2000-12-16 / Columnists

Short Takes

Short Takes

I am writing this on Sunday afternoon after watching some of the candidate’s representatives on the television news shows and I no longer care who wins the Presidential election. I was not too sure of either of the candidates in the first place but I voted for Gore out of Democratic memory. After the past several weeks, however, I am sure that I don’t really like either candidate and it does not matter to me any longer who wins. Let’s just get it over in time for January 20 and I will be satisfied. I do not want to see the Speaker of the House as president and I do not want to see either the Senate or the House make the decision.

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Drivers on the west end are getting crazier by the week. I took a short trip from Beach 121 street to the shopping district on Beach 129 street – a short eight blocks – last week and I saw at least three accidents waiting to happen. When I made the left out of the beach block of Beach 121 street, I almost ran into a car making a high-speed U-Turn in the middle of Rockaway Beach boulevard. The driver did not look before making the turn, did not signal and was moving at about 75 miles an hour when he made the wide turn. At Beach 126 street a car backed out of the street into the boulevard at about 40 miles an hour and went east. I beeped my horn at him and he gave me the universal sign of approbation. It was obvious that he did not want to go around a couple of corners to get eastbound on the boulevard and just decided to take a short cut. I made a right on Beach 130 street and headed towards the bay, intending to turn right on Newport and right again on Beach 129. As I approached Cronston, however, a car turned into Beach 130 street going the wrong way. I had to hit the breaks and beep once again. The woman who was driving smiled sheepishly at me as she pulled into a driveway a few houses from the corner. It was obvious that she wanted to access that driveway without having to go around the corner and come down the street in the right direction. Going back to Beach 121 street I observed at least two cars come to the intersection of RBB and a cross street and go across the Boulevard without stopping for the sign or even slowing down to look to see if anybody was coming. It is getting dangerous out there and everybody has got to be more careful and obey the traffic laws. They are there for a reason. They are there to keep everybody alive. Tis the season to be careful as well as jolly.

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A reminder, particularly to those who work in our schools as paraprofessionals or as secretaries. Beach Channel High School hosts inexpensive courses necessary for license areas and for college credits. I have been told that so few people have registered that there is a danger that the courses will be cancelled. That would be a shame. If you are in need of college credit or credit towards a license or towards promotion, call the school and see what it has to offer.

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People ask me all the time why I refer to the east end political seats as the "minority seats?" I do that because those seats picked up every minority census block on the peninsula to guarantee that a minority person would be chosen. On the other hand, every white census block was picked up for the other seat. The redistricting was done on the belief that white people would not vote for a minority person (Floyd Flake’s election gave lie to that belief). Mal Smith now holds the "minority" seat, and two of the bills he has proposed really irk me. The first is his "Physician’s Cultural Competency Bill." I’d bet that you did not know that doctors did not have "cultural competency" and now that you know, you’ll probably wonder why they need it in the first place. Smith’s bill would "require that physicians receive specific cultural competency training to help them respond more effectively to the varied health care needs of an increasingly diverse society." What bullcock! Physicians need to learn how to treat people – not black people, not white people, not brown people, not yellow people. The second bill is the "Law Enforcement Training Act," which would require "that all law enforcement personnel receive training in non-lethal restraint tactics, a measure which (sic) is designed to ensure that our police officers are better equipped to handle volatile situations without resorting unnecessarily to the use of firearms." Now, everybody would like to see the police use firearms as little as possible, but this is an area that politicians should not be involved in and professionals should be involved in. Both of these bills are politically correct measures designed only to get votes in the minority community. They both should be laughed out of existence and perhaps Mal and his district should be as well.

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Historians are always playing the "what if" game. There is a new novel ("Resurrection Day," by Brendon DuBois) that posits the possibility that the Cuban Missile Crisis led to a full- scale nuclear war that wiped out the USSR and most of the large cities in America. It is great reading and most of its plot twists are historically possible. I would recommend it to anybody who lived through that period or are interested enough in that period to see what might have happened. Then, there is a non-fiction book ("Almost History," by Roger Burns) that details a number of "what if" events. My favorite so far (I have not yet finished the book) is the notes that General Eisenhower wrote for publication should the D-Day invasion fail. Think about what such a failure might have meant and you will see the interest such works hold for those who love history.

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I want to congratulate all of those involved with the Broad Channel Athletic Club’s Pee Wee football program. The team recently won the league’s Super Bowl by beating West Babylon by a score of 13-8. The score and the win are only a small part of the congratulations, however. The coaches and the parents involved in the program exemplify the best of the community and they are right up there with the Broad Channel volies and other community volunteers who make Broad Channel unique. Well done!

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Speaking of Broad Channel and of the volies, I have to also congratulate their chief, Timmy Keenan, who recently was appointed as a New York City firefighter. Timmy is a young man who gave most of his spare time to the community for years and is now reaping a well-deserved reward for his service.

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I have a recurring nightmare (well, maybe it’s more of a dream). Norman Siegel, the executive director of the ACLU, is walking down a street. A drug-crazed man pulls him into an alley and puts a knife to his neck. Siegel screams for help and a police officer (I can never tell if it is male or a female cop) comes to the entrance of the alley and sees what is happening. The cop stands there, not moving. "You have to help me," Siegel yells to the cop. "It’s your duty." The cop thinks for a moment and then says, "I think that this man is just exercising his constitutional right to free speech," turns and walks away. It is a very satisfying dream and I usually move on to other dreams at that point. What happens to Norman after the cop walks away? Your guess is as good as mine. What brings on the dream are events such as the vigil for John Lennon. I believe that the people who held the vigil should have had the right to do it all night, but I do not believe that they had the right to break the law while they were doing it. Siegel called the police presence at the vigil "intimidating, authoritarian and oppressive." He did not like the fact that 19 people were arrested for using marijuana. "It was total overkill by the police," Siegel says. If the cops had not been there and something wrong had happened, Siegel and others of his ilk would have argued that the cops did not do their jobs. It is a no win situation with Siegel and he is why the ACLU has become such a joke in this city.

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That’s if for this week. Remember to send comments, complaints and story tips to newsie42@aol.com. Have a good week and safe home.


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