Monday, December 20, 2010

News That Matters - Monday, December 20, 2010

News That Matters

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

Good Monday Morning,

Am I the only one to have noticed that the images on our impossible-to-navigate county website aren't of Putnam County?

It sure as heck looks nice. But it's not here!

We dodged the weather bullet again as that nor'easter which was threatening us last week has turned out to sea and will blast Cape Cod and then points north and east sparing us from a major snowfall. Last year, our first major snow fell on December 5th bringing about 5 inches of snow to our area. This year - so far - we've had virtually none save for the 3.5 inches that fell over the Free State last week.

With that said, it is possible we will have a white Christmas for as of this morning there is a 40% chance of snow showers on Christmas Day.

The family is coming to your place for the holiday and if you want it to be as spiffy as possible you really should get some of the rooms painted. Do you really want your nosy Aunt Edna to be talking behind your back? And it's not really that much of a major operation either as that guest bedroom can be done in a couple of days. You figure Wednesday and Thursday and by the time the inlaws show up on Friday morning... There's still time. Click here.

Everyone is talking about it and as was reported here last week, here it is again:
In the early morning of December 21st, at 1:33AM, in fact, North America begins it's descent into darkness as the light of the moon is blocked by the earth's shadow in what will be a total eclipse of the moon. Totality, that point where the moon is completely blocked, will be at 3:17AM. See this for more information.

Partial Phase Begins Moon Enters Umbra Mid-Eclipse Moon Leaves Umbra
EST Dec. 21, 1:33 a.m. Dec. 21, 2:41 a.m. Dec. 21, 3:17 a.m. Dec. 21, 3:53 a.m.

If you don't want to head outside in the frigid temps you can sit in the comfort of your home and watch a live feed of the eclipse courtesy of NASA. Point your browser here starting very late tonight.

Look! Up in the Sky!

Local folk on Saturday who were looking toward the skies might have caught a glimpse of this:

The photo above, taken by Lake Carmel resident Patricia Bolgasano and the photo below taken by another Lake Carmel resident, Chris Casaburi, shows who we think is William Joy(e) of Mahopac sailing high above Lake Carmel.

[Both Patricia and Chris are supporters of News That Matters and if you're not please send them your personalized thanks.]

When I saw him he was flying high over the Pulte Homes debacle in Carmel with a quick jaunt out over Put Plaza before heading off west and disappearing again over that forever marred hillside. We're going to have to add another verse to that famous Malvina Reynolds song about "little boxes".

Paragliding is something that pretty much anyone with a few thousand dollars and a couple days training can do. It's legal to fly in the US so long as you're not interfering with airports and flight patterns and so long as you're not carrying a passenger and as long as your engine uses less than 5 gallons of fuel.

The sail weighs between 6 and 15 lbs, the engine on your back, between 45 and 70, and that's pretty much it. Once you learn the technique of taking off and landing you need barely a small parking lot to do so. Then you're free to travel at roughly 25 miles per hour with the world record for distance currently held at 503 kilometers or, about 312 miles.

Cool Toy of the Day

So, you've been up to the fire tower on Mt. Nimham and you've marveled at the view that reaches from Mt. Washington and Frissell in the Berkshires of Massachusetts to the Catskills to the towers of lower Manhattan. But what are you really seeing in between? What are those hills and mountains and just how far away are they?
Well, 16 degrees of north there's Stissing Mountain at 34 miles away. And at 331 degrees rises Slide Mountain, the tallest in the Catskills, 50 miles distant. Okay, great. Wonderful. But how do we visualize that? We go to and plug all this crazy info in and it does the work.

Not only will the website create a view for you from virtually any spot on the planet (covered by Google maps, that is) but will also provide you with what they call a "visibility cloak" marking in red overlay what you actually can see. It's way cool and worth playing with when you've got some spare time at home or at work and we know that this week there's plenty of time at work.

For the view from Mt. Nimham, click here.

By the by... the furthest you can conceivably see on a clear day is spot near East Berne, NY about 80 miles north and slightly west.

For those reading this edition of News That Matters who have not helped support us this year you owe a debt of gratitude to those that did and continue to do so. You can assuage your guilt by clicking here. Thanks!
The never-ending saga...

County personnel director Paul Eldridge's name just won't go away. While the Legislature and been besieged with correspondence on Senator Leibell's replacement for County Executive, it's Mr. Eldridge's name which keep floating to the top of the noise. Don't think that MaryEllen Odell and Tony Hay don't want this more than life itself - they do - but they also have a fatal flaw: to them, there are no people outside the county Republican party - the rest of us, the vast majority of Putnam's residents simply do not exist.
I dare you to find Paul Eldridge's name at the county website outside a PDF file and so we know nothing about him. However, our crack team has been able to locate an image of, not only Mr. Eldridge but of the man he has chosen to serve as Deputy County Executive:

This whole megillah should prove even more interesting as candidates begin to jockey for position in November to fill out the remainder of Senator Leibell's aborted term as County Executive. The Legislature has made it clear that whomever they select on January 1st will not be running for any county office in 2011 but they cannot compel through law, only through suggestion and we know how short our collective memories are.

By the way, the Legislature has also been rather clear: whoever they select is forbidden to lead, they can only care-take. They are scared to death the person they select might actually move the county in a direction they are not prepared to go. You know, like progressively forward.

