Historical happenings

3/4/1789 ~ The first Congress of the United States meets in New York and declares that the Constitution is in effect.

3/4/1791 ~ Vermont is admitted as the 14th state. It is the first addition to the original 13 colonies.

3/4/1908 ~ The New York board of education bans the act of whipping students in school.


Toon in

Cognitive dissonance

A couple of stories caught my attention since they were side by side when I saw them on The Vermont Eagle web site. Another appears in True North Reports. Let us take them in order as presented

Vermont is tops for new residents

Americans are moving westward, flocking to the Mountain and Pacific West, while the Northeast and Midwest continue to lose residents, according to Melissa Sullivan, a spokesperson for Indiana-based United Van Lines.

“In 2017, more residents moved out of Illinois than any other state with 63 percent of moves being outbound. Vermont had the highest percentage of inbound migration in 2017 with nearly 68 percent of moves to and from the state being inbound,” Sullivan reported in a news statement.

Contrary to some political pundits and critics of Vermont’s high taxes, Vermont is a surprising destination for new residents looking for a better place to live—at least that’s what United Van Lines’ 2017 41st Annual National Movers Study indicates. [snip]

Given the Progressives penchant for OPM and over regulation, it is surprising anyone would be moving to Vermont unless they are trustfunders. You know, they pay no income tax since they earn no income. Living off interest and dividends which are taxed at 15% they can afford to travel to shop to NH or shop online. Or they’re coming to get on the dole.

Farewell to Vermont’s Macy’s

The impact of Internet shopping continues to buffet so-called brick-and-mortar retailers here in Vermont and beyond. Macy’s in Burlington is the latest victim.

This week, Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger said that Macy’s Department Store, an anchor retailer on the Church Street mall since the early 2000s, is expected to close this March. Macy’s announced the closing last Thursday.

The famous department store chain is closing 100 less profitable stores nationwide. The Burlington store is the only Macy’s in the state.

Weinberger said that, “Macy’s plan to close its Burlington store will affect many families within our community, and the city is focused on doing everything it can to help impacted workers transition to new jobs… . It has been clear for years from the national retail trends and Macy’s recent closures of about 100 stores in other cities that today’s news was a real possibility for us in Burlington.”

Weinberger tried to put a positive spin on the bad downtown news which includes the lost of 65 retail jobs.

“In preparation for news like this,” he said, “the city has been working proactively with the support of voters to keep the downtown healthy by beginning the transition from a suburban-style mall to a mixed-use neighborhood.” [snip]

In Proggy terminology, a mixed use neighborhood contains everything from crack huses to streetwalker cribs. Hang on, they’re going upscale.

“I love Macy’s,” said Burlington shopper Mary Ann Fitzgerald, a 10-year-long resident of Middlebury. “I always found things there for myself and my family. [snip]

And then every year we watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade on T.V. and get out the ‘Miracle on 34th Street’ DVD and that gets us in a Macy’s mood. I’ll miss all that.”

Seriously, just why in hell did you leave Livonia, NJ? Now you’ll shop at Hank’s Haberdashery or Granola Gert’s Dress Emporium.
To think I had to leave Vermont to escape this mental disorder.

To turn around, you have to change direction

We have some pretty serious issues facing our state: a shrinking workforce, a public school system that is hemorrhaging students while it vacuums money and a structural sate budget deficit, just to name just a few. These problems are not new, and the policies our state government has enacted to address them have not worked. Vermonters are now among the most highly taxed people in the country, but what do we have to show for it?

