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November 12, 2013

Shumlin to Introduce Pro-Choice Crusader at Exclusive Gathering of Liberal Donors

Gov. Peter Shumlin will travel to the nation's capital Thursday to address members of the Democracy Alliance, a fundraising alliance Mother Jones has called "the liberal answer to the Koch donor network."

Shumlin, chairman of the Democratic Governors Association, will deliver remarks at a Democracy Alliance conference, according to DGA spokesman Danny Kanner. He will then introduce two of the DGA's top recruits for the 2014 election: former Trek Bicycle Corporation executive Mary Burke, who is running for governor of Wisconsin, and Texas state Sen. Wendy Davis, who is running for governor of the Lone Star State.

Davis drew national attention in June when she spent 11 hours filibustering legislation that would have banned abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy and imposed new restrictions on doctors who perform abortions. She's expected to face off against Texas attorney general Greg Abbott to succeed Gov. Rick Perry, who's stepping down after three terms.

Continue reading "Shumlin to Introduce Pro-Choice Crusader at Exclusive Gathering of Liberal Donors" »

November 07, 2013

Christie to Headline Vermont GOP Winter Fundraiser

Fresh off a decisive reelection to a second term, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, a likely candidate for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, is headed for the critical primary state of...

Oh, wait, no. He's coming to Vermont.

The Vermont Republican Party announced Thursday morning that Christie will headline the party's "Welcome Winter Gala" next month. The fundraiser will take place December 11 at the Robert E. Miller Expo Centre in Essex Junction. 

"There's just so many similarities between Vermont and New Jersey from a political standpoint, and I like the fact that Chris Christie speaks his mind and knows how to reach across the aisle as well," says Lt. Gov. Phil Scott, who organized the event with Rep. Heidi Scheuermann (R-Stowe).

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November 06, 2013

Shumlin's Democratic Governors Association Scores in Virginia

DSC04535In his first test as chairman of the Democratic Governors Association, Gov. Peter Shumlin walked away from Tuesday's elections with a win and a loss. 

But the win, in Virginia's hotly contested gubernatorial race, was more significant for the DGA than the loss in New Jersey's decidedly less competitive gubernatorial match.

The DGA poured $6.5 million into the Old Dominion to support former Democratic National Committee chairman Terry McAuliffe's fight against Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, while it largely sat out New Jersey state Sen. Barbara Buono's uphill battle against Republican Gov. Chris Christie.

(Pictured from L to R at the Farmhouse Tap & Grill last November: DGA senior advisor Bill Lofy, Shumlin, DGA executive director Colm O'Comartun and Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley)

"I am really excited we're going to have a job-creating governor in Virginia who does not embrace the radical policies of the Tea Party," Shumlin said Wednesday after a press conference in Burlington. "It's a great victory and a great victory for all of us."

Continue reading "Shumlin's Democratic Governors Association Scores in Virginia" »

October 30, 2013

This Week's Issue: Hunting Trouble, Prison Sex and an M.I.A. Delegation

Cover103013While you're putting together your Halloween getup tonight — bonus candy for anyone in a homemade F-35 costume — give this week's news and politics stories in Seven Days a read. Here's what you'll find.

Pick up this week's issue in print, online or on the app. Finally, go Sox.

October 29, 2013

Green Mountain Police State? Vermont's Spy Guy to Speak at ACLU Event

F-journalists-arkinSouth Pomfret resident Bill Arkin isn't shocked by recent revelations about the worldwide and domestic spying operations of U.S. intelligence agencies.

That's because he and colleague Dana Priest reported extensively on privacy invasions by U.S. espionage agencies in an investigative series, "Top Secret America," published in the Washington Post more than three years ago.

Arkin and Priest showed how the national-security state had expanded exponentially in the years following the 2001 attacks on New York and Washington, D.C. They reported, for example, that more than 3000 government organizations and private companies are engaged in "homeland security" activities in 10,000 locations around the United States, six of them in Vermont.

Arkin will update and analyze his findings as they relate to Vermonters and millions of other Americans at a conference on Wednesday in Montpelier. He's the featured speaker at the free, day-long event in the Pavilion Auditorium sponsored by the Vermont chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union.

Arkin's talk will focus on "the big national picture and how Vermont fits into it," he said in a telephone interview on Monday. He'll also be touting his newly published book, American Coup: How a Terrified Government Is Destroying the Constitution.

Continue reading "Green Mountain Police State? Vermont's Spy Guy to Speak at ACLU Event " »

October 23, 2013

This Week's Issue: Front Porch Forum's Banhammer; Bernie for Prez 2016?


