A flyer announcing the opening of the Long Island Loud...

A flyer announcing the opening of the Long Island Loud Majority lounge on Sunday, and the building that will house the lounge, at 1919 Deer Park Ave. Credit: Newsday/Lane Filler

Daily Point

Loud Majority finds home in Deer Park

For much of the first two years of its existence, the MAGA political group Long Island Loud Majority held its bigger events at the America First Warehouse in Ronkonkoma. That alliance ended when LILM went all in for Rep. Lee Zeldin in the Republican gubernatorial primary this summer and the owner of the warehouse got behind Andrew Giuliani.

Now LILM is hosting its own space in Deer Park, with an official grand opening slated for Sunday. LILM co-founders Sean Farash and Kevin Smith will host their podcast/television show in a space that Smith said Thursday can hold about 100 people. Tickets are $25.

The duo are already hosting their daily show, without a live audience, from the approximately 4,000-square-foot building, which Smith said has been vacant for quite some time, but was reputedly last a dentist’s office.

Both Smith and Farash have quit their jobs to work full-time to grow LILM, which Smith said is an LLC. They’ve been aggressive about marketing conservative-themed merchandise and making public appearances, and many of their compatriots, like Huntington Young Republican Jamie Silvestri, who was working at the Deer Park building Thursday, are also trying to help grow the operation.

Smith said the place will be more of a hangout where people can get together to watch football games or do political work, and no alcohol is going to be sold, even at events like show tapings. LILM recently screened the anti-Joe Biden movie “My Son Hunter,” which is being distributed by Breitbart News.

“We give people bottles of water,” he said.

And, Smith said, the show is expanding its reach, with a deal to appear on internet television channel “Live From America” and distribution on Rumble, the Dan Bongino-backed and mostly conservative internet alternative to YouTube.

— Lane Filler @lanefiller

Talking Point

LIPA's fate rests before commission

The future of the Long Island Power Authority is being shuffled a bit further into the future.

Earlier this year, the State Legislature moved forward on long-standing demands that LIPA be transformed into a municipal utility that would be more accountable to its ratepayers. To do so, it created a special state commission and gave it a very tight turnaround time to come up with a public power proposal and the draft legislation to create it. This summer, leaders of the State Senate and Assembly completed the first step, naming eight local legislators to the commission.

But the next step requiring at least one public hearing in each of three counties — Nassau, Suffolk and Queens (LIPA provides power to the Rockaways) — by Sept. 30 won’t be met. Assemb. Fred Thiele, Jr., commission co-chair and one of the main proponents of municipalization, told the editorial board Wednesday that a new timeline with dates and locations has yet to be set.

Thiele attributed part of the delay to a special two-day legislative session in late June to address Supreme Court decisions on gun permits and abortion. “And then I managed to get COVID in mid-July,” he said. “But we are up and running now.” Thiele noted the commission solicited resumes for an executive director, and that interviews for the job would be “conducted in the next week or so.”

Thiele said nominations to the required advisory committee of 15 stakeholders including representatives from business, labor, and environmental organizations, along with energy experts, are underway and the selections should be completed by the end of the month.

Still, it’s a short turnaround. A draft report about how a public power plan could be implemented must be sent to the state comptroller for review by Feb. 1, 2023. The final report is due to the legislature by April 1, 2023.

— Rita Ciolli @ritaciolli

Pencil Point

Choice tactic

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

Reference Point

Book intolerance then and now

The Newsday editorial from Sept. 15, 1954.

The Newsday editorial from Sept. 15, 1954.

Mention book-banning on Long Island and thoughts first turn to recent attempts in Smithtown to remove Pride displays from library children’s rooms — and, long before that, to Levittown and the famous Island Trees case that made it all the way to the Supreme Court in 1982.

The incident started in 1975 when the school board voted to remove nine books it considered “anti-American,” “filthy,” and a “moral danger” — including “Black Boy” by Richard Wright and “The Fixer” by Bernard Malamud — from school libraries. Litigation over the school board’s action culminated in a divided Supreme Court ruling in favor of Island Trees students’ demand for a trial with Justice William Brennan writing that “school boards may not remove books from school library shelves simply because they dislike the ideas contained in those books …”

But that episode was hardly Long Island’s first brush with intolerance for certain books in its school systems. In 1954, New Hyde Park generated similar sizzling when associate state education commissioner Frederick J. Moffitt recommended that copies of “Russia” by Vernon Ives be removed from the district’s schools because the book had become “controversial.”

Newsday’s editorial board criticized the action on Sept. 15, 1954, in a piece titled “Generation of Boneheads.”

“It is shocking that an education official would throw out a book because it stimulated argument, discussion and thought,” the board wrote. “We had believed, in our apparently naive way, that thinking is a good way to learn. We were brought up, long before communism became a topic of living room debate, to believe that controversy was in the true spirit of democracy.”

The 25-page sixth-grade book, published in 1943, had been taken from the Hillside Grade School library by Mrs. Maude Willdigg, who spearheaded a community drive to remove it. She told a Newsday reporter that she had been holding the volume “as a hostage.” Her efforts, reportedly backed by the local American Legion and Knights of Columbus chapters, were greeted with disdain by the Newsday board.

“Seems the book, while explaining how Russian totalitarianism is abhorrent to Americans, said the Russian economy was making great strides,” the board wrote. “That statement, amply borne out since the book was published, has caused panic in the minds of New Hyde Park zealots.”

It was that controversy that led Moffitt to call for the book’s removal — and the editorial board to castigate everyone involved. The editorial page’s cartoon on that day depicted a group of scholars labeled the “Inspection Committee” using a magnifying glass to examine books with titles such as “The Year the Yankees Lost the Pennant,” “Croquet Simplified,” “Women are Here to Stay,” and “Modern Mumblety-Peg” over the caption “Now, Now, No Controversy.”

The board responded with an opprobrium for the ages.

“Today’s children, no different from children of any other age, are not going to grow up in a world of paralysing [sic] harmony,” the board wrote. “They, like all people who have lived since the Middle Ages, thrive on conflict. Ideas are stimulated by disagreement, progress achieved by the catalyst of opposition.

“If controversy is stifled in the schools, the future is destined to see a generation of boneheads, bringing with them the collapse of civilization as we know it.”

— Michael Dobie @mwdobie and Amanda Fiscina @adfiscina


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