News That Matters
Good Tuesday Morning,
Today is Veteran's Day.
In 1918, on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, major hostilities across Europe came to a halt as an armistice was signed bringing The Great War to a close. The devastation of that time was so horrific the world assumed it could never be repeated...
Several weeks ago during the last Presidential "debate" Iraqi war veterans gathered outside Hofstra University in an attempt to present Senators McCain and Obama with several questions about veterans affairs, an issue which was not mentioned during previous meetings of the two primary presidential candidates. The result was 15 arrests and one veteran, Army Sergeant Nick Morgan, trampled by a Nassau County police horse.
Sheesh! If you read the right-wing blogs or listen to them on the radio you'd think the world has ended. "Are you ready to kiss your paycheck goodbye?" one headline blares. Another blames Bush - directly - for the loss of the election.
Claiming Republicans in the House and Senate have been the "anti-spenders" another writer goes on to list a dozen programs the President signed into law which expanded corporate welfare to traditional Republican allies and blames them for the nation's decision to elect Barack Obama last week. One writes, "How long can you go on speechifying [sic] about the free market or limited government when this is your track record?"
Thanks to hard work done by ProPublica, an independent news service, here's where at least $250,000,000,000 of your tax dollars just went. You'll notice that the largest banks are each getting some $25,000,000,000. Just imagine how we could have better spent that money? And, after $200,000,000,000 was simply handed to insurance giant AIG, they report larger losses than ever. Hey, it's just your money. Relax.
By Amit R. Paley
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, November 10, 2008; A01
The financial world was fixated on Capitol Hill as Congress battled over the Bush administration's request for a $700 billion bailout of the banking industry. In the midst of this late-September drama, the Treasury Department issued a five-sentence notice that attracted almost no public attention.
But corporate tax lawyers quickly realized the enormous implications of the document: Administration officials had just given American banks a windfall of as much as $140 billion.
The sweeping change to two decades of tax policy escaped the notice of lawmakers for several days, as they remained consumed with the controversial bailout bill. When they found out, some legislators were furious. Some congressional staff members have privately concluded that the notice was illegal. But they have worried that saying so publicly could unravel several recent bank mergers made possible by the change and send the economy into an even deeper tailspin.
BARCELONA, Spain — In increasingly green-conscious Europe, there are said to be only two kinds of mayors: those who have a bicycle-sharing program and those who want one.
Over the last several years, the programs have sprung up and taken off in dozens of cities, on a scale no one had thought possible and in places where bicycling had never been popular.
The sharing plans include not just Paris’s Vélib’, with its 20,000 bicycles, but also wildly popular programs with thousands of bicycles in major cities like Barcelona and Lyon, France. There are also programs in Pamplona, Spain; Rennes, France; and Düsseldorf, Germany. Even Rome, whose narrow, cobbled streets and chaotic traffic would seem unsuited to pedaling, recently started a small trial program, Roma’n’Bike, which it plans to expand soon.
For mayors looking to ease congestion and prove their environmental bona fides, bike-sharing has provided a simple solution: for the price of a bus, they invest in a fleet of bicycles, avoiding years of construction and approvals required for a subway. For riders, joining means cut-rate transportation and a chance to contribute to the planet’s well-being.
The new systems are successful in part because they blanket cities with huge numbers of available bikes, but the real linchpin is technology. Aided by electronic cards and computerized bike stands, riders can pick up and drop off bicycles in seconds at hundreds of locations, their payments deducted from bank accounts.
Health inequalities between rich and poor people are much lower in areas that have lots of green space, such as parks, forests and playing fields, a large British study finds.
Dr. Richard Mitchell, of the University of Glasgow, and his colleagues noted that previous studies have shown that the presence of green space has an independent beneficial effect on health and health-related behaviors. They wanted to examine whether access to green space might also affect income-related health disparities.
Mitchell and his team looked at the almost 41 million people in England below retirement age and obtained individual death records for 366,348 people to determine the association between exposure to green space, income, all-cause mortality, and cause-specific death (circulatory disease, lung cancer and suicide) from 2001 to 2005.
In areas with the most green space, the health gap between the richest and poorest people was about half as large as that in the least green areas — an incident rate ratio (IRR) of 1.93 in the least green and 1.43 in the most green. IRR is a measure of how much higher the rate of death is among the poorest, when compared with that among the richest.
NEWARK (CBS) ― Acts of racism have popped up in parts of the tri-state area since Barack Obama was elected president on Tuesday night.
In the latest, a family who had supported Obama's campaign emerged from their home in the northwestern New Jersey town of Hardwick Thursday morning to find the charred remnants of a 6-foot wooden cross on their front lawn.
Pieces of a homemade bed-sheet banner reading "President Obama -- Victory '08," which had been stolen from the yard the night before, also were found, leading investigators to believe the banner had been wrapped around the cross before it was set afire.
By DAVID W. CHEN
In its struggle to make New York more green, the Bloomberg administration has tried discouraging people from using plastic bags. It has taken out ads beseeching residents to use cloth bags and set up recycling bins for plastic bags at supermarkets.
Friday 07 November 2008
by: Renee Schoof, McClatchy Newspapers
Washington - In the next few weeks, the Bush administration is expected to relax environmental-protection rules on power plants near national parks, uranium mining near the Grand Canyon and more mountaintop-removal coal mining in Appalachia.
The administration is widely expected to try to get some of the rules into final form by the week before Thanksgiving because, in some cases, there's a 60-day delay before new regulations take effect. And once the rules are in place, undoing them generally would be a more time-consuming job for the next Congress and administration.
The regulations already have had periods of public comment, and no further comments are being taken. The administration has proposed the rules and final approval is considered likely.
It's common for administrations to issue a spate of regulations just before leaving office. The Bush administration's changes are in keeping with President Bush's overall support of deregulation.
Here's a look at some changes that are likely to go into effect before the inauguration.
When Democrats took greater control over Congress on Election Day, they also managed to oust some of the legislators who had the worst records on environmental issues, according to the League of Conservation Voters.
The group publishes a list of the "Dirty Dozen" each year, highlighting those lawmakers that have voted against environmental protections the most. This election day, at least seven of the 12 were voted out of office.
Here's a look at who's out and who is still in.