Wednesday, April 1, 2009

NtM - April 1, 2009

News That Matters
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Good Wednesday Morning,

The Putnam Valley Farmer's Market is back for another season. Each Wednesday (that's today) from 2-6PM they'll be at the Grange Hall at Adams Corners. Peekskill Hollow Road and Mill Street. Tell them PlanPutnam sent you.

WCBS Radio has published a short report on visiting Fahnestock State Park. They get the locations of a lot of things wrong like placing Breakneck ridge within the park, but heck, we're recognized! Now all we need to do is find a way to capture some of the money those tourists will be bringing with them.

Come this weekend, Arts on the Lake is hosting a very special event called, "Shorts on the Lake". Shorts consists of six new plays directed by Patterson's Tony Howarth. Plays presented will be, The Mannequins by James Shearwood, The Graveyard Shift by Gabrielle Fox, Mondays at Eight by Linda Giuliano, Cuddle Time by Keely Madden, The Soul of the Violin by Margaret M. Merrill, adapted by Midhat Serbagi and Sally in the Middle by Tony Howarth. Players are Angela Bowman, Fred Rueck, Lora Lee Ecobelli*, Laurel Lettieri, Jon Barb, Midhat Serbagi, Bruce Iacono, Margi Condyles, Fidel Fonteboa, Zulie Lozada and Sean Hopkins (see image at right). Visit their website for reservations.

In a deal reached during the last days of the Bush administration, companies receiving bailout money from the Federal government can take the money while out-sourcing jobs overseas. The Obama administration has taken to being a bit more than peeved at this and are demanding accountability. Right-wing radio show hosts are blaming the Obama administration forgetting, quite conveniently, when this particular deal was made. Yet  at the same time they're also saying that the government should not be interfering in the works of American corporations, claiming we're on the road to "European style socialism". What I want to know is how come these people can have it both ways and not be chastised or even called on it by their audiences. What's with that? Are Limbaugh and Hannity's listeners that dumb?

The Passover Seder, the oldest continuously observed religious ceremony in the world, tells the story of the Jews' Exodus from Egypt. Jewish tradition says that people of each generation must imagine that they personally had departed from Egypt, and the sages say that each generation must tell the story in its own terms. The sages probably did not intend this: Moses is Departing Egypt:  A Facebook Haggadah

At 74 years old, Canadian singer Leonard Cohen is in the latter part of his first tour in years and has sold out every single venue. For a guy who didn't have much of a career a year ago, he's finally getting the recognition he deserves. He's playing the Palace in Waterbury on May 14th and Radio City on May 16 and 17. If anyone has a couple of tickets for any of these shows that you can't use please send them my way.

In response to tighter US border controls that require Americans visiting Canada to hold valid passports (at $95 bucks each - if you can afford it) and that has caused 2 mile long traffic jams, the Canadian Parliament is drafting a wide-ranging new treaty agreement with the United States. If approved,

Remember that Friday is our weekly Things To Do edition of News That Matters so if your group, club or organization has something planned for the weekend you want us to know about, please let me know.

And now, the News:

  1. Greg Ball Sleeps With a Gun Under His Bed Now
  2. Forging a Hot Link to the Farmer Who Grows the Food
  3. 92,000 Acres Sold in Adirondacks, With Protection Pledge
  4. President Obama Signs Historic Wild and Scenic River Bill into Law
  5. Drop In Daddy Long Legs Is Devastating Bird Populations
  6. The Government's War on Teenagers
  7. Sanders Puts Single-Payer On the Agenda

Greg Ball Sleeps With a Gun Under His Bed Now

By Jimmy Vielkind
Assemblyman Greg Ball

ALBANY—Before his chamber began debating this year's $131.8 billion budget, I asked Assemblyman Greg Ball how the investigation was proceeding into the dead goat found outside his house.

"It's going well," he said. "Every day I come home and look at the end of my driveway. And I've got a shotgun under my bed now."

I made a joke about Kirsten Gillibrand. He laughed.

"Only I moved it there instead of moving it away," he said, noting that it's a 12-gauge Benelli. "It was in the corner, now it's 20 feet closer."

Jimmy Vielkind can be reached via email at

Read the original

Forging a Hot Link to the Farmer Who Grows the Food


America, meet your farmer.

The maker of Stone-Buhr flour, a popular brand in the western United States, is encouraging its customers to reconnect with their lost agrarian past, from the comfort of their computer screens. Its Find the Farmer Web site and special labels on the packages let buyers learn about and even contact the farmers who produced the wheat that went into their bag of flour.

The underlying idea, broadly called traceability, is in fashion in many food circles these days. Makers of bananas, chocolates and other foods are also using the Internet to create relationships between consumers and farmers, mimicking the once-close ties that were broken long ago by industrialized food manufacturing.

