Monday, August 2, 2010

News That Matters - Monday, August 2, 2010

News That Matters

News That Matters
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Overheard at a party:
"I heard you were going to kill yourself over the winter, what happened?"
Now you ask me?"

Good Monday Morning,

It was a stellar weekend and as far as I know you all agree!

Last Friday I asked you to send in alternate names for the tea bagger movement and I've only received two responses, neither one of which moves the discussion forward. At least not in a nice way. So get those suggested names in!

There was a promise of rain yesterday and I watched the radar as storms formed out of nowhere then moved northeast away from us. We need some rain. The gardens need rain.

A few years back the Clinton Administration was able to convince venture capitalists that investing their dollars into computers and the internet was the way to go. While some lost money, many more made a lot of it. Unemployment dropped as new companies sprang up out of nowhere and money flowed into the economy like never before. And once the boom went bust the world was changed to a better place. Millions upon millions of people were connected via the 'net and cheap computing and, in essence, a new age was born. It seems to me that now would be the time for those same VCs to invest their money into alternative energy and conservation products and industries.

Quote of the Month:
“The NRCC is committed to working with Greg Ball as he continues to meet the rigorous goals of the Young Guns program,” said NRCC Chairman Pete Sessions. “With all that Greg Ball has accomplished in just a few short months, I am confident that he will be successful in his effort to defeat John Hall, who has acted as a mere rubber-stamp for Nancy Pelosi’s reckless anti-jobs agenda.” From the NRCC website, August 31, 2009
News Shorts:

Earth orbiting satellites detected a C3-class solar flare on the sun yesterday. The origin of the blast was sunspot 1092. At about the same time, an enormous magnetic filament stretching across the sun's northern hemisphere erupted. NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory recorded the action in this video. If the skies are clear late tonight and/or tomorrow night look towards the north for a fair-to-middling chance of seeing the aurora borealis.

Remember back in the day when Republicans in Congress and 'baggers across the nation were decrying Obama's bailout of the auto industry? Yeah. Well, they're pretty silent these days. Why? It seems that not only have they paid back the money - with interest - but the Big Three are now out of bankruptcy and just yesterday Chrysler announced they will keep a plant open which was slated for closure in 2012 and the industry has added 55,000 jobs overall.

FOXNews ran a poll and found that most Americans now think the nation is moving towards "socialism". What they think we call tax deductions, medicare, social security, the interstate highway system and all those other methods of redistributing the wealth is beyond me. A little real, actual socialism would be good for the nation. We're already half-way there... just look at corporate and farm subsidies!

China's Xinhua news agency reported that thirty-six people were injured and a senior Hamas military official was killed when the home of a militant in the Der el Balah refugee camp in the central Gaza strip exploded heavily damaging 12 nearby homes. Al Jazeera reports that one man was killed and four others were wounded when rockets, apparently launched from the Sinai, exploded outside the Intercontinental Hotel in Aqaba. Another rocket exploded in Eilat and three more fell into the Red Sea.
Also this weekend, Gazans fired rockets into Israel proper with one exploding in the city of Ashkelon. And on Saturday, a Kassam rocket fired from Gaza destroyed a children's hydrotherapy center in Sderot, Israel bringing the total to 400 rockets fired into Israel since the ceasefire which halted Operation Cast Lead.

In the meantime, American organizations are raising money for another "freedom flotilla" to enable Hamas to shift funds away from internal humanitarian aid and to the purchase of additional rockets from Iran.
And lastly, mark your calendars for May 21, 2011 as that's the day that Harold Camping, owner of Family Radio says Jesus Christ will return. But it's on October 21, 2011 according to Camping, "when He will destroy the world and all that is therein". So if you had something planned for later next year, fuggedaboutit.

And now, The News:
  1. Hundreds take to Hudson to raise money for river pool
  2. New environmental group formed
  3. DEC Expands Online Google Earth Offerings
  4. Beer group opens the tap on the Hill
  5. How the US learned to love healthcare reform
  6. NYT Editorial - What They’re Not Telling You About the Deficit
  7. Church plans Quran-burning event

Hundreds take to Hudson to raise money for river pool

NEWBURGH – More than 250 swimmers swam a mile of the Hudson River between the Newburgh waterfront and the Beacon landing on Saturday morning.

About 80 kayakers also took part in this year's Hudson River Swim, which helped raise funds for the River Pool at Beacon organization.

Valerie from southern Dutchess swam the river.

“I live in Beacon, and my kids use the River Pool and we're really excited about the prospect of building a larger pool in the river for the whole family to swim in,” she said.

People came not only from the Hudson Valley, but also from New York City – like Abby Santamaria – to participate in the swim.

Read More

New environmental group formed

KEENE - Sitting in the main room of the Guide's House at Adirondack Rock and River complex, before a crowd of 20 people, environmentalist Dan Plumley responded to a question about when he realized the importance of protecting wilderness.

Plumley said that shortly after college, he was standing on Haystack Mountain in the High Peaks trying to deal with the recent loss of his brother when he had an epiphany.

"I was looking at a dead red spruce across the viewshed, and I realized, here we are in the most protected landscape of New York," Plumley said to the small crowd on July 23. "I was as deep in the wilderness as I could be, yet that sanctuary where I was going for healing was under threat. That's when I knew I could not sit idly by and allow these wild lands to be degraded without fighting."

Since that time, Plumley has gone on to be one of the most vocal environmentalists in the Adirondack Park, working for the Association for the Protection of the Adirondacks for more than a decade and then Protect the Adirondacks! for just under a year.

