2005-12-16 / Community

Beachcomber

Some good news from the government. Life expectancy in the United States is up to an all-time high – 77.6 years. In addition, deaths from such traditional deadly diseases as heart disease, cancer and stroke, continue to drop. Then, the bad news. Half of the Americans in the 55 to 64 age group have high blood pressure and 40 percent are obese by government standards. In 1990, the life expectancy was 75.4 years.

The City Council, in a burst of infinite wisdom, has decided that all the residents of New York City should have affordable broadband paid for by the taxpayers of this city. We looked through the Bill of Rights, but nowhere could we find a guarantee of a broadband Internet connection.

Once upon a time, Newsday moved out of Nassau County into the city ready to do anything that needed to be done in order to win the daily newspaper war. Now, Newsday is virtually gone from the city newspaper wars and has retreated with all of its assets to its Nassau County office, leaving behind only one telephone operator to maintain the illusion that it still puts out a New York City edition. It doesn’t, except in name. It’s a shame, because for a while, it became a valid city voice. Perhaps the paper’s disdain for all city workers, especially cops and teachers, led to its retreat back to the hinterland.

There is no accounting for the statements that some politicians make when they are questioned and answer without resorting to a script or a prepared statement. Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, who has studiously kept the state legislature from passing a tough law against illegal hand guns, was asked why he did not attend the recent funeral of slain Police Detective Dillon Stewart. Silver said, with his usual haughtiness when challenged that “I don’t go to cop’s funerals.” Those who oppose Silver’s stand on gun control were quick to speak out. “At long last, the law-abiding people in his district should throw this thug-hugging bum out on his a__,” another legislator, who is an ex-state trooper said.

The Rockaway Republicans are looking forward to hosting GOP Gubernatorial contender Pat Manning at its next meeting – time and date to be announced. The new Republican group has been bringing statewide candidates to the peninsula on a regular basis.

Congressman Anthony Weiner has called on the Internet giant, E-bay to stop selling fake law enforcement badges. Weiner’s legislation would ban the trafficking of fake police badges. There is currently an exception to the law that allows the phony badges for “recreational” or “decorative” purposes. Weiner’s bill would delete those exceptions. Weiner said that the phony badges, including fake NYPD badges are available on E-bay for as little as $10. Weiner’s bill is currently stalled in the Senate.

Ulrich Jaeger writes regularly for the German weekly news magazine, Der Spiegel. He had very good sources at Airbus Industries, the company that built the Airbus A300-600 that crashed into Belle Harbor on November 12, 2001, and has written a number of articles on the crash for his magazine. The Wave has been picking up his material and using it, with his permission, in this paper. Recently, he wrote to The Wave, “Thanks for making me popular with some of your readers. More than a year ago, Der Spiegel said that the plaintiffs had an internal Airbus memorandum that shows that the engineers at Airbus manipulated tests that showed that the plane’s rudder could not handle high loads.” The Wave article that was translated to English from German locally said that the memorandum “proved” the allegation.

Many people use the Internet for research. So much, in fact, that to “Google” a subject has become a verb. People who do so, however, should be aware that much of the information on the web is not checked by anybody and any person with an agenda can put their “truth” up on the web for all to see. Witness the recent situation with Wikipedia, one of the most popular on-line encyclopedias on the Internet. The site offers more than 850,000 articles, each written and posted by volunteers, who may or may not know what they are talking about. John Seigenthaler, Sr., whose son is an anchor for Channel Four News, was once a close confident of Bobby Kennedy. The article about Seigenthaler on Wikipedia, however, said that he had been suspected in the assassinations of both Bobby and John Kennedy. Seigenthaler says that there are articles in the history section calling him a “Nazi” and claiming that he lived for a time in the former Soviet Union, none of which was true. In fact, a week later, a Nashville (Tennessee) man came forward to say that he put that listing up as a joke on one of his co-workers who knows the Seigenthaler family. He thought the entire site was a phony, so that he though nothing of posting the phony listing. Because the man is contrite about what he did, no charges will be brought against him. Now, it is up to Wikipedia to find a way to keep phony articles off the site. So, it’s “buyer beware” when you use an Internet site that is not connected with a well-known, valid organization.

There are petitions circulating throughout the peninsula calling on the United States Postal Service to create a stamp commemorating the Rockaways through the use of Robert Sarnoff’s iconic “Ye Olde Jetty.” Sarnoff previously completed a cachet that was sold by the USPS at local events.

The long ride of the Nellie Bly Entertainment Center on the Belt Parkway in Brooklyn may soon be over. The kiddy park has long been the destination for Rockaway parents and grandparents who wanted a couple of hours of good, safe fun for their young charges. Now, however, the family that has been running the park on concession from the Parks Department is throwing in the towel. Gena Romano, whose family has been at the park for nearly four decades, says that she spent her entire life there and it has become a very hard time in recent years. “Costs have risen and we can’t really raise our prices because of the area,” she said. The Parks Department is hoping to find a new concessionaire.

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