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A repository of random thoughts, odds and ends, and not-quite-fully-formed ideas.

Archive for January, 2007

The world is still warming


It was unexpected. President Bush acknowledged global warming in his State of Union address.
Here’s what he said last week:
“America is on the verge of technological breakthroughs that will enable us to live our lives less dependent on oil. And these technologies wil help us be better stewards of the environment, and they will help us to confront the serious challenge of global climate change.”
It was just a mention. The president did not propose any regulations to cap greehouse gases.
Nor did he say humans were contributing.
But a group of scientists in Paris are expected to do just that by the end of the week.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which is overseen by the United Nations, is to issue a report that news accounts say will warn that global warming is here, it is getting worse, and it is at least 90 percent certain that it is being caused by the burning of fossil fuels, according to the Associated Press.
And it quotes an unidentified participant as saying that the U.S. delegation is much more constructive than it was in 2001, when some people accused it of hanging up the talks.
There will probably be people who will scoff at the report. Many of them will not be scientists. The scientists, at least the ones at the conference, are expected to be urging action.
Europe is capping its emissions from industrial plants. China resists.
The United States? The White House has been pressuring federal scientists to play down global warming, advocacy groups told Congress yesterday, the AP reported.
And this from Sen. James Inhofe, the Oklahoma Republican who chaired the Environment and Public Works Committee until the Democrats took control.
There is “no convincing scientific evidence” that human beings are causing global warming.
And the scientists gathered in Paris?

Posted by Noreen O'Donnell on Wednesday, January 31st, 2007 at 5:49 pm |

The “Democrat” Party


A lot has been written about how President Bush dropped the “ic” in the State of the Union address when he congratulated the “Democrat majority” for its victory.

It’s the way he and many other Republicans frequently refer to the Democratic Party — the “Democrat” Party. A lot of conservative bloggers too.

I guess the idea is not to cede any democratic monopoly to the other side.

I’ve always thought it sounded odd, abrupt, cut-off, silly. The adjective is democratic not democrat.


Anyway, Bush says he didn’t intend to do it.

“That was an oversight,” he told Juan Williams of National Public Radio on Monday. “I mean, I’m not trying to needle. Look, I went into the hall saying we can work together, and I was very sincere about it. I didn’t even know I did it.”

That sounds reasonable to me though I can think of many other times when he mispronounced the name of the party.

Last year, the New Yorker’s Hendrik Hertzberg wrote about the phenomenon in The Talk of the Town. And it isn’t new.

The history is hard to pin down, he wrote, but its use has been traced back as far as the Harding Administration.

Here’s the “link.”:http://www.newyorker.com/talk/content/articles/060807ta_talk_hertzberg

Photo from the AP: President Bush delivers the State of the Union speech

Posted by Noreen O'Donnell on Tuesday, January 30th, 2007 at 2:50 pm |

Hillary Clinton sings The Star-Spangled Banner


From the Associated Press:

WASHINGTON (AP) — Oh, say can you sing?

For Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton the answer sounds like ’no.’

The online world discovered that the former first lady had a hard time with a tough tune when someone posted a video Sunday of Clinton caught on an open MSNBC microphone singing an off-key rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner� during a campaign event in Iowa.

By Monday morning, the 1-minute, 8-second clip had been viewed more than 660,000 times, making it the top-viewed video for the day at that point.

And here’s the link to “You Tube.”:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bfZ_gXCHaMw

Photo from AP: Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton waves during a press conference Sunday at Central High School in Davenport, Iowa. (AP Photo/ John Schultz)

Posted by Noreen O'Donnell on Monday, January 29th, 2007 at 7:00 pm |
| | 1 Comment »


Religion and politics, update


An update on the inaccurate reporting about Barack Obama and Islam.

Insight magazine, a conservative magazine owned by the Unification Church, isn’t backing down on whether it should have published the article in which it accused Sen. Hillary Clinton’s staff of spreading a rumor that Obama once attended a Muslim religious school.


