Wednesday, April 30, 2008
And today, Hillary Clinton's stunt regarding pumping gas while a 10 truck motorcade. Just ridiculous. Who is an elitist? She and McCain again on the same side of the issue. What? See Keith's take on this.
Tuesday, April 29, 2008
Sunday, April 27, 2008
"The moral is, never be sorry for a waiter. Sometimes when you sit in a restaurant, still stuffing yourself half an hour after closing time, you feel that the tired waiter at your side must surely be despising you. But he is not. He is not thinking as he looks at you, 'What an overfed lout'; he is thinking, 'One day, when I have saved enough money, I shall be able to imitate that man.' He is ministering to a kind of pleasure he thoroughly understands and admires. And that is why waiters are seldom Socialists, have no effective trade unions, and will work twelve hours a day--they work fifteen hours, seven days a week, in many cafes. They are snobs, and they find the servile nature of their work congenial."
I worked at the Central Park Boathouse restaurant for a month, and it was one of the worst jobs of my life. Orwell is completely right. I have never felt more servile, and was treated with arrogance by the biggest slaves of all in the restaurant business, the waiters. Of course, compared to the goon of an owner of that hell-hole, they were angels.
pix taken by his unit in downtown kabul during a "parade ... celebration to mark 16 years since the overthrow of the country's Soviet-backed rule."
the BBC news reported that "at least two people have been killed and 11 were hurt in an attack on a military parade in Kabul attended by Afghan President Hamid Karzai." the taliban claimed responsibility.
see the BBC video here.
Saturday, April 26, 2008
while the chicago tribune announced on 4/15/08 that Court says coach can't kneel, bow head as team prays (sorta a loaded title, huh?), NSBA legal clips gives us an unbiased summary:
N.J. district's policy against faculty joining student prayers upheld
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit (DE, NJ, PA, V.I.) has ruled that a New Jersey school district's policy prohibiting faculty participation in student-initiated prayer was not unconstitutional on its face or as applied to the high school football coach who challenged it. The court also ruled that the coach's silent acts of bowing his head or taking a knee during prayer violated the Establishment Clause because, when viewed in light of his 23 years of prayer activities with the team, they would appear to a reasonable observer to endorse religion. The decision reverses a federal district court's ruling that had struck down the policy and held that the coach's silent acts did not violate the Establishment Clause. Marcus Borden, head varsity football coach at East Brunswick High School, had traditionally participated in a team prayer before the pre-game meal and again before the team took the field. When some parents complained and threatened litigation, East Brunswick School District (EBSD) restated its school prayer policy and warned Mr. Borden that his participation, including standing and bowing his head and kneeling, would be considered insubordination and could lead to his discharge. Mr. Borden initially resigned as coach, but returned and agreed to abide by the policy while he brought a lawsuit. A U.S. district court ruled in his favor.
On appeal, the Third Circuit first rejected Mr. Borden's claim that the policy was unconstitutionally overbroad, finding that it merely prohibited expression that amounts to school sponsorship or endorsement of prayer and would violate the Establishment Clause. The court likewise rejected the contention that the word "participate" in the district's policy was unconstitutionally vague, finding that the policy sufficiently elaborates what constitutes participation. Turning to the as-applied challenges, the court noted that the free speech claim would be governed by the two-pronged test established for public employee speech in Connick v. Myers, 461 U.S. 138 (1983). Under the first prong of the test, the court found that the coach's silent acts of expression were not speech on a "matter of public concern" but were "personal to the [coach] and his team…." Because the speech was not protected, the court had no need to balance Mr. Borden's interest in the speech against his employer's interest in limiting it. Addressing the academic freedom claim, the court noted that by Mr. Borden's own admission his acts were pedagogical in nature, and the school district had the authority to deem his methods inappropriate. His freedom of association claim also was without merit, because that right only protects relationships involving a closeness "not present between a high school football coach and his team." As for the due process claim, the court found that because the policy was "not so vague that people of common intelligence must guess as to its meaning," he must demonstrate that it infringed on a fundamental right. However, "Borden has no interest—privacy, liberty, or otherwise—in behavior that violates the Establishment Clause."
