August 30, 2012
To the Editor,
I want to take this opportunity to thank the Village of East Hampton for inventing the 23-hour-parking lot, the free-shuttle-to-Main-Beach guys for starting that brilliant business, and Toyota, for making my fabulous 25-year-old Celica. Between the three of you, my summer has been beautiful.
Ban Those Fires
August 27, 2012
To the Editor:
Charcoal, burnt logs, cigarette butts, cigar butts, cigarette lighters, bottle caps, glass bottles, plastic bottles, paper cups, chicken bones, plastic bags, and bits of wood are just some of the things I found on the beach in Wainscott this past week. People are destroying the beauty and the once-pristine beaches of East Hampton.
A beach on which I once walked barefoot, I no longer do. Fear of stepping on metal, glass, and wood prevents me from walking on the sand without sandals or sneakers.
Wise up, East Hampton. You cannot control the litter people are leaving all over the beach; obviously people are not picking up after themselves. So, ban fires on the beach! Times have changed. What used to be — bonfires and cookouts with responsible people cleaning up — no longer exists. Ban those fires, and give monetary fines to those who are destroying the beaches.
September 2, 2012
Holiday weekend misadventures on the highways have put driving safety on my mind.
I speak for geography-impaired drivers everywhere when I say that those G.P.S. gizmos require absolute attention. I therefore support 10 percent all efforts to outlaw anything that can distract us from deciphering our G.P.S. screens while we’re on the road. No iPhones! No e-mails! No e-Books! No G-spots!
Other dangerous distractions that should be prohibited are passengers, daydreaming, and sneezing.
Finally, an old safety tip: When you’re behind the wheel of a car, the only instant messaging you should be doing is with your middle finger.
Made My Day
August 29, 2012
To the Editor:
OMG! I lost my beloved cellphone, retraced my day — parking lots, stores, and lo and behold, someone turned it in intact to Waldbaum’s! I am so relieved! Just thinking about getting a new number, phone, address book, calendar, etc. Ugh.
Thank you anonymous thoughtful person! You made my day! In a good way.
On the Dole
Upon achieving in years the number of trombones
required to lead the big parade, I found I’d rather stand aside
and enjoy the passing show —
particularly that of the feral cats
near my house in the woods.
How I admired their preening on my deck,
bird-stalking & squirrel-chasing in my yard,
disdaining to throw me even a sidelong glance —
until, last week, the anonymous note in my mail box,
informing me: They ain’t that feral!
She and her husband have been feeding the colony
for years, after first sending them to ARF kitty-camp
for inoculations against disease and reproduction!
While I like an idiot sat here writing odes to their intrepid Ron Paulian
self-reliance, they’ve been living on the dole, safe and sterile,
slinking home at mealtimes for free Tender Vittles and Meow Mix!
Another bubble burst.
As we used to say in the ’50s:
September 3, 2012
Summer 2012 has set records on extreme weather around the world, endangering global climate systems. The international science community continues to build on a consensus that the Earth is warming and costs of extreme weather events to society are escalating.
Public opinion polls, the latest conducted by Yale University and George Mason University and released in May, show an increased concern about climate change. Yet, during this election year, neither political party has been willing to open a national discussion on climate change. The timing of your editorial, “Bad News On Climate Change,” (Aug. 30) could not be more appropriate.
Particularly here on the East End of Long Island, it is time for local governmental agencies and civic leaders to take collective action in planning to safeguard our natural resources from the changing weather patterns, higher sea levels, flooding, and storm damage anticipated in the future. The public perception of climate change in our community must be instrumental in motivating our public servants and civic leaders into action. Your editorial is a good start. Thank you.
Climate Change Conservation
Garden Club of America
August 28, 2012
It is indeed time to get serious on septic waste, as we were reminded by an Aug. 16 Star editorial. The subject is not glamorous — quite the contrary — but its importance to our fragile environment, our drinking water, and our health is indisputable. As is the immediate development of a long-term wastewater management plan for East Hampton.
In the spring, the town sponsored a well-attended and highly informative forum on the subject, which was most educational and opened up a series of options.
