Wednesday, November 17, 2010

News That Matters - Wednesday, November 17, 2010

News That Matters

News That Matters
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Day 13 of our

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(which runs until Thanksgiving weekend.)

Yeah, it's tough being the only independent media outlet here
Putnam County but someone
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readers, 27,877 visits to the website since last year, and 2760 posted articles must have some sort of value as they sure as hell took a lot of time to produce.
Good Wednesday Morning,

Corrections: That's "baked", not "backed as in, "But it’s nothing a freshly BAKED loaf of banana bread (w/brown sugar, raisins and sunflower seeds) and enough orange liqueur can’t handle."

Note: If you have an event coming up this weekend or next week, now is the time to email it to us for inclusion in Friday's "Things To Do" edition. Plain text messages - please! Those fancy JPG's and PDF's will not be hand copied. Thanks.

Corporate Welfare Part Whatever. (It's hard to keep track anymore!) This evening at 7:30 the Patterson Town Board will meet in regular session. Among the items on the agenda under Supervisor Griffin's portion of the meeting is this:

a. 2011 Final Budget Adoption-Resolution
b. Garbage Bids-Discussion/Bid
c. Taggart Subdivision-Zoning Amendment Resolution
d. Taggart Subdivision-open Development Area Resolution
e. Route 311 & Interstate 84 Road Improvements-Follow-up
f. MS4- Legal Fund-Update
g. MS4-Education Grant
h. MS4-DEP FAD Grant
i. Equipment Valuation-Follow-up Discussion
j. Justice Court Relocation Proposal(s)
k. Big Elm Stormwater Pond
Note item "e". Why are we back here again?

Roger Ailes, Garrison resident and Chairman of FOX NEWS said he thinks President Obama is a "far-left socialist". One of these days a real, genuine socialist will come on the scene and Roger, along with those who grasp of politics and history is as nimble as a newborn performing open heart surgery, will have their heads explode. I cannot imagine what they'll do but sign me up for the preview.

This is a photograph of "mechanically separated chicken". MSC is the basic ingredient of pretty much all the pre-processed chicken products you find at fast food restaurants like our favorite, McNuggets.

Whole chickens are mechanically pressed through a sieve: beaks, bones, eyes, feathers, bones, guts and all until it comes out looking like a giant pile of pink foam.

Mechanically Separated ChickenThe whole mess is soaked in ammonia to kill the bacteria that factory chickens are slathered with then reflavored and shaped into your McChicken and your McNuggets and all that frozen microwaveable foods you feed your kids. Ammonia. Yum!

Wikipedia has this to say about it:
Mechanically separated meat (MSM), also known as mechanically recovered/reclaimed meat (MRM) or mechanically deboned meat (MDM) , is a paste-like meat product produced by forcing beef, pork, turkey or chicken bones, with attached edible meat, under high pressure through a sieve  or similar device to separate the bone from the edible meat tissue. For the production of chicken and turkey MSM, most of the time, breast carcasses are used as they still contain parts of breast meat.

Mechanically separated meat has been used in certain meat and meat products since the late 1960s. This product can be contrasted with meat extracted by advanced meat recovery systems. The most common use of MSM is into hot dogs.
And the Fed describes it officially as:
Mechanically separated poultry (i.e., chicken, turkey) is a paste-like and batter-like product produced by forcing the bones and attached edible tissue through a sieve or similar device to separate the bone from the edible poultry tissue. This product is intended for use in the formulation of other poultry products. During this process, it is possible for bones to be crushed or pulverized, resulting in a limited amount of bone particles. Because it may contain some bone particles, any product that has been produced using the mechanical separation process cannot, by definition, be labeled as “poultry.” Instead, it must be labeled appropriately as “mechanically separated chicken” (or turkey) on the product’s label. Mechanically separated chicken and turkey are used in products such as chicken and turkey franks, bologna, nuggets, and patties.
To see the process for making hot dogs, see this video. [Not "just before lunch" safe] The part starting at 2:15 is the best!

As the Chambers Turn

There's some sort of battle going on with Kent resident Tom Maxson on one side and the Kent CAC and others in the community on the other over stewardship of Mt. Nimham, its firetower and the stone chambers scattered across the landscape.

