Wednesday, January 12, 2011

News That Matters - Wednesday, January 12, 2011

News That Matters

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

"I'm struck by how little we have learned from the political traumas of the 90s. The anti-Clinton craziness had nothing to do with the Clintons; it had to do, now as then, with fear of progressive governance. Now as then, outrage will be fabricated at the slightest provocation and scandals will be doggedly pursued even after they are factually refuted." - Former Clinton attack dog, David Brooks

Good Wednesday Morning,

Just be happy you don't live in Glasgow, Montana. It's -19ºF and snowing and there's a wind chill advisory for temps reaching -35ºF. The forecast high for today is 2ºF and the low tonight is -12ºF. On Saturday they're looking for a high of -2ºF and a low of -17ºF. Feeling better now? I thought so.

By the time you get this the storm will be over still, standard rules apply: check on your neighbors, even those you think are going to be fine. No power for most means no heat. Can't get out the door means no one can get in. Shovel out a neighbor.

Photo by Jeff Green

The Putnam County Free Flu Shot clinic advertised in last Friday's News That Matters which was schedule for today has been postponed to next Tuesday, January 18 from 2:30PM - 6:30PM No cost flu shots for residents of Putnam County at the Putnam County Health Department at 1 Geneva Road in Brewster. (You know, where the DMV is.) No appointment is necessary though you will have to fill out a consent form which you can get here.

The Senator who shall not be named has been appointed to Vinnie Leibell's old committee overseeing Homeland Security for New York State.

Sales tax revenues were higher this past quarter than they were the year before. According to the NYJN, $760,000 more. Watch for CE Eldridge and the County Legislature to make an even stronger pitch to continue the 1/4% sales tax surcharge for Putnam County residents rather than cutting the budget and doing what Republicans promised they would do: cut taxes and have smaller government. That all meant something somewhere but apparently we here in Putnam County are somehow exempt.

Camarda Park

"If any improprieties have occurred, those responsible should be held accountable. We may not be able to stop the wrongs in Washington, but in a small town like Carmel, together we can rid our community of those who perpetually waste our tax dollars and degrade our community."
- Carmel Attorney Scott Friedman

What is in Carmel and cost $2 million according to the Town Board but really cost $2.5 million but that no one wants you to know about? Click here to find out, here for more and here for even more.

Journal News reporter Rob Ryser reported the other day that police charged a man with driving while intoxicated after they found him sleeping in his car on Route 6 in Cortlandt.I have a problem with this, as I'm sure you'd expect. The man was smart enough to know he should not be driving and so took himself out of harm's way.
We hear of another case a few years ago where a guy came out of a bar very late and very drunk, got into his car in the parking lot, ran the engine and the heat, put the seat back and went to sleep. He was also charged with DWI.

The law makes the assumption that you intend to drive when, in fact, both these men did the right thing and did not drive. We really do have to start changing the laws that assume you're guilty regardless of your actions... and we have a lot of them.

From what's left of the NYS DEC:

The New York State Environmental Conservation Police values the watchful eyes and ears of citizens concerned with our environment. Use this form to report suspected violations of New York State environmental conservation laws. Submitted forms are immediately forwarded 24/7/365 to DEC dispatchers. If an immediate response is needed, file your complaint by phone by calling the DEC Turn in Poachers and Polluters (TIPP) hotline at 1-800-TIPP-DEC (1-800-847-7332). Caution: never put yourself at risk to get any of the information. Gather whatever information you can without trespassing or exposing yourself to harmful materials or situations.

You can find the report form here:

Congresswoman Marcha Blackburn (R-TN7) has introduced a bill in Congress (HR97) that would remove greenhouse gases from under the purview of the EPA, thus making them unregulated.

The tax "Reform" bill that Congress passed and the President signed into law last December was a real boon to those earning $1,000,000 a year and more, less so for you and me. In fact, if you were depending upon a government subsidy to help you make your home more energy efficient under the TIAP program, you'd best ask one of those millionaires for a little of his money as most energy improvements now pay less.

When is an oil spill not an oil spill?

