Wednesday, August 4, 2010

News That Matters- Wednesday, August 4, 2010

News That Matters

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

Good Wednesday Morning,

For those up very early this morning you may have witnessed a rare display of the northern lights over our area. A Coronal Mass Ejection (CMA) from the sun slammed into our planet's magnetic field last evening setting off auroral displays as far south as Germany and here. For those of you who slept through it you can see some photographs from this morning's display here.

This morning at 10AM at the new courthouse in Carmel, an attorney representing Senator Leibell will attempt to quash his opposition for County Executive by suing the county board of elections in court over MaryEllen Odell's verified signatures for the Republican primary. In the olden days he'd just have her poisoned, her home burned and her lands salted, but now we have lawyers that do the same. See below for more.

I was driving by your house the other day (yes, yours!) and it looked like it could use a little touching up here and there... like the whole thing. Time is running out for getting your house painted or re-stained this season so let's get to  it. Taconicarts has special rates for News That Matters readers.

Hey CC: Can you see that Amy and Kirk get a copy of this? I'd like to get them reading on a regular basis.

Today's Surviving The World:

Local Election News:

The following came Monday evening from 19th CD candidate Neil Di Carlo:
Today I am saddened that Donald B. Smith, who shares the same traditional conservative family values as me, chose to formally announce his endorsement of Dr. Nan Hayworth, a socially liberal Westchester Republican. It is surprising that Mr. Smith, who is a faith-based man of God,  endorsed a candidate whose views are in direct opposition to the Church. Westchester Liberal Republicans have controlled the 19th Congressional District for far too long. My win in September will put an end to their reign.
Putnam County Conservative Republicans can be assured that THIS local man will never abandon the values that we all hold dear. Mr. Smith, in my opinion, may have forgotten to keep the faith -- but I never will.
Neil Di Carlo
19TH Congressional Candidate
Greg Ball's campaign is holding a press conference on Friday morning to sign a pledge that he will "term limit himself" at ten years meaning that he will not hold any particular elected office for longer than ten years. He has challenged  "Tax-Hike-Mike" and "Tax-And-Spend" Murphy to do the same but explains that since they've held their respective offices for ten years that the pledge is retroactive.

To a story at the Journal News website about the county executive's race, Ann Fanizzi asks,
"And why no Democratic challenger to take advantage of this squabble? What's the deal here? Why no challenger for the highest office in Putnam County?
Her not so subtle hint of a conspiracy is disquieting and begs the question: Why doesn't she run? I'm sure she'd have been Wilson-Pakula'd had she had the chutzpah to put her body where her keyboard was. It's easy to sit on the sidelines and cast witless aspersions at Lynne Eckardt, another of Ann's personal vendettas, but it is sure is a lot harder to start knocking on doors, raising money and working a campaign. Get to it, Ann!

The other day I received a press release signed: "putnamcountywatchdog", who I know reads this column. After I read the release I checked the data but I also sent an email asking the sender to ID themselves, to give me a real name. I even posted on MEOs Facebook page asking the same. As of this writing they have failed to do so. There's time yet before the primary but I really can't post these things unless I know my sources. So, nu? Is Putnam County Watch Dog attached to her campaign? If so, then this is a terrible way to run things. If not, she should know someone is speaking for her.
With that said, we're all seeing now just how Unca Vinnie plays politics. Trust me, I have felt the wrath and others have too. Now it's Mary Ellen's turn and if you think it's going to be easy on the rest of you after his coronation on January 1st, just be assured that as he concentrates his power at that ugly building on Lake Gleneida that each and every one of us is going to feel the pain of it all. And while he's in office, just step out of line and see what happens... Those of us who know, know only too well.

So what we're faced with here is a problem: MEO's campaign sends out unsigned press releases. Unca Vinnie is setting up his gestapo. The Gooselady won't run and Democrats, well, 'nuff said on that. It's not looking all that good for the next four years around here!

There's still time, by the way, for a qualified candidate to mount a write-in or ballot line campaign. Isn't there anyone out there? And if you suggest I do it, please do so with a several checks written out for VERY large amounts made out to, well, hang on... I have no campaign fund set up just yet.
In other election news, Mike Kaplowitz has secured the Independence Party line and sadly, Sheriff Donald Smith has stepped outside the faith to support NRCC endorsed Republican and health care industry darling, Nan Hayworth. Just watch your insurance costs skyrocket!

