Saturday, November 22, 2014
51 years ago today in 1963, as I was attending Bishop Loughlin Memorial H.S. in Brooklyn, President John F. Kennedy was assassinated and Texas Governor John Connally seriously wounded during a motorcade in Dallas.
Later that same day suspect Lee Harvey Oswald was arrested and Lyndon B. Johnson was sworn in as America's 36th president.
Friday, November 21, 2014
The below Thanksgiving Proclamation by President Abraham Lincoln was written 150 years ago and yet the words contained therein remain as powerful today as they were back then.
Lincoln's simple juxtaposition of the misery of the ongoing Civil War and the "blessings" enjoyed by the citizens of this great nation is one all of us should keep in mind during this coming holiday...
"No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy."
Might I be so bold as to suggest that this Thanksgiving we have our school aged (and older) children read this proclamation and then discuss it with them as I am sure they will not be exposed to this document in our schools.
October 3, 1863
By the President of the United States of America
The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God. In the midst of a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union. Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defence, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle or the ship; the axe has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consiousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom. No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union.
In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the United States to be affixed.
Done at the City of Washington, this Third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the Independence of the Unites States the Eighty-eighth.
By the President: Abraham Lincoln
William H. Seward,
Secretary of State
Between the Bridges in Broad Channel
Peter J. Mahon
By now almost everyone is aware that our Mayor was late in arriving at the Flight 587 Memorial Service on Beach 116th Street in Rockaway.
Just before 9:16 am when a bell was to be tolled to commemorate the exact time of Flight 587's demise, the Mayor still hadn't arrived. When asked where the Mayor was, the stock reply was "He'll be here in a few minutes." As 9:16 am rapidly approached all of the Mayor's minions simply stood around looking clueless with their hands in their pockets.
Suddenly, Miriam Estrella, who lost family on Flight 587 back in 2001, rose from her seat and took charge of the situation. Ascending to the podium Ms. Estrella announced to the crowd "Sorry, our Mayor's not here but it is time that exactly 13 years ago our family members passed away and we will now toll the bell." Thankfully, the bell was tolled on time and the assembled mourners shared a moment of silence to reflect on the 265 lives lost when Flight 587 fell from the sky and exploded in Belle Harbor.
Shortly thereafter Mayor de Blasio arrived embarrassingly late at the ceremony on Beach 116th Street and at the conclusion of the memorial service, with no apology for his lateness, damage control on the part of Mayor's staff went into high gear.
The Mayor's spokeman, Marti Adams, explained that the Mayor decided to travel to Rockaway by police boat because that was the quickest means of transport but was delayed because of unexpected heavy fog. Really? Are you kidding me? Considering this is the same Mayor who killed our Rockaway Ferry service only 2 weeks ago, you really have to assume that he thinks little of rubbing salt in that wound! By the way. I guess nobody paid any attention to the Dense Fog Advisory for the morning of the Flight 587 Memorial service issued by the National Weather Service some 19 hours prior to the Mayor's boat trip. (Are we expected to believe that the Mayor's police launch was bereft of state of the art GPS and radar?) The Mayor's spokesman also conveniently forgot to mention that de Blasio was scheduled to leave Gracie Mansion via NYPD boat at 8 am for the ceremony but instead left 35 minutes late.
Realizing that the boat and heavy fog excuse wasn't gaining any traction, the Mayor then stated that he was late because he had a really rough night, couldn't sleep and was feeling off-kilter. What a bunch of malarkey! All that was missing from Bill's "woe is me" statement was Linda Ronstadt standing beside him singing Poor, Poor, Pitiful Me!
A few days after the Flight 587 memorial, when asked by the media about his continual lateness, rather than apologizing and attempt to place this embarrassing matter behind him, Mayor Bill took the course of a true politician - never retreat...never retract...never admit a mistake - and simply dismissed the issue of his constant tardiness as "inside baseball."
This entire fiasco could have been avoided if only he had the common sense to take a pittance of time at the conclusion of the memorial service to address those in attendance and offer a sincere apology for his inability to arrive at that solemn gathering on time, recognized and expressed his gratitude to Ms. Estrella for rising to the occasion and salvaging the timeliness of the event and expressed regret for his insensitivity in utilizing maritime transport to travel to the event after having terminated our Rockaway Ferry just 2 weeks earlier, this incident could have been a one day story.
