Monday, January 5, 2009

News That Matters - January 5, 2009

News That Matters
Brought to you by PlanPutnam.Org

Good Monday Morning,

It's back to some semblance of normalcy now that the holidays are behind us. So normal, that Patterson Crossing is back in the news, Greg Ball has resurfaced, and the county is talking about a Community College for Putnam at some undetermined point in the future. Maybe. Caroline Kennedy is still the apparent front-runner in the faux race for the Senate seat being vacated by Hillary Clinton and I've noticed that it's not quite as dark when I get up in the morning anymore which means the gardening catalogs will be on their way soon!

My jeep has started making strange clunking noises again and strange clunking noises are never good.  According to my mechanic strange clunking noises are never inexpensive either. Therefore, I'm looking for a car/wagon or light truck. A (near) freebie, of course. It should run and be street legal. Other than that, I don't care if it has a radio or if the passenger side door opens or if it's sporting a McCain/Palin bumper sticker. Look in your driveway for a spare vehicle.

The Washington Post reported the other day that more groups than thought in the past were had spied upon by Maryland State Police in a wide-ranging effort that ended in 2007. One officer spent 14 months infiltrating peaceful protest groups and the department incorrectly named 53 individuals as "terrorists", information shared with the FBI. Groups such as those who worked for the creation of bike lanes and human rights were spied upon and one of the possible "crimes" listed by police was an interest in "civil rights". See the article below.

As Washington works through the distribution of your tax dollars to Wall Street and Detroit and as credit allegedly tightens across the board, citizens are reeling in their charitable giving and it's being felt across the not-for-profit world. This chart below from the book, Green Inc. by Christine MacDonald, gives us an idea of what those at the top of some of our largest environmental groups are earning. Most Wall Street executives don't even come close.



National Park Foundation
James Maddy
Past president


Wildlife Conservation Society
Steve E. Sanderson

President, CEO


Natural Resources Defense Council
John Adams

Past president


Environmental Defense Fund
Fred Krupp

The Conservation Fund
Richard L. Erdman

Exec. Vice President


On the other hand, the director at Arts on the Lake earns the incredible sum of $0. Now you know where to send your donation dollars. I did. You can too.

And now, the News:

  1. A woman's place is on the county board
  2. Ball forms ‘Putnam Pioneers’ PAC
  3. Ball billboards are an eyesore
  4. Land deals set Northeast Adirondack recreation
  5. California sues federal government over changes in Endangered Species Act
  6. More Groups Than Thought Monitored in Police Spying
  7. Was the "Credit Crunch" a Myth Used to Sell a Trillion-Dollar Scam?
  8. Police Get The Wrong House In Galveston, Allegedly Assault 12-Year-Old Girl

A woman's place is on the county board

Susan Elan
The Journal News

CARMEL - When the Putnam County Legislature reconvenes this month, women will comprise one-third of the nine-member body for the first time in its history.

Though fewer in number, the percentage of women is larger than in the Westchester and Rockland legislatures.

"This year is a defining moment for women in government and public service in Putnam County," said Legislator Mary Ellen Odell, R-Carmel. "It's a new era for us as three very strong women with years of public service and experience in business are going to be voices for the people in Putnam County."

Odell is joined on the Putnam board by Legislator Mary Conklin, R-Patterson, and newly elected Legislator Dini LoBue, who replaces Robert McGuigan, R-Mahopac.

Read More

Ball forms ‘Putnam Pioneers’ PAC

PATTERSON – State Assemblyman Gregory Ball of Patterson, a Conservation Republican, has formed a new political action committee aimed at bringing more conservative Republicans into government on the local and state levels.

Putnam Pioneers is a “by invitation only” organization that Ball said is “committed to getting serious conservative candidates elected throughout the Hudson Valley.”

The committee has already recruited over 40 committed Republicans, Conservatives, elected officials, business owners, and Democrats throughout the Hudson Valley. Each member has made a $2,500 financial commitment to help recruit credible candidates who espouse a simple philosophy of cutting taxes, rooting out corruption and cracking down on illegal immigration.

"We are beginning to recruit a tremendous group of Republican candidates for 2009 and 2010," Ball said. "While our party has always had strong grassroots enthusiasm, one thing we have lacked is an organized ‘farm team’ of conservative Republican candidates who are ready to intelligently speak on an anti tax, pro legal immigration and anti cronyism agenda while moving our party forward."

Read More

Ball billboards are an eyesore

How much longer must we endure those gigantic Greg Ball billboards?

Let's see, the election was over on Nov. 4. Nearly two months later, Assemblyman Ball's huge, self-aggrandizing billboards still tower over local roads.

Needless to say, these very expensive self-promotions are the only political signs still up.

Everyone else knows implicitly how inconsiderate and embarrassingly egotistical it is to leave campaign signs up long after an election, especially an inescapable array of billboards.

Not Greg.

Read More

Land deals set Northeast Adirondack recreation

Associated Press Writer

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - The Sable Highlands stretch almost far as you can see across the northeastern Adirondacks, where outdoor enthusiasts now can freely explore 48,500 acres of wilderness that were once private timberlands and generally off-limits for decades.

