Toyota

Since the Dilly, Dally, Delay & Stall Law Firms are adding their billable hours, the Toyota U.S.A. and Route 44 Toyota posts have been separated here:

Route 44 Toyota Sold Me A Lemon



Friday, October 31, 2008

McCain's Green Hypocrisy

In search of information about Cape Wind and additional wind projects, an article about Senator McCain's public position on wind energy cropped up.
In May, ...Senator John McCain (R-AZ) unveiled an “incoherent” global warming plan at the North American headquarters of the Danish wind turbine company Vestas. McCain has justified his long and active opposition to federal support for the domestic wind industry by claiming it “is doing fine.” In his speech ..., McCain praised wind power for “changing our economy for the better”....
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....two of McCain’s top advisers have been directly involved in stopping the wind industry from progressing, by lobbying against the construction of the first offshore wind farm in the United States — the Cape Wind project proposed for Massachusetts’s Nantucket Sound:
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Charlie Black, Senior Political Adviser to McCain: Senate lobbying disclosure documents reveal that lobbying firm BKSH & Associates was retained in January 2008 by the Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound to “Defeat the proposal for 130 wind turbines” and “promote alternative means to meet energy needs without sacrificing Nantucket Sound.” Charlie Black was the chairman of BKSH until March. [Senate Lobbying Disclosure Act database]
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Tom Loeffler, McCain’s Campaign Co-chairman: The Loeffler Group received $380,000 from the Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound from 2003 to 2005 to lobby against Cape Wind. The Loeffler Group was founded by former Republican congressman Tom Loeffler, who remains its chairman. [Senate Lobbying Disclosure Act database]
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McCain is now selling “eco-friendly” campaign items on his website. But all the bamboo T-shirts in the world can’t hide McCain’s true priorities.
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Fitrakis File 5

Fitrakis File 4

Fitrakis File 3

Fitrakis File 2

Fitrakis File 1

Uncounted

Cindy McCain's Drug Addiction

The details of Cindy McCain's drug addiction have never been satisfactorily revealed amidst subterfuge, intimidation, political manipulation and the destruction of two individuals to protect Mrs. McCain. Rather than accept treatment, acknowledge her wrong conduct and move on, the McCains destroyed others.
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Those who raise bogus issues, like Bill Ayers, to distract usually do so for calculated reasons. We seem to be asking the wrong questions instead of recognizing a consistent pattern of behavior by the McCains.
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So much for the Straight Talk Express!
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The Washington Post offered what little information has been available, but clearly, there's more not included.
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A Tangled Story of Addiction
Consequences of Cindy McCain's Drug Abuse Were More Complex Than She Has Portrayed

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A doctor with McCain's medical charity who supplied her with prescriptions for the drugs lost his license and never practiced again. The charity, the American Voluntary Medical Team, eventually had to be closed in the wake of the controversy. Her husband was forced to admit publicly that he was absent much of the time she was having problems and was not aware of them.
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"It's not just about her addiction, it's what she did to cover up her addiction and the lives of other people that she ruined, or put at jeopardy at least," ....
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McCain's conduct left her facing federal charges of obtaining "a controlled substance by misrepresenting, fraud, forgery, deception or subterfuge." Experts say she could have faced a 20-year prison sentence.
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Dowd negotiated a deal with the U.S. attorney's office allowing McCain, as a first-time offender, to avoid charges and enter a diversion program that required community service, drug treatment and reimbursement to the DEA for investigative costs. Johnson agreed to surrender his medical license and retire.
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Two reporters wrote that McCain said she had completed a drug treatment program at the Meadows, a facility in Wickenberg, Ariz., as part of the agreement with federal prosecutors. But days later, federal officials said that no agreement had been reached and that she had not yet been accepted into a diversion program, which would include approved treatment.
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McCain's drug use became national news during her husband's first presidential campaign in 2000. Newsweek published a first-person account of her struggle, but it included some errors.
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"It began with Vicodan [sic]. In 1989, I had ruptured a couple of disks carrying my 1-year-old, Bridget, in a pack on my back," she wrote.
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But Bridget was not born until 1991. In other accounts, McCain said she hurt her back while picking up her son Jimmy, who was a toddler at the time of her injuries.
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As the McCains traveled in the Straight Talk Express bus in 2000, interest in Cindy McCain's story faded when it became clear that she and her husband weren't headed for the White House.
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This year, as the McCains campaigned again, Cindy McCain granted interviews about her past problems to "Access Hollywood" and Jay Leno. She called her addiction a life-changing crisis.
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"Your life experiences make you," she told "Access Hollywood," "and hopefully you learn from them."

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Senator Barack Obama's 30 Minute Ad

In case you missed Senator Barack Obama's Campaign Ad:

Rudy Giuliani Defines Socialism or Doesn't

Rudy "Family Values" Giuliani defined socialism, but take note of his comment about redistributive justice coming from the Mayor who arrested jay walkers and turnstile jumpers and left NYC buried in lawsuits from his actions. What a guy! But it's OK to buy preferred stock in banks instead of working to keep American Families in their homes?
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GIULIANI: What Barack Obama wants to do — what Barack Obama wants to do is to aggressively send money to a large group of people who aren't getting money right now, and he's going to take it from another group of people.

GIULIANI: It has never been done before by any one.
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COLMES: When we buy banks and we buy companies and save AIG and buy out mortgages, which is what McCain wants to do, isn't that redistribution of wealth? Isn't that socialism?
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GIULIANI: No, no, it's not sending — it's not sending money directly from one group to another group.
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COLMES: I see. All right.
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GIULIANI: It is — it's a measure that is designed for a temporary period of time. This is a permanent redistribution of income.

Barack Obama has been in favor of this from the time he was a student. He's been talking about redistributive justice, he's been talking about.
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COLMES: For education.
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GIULIANI: . these kinds of program from the time he was a student.

Mega Barf Bark Time for Question #3

George Carney was on a local radio program promoting his business, the Raynham Dog Track and deliberately misleading about the facts.
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The lengths to which he will go to misstate the facts are impressive!
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He indicated that the adoption rate is 100%. Not so!
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And there was much else I'll let others disprove. LINK
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Not surprisingly, the irrational comments made in defense of greyhound racing are pretty astounding. Take for example, this mindless position offered in the Brockton Enterprise:
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Nancy Fisk is a dog lover, but don’t dare call her an animal rights advocate.
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The longtime breeder and dog show exhibitor would like to see greyhound racing continue — partly because she feels the dogs love it, partly because she fears its death could mean that dog shows and other competitions would get axed next.
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“Our concern is this is an incremental step toward stopping what we do,” said Fisk, vice president of the Massachusetts Federation of Dog Clubs and Responsible Dog Owners, a statewide breeder group opposing the ballot question to ban greyhound racing.
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That totally ignores
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Dorchak, of the anti-racing group, has also said the campaign takes “no position” on gambling, casinos or other animal issues.
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“Grey2K has a clear history of working exclusively on the greyhound issue,” she said.
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When the Question was asked of voters in 2000, it was defeated by a narrow margin. Let's pass it this year and do the right thing.

