Wednesday, April 27, 2011

News That Matters - Wednesday, April 27, 2011

News That Matters

News That Matters
Brought to you (Almost Daily) by PlanPutnam.Org

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

Good Wednesday Morning,

For those of you who think summer is finally here due to the weather yesterday and today, keep in mind that last year we had a hard frost on May 20th of last year. It's not over till it's over!

News That Matters reader LLE spotted a bobcat on a stone wall on Miller Hill Road in the Free State yesterday.

Former NYC Mayor Ed Koch who once backed The Senator Who Shall Not Be Named is now having second thoughts after The Senator backed off a promise for an independent redistricting commission. He's shocked! Shocked, I tell you! But he should have known better.

Putnam County received another "F" rating from the American Lung Association for ozone pollutants. However, thanks to socialist laws like the Clean Air Act our air quality has been improving and our 18 ozone alert days in 2011 are down from 35 in 1996.

If you're not one of the hundreds who have written to the US District Court lauding former senator Vincent Leibell's saintly performance over the years, you still can. Or, you may opt to write to express your dismay over his upcoming preferential treatment. Here's the address to write to:
Honorable Warren W. Eginton
United States District Judge
United States District Court
300 Quarropas Street
White Plains, New York 10601

Re: United States of America v.
      Vincent L. Leibell, III
      10-cr-1198-1 (WWE)

Oh my god! The gas prices! Someone should do something!

This article first appeared at the PlanPutnam/News That Matters website.

Don't worry about the speculators who understand about Peak Oil. Don't fret over Exxon's record-breaking multi-billion dollar quarterly profits. If capitalism is your thing then quit bitching. Quit messing with tax laws and price controls and waste-of-time investigations and support capitalism as I'm sure all my good Republican readers do - and should!

So you want to follow the Congressional mantra of Drill! Baby! Drill! and maybe you even believe the lie that we're not producing enough energy, that putting more holes in the ground and sucking out more oil will lower prices. I can't believe anyone would fall for that ruse - though you do because it's what you want to hear. Why? Because here's the deal: we're not only running out of fossil fuels but we keep demanding more and we adamantly refuse to conserve and use alternatives. 

Let me state that gospel truth again: We keep demanding more and we adamantly refuse to conserve and use alternatives. 

And if you think gasoline is expensive here, fret not! For we're paying less than any other industrialized nation and their economies are humming along quite nicely, thank you.

[April 2011 prices]
Canada pays around $5.65 a gallon. France, $8.29. Turkey, $9.96. Japan, $6.62. Australia, $5.41. Brazil, $5.98. Portugal, $7.46. Finland and Germany, $8.71 Italy, $8.29. Netherlands, $9.84. England, $8.29

When you hear a politician claim that high energy costs will hurt the economy kick him in the ass and tell him to stop lying to you. So quit yer bitching and embrace capitalism, fossil fuels and shun alternatives and refuse conservation!

Travel alone to work and play. Take short unnecessary trips. Drive your kid back and forth to the end of the street for the school bus. Run your engine for 20 minutes on winter mornings. Drive when mass transit is easily available. Keep your thermostat turned up high. Maintain the highest possible temperature in your water heater. Leave those leaky windows and doors for someone else to deal with.

Do your part for capitalism: Make Exxon wealthier, give the politicians something to pull your leg about and keep the Arabs rolling in American cash! Consume, Consume! CONSUME!

The previous article was made possible by the American Oil Companies and the National Republican Party.

County Executive Eldridge and Unions:

From the Personnel Committee Meeting minutes of Tuesday, April 12th, 2011: (Emphasis, mine)
Item #5 – Discussion/Proposed Management Union
County Executive Eldridge stated that Nationally Unions are losing memberships. He stated as a result the existing Unions are looking for any groupings of employees that are not organized in a Union to be organized, whether it is in their field of expertise or not. He stated that in the mid 70s most Counties around Putnam County were experiencing employee strikes. He stated that he, as Personnel Director, decided the best way to protect the County was to get as many employees outside of the bargaining unit as possible. He stated that he had several petitions in front of the Public Employment Relations Board to have titles excluded from Union coverage. He stated that he was very successful. He stated that the end result is that if you look at the number of the employees Putnam County has outside of the bargaining unit, proportionately with the other Counties that are in the Hudson Valley, Putnam County has more. Because of this history there are quite a few Management Employee Titles that would be in the Union in other Counties. So when you also consider the history of lower pay and taking time away “time” with a promise the County could not follow through with, this is a very ripe situation for a Union to come in and encourage people to join the Union. The Union that has approached the Putnam Counties Employees is the New York State United Teachers (NYSRP). By the end of 2011 a determination of which positions will be accepted into this new union will be made.
We need to find out if MaryEllen O'Dell is as anti-union as caretaker CE Eldridge. If she is, it's too bad as there is currently no alternative and her coronation will go on as planned.

From the Huffington Post:

New York is a relatively wealthy state. It has the fifth-largest percentage of households earning $200,000 or more a year and has the 25th fewest people living below the poverty line. Regardless, the state has the most severe income inequality among all the states. According to the Fiscal Policy Institute, the top 1% of earners in New York State make about 35% of the state's total income. This is up from 17% in 1990. The bottom 50% of earners, in comparison, make just 9.1% of total income, down from 13.9% in 1990. Inequality is even worse in New York City. According to the FPI report, "if New York City were a nation, it would rank 15th worst among 134 countries with respect to income concentration, between Chile and Honduras. Wall Street, with its stratospheric profits and bonuses, sits within 15 miles of the Bronx," one of the nation's poorest counties.

