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A note to the cat: Just because I go near the kitchen does not mean I'm going to do anything that concerns food so please stop the moaning, begging and whining. Thanks.
Another note to the cat: If you keep walking on my keyboard while I'm trying to work I will go to the kitchen... with a recipe for General Tso's Cat.
A note to readers: There's a room or two in your house that needs painting and you want it done soon. You know you do.
I watched the "Wizard Of Oz" last night on a Blu-Ray release. It's not a movie I've ever really cared for in the past for there's terrible acting (save for Margaret Hamilton who rocks!), awful songs and a rather disturbing schizophrenic, apparently gay, lion. But the release on Blu-Ray is like watching the movie for the very first time. Details never seen before jump out at you and the creativity of the costume and set designers become stunningly clear as the colors and shapes and fabrics and makeup used are now sharp and vivid. The overall quality is higher than that of the original release and though I do not represent the Lollipop Guild I recommend renting it and seeing it all anew.
Last week state Republicans made a Big Splash in the media about signing onto a "No Tax" increase pledge that they're asking fellow members to sign on to. After reading the article I asked the poster if this would include "fees" (my motor vehicle registration fees increased more than two-fold since two years back) and if it would preclude shifting property taxes to income taxes. In response I was called names, insulted and told that had I read the pledge I'd have the answer to all my questions. Fair enough. So I asked the guy to post the pledge, and this many days later he has not. I also went out on the net to search for it and have found nothing.
You Republicans out there, (I know you're reading) if you have a copy of this thing could you please send it along?State Republicans are making a lot of noise blaming the Governor for everything from eczema to halitosis but they've not offered anything substantive as regards to cutting state spending. And why should they? If they can force the Governor to cut popular programs they can blame him for the loss of services. In other words, not only have they put the Governor between that proverbial rock and hard place but though they roar loudly in the forest they're naught but cowardly lions.
Senator Leibell had this to say, “I had hoped the Governor would outline, with some detail, his thoughts on what priorities should be addressed to close the state’s fiscal problems. This is the most important issue facing the state. We have to relieve our constituents’ tax burden, and not add to it. Last year the Democrats merely raised taxes and fees and increased spending. That’s not the way to go, and I hope it’s not the Governor’s intention again this year. I will not support that. We need to work together to reduce the cost of government”,
I received several emails the past few days about a proposed 'race car' track in Patterson. The lot, 173 acres or so just off route 22 and south of Route 164, has been under consideration for quite some time.
The property is the old Patterson Corporate Park. Or the Patterson Executive Park... the board doesn't seem to know what the lots are called these days. And it's a steep, sloping property that rises nearly 200 feet from the swamp on the east to Route 22 on the west. The proposal, whatever it is, is slated for the back two lots of the several that Winding Glades, LLC owns. Trying to find a level spot to build a race track seems either incredibly expensive or impossible but if Pulte Homes in Carmel is any indication, blasting away a mountain in Putnam County is all the rage these days.
Last summer the issue was discussed at a planning board meeting in Patterson and if the transcripts are any indication, no one on the board had a clue what was going on there other than to say that their zoning does not allow such things in town. Sure, they allow building retail establishments in the middle of the Great Swamp or a mega-mall on the fence with their neighbors and they allow a single land owner to prevent business from growing along Front Street but they don't allow motorcar racing. Period. Never. Well, not exactly never...
News headlines make an interesting study of languages as you've got to get into just a few words the meaning and intent of the story below it. But as you know, most American news outlets fail miserably at this. One such that does so on a regular basis is the MidHudsonNews, an outlet that is of incredible valuable for local news but often drops words in its headlines and stories and uses grammar that would make a first-grader blush. The other day they ran this headline: "Poughkeepsie dies after accidentally shooting himself". You gotta love it!
Only the national Democrats could place the bar so low that they could trip over it. Nice job in Massachusetts, guys. You just gave Rush Limbaugh another 2 years worth of material and Glenn Beck the best hard-on he's had in years. My advice? Pack it in, it's over.
