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"I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by." - Douglas Adams
Good Monday Morning,
My propane company (Burnwell) just delivered 85 gallons of propane and billed me $6.039 per gallon plus a $9.99 "admin fee". Plus taxes, the total bill was $524.15. The bill says they made the delivery on December 23rd but they left no receipt of any kind, at least non that I saw.
Last summer I asked Burnwell to deliver only when I call for a delivery so I have a call in for them to come and take their latest 85 gallons out of the tank. Being that the tank is 250 gallons and I assume the meter on the truck stops when the tank registers as full, that should leave me 165 gallons which is plenty until I can afford to get more. Does anyone want to take bets on what they'll do? Does Putnam County have a consumer service division or ombudsman?Senator Vincent Leibell is hosting - at his taxpayer funded Senate website - a political effort to get you to sign a petition to create a state constitutionally enforced spending cap. Last week he sent a postcard directing you to the same place. Mine, I "Return(ed) to Sender" as I will each taxpayer funded political mailing that comes my way - and you should too.
He - and the rest of our state government - could readily resolve the problem by enduring the bravery to cut budgetary spending, but this petition thing gets you all enthused, makes you think "we're in this together" and in the end leaves us exactly where we are today with a dysfunctional State government made up of men and women from whom none of us would ever buy a used car.4371 American troops had died as part of Operation Enduring Freedom and another 4434 have been wounded. 20,638 additional troops have been diagnosed with PTSD according to the VA.
9351 Iraqi soldiers have been killed and more than 1 million Iraqi civilians have died.
As of March, 2009 Congress had appropriated $808 BILLION to the war. Scores of billions more have been allocated in other directly related DOD spending but due to shoddy record keeping we'll never know just how much. These monies were dedicated *outside* the budget process so each dollar was borrowed against your children's tax receipts.2010 New Year's Resolutions I'd Love To Hear:
The NY State Senate: We promise to stop using tax dollars for blatant political mailings and will, in 2010, stop our political grandstanding and do what we were sent to Albany to do.Putnam Valley Supervisor Bob Tendy claims that man made global warming is probably a hoax and that in the end it amounts to nothing more than a transfer of wealth from rich nations to poor ones. On that I have two things to say:
For a hundred and more years the United States has been systematically raping the Third World of its natural resources at the lowest possible price and if they should complain we shut them up at the point of a gun. (Like Hawaii, as just one example.) This transfer of wealth from the poor to the rich, I must assume, has not bothered the Supervisor all that much.Actual CNN Headline: "Tests: "Nothing wrong" with Limbaugh's heart". I didn't even know he had one.
While we're on Rush, did you know that last year he stated that Obama wanted to mandate circumcision in the health care bill? And that Glenn Beck said the bill included health insurance for your family pet? Neither did I. But Politifact, who has been keeping track of such things, has this to report on that and so much more. It's worth a read.Take 5:48 seconds out of your day and watch this video. Then tell me if you think the anti-intellectual movement in the US over the past 20 years has been a good thing or a bad thing.
"Obama Chills Out With Shaved Ice" is the headline for a Honolulu Advertiser article about the President out and about with his family on vacation:
At least 100 people crowded around barricades yesterday afternoon outside the Kailua Island Snow shop to catch a glimpse of a casual President Obama, wearing sunglasses and dressed in shorts and a white T-shirt, enjoying shave ice with his daughters and about 16 friends.Maybe we should start following reporters around when they're on vacation? Fair is fair.
Leonardo DiCaprio spent the New Year's weekend with Israeli super-model Bar Rafaeli in Cabo San Lucas.
I could not care less but just for once I wanted to report on mainstream American culture. If you care about Leonardo and his girlfriend please raise your hand... Seeing none, we're done with that experiment.
And now, The News:
SOUTHEAST — The ongoing legal battle about which company will pick up Southeast residents' trash in 2010 has left one carter with a bit of agita and a battle over his large, metal trash containers.
Pat Cartalemi Sr. of AAA Carting of Cortlandt said that on New Year's Eve afternoon he was given until New Year's Day to remove his containers at Southeast's townhome and condominium complexes. In anticipation of picking up residents' garbage throughout town in 2010, AAA bought the containers from the outgoing hauler.
But an appeal of a justice's order giving AAA the contract has left his company at least temporarily without the job, and led Sani-Pro Disposal Services of Briarcliff Manor to place its own containers at the complexes.
Environment Committee Chairman Joel Tyner said the bills had bipartisan support and took years to pass.
“It’s a shame that the county executive spent a lot of tax dollars over the years that ‘Dutchess Goes Green’ and these are two simple common-sense ways to protect the public health,” he said.
“Unfortunately, they are not happening,” Tyner said.
One bill would have banned Bisphenol A, a chemical used to manufacture plastics. Some think it is hazardous to human health.
