MORE BLOGS: Bite Club (Food & Drink) | Live Culture (Arts) | Stuck in Vermont (Videos)

Off Message: Vermont News and Politics

U.S. Congress

August 30, 2013

The Scoreboard: This Week's Winners and Losers

ScoreboardPaul Heintz is on vacation, so this week's scores have been tallied by Seven Days digital media manager Tyler Machado. (CONFIDENTIAL TO HEINTZ: You picked a hell of a week to take off, dude!)

So who won and lost the week in Vermont news and politics?

Stoners, Catamounts and Lake Monsters, oh my!

Here's the Scoreboard for the week of Friday, Aug. 30: 

WINNERS:

Almost Everyone — Entergy's announcement that it will shut down Vermont Yankee in 2014 was good news for everyone — except, of course, the folks who work there. Entergy saves some loot. Vermont ratepayers won't notice the difference since local utilities weren't buying its power anyway. Environmentalists will close the book on decades of activism. And nearly every political entity in Vermont (and elsewhere!) scored an easy layup — even if cheap natural gas was the final death blow for the state's sole nuclear power plant.

Pot smokers — Attorney General Eric Holder says the Justice Department won't challenge state laws legalizing marijuana. That should ease the minds of Vermont's marijuana reform opponents, including House Speaker Shap SmithRunner-up winner: Sen. Patrick Leahy, who may have forced Holder's hand on the issue.

More winners, and losers, after the jump...

Continue reading "The Scoreboard: This Week's Winners and Losers" »

August 23, 2013

Which Harry Potter Characters Do Vermont's Muggle Senators Look Like?

BuzzFeed, American journalism's leading purveyor of cats and clickbait, has a new listicle finding the Harry Potter character doppelgangers in Congress, and both of Vermont's senators make appearances. It's also full of animated GIFs, so it's basically a Daily Prophet issue.

Anyway, about half of these comparisons are really, really stretching it (that Hagrid? come on), including Sen. Patrick Leahy. But that's probably fortunate, as Leahy has perhaps the least flattering of all the comparisons: Lord Voldemort from Sorcerer's Stone, when (SPOILER ALERT for the five people who haven't read or seen Potter at this point) Voldemort was just a weird face on the back of some other guy's head. And the resemblance is not exactly striking.

Enhanced-buzz-1699-1377101274-20

Sorry, Buzzfeed! Better leave this kind of thing to Andy Bromage, Seven Days photo-blog editor emeritus famous for classic Off Message posts like "Who Wore It Best?" and "Totally Looks Like."

Sen. Bernie Sanders makes an appearance, too, but we won't spoil that one for you. You'll have to click through to see that one. Hint: not Dumbledore!

August 22, 2013

Leahy Stands by Assertion That Aid to Egypt Is "Not Being Sent"

 

Senator Patrick Leahy (right) with Norwich University President Richard Schneider. Photo by Taylor Dobbs
Senator Patrick Leahy (right) with Norwich University President Richard Schneider. Photo by Taylor Dobbs

In Sen. Patrick Leahy’s first public appearance since his office publicly parted with the White House over whether the U.S. has suspended military aid to Egypt, Vermont's senior senator stuck to his guns.

“It’s not being sent,” Leahy said Thursday in an interview after announcing new federal funding for Norwich University.

The answer came on the heels of a Daily Beast story published Monday quoting Leahy spokesman David Carle as saying, “[Sen. Leahy’s] understanding is that aid to the Egyptian military has been halted, as required by law.”

White House spokesman Josh Earnest refuted that report Tuesday — calling it “not accurate” — and said the administration's review of its Egyptian aid policy was ongoing.

But, according to Leahy, it was accurate.

Continue reading "Leahy Stands by Assertion That Aid to Egypt Is "Not Being Sent"" »

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 " »

This Week's Issue: Fixing Shabby Burlington Apartments; New Cops Learn How Not to Be Racist

082113-cover
Happy Hump Day, everyone. Here's what you'll find in this week's Seven Days:

Grab this week's issue in print, online or on the iOS app.

August 14, 2013

This Week's Issue: Drones, Vaginas and Cholera

CoverYou know the drill — another Wednesday, another Seven Days. No epic website outages here today (knock on wood!), so here are the news and politics stories you can read right now:

Grab it on newsstands, online or on the app.

August 09, 2013

The Scoreboard: This Week's Winners and Losers

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

Switch-bumpers, snake-haters, calculators, power companies, TV stations, defense attorneys, creepy travel writers and more!

Here's the Scoreboard for the week of Friday, Aug. 9: 

Winners:

Brooks McArthur — The Burlington defense attorney played some serious offense this week on behalf of his client, Burlington Police Department Deputy Chief Andi Higbee. When the Vermont State Police refused to give the Burlington Free Press a copy of a cruiser cam video of Higbee's July DUI arrest, Brooks took it upon himself to hand over a copy. A savvy way to score points with Freeps transparency czar Mike Donoghue and shift the conversation to why Higbee was pulled over in the first place. 

