Tag Archive | "Tim Bishop"

Congressman Bishop Seeks Medal of Honor for Haerter

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Heller_Haerter Medal of Honor Submission Ceremony @ American Legion 3-16-14_4129_LR

Christian Haerter, father of fallen soldier Jordan Haerter, speaks as New York State Congressman Tim Bishop Congressman, joined by New York State Assemblyman Fed Thiele and JoAnn Lynes, mother of Marine Jordan Haerter, announced a bill to advance the Medal of Honor for Sag Harbor’s Lcpl Jordan Haerter and to Cpl Jonathan Yale during a ceremony held at the Sag Harbor American Legion on Sunday. 

By Stephen J. Kotz; photography by Michael Heller

It started last year as a grassroots effort to have Lance Corporal Jordan Haerter and his fellow marine, Corporal Jonathan Yale, posthumously awarded the Congressional Medal Honor for their heroism in Iraq in 2008.

But it received a significant boost when U.S. Representative Tim Bishop, speaking at the Sag Harbor American Legion on Sunday, announced that last week he had co-sponsored legislation with Congressman Robert Hurt of Virginia, who represents the Yale family, seeking a presidential review to determine whether two marines should receive the medal, the nation’s highest military honor.

“We are offering this legislation so that Jordan and Jonathan receive every single consideration for the highest award to which they are entitled,” Mr. Bishop told the gathering made of Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars members, scouts and other friends and supporters Lance Cpl. Haerter and his family.

Mr. Bishop’s bill will be sent to the House Armed Services Committee, which has the option of sending it on to the Pentagon. If it passes that stage it will be forwarded to President Barack Obama.

Mr. Bishop was joined at the podium by Mr. Haerter’s parent, Christian Haerter and JoAnn Lyles, Assemblyman Fred. W. Thiele Jr. and Marty Knab, the Legion’s commander.

“These were outstanding young men who died in the service of their country, but first and foremost they were beloved sons,” Mr. Bishop said.

“In Sag Harbor we all know in our hearts he has already won the Medal of Honor,” Mr. Thiele said. “Now we have to convince the powers that be.”

“Time has gone by, but it is important that people haven’t forgotten your son and what he did for his country,” Mr. Thiele continued, “and how proud we are that he is a son of Sag Harbor.”

“It’s hard for me to believe that is coming up on six years that Jordan lost his life,” said Mr. Haerter. “I want to thank all the members of the community of Sag Harbor as a whole for their continuing support from the day he was killed until today.”

Mr. Haerter said he did not know if the review would result in his son and Cpl. Yale receiving the Medal of Honor. “We just feel that it will give Jordan and Jonathan a chance at a review.”

Congressman Bishop also said he did not know what the odds were. “I’m confident it will get careful consideration,” he said, “but I think the likelihood of success is modest.”

Phil Como, representing Sea Cliff American Legion Post #456 and VFW Post #347, who has been involved in the effort to get the two marines the medal, said in his mind they were deserving.

“In six seconds, they made a decision that their lives had to be sacrificed to save 50 other marines and Iraqi staff,” he said. “I feel there is a moral imperative here.”

“The surviving marines, to a man, will tell you that they are going to live the rest of their lives with children, grandchildren, graduations, Christmases and weddings” because of their heroism.

Lance Cpl. Haerter and Cpl. Yale were killed on April 22, 2008, shortly after they went on guard duty at a joint security station in Ramadi, Iraq, when a suicide bomber, driving a truck laden with 2,000 pounds of explosives, tried to drive through the concrete barriers separating the station from the street. The marines returned fire, stopping the truck, but died when the vehicle exploded.

Last year, an anonymous Virginia resident started a petition on the White House website seeking the Medal of Honor for the two marines. That effort has since been replaced by one on the change.org website that has collected 39,000 signatures, Mr. Haerter said.

Bishop: Unemployment Should be Extended

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Last week, Congressmen Tim Bishop and Steve Israel called on the House Republican leadership to extend unemployment insurance benefits. The two further demanded leadership hold a vote immediately upon the House returning to session in early January.