According to an internet post, Mr. M kinda, sorta feels that the "stewards" of the mountain [which refers to the KCAC] are either not doing their job or have "covered up crimes" and have an "anything goes" attitude towards vandalism and the activities of a group called KEPRI who believes the stone chambers across the countryside are Celtic ruins. KEPRI is run by a young woman from Brewster by the name of Reneé Fleury and Mr. M takes special issue with her and them.

Last summer, Ms. Fleury and KEPRI (Keltic Energy Paranormal Research and Investigation) gave a talk at the Southeast Museum to a crowd of some 50 people at which Mr. M was in attendance. She subsequently led one of many hikes to the stone chamber at the foot of Mt Nimham, finishing with a trip to the firetower. And, as so many have done in the past including myself, marked their name on the inside of the tower's cabin in a tradition that stretches back as far as anyone can remember. Every once in a while the interior of the cabin is repainted and the process begins again.

Tom and his son Ryan head up a not-for-profit called, "Highlands Preservation" whose mission statement begins:
Highlands Preservation, Inc. is a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving the hidden historic and prehistoric treasues of the Lower Hudson Valley region of New York.
The opening page of KEPRI's website begins,
KEPRI is a non-profit organization dedicated to unlocking the mysteries of New England's stone chambers, so that they may be preserved.
Rather similar, would you not agree?

Seeing that KEPRI had allegedly tagged the tower, Mr. M sent off an email to the chair of the Kent CAC who sent it along to KEPRI with a note that said, 'cut that out!' And in the real world that would have been the end of it. But no. Not here in Kent where the DEP was called in, the DEC and allegedly, according to the latest minutes published by Highlands Preservation, the Kent PD. And all this over a small tag in a place where it's traditional TO tag? Where every teen-aged couple has left their mark? Where we found out that "Rob is Gay". Where TL LUVS GH? Where RC+AC were 'here' in August? HP's minutes of their October meeting say:
Chairman Tom Maxson has expressed concerns to Town of Kent officials regarding Mr. Baum’s interference with this police investigation, possible evidence tampering, and for alerting the vandals that they were under investigation, which may be viewed as obstructing justice. Mr. Maxson has consulted with HP counsel, who has outlined a number of potential remedies in regard to Mr. Baum and/or the Town of Kent. These options are currently under consideration. The Town is currently reviewing its “email policy” under the guise of dealing with this issue. If the Town decides that Mr. Baum’s actions in forwarding Chairman Maxson’s emails to the vandals were justified, then HP will reciprocate by releasing various emails sent by Mr. Baum, which will prove extremely embarrassing to him and the Town. [Emphasis, mine]
So, Kent's CAC chair forwarded a complaint on to someone who was being complained about based on a request from Mr. M, asking them to stop being "vandals" and this, somehow, is a scandal? Evidence tampering? Obstructing justice? Potential remedies? And then the not-so-subtle blackmail attempt at the end. Blackmail! If the town agrees that forwarding an email request to remedy a condition was the correct thing to do, then Mr. M will... what? Is he really blackmailing the town?

There must be more going on. But the noise that Mr. M has generated and the blame he's placed on the KCAC seems to be way out of proportion. I have not heard that Mr. M or Highlands Preservation has gone after Rob or TL or GC or the Pawling Crew, so why just KEPRI and Ms. Fleury? Is he jealous that she can pack the Southeast Museum? Is he afraid others may act on the same preservation issues he thinks he's at the forefront of and thus his ego will be damaged?

It gets better:

Last month the New York Times' Kevin Flynn wrote a short article on a hike to Hawk Rock with Philip Imbrogno, a man whose belief system is solidly set that places like that hold mystical, if not spiritual, meaning. So, what did Mr. M do? Did he write the Times and thank them for telling people about the wonders of the Town of Kent? Here's what he wrote in his minutes:
On October 14, 2010, the NY Times published an article regarding Hawk Rock, which HP registered as a prehistoric archaeological site with the NYS OPRHP in 2009, and the stone chambers in that area, which are also registered with New York State. The article was greatly biased by focusing on a discredited theorist, who is associated with KEPRI, and included a link to the KCAC’s maps to Hawk Rock. The following weekend, a group of hikers, enticed by the sensational article, got lost near Hawk Rock at night. This required the efforts of the Lake Carmel Fire Department and Kent Police to locate and rescue them. This not only jeopardized our volunteer firefighters, but also created erosion damage due to the need to deploy emergency vehicles on sensitive trails. Chairman Maxson has written a letter of complaint to the NY Times, and has decried the publication of the KCAC’s maps to the world. We have been joined by other preservationists, such as NEARA, in complaining about these activities. NEARA will also be writing to George Baum complaining about this practice.
Philip Imbrogno is a "discredited theorist, who is associated with KEPRI..." and who took a hike with a NY Times reporter and that's a bad thing? For the record Mr. Imbrogno is more associated with NEARA, in fact intimately so, but Mr. M seems to like them anyway - but not KEPRI which has only a fleeting relationship with the "discredited theorist" whose theories, it should be noted, are similar to KEPRIs.

Perhaps Mr. M's reasons for the conflict are over personal beliefs?

The rest of the quote above and its relation to putting emergency crews in danger and damage to "sensitive trails" falls apart when the numerous mountain bikers in the area chew up those same trails day in and day out without condemnation but, I digress into objectivity once again. Sorry.

Other charges against KEPRI keep coming from Mr. M. Charges and hints of actual vandalism and destruction of these rock constructs permeates the chit-chat in town. But to Mr. M's charges KEPRI responded that they "would do no such thing." Why," Ms. Fleury asked in a brief interview, "would we do something like that to something we love so much?"

The minutes penultimately conclude with:
To date, 56 chambers have been identified, making Kent “the stone chamber capital of the United States.” But due to the ongoing vandalism problems in Kent, and the KCAC Chairman’s previous actions in protecting some of these vandals, the information regarding the chambers will be held by HP as proprietary.
Personally, I'd be happy to share what I know about the locations of these things so long as we're talking about those on public property so ask away.

While it seems the love of our stone chambers by both HP and KEPRI may push into the realm of the extreme, one side needs to take a chill-pill or a long vacation away from here, calm the heck down and be a bit more objective - and perhaps honest - about all of this. Blackmail? That's way far out there.

Suspected Catholic terrorist being fondled
by a TSA employee.
  • The Christian Science Monitor reports that George Bush admitted to authorizing waterboarding on three prisoners which he claims "saved lives". British intelligence is not so sure with MP David Davis saying,

    "People under torture tell you what you want to hear. You'll get the wrong information and ... apart from being immoral, apart from destroying our standing in the world, and apart from undermining the way of life we're trying to defend, it actually doesn't deliver."

    But Bush insists that waterboarding is not torture under the law but what he forgot, and his administration forgot, was that we (that's the US) once tried and convicted Japanese soldiers for using waterboarding US soldiers as... torture.

    The world sees that kind of hubris, ya know, and the next thing someone kicks us in the cajones... and we never see it coming.
  • Ever been stuck on a long flight with a demon of a child aboard the plane? Yeah, me too. And since it's a tad difficult to open the door and toss them out without being sucked out yourself (which is sometimes the only solution), passengers are now asking airlines to provide for child-free flights or, at very least, a children's section on airplanes. Amen.
  • The Iranians don't like Facebook. The claim in this video that the 'atheist Jew', Mark Zuckerberg, created the website in order to allow spies to operate and to recruit infidels.
  • Three men from Ft. Carson, Colorado tried to rob a medical marijuana dispensary in that city. They busted the lock mechanism off the back door expecting to find a mountain of pot once they got inside. But once inside the door locked behind them - the front door bolted and locked from the inside as well. Trapped. And what's worse? The marijuana was locked away in a vault. Oh, and what's worse than that? Two city cops were next store. And what's even worse than that? the dispensary's security camera's captured the whole thing on tape.
  • If you live near Sanford, Florida and are in the market for a new truck you can come home with an AK47, gratis, from the dealership. Remember when banks used to give toasters?

And now, The News:

  1. Economic Benefits of Protected Open Space
  2. Neighbors urge East Fishkill to buy water system, fix 'deplorable' pipes
  3. The American department of groping
  4. The 'Israelification' of airports: High security, little bother
  5. GOP frosh: Where's my health care?
  6. Ahead of Congressional Hearings, Robo-Signer Scrutiny Spreads
  7. Budget Deficit Tumbles - You Heard Right!
  8. Junk Food Studies Ignore Parent Responsibility
  9. Westboro protesters face jeers and slashed tires

Economic Benefits of Protected Open Space

A new report is available on the economic benefits of open space.

