Wednesday, December 17, 2008

News That Matters - December 17, 2008

News That Matters
Brought to you by PlanPutnam.Org

"We hang the petty thieves and appoint the great ones to public office."
  - Aesop

Good Wednesday Morning,

Dear Friends,

I am taking time today to announce my candidacy for the US Senate seat being vacated by Hillary Clinton as she takes her position with the new incoming Administration. My only other announced opponent in this race is Caroline Kennedy.

The way I look at it, if a woman who virtually no one knows other than by virtue of her last name, smashing good looks and copious amounts of money can "run" for the seat, so too can a blue collar guy from Putnam County, NY. But I'm a better choice and here's why:

Here are the benefits of sending me to the US Senate:

I'm an unknown and have no political affiliations or present loyalties meaning I owe no one anything, no favors and no paybacks. I come to office pretty clean. Rich people don't get or stay rich by being "clean".

I'm not a lawyer even though my mother wishes - to this day - that I was one. Do we really need another lawyer in the Senate? Are there any painters in the Senate? They need one.

I have a bit of a corporate background but am now working in a blue collar environment giving me experience in both worlds, worlds that my opponent probably only reads about in books and sees on TV. Has she ever climbed a 30' ladder carrying a paint bucket? Has she ever crawled under a house to set traps for mice? Has she ever restarted a hot water heater or taped a wall? No. Does she have a clue what working men and women go through each and every day?

Ms. Kennedy is apparently heterosexual and the Senate is full of heteros. Do they really need one more?

I was raised in a conservative, eastern European Jewish-American household and there are very few Jewish US Senators. (I am not responsible for Joe Lieberman. Besides, he's from a different sect.) Ms. Kennedy is the antithesis of Jewish. In fact, other than Baah'ston, she has no ethnicity. She knows about potatoes and cabbage but has she ever eaten a knish? Has she ever bought tacos from a roadside truck? Are beans and rice "trendy comfort food" or only what she can afford during hard times like the rest of us? Have Raman Noodles ever been an important part of her diet?

While Ms Kennedy is honorary chair of the American Ballet Theatre, I hang lights and run cables at a local arts center which is anything but honorary. While she's off at Board Meetings in fancy hotels, I'm covered in dust, grime and dirt.

I'm poor and living at the edge of the poverty line. Ms. Kennedy's doorman earns more than I do. There are no poor Senators and as such Senators really have no clue what it means to go month to month not knowing if you're going to have a place to live or if you can afford to fix the car to get to work... if you have work. I'm sure Ms. Kennedy calls the driver and has someone take care of her expenses. Unemployment for her means spending an extra week at the beach house. Unemployment for me is a disaster, just like it is for you. Is there anyone in the Senate living month to month, paycheck to paycheck?

I have never owned a pony. Working class people do not own ponies. Working class people aren't represented in the US Senate.

I am not the offspring of a President. When was the last time this nation had a working class President? (Note: the argument can be made that Barack Obama came from working class roots. If that's the case, what better than a working class Senator allied with a working class President?)

I have no health insurance nor could I ever begin to afford it. How many US Senators can make that claim? How many Senators worry about getting sick or injuring themselves to the point that will leave them in debt or destitute for the rest of their lives?

I have foreign policy experience. I've been to Canada. Several times. More times than Sarah Palin and she was almost the Vice President. I've been to Spain and France and speak enough Spanish to know what people on the subway are saying about me and enough French to order Freedom Fries in a gité.

I'm a man of the people. I mix easily with artists and roofers, movie producers and plumbers, gas station attendants and postal service employees. Ms. Kennedy does too, but only as her limo passes them by. Don't we have enough limo-riding Senators? How about one that drives a busted-up jeep for a change.

Having two Kennedys in the Senate smacks of nepotism.

It's time to send a commoner to the US Senate and I'm urging you to support me, Jeff Green, to be appointed by Governor Paterson to the US Senate. You know I'll be more fun than Ms. Kennedy and more attentive to the needs of the millions of working class New Yorkers... we're just not part of her culture but we make up 99% of the population of the United States. Isn't it time we had our chance? Isn't it time someone represented us who was "of us"?

Email Governor Paterson and tell him to appoint Jeff Green to the US Senate. I am willing, able and excited about the prospect of being able to represent what no other US Senator represents - the people. The common, working class, average, run-of-the-mill citizen, those who are the backbone of this nation and who are regularly ignored by the ruling classes - though they're quite happy to make us pay for everything.

It's time to send a common man to the Senate and I'm the guy.

Email Governor Patterson now before he makes a mistake that will take years to undo. Tell Governor Patterson that Jeff is the man to represent New York.

I'm Jeff Green and I approve this message.

And now, the News:

  1. Diesel, Made Simply From Coffee Grounds
  2. Farm’s Closing Time Is Dinner Time for Pheasants
  3. NY Budget's pain is far-reaching
  4. Critics dispute 'shared sacrifice' of tax hikes on utilities, soda, clothes
  5. Over 2 Trillion tons of ice melted in arctic since '03
  6. Males of All Species Are Becoming More Female
  7. Rep. Dennis Kucinich on His Battle With the Banks
  8. Seven suggestions for new president

Diesel, Made Simply From Coffee Grounds

(Ah, the Exhaust Aroma)


In research that touches on two of Americans’ great obsessions — coffee and cars — scientists at the University of Nevada, Reno, have made diesel fuel from used coffee grounds.

The technique is not difficult, they report in The Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, and there is so much coffee around that several hundred million gallons of biodiesel could potentially be made annually.

