Letters to the Editor - 06.02.11

Proudly Marched
    May 30, 2011
To the Editor,
    They are Dead. I’m alive.
    It has been 43 years since serving in Vietnam with the First Air Cavalry Division, Air Mobile, 2nd Battalion 12th Cavalry. On Sunday I marched in the first Montauk Memorial Day parade. My marching was in recognition of the ultimate sacrifice made by three people who lost their lives while conducting aerial recognizance during an engagement with the enemy on Jan. 7, 1968.
    I was supposed to go on that chopper.
    Lt. Col. Bob Gregory asked if I would like to take a ride on the Charlie Charlie (command and control) chopper. I said, “Sure, I’ll get my gun.”
    This was a big deal, going up with the “six” in his chopper. I was a sergeant (E5) working in the tactical operations center. Lieutenant Colonel Gregory was sort of my hero. He was an impressive man, knew his job and carried it out in the tradition of a cavalry officer.
    I got my gun; my hooch was only a few hundred feet from the Charlie Charlie pad. When I arrived, Colonel Gregory, Major Lawrence Malone, and Master Sgt. Richard Keefe were on board. Gregory motioned that there wasn’t any room. “Oh well, I’ll go next time,” I thought.
    I guessed the new major wanted to get involved. He had just arrived in the unit. Sergeant Keefe was rotating out in two weeks. He was “short”; he had my spot on the chopper. I was disappointed. I really would have liked to have gone up with the six, but there would be other times.
    I held onto my helmet and waved as they lifted off. I walked down the rutted path past a clump of trees. There was a Jeep on the side with its radio on. The Charlie Charlie was down. It had been seen receiving 50-caliber fire and falling into the treeline with smoke.
    We found out about a week later that it had crashed and burned, and all aboard lost their lives. We couldn’t get to it initially because the area was held by the North Vietnamese Army.
    I’m alive. They and the crew of the chopper are dead.
    This Sunday morning I put the three names on strips of leather and secured them to a bamboo pole with an American flag at the top. I put my Vietnam First Cavalry hat on and went to the parade and proudly marched, in their memory.
    For the first time in 43 years, as I walked along the parade route in Montauk, people were clapping, and saying, “Thanks for your service!” I was finally getting some recognition. I quietly cried, we’re all, finally, getting some recognition.

Such a Success
    May 24, 2011
Dear David,
    I’d like to extend a huge thank-you to the members of the East End Foundation, the Montauk Fire Department’s Ladies Auxiliary, the Montauk Friends of Erin, and the staff of the Old Harbor House for making the Bobby Huser fund-raiser last week such a success. Thanks also go to the multitude of Montauk, Amagansett, East Hampton, and Springs businesses that donated their time, services, and in some cases, their food for the event.
    I’d like to particularly thank all the people who helped make Saturday so special.
    Thanks to all of you for making Saturday such a great day.
    Long Island Commercial Fishing  Association

Best Evidence
    East Hampton
    May 20, 2011
Dear David,
     It’s been quite a week. The oil companies fought hard against the repeal of the $4 billion in tax breaks they enjoy despite record profits. After all, Exxon only made $11 billion in profits last quarter; they could eat that $4 billion for this year themselves.
    Then the health insurance companies making record profits are demanding rate increases to hedge against possible losses in the future. A rate decrease would be more appropriate. They are providing the best evidence for a single-payer program.
    And finally, there is Massey Energy, which put profits before the lives of 29 miners. The verdict is in after an exhaustive study. Massey didn’t care and regulators fell asleep. There should be more indictments of high-level company managers and some firings of lazy bureaucrats.
    Enjoy the holiday weekend.

Moment of Candor
    East Hampton
    May 17, 2011
To the Editor,
    One can only applaud Newt Gingrich’s moment of candor when he said that Paul Ryan’s proposal for health care was “right-wing social engineering.” Bravo, Newt, certainly the brightest light in the dimly lit cubicle of conservative Republicans.
    Newt was vilified en masse by the party faithful, who should have breathed a sigh of relief and gotten on board with him. Because Newt knows that Mr. Ryan’s proposal was a quasi-demented sack of crap. Factually, philosophically, and socially it was pure garbage.
    In less than one week Newt exposed Republican conservatives as cowardly cretins trending toward fascism, also known as social engineering. Maybe Newt’s new-found Catholicism, not in vogue on C Street, inspired him to tell the truth in his first public declaration. Maybe he felt compelled by some higher power to dissociate himself from Mr. Ryan’s band of philistines. Maybe he was appalled by the self-righteous frig­id­ity of his sexually twisted cohorts and was using Mr. Ryan’s piece of junk as a means of distancing himself.
    Does it matter why he did it? Should we question his motives? Newt has the morality of a male hooker stuck under the 59th Street Bridge at 4 a.m. in mid-February. A strange bit of candor at a time when ideology trumps reason and blind stupidity trumps everything.

