Gay Marriage Legal in NH

New Hampshire on June 3 became the sixth state to legalize gay marriage. Governor John Lynch, who once opposed gay marriage, said he had heard “compelling arguments that a separate system is not an equal system.”

The law takes effect Jan. 1.

The New York Times reported that Lynch ordered that the bill protect members of religious groups from having to provide same-sex couples with religious counseling, housing designated for married people and other services relating to “the promotion of marriage.”

Mass. Environmental Health Workers May Be Fired

Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick’s proposed budget, and the state senate’s budget, both include deep cuts to the state’s so-called “environmental health account,” according to Claire Chang of the Shelburne Falls, Mass.-based Citizens Awareness Network (CAN)

These cuts total more than $1 million to a $4.2 million environmental health budget for the state. Patrick’s budget and the senate budget both cut the appropriation for environmental health to $3.1 million. The House proposed $3.8 million.

Governor Loses Vermont Veto Fight

In a victory for middle class workers and farmers, the Vermont legislature on June 2 voted to override governor Jim Douglas's veto of the $4.5 billion state budget. No governor had ever vetoed the budget. In his own budget proposal, offered in January, Douglas attempted to hide a major tax increase: $63 million dollars in new property taxes. His budget would have frozen the state’s education reimbursements at last year’s levels, even though most Vermont towns have already passed school budgets for next year.

A complex economy: Bellows Falls businesses see varied consequences

In an address to Congress on February 24, President Barack Obama stated, “You don’t need to hear another list of statistics to know our economy is in crisis, because you live it everyday. It’s the worry you wake up with, and the source of sleepless nights.”

Northampton Abortion Rights Vigil Is June 3 at 7 p.m.

On June 3 in Northampton there will be a vigil for Dr. George Tiller, an abortion provider who was killed last week. Lisa Unger Baskin is organizing the event. It will be at the First Churches of Northampton on Main Street from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. Baskin is asking people to bring candles and signs.

"In this country, a woman's right to make a decision about her own body is in jeopardy," Baskin told the Hampshire Gazette newspaper.

In NH, Fight Over Sustainable Transport Heats Up

New Hampshire Governor John Lynch said on May 22 he would veto the legislature’s effort to raise gas taxes. The House’s budget includes a 15 cent increase in the gas tax. The tax would raise $44 million next year.

Gas in Europe is more than twice the price of gas in the U.S. because of taxes. The tax money is used to create train networks, bicycle paths, and other transportation alternatives that work much better than in the U.S.

Taxes in France make up about 70 percent of the price of gas. In the U.S., it's less than 20 percent.

Si Kahn in Brattleboro June 7

The Vermont Workers’ Center (VWC) is bringing legendary singer-songwriter-organizer Si Kahn to Brattleboro for a concert. The VWC is building a grassroots movement of Vermonters for justice. Si Kahn is the founder and director of Grassroots Leadership a civil rights organization in North Carolina. You can hear his music for free at

June 7 at 7 p.m. "Concert for Change" with Si Kahn and Scott Ainslie

West Village Meeting House (a.k.a. All Souls Unitarian church)
20 South Street

Top Obama Official Speaks at Northampton Group’s Meeting

The Northampton-based group Free Press held a public meeting in Washington, DC on May 14 about how the public can successfully lobby the government to increase public funding for journalism, and to create universal high speed internet access. Among the speakers at the event were Susan Crawford, a member of President Barack Obama’s National Economic Council and a graduate of Yale Law School. This one-minute video shows part of Crawford’s speech, and the line of people waiting to use computers with extremely slow internet connections at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Library, also on May 14.

1,000 at Vermont Rally: 'Healthcare Is a Right'

Sheila Linton of Brattleboro spoke at a "Healthcare Is a Human Right" rally at the Vermont statehouse on May 1. The event was organized by the Vermont Workers Center. The U.S. is the only rich nation that does not provide universal health care. More information on the rally is at photos by Eesha Williams

Workers Unite

About 30 years ago, the middle class in the United States was the biggest it’s ever been. Today, the U.S. is looking more like a country in Europe in the 1600s: thousands of rich people, and almost everyone else living in varying degrees of poverty. Why does that matter? Well, if you ask Derek Dobiecki, a worker at the Cingular Wireless store in the Holyoke Mall, the answer is "leanin'." "They took away our chairs," he told me in a 2006 interview. "If it's busy, with a lot of customers, you don’t really notice. But when it's slow, you're just leanin' for like eight hours."