Friday, April 2, 2010

News That Matters - April 2, 2010

News That Matters

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

Good Friday Morning,

Over at the blogsite there's a new poll running asking if you intend to keep a garden this year. While you're there voting check out some of the more than 100 stories and articles that's been posted over the past few weeks. You are encouraged to comment on any article and signing up isn't necessary. But I will remove anything nasty, so be forewarned. Since the blogsite began last year there are over 1000 posts and more than 200 comments.
It's also very easy to have posted stories sent automatically to your email program or RSS feed reader. Just click on this link and if your computer knows what to do with it you're set. If not, nothing will happen, nothing will change.
Donations have been coming in and while that's nice and they are truly appreciated, please note that if you're a regular supporter please wait until the regular fund drive in November. If you're not or have not been and you're feeling the urge, this is where to click. In the meantime GET ACTIVE!

Reader GB wrote regarding the last edition:
"Seething anger permeates this edition.  Fair enough, as there is plenty about which to rage.  But this can't be good for your mental or physical health; a little more comic relief might be good for you and your readers.  But, really, who am I to say?"
And so yesterday I changed my political registration from the Green Party to the Republican Party. So there! But today I feel a tad awkward. Being both gay and Jewish I'm not sure which half of myself I'm supposed to hate or repress. Jeez. Being under the "Big Tent" is like rowing in one direction while seeking another.

On the issue of Contractors being forced to pay Putnam County for the Right To Work, reader JG from Kent wrote:
"Apparently serfdoms still exist and right here in New York state. Yet another reason why we fought that war sometime back in the 1700's. What was the name of that one?"
The county has so far remained silent on this though I do expect the Journal News to run a story in a few weeks, once they feel it's far enough away from my post to be their 'own' story.
Lori Kemp called yesterday to thank me for keeping her issue in the public eye as we certainly cannot count on the FOX Courier or the Journal News to follow up on important stories especially when they concern "the powers that be" and civil rights.
Action Alert: I encourage you to call the County DA's office at 845-225-3641 and tell them to drop the charges against Ms Kemp. They'll tell you that they cannot discuss an ongoing case but persist that they hear what you're saying and don't be bullied by their legal double-speak. Tell them the DA can tick one conviction off his dossier without hurting his political career.
I am becoming more and more impressed with the Putnam Examiner. If you haven't seen or read one, look for them at gas stations, supermarkets and delis and give it a go. I think you'll agree.

President Obama, in another useless attempt to be nice to my new political party has decided to open the Atlantic and another portion of the Gulf of Mexico to oil exploration and drilling. The total expected find in these waters amounts to squat but it's something the oil industry has been seeking forever and he's giving it to them even though the same companies have millions of acres in the mainland US under contract they're not using.
Progressives, environmentalists and pretty much everyone living along the Atlantic coast is up in arms over the proposal and public relations campaigns have spring up all over the place. In the last 48 hours I've received about a dozen emails asking me to sign this petition or send that letter.

I'd support drilling for oil in these waters if a fee of $5 is applied to each barrel of oil taken that would be applied directly to the retrofitting of older homes for energy efficiency using renewables and/or conservation or subsidizing distributed solar power to the grid. In other words, let the new oil fund its own demise so that when it runs (or leaks) out we'll no longer need it.
In the last issue we spoke a little about Teddy Roosevelt, the father of Progressivism in the United States. His cousin, Franklin Roosevelt, once proposed an update to the Bill of Rights that begins:
It is our duty now to begin to lay the plans and determine the strategy for the winning of a lasting peace and the establishment of an American standard of living higher than ever before known.

We cannot be content, no matter how high that general standard of living may be, if some fraction of our people—whether it be one-third or one-fifth or one-tenth—is ill-fed, ill-clothed, ill-housed, and insecure.

This Republic had its beginning, and grew to its present strength, under the protection of certain inalienable political rights—among them the right of free speech, free press, free worship, trial by jury, freedom from unreasonable searches and seizures. They were our rights to life and liberty.

