Saturday, December 31, 2011


Wednesday, December 28, 2011


Tuesday, December 27, 2011



Now that 2011 has come to a close, lets look at a small issue that since the reports came out, the main stream media have chosen to ignore.
During 2010, our planet saw the largest increase in carbon emissions since the Industrial Revolution.

There. I said it. According to the Global Carbon Project, an international group of scientists tracking these numbers, emissions during that one year jumped about 6%. This is scary stuff. Question is, why haven't the news outlets pounced on this?
Nature Geoscience Journal published a report detailing the evidence that confirms just how much humans contribute to this disaster since 1950. That would be three quarters in case you're interested. Let it be known that 10 of the hottest years ever recorded have occurred in the last 15 years.
What are world leaders going to do about it? They're going to jump right on this issue, right? 
Ha! Fooled you. These turds are going to wait another eight years to cut emissions. And not a minute before dammit! 
In all fairness, they do intend to have some resemblance of a plan by 2015, but don't hold your breath. These folks only serve themselves and those who contribute the most money to their campaigns. Coincidently, the worst polluters are usually those same financial supporters.
Although the EPA has finally accepted CO2 as a contributing pollutant, it seems the US will participate in the "kicking the can" mentality while the Durbin agreement, which contains plenty of loopholes, states emissions won’t be cut until 2020. (Long after the current knuckleheads in Congress have made their fortunes and moved on)
Is this the year that we eventually look back and say, Yeah, that's when us humans took the path of no return, the inevitable ruination of our planet? I certainly hope not.


Friday, December 16, 2011


Another brilliant mind lost. Such a shame.

Friday, December 09, 2011


I say move Dylan's show to 7pm so more people see his no-nonsense program.

Thursday, December 08, 2011


The essence of any struggle for healthy liberty has always been, and must always be, to take from some one man or class of men the right to enjoy power, or wealth, or position, or immunity, which has not been earned by service to his or their fellows. That is what you fought for in the Civil War, and that is what we strive for now... We grudge no man a fortune in civil life if it is honorably obtained and well used. It is not even enough that it should have been gained without doing damage to the community. We should permit it to be gained only so long as the gaining represents benefit to the community.
This, I know, implies a policy of a far more active governmental interference with social and economic conditions in this country than we have yet had, but I think we have got to face the fact that such an increase in governmental control is now necessary.
                      - Teddy Roosevelt

Wednesday, December 07, 2011


Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's truly remarkable speech... "Gay rights are human rights, and human rights are gay rights."  It's worth your time.

Monday, December 05, 2011


WiThePeople recently posted this video of Diane Reeder. She is the Executive Director of The Queens Galley, a food insecurity resource center she founded in 2006.  
The website pointed out that when the Queens Galley first opened, they served about 1,200 meals per month.  Now, in 2011, they serve between 9,000 and 9,500 meals per month.
Queens Galley is located on Washington Avenue in Kingston NY.
For more information on The Queens Galley, visit

Thursday, December 01, 2011


You've just got to see this commercial put out by Ron Paul.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011



The Ulster County Legislature had a public hearing on the Animal Abuse Registry this Tuesday evening. People convicted of animal abuse through the court process would be required to register with the Sheriffs department just as if they were on the sexual predator list.
Through decades of study, several organizations have found that there is a strong link between people who abuse animals and those who would do the same to other people. Usually leading to unspeakable crimes. This only moved members of the Legislature to act with more determination.
Anyone on such a list would be restricted from buying or even adopting domestic animals from dealers, shops, breeders or even through the shelters. Those who would be caught selling domestic animals without the proper background check could be fined up to $2,500 for each occurrence.

There is one note of resistance. PETCO is concerned with their staff being persecuted for selling feeder mice, gold fish and crickets because of this law and is asking that it be struck down. 
For a company that has no intention of ever coming to Ulster County, they are simply worried that if this passes, other counties will follow suit and their staff will have to actually know how to run a computer when selling one of their mill puppies.
I want to thank the team: Supervisor Carl Chipman, Legislators Kevin Roberts and Terry Bernardo for making this happen. I appreciate the passionate support from the public speakers and I'm thrilled that the Legislature is ready to make this a reality.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011


While most of America was either feasting or shopping over the late November weekend, middle class people continued to occupy strategic parks in major cities across the country. The 99%, who represent all households making less than $300K/year, have finally manifested a tax plan for public consumption. 

