Rashed Mian

Rashed Mian has been covering local news for the Long Island Press since 2011. He graduated from Hofstra University in 2010 where he studied print journalism. Rashed, the staff's multimedia reporter, covers daily news for the web, shoots/edits feature videos and writes about civil liberties. He loves Afghan food and sports. Rashed is also a caffeine freak. Email: rmian@longislandpress.com. Twitter: rashedmian

FBI 10 Most Wanted Fugitive Sentenced To Life For LI Mom, Tot Murders

Juan Elias Garcia, 21, spent one day on the FBI's Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list.
Juan Elias Garcia, 21, spent one day on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list.

A reputed MS-13 gang member was sentenced to life in prison Monday for the revenge-fueled execution-style double murder of a Long Island mother and her toddler in the woods of Central Islip.

Juan “Cruzito” Garcia, who fled to El Salvador following the February 2010 slayings, had pleaded guilty to murdering 19-year-old Vanessa Argueta in October 2014. His life sentence was handed down by US District Judge Joseph F. Bianco in Central Islip.

“The MS-13 is infamous for committing senseless and brutal acts of violence, but, even for the MS-13, the murders of Vanessa Argueta and Diego Torres were particularly depraved and callous,” said Robert L. Capers, US Attorney for the Eastern District of New York.

Garcia, 22, was one of four men involved in the murders of Argueta and her 2-year-old son, Diego Torres. All four men have been convicted for their roles in the murders, and all but one have been sentenced to life in prison. Rene Mendez Mejia, who pleaded guilty to the Argueta and Torres murders, is awaiting sentencing.

Garcia was on the lam for four years before surrendering to law enforcement authorities in Nicaragua in March 2014, after spending one day on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted list. The feds had offered a $100,000 reward for information leading to Garcia’s arrest.

The murders were in retaliation for Argueta’s apparently requesting a rival gang jump Garcia after their romantic relationship had soured, authorities said.

After getting approval to exact revenge, Garcia and his accomplices picked Argueta and her son up from her home under the guise of taking her out to dinner, authorities said.

Instead, they took the mother and son to a secluded area in the woods of Central Islip. Then they fatally shot Argueta in the head and chest and Torres twice in the head, authorities said. Prosecutors said Garcia fired one of the bullets that killed Argueta.

Garcia Poster

Long Island Muslims, Faith Leaders Condemn Paris Attacks

Standing on the steps of an archway leading to a sun-splashed courtyard at the Islamic Center of Long Island on Friday, about a dozen leaders from various faiths delivered an impassioned condemnation of last week’s terror attacks in Paris, and voiced a striking repudiation of the so-called Islamic State and the vile atrocities the group commits in the name of Islam.

Armed only with Biblical verses, Koranic teachings, heavy hearts, and signs that proclaimed “ISIS Does Not Represent Islam,” Christians, Jews, and Muslims gathered outside the Westbury mosque to denounce extremism and call on America—a country of immigrants—to welcome war-ravaged Syrians fleeing the 4-year-old civil war back home.

“Let us show these disciples of death, these murdering ISIS thugs, how a truly great nation and her people behave in the face of terror. Islam is not our enemy,” said Rev. Mark Lukens, chair of The Interfaith Alliance of Long Island. “Fear is our enemy. Hatred is our enemy. And we defeat that enemy with faith, with courage, with unity and with love.”

Their remarks came exactly one week after terrorists killed 129 people in Paris and injured more than 300 in coordinated strikes on cafes, restaurants, and a packed music hall.

The attacks have prompted an outpouring of support for Parisians, but has also fueled what many consider anti-Islamic statements from US presidential candidates out of fear that members of the self-declared Islamic State could use the historic flow of refugees from Syria as cover to enter the United States. Donald Trump, vying for the Republican nomination, has said he’d consider shutting down mosques and implementing a database of Muslims in America, before suggesting the latter wasn’t his idea.

