Wednesday, October 15, 2008

News That Matters - October 15, 2008

News That Matters
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Good Wednesday Morning,

Senators McCain and Obama meet for the final time before national news cameras at a debate this evening at Hofstra University in Uniondale, Long Island. With Senator McCain tanking in the polls and a "reboot" of his campaign ignored by the nation - and even FOXNews - this is perhaps his last chance to get back in the game in any serious way. While a month ago it looked as if his choice of Alaska Governor Sarah Palin was sure to secure his election (it sure scared the Democrats!) instead she's proven to be a hindrance to the campaign. Every time she opens her mouth McCain drops another point in the polls.

Well, he's at it again... Congressional candidate Michael Lalor is moaning and groaning to anyone who will listen about how he's now against the recently enacted Wall Street Bailout. But as noted just last week, it was only a few weeks ago when he supported it, calling it a "necessary evil"! And as I wrote then too: He really needs to make up his mind.

! Non Sequitur Alert !

Remember Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In? Well, on the night of March 8th 1971 they performed a skit that made fun of the FBI and in particular its Director, J. Edgar Hoover. The agency was so incensed by the show that it engaged in an attempt to get a copy of it for the FBI's records. As an official document from March 16, 1971 reads: "This recording will be maintained in the Crime Research Section in the event the Director wishes to hear it." I suppose J. Edgar and his ever-present 'side-kick' Clyde Tolson, after kicking back a few mai tai's under the nude male statues in Hoover's home, might have had a good laugh at it.

! End Non Sequitur Alert !

In a Letter to the Editor in today's NY Journal News, a Robert Golden of Ossining writes:

Whatever the faults that may or may not have been committed by the heroic early Spanish and Italian explorers, their overwhelming accomplishment was to bring to these formerly primitive, backward, and often barbaric shores the superior civilization of Europe.

Despite the negative carping of certain "politically correct" but completely misguided academics, European civilization was most definitely superior to the cultures that were here before, its spread leading eventually to the noble and progressive experiment of our own democratic republic.

And there you have it. A classic example of racism and cultural hegemony surviving in our current day. Someone ought to have a chat with this guy as his grasp of history (he must have missed the day in school when they talked about the Iroquois Federation for example,) will be better formed.

For those of you who have been calling News That Matters a blog (it's not) now there's a blog for you. You can find News That Matters online in yet another location one that will allow you to post comments and discussion. (But I warn you, if you're nasty - your post will disappear in a New York minute.) Or, you can go directly to and link in from there. This puts News That Matters on so many platforms and outlets I'm losing track of them all!

And now, the News:

  1. Teen's 'good deed' touts environment
  2. Vets protest as VA meets with developers
  3. Big changes in small town
  4. In bloom: growing algae for biofuel
  5. The Trouble With Oil Shale
  6. Beavers: Dam Good For Songbirds
  7. Neighbor Says Golf Is a Sport Too Close

Teen's 'good deed' touts environment

By Christine Pizzuti
Poughkeepsie Journal

RHINEBECK - Thirteen-year-old Taylor Novick-Finder knew residents here lacked information about eco-friendly products.

So he visited stores in the village and came up with a pamphlet of all the environmentally friendly products Rhinebeck has to offer, from recycled shopping bags to organic wines.

"I have the brochure that he made," said Charles Derbyshire, who owns Old Mill Wine & Spirits. "He said he was working on something for his bar mitzvah and he wanted to do something about living green."

Novick-Finder is a member of the Woodstock Jewish Congregation. Before a bar mitzvah, the teen is asked to do a community service project.

Mitzvah means "good deed."

The Poughkeepsie Day School student said he and his two mentors, Jon Banton and Bronwyn Bevan, visited more than 30 stores.

Read More

Vets protest as VA meets with developers

Susan Elan and Robert Marchant
The Journal News

More than 150 veterans of World War II, Korea and Vietnam and supporters gathered yesterday at the gates of the veterans hospital in Montrose to protest plans to lease part of the campus to a developer for 75 years.

Two operations, targeting very different outcomes for the future of the 184-acre Franklin D. Roosevelt campus of the VA Hudson Valley Healthcare System in Montrose, overlapped yesterday.

In a conference room at the Westchester Marriott in Greenburgh, Department of Veterans Affairs officials and their consulting firm spelled out guidelines for potential developers on how to submit proposals to build on more than 100 acres of the property, which boasts sweeping views of the Hudson River.

Several hours later, a rally drew local politicians and more than 150 veterans of World War II, Korea and Vietnam to the gates of the Montrose VA campus to protest plans to lease the parkland to a developer for 75 years.

