Monday, August 24, 2009

News That Matters - August 24th, 2009

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Found on the 'net:
Sorbitol, a sugar alcohol, is sometimes used as a laxative in large doses. It is used in many different brands of sugar free gum. Of course, if you chew gum like a normal person, you'll probably never notice. If you go through several packs a day, well, that's a different story.
Good Monday Morning,

Congratulations to the Hudson Highlands Land Trust for securing a $2000 grant to help the Village of Cold Spring replace existing waterfront lighting with bollard style lighting. This will help remove much of the glare that the current lighting produces and allow better views of the river and use less electricity at the same time.

Website Watch:
From Transit Miami : Redefining Suburbia

Back in July we alerted TM readers to Dwell Magazine’s ReBurbia competition. Well, the submissions are in, and unsurprisingly, the 20 finalists are filled with super creative, but fantastical, totally outrageous proposals. We know suburbia needs retrofitting. The 20th century was about building the damn thing, but seeing the results, we have to use the 21st century to correct all of the ills proffered by such an untenable way of organizing the built environment.  Indeed, retrofitting suburbia is likely to be  the biggest collective project for 21st century urban planners. Visit the site here.
Candidate Forums:
The League of Women Voters will hold a forum for candidates in Patterson this evening at 7PM at the VFW Hall in Putnam Lake.

The Concerned Residents of Carmel/Mahopac (CRCM) will hold a Candidates Forum tomorrow, Tuesday, August 25th, at 7:00 PM at the Mahopac Library on Route 6.
When I got into this campaign I had no idea it was so, well, strange. See, there's these two parallel universes: The first is the one we see, the one where everyone is working together and getting along. The second lies just under the first, running in parallel, and there everyone is stabbing each other in the back.

Last week a young man was reported missing in Southeast. A manhunt ensued and in the end the boy was found locked away in the County jail under an assumed name. Candidates for Sheriff jumped on Don Smith demanding an explanation. How could you not even know the names of the people you had locked up? Why did you cost the taxpayers so much time and money when you had this kid all along? On and on and on...
Imagine their false indignation if the Sheriff had *not* gone looking for him and something bad had actually happened.
It must have been a slow news weekend since as of last evening 33 of you have read the full post about Acosta and the porcupine and my impending homelessness due to the bills. I wonder if there's health insurance for dogs?

And now, The News:

Westchester launches program to control deer population

Stacy A. Anderson

In efforts to control the growing deer population, Westchester County is seeking bowhunters to work 850 acres of county parkland in the fall.

Selected participants, who must live in the county and pass a proficiency test, will be allowed to hunt deer in sections of Muscoot Farm Park and Lasdon Park in Somers beginning Nov 7.

The hunting program was one recommendation from a county study to control the deer population released in November.

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Kent voters face packed ballot

Michael Risinit

KENT - Candidates for two Kent Town Board seats seemed to agree on many issues this week at a forum inside Lake Carmel Community Center.

Sharing services among municipalities to save money received a thumbs-up, including from Jeff Green, a registered Green Party member running on the Democratic line.

Everyone agreed the town needed to increase its insurance coverage following the recent Kent Manor decision. The town last month settled a long-running lawsuit over construction delays involving the 269-unit townhome project. The developers were awarded $1.5 million, with the town's insurance carrier paying $1.25 million and the rest of the cash judgment coming from the town's coffers.

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Take Advantage of Incentives for Home Energy Efficiency and High MPG Cars

Get the scoop on how you can get paid to go green, and save money down the road.

EarthTalk is a Q&A column from E/The Environmental Magazine

Dear EarthTalk: Since Obama took office, have any new incentives been put in place for homeowners looking to increase energy efficiency and reduce the overall environmental footprints of their homes?-- Rob Felton, Little Rock, AK

In fact, yes. Homeowners can get up to $1,500 back from the federal government for any number of energy efficiency upgrades at home. If you upgrade to energy efficient insulation, windows, doors, heating, air conditioning or water heaters between January 1, 2009 and December 31, 2010, you are eligible for a tax credits of up to 30% of product costs.

The credit is capped at $1,500 combined; meaning it only applies to $5,000 in total costs. More details are available at the website of the Tax Incentives Assistance Project, a coalition of public interest nonprofit groups, government agencies and other organizations focused on energy efficiency.

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Wind turbine highlights green goals at grounds

Bigger tent to feature information about recycling, alternative energy

By Rasheed Oluwa
Poughkeepsie Journal

RHINEBECK - The Green Initiative, which began a year ago, was easy to miss at last year's Dutchess County Fair. It was located inside a small tent that could be lost amid the swirl of activity at the fair's 4-H pavilion.

This year, officials said the Green Initiative will be bigger and better when the fair opens Tuesday. If anyone wants evidence of this, all they need to do is look upward at the 35-foot-tall wind turbine installed on the fairgrounds Saturday. The turbine is part of a yearlong study into the feasibility of wind energy at the fairgrounds.

