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posted this in Carmel, Commentary, General News, Kent, News That Matters, Putnam County, Think! on December 7th, 2009

News That Matters – December 7, 2009

Good Monday Morning,

Today is Pearl Harbor Day.

Pearl HarborFrom Wikipedia (in part): The attack on Pearl Harbor (or Hawaii Operation, Operation Z, as it was called by the Japanese Imperial General Headquarters)was an unannounced military strike conducted by the Japanese navy against the United States’ naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on the morning of Sunday, December 7, 1941 (Hawaiian time, December 8 by Japan Standard Time), later resulting in the United States becoming militarily involved in World War II. It was intended as a preventive action to keep the U.S. Pacific Fleet from influencing the war the Empire of Japan was planning to wage in Southeast Asia against Britain, the Netherlands, and the United States. The attack consisted of two aerial attack waves totaling 353 aircraft, launched from six Japanese aircraft carriers.

The attack was in response to an escalating trade war between the United States and the Empire of Japan for access to oil and rubber in the Pacific Basin, resources controlled at the time by the United States.

Read more here.

I think, sometimes, I have to run A Guide To Reading News Stories Above The Fold in News That Matters.

So many of you thought Senator Leibell really did float a bill [S.6969] to outlaw divorce that I spent a good part of the day Saturday fielding questions about the bill and calming several who thought it was legit. I would have preferred the same outrage be directed at the New York State Senate for their outrageous behavior last week instead. Apparently, some married couples value divorce more than they do equal rights.

The story was in response to Senator Leibell’s public gay-bashing in the State Senate last Wednesday and took this form rather than the first draft which was, in the end, unprintable. I had a lot to say! Much of it used rather simple epitaphs and a few terms with hyphens and a phrase or two you generally wouldn’t read in a newspaper.

In the end, though I liked what I had written, I decided that one of my famous faux news articles would be just the ticket and I included just enough clues to tip off long-term readers.

But you newbies! Gotcha!

And I’m also willing to bet reporters from the Journal News who regularly steal my stories without sourcing them had their hands on the phone… for just a moment or two.

But your readiness and willingness to believe the story at face value only underscores the lengths to which government has taken over every aspect of our lives and underscores the myth that we live in a free and enlightened society.

In any case, the Senator should be ashamed of himself. His NO vote, and those of his Republican allies, (along with 8 Senate Democrats) was a cowardly, despicable act more fitting for a dark ages theocracy than a 21st Century democracy.

It’s even more unfortunate that his heir apparent actually did write the words attributed to him in the faux-article on Friday, and so the outlook for the government of this state moving forward over the next six years is rather bleak. They can’t get their shit together on property tax relief, they can’t balance the budget, they can’t even agree on who is in charge. Why do we keep electing them? It really is time to clean house, especially locally.

Using a political office to intentionally harm and deny basic human rights to a segment of society should be a criminal act and I can only urge each and every one of you to write the Senator saying so.

Senator Leibell can bring home all the bacon he wants. He can run this county as his own personal kingdom. He can interfere in local elections, steal political parties and press his weight into virtually every aspect of our lives, he can even use his tens of thousands in campaign dollars to crush his opposition but he cannot take away our self-respect as he tried to do last Wednesday.

The Senator may have won the vote but at the same time, lost any moral leverage he’s ever had. As Sandy Galef learned two years ago when she first voted against civil and equal rights; civil rights is not ~ and should not be ~ a popularity contest. Would Georgia have voted to free its slaves? Would the state legislatures of Mississippi or Alabama voted for equality for Blacks? Would the US have voted to give women the vote? The answer to all three of those postulations is a resounding NO and yet, we freed the slaves, won legal equality for blacks and women not only have the right to vote but serve in high office. Why should it be any different for anyone else? The Constitution guarantees equal protection under the law and that’s all we’re asking for.

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A hearty Thank You to Tony Caravetta and the Town of Kent highway crew for getting the roads out here in western Kent cleaned late Saturday night after that surprise snowstorm. The weather service said, “an inch or two”, and when all was said and done come morning, 5.5″ had fallen out here at the Asylum in Kent Cliffs. A beautiful way to start December.

If you do live out here in Kent Cliffs, the Kent FD is having their annual election tomorrow (Tuesday) evening at the firehouse on Route 301. The polls are open from 6-9PM and the only candidate for Fire Commissioner is Howard Carpenter. Give him your vote of support.