$700 Billion Being Used To Make Banks Profitable #2

The US deficit increased to bailout institutions that were gambling with investors' funds and they balk at attaching strings? And homes are still being foreclosed? Only Republicans could justify this! Something is drastically wrong with this process when a Republican President and his appointees exacerbated the economic disaster by ignoring it too long and now dealing with it by rewarding the wealthy, yet again.
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The WP reports:
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Banks to Continue Paying Dividends
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U.S. banks getting more than $163 billion from the Treasury Department for new lending are on pace to pay more than half of that sum to their shareholders, with government permission, over the next three years.
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Dollars paid to shareholders don't serve that purpose, but Treasury officials say that suspending quarterly dividend payments would have deterred banks from participating in the voluntary program.
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Critics, including economists and members of Congress, question why banks should get government money if they already have enough money to pay dividends -- or conversely, why banks that need government money are still spending so much on dividends.
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"The whole purpose of the program is to increase lending and inject capital into Main Street. If the money is used for dividends, it defeats the purpose of the program," said Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.), who has called for the government to require a suspension of dividend payments.
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The 33 banks signed up so far plan to pay shareholders about $7 billion this quarter. Companies generally try to pay consistent dividends and, at the present pace, those dividends will consume 52 percent of the Treasury's investment over the initial three-year term.
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The first nine participants were major banks, some running short on capital, that were told by Treasury officials earlier this month to sign on to the program for the good of the country. Their major shareholders are primarily institutional investors, such as pension funds and mutual funds, although a few wealthy individuals hold large stakes, such as Warren Buffett in Wells Fargo and Prince Alwaleed bin Talal in Citigroup.
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Several banks are on pace to pay more in dividends than they get from the government. The Bank of New York Mellon got $3 billion from the government on Tuesday. It will pay out $275 million to shareholders this quarter, and a projected $3.3 billion over the next three years.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

War Hero McCain Betrayed Peasant Who Saved His Life

The Daily Mail offered this story about Senator McCain:
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How war hero John McCain betrayed the Vietnamese peasant who saved his life
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In all the tales of wartime courage peppering John McCain's presidential campaign trail, perhaps the most outstanding example of selfless heroism involves not the candidate but a humble Vietnamese peasant.
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On October 26, 1967, Mai Van On ran from the safety of a bomb shelter at the height of an air raid and swam out into the lake where Lieutenant Commander McCain was drowning, tangled in his parachute cord after ejecting when his Skyhawk bomber was hit by a missile.
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In an extraordinary act of compassion at a time when Vietnamese citizens were being killed by US aerial bombardments, he pulled a barely conscious McCain to the lake surface and, with the help of a neighbour, dragged him towards the shore.
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And when a furious mob at the water's edge began to beat and stab the captured pilot, Mr On drove them back.
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Nearly three decades later, a Vietnamese government commission confirmed he was indeed the rescuer and, in a 1996 meeting in Hanoi, McCain embraced and thanked Mr On and presented him with a Senate memento.
From that brief encounter to his death at the age of 88 two years ago, Mr On never heard from the senator again, and three years after their meeting, McCain published an autobiography that makes no mention of his apparent debt to Mr On.
It is a snub Mr On took to his death.
His widow, Bui Thi Lien, 71, said: In his last years, my husband was very sad sometimes.
He would say, 'Mr McCain has forgotten me.'
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Mr McCain would be dead if it weren't for my husband. He would never have returned to his family and he wouldn't be in the presidential race today.
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Last week on a visit to Britain to meet Gordon Brown, McCain paid tribute to the role played by British troops in Iraq and Afghanistan - comments that carried extra weight in the light of McCain's own wartime exploits.
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In his 1999 autobiography, Faith Of My Fathers, which laid the ground for his first, unsuccessful run for president in 2000, McCain wrote a Boy's Own-style narrative of his rescue: When I came to, I was being hauled ashore on two bamboo poles.
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A crowd of several hundred Vietnamese gathered around me as I lay dazed before them, shouting wildly at me, stripping my clothes off, spitting on me, kicking and striking me repeatedly.
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What followed, according to McCain, was five-and-a-half years of torture and brutal beatings as a prisoner of war - an account that has given a steely edge to his candidacy by establishing him as a true American war hero.
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But the story is at odds with the version uncovered by Vietnam veteran Chuck Searcy, who lives in Hanoi and is in charge of the Vietnam Veteran Memorial Fund.

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In 1995, Mr On gave me a letter he wanted me to deliver to McCain, said Searcy.
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'It said, 'I am the guy who pulled you out of the lake and I have followed your progress over the years. I wish the best for you and your family and I hope some day you will be president of the United States.'
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I thought it was endearing. I sent the letter to McCain's office and I got back a sniffy response from some assistant saying, 'Mr McCain isn't interested in these fanciful stories.'
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Indeed, claiming to have saved McCain had by then become something of a cottage industry in Hanoi.
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Searcy, 63, recalled: There had been a lot of preposterous claims, but I asked the neighbours around the lake if it was true and they said that was exactly how it happened.
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The story was also confirmed by the Vietnamese government.
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Later in 1995, Searcy met McCain at a veterans' reunion in Washington.
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He said: I mentioned the story of Mr On to him, and told him it was true. He said, 'Hell, I would like to meet this guy - I'll set it up.'
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McCain, then a senator closely involved in rebuilding US-Vietnam relations, visited Hanoi in 1996, and a meeting was arranged with Searcy and Mr On.
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Searcy said: Mr On was a wiry little guy. He looked as if he had only ever shaved once or twice and he had his old uniform on.
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He raced up to McCain and kept repeating his name as he embraced him.?
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Then, through an interpreter, Mr On recounted the events of that day as McCain listened.
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He launched into a very emotional description,? said Searcy.
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Suddenly they saw this parachute coming down into their small lake.
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Everybody was afraid because they knew it was an American pilot and they didn't know what to do.
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He said he just instinctively grabbed this big bamboo log and threw it into the water and jumped in after it.
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One of his neighbours joined him and the two of them swam out to the parachute.
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Apparently McCain had broken both arms and one leg, and had sunk to the bottom, but they pulled him out of the lake.
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When they got to the bank, a couple of men attacked McCain, breaking his shoulder with a rifle butt and stabbing his leg, before Mr On stopped them.
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That day, he saved McCain from drowning and then from maybe being killed by the mob.
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McCain listened but there was no dramatic response. He just nodded, said, 'Thank you very much,' and gave Mr On a little Senate seal.
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It was the kind of thing you buy in the souvenir shop in the Senate basement.

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But Mr On, to the day he died, treated it as if it were a Congressional Medal of Honour.

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But although McCain appeared to believe the story, it was one he would later seem to ignore in his autobiography and there was no more contact between the two men.
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When Mr On died in 2006, an email was apparently sent to McCain's office requesting a message of condolence for the family. There was no response.

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Whether or not McCain believed Mr On is unclear.

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But his refusal to acknowledge his heroism is likely to fuel other, more damaging allegations that McCain exaggerated elements of his PoW ordeal in Hoa Lo prison.
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Phung Van Chung, 70, who was a Communist Party official at the time, claims McCain was quickly singled out for softer treatment, adding: I found out he was the son of an American admiral, so the top people wanted to keep him as a live witness so they could use him for negotiations.
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Mr On's son-in-law, Nguyen Ngoc Toan, said: ?Before he died, he told us not to sell the medal McCain gave him.
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He said, 'If any of the grandchildren ever go to America, having it might help them.'?

