THE HUDSON, THE MOON, THE JEJUNE

Washington, DC

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 advocated.

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 events.

KENNETH WEINSTEIN,
Vice president and director
Hudson Institute


Los Angeles

Eric Alterman 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.

DAVID HOROWITZ


ALTERMAN REPLIES

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 it.

ERIC ALTERMAN


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.

RUTH MESSINGER
Manhattan Borough President
Former City Council member


IRELAND REPLIES

New York City

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.

DOUG IRELAND


GLOWING IN THE DARK IN CAROLINA

Durham, N.C.

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 disaster.

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 program.

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 campaigns.

JIM WARREN
Executive director, NC WARN
(NC Waste Awareness & Reduction Network)


AND A POLL OF THE PEOPLE REVEALS…

Winnetka, Calif.

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 people.”

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 obscure.

REX KERR


Neponsit, N.Y.

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 is.

EVELYN A. MAUSS


Ashland, Ore.

Dissent 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


Rochester, N.Y.

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 obscure.

MARSHA PEONE


GE… BRINGS PCBs TO LIFE

Athens, N.Y.

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?

NORA ADELMAN
STOPP (Stand Together
Oppose Power Plant)


East Nassau, N.Y.

As a result of your exposé, I decided to sell all my shares in GE. Thanks for helping me to make my decision.

PHILIP KELLERMAN


$UPERB $UGGESTION

Watkinsville, Ga.

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