You're a Marine and in you're in Afghanistan and you're looking through the gun sight of your rifle and inscribed on the side is this: 2COR4:6. Huh, you think. What could that possibly be? Well, it could be a reference to Second Corinthians 4:6 of the New Testament, which reads: "For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ." So, you ditch that gun and pick up another and there it is again, this time a little different, JN8:12? huh? Yes, John 8:12, "Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life." And you wonder when the Marines officially sanctioned Jesus Christ as your lord, savior and battle-field protector?
On a $660 million contract to provide 800,000 sights to the Marines, Trijicon, Inc. claims these biblical references have always been there, it's a trademark, so to speak. The Marines have not decided whether to do something about this breach of Constitutional justice.
There's a lot of talk about Haiti these days. From the Left we hear how the US is responsible for all their problems. From the Right we hear about insurgent Communism and Fidel. The truth of the matter though is that while we certainly have anti-democratic blood on our hands (remember that we've backed virtually every coup against democratically elected governments there), Haitian culture is one of deep corruption endemic in their society. No matter what anyone does or proposes, unless the Haitians themselves want progressive change it's not going to happen.
With all that said, there's also been a lot of noise about international assistance being slow to arrive. The deal is that the main airport only has one runway operating, the control tower was destroyed, there isn't enough fuel to send planes back where they came from hence the airport is already filled, the main seaport has been destroyed so ships cannot easily land and roads into and out of the capitol have been largely impassable. In response, once the US got its shit together (which was way later than most other nations) they arranged to occupy the airport diverting international aid to the Dominican Republic for truck shipment into Haiti. It was only yesterday that the US began air-dropping food and water into that country while others have been distributing such, some as early as the afternoon after the earthquake.
Here are some recent articles posted to the blogsite but that may not have made it into News That Matters:
And now, The News:
Thanks to clean air and water, an ample supply of fish and waterfowl, and plenty of trees, the bald eagle has made a remarkable recovery. Residents of the Lower Hudson Valley bear witness to the annual return of the bald eagle, whose winter numbers in our region now exceed 150.
The recovery and return of the bald eagle is truly a phenomenon. The bald eagle, which was considered an endangered species prior to 1995, shed its federal threatened status in 2007. Biologists estimate about 150 bald eagles overwinter in the Lower Hudson Valley, but according to the Bedford Audubon Society this number is growing.
CARMEL — From the woods along the west side of Lake Gleneida, downtown Carmel spreads out like an early 20th-century postcard.
Distance mutes the sound of traffic, church steeples reach to the sky and life passes back and forth on Route 52.
This not-often-viewed perspective of the Putnam County seat can be had from the Lake Gleneida Walking Trail, an approximately mile-long ramble that wraps around the forested side of the lake and away from one of the county's main thoroughfares.
"It's a hiking, walking, cross-country skiing trail," said Walt Thompson, program manager for Keep Putnam Beautiful.
FISHKILL — U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer pledged Tuesday to seek a grant to save Bannerman Castle on Pollepel Island following the collapse in late December of a large section of the landmark's tower.
Schumer, D-N.Y., met with Bannerman Castle Trust representatives at a private home in the Town of Fishkill that has a beautiful view of the ruins.
The senator said he would call U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar to support the trust's application for funding through the Save America's Treasures program.
While preserving the castle would draw tourists, Schumer said, when an area has natural and manmade beauty, people will want to live there and businesses will want to come, too.
Friday, January 15, 2010 at 2:04 p.m.
SAN DIEGO — Students were evacuated from Millennial Tech Magnet Middle School in the Chollas View neighborhood Friday afternoon after an 11-year-old student brought a personal science project that he had been making at home to school, authorities said.
Maurice Luque, spokesman for the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department, said the student had been making the device in his home garage. A vice principal saw the student showing it to other students at school about 11:40 a.m. Friday and was concerned that it might be harmful, and San Diego police were notified.
