Friday, January 29, 2010


Mayor Nick Valentine of Newburgh, was on the Neil Cavuto program on FOX News this evening suggesting that the KSM trial, the one most New Yorkers have since decided they no longer want in Manhattan, be held in his cash strapped City.

While County Exec Diana, most of the Legislature and City Council are yelling NO NO NO! We've got the Mayor looking to the Federal circus and potential harm to a big region of Orange County as a way to recoup some of the money the city invested in their new courthouse.

Stewart Air National Guard Base has been mentioned as a potential location, as was one of the local prisons, but right in the downtrodde
n City of Newburgh? For those who don't know, they restructured a city school to accommodate the City Court, but at great expense. The debt, as a result, simply compounds the fact that the City of Newburgh cant pay it's bills while laying off half it's police force.

Just the other day, Mayor Valentine told radio host Curtis Sliwa... “If they want to have it here, we’ve got the state-of-the-art courthouse. I’ll offer it to them, but there’s got to be money attached.” Everyone knows the high cost of doing anything in New York City. This must be the money source Mayor V is looking at. This trial would be the ultimate test case in security spending.

Valentine continued: “Two hundred million and something dollars to Newburgh would completely change this city around. It would double my police force. It would pay off my debt. Maybe it’s just crazy enough that we could pull something like this off.” At a time where even the President is ready to move the trial out of NYC, crazy might be the right word to use.

Thursday, January 28, 2010


The former Arizona Congressman turned radio host who intends to challenge Sen. John McCain in this year's Republican primary wants the world to know that he is an unrepentant "Tea Party Birther." The above picture is before his gastric bypass surgery.

In an appearance Tuesday on MSNBC's Hardball, former Rep. J.D. Hayworth repeatedly described Senator McCain as out of touch with Arizona conservatives and took pains to emphasize that he stands to the right of McCain on most issues. "While I think all of us think the world of John McCain ... he's just been in Washington too long," Hayworth insisted. "John is, quite candidly, a moderate."

The above paragraph was published on and followed up what Chris Matthews had asked of Mr Hayworth. Hayworth is part of the crowd that has built a following making wild accusations on his radio show about anyone who doesn't follow his tight regimen of conservatism. Now he's decided to challenge John McCain; the darling of the Republican Party who just barely lost the presidential election of 2008.

Is this what we should expect for all the moderate Republicans in the House and Senate? To answer that question, look no further than Governor Charlie Crist of Florida. This is such an interesting year.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


Well, the President of the United States delivered his first constitutionally mandated State of the Union address to the nation Wednesday night. In it, he made plenty of people happy and mad.

I know what you're thinking, why would Mike title this post as "What a liberal"?

Isn't that what the minority party is going to say for the next seven months? Just listen to that speech, I mean increasing funds for higher education? Crazy! Doubling the number of charter schools? Insane! Investing in renewable energy and diminishing our dependence on foreign oil? Bananas! I tell ya, this guy is a tree-hugger from Oregon!

And how dare he wind down our number of troops in Iraq. Like he promised that on the campaign trail or something. And who does he think he is adding troops and resources in Afghanistan? Did Barbra Streisand order this?

Someone please explain to me why Obama would want to hold the banking and finance firms accountable for their innocent missteps during the deregulated decade from hell? It wasn't their fault! And this notion that we should drill off the U.S. coast for oil and gas, now I know Jane Fonda is hiding in the White House somewhere.

Seriously, he did show to the American public, (the small portion that actually pays attention to this stuff) that he means business while acknowledging he made missteps himself during his first year in office. The challenge here is whether the minority party, namely the 41 Republican Senators, are willing to talk when he goes to resert with their leadership next week.

Funny thing, the response by the new Governor from Virginia, included a plea to drill off the coast, while allowing cross state insurance purchases; both are in the senate health reform proposal. I guess he didn't read it either. And who
were those people in his chamber? Campaign staff?

Question: will he make good on his promise to repeal DADT and equal pay for women in the workplace? One he passed without teeth, the other just plain forgot. All in all, I was moved throughout the address and, forgive me for the sarcastic start to this piece, found his ability to embrace his shortcomings, considering what he inherited upon taking office, to be quite refreshing and reassuring.

Healthcare reform isn't going away anytime soon and the commission to find government spending cuts will be established by executive ord
er, even though the Republican sponsors of the Senate proposal voted against it in the final hour.
Did you see the President practically scold the Supreme Court for their screw up last week? Nice!

In the end, we have to go back out there in the days ahead, continue our duties, support our families and look to each other to help make this country better than how we found it.