Ben Carson, who is also seeking the GOP nomination, compared some Syrian refugees to “rabid dogs” before later softening his tone. Rep. Ted Cruz (R-Tx.) and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush suggested the United States should focus on protecting Christians over Muslims, and more than two-dozen governors have opposed President Obama’s plan to bring in 10,000 Syrian refugees who have been fleeing unconscionable slaughters, rapes, barbaric beheadings, and poverty, as their home country continues to be soaked in blood.

Denouncing extremism and xenophobia on Friday was Dr. Isma Chaudhry, president of the Islamic Center of Long Island, who said all faiths should stand together as a united front.

“This is not a social or a political calling,” she said, “for us Muslims this is a religious calling, to stand together in solidarity with all faiths against injustice, against terrorism, against bloodshed.”

Chaudhry argued that the fissure of fear being created only empowers terror groups like ISIS.

“I urge you to think and reflect,” she implored. “This is a small group of self-proclaimed people, a small group of criminals, who in the name of Islam have done barbaric acts of violence.”

“We as Muslims strongly condemn these un-Islamic actions,” Chaudry continued. “This is not Islam. ISIS is not Islam. Muslims are not violent, barbaric people. This is a small group of criminals and we, by dividing ourselves, are making them big.”

RELATED: No Syrian Refugee “Tent City” Coming to Long Island, Local Aid Group Insists

Imam Ibrahim Negm, a visiting scholar and preacher, said Muslims worldwide denounce the slayings in Paris.

“Islam is a faith that promotes peace, that brings about stability to societies,” he told about two dozen onlookers, “not the distorted image of Islam that are propagated by these radical few which is creating terror and havoc throughout the world.”

Dr. Faroque Khan, an ICLI co-founder and board member, said ISIS’s self-declared caliphate was illegitimate.

“There is nothing Islamic about them, and it’s an illegal state,” he said.

Speakers also took exception with recent comments and actions by elected officials who question the logic of permitting refugees entrance into the United States, despite claims from resettlement agencies that anyone seeking refugee status goes through multi-layered security as part of a rigorous process that takes 18 to 24 months to complete. On Thursday, the House of Representatives voted on a bill to further strengthen refugee security protocols, a measure the White House has threatened to veto.

Rev. Lukens said denying destitute refugees is not only un-American but it goes against God’s teachings.

“All people of faith and goodwill have mourned these past weeks, the terrible atrocities that were committed in Paris, Beirut, Nigeria and in Baghdad, atrocities that were committed by people whose creed is terror and hatred and whose aim is to sow fear,” Lukens said. “And in the face of that, people of faith and goodwill of every faith have a decision to make about how we will move on—whether we will grant these terrorists victory by letting our own fear diminish us as people, diminish our faith, turn us against one another, cause us to turn our back on the innocent in their hour of need.

“The teaching(s) of the Gospel are clear and unequivocal,” he continued. “We are our brother and our sister’s keeper and we are taught as Christians that Christ himself is found among those who are called the least of these—the stranger, the outcast, the refugee—and that we will be judged by how we behaved toward these people at times precisely like these.”

The Very Rev’d Michael Sniffen, dean of the Cathedral of Incarnation in Garden City, said acts of terror should inspire people of all faiths to follow their hearts, rather than be consumed by fear and selfishness.

“In this time when our brothers and sisters across this world flee acts of terrorism and genocide,” Sniffen said, “we who stand in a privileged nation such as this cannot walk by on the road and call ourselves faithful. We must stop what we’re doing and look at our neighbor in need and pick them up and treat them as we would treat our own child.”

For groups like ISIS, Khan said, it’s their hope that nations like the US to deny refugees access.

“This xenophobia is not what American values are all about…it’s a violation of the spirit of our constitution, and most importantly plays into the strategy of ISIS,” he said, “which is trying to create a religious divide and anti-refugee backlash so the billion-plus Muslims will feel alienated and some will turn to extremism. If so, then our leaders are following a script and a trap put forth by ISIS and are becoming their best recruiters.”

Recent polls have found that the majority of Americans do not support Obama’s plan to bring in 10,000 refugees, just a tiny fraction of the overall 12 million displaced Syrians—and 4 million who have fled, half of whom are children.

