Monday, January 17, 2011

News That Matters - Monday, January 17, 2011

News That Matters

News That Matters
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Telling it like it is for 10 years and counting...

"Can we as a nation be secure without having to dominate those abroad in never-ending wars, while single-handedly garrisoning the world? At the onset, I acknowledge that intelligence is important and that certain information must be kept secret. Nonetheless, when intelligence and secrecy are used to control and manipulate public opinion, hide embarrassing mistakes, foster political gain, or deny basic human rights, they become counterproductive to the American way of life."  - Lt. Col. Barry Wingard

Good Monday Morning,

Today is Martin Luther King Day.

For those of you who get up with the dawn you're realizing just about now that it's not so dark out there any more, that the days are getting longer and the sun remains higher in the sky. Forget the snow on the ground! Keep an eye on the maples as their tips red-up just a bit letting you know it's time to tap their sap for maple syrup. The weeping willows will soon go just a little green in response to the longer hours of sunlight. Yes, forget that it's a hundred below zero out there for spring is coming... soon.

To be honest, it wasn't a hundred below zero out there but on Saturday morning the temps bottomed out at -5.6ºF and though not a record, that's still cold.

While we talk about snow, another winter storm system will be moving into our area over night. By morning 2-4" of heavy, wet snow should be on the ground followed by a 1/4" of ice accretion that may be bring down trees and power lines. Our area will be right on the cusp of the freezing mark and a mere mile may make a difference between rain, ice and snow.
If all goes according to the forecast driving tomorrow morning will suck. Driving tomorrow afternoon will be suicidal.

As usual with these things: standard rules apply especially if the power goes out: check on your neighbors. For many, no power means no heat. Just another reason every home built should follow a passive solar model.
A western Kent resident living on the edge of Fahnestock State Park near the Dutchess county line reports a peregrine falcon as a visitor to his bird feeder. Peregrines are frequent winter-time visitors to our area. They generally breed far to the north and bear their broods far to the south. At least traditionally. Now their breeding range has moved into our neck of the woods.
The Peregrine is the fastest bird known and has recorded speeds in excess of 200mph during dives. I've sat on the crest of Millbrook mountain in the 'gunks and watched these guys follow the thermals higher and higher until they become mere specks in the sky then fold their wings and dive straight down making a "wwwwwoooooossssshhhhh" sound as they pass in a blur, coming out of the dive near the ground and repeating the process, as play.
News That Matters reader and Kent resident Bill Buck is a bryologist working for the New York Botanical Gardens. He's off on an expedition to the southern-most tip of Chile, something he's now taken to doing each year at this time, summer. At least down there.
He's blogging his journey at the NYBG "Plant Talk" blog which is carried at the NtM website as an RSS feed. Check out the story below or click through here to read the Botanical Gardens' posts that we carry.
Rising to near the Top of the Charts, NtM's story, "Sometimes You Have to Point Fingers" has rapidly become one of the most read stories at the website and is quickly closing the gap toward the most read, "The Thirty-Eight Billion Dollar Fee" which talks about Bank of America's illicit consumer practices.

News That Matters is the 26,125th most read blog according to the internet search facility Wikio. While that may not seem impressive consider the number of websites out there (millions!) porn (which must be huge, news=sites and the like) and we're doing pretty good.
We can do better so forward this copy of News That Matters to someone you know who is not a current reader. Let's spread the word!
Today in 1893, a group of American businessmen and their associates called the "Citizens' Committee of Public Safety", overthrew the government of Queen Liluokalani of the Kingdom of Hawaii in a bloodless coup. Why? Because she wouldn't lease additional lands for their pineapple plantations. The committee had requested - and was granted - a company of US Marines to protect their interests against that of the Hawaiians. The presence of Marines on the island effectively ended Hawaii's independence making it a vassal territory of US corporate interests. It wasn't until 1993 that Congress apologized for the overthrow of that sovereign nation and an independence movement slowly grows on the Islands.

During last year's campaign for County Executive, one of the many things that hurt MaryEllen Odell's chances were here close ties to the Senator Who Shall Not Be Named. She denied the allegation, of course, saying once that only News That Matters was reporting a connection thus creating a reality that did not exist.
We knew then what we know now: she wasn't being completely honest and the proof is in the pudding - or the paycheck as the case may be. For those of you who are unaware, MEO is now working for the SWSNBN and collecting a hefty paycheck all the while touring the county in preparation for another shot at the CE's spot.
DEA agents in Rockland County barged into a home at 5:30 the other morning demanding a "Michael". When none showed up they dragged the homeowner outside in frigid temps wearing only his underwear to further question him. In the meantime, as 8 cops ran through the home they threatened to shoot the family's two dogs and pulled their 8th grade child out of bed at gunpoint where later she became ill and vomited.
Why? It was a marijuana bust ~ but it was the wrong house. The DEA apologized for their error but there's no apology out there that will give this little girl back her self-confidence and the family their sense of safety in their own home.

