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

Archive for November, 2007

Clinton comments on hostage taking


The hostage-taker at Hillary Clinton’s campaign office in Rochester, N.H., has surrendered and all of the hostages were released safely, the Associated Press reported.

The AP identified him as 47-year-old Leeland Eisenberg. He reportedly walked into the campaign office with what appeared to be a bomb and demanded to speak to the candidate. The stand-off lasted nearly six hours before he released the last of at least four hostages and walked out of the storefront office, the AP said.


Here is part of the statement that Clinton issued:

““I am very grateful that this difficult day has ended so well. All of my campaign staff and volunteers are safe. I want to thank them for their extraordinary courage and coolness under some very difficult pressures and dangerous situations….

“But even beyond that, every four years extraordinary young people come to places like New Hampshire because they want to change our country. They believe in our future. They work around the clock. They are so committed to their cause and I just want to commend every one of them from every campaign who really makes what is a sacrifice and a commitment. A lot of them postpone school, leave their families, move across the country and I’m so grateful for them every single day and I’m especially just relieved to have this situation end so peacefully without anyone being injured.”


She canceled all of her appearances for the day, as did her husband.


SWAT team members take Leeland Eisenberg of Rochester into custody after a nearly six hour hostage and standoff situation at the Hillary Clinton campaign office in Rochester, N.H. today. (AP Photo/Foster’s Daily Democrat, Craig Osborne)

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton speaks in front of her house in Washington today. (AP Photo/Stephen J Boitano)

Posted by Noreen O'Donnell on Friday, November 30th, 2007 at 9:08 pm |

Dousing fires with Katrina water


The comedian Chris Rock introduced Sen. Barack Obama at The Apollo last night and took one of the night’s funniest jabs at Sen. Hillary Clinton.

He imagined Obama winning and…

“You’d be real embarrassed if he won and you wasn’t down with him,” Rock said.

“I can’t call him now.”

“I had that white lady. What was I thinking? What was I thinking?”


But mostly he went after President Bush.

“In a way, Bush’s presidency has been success,” he said. “Cause he hasn’t let us down at all. It’s everything we thought it was going to be and worse. It’s like a horror movie.”


“The fires in LA. He was there the next day. White people burning, he’s there, quick. Black people drowning, no time. He was in California so fast, he was helping them out. He was putting out fires with Katrina water.”

Watch it “here.”:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4V3rNz5Oifg

PHOTO: Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Barak Obama greets comedian Chris Rock after Rock introduced Obama at The Apollo Theater in Harlem yesterday. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

Posted by Noreen O'Donnell on Friday, November 30th, 2007 at 3:45 pm |

A wreck on the Internet highway


Take a look at the “Think Progess”:http://thinkprogress.org blog. Then read “Red State”:http://www.redstate.com.

Most days, the two political blogs don’t even agree on what the news is never mind how to interpret it. The Internet can be a partisan place. Not always, but often.

This morning, at a discussion on The Impact of the Internet on the Presidential Race, the former media advisor to President George W. Bush said he had tried to start a bipartisan website.

Last year, Mark McKinnon and Joe Lockhart, one of President Clinton’s press secretaries, and others launched what the Wall Street Journal described as a social networking site by “a bunch of political consultants devoted to giving wonks and opinion drivers outside the Beltway a place to chat about social issues.”

It was called Hotsoup.com.

And it was supposed to be an advertising-supported for-profit venture that would draw in people through the participation of celebrities, politicians and business leaders.

What happened?

Today McKinnon called the creation gazpacho. It became another wreck on the Internet highway, he said.

Other things may have contributed.

But McKinnon said: “In a sense we’re shutting down a 360-view of news and information that we used to get because that’s the information that we want.”

“It really is a dialogue for partisans.”

Posted by Noreen O'Donnell on Thursday, November 29th, 2007 at 4:24 pm |
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Opening birth records


A major adoption advocacy organization has come out with a report suggesting states amend their laws so that all adults have access to their original birth information.

The report is called “For the Records: Restoring a Legal Right for Adult Adoptees” and you can find it “here.”:http://www.adoptioninstitute.org/research/2007_11_for_records.php

The Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute released it on the occasion of National Adoption Awareness Month. The institute describes it as the most comprehensive examination of one of the most controversial, emotional issues in the world of adoption.

Among those who support open access: the rap star, Darryl McDaniels, the DMC of Run-DMC, who learned when he was 35 that he had been adopted. Earlier this year, I wrote about him and a summer camp he had co-founded for children in foster care. He had discovered several years ago that he could not get his own records, and though he found his birth mother, a search he documented in “DMC: My Adoption Journey,” he did it without the records.


Here are the institute’s recommendations:

• Amend laws in every state to restore unrestricted access for adult adoptees to their original birth certificates — which, historically, had been their right nationwide.

• Within three years of enactment, revisit state laws that allow some adult adoptees to get access to their documents and not others.

• Conduct research to expand the understanding of the experiences of adopted persons, birthparents and adoptive parents in relation to the issue of access to records.

PHOTO: Darryl McDaniels, aka DMC, signs autographs for campers at Camp Felix in Putnam Valley in August of last year. McDaniels helps to sponsor the camp, which brings kids out of New York City for one or two weeks.( Frank Becerra Jr. / The Journal News )

Posted by Noreen O'Donnell on Wednesday, November 28th, 2007 at 4:18 pm |
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Obama comes to Harlem


Barack Obama, leading Hillary Clinton in Iowa, now heads for the thick of Clinton country.