Almost Double
    May 30, 2011
Dear David,
    The article “Striped Bass Population Wavering” (May 26) gives the impression, perhaps unintended, that this fish is in some sort of trouble. The opposite is true, and striped bass continues to be a species that demonstrates how fishery management can work well (perhaps too well, as I’ll explain).
    The article leaves out important information about the population numbers. The last assessment of the population took place in 2009 and it revealed that the numbers of the fish are 185 percent above the level at which managers would become concerned about future reproductive success of the species. That means there are nearly twice as many adult striped bass as are needed to allow continuation of the landings currently made by both commercial and recreational fishermen — almost double what is needed.
    To put this in hard numbers, as of 2009 there were almost 53 million adult striped bass in Atlantic coastal waters. The number harvested by both commercial and recreational fishermen was recorded that year to be about 3 million fish. That left 50 million adults in the water to reproduce the next generation of the species.
    Another problem with the information in the Star article is that it fails to mention that the declines in annual recruitment (young born each year) were measured against the highest levels of recruitment ever recorded (2004) and that the declines in recreational landings were measured against the highest recreational landings ever recorded (2006).
    It is faulty science to expect a fish population to always be at the highest levels ever observed. Fish populations are cyclical: up and down, with some medium level actually the most desirable. This is because constant huge populations in the nursery habitats (our rivers and bays) are likely to cause disease (a natural mechanism to reduce overcrowding), and are also likely to cause excessive cannibalism of new offspring by the younger adults who don’t immediately leave the nursery areas to enter into the annual coastal migration.
Moreover, the striped bass, a skillful predator that is currently one of the most dominant species in coastal waters, has done serious damage to the stocks of weakfish, eels, and winter flounder, all of which are at historically low levels of population.
    Another factor that might help explain the reduction in recreational landings is economic; many charter boat captains along the coast have complained that they have had noticeably fewer customers during the past two or three years. Fewer fishermen means fewer fish landed, not fewer fish in the water.
    Commercial harvest, which accounts for about 25 percent of the total catch by weight, has stayed pretty much constant during these same two or three years.
    The next population assessment will be completed for the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission later this year.
    East Hampton Baymen’s Association

Sense of Community
    May 23, 2011
Dear Editor,
    I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who supported the Ditch Witch wagon during the bid process last week. All of those who texted, tweeted, Facebooked, and e-mailed proved that each one of us has a voice.
    I believe the outpouring of support for the Ditch Witch was only in part about the cart. It had more to do with the neighborhood we have helped create at Ditch Plain. This community is a crazy quilt of people, of all ages, ethnicities, economic backgrounds, professions, locals and nonlocals, surfers and those who don’t even swim. The Ditch Witch is just part of the fabric of this wonderful place. We all share a common love for Ditch Plain and Montauk. It goes far beyond a mere business opportunity. The sense of community one feels when sitting at one of the benches or on a rock by the jetty or standing looking out over that beach from the cliffs at Shadmoor is what people were afraid of losing when there was the idea of a change there.
    The town board deserves our respect and thanks for being receptive, investigating the request-for-proposals process, and in the end doing what they felt best served the community.
    I know that the two vendors who believed they had been awarded the sites at Ditch Plain must be very upset. There is nothing wrong with seeing and acting on the opportunity that was offered by the town for those two sites. When I started Ditch Witch in 1994, I too had hopes and dreams wrapped up in the cart. I understand your disappointment. The system was flawed, and I hope that we can all move on with respect for one another.
    Change is inevitable. It is my hope that all those who supported the local vendors will be respectful as the town again tries to work out this process.
    Sincerely yours,

Uproar Arises
    May 27, 2011
Dear Editor:
    Let me see if I have this straight. The town asks the vendors for proposals (of which many filled out in detail). Then the board awards the coveted spots to certain individuals according to the criteria established and then reverses its decision when an uproar arises on Facebook! Which means — what? That no matter what, some people are getting screwed and no one gave this much thought.
    No wonder the swans have left Town Pond. They can’t even believe what is going on!

