Saturday, December 15, 2012

Newtown Tragedy: 10 Tips for Coping

In this time of crisis
If you cannot read the information below, please click here.

Dear Supporter of Save the Children,

Following yesterday's tragic events at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT, the thoughts of all of us at Save the Children are with our neighbors in this community that is only about 20 miles from our headquarters.

Even as adults try to come to terms with this unspeakable tragedy, we know many parents, teachers, grandparents and caregivers are concerned about how the media's dramatic images and heartbreaking stories might affect the emotional well-being of the children in their lives.

To help you know what to say and do to support children at this difficult time, we want to share 10 tips for helping children cope, suggestions based on our extensive experience working with children in times of crises.

Our suggestions below are more fully explained on our website HERE.

  1. Limit television time.
  2. Listen to your children carefully.
  3. Give reassurance.
  4. Be alert for significant changes in behavior.
  5. Understand children's unique needs.
  6. Give your children extra time and attention.
  7. Be a model for your children -- they will learn from your behavior.
  8. Watch your own behavior and make a point of being sensitive to the crisis.
  9. Help children return to a normal routine.
  10. Encourage volunteer work -- doing something for others.

If you know anyone who might be helped by these tips, I urge you to please share the link

As for our own efforts to be of service, we have already established a Child Friendly Space in a Newtown middle school -- a safe haven where children can play, socialize with their peers and regain a sense of normalcy. We will, of course, offer any help we can in the weeks to come.

As I hugged my own 11-year-old daughter last night, I realized that the most important thing for all of us right now is to remember that children of any age can be affected by a disaster -- and that they look to us to provide them with love, understanding and support.

Carolyn Miles
President & CEO

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Posted via email from Doug's posterous

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Monday, September 17, 2012

Most of Romney's "moochers" are elderly; many earn less than $20k/year

The paragraph below comes from the New York Times' report on Romney's recorded comments in which he said he did not care about the 47 percent of the people” who pay no income tax, are dependent on government programs, and unwilling to take personal responsibility.

Mr. Romney’s figure of 47 percent may come from the Tax Policy Center, which found that 46.4 percent of households paid no federal income tax in 2011. But most households did pay payroll taxes. Of the 18.1 percent of households that paid neither income taxes nor payroll taxes, the center found that more than half were elderly and more than a third were not elderly but had incomes under $20,000. Roberton Williams, a senior fellow at the center, wrote in a blog post last summer that about half of those were off the rolls
because they had low incomes.

More at>


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Wednesday, August 29, 2012

NYTimes: Republican Platform Opposes Agenda 21

This stuff is actually getting scary. I hope people pay attention and VOTE in November. 

From the New York Times Election 2012 App:

Republican Platform Opposes Agenda 21

The Republican Party platform, approved this week, includes a resolution condemning a 40-year-old United Nations resolution the encourages sustainable development.

Read more:

Get the New York Times Election 2012 app for iPhone and Android:

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Monday, July 23, 2012

Another ground beef recall - more reason to grind your own!

Bulk packages of ground beef are once again being recalled due to possible Salmonella contamination, which the USDA classifies as a high health risk. Tracing where this meat ended up is no small task, because stores that bought it most likely repackaged it into smaller packages for retail consumers. Commercial meat processing has some benefits and efficiency, but that same efficiency also makes it an extremely fertile system for spreading contamination. It only takes a little bacteria in one batch to find its way into many more. Here's a link to more information at the USDA website:

Posted via email from Doug's posterous

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

RECALL: Organic Baby Spinach Because Of Possible Salmonella

Here we go again:

Begin forwarded message:

Having trouble viewing this email?">View it as a Web page. Your gateway to Federal food safety information: Banner image for recalls and alerts">Salinas Firm Initiates A Voluntary Recall Because Of Possible Health Risk
05/22/2012 08:58 PM EDT

Taylor Farms Retail, Inc. is initiating a voluntary recall of Organic Baby Spinach with the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella following a random test conducted on a finished package of spinach by USDA.