The United States has a long history of accepting refugees, though the program has historically been unpopular, even going back to World War II. According to a recently uncovered poll conducted in 1938, nearly 70 percent of US respondents opposed German and Austrian refugees—the majority of whom were Jews displaced by the Holocaust—entering the US. The poll was conducted in the early years following the Great Depression, so many Americans may have been consumed by economic concerns.

Even so, a poll conducted in 1939 found that 61 percent of those polled were not in favor of allowing 10,000 refugee children into the United States.

The US takes in nearly 70,000 refugees annually, according to the U.S. Office of Refugee Resettlement. And since the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, the United States has resettled 784,000 refugees, according to the independent nonprofit Migration Policy Institute. Out of that number, only three “have been arrested for planning terrorist activities—and it is worth noting two were not planning an attack in the United States and the plans of the third were barely credible,” the organization said.

ISIS’ meteoric rise in the last few years has many concerned that radicalized individuals overseas could come to the United States and carry out attacks similar to the one that shocked Paris on Friday. Sixty-eight alleged ISIS sympathizers have been arrested within the United States—80 percent of whom were home-grown citizens, according to The Center on National Security at Fordham Law. The charges range from providing material support to conspiracy to kill to fraud, immigration violations, and drug crimes. Three of those arrested were categorized as refugees or asylum seekers.

Humanitarian aid groups believe seeking refugee status in the US is actually the most difficult way of entering the country.

“Refugees are the most security vetted population who come to the United States,” the New York-based International Rescue Committee said in a statement Tuesday. “Security screenings are rigorous and involve the Department of Homeland Security, the FBI and the Department of Defense.” Similar statements were made by a bevy of aid groups.

But the fear of further terror attacks has made Obama’s Syrian refugee program one of the most politically-charged initiatives of his presidency, with some expressing utter shock that the White House would even consider allowing Syrians in.

For others, opening up the United States’ gates to 10,000 refugees, they say, is the best way to respond to bloodthirsty criminals hoping western nations forsake their values out of fear.

“It is clear what we oppose, it is clear what we denounce, it is also clear what we promote,” Sniffen, of the Cathedral of Incarnation in Garden City, said Friday. “We promote communities of diversity, of love, and of faith commitments of every persuasion rooted in love of God and love of neighbor.”

Nassau Police: Merrick Homicide Not Random Attack

A 48-year-old Merrick woman found dead Wednesday night in her home does not appear to be the victim of a random attacker, a high-ranking Nassau County police official said.

Police said the victim’s concerned father found her lying unresponsive in an upstairs bedroom and then called 911. The father went to check on his daughter, whom he had not heard from since Tuesday evening, when she declined an invitation for dinner with her parents, police said.

When police arrived to the Smith Street home at around 6:35 p.m., the victim, Suzanne Goldfarb, was dead.

At a press conference at police headquarters in Mineola Thursday, Chief of Detectives Kevin Smith said there was indication that Goldfarb was bound, but he did not say if she was tied to the bed.

The Nassau County Medical Examiner’s office determined she had died of asphyxiation, Smith said. He did not say if any instruments were used in the attack.

Goldfarb had lived alone at the house for about five years, according to police.

Smith said there was no indication of forced entry. He noted that all doors leading outside were locked and no windows appeared to have been disrupted.

“The likelihood of a random attack lessens greatly under these conditions,” Smith explained.

Investigators suspect the attacker may have been welcomed inside or may have had a key to the entrance.

Goldfarb last spoke to her parents at 8 p.m. on Tuesday. Smith said he did not know much about the conversation other than that Goldfarb had declined dinner.

Smith attempted to calm the nerves of some residents worried about the safety of the community.

“We are exploring every scenario,” he said.

Given that the windows and doors to her house were not tampered with, and that the neighborhood has not been stricken by burglars, investigators have theorized that this was not a random act.

Smith noted that there were no history of 911 calls to the home.

Goldfarb worked as a babysitter in another community, Smith said.

When asked why the father would be concerned after going only 24 hours without hearing from his daughter, Smith said: “Apparently they spoke a lot, they were close.”

What ‘Master of None’ Has Taught Me

They say this is the Golden Age of television but despite the deluge of quality programming waiting to be devoured like a digital buffet, I’ve been hard-pressed to find a show that’s actually relatable.