Accurate Estimate
    May 28, 2011
Dear David,
    In an e-mail to The Star quoted in a story, “Spar over Independence Party Nod” last Thursday, Supervisor Bill Wilkinson criticized my financial ability based on a claim that I “predicted an $18 million deficit.” Unfortunately, the supervisor did not identify where I said or wrote this statement.
    One letter of mine that Supervisor Wilkinson may have misunderstood was written to The Star in June 2009. I wrote: “On June 2, Janet Verneuille, the East Hampton comptroller, presented to the town board a current assessment of the town’s finances. . . . Most of the financial attention to date has been given to the approximately $18.2 million in operating deficit that Ms. Verneuille projects through the end of 2009.”
    Unlike Supervisor Wilkinson, Ms. Verneuille — and I — were careful to differentiate the operating deficit from the capital deficit.
    Ms. Verneuille’s prediction of an $18.2 million operating deficit was a more accurate estimate of the operating deficit than was ever given by Supervisor Wilkinson or members of his administration.
    The 2009 town audit was released by the outside auditors in December 2010, 18 months after Ms. Verneuille’s financial presentation and my letter appeared. That 2009 town audit shows that the operating deficit we discussed was $17.7 million. It does take the ability to read a financial statement to see this “hidden” fact.    
     If the town’s finances were still run by a nonpartisan comptroller who answered to the entire board, I venture that Supervisor Wilkinson would have fewer of these misunderstandings.

    Mr. Cohen is the Democratic and Independence Party candidate for East Hampton Town supervisor. Ed.

Becoming a Joke
    New Boston, N.H.
    May 24, 2011
Dear Editor:
     I was deeply saddened to hear of the meanspirited hoopla directed at my mother, Elaine Jones, after the Independence Party announced the candidate it would endorse for supervisor in the next election.
    One man, a so-called Republican operative, phoned my mother at home and called her an unprintable name. How nice. Words I can’t include in a letter to the newspaper. What sort of man says these words to a 69-year-old grandmother? He should be ashamed of himself, but my mother wasn’t overly concerned. She said it comes with the territory. For me, it’s this sort of behavior and sense of entitlement that makes me feel like the Republican Party is becoming a joke.
    At the very least, I think the moron needs a refresher on the definition of independence. It means “the state or quality of being independent” and therefore as in politics, “free from the authority, control, or domination of somebody or something else.”
    The Independence Party’s screening committee is not one person but a group, and in fact they poll other Independence Party members by telephone both before and after a screening.
    I had the privilege of attending the Independence Party screening and helped cater the event. Like actors at a casting call, many candidates attended and I assume they ran the gamut — Republican, Democrat, Independence, other. After the last candidate had left and I was cleaning up the venue, the committee decided they would have to table their discussion on supervisor until another meeting because it was getting late.
    This committee was thorough in its screening of each and every candidate, and it’s obvious the members care about the town where they live, work, and raise their families. To say that their selection of supervisor was solely my mother’s doing is ridiculous. Perhaps the Independence Party is simply concerned about the town and believes it is time for a change.
    I’d advise the Republican Party to think about its reputation and try to rein in its members and run a clean campaign with a token sliver of decorum (from the Latin, meaning “right or proper” or in this context “dignified behavior”).

Deer Population
    May 30, 2011
To the Editor:
    In her letter in The Star’s May 26 issue, Winifred Rosen says East Hampton doesn’t have time for a pilot contraception project because the deer population is increasing too rapidly. She says “an estimated 10,000 deer are conservatively said to be living among us now,” and the number has been exploding for decades.
    Where does she get the number 10,000? The only scientific study of the East Hampton deer population (and one of the few empirical studies ever conducted in New York State) was sponsored by our group in 2006. This study estimated the total deer population to be approximately 3,300. The density per square mile was slightly higher than wildlife managers prefer, but it was nowhere near crisis proportions. The deer population might have grown since then, of course, but the only way to obtain a reasonable estimate is to conduct a new study. Our group is ready to help do this.
    Ms. Rosen goes on to project a deer population of 40,000 before our four-year pilot contraception study would be completed. If people took her seriously, the effect would be near panic.
    If our town hopes to engage in rational discussions of how residents and deer can peacefully coexist, the discussions must draw on research evidence to the greatest extent possible. This is why our group has proposed a pilot contraception study.
    Ms. Rosen’s letter is also misleading with respect to Lyme disease. Deer ticks are not the only carriers of Lyme disease. We certainly agree that Lyme disease is a serious problem. Its transmission and prevention need careful study. One step the town can take is to discontinue its participation in the November hunting season for turkeys. Turkeys are among the most avid consumers of ticks.
    In addition to a contraception proposal, our group has undertaken several initiatives, including the installation of roadside reflectors that might reduce automobile-deer collisions. At our May 17 presentation to the town board, we also recommended a slow-driving campaign, as well as setting aside specific town-owned nature preserves as sanctuaries, where deer would be safe from hunters; this measure might alleviate the flight of deer into hunting-free residential neighborhoods. In each case, we see the need for the careful evaluation of outcomes before projects are maintained and expanded.
    We appreciated the town board’s invitation to give a presentation on May 17, and we hope readers will write the town board to encourage it to give our various projects a high priority.
    East Hampton Group for Wildlife

