Monday, February 8, 2010

News That Matters - February 8, 2010 - Resend

News That Matters - <a class="moz-txt-link-abbreviated" href=<a class="moz-txt-link-rfc2396E" href=<a class="moz-txt-link-rfc2396E" href=<a class="moz-txt-link-rfc2396E" href="">""</a>><a class="moz-txt-link-rfc2396E" href="">""</a></a>><a class="moz-txt-link-rfc2396E" href=<a class="moz-txt-link-rfc2396E" href="">""</a>><a class="moz-txt-link-rfc2396E" href="">""</a></a></a>><a class="moz-txt-link-abbreviated" href=<a class="moz-txt-link-rfc2396E" href=<a class="moz-txt-link-rfc2396E" href="">""</a>><a class="moz-txt-link-rfc2396E" href="">""</a></a>><a class="moz-txt-link-abbreviated" href=<a class="moz-txt-link-rfc2396E" href="">""</a>><a class="moz-txt-link-abbreviated" href=""></a></a></a></a>

News That Matters
Brought to you (Almost Daily) by PlanPutnam.Org

Ed note: Some people had trouble opening this morning's edition. Here it is again, just in case. JmG

Good Monday Morning,

A Hearty Welcome to our new readers this morning.

In case you missed it:


Not having access to broadcast television I managed to slip under the national radar. It was very quiet out here.

Who Approved This? According to a grainy ten minute video posted to You-tube by "burke181", the question is repeatedly asked of the residents of Carmel. The video tackles four projects either being built or proposed in Carmel and asks, "Who Approved This?" but it never does say even though the filmmakers must surely know. What I want to know is, why not say? Why leave the public guessing?

2010 is going to be an interesting year for politics in Putnam County. The sides are lining up for a couple of Legislative seats and the race for the County Executive's seat. On the legislative side the Republican machine is gunning to shoot down one of its own, Tony Fusco, trying to remove the one guy who does what a decent legislator should be doing: asking questions and demanding answers. In another race, Maryellen O'Dell, who has been a supporter of sales tax increases and other "fees" to keep the county afloat, may also be facing a primary challenge and we'll know for certain in a month or two.
But the Big Race, and the race all eyes in the region will be focused on, will be the County Executive's race where we've been promised Senator Leibell, after gifting his Senate seat to part-time Assemblyman Greg Ball, will take on Bob Bondi. Everyone assumes that the Senator will easily beat Mr. Bondi in a primary, should Bob decide to run for reelection, but for all Bob's faults, he is a deft politician and may prove to be a surprisingly strong candidate. Will Sheriff Smith also get in this race?

I was informed by a former reporter for the Journal News that that they don't "steal" my stories. Technically, he's right. Just because a story I run sparks an idea in another reporter and the original story is used as the base and it's not credited, it's not stealing, that it's a normal part of corporate journalism.
Interestingly, Senator Leibell penned a LTE to the JN yesterday which claimed the numbers they were using to rank him as the most expensive Senator in the Valley were two years old and that his committee work greatly increased his budget needs. But he didn't take to task the numbers News That Matters used to show his rank as the tenth most expensive Senator in the state, and with good reason: The numbers reported in NtM were for the 6 month period between October 2008 and March 2009, the last period for which such were available. During the same period of time Hudson Valley Senators came in like this:

Suzi Oppenheimer $229,684
Andrea Stewart-Cousins
Thomas Morahan $342,891
Stephen Saland $406,734
William Larkin, Jr. $431,999
Vincent Leibell $439,502
If, as the Senator claims, his committee work added a significant amount to his overall total then we need to reassess things in Albany, for millions spent on offices and mailers are millions not spent on roads, education and the general welfare of the people of the state.

We could be using space within state-owned office buildings and other facilities as permanent district offices for Assembly and Senate members saving fluctuating yearly rent costs. We might consider permanent staff, civil service employees for example, rather than political appointees. Franking privileges could be severely reduced with the use of alternate methods of communication and the  heavier use of video-conferencing as opposed to travel are all ways costs can be brought down.

The NY Daily News reported over the weekend that a 12 year old girl was handcuffed and arrested for the "crime" of doodling on her desk with an erasable marker at a Middle School in Forest Hills.

