Wednesday, March 2, 2011

News That Matters - Wednesday, March 2, 2011

News That Matters

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

“A public union employee, a tea party activist, and a CEO are sitting at a table with a plate of a dozen cookies in the middle of it. The CEO takes 11 of the cookies, turns to the tea partier and says, 'Watch out for that union guy, he wants a piece of your cookie.'”

Good Wednesday Morning,

To Be Or Not To Be?

As you all know, Garrison resident Roger Ailes has not been indicted as expected and news reports point to the entire thing being a rumor started by "some guy in an airport". Okay, fine. I'm sure he's equally hoping I'll be indicted for something and so it's fair. But why has there not been an official word from News Corp or even coverage by FOX News? Are they preparing to Martyr Mr. Ailes, making him bigger than life and continue to blame Bill Clinton and the "mainstream liberal media" (as if there were such a thing!) for all of life's problems? Anyone want to take bets?

Taking the Sheen Off

As most of you know I have been broadcast television free for the last 15 years or so and have missed the latest in popular excitement: the Charlie Sheen saga. Lacking the drama of a helicopter chase or armed thugs firing into crowds, it just hasn't made my radar screen. Could someone give me a quick synopsis of just what's going on?

Energy Conservation. Not.

I've been covering stories on energy conservation for the past ten years and during the past two covering what little we were doing in Putnam County along those lines. There has been a commission, once headed by Vinnie Tamagna where nothing got done other than to play politics, and then by Tony Fusco where a great deal was accomplished, gathering the information the county would need in order to move forward with energy - and money-saving conservation practices and programs.

However, the commission was never allowed to implement ideas nor even to see information allegedly gathered by the county on energy use. We were told the county had an energy audit performed but was forbidden from viewing that information. Why?

The Commission was populated by knowledgeable individuals from all walks of life including construction, alternative energy, citizen activists and actual, real scientists.
But the County Legislature has decided to allow the commission to die a quiet death. Energy conservation and alternatives to fossil fuels are purely socialist endeavors and so do not jibe with modern-day Republican thinking. (see below on welfare to oil companies).

In the meantime, counties all around us are using hundreds of thousands of dollars in Federal grants to save millions in municipal costs while Putnam County, which was already lagging behind, has now moved back to the age of torches and stone implements on the alternative energy front. Just think of how much of that sales tax increase could have been avoided!

If you think this is wrong, and that the commission should be reconstituted with its former members allowed to continue their work, write the County Legislature and tell them so. Or, you can just sit under an Edison bulb and toss your tax dollars out the window.

Shooting Birds. Healing Birds.

If you qualify and write to the State DEC they will send you a bunch of day old pheasant chicks. You raise them until they're 8-weeks old, set them loose, and then a bunch of guys with guns hunt them down and shoot them. There must be logic in there somewhere but I don't see it.
If, on the other hand, you'd like to help animals and birds, (perhaps the ones shot and only injured), the DEC is offering an exam for Wildlife Rehabilitator and Falconry Apprentice. See the article below for more information.

This situation is ideal for those who want to raise, shoot, and repair their own pheasants!

But then, if you weren't shooting them and they lived long enough to breed on their own the state wouldn't have to, heck.... that's just too logical.

Where's Nan?

On Monday, February 28th, Congressional Republicans, true to form, ordered that all recyclable containers in the House cafeteria be switched back to Styrofoam. Styrofoam as you know, takes thousands of years to degrade in landfills and if burned puts out toxic smoke and causes significant pollution and waste problems throughout its entire manufacturing process. (It is made out of oil!) Why switch back? It was a money saving effort on their part. You know, penny wise and pound foolish.
But that's not all! House Republicans (joined by 12 Democrats) also voted to (drum roll please....!) continue subsidies to Big Oil including one which is costing taxpayers $53 BILLION a year by allowing oil companies to drill for free on Federal lands. Federal lands, by the way, are lands that you own outright. $53 BILLION a year!

And how do you think Nan Hayworth voted? Did she vote for the environment? Did she vote to end corporate welfare? Did she vote to recoup $53 BILLION a year from the oil companies? Of course not! 

Where's Nan
on common sense representation of her constituents, on cutting taxes and smaller government? Where? She's not even on the radar.