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In 2000, McCain, by then a presidential candidate, visited the lake that almost claimed his life.

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His entourage was outside our house but Mr McCain just passed by, said Mr On's widow, who insists she bears no grudge.
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Behind her calm words, however, lies an anxiety to right the injustice she feels her husband suffered.
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As we prepared to leave she clutched my hand and said: Please help us to remind Mr McCain what my husband did.
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Just a few words will be enough to let the family know that he is grateful.

McCain's Bermuda Triangle

When you sling mud and make outrageous claims about your opponent as Senator McCain has, it is expected that the Keating Five scandal and the BNAS issue will be raised. It seems to be the McCains' pattern of behavior to discredit those whistleblowers each time, much as Cindy McCain destroyed others with her drug addiction.
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Offered by The Nation:
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Just six months after being rebuked by the Senate Ethics Committee for exercising "poor judgment" when he interfered with federal regulators on behalf of a wealthy donor, Senator John McCain engaged in activities that may have constituted an abuse of his office for personal gain. In August 1991, McCain hosted a family reunion at the Bermuda Naval Air Station (BNAS) for at least seven days at taxpayer expense. McCain's entourage of eleven included his wife, Cindy, and several of his children. The trip took place as Washington was still dealing with the fallout from the Keating Five scandal, an episode that involved other improper luxury Atlantic-island trips for McCain.
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McCain's junket to BNAS was first reported by ABC's Primetime Live in a postscript to a December 1992 story on Senior Petty Officer George Taylor, the whistleblower who exposed the use of the Navy base by top officials for nongovernmental purposes. A March 1993 Navy Inspector General report, precipitated by the Primetime Live segment, as well as a BNAS log record and a new interview with Taylor corroborate and amplify the substance of ABC's story.
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The Navy IG report, obtained by The Nation and never before made public, redacts the name of the "one U.S. Senator" who used BNAS as a "vacation site." But in an interview with The Nation, Taylor, who was stationed at BNAS from May to November 1992, confirms that the senator in question was John McCain. A log book from BNAS, also obtained by The Nation, lists McCain as the only senator to have stayed on the island between 1989 and 1992.
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In his interview, Taylor now recounts a conversation he had with a military psychiatrist who examined Taylor in 1992 for a psychiatric evaluation ordered by his supervisor in the wake of the Primetime Live show, in an apparent act of retaliation for his whistleblowing. The anecdote raises the disturbing possibility that McCain's Senate office attempted to influence the outcome of Taylor's psychiatric evaluation.
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In his 2002 memoir, McCain declared that he had learned from his mistakes in the Keating Five affair, writing, "I have carefully avoided situations that might even tangentially be construed as a less than proper use of my office." But this most recent disclosure casts doubt on that claim.
"It was a family reunion...and the guests included grown children from a prior marriage...and minor children...a baby and a nanny," the IG report says of the McCain family vacation--some aspects of which may have violated the law.
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Taylor, who had been highly decorated for his service aboard the USS Antietam, was the chief of military police at BNAS, commanding a staff of about seventy MPs. Shortly after his arrival at BNAS, he came to recognize that rather than serving a strategic military purpose, the base functioned mainly as a taxpayer-subsidized vacation spot for high-ranking officials.
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"We're not running a military installation," Taylor told ABC. "We're running a Howard Johnson's."
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In accordance with Taylor's claims, the IG report counted an inordinately high number of officer and VIP visits for a base that had one plane and no ships, and that was, according to ABC, "a cold war military relic that has outlived its usefulness."
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"The tally for our two-year period was 80 flag/general officers [admirals and generals] and 99 0-6's [captains or colonels]," the IG report said, in addition to a number of other VIP visitors, one of whom was McCain.
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According to the report, McCain's trip was likely also the largest to the installation, as it was "the only identifiable case in which a visiting VIP...and guests required accommodations over and above the quarters" normally made available to visitors.
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The operation at "Club Fed," as it was called by the MPs, was not cheap. The IG report estimates the cost for military flights to the island at about $6,000, but Taylor and other MPs say this doesn't account for indirect costs like maintenance, salaries and hangar space, which they believe bring the expense closer to $40,000 per flight. Taylor also learned that funds were diverted from security operations and poured into hospitality, and the Primetime Live segment reported that $53,000 was used to redecorate one of the guest cottages on the base in 1992.
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Both the IG report and the Primetime Live segment make clear that military officers or military retirees--like McCain--and their dependents had been entitled to stay in BNAS guest quarters on a space-available basis. But their visits crossed the line when other military resources were used for nonofficial purposes.
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And that's what happened on just about every trip, according to Taylor. "Once they arrive they have the government vans here, which provide the transportation. They have the drivers, maid service," Taylor told ABC in 1992.
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"Sailors had been assigned to be [Cindy McCain's] driver, and they carried her bags after she went shopping at the expensive shops on the island," says Taylor now. "It's like they were her servants." Taylor, who was not at the base when McCain visited but had been extensively briefed about it by subordinates, said this situation was not unique to Mrs. McCain. "That was the case for admirals and generals and other high-ranking officials that were coming into the installation for supposed military and governmental purposes."
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Taylor believes that this use of military resources violated the law. According to Title 31 USC 1349 Section B, it is illegal if an officer or employee of the US government "willfully uses or authorizes the use of a passenger motor vehicle or aircraft owned or leased by the United States Government (except for an official purpose...)."
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Taylor told The Nation that he spoke up in part about the waste and abuse in Bermuda because he had seen a disturbing pattern. "They were closing all these bases stateside--like in Alabama, where I'm from, and good people were losing their jobs. And then, here's one that everyone's using, going to do their golfing weekends."
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The conclusions in the IG report are also redacted, and it is not clear what the consequences of the report were or if McCain faced any reprimands or sanctions. Calls to McCain's campaign were not returned. But because of Taylor's disclosure and the ABC report, BNAS was shuttered in 1995 after the Navy conducted another investigation that showed that the base was not serving any military purpose.
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There was other fallout as well. Shortly after Taylor blew the whistle, he was removed from his duties on the island. One month before the Primetime Live episode aired, he was ordered by his commanding officer to undergo a psychiatric evaluation.
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Taylor had been a stellar serviceman, having received multiple commendations and superior evaluations and having exhibited no symptoms of psychological distress. He believes that the psychiatric evaluation was a punitive measure. "I don't think it's a coincidence at all," he told ABC. But his commanding officer, Capt. James Arnold, denied this to ABC.
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In fact, the military had used psychiatric evaluations to discredit and stifle whistleblowers before. At the time, the Government Accountability Project (GAP) had been pushing Congress for years to address this type of abuse. According to GAP lawyer Tom Devine, "Taylor's ordeal was the straw that broke the camel's back"; in late 1992 Congress passed the Boxer Amendment to curb the use of mental health evaluations as retaliation against whistleblowers, though the practice still occurs.
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In November 1992, Taylor was packed onto a jet and ordered to appear at the Naval Medical Center in Portsmouth, Virginia, to see psychiatrist Peter True and undergo a "fitness for duty examination." Dr. True evaluated Taylor on November 13 and arrived at the following diagnosis: "No psychiatric diagnosis at this time. 1) Patient is psychiatrically fit for duty. 2) He is fully responsible for his actions. 3) This is not a psychiatric problem. This is a problem between this member and his employer and needs to be worked out as such. There are no psychiatric contraindications to any administrative or legal action. 4) No psychiatric follow-up indicated."
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According to Taylor, True also told him at the time, "You've really upset a lot of people." When Taylor asked the doctor what he meant, True replied, "I've been contacted before, but never in advance by a fleet commander's staff, a senator's staff and the secretary of the Navy's staff to try and influence my evaluation."
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Neither McCain's office nor True responded to The Nation's requests for an interview to determine whether McCain's staff contacted True and attempted to influence the outcome of Taylor's psychiatric evaluation. But it was McCain's office that had reason to intervene.
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According to the official "VIP Log Book" on the island, McCain was the only senator to have stayed on the island between 1989 and 1992.
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McCain had also been a classmate at the Naval Academy of Adm. Henry Mauz, who was heavily implicated in the BNAS scandal. Admiral Mauz had used the excuse that he'd been conducting official business on the island, but a Pentagon official said of one of Mauz's junkets, "It was a golfing trip. That's why he got in trouble. It was allegedly a training trip, but they ended up golfing the whole time."
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Tom Devine, one of Taylor's lawyers from the Government Accountability Project, speaking in an independent capacity, hopes for a more comprehensive and transparent inquiry into McCain's involvement in the matter.
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"It was Senator McCain who made character an issue for the election. He says that Senator Obama should answer questions about associations from his distant past so that we can make a fair assessment about his character. But Senator McCain has some troubling questions to answer about his own behavior," says Devine. "It's one thing to go on a junket. It's another thing to have taxpayers finance a family reunion."