Common sense dictates that decisions about the future of the scavenger waste plant here must wait on the conclusions of a comprehensive plan. A public hearing on the closing of the plant is scheduled for today. If the board then votes to close the plant, residents should seek assurance in advance from the state that it could be re-opened, if that is one of the conclusions of the plan. In other words, let us keep our options open. Attending this hearing is an option open to all interested citizens.
A Few Matters
August 30, 2012
I have a few things to mention regarding a few matters last week. One, about long letters, applies to me, for sure! I will try to be brief, Bob; it is not my strong suit.
Soozy Miller’s about Stony Hill and the aquifer hit me hard. You see, Soozy, we in the lovely woods of East Hampton have been trying to save the drinking water, too. For four long years we have been fighting for 8.9 acres at Oakview and Middle Highways, right where the Oakview wells are, town drinking water, sits — aquifer, the whole nine. Listen, there are trails there, owls, hawks, wild turkeys, birds of all kinds, turtles, and lady slippers. This parcel is a forest, a beautiful piece of heaven on earth to see and enjoy.
Not knocking Stony Hill and her passion to preserve the water and woods, but hello? Is she aware of what is in East Hampton, where she was writing from? Join us in saving the drinking water and woods and wildlife habitat, and preserve this parcel, won’t you?
While we speak of saving things, perhaps we might consider saving trying to control people. We, who believe strongly in freedom of choice, especially as many women do, do not appreciate a male team of senators debating or deciding our fate. Forget the labels, pro-life, anti-this, blah-blah. How about, we are all human beings? Leave the rosaries off our ovaries — and politics. You are not raising the youngins, so butt out. Bravo to Neil Hausig’s letter!
While I am in violation of the long-winded letter, may I go on? Steph’s Stuff’s owner, Stephanie, needs to either take a big chill pill or get some lessons in manners, or don’t own a shop in town. She owns a toy store but seems to despise children and their parents. She has been rude to most everyone I know. How? “Are you going to buy anything?” she rudely asked a friend the other day, shopping with her little boy. The young mom was a customer of Steph’s before. She got upset and left.
This is not a one-off thing. Stephanie has quite the reputation for rudeness. What’s up? I happened to be in the shop last summer looking around for a toy for my granddaughter. I was browsing. Who walked in but Sarah Jessica Parker and her son, James Wilkie. Well, Stephanie nearly dislocated her shoulder moving so quickly to say hello — so super-duper friendly was she.
Well, S.J.P. was friendly herself, and that’s cool. But my friend did not deserve Steph’s rudeness. She had money to spend, too. That rude stuff you dish out, Stephanie, has got to go.
Thanks for the space. Sorry, Bob, I went over.
NANCI E. LaGARENNE
August 22, 2012
To the Editor,
First, thank you to Linda Hein for her informative commentary (Letters, Aug. 2) on the linkage, or rather non-linkage, between deer, the tick population, and Lyme Disease. I, for one, was doubtful that the tick population is dependent on deer for their sustenance and transportation when there are far more numerous and convenient furry creatures about to satisfy their needs. However, this reality does not negate the need for establishing an ecological balance between deer and humans in East Hampton.
Our family has resided in East Hampton since 1993. At that time fencing on residential property was mainly for the purpose of landscaping and privacy concerns. Deer fencing on residential property was uncommon. It was unusual to see deer on or near our property. They were very shy and discreetly avoided humans. We enjoyed viewing them and photographing them when possible.
Over the years we have attempted to cultivate our property (nothing ostentatious), introducing a variety of trees and flowering plants, and when shopping for plants we always asked the most frequently asked question at our local nurseries, “Are the plants deer resistant?”
Despite always choosing the recommended plants, we inevitably found that local deer eat almost everything, the only question is how much, how quickly. Plants they don’t prefer are nibbled to death. Plants they favor are quickly devoured, including most flowers. After doing the usual for many years, i.e., replacing plants, deer spray, bark wraps, our dog, (a Labrador, lovably ineffective), noise-makers (not advised), etc., we concluded that the problem of an ever-growing deer herd was destroying our property.
Erosion, mangled plants, feces, and urine (on our deck) convinced us that a deer fence and gate were required. Completing the installation was a costly and time-consuming process. It is not what we would have chosen to do under other circumstances.
