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

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Rita Ciolli

Rita Ciolli began working for Newsday 40 years ago as a summer intern. During her senior year at Fordham University, the Bronx native worked full time covering Hempstead town. After graduating from Georgetown University Law Center in 1977, she spent a decade in the Washington bureau assigned to the U.S. Supreme Court, the Justice Department and the FBI. After a long stint as a media and technology reporter, Ciolli covered religion before joining the editorial board in 2005. She became editor of the opinion section in November 2007 and has expanded its commentary and letters sections both in print and online.

Up on the Board: Suffolk GOP ballot hijinks, undergrad transfers soar

New York needs to reform election laws to

(Credit: Newsday/J. Conrad Williams Jr.)

The editorial board is incensed at how difficult it is for candidates to get on the ballot in New York in general, and in Suffolk County in particular. Witness Brookhaven Town Board member Kathleen Walsh, who was just disqualified by a judge from running in the GOP primary, supposedly because she doesn’t adhere to Republican values and philosophy – at least, that was her opponent’s argument. Earlier...

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Uberti: Area 51 mythology will live on, despite official acknowledgment

A car moves along the Extraterrestrial Highway near

(Credit: AP )

Too bad a declassified CIA report acknowledging the existence of Area 51 doesn’t explain anything about extraterrestrials, time travel, or just how Will Smith learned to pilot an alien space craft quickly enough to save the world in “Independence Day.”

But the United States’ most famous base does exist, according to documents obtained by George Washington University's National Security Archive....

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Up on the Board: Liu’s legal marijuana, NSA’s ‘unintentional’ surveillance

The editorial board is fascinated by New York City mayoral candidate John Liu’s call for legalizing marijuana – so he can tax it. Liu thinks the idea could pump $400 million a year into the city’s coffers. We’ve favored medical marijuana, but not an outright legalization. But, hey, we haven’t heard any better revenue-raising ideas in this campaign, and times change. Remember Prohibition?

And...

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Up on the Board: Tax cap squeeze, former Jesuit retreat threatened

The estate was developed between 1916 and 1920

(Credit: Newsday / Alejandra Villa)

The editorial board is talking about the new math on the 2014 property tax cap. According to the state comptroller, counties and municipalities will face a 1.66 percent cap on increasing tax levies, instead of 2 percent. That’s because the cap calculation is based on inflation or 2 percent, whichever is lower. Budgeting for that is going to be challenging, especially since the government inflationary...

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Up on the Board: LIRR’s 2nd track, Holder’s détente on drug war

Attorney General Eric Holder speaks at the Delta

(Credit: AP)

The editorial board thinks the Long Island Rail Road’s planned second track between Farmingdale and Ronkonkoma will bring more benefit than pain. Sure, there may be more traffic, but Long Island needs the increased rail service.

And Attorney General Eric Holder’s address on mandatory sentencing for drug crimes appears to give prosecutors more discretion to bring lesser charges against people...

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Filler: What it means when a judge bans the name 'Messiah' -- and what it doesn't

In this undated photo provided by WBIR-TV, 7-month

(Credit: AP Photo Heidi Wigdahl)

It’s so tempting, when we hear of something painfully and obviously stupid being done, to get all downcast about the state of things and declare, “Well, that just proves the world is going to heck in a hoopskirt.”

Such is the case of the judge in Tennessee who legally changed a baby’s name from Messiah to Martin because, in Child Support Magistrate Lu Ann Ballew’s words, “The word Messiah...

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Uberti: Gov. Cuomo's drive against texting goes national

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo gets out of his

(Credit: AP)

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo revved up his 1975 Corvette Friday for a few laps around Watkins Glen International, one of the few NASCAR courses that includes right turns. Soon after, the car enthusiast governor made another right turn: taking his anti-texting and driving message nationwide.

Cuomo announced Friday at The Glen — site of the NASCAR Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series last weekend — that...

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Up on the Board: Influence at the Nassau PD, Hempstead principal, NSA changes

Chief of Detectives John R. Capece

(Credit: handout)

The editorial board is concerned about yet another allegation of personal influence affecting how the Nassau County Police Department enforces the law. This time, a Westbury businessman has filed a civil suit claiming that a road rage incident was dismissed because the accused had a friendship with the Nassau chief of detectives, John R. Capece.

And we’re looking at the Hempstead school board’s...

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Uberti: City election app is a giant leap forward

New York City Campaign Finance Board app.

(Credit: New York City Campaign Finance Board app. )

Political processes usually lag far behind technological advancement. The lever machines New Yorkers will use to vote in this year’s elections, for example, were a hot new invention in the 1890s. But the old-school contraptions were deemed necessary in 2013 because election officials couldn’t count votes fast enough using electronic scanners.

Despite such slow evolution of the mechanisms of...

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Crowley: High school students should think twice before competing in endurance sports

Runners compete near the start of the girls

(Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke)

Bone health usually isn’t a worry until back or knee problems emerge well into adulthood. And by that time it may be too late to do something about it.

We should start worrying about bone health when the body builds most of its adult bones: early childhood into teenage years. Researchers who study bone health suggest any bone mass gained after peak bone growth, which is around 20 years old...

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