A Spotlight on the Schools Chancellor Appointee

Here’s what we’re reading this nippy morning (sunny, high around 50), the 136th anniversary of Boss Tweed’s conviction for fraud, the 117th anniversary of the publication of the first-ever color newspaper supplement, in The New York World.

The Times offers a front-page biography of the schools chancellor appointee, Cathleen P. Black, that sets out in detail her vast record of accomplishment and ability to shatter glass ceilings in a single bound — “She’s the closest thing to Superman that exists,” gushes an editor whom Ms. Black trusted to start CosmoGirl magazine at age 26 — as well as her meager record and lack of interest not just in education, but also in the world outside of business generally.

“While Ms. Black, 66, has been a highly visible and celebrated corporate executive, she has rarely spoken out on the big issues of the day,” David Halbfinger and his colleagues write. “Her civic engagement and philanthropic activity are scant beyond donating money to politicians and charities and inviting political figures like Mr. Bloomberg, former President Bill Clinton and Cindy McCain to speak at Hearst functions.”

The evidence adduced includes this: “Describing her strengths in internal documents, the Coca-Cola Company, where she is a longtime board member, leaves unchecked the box next to ‘governmental, political or diplomatic expertise.’ ”

Government & Politics

The House ethics committee voted 9 to 1 to censure Represenative Charles B. Rangel, the most serious punishment the House can mete out to a member short of expulsion. The measure now goes before the full House for a vote. A choked-up Mr. Rangel told the panel he was not sure how much longer he would live and that he believed the press had treated him unfairly. [NYT]

Vito J. Lopez, the increasingly investigated assemblyman and Brooklyn Democratic boss, has been hit with a blizzard of subpoenas in a corruption probe, The Daily News reports in an article that is not yet online.

The cocaine-snorting former boss of the carpenter’s union, Michael J. Forde, put his personal drug dealer on the union payroll and treated him to lavish dinners and junkets, according to court documents alluded to on the cover of The Daily News.

Crime & Public Safety

Thursday sure was a crazy day for Steven L. Rattner, the financier who oversaw the federal rescue of the auto industry. Even as he was being celebrated on Wall Street for his role in turning around General Motors, which went public again in a huge stock sale, Mr. Rattner found himself being sued by Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo and accused of engaging in a kickback scheme involving the state’s pension system. Mr. Cuomo seeks to banish Mr. Rattner for life from the securities business in New York. [NYT]

A federal review has found that the New York Police Department often fails to ensure that non-English speaking New Yorkers have access to certified interpreters when seeking their assistance. [NYT]

Housing & Economy

On the same day that new economic figures showed strong job growth in the city and the lowest unemployment rate here since May 2009, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg announced plans to cut 10,000 city jobs by 2012, hitting the city’s teachers particularly hard. [NYT]

Transportation

The Times travels to the two very different endpoints that would result from the long-shot proposed extension of the No. 7 subway line into New Jersey: Flushing Main Street in Queens, the jam-packed capital of the city’s largest Chinatown, and Secaucus, home of malls and marsh grass.

A camouflage-clad Florida dance troupe desperate to make it to a live television talent show set off a rush-hour terror scare when they ditched their cars in merciless Lincoln Tunnel traffic and tried to sprint through the tube. [New York Post]

People & Neighborhoods

Dan Barry revisits the former headquarters of The Times on West 43rd Street, where things have changed. “In the dozen years I spent working in the newsroom,” he writes, “I must have contemplated my future a hundred times, a thousand times. Would I become a national correspondent? A foreign correspondent? An editor? Should I chuck journalism and embark instead on a career in interpretive dance?

“But I am fairly certain that I never thought: Maybe someday I will stand in this room with a bowling ball in my hand, admiring the Chinatown décor and hoping to pick up a spare in Lane 12. Allow me a moment to double-check my memory.”

Behold the 50-alley splendor of the new Bowlmor lanes.

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Complaint Box | The Stupor Market

I remember fondly those weekly trips with my mother to the grocery store as a young boy. My father would drop us off, then wait in our black Chevy station wagon, reading the paper and smoking half a pack of Pall Malls.

Supermarkets in those days were smaller and easier to navigate. They were not cluttered with giant pyramidal stacks of toilet paper or bottled water. Back then, we walked on the wild side, drinking the water that was actually piped into our homes. There were not 20 varieties of cereal to choose from, either. Nor did you have to maneuver around bins filled with can openers and measuring cups to get to the staples that sustained human life in those days: bacon, eggs, butter, steaks, chops, Twinkies and ice cream.

Shopping used to be stress free, even fun if you were not paying the bill; now, it can be anxiety producing, particularly before a holiday feast.

