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

Archive for January, 2009

WTC memorial to open


The memorial at the World Trade Center site has been slow in coming. Many families will be very glad of this news.

NEW YORK (AP) — The head of the agency that owns the World Trade Center site says the Sept. 11 memorial will open on the 10th anniversary of the attacks — and will remain open.
But that doesn’t mean the memorial will be completed by then.
Executive Director Chris Ward says the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey is still determining how much public access will be allowed while the construction continues.
Reflecting pools over the twin towers’ footprints and walls with the victims’ names engraved on them will be built by Sept. 11, 2011.
Construction on the memorial began in 2006.
Ward spoke at a state Assembly committee hearing on Thursday

Posted by Noreen O'Donnell on Friday, January 30th, 2009 at 6:06 pm |
| | 1 Comment »

New Yorkers favor special elections


A new poll finds that New Yorkers favor special elections to fill U.S. Senate seats that become vacant.

They may be costly, but it seems the best way to go — especially after this most recent muddle.

Here’s the Associated Press article:

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — Most New Yorkers want special elections to fill future U.S. Senate vacancies rather than allowing the governor sole authority to name someone to the powerful position, according to a poll released Thursday.
The Siena College poll found 65 percent of voters want state law changed so voters would decide who gets the job. If the law is changed, it would prevent a repeat of the secretive and widely criticized process that led to Gov. David Paterson’s appointment of upstate congresswoman Kirsten Gillibrand to the Senate seat vacated by Hillary Rodham Clinton.
Another 30 percent of the voters polled wanted the state law to remain unchanged.
A special election would allow voters to get to know the people seeking the office through a public campaign, instead of learning about them after the governor has already made a unilateral decision, said Siena spokesman Steven Greenberg.
“You would have a real campaign,” he said. “You would have a Democratic candidate, and you would have a Republican candidate.”
Paterson didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Posted by Noreen O'Donnell on Thursday, January 29th, 2009 at 3:33 pm |
| | 1 Comment »

New York’s new senator takes her seat


Kirsten Gillibrand is sworn in. From the Associated Press:

WASHINGTON (AP) — Kirsten Gillibrand, a little-known, pro-gun Democrat from upstate New York, was sworn in Tuesday as the state’s junior U.S. senator.
Gov. David Paterson appointed the second-term congresswoman to the Senate seat last Friday. She was named to the post after Caroline Kennedy, the presumed front-runner, withdrew from contention because of personal reasons.
After she was sworn in at the U.S. Capitol by Vice President Joe Biden, she told reporters that becoming a senator was something she never could’ve imagined.
“I feel incredibly grateful that the governor placed his trust in me,” Gillibrand said. “To have the opportunity to serve this entire state at a time of great economic crisis is an extraordinary responsibility and I take that responsibility very seriously.”
Watching the swearing-in was her husband and two young boys, as well as several other family members.
Gillibrand fills a seat vacated when Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton became secretary of state. Her appointment lasts until 2010, when a special election will be held to fill the final two years of Clinton’s term.
At 42, Gillibrand became the youngest U.S. senator and is the 17th woman in the chamber.
She said her first order of business was to focus on improving the economy in New York

Posted by Noreen O'Donnell on Tuesday, January 27th, 2009 at 5:06 pm |


Gillibrand’s congressional district


A reader called to say I had lopped off the northern part of Kirsten Gillibrand’s congressional district in my column on Saturday.

He’s right. I cut it in half.

Here’s a “map”:http://www.govtrack.us/congress/findyourreps.xpd?state=NY&district=20 of New York’s 20th Congressional District.

Posted by Noreen O'Donnell on Monday, January 26th, 2009 at 12:43 pm |
| | 1 Comment »

Clinton confirmed


Clinton is confirmed as secretary of state.

WASHINGTON(AP) — The Senate has confirmed Hillary Rodham Clinton to become secretary of state.
The Senate vote was overwhelmingly in favor of the former first lady despite lingering concerns by some Republicans that her husband’s charitable fundraising overseas could pose a conflict of interest.
Republicans and Democrat alike say her swift confirmation was necessary so that President Barack Obama could begin tackling the major foreign policy issues at hand, including two wars, increased violence in the Middle East and the threat of a nuclear-armed Iran.
Immediately after the vote, Clinton was to be sworn in during a private ceremony at the Capitol.

Gov. David Paterson meanwhile said he hoped to announce her replacement in the Senate by the weekend.

PHOTO: Sen. Hillary Clinton applauds introductions during a fund-raising dinner honoring her with a “Salute to Greatness” award by the King Center Saturday in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Amis)

Posted by Noreen O'Donnell on Wednesday, January 21st, 2009 at 5:43 pm |
| | 1 Comment »

From Obama’s Inaugural Address


Some of my favorite passages:

“As for our common defense, we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals. Our founding fathers, faced with perils we can scarcely imagine, drafted a charter to assure the rule of law and the rights of man, a charter expanded by the blood of generations. Those ideals still light the world, and we will not give them up for expedience’s sake.”