“It is absolutely unconscionable that the leadership in the House would allow is to adjourn for the holidays while leaving so many families in danger of not being able to keep a roof over their heads or put food on the table,” said Bishop in a press release issued Friday. “The time to deliberate about extending unemployment insurance benefits has long since passed. It is time for us to act, and act swiftly to ensure that Long Island families are protected.”

“As our economy continues to recover from the worst economic downtown since the Great Depression, it’s crucial that we provide those New Yorkers who lost jobs through no fault of their own with the vital relief they deserve as they look for new employment,” said Israel. “It is unconscionable that 1.3 million people around the country are out in the cold especially during the holidays. That is why I’m standing with Rep. Bishop today to call on Congress to immediately extend Federal Unemployment Insurance.”

Without an extension, 1.3 million Americans could lose access to unemployment insurance benefits on December 28. An additional 3.5 million could lose coverage in 2014.

Southampton Rally Remembers Sandy Hook Victims, Protests Lack of Federal Legislation a Year After Tragedy

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Gun control advocates in front of Congressman Tim Bishop's Southampton office at Sandy Hook Remembrance Rally Saturday.

Gun control advocates in front of Congressman Tim Bishop’s Southampton office at Sandy Hook Remembrance Rally Saturday. (Tessa Raebeck photo).

By Tessa Raebeck

A year after the tragic shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut took the lives of 20 first graders and six school employees, New York State has some of the toughest laws on gun control in the country.

But with no legislative action yet taken on the federal level, groups advocating for gun control are continuing their fight for safety laws.

Chanting “We will not forget!” members of New Yorkers Against Gun Violence, States United Against Gun Violence and Organizing for Action, an advocacy group supporting President Obama’s legislative agenda, held a Sandy Hook Remembrance Rally outside Congressman Tim Bishop’s Southampton office Saturday afternoon.

Decked in hats, gloves and posters, a group of 17 advocates for gun control braved the snow to honor the victims, survivors and families of the Sandy Hook tragedy, commemorate the actions of Governor Andrew Cuomo and Congressman Bishop in the past year and call on legislators — particularly at the federal level — to do more.

Sue Hornik from States United Against Gun Violence and Sag Harbor’s Jackie Hilly, of New Yorkers Against Gun Violence, spoke at the rally. They called for closing background check “loopholes,” banning military-style assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, making schools safer and increasing access to mental health services.

“While sadness can be unbearable,” Hilly told the crowd, “it should also serve to embolden us to speak out against gun violence.”

The event marked the one-year anniversary of the school shooting at Sandy Hook. After Hilly and Hornik spoke, those in attendance read the names of the 26 victims, along with personal anecdotes, and rang a bell after each reading.

Ann Howard from Cutchogue read the name of Dylan Hockley, a six-year-old killed in his classroom who had “beautiful eyes and a mischievous grin” and “a love of bouncing on trampolines.”

Hilly thanked Governor Cuomo for making New York the first state to take decisive action after Newtown. The AR-15, the assault weapon used at Sandy Hook, can no longer legally be purchased in New York. Banning such weapons was one of the provisions of the New York SAFE Act, which was proposed by Governor Cuomo and adopted by the state legislature in January, less than a month after the tragedy.

“Now with the new regulations that were adopted in New York State,” explained Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele, Jr., “if we don’t have the most stringent gun control measures, we’re in the top two.”

State Senator Kenneth LaValle agreed New York has some of the strongest gun control laws in the nation.

“Right after Sandy Hook I think there was a sense of purpose, because young people were killed — senseless murder — in an elementary school by an individual who had mental health issues,” said LaValle, “ and indeed in every one of these mass shootings, the shooter has a mental health issue.”RaebeckSandyHookRally2

The SAFE Act established provisions to help identify individuals with mental illnesses and correlate reporting of such illnesses with reporting of firearm ownership. Under the new law, a gun owner living with someone who has been diagnosed with a mental illness has a responsibility to make sure his or her guns are not available to that person.

