, etc., etc., conditions. Some of these organisms have been cocooned for 40-million years and are still alive. This theory opens the door for life to flourish throughout the universe.

In 1977, a team of oceanographers descended into total darkness in a deep-sea submarine to the Galapagos Rift in the Pacific Ocean, seven miles below the surface, and discovered hydrothermal vents and, to their amazement, life! The theory that energy from the Sun was vital for all life was busted, and we learned other forms of energy can also support life. This new theory also makes it possible for life to flourish throughout the universe. NASA’s spaceships have recently discovered many new moons around Jupiter and Saturn, several of which have vast oceans under their icy crust, and may have hydrothermal vents of their own where life could exist and evolve. NASA also has a daunting mission on the drawing board to send a probe through the ice sheet of Europa, one of Jupiter’s moons, and search for such life.

So far, Earth is the only place in the universe where life is known to exist. Microscopic single-celled life got started here 3.8 billion years ago, shortly after Earth formed. It took a staggering three billion years after that before the first multicellular or macroscopic organism finally appeared. So animals have only existed here on Earth for about 600 million years. To get from extremophile to animal seems to be a very big step. The universe may be full of single-celled organisms, but not so many furry creatures like rabbits and bobcats. The next big step in evolution was us, evolving into technically advanced creatures, conscious of the cosmos, a way for the universe to know itself.

Are we alone? If life is discovered even once anywhere other than Earth, that would strongly suggest the universe is full of it. Creatures like us at the top of the pyramid take longer to evolve and so may be exceedingly rare. Although the staggering number of planets that exist even in one galaxy out of billions in the known universe would make it highly probable that we are not alone, even amongst technically advanced creatures like ourselves.


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