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22.1 degrees this morning just before the sun came up. Welcome to winter!
The fund raising appeal which ran through last Friday did not find anyone new. But the same people who have always helped you read for free were back and if I had their permission I'd publish their names so you could go to their homes and personally thank them.
The idea of a subscription based or value-add newsletter came up again over the weekend and since I spend around 3 hours a day - every day - producing this, the concept is looking pretty tasty right now.
Stay tuned. Keep in mind that at $0.25 cents an issue that works out to around $40 a year. And that does not include the myriad stories that hit the website from other sources such as Outdoors New York and ProPublica.
And though I know that the vast majority of you would lose access to the full content of News That Matters and that organizing around important issues would be that much more difficult, it's a risk we may have to take. It's just not fair to those who are willing to purchase access so that you can read for free. You know, I'm just saying'.
Putnam County Department of Highways and Facilities received $267,000 for (are you ready?) the Putnam National Golf Club parking lot and Putnam Valley got $750,000 for Oscawana Lake.
"This is a very good example of public participation. Our DEC...originally ruled that hydrofracking would not affect the water quality in the area but we've received additional information and have not been able to come to a conclusion as to whether or not this is a good idea. Even with the tremendous revenues that will come in at this time...we're not going to risk public safety or water quality, which will be the next emerging global problem after the energy shortage. At this point, I would say that the hydrofracking opponents have raised enough of an argument to thwart us going forward at this time."But note the last line: "opponents have....to thwart us going forward at this time." The governor is not saying that those of us who believe drinking water is more important than corporate profits have convinced him and his agencies that this is a bad idea. He actually says otherwise. What he's saying is that we have "frustrated, foiled, prevented, crossed and or obstructed" the smooth sailing the 'frackers expected as they spread into NYS like a plague of locusts.
I've read the emails from environmental groups who think otherwise, who think the governor believes we're correct in our opposition, but I encourage them to get a dictionary and to lay his statement against the truest semantic test. He hates us. We have indeed "thwarted" his efforts to rake in the bucks and worry about the problems when it's someone else's job to do so. With his attitude I'm happy we've gotten this far and encourage you to not let up the pressure. The 'frackers aren't and neither should we.
And thus it was this past Saturday evening with a 23.5 ounce can of Four Loko, ostensibly "Cranberry Lemonade" flavored, and one of Joose, Fruit Punch flavor. These are the fruit-flavored malt beverages the nation is in a tizzy over and I'm willing to bet not a single politician or FDA official calling for their banning have ever actually drunk one. In fact, thanks to reader AI I read an article wherein an FDA spokesman repeatedly conflates two different issues so that the final outcome amounts to a lie. Had he actually drunk of these beverages he would have had a much tougher time selling his propaganda.into a mug of coffee? Irish Coffee, anyone? Of course you have - and you know what? It's no different. It's exactly the same. And if you drank 23.5 ounces of it (around four hot, steaming whipped creme topped mug-fulls,) you'd get the same effect as a can of Four Loko or Joose.
While we punish our kids we once again set a double standard that they see, understand for what it is and knock ourselves down one more peg in their pantheon of people not to trust.
We raised the drinking age to 21 some years back with the result that kids binge-drink to make up for what they perceive as lost time. But kids are going to drink - and be drinking at 14, 15, and beyond and by making them criminals we've done them and ourselves no good - and by banning drinks like this we only force them to engage in further illicit activity. I would ask why we do these things but the answers are really rather simple: political expediency. We live in a society that is unwilling to adequately educate and to allow hands-on learning through personal experience. We want everything to be perfect, just the way we (mis)remember it from our own childhoods.
When kids experiment with alcohol or other alternatives and they get into trouble they will seldom go to the hospital or their doctor or their parents for fear of criminal repercussions. And if they do get caught we punish them by refusing them higher education or suspending them from school, by forcing even casual users into abusive rehabilitation programs, by breaking them financially or forcing them into "community service", often tearing families apart at the same time.
And all that over what amounts to a very small hill of beans when taken in perspective of the greater ills around us.
The result is what you'd expect: these kids do not learn to respect adults or authority but rather the opposite. We make them bitter, angry people who will one day be charged with changing your diapers and one of them will one day have his finger on The Button. Wouldn't you prefer something different?
If we were a nation that educated children rather than lectured at them, if we had a system of education that encouraged experimentation rather than putting everything into neat little forbidden boxes and if we treated these issues (sex, alcohol, drugs, etc.,) as health issues and not as criminal issues our societal problems would be less, our children healthier and truly educated and more inclined to participate in their own communities.
In the end, there's nothing wrong with caffeinated alcoholic beverages like Four Loko or Irish Coffee. But there is something wrong in the way we approach these issues and deal with them.
