Wednesday, October 21, 2009

News That Matters - October 21, 2009

News That Matters
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"We must believe in luck. For how else can we explain the success of those we don't like?" - Jean Cocteau

Good Wednesday Morning,

Local politics are certainly heating up! Over the past few days large billboards have sprung up all over the Town of Kent asking, no, telling voters to vote no on a ballot proposition that would extend the term of our Supervisor from two years to four years. On the billboards is a website address that brings folks to what amounts to a duplicate of the billboards with no other information provided. The first one I saw was on Lloyd Shulman's property along Route 52 but they're pretty pervasive now.
As has become sadly typical in these things, the web domain has no name associated with it and hence I can give no credence to whomever is behind the campaign. Come on folks, that's just chickensh*t. If you're going to take a position on a political issue at least have the nerve to put your name on it!

And one more thing, if you post to the blog please don't use ALL CAPS. IT'S ANNOYING and believe it or not, articles titled in ALL CAPS are LESS READ than those using proper capitalization. People just assume you've little to say and are trying to draw attention. Thanks.
For those who might have missed it, there was a special edition of News That Matters yesterday which reported on a Domestic Violence event hosted by the Westchester/Putnam Women's Center that took place on Monday night in Carmel. A link to that is here.

The Sheriff's candidates went at it again last night at the Carmel/Kent Chamber's candidate's forum at McCarthy's in Kent. They came late, well after the rest of us had given our presentations and were getting ready to leave. In the end I think the best way to go is to have them duel with blunderbusses at ten paces. If they kill each other then *I* get to be Sheriff. Now, wouldn't that be something?

Anyway, that's it for this morning. Yeah, short and sweet.

And now, The News:
  1. On The Constitutionality of Campaign Sign Laws
  2. Farms to receive federal solar energy systems installation grants
  3. Regional solar development effort gains more federal funding
  4. Paterson Raids Clean Energy Funds to Fill Budget Gap
  5. PTSD diagnosis reform pushed by Hall
  6. Northwestern 'Innocence Project' students slapped with subpoena
  7. A particle God doesn’t want us to discover

On The Constitutionality of Campaign Sign Laws

15 October 2009
Town of Carmel Attorney
Gregory Folchetti,
60 McAlpin Avenue
Mahopac, N.Y.10541

Dear Mr. Folchetti,

We have learned that the Town of Carmel’s ordinance includes a provision that imposes certain limitations on the posting of political signs on residential property.  This ordinance sets a time restriction on allowing the posting of signs 15 days prior to an event and removal 6 days after. I refer to Chapter 156 of the Town Code of the Town of Carmel, Section 156-41A (5)(c)[1]

The Town’s ordinance violates the First Amendment to the United States Constitution and Article I, §11 of the New York State Constitution, the New York State counterpart to the First Amendment. A political yard sign is a classic example of the core political speech that is at the heart of the First Amendment’s guarantee of the right to free expression. 

Read More

Farms to receive federal solar energy systems installation grants

MILTON – More than $371,000 in federal loans and grants will be provided to 10 farms in the region to install solar energy systems and make other renewable upgrades that will help them cut their energy consumption.

The funds were announced by Congressman Maurice Hinchey while at a media event at Sunshine Orchards in Milton on Monday.

“New York is clearly establishing itself as a leader when it comes to solar energy research and development and this funding demonstrates how those solar products are being put to practical use,” said Hinchey.

Read More

Regional solar development effort gains more federal funding

KINGSTON – An additional $2.25 million in federal money has been secured to support The Solar Energy Consortium’s efforts in the Hudson Valley.

Congressman Maurice Hinchey, who spearheaded the solar energy efforts in the region, announced that at a Hudson Valley Solar Energy Summit held in Kingston.

The new money now brings to close to $30 million, the amount he has secured for The Solar Energy Consortium.

According to Hinchey the efforts of TSEC have already brought in around 200 jobs and there is a high likelihood that number will increase significantly over the next few years.

“You need money to bring in corporations and you need money to stimulate and develop new technology,” said Hinchey. “The money is being used to generate new technology, new ideas, new economic stimulation, and most importantly new jobs for the people here.”

