Wednesday, September 9, 2009

News That Matters - September 9, 2009

News That Matters
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"That's the trouble with this group: there's always the risk that some unprincipled bastard will sink so low as to use facts and reasoned argument to scotch our silly suggestions and stifle our surreal speculations."
 - From the 'net.

Good Wednesday Morning,

If the sly is clear this evening take a look upwards to see the International Space Station overhead. It will be  closest (226 miles above us) at 7:09PM but watch a moment earlier to watch it rise from the southwest.

Andy DeStefano has dropped out of the Sheriff's race citing family problems that will take him out of the country for a time. Personally, I'm not sorry to see him go. Regular, long-term readers of the Brewster10509 list will remember he had some pretty nasty things to say about me and my friends and our ability to speak our minds on national issues and his respect for the same. This leaves Sheriff Smith and Judge Borkowski in the Republican primary next Tuesday.
For other primaries the county Board of Elections has posted a list of candidates names who will appear in various races across the county. Though sample ballots are not yet posted, the list of candidates can be found here. (PDF) It's a special thing for me to see my name posted for the Independence Party primary here in Kent as I never thought I'd see the day I'd be running for office. I'm telling you, one day I'm going to write a book entitled, "Local Politics And The People Who Really Run Your Town".
It's a good thing many local school districts refused to broadcast the President's speech to school children yesterday. Here are some outrageously socialistic quotes from the speech:
"At the end of the day, we can have the most dedicated teachers, the most supportive parents, and the best schools in the world - and none of it will matter unless all of you fulfill your responsibilities. Unless you show up to those schools; pay attention to those teachers; listen to your parents, grandparents and other adults; and put in the hard work it takes to succeed."

"But at the end of the day, the circumstances of your life – what you look like, where you come from, how much money you have, what you’ve got going on at home – that’s no excuse for neglecting your homework or having a bad attitude. That’s no excuse for talking back to your teacher, or cutting class, or dropping out of school. That’s no excuse for not trying. "

"And that's what I want to focus on today: the responsibility each of you has for your education. I want to start with the responsibility you have to yourself. Every single one of you has something you're good at. Every single one of you has something to offer. And you have a responsibility to yourself to discover what that is. That's the opportunity an education can provide."

If you have the stomach to read more of that socialist claptrap, you can do so here. Personal responsibility? Staying in school? The nerve of that man!

While we're protecting children from the evils of personal responsibility and public education, pretty much anyone paying attention knows the DARE program does not work.
The program's own studies show that students who complete the program are statistically more likely to engage in dangerous substance abuse later in life than those who complete other programs. One of the programs that does work and that can save communities money by taking police out of our classrooms and putting them back on the streets is called "Communities that Care".
According to a study recently completed by the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, communities who have engaged the program show a 37% decline in teenage binge drinking, hard drug use and other anti-social behavior. You can learn more about Communities that Care here, here and here.
And, while we were away...

Boy Scouts are no longer allowed to carry scouting knives in England, not even to camps or to meetings. The official scouting news said, "Scouting helps to prepare young people with valuable life skills, while keeping them safe by not carrying knives." Next, no helping little old ladies cross the street.

A twelve year old student in Southhaven, Mississippi had his cell phone confiscated when he received a text message from his father who was away, traveling, on business. After the phone was confiscated (school rules) The contents of the phone were searched by the principal and finally the police (against school rules) who expelled the boy for "gang-related activity" found on the phone. That activity included a picture of him and a friend dancing in the bathroom, his friend holding a BB gun across his chest. A civil rights lawsuit is pending.

Gary Crutchley was taking pictures of children going down an inflatable slide recently when the slide operator told him to stop. A women in the queue argued he would be posting them to a pedophile website. Police were called. Mayhem ensued. The problem was, they were his own children. Said Mr. Crutchley,  "It is very sad when every man with a camera enjoying a Sunday afternoon out in the park with his children is automatically assumed to be a pervert."

