Monday, May 16, 2011

News That Matters - Monday, May 16, 2011

News That Matters

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

“If they’re Republican, they will not be abandoned by the party for supporting this. On the contrary, I think they will find that there is a whole new world of people who will support them on an ongoing basis if they support this cause.”
-- Republican donor and financier Daniel Loeb on Marriage Equality in New York State

Good Monday Morning,

When they finally come to get me and the DA is done doing his DA thing and the judge is done doing the judge thing I'm willing to bet I spend more time in prison than Mr. Leibell and Mr. Williams combined.

US Attorney Preet Bharara said, "Today's sentencing of (Leibell) ends a sad chapter in the history of Putnam County. It should serve as a sobering reminder to all public officials throughout New York state that no one is above the law," but it won't and we all know that. The vultures are picking over the bones and the wolves are fighting for the Alpha spot. We forget history and forgive violations of public trust too quickly for anything to ever change.

Burnwell Propane of Peekskill, NY, has just tried to charge me $8.60 a gallon for propane and when I opened the bill I wasn't even shocked. I just looked at the number and laughed, chalking it up to bad acid or something.... in Burnwell's water cooler. My landlord likes Burnwell and so won't hear of changing companies so I'm stuck with the bastards. They use several thousand gallons of propane a year so they get the lower price. I, on the other hand, might use 100...

The median price for propane in the Hudson Valley is $3.20 per gallon (last year at this time it was $2.84). But the woman over at Burnwell laughs this off saying the price put out by NYSERDA is for bulk delivery, not for those of us with smaller tanks who use it only for cooking and hot water. We pay a higher price, she says, because of the time and effort it takes to make small deliveries. Okay, then why is there a $10.00 delivery charge added to the bill?

Let's look at some numbers for comparison:

Price per Gallon

Do you see a problem? Do you see price gouging?

Spencer Sinkov Suicide Verdict Against Putnam County Upheld.

Sinkov v. AmeriCor, 10-309

Americor, the company who provided health care services to the county jail had appealed a jury verdict that awarded damages to Mr. Sinkov's family. To wit:
The case is Sinkov v. Americor, Inc., a summary order decided on April 13. Spencer entered the County Jail as a suicide risk. An officer found Spencer hanging from the cell bars by his sweatshirt. A State Corrections Commission report stated that Spencer "had tied the shirt at the top of the front cell bars and sat down." The jury found that he struggled after hanging himself and was alive for a period of time as he tried to alleviate the pressure from the hanging by placing his foot on the bed to raise himself up." This maneuver did not work; Spencer died. Finding that Americor was deliberately indifferent to knowledge that Spencer was a suicide risk, the jury awarded his family $750,000 in damages; as one of the defendants, Americor had to pay $264,000 in damages.
Read more here. The Judgment is here.

Reminder - Panel Discussion on Term Limits:

This coming Thursday evening the League of Women Voters will be hosting a forum at 7PM at the County Courthouse on term limits and term limit laws. Invited panelists will be:
Featured speakers are:
          Putnam County Executive, Paul Eldredge
          History Teacher, David Gagliardi

Panelists in Favor of Term Limits:
          State Assemblyman (99th)- Steve Katz
          Former Putnam County Legislator - Tony Fusco
          Member of the Putnam Charter Review Commission - Joyce Mitchell

Panelists Opposed to Term Limits
          Putnam County Legislator (7th) - Dan Birmingham
          Putnam County Legislator (2nd) - Sam Oliverio
          Businessman & Publisher - Jeff Green
The moderator will be Bruce Apar.

Strange, But True: Republicans are joining the push for Marriage Equality.

Among New York State's wealthiest donors to the Republican Party and right-wing programs, Paul Singer, a hedge fund manager and financiers Steven Cohen and Clifford Asness have been donating to a coalition of groups working for Marriage Equality in New York State. [See quote at the top of this page.] Even Michael Bloomberg has gotten in on the fun sending the Human Rights Campaign $5000 last year to help move the cause.

And while we know the NYS Conservative Party's reach into the 40SD is not all that far nor strong, we still do not know if The Senator Who Shall Not Be Named will vote for equal rights. But with a growing list of influential donors aligning on the right side (that's an inadvertent pun!) of this issue, it remains to be seen if the Senator's vote will fall on the side of politics or money or just a clean conscience.

You can help him make the right decision by calling his office today at 845 279-3773 and urging him to support Marriage Equality. After all, if the financial movers and shakers of the political right are lining up in favor, why shouldn't the Senator?