Lastly, the Third Circuit concluded that "the school district has a legitimate educational interest in avoiding Establishment Clause violations," and that its policy was reasonably related to that interest. Applying the "reasonable observer" standard under the Establishment Clause's endorsement test, whereby the inquiry is "whether a reasonable observer familiar with the history and context of the display would perceive the display as a government endorsement of religion," the court determined that "[t]he history and context of Borden's prayer activities with the team, if challenged, could have been Establishment Clause violations." The coach's 23 years of leading the team in prayer "signals an unconstitutional endorsement of religion," and his involvement, as participant, organizer, and leader, would lead a reasonable observer to this conclusion. However, the court acknowledged, absent this history "if a football coach, who had never engaged in prayer with his team, were to bow his head and take a knee while his team engaged in a moment of reflection or prayer, we would likely reach a different conclusion because the same history and context of endorsing religion would not be present."
Lastly, Bill Moyers is our greatest journalist, bar none.
Monday, April 21, 2008
Saturday, April 19, 2008
Here it is, translated to the best of my abilities:
"The United States? In a recession? This country is blessed! They have no idea what poverty is."
For the Ganaese Desmond Antubam, maintenance man at Port Authority Bus Terminal, or New York's bus station, the best thermometer of American society is not Wall Street, but garbage. Antubam works at the largest bus terminal in the US and the busiest in the world. In operation since 1950, Port Authority takes up to Manhattan city blocks. Every day, 200,000 passengers pass through it. People come and go, and almost every one leaves a trail, generally found in the trash cans. It could be a crumpled up piece of paper, but it also could be clothes, toys, newspapers, magazines, shoes, bicycles, radios, TVs--and all in good condition.
For eighteen years, from Wednesday to Sunday, from 3 in the afternoon until 10 at night, Desmond Antubam empties the cans in the terminal. Between unhurried sips of tea at a Starbucks, he gave us a taste of his experiences.
Last Christmas, at the entrance to the station, Antubam noted a young woman who was talking on her cell phone with her boyfriend. She held a giant wrapped present and a bouquet of flowers, but, from the sound of things, had been forgotten there by the guy on the other end of the line. The conversation heated up, and Wham!, she hung up on the bastard. And, without thinking twice, she threw everything into the can-- the present, flowers, and the phone. Antubam, a good-natured, calm and soft-spoken guy, waited until the end of the tantrum and, slowly approached the woman: "Miss, your cell phone went into the trash."
"Fuck off, you and that asshole! He bought the phone and I'm not going to get it! If he wants to, he can buy another!" And, thus said, she left in a huff.
With extreme serenity, Antubam, fished the cell phone out of the trash and stuffed it in his pocket. The device, which was worth more than $200, wouldn't stop ringing. He ended up answering it, but didn't want to talk to the boyfriend, who kept shouting on the phone. He let it ring for a day, until her decided to return it to the owner, for a reward. He told the guy: 'I saved your cell phone; the flowers and the present are gone.'
For Antubam, waste has its limits. he was born in Accra, the capitol of Ghana, in a family with 9 siblings. His father died when he was 10 years old, which led to the beginning of a life full of hardship. Later on, Antubam would study graphic design and move to Nigeria, a better-off country than Ghana. There, he obtained an American visa, but the intermediary, as if it want't enough that he had been paid $ 1,700 commission, stole his passport. He was able to arrive on American soil via the Bahamas, in 1985.
Antubam married for the first time with an American and got his green card. After two years, they separated and he traveled to Africa, where he met his present wife, today 27 years old. The couple have three children, ranging in age from 10, 4, and 2. The middle child remained in Africa, with his grandparents, due to a technical problem with registration. Due to this problem, Antubam must prove that he is the father and for this has not been able to bring his son to the US. 'Immigration here is very complicated.'
As far as his eldest daughter, he says: "She took a bite out of her bread and threw the rest away. Times like these, I remind her that I paid almost $3,000 to get ehr out of Africa, and not to see her waste bread." The girl retorts like a good American: at school she it told to throw away any leftovers. This public health rule extends to restaurants in the bus terminal. After 9:30 pm, it is Antubam who takes away the hundreds of bags of fresh food discarded by 16 eateries in the station. All of it gets thrown away.