Feeling better about the War on Drugs now?
I was in the city this weekend stage managing another couple of shows with Broadway Briefs, LLC., and on the wall in the ICON parking garage at 39th and 8th was a unit to recharge electric cars. Maybe the tide is turning.

I present the following as your "what the hell are they thinking?" moment of the day:

If there are any News That Matters readers who subscribe to this campaign please write to let me know if you also think the earth is flat. Thanks.

Support the Cause:

I want to take a moment to thank our supporters and yet wonder why the majority of readers are still sitting on their hands. Yeah, it's tough being the only independent media outlet here in Putnam County but someone has to do it. 1000 readers, 28,000+ visits to the website since last year, and 2800 posted articles all "free".

But there's a cadre of annual supporters out there who deserve your praise and thanks and ya know? You should be one of them. Click here.

And now, The News:

Poughkeepsie to get new facility lighting and save almost $150,000 a year

POUGHKEEPSIE – Poughkeepsie will be receiving new lighting at city-owned facilities with energy efficient lamps and fixtures at no cost to the city. It’s expected to save the city about $144,000 a year in electricity costs.

Mayor John Tkazyik said the project will promote energy efficiency and enhance service to taxpayers without any additional tax burdens.

“The city is always looking for new ways to be more efficient, more green and to save people in their pocketbooks,” he said.

The project will be completed with 70 percent of the cost covered through Central Hudson’s Commercial Lighting Program and the remainder being paid for by the city’s Energy Policy Act tax deductions to Central Hudson’s lighting partner and installer, Alliance Energy Solutions.

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Group protests outside Hayworth inauguration

Sussman, left, and about a dozen others
protested Hayworth's position on healthcare

MIDDLETOWN – About a dozen ardent opponents to the repeal of the healthcare law braved the cold weather Sunday to protest freshman Congresswoman Nan Hayworth’s stand.

Orange Democratic Alliance leader Michael Sussman was critical of Hayworth.

“This is a person, who though a medical doctor, doesn’t seem to have a bit of compassion for those who do not have health insurance, which is a critical national priority,” he said. “She has promised to repeal and vote to repeal what we have, so that means that kids who are 22, 23, 24, 25, who are now on their parents’ health insurance, this month for the first time, will be kicked off if she succeeds.”

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What are Green Businesses really about?

By Harry C. Alford

The terms Green Jobs and Green Business have been used millions of times over the last few years. President Obama even created a position of Director of Green Jobs (now inactive). I asked that Green Jobs guru just what is a green job and he never fully explained it to me. Such is the case with this new concept. No one has stopped to adequately define it or declare what is and isn’t. Thus, there is much confusion and an atmosphere for opportunists to claim that their way or method is the correct process in hopes of making quick money or gaining new power. The whole thing is a mess and we need much direction.

However, there is certainty that new ways of harnessing and/or creating energy are coming quick and that efforts to protect or improve our environment are mandatory for a safe future. Therefore, the National Black Chamber of Commerce has decided to take a leadership position in this arena. Our definition of a Green Business is: An enterprise interacting in the "Energy Efficiency Industry" and offers environmental protection or improvement. Alternative energy, renewable energy, clean energy, reduction of carbon emissions, energy reduction, etc. are key examples of what this is all about. Green jobs are simply those occupations that are directly related to the above.

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Tar Sands Oil Some of World's Dirtiest: Report

Findings counter studies that put bitumen's carbon footprint slightly higher than regular crude.

A report by a major global research group representing the world's 10 largest car buying markets has concluded that Canada's bitumen is one of the world's dirtiest oils due to its poor quality, low gravity and the vast amount of natural gas needed to enrich it.

The study for the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT), which looked at the carbon intensity of oil from 3,000 fields now supplying European gasoline markets, also concluded that increasing reliance on dirty fuels will raise greenhouse gas emissions by 45 per cent above that of conventional oils.

The findings of the ICCT, a group that does technical research on the environmental performance of automobiles, contradicts modeling studies funded by the Alberta government and the oil sands industry which claim that bitumen has only a five to 15 per cent higher carbon footprint than conventional crude.

