Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Snarky Mail Time!

Okay, okay, let’s get to the Snarky mail. You folks have been busy – filling my box with all kinds of quips, tips and those lovely little missives involving the infliction of pain to certain Snarky Boy body parts. Ouch. But at least you’re reading.

First up, Mr. Mark Johnson again. He’s now declared that he’s done whining to the Snarkmaster. Whew. Now let’s hope he readjusts his sense of humor and, better yet, begins to extend his reach beyond the same old politicians and same old advertisers as his guests. He remains the king of Vermont radio in Snarky’s book but we’d like to see his playful side a bit more often. His declaration to stop whining about this blog is a good step in the right direction. Now let’s re-open those talks about a snarky co-host. I think I know just the guy…

I’ve also been inundated with ninny missives about local Dems, particularly those seven Dems who nest over at Odumb’s Green Mountain Daily site. Please, people, how many times do I have to tell you: Odumb’s an idiot underachiever who would rather eat cotton candy than process a coherent thought. Hell, he can’t even trust his seven Dem dwarfs over there, since several of them are secretly emailing Snarky Boy begging me to continue taking whacks at him in the hopes that he’ll pull the high-drama card again (yawn) and quit. Sorry, but whacking Odumb is like kicking kittens. It’s just not fair – or fun. Just let him keep suckling on the partisan teats of Dem-witted nonsense and he won’t bother or inspire anyone except those seven irