All posts by Maggie Gundersen

Change?

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ON THIS DAY: On June 16, 1933, President Roosevelt opened his New Deal recovery program, signing bank, rail and industry bills and initiating farm aid.

I celebrated when President Obama was elected.  I thought he would be the next FDR.

Instead of a New Deal for a new century, we have an expanded NSA, privacy violations, a country spying on its own people and drones murdering innocent women and children around the world.  

Instead of a New Deal recovery program, we have whistleblower heroes renamed as terrorists, who when captured and in prison are treated in ways that violate the Geneva Convention let alone all values of human decency and moral ethics.

From the Huffington Post:  

Daniel Ellsberg, the former United States military analyst who, while employed by the RAND Corporation, leaked the Pentagon Papers, a top-secret Pentagon study of US government decision-making in relation to the Vietnam War, to The New York Times and other newspapers


called Edward Snowden, the man behind the NSA Prism leak, a “hero”

.

Is this the New Deal America voted for?

Change?

On this Father’s Day, I think our forefathers, who were called Rebels and seen as terrorists by Britain’s King George, would see our current lack of democracy and violation of personal rights and freedoms as an abomination.  

This is not the change, I thought I would see.  It is not the FDR-style New Deal most Americans expected.  It is a dishonor to our forefathers and the freedoms under which these United States of America were founded.

Reflect on this situation again on George Orwell’s birthday:  June 25, 1903.  He did forewarn us that big brother is watching…

Are You Supporting Obama?

According to Mitt Romney,

47% of Obama supporters are dependent on government

.

You know, the stereotype that you are on the dole if you support anyone who is black, is a Democrat, and/or supports any progressive causes like gay marriage, equal rights, equal pay… well you know the negative Republican schtick.

All right, there are 47% who are with him; who are dependent upon government; who believe that they are victims; who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them; who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing – to you-name-it.

Mother Jones has the video below

New York Daily News shares the story GOP 1% donors want to hear. Priceless…

I voted for TJ Donovan for AG in Vermont’s Democratic Primary

We all know an election is near because roadsides are awash with campaign signs and our mailboxes are flooded with flyers. While I had to think about my vote for some positions, I knew what exactly how to vote for Vermont’s next Attorney General.

My husband Arnie Gundersen and I unequivocally endorse TJ Donovan for Attorney General in the August 28th Democratic primary, and each one of us has already voted for TJ.

As a mediator and paralegal, I am deeply committed to a restorative justice model that involves the community in the corrections’ process.  When I first met TJ Donovan in 2006 during his Chittenden County State’s Attorney campaign, he made some impressive promises. I liked his creative ideas, but honestly wondered if TJ would follow through once in office or like many other politicians in Vermont, simply look the other way.  

TJ delivered on those promises by involving the stakeholder community in a task force that looked at Chittenden County’s criminal justice system through a new lens, sought grant money and made organizational changes to assure that transition did happen.

Vermont is a brand. It symbolizes clean air and water, healthy food, and a safe place to live.  Powerful corporations leaking toxic substances into our waterways and aquifers and pushing GMO’s are thwarting Vermont’s laws and regulations.

Arnie’s nuclear safety and engineering expert testimony keeps Fairewinds working with national and international attorneys every day.  We know first hand that law is nuanced and attorneys require skill and perseverance, and that is why we voted for TJ Donovan as Vermont’s next Attorney General. We want an Attorney General who puts Vermonters, their needs, and their laws ahead of corporate malfeasance.

Your vote in this primary assures a quality candidate like TJ Donovan in the November election.  Vote today.

If you are undecided, visit www.donovan2012.com to learn more about TJ and why he is the only choice for Vermont’s next AG.

*******************

More below the fold.

Remember Town Meeting Day?

    It is a Vermont tradition to exercise your right to vote, and if you ignore this primary, you are letting others choose your candidate(s). The August 28th Primary is no less important than town meeting day because your ‘primary vote’ chooses the candidates for the November ballot.  

We voted for TJ Donovan for Attorney General and ask you to do the same.    

In closing, I would like to share this clarification:

I am the president and founder of Fairewinds Associates (2003) in Burlington and the founding director of Fairewinds Energy Education 501c3 non-profit, founded in 2008.

Arnie Gundersen is the nuclear engineer who served on the Vermont Yankee Oversight Panel, consulted to the Vermont State Legislature, and testifies worldwide regarding nuclear safety issues. He is the chief engineer for Fairewinds.