So, you go to Craigslist and you post an advertisement to sell some old furniture you've got and you're wondering why the only responses you're getting are automated SPAM messages. You go to the ad and find that it's not there, that it's been flagged and removed. Why? There's no saying or telling. It's an anonymous thing. So you post the ad again and the same thing happens. Why is the ad being removed? You check the terms of service and your ad is kosher and you want an explanation but there is none. None at all.
Craigslist, for reasons I cannot understand, allows readers to "flag" any advertisement they don't like and if enough people flag your advert it's pulled. There is no explanation, it's just the way it is.
Tax Returns:

Tax returns are beginning to flow from Washington, DC to America wallets just in time for cleaning up your place for spring and repairing the damage done by this horrific winter. Among those repairs will be repainting interior walls damaged by water from the ice dams that built up on so many roofs. But you also just may want to spruce things up a bit and now is the time.
The sale prices Taconicarts was heralding last week are coming close to their end but there's still a little time left. Write/call them now and secure an estimate from a licensed and insured Putnam County based contractor and News That Matters' largest and most steadfast contributor.

And now The News:

  1. The most anti-environmental piece of legislation in history
  2. Connecticut Governor Wants Coupon Users To Pay Tax On Full Price Of Purchase
  3. Good Neighbors: Cold Spring, Garrison, and Putnam County
  4. Exams for Wildlife Rehabilitator and Falconry Apprentice
  5. Finland’s New Sustainable Underground City
  6. Will Palestinians Revolt Against Their Two Governments?

The most anti-environmental piece of legislation in history

Statement of Rebecca Wodder, President of American Rivers


Amy Kober, 503-708-1145

February 24, 2011

Just after 4:30 a.m. this past Saturday, the U.S. House of Representatives passed arguably the most anti-environmental piece of legislation in history.  H.R. 1, which would fund the government through the rest of federal Fiscal Year 2011, eviscerates programs that protect our drinking water, clean up polluted rivers, and safeguard land and wildlife for future generations.

Not only does the bill slash funding for priorities that are vital to our health and safety, but it also contains dozens of extraneous “riders,” like a provision blocking the Environmental Protection Agency from protecting small streams, from which 117 million Americans get their drinking water.  There’s also the section of the bill that gives corporate polluters a free pass by waiving the Endangered Species Act in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Bay Delta, one of America’s Most Endangered RiversTM.  And there’s the amendment that blows up the Klamath Settlement Agreement, a deal struck between American Rivers and Indian tribes, farmers, fishermen, and conservation groups to solve the decades long crisis on the Klamath River.  And of course there is the rider that prevents the EPA from addressing climate change.

Read More

Connecticut Governor Wants Coupon Users To Pay Tax On Full Price Of Purchase

by Chris Morran

Got a coupon for 30% a Blu-Ray player? If the Connecticut governor gets his way, you'd still be paying sales tax on that player's full price.

Governor Dannel P. Malloy isn't earning many fans with his proposal, one of many measures his government is considering in the face of a huge budget shortfall.

"It's true, it's a new tax. It sucks," the governor's budget chief said. "Every single one of those, however many, 20-odd taxes is a new tax and it sucks. I don't know how to hide it. These are new taxes."

Hartford Courant columnist Dan Haar doesn't just think it sucks. He writes that it "flies in the face of basic commerce. It's not just voodoo economics, it's imaginary economics."

Haar points out that there are just too many instances where the state would be charging consumers taxes on a full price that would never have been paid:

Read More

Good Neighbors: Cold Spring, Garrison, and Putnam County

Before we moved to Cold Spring, my wife and I lived in Brooklyn. (This is actually a joke in Cold Spring, because if you moved here in the last seven years, there’s an 80 percent chance you moved from Brooklyn.) We had a beater car, an old Mercedes diesel that looked as if it had driven through a roadblock to get out of a city under siege—holes in the grill, the hood ornament gone, streaks of grime—and on the weekends we’d cruise two-lane roads, looking at the scenery and stopping for lunch. One day we found Route 9D, which hugs the river south of Beacon and heads through Cold Spring and Garrison. We must have had a moment of confusion as we drove past the gravel parking lots just north of Breakneck Ridge, where a throng of hikers walked along the shoulder to the trailhead to climb the steepest terrain in the Hudson Highlands. The dramatic rocky cliff is pierced by a narrow strip of asphalt, the tunnel itself so short as to give the impression that the ridge above it must be a veritable knife-edge of granite. I remember clearing the tunnel, and hitting the flat stretch of byway that hugs the shore of the Hudson and grants a view of Storm King and Crow’s Nest mountains across the water. It took our breath away.

