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.

Thursday, October 13, 2011


Never let the facts get in the way of a good narrative.


That great sucking sound you will hear if NAFTA is passed is the sound of the middle class in America going away! -Ross Perot

This is no time for repeating mistakes from the past. It's been 19 years since the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) was enacted. Jobs in the US did exactly as Perot said. Hell, a big percentage of the jobs that were sent out of country actually bypassed the Americas completely. Now we want to make it easier for the corporations to export jobs to Columbia, South Korea and Panama?
The experts back in 92 said NAFTA would create over 100K US jobs and 600K in Mexico annually. Guess what, It didn't work. Where is the "If I am elected we will revisit NAFTA" remember that slogan from all the candidates running in '08?
The only voice of reason I hear from Congress these days is Bernie Sanders. 
Turns out the "revisit" was actually to use it as a template to do more damage.
If you google this issue, you will stumble upon the Economic Policy Institute and their recently released study stating: between 93 and 04, the US trade deficit with Mexico ballooned by over $100B, which cost over a million US jobs. With numbers like that, you can be sure the Republican controlled house will surely reject any such plan, right? Stop kidding yourself. The Koch Brothers want this, the Republican leadership and half the Dems will bend over backward to give it to them. 

According to Truthout, Mexico lost a million jobs just in the first year the treaty took effect. Why? because the treaty allowed US grain companies to dump corn in Mexico, 1.3 million farmers lost their livelihood as well. Pork dumping cost another 120K jobs. Eliminating its domestic content laws cost the jobs of thousands of auto parts workers. The result? Six million people from Mexico came to live and work in the US. 
Thank you Bill Clinton.
If any of these congressional knuckleheads had any sense, they would have rejected this agreement and focused on the "Jobs Bill". Again, they didn't disappoint.
For those visiting Hinchey's Kingston office Today, ask his personnel to pass along the desire to both pass the jobs bill and reject the proposed new trade deal. Maurice has usually been one to listen and act accordingly. Maybe he can ask Obama to VETO this disastrous bill.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011


OK, this hit the wonderful world of twitter last week. I had to share it with you. It seems there has been a sudden rash of Amish against Amish crime in a remote area of Ohio. Yes, just like a gang hit.
It seems there is a splinter group of Amish who have taken to the quiet streets of Jefferson County, raiding helpless families homes and cutting the beards of the men. Oh the humanity!

At this point you're saying, Mike, tell me this is from the Onion! But I tell you it's true. The sheering bandits are a small group of offspring of the ostracised Bishop Sam Mullet. Yes, you read that right. Mullet. Go ahead, laugh. 
I love irony.
What's wild about this 'drive by grooming' is that these guys aren't rebellious youngsters. Mullet's sons Lester and Johnny are 26 and 38. Their friend Levi is 53. All three are in custody.
I am so writing a screenplay with this as the back story.

You could say one mans bizarre crime spree is another mans fetish.

Sunday, October 09, 2011


While on Real Time with Bill Maher former and future congressman Alan Grayson explained to the panel what Occupy Wall Street is all about in less than a minute. 

Some people will no doubt still have a problem understanding. Feel free to play the clip over again.

Saturday, October 08, 2011


Below is a Letter to the Editor by Larry Delarose sent to the Times-Herald Record regarding our State Elected Officials and their double pay for their one job:

In the past nine months I have personally sent five letters to Governor Cuomo, letters to members of both houses of the legislature including the leaders and letters to the editor in several newspapers on the subject of "double dipping" by state legislators. In addition, dozens of New Yorkers around the state have voiced their anger and disgust over this practice in the same way. In March of this year, I appeared in a news special on FoxNews in New York on the same subject. The response to all these activities has been the same, silence.
I think everyone understands that the Governor and the legislature have many issues to deal with and that this subject obviously is not on the top of their priority list. Having said that, it is hard for everyday working folks to swallow the reality that we currently have 15 members of the legislature using taxpayers money to pay themselves twice for the same job. There are an additional five dozen or more legislators who also qualify to do the same thing. In the face of our current economic climate and the struggles of our fellow New Yorker's to find work and support themselves and their families this onerous practice must be stopped. It would require changing the existing law which makes it "legal". But compared to what our fellow citizens around the state are dealing with I don't exactly call that heavy lifting.
This whole situation begs the question why when so many have asked for action on this display of hubris and greed by elected public officials has their been no response? Didn't Abraham Lincoln say that we want "government of the people, by the people and for the people"?
Lawrence M. Delarose
6 Woodcock Mtn Rd
Washingtonville, NY 10992


So this is the Pastor at the core of Rick Perry's Presidential campaign. He's on TV having a great time blasting anyone different than his congregation. Jews, Gays, Mormons and Muslims are all going to HELL. Now that we know this, we may as well have a party.
Have a listen...