Public rights to the forests of evergreens and hardwoods was guaranteed when the state bought 20,000 acres from the Nature Conservancy in early November, following on Christmas Eve with conservation easements on 84,000 adjacent acres from the Lyme Timber Co. The deals permanently secured longtime hiking trails up Lyon Mountain and Owls Head 15 miles away, while opening up almost half the combined tract and providing some limited access to the rest.

"That area is sort of a gateway to the park for visitors coming from cities like Montreal, Plattsburgh and Burlington," said Connie Prickett, spokeswoman for the Adirondack Chapter of the Nature Conservancy, which negotiated the complex deal four years ago. Public access to the northeastern corner of the 6-million acre Adirondack Park, about 140 miles north of Albany, had been limited.

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California sues federal government over changes in Endangered Species Act

The state attorney general's office says new rules put California's threatened and endangered wildlife in greater danger and could cost the state more to protect the plants and animals on the list.

By Julie Cart
December 31, 2008

California Atty. Gen. Jerry Brown filed suit against the federal government Tuesday, charging that a recent rule change by the Bush administration illegally gutted provisions of the Endangered Species Act, essentially quashing the role of science in decisions made by federal agencies.

Ken Alex, senior assistant attorney general, said the state took the action because it has both the legal right and the moral responsibility to protect California's environment and resources. The new federal rules, he said, could put California's threatened and endangered wildlife in greater jeopardy and could ultimately cost the state more to protect plants and animals on California's Endangered Species List.

Read More

More Groups Than Thought Monitored in Police Spying

New Documents Reveal Md. Program's Reach

By Lisa Rein and Josh White
Washington Post Staff Writers
Sunday, January 4, 2009; A01

The Maryland State Police surveillance of advocacy groups was far more extensive than previously acknowledged, with records showing that troopers monitored -- and labeled as terrorists -- activists devoted to such wide-ranging causes as promoting human rights and establishing bike lanes.

Intelligence officers created a voluminous file on Norfolk-based People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, calling the group a "security threat" because of concerns that members would disrupt the circus. Angry consumers fighting a 72 percent electricity rate increase in 2006 were targeted. The DC Anti-War Network, which opposes the Iraq war, was designated a white supremacist group, without explanation.

One of the possible "crimes" in the file police opened on Amnesty International, a world-renowned human rights group: "civil rights."

According to hundreds of pages of newly obtained police documents, the groups were swept into a broad surveillance operation that started in 2005 with routine preparations for the scheduled executions of two men on death row.

The operation has been called a "waste of resources" by the current police superintendent and "undemocratic" by the governor.

Police have acknowledged that the monitoring, which took place during the administration of then-Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. (R), spiraled out of control, with an undercover trooper spending 14 months infiltrating peaceful protest groups. Troopers have said they inappropriately labeled 53 individuals as terrorists in their database, information that was shared with federal authorities. But the new documents reveal a far more expansive set of police targets and indicate that police did not close some files until late 2007.

Read More

Was the "Credit Crunch" a Myth Used to Sell a Trillion-Dollar Scam?

Monday 29 December 2008
by: Joshua Holland, AlterNet

Even as the media continue to repeat the claim that credit has frozen up, evidence has emerged suggesting the entire story is wrong.

There is something approaching a consensus that the Paulson Plan -- also known as the Troubled Asset Relief Program, or TARP -- was a boondoggle of an intervention that's flailed from one approach to the next, with little oversight and less effect on the financial meltdown.

But perhaps even more troubling than the ad hoc nature of its implementation is the suspicion that has recently emerged that TARP -- hundreds of billions of dollars worth so far -- was sold to Congress and the public based on a Big Lie.

President George W. Bush, fabulist-in-chief, articulated the rationale for the program in that trademark way of his -- as if addressing a nation of slow-witted 12-year-olds -- on Sept. 24: "Major financial institutions have teetered on the edge of collapse ... [and] began holding onto their money, and lending dried up, and the gears of the American financial system began grinding to a halt." Bush said that if Congress didn't give Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson the trillion dollars (give or take) for which he was asking, the results would be disastrous: "Even if you have good credit history, it would be more difficult for you to get the loans you need to buy a car or send your children to college. And ultimately, our country could experience a long and painful recession."

Read More

Police Get The Wrong House In Galveston,
Allegedly Assault 12-Year-Old Girl

Wed Dec 17, 2008 at 12:37:01 PM
It was a little before 8 at night when the breaker went out at Emily Milburn's home in Galveston. She was busy preparing her children for school the next day, so she asked her 12-year-old daughter, Dymond, to pop outside and turn the switch back on.
As Dymond headed toward the breaker, a blue van drove up and three men jumped out rushing toward her. One of them grabbed her saying, "You're a prostitute. You're coming with me."

Dymond grabbed onto a tree and started screaming, "Daddy, Daddy, Daddy." One of the men covered her mouth. Two of the men beat her about the face and throat.

As it turned out, the three men were plain-clothed Galveston police officers who had been called to the area regarding three white prostitutes soliciting a white man and a black drug dealer.

Read More