   This is a simple concept of tax fairness. Just the idea makes certain media moguls quiver. Its central component is that it is based on current US income distribution. These are the figures from 2011 as of September.  
This plan will increase U.S. Federal Government annual revenue from $3.4 trillion to $4.7 trillion for a net gain of $1.3 trillion per year. Depending on what our leadership decides to do with this additional revenue, it could be used for deficit reduction or economic stimulus. Either way, it would help jump start this country's economy. But then you'd have to want that to happen.
Anyone making less than $125K/year as an individual or $250K as a couple would see a tax rate drop from the current 36% cap to 33% but no lower than 1%. This may strike anyone paying attention as odd since all we hear about from the advocates for the wealthy is that they pay more than their share of taxes. That rate shown here has them shifting from as high as 51% to about 33% with us 99% paying 66% of the tax burden. 
If you study the graphic above you'll see the tax plan is designed to run the Fed on one-third of all American income to include income made from estates and personal investment. It would also be useful in enforcing social responsibility upon multinational corporations whom would then be forced to compete with smaller firms. As the new tax structure matured, you'd see increased hiring in the American small business world. Our small business community provides most of the jobs in this country. 
In one WaPo article they mention that the bottom tax rate for the Top 1% of all earners is 42%. Taxation does not approach 50% until individual AGI is $500,000 and remains at 51% until $312M Individual AGI. 
Another issue that would be addressed is that the Federal government offers well over $1 Trillion every year in tax breaks, subsidies for individuals and companies that are often substitutes for direct government spending. The bank bailouts fostered by the previous administration because they were "Too Big To Fail" is a prime example. They got their assets saved through public funds while the middle class saw drastic cuts to vital services and those in most need are left to the curb. The little graph on the right shows green for current rates, blue for what would be added if those subsidies were to go away.

Again, the graphic at the top shows how income distribution consists of exactly the middle-third of current American income distribution and provides a wide and deep tax net. It was pointed out in the NYTimes how the lower-third of the Tax Revenue Diamond consists of the lower middle class and the poor. Persons living in poverty, or less than $22K/year are exempt from taxation in this model. Essentially leaving them to offer government revenue in the form of sales and property taxes.
For a nomadic herd of individuals seeking economic justice, they have come up with a fair and sustainable tax structure that may actually address what ails this country. Income and wealth disparity in this country has never been this extreme and the fact that so many people in position of power are shifting the tax burden even further to the middle class has prompted this public outcry. Not that you'd hear this on the GOP channel, but it's grown none the less. 
Lets see this tax plan implemented and get our country going again. Lets live up to the American Exceptionalism we hear about in all those speeches, shall we?

Friday, November 25, 2011


Once we were done giving thanks for all that we had and the feeding frenzy came to a close, our families across America parted, drove home and got much needed sleep. Well, most of them did.
People actually camped out last night in front of big box stores and malls for the annual midnight opening of their Black Friday sales bonanza. Walmart, the most egregious of foreign goods proliferation, actually started their holiday sales Thursday evening at 9pm. One incident in California around 10:30 struck me. A woman used pepper-spray on a group of women around an electronics table where she wanted a few items. The security guard called it combat shopping. The women continued shopping refusing to let their impaired sight slow them down.
Meanwhile, the Target located in Ulster, had people camped out for the midnight opening. 
I had friends there texting the whole evening while I was feasting with family. (Priorities my friend)
Anyway, she texted me this picture of OWS protesters in the parking lot. They were chanting "Read The Labels, Buy American, Save American Jobs"
I guess they could have added "Shop at locally owned stores" too. 
Those of us who harp on the bleeding of manufacturing jobs here in the US usually feel comfort in knowing the big anti-American companies that ship those jobs to third world countries, can't do the same when it comes to municipal repairs throughout the country. Well, guess again.
There are examples cropping up where County Executives are awarding bids to repair bridges and roads to private companies with imported employees. Imported from... China. 
That's right, Chinese firms winning bids, bringing in their own workforce while locals are holding their asses trying to keep their homes. 
Who here thinks, (with Chinese steel already prohibited because it's below standard quality) that the bridges will meet DOT standards when completed?
The protesters at Target are right. You've seen my rants here about American Made products, American manufacturing jobs and the tax incentives given to large firms who send jobs to Indonesia. There's something very wrong here. Did the folks going into Target look at one label? Sure, the one with the lowest price. What no one realizes is the high cost at home for the low prices on the shelf.

