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Seven Days Blogs: Freyne Land

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Sunday, December 30, 2007

Out with the old?


Saturday, December 29, 2007

This & That

Bridget_burns A treat to see the smiling face of Bridget Burns yesterday on the Church Street Marketplace in Big, Bad Burlap.

Usually the only place we catch Bridget is behind the front desk at a certain successful local Vermont weekly where she's the office manager. But Seven Days has a week off!

In her free time, Bridget's been busy in the fight against the truly anti-American Bush-Cheney Iraq War. She's a reminder to this gracefully-aging Vietnam War protester that the "younger generation" of today is not silent.  If anything, they're ignored by the "mainstream media."

Vtw_07 Take a look at how 18 different panelists on Vermont Pubic Television's "Vermont This Week"  rated the year's "top" stories as compared to 39 "viewers."

To the press, the action by almost 40 Vermont towns to back resolutions calling for the impeachment of the current president of the United States was no big deal. Here we are, once again, leading the nation at the grassroots level and the story just barely squeaked onto the press' list in 10th position.

To the VTW viewers, however, it came in 4th.


Compare for yourself:

As selected by "Vermont This Week" panel members (18 votes)

1.    Vermont Yankee cooling tower collapse causes alarm         
2.    Federal Court upholds Vermont’s emissions law            
3.    Climate change dominates much of legislative session            
4.    Democrats fail to override Governor’s vetoes          
5.    Leahy assumes leading role in battle with White House    
6.    Catamount Health begins                      
7.    PSB OK’s industrial wind project for Sheffield            
8.    Verizon seeks to sell landlines to FairPoint               
9.    Valentine’s Day blizzard sees up to 30” fall          
10.  Communities back impeachment resolution               

As selected by "Vermont This Week" viewers (39 votes)

1.    Democrats fail to override Governor's vetoes            
2.    Leahy assumes leading role in battle with White House
3.    Vermont Yankee cooling tower collapse causes alarm
4.    Communities back impeachment resolution   
5.    Rep. Welch targeted by anti-war activists
6.    Federal court upholds Vermont's emissions law
7.    School spending caps increases
8.    Climate change dominates much of legislative session
9.    Valentine's Day blizzard sees up to 30" fall      
10.  Catamount Health begins

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Bhutto assassination

Bhutto_2 And is anyone out there surprised by the news?

Was it not inevitable?

I heard it when I tuned in Peter Mallary filling in for Mark Johnson on WDEV.

My first gut reaction was: Amazing that Benazir had survived this long since returning in October to her native Pakistan where her family had been a political dynasty and her father hanged. She was the first woman to lead an Islamic state. There the Harvard grad also served five years in prison - mostly solitary confinement.

Such a courageous woman.

I won't pretend to know anything about "Pakistan" beyond how to spell it.

It's 10:20 a.m. - no statements from Vermont's congressional trio... yet.

Any thoughts?


From U.S. Sen. Patrick J. Leahy [12:38 PM):

Benazir_2 "This is a sorrowful day for Pakistan and for people of goodwill across the globe.

"This election is important in what it will show about the vigor of democratic institutions in Pakistan.  The lack of real democracy and the crippling of Pakistan’s judiciary have been grave setbacks.  The earlier protests by Pakistan’s lawyers in defense of the rule of law helped show the world what is at stake, and now, with this tragedy, the whole world again is watching Pakistan.

"The people of Pakistan deserve to know that the people of the United States stand with them as they struggle to restore constitutional government and to prevail over thuggery.  They will want to know that our military aid is no longer blind to their aspirations.  And they need to know that we share their profound sense of loss."

From U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders [1:11 PM]:

“Despite the grave dangers she faced, Benazir Bhutto showed enormous courage by continuing to participate in Pakistan’s democratic process.  I am saddened and outraged by this cowardly assassination and I urge the Pakistani government to undertake a vigorous investigation to apprehend those responsible for this terrible deed.  Pakistan, a nation armed with nuclear weapons, is now in the midst of dangerous political crisis.  The United States must increase its diplomatic efforts in working with the democratic forces in Pakistan to promote stability, democracy and peace.”

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Boxing Day

Boxing_day Or St. Stephen's Day as it was known in the Old Country of dear Ol' Papa Freyne. The day after Christmas.

Took this shot at Borders Books on Church Street in downtown Burlap this afternoon. Had a nice chat with Charlotte who was in town from Boston visiting her son who has been working at UVM for a year. Loves it, said she. 

Should have taken a picture of her, but I was feeling shy - Charlotte traveled with the aid of her walker. Has a hip-replacement operation scheduled for March, she told me. Spent most of her life in San Diego.

