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

Archive for May, 2007

Air conditioners


A clarification on the air conditioner turn-in at the Westchester Community College next weekend.

The BE COOL campaign is for Con Edison customers in Westchester County and New York City.

Residential and multifamily customers who turn in an old, working room air conditioner and purchase a new ENERGY STAR model will receive a cash bounty.

The hours are 1 to 3 p.m. on Friday, June 8, and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, June 9.

You can find more information “here.”:http://getenergysmart.org/whereyoulive/summer/BeCool.asp

Posted by Noreen O'Donnell on Thursday, May 31st, 2007 at 5:07 pm |

Campaign endorsements


I’ve never had a good sense of how important endorsements are, especially for well-known candidates such as Rudy Giuliani or Hillary Clinton.

Is your opinion of either really going to be swayed by a campaign endorsement?

That aside, both of them announced major endorsements this week.

For Giuliani, it was Louis Freeh, the former FBI director. Freeh will serve as Giuliani’s senior homeland security advisor.


Freeh is the president of the Freeh Group International, a practice of former federal judges and former senior FBI leaders that provides legal, investigative, risk management and other services.

He worked in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York while Giuliani was the U.S. attorney.

For Clinton, it was Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. He will be a chairman of Clinton’s national campaign.

Villaraigosa was elected mayor in 2005, the first Latino in that job since 1872. tjndc5-5f0xreb4wgy12wrg0kx9_thumbnail1.jpg

Photos from The Associated Press

Posted by Noreen O'Donnell on Thursday, May 31st, 2007 at 4:45 pm |
| | 1 Comment »

Rudy & the firefighters


Since Rudy Giuliani began running for president, the question has been whether conservatives would accept him.
Would they overlook his support for abortion rights and gay rights in favor of security? Would his reputation after Sept. 11 trump his other positions?
But this week, it was America’s mayor who was under attack. Once again, firefighters showed up at fundraisers in New York City to protest his handling of the terrorist attacks.
They’re angry about the radios that did not work that day and what they say was his failure to prepare an adequate emergency plan.
“There isn’t any part of me at all that resents it,” the New York Daily News quoted Giuliani as saying in Queens on Tuesday. “(Sept. 11) was a very, very traumatic, horrible experience. I lived through it. I watched people die….so any anger that people displace about this, I have never had any resentment.”
Giuliani has made similar statements before.
The firefighters are pledging to show up at his campaign events and to keep raising questions about his decisions.
I doubt many people outside of New York City are paying much attention to the dispute at this point, but who knows whether it will gain traction elsewhere. It would be ironic if it did.

PHOTO: Rosaleen Tallon, center, who lost her brother Sean Tallon of FDNY Ladder 10 during the 911 at a protest on Tuesday. The Tallons are from Yonkers. (AP Photo/Adam Rountree)

Posted by Noreen O'Donnell on Wednesday, May 30th, 2007 at 5:41 pm |


World’s highest garbage dump


That’s the nickname Mount Everest has gotten because of all of the garbage that climbers leave there.

Tomorrow my column is again about garbage, and coincidentally, the Associated Press wrote about a Japanese mountaineer who with his team brought down 1,100 pounds of garbage from the mountain.

His campaign to clean the world’s highest mountain began in 2000 and he estimates he has collected nearly 20,000 pounds in that time. The good news? The mountain looked cleaner this time, according to the mountaineer, Ken Noguchi.


Meanwhile in Westchester, you can get rid of old air-conditioners at the beginning of June. You can bring them to the Westchester Community College on Friday, June 8, from 1 to 3 p.m. and on Saturday, June 9, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Plus you’ll get $35 toward the purchase of a new ENERGY STAR model when you turn in a window-based model and $100 for a through-the-wall air-conditioner.

PHOTO: Mount Everest in the left background in a photograph taken by The Associated Press

Posted by Noreen O'Donnell on Tuesday, May 29th, 2007 at 8:06 pm |

For Memorial Day


A Memorial Day story from a friend of mine:

He was waiting for an oil change recently and happened to sit down next to an older man probably in his 80s.

When he pulled out his BlackBerry, the older man noted it and they somehow got to talking about World War II.

The older man had been a bomber pilot in the Pacific during World War II. He would leave his base, fly over Japan and back — a 19-hour mission.

“How did you refuel?” my friend asked.

He replied: “We didn’t. We’d be coming in on fumes.”

Once, he said, he returned with two of the four engines out and a hole big enough to walk through in the side.

