Wednesday, July 21, 2010

News That Matters - Wednesday, July 21, 2010

News That Matters

News That Matters
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Good Wednesday Morning,

A special thanks to all of you who are working to get Peekskill Hollow Road designated as an historic road under our county's new law. If you live on a road that you might like to see protected from over development, useless widening and other make-work issues, check out the new law and see if it could apply to you.

The Yankees got their butts kicked last night. The Angel's beat them 10-2 in 9 innings. That's what you get when you charge $4 for a hot dog, $23 parking and $100 bucks for a halfway decent seat.

As usual, Friday is our Things To Do Edition and if you don't send me your Things To Do there won't be any!

Local Briefs:

Politics As Usual

Two of Putnam's Town Supervisors and four from outside the county have stepped into the political ring by stepping out of their roles as Supervisors and stepping in to roles as Republican operatives by endorsing State Senate candidate Mary Beth Murphy over fellow Republican Greg Ball. One has to wonder how much pressure outgoing Senator Leibell had in the matter. Still, the pressure is on the Ballster as the establishment seeks to place a more compliant Republican in the race, one that won't question or argue and will toe the party line quietly. But then, Westchester Legislator Mike Kaplowitz is also in the race and those Westchester Supervisors who bowed to the current Senator could be in a difficult position if the fellow from Westchester wins the seat. Makes me think that sitting elected officials should probably stay out of these things.

Flying the Noisy Skies

Politicians all over the valley are busily trying to find ways to grow service at Stewart Airport. And while that may be good for those of you who travel to Orlando or St. Louis, those living under the flight path will have a different take on the matter. Several years ago a coalition of citizen's groups stopped plans to make Stewart the world's largest air cargo facility which would have had flights into and out of the airport every 3 minutes, 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year. Now we're back to this. Proponents claim new jobs and prosperity will be the result, opponents say that those living in northern Putnam County and southern Dutchess might as well move back to the Five Towns and Rockaway. I'm wondering if the same politicians will find the funds required to sound proof homes and schools, hospitals and businesses so that we don't have to yell at each other every three minutes day in and day out. For those of you who have lived near an established airport... well, you know what I'm talking about.

How Can We Keep From Singing?

Pete Seeger is singing once again, this time about hydrofracking and a recording made just yesterday of him singing a new song at a press conference in Albany is here. The recording comes from

This photo (assuming it comes through from, shows Pete singing for Eleanor Roosevelt in February of 1944 at a Valentine's Day party marking the opening of the United Federal Labor Canteen in Washington.

Remember when you weren't afraid to use the word "labor" when referring to your work or the work of others? To the eight-hour day and unlocked fire escapes and decent lighting and retirement plans and all that other icky socialist stuff?

Peekskill Hollow Road

The effort to designate PHR as an historical road is well underway with the petition drive in full swing. If you want to get involved give Vic Tiship a call at (845) 661-8007 or email at

Incentive Zoning or Giving Away The Farm

This evening the Putnam Valley Town Board will discuss the issue of "incentive zoning" which is zoning designed to, oh, like, um... allow Paul Camarda to build Patterson Crossing at the intersection of Church and Oscawana without the hassles. If you think this is a cool idea, do not go to the meeting at town hall this evening as you'll be bored, Bored, BORED! But if you feel that relaxing your zoning codes to allow commercial development is a bad idea then please go the meeting and tell Bob T I sent you. According to the release I got the meeting is at 6PM, an ungodly hour for those who live in town but work away.

