Monday, March 28, 2011

News That Matters - Monday, March 28, 2011

News That Matters

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Telling it like it is for 10 years and counting...

Good Monday Morning,

Geraldine Ferraro, the first woman to run for the Executive branch, died the other day at 75 years of age.

Contractor Scams:

The Dutchess County Sheriff's office is warning residents that now spring is upon us home contractor scams are once again taking advantage of the elderly and other unsuspecting residents  who are looking to make repairs to their homes after this past winter.
Here in Putnam County you have an option: you can be scammed by unscrupulous contractors or you can call Jeff Green at Taconicarts (845) 554-5119 and not only not get scammed but help support the local economy as well.

Taconicarts, being News That Matters' most generous supporter, deserves your attention and business. Call/write today for an estimate. You'll be happy you did.
Plug it in.

You can hate the Israeli's all you want, but any good progressive should be looking toward that dot of multi-cultural democracy in the Middle East with some pride and wonder. An Israeli company called, "Better Place" produces electric cars with a range of 185 kilometers and has begun installing thousands of plug-in charging stations that will be in place by the end of 2011. Twenty-Seven Israeli cities will host these stations and 350 Israeli companies are signed on to use their vehicles once production ramps up.

Term Limits:

There's discussion out there about term limits and laws about them. I oppose these things for one simple reason:
You are the ultimate arbiter of who sits in office and who does not. If you are not willing to do the work required to get someone else elected then you get the government you deserve. And if you continue to vote the same guys in over and again and they still fail you, then you can probably get disability for your brain tumor.
Why would anyone support a law that rewards lazy citizenship?

Mike Risinit writes in the Journal News that the majority of Brewster's residents are now of Hispanic origin. But to show reason why Putnam County has the reputation it has of being a bit of a racist, bigoted place all we need do is look at the "comments" after the article like these:

6:48 AM on March 28, 2011

They illegally enter our country ... fly their foreign country's flag yet are allowed to vote ... work for cash as day labors and pay zero income tax ... receive welfare, food stamps and Social Security benefits .. untouchable by the INS and police .. flood our schools with "anchor children" ... and now the Journal News and the politicians portray them as a new part of "our" society and refer to them as undocumented citizens !

Or this:


6:48 AM on March 28, 2011

Brewster can be cleaned up in less than a year. Start with the traitor landlords renting to these illegals and confiscate the houses

Or this:


5:15 AM on March 28, 2011

BREWSTERICO.. THE NEW SLUM OF PUTNAM COUNTY!!! ...and guys, the people in power let it happen and its never going away!!!

Police Budgets - A place to start cutting:

A call to police in Phoenix, Arizona over cock fighting led to a SWAT team and a tank (yes, a tank!) causing thousands of dollars worth of damage to a house and 115 chickens were "euthanized" by Sheriff's deputies. It turns out the local PD had been working with a TV show called "Lawman" hosted by Steven Segal and this was all for his benefit. It seems to me there's a few hundred thousand dollars worth of budget cuts right there. If not to quell massive insurrection, what are police departments doing with tanks? At least the one Putnam County has is safely parked behind a fence to prevent it from escaping.

Cut Once:

In order to generate income for the state which would amount to a one-time cash infusion of $100,000,  Republicans in Minnesota are proposing the logging of their state parks.  Rep Denny McNamara who is Chairman of the Environment, Energy and Natural Resources Policy Finance Committee said, "This just can't be about economics, absolutely not, but we can't not pay attention to economics, either.'' I'm willing to bet if the state just shortened the names of their committees they could save millions in printing costs alone.

Investing in Solar:

Where are US investors putting their money into solar energy projects? In India. The Indian government, desiring to grow their economy without reliance on fossil fuels of which they have precious little, have created an investment environment that is drawing attention from around the world, especially the United States. There's $294 million worth of wrong with that but telling the US Congress is impossible. So long as Texas is part of the United States we'll die under a smog-filled haze before we get smart.

Where's Nan? Corporate Tax Dodging.

Last week I wrote about how Congresswoman Nan Hayworth took the side of corporate America when faced with the question of what she would do about major corporations that paid no income taxes. It seems that companies like GE, who earned $14.2 billion last year with $5.1 billion of that coming from US earnings, paid $0 in taxes. And who did Barack Obama select to head his Council on Jobs and Competitiveness? GE's Chief Executive Jeffrey Immelt. It's better than a fox in a hen house. And you know, now that Congress *and* the President are both in lock-step (or is that goose-step?) with the Corporations it's only going to get worse.

Teaching Fairy Tales - On Your Dime:

According to an article in Mother Jones, during 2010-2011 seven states have proposed legislation that would require the teaching of creationism in school classrooms alongside actual science. Which states? Texas, Kentucky, (Died in Committee) Florida, Tennessee, Oklahoma, (Died in Committee) New Mexico (Died in Committee) and Missouri. With all those deaths, watch for the resurrection.

