News October 24

Senator Sanders

Solar Power Sen. Bernie Sanders on Tuesday attended a ribbon cutting ceremony for a solar panel array at Lyndon State College. Sanders helped secure a $32,000 grant, WCAX-TV reported. "The project ... helps students engage directly with solar technology and it demonstrates that solar works in Vermont," said Sanders, VTDigger.org reported. LINK, LINK, VIDEO

Irene Recovery Local, state and federal officials are optimistic that the federal government will reimburse Bennington and nearby towns for millions of dollars in emergency work performed after Tropical Storm Irene. Sen. Sanders told the Bennington Banner that the Federal Emergency Management Agency, in an about face, has signaled that it will reimburse the towns. LINK

Social Security Labor unions and other groups working to re-elect President Obama plan an aggressive campaign after Election Day to pressure him not to go along with any deal that cuts Medicare or Social Security. "You can have virtually all of the senior groups, you can have the unions, you can have some of the veteran groups as well coming on board," said Sanders. "You're going to have a whole lot of people beginning to stand together and say, ‘Sorry, at a time when the wealthiest are doing phenomenally well and so many people are hurting terribly because of this recession, you're not going to balance the budget on the backs of the elderly, the children, the sick, the poor, the disabled veterans,'" he told The Hill. LINK

The Independent On his way into a packed dinner gathering at Windham Congregational Church last week, Sen. Sanders declared himself the "longest-serving independent in the history of the United States Congress." While his main beefs are with what he called an "extremist" Republican Party, Sanders wasn't afraid to send a barb the president's way. "Issues like taking on Wall Street -- do I think President Obama has been as strong as he should be? No, I don't," Sanders told the Brattleboro Reformer. The front-page article appeared beside an Associated Press dispatch in which Sanders' Republican challenger said his challenge to "Vermont's independent political juggernaut who has out­raised him hundreds of times over, is a long shot." LINK, LINK

College Rally Sen. Sanders held a town meeting at Lyndon State College. He discussed the need to help students pay for college, improve health care and ensure the protection of women's rights, The Associated Press reported. ‘‘People want their leaders to have the guts to stand up to big money interests, to take on the powers that be who in many cases are enriching themselves at the expense of the middle class and working families of this country,'' Sanders said in the article published by the Times Argus and Rutland Herald and broadcast by Fox 44. LINK, LINK, LINK, LINK, VIDEO

Vermont Conservatives Back Bernie Sanders has managed to win support from liberals and at least some Vermont conservatives, according to The Caledonian-Record. "People want their leaders to have the guts to stand up to big money interests, to take on the powers that be who in many cases are enriching themselves at the expense of the middle class and working families of this country," he said. "People want their elected officials to stand up and fight." LINK

Clean Energy In four years the United States has tripled solar output while cutting the cost in half. There have been similar productivity gains for wind power. As Sen. Sanders reminds us, clean energy alternatives are gaining rapidly in output, efficiency and cost, Paul Buchheit wrote for Buzzflash. LINK

Elder Abuse Although physical, emotional and financial abuse of elders is devastating and far too common, our nation's response has been disjointed and our federal investment has been minimal. "Despite the complexity of identifying, preventing and combating elder abuse, America's elders are certainly deserving of greater federal attention and resources dedicated to this issue," wrote Sens. Sanders, Herb Kohl and Richard Blumenthal in a column published by Generations, the journal of the American Society on Aging. LINK

Corporate Power President Obama is afraid corporate leaders will refuse to invest if they sense government hostility to their interests, Sen. Sanders suggests in the documentary film ‘Heist. That speaks to the immense power of corporations over the government, Mike Parker and Margaret Jordan wrote for Labor Notes. LINK

Arnold vs. Bernie University researchers indicate that stronger men tend to oppose income redistribution, according to Natasha Lennard writing for Salon. She said that study conjured thoughts of Arnold Schwarzenegger and Paul Ryan compared to Rep. Dennis Kucinich Sen. Sanders. LINK

Push Poll Pollsters from the Idaho-based Mountain West Research Center are planting negative information about a mayoral candidate in Honolulu. One of Mountain West's affiliates, Western Wats, was involved in a similar campaign against Sen. Sanders in his 2006 senate campaign, according to the Hawaii Reporter. LINK

World

China Tops in Foreign Investment China was the world's top destination for foreign investment in the first six months of 2012, edging the U.S. out of the top position for the first time since 2003, The Wall Street Journal reported. LINK

National

Living Standards in the Shadow as Election Issue Breaking out of a decade of income stagnation that has afflicted the middle class and the poor and exacerbated inequality is arguably the biggest challenge facing the country today, according to The New York Times. Many of the bedrock assumptions of American culture - about work, progress, fairness and optimism - are being shaken as successive generations worry about the prospect of declining living standards. No question, perhaps, is more central to the country's global standing than whether the economy will perform better on that score in the future than it has in the recent past. LINK

Fiscal Cliff Another biased article in The Washington Post gave prominent play to what it called two key senators telling the financial community on Tuesday that the industry's engagement is critical if the country is to avoid the "fiscal cliff," a series of automatic tax hikes and spending cuts that are scheduled to take effect in January. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Saxby Chambliss, both central players in a bipartisan effort to avert the cliff, said the industry cannot sit back as it did last year when an ugly political battle unfolded over raising the federal debt limit. LINK

Payroll Tax Holiday Democrats are sounding increasingly open to extending the payroll tax cut after months of keeping it at arm's length, The Hill reported online. A spokesman for Nancy Pelosi said the Democratic House leader never took the payroll tax cut off the table, even if she had declared in September that she hoped the tax cut was not extended. Pelosi had also said she "could be convinced" of extending the lower rate "if it was part of something that advanced our economy down the road." LINK

Medicare Tens of thousands of people with chronic conditions and disabilities may find it easier to qualify for Medicare coverage of potentially costly home health care, skilled nursing home stays and outpatient therapy after a proposed settlement of a nationwide class-action lawsuit. The Obama administration has agreed to have Medicare pay for nursing or therapy services if they will prevent or slow deterioration in a patient's condition, The New York Times reported. LINK

Vermont 

Home Heating Gov. Peter Shumlin and key lawmakers want the state to add $8.8 million to the Low Income Home Heating Assistance Program to help low-income residents stay warm this winter, WCAX-TV reported. LINK

Meningitis Outbreak Brattleboro Memorial Hospital is notifying about 200 patients that they were administered drugs recalled by the Massachusetts company linked to a deadly meningitis outbreak. Officials say the drugs were not the same steroid injections that resulted in 23 deaths around the country and sickened nearly 300. In notifying the patients, the Brattleboro Reformer said the hospital was following recommendations by the Centers for Disease Control and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Solar Power Vermont utilities officials are puzzled by reports of a 200MW solar facility slotted for spring construction in West Charleston, Island Pond and Derby. "This [project] is very real," said Louise Hart, president of H.I. Renewable Energy Systems, which is heading the project hoped to generate up to 2,000 new jobs, The Caledonian-Record reported. LINK