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

Archive for November, 2008

Monday’s return


I’ve been out of the office on vacation and then home with a cold.

I’ll return to blogging on Monday.

Posted by Noreen O'Donnell on Friday, November 28th, 2008 at 6:18 pm |

More on Sarah Lawrence


After Rahm Emanuel was named chief of staff in the Obama administration, I talked to one of his former professors at Sarah Lawrence College in Yonkers.

Charlotte Doyle remembered him as a brilliant student who read the French philosopher Maurice Merleau-Ponty.

“He was self-motivated, and what he learned, he really learned and carried with him and used,” she said.

Emanuel’s adviser at the college, Jefferson Adams, had a different memory of his former student. He was not an academic, Adams told The New Yorker.

“His papers were ‘good, not outstanding. They showed an involvement in the material, but nothing you’d put in an anthology. He was not a stellar writer, and he’s not a great speaker. He’s very effective one on one.'”

Posted by Noreen O'Donnell on Wednesday, November 12th, 2008 at 3:45 pm |

Rahmbo in Yonkers


Today I wrote about Rahm Emanuel’s years at Sarah Lawrence College in Yonkers.

My colleague, Georgette Gouveia, remembers him as a talented dancer and a lovely man.

“All the girls were crazy about him,” she said.

Other people talk about his ruthlessness.

Here’s a clip of Barack Obama roasting Emanuel at an event in 2005.

[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/cdphzxz64BY" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]

Posted by Noreen O'Donnell on Monday, November 10th, 2008 at 6:01 pm |


Getting rid of plastic bags


Mayor Michael Bloomberg wants a bag tax.

He’s proposing that shoppers get charged 5 cents for every plastic bag they pick up at the check out couner.

The plan would raise $16 million plus clean up the landscape.

It’s a great idea, no matter how much people squawk.

One question: What if you use those bags as garage bags? Maybe stores around here will now start selling the biodegradable ones. I’ve seen mixed reviews.

Posted by Noreen O'Donnell on Friday, November 7th, 2008 at 7:05 pm |

A victory for farm animals


The ban on gay marriage got the attention, but it wasn’t the only proposition decided in California on Election Day. The state also voted to phase out the most restrictive confinement of farm animals — including cages for egg-laying hens.

Opponents say it will hurt California producers by raising their costs.

But no one should be saving money by caging hens. Cheap eggs doesn’t justify cruelty.

Here’s an account from USA Today.

SAN FRANCISCO — Californians’ adoption Tuesday of a ban on restrictive cages for egg-laying hens will hasten changes nationwide, supporters say. Opponents say it will put California producers out of business, given consumer demand for cheap eggs.
Proposition 2 drew support from nearly two-thirds of voters. It prevents farmers in California from confining veal calves, pregnant pigs and egg-laying hens in ways that prevent them from standing, lying and stretching limbs. The measure effectively bans cages used by 95 percent of the egg industry.
Pushed by the Humane Society of the United States and other animal-rights groups, the measure affects about 20 million animals and drew about $20 million in spending from both sides. That makes it the biggest campaign win for farm animals in U.S. history, supporters say. “This was a landslide victory in favor of animals,” says Wayne Pacelle, CEO of the Humane Society.
California doesn’t have much of a veal or pork industry, so the battle centered on hens. Pacelle says the win will inspire similar measures nationwide and greater demand from retailers and restaurants for cage-free eggs, now less than 5 percent of the market.
The measure, which takes effect in 2015, will require egg farms to give hens more room than the standard 67-square-inches each. Producers say the resulting expenses will drive egg prices up and make their eggs uncompetitive with those from other states and Mexico.
Fallout from California’s measure will discourage similar laws in other states, says Mitch Head, of the national United Egg Producers. California produces 6 percent of the nation’s eggs. Iowa and Ohio are far bigger producers.
Burger King, Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods are among the retailers that have switched to cage-free eggs or begun phasing them in. Several states have banned restrictive crates for pregnant pigs or veal calves.

Posted by Noreen O'Donnell on Thursday, November 6th, 2008 at 5:59 pm |
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Move over Kenya


I’ll admit that this story hasn’t got that much play outside of Ireland. Still, they were celebrating last night.

From the Irish Times, Barack Obama’s other ancestral home. There they call him O’Bama.


Wed, Nov 05, 2008

The people of Moneygall in Co Offaly were already celebrating last night though hours before Barack Obama’s victory in the US presidential election, writes Ronan McGreevy in Moneygall.

