Blurt: Seven Days Staff Blog

NOTE: Blurt has been retired and is no longer updated regularly. For new content, follow these links:

OFF MESSAGE: Vermont News and Politics
BITE CLUB: Food and Drink Blog
ARTS AND MOVIES NEWS: Updated at sevendaysvt.com

« December 2008 | Main | February 2009 »

January 2009

January 20, 2009

Watching the Inauguration at Work

Obama Didn't make it to D.C.? Can't make it to one of those public viewing parties?

There are plenty of places to watch the inauguration online.

I'm keeping up with coverage on CNN Live. CNN has teamed up with Facebook, so I can see my friends' status updates along the right-hand side as I'm watching. Genius.

The stream is pretty slow for me, probably because everyone else here is watching, too, but I'm still getting the impressive visuals.

WPTZ has a live stream, too.

The Free Press is liveblogging.

Here's a link to all of our coverage on Blurt.




Inauguration: Black-tie Gala Monday Night

022 Seven Days correspondent Kevin J. Kelley is in Washington D.C. covering the inauguration. Here's his latest report:

Here are a couple more shots from a Mon night black-tie dinner at the Mellon Auditorium near the White House. It was sponsored by an international conservation caucus. Big celeb turnout — actors Edward Norton, Bo Derek, Robert Duvall, along with various African ministers whose countries make some effort to protect wildlife/resources.
 
The Boys Choir of Kenya performed; that's them in the group photo singing a hero's welcome song in Swahili in honor of Obama.
 
016 The two in the other photo are (right) Mitchell Mwamudo and (left) Frederick Masambaya. Many members of the choir, founded in 1998, come from slums in Nairobi. The choir effectively rescues kids from lives of poverty and, possibly, crime and drugs. This is their sixth trip to the United States; first time in Washington, although they've performed in Vermont!

Who's That Girl?

IMG_9630 Do you recognize the woman clapping on the left in this still? You may have spotted her in one of the many station promos CNN is running ad nauseum during its inauguration coverage. Don't blink or you might miss her (they cut faster than I do).

If my eyes serve me correctly, she is Rachel Weston, one of our own State Representatives. I remember seeing her smiling face in some of the DNC footage which must have made an impression at CNN because she made it into the final cut of this promo that runs every 20 minutes. Has anyone else spotted Rachel on CNN?

Way to represent Rachel! Happy Inauguration everyone!

January 19, 2009

Food Poll: What Warms You Up in Winter?

Hi Foodies! Starting today, I'll be posting a food-related poll every Monday. Here's the first one. Take a little break from all the inauguration coverage and vote.


If you select "other," make sure to leave a comment about what you like to eat during the long Vermont winters.

Inauguration: Crowds Converge on D.C.

108 Ed. note: Seven Days correspondent Kevin J. Kelley sends this report from Washington, D.C.

Surprisingly, the 6:35 a.m. AirTran flight from BTV to Balt-Wash Airport was only two-thirds filled. Not as much VT traffic to the inauguration on a cheapo flight as I had imagined.

But downtown DC is aswarm with celebrants, soldiers in camo, and hawkers of inaugural kitsch. I've been to many demonstrations here, including some of the biggies during the Vietnam war, but I've never seen Washington as crowded as it is today. Though it's impossible to estimate with any real accuracy, it looks like African-Americans account for about half of the throng on the National Mall.

"Yes, we did," an Obama t-shirt peddler is chanting to passers-by as I write. Pride is palpable on many faces. All the Obama paraphernalia isn't needed to convey the dramatic shift in mood among rank-and-file Americans.

103 "As an African-American I did not expect to see this happening in my lifetime," said Robert Tignor, a 64-year-old retired judge who has lived all his life in Washington. "We're all a bit apprehensive about the state of the economy and the image of this country in the rest of the world, but I and everybody I know feels that there's not a better person or team of people to lead at this moment. It's like being on an airplane that's been out of control, that may be damaged, and you know you're in trouble. But finally someone you can trust is taking charge and you're starting to hope that maybe we'll all land safely after all."

Esther Iverem, an African-American writer, echoed that sentiment:  "I'm not into hero worship, but It's like a weight is being lifted off us. It's like the end of the Dark Ages."

And here's Jim Doughtery, a Sierra Club leader: "I don't think this would be possible in 95 percent of countries. So many people around the world have been looking askance at the United States for the last eight years, but now they're looking at us in amazement."

Yes, we did.

Pics From Washington, DC

124 106

Seven Days correspondent Kevin J. Kelley is in Washington, covering the inauguration for the Kenyan newspaper, The Nation.

