Archive - Editorial
September 10th, 2007
For the past four years, many Americans have watched in disbelief as the Bush administration has led this nation into war with Iraq under false pretenses, scared the public with lame threats of terrorist attacks on U.S. soil, waved the flag of patriotism in times of political need (rather than national unity), and has changed the terms of engagement in Iraq. All of this has been done to suit the political needs of this president. This past weekend Bush was at it again — going on a surprise photo-op and propaganda blitz in Iraq to build support for continuing his failed policy.
The question Americans must ask themselves is plain: When are they going to demand an honest accounting and assessment of the war effort and consequent action that puts the needs of the nation ahead of domestic politics?
In a recent column in The New York Times, Paul Krugman poses a question that is less cynical and more sincere than it might at first appeal. “Future historians will, without doubt, see Katrina as a turning point,” he wrote. “The question is whether it will be seen as the moment when America remembered the importance of good government, or the moment when neglect and obliviousness to the needs of others became the new American way.”
In the past, such a cynical question could be answered positively with confidence. Today, unfortunately, the answer to that question is a matter of national soul-searching.
Just what kind of a country are we? Under this administration, policies have routinely and continuously passed that hurt the poor and favor the wealthy; they have benefited industry at the expense of our environment; they’ve worked to break down the public school system; have eroded our national infrastructure; depleted the nation’s armed forces and discredited the nation’s foreign policy on the world stage.
The CIA Must Rely More on Collecting Human Intelligence
Earlier this summer, when the CIA released the “family jewels” — nearly 700 pages of documents detailing some of its most infamous and illegal operations dating back to the 1950s — the question that immediately came to mind was: Why now?
After all, Director of Central Intelligence Bill Colby had let some of those secrets out during the Church Committee hearings in the early 1970s. When Colby made the initial revelations, there was widespread anger among the old agency hands, particularly those from World War II’s Office of Strategic Services, the CIA’s precursor. Much of this anger resided in the division known as the Clandestine Service, which thought it owned most of the jewels. Colby had betrayed them. More gems dropped out of the bag in subsequent years.
December 12th, 2006
Thereâ€™s good news in Vermontâ€™s ski industry, and then thereâ€™s the weather.
The good news is that Vermontâ€™s 18 ski resorts invested more than $25 million in upgrades and new facilities in 2006, and another $150 million was invested in real estate projects and recreational amenities. That substantial investment, however, runs headlong into another bit of news: November 2006 was one of the warmest on record and tied the record for having the least amount of snowfall.
Such enormous investments and such fickle weather remind ski diehards that ski resorts in Vermont, much like the farming community, ride a fine edge on the profitability slope. The ski industry, in fact, has much in common with Vermontâ€™s farm community. An area ski area resort president even noted that ski resorts could be viewed as â€œsnow farmers.â€?
In the big scheme of things, Vermont Electric Power Companyâ€™s project to string up a new set of 345Kv transmission lines through Addison County could have been delayed another year or two without (in all likelihood) depriving consumers of an adequate supply of power. It certainly seems reasonable, therefore, to ask VELCO to work around a Middlebury Christmas tree farm during the farmâ€™s peak season between Thanksgiving and Christmas.
To proceed with the erection of gigantic poles within the next two or three weeks, when it means that the poles would be placed right in the midst of the Werner tree farm (see story Page 1), seems like a slap in the face to a fellow Vermont business. Itâ€™s almost an affront that VELCO wouldnâ€™t have foreseen the dilemma earlier and made the overture to avoid work there for this one five-week period.
When a single person is able to use the Act 250 process to delay a project for up to two years for reasons that have been dismissed by all others, the state needs to amend the law.
The instance at hand is with the proposed Eastview housing project â€” a 101-unit retirement community to be built on 30 acres south of Porter Medical Center campus off South Street in Middlebury. Opposed is South Street Extension resident Miriam Roemischer. She has been the proverbial thorn-in-the-side of those who have pushed the project forward. Thatâ€™s a shame.
While other community members, including many along South Street, raised initial concerns about the project â€” including the fact that traffic would increase and they wanted to be sure traffic-calming measures were in place â€” their concerns apparently have been satisfied and the public good of the project (not to mention the appropriate zoning) has outweighed their own personal preferences for a quieter street.
As Gov. James Douglas addresses the task of replacing Secretary of Agriculture Steve Kerr the future of farmers throughout the state may hang in the balance. Itâ€™s not that one person will make or break the farm community, but that the direction state policy proceeds during the next few years could either set the path for new growth on Vermont farms or continue the rapid demise of dairy farms Vermont has seen for the past 50 years.
The demise, as most everyone knows, has cut the number of farms in the state by a third in the past decade â€” from 2,265 in 1993 to 1,459 in 2003. Itâ€™s not a new trend. The number of dairy farms in Vermont in 1983 was 3,216; in 1973 it was 3,852; in 1963, there were 7,127, and in 1953, there were 10,637. On average about 8 percent to 10 percent of our dairy farms have been going out of business each year.
Vote for a change
As the nation prepares to vote tomorrow, Nov. 7, voters should consider the state of affairs in Washington, D.C., and to do their part to ensure a change in direction.
Such a change would press for an end to a federal tax policy that favors the wealthiest individuals over the middle class, more favorable environmental policies that require industry to limit further harm to the environment, federal regulations that prevent media consolidation in the hands of a few mega-corporations, deficit reduction measures so our children and grandchildren arenâ€™t paying for todayâ€™s excess spending, a health care system that delivers appropriate care to American citizens, and an educational funding system that is flexible enough to adapt to the changing needs of todayâ€™s global economy. For the past six years under President George W. Bush and the Republican-dominated Congress the nation has witnessed a steady deterioration on each of those fronts.