“That’s kind of a good balancing, we believe, between rights and responsibilities,” said Hilly, “because you know, the other side is always talking about rights and rarely are they mentioning responsibilities.”

Additionally, mental health professionals are now required by law to alert police if they believe one of their patients is likely to hurt themselves or others — and that patient has a gun permit.

The SAFE Act also standardized the time period for renewal of permits across the state. Previously, Long Island and Westchester required gun owners to renew their permits every five years and New York City had a three-year requirement. Now, all of New York — including areas upstate that required renewal less frequently — has a maximum five-year permit renewal requirement (New York City can keep their three-year restriction). This sanction requires permit holders to reaffirm the facts of their permit, for example that they have not been convicted of a felony or diagnosed with a mental illness.

The SAFE Act enhanced the breadth and prevalence of background checks, limited the capacity of magazines from 10 rounds to seven and expanded the definition of assault weapons, such as the AR-15.

The law also aims to end the anonymous purchasing of large stocks of ammunition on the Internet. Rather than going online and having weapons delivered to your home with no regulation, ammunition must now be delivered to a gun dealer, who will then ask for identification (a permit is not required for ammunition).

Although the SAFE Act is a huge victory for gun control advocates, proponents say the state measures are limited by the lack of similar federal legislation. Although criminals are faced with these restrictions in New York, they can easily travel across state lines to purchase weapons and ammunition.

Since Sandy Hook, according to Congressman Bishop, on the federal level, “the short answer is nothing has happened.”

Of a number of bills introduced in the House of Representatives to help provide for gun safety, “none of them have moved at all,” said Bishop, who sponsored most of them.

In the Senate, an effort to bring up a bipartisan bill to expand background checks for people who wish to purchase firearms failed to garner the 60 votes necessary for it to be considered.

“You can still go on the Internet and buy firearms,” Bishop said Monday, “you can still go on the Internet and buy mass quantities of ammunition, you can still purchase a gun at a gun show without undergoing a background check, so basic things that ought to be put in place are not being put in place.”

“It pretty much breaks down on party lines,” added the Democratic congressman, “Democrats want to pass gun safety legislation, Republicans refuse to.”

Bishop said much of the proposed legislation has bipartisan support, “but the leadership of the House of Representatives refuses to move any of them.”

“I don’t want to say that there’s no hope,” he said, “but I do think that the track record of the house thus far does not give cause for optimism.”

Altschuler & Bishop Debate Economy, Super PACs, Campaign Messages

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By Kathryn G. Menu;Photography by Laurie Barone Schaefer

While the economy was the central topic in Monday night’s debate between incumbent Democratic Congressman Tim Bishop and his Republican opponent Randy Altschuler, the candidates for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives also spoke at length about the contentious, sometimes admittedly ugly, campaign that has been waged between the two. The candidates also addressed the influence of Super PACs on the political landscape, abortion and continued an ongoing debate over whether cutting taxes does, in fact, lead to actual job creation.

Monday night’s debate, held at the Bridgehampton School, was sponsored jointly by The Press News Group and the Times/Review Newsgroup and was moderated by Press News Group executive editor and editor of the eastern edition of The Southampton Press Joe Shaw.

The second in a series of three debates sponsored by the newspaper groups, Monday night’s forum was largely dedicated to jobs and the economy, in an effort to allow substantive conversations about specific issues, said Shaw.

Fundamentally, Altschuler — who also has the endorsement of the Conservative and Independence parties — and Bishop — who carries the endorsement of the Working Families line and is seeking a sixth term — have different approaches and visions for how the future of this country should be charted.

On Monday night, Altschuler says he fundamentally believes cutting taxes does create jobs, citing his 10-points jobs plan and the goal to provide more small business owners tax relief and make it more desirable for companies to stay in the United States.

“We have the highest corporate tax rate in the world,” he said.

Bishop would later note that while the U.S. does have the highest corporate tax rate in the world, it is fourth from the bottom in terms of the actual taxes it collects from corporations because of tax loopholes and subsidies.