News Shorts

  • The US Senate has finally voted to extend unemployment benefits for more than 2 million Americans whose benefits had run out. The vote was 60-40, all 40 being Republicans. Republicans claimed they wanted to help out hungry families but could not if those dollars added to the deficit. Fine. So, why didn't they tap into the $700,000,000,000 the DOD budget? A few less cruise missiles there, a few more full stomachs here at home. It's as simple as that.
  • Oh wait. There's more. Arizona Senator John McCain said that he was proud to block the extension of unemployment benefits and then went on to call for tax breaks for American corporations such as Raytheon who, he says, makes "wonderful missiles". He was also upset that Democrats wanted to use Federal dollars to hire more teachers and thought that money would be better spent building weapons.
  • USDA employee Shirley Sherrod was fired from her position with that agency over a tape made by Andrew Breitbart that alludes to what he calls a racist speech. But the section of the tape he distributed is out of context, like the ACORN tapes... Why do these people have to lie and manipulate? Are they really that personally insecure?
  • In case you're wondering why you can't figure out which agency is in charge of our alleged war on terror, which one is charged with wiretapping your phone, putting you on the Do Not Fly list and which one sends you to Guantanamo or renditions you off to Syria or Jordan for treatment that would make Josef Mengele blush, you're in good company! The Washington Post reports (see article below) that there are an estimated 854,000 people in 1,271 government organizations and 1,931 private organizations who are involved.
  • Future President Palin used the words, "refudiate" and "misunderestimate" on her twitter feed. Apparently English isn't the official language of Alaska. And though she claims that Shakespeare made up his own words and thus she could too, she sure ain't no Michael Chabon.
  • Who is Lindsey Lohan and why is she going to jail?
  • A rural school district that canceled its prom rather than allow a lesbian student to attend with her girlfriend has agreed to pay $35,000 to settle a discrimination lawsuit the ACLU filed on her behalf.
  • New Hampshire State Rep candidate Ryan Hurdough wrote the following in a letter to the Concord (NH) Monitor:
    "For far too long white Americans have been told that diversity is something beneficial to their existence. Statistics prove that the opposite is true. New Hampshire residents must seek to preserve their racial identity if we want future generations to have to possibility to live in such a great state. Affirmative action, illegal and legal non-white immigration, anti-white public school systems, and an anti-white media have done much damage to the United States of America and especially New Hampshire. It is time for white people in New Hampshire and across the country to take a stand. We are only 8 percent of the world's population and we need our own homeland, just like any other non-white group of people deserve their own homeland."
Try as I might I cannot make this stuff up.

And now, The News:

Nature Conservancy gets funding for its Delaware Basin Restoration Initiative

MOUNT KISCO – The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation has granted the Nature Conservancy $450,000 to fund a comprehensive conservation plan for the Delaware River Basin, including the Upper Delaware in the Sullivan and Orange County and Northeastern Pennsylvania area.

Ellen Weiss, spokeswoman for the Nature Conservancy Eastern NY Chapter, said the money will be used to protect the freshwater system.

“The money will be used to develop a comprehensive Delaware Basin Restoration Initiative where we will identify opportunities to protect and improve water quality and habitat as well as a blueprint for the region’s conservation organizations and agencies,” she said.

The Delaware is the longest undammed river in the eastern United States. The Delaware River Basin drains over 13,000 square miles and supports almost 15 million people with clean drinking water.

Read More

Coalition calls for delay in approving hydrofracking until studies are complete

ALBANY – A coalition of environmental advocacy groups Tuesday called on the State Legislature to approve a bill in both houses that would suspend issuing new permits for hydrofracking to harvest natural gas for 11 months. That would provide the time to further study the process.

The group held a news conference in Albany headed by the group Frack Action and largely assembled by Ulster County Legislator Susan Zimet of New Paltz.

The message they all had was the same. State Assembly and Senate members must approve the 11 month delay in natural gas or oil in the Marcellus and Utica shale formations and if they don’t they will be voted out of office.

Actor and Sullivan County resident Mark Ruffalo gave an impassioned plea for the moratorium.

Read More

Congressman John Hall for Veterans and the Environment

By Michael Boyajian
We are often quite aware of our soldiers when they are fighting for us overseas and in harm's way but we often forget about them when they return home in dire need of medical treatment.  Not Congressman John Hall.  During my recent interview of the congressman he reported that he has been battling on behalf of veterans for many years.

In fact a few years ago he passed a bill unanimously through both houses of Congress during the Bush Administration that provided timely care to vets upon their return home.  However once piece of that legislation was left out because some thought it would cost too much.

Well, as of last Tuesday that is no longer the case.  Upon the tireless work of Congressman Hall President Obama signed an executive order that fast tracks veterans who are diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder so that they receive the help they need without the need of intensive documentation and details of battle situation.  All that they need is a medical diagnosis saying that they suffer PTSD and they will receive treatment and in some cases compensation if it effects their ability to work.