Thursday, November 24, 2011


One of the many thing we should be thankful for in this country is the freedom of the press. Especially when it comes to keeping records of where candidates stood on major issues in the past.
Newt Gingrich is in the spotlight this week now that he has emerged as the leading non-Romney for the Republican nomination. So of course he gets a deeper look for the next few days. As recent as 2002, Newt was a different animal when it came to those who should have control and where leadership should come from.
While debating with Ralph Nader, Speaker Gingrich said: "You had better be siding with the people enough that the people don't get so angry they take you apart, because in the end in this country, if you are deviant enough from the people... they will." Now I could easily send that out as the mission statement for Occupy Wall Street couldn't I?

Newt is also on the record saying the wealthiest Americans cannot be plutocrats because ultimately, the sentiments of the majority of Americans will win out.He also said he thinks corporations have too much power. I think the old Newt was right on target, don't you think?
During one such debate back in the "Other Newt" days, he said "I'd be very happy to get corporations out of politics. I think it'd be better for America if you had no union and corporate donations, but individuals could donate of their own after-tax income." 
It seems all the GOP candidates have had a turn switching their core values during the last decade. Freedom of the press allows us to review what was said and where. 
Whether Republican primary voters care about where their candidates stood earlier is up to them. I guess the next question is, who will be the next non-Romney challenger to the nomination?

Tuesday, November 22, 2011


Does anyone else have concerns with the City of Kingston Bus service? Well, the city's finance committee is considering raising the fee from $1 to $1.25 starting in January.  As far as getting through Kingston a great distance, either fare is cheap, however, the taxpayer is really paying for the service through employee costs, maintenance and fuel. Our tax dollars.
Federal dollars subsidize most of our city bus system through transportation grants. The operation continues so long as we comply with the stipulations associated with those federal dollars. Problem is, Kingston taxpayers are merely adding money to an underutilized service. Count the passengers when they drive by.

The dilemma: How much do we spend annually? Could we give the routes over to UCAT? What would we have to give back in penalties? and Where would we shift the employees? These questions have always been asked during the frantic budget season. No-one wants to address this issue earlier in the year for fear of actually changing the status quo. Perhaps it's time to at least consider ordering smaller buses when the next purchase cycle comes around.

Don't get me wrong. I have ridden on our CityBus. They are clean, easily accessible, fairly on time and still the cheapest ride across town. Our drivers are courteous and helpful as well. However, more times than not, it's a lonely ride. 
It may be time to look at smaller buses in the future if only for the fuel savings. With the mandate that municipalities must have bus service and the resistance of the County willing to take the routes, we may as well change the expense dynamic. 


Followed by Keith Olbermann at 8pm, this little News Channel is about to make some news of it's own. 
Channel 118 on your Time/Warner service.

Thursday, November 17, 2011


New York's very own Senator Kirsten Gillibrand has submitted a bill that would address the issue of insider trading. Insider trading by members of Congress anyway. The act is already illegal for everyone else though we rarely hear about the frequent cases that occur everyday.
This bill, should it survive the process and become law, would enable the SEC, Securities Exchange Commission, to prosecute our state and federal elected and appointed officials for insider-trading cases as well as make insider trading against the rules of the House and the Senate.
Who, if any of us, have faith in Congress to police itself? Yeah, I didn't think so.  As you can watch in the video above, Kirsten told Chris Wagge from the CBS Early Show that “it’s incumbent upon us to make the kinds of changes that the American people would expect we would make so that we live by the exact same exact rules that everyone else does. While there is disclosure now, it has to be illegal, just like it’s illegal for everyone else.”

Wednesday, November 16, 2011


Robert Reich never skips the chance to debunk the brainwashing talking points from the GOP.  He doesn't mince words.

Saturday, November 12, 2011


I think we have reached yet another turning point for the Occupy movement. In recent weeks the call for veterans to join the encampments has drawn a few members here & there, but in the last few days, the turnout has been impressive. Most notably at Occupy Oakland the 100+ vets of all ages and divisions formed a barrier between the occupants and the police force.