“We will not apologize for our way of life, nor will we waver in its defense, and for those who seek to advance their aims by inducing terror and slaughtering innocents, we say to you now that our spirit is stronger and cannot be broken; you cannot outlast us, and we will defeat you.”


“Our challenges may be new. The instruments with which we meet them may be new. But those values upon which our success depends — hard work and honesty, courage and fair play, tolerance and curiosity, loyalty and patriotism — these things are old. These things are true. They have been the quiet force of progress throughout our history. What is demanded then is a return to these truths.”

And finally…

“Let it be said by our children’s children that when we were tested we refused to let this journey end, that we did not turn back nor did we falter; and with eyes fixed on the horizon and God’s grace upon us, we carried forth that great gift of freedom and delivered it safely to future generations.”

Posted by Noreen O'Donnell on Tuesday, January 20th, 2009 at 10:33 pm |
| | 1 Comment »


Obama’s Irish roots


Another caller wanted to make sure I knew about Obama’s Irish roots.

Obama’s great-great-great-grandfather, Fulmuth Kearney, was raised in Moneygall, then left for America in 1850.

He was 19 and — this I didn’t know — according to the Liverpool Echo, he sailed from Liverpool aboard the S.S. Marmion.

You can read about it “here.”:–oJ:www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/liverpool-life/liverpool-lifestyle/2008/11/05/barack-obama-s-road-to-presidency-started-in-liverpool-100252-22188110/+liverpool+echo+obama+nov.+5&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=1&gl=us&client=firefox-a

More about Moneygall from the “Washington Post.”:http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/05/12/AR2007051201551.html

Posted by Noreen O'Donnell on Monday, January 19th, 2009 at 3:50 pm |
| | 1 Comment »

Inaugural schedule


A caller wanted to know when Barack Obama would give his Inaugural Address.

I didn’t realize it but the exact time his term begins is spelled out in the 20th Amendment to the U.S Constitution.

Section 1.
The terms of the President and the Vice President shall end at noon on the 20th day of January, and the terms of Senators and Representatives at noon on the 3d day of January, of the years in which such terms would have ended if this article had not been ratified; and the terms of their successors shall then begin.

PHOTO: President-elect Barack Obama visits a renovation project at Sasha Bruce Youthwork, a shelter for homeless or runaway teens, in Washington today. AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

Posted by Noreen O'Donnell on Monday, January 19th, 2009 at 3:40 pm |

Clinton thanks New York


Hillary Clinton says she will always be a New Yorker.

Dear Friend,

I wanted to take this opportunity to thank you for the honor of serving you in the United States Senate and to share with you some of the work and accomplishments of which we can all be proud.

As I look back on eight years of service in the Senate, I am gratified by all we’ve been able to achieve together at what has been a very difficult time for our state and country. We’ve worked hard to find common ground and deliver creative solutions, often against tough obstacles and even tougher odds.

Serving the people of New York has been the opportunity of a lifetime to continue what has been the work of my life. It is been an honor and a privilege to be your advocate and to make real strides for those who have for too long felt as if they were invisible.

I may not have always been a New Yorker, but know that I will always be one. New York, its spirit and its people, will always be part of me and part of the work I do. And so I want to express to you my profound appreciation and my enduring optimism thatthe best days for our state and our nation are still ahead.

Sincerely yours,

Hillary Rodham Clinton

PHOTO: Then-presidential hopeful Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton conducts a roundtable discussion at the Yale Child Study Center in New Haven, Conn., in February 2008. Clinton volunteered at the center while she was a law student at Yale in the 1970’s. (AP Photo/ Fred Beckham)

Posted by Noreen O'Donnell on Monday, January 19th, 2009 at 12:58 pm |
| | 1 Comment »


Paterson on replacing Clinton


Joseph Spector of the Gannett News Services reports that Gov. David Paterson is “having new thinking” on whom he will name to replace Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton.

The selection will come after Barack Obama’s presidential inauguration on Tuesday.

Paterson also plans to have follow-up conversations with some of the candidates. He did not say with whom.

The finalists appear to include Caroline Kennedy, state Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, Nassau County Executive Thomas Suozzi and Reps. Steve Israel of Nassau County, and Kirsten Gillibrand of Columbia County.

“My job is not to pick the person who is popular today, it’s the person who is going to be popular in 2010,” Paterson said on WFAN-AM radio in New York City.

Posted by Noreen O'Donnell on Friday, January 16th, 2009 at 8:29 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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