I know you cant lump all people of any faith into the same mold as one of their rebel leaders, but Jeffress isn't doing Perry any favors.

Friday, October 07, 2011


It's almost like watching an accident in slow motion. You see where something is going but you haven't the power to change the course of the inevitable. Well, I'd like to challenge that premiss. 

There are those of us on the Legislature who still believe the Legislative branch of the county government controls policy. Yes, that's what I said. Determining what future lies ahead for our county run nursing facility is strictly up to the law making body of Ulster County and a number of us continue to make that point clear at every opportunity.

Regardless of the decree that Executive Hein has offered the citizens of Ulster this week, we still have legislation pending that formally directs the administrative branch to designate funds toward renovation that was allocated in previous budgets. That's right. there is 45Million dollars through Capital Upgrade held specifically for Golden Hill. Coupled with the resolution reaffirming our dedication to providing quality health care to our most vulnerable, the Legislature is poised to circumvent the slash & burn actions of the Executive.
Never passing an opportunity to tout his all-star team of deputies and advisers, you'd think the 2012 budget would reveal some brilliant innovations to modify expenses and inject new revenue, but tapping the fund balance and unfunding Golden Hill is the best that they've come up with? Michael, I am stunned. And this capital bond for 8Million managed through your new LDC, with an advisory board made up of Beckman, Sudlow and Smith, all currently camped out in your office? Strikes me a peculiar. That collateral bond through a private issuer, will be at a higher rate than if you go through the Legislature, but then you'll never get it through the Legislature, will you? 
Does your 2012 budget account for the inflated negotiated rate? There's too much at stake for politics as usual.

This body has just a few months to really fix this. The tax cap aside, we are faced with collapsing infrastructure, inflated healthcare costs and the ever increasing wave of crime. Should the Legislature decide to over-ride the Governor's cap and increase taxes beyond his limit, it would be for the right reasons.

Shoulda had a 2% hike last year folks!

Thursday, October 06, 2011


In the last few weeks, what started out as a small group of frustrated protesters who've taken the task of highlighting the injustice of the financial system, has become the talk of the Internet, Facebook and especially Twitter. I leave out our TV news stations because until there was disruptive interaction between the docile protesters and authorities, they refused to mention the occupation on Wall Street at the request of their corporate owners. 

The lack of a clear message has never bothered me, any more than the lack of a clear message in the early days of the tea party bothered conservatives. But now that the original gathering and the copycat protests in other cities has grown to uncomfortable numbers, the press and those in DC are taking note. Likewise the message is being shaped to appeal to what's called The Other 99%.

Mainstream issues like repeal of the Bush tax cuts for the rich, stricter financial regulations, more stimulus spending and so on. Changing our trade & tariff deals with China, closing loopholes in corporate tax structure coupled with investing in our nation's infrastructure and lowering the cost of higher education all provide the drive to journey to lower Manhattan and sit in a park. 

You'll remember that Initially, the Tea Party started out as a grass roots effort, but was absconded very quickly by Fox News, the Koch Brothers and Dick Armey who provided funding and message to beat down anything remotely progressive coming out of the White House. They even wanted to repeal the 17th amendment. Lower taxes and reduced spending are noble ideas when you have a prosperous economy, but when you've been given a sluggish economy that's saddled with the abominable "Bush Tax Cuts", it's going to take almost the same 10 years it took to get us here to get us out. 

Thankfully, Keith on Current, Dan on RT and Rachel on MSNBC have brought us the earliest reports on Occupy Wall Street and America is starting to listen. As you'd expect, Fox News is painting the middleclass outcry against the corruption in the financial sector as childish hippies, communists and tantrum prone bed-wetters. Projection is what Freud would call that.

Watch this movement as the numbers grow, message shapes and our elected leaders take notice. You may find that more of us have harbored just as much frustration with the same institutions as those sitting in Liberty Park.