Stranger But Truer:

NY State Senate Republicans are seeking language that would protect Christian organizations, charities and other religious institutions who refuse to recognize same-sex couples.

What I would like to see is legislation that protects me from Christians who refuse to recognize same-sex couples.

The Pot Calling the Nakba Black

On Nakba (Catastrophe) Day yesterday, thousands of Syrians broke through border barriers in the Golan Heights and were forced back by Israeli guards killing one invader and injuring others. The Syrian response was to condemn Israel's "criminal acts" as if the ongoing slaughter, imprisonment and torture of Syrians by the Syrian government is perfectly acceptable to everyone involved.

"The liberty of a democracy is not safe if the people tolerate the growth of private power to a point where it comes stronger than their democratic state itself. That, in its essence, is fascism - ownership of government by an individual, by a group." - Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

And now, The News:

  1. Sweeny Considers Entering County Executive Race
  2. Actually, "the Rich" Don't "Create Jobs," We Do
  3. Nan Hayworth gets sham award from Big Pharma front group
  4. Massachusetts’ Towns Are Taking Citizens United Down
  5. High schooler challenges Bachmann to debate on U.S. Constitution
  6. Actually, "the Rich" Don't "Create Jobs," We Do
  7. Poll: Given Choice Between Palin and Trump, Most Voters Choose Suicide

Sweeny Considers Entering County Executive Race

by Andrew Vitelli

There may be a Republican primary race for Putnam County executive after all.

Alana Sweeny, a Mahopac resident who worked as the director of New York State Council on Children and Families in former governor George Pataki’s administration, said she is considering running against former Putnam Legislator MaryEllen Odell for the Republican line.

“If I decide that I’m going to do it, I’m going to do it to win it, and I am going to win it,” Sweeny said Thursday.

Sweeny said she had been asked by hundreds of residents to run for the seat, but had not made a decision. She said she was not sure when she would decide.

Read more

Actually, "the Rich" Don't "Create Jobs," We Do

by: Dave Johnson, Campaign for America's Future

You hear it again and again, variation after variation on a core message: if you tax rich people it kills jobs. You hear about "job-killing tax hikes," or that "taxing the rich hurts jobs," "taxes kill jobs," "taxes take money out of the economy, "if you tax the rich they won't be able to provide jobs." ... on and on it goes. So do we really depend on "the rich" to "create" jobs? Or do jobs get created when they fill a need?

Here is a recent typical example, Obama Touts Job-Killing Tax Plan, written by a "senior fellow at the Cato Institute and chairman of the Institute for Global Economic Growth,"

Some people, in their pursuit of profit, benefit their fellow humans by creating new or better goods and services, and then by employing others. We call such people entrepreneurs and productive workers.

Others are parasites who suck the blood and energy away from the productive. Such people are most often found in government.

Perhaps the most vivid description of what happens to a society where the parasites become so numerous and powerful that they destroy their productive hosts is Ayn Rand’s classic novel “Atlas Shrugged.” ...

Nan Hayworth gets sham award from Big Pharma front group

by Cliff Weathers

Nan Hayworth's office sent out a press release Thursday that included a picture of the Congresswoman receiving an award beneath a sign saying, “Senior Citizens Thank You For Protecting Medicare and Social Security.” It appeared to be a perfect photo opportunity for Hayworth, being honored by a group known as the “60 Plus Association” for legislating in their best interests.

But there are two big problems with this picture. First, Nan Hayworth just voted to kill Medicare, if you're one of the very few that has forgotten. And second,the 60 Plus Association is not a senior citizen's group at all, it's just a front organization for the pharmaceutical industry. This is a crass attempt by Hayworth to once again deceive her constituents, particularly the elderly.

Back in 2003, the AARP Bulletin recognized 60 Plus as a front group for Big Pharma. The publication claimed that the organization wasn't even receiving membership dues from seniors at the time and that "virtually all of their largest contributions in recent years have come from the same source—the nation's pharmaceutical industry.

Read More

Massachusetts’ Towns Are Taking Citizens United Down

By Ray Medeiros

In 2010 the Supreme Court of the United States literally gave corporations and unions a right only to be held by natural person. In this ruling of Citizens United v. FEC, corporations can spend as much money as they want on so-called independent expenditures. This means a corporation or union can flood our airwaves with commercials on talk radio, the Internet, and television with a message of support or opposition to candidate for public office as long as there are no direct contributions to the candidate or campaign. Ruling that corporations and unions have free speech equates them to people, natural people, with God given rights. A corporation is created by the State through corporate charters, not by God. You can read the entire historical background in “Unequal Protection” How corporations became people – by Thom Hartmann.