First, you enter the parking lot and compete for a spot, choosing one as far back as possible to avoid any horn-honking arguments over closer locations. You hike to the entrance, passing three empty spots right up front, of course, while keeping your eyes peeled for an abandoned shopping cart. The one you finally find can make only right-hand turns, but not wanting to go on another expedition, you tough it out.

As you enter the store, you hear the Muzak version of the Beatles’ “Michelle” on the store’s public-address system but feel “Helter Skelter” might be more appropriate.

You pick up a sales flier as you head to the deli counter and take a number. There are 10 people ahead of you, all insisting that their meat be cut “as thin as possible.” The affable deli person obliges and begins showing them nearly transparent slices of ham, turkey or head cheese. You practice your yogic breathing waiting for your turn.

The folks who work in the meat department are less accommodating. When you inquire about the location of the turkey that is on sale, noting that the freezer cases are empty, you are told to come back a little later. You work around this and look for the next item on your list.

It just isn’t your day. The chicken broth is not on the shelf. No broth, no gravy for the turkey. You have no alternative but to go to the courtesy desk and explain the situation to the clerk. She promptly picks up the phone to call someone in the canned goods department, and seems slightly embarrassed that no one is available to take the call, as if this were the first time this had ever happened to her. The call then goes out on the public address system, breaking into John Denver’s “Country Roads.”

You and three other broth-seekers look awkwardly at one another awaiting a reply. Finally, a response from canned goods via the courtesy desk. “Hmm, they have to check and see,” the clerk tells our growing gathering.

Do they really think you would lie about the absence of chicken broth from the shelf? Do they think this is some conspiracy that you and your fellow beleaguered shoppers cooked up in the dairy aisle? After a while, canned goods confirms it: no broth on the shelf. He will look in the back to see if there are any cans there.

Ten minutes later, he calls back to say he will have some on the shelf in another 15 minutes or so. You bite your tongue and turn your cart to the right to resume shopping as the courtesy clerk gives you a half-hearted “Sorry, sir.” You look around and wonder where you can grub a Pall Mall.

Bill DePaolo is a graphic artist and freelance writer who lives in Elizabeth, N.J.

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A Meat Store Grandmother Would Love

A bell jangled as the young woman opened the door to G. Esposito & Sons Jersey Pork Store in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn. In her 20s, fashionably hipsterish, she seemed unsure as she ordered.

“I want the sandwich?” she didn’t mean to ask.

Behind the counter, Santino Charriez, tall, shaved head, tattooed arms thick as hams, asked, with a hint of confusion, what she wanted on it.

“Isn’t there an Italian sandwich?” she asked.

“Oh, you want The Sandwich,” he said.

Mr. Charriez carved through a loaf of Italian bread, piled on prosciutto, mortadella, soppresata, provolone, tomatoes and roasted red peppers, and showered the edible vessel with oil, vinegar and oregano. For $10, the young woman left with a meal big enough for two.

There is no menu at Esposito’s; no board hanging from the ceiling with a list of sandwiches. Curtains of cured meats and basketball-size hunks of provolone leave little room.

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Officials Ponder Gentler Ways to Handle Geese

Officials at Prospect Park are mulling ways to reduce the number of Canada geese at the park without actually killing them, ranging from coating goose eggs with oil, to forbidding the feeding of geese, to chasing them off with border collies patrolling from boats.

Eugene Patron, the spokesman for the Prospect Park Alliance, which manages the park,  laid out the five possible goose-management techniques discussed Wednesday night at a public meeting of the park’s wildlife management advisory committee:

* No-Feed Zone: Mr. Patron said that the parks commissioner could designate the lake a no-feed zone. Under this plan, volunteers and a public education campaign would be deployed to “explain that if people care about the geese and don’t want the government coming in and culling them, then feeding them and attracting them is actually bad for them,” Mr. Patron said.

He was referring to the slaughter of some 400 Prospect Park geese by federal authorities last July as part of a plan to eradicate the animals near airports to keep them from getting sucked into jet engines. Other geese have arrived to replace the dead ones, and the park’s population now stands at about 170, wildlife advocates say.

* Egg Oiling: “You coat the egg with oil so that it can’t mature,” Mr. Patron said. “There’s no exchange of gases.” In effect, the little embryos are suffocated inside their shells. This tactic, Mr. Patron said, which is endorsed by the Humane Society, would require state permits. It would be done in the spring, when eggs are laid.

* Border collies: Specially trained dogs, handled by professional trainers, would patrol the lake from the prows of boats to discourage geese from remaining in the park after breeding season and before they molt. While collies are already used in Central Park for goose control, Mr. Patron said that there were concerns that the dogs would disturb nongoose wildlife, too. “Before the dogs, let’s get the eggs first,” he said. “Then we can worry about chasing away geese. ” Notwithstanding an article in The Daily News Thursday stating that the park planned to deploy collies, Mr. Patron said, “There are no immediate plans for border collies in Prospect Park.”

