Letters to the Editor - 06.16.11

Mess Remains
    East Hampton
    June 10, 2011
To the Editor,
    Shame on East Hampton for allowing its beaches to deteriorate.
    I went to the beach on Memorial Day weekend at Beach Lane in Wainscott. Walking barefoot on the sand is a thing of the past. Litter was everywhere. I counted the remnants of 15 fires — burnt wood, charcoal, cigarette butts, clamshells, chicken bones, corncobs, and broken glass. Broken wood was scattered all around; some of the wood was “hidden” under a thin layer of sand. Big, huge burnt logs remained on the surface. The litter is dangerous as well as ugly.
    One week later, the mess remains. Now I noticed and counted five Christmas trees that were tossed near the fence. The fence protecting the dunes was broken for use as firewood. The slats were tossed all over the beach, most burnt.
    The dog issue on the beach is unclear. The sign says no dogs allowed between certain hours. Yet dogs roam the beach at all hours; dog poop is everywhere.
    If people do not clean up — and they obviously do not — then ban fires from the beaches, especially populated swimming beaches. Enforce the dog laws and the leash laws. Every year the problem gets worse. Wise up, Town of East Hampton, before it is too late. Keep our beaches safe and clean.

Swim Carefully
    East Hampton
    June 9, 2011
To the Editor.
    Swimming season is upon us, and the practice of swimming with fish on the beach continues. If you go to the beach, you’ll be swimming in fishy urine — with your mouth open.
    In a couple of weeks, school will be out and children will be swimming in urine. We’ve learned to swim carefully to avoid big piles of poop, but by now all of the ocean has been tainted.
    People who swim in pooped-in water and track urine-soaked feet into their cars and plant fecal-fouled fannies in them will wonder why the car takes on a funky smell each summer. If they’ve had a particularly active day at the beach, they’ll go home to find salt in their hair and have to wonder: Is it salt or the dried, crusty remains of un-policed fish poop from a season ago?
    We can all do our part to battle this horrible problem. For instance, I have recently patented specially designed waterproof fish diapers, because no matter how many times I chase down and call the police on these finned violators, nothing ever seems to be done about it.
    Some people have even had the gall to tell me that this disgusting activity is “natural.” Similar prototypes are also under way for sea gulls, plovers, deer, squirrels, pigeons, rabbits, and about 12,657 other careless animals who have no respect for the obviously more important human being.
    Bottom line, Matt Norklun is indeed right: East Hampton Town needs to do whatever it takes to stop all of this animal poop-instigated insanity before our world all goes to . . . well, you know.

Complain They Do
    East Quogue
    June 12, 2011
Dear David,
    Presummer doldrums are harsh this June. Only a few days of waist-to-chest-high waves so far, and those few days weren’t even that great. Even the longboarders are getting antsy.
    I’ve been hearing complaints about stand-up paddleboarders from longboarders, but that just seems way too ironic for me. I mean, longboarders have been annoying shortboarders for de­cades now! Seems only fair and just that a bigger, longer, fatter, wider chunk of foam would come along and up the small-wave ante.
    But complain they do. Shortboarders complain about longboarders. Longboarders complain about paddleboarders. People used to complain about boogie boarders, but there are hardly any left. In the end, it’s just a whole lot of whining.
    The fact is the waterways are overcrowded, at Ditch Plain especially. So if you are having issues at Ditch, then forget it, because that place has been overcrowded for a very long time now. Find someplace else and enjoy the hunt looking for uncrowded surf.
    As for me, I’ve finally caved in and started hitting the bay on my 11-foot Laird Hamilton stand-up paddleboard. I go whenever I get up early enough to catch the sunrise. Early, the winds are light and the birds are still all over the place just happy to be around and eating and lolling in the waters and unafraid due to lack of passing boats or other people or windiness.
    I still don’t really understand all the grumpiness surrounding the different watercraft. I mean, in Hawaii everyone and their mother is out there on paddleboards, logz, shortboards, sponges, whatever, and no one really cares unless you get in the way or cause a danger. Here in New York, where almost everyone is a bona fide kook, everyone is grumpy. But as soon as the waves are head-high-plus, there’s almost no one out! Huh?
    Bah! N.Y. surfing? Whatever. At least it’s fun and uncrowded nine months out of the year. So what if all the aspirant Hamptonites are out in full force, do any of them really surf? Do any of them even really matter at all whatsoever in terms of your personal favorite local surfing spot? Is it not a fact that 90 percent of all the N.Y.-area wankers converge on Ditch Plain, which is the most gutlessly lame and slow wave in all of the Hamptons? Yes, by God, that’s the way it is. So quit yer bitchin’ and go find your own little hideaway spot.
    Best of luck,

