Senator Leahy: Safety Remains Highest Priority As Closure Looms For Vermont Yankee Plant

Leahy Urges Prompt Decommissioning, Instead Of Entergy’s Preferred “SAFSTOR” Approach

August 27, 2013

MONTPELIER, Vt.– U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) says safety should remain the highest priority as Entergy prepares to close the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant. The company Tuesday announced plans to close the aging plant in 2014.

Leahy said, “Safe decommissioning of Vermont Yankee is an issue of enormous and overarching importance for Vermont. Every precaution must be taken to insure public and worker safety during the decommissioning, and to insure that we do not leave a public safety nightmare for future generations of Vermonters.”

Vermont Speaker of the House Shap Smith Statement on VY Closure

“Entergy’s announcement this morning that it will close and decommission Vermont Yankee in 2014 comes after several years of speculation about the long term sustainability of the plant. This closure is part of a broader national trend in which the economic viability of nuclear power is uncertain, as the country looks to develop an affordable and sustainable energy profile for the future.

In the coming months and years, the legislature will work with the Administration, Windham County leaders and others to assist employees of the plant and the surrounding communities during this transition period. Entergy repeatedly has assured Vermonters that it will decommission the plant in a safe and environmentally sound way. I will work to ensure that this commitment is fully met.”

Vermont Yankee Shutdown is ‘Good News,’ Sanders Says

WASHINGTON, Aug. 27 – Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) today welcomed Entergy Corp.’s decision to close the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant.

“I am delighted that Entergy will shut down the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant which has had so many problems in recent years. There is a strong desire on the part of the people of the state of Vermont to close the plant that was scheduled to operate for only 40 years,” Sanders said.

“The closure will allow Vermont to focus on leading the nation toward safer and more economical sources of sustainable and renewable energy like solar, wind, geothermal and biomass,” added Sanders, a member of the Senate energy and environment committees.

Cameras and Sensors on I-91?

Recently I’ve noticed the installation of temporary video camers along I-91 between exit 2 and 3.  There are also almost a dozen white boxes I’m assuming are getting speed or traffic counts.  Can someone confirm their purpose?  Is it for the new bridge? 

I’ve been pleased in the past to see that Vermont has not installed cameras at each I-91 interchange like our neighbor to the south has.  I hope this isn’t changing (unless, of course, they are catching heroin trafficers).

Dr. Strangelode, or…

…How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Spies

“Of Course this is a friendly call, Dimitri.”

I’ve been trying to sort out whether my dismay over the rising security state is based on a reverence for the constitution and respect for those who sacrificed greatly to establish a democracy, or whether it’s about something deeper, a primary human instinct. All people recognize, as artists and sages often point out, the essence of communication is trust.  If so, how can we not be appalled by the deception and venality, the corruptibility of government officials, and the gaming of the system. What we’re seeing is the emergence of a system of anti-checks and unbalances, designed to serve and protect those charged with supposedly protecting us.

The March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom

WASHINGTON, Aug. 24 – Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) was a 22-year old college student when he and more than 200,000 other people descended on Washington 50 years ago to hear the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. deliver his “I have a dream” speech.

Sanders recently returned to the Lincoln Memorial to reflect on the march and on how America has changed, or not, during the past half century.

Chairman Sanders Welcomes Continued Progress in Reducing VA Claims Backlog

BURLINGTON, Vt., Aug. 19 – U.S. Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs Chairman Bernie Sanders today welcomed a Department of Veterans Affairs report that outlined significant progress in addressing an unacceptable backlog of claims for disability benefits.

There was a nearly 20 percent drop in the number of backlogged claims from a peak that was hit four months ago, according to a VA analysis released today.

“As chairman, I am pleased to see the VA making significant progress in reducing what everyone continues to recognize as an unacceptable backlog. No veteran should have to wait years to receive the benefits they have earned,” said Sanders (I-Vt.).

Is Obama Lying or Ignorant?

Listening to President Obama’s statements about the NSA and spying on Americans over the past few weeks, I began wondering if he was outright lying to us, or if he was woefully ignorant of the subjects of which he spoke.

