News That Matters
Good Tuesday Morning,
It is election day. Polls are open from 6AM until 9PM. Don't forget the Questions at the top of the ballot. If you get to the polls and there's a problem, call the Board of Elections and get it worked out. Main Office: 845-278-6970 Support: 845-278-6970 Ext. 2102 or 2108
Due to expected long lines, Republicans vote today, Democrats on Wednesday and those registered as blanks, Greens, Independents, Working Families and other third parties should vote on Thursday.*
My predictions (which are rarely correct, by the way) are these:
I hope I am way off on one of those.
If you're an Obama fan, check this out. (Office safe)
For those of you who missed it, John Degnan was run down by a campaigner with the Ball camp on Sunday evening who was caught pulling Degnan's signs from the sides of the road in Somers. John's fine, by the way. But the Somers police have said that it's not illegal to take signs and because John wasn't seriously injured, even though he was attended to by an ambulance crew, they're not going to charge the guy. When asked if he could pull Ball's signs, the cops said they weren't sure if that were legal or not, that they dealt with these issues on a case-by-case basis.
There's more here and here.
The NYJN reports that the towns of Putnam County are reviewing their budgets for 2009. That story is here.
More than 97% of New Yorkers live within 100 miles of an international border, whether it be with Canada or the ocean and that includes us, you and me. Generally at borders the government does not need a warrant to perform a search of your person or possessions and other laws we normally associate with our Constitutional Republic are absent.
From the city of Brotherly Love. A Philadelphia radio station has gone Christmas music 24/7 from last Saturday until after the holidays. They claim the Philly's World Series win was an 'early Christmas present' and hence the programming change.
I can't imagine what Chicago would do if the Cubs ever win one.
And remember, our 2009 Fund Drive begins tomorrow and runs through November 30th. News That Matters takes an enormous amount of work to produce each day, 5 days a week, 50+ weeks a year - and your continued support keeps it coming. If you haven't donated before, this is the time to start. If you have, I love you. Really.
And now, the News:
By Richard Valdmanis
TORONTO (Reuters) - U.S. vice presidential hopeful Sarah Palin fell prey to a Canadian prankster on Saturday when he called her impersonating French President Nicolas Sarkozy and got her to accept an invitation to hunt baby seals.
In an over-the-top French accent, a member of the Quebec comedy duo "The Masked Avengers," famous for tricking celebrities and politicians including Sarkozy himself, asked if Palin would take him on a hunting trip by helicopter, and then in French said they could also go kill baby seals.
An apparently oblivious Palin said she thought that would be fun. "We could have a lot of fun together as we're getting work done. We could kill two birds with one stone that way."
By Lisa Rein
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, October 8, 2008; A01
The Maryland State Police classified 53 nonviolent activists as terrorists and entered their names and personal information into state and federal databases that track terrorism suspects, the state police chief acknowledged yesterday.
Police Superintendent Terrence B. Sheridan revealed at a legislative hearing that the surveillance operation, which targeted opponents of the death penalty and the Iraq war, was far more extensive than was known when its existence was disclosed in July.
The department started sending letters of notification Saturday to the activists, inviting them to review their files before they are purged from the databases, Sheridan said.
"The names don't belong in there," he told the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee. "It's as simple as that."
By Carrie Johnson
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, October 4, 2008; A03
Justice Department officials released new guidelines yesterday that empower FBI agents to use intrusive techniques to gather intelligence within the United States, alarming civil liberties groups and Democratic lawmakers who worry that they invite privacy violations and other abuses.
The new road map allows investigators to recruit informants, employ physical surveillance and conduct interviews in which agents disguise their identities in an effort to assess national security threats. FBI agents could pursue each of those steps without any single fact indicating a person has ties to a terrorist organization. [note: emphasis, mine]
Increased water volume and pollutants from stormwater have degraded water quality and habitats in virtually every urban stream system. To provide meaningful regulation, all stormwater and other wastewater discharge permits should be based on watershed boundaries instead of political boundaries. Moreover, the program should integrate stormwater management and land management practices, and focus less on chemical pollutants in the stormwater and more on the increased flow of water.
Following rain or snow in urban areas, large quantities of water flow over impervious surfaces -- such as streets, parking lots, and rooftops -- and pick up various pollutants like garbage, asphalt sealants, motor fuels, and other chemicals. This polluted stormwater is then collected by natural channels and artificial drainage systems and ultimately routed to nearby streams, rivers, and other bodies of water.
These are interesting times we live in. As I write, Election Day is less than a week away, but a profound realignment of the electorate seems preordained. There were no less than two books advocating a green energy economy in last week's New York Times bestseller list, Tom Friedman's Hot, Flat and Crowded and Van Jones' The Green Collar Economy.
I talked to Van Jones on my radio show this week, and he exuded an Obama-like intensity. "It feels like the end of an era," he said. "The American people have been sold a bill of goods, sending jobs overseas as we remain mired in oil dependency. It's fundamentally destabilizing to have our energy policy dictated by a volatile oil market. So I think the smartest place to be right now is in reforming the energy sector."
Jones' book points out that there's a two- to six-month waiting list for solar panel installation in California. "Why? There's not enough people trained to do the work. We are experiencing a labor shortage in the middle of a recession." He sees an emerging green-collar economy built around a different version of Joe Sixpack with a hardhat and a lunch bucket, this one "ready to install solar panels in every home in his neighborhood. The most important piece of technology in the green economy will be a caulk gun."
A survey by the Shelton Group determined that the environmental term that resonates most strongly with the electorate is not "green" (61.5 percent like it) or "sustainable" (74 percent) but "energy efficiency" (a whopping 88.2 percent feel positively about it).
Although controlled amounts of organic residues, sewage sludge and animal waste are a good choice for soil fertilisation, they can have damaging effects on soil biota when applied in excessive doses. In an effort to prevent these toxic impacts on soil, a team of researchers from the UAB’s Centre for Ecological Research and Forestry Applications (CREAF) has carried out a test that sets the maximum safe doses for organic fertilisers.
“We based this on bio-trials in the laboratory using soil-based organisms that are representative of agro-ecosystems, and which need to be protected: plants (Brassica rapa, Lolium perenne and Trifolium pratense), earthworms, annelids, collembola and micro-organisms,” the study’s lead author Xavier Domene told SINC.
There's nothing like going out with a bang.
The Washington Post reports that in its last few weeks, the Bush administration is working on a set of federal regulations that would weaken existing government rules that protect consumers and the environment.
The article says that these rules would lessen restrictions on private industry, including power plants, mines, and farms, and would be difficult for the next president to undo.
As many as 90 new rules are in the works, and they include new regulations concerning employees who take family- and medical-related leaves, new standards for preventing or containing oil spills, and a simplified process for settling real estate transactions, according to the article.
Matthew Madia, a regulatory expert at OMB Watch, a nonprofit group, is quoted in the article: "They want these rules to continue to have an impact long after they leave office." He added that the activity was "a last-minute assault on the public...happening on multiple fronts."
Many of the rules on the table would affect environmental regulations.
by Amy Lubinski, October 28, 2008
In 1819, Asher Brown Durand created his most famous painting, Kindred Spirits, depicting fellow Hudson River School artist Thomas Cole and poet William Cullen Bryant standing on a rocky promontory in the Catskill Mountains. Then and now, the same region that inspired authors and artists alike is an ideal expanse for anyone to hike.
* Just kidding. Honest