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|"So virulent is the Islamophobic hysteria of the neocon and Fox News right — abetted by the useful idiocy of the Anti-Defamation League, Harry Reid and other cowed Democrats — that it has also rendered Gen. David Petraeus’s last-ditch counterinsurgency strategy for fighting the war inoperative. How do you win Muslim h...earts and minds in Kandahar when you are calling Muslims every filthy name in the book in New York? " NY Times Columnist, Frank Rich. |
Good Wednesday Morning,
Over the weekend I took the Sarah Palin Shrine down from the website and replaced it with a Bill O'Reilly Shrine and visitor counts have plummeted! Maybe a Ronald Reagan Shrine would do the trick?
As a show of just how exciting the County Executive's race is this year, out of more than 1000 readers only 34 of you have voted in our county executive preference poll. To date, Other has 17 votes, MaryEllen Odell has 12 votes, and Senator Leibell has 5. Fully 50% of those who polled would prefer to vote for someone other than the two announced candidates so it may be time to recruit someone as a write-in candidate after the September primary. Anyone out there want to take on the Senator? Don't forget what he did to Joe D'Ambrosio since that's probably in the offing for you if you dare to take a shot at it.
New York State is preparing to alter code in our Endangered and Special Species law. Public comments will be accepted through September 20th. You can find the information you need here.
A happy 80th birthday to the Mid-Hudson (Franklin D Roosevelt) Bridge linking Poughkeepsie with Highland. The second span to cross the Hudson River after the Bear Mountain Bridge. With a main span of 1500' and secondary spans of 750' each the bridge at it's midpoint rises 135' above the Hudson River. When completed in 1930 it was the 6th longest suspension bridge in the world. In comparison, the Bronx-Whitestone bridge is 770' longer with a main span of 2300' but has 2" inches less clearance above the river.
We're officially out of resources...
From GOOD Magazine:A manager of a McDonald's in Glendale, Arizona asked a woman to the leave the shop after she began breastfeeding her infant. He probably shouldn't have done that as Arizona law protects such. (I cannot believe we need laws for that kind of thing!) Anyway, a week later dozens of mothers dropped in at the store for a "nurse-in". McDonald's says the manager made a mistake and that it's stores, while not allowing breastfeeding directly, honor all local and state laws.
Each time I finish a painting job or complete a large website for a customer, I buy myself a small treat. Last week it was a bag of Sun Chips. (Yeah, my life ain't that exciting.) When I got home, after putting other groceries away I opened the bag and wondered why it felt funny and was so noisy. Yeah, noisy. And I don't mean noisy like the aluminized plastic bags most chips come in but NOISY. I'm looking at the packaging and notice that it's "100% compostable".
According to the website the bag should break down completely in 14 weeks inside a working compost pile that can maintain 130F. As most of us can do that only for about a week or so before the temps drop off, the bag will then continue to degrade at the same rate as other items in your pile as most of the complex polymers were broken down during the initial blast of heat.
The bags are made from PLA, better known as polylactic acid, a bioplastic made by a company called NatureWorks, a joint venture between Cargill and a Japanese company known as Teijin. And guess what the prime source material is for PLA? Corn. Of course! But so long as there are enough carbohydrates in a substance (i.e., sugar and wheat) they can be used as well.
I just wish they would make it quieter.
Odell Kicks AssFor those of you who did not attend the League of Women Voter's primary candidates forum in Carmel last evening you missed one heck of a show.
The room at the VFW post was over-filled with roughly 150 people, mostly Republican party operatives and mostly the Senator's, who came out to have Senator Leibell see their faces (just in case, ya know?) and for fireworks that were sure to go off between the two Republican candidates for County Executive.
After numerous FOIL requests by taxpayer advocate Patty Villanova, the Putnam Valley Fire Department released an e-mail dated July 21st from FEMA, notifying the Department that their grant application for a new firehouse has been rejected. The controversial request was submitted to FEMA on July 10, 2009, and was a major issue in last November’s town board election. The new station is estimated to cost over $9 million dollars and loss of the grant money means that the entire cost would be paid for by the taxpayers. The proposal is currently being reviewed by the Planning Board for economic and environmental impacts.
Mountaintop removal uses explosives to blow off the tops of mountains and get to the coal seams beneath. Over 500 mountains have been destroyed thus far, and the practice leads to air and water pollution, causing cancer, gallbladder disease and asthma in communities downwind and downstream. Blasting cracks foundations and huge ponds of toxic coal slurry loom over communities. One, the Brushy Fork Impoundment in Pettus, WV, would kill 998 by Massey Energy’s own estimates if it failed, spilling seven billion gallons of coal slurry over twenty-six miles downstream.