I’m willing to bet you’ve noticed that the size of products in the supermarket have gotten smaller – for the same price. Remember when you bought a 1 lb can of coffee that’s now 13.5 ounces or the half gallon of ice cream that’s now 1 3/4 quarts or that 1 lb tub of synthetic plastic (margarine) that’s now 15 ounces? The container is slightly stouter – but shorter. You do notice the stouter container and think you’re getting something extra but you don’t really notice its shortened height – and it’s been going on for years.

In the meantime,Senator Chuck Schumer is upset that 72% of banks have found a way to charge you twice for using another bank’s ATM machine, as if this is something new? It reminds me of the time the first Bush went to a supermarket and was amazed at the check-out line.

Hanukkah begins this coming Friday night. For those of you contemplating the giving of gifts, it’s traditional to give a small gift for each of the holiday’s first seven evenings followed by a larger one on the last night. I will be making latkes.

Sixty-Seven percent of AOL users think there’s something wrong with Barack Obama’s birth certificate and that he’s probably not eligible to be President.

According to a Gallup poll, 18% of Americans believe the sun revolves around the earth.

Police in Pueblo, CO tasered a ten year old boy last week. The boy had run away from police and got himself in a neighbors yard wedged between a fence and a boat and refused to come out. Because, as police said, the area was too tight to get him with pepper spray they tazed him instead. Police officials said the patrolman had used all proper procedures and was justified in his actions.

Have you ever been to Pompeii? You know, the place buried by ashfall from Mt. Vesuvius way back in the day? I’ve never been there either but now you can go on a virtual tour thanks to Google and their mapping service’s Street View application. Click on this link and then grab the little orange guy on the right side and drag him over the map, dropping him wherever the streets become outlined in blue – and take a look around. The interface is a bit cludgy but once you spend a little time with it you’ll be touring like a tourist.

While you’re at it, Street View is actually pretty nifty feature and is available for cities and towns around the world. Google sent out crews to drive/walk neighborhoods with a 360º camera and filmed along the way. If you’ve never been to London, now’s your chance. Paris, Texas? Los Angeles? It’s here. Or even Cold Spring. Their satellite photography is sometimes top notch as the views of Beijing’s Forbidden City will show.

193% of FOXNews watchers can’t be wrong!
FOXNews seems to have a problem with numbers. Math is, after all, for leftists and intelekshuals.

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  1. Community Action Program Needs Help In Toy Drive
  2. Yorktown pays $2.7 million to preserve 200 acres
  3. NY seeking developer for Great Lakes wind project
  4. Why Gift Cards Can Be a Bad Idea
  5. Chemical Christmas
  6. Outraged by credit-card companies’ tricks? Let ’em know!
  7. Big Freeze Plunged Europe Into Ice Age in Months
  8. Iran whistleblower died from drug-laced salad
  9. The Man Who Was Really There

Community Action Program Needs Help In Toy Drive

To Provide Christmas Gifts To Underprivileged Youngsters
Putnam County Sheriff Donald B. Smith requests the assistance of the citizens of Putnam County in supporting the Putnam Community Action Program Annual Toy Drive which is currently underway. As in the past, the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office Cadets are assisting with the collection of the donated toys for needy children in Putnam County.

The Cadets help collect and sort donated toys and gifts for delivery to underprivileged youngsters throughout Putnam County during Christmas and Hanukah holidays. Last year through the generosity of donors and the efforts of the Cadets and other volunteers and cooperating agencies, over 3,000 toys and gifts were distributed to some 994 children giving them a brighter and happier holiday season.

The program is seeking donations of new, unwrapped toys or gifts for children between the ages of newborn and 18 years of age. Donors are invited to drop off items at the Sheriff’s Office headquarters located off Fair Street in Carmel, at the Town of Kent Police Department, located on Route 52 in Kent, at the Community Action Program Headquarters located at 121 Main Street in Brewster, or participating banks and businesses in the Toys for Tots Program sponsored by the Marine Corps League. Donations should be dropped off as soon as possible, but no later than December 14, 2009 to insure delivery to the children in time for the holidays.

Read More

Yorktown pays $2.7 million to preserve 200 acres

By Brian J. Howard • bjhoward@lohud.com • December 3, 2009

YORKTOWN — The town has approved spending $2.7 million for 200 acres in a deal proponents say will save taxpayers money in the long run.

”It’s 200 acres, and it’s 1-acre zoning, so you do the math how many homes could be there,“ Councilman Nick Bianco said of the Granite Knoll property that straddles Stoney Street west of the Taconic Parkway. ”If you put up a house, you’ve got to expect kids and you’ve got to support that.“

The property, which lies mostly in the Lakeland school district, topped an inventory compiled by the town’s Advisory Committee on Open Space in 2007. It went on the market in 2008, and the Westchester Land Trust was tapped to pursue negotiations soon after.

