Letters to the Editor: Sept. 8, 2010

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Dear Editor,

The Green Street Café hired a young guy to work a few days a week carrying their sandwich board in Northampton. Bryan was eager to do a good job – his first after graduating. He took it seriously, enjoying interacting with people he met. By greeting a lady who looked stressed getting out of her car, he made her smile, relax a bit and take a 10 percent off coupon. This is the kind of person Bryan is – with a real interest in people, in helping those who need lifting up – and thinking how to help the people who hired him to advertise…. Unfortunately, their attitudes changed, telling him they “might only be using him once in a while.” They said they wanted “somebody better – who dressed better.”

The next day, a businesswoman overheard him saying he’d nearly lost his job. She asked how to contact them. Bryan gave her a coupon, wondering if he’d done something wrong…. But at the end of his shift, they told him a business person had called to compliment him – plus a customer who said he was doing a great promotion job. Not believing Bryan had nothing to do with either, they wondered if he’d “put them up to it.” Bryan worked only one more day – telling him they’d call “if they needed him anymore.” It looks like they won’t be any time soon. They’ve put another ad on Craigslist. Presumably looking this time for someone who dresses better. They had little concern for supporting a young guy’s effort and enthusiasm. Yes, the Green Street Café (and owners Jim and John) have made a mistake – in more ways than one.

Larry and Serena Newman, Northampton

Dear Editor,

Kudos and thanks should be bestowed on the Du Bois Library’s computer staff, located in the basement. My gratitude goes out to Dan and his staff who’ve helped me with a variety of computer-related problems and questions. When I wrote for the Collegian (84’ and 85’) we were still using typewriters. Now, somewhat behind the curve, I still go to the campus to use the library and the computer assist staff has always solved the unsolvable for me and the multitude of daily computer users there. Money well spent.

Jack Bresnahan 85’

Dear Editor,

When people think of the University of Massachusetts Amherst, they think of a party school. It is commonly referred to as “ZooMass” or “UMass Slamherst.” This is exactly what Amherst officials are trying to change. Even though UMass isn’t on the top of the college party list, there is still plenty of drinking and parties. A few weeks ago at the town’s Select Board meeting they discussed strategies that they would use to help control the partying. This year police won’t be as slack with all of the noise and partying that goes on. There will be fines handed out and harsher punishments, including arrests.

Some of the other things the Amherst police will be doing to help combat the partying are patrolling more for noise violations, looking for liquor and dispatching more bicycle cops to keep an eye out for parties. When police respond to a noise violation they, don’t go there with the intention to make an arrest. They would rather just have cooperation, so they can get on their way. They lean towards issuing tickets and fines, and arrest people as a last resort. Arrests are a nuisance because it requires filling out lots of paperwork and it takes away from other things the police officer could be doing. With the new laws in place officials are hoping that partying and excess noise will be a little lower this year.

Carl Johnsen

Dear Editor:

Eli Gottlieb’s September 8, 2010 column, “Hate and Lies in Manhattan,” makes such a mockery of sound opinion writing that one wonders if the author is bankrolled by the emergent “Sarah Palin Literacy Project.”

Among myriad other intellectual monstrosities, Mr. Gottlieb hysterically compares “far-right” conservatives who oppose the building of a mosque at Ground Zero to NAZIs: “brownshirts,” according to the author; childishly urges those with whom he disagrees to “shut up and go away,” and crudely fails to distinguish between the governmental repression of religion prohibited by the 1st Amendment and the private social and political efforts that are vigorously — and legally — opposing the mosque at Ground Zero.

Conservatives, including this writer, who oppose the construction of a mosque at Ground Zero do so because we question the motives of “developers” who publicly express a willingness to better-integrate Muslims into American society by building the mosque, yet ignore the fact that — according to a CNN opinion poll taken in mid-August –nearly 70% of Americans and 54% of Democrats oppose its construction at the site where Islamic murderers acting in the name of their religion killed nearly 3,000 Americans 9 years ago.

We oppose the mosque not out of a contempt for the First Amendment when it doesn’t suit our political purposes — serious people are not urging government intervention to prohibit construction — but because Feisal Abdul Rauf, the Imam over whom Mr. Gottlieb slavishly fawns and takes at his word that he is in league with Christians and Jews, repeatedly refuses to condemn, and has apologized for, Hamas, a virulently anti-Semitic terrorist organization operating in Gaza, whose charter calls for the destruction of Israel by force.

As National Review writer and frequent Amherst College lecturer Andrew C. McCarthy has meticulously documented over the past three months, the “moderate Imam” and public face of “Park51” also has long-standing financial connections to the Muslim Brotherhood, which the Anti-Defamation League notes for its “extensive terrorist operations.”

We oppose the Ground Zero mosque because it represents a needlessly intentional provocation, whose divisiveness has already overcome the reasons for which its supporters want it built in the first place. That is, the twin goals of improved Islamic integration into American society and increased Islamic community outreach would clearly be better-served by building a mosque and adjoining Islamic community center at a less-controversial, and less-revered, location.

In short, nearly 7 out of 10 Americans oppose a mosque — swimming pool or not — at Ground Zero because it is a haltingly bad idea.

Like most bad ideas, this one is supported by a name-calling, straw-man-conquering segment of liberals. But with the likes of Mr. Gottlieb inarticulately doing the name-calling, I have little concern that public opinion will change any time soon. Let’s hope, however, that the quality of Mr. Gottlieb’s writing does.

Brad S. DeFlumeri Jr.
former Collegian columnist
UMass Amherst, Class of 2010