News January 15

Senator Sanders

Debt Ceiling President Obama vowed Monday that he would not negotiate with Republicans over the federal debt ceiling, a move applauded on MSNBC by Progressive magazine writer Ruth Conniff. “The whole focus on deficit and debt is misplaced in a fragile economic situation, in a place where as Bernie Sanders has put it on this show so effectively, we`re looking at 15 percent real unemployment, we`re looking at people who are really living on the edge.”  VIDEO

Global Warming The Sierra Club on Monday urged President Obama to use his “full executive authority” to combat climate change. Executive Director Michael Brune praised Sen. Sanders, who floated a climate bill last week, and Environment and Public Works Committee Chairwoman Barbara Boxer, who is creating a "climate change clearinghouse,” The Hill reported. Sanders’ climate bill would impose a fee on polluters and help green energy development, including biofuels, WHO-TV in Des Moines, Iowa, reported. LINK, LINK

Treasury Secretary Saying he will oppose the nomination of Jacob Lew to be treasury secretary, Sen. Sanders voiced concern over Lew’s background as a Citigroup executive leading up to the 2008 financial collapse, according to Bloomberg. Sen. Charles E. Schumer said Monday there would be “hardly any opposition” to the nomination despite strong complaints from Sens. Jeff Sessions and Sanders, Congressional Quarterly reported. LINK, LINK, LINK

Rendell ‘Sneers’ at Voters Former Gov. Ed Rendell is part of a Democratic Party leadership that “sneers at its own voters,” Salon columnist David Sirota wrote. He said Rendell “ridiculed” Sen. Sanders and made “condescending jokes on national television” about the senator’s opposition to treasury nominee Lew. LINK  VIDEO

The Fed Sen. Sanders four years ago said Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke “missed the boat on the most significant economic crisis since the Great Depression” and “we need a whole new direction in the Fed.” Sanders’ criticism of Bernanke was invoked by a MarketWatch columnist advocating the appointment of outgoing New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg to lead the central bank. LINK 

Inaugural Ball Sen. Sanders, the incoming chairman of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, will attend The American Legion’s Inaugural Banquet & Ball in Washington, alongside House veterans affairs chairman Rep. Jeff Miller. The event honors the country’s 81 living Medal of Honor recipients. LINK


Smog Chokes China The Chinese state news media on Monday published aggressive reports on what they described as the sickening and dangerous air pollution in Beijing and other parts of northern China, indicating that popular anger over air quality had reached a level where Communist Party propaganda officials felt that they had to allow the officially sanctioned press to address the growing concerns of ordinary citizens, The New York Times reported. LINK

French Lead All-Night Bombing Campaign in Diabaly French forces led an all-night aerial bombing campaign Tuesday to wrest control of a small Malian town from armed Islamist extremists who seized the area, including its strategic military camp. A convoy of 40 to 50 trucks carrying French troops crossed into Mali from Ivory Coast as France prepares for a possible land assault. Several thousand soldiers from the nations neighboring Mali are also expected to begin arriving in coming days, The Associated Press reported. LINK


Debt Ceiling In a press conference on Monday, President Obama affirmed his refusal to use an increase of the debt limit as a “bargaining chip” for spending cuts, The New York Times reported. “It would slow down our growth and tip us into recession,” the President said. “To even entertain the idea of this happening is irresponsible. It’s absurd.” LINK

Military Suicides The U.S. military lost more service members to suicide than combat last year as the number of troops who took their lives rose to a record high. The 349 active-duty suicides in 2012 underscored the toll a decade of wars has taken on the all-volunteer force, according to The Washington Post. LINK

Wal-Mart to Hire Veterans Wal-Mart is announcing a plan to hire almost any military veteran who wants a job – one of the biggest job commitments ever made by a company. America’s largest retailer expects to hire more than 100,000 veterans in the next five years. The program will begin on Memorial Day and the offer is being extended to any vet who received an honorable discharge from the military within a year of applying for a job, ABC News reported. LINK


Welch Joins ‘Problem Solvers’ Rep. Peter Welch has joined a small, bi-partisan group of senators and House members known as “the Problem Solvers.”  Welch told Vermont Public Radio that the goal of the group is cut across party lines to deal with a number of critical issues. That's something that he says simply doesn't happen in Washington's current political climate. LINK

Health Care Financing A law passed in 2011 set today as the day the administration was to spell out how the Green Mountain Care single-payer health plan will be paid for. Administration officials now say they now want a bit more time until Jan. 24, when Shumlin is scheduled to deliver his annual budget address to lawmakers, The Associated Press reported. LINK

Gun Control Vermont mayors Miro Weinberger (Burlington), John Hollar (Montpelier), and Thom Lauzon (Barre) held a press conference Monday on gun violence. All three expressed support for background check reform, the Burlington Free Press reported, however, Mayor Lauzon is publicly against an assault-rifle ban. LINK

Cop Convicted A former Vermont State Police sergeant was taken into custody Monday to begin serving up to two years in prison after pleading guilty to charges he padded his timesheets. James Deeghan must pay $202,000 in restitution that will be taken from his pension over a period of about six years, AP reported. LINK

Tavis Smiley in Vt. Author, publisher, talk-show host and philanthropist Tavis Smiley will be the keynote speaker at a gathering Sunday afternoon in Burlington to honor the memory of Martin Luther King, Jr., the Burlington Free Press reported. LINK

Library Cutbacks Some 200 protestors organized in St. Johnsbury petitioning library trustees to reverse a decision that cut the local library’s 14 full-time positions to five. Board of Trustees Chairman Bill Marshall said the cuts were necessary to ensure “vital and necessary” library services, AP reported. LINK

Candy Page Retiring Candice Page will retire from the Burlington Free Press in April, capping a journey that included stints in 10 newsroom positions from Burlington City Hall reporter to managing editor, Capital Bureau chief to environment reporter, the Burlington Free Press reported. LINK