Fairewinds Energy Education nonprofit is recognized around the world for its nuclear safety work. View our work at www.fairewinds.org Following the Fukushima Daiichi accident in 2011, the Huffington Post called Fairewinds the ‘go to site’ for nuclear safety information.

Our book Fukushima Daiichi: The Truth and the Future was number one on the amazon.jp science list for months. The book has sold more than 30,000 copies in Japan, and I am currently working on the English version.

Google Eyes Are Watching… Or What Happened to Privacy?

This morning, as I do most mornings, I got up and made a cup of hot tea and sat down with my laptop to see the morning news and read overnight emails.

It was quite a surprise to me receive an invitation to become an Amazon Mom with an offer to purchase diapers online!  My children are in their 30’s, and I am not yet a grandmother and there are no grandchildren on the way, so I was stumped until my caffeine started to jump start my brain.  

Yesterday, I received news that a friend had a baby and the chosen name is unique, like our daughter’s name is unique.  Instead of going into the office and pulling out my trusty baby name book that I use for story characters, I Goggled the new baby’s name.  

And, it appears that is where the internet spying began… more below the fold.



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I do delete cookies. I have my browser set for privacy.  My Facebook account is set for friends.  

As a GMD blogger and with my own professional paralegal and internet work, I always read what I can in terms of privacy rights and concerns.  I was startled and troubled when a few months ago to read about a young woman who bought a pregnancy test, and then her family received mail from Target suggesting they buy baby supplies!

I don’t want to buy baby supplies.  I don’t want to be followed all over the net and solicited and Targeted or Amazoned to shop for whatever their computer algorithms have determined I must have and must buy from them.  I am not a shop til I drop type of person, and I don’t believe that shopping will get us out of this worldwide financial debacle and depression.

I will continue to buy local first. That is why I frequent Burlington’s exceptional farmers market that is filled with food and local handcrafts from pottery to stained glass to beautiful baby clothes!  That is why I shop at local businesses like Outdoor Gear Exchange or the newly opened downtown Burlington Phoenix Books — that is when I really need something.

Most of all, I simply want my privacy back!  Amazon please heed this post!

TJ Donovan Gets Serious on AG Bid

When I received the TJ for AG press release (below the fold), I felt like I was coming home to a real Vermont grown campaign team.  Sam Winship will serve as Campaign Manager, Mary Sullivan as Treasurer for Donovan 2012, and Jay Els will serve as communications consultant.

Personally, I think this could really turn out to be an exciting race.  Odum used to rave about how great primaries are, and I always despised them after my exposure to Connecticut races where primaries seemed more like back room deals pretending to be an open race.  After Vermont’s Democratic Gubernatorial primary, I have changed my mind.  I learned more about each candidate and their campaign promises than I ever imagined.  I think a real race for Attorney General will help Vermont’s talent shine and put real substantive issues on the table.  

I have worked with all three Donovan 2012 professionals, and each one is a veteran campaigner.  I have also hosted a variety of campaign workers during our time in Vermont, and as a relatively new flatlander in VT – 11 years, I think that getting a quality team like this one that consists of local Vermonters is really important.  Vermont is a unique state facing some tough issues, we need campaign teams who understand Vermont and want to listen to its many and diverse voices.  

Mary Sullivan was chair of the Burlington Democrats when I first became really active in Burlington politics and was appointed as a public works commissioner.  I have learned more about city and state politics and the inner workings of Burlington and the Vermont Legislature from working with Mary than from almost anyone I know.

I will be interested to see what other teams come together for this race.  Original Press Release below the fold:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

TJ Donovan 2012

CONTACT: TJ Donovan

                (802) 488-4800

State’s Attorney Donovan Hires Veteran Campaign Staff in Bid for Attorney General’s Seat

BURLINGTON, VT – Chittenden County State’s Attorney TJ Donovan has hired a team of experienced campaign staff to support his run for the office of Attorney General of Vermont. The three new staffers bring more than 30 years of political and campaign experience.

“We wanted to hit the ground running and getting quality people like this on the team is vital to building a strong campaign,” said Donovan.

Sam Winship will serve as Campaign Manager for Donovan 2012. Winship, a native Vermonter and University of Vermont grad, brings strong experience as a dependable fundraiser and manager to the team. After working on the John Tracy for Lt. Governor primary campaign in 2006, Winship spent the 2008 election cycle as the Finance Director of the Segall for Congress Campaign in Alabama’s 3rd Congressional District. More recently, he served as a fundraising consultant for Doug Racine’s gubernatorial campaign and was the Campaign Manager of the Steve Howard for Lt. Governor campaign.