Whether on the City Council, County Legislature, State Assembly or the U.S. Congress, you set out each day with that intent. We are expected to accomplish something to better the community through whatever means we have available. Will we see the party of NO reach out and act toward our benefit in the years to come? One can only hope.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


America's favorite Pimp, with the help of a few friends, has attempted to bug a Federal office in Louisiana. The offices of Senator Mary Landrieu. When I say pimp, I'm talking about James O'Keefe of the Acorn pimp scandal of 2009. One of his helpers was Bobby Flanagan, whose father is serving as that state's U.S. Attorney. Not good at all.

What were these youngsters thinking? Well, the general assumption is that they wanted to pull a stunt that would top their antics regarding the Acorn pimp scandal. The troupe is still embroiled in court proceedings since their little act skated on illegal entrapment and false representation. With all that on their backs why would they take such a chance at this level when Landrieu was already looking like a sure defeat in November?

CNN and MSNBC have had some fun with this one, the networks have pretty much decided to wait until tomorrow, and I'm sure you're wondering about the other one. Nadda. Remember how Beck milked the Acorn scandal for all he could for what...7 weeks? Well. I'm curious if they'll spend more than 30 seconds on the Federal lawbreakers they had previously held in such high regard.

O’Keefe’s has already admitted to assisting in the the plan to enter the office under false pretenses and shortly after, a fourth member of their team was caught two blocks away with wireless reception equipment by the same make at what the boys had in the office. Good stuff.

Below is a small portion of the FBI report I found through the AP. It describes the event in better detail than some of the opinion shows on television:

According to the FBI affidavit, Flanagan and Basel entered the federal building at 500 Poydras Street about 11 a.m. Monday, dressed as telephone company employees, wearing jeans, fluorescent green vests, tool belts, and hard hats. When they arrived at Landrieu’s 10th floor office, O’Keefe was already in the office and had told a staffer he was waiting for someone to arrive.

When Flanagan and Basel entered the office, they told the staffers they were there to fix phone problems. At that time, the staffers, referred to only as Witness 1 in the affidavit, observed O’Keefe positioning his cell phone in his hand to videotape the operation. O’Keefe later admitted to agents that he recorded the event.

After being asked, the staffer gave Basel access to the main phone at the reception desk. The staffer told investigators that Basel manipulated the handset. He also tried to call the main office phone using his cell phone, and said the main line wasn’t working. Flanagan did the same.

They then told the staffer they needed to perform repair work on the main phone system and asked where the telephone closet was located. The staffer showed the men to the main General Services Administration office on the 10th floor, and both went in. There, a GSA employee asked for the men’s credentials, after which they stated they left them in their vehicle.

I think we are to assume that these 20-somethings have no recollection of the fun times this country had during the Watergate scandal. You know "federal wire taps" and the attempt to cover it up?

The two statutes that snagged the culprits back then are still on the books today. Sections 1036 and 1362 of Title 18 are offered as links for you to look at, but the more serious charge is section 1362:

Whoever willfully or maliciously injures or destroys any of the works, property, or material of any radio, telegraph, telephone or cable, line, station, or system, or other means of communication, operated or controlled by the United States, or used or intended to be used for military or civil defense functions of the United States, whether constructed or in process of construction, or willfully or maliciously interferes in any way with the working or use of any such line, or system, or willfully or maliciously obstructs, hinders, or delays the transmission of any communication over any such line, or system, or attempts or conspires to do such an act, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both.

What effect do you think this will have on the Landrieu Senate race as a result of this botched TappingGate scandal? Will the voters see her as a victim of another conspiracy and re-elect her as a result? Or will they get the impression that these boys were on to something worth risking their freedom?

Update: as of 8:32 Wednesday evening, O'Reilly allocated 46 seconds to this story. Pretty much brushed it off as a foolish prank.

Monday, January 25, 2010


This Monday afternoon, fellow Legislator Hayes and I attended the monthly meeting of the Advisory Council for the Office of the Aging. A group made up of concerned citizens from across the the county and from every socio-economic background.

The meeting was attended by the director Anne Cardinale. She was on hand to explain details to both Jack and I on what the council does and what impact the Legislature has on the operations, both fiscally and program wise. Luckily this department escaped the slashing of funds in the last budget session.

The Office for the Aging is an organization that assists Ulster County seniors to be as independent as possible, for as long as possible. They work as aids and advocates for our seniors, offering information and referrals, as well as providing programs for a variety of services. Nutrition, and body strength as well as keeping seniors engaged with the community.

