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February 10, 2014

Video: Shumlin Talks Heroin on ABC's 'This Week'

Gov. Peter Shumlin made his Sunday morning talk show debut this weekend with an appearance on ABC's "This Week."

The topic? You guessed it: Vermont's "full-blown heroin crisis."

Shumlin appeared with guest host Martha Raddatz, ABC News correspondent Dr. Richard Besser and journalist Seth Mnookin, who wrote last week in Slate about his own struggle with heroin addiction. The segment segued from actor Philip Seymour Hoffman's death by heroin overdose last week to Shumlin's State of the State address, in which he focused on Vermont's "growing epidemic" of opiate abuse.

Here's the video (and here's the transcript):

January 28, 2014

Video: Sanders Gets All Up in Bachmann's Grill

State of the union? Booooooring. 

If you're lookin' for a good (political) time tonight, we recommend you skip that snooze-fest of a speech and watch this clip of our own Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) appearing alongside — gasp! — Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) Monday night on CNN's  "Situation Room."

Here it is (with apologies for being slow on the uptake):

  

After you're done watching, repeat after me: "DO YOU SUPPORT A CHAINED CPI?"

Calm down.

DO YOU SUPPORT A CHAINED CPI?!"

Calm down.

October 18, 2013

Donkey Dean Stars in "Truly Bizarre" Video by Former Senate Candidate

DonkeyDeanThought you'd been subjected to every lame Howard Dean scream joke imaginable?

You thought wrong. Allow us to subject you to one more.

Nevada politician Sharron Angle, who unsuccessfully challenged Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) in 2010, has produced what Politico's Emily Schultheis is calling "a truly bizarre video" featuring Dean's hair-raising shout.

We agree with her assessment.

Schultheis reports:

The one-minute YouTube video, which evokes echoes of Carly Fiorina’s 2010 “Demon Sheep ad,” intersperses video clips of Democrats talking about major issues with short clips of donkeys doing the “Dean Scream” — the WWE-style yell that helped tank former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean’s 2004 presidential bid.

Angle's super PAC, OurVoicePAC, posted the video to YouTube in March, Schultheis reports, but the ex-candidate is only now starting to promote it. And there's really nothing more to say about it than this: It's totally weird and you should watch it.

Continue reading "Donkey Dean Stars in "Truly Bizarre" Video by Former Senate Candidate" »

October 15, 2013

Lisman's Campaign for Vermont Drops $60K on New Ads

Bruce Lisman — the man, the myth, the legend — is coming to a television screen near you.

The retired Wall Street executive and dabbler in Vermont politics features prominently in a new TV ad his political advocacy group, Campaign for Vermont, plans to air in advance of this winter's legislative session.

In a press release announcing the ad, Lisman promises that future ads "will focus on specific reforms for which we will be advocating" next year, "like our detailed proposals to transform state government with transparency, establish ethics laws for elected officials and build the best education system in the world."

But this one's totally devoid of specifics. Just a lot of chatter about making Vermont affordable, creating jobs and helping families become more secure.

"No one calls for brighter colors or cuter puppies or offers to teach the world to sing in harmony," the Burlington Free Press' Terri Hallenbeck notes, "but you get the drift."

Here's what it looks like:

 

Continue reading "Lisman's Campaign for Vermont Drops $60K on New Ads" »

October 04, 2013

In Health Exchange Roll-Out, Shumlin Distinguishes Between "Nothing-Burgers" and "Something-Burgers"

NothingburgerTwo days after his administration launched a new web-based health insurance marketplace, Gov. Peter Shumlin said Thursday that problems plaguing Vermont Health Connect were a little more "something-burger" than "nothing-burger."

At the same time, Shumlin said his administration was "making great progress" in resolving glitches and accelerating connectivity to the online exchange, through which 100,000 Vermonters are expected to buy health insurance. 

"This is a good news story," the governor said Thursday afternoon at a Statehouse press conference. "This is the biggest technology transformation in health care in the history of America. We are delivering on the promise that was made to help low-income people get access to insurance."

In discussing the system's roll-out, Shumlin found himself revisiting a prime metaphor he cooked up at another press conference two weeks before. At the time, the governor was asked about his administration's recent admission that Vermont Health Connect's online payment processing system would not debut until November 1 — a month later than promised.

Continue reading "In Health Exchange Roll-Out, Shumlin Distinguishes Between "Nothing-Burgers" and "Something-Burgers"" »

October 02, 2013

Grocers Honor "Big Dick" Mazza with Ridiculous Roast

Mazza.KaleWho knew Lt. Gov. Phil Scott and Senate President Pro Tem John Campbell (D-Windsor) were so theatrically inclined?