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Saturday, May 12, 2012

Putting the Romney "bullying" story into the right perspective

A couple of days ago I puzzled over how much people were paying attention to the Washington Post story about Mitt Romney's high school hijinks. Now, the excellent op-ed columnist for the New York Times, Charles M. Blow, sets me straight. He points out that how Romney responded to the story makes it yet another revelation of Romney's personality, and Romney's lack of perspective on how things are seen by different people. As Blow puts it, Romney blew not only an opportunity to act human but also to plainly declare that bullying is bad. Blow's commentary is worth a read.


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Monday, April 16, 2012

RECALL: Frozen raw yellowfin tuna product associated with Salmonella

Looks like the source of salmonella associated with grocery store salmonella may have been identified. 

Begin forwarded message:

From: "" <>
Date: April 16, 2012 9:12:10 AM EDT
Subject: RECALL: Frozen raw yellowfin tuna product associated with Salmonella
Reply-To: "" <>

Having trouble viewing this email?">View it as a Web page. Your gateway to Federal food safety information: Banner image for recalls and alerts">Moon Marine USA Corporation voluntarily recalls frozen raw yellowfin tuna product “Nakaochi Scrape” associated with a multistate outbreak of Salmonella Bareilly infections
04/13/2012 11:59 PM EDT

Moon Marine USA Corporation (also known as MMI) of Cupertino, Calif. is voluntarily recalling 58,828 lbs of a frozen raw yellowfin tuna product, labeled as Nakaochi Scrape AA or AAA. Nakaochi Scrape is tuna backmeat, which is specifically scraped off from the bones, and looks like a ground product. The product is not available for sale to individual consumers, but may have been used to make sushi, sashimi, ceviche and similar dishes available in restaurants and grocery stores.

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Friday, February 10, 2012 reports on Columbia's "clean construction" techniques


(DNAinfo/Serena Solomon)

HARLEM — One day, Columbia University hopes its 17-acre Manhattanville campus expansion site will become the place where scientists unlock the secrets of Alzheimer's.

But for now, the most important scientific protocol taking place at the future site of Jerome L. Greene Science Center, involves keeping dust levels down to prevent adding construction debris to the list of pollutants in an area with higher-than-average rates of asthma.

Each truck rolling out of the construction site and onto the streets of West Harlem, has to stop at a wheel cleaning station where a massive spray of recycled water blasts up from the ground, knocking off excess dust and wet concrete stuck to the wheels and undercarriage.

It's part of Columbia's clean construction program designed to limit the amount of air pollution, dust, noise and even rodent issues facing the surrounding neighborhood.

"Five years ago we got some peculiar looks before bidding this project out," said Ramesh Raman, executive director of environmental field compliance for Manhattanville development, slated to open in 2016. "Now good contractors realize this is the wave of the future."

An Environmental Protection Agency grant was used to retrofit almost every diesel engine used on the site with a particulate filter to prevent the black smoke usually seen spewing from the top of the gigantic trucks. Ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel is required and much of the site has been electrified to prevent the use of machines running on diesel fuel where possible.

The construction fences are 11 feet tall with angled banana tops and noise blankets to baffle the racket that emanates from construction sites.

A mesh cover is used to smother the dust that could leak from every load of dirt or rubble that leaves the site, while more than 90 percent of the wood, metal, brick and concrete used in the 33 one and two story buildings that were  taken down to clear the site were recycled.

"You don't smell any odors or have that diesel taste in your mouth," said Philip Pitruzzello, vice president Manhattanville Construction for Columbia University. "For dense, urban projects we are proving that you can construct responsibly."

With the potential for more than three new university campuses to be built in the city, including Cornell's $2 billion, 2.1 million-square-foot engineering and applied science school on Roosevelt Island, and New York University's expansion in the Village and their Center for Urban Science and Progress program in downtown Brooklyn, Columbia University officials are hoping that the construction of their new campus can be seen as a role model.

"Columbia's clean construction project should serve as a model for other construction projects. I hope when NYU does their expansion they will use the same strategies and methods and make the same efforts to keep the air as cleans as possible," said Isabelle Silverman, an attorney for the Environmental Defense Fund which helped develop the clean construction plan.

In Harlem, where children already suffer from disproportionately high asthma rates, a massive construction project without such environmental abatement tactics could pose a threat to neighborhood health, said Patrick Kinney, professor of environmental health sciences at the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health. Some estimates say one in four children in Central Harlem suffer from asthma.