Our Own Backyard
    East Hampton
    June 13, 2011
Dear David,
    Sometimes you have a day that makes you darn happy to live in this town. I had one of those last week when I took a sightseeing tour and interview excursion right here in our neck of the woods.
    I started in Amagansett at the Community Boat Shop on Bluff Road. If you haven’t been there, what are you waiting for? Go down and have a gawk. They build boats there, really. It’s fascinating. Take the kiddies; there is an outdoor area at the Marine Museum nearby, made just for little eyes. They can learn about their town or the one they are visiting. It will make a good school report come September!
    I went down the road apiece to Atlantic Avenue Beach to see the old Life Saving Station. Did you know there is a community effort to save the building and restore it to its former Life Saving historic look? Yes, the local people are raising money, and that brings me to my next visit.
    Home, Sweet Home Museum, located on James Lane in the village. Hugh King, the town crier, is your guide. He will tell you the history, and you will love hearing his knowledgeable talk. Stop in to the old Mulford house nearby and have a chat with the gal dressed in Colonial clothes. She’s real. She’s there when the museum is open, and you can have a trip to the past. Take the kids this summer. They will love it.
    I had the icing on the cake this past Saturday at the Mulford Barn right there on James Lane. The “Nazi Invasion Of the Hamptons,” a screenplay by Peter Koper of Springs, was put on in a staged reading. Eleven actors read the screenplay, and I felt like I was there, in the summer of 1942, when the saboteurs landed near the Atlantic Avenue Beach. They made it that real.
    Kent Miller of the boat shop I mentioned was there with large photos of the old station, so one could just imagine the young coast guardsman running back from the beach to tell his superior the Nazis were coming!
    The night of the reading was a miserable, rainy one, but inside that barn in the village, we were sheltered and warmed with good wine, courtesy of Michael Cinque and Amagansett Wine and Spirits. Ditto shrimp from Charlotte Sasso of Stuart’s, and cheese and crudités from the Amagansett Farmers Market.
    I am very lucky to call East Hampton home. Go have a sightseeing-playing tourist day next time you have a day off (I know, rare for all of us in our busy season!) There are so many beautiful places right here in our own backyard. I intend to remember to visit each one and be grateful I live here.
    Thank you to Richard Barons of the East Hampton Historical Society for the background of the Mulford Barn. Evan Thomas, a local actor and woodworker, did a great reading in all his parts Saturday. It was a most enjoyable night. Thank you all.

Springs School
    June 9, 2011
Dear David,
    During the excitement of the Springs School budget and board voting we became very aware of the academic programs and policies of the school. Now that the voting is over, I think that we in the community might want to appreciate some of the other aspects of the school.
    I, for one, like that the Springs School is always working to improve the children’s educational experiences beyond the classroom. The building of a school spirit through athletic and other means (congratulations to Andrew Wilson and Tyler Chittavong on winning the school’s “Springs Idol” competition), the benefit to the children of seeing a very active PTA working to enrich their lives, the greenhouse, and garden are just a few examples.
    Additionally, I like that our local school strives to serve the whole child. There is the alliance with Project MOST and the school breakfast and lunch program despite no school cafeteria, as some examples.
    These musings were sparked by this morning’s casual interaction with three Springs School students. I walked over to Barnes Country Market later than usual. Some of the customers were Springs School students. One thanked me for holding the door for her and waited for me to pass ahead of her once in the store. Another was coming into the store as I was leaving and held it open long enough for me to take it. But that was not to be for a third student hurried on his way in to hold the door as I walked out.
    Small things. Big difference from being practically run over by so many youngsters that age in some other areas of the country. We should all be proud to be part of a community whose school develops such thoughtful youngsters.
    Yours truly,

Springs Bees
    June 13, 2011
Dear Editor,
    We would like to take this opportunity and thank Shannon Anderson for the wonderful pitching clinic she did with our 9 and 10-year-olds’ softball team, the Springs Bees. She came to our end-of-season picnic showing the girls the correct way to pitch and introduced them to the “windmill” style of pitching. She was very patient and gave the girls some great insight on what needs to be done to be a good pitcher. We hope a few of our girls really listened and will practice so next year they can show their stuff. We had a great season, the girls just got better and better and ended our season with an impressive 7-4-1 record. We are so proud of them.
    Thank you, Bees, and all the helpful Bees parents!