Well, the secret's out now that the two have starred in a video roast of their colleague, Sen. Dick Mazza (D-Grand Isle), produced by the Vermont Grocers' Association. (If you're not familiar with the legend of Dick Mazza, BTW, you should definitely check out Seven Days' 2011 profile of him, written by my former colleague, Andy Bromage.)

Mazza, whose family has operated Mazza's General Store in Colchester since 1954, was presented with the industry trade group's "person of the year" award at its annual convention last Friday at South Burlington's DoubleTree Hotel.

With it came the 15-minute video written, in part, by Scott and Campbell and starring such notable Green Mountain thespians as Gov. Peter Shumlin, Congressman Peter Welch (D-Vt.) and former governor Jim Douglas. It was directed by local filmmaker Dennis Bathory-Kitsz.

"We have some talented actors masquerading as politicians," says VGA president Jim Harrison. 

Continue reading "Grocers Honor "Big Dick" Mazza with Ridiculous Roast" »

August 21, 2013

Video: Fifty Years After Joining March on Washington, Sanders Looks Back

Sanders.UCFifty years ago next week, a young University of Chicago student activist took a bus to the nation's capital to take part in the March on Washington.

Now a 71-year-old U.S. senator from Vermont, that same man is reminiscing about what he calls "one of the most memorable and important speeches in the modern history of the United States of America."

In a video produced by his Senate office, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) appears in front of the Lincoln Memorial, where Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his "I Have a Dream" speech in August 1963. Gesticulating to the camera like a museum docent or a college professor, the senator recalls what he saw that day.

"I remember that very well, not by simply seeing it on TV or reading about it," Sanders says, pointing in the direction of the Washington Monument. "I was way, way back there — one of the several hundred thousand people who were here."

(Pictured above: Sanders leading a protest against discriminatory housing in 1962 at the University of Chicago.)

Continue reading "Video: Fifty Years After Joining March on Washington, Sanders Looks Back " »

July 25, 2013

Rod MacIver Fought a Bogus Shelburne Traffic Stop and Won. Now He Wants Damages.

Rodmciver

Artist Rod MacIver ranted and raved at a Shelburne cop when he was pulled over last December for running a red light.

"I think you're completely out to lunch," he told Officer Jason Lawton. "What are you doing, smoking pot or something?"

Lawton ticketed MacIver, but after the artist reviewed a cruiser cam video of the traffic stop, it became clear his truck passed through the Shelburne Road intersection under a yellow light.

A judge dismissed the ticket. But MacIver wasn't about to let bygones be bygones. He posted the video online, created a web site to shame the Shelburne PD and is taking the town to small claims court. 

Reporter Charles Eichacker covered MacIver's case in a web-only story for sevendaysvt.com. Click here to read it.

Here's video of the stop:

 

July 24, 2013

Dean: "And then we're going to Staten Island... YARGGGGHHHHH!!!"

You gotta hand it to Ho-Ho. 

For a guy undoubtedly tormented by obnoxious references to his scream heard 'round the world, former governor Howard Dean sure knows how to poke fun at himself.

At a fundraiser for New York City mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio last Thursday, the Burlingtonian reenacted his blood-curdling roar — five-boroughs style. Dean first dipped into NYC politics last month when he endorsed de Blasio, the city's public advocate. and put the might of his political action committee, Democracy for America, behind the candidate. (Correction: Democracy for New York City, an affiliate of Dean's Democracy for America, has endorsed de Blasio for mayor. DFA, the parent organization, has not endorsed in the New York City mayoral race.)

Might not be enough to knock former congressman Anthony Weiner out of the race, but, well, Weiner's doing a pretty good job of doing that himself.

Dean's reenactment has gotten plenty of media play in the last 24 hours, but it hasn't quite gone viral — yet. As of this posting, just 5900 people have viewed this fantastic performance:

 

Continue reading "Dean: "And then we're going to Staten Island... YARGGGGHHHHH!!!"" »

May 14, 2013

As Vermont Senate Nears Adjournment, Nunchucks Are Swung

White.AyerIt's difficult to capture the loopiness of the 48 hours preceding adjournment of the Vermont legislature.

Confusion reigns. Recesses abound. Tensions rise and fall. Pizza is eaten. Budgets are passed. Reporters get confused and quickly lose interest. 

Such is the state of affairs at 8 p.m. Tuesday as the House and Senate labor to finish the people's business and get the hell out of Dodge. 

We'll have (slightly) more serious coverage of the 2013 legislature's thrilling conclusion in Wednesday's print edition of Seven Days, but to give you, dear reader, a flavor of the moment in Montpelier, we give you this gem of a video of Senate President Pro Tem John Campbell (D-Windsor) demonstrating his totally sweet nunchuck chops:

[Full disclosure: This video was filmed late Monday afternoon, though we are quite sure the Windsor County senator would be more than willing to stage a repeat performance tonight.]

 

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