Monday, August 16, 2010

News That Matters - Monday, August 16, 2010

News That Matters

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

Good Monday Morning,

The Big News this morning is that the courts in Carmel have dropped all their charges against Lori Kemp. Judge Spofford who has played the middle ground as carefully as one could while being a cog in The Machine, ruled on a motion filed by Ms. Kemp's attorney, Maureen Fleming, that the court has dragged its feet over the past 9 months or so and since a speedy trial wasn't in the offing they've given up. You can read the pertinent part of the ruling here.
There's a lot going on in this very brief ruling and I need to credit you, our readers, for helping push this issue by putting extreme pressure on Putnam County District Attorney Adam Levy with your letters, phone calls and personal chats with him - and by your presence in court standing behind Ms. Kemp during her darkest days.

Questions remain however: Who is responsible for the destruction of Ms. Kemp's life these past 3.5 years and will they ever be brought to justice? Can you put a price on the nightmare she's lived through due to politics-as-usual in Carmel? Who started all sorts of ill rumors about her and her dealings with Mr. Camarda, Pulte Homes and Brennan Construction and will they ever be brought to justice? Is there a way we can make all this right?

For the last question the answer is no. You cannot give this woman back her life and the security of her home for those have been viciously taken away by for her daring to speak out for what is right and just.

But the machine did cave in - finally. This ruling is Exhibit #1. That the Town of Carmel is now talking about instituting a blasting ordinance is Exhibit #2. But there will not be an Exhibit #3 or #4 unless you tear The Machine down and trample it into the dirt sending it back to the hell it came from in the first place. But only residents in the Town of Carmel can do any of that and they seem all too happy to allow the status quo to remain in place, for MSA to run rampant over good government, to allow out-of-town politicians to control their political lives, to bend over backwards for any developer who waltzes into town with a money-making scheme even though in almost every instance those schemes have failed quite dramatically.

But there is a kink in their armor, a hole, albeit a small one, which good people can now drive a tank through. Now is the time for good people in that most corrupt town to stand up and make themselves known... if there are such folk there.

According to the bible, some dude named Lot bargained with his god to save a city if he could find a hundred good people in it and at the end he agreed to do so if he could find just 10.... and even in that he failed. Is this the future of Carmel/Mahopac? There must be ten good people to save that place. And if not, let's hope the end will be as fitting and as justified and the hail and brimstone fall from the heavens leaving not a trace behind. For only a disaster of political proportions will shake some sense into those folk.

About a half inch of rain fell out here at the Asylum since yesterday and while it's far from enough, the overcast conditions have allowed that water to infiltrate the ground and kept the trees and grasses wet and moist. There's a 40% chance of more rain in the form of thunderstorms this afternoon and let's hope the weather service is right. We've had odd weather for two summers in a row now and it's starting to get on my nerves.

A man in Lake Carmel poisoned his wife with ethanol a while back, adding it to a cool summer drink. But had he waited just a little longer he would have found that NY now offers no-fault divorce. Gay men and women still cannot marry in the Empire State, but god-fearing Christians can now part with no muss and no fuss. And though their biblical obligations can be met by being stoned to death at least their lawyers won't be making a bundle anymore.

After a long hiatus, we’ve opened a new poll at the News That Matters website. The question, If the election were held today, who would be your choice for Putnam County Executive? You’ll find the poll in the right-hand column just underneath our Shrine to Sarah Palin. So far only 16 people have voted. What's with that?

China's economy is now #2 behind the US, bypassing Japan's. One reason could be that they're not spending a trillion dollars a year fighting wars they cannot win and subsidizing everything from corn farmers to the yachts and playgrounds of Wall Street executives. Instead, they're (re)building infrastructure, moving the nation off fossil fuels and towards renewables and other alternatives, building a modern national health care system, and wisely investing their money in the future of their country. In the meantime, we're investing ours by blowing up wedding parties in Afghanistan and fighting guerrilla wars in central America all in an effort to maintain what's left of our shattered Empire. Doesn't anyone in Washington read history books?

And now, The News:

Room to grow at Green Chimneys

NY Journal News

PATTERSON — It is said the two worst days at Green Chimneys are the first and the last.

The first day because the children, often brought to the residential treatment center unwillingly, act out on their feelings of anxiety, confusion and anger.

The last because those same children wind up saying tearful goodbyes to other residents, animals and the farm community they remember the rest of their lives.

