09/22/2017
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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...
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I was driving back from Amherst, Ma and stopped somewhere around Windsor, VT and noticed a headline in the Rutland Herald that said, “State Catches Heat for Yankee closing”.

The article could just have easily come from the Times Argus

“Angry Vernon residents blamed the state of Vermont Monday for the looming shutdown of the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant, two Vermont House committees were told…More than one Yankee employee said they didn’t want to leave Vermont, and they didn’t know where they...

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Nearly 500 people marched into the Burlington, Vt., City Council meeting on October 28 to testify for or against the basing of the boondoggle F-35 warplane at Burlington International Airport.


The City Council planned to hear testimony before voting on two resolutions initiated by the Stop the F-35 Coalition that would bar the plane. One would have banned the plane outright--the other would have imposed noise and crash rate regulations that would have effectively kept the plane out as well.

The movement against the warplane had reached such a critical mass that just two weeks ago, activists were optimistic they would actually win. But Vermont's political...

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(This essay is an excerpt from the forthcoming book, “The Vermont Way: Restless Spirits and Popular Movements”.)

The idea of defying the forces of centralized power and wealth can be seductive, especially if you live in a small, isolated place with a reputation for being contrary and the sense that it’s different, even exceptional.
 
In Congress, Vermont’s Bernie Sanders has reflected this perspective, challenging corporate secrecy and the powers of international financial institutions by forging alliances that cross traditional lines. When that strategy was attempted in Vermont during the late...
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Image by Dylan Kelley for Vermont Commons 

The latest high-ranking Vermont Democrat to push for prime military pork in her state is Burlington city attorney Eileen Blackwood, who released a slippery legal memo October 17th that is as cleverly political as it is narrowly legal, leading to widespread, obtuse media coverage along the lines of Vermont Public Radio's simply false headline: "City Report: Burlington Can't Block F-35."

Blackwood's "preliminary...

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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:

...

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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...

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With Vermont’s highest elected officials still deep in Defense Dept. denial over the disaster that is the Air Force’s F-35 strike fighter, a local city council threatens to bring some military sanity to Vermont (but nowhere else) by exercising its landlord right to reject as a tenant a weapon of mass destruction that will wreak havoc on the local neighborhood. 

This initiative comes from four members of Vermont’s Progressive Party on the Burlington City Council, who plan to introduce a resolution on October 7 effectively barring the F-35 from being based in the middle of Vermont’s most populated area. In contrast, Vermont’s official “leadership,” almost all Democrats, still thinks basing nuclear-capable...

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Why is the American public so unenthusiastic about bombing Syria? Certainly the case for war is weak and hypocritical both in its pretext and in its imagined goals. But that was no less true of the Iraq War, which was easily foisted upon a credulous public – a “slam dunk,” as CIA director George Tenet put it. This time, despite a weeklong media blitz (administration insiders call it “flooding the zone”), a majority of the American public still oppose bombing Syria. For the most part, it isn't...

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With costly legal battles in the past few years between the State of Vermont and several of our most abundant compost producers, and more conflicts coming up recently, one has to wonder what is going on. It took me awhile to get my head around the situation, because on its surface this just doesn’t make sense.

Organic compost producers have been facing the choice of closing down or fighting costly legal battles re: Act 250 (which farms are fortunately exempt from). Now the state is trying to collect back sales taxes from Vermont Compost Co., suddenly claiming compost is no longer an agricultural product, which has previously made it exempt from sales tax.

The first and most obvious question with all of these...

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