Essentially making their stake in the demand to make banksters, politicians and corporations accountable for the ruination of our financial system and to establish the fact that at 30% unemployment (well above the national average) that they too are part of the 99%.
Pundits on one GOP PAC news channel have labelled these fine men and women of the armed forces as just another group of violent Marxist hippies. I just know they'll all be tuning in to watch O'Reilly, Hanitty and the rest of the FoxNews propaganda machine when they get the chance. Oh Yeah!

Friday, November 11, 2011


I just wanted to show off a little project I've been working on this week up in West Saugerties. 
A newly renovated bathroom with a stone & glass shower. It may take a great deal of time to assemble, but damn it's worth it.

I'm working on this project with my brother. He has the new wet saw that has been the dream tool that makes all the difference. You can follow a pattern all you want but anyone who's done slate knows deviations in the product can cause "creep" or an unexpected growth in the pattern.

Coupled with the bluestone floor, the glass shower walls will make this bathroom the envy of the neighborhood. Want one?


The only difference in this instance is one has hair. Now the question is, who makes more sense and which one does more damage?

Thursday, November 10, 2011


When a small group of us locals either rescue or breed dogs in our homes, you get to see the living conditions and meet the people helping/whelping the dogs. 
I recall almost 50 dogs going through my home in the years I've been here. They get happy homes when they leave. Pet store puppies don't begin their lives the same way.
Make the effort to find a local breeder, animal shelter or municipal pound if you intend to add a member of your family this holiday season.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011


The votes have been cast and counted. Shayne Gallo and Jim Noble win the race for Mayor and Alderman-at-large in the City of Kingston. In the short month plus, he must assemble a fresh cabinet and prepare a strategy to lead this city in a prosperous new direction. 
Ron Polacco did a damn good job as the opposition candidate. I give him credit considering he had little help from his party. The fact that he kept it clean earns him the respect of the Gallo campaign. 

Facing a contentious primary while earning a living was daunting but Shayne still eked out a narrow win in September. I was not so lucky.
While the team doubled down for the General, I all but abandoned my campaign for the Legislature. That is until this past Friday when I put up my lawn signs. I figured, hey, why not? With no literature and avoiding doors throughout the district, I still got 400+ votes. For those who did so, I sincerely thank you for your faith in me.
While Gallo and company are set to advance our city starting January, I expect to get back to what I do best; Building homes in Ulster County. As someone who lost his seat on the County Legislature, I somehow feel free. Free from all that comes with county government and the malarkey that goes on at the 6th floor. Will we settle the fate of Golden Hill before my exodus, I dont know. To think we are trying to save it from the Death Panels that Sarah Palin warned us about is ironic since the Tea Party is now pushing to privatize it. 

I will continue this Blog long after I am out of office so that I may bring you info and internal insight that the local press may miss, or the far out articles that catch my interest. I'm not going away.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011


Well it's finally here. Election Day 2011. What will the the electorate chose as we head into a new era in Kingston?

With five open seats on the Common Council, there is a guarantee of a majority of new faces. But what of the other four? Senor in Ward 8 is unopposed. The others face tough challengers. Will voters put up with Hoffay, Landi and Whitlock for another term, or will they go with the alternative? Just imagine Bob as the lone incumbent sitting there holding the title of Majority Leader. Funny.

Then there's the Kingston contingent of the Legislature. Congrats to Jeanette and Peter on their triumphant return. District 6 is a little more sketchy. With the four of us bananas running on different lines, no-one knows what the effect of my or Lenny's influence will have on the outcome. All I know is I had fun going to my faithful and placing signs this weekend.

Regardless of your political affiliation, get out there and vote today. Too many of our service men and women have bravely fought here and abroad so that we would have the rights we have today. Civic duty is a privilege. Don't waste the chance to exercise it.

BTW You can find me on either Row D or E.

