Roll the Windows Up on Cruz

Ted Cruz really does not want you to get health insurance.

Through a combination of snark and the type of false bravado that might trick his constituents into thinking that the Canadian-born Texas Senator actually was at the Alamo, Cruz, Utah Senator Mike Lee, and the Tea Party were able to convince the House of Representatives to pass a resolution to continue funding for the government but deny the necessary funding for the implementation of the Affordable Care Act – Obamacare. This represents the last chance for the wave of teabaggers who came into Washington promising to oppose the legislation at all costs to accomplish their goal and kill the bill.

Eric Cantor, previously my least favorite member of Congress, had initially suggested that the House pass and send to the Senate a stand-alone bill defunding Obamacare. This would have been a tough vote for red-state Democrats up for reelection and an easy vote for most Republicans. But that wasn’t high-stakes enough for Cruz: it would have easily been vetoed by the President and wouldn’t have gotten him a full calendar of talk show appearances. So instead he suggested that the measure be tied to the resolution funding the government. Failure to pass a funding resolution means the first government shut down since 1996. The House of Representatives passed that resolution last Friday.

Cruz has made a career of denying health care to those whose parents couldn’t pull quite as hard on their bootstraps as his did. His father began his political life as a supporter of Fidel Castro. After fleeing to college in the United States and making his fortune starting an oil company, he swung hard to the right to become a Tea Party hero and the father of the worse Senator since McCarthy. If that comparison sounds dramatic, you should know that it came from Senator John McCain, who, according to an aide, “f***ing hates Cruz.” By all accounts, he is not alone in his dislike for the Texan who wandered the hallways of his Princeton dorm room in a paisley bathrobe and who at Harvard Law refused to study with anyone who hadn’t attended Harvard, Princeton, or Yale (Sorry, Middlebury Republicans hoping to someday work with him. You should have gone to a better school). Continue reading

9/11 Memorial Vandal Amanda Lickers Tied to Pipeline Opposition Organization Rising Tide Vermont

Amanda Lickers, leader of the protest that led to the uprooting of nearly 3,000 American flags planted to memorialize the victims of the September 11 attacks on the Middlebury Campus has worked with Vermont environmental organizations in the past familiar with her radical beliefs and tactics.

Amanda Lickers

Amanda Lickers

In an interview with the Addison Independent on Friday, Lickers claimed that she had been invited to the school by Associate Dean of Students for Student Activities & Orientation J.J. Boggs to lead a discussion on settler responsibility. But according to a former college official with knowledge of the protocol for bringing speakers to campus, this was not the case. That official says that “the Student Activities office assist student organizations in bringing speakers to campus, the staff do not initiate or invite speakers. The general procedure is that a student organization submits a request to the Middlebury College Activities Board (MCAB) Speakers Committee for review, and if approved it moves to Student Activities for a final review and contracting.”

Although Lickers is from Canada, she has worked in the past with environmental groups in Vermont. On August 2, Rising Tide Vermont, a grassroots organizations that claims to confront “the root causes of climate change”  and which has led the charge against the Vermont Gas Addison Natural Gas Project to build a pipeline between Burlington and Rutland posted a call on their Facebook page asking for help raising $1500 to bring Lickers to a rally held on August 17th and 18th. Continue reading

Soon Enough, You’ll Know What It Means To Be Alive

I posted this here a few weeks back and it’s been published in Thought Catalog:

Thought Catalog

There is this moment, when you’re speeding down a gravel road trailed by a cloud of dust; you come over a crest and fling the car around a sudden corner, but the wheels lose their grip on the track. When back of the vehicle refuses to change direction or slow down and you threaten to plunge into the field of stunted corn along the side.

When it is 90 degrees and you’ve been staring at the shaded water at the base of the cliff for so long that you can’t back away now, so you take a couple strides and fling yourself forward as the ground falls away beneath your bare feet.

Or when there’s a lull in the conversation and your eyes meet, so you slowly lean in for a kiss from that girl with the tousled hair highlighted by the sun, and the quiet half smile that spreads…

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Abenaki Condemn 9/11 Flag Removal Incident; Student Involved has History of Arrest

The flags vanished over a period of half an hour. But it took several hours longer before the Middlebury community learned where they had gone.

Four women and one man – one a Middlebury College student, one a member of the Haudenosaunee nation brought to campus by that student – plucked all 2977 of them from the grass around Mead Chapel in the middle of the afternoon, where they had been planted in memory of the victims of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. The group worked efficiently, assembling the flags in small piles and then dumped them into opaque black garbage bags.

Credit: Rachel Kogan

Credit: Rachel Kogan

Julia Madden ’14 was passing on the way to the gym when she realized that something was wrong. After first passing by the scene, she turned to accost the five. They informed her that the site was an “Abenaki burial ground” and that they were acting to counter “American colonialism.” Madden was struck by the disrespect of this action. “I should have gotten a little more aggressive,” she says. “I was just dumbfounded.” Continue reading

Divestment is Good Business

Forget everything you thought you knew about why Middlebury College must divest. It is not about abandoning profitable investments for moral reasons. It is about abandoning investments with little hope of future growth. It is about getting out of a bubble that is about to burst.

Last year, we watched as the movement grew from a niche concern into the mainstream of campus dialogue. The rationale initially focused on the need to send a signal to the oil companies and to the world that we will not profit – that it is abhorrent to profit – from their conscious engineering of a warmer, more dangerous planet. It was moral crusade and, so, a quixotic one; in a world driven by quarterly or even hourly investment numbers, concern over the bottom line usually wins out. Early on in the divestment movement, even the most diehard supporters conceded that there had to be some financial cost to sustainable investment paradigms. This concession was based on a consensus belief about the absurd profitability of the oil industry.

This belief does not hold up to reality.

Research done by Standard and Poors, MCSI, the Associated Press, and other respected sources has shown that fossil fuel companies were mediocre investments all along. They do well in boom times but are extremely volatile, too connected to the whims of dictators, the news of the day, or even the weather. An endowment that excluded the stocks of oil majors over the last decade would have grown by a larger amount than one that included them. Continue reading