$700 Billion Being Used To Make Banks Profitable

This is why I don't trust Republicans to do the right thing:
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Uses for $700 billion bailout money ever shifting
By JOHN DUNBAR
WASHINGTON (AP) — First, the $700 billion rescue for the economy was about buying devalued mortgage-backed securities from tottering banks to unclog frozen credit markets.
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Then it was about using $250 billion of it to buy stakes in banks. The idea was that banks would use the money to start making loans again.
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But reports surfaced that bankers might instead use the money to buy other banks, pay dividends, give employees a raise and executives a bonus, or just sit on it. Insurance companies now want a piece; maybe automakers, too, even though Congress has approved $25 billion in low-interest loans for them.
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Three weeks after becoming law, and with the first dollar of the $700 billion yet to go out, officials are just beginning to talk about helping a few strapped homeowners keep the foreclosure wolf from the door.
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As the crisis worsens, the government's reaction keeps changing. Lawmakers in both parties are starting to gripe that the bailout is turning out to be far different from what the Bush administration sold to Congress.
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In buying equity stakes in banks, the Treasury has "deviated significantly from its original course," says Alabama Sen. Richard Shelby, the top Republican on the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee. "We need to examine closely the reason for this change," said Shelby, who opposed the bailout.
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The centerpiece of the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act is the "troubled asset relief program," or TARP for short. Critics note that tarps are used to cover things up. The money was to be devoted to buying "toxic" mortgage-backed securities whose value has fallen in lockstep with home prices.
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But once European governments said they were going into the banking business, Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson followed suit and diverted $250 billion to buy stock in healthy banks to spur lending.
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Bank executives hinted they might instead use it for acquisitions. Sen. Christopher Dodd, chairman of the Senate banking committee, said this development was "beyond troubling."
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Sure enough, a day after Dodd, D-Conn., made the comment, the government confirmed that PNC Financial Services Group Inc. was approved to receive $7.7 billion in return for company stock. At the same time, PNC said it was acquiring National City Corp. for $5.58 billion.
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"Although there will be some consolidation, that's not the driver behind this program," Paulson recently told PBS talk show host Charlie Rose. "The driver is to have our healthy banks be well-capitalized so that they can play the role they need to play for our country right now."
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Other planned uses of the bailout money have lawmakers protesting, although it is only fair to note there is nothing in the law that they just wrote to prevent those uses.
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Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y. questioned allowing banks that accept bailout bucks to continue paying dividends on their common stock.
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"There are far better uses of taxpayer dollars than continuing dividend payments to shareholders," he said.
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Schumer, whose constituents include Wall Street bankers, said he also fears that they might stuff the money "under the proverbial mattress" rather than make loans.
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Neel Kashkari, head of the Treasury's financial stability program, told Dodd's committee this past week that there are few strings attached to the capital-infusion program because too many rules would discourage financial institutions from participating.
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As the bank plan has become a priority, the effort to buy troubled assets has receded from the headlines. Potential conflicts of interest pose all kinds of problems in finding qualified companies to manage that program.
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"Firms with the relevant financial expertise may also hold assets that become eligible for sale into the TARP or represent clients who hold troubled assets," Kashkari said.
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The challenge was made plain when the Treasury hired the Bank of New York Mellon Corp. as "custodian" of the troubled assets purchase program. The bank will conduct "reverse auctions" to buy the toxic securities on behalf of the Treasury. The lower the price they set, the better chance sellers have of getting rid of the devalued securities.
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On the same day it hired Mellon, the Treasury also picked the company to receive a $3 billion investment as part of the capital-infusion program. The same bank hired to help manage part of the economic rescue plan became a beneficiary of it.
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With the Nov. 4 election nearing, lawmakers decided it was important to remind the government officials running the bailout program about parts of the law aimed at helping distressed homeowners by offering federal guarantees to mortgages renegotiated down to lower monthly payments.
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"The key to our nation's economic recovery is the recovery of the housing market," Dodd said. "And the key to recovery of the housing market is reducing foreclosures."
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Sheila Bair, who heads the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., responded that her agency is working "closely and creatively" with Treasury officials to "realize the potential benefits of this authority."
On the Net:
Treasury:
http://www.treasury.gov/
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And from NYT:
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However, when they’re using taxpayer-provided capital, as they are now, Congress and the public have every right to require that the money be used to benefit the public directly, even if doing so crimps the banks’ profits. If Treasury won’t impose conditions, Congress must, including a requirement that banks accepting bailout money increase their loans to creditworthy borrowers and limit their acquisitions to failing banks, such as those listed as troubled by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. The bailout should not be an occasion for banks to make a killing.
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An even bigger problem is that the bailout was sold as a way to spur loans. If that never was — or no longer is — the primary aim, Congress and the public need to know that. Lawmakers should not release the second installment — $350 billion — until they have answers and guarantees that the bailout money will be spent in ways that put the public interest first.

Just When You Thought ..........