Peacocks roam freely on the dirt paths here. Cows graze openly. And stalks of corn glisten in the sunlight behind a gazebo where children separate organic basil leaves they've picked for the dining hall chef to use.

"You have to make sure every kid has a connection with something or someone. Keep it simple. Build a positive culture, and everyone can find something they're good at," said Joe Whalen, executive director.

New dormitories to house children with severe emotional, social, learning and behavioral challenges are rising quickly on its main campus, a 196-acre farm and wildlife rehabilitation center where a large part of therapy includes caring for farm animals, harvesting organic produce, and learning life skills such as cooking and baking.

Read More

A Battle in West Virginia Mining Country Pits Coal Against Wind

Where your energy comes                       from

Mountaintop removal and other surface mining have redrawn landscapes in the West Virginia-Kentucky border region. Environmentalists propose a wind farm to ensure one mountain’s future.
Tom Zeller Jr. for the New York Times

LORELEI SCARBRO’S husband, Kenneth, an underground coal miner for more than 30 years, is buried in a small family cemetery near her property here at the base of Coal River Mountain. The headstone is engraved with two roosters facing off, their feathers ruffled. Kenneth, who loved cockfighting, died in 1999, and, Ms. Scarbro says, he would have hated seeing the tops of mountains lopped off with explosives and heavy machinery by mining companies searching for coal.

Critics say the practice, known as “mountaintop removal mining,” is as devastating to the local environment as it is economically efficient for coal companies, one of which is poised to begin carving up Coal River Mountain. And that has Ms. Scarbro and other residents of western Raleigh County in a face-off of their own.

Their goal is to save the mountain, and they intend to do so with a wind farm. At least one study has shown that a wind project could be a feasible alternative to coal mining here, although the coal industry’s control over the land and the uncertain and often tenuous financial prospects of wind generation appear to make it unlikely to be pursued. That, residents say, would be a mistake.

Read More

The Miracle That Wasn’t: Everglades Restoration

NYTimes Green Blog

The aging environmentalist with the Abe Lincoln beard ambled to the podium on Thursday to tell water managers that he could no longer support their plan to buy land for the Everglades from United States Sugar. He sounded sad.

He said that because the acquisition had been scaled back to 26,790 acres from what was initially a purchase of 187,000 acres, it no longer held the promise of true restoration.

Two disconnected parcels didn’t cut it, he said; he wanted a flow-way, a corridor of slow-moving water following its original path from Lake Okeechobee to Florida Bay.

As I reported in Friday’s Times, this was the dream that Gov. Charlie Crist’s Everglades deal was supposed to fulfill when it was first announced two years ago, a vision that led public officials and environmentalists to describe the acquisition in messianic terms, even as it shrunk.

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Property tax cap is 'fool's gold'

A NYJN Letter to the Editor

We all are suffering from high property taxes and want to reduce them. But calls for "caps" oversimplify and distort the issue. The real problem is the fact that New York taxes have become much too regressive over recent years; with the greatest part of the burden falling onto middle and lower-middle taxpayers, and the lightest burden falling on those most able to pay. We have also pushed state obligations upon local municipalities. This is unfair, unwise, and unworkable. It must change.

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The Conservative Christian Case for Gay Marriage

Post by Jimi Jobin

Recently there has been a vitriolic national discussion on an issue that in many ways has been confusing. Never before have I seen such hate surround the desire to love. Never have I seen such a clash between passion for God, and compassion for God's people. They used to be one and the same.

The debate surrounding the exact legal definition of marriage has exploded with the passage of Proposition 8 and the subsequent rejection of the bill's legitimacy by a federal court. It seems everybody has a horse in this race: the LGBTQI community has equality at stake, the suburban happily-weds feel the exclusivity of their unions threatened, and David's Bridal waits with bated breath to try out its new line of wedding dresses with in-seams and zipper-flies. But I am deeply uncomfortable when I see one particular dog in this fight, one that I didn't at first expect: the multi-gendered, often unfaithful, Bride of Christ.

I am ill at ease with the Church playing such a dominant role in this national discussion. As a defender of the separation of Church and State, and an evangelical pastor situated very near California, I am stunned to see other Christians so eagerly throwing themselves into the milieu. Followers of Christ are marching into the culture war without a moments pause or any reflection about what exactly it is we are doing, and whether or not we should be involved in this in the first place.