Website Watch:

PostSecret is an ongoing community art project where people mail in their secrets anonymously on one side of a postcard. While that may sound voyeuristic, it is quite moving and often reaffirming. One of those postcards is reproduced here ->

A friend of mine commented a while back that he believes I "discriminate" against conservatives by not running any stories from their point of view. I mentioned that I'm allowed to do that just as FOXNews is allowed to broadcast fiction as fact and myth as reality. Nevertheless, in deference to him I'm posting a story below that should satisfy his need for inclusion in these pages.

"Whoso would be a man must be a nonconformist."  - Ralph Waldo Emerson

And now, The News:
  1. Inn for tourists being discussed for downtown Carmel
  2. Downtown to get upscale China shop
  3. Home tied to West Point Foundry preserved
  4. Pawling man dies in crash with deer
  5. Giving Single-Payer a Second Look
  6. An Idyllic Pool Becomes the Scene of a Battle
  7. The Wilderness Act: A 'Down Payment on Forever'
  8. The Claim: Cinnamon Oil Kills Bacteria.
  9. For Peat's Sake: Alternative Growing Media
  10. Court document swears Kenyan birth cert legit
  11. Wall Street Pursues Profit in Bundles of Life Insurance
  12. Fire chief shot by cop in Ark. court over tickets

Inn for tourists being discussed for downtown Carmel

Robert Marchant

Tony Porto Jr. gets calls all the time: "How can I get a room at the inn?"

Alas, said Porto, there is no room at Smalley's Inn in Carmel. The place where three generations of his family have worked since the 1960s is a family restaurant, with no hotel accommodations. But Porto said the time has come for a more creative approach, and he is looking to remake and restore the Carmel landmark with a historic flavor, and he wants to challenge business and government leaders to do more to make the hamlet an attractive destination for visitors.

"We need business here," Porto said. "And it could bring something back to the town."

Porto has met with a number of Putnam County officials, who are helping to find funding that may be available for the kind of historic restoration and economic development projects Porto is considering.

Read More

Downtown to get upscale China shop

Marcela Rojas

BREWSTER - Bob Dumont has no doubt that high-end crystal, china and flatware has a place on Main Street.

The owner of the Bowl Company said he firmly believes in the motto, "If you build it, they will come," because he saw how well-heeled women from Westchester County would make their way through an alleyway to purchase the Wedgwood and Waterford items he sold from his warehouse.

In the past four years, Dumont operated his Internet shipping business - and periodic warehouse sales - at 86 Main St., a site with no street access behind a deli.

But in February, Dumont moved to 162 Main St. so he could expand his operations and offer a retail component. The Bowl Company store will open its doors tomorrow.

Read More

Home tied to West Point Foundry preserved

Michael Risinit

COLD SPRING - The wide floorboards of William Kemble's Cold Spring home may have shook as artillery shells were test fired and exploded against Crow's Nest, a peak on the west side of the Hudson River.

He, his wife, Margaret, and their seven children would have heard the clanking of the massive trip hammer at nearby West Point Foundry, which Kemble co-founded with his brother, Gouverneur Kemble. Outside the home's floor-to-ceiling windows, Parrott guns - named for the foundry's superintendent and prized for their accuracy - rolled to the river's edge on rail cars and were loaded onto ships, bound for Civil War battlefields.

The noise, the smoke and the bustle of wartime industry now are replaced by the rumble of a passing Metro-North train, the wind and a desire to preserve history.

Read More

Pawling man dies in crash with deer

Supervisor's husband was riding motorcycle

By John Davis
Poughkeepsie Journal

PAWLING - Town residents are mourning the sudden death of Jeffrey Coursen, husband of town Supervisor Beth Coursen.

He was was killed Friday evening when the motorcycle he was riding on North Quaker Hill Road collided with a deer.

"Our hearts and prayers go out to the family in this time," Councilman Mike Mayer said Saturday.

Coursen, 53, was driving a 2001 Suzuki motorcycle westbound on North Quaker Hill Road, near Berry Lane, when a deer entered the roadway from the north side, onto the path of the motorcycle, the Dutchess County Sheriff's Office said.

Read More

Giving Single-Payer a Second Look

Rep. Anthony Weiner, Congressman from New York

As President Obama prepares to address the nation about his vision for health care reform, we should not overlook the last, best truly transformative change to our health care system: Medicare. We have been staring so intently at the lessons of 1993 that we may have forgotten the universal rule of successful lawmaking: "keep it simple."