Now after this ruling, small towns in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts are fighting back. A total of 8 towns have adopted resolutions calling for a Constitutional amendment to negate this heinous ruling. A town on Cape Cod, near the late Senator Edward Kennedy’s home, Provincetown led the charge on April 4th, 2011 to take our elections back. This action was followed by Truro and Wellfleet on April 26th, 2011. All three towns called for the same thing,

“A constitutional amendment to restore the First Amendment and fair elections to the people.”

Copies of these resolutions will be heading to the State Capitol in Boston for Governor Deval Patrick, state representatives, and state senators representing these towns as well as U.S. Representatives, and Senators John Kerry and Scott Brown. A copy of the resolutions will also be sent to President Barack Obama.

Read More

High schooler challenges Bachmann to debate on U.S. Constitution

By Andy Birkey

A high school sophomore from New Jersey is challenging Rep. Michele Bachmann to a debate on civics and the U.S. Constitution. In an open letter to to Bachmann, Amy Myers of Cherry Hill, N.J., said, “I have found quite a few of your statements regarding The Constitution of the United States, the quality of public school education and general U.S. civics matters to be factually incorrect, inaccurately applied or grossly distorted.”

“I, Amy Myers, do hereby challenge Representative Michele Bachmann to a Public Forum Debate and/or Fact Test on The Constitution of the United States, United States History and United States Civics,” Myers wrote, according to a report by City Pages’ Nick Pinto.

Politifact rated Bachmann’s statements about the U.S. Constitution’s census requirements in 2009 as “Pants on Fire” false. CNN’s Anderson Cooper dinged Bachmann back in January for her revisionist history regarding the U.S. Constitution’s racist past.

Read More

Actually, "the Rich" Don't "Create Jobs," We Do

By Dave Johnson for Truthout

You hear it again and again, varia­tion after varia­tion on a core mes­sage: if you tax rich peo­ple it kills jobs. You hear about "job-killing tax hikes," or that "tax­ing the rich hurts jobs," "taxes kill jobs," "taxes take money out of the economy, "if you tax the rich they won't be able to pro­vide jobs." ... on and on it goes. So do we rea­l­ly de­pend on "the rich" to "create" jobs? Or do jobs get created when they fill a need?

Here is a re­cent typ­ical ex­am­ple,Obama Touts Job-Killing Tax Plan, writt­en by a "sen­ior fel­low at the Cato In­stitute and chair­man of the In­stitute for Glob­al Economic Growth,"

Some peo­ple, in their pur­suit of pro­fit, be­nefit their fel­low humans by creat­ing new or bet­t­er goods and ser­vices, and then by em­ploy­ing oth­ers. We call such peo­ple en­trep­reneurs and pro­duc­tive work­ers.

Oth­ers are para­sites who suck the blood and en­er­gy away from the pro­duc­tive. Such peo­ple are most often found in govern­ment.

Per­haps the most vivid de­scrip­tion of what hap­pens to a society where the para­sites be­come so numer­ous and power­ful that they de­stroy their pro­duc­tive hosts is Ayn Rand’s clas­sic novel “Atlas Shrug­ged.” ...

Producers and Parasites

The idea that there are pro­duc­ers and para­sites as ex­pres­sed in the ex­am­ple above has be­come a core philoso­phy of con­ser­vatives. They claim that wealthy peo­ple "pro­duce" and are rich be­cause they "pro­duce." The rest of us are "para­sites" who suck blood and en­er­gy from the pro­duc­tive rich, by tax­ing them. In this be­lief sys­tem, We, the Peo­ple are basical­ly just "the help" who are ot­herw­ise in the way, and tax­ing the pro­duc­ers to pay for our "en­tit­le­ments." We "take money" from the pro­duc­ers through taxes, which are "re­distributed" to the para­sites. They re­peat the slogan, "Taxes are theft," and take the "money we ear­ned" by "force" (i.e. govern­ment.)

Read More

Poll: Given Choice Between Palin and Trump, Most Voters Choose Suicide

Survey Spells Trouble for GOP, Pollster Says

NEW YORK (The Borowitz Report) – A new survey of likely voters indicates that in a hypothetical match-up between former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin and billionaire Donald Trump, a majority would choose suicide over either candidate.

The poll, conducted by the University of Minnesota’s Opinion Research Institute, shows Mr. Trump drawing 21%, Gov. Palin 18%, and various forms of suicide 61%.

“Throwing yourself in front of a speeding city bus” was the most popular means of suicide at 22%, with “jumping off the roof of a really tall building or bridge” coming in second at 17%.

Read More
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