British Petroleum, the company with virtual side-by-side gas stations in the Hamlet of Carmel had another OOPS! the other day, this one up in Alaska when an oil pipeline sprung a leak. The leak has shut down the main pipeline which runs 12% of US domestic production. Media reports say it should be back in operation within a week.
The Wall Street Journal had this headline:
"BP to Reduce Oil Production"
Nothing about an oil leak, just that they were reducing oil production. You had to read down into the story before you found out why.
"BP to Reduce Oil Production After Pipeline Leak Discovered"
Would have been a more appropriate and honest headline.

Sometimes you have to point fingers

Watching national Republicans and fans of FOXNews distance themselves from Jared Lee Loughner and his shoot 'em up take on their brand of politics is absolutely one of the most amusing escapades this nation has seen in a very long time. It's like the Keystone Kops fighting an invasion of zombies.

And the media, along with many of my friends, are insistent that we do not point fingers. That Jared Lee Loughner was a sick kid with mental problems and only he - alone - is responsible.

But that's just the lie we tell ourselves because we do not want to own up to the fact that the way we do politics in this nation was bound to lead to acts of violence as it has over the past two years. That the deranged, paranoid ramblings of Limbaugh and Hannity and Beck and Savage and O'Reilly and the rest of the miscreants out there whose sole intent is the failure of the Obama administration would one day engage someone enough to take physical action. And people have, time and again. Yet we forget.

This isn't the first time someone has taken a shot at a politician or agency because of what they're hearing on right-wing radio and TV.
Do we forget when Greg Ball said in the Journal News last spring:
"The end game is [in Carmel] April 15th. So lock and load and bring the pitchforks."
How quickly we forget the physical harassment, the bomb threats, the intentional disruption of public meetings, the hate mail and aggressive verbal assaults against Congressmen and women who were in favor of Obama's health care reform bills? Even to those who did nothing more than attempt to hold public meetings in their districts.

After the health care vote, Congresswoman Louise Slaughter received a phone message threatening sniper attacks. A day or so later Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords had her office vandalized. Bart Stupak, a congressman from Michigan received threatening phone calls. James E. Clyburn of South Carolina received an anonymous picture showing a noose.

What of the physical pushing and shoving, the barring of doors and the near riot that Republican operatives caused in Florida during a count of the 2000 Presidential election tallies? Oh? You forgot? Consider this a reminder. The situation turned violent when NY Congressman John Sweeney told his people to "shut it down" and it took Sheriffs two-hours to regain control. The end result was that the recount was halted and the election stolen.

Jesse Michael Arispe of Colorado was recently indicted for sending a letter last summer, "containing a threat to the life of, and to inflict bodily harm on, the President of the United States"

Nevada US Senate candidate Sharon Angle said that if she lost the election (which she did) that "Second Amendment remedies" were in the offing.

Republican Congresswoman Michele Bachmann encouraged her constituents to be "armed and dangerous".

Also in Colorado, John Troy Davis faces an assault charge for threatening to set fire to A US Senator's office and shoot his staff.

And then there's Byron Williams. Here's a guy that packed his car with a 9mm handgun, a shotgun and a .308 caliber rifle with armor piercing bullets, donned body armor and set off on his mission of, "killing people of importance at the Tides Foundation and the ACLU," It was only after police stopped him for driving erratically, and after was shot and capture after wounding two police officers that his attack against the Tides Foundation and the ACLU was thwarted.
But from where did he get the notion of doing such a thing? From Glenn Beck and his constant pounding of the Foundation that ran for days on his show. In fact, Beck derided the Tides Foundation more than 35 times on separate shows. The Washington Post said, "Other than two mentions of Tides on the show of Beck's Fox colleague Sean Hannity, Media Matters said it was unable to find any other mention of Tides on any news broadcast by any network over that same period. Beck declined comment."
Did we forget that Glenn Beck said,
"Hang on, let me just tell you what I'm thinking. I'm thinking about killing Michael Moore, and I'm wondering if I could kill him myself, or if I would need to hire somebody to do it. No, I think I could. I think he could be looking me in the eye, you know, and I could just be choking the life out -- is this wrong? I stopped wearing my What Would Jesus Do, and I've lost all sense of right and wrong now. I used to be able to say, "Yeah, I'd kill Michael Moore," and then I'd see the little band: What Would Jesus Do? And then I'd realize, "Oh, you wouldn't kill Michael Moore. Or at least you wouldn't choke him to death." And you know, well, I'm not sure."
And here's another gem from the mouth of someone who is not to blame when he referred to the Tea Party:
What is it that these evolutionaries [sic] want? You'd pick up a gun? You ever thought of that? These people have. Because possibly, maybe the question should be asked: Maybe they're tired of evolution, and they are waiting for revolution.
Well, last weekend someone fired the first shot. I hope he's happy.
Each time someone does cross the line into violence or assault the right wingers are all over themselves saying the guy was a kook or crazy or insane or mentally unbalanced. The Left meekly says not to point fingers and hopes no one shoots at them but they end up being the target anyway.

