Saturday, July 28, 2007

Acceptance Speech for Democratic Nominee

Washington Monthly has a speech, written by Theodore C. Sorenson (JFK special counsel and advisor), for the next Democrat Party nominee for President of the USA. Sorenson would have the next Democratic nominee pledge the following:

  1. Set a timetable for a systematic redeployment and withdrawal of all our troops in Iraq
  2. Implement a comprehensive regional economic and diplomatic stabilization plan for the entire Middle East
  3. Immediately transfer all inmates out of the prison in Guantanamo Bay and close it down
  4. "pledge in person to the United Nations, in the September 2009 General Assembly, that the United States is returning to its role as a leader in international law..."
  5. "...sign the Kyoto Protocol, and seek its ratification by the United States Senate..."
  6. "...favor communications, negotiations, and full relations with every country on earth, including Cuba, North Korea, Palestine, and Iran."
  7. "...restore the constitutional right of habeas corpus, abolish the unconstitutional tapping of private phones, and once again show the world the traditional American values that distinguish us from those who attacked us on 9/11."

It's a good strong speech. Read it.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Saranac Lake Water Supply: Is It Safe?

An article in todays Adirondack Daily Enterprise says the Village of Saranac Lake may be required to filter its water or find a new source of water other than McKenzie Pond.
The village currently uses liquid chlorine to disinfect the water and kill microorganisms. Byproducts of chlorination are haloacetic acids (HAA5). A 2004 Environmental Protection Agency law said that water sources can have a maximum of 60 parts per billion microliter of HAA5 in the water supply and still be considered safe. McKenzie Pond was found to have 61.1ppb MCL in March. That level has since fallen to 58.8ppb MCL for June.

Because of the one-time violation, the village will now have to either filter its water or find another water source within 18 months of the department’s final decision.

Currently, the Village chlorinates its water to kill microorganisms. The problem with this is that the chlorination process can result in the formation of haloacetic acids when the chlorine reacts with organic materials found in unfiltered water. This is also called formation of disinfection by-products (DBP). Haloacetic acids are a group of chemical compounds based on the acetic acid molecule (CH3COOH) where one or more hydrogen atoms attached to carbon atoms are replaced by a halogen (chlorine).

Although the EPA sets very stringent allowable levels of HAA's there really is not much evidence that HAA's pose a significant risk. There is evidence in mice and rats and in in vitro studies that exposure to HAA causes increased risk of problems in embryos. But this recent study on pregnancy loss finds no correlation between pregnancy loss and DBP exposure (including HAA). Here is another finding that HAA exposure does not result in significantly increased preterm births. A long term study on the effects of HAA exposure on the incidence of leukemia has recently been reported. The incidence of chronic myloid leukemia increased in those with high exposure to HAA. But the incidence of other leukemias actually went down.

All this being said, I am surprised that the Village does not filter its water. There is nothing more important than a safe, clean and pure water supply except perhaps an effective sewage system in protecting a population from disease.

An exposure summary of HAA's can be found here. HAA exposure of 70 ppb results in a 1:10,000 risk of getting cancer during ones lifetime.

A classification and assessment of HAA can be found here.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Prescott Bush - Fascist and Traitor?

Remember the fascist plot in 1933 to overthrow the FDR Whitehouse? No? I don't remember it either. It wasn't covered in any history course I ever took. But the plot did occur. Now, BBC claims it has documentary evidence that Prescott Bush father and grandfather of Bush 41 and Bush 43 was also involved.

This shouldn't be too surprising. Prescott Bush evidently didn't have a big problem in helping out the Nazis, at least financially. Here is a line that I thought interesting:
"You can't blame Bush for what his grandfather did any more than you can blame Jack Kennedy for what his father did - bought Nazi stocks - but what is important is the cover-up, how it could have gone on so successfully for half a century, and does that have implications for us today?" he said.
Oh yeah, and this:
"There is no one left alive who could be prosecuted but they did get away with it," said Loftus. "As a former federal prosecutor, I would make a case for Prescott Bush, his father-in-law (George Walker) and Averill Harriman [to be prosecuted] for giving aid and comfort to the enemy. They remained on the boards of these companies knowing that they were of financial benefit to the nation of Germany."

Rep. Gillibrand Responds With Specifics

I'm impressed. I finally got a personalized answer from Rep. Gillibrand concerning my question on Universal Health Care and HR 676. Here it is:

Dear Dr.______,

Thank you for contacting me about HR 676, the United States National Health Insurance Act. I share your concern about our country's health care system, and I am committed to finding a solution that will give quality, affordable health care to every American.

Our health care system is broken and extensive changes need to be made soon. I agree with the goals of H.R. 676, and I believe that Congress can use many aspects of the bill as we develop a comprehensive solution. However, I have concerns about some specific provisions of HR 676 as currently drafted. I am worried that the proposed substantial payroll tax increases will negatively affect our already overtaxed small businesses and working families. I also have concerns that the bill limits participation to only not-for-profit care facilities, which unnecessarily limits access to all health care facilities.

My vision for affordable health care for all Americans is to open up Medicare- or a similar federal program- to all Americans, to buy health care at a rate that they can afford, as a percentage of an individual's income, as a possibility. It is unacceptable for 47 million Americans, including almost 3 million New Yorkers and 9 million children, to be uninsured. In addition, I am a co-sponsor of the All Health Children's Act of 2007, which will bring comprehensive health care for every child in America.

The 110th Congress was elected to refocus on our national priorities, including finding a solution to this important issue. I am committed to addressing this problem and I will work with my Democratic and Republican colleagues to draft a bipartisansolution that can pass the U.S. House of Representatives.