A friend related a story of a friend teaching in a local school recently.
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An Elementary School student told the teacher that if Obama became President, he would give blacks jobs and all white people would become slaves.
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Since logic indicates that a child lacks the comprehension to create such a wacko fantasy, the origin seems to be the parents of this child.
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Just when you thought that that level of ignorance didn't exist, it tumbles from the mouth of a child based on racism heard at home. And just when you thought that the intellectual level that surrounded you was higher than that, you realize you were sorrowfully mistaken.
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These are the lies, hatred, fear, ignorance and racism stoked by the McCain campaign, aired repeatedly on FAUX News, come back to haunt from the innocence of a child. How pathetic!
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An Angry Old Man?
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Garrison Keillor put it in perspective:
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Will Mr. Burly vote for Obama?
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The thought of replacing the Current Occupant with the Angry Old Man of the Desert and Whoopee the Ice Queen is miserable in the extreme.
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I was messing around in Tulsa, Okla., last week and got talking with a big burly man with a McCain-Palin pin on his blue blazer who told me he was descended from yellow-dog Democrats who thought the sun rose and set over FDR and Republicans were people who wore spats and top hats and sailed off Newport. So I told him that my Republican ancestors believed that only lazy people were unemployed in the '30s. He said, "So each of us is heading back to where the other one is coming from." He found that rather amusing. I said, "If that's so, I hope you're ready to be good and poor and endure some hard Minnesota winters."
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"Poor, yes. Good, I'm not so sure about. Winter, no. No way."
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He's proud of Tulsa, which survived the exodus of Big Oil and got into telecommunications and aeronautics, proud of its Art Deco buildings from the '20s, its art museums and ballet. "Outsiders hear Tulsa and they think Dust Bowl and Oral Roberts," he says, "but that's not who we are. This town is all about change."
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I did not bother to tell him that change is exactly what the country is bursting to achieve in less than a week. Of course he knows all about it. Oklahoma seems safely red, but these days who knows? Obama looks more and more steadfast as the moment nears. The country longs for a president who can talk and think at the same time. We've been locked up with the Current Occupant for way too long and the thought of replacing him with the Angry Old Man of the Desert and Whoopee the Ice Queen is miserable in the extreme.
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Most of my Republican friends are people who are not ashamed of having worked hard and done well in school, and their party's frantic appeal to anti-intellectualism is nothing they care to sign up for. Time to nip that sucker in the bud. The party needs to reform itself around some coherent philosophy of governance and vision of the future and for that, it must take a trip to the wilderness. They are quietly supporting the skinny guy this time around. They might tell a pollster otherwise but that's what they will do. Call it the Palin Effect.
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Even Mr. Burly of Tulsa expressed sorrow over McCain's campaign, the jerkiness and desperation of it, and admiration for Barack's steadiness, his cool, his straightforward articulation and the old-fashioned story of his rise in the world. I thought about that the next day, flying to Philly and walking over to Independence Hall and riding the train to Lancaster through the little towns of old brick row houses, the red and golden trees, the trim farmyards and the fields of tan stubble, a state McCain has scrapped hard for even as he sank in the polls. I suppose he looks at that classic Rockwell landscape and those hardy German Lutheran faces and thinks those are his people and how can they possibly go for a Harvard Law graduate from the South Side of Chicago whose last name is Obama, for crying out loud?
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They can and they will. Colin Powell was right when he called the guy a transformational candidate. We walk through the door and we close it behind us and the simplicity of it is dazzling. That's how it happens. You walk aboard a plane and glance into the cockpit and there's a woman in the left-hand seat, and who these days would even think this worthy of comment? You see Latino men and women moving up whose grandparents picked row crops for a living. In Tulsa, in 1921, there was a big race riot following the arrest of a young black man who was alleged to have touched a white woman on the arm. Fighting in the streets, neighborhoods torched, the National Guard called in -- and this story seems medieval to us, a dark age almost beyond our ken. That culture is gone, gone, gone, and on Tuesday we bury it by the simple democratic process of voting for the best man even though his father was African.
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In America, a man is not held responsible for choosing his parents, only for his own life and conduct. This man promises to take us into a new era where we aren't defined by our differences, Short vs. Tall, Pale vs. Freckled, and can take a deep breath and do what's best for the country.

Dumbfounded #2

One of the last things I cared to do was sit through the candidates' interviews for Fire Chief, listen to the uninformed comments about casino impacts, yet again, by a Bored [sic] that's unlike any other, especially on a Fall Sunday. But the lack of videotaping, attendance by the press (can't say I blame them), poor attendance by 'regular' voters (can't blame them either) and the lack of transcription, seemed to merit attention as indicated in Dumbfounded #1.
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Selectwoman Duphily seemed to have finally figured out by the fourth candidate that activities of the Fire Department, Police Department and the ambulance service would increase should the casino ever be constructed based solely on the increased traffic. (Referring to the CRAC report, traffic was estimated at 50,000 cars per day.) Mrs. Duphily is a lovely and multi-talented lady, whose calendar seems so filled, she's unable to devote any time to research or enlightenment. Her efforts at improving the Town Hall lawn are a noticeable improvement and at the suggestion of an anonymous poster elsewhere, clearly worthy of Town Groundskeeper, an office for which she could successfully run. From her comments, however, one can deduce that she has failed to avail herself of the forums and courses offered to inform officials of their responsibilities, the pertinent laws and procedures, the basic functions of town government. Hopefully, at some point during her term, she will elect to do so, but barring that, those who supported her might step up to the plate and provide some background information to reduce the embarrassment those of us who watch suffer.
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Although it is doubtful that the casino will ever prevail for a large number of reasons (Check out CarverChick for a simplified explanation of some of the legal issues. She has an impressive ability to explain complex issues in an easily understandable fashion.) and organized opposition that continues to fight armed with the facts, it is clear that the inevitability has evaporated.
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My good friends and fellow bloggers, Bellicose Bumpkin and Gladys Kravitz and Carl's Casino Quotes have recently blogged about the local impacts of casinos on surrounding towns.
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But, I digress.
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More than a year has transpired after the TMFH that the Bored [sic] forced onto the Town, before an agreement existed, and before the Town had adequate time to review, digest and question the contents of the flawed agreement, the Bored [sic] still hasn't figured out its contents.
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Fellow bloggers have explained how the Agreement netted half of what it should have, failed to adequately address impacts, ignored the impacts on schools and much else.
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Enter Selectwoman Duphily.
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Round about the fourth candidate for Fire Chief, in questioning an out of state candidate for Fire Chief, Selectwoman Duphily stated that HOPEFULLY the casino would pay for the additional costs to the Town.
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The candidate responded with "the casino ought to pay."
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So, where and in what legal dictionary is HOPEFULLY and OUGHT TO defined in terms of a legally binding contract that casino supporters blindly accepted and the BOS signed with a Sovereign Nation?
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The Agreement that the TMFH approved with the Mashpee Wampanoag is posted nemasket. Those who would defend the document need to print it and re-read it. And please, while you're at it, print a copy for Mrs. Duphily and provide a crash course in contract law. Like it or not, those are the terms that were agreed to.
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At a recent BOS Meeting, Selectman Spataro (the Selectman with the non-published phone number to avoid those pesky townspeople, usually unprepared, who has sat at a BOS Meetings text messaging, eating his supper, arrives late and told you this was the 'Big Leagues.') indicated that even though he was the Bored's [sic] representative to SRPEDD, he hadn't attended the meetings and it was necessary to appoint another representative. In other words, the very agency that he has criticized in the past, he couldn't be bothered to represent the Town's interests to attend meetings. And was it noticed that Selectwoman Duphily failed to step up to the plate and volunteer? Has she volunteered for any meetings or committees that are the responsibility of Selectpersons to fulfill? Groundskeeper is good, but how about the necessary responsibilities that come with the elected office that you sought?
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Wasn't it conspicuous enough that after living in Middleboro for many years, Mrs. Duphily was unfamiliar with the hazardous waste site that is Rockland Industries, a site that has been reported for 40 years?
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Mr. Cristello has accomplished a yeoman's job in his short tenure bringing Middleboro into the 20th Century, never mind the 21st, but this is government by Mickey Mouse or Homer Simpson and needs to improve to meet the challenges we confront. Mr. Cristello can only do so much.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

