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October 2010

October 31, 2010

Rasmussen Survey: Shumlin Leads Dubie 50-45 Percent

IMG_1582 In a new Rasmussen Reports survey of 750 likely Vermont voters, Democrat Peter Shumlin remains slightly ahead of  Republican Brian Dubie.

The report, just released to the public, shows Shumlin earning 50 percent of the likely vote and Dubie 45 percent. Three percent of those surveyed were undecided and only 1 percent said they were voting for another candidate.

The survey was conducted on October 28. It's the first survey conducted by Rasmussen since September, when Shumlin officially earned his party's nomination. In that poll, Shumlin led Dubie by three points, 49-46 — a result that fell within the margin of error of 4.5 percent.

Continue reading "Rasmussen Survey: Shumlin Leads Dubie 50-45 Percent" »

October 30, 2010

The Final Countdown: Election 2010

BombThis is it, folks: the final three days before Armageddon, er, the Rapture. No, wait. Oh, right -- Election Day 2010.

Here are a few political tidbits and observations as we make the final mad dash for the ballot box.

Vermont's politicos were shocked — shocked! – that the Rutland Herald and Barre Montpelier Times Argus endorsed Republican Brian Dubie over Democrat Peter Shumlin yesterday.

The reason?

Throughout the fall, the Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial pages of the Herald (and to some extent its sister paper, the Times Argus) have lambasted Dubie for shedding his "aw shucks," nice-guy demeanor and running a campaign copied from the GOP Congressional playbook.

Continue reading "The Final Countdown: Election 2010" »

Vermonters Rally for Sanity in DC


***updated below***

I was in Washington, DC, this weekend for the amazing and inspiring Online News Association conference, and I couldn't resist putting on my reporter hat and dropping by the "Rally to Restore Sanity." I was there from about 9 until 10:30 a.m. or so, before the rally actually started. There were already thousands of people hanging out in front of the Capitol building, and more streaming in the whole time.

Honestly, I didn't know much about this rally before I showed up, other than the fact that some news organizations had been telling employees they couldn't go, and other news organizations had been making fun of them.

I wasn't even planning to go, but I got up early this morning to walk around DC, and ended up running into a bus-load of people on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial at 7 a.m. Turns out they were public radio listeners from Albany, NY who had just rolled into town. Apparently, bus tickets were part of the WAMC pledge drive  — ironic, given that public radio staffers weren't allowed to attend the rally.

Then as I made my way toward the Metro station to head back to the conference, I ran into hordes of people, some of them in costumes, some of them carrying clever, hand-lettered signs. I decided to skip a couple of the morning conference sessions to take pictures and interview some of the participants.

I'm so glad I did. Political rallies, as a rule, are not funny, but this one was. Most of the people I saw were poking fun, not at conservatives or liberals, but at extremism in general. I saw a lot of signs with messages like "The end is not near," and "Chill out dammit."

It didn't take long to find some Vermonters; I passed Tommy and Leslie Walz, a retired couple from Barre, holding "Vermonter for Sanity" signs. They told me they flew up on their own, though they had heard of groups taking buses. Tommy said they came to the rally because "we believe in sanity." Also, they thought it would be fun.

I also ran into Susan and Parker Richards (pictured), a mother-son duo who drove up from Jericho. Susan said this was the first rally she'd been to since her student days at Boston University. The last rally she attended was in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1969. "It was for peace, love and understanding," she recalled. "I think we were playing Beatles' songs."

Continue reading "Vermonters Rally for Sanity in DC" »

Vermont Yankee Sale: Trick or Treat?

IMG_1583 Talk about your October surprises: A blog post on the conservative website Vermont Tiger is alleging Democrat Peter Shumlin secretly favors relicensing the plant if it were sold to new owners and a power purchase agreement with Vermont utilities were in place.

Or so Shumlin allegedly said during a secret meeting with anonymous "businessmen" more than a month ago.

And this is news? An anonymously sourced blog post on a conservative website that consistently shills for Dubie is given credibility on at least two of the state's top TV stations by two of the better reporters? Really?

Don't get me wrong, I enjoy reading Vermont Tiger every day, even two or three times, for some insightful analysis and conservative perspective. But, given their Dubie drumbeat forgive me for being skeptical when they attempt to stray into the world of reportage.

Continue reading "Vermont Yankee Sale: Trick or Treat?" »

Vermont House and Senate Races to Watch

Unlike the U.S. Congress, it's highly unlikely that Democrats will lose control of either the Vermont House and Senate, but the GOP could begin to close what is now an enormous gap between themselves and their rivals.

In the Senate, Democrats hold a 23 to 7 edge over the Republicans, while in the House the Democrats have 95 of 150 seats; Republicans hold 47 seats; Progressives five, and there are three independents.

