09/22/2017
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Radical SAHM

  William Sherman Coperthwaite, September 17, 1930 - November 26, 2013   William S. Coperthwaite, architect, author, maker, visionary social critic, and homesteader, has died.  My own family has lost both our sail and our anchor, and today there are thousands of Mainers and New Englanders who grieve the same loss.   A man who inspired many thousands by his life led close to nature and in opposition to contemporary society, Mr. Coperthwaite was often compared to Henry David Thoreau. Similar to Helen and Scott Nearing, who were his friends and mentors, Mr. Coperthwaite led a 55 year long experiment in living on the coast of Maine where he created a homestead of wooden, multi-storied yurts, a form of architecture that he...
“When I was in school, kids worked harder and were better behaved,” declared the young man just seven years out of high school. “Son, every generation says schools have gone to pieces since their day,” I replied. “A friend said his college professor colleagues were complaining about the ‘alarming’ degeneration. ‘Kids today don’t know how to write a clear sentence, lack knowledge of history and don’t even know when the Civil war occurred!’” This widely held folk legend deserves a closer look. What are the facts? The federal government just reported that Vermont, compared to all states and nations, ranked seventh in the world on science and math. The nations that outscored us were the test-obsessed nations of South Korea and Japan. Three...
  All wars are insane. World War I was particularly so. In this debacle of needless slaughter, soldiers were ordered to charge across open fields into the mouths of machine guns. Among the many great fiascos, the 1915 Gallipoli campaign stands out. Stymied with an entrenched and stalemated western front, the British threw hundreds of thousands of Empire troops against the Ottoman Turks. The aim was a land march up the Dardanelles ending in the capture of Istanbul. A half million casualties and eight months later, the British withdrew in total failure.   With the long sight of history, Scott Anderson, in Lawrence in Arabia, lists three ingredients for why “a vastly superior military force . . . managed, against all odds, to snatch...
                                                                                                 Assertion: 1. All new fighters have high accident rates, much higher than mature fighters and much, much higher than scheduled airliners. 2. Basing a new fighter with significantly less than 1 million fleet hours of safety experience in an urban area is likely to expose the residents to accident probabilities that are irresponsibly high. Discussion: The F-16 at 100,000 fleet hours had a cumulative major accident rate (i.e., officially termed Class A Mishap Rate) of 17 per 100,000 hours. By 1 million hours (almost exactly the point when F-16s started operating from Burlington) its cumulative rate was down to 7 and the current cumulative...
by James Marc Leas When Burlington City Attorney Eileen Blackwood issued a legal opinion on the resolution to bar basing of F-35 warplanes at Burlington Airport, the Mayor of Burlington, Miro Weinberger, issued a punchy one-sentence statement suggesting it was a knockout blow to the resolution. The legal opinion concluded that Burlington cannot legally block the F-35. By the very next day, however, the negative conclusion evaporated and turned into a strong positive. A 3 page response provided by Stop-the-F-35 Coalition attorney Jim Dumont included corrections that turned the Burlington City Attorney's opinion into a helpful blueprint for revising the text of the resolution to avoid all the legal issues she raised. With the revisions and...
The September 7th article in the Times Argus by Peter Hirschfield titled “State finances: Bonding amounts may drop, affecting infrastructure repairs” presents a false dilemma for Vermonters.  We are told we must reduce spending on needed infrastructure and public safety or risk the loss of Vermont’s AAA bond rating.  This is akin to another false choice we are told we have to make every year when the legislature convenes - the choice of raising taxes or cutting spending to balance the budget.  We hear about $20 million budget “holes” that have to be filled, and hard choices that have to be made between programs like the Earned Income Tax Credit and early childhood education.  Now it’s our core infrastructure we’re being told we can’t...
A whiteboard explanation of the current surveillance issues in Vermont, and in many states which are within 100 miles of an international border.
​ There is no doubt by proponents and opponents that our movement to oppose the basing of the F-35 has been very successful. Our cause has been heard throughout Vermont, in the DOD and, specifically, the Air Force and other locations throughout the US as well as in some countries around the world. The combination of events, actions and the increasing participation by the number of concerned citizens has compelled the Air Force, VTANG, our Congressional Delegation, other state and local elected officials and the Green Ribbon folks to respond to our concerns, questions and demands. Not always getting all the headlines but extremely influential and of concern by the Air Force has been the work of our legal consultant, James A. Dumont. Jim's...
  From Polyface Farm's Facebook page Yesterday morning at shortly after 7 a.m. the phone rang: it was 911 calling us at the farm. Some cows had wandered out into the road at one of our leased farms. We've been working on about 400 yards of new boundary fence on this farm and had the old fence all down, the site prepped, and half the new posts pounded in, hoping to finish up yesterday and stretch fence today. We'd left a couple of internal electric fence gates open in our comings and goings on the project. A deer went through our small temporary electric fence surrounding the cows and they wandered over through the open gates and across the boundary onto the neighbors and into the road. Of course, we arrived on the scene and immediately...
Labor Day brings the end of summer, the opening of schools and a swarm of education polls. The number of these tallies has increased as groups from the left and right launch efforts that – not too surprisingly – tend to produce results favoring their perspective. The granddaddy, and most universally respected, of these is the Gallup poll sponsored by Phi Delta Kappa, which just released its 45th annual report. A couple of findings jump out; Most people have not heard of many of the nation’s biggest reform efforts and when they have, they are increasingly dissatisfied with the top-down, test-driven market-model orientation of these initiatives. In particular, 62% of citizens have never heard of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS)....

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