The UK Guardian reports that a 16 year old girl in Turkey was buried alive for talking to boys in what is called an "honor killing". More than 200 such killings take place in Turkey each year making it the family Murder Capitol of Europe. Honor killings are quite common in the middle east and parts of Asia. The thought being that, for example, if a woman is raped, that the event happened to a member of your family casts shame on the family so you kill the woman and clear the family name. The woman now fails to exist and so the shame can no longer exist either.

Digital Journal reports that Toy's R Us' release of a pink Ouija board aimed at girls has riled Christian religious activists across North America. Stephen Phelan, who is the communications director for a group known as Human Life International which claims to be the largest 'pro-life' organization in the world, warns that using such a thing opens your soul to attack from ill-meaning spirits. "All Christians should know, well everyone should, that it's opening up a person to attack, spiritually," he said. "Christians shouldn't use it."
Christians shouldn't use guns or bombs or torture people either but that sure hasn't stopped them from calling for a boycott over the numerous war toys available and a withdrawal of US troops from the Muslim world but, I digress...

What's interesting about calls for a boycott of Toys R Us is that the criticism appears to lead a casual observer to believe that Christians believe a Ouija board is, as one said, not a game. Logically, this requires them to believe that there is another world, a spirit world, that is tangible and can be manifested via objects such as a Ouija board. In essence, they are offering us the proof that a spirit world apart from their own professed spirit world actually exists. They call it evil and black, but it's standard practice to vilify your opponents when the competition gets tough. For all we know it's light blue with silver linings. The theological implications of this are indeed complex as they offer no firm corollary application as proof that their own spirit world exists. Personally, I'm fascinated by the whole debate.

Why Gays Can't ServeConvicted felon Oliver North said on Sean Hannity's show the other day that allowing gays to serve openly in the US military would be a "stunning assault on the all volunteer military" and that Obama is treating the military like "lab rats" in a vast social experiment. I seem to remember the same arguments being made when Blacks and, more recently  women, were being integrated into the military. He also said the plan will lead to members of NAMBLA (North American Man/Boy Love) joining up. What for? I have no idea, but if Ollie said it then it must be true.
In the meantime, the Thomas More Law Center claims that the Matthew Shephard Bill, which would add hate crimes against gays and lesbians to existing legislation, is an attempt to criminalize Christianity. The center says, "The sole purpose of this law is to criminalize the Bible and use the threat of federal prosecutions and long jail sentences to silence Christians from expressing their Biblically-based religious belief that homosexual conduct is a sin."

But according to the very same book, so is cutting your hair, mixing field crops, not paying your employees at the end of each day, combining cotton and rayon in your clothing, eating pork and... and... and.... I hate when they pick and choose. Tell me, am I the only who spots this double standard?

Reality Check:

Jobs: Bush vs Obama

Wow! Sarah Palin trashes the Constitution while wearing the flag of a foreign country on her lapel, Time Warner carries it live and the reactionary right-wing laud her with praise. People march for immigrant rights carrying their national flags and the reactionary right-wing questions their loyalty. People march in New York City in the middle of March carrying their national flag and the reactionary right-wing only wants to know which bar has the best green beer. Since the Irish and Ms Palin are anglo-saxon, there's no questioning of their loyalties but darken your skin a bit and man, the whole game changes.

If anyone in the movement should ever try to tell you that they are non-partisan, tell them to get back on their meds. Mark Skoda, Chair of the Memphis klavern, announced during the Tea Bag Party convention this past week that the Party will endorse candidates that meet the following criteria: "Fiscal responsibility, lower taxes, less government, states' rights and national security. Prospective political candidates will be expected to support the Republican National Committee platform. If a particular candidate meets the proposed criteria he or she would be eligible for fundraising and grassroots support." Oh, and they're happy to take corporate donations.

While we're breaking stories here, it was two weeks ago I reported that Greg Ball was bringing the Tea Party movement here to Carmel on April 15th.
Organizers, according to a page on Facebook are, Alex Jamison who works for one of the largest recipients of TARP bailout money, Bank of America, Colin Schmitt of Washington, D.C., Amanda Kohut, a graduate of Catholic University, Washington, D.C., Dennis D'Aquila, currently attending Catholic University, Washington, D.C.,and Brian Maher of Walden, NY. Sounds like a bunch of out-of-towners coming here to stir up trouble.

