Wednesday, August 18, 2010

News That Matters - Wednesday, August 18, 2010

News That Matters

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

Good Wednesday Morning,

It rained. Yay!

In June, AccuWeather predicted that this hurricane season could rank "in the top ten" with some 6 possible storms striking the east coast. And yeah, we're still waiting...

In our unofficial and informal county executive poll, we've doubled the number of voters to 28 (we've got 1000 readers and only 28 voted? How.... American!) and the current Senator is lagging far behind "Other" and Ms. Odell.
As the primary election looms we'll try to take a closer look at both candidates and answer questions that keep circulating about Ms. Odells alleged too-close relationship to developer Paul Camarda and Greg Ball and the Senator's record in Albany and whether or not local town governments fear his ascendancy and concentration of political power and what that might mean for Joe Citizen here in Putnam County, New York. And finally, what hills we can run to.
The Putnam Valley Town Board is sponsoring a concert at the Putnam Valley Firehouse tomorrow, Thursday, August 19 at 7 pm by Klezmer violinist Alicia Svigals.
Ms. Svigals is a resident of Putnam Valley, violinist/composer, and a founder of the Klezmatics and of the all-women band Mikveh. She is considered by many to be the world's foremost Klezmer fiddler. During the past decade, she almost single-handedly revived Klezmer fiddle playing, which came close to extinction in this century; traditional Klezmer violin style is now being played again by hundreds of her students, including most of today's best professional players. She taught and toured with violinist Itzhak Perlman, who recorded her compositions as duets with Ms. Svigals accompanied by the Klezmatics, and she was awarded first prize at the Safed, the Israel international Klezmer festival competition. Admission is FREE. The concert is sponsored by the Anne Anastasi Charitable Foundation.
Don't forget that this weekend sees the annual Daniel Nimham Pow Wow over at the County Park in Kent. Click here for more information.

If you're looking for inexpensive housing prices, look no further than Ohio and North Dakota. Trulia, a relatively new national real estate databank says that the median listing prices for homes in Ohio is now $180,481 and in North Dakota, $183,935.

It's most interesting that FOX News' parent corporation News Corp's second largest shareholder is Prince Alwaleed bin Talal a nephew of Saudi Arabian King Abdullah who is not only one of the world's wealthiest men but also one of it's most tyrannical leaders who brutally enforces Sharia law over his less-than-happy subjects and who just happens to be one of the US's favorite Men Of All Time. It's also interesting that the good nephew-Prince's company has just donated a million dollars to the Republican party. And even more interesting is how the Saudi's play the US like a finely tuned fiddle; Attack this country for us. Attack that country.... and we do. And each time we do we get our asses kicked and the Prince and his Uncle rake in the bucks. Sweet, eh?

From a Forbes article:
Of the adult population in West Virginia, 12.3% have diabetes, more than 68% are obese or overweight, 27% are smokers, nearly 30% report poor mental health and nearly 20% report having a disability, according to the most recent statistics released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In addition the CDC reports that 229,400 per 100,000 deaths in West Virginia were the result of heart disease, well above the national average of 190,000.

Read more below.

In Spain, Israel, France, England and Iraq (and virtually every other nation on this planet), terrorists used to (or still are) setting off bombs, killing people and destroying property. And in each case those nations pause and then move on about their business allowing proper authorities to take control and seek those responsible.
But in the US we stopped dead in our tracks on September 11, 2001 and have been incapable of moving forward since then. This national malaise has made us unable to deal effectively with global challenges faced since as evidenced by the deep internal political divisions that have arisen, the state of our economy, tattered social infrastructure and decreasing influence in the world. Combined with the passage of the USA PATRIOT Act and other egregiously unconstitutional laws and policies, the terrorists have apparently won and we've personally handed them their victory. The national reaction to the attacks of 9/11 have, indeed, knocked the wind out of our Empire and it wasn't the action of Al Queda, it was what we have done to ourselves.
But none of this happened on April 19, 1995, when 168 people were killed and more than 800 injured when an American, Timothy McVeigh, exploded a bomb in front of the Murrah building in Oklahoma City. Sure, the nation paused to reflect, but then Oklahoma City and the rest of the nation moved on. What happened to the nation between then and 2001? How were we different in 2001 than we were in 1995? What internal political or social forces have arisen that desired to see the downfall of a once great Empire?
When I mention that it's time to move on, to move forward, to put 9/11 in its place as every other nation has done when such has happened to them, I'm accused of being insensitive to those who lost their lives and the families of those affected. I lost two friends that day so the charge of insensitivity is unfair and misguided. And it makes me wonder why I've been able to allow life to move on and why the families of those two have been able to do the same and why they, like I, are confused as to why a segment of our population refuses to let go and get back to work. Have we been better prepared in some way to deal with grief than others? Have we refused to allow ourselves to play the role of consummate victim? Or are their other, outside, forces at play here to which we are immune and for whom others are not?