Mary Sullivan has signed on to be Treasurer for Donovan 2012. Sullivan brings over 20 years of experience in Vermont politics and campaigns, 10 of them serving as a State Representative from 1990-2000. Sullivan chaired the House Natural Resources Committee during her final two years in the legislature. She has also served as chair of the Chittenden County Democrats and Secretary of State Committee. Currently, Sullivan is the Communications Coordinator at Burlington Electric Department.

“Over the past five years, TJ has done an incredible job as Chittenden County State’s Attorney. As Vermont’s Attorney General he will take his knowledge, energy and passion to better serve all Vermonters. He will be great for our state,” said Sullivan.

Japhet (Jay) Els will serve as a Communications Consultant. Els got his start working for Howard Dean’s Presidential campaign in 2003 before going on to work the 2004 election in the swing state of Wisconsin for America Coming Together. After serving as National Online Fundraising Director for Senator John Edwards’ 2008 presidential campaign, Els helped lead a national effort to limit the influence of money on national politics and public policy. Els grew up in South Burlington and attended South Burlington High School.

“I’m thrilled to have great Vermonters working with me,” said Donovan. “Our campaign will be a grassroots operation that earns the supports of Vermonters all over the state.”

Donovan is available for comment: (802) 488-4800

http://facebook.com/tjdonovanvt

tjforag@gmail.com

Mayoral Caucus Sunday Afternoon – My Vote is Bram for Burlington

The Democratic Mayoral Caucus on Sunday at 1pm at Memorial Auditorium will be an historical event in Burlington.  All four candidates are well educated and enthusiastic, and somewhere between 1200 and 2000 voters are expected to turn out for this key city event.

Odum, you were right and I was wrong.  A Democratic Primary really does raise the bar! [See my comments below the fold.]  We have talented candidates campaigning on real issues with concrete plans and facts to move this city beyond its current malaise.

It is not easy choosing one candidate from this able group, but I am voting for Bram Kranichfeld for Burlington’s Democratic candidate for Mayor.  

While Bram is the youngest of the four democratic candidates, I believe he offers the broadest background and has the most experience on city issues.  Raised for the first five years of his life in Dummerston, VT, and married to Erin Kranichfeld from Montpelier, Bram brings energy, vitality, and compassion to this race.  I believe that Bram’s Vermont sensibility rooted in his upbringing and his real world large city financial experience will help the City of Burlington move away from its Burlington Telecom debacle and several other questionable city ventures.  

I think Bram will bring positive energy, top-notch management skills, experience running for office, current experience in city government, top financial skills, the ability to communicate well with the city’s diverse population, and a balance of tenacity and compassion.  As a homeowner in Burlington’s Old North End, Bram understands the challenges facing our diverse city.

Please join me in support Bram Kranichfeld as the Democratic candidate for Mayor! See why below the fold.  Caucus Rules and Regulations also below the fold.

If Burlington is going to dig itself out of its current fiscal hole created during the Kiss administration, it needs sound leadership and familiarity with a wide array of challenging city issues.  

   •As the former chair of the Burlington Electric Commission, prior to his election to City Council, Bram has shown able leadership and an understanding of the complicated legal structure of electric regulation, finances of rate structure, and necessity of keeping Burlington Electric Department one of the greenest city portfolios in the country.  Burlington Electric offers our city reasonable electric rates in an environmentally sound manner.  It is a valuable city asset that will draw business to Burlington.

   •Bram is electable.  He ran for City Council in a Progressive stronghold and won – and he was re-elected.  Bram knows how to campaign, how to debate, and how to answer journalists’ questions with openness and transparency.

   •As a prosecutor, Bram understands safe cities first hand.  I met Bram through my work as a mediator and paralegal.   Criminal activity and vandalism use valuable and finite city resources.  Burlingon must find real solutions for the constant influx of crime originating from endemic poverty and teen and student high jinks.  Bram understands the necessity of using funds to incarcerate real criminals – murderers, rapists, child molesters, etc, while applying limited fiscal resources toward treatment via the mental health court or drug court.  The Restorative Justice Panels or withholding grades from students who repeatedly violate Burlington’s noise ordinance are valid solutions appealing to all city residents who want to enjoy the quality of life Burlington offers.