Since the workers are authorized to hold onto anything that's thrown away, he has co-workers who send entire containers full of unused food to Africa. During the summer, sweaty T-shirts go into the trash. Unneeded coats, the same. When it rains, umbrellas ge their turn. sneakers that don't fit in the suitcase? Garbage. A bicycle that can't be taken on the bus? Trash. Parents that give up on carrying the baby stroller leave the burden right there, in the garbage can. At the time of lockers, before 9/11, the harvest was even more plentiful. Bags and bags were forgotten way past the three-moth pickup dealine. After this point, it became trash. One co-worker found a gold necklace that earned him $2,000.
Antubam finishes the tea. Before saying farewell, he takes a moment to give his two cents on today's big issue: 'I would really be happy if a democratice candidate won these elections.' In the New York primaries, his vote went for Obama, but if Hillary survives the Obama wave and gets nominated, he'll vote for her, even though he didn't like seeing her crying on TV: 'Leaders that lead don't cry."
Go Magda, go Alli, go angela. I am with you in spirit, preparing for another maddening week, but also doing some phone banking. I think this outpouring may make something happen truly game changing in Pa. Good luck.
Also, see an audio at the Huffington Post blasting the activists in the Democratic party. This is not news to me. But, I hope it will get the same play as the nontroversy that "bitter gate" did. As I have said I will NEVER vote for her. Include me in the statistics. Go Obama.
Thursday, April 17, 2008
But, last night was astonishing. 45 minutes before these fuckers asked a single question about substance. It was an all out attack on Barack Obama with Hillary Clinton doing her best to "twist the knife" as Barack says. All the blogs are talking about it. We knew the Clintons would not go down with out a fight, but who knew the corporate media (who hates the Clintons) would rather have them than a black man named Barack Obama. Who knew that these fuckers were so afraid of the people?
Last night was disgusting... But...I just found this video on Daily kos and Barack is making light of these fools and doing it well.
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
The message is very simple:
America will not stand for a Secretary of State who approved torture and then misled Congress. We call on the Presidential candidates to ask Secretary of State Rice to resign
On Daily Kos they are asking if ABC will ask a question in the debate tonight. Last week, ABC news broke the torture story wide open and since then, the story has picked up steam online, but besides the Daily Show, the Nation, and Keith Olbermann, there has been a virtual media blackout on this issue since the story broke. Torture approved at the highest levels of government. The Secretary of State chairing meetings deciding how many times to punch, slap, or waterboard people in American custody.
We are pleased to let you know that Hob’art, a cooperative gallery of Hoboken, NJ will be presenting a group art exhibit at Garden of Eden on Sunday afternoon, April 20 from 3pm-6pm. As a co-operative gallery comprised of membership from Hoboken and the surrounding areas, we exist primarily to serve the community by providing a showcase for fine art. For the first time, the Garden of Eden has opened its gates to our membership. From this point forward, Garden of Eden will not be just a venue for great food, but an appealing place of peace, of gathering, of open invitation to view contemporary works by members of hob-art. Come join us and invite your friends for an afternoon of good conversation, a display of outstanding art work and enjoyment.
Just a little taste of what you will get if you watch:
Colbert asking her why she would want to be first lady: "You'd never get any sleep because as I understand it the phone keeps ringing at 3am."
Maybe we'll get to meet her when we work in Philly this weekend? Can't hurt to dream can it?
Monday, April 14, 2008
Here is a video about a clever and ingenuous invention. Light bulbs made out of plastic bottles. They are filled with water and a little bit of bleach (to keep germs away), then the caps are protected with photographic film (to protect them from being dried out by the sun rays), and bingo. Each bottle produces as much light as a 50W bulb. How come we never thought of that before???
Saturday, April 12, 2008
Obama gets it for real. In many ways he lived it. And to underestimate this person is to make great folly. Let's go after Pennsyvlania. Barack '08
"You go into these small towns in Pennsylvania, and like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing's replaced them.
