Archive - 2009 - Editorial
Last week, area and state legislators sent a letter to Gov. James Douglas recommending that the state set aside up to $1 million of the $8.67 million federal economic stimulus money to help Addison County businesses affected by the closing of the Champlain Bridge. The initiative was spearheaded by Senate President Pro Tempore Peter Shumlin, D-Putney, and House Speaker Hap Smith, D-Morristown, and though it had the support of most Addison County legislators, the proposal was laden with political overtones.
In listening to President Barack Obama outline his strategy for sending 30,000 more troops into Afghanistan on Tuesday night’s televised address, we found ourselves wanting to believe his rationale and his assessment, but what we recognized was that it was little more than a well-delivered political speech carefully calculated to cause the president the least amount of political damage.
That was a disappointment.
With the holidays approaching, our house is already filling up with the love and laughter of family and friends. Surrounded by my favorite people day and night, I keep coming back to one question: How do I make them go away?
Oh, I’m all for family togetherness; it’s just that the constant presence of nearly everyone on my Christmas list has made it impossible for me to work on their gifts in secret.
That’s right, I’m a stealth knitter.
In the hubbub over the recent crackdown on employers hiring illegal migrant workers, the one statement that seems to define the situation in Vermont is that the hiring of migrant workers is not about cheap labor, it’s about hiring dependable labor in a market where no others are willing to do the work.
If Congress, the administration and the federal bureaucracy could tailor federal laws around that single premise, perhaps a workable immigration law (or amendment) that applies to dairy farms could be written and passed.
Guess which country has the lowest fertility rate — Iran or the United States. It’s Iran.
The United States is one of the few rich nations of the world in which women have more children during their child-bearing years (15 to 49) than it takes to replace them and the fathers. Iran has a fertility rate of 1.9 for the whole country, 1.5 for the capital city of Tehran. The magic number is 2.1. Two to replace the parents, point one to compensate for early female deaths. The U.S. rate is at 2.1 or a bit higher.
If half a company’s revenue came from five percent of its customer base, the CEO would begin each day with the same ritual: prayer.
That’s a narrow base upon which to build hope, let alone a sustainable business.
To an extent, that’s Vermont’s issue, not at the corporate level but with state government. We have a spending level that is disproportionately dependent on a progressive income tax structure and a paltry number of taxpayers.
In business, it’s not always possible to achieve your mission the first year out of the block. But there’s evidence that 51 Main Street in Middlebury has come pretty close.
Roll back the clock with me to a scene there last April. It’s a cold, blustery Thursday night and one would have expected Middlebury’s Main Street to be quiet at the 8 o’clock hour.
This night, however, was different.
In the past, we’ve generally started our Christmas shopping around Dec. 18.
There’s a powerful adrenalin surge that comes from the mob hysteria the week before the holiday. Similar to the running of the bulls in Pamplona every July, the shopping of the desperate in the mall every December is an annual rite that draws thousands, thrills the participants and poses a serious threat of trampling. Granted, the risk of being gored at the mall is comparatively small, but it’s still a pretty good time.