During the eleven town hall meetings I've held around my district, I've had some direct experience with the anxiety this debate has produced. Much of the fear comes from two groups: those who have Medicare and don't want it changed and those who have never had a government-run reimbursement system like Medicare and are worried about the impact it will have on their quality of care.

In both cases, a calm, reasoned and vigorous defense of the American single-payer plan is just what the doctor ordered.

The truth is that the United States already uses single-payer systems to cover over 47% of all medical bills through Medicare, Medicaid, the Veterans Administration, the Department of Defense and the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

Understanding that these single-payer health programs are already a major part of our overall health care system should help us visualize what an actual public plan would look like. These institutions also provide health care to millions of satisfied customers in every community who would heartily agree that the government can build and run programs that work quite well.

Read More

An Idyllic Pool Becomes the Scene of a Battle


When she was growing up in Ho-Ho-Kus, N.J., in the 1980s, Melinda Cronk and her friends envied the kids in nearby Ridgewood for one simple reason — Graydon Pool, the languorous green park and 2.6-acre natural swimming hole that was Ridgewood’s blissful monument to suburban summers.

In the year before the 100th anniversary of Graydon Park — its pool was established in 1929 — it’s easy to see why. With its sandy beach, its fieldstone walls and particularly its sand-bottom swimming hole filled with 3.8 million gallons of spring water, Graydon Pool seems like an idyllic throwback to a less hurried version of suburban life.

Ms. Cronk still thinks of Graydon as a magical place. But, alas, she no longer thinks it’s a practical one. She lives in Ridgewood but does not pay the modest dues to join Graydon. And, after three years of study, the village task force she heads has decided that the only way to save Graydon is to plow it under and replace it with a more familiar symbol of summer, a blue concrete pool.

Read More

The Wilderness Act: A 'Down Payment on Forever'

September 6, 2009 at 6:11AM by Jim DiPeso

Why the 45-year-old Wilderness Act is a bipartisan landmark to legislative common sense and the potential
of the human spirit.

Every once in awhile, Congress outdoes itself and gets something really right.

One of those somethings is the Wilderness Act of 1964, whose 45th anniversary was celebrated September 3.

The product of both extraordinary vision and practical politics, the Wilderness Act is what Seattle author and veteran wilderness campaign leader Doug Scott calls the "gold standard" of conservation.
staircase wilderness

The Wilderness Act also is the gold standard of legislative craftsmanship. The law gives ordinary citizens across the country the tools to fight bottom-up campaigns to protect treasured places - forests and deserts, mountains and marshes, spare tundra and verdant tropics.

The passage of time shows that ordinary citizens have put those tools to spectacularly good use. The Wilderness Act included 54 initial wilderness areas covering 9.1 million acres. Today, 45 years later, there are 756 wilderness areas covering nearly 110 million acres in 44 states and Puerto Rico - nearly 5 percent of America's total land area.

Read More

The Claim: Cinnamon Oil Kills Bacteria.



In a country obsessed with germs and sickness, antibacterial soaps and sanitizers are becoming more and more common. But because such products contribute to the growing problem of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, some researchers recommend sanitizers made with cinnamon oil, which has been shown in many studies to have powerful antimicrobial properties.

A recent study by a team of surgeons, for example, found that a solution made with cinnamon oil killed a number of common and hospital-acquired infections, like streptococcus and methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA. The study found it was just as effective as several antiseptics widely used in hospitals. Another study by French researchers in 2008 had similar results, showing that at concentrations of 10 percent or less, cinnamon oil was effective against Staphylococcus, E. coli and several antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria.

Read More

For Peat's Sake: Alternative Growing Media

ScienceDaily (Sep. 7, 2009) — Peat, or semi-decayed vegetation matter, has been used by commercial growers and amateur gardeners since the middle of the 20th century. Peat is added to potting soil to help retain moisture and provide additional nutrients. As the demand for peat grew, acres of peat bogs were being drained and destroyed.