As our nation has grown in size and stature, however—as our industrial economy expanded—these political rights proved inadequate to assure us equality in the pursuit of happiness.

We have come to a clear realization of the fact that true individual freedom cannot exist without economic security and independence. “Necessitous men are not free men.” People who are hungry and out of a job are the stuff of which dictatorships are made....

Read the rest of this remarkable statement.
Reason #4 why we shouldn't have a Canadian Health Care System:
Dr. Aubrey Levin, a South African working in Canada, made his fame by torturing gay men and women during the apartheid regime in an effort to "cure" them of their homosexuality. He was that nation's Chief Psychiatrist. His "cure" consisted of drugging his patients and then giving them powerful electric shocks until they turned straight.

Now practicing in Canada for 15 years, he has been arrested for "indecently" assaulting a 36 year old male patient, according to the UK Guardian. That patient isn't alone as other men have since come forward telling lurid tales of sexual advances from the same doctor.

It's always the guys that protesteth too much. Here are a few examples:
  • Most recently, one of the most ardent ant-gay politicians in California, State Senator Roy Ashburn was stopped for DWI after leaving a gay nightclub called "Faces". Oh, he wasn't alone... there was another man in the car with him who also wasn't gay. Right.
  • Back in 2006 Congressman Mark Foley who was Chairman of the House Caucus on Missing and Exploited Children and one of the foremost opponents of child pornography in the Senate, was found to be "sexting" with underage male Congressional staffers.
  • Larry CraigTed Haggard, Leader of the National Association of Evangelicals, was found doing crystal meth with male prostitutes. See this video I posted back in January.
  • US Senator Larry Craig who was the Senate Liason for Mitt Romney’s Presidential Campaign and who voted repeatedly against gay marriage, was arrested for soliciting a police officer in an airport men's bathroom. He said he was just tapping his foot to the inner music in his head.
  • Glenn Murphy, Jr. who was the National Chairman of the Young Republicans and Chairman of the Clark County Republican Party woke up one morning giving mouth-to-penis resuscitation to a fellow he'd met the night before in an alcohol-fueled smashup at his home. Glenn was known as a guy who encouraged his fellow party members to use gay marriage as a "wedge issue" among the faithful. It didn't help that the man he was with pressed charges leading to the revelation that this was not Mr. Murphy's first brush with this remarkable first aid method.
  • And of course, who could forget former Second Lady Lynne Cheney who wrote a soft-core lesbian porn novel, and denied that her own daughter was gay.
There's more here and here.
Enjoy your weekend!

And now, the News:
  1. PARC Employee charged with using corporate gas card
  2. Hall continues “Congress in Your Kitchen” series
  3. Health reform to deliver relief To New Windsor Family
  4. New York's 19th Heading For Two Woman Republican Primary: Hayworth Versus Cavere
  5. E.P.A. Moves to Limit Water Pollution From Mining
  6. Federal Judge Finds N.S.A. Wiretapping Program Illegal
  7. The Mad Tea Party
  8. KBR on Trial--At Last

PARC Employee charged with using corporate gas card

CARMEL – Putnam County Sheriff’s detectives have arrested a Wappingers Falls woman on a felony grand larceny in the fourth degree charge after she allegedly unlawfully used a corporate gas card from her employer.

Angela Green, 41, of 8 White Gate Drive in Wappingers Falls, worked at PARC, in the Town of Southeast, an agency for those with development disabilities.  She is accused of using the card to buy gas at service stations along Route 9 in Dutchess County.

She was released without bail pending a court appearance.

Green worked in the finance and purchasing department and was responsible for recording the company’s credit cards and assigning them to various employees.

If convicted, Green could face up to four years in state prison.

Read More

Hall continues “Congress in Your Kitchen” series

POUGHKEEPSIE – Congressman John Hall discussed the new health care law with the Pallo family in Poughkeepsie Thursday.

Tom, Maria and their son, Jeffrey, 13, have been coping with Mrs. Pallo’s cancer. She was diagnosed with colon cancer in 2005.

