Monday, March 9, 2009

NtM - March 9, 2009

News That Matters
Brought to you by PlanPutnam.Org

High on a hill was a lonely goatherd,
Lay ee odl lay ee odl lay hee hoo
Loud was the voice of the lonely goatherd,
Lay ee odl lay ee odl-oo!

Good Monday Morning,

Tonight begins the festival of Purim. It is traditional to be so happy that we escaped annihilation (again) that one will imbibe so much that we temporarily forget the difference between Haman (kind of like a Valdemort with a bad accent) and Mordechai (the good guy) all the while making as much joyous noise as possible! I've posted a recipe for Hamentaschen (pronounced as "hoo' men-ta-shen" (oo as in hoof, not roof)) at the blog. Check it out. Make a couple dozen and get the slivovitz ready! If your neighbors complain, invite them in. They can't hear the noise from your house when they're in it.

A reader mentioned the other day that she had some trouble logging into our website at If you are also having a problem, please let me know and what sort of internet connect you have and who your carrier is.

What's in the News:

  1. Putnam grapples with surge in DWI arrests
  2. Protesters target U.S. foreclosed-homes auctioneer
  3. Help a River by Organizing a River Cleanup
  4. Great Lakes: The Next Great Offshore Wind Power Source
  5. Iraq's urban sprawl, not looting, threatens Ninevah antiquities
  6. Hunter safety instructor removed after ordering 'liberals' from class
  7. Congress Takes Big Step Forward to Protect Clean Water, Public Health

Late last week we had some fun with a crime claimed by the Assemblyman Who Shall Not Be Named and as the weekend progressed I found it difficult to find anyone who believed the events took place as described. Community opinion was pretty unanimous: This was just another publicity stunt. Maybe. Maybe not. A police investigation is proceeding and I would hope the police will check out every lead - and every possibility.

As the story develops and works its way around the nation's news services there are all kinds of comments, posts and diatribes. One remarks that M-13 is to blame when The Assemblyman himself backed off that assumption in a different media interview. Another claims the message said "F*CK AMERICA" while another claims the message referred to him as either a Gay Prostitute or an American Prostitute. Since I have yet to find a direct image of the alleged message or a transcript from the police, I'm not sure how anyone can know for certain. We don't even know how the goat died. 'It appeared to be dragged' the Assemblyman said... was that a police perspective or one from the Assemblyman himself? Moreover, the Assemblyman's staff, rather than focus on the work of being an Assemblyman, spent untold hours photographing the goat and sending out press releases to every news organization in the English speaking world.

In all seriousness, I've been the victim of such threats in the past and the Kent PD was well aware of the situation as it developed and in the end resolved it - for a while at least. In the beginning, few believed that what I had been witnessing and experiencing was genuine. Many thought it my imagination or a creeping psychosis. But the fear was real as were the events as described in numerous police reports and in the end the perpetrator was tracked down, charged, spent a little time as a guest of Sheriff Donald Smith, stood before Judge Peter Collins and was sentenced. But he wasn't sentenced for long enough as he is free to walk the streets and terrorize others at will - as an event last week demonstrated. A psychopath will always be a psychopath.

If the Assemblyman was the target of a genuine personal threat I will sympathize with him for I have first-hand knowledge of what it's like. But his actions since last week do not engender sympathy. His message to the press should have been, "This is a personal matter that I've turned over to the police. Thank you."

The point here is that things are seldom what they seem, skim milk masquerades as cream... oh, sorry, wrong 19th century musical reference. Anyway though the Assemblyman Who Shall Not Be Named has been known to engage in headline grabbing derring-do, it would be wrong to assume more of that in this case, at least until the police complete their work.

However, I do offer this to him:
Errol Cockfield's Delicious Goat Pot Roast Recipe
5 pound goat shoulder
2 cups water
1 large onion
2 cloves garlic
Worcestershire sauce
5 medium potatoes
Put goat meat into roasting pot with water. Sprinkle well with salt, pepper and Worcestershire sauce. Add chopped onion and garlic. Put on lowest heat on stove. Cook for 5 hours. Add potatoes 1/2 hour before serving.

Website Watch:

Newseum: Front Pages. Ever want to see the front page of a newspaper in some other town... or country, for that matter? The Newseum, Washington's homage to the press corp can help you do just that. Any browser with Flash capabilities (which means most) will do it. Follow this... Thanks to BD for sending this along.

And now, the News:

  1. Putnam grapples with surge in DWI arrests
  2. Protesters target U.S. foreclosed-homes auctioneer
  3. Help a River by Organizing a River Cleanup
  4. Great Lakes: The Next Great Offshore Wind Power Source
  5. Iraq's urban sprawl, not looting, threatens Ninevah antiquities
  6. Hunter safety instructor removed after ordering 'liberals' from class
  7. Congress Takes Big Step Forward to Protect Clean Water, Public Health

Putnam grapples with surge in DWI arrests

Susan Elan
The Journal News

Arrests for drinking and driving surged by 35 percent in Putnam County in 2008, and District Attorney Adam Levy says it's time for action.

There were 633 driving-while-intoxicated arrests in 2008, up from 469 in 2007, Levy said. In 2006, there were 414 arrests, and in 2005, 439. In comparison, the number of DWI arrests in Westchester and Rockland counties has climbed in recent years but not as dramatically, and in Rockland, the number fell last year.

Levy cannot explain why the trend spiked upward in Putnam, but he wants to start an alcohol awareness program for first-time DWI offenders arrested in cases where there has been no accident or injury.

The pre-plea program would include a three-hour course plus 35 hours of community service to be served in Putnam. Defendants would pay up to $250 to attend.