Dock Does Harm
    May 24, 2011
Dear Editor:
    Earlier this week, the East Hampton Town Zoning Board of Appeals discussed an application for a variance that would allow the Broadview Association, of which I am a member, to repair or replace the Bell Estate dock. It is certainly understandable that a handful of very wealthy property owners whose homes overlook the bay would want the dock to be restored because it is an eyesore and more understandable still that they would want other property owners to foot the very sizable bill despite the severe financial hardship this would impose on many of those property owners — especially full-time residents. Who wouldn’t want someone else to pay for your own so-called improvements?
    But there are very good reasons for the board to deny this request, not the least of which is the town’s own flooding and erosion policy statement known as the Town of East Hampton Local Waterfront Revitalization Program.
    The statement, which is the product of vast information and analysis, explicitly recommends that no new hard structures be allowed. “Existing shore parallel structures are to be replaced only under conditions of “exceptional hardship.”
    While an aesthetic mess may not be the most desirable thing, there is no circumstance, even to the effete, wealthy Manhattanites who vacation here, under which having to look out on a battered dock constitutes “exceptional hardship.” None. 
    The report goes on to recommend that the town “not replace groins and other perpendicular structures, except where used to protect navigational channels.” The Bell Estate dock does not protect any navigational channel. Case closed.
    The report also recommends that the board not “issue permits automatically for rebuilding or emergency replacement of structures.” It calls for analysis of the erosion protection function of the structure, versus natural or non-structural protection and yet again reiterates that the town “not replace groins and other perpendicular structures, except where used to protect navigational channels,” just in case this point wasn’t perfectly clear the first time.
    In short, the town shouldn’t be replacing groins nor should it let private associations replace groins.
    As for the erosion analysis, the report provided an overview in which it concluded that the construction of erosion protection devices generally was “poorly conceived” and “often did more damage than good” and, speaking specifically of the beach from Barnes Landing to the Devon Yacht Club along which the Bell Estate dock lies, it concluded that “shoreline erosion protection structures have had limited effectiveness in controlling upland erosion in Reach 3.” Or put simply, there is no sound reason to restore the dock as a means of erosion control.
    But there is even a huge irony in this limited effectiveness. It turns out that the Bell Estate dock has added to the private beach at the expense of the public beaches farther south. That’s right: The public has sacrificed to the private. Perhaps there is a reason for the zoning board to approve a variance that benefits private individuals at the expense of the larger public, but I cannot think of one, and I cannot imagine how public officials will tell their constituents that their public beaches are not as important as the private beach of a handful of wealthy landholders. In fact, the report calls the “sacrifice of recreational resources and public trust lands in order to protect private property . . . an unacceptable cost.”
    But even if you disregard the report and assume against all evidence that the private beach provides additional recreational resources, there is a further irony: The Broadview Association has campaigned tirelessly to prevent the citizens of this community from using the beach, even to the point of petitioning the town to place boulders at the entrance of the beach and of investigating hiring a guard to patrol the beach and keep ordinary citizens out. Citizens are only permitted to traverse the beach, i.e., walk from one place to another without stopping, which hardly qualifies as an additional recreational resource — except for the wealthy individuals who are entitled to use the beach.
    This dock was not created by nature. It was erected by Dennistoun Bell at a time, apparently, when the dock was actually used to dock boats — a use it no longer has. The opportunity to restore the beach to its natural state seems to me to supersede logically the opportunity to restore a dock to its pristine state, especially since it has in no way improved the beach, except, again, to shift usable beach from the public to a private association.
    I certainly appreciate that when it comes to clout, the wealthy and powerful summer residents have every possible advantage over the people, like me, who live here year round, who have raised our families here, sent our children to school here, conducted our businesses here, attended the churches and synagogues here, contributed to the community here, and vote here.
    I certainly appreciate that some board members may think that sparing the four or five wealthy summer residents who live on the Bell dunes from having to look out on a rotting dock far outweighs saving public beaches or restoring the beach to its natural state and that Dennistoun Bell’s so-called improvements are far better than God’s. But the only earthly reason to provide a variance for this entirely unnecessary rebuilding project is aesthetic — not to stave off erosion, not to provide more recreational resources for the public, not to provide bigger and better beaches to which the public would not have access anyway. In broader terms, it would set a terrible precedent, allowing private citizens to benefit at the public’s expense.
    Make no mistake. This isn’t about saving nature or building beaches. The dock does harm, not good. This is about helping four or five people who don’t want to look out on a rusty dock and are hoping that the zoning board will simply disregard the town’s own recommendations so that they won’t have to. I respectfully ask that the board vote “no.”

