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

Archive for June, 2008

Lottery scam?


USA Today warns against $20 scratch-off tickets still being sold after the top prizes are gone.

Even I’m indignant — and I don’t buy lottery tickets.

According to USA Today, about half the states that have lotteries engage in this seemingly shabby practice.

The states say it’s fair because other prizes are available.

Not when I’ve dreaming of multi-millions it isn’t.

More “here.”:http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2008-06-29-Scratchoff_N.htm?loc=interstitialskip

Posted by Noreen O'Donnell on Monday, June 30th, 2008 at 4:56 pm |

Working for peace


For today, I wrote about the Victor Goldberg IIE Prize for Peace in the Middle East.

It was created and endowed by Goldberg and the Institute of International Education, which administers the Fulbright Students and Scholars and the Humphrey Scholars for the State Department and offers corporate training and scholarship programs.

Goldberg, who is retired from IBM, returned from Jerusalem last week where this year’s winners were honored.

You can see Goldberg and the two winners — Aziz Abu Sarah and Lily Yaffe — here.


Abu Sarah and Yaffe work together to bring about tolerance and reconciliation as members of the “Parent Circle-Families Forum,”:http://www.theparentscircle.org/ a group for bereaved families. They speak to young Israelis and Palestinians about their personal loss and their unwillingness to seek revenge and encourage students to examine their own feelings of suspicion and fear.

This is the fourth year the prize was awarded.

Previous winners were the founders of a Jewish-Arab school; the creators of an Arab Jewish Community Center in Jaffa, and two professors for a shared history project, “Learning Each Other’s Historical Narrative.”

PHOTO: Pictured are the winners of the Goldberg IIE Prize, Lily Yaffe and Aziz Abu Sarah; Peggy Blumenthal, the chief operating officer of the Institute of International Education, and Victor J. Goldberg.

Posted by Noreen O'Donnell on Monday, June 30th, 2008 at 3:37 pm |

Plastic bag day at Playland


Kids who bring plastic bags to Playland Park in Rye tomorrow could get a free ride.

One hundred plastic bags or more entitles you to three free rides and a round of miniature golf — redeemable any day in the season.

The bags can be turned in at a recycling table near the entrance.

Accepted bags? Grocery, produce, newspaper, dry-cleaning and packaging for toilet paper and paper towels.

Westchester County added plastic bags to is list of collectibles in the spring. About 7,000 pounds of bags have been collected so far — and could eventually could become outdoor decks and fences.

Posted by Noreen O'Donnell on Friday, June 27th, 2008 at 2:42 pm |
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Privacy on the campaign trail


Sitting in a waiting room the other day, I read the “Newsweek”: article on Cindy McCain.

One part jumped out at me — when she talked about keeping some privacy from the media.

Her comments reminded me a little bit of Hillary Clinton talking about a zone of privacy and her determination to keep reporters away from her daughter while the Clintons were in the White House.

I don’t mean that the women are similar, just that both have had to face reporters determined to catalogue every aspect of their lives.


Here are a few paragraphs from the article in the June 30 edition:

“Recently, Cindy has set out to show the country that she is no vacant “Stepford wife.” She has started doing more press interviews and can be surprisingly candid about her personal life and her feelings. Still, she clearly finds the confessional mode of American politics distasteful, and does not feel the need to overshare. “It’s more about … feeling comfortable … and not feeling compelled to do things that I wouldn’t normally do,” she says

“John McCain has made a virtue—and a career—of his unwillingness to go along, an independent streak his wife shares. If he doesn’t want to be reined in by convention, neither does she. After nearly 30 years together but apart, she has her own sense of mission, one that does not necessarily require a husband in the White House.”

Posted by Noreen O'Donnell on Wednesday, June 25th, 2008 at 9:39 pm |

Misjustice at Justice?


Is it too much to ask that the Justice Department follow the law?

From the Associated Press:

WASHINGTON (June 24) – Ivy Leaguers and other top law students were rejected for plum Justice Department jobs two years ago because of their liberal leanings or objections to Bush administration politics, a government report concluded today.