Read More

Paterson Raids Clean Energy Funds to Fill Budget Gap

As part of Governor Paterson’s $5 billion deficit reduction plan, the Governor proposes sweeping $90 million from the pool of auction proceeds generated by New York’s role in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) and cutting the Environmental Protection Fund by $10 million. While we’ve come to expect cuts to the State’s environmental fund, the RGGI raid was a surprise. As far as we’re concerned, using RGGI monies for anything other than energy efficiency or clean energy development is a big mistake.

Environmental and energy groups called on the Governor to back off his misguided plan to send RGGI monies into the black hole that is the State’s general fund. Click here to read the groups’ statement. Doing so sets a dangerous precedent for the nation’s first-ever plan to reduce global warming.

While this one-time contribution may help balance New York State’s budget in the short run, it pales in comparison to the long-term job creation and investment benefits, as well as reductions in climate-altering greenhouse gas emissions, the monies would have achieved.

Years of research related to the development of the RGGI showed that the program’s success hinges on the wise use of revenue generated by allowance auctions. The Governor’s proposal jeopardizes the success of this critical program and serves as a bad example to other cash-strapped states.

Read More

PTSD diagnosis reform pushed by Hall

WAPPINGERS FALLS – There is no arguing that cutting through red tape to gain approval for a diagnosis for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is a top priority.

Congressman John Hall hosted a series of roundtable discussions with Hudson Valley veterans on Monday, one in Wappingers Falls, to hear opinions about a rule change proposed by the Department of Veterans Affairs that would make it easier for veterans suffering from PTSD to receive their benefits.

Hall will then take the input of Hudson Valley veterans to the VA while comments are still being considered pending the release of a final regulation.

It was Hall’s COMBAT Act H.R. 952 that first called for reform to the current rules and ultimately inspired the VA to draft a proposal of new regulations.

If a serviceman or woman comes back from Iraq or Afghanistan and is diagnosed with PTSD, currently, the law requires that they prove a connection to a specific battle or an attack or a medal or some incident,” said Hall.

“If you served in the uniform in a war zone and you come back and have that diagnosed from a psychiatrist or psychologist, you have nothing more to prove,” he said.

Read More

Northwestern 'Innocence Project' students slapped with subpoena

County prosecutors in Illinois have subpoenaed the grades, notes, recordings, and electronic correspondence of journalism students who have been gathering evidence that could exonerate a convicted criminal defendant, the Chicago Tribune reported.

A judge will consider the evidence uncovered by students at Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism during an upcoming hearing to decide whether Anthony McKinney, who has been incarcerated for 31 years after being convicted of murder, should receive a new trial.

The university turned over the recordings of witness interviews, but is fighting the request for materials relating to the class itself. Professors involved with the project and press advocates told the Tribune the subpoena was an attempt to discredit the project, which has helped free 11 wrongfully convicted defendants since its inception in 1999.

The prosecutors in the case have asserted that the Medill students and their professor are not journalists and that their work is therefore not protected by an Illinois law that protects journalists from subpoenas.

Read More

A particle God doesn’t want us to discover

Could the Large Hadron Collider be sabotaging itself from the future, as some physicists say

By Jonathan Leake

Explosions, scientists arrested for alleged terrorism, mysterious breakdowns — recently Cern’s Large Hadron Collider (LHC) has begun to look like the world’s most ill-fated experiment.

Is it really nothing more than bad luck or is there something weirder at work? Such speculation generally belongs to the lunatic fringe, but serious scientists have begun to suggest that the frequency of Cern’s accidents and problems is far more than a coincidence.

The LHC, they suggest, may be sabotaging itself from the future — twisting time to generate a series of scientific setbacks that will prevent the machine fulfilling its destiny.

At first sight, this theory fits comfortably into the crackpot tradition linking the start-up of the LHC with terrible disasters. The best known is that the £3 billion particle accelerator might trigger a black hole capable of swallowing the Earth when it gets going. Scientists enjoy laughing at this one.

This time, however, their ridicule has been rather muted — because the time travel idea has come from two distinguished physicists who have backed it with rigorous mathematics.

Read More

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