Wednesday, December 2, 2009

News That Matters - December 2, 2009

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Good Wednesday Morning,

My dog managed - somehow - to loose his collar AcostaMonday evening while I was in court in Carmel supporting Lori Kemp along with more than a dozen other supporters, much to the bemusement of Judge Spofford. There was a cop there, I'll just call him Officer M, who needs an attitude adjustment and some soft-skills training. He's got to remember that you catch more flies with honey than with the vehement disrespect he regularly showed the public in all the interactions we noticed.
Anyway, the collar... he had it on when I left at 6:30PM and it was gone by the time I got back around 8:30. It's possible he was outside but he rarely goes far from the door when I'm not around. I have looked - finding a bright blue collar against the brown earth and leaves should be easy. But it's not out there. I've also searched the house and it's not in here either. So, either someone was in the house and took it off him (he's never lost it in all the years he's been here) or aliens came down and took it as a souvenir. It's got his license and rabies tag on it... how does one go about replacing those?
Now that Greg Ball is back in the news with Tareq and Michaele Salahi (the White House gate-crashers), news outlets have them - together - all over the place. Not a day goes by that I don't get an alert of another news story about their relationship, including this from
"Tareq Salahi was heavily involved with a D.C. charitable polo event called the Courage Cup, an event that drew luminaries such as Bill Clinton, John McCain, Prince Charles, and Oprah Winfrey. The Salahis worked with New York Representative Greg Ball to organize the event. Ball allegedly used some of the funds from the Courage Cup to fund his own political campaign."

Yesterday, the Times Herald Record had this to say:

"In an e-mail message sent by an aide on Monday, Ball confirmed he knew the Salahis through the Courage Cup and other charitable events, but strenuously denied a 2-year-old accusation that has resurfaced as a result of their White House visit: that Ball diverted $10,000 from the polo fundraiser to his 2006 Assembly campaign."
With all that noise how does he have time to be even a part-time Assemblyman? Just imagine how much less time he'll devote to the State Senate while battling one scandal after another.

According to a recent data published in the NY Times, 1% of Putnam County residents receive food stamps. 4% in Westchester, 5% in Fairfield, 6% in Dutchess and 8% in Orange and Ulster. Some counties in the US don't fare so well. Fulton County, Georgia, a place where home prices make Putnam's look down-right cheap has about 14% of its residents receiving government assistance and Grundy County, Tennessee, much poorer, comes in with some 19%. And, nearly 50% of all residents in Owsley county, Kentucky receive a monthly food stipend. In the end, 1 in 8 Americans are on the program which has added 10 million people in the last two years.

67% of the current Federal discretionary budget goes to the military but Conservatives don't seem to be bothered by this. Congress wants you to pay, not only for the trillion dollars the Bush administration borrowed to pay for his wars and the ensuing economic collapse but for the $1,000,000 per year per soldier (that's $30 billion per year) the Obama administration wants you to pay for the morass in Afghanistan. See the article on the Federal Budget below.

BBC photographer, Jeff Overs, was stopped from photographing St. Paul's, one of the most photographed buildings in the world, and was told that because of the high-end equipment he was using that he might be an operative for Al-Quaeda. Intense questioning followed. The police were wrong. There are no laws prohibiting photography of public spaces in England as there are no such laws outlawing the same in the US, including in airports - regardless of what TSA agents may say. You'd think that authorities - of whatever rank or wherever they are - would have gotten that memo by now.

Canadians who have traditionally been kinda cool and laid back have, thanks to pressure from the US, become a more conservative and less free society. The latest effects of this are evident in the amount of government censorship surrounding the upcoming Winter Olympic games in Vancouver. More stories than we like to hear of reporters - and citizens - being banned from the nation on the fear that they will speak against the games came to a head the other day when reporter Amy Goodman (Democracy Now) was stopped near Vancouver and questioned for 90 minutes.
"He made it clear by saying, 'What about the Olympics?'" said Goodman. "And I said, 'You mean when President Obama went to Copenhagen to push for the Olympics in Chicago?'"
"He said, 'No. I am talking about the Olympics here in 2010.' I said, 'Oh I hadn't thought of that,'" said Goodman.
"He said, 'You're saying you're not talking about the Olympics?'"
"He was clearly incredulous that I wasn't going to be talking about the Olympics. He didn't believe me," Goodman said.