"And they fell through the Clinton administration and the Bush administration, and each successive administration has said that somehow these communities are going to regenerate and they have not," he went on. "And it's not surprising, then, they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations."
"Everybody just ascribes it to 'white working-class . . . don't want to vote for the black guy,' " Obama said at the fundraiser.
"Here's how it is: In a lot of these communities in big industrial states like Ohio and Pennsylvania, people have been beaten down so long. They feel so betrayed by government that when they hear a pitch that is premised on not being cynical about government, then a part of them just doesn't buy it. And when it's delivered by -- it's true that when it's delivered by a 46-year-old black man named Barack Obama, then that adds another layer of skepticism."
Somehow McCain and Clinton are painting Obama looking down at Pa. voters and as an elitist. McCain and Clinton (I tie these two real elitists together) are of the same stripe, they don't get what working class voters go through and how hard it is to live fucking paycheck to paycheck. Obama, by his comments (and being raised by a single mom) does get it. And this exploitation of the working class voter to vote against their economic interests is as old as the country. I hope Obama succeeds here.
See CNN reporters who see it for what it is. Good for all of them.
Friday, April 11, 2008
In New Jersey's booming prison economy, there are winners and losers. Inmates face financial ruin and state taxpayers lose, too — about $41,000 per year, per inmate. Prison entrepreneurs, for whom each inmate is a government-subsidized business opportunity, are the big winners.
Growing nationally by 3.4 percent a year for the past 10 years, federal, state and local prisons hold 2.3 million inmates — one half of whom are nonviolent and small-time drug law offenders.
In New Jersey the prison population has remained steady, but has not risen. Here are the staggering numbers: New Jersey's annual taxpayer contribution for state prisons and local jails, $1.9 billion in 2005 and rising, keeps the prison market hot. Here is how that money is used to exploit the losers and enrich the winners.
Public jobs: Of the 720,000 state and local corrections employees in the U.S. in 2005, 16,934 worked in New Jersey guarding 46,411 inmates. That means for every three new inmates locked up in New Jersey, one new corrections job follows. That is good news for job seekers but bad news for the three inmates who actually create each new job.
Private profiteers: A new book by Tara Herivel and Paul Wright, "Prison Profiteers: Who Makes Money from Mass Incarceration," tells how the prison gravy train works. In addition to supplying food, clothing and medical care, private companies profit in other, less visible, ways.
Exclusive phone service agreements went to firms offering price-gouging rates and large payments to operators of prisons. In the 1990s, 90 percent of the correctional systems nationwide received a percentage of these telephone profits. By 2000, the share going to the prisons ranged from 44 percent in California to 60 percent in New York.
Prisoners, of all people in the country, have the greatest need to rely on collect calls, especially to stay in touch with their families. What excuse is there for price-gouging these families, many of whom are already suffering the loss of a breadwinner?
More than 2,626 prisoners in New Jersey and more than 85,000 inmates nationally are held in private, for-profit facilities. To sell their services in state capitals, we learn in another chapter that "Corporations with a stake in the expansion of private prisons invested $3.3 million in candidates for state office and state political parties in 44 states over the 2002-04 election cycle."
On top of that, these companies support the American Legislative Exchange Council, an influential behind-the-scenes interest group working with state legislators to pass tougher sentencing laws that will increase prison populations.
Cheap labor: While U.S. laws prohibit importing products made by prisoners in other countries, Gordon Lafer, a University of Oregon professor, reports that about 80,000 U.S. inmates work in 30 states where laws permit private firms to use convict labor. In Ohio, for example, a Honda supplier pays prison workers $2 per hour. These private firms do not pay for vacations, sick leave or overtime and workers can be dropped at will.
Liberty for sale: According to a recent New York Times article, bail bondsmen occupy a unique, for-profit niche in the American justice system. In all states except Illinois, Kentucky, Oregon and Wisconsin, to avoid going directly to jail an accused person must pay a bondsman a non-refundable fee — often 10 percent of the bond — even if he or she appears for all court proceedings. In some states, the bondsman is even permitted to hunt down and capture a client who fails to appear in court, breaking into homes without a warrant, if necessary.
