Monday, October 27, 2008

News That Matters - October 27, 2008

News That Matters
Brought to you by PlanPutnam.Org

"Did you too, O friend, suppose democracy was only for elections, for politics, and for a party name?" - Walt Whitman

Good Monday Morning,

What a crazy weekend! First, let's welcome new readers this morning and hope they can take away something good from this column. Then let's wag a collective finger at the weather people for predicting "a few showers, mainly after noon" on Saturday.

Should I Make Election Recommendations?
Sure! It can't hurt.
No, We know you're a commie. free polls

Saturday afternoon I attended two events of note. At 3PM the Sedgewood Club in Kent graciously opened their doors to a candidate's forum which included pretty much everyone running for office in Kent.

Congressional candidate Kieran "Drill Now!" Lalor was the first to strike out when he refused to thank John Hall directly and without equivocation for his work on veterans affairs. He mumbled, "yeah" but then launched into a non-germane tirade that was well, a little weird. More than a decade in the Marines and he's only a corporal? A Law School graduate and he's working as a night watchman?

Second to strike out was Bill Gouldman, candidate for Assembly in the 90th district who says he supports a property tax "cap" which amounts to a guaranteed 4% yearly property tax increase. Ms. Galef, who was endorsed by the NYJN this morning, agrees.

All was going well for Mr. Gouldman until he mentioned he owned four homes scattered around the country. This came after the revelation that though he's lived in Putnam Valley for a decade, he only registered to vote there a year and a half ago. The point being that he's been a tad disingenuous about property taxes when he hadn't even voted on a local school budget in all that time. Anyway, I guess he thought he was being cavalier about it but the audience started mumbling amongst themselves and the words "like McCain's wife" were overheard, accompanied by snickers, from more than one quarter. That will pretty much finish up his political career - as it should. I'm sure he's a nice man but he's totally unprepared to run for the State Assembly. And how he became a Party Boss in Putnam Valley underscores the defects in the party he bosses.

The second event was in Southeast, a fund raiser for John Degnan which was attended by more than 30 people and raised over $4000 for his campaign. Congressman John Hall spoke for a while before turning the floor over to the other John for his remarks. All in all it was a wonderful event.

If you're upset with Democrats in Washington, the one person not to complain to is Susan Spears who runs Congressman Hall's district office in Carmel. But if you're brave, give it a go. Just remember... you were warned.

Yesterday I attended a showing of "What Would Jesus Buy", sponsored by the Kent CAC. It's a great film which follows the Reverend Billy and his Church of Stop Shopping on a cross country trip during the days leading up to Christmas, 2005. Hat's off too George Baum for thinking this one up.

Remember: This holiday season, buy nothing that costs more than $20 and nothing made in China. NtM will list fair-trade fairs and locally produced items for the holidays... just as long as you let me know!

Ashley Todd. Yikes! From the first report out the whole story seemed suspicious. Was I supposed to believe that this woman stayed still while a Big Bad Black Guy "carved" a "B" into her face so gently that he never broke her skin? I was reminded of another young woman, one who testified all teary-eyed before an adoring Congress, that Iraqi troops were killing babies in incubators in Kuwait City. Oh yeah, now you remember. At least the latter was a show organized by politicians intent on hoodwinking the public, while the former was apparently an independent act. The politicians got away with it! Not so lucky for Ms. Todd.

Well, the media has this and it's not, "Lying Fraud!" it's, "Poor little sick girl with a history of psychological issues..." I don't know if I'm buying that. You punch yourself in the face a few times, mutilate your own face and then blame it on a Big Bad Black Guy in order to earn sympathy for a Big Rich White Guy.

Okay, maybe I'm being too hard on the media this time around... That girl's got problems.

There's no need for political parties to steal elections in Ohio, Florida or any of the other states where clear evidence showed massive voter fraud in the last two Presidential elections, throwing the tally in a bloodless coup. Dieblold is doing it for you. They've created vote flipping wherein you touch the screen for one candidate and the machine tallies the one of its choice. Sweet, eh? By the 2012 election you won't even have to leave your house - let "Diebold Do The Voting" for you. Read more about all that here, here and even that venerable outlet of honesty and integrity, FOXNews, is in on it here.

Residents of Patterson claim to have seen something in the woods, something they believe looks an awful lot like a mountain lion. DEC officials claim there's no such thing, that these large cats have been gone from the area for generations. Some claim, nah... it's a bobcat. If you've a small dog that yips and barks, placing it out in the yard on a leash is not a good idea... or is, depending on your tolerance for small dogs that yip and bark. Whatever, it's rather nice to know there's still some wildness around these here parts.