In short, Dems have a “super” majority — enough votes to muster a two-thirds vote to override any potential gubernatorial veto. They proved that last year by overriding Gov. Jim Douglas' vetoes of gay marriage and the state budget.

Continue reading "Vermont House and Senate Races to Watch" »

October 29, 2010

The Unluckiest Drunk Driver Ever (Not Tom Salmon)

Road Worriers Vermont Auditor Tom Salmon is getting all the headlines for his drunk-driving cruiser-cam video, just ordered released by a Superior Court judge in Montpelier.

But an even unluckier drunk driver emerges in the pages of a Vermont Superme Court decision released today.

According to the ruling, Jason Young left Barre in his pickup truck shortly after 10 p.m. on a midsummer's eve in 2009. He was headed home to Marshfield. Young was out with friends after work and "had a couple of drinks."

On the way home, driving along Plainfield Brook Road, he noticed a vehicle approaching from behind. Hoping to lose the car, Young turned right onto Cassie Street "assuming the vehicle would continue straight past."

To Young's dismay, the vehicle followed him. So he turned right again, at the next opportunity, this time onto Valley View Circle. Again, the car followed Young.

So Young looked for a driveway to turn around in. He found one and pulled in "assum[ing] the vehicle behind [him] would continue past," the court decision says.

It did not. Young thought that, "coincidentally," the person in the car must live there. He was right. The person did live there. And that person was an off-duty cop.

Continue reading "The Unluckiest Drunk Driver Ever (Not Tom Salmon)" »

Regional Chamber Chief Says U.S. Chamber Ads in "Bad Taste"

Logo Across the country, regional chambers of commerce are distancing themselves from the role being played in the national elections by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

A report on the alt-news website AlterNet found that a number of local chapters have publically disavowed the national chamber's tactics and its heavy-handed support for Republicans. Especially in states where the chamber is advertising, such as neighborhing New Hampshire and upstate New York.

The U.S. Chamber is not advertising in Vermont, but the Lake Champlain Regional Chamber of Commerce has received a number of questions and concerns from its 2500 members about its affiliation with the national group. In response, executive director Tom Torti issued a letter to its members (see below).

"We have heard from members that are unhappy with the positions taken by the U.S. Chamber. Our perspective is that they have a right to weigh in as their organization sees fit based on their process for deciding those things," Torti told Seven Days. "It's important to note that we do not always agree with the U.S. Chamber's views; however, we do remain members in order to access research and publications. We also receive regular updates on what is happening in Washington. The updates are fairly nonpartisan and fact based."

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Firefighters Feeling Burned by Dubie?

Firefighters5 The Professional Firefighters of Vermont have been increasing their visibility this week in get-out-the-vote efforts for local House and Senate candidates as well as two Democrats running for statewide office.

They've cut a radio ad for Democrat Jim Condos, the candidate they are supporting for Secretary of State, that includes GOP Sen. Vince Illuzzi (R-Essex/Orleans), and are making phone calls for Democrat Steve Howard, who is running for lieutenant governor.

What about Republican Brian Dubie?

"We are assessing internally how we're going to distribute our resources to our candidates as we head into the final weekend," said Matt Vinci, president of the PFV. "We are doing a lot of work for our secretary of state and lieutenant governor candidates, and our efforts across the board and we have we're involved in legislative races and we're going to be out there working for candidates."

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October 28, 2010

Vermont Newspaper Circulation Still Dropping, But More Slowly

DSC04419 U.S. daily newspaper circulation fell 5 percent in the last six months, according to audit figures just released — and that's good compared to the freefall dailies have experienced over the last few years.

So, how are Vermont's dailies faring? Better than the national average in most cases, and notably worse in a couple others.

According to semiannual figures released by the Audit Bureau of Circulations, the Gannett-owned Burlington Free Press, the state's largest daily, actually boosted its Sunday circulation by 1.1 percent — from 42,180 copies to 42,679. For the same period last year, the Freeps sustained a 9.7 percent plunge in Sunday circ.

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Energy Exec Tells Dubie: Prove Allegations or Drop Them

F-greenmiles1 * updated below - Blittersdorf files lawsuit*

A leading supporter of Democrat Peter Shumlin is appealing personally to Republican Brian Dubie to either prove allegations of corruption and trading campaign contributions for receiving tax credits or drop the issue.

David Blittersdorf, a cofounder of NRG Systems and now the chief executive at AllEarth Renewables, talked to Dubie personally Monday night and asked him to drop repeated claims that Blittersdorf provided campaIgn contributions to Shumlin in exchange for a seat on a board that eventually provided his firm with $4.3 million in tax credits.

This is the second time in a week that the Dubie campaign has been confronted about allegations it has posted on a campaign-funded website that lists what it considers "ethical lapses" by Shumlin.

Continue reading "Energy Exec Tells Dubie: Prove Allegations or Drop Them" »

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