News April 21

Senator Sanders

Earth Day Sen Bernie sanders will speak at the University of Vermont today as part of a series for Earth Week. The discussion will be focused on climate change, energy, green jobs, and the economy, WPTZ-TV and Fox 44 reported. VIEW and VIEW

The Fed Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke next week will do something no Fed chief has done before: answer questions from journalists about the central bank's decisions. The move was called "a step forward" by Sen. Sanders, who, according to The Wall Street Journal, successfully pushed the Fed to disclose more about its secretive practices. LINK

Budget Priorities Two new polls show that Congress is "way out of touch with the American people" on how to lower deficits, Sen. Bernie Sanders told radio host Ed Schultz on Wednesday. A Washington Post-ABC News poll found 72 percent of Americans support raising taxes on incomes over $250,000. A separate McClatchy-Marist poll found 2-to-1 support. AUDIO

Shared Sacrifice "We have some people like Bernie Sanders saying ... wait a minute, what happened to fairness, what happened to ... this notion of shared sacrifice?" former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer said in an interview on NY 1-TV. VIEW

Tax Fairness "We need to eliminate the Bush tax cuts on those who make more than $250,000 per year, columnist John Culleton wrote in the Carroll County (Md.) Times. He added that Sen. Sanders listed "the 10 biggest companies that pay no taxes at all and indeed may get a refund without paying any taxes." LINK

Tax Day Protests Around 40 people protested Monday outside the Bank of America in Santa Cruz, Calif. Organizers picked Bank of America because of the bank's previous bailout of $1 trillion, according to a list entitled "Guide to Corporate Freeloaders" by Sen. Sanders, the University of California student newspaper. LINK

Social Security Sen. Dick Durbin has been taking a beating in the liberal blogosphere from people who worry that he's going to sell out Social Security in the "Gang of Six" talks on their forthcoming deficit reduction proposal. Durbin recently criticized Bernie Sanders for insisting on no cuts for the retirement program, according to a Washington Post blog. LINK

Contractor Fraud In a stealthy and surprise move, Sen. Sanders slipped a provision into legislation that required a comprehensive database on government contractor misconduct to be made public. The act passed before the corporate lobbyists could pull out the long knives, and President Obama signed the bill, Dina Rasor wrote for Truthout. LINK

Middle Class Left Out of Budget Debate "Few congressmen are left who seem to base their positions on their constituents' interests. Exceptions such as Vermont's independent Sen. Sanders are ... rare ...," Harmen Rockler wrote in a column in The Daily Orange student paper at the University of Syracuse. LINK

Smithsonian Gifts The gift shops of the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History sell miniature statues of George Washington and Abraham Lincoln that are made in China. Sen. Sanders raised the issue and got the museum to have one gift shop sell only American-made products, The (Fla.) Sun-Sentinel reported.

Made in USA "I compliment Sen. Sanders for bringing attention to the issue that our own government gift stores were stocked with souvenirs that have been made from other countries. I agree they should only sell ‘Made in America' products," Paul Belew wrote to the Las Vegas Sun. LINK

Air Tower Snoozing A study by the FAA has resulted in new rules for the nation's airports, where air traffic controllers have been falling asleep. The following material is being deleted from the Approved Reading List for on-duty controllers ... transcripts of all speeches by Sen. Sanders, Candid Camera heir Peter Funt wrote in The Monterey County Herald.

World

Mission Creep in Libya The United States and its allies have entered a new stage of involvement in Libya, sending assistance and advisers directly to opposition military forces, which have been unable to break Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi's stranglehold over much of the country despite help from NATO airstrikes, The Washington Post reported. LINK

National

At Facebook, Obama Seeks Friends for Deficit Plan President Obama on Wednesday ramped up his criticism of the Republican Party's budget proposal, calling it "radical" and "not courageous" in a town hall meeting at the headquarters of Facebook, The Washington Post reported. LINK

Obama Weighs Disclosure for Contractors President Obama is considering an executive order that would force government contractors to disclose their donations to groups that participate in political activities, a move Republicans slammed Wednesday as an attempt to restrict political speech, The Washington Post reported. LINK

Wisconsin Justice Refusing to concede defeat, Wisconsin Supreme Court challenger JoAnne Kloppenburg asked election officials Wednesday for a statewide recount in her bid against Justice David Prosser. Final county tallies sowed Prosser held a 7,316-vote lead, The Associated Press reported. LINK

Vermont

Single Payer Gov. Shumlin will be touting his proposal for a single-payer health care system to pharmacy and health sciences students and faculty at Albany College in Colchester today. The initial phase of Shumlin's plan is currently being considered by state lawmakers, AP reported. LINK

Welch: Stop Subsidizing Ethanol Rep. Peter Welch says it's time to pull the plug on federal subsidies for the ethanol industry. Welch said the subsidies cost taxpayers nearly $6 billion a year and in the process drive up food prices and damage engines in boats, motorcycles and lawnmowers, the Burlington Free Press reported. LINK