As much as I wish, I won’t be reborn as a Stark, nor will I ever be a true detective, whatever that means.

But thanks to Aziz Ansari, there appears to be a show that thousands of children of immigrants can identify with, even if they are from different ethnic groups.

Last Friday, Ansari debuted his genius comedy on Netflix in a new series called Master of None, in which he explores different societal and cultural issues with each passing episode (I didn’t finish the 10-episode season yet because I want to enjoy it at a decent pace).

Ansari’s character Dev is speaking for a lot of young people—and even adults—who are proud of their families’ hard work and dedication but have never truly inquired about what life was like in the Old Country, whether it’s India, China, or anywhere else.

The one scene that did it for me was when Dev’s father, played by his real-life dad, had a question about modern technology. A whiny Dev couldn’t help his dad, he said, because he was meeting up with a friend to see the latest X-Men film. Dev’s popz nodded his head, but he struggled to hide his disappointment.

While walking down a New York City street with his friend Brian, it dawned on Dev that he knew absolutely nothing about his parents’ past, and earnestly set up a dinner date with his parents, Brian, and his father, so both immigrant families could talk about how they arrived in America.

I’ve yet to have that dinner with my father, who came from Pakistan. When? I don’t know—I’d have to ask him.

The scene at the Chinese restaurant is both heartwarming and funny. The conversation begins as you’d think it would, with Brian’s father being uncomfortable about sharing his story.

When Dev asked his parents what they did for fun, his father looked perturbed. He said “fun” is a new concept, one that Dev’s generation and those yet to come are blessed to enjoy. His father didn’t bemoan the fact that he didn’t enjoy the comforts of life—seeing movies, grabbing drinks with friends. For him—and his wife—that was life.

I’m sure if I ask my father about “fun” times in Pakistan, he’d react the same way. Fun? C’mon.

We all take for granted the opportunities we now enjoy. It’s not that we’re callous or insensitive; it’s that we’ve grown accustomed to feeling like we have it all, even though we don’t. It’s because of our parents that we get to spend time with friends instead of working in a sweltering factory making zippers, like Dev’s dad did growing up in India.

Thanks to Ansari, maybe immigrant children will soon sit down with their parents, ask these same questions, and learn the all-important tales of their ancestors.

While Masters of None has drawn widespread acclaim, it’s not the acting or the comedy that impresses me. It’s that I see myself in Dev.

Unfortunately, I’m not as funny.

Photo credit: Master of None/Netflix

Horoscopes by PsychicDeb for Nov. 2015

Aries – Pluto squared to your natal Sun – your timing is right on target if holiday travel arrangements have to be made now. Your whole life could actually be changed by a journey.

Taurus – Ruling planet in the 5th house – local travel may be on your agenda this month as you are not much in the mood to hang around the house. The telephone may be another method of escape.

Gemini – Saturn opposite your natal Sun –make wise purchases or you’ll wind up with a closet full of expensive luxuries and a wafer-thin wallet. If you buy whatever you want, you’ll be begging for what you need.

Cancer – Pluto opposite your natal Sun – you could get a big surprise when you get into workouts and other fitness techniques this month. You may find that you actually enjoy them. Don’t go overboard though.

Leo – Ruling planet in the 4th house – domestic surroundings, property and family relationships are rewarding now. Accept invitations that come your way this month.

Virgo – Planetary Stellium in your sign – if you’re in a visible position at work or otherwise in the public eye, where you must always be attractive and pleasant, time alone may be your favorite luxury now. You will feel like everything is hitting you at once and it is. Don’t worry, it won’t last long.

Libra – Ruling planet in the 12th house – this is a good month for inner reflection. You can safely allow intuition to guide you now. Dig deep for answers.

Scorpio – Ruling planet in the 1st house – if you have been neglecting your finances recently, you probably will want to get down to putting your records in order. Last minute shopping can be costly.

Sagittarius – Ruling planet in the 10th house – try to temper your attitude otherwise relations with co-workers and mates could suffer. Be willing to compromise for greater communication and harmony.