As a result, she went from full-time work to part-time and retained health cover through her husband’s work. But, last year, she exceeded the cap for that insurance. She was declared disabled and now has Medicare along with gap coverage through another insurance company.

The new law will eventually remove the lifetime coverage cap, and that’s a good thing, said Hall.

“If her cancer comes back, in the previous regime, it would be considered to be a previous condition, which she could be denied coverage for,” he said. “Starting with this bill taking effect, immediately this year with children, but as phased in over the next four years to the year 2014, adults will be covered regardless of pre-existing condition.”

Hall said the new law also prohibits insurance companies from charging women more than men for the same coverage, an industry practice known as “gender rating.”

Read More

Health reform to deliver relief To New Windsor Family

New Windsor family denied claims, soon eligible

Times Herald-Record

NEW WINDSOR — The bills are there, in a folder. But Rebecca and Jaime Castellanos don't like to look at them. It's too stressful.

There's $4,000 for blood work, $150 for her 7-year-old daughter Keila's bronchitis, and they haven't even gotten the bill for Rebecca's emergency hospital visit for catastrophic blood loss from a ruptured uterine fibroid.

The reason the bills are there, Rebecca said, is the family's insurance company, Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield, wouldn't pay them. She said the insurance company refused to pay because it contends the medical problems were caused by pre-existing conditions. Even though the Castellanoses said they were never diagnosed with the conditions, the insurance company said were pre-existing.

The health reform law passed by Congress last week will change that. Starting later this year for children, and in 2014 for everybody else, insurance companies will be barred from denying coverage to people with pre-existing conditions.

Read More

New York's 19th Heading For Two Woman Republican Primary: Hayworth Versus Cavere

The inside word out of Washington, D.C. has been that Congressional Republicans are "gun-shy" about most of the races in New York State after the three-way debacle in the 23rd last year.

Greg Ball's abrupt exit from the 19th left the NRCC hesitant about the Hudson Valley, even with Obama  winning Democrat John Hall's district with only 52 percent in 2008.

Now the 19th is host to a four candidate race that observers are predicting should whittle down to a two-woman primary by summer.

There's a lot of work for party leaders and candidates to do before it whittles down to anything.

Read More

E.P.A. Moves to Limit Water Pollution From Mining

The Environmental Protection Agency issued tough new water quality guidelines on Thursday that could curtail some of the most contentious coal mining techniques used across Appalachia.

This is what it looks like on a nice dayIn announcing the guidelines, Lisa P. Jackson, the agency’s administrator, cited evolving science on the effects of mountaintop removal mining, an aggressive form of coal extraction that uses explosives and vast machinery to tear off hilltops to expose coal seams, dumping the resulting rubble into streams and valleys below. The goal of the new rules, Ms. Jackson said, is to prevent “significant and irreversible damage” to Appalachian watersheds.

“Let me be clear,” Ms. Jackson said during a phone call with reporters. “This is not about ending coal mining. This is about ending coal mining pollution.”

The most substantial effect of the new guidelines — which the agency will promulgate to regional offices that issue permits — will be to benchmark the permissible levels of mining runoff likely to be introduced into the waterways surrounding a proposed project. Operations that would result in levels roughly five times above normal would be considered too damaging.

Ms. Jackson suggested that one practical result of the guidelines would be to make it far more difficult for so-called valley fill operations, where layers of soil and rock are removed from mountaintops and piled in nearby valleys and streams, to receive permits.

Read More

Federal Judge Finds N.S.A. Wiretapping Program Illegal

WASHINGTON — A federal judge ruled Wednesday that the National Security Agency’s program of surveillance without warrants was illegal, rejecting the Obama administration’s effort to keep shrouded in secrecy one of the most disputed counterterrorism policies of former President George W. Bush.

In a 45-page opinion, Judge Vaughn R. Walker ruled that the government had violated a 1978 federal statute requiring court approval for domestic surveillance when it intercepted phone calls of Al Haramain, a now-defunct Islamic charity in Oregon, and of two lawyers representing it in 2004. Declaring that the plaintiffs had been “subjected to unlawful surveillance,” the judge said the government was liable to pay them damages.

