News That Matters
Good Thursday Morning,
On Tuesday this week, the Highlands Coalition held it's regular quarterly meeting but this time we also met to say goodbye to the New York coordinator, Teddy Eisenman. Due to a lack of funds, the NY regional staff has been laid off. This loss is not just one of qualified personnel, but one that will make it harder for communities to keep in touch with each other, to inform, coordinate and reach goals set when the Coalition was first formed to assist in the allocation of Federal funds from the Highlands Preservation Act which was passed in 2004.
In the current race for who will replace Senator Clinton come January, A Siena College Poll released yesterday reports:
However, it's early in the game and my campaign is just getting underway. I have no doubt that in the end I'll be jetting off to Washington come January to be sworn in as your US Senator and I look forward to the next 6 years of public service to the people of this state. Besides, I look great in a suit.
Last night the Town of Kent's Stormwater Management Committee premiered four Public Service Announcements they made as part of their community education campaign. Representatives from several towns and the County were present and it went really well. Congrats to everyone who worked as hard as they did to make the PSAs. I won't review them here since I'm the guy that wrote and produced them so I'll leave that job to someone else. But damn, if I won't look good holding that Oscar... Afterwards I learned the meeting was broadcast live and will be replayed on Channel 8 if you get cable in that town. The PSAs are available for loan from the Town and low-res versions of them should be up on the Town's website pretty soon. I'll post them to the blog soon enough, too.
The Tilly Foster Saga: Tomorrow (Friday) at 1:30PM the Physical Services Committee of the County Legislature will be meeting at Tilly Foster to discuss terms of the proposed contract with George Whipple to run the Farm for the next 40 years. Over the past few days I've received phone calls and emails telling me that the contract is a good deal and that some of the most difficult aspects have been worked out but I am not convinced. A recently circulated copy of the latest version of the contract is, in many ways as bad - or worse - than the original.
For some reason, the Putnam Arts Council has become central in this battle but it's a straw-man argument. The issues at Tilly Foster have little to do with the Putnam Arts Council and everything to do with the viability of the proposed contract itself. Please, let's stay focused on that.
And now, the News:
Using some of the strongest language yet regarding the impacts that natural gas drilling in New York state could have on New York City's drinking water supply, the city's chief accountant warned state officials that drilling could have "crippling implications" for the city's water system.
City Comptroller William Thompson wrote State Department of Environmental Conservation officials Monday following a city council hearing about the threats upstate drilling might pose for the city. Thompson warned that drilling near the Catskill reservoirs that provide some nine million people with drinking water could degrade the water quality enough to force the city to build a new $10 billion water treatment plant. New York City is currently one of just four cities in the U.S. that the EPA allows to provide residents water without any filtration. If that permit is revoked, New York would have to borrow the money for the plant and, Thompson warned, city residents would pay a 30 percent water increase just to cover the interest payments.
Even as the auto industry teeters on collapse, union-bashing continues as the mainstay of a GOP propaganda war against organized labor. With three million jobs at stake, potentially costing taxpayers $150 billion in unemployment insurance, Medicaid, other aid and lost tax revenues, unions remain the primary targets of the GOP blame game for the troubled auto industry and the failed bailout deal. The Bush Administration, while dithering over the scope of any bailout with federal funds, has faced mounting pressure from Republicans to impose the same sort of union-wrecking conditions that scuttled a deal in the Senate last week.
The hostile response to a bailout, even though some form of rescue package is still likely this week, is doubtless fueled by recent polls confirming that a majority of the public is opposed to an auto industry bailout and doesn't believe that its collapse would significantly hurt the economy.
So far, it's right-wing demagoguery 1, progressives zero in the battle over the bailout. Public support was further harmed, of course, by the plutocratic PR blunders of the auto industry executives' initial jet-setting appeal to Congress. In fact, the latest Washington Post-ABC News poll reveals, the conservative propaganda campaign against an auto bailout has even hoodwinked some union members: "Union households are no more apt than those without a union member to favor the plan, 44 percent compared with 42 percent. However, the union householders who support the plan are more likely to be strongly behind the bailout, " the Washington Post reports.
The USA Patriot Act allows the FBI to demand from telephone and Internet service providers certain information from their customers about their communications activity. Through "national security letters" (or NSL's), the FBI could find out if someone was engaged in terrorist activities. But the recipients of these NSL's could not communicate to anyone that they received them. Nor could they tell anyone they had to comply with them. This created significant First Amendment problems, which the Second Circuit resolved on December 15.
Monday 15 December 2008
Green Party Calls for Carbon Tax, Higher Taxes for the Rich and Wall Street, to Resolve State Budget Crisis
This entry was posted on Monday, December 15th, 2008 .
This year an unprecedented number of people are incorporating green into Hanukkah celebrations, point out Rabbis Arthur Waskow and Jeff Sultar of the Philadelphia-based Shalom Center. The center is helping lead the way with its Green Menorah campaign.
Written by Amiel Blajchman
Former Canadian municipal councilor David Braden, has built himself a completely energy efficient, off the grid, and furnace-free (!) home using current building techniques.