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Questions and quotations

State Sen. Todd Kaminsky (D-Long Beach) at Molloy

State Sen. Todd Kaminsky (D-Long Beach) at Molloy College in Rockville Centre on Jan. 7, 2019. Credit: Newsday / Alejandra Villa Loarca

Daily Point

Kaminsky wants to see the pay stubs

When the State Senate and Assembly held its joint hearing on the response of the state’s utilities to Tropical Storm Isaias Thursday, Long Beach Democratic Sen. Todd Kaminsky had a particular bee in his bonnet that’s been bugging him for a while: the compensation of executives at PSEG Long Island and the fact that no one knows how much they make. 

And PSEG LI President Dan Eichhorn got stung.

Kaminsky, a former federal prosecutor, asked Eichhorn whether any PSEG LI executives were earning more than $750,000 a year, and Eichhorn replied that they were not. But when Kaminsky asked whether any were making more than $500,000 a year, Eichhorn said the company considered the information “confidential and personal,” at least implying the answer was yes.

Read on to find out why Kaminsky can't get those numbers, and to see a clip of the hearing.

—Lane Filler @lanefiller

Talking Point

Down the rabbit hole

If you watched the Democratic National Convention this week you were probably urged to text Vote to 30330 about 30,300 times. 

It was part of the party’s push to get people prepared to vote, including doing it early. Texting the number prompts a request for your ZIP code, and when that’s entered, an automatic message comes in providing a link to IWillVote.com and a few options for action, including checking whether you’re registered to vote, and requesting an absentee ballot. 

Click on either of those after entering a New York ZIP code and you’re forwarded to state Board of Elections website pages that can get you started. 

But even with all the direct prodding, it’s not so easy to get that absentee ballot process going in New York. Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo on Thursday signed bills that allow voters to request an absentee ballot for pandemic-related reasons, and also allowing election boards to start processing applications earlier. That clears some hurdles, but Nassau and Suffolk election officials say they wouldn’t be sending out ballots until after the ballot for all offices is officially finalized in the beginning of September. 

The state website on absentee voting — the one you get to when you text 30330 — outlines ways to apply for an absentee ballot, including sending an email request to county boards, going in-person to county boards, or mailing a paper application (which are available to print on the Nassau and Suffolk board websites). 

Of course, even if you sent in the application now, it would be a while before the ballot actually comes in, and for weeks election officials have been urging patience in anticipation of the deluge. 

The state website also includes an intriguing expanded way to apply for an absentee ballot: “Electronically through our Absentee Application Portal.” But that comes with the disclaimer, “(COMING SOON).”

And you thought it was going to be easy.

—Mark Chiusano @mjchiusano

Pencil Point

Trump the mechanic

For more cartoons, visit www.newsday.com/cartoons

Final Point

Biden waxes poetic

It may have been a unique convention experience for Democrats, but presidential nominee Joe Biden stayed true to form in one way during his Thursday acceptance speech. He quoted Seamus Heaney. 

It was a line from Heaney’s “The Cure at Troy” regarding how sometimes, “The longed-for tidal wave / Of justice can rise up / And hope and history rhyme.”

It’s a favored line for Biden, even in conversations with his children, and just one of the lines of Irish poetry this Irish-American politician has reached for over his long career. 

He has often spoken about reciting lines from W. B. Yeats to work on his stutter, a detail which emerged again Thursday night when 13-year-old Brayden Harrington talked about his and Biden’s bonding over stuttering. 

Yeats continued to be a touchstone for Biden as an adult, including miscues like the one grouchily pointed out by the Irish Central in 2012 when Biden managed to mangle “A terrible beauty is born” during an Iowa appearance.

But such minor literary flare-ups have never stopped Biden’s admiration for spreading the grand tradition of Hibernian letters. When President Barack Obama presented him with the Medal of Freedom in 2017, Biden’s running mate knowingly offered a Yeats quote from the poem “The Municipal Gallery Revisited.” 

As part of his emotional thank yous to Obama and his family, Biden detoured: “Seamus Heaney in one of his poems said…” 

There was laughter around the room at this typical Biden rhetoric.

“When you can find someone who says it better, use it,” the vice president explained.

—Mark Chiusano @mjchiusano

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