Conservation and planning leaders today released a new study demonstrating for the first time that preserved open space throughout southeastern Pennsylvania generates hundreds of millions of dollars in economic benefits.

Commissioned by the GreenSpace Alliance and the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission, the study quantifies the value of open space in Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery and Philadelphia counties. The study – the first of its kind for southeastern Pennsylvania – examines the economic benefits associated with preserved open space in four key areas: property values, the environment, recreation and health, and jobs and revenue.

“Our farms, forests, stream valleys and parks are more than just pretty places,” said Joseph M. Hoeffel, chairman of the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission. “They are productive assets that generate significant economic value for our region.” Hoeffel, along with Molly K. Morrison, chairwoman of the GreenSpace Alliance Board, announced the findings of the study at a news conference at Valley Forge National Historical Park. They were joined for the announcement by dozens of other elected leaders along with open space proponents and representatives from businesses that have benefited from nearby preserved open space.

Read More

Neighbors urge East Fishkill to buy water system, fix 'deplorable' pipes

By Susan Campriello

HOPEWELL JUNCTION — Residents of the Whorley Homes neighborhood want the Town of East Fishkill to buy their water district, which they say has been problematic for more than 20 years.

Resident Sandi Conklin said sediment buildup in system pipes has decreased water pressure in homes. Sediment comes through taps, she said, even though she changes water filters every two weeks.

"The sediment settles at the bottom of our bath tubs, ruins large and small appliances and even destroys the heating coils in our furnaces," she wrote in an e-mail.

Conklin and other development residents will ask the Town Board on Thursday to consider buying the system from Hopewell Service Corp. and make system-wide repairs. Conklin said she was told by the system's owner that pipe replacement could cost nearly $750,000, money the owner is not in a position to pay, Conklin said.

Representatives of the system's owner could not be reached Monday and Tuesday.

Read More

The American department of groping

By Ezra Levant for the Toronto Sun

Surprise! Canadian travellers to the United States are now subject to having high school dropouts touch their breasts, penises and vaginas as part of “airline security.”

Sorry, do the words penis and vagina make you uncomfortable?

They certainly make the U.S. Transportation Security Administration uncomfortable.

The TSA can’t even bring themselves to use those words when describing their new “enhanced pat-down” procedure.

You will find them nowhere on their website, including their section on advice for travellers.

They have pages about how to pack your toothpaste.

But they don’t tell you that you will stand in line while a stranger touches you in places that, if done by anyone else, would lead to sexual assault charges.

Oh, by the way: Their touching of penises and vaginas isn’t limited to adults.

Read More

The 'Israelification' of airports: High security, little bother

Cathal Kelly Staff Reporter

While North America's airports groan under the weight of another sea-change in security protocols, one word keeps popping out of the mouths of experts: Israelification.

"That's the process — six layers, four hard, two soft. The goal at Ben-Gurion is to move fliers from the parking lot to the airport lounge in a maximum of 25 minutes."
That is, how can we make our airports more like Israel's, which deal with far greater terror threat with far less inconvenience.

"It is mindboggling for us Israelis to look at what happens in North America, because we went through this 50 years ago," said Rafi Sela, the president of AR Challenges, a global transportation security consultancy. He's worked with the RCMP, the U.S. Navy Seals and airports around the world.

"Israelis, unlike Canadians and Americans, don't take s--- from anybody. When the security agency in Israel (the ISA) started to tighten security and we had to wait in line for — not for hours — but 30 or 40 minutes, all hell broke loose here. We said, 'We're not going to do this. You're going to find a way that will take care of security without touching the efficiency of the airport."

That, in a nutshell is "Israelification" - a system that protects life and limb without annoying you to death.

Read More

GOP frosh: Where's my health care?

By Glenn Thrush

A conservative Maryland physician elected to Congress on an anti-Obamacare platform surprised fellow freshmen at a Monday orientation session by demanding to know why his government-subsidized health care plan takes a month to kick in.