Saturday, November 05, 2011


Ward One is about to make history. Faced with the choice between someone from council's past and the freshest face in Kingston politics, this district is poised to elect a Democratic Alderman. Endorsed by the Working Families and Independence Party, Matt could find himself in the new majority of the Common Council come January.
Taken right from his website: 
I am a proven advocate. I am a labor law attorney who represents workers across the country and helps them recover their unpaid overtime and claims for minimum wage. I am also a former Ulster County Assistant Public Defender. I am the vice-chairman of the City of Kingston's Complete Streets Committee and the Chair of the Ulster County Periodic Compensation Review Committee. I successfully campaigned for stop signs at a dangerous intersection in Kingston. In so doing, I protected pedestrians, dog walkers and children who play and ride their bikes in the neighborhood.

Matt says he decided to run for Ward One Alderman to help make the Ward, community, and city a better place to live. Below are some points how:

  • Address flooding issues throughout the Ward. Develop a city plan to do so.
  • Protect city services and address the overall appearance of our city streets & parks.
  • Advocate for law enforcement and preventative actions that reduce crime and speeding. 
  • Support Businesses Growth: We need more jobs. Kingston businesses pay a higher tax rate than non-businesses, which could be reducing the number of businesses in our City.
  • Availability: In order to be the best advocate and representative that I can be, I will be available to you via email and telephone. And I will host periodic Ward meetings. 
His emergence as a candidate took me by surprize. Once I got to know what he could bring to the Council, I have no doubt that Matt Dunn will be in the forefront of the effort to revitalize the City of Kingston. Bringing his personal experience and desire to make this community safe to raise his and everyone else's family, makes Matt the right choice for Ward One. 

Friday, November 04, 2011



Intelligence collection and analysis concerning gangs is critical to determine the relationship between the different gang members, the different gangs and specifically the relationship between the older and younger members.
Resources to be used in this critical step involve Ulster County Department of Probation, NYS Department of Corrections and Community Supervision. Also includes the Kingston and Ellenville Police Departments, and the Ulster Regional Gang Enforcement and Narcotics Team.

Sounds like Jon will be be on the same page as Mayor Shayne Gallo come January 1st.

Thursday, November 03, 2011


Although the arresting officer did have to match the speed of the other cop, she deserves a medal for following through with the arrest. 
The final sentence is worth the wait. She explains that they finally caught him. Caught him? This was a regular occurrence?

Wednesday, November 02, 2011


November 8th is finally upon us, so let me make a final push for my friend John Simek. John is running for Alderman in Ward Nine here in Kingston. My old council district.

There has been a need for new faces on the Common Council for quite a while. After eight years, I also felt like I had exhausted my abilities as Alderman. How the electorate put up with those who serve longer, I dont know.

I think it's imperative to get fresh blood in positions of lawmaking, if only to see the issues with a fresh perspective. Our city needs a fresh perspective. Personally, I'd change every current occupant, but alas, Senor is unopposed.
Getting back to John, I have to say, the folks in Ward Nine have no doubt met the candidates by now and have probably come to the same conclusion as I. His goals are simple...

  • Increase transparency by airing committee meetings on TV and/or live stream
  • Partner with the Mayor on Quality-of-Life issues
  • Bolster tourism
  • Cut waste in the city budget
  • Increase the City's taxbase through aggressive property marketing 
Serving on the City's Board of assessment review, chair of the Public Access Commission and a realtor in his own profession, I think John has a good grasp of where Kingston could develop further. With a little faith, I think the voters in Ward Nine will think so too.


Can any of you remember way back in the mid 90's when a small group of entrepreneurs re-opened that nightclub at the old Tropical in Port Ewen?  Yeah, those were fun times.
They had plenty of obstacles thrown in the way during the process. The Esopus town board, the local minister, and building inspector all leading the charge against. Well The place did open and run without much incident for about four years before business dropped off.

The fiscal drain on the partners at the onset made success a struggle. Eventually, a church bought the property, thus eliminating a much needed source of property taxes. That's a big chunk of commercial property too!
I bring this up in these last days before we head to the voting booth once more, because one of the lowest points in our County Legislature's history was also about this time.

Remember 1993? Yeah, It was only two years earlier when gay residents petitioned for a bill outlawing discrimination in employment and housing and the Ulster County Legislature refused even to debate it. One legislator, Attilio Contini, told his colleagues that homosexuality was "an illness and handicap." He added, "We don't pass laws giving special privileges to people who are retarded, criminally insane or demented." 
It's not really that long ago folks.