Capricorn – Ruling planet in the 12th house –don’t take the power-hungry moves of a group member too much to heart even though they may occur behind your back. You know a few tricks and secrets too.

Aquarius – Ruling planet in the 3rd house- this is likely to be the busiest month of the year for you with the doorbell buzzing and the phone ringing constantly. Accept all invitations.

Pisces – Venus in the 7th house – find someone who shares your ideals and forge ahead with your ambitions. Then make this month extra special for social affairs.


Psychicdeb has been a professional astrologer for over 25 yrs. Self-taught, she began her studies in astrology when she was 8 yrs. old learning what she could from her mother’s astrology magazines. As she got older and learned geometry, she searched for books on Astrology and taught herself how to construct a chart. She teaches Astrology for a nominal fee. Psychicdeb also uses the tarot to do psychic readings channeling her spirit guide Helen. Reiki is one of her obsessions. She is a Reiki Master and loves to teach others the benefits of Reiki. Namaste. You can find her at the Original Psychic Fairs on Sundays. A listing of the Fair dates can be found on her website at: www.astro-mate.org

Singas: Voters Looked Past ‘Partisan Glasses’ in Giving Her Decisive Victory

Democrat Madeline Singas won a decisive victory over Kate Murray Tuesday.

One day after Nassau County voters handed Madeline Singas a decisive victory in the spirited district attorney race, she said she felt “humbled” by the support from residents in her first successful election campaign.

Singas, who has served as acting DA since January, attributed her success to her campaign’s message of prosecutorial experience resonating with voters, whom she said “rejected the notion of a political person, a political being, taking over an office that should remain steadfastly apolitical.”

Singas acknowledged that she was the underdog in the race to the more seasoned political operator Kate Murray, but the results tell a different story, one that shocked political observers. She defeated Murray, the Hempstead Town Supervisor who chose to run for DA instead of defending her town seat, by a wide margin, 58 to 42 percent. The two contestants were separated by more than 32,000 votes, according to unofficial election results.

“They (voters) wanted the best qualified person to do the job,” Singas told the Press in a phone interview. “And I always really ran this race on the fact that I was a professional and lifelong prosecutor, and that’s what I was bringing to the table.”

“People weren’t viewing this through partisan glasses,” she added, “they wanted the best qualified person to do the job.”

Singas declared victory shortly after 11 p.m. Tuesday. Murray did not concede until after midnight.

“I had a very good feeling leading up to Election Day,” she said, “just because I was out there so much and people were approaching me…and just saying how grateful they were to sort of have me in the race and have the experience and just how eager they were to vote for me.

“Look, I’ve never been a candidate before,” she continued, “so for me it was something interesting anyway. But I just felt a lot of support out in every community that I went to and it translated into big votes and big numbers. I was very humbled by that.”

Singas took over for her predecessor, Kathleen Rice, in January following Rice’s election to Congress. It was Rice who recruited Singas to the DA’s office. Singas eventually built up the Special Victim’s Bureau and was later named Rice’s chief assistant. They worked shoulder to shoulder, Singas said, adding that she was also running on her former boss’s legacy.

As she looks forward to the next four years, Singas plans to continue policies dedicated to heroin prevention, such as educating school personnel and parents. She wants to aggressively investigate where the supply is and “choke” it off, while also going after the organizations saturating Nassau with the addictive drug. Her goal is to bolster resources into treatment and provide assistance to people fighting the addiction.

“Ultimately,” she said, “if we don’t control the demand we’re not going to be able to control the supply, so that’s a crucial part of the equation.”

Singas also reiterated her plan to expand her offices investigation into Nassau’s contract process into the county’s towns and cities, “so we can get a more global picture of what’s going on and make recommendations and figure out if there are other investigations that we need to be pursuing.”

“But again,” she added, “I feel that Nassau taxpayers are entitled to know how their money is meted out, who it’s going to, what are the qualifications for the people that are getting these contracts, and if people were giving the contracts for reasons other than efficiency or for the public good. And [if] they broke laws, then they will be held accountable.”

Singas declined to say whether or not subpoenas have been issued.

