Tuesday, December 2, 2008

News That Matters - December 2, 2008

News That Matters
Brought to you by PlanPutnam.Org

"Maybe we should go to war for money for the arts."

Good Tuesday Morning,

You have a holiday weekend and come back on Sunday morning and read the papers only to find out that the county is evicting a food pantry. Well, not exactly...
The NYJN reported in an article, "Legislators won't renew food pantry's lease", that the county was not going to renew a lease agreement with the Putnam Community Action Program (CAP) for space the program is using in Brewster and gave the impression that CAP was being evicted. If it were that simple, the Journal News might have gotten the story right, but in typical JN style they've mangled the facts and created a "there" that is not.

Here's the deal: CAP leases 1400 sq ft of office space on the top floor of a county owned building at 121 Main Street in Brewster from which they run their food pantry program. The building was bought and renovated years ago as expansion space for records storage and taxpayers dollars were spent doing just that. To recover some of those costs and provide local services, the county has leased out small spaces in that building which are not being used for record storage. In CAP's case that's 1400 sq ft. of space.
Please, read the rest of this at the blog. (It's 1202 words, too long for here.)

Denis Castelli's take on this is here.
Jerry Ravnitzky's opinion on the original story is here.

Allan Mulally - Source: Wikipedia The Chief Executive at the Ford Motor Company, Alan Mulally, (see image) whose company lost almost $3 billion last year, takes home a salary of about $2 million and with options and bonuses and all that other jazz, earned $21,670,000 in 2007. Asked recently by Congress if he would cut his $2 million base pay to $1 in order to help save his company, he replied, "I think I'm OK where I am."

General Motors Chief Executive Rick Wagoner,whose company lost $38.7 billion last year, earns more than $15,000,000 when all is said and done and he also refused to take a pay cut.

But when they're asking us to pay their salaries and rescue their companies from bad management, maybe they should share the pain a bit and make a sacrifice here or there.

An article I posted the other day said this:

"The US has one of the most vibrant, dynamic, and efficient automobile industries in the world. It produces several million cars, trucks, and SUVs per year, employing (in 2006) 402,800 Americans at an average salary of $63,358. That’s vehicle assembly alone; the rest of the supply chain employs even more people and generates more income. It’s an industry to be proud of. Its products are among the best in the world. Their names are Toyota, Honda, Nissan, BMW, Mercedes, Hyundai, Mazda, Mitsubishi, and Subaru."

Matthew Slaughter writing in the Wall Street Journal, in an article which makes a credible argument that a bailout would be bad for free trade says;

"At the head of the line of sustainable auto companies stands Toyota. In its 2008 fiscal year, it earned a remarkable $17.1 billion world-wide and assembled 1.66 million motor vehicles in North America. Toyota has production facilities in seven states and R&D facilities in three others. Honda, another sustainable auto company, operates in five states and earned $6 billion in net income in 2008. In contrast, General Motors lost $38.7 billion last year."


"Across all industries in 2006, insourcing companies registered $2.8 trillion in U.S. sales while employing 5.3 million Americans and paying them $364 billion in compensation."

Maybe it's time GM, Ford and Chrysler went the way of Abraham & Strauss, Gimbels and Victorian furniture: they're all old, stodgy and definitely past their time.

For those of you stepping outside last evening and who happened to glance to the west just before and after sunset, you were greeted with an astronomic delight. Jupiter, Venus and a crescent moon were grouped together in a way that will not be repeated until 2054. It was quite a sight!

And now, the News:

  1. Carmel School board to hold community forum
  2. Enthusiasts chart the birds
  3. Asian Beetle Spells Death for Maples So Dear
  4. CT Area acreage preserved as open space
  5. Solar Energy As A Sustainable Source Of European Economic Growth
  6. Pols Want New Name for Mets Home: Taxpayer Field
  7. Dilemmas of US presidential pardons 
  8. Anti-terror law requires God be acknowledged

Carmel School board to hold community forum

The Carmel Board of Education invites residents to participate in a discussion about the district and how to improve upon what is offered at its annual Community Open Forum, 7 p.m. Dec. 9 at the George Fischer Middle School, 281 Fair St.

The forum this year will concentrate on the priority areas of curriculum and instruction, communications, budget and finance, facilities and transportation, and extracurricular activities. The school board and administration are also seeking community input to help guide 2009-10 budget preparations.

Read More

Enthusiasts chart the birds

Annual count held at Vassar

By Greg Marano
Poughkeepsie Journal

The day before Thanksgiving, turkeys were the last birds this group was looking for.

Avian enthusiasts with the Waterman Bird Club spent a cold Wednesday morning hiking through back trails at Vassar College, seeking whatever feathered friends they may find.

Barbara Butler, the club's record-keeper, said members gather as much for their own relaxation as to help track movements and changes in Dutchess County's bird populations.

"Birding is really one of the few remaining fields of science where amateurs can make contributions," Butler said.

