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The world gets a little nuttier

Republican incumbent Rep. Lee Zeldin and Democratic challenger

Republican incumbent Rep. Lee Zeldin and Democratic challenger Perry Gershon. Credit: Jessica Rotkiewicz

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Daily Point

What lies beneath in CD1

While Republican incumbent Lee Zeldin and Democratic challenger Perry Gershon had an often angry debate in Hampton Bays on Monday, the 1st Congressional District candidates did find some common ground about hate.

Zeldin said anti-Semitism like what was seen in the Pittsburgh mass shooting “turns your stomach,” noting that the CD1 race features two Jewish candidates. Gershon said, “I am deeply disturbed, as is Mr. Zeldin, by what happened in Pittsburgh.”

But some nasty language that belied that spirit circulated in other parts of the district. Gershon’s campaign received reports of lawn signs being vandalized, with the words “Baby Killer” and “Gay Lover” stenciled above and below Gershon’s name.

Gershon spokesman Tim Minton says the campaign received reports of vandalized signs on Sunrise Highway in Patchogue, South Country Road in East Patchogue, and Nicolls Road near Stony Brook University. One sign was brought into the office.

In a statement emailed to The Point, Zeldin spokesman Chris Boyle said, “We have no idea who did this, but they should stop immediately. We have also been dealing for several weeks with Zeldin for Congress signs being defaced and stolen from private property.” Boyle added that whoever is responsible should be held accountable.

The signs underscore some of the social divides in the district: Zeldin, for example, voted against same-sex marriage while in the State Senate, and Gershon says he’s a supporter of gay rights.

The Suffolk County Police Department says Hate Crimes Unit detectives are reaching out to Gershon.

The vandalized signs are bringing renewed media attention to Gershon in the last week of the race, with hate speech much in the news. Minton said Tuesday morning that Gershon already had five one-on-one TV interviews scheduled on the topic, plus print.

“This is one of the largest press interest items we’ve experienced,” Minton said.

Mark Chiusano

Talking Point

Nut just another ice cream flavor

For all those who think the times we’re living in are a bit nutty — or maybe a lot nutty — Ben & Jerry’s unveiled a new ice cream flavor Tuesday.

It’s called Pecan Resist (just change the first letter, and you’ll understand the play on words). It’s chocolate ice cream with white and dark fudge chunks. But then, Ben & Jerry’s adds the nuts — a lot of them. Pecans, walnuts, and fudge-covered almonds are all part of the mix.

The flavor is, of course, about more than just the general nuttiness of the world.

On the container, Ben & Jerry’s makes its point clear:

“Welcome to the resistance. Together, Pecan Resist!” the label says. “We honor and stand with women, immigrants, people of color and the millions of activists and allies who are courageously resisting the president’s attacks on our values, humanity and environment.”

Ben & Jerry’s, now owned by Unilever, has always had a socially conscious edge, using flavor names to celebrate same-sex marriage, voter rights and nonuse of genetically modified organisms. Along with its newest effort, the Vermont ice-cream maker announced it was supporting four nonprofit groups associated with the environment, women, people of color and immigrants.

Some Ben & Jerry’s fans might recognize Pecan Resist as a flavor formerly known as New York Super Fudge Chunk. Resistance does have its risks — one pint has 1,200 calories — so perhaps Democrats shouldn’t get too excited and eat it all at once.

Randi F. Marshall

Pencil Point

Another van

Quick Points

Trump tries to trample the 14th Amendment

  • President Donald Trump wants to deny birthright citizenship to children of immigrants here illegally, using an executive order to nullify the 14th Amendment of what he has called “our beloved Constitution.” It wouldn’t be the first time he tried to trample a beloved one.
  • A group of Roman Catholic bishops has called for the church to give women a bigger role in decision-making and elicit more participation from young people. After all these years, is that really bold enough?
  • Asked about making another run in 2020, Hillary Clinton said she still wants to be president but is not going to think about it until after the midterms — in other words, she’s keeping the door open. Please, close it.
  • Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti says he’ll decide whether to run for president by year’s end. At the Democratic Party deli counter, Garcetti’s No. 26.
  • Oklahoma Republican Sen. James Lankford says President Donald Trump’s rhetoric doesn’t meet the standard for presidents and that Trump should be “more clear” in his words. Not sure that the clarity of Trump’s vocabulary is the problem.
  • Pundits have been comparing Jair Bolsonaro, the hard-right authoritarian-minded president-elect in Brazil, to U.S. President Donald Trump. One big difference: Bolsonaro actually won a majority of his country’s votes.
  • In Rome, wild boars roam streets feeding from mounds of uncollected garbage, public buses have caught on fire, and a subway escalator recently collapsed. And you thought the LIRR was having a bad year?

Michael Dobie