Once upon a time I was a deer hunter. I hunted on property we owned in Vermont. We ate the deer we took. It was not unusual to hunt for days without seeing a deer. They were stealthy and fearful of predators. This is not the case in East Hampton.
Deer, in numbers more numerous than the population has ever been, roam the patchwork of unfenced properties in search of a dwindling food supply. Today two doe, a yearling, and two fawns sashayed down the middle of the road, stopping to nibble not 25 feet from where I was standing in plain sight. When frightened, they ran a few yards and continued eating. They have no fear. Residents feed them. They are on their way to becoming domesticated.
Problem is, as their numbers grow, natural food supplies will diminish and the herd will become unhealthy. As the herd grows, more landowners will fence in their property, thus exacerbating the problem. Future deer will suffer.
East Hampton Town government has done a commendable job over the years of preserving open space. It has been neglectful of attending to the deer population problem — politics as usual. However, the reality is that we do not live in a game preserve.
The published articles I’ve read opposing the active management of the herd seem selfish and, in the long run, irresponsible. Our effort should be to bring the size of the herd into some reasonable balance with the size, density and ecology of East Hampton. Achieving that goal should include nonlethal means where feasible.
Alternatives such as relocation and sterilization sound good but are fraught with difficulties. The reality is that, regrettably, bringing the herd into balance will probably require a professional, controlled hunt.
August 30, 2012
To The Editor:
I witnessed a single-engine plane crash on the east side of Daniel’s Hole Road at the East Hampton Airport on Aug. 26, Sunday, about 5:20 p.m. I was part of a small group demonstrating against unusually low-flying, loud, and unsafe helicopters and other aircraft leaving East Hampton Airport, continuously flying over homes on the North and South Forks of Long Island as well as further west. I saw the plane veer and start gliding down, then heard a loud banging, crumpling sound, and quickly saw black smoke rising up from the site of where I thought the plane had gone down. Did it land on top of a house? No one knew.
The crash was followed by eerie silence. I had expected to hear an alarm, see an emergency vehicle rush from the tarmac to the crash site — but saw and heard nothing. There was no emergency alarm sounding from the airport. There was no ambulance racing toward the crash. There was actually no reaction from the airport. We who were standing in front of the building began to run up toward where the plane crashed. Then one person dashed out of the airport, jumped in his car, and drove with his hand on his horn at breakneck speed the few hundred yards toward the crash.
As reports have come in, I learned that a young man immediately climbed the fence, jumped down, pulled the passenger from the wreckage, and guided the pilot to safety. Had it been left to a formal airport response, the passenger might have burned up in the plane, and maybe the pilot, too.
So what is the function of the Federal Aviation Administration control tower? Didn’t the traffic controllers from their height see the plane go down? Where was the crash warning signal? Doesn’t the airport have a formal plan in place to deal with plane crashes? If so, where was it? Wasn’t there even an emergency medical technician on staff in case of emergencies? Or maybe foam to put out a possible fire? Nothing.
Now as I listen to the helicopters flying overhead every five minutes on this Thursday before Labor Day weekend, I am terrified. Suppose there is another crash? And this is likely given the amount of traffic using same route for arrivals and departures.
The airport is not only allowing unsafe flights, it is unsafe to use because of its lack of a formal emergency response plan to deal with crashes.
East Hampton Airport should be immediately closed! No more flights in or out at least until an emergency plan is in place to deal with crashes, there are no more possible near misses resulting from dangerously low flying helicopters incoming and outgoing on the same flight path, and flight paths are changed so aircraft fly over uninhabited areas.
August 28, 2012
Did you ever wonder whether our steps are guided?
Last Sunday at around 5 p.m., I hopped on my bike for a ride over to East Hampton Airport. There I chanced upon a group of protesters and agreed to hold up a sign.
As the message on this sign was amusing, it grabbed the attention of a young Levain Bakery worker who parked his Jeep and ran toward me in bare feet to read it.
He went over to the group to learn more about the issue, when a light aircraft crashed into the woods nearby.
Without hesitation, he dashed over the chain-link fence and managed to extricate the female passenger just as the plane caught fire. It was a daring rescue indeed.
Fortunately this accident ended with no loss of life. What if the events leading up to this fortuitous result had not occurred in the order they did?