The study calculated the amount of green house gas emissions created by extracting, moving and refining different types of crude oil based on specific characteristics including weight, viscosity, purity, age of the field, leaks and the flaring of waste gases. (About 20 per cent of oil's carbon footprint comes from the production and refining process: the rest comes from cars burning gasoline.)

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From the Field: Bill Buck in Cape Horn

From the NYBG

January 16, 2011, Punta Arenas, Chile

We were originally scheduled to set sail and head out to sea tomorrow, but I’m hoping we’ll oly be delayed by a day. Two more of our group arrived last night, Blanka Shaw from Duke University and Jim Shevock from the California Academy of Sciences. All day there had been conflicting stories in the news about whether or not the protesters (who are protesting against the government for raising fuel prices) would allow a bus to take airline passengers from the airport to the barricade nearest the city. Because of the uncertainty, Juan borrowed a bicycle from a friend and went out to meet the flight. There was a bus, but initially they would not allow Blanka on it because she was too young. Fortunately, Juan was able to get her on the bus, along with Jim, and all their luggage. We had then arranged for a local student who will be on our trip, Ernesto Davis, to be waiting with a car on the other side of the barricade. About 9:30pm they arrived at the hotel, and Juan arrived about a half an hour later by bicycle. Neither Blanka nor Jim have ever been to South America and were excited to be here. At the barricade, as they walked through with their luggage, they even stopped to collect their first moss in Chile!

Needless to say, Blanka and Jim wanted to see the town today, and so Juan and I acted as tour guides, despite the fact that we both still have blistered feet from our walk from the airport a couple of days ago. While walking around the city, we came across a demonstration march around the central square, with its statue of Ferdinand Magellan. What was so interesting is that the protesters were not just young people, as one often sees at demonstrations. Rather, whole families, from grandparents to young children, were marching with flags and banners. It was very exciting to see such multigenerational activism.

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Your Body within 1 Hour of Drinking Soda

Peaceful Parenting

I have to admit, as a former teacher, I used to cringe when I saw the amounts of soda my students could put away in a day. We may as well have installed a soda pop fountain instead of the water fountain. Later, as I worked with parents of infants, I almost choked on a bite of lunch one day to see a baby's bottle filled with Coke. Since that memorable day, I have met others who regularly purchase Pepsi for their tots and think nothing of it when they stock the fridge with Mt. Dew.

One thing I know for sure: soda in no way benefits your baby, your child (or you!)

According to the Nutrition Research Center, this is what happens to your body within 1 hour of drinking a can of soda:

-10 minutes: 10 teaspoons of sugar hit your system, which is 100 percent of your recommended daily intake. You'd normally vomit from such an intake, but the phosphoric acid cuts the flavor.

-20 minutes: Your blood sugar skyrockets. Your liver attempts to maximize insulin production in order to turn high levels of sugar into fat.

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Obama administration ends high-tech border fence - U.S. news - Security

The Obama administration on Friday ended a high-tech southern border fence plan that cost taxpayers nearly $1 billion but did little to improve security. Congress ordered the high-tech fence in 2006 amid a clamor over the porous border, but the project yielded only 53 miles of protection.

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said the lesson of the multimillion-dollar program is there is no "one-size-fits-all" solution for border security.

Napolitano said the department's new technology strategy for securing the border is to use existing, proven technology tailored to the distinct terrain and population density of each region of the nearly 2,000-mile U.S-Mexico border. That would provide faster technology deployment, better coverage and more bang for the buck, she said.

Although it has been well known that the virtual fence project would be dumped, Napolitano officially informed key members of Congress Friday that an "independent, quantitative, science-based review made clear" the fence, known as SBInet, "cannot meet its original objective of providing a single, integrated border security technology solution."

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Md. father uses robocall to get revenge on school officials

Perhaps the idea of revenge came from his sleep deprivation.

Awakened at 4:33 a.m. Wednesday by a ringing phone, Aaron Titus jumped out of bed in a panic. Maybe something terrible had happened, he thought. Even if nothing was wrong, his heart raced with other considerations: His five children, ages 5 and under, including his week-old daughter, were mercifully still asleep, and he wanted to keep it that way.

In a blurry rush, Titus answered the phone halfway into the second ring, listening in disbelief to an automated caller tell him what he already knew: It was a snow day. School would open two hours late. In other words, he and his family could sleep.

But now he couldn't.

"I thought, 'C'mon, people. Really?" he recalls.

Read More

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