News November 26

Senator Sanders

Senate Independents Without being a member of either major political party, Angus King has decided to caucus with Democrats because they hold the Senate majority. Including King and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, also an independent, the Democrats effectively control 55 seats, CBS News reported online on Sunday. Without choosing a party to caucus with, King and Sanders would not get assignments on committees where legislation is crafted. LINK

Thanks Bernie Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday … First, there are the public personalities, artists and entertainers and philosophers, who have been there when they were needed, whether they knew it or not. Let us think kind thoughts about Michael Chabon and Parker Posey, Laura Lippman and David Simon, Bernie Sanders and Lena Dunham, Buster Posey and NaVorro Bowman, Paul Thomas Anderson and David Henry Hwang …,” Jon Carroll wrote in a San Francisco Examiner column. LINK

Theater and Founder Split The Northern Stage board of directors last week terminated its relationship with Brooke Ciardelli. The Times Argus and Rutland Herald said the success of the theater’s founder had not gone unnoticed. Gov. Peter Shumlin and Sen. Sanders had praised her. “Brooke has directed one of the most successful rural theater companies in the nation,” the senator once said. LINK

World

European Trade A free-trade agreement between the United States and Europe, elusive for more than a decade but with a potentially huge economic effect, is gaining momentum and may finally be attainable, business and political leaders told The New York Times. LINK

Pressure Grows on Egyptian Leader Cracks appeared on Sunday in the government of President Mohamed Morsi of Egypt, as he faces mounting pressure over his sweeping decree seeking to elevate his edicts above the reach of any court until a new constitution is approved, according to The New York Times. LINK

Afghanistan American and allied military planners are drawing up the broad outlines of a force that would remain in Afghanistan following the handover to Afghan security after 2014, including a small counterterrorism force with an eye toward Al Qaeda, senior officials say. Under the emerging plan, the American counterterrorism force might number less than 1,000, one military official told The New York Times, but one option calls for about 10,000 American and several thousand non-American NATO troops. LINK

National

Budget Talks Congress returns to Washington this week facing the prospect that talks with the White House over the country's budget impasse have barely progressed, The Wall Street Journal reported. LINK

Geithner to Play Key Role The White House tapped Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner as its lead negotiator in deficit-reduction talks with Congress, giving him about a month to help cut a deal before $500 billion in tax increases and spending cuts begin in January and before his long-planned departure from the administration, the Wall Street Journal reported. LINK

Norquist Pledge Two high-profile Republicans Sunday joined a growing chorus of GOP officials willing to part ways with at least part of the anti-tax pledge pushed in recent years by activist Grover Norquist, The New York Times reported. LINK

Deadline Looms for Long-Term Unemployed More than 40 percent of the nearly five million Americans who receive unemployment insurance are set to lose those benefits if federal programs expire as scheduled at year-end. Some economists worry that cutting off those benefits could harm the economy by leaving millions of Americans with less money to spend on everything from food to fuel, The Wall Street Journal reported. LINK

Vermont

Law School Shrinks Vermont Law School is offering voluntary buyouts to staff and may do so soon with faculty as it prepares for what its president and dean says are revolutions about to sweep both the legal profession and higher education.

A sharp drop in the numbers of Americans applying to law schools — triggered by a drop in the number of legal jobs open — already is being felt at the independent law school. The class due to graduate in the spring numbers just over 200. The class that will follow it in 2014 numbers about 150, The Associated Press reported. LINK

Vermont Yankee Protesters to Go on Trial Six women are due to go on trial on charges they chained themselves to the gate at the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant while authorities were busy with the aftermath of Tropical Storm Irene last year. The women, all members of the Shut It Down Affinity Group, are scheduled to go on trial Tuesday in Vermont Superior Court in Brattleboro, AP reported. LINK