Read More

Exams for Wildlife Rehabilitator and Falconry Apprentice

The deadline for applying for both the Wildlife Rehabilitator and Falconry Apprentice exams is April 1, 2011. Written exams for both will be held on April 22 from 10 AM until noon at DEC Regional offices across the state. At Region 8's Avon office, exams will be held from 1 PM until 3 PM.

Additional information about both exams and materials for the wildlife rehabilitator exam (described below) are available by contacting the Special License Unit at 518-402-8985.

Wildlife Rehabilitator

An otter in rehabilitation in a cageProspective wildlife rehabilitators are encouraged to gain experience by assisting an already-licensed rehabilitator.

Wildlife rehabilitators provide the selfless service of caring for injured, sick and orphaned wild animals, with the ultimate goal of preparing these animals for their return to the wild.

Applicants should understand that a degree of technical skill and a significant commitment in time, money and effort are required to be a wildlife rehabilitator. Prospective applicants are encouraged to gain experience by serving as an assistant to a licensed wildlife rehabilitator.

A wildlife rehabilitator study guide and examination manual are available for $15 a set, which includes a registration form. Applicants must be at least 16 years of age, submit two character references along with their registration, have no convictions for violations of the state Environmental Conservation Law and be interviewed by a DEC regional wildlife staff person.

Falconry Apprentice

Red-tailed hawks and other birds of prey can become the hunting partner of the skilled falconer.

A red-tailed hawk in                 flight, seen from belowFalconry is the sport of hunting game with trained birds of prey (raptors). Falcons, hawks, eagles and owls have evolved to select certain prey species when hunting for food in the wild. The practice of falconry applies the natural predatory behavior of these birds in taking a wide variety of quarry as part of a cooperative hunting effort with the falconer. Falconry is a demanding sport which requires a significant commitment in time and effort.

Applicants for the Falconry Apprentice License, which costs $20 for two years, must be at least 14 years of age, possess a valid New York small-game hunting license and maintain DEC-approved facilities for housing raptors. Apprentices are limited to possessing one bird, either an American kestrel (a falcon also known as a "sparrow hawk") or a red-tailed hawk. After two years as an apprentice, a falconer may qualify for a general license.

To apply for the Falconry Apprentice exam, contact the Special Licenses Unit by calling the number above, or e-mail them.

Finland’s New Sustainable Underground City

In the beautiful city of Helsinki, Finland, there lies a hidden secret that is buried beneath the city. In order to become more sustainable, the city has decided to go underground to solve some of its big problems in an eco-friendly way.

The City Plan

The bedrock under Finland’s capital city accommodates a vast network of more than 400 tunnels and underground structures. These include everything from utility, water and metro tunnels, to underground shopping malls, swimming pools, parking and storage facilities, leisure complexes and of course Helsinki’s famous Temppeliaukio Church.

With an increasing demand for sustainable development and sound planning of land use within the area’s red and black granite, the city of Helsinki has decided to capitalize on future construction opportunities by formulating a strategic “Underground City Plan”.

This plan is being used to manage the construction of  200 underground structures in forthcoming years, including new metro lines and an road tunnel project, which will connect existing access roads leading into the city.

The first stage of the City’s long-term strategy is to extend the pedestrian surface area in the center of the capital, by effectively removing all commercial supply traffic from the streets.

Read More

Will Palestinians Revolt Against Their Two Governments?

by Khaled Abu Toameh1
March 1, 2011 at 5:00 am

Many people have been wondering when and if the popular uprisings currently sweeping the Arab world will also reach the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

When and if the wave of protests do reach the Palestinian territories, it will be directed against the two governments – Hamas and Fatah. Even though the Palestinians need seriously to start thinking of a better alternative to both parties, for this to happen, the pro-democracy movement in the West Bank and Gaza Strip needs the support of the international community, specifically the Americans and Europeans.

The power struggle between Hamas and Fatah is not one between good guys and bad guys: It is a power struggle between bad guys and bad guys. Hamas is bad; but who said that Fatah is any better? Hamas is in power mainly thanks to Fatah's corruption and bad governance.

Almost every day, Palestinians are arrested by Hamas or Fatah and held without trial. The two governments have also been apprehending journalists and political opponents, who complain about torture and intimidation in the West Bank and Gaza Strip prisons.

Read More

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