Off the Money
You would better serve your readers in your next money issue [April 6] if you wrote articles about the creation of money, the role of the Federal Reserve and the big banks, and the fractional reserve system. These are essential to understand so that one can balance a checkbook or take on a mortgage with eyes wide open. Most of us don’t have a clue about these topics and yet they are ruling our lives.
If your idea of money creation is the image of a printing press shooting out huge sheets of currency, then start by watching Money As Debt online. Watch it several times; the information in the video will surprise you. Follow that by studying The Crash Course by Chris Martenson, also online. Then learn about the discussions going on in an increasing number of states, including Vermont and Oregon, about the movement to establish a state bank, as North Dakota did in 1919.
I’d like to see you do this before another year goes by, before our economic health is even poorer than it is today. It’s time to reclaim our money system.
U.S. Currency Works
I love Seven Days, and I usually love every single article produced, but this one is a load of crap [“Will Vermont Get Its Own Currency?” Blurt, April 4]! Did the author stop to think of all of the captive insurance companies that are a powerhouse to Vermont’s local economy? I assure you that the folks that are using our specialized captive insurance firms are not located in Vermont.
The implications of making a local currency go much further beyond that of simply bettering our economy. It eliminates us from exchanging goods and services with the rest of the country.
Also, think of the independent contractors who live in Vermont but are paid by out-of-state corporations and businesses.
I could continue listing reasons to maintain the status quo for American dollars, but by now I am assuming you get my point. I’ve always loved the saying “Why fix what isn’t broken?”
Tyler J. Boemig
Shumlin Has Integrity
Shay Totten may be a little too hard on Gov. Shumlin. After all, Peter Shumlin was very clear as a candidate about his opposition to extending the license for Vermont Yankee, his support for a single-payer health plan and his belief that increasing taxes was not the way to deal with our budget crisis. Those of us who supported and voted for Gov. Shumlin would be some pissed if he changed his position on Vermont Yankee or health care. Even if we don’t all agree with his position on taxes, it is understandable why the governor might want to do what he promised in his campaign.
In “Rich People to the Rescue?” [Fair Game, March 30], Shay Totten insinuated that in refusing to raise taxes on the wealthy, the governor has somehow now come under the sway of Harlan Sylvester, the longtime chairman of the Governor’s Council of Economic Advisors. A less conspiratorial but more likely explanation is that Gov. Shumlin is simply exhibiting the kind of integrity in a politician that we all say we want. That is, honestly campaigning on clear promises and then, when elected, sticking to them.
Shumlin or Sylvester?
Shay Totten’s “Rich People to the Rescue?” [Fair Game, March 30] has converted this lifelong Democrat and campaigner for Peter Shumlin into a passionate supporter of Anthony Pollina against Shumlin’s reelection. Shumlin’s corruption is now displayed as being so extreme that he takes the advice of a political enemy, the Republican Harlan Sylvester, the financial advisor to Vermont’s biggest contributors to the Republican Party. Shumlin slashes desperately needed social services to Vermont’s poor and disabled in order to be able to fundraise from those millionaires, by blocking any tax hike on the rich — no matter how temporary and no matter how small.
I had wondered why Shumlin’s budget socks it to the poor and blocks it to tax hikes on the rich, and now I know: Shumlin is fundraising among conservative Vermont multimillionaires. Shumlin, like Obama, is “bipartisan.” Next time, let’s elect Pollina, who isn’t.
In Praise of Books
Sorry, Mr. Bliss, but I like the way a thin leaf of paper feels between my fingers [“Print Versus Pixels,” April 13; “Bye-Bye, Books,” Feedback, April 20]. I like the slight resistance as I turn the page, as if the book is hesitant to reveal its secrets. I like the disheveled look of a much-read book, the physical reminder of the joy I felt while reading it. I like the feel of books ... so go ahead and throw up.
Jeffrey E. Salzberg
E-Reader is Just a Fad
[Re: “Print Versus Pixels,” April 13; “Bye-Bye Books,” Feedback, April 20]:
(1) Which is worse, the book collector who displays his wares like trophies for everyone to see or the Gollum-like e-reader owner sitting in the corner of a public coffee shop, stroking and poking his or her shiny “precious” with masturbatory glee? Gimme the book collector any day!
(2) Somewhat akin to Harry Bliss’ own position, if I hear one more person bragging about how many “e-books” can be downloaded and stored on an e-reader, I’m not going to throw up; no, I’m gonna shove the damn thing up the person’s ass. I am so tired of listening to gadget geeks brag about the latest thing, only for it to become obsolete within two weeks.
So, in closing, Harry, go play with your oh-so-smooth and shiny cutting-literary-edge e-reader; I’ll stick with a handy paperback that I love the feel of. If you feel the need to vomit on me, please, by all means, do so. When you’re finished, however, please be sure to be ready for a very “personal” upload of your damnable e-reader.