ACORN

Sometimes the facts make more sense than Republicans who have conducted organized voter suppression and purges during the last several elections. The desperation of McCain/Palin might explain their great emphasis on voter registration drives this year. Maybe they're beginning to doubt that even with all they've done to prevent Democrats from voting, they just still might loose.
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Lee Atwater Would Be Proud of John McCain

At a time when our nation is confronting major economic problems caused by flawed and failed policies of a Republican Administration and a Republican Congress, we need to unite to address those policies and find the best solutions.
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It is particularly troubling that the McCain/Palin Team is deliberately dividing and targeting and labeling.
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Because I've seen these video clips, I wasn't going to post, but re-considered.
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John McCain: In His Own Words


Senator McCain's Pearls of Economic Wisdom


FAUX News


You Tube Nightmare

McCain Now Writing SNL Script

Senator McCain had initially focused his campaign by attacking Senator Obama's position on Iraq. It's a good thing the economy exploded, because few have noticed that the Iraqis want the US out, or for that matter, that the US is bombing Syria , because they're too busy worrying about their jobs, loosing their homes, or how to stay warm this winter.
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The Boston Globe reported on Senator McCain's rhetoric -
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"Now this election comes down to how you want your hard-earned money spent," McCain told an audience in a Cleveland hotel ballroom after a meeting with political and business figures he considers his economic advisers, including former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney.
"Do you want to keep it and invest it in your future, or have it taken by the most liberal person to ever run for the presidency and the Democratic leaders ...
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It appears that the Globe was serious in its intent, but for some reason, it sounds like an SNL script.
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Sure, we could invest in the stock market!
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Someone must have overlooked Romney's business practices or that he bought Dunkin' Donuts, among the state's largest employers not providing health insurance, while promoting a state plan that fines individuals for their failure to participate. And of the other advisers, they're the ones who created the mess. But a good laugh is always appreciated in the morning!
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Paul Krugman commented on what we got for our $700 Billion Bailout fiasco --
...the banks seem to be hoarding the cash.
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There’s also bizarre stuff going on with regard to the mortgage market. I thought that the whole point of the federal takeover of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the lending agencies, was to remove fears about their solvency and thereby lower mortgage rates. But top officials have made a point of denying that Fannie and Freddie debt is backed by the “full faith and credit” of the U.S. government — and as a result, markets are still treating the agencies’ debt as a risky asset, driving mortgage rates up at a time when they should be going down.
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What’s happening, I suspect, is that the Bush administration’s anti-government ideology still stands in the way of effective action. Events have forced Mr. Paulson into a partial nationalization of the financial system — but he refuses to use the power that comes with ownership.
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Whatever the reasons for the continuing weakness of policy, the situation is manifestly not coming under control. Things continue to fall apart.

Voting Reminder

Tuesday, November 4th is Election Day.



If you will not be available on that day, remember to cast a ballot at the Town Clerk's Office until NOON the day before, Monday, November 3rd.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Thank you, Middleboro!

This evening's Special Town Meeting achieved a quorum on time and maintained a quorum for the entire meeting to dispense with 27 Articles on the Warrant.
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It was good to see new faces in the crowd and many of the old friends who missed last week.
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Good showing and thanks to all to complete necessary town business!
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Maybe you can offer some suggestions on nemasket about how we can better publicize the information earlier, in greater detail to avoid lengthy discussion of the basics on town meeting floor -- not to say questions and comments aren't essential and they certainly add to the discussion, but are there ways we can provide the foundation information earlier? collect the factual information and make it available earlier? For instance, someone asked on town meeting floor how many towns had adopted a certain MGL (Massachusetts General Law). It was a pertinent question that may have provided important information if asked earlier.
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On a somewhat separate note, Jim Thomas, who has served as Town Moderator has announced that he will not run for re-election in April's Town Election. Unless an unforeseen town meeting suddenly occurs before that time, this Special Town Meeting was his last. Jim has done his best to be fair to participants, translate the legal procedures so that they are clearly understood by those of us who are new to the process and allow discussion to go on as long as he felt voters needed to speak to issues of concern, but attempted to limit an overdose. Jim donated a DVD of a Town Meeting Guide to the library, ComCast and the High School. When Jim made me aware of that, I requested that ComCast air the program on the local access channel, which they did and hope it succeeded in answering questions some might have. (If you still have questions, you can borrow the library's copy. Or I'll request that ComCast run it again prior to next year's ATM.)
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Jim, thanks for working to educate some of us and explain in clear terms what we were voting on and what the peculiar town meeting terms meant. Your replacement needs to be as patient as you have been, especially when I approach the microphone!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Dumbfounded! #1