News Shorts:

  • State Police pulled a jumper from the Hudson River under the Tappan Zee Bridge yesterday "saving" his life. Personally I feel if you want to kill yourself, unless we are going to definitively solve your problem(s) we have no right to interfere in your decision otherwise we leave you with your problems in place and now another failed event in your life. Suicide is a personal decision and should remain so.
  • New York has finally come its senses and now will allow licensed midwives to deliver babies without a doctor being present. The cost savings alone could be worth tens of millions of dollars.
  • The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, the folks who bring you logging in your local parks and natural areas, now says they have no plans to engage in the wholesale slaughter of Canada Geese, denying published reports from last week.
  • Last weekend Philadelphia saw an unusual event, a Uni-TEA party, in which the goal was to show that the 'baggers (we still need another name!) were a multi-racial and multi-ethinc group. And for a city of 1.4 million people, Greg Ball's rally the week before last had a larger crowd. I guess Blacks want nothing to do with the 'baggers and the 'baggers were afraid they'd have to share the sun with Blacks.
  • Did you know that Coca-Cola's Vitamin Water has about as much sugar as a can of Coke? Sure, it's got some added vitamins and stuff but come on, 200 calories in a 32 Oz bottle? (which, according to the label is four individual "servings" but I think they misspelled "swallows")
  • In Iowa last week, the National Organization for Marriage (which is really against it) claims that banning same-sex marriage would be good for the economy. But last year Iowa legalized same-sex marriage with the results being that the divorce rate went down and the marriage rate went up. The addition of gay marriages will throw $160 million into the Iowan economy through 2011 and will generate more than $5 million in sales and other taxes. And that's bad?
  • The United Nations declared last week that clean water was a basic human right. The United States abstained from voting.

And now, The News:
  1. Local Election News:
  2. News Shorts:
  3. Don’t rush fracking rules, legislators urge
  4. State Senate votes to delay hydrofracking
  5. Green loan fund proposed in Dutchess
  6. Plan to Combat Invasive Species Released
  7. Cleanup of Long Dock Beacon brownfield to begin
  8. Murphy and Ball Trade Barbs Over Legislative Pay
  9. Fighting Demons, Raising the Dead, Taking Over the World
  10. Ruling a victory over intolerance
  11. Has the Most Common Marijuana Test Resulted in Tens of Thousands of Wrongful Convictions?

Don’t rush fracking rules, legislators urge

THE DEBATE over extracting natural gas though horizontal hydraulic fracturing — also known as hydrofracking, or just fracking — has some elected officials urging the state Department of Environmental Conservation to take their time in developing rules that will aim to avoid energy industry disasters.

Republican state Sen. John Bonacic said on Friday that the Democratic-controlled Senate should take the opportunity of being in session for budget matters to vote on a proposed one-year moratorium against issuing fracking permits.

“The bill, if it comes before me I am going to support it,” said Bonacic, of Mount Hope in Orange County. “Democrats control what comes to the floor for a vote. The environmental lobbyists have been up there for the past month pushing to put the bill out on the floor. I personally think there’s more than enough votes for the bill to pass.”

Bonacic said Department of Environmental Conservation officials should “take all the time (they) want, get it right, because the gas isn’t going anywhere.”

Read More

State Senate votes to delay hydrofracking

ALBANY – A midnight vote by the State Senate has passed a measure that would place a moratorium on hydrofracking for natural gas in the Marcellus Shale formation for 11 months.

The 48 yes votes included 15 Republicans, among them Hudson Valley Senators John Bonacic of Mount Hope and Stephen Saland of Poughkeepsie.

Ulster County Legislator Susan Zimet, who was among the leaders of a statewide effort to have the moratorium approved, said the bill was “DOA three weeks ago until our press conference.” Among the participants who urged the 11 month delay were folk singer Pete Seeger of Beacon and actor Mark Ruffalo of Sullivan County.

Read More

Green loan fund proposed in Dutchess

POUGHKEEPSIE – Four Dutchess County legislators have proposed creation of a green loan program in the county and the resolution will appear on the Environmental Committee meeting this Thursday.