Traceability can be good for more than just soothing the culinary consciences of foodies. Congress is also studying the possibility of some kind of traceability measure as a way to minimize the impact of food scares like the recent peanut salmonella crisis.

Read More

92,000 Acres Sold in Adirondacks, With Protection Pledge


The Nature Conservancy has sold 92,000 acres of forest in the Adirondacks to a Danish pension fund as part of a long-term strategy to protect the land from development.

The pension fund, ATP, paid $32.8 million for the acreage. The fund will benefit from tax credits related to a planned New York State conservation easement on the land that prohibits development but allows recreation and logging under strict sustainable forestry standards. RMK Timberland Group will manage the land for the pension fund.

Officials at the conservancy, an international nonprofit environmental group, said the transaction struck a balance between protection of wild lands and the region’s economic interests. Not only will it maintain environmentally responsible logging operations, they said, but it will create the opportunity for moneymaking recreational uses in areas that have been closed to the public.

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President Obama Signs Historic Wild and Scenic River Bill into Law

Monday, March 30, 2009
By: American Rivers

American Rivers applauds permanent protection for 86 rivers, totaling 1,100 miles, in seven states

David Moryc, American Rivers,  503-307-1137 (cell)
Caitlin Jennings, American Rivers, 202-347-7550 ext. 3100

Washington, DC American Rivers applauded President Barack Obama today for signing into the law the second largest Wild and Scenic Rivers package in history. The Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009 designates 86 new Wild and Scenic Rivers, totaling over 1,100 miles in Oregon, Idaho, Arizona, Wyoming, Utah, California, and Massachusetts. The legislation includes important protections for 350,000 acres of land along the rivers and also contains new Wilderness designations for over two million acres of public land.

Rebecca Wodder, President of American Rivers, the nation’s leading river conservation organization, attended the signing ceremony at the White House.

Read More

Drop In Daddy Long Legs Is Devastating Bird Populations

ScienceDaily (Mar. 30, 2009) — Warm summers are dramatically reducing populations of daddy long legs, which in turn is having a severe impact on the bird populations which rely on them for food.

New research by a team of bird experts, including Newcastle University’s Dr Mark Whittingham, spells out for the first time how climate change may affect upland bird species like the golden plover – perhaps pushing it towards local extinction by the end of the century.

It also points a way forward to how we can attempt to strengthen habitats to help wildlife adapt to our changing climate and prevent such consequences.

Previous research has shown how changes in the timing of the golden plover breeding season as a result of increasing spring temperatures might affect their ability to match the spring emergence of their cranefly (daddy long legs) prey.

Read More

The Government's War on Teenagers

By Fred E. Foldvary, Senior Editor, March 30, 2009

It is said by physiologists that the human brains are not fully developed until the child has become an adult. Teenagers do not have full cognitive powers, which is a good reason to keep them minors, without the full right of self-determination that adults have. Also, teenagers have not had sufficient life experience to enable them to make sound judgments. They can be easily swayed by impulsive emotions and giddy feelings. Teenagers need to be seasoned by sadness and hard times in order to gain perspective.

The “teenager” is an artificial construct of modern society. In ancient times, there were no teenagers. A boy of age 13 would be initiated into manhood. He would become apprenticed to learn a trade, or he would become a worker on the farm. When they were able to have children, girls would be initiated into womanhood and get married. They would not go on dates and to teenage drinking parties. The parents or matchmakers would select their mates, and their sexual drives would be satisfied in marriage. Having children would make the young parents responsible adults. The community would be the village, not the teenage party.

Today’s teenage culture is a product of mass society, compulsory schooling, and the government dominance of education. Put a mass of teenagers together, and we get trouble, folks. We get youth gangs. Force them to sit silently in rows in a dull classroom, and we get drug abuse. Tell them not to have sex, while they can’t stop thinking about it, and we get teen pregnancies.

Read More

Sanders Puts Single-Payer On the Agenda

posted by John Nichols on 03/30/2009 @ 2:42pm

While the one reform that could cure what ails America's health care system has attracted plenty of adherents in the House -- 72 members have signed on as backers of House Judiciary Committee chair John Conyers' single-payer proposal and others back a plan introduced by Washington Democrat Jim McDermott's legislation -- there has not been a Senate proposal to rally around.

Until now.

That's what makes Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders' proposed "American Health Security Act of 2009" such an important piece of legislation. In addition to being the first single-payer bill introduced in the Senate since the mid-1990s -- when the late Paul Wellstone, D-Minnesota, sponsored a bill similar to the plan now being advanced by Sanders -- it raises the profile of the doctors, nurses, patients and other campaigners who are trying to tell the Obama administration and its congressional allies that the legislative compromises they entertain are doomed to fail.

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