Read More

EPA takes new look at gas drilling, water issues

HARRISBURG, Pa. – So vast is the wealth of natural gas locked into dense rock deep beneath Pennsylvania, New York, West Virginia and Ohio that some geologists estimate it's enough to supply the entire East Coast for 50 years.

But freeing it requires a powerful drilling process called hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," using millions of gallons of water brewed with toxic chemicals, that some fear could pollute water above and below ground and deplete aquifers.

As gas drillers swarm to this lucrative Marcellus Shale region and blast into other shale reserves around the country, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is taking a new look at the controversial fracking technique, currently exempt from federal regulation. The $1.9 million study comes as the nation reels from the Deepwater Horizon environmental and economic disaster playing out in the Gulf of Mexico.

The oil and gas industry steadfastly defends the process as having been proven safe over many years as well as necessary to keep the nation on a path to energy independence.

Studies have "consistently shown that the risks are managed, it's safe, it's a technology that's essential ... it's also a technology that's well-regulated," said Lee Fuller, director of the industry coalition Energy In Depth.

"A fair study," Fuller added, "will show that the procedures that are there now are highly effective and do not need to be altered — the federal government does not need to be there."

But because of the oil spill, conservation groups say the drilling industry has lost it credibility and the rapid expansion of shale drilling needs to be scrutinized.

Read More

London and Paris: a tale of two bike-hire schemes

It's not the best of starts. I've only been in the saddle of this new bicycle – the centrepiece of London's cycle hire system, set to launch on 30 July – for two minutes and I'm already being flagged down by a policeman. What have I done wrong, I wonder nervously. Did I cut across someone when changing lanes on the approach to Westminster Bridge? Should I be wearing a helmet? It's been three decades since I passed my cycling proficiency test, and there's been very little serious cycling in between.

The policeman points to the spot on the curb when he wants me to park up. "What have I done, officer?"

"Oh, nothing," he says. "I just wanted to ask what the bike was like to ride. Do you think it will be popular?" Squeezing the brakes and ringing the bell, he's like a wide-eyed boy in a bike shop. I offer him a go. "I can't," he says. "I'm on duty."

It strikes me, during this rather surreal exchange, that at least the bike isn't suited to being a getaway vehicle. It weighs more than 20kg, and has three gears: Sloth, Tortoise and Ageing Elephant. It's designed for leisurely ambling rather than APD (aggressive pursuit of destination), which is clearly the default setting of every other cyclist on the road today. The looks of disdain and irritation are palpable as they continually whizz past me.

Read More

The War on Terror: A hidden world, growing beyond control

These are some of the findings of a two-year investigation by The Washington Post that discovered what amounts to an alternative geography of the United States, a Top Secret America hidden from public view and lacking in thorough oversight. After nine years of unprecedented spending and growth, the result is that the system put in place to keep the United States safe is so massive that its effectiveness is impossible to determine.

The investigation's other findings include:

* Some 1,271 government organizations and 1,931 private companies work on programs related to counterterrorism, homeland security and intelligence in about 10,000 locations across the United States.

* An estimated 854,000 people, nearly 1.5 times as many people as live in Washington, D.C., hold top-secret security clearances.

* In Washington and the surrounding area, 33 building complexes for top-secret intelligence work are under construction or have been built since September 2001. Together they occupy the equivalent of almost three Pentagons or 22 U.S. Capitol buildings - about 17 million square feet of space.

Read More

Palestinians in the Arab World: Why the Silence?

by Khaled Abu Toameh
July 20, 2010 at 5:00 am

When was the last time the United Nations Security Council met to condemn an Arab government for its mistreatment of Palestinians?

How come groups and individuals on university campuses in the US and Canada that call themselves "pro-Palestinian" remain silent when Jordan revokes the citizenship of thousands of Palestinians?

The plight of Palestinians living in Arab countries in general, and Lebanon in particular, is one that is often ignored by the mainstream media in West.

How come they turn a blind eye to the fact that Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and many more Arab countries continue to impose severe travel restrictions on Palestinians?

And where do these groups and individuals stand regarding the current debate in Lebanon about whether to grant Palestinians long-denied basic rights, including employment, social security and medical care?

Or have they not heard about this debate at all? Probably not, since the case has failed to draw the attention of most Middle East correspondents and commentators.

Read More
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