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

Archive for August, 2008

Remembering 9/11


Some ways to commemorate the 9/11 anniversary this year.

Sign the beam. Add your name to the beams that will be used in the construction of the Memorial and Museum. Dates — Sept. 4 at the NY Giants game at the Meadowlands from 4 until 8 p.m.; Sept. 10 and 11 at Battery Park in Manhattan from 10 a.m. until 7 p.m. and Sept. 14 at the NY Jets game at the Meadowlands, 2 to 5 p.m.

Tell your 9/11 story at the Memorial Museum’s archive through the StoryCorps Sept. 11 initiative. Dedicated recording sessions will be held at the offices of the National September 11 Memorial & Museum at One Liberty Plaza in New York City on Sept. 5 and 12. Contact Caitlin Zampella, director of Program Partnership Initiatives, at (212) 312-8788 or czampella@sept11mm.org.


StoryCorp’s Lower Manhattan StoryBooth is located in Foley Square on Centre Street between Worth and Duane streets, across from the U.S. Courthouse. The goal is to collect as many oral histories as possible from relatives, friends, survivors, visitors, and rescue workers about those who died in the attacks or their experiences on Sept. 11, 2001, and the 1993 World Trade Center bombings. For more information, visit http://www.storycorps.net.

Remember those who died
The official commemoration will take place at Zuccotti Park, next to the World Trade Center site at Liberty Street between Broadway and Church streets and Trinity Place. Relatives will be able to descend to the lower level of the site.

PHOTO: With the latticework that was once part of nine stories of the World Trade Centers north tower in the background, clean up and recovery work continues at the site of the World Trade Center attacks in this Nov. 9, 2001, file photo. Engineers are trying to determine exactly how much of the facade was preserved when it was taken down and disassembled in 2001 so it can be returned to the site as part of a memorial to those who died in the terrorist attacks. (AP Photo/Peter Morgan, Pool)

Posted by Noreen O'Donnell on Thursday, August 28th, 2008 at 6:47 pm |

“Temple of Obama”


What are the Democrats thinking? Will Barack Obama give his speech tonight in a toga (or the Greek equivalent)?

The Democrats have erected some sort of colonnaded stage at Denver’s mile-high Invesco Field that looks like a Greek temple — or the White House portico.

Republicans of course have pounced. They’re mocking the backdrop. “Temple of Obama,” the Republican National Committee is calling it.

“This Roman-like facade, a facade with Roman columns, is a perfect metaphor or icon for the point that it’s an interesting production, but behind it there’s not much there,” Minnesota Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty told ABC.

Greek, Roman, it looks silly. This is a football stadium.

Democrats responded that President Bush gave his acceptance speech in 2004 on a stage with similar columns.

Here’s my advice. Knock it over before the night begins.

Posted by Noreen O'Donnell on Thursday, August 28th, 2008 at 5:58 pm |

Were you in this campaign just for me?


I don’t know what Hillary Clinton really thinks of Barack Obama. I don’t know whether she still wants to run for president should he lose.

But last night she gave a good speech, and it’s hard to imagine her supporters not taking her advice.
Even if some are still resisting.

Key lines —

“I want you to ask yourselves: Were you in this campaign just for me?”


“I haven’t spent the past 35 years in the trenches, advocating for children, campaigning for universal health care, helping parents balance work and family, and fighting for women’s rights here at home and around the world, to see another Republican in the White House squander our promise of a country that really fulfills the hopes of our people.”

She ended by recalling Harriet Tubman, an escaped slave and Union spy who moved to upstate New York and helped other slaves to freedom.

The refrain should be familiar to anyone who followed Clinton’s Senate race. She used it often, so often that reporters who covered her can still quote it. Say “dogs,” they’ll say, “keep going.”

Here’s the full quote: “And on that path to freedom, Harriet Tubman had one piece of advice. If you hear the dogs, keep going. If you see the torches in the woods, keep going. If they’re shouting after you, keep going. Don’t ever stop. Keep going.”

PHOTO: (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

Posted by Noreen O'Donnell on Wednesday, August 27th, 2008 at 1:26 pm |


Clinton in El Barrio


I often drive down Lexington Avenue from the Third Avenue bridge into Manhattan and past the El Barrio Democratic Club.

All summer the door was open and a Hillary sign clearly visible on the back of the front door. When she suspended her campaign, it came down.

A lot has been written about the lack of enthusiasm among Latinos for Barack Obama and so I checked the other day as I drove by.

Now there might be an Obama sign somewhere inside. But nothing’s gone up to replace that Hillary one.

