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War of the worlds

Good afternoon and welcome to The Point!

Pointing Out

Zeldin not too keen for boots on the ground

President Donald Trump is considering military action in Syria in retaliation for Bashar Assad’s chemical attack earlier this week.

CNN reported that Trump has spoken to some members of Congress about the possibility. But if Republican Rep. Lee Zeldin is typical of the response in his party, it won’t be easy to find members eager to put boots on the ground.

Zeldin, a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, gave two interviews this week — on CNN and MSNBC — but had to be pushed to answer a question about an appropriate military response. On Wednesday, MSNBC’s Katy Tur had to ask Zeldin three times about Syria.

In the end, Zeldin said, “Well it would depend if it’s a request for a very small amount of the best of the best, and you’re talking Navy SEALs, Delta Force, Green Berets, Army Rangers, and Marines, and it is a very important mission that requires a very limited amount of personnel for a very high-value target, whether it’s personnel, equipment, intelligence, I would be supportive of. If it was a request to have 30,000 troops going to Syria to occupy territory, that’s not the right answer in my opinion.”

Anne Michaud

Reference Point

100 years ago

Before Newsday was born in 1941, The Brooklyn Daily Eagle chronicled the sparse farmland that was Long Island. This is the Eagle’s front page from the day the United States entered World War I, 100 years ago Thursday. Click here to read a 1984 Newsday op-ed about the war that still resonates.

Talking Point

Trump swipes in

The morning after President Donald Trump told The New York Times that he “used to ride between the cars” on the subway, Twitter-savvy NYPD Chief of Transit Joseph Fox fired back a tweet: “Please don’t ride between the subway cars.”

Maybe you’ve done it, too, for thrills or to escape to a less crowded car. Yet doing so is a violation for which a summons is issued, according to the MTA’s rules of conduct. The behavior comes with a $75 fine.

When asked for a follow-up comment on the tweet, Sgt. Paul Grattan Jr. of the Transit Bureau noted in an email, “We’ve seen far too many people killed or injured not to advance a message of safety when the opportunity arises.”

And, to adopt the parlance that White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer’s Tweet-splaining has made famous, Grattan added, “The Chief of Transit believes the public service message the tweet provides stands on its own.”

Mark Chiusano


Lonely in Albany

Five days after the state budget was due, legislative leaders still are in Albany negotiating key revenue bills. But it’s pretty lonely up there. The legislature had an 18-day break scheduled to start Thursday, and most lawmakers could not wait to get out of town.

Sen. John DeFrancisco, the deputy majority leader and a thorn in the side of Majority Leader John Flanagan, headed for Florida. He wished a “Happy Easter” to his colleagues Wednesday night, while Flanagan was still trying to negotiate a budget deal.

Long Island’s Sen. Phil Boyle, who’s not popular with Flanagan anyway because he has decided to run for sheriff this fall, left the Capitol on Tuesday. He’s in Israel on a personal holiday, his spokeswoman said (not part of New York’s essential “three I’s” campaign strategy — visiting Ireland, Italy and Israel).

Hopefully, most lawmakers paid for their vacations in advance. Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo is stopping their paychecks until the budget for the next fiscal year is approved.

Rita Ciolli