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|Good Wednesday Morning, |
The Putnam Valley Farmer's Market continues every Wednesday 3-7pm starting January 13th at the Lake Peekskill Community Center.
Imminent. Not Eminent. I should have caught that.
Home sales are down in the region of late and people have decided to stay to await for either an improvement in the market or genuine property tax relief from the state. What this means is that you'll be looking at the same drab walls you have been forever. It's time to spruce things up inside (a good counter to the winter blues!) and bring a reliable painting contractor in. I know one. Do you?
Friday is our weekly Things To Do Edition but I've got little to show this week other than an acoustic rock show at Lake Carmel on Saturday. Send in your events!
Hats off to Marc Anthony, co-owner of the South Side Inn in Mahopac for offering rides to his customers.
According to the NY Journal News, a Mahopac woman was charged with DWI when, during a traffic stop, a cop saw her take a swig of mouthwash and then spit it out into the car. Based on that alone she deserved the charge. Common experience says you a) do the mouthwash thing as soon as you get in the car and, b) you swallow the stuff. A pool of mouthwash on the floor of your car is akin to holding a smoking gun with a dead body at your feet.
On January 29th our neighboring planet, Mars, will mark its closest approach to earth in 2010 at a mere 61,700,000 miles. This will make Mars appear larger than the moon in the night sky. Okay, just kidding about that. However, for several weeks it will be the brightest 'star' in the sky bested only by Sirius and the planet Jupiter.
Here are some recent posts to the blogsite that might not have appeared in News That Matters:
This is what our State Senate is doing? The state is in financial crisis. Government refuses to reign in spending or offer actual tax relief. Tens of thousands of New Yorkers including many in Putnam County are either in or near foreclosure on their homes. The job market is shrinking and those who are working are losing hours and benefits. And the New York State Senate, when it's not busy denying New Yorkers civil rights or playing political shell games, is spending its time on Mr. Monserrate?
"The Court also finds that there are significant reasons why the Government's proffered evidence may not be accurate or authentic. Some of the evidence advanced by the Government has been "buried under the rubble of war," Hamdi, 542 U.S. at 532, in circumstances that have not allowed the Government to ascertain its chain of custody, nor in many instances even to produce information about the origins of the evidence. Other evidence is based on so-called "unfinished" intelligence, information that has not been subject to each of the five steps in the intelligence cycle (planning, collection, processing, analysis and production, and dissemination). Based on the Government's own declarations, its raw intelligence may not have been fully analyzed for its "reliability, validity, and relevance" in the context of other intelligence where "judgments about its collective meaning" are made."The paragraph above comes from a United States Supreme Cour, FOUAD MAHMOUD AL RABIAH, et al. v UNITED STATES, et al., Mr. Al Rabiah was tortured at Guantanamo and held even though the government not only had no case against him but knew of his innocence. See the article below for how this came about. But now we know why our government insists on charging and trying people in secret. With security services like the TSA and Homeland Security run for the sake of political expediency and not for actual security or safety, is it any wonder?
The Times of London reports: "The investigation found that eight of the victims were aged from 11 to 17. The guest was a shepherd boy, 12, called Samar Gul, the headmaster said. He said that six of the students were at high school and two were at primary school."
The investigation referred to here is one concerning an event which took place last weekend that involved US Troops in Afghanistan. President Karzai posted this to a government website:Teabaggers are starting a national movement that asks their fellow comrades not to participate in the 2010 census. They've threatened to run census takers off with shotguns and/or throw out their census forms and I heartily encourage them to continue this endeavor!
If they should succeed, once the tally is complete the population picture of the United States will be skewed in the direction of a more progressive nation with fewer church goers, more same-sex couples, people who spend their money on renewables and show that the nation cares about community, education, science and the arts. As well, it will alter the way new congressional districts are drawn which will, in the end, politically neuter the teabaggers once and for all.Karl Rove rather secretly divorced his wife over the holiday weekend. Secretly, in the sense that there's no other news that weekend other than reports of Santa's imminent arrival. And, what of his close personal relationship with Jeff Gannnon, a once male prostitute turned White House "reporter" and henchman for the GOP?
Glenn Beck, a godhead figure for so many Americans, said that John Holdren, director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, "has proposed forcing abortions and putting sterilants in the drinking water to control population." That so many Americans believe this guy and hang on his every word should be scaring the bejeezus out of each and every one of you. While he may be a useful tool his intentional use of misinformation engenders a rather negative effect on the nation's moral and physical and financial security. In other words, Mr. Beck, like Messrs. Limbaugh, O'Reilly and Hannity could do no more to harm this nation than they are doing right now. No one outside our borders, regardless of their intentions, has done the nation more harm than these men, their followers and the generation of misinformed anti-intellectuals they have sired.
If you really do want to take your pants off while traveling in the United States without TSA agents giggling behind their screens, you can do so this coming Sunday during Improv Everywhere!'s annual "No Pants Subway Ride". Details and directions are here.
And now, The News:
While North America's airports groan under the weight of another sea-change in security protocols, one word keeps popping out of the mouths of experts: Israelification.
That is, how can we make our airports more like Israel's, which deal with far greater terror threat with far less inconvenience.
"It is mindboggling for us Israelis to look at what happens in North America, because we went through this 50 years ago," said Rafi Sela, the president of AR Challenges, a global transportation security consultancy. He's worked with the RCMP, the U.S. Navy Seals and airports around the world.
"Israelis, unlike Canadians and Americans, don't take s--- from anybody. When the security agency in Israel (the ISA) started to tighten security and we had to wait in line for — not for hours — but 30 or 40 minutes, all hell broke loose here. We said, 'We're not going to do this. You're going to find a way that will take care of security without touching the efficiency of the airport."