Today we spend roughly $1.6 billion to educate 77,000 K-12 students. That’s well over $20,000 per child, more than almost every other state in the union and nearly twice the national average. This is more than twice the total we paid before Act 60 became law in 1997, despite serving thirty thousand fewer kids in 2017. [snip]

Vermont has implemented many wealth redistribution programs to ostensibly help the poor. We have the most progressive income tax in the nation as well as the most progressive property tax system. Vermont spends more money per capita than all but just five other states. A single-parent family of three in Vermont receives Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) that is 51 percent higher than the national average. Roughly 35 percent of Vermonters receive some form of Medicaid. Our $10.50 state minimum wage is already in the top five highest in the country, and a 2013 study by the Cato Institute calculated a typical welfare benefit package family was worth $37,705, or the equivalent of a pretax wage of $42,350. This puts us in the top ten “most generous” suppliers of welfare. [snip]

Vermont is a wonderful place to live. But despite everything our state has to offer in terms of scenic landscapes, clean air, healthy and safe surroundings, etc., ours is one of only three states since 2010 to have actually lost population.

What is happening that fewer people want to live in the greatest place there is to live?

Political historian Michael Barone, best known as the author of “The Almanac of American Politics,” recently explained that this “can be chalked up to Woodstock-era migrants — Bernie Sanders, Howard Dean. They’ve liberalized the state’s culture and politics, so with the state’s high taxes and stringent environmental bans, no one is following.” [snip]

So, given the true challenges facing our state, it is a bit frustrating to see the Legislature immediately take up, of all things, the legalization of marijuana, passing the bill before even reading the study they ordered last year. After that, it’s more items off the same menu of failed ideas. House and Senate leaders proclaimed their priorities will be to increase our already high minimum wage to $15 an hour, and to pass a government-run, government-mandated paid family leave insurance program that is so attractive on its own merits that proponents admit if people weren’t forced to participate, no one would buy it. [snip]

Ain’t it wonderful!
Welcome to the Socialist Republik of Vermont.

Please Bring Money.


On one Moonlit night…

…this does prowl, vales and hillsides of Vermont on the last night of October.

Canines slink away into the shadows; felines of all stripe get their fur raised and backs arched. That’s how you know to shut off lights and make no sounds.  For what the Haint is searching unknown it is, but tales from the past that tell of children and animals missing are duly noted.


That wonderful but elusive “Radiant Future”

Ever since the Glorious October Revolution, the Liberals, Socialists, Communists, Progressives one and all have made promises of a future where everyone is equal, wise, well fed and comfortable. Of course in practice, it is only the elite that are living that life style.

Witness Uncle Bernie, the Savior of Vermont, who owns four houses and lives of the largess of the taxpayers. His wife managed to drive two colleges into fiscal turmoil one ending in bankruptcy and eventually dragging her into court on fraud charges. Some Radiant Future for those students. They received bupkis. But this Communist has grand visions for you and the Country, not just Vermont.

Uncle Bernie wants to have the grand SPHC, which Vermont Progressives already rejected as so expensive, the Progressives said they couldn’t afford it. California rejected it because they couldn’t afford it; they are a mental box of rocks when it comes to finances. He wants to lay it on Medicare/Medicaid so that the taxpayers get crushed.
Sen. Sanders cares not that Venezuela is trying the same crap that the Soviet Union and Cuba tried with the same results.

If you can’t get it to work in a Century, do you think it will work by trying for another 100 years?
Socialists have an enormous case of the STUPIDS.


Biased Agendas

Comrades! We have the best of everything for your children at heart when it comes to their education. The best buildings, desks, teachers… We worked to get the best course of study.
In Vermont, the State makes sure everything is equal for all children. What about your State?

Lindberg: Elected officials choose private schools for their kids, public schools for others

In the 2011 book “Upheaval,” Lou Dobbs states that “90 percent of funding for public education comes from local property taxes and state taxes. Yet, 90 percent of decision making about how that money is spent and how our children are educated comes from the federal government via the U.S. Department of Education.” In fact, the U.S. Department of Education will expropriate $77 billion dollars from the U.S. taxpayer this year.

