A "Shut It Down" Birthday Celebration
January 18 was a chilly and blustery day, although sunny. Along with 13 other women in the Shut It Down Affinity Group from Vermont, New Hampshire and Massachusetts, dressed all in black and wearing white death masks, I participated in a silent walking meditation circle on the driveway of the Entergy Vermont nuclear reactor facility.
In addition to the silent walk, some unfurled a black and white banner which read "Entergy=Fukushima." When the police arrived and told us to move to the sidewalk, we maintained our silence and our walking circle. When we were told we would be under arrest if we did not leave, we maintained our silence and our walking circle. As we were led off to the police cars, we remained silent.
Why would I choose to spend a birthday this way? Because the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant, whose license to operate expires March 21, is not safe, is not a good way to provide a reliable energy future for New England, and is run by a duplicitous and badly managed corporation.
But it is not just 14 women who feel this way. The state of Vermont in 2010 refused to grant Entergy a Certificate of Public Good needed to operate past March 21, 2012. The two largest utilities in Vermont, Green Mountain Power and Central Vermont Public Service Corp., are suing Entergy because, as the result of two serious cooling tower accidents in 2007 and 2008, they were forced to spend additional millions to purchase replacement power elsewhere.
The region needs reliable, safe, sustainable energy. Even Entergy's own lobbyist had to admit that the company lost significant support among the people of Vermont and its legislators when it gave misleading—some would say outright false—testimony about the infamous "nonexistent" underground pipes which leaked radioactive tritium into the groundwater and the Connecticut River.
On March 22, Entergy will be operating in defiance of the will and laws of Vermont and its citizens and in disregard for the safety of the citizens of Vermont, New Hampshire and Massachusetts. Every day the plant operates, it generates more highly radioactive waste for which there is no guaranteed safe, reliable disposal, and it needs to be safe and reliable for many thousands of years.
March 11th will be the one-year anniversary of Fukushima. Vermont Yankee has the same type of reactor, which nuclear engineers raised serious safety concerns about as long ago as the '70s. The lasting effects for the citizens, air, water, plants and animals of that region in Japan cannot even be calculated as new devastation continues to be evidenced.
But there will never be an earthquake or tsunami here, some say. Who expected covered bridges, major roads, homes and other buildings would be swept away in a hurricane... in Vermont?
Who expected a tornado to level entire neighborhoods in downtown Springfield? Who expected an earthquake centered in Virginia to cause the twin reactors at North Anna to shut down and remain shut five months later?
This is why I observed my birthday participating in a somber and sobering action.
Advocate Pushes Conspiracy Theories
This was the second time in a week that I had to tear up a Valley Advocate as I read it in my crowded pub. The first time was when I read Stephanie Kraft's column ["The Art of Selling War," January 5, 2012], which dredged up a decades-old conspiracy theory in order to promote a more recent one.
Not only was I mad at how wrong the article was, I was disappointed that this paper and its columnist could not find any real news to fill a column, so they decided to grind a well-worn axe instead.
The second time was when I read the ridiculous letter by Charlotte Burns you printed the following week.
For the record, the collapses of World Trade Centers 1 and 2 were not identical to a controlled demolition. The two towers fell from the point of impact, whereas a professionally collapsed building starts from the base. The towers also displayed none of the sequence of loud bangs that accompany controlled demolitions and can be heard for miles.
Also, "pyroclastic" means something came from a volcano, so I find it hard to believe that there was "pyroclastic dust that could only have happened with explosions."
The hijackers (not even Hani Hanjour) did not flunk Cessna school; flying an airplane into the tallest building around is in no way "precise"; the hijackers were identified quickly due to the stewardesses relaying their identities to air traffic control; and Osama Bin Laden and Khalid Sheikh Mohammed most likely did not plan the attack from a cave in Tora Bora. They were men of some means.
There is nothing so sophisticated about the simultaneous hijacking of airplanes that a few dozen determined men could not pull it off. It's just using an airplane instead of a car or a boat.
As for the Advocate, just what are you getting at with all of these articles hinting at or downright alleging a 9/11 inside job? Surely the editors of this publication know that the vast majority of 9/11 conspiracy claims have been thoroughly debunked, from the notion of a missile hitting the Pentagon to exotic particle weaponry literally evaporating the towers.
Why do you promote a widely discredited theory? Why don't you call an expert on the subject of, say, controlled demolitions to see exactly how feasible such a plot is? Why do you print letters that spout so many regurgitated falsehoods?
Reflections on Romney
"And while it is true Romney has never faced an opponent as tough as Obama, the converse is also true" ["Ready for Romney?," January 19, 2012].
Really. Hillary Clinton was not a tough opponent?
Romney is Obama... they are virtually the same candidate.
Ron Paul is the only candidate that makes sense. He is the only one whose policies would help and not hurt the poor and middle class.