* Habitat Modification: geese like bodies of water bordered by open lawns — “soft grass where they can land and move quickly and forage,” Mr. Patron said. Tall reeds would be less enticing.

* Research to determine the sustainable number of geese in the park — a level that would not result in crowding out other species . “We can’t say that the city and the federal government won’t still sign agreements to come in” and kill geese, Mr. Patron said. “But we know that if we have a large population of geese in Prospect Park they’re more likely to come in and try to control it.”

Anne-Katrin Titze, the goose advocate who first brought the July massacre to the world’s attention, called the border collie proposal “the most cruel action short of killing them again” as it would involve chasing off adult geese “at the time when their young, obviously helpless and flightless goslings are born.”

The wildlife management advisory committee, consisting of parks officials, wildlife advocates, park users and other stakeholders, will decide what course or courses of action to take in the weeks and months to come, Mr. Patron said.

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Advantages of Online Insurance leads

Companies that expert in making life insurance leads builds websites around prominent anchor text that those interested in insurance may search for it. They create a website that provides useful information to those interested in insurance and attempt to collect information on each visitor, which can then be sold as a quality insurance lead. These businesses excel at collecting information on people that have a real desire in buying insurance, which makes purchasing insurance leads a great way to increase insurance sales.


With so many people relying on the Internet for their informational needs, it has become much more efficient for potential insurers to get in touch with prospective clients. People are generally willing to submit information about themselves to learn more about their chance of qualifying for various types of insurance. For instance, when trying to compare life insurance quotes, a site visitor would expect to fill out a form containing relevant information used to determine insurance eligibility. The submitted details is then kept as a potential insurance leads. An insurance agent will then get in touch with the interested visitor and provide more specific details about various plan choices that might be obtainable.


This new technological solution to finding insurance leads advantages people looking for insurance just as much as it benefits agents looking for quality leads. Indeed, it is common practice for a person to submit his information to a variety of insurance sites in an effort to find the most comprehensive insurance plan at the best rate. It directly means that many insurance brokers are in head to head competition over the same insurance leads. Many people in market don’t hide to inform one insurer of a lower quote obtained elsewhere. This might provide an agent with chance to submit a lower quote in desires of making the sale. The benefit of this process is that agents have simple access to many top quality insurance leads, and also that those looking for insurance can obtain affordable rates for their insurance plans.


You can find any type of insurance online. There are company and broker websites available for life insurance, home insurance, renters insurance, health insurance, and auto insurance, just to name a few. To find best possible rate for your different insuranceneeds,online search is the better option for Insurance quotes. By submitting insurance information to multiple sites, it is possible to find the best deal around without even leaving home.

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How To Keep Your Home Safe During Storms

Homeowners face a number of challenges and frustrations just keeping their home in order and safe from the elements. When storms blow through an area, it can lead to even more damage, sometimes very costly in nature. However, if you take some time to prepare for storm conditions, it can save you a lot of stress and headaches when the time comes and you do face adverse weather conditions. One of the major problems homeowners have during a storm is dealing with falling debris. If you want to avoid major cleanup following a storm or heavy winds, call in tree service. If you trim branches or eliminate the problem altogether, you will not have to worry about tree removal following a crash onto your home or car.


If you live in an area that is prone to tornadoes, hurricanes, or windstorms, consider tacking down your outdoor furniture and decor. A lot of homeowners that experience volatile weather conditions regularly may not even bother with outdoor living, but if you do, it is important to keep the items you invest in safe. More importantly, you want to keep the furniture and materials from being launched through your own windows or those of a neighbor. Use rope or other methods of tacking to keep barbecue grills, chairs and tables, and tent coverings from flying away in high winds.


When you do get a bad storm, be sure to check on flooding in and around your home. There are situations where you live in your home for decades and until a “storm of the century” hits, you may not experience any flooding. If you are aware of small leaks or overflows, or if you know your community has a problem, you can be better prepared in emergency events. You can also check on the outside of your home to make sure the concrete is pitched away to prevent flooding.


Understand that lightning can damage your home just as easily as wind and rain. It may be harder to plan for though, so just make sure your family is safe during a lightning storm. Trim the branches low surrounding your home to avoid problems. Also be sure you stay indoors during a lightning storm.


Finally, do not forget to keep yourself and your family safe during a storm. As important as your home is, your life is even more important. Have a safe place to gather during violent weather events and stock it with snacks, a weather radio, and warm blankets. Tornadoes and windstorms often arise fast and past just as quickly, but you never know if you will be stuck in a shelter for a few hours. Have a plan in place for children and pets should the unexpected occur. If everyone knows where to go and how to behave in an emergency, it will help keep everyone safe.While you should make an effort to protect the interior and exterior of your home, the lives of your loved ones are most important.