Many veterans said they fear the valuable property, which includes a beach on the Hudson River, could be used for luxury condominiums when more medical and psychiatric services are needed for aging veterans and those returning from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

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Big changes in small town

As suburbia rapidly makes its way west, Fulshear officials have been busy getting ready
Copyright 2008 Houston Chronicle

FULSHEAR — Readers of a local newsletter this month learned of the birth of twins to a young couple, clipped and saved a schedule of upcoming Women's Club meetings and received an invitation to the Waggin' Tails Pet Ranch.

Major news events they are not, but they resonate in Fulshear, population 716, a town that clings tightly to its rural traditions and down-home values. Preserving these qualities, though, is likely to grow more difficult as large new housing developments march steadily westward to Fulshear's doorstep and over the threshold.

The surge of development, including one project planning 6,000 homes, promises to transform this sleepy hamlet into the metropolitan area's next major growth center, with a population that reaches 40,000 or more over the next 10 to 15 years.

While the timetable could change because of the national credit crisis, the rapid urbanization of Fulshear could rival that of another Fort Bend County town, Sugar Land, whose population increased from about 4,000 in 1980 to about 80,000 today.

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In bloom: growing algae for biofuel

By Paul Henley
BBC News, Roosendaal

"It's exciting because it's achievable," says Peter van den Dorpel, as he looks over the big plastic tubes full of various shades of green algae.

His company has designed, produced and marketed the crop in its bid to be the first to provide the aviation industry with a feasible alternative to fossil fuel.

We are standing in an enormous greenhouse near Roosendaal in the south of The Netherlands.

Most of the greenhouse is growing tomatoes with impressive efficiency. One corner is dedicated to the cultivation of algae - in a similarly efficient way, according to Mr van den Dorpel.

"It's actually like growing tomatoes; the algae need similar things," he says.

Read More

The Trouble With Oil Shale

In 11th Hour, Bush Administration OKs Environmentally Destructive Development

On October 1, the oil and gas industry and their allies in the White House and Congress got what they wanted when a spending limitation on commercial oil shale development ended. The lifting of the limitation paves the way for the Bush administration to finalize its draft regulations for leasing. Unfortunately, the regulations — as proposed before the limitation was ever lifted — could be extremely costly for both the environment and the American taxpayer. They offer bargain basement royalty rates and few environmental safeguards.

Ironically, even the oil & gas industry admits that the technology to safely and efficiently run a commercial oil shale operation has not been developed. In effect, the limitation was lifted so that the Bush administration could fast-track an industry that does not yet exist — and sell off more public lands before it leaves office.

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Beavers: Dam Good For Songbirds

ScienceDaily (Oct. 9, 2008) — The songbird has a friend in the beaver. According to a study by the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), the busy beaver's signature dams provide critical habitat for a variety of migratory songbirds, particularly in the semi-arid interior of the Western U.S.

The study, which appears in the October 2008 issue of the journal Western North American Naturalist, says that through dam building, beavers create ponds and stimulate growth of diverse streamside vegetation critical for birds, including many migratory songbirds in decline. The study found that the more dams beavers build, the more abundant and diverse local songbirds become.

"We found that increasing density of beaver dams was associated with a diverse and abundant bird community and the wetland and streamside habitat these species depend on," said Hilary Cooke, the study's lead author who is now finishing her dissertation at the University of Alberta in Edmonton. "This habitat is critical to birds in semi-arid regions yet has been severely degraded or lost through much of the West. Our results suggest that management of beavers may be an important tool for restoring habitat and reversing bird declines."

Read More

Neighbor Says Golf Is a Sport Too Close

Published: October 14, 2008

Boasting famous members like Donald Trump and Frank Gifford, the Winged Foot Golf Club in Westchester has played host to multiple U.S. Opens and is one of the world’s most renowned courses.

On the club’s East Course, the sixth hole is a seductive par 3 with a few private houses off to the right of the green, so that a towering slice might find its way into someone’s property, or even plunk a house.

One neighbor, a restaurant owner named Anthony Pecora who owns one of those houses, says far too many people playing Winged Foot have a propensity to hit such a towering slice.

Mr. Pecora is suing Winged Foot, claiming that the club has opened him up to so many errant golf balls that it has caused a “life-threatening condition” for him, his two young children and his dog, according to court papers.

The lawsuit was reported on Tuesday on Page Six of The New York Post.

Last week, a State Supreme Court judge in Westchester issued a temporary restraining order against the club, banning play on the sixth hole until further notice. Outings have been disrupted, as has competitive play among members at what has become, in effect, the most famous 17-hole championship golf course in the country.

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