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Home » Clarion » 2013 » September 2013 » Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor

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Our Unity vs. Their Fear and Division

Mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio has built a broad multiracial coalition by doing two key things right: attacking economic inequality and taking some strong stands against racism.

The Republican counter-attack has already begun. Its strategy was summed up in a September 7 column by the New York Post’s Steve Cuozzo: “Memo to Joe Lhota: Bring the fear.” The Post writer said that “Lhota has fear, legitimate fear, in his corner” and must “send the beast snorting into the ring” – focusing on “the threat of crime” and “the city’s ominous fiscal plight.”

Three days later, the Post’s front page featured a scowling Ray Kelly, and the headline, “NEVER FORGET: TERRORISTS ARE TRYING TO KILL US.” The article was about a speech by Kelly that the paper dubbed a “Memo From Ray Kelly to Mayoral Wannabes.”

Anthony Wiener, of all people, had a clear-headed response: “This is the same person [Kelly] that has told us we are at great risk if we don’t stop hundreds of thousands of young men of color. So I’m not quite sure his risk assessments have been particularly on [the] mark.”

As the November election gets closer, we can expect a GOP campaign of fear and racial division. Let’s respond with a campaign of unity among the 99%.

Ron Hayduk
Queens College


Italian Americans at CUNY

In reference to Mario Caruso’s letter in the June Clarion, I am obliged to point out that neither the Italian American Faculty and Staff Advisory Council nor the John D. Calandra Italian American Institute were invited to sponsor the conference to which he refers. It is also the case that since Mr. Caruso’s resignation from the council in 2010, including several years as its chair, numerous presentations have been made at CUNY and beyond regarding the unfavorable status of Italian Americans in higher education. This has occurred thanks to the revitalized leadership of Dean Anthony Tamburri. Most recently, on March 8, Dean Tamburri and I presented on this critical issue at the inaugural CUNY Diversity and Inclusion Conference.

Finally, as the current chair of the council, I can state that no member of the CUNY faculty or staff apart from council members has contacted me to discuss arranging a CUNY-wide conference sponsored by the institute, although we have discussed this internally.

The council welcomes representation from all CUNY campuses and is open to suggestions for events and to new members.

Donna Chirico
Chair, Italian American Faculty Staff and Advisory Council Interim Dean, School of Arts and Sciences,
York College

Editor’s note: Mario Caruso’s original letter can be found here.


A general question…

Thanks for the excellent article by John Tarleton (Clarion, August 2013) on the appointment of Gen. David Petraeus at Macaulay Honors College. Aside from the money issue, may I respectfully inquire about the general’s expertise in the fields of energy, advanced manufacturing and life sciences and their economic implications that constitute the topic of his proposed course? I thought he made his bones as a military leader whose counterinsurgency manual – with its failure to bring success in the War in Afghanistan – was the key document of his career. Given the title of his seminar, I can think of any number of analysts with more expertise on the subject of North America’s economic future.

Joan Gregg
Retirees Chapter


…and an answer

Drilling for natural gas via “fracking,” or hydraulic fracturing, has met growing opposition due to its record of environmental destruction. In response, the oil and gas industry has tried to give its PR a veneer of scientific respectability by funding pro-industry “policy institutes” on university campuses. Last fall SUNY Buffalo closed its Shale Resources and Society Institute after months of controversy over its ties to the gas and oil industry (see Clarion, Feb. 2013).

Now “frackademia” has come to CUNY. The climate change website DeSmogBlog.com reports that the syllabus for Gen. David Petraeus’s seminar at the Macaulay Honors College features “two of the most well-known ‘frackademia’ studies.” One was funded by the Clean Skies Foundation, which DeSmogBlog describes as “a front group for Chesapeake Energy.” The reading list includes no independent studies of fracking’s impact on water quality or climate change.

While Gen. Petraeus is free to design his own syllabus, students at Macaulay may want to know that the general has no apparent academic expertise in this area, and that his reading list is composed of only pro-industry documents.

But the oil and gas industry views Gen. Petraeus as an important teacher. As DeSmogBlog notes, at a 2011 industry conference in Houston, Matt Carmichael, External Affairs Manager at Anadarko Petroleum, urged participants to read Petraeus’s work: “Download the US Army/Marine Corps Counterinsurgency Manual because we are dealing with an insurgency….There’s a lot of good lessons in there, and…I found the insight in that extremely remarkable.”

At the same conference, Matt Pitzarella, a spokesperson for Range Resources, described how psychological operations tactics (PSYOPs) discussed in the manual were useful on the fracking front. “We have several former PSYOPs folks that work for us at Range because they’re very comfortable in dealing with localized issues and local governments,” he said. “Having that understanding of PSYOPs in the Army and in the Middle East has applied very helpfully here for us in Pennsylvania.”

Alice Zinnes
City Tech


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