Beginning today at 10 AM, the Middleboro Board of Selectmen began interviewing candidates for the position of Fire Chief. I remained for 4 of the 5 interviews and must commend the selection committee for the process of presenting candidates with impressive credentials, solid backgrounds and wide experience. No videotape recording was made of the interviews. No reporters were present. And it was, once again clear, that no BOS member had taken the time to conduct their due diligence or a google search.
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One of the common threads of the first 3 candidates was their incorporation of 'volunteers,' auxiliary firefighters, part-timers or 'call' firefighters (the terms, pay rates and responsibilities varied by town/state/location) into their daily operations to reduce costs, manpower and provide flexibility in manning.
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One candidate established a policy in which the 'part timers' manned fire stations for a mandatory period.
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In other words, if Middleboro increased the size of its 'call' fire department, worked to train that staff, it has the potential to provide the flexibility to man all three fire stations and keep them open on a permanent basis.
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Except that it clearly indicated that not one of the candidates had been provided with a copy of the appropriate fire contracts which prohibits implementation of such a practice. Ooops!
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In fairness, it should be noted that of the 4 candidates I watched, each had been provided with copies of the Matrix report that evaluated the establishment of a town-run ambulance service. And each of those 4 candidates defended the advantages of such a service even though it would cost the town more than the current AMR contract. Of those advantages, was: 1. familiarity with the locations, but that made the assumption of high turnover rates with the outside contractor. AMR has been stable in personnel from the occasions we've used the services 2. familiarity with 'frequent fliers,' those with chronic problems requiring frequent emergency services. Sorry! But several 'frequent fliers' have highly praised AMR's provisions to address such needs and it seems exceptional.
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The importance of appropriate dispatching was addressed and the general impression gathered was the importance of sending the proper vehicle/responder to address the problem which might be the closest unit initially, to be subsequently backed up with a transport to the hospital by AMR. At which point, the initial responder would depart the scene.
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None of the candidates indicated that it was appropriate to respond with the 4 emergency vehicles that appears to be Middleboro's current policy. Maybe they were unaware. Maybe the search committee was unaware.
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From their comments, it was also clear that they were totally unfamiliar with the IGA (the Inter- Governmental Agreement) that the Town of Middleboro had signed with the Mashpee Wamponaog to build a mega-casino complex, in terms of the public safety and ambulance service that contains provision for just those issues.
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On Page 3 of the IGA:
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Section 4. Mitigation Measures.
The Parties agree that the Local Impact Payments to be made pursuant to Section
5 are made in lieu of all taxes and other assessments otherwise due to the Town of
Middleborough and/or the Town’s departments, boards or commissions including, but not
limited to, its school district and police and fire departments.
In conjunction with the
measures set forth herein, the Payments constitute the Tribe’s mitigation efforts and are in full and complete satisfaction of all local government impacts whether or not identified in this Agreement.
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B. Pre-opening Mitigation – Police, Firefighting and Emergency Medical
Services.
The Tribe agrees to buy two police cruisers and two advanced life support
("ALS") ambulances, and pay for the training, salaries and benefits of eight police
officers and 16 firefighters/emergency medical technicians. Based on current salary
levels and costs of vehicles, the Town's estimated cost is $2,005,000.
The lead time for hiring and training the police officers is 12 months and
the Tribe agrees to fund the hiring of these officers so that they will be trained and on
duty as of the first day of commercial operations at the Project, unless the Parties by
separate agreement establish an earlier schedule. The Tribe's obligation to fund the
police units, including salaries and benefits, shall terminate on the first day of
commercial operations at the Project.
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Page 4
The lead time for hiring and training paramedics/firefighters is 12 months
and the Tribe agrees to fund the hiring of these officers so that they will be trained and on
duty as of the first day of commercial operations at the Project, unless the Parties by
separate agreement establish an earlier schedule to provide Emergency Medical Services
("EMS") during Project construction. The Tribe's obligation to fund EMS, including
salaries and benefits, shall terminate as of the first day of commercial operations at the
Project or when the operation becomes self-sustaining, whichever is earlier.
The Parties have discussed operating EMS through some form of joint
venture between the Tribe and the Town, but have not reviewed applicable law, existing
contracts or feasibility. Accordingly, the Parties agree to meet and negotiate in good faith
a supplemental agreement regarding the joint venture.
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One candidate indicated that he had applied for and received a grant for a $600,000 ladder truck. Oh, how timely! Wasn't a question asked at ATM about whether grants had been considered and applied for?
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At ATM, I asked whether consideration had been given by the Finance Committee for a Prop 2 1/2 Capital Exclusion override that would have been a one shot deal, maybe $100 per homeowner for one year to pay the cost of a ladder truck in full instead of bonding. Because the article was petitioned by the fire department, no consideration was given.
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Instead of working with the financial officers of the town to accomplish the most sensible method of purchasing a ladder truck for the town, or even doing their own research into alternatives, the ladder truck was bonded, adding to the town's indebtedness.
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My question regarding debt exclusion arouse from articles such as the following (there are others):
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Sunday, March 23, 2008
Duxbury: Prop 2 1/2 Override
The following Boston Globe article represents the recent experience in Duxbury at attempts to pass a Prop 2 1/2 override. You will note that the portion that passed was the Capital Exclusion:.Duxbury voters reject one override, pass two others.
The measure was a capital exclusion tax override, meaning that the increased spending will be added to the tax levy for one year only. The projected tax increase from the new equipment is expected to add $108 to the average homeowner tax bill of $641,300, according to finance director John Madden.
BostonGlobe
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There is no one in Middleboro who would argue that a response time by the ambulance service or the fire department of 12 minutes to South Middleboro is unacceptable. But might we argue that a grant for the ladder truck might have helped alter the town's fiscal situation?
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More will follow as time permits.

Anchorage Daily News Endorses Obama

The Anchorage Daily News endorsed Obama and offered a thorough explanation for their choice. We can only hope that, at some future date, the lower 48 states are able to convince Alaskans of the folly of destroying their unique and valuable environment for the sake of limited oil reserves. In June 2008, Energy: Vision and Passion was posted.
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Obama for president
Palin's rise captivates us but nation needs a steady hand
Alaska enters its 50th-anniversary year in the glow of an improbable and highly memorable event: the nomination of Gov. Sarah Palin as the Republican vice presidential candidate. For the first time ever, an Alaskan is making a serious bid for national office, and in doing so she brings broad attention and recognition not only to herself, but also to the state she leads.
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Alaska's founders were optimistic people, but even the most farsighted might have been stretched to imagine this scenario. No matter the outcome in November, this election will mark a signal moment in the history of the 49th state. Many Alaskans are proud to see their governor, and their state, so prominent on the national stage.
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Gov. Palin's nomination clearly alters the landscape for Alaskans as we survey this race for the presidency -- but it does not overwhelm all other judgment. The election, after all is said and done, is not about Sarah Palin, and our sober view is that her running mate, Sen. John McCain, is the wrong choice for president at this critical time for our nation.
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Sen. Barack Obama, the Democratic nominee, brings far more promise to the office. In a time of grave economic crisis, he displays thoughtful analysis, enlists wise counsel and operates with a cool, steady hand. The same cannot be said of Sen. McCain.
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Since his early acknowledgement that economic policy is not his strong suit, Sen. McCain has stumbled and fumbled badly in dealing with the accelerating crisis as it emerged. He declared that "the fundamentals of our economy are strong" at 9 a.m. one day and by 11 a.m. was describing an economy in crisis. He is both a longtime advocate of less market regulation and a supporter of the huge taxpayer-funded Wall Street bailout. His behavior in this crisis -- erratic is a kind description -- shows him to be ill-equipped to lead the essential effort of reining in a runaway financial system and setting an anxious nation on course to economic recovery.
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Sen. Obama warned regulators and the nation 19 months ago that the subprime lending crisis was a disaster in the making. Sen. McCain backed tighter rules for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, but didn't do much to advance that legislation. Of the two candidates, Sen. Obama better understands the mortgage meltdown's root causes and has the judgment and intelligence to shape a solution, as well as the leadership to rally the country behind it. It is easy to look at Sen. Obama and see a return to the smart, bipartisan economic policies of the last Democratic administration in Washington, which left the country with the momentum of growth and a budget surplus that President George Bush has squandered.
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On the most important issue of the day, Sen. Obama is a clear choice.
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Sen. McCain describes himself as a maverick, by which he seems to mean that he spent 25 years trying unsuccessfully to persuade his own party to follow his bipartisan, centrist lead. Sadly, maverick John McCain didn't show up for the campaign. Instead we have candidate McCain, who embraces the extreme Republican orthodoxy he once resisted and cynically asks Americans to buy for another four years.
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It is Sen. Obama who truly promises fundamental change in Washington. You need look no further than the guilt-by-association lies and sound-bite distortions of the degenerating McCain campaign to see how readily he embraces the divisive, fear-mongering tactics of Karl Rove. And while Sen. McCain points to the fragile success of the troop surge in stabilizing conditions in Iraq, it is also plain that he was fundamentally wrong about the more crucial early decisions. Contrary to his assurances, we were not greeted as liberators; it was not a short, easy war; and Americans -- not Iraqi oil -- have had to pay for it. It was Sen. Obama who more clearly saw the danger ahead.
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The unqualified endorsement of Sen. Obama by a seasoned, respected soldier and diplomat like Gen. Colin Powell, a Republican icon, should reassure all Americans that the Democratic candidate will pass muster as commander in chief.
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On a matter of parochial interest, Sen. Obama opposes the opening of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, but so does Sen. McCain. We think both are wrong, and hope a President Obama can be convinced to support environmentally responsible development of that resource.
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Gov. Palin has shown the country why she has been so successful in her young political career. Passionate, charismatic and indefatigable, she draws huge crowds and sows excitement in her wake. She has made it clear she's a force to be reckoned with, and you can be sure politicians and political professionals across the country have taken note. Her future, in Alaska and on the national stage, seems certain to be played out in the limelight.
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Yet despite her formidable gifts, few who have worked closely with the governor would argue she is truly ready to assume command of the most important, powerful nation on earth. To step in and juggle the demands of an economic meltdown, two deadly wars and a deteriorating climate crisis would stretch the governor beyond her range. Like picking Sen. McCain for president, putting her one 72-year-old heartbeat from the leadership of the free world is just too risky at this time.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Save $4,000 Next Year