One program that has caught the attention of the folks in Albany is the "Stay at Home" program. One of the 15 Non-Profit organizations that the state awarded grant money was "Family of Woodstock". The grants will provide funding for innovative programs and activities that support and enhance opportunities for community participation in planning and creating aging friendly neighborhoods. In other words, our elders, who opt into the program pay an annual fee of $250 for membership and become part of a network that helps with property management, transportation, physical therapy and shopping as well as social activities.

There are other programs as well, notably the thousands of meals they provide county wide and the events they sponsor throughout the year. What was asked of Jack and I, was the continued interest of the Legislators and the need for a few elected officials to serve a term on the Advisory Council. They can be at any position in any town in the county.

The meetings are held on Monday afternoons late in the month at the UCAT compound on Golden Hill. Perhaps one of my former colleagues on the Common Council would like to join. Hint hint.

Sunday, January 24, 2010


It seems some things never change in communist China. The state has produced a full length documentary picture depicting the life of Confucius and didn't want anything getting in the way of showing it to the masses.

What has gotten in the way? Avatar of course. The American blockbuster, has proved wildly popular with moviegoers in China. However, the non-3D version will be pulled in the next few days from the majority of Chinese theaters.

Only now, with this startling issue with "Avatar" did I hear that China Limits the number of foreign films permitted to be shown in the country to 20 per year. The New York Times reported that Chinese officials often ban any foreign films deemed unfriendly to the Communist Party. I think we expected that.

Who knew it would be a runaway hit in China the same as it is here in the states. Having said that, the authorities say it's dominated the movie market too long and smothers local Chinese competition. Imagine a sentence like that coming from the Chinese with their export history.

This would be a good time for these officials to consider their words. If, on the rare occasion that an American product, like a blockbuster film is to be restricted from showing in China, perhaps America should consider consuming less of their products in return. Judging by the crowds of sheep buying everything at WalMart, you wont see that anytime soon, but it's fun to imagine.

Chinese officials were apparently curbing the run of “Avatar” because they wanted to protect the box office returns of domestic films and since “Avatar” had already run longer than the typical 10 days allowed for foreign films they felt it should be limited. Could the authorities be worried that the subject matter in the movie may be hinting on a story line that might be uncomfortable to the State? Hmmm.

For those who worry that sanctions will be placed on Chinese goods in the near future, don't worry. We don't make anything here in the USA anymore. Most of it comes from communist China. Without it, Americans would have to just lay down and give up.

Saturday, January 23, 2010


Most of us are aware of the incidence of Legionnaires' disease at the Golden Hill Nursing facility in Kingston. In the last several days, the authorities and health officials have gone through the building and grounds to look for the source and the means to eradicate the bacteria.

I attended the quickly called meeting of the Health & Human Services Committee (HHS) a few days ago and left with a renewed sense of confidence in our health staff and diminished fears of what the future hold for the current residents.

You've heard about the hot-water flush they have done to the domestic water pipes. It was one of very few options to achieve this goal, it's also the least threatening to the water system that is already well past it's prime. Because of the weak pipes throughout the building, Lowe Plumbing was called in to have personnel stationed with equipment on the ready to shut down any leaks that may occur when the flush is done.

We know 17 of the 32 samples taken from locations throughout the facility revealed evidence of the bacteria. But we were also
informed at the meeting, that Legionella is not that uncommon in New York State. Anywhere that water is transported through long distance pipes at mild temperatures is susceptible to contaminants. Hot water pipes in at Golden Hill travel as far as 400 feet from the water heater. Legionella, like other forms of Pneumonia, take hold and cause harm in persons with compromised health immunities.

The name of the disease stems from the original cases in the 70's where the American Legion Hall was frequented by the elderly and thus fertile ground to cause an epidemic. The situation is similar here in that clients at Golden Hill are more susceptible than the general public. Persons with compromised health situations anywhere are more susceptible to complications from exposure.

One client at Golden Hill passed away recently and, although not the cause of death, Legionella was present in the client's system. Thus, tests were done on anyone with respiratory ailments and another was discovered. I understand that when only one person is afflicted with Legionella at any one location, it usually goes unannounced throughout the state. Only when there are two or more, does the New York State officials get involved at this level.

I should also point out that not only have the Golden Hill staff been terrific in their handling of this issue, but the fact that Health Director La Mar Hasbrouck is an actual MD which provided such a wealth of insight and training during what could have been a bigger disaster.

The City of Kingston Water Department does monthly testing of the water at the facility, taken at several random locations during the year, but they do no have the ability to test for Legionella. This too will change. Only hours after the incident was confirmed, KWD offered as solution to the problem. A little late I'd say. Other means will be instituted for the continued testing of the water.