   •Burlington’s schools need mayoral support and Bram is invested in better schools for Burlington.  Good schools build a vibrant communities.  Bram’s wife Erin is teacher educated at UVM and their children will be educated in Burlington’s schools.  

   •We need an investment in businesses grounded in the public/private partnership among the colleges and local businesses as Bram plans.  I am a local business owner.  I have been unable to find the skilled interns my business requires to grow.  The business community needs real mayoral leadership to make this happen.

   •Bram is an experienced city councilor.  He will not have to spend time getting up to speed on the city’s issues.  I know.  As a public works commissioner, I have met with Bram on a number of public health and safety issues.  He knows every issue inside and out.  

   •And lastly, we need fiscal accountability and transparency in the mayor’s office.  Bram has several years of experience reading balance sheets and coping with complicated financial transactions on Wall Street in addition to his thorough understanding of the legal issues and litigation facing Burlington.  How else will Burlington get out of the Burlington Telecom debacle without attempting a fire sale of valuable city assets like the Burlington Electric Department – as one mayoral candidate has proposed?  I’d like to see us get back our AAA Bond rating that has been lost during the last six years.

In full disclosure, I am serving my fourth year as a Burlington Public Works Commissioner appointed by Burlington City Council prior to Bram’s tenure on the council.  Public Works oversees roads, sidewalks, water quality and supply, city sewers, code enforcement, maintenance of all city vehicles, speed limits, crossing times, safe streets, bicycle and pedestrian regulations and city parking garages, meters, and regulations. I’ve probably left out a few things.  I’ve seen first hand what happens when a city mayor does not understand city government and does not know how to govern.  

I hope to see you on Sunday exercising our right to participate in the Democratic process.To my way of thinking Burlington’s Democratic Mayoral Campaign and Caucus has been an amazing unfolding of the Democratic process.  For once, Burlington’s mayoral campaign has been substantive and not vitriolic hyperbole.

Odum you were right when you told me that a Democratic process like this one leads to more invigorated and competent candidates.  Last year, I thought that the Democratic many-candidate gubernatorial primary would only end up being an unsavory blood bath and diffuse the interest in Vermont’s electoral politics.  Let me confess, I was raised in a Goldwater Republican household, where I was grounded for my politics when I supported Lowell Weiker for US Congress in 1968!  To my surprise the many faceted gubernatorial campaign seemed to elevate Vermont’s politics to new level of real debate about the issues and not the partisan mud-slinging I have so come to hate!  And, the election process also brought forth real talent as is currently happening in this weekend’s Democratic Mayoral Caucus.

Here are the Caucus Rules:

NOTICE

TO:                 ALL LEGAL VOTERS IN BURLINGTON

FROM:           STEVE HOWARD, CHAIR

DATE:            NOVEMBER 4, 2011

RE: MAYORAL CAUCUS TO BE HELD NOVEMBER 13, 2011

This notice is sent pursuant to the By-laws of the Burlington City Democratic Committee to inform you that a City-Wide Mayoral Caucus will be held for the purpose of nominating a mayoral candidate for the March 2012 city elections.

The Caucus will be held at Memorial Auditorium on November 13, 2011.  A copy of the Caucus rules is included below.

If you have any questions, please contact your Democratic Ward Chair, or call (802) 236-5123.

RULES FOR THE 2011 BURLINGTON CITY DEMOCRATIC COMMITTEE MAYORAL CAUCUS

WHEREAS, the Chair of the Burlington City Democratic Committee has consulted with the Executive Committee and the candidates for mayor; and

WHEREAS, the charge of this Burlington Democratic City Committee is to ensure the efficient, timely, fair and safe conduct of the caucus process; and

WHEREAS, certainty as to the number of attendees and candidates and the importance of clear communication have been identified as key factors necessary to avoiding undesirable conditions such as unsafe overcrowding and lack of sufficient time for voters to register for the caucus;

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the following rules shall apply to the 2011 Mayoral Caucus to be held November 13, 2011 at the Memorial Auditorium in Burlington Vermont:

1.  All persons seeking the mayoral endorsement of the Burlington Democratic City Committee must contact the chair in writing or by email by 5pm November 8, 2011.  Nominations from the floor on the day of the Caucus will not be recognized or accepted. Write-in candidates may mount a campaign to caucus for votes.  Any write-in candidate who fails to get more votes than the candidate on the printed ballot with the least amount of votes after the second round shall be eliminated.