"You have such a high concentration of people that would be vulnerable to air pollution. And West Harlem, with their prevalence of asthma, doesn't need another trigger," said Kinney. "This sets a standard that other construction projects could follow."

Kinney credited group's such as WE ACT for Environmental Justice, which has 30 years of experience of fighting for cleaner air for Northern Manhattan, for pushing for the higher standards.

"They were mobilized to act about air quality because it's not a new problem or an issue. When Columbia announced their plans the community was ready to engage. There was no learning curve. They got the issue on the table so Columbia took it really seriously and was able to plan community engagement and pressure that helped to guide Columbia in that direction," said Kinney.

The university's efforts still have their critics.

Alicia Barksdale, president of the 3333 Tenants Association, a complex of five buildings ranging from 10 to 35 stories on Broadway between 133rd and 135th streets, said residents believe there is evidence of more air pollution than normal, as a result of the construction.

Some still blame Columbia for higher rodent infestation and fault a plan to give out air conditioners to some tenants to muffle construction noise as not going far enough.

""Our buildings are filthy, you can see the grit on the window sill," said Barksdale.

Silverman said there are other factors for pollution in the area such as the type of heating oil burned by buildings and the nearby North River Wastewater Treatment Plant. The university also says it has taken steps to exterminate buildings before demolition as well as installing sealable trash cans with lids on the site to prevent an influx of rodents.

"They've gone far in the direction of ensuring the impact on the community is as minimal as possible," added Kinney.

Pitruzzello said the university is proud of its environmental efforts which may evolve even further as the full campus construction project evolves over the next three decades. There is a plan to collect and examine air quality data to see if the construction methods made a difference, said Kinney.

When it's finished, the new Manhattanville campus will stretch from 125th to 133rd streets and be completely open to the surrounding neighborhood. It will bring useful stores to the area and even have hidden environmental perks such as a new combined sewer overflow system that should help reduce the amount of untreated sewage that flows into the Hudson RIver, Pitruzzello added.

"Hopefully, this is something that can be replicated," said Silverman.


Disclosure: I work for Columbia University.

Posted via email from Doug's posterous

Thursday, February 9, 2012

NYTimes: Republicans Retreat on Domestic Violence

Recalcitrant lawmakers should explain to voters why they refuse to get behind the federal fight against domestic violence and sexual assaults.

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Monday, January 23, 2012

A special message from the President, Adam Goldstein

Good move by Royal Caribbean to address safety concerns among cruise passengers. Very surprised that Carnival (owner of Costa) has done so little in the wake of the awful accident off the Tuscan coast.

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Royal Caribbean International <>
Date: Mon, Jan 23, 2012 at 9:14 AM
Subject: A special message from the President, Adam Goldstein

Dear Douglas,

All of us at Royal Caribbean International continue to extend our heartfelt sympathies to those affected by Carnival Corporation's recent tragic incident on the Costa Concordia. As a Crown & Anchor Society member and loyal Royal Caribbean guest, we know you may have some questions as the situation continues to unfold.

At Royal Caribbean International, the safety and security of our guests and crew is our highest priority. It is fundamental to our operations. Our maritime safety record over our 42-year history illustrates our commitment to the safety of the millions of guests and crew that sail on our ships. The measures we take in the interest of safety are many, often exceeding the regulatory requirements – these are all part of our ongoing commitment to innovation and continuous improvement in every aspect of our business.

To address some of your questions and concerns, here is a video that will provide an overview of safety onboard our ships; the training of our crew, officers and captains; and the many regulations that govern our practices. Click here to watch.

As a past cruiser, we know your friends and family may be asking about your own time at sea. We hope that you'll share this video along with your personal Royal Caribbean experiences with them, and reinforce that cruising continues to maintain the best safety record of any industry in travel.

Thank you for your continued support and we look forward to welcoming you aboard again soon on one of our ships sailing to 270 destinations worldwide.


Adam Goldstein
President and CEO
Royal Caribbean International

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Friday, January 20, 2012

One of the many great stories that could only happen in NYC

NYTimes: Caged? Writing a Book? The Next Stage in Life for a Subway-Riding Opossum The New York Times:

Caged? Writing a Book? The Next Stage in Life for a Subway-Riding Opossum

The truth has finally emerged about what happened to an animal that stowed away on a D train last week.

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