This will no doubt spur the conversation once again about what the county should do about it's ancient Health Care Campus and whether the county should be in the health care business at all. The service is high quality, but the cost to the taxpayer will continue to increase until the federal government provides a clearer message as to where funding sources and insurance payments will come from.

What struck me was at one point someone said: "We are going to flush the new wing first". The age of the new wing? Early 70's.
It's still called the new wing! Good grief.

Thursday, January 21, 2010


The recent 5 to 4 vote by the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) has just lifted all campaign donation restrictions on corporations and unions, stating that they, although created through law, are to be considered individuals and have open prerogative to spend what they will during elections.

This means corporate board rooms have the potential to become Political Action Committees with the ability to spread unlimited amounts of money, (without consent of the shareholders) on the candidates of their choosing. Essentially, buying the politician they want and pretty much dictating legislation through their puppet in office.

Just imagine: AETNA, Blue Cross and Pharma can now toss money at the pro-insurance candidate of choice openly, instead of through their fake PACs. (that have been pretty successful enough) Now GE, IBM, AIG and BOA can now pay for commercials on national television with their names at the top. This goes for SEIU and AFL CIO as well. No more hiding.

So every time you donate your $10, $50 or $100 to any candidate of your choice, these major corporations can match, double or triple anything in opposition while feeling nothing. In campaigns of late, we've seen how money has practically paid for votes; the numbers are staggering. Now the limits are gone.

This is the most evident case of activist judges as I've ever seen it. There were no precedents to refer, no dire loss of life to protect and a century of clearly stated proclamations as to why previous Supremes have left this issue as it's stated, and yet, this Court, in 2010 has decided, at the behest of the largest corporate voices in the land, chose to repeal all restrictions on corporate funding of campaigns.

Do you realize what WalMart is about to do to any local politician that tries to restrict one of their mega-stores? Or if you say anything negative about Natural Gas Well Fracking? Count your days baby!

I think we are in a heap of crap on this one.
Welcome to the United Corporate States of America.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010


This Wednesday afternoon, I had the opportunity to attend the monthly meeting of the Criminal Justice Council held in the County building. The group, like many of the committees and commissions across the county are getting their leadership and missions in order after another change in the Legislature.

I attended for the purpose of witnessing the functions of yet another think tank. This one is no joke. By the end of the two hour session, I was convinced that I would like to be a regular member.

Membership i
ncludes personnel from Probation, Law enforcement, and DSS as well as UCCC, DA's Office, city & county court and the Public Defender's office. The members of the Legislature who joined me, Carl Belfiglo and Jack Hayes, are just as enthused to see what they can do to affect change in Ulster County and the trend in recidivism and cost of Law Enforcement.

Preliminary discussions to get us up-to-speed included a run down on how the courts handle cases, judges discretionary dictates in people moving, the unfunded mandates in DNA and information collection as well as the re-entry programs and the diminished funds in which to operate them.

When reviewing stats on the cost of incarcerated and space, I asked if they could elaborate on what percent of the inmates were illegal immigrants that could be handed over to the Federal facility in Orange County. They said, all instances of illegals that get this far are automatically transferred to INS, however, local law enforcement would have to want to pursue federal law enforcement as the minor infractions occur in their townships. They are primarily slack in this area, so there is limited incarceration costs for the county.

It was noted that the change in the Roc Drug Laws has pushed the case load for probation to a new level since the sentences are less related to jail time.

We also heard about the drastic up-tic in costs to cover the court assigned counsel, since the trend is to have single representation for each defender, as if these lawyers couldn't handle more than one case at a time. What gives?

I hope to secure a space on this Council to aid in the continued transition that most members feel is slow moving. There are decades of non-attention to these matters that only a few years ago warranted the formation of this think tank. I think it's marvellous. Lets make something happen.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


Unofficial results with 93% of the election districts reporting have Scott Brown accepted as the next Senator of Massachusetts. Beating out Martha Coakley, the states AG, he gets the privilege of stopping the HealthCare reform bill that resembles a mere bailout for the insurance industry.

He may have tempered his disdain for Marriage Equality, and no-longer beats the drum to repeal Roe V Wade, but he is still quite tethered to the Tea Party movement. It shouldn't be long before he also discovers the difficulty in acting on what he ran on once he experiences the workings in DC.

I also see this as an opportunity. Reid and company ended up with a compromised bill to reform the nation's healthcare system that was so riddled with gifts to big Pharma, loopholes for the insurance cartel and of course sweetheart deals for select states, that a hurtle such as this may help the American people in the end.