P.S. Let’s all be honest, all an e-reader is is a word processor with access to more files. It’s nothing special or earthshaking or world changing. If you like e-readers, by all means enjoy them, but stop trying to shove the so-dubbed “latest and greatest” down my throat! I’ll keep enjoying my books.
Why Not Half-Naked Men?
I had to applaud you two weeks ago for not showing an objectifying, half-naked picture of a woman on your back page, modeling whatever your advertisers decide to sell by resorting to these sexually offensive methods.
If you are compelled to print these demeaning ads, why don’t you suggest that your advertisers give equal time to the male population by showing a young, half-naked guy modeling underwear, or whatever else they can think of that would sufficiently objectify him in order to sell their products? I’m sure that would bring in the big bucks, too.
Not So Local
The article about the new localvore restaurant in Rutland [“Deep Roots”, April 13] speaks of their “all local” burger, made with buns made from King Arthur flour. There’s a common misconception about this product. All King Arthur Flour is grown and milled out of state — in the Midwest or Canada — and packaged at their mills. King Arthur has offices and a bakery in Vermont, but that’s it. If King Arthur Flour is not grown, processed, packaged or stored here, then it simply is not a Vermont product or a local product. If it is, then factory-raised pork chops from Price Chopper can be called local, as well.
Vermont farmers like Ben Gleason of Gleason Grains and bakers like Randy George at Red Hen Baking are working so very hard to produce a truly local, Vermont-grown and -milled flour. It’s a disservice to their passion, effort and, ultimately, livelihood (as King Arthur Flour costs significantly less than a true Vermont flour) to allow this false impression about the provenance of King Arthur Flour to continue.
I hope restaurateurs and food writers will work together to fact-check and clear up this misconception about the provenance of foods that are being marketed as local. It will benefit everyone who is passionate about the local-foods movement in the end.
Whalen co-owns Burlington’s August First Bakery.
Levine’s Scare Tactics
Seven Days describes Judith Levine’s biweekly article as “public uses and abuses of emotion.” After reading her contribution “Airborne Toxic Event” [“Poli Psy,” March 30], I’m left wondering if she’s opposed to such abuse only if it goes against her political beliefs.
We learned from the accident in Fukushima that it’s very difficult to make a nuke plant withstand an 8.9-magnitude earthquake or any subsequent tsunamis. Trying to draw parallels to its “equally evil twin,” Vermont Yankee, is an ungrounded scare tactic. For all its problems, VY wasn’t built on the Ring of Fire — the most active fault line in the world!
Another, more subtle scare tactic is to refer to Three Mile Island’s accident at Unit 2 as a meltdown. The term is actually quite informal, but most refer to TMI as a partial meltdown. I guess since it’s informal, it’s also subject to manipulation. In this case, it’s suitable for her needs to exaggerate.
I can only assume that Levine, somehow, uses electricity to write her columns. She’s just like everyone else who uses electricity: They expect it to always be there when they use an “on” switch. When discussing nuclear power, the unemotional discussion should be: If not nukes, then what? Unfortunately, Levine’s emotionally charged rants against nuclear don’t answer that. But I assume she still expects her power to be available and affordable.
Delivery Drivers Need Tips, Too
I loved that you guys wrote an article explaining to people how hard it is to live on a tipped wage and what the acceptable percentage is to tip [“Tipping Points,” April 20]! I just wish you had added in the acceptable amount to tip a delivery driver for pizza or Chinese. It seems that people don’t understand a delivery driver makes anywhere from $3 to $6 an hour on the clock and a delivery charge does not always go to the driver. You should tip drivers according to their service, as well!
The 55¢ Question
[Re: “Energy Bill Would ‘Pay’ Vermonters to Produce Their Own Power,” April 13]: Sure, go ahead and place a 55¢ surcharge on our existing power bills so that those Vermonters who can afford to upgrade with solar or wind power will have incentives to do so. Unfortunately, this increase comes on the backs of thousands of Vermonters who cannot afford another increase in spending and are paying for something they will never realize. Highly unfair, indeed!
Reading the letter from Barry Snyder [“Feedback,” April 13] about 17 people being evicted so that Burlington College can house their students [Can the Catholic Diocese Boot a Group Home From Its North Avenue Property? A Judge Will Decide, March 9], I wondered what the purpose was of expressing his disapproval. To induce feelings of guilt for those at the college? Easy to sit on high and look down at their “service to the earthly interests.” Much harder to come up with realistic suggestions, alternatives. The inclusion of at least one would have made for a much less irking, more constructive letter. But again, it seems that this wasn’t the purpose.