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

Archive for February, 2008

McCain responds


Here’s John McCain on the Rev. John Hagee, who endorsed him but also calls the Catholic church the “anti-Christ” and the “great whore.” The perils of too big a tent:

ARLINGTON, VA — U.S. Senator John McCain’s presidential campaign today released the following statement by John McCain on his endorsement by Pastor John Hagee:

“Yesterday, Pastor John Hagee endorsed my candidacy for president in San Antonio, Texas. However, in no way did I intend for his endorsement to suggest that I in turn agree with all of Pastor Hagee’s views, which I obviously do not.

“I am hopeful that Catholics, Protestants and all people of faith who share my vision for the future of America will respond to our message of defending innocent life, traditional marriage, and compassion for the most vulnerable in our society.”

Posted by Noreen O'Donnell on Friday, February 29th, 2008 at 5:20 pm |

Catholic League: “Bigot” endorses McCain


Yesterday John McCain got the endorsement of John Hagee, the pastor of a Texas mega-church.

Who’s Hagee? He founded Christians United for Israel and he calls for a pre-emptive strike against Iran in an endtime battle he says is predicted in the Bible.

McCain, who has been courting conservative Christians, said he was honored.


But today, the president of the Catholic League, Bill Donohue, said McCain had embraced a bigot.

“There are plenty of staunch evangelical leaders who are pro-Israel, but are not anti-Catholic,” Donohue said in a statement. “John Hagee is not one of them. Indeed, for the past few decades, he has waged an unrelenting war against the Catholic Church. For example, he likes calling it ‘The Great Whore,’ an ‘apostate church,’ the ‘anti-Christ,’ and a ‘false cult system.’

“Senator Obama has repudiated the endorsement of Louis Farrakhan, another bigot,” Donohue said. “McCain should follow suit and retract his embrace of Hagee.”

Here’s a “video”:http://www.huffingtonpost.com/max-blumenthal/rapture-ready-the-unauth_b_57826.html?view=print on the Huffington Post of the group’s Washington summit last year.

PHOTO: Sen. John McCain with Rev. John Hagee, a televangelist from Cornerstone Church, in San Antonio on Wednesday. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

Posted by Noreen O'Donnell on Thursday, February 28th, 2008 at 6:10 pm |

Battling torture


Former government officials from both parties argue that torture makes us less safe and violates our values.

They have formed the Partnership for a Secure America and they want to stop President Bush from vetoing a bill that would apply the rules of the Army Field Manual to every US government agency.

“We believe that the United States is being ill-served by the growing partisan divide surrounding its national security and foreign policy,” the group says on its Web site. “Although partisan rancor has traditionally stopped ‘at the water’s edge,’ this tradition of bipartisan cooperation has eroded significantly in recent years in negative and harmful ways.”

Here’s its “statement”:http://www.psaonline.org/article.php?id=283 on why it backs uniform interrogation standards.

“The book on interrogation has been written,” it says above a photo of the Army Field Manual. “We just need to follow it.”

Posted by Noreen O'Donnell on Thursday, February 28th, 2008 at 5:01 pm |


More on Barack’s name


Talk show host Bill Cunningham went on Fox News’ Hannity and Colmes last night and refused to back off his attacks on “Barack Hussein Obama,” which I wrote about today.

Cunningham made news yesterday when he referred repeatedly to Obama’s middle name at a campaign rally for John McCain — comments McCain later repudiated.


Cunningham first tried to say he was just using Obama’s full name, then acknowledged he had called him “Barack Hussein Mohammed Obama” on his radio show, then announced he was done with McCain and was endorsing Hillary Clinton.

Watch it on “Fox.”:http://www.foxnews.com/hannityandcolmes/index.html

Russ Limbaugh and others on conservative radio are upset too. Limbaugh says he can’t believe somebody’s name is off limits — as if it’s really about Obama’s name.

Posted by Noreen O'Donnell on Wednesday, February 27th, 2008 at 2:06 pm |

New diseases emerging faster


New infectious diseases are appearing more often, and more than half of the ones examined moved from animals to humans, according a new study that was published in the journal Nature.

Scientists analyzed 335 diseases that emerged between 1940 and 2004, and found the rate of new infectious diseases was increasing.

HIV/AIDS, Ebola, avian flu and SARS are all examples.

The topic is one that concerns William Karesh, the director of health sciences for the Wildlife Conservation Society, whom I wrote about earlier this month.


He would bring people together to work on common problems, from environmentalists to corporations to government agencies, because he believes there are many areas where people can agree.