And now, The News:
  1. Hall Votes to Restore Fiscal Discipline
  2. Home Sizes Continue to Shrink
  3. Born in China, Electric Bikes Gain a Toehold in the West
  4. Teen brings warmth to chemotherapy patients
  5. 'White Goat' machine turns waste paper into toilet roll
  6. Cuba plans city farms to ease economy woes
  7. Another Look at Obama's Origins
  8. Gun owners hit the road to arm America

Hall Votes to Restore Fiscal Discipline

U.S. Rep. John Hall (D-Dover) took a critical step towards restoring our nation's fiscal health by voting for pay-as-you-go, or PAYGO, legislation which ensures that all new spending is paid for. PAYGO helped to take the United States from deficits to surpluses in the 1990s. It requires Congress to pay for all tax cuts and new or increased entitlement programs with savings elsewhere in the budget. The PAYGO legislation now goes to President Obama for his signature.

"PAYGO is a key part of our efforts to restore fiscal discipline and bring down the exploding deficits left behind by the Bush administration and Washington Republicans," said Congressman Hall. "House Democrats understand that to rebuild our economy for the long term, we must create jobs and cut our deficit. We did this before under President Clinton, and I know we can do it again under President Obama."

Read More

Home Sizes Continue to Shrink

Survey data from the NAHB and Better Homes and Gardens indicates that builders and consumers are thinking smaller.

Jan. 22, 2010, Las Vegas — It wasn't a blip. The big house really is going away. At least for now.

Average single-family home sizes declined from 2,520 square feet in 2008 to 2,480 square feet in 2009, breaking nearly 30 years of uninterrupted growth. And the correction is likely to continue well into 2010, NAHB assistant vice president of survey research Rose Quint announced in a Wednesday press conference at the International Builders' Show (IBS) in Las Vegas.

Will home sizes beef back up as soon as the economy rebounds? Quint doesn't think so. "First of all, you have the impact of first-time buyers, who will remain a very big share of the housing market for the foreseeable future," she predicted. "Second, the era of easy money, where you go out and buy $800,000 worth of home, is over. Today you have to put 20 percent down. And now that piggyback loans are not available, you are only going to buy what you need." Those factors—combined with rising interest in energy efficiency—suggest that home sizes, which peaked two years ago, will now continue to level off, she said.

As houses shrink overall, so, too, are their room counts. Last year the number of homes with three or more bathrooms declined for the first time since 1992—from about 28 percent to 24 percent, according to NAHB figures. Bedroom counts also are dropping. The number of homes with four or more bedrooms fell from nearly 40 percent to about 32 percent. The share of homes with two or more stories peaked in 2006 and is also now trending backwards.

Read More

Born in China, Electric Bikes Gain a Toehold in the West

SHANGHAI — Jiang Ruming, a marketing manager, owns a van, but for many errands, he hops on a futuristic-looking contraption that lets him weave rapidly through Shanghai’s messy traffic. He rides an electric bicycle.

Electric bicycle riders in China, where about 120 million such bikes are used, with some going up to 30 miles an hour.

Half a world away, in San Francisco, the president of that city’s board of supervisors, David Chiu, uses an electric bike to get to meetings without sweating through his suit.

And in the Netherlands, Jessy Wijzenbeek-Voet recently rode an electric bicycle on a long trip that, at 71, she would not have been able to make on a standard bike.

Detroit may be introducing electric car designs and China may be pushing forward with a big expansion of its highways and trains. But people like Mr. Jiang, Ms. Wijzenbeek-Voet and Mr. Chiu — as well as delivery workers in New York, postal employees in Germany and commuters from Canada to Japan — are among the millions taking part in a more accidental transportation upheaval.

Read More

Teen brings warmth to chemotherapy patients

Something as simple as a hat can mean the world to a person undergoing chemotherapy.

"Most of us lose heat through our heads," said Mary Luvera, the administrative director for oncology at Vassar Brothers Medical Center.

"As you undergo chemotherapy, sometimes your blood count gets low, and you feel cold," she said.

