News July 19

Senator Sanders

Gas Prices Sen. Bernie Sanders has focused public attention and ire on high gasoline prices in Chittenden County. Now, the national retail chain Costco said its own analysis of gasoline pricing in Chittenden County over the last two years confirms drivers have paid an average of 19 cents a gallon more than Costco would have charged had they been allowed into the market, WPTZ-TV reported. LINK, VIDEO

Deficit Reduction "If we're going to move toward deficit reduction then you don't do it by cutting Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid," Sen. Sanders said on The Ed Schultz Show. "You ask the wealthiest people, the ones on top who today are doing phenomenally well, to start paying their fair share of taxes." AUDIO

Are You Nuts? "You go out to any major street corner ... in America and you ask the people, ‘Do you think it's a good idea to give more tax breaks to the wealthiest millionaires and billionaires and then cut Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid? Ed, people are going to say, ‘Are you nuts?'"  AUDIO

Deerfield Transit Sens. Patrick Leahy and Sanders and Rep. Peter Welch announced the Federal Transit Administration awarded $3 million to Deerfield Valley Transit Association to build a new facility in Wilmington, the Rutland Herald reported. In the Brattleboro Reformer, Sanders said the project is "a much-needed economic boost to an area ... still recovering from some of the worst damage caused by Tropical Storm Irene." LINK, LINK

F-35s A demonstration against basing F-35 fighter jets at Burlington was planned for today. Protesters hoped Sens. Leahy and Sanders and Rep. Welch would be at the event. Instead, all three are in Washington D.C. "They're not listening," Jim Ramey told WPTZ-TV. Sen. Leahy told the Burlington Free Press, "This Vermonter would be proud if the F-35s were based in Burlington." LINK, LINK, VIDEO

Veterans Ruth Moore told the House Veterans Affairs Subcommittee on Disability Assistance about her struggle to get help from the Veterans Health Administration after she said a Navy supervisor raped her in Europe in 1987. Years later, she told the panel, Sen. Sanders helped her obtain a favorable determination.

World

Syria Government forces were reported to be shelling several neighborhoods of Damascus on Thursday as street fighting continued in the capital, a day after a bombing that killed three senior military figures brought the bloodshed that has engulfed Syria to the heart of President Bashar al-Assad's regime, The Washington Post reported. LINK

Global Warming An iceberg twice the size of Manhattan tore off one of Greenland's largest glaciers, illustrating another dramatic change to the warming island. NASA satellites showed Petermann Glacier  had broken completely, freeing an iceberg measuring 46 square miles, The Associated Press reported. LINK

HIV/AIDS The United Nations noted significant progress in the fight against HIV/AIDS last year, AP reported. Millions of people with HIV in poor countries received medication. There was a 24 percent drop in the number of children newly infected with HIV. LINK

National

Senate Advances Trade Bill A Senate panel approved a bill that would lift U.S. trade restrictions on Russia, but human-rights provisions in the measure complicate the prospects of winning congressional approval before Moscow joins the World Trade Organization next month, The Wall Street Journal reported. LINK

Made in USA A new MIT survey showed that 14 percent of U.S. companies plan to move manufacturing back home. The Wall Street Journal said the shift will let the companies respond to customers more promptly, reduce transportation and warehousing costs, and provide more jobs for Americans. LINK

Drought and Dairy Prices The heat and drought ravaging much of the nation will soon be hitting America at the supermarket counter: cheese and milk prices will rise first, and corn and meat are probably not far behind. Price hikes in basic food staples are causing huge concern to milk producers and others who rely on dairy to sustain an important part of the national farming economy, USA Today reported. LINK

Vermont

More NRG Layoffs A stumbling wind industry has led to more layoffs at NRG Systems in Hinesburg where 12 workers were let go Monday following an initial round of 18 layoffs in May. A spokeswoman said the layoffs were in response to an industry that is in "dire straits" because of uncertainty surrounding a production tax credit stalled in Congress, the Burlington Free Press reported. LINK

Energy-Efficient Light The Brattleboro Public Works Department was authorized to convert streetlights in three neighborhoods to energy-saving LED fixtures, the Brattleboro Reformer reported. The town's electric consumption will be cut by 7.5 percent next year, saving more than $68,000. LINK

Super PAC A Montpelier-based nonprofit, Vermont Priorities, filed paperwork Wednesday to operate as a political action committee called Priorities PAC. Political action committees in Vermont have had to abide by contribution limits under state law, but Attorney General William Sorrell told Vermont Press Bureau he hasn't decided how to proceed in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Citizens United.

Trooper Pay A former Vermont state trooper accused of falsifying time sheets put in for 374 hours of pay for four weeks in June, according to records reviewed by the Burlington Free Press. A supervisor signed the time sheets that included payments for a patrol contract in Jericho. LINK