That, in a nutshell is "Israelification" - a system that protects life and limb without annoying you to death.
It took four months but the United States Department of Transportation finally responded to a query from the ACLU asking it to clarify its policy on the act of photographing its buildings.
Turns out, there is no such policy forbidding the photography of DOT buildings in Washington DC.
The response from the U.S. Dept. of Transportation acted as if it were only an isolated incident in which a security guard was misinformed about the policies regarding photography. It offered an apology for that particular security guard.
But the truth is, there has been a pattern over several years of DOT security guards forbidding photographers from taking pictures of its buildings.
Much of it has been documented by photographer Erin McCann, who provided Photography is Not a Crime with the response from the US DOT, which also included a 2004 “special security bulletin” from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security regarding the photography of federal buildings.
Hari Kunzru The Guardian, Wednesday 6 January 2010
Anyone who has flown to the US since the failed bomb attack on Christmas Day will have felt it – the edge, the tangible atmosphere of tension.On 28 December I'd been in the UK to spend Christmas with my family, and took a British Airways flight back to New York. I was happy because I'd checked in online, and clicked on an exit-row seat. I wouldn't spend seven hours with my knees crushed, my body twisted to one side as I tried to sleep.
I knew the boarding process wouldn't be easy. There had been delays the previous day, and I arrived at the gate early. Every passenger was patted down and our hand luggage examined, but the process was handled efficiently and politely, and soon I was making my way down the aisle of the plane.
That was when I saw that the number on my boarding pass didn't match the seat I thought I held. I appeared to be seated halfway down the cabin. After a few minutes, a white man of about my age sat down in the exit row seat I'd come to think of as "mine", and stretched out his legs.
By Gail Russell Chaddock Staff writer
More than eight years after the 9/11 attacks, Washington is again probing how US analysts failed to “connect the dots” leading up to a terrorist attempt – and how to do better in the future.
That’s the aim of a midafternoon meeting with President Obama and 20 top government officials who have been tasked with a review of the Christmas Day incident on Northwest Airlines Flight 253.
It’s an exercise Washington has launched before, most notably after the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941 and after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. In both cases, investigators aimed to construct a timeline – who knew what, when they knew it, and what they did with what they knew – to identify missed opportunities and to propose fixes.
By Howard LaFranchi Staff writer
The emergence – or better said, reemergence – of Yemen and the Horn of Africa as a focal point of Al Qaeda-led terrorist activity aimed at the United States is sharpening a debate over how and with what resources the US has chosen to battle the global Islamist extremist threat.
With Yemeni connections to recent terrorist acts or threats in the US surfacing, some critics of the approach taken by the US since 9/11 say too much emphasis and treasure have been dedicated to large-scale military operations like the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. As the US has become bogged down there, these critics add, an agile and mobile enemy has used convenient tools like the Internet and the lawless regions of failed or weak states like Yemen and Somalia to build networks and regroup after defeats elsewhere.
“It’s gotten to be like the old whack-a-mole game, where we’ve hit them here, but they’ve just popped right back up over there,” says Judith Yaphe, a former CIA Middle East analyst now at the National Defense University in Washington. “We’re not going to bomb our way to a solution in Afghanistan, and it’s not going to be by forgetting about all the other places where these groups have influence, either.”
After a year that saw exaggerated use of Tasers against unarmed people who posed no threat to police, a federal appeals court ruled to limit the use of Tasers in these situations.
The ruling by the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in San Francisco this week will affect most of the western United States, including Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington, along with two territories.
It stems from an incident where a 21-year-old California man was Tased after a traffic stop even though he did not threaten the officer or attempted to flee.
A New Mexico police chief said he was only trying to protect a 14-year-old girl when he used his Taser gun on her last week, leaving a huge gash on her head that required 18 staples and six stitches.
One of the Taser’s prongs penetrated her skull, sending 50,000 volts of electric current into her brain.
The girl, who has epilepsy, now has trouble walking up stairs and keeping her balance.
Tucumcari Police Chief Roger Hatcher said he had no choice because the girl was about to run into traffic.
But that was before the dash cam video was released which shows there was no traffic when he chased her into the street. And he didn’t even pull the trigger until they were on the other side of the street.
When neoconservatives, at the peak of their hubris, bragged that they could create reality, they weren't kidding. Torture is the most effective means of creating reality because of this dynamic. What better evidence is there that someone was an al Qaeda member than that he confessed to it? And torture can get victims to confess to anything if they are tormented enough.
In the ensuing madness over photography in the United Kingdom, one photographer recently emerged victorious from an incident in which he was illegally detained for eight hours for photographing a car accident.
Andrew Handley was photographing a car accident three years ago from behind a police ribbon when a cop ordered him to hand over the camera.
Handley, who’s been a photojournalist for 34 years, refused.
Police arrested him and made a record of his fingerprints and DNA.
In the last century, the Earth’s average surface temperature increased by over 1oF. The warming has been greater at the poles, already significantly reducing polar ice and changing weather patterns and sea level heights worldwide. The Earth is now warmer than it has been in 650,000 years – and is expected to climb another three to ten degrees this century!
Scientists tell us that a rising temperature of just a few degrees, surprisingly will cause a cascade of detrimental climatic changes (e.g. in precipitation patterns causing both droughts and floods, and in sea level heights) and biological changes (e.g. in geographic ranges of wildlife and rates of species survival). In the last decade, a broad scientific consensus has emerged that global warming and climate change are due to increased levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. While volcanoes and other natural events release greenhouse gases, it is the human-driven emissions of carbon dioxide over the last 150 years from burning fossil fuels for energy, as well as released gases from deforestation and our agricultural practices, that are responsible for a warming Earth.
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