Amounts to Isolation
    East Hampton
    May 30, 2011
To the Editor:
    Your editorial in the last issue (“Restoring Old Views”) is a very welcome reminder of an issue which, except for the attention called to it by a few residents and officials like Dominick Stanzione, would go, I fear, completely unremarked.
    There is no question that the very character of the land on the South Fork has changed drastically over the last two or three dozen years. With every dense evergreen hedge added to a new house lot we lose a bit more of the quality, the beautiful views, and the cooling ocean breezes. Now even the Napeague stretch is quickly becoming a stark alleyway between tall stands of pine trees. I remember the wonder of that long, straight drive with ocean to the south, bay to the north. I haven’t glimpsed water from that section of road in a long time.
    This problem is not unique to the East End. I grew up in the Ketchum-Sun Valley area of Idaho. The views from every roadway and house of the almost barren, sage brush-covered hills giving way to pine trees and rocky outcroppings in the mountains beyond was wonderful. Now, like much of the East End and certainly all of the Village of East Hampton, all roads in that valley seem to be cut through dense walls of shrubbery and trees. Like the East End, the very character of the land, the initial attraction for so many of those who came there, is being or has been obliterated.
    I hope anyone who truly cares for this unique piece of land called the South Fork will enthusiastically support Proj­ect Open Vista. All this vaunted “privacy” really just amounts to isolation.
    And a particular thanks is due for printing Fran Castan’s “From an Undeclared War Zone.” I cannot imagine a more fitting way to commemorate Memorial Day.

Local Pride
    May 30, 2011
Dear David:
    Last week was a good one for my sense of local pride.
    On Wednesday morning I joined my fellow members of the Old Montauk Athletic Club to help with the seventh annual Bonac On Board to Wellness 5K run-walk. It was a joy to see the energy as hundreds of students, faculty, and community supporters streamed across the finish line. Kudos to the village police for their provision of absolute support and safety. Long before the First Lady, this project for better nutrition and exercise initiated by the middle school nurse and health teacher has become a valuable fixture for our town.
    Later that day I heard that Alec Baldwin had donated $250,000 to Guild Hall. As a committee of one I would like to thank him for using his talent, celebrity, and resources to support so many community projects and organizations in our town and the metropolitan area.
    Over the years I’ve served on a number of scholarship committees. Reading the letters and school transcripts has always filled me with wonderment and pride in the kind of children this town produces and their level of achievement. It also leaves me with a sense of sadness and guilt that there are not enough resources to reward them all.
    Like all towns, ours has the good and the bad, but I would not trade it for any other place on earth.


Still Shocking
    Sag Harbor
    May 23, 2011
Dear David,
    The story (May 19) of an aggressive driver allegedly causing a very serious accident on the killing macadam of the Napeague stretch was unbelievable, but still shocking, especially since it was the very same operator of a vehicle who reportedly employed the same tactics five years ago against another Latino in Montauk, repeating nearly the very same modus operandi, except he didn’t struggle with Gustavo Torres in his road rage this time around, nor apparently did he use any anti-Latino slurs, as witness accounts in Montauk had it in connection with the 2005 incident.
    From the quote given by Detective Lt. Chris Anderson, it struck me as possibly the beginning of a cover-up for the driver, an ex-policeman and ex-firefighter. I would like to know why this driver was not given a sobriety test as a routine and fundamental instrument of investigation.
    I would like to know why the police seem eager to discount or question the account of the victim, as well as why the police failed to question the victim in pertinent detail, instead of blaming the victim for not telling the police at the time what he perceived to have happened, especially given this driver’s record as a person well known to the East Hampton police.
    Again, it appears to me there should be serious training of East Hampton police on proper protocols in hate-crime investigation, as this case may glaringly show.