Free Books
    June 8, 2011
Dear Editor,
    “Free books? Really? We get to keep ’em?” the students asked, incredulous. What a joy it was to answer, “Yes! Free books! You get to keep them. Forever!”
    Due to the generosity of the Greater East Hampton Education Foundation’s Author in Hand program, each student at Montauk School had the pleasure of selecting a free book from a book fair in our school library media center.
    As stated on its Web site, “The Greater East Hampton Education Foundation seeks to enrich the academic lives of students in the East Hampton Town public schools by supporting superior educational programs. Through its work, the GEHEF helps students broaden their educational experience, widen their perspective on the world, and deepen their connection to the community.” Literacy and a love of reading is a fundamental objective of the foundation.
    Numerous businesses, organizations, and individuals provide financial support to the Greater East Hampton Education Foundation to make the Author in Hand program and other initiatives possible. Students from every school district in the Town of East Hampton benefit from its generosity.
    On behalf of the Montauk School, I would like to express our deep gratitude to the foundation and its supporters for this truly wonderful gift. Thank you also to Susan Nicoletti, the Author in Hand program chairwoman, for her tireless efforts to put a free book into the hands of each and every student in our town.
    It is my hope that the students will use the free books made possible by the foundation to kick off a summer vacation filled with reading for pleasure. I encourage all families to continue the summer reading habit by visiting their local libraries and bookshops. Happy reading!
    Montauk School Librarian

Leveling the Field
    June 10, 2011
Dear David,
    In your editorial titled “Too restrictive for small timers” (June 9), you miss the point of the law. This proposal is about leveling the field for all contractors and was proposed by a group of local contractors both large and small.
    I’m going to give you a simple example. My company employs between three and four people. I have a town home improvement license. To get that license I must carry liability insurance and compensation insurance. All employees are on the books (payroll tax, unemployment insurance, Metropolitan Transportation Authority tax, etc.).
    In order to make ends meet and have some money left for my family I need to charge $50 per man-hour, on average. On the other hand, a black-market contractor working for cash can charge $25 to $30 per man-hour (40 percent less) and make more money than I.
    We should not be punishing the by-the-book guys to subsidize the black-market guys. By subsidizing the black-market guys, honest contractors look like thieves when estimates are compared. I’d like to see you do an article about this after interviewing both honest small-time contractors and black-market guys. I believe after investigation your opinion will change.
    Thank you,

Vistas Program
    East Hampton
    June 13, 2011
Dear David,
    I thought I should put my own spin on East Hampton Town’s vistas program, now merely in its infancy, looking for a path to travel down.
    James McMillan in a letter to The Star last week suggests that by implementing such a program much of East Hampton’s rural landscape would be sacrificed. In fact, just the opposite is true. Rural and historic East Hampton Town had views across fields, meadows, wetlands, and other open spaces that stretched for miles. Rural and historic East Hampton didn’t have a zillion invasive plants from Eurasia and tropical America that do spectacularly well on our scenic byways and coastal strands to the detriment of the native vegetation.
    Rural and historic East Hampton didn’t have phragmites, Asiatic bittersweet, Japanese honeysuckle, Japanese knotweed, mugwort, garlic mustard, trees-of-heaven, Tartarian honeysuckle, Japanese black pines, multiflora rose, autumn olive, Russian olive, and a host of other alien species that have prospered mightily here and subdued much of the native landscapes that were prevalent in the early 1900s right up to the 1950s.
    Take Bluff Road in Amagansett for example: As late as 1950 one could ride along it, walk along it, or bicycle along it from Indian Wells Plains Highway to Atlantic Avenue and see the ocean clearly beyond the dunes.
    Take Accabonac Harbor’s tidal marshes: They used to provide grazing land for cattle and other livestock into the 20th century. The salt marsh hay was gathered for over-wintering livestock. The seascape could be clearly viewed without having to climb a tall ladder from any number of spots around the harbor. Phragmites and a plethora of invasive plants have taken over much of it. The high marsh has suffered, the meadowlands behind it have suffered.
    Rural and historic East Hampton didn’t have to chop down foreign trees and hack down bittersweet and knotweed to see over the marsh to the water. If all of these foreign plants were to miraculously disappear, then the rural and historic landscapes would re-emerge and there would be no need to cut away.
    The vistas plan, as I envision it, is the selective removal of invasive species presently strangling the native ones. Yes, at the same time it would provide views of this and that viewscape now almost completely inaccessible to the human eye, but it would be preserving the rural and historic past — that portion of Bluff Road which would be so treated is part of a historic overlay district as well as much of the land adjacent to Accabonac Harbor in Springs — not destroying rural and historic values but nurturing and furthering them.
    East Hampton Town
    Director of Natural Resources and
    Environmental Protection

