Wednesday, March 18, 2009

NtM - March 18, 2009

News That Matters
Brought to you by PlanPutnam.Org

Good Wednesday Morning,

The owners of Kent Manor have applied to the Army Corps of Engineers for permission to fill in wetlands at the site. The documentation for that is here. (PDF) You have until April 17, 2009 to submit your comments (in writing) to the corps.

The ACOE has already determined that the project will "[is] not likely to affect any Federally endangered or threatened species or their critical habitat" but they're not sure.

If you live at or near Palmer Lake, are you prepared for the inflow of stormwater mixed with the chemically laden fertilizers that will be used on the property? What effect will this have on the wildlife downstream on Michael's Brook especially when added to the development already in place along that stream? Is this the straw that will break the proverbial camel's back?

The DEP and DEC had no problems ignoring community concerns in their rush to approve this 269 unit residential project so I can't see any reason why the ACOE would not follow their lead. But there's always hope!

Maybe we can still stop this thing.

I'm happy I'm not on the executive staff of AIG insurance, the recipient of more than $160 billion of taxpayer largess. According to AIG executives, they are contractually bound to pay out more than $100 million in bonuses to their top employees - and they intend to do so. Republicans in Congress are pretty quiet as they see some of their own in trouble but at the same time they're blaming the Obama administration even though the AIG deal was cut long before he came into office. The American people on the other hand aren't willing to play politics with this thing for they're fully aware they've been robbed - and by whom - and are spitting mad right about now. No, not mad enough to actually do something, but mad enough to be paying attention and that's the last thing Wall Street wants right now.

With summer coming on you're going to want to head out to the pet store and get yourself a hippopotamus. Yeah, they eat a lot and you have to keep them wet but scientists are reporting that an oily substance hippos excrete through their skin is one of the best natural based sunscreens they've seen so far. So, get your hippo

And now, the News:

  1. The weekends are more rainy – and it may be our fault
  2. Expert Says Days of 'Easy Water' Are Over
  3. NY Senate Is Said to Seek More in Income Tax From Wealthy
  4. AIG ships billions in bailout abroad
  5. Ontario Bans Pesticides for Earth Day

The weekends are more rainy – and it may be our fault

by David Shiga

IT SEEMS to happen with depressing frequency - sunny skies turn to rain just as the weekend arrives. Now Spanish researchers say they have evidence that in some parts of Europe the weather really does follow a weekly cycle, although not in the straightforward way that the anecdote might suggest.

Evidence has been mounting over the years that the weather in certain parts of the world, including the US, Japan and China, can be driven by the weekly cycle of human activity. This is because we tend to produce more air pollution during the week and less at the weekend. Evidence that such an effect occurs in Europe is controversial and has been harder to come by.

Arturo Sanchez-Lorenzo of the University of Barcelona, Spain, and his colleagues examined data gathered between 1961 and 2004 from weather stations across Spain to see whether such a pattern existed. They claim to have found it in Spain, as well as hints of weekly changes in air circulation more broadly over western Europe (Geophysical Research Letters, DOI: 10.1029/2008GL034160).

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Expert Says Days of 'Easy Water' Are Over

By Dorian Jones
The fifth World Water Forum opened on Monday in Istanbul, Turkey. Thousands of people are at the meeting - from heads of state and environmental and business leaders to scientists and activists - to discuss ways to manage and conserve the precious resource. The meeting comes as the United Nations warns of potential conflicts over water scarcity.

Water scarcity is one of the key issues dominating the Forum. Last week, the United Nations released its latest research on water, which paints a bleak picture of increasing demand and diminishing supplies.

UN report is wake-up call

Gerhard Payen is an adviser on water to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and President of The International Federation of Private Water Operators - association that connects international organizations with private sector providers of water and sanitation services. He says the U.N. report is an important wake up call to the world.

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NY Senate Is Said to Seek More in Income Tax From Wealthy

ALBANY — Democratic leaders in the State Senate will seek income tax increases on at least some affluent New Yorkers and a sales tax increase of a quarter of 1 percent to help balance the state budget, a Senate official with knowledge of the plans said in an interview over the weekend.

“The hole is too deep to dig ourselves out by cuts alone,” said the Senate official, speaking on the condition of anonymity because the details of the proposal were still being hammered out. “The debate now is over where to start.”

The move by Senate Democrats, who have a slim majority, will significantly increase pressure on Gov. David A. Paterson, who has said he would consider raising income taxes only as a last resort and only after the Legislature had agreed to steep cuts in state spending.

Mr. Paterson’s original budget blueprint called for increased sales taxes on specific items, including theater tickets and non-diet soda, though he backed away from many of them last week.

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AIG ships billions in bailout abroad

By: Eamon Javers
March 15, 2009 07:40 PM EST
Billions of American taxpayer dollars used to bailout insurance giant AIG are flowing to some of the largest foreign banks in the world, according to new documents released by beleaguered company Sunday.

The revelation seemed sure to cause political complications for President Barack Obama and his economic team, already on the defensive Sunday over why they couldn’t stop AIG from doling out $165 million in bonuses to some of its top corporate officials – even as the company was receiving a massive infusion of taxpayer funds.

The documents AIG released account for some of the more than $180 billion in aid that AIG has received, and they detailed for the first time which financial firms are benefitting from the federal handout.
In all, AIG disclosed payments of $105.3 billion between September and December 2008. And some of the biggest recipients were European banks. Societe Generale, based in France, was the top foreign recipient at $11.9 billion, Deutsche Bank of Germany got $11.8 billion and Barclays, based in England, was paid $8.5 billion.

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Ontario Bans Pesticides for Earth Day

The province of Ontario, Canada has established a ban on cosmetic pesticides that will take effect on April 22, 2009 – Earth Day. Ontario residents will no longer be able to apply pesticides to lawns, gardens, parks or schoolyards.

The province-wide ban covers a wide variety of herbicides, fungicides and insecticides that will no longer be available for cosmetic use. More than 250 products will be banned for sale and an estimated 80 pesticide ingredients will be banned for cosmetic uses in Ontario.

Ontario is the second province to ban cosmetic pesticide use in Canada. Quebec enacted a similar ban in 2006. Ontario’s new regulations surpass existing restrictions placed on pesticide use in Quebec.

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