2012-01-25 / Editorials

Letters to the Editor

Armenian History

To The Editor: Congratulations on a masterpiece: The Forgotten Genocide, Part III, By Miljan Peter Ilich. Informative, accurate and a fair evaluation of events that destroyed a world power by turning on its own people.

I plan to keep this article in my files for future reference.

The Armenian nation kept the Byzantine Empire alive, through its rulers (Comneni), army, arts (an architect of St. Sophia was from Armenia) and through keeping the culture of the Greeks alive. They were an intefgral part of keeping Byzantium alive for over a thousand years.

Our friend, Fotine Aneson, who is from the forgotten island of Imvros in Turkey, gave a similar tale of her brother vanishing when he was drafted into the Turkish army. Catherine Tsounis

Cruise Ship Safety

To The Editor:

As a former naval officer; officer-of-the deck underway, independent and formation steaming; and qualified marine navigator and instructor, I have questions concerning the grounding of the cruise ship Costa Concordia off the coast of Italy.

Was the captain on the bridge exercising control of the ship? If so, why was the ship so close to the rocks? If not, who was on the bridge conning the ship? What were their qualifications? Was there a maritime pilot on the bridge? The most dangerous period in peacetime for a ship underway is when it is leaving and entering port or traversing in close proximity to land. This is when you have to be on full alert.

Why did the Costa Concordia only hold emergency evacuation drills once every fifteen days? During a fifteen day period the ship would normally visit a number of ports and embark new passengers. A drill should be held prior to leaving every port.

The maritime industry should evaluate the viability of lifeboat systems which fail when a ship takes on a significant list that makes it very difficult or impossible to launch lifeboats.

More attention must be paid to the safety of passengers and crew.

Donald A. Moskowitz
Londonderry, NH

Concordia Cowardice

To The Editor:

I was appalled at what went on aboard the cruise ship, Costa Concordia, that was grounded off the coast of Tuscany. I could not understand why so many people were out for themselves and sought to save their own lives and didn’t try to help others. In a disaster at sea I always thought it was women and children first and the captain went down with the ship or was at least the last one to leave the ship. Which didn’t happen here. Now I served in the U.S. Navy and if I did what they did I think I would have been court-martialed or worse, shot on the spot.

According to the reports, there were not a lot of brave men on board. Now that goes from the captain to the crew to many cowardly male passengers. I guess chivalry is dead. As well as compassion for those that were in most need of their help.When we abandon mercy and compassion and seek to save ourselves over our fellow human beings in a disaster, we become less than human beings.

Frederick R. Bedell Jr.
Glen Oaks Village, N.Y.

Titanic Courage

To The Editor:

Apparently many of the crew aboard the cruise ship Costa Concordia, which was grounded off the coast of Tuscany, attempted to save their own lives without trying to help others. That sort of selfish conduct is in direct contrast to what happened aboard the RMS Titanic 100 years ago. After that ship struck an iceberg, its captain ordered a women and children first evacuation policy, which the crew assiduously followed. And so did the passengers, who were on a ship with lifeboats that could accommodate only a little over half of those on board.

Benjamin Guggenheim spent his final hours changing into formal evening wear in order to die with dignity as a gentleman. Isador Straus (the co-owner of Macy’s) was offered a chance to get into a lifeboat because of his advanced age but he refused. John Jacob Astor IV helped load his pregnant wife onto a lifeboat and then stepped back to join the rest of the men on the Titanic’s deck.

The crew of the ship also behaved courageously. The engineers and assistant engineers stuck to their posts and kept the power on and lights burning until almost the very last moment. All 34 of them perished. The vessel’s eight-man orchestra kept playing their music to keep the passengers from panicking, only stopping when the incline of the ship made further playing impossible. They also did not survive. And the Titanic’s captain, in the great tradition of the sea, went down with his ship.

Courage and discipline were in great evidence among those on board the Titanic the night the ship took its final plunge. Sadly, these two character traits were in short supply in the Costa Concordia tragedy.

Martin H. Levinson
Forest Hills, NY

Obama Power Grab

To The Editor:

Senate Majority Leader Mitch (“The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president.”) McConnell is very upset with his targeted victim. Obama has appointed former Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau without approval of the Senate which was not in session; an appointment known as a Recess Appointment.

McConnell says that Obama’s appointment was a “power grab” which “fundamentally endangers the Congress’ role in providing a check on the excesses of the executive branch.” The Hydra of Lema is a Greek mythological many-headed serpent. It would require the Hydra, with the multiple sides of many mouths from which to speak in order to equal the anti-Obama double talk emanating from the opposite side of the aisle.

