by Peter Freyne
It's 5 degrees above zero in Burl- ington at 10 a.m. and 14 below with the wind chill. And there's a little snow on the ground, eh? That's a shot of your favorite columnist/snow shoveler an hour ago. Slow and easy.
Looks like we got a little snow. And thanks to the neighbor across the street who I've never even met before, I got the car out.
The "Valentine's Day Blizzard" is how this baby will be remembered. I haven't seen a snowstorm like it since I landed in Burlap in 1979. And my upstairs neighbor says he can't remember one like this since 1971.
Just when world governments finally acknowledge the fact that the Industrial Revolution has speeded up the changing of the planet's climate, that the ice caps and glaciers are melting fast and global warming is for real, we're reminded old-fashioned winter ain't dead yet.
Two other things this Thursday morning.
1. I'm still shaking my head over the fact that WGOP-TV, aka WCAX-TV Ch. 3, "Vermont's Own," did not lead Tuesday evening with the top story of the day - Vermont had led the nation as the legislature adopted a resolution calling for the immediate withdrawal of our troops from Iraq.
Instead, News Director Marselis Parsons led with:
"We're bracing for a major winter storm -- with one-to-two-feet of snow predicted across the region. ' This store on the Ferrisburgh / Vergennes line reports strong sales of snow shovels and ice melt..."
They gave the storm preview a big. big blowout and followed up with a Brian Joyce crime story about an habitual offender caught trying to break through window screens at the apartment of several female college students. He was arraigned on attempted burglary charges.
Then, finally, almost 10 minutes into their statewide newscast, the WCAX news team reported that the U.S. House on Capitol Hill and the Vermont House and Senate in Montpeculiar had that very day taken up resolutions condemning President George W. Bush's wicked war in Iraq.
It was front-page in The Burlington Free Press the next morning and Terry Allen had a story in In These Times that caught the significance of the Vermont action perfectly:
Vermont Legislature: Bring Them Home Now
The state with the highest per capita casualties demands an end to the war in Iraq
By Terry J. Allen
MONTPELIER, VT.—The state that has lost the most troops per capita became the first to pass a resolution calling on Congress and the president to immediately withdraw U.S. forces from Iraq. More here.
2. Veteran Windsor County States Attorney Bobby Sand, the courageous prosecutor who has had the guts to publicly question our insane and counterproductive drug laws, is turning up the heat.
The Valley News's Mark Davis reported on Tuesday:
Sand Enlarges Call For Legalization
Hartland -- Windsor County State's Attorney Robert Sandvoiced support for full legalization of marijuana and governmentregulation of heroin distribution last night, his boldest remarks yetin his campaign to decriminalize illegal drugs and abandon what heconsiders the failed “war on drugs.”
In front of asupportive crowd of 60 inside Damon Hall, the veteran prosecutor saidhe has yet to be convinced that marijuana users should be treated ascriminals.
“No one has made the case to me that this isa substance that should be involved in the criminal justice system andall the extraordinary resources we are spending on it,” Sand said.
Onheroin, Sand said Vermont should consider following the lead of foreigncountries that allow doctors in limited instances to prescribe herointo addicts, as a way to wean them from the drug and provide access in asafe environment.
Been awhile since we've seen such an public outbreak of sanity and courage.
Refreshing! More, more, more! The times are a changin'.
Hey, that'd make a great song, eh?