Monday, June 15, 2009

News That Matters - June 15, 2009

News That Matters
Brought to you (Almost Daily) by PlanPutnam.Org

"It's almost, a little bit, gallows politics. When you read behind it, it's almost as if he's wishing that this country would be attacked again, in order to make his point."

Good Monday Morning,

First, let me peel the dog off me. He became cellularly intertwined at some point just before the thunderstorm ran through here earlier this morning. I have no idea what time it was but I started having dreams of chasing rabbits and knew something was up. He's become such a chicken in his middle age!

The weekend sure turned out okay. Once the skies cleared as best they could and I got back from a mid-afternoon meeting, I took the dog out for a romp on some old, hidden roads I know about that run for more than a mile over hill and dale, into a deep clove with bus-sized blocks of bedrock calved off the cliffs, up over a ridge with a nice view and back down again skirting a luscious wetland. The more I explore that  area the more old farm roads I find. It's not like you can actually *see* the road but if you look with a trained eye at the lay of the land and the age of the trees and brush they become readily apparent. The best part is, I think I'm the only one who knows where they are since I've never seen any evidence of someone passing before. And all that right here in Kent.

But, where is summer? The normal temperature for today should be in the upper 70s but will have a hard time reaching the lower 70s at all today, tomorrow and Wednesday. In fact, since the late freeze (remember May 20th!) it's been cool, cloudy and rainy, weather more befitting New Foundland and Nova Scotia than the Hudson Valley. I guess we now live in a temperate rain forest. Can banana slugs be far behind?

Swine Flu has hit the Hudson Valley with our first death from the disease.

Bob Bondi is in the news again, this time it's the continuation of the story as to why he refuses to continue the septic replacement program we fought so hard to get in the first place. It's a sad tale. See the story below.

Now that retired Republican Senator Joe Bruno and Nassau county executive Tom Suozzi have both changed their minds and now support full civil rights for New Yorkers, can Senator Leibell be far behind? Call him and tell him to get on board.

Father's Day is just around the corner and if you're still stuck coming up with the perfect gift, look no longer. Hammacher Schlemmer is offering a 6' radio controlled model of the HMS Titanic that can reach 5mph on still water from three rechargeable 550 Watt electric motors.
400 man-hours were required to construct the 300 individual pieces that make up this historic plaything with mahogany and cedar used for details and injection molded plastic used for windows and other parts. Learning from history, so long as you float your boat in warm weather, you'll get more than a single use from it. The craft is $2500, does not come with a pre-recorded tape of 1500 screaming and wailing men, women and children and batteries are also not included.
Freedom Watch:

There were elections, after a sort, in Iran the other day. The winner, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, seems to have won by a much larger tally of the vote than pre-election polls indicated. According to returns he won in all 30 provinces and across the entire demographic spectrum, a highly unlikely situation since younger voters have shown a distinct movement towards freedom in recent years, sending democrats to office in many Iranian provinces.
Immediately, opposition party members and supporters of former Prime Minister Mir Hossein Mousavi, took to the streets demanding the tally be recounted polling place by polling place. The government refused. But there's no way they can recount the votes. Iran has no independent election commission nor were foreign observers allowed access. Even Hugo Chavez' Venezuela allows independent verification. It's not that unlike the old Nassau County/Town of Hempstead single-party machine whose corruption was so widespread it eventually came tumbling down under its own weight.
Opposition supporters took to the streets in peaceful demonstrations which turned violent after government troops used concussion grenades and tear gas and began beating women and children and marking buildings from which opposition slogans were chanted. After eye-witnesses reported the beatings from police forces, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said they were similar to nothing more than issuing a traffic ticket.

Then, in an effort to show how magnanimous the government was, they began expelling foreign press. As of this morning, the only news out of Iran is coming over the 'net from residents who have not yet had their internet connections cut as is happening across the country. Hundreds of opposition leaders have been arrested and beaten. It's a mess.

The true test of Iran's commitment to democracy would be at 4PM Tehran time today when Mousavi's green clad supporters take to the streets in demonstrations that have already been outlawed by the government. It's after 5PM there now and as of this moment (08:45) there are no reports coming from Tehran.

If you're interested in following events from Iran point your web browsers to Facebook, You-tube, Twitter and Flickr. So far these venues are still open. If you can read Persian, here's the "official" news.

And now, The News:

  1. Putnam lawmakers, county exec may end up in court over septic money
  2. Hudson River: Celebration, but commitment is vital
  3. Hudson River makes great strides in cleanup, says EnCon commissioner
  4. Mass. looks to landfills, military for wind power
  5. Let's Create Housing Policies Young People Can Afford
  6. Coal Ash Spills Too Dangerous To Reveal To Public, Says DHS
  7. New DEC regulations adopted and effective May 13, 2009
  8. Military Hush-Up: Incoming Space Rocks Now Classified
  9. CIA chief believes Cheney almost wants US attacked

Putnam lawmakers, county exec may end up in court over septic money

Susan Elan

The Putnam Legislature's Health Committee has threatened to sue County Executive Robert Bondi over his refusal to spend an additional $2 million in watershed funds to extend a popular repair program for failing home septic systems.