Garrison's Roger Ailes said the other day, "I told all of our guys, shut up, tone it down, make your argument intellectually.  You don't have to do it with bombast. I hope the other side does that."

The "other side"? There's another side? There is, only if we continue with the fallacy that two-years of hate speech is not to blame. But if we can agree that it *is* then we're obligated to name the names of those who are on the airwaves who speak of violence and encourage hate and intolerance and I can tell you, it's not coming from "Car Talk".

Well, I've got really novel idea: the only link between all these people and their physical attacks and threats against the rest of us are the terrorists on right-wing radio and FOX.
  • How about those guys stop encouraging their so-called kooks and crazies and insane and the mentally unbalanced to acts of violence, rage and hate?
That would be novel, eh?

Now how about we do something on our own?
  • How about we stop doing our business at places that give public air to those voices?
  • How about we decide that the next time someone begins to speak like Limbaugh's ventriloquist dummy that we'll just get up and walk away, denying them our ears?
  • How about the next time we hear a politician make an outrageous claim we call them on it? In public.
  • For you on the Right, You know FOX and their ilk are saying the things you *want* to hear. How about making them tell you the truth?
  • For you on the Left. Grow a pair of cajones and defend yourselves will ya? The "kum bah ya" method of dealing with this has been proven a massive failure all throughout history and it's not going to work now.
  • For the rest of us, how about we start demanding honesty and integrity from the vocal terrorists that control our airwaves and if not, boycott them and their sponsors.
  • How about it?

“The kind of rhetoric that flows from people like Rush Limbaugh, in my judgment he is irresponsible, uses partial information, sometimes wrong information. He attacks people, angers them against government, angers them against elected officials and that kind of behavior in my opinion is not without consequences.”

- Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik

And now, The News:

Putnam Agricultural District gets honey and syrup makers

By Michael Risinit

The goats at 3 Chicks Sugar Shack/Lanza Farm in Philipstown are just goats for now. But Joni Lanza, who runs the operation with her husband, Louis Lanza, said she has visions of cheesemaking in the future.

For now, the couple, along with their two children and a third on the way, concentrate on making maple syrup. They collect sap each late winter from 1,000 taps jutting from about 38 acres of sugar maple trees. It's an undertaking that made them among the farms recently added to the Putnam County Agricultural District by the county Legislature.

"There are a lot of maple trees in Putnam County. I think it's something that can be done more," Joni Lanza said.

She and her husband, a chef, will begin their third sugaring season this winter. In addition to selling the syrup and maple-flavored cupcakes (made with eggs from the farm's chickens) at the Cold Spring Farmers Market, the syrup and syrup products also are used in her husband's New York City restaurants.

Read More

Even in hard times, congested states spend millions to preserve farmland, protect food supply

HAMDEN, Conn. (AP) — Despite tough financial times following the worst recession in decades, some states continue to spend millions of dollars to preserve American farmland and stem its rapid loss to development and suburban sprawl.

Advocates say the preservation efforts are needed to ensure food is available locally if the national distribution system is ever disrupted. They also say it helps maintain a way of life important to many Americans.

Twenty-five states have farmland preservation programs, and nearly half of them are in the densely populated Northeast, where the loss of fields to housing developments and shopping malls has been rapid and pressing. After losing 21 percent of its farmland in less than two decades, Connecticut increased spending on preservation efforts.