And now, the News:

  1. PV Planning Board 10/20/08
  2. Putnam County legislative candidate owes taxes, once filed for bankruptcy
  3. New Report Helps Citizens Fight Stormwater Pollution in Their Communities
  4. Climate Campaigners Were on Terrorist List
  5. Men catch, band, release migrating raptors
  6. When Under Attack, Plants Can Signal Microbial Friends For Help
  7. Scranton Settles in Toilet Dispute
  8. AIG Has Used Much of Its $123 Billion Bailout Loan
  9. The Mysterious Zodiacal Light
  10. Palin: God will do the right thing on election day

PV Planning Board 10/20/08

Putnam Valley Planning Board
Monday, October 20, 2008
Hail, Hail – the gang was all there for the illegal backroom pre-meeting before the 6PM planning board meeting.  I went in and stood at the doorway (there was no seating available).  They were discussing White Rock Road, which was on the agenda for a public hearing.  They were angry that the applicant hadn’t submitted the amended plans and specs on time.  They did say that he has mostly held to the timetable that the board, engineer, planner, and wetlands inspector had set for him to clean up the mess that had been left by his predecessor.  They were discussing whether to close or adjourn the public hearing, before that hearing had even happened.

At 6:15 they came out and opened the meeting.  The White Rock Road public hearing was delayed. 

Read More at the News That Matters Blog

Putnam County legislative candidate owes taxes, once filed for bankruptcy

Barbara Livingston Nackman
The Journal News

MAHOPAC - Gary Kiernan, running as a Democrat for the Putnam County Legislature in Mahopac's District 8, has unpaid taxes still outstanding and a personal bankruptcy filing in his past.

He has touted his 30 years of business experience as his main credential for his first try at public office.

When asked about the two years of unpaid taxes that equal roughly $20,000 on an automotive garage that he and his brother, Patrick, own in Putnam Valley, Gary Kiernan said that was something he needs to clear up with his brother. The candidate said his brother is the one who has taken control and manages the property at 824 Peekskill Hollow Road.

The tax bills have been sent to Gary Kiernan at his home on Teakettle Spout Road in Mahopac.

"I really don't know anything about this," he said Friday, sounding surprised when told there was an amount past due.

Read More

New Report Helps Citizens Fight Stormwater Pollution in Their Communities

Protect clean water and healthy streams in your community

By: American Rivers

Washington, DC, Oct. 16, 2008 - Stormwater that dirty, oily runoff from streets and parking lots that contaminates local streams is a leading cause of water pollution in Ohio and around the country. Today, American Rivers and Midwest Environmental Advocates released a new report, "Local Water Policy Innovation: A Road Map for Community Based Stormwater Solutions" to help citizens tackle this pervasive problem and ensure clean water in their communities.

"Polluted stormwater is a huge problem nationally, degrading America's streams and rivers," said Gary Belan, Director of American Rivers' Clean Water Program. "However, it's a problem that can be solved at the local level by citizens and community leaders alike. This report gives people the tools to make a difference."

Read More

Climate Campaigners Were on Terrorist List

For a 13-month stretch starting in March 2005, three environmentalists working for the Chesapeake Climate Action Network were listed in a Maryland State Police data base as being “suspected of involvement in terrorism.” The description went on to note that the police had “no evidence whatsoever of any involvement in violent crime,” and the listing, and possible tracking, did not continue. But the activists — not surprisingly — were not happy to hear about this when they received letters from the state police earlier this month informing them of the situation. [UPDATE: 3:30 p.m.: The climate group has been involved in civil disobedience, both before and since the law enforcement listing. But my guess is it would be hard to characterize such incidents as anything remotely resembling terrorism.] The American Civil Liberties Union is investigating the investigations.

On his blog, Mike Tidwell, the founder of the Chesapeake-area climate group and author of Bayou Farewell, decried the situation, saying his work hardly amounts to terrorism: “Since 2001, I have devoted my life entirely to the peaceful promotion of windmills and solar panels to solve global warming. Apparently not everyone liked my work, however.”

Read More

Men catch, band, release migrating raptors

Michael Risinit
The Journal News

Can't land a hawk? It's probably not you, but him. Or it could be the pigeon. "Any commitment?" Bob Erickson of Carmel called out to his fellow bird banders crouched behind a wall of piled rock slabs.

In front of the wall, amid the scrubby oaks turning brown and blueberry bushes tinged red, stood several steel poles. Three almost-invisible nets stretched among the poles, forming a sort of U-shaped volleyball court. On the ground inside the U, sat possibly the world's most nervous pigeon - safe, but nervous.

Out in the sky was a flapping ink-blot of a bird, a sharp-shinned hawk. The trick on a recent fall morning was to convince the far-away hawk the pigeon was an available, tasty meal.

The pigeon wore a special harness, providing some protection should a raptor get its sharp talons on the bird and tethering the bird to the banders. Pull the tether and the pigeon would wave its wings, movement the hawk could spot from thousands of yards away. But, alas, ... a few tugs and no fluttering.

"This pigeon's not cooperating," Paul Kupchok of Patterson said.

Read More

When Under Attack, Plants Can Signal Microbial Friends For Help

Top: This Arabidopsis plant infected with the pathogen Pseudomonas syringae shows typical yellowing and disease symptoms. Bottom: This plant's roots were treated with the beneficial bacterium Bacillus subtilis. (Credit: Photos by Thimmaraju Rudrappa)ScienceDaily (Oct. 24, 2008) — Researchers at the University of Delaware have discovered that when the leaf of a plant is under attack by a pathogen, it can send out an S.O.S. to the roots for help, and the roots will respond by secreting an acid that brings beneficial bacteria to the rescue.