As for McConnell’s concern about Obama’s “power grab”, following is a scoreboard comparing the Obama grab to past gropings per year: Reagan: 240, G.H.W. Bush: 77, Clinton: 140, G.W. Bush: 171, Obama: 28.

As our dear old liberal Mother Jones magazine put it, “Obama’s move seems less like a power grab and more like the proverbial 98- pound weakling taking a second to wipe the sand out of his eyes.” Dating myself a bit, I would add, “Come on Charles Atlas, please infuse a little dynamic tension into this 98 pounder and morph him into that legendary ass-kicking machine of yours.” Unfortunately, it is the only language that these self-admitted Repubstructionists understand.

Nicholas Zizelis
Bayside, NY

Nuclear War

To The Editor:

As many potential hot spots in the world continue to simmer, are we really free of the threat of nuclear war? While the Cold War may be over the possibility of nuclear war between the United States and Russia still very much exists. Do not think for one moment that both countries still do not have ICBMS pointed toward each other’s cities because they certainly do. While President Obama claims to have reset relations with Russia, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin is not the most affable person in the world to deal with. While the president’s goal of an eventual nuclear free world is very interesting, the fact of the matter is that goal will never be attained in today’s world of 2012. Also, the movie The Day After that was released in November 1983 is not so far fetched. What was depicted in that very powerful film, the widespread devastation and dying in the aftermath of nuclear war with the Soviet Union, could really happen in this modern day and age of the 21st century. Yes, nuclear armageddon is very much a fact of life, folks.

John Amato
Fresh Meadows, N.Y.

Convention Center Journey

To The Editor:

“Aqueduct, Willets Point Face Challenges” (Editorial, January 18) made sense. Using the existing New York City Transit A train subway connection running along Eighth Avenue from any hotel in Midtown Manhattan to the proposed project site at Aqueduct in Queens for a new convention center would easily be an hour ride. During AM and PM rush hour, there may be limited spare track capacity or equipment to provide this additional service. This route narrows to one track between Canal Street in Manhattan and Jay Street/MetroTech (formerly) Borough Hall in Brooklyn. The A train must share this one track with the C train which provides local service on the same corridor. Would casino visitors want to squeeze into already overcrowded subway cars joining tens of thousands of New Yorkers on their way to and from work? Daily A and C train riders would not be happy about any closed door service provided to casino patrons that skipped their own stations. Ditto for any F train subway connection running along Sixth Avenue. Special F train service could run along the existing route and switch tracks at Jay Street MetroTech in Brooklyn. It could proceed from that station and share the same tracks used by the A train to the proposed convention site. Subway connections along both the A and F lines in Midtown Manhattan could accommodate visitors traveling from various West Side Manhattan hotels. Visitors utilizing hotels on the Manhattan East Side would have to walk, take a local bus, another subway route or taxi for connections to the A or F lines. Riders are less likely to use any public transportation system if they have to make multiple transfers in attempting to reach the final destination. Remember that a new subway car can cost up to $2 million. A ten-car unit for one train set could cost $20 million. It can easily take three to five years before new equipment can be purchased, manufactured and delivered. Additional storage and maintenance capacity for existing or new yards to support any new additional subway car equipment as part of fleet expansion to support convention center service might be needed.

The next transportation option which might be easier, less expensive and could possibly be implemented more quickly would be the creation of a new express bus feeder network. Frequent service could be provided from not only hotels in Manhattan, but from others in Downtown Brooklyn and adjacent to LaGuardia Airport in Queens. This system could also service major intermodal transportation hubs such as Downtown Flushing, Queens, St. George, Staten Island, Fordham Road in The Bronx, Hempstead Bus Terminal in Nassau County and White Plains in Westchester. Remember that one new, heavy, over the road express bus can cost up to $750,000. With a capacity of 50 seats per bus, you would need 20 buses just to move 1,000 visitors. One ten-car subway train can easily accommodate the same number of people. A system to shuttle not only Manhattan hotel visitors, but additional patrons arriving from other hotels, airports and intermodal transportation sites around the city and adjacent suburbs could easily require a fleet of 100 buses which could accommodate 5,000 potential customers. Additional storage and maintenance capacity to support all the new bus equipment might be needed. Buses can be purchased, manufactured and delivered in less time than new subway or heavy rail commuter cars. You also still face the problems of traffic congestion, not only during rush hour but during other times of the day in Manhattan. This is also true for the Long Island Expressway, Belt Parkway, Van Wyck Expressway and the other roads that buses would have to operate on to reach the convention center site.

Larry Penner
Great Neck, NY

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