It is also a fact that many of our federally elected officials refuse to send their own children to public schools. Some 41 percent of the members of the U.S. House and 46 percent of U.S. senators send their children to private schools. 56 percent of U.S. Senate Education and Labor Committee members send their children to private schools. Just as disturbing is the fact that 22 percent of public school teachers send their children to private schools. This is twice the national average for the general public.

Arne Duncan, former secretary of the U.S. Department of Education, enthusiastically promoted the Common Core curriculum as the great panacea for all things wrong with public education. Yet, as reported in the media, “Mr. Duncan chooses to send his children to the University of Chicago Lab School, arguably the most elite private school in Chicago — and certainly the most expensive.” Duncan’s children are not subjected to the Common Core curriculum that he so aggressively promotes for our children.

In Vermont, many of our elected state representatives and senators also choose to send their children to private schools. Ironically, they also vote to deny school choice to their taxpaying constituents. (emphasis added)

A full view of this hypocrisy as demonstrated by one Vermont legislator can be found in this YouTube video: (runs 1:29 minutes)



Climate Foibles

The first rule for getting out of a hole is to “STOP DIGGING!”
In Vermont, this logic is verboten. The Progressive Eco-nazis are hell bent on creating what they assume to be Gaia’s Utopia in the Northeast.

Vermont’s greenhouse gas mandate is costly

Vermont, along with 19 other states, has a long-term greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction mandate. The original mandate, signed into law in 2006, called for a 75 percent reduction below 1990 emissions levels by 2050. In 2011, then Gov. Peter Shumlin raised the goal to a 90 percent reduction by 2050, something which the 2016 State Comprehensive Energy Plan (CEP) discusses in detail.

Too bad the numbers don’t add up. Vermont’s mandate is much more than a requirement to supply consumers with electricity from renewable resources like wind and solar power. It will require virtually complete electrification of the Vermont economy to eliminate almost all fossil fuel consumption. Cars and trucks, oil- and gas-fired furnaces, industrial processes, virtually everything that now uses fossil fuels will need to be replaced with its electric counterpart. [snip]

Meeting the 90 percent GHG reduction goal will require replacing virtually all fossil fuel use in the state with electricity, and ensuring that there is enough electricity to do that…

How much electricity will Vermont need? Suppose Vermont could reduce total end-use energy consumption to just 100 TBTUs by 2050. That’s 30 TWh of electricity, five times the amount consumed in 2015. Currently, Vermont gets 2 TWh of electricity each year from hydropower and another 1 TWh from burning wood. That leaves 27 TWh from wind and solar power.

Last November’s election appears to have confirmed that Vermonters don’t want thousands of giant wind turbines dotting the landscape… And despite cost decreases, solar power is still much more costly than power purchased on the wholesale market. Thus Vermonters would pay even higher electricity prices… .

Replacing all of the fossil-fuel-using equipment in the state and adding electric vehicle charging stations would cost billions of dollars more.

Curiously, nowhere does the 2016 CEP discuss the benefits of reducing the state’s GHG emissions… . No measurable climate impacts mean zero climate benefits.

Ambitious, math-challenged legislators can always vote to impose costly and foolish mandates like Vermont’s with little pushback from voters. But Vermont’s mandate, like the mandates in other states, will impose additional costs on residents and businesses with zero offsetting benefits. Vermont’s is just another economically damaging exercise in symbolic environmentalism and political grandstanding.

Power outages in Vermont during winter are not an uncommon event. In the more rural areas, the power lines don’t follow roadways, but traverse the shortest routes which will cut over rifgelines and undeveloped land. Vermont winters, despite the Warmist believers’ fantasies, get a hell of a lot of snow in the northern part of the state and the southern part, ice.
Getting to some of these power lines can be extremely difficult. In 1998, an ice storm took out power in Chittenden, LaMoille and Addison Counties for close to a week. If everything is electric power including the repair vehicles, how do the repairs get made.

For the unbelievers, I made this photo one morning at my place.

No power and these temps aren’t pleasant.