Blue Air
    East Hampton
    May 26, 2011
Dear East Hampton Star,
    Duck leaves tar.
    Windmill and steeple in front of blue air.
    Cincinnatus behind the lawn mower.

Miss Moon
For the most marvelous Miss Moon on the day of her passing:
Fleecy pillow bed, clean and folded.
little bowl, washed and dried
and finally,
tucked away.
huge brave mighty beating heart
still, and from now on,
resounding silent.

How did such an enormous
ever fit into

Mortgage Mess
    May 23, 2011
Dear Editor:
    I wish to call attention to the first inkling that someone is going to investigate the too-big-to-fail, interlocking consortium of thieves who caused the financial disaster of 2008 and the continuing tragedy of the United States economy, indeed the world economy, that flowed from it.
    Apparently shortly before the 2010 election, the attorney general of Iowa, Tom Miller, stepped forward and claimed to enlist all the remaining 49 states’ attorneys general to pursue a united and comprehensive examination of the mortgage mess, foreclosures, etc., but nothing much came of it. Some imply that the extremely heavy donations from investment banks and law firms that flowed into his campaign coffers in those last two weeks before Election Day influenced his subsequent lack of enthusiasm for the task.
    But our own attorney general for New York, Eric Schneiderman, has stepped up. He campaigned that he would be a sheriff to both Wall Street and Albany and is focusing on Morgan Stanley, the Bank of America, and Goldman Sachs for starters. He plans to direct his attention to the securitization process‚ in which all those worthless mortgages were sliced and diced and sold, even sold short to their trusting customers.
    It would seem that Eric Holder should have undertaken this project, but I am grateful to Eric Schneiderman for taking on Wall Street and the banks and await satisfaction (jail time?) for the perpetrators whose greed has caused so much pain. Are you with me?

Rich Man’s War
    Sag Harbor
    May 26, 2011
To the Editor,
    It has been a tradition that every time our nation goes to war, the poor are the first to lose their benefits, often to fight a rich man’s war.
    There has never been a war in history where the invaders openly said, “We’re going to war for money.” There is so much money to be made from war. In wartime the few make huge profits at the expense of the many. Most of the people who benefit from military buildups are already rich. The above is excerpted from an interview with Paul Chappell, a graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point in 2002 who served in Iraq as an Army captain in 2006 and 2007.
    The Pentagon is the largest office building in the world, 1.7 miles of corridors where the arms merchants make their deals. For many years they have sold 60 percent of the world’s weapons to democracies, third world countries, and dictators and armed 150 nations, planting the seeds for future wars. Chuck Spinney, a former 30-year analyst for the Pentagon, said the Pentagon has $4 trillion unaccounted for. The Pentagon has also been referred to as the death lobby.
    In peace,