People Are Angry
August 31, 2012
To the Editor,
Thank you very much for the editorial, “Noise at the Airport,” Point of View from Jack Graves, “The Destroyer,” and letters from Susan Pashman and Peter M. Wolf. We in Peconic, in Southold Town on the North Fork, appreciate your involvement in combating the helicopter problem.
Since 2006, when the ’copter problem suddenly invaded our quiet community, we have been impacted by ongoing traffic not only in summer, but also in fall and spring. We have tried to attack the problem by gathering petitions, writing and calling our representative and the Federal Aviation Administration, but, so far, have come up empty.
Now, with the changed route, ’copters fly over our area north and south via Jessup’s Neck, often one after the other. It’s an out-of-control mess.
As Ms. Pashman suggests, we pay taxes and are entitled to peace and quiet, not this constant uproar which diminishes our quality of life, environment, and is a safety problem that has the potential for ’copters crashing into homes on the current path.
The good news is your editorial, Point of View, and letters by Mr. Wolf and Ms. Pashman give us hope that something is brewing. People are angry, ooking for an avenue to voice their concerns, and as your editorial suggests, “Elected officials and their respective parties would ignore these voices at political peril.”
We thank The Star for adding other voices in search of a solution.
BILL and KATHY FIBKINS
Not Flight Paths
September 3, 2012
Last Thursday night at 11:04 and 11:29 p.m., and the next “morning” at 5:03 and 5:17, our sleep was broken by East Hampton Airport aircraft noise. For thousands of East End residents, most summer days begin and end with invasive aircraft noise.
Beginning in the last century there has been an organized attempt by members of our community to ameliorate unwelcome aircraft noise and pollution. It has only gotten much louder, more noxious, and more widespread. Last year at the December meeting in East Hampton, the town, the pilots, and airport officials swore that things would improve this summer, merely by bringing in a “control tower.” We said, “We doubt it. It is more likely to get worse.”
We were right. And they said, “Oh, you just want to close the airport,” as if that were some inconceivably wicked scheme.
We said, “No, we want to fix it, not nix it.”
We were wrong. We should have said, “Yes, of course we would love to see it closed. We hate it. It doesn’t do us any good at all. Why wouldn’t we want to close it?” Local pilots should be aligning with us, not against us.
The problem is not flight paths. The problem is aircraft and the absolute disregard for this community that many aircraft operators and officials demonstrate. (See editorial in The Star last Thursday.) So long as discussions revolve around flight paths the central issue is ignored— just as hell-copter operators and jet owners and sea plane passengers wish it to be.
The airport manager, Jim Brundige, is a shill for commercial operators, a former hell-copter pilot himself, who has shown disregard for many of those who pay his salary. He is a large part of the problem. Putting him on a solution “committee” is akin to asking the fox how best to protect the hens.
At our rally on Friday several things were noted:
1. The people passing by in their vehicles who indicated any response were in favor of what we were doing by 4 to 1.
2. The aircraft idling on the tarmac produced fumes blown at us by the prevailing winds, fumes that were so toxic we could smell them on Daniel’s Hole Road. I began to feel sick, and my throat started to hurt.
3. One of the airport users asked a citizen, “What is your problem?” The citizen replied, “We are trying to protect our community.” The user spewed, “I don’t give a fuck about your community.”
The solution is simple, either insist that all airport users abide by civil curfews commensurate with the normal working day (9 a.m. to 5 p.m.), insist that all operators maintain maximum altitudes when over residential areas, as on Martha’s Vineyard, for example — including hell-copters spiraling way up and down, as they are designed to do, rather than glide-path approaches, monitor the toxic impact of emissions, and maintain 24-hour management presence to enforce this — or close the airport once and for all.
Moving the flight paths has already been done multiple times, and accomplished nothing. The problem is not flight paths. The problem is the way the airport is presently being used by people who refuse to recognize that much of the rest of the community despises their loud, wasteful, dangerous, noxious, and obnoxious behavior. If East Hampton Airport were closed tomorrow, life for most of us would improve dramatically.