What can be done to end this tax-subsidized prison gravy train? First, the laws and policies made in Trenton must stop filling state prisons with nonviolent drug users who should be in drug-treatment facilities, not prisons. Second, the lawmakers must stop passing ever-longer, one-size-fits-all mandatory minimum sentences that only tie the hands of courtroom judges and needlessly fill our prisons.
Until then, prison profiteers will continue to exploit New Jersey inmates and citizens in whose name the state prisons are built and operated.
Ronald Fraser writes on public policy issues for the DKT Liberty Project, a Washington-based civil liberties organization.
McCain’s support of “significant educational benefits” is ironic, considering that he is still “hedging on whether he will support a ‘GI Bill for the 21st Century,’” as Jon Soltz and Gen. Wesley Clark note in today’s LA Times. That bill, sponsored by Sens. Jim Webb (D-VA) and Chuck Hagel (R-NE), would help fund higher education for service members who had served in active duty since 9/11. Will the media ever call McCain on his flip flops and contradictions?
“As de facto leader of the party, McCain could signal to other Republicans to sign on to the bill and assure passage,” Soltz and Clark note. VoteVets and BraveNewFilms has released a video on the new GI Bill and McCain.
Wednesday, April 9, 2008
Anyone who doesn't think players feel pain just watch this video. 22 years in exile. I apologize for the fans of Boston.
Tuesday, April 8, 2008
Challenger Paul Newell Criticizes Sheldon Silver's Congestion Dodge
Today, Paul Newell, Sheldon Silver's challenger in this year's 64th Assembly District Democratic Primary, criticized Silver's backroom dealings denying accountable government to New Yorkers, saying "Sheldon Silver's failure to even schedule a vote on congestion pricing shows his contempt for both the democratic process and concerns of Lower Manhattanites."
Newell continued to criticize Silver's deceptive approach. "New Yorkers deserve a legislature that openly debates issues rather than quietly killing them behind closed doors. After 32 years in Albany, Sheldon Silver's culture of failure denies accountability and representation to 19 million New Yorkers, and stifles innovative policy solutions. Congestion Pricing is too important an issue to be swept under the rug by Sheldon Silver".
Silver's secretive pre-emption of any vote on the issue comes on the heels of his refusing to disclose his highly suspicious side income with a powerful NY law firm. "Silver's continuing trend of secrecy and his subversion of the voter's right to have their leaders actually lead had caused too much damage to our state," Newell added.
Congestion pricing is of vital concern to Lower Manhattan. Newell pointed out that the 64th Assembly District includes the Brooklyn, Manhattan and Williamsburg Bridges and the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel, with the Holland Tunnel just a few blocks away, saying "There is no community in New York State more directly impacted by traffic congestion than ours".
Only 2.3% of Lower Manhattanites drive to work and the vast majority of Downtowners use public transportation. These riders stood to gain from congestion pricing with urgently needed improvements at the Brooklyn Bridge, Whitehall Street, East Broadway, Bowery, Grand Street and South Ferry subway stations and increased service on the M15 bus line.
Noting that all three Lower Manhattan City Councilmember supported the home rule message, Paul Newell asked why Silver is so out of step with the district's needs. "It's clear that Silver views his constituency as the caucus in Albany and not the people of Lower Manhattan What is the point of being represented by the Speaker when he fails to stand up for our vital concerns?".
Campaign for New York's Future AD 64 fact sheet: http://www.e-benchmarks.com/congestion/factsheets/mh/silver64.pdf
Daily News on Asthma zones 6/17/2007 - http://www.nydailynews.com/lifestyle/health/2007/06/17/2007-06-17_citys_worst_asthma_zones_sniffed_out.html
Tri-State Transportation Campaign and the Pratt Center for Community Development on AD 64 - http://www.tstc.org/reports/cpsheets/NYCassembly_factsheet_district%2064.pdf
NY Post 2/29/08 on Silver's side income- http://www.nypost.com/seven/02292008/news/regionalnews/silver_picks_crony_for_judge_panel_99783.htm
Monday, April 7, 2008
Sunday, April 6, 2008
Their work was put together in collaboration with Arts for Kids Records (ATKR). ATKR's sent the Executive Producer Tony Lewis, to work with the group to complete this project and it was a masterpiece. The was shot and edited by the up and coming Video Director, Steve "Quick Fingers" Fiedeldey.