To see what this looks like from the air, point your mapping program (Google maps/earth, Yahoo... whatever) to this location: 37.951589,-81.605072 and select the satellite view and keep in mind that his is happening but a half a days drive away.
To put that seven billion into perspective: the Boyd's reservoir in western Kent holds 1.1 billion gallons of water, a one day supply for water users in Putnam, Westchester and New York City. The Bog Brook holds 4.4 billion gallons. And the West Branch reservoir holds 8 billion gallons of water so imagine a lake of toxic slurry reaching from Mahopac into western Kent and from Lake Gleneida west to Washington Street, working its way up the Horsepound Brook and backing up to Dixon Road. Imagine driving across route 301 and instead of a lake of healthful, fresh drinking water you'd driving across this:
Last Friday in this space I wrote out a detailed explanation of the Islamic Cultural Center being built in lower Manhattan. And though it is not a mosque, for reasons I will never understand, that's what you keep telling me. Look, I hate to be a prick about this but the facts are the facts: it's not a mosque, it's not at ground zero and that's that. If you say otherwise you're playing a dangerous and disingenuous semantic game with possible global implications.
And opposition hasn't always been opposition. Laura Ingraham, a darling of FOXNews watchers the world over and sitting in for Bill O'Reilly, thought it a good idea. On December 21st of last year she had this to say while interviewing Daisy Khan, Abdul Rauf's wife:
INGRAHAM: "I can’t find many people who really have a problem with it. [Mayor] Bloomberg is for it. Rabbis are saying they don’t have a problem with it. [...] I like what you’re trying to do and Ms. Khan we appreciate it and come on my radio show some time."
Watch the full video here.So how did all this get started? Salon has written a respectful report which you should read here.
It is clear that a new religious war has begun pitting American Christians against the world's Muslims. Jim Bender a Republican Senate candidate from New Hampshire, jumped on to the hysteria bandwagon and said that Muslims don't need "another" mosque in NYC since there are already 100 others in the city. Logical extension says that Jews don't need "another" synagogue in Exeter, New Hampshire or that the Church of Christ, Scientist doesn't need "another" prayer hall in Charleston, West Virginia or that the LDS doesn't need "another" tabernacle in Las Vegas, Nevada or that the Buddhists don't need "another" temple in the Hudson Valley. If this is where Republicans want to lead the nation they walk a dangerous line and not just the line drawn over religious tolerance in the United States, but they endanger our troops in Afghanistan and are doing nothing more than inviting an angry response from international terrorist groups right here at home. Can't they see past their hatred to the bigger picture?
And now, The News:
Satellite data indicate that carbon storage by plants is decreasing despite climate warming.
The capacity of plants to act as a carbon sink could be on the decline.
As global temperatures have risen in recent decades, the amount of atmospheric carbon being converted into plant biomass has increased in step. However, in a paper published today in Science, ecologists Maosheng Zhao and Steve Running at the University of Montana in Missoula report a surprising reversal of this trend over the last decade, despite its having been the warmest on record1.
In 2003, a study on which Running was a co-author, led by Ramakrishna Nemani, who is also at the University of Montana, reported an increase in plant productivity between 1982 and 1999. The researchers attributed that trend to a warmer climate and increased solar radiation2. Zhao and Running expected to find a similar increase for 2000-2009 — an expectation that was not met.
Along with the oceans, plants are doing us a great service by taking up about half of all fossil-fuel carbon dioxide emissions from the atmosphere, says Running. "This is the first indication that it might be slipping."
We've gone into the ecological redFrom New Economics
On 21 August our environmental resource budget ran out. Now we're living beyond the planet's means to support us.
At the weekend, Saturday 21 August to be precise, the world as a whole went into "ecological debt".
That means in effect that from now until the end of the year, humanity will be consuming more natural resources and producing more waste than the forests, fields and fisheries of the world can replace and absorb. By doing so, the life -support systems that we all depend on are worn ever thinner. Farms become less productive, fish populations crash and climate regulating forests decline. All become less resilient in the face of extreme weather events.
The date is arrived at by comparing our annual environmental resource budget with our ecological footprint – the rate at which we spend it.
The more we overshoot the available budget, the earlier in the year we start to go into the ecological red. Collectively we started to live beyond our means in the 1980s. Since then the date has crept earlier and earlier in the year. Improved measurement and data bring the latest date forward by a whole month in comparison with last year's date. It now takes about 18 months for the planet to generate what we consume in just 12.
Photo: Katy Silberger
The Trestle Bridge in Rosendale, crossing over the Rondout Creek.
High-speed rail between major city destinations is a front-page story across the nation. Big players, stimulus money, and a short timeframe are coalescing in a sustained effort to provide alternatives to the interstate and air travel. In rural and suburban communities, where population densities don’t attract major public transit dollars, a less glamorous and more incremental story is unfolding. The “Rails-to-Trails” movement is slowly morphing into a “Trails-to-Transportation” movement.
