Part of the Problem
Kathryn Flagg could have saved a lot of paper [“Blow Hard,” March 14] simply by describing the repeated pattern of events surrounding ridgeline wind development. Her article could have read: “Corporations want more money and will destroy (‘develop’) nature in order to get it. People who love their homes and nature fight back (without any money) via a regulatory process stacked against them, and lose. The corporations tell lies (‘public relations’) and, with the assistance of the press, marginalize opponents as NIMBYs.” Thanks for perpetuating the problem, Kathryn.
The nod to Melissa Jenkins came off as a little bit out of place [Facing Facts, March 28]. The catchy heading “Missing Mom” along with the frowny face really trivialized the grief the St. Johnsbury community must be feeling right now. In my opinion, a dead mother in a local area deserves more than a bright yellow emoticon.
Initially, I was thrilled and hopeful glimpsing the headline of your article “Etsy Earnings” in the April 4 issue. I have been a buyer on Etsy since January 2010 and opened my vintage clothing shop on February 1 of this year. While I felt the article did a thorough job of covering sellers in different areas of the state, as well as a variety of wares, I would have loved to see mention, in addition, of a few locals who have recently begun their Etsy pursuits. Those profiled have found success, which has taken them time, dedication and trial and error. To be sure, however, the fresh shops in a network as diverse and expansive as Etsy are the businesses that would have exponentially benefited from such exposure.
Burdick’s own Etsy pursuit is Call Me Brazen Vintage.
[Re Blurt: “Breaking Dad,” March 23]: Did you really intend to describe a kid who chooses to get involved with crystal meth as “exceedingly bright”? Or was that an editing error?
Once Clueless About Chloramine
My son and I had digestive and skin symptoms from chloramine for three long years before I figured out it was the chloramine in our tap water making us sick [Re “In Hot Water? Chloramine Controversy Bubbles Up in Grand Isle,” March 28]. We had horrible digestive cramps and red, burning, itchy skin. We are fine now because we drink and cook with bottled spring water. We had to drastically change the way that we shower.
Grand Isle is very fortunate to learn about the health effects before chloramine goes into [its] water. I wish someone had warned me of the possible skin, digestive and respiratory problems chloramine can cause.
I read with curiosity in the latest Poli Psy column [March 28] that since I am a Republican, I hate women, sex, and poor and hungry people, and I don’t want women to get health care. All untrue, but what did I expect? I was reading Seven Days.
I read to the end of the column only to find Ms. Levine committing her very own Gabby Gifford’s Tucson Shooting Tragedy moment. She recounted how Texas state Sen. Wendy Davis had “vigorously fought” a bill in the Texas state legislature which would “withhold Medicaid funds from Planned Parenthood.” Davis’ offices were later firebombed. Levine’s between-the-lines implication was that it had been done by “some Republican tea-bagger” (a favorite term of hers) in retaliation for Davis’ vote.
I did what any self-respecting columnist should have done herself. I did a little research. I eventually found the entire story online. The firebombing had been committed by a “mentally ill, homeless person.” There was absolutely no connection to the legislation.
I hope that Ms. Levine didn’t intentionally omit this part of the story to help support the pretense in her column. If this was a simple error, she should do what any self-respecting columnist would do: Correct that part of her column. Like they say in some newspaper rooms, “Never let the facts get in the way of a good story!” As in Tucson, the story doesn’t always fit a template. When you “Hope and Change” the facts, you become the bigot.
Levine responds: Scott Philip Roeder, who murdered Dr. George Tiller in 2009, had a history of schizophrenia. He was also a fanatic antiabortion activist. Jared Lee Loughner, who shot Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, was also described as mentally ill. The incident occurred right after Sarah Palin included Giffords on her famous “crosshairs” map and tweeted, “Don’t retreat, instead RELOAD.” Violently insane people often act out the ideologies of the political climates.
Daisey Is a Diversion
[Re “Agonizing Over Apple,” March 28]: The tragedy is that Mike Daisey takes away our attention from very real industries in serious need of reform in China: mining, textiles, etc. In comparison to almost any other Chinese company, Hon Hai Precision (Foxconn) was a fairly bright place. Not perfect, but very much improving and setting a pace of reform in years rather than decades.
