The Body Politic

Solar power gets hot and hotter

With so many homeowners and businesses making greener energy choices, private utilities — along with big oil, gas, coal, and nuclear companies — see the writing on the wall.

Don’t fence me in

No job now,

Provides the pay,

To let me find,

A place to stay.

The prosperous are further isolating themselves physically, as well as economically, from the rest of us.

Many folks with big incomes are responding to the tensions of America’s growing economic inequality by moving into gated communities. This isn’t new, just growing more common. Ten percent of us are already gated in one way or another.

An American banking revolution awaits

Vermonters aren’t like the rest of us: They live in a small state with a flinty history and a legendary suspicion of outsiders.

That independent streak gained luster when 15 Vermont towns voted earlier this year to reinforce this independent tradition by approving a proposal to create a state bank.

The Vermont Economic Development Authority would get a license to do what private banks normally do — only with a mandate to serve the public interest no matter what.

This isn’t unprecedented. North Dakota has enjoyed a flourishing state banking system for nearly a century.

One nation, under surveillance

Body Politic

If on cell phones,

You rely;

Say hello,

To the FBI.

Does it matter that the federal government can track your cell phone at any moment of the day? That protesting at an event where the Secret Service is present is now a felony? That any American can be jailed indefinitely without charge or trial? That you can suddenly be kept off all airplanes without being given a reason, forever?

Not all taxes have to hurt

The Body Politic

Taxes are a deeply emotional subject and make for hot political theater. Whenever the T-word is blurted out, our anxiety zooms. That’s the whole idea. Millionaires, who rightfully are the target for paying more, want us to think that any changes in the tax code will mean that we’ll all be paying more, too.

Not so. The goal with this reform is to finally catch up those taking advantage of loopholes.They don’t want us to see them, but they’re there. Is Mitt Romney one of them? We’ll have to read his tax returns to find out.

Nukes: You can never turn your back


Nukes sure make
Electrons flow;
But they also
Make us glow.

Supporters of nuclear power and nuclear weapons enjoy a number of intrinsic advantages over their opponents. The first is money. Atoms make for high stakes gambling. Anyone who wins a contract for bombs or electricity can make zillions. This means there’s lots of cash available for lobbying, bribes and campaign contributions.