Bishop said he does not believe there is factual data directly tying cuts in taxes to job growth, however, he does support tax cuts for the middle class, reductions in payroll taxes and has personally supported over 18 tax cuts that would benefit small businesses.

Altschuler rebutted that he did not believe tax cuts alone would get the country financially where it needs to be, but on the street he hears people crying for tax relief. Bishop, he charged, voted against extending the Bush era tax cuts for people making $250,000 or more.

Bishop countered he did support tax cuts be extended for people who make below $250,000 and that 97 percent of Americans fall into that category. For those making above $250,000 they will be returned to the Clinton era tax rates, which was an economically prosperous time, he added.

In 2010, when Altschuler lost his first race to Bishop by a mere 594 votes, he had signed Grover Norquist’s Taxpayer Protection Pledge, essentially vowing to oppose all actions that would increase income taxes for businesses or individuals, including opposing any action that would reduce or eliminate deductions or breaks on businesses.

On Monday night, Altschuler said he has not resigned that pledge this year.

“When you sign a pledge you put a stake in the ground that is sometimes impossible to move around,” he said, adding the way to fiscal health will also be found in compromise between the two major parties.

Bishop agreed compromise was critical, but added in the last two years dozens of candidates have been elected to the House of Representatives who think “compromise is a four letter word.”

He added he did not believe Norquist sees his Taxpayer Protection Pledge as an annual pledge, as Altschuler maintained. Bishop added because of pledges such as this, talks concerning the deficit have largely fallen apart — because, he said, there is an unwillingness to compromise in terms of discussions about adding new revenues, or taxes.

Altschuler responded by charging Bishop has been “fiercely partisan in his political life,” voting with Democrats 93 to 98 percent of the time.

“My opponent is not even a member [of Congress] yet and he has signed on to one of the most partisan, ideologically extreme divisive documents in Washington — the Grover Norquist pledge,” countered Bishop, adding that as a member of the minority party he is only able to vote on bills that Republicans allow on the floor of the House of Representatives.

The two candidates did discuss how they have demonstrated an ability to work with their rival political party.

Bishop signed onto the Go Big Coalition, a group of Democrats and Republicans backing the bipartisan “gang of six” Senators working on a deficit reduction bill to go beyond cutting the $4 trillion deficit, by putting all options on the table, he said.

“We said we were willing to step out of party orthodoxy and come out as reasonable people, charged by the American people to solve a problem and I think that really is bi-partisanship,” said Bishop.

Altschuler noted that he breaks with his majority in believing — like Bishop — that infrastructure construction on Long Island is critical, specifically fixing roads, looking at the creation of sewer districts and dredging projects. He added he would oppose any cuts to Stony Brook University or the Brookhaven National Laboratory.

Economic development of the Enterprise Park at Calverton (EPCAL) in Riverhead was also discussed.

Bishop said his offices have begun working on aiding Riverhead Town in dealing with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), which has asked the town for more specificity in its vision for EPCAL. The 2,900-acre property once leased by Grumman Corporation is now proposed as a mixed-use, sustainable development project meant to draw in businesses, and jobs.

“This is what we do all the time,” he said. “My office serves as a facilitator that brings the federal government to the table to help solve problems.”

Altschuler countered that finding a way to develop EPCAL has been a problem since Grumman left the site. He said he plans, if elected, to devote a staffer solely to job creation in Suffolk County. He said the Congressman serving the First Congressional District would need to be aggressive and that has yet to happen.

“That is simply not true,” bristled Bishop, noting there has been tremendous economic development at EPCAL, including the addition of a railroad spur bringing the Long Island Railroad back to the site — a critical method of transportation for many businesses.

“I have been in office for 10 years and every single time anyone from Riverhead has approached me we have done what they have asked and with results,” said Bishop. “That is simply not accurate.”

Altschuler continued to hammer home his point that it was tax cuts and reducing government regulation that would help local business.