I’m not alone. if the President that he had no idea what is going on.   Some of the statements in question:

– the secret FISA court is “transparent” and that Congress has full oversight
– “We don’t have a domestic spying program.”
– “No one is listening to your phone calls.”

Sanders: Congress Must Not Hobble Postal Service Rebound

BURLINGTON, Vt., Aug. 12 – With revenue rebounding, the U.S. Postal Service would have posted a profit for the past three months without an unprecedented requirement that it sink $5.5 billion a year into future retiree health care, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) said today.

The latest quarterly report on Postal Service finances showed a $740 million loss, but all of that red ink would have been eliminated and a $660 million profit would have been posted had the Postal Service not been forced to sink money into a system that already has set aside enough to meet the health care needs of retirees for decades to come.

Medical Licensing of Marijuana a Form of Surveillance

Although I am known for being opposed to medicalization of marijuana as prescriptive necessary for use, this article is worth noting because Dr. Sanjay Gupta is making his mea culpa for being wrong about marijuana’s therapeutic value. Whether he’ll come around to understanding and accepting social use of marijuana remains to be seen.

Did U.S. or Israel Drop a Nuke on Syria?

“The fact of the matter is, what we are seeing in both these cases is a tactical nuclear strike, probably by cruise missiles launched from aircrafts near the borders of Syria or right off the coast in the Mediterranean.”

– Greg Thielmann, arms control expert

Cold-hearted Obama! Two Million Koreans Murdered in Own Country “A Victory”?

“Obama calls Korean War a victory” 7/27/2013
He studied through a PhD in law at Harvard. Yet doesn’t know, or pretends not to know US history.
US bombed to death more than two million Koreans, men, women and children in their own beloved country,
many as often as not in their very own homes, many especially gross US atrocities only recently apologized for.
Author promises such upside down history will not wash much longer

That’s What I AM

After spending some time with the dictionary trying to find the terms that best describe me, progressive, radical, activist, I find that I do not wear any of these hats well. My mission is awareness, critical thinking, free speech and some personal ownership for the world we live in. In fact I founded a corporation in 2010 called The Awareness Initiative Inc., to do exactly that.

Sanders: New Fed Chief Must Make Jobs Top Priority

BURLINGTON, Vt., July 28 – Saying that “it’s time for new leadership at the Federal Reserve and a new approach to our troubled economy,” U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) today urged President Obama to appoint a new central bank chairman who will “put the needs of the disappearing middle class ahead of the interests of Wall Street and the wealthy few.”

Sanders said Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz or former U.S. Labor Secretary Robert Reich would be “excellent candidates” to replace Chairman Ben Bernanke when his term ends next January 31.

Drastic Cuts in NEH Funding Will Impact Vermont Humanities Council

If you have ever attended a “First Wednesdays” program at the Library, please read the following appeal:

“Dear Friends,

We need your help — today — to protect funding for the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the Vermont Humanities Council. This week, the House Interior Appropriations Subcommittee sent a budget bill for FY 2014 to the full Appropriations Committee that includes only $75 million for the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), a drastic 49% cut, which would come on top of a 19% cut over the past three years.

Veterans’ Committee Advances Health Care, Benefits Bills

WASHINGTON, July 24 – The Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs today approved a package of bills to improve benefits and health care services for veterans and their families.

Chairman Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) said the package includes a measure to bring the Department of Veterans Affairs in line with a Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage. Other legislation approved by the Committee would improve the delivery of care and benefits for veterans who experienced sexual assault in the military. Another bill would make the VA provide detailed reports to Congress on its effort to eliminate a staggering claims backlog.

Sanders Challenges White House Report on Student Loans

WASHINGTON, July 23 – Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) said a White House report today masks a big boost in college loan interest rates that would be in store for students and parents under a White House-backed bill now before the Senate.

“The White House is being disingenuous and is trying to sweep under the rug big increases in interest rates for students and parents in the near future,” Sanders said. “Because college costs are out of control and interest rates are rising, students are leaving college deep in debt or in some cases choosing not to continue their education because they cannot afford it,” Sanders added.