In one case, a Harvard Law student was passed over after criticizing the nomination of Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court. In another, a Georgetown University student who had previously worked for a Democratic senator and congressman didn’t make the cut.

Even senior Justice Department officials flinched at what appeared to be hiring decisions based — improperly and illegally — on politics, according to the internal report.

“Individuals at the department were rejecting any of our candidates who could be construed as left-wing or who were perceived, based on their appearances and resumes and so forth, as being more liberal,” Kevin Ohlson, deputy director of the department’s executive office of immigration review, complained to Justice investigators.


The report marked the culmination of a yearlong investigation by Justice’s inspector general and Office of Professional Responsibility into whether Republican politics were driving hiring polices at the once fiercely independent department.

The investigation is one of several that examine accusations of White House political meddling within the Justice Department. Those accusations were initially driven by the firings of nine U.S. attorneys in late 2006 and culminated with the ouster of Alberto Gonzales as attorney general last September.

PHOTO: By Eileen Blass, USA TODAY

Posted by Noreen O'Donnell on Tuesday, June 24th, 2008 at 8:07 pm |

Morning Show Mooning


There’s some video on YouTube of a man mooning a television morning show in Canada.

Three men are sitting talking when the mooner scoots behind them, visible through the large window, then back the other way.

Finally he’s skipping along slowly and I can’t tell if they’re just ignoring him or they don’t know he’s there because their backs are to the window.

It’s funny and I laughed in spite of myself because I don’t usually find mooners very funny at all.

Mooning of course is in the news after an 18-year-old dropped his pants at the Briarcliff High School graduation last week. He’s been banned from the school grounds and now he’s charged with disorderly conduct and exposure of a person.

He probably ruined the ceremony for some of the people there. I have no doubt about that. But was his behavior illegal?

I write about it in my column tomorrow.

Posted by Noreen O'Donnell on Tuesday, June 24th, 2008 at 8:06 pm |


Clinton says thanks


Another message from Hillary Clinton.

A “thank-you.”:http://www.hillaryclinton.com/feature/specialthankyou/?sc=1905&utm_source=1905&utm_medium=e

And an appeal for donations.

PHOTO: (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)

Posted by Noreen O'Donnell on Monday, June 23rd, 2008 at 3:33 pm |

Sold out


From Liz Benjamin’s blog, The Daily Politics: Michelle Obama’s The View “dress”:http://www.donnaricco.com/productdisplay.aspx?p=428 is sold out.


PHOTO: This handout photo provided by ABC shows Michelle Obama posing with co-hosts OF “The View”: Whoopi Goldberg, Sherri Shepard, Joy Behar, Michelle Obama, Barbara Walters and Elisabeth Hasselbeck. (AP Photo/ABC, Steve Fenn)

Posted by Noreen O'Donnell on Thursday, June 19th, 2008 at 6:56 pm |

A blunder for Obama


Two Muslim women wearing head scarves were told they could not stand behind Sen. Barack Obama at a rally in Detroit on Monday.

Obama has apologized, but what a gaffe. More here in “The Detroit News.”:http://www.detnews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080619/POLITICS01/806190376

First the Muslim rumors, then his controversial Christian minister, then more Muslim rumors, now this.

I’m sure it will pass over soon enough, but it shows the pitfalls he’s negotiating — not always successfully.

Posted by Noreen O'Donnell on Thursday, June 19th, 2008 at 6:18 pm |


If you thought we were beyond this…


A disturbing campaign button:


At the beginning of the week, the Dallas Morning News reported it was on sale at the Republican state convention in Texas at Republicanmarket’s booth.

By today, according to the blog ThinkProgress, the Texas GOP was donating the $1,500 rent it collected from the vendor to Midwestern flood victims.

GOP spokesman Hans Klingler: “We will neither tolerate nor profit from bigotry.”

Posted by Noreen O'Donnell on Wednesday, June 18th, 2008 at 4:13 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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