Ever since diligent research by local Church of Ireland priest Stephen Neill revealed the improbable link between Mr Obama and his great-great-great grandfather Fulmouth Kearney who left Moneygall in 1850, they were preparing for an epic night, and it isn’t the first one they’ve had this week.

Moneygall might geographically be in Offaly, but spiritually and sportingly it is in Tipperary and the junior hurlers were still celebrating the club’s first ever county title which they won at the death by a point on Sunday.


The global and the parochial gathered in Hayes’ pub in the village last night, the epicentre of the expected celebrations for an Obama win.

The cup nestled under an American flag and the walls of the pub, one of only two in the village, were plastered with Obama posters.

For many the celebrations were simply a continuation from the all night Sunday and all day Monday routine which follows a historic county final win.

The Hardy Drew and the Nancy Boys made an appearance singing that song There’s no one as Irish as Barack O’Bama.If you haven’t heard it yet, you may hear nothing else for the next four years.

Among those who turned out last night were Henry Healy who counts himself as Mr Obama’s ninth cousin and he’s not the only one. Along with his brother and four sisters, he has cousins in Kilkenny, Carlow, Laois and Tipperary who are also similarly related to Mr Obama. It will be some homecoming if the putative next president of the United States ever does get around to coming to Ireland.

Mr Healy said he intended to contact Taoiseach Brian Cowen this morning and ask him to invite Mr Obama to Ireland. Hours later, Mr Cowen did just that.

© 2008 irishtimes.com

PHOTO: A Barack Obama sign in the town of Moneygall on Tuesday. (AP Photo/Peter Morrison)

Posted by Noreen O'Donnell on Wednesday, November 5th, 2008 at 2:53 pm |
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A slave’s daughter talks about Obama’s victory


From National Public Radio’s John Burnett:

Along a rural highway in central Texas sits a small white house with some cows grazing out back and a wheelchair ramp leading to the front screen door. Inside that house lives Amanda Jones, 109, the daughter of a slave. No one in her family, least of all Jones, thought she would live long enough to vote for the man who is to become the first black president.Jones is the living link between the time when black men were owned as property and the time when a black man has been elected president of the United States.

She wears a pink gown and sits in a worn recliner. Thick glasses magnify her rheumy eyes — eyes that have witnessed two world wars, a great depression, and the arrival of jazz, television and antibiotics. Born in 1899, Jones has lived through a half-century of institutional segregation and a second half-century of attempts to erase that legacy.

“The white is over everything,” she says. “I never thought the colored would rise up” and accomplish this.

She thinks the election of President Barack Obama is “a blessing.”

More “here.”:http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=96581933

Posted by Noreen O'Donnell on Wednesday, November 5th, 2008 at 9:44 am |

Obama addesses the country


“Let us summon a new spirit,” Barack Obama says in his address tonight.

Will we be able to?

He goes on to say that with victory comes a determination to heal the divides that have held back our progress.

I may not have won your vote, he tells those who did not support him. But he said, he had heard them too.

“I will be your president too.”

He says to the world: “Our stories are singular but our destiny is shared.”

And he salutes the “enduring power of democracy, liberty, opportunity and unyielding hope.”

“That’s the true genius of America,” he says.

Posted by Noreen O'Donnell on Wednesday, November 5th, 2008 at 1:30 am |
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McCain’s concession


Sen. John McCain gave a truly gracious concession speech.

The end stood out.

“I wish Godspeed to the man who was my former opponent and will be my president. And I call on all Americans, as I have often in this campaign, to not despair of our present difficulties, but to believe, always, in the promise and greatness of America, because nothing is inevitable here.

Americans never quit. We never surrender.

We never hide from history. We make history.”

Obama is speaking now.

Posted by Noreen O'Donnell on Wednesday, November 5th, 2008 at 1:00 am |
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Clinton acknowledges “an historic victory”


Sen. Hillary Clinton released this statement:

Tonight, we are celebrating an historic victory for the American people. This was a long and hard fought campaign but the result was well worth the wait.

Together, under the leadership of President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, and a Democratic Congress, we will chart a better course to build a new economy and rebuild our leadership in the world. And I look forward to doing all that I can to support President Obama and Vice President Biden in the difficult work that lies ahead.

For too long, middle class families in this country have felt invisible, struggling alone as wages stagnate, jobs disappear, and the costs of daily life climb upward. In quiet, solitary acts of citizenship, American voters gave voice to their hopes and their values, voted for change, and refused to be invisible any longer.

Posted by Noreen O'Donnell on Wednesday, November 5th, 2008 at 12:47 am |
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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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