On the Money
    June 13, 2011
To the Editor,
    Regarding The Star’s “Welcome Surplus” editorial of June 9, not only was the editorial a well-deserved compliment to Bill Wilkinson and Len Bernard, it was right on the money.
    Whereas the feds are all in a mystifying dither as to what to do about the budget deficit, here we have two local folks who realized the seriousness of the town’s deficit problem and went to work immediately to effectuate a solution. It doesn’t get any better than that.
    The Star’s acknowledgement of a fiscal turnaround, as credited to Supervisor Wilkinson and Mr. Bernard, the town budget officer, was a welcome breath of fresh air, particularly the observation that “residents can enjoy lowered taxes and a much surer hand on town finances than in years past.”
    Two years ago most observers, including this resident, believed that we were in for a very rough patch financially. The dire predictions and the figures as published were absolutely mind-boggling. Some folks envisioned a situation similar to what Nassau County is undergoing or to what New York City experienced in the 1970s: massive layoffs, a bond-rating collapse, and, finally, a financial control board appointed to monitor finances.
    Mr. Wilkinson faced fiscal uncertainty and severe economic headwinds, but thanks to a quick, perceptive, and well-reasoned response to the impending debacle our town is now experiencing a soft landing.
    Some folks, as The Star observed, experienced inconvenience or hardship as a result of cost-cutting. It is difficult not to have empathy and compassion for their plight. Yet the thought of what actually could have happened financially in our town without Bill Wilkinson and Len Bernard’s intervention is almost beyond comprehension.
    Perhaps Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner and Ben Bernanke, the chairman of the Federal Reserve, will take the time to study the fiscal turnaround occurring in East Hampton and take note of this evolving success story so as to be guided accordingly.

Simple Extortion
    East Hampton
    June 12, 2011
To the Editor:
    What’s happened to the so-called Independence Party? Twice they endorsed and worked for Bill Wilkinson. Now they have endorsed his opponent — a former Bill McGintee financial adviser. (Need I say more?)
    They were on course to again endorse the proven tax-cutter, Bill Wilkinson, until Mr. Behan’s wife screened for a town board nomination for both the Republican and Independence Parties.
    After disclosing that she has been a Democrat for years, she failed to win the G.O.P. nomination. The Republicans had several strong candidates to choose from. The selection was made by secret ballot without electioneering by party leaders. No one told me how to vote for any position.
    The only advocate who spoke for Ms. Behan was Mr. Behan. During his brief statement he angrily suggested that we had better nominate his wife if Mr. Wilkinson wanted the Independence Party endorsement, which somehow Ms. Behan could deliver or withhold.
    To myself and others, this sounded like pure and simple extortion. It lost her my vote and evidently others’ too.
    At a time when Democrats like Weiner and Edwards routinely betray their wives, it is a relief to see Mr. Behan stand by his. But loyalty to his wife’s ambitions is no justification for this kind of political maneuver.
    Let me understand this. If enough of us supported Mrs. Behan, her husband and his new party would nominate and work for Bill Wilkinson. If not, they would endorse and work for the Democrat. Can anyone trust any of their political endorsements now?
    This may serve the Behan family’s political objectives, but what about the interests of the citizens and taxpayers of East Hampton? And what about the real “independent” voters of East Hampton, few of whom are enrolled with the party that pretends to represent them?

    Mr. Wilkinson’s opponent, to whom Mr. Nash refers, is Zachary Cohen. Mr. Cohen volunteered as an unpaid assistant to the East Hampton Town comptroller, whose post was created after the McGintee administration’s financial mis­­management became known. Ed.