Democrats Joel Tyner, Barbara Jeter-Jackson and Daniel Kuffner and Conservative James Doxsey all support the proposal.

Tyner said the Dutchess County Sustainable Energy Loan Program would provide funds for conversions for energy conservation.

“One billion dollars in savings on electric bills if we start this loan fund for energy efficiency retrofits and solar and geothermal and make that stuff much more available to homeowners and businesses than it is now,” he said.

Tyner said the counties of Albany, Tompkins and Nassau have already created similar programs.

Read More

Plan to Combat Invasive Species Released

From the NYSDEC

The New York State Invasive Species Council recently submitted its final report to Governor David A. Paterson and the state legislature. The report, "A Regulatory System for Non-Native Species," recommends giving the council the authority to develop regulations that will prevent the importation or release of non-native invasive species in New York's waterways, forests and farmlands.
New Assessment Process

The report, prepared by the nine-agency council and co-led by the NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets and DEC, introduces a new process for assessing each invasive species for its level of threat and socioeconomic value, and categorizing species into distinct lists for appropriate action.

State Agriculture Commissioner Patrick Hooker said: "In recent years, we have struggled with the economic and environmental impacts of non-native species such as plum pox virus, emerald ash borer and the Asian longhorned beetle, but we have also acknowledged the positive aspects associated with some, such as timothy [grass], Norway maple and lady bugs. With the adoption of this report, New York will now have a process by which the merits of various invasive species will be evaluated and their level of harm and/or benefit will be reviewed to ensure unacceptable ecological or health risks are not purposefully introduced as pets, nursery stock, food or other uses."

Read More

Cleanup of Long Dock Beacon brownfield to begin

BEACON – Cleanup of the eastern portion of the Long Dock Beacon site at Red Flynn Drive in Beacon is about to begin. The remediation will address contamination under the state’s Brownfield Cleanup Program.

Work will include demolition of the existing residential structure, excavation and off-site disposal of contaminated soils on the eastern portion of the site, and installation of a site cover consisting of a paving system, sidewalks or two feet of clean soil.

The cleanup activities will be performed by the Scenic Hudson Land Trust under the oversight of the DEC and State Health Department.

Read More

Murphy and Ball Trade Barbs Over Legislative Pay

By Colby Hamilton

Mary Beth Murphy went after Assembly Member Greg Ball, her opponent in the 40th Senate district’s Republican primary, in a statement this morning. The charge: Ball and his colleagues in the Legislature are making a pretty penny off failing to deliver an on-time state budget.

Murphy referenced a Times-Union article from July 24 that examined legislators’ per-diem expenses over four weeks during June and July. According to Murphy, Ball had gone from $738 during a similar period of time last year to $2,235 during the period looked at by the Times-Union.

“They’re still nowhere near approving a budget, which means the incompetent legislators who created this problem will continue to make extra money because of their failure to do their job,” Murphy said. “In all, [state legislators have] received nearly a half-million dollars. That is a perversion of justice. Where else but New York’s Legislature does someone receive extra pay because the have totally failed to do their job?”

Read More

Fighting Demons, Raising the Dead, Taking Over the World

RD Magazine

What is happening to Christianity?

In 1996 a team from Ted Haggard’s New Life Church flew to Mali and began furtively anointing entire towns with cooking oil.

The strangeness of it gripped Dutch missionary René Holvast, who later wrote: “It was confusing and produced a growing uneasiness. It did not seem to fit our current evangelical theological and anthropological textbooks.”

The team from Haggard’s church was a forerunner in a missionary wave that has washed over the world since the early 1990s, bringing what Holvast calls a ‘new paradigm.’

René Holvast has theological training, but his perplexed reaction was similar to that of Alix Spiegel, a radio journalist who went to Ted Haggard’s New Life Church in 1997 to do a story for This American Life. Spiegel encountered something so alluring, even overwhelming, that the secular, urban Jew was almost pulled in. (After several days at Ted Haggard’s church, Spiegel called This American Life’s Ira Glass who—as if he were a deprogrammer weaning her from a cult—had to convince Alix Spiegel that she really belonged back in her secular realm of origin, Chicago.)