Obama is hosting “A Night at the Apollo,� on Thursday at the famed Apollo Theater in Harlem. General admission tickets for the fundraiser are $50.

This will be Obama’s first appearance in Harlem since he announced for president. His wife, Michelle, held an event there in the summer.

With the Iowa caucus on Jan. 3, Obama is ahead with 30 percent of support from likely Iowa voters compared to 26 percent for Clinton. That’s according to a Washington Post-ABC News poll released a week ago.

Meanwhile, today Barbra Streisand, actor and activist, announced her support for Clinton. She is Clinton’s answer to Oprah, an Obama backer who has called his candidacy “beyond and above politics.” Oprah will campaign for Obama next month in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina, his campaign said yesterday.



PHOTOS from AP: Obama in New Hampshire yesterday; Clinton in South Caroline today.

Posted by Noreen O'Donnell on Tuesday, November 27th, 2007 at 3:21 pm |
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Buy Nothing Day


The Rev. Billy preaches against big-chain consumerism.

The reverand, a.k.a. William Talen, is the head of a mock church, the Church of Stop Shopping and today he was out with the Stop Shopping Gospel Choir.

For Black Friday, Talen was heading to Macy’s with a mass of striking elves to promote Buy Nothing Day.

As you can imagine, not everyone is a fan. A few months ago, he was in court in Manhattan, charged with harassing police officers in Union Square Park by reciting the First Amendment at them during a bicycle rally.

The prosecutor, Mary Weisgerber, called his behavior obnoxious.

His lawyer, Norman Siegel, asked the charge to be dismissed.

You can read more about Talen and his “church” “here”:http://www.revbilly.com.

And he is the subject of a new documentary “What Would Jesus Buy?” that is playing at Cinema Village at 22 East 12th Street in New York City.


Posted by Noreen O'Donnell on Friday, November 23rd, 2007 at 6:25 pm |
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Keeping children safe


Here’s an interesting court decision in light of residency restrictions imposed on sex offenders in this area.

Georgia’s top court overturned a state law on Wednesday that banned sex offenders from living with 1,000 feet of schools, churches, school-bus stops, parks, gyms, swimming pools and other areas where children gather, according to the Associated Press.

Lawmakers had argued that the law was needed to protect children.

Civil rights groups had countered that the law was so restrictive it would force some offenders to live in their cars or set up tents in the woods, and ultimately would undermine efforts to keep track of offenders.

Some of those same arguments have come up here.

In its ruling, the Georgia Supreme Court said that even sex offenders who comply “face the possibility of being repeatedly uprooted and forced to abandon homes.”

Posted by Noreen O'Donnell on Wednesday, November 21st, 2007 at 4:58 pm |

A Clinton booster in the White House


Hillary Clinton has a new booster: President Bush.

Here’s Bush on Clinton during his interview Tuesday night with ABC’s Charles Gibson.

“No question, there is no question that Senator Clinton understands pressure better than any of the candidates, you know, in the race because she lived in the White House and sees it first –could see it first-hand,â€? the president said.


That’s exactly what Clinton herself has been saying. She traveled the world on behalf of the country while first lady, is friends with many world leaders and made her famous speech on women’s rights in Beijing in 1995, she said on Tuesday.

“Now voters will judge whether living in a foreign country at the age of 10 prepares one to face the big, complex international challenges the next president will face,� she said in a dig at Barack Obama. “I think we need a president with more experience than that.�

Bush went on to say that he believed the Republican candidate would beat Clinton in the general election.

Now is he talking up Clinton because Republicans want her to be the Democratic candidate? Is it because they believe she is too polarizing to win?

Bush’s comments prompted a very sharp response from Obama’s campaign to ABC News: “I can’t tell if Bush is endorsing Hillary, hoping she’s the nominee, or thanking her for her votes on Iraq and Iran,â€? his spokesman Bill Burton said.

PHOTO: Laura Bush, the president, and ABC News’ Charles Gibson. White House photo by Eric Draper

Posted by Noreen O'Donnell on Wednesday, November 21st, 2007 at 3:08 pm |

Off on Tuesday


I’ll post again Wednesday.

Posted by Noreen O'Donnell on Monday, November 19th, 2007 at 8:18 pm |


The health of New York


A ranking of the health of the 50 states finds New York now in the 26th spot, up from 29th last year.

The report comes from the “United Health Foundation,”:http://www.unitedhealthfoundation.org “the American Public Health Association”:http://www.apha.org and “Partnership for Prevention.”:http://www.prevent.org

What’s interesting are the figures behind the ranking.

New York’s strengths include ready access to primary care, a low rate of cancer deaths and a low prevalence of obesity. Its weaknesses: a high incidence of infectious disease, a low high school graduation rate, and limited access to adequate prenatal care.

Nationwide, our overall health declined, according to the report, now in the 18th edition and called “America’s Health Rankings: A Call to Action for People & Their Communities.”

Though there have been gains in the rates of deaths from cancer and cardiovascular disease, the improvements have been overshadowed by increasing obesity and the persistence of risky behaviors such as tobacco use. Plus there are increasing numbers of people without insurance and children living in poverty.

The healthiest states? Vermont, Minnesota, Hawaii, New Hampshire and Connecticut.

The least healthy? Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas, Oklahoma and Tennessee.

You can find the full report “here”:http://www.unitedhealthfoundation.org/ahr.html

Posted by Noreen O'Donnell on Monday, November 19th, 2007 at 3:59 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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