"Last year, we were in a 10-by-10-foot tent," said Laurie Rich, coordinator for the Green Initiative. "This year, the Green Initiative tent is in the infield and it is 20 feet by 40 feet. The theme for this year is green energy and recycling. We also have some incredibly exciting companies coming in this year."

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How We Support Our False Beliefs

ScienceDaily (Aug. 23, 2009) — In a study published in the most recent issue of the journal Sociological Inquiry, sociologists from four major research institutions focus on one of the most curious aspects of the 2004 presidential election: the strength and resilience of the belief among many Americans that Saddam Hussein was linked to the terrorist attacks of 9/11.

Although this belief influenced the 2004 election, they claim it did not result from pro-Bush propaganda, but from an urgent need by many Americans to seek justification for a war already in progress.

The findings may illuminate reasons why some people form false beliefs about the pros and cons of health-care reform or regarding President Obama's citizenship, for example.

The study, "There Must Be a Reason: Osama, Saddam and Inferred Justification" calls such unsubstantiated beliefs "a serious challenge to democratic theory and practice" and considers how and why it was maintained by so many voters for so long in the absence of supporting evidence.

Co-author Steven Hoffman, Ph.D., visiting assistant professor of sociology at the University at Buffalo, says, "Our data shows substantial support for a cognitive theory known as 'motivated reasoning,' which suggests that rather than search rationally for information that either confirms or disconfirms a particular belief, people actually seek out information that confirms what they already believe.

"In fact," he says, "for the most part people completely ignore contrary information.

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Competition lacking among private health insurers


WASHINGTON — One of the most widely accepted arguments against a government medical plan for the middle class is that it would quash competition — just what private insurers seem to be doing themselves in many parts of the U.S.

Several studies show that in lots of places, one or two companies dominate the market. Critics say monopolistic conditions drive up premiums paid by employers and individuals.

For Democrats, the answer is a public plan that would compete with private insurers. Republicans see that as a government power grab. President Barack Obama looks to be trapped in the middle of an argument that could sink his effort to overhaul the health care system.

Even lawmakers opposed to a government plan have problems with the growing clout of the big private companies.

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The Brutal Truth About America’s Healthcare

by: Guy Adams  |  Visit article original @ The Independent UK

Clinic at the Forum.
On the first day of the clinic, Remote Area Medical founder Stan Brock, left,
announces the ground rules for participants. (Photo: Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)

    They came in their thousands, queuing through the night to secure one of the coveted wristbands offering entry into a strange parallel universe where medical care is a free and basic right and not an expensive luxury. Some of these Americans had walked miles simply to have their blood pressure checked, some had slept in their cars in the hope of getting an eye-test or a mammogram, others had brought their children for immunisations that could end up saving their life.

    In the week that Britain's National Health Service was held aloft by Republicans as an "evil and Orwellian" example of everything that is wrong with free healthcare, these extraordinary scenes in Inglewood, California yesterday provided a sobering reminder of exactly why President Barack Obama is trying to reform the US system.

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Space Shuttle Launch Visible from East Coast

By Joe Rao Skywatching Columnist

People in the eastern United States will get a great opportunity, weather permitting, to see the space shuttle Discovery launched into orbit early Tuesday morning. And it might also be the final opportunity ever to see a nighttime shuttle launch.

This flight (STS-128) will be the 30th to rendezvous and dock with the International Space Station (ISS), and the glow of the shuttle's engines will be visible along much of the Eastern Seaboard. A map shows the area of visibility.

To reach the space station, Discovery must be launched when Earth's rotation carries the launch pad into the plane of the station's orbit. For mission STS-128, that will happen at 1:36:05 a.m. ET on Tuesday, resulting (if all goes as planned) in NASA's second nighttime launch of a space shuttle in 2009 (the most recent was March 15).

As has been the case with other launches to the ISS, Tuesday's liftoff will bring the shuttle's path nearly parallel to the U.S. East Coast.

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Made in China: A stinking, rotting mess?

Thousands of Americans allege Chinese drywall is ruining their homes and making them sick.

By Cindy Skrzycki - GlobalPost

PITTSBURGH, Pennsylvania — On the outside, they are new and sunny looking. On the inside, they are strange-smelling and rotting. These are the thousands of new houses built in the United States within the past few years that owners allege may contain yet another problem export from China: bad drywall.

Since 2006, new home owners in 23 states have been suffering from what they say are odorous batches of corrosive drywall that were imported from at least one gypsum mine in China and used by U.S home builders.

Owners say their houses smell like rotten eggs and are causing breathing problems and skin irritations. They worry their homes have become worthless as air conditioners and other mechanical parts corrode and become non-functioning. The problem is thought to be high levels of sulfur-compound gases being released from the drywall.

Read More

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