By Andrew Nemethy on February 24, 2011
The House Appropriations Committee wrapped up two days of hearings on the proposed budget for next year in sessions that took rapid-fire testimony in two-minute chunks on Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday morning. The legislative panel is charged with writing the state budget that must address a $176 million shortfall for the next fiscal year, using the bleak fiscal blueprint issued by Gov. Peter Shumlin in January as a starting point. Shumlin has proposed $44 million in cuts to human services programs.
full article –http://vtdigger.org/2011/02/24/story-video-budget-hearing-puts-human-face-on-proposals-for-cuts/
Issue #50 • February 25, 2011 (Citizens United news letter)
Mark your calendars for March 1
On Tuesday, The Story of Stuff Project will release “The Story of Citizens United,” an eight-minute animated video that will explain clearly the issues around the 2010 U.S. Supreme Court case Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission and why we need a constitutional amendment to overturn it. The decision gave corporations the green light to spend unlimited amounts of money to sway elections. Look for our email Tuesday with a link to watch the movie!
(I will post the link)
U.S. Supreme Court declines to hear challenge to Washington state disclosure law
The U.S. Supreme Court this week declined to hear a conservative organization’s challenge of Washington state’s law requiring campaign donors to be identified. Human Life of Washington sued over the law, claiming it violated the First Amendment. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals sided with the state, saying donors should be identified.
Debating The Idea Of Corporations As People – VPR
A year ago, the United States Supreme Court handed down one of its most controversial decisions in recent years. In Citizens United vs. Federal Election Commission the Court ruled that corporations are like people – that they have the right to free speech, and the right to spend freely to influence elections. An ABC News-Washington Post poll taken shortly after the decision found that 80 percent of Americans oppose the decision….
full article with audio and many great comments – http://www.vpr.net/episode/50553/
|| On Native Ground
VERMONT TAKES ON THE CONCEPT OF CORPORATE PERSONHOOD
by Randolph T. Holhut
Chief of AR Correspondents
Dummerston, Vt. Back to home page
Printable version of this story
DUMMERSTON, Vt. — “The business corporation is an artificial state-created entity with unlimited life; highly favorable techniques for acquiring, accumulating, and retaining vast wealth through economic transactions having nothing to do with politics; and only one purpose – making money. Human beings, on the other hand, die, do not enjoy economic advantages like limited liability and, most important, have a conscience that sometimes transcends crude economic self-interest.”
These are the words of Burt Neuborn, a professor at New York University Law School who also founded the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU….
But Vermont is doing something about it. On Jan. 21, state Sen. Virginia Lyons introduced a resolution – co-sponsored by 10 other members of the 30-member Vermont Senate – that seeks to revoke the granting of personhood rights to U.S. corporations. The bill calls for a constitutional amendment that declares that “corporations are not persons under the laws of the United States.”
full article – http://www.american-reporter.com/4,143/14.html
By Anne Galloway on February 23, 2011
Hundreds gather in Montpelier in solidarity for Wisconsin workers. Photo by Josh Larkin.
Teachers, nurses, firefighters, state employees and electrical workers converged on the Statehouse lawn on Tuesday to send a message to the powers that be in Montpelier and leaders around the country: “Vermont is not Wisconsin.”
More than 300 union workers waved signs and listened to speeches in frigid temperatures on Tuesday in solidarity with unionized employees in Wisconsin whose right to bargain collectively for pay, benefits and working conditions was threatened by Republican Gov. Scott Walker. Nineteen Wisconsin state senators walked out of the Statehouse in Madison in protest….
full article and video – http://vtdigger.org/2011/02/23/vermont-unions-rally-in-solidarity-with-wisconsin-workers/
* Progressives Denounce Walker-Style Bill
by Vermont Progressive Party on Wed, 2011-02-23 15:15
Kurt Wright Brings Wisconsin Governor’s Attack on Labor to the Green Mountain State
Burlington, VT—Burlington Progressive Party Chair Abby Russell today denounced a bill that would severely hurt workers’ rights in Vermont. WCAX reported state representative and city councilor Kurt Wright (R-Burlington) introduced a bill that would take away teachers’ right to strike in the event that contract negotiations fail. The once—and potentially future—mayoral candidate’s bill comes during a time when far-right Republican governors in Wisconsin, Ohio and New Jersey are fighting to strip collective bargaining rights for state employees.
“Unions are the foundation of our middle class. Union struggles for decent wages, benefits, and working conditions have improved the lives of all working Americans. From fighting for a livable wage for para-educators to negotiating fair and reasonable contracts with city workers, Burlington Progressives have a strong record of standing up for public workers’ rights,” said Burlington Progressive Party Chair Abby Russell. “Burlington residents should be appalled by Kurt Wright’s impersonation of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker. Burlington needs representatives who work for them, not ones who push far-right anti-worker legislation.”
full article – http://www.progressiveparty.org/
David E. Gumpert reports on the state of raw milk in Vermont, in his latest post on The Complete Patient blog:
“It’s kind of amazing, when you think about it, that we’re still debating–as Milky Way and Ken Conrad were, following my previous post–whether milk comes through a cow’s udder sterile or having picked up certain beneficial bacteria.
Our government and public health research establishment are so committed to eliminating raw dairy from the public consciousness that they wouldn’t consider exploring raw milk’s probiotic nature and dynamics. They wouldn’t, after all, want to find positive news.
Another amazing phenomenon is the failure of our public officials to explore the role of raw dairy is its role in community and economic development.
full article – http://thebovine.wordpress.com/2011/02/22/vermont-raw-milk-business-estimated-at-1-million-in-annual-sales-up-25/
By JOSH STILTS /B. Reformer Staff full article – http://www.reformer.com/localnews/ci_17456040 Wednesday February 23, 2011
BRATTLEBORO — During a conference call with Vermont Yankee staff last week regarding the ongoing groundwater contamination investigation at the plant, technicians said the source is still unknown.
Pressure tests and boroscope exams have been completed on two of five underground lines in the vicinity of the RAD Waste Building at the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant in Vernon, according to Nuclear Regulatory Commission spokesman Neil Sheehan.
The plant stack sump discharge line and the Augmented Off-gas Delay Pipe Drain Line have also been checked, he said.
One possibility of the source could be a phenomenon called rainout.
Sheehan said rainout refers to what happens when an airborne release of tritium is occurring from the plant, typically via the plant stack, at the same time there is precipitation…..
There’s still no understanding why the leak is happening but there is a plethora of options that are being investigated, Irwin said. Josh Stilts can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, or 802-254-2311 ext. 273.