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

Archive for August, 2007

Helping others with mental illness


There is an organization in New Rochelle called Choice, which provides services for people living with mental illness.

So? you might think.

Well those providing the services have dealt with mental illness too. And sometimes homelessness and jail.

Don’t tell these men and women that they don’t know what it’s like. They do.

Choice was founded in the 1994 with a grant from the state Office of Mental Health by a patient receiving mental health services.

The philosophy? Choice employees know first-hand the stigmatization, disruptions and loss of personal autonomy that can accompany a diagnosis of mental illness.

It seems to be a good concept and I’ll about Choice next week.

Posted by Noreen O'Donnell on Friday, August 31st, 2007 at 5:58 pm |

Clinton to donate cash


Hillary Rodham Clinton is donating money she received from a campaign contributor who it turns out is a fugitive on a grand theft charge in California.

Here’s an article from the Associated Press:

WASHINGTON (AP) — Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton will give to charity the $23,000 in donations she has received from a fundraiser who is wanted in California for failing to appear for sentencing on a 1991 grand theft charge.
The decision came Wednesday as other Democrats began distancing themselves from Norman Hsu, whose legal encounters and links to other Democratic donors have drawn public scrutiny in the past two days.
Sens. Edward Kennedy and John Kerry, both of Massachusetts, also planned to turn over Hsu’s contributions to charity. Sens. Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein of California; Al Franken, a Senate candidate in Minnesota; Reps. Michael Honda and Doris Matsui of California; and Rep. Joe Sestak of Pennsylvania also said they would divest Hsu’s contributions.
Hsu is a fundraiser for Clinton and is described as a devoted fan of the presidential candidate and New York senator. He had planned to co-host a money event for Clinton on Sept. 30. In a statement Wednesday, Hsu said he believed he had resolved his legal issues, but said he would halt his work raising political money.

Posted by Noreen O'Donnell on Thursday, August 30th, 2007 at 12:48 pm |

Clinton cash update


Norman Hsu, who figured in a Wall Street Journal story about money raised for U.S. Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, turns out to be fugitive.

California authorities have been looking for him.

Fifteen years ago, he pleaded no contest to grand theft and was to serve three years in prison, according to the “Los Angeles Times”:http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-na-hsu29aug29,1,3681659,print.story?ctrack=2&cset=true

He has been responsible for raising hundreds of thousands of dollars for Democrats, much for Clinton.


His lawyer told the LA Times that Hsu didn’t remember pleading guilty to a criminal charge.

Not good news for Clinton.

Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., greets supporters following a rally at the Capitol in Albany, N.Y., Monday, May 14, 2007. New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer, right, endorsed Clinton’s presidential campaign with other top state Democrats. (AP Photo/Mike Groll)

Posted by Noreen O'Donnell on Wednesday, August 29th, 2007 at 3:26 pm |
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Cash for Clinton


The “Wall Street Journal”:http://online.wsj.com/article/SB118826947048110677.html?mod=todays_us_page_one has a story today about political donations for U.S. Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton coming from “a tiny, lime-green bungalow that lies under the flight path from San Francisco International Airport.”

Six members of the Paw family, all listing the bungalow as their home address, have donated a total of $45,000 to the New York Democrat since 2005, and $200,000 to Democratic candidates.

“Big Source of Clinton’s Cash Is an Unlikely Address,” the article is headlined.

Plus, the article said, the donations mirror ones made by Norman Hsu, which the Journal describes as a wealthy New York businessman in the apparel industry who once listed the Paw home as his address.

Though it also noted: “There is no public record or indication Mr. Hsu reimbursed the Paw family for their political contributions.”

Hsu denied any wrongdoing.

Clinton’s spokesman, Howard Wolfson, said, “Norman Hsu is a longtime and generous supporter of the Democratic party and its candidates, including Senator Clinton. During Mr. Hsu’s many years of active participation in the political process, there has been no question about his integrity or his commitment to playing by the rules, and we have absolutely no reason to call his contributions into question.”

Posted by Noreen O'Donnell on Tuesday, August 28th, 2007 at 8:11 pm |

Guard found sleeping


A guard at the Indian Point nuclear power plant was found asleep at his post yesterday.
“It was only after repeated attempts to get the guard’s attention that the officer opened his eyes,” Neil Sheehan, a spokesman for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, said.
The discovery, which was made by a federal inspector, isn’t good news for the plants’ owner, Entergy Nuclear Northeast. Activists who want the plants shut already question their security as well as safety.
“This does not reflect responsible leadership at Indian Point,” U.S. Rep. Nita Lowey, the Democrat from Harrison, said.