2. All persons who have contacted the Chair regarding their intent to seek the Democratic endorsement for Mayor of Burlington must disclose to the Chair by 5pn November 11, 2011;  the number of voters such person expects to attend the Caucus.  The chair shall not share any estimates with anybody. This information will be used solely by the chair to ensure that sufficient space and resources are available to effectuate a fair nominating process.

3. In the event the number of participants in the caucus is expected to exceed the capacity of the chosen venue, the Chair, in his or her sole discretion, may cancel the caucus and reschedule the caucus to take place in a venue capable of housing the expected number of participants on a date no later than thirty days after the original date set for the caucus.

4. Candidates will be allowed 1 nomination speaker not to exceed 1 minute and each candidate will be allowed 5 minutes to speak to the caucus prior to the first ballot being cast

5. All votes for the Mayoral endorsement shall be conducted pursuant to the By-laws of the Burlington Democratic Committee. (Attached hereto)

6. Ballots shall be counted in teams of two by persons appointed by the Chair and each candidate seeking the nomination may have up to two observers to monitor the counting.  Any ballots cast for any candidate after the second round who has been eliminated as per the by-laws as the result of the vote in the second or any subsequent round, shall be considered a wasted ballot.

7. Registration for the caucus will begin at 1pm and will conclude at 2pm. Eligible voters must be in line to register by 2pm in order to be registered to participate in the caucus. Any person arriving after 1:59 PM (as verified by a cell phone or similar device issued by a national telecommunications carrier) may be admitted for observation purposes only but will not be allowed to register to vote in the caucus.

8. Voters who appear on the checklist of the City of Burlington as of 12:00 pm on Thursday, November 10, 2011 shall be considered eligible to vote in the caucus so long as per the bylaws they are not either a member of another organized political party committee or have voted in the caucus of another  party for the same office.

APPROVED AND ADOPTED BY THE BURLINGTON DEMOCRATIC EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE, this 3rd day of NOVEMBER, 2011.

Burlington Police City Hall Advisory & Updates #Occupy

Friday November 11, 2011, 3:07 PM

Burlington, VT Police Department

Advisory: City Hall Park Updates – 2 messages

Burlington Police Nixle Website

INVESTIGATION UPDATE:

On November 10, 2011, at 2:07 pm Burlington Police received a report of a person who had been shot inside a tent in City Hall Park. Police and Emergency Medical Services from the Burlington Fire Department responded to the scene and discovered the male had sustained a gunshot wound to the head. He was transported to Fletcher Allen Hospital in Burlington where he passed away around 5 p.m. The male is identified as Joshua Pfenning, 35, transient from the area. Our thoughts are with his family and friends during this difficult time. Mr. Pfenning has ties to the Northeast Kingdom.  

Preliminary information from witnesses at the scene indicates that the gunshot wound was self-inflicted. However, this is an ongoing investigation and all investigative avenues will be explored. Besides Mr. Pfenning, there were 3 others inside the tent when this occurred. We remain in search of another person who we believe was a direct witness to this event.

At the moment the investigation has revealed that prior to the fatal event, Mr. Pfenning had been consuming a large quantity of alcohol. At some point just prior to the fatal shot, Mr. Pfenning had pointed the gun and threatened another person inside the tent where this occurred. The gun that is believed to have been involved in this event was found at the scene and is in our custody. The handgun was determined to have been stolen from a dwelling in Derby, Vermont in 2009.

There were early unconfirmed reports Mr. Pfenning was a military veteran, it has been learned that he was discharged from the Army after approximately 2 weeks into boot camp for medical and other reasons.

The autopsy was conducted this morning and we await a final report from the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner which generally takes several weeks.

We ask that anyone that has any direct information relative to this investigation to contact Detective James Trieb, 802-540-2251.

GENERAL UPDATE:

Informational Release

November 11, 2011

City Hall Park Occupation Status

Deputy Chief Higbee has discussed the current status of the investigation. I would like to simply reiterate our condolences to the family and friends of Mr. Pfenning in the wake of this tragedy.

Regarding the current status of the City’s position regarding the Occupy Burlington protesters.

Last night Mayor Kiss and I met with the group’s general assembly for some time discussing the current state of the issues and answering questions. As you know at one point the group became fragmented and we spent time continuing the dialog with the group even as conditions in the park were becoming contentious.