Posted by Noreen O'Donnell on Tuesday, August 26th, 2008 at 7:03 pm |
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Clintons still in the spotlight


The first day of the Democratic convention in Denver and the talk has been too much about the Clintons.

Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are working out a deal that would give her some votes during a roll call vote, then move to unanimous support for Obama, according to the Associated Press.

She will tell her delegates how she is voting, for Obama, but will not tell them how to vote.

“This was a hard-fought campaign ad there was a lot of intensity and passion associated with it, in part because of the historic nature of our two candidacies,” she said to the AP.

Meanwhile, former President Bill Clinton is reportedly unhappy with his speaking assignment, according to Politico.com. He is scheduled to appear on Wednesday night when the theme will be “Securing America’s Future,” and speakers are to argue that Obama will be a better commander in chief than John McCain.

Clinton would rather talk about the economy and the contrast between the Bush administration and his own.

The former president’s legacy seems at the heart of some of the dispute.

Howard Wolfson, former advisor to Hillary Clinton, wrote a piece for the New Republic called “Smothering the Hatchet.”

“There is still work to do on the Bill Clinton front,” he wrote. “He feels like the Obama campaign ran against and systematically dismissed his administration’s accomplishments. And he fells like he was painted as a racist during the primary process.”

The Washington Post says polling shows remaining resistance to Obama. A new CNN/Opinion Research Corp. poll has 27 percent of Hillary Clinton supporters saying they would vote for McCain.

In a new ad from the Republican National Committee again uses Hillary Clinton’s words against Obama.

“Senator McCain will bring a lifetime of experience to the campaign,” she said in the spring. “I will bring a lifetime of experience. And Senator Obama will bring a speech that he gave in 2002.”

It was a good line, but today Clinton responded: “Now I understand that the McCain campaign is running ads trying to divide us and let me state what I think about their tactics and these ads: I am Hillary Clinton and I do not approve that message.”


Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. AP Photo/Mark Duncan

Former President Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. AP Photo/Alex Brandon

Posted by Noreen O'Donnell on Monday, August 25th, 2008 at 4:03 pm |
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Rock and Roll Hall of Fame


All of you rockers no longer have to travel to Cleveland to visit the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

An annex will open in New York City’s Soho in November.

It will showcase Bruce Springsteen’s 1957 Chevy, John Lennon’s Record Plant piano, Elvis Presley’s motorcycle jacket, a handwritten poem by Jim Morrison and more.


“It’s only fitting that the role New York City has played in launching the careers of so many of the world’s most talented artists — like Rock and Roll Hall of Famers Paul Simon, Blondie and the Velvet Underground — on the world’s greatest stages — like the Filmore East, the Apollo Theater, and Madison Square Garden — be recognized and honored with the opening of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Annex,” Mayor Michael Bloomberg said in a statement.

Advance tickets will be available beginning in October at www.rockannex.com.

More here from Associated Press writers Sara Kugler and Joe Milicia:

NEW YORK (AP) — The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is going on the road to New York — the city that spawned hip-hop and gave Bob Dylan and the Ramones their start.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced Wednesday that the Cleveland-based museum is opening an annex in downtown Manhattan. It is the first of several planned outposts that will take its collection of artifacts to a wider audience, possibly as far as the Middle East.

Billy Joel and Clive Davis joined the mayor at the location in SoHo where the branch will open in November. Joel, who said he was donating some memorabilia to the museum, recalled how he has played every New York venue from Carnegie Hall to Shea Stadium.
“New York gave me my words and my music, and rock and roll gave me a place for that music to live,” Joel said.
The 25,000-square-foot annex will house Bruce Springsteen’s 1957 Chevy and will feature a number of different exhibits, including one with sites around the city that have musical significance.
“There really isn’t a more fitting spot for this museum than New York, the hometown of hall of famers like the Velvet Underground, Paul Simon and Blondie … this is where Ed Sullivan met the Beatles, where Lou Reed took a walk on the wild side,” Bloomberg said.

Museum officials are counting on the branches to provide new revenue streams, attract more philanthropy dollars and entice more people to visit the hall of fame in Cleveland.
Another annex being planned for Las Vegas will be located on or near the Strip and will be less focused on rock artifacts and more entertainment oriented, according to Terry Stewart, president and CEO of the rock museum. A city has not been selected for the proposed Middle East branch.
The annexes mark the museum’s first effort to build a presence outside of Cleveland. The concept follows a trend set by other museums like the Guggenheim and the Louvre, and comes in a year when the hall has announced some notable changes, including a major interior renovation of its lakefront museum and the return of the induction ceremony to Cleveland in 2009 after more than a decade-long absence. Most of the ceremonies had been held in New York City.
The New York annex will be open for a minimum of two years, longer if it proves successful. It’s backed financially by Running Subway Productions, a New York-based entertainment company known for Bodies … The Exhibition and the Broadway production of How the Grinch Stole Christmas!