WESPAC and other, similar, organizations in the United States are still involved in a boycott of all things Israeli to protest that nation's "Apartheid" regime. (With no mention of why 800,000 Jews were exiled from Arab nations which, I'm guessing, doesn't fit the playbill for their anti-Semitism.) Anyway, here's a placid response:

And now, The News:

Dozens Protest Ball's Stance on Millionaire's Tax

by Katherine Pacchiana  For AOL/Patch  March 27, 2011

Parents, teachers and community activists say extending the tax on the state's top earners would save schools from massive budget cuts.

A lively crowd of four dozen parents, teachers and community activists from as far away as Albany showed up Friday afternoon at the Brewster office1 of state Sen. Greg Ball (R, C - Patterson) to protest his stance on the so-called "millionarie's tax."

The millionaire's tax, which places an additional income tax surcharge on New Yorkers with personal earnings over $200,00 year, is set to expire as early as April 1. Gov. Andrew Cuomo wants to let the tax expire and Ball supports the governor's position.

Read More

Watershed group gets $450,000 in funding

POUGHKEEPSIE – The Hudson River Watershed Alliance has been awarded a $200,000 grant over four years from the New England Interstate Water Pollution Control Commission on behalf of the Hudson River Estuary Program. The grant is matched by over $250,000 in funds and volunteer time from partner organizations.

Watershed Alliance Executive Director Barbara Kendall said her organization is aimed at providing watershed management goals.

“We are a citizen action program under the Open Space Institute and what we do is we provide technical assistance, outreach, education and support for watershed management organizations, other environmental groups, local governments, businesses, many different stakeholders in the Hudson River Valley and the focus is on tools for watershed management and protection of watershed resources,” she said.

Read More

DEC Urges Green Solutions For Storm Water Runoff

By Kevin Foley for

Representatives from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) briefed Cold Spring’s Special Board for a Comprehensive Plan/Local Waterfront Revitalization Plan last week on the department’s green infrastructure initiatives and the importance of developing green alternatives to traditional methods of handling storm water runoff, particularly for Hudson River watershed communities.  The meeting took place on March 24 at the Village Hall. Lacking a quorum to conduct other business, the four (of nine) Special Board members present— Chairman Michael Armstrong, Anne Impellizzeri, Marge Early and Karen Doyle—devoted the entire meeting to the DEC presentation and subsequent discussion.

Emily Vail, a watershed outreach specialist in the DEC’s Hudson River Estuary Program, explained that the program seeks to ensure clean water, protect and restore fish and wildlife habitats, provide recreation in and on the water, adapt to climate change, and conserve the scenic landscape.  Created in 1987 and currently a partnership with the New York State Water Resources Institute of Cornell University, the program works with a variety of other state, federal, and local agencies, as well as with other public-private partnerships to achieve its goals, according to Vail. Storm water runoff from communities adjoining the Hudson has an enormous impact on the river’s cleanliness and the condition of wildlife habitats, said Vail.  Water runoff can carry many types of polluting materials and chemicals such as heavy metals, pesticides, oil and grease, road salt, animal and human waste and other assorted trash into the river. She said the introduction of green or more natural solutions to managing storm water is an important component not only in protecting the river but also in aiding local flood prevention, slowing soil erosion and retaining storm water for reuse on lawns and gardens or for other purposes.

Read More

Brewster's Hispanic influences evident on Main Street

By Mike Risinit for the NY Journal News

BREWSTER — Since around the midpoint of the Clinton administration, a visitor to Brewster's Main Street could find a Mexican sweet roll almost as easily as they could get an egg on a roll.

So the fact the village, which started as a railroad depot in the mid-1800s, is now home to a majority of Hispanic residents didn't surprise many who are part of life on that street. U.S. Census figures released last week showed Brewster had 2,390 residents in 2010, up from 2,162 in 2000, and 56 percent of them were of Hispanic.

"It's news, but it's not surprising because you can just stand on Main Street and see there's a majority of Hispanics that traverse Main Street on a daily basis," said Paul Carmona, a lawyer whose storefront office advertises his services in English and Spanish.

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Green Roofs are Changing Architecture and Planning

Green roofs are not new; they have been used for thousands of years because they helped insulate, thrived in the sun instead of rotting, and other than the increased structure, they were cheap as, well, the dirt that they were planted in. Then flat roofs came in and were covered in tar and asphalt, which needed a lot of maintenance. Engineers and architects didn't worry much about them; nobody could see them. Roofs became parking lots for equipment.

Read More

March 27, 2011

The New York Times reported Friday that General Electric’s effective tax rate in 2010 was zero. Despite making $14.2 billion in profits, the company received $3.2 billion in tax benefits. GE is able to drive down its effective tax rate via “an aggressive strategy that mixes fierce lobbying for tax breaks and innovative accounting that enables it to concentrate its profits offshore.”

The fact that hugely profitable companies receive billions in benefits from taxpayers clearly makes the case for ending giveaways in the corporate tax code and cracking down on companies that use tax havens to shelter income overseas. However, Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI), when asked about GE’s zero percent tax rate today on CNBC, replied that the real problem is the U.S. corporate tax rate is too high:

We have to be concerned about what the business environment is in the U.S. here. We can’t afford to have the highest tax rate in the world…Those are individual companies. I think overall, we really can’t be looking at a corporate tax rate much higher than 25 percent because that’s the world average. So we’re sitting up there at 35 percent, that’s just the wrong signal.

Read More

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