Now, concerns about the environmental impact of extracting peat from wetlands are mounting. And as peat supplies are reduced, the cost naturally increases. Diminishing supplies and environmental and economical concerns are encouraging researchers to find viable alternatives to this popular growing medium.

A recent research study led by Federica Larcher and Valentina Scariot of the University of Turin's Department of Agronomy evaluated five materials as partial peat substitutes. The results, published in HortScience, show these alternatives have potential.

The study focused on growing camellia, a woody plant that prefers acidic soils and is often grown in containers for decorative purposes. Three varieties of camellia ('Charles Cobb's', 'Nuccio's Pearl', and 'Dr. Burnside' ) were tested using a combination of peat and the following peat alternatives: green compost such as grass clippings and leaves, pumice, coconut husks broken down into fibers, composted coconut "peat", and pine bark. Each variety was also grown using the standard commercial Sphagnum peat as a control.

Read More

Court document swears Kenyan birth cert legit

Photo of a sign taken at the Anti-Obama rally in Port Jervis.
(Times Herald Record)
Owner risks perjury in high-profile case to insist Barack Obama born in Africa

Posted: September 06, 2009
By Drew Zahn

With a scheduled hearing date Tuesday, Lucas Smith, the man who tried to sell an alleged Barack Obama Kenyan birth certificate on eBay, has filed court papers in a high-profile eligibility case insisting – under threat of perjury – that the Obama birth certificate in his possession is the genuine article.

The document above is alleged by Lucas Smith to be Barack Obama's original, authentic birth certificate from Kenya. 

Smith filed his affidavit through California attorney Orly Taitz, who has spearheaded several lawsuits challenging Barack Obama's constitutional eligibility to serve as president, as part of a case that includes as plaintiff former presidential candidate Alan Keyes.

Taitz posted on her blog Smith's declaration, which claims he obtained the alleged birth certificate from Coast General Hospital in Mombasa, Kenya, and insists it's real.

"The true and correct photocopy of the birth certificate obtained is attached to this affidavit as Exhibit A," the declaration reads. "I declare, certify, verify, state and affirm under penalty of perjury under the laws of the United States of America that the foregoing statements of fact and descriptions of circumstances and events are true and correct."

Read More

Wall Street Pursues Profit in Bundles of Life Insurance


After the mortgage business imploded last year, Wall Street investment banks began searching for another big idea to make money. They think they may have found one.

The bankers plan to buy “life settlements,” life insurance policies that ill and elderly people sell for cash — $400,000 for a $1 million policy, say, depending on the life expectancy of the insured person. Then they plan to “securitize” these policies, in Wall Street jargon, by packaging hundreds or thousands together into bonds. They will then resell those bonds to investors, like big pension funds, who will receive the payouts when people with the insurance die.

The earlier the policyholder dies, the bigger the return — though if people live longer than expected, investors could get poor returns or even lose money.

Either way, Wall Street would profit by pocketing sizable fees for creating the bonds, reselling them and subsequently trading them. But some who have studied life settlements warn that insurers might have to raise premiums in the short term if they end up having to pay out more death claims than they had anticipated.

The idea is still in the planning stages. But already “our phones have been ringing off the hook with inquiries,” says Kathleen Tillwitz, a senior vice president at DBRS, which gives risk ratings to investments and is reviewing nine proposals for life-insurance securitizations from private investors and financial firms, including Credit Suisse.

“We’re hoping to get a herd stampeding after the first offering,” said one investment banker not authorized to speak to the news media.

Read More

Fire chief shot by cop in Ark. court over tickets

JERICHO, Ark. – It was just too much, having to return to court twice on the same day to contest yet another traffic ticket, and Fire Chief Don Payne didn't hesitate to tell the judge what he thought of the police and their speed traps.

The response from cops? They shot him. Right there in court.

Payne ended up in the hospital, but his shooting last week brought to a boil simmering tensions between residents of this tiny former cotton city and their police force. Drivers quickly learn to slow to a crawl along the gravel roads and the two-lane highway that run through Jericho, but they say sometimes that isn't enough to fend off the city ticketing machine.

Read More

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