THE HUDSON, THE MOON, THE JEJUNE
Eric Alterman's July 2 "Full-Court Press" insinuates that the Hudson
Institute "sent [scholar Evan Gahr] packing" because Gahr called Paul
Weyrich an anti-Semite. This charge has no merit and presents a false
impression of the institute. Alterman made no effort to contact us
before writing his piece. Had he done so, he would have learned that
Gahr's firing was an internal matter, unrelated to any ideas Gahr
For forty years, Hudson Institute has been a research
organization that encourages debate among peers, affording scholars
considerable latitude to express their ideas. Our researchers
regularly voice opinions more controversial than Gahr's comments
about Weyrich. Gen. William Odom (ret.), director of security studies
at Hudson, was in fact quoted in the June 18 Nation, arguing
for the dissolution of the CIA. Evidence for Hudson's eclecticism can
be found in the fact that our scholars are Democrats and Republicans,
liberals, moderates and conservatives. Moreover, in the past few
months alone, two prominent contributors to The Nation--David
Corn and Rick Perlman--have spoken at institute-sponsored
Vice president and director
apparently thinks lying is a form of mooning. In his case it's also
compulsive, relentless and boring. For the record, I am obviously not
a "staunch defender of the anti-Semites' right to blood-libel Jews,"
as he hilariously proposes; nor did I "expunge" or remove a single
word, sentence, paragraph--let alone an entire article--by the
equally addlebrained Evan Gahr from my website. Nation readers
interested in the facts--Gahr's original article and Weyrich's, my
commentaries on Gahr and Weyrich, Gahr's infantile complaints,
Crouch's column, my answer and an account of the slanders against
Laszlo Pastor by the Soviet occupiers of Communist Hungary, which
Alterman and Conason eagerly spread--can find them with ease on my
"censorious" website (www.frontpagemagazine.com). Such a waste of
valuable Nation space that could have been put to better use
defending the oppressed.
New York City
Weinstein says that I
"insinuate" anti-Semitism on the part of the Hudson Institute. That's
silly. I "insinuate" only cowardice. His defense, meanwhile, in
making reference to Nation contributors sounds a great deal
like the "some of my best friends..." line. When using it, however,
he would be wise to get the names of his friends right. It is
"Perlstein," not "Perlman." I hate to stereotype, but I hear Jews can
be quite touchy about that kind of thing.
As for David Horowitz,
well, I don't write about David Horowitz unless I'm getting paid for
GALE BREWER'S RUN
New York City
Doug Ireland writes an article ["Those Big Town
Blues," June 4] and a letter ["Exchange," July 2] asserting his
positions on city politics and the Working Families Party and manages
to make such an incorrect statement about one of the candidates that
one wonders what else he has wrong. Ireland dismisses Gale Brewer's
increasingly successful run for the City Council by describing her as
"a longtime patronage employee of the Manhattan Borough President's
Office." For the record, Brewer never worked for the Borough
President's Office. She came onto my Council staff when I was first
elected, in 1978, with no party or patronage ties of any kind. She
established a record in that office of being available to
constituents, solving problems of every type, attending to the needs
of people who had never called a legislative office in their lives
and training at least thirty student interns every year for eleven
years. She won us the Daily News designation of Most
Accessible Council Office. It is a great tribute to Gale that the
contacts she made in the district in the 1980s are standing her in
great stead in this campaign. Mayor Dinkins hired Gale to do the
city's federal relations and to increase government accessibility.
She also worked for Public Advocate Mark Green and for a private
contractor increasing services to public housing residents in Queens.
Quite a record, none of it in the Borough President's Office and all
of it on her own merits. No wonder the Working Families Party, trying
to change politics in New York, picked her as a candidate.
Manhattan Borough President
Former City Council member
My only point about Gale Brewer was that she
could hardly be included on a list of "nontraditional" candidates,
because she had spent quite a few years as a political appointee on
the public payroll--which Messinger's letter confirms.
GLOWING IN THE DARK IN CAROLINA
Thanks for David Potorti's excellent article on the
nuclear waste battle in North Carolina ["Nuclear Danger Zone, NC,"
July 2]. Most media have ignored the key facts of Carolina Power and
Light's creation of the nation's largest storage site for "spent"
nuclear fuel--the $7 billion corporation has worked hard to mute
criticism. And the potential for horrific fires from high-density
waste pools at nuclear plants across America has been left out of the
nuclear revival debate.