Goodman said her car was searched and that officials demanded to look at her notes and her computer.

Living in the land of the free....

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And now, The News:
  1. Lake Carmel garbage truck slipped out of gear before crash
  2. This Is Where Each of Your 1.421 Trillion Dollars Is Going In 2010:
  3. Weak economy puts Beacon waterfront hotel on hold
  4. Invasive carp threatens Great Lakes
  5. Rainwater Showers: One Solution for Tybee Island Tourists
  6. Amram’s The Man
  7. Nader noncommittal to Connecticut Senate run
  8. What Happens When Your Country Drowns?
  9. Support Our Sponsors
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Lake Carmel garbage truck slipped out of gear before crash

By Rob Ryser and Terence Corcoran • • December 1, 2009

KENT — A Lake Carmel sanitation worker told police that the small garbage truck he stopped this morning for a pickup on a steep street slipped out of park as he was exiting the vehicle, dragging him down a hill before crashing into a tree.

Robert Huestis, 52, was taken by Lake Carmel Ambulance to the Putnam Hospital Center after the 5:50 a.m. accident on Clarkson Road, off Route 52.

He complained of rib injuries and chest pains, although police said his injuries did not appear life-threatening.

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This Is Where Each of Your 1.421 Trillion Dollars Is Going In 2010:

Want to know where your tax money is going next year? Here's more than you can handle in the new 2010 edition of the Death and Taxes poster. Zoom in to see how much those F-35 fighters and lasers cost.

The Death and Taxes poster shows every single expense according to the president's 2010 budget request. The circles you see here are proportional in size to their actual weight in the total budget. Each of the figures include the percentage change compared to 2009.

Defense spending is more or less the same, only increasing by 2%. And still, everything else looks minuscule.

See The Interactive Chart Here

Weak economy puts waterfront hotel on hold

BEACON – The much ballyhooed environmentally green hotel and conference center slated for Long Dock Beacon has been put on hold.

The project is part of a much larger environmentally sound redevelopment of the Beacon city waterfront in a project spearheaded by Scenic Hudson.

But, that organization’s president Ned Sullivan said the hotel is not moving forward at this time.

“The financing is what’s key, They had a term sheet from a bank, but because of the credit crunch and the market turn down, it’s on hold,” he told

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Invasive carp threatens Great Lakes

By Dennis Cauchon, USA TODAY

Fish and wildlife officials will poison a 6-mile stretch of water near Chicago on Wednesday in a last-ditch effort to keep one of the most dangerous invasive species of fish, the Asian carp, out of the Great Lakes.

The Asian carp, a voracious eater that has no predators and negligible worth as a commercial or sport fish, now dominates the Mississippi and Illinois rivers and their tributaries.

The fish has entered the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal — a man-made link between the Mississippi River system and the Great Lakes — and is knocking on the door of Lake Michigan. Once inside a Great Lake, the carp would have free rein in the world's largest freshwater ecosystem, imperiling the native fish of the lakes and a $7 billion fishing and recreation industry.

"We've got a chance to beat this thing, but we've got to do everything right," says Joel Brammeier, acting president of the Alliance for the Great Lakes, a conservation group.

The poisoning will kill an estimated 100 tons of fish, which will be removed by crane and hauled to a landfill. The five-day fish kill will provide time for the Army Corps of Engineers to perform routine maintenance on an electrical barrier that has been placed in the canal to block Asian carp from entering Lake Michigan.

No Asian carp have been found on the Great Lakes' side of the electrical barrier. However, recent DNA samples taken from water indicate the carp may have gotten past the barrier.

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Rainwater Showers: One Solution for Tybee Island Tourists

by Kristin Underwood, Sacramento, CA on 12. 1.09

Let's say you're a small town or village and a large portion of your economy is dependent on tourism. Let's say you are also, while concerned about sustaining your economy, concerned with sustaining the natural environment - the very thing that keeps tourists coming back and thus sustains your economy. How do you ensure that the footprint of all of these aliens is small enough or better yet invisible to protect your island? This is the challenge that Savannah College students were tasked with this semester, reports the Savannah Morning News. Their solution: look to the skies.

