News May 27

Senator Sanders

Sotomayor Nomination President Obama chose Judge Sonia Sotomayor to succeed Justice David Souter on the Supreme Court. Senator Patrick Leahy praised the choice. Senator Bernie Sanders said, “I very much appreciate that President Obama is attempting to address the gender and ethnic imbalance that currently exists in the highest court in our land," WPTZ reported. Sanders wants to know more about Sotomayor's views on privacy rights and the rights of workers and consumers, according to Vermont Public Radio, WCAX, The Burlington Free Press , the Vermont Press Bureau and The Associated Press and Politico. LINK, LINK, LINK, LINK, LINK, VIDEO and VIDEO


War Funding Sanders was one of only three votes against war funds for Iraq and Afghanistan. Leahy voted in favor, Seven Days reported. The Senate denied Obama’s $80 million request to close the Guantanamo Bay detention center.” Leahy said our criminal justice system can handle the detainees. Sanders wasn’t so sure. “Are there some who should be released, are there others who should be returned to their home countries, are we confident that under Bush the correct determinations were made with respect to these prisoners’ status as ‘enemy combatants’?” he asked. “Good points,” Shay Totten wrote. LINK


Sanders’ Solar Schools Initiative The Vermont Department of Education wants to start training the next generation of solar power consumers and technicians. The department this week announced its Solar in Schools Initiative, which will pay for low-power solar photovoltaic systems for up to 10 schools around the state. Sen. Bernard Sanders secured the funding through the Department of Energy and the grants should pay for most of the equipment and labor to get the solar cells up and running on school rooftops, the Brattleboro Reformer reported. LINK


Vermont Budget Democratic lawmakers convene hearings this week to gauge citizens' reactions to Gov. Douglas' latest budget proposal. U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders weighed in on the budget debate, saying he hopes that a common ground can be reached and layoffs avoided. "My hope is that we do not have to lay off workers at the state level - we are bringing money with the stimulus money at the state level to create jobs, so I don't want to see jobs being losst - and many of the state employees are providing very important services to the people of the state," Sanders told WCAX. LINK and VIDEO


Digital TV The digital television conversion has caused a veritable blackout in parts of northeastern Vermont. Jim Condon of the Vermont Association of Broadcasters said he'd received "very few" notifications from people shut out by the digital conversion. "Low cost, level-entry cable or satellite access is an option," he added. Legislation by Sen. Bernie Sanders to formalize a similar "life-line" service to Americans "has not moved forward" in the Senate, The Burlington Free Press reported. LINK




Pelosi in China Chinese protesters gave a raucous welcome for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Wednesday, painting red slogans and crying out for the lawmaker to live up to her reputation as a foe of human rights abuses. Police quickly dragged away the small group demonstrating in front of a central government office, The Associated Press reported.  LINK




G.M. Nears Bankruptcy The latest plan for the troubled automaker, which is expected to file for bankruptcy by Monday, calls for the Treasury Department to receive about 70 percent of a restructured G.M.  Including the more than $20 billion that has already been spent to prop up G.M., the government will provide G.M. at least $50 billion to get the company through Chapter 11, The New York Times reported. By some estimates in Detroit, tens of billions beyond that amount may be required. LINK


Burris and Blago Sen. Roland Burris promised to "personally do something" for Rod Blagojevich's campaign fund while pressing for the then-Illinois governor to appoint him to President Barack Obama's former Senate seat, according to a wiretap transcript released Tuesday. The transcript was released after a federal judge pproved making it available to the U.S. Senate ethics committee for its preliminary investigation of Burris's appointment, the Chicago Sun-Times reported. LINK




Vermont Rulings Judge Sotomayor ruled against passengers on a Lake Champlain ferry who objected to a post-Sept. 11 policy that allowed random searches of luggage. “The government ... need not show that every airport or every ferry terminal is threatened by terrorism in order to implement a nationwide security policy that includes suspicionless searches,” she wrote. In a criminal case, she upheld the conviction of Andrew Capoccia for his role in the Bennington-based Law Centers for Consumer Protection scandal, The Burlington Free Press reported. LINK


Smoking Prevention Cash-strapped state governments are slashing funding for tobacco prevention and cessation programs in a move anti-tobacco groups say could backfire, costing taxpayers later for treatment of tobacco-related illnesses among people who might've quit. In Vermont, a recently adopted state budget reduced funding for anti-tobacco efforts by $1.9 million from the previous year, The Associated Press reported. LINK