Not Fit
    June 11, 2011
Dear David,
    I am conflicted as to whose local political basket to put my one voter egg in. Do I back the current East Hampton Town Supervisor, Willy Wilkinson, or the really smart guy, Zach Cohen, the contender?
    Mr. Cohen has a history of helping, feeding, housing, and saving people money. Mr. Wilkinson’s forte is firing.
    Mr. Wilkinson has racked up big legal bills by thinking he knows what he does not. Mr. Cohen will keep lawyers to a minimum.
    Mr. Cohen has received endorsements across the political spectrum. Mr. Wilkinson retains the support of a few rich, testy Republicans.
    I think I will put it to the Otis test. Otis is a brilliant vizsla-pit bull mix with impeccable judgment. If Otis pees on your leg, you are not fit for public office.
    All good things,

Need People
    East Hampton
    June 13, 2011
To the Editor,
    East Hampton Meals on Wheels needs volunteers now!
    With the program growing larger and a considerable number of our volunteers traveling during the summer, we urgently need people to pack and deliver meals Monday through Friday. These services require only about two hours each week during the morning. Our volunteers also derive enormous satisfaction from helping their neighbors.
    East Hampton Meals on Wheels is a nonprofit organization that receives no federal, state, or local funding, and although we employ two people in the office, volunteers make up the bulk of our program.
    If you are interested in joining this wonderful group of people who are helping the homebound remain in their homes, please call Meals on Wheels today. We look forward to hearing from you.

It Stinks
    June 13,2011
To the Editor,
    Imitation is said to be a sign of flattery but I see it as a total lack of one’s own creativity and imagination.
    My husband and I started our business, Eastender, in 1993 selling our original artwork of local fish at craft and fishing shows up and down the Northeast coast. The focal point of our display was a three-foot-long swordfish sign that read “Eastender Montauk NY.”
    For many years Gail Burkle, Justin Burkle’s mother, bought my shirts for her two sons and family at the Montauk craft fairs. (The Burkle home is two streets away from mine.) Justin has chosen to use the name East Ender by adding NY to it. He also chose to claim a swordfish too as his logo. Legally, it can be done, but ethically it stinks. There are many names to be had and many fish in the sea! He certainly didn’t ponder long over his choices.
    In 1999 Janis Hewitt featured my husband and me in a “Working” column about how we came up with the concept of our local fish T-shirts and forming our company, Eastender. Reading her article about Justin was like déja vu.

    June 13, 2011
To the Editor,
    I just read your article on a “Tale of Two T-Shirts” in this week’s Star and was shocked to read Justin Burkle’s quote, “Why don’t I start my own thing and catch the American Dream?”
    Any Montauker, as he is described in your article, who has been in town for 15 minutes already knows that Eastender T-shirts, mugs, etc., currently exist. The icing on this cake is the swordfish logo.
    I have a collection of East Ender T-shirts and mugs that I bought under the five-foot-long wooden swordfish logo that goes along with the Eastender name at local craft fairs over the years. Taking the name is wrong in itself, but adding the same swordfish as his idea is just a rip-off straight up!
    Thank you,

Made Their Movie
    New York City
    June 13, 2011
Dear Mr. Rattray,
    Thank you for sending me John Helmuth’s obituary.
    I feel I must object to the sentences that were added about John’s father: “The senior Mr. Helmuth was a frequent guest at Grey Gardens, the house of the Beale Bouviers, and was known to drive around town performing errands for Big and Little Edie.”
    The Star published Jack Helmuth’s obituary on Feb. 24, 1983. It said nothing about the Beales. What it did say was: “He was known as a kind and generous neighbor. Ralph Carpentier, director of the Marine Museum, recalls that in recent years Mr. Helmuth drove elderly friends and neighbors who could not drive to doctor’s appointments, the grocery store, and other appointments.”
    In addition, when Jack knew the Beales (Bouvier was Big Edie’s maiden name), the house was not called Grey Gardens. The Maysles brothers gave the house that name when they made their movie. Maybe you can guess my opinion of the movie, which made Jack look like a weirdo. Would the brothers have made their movie had Little Edie not been Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis’s first cousin? No. So, I’m sorry to see The Star name dropping the same way.

