Free speech — is there a more hallowed staple of the American Creed. Yet nothing is ever free; we pay a price for everything. As Memorial Day approaches my thoughts wander back to the Supreme Court’s 8-1 decision back in March that said a traveling band of Baptists from Westboro, KS, has a constitutional right to stand on the outside perimeter of a military funeral and insult a young soldier who died for his country, his family and the nation to whom he made the ultimate sacrifice.
The 18th century author and lexicographer Samuel Johnson said, “it was right that the law should give women so little power, since nature has given them so much.” The narcotic allure of female sexuality has certainly influenced, dominated and destroyed powerful men as the current predicament of Dominique Strauss Kahn, chief of the International Monetary Fund and probable French presidential candidate, who was arrested and charged with seven counts including rape and unlawful imprisonment of a chambermaid in a prominent Manhattan hotel, attests to.
A regular meeting of the board of trustees was held on May 17, at 8 p.m.
The meeting opened with a pledge to the Flag. Present were Mayor Thomas J. Tweedy, Trustees James E. Rhatigan, Mary-Grace Tomecki, Dominick A. Longobardi, Kevin M. Fitzgerald, Village Administrator Patrick E. Farrell, Village Clerk Susan E. Walsh, Superintendent of Building Department and Superintendent of Public Works Stephen L. Siwinski and Police Commissioner Stephen G. McAllister.
Ulysses S. Grant was a great general, a better president than given credit for, a peerless wartime memoirist and became famously apothegmatical when he said, “The best way to get rid of a bad law is by its strict enforcement.” Despite these great achievements, it is this wonderful little maxim I want to focus on. It’s centered on the notion that passions are often pacified by common sense when we have to live under the laws we so blithely pass. The most famous or infamous of these laws was the Volstead Act of 1919, more commonly known as Prohibition. After decades of Carrie Nation crusading with her axe-wielding saloon wreckers to make their point about the evils of drink, America embarked on its great social experiment by passing the 18th Amendment, which prohibited the manufacture, sale, or transportation of intoxicating liquors. In the entire history of Constitutional law, it would be the only amendment to actually restrict liberty.
The latest challenge to the unique quality of life we enjoy is not coming as intensified urbanization from our west, but rather, an ambush from the east. Recent reports are that the Shinnecock Indian Nation is trying to take lands in our community, which is more than 75 miles from its reservation in Southampton. To surrender land at either the Hub or at Belmont Park is outrageous and our village’s future with a sovereign nation next door is unpredictable. Like his predecessor Andrew Cuomo, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s efforts were rewarded by an Appellate Court’s August 2010 decision, which took decades of litigation to resolve. The decision declared that tribes, like the Shinnecock Nation in Southampton, must charge and collect state levied tax on cigarettes sold to patrons from off the reservation. Millions of dollars of state revenue have gone uncollected as a result of these sales. Attorney General Eric Schneiderman applauded the state’s appellate ruling saying, “Today’s decision closes an enormous tax-evasion loophole that was depriving New York of hundreds of millions of dollars in tax revenue. The state estimates that as much as $500,000 in unpaid taxes goes uncollected every day as the result of Indian tobacco sales.” (The Southampton Press.)
A regular meeting of the board of trustees was held on May 3, at 8 p.m.
The meeting opened with a Pledge to the Flag. Present were Mayor Thomas J. Tweedy, Trustees James E. Rhatigan, Mary-Grace Tomecki, Kevin M. Fitzgerald, Village Administrator Patrick E. Farrell, Village Clerk Susan E. Walsh, Superintendent of Building Department and Superintendent of Public Works Stephen L. Siwinski, Police Commissioner Stephen G. McAllister and Village Attorney John E. Ryan.
Politics, in some ways, can be defined as the allotment of credit and blame. When two military helicopters sent to rescue the Iranian hostages back in 1980 crashed in the Iranian desert resulting in debacle and death, it was just one more mishap of President Jimmy Carter’s faltering administration. Critics panned the attempt as “Carter’s Desert Classic,” a caustic reference to the popular, televised golf tournaments.
So President Obama deserves credit, and has gotten credit, for taking the risk of ordering the raid that killed the world’s most feared terrorist. Intelligence operatives whose painstaking, methodical detective work forged a trail to bin Laden deserve credit, and have gotten credit; Special Forces such as the U.S. Navy SEALs deserve an enormous amount of praise and have gotten it. George W. Bush should get credit for erecting the architecture early in his presidency to meet the vast and complex challenges of America’s war on terror.
The League of Women Voters of Nassau County, a non-partisan organization, which neither supports nor opposes any candidate or political party, is concerned about the County Legislature’s haste in re-drawing the legislative district lines. In doing this, the Legislature is not adhering to its own County Charter, subsection 113, which requires an advisory redistricting commission to be established to reapportion the county legislative districts based on the federal census.
Ever since 9-11 there was a score to settle. It wasn’t enough that the United States military crushed the Taliban at Tora Bora. He had somehow gotten away, snaking his way through the rocky, labyrinthine trails deep in the Afghan mountains and into some godforsaken sanctuary. President Bush said it didn’t really matter he got away; but in truth the fact gnawed at him and it gnawed at all Americans who knew that as long as he was free there was unfinished business.
Prior to the regular meeting, Mayor Tweedy called upon Chief Everett Ulmer to present his annual report to the mayor and board of trustees. Fire Chief Ulmer read his annual report for the year April 20, 2010 to April 19, 2011. Following his report, Chief Ulmer introduced the newly elected staff for 2011-2012.
Fire Chief John B. Kelleher, Jr.
1st Assistant Chief Vincent F. Modica
2nd Assistant Chief Luciano D’Amore
3rd Assistant Chief Daniel Bennett
4th Assistant Chief Brian P. Naughton
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