Approval for the spending came Tuesday.

Read More

NY seeking developer for Great Lakes wind project

Offshore turbines would be first for New York and among first in North America.
By Carolyn Thompson, Associated Press

New York state is looking for developers to build and operate wind turbines in the Great Lakes as part of a plan to use more renewable energy.

The New York Power Authority on Tuesday invited potential developers to submit proposals for offshore wind projects in Lake Erie and Lake Ontario. The authority plans to award one or more projects a year from now.

The offshore turbines would be the first for New York and among the first in North America, depending on when they get up and running.

The state-owned utility wants to see them producing between 120 and 500 megawatts of electricity by 2015, the year Gov. David Paterson has set for the state to be meeting 45 percent of its electricity needs through improved energy efficiency and clean renewable energy.

“This is not a dream. This is becoming a reality,” NYPA President and Chief Executive Richard Kessel said at the Niagara Power Project, another NYPA electricity producer that diverts water from the Niagara River for hydropower.

Read More

Why Gift Cards Can Be a Bad Idea

By Marc Perton on December 2, 2009 2:17 PM 8525 views

When we announced the availability of free Consumerist anti-gift cards yesterday, we were surprised to see so many pro-gift card comments. So, we decided to put together a quick list of the reasons we think gift cards are lame — especially compared to cash.

1. Bank gift cards come with upfront fees. If you’re giving someone a gift, why should you get stuck paying a fee for the privilege? But you do, and those fees can be as much as $7.95, plus shipping.

2. Bank gift cards can come with dormancy fees. Some fees are as high as $2.50 per month, and kick in after just 6 months. So, if you don’t use that card fast, you could end up paying for the privilege of owning it, and end up with a worthless piece of plastic after just a few months. American Express recently announced it was dropping all dormancy fees, and the CARD Act will ban them until a card has been unused for 12 months, but they’re not going to disappear across-the-board anytime soon.

Read the other 8 here

Chemical Christmas

Immigrant Tree Farm Workers Face Pesticide Dangers

by Jesse James DeConto

Every Christmas, little Katie Alvarez asks her daddy for two trees, one for her formal living room, and one for the family room. Katie has no idea what those trees might cost her father. Treating Christmas tree fields each spring, farmworker Felix Alvarez, 43, soaks his skin with Roundup, a weedkiller linked to cancer among applicators. “Later on, when I get older, I’ll probably have some consequence about it because I’ve been getting wet all over,” Alvarez says.

Second only to Oregon, the state of North Carolina produces roughly one out of five Christmas trees sold in the U.S.—about five million a year, worth more than $100 million. Each spring and summer, Hispanic workers like Alvarez handle some of the deadliest pesticides allowed by law, potentially risking their health to help Americans celebrate life.

Fifty million Fraser firs grow on 25,000 acres in the mountains of North Carolina, and almost every acre is treated with Roundup. A salt compound, Roundup can irritate the eyes and is toxic when inhaled. In 1999, the American Cancer Society published the results of a survey of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma patients showing the disease was 2.7 times more likely among those who had applied glyphosate, the herbicide sold under the “Roundup” trade name.

The most hazardous and second-most common pesticide in North Carolina Christmas tree farming is Di-Syston 15-G, a powder traditionally applied with a bucket and measuring spoon. “If one grain gets in your boot, and your foot sweats, by the end of the day, you could be dead,” says Richard Boylan, an alternative agriculture agent with the North Carolina State University Cooperative Extension.

Read More

Outraged by credit-card companies’ tricks? Let ’em know!

In advance of the February trigger date of the consumer-friendly Credit CARD Act, credit-card companies have been using every trick in the book to stick it to consumers. Perhaps you’ve experienced them: letters informing you of higher interest rates, new fees, bigger fees, and higher minimum payments.

Sen. Christoper Dodd, D-Conn, aware of consumers’ pain, had proposed a bill that would freeze credit-card interest rates on card balances before the holidays. But Sen. Thad Cochane, R-Miss, acting on behalf of others, recently blocked the bill. So, unless there’s action from those of us most hurt by it, those companies will continue their obnoxious campaign.

If you’re totally furious, if you’re mad as hell and can’t take it any more, if you’ve just HAD it, tell the credit card companies how you feel. Creditcardreform.org, part of the advocacy arm of Consumers Union, has a Web page where you can send a message to the companies. The gist: If they don’t voluntarily freeze interest rates immediately, we’ll just stop using their cards.

Consumers Union will be forwarding the letters to each credit-card company’s investor relations departments, which are close to the managers and shareholders who may have more interest in what you think.