At the same time, the state office in Albany that oversees East of Hudson Water Quality Investment Funds has thrown out Bondi's objection to the additional spending, saying that under the New York City Watershed Agreement he may not object to actions taken by Putnam's legislative arm.

Last month, the county Legislature unanimously overrode Bondi's veto of its resolution allocating $2 million to continue the septic repair program. Bondi has countered by refusing to spend the money. The watershed fund contains more than $14 million.

Read More

Hudson River: Celebration, but commitment is vital

A NYJN Editorial

Whether you viewed the 400th-anniversary flotilla from Yonkers’ industrial waterfront, the Cold Spring Dock or the stunning heights of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, there was no mistaking that the river Henry Hudson navigated in 1609 is a river worth celebrating. Thousands came out last weekend to enjoy the parade of historic boats. The excitement flowed on into the week, with a Hudson River Summit and an announcement of renewed cooperation among the river’s greatest advocates.

While there is no shortage of good will for the river these days, there is a shortage of money. Nonetheless, there are things that policy-makers can do now, using the economic downturn as a breather, a time-out on the frenzied riverfront development, to work toward a cleaner, more user-friendly river in years to come.

Read More

Hudson River makes great strides in cleanup, says EnCon commissioner

MID-HUDSON – Some 40 years ago, the Hudson River was considered a lost hope, highly polluted and toxic.

That has changed since then thanks to the efforts of a handful of now-powerful environmental organizations, communities and individuals.

The Quadricentennial celebrations are, in many respects, the culmination of those efforts, state Environmental Conservation Commissioner Pete Grannis told

Read More

Mass. looks to landfills, military for wind power

BOSTON — Massachusetts is searching for every blustery nook and cranny it can find to boost wind energy production, from the tops of former dumps to a vast military reservation.

Gov. Deval Patrick has set a state goal of generating 2,000 megawatts of wind power by the year 2020 — an effort that may require up to 3,000 wind turbines.

So far, the state boasts a mere 11 commercial-scale turbines and dozens of smaller ones.

Read More

Let's Create Housing Policies Young People Can Afford

A developer offers proven paths to cheaper rentals.
By Howard Rotberg
Published: June 12, 2009

In less than a year, we in British Columbia have participated in federal, municipal and provincial elections. Why haven't housing policy and housing affordability been major themes in any of those contests?

Housing prices in Greater Vancouver are down a bit, but there still remains a crisis in affordability for both owned and rental housing.  Young people, those aged 35 and under, are the ones most disadvantaged in our present housing system. Yet few understand how the system is stacked against them, and why politicians from all levels of government are mostly silent about an issue that is so important for their quality of life. 

Allow me then to explain the perverted priorities of our housing system at every level of government. And then to offer a few proven policies that could make renting in the Vancouver region far more affordable -- if the political will is there to do it.

Read More

Coal Ash Spills Too Dangerous To Reveal To Public, Says DHS

Just how bad has the coal ash situation gotten in the United States? So bad that the Department of Homeland Security has told Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) that her committee can't publicly disclose the location of coal ash dumps across the country.

The pollution is so toxic, so dangerous, that an enemy of the United States -- or a storm or some other disrupting event -- could easily cause them to spill out and lay waste to any area nearby.

There are 44 sites deemed by the Environmental Protection Agency to be high hazard, but Boxer said she isn't allowed to talk about them other than to senators in the states affected. "There is a huge muzzle on me and my staff," she said.

"Homeland Security and the Army Corps [of Engineers] have decided in the interests of national security they can't make these sites known," she said.

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New DEC regulations adopted and effective May 13, 2009

June 12, 2009 by newyorkoutdoors

On May 13, 2009 the DEC finally adopted the proposed amendments to the lands and forest regulations that had first been proposed in May of 2008.

These new rules apply to both the forest preserve (a/k/a the Adirondack Park) and all state lands under DEC control outside of the forest preserve, a/k/a unique areas, state forests, reforestation areas, multiple use areas, environmentally sensitive lands or those rights owned and managed by the State as conservation easements.

Here are the highlights:

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Military Hush-Up: Incoming Space Rocks Now Classified

By Leonard David's Space Insider Columnist
posted: 10 June 2009
05:35 pm ET

For 15 years, scientists have benefited from data gleaned by U.S. classified satellites of natural fireball events in Earth's atmosphere – but no longer.

A recent U.S. military policy decision now explicitly states that observations by hush-hush government spacecraft of incoming bolides and fireballs are classified secret and are not to be released, has learned.

The satellites' main objectives include detecting nuclear bomb tests, and their characterizations of asteroids and lesser meteoroids as they crash through the atmosphere has been a byproduct data bonanza for scientists.

The upshot: Space rocks that explode in the atmosphere are now classified.

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CIA chief believes Cheney almost wants US attacked

Sun Jun 14, 2009 4:07pm EDT
WASHINGTON, June 14 (Reuters) - CIA director Leon Panetta says it's almost as if former vice president Dick Cheney would like to see another attack on the United States to prove he is right in criticizing President Barack Obama for abandoning the "harsh interrogation" of terrorism suspects.

"I think he smells some blood in the water on the national security issue," Panetta said in an interview published in The New Yorker magazine's June 22 issue.

"It's almost, a little bit, gallows politics. When you read behind it, it's almost as if he's wishing that this country would be attacked again, in order to make his point."

Read More

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