Republican Andy Harris, an anesthesiologist who defeated freshman Democrat Frank Kratovil on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, reacted incredulously when informed that federal law mandated that his government-subsidized health care policy would take effect on Feb. 1 – 28 days after his Jan. 3rd swearing-in.
Continue Reading

“He stood up and asked the two ladies who were answering questions why it had to take so long, what he would do without 28 days of health care,” said a congressional staffer who saw the exchange. The benefits session, held behind closed doors, drew about 250 freshman members, staffers and family members to the Capitol Visitors Center auditorium late Monday morning,”.

“Harris then asked if he could purchase insurance from the government to cover the gap,” added the aide, who was struck by the similarity to Harris’s request and the public option he denounced as a gateway to socialized medicine.

Read More

Ahead of Congressional Hearings, Robo-Signer Scrutiny Spreads

By ProPublica, on November 16th, 2010

This article was first posted at ProPublica: Articles and Investigations by ProPublica.

by Marian Wang

Several recent reports about robo-signers have brought fresh attention to another angle of the foreclosure scandal: Robo-signing didn’t just occur in the foreclosure process. It also occurred in the processing of mortgage assignments. Mortgage assignments are documents showing a loan’s transfer of ownership—transfers that happened over and over when Wall Street firms began buying, bundling, and securitizing these bundles to sell to investors. That’s why assignments are key to establishing who has the right to foreclose.

In videotaped depositions taken and uploaded earlier this month, employees at Florida-based Nationwide Title Clearing testified to signing thousands of documents each day, often as executives of other companies. And sometimes the signing itself really was automated. One employee, Bryan Bly, testified that his signature would be added electronically to documents that he’d never even seen. (Huffington Post pulled together several clips from the taped depositions, and you can watch them here.)

An official from Nationwide Title told Bloomberg News that producing electronic signatures in bulk is common in the industry, and that “the laws are still catching up” with this documentation practice. (Legal aid attorney Gloria Einstein, however, told Bloomberg the problem isn’t that the signature is electronic—it’s that “nobody is responsible for the information and the decisions.”)

Read More

Budget Deficit Tumbles - You Heard Right!

By: Dirk van Dijk, CFA

“Everybody” knows that government spending is out of control, and that is the reason that the budget deficit is soaring out of control. “Everybody” should not be taken seriously.

Yesterday, the Budget Deficit for October -- the first month of the 2011 fiscal year -- was released. It showed a deficit of $140.43 billion, down $35.93 billion or 20.73% from October of last year. That comes on top of a deficit that fell for all of fiscal year 2010 by $121.6 billion from fiscal year 2009 (see Budget Deficit Falling, Not Rising).

Read More

Junk Food Studies Ignore Parent Responsibility

Analysis by Benjamin Radford

Last week a new report on fast food made national news, the most comprehensive study into fast food nutrition and marketing. It found that only a small fraction of possible kids’ meals combinations were healthy for pre-schoolers, and lambasted advertising to children:

    Fast food advertisers spend a staggering amount on media to draw customers into their restaurants to consume this primarily unhealthy fare: more than $4.2 billion in the United States in 2009... As a result, young people viewed enormous amounts of fast food advertising. Every day, the average preschooler saw 2.8 fast food ads on television, the average child saw 3.5, and the average teen saw 4.7. Children were exposed to more than 1,200 traditional fast food ads per year while teens saw and heard more than 2,000.

There are plenty of statistics and facts in the report about childhood obesity and advertising -- as well as a glaring oversight. It’s a simple, basic truth that the 137-page report carefully avoids addressing: children don’t buy the food they eat.

Read More

Westboro protesters face jeers and slashed tires

Shortly after finishing their protest at the funeral of Army Sgt. Jason James McCluskey of McAlester, a half-dozen protesters from Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kan., headed to their minivan, only to discover that its front and rear passenger-side tires had been slashed.

To make matters worse, as their minivan slowly hobbled away on two flat tires, with a McAlester police car following behind, the protesters were unable to find anyone in town who would repair their vehicle, according to police.

The minivan finally pulled over several blocks away in a shopping center parking lot, where AAA was called. A flatbed service truck arrived and loaded up the minivan. Assistant Police Chief Darrell Miller said the minivan was taken to Walmart for repairs.

Read More
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