Away in a Manger...or not.
"Luke’s infancy narrative therefore presupposes the following events. Joseph took his betrothed Mary from Nazareth to Bethlehem. Bethlehem was his home town and, in accordance with the patrilocal marital customs of the day, it must also have been the place where they finalized their matrimonial arrangements by bringing her into his home. As a newly married man, he no longer would have to sleep in the main room of the village house with his other relatives, but he and his bride could stay in a marital chamber attached to the house until they could get a place of their own. They stayed there for some time until she came to full term, and she gave birth to Jesus in the main room of the house rather than in her marital apartment because it was too small, and she laid the newborn in one of those mangers common to the main room of an ancient farmhouse. After staying at least another forty days in Bethlehem, Joseph and Mary eventually moved to Nazareth to make their home together in her family’s town.

"To be sure, this scenario as presupposed in Luke’s infancy account diverges greatly from the conventional Christmas story. There is no inn, no innkeeper, and no stable. But it is grounded in a careful exegesis of the text. The term κατάλυμα has a broad sense of a ‘place to stay’ and the final clause of Luke should be translated as ‘because they had no space in their place to stay’. Joseph and Mary’s particular accommodations in Bethlehem should be thought of as a cramped, marital chamber attached to his father’s or other relative’s village house.
Read the full paper here.

Wiki wiki wiki wiki wiki

Here's another story that will not die. Vice President Joe Biden has said that Julian Assange, the director of the Wikileaks operation, is more a terrorist than a whistelblower. With barely 2000 documents out of 251,000 released, apparently the Veep has a clue what's in the rest. Either that or he's talking out his, well, you know.
Mr A seems to have either an incredible libido or his notoriety acts as a aphrodisiac, which we know is almost always the case. This morning an American journalist complained that while having dinner with Mr. A at a restaurant in Stockholm, Mr. A showed no interest in the reporter or his questions but instead focused on the reporters girlfriend, leaving with her and, according to the now flummoxed American, "They were standing very close together a little way down the street, and Julian was whispering in her ear." The incident took place just two days before Mr. A managed to seduce two Swedish women and bed them both.

Bank of America has decided to stop processing donations to the wikileaks organization. But this is coming from a bank with a reputation for cheating and scamming its customers that is so dismal that even tyrannical dictators chose other banks in which to launder their blood money.

And once again, if you're following the releases you can find them here.

In cables released yesterday we learn that Israel and the Fatah organization that runs the West Bank get along rather well and cooperation exists on both sides but that the situation in Gaza was dire and unstable. But even there, close cooperation exited with the Egyptian government who, like Israel, has largely closed their border with Gaza due to terrorism.

We also learn that while the Vatican supports efforts to reduce carbon loading into the environment they also support genetically modified crops as a method of producing more food to feed the hungry around the world. Yes, there is a theological dichotomy there but hey, it's fun anyway.

[Photo credit: Christian Science Monitor]

And now, The News:

Beacon Incline Railway shoots for 2013 opening, receives planning grant

BEACON – The Mount Beacon Incline Railway Restoration Society is going to receive a $42,500 grant to fund a comprehensive market analysis, business plan and museum conceptualization that members hope will lead to rebuilding of the rail line up Mount Beacon in Beacon.

Incline Society President Anne Lynch said the grant from the Dyson Foundation, will allow the group to stay in its timeline to reopen the line on 2013. She called the grant “a turning point in our planning efforts.”

Society Chief Operating Officer Michael Colarusso said the railway, along with destinations like the Walkway Over the Hudson, will “cement the Hudson River Valley’s status as a national tourism powerhouse.”

Read More

Digital dynamos have turned Kingston into Brooklyn north

Want that old city feel? Downtown Kingston is a picturesque place to live.

Mark Marshall moved upstate to Kingston three years ago, drawn by the former state capital's growing community of digital entrepreneurs, waterfront charm and thriving arts scene.

"Tech was really starting to take off here," says the freelance digital-media producer and musician, 47, who has lived in New York City and Rockland County. "I had friends who had moved up here and said it was beautiful. I liked the urban aspects, but five minutes out of town, and you're driving through the mountains."

Marshall is among a growing number of New Yorkers involved in digital media who are gravitating to Kingston, population 22,441, for the industrial and artsy flavor of Brooklyn combined with the real estate values of the boonies.

Read More

In Latest Compromise with GOP, Obama Agrees He is a Muslim

Borowitz Report

WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report) – In his latest effort to find common ground with Republicans in Congress, President Barack Obama said today that he was willing to agree that he is a Muslim.

Differences over his religious orientation have been a sore point between the President and his Republican foes for the past two years, but in agreeing that he is a Muslim Mr. Obama is sending a clear signal that he is trying to find consensus.

“The American people do not want to see us fighting in Washington,” Mr. Obama told reporters at the White House.  “They want to see us working together to improve their lives, and Allah willing, we will.”

But Mr. Obama’s willingness to back down on his claim of being a Christian does not seem to have satisfied his Republican opposition, as GOP leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) today insisted that the President must also agree that he was born in Kenya.

Read More

For those reading this edition of News That Matters who have not helped support us this year you owe a debt of gratitude to those that did and continue to do so. You can assuage your guilt by clicking here. Thanks!
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