By club tradition, the excursion on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving always takes place on the campus of Vassar College.

Read More

Asian Beetle Spells Death for Maples So Dear

WORCESTER, Mass. — People who live in this city’s Greendale neighborhood love the maples that shade their streets in summer and turn beautiful colors in fall. But most of the maples in Greendale are now painted with red dots, indicating that they will be chopped down as early as next month because of an infestation of Asian long-horned beetles that is plaguing thousands of Worcester’s trees.

When a tornado devastated Worcester in 1953, maples were planted as replacement trees. “Norway maples were readily available back then,” said Brian Breveleri, the city’s urban forester. “And they were popular because they could weather the cold.”

But when Worcester plants new trees this time around, it will vary the type. A tree inventory, completed in 2006, showed that 80 percent of its street trees were maples, which the beetles find irresistible. The city should ideally have about half as many maples.

Read More

CT Area acreage preserved as open space

More than $10.2 million in grants will be used to buy or preserve 2,440 acres of open space in 29 cities and towns across Connecticut, many of them in Litchfield and New Haven counties, Gov. M. Jodi Rell announced Tuesday.

Money for the grants comes from previously approved bond funding. State Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Gina McCarthy said the properties were flagged by residents of the towns where the land is being preserved.

Since 1998, the state has provided more than $94.1 million to assist with the purchase of 21,624 acres. The goal is to protect 21 percent of Connecticut's land by the year 2023.

The 33 projects funded under this year's Open Space and Watershed Land Acquisition Grant program include:

Read More

Solar Energy As A Sustainable Source Of European Economic Growth

ScienceDaily (Nov. 26, 2008) — Scientists from leading European research institutions in the field of solar-to-fuel energy conversion call for unified action and substantial support for novel clean fuel technologies as well as a paradigm change in Europe’s current energy policy. This is crucial if Europe is to maintain its environmental stability and economic development.

Direct conversion of solar energy into fuel represents one of the very few major options that humankind has to provide socially, economically and environmentally robust and resilient renewable fuel with energy security that is guaranteed in a humanitarian instead of confrontational manner, according to the Science Policy Briefing “Harnessing Solar Energy for the Production of Clean Fuel” issued by European Science Foundation (ESF).

It is now becoming widely recognised that the public R&D budgets allocated to the renewable energy technologies need immediate and substantial increase. Contrary to the massive public investments to traditional energy sources and energy infrastructure, the share of clean energy in R&D budgets remains as low as at 7-8 percent.

Read More

Pols Want New Name for Mets Home: Taxpayer Field

NEW YORK (AP)  -- Two New York City Council members say that Citigroup should show its thanks for a federal bailout by sharing the naming rights to the new Mets ballpark in Queens.

The struggling bank is slated to pay $400 million over the next 20 years to name the stadium Citi Field.

The bank made the commitment years ago, when it was flush with cash. Now that Citigroup is getting billions of dollars in federal aid, Staten Island Republicans Vincent Ignizio and James Oddo say the ballpark's name should be changed to Citi/Taxpayer Field.

Read More

Dilemmas of US presidential pardons 

By Jonathan Beale
BBC News, Washington 

As is custom, President George W Bush pardoned a couple of turkeys on the eve of the Thanksgiving holiday. 

Mr Bush pardoned two turkeys but is less lenient than his predecessors

"Pecan" and "Pumpkin" were rescued from the dinner table, but they are not the only ones looking for some leniency.

There is, after all, another tradition that presidents carry out when they are about to leave office: handing out presidential pardons and clemency to felons.

So the question now is who will be forgiven by President Bush? So far he has shown remarkable restraint in exercising this extraordinary priestly power.

At first the presidential pardon seems strange for a democracy and a proud republic - more like a divine right of kings.

But in Article 2 of the American Constitution the founding fathers gave the president the power to pardon in the interests of mending national wounds and to remedy injustice.
Read More

Anti-terror law requires God be acknowledged

By John Cheves
Posted on Fri, Nov. 28, 2008

Under state law, God is Kentucky's first line of defense against terrorism.

The 2006 law organizing the state Office of Homeland Security lists its initial duty as "stressing the dependence on Almighty God as being vital to the security of the Commonwealth."

Specifically, Homeland Security is ordered to publicize God's benevolent protection in its reports, and it must post a plaque at the entrance to the state Emergency Operations Center with an 88-word statement that begins, "The safety and security of the Commonwealth cannot be achieved apart from reliance upon Almighty God."

State Rep. Tom Riner, a Southern Baptist minister, tucked the God provision into Homeland Security legislation as a floor amendment that lawmakers overwhelmingly approved two years ago.

As amended, Homeland Security's religious duties now come before all else, including its distribution of millions of dollars in federal grants and its analysis of possible threats.

The time and energy spent crediting God are appropriate, said Riner, D-Louisville, in an interview this week.

Read More

Contact Us
Shop Putnam!
Highlands Open Space Guide
House Painting!
Rss Feed