Chris in S. Burlington | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

Chris in S. Burlington 
Member since Feb 26, 2014



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Re: “Walters: State Legislative Panel Approves Wind Rules

Have VPIRG and the Vermont legislators who supported the "90%" renewables law considered the negative environmental impact of same? Mining for metals to build solar panels & wind towers; dynamiting mountain-tops & filling with concrete for wind tower pads & filling in streams for access roads (not as bad as coal mining yet but not something to be ignored); birds & bats killed by wind towers; fields & wildlife habitat consumed for solar panels, etc. Human existence in modern world has environmental impact & most environmental groups still not talking about biggest ecological hazard of all: population growth. We cannot grow our way out of global warming or environmental damage by embracing a supply-side, Ponzi-scheme mindset of thinking all is OK so long as the 7.2 billion + humans switch to EV's and wind & solar. As environmentalists ignore the population hurtling on to 8 billion, then 9 billion, then 10 billion, etc., will need a lot of mountain tops & open spaces to host all that wind and solar. The environmental community used to understand this.

Vermont Democratic Party opposition to the wind rules further illustrates what an odd and topsy-turvy world we live in. Many years ago, the Democrats were the party that stood up to protect human health and to protect the environment. This was the party so many of us proudly voted for. Nowadays, whether it is the noise from the deafening F-35 fighter jet or the noise from wind turbines, the Democrats consistently support attacks on human health and put the profits of campaign donors like David Blittersdorf and large companies such as Lockheed-Martin ahead of the health and welfare of their own constituents. Definitely not the party of Franklin Roosevelt anymore!

40 likes, 9 dislikes
Posted by Chris in S. Burlington on 10/26/2017 at 11:54 PM

Re: “Electric Vehicles Are All the Buzz in Vermont

NY Times Magazine last week had good article on copper & nickel mining versus wilderness preservation. And the environmental impact of electric vehicles and our technology addictions. Mirrors Dan Bolle's acknowledgment that EVs not as environmentally friendly as we think.

"The sun was getting low, and I had a long drive back to the Twin Cities. I shook his hand and walked to my car. I pressed the button on my Toyota Prius, with its nickel-based battery. I plugged in my I-Phone, which contains nickel and copper, lithium and aluminum. . ."

Citing a miner: "{T]hose who oppose new mining jobs benefit from the same metals that blue-collar workers like him produce. 'People don't understand where things comes from anymore.'"

Even Vermont's electricity from wind, solar and hydro has significant environmental impact. Mining for metals to build solar panels and wind towers. Dynamited mountain tops that are bulldozed & filled with concrete for wind tower pads and streams filled in for access roads. Birds and bats killed by wind towers. Fields and wildlife habitat consumed for solar farms. Rivers dammed for hydro. Human existence in modern world has environmental impact and bottom line is most environmentalists still not talking about biggest ecological hazard of all: population growth.

There is instead a supply-side and Ponzi scheme growth mindset that keeps doubling down on adding more humans, thinking all OK so long as people just switch to EVs & renewable energy, as if these have no impact. 7.2 billion people and counting, will need a lot of mountain tops and open spaces to host all those wind towers and solar panels. Perhaps time to consider a truly sustainable economy, with stabilized or even negative population growth, instead of continuing to hurtle on to 8 billion, then 9 billion, then 10 billion, etc.

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by Chris in S. Burlington on 10/26/2017 at 12:27 AM

Re: “Trump-Bashing, Romney-Advising Political Operative Stuart Stevens Finds Himself in Vermont

Lol, an apologist and supporter of Bush-Cheney angry about Trump. Bush-Cheney and their merry neo-cons responsible for the abomination of Iraq completely discredited everyone in the "Establishment" GOP, not to mention many of the intervention-first Democrats who also supported it, with zero evidence ever presented that Iraq had anything to do with 9/11, even if you took the nonsense WMD lies at face value. A war which this nation is still fighting and pouring tax dollars into 15 years later, under an absurd interpretation of the "Authorization For Use of Military Force" passed September 14, 2001. Mr. Stevens and other Republicans of the Bush-Cheney era need to realize that they are directly responsible for destroying the credibility of the "normal" GOP & for the rise of Donald Trump.

And Romney did not lose because of Obama's cash advantage. Hillary Clinton had a huge cash advantage over Trump and still lost. Hillary may have had more credible policies in many areas but she was a poor candidate. Romney lost because the Obama of 2012 was the better candidate.