I don't mean throw the whole proposal away and leave things be, I'm suggesting the return of the original reform bill with the public option that 71% of Americans supported. Lets face it, just as many progressives as conservatives hated what was left of the bill as it hit the joint conference. Now it's time to step back and reshuffle.

Sen Jim Webb is right that the Senate should wait until Brown is seated before taking action on HCR. But with the number of majority members cut by one, kinda pushes Webb's significance to a lower level in that they have an alternative that may not include him, Lieberman and others. Reconciliation.

In the end, lets just hope this dramatic election, reawakens the sense of duty for those who remain and set out to provide a proper alternative to the private insurance companies. Its still the only viable avenue to lower healthcare costs and cover more people.

Congrats to Scott Brown.

Monday, January 18, 2010


According to the New York Times, Andrew Cuomo is way ahead in the fundraising race for this years general election. With more than $16 million in his campaign account, he finds himself as top dog in the state financially. Other reports have Paterson holding about $4 million. We are hearing less about the other contenders, some of which I have pointed out here.

It's quite the gap. If someone were to read the numbers and have to make an assumption, you could easily expect our AG to run away with the Democratic nomination for Governor this year. That is, if the Democrats want a democratic governor.

The Post says Paterson has been spending more than he's been bringing in over the last six months, in hopes to bolster his sagging approval ratings, but I don't see it working. He's also spending a heap of cash on insider handlers like PR personnel. I think he may have wasted his money there too.

Steve Levy, as I mentioned last week, still has almost $5 million. But he's turned out to be as viable a Gubernatorial candidate for the Democrats as Harold Ford is for Senate. Can you say DINO? The Times went on to highlight the $32 million that Eliot Spitzer spent in 2006. They're all going to have raise plenty more money, and fast.

You all realize, this leaves the question as to who will run for AG, Lieutenant Governor and whether Tom Dinapoli is seeking his post as Comptroller. Those options on both sides will start to reveal themselves as the spring gets closer. Meanwhile, I'm expecting all the candidates to incorporate the fundraising methods we just saw with the Haiti relief into their own campaigns.

Example: Just text CUOMO to 55505 to donate $10 to his campaign! Wouldn't that be a revolution in fundraising efforts? They'd all be doing it and you'd have to keep a list of five digit numbers handy as you walk door to door this summer. Sounds crazy, but don't expect anything less.

The last push for funds before the January deadline was still through the old fashioned method of Email, asking supporters to donate $15 by this weekend. The key point here is Email is already "Old Fashioned." Today you better be savvy in the fields of Texting, FaceBook and Twitter if you want to run for high office. I have a feeling, Andrew will be the first to utilize this revolutionary trend in communication long before the others.

You can reach me at

Sunday, January 17, 2010


Called one of America’s Best Comics—Brad Zimmerman serves up laughs in

“My Son the Waiter: A Jewish Tragedy”

@ The Rosendale Theatre on Sunday, January 17 at 8 pm

Ticket Price: $12.50; Tickets can be reserved or purchased at the box office at showtime.

Zimmerman is an actor/comic who opened for George Carlin during the last two years of Carlin’s life—he presently opens for Joan Rivers and Brad Garrett as well as headlining nationwide on his own. Zimmerman may be remembered one of his TV acting gigs as Johnny Sacks lawyer, Ron Pearse in The Sopranos. His latest one-man show, “My Son the Waiter: A Jewish Tragedy” is a combination of theater and standup—cited by Ray Romano’s manager as “Brilliant!”

This theatrical-comedic show is performed in his inimitable comic style weaving an intricate and bittersweet tale of one man's lengthy struggle to make it as an actor in New York. His homey send-ups on his childhood, family, career and misbegotten love life are as warm and poignant as they are hilarious.

Zimmerman said, "This show is completely autobiographical—if you haven't made a penny acting in ten years and you have a Jewish mother, you're going to have conversations. Those are in the play."

It’s also been said that Zimmerman's material isn't just funny, it's provocative and moving.

Brad Zimmerman performed some excerpts from his brand new one man show. He was hysterically funny, brilliant and captured the attention of all who attended. Brad is a comedian and actor who lights up the stage with his endless energy and humor. He has a very special connection to his audience and no matter how many attendees there are and seems to have the unique ability to reach out and touch the hearts of the entire crowd.

For more information and reservations call Rochelle Riservato at 845-658-9613 or email her at and put Brad Zimmerman Show in the subject line, please. Tickets can be reserved or purchased at the Rosendale Theatre Box Office on show date. Theatre: 845-658-8989

Saturday, January 16, 2010


A sobering comment from Jamie Lee Curtis:

The images tell it all. How can it be? Yet again, with the advent of technology we are there, intimate in the grief, desperation, hopelessness and deep frustration that in a time of great crisis we/you/they are alone, no aid for days.

