News Aug. 21

Senator Sanders

Green Jobs Sen. Bernie Sanders says Vermont is leading a green energy revolution. The Vermont Independent held a special field hearing of a subcommittee of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee -- the Green Jobs and New Economy Subcommittee, The Associated Press, Vermont Press Bureau, WCAX, WPTZ and Fox 44 reported. LINK, LINK, LINK, LINK, VIDEO, VIDEO and VIDEO

Dairy Crisis With milk prices at the lowest level in 40 years, dairy farms are going under across the country. Sen. Sanders has gone on the offensive. "Dean Foods controls about 90 percent of the milk supply in Michigan, 80 percent in Massachusetts, over 80 percent in Tennessee and 70 percent in northern New Jersey. That's not a free market." Sanders told National Public Radio. Sanders is advocating congressional actions to help the dairy industry, WAMC News reported. LINK, LINK and AUDIO

Town Meetings "Their voices were passionate and emotional but civil and respectful," CBS News reported from last Saturday's town meeting in Arlintgon, Vt. "Senator Sanders listened carefully, spoke thoughtfully, and welcomed opinions on both sides," Dr. Jon LaPook added in a blog that also was posted on The Huffington Post. Sanders is continuing his town meetings with an appearance in Peacham on Sunday, the Valley News reported. LINK and LINK

Anti-Drug Grants Fourteen organizations across Vermont will receive $1.2 million in The Drug-Free Communities Support Program federal grants, according to an announcement from Sens. Patrick Leahy and Sanders, the Rutland Herald and Brattleboro Reformer reported. LINK and LINK 

 

International

Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai's campaign and chief rival Abdullah Abdullah both claimed victory on Friday in Afghanistan's election, each camp saying preliminary results showed there would be no need for a second round run-off, Reuters reported. LINK

Lockerbie Bomber Freed A former Libyan secret service agent convicted in the Lockerbie bombing returned home to Tripoli on Thursday, greeted by cheering crowds after being freed from a Scottish prison -- a release that President Obama called "a mistake," The Washington Post reported. LINK

National

Health Care - Obama President Obama, seeking to rally his base, accused Republican leaders Thursday of trying to block a health-care overhaul from the start and again threw his weight behind a government-run insurance plan. During a radio call-in show and at a town-hall meeting of supporters, Mr. Obama tacked to the left as Democratic allies inched toward trying to pass a health-care bill on their own, The Wall Street Journal reported. LINK

Health Care - Poll Public doubt about health care reform has grown as the debate raged this summer, with a rise in views it would do more harm than good, increasing opposition to a public option - and President Obama's rating on the issue at a new low in ABC News/Washington Post polls.  Fewer than half of Americans, 45 percent, support reform as it's been explained to date, while 50 percent are opposed. Support's at just 36 percent among independents, the crucial political center. LINK

Who Are The Uninsured? Although the number of uninsured has grown slowly in the past several years, it's speeding up, mainly because employment has declined and most of us get our insurance through our jobs. Contrary to popular belief, most of the 45.7 million uninsured Americans are in working families. They tend to be poorer and in worse health than those with insurance. Some 40 percent of the uninsured are between the ages of 19 and 29 and less likely to be able to afford insurance, National Public Radio reported. LINK

Cash for Clunkers The federal government, acknowledging that the "Cash for Clunkers" program was running out of money, declared it a success Thursday and killed it off, effective 8 p.m. Monday. After just a week, the program, which began July 24 and was expected to last until as late as Nov. 1, ran out of the $1 billion originally appropriated by Congress. An additional $2 billion was approved two weeks ago, and it was supposed to last until Labor Day. Now that's almost gone, too, The Washington Post reported. LINK

Cash for Appliances A program that kicks in this fall will offer consumers cash to help buy new home appliances. The federal government has set aside $300 million for the program as part of the economic stimulus plan. There's no trade-in required. Rebate checks will be issued that can be used to cover everything from refrigerators and dishwashers to furnaces and air conditioners.  The Department of Energy hopes to encourage conservation by getting consumers to replace old, wasteful appliances, ABC News reported. LINK

Rich Not Getting Richer Income inequality is likely to remain significantly greater than it was for most of the 20th century, but the rich, as a group, are no longer getting richer, according to The New York Times. Last year, the number of Americans with a net worth of at least $30 million dropped 24 percent. Monthly income from stock dividends fell more than 20 percent since last summer. Bill Gates, Warren E. Buffett, the heirs to the Wal-Mart Stores fortune and the founders of Google each lost billions last year. LINK

Terror Alert Politics Former Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge says pressure from fellow Cabinet members to raise the nation's terror alert level just before the 2004 presidential election helped convince him it was time to quit working for President George W. Bush. In the end the alert level was not changed, The Associated Press reported. LINK

Vermont

New Federal Prosecutor Vermont has a new U.S. attorney. Tristram Coffin of Hinesburg was sworn into office by U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy on Thursday. Coffin had served as assistant U.S. attorney in Vermont from 1994 to 2006, as counsel to the Senate Judiciary Committee and most recently in private practice in Burlington, AP reported. LINK

Bennington Defense Contract Senator Patrick Leahy was in Bennington yesterday to celebrate a pair of defense department contracts that will mean new jobs locally and better protection for allied troops in Afghanistan. Bennington's Plasan North America will help build 4,000 Mine Resistant, Ambush Protected All-terrain Vehicles, Vermont Public Radio reported. LINK