The message relayed yesterday holds true today as well.

First and foremost, it is important to give due respect to the victim of this tragedy, and the investigation that must occur. As such the police department has serious and complicated work to do to ensure that all aspects of this investigation are conducted thoroughly and professionally. Among the issues this raises is the need to maintain control of the “crime” scene while preliminary investigation is in progress. This is complicated by the nature of the scene here – a park in which a makeshift encampment exists. Until we are fully confident that all possible investigative avenues have been expended we must maintain control of that area of the park and it will be closed until further notice.

We are able to release property/tents from that area after they have been cleared of any possible involvement. This has been done several times today on request of the property/tent owners. Please note that it is only done, at this time, at the request and with the consent of the owners. Anyone with property or a tent in the crime scene area is encouraged to remove it. To do so, please go to the park and meet with the officers stationed there. It is also important to note that the Street Outreach Team has been present in the Park throughout the last two weeks offering services to those who may be in need. That has continued through this morning.

As you know, the City took a wait and see approach to the occupation of City Hall Park. Yesterday at 2:07 p.m. the safety landscape was altered substantially. Prior to yesterday afternoon there was no way to reasonably foresee that this level of risk would occur in the encampment. Now there is. As a result of this investigation we know that at least one weapon has been present in the encampment and we are now clear that there has been extensive consumption of alcohol and some use of drugs by some of those present in the camp. The presence of structure/tents creates an enhanced risk by virtue of the activity that can and is occurring inside them. This risk simply cannot be managed by the encampment facilitators or police under the current circumstances. These challenges, as underscored by events in other parts of the country, are not unique to Burlington.

We have communicated that we believe the tents will need to be removed to ensure the safety of those involved in the protest, the public, and our law enforcement officers. We will continue conversations late today with the occupy Burlington general assembly in hopes of resolving these concerns swiftly.

It is important to note that this is about balance. We fully recognize the need to foster an environment in which lawful protest can occur. As such, since the outset the City has clearly offered to make the Park available for lawful protest activities between 6 am and midnight, when the Park is open. That offer continues. We must now balance the safety issues that have become so vivid in the last 24 hours with the need to enable free speech. Our assessment, is that, absent an option that no-one has brought forward, the presence of tents is no longer safe.

To date, save for a few issues that arose last night, the relationship between the City/police and the protest movement has been mutually respectful. We are committed to maintaining that respectful relationship in an effort to balance these issues.

It is important to note, however, that while the vast majority of those in the occupy movement in Burlington seem committed to this balance and have been a valued partner through this shared experience, there are a few that have now demonstrated a willingness to incite the larger group to impede lawful actions on the part of the police, and even seeded conversations about occupying buildings, taking over the current crime scene, or becoming intentionally antagonistic toward law enforcement. For those who impede lawful actions by law enforcement to include making physical contact with police officers in an effort to incite violence, that conduct will not be tolerated and you will face felony level criminal charges. Police presence is to ensure the right of some to protest and the safety of those present in the park and the larger community. We have been and will continue to be transparent in our operations. We will not, however, put officers at risk and allow conduct to deteriorate as a result of the actions of a few people.

We are hopeful that we will successfully balance the need for safety with the presence of the movement in City Hall Park in the very near term.

For full details, view this message on the web.

Sent by Burlington, VT Police Department, 1 North Ave, Burlington, VT 05401

To manage your email settings, click here. To update your account settings, login here.

Powered by . © 2011 Nixle, LLC. All rights reserved.

Today’s “Transparent Radiation” tops my list of must see films

Vermont’s first real chill of cool fall weather sets the stage for the 26th year of the Vermont Film Festival, which began yesterday (Friday October 21) and runs through Sunday October 30.

Check out the list of films,17 of which have been created by Vermont filmmakers! Many of the films also include panel discussions, food samples, or time to meet writers and directors.  

My first choice today is Transparent Radiation, a film created by the Gund Institute filmmaker Hillary Archer that debuts today at 5 pm at the Palace 9 Theater in South Burlington.  This free showing includes a follow-up panel discussion with Ms. Archer and her colleagues from the Gund Institute for Ecological Economics at UVM.

Set amid the world’s historic transition toward energy sustainability, this 30-minute documentary provides a holistic outlook on nuclear energy with the intention of empowering new perspectives and solutions for the future. Over twenty people from the Gund participated, including Gund Fellows John Todd, Gary Flomenhoft, Austin Troy, Josh Farley, Diane Gayer, and Saleem Ali. Transparent Radiation was written, directed, and edited by Hillary Archer, with Jon Erickson as executive producer.

