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Bob McMillanAn Opinion

By Bob McMillan
Presidents v. The Supreme Court

The recent political chatter about “Obamacare” before the Supreme Court of the United States got a great deal of media attention.  President Obama added fuel to the fire when he declared, “Ultimately, I am confident the Supreme Court will not take what would be an unprecedented, extraordinary step of overturning a law that was passed by a strong majority of a democratically elected Congress.”

For someone who was a law professor those words were absurd.  Even if a bill passed unanimously in the house and senate, it could still be overturned – if the law was in violation of the Constitution.

Michael Miller


By Michael Miller
1959: The Year The Music Stopped Playing

Nelson Rockefeller’s nomination for Governor in 1958 was partly an upstate revolt against the continued domination of party affairs by the Nassau Republican organization. Rockefeller was a man who always had bigger fish to fry, and throughout his almost 15 years as governor, he often went out of his way not to step on the toes of the touchy Nassau GOP. That’s why Nassau is the only large New York county without a state office building. Respect the turf.

Just before taking office, Rockefeller announced that State Senator William Hults would be Commissioner of Motor Vehicles, but not until the end of the 1959 legislative session, so that Glen Cove, North Hempstead, Oyster Bay and a sliver of Hempstead wouldn’t lose their Senate representation until 1960.

Mike BarryEye on the Island

By Mike Barry
The Eccentric Heiress Of ‘Empty Mansions’

The Nassau County district attorney’s (DA) office makes a cameo appearance in Empty Mansions, an incredible book about Huguette Clark (1906-2011), the Manhattan-raised heiress whose generosity and eccentricities were legendary.

Now that Ryan Murphy, a creator of television’s “Glee,” has optioned Empty Mansions’ film rights, I imagine a scrum of top actresses are vying to play Clark.

Nassau Voters Must Demand Clean Campaigns

To get better public officials, we need better candidates. To get better candidates, we need to walk right up to them and tell them to clean up their acts.

Let’s start with the smallest thing there is in a political campaign. Literally.

Unless you know to look for it, you may not know about union labels on printed political materials, including brochures, signs and buttons. It’s a small graphic (often called a “bug”) that indicates that the material was printed by a “union shop,” meaning a printing operation that upholds certain labor standards. For example, political campaigns frequently require last-minute printing and a union bug means that the people who were running the machines at 2 a.m. got paid overtime. For Democratic candidates, especially those claiming to be supportive of working families, some voters simply expect a bug to be present on any “big ticket” mailers.

There are scores of fine printers on Long Island (especially small, family-owned businesses) who aren’t unionized, and that’s perfectly okay.

Dozens of campaign materials have been distributed by Democratic candidates in ths county with a symbol that is very small, very blurry and lacks any shop registration number. It gives every impression of a counterfeit union label. The exact same blurry graphic appears on the literature of a bunch of candidates and even, in one case, taxpayer-supported mail from a local government.

It’s one thing to not have a union bug. It’s a whole other thing to fake it. Counterfeiting union labels is a misdemeanor in some states.

A few years ago, when a counterfeiting charge was made in a high-profile Wisconsin State Senate campaign, a candidate produced the proprietor of a union print shop who took responsibility for the illegible graphic, blaming “new graphic designers.” Maybe that’s what’s happening.

I suppose it is possible, given how cynical and dismissive our politics have become regarding labor, that all these materials have been produced over all these months, and nobody called up their consultant, designer, print broker or printer to ask, “Dude, where’s my bug?” Maybe they just don’t care. Maybe you should ask.

And we need to head off a potential mudfest coming from the other side.

Three years ago, this space outed a “push poll” aimed at Congresswoman Carolyn McCarthy. A push poll sounds at first like a legitimate opinion survey, but actually is designed to plant misinformation, innuendo and outright lies in the minds of voters. Respected pollsters consider this to be the lowest, bottom-feeder activity, partly because it turns off voters to sitting through legitimate surveys. That 2010 poll was conducted by “Central Research.” This shadowy company has a legal address in New York City and uses Florida-based phone banks. Their work has been exposed in more than a dozen states, aimed at Democratics and at some Republicans in party primaries. Only a few weeks ago, their push polling against the Democratic candidate for Orange County Executive (Catskill region) became a public issue.

And now they are back in Nassau County.

Central Research, Florida phone bank and all, have been calling into North Hempstead households with a scientifically flawed poll regarding the elections for Supervisor and Town Clerk. While the “push” seemed fairly mild, it may have been a test of the waters in low-profile “downballot” campaigns. CR may well show up in other towns and possibly in county races.

It is possible that in both of these cases, labels and polls, individual candidates are being victimized by their own short-sighted party organizations. Perhaps they don’t even know, making it even more important that voters of good faith get in candidates’ faces and tell them to fix it or get lost.