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(Neil) Simon says
When playwright Neil Simon died, he left behind a rich legacy of comedic work that defined life in urban areas — specifically, New York City.
But his plays, judging from their titles, easily could have been about the American political scene. For example, the musical “Promises, Promises,” for which Simon wrote the book, could have been about President George H.W. Bush vowing on the 1988 campaign trail, “No new taxes,” then making a deal two years later with the House and Senate to increase taxes (the musical was based on the film “The Apartment”).
In that vein, try to match each plot below with a well-known Simon play:
PLOT: Hope Hicks announces that she is leaving her job as White House communications adviser.
PLOT: Despite intense legal differences, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and her late colleague Antonin Scalia become fast friends, bonding over opera, and becoming occasional dinner and travel companions.
PLOT: The Trump administration tries to convince the Senate and the public that Ronny Jackson is a worthy choice to lead the Department of Veterans Affairs.
PLOT: In a dark comedy, Steve Bannon and Steven Miller conjure images of apocalypse at the hands of immigrants and Donald Trump talks about American carnage.
PLOT: Donald Trump meets Playboy Playmate Karen McDougal at the Beverly Hills Hotel.
PLOT: More than 210 years after his death, Alexander Hamilton has a musical written about him.
PLOT: Mars, the world’s largest chocolate maker, pledges $1 billion to the effort to fight climate change.
PLOT: In the 2016 presidential campaign, Hillary Clinton needs five swipes to use a MetroCard in the Bronx, Ted Cruz says crime is rising in New York City when it’s going down, and John Kasich eats pizza with a fork in Queens.
Email your guesses to ThePoint@newsday.com. Answers will appear in Wednesday’s issue of The Point.
Let’s talk about trash
Albany is no one’s idea of a late-August getaway, but a contingent of Long Islanders will make the trek on Wednesday to talk trash.
There is a national recycling crisis spurred by China’s drastic tightening of standards for what kind of recyclables it will accept. Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and the state Department of Environmental Conservation want to find or create new markets for recyclables, with an emphasis on long-term solutions.
What to do with glass will be one cutting-edge topic. There is little market for it — partly because broken glass contaminates other recyclables in a bin, partly because dirt and grime from other recyclables contaminate glass. One option is to take glass out of curbside collecting, increase the kinds of glass covered by the bottle bill to include wines and spirits, and increase the deposit from a nickel to a dime to encourage returns of what will be a cleaner — and therefore more desirable — product.
Other possible uses for glass could include insulation, asphalt or concrete, or as protection against coastline erosion when the glass is ground up. Can glass bottles be reused to make other glass bottles, say, for the many wineries and microbreweries on Long Island, as some environmental and industry officials have proposed?
As much as 20 percent of the recyclable material that comes into Brookhaven’s single-stream recycling facility is glass, and most of that is used as cover and drainage layers at the Brookhaven landfill, Will Flower told The Point.
Flower is a vice president at Winters Bros., part of the group that operates the facility, and he will attend the Albany meeting.
Besides glass, attendees will discuss plastics, cans, paper, cardboard and the need to educate the public on how better to recycle.
The urgency behind the meeting is real; among the locals slated to attend are recycling and solid waste industry officials, environmentalists, and representatives from Brookhaven, Islip, Hempstead and North Hempstead towns. Hundreds of jurisdictions around the country have stopped accepting various recyclables, abandoned single-stream recycling, canceled recycling programs or started intensive education campaigns. Carters have increased rates or tried to renegotiate contracts.
It might be an election year, but there is no partisanship in this round of trash-talking.
Cynthia Nixon isn’t the only challenger eager to share a debate stage with her opponent.
Democrat Perry Gershon of East Hampton sat next to an empty chair at a forum at the Hamptons United Methodist Church in Southampton on Monday night. The chair was for Rep. Lee Zeldin, the Shirley Republican who declined to attend the event organized by a coalition of eight houses of worship.
Rabbi Jan Uhrbach, an event organizer, said Zeldin was given the opportunity to pick a convenient date, but ultimately the campaign declined because “they did not believe we would be a fair and balanced forum.” Uhrbach believes this was “directed at me in particular” because she has at times spoken out on issues on which she disagrees with Zeldin.
Gershon’s campaign says it has accepted nine invitations from outside groups to debate Zeldin, so far without success. The Zeldin campaign did not respond to The Point about debates.
Over in the neighboring 2nd Congressional District, Rep. Peter King will appear with Democratic challenger Liuba Grechen Shirley on Sept. 8 at the Bay Shore-Brightwaters Public Library. The 10 a.m. event will be a “question-and-answer session” sponsored by the Islip Town branch of the NAACP, according to a branch spokesman. He said this will not be a debate, no rebuttals or back-and-forths, but the candidates will appear side by side in the community room, which can accommodate 120 people.
Will there be any more such appearances? King tells The Point in a statement, “Whenever Ch 12 sets their debate I will accept.” He added that he is trying to make a League of Women Voters invitation work with the congressional calendar.
A Grechen Shirley campaign spokeswoman said the campaign wasn’t aware of an event proposed by the league. But the Amityville challenger has five debate requests on the table.