This nine-year national pause has cost us much and not only here at home but around the world. We have rendered ourselves unprepared to deal with the rise of other competitive nations and economic blocks and our national infrastructure often looks more like a third-world nation than the home of the mighty empire we once were. As a nation we are financially bankrupt. We transfer wealth from the working classes to the wealthy in amounts and at speeds that surpasses even the wildest dreams of the Astors and Rockefellers. As a nation we cannot agree on anything anymore with reactionary radio, TV and 'net commentators having taken over the means of communications and the media kowtowing to their unsightly brand of populist propaganda which has intentionally divided and despoiled the tenuous fabric of the  multi-cultural and multi-ethnic society most of us grew up in. In other words, we are the perfect picture of a declining Empire beset by chaos.

It's not looking good for what was once the most powerful global empire history has ever known. And while we cannot bring back those glory days we could, at the very least, reposition ourselves as a global leader once again by creating new industries to feed the needs of other rising empires primarily in that of renewable energy production. For instance, there's no reason why Denmark produces more wind turbines than we do or that Brazil generates more electricity via wind than us. Just last year Germany built and installed almost 9 million megawatts of solar panels and the US added just 2 million and China, a staggering 105,000,000 megawatts of the same with virtually not a single one of those panels produced in the USA nor their technologies licensed by US corporations for sale around the world. But we do make good bombs.

Let's look back just a few years to the 1990's when the US led the world in the field of computers and shared media resources which created an entirely new world resulting in the largest explosion of mass communications and connectivity ever experienced generating trillions of dollars in personal and corporate wealth, marking the US as the global leader in such and earning revenues that ended the decade with a federal surplus. And this was during the decade of the terrorist attack in Oklahoma City. Why not now? What has changed? Who is intentionally keeping us down?

We need to move forward. We need to set our sights on a common future built upon an agreement that the empire we once had is now lost forever but that our national wealth can be maintained through a concerted effort to look forward, to rebuilding our mutual trust, by excising the extreme agenda that has pervaded our political and economic lives with the rise of reactionary political elements and their takeover of the media and to an intentional effort to make the myth of America an actual reality. But we cannot do that so long as one day in our history wears like a stone around our collective necks preventing us from leaving a future for our grandchildren better - or at least equal to - the one we were born to.

And now, The News:
  1. DEC urges compliance with firewood transport regulations
  2. Study Shows Preservation of Shawangunks Good Business
  3. Red Hook challenges itself to use less energy
  4. America's most medicated state? West Virginia
  5. Back off Obama and solve some problems
  6. The Constitution and the Mosque

DEC urges compliance with firewood transport regulations

ALBANY – In the wake of the discovery of invasive Emerald Ash Borer beetles in the Catskill Forest Preserve, the state Department of Environmental Conservation Monday urged residents and visitors to comply with the state’s regulations prohibiting the movement of untreated firewood, the major cause of the introduction and spread of the insect.

New York firewood regulation prohibits untreated firewood from entering the state, and restricts intra-state movement of untreated firewood to no more than 50 miles from its source.

Read More

Study Shows Preservation of Shawangunks Good Business

For decades, Minnewaska State Park Preserve, Mohonk Preserve and Sam’s Point Preserve—natural areas the Open Space Institute has been instrumental in protecting—have preserved the most important natural landscapes of New York State’s Shawangunk region and provided hundreds of thousands of people outstanding educational, research and recreational opportunities.

A new study now confirms that these three publicly accessible parks and preserves also serve as important economic engines—creating jobs, driving tourism spending and ultimately contributing $12.3 million to the local economy.

