News May 1

Senator Sanders

Put People First Thousands of Vermonters gather today in Montpelier to "put people first." They will be talking about a range of topics including universal health care, education and workers' rights The march to the Statehouse begins at 12:30 p.m. with the rally commencing at 1 p.m. Sen. Bernie Sanders will be there, Fox 44 reported. VIDEO

Student Debt "It's a ticking time bomb," Ann Nguyen, a University of Vermont junior, said of the growing debt load carried by college students. She told the Burlington Free Press that she had accumulated about $30,000 in private debt and unknown amounts of federal loans. "It's getting so only the rich can go to college," said Nguyen, who is interning for Sen. Sanders. "It's not fair."  Unless Congress acts, the current 3.4 percent interest rate on federally subsidized loans will double to 6.8 percent on July 1. LINK

Women's Rights "I have seven beautiful grandchildren, four of whom are girls. Let us all work together in making sure that those four girls, and every girl in our state and country, has the same opportunity as anyone else to fulfill their dreams and live their lives without gender discrimination of any kind," Sen. Bernie Sanders said in a column for The Huffington Post, Michael Moore.com, OpEdNews.com, and Green Mountain Daily. LINK, LINK, LINK, LINK

Budget "When you think back to [Bill Clinton's] fight with [former House Speaker Newt] Gingrich over cuts in Medicare, Medicaid, education and the environment ... the Paul Ryan budget makes the Gingrich budget look like something Bernie Sanders proposed," columnist E.J. Dionne said on "The Last Word" on MSNBC. VIDEO

Obama Critics From Rep. Peter DeFazio to Sen. Joe Manchin, President Obama has critics in Congress. "Sanders, a staunch defender of Social Security, doesn't bite his tongue when he is not pleased with Obama. He will criticize the president on the Senate floor, in the hallways of Congress and on MSNBC. In 2011, Sanders said it would be a "good idea" for a Democrat to primary Obama, and he has lambasted the president on taxes, trade and entitlement programs," The Hill reported. LINK

World

President Prods China on Rights President Obama on Monday gently prodded China to improve its human-rights record but pointedly declined to discuss the case of a prominent Chinese lawyer, Chen Guangcheng, now said to be under American protection in Beijing, The New York Times reported. LINK 

White House Acknowledges Drone Strikes The Obama administration formally acknowledged for the first time Monday its use of drone strikes against terrorism suspects, lifting but not removing the shroud of secrecy that surrounds the nation's expanding use of targeted killing operations overseas, The Washington Post reported.  LINK

National

Home Ownership Declines The homeownership rate fell in the first quarter to the lowest level in 15 years as more Americans lost homes to foreclosure and shifted to renting amid the weak economic recovery. Economists say the rate could slip further, The Wall Street Journal reported. LINK 

E.P.A. Official Quits Over ‘Crucify' Video The top Environmental Protection Agency official in Texas has resigned over a two-year-old video circulated by Congressional Republicans of a speech in which he declared that the agency should hit polluters with its full powers, citing the Roman practice of crucifying enemies as a deterrent, The New York Times reported. LINK

Bank Layoffs Bank of America plans about 2,000 staff cuts in its highly-paid investment banking division. The Wall Street Journal said the cuts come on top of a plan announced last year that will see Bank of America eliminate 30,000 jobs over three years in its consumer banking divisions. LINK

Vermont

Gas Prices Highway spending is out of balance in several Vermont cities and towns. The cost of gasoline has climbed toward a national average of $4 a gallon causing local governments to go well over budget on road projects, Vermont Public Radio reported. LINK

Immunizations A conference committee struck a deal Monday that protects a provision in Vermont law that allows parents to sidestep vaccination requirements before sending their children to school. The House and Senate still need to concur with the panel's decision, but the legislation approved Monday appears likely to become law, Vermont Press Bureau reported. LINK

College of St. Joseph A successor has been named to the longest-serving college president in Vermont. WCAX-TV reported that Richard Lloyd starts at the College of St. Joseph in Rutland on July 1. Lloyd is a dean and professor of English at Hastings College in Nebraska. He succeeds Frank Miglorie, who spent 41 year at St. Joseph, 28 of them as president. LINK