Water conservation on an island is of the utmost importance. So, how do you encourage visitors to come to the island while protecting your precious water resources and not expend water unnecessarily? Savannah College of Art and Design students have come up with a plan to use rainwater and natural filtration systems to find a new way to use the same old water. Actually, this project was more than just a classroom exercise. The state of South Carolina has mandated that several communities, including Tybee Island, reduce their water use. The island must save 44,000 gallons of water per day at the start of the new year.

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Amram’s the man

I’d never been to Bean Runner Cafe (BRC) in Peekskill before Saturday night (Nov. 28). When I learned musical artist extraordinaire David Amram would be there to mark his birthday (a very youthful and vibrant 79), as well as the 1-year anniversary of the popular Greenwich Villagesque, post-Starbucks, java jewelbox, I bit quick. It sounded like a capital way to spend a weekend evening, and it turned out that Mr. Amram and Company sounded Great with a capital G.

First, Elyse and I, along with her sister Linda and beau Danny, supped at 12 Grapes on Division Street. It was jam-packed, owing in large part to the Michael Feinstein-David Hyde Pierce show at the Paramount around the corner, on Brown Street.

I had arugula salad followed by breast of chicken with spinach and butternut squash. It was succulently delicious. The two glasses of Carmel Mountain chardonnay didn’t hurt either. Wines by the glass at 12G are reasonably priced, $8 to $10, though the capacious goblets give the unfortunate illusion there’s less wine served than is the case. For my 190-pound frame, two glasses was just right, and I sure didn’t feel short-changed in the least.

Elyse had salmon, also praiseworthy, according to her taste buds.

We intended to make 6:00 p.m. reservations, but Grapes owner-hostess Jeannie Credidio counseled me on the phone that it was best we arrive about 5:30 p.m., allowing for wait service that had a full house to serve. She was right on the money, as we dined at a leisurely pace and padded out the door at 7:20 p.m. for the 7:30 p.m. scheduled start of David Amram at Bean Runner.

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Nader noncommittal to Conn. Senate run


WEST HARTFORD, Conn. — Consumer activist and Connecticut native Ralph Nader said Friday he is "absorbing" the reaction he's receiving about a possible bid for the U.S. Senate, saying he wants to first gauge the level of grassroots support before making a decision.

Many people have called on Nader to jump into the hotly contested race to challenge Democratic Sen. Chris Dodd, who has been struggling in recent polls. Nader said he's getting increasingly more requests from Connecticut Green Party members, independents and supporters of Ned Lamont, the upstart Democrat who challenged Sen. Joe Lieberman in the 2006 election.

"I'm just absorbing a lot of the feedback before I make a decision," said Nader, who appeared at the Noah Webster Library in West Hartford, where he was signing his new book, "Only the Super-Rich Can Save Us!"

More than 100 people turned out to hear Nader talk about his book, including some Green Party members who held signs that read, "Run Ralph Run!" The state's Green Party has been stepping up efforts to encourage Nader to get into the race, saying this marks one of the best opportunities for the Greens to win a U.S. Senate seat.

Read More

What Happens When Your Country Drowns?

Meet the people of Tuvalu, the world's first climate refugees.
By Rachel Morris
November/December 2009 Issue

IT'S A BRIGHT, BALMY SUNDAY afternoon and I'm driving through the western outskirts of Auckland, New Zealand, the kind of place you never see on a postcard. No majestic mountains, no improbably green pastures—just a bland tangle of shopping malls and suburbia. I follow a dead-end street, past a rubber plant, a roofing company, a drainage service, and a plastics manufacturer, until I reach a white building behind a chain-link fence. Inside is a kernel of a nation within a nation—a sneak preview of what a climate change exodus looks like.

This is the Tuvalu Christian Church, the heart of a migrant community from what may be the first country to be rendered unlivable by global warming. Tuvalu is the fourth-smallest nation on Earth: six coral atolls and three reef islands flung across 500,000 square miles of ocean, about halfway between Australia and Hawaii. It has few natural resources to export and no economy to speak of; its gross domestic product relies heavily on the sale of its desirable Internet domain suffix, which is .tv, and a modest trade in collectible stamps. Tuvalu's total land area is just 16 square miles, of which the highest point stands 16 feet above the waterline. Tuvaluans, who have a high per-capita incidence of good humor, refer to the spot as "Mount Howard," after the former Australian prime minister who refused to ratify the Kyoto Protocol.

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