And as for the major police unions, including the Nassau Police Benevolent Association, who backed Murray, Singas noted that it’s not in her personality to hold grudges.

“That’s not who I am and that’s not what my position is,” she said. “I always said that the rank-and-file officers supported me because right after those endorsements came out I got numerous phone calls and messages and people stopping me in the street telling me how much they support me and how much they respect my experience, and I think that was demonstrated again with the big numbers in the vote.”

Nassau GOP Maintains Majority in County Legislature

It was a good night for incumbents in the Nassau County Legislature as Democrats and Republicans alike walked away from Tuesday’s elections unscathed.

Victories by sitting legislators across the board means the 19-member body will essentially look the same come January as Republicans managed to hold on to their 12-7 majority led by Presiding Officer Norma Gonsalves (R-East Meadow).

The results weren’t unexpected, but Republicans had hoped to steal at least one seat from the Democrats to give them a supermajority, which would’ve allowed the GOP to approve bonding without the Democrats’ approval.

Only one seat is changing hands and that’s because Francis Becker (R-Lynbrook) is retiring at the end of the year. Republican C. William Gaylor of Lynbrook defeated his challenger James Paymar, a Democrat from Rockville Centre, to keep Becker’s seat in the hands of Republicans.

Shortly after Democrat Madeline Singas claimed victory in the race for Nassau County District Attorney, Nassau Democratic Committee Chairman Jay Jacobs called all the legislative incumbents up to the stage to be recognized.

Minority Leader Kevan Abrahams (D-Freeport) spent his brief time at the microphone congratulating Singas on her resounding victory over Republican Kate Murray.

Democrat Madeline Singas Declares Victory in Nassau District Attorney Race

Madeline Singas
Acting Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas won the Nassau DA Race by a wide margin Tuesday. (Rashed Mian/Long Island Press)

Democrat Madeline Singas, considered the underdog in a race with far-reaching implications, declared victory over Kate Murray, her well-connected Republican challenger, in the hotly contested race for Nassau County District Attorney.

In what appeared to be a striking rebuke of the Republican Party machine that dominates Nassau County politics, the career prosecutor was on her way to a resounding victory over GOP stalwart Murray, who has spent more than a decade as Hempstead Town Supervisor.

Singas has served as acting Nassau DA since January, assuming the role following Kathleen Rice’s election to Congress last year when Rep. Carolyn McCarthy declined to run.

With a majority of districts reporting late in the evening, Singas was up by more than a dozen points over Murray, according to unofficial election results. She took the stage at swanky Garden City Hotel shortly after 11 p.m.

“What a great victory,” said a smiling Singas, joined on stage by her family. “I said it many times before that this election would come down to a choice…would they choose someone with the expertise and the experience, a prosecutor who could root out corruption, a prosecutor who could end the heroin scourge in our community, a prosecutor who can end violence on our streets? And today the voters responded with an overwhelming ‘yes.'”

Singas congratulated Murray on a “hard fought battle,” calling her a “public servant.” She also thanked her predecessor and her many volunteers.

“I’m also very proud of what this victory represents because this victory transcends politics,” she told the doting crowd. “This victory transcends Republican or Democrat, this victory means the voters put aside their partisan issues, the voters overwhelmingly said we’re going to put our community first.”

Murray did not concede the race until after midnight.

The campaign for DA was often contentious, pitting a Democrat who has spent the last 24 years of her adult life as a prosecutor against a Republican who has never prosecuted a criminal case, but touted her leadership abilities in the most populous town in the nation. The pair spent the final weeks of their campaigns questioning their opponent’s experience and dubiously forecasting what crime would be like if their contender triumphed. They argued over how best to combat the heroin epidemic and who’d be tougher on crime.

Kate Murray
Republican Kate Murray during her concession speech Tuesday at the GOP election party in Westbury.

For Democrats, the DA race held extra significance because Republicans currently have a stranglehold on Nassau County politics, as they control the county executive office, legislature, and the comptroller’s office. Winning the DA contest was seen as critical for Democrats, who boast more registered voters in the county but have struggled to get their supporters to vote during off-year elections.