August 28, 2012
Kudos to the heroes that disregarded their own safety to assist the two people in the plane crash Sunday afternoon. Kudos to our first responders, who immediately put out the fire. Where would we be without them? Loud applause for all of them.
This incident, thankfully, avoided residential areas, as a few in the recent past did not. Egypt Lane was saved because the plane ran out of fuel. Montauk also was fortunate. Next time we may not escape unharmed.
This brings to mind the safety of residential areas. Had this crash occurred at the end of Runway 4-22, the plane would have hit a house and God knows what would have happened, especially a plane loaded with fuel that may have hit a house. Our first responders would also be in harm’s way. That locale is completely built out, and before 4-22 was abandoned planes would come in and out as low as 50 feet over houses on Debra’s Way and other areas. There is a push by the pilots to have this abandoned runway opened despite the recommendations of the Federal Aviation Administration.
Again the F.A.A. verbatim quote: “We recommend the elimination of Runway 4-22 from use as a runway and that the plan specifically designate 16-34 as the secondary runway. Runway 4-22 does not provide significant coverage based upon historical wind conditions. Its intersection with other runways are dangerous.” That is it in a nutshell.
Sixteen-34 goes out over a sand pit, and if an emergency occurs and a plane comes down, no houses, families, or first responders are in peril.
In addition, the F.A.A. stated it will not “share the cost of a tertiary runway considering it unnecessary.” That puts the burden solely upon the taxpayer to pay to have their homes and safety at issue so a few selfish people can play at their hobby. Families should be the first priority.
ARTHUR J. FRENCH
Can Be Resolved
September 1, 2012
Routes are not the place to focus. Routes are a zero sum game. The obsession with one flight path as opposed to another simply pits one community or neighborhood against another. No doubt to the amusement of those who do not wish to have the intolerable disturbance of the entire South Fork community caused by aircraft resolved.
The place to focus is on regulation. Regulation of a massive community-wide disturbance caused by the inevitable loud noise generated by all forms of aircraft, but most particularly by the lingering racket of helicopters.
We are a community that successfully adopts zoning, noise controls for construction hours of operation, permits for large gatherings, and so on — all in the name of equitable treatment of all residents and sensible sharing of resources. The air is a common resource and quiet enjoyment of property and surroundings is a legal right of all residents.
What should be regulated?
Hours of permitted operation. I suggest 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., roughly business hours when most residents are engaged in their daily tasks, not trying to rest.
Volume of traffic. Reservations should be required so that the volume of traffic is tolerable. As it is, in many locales, including where I live, low-flying, blasting noise occurs every two or three minutes during peak aircraft operation time.
In addition: How about charging for parking, as at beaches? And why not make the charge high enough to help town finances? How about charge for use of the airport facility for non-resident aircraft, enough to make the airport a meaningful profit center for the town?
The issue cannot be resolved by addressing aircraft owners or pilots or contract companies that profit from the disturbance to all of us. The issue can be resolved by sound, thoughtful, civil, and equitable governance on behalf of the huge majority. This is what is expected of our elected officials. Let us hope that before more intense measures have to be taken that they will rise to their expected responsibility.
PETER M. WOLF
Silence Condemns Us
August 29, 2012
To the Editor,
The New York Times, about one-and-a-half weeks ago, published the photographs and names of the 2,000 American armed forces personnel who died in the war in Afghanistan. My heart and eyes shed tears of anguish. Yet the political campaigns continue with all the hoopla and cheering with fluttering flags in the wind.
Why aren’t our leaders of whatever political persuasion back in Washington dealing with this crisis? Our young men and women are dying every day, many at the hands of our so-called allies, and soon we will leave and, like in Iraq, minimal changes will have occurred, and no one will be safer than before, while hundreds more of our finest young men and women will be dead.
The president and his people and Governor Romney and his people ought to be dealing with and speaking out about American blood being shed daily, Syria out of control, death all around, instead of limiting themselves to the brouhaha of this campaign that has been going on for at least two years. Life is more sacred than another political visit.
Where is the outcry, America? Another generation of the best and brightest are dying in our country’s service, and our silence condemns us. The human debt is a far greater debt than the financial debt.