When the Middleboro Gas & Electric Commissioners' Meeting was aired on the local access network, a cursory review of the polling questions was presented that were asked in a recent survey, with a promise of more to follow.
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Of the questions asked, included, was whether increased energy costs had caused a lifestyle change. Since the questions and additional details will follow, the percentages weren't recorded, but it was disappointing that ANYONE believes saving energy has to effect your lifestyle. That's been the entire discussion --- you don't have to sit in the dark and shiver to save energy and reduce your consumption. You have to be smart about your energy use.
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That ANYONE responded to a question of that sort by indicating that their lifestyle had changed indicates the failure of the MG&E to educate their customers about how best to reduce consumption and enjoy the same lifestyle.
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The ideas are available, but who best to educate energy consumers than the G&E?
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This basic guide is passed along for consideration: Save $4,000 Next Year The estimates are somewhat conservative, but a good place to start.
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NewDream is promoting their campaign to Break the Bottled Water Habit and offers the following statistics:
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Everything we consume has a climate impact, but manufacturing and trucking water bottles to homes with clean tap water seems particularly wasteful. The Beverage Marketing Corporation reports that Americans consumed 31.2 billion liters of water in 2006 – nearly 9 liters per month for every man, woman, and child.
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Manufacturing all those bottles requires 900,000 tons of plastic, the equivalent of more than 17 million barrels of oil, and emit more than 2.5 million tons of carbon dioxide. Trucking around all those heavy bottles emits even more greenhouse gases. Beyond the climate impact there’s the massive waste – 86% of water bottles aren’t recycled -- and water bottling is also, ironically, a very water-intensive endeavor. The Pacific Institute tells us that it takes three liters of water to produce one liter of bottled water!

RMI: Abundance by Design

Rocky Mountain Institute publishes periodic emails on energy topics (subscribe for free) and contains an abundance of impartial, non-partisan information about energy topics. It's about time we had an honest dialogue, absent Big Oil, Dirty Coal and Moribund Nuclear.
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In the article Nuclear Power is not the solution the point is made that:
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Long term, nuclear offers the most expensive way to generate power. When you factor in all of the costs associated with electricity generating options (construction, maintenance, transmission, etc.), even industry-sponsored research suggests that nuclear power is likely to be the most expensive source of electricity we have over the long run. It is 50% more expensive than large coal or natural gas plants and twice as costly as large wind farms or energy efficiency projects. If you don’t see that extra cost in your electricity bill, it’s only because it’s hidden away in your tax bill via government subsidies.
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Drilling in All the Wrong Places offers an impartial assessment of the flawed belief in oil drilling as a solution:
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DRILLING FOR OIL IN THE ARCTIC National Wildlife Refuge should offend conservatives because it’s insecure, unimportant, unprofitable, and uncompetitive.
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Oklahoman ex-CIA Director R. James Woolsey testified against drilling because its “real show-stopper is national security. Delivering that oil by its only route, the 800-mile- long Trans-Alaska Pipeline System (TAPS), would make TAPS the fattest energy-terrorist target in the country— Uncle Sam’s ‘Kick Me’ sign.…Doubling and prolonging dependence on TAPS…imperils [national] security.”
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“TAPS,” he wrote, “is frighteningly insecure. It’s largely accessible to attackers, but often unrepairable in winter. If key pumping stations or facilities at either end were disabled, at least the above-ground half of 9 million barrels of hot oil could congeal in one winter week into the world’s biggest ChapStick®. The Army has found TAPS indefensible. It has already been sabotaged, incompetently bombed twice, and shot at more than 50 times[;]a drunk shut it down with one rifle shot. In 1999, a disgruntled engineer’s sophisticated plot to blow up three critical points with 14 bombs, then profit from oil futures trading, was thwarted by luck. He was an amiable bungler compared with the [9/11]attackers.”

The Origins of GOP Slime

"BoogieMan": The Lee Atwater Story, a documentary on Lee Atwater, will be available at the end of October on DVD. For those unfamiliar with the origins of Republican slime campaigning, even the trailer provides insight.
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Below is Bill Moyers' epitaph, done with grace and kindness as only he could do.
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BoogieManFilm.com
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Karl Rove was Atwater's protege, and George W. Bush, a kindred spirit, rode shotgun with Atwater during the infamous "Willie Horton" campaign of 1988.The '88 campaign, in which Dukakis was 17 points ahead before Atwater "Swift Boated" him is the playbook for the 2000, 2004, and 2008 campaigns. (Atwater died of brain cancer about half way through George Herbert Walker Bush's first term and wasn't around to torpedo Bill Clinton's campaign.)
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For all the nastiness of this year’s presidential campaign, the downward spiral into ever-meaner electioneering really started about 20 years ago. The political Magus who ushered in our new muddier era was Lee Atwater, best known for engineering George H.W. Bush’s win in 1988.





Moyers on Lee Atwater's Epiphany

Friday, October 24, 2008

Plymouth County Registry of Deeds

Few who attempted to utilize the Historic 1904 Plymouth County Registry of Deeds can fail to be impressed by the new building that opened in 2005 at 50 Obery Street in Plymouth. The site is worth the visit.
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A user friendly guide is available to explain Guest Access to an impressive list of online documents:

The information presently available online:
  • Grantor and Grantee indexes from 1955 to the most recent instrument recorded at the Registry
  • Record Books from Book 1(1685) to present
  • Plan Index from 1975 to present
  • Plan Images from Plan Book 1 to present
  • State Highway and County Taking Plans
  • Tax Liens from 1981 through 2005.
  • All other Tax Liensare available via the Grantor Indexes Plymouth Colony Records from 1620-1684
  • All Recorded Land Books from 1685 to present are available to view Land Court
  • Grantor/Grantee indexes from 1958 to the most recent document at the Registry
  • All Land Court Documents from document number 1(1899) to present are available to view
  • Land Court Certificate information
  • Trust and Vote Indexes (date range changes regularly)


Mercury and Cement Kilns

In response to Mercury, Power Plants, Fish and Cement Kilns , the following comment was received that I call to your attention:
The environmental lawyers of Weitz & Luxenberg P.C. have begun speaking with those in the Ravena, New York community who say they have been affected by the Lafarge Ravena
Cement Plant. For more information, please visit