News May 3

Senator Sanders

Oil Speculation The Chesapeake Energy chief executive, Aubrey McClendon, ran a $200 million hedge fund on the side that traded in the same commodities that Chesapeake produces. A Reuters investigation of the hedge fund relied on confidential trading data disclosed by Sen. Bernie Sanders. He called Wednesday for tighter regulation of commodity markets. LINK, LINK

Sanders Seeks Better Regulation "We... have got to prevent the obvious conflicts of interest that this report exposes and make our energy markets more transparent," Sen. Sanders told Reuters. Sen. Bill Nelson asked the Justice Dept. to investigate. Time magazine online reported both senator's concerns. LINK, LINK

Health Centers Sen. Sanders pushed an $11 billion provision in the federal health care law to expand community health centers nationwide, Vermont Public Radio reported. A $1.3 million grant will build the first center in Addison County. A federal grant for $874,668 will refurbish the Island Pond Health Center, the Caledonian Record reported. LINK, LINK

Break Up Big Banks Six financial institutions in America hold assets equivalent to two-thirds of the GDP. Four banks issue two-thirds of the credit cards and half of the mortgages. "Maybe it`s time we started breaking these babies up so we had some real competition ... So we got some real capital out to the product economy, so businesses can start creating real jobs," Sen. Sanders said on MSNBC. LINK 

Women's Rights The recent war on women has sparked a new wave of feminism like a rally Saturday outside the Statehouse in Montpelier, Seven Days reported. When Sen. Sanders railed, "We are not returning to the days of backroom abortions," and the crowd went wild. These were the issues they'd showed up to defend, the agenda that merited sign making and chanting. LINK

Progressives One state where left-leaning voters have greater choice today is Vermont, where Progressives, taking a leaf from Sen. Sanders, have distinguished themselves by focusing on economic issues, Steve Early wrote for In These TimesLINK

Slow Down, You Move Too Fast Sen. Sanders is slated to appear at Brattleboro's Slow Living Summit at the end of May. The gathering will explore "cross-sector solutions for sustainable living and resilient communities, The Commons reported. LINK


Chinese Dissident Chen Guangcheng said left American custody after the Chinese guaranteed that his rights would be protected. But he also said he was told that Chinese officials threatened to beat his wife to death if he remained under American protection, The New York Times reported. LINK


Bank Reforms A Federal Reserve governor said banking reforms remain incomplete and worried that the momentum is fading. Daniel Tarullo's warning comes as banks are resisting new oversight as regulators missed 67 percent of deadlines for new rules imposed by Dodd-Frank, The Washington Post reported. LINK

Medicare Fraud Federal officials arrested more than 100 people for running a string of Medicare-fraud schemes involving a total of $452 million in false claims, The Wall Street Journal reported. LINK


Child Care The Vermont Senate has rejected another attempt to pass a bill authorizing child care workers to set up a union to negotiate industry rules and subsidies with the state. Senate President Pro Tem John Campbell is blocking two labor bills because he doesn't want the child care union provision attached to them, AP reported. LINK

Utility Merger Debate over a proposed utility merger continued to occupy Vermont lawmakers as talks on both the state budget and an energy bill bogged down Wednesday night, AP reported. LINK

District Energy A project to help heat Vermont state offices and a number of private buildings in downtown Montpelier with a new biomass system is getting a $1.75 million boost with a federal grant and loan, AP reported. LINK