This Contini is running for the same position once again. His views on equality are no different today than they were back in those "Good ol Days". Ironically, he is running in District 19 (consisting of Rosendale and part of Marbletown) against incumbent Robert Parete, one of the Legislature's hardest working Democrats.

Let me say, in the short time I've been on the sixth floor, Rob has impressed me the most. As issues come up for review in committee, successful programs and past reforms have Rob's fingerprints all over them. The more I research, the more I appreciate the amount of work he and a select few accomplished in the 4 short years the Democrats held the majority.

The idea that someone like his opponent, who still harbours such regressive ideals, would feel his place is back on the Legislature is somewhat surprizing. However, after watching those GOP debates in recent months, maybe not.

Sunday, October 30, 2011



Since the first accounts of diagnosing the Immune Deficiency virus now called AIDS, we heard about the possible origins of the syndrome. Well, now the spread of HIV can be traced back to about 80 chimpanzees. 
The chimps in Africa, infected about three bush-meat hunters circa 1921. This origin is according to a new book titled The Origins of AIDS reviewed by The New York Times.
Jacques Pépin, MD, an infectious disease specialist, is the author. 

Scientists have determined that the M group—one of HIV-1’s four genetic groups, which accounts for 99 percent of all HIV cases—reached humans around 1921. Using data from that era, Pépin was able to make his calculations. He argues that since sex alone was not enough to spread the virus widely, there were several “amplifiers” along the way, including blood-borne routes such as unsterile equipment at immunization clinics and plasma centers. 

 Most of this post: POZ.COM

Friday, October 28, 2011


Leaders of Ulster County’s business community have come out in favor of County Executive Michael Hein’s plan to privatize the Golden Hill Health Care Center.

Yup., that's all we needed to hear. The Chamber, just like the League of Women Voters, were well aware that the Executive had his LDC plan in place for over a year, finally comes out with a high-five in favor of privatization. Surprize there!

Ironically, when I pulled this article up on the Freeman website, I was first confronted with a push bubble asking which of the Republican candidates for President I would chose. I was like, I have to see these faces this early in the morning?
How would I know that I was going to read about another one in just a few seconds.

For people who actually think that government and especially healthcare, should be run like a business, it comes as no shock to anyone that the Chamber would go this route. In this aspect, they are no different than the National Chamber in their pursuit of "Cut and Run" budget management.
The press release said the chamber’s Government Affairs Committee has been meeting for the past several months with the Hein administration, county Legislature representatives and residents and employees of Golden Hill to understand the benefits of privatizing the nursing home.
The benefits of privatizing would be limited to whom ever owns the facility and/or the stock holders. Understandably, Hein welcomed the chamber board’s vote.
Exec Hein said: “I am pleased to see the growing support within the community for this plan that both keeps Golden Hill open and moves it into private ownership, there is no question these decisions are difficult, but my commitment is to both protect taxpayers and make sure services get delivered.” At this point, I half expected to hear him say he found WMDs in Iraq as well.

Hein has appointed three members of his administration to sit on the corporation’s board. Those three members will draft bylaws detailing the final composition of the board and the rules under which it will operate. If this LDC is to happen, the Legislature should hold a majority of seats on that board. I don't see how the needs of the facility's clients will be addressed otherwise. It's bad enough that we are disturbing an entity that works, let alone hand it over to an unaffiliated private operator who's sole directive is profit. Sounds right for the Chamber.
One factor that escapes most people is that the $8Million that the LDC is poised to borrow isn't for the upkeep or past debt of Golden Hill. It's for the general revenue shortcomings in the 2012 budget. With a million dollars in annual pay-checks coming out of the Executive's office, we can't reform departments like DSS, and trimming upper management? Sheesh!

And you wonder why the middle class has taken to the streets across America.

