News January 26

Senator Sanders

Arrogant CEOs A group of the country’s leading CEOs from the Business Roundtable this week proposed raising the eligibility age to 70 for both Social Security and Medicare, according to The Washington Post. Adopting their proposal would cause an “unparalleled disaster,” Sen. Bernie Sanders said Friday on The Thom Hartmann Program. He called it “beyond arrogance” for Wall Street and business CEOs “who themselves have retirement packages that most people couldn’t begin to dream about” to propose balancing the federal budget “on the backs of ordinary people.” LINK, AUDIO   

The Terrible Recession “We remain in the midst of a terrible, terrible recession … [and] we cannot forget the reality that tens and tens of millions of working people are really hurting,” Sen. Sanders said Friday on MSNBC. “Counting people who have given up looking for work … we are looking at almost 15 percent of our population who don't have jobs.” LINK, VIDEO

Filibuster ‘Reform’ Sen. Sanders on Thursday voted against weak changes in Senate rules that left the worst filibuster abuses intact. Outnumbered minorities will still be able to block legislation to address global warming, jobs, the economy, deficit reduction and other critical issues, Sanders said Friday on MSNBC’s “The Ed Show,” and “Jansing & Company, The Ed Schultz Radio Show, The Thom Hartmann Program and the Randi Rhoades Show. LINK, LINK, VIDEO, AUDIO, AUDIO

Gas Prices, Wind Moratorium A state ruling that Costco may sell gas at its Colchester, Vt., store could provide much-needed competition and bring down above-average gas prices in northwestern Vermont, Sen. Sanders said during a wide-ranging interview Friday on WCAX-TV. The senator’s opposition to a proposed wind energy moratorium in Vermont and federal efforts to help the state recover from Tropical Storm Irene were among other topics discussed. VIDEO

Obama’s 2nd Inaugural Address “I thought this speech was very much in the tradition of old-fashioned Catholic social thought. That's why he laid so much stress on equality and on social justice. He explicitly said government can't solve everything. He explicitly praised entrepreneurship. This wasn't some kind of Leon Trotsky speech or even a Bernie Sanders speech,” E.J. Dionne asserted on National Public Radio’s “All Things Considered.” Dionne was responding to fellow newspaper columnist David Brooks’ criticism that Obama had framed the U.S. Constitution “as a great force for centralizing power. He takes James Madison, turned him into, you know, Leon Trotsky or something.” LINK


Tahrir Square Thousands of opponents of Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi assembled in Cairo's Tahrir Square on the second anniversary of their Arab Spring uprising to protest a government they say has been hijacked by Islamist radicals. At least five people have been shot dead in a separate uprising in Suez, Reuters reported. LINK


Court Strikes Recess Appointments A federal appeals court ruled Friday that President Barack Obama exceeded his constitutional authority by appointing three members of the National Labor Relations Board while the Senate was in recess. This could jeopardize the separate recess appointment of former Ohio attorney general Richard Cordray to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, The Washington Post reported. LINK

New White House Chief of Staff President Obama appointed Denis McDonough as his new chief of staff on Friday, Politico reported. The White House also announced several other promotions within the West Wing, none of which required Senate confirmation. LINK

Sen. Chambliss to Retire Republican Sen. Saxby Chambliss has announced his intended retirement at the end of his term in 2014. Politico said Chambliss experienced “frustration” at the inability of the parties in Congress to strike bipartisan bargains. LINK


Taser Death The Vermont attorney general will not file criminal charges against a state trooper who fired his Taser at a Thetford man who later died, the Burlington Free Press reported. LINK

Climate Change Speaker of the House Shap Smith announced Friday that he has invited environmental activist Bill McKibben to speak to the legislature about climate change and how it relates to Vermont. McKibben has been supporting a campaign to get resolutions on town meeting day ballots that would oppose the shipment of tar-sands oil across northeastern sections of the state, Vermont Public Radio reported. LINK

Irene Recovery Rebuild Waterbury, one of the nine long-term Tropical Storm Irene recovery groups, is getting ready to close its doors by the end of the month, VPR reported. There are at least 270 re-building projects still being worked on by eight other long-term recovery groups.  LINK

Elderly Abuse The AP reported on an ongoing the state’s effort to ensure that Vermont is investigating cases involving abuse of the elderly and vulnerable adults. The House Human Services Committee held a hearing to investigate the progress at the Department of Disabilities, Aging, and Independent Living. LINK

Lake Champlain Cleaning up Lake Champlain and other waterways will cost $156 million a year in additional funding, according to Gov. Peter Shumlin. "It's clear that our existing state regulatory program … [is] struggling to keep up with the scope of the problem," David Mears, the state's commissioner of environmental conservation, told Vermont Public Radio.  LINK