As the National Red Cross Spokesperson for their Do More Than Cross Your Fingers Campaign of Disaster Preparedness, I am well aware of the need for each person's self sufficiency in the moment of crisis. In the case of Haiti, the very infrastructure, however weak, to help in the time of need was itself crippled and crumbled. In this great time of global commitment stop for a second and ask yourself, have I done more than cross my fingers?

A disaster could strike you and your family in your own communities. We watched Katrina. We watched how quickly anarchy and self preservation turned stunned and hungry, angry, hurting masses into mobs desperate for water, food, shelter, HELP. Trying to get aid for a sick or injured child.

Are we prepared? Doubtful. I am not proselytizing about my mighty way or the highway, that I am some pillar of preparedness, but yes, I am prepared here in my home in Los Angeles for a big, catastrophic earthquake but we all need to be. We cannot expect our government to help us individually in the first days after a crisis. The need is too much.

Triage... Help the most needy. Rescuing where there is the greatest need. Chances are you, in your insular life will not be their priority - so be your OWN. Go to the websites. Download the lists, basics, water, one gallon per PERSON per DAY and have at least a WEEKS supply. FLASHLIGHTS, FOOD, PRESCRIPTIONS, GLASSES, HEALTH DOCUMENTS, SHOES and CLOTHES and a CROWBAR to help open doors that are affected when the lintel's sag. Do more than cross your fingers.

I'm sure there were some disaster supplies in Haiti somewhere, but sadly, they were buried. We are going to need to rely on our neighbors and communities as the government agencies try to help the cities. We are all still wondering why it takes so long to get aid in, water, food. The basics. I don't know and I applaud all the efforts being made on behalf of the fallen and failing and fragile lives, hanging in the balance.

Remember the NorthEast Power blackout? The numerous blizzards? Get started preparing for your own disaster relief. Prepare to be helped by YOU.

Friday, January 15, 2010


This just in from a report on the Huffington Post regarding the 11th hour Healthcare Reform negotiations.

Sen. Ben Nelson of Nebraska is asking Senate leaders to eliminate a controversial Medicaid deal for his state in the health care bill.

The moderate Democrat, who provided the crucial 60th vote for the Senate health care bill, has been criticized because Nebraska was exempted paying any cost of a proposed expansion of Medicaid.

All other states would have to pick up a portion of the tab after the first few years.

Nelson's been arguing ever since that he never wanted a special deal for Nebraska and that he wants all states protected from burdensome new costs.

That didn't quiet the controversy so Nelson took it one step further on Friday and asked for the deal to be withdrawn and replaced with a provision treating all states equally.

Anyone think this will help speed this contaminated piece of Insurance Bailout get through session before the Massachusetts election this Tuesday? I Doubt it.

Thursday, January 14, 2010


Wednesday, January 13, 2010

RED CROSS RELIEF: you can help!

Everyone has heard about the disaster that has consumed the Island country of Haiti. The situation there was dire before the earthquake hit Tuesday. Now, with the death toll mounting and the sense of desperation setting in, people around the world are finally paying attention. Rescue efforts will come from the US and numerous UN affiliates as the next few days offer a clearer assessment of the losses, but there is something you can do.

While watching Larry King CNN, I heard Ben Stiller mention a phone number with an avenue for ordinary people like us to make a small donation. Just text the word HAITI to the number 90999 and $10 will be transferred to the Red Cross from your phone bill.

This simple task has already yielded a few million dollars toward the relief.
The regular network news programs and most of the 24 hour cable news programs have kept up-to-the-minute reporting on the situation. That is, all but one, and even that one has picked up the coverage since day two.

I expect everyone of all philosophies to make the effort to donate in some form, because what you've seen on TV so far, is only going to get worse.

*1/15 Update: Rescue efforts are just making initial impact, the amount donated through the text method has surpassed $10 Million and now ALL news channels have comparable Haiti coverage. Nice


A community group that has secured the right to purchase the Rosendale Theatre is holding an information and organizational meeting Thursday.

The Rosendale Theatre Collective has until mid-April to raise a total of $600,000. The community is invited to hear an update on the purchase and participate in talks about fundraisers and planning for the theater.

Originally a firehouse, The Cacchio family bought and renovated what was then a defunct casino and turned it into the theatre that stands today. Showing films and live performances since 1949.

Being on
e of the last single screen family run theaters in the country, I think this would be a good reason to get out Thursday night. The meeting is at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Rosendale Recreation Center on Route 32.