“What our small business need more than anything else is customers,” said Bishop. “I go to Catena’s Market in Southampton and I can guarantee you they are not wringing their hands over federal regulation — they need more customers.”

Altschuler said businesses need certainty, and programs like the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare, leaves businesses with a sense they don’t know what to expect down the road.

The candidates also touched on outsourcing — a theme in the attack ads towards Altschuler in this campaign. Bishop has been critical of Altschuler’s former business, Office Tiger, a company which Bishop maintains outsources administrative jobs overseas to places like India.

“I think it is one of the scourges of the American economy,” said Bishop, adding that he has proposed legislation that will make companies that outsource call center jobs ineligible for federal grants.

“I am not going to talk about the ad — everyone wants more jobs in America,” said Altschuler. “The question is why there are not more jobs in America and why don’t we bring them back here.”

The candidates also touched on their views on abortion. Altschuler is pro-life. Bishop is pro-choice.

At a Hampton Bays debate, a high school student largely stole the show when she scolded both candidates for their negative campaigns. Shaw wondered if the addition of super PACs (political action committees), which can raise and spend unlimited monies on political campaigns, has been beneficial to the process and this campaign specifically.

“I don’t think anyone is happy with how the campaigns are handled today,” said Altschuler, who said his first commercial featured his wife, his single mother and his 10-points jobs plan.

“It is unfortunate but it is the card we have been dealt and we are dealing with it,” said Altschuler.

“I think Super PACs fundamentally threaten our democracy,” said Bishop, adding before his campaign ran a single ad in July, Altschuler held a press conference in front of Bishop’s office criticizing his daughter who has raised money for Bishop’s campaigns as well as his wife, a pre-school teacher. Altschuler charged both had benefitted from Bishop’s tenure at Southampton College and as a Congressman. Bishop has staunchly denied both claims.

“So please, don’t be the choir boy,” said Bishop. “I think even within the context of an ugly, bruising campaign, family should be off limits.”

Altschuler called the comments “disingenuous.”

“I don’t think it is fair for either one of us to say we cloaked ourselves in glory,” said Bishop, again calling for a moratorium on ads attacking family members.

“I would never do it and I will never do it,” he said.

Long Island Contractors’ Association Supports Bishop for Congress

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Late last month, the Long Island Contractors’ Association (LICA), joined by the Operating Engineers Local 138, Laborers Local 1298, Teamsters Local 282 and the Northeast Regional Council of Carpenters, announced their endorsement of incumbent Democratic Congressman Tim Bishop for re-election at the Laborers Local 1298 headquarters in Hempstead.

In a press release issued by Bishop’s office, LICA Executive Director Marc Herbst announced that its PAC is breaking with their traditional policy of not offering political endorsements, “because as an industry, as a region and as a state faced with an extraordinary crisis Tim Bishop has volunteered to pick up the burden of being the region’s champion for federal funds earmarked for roads, bridges, water systems and more. It is imperative to support the one public official who has demonstrated the courage and capacity to stand up and speak out forcefully on behalf of all of us.”

The only other time LICA’s PAC has ever endorsed a political candidate was for Congressman Bishop’s last re-election bid two years ago.

Congressman Bishop is the only Long Island representative to serve on the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure.

“We won’t be able to outspend my opponent but we will outwork them,” said Bishop of the endorsement. “I am grateful for your support because it is so terribly important.”

Bishop is facing Republican, Conservative and Independence Party candidate Randy Altschuler for the second consecutive race for the First Congressional District seat in the United States House of Representatives.

“We are in an era when government spending is viewed as `spending’ as opposed to an investment,” said Bishop. “Yet it is clear that there are certain things we need to invest in so we grow our economy and infrastructure is at the top of that list.  Not only do we put people to work but infrastructure investment also helps the rest of our economy flourish.”

Republican Randy Altschuler Set to Speak This Thursday at East Hampton Chamber of Commerce Luncheon in Sag Harbor

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Republican, Independence and Conservative Congressional candidate Randy Altschuler will speak at an East Hampton Chamber of Commerce luncheon today, September 20, at The American Hotel in Sag Harbor.

