• June 18,2014

    Hypocrisy on Scouting

    A letter to Councilor Guerlain:

    As a longtime Scouter, I am very disappointed that you feel the need to use a local group of young people to advance your personal agenda. The local troop of Scouts are simply trying to be Scouts. At no point does the national membership policy cross the minds of those youth. Why would you force the issue on them?

    You are quoted as saying, “It was the best thing that ever happened to me as a kid, far and away.” Even though gay members weren’t allowed when you were a Scout (gay youth are currently allowed), did that have any effect on your experience as a Scout? Did it even cross your mind? Why would it? It’s not part of the program. If Scouting was so meaningful to you back then, why would you make such an effort to deny it to current Scouts? You sound very hypocritical. By issuing the permit to sell water, the city would not be “endorsing” any group. You would be doing your job of regulating taxes. The free market will decide whether Montpelier wants to support Scouting. It’s not your job.

    The only time a person’s sexual orientation is an issue is when they make it an issue. For Scouts, it’s not discussed. It’s not part of the program. Period. The standing policy is that discussions about sexuality are best done within the Scout’s family. Why would you think it best done in a public forum, if not to further your personal agenda?

    Despite the efforts to hurt our youth, last year Scouting in Vermont still provided over 50,000 hours of service, produced almost 100 Eagle Scouts, and kept almost 5,000 youth off the streets and taught them to be productive instead of destructive. Scouts are far more likely to graduate high school. Scouts are far more likely to register to vote. Scouts are far more likely to join civic and charitable organizations. I would think the Montpelier City Council would want to promote that kind of thing, not kill it.

    The city board’s job isn’t to teach anyone a “lesson,” which is exactly what you are proposing. Kids just want to have fun. That’s why they are Scouts. Not to push some agenda, unlike some adults.

    This group of Scouts has nothing to do with the national policy. Your proposing to punish a local group of boys based on a national Scouting policy will hurt no one but these boys. Not a dime of their fundraising will go to the national office. Oh, and one other thing: The national Scout office is in Texas, not Washington. You need to actually get your facts straight before you start condemning.

    Jon Hosford


    Tolerating all ideas

    Hypocritical Norwich professor Rowland Brucken gives lip service to the marketplace of ideas but would deny that marketplace an opportunity to consider the ideas of Condoleezza Rice straight from the horse’s mouth. He would have us consider her ideas through his filter and whatever filters he deems appropriate.

    Absurdly, in his public spanking of his employer, Brucken lets on that he is troubled by the administration of Norwich University citing Thomas Jefferson’s classic words long incorporated into its stirring mission statement in support of Rice’s right to speak — ponder these beautiful words for a moment — “tolerate all ideas when reason is free to combat them.” In a word, perfection. Those words remain the perfect response to those who would impose their own filters on free men and women because they trust “We the people” to weigh ideas with their consequences and judge rightly. A free marketplace of ideas, by definition, gives place for all ideas to live or die based on merit because there is no better disinfectant than the bright light of day.

    Clearly it is Brucken who either does not comprehend or simply rejects the very simple concept of a free marketplace of ideas. If I had a student in his classroom and any part of his lectures dwell on the free marketplace of ideas or any other pillar of liberty I would run — not walk — to get my money back.

    Last, but not least, I remain grateful to Norwich University for supplying top shelf speakers on a wide variety of important issues at a price I can afford — free.

    Mary Richter


    Grateful for the efforts

    The Daniels family would like to express our deepest gratitude to all of our family, friends, neighbors and the amazing fire departments who all gave all they could during and after the fire on June 10 at our children’s home in Northfield Falls. We may have lost much, but because of Mary, CJ and Judy, we came home to our children alive, safe and much loved by all.

    And to all of the fire and emergency personnel, we are blessed to live in a place where so many people who we will never even know or meet give and volunteer their time to help their communities. We are not able to name every name in this letter, but we do carry each of you in our hearts with thankfulness.

    There is no greater gift than love, and we have seen such an abundance we are overwhelmed and humbled.

    There are not enough thank yous in the world for all of you. We are forever grateful.

    Marty, Kim, Maggie, Troy, Ben, Karla and Alex Daniels


    Nightmare of our making

    When will America wake up from the nightmare it created in the Middle East? When will America wake up to the fact that the countless wars on terror only create more terrorism? And when will America wake up to realize that the sunrise doesn’t shine down on the home of the free but creates shadows where the criminal nature of prisons that support torture have destroyed our credibility in the world?

    I fear it is too late. Ice shelves are falling into the sea as corporate-supported think tanks spew ignorance that implies “clean coal” and taxpayer-supported oil are not at fault.

    I fear it is too late. Our government is run by, gives reverence to, and unabashedly supports the wishes of the wealthy at the cost of a middle class getting by on the myth of democracy and Horatio Alger.

    I fear it is too late. Those who oppose minimum wage are only too happy to have their pockets full while sneering at those who only want an even playing field.

    I only want to hope that my fears are in vain. That the criminals behind our destruction of Iraq will be held accountable. That the truth of global warming will send the alarm that ends our species’ march to self-destruction. That our government will recognize its allegiance “to the people” and its social responsibility to follow through on such an allegiance.

    I only hope.

    William Gay


    Time to act

    Re: the June 15 online article “Obama says climate change deniers ignoring science”: The president’s speech called out politicians who disingenuously say, “I’m not a scientist,” refusing to act on climate change when the National Academy of Sciences, Congress’ official scientific advisory body, clearly says climate change is man-made and we urgently need to cut carbon dioxide emissions. There’s no higher scientific authority than the NAS.

    The president also called on grads to fight climate change. There’s a way we can all fight climate change. It requires only a very small amount of time and effort, will cost us nothing and save us trillions. Just contact Congress and tell our representatives we want a revenue-neutral carbon tax: a tax that’s paid by fossil fuels to taxpayers. No government regulations and revenue-neutral.

    This plan is endorsed by eight Nobel economists, and a new REMI report shows it will create millions of jobs while cutting carbon dioxide emissions more than the EPA regulations. This tax will also be placed on imports from carbon polluters. They’ll need to go green fast to compete. The higher their emissions, the higher the tax. That tax money goes directly to us so we can afford to buy U.S. products instead.

    The new EPA regulations will not cut emissions enough or in time to prevent the “catastrophic” climate change the IPCC reports warn of, and they ignore methane emissions from fracking, which make natural gas bad as coal.

    Climate change disasters have already cost U.S. taxpayers over $1 trillion (NOAA), and the International Energy Agency estimates just two more years of failing to make major cuts in greenhouse gas emissions will cost $4 trillion.

    The Citizens Climate Lobby website has more on the revenue-neutral carbon tax. Make Congress feel the heat if you want action.

    Lynn Goldgarb

    Lancaster, Pennsylvania

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