The finding quashes the misperception that plants are “sitting ducks”--at the mercy of passing pathogens--and sheds new light on a sophisticated signaling system inside plants that rivals the nervous system in humans and animals.

The research was led by Harsh Bais, assistant professor of plant and soil sciences at UD, former postdoctoral researcher Thimmaraju Rudrappa, who is now a research scientist at the DuPont Co., Kirk Czymmek, associate professor of biological sciences and director of UD's Bio-Imaging Center, and Paul Paré, a biochemist at Texas Tech University.

The study is reported in the November issue of Plant Physiology and also is featured on the journal's cover. Rudrappa is the lead author of the research paper.

“Plants are a lot smarter than we give them credit for,” says Bais from his laboratory at the Delaware Biotechnology Institute.

Read More

Scranton Settles in Toilet Dispute

By Wendy McNew

A woman accused of being a potty mouth is now getting thousands from the city of Scranton.

According to the ACLU, the city of Scranton has agreed to pay Dawn Herb a settlement of $19,000 for "improperly" charging her with cursing at her overflowing toilet.

The mess started at Herb's former home on Luzerne Street in Scranton in October, 2007.

Herb said waste was overflowing from her toilet and leaking into the kitchen so she began screaming profanities in her bathroom.

Overheard by neighbors, the Scranton mom was then charged with disorderly conduct.

"I know nothing about toilets so I did my best and unfortunately we don't have the best language when we're upset, but am I a criminal? No.  I'm just a single mom who had a situation that had to be taken care of," Herb said the day she was charged last year.

The courts agreed. In December of 2007 the charges were thrown out of court.

Read More

AIG Has Used Much of Its $123 Billion Bailout Loan

By Carol D. Leonnig
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, October 24, 2008; D01

The troubled insurance giant American International Group already has consumed three-quarters of a federal $123 billion rescue loan, a little more than a month after the government stepped in to save the company from bankruptcy.

AIG has borrowed $90.3 billion from the Federal Reserve's credit line as of yesterday, the bulk of it to pay off bad bets the company made in guaranteeing other firms' risky mortgage investments. That's up from roughly $83 billion AIG had borrowed a week ago, and the $68 billion level it reached a week before that. The news comes as the company's new chief executive warned Wednesday that the government's financial lifeline may not be enough to keep AIG afloat.

The high volume of taxpayer funds that the trillion-dollar corporation tapped within five weeks also has others fretting that the largest government bailout in history may still not be adequate. AIG began reporting unusual multimillion-dollar losses this spring as a result of its heavy exposure to risky mortgages, and the U.S. Treasury decided that its failure would probably bring down several other major investment firms and banks whose fortunes were tied to AIG.

But Wall Street analysts said this is a vulnerable juncture for the insurance giant. It's now in a deep trough -- from which it may either emerge leaner and meaner or never return.

Read More

The Mysterious Zodiacal Light

By Joe Rao Skywatching Columnist

During the next few weeks on some clear moonless early morning, if you are fortunate to be far from any haze and bright lights, keep a close watch on the eastern horizon about two hours before sunrise. If you're lucky you might catch a glimpse of a ghostly column of light extending upward into the sky. 

Many have been fooled into thinking that it's beginning of morning twilight and indeed the Persian astronomer, mathematician and poet Omar Khayyam (1050? -1123?) referred to this ghostly glow as the "false dawn" in his poem, The Rubaiyat.

That faint ghostly glow was once thought to be solely an atmospheric phenomenon: perhaps reflected sunlight shining on the highest layers of Earth's atmosphere.  We know now that while it is indeed reflected sunlight, it is being reflected not off our atmosphere, but rather off of a non-uniform distribution of interplanetary material; debris left over from the formation of our solar system. 

These countless millions, if not billions of particles – ranging in size from meter-sized mini-asteroids to micron-sized dust grains -- seem densest around the immediate vicinity of the sun, but extend outward, beyond the orbit of Mars and are spread out along the plane of the ecliptic (the path the sun follows throughout the year).  Hence the reason for the name Zodiacal Light is because it is seen projected against the zodiacal constellations. 

Read More

Palin: God will do the right thing on election day

>From CNN Political Producer Peter Hamby

FINDLAY, Ohio (CNN) –- In an interview posted online Wednesday, Sarah Palin told Dr. James Dobson of “Focus on the Family” that she is confident God will do “the right thing for America” on Nov. 4.

Dobson asked the vice presidential hopeful if she is concerned about John McCain’s sagging poll numbers, but Palin stressed that she was “not discouraged at all.”

“To me, it motivates us, makes us work that much harder,” she told the influential Christian leader, whose radio show reaches millions of listeners daily. “And it also strengthens my faith because I know at the end of the day putting this in God’s hands, the right thing for America will be done, at the end of the day on Nov. 4.”

Dobson praised Palin's opposition to abortion rights, to which the governor affirmed that she is “hardcore pro-life.”

Read More
Contact Us
Shop Putnam!
Highlands Open Space Guide
House Painting!
Rss Feed