Wednesday, November 11, 2009

News That Matters - November 11, 2009

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Good Wednesday Morning,

U.S. President Woodrow Wilson first proclaimed an Armistice Day for November 11, 1919. The United States Congress passed a concurrent resolution seven years later on June 4, 1926, requesting the President issue another proclamation to observe November 11 with appropriate ceremonies. An Act (52 Stat. 351; 5 U. S. Code, Sec. 87a) approved May 13, 1938, made the 11th of November in each year a legal holiday; "a day to be dedicated to the cause of world peace and to be thereafter celebrated and known as 'Armistice Day'."

In 1953, an Emporia, Kansas shoe store owner named Al King had the idea to expand Armistice Day to celebrate all veterans, not just those who served in World War I. King had been actively involved with the American War Dads during World War II. He began a campaign to turn Armistice Day into "All" Veterans Day. The Emporia Chamber of Commerce took up the cause after determining that 90% of Emporia merchants as well as the Board of Education supported closing their doors on November 11, 1953, to honor veterans. With the help of then-U.S. Rep. Ed Rees, also from Emporia, a bill for the holiday was pushed through Congress. President Dwight Eisenhower signed it into law on May 26, 1954.

Congress amended this act on November 8, 1954, replacing "Armistice" with Veterans, and it has been known as Veterans Day since.
Read the full Wikipedia article
If you've time this morning, the Putnam lake VFW is holding a memorial service at 11AM at the Veteran's Monument.

With over 600 magazines available, is another place on the 'net in which to get lost, spending hours seeking out those editions of Esquire or The New Yorker or PC World or Guns & Ammo that you missed. Head on over there and take a look.

The financial firm Goldman Sachs received 200 doses of Swine Flu vaccine for their staff from the Center for Disease Control last week but they've got 2000 employees. Does anyone want to take bets on who gets them?

Dutchess County has decided to close their budget gap through stricter enforcement of traffic rules. That's right, tickets. Most jurisdictions say that the giving of tickets for traffic infringements cannot be used as a revenue stream but let's look at the facts: You don't just get a ticket and pay it anymore, now you pay the ticket and the administrative costs and then court costs and then there's the bribe to the state. Where a $25 ticket used to cost you $25 now it could be way more than that and all the excess going to the government as "fees". We now use our courts to turn a profit more than to dispense justice for wrong-doing. Now you know why there are so many laws you can't even keep track of them. I'll bet you've broken a few you didn't even know existed. Pay up!

Because Timothy McVeigh never existed some Americans are connecting Major Nidal Malik Hasan with 9/11. Oklahoma City officials have no comment. But it gets better. Sean Hannity, one of FOXNews' infotainment reporters claims, in an off-hand way, that the Obama Administration knew about the shootings at Fort Hood beforehand. And just think, not only are we bombarded by FOXNews in virtually every public place owned by someone with an IQ approaching the daily average temperature but the newspapers on both sides of the county are owned, by extension, by the same corporation. And the Journal News, wedged in the middle, is useless. Okay, it's not useless, if you've a bird or a rabbit in a cage...

Sarah Palin is hitting the Death Panels! charade again and thanks to those who watch FOXNews or listen to "you know who" on radio, they're buying it. Next up: "2000 year old alien graves found in Uzbekistan!",  "More Proof That Obama is Not a Citizen!" and "CIGNA Forgoes Profits to Provide Better Care!"

And now, The (real) News:

  1. EPA Finalizes Cleanup Plan for Hopewell Precision Site
  2. Bank Failure Friday Fells Another ‘Healthy Bank’ Bailout Recipient
  3. New Green Parking Lot Allows Scientists to Study Permeable Surfaces
  4. Why Is It We Have Finite Resources for Health Care But Unlimited Money for War?
  5. Man gets visit from police after photographing trick-or-treaters
  6. 10 Most Surprising Places to Find Petroleum
  7. Wiesel slams tea partiers over Holocaust signs
  8. Hitler was a ‘German football coach’?

EPA Finalizes Cleanup Plan for Hopewell Precision Site

Contact Information: Beth Totman (212) 637-3662,

(New York, NY) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has finalized its plan to address contamination at the Hopewell Precision site in Hopewell Junction, New York. The Agency has also already started the design of the new public water supply system, which will be followed by connection of those homes with potentially-contaminated drinking water wells to municipal water. The final cleanup plan will address the sources of contamination directly. Due to sloppy, past practices at the Hopewell Precision, Inc. facility where sheet metal parts were turned into furniture, the ground water that runs underneath the site has become contaminated with chemicals that can volatilize in the form of vapors into homes built over the contaminated plume. Contamination in the ground water under the site has spread beyond the boundaries of the facility. EPA’s cleanup will include restoring the ground water to drinking water standards within a reasonable time period and ensuring that the homes over the contaminated plume are not being affected by vapors that may emanate from the plume, into the basements of the homes.

