Archive - Jan 2010 - Editorial
Just when you thought things could not become more unsettled, the earth shakes and the landscape changes. There is the human drama in Haiti. There is the political drama in Washington. And then, there is the U.S. Supreme Court, which on Jan. 21 made a ruling that will affect how the nation’s business is conducted — beginning at city hall, extending to our state capitals, and reaching our nation’s legislative and executive branches of government.
Our 8-year-old daughter, Emma, is beginning to show a real interest in cooking. Last weekend she whipped up a stack of chocolate chip pancakes for the family breakfast. They were a little on the sweet side, particularly the last few, dredged from the bottom of the mixing bowl with big clumps of chips.
As a child, I was afraid of ghosts. During that phase — where “phase” is defined as “from my earliest memories until high school” — I was convinced that invisible, malevolent forces were coming to “get” me whenever I was alone.
It started innocently enough when I saw a “Bewitched” episode in which an enchanted chair moved around by itself. That was supposed to be amusing? A possessed chair is funny? For years, I refused to enter the dining room by myself.
“You can observe a lot just by watching,” Yogi Berra said.
So, too, can you learn a lot just by getting off the chairlift.
You can learn, for example, that an athletic 12-year-old girl, who has just made her first run on a snowboard down the Snow Bowl’s Allen trail, is nonetheless susceptible to falling as she gets off the lift.
That when she falls, it’s likely to be on her back. And that she’s probably going to reach her arms behind her to break her fall.
Which vastly increases the odds that like so many boarders before her, she will sprain her wrist as she topples backwards.
If news of Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant’s underground pipes leaking radioactive water into nearby wells doesn’t completely nix Entergy’s hope of renewing that plant’s license for another 20 years, at the very least its plan to spin off ownership of the plant to an independent company called Enexus should be scrapped immediately.
That the thrust of Gov. James Douglas’ final budget address was to cut spending was no surprise. But that he chose to raise property taxes on middle-income Vermonters while seeking tax reductions for the richest Vermonters seems out-of-sync with the state and the times. Add that he continues to throw money at roads and bridges and put a greater burden on the property tax and you have ample cause for a difference of opinion on how to make up for the projected $154 million shortfall in next year’s spending plan.
If you have being waiting for me to weigh in on the paper versus plastic debate (and who hasn’t) I am finally prepared to provide some guidance. Anyone over 40 remembers a time when there was no choice when you got to the end of the grocery store checkout line. Paper was the only option until 1977 when plastic bags first appeared. They quickly became the bag of choice because they didn’t destroy trees, plus they had handy little loops for carrying. But plastic bags are made of polyethylene, which is made from natural gas. And plastic doesn’t decompose for a long, long time.
Vermont’s unemployment rate in November — the most recent month for which state-by-state data is available — was 6.4 percent. The national unemployment rate in November was 10 percent, and only five states had lower unemployment rates than Vermont’s. The Green Mountain State’s unemployment rate peaked in May 2009, at just over 7 percent, and slowly declined to 6.4 percent over the next six months. Maine was the only other state in the nation to see a decline in unemployment during this period, when national unemployment climbed from 9.4 to 10 percent.