Its position? It was simply reporting what its unnamed sources said Clinton’s side was doing.

From Insight’s web page: “For the record, Insight never—not once—in its article claims that Obama went to a Madrassa. We didn’t claim it; Hillary’s people did. We reported—and we fully stand by our story—that the Hillary Clinton camp had conducted their own opposition research on Obama’s Muslim past, and that the Clinton investigators had concluded Obama had attended a Madrassa.”

But Insight is the one responsible for spreading a story that was flat out wrong.

Clinton’s staff have denied the allegations, Obama has dismissed it as untrue, CNN traveled to the school in question and determined it was public school.

Plus the story just doesn’t seem to make sense. The madrassas they’re talking about teach an austere form of Islam and are financed by Saudi Arabia. But Saudi Arabia didn’t start spreading the doctrine of Wahabism with its oil wealth until the 1970s. Obama lived in Indonesia from 1967 to 1971.

File photo from AP.

Posted by Noreen O'Donnell on Monday, January 29th, 2007 at 5:35 pm |
| | 1 Comment »

Gearing up for Iowa


No sooner had the Des Moines Register questioned whether Hillary Clinton had the staff needed to win Iowa, than the senator’s presidential campaign staff sent this bulletin.

Her Iowa operation will be led by veteran Iowa operative JoDee Winterhof.

“Fourth-generation Iowan is veteran of numerous campaigns in the state,” the press release trumpeted.

Plus Winterhof served as U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin’s chief-of-staff from 1999 to 2003, and worked on his presidential campaign.
Which is funny.

Because today, David Yepsen, a political columnist at the Register wrote this: “And since her husband bypassed Iowa in 1992 because Tom Harkin was running, her national operation may be long on people with experience in New Hampshire primaries but no depth in Iowa caucus fights.”

He also cites a new poll released Wednesday. Democrats likely to attend caucuses gave former U.S. Sen. John Edwards 25 percent of the vote, U.S. Sen. Barack Obama, 17 percent, former Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack, 16, and Clinton 15.

Clinton goes to Iowa this weekend and New Hampshire next.

Posted by Noreen O'Donnell on Thursday, January 25th, 2007 at 5:45 pm |

Presidential politics and religion


Barack Obama is now debunking a story about attending a Muslim religious school, perhaps a madrassa that espoused a radical form of Islam, while he was a child living in Indonesia, according to ABC News.

“The notion that somehow, at the age of 6 or 7, I was being trained for something other than math, science and reading is ludicrous,” the Illinois senator and presidential contender told an ABC affiliate in Chicago, WLS-TV, earlier in the week.

Obama lived in Indonesia for a few years with his mother and step-father, an Indonesian man.

False stories about Obama have been circulating for awhile and got repeated during a “Fox and Friends� round table last month. Obama described them as a smear.

It doesn’t say much for the media that the stories weren’t checked before Fox spread them further. Or that Obama has to address them at all.

On Monday, CNN filed a story from Indonesia and found that the school he attended was a public school that did not focus on religion, according to the deputy headmaster. Most Indonesians are Muslims, but Christians, Buddhists and Confucians also attended the school, one of Obama’s classmates told CNN.


Obama also attended a Catholic school there.

Other points:

He is a Christian who attends the Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago.

His father was born Muslim but as an adult became an atheist, according to Obama.

His stepfather, whom he writes about in “Dreams from My Father,” followed a form of Islam that made room for other faiths, he says.

Photo: In this undated handout photo made available by the SDN Menteng School 1, Obama is shown circled in yellow in a group photo during a graduation ceremony at the SDN Menteng 1 school in Jakarta, Indonesia. Obama attended the school when he was a child living in Indonesia. (AP Photo/SDN School Menteng 1)

Posted by Noreen O'Donnell on Thursday, January 25th, 2007 at 1:07 pm |


Attention eBay shoppers


Hillary Clinton has declared and eBay has taken note.

For $1 million, you can get this “sensational� domain name: Ehillary.com.

No takers so far for what’s described as a rare domain name that offers “a unique opportunity to influence American political history in a big way.”