In the business world, going green has become a trend. This focus on sustainability, energy efficiency and durability has resulted in a growing demand for workers who are trained in various "green" fields, and Dutchess Community College is responding. The college will be offering a Green Careers Information Session from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday in room 122 of Bowne Hall on the main campus. The object of the session is to provide people with a pathway into green education and careers. The program is free.
"This is a way for people in parallel industries to expand their knowledge and for others to join the industry and learn about going green," said Virginia Stoeffel, assistant dean of the Office of Community Services and Special Programs at the college.
The information session will include a more general industry overview of green jobs in the area, as well as green technology opportunities specific to Dutchess County. Breakout sessions will follow, discussing the different courses, both credit and noncredit, that will be offered at DCC focusing on green careers. "Not only will people learn from a business perspective, but an educational one as well," said Carol Stevens, dean of the college's Community Services and Special Programs. "They will get to meet instructors one-on-one and ask any questions that they may have."
ORANGEBURG — John McDowell wants to transform a piece of town-owned property into a farm where residents can grow vegetables and children can learn about plants.
This month, McDowell, founder of the Rockland Farm Alliance, made a presentation before the Orangetown Town Board, proposing the town lease a portion of the former Rockland Psychiatric Center property to the alliance for community farming.
The fate of the proposal remains uncertain as the Orangetown administration is in the middle of a transition from the Democratic-majority board under outgoing Supervisor Thom Kleiner to the Republican-majority board under Supervisor-elect Paul Whalen.
You're not going to believe what you've been eating the last few years (thanks, Bush! thanks meat industry lobbyists!) when you eat a McDonald's burger (or the hamburger patties in kids' school lunches) or buy conventional ground meat at your supermarket:
According to today's New York Times, The "majority of hamburger" now sold in the U.S. now contains fatty slaughterhouse trimmings "the industry once relegated to pet food and cooking oil," "typically including most of the material from the outer surfaces of the carcass" that contains "larger microbiological populations."
This "nasty pink slime," as one FDA microbiologist called it, is now wrung in a centrifuge to remove the fat, and then treated with AMMONIA to "retard spoilage," and turned into "a mashlike substance frozen into blocks or chips".
Thus saving THREE CENTS a pound off production costs. And making the company, Beef Products Inc., a fortune. $440 million/year in revenue. Ain't that something?
It takes brute force to wrest natural gas from the earth. Millions of gallons of chemical-laden water mixed with sand -- under enough pressure to peel paint from a car -- are pumped into the ground, pulverizing a layer of rock that holds billions of small bubbles of gas.
The chemicals transform the fluid into a frictionless mass that works its way deep into the earth, prying open tiny cracks that can extend thousands of feet. The particles of sand or silicon wedge inside those cracks, holding the earth open just enough to allow the gas to slip by.
Gas drilling is often portrayed as the ultimate win-win in an era of hard choices: a new, 100-year supply of cleaner-burning fuel, a risk-free solution to the nation’s dependence on foreign energy. In the next 10 years, the United States will use the fracturing technology to drill hundreds of thousands of new wells astride cities, rivers and watersheds. Cash-strapped state governments are pining for the revenue and the much-needed jobs that drilling is expected to bring to poor, rural areas.
Most everybody likes those look-back stories at the end of the year.
Remembering who died, what events happened and when, and how things look after time has passed seem to encapsulate a year in a keepsake of sorts.
For the record, I'd just as soon throw 2009 in the trash can, but that's just one man's opinion.
When it comes to the environment, however, a year is the veritable drop in the bucket.
Even decades seem too insignificant when things like the Hudson River have been around for thousands of years.
And the Hudson's as good a place to start as any.
The federal Environmental Protection Agency told New York State on Wednesday that it had major concerns about how proposed hydraulic drilling for natural gas would affect public health and the environment, and urged it to undertake a broader study of the potential impact.
In formal comments on the state’s proposed regulations governing new natural gas drilling, the E.P.A. said it was particularly concerned about the regional water supply, air quality, wastewater treatment and radioactive materials that could be disturbed during drilling.
It recommended that “essential environmental protection measures” be taken before the state begins to review permit applications for the drilling, which is envisaged in the Marcellus Shale region.
The region includes New York City’s watershed in the Catskills. The Chesapeake Energy Corporation, which owns the lease to drill in the watershed, has backed off from plans to drill there specifically, but opponents of drilling have argued that the promise means little and could be reversed.
In my travels, I've heard many cries of despair from you good folks about the timorous Obama presidency. On issue after issue, it's been go-slow and don't-rock-the-corporate boat. "Where's the 'audacity of hope?'" people are asking. "Where's the 'change you can believe in?'"
The answer is that in our country's democracy, audacity and change are where they've always resided: out there with you and me, at the grassroots level. For some reason, the guy who was elected by running from the outside is now trying to govern from the inside -- which is where change is taken to die.
The good news is that the American majority is with us on nearly every issue, so the chance for change remains strong -- if we can push it. Now is the time for us to be more aggressive, more demanding, more active than ever. Many of you have asked, "Fine -- but how?" Here are some suggestions:
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