The luncheon will cost $50 and will feature Altschuler, who is facing off against Democratic Congressman Tim Bishop this November.

It will be the second race between Altschuler, a businessman who lives in St. James, and Bishop, a lifelong Southampton resident.

Former Police Commissioner Calls on Ethics Investigation on Bishop

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According to a press release issued by the campaign of Congressional hopeful, Republican Randy Altschuler, former Suffolk County Police Commissioner and Chief Investigator of the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office, Bob Creighton, has sent a certified letter to the non-partisan Office of Congressional Ethics formally requesting an investigation into Congressman Tim Bishop fundraising practices. The letter comes after a Politico story called into question a donation made by a Southampton resident who Bishop aided by helping a fireworks company gain permits for his son’s bar mitvah.

Newsday originally reported the story on Creighton’s letter.

According to the Altschuler camp, in his letter, Creighton writes, “[I]t seems clear that Representative Bishop and his staff clearly violated House Ethics rules and may very well have violated criminal bribery and illegal gratuities statues. I trust that you will take this matter serious, review all the facts in a timely manner, and open a full investigation into Representative Bishop as a result.”

“As a former Suffolk County Police Commissioner and Chief Investigator for the District Attorney’s Office, Bob Creighton’s willingness to publicly request a congressional investigation into career politician Tim Bishop’s pay-to-play fundraising practices speaks volumes,” said Altschuler Campaign Manager Diana Weir.  “The House Ethics Rules are crystal clear on this issue: Soliciting a campaign contribution linked to official action is strictly prohibited. We agree with Mr. Creighton, Newsday’s editors and virtually every other major newspaper in the area who all believe Congressman Bishop’s actions should be thoroughly investigated and proper disciplinary action taken.”

“As Representative Bishop has said, any fair-minded review of the facts will conclude what we already know and what the donor in question has stated — there was no wrong-doing,” said Bishop campaign spokesman Bobby Pierce. “Over the next ten weeks, Randy Altschuler is going to do everything he can to get distract voters from the fact that he made millions of dollars outsourcing American jobs, that he is still invested in outsourcing American jobs to the tune of a half-million dollars, that he supports a budget that raises taxes on the middle class, and that he holds the extreme anti-choice view of Todd Akin that puts a rapist’s rights over a victim’s rights.”

Plum Island: Sitting Duck

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By Karl Grossman

The National Research Council issued a report this month identifying “a number of deficiencies” in an “updated risk assessment” done by the federal government for the National Bio and Agro Defense Facility (NBAF) it wants to build in Kansas to replace the Plum Island Animal Disease Center just off Long Island.

Congressman Tim Bishop, who has been challenging the project, issued a statement praising the report because “it bolsters” his view “that building NBAF in America’s agricultural heartland…is unacceptably risky.” He cited “the potentially devastating consequences of a release of the most virulent animal diseases in the heart of cattle country.” The Southampton Democrat also cited, as he has repeatedly, “the jobs of over 100 Long Islanders” threatened by the closure of the Plum Island center, and the NBAF’s $1 billion cost.

Randy Altschuler, a St. James Republican now in a second run to replace Mr. Bishop, although differing with him on most issues, on this agreed. He said in an interview last week that building the NBAF in Kansas to replace the Plum Island center “doesn’t make any sense.”

The National Research Council report, done by a variety of experts in veterinary medicine, engineering and other fields, said the “updated risk assessment” was an improvement over a 2010 “version.” But it still “underestimates the risk of an accidental pathogen release.” It said “the updated probabilities of release are based on overly optimistic and unsupported estimates of human-error rates” and “low estimates of infectious material available for release.”  Of great concern is the impact of a release on the many livestock, notably cattle, in the region. The malady on which most research on Plum Island is done, to be taken over by the NBAF, is foot-and-mouth disease which affects cattle.

