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

Archive for July, 2007

Billiam the Snowman


And the winner is….

The video that got the most attention during the CNN/YouTube debate has got to be the talking snowman.

“Snowman Wins,” was the headline on the Chicago Sun-Times after the debate.

And today, the creators of Billiam the Snowman were featured on the front page of The Wall Street Journal.

Of course, Mitt Romney was not as enamored.

“I think the presidency ought to be held at a higher level than having to answer questions from a snowman.”


Posted by Noreen O'Donnell on Tuesday, July 31st, 2007 at 6:31 pm |
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Spitzer’s numbers falling


A new poll shows Gov. Eliot Spitzer’s job performance rating falling since his administration got entangled in a scandal trying to embarrass his chief political rival, Republican Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno.
The poll, from Siena College, finds that though Spitzer still has a two-to-one favorable rating, he receives only average grades on getting his agenda enacted and dealing with the state Legislature.


An earlier WNBC/Marist Poll that I wrote about today saw little change in the way the public viewed Spitzer. New Yorkers continued to view him as an independent politician who was changing the way things were done in Albany.
The longer the scandal drags on, the more people take note?
Spitzer of course wants to move on. Bruno of course does not.

Posted by Noreen O'Donnell on Monday, July 30th, 2007 at 5:43 pm |
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Clinton’s cleavage again


Hillary Clinton’s campaign is trying to use an article about her cleavage to raise money.

“Would you believe that The Washington Post wrote a 746-word article on Hillary’s cleavage,” Ann Lewis, a senior advisor to the New York senator, wrote in a fundraising email.

“Now, I’ve seen some off-topic press coverage — but talking about body parts? That is grossly inappropriate,” Lewis wrote.

The article appeared on July 20, written by the newspaper’s fashion writer, Robin Givhan. Givhan, a Pulitzer-prize winning reporter, noted the cleavage in an outfit Clinton wore while on the floor of the Senate.

It was difficult to see much cleavage at all, but never mind. The coverage generated lots of comments.

Posted by Noreen O'Donnell on Friday, July 27th, 2007 at 8:31 pm |


Gathering news


Here’s the beginning of a small book on news writing that a reporter in my office came across.

“This is the age of the reporter — the age of news, not views. We are influencing our public through the presentation of facts; and the gathering, the assembling and the presentation of these facts is the work of the reporter. There are two ideals of news. The first is to give the news colorless, the absolute truth. The second is to take the best attitude for the perpetuation of our democracy.” — From an address by Will Irwin at the University of Missouri.

This advice, as you can guess, was delivered in pre-television, pre-Web days — well before blogs or news personalities.

It is called “The Writing of News: A Handbook” and was written by Charles G. Ross.

And it was published in 1911.

No one would describe these days as the age of news, not views.

Posted by Noreen O'Donnell on Wednesday, July 25th, 2007 at 4:24 pm |
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The Sheriff of Wall Street


At the start of the month, I wrote a column about the feuding in Albany between Gov. Eliot Spitzer and Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno.

Bruno should remember that he had been one of the men presiding over a dysfunctional capitol,  I wrote.

And this: “(New Yorkers) elected Eliot Spitzer governor knowing the name he had made for himself prosecuting corporate crime. It may be that they wanted the Sheriff of Wall Street.”

I still think that’s true, but Spitzer needs to remember something too: No one should be using the state police to cause political damage to Bruno, as top officials in Spitzer’s administration were found to have done. To go after any political opponent for that matter.

Spitzer has apologized, but here’s the start of an AP story:

“Months of hearings and investigations into the Spitzer administration’s use of the state police to damage the governor’s biggest political foe could threaten to sideline several major policy agreements that only a week ago seemed sure things.
Tax breaks for older New Yorkers, construction projects around the state and campaign finance reform are some of the issues that could get frozen by the scandal that erupted Monday when Attorney General Andrew Cuomo said two top Spitzer aides conspired to smear Republican Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno.
Already, Senate Republicans are asking for committee investigations that could include subpoenas of high-ranking Spitzer staff.”

Posted by Noreen O'Donnell on Tuesday, July 24th, 2007 at 7:34 pm |

Clinton’s neckline


Hillary Clinton’s cleavage.

“There wasn’t an unseemly amount of cleavage showing, but there it was,” the “Washington Post’s”:http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/07/19/AR2007071902668.html?nav=E8 Robin Givhan wrote on Friday about the outfit Clinton wore while talking on the Senate floor two days earlier. “Undeniable.”

Undeniable? It was more than subtle. Barely noticeable.

Some women are upset at the Post because we don’t focus on male politicians’ looks and sexiness. Emphasizing Clinton’s cleavage is a way to diminish her, they say.

I’ve written my share about Clinton’s black pantsuits, but I could almost agree.

Then you glance at the photo again and it just seems funny. Maybe things look different in Washington.

Posted by Noreen O'Donnell on Monday, July 23rd, 2007 at 5:46 pm |


On vacation


No posts until next week.

Posted by Noreen O'Donnell on Wednesday, July 18th, 2007 at 8:55 pm |

Down to the wire


The deadline for New York to commit to congestion pricing is Monday and legislators are going down to the wire.
The plan, based on London’s, calls for charging drivers in Manhattan below 86th Street weekdays. The price would be $8 for cars and $21 for trucks.
The deadline comes from the federal government. The U.S. Department of Transportation is to allocate up to $500 million to each of three cities to implement pilot programs to cut traffic and pollution. New York City hopes to be one of them, but needs the commitment from the state’s legislators to qualify.
State Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno supports Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s plan. Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver has not said.
Stay tuned.

Posted by Noreen O'Donnell on Friday, July 13th, 2007 at 12:32 pm |

Never enough money


New York is once again getting short-changed by the Department of Homeland Security when it comes to security, according to its elected officials.
The New York metro area will get $134 million under the Urban Area Security Initiative grant program for 2007. That’s a 7.7 percent increase over last year’s grant, but according to Sen. Hillary Clinton, nowhere near the $207 million received in 2005.
Clinton put out a statement today after meeting with Homeland Security Michael Chertoff saying New York had not gotten its fair share.
“There has been an underestimation of the risk we have to confront,” she said in the statement.

Posted by Noreen O'Donnell on Thursday, July 12th, 2007 at 9:53 pm |


Plan panned again


As the Marist Poll says, “No EZ Pass” for Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s congestion pricing plan.

According to a new WNBC/Marist Poll, most people in the New York metropolitan area don’t like Bloomberg’s proposal to charge for driving in Manhattan on weekdays.

The survey found that 61 percent of residents in the metro area oppose it. That’s those living in the city and the surrounding counties in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.

Only residents of Manhattan were split on the issue: 48 percent for it, 46 percent against it.

Posted by Noreen O'Donnell on Wednesday, July 11th, 2007 at 3:31 pm |

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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