Wednesday, January 26, 2011

News That Matters - Wednesday, January 26, 2011

News That Matters

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

Good Wednesday Morning,

It's going to snow again and all the usual reminders apply: check on your neighbors, even those you don't think need checking on. No power means no heat or running water for most, yadda, yadda, yadda... Just do it.

NOAA predicts our area will receive around 6" of heavy, wet snow out of this storm but the 3" that fell yesterday morning was apparently a bonus since the prediction was for 'a light dusting'. Use caution while shoveling tomorrow or better yet, get your lazy-assed kid off the XBox, put a shovel in her hand and put her to work. Yes, in 2011 snow shoveling is a woman's job. They just still get paid less, is all.

Friday is our Things To Do Edition so if your club or organization is having an event you'd like us to run please send me a PLAIN TEXT release with the who, what, where, why, when and how. The, "There's a play at the High School!" release just isn't going to make it. Thanks.

The maples up on Mt. Nimham are starting to blush red meaning that the sap is getting ready to run. Just as soon as the daytime temps rise above 32 and drop below that at night (which might still be two weeks away) it'll be time to start making the syrup. If you have a maple tree on your property I really do suggest you give this a go. It's easy and it's fun and there's nothing like homemade maple syrup. You can get taps and a bucket at almost any decent nursery or independent hardware store.

News That Matters wants to know something about its readers and to that end we're running a short survey at the website. Please take a few minutes to participate as it helps to know who you are so we can make better use of your time.
For example, results so far show that readers work equally in Putnam, Dutchess, Westchester and NYC. Most drive to work and the average commute is about is about 25 minutes for those who work locally and more than an hour for those in NYC.

The average reader is over 40 years old, owns their own home and 90% have health insurance coverage they are paying more than $500 a month for. You also tend to be highly educated and politically moderate.

And only half who have responded so far have supported our efforts. (yeah, click on that!)

Acting on advice from the law department County Executive Paul Eldridge vetoed the Legislature's attempt to set term limits for future County Executives and Legislators. The Law department said the proposition was vague and confusing which is no surprise coming from the deparment who wrote the Tilly Foster contract that we're still paying for.

The Capitol was quite a mixed bag last night for the President's state of the union speech as Congressmen and Senators sat side by side as opposed to fascists on the right, socialists on the left and Bernie Sanders sitting alone on a folding chair out in the hallway, as it had been in the past.
President Obama had a lot to say, speaking for just more than hour with most of that time talking jobs, Jobs, JOBS! But there wasn't much new, or otherwise, that inspired anyone as he did back in Tucson a week ago. He did call for colleges and universities to reopen ROTC centers now that DADT was ended which resulted in sustained applause, but I'd prefer those dollars be spent instead on, you know, education. And considering that we're in the hole for more than a trillion dollars over the illegal wars we're fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan he barely mentioned them at all nor of ways we're going to get our great-great grandchildren to pay for them. Even congressional Republicans are careful never to mention this little thing. You know, a trillion here and a trillion there and the next thing you know opium production skyrockets on your dime - and you don't even get a discount from the dealer.

The President said, “South Korean homes now have greater Internet access than we do. Countries in Europe and Russia invest more in their roads and railways than we do. China is building faster trains and newer airports.” But he didn't mention that nations with single-payer health care systems have citizens who live longer and are more productive at work due to fewer absences and illnesses thus have greater rates of personal savings and much lower rates of personal bankruptcies. We'll have better bridges and roads yet one will be on them for the inability to pay for the gasoline or insurance.

For the record, 62% of Americans do not want Obamacare repealed. Nan Hayworth was wrong.

  • Last Thursday the NYS Public Service Commission approved a rate hike for National Grid, the foreign company that owns NYSEG but you won't see the increase on your bill and next year businesses will see a reduction in the "delivery charge" portion of their bills. If all this is confusing, you're right. This article may explain it. Or not.
  • The Republican controlled State Senate passed the Job Creation and Taxpayer Protection Act of 2011 (S.1891) which promises no new taxes, no new fees, a rollback in small business taxes and also offers tax adjustments of $5000 for creating new jobs and an additional $3000 tax adjustment for hiring someone currently collecting unemployment.
The bill says that it will cost $700,000,000 (seven hundred million dollars) but there's nothing in the bill about how we're going to pay for it all.