Read More

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Big Freeze Plunged Europe Into Ice Age in Months

ScienceDaily (Nov. 30, 2009) — In the film The Day After Tomorrow, the world enters the icy grip of a new glacial period within the space of just a few weeks. Now new research shows that this scenario may not be so far from the truth after all.

William Patterson, from the University of Saskatchewan in Canada, and his colleagues have shown that switching off the North Atlantic circulation can force the Northern hemisphere into a mini ‘ice age’ in a matter of months. Previous work has indicated that this process would take tens of years.

Around 12,800 years ago the northern hemisphere was hit by a mini ice-age, known by scientists as the Younger Dryas, and nicknamed the ‘Big Freeze’, which lasted around 1300 years. Geological evidence shows that the Big Freeze was brought about by a sudden influx of freshwater, when the glacial Lake Agassiz in North America burst its banks and poured into the North Atlantic and Arctic Oceans. This vast pulse, a greater volume than all of North America’s Great Lakes combined, diluted the North Atlantic conveyor belt and brought it to a halt.

Without the warming influence of this ocean circulation temperatures across the Northern hemisphere plummeted, ice sheets grew and human civilisation fell apart.

Read More

Iran whistleblower died from drug-laced salad

By LEE KEATH, Associated Press Writer Lee Keath, Associated Press Writer
Wed Dec 2, 5:06 pm ET

CAIRO – A 26-year-old doctor who exposed the torture of jailed protesters in Iran died of poisoning from a delivery salad laced with an overdose of blood pressure medication, prosecutors say. The findings fueled opposition fears that he was killed because of what he knew.

Investigators are still trying to determine whether his death last month was a suicide or murder, Tehran’s public prosecutor Abbas Dowlatabadi said, according to the state news agency IRNA.

The revelations of torture against prisoners in Iran’s postelection turmoil angered even government supporters and deeply embarrassed the country’s clerical leadership and security forces.

Much of the abuse took place at Kahrizak, a prison on Tehran’s outskirts where hundreds of opposition protesters were taken. Several there died, and the facility became so notorious that Iran’s supreme leader was forced to close it down.

Ramin Pourandarjani, a doctor at Kahrizak, later testified to a parliamentary committee and reportedly told them that a young protester he treated died from severe torture. He said he was also forced by security officials to list the cause of death as meningitis, according to opposition Web sites.

Read More

The Man Who Was Really There

Firas Al-Qaisi is an Iraqi attorney who risked his life helping the American forces in Baghdad which led to weeks of torture and dentention by Shiite militias. Now he’s suing the U.S. for $200 million for trying to murder him.

The case of Al-Qaisi v. The American Military Forces in Iraq is a terrible window into just a few of the millions of lives our stupid and cruel adventure has wrecked in that country. We came across the lawsuit, which Al-Qaisi filed in October in a federal court in Virginia, randomly while searching the electronic docket system for another case. It is a quixotic, conspiratorial, and hopeless narrative, filed without the aid of lawyers by a man whose mind appears to have been ruined by the violence unleashed by the Shiite thugs that we handed his country to after turning it into shit. But Al-Qaisi’s Kafka-esque odyssey, told in a humane and engaging voice, also offers a memorable glimpse of the brutal nightmare we conjured in his homeland. We’ve outlined his tale below, but we strongly urge you to read the entire document for yourself.

Firas Al-Qaisi is 38 years old (that’s a photocopy of an American-issued ID granting him access to a training facility for Iraqi forces). A lawyer by training, he was a proud collaborator with the Americans he thought were capable of returning the rule of law to his country. He ran the risk of retribution from religious fanatics in his Baghdad neighborhood for wearing a western suit to work each day. U.S. forces saved his life after he was abducted by a Shiite faction of Iraq’s American-backed Interior Ministry in 2007, and he was evacuated to the U.S. along with his pregnant wife and brother on a flight ordered by none other than Gen. David Petraeus two years ago, because staying in Iraq meant certain death. He landed in Northern Virginia, homeless, unable to speak English, living on charity. A September 2007 U.S. News & World Report story on his successful effort to seek asylum confirms some of these details. Two years later, the passage of time seems to have embittered him. His ordeal, he now believes, was an American-hatched plan to have him killed.

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2 comments to News That Matters – December 7, 2009

  • Good Morning, you haven’t been intentionally ignoring you. I’ve just been busy with life. I want to post thoughts, pictures, and happenings. I just can’t seem to find the time. Three children + summer + travel + friends + photography = no extra time. manythanks

  • Obama’s trip to India is INSANE. NO U.S. president has EVER taken such a large group on ANY trip. You stooges sure do like comparing apples to oranges and leaving out VERY important matters of fact.

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