Read the rest here.

I Kid You Not

In a speech to the Ripon Society, Congresswoman Nan Hayworth said that the British system of national health care will not work here, "because the British are actually willing to sit patiently in line."

Her implication, I assume, means that we should pay whatever it takes to continue giving Americans instant gratification and that seems to be the basis for the Republican party's take on all things American. Are we really that self-centered and ego-centric as a nation? If so, that explains why people keep wanting to blow us up.

With just that single statement she's made it clear that her party keeps telling Americans they need not make any sacrifices for anything: snap your fingers and it shall be yours. Democrats tell Americans that sacrifices have to be made, snap your fingers and you'll have to wait. So the nation votes for the pachyderms and when they can't deliver instantaneously, they just blame Democrats!

Drill here. Now! Build here. Now! You should never have to wait for anything. You're an American and you're entitled to anything and everything you want when you want it and how you want it.

We really should scratch "e pluribus unum" off the seal and replace it with, "Have It Your Way", assuming Burger King won't mind.

By the way, I can't help reading "Ripon Society" as "the rip on society". Can you? Is it possible that's an intentional pun on their part?

Here we go again. Again. Maybe.,

One thousand activists from around the world are about to embark on 12 vessels bound for Gaza in an attempt to break the Egyptian/Israeli blockade on their former territory. They say they're going to be "peaceful" but so too did those on the Mavi Mamara and we know how that turned out.

American Jane Hirschman, who is organizing her part of this thing said that Israeli concerns "are absurd and would be laughable if it were not for the fact that last year, the Israeli military boarded a Turkish boat with aid for Gaza and killed nine unarmed civilians, including an American." Except that they were not unarmed, a little tidbit the activists themselves are not reminding anyone about and would prefer we forget.

The border crossing between Egypt and Gaza has been shut tight for more than a week and I've yet to hear from any pro-Palestinian organization saying anything about it. But I'll bet if Egyptian soldiers wore yarmulkes my email box would have overflowed with indignation.

And now, The News:

Experts Tout Ways to Replace Electricity From Indian Point

By Greg Clary for the NYJN

GARRISON — Three renewable-energy experts on Monday laid out ways to replace the electricity that Indian Point produces, but pointed out that doing so will take major changes in the way energy is produced and used."

Over time, we expect energy use to go up," said Karl Michael, an energy analyst for the New York State Research and Development Authority who uses computer models to predict demand. "It's just been a fact of life we've been wrestling with anytime we try to plan. Using energy efficiently is a wonderful thing, but they keep inventing more big-screen TVs."

Read More

Israel Corp. unit reports biomass fuel breakthrough

Amiram Barkat and Yael Gruntman

Primus Green Energy has an agreement with Lockheed Martin to develop bio-jet fuel for the US Defense Department.

Primus Green Energy Ltd., a US subsidiary of Israel Corporation's (TASE: ILCO) renewable energy unit IC Green Energy Ltd., reports that it has developed a process to convert agricultural biomass into standard automotive fuels at a competitive production cost compared with the price of oil. Primus GE uses agricultural residues that do not compete with food crops.

The final product is 93 octane gasoline, with the energy capabilities and characteristics of regular gasoline for vehicles and industry. There is no need for engine customization and can use existing fuel distribution networks. Primus GE says that its biofuel emits 80% less pollution than gasoline refined from oil.

Read More

An Anti-War Candidate Announces for President

by: Robert Naiman, Truthout

Last week, former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson announced his candidacy for president of the United States.

This was a historic event, because 1) Johnson wants to end the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and 2) Johnson is a Republican. He also wants to slash the military budget.

Johnson is also opposed to the "war on drugs," which he has called "an expensive bust." Indeed, as The Hill noted:

Last year, he teamed up with singer Melissa Etheridge and actor Danny Glover for a Hollywood rally in favor of Proposition 19 - an initiative that would have legalized marijuana in California.

This suggests that Johnson can play well with others around issues of common concern.

It is tremendously important that there be at least one Republican candidate for president who is against the war in Afghanistan.

Read More

large majorities favor higher taxes for the rich and no cuts to Medicare

The debate to balance the federal budget and reduce the nation's debt has raged in recent weeks, with Democrats and Republicans arguing about spending, taxes and entitlements such as Medicare.

Paul Krugman wrote recently in his New York Times column that a knock-down, drag-out fight may be inevitable, given that the two parties have such different visions for the country.

"So when pundits call on the parties to sit down together and talk, the obvious question is, what are they supposed to talk about? Where’s the common ground?" Krugman wrote.

Read More

State Deptepartment Proposes Impossible-To-Answer Questions for Passport Applications

Not really sure what to make of this, other than that it’s disturbing:

The U.S. Department of State is proposing a new Biographical Questionnaire for some passport applicants: The proposed new  Form DS-5513 asks for all addresses since birth; lifetime employment history including employers’ and supervisors names, addresses, and telephone numbers; personal details of all siblings; mother’s address one year prior to your birth; any “religious ceremony” around the time of birth; and a variety of other information.  According to the proposed form, “failure to provide the information requested may result in … the denial of your U.S. passport application.”

The State Department estimated that the average respondent would be able to compile all this information in just 45 minutes, which is obviously absurd given the amount of research that is likely to be required to even attempt to complete the form.

Read More

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