Cold, Wet Cloth
    East Hampton
    May 30, 2011
To the Editor,
    Until Helen Rattray’s May 26 column, I had heard of many sects of Judaism, but I had never heard of the Oblivious Sect. Now summertime driving in the Hamptons makes so much more sense. Who knew? Do all Oblivions drive alike? If so, it would explain a lot. Also, there seems to be a secular Oblivious Manhattan Sect and an Oblivious Hispanic Sect; those who are obviously driving out here obliviously.
    After trying to decipher her column several times, I still do not understand what her Jewishness has to do with anything. Oblivious, I get. She is religiously a Progressive-Liberal first, foremost, and above all else.
    How dare she trivialize the murders of six million innocent Jews at the hands of the Nazis by making their murders akin to the justifiable and lawful waterboarding of two of Al Qaeda’s main planners of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks? Is she serious? Does she even know what the American version of waterboarding entails?
    Does she know that many of our combat servicemen are waterboarded as part of their training? It is because that is the least violent act that one might expect to endure as an American soldier, sailor, airman, or marine captured or otherwise trapped behind enemy lines.
    The process of waterboarding the way the Central Intelligence Agency practiced it is as follows: The subject is immobilized by being strapped to a board which rotates so that he is head down. He is blindfolded beforehand and rotated, face up, a cold, wet cloth is placed over his face, and water is poured over said wet cloth to give the reflex sensation of drowning. That is it. My initiation into the Neperhan Club at the Harvey School for Boys was worse than that. I was only 9 years old and I survived it, unscarred.
    Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was waterboarded 183 times. Abu Zubaydah was waterboarded 83 times for a total of 266 waterboarding events. I hope that each received 11.2 pours at every event — one for each victim of their 9/11 plot. Or, maybe a better way to think of it is one waterboarding for each poor soul who either jumped from or burned to death on the top floors of the Twin Towers on 9/11.
    The point is that waterboarding worked. Khalid Sheikh Mohammed blurted out the code name of a Bin Laden courier during one of his waterboarding events — six years and a lot of hard work later, by many people whose names we, hopefully, will never know — pop, pop — some true evil disappeared from this world, justice at the hands of Seal Team Six. Thank you.
    So, now let’s move on to Stalin and his murder of 20 million (mostly) Jews and her idiotic assertion that there is any comparison to Charles Graner and Lynde England’s despicable behavior at the Abu Ghraib Prison. This rare exception does not prove her hypothesis. This is just more hyperbole, n’est-ce pas?
    Does she really think Mr. Graner and Ms. England’s disgusting behavior compares, in any way, to the barbarity of Saddam, Uday, and Qusay? That point is not debatable.
    Once again, gasp, pop-pop, justice served, thanks to the finest and most humane military force God ever assembled.
    As to her last point and the title of her piece, does she actually mean the United Nations flag? Again, is she serious?
    Al Qaeda declared war in the form of fatwas on the United States and its allies twice, August 1996 and February 1998, prior to the attacks on Sept. 11, 2011.
    In an emergency meeting of the Security Council on Sept. 12, 2001, the United Nations condemned the terrorist acts of 9/11. In a unanimous resolution (1368), the Security Council stated that a “terrorist attack on one country was an attack on all humanity.” The body recognized the “inherent right of individual or collective self-defense in accordance with the United Nations Charter.”
    I would suggest that she reread Article I, Section 1 of the U.N. peace treaty that she cites, paying particular attention to the last sentence, “It does not include pain or suffering arising only from, inherent in or incidental to lawful sanctions.”
    Or, perhaps, she might mean the stars and bars of the Confederacy and Old Glory? The original Decoration Day was June 9, 1865, and was made a permanent Memorial Day a year later by the Ladies Memorial Association of Petersburg, Va.
    One of the principal active members was Nora F.M. Davidson, the founder of a school for young women. On June 9, she took her students to Blandford Cemetery and decorated the graves of Union and Confederate dead with flowers and flags. Her act inspired the establishment of a national Memorial Day by Grand Army of the Republic General Order Number 11, issued on the 5th of May, 1868.
    A great soldier summed up a true warrior’s view of the day with typical American spirit, bravery, and aplomb: “It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died. Rather we should thank God that such men lived.” — General George S. Patton
    It is too bad that, that sort of fundamental truth is so often missing from the opinion pages of The East Hampton Star.

These Panderers
    East Hampton
    May  27, 2011
Dear Editor,
    It should be obvious to anyone who follows politics that one of the pre-eminent traits exhibited time after time by those holding or seeking political office is pandering. They see, or think they see, a position on an issue that will be advantageous to them that will enhance their standing with a particular voting group and they go for it like sharks after fresh bait. Truth does not enter the picture, nor do facts or arithmetic; whatever it takes to garner favor with the group is the road they follow.
    Now what better issue to single out as a prime example of pandering than the Israeli-Palestinian conflicts? The pro-Israel side is up for grabs, they think, and we can go for it. So they commence the lies and obfuscations. They color, distort, and do whatever they think it takes to enhance their standing with this those who strongly support Israel.
    Thus when President Obama attempted to restart talks between the Israelis and Palestinians, and referenced as starting point for the negotiations the 1967 borders, these panderers immediately took his comments out of context, dropped portions of his speech, ignored the history of the use of the 1967 borders, and attempted to create a controversy which would inure to their benefit and undermine the president’s stature amongst the Jewish community and other Israeli support groups.
    They did this even though the president’s suggested aims and goals were, somewhat belatedly, elaborated upon, echoed, and supported, almost in their entirety, by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. So much for the bipartisan stance on foreign policy utilized by our political parties since the Civil War.
    There is no end to the hypocrisy of those seeking office and power. They fudge mathematical prognostications, make up their own facts, and just lie, lie, lie, and they do not even shy away when their lies are placed before them in the form of videotapes and prior statements.
    But this president moves ahead. His courage, impugned by insignificant former governors of Minnesota and the former speaker of the House and senate minority leader, is abundant and his vision enviable.
    Look and see the pandering, folks, then just ignore it and charge it up to the buffoons who use it.
    Barack Obama will be re-elected in 2012 even without the vote of Jerry della Femina.