From its early days, New Life Church’s members worked to map out all the territorial demon spirits inhabiting Colorado Springs. At some point in the process, they fed the mapping information into a computer database. Methodically—street by street, block by block—they used prayer-warfare to expel the demons from their city. And they maintained a 24/7 prayer shield over Colorado Springs to prevent demon re-infestations. As with inner-city cockroaches, the price of demon-free living was constant vigilance.

Read More

Ruling a victory over intolerance

A NYJN Editorial

It is one thing for non-New Yorkers like Sarah Palin and Newt Gingrich to spend their time appealing to our worst instincts and fears; we know that drives many voters, many polls and often the daily news cycle. It is quite another thing for gubernatorial hopefuls like Rick Lazio and Carl Paladino to get in the intolerant muck with them. We should expect better from those running for the state's highest office, since we must live with their messes after the sound bites.

The concern stems, of course, from the recent pot-stirring over the proposed Islamic cultural center near the former World Trade Center site. On Tuesday, the city's Landmarks Preservation Commission rightly rejected calls by the intolerant, the above-mentioned included, to abuse their discretion and designate the targeted property for historic landmark status, which would put the site off-limits to new development. Doing so might have placated those who believe that the emotional scars at ground zero warrant suspending our better instincts, usual tolerance and the First Amendment. It also would have diminished New York and the nation — and the lofty ideals that cost so many their lives on 9/11.

Read More

Has the Most Common Marijuana Test Resulted in Tens of Thousands of Wrongful Convictions?


More than 800,000 people are arrested on marijuana charges each year in the United States, many on the basis of an error-prone test.

Raised in Montana and a resident of Alaska for 18 years, Robin Rae Brown, 48, always made time to explore in the wilderness. On March 20, 2009, she parked her pickup truck outside Weston, Florida, and hiked off the beaten path along a remote canal and into the woods to bird watch and commune with nature. “I saw a bobcat and an osprey,” she recalls. “I stopped once in a nice spot beneath a tree, sat down and gave prayers of thanksgiving to God.” For that purpose, Robin had packed a clay bowl and a “smudge stick,” a stalk-like bundle of sage, sweet grass, and lavender that she had bought at an airport gift shop in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Under the tree, she lit the end of the smudge stick and nestled it inside the bowl
"She later learned that her incense had never been subjected to a confirmatory lab test. She had been arrested and jailed solely on the basis of her positive D-L test results."
. She waved the smoke up toward her heart and over her head and prayed. Spiritual people from many cultures, including Native Americans, consider smoke to be sacred, she told me, and believe that it can carry their prayers to the heavens.

As darkness approached, she returned to her pickup truck to find Broward County’s Deputy Sheriff Dominic Raimondi and Florida Fish and Wildlife’s Lieutenant David Bingham looking inside the cab. The two men asked what she was doing and when she said she had been bird watching, Bingham asked whether she had binoculars. As she opened her knapsack, Officer Raimondi spotted her incense and asked if he could see it. He took the bowl and incense, asking whether it was marijuana. “No,” she recalls saying. “It’s my smudge, which is a blend of sage, sweet grass, and lavender.” “Smells like marijuana to me,” said Raimondi, who admitted he had never heard of a smudge stick. He then ordered Robin to stand by her truck, while he took the incense back to his car and conducted a common field test, known as a Duquenois-Levine, or D-L, test. The result was positive for marijuana.

Robin protested, telling them the smudge was available for purchase online for about $7 and gave them the name of a Web site that sold it — information Officer Bingham used his laptop to verify. But the men still searched her truck. After an hour and a half they finally allowed Robin to go home and told her that if a lab test confirmed the field test results, a warrant would be issued for her arrest.

Exactly 90 days later, Robin was arrested at the spa in Weston, Florida where she has worked as a massage therapist for three years. She was handcuffed in front of clients and co-workers, and charged with felony possession of marijuana. She was brought to a local police precinct in the town of Davie where she was booked and held for three hours. Unable to post the $1,000 bail because she was not allowed to call her boyfriend Michael, she was transferred to the Women’s Correctional Facility in Pompano Beach. At no time was she read her rights.

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