“I think the challenge is how do we make good decisions that are balanced,” he said during a recent interview. “There’s the conflict.”

FILE PHOTO: William B. Karesh photographed at the birds of prey exhibit at the Bronx Zoo in 2005. ( Tom Nycz / The Journal News )

Posted by Noreen O'Donnell on Tuesday, February 26th, 2008 at 11:34 pm |
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Vanessa Williams plugs Hillary


Asked about Barack Obama on Barbara Walters’ Oscar preview, Vanessa Williams talks about Hillary Clinton.

“I think it’s such an exciting time, not only for Barack  but also for Hillary,” she said. “I live in Chappaqua. She’s my neighbor. The fact that she might be able to be the first female president — It’s a no-lose situation. And I am really, really excited that it’s happening at this point.”


PHOTO: Vanessa Williams  attends the American Women of African Heritage luncheon in Westchester last year.( Mark Vergari)

Posted by Noreen O'Donnell on Monday, February 25th, 2008 at 5:59 pm |


Fear mongering?


Here’s the photo that is all the talk in political circles today: Sen. Barack Obama in traditional Somali dress.

It showed up on the Drudge Report this morning, circulated according to the Web site, by unidentified “Clinton staffers.”

However it got released, it’s causing a stir.

Obama’s campaign manager, David Plouffe, accused the Clinton campaign of “the most shameful, offensive fear-mongering we’ve seen from either party in this election.”

The Clinton response, from campaign manager, Maggie Williams.


“If Barack Obama’s campaign wants to suggest that a photo of him wearing traditional Somali clothing is divisive, they should be ashamed. Hillary Clinton has worn the traditional clothing of countries she has visited and had those photos published widely.

“This is nothing more than an obvious and transparent attempt to distract from the serious issues confronting our country today and to attempt to create the very divisions they claim to decry.”


What she doesn’t say is whether Clinton staffers are the ones who released the photo.

Of course, there’s nothing wrong with a photo of Obama in traditional Somali dress. Then again, Obama is still combatting rumors that he’s Muslim.

UPDATE: Howard Wolfson, Clinton’s communications director, said he had never seen the picture before and was not aware that anyone in the campaign had circulated it.

PHOTO: Barack Obama is dressed as a Somali elder by Sheikh Mahmed Hassan during Obama’s visit to Wajir, a rural area in northeastern Kenya, near the borders with Somalia and Ethiopia in this file photo from Aug. 27, 2006. Obama‘s estranged late father was Kenyan; Obama visited the country in 2006, attracting thousands of well-wishers. (AP Photo)

Posted by Noreen O'Donnell on Monday, February 25th, 2008 at 2:44 pm |
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Off until Monday


No posts until then.

Posted by Noreen O'Donnell on Thursday, February 21st, 2008 at 9:01 pm |
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Hail to the chief — and the also rans


On the occasion of today’s holiday, Joseph Cummins, author of “Anything for a Vote: Dirty Tricks, Cheap Shots, and October Surprises in U.S. Presidential History,” takes a look at what he calls “the obscure would-be presidential candidates of history.”

For example: Lewis Cass, a former governor of Michigan, whose name unfortunately rhymed with gas and who was satirized as “The Gas Bag.”

There’s more on his “Web site.”:http://anythingforavote.blogspot.com/2008/02/not-quite-presidents-day.html


PHOTO: Robert Peck, curator of art and artifacts, displays a lock of hair from George Washington at The Academy Of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia last month. The academy was planning a scrapbook that includes the hair of the first 12 U.S. presidents. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Posted by Noreen O'Donnell on Monday, February 18th, 2008 at 4:40 pm |


The White House? No thank you


Just in time for Presidents’ Day, here’s a new poll on kids and the presidency.

The results might surprise you.

A majority said they would NOT want to be president — 55 percent.

Only 45 percent would want the job.


Scholastic News conducted the poll. More than 30,000 students in the first through eighth grades took part.


Some other findings: Students in Texas had little interest in the job. Only 19 percent said yes. No so New Yorkers. Eighty-two percent of them would be on their way to the White House.

And boys are much more interested in occupying the Oval Office than girls: 66 percent of boys compared to 19 percent of girls.

PHOTO: In a photo provided by the University of Rochester, letters and memos written by and to Abraham Lincoln are seen at the University of Rochester on Thursday. The collection of letters will be available for viewing on the university’s Web site starting today. The memo at bottom center was signed by Lincoln on the day he was assassinated, April 14, 1865. (AP Photo/University of Rochester, Richard Baker)

Posted by Noreen O'Donnell on Monday, February 18th, 2008 at 4:10 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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