RABBI SHELDON ZIMMERMAN
Jewish Center of the Hamptons
Money Is Poisoning
September 3, 2012
Last Wednesday, in an online question and answer, President Obama wrote “. . . I think we need to seriously consider mobilizing a constitutional amendment process to overturn Citizens United. . . .”
This is the most promising statement to date by either presidential candidate. The Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision directly enabled corporate “persons,” special interests, and wealthy donors to hijack elections with unlimited and unaccountable contributions. This money is poisoning our democracy. We no longer have government “of the people, by the people, and for the people.” We have the best government money can buy for corporations and special interests.
President Obama also called for passing the Disclose Act and legislation prohibiting the bundling of campaign contributions from lobbyists. Before a constitutional amendment, these laws would bring at least some transparency to the current money pit of domestic politics.
Organizations like Public Citizen lobby tirelessly for such measures and deserve our support.
August 30, 2012
By now, everyone who stays informed of these things should know that our ethically challenged congressman, Tim Bishop, has been charged with selling his services to a constituent for at least $5,000 and perhaps as much as $10,000. If this action proves to be as illegal as it seems right now, someone is going to be in serious trouble. Sadly, however, the allegations show how much trouble the East End is in because we really do not have a voice in the House of Representatives looking out for us. Unless we are willing to “give” money to Mr. Bishop’s re-election efforts, apparently he cannot be bothered to help us out — which explains why we have so many unsolved problems and outstanding issues.
It is time for a change. After 10 years, and little in the way of individual accomplishments, Tim Bishop still votes with Nancy Pelosi 97 percent of the time! She certainly doesn’t represent the East End — and neither does he.
Smart thinking people will vote for Randy Altschuler, who is running against Bishop on the Republican, Conservative, and the all-important Independence Party lines. Randy will be a breath of fresh air because he is not tainted with serious allegations of impropriety and under a dark cloud, like Mr. Bishop. Most important, however, is the fact that Randy will caucus with and get important committee assignments from the House majority party. This is something Tim simply cannot lay claim to and something that will serve all of us well. Finally, the East End will have a real voice in the House of Representatives.
Vote Nov. 6 for Randy Altschuler for Congress. Let’s not continue the same failed policies that got us here.
August 31, 2012
Before I begin my letter, I want you and your staff to know that I have always admired and trusted what, in my opinion, is The New York Times of the South Fork.
But, as any rookie newspaper reporter knows, the impact of the headline of the front page right hand column of a respected newspaper is immense. When one asks the managing editor how that slot is chosen, the answer is “Kid, if it bleeds, it leads!” So, I was surprised to read the headline of the Aug. 23 issue stating “Altschuler on Attack to Retain Lead.”
Then, I was shocked and disappointed, in this week’s issue, to read, in the middle of Page 13, in a two-inch-square box, a correction indicating that, to date, no independent polling has taken place and that the headline was based on a poll conducted by the Altschuler campaign staff.
As a long-term resident of Amagansett, I am concerned with the potential impact of the headline. In all fairness to our outstanding congressman, Tim Bishop, this misconception deserves further disclosure.
Saw His Chance
August 26, 2012
There is nothing unusual about the exchange that took place between Representative Tim Bishop and one of his constituents, Eric Semler, who requested help to secure a permit to hold fireworks to celebrate his son’s bar mitzvah.
Let’s review the steps involved:
1. The request is made.
2. Mr. Bishop’s office works on the request, including a trip to the Fish and Wildlife Service to obtain clearance.
3. We assume Mr. Semler decides he wishes to make a donation (he’s grateful). The request is passed on to Molly Bishop. (This is the part that is in question. In reading Molly Bishop’s e-mail, it appears to be in response to Mr. Semler, not an initiation of request for a donation.)
4. Tim’s campaign manager, Molly Bishop e-mails to Mr. Semler the particulars, including a schedule of times. (Lucky that Mr. Bishop, who was wise enough to place his daughter, whose loyalty and integrity would always be like Caesar’s wife, above suspicion, as well as constant.) The request is granted.
5. Mr. Semler makes a sizable donation.
6. Mr. Bishop realizes the donation could be misconstrued as a payoff and decides to donate the money to veterans’ groups, which are charities close to his heart.