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Stewart Wrighter recently spent time searching the term tree service Minneapolis on the internet looking for a service to help around his office building. He had a tree removal Minneapolis service cut down a tree in his backyard because it was damaged from a recent storm.

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Gambling with Tax Dollars

Recently, Lieutenant Governor Matt Denn and DEDO announced a new revolving loan fund designed to “make loans…to businesses that cannot otherwise obtain capital.”  Put in a more straightforward way, the state is going to be loaning tax dollars to businesses that cannot borrow money.

 

This raises a few elementary questions.  First, why are these targeted businesses unable to obtain capital?  The answer is simple once you understand the intent behind the new fund.  The industry at risk is that of the emerging green technology.  Businesses in this industry cannot obtain capital because they have not proven to be able to produce a profit worthy of investment.  Costs remain too high and demand is still too low.

 

If investors and lenders will not take a risk on this industry, why should Delaware taxpayers be asked to do so?  The obvious answer is that we are doing our conscientious best to position this state to be a national leader in the green movement.  This is an admirable goal; very few would argue with the benefits of energy efficiency, conservation and renewability.  One might, however, be able to debate the issue on the grounds of a cost to benefit ratio.

 

Secretary of Delaware’s Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control, Colin O’Mara, was correct when he questioned the cost of a newly proposed power line to run in the Atlantic Ocean from New York to Virginia.  This project is being hailed by its supporters as necessary to the success of off shore energy production.  However, Secretary O’Mara correctly asked the question concerning the cost to benefit ratio in a recent News Journal article.

 

That same standard needs to be applied in this situation because tax dollars are being used to fund an industry that cannot pass a market test.  The costs are currently too high compared to the benefit.  Why are tax dollars being used to gamble on an industry that cannot survive in the marketplace?

 

In a robust and vibrant economy, this could be seen as a sensible move.  After all, the money is given in the form of a loan and not a grant.  And, ideally Delaware would be a great place to focus the emergence of the green technology industry for many reasons.

 

Unfortunately, this is anything but a robust or vibrant economy and there are hundreds of existing businesses that would benefit immensely from a little more DEDO attention; businesses that have passed the market test and are looking to expand.  At a time such as this, taxpayer dollars should be used in the most efficient and prudent manner.  All efforts should be taken to help ensure that investments be made with an expectation of a decent rate of return.

 

Let’s start helping those businesses that have survived and even grown in this weak economy.  They want to hire more people.  They want to build new buildings.  They want to invest in their communities.  They are the future of Delaware’s economy.

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Should the Feds be Buying Our Wind Power?

Energy independence has emerged as one of the leading issues as we enter the 21st Century. Delaware is positioning to be a leader in that global arena by getting out in front of alternative energy production with off-shore wind farms and many different municipalities funding solar arrays. Indeed, Delaware is one of only ten states currently under a cap and trade regulation model instituted a few years ago under the name of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI). That legislation has forged the way for a new Sustainable Energy Utility, responsible for connecting federal subsidies with alternative energy projects in the First State. In addition, Delaware recently welcomed Fisker Automotive to our dwindling family of manufacturers for production of a new model plug-in hybrid vehicle.

So many innovations…so many promises…so many unanswered questions. How realistic are the goals? How much will it cost? Is there an adequate return on our collective investment? How reliable are these alternative energy sources? How much energy supply can we ever realistically expect from wind, solar, etc.? What percentage of our actual yield will they ultimately be responsible for? What should guide our future direction; well-meaning intentions, or facts, figures and costs? Are we ready for the answers?

The Caesar Rodney Institute has determined to answer these questions, in order to help determine just how Green Delaware needs to be. To that end, CRI introduces its newest Policy Center focused on Delaware’s role on all things energy, named the Center for Energy Independence. In the Caesar Rodney Institute tradition, policy proposals, legislation and energy initiatives will be researched and analyzed in a straightforward fashion allowing the facts to lead the decisions and response.

To begin, CEI has reviewed the recent letter sent to President Obama, from both Governors Markell of Delaware and O’Malley of Maryland, asking for the Federal Government to purchase one gigawatt of wind power from this region.  Markell Letter to President Obama 7-21-10

CEI has prepared a response to that letter, authored by CRI’s Director of Public Policy, David Stevenson. Click here for a factual analysis of the governors’ proposal.  Should the Feds be Buying Our Wind Power

Shaun Fink
Executive Vice President
Caesar Rodney Institute

Should the Feds be Buying Our Wind Power

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