That is why the efforts of Julia Cohen are so special to her.

For the past two years, the 16-year-old Town of Poughkeepsie resident has collected about 100 hats and caps of all different kinds.

"A lot of people are knitting the caps," Cohen said. "It's for women, men, kids, too."

Read More

'White Goat' machine turns waste paper into toilet roll

London, Feb 2 (ANI): A Japanese company has created a machine which turns waste office paper into toilet rolls.

Users feed waste office paper into the oddly titled White Goat machine, which shreds it, mixes it with water and pulps it.

The 63,000-pound device then flattens the pulp and dries it before churning out rolls of toilet paper. It costs just 6p to create each roll.

Makers Oriental say the toilet paper machine is aimed at large companies which would produce a lot of waste paper.

Read More

Cuba plans city farms to ease economy woes

Cuba has launched an ambitious project to ring urban areas with thousands of small farms in a bid to reverse the country's agricultural decline and ease its chronic economic woes.

The five-year plan calls for growing fruits and vegetables and raising livestock in four mile-wide rings around 150 of Cuba's cities and towns, with the exception of the capital Havana.

The island's authorities hope suburban farming will make food cheaper and more abundant, cut transportation costs and encourage urban dwellers to leave bureaucratic jobs for more productive labour.

But the government will continue to hold a monopoly on most aspects of food production and distribution, including its control of most of the land in the communist-run nation.

The pilot programme for the project is being conducted in the central city of Camaguey, which the Cuban agriculture ministry has said eventually will have 1,400 small farms covering 52,000 hectares (128,490 acres), just minutes outside the town.

The farms, mostly in private hands but also including some cooperatives and state-owned enterprises, must grow everything organically, and the ministry expects they will produce 75% of the food for the city of 320,000 people, with big state-owned farms providing the rest.

Read More

[Ed note: Because I'm frequently accused of not covering "the other side" I bring you this, from The Other Side]

Another Look at Obama's Origins

The murky circumstances of Obama's birth invite attempts to make the known facts fit together. This article was prompted by two emails.  The first asked me why I had never weighed in on the birth certificate controversy surrounding President Barack Obama.

I responded that although I was troubled by the lack of documentation regarding all phases of Obama's history -- I'd be content with his SAT scores -- I could not understand why any pregnant American woman would go anywhere near Kenya.

The second email was more interesting.  It came from a Michigan entrepreneur named Don Wilkie, with whom I had not previously communicated.  Knowing my interest in the authorship questions surrounding Obama's writing, he presumed that I was intrigued as he was by a cryptic poem the 19-year old Obama wrote called "Pop," the best thing that Obama himself has actually written.  He was right.

Read More

Gun owners hit the road to arm America

Roving show sidesteps states' 'petty bureaucrats' to make packing heat easier

By Drew Zahn
© 2010 WorldNetDaily

Gun rights activists, claiming that obtaining a concealed carry permit in some states is next to impossible, are planning to hit the road with a plan to help frustrated applicants around the country obtain permits for packing heat.

Gun Owners of America, in partnership with the Second Amendment March and the New Jersey Coalition for Self Defense, are hoping their new "Right to Carry Road Show" will soon spread nationwide to assist gun owners and send a message of defiance to gun control advocates who push to bog down applications in endless red tape.

The Road Show is a mobile processing system that brings to gun owners a consolidated program streamlining the steps to obtaining a self-defense firearm permit.

Read More

Sign up to have
News That Matters
Delivered to your email inbox!

FBNews That Matters
on Facebook

Support Our Sponsors

Interior/Exterior House Painting by someone you can trust. (845) 225-2104 House

Brown Ink

Commercial Printing
600 Horsepound Road,
Kent Lakes, NY 10512
(845) 225-0177
Greg Brown

Joe Greico's
Out On A Limb

All types of tree work, all aspects of lawn maintenance, snow plowing, lot clearing, excavation, retaining walls, stump grinding.

82 Hortontown Rd.
Kent Cliffs, NY 10512
T- (914)224-3049
F- (845)231-0815

Chuckie Goodnight Foundation
To educate children on how to be good stewards of the earth.

Chris Casaburi
(845) 531-2358

Copyright © 2010 News That Matters