The race played out as observers imagined it would. Murray, according to various polls, led throughout the race but the margin narrowed dramatically in the weeks prior to the election. While Murray received endorsements from major police unions and popular Republicans like senator-turned-lobbyist Alfonse D’Amato and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, Singas welcomed endorsements from The New York Times, Newsday and The New York Daily News, which slammed Murray in several scathing editorials over the past month.

Singas’ campaign characterized Murray as a prosecutorial neophyte who lacked the requisite experience necessary for such an important post. Murray’s law experience includes two separate positions as a junior lawyer at two firms and as an assistant in the state attorney general’s office prior to her election to the state Assembly in the late ‘90s, her tenure as Hempstead Town clerk and subsequently town supervisor.

Murray’s camp countered assertions that she’s inexperienced for the post by touting her record as Hempstead Town Supervisor for a dozen years. On the stump, Murray promised to tackle the heroin epidemic, which has led to an increase in overdoses, and portrayed herself as a candidate who is tough on drugs. Murray also highlighted her leadership abilities and her political prowess, the latter of which she’d use to encourage state lawmakers to pass laws that would keep the community safe.

The campaign was not without controversy.

Singas called for a special prosecutor last week when NuHealth, the corporation that oversees taxpayer-funded Nassau University Medical Center in East Meadow, published on its website a news release endorsing Murray for district attorney that reportedly used language taken directly from her campaign literature. Singas called on Murray to answer for her “campaign’s illegal coordination” with NuHealth, whose board member is a prominent Murray supporter, and also demanded an investigation into the legality of endorsement, which was later deleted from NuHealth’s website.

The campaign also comes amid Singas’ ongoing investigation into how Nassau approves government contracts, which was sparked by the federal probe into the alleged abuses by state Sen. Dean Skelos (R-Rockville Centre), the former state Senate majority leader who rose to power through the Nassau GOP machine. Preet Bharara, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, also subpoenaed Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano as part of the Skelos probe. Singas had promised, if elected, that she would expand her investigation into Nassau’s three towns, something she was hesitant to do during the campaign.

In her victory speech, Singas pledged to combat heroin and root out corruption.

“No one is above the law,” she said.

He’s Back! Jon Stewart Inks Deal With HBO

Jon Stewart NY Yogurt Snack Bill

The revolution will be streamed.

Jon Stewart, the famed former Daily Show host on Comedy Central whose comedic take on national politics dramatically altered the late-night TV landscape, has found a new home at HBO.

The subscription-based network announced Tuesday that it has inked a four-year production deal with the comedian, who has been in semi-retirement since signing off as host of the popular satirical show in August.

Under the deal outlined by HBO, Stewart will produce short-form content primarily for HBO NOW, HBO GO and other related platforms, all of which are streamed over the Internet. The network also noted that Stewart is collaborating with graphics company OTOY Inc. to develop “new technology” that will allow him to produce truncated clips on multiple platforms.

“Jon Stewart led a revolution that changed the face of TV comedy on the Daily Show,” Michael Lombardo, president, HBO Programming said in a statement. “He graced our network nearly 20 years ago, so we’re thrilled to welcome back his immense talents in this next chapter of his career.”

“Appearing on television 22 minutes a night clearly broke me,” said Stewart. “I’m pretty sure I can produce a few minutes of content every now and again.”

The news should be music to the ears of legions of Stewart’s fans who have struggled to cope with the idea of a 2016 presidential election devoid of his often biting comedy.

When Stewart’s content will hit HBO’s multiple platforms is unclear. But when it does, viewers will be able to view his comedy on HBO mobile apps and streaming devices that support HBO NOW and HBO GO, such as Apple TV and Google’s Chromecast.

By signing with HBO, Stewart will join his former Comedy Central colleague John Oliver, host of HBO’s Last Week Tonight. Oliver landed at HBO after he temporarily took over the reigns of the Daily Show during Stewart’s absence as Stewart produced his first feature film, Rosewater.

Stewart is widely credited with reshaping political commentary on television. He essentially built a farm team of politically minded comedians such as Oliver, Stephen Colbert and current Daily Show host Trevor Noah, all of whom contributed as so-called “correspondents” prior to hosting their own respective shows.