Among the planned exhibits is New York Rocks, which is dedicated to Big Apple artists such as Joel and the Talking Heads’ David Byrne. The exhibit will feature an interactive map of musically significant Manhattan locations such as Studio 54 and the landmarked Chelsea Hotel, whose guests and residents have included many famous artists and musicians including the Sex Pistols’ Sid Vicious. The front awning and cash register of the recently closed club CBGB will be on display.
A number of exhibits that appeared in Cleveland will also make their way to New York, beginning with the museum’s look at the Clash.
Other exhibits will give visitors a sample of the hall’s collection and prod visitors to either visit the main museum or provide philanthropic support.
Attendance at the rock hall was 451,000 in 2007, up 8 percent from 2006, but still way down from the 872,700 who visited in 1996, its first full year in operation.
Admission at the New York annex will be $26 for adults. The Cleveland museum charges $22 for adult admission.

Posted by Noreen O'Donnell on Thursday, August 14th, 2008 at 7:03 pm |


Predicting the next target


The tight security plan that the New York Police Department has for the rebuilt World Trade Center makes you wonder about the rest of the city.

Of course, the Freedom Tower, the museum and the other buildings will be a target for terrorists. The Trade Center was attacked twice by the time it fell.


The New York Times reported on Monday that police want the entire site to be placed in a security zone. Only specially screened taxis, limousines and cars would be allowed through; guards would be placed at street corners.

In one way it makes sense. No one wants a third attack. But at the same time the bombings in London and Madrid were of trains.

Today The Daily News has an article on Aafia Siddiqui, a Pakistani neuroscientist who was arrested in Afghanistan last month.
The MIT graduate who was once married to a nephew of 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed reportedly had a list of New York landmarks on her.

Included, according to The Daily News, the Statue of Liberty, Times Square and the subway system.

PHOTO of World Trade Center: Workers suspended in a bucket inspect the skeleton of one of the Twin Towers exactly two weeks after the attack. ( Seth Harrison / The Journal News September 25, 2001 )

Posted by Noreen O'Donnell on Wednesday, August 13th, 2008 at 5:02 pm |
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Do not feed the bears


Today I wrote about spotting a black bear while on a walk with my sister-in-law in Connecticut.

I wouldn’t say I was scared exactly, but I certainly was uneasy, anxious to get inside, and quite happy to be on my way the next morning for the beach.

Okay, maybe I was scared.

Encounters with bears are becoming more common as the populations grow in Connecticut and in New York. Bears are smart, curious and have a keen sense of smell. They can detect the slightest scent of food.  And so I thought I’d post these tips from the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection.


To avoid attracting them, the department suggests:

Remove your bird feeders from late March through November.

Add a few capfuls of ammonia to trash bags and garbage cans to mask food odors. Keep trash bags in a container with a tight lid and store in a garage or shed. Wait until the morning of garbage pick-up before bringing it out.

Do not leave pet food outside.

Do not put meats or sweet-smelling fruit rinds in compost piles. Lime can be sprinkled on the compost pile to reduce the smell.

Clean grills after you use them.

And never, ever deliberately feed bears.

PHOTO: A bear makes its way through a backyard in Simsbury, Conn., earlier this year. My sister-in-law, Terri O’Donnell, took the picture.

Posted by Noreen O'Donnell on Wednesday, August 13th, 2008 at 2:02 pm |
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Selling power to Con Ed


A Westchester company will sell its excess solar energy to Con Edison.

From the Associated Press:

THORNWOOD — A New York construction company has become the first Consolidated Edison business customer to use a system under which excess power generated by its solar panels can be sold back to the utility.

C.W. Brown Inc. CEO Renee Brown says the “net metering” system conserves energy while saving the company money.

After the company uses whatever it needs of its own solar energy, any surplus is forwarded to Con Ed, which credits the company’s account. If a cloudy day means the company comes up short on solar energy, it uses Con Ed power and draws down its account.

The switch was thrown Monday at Brown headquarters in Thornwood.

Some residential customers already use net metering.

Posted by Noreen O'Donnell on Monday, August 11th, 2008 at 4:11 pm |


On vacation


I will be away from the office until Aug. 11.

Posted by Noreen O'Donnell on Friday, August 1st, 2008 at 7:10 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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