Thank you again for contacting me about this important issue, and please keep in contact with my office regarding any future legislation and concerns you may have.


Kirsten Gillibrand
First, thank-you Rep. Gillibrand for your reply. I'm not sure if using Research! America (basically a lobby), using my professional title or because of the recent visits to this blog by persons unknown from the US House of Representatives that resulted in this communication.

But it doesn't really matter. What matters is that a majority of Americans want Universal Health Care. I don't know the specifics of HR 676 other than it was ok by Michael Moore who probably does understand the specifics. We want SOMETHING. What matters even more, especially for a newly elected member of the House of Representatives, is that we want to see some ACTION! Many of us understand that the Republicans are using the filibuster to prevent action on important legislation but it's time to start using some hardball tactics on these members.

We also understand the many things that you probably do for your District. That's great. But to get re-elected we need to see serious action on the Iraq War, Health Care and medical research, Education and a fair economic shake in the economy for middle class people.

By the way. The "Farm Bill" is a joke. Don't give in to the lobbyists.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Latest John Sweeney News

Two articles in the Albany Times-Union. Ex-US Rep. John Sweeney has filed for divorce from his wife. This article explains how John Sweeney is afraid of his wife.
He described Gayle Sweeney's physical mistreatment of him as "pretty extreme" and said he is afraid of her.
This article explains how he physically and mentally abused his wife.

I wonder if I can find any comments, during Sweeney's re-election campaign, on family values? I'm not even going to bother to look. I doubt he will be running for elected office anytime soon.

Where the Rubber Meets the Road

The House Judiciary Comm. has voted on issuing contempt of Congress citations for Harriet Miers, former Whitehouse Counsel and Chief of Staff Josh Bolton. The next step is a vote of the entire House of Representatives.
"If we countenance a process where our subpoenas can be readily ignored, where a witness under a duly authorized subpoena doesn't even have to bother to show up . . . then we have already lost," committee Chairman John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.) said before the vote. "We won't be able to get anybody in front of this committee or any other."
I agree. I don't want any President, Republican or Democrat, to be able to dodge the oversight of our Congress. If the House vote favors issuing contempt citations and President Bush prevents the DOJ from pursuing the will of Congress I think very bold action needs to be taken. First and foremost, the impeachment of AG Gonzales (which should happen regardless). If that doesn't help, serious discussion about impeachment of the President needs to take place. I don't want any President to have the power that Bush claims to have.

Bush absolutely needs to keep AG Gonzales as head of DOJ. He's Bush's last line of defense in keeping a whole house of cards from tumbling down.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007


Play Statetris here.

Spitzer Administration a Bit Different From Bush Administration

The big news today in NY seems to be how unethical Gov. Spitzer has been in seeking to discredit State Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno. It seems that some of Gov. Spitzers aides improperly used the State Police (kinda like Tom Delay misused Homeland Security a few years ago). The aides have wrongly used unethical strong-arm tactics to un justly tarnish the reputation of a man (sorta like Karl Rove and Scooter Libby did to Joe Wilson).

But here is the difference. Spitzers attorney general (unlike Bush's attorney general)made an investigation and a report that exposed the Spitzer aides) Both of those aids have been suspended and I hope they will be fired if not serve some jail time.

But the real difference is here:
But Mr. Spitzer acknowledged that his administration had “grossly mishandled” the situation.

“As governor, I am accountable for what goes on in the executive branch, and I accept responsibility for the actions of my office,” he said, as staff members stood nearby.
The governor actually takes responsibility for the actions of his aides.

Gov. Spitzer claims he had no knowledge of what the aides were doing. As a Democrat I'm not willing to take his word on that. Let there be a complete investigation and let the cards fall where they may.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Gillibrand Gillibrand Gillibrand Gillibrand

Ms. Gillibrand, where do you stand on Univeral Healthcare coverage? I sent an email via Research! America asking that question but it's unlikely I'll get a specific response.

I was just watching Michael Moore being interviewed by Chris Matthews on Hardball. Moore brought up HR 676 (To provide for comprehensive health insurance coverage for all United States residents, and for other purposes). You can find a list of co-sponsors for this bill here.

Guess whose name isn't on the co-sponsor list? John McHugh's name isn't on the list either but we expect that.

Facts on uninsured here.
Myths on Universal Health Care here.

Brits Welcome to Visit the USA But....

The British pound is worth more than $2 now making it easy for Brits to visit the USA. But get these new regulations.
Highly sensitive information about the religious beliefs, political opinions and even the sex life of Britons travelling to the United States is to be made available to US authorities when the European Commission agrees to a new system of checking passengers.
Personally, I think the Brits should require US citizens to certify whether they voted for Bush and Cheney. If they did, they shouldn't be allowed into the UK.

Why So Many Republican Filibusters?

Kevin Drum of the Washington Monthly explains it.
It's also worth noting why Republicans are filibustering everything in sight. It's not because it's the only way they have of blocking legislation they dislike. After all, a Republican is president. The real reason is a desperate desire to kill popular legislation quietly (the press doesn't spend much time reporting on routine filibusters) rather than force President Bush to kill popular legislation in full public view (the press does report on presidential vetoes). The problem is that the public tends to be on the side of Democrats when domestic issues actually get some attention, so Republicans benefit by keeping their disagreements as low key as possible. The last thing they need is a bunch of high-profile vetoes that would make it crystal clear exactly what they're fighting against.
Stupid me. I hadn't really thought of it that way. But it's exactly right. Republicans are filibustering bills that Bush would likely veto anyway if they were passed. I still don't understand why they protect that fool

Saranac Lake Village Photos