But a release from Plum Island could impact on the many people in this region — and there have been releases at the Plum Island center. While Kansas is a center for cattle-raising in the United States, Plum Island is in close proximity to a national center of human population — a mile-and-a-half off the North Fork of Long Island with crowded Long Island and then New York City to its west, Connecticut, Rhode Island and then Boston to its north, .

Untrue is the claim — repeated this month by CBS News’ “Sunday Morning” which presented a segment on Plum Island — that there isn’t a link between diseases studied there and people. CBS reported that “the government says the germs stored on the island only affect animals.”

As noted by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) in its 2003 report about the danger of terrorism and the Plum Island center, a camel pox strain researched at it could be converted into “an agent as threatening as smallpox,” and the Venezuelan equine encephalitis virus worked on could be “developed into a human biowarfare agent.” The GAO declared that there is a substantial risk that “an adversary might try to steal pathogens” from Plum Island and use them against people or animals in the U.S. Further, it said, the center “was not designed to be a highly secure facility.”

And it can never be. Plum Island sits exposed amid busy marine traffic lanes. The main Plum Island laboratory sits astride a beach.

Moreover, the Plum Island center has been on the target list of al Qaeda. In 2010, Aafia Siddiqui, dubbed “Lady al Qaeda,” was convicted in Manhattan of attempted murder. Among the documents in her possession when she was captured in Afghanistan in 2008 were hand-written notes about a “mass-casualty attack” and targets including: the Empire State Building, the Brooklyn Bridge, the Statue of Liberty—and the Plum Island center. Also found with Pakistan-born Dr. Siddiqui (who has a doctorate in neuroscience from MIT) were jars of poisonous chemicals and details on chemical, biological and radiological weapons. A relative of 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Muhammad, she was found guilty of trying to kill Americans who came to question her. In 2002, U.S. Army commandos and CIA agents found a dossier on the Plum Island center in a raid on the Afghanistan residence of nuclear physicist Sultan Bashiruddin Mahmood, an associate of Osama bin Laden.

Plum Island is a sitting duck for terrorists. That’s a major reason why the Department of Homeland Security, which after 9/11 took over running the center from the Department of Agriculture, wants it replaced by the NBAF. But can’t the proposed NBAF be put in a highly-secure location that is not in a center of cattle or of people?

Demos Bows Out of Congressional Race

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It’s official. The race for the 1st Congressional District will be a rematch.

On Friday, Ronkonkoma attorney George Demos officially dropped out of the race to be the Republican candidate who will attempt to unseat incumbent Congressman Tim Bishop, a Democrat, this fall.

Demos was set to face off against St. James businessman Randy Altschuler in a battle for the Republican seat next month and has sharply criticized both Altschuler and Bishop in campaign literature over the last several months.

In a press release issued Friday, Demos cited his upcoming nuptials to Chrysa Tsakopoulis as the impetus for his decision to withdraw himself from the race.

“Everyone who knows me knows of my deep commitment to public service and to being a strong voice for the conservative cause,” said Demos. “Equally, everyone who knows Chrysa and me, knows of our deep commitment to each other and the joy we are sharing in preparation of our wedding a week from now. These two facts have now come together. Both my impending marriage and my race for Congress are deeply important to me. But our marriage comes first. Therefore, today, I am going to set aside my political aspirations for a while so that I can focus on our family. Both Chrysa and I look forward to reentering the political debate in the near future and fighting for the conservative Republican values we share.”

Altschuler Nabs Independence Party Endorsement

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Last week, the New York State Independence Party announced it would endorse St. James businessman Randy Altschuler as its candidate for the 2012 Congressional First District in New York.

The party backed incumbent Congressman Tim Bishop in 2010.

Altschuler, a Republican, will have to face off against Ronkonkoma attorney George Demos for the Republican nomination, although he has received the support of the Suffolk County Republican Committee. That primary is slated for June 26.

This will be Altschuler’s second run for Congress. In 2010 he narrowly lost to Congressman Bishop by just 593 votes. Of the 196,000 ballots cast, Bishop earned 7,370 on the Independence party line.