Loss of cooling pool water at most plants
could result in a fire that would spread across the entire pool (in
CP&L's case, four pools). Since most pools have been tightly
packed with thousands of assemblies (compared to hundreds in a
reactor core), such a fire could exceed the Chernobyl
The dirty secret is that an NRC security assessment
program concludes that US plants are highly vulnerable to terrorist
attack. Even after being allowed to bolster security in advance of
scheduled drills, at nearly half the plants mock intruders not only
got inside but also were able to simulate meltdown of the reactor
core. Now the industry is furiously working to abolish the NRC
You'd think Democratic rising star and "populist"
Senator John Edwards would be standing up to CP&L and the NRC on
this hometown debacle, especially with the NRC under investigation
for colluding with CP&L. The only logical reason for his silence
is the nuclear industry's prominence in funding presidential
Executive director, NC WARN
(NC Waste Awareness & Reduction Network)
POLL OF THE PEOPLE REVEALS...
Alexander Cockburn quoted the journal Dissent in his June 18
"Beat the Devil" and called it "an obscure journal," then later adds
this footnote: "The Nation's editor, Katrina vanden Heuvel,
wishes it to be on record that she takes exception to the description
of Dissent as 'obscure.' I suggest a poll of the American
Saved by the hip editor. I suggest that a poll of the
American people would consider The Nation obscure. But a poll
of Nation readers would not consider Dissent
Even before I
saw the footnote, I'd reached for my pen: Dissent is hardly
"obscure," and a less-than-majority poll vote won't establish that it
EVELYN A. MAUSS
is clearly targeted to the academy and to a broader "intelligentsia,"
and in this regard is not at all "obscure." All academic journals are
obscure to the general population, so a poll of "the American people"
would prove little. Journals tailored to a specific subdisciplinary
group, such as Antipode: A Radical Journal of Geography (now
in its thirty-third volume), are even more "obscure" to the public,
but even this example is one of the leading sources of citations in
its field. Dissent might even be called popular when judged
within its context.
RAYMOND P. BARUFFALO
I am not particularly erudite but I did subscribe to
Dissent for a year. I must have picked it up at a bookstore;
as I recall it had an article by Dr. Gerda Lerner, whose books I had
read. I found it to be, well, challenging--but obscure? If a
lab technician in Rochester has read it, it's not
GE... BRINGS PCBs TO LIFE
Richard Pollak did a fine job of
summarizing the sad saga of GE, PCBs and the Hudson River ["Is GE
Mightier Than the Hudson?" May 28]. Unfortunately, there's another
GE-type destruction in the making. People who value the historic and
natural beauty of the Hudson Valley do not want to read "Is PG&E
Mightier Than the Hudson?" years down the road. Largely because of a
faulty and undemocratic state permit process, Athens Generating (a
subsidiary of PG&E), a 1080-megawatt, gas-fired electric power
plant, was recently given final approval by the Army Corps of
Engineers. New York State's sham of an energy deregulation process,
including corporate "gifts," behind-the-scenes political maneuvering,
community profiling, disregard of environmental policies and public
sentiment, amounts to an unholy alliance between a huge corporation
and a state bureaucracy. The press, the politicians, even
environmental groups have been silenced or have treated the project
as a done deal. This story, and its ramifications for the whole
Hudson River Valley, needs to be brought to light and now.
Have we learned nothing from the GE story?
STOPP (Stand Together
Oppose Power Plant)
East Nassau, N.Y.
result of your exposé, I decided to sell all my shares in GE.
Thanks for helping me to make my decision.
Any day now the Bush Administration will begin sending out its
much-touted tax rebate. How should progressives who believe this
rebate is wrong both as a matter of principle and policy respond to
this "windfall"? Spend it on themselves? Send it back to the
government? We'd like to propose another possibility: Use it against
Bush and his right-wing compatriots by sending it to The
Nation. Use the master's tools to dismantle the master's house!
We plan to send a portion of our rebate to The Nation and the
rest to progressive PACs that will have the greatest impact during
the next election cycle. When other media are complicit in this
Administration's mis-exercise of power, The Nation continues
to speak truth to power. You are a national treasure!
PETE BROSIUS and ELLEN WALKER