HBO’s new superstar personality first began lecturing politicians from behind his desk as Daily Show host in 1999.

HBO has been aggressive in persuing larger-than-life figures to its network. Aside form Stewart, HBO announced that it has reached a deal with respected sports writer and podcast host Bill Simmons to create a weekly show for the network. Simmons had been editor-in-chief of Grantland, popular for its long-form sports journalism and unique perspective on sports and pop culture, which ESPN recently shut down.

Fans and commentators alike have speculated what Stewart’s post-Comedy Central life would look like.

Now that we know, presidential hopefuls should prepare for the worst.

Anti-Extremism FBI Website Delayed Amid Concerns From Muslim Groups

NYPD Muslim Spying
The ACLU announcing its intention to file a lawsuit against the NYPD for spying on Muslim Americans. (Photo: ACLU)

The FBI Monday reportedly delayed publishing a long-awaited website under the auspices of Countering Violent Extremism amid concerns voiced by Muslim rights groups uncomfortable with the program’s apparent disproportionate focus on Muslims.

The website, dubbed “Don’t Be a Puppet,” was reportedly designed as a tool for teachers and students in school districts in America. The concept shares similarities with Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) efforts in several big cities focused on using the public to better identify people deemed susceptible to extremism. Such programs have been criticized by civil liberties groups, who argue that law enforcement is essentially outsourcing policing to community members. The fear is that such practices could cast suspicion on Muslim communities for no reason other than their religion, and doing so could erode trust between the community members and law enforcement.

The FBI has yet to publicly comment on the website, but a New York Times article published online Sunday described it as an “interactive program” replete with “games” and “tips” that, in theory, would help a user—either a student or a teacher—single out people vulnerable to extremist ideology.

The need for community-related anti-extremism programs have intensified as a result of the Islamic State’s success in recruiting members around the world on social media. Muslim rights groups argue, however, that people are drawn to radical views in very different ways, thus the science of countering violent extremism is flawed.

Concern over the FBI’s latest project came from several Muslim and Arab rights group who were given a preview of the software.

“The program is based on flawed theories of radicalization, namely that individuals radicalize in the exact same way and it’s entirely discernible,” Arjun S. Sethi, an adjunct professor of law at the Georgetown University Law Center, told the Times. “But it’s not, and the F.B.I. is basically asking teachers and students to suss these things out.”

The groups with access to the website also objected to its apparent sole focus on Muslims.

The Washington Post, which first reported on the temporary delay, also spoke to people who had reviewed the site, and noted:

“Experts disagree on what might be clear triggers for young people, similarly to the cases of dozens of non-Muslims who have perpetrated the U.S. epidemic of mass shootings.”

The Council on American-Islamic Relations in a statement Monday said the program, as reported, could have an adverse effect on Muslim students.

“The FBI’s job is to protect children of all faiths and backgrounds, not to offer programs that introduce suspicion into their relations with teachers and can lead to stigmatization and bullying by their peers,” said CAIR Department to Monitor and Combat Islamophobia Director Corey Saylor.

When the White House hosted a CVE in summit earlier this year, civil liberties groups questioned why white extremists groups didn’t undergo similar scrutiny. They pointed to a study published by the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism at the University of Maryland, which found law enforcement’s chief concern is not related to Islam but the sovereign citizens movement.

“Approximately 39 percent of respondents agreed and 28 percent strongly agreed that Islamic extremists were a serious terrorist threat,” the study noted. “In comparison, 52 percent of respondents agreed and 34 percent strongly agreed that sovereign citizens were a serious terrorist threat.”

None of this is new to many Muslim communities, neither are their objections to policies that they say foster distrust. Police departments such as the NYPD have placed informants in mosques and have spied on neighborhoods with large populations of people who’ve emigrated from the Middle East, including on Long Island. The unit that spied on Muslims on LI, the five boroughs and New Jersey has since been disbanded.

It’s unclear when or if the FBI will decide to unveil its new website, which was originally scheduled to go live Monday, according to reports.

(Photo Credit: American Civil Liberties Union)