Read More

Protesters target U.S. foreclosed-homes auctioneer

Sun Mar 8, 2009 6:26pm EDT

NEW YORK (Reuters) - An auction of foreclosed homes in New York City on Sunday drew protesters who blamed banks for an epidemic of home losses and called for a moratorium on evictions and foreclosures.

Two dozen people marched outside a Manhattan convention center where Real Estate Disposition Corp was auctioning off several hundred foreclosed homes, chanting and carrying signs reading "Banks get bailed out, people get thrown out."

The protesters said their argument was not with would-be homebuyers, who streamed into the auction without taking much notice, but with banks that had reaped benefits of government bailout funds after years of irresponsible lending practices.

Read More

Help a River by Organizing a River Cleanup

by Rebecca Wodder, American Rivers

Each year, an appalling amount of trash finds its way into our nation’s rivers and streams. These pollutants rob a river of its natural beauty and negatively affect the health of the river and surrounding communities.

But you can easily help remedy this situation by volunteering for -- or organizing -- a cleanup in your community during the 2009 National River Cleanup season, which is sponsored by American Rivers.

As Jeanne Ison, who has organized the Ohio River Sweep, said, “Not only does a cleanup event yield immediate benefits of a cleaner, more pleasing area, it will serve as a wonderful educational tool. Cleanup events motivate people to practice responsible habits and they pass these good habits on to others.”

Last year was the most successful National River Cleanup yet; 300,000 volunteers across the country removed toilets, satellite dishes, power tools, bowling pins, a pick up truck, picnic tables, televisions, and a bottle with $500 stuffed in it from our nations’ rivers. Overall, 2,400 tons of trash were removed from 56,000 river miles.

Read More

Great Lakes: The Next Great Offshore Wind Power Source

Written by Dave Tyler
Published on March 5th, 2009

Are we destined to see offshore wind farms cropping up all over the Great Lakes?

Presenters at the Michigan Wind Conference, which closed Wednesday in Detroit, think so. The bountiful prevailing winds and relatively shallow depths make the lakes excellent locations for farms, speakers told the more than 1,000 people attended the event, according to WWJ radio.

“Offshore wind is the next wave — lots of puns, folks, I warn you,” said Peter Mandelstam, founder and president of Bluewater Wind, LLC, of Delaware. “The Northeast and the Great Lakes are natural markets.”

Mandelstam also said the Great Lakes offer no significant water use conflicts and accessible transmission and ports. There’s also little opposition from the public if the turbines are built more than 10 miles from shore, he said.

Read More

Iraq's urban sprawl, not looting, threatens Ninevah antiquities

Growth threatens undiscovered layers of an empire that stretched from the Nile Valley to the Caucusus.

By Jane Arraf | Correspondent of The Christian Science Monitor

from the March 4, 2009 edition

Mosul, Iraq - Nine-year-old Younis struggles to open the large iron padlock to the gates of Ninevah.

Younis, letting in visitors late one afternoon to the ancient site, is named after the prophet Jonah, who is said to be buried within the city walls of the Assyrian capital. It's a popular name here in the modern city that has sprung up within the ancient walls, threatening the undiscovered layers of civilizations underneath.

"There is very little left of Ninevah now because of the encroachment," says Muzahim Hussein, director of antiquities in Ninevah Province. Mr. Hussein says renovation in the 1990s of the Nebi Younis mosque – dedicated to the prophet Jonah and built on the site of an older church – destroyed part of the ancient city, across the river from modern Mosul.

"There are many treasures under there, but archaeologists could not stop the renovation," says Hussein, who believes there is an Assyrian palace buried underneath the site. "The department of antiquities could not stop the renovations because it was done by President Saddam Hussein himself, and because religiously, it's a holy place and you can't excavate near it or under it."

Read More

Hunter safety instructor removed after ordering 'liberals' from class

by: RANDY KREHBIEL World Staff Writer
Friday, March 06, 2009
3/6/2009 7:31:26 PM

Thirteen-year-old Lane Dunkley just wanted to go hunting with his grandfather.

What he got was a lecture on politics.

Dunkley and his father Daniel Reddy, who live in Tulsa, went to Broken Arrow Tuesday night for a hunter safety course normally required to get an Oklahoma hunting license.

The class was a reward of sorts. Dunkley, who wants to go hunting with his aging grandfather, was told he could only if he brought his grades up.

So he did - to a B-plus average.

But when father and son arrived at the lesson, the volunteer instructor, Kell Wolf, asked if any of the students voted for President Obama.

Reddy, a transplanted Californian - and ex-Marine - raised his hand.

According to Reddy and others in the room, Wolf called Obama “the next thing to the Anti-Christ” and ordered Reddy and Dunkley from the room. When Reddy refused, Wolf said he would not teach “liberals” and would cancel the course if Reddy didn’t leave.

Read More

Congress Takes Big Step Forward to Protect Clean Water, Public Health

Thursday, March 5, 2009
By: American Rivers

Sewage "Right-to-Know" included in Clean Water State Revolving Fund

Contacts:  Katherine Baer, American Rivers, (202) 347-7550 x3053
               Angela Dicianno, American Rivers, (202) 243-7077

Washington, DC -- Every year, more than 860 billion gallons of raw and partially treated sewage foul America’s waters and threaten public health, but most people have no idea that these spills occur in their local rivers and streams. Today, lawmakers in the House took an important step towards changing that. The Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure included sewage right-to-know notification provisions in the Clean Water State Revolving Fund (SRF) reauthorization (H.R. 1262) that passed the Committee today.  The Clean Water SRF helps pay for critical stormwater, wastewater, and drinking water needs across the country. The sewage right-to-know provisions require public notification when a sewer spill has the potential to affect public health.  These safeguards were originally introduced as separate legislation in the 110th Congress by Representatives Timothy Bishop (D-NY) and Frank LoBiondo (R-NJ).  

Read More

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