This week's issue of Seven Days gets into the Halloween spirit, so grab a growler of Donovan's Red and sit down with these news and politics stories:

Get this week's issue on newsstands — that creepy zombie gas-mask thing is hard to miss — at, or on the iOS app.

October 18, 2013

Morning Read: Playboy Interviews Bernie Sanders

MorningreadWe apologize in advance for using the words "Bernie Sanders" and "Playboy" in the same sentence, but here goes:

Sanders, Vermont's independent U.S. senator, is the subject of the storied Playboy interview in this month's issue. Not that we subscribe or anything. We just heard about it from a friend.

Interviewing Sanders for the men's mag was writer and activist Jonathan Tasini, who previously interviewed Paul Krugman for Playboy. His history as a gadfly political candidate in New York is reminiscent of Sanders' own early electoral outings. Tasini challenged and lost to then-senator Hillary Clinton in 2006 and scandal-plagued Congressman Charles Rangel in 2010.

Playboy.bunnyWhile Tasini doesn't break a lot of new ground in the interview, he does elicit an interesting response when he asks Sanders about a potential 2016 presidential candidacy. Sanders demurs at first, saying that "to run a serious campaign, you need to raise hundreds and hundreds of millions of dollars."

Nevertheless, the Vermonter says, Americans "are hungering for a voice out there," and "it would be tempting to try to raise issues and demand discussion on issues that are not being talked about..."

Continue reading "Morning Read: Playboy Interviews Bernie Sanders" »

Donkey Dean Stars in "Truly Bizarre" Video by Former Senate Candidate

DonkeyDeanThought you'd been subjected to every lame Howard Dean scream joke imaginable?

You thought wrong. Allow us to subject you to one more.

Nevada politician Sharron Angle, who unsuccessfully challenged Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) in 2010, has produced what Politico's Emily Schultheis is calling "a truly bizarre video" featuring Dean's hair-raising shout.

We agree with her assessment.

Schultheis reports:

The one-minute YouTube video, which evokes echoes of Carly Fiorina’s 2010 “Demon Sheep ad,” intersperses video clips of Democrats talking about major issues with short clips of donkeys doing the “Dean Scream” — the WWE-style yell that helped tank former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean’s 2004 presidential bid.

Angle's super PAC, OurVoicePAC, posted the video to YouTube in March, Schultheis reports, but the ex-candidate is only now starting to promote it. And there's really nothing more to say about it than this: It's totally weird and you should watch it.

Continue reading "Donkey Dean Stars in "Truly Bizarre" Video by Former Senate Candidate" »

October 17, 2013

Vermont Delegation Votes to Avert Default, Reopen the Federal Government

Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Congressman Peter Welch (D-Vt.) voted for a last-minute deal Wednesday night to avert a national default and reopen the federal government.

Though the deal was seen as a victory for President Obama and congressional Democrats — and a stinging rebuke to conservative Republicans — Vermont's congressional delegates expressed little joy over the resolution to the 16-day standoff.

"It's a bad deal — only in the sense that we never should've gotten here," Leahy said Wednesday evening. "The grownups should've stopped this from happening a long time ago ... It never should've come to this."

The bill, which passed the Senate by an 81-18 vote and the House by a 285-144 vote, funds the federal government through January 15 and raises the debt limit through February 7. It also sets in motion bicameral negotiations to resolve Congress' longstanding budget disagreements.

Welch, who had rallied support for a no-strings-attached bill to raise the nation's debt ceiling, shared Leahy's frustration with the two-week ordeal

"This is a spectacle that was inflicted on the American people and was completely unnecessary," he said Wednesday afternoon. "We didn't pick this fight, but we had to wade through it."

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October 11, 2013

Sanders to Travel South With Democratic Super PAC

DSC05683After sitting in on the U.S. Supreme Court's oral arguments for a major campaign finance case Tuesday morning, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) stood outside the court and railed against the influence of super PACs in American politics.

Next week, however, Sanders plans to join forces with a Democratic super PAC for a three-day, four-state tour of the southern United States. Organized by South Forward, Sanders' "Fight for Economic Justice Town Hall Meetings," will take him to Jackson, Miss., Birmingham, Ala., Atlanta, Ga., and Columbia, S.C.

"It's just a great opportunity and the response has been overwhelming," says South Forward executive director Jay Parmley, who says he expects between 150 and 200 people to attend each of Sanders' town hall meetings. "I think he'll be able to provide a shot in the arm for progressives and a shot in the arm for Democrats."

Continue reading "Sanders to Travel South With Democratic Super PAC" »

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