“EPA is already working hard to eliminate the potential threat of people drinking contaminated water by providing an alternate drinking water supply,” said Acting Regional Administrator George Pavlou. “Now that that work is underway, we are moving forward to address the entire site, in particular, ground water contamination and its vapors.”

EPA is addressing the contamination at the Hopewell Precision Superfund Site in two separate phases. EPA has already begun design work to install water mains and distribution lines that will provide an alternate water supply. In addition, the more recent final cleanup plan includes restoring the contaminated ground water to drinking water standards by using naturally-occurring microorganisms that break contaminants down, making them harmless. The plan also entails monitoring of the movement of and changes in the contaminated ground water plume, the installation of additional home ventilation devices, which are designed to vent vapors from beneath the foundation, thereby preventing vapor entry at those homes that are found to be impacted, and periodic monitoring of those homes to ensure that they continue to be properly safeguarded from the potential vapors, if appropriate.

Read More

Bank Failure Friday Fells Another ‘Healthy Bank’ Bailout Recipient

by Jake Bernstein, ProPublica - November 7, 2009 8:51 am EST

San Francisco-based United Commercial Bank [1] has become the first recipient of TARP bailout money to be shut down by the FDIC. Last year, regulators approved a $299 million [2] taxpayer funded injection into the bank. That money, which was supposed to go to only “healthy banks,” is now gone. The FDIC estimates United Commercial’s failure will cost the agency’s deposit fund about $1.4 billion.

Our resident TARPologist, Paul Kiel, reported a few weeks ago [3] that United Commercial Bank and three other supposedly “healthy banks”  were in deep trouble. On November 1, CIT, another of the four, filed for bankruptcy protection. The collapse taxpayers lost $2.33 [4] billion in TARP money invested in CIT.

United Commercial was one of five bank failures Friday, following bank closings earlier in the day in Georgia, Michigan, Minnesota, and Missouri. The number of bank failures for the year now stands at 120. It’s the most failures since 1992, when the FDIC closed down 181 banks. The total cost of the other four bank failures to the deposit fund was an estimated $132.7 million. (See ProPublica’s complete list of bank failures this year [5].)

Last month, FDIC chairman Sheila Bair testified that the deposit fund was in the red [6] and would likely stay so until 2012. The FDIC board is expected to finalize a rule this Thursday that will require banks to pre-pay their assessments to the fund for the next three years. The agency estimates that move will raise approximately $45 billion.

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New Green Parking Lot Allows Scientists to Study Permeable Surfaces

Contact Information: John Senn (212) 637-3667,

(New York, N.Y.) Paved parking lots and driveways make our lives easier, but they often create an easy pathway for pollutants to reach underground water sources and alter the natural flow of water back into the ground. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today announced a study that will investigate ways to reduce pollution that can run off paved surfaces and improve how water filters back into the ground. EPA is testing a variety of different permeable pavement materials and rain gardens in the parking lot at the agency’s Edison, N.J. facility, which houses offices and its laboratory. Most major sources of pollution going into our waterways are well-controlled, but pollution runoff from hard surfaces remains a complicated problem.

“Runoff from parking lots and driveways is a significant source of water pollution in the United States and puts undo stress on our water infrastructure, especially in densely-populated urban areas,” said EPA Acting Regional Administrator George Pavlou. “By evaluating different designs and materials, this study will help us develop strategies to lessen the environmental impacts of parking lots across the country and make our communities more sustainable.”

This summer, EPA replaced a 43,000-square-foot section of the parking lot at its Edison facility with three different types of permeable pavement and planted several rain gardens with varying vegetation for the study. Over the next decade, EPA will evaluate the effectiveness of each pavement type and the rain gardens in removing pollutants from stormwater, and how they help water filter back into the ground. The parking lot will be functional during the study to accurately evaluate how the different types of pavement handle traffic and vehicle-related pollution like leaking oil.

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Why Is It We Have Finite Resources for Health Care But Unlimited Money for War?

Dennis Kucinich, OpEd News

Friday 06 November 2009

Washington - Following a statement on the Floor of the House of Representative, Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) today made the following statement:

“Why is it we have finite resources for health care but unlimited money for war?