The sponsor’s memo accompanying the bill explains:
"I have an interest in education -- actually, what I find is everybody has an interest in education. Don't you? I find this very interesting. If you're at a dinner party, and you say you work in education -- actually, you're not often at dinner parties, frankly, if you work in education. (Laughter) You're not asked. And you're never asked back, curiously. That's strange to me. But if you are, and you say to somebody, you know, they say, "What do you do?" and you say you work in education, you can see the blood run from their face. They're like, "Oh my God," you know, "Why me? My one night out all week."
Read More (and watch the video) No, really. Watch it. It's great.
Gargoyles, 330 Wall St.
Hadassah Zuberi Ben-Dor opened her vintage shop and wholesale salvage business Gargoyles at the end of August, having relocated from Philadelphia to Kingston. Having sold her 10,000-square-foot building in Philly, she was looking for something more affordable when she read about Kingston in a New York Times article. She visited the city, liked it, and subsequently bought the three-store building in Uptown.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Text of a letter from the State Department to Julian Assange, the founder of whistleblowing website WikiLeaks, and his lawyer Jennifer Robinson concerning its intended publication of classified State Department documents. The letter, dated November 27, was released by the department.
Dear Ms. Robinson and Mr. Assange:
I am writing in response to your 26 November 2010 letter to U.S. Ambassador Louis B. Susman regarding your intention to again publish on your WikiLeaks site what you claim to be classified U.S. Government documents.
As you know, if any of the materials you intend to publish were provided by any government officials, or any intermediary without proper authorization, they were provided in violation of U.S. law and without regard for the grave consequences of this action. As long as WikiLeaks holds such material, the violation of the law is ongoing.
It is our understanding from conversations with representatives from The New York Times, The Guardian and Der Spiegel, that WikiLeaks also has provided approximately 250,000 documents to each of them for publication, furthering the illegal dissemination of classified documents.
The Homeland Security Department's customs enforcement division has gone on a Web site shutdown spree, closing down at least 76 domains this week, according to online reports.
While many of the web domains were sites that trafficked in counterfeit brand name goods, and some others linked to copyright-infringing file-sharing materials, at least one site was a Google-like search engine, causing alarm among web freedom advocates who worry the move steps over the line into censorship.
All the shut sites are now displaying a Homeland Security warning that copyright infringers can face up to five years in prison.
According to a report at TorrentFreak, the search engine that was shut down -- Torrent-Finder.com -- neither hosted copyrighted material nor directly linked to places where it could be found. Instead, the site opened new windows to sites that did link to file-sharing materials.
"When a site has no tracker, carries no torrents, lists no copyright works unless someone searches for them and responds just like Google, accusing it of infringement becomes somewhat of a minefield," writes Torrentfreak, "Unless you’re ICE Homeland Security Investigations that is."
Katherine Miller got pretty good at hiding her sexuality in high school, brushing off questions about her weekend plans and referring to her girlfriend, Kristin, as "Kris."
She figured she could pull it off at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, too. After all, "don't ask, don't tell" sounded a lot like how she had gotten through her teen years.
But something changed when she arrived at West Point two years ago. She felt the sting of guilt with every lie that violated the academy's honor code. Then, near the end of her first year, she found herself in a classroom discussion about gays in the military, listening to friends say gays disgusted them.
"I couldn't work up the courage to foster an argument against what they were saying for fear of being targeted as a gay myself," Miller told The Associated Press in an interview this week. "I had to be silent. That's not what I wanted to become."
Generations of British children could sympathise with the impulse to riot over school dinners. But the Chinese teenagers who rampaged through their cafeteria this week were protesting at the rocketing prices of meals rather than the quality of the food.
While British students took to the streets to demonstrate against rising tuition fees, those at a school in Guizhou trashed the dinner hall after learning that the cost of dishes had gone up by an average of 0.5 yuan (5p).
The south-western province is one of the poorest in China, with more than 5.5 million people living in poverty – 15% of the country's total, according to the state news agency Xinhua.
The incident underscores the government's concern that rising food prices could lead to instability. Last week Beijing announced it would sell commodities from its reserves and ordered local officials to take measures including clamping down on speculation, increasing vegetable planting and offering subsidies to low-income households.
"Price inflation is not merely an economic matter … It is also political and social," Mao Shoulong, a professor of administrative management at Renmin University, told the Global Times.
County Executive Rob Astorino wants to cut 1 percent from Westchester's budget — which, by the way, accounts for less than a quarter of our property taxes.
His proposed budget savings has mobilized parents upset over cuts in day care, activists who don't want mental health clinics closed, and environmentalists concerned that air and water quality will take a hit.
The Town of Greenburgh is floating a much smaller savings idea that might sound good to municipal bean counters but also might be too hard to sell.
How about saving upward of $400,000 by requiring residents to compost their leaves rather than have the town pick them up?
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