Then veteran Burlington jazz musician/playwright  Steve Goldberg appeared. Always remember the image of Steve playing his trumpet on the balcony outside Mayor Bernie Sanders' office to kick off the first Burlington Discover Jazz 1984. Perfect timing - Steverino had both of his hips replaced.

I called out to him and he swung over our way. Steve's 68, about her age. He told her how he rides a bike and plays tennis. Boosted Charlotte's spirits.

Addison Took this shot of Snake Mountain yesterday from across Dead Creek. Coming home from the Empire State was I, the official land of my birth.

Hadn't been there - over the Crown Point Bridge - in more than a decade.

They've spruced things up a little.

Yours truly's survived the holiday. In fine health. No big rigamarole. But I could not help but notice the layer of stress many others appeared to be bearing. The annual ritual of family obligations. Stirred the memory of those Irish-Catholic Christmases of my childhood - the early 1950s and 60s in Westchester County. Christmases that usually tore this baby in the family's innards apart in a rather Long Days Journey into Night way, if you know what I mean.

Jesus, Mary and Joseph!

A wee bit damp here at the flat in Burlap, but it's the unexpected that makes life interesting, eh?

Monday, December 24, 2007

Christmas Eve '07

Recycleeve Also "Recycle Day" in Ward 5 on the South Side of the People's Republic of Burlington, Vermont.

And I was up early this morning - had some "extra stuff" for the Recycle Man.

Rick was a new face. He also looked my age - 58. Turned out I had a good eye. He's 57. Here come the Baby-Boomers!

Hey, we'll work 'till we drop, right?

Told me he'd worked at E.B. and A.C. Whiting on Pine Street, a stone's throw away, for 32 years [they made plastic brush bristles]. Whiting closed about two years ago, moved out of state. is in there now.

"Got to do something," he said.

A_wet_xmas_eve My "extra stuff" was wet newspapers. Good thing I had a pile because Freyne Land's downstairs, "mother-in-law" apartment got a wee bath last night.

Looks like a little rodent hole from last summer is behind it. And, yes, I caught the little critter - a mouse - but he obviously left his mark.

Called the landlord at 7 a.m. and he had this fine crew over by 8.

Everything under control.

Great vacuum.

Nothing like good suction, eh?

Merry Christmas, folks!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Following the $ and the flesh...

Yes, that was our junior U.S. senator on the CBS Evening News with Katie Couric last night giving the Pentagon, specifically the Air Force, a well-earned hard time. So much for his critics who assured us no one would pay any heed to him when he arrived in the United States Senate:

Bernie_122107The idea that over $200 million in spare parts that has not yet come into the Air Force is already marked for disposal!” said Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt. “They’re planning to get rid of it and it hasn’t even come in!”

Sanders wants Congress to cut Air Force funding if it doesn't get a serious grip on its inventory problem.

It costs up to $30 million dollars a year just to store the stuff they don't need.

Nobody at the Air Force would agree to an interview, but told us they're "taking steps" to fix the problems and to "serve the best interest of the American public."

“We have almost $19 billion in absolute waste in spare parts in the Air Force,” Sanders said.

They are taxpayer dollars squandered in the wild blue yonder.

Watch him yourself here.

Then, this afternoon, I bumped into these four gents at the Green Door Studio around the corner off Pine Street. Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse?

Iraq_vets_1207 Four Iraq War veterans...from l-to-r: Eli Wright, served as an army combat medic with the Ist Infantry Division; Jon Michael Turner, 8th Marines; Liam Madden, 31st Marine Expeditionary Force; Matt Howard, two tours in Iraq with the Marines. Wright's the only one still on active duty over at Ft. Drum.

What are they doing?

They're cutting up their old uniforms to make paper and other works of art.

Everybody's got to do something, right?

Combat_paper "I am shredding these uniforms because they are symbols of a betrayal," said Madden, "and I think it’s pretty liberating."

Feels good?

"Feels real good," said he.

Making paper out of old soldier uniforms?

Check it out. I missed the Seven Days story last April, too.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Douglas Not Surprised

Statehouse_snow Republican Gov. Jim Douglas told reporters at his Statehouse press conference Thursday that he is not surprised by the gubernatorial candidacy of Anthony Pollina, the distinguished Progressive. Tony the Prog has come out of the candidate closet with a gubernatorial campaign ad in this week's Seven Days. He's looking for money and he's looking for paid campaign staff.

Asked about Pollina's candidacy at his weekly presser, Gov. Scissorhands said he's always assumed Pollina was running.

"He’s indicated he plans to [run] publicly," said Douglas,  "and is raising money, I understand."