Bill de Blasio's lack of common sense and ensuing insensitivity to those he serves can only lead us to believe that our career civil servant Mayor is quite comfortable believing that his time is more valuable than ours.
This character flaw only serves to paint our Mayor as a very uncivil servant!
Broad Channel - why would anyone want to live anywhere else!
PHOTO COURTESY NYS ASSEMBLY
Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder sits on the deactivated Rockaway Beach rail line. He has been advocating for the line’s reactivation, saying it will ease transportation and create jobs for thousands of Queens residents.
Posted: Thursday, November 20, 2014 10:30 am
by Anthony O’Reilly, Associate Editor
His way is not the QueensWay.
Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder (D-Rockaway Park) on Monday called on Gov. Cuomo to allocate part of the state’s $5 billion surplus for the reactivation of the Rockaway Beach rail line.
“This is a one-shot infusion of money that should be used for infrastructure that could provide Queens and the entire city with the transit options it so desperately needs,” Goldfeder said in a written statement. “What better use of state dollars than for the restoration of an abandoned rail line that could create jobs, remove congestion from our roadways and improve transit options for up to 500 thousand riders per day.”
In a Nov. 17 letter to Cuomo obtained by the Chronicle, Goldfeder tells the governor that “the rail line will increase transit options, stimulate the economy, improve our environment and create jobs for our local residents.”
“The MTA signaled its willingness to restore the rail line in their twenty year plan and Comptroller DiNapoli agreed restoring service on the line would be the most cost effective way to speed commutes between South Queens and Manhattan, improve travel within the borough, promote economic development and prepare our neighborhood for future growth,” Goldfeder’s letter to Cuomo states.
The state has a surplus of about $5 billion, which comes from settlements and fines of financial firms who were prosecuted by the state in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis.
Goldfeder believes the surplus should be used on “major infrastructure improvements.”
“A small portion of the $5 billion still waiting to be allocated could improve transit for millions of residents and provide additional access to JFK airport,” the assemblyman said in his written statement. “In the best interest of our Queens families and to the benefit of every resident across New York City, I strongly urge Governor Cuomo to use our state’s surplus dollars to fund the restoration of the Rockaway Beach Rail Line.”
The cost of reactivating the rail line would be somewhere between $600 and $900 million, according to Goldfeder’s letter to Cuomo.
The letter to the governor comes a week after a survey Goldfeder commissioned through the Queens College Department of Urban Studies found that 500,000 riders could benefit from the reactivation of the long-abandoned line per day.
The survey also showed that roughly 40 percent of people along the rail’s right of way would rather see a train on the tracks than have it turned into the QueensWay, a 3.5 mile stretch of parkland.
Goldfeder cited the survey in his letter to Cuomo, saying it showed that “roughly 40% [of people] favored reactivating the rail line.”
A spokesperson for Friends of QueensWay, an organization advocating for the parkland proposal, said in a written statement, “When the facts are presented, the overwhelming impacts and drawbacks associated with rail reactivation are obvious.”
“The Friends of the QueensWay and its thousands of supporters continue to believe that the QueensWay is the best and only way to maximize the quality of life and economic development benefits that will be realized when this property is adaptively reused for the community,” the spokesperson said.
The spokesperson also disputed claims that the MTA has given its support to the rail line project, and added that DiNapoli has also supported the QueensWay proposal.
Goldfeder’s proposal to have the state’s surplus money allocated to the rail line was supported by Philip McManus, president of the Queens Public Transit Committee.
“The Queens Public Transit Committee highly urges Governor Cuomo to provide funding to address our dangerous overcrowding problem in our transit system and our slow unproductive congested roadways,” McManus said in a written statement.
“It’s time our state restore the Queens Rockaway Beach Rail line and create a one seat ride to Midtown Manhattan and Queens, including a 40 minute or less ride to the Atlantic Ocean, Jamaica Bay, JFK Airport, Resorts World Casino, Forest Park and Queens Mall.”