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

Archive for January, 2008

Congestion pricing plan endorsed


Commuters have been waiting to find out how New York would try to ease traffic congestion in Manhattan.

Well, here’s the “plan”:http://www.streetsblog.org that the Traffic Congestion Mitigation Commission is recommending.

And lots of commuters won’t be happy. Eight bucks to go below 60th Street.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg on the other hand is.

“The plan that the Commission is recommending today meets our goals of reducing congestion, cutting carbon emissions and providing much needed funds to improve mass transit for millions of New Yorkers,” he said in a statement.

The state Legislature and the New York City Council would have to approve.

Posted by Noreen O'Donnell on Thursday, January 31st, 2008 at 6:08 pm |
| | 1 Comment »

A conservative rallies for Romney


Yesterday, I wondered why conservatives loathed John McCain.

Here one answer, from the National Review: “Rally for Romney”:http://article.nationalreview.com/?q=NDEzMDYzZjBkMDNhYjk0ZjdhZmJlZWNkMWQ1NjI4MGI

“McCain is an intemperate, stubborn individual, much like Hillary Clinton,” Mark R. Levin writes. “These are not good qualities to have in a president.”

Posted by Noreen O'Donnell on Thursday, January 31st, 2008 at 6:01 pm |

Controverisal Catholic figure dies


The founder of a controversial Roman Catholic religious order active in Westchester who was disciplined after allegations that he had sexually molested seminarians has died.

The Rev. Marcial Maciel of the conservative Legionaries of Christ had been accused by nine former seminarians about a decade ago.

Maciel was a favorite of Pope John Paul II. After the pope’s death, he was asked to renounce celebrating Mass in public and to live a life of “prayer and repentance.”


The Vatican did not say whether it had determined the charges were true.

The order has been trying to build a university in Mount Pleasant and a seminary in New Castle.

FILE PHOTO: Pope John Paul II gives his blessing to father Marcial Maciel, founder of the Legionaries of Christ, during a special audience in 2004. (AP Photo/Plinio Lepri)

Posted by Noreen O'Donnell on Thursday, January 31st, 2008 at 4:50 pm |
| | 1 Comment »


A Republican looks at “McCainimosity”


Blogger Bob Krumm on John McCain:

“I don’t get the McCainimosity…

I don’t get it. Sure, John McCain has disappointed me on some issues. But what elected official hasn’t? Besides, we’re Republicans, not loony Kossacks who froth incoherently every time one of their party doesn’t behave exactly as they demand. No one is going to vote precisely as I would all the time.”

Read it all “here.”:http://www.bobkrumm.com/blog/?p=1819


Today, McCain got endorsed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, another Republican who refuses to follow party orthodoxy. Anyone frothing?

Here’s some of what Schwarzenegger had to say:

“I think Senator McCain has proven over and over again that he can reach across the aisle to get things done.

“He has also crusaded to end wasteful spending in Washington, which is so important. And John McCain is a crusader with a great vision for protecting the environment, while simultaneously protecting the economy. He has incredible credentials on national security and, of course, he is a fantastic public servant. He is a great American hero and an extraordinary leader.”

PHOTO: California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger endorses Republican presidential hopeful Sen. John McCain as former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani looks on. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

Posted by Noreen O'Donnell on Thursday, January 31st, 2008 at 3:03 pm |

Waterboarding — torture or not?


I wrote a column last year about Hillary Clinton and Michael Mukasey both refusing to make their views known.

Clinton would not say whether illegal immigrants should be allowed to apply for drivers licenses. Mukasey wouldn’t tell senators whether he thought water boarding was torture.

Here’s what I think. I think public figures should answer questions not duck them.

Clinton eventually did say that she opposed giving licenses to illegal immigrants (though only after Gov. Eliot Spitzer withdrew his plan to offer them.)

But Mukasey got confirmed as attorney general without ever answering the question.

Today he was back before the Senate Judiciary Committee and he promised to alert Congress if the CIA resumed the use of waterboarding. But he still refused to say whether he thought the technique was illegal.

Posted by Noreen O'Donnell on Wednesday, January 30th, 2008 at 6:49 pm |

Why conservatives dislike McCain


I’ve never quite understood the enmity some conservatives have toward McCain.