Thursday, October 27, 2011


Here is the Huffington Post report:

WASHINGTON -- A central concern for those in the Occupy movement -- that the economic system in the U.S. is rigged in favor of the well-off -- has been corroborated by a major new survey of developed nations.
When it comes to social justice -- defined here as the ability each individual has to participate in the market society, regardless of their social status -- the United States ranks near the bottom of 31 developed countries, the Thursday report from Bertelsmann Foundation found.
It's one thing if you live in a market economy where everyone has the same shot at success. It's quite another if fortune favors the fortunate. And the new survey found that when it comes to "equal opportunities for self-realization," the U.S. ranks 27 out of 31 Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development member states, well behind not just Northern European countries like Norway and Denmark, but even countries like Hungary, Poland, Italy and France. The only countries whose citizens fare even worse are Greece, Chile, Mexico and Turkey.
The new report comes just a day after the Congressional Budget Office validated another key precept of Occupy protesters: The income gap between the rich and poor in the U.S. grew precipitously from 1979 to 2007, the report found, with the top 1 percent of earners seeing their incomes spike by 275 percent.
The new survey on the developed countries also echoes the findings of OECD's own 2010 report on social mobility, which found that, contrary to America's reputation as the "land of opportunity," it is now much harder to climb the socioeconomic ladder between generations in the U.S. than in many other developed countries.
LOOK to see where the U.S. ranks on social justice, and read more about the report below:

The social justice index measured six indicators of "socially responsible" capitalism. In all of them, the U.S. was ranked in the lower half of the countries examined. It fared particularly poorly in four.
The U.S. was third to last in poverty prevention, trailed only by Chile and Mexico, due to its "alarming" poverty levels. Whereas in Denmark, only 1 in 27 children lives in poverty, for instance, in the United States that rate is above 1 in 5. And as the report puts it: "Under conditions of poverty, social participation and a self-determined life are possible only with great difficulty."
On the health index, the U.S. was ranked 23 out of 31 countries -- other countries did much better when it came to providing access to quality health care not simply based on socioeconomic status. And the U.S. infant mortality rate is unusually high, the report found.
When it comes to "intergenerational justice" -- a measure of how well or poorly the current generation is doing at passing along problems to the next generation -- the U.S. ranked 20 out of 31.
Nineteen of the 31 countries were also ranked higher than the U.S. when it comes to equal access to good-quality education -- "another essential factor in providing equitable capabilities and opportunities for advancement," the report said.
The U.S ranked slightly higher on indicators of "social cohesion" and "labor participation."
All in all, the U.S. ranked near Mexico in several indicators. By contrast, Canada was the top performer among the non-European OECD states. "Its high ranking can be attributed to strong results in the areas of education, labor market justice and social cohesion," the report concluded.
Northern European countries led the study in overall rankings, with the report concluding that the "universalist" welfare states there are "most capable of providing equal opportunities for self-realization within their respective societies."


AP: Chicago may decriminalize marijuana to free up police to focus on real crime.

~Chicago police make about 23,000 arrests each year for possession of the drug, a misdemeanor which nevertheless carries stiff punishment of up to six months in jail, a $1,500 fine and a criminal record.
~Under the new law set to be introduced next week, people caught with less than 10 grams of marijuana would instead face a $200 fine and up to 10 hours of community service.
~Marijuana has already been downgraded to a lesser offence in several Chicago suburbs and areas of Cook County patrolled by the sheriff’s department.

Sunday, October 16, 2011


Saturday, October 15, 2011


In the forgotten Midtown East stretch of Broadway, still lined with those dreadful locust trees, a number of new business owners are clawing their way toward success. One business that has opened recently is the Cafe' and Lounge at 346 Broadway, aka Rendezvous Lounge for those who have ventured upstairs. 
With a limited lunch/dinner menu, deserts and partially stocked bar, the lonely strip is poised to gain new nightlife. Much of the focus on revitalizing business in the city has been limited to uptown and the waterfront, but those who have invested east of the tracks; Monkey Joes, Joey D's, Top Nosh and now Rendezvous Lounge have made their way without much help from city agencies.

With their recently approved liquor license and cabaret permit, the girls are ready to score a new crowd. Catering to the alternative crowd, new faces are likely to show up. The upper lounge is rentable for small parties and if just skipping by, take advantage of the window service at the sidewalk.

Friday, October 14, 2011


There is a growing consensus in this country that the continued prohibition on some or all drugs should come to an end. Since we spend about $42 Billion annually related to law enforcement for this prohibition, I would have to agree something must change.
If you break it down, states tax and spend an average of $26 Billion and the Fed tax and spends $16 Billion on the war on drugs annually. I dont know about you, but I know a few bridges in New York State that could use some upgrades.
Keep in mind, that's for ALL drugs. Many have suggested starting with just Marijuana to test the shift in enforcement while advancing the rehabilitation efforts throughout the country. That would be a Federal savings of $9Billion annually. But there's more.
Either by state or federally, Marijuana could then be sold openly and taxed. It could also face purity standards since many sources reveal traces of deadly additives. Imagine the pot industry selling a safer product than tobacco?

