News That Matters
“The only strings attached to this money is if you have a community that for the last 30 years has had persistent poverty rates … then you must direct 10 percent of this money to those communities. If you don’t want this pot of money because that string is attached, what am I to conclude from that?” South Carolina Representative Jim Clyburn
Good Monday Morning,
Frank Torrres of Carson, CA, blockaded himself in his home last week to stop foreclosure actions against him. Yeah, he got behind on his house payments and can now make good but the bank won't listen. See the story here.
In this image you can see he painted, "It's About The Family" on one side of his roof and, "I Want 2 Be Heard" on the other, but the bank just isn't interested.
There are 1100 other Franks Torres' in Carson alone and millions more across the nation. We've got the money to keep Wall Street vacationing in the Swiss Alps but nothing for the Frank Torres' of this nation? There's something wrong with that picture.
Idly surfing the web the other day I discovered something quite interesting: we're all living here in Putnam County quite illegally.
See, this land used to belong to the Wappini Sachemship of Nochpeem whose main settlement was just over the mountain near present day Fishkill. The Nochpeem Wappini assisted the English in one of their local wars of conquest. When the war was over, they found their lands had been confiscated by settlers claiming rights under the Philipse Patent, the guy who owns all our mineral rights. (look at your deed) However, according to their Sachem, Daniel Nimham, the sale which made up the Patent only constituted the lands of Canopus, or present day Cortland. Edward Manning Ruttenber wrote in 1872:
Cosmic Coincidence: (From Space Weather.Com)What are the odds? On Tuesday, Feb. 24th, Saturn and Comet Lulin will converge in the constellation Leo only 2 degrees apart. (see map) At the same time, Comet Lulin will be making its closest approach to Earth--the comet at its best!-- while four of Saturn's moons transit the disk of the ringed planet in view of backyard telescopes. Oh, and the Moon will be New, providing dark skies for anyone who wishes to see the show.
The best time to look is around 1 a.m. Tuesday morning (your local time) when the planet-comet combo ascend high in the southern sky. To the unaided eye, Comet Lulin looks like a faint patch of gas floating next to golden Saturn. Point your backyard telescope at that patch and you will see a lovely green comet with a double tail.
And now, The News:
Danbury Newstimes Letter to the Editor
Remembering the legacy of FDR's "Tree Army" -- and the dividends that investment paid not only for the environment, but for the economy.
Support for the higher tax sweeps across the political spectrum, 62 - 32 percent among Republicans, 91 - 7 percent among Democrats and 81 - 17 percent among independents, the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University poll finds.
Support drops slightly to 72 - 25 percent when the threshold for the higher tax rate is dropped to $500,000. Support drops further to 56 - 40 percent when the target number is set at $250,000. At this $250,000 target, Republicans switch to 60 - 37 percent opposed, while the lower number wins 67 - 29 percent support among Democrats and 59 - 38 percent support among independent voters.
Despite support for the Millionaires Tax, voters say 51 - 34 percent that they would rather cut state services than raise taxes.
This is the second consecutive month that Rural Development has reduced its direct home loan interest rate. The previous rate was 4.375 percent.
Under the direct home loan program, low- and very-low income families and individuals receive a loan directly from USDA Rural Development to buy, build or improve homes in rural areas.
The loans require no down payment, no private mortgage insurance and the standard term is 33 years. Payment assistance, which can reduce monthly mortgage payments, is also available for those who qualify.
Artists need to eat, too. That's one of the takeaways from the $787 billion economic recovery plan that President Obama signed into law last week. A piece of it - $50 million - will go to the National Endowment for the Arts, an independent federal agency that supports artists and arts organizations. The money was on the chopping block before arts friendly members of Congress intervened, persuading colleagues that the arts are not merely an enhancement of culture but also an economic engine for jobs and tourism.
Less mercenarily, the arts have unusual power to invite, and unite, people of all backgrounds to the higher calling of expanded knowledge and insight into what it is to be human. Take the NEA's "The Big Read,'' a nationwide initiative under way locally. ArtsWestchester recently won a $20,000 NEA grant to help bring "The Big Read'' to Westchester, partnering with the Westchester Library System, Westchester Community College, schools and colleges, local libraries, civic and community groups, and cultural organizations throughout the county. It is an ambitious, and inspiring, undertaking.
Conserving Natural Areas and Wildlife in Your Community is a guide for anyone involved or interested in biodiversity conservation and local land use planning and decision-making, including elected officials, volunteer board members, and interested citizens and organizations. It describes how to find biological information about your community and the tools and techniques that local governments can use to conserve natural areas and wildlife.
You can use the links below to download a pdf version of the document.
Conserving Natural Areas and Wildlife in Your Community (pdf, 9.3 MB) This is a large document and may be slow to download.
Monday, February 23, 2009 06:00 AM
Microsoft says it made an accounting error when it laid off some employees last month and now feels the best way to correct the error is with what will likely add up to a public relations blunder.
The software giant, which recently laid off 1,400 employees, sent letters this week to some of those former workers letting them know that their severance payouts were a bit too "generous" and respectfully requested that the former employees pay back that money, according to a report last week on TechCrunch.