Allow me to offer a few insights for this debate about the institution of marriage.

Read More

Tea Party groups out against net neutrality

By Sara Jerome

Tea Party groups are staking out an anti-regulatory position in the fight over net neutrality rules for phone and cable companies.

A coalition that included 35 Tea Party groups sent a letter to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on Wednesday urging the agency not to boost its authority over broadband providers through a controversial process known as reclassification.

The process could give federal regulators the power to impose net neutrality rules, which would prevent Internet access providers from favoring some content and applications over others.

The Virginia Tea Party Patriot Federation was among the groups that signed the letter. Jamie Radtke, the group’s chairman, said interest in net neutrality is rising in the Tea Party movement.

Read More

Detroit Goes From Gloom to Economic Bright Spot

The New York Times

DETROIT — After a dismal period of huge losses and deep cuts that culminated in the Obama administration’s bailout of General Motors and Chrysler, the gloom over the American auto industry is starting to lift.

Jobs are growing. Factory workers are anticipating their first healthy profit-sharing checks in years. Sales are rebounding, with the Commerce Department reporting Friday that automobiles were a bright spot in July’s mostly disappointing retail sales.

The nascent comeback is far from a finished product. Foreign competitors are leaner and stronger, accounting for more than half of all car sales in this country. The sputtering economic rebound is spooking investors and consumers alike, threatening to derail some of Detroit’s gains. And talks next year on a new contract with the United Automobile Workers could revive old hostilities.

Still, the improving mood here reflects real changes in how Detroit is doing business — and a growing sense that the changes are turning the Big Three around, according to industry executives and analysts tracking the recovery.

Ford made more money in the first six months of this year than in the previous five years combined. G.M. is profitable and preparing for one of the biggest public stock offerings in American history. Even Chrysler, the automaker thought least likely to survive the recession, is hiring new workers.

Read More

Budgets Tight, School Supply Lists Go Beyond Glue Sticks

By Stephanie Clifford for the NewYork Times

When Emily Cooper headed off to first grade in Moody, Ala., last week, she was prepared with all the stuff on her elementary school’s must-bring list: two double rolls of paper towels, three packages of Clorox wipes, three boxes of baby wipes, two boxes of garbage bags, liquid soap, Kleenex and Ziplocs.

“The first time I saw it, my mouth hit the floor,” Emily’s mother, Kristin Cooper, said of the list, which also included perennials like glue sticks, scissors and crayons.

Schools across the country are beginning the new school year with shrinking budgets and outsize demands for basic supplies. And while many parents are wincing at picking up the bill, retailers are rushing to cash in by expanding the back-to-school category like never before.

Now some back-to-school aisles are almost becoming janitorial-supply destinations as multipacks of paper towels, cleaning spray and hand sanitizer are crammed alongside pens, notepads and backpacks.

OfficeMax is featuring items like Clorox wipes in its school displays and is running two-for-one specials on cleaners like gum remover and disinfectant spray. Office Depot has added paper towels and hand sanitizer to its back-to-school aisles. Staples’ school fliers show reams of copy paper on sale, while Walgreens’ fliers are running back-to-school discounts on Kleenex.

State and local school financing, which make up almost all of public schools’ money, is falling because of budget-balancing efforts and lower property- and sales-tax revenue.

Read More

Palestinian Journos Test Big Media's Double Standards

Veteran journalist Khaled Abu Toameh laments Big Media's lack of interest in a story about the PA arresting several university lecturers. Unable to report the story themselves for fear of retribution, they offered the story to several North American and European correspondents and editors with more protekzia.

Nothing doing.
    Only one foreign journalist agreed to write about the story. His colleagues gave different excuses for turning their backs on the story.

    Some said they were concerned about their personal safety should they report a news item that was likely to anger the Western-funded PA security forces in the West Bank.

    Others simply blamed their editors in New York, Paris, London and Toronto for turning down the story as "insignificant."
The kicker: One of Toameh's frustrated Palestinian colleagues tested the same reporters and editors with a "different" story:
    The Palestinian journalist proposed that the foreign press write about a Palestinian university professor who complained that Israeli authorities had turned down his request to visit Israel together with his wife and three children.

    The response from the international journalists came almost instantly. All but two said it was a "great story" and expressed readiness to start working on it immediately.

Read More
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