The “Rails-to-Trails” movement started in the mid-’60s, after a substantial consolidation of the rail industry led to the closure and abandonment of many lines. The movement was driven by a certain ideology—environmentalists wanting to get “back to nature,” redefine public space, and simply go for a walk. The effort was relatively inexpensive and often hurdle-free. After purchasing a portion of the property from the railroad companies, volunteers would take out the tracks, use the old rail ties in their home gardens, and once a year, come out to the “linear park” to cut back the brush.
Today, new ideologies are in place—and with those ideologies come new priorities. Environmentalists, many of whom were a part of the 60s Rails-to-Trails movement, are now looking at rail trails as part of a non-motorized transportation network. Keith Laughlin, president of the national nonprofit Rails-to-Trails now sees his organization as a transportation advocacy group: “There was a time when people viewed having these trails in their communities as a nice-to-have thing, but not a necessity. But what we’re seeing is an increased demand at the local level, and the trails are now viewed as critical infrastructure for a livable 21st century community.”
In a 2008 survey of Ulster County (NY) residents, 21% of the respondents said they used non-motorized transportation to get to work and 35% used it for shopping and errands; 68% said they don’t use non-motorized transport because there are too many cars or motorists drive too fast. This potential demand for safer routes could be met by a connected network of protected trails.
''We knew from research done in the past that drought, bruising and other stresses could stimulate the accumulation of beneficial phenolic compounds in fresh produce," said Dr Kazunori Hironaka, who led the study.
''We found that there hasn't been much research on the healthful effects of using mechanical processes to stress vegetables.
"So we decided in this study to evaluate the effect of ultrasound and electric treatments on polyphenols and other antioxidants in potatoes.
Dr Hironaka, whose team presented their findings at the 240th national meeting of the American Chemical Society in Boston, Massachusetts on Sunday, added: "Antioxidants found in fruits and vegetables are considered to be of nutritional importance in the prevention of chronic diseases, such as cardiovascular disease, various cancers, diabetes and neurological diseases."
Experts say potatoes, the world's fifth most widely consumed plant food, are already a good source of antioxidants, including vitamin C and compounds called polyphenols.
Washington (CNN) -- New rules designed to protect credit card users from "unreasonable late payment and other penalty fees" went into effect Sunday as a result of the Credit Card Act of 2009.
The rules block credit card companies from charging more than $25 for late payments except in extreme circumstances, prevent them from charging customers for not using their cards, and requires them to reconsider rate increases imposed since January 1, 2009, according to the Federal Reserve, which approved the regulations.
They are the final provisions of federal legislation that placed new restrictions on credit card interest rates and fees, completing the most comprehensive overhaul of the credit card industry in history.
The banking industry has already made changes in response to the Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility, and Disclosure (CARD) Act of 2009, a spokesman said Sunday.
A nine-day traffic jam in China is now more than 100 kilometres long and could last for weeks, state media reported Monday.
Thousands of trucks en route to Beijing from Huai'an in the southeast have been backed up since Aug. 14, making the National Expressway 100 impassable, Xinhua News reported.
A spokesman for the Beijing Traffic Management Bureau reportedly told China's Global Times newspaper that the backup was due to "insufficient traffic capacity … caused by maintenance construction."
The construction is scheduled to last until Sept. 13.
Stranded drivers appear to have few options when it comes to dealing with the jam.
At least some drivers have complained that roadside vendors have increased their prices to take advantage of the traffic jam. One truck driver said he bought instant noodles from one vendor for four times the original price.
Another driver, Wang, told Xinhua he'd been stuck in the traffic jam for three days and two nights.
Sunday, August 22, 2010
By Theodore May, GlobalPost
GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip -- In the small central Gaza town of Deir el Belah, one family has made a cottage industry out of green innovation.
"There was a period in Gaza when there was no gas or you had to wait for hours in line to get gas. So we made the oven according to our needs," said Maher Youssef Abou Tawahina, who, along with his father, runs a hardware shop in town.
Abou Tawahina is referring to a solar-powered oven that he and his family invented two years ago. The oven, which sits in the family's backyard, takes five minutes to heat up using electricity. Then, its glass ceiling uses the sun to continue the heating process. The oven is not quite hot enough for baking bread, he said, but it's perfect for roasting chicken.
The idea of the solar-powered oven was so well received around Deir El Belah that orders poured in from around the neighborhood. Abou Tawahina said that he and his father built over 30 of them until the insulating glass became unavailable on the market.
Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/10234/1081447-82.stm#ixzz0xTmpbUof
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