Friday, November 28, 2008

News That Matters - November 28, 2008 - The Black Friday Edition

News That Matters
Brought to you by PlanPutnam.Org

“As transportmakers, the companies could produce vehicles for high-speed train and bus systems that would improve our travel options, reduce global warming, conserve energy, minimize accidents and generally improve the way we live.”

- Robert Goodman on the bailout for US Automakers

PlanPutnam's Annual Fund Drive: Day 17

Only 3 Days Left!

Don't worry, you can still donate after those 3 days are up.
It's just that {maybe} I'll stop annoying you.

Good Friday Morning,

Before you head out to the malls this morning just make sure you've set aside a few shekels to keep News That Matters coming to your inbox each day.

To be honest, I know you're not heading out to the malls. I know that. I have faith in our collective ability to resist temptation, buck the "spend ourselves into oblivion" mantra that assaults us day in and day out on the television and radio and makes up 70% of the column space in our daily newspapers. However...

JC Penny and Kohl's opened at 4AM this morning and a Linen's and Things store is in a bit o' trouble for marking their clearance items at higher than their regular prices. And you wonder why they're going out of business.

By 6AM this morning all stores were open at the Poughkeepsie Galleria and parking in the lot was reported to be "tough".  The first person in line at the Kohl's in Poughkeepsie was 15 year old Putnam County resident John Alexander who told a reporter: "Last year we got here at 3:30 a.m. and there was nothing left,"

It is now time to put up your Christmas decorations and I send a hearty Thanks! to those of you who have waited this long. Boos! go to virtually every retailer in America, some for starting as early as September.

For those of you keeping track, Hanukkah starts at sundown on December 21st this year. My 51st birthday is the next day, the 22nd and Christmas a few days later. So, its important to keep your gifts for me distinct and separate so I don't get the three confused. When wrapping, use blue for my Hanukkah presents, green for my birthday presents and red for my Christmas presents. I'd hate to open the wrong gift on the wrong day and spoil the appropriate surprise.

To get your holiday shopping off to a local start there's a crafts fair at the Sacred Heart Church in Patterson tomorrow (Saturday) from 10AM to 4PM.

There's a new video out starring the JFK Elementary School (Brewster) "Litter and Recycling Gang". Thanks to Walt Thompson for sending this along. Be cool, clean your school! Show this to your kids and maybe they'll get some good ideas.

Generic litter picker-upper dudeWhile I'm talking about littering... I live on a road that sees a huge number of morning and evening commuters passing through on their way from points south to points north. While the speed limit is 30, most travel a lot faster than that and while they're speeding around blind curves they are tossing their garbage out the windows and leaving it on the sides of my road.

Over the years several of my neighbors have taken on the task of cleaning up that litter several times a year. Of late however, there's one neighbor who has been doing an amazing job of keeping the road clean and my hat is certainly off to him. But in essence, forcing him to collect your trash is blaming the victim. You litterbugs out there... keep your shit to yourself. My road is not your waste basket! (note: your credit card slips are traceable!)

Last Wednesday Federal authorities issued a warning of an impending terrorist attack on the NYC subway system. They didn't mean that they had any direct information of impending doom. No, quite the contrary. Here's what their report said: (emphasis, mine)

"[Al Queada] in late September may have discussed targeting transit systems in and around New York City. These discussions reportedly involved the use of suicide bombers or explosives placed on subway/passenger rail systems,''

"We have no specific details to confirm that this plot has developed beyond aspirational planning, but we are issuing this warning out of concern that such an attack could possibly be conducted during the forthcoming holiday season,''

So, if something does go BOOM! just chill and take it in stride. It's just part of the game - and one of the consequences - when you play Global Empire.

Police in Valentine, Nebraska, "America's Heart City", have solved their toughest crime to date. The infamous "butt bandit" has been lathering himself with Baby Magic Baby Lotion and leaving imprints of 'various body parts' on windows and glass doors of area businesses. Situated at the edge of the Sand Hills and containing 2820 people, the town has been in a tizzy for quite some time and it took police several months of concerted investigations to finally make an arrest.

NY Journal News Ad Watch: It's silly time again at the online pages of the Gannett paper. When you move your mouse over the word "community" an advert pops up for ExxonMobil. Do you see a connection between 'ExxonMobil' and 'community'? Like I keep saying, someone over there is either asleep at the wheel, trying to make fools of us or they just don't care so long as they get their ad revenues. The NY Journal News: You decide!

In a bizarre shooting case that just keeps getting stranger, a Grand Jury indicted a twice-shot victim, Douglas Greenwich, on a charge of second-degree attempted assault, a felony, and two counts of fourth-degree criminal possession of a weapon and one count of second-degree menacing, both misdemeanors. The guy doing the shooting walked away all but free. According to that Grand Jury it is OK to shoot someone who tries to hit you with a stick... remember that.

For those of you following the gay marriage issue, (Sandy Galef's decision to deny civil rights based on polls not withstanding), here's a chart that lays out exactly what will happen if gays should gain equal rights:

Back in October of 2004 Clarissa Marino slipped 60 feet off the top of Kaaterskill Falls and sustained severe injuries. She sued the state claiming that it had the responsibility to adequately warn and protect people from doing things like falling off cliffs.

Standing on the edge of the Kaaterskill brook and about 20' back from the edge of the 200' high precipice, she and a friend discussed where they could obtain the best view out and over the valley. After deciding that this could be done on the opposite side of the creek at a spot about 8' from the edge they began to cross the creek where Ms. Marino slipped on a rock and plunged over the edge, coming to rest on a ledge 60' below.
(Photo source: wikipedia)

The judgment reads in part:

As tragic as some events are, liability cannot necessarily be assigned. Such is the case here. Even accepting claimant’s less credible account, claimant, at three o’clock in the afternoon on an overcast and somewhat rainy day, with a full, open and unimpeded view of a cliff leading to a several hundred foot waterfall, made the unfortunate but patently obvious and dangerous decision to navigate the rocky stream bank, upon wet rocks, abutting a running stream, at a point approximately 20 feet from where the stream led to the edge of a 200 foot waterfall.

By Ms. Ramos’s more credible testimony, under the same conditions, claimant fell attempting to cross the running stream feeding the Falls, eight (8) feet from the cliff’s edge. All this, while wearing, without contradiction, flat, rubber-soled “no tread” slip-on shoes. Under either scenario, claimant’s case, tragic as it is, must fail.

The judges ruled that yes, the State does have an obligation to make certain arrangements to safeguard people from themselves but agreed that with the edge of the waterfall visible and clearly being not a safe place to be, they found in favor of the State and denied Ms. Marino's claim for damages.

In essence, when you're outside doing dangerous things that you *know* are dangerous, it's really your responsibility to take care of yourself.

Here's a parting cartoon for you:

Enjoy your weekend and remember, in order to keep News That Matters coming to your inbox each day, the blog active and the PlanPutnam website up and running takes time, money and a lot of effort. Please help make the job a little easier by donating to the cause.

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