Had he attacked a textile mill or copper mine, he would not have gotten the attention. And he lives for that attention — and makes a living off of it.
As someone who served in Peace Corps and has been to Shenzhen, I’d like to share a description we have of people like Daisey: “Parasites of the Poor.” They live and breathe on “perfect is the enemy of the good” and take our time and attention away from [such disasters as] Indonesian coral-reef mining. There are a lot of really interesting people who have spent years in China and Africa who are much more deserving of Seven Days’ attention than Mike Daisey. And some of them are actually people of color who keep their facts straight.
Robin F. Ingenthron
Revealing picture of Peter “the Porcupine” Galbraith, the smug grin of the ultrarich oil-ligarch he is, to lead off Seven Days’ interest piece titled “The Rogue Diplomat” [March 28]. Porcupine refers to the name of the Delaware-based holding company that Peter and his son Andrew set up to funnel the sweet oil deal Galbraith just happened to extract out of the Kurds. A few quills might do Montpelier some good, but Galbraith would perhaps do better as a rogue state senator in Delaware, where those extracted profits are laundered. “Rogue Diplomat” comes close in that Galbraith’s push to turn Iraq into a tripartite state would have represented the greater destruction of the nation state of Iraq in favor of racist sectarian tribal autonomy that would only benefit those who carry out imperialists’ foreign policy directives along the British model of divide and conquer that Porcupine Galbraith represents.
Thanks so much for the article “Spin Doctors” by Kathryn Flagg in the March 21 edition of Seven Days. It is refreshing to have the “spin doctors” shown for what they are and what they are trying to do. If anyone wants to understand what they are propagating, try going through the American, and Vermont’s, health care system like I once was obliged to do. I nearly succumbed to the experience. Like Mr. Potter going to Wise County, Va., to watch people being treated in animal stalls, this was my “epiphany.”
I was, however, miffed at one point in the article: the quote “we’re lab rats,” by Darcie Johnston. While I do not object to Johnston expressing her opinions in the article, just ending the story as “lab rats” was not an accurate description of our move toward reform. Vermont is no more experimental than the rest of the industrialized world, which already has these types of health care systems in place and, while not perfect, a record behind them to prove their worth. In fact, the first publicly funded health care system was established in 19th-century Germany by the Prussian autocrat and dictator Otto von Bismarck — hardly a liberal or a socialist.
What is so revolutionary and unique about Vermont, and thus more threatening to the spin doctors, is that we possess the courage to carry through our much-needed reform.
No Attempt to Understand Occupy
For months, I have been organizing with my community members as part of Occupy Burlington. My weeks are filled with new people, difficult discussions and planning, planning, planning. Since October, I have bounded back and forth from ecstatic joy to heartbreaking disappointment, as is the case, I believe, with all struggles. The reason lies in this movement’s commitment to inclusivity and consensus.
It is because of this delicate and revolutionary way of making decisions that Kevin J. Kelley’s recent article falls so very short of the mark [“Occupy Burlington Considers Its Next Moves ... and a Presidential Protest,” March 28]. Kelley called this beautiful thing I have worked so hard on in the last six months “protracted haggling.” It’s obvious there is little understanding of our process. Remember that it is easier to judge someone when there has been no effort made to understand them.
For months, I have fought to clarify my actions to the community at large, and it has been hard. Kelley never announced his presence or his intentions when he showed up to our meeting. One has to think that politicians and celebrities are given due notice in these situations. Unless, of course, Kelley is attempting to scratch up an unjust scandal. I hope there is at least an attempt at understanding what we are doing, so then the public can make their own judgments free from this bias through ignorance.
In last week’s Fair Game, Andy Bromage incorrectly included Katherine Betzer in his examination of state “communications” positions. Betzer serves as information and education specialist at the Agency of Human Resources, where she works on the AmeriCorps program. There is no public-relations component to her job.