Republican leaders say that the bill will pay for itself by taxes generated through new employment and sales but $700 million is a LOT of money to raise and you'd have to generate 480,000 *new* jobs in order to earn that kind of money via state income taxes alone which would represent a reduction of 50% of the current unemployment rate to 4% (or about 6% using income taxes and projected sales.) Your ghost numbers may differ.
  • Phil Mocek knows he isn't required to show ID to fly, and that it's perfectly legal to record video in publicly accessible areas of an airport. A jury agreed with him earlier this week, acquitting him of trumped-up charges brought against him by TSA and police officers who demanded obedience. He didn't need to call any witnesses or testify himself; he was acquitted based on the evidence entered against him.
  • Governor Rick Perry of Texas makes it a sport to rail against Federal "interference" with state affairs but he was happy to use Federal stimulus dollars to balance his state budget. A little embarrassing? I'd say.
  • Raise your hand if you remember Eastern Airlines or Gimbels. Ya' old geezers!
  • Rochus Misch is a 93 year-old man living in Berlin. What makes him notable is that he is the last living person to have seen Adolf Hitler and other top-ranking Nazi officials alive, being one of Hitler's bodyguards. Over the years he's received letters and packages and, of late, emails, and has dutifully responded to all sending autographed pictures of himself in an SS uniform to admirers. But he's had to stop because well, at 93 it's become overwhelming for him.

"I’ve got the solution to all this.  I’ve got the solution to most crime in America.  From this day forward, somebody propose it, liberals should not be allowed to buy guns.  It’s just that simple.  Liberals should have their speech controlled and not be allowed to buy guns.  I mean if we want to get serious about this, if we want to face this head on, we’re gonna have to openly admit, liberals should not be allowed to buy guns, nor should they be allowed to use computer keyboards or typewriters, word processors or e-mails, and they should have their speech controlled.  If we did those three or four things, I can’t tell you what a sane, calm, civil, fun-loving society we would have.  Take guns out of the possession, out of the hands of liberals, take their typewriters and their keyboards away from ‘em, don’t let ‘em anywhere near a gun, and control their speech.  You would wipe out 90% of the crime, 85 to 95% of the hate, and a hundred percent of the lies from society."

Yeah, you guessed it, Rush Limbaugh. He made more sense when he was on drugs.

On Monday I wrote about a law working it's way through Albany that would prohibit smoking on outdoor train platforms. Well, I just want everyone to know that 400,000 Americans die needlessly each year from eating red meat slathered in cheese and onions.

RMcD arrested

No Comment: (though it is rather common for US corporations).

(But if you wonder why the nation is broke, unemployment is up and corporate profits are as well, that chart should give you a hint.)

"They are, of course, Nazis. They have a kind of Nazi attitude. They are the left wing of Nazism."

Roger Ailes on the NPR Executives who fired Juan Williams.

And now, The News:

  1. OSI President Joe Martens to Lead DEC
  2. For Wildlife, a Safe Highway Crossing
  3. GOP Pushback To Independent Redistricting Plan Begins To Take Hold
  4. Glenn Beck's Jewish Problem
  5. Lethal injection drug production ends in the US

OSI President Joe Martens to Lead DEC

Cuomo taps OSI President to Lead the State’s Environmental Interests

NEW YORK, NY — January 4, 2011— The Open Space Institute applauds Governor Andrew Cuomo in nominating OSI President Joe Martens as the new Commissioner of the Department of Environmental Conservation. Martens has been at OSI since 1995, first as Executive Vice President, then as President.

“Joe's lifelong experience of fighting to protect and preserve our environment will bring the highest level of stewardship to our state's beautiful natural resources. Joe knows how to strike the critical balance between defending our natural resources from pollution and destruction while at the same time fostering a climate of economic renewal and growth. His experience and record as a competent and productive manager will breathe life into this vital agency.” Governor Cuomo said.