“The inequities in our economy are piling up: trillions for war, trillions for Wall Street and tens of billions for the insurance companies. Banks and other corporations are sitting on piles of cash of taxpayer's money while firing workers, cutting pay and denying small businesses money to survive.

“People are losing their homes, their jobs, their health, their investments, their retirement security; yet there is unlimited money for war, Wall Street and insurance companies, but very little money for jobs on Main Street.

Read More

Man gets visit from police after photographing trick-or-treaters

November 10th, 2009
By Carlos Miller

Cal Webster, who goes by the Flickr username Cal Sr., said police visited his home five days after Halloween because he had been photographing trick-or-treaters on his own property.

He said the parents approved of this photography and in some cases, even posed with their children.

Nevertheless, a nosy neighbor called police to complain about his outrageous behavior.

And five days later, a cop actually followed through on the call and knocked on his door.

Apparently, things are kind of slow in Newport, North Carolina.

His 23-year-old daughter answered the door and said her dad was at work.

It appears that the cop never returned, but that didn’t mean he didn’t disrupt Webster’s life because he spent the next few days researching photography law preparing for another visit, wondering if he was about to embark on a legal nightmare.

Fortunately, he so far has not experienced what a Flickr user named Happy Tinfoil Cat went through last Halloween after photographing trick-or-treaters in San Jose.

Read More

10 Most Surprising Places to Find Petroleum

Surprise. Moving away from oil is going to take more work than driving hybrids and avoiding plastic.

By Rachel Cernansky
Boulder, CO, USA | Thu Nov 05 11:30:00 GMT 2009

About one quarter of the oil consumed in this country is used for industrial purposes. Plastic production is the most obvious example, as awareness grows of the harm plastic does to the earth and people shun the material when they can.

But oil has permeated more of our lives than most people realize. Here, the most surprising places you'll find oil, in some form, as a key ingredient:

1. Chewing gum
It lasts as long as it does for a reason—just about all brands on store shelves today use petroleum-based polymers. (Unless you find, say, Chicza's organic rainforest gum, but I haven't seen it at any 7-Eleven lately.) In fact, Goodyear—the tire and rubber company—supplies Wrigley's with much of its gum base.
2. Hair dye
As if the toxic chemicals in hair dye weren't enough reason to avoid coloring your hair. Try finding more natural alternatives, or just go au naturale.
3. Asphalt
Also known as bitumen, the material used to resurface roads (as well as in roofing materials) is an oil-based hydrocarbon. Meaning—if you noticed that road construction slowed down in your area at all in the last year, rising oil costs may well have been the reason.
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Wiesel slams tea partiers over Holocaust signs

The survivor and author is upset about comparisons some on the right are making to genocide

Alex Koppelman

Unfortunately, it seems that whether it's on the Internet or in real life, Godwin's Law always finds a way to prove itself again. People manage to use Nazi and Holocaust references in the most poorly considered of ways, as if they're unaware of the true horror that was the slaughter of millions of innocent people.

That sort of thing has been happening all too frequently during protests against Democratic healthcare reform plans, and one of the more shocking examples was on display at the protest on Capitol Hill Thursday: A banner that featured a picture of naked, emaciated bodies stacked in a pile, with text reading, "National Socialist Health Care: Dachau, Germany -- 1945."

Now, someone with credibility on the issue that's all too real has spoken out against these comparisons. Elie Wiesel, a Holocaust survivor and author, put out a statement through his foundation's Twitter account. It reads simply, "Elie Wiesel on the GOP Tea Party's anti-Semitism and Holocaust comparisons: 'This kind of political hatred is indecent and disgusting.'"

Read More

Hitler was a ‘German football coach’?

One in 20 schoolchildren think the Fuhrer was a sportsman, while one in six youngsters said they thought Auschwitz was a Second World War theme park.

A veterans’ charity has said it will seek to educate schoolchildren after an alarming survey revealed the ignorance of young people to historical events.

A survey found that one in 20 UK schoolchildren thought Adolf Hitler was a coach of the German football team, while one in six youngsters said they thought Auschwitz was a Second World War theme park.

One in 20, meanwhile, said the Holocaust was a celebration at the end of the war.

The survey for a veterans' charity also found one in 10 thought the SS stood for Enid Blyton's Secret Seven, and one in 12 believed the Blitz was a European clean-up operation following the Second World War.

Scottish-based charity Erskine, which provides nursing and medical care for veterans, said it would now take part in a nationwide scheme to educate schoolchildren about the two world conflicts.

The charity questioned 2,000 children between the ages of nine and 15 about their knowledge of the key people and events of the two wars.

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