So, couple the savings  from a reduced enforcement perspective and add the estimated tax revenue of around $10 Billion from Marijuana alone, and we start to see property taxes level off or even go down. If we saw a decrease in incarceration because the lack of drug prohibition arrests, we'd really be mad about what we spent on the Ulster County jail.
 Marijuana is already believed to be the nation's number one cash crop, exceeding the combined value of wheat and corn. Pot is also the leading cash crop in at least a dozen states, including California and North Carolina.
There is a group of police officers who call themselves Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP). Their mission has the following statement:

We believe that drug prohibition is the true cause of much of the social and personal  damage that has historically been attributed to drug use. It is prohibition that makes marijuana worth more than gold, and heroin worth more than uranium –  while giving criminals a monopoly over their supply. Driven by the huge profits from this monopoly, criminal gangs bribe and kill each other, law enforcers, and children. Their trade is unregulated and they are, therefore, beyond our control.

History has shown that drug prohibition reduces neither use nor abuse. After a rapist is arrested, there are fewer rapes. After a drug dealer is arrested, however, neither the supply nor the demand for drugs is seriously changed. The arrest merely creates a job opening for an endless stream of drug entrepreneurs who will take huge risks for the sake of the enormous profits created by prohibition. Prohibition costs taxpayers tens of billions of dollars every year, yet 40 years and some 40 million arrests later, drugs are cheaper, more potent and far more widely used than at the beginning of this futile crusade.

LEAP is asking Americans to take such a leap and end this failed war. When asked about the legalization of drugs during an interview in Mexico, Sec Hillary Clinton said: “there is just too much money in it.” What may have been a Freudian Slip, has become the focus of the whole drug trade issue. She holds on to the dismissed notion that legalizing drugs, even just pot, will cause more people to join the party, become addicted and wards of the state. As a non-user and advocate for the end of this prohibition, I have no intention of starting something just because it's legal. Americans who want to smoke, already do. Those who don't want to, wont start. It's too easy to understand that if you already wanted to, you already are.

In 2001, Portuguese leaders took an unlikely gamble: they passed a law that made Portugal the first country to fully decriminalize personal drug use.

For people caught with no more than a ten-day supply of marijuana, heroin, ecstasy, cocaine or anything, there would be no arrests, no prosecutions, no prison sentences. Dealers are still sent to prison, or fined, or both, but, for the past decade, Portugal has treated drug abuse solely as a public-health issue. 

That doesn’t mean drugs are legal in Portugal. When caught, people are summoned before an administrative body called the Commission for the Dissuasion of Drug Addiction. Each panel consists of three members—usually a lawyer or a judge, a doctor, and a psychologist or a social worker. The commissioners have three options: recommend treatment, levy a small fine, or do nothing. 

In most respects, the law seems to have worked: serious drug use is down significantly, particularly among young people; the burden on the criminal-justice system has eased; the number of people seeking treatment has grown; and the rates of drug-related deaths and cases of infectious diseases have fallen.

So why the resistance here? HEMP

Prohibition of Marijuana is closely related to the fact that hemp is the core of the crop. What industries are afraid of increased utilization of hemp?
  • Paper Industry
  • Cotton Industry
  • Pharmaceutical Industry
  • Oil Industry
  • Prison Industry
  • Corn & Wheat Industry
  • Tobacco Industry
All of these well established commodities would see drastic change if Marijuana was legalized. Hemp would no-longer be the taboo crop associated with the THC content and the ability to grow, harvest and provide a stronger, cheaper, more efficient product than the current industries scares the hell out of those who control the system. 

The advocates for keeping the prohibition on drugs, especially marijuana, are embedded in the list above. Those who would suffer the most are those invested in less efficient manufacturing of products that American's are addicted to. It's that simple. When Sec Clinton slips and mentions there's too much money in it, it's more than just the drug cartels that stand to lose, it's the corporations that donate tons of cash into the political system. Keeping the prohibition is JOB ONE for these industries. American citizens have to step up and make the changes that our national leaders wont.