The Study of the Economic Impact on the Local Economy of Minnewaska State Park Preserve, Mohonk Preserve and Sam’s Point Preserve, conducted by Business Opportunities Management Consulting of Rensselaer, N.Y., used Money Generation Models (MGM) developed for the National Park Service to determine the economic impacts that Minnewaska, Mohonk Preserve and Sam’s Point have on the region, driven by visitor spending, employee spending, operations and capital expenses.

The study was released last week. Its key findings include:

Read More

Red Hook challenges itself to use less energy

RED HOOK – The Town and Village of Red Hook have become the first communities to adopt a new energy-saving campaign, the Ten Percent Challenge.

The campaign, endorsed by the town and village boards, challenges communities, businesses, institutions and households to reduce their fossil fuel use by 10 percent. It is also aimed at motivating 10 percent of their residents, employees, or social contacts to become involved.

The project was spearheaded by Sustainable Hudson Valley and supported by Central Hudson Gas and Electric Corporation, Mid-Hudson Energy $mart Communities, the Student Conservation Association’s AmeriCorps team, and the local coalition Red Hook Together.

Read More

America's most medicated state? West Virginia


Open the medicine cabinet in anyone's home, and chances are good you find at least a couple — and perhaps many — plastic prescription drug bottles.

Spending on prescription drugs in the U.S. multiplied nearly six times from $40.3 billion in 1990 to $234.1 billion in 2008, according to the nonprofit Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. From 1999 to 2009 the number of prescriptions dispensed rose 39% (from 2.8 billion to 3.9 billion) compared to a U.S. population growth of only 9% over the same period.

Who takes the most medication? In 2009 West Virginia had the highest prescription drug use of all states, according to data gathered from retail pharmacies and compiled by health care information company SDI.

Read More

Back off Obama and solve some problems

By Jesse Jackson for The Chicago Sun Times

American politics isn't beanbag. It is rough, bare-knuckled and often dirty. In today's 24/7 media environment, attack ads are remembered, and the truth has a hard time catching up with a lie. We now have entire TV networks that are essentially ideological propaganda outlets. With Republicans consolidated as the party of white sanctuary, anchored in the South, and Democrats championing diversity and inclusion, the politics of race is accentuated.

But given all that, have we ever witnessed anything like the unrelenting assault on Barack Obama? "Birther" nonsense is believed by some 40 percent of Republicans. Staggering numbers think he's a Muslim. National Republican leaders denounce his "socialist" agenda. When the first lady takes a vacation with her daughters, it's a scandal. Senior senators embarrass themselves by endorsing the big lie of "death panels" in the health care bill. Republicans openly decided that they would obstruct virtually everything the president tried to do. Zero votes for financial reform in the House. Zero votes for the recovery act. Zero votes for health care reform. Judicial and governmental nominees blocked for months by senatorial "holds" grounded on nothing but wanting to obstruct the operation of the government. Now every major vote is met with a filibuster, in numbers we've never seen before, rendering the Senate virtually dysfunctional.

Read More

The Constitution and the Mosque

NY Times Editorial

President Obama showed his understanding of the Constitution, and his respect for the American people, last week when he defended the right of a Muslim community group to build a mosque and Islamic center two blocks north of ground zero in Lower Manhattan.

Mr. Obama’s words at a White House dinner celebrating the Muslim holy month of Ramadan were simple and forceful. “Muslims have the same right to practice their religion as everyone else in this country,” he said.

Republican ideologues, predictably, used his statement as one more excuse not only to attack the president but to spew more of their intolerant rhetoric.

Newt Gingrich, who has been beating this drum for weeks, accused the president of “pandering to radical Islam” and said the mosque would be a symbol of Muslim “triumphalism.” We were hesitant about repeating those comments here. But the country ignores such cynicism and ugliness at its own peril. Make no mistake, the rest of the world is listening.

Like President George W. Bush before him, President Obama warned against linking all followers of Islam to terrorists. “Al Qaeda’s cause is not Islam — it is a gross distortion of Islam,” he rightly said. It is our tolerance of others, he said, “that quintessentially American creed,” that stands in contrast to the nihilism of those who attacked us on Sept. 11, 2001.

Read More
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