And when he got up to pay his bill, my friend thanked him.

“If it weren’t for guys like you, we wouldn’t be here today,” he told him.

The man took the comment in stride, he said, and remarked that he and the others in his group get together for reunions. Only six of the 11 are still alive, he said.

Heroes you don’t think about, my friend called them.

So to him and to others who did not return.


PHOTO: Robert Maitre, an Army vet of WWII and member of American Legion Post 299 in Yonkers, raises the American flag in Yonkers for Memorial Day in 2002. The flag had flown over Bagram Airbase in Afghanistan. ( Stephen Schmitt / The Journal News 2002)

Posted by Noreen O'Donnell on Friday, May 25th, 2007 at 6:27 pm |

Congestion pricing panned


New Yorkers think traffic is a problem, but congestion pricing? Forget about it.

That’s the finding of a Quinnipiac University poll released today.

“As on so many city questions, congestion pricing is Manhattan against everybody else,” said Maurice Carroll, director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. “Most New Yorkers say it would impose an unfair charge on outer-borough drivers.”

Here were the findings:

Manhattan voters support congestion pricing 62 to 29 percent.

But the voters in the other boroughs were unanimously against:

67 to 26 percent in the Bronx

63 to 29 percent in Brooklyn

61 to 32 percent in Queens

69 to 26 percent in Staten Island. </blockquote>
By a 3 to 1 margin, New York City voters say they use mass transit to travel in and out of Manhattan.

More “here.”:http://www.quinnipiac.edu/x1302.xml?ReleaseID=1066

Posted by Noreen O'Donnell on Thursday, May 24th, 2007 at 5:27 pm |
| | 1 Comment »


Fish war


I’ve long loved the battle of the fish on the backs of cars.
I’m sure you know which ones I mean.
There’s the original one, two curved lines containing the word Jesus or sometimes just a small cross.


Then there is the one with the word Darwin inside, up on small legs, presumably walking out of the sea.


Sometimes you’ll see the “Jesus fish”: swallowing the “Darwin fish.”:http://evolvefish.com Other times it’s the other way around.
Fish, by the way, is ichthys in Greek, an acronym for Jesus Christ, the son of God, our savior. But no one seems sure why the fish became a symbol of Christianity. There’s more “here”: in the Catholic Encyclopedia.
But here’s one I saw the other day. A gelfite fish. It’s been around awhile but I had missed it.

Apparently there is a whole school of derivations: the Hindu fish, the pagan fish, an evolve fish on four legs with a wrench, even Satan with flames. More “here”:http://evolvefish.com.

Posted by Noreen O'Donnell on Wednesday, May 23rd, 2007 at 3:42 pm |

Opposing congestion pricing


I’ve been writing a lot about Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s proposed congestion pricing.

I support it; some readers don’t. They want to be able to drive their cars into New York City when they want without penalty. One man wrote in to say he thought his civil liberties were being infringed upon.

I think the congestion and bad air mean something has to be done and congestion pricing has worked elsewhere — Singapore for example and London.

But to give some equal time — a group of small business owners are meeting today in Manhattan to announce their opposition. They argue the $21 fee on delivery vehicle will be passed on to consumers and will likely rise eventually.

Supermarkets will disappear belong 86th Street, they say, because the cost of doing business will simply be too high.

I’ll let you know what else they have to say.

Posted by Noreen O'Donnell on Wednesday, May 23rd, 2007 at 8:00 am |

Looking for a few good parents


Westchester County has 905 children in its foster care system, and they want homes.
Many have special needs or are trying to stay together with siblings.
If you’ve got room, the county would like to hear from you.
Even if you’re on public assistance, you can participate. Foster parents receive monthy tax-free assistance to help support the children.
You need to be over 21 and have a steady source of income. Potential parents are screened and are required to participate in a training program to become certified.
If you’re interested, call 1-800-454-3727.

Posted by Noreen O'Donnell on Tuesday, May 22nd, 2007 at 11:26 am |


More on the mayors


Yonkers Mayor Phil Amicone is featured on the Web site of Mayors Against Illegal Guns. Watch him “here.”:http://www.mayorsagainstillegalguns.org/html/featured/featured.shtml


And I forgot to include New Rochelle’s mayor, Noam Bramson. He also is a member of the coalition now.

Photo: Phil Amicone

Posted by Noreen O'Donnell on Tuesday, May 22nd, 2007 at 11:12 am |

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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