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Analysis, discussion and opinions by members of Newsday's editorial board.

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Alvin Bessent

Alvin Bessent joined the Newsday editorial board in 1993. He writes about national government policy and politics.

Bessent: Rep. McCarthy's poignant departure

Rep. Carolyn McCarthy, at her home in Mineola,

(Credit: Howard Schnapp)

Rep. Carolyn McCarthy’s poignant decision not to seek reelection marks the end of her determined 18-year congressional crusade to reduce gun violence.

The issue catapulted McCarthy, from Mineola,  into Congress after a deranged gunman opened fire inside a Long Island Rail Road train in 1993, killing her husband, Dennis, and five other commuters, and wounding her son.

In announcing...

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Bessent: More time for Kirsten Gillibrand to lobby for votes

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., listens to a fellow

(Credit: AP)

Hurry up and wait.

That's the story of Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand's crusade to move the prosecution of sexual assaults in the U.s. military out of the chain of command.

Her revolutionary amendment to strip commanders of that authority and give it to professional military prosecutors was queued up for a vote this week in the U.S. Senate. With 53 senators publicly backing it (and maybe a...

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Bessent: Congress needs to keep an eye on compounding pharmacies

Vials of the injectable steroid product made by

(Credit: AP)

Few people heard of “compounding pharmacies” before a meningitis outbreak killed 64 people a year ago. The disease was traced to a tainted, injectable steroid medication shipped across the country from a mold and fungus infested facility outside Boston where it was mass produced without federal oversight.

Thanks to a gap in the law the New England Compounding Center’s operation was perfectly...

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Bessent: On election day, think about ways to raise voter turnout

Merrit Tucker, 3, sits on his mother, Abbey

(Credit: Charles Eckert)

Turnout in today's election is expected to be dismal, which is too often the case in New York and the nation.

The world’s greatest democracy should have the world’s highest voter turnout. Sadly, it doesn't. Not even close.

Coming in at 138 out of 172 industrialized nations, the United States falls embarrassingly near the bottom. Only 57.5 percent of those eligible actually voted in the...

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Bessent: Barack Obama needs to get the NSA under control

President Barack Obama speaks about the Affordable Care

(Credit: Getty Images)

Buffeted by diplomatic blowback, President Barack Obama now says he may order America’s spies to stop tapping the phones of our allies' leaders.

Sen. Diane Feinstein, the head of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said Monday that’s what White House officials told her. But as usual with espionage, there’s enough wiggle room in that declaration for a Miley Cyrus twerk-fest.

The administration...

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Bessent: In the surveillance game, are U.S. allies collaborators?

The controversy over the United States' surveillance of phone calls has gotten personal for some of the world's heads of state.

The leaders of Germany, Mexico, Brazil and France yowled in protest recently when they discovered U.S. intelligence operatives may have swept up their call data. German Chancellor Angela Merkel called President Barack Obama directly and angrily demanded to know if...

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