Once again; thank you to the Cacchio family for the decades of good Theatre for the community.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010


Get ready for the slap in the face you've been expecting. I say that because we all know that the execs on Wall Street havent learned nor care to understand that the public bailed them out and dont want the practice of mega-bonuses going out to those who are most responsible.

Goldman Sachs top traders and bankers stand to earn at least $10 million each with a total payout of around $20 Billion. This is just one of the many firms WE made whole during the fiscal crisis of 2008 & 2009. With the damage done, and two Presidents to blame, the American taxpayer wants answers. We want answers!

I stumbled upon a Tweet from ABC News with a list of their top ten compensatory members. So I swiped the list:


Pierre-Henri Flamand is a French-born 39-year-old who was rumored to have been paid $100 million a few years ago. Flamand is the London-based global head of Goldman's purely proprietary trading group, Sachs Principal Strategies.

Ashok Varadhan, one of Goldman's top fixed-income guns, (who made partner in 2002 at age 29), is the global head of foreign exchange trading in North America.

David Heller joined Goldman in Asia in the late 1980s. He has risen within the firm, becoming the head of global equity a few years ago. Last year, he was named co-head of the Securities Division. Goldman's equities division delivered $2.8 billion in revenues in the third quarter alone.

Ed Eisler
is head of interest rate trading, which is part of Goldman's most profitable division, Fixed Income Commodities and Currency. The FICC group contributed the lion's share of the firm's $24 billion in trading revenues recorded through the first nine months of the year.


Raanan Agus, 41-year-old manager of Goldman Sachs Investment Partners, a $7 billion hedge fund created at the start of 2008. Agus, a world-class chess enthusiast who is known to prefer Honda minivans to Hummers, runs the GSIP fund within Goldman's asset management division, which has nearly $1 trillion under management.

Marc Spilker
, who helps run Goldman's entire massive investment management business. Spilker's area produces nearly $1 billion in revenues each quarter.


Harvey Schwartz, Goldman's head of global sales and a co-head of the firm's securities division.

Isabelle Ealet, London-based global head of commodities and who runs the sales team for this hugely successful trading operation. She ranks No. 32 on Fortune magazine's list of the most powerful women in business.


Gordon Dyal, global head of mergers and acquisitions. According to Deallogic, Goldman ranked No.1 in global M&A transactions through the first three-quarters of the year. Its investment banking division had produced $3.2 billion in net revenue. said one Wall Street headhunter.

Richard Friedman
, 51-year-old head of Goldman's merchant banking division. A few years ago he helped pull off the historic initial public offering of the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China. Goldman has maintained a modest investment stake in ICBC, which continues to produce eye-popping returns -- ICBC shares yielded Goldman $1.1 billion worth of revenue through the first nine months of 2009.

In the next few days, you may catch some of the first public hearings of the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, You'll get the chance to hear CEO Lloyd Blankfein try to explain the current fiscal solvency of Goldman Sachs without really touching on the pending pay-outs WE are about to give these execs. I don't have to remind you that Blankfein, took the reins of the company after his predecessor Hank Paulson, became treasury secretary in the Bush administration.

You may ask why I type WE when I speak of those responsible for saving these institutions. Well that's because Goldman was among a slew of banks that took TARP funds in 2008. I know everyone has heard all the rumblings of criticism that Goldman made billions on the back of the American taxpayer. The reason to be angry is well founded, so don't feel you are alone when you read and hear these reports of mega-bonuses in weeks to come.

It gives a whole new reason to ask;

Sunday, January 10, 2010


It seems THR reporter Sandy Tomcho got the scoop that Adrian Grenier, of ENTOURAGE fame, has been spending a bit of time in Kingston with his bandmates recording some new tracks.
I was intrigued to know that he and a number of TV land performers have taken to the Indi-Rock scene. What didn't shock me was that they would use the facilities in Kingston & Woodstock to do their recording.

Grenier is also the drummer for new wave/folk band the Honey Brothers. The band is recording with Grammy-winning producer Malcolm Burn in his Kingston studio. Sandy went on to report that Grenier stopped in for some pizza Monday, Jan 4th at Sami's Pizzeria. The manager and some patrons recognized him and got some pictures.

The article also went on to say the band members have stayed at the Stone House Bed and Breakfast in Hurley. To see photos, visit: and look for the posting under December 3rd.

The point of this Blog post? The entertainment and art world are well aware of the qualities of our area. The current is underground. They do their art, go about their business and move on. Our goal on the leadership end? Better advertise and inform the world that we are here, inexpensive, talented and ready to do business. Look at the post below and get involved.