“It has been a pleasure and a privilege to work for the Open Space Institute” said  Martens. “OSI has an extraordinary board and staff and they have achieved conservation milestone after milestone over the years.  I  look forward to watching the organization grow and prosper under Kim Elliman and John Adams’ leadership.”

Read More

For Wildlife, a Safe Highway Crossing

By Matthew Wald for the NY Times

As I report in Monday’s Times, a nonprofit group has awarded a $40,000 prize to an architecture firm for the design of a bridge intended to carry wild animals across a major interstate in Colorado.

What’s so special about it? The answer, according to officials who set up the competition, is that bridges for animals are different from the ones that highway departments habitually build. Vehicle bridges are narrow and strong, typically able to support two, four or six lanes of heavy trucks, while bridges for wildlife will never have to hold more than a few thousand pounds of elk, deer or bears. But the wildlife bridges need to be inviting to the animals and preferably wider.

Wildlife crossings are an old idea, but most are culverts, or extensions of bridges that carry a highway over a river or stream. An exception is a bridge over the Trans-Canada Highway where it slices through the Banff National Park in Alberta, Canada.

Read More

GOP Pushback To Independent Redistricting Plan Begins To Take Hold

Last July, the clock was ticking down for Senate Republicans to sign New York Uprising’s pledge to support nonpartisan redistricting. With the election looming, the desire to have Ed Koch robo-calling in their districts, labeling them Heroes of Reform, was strong.

But in their minds, there was a problem with the way the pledge was constructed. Initially, it had called for all of New York’s statewide elected representatives to get an appointment to this year’s redistricting commission, mirroring a proposal that had been put forward by Democratic State Sen. Mike Gianaris. But Senate Republicans said this would unfairly tilt the process towards the Democrats, given the make-up of the state’s electorate.

After intense negotiations, a compromise was struck: only legislative leaders would get to appoint representatives. Satisfied, Dean Skelos and the entire conference signed on at the last minute.

But since the Senate Republicans’ surprising return to the majority, their commitment to the Koch pledge has become less clear. When Skelos gave his State of the State speech, his failure to mention nonpartisan redistricting, when even Shelly Silver found a way to reference it, did not go unnoticed by Koch’s group and others.

Read More

Glenn Beck's Jewish Problem

By Jeffrey Goldberg for The Atlantic

It's become clear to me that the Fox commentator Glenn Beck has something of a Jewish problem. Actually, he has something of a modernity problem, and people with modernity problems tend to have problems with Jews, who more or less invented modernity (Einstein, Marx, Freud, Franz Boas, etc.)

This is not, by the way, a post about Beck's singular obsession with George Soros (read Michelle Goldberg -- not a relative, except in an all-Jews-are-conspiring-against-Glenn-Beck sort of way -- on this subject). This is a post about Beck's recent naming of nine people -- eight of them Jews -- as enemies of America and humanity. He calls these people prime contributors to the -- wait for it -- "era of the big lie." The eight Jews are Sigmund Freud; Edward Bernays, the founder of public relations, and a nephew of Freud's (which Beck discloses as if this had previously been a secret); Soros, of course; Cass Sunstein, now of the White House; the former labor leader Andy Stern; Walter Lippman, who is no longer here to defend himself; Frances Fox Piven, who Beck believes is "sowing the seeds" of revolution; and, of all people, Edward Rendell.

Read More

Lethal injection drug production ends in the US

By Chrs McGreal for the UK Guardian

Texas death chamber Lethal injections are administered in 'death chambers' like this one in a prison in Huntsville, Texas. Photograph: Paul Buck/EPA

US states are facing a new obstacle to enforcing the death penalty after the sole American manufacturer of a drug used in lethal injections announced it was ending production.

Some states have already been forced to seek alternative supplies of sodium thiopental abroad, including illicitly from British companies, in order to carry out executions because of a shortage of the anaesthetic after production was stalled by the lack of a key ingredient.

Now the US manufacturer, Hospira, says that it will stop production entirely after a bid to start making sodium thiopental in Italy stalled when the Rome government said it would only license manufacture if the drug was not used in executions.

Read More

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