We would like to thank, the Paterson YMCA, NJ After 3, Ronald McDonald House Charities, and Passaic County Community College for their undying support for our innovative programs. We would also like to thank Gaby Rinkerman and Gregg Festa for their belief in our project.
See the video or check out silk city media. The CD and video will be on sale as a bonus, on the Global Youth Service Weekend album to support Relay For Life. If you need more info about Global Youth Service Weekend please contact Vicki Fernandez at 973.413.1626 or vfernandez@NJCDC.org.
Suspected Shiite militants lobbed rockets and mortar shells into the U.S.-protected Green Zone and a military base elsewhere in Baghdad on Sunday, killing three American troops and wounding 31, officials said.
The attacks occurred as U.S. and Iraqi forces battled Shiite militants in Sadr City in some of the fiercest fighting since radical cleric Muqtada al-Sadr ordered a cease-fire a week ago. At least 16 Iraqi civilians were killed and nearly 100 wounded in the fighting, according to hospital officials.
The deaths raised to at least 4,018 members of the U.S. military who have died since the Iraq war started in March 2003, according to an Associated Press count.
The surge in violence came as tensions rose in Shiite areas despite al-Sadr's cease-fire order issued March 30 that eased nearly a week of clashes in Baghdad, Basra and other cities in the Shiite south. The cleric stopped short of asking his fighters to surrender their weapons, and sporadic clashes have continued.
Violence also continued in northern Iraq. Gunmen seized 42 students off a bus near the city of Mosul — the last major urban stronghold of al-Qaida in Iraq — but later released them unharmed. The U.S. military said the college students were rescued by Iraqi soldiers, and three kidnappers had been detained.
Say it with me though, slow and methodically. The surge is working, the surge is working. You say it so many times in a row and maybe we will actually believe it.
Saturday, April 5, 2008
American housing prices continued to fall, and financial institutions worldwide, which have lost $295 billion so far, were expected to lose hundreds of billions more.
1 2 McCain asked mortgage lenders to provide voluntary aid to homeowners, recalling that General Motors had offered no-interest car financing after September 11.
Senator Hillary Clinton suggested consulting former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan. While Clinton conceded that Greenspan helped cause the current crisis, she claimed that he has a “calming influence” on Wall Street. “Don't ask me why,” she said, “because I never understand what he's saying.”
Hedge funds managers specializing in 'distressed' businesses, ironically, are usually formerly distressed businesses themselves. For example: Countrywide Financial Corporation, one of the pushers of subprime lending. From the article:
A former executive of the Countrywide Financial Corporation, one of the mortgage giants that fostered subprime lending, recently helped start a company — to buy mortgages. And executives of the Blackstone Group, those lords of the now faded buyout boom, just raised $10.9 billion from investors to scoop up real estate.
The vultures are betting, and betting big, that some people have thrown the good out with the bad, and that the prices of some investments have simply fallen too far.
Amazing? Not exactly. 'Opprtunity investing,' as it is called in the business, is quite commonplace in times of panic. As I remember from the documentary, The Corporation, a Wall Street Commodities trader was quoted as thinking that when the World Trade center was destroyed: "With disaster comes opportunity."
This is exactly why these scumbags need to be seriously regulated. We, the mere mortals, are just pawns in their shell game.
From the article again:
“There are a lot of dead carcasses on the road, and the vultures are out sniffing,” said Andy Kessler, a former hedge fund manager. “This is the cycle of Wall Street. When bubbles crash, you get the value guys who come in and say, ‘This thing is cheap.’ ”
Friday, April 4, 2008
Thursday, April 3, 2008
Venezuela is planning a windfall tax on what it calls "excessive" profits of energy firms to allow state revenues to benefit from high oil prices:
The tax will take 50% of oil revenues above $70 per barrel, and an additional 60% of revenues over $100 per barrel, legislator Angel Rodriguez said.
