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Opinion

Anti-vaxxers taking a stand

The city has ordered mandatory measles vaccinations.

The city has ordered mandatory measles vaccinations. Photo Credit: Getty Images/Sean Gallup

Daily Point

Anti-vaxxers on offense

As state lawmakers get ready to take up legislation that would eliminate the religious exemption from vaccinations, a rally-and-lobbying day for “vaccine rights” is being planned for next month in Albany.

The May 14 rally, to be led by well-known anti-vaxxer Robert F. Kennedy Jr., is organized by the New York Alliance for Vaccine Rights. According to the group’s Facebook page, this will be the first annual event of its kind.

"It’s a parent’s right to choose,” a group flyer reads. “Protect your family. Protect your rights.”

The event is expected to include office visits to legislators and a rally on the steps of the Capitol. Besides Kennedy Jr., the speakers include Northport pediatrician Lawrence Palevsky, who has said vaccines potentially are more harmful than the diseases they’re meant to eradicate, and Bayport resident Rita Palma, who has advocated against the elimination of vaccine exemptions.

The rally-and-lobbying efforts come as supporters have pressed their message on state lawmakers through phone calls, social media posts and, most recently, a visit to a news conference by Sens. Kevin Thomas and Jim Gaughran, where protesters surrounded Thomas’ car.

Albany lawmakers are considering new vaccine rules after measles outbreaks have moved across 22 states. On Monday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that there’ve been 626 cases of the measles year to date nationwide, with 71 new cases last week alone. Of those 71 new cases, 68 were in New York, the CDC said.

- Randi F. Marshall @randimarshall

Primary Point

Yet another contender

Add another one to the mix. Democratic Massachusetts Rep. Seth Moulton has thrown in his hat for president.

Moulton received renewed attention last year after he tried to encourage a rebellion against Nancy Pelosi’s speakership, along with Garden City’s Kathleen Rice and more than a dozen other House Democrats.

New Yorkers might now be learning more about the third-term congressman as he revs up his campaign. Many of his Facebook ads are shown in the Empire State more than most other places, according to the site’s political ad archive.

“As a young Marine in Iraq, I felt betrayed by Washington,” says one.

“I carried a rifle every day in Iraq. Now, I’m running for president, because I know it doesn’t belong in our schools,” says another.

No surprise that New Yorkers would get the love along with populous places like California and Moulton’s home state of Massachusetts, as he introduces himself to donors and party faithful.

He faces strong competition on that front, as a baseball team’s worth of hopefuls also is chasing 2020 dreams.

That includes other House members like Eric Swalwell of California and Tim Ryan of Ohio, plus writer Marianne Williamson and entrepreneur Andrew Yang, who wants to give every American adult $1,000 a month.

The field is so crowded that even U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, who has won statewide elections by wide margins and has courted the national spotlight, has found it difficult to break into the top Democratic tier. And that tier doesn’t even yet include a certain former vice president.

- Mark Chiusano @mjchiusano

Pencil Point

Surprise!

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Quick Points

The hits keep comin’

  • President Donald Trump did the math and properly concluded that the four GOP senators who said publicly they would not support his controversial nomination of Herman Cain for the Federal Reserve doomed Cain’s confirmation chances. But it would have been better if Trump had realized that Cain simply was not able.
  • Perhaps it’s only fitting that the apparent winner of Ukraine’s presidential election is reform-minded Volodymyr Zelenskiy, a professional comedian. For years official corruption in the country has been a complete joke.
  • In 2018, Nassau County’s Industrial Development Agency gave $350,000 in termination pay to five employees who were still on the job, two of whom even now are still working. An IDA official defended the payments as being “in full compliance with our policy.” Yes, this is as bad as it sounds.
  • In his responses to written questions in the Mueller report, President Donald Trump said he could not remember something more than 30 times. What, you expected better from a man who says he has one of the great memories of all time?
  • With Illinois passing legislation requiring people running for president or vice president to disclose their last five years of tax returns, speculation is that President Donald Trump might choose not to be on the ballot there or in other blue states that make up most of the 18 that are considering similar disclosure requirements. OK, but what about Arizona, Kansas, Pennsylvania and Tennessee?
  • A Politico investigation shows that former lobbyist turned Interior Department Secretary David Bernhardt started working on policies that would help a former client only weeks after joining the Trump administration. Please don’t say you’re surprised.
  • Starbucks founder Howard Schultz, touring the country as a potential independent candidate for president in 2020, has a bunch of Facebook ads that say, in part, that “the majority of Americans are Americans.” What about the rest?
  • Asked by ”Meet the Press” host Chuck Todd whether President Donald Trump is truthful, Trump personal attorney Rudy Giuliani said: “I believe he’s truthful, yeah, as much as he can be in a world in which every single word you say is picked apart.” Here’s guessing Rudy would not want that statement picked apart.
  • Be still, my beating heart. Democrat Rep. Seth Moulton is running for president.

- Michael Dobie @mwdobie

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