In the Details
    Water Mill
    June 6, 2011
To the Editor,
    Mies van der Rohe sold himself short when he said God is in the details. Man’s genius is in the details; God just used his brush to swipe the big picture.
     Ever since, man has been filling in the spaces — the bridges he builds, the buildings, the transportation, electronics. Man is most definitely in the details, which is probably the point. “Let’s see what man can do!”
    Good or bad, ugly or pretentious, an ego-driven statue or a humble straw hut, man excels in the details. The great architect missed this one. Glad he didn’t miss anything in his creations.

I Had Hopes
    Water Mill
    June 13, 2011
To the Editor,
    I can only begin this letter with the word: warning. I have just had probably the worst experience I have ever had in a restaurant, and I have frequented restaurants on the East End, in New York City, and literally all over the world six nights a week for 40 years, and have actually been an owner of one of the few four-star restaurants ever in New York.
    Agave, there, that gets it out right up front! Here is a new restaurant open but a few weeks. It is in the building where Almond was a big winner for many years. I heard it was going to be a Mexican place, and since living in Texas, I have really liked Mexican food, but rarely found great examples in this part of the country. I had hopes.
    On Saturday afternoon I stopped in there around 5 to see when they opened for dinner. On entering an empty room, I saw some guy at the bar with his back to me. I waited for him to turn around, but he didn’t. I then asked if they were open, and his answer over his shoulder was, “What does it look like?” I didn’t know that this little rude guy was, in fact, the owner. Well, we didn’t go there Saturday.
    Tonight, Sunday we did decide to try this place. Four of us arrived at about 8. There were maybe four or five tables occupied. We were seated and ordered drinks from a waitress. About 10 minutes later without drinks yet and not even to take our order, she returned to the table to warn us that there were only two bartenders and two waitresses and the kitchen was slow. We were told it could be 45 minutes for the appetizers.
    I looked around at a less-than-third-full place. Oh well, we said let’s have the drinks and maybe they could bring out some guacamole and chips and we’d wait. She hesitated, and the little rude guy showed up and kind of indicated no about advance guacamole.
    The place was sparsely occupied, and the acoustics are just awful, noisy. I asked if they could turn down the music, if you could call it that. Rude little guy answered in a very arrogant way that the music level was where he wanted it and it would always be that way in his restaurant. I asked if he was the owner, and was told he was.
    I was a bit taken aback by the statement and the really bad attitude by someone who had newly opened or had any time in a restaurant. I asked if that meant he would show us no accommodation, and his answer was, “It is not open to discussion. This is the level I want and that is all there is to it!” He then added to my wife that we are too old to come to his restaurant. The four of us left.
    We then went to Almond in its new place. Upon telling the lady up front there what had transpired at their old location, she said they had heard two similar complaints the same weekend. One couple had waited two hours, had not been served, and left. Later, our waiter had another story about the arrogant, rude little character. Anyway, the rest of the evening at Almond was just great as it always was — ambience, food, service, and attitude.
    Later in the evening I heard from another patron of Agave that the little rude guy’s wife gave him a very public dressing down and told him he should stay behind the bar or in the kitchen where he belongs so as not to sink the place before it gets going.
    There isn’t a restaurant on the East End we have not dined at. Most are good, some are excellent, a few have been disappointing, but never have we been faced with the abject stupidity, arrogance, and rudeness we found at Agave. Be warned. If the little rude guy is not out of sight in the kitchen, you could be in for it.

Such Indiscretions
    East Hampton
    June 6, 2011
To the Editor,
    So now Anthony Weiner has sent some highly inadvisable digital correspondence and lied about it to protect his job and his marriage. The puritan traditions of this country are now demanding that he leave his job and essentially void every good thing he happens to have done before.
    We can’t seem to understand that the inevitable offspring of puritanical posturing is hypocrisy and lies. Ah, but public life is different. Really? How many people in this country have committed minor (or major) sexual indiscretions and then lied about it, or simply covered it up? If everyone who has culpability in this area were to quit their jobs I think the unemployment rates would soar far beyond their current high levels. And now such indiscretions can happen without the parties ever having actually laid eyes upon each other — our brave new world. Isn’t there something about not throwing stones if you live in a glass house, or is it something about casting the first stone? 