WPTZ-TV — Last month WCAX-TV announced that, come September, it would expand its news coverage to weekend mornings. But the station's main competitor, WPTZ-TV, beat Channel 3 to the punch, launching its own weekend news programming last weekend without fanfare. What's more? Channel 5 will feature four full hours of news coverage — twice as much as Channel 3's promised.

The Timothy Szad Beat — The recently-released sex offender is back in town after a brief trip to California. And that's got the state's cops and courts reporters in a tizzy reporting his every last move. Public service journalism or tabloid reporting?

Patrick Leahy — Because the U.S. Senate President Pro Tem's got some very special friends in the entertainment, defense, telecom, legal, tech and beverage industries.

Peter Welch — A BuzzFeed puff piece on the Vermont Congressman's bipartisan street cred netted something even better for Welch: a glowing editorial from the Saint Albans Messenger's Emerson Lynn echoing Welch's — ahem, BuzzFeed's — talking points.

Losers and tie score after the jump...

Continue reading "The Scoreboard: This Week's Winners and Losers" »

August 07, 2013

Fair Game Overtime: Where Does Leahy's PAC Money Come From?

DSC04806In this week's Fair Game, we touched on Sen. Patrick Leahy's (D-Vt.) use of a "leadership PAC" to collect contributions from corporate and union political action committees.

As we noted, only a slim minority (14 percent) of the $136,000 he raised in his traditional campaign account last quarter came from special interest groups. But a majority (70 percent) of the $197,000 he raised for Green Mountain PAC during the first half of the year came from those sources.

We focused in the column on contributions Leahy reaped from the aerospace and weapons industry. But that's not the only sector forking over the dough. Here's a sampling of other groups who contributed $2500 or more to Green Mountain PAC during the first six months of 2013:

  • Labor: IBEW ($5000), Laborers' Political League ($2500), International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers ($5000)
  • Banking: Bank of America ($2500), Deloitte ($5000)
  • Entertainment: Directors Guild of America ($2500), National Association of Broadcasters ($3500), News America/FOX ($2500), Commissioner of Major League Baseball ($5000), Sony Pictures ($5000), Walt Disney ($2500), Viacom ($2500)
  • Telecom/Cable: Comcast/NBC ($5000), DirecTV ($2500), EchoStar/Dish Network ($2500), National Cable and Telecommunications Association ($5000), Verizon ($2500)
  • Law: Alston & Bird ($5000), American Association for Justice ($5000), DLA Piper ($2500)
  • Aerospace/Military: Boeing ($5000), General Dynamics ($5000), Lockheed Martin ($2500), Raytheon ($2500), United Technologies ($3500)
  • Technology: GoDaddy ($2500), Microsoft ($5000), Netflix ($2500)
  • Beverage: Miller Coors ($2500), National Beer Wholesalers ($500O), Wine and Spirits Wholesalers ($5000)

Again, those are just contributions to Green Mountain PAC. Some of those very same organizations also gave money to the senator's traditional campaign account. For instance, General Dynamics gave another $1000 to the Leahy for U.S. Senator Committee; GoDaddy gave another $2000; and Raytheon gave another $1000. 

Continue reading "Fair Game Overtime: Where Does Leahy's PAC Money Come From?" »

August 06, 2013

Morning Read: BuzzFeed Calls Welch "Republicans' Favorite House Liberal"

MorningreadWhich member of Vermont's congressional delegation travels to the Middle East with House Majority Leader Eric Cantor? Hikes in the Grand Canyon with Rep. David Schweikert (R-Ariz.)? Steals popcorn from the Republican cloakroom?

Here's a hint: It sure ain't Bernie Sanders.

Splashed across BuzzFeed's homepage this morning — right above a pair of stories titled "15 Experiences EVERYONE Should Have In College" and "11 Fascinating Facts You Never Knew About Dogs" — is an improbable homage to the apparent bipartisan street cred of Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.).

"Meet Republicans' Favorite House Liberal," the story is called. 

Not the most compelling link bait we've seen, but hey!

Continue reading "Morning Read: BuzzFeed Calls Welch "Republicans' Favorite House Liberal"" »

August 01, 2013

Morning Read: Leahy Questions Spy Chiefs on Surveillance Programs

MorningreadSen. Patrick Leahy got all up in the National Security Agency's grill Wednesday, questioning whether its controversial collection of domestic phone data directly led to the apprehension of terrorists.

At a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing he called to discuss surveillance programs disclosed by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, Leahy "accused Obama administration officials of overstating the success" of the phone data program, according to the New York Times.

Times reporters Charlie Savage and David Sanger write :

[Leahy] said he had been shown a classified list of “terrorist events” detected through surveillance, and it did not show that “dozens or even several terrorist plots” had been thwarted by the domestic program.

“If this program is not effective it has to end. So far, I’m not convinced by what I’ve seen,” Mr. Leahy said, citing the “massive privacy implications” of keeping records of every American’s domestic calls.

Continue reading "Morning Read: Leahy Questions Spy Chiefs on Surveillance Programs" »

Subscribe to the Daily 7

Fill out my online form.
-->
All Rights Reserved © Da Capo Publishing Inc. 1995-2012 | PO Box 1164, Burlington, VT 05402-1164 | 802-864-5684