He told state news agency ABN that oil firms had surpassed "reasonable levels of profitability".
The move will affect foreign oil firms operating in Venezuela such as Chevron.
Oil is currently trading above $104 per barrel.
The proposed tax comes months after President Hugo Chavez's nationalisation drive forced out two of the world's largest energy companies - Exxon Mobil Corp and Conoco Phillips.
Exxon is seeking $12bn in compensation from Venezuela after its oilfields were nationalised last year.
The tax will also apply to state oil company PDVSA, which now controls all of Venezuela's oilfields.
"Because of high oil prices, oil companies have excessive earnings that go beyond reasonable levels of profitability," Mr Rodriguez was quoted by Reuters as telling state news agency ABN.
"One way to distribute them to our people, who are the owners of the oil, is to create this tax."
Mr Rodriguez said the measure would get initial approval from the country's Congress this week.
The Department of Environmental Protection is proposing to close nine state parks entirely, slash services at three more, and reduce offseason hours at all 42 sites.
The list of parks slated for closure includes five in the Skylands region and two each in the Shore and Delaware River regions. Hours and services at three others would be drastically reduced. Parks targeted to close include High Point State Park and Round Valley Recreation Area in the north, Monmouth Battlefield State Park at the shore and Parvin State Park in the south.
The article goes on to say some 17 million New Jerseyans use these parks and the parks slated for closure had 2 million visitors last year alone. Environmentalists say the cuts are not worth the trade-off. Ya think?
This is so short-sighted to close parks to save a few million dollars. Right now New Jersey is so totally in debt, cutting this amount of nature and use to save is as someone says in the article: "draconian."
"We have too many people in government who don't understand how important parks are for the people of New Jersey," said Jeff Tittel, executive director of the New Jersey Sierra Club. "Not everybody can have a house on Long Beach Island or the Hamptons. This is where people go on their vacations."
Why is it I dislike Corzine more and more. He tries to run the state as if it is Goldman Sachs. Cut here, cut this. Raise taxes on the rich already! It is called progressive taxation. It is the only thing that will work that does not harm the economy, and hurts those with the most who will not even feel it. It is called populism, something I am sure Governor Corzine has not heard of often.
The list of nine state parks that would close:
-- Monmouth Battlefield State Park, 2,928 acres, Monmouth County. Visitor center, restrooms, closed.
-- Stephens State Park, 805 acres, Warren County. Camping area closed.-- High Point State Park, 15,827 acres, Sussex County. Swimming, camping, interpretive center, office, closed. Trail access limited.
-- Brendan T. Byrne State Forest (formerly Lebanon State Forest), 36,647 acres, Burlington County. Camping, group picnic area, Indian King Tavern, office, closed. Trail access limited.
-- Round Valley Recreation Area, 3,684 acres, Hunterdon County. Swimming, camping, Wallace House, office, closed.
-- Parvin State Park, 1,952 acres, Salem County. Swimming, camping, interpretive center, office, closed.
-- Jenny Jump State Forest, 4,288 acres, Warren County. Camping and office, closed. Trail access limited.
-- Worthington State Forest, 6,584 acres, Warren County. Camping and office, closed. Trail access limited.
-- Fort Mott State Park, 104 acres, Salem County. Hancock House, historic sites, office, closed. Access to ferry service, open.
-- Ringwood State Park, 4,044 acres, Bergen and Passaic counties. Shepherd Lake swimming area closed; Ringwood Manor, reduced hours. State Botanical Gardens and Skylands Manor, open.
-- D&R Canal State Park, 5,379 acres, central New Jersey. Bulls Island Recreation Area closed to campers. Rockingham Historic Site and towpath, open.
-- Washington Crossing State Park, 3,126 acres, Mercer and Hunterdon counties. Significantly reduced hours at Clark House, Johnson Ferry House and the museum.
Winter hours at all remaining parks would be reduced. All but Liberty and Island Beach state parks would be closed Mondays and Tuesdays from Nov. 1 through March 31.