An Ideal
    Sag Harbor
    June 9, 2011
To the Editor,
    In this age of weapons of mass destruction, millions have been killed in recent wars, most of whom have been innocent civilians just like us. One cannot remain morally neutral about military service or the institution of war. Conscience is demanded of us all.    
    Many people think they should follow the views of their nation or their religion or their family. Few people have ever seriously examined the issue of war and come to their own personal decision in regard to it. In the past national election, war was not even considered an issue.
    War for many is an abstraction, even an ideal, or is seen as a destiny or duty. Where has war taken us today?
    In peace,

    East Hampton
    June 11, 2011
To the Editor,
    If one looks at the Democratic Party as cowardly whiners and the Republican party as brain-dead trash, we can take the political component of reviving the economy out of the equation.
    Perhaps the most serious offense committed by both parties and by President Obama was lying about the depth of the economic crisis. Unwilling to tell the general public that we had entered into a depression and that the process for recovery was going to be long and hard, our politicians candy-coated the crisis and sent out a message that we were well out of the woods and on our way to recovery. This misrepresentation, or lie to be more exact, gave the public a distorted sense of economic realities and unrealistically raised expectations. The truth is sometimes difficult to swallow but it is the primary component in solving the problem.
    The current condition of the American people is massive debt, high unemployment, insufficient wages, and minimal demand. Ending a depression or recession necessitates an influx of money (ie., demand) into the system.
    Demand for products creates jobs, which creates more demand. Jobs are created by the public and private sectors. In the public sector governments on all levels infuse money into infrastructure, education, etc., by incurring debt or by transferring money from those who have it to those who don’t. In the private sector demand for products and profits is the motivating factor for creating jobs.
    The current crisis has seen government investment in the form of stimulus programs create a substantial number of jobs but barely a pittance with respect to the seriousness of the crisis. The private sector, however, despite the highest level of profits in the nation’s history, has categorically refused to increase hiring. In fact, it had stopped hiring five years before the crisis actually hit. Furthermore, the banking industry has refused to make credit available to the private sector, which further inhibits its ability to create jobs.
    In essence, the government stimulus was barely 25 percent of what the crisis demanded, and the private sector’s attitude of total self-absorption, or “screw America,” reflects the conundrum in resolving the problem. Without either sector’s genuine participation we remain deeply in the crapper.
    One solution lies in the essential socialistic nature of our tax structure. The federal government has always taken all federal income taxes, thrown them into a pool and doled the monies out as a function of need. Rich states helped out poor states and even enacted a wide range of local and sales taxes to accomplish the job. States like New York, California, New Jersey, and Connecticut get less than 75 cents for every dollar they pay. Almost every “red” state, South Carolina, Mississippi, Alaska, etc., gets between $1.40 and $2.50 for their $1 contribution.
    So if the rich states can pay for the poorer states, why can’t income be redistributed from the top 2 percent of the country to the bottom 98 percent, say $3 trillion as a round amount? This would create an enormous internal stimulus that would cost 98 percent of the taxpayers zero. The burden would fall on those taxpayers who have benefited the most (and disproportionately) over the past 30 years. Since most of the nation’s profits accrue to the top 2 percent, the $3 trillion would really be a temporary loan. In this case, banks like Goldman Sachs would be betting that the economy would succeed rather than being in favor of its failing.
    Deficit reduction, in its profound stupidity, could be junked since it would serve to extend the downturn even further and we could stop whining about regulation because it would be making even more money.
    So take the politicians out of the economic recovery, which seems beyond their comprehension, and provide all the necessary laxatives to flush corporate America from their colons and maybe they will have the courage to do the right thing and save the country for the 98 percent of us who are in the crapper and sinking rapidly.

Herd of Swine
    New York City
    June 10, 2011
To the Editor,
    The hogs are feeding. Especially after George W. Bush (43) entered office. That level of greed and opportunism was never seen before and it was out of control. The same herd of swine returned to gorge themselves repeatedly after George W. entered the Oval Office, with consequences that the nation will endure for at least a decade.
    Everything that happened in the Obama administration was the result of all of George W. Bush’s conniving. Yes, a very bad man. We have years to go on his horrible legacy. Do not blame Barack Obama; it’s like blaming Bill Clinton for his surplus.
    Praise the idiot (43) for his indebtedness, which will cost us money well after Mr. Obama has gone. Thank George W. Bush. He has made us all losers, much like himself.
    All the best,