Here is a quick note for anyone whose business relates to the Tourism industry:

Ulster County Tourism is putting together its 2010 Travel Guide, listing tourism-based businesses, attractions, annual fairs, festivals and events.
Any Ulster County accommodation facility, cultural or recreational site, or agri-tourism business that would like to receive a free listing in the travel guide should call 340-3566.
Only those businesses and attractions whose primary business is tourism-based will be considered for inclusion.
The deadline for submission is January 30th.

Saturday, January 09, 2010


You all know, I have occasionally done updates on Blackwater and highlighted what this private killing army does in OUR name. Well, it's really just a way to vent my frustration during a situation that none of us have control over. Even as the Presidential election over a year ago has changed leadership in DC, you see not much has been done to alter this Global PR mess.

Thursday, January 07, 2010


Kirsten Gillibrand had recently posted a detailed warning about products that have potential to harm children and pregnant women. I thought I would pass it on to you.

I'm a Mom with two little boys at home and I consider it my duty to be a voice for parents in Washington to fight for and to protect kids in whatever way I can.

Which is why I was so disturbed by a recent study by Consumer Reports that revealed that a dangerous chemical called bisphenol-A, commonly known as BPA, has been found in a wide range of common products used by children – such as baby bottles, canned formula and canned food.

Even more shocking is that, according to the study, BPA has been found in humans at levels higher than previously thought and in food with containers advertised as BPA free.

BPA is an endocrine disruptor, which can mimic the body's own hormones, and the adverse health effects of BPA on women and children, particularly pregnant women and infants, can be extremely serious. According to a division of the Department of Health and Human Services, BPA is potentially dangerous to human development and reproduction. More than 100 published studies have shown possible links to breast cancer, obesity and neurological disorders. Even low-level exposure to BPA may impact neural development and behavior, and lead to early puberty in girls.

Allowing our children to continue to be broadly exposed to this harmful chemical is unacceptable. The time to ban BPA from food and beverage packaging marketed to kids is now.

Like all parents, I expect to have faith and confidence that the products my family consumes are safe. This study shook that confidence and inspired me to take action. Last month, I was proud to join with my colleague Senator Chuck Schumer to announce the BPA-Free Kids Act – legislation that would protect infants and toddlers from the health risks from BPA by banning this chemical from products such as baby bottles, sippy cups, bowls, plates and utensils used by children ages three and under.

In 2008, Canada became the first country in the world to ban plastic baby bottles with bisphenol-A. If Canada can do it, so can we.

Through testing standards, product labeling requirements, and stiff penalties, along with additional research into BPA, this legislation would result in a great step forward towards ensuring the health of our most vulnerable.

But we can’t stop there. The Consumer Reports study showed alarming BPA levels in a range of canned foods – including green beans, tuna fish, and soups. In response, Senator Schumer and I are co-sponsoring legislation with Senator Diane Feinstein that would permanently ban BPA from all food and beverage containers, including canned food.


With the coming of a new year, comes a list of promises from the governing bodies throughout the country. Ulster County was no different. This past Wednesday night, January 6th, the ceremonies that welcomed the 16th induction of the Ulster County Legislature took place. Yours truly was right in the middle of it all.

Transparency and bipartisanship were the themes we heard throughout the evening. Small steps were made in that effort during the last two sessions, but apparently, not enough. Mind you, the Democrats took control in 2006 just as the Charter Revision was taking place, combined with the fact that they hadn't held control of the Legislature for decades before then. Now, during the last class of "Fiddlers 33" the Republicans get to steer the last bloated ship to dock.

As you see above, Chairman Wadnola was chosen unanimously and the audience got to hear some humorous banter during our first organizational session. Parting wishes were offered to those leaving the body as well as Congrats to those joining.

During one odd exchange, the Democratic caucus took the initiative to reinstate the original language describing the Mission Statement of the Committee Chaired by Terry Bernardo. Racing through the agenda, we fully expected to hear someone from the majority motion to amend the watered down version on the floor, but there was silence. So, Legislators Provenzano, Zimet, Parete and Donaldson had a one party conversation with the new chairman regarding protocol with the result of unanimous vote to reinstate the original language. Congrats Terry!

Chairman Wadnola called on lawmakers from both sides of the political aisle to put aside their partisan differences and work together “in a real bipartisan effort” to do what must be done for the county’s residents. I think the Democrats made that impression on day one.

Now, as a County Legislator, I join the chorus of members who claim the Legislature must assert itself as a separate but equal branch of a government. Many of my colleagues have been in office long enough to still feel the former duties in their routine. I, having just come from the Common Council, join them knowing the separation of the two branches quite well. Lets see where this takes me and the 16th Legislature as we head into 2010.