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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.

Boomer Esiason Offers Life Lessons

The late Irene Esiason gave her son a nickname that would last a lifetime, but she died long before “Boomer” Esiason became a national figure in sports, and then broadcasting.

“I was seven when my mother passed away from lymphoma,” the Manhasset resident explained in an email interview. “No one is ever prepared to lose a parent. It really turns your life upside down and changes things forever. My mom was the one who made our house a home.”

Mrs. Esiason is also the person who gave Norman Esiason the nickname “Boomer” because “I was constantly kicking while she was pregnant,” he said.

“We were living in East Islip at the time,” Esiason continued. “My dad [Norman] never expected to be working and raising me and my sisters [Robin and Susan, who were teenagers when their mother died]. It was definitely hard, but my dad did an excellent job taking care of us.”

Making things even more challenging for his family was “my mother didn’t have life insurance in place when she passed away,” Esiason said. “Money was definitely tight. Luckily, we had neighbors and relatives to help us out with things while my dad was at work. If there had been life insurance, we could have hired the help we needed to keep the household running and to take care of things my mom would have normally taken care of for the family.”

Our email exchange took place because Esiason is the September 2013 national spokesperson for the Life and Health Insurance Foundation for Education’s (LIFE) Life Insurance Awareness Month (LIAM). LIAM is an annual campaign coordinated by LIFE to educate Americans about the importance of life insurance as part of a sound financial plan. One of the things he’s done in this role is filmed public-service announcements. They are being broadcast on TV and radio stations nationwide and can be seen online at

“I was handed a tough life lesson at a very early age, and I thought working with the nonprofit LIFE Foundation would be a way for other families to learn from what I experienced,” he said.

“Life insurance is about providing and protecting the ones you love with a financial safety net should the unexpected happen and you’re not around to provide the support you would have wanted to provide.”

Esiason said he’s already conveyed this message to his own children. His son, Gunnar, just graduated from Boston College and his daughter, Sydney, is 21 years old. Gunnar was born with cystic fibrosis and his father’s charity, the Boomer Esiason Foundation, has raised more than $100 million since its inception to help find a cure for cystic fibrosis, a genetic disorder that adversely impacts a person’s ability to breathe.

Before making a name for himself with these charitable endeavors, Esiason was a star quarterback at the University of Maryland, and then had a distinguished National Football League (NFL) career as the starting quarterback for the Cincinnati Bengals, the New York Jets and the Arizona Cardinals.  

He’s had an incredible second act as a broadcaster. Esiason has been an on-air analyst for The NFL Today on CBS since 2002, and co-hosts WFAN’s Boomer and Carton radio program.

“Dan (Marino), Shannon (Sharpe), Coach Cowher (Bill Cowher), JB (James Brown) and I really have a great time talking football every week,” Esiason said about his national TV gig, which airs every Sunday during the NFL season. “Much of the cast and crew have been with the show the whole time I’ve been there, so we’ve become our own little family.”

“I’ve been doing the Boomer and [Craig] Carton show since 2007, so about six years now,” he added. They have drawn upwards of 750,000 listeners to WFAN on weekday mornings, making it one of the highest-rated programs in its 6 to 10 a.m. timeslot.

His workload is heavy, he acknowledged.  “It’s hard to believe, but there are times when I feel like the TV and radio shows I do are more demanding than those Sunday afternoon games.”