There are lots of offerings, including:
Autographed books and other domain names.

Baseballs signed by Hillary and Bill. Only $799. 99.

Her high school yearbook in Park Ridge, Illinois, for $499.99.

A signed letter from Sept. 11. Also $499.99.

Not a fan? Don’t worry. How about these? “www.ohnonothillary.com” or “www.anybodybutclinton.org” They’re for sale too. A bargain for $199 or $99 respectively.

Photo from AP: Hillary Rodham Clinton poses with a young boy who approached her in Manhattan on Sunday. By Kathy Willens

Posted by Noreen O'Donnell on Wednesday, January 24th, 2007 at 6:11 pm |

Still killing dogs


The “New York Medical College”:http://www.nymc.edu still uses live animal labs to teach its students, one of an ever smaller number of medical schools holding on to the practice.

Today, in advance of the dog labs scheduled for next week, the students are holding a noontime forum. Six second-year students, three who participated, three who declined, are to speak.

In past years, some 15 to 20 dogs have been killed at the end of the labs.

The “Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine”:http://www.pcrm.org/ has been trying to convince the college for more than a decade to make a change. Most medical schools — the physicians committee says 85 percent — use simulators, schools like Columbia and Yale.

Only two schools in New York still use the animals, the medical college included, according to physicians comittee.

The medical college says in a statement that it believes its limited use of animals in teaching medicine is justified by the benefit to society. The knowledge gained will improve the health and life of humankind, it says.

“The College maintains that there is no substitute for the sensory and experiental components of the laboratory exercise,” it says.

But outstanding medical schools across the country have come to a different conclusion.

The college last reexamined its position nearly three years ago. It’s time for a new look.

It’s one of the last schools still killing animals to train medical students. Is that really a distinction it wants?

Posted by Noreen O'Donnell on Wednesday, January 24th, 2007 at 10:46 am |

Part of the crowd


Dr. Irwin Redlener, a pediatrician, the president and co-founder with singer Paul Simon of the Children’s Health Fund and former head of the Children’s Hospital at Montefiore, is known as an authority on children’s health. It didn’t matter. He and the other experts and politicians could hardly get in the photographs Sunday afternoon.


Sure the event was about children’s health but the photographers wanted nothing but Hillary Rodham Clinton and the children in the audience at a neighborhood health center in Manhattan.

Redlener, who lives in New Rochelle, made it into at least one, in The New York Times. Of course, he’s holding one of the little girls who stole the show.

Posted by Noreen O'Donnell on Monday, January 22nd, 2007 at 5:13 pm |


No New York state of mind


Hillary Clinton might represent New York in the U.S. Senate, but it’s the Midwest that gets the plug.

“I grew up in a middle-class family in the middle of America,� she says in the video in which she declares her candidacy for president.
Illinois. Solid middle America.

“While I can’t visit everyone’s living room, I can try,� she says while sitting on a sofa, and it’s a nice nowhere yet everywhere moment.


This morning, on the third day as a declared candidate, she visited the World Trade Center to draw attention to the ill health of many firefighters, police officers and others who responded on Sept 11.

She and other politicians from New York demanded President Bush provide more federal money for treatment.

Tonight she begins three nights of live video webcasts. She says she’ll answer questions about Iraq, health care and energy dependence.

Here’s the web address: “http://www.hillaryclinton.com/conversation.”:http://www.hillaryclinton.com/conversation It starts at 7 p.m.

Photograph: Ricky Flores of The Journal News. Hillary Clinton with children in Manhattan yesterday

Posted by Noreen O'Donnell on Monday, January 22nd, 2007 at 3:58 pm |
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About the author
Noreen O'DonnellNoreen O'Donnell For the last 20 years, Noreen O'Donnell has written about Hillary Clinton's run for the Senate, rebuilding Ground Zero, the Korean immigrants who travel north each day from Queens to work in nail salons, deadly runaway fire trucks and other stories in Westchester and Putnam counties. Now she's a columnist.

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