Mano Misra, a professor of engineering who conducted the research with Narasimharao Kondamudi and Susanta K. Mohapatra, said it was by accident that he realized coffee beans contained a significant amount of oil. “I made a coffee one night but forgot to drink it,” he said. “The next morning I saw a layer of oil floating on it.” He and his team thought there might be a useful amount of oil in used grounds, so they went to several Starbucks stores and picked up about 50 pounds of them.

Read More

Farm’s Closing Time Is Dinner Time for Pheasants


The governor says: Let them eat pheasant.

It may sound odd, but the economic pinch on New York State’s government may result in thousands of needy families dining on pheasant this Christmas.

Ending a long tradition of operating pheasant farms for hunting, New York State officials have announced that they will close the last state-run pheasant farm, the Richard E. Reynolds Game Farm, which opened in 1927 in Dryden, N.Y., near Ithaca.

The farm’s approximately 8,000 pheasants will be slaughtered over the next three weeks and distributed to food pantries throughout the state’s Southern Tier, said Yancey Roy, a spokesman for the state’s Department of Environmental Conservation.

Read More

NY Budget's pain is far-reaching

Legislators, advocacy groups split on governor's proposals to cut aid for education, health care
By RICK KARLIN, Capitol bureau
First published: Wednesday, December 17, 2008

ALBANY — Gov. David Paterson's $121.1 billion budget proposal attempts to close a projected $13.7 billion gap with cuts, consolidations and a dizzying array of new and increased fees, surcharges and taxes on New Yorkers from almost all walks of life.

In addition, the cuts to education and health care — sectors that make up more than half the budget — would almost certainly drive up costs at the local level.

"The world has changed," said Paterson, who used Tuesday's unveiling to remind New Yorkers that, like the larger economy, the state's tax revenues are in free fall.

While the governor's budget is traditionally released in January, Paterson put out his plan early to get a jump on the $1.7 billion deficit that remains in this year's budget, which ends March 31 and by law must be balanced.

In all, Paterson must cut $15.4 billion over the next 16 months. His plan is almost guaranteed to hit various roadblocks in the Legislature, from lawmakers worried about higher property taxes on Long Island, new fishing fees in rural areas and reductions in municipal aid to New York City.

Read More

Critics dispute 'shared sacrifice' of tax hikes on utilities, soda, clothes

Jay Gallagher
Albany Bureau

ALBANY - Though Gov. David Paterson's budget plan wouldn't raise broad-based taxes, it would hit New Yorkers with taxes on clothes and shoes, haircuts, movie tickets, cable TV, soda, utility bills and a host of other products and activities, costing taxpayers more than $4 billion a year.

The 88 new or increased fees also include levies on beer, health insurance, vehicle registrations and driver's licenses, cigars, expensive cars and yachts, rental cars and use of state parks.

"The governor feels these fees are fair, reasonable and necessary to balance this budget," Paterson press secretary Errol Cockfield said.

But the new levies target some people least able to afford them, said Dan Cantor of the Working Families Party.

Read More

Over 2 Trillion tons of ice melted in arctic since '03

WASHINGTON (AP) — More than 2 trillion tons of land ice in Greenland, Antarctica and Alaska have melted since 2003, according to new NASA satellite data that show the latest signs of what scientists say is global warming.

More than half of the loss of landlocked ice in the past five years has occurred in Greenland, based on measurements of ice weight by NASA's GRACE satellite, said NASA geophysicist Scott Luthcke. The water melting from Greenland in the past five years would fill up about 11 Chesapeake Bays, he said, and the Greenland melt seems to be accelerating.

NASA scientists planned to present their findings Thursday at the American Geophysical Union conference in San Francisco. Luthcke said Greenland figures for the summer of 2008 aren't complete yet, but this year's ice loss, while still significant, won't be as severe as 2007.

Read More

Males of All Species Are Becoming More Female

December 09, 2008 01:59 PM
by Rachel Balik

Various studies indicate that unregulated chemicals released into the environment are causing male animals and humans to take on feminine characteristics.

Pollution Puts Men in Danger
Thousands of chemicals released into the environment are interfering with animal and human endocrine systems, resulting in physical changes. Comprehensive research indicates that these chemicals, nicknamed “gender-benders,” are causing the males in many species to become feminized.

In British lowland rivers, 50 percent of male fish were found to be growing eggs in their testes, the Independent reported. Other discovered anomalies include hermaphrodite polar bears or deer with abnormal antler growth.

Read More

Rep. Dennis Kucinich on His Battle With the Banks

Posted on Dec 15, 2008

By Rep. Dennis Kucinich

Once they were as gods, but the deities of the American banking system are now in ruins, plunged from their pedestals into the maw of taxpayer largesse. Congress voted to give the banks $700 billion, lifting them temporarily out of their sepulcher of debt, while revealing a deep truth about the condition of America’s financial powers:

They never had the money they said they had as they constructed their debt-based monetary system which now lies in ruins. Their decisions on behalf of depositors, shareholders and investors were lacking in basic integrity and common sense. Green gods bailing out with their golden parachutes.

There was a time when their power was real. Come with me to Cleveland 30 years ago today.

Read More

Seven suggestions for new president

By: J. Gordon Douglas

Every pundit has a list of items that President-elect Barack Obama should tackle soon after his inauguration.

Here are some suggestions from On the Wild Side:

1) First, I agree with great biologist, philosopher and Pulitzer Prize-winning author professor Edward O. Wilson that Obama should announce in his inaugural speech that the U.S. must lead the world in science and technology.

Wilson says Obama should set up commissions of distinguished scientists and business leaders to provide guidance covering medicine, environment, alternative energy, basic science and science education. This highest priority program should be bipartisan.

I was interested to hear Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft, call for the same priorities. He does not want us to focus on the economy to the point where we overlook the needs for science, education and business vitality.

Read More

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