Generally Speaking: Obama shuts down White House tours

Just when two busloads of students from Fort Hamilton High School’s music and choral department are going toWashington, D.C. to perform at a music competition and to tour the capital, the high point of their memorable trip won’t be realized.

After months of planning, with U.S. Representative Michael Grimm‘s Washington office and the White House, plus the students all psyched up about this possible once-in-lifetime White House tour, the Obama administration pulls the plug–to strengthen a petty argument that it is all due to the “Sequester” — using this family-sensitive ploy and employing youngsters across the country as pawns in a cheap, strategic chess game to pressure primarily theRepublican-led House of Representatives to agree to Obama’s wish list for increased spending and closing tax loopholes.

While the public tours are self-directed, the Secret Service is indicating they can’t continue the fundingthat has been in place for past administrations to do routine screening, surveillanceand ID checks. So with the commander-in-chief’s approval, they have arbitrary and copiously cancelled all public White House tours.

On another front, President Barack Obama has issued two Presidential Proclamations designating March as Women’s History Month and Irish-American Heritage Month.

In his Irish citation, the president states in part, So as we celebrate Irish-American Month, let us retell those stories of sweat and striving, and as the two nations united by people and principle, may America and Ireland always continue to move forward together in common purpose.”


Last week in this space we mentioned two St. Patrick’s Day parades in Brooklyn.We just learned about another one in Gerristen Beach which steps off at 1 p.m., on Saturday, March 30, from the corner of Gerritsen and Whitney Avenues with none other than State Senator Marty Golden as the 2013 grand marshal. Among the bands participating is Bay Ridge’s Clann Erin Pipe and Drums.


The Fort Hamilton Army Garrison will honor Vietnam veterans at its annual Veterans Appreciation Day ceremonies on March 21, 3 p.m. in the Fort Hamilton Post Theatre.

Former U.S. Senator Chuck Hagel was recently sworn in as the 24th Secretary of Defense. Hagel, a decorated combat Army soldier who served in Vietnam, is the first non-armed forces officer to head the Pentagon.


Retired Professor Alfred KohlerHenry Ward Beecher from Brooklyn’s Plymouth Church.


Another mom-and-pop Bay Ridge business bites the dust.We’re sorry to see the popular Fergus Hardware Store, 9733 Fourth Avenue, slide into history. The customer-friendly shop had been in business since 1963 but, according to Bay Ridgeite Don Reel


Friday, March 15 is the 2013 deadline for challenging the property assessment on your house. City property taxes are calculated by the Finance Department based on this assessment.The higher the assessment, the higher the taxes. Appeals for assessment reduction must be filed with the City Tax Commission.


To reach Ted General via the Internet, his e-mail address is:

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