3 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Chris in S. Burlington on 10/04/2017 at 12:48 AM

Re: “UVM College of Medicine Addresses Diversity

"The advantages of having a diverse student population are clear. Diversity has been shown to lead to creativity and innovation and is key to solving complex problems, said David A. Acosta, chief diversity and inclusion officer at the Association of American Medical Colleges."

Undoubtedly true but a complicated truth that goes much deeper. Harvard Professor Robert Putnam conducted in-depth research on this topic:

"IT HAS BECOME increasingly popular to speak of racial and ethnic diversity as a civic strength. From multicultural festivals to pronouncements from political leaders, the message is the same: our differences make us stronger.

But a massive new study, based on detailed interviews of nearly 30,000 people across America, has concluded just the opposite. Harvard political scientist Robert Putnam -- famous for "Bowling Alone," his 2000 book on declining civic engagement -- has found that the greater the diversity in a community, the fewer people vote and the less they volunteer, the less they give to charity and work on community projects. In the most diverse communities, neighbors trust one another about half as much as they do in the most homogenous settings. The study, the largest ever on civic engagement in America, found that virtually all measures of civic health are lower in more diverse settings."…

Theoretically, this may be overcome as social identity evolves and changes. But it likely requires a social narrative that emphasizes our commonality as Americans and a true melting pot, including immigration rates at a pace that allows for assimilation. The current social narrative, fed by both right and left, is a salad bowl model of splintering apart based on identity politics & surface differences.

9 likes, 4 dislikes
Posted by Chris in S. Burlington on 09/20/2017 at 12:52 PM

Re: “UVM College of Medicine Addresses Diversity

So long as admissions is judging each applicant based on their merit and admitting applicants with similar grade point averages and MCAT scores, the amount of melanin or lack thereof should have zero impact on admission. If someone is going into surgery, they want someone who is highly qualified and was admitted to medical school based on their qualifications; not based on what box the person checks on a Census Bureau form.

14 likes, 7 dislikes
Posted by Chris in S. Burlington on 09/20/2017 at 12:29 PM

Re: “Burlington Teachers on Strike After Negotiations Fail

This is truly getting ridiculous. School closed again on Monday?!! Are you kidding me?! How are the two sides unable to come to a compromise? You had an independent, neutral fact-finder who made final recommendations in August that required compromise on both sides and the Board rejected these recommendations. Why have a clause requiring an independent, neutral fact-finder; and then pay the fact-finder with people's tax dollars if you are only going to ignore them?

The teachers say the final sticking point is paraprofessionals/teaching assistants should do door duty; lunch duty; and recess duty. The Board says the teachers need to do all 3 because the teachers know the kids best and can spot escalating bullying. General classroom para's that are not assigned 1-on-1 to special ed. kids often know the kids well too. Make a compromise. Teachers do recess duty; and para's do door duty and lunch duty. This really is not rocket science!

11 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Chris in S. Burlington on 09/15/2017 at 6:17 PM

Re: “Burlington Teachers on Strike After Negotiations Fail

Penelope, the normal classroom size is more like 22 to 24. There are other non-classroom teachers for music, art, physical education, etc., although those classes are also generally 22 to 24. In upper grades, class size is generally similar but teachers have more specialization (history; math; science, etc.) The extra teachers for smaller groups are mostly special education and ESL. One-on-one para-educators for special education students. Huge ESL program for the legal immigrant refugee children.

What this suggests is that per student spending is not equal. That what is currently termed "typically developing" students (as opposed to special education students or ESL students) are getting less dollars per student for their education than others. Mary Jay Mullowney posted a figure of $24,000 per student, based on a budget of $86 million divided by 3,600 students. It would be helpful for the District to provide more transparency and explain per student figure for typically developing students; special education students; and ESL students.

I have no idea what the actual break-down is because I am not aware if Burlington School District discloses the true figures. Just making this up but would it be $15,000 per student for 2,400 typically developing students; $35,000 per student for 900 ESL students; and $45,000 per student for 300 special education students?

The special education law and ESL mandates are well-intentioned to try and give every child the opportunity for an education but there is a conflict in that there are only so many dollars to go around.

16 likes, 6 dislikes
Posted by Chris in S. Burlington on 09/14/2017 at 7:52 PM

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