So what’s so unusual? Constituents make requests to the congressman all the time. I myself have asked him on two occasions, when each of my daughters was applying to local school districts for teaching positions out here, for a recommendation. After their complete résumés and cover letters were reviewed by him, the letters of recommendation were sent. Unfortunately, neither secured the much-needed positions. Of course, trying to get a job is a bit different than fireworks for a kid’s bar mitzvah.
It was the owner of the fireworks company, who was a long-ago rival of Mr. Bishop’s, who saw his chance to scream and yell, and he did to all of his cronies, one of which is Diana Weir‚ Randy Altschuler’s campaign manager.
When you have served as Bishop has, your opponent must seek every little needle to build a case for himself — of which there is none. Mr. Bishop has conducted himself since he first took office in an exemplary fashion, dedicating himself to the needs of the people who sent him to Congress and to the goals of the country we all love.
PHYLLIS I. MALLAH
September 1, 2012
I just got back from Toronto on a short vacation. During that time I spent an evening with friends. Since it was on my mind (I was working on a letter to The Star addressing the health care issue), I asked them their experience with their National Health Plan, a publicly funded health care system. They were very pleased with it and wondered why we were having so much trouble catching up with every other developed country in the world.
Our Affordable Heath Care Act, after a year of unbelievable, uncompromising Republican behavior, is a complex, difficult to understand law. As President Obama has repeatedly said, it will need revision as it comes into play over the next few years. It is, after all, over 1,000 pages long, the result of nearly a year of constant, bitter debate. Intense lobbying (doctors, pharmaceuticals, health insurance companies, and a segment of our country that are convinced that any government involvement in health care is to be shunned) has resulted in a law with a series of compromises and, unfortunately, some exclusions.
There are, of course, many excellent provisions of the law. One very easy to understand provision, in my mind, is non-debatable. For the first time in our history, practically all our citizens, independent of their pocketbook, will have health care coverage. No longer will they have to depend on emergency room medicine, trade food for doctors or drugs, or, even worse, hope that their condition will get better by itself.
How could any decent citizen want to cancel this concrete expression of real concern for our less-advantaged citizens? This concept has been proposed by both Republican (President Nixon) and Democratic presidents over the last 50 years.
Surely we cannot let greed, ignorance, and jingoism drive us backward. Remember in the early ’60s it was Ronald Reagan repeatedly warning us that adoption of Medicare was one giant step toward socialism.
I am sure you know that Randy Altschuler, the Republican candidate for our House seat, has repeatedly stated (as have all the Republican candidates, from Mitt Romney on down) that he is for the total repeal of the Affordable Heath Care Act. Our incumbent Congressman Bishop actively supported the act.
There are many reasons to vote for Tim Bishop and Barack Obama, but in my mind their courage and tenacity to champion a law that gives health care coverage to millions of people down the financial chain deserves our vote in November.
Let us bring those less fortunate than us under the health care umbrella.
America in 2012
September 2, 2012
To the Editor,
When the Nazi Party took over Germany it had a brilliant modus operandi: fraud and fabrication repeated endlessly with small grains of truth to give a slight tinge of credibility. Every idea or position was distortable and malleable enough to fit into its program, present everything in the context of taking back our country, restoring national pride, and sacrificing for the fatherland. Before the Internet and television, the supplicant press and the controlled radio reinforced the imagery. People lost sense of what was real or wasn’t, but they bought the [lie] that the Nazis were going to save the country from all the scapegoats they had lined up.
Skip to America in 2012. See the people at the Republican convention, all white and blonde in a country that is almost 60 percent nonwhite. See the ecstasy and rapture on their faces during Paul Ryan’s speech and listen to the platform of the Republican Party.
Health care costs will ruin the country, and President Obama is trying to bring us down. True, costs are rising. False, it will bring us down. Ninety percent of our health care costs are attributed to senior citizens; letting them die would be the simplest solution. Alternatively, if we want to keep them alive, it’s a guns-or-butter question: Do we spend a trillion on the military or on our parents? The issue is never raised because it necessitates a choice, and we can’t pretend to throw our parents under the bus and not really do it.
