TODAY'S PAPER
Clear 49° Good Afternoon
Clear 49° Good Afternoon
Long IslandColumnistsEllis Henican

Caution when mixing kids with air traffic work

Glenn Duffy stands in 1998 near Newark Liberty

Glenn Duffy stands in 1998 near Newark Liberty International Airport. He was placed on administrative leave from Kennedy Airport on March 3, 2010, after it was made public he let his children communicate with pilots from the control tower. Photo Credit: The Star-Ledger, 1998 / Noah Addis

An 8-year-old boy operates a subway train. A 9-year-old girl drives the family Mitsubishi. Little brother, age 4, rides shotgun.

And now, a precocious pair of 9-year-old twins are in the Kennedy Airport control tower, clearing commercial airliners for takeoff.

Who says today's young people lack ambition? Some kids are doing more than playing Farmville.

Let's give some credit here. Clearly, the Duffy twins of Stony Brook have better trips to Daddy's office than the Henicans ever did. "How'd you like to do some filing?" my Dad would ask when we showed up at the law office.

That's OK. Can we do goofy things on the Xerox?

There are reasons - good reasons - to be aghast over Take Your Kids to Work Day at the JFK Control Tower. Safety rules. Proper protocols. The possibility, no matter how remote, that something really awful could have happened. Just explaining Junior at the NTSB crash inquiry: "Mr. Duffy, would you please tell the board what on earth were you thinking?"

No one was hurt this time. But Ray LaHood still was not amused. "A stunning lack of professionalism," the U.S. transportation secretary harrumphed.

All that said, is it possible, without defending Glenn Duffy, to acknowledge something else? Ever since parents have gone off to work, they've been bringing children with them. It was true at the ancient mastodon hunt. It's as true at NASA or the bomb squad.

Parents like to show the children how they spend all day. And children like to see where Mom and Dad go when they leave. But a special message to the Duffy family: Confine your fun to the copy machine.

VERY STIMULATING: Forget for a moment all the controversy over Washington's economic-stimulus plan. Just smile at this: $195 million has been approved for the LIRR's East Side Access, bringing Long Island trains that much closer to Grand Central. Let the pols take their silly bows this weekend. We'll take the cash.

ASKED AND UNANSWERED: Only 5 percent of mortgaged LI homes are in "negative equity"? Obviously my friends are more far reckless in their borrowing than your friends are . . . Is it jury selection or juror selection? Lucero-trial caption writers can't seem to decide . . . "Cold Florida Weather Means Pricey LI Tomatoes"? Can't we get them back somehow? "Nice LI Weekend Means We're Not Going to Florida"? . . . Cesspool safety? Is that about to become a familiar term? After Ameri Zequiri's Dunkin' Donuts tragedy in Smithtown, maybe it should . . . Did "several hundred dollars a month" of body-armor magnate David Brooks' money really pay "for his son Andrew's viewing of adult videos"? Well, at least Dad knew where to find the kid at night . . . He allegedly stole at Little League and it wasn't bases? DA Kathleen Rice says Richard Barry, 44, dipped into a Levittown-Wantagh-Seaford league account to pay his Seaford mortgage . . . With two of LI's top brain surgeons now being probed for unnecessary operations, can we please retire that old expression: "It's not brain surgery"?

E-mail ellis@henican.com

Follow at Twitter.com/henican

Latest Long Island News

Sorry to interrupt...

Your first 5 are free

Access to Newsday is free for Optimum customers.

Please enjoy 5 complimentary views to articles, photos, and videos during the next 30 days.

LOGIN SUBSCRIBE