He'll also be sending us updates, which we'll post here.

These are photos of:

  1. A kitschy Obama painting at a downtown DC gallery."
  2. A scene from The Mall late Monday afternoon. Says Kevin, "The Mall is lined with jumbotron TVs that are currently showing replays of yesterday's concert."

More as we get it.

What if Israel Occupied Vermont?

IfIsraelInvadedVermont "It's hard to get accurate information; Seven Days has been shut down; two editors have been replaced at the [Burlington Free Press]; Shay Totten has suffered a questionable bicycle accident trying to cover the situation at the checkpoints... Life is hard in occupied Burlington."

And so begins the "unimaginable dystopian fantasy" of an Israeli occupation of Vermont, as someone imagined for a new pamphlet being circulated by Vermonters for a Just Peace in Palestine/Israel (VTJP). In an effort to bring the Palestinian issue home — literally — the local nonprofit, which supports ending Israel's occupation of Palestine, describes bulldozed homes, razor wire surrounding the Old North End, a shutdown of the Peace and Justice Center and Mayor Kiss targeted for assassination. (Neither the hardline Kurt Wrightists nor the pro-Israel Montrollians are claiming responsibility.) There's even a map showing Israel's "eastern fence" to "cement its hold on the Connecticut River Valley" and Israeli-controlled "Bennington Strip," where one-third of Vermonters live in poverty. Click here to read it.

First the Art Hop and now this? C'mon people, can't we all just get along?

Clearly, sympathy for the Palestinians' plight runs high in Burlington, as indicated by last weekend's march on Church Street to end the occupation in Gaza. Approximately 170 people braved the sphincter-clenching cold to demand an end to all the bloodshed and misery. (Thankfully, by this morning, both Israel and Hamas had declared unilateral ceasefires.) Sadly, the march's message was slightly marred by the presence of Steve Ekberg and his inexplicably confrontational "Obama is a motherfucker" sign. Guess every village needs an idiot.

For the record, Seven Days remains open for business, Mayor Kiss is still in power (at least until March 3) and Shay Totten's "questionable" cycling accident occurred when he got his pant leg stuck in the bike chain. D'oh!

Spectrum Youth and Family Services Wins National Award

Spectrumlogo Last week, Seven Days learned that our friends at Spectrum Youth and Family Services in Burlington are once again in the national spotlight, and this time it has nothing to do with mutilated fingers or Playboy centerfolds appearing on snowboards.

The National Network for Youth a nationwide organization that champions the needs of runaway, homeless and other disconnected youth, awarded Spectrum its 2009 "Agency of the Year Award of Excellence." This award is given annually to one agency that plays a vital role in the healthy development of youth, families and communities in their local community.

Last year alone, Spectrum served more than 3000 homeless, foster and at-risk youth. Their flagship program is the Spectrum One Stop, which includes a drop-in center open seven days a week, an emergency shelter, substance abuse and mental health counseling and a job skills training program.

Spectrum will receive the award on Tuesday, Jan 27 at the National Network for Youth's 2009 symposium in Washington, D.C.

Nice work, folks!

Obama Approval

Obama President Elect Obama is apparently receiving high approval ratings, even from people who didn't vote for him. Vermonter Steve Benen, who blogs for Washington Monthly, expressed surprise about this the other day.

But after spending Christmas with my family in North Carolina, I'm not surprised. I had some interesting conversations with my conservative relatives — including my 89-year-old, World-War-II-vet, Catholic grandfather — all of whom supported McCain.

All of them were ready to give Obama a chance — even my uncle who loves Rush Limbaugh. My grandfather actually told me he was "hopeful" that Obama could bring about "real change," because "we sure need it."

These are people who mocked me mercilessly when I supported Bill Clinton as a teenager. People who loathe Al Gore and John Kerry. 

I'm not sure why they've changed their minds, but I know that something has definitely changed. Honest to God, I never thought I'd see the day that we'd both look at the same politician and see the same thing. But here we are. I wonder how long it can last?

Anybody else have unusual Obama approval anecdotes?

Interview With the 'Hope' Portrait Artist

TPMtv interviews artist Shepard Fairey. He's the guy behind the iconic "Hope" and "Progress" portraits of Obama.

He's also responsible for those Andre the Giant images that pop up every now and then — there used to be one spray painted on the low concrete wall by the Fletcher Free Library. Not sure if it's still there.

Stuck in VT (VIDEOS)

Solid State (Music)

Mistress Maeve (Sex)

All Rights Reserved © Da Capo Publishing Inc. 1995-2012 | PO Box 1164, Burlington, VT 05402-1164 | 802-864-5684