Mr. Pollina continues on the WDEV radio airwaves with his one-hour afternoon talk show that airs four days each week. Asked if he thought it was kosher for Tony the Prog to continue with the talk show while running for governor, the current Guv said he was "not a federal official so I don’t know the FCC rules, but I guess I’m not too concerned about his listening audience and what impact it might have on the outcome of the election."

Q. Would you welcome him into the race?

DOUGLAS:  Well, I certainly expect a credible  well-funded opponent. I don’t know who it might be at this point. He’s certainly indicated an interest in running and there may be others. I’m really not worried about that. I’m focused on the immediate future. I’ve got a couple major presentations to the Legislature as you know.  This is a time when we’re putting together a budget in the most challenging time that I can remember.


Yours truly was late to Doug Racine's 11th-hour attempt to keep his name in play as a gubernatorial possibility.  The Ds have been getting desperate to come up with a gubernatorial horse.  Ol' Dougie called a bunch of my press colleagues refuting what appeared in a little item in Wednesday's "Inside Track" about the Chittenden County state senator [who lost to Douglas in 2002] being "not interested" in running in 2008. "Trust me," I wrote.

Funny. Racine did not call me.

Mention of the "Pollina for Governor" campaign print ad, and my comment about Racine not being interested in running [his name had been floated as a kind of last-chance Democrat possibility in the mainstream press the first week of December] made it into a story in Thursday's distinguished Brattleboro Reformer.

I'm flattered.


It also has been a hot topic over in the Green Mountain Daily Blog which Freyne Land links to column-right [a hot topic that I missed yesterday, sorry, Odum]

However, I stand by what I wrote. State Sen. Racine the distinguished auto/truck dealer is correct when he tells The Reformer I didn't call him about it. That's because we spoke face-to-face at the Statehouse.

Racine is not running for governor in 2008.

Hey, I like the guy!

Thursday Snow Jobs

Snowday Sure "looks" like Christmastime, eh?

Nice fluffy dose of the white stuff this morning. There's a shot of the street out front. Burlap's South End - Five Sisters Neighborhood.

Gonna go grab a little coffee then hit Gov. Jim Douglas' weekly press conference - which he hasn't held for a few weeks.

In fact, this one has been moved over to the Ceremonial Office at the Statehouse for a prime photo-op.

The_guv There, according to Ol' Jason's missive,  our beloved Guv [left] "will join officials from Medicare and the Green Mountain Council of Boy Scouts to encourage eligible senior citizens to enroll in the federal Medicare prescription drug program.

Thousands of Vermont’s senior citizens have taken advantage of the federal prescription drug benefit implemented in January 2006.  According to officials, however, there are several thousand more Vermonters who are eligible but who have not yet enrolled."

Pollina_1 Anybody notice the "Pollina Governor ‘08" ad in the current print edition of Seven Days?

It's now or never time for Tony the Prog...some say.

That's Anthony [right] in a recent shot taken at Uncommon Grounds on Church Street. Think the long hair would be a plus or a minus?

The campaign print ad, "Paid for by Pollina for Governor," says, "We're looking for volunteers, donors and campaign staff to help build this important grassroots campaign."


Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Play it as dealt....

Dr Started off with an 8 a.m. doctor's appointment up at UHC.

Got the call on Monday morning - the first one from a human, telling me I had the appointment with Dr. Morris, the neurologist.

Hey, I do what I'm told.

In the afternoon, the computer called to remind me of it.


Time is money. Got to have patients fill the time slots.

Only problem is, the appointment was a mistake.

It had been six weeks since last I'd seen Doc Morris. But he hadn't wanted to see me for six months. The appointment was a UHC mistake. The Doc said I won't be billed.

Nice of 'em, eh?

Next stop?

Lake Champlain Chocolates on Pine Street. A couple Christmas presents to mail west. Problem was one of the recipients operates through a post office box and the LCC rep  informed me they don't mail gift-boxes to a P.O. box address.

Bummer. Life goes on....

Hey, there's Ho-Ho on with Wolf Blitzer on CNN. Looking a little bedraggled. DNC Chairman Howard Dean turned 59 last month.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

The Tuesday Crunch

City_hall_park_1216 It's a little after 7 a.m. and +3 degrees in Burlington, Vermont.

Listening to Roger Hill give the weather on WDEV as only Roger Hill can.

Thanks, Roger.

That's a shot taken yesterday afternoon of the fountain in Burlington's City Hall Park.

The days of the long shadows, eh?

Roger says sunshine this morning, too!

Take it when we can.

It's an "Inside Track" Tuesday here in Freyne Land.

Lot of balls in the air.

Was just thinking....that first "Inside Track" hit the street in 1981, soon after that Bernie Sanders fellow took over the mayor's office in city hall.

Whatever happened to him?

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