Voter fraud is the great Nazi equalizer. We better stop it before it starts. It could be epidemic — if it actually existed. Isn’t it logical that everyone have a voter ID? In a country with the lowest voter turnout in the Western world we should be begging people to vote, fining them if they don’t. Democracy can’t work if we don’t vote. Democratic socialism was like pro-life: Reality never intervened.
Mr. Obama is evil, socialist, un-American, and mostly black. He is vilified because he inherited an economy that has been structurally damaged. The Nazis blamed their economy on the foreigners. Mr. Obama didn’t blame the conservatives like he should have. He didn’t call them greedy pigs that screwed the middle class. He didn’t whine when they obstructed his attempts to improve the economy (a successful Nazi tactic that is remarkably anti-American). Let’s scapegoat the [black man], the immigrants, and women.
Abortion is the war on drugs and the war on terror combined, the endless scam with a perpetual enemy, saving the unborn while wasting the living. Cutting education, social programs, and jobs has the same effect as aborting a fetus — it’s a longer, slower death. George Carlin said that people have value before they are born and once again at 18, when they are old enough to go to war.
“Save America!” is the screed at this week’s convention. But from whom, the poor, the immigrants, our parents? None of them screwed the country. None of them are responsible for our economic and social chaos. None of them brought the country to its feet last summer and ruined our credit rating. Like the Nazis, the Republicans go after the weakest and the defenseless. They will shaft our soldiers like they did the unions, the teachers, the cops, and the public sector workers. They will shaft them because they can.
The case for the Republican Party being neofascist (or too stupid) is an easy one to make, but essentially pointless. There is no reconciliation, no middle ground to work from. The absurdity of its certainty is mind-boggling.
We are living in uncharted waters, desperately clinging to old, failed methodology when we need new and daring approaches. The emperors new clothes doesn’t resolve our problems. Winning the election only exacerbates a situation that is tipping on the perilous.
August 31, 2012
I have an answer for C.J. Mellor’s question.
No, Mr. Mellor, American Jews will never be fed up with Israel, even those like me who haven’t ever visited Israel and do, from time to time, question some of its actions.
But I can assure, you, Mr. Mellor, with great certainty that American Jews and others are fed up with people like you!
RICHARD P. HIGER
September 3, 2012
To the Editor:
I don’t know who C.J. Mellor is, or why he felt compelled to write from South Carolina to The Star (Letters, Aug. 30), but the venom and falsehood contained in that letter cannot go unchallenged. Mr. Mellor accuses Israel of “mendacity,” with no specifics to back up that charge, but is apparently unaware of true mendacity in the Middle East. The Palestinian Authority, the “moderate” Palestinian government and Israel’s supposed peace partner, continues, in its schools and mass media to incite hatred and violence against Israel and Israelis, glorifying suicide bombers, and perpetuating the dream of the eventual elimination of Israel.
“Warmongering” is Mr. Mellor’s next accusation, apparently unaware that it is the leadership of Iran that has clearly and unequivocally stated its desire to see Israel wiped off the map (and is actively pursuing the means to do so). I’m not exactly sure what Mr. Mellor’s recommended response is to a (credible) death threat (and in this case, probably don’t want to).
The next two characterizations, “backstabbing” and “insatiable greed,” sound rather more like classic anti-Semitic stereotypes than legitimate criticism of a country. Clearly, Mr. Mellor is terrified of a perceived international Zionist conspiracy that has somehow taken control of the United States government. But this country stands with Israel (not uncritically) for our own reasons, including its strategic value as an ally in a critical and unstable part of the world, our common values, and the fact that the great majority of Americans support Israel’s right to exist and to defend itself.
I shudder to think what Mr. Mellor envisions as a “happy ending.”
Also, a letter in The Star of Aug. 16 contained a significant factual error in need of correction. Without making any further comment on the letter from Neil Hausig, I point out his sentence, referring to the Palestinian Arabs, “[t]hat they once had a country and a national pride. . . .” However one views competing visions of the future, the history is indisputable. There never was a country of Palestine — ever. There have only been three independent states in that land: Israel/Judah, until its destruction by Babylonia in 586 b.c.e.; Judea (established by the Jews who returned from the Babylonian exile), until its destruction by the Romans in the year 70; and the modern State of Israel since 1948. Likewise, they are the only three countries in history with Jerusalem as their capital city.