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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
Yellow Margarine And A Pitch For The Ages

In early 1946, a brouhaha erupted between the AFL and the CIO, the state’s rival federations of labor groups. Republican leaders in the state legislature endorsed the upstate-oriented AFL’s proposal that New York license and regulate barbers and cosmetologists. The downstate-oriented CIO, which had members who couldn’t document the required formal education, launched opposition so fierce and threatened political retaliation so severe that the legislation was considered dead. And then, as the 1946 session was drawing to a close and the CIO was concentrating on other things, the “barber and hairdresser bills” started moving through both houses, with almost total Republican support and Democratic opposition. Member of Assembly Genesta Strong, first-termer from Nassau County, dependable, safe and already expected to step aside, was asked to be the official sponsor of the cosmetologist licensing bill.

Governor Dewey’s signing of the bill cemented support for his re-election from the powerful AFL, which had been the whole point. To those in political inner circles, Mrs. Strong had proved herself a reliable team player whose dignity was useful in deflecting potential attack.

Mike BarryEye on the Island

By Mike Barry
Sustainable LI: Getting Good Things Done

Farmingdale-based Sustainable Long Island is hosting its eighth annual Sustainability Conference on Friday, April 4, at Carlyle on the Green, at Bethpage State Park.

The event will run from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., and traditionally draws hundreds of people from all walks of life: government, business and not-for-profits. This year’s theme is “Accomplishing More Together.” Tickets are $75 per person, which includes the cost of lunch.

Summer Spotlight

With the calendar having turned to 2013, it is not too early to start thinking about the major national sporting events headed to the region later this year.

The Belmont Stakes, to be held on June 8 in Elmont, and the U.S. Open tennis championships in Flushing, Queens, which get underway in late August, are annual happenings. But the arrival in this area of the U.S. Women’s Open Championship (June 27-30) and Major League Baseball’s (MLB) All-Star game at the New York Mets’ Citi Field (July 16) are rare events.

The best women golfers in the world will be playing at the Sebonack Golf Club in Southampton in late June, marking the first time the U.S. Women’s Open will be held on Long Island. The Sebonack Golf Club, in its current iteration, opened in 2006 and the challenging course was co-designed by legendary golfer Jack Nicklaus and renowned golf architect Tom Doak. Several of Sebonack’s holes are situated alongside picturesque Peconic Bay, images which will draw thousands to the South Fork and be seen by an even broader audience on ESPN and NBC Sports, as well. Ticket information can be found online at An aside: Doak’s company, Renaissance Golf Design, was involved in the conversion of the former IBM golf course into The Village Club of Sands Point.

You have to go back to 1964 to find the last time the Mets’ home field served as the site of MLB’s All-Star game. And MLB chose Flushing 49 years ago as the locale for the mid-summer classic because the since-demolished Shea Stadium had just opened its doors. Baseball’s All-Star game was last held in New York in 2008 at the old Yankee Stadium and is preceded by days of special events. This year will be no different.

The MLB All-Star FanFest at Manhattan’s Javits Center will start on Friday, July 12, and it will welcome visitors through game day, Tuesday, July 16. Meanwhile, Citi Field will host on Monday, July 15, the annual Home Run Derby, too. The New York Mets’ website indicates, however, that few besides those who purchase at least a 40-game season ticket plan (the Mets play 81 home games) can have any expectation of gaining access to All-Star game festivities.

I’m writing about a July All-Star game, in part, because ones that were supposed to be held this month, such as the National Hockey League’s (NHL), were cancelled. Due to the lack of a new collective bargaining agreement between the NHL Players Association and the NHL, the 2012-2013 gathering of the NHL’s All-Stars, which was to have been held on January 27 in Columbus, Ohio, was scrapped, and the entire season is in danger of not happening.

For whatever reason, this message has not been conveyed to the webmaster at The website’s January 2013 calendar made it appear last week as though a number of New York Islanders games were going to be played there this month. The Islanders’ website does no such thing, and they’re looking even further into the future than I am, inviting visitors to secure 2015-2016 season tickets for their first season at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center.

Mike Barry is vice president of media relations for an insurance industry trade group and has worked in government and journalism.