The ruling delivered a blow to the Bush administration’s claims that its surveillance program, which Mr. Bush secretly authorized shortly after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, was lawful. Under the program, the National Security Agency monitored Americans’ international e-mail messages and phone calls without court approval, even though the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, or FISA, required warrants.

The Justice Department said it was reviewing the decision and had made no decision about whether to appeal.

Read More

The Mad Tea Party

Leftists like to say that another world is possible, but I was never quite sure of that until I started reading tea party websites. There, a government of leftists is not only possible, it's on the cusp of seizing permanent power, having broken American capitalism and replaced it with a socialist state. Down that rabbit hole, Barack Obama and Rahm Emanuel are communists, and "The Left"--which encompasses everyone from the Democratic Leadership Council to Maoist sectarians--is a disciplined and near omnipotent army marching in lockstep to a decades-old master plan for domination called the "Cloward-Piven strategy" or, as of January 20, 2009, "Cloward-Piven government."

What is this plot? According to David Horowitz, who apparently coined the expression, Cloward-Piven is "the strategy of forcing political change through orchestrated crisis." Named after sociologists and antipoverty and voting rights activists Richard Cloward and Frances Fox Piven, who first elucidated it in a May 2, 1966, article for
The Nation

called "The Weight of the Poor: A Strategy to End Poverty," the Cloward-Piven strategy, in Horowitz's words, "seeks to hasten the fall of capitalism by overloading the government bureaucracy with a flood of impossible demands, thus pushing society into crisis and economic collapse." Like a fun-house-mirror version of Naomi Klein's Shock Doctrine theory, the Cloward-Piven strategy dictates that the left will exploit that crisis to push through unpopular, socialist policies in a totalitarian manner.

Since Obama's election and the financial crash of 2008, Horowitz's description has been taken up by a clutch of tea party propagandists--from TV and radio hosts Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh and Mark Levin to WorldNetDaily editor Joseph Farah, National Review editor Stanley Kurtz and The Obama Nation author Jerome Corsi--to explain how both events could have happened, here, in the U-S-A. In their historical narrative, it was Cloward and Piven's article that gave ACORN the idea to start peddling subprime mortgages to poor minorities in the 1980s, knowingly laying the groundwork for a global economic meltdown nearly thirty years later. Beck calls Cloward and Piven the two people who are "fundamentally responsible for the unsustainability and possible collapse of our economic system." It was Cloward and Piven who had the diabolical idea of registering (illegal or nonexistent) poor and minority voters through Project Vote and the Motor Voter Act, thus guaranteeing Obama's "fraudulent" victory. And it is the Cloward-Piven strategy that guides the Obama administration's every move to this day, as it seeks to ram through healthcare reform, economic stimulus and financial regulation (all of which, in reality, have enjoyed majority support in many polls taken during the last two years).

Read More

KBR on Trial--At Last

This article was first posted at the blog of the Investigative Fund at The Nation Institute.

Five years after alerting authorities that she was gang-raped in Iraq, KBR/Halliburton employee Jamie Leigh Jones will finally get her day in court.

On Wednesday, after fighting tooth-and-nail in the lower courts to keep the case from going to trial, KBR announced that it was

dropping its Supreme Court appeal

in the case. (The company actually withdrew its petition to the court on March 11, according to KBR spokesperson Heather Browne. This was less than two weeks after it was awarded a new $2.3 billion logistics contract by the Army.) Jones, who says she was raped by coworkers and then imprisoned in a shipping container for three days by KBR staffers who wanted to keep her complaint quiet, had been barred from pursuing her sexual harassment case in the courts by a provision in her employee contract: The fine print said all such issues must be resolved via the company's own binding arbitration process.

I first reported on the case for The Investigative Fund, in partnership with The Nation, as part of an expose on the rash of rape and sexual harassment allegations lodged against Halliburton, KBR, and its subsidiaries. One Houston firm alone was representing more than fourteen women with similar rape or harassment complaints. But Jones, like the other women, was hit with a double-whammy of obstruction.

Read More

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