Yes, he supported campaign finance reform, immigration reform. But why such dislike?

Here’s a video (which I first saw on www.redstate.com.)

[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/tGTJDAAHCnQ" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]

Posted by Noreen O'Donnell on Wednesday, January 30th, 2008 at 4:41 pm |
| | 1 Comment »


Goodbye Rudy


A former editor of mine used to quote what Woody Allen was supposed to have said: Ninety percent of life is showing up.

That’s exactly what Rudy Giuliani didn’t do.

He’s expected to drop out of the race later today at the Ronald Reagan presidential library in Simi Valley, Calif., after his defeat in the Florida primary. He’ll endorse John McCain.


I’ll admit it: His free fall was beyond my expectations. Remember when he led in the national polls?

Like everyone else, I thought he would struggle with conservative voters unhappy with his liberal views on gun control, abortion rights and gay rights.

Instead he seems not to have had any effect on voters. Ignoring the early primaries and caucuses was a terrible mistake and it cost him.

Plus he never really got past 9/11. I thought security in a post-9/11 world would be a solid place from which to build a campaign. But as Sen. Joseph Biden said: “There’s only three things he mentions in a sentence: a noun, and a verb and 9/11.”

Not a good position to be in when everyone began worrying about the economy.

PHOTO: At Rudy Giuliani’s headquarters in Florida. (AP Photo/Gerald Herber)

Posted by Noreen O'Donnell on Wednesday, January 30th, 2008 at 3:07 pm |
| | 1 Comment »

More Kennedy mystique


Caroline Kennedy talks about how Barack Obama inspires the way her father did in this new “ad”:http://my.barackobama.com/page/content/caroline_ad.

“He makes us believe in ourselves again,” she says, “that when we act as one nation we can overcome any challenge.”


Meanwhile Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and Kerry Kennedy back Hillary Clinton “here.”:http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/la-oe-kennedy29jan29,0,1618955.story

Democrats believe their country should not be torturing people, eavesdropping on its citizens, imprisoning people without habeas, they write.

“The loftiest poetry will not solve these issues,” they write. “We need a president willing to engage in a fistfight to safeguard and restore our national virtues.”

PHOTO: Barack Obama and Caroline Kennedy in Washington on Monday. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Posted by Noreen O'Donnell on Tuesday, January 29th, 2008 at 8:40 pm |

Remembering John Kennedy


Remember Bill Clinton’s story about being inspired by meeting John Kennedy?

Well today Barack Obama got the endorsement of Teddy Kennedy and had this to say about the slain president and his own father, who came to the United States from Kenya to study:


“But what I learned much later is that part of what made it possible for him to come here was an effort by the young senator from Massachusetts at the time, John F. Kennedy, and by a grant from the Kennedy Foundation to help Kenyan students pay for travel. So it is partly because of their generosity that my father came to this country, and because he did, I stand before you today — inspired by America’s past, filled with hope for America’s future, and determined to do my part in writing our next great chapter.”

PHOTOS: Barack Obama and Teddy Kennedy at American University in Washington, D.C. today. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

Posted by Noreen O'Donnell on Monday, January 28th, 2008 at 6:54 pm |


Honoring altruism


Carmel’s Jay Winuk, whose brother died in the World Trade Center, will be the guest of Sen. Hillary Clinton tonight at the State of the Union address.

Winuk’s brother, Glenn, a volunteer firefighter, ran from his law office a block away when the buildings were attacked to help those inside. His remains were found in the ruins of the south tower, a borrowed medical bag by his side.

Afterward Jay Winuk and a close friend, David Paine, formed MyGoodDeed.com to urge Americans to volunteer their time to others on the anniversary of 9/11.

“It would be so unfortunate to lose that spirit of compassion that was so natural and evident,” Winuk said as the anniversary neared in 2004. “It was so overwhelming and so spontaneous.”


Last year, President Bush called on Americans to remember the day through charitable service.

PHOTOS: Jay Winuk holds the missing person poster of his brother, Glenn (Stuart Bayer/The Journal News); Glenn Winuk’s wristwatch, found in the World Trade Center ruins.

Posted by Noreen O'Donnell on Monday, January 28th, 2008 at 4:56 pm |
| | 1 Comment »

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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