Posted by Noreen O'Donnell on Monday, August 27th, 2007 at 5:54 pm |

On vacation


I’m off for a week.

Posted by Noreen O'Donnell on Friday, August 17th, 2007 at 5:21 pm |
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Remembering 9/11


The World Trade Center Memorial has gotten a new name and it’s not an improvement.

It is now called the National September 11 Memorial & Museum at the World Trade Center. In the words of a colleague: That’s ludricrous.

He’s right. I cannot image anyone actually saying that mouthful.

The goal apparently was to more fully reflect the Sept. 11 attacks as a national tragedy.

Why not simply the Sept. 11 Memorial? Somehow I think that’s what people might call it.

The new Web site is http://www.national911memorial.org.


“Reflecting Absence: A Memorial at the World Trade Center Site” by Michael Arad is shown in this image released in 2004. It was chosen as the design for the World Trade Center memorial.

Posted by Noreen O'Donnell on Wednesday, August 15th, 2007 at 4:44 pm |

Compromise for Sept. 11


Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Sept. 11 families upset that this year’s commemoration had been moved off the World Trade Center site have reached a compromise on how to mourn their relatives.
The ceremony will be held at a plaza near the site as the mayor had wanted. He had said that the site, now under construction, was no longer safe for the main ceremony.
But relatives of those who died in the terrorist attacks will be allowed to descend briefly into the pit of what had been the World Trade Center.

Posted by Noreen O'Donnell on Monday, August 13th, 2007 at 10:31 pm |
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Brooke Astor dies


Philanthropist Brooke Astor died this afternoon. In her book, “Patchwork Child: Early Memories,” she offers a strong hint of the woman she would become.
In a section about her family, she says: “Like everyone else, I am blood and bone and characteristics of my forebears.”
And a short while later, she writes about her father, the son of an admiral, that he wanted very much to go to Annapolis. Her grandfather, however, had decided that the Navy had grown too big and that it was no longer a gentleman’s profession.
Her father had the advantage, she wrote. The family was living in Washington D.C. and he knew that the president could appoint a certain number of candidates to the Naval Academy.
“So he, at the age of fifteen, boldly went to the White House and asked to see the President. It seems extraordinary to me today but President Cleveland did see him and Father explained what he wanted. The President was hesitant at first and told Father that his last appointees had not been very successful; he was not sure that he wanted to appoint any more.
‘You can be sure, Mr. President,’ said Father, ‘that I will succeed. You can put your trust in me.'”
It seems that she was very much blood and bone and characteristics of her forebears.
Here’s what Mayor Michael Bloomberg had to say about her:
“Today, we are all saddened by the loss of Brooke Astor, a quintessential New Yorker and one of the great philanthropists of our time. Tens of thousands of New Yorkers were the beneficiaries of Mrs. Astor’s good will and kind nature, many unaware of the origins of the donations. Her contributions reached a wide variety of causes; The New York Public Library, and the entire city, would not be what they are today without her gracious support.”

Posted by Noreen O'Donnell on Monday, August 13th, 2007 at 10:25 pm |
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Arabic message leads to lawsuit


Here’s an interesting lawsuit.
The ACLU today filed a federal civil rights lawsuit charging that a man was prohibited from boarding a JetBlue plane because of the Arabic phrase on his t-shirt.
The man, Raed Jarrar, was not allowed on the New York to Oakland flight until he agreed to cover up the shirt, according to the ACLU.
The shirt read “We Will Not Be Silent,” in Arabic and English.
The ACLU and the New York Civil Liberties Union have sued JetBlue Airways and an inspector for the Transportation Administration.
Jarrar, who works for the American Friends Service Committee, said he agreed to remove his shirt because he was afraid he would miss his flight or be intimidated.
“It was not my goal to offend anyone with my t-shirt but it is a shame that racial profiling and censorship are still rampant in America’s airports.”
I can’t see any justification for not letting him on the plane. What do you think?

Posted by Noreen O'Donnell on Thursday, August 9th, 2007 at 3:27 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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