According to UVM’s Gund Institute for Ecological Economics website, Ms. Archer

uses the film medium to explore storytelling as a way to channel new experiences for humanity and exercise human consciousness.

A 2010 UVM graduate from The Rubenstein School of Environment & Natural Resources with a BS in Natural Resources/Urban Ecology, and minor in Film, Ms. Archer works as the Media Communications Project Manager at the Gund Institute with the goal of creating

engaging videos that effectively communicate the unique energy, depth, and lessons of ecological economics to the greater community.

Also special screening tomorrow at UVM: as a Feature of the 2011 Inaugural Conference of UVM’s Institute of Environmental Diplomacy

When: Sunday OCT 23, 10:30 – 11:30AM

Where: Billings Lecture Hall, UVM, Burlington VT

Discussion to follow screening with Director, Executive Producer, and Gund Institute members of the film.  

Telephone Survey Jumps To A New Level

Lately, I have been receiving so many telephone solicitations and survey calls, which I don’t understand because my number is registered on the federal “do not call” registry.

Lately, the polls have really gotten to me.  I am getting at least one or two each week!  These so-called polls are really push polls because there is no way to answer it except in a manner that drives the pollsters to get the answer they want!

Today’s call from 503-468-5008 took these calls to a whole new level – especially in rainy fall Vermont with winter on its way.  This survey from CFPP Research offered me a 2-day get-away to the Bahamas if I would just answer their survey about our country’s debt crisis! Luckily, right now it is sunny and warm out or I might have been tempted.  Instead I just hit the button to have me removed from their call list.

more below the fold

When I did some research to determine who CFPP is, I found this note from them:

All –

CFPP Research Group is the political action arm of Political Boost LLC (www.politicalboost.org). If you receive a call to do the survey, do it (or don’t).  As far as the sponsor’s offer, do it (or don’t).  If you would like to be removed from the list, press 9 – or you can call us directly at 202-552-1228 and speak with Political Boost directly.

Our goal is to increase participation in the surveys to get and report the pulse of the nation.  Not to annoy or anger anyone.  If our system mistakenly calls you more than once, we anxiously await your notification and request to be removed from consideration.  Below is all of our information should you need to reach us for any reason:

Political Boost LLC

c/o Committee for Political Progress

P.O. Box 65307

Baltimore, MD 21209

Ph: 202-552-1228

fax: 202-747-5822

www.politicalboost.org

Thank you,

Political Boost Team

I checked out politicalboost.org, but was unable to find out any other information about their political leanings or agenda.  Maybe they are what they really purport to be, a survey group, but then why dangle the carrot of a two-day jaunt to the Bahamas if what you are really seeking is  honest opinions about the country’s fiscal crisis?

John Curran, Associated Press Vermont Bureau Chief Dies at 54

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I was stunned this morning to learn that Vermont’s AP Chief John Curran, 54, had apparently died of a sudden heart attack yesterday while mowing his lawn.  

Even though Curran was an award-winning journalist with a 20-year history of hard-hitting stories, he remained connected to his community and appeared able to uncover the human side of every story.  

I had just finished reading an excellent and touching piece that he had written about the aftermath of Tropical Storm Irene in Vermont that was published in yesterday’s Rutland Herald and was reflecting upon John’s ability to capture the human spirit, when I read that he had died.

We (Arnie and I – at Fairewinds) get a lot of press calls with questions about nuclear power especially in light of the Fukushima nuclear accidents this year.  Since most papers have evening deadlines or industry press releases come at the end of a regular business day, we often find supper or our evenings filled with press phone calls. John was one of those reporters who was always warm, communicative, and respectful and cognizant of the fact that we are not paid for any of our time answering press questions.  Some reporters have been so disrespectful that there are times I don’t even bother to answer their calls.  Not so with John Curran or AP’s Vermont office, as their contact has always been very respectful and even-handed.

A brief story about Curran from AP is on the wire via CBS.  I hope a more thorough Vermont-centric piece will be written in the coming days.

I spent five years as a newspaper journalist.  I know that journalists with John Curran’s ability to get to the heart of a story and touch the human spirit are rare.  

Condolences from GMD to John’s family and his colleagues at AP in Vermont.

I hope others will write in to share their memories of John Curran.