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September 27, 2013

The Scoreboard: This Week's Winners and Losers

Scoreboard.newWho won and lost the week in Vermont news and politics?

Health care, hate, cops, women, congressmen, planes and Bolles.

Here's the Scoreboard for the week of Friday, Sept. 27:


F-35 supporters — Vermont remains atop the Air Force's list to host a squadron of F-35s, according to a final environmental report released this week. While the top brass won't make a final decision for at least 30 days (starting next Friday), it's sure looking good for those hoping to replace the Vermont Guard's F-16s with the next-generation fighter jets. 

Binders full of (Democratic) women — Former governor Madeleine Kunin led an expertly choreographed roll-out this week of a new effort to reverse Vermont's glaring gender imbalance in its top political ranks. But Republican and Progressive women? They need not apply.

Welch leadership cred — U.S. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) Assistant Minority Leader James Clyburn (D-S.C.) and, um, Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.) held a Capitol Hill press conference Thursday calling on Congress to raise the nation's debt ceiling without any other political meddling. Welch earned his star turn by talking 185 of his colleagues into signing a letter calling for the same.

Geographic (not party) unity — Burlington's New and Old North Ends joined forces Monday night to break the Queen City's redistricting logjam. Northerly Progressives, Democrats and the council's lone Republican backed the new plan, while southerly independents and Democrats unsuccessfully opposed it.

Chittenden County cops — As the Burlington Free Press' omnipresent Mike Donoghue reported this week, Burlington Police Department deputy chief and alleged DUI-er Andi Higbee is heading back to work, while an independent investigator hired by the Winooski Police Department cleared Cpl. Jason Nokes of using excessive force against a mentally ill man. Both officers are still facing criminal charges.

Hate groups — 'Cuz they can freely rake in the cash from the state's VtSHARES charitable giving campaign.

The Bernie-Buster — Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) inspired/irritated the hell out of America for 21 hours this week with his epic, Seussian "filibuster" intended to, uh, do something about that Obamacare thing. As our friends over at the right-wing National Review pointed out, he was following the loquacious lead of our own Sen. Bernie Sanders, whose 8.5-hour non-filibuster three years ago also didn't delay a thing, either. 

Local talent — After conducting a national search for its next news director, Vermont Public Radio opted to promote from within, hiring veteran Statehouse reporter John Dillon for the gig. If you see a BMW bike with a VPR sticker flying up I-89 to the station's Colchester headquarters, be sure to throw a tote bag or mug at its rider.

Dan Bolles — As he proved with his exclusive interview with Joel Najman's beard, the Seven Days music editor has the rest of us reporters beat by a mile — or at least a whisker.



Vermont — What a horrible week. According to police: A Burlington man nearly beat his wife to death with a baseball bat; a Newport man prompted a neighborhood lock-down after engaging in an armed standoff with police; and a St. Albans man shot a stranger to death in what police have called an extreme case of "road rage."

Health care know-how: Do you really need to conduct a poll to find out most Vermonters don't know what the hell Vermont Health Connect is?  Runner-up loser: Vermont towns facing "rate shock" as they prepare to enter Vermont's almost-launched health insurance exchange. 

Neil Patrick Harris — Because, like every bearded bro in Burlington, even he can't get enough Heady Topper.

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