Wednesday, April 2, 2008
The government of Ireland decided to mistreat the Brazilians arriving in that country. (By deporting 57 Brazilians in the first three months of the year, mainly under the suspicious "law" that says anyone traveling to the EU must carry a minimum of 75 Euros a day for the duration of their stay, even if they are registered to attend a conference where that amount would not seem to be necessary.) In a case resolved by Policia Federal (Brazilian FBI), half a dozen natives of Ireland were in turn deported, focusing on people who were working in Brasil with a tourist visa.
It's a shame that Ireland has forgotten the time when it exported 5 million of its wretched, destroyed by hunger and lack of work. These embattled masses were accompanied by stereotypes as barbarians, brawlers, and drunks.There was a period when American commercial establishments put up signs on their doors stating: 'We do not accept blacks, Irish or dogs.' The madames of New York and London advertised for housekeepers with a code: "NINA," (No Irish Need Apply).
This short piece only reinforces the fear of a world ever-increasingly smaller, and the inability of countries to remain 'pure.' Whether it is the US, Ireland, Spain, or Italy, amnesia is running rampant. The immigrant of yesterday is the know-nothing of today. And so it goes.
Congress is finally going after OPEC for their obscene stranglehold on the world's energy. I was just watching this ad on CNN last night, and it looks so pretty on film, but last time I checked, Chevron wasn't richer than Lichtenstein due to their investment in geothermal energy. They, as far as I am concerned, will not do more than make nice ads unless countries force them to change. This and all the other Chevron ads are a great smokescreen. My question is: hw mcuh money will they spend to make sure they are in on the eventual Iraq oil rush?
Tuesday, April 1, 2008
Listen to this young man's story:
Then take action, here.
(Hat tip, feministing)
Speaker Pelosi Had to Intervene on Behalf of Congress Woman Tammy Baldwin's Domestic Partner on Military Flight
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was recently “forced to intervene with Defense Secretary Robert Gates” in order to get Rep. Tammy Baldwin’s (D-WI) “domestic partner on a military flight for a congressional fact-finding trip to Europe.” While House rules allow spouses to travel with members of Congress on such missions, “military officials were apparently unwilling to consider” Baldwin’s partner “a ’spouse’ within the meaning of the House guidelines.” Pelosi’s effort was successful, but the Politico reports that “[t]he Pentagon appears to be self-conscious about transporting gay domestic partners at a time when it continues to enforce a ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy in its own ranks.” Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA), another openly gay lawmaker, suggested the military is perhaps “following orders” because “the [Bush] administration disapproves of same-sex marriage.”
Wealthy people are enrolled in a state-run health care program for working poor families and criminal investigators are examining another state health program for the poor, according to new state audits that found shocking displays of wasted money.
An audit found:
• Some beneficiaries failed to report all income on NJ FamilyCare applications. Applicants authorize the program to match applications with their tax return, but the state isn't checking all tax files, allowing people with incomes of $295,000, $186,000 and $177,700 to enroll.
• About 13,000 NJ FamilyCare participants weren't sent renewal applications, though regulations require eligibility be determined annually. The audit found $43.1 million was paid to these participants from July 2005 to September without knowing if they remain eligible.
• The state failed to try to collect $4.6 million owed to NJ FamilyCare by 16,300 people.
• The state paid $2.1 million from July 2005 to December for medical equipment that should have been paid for by nursing facilities.
• The state is failing to monitor medical equipment providers. For example, it found a provider billed the Medicaid program $30,000 for 48,000 adult incontinence briefs, though the audit found only 10,000 briefs were purchased. Auditors said they've referred this and other examples to state criminal investigators.
• The state isn't properly calculating Medicaid reimbursements. For instance, auditors found the state paid $8,181 for a wheelchair that should have cost $5,705.
• The state spent $6.7 million in state and federal money more than was needed to rent oxygen equipment and buy adult incontinence briefs.
• The state, from July 2005 to December, sent as many as three blood pressure monitors to Medicaid patients, even though many come with warranties and are replaced for free by drug store chains. The audit found the state could have saved $100,000 by denying these claims.