One’s Ship Drifting
    May 30, 2011
To the Editor,
    This may sound provocative to some, but it is true nonetheless.
    I moved to Springs in 2005, in part to live in the same place that Jackson Pollock did.
    I too consider myself an artist, and I feel that I share the same sense of spirit and resolve as he did to show others a new way of looking at the world around us. Like Cezanne, Picasso, and others before them, Pollock used his vision to channel possibilities from an alternate reality and manifest it right here in front of our eyes, and we then looked at art differently.
     Many others, known and unknown, have changed the way we view our world through their insights and thereby altered our evolving now since our first moment of human consciousness. In recent times, Frank Lloyd Wright did it with architecture, and Thomas Jefferson did it with government. I do it with time. But when it came to living someplace and being from Long Island, Springs was a more convenient move for me than Illinois or Monticello. Besides, I love the ocean.
    But of all those that have come before and offered a new way of looking at things, I feel I have the most in common with Isaac Newton, who I don’t think ever heard of Springs. I feel this commonality not just because we were both born prematurely and small and had difficult circumstances as children our perceivable conditional similarities would seem to end there, but because he too could see what was going on all around us that was invisible to others, just as I do, and he used this knowledge to help us build a better world.
    Even though things had been falling down in plain sight of others forever, in a thought of enlightened vision  evolved through years of contemplation and knowledge he saw the reason that things fell down. In an identical fashion, I see the reason why each moment in our universe becomes the next, and why everything becomes as it does. Kind of like Newton’s theories of universal gravity apply to the back-office force that seemingly controls the movement of things, my view of our electromagnetically dynamic universe applies to the back office force that controls the creation of our individual and collective reality, the whole universe, and causes the illusions of time and gravity themselves.
    I know. You don’t believe me, but it’s true.
    Time has been seen and used as a measurable force by man for over 15,000 years, starting with moon phases and ice age hunters, gravity for a (big) tad less. Both are not real or essential forces, but rather local manifestations of electromagnetism as everything in our universe constantly repels and attracts from what it is to what it will be, based upon its nature and environment. To us it appears as time and gravity, things getting older and things falling down, but older and younger and up and down are terms that are relative to a fixed perspective of limited view, and not representative of the Big Picture.
    We have created ways of measuring the effects of the constant attraction and repelling of all things in our universe into systems that beget formulas that allow us to constructively use this power to create our man-made world, like time and gravity. But just as the understanding of those invisible forces and the creation of systems for their measurement and use of the knowledge and understanding from this facilitates the construction of our buildings as well as our individual life experiences, understanding the essential force that creates the illusions of time and gravity can improve our accuracy in creating a world of our liking and choosing.
    Much like vulnerable sailors of days gone by whose lives were lost for the want of a proper longitude (a manifestation made possible by the evolved accuracy of our system of portable timekeeping), charting one’s course for the future without proper declination can result in one’s ship drifting way off course and into unfavorable conditions, with tragic consequences. Understanding where time comes from and at what speed and from which direction can help one better use the tool of time to more effectively sculpt a preferred reality.
    I enjoy showing people this new and interesting way of looking at how our world works. Anyone interested in finding out for free in a nondogmatic way how and why the world around us works as it does and where time comes from can contact me via e-mail or Google my pseudonym, Michael Galileo and visit my Web site.
    By the way, there are 101 days from the beginning of Memorial Day weekend until midnight on Labor Day this year. That’s 8.726 million seconds to be experienced and savored one at a time. Happy summer, everyone!


Dear Tom Kaczmarek,


Most of the children in this country who lost their father in Vietnam were not allowed to grieve when their father’s were killed.  The anti-war sentiments were very strong in 1968, and for many years thereafter, as you well know.   We could not even talk about our father’s death.  I always felt so alone in this, wondering why it still bothered me after so many years; even 30+ years later, why did it bother me so. Why couldn’t I get over it, accept it and move on.  This delayed grieving is a shared phenomena.  I learned that so many other kids stories were so similar to mine.  In 1999, I found out about Sons and Daughter’s In Touch (SDIT), a national support group for kids whose father’s were KIA or MIA in Vietnam.  This group, along with the Internet, and many vets like you, has allowed me to heal and find closure. I have found so much information about my dad that I never knew; so many men like you have reached out and helped in any way they could. 


Who was my father you ask; he was MSGT Richard C. Keefe.  Thank you for marching proudly and remembering him on Memorial Day.  


Thank you for your service to our country.


God Bless,