The school, which has about 440 students in grades 6 to 8 and emphasizes technology skills, was initially put on lockdown while authorities responded.
Luque said the project was made of an empty half-liter Gatorade bottle with some wires and other electrical components attached. There was no substance inside.
Kate McGarrigle, a Canadian singer who, with her sister Anna, captivated critics and fellow musicians with warm harmonies and a style that drew on both folk traditions and the personalized approach of 1970s singer-songwriters, died on Monday at her home in Montreal. She was 63.
The cause was clear-cell sarcoma, a form of cancer, said Barry Taylor, the manager for Ms. McGarrigle’s son, the singer Rufus Wainwright.
Born in Montreal and raised in St.-Sauveur-des-Monts, a small town about 50 miles north, Ms. McGarrigle absorbed a range of musical traditions around a musical hearth. Her father, Frank, was of Irish-Canadian stock and steeped in Stephen Foster and turn-of-the-century parlor songs; from her mother, Gaby, she and her two elder sisters — the oldest McGarrigle sister, Jane, was a church organist — learned old songs in French.
“Music was always there at home,” Kate McGarrigle said in a 1997 interview in Sing Out! magazine. “At parties, somebody would get up and sing, and my father would accompany them and sing the harmony. There were lots of friends and uncles and each would get up and give their big song.”
In the 1960s Kate, Anna and two boyfriends formed the Mountain City Four, which became one of Montreal’s leading folk groups. Kate — 14 months younger than Anna — also studied engineering and science at McGill University, and in 1970 she moved to New York City for a career as a musician. In 1974 Warner Brothers signed Kate and Anna to a recording contract. Their first album, “Kate and Anna McGarrigle,” was released in 1976.
by Alexandra Andrews, ProPublica - January 11, 2010 12:37 pm EST
This is one of our editors' picks from our ongoing roundup of Investigations Elsewhere .
This 1963 image depicts an overall view of the vertical test stand for testing the J-2 engine at Rocketdyne's Propulsion Field Laboratory, in the Santa Susana Mountains, near Canoga Park, Calif. Boeing, which was fined for dumping a toxic stew of pollutants at this site, has won a no-bid stimulus contract to clean it up. (NASA)
One would think that the best candidate for a $15.9 million stimulus contract  for environmental cleanup and monitoring might not be a company fined for dumping a toxic stew of pollutants at the same site. But one would be wrong, at least according to the federal government, which awarded the no-bid job to Boeing in July, reports the new investigative-reporting outfit California Watch .
Boeing's environmental rap sheet features a $471,000 fine from a regional California water-quality board in 2007 for 79 pollution violations involving toxic wastewater streaming into the Los Angeles River. According to California Watch:
Boeing had discharged 118.5 million gallons of water laced with pollutants like chromium, lead and mercury, according to the water board. At one point, the company exceeded the allowable concentration of cancer-causing dioxin by 6,900 times. The water board said the chronic violations created a risk to public health and, given Boeing's resources and sophistication, were "exceedingly serious."
The Associated Press
Friday, January 15, 2010; 8:48 PM
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- The family of an Illinois National Guard soldier said Friday that he's been charged with possession of child pornography in Afghanistan over innocent snapshots of a 4-year-old relative in a swimsuit.
The U.S. Army has charged Spec. Billy Miller of Galesburg, Ill., with possession of child pornography and a related charge of failure to obey an order that troops in Afghanistan not possess pornography.
Army spokesman Lt. Mary J. Pekas declined to discuss details of the case or evidence against Miller. She said the charge is punishable by up to 10 years in prison.
Miller's unit returned to Illinois in August, according to the National Guard, but the Army said he remains in Afghanistan, awaiting the end of his case and possible court martial.
"Spec. Miller is currently on active duty and assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Co., 82nd Airborne Division, pending the conclusion of the investigation and any potential legal proceedings," the Army's media center in Bagram, Afghanistan, said in a brief, unsigned e-mail statement.
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