Read More

DEC Expands Online Google Earth Offerings

This article was first posted at New York Outdoors Blog by newyorkoutdoors.

Department’s Hiking, Horseback Riding, Biking, Skiing, Snowmobile and Disabled Access Trails Now Available in Easy-to-Use Format

Outdoor enthusiasts have a new tool to help plan the perfect trip to visit any of the 2,500 miles of recreational trails throughout New York, Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Pete Grannis announced July 28, 2010. DEC’s Mapping Gateway has been expanded with information that enables the public to use Google Earth and other mapping tools to find trails and learn more about the state lands that surround them.

DEC’s Mapping Gateway combines existing web mapping applications and map collections with new offerings, such as a full-featured, interactive data inventory and map viewer. DEC continues to expand the availability of “Virtual Globe” data ( to provide a variety of interactive aerial map representations using virtual globe software such as Google Earth. In addition, some data has been incorporated into Google Maps – which does not require any software downloads – to provide an even more accessible way for people to obtain DEC’s information.

Read More

Beer group opens the tap on the Hill

Washington Post

On April 15, a bill backed by the National Beer Wholesalers Association was introduced in the House aimed at limiting direct sales of beer, wine and other alcohol, which the trade group views as a mortal threat to its industry.

Over the next two weeks, the group contributed more than $45,000 to the campaign accounts of Rep. John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.), chairman of the committee considering the bill and the guest of honor at a fundraiser during the association's annual Washington meeting this spring. The group hired as an outside consultant Conyers' former chief of staff, who met with members of the chairman's staff.

In addition, the group has donated nearly $300,000 this year to more than 100 House members who agreed to co-sponsor the legislation, often within days of securing the lawmakers' formal support, according to Federal Election Commission records. More than a dozen lawmakers received donations within a week of endorsing the bill, records show.

Rep. Mike Quigley (D-Ill.), for example, received a $2,500 contribution three days before the bill was introduced with his name on it. Another co-sponsor, Rep. Pete Olson (R-Tex.), received $8,000 in donations from the group this year, including $2,500 two days after pledging his support.

The donations provide a particularly stark illustration of the tactics used by interest groups to push forward their agenda on Capitol Hill, where legislation is commonly propelled by amassing sponsorships and by doling out campaign contributions to sympathetic lawmakers.

Read More

How the US learned to love healthcare reform

Sahil Kapur for the UK Guardian

A new survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation finds growing support for the health insurance reform law enacted by President Obama in March. Fifty percent of Americans now view the measure favourably while 35% oppose it – 14% are unsure. Two months ago, 41% supported it; 44% didn't. I don't have to remind you how unpopular it was at the time of enactment.

So, you might ask, why the change of heart? For starters, Armageddon never happened. But mainly, the disinformation campaign emanating from the healthcare industry and conservative establishment quietened, allowing the public to think about the Affordable Care And Patient Protection Act more clearly.

Let's remind ourselves what this law does. It protects consumers from being denied care by insurance companies. It extends coverage to 32 million Americans. It allows small businesses and individuals to pool together in exchanges. It permits young adults to remain on their parents' plans until age 26. And the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office projects that it does all of this while reducing the deficit by $143bn in ten years and by $1.2tn in two decades.

America's relationship with major social programmes is best understood through a historical lens. In this context, the trajectory of the Affordable Care Act is normal and expected – expansive safety net legislation is unfailingly met with fierce resistance upon inception, but if and when it passes, the public tends to warm up to it.

Read More

NYT Editorial - What They’re Not Telling You About the Deficit

There is a lot of heated talk in Washington these days about the deficit, unfortunately little of it serious. Playing on Americans’ deep anxiety about the economy, Republican politicians have seized the deficit issue as their own — eagerly blaming the stimulus and even an extension of unemployment insurance for the problem — while denying their own culpability for helping dig this deep hole with years of irresponsible tax cuts.

The Democrats in Congress have all but ceded the debate. The White House has pushed back some, but as the polls make clear, not nearly hard enough.

The deficit’s size is alarming. In the 2010 fiscal year, the government is projected to collect $2.2 trillion in taxes and spend $3.6 trillion, leaving a gap of $1.4 trillion.

If current tax and spending policies continue, deficits are estimated to remain near $1 trillion a year for the next decade. After that they will explode — to twice the size of today’s deficit as a share of the economy by 2050 — as health costs rise and the population ages, and outlays for Medicare, Medicaid and, to a lesser extent, Social Security continue to grow faster than revenues.

We agree the situation is unsustainable. But cutting spending right now on relief and recovery efforts would worsen the economic slowdown and the suffering of millions of Americans, while making only a tiny dent in future deficits.

Read More

Church plans Quran-burning event

(CNN) -- In protest of what it calls a religion "of the devil," a nondenominational church in Gainesville, Florida, plans to host an "International Burn a Quran Day" on the ninth anniversary of the September 11, 2001, attacks.

The Dove World Outreach Center says it is hosting the event to remember 9/11 victims and take a stand against Islam. With promotions on its website and Facebook page, it invites Christians to burn the Muslim holy book at the church from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

"We believe that Islam is of the devil, that it's causing billions of people to go to hell, it is a deceptive religion, it is a violent religion and that is proven many, many times," Pastor Terry Jones told CNN's Rick Sanchez earlier this week.

Jones wrote a book titled "Islam is of the Devil," and the church sells coffee mugs and shirts featuring the phrase.

Muslims and many other Christians -- including some evangelicals -- are fighting the initiative.

Read More
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