Former Gov. M. Jodi Rell said she made the program a priority despite looming budget deficits and demands to cut spending.

"It's difficult sometimes when there are so many pressing needs," she said just days before leaving office on Jan. 5. "It's our culture, our way of life, our farms."

Read More

God Punishes Birds for Gays

January 10, 2011

You know those terrifying mass animal die-offs plaguing the world? Well, it turns out the critters aren’t dying off because of cold water, flooding, high-altitude hail/lightning, pollution, or any other explanation endorsed by science. Nope, those birds fell from the sky because God hates gays. The Almighty’s pretty steamed about us humans repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell so He’s venting his Holy rage on defenseless wildlife. Why? See, that’s the sort of questioning that angers God in the first place. How about a new rule: Don’t Ask.

From her righteousness, Cindy Jacobs:
“According to biblical principles, marriage is between a man and a woman , so we have to say “what happens when a nation makes a decision that’s against God’s principles?” Well, often what happens is that nature itself will begin to talk to us – for instance, violent storms, flooding. And you know there are actually some patterns that you can see where a nation will make a decision that is contrary to the principles of God and after that there is some kind of answer that God gives, being the God of creation, the God who created nature, but we don’t always understand what He’s saying.

Read More

Fox News: The No. 1 Name in Murder Fantasies

by: Steve Rendall  |  FAIR | News Analysis

This is a re-post of a November 10, 2010 piece from Fairness and Accuracy In Reporting (FAIR) which is particularly relevant to the conversation about the shooting spree in Arizona on Saturday.

Bill O'Reilly's recent "joke" about decapitating Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank was only the latest example of a demented Fox News culture that permits on-air personalities to fantasize about assassination and other forms of violence against those deemed enemies of the station, its personalities or their worldview.

During the cable channel's 2008 election coverage, in what she later called an attempt at humor, Fox News contributor Liz Trotta linked Osama bin Laden to Barack Obama as people who both should be assassinated:

"And now we have what some are reading as a suggestion that somebody knock off Osama, uh Obama. Well, both, if we could."

Read More

David Brock On Fox News And "The Coming Obama Wars"

In October, after Media Matters reported that Glenn Beck's rhetoric had inspired would-be Tides Foundation assassin Byron Williams, founder David Brock called on Sarah Palin to "pull this country back from the precipice of another Oklahoma City" and repudiate the Fox host:

This morning in The Daily Beast, Media Matters founder David Brock discusses how in the wake of Saturday's attack in Arizona, calls to "change the tone" should be directed at Palin and her Fox News colleagues:

The right-wing's lead investigator, Congressman Darrell Issa, though ethically challenged himself (before amassing his fortune selling car alarms, he was arrested for auto theft, on top of multiple arrests on weapons charges and an investigation of arson), is no conspiracy-mongering Dan Burton nor dim Jesse Helms protégé Lauch Faircloth, having already proven himself an adept ethics campaigner as he led and financed the recall effort of California Gov. Gray Davis with himself in mind as the replacement. Far from a maverick, on Day One Issa had secured the full-throated support of his leadership and caucus--he describes John Boehner as a "mentor"--that took Keystone Kops investigators in the 90s years to win, overcoming Newt Gingrich's initial disinterest in scandal politics. 

Read More

Violent Rhetoric and Media False Balance

Yesterday in the New York Times Paul Krugman (1/10/11) suggests that we not pretend that "both sides" are responsible for toxic political rhetoric:

Where's that toxic rhetoric coming from? Let's not make a false pretense of balance: It's coming, overwhelmingly, from the right. It's hard to imagine a Democratic member of Congress urging constituents to be "armed and dangerous" without being ostracized; but Rep. Michele Bachmann, who did just that, is a rising star in the GOP.

...Listen to Rachel Maddow or Keith Olbermann, and you'll hear a lot of caustic remarks and mockery aimed at Republicans. But you won't hear jokes about shooting government officials or beheading a journalist at the Washington Post. Listen to Glenn Beck or Bill O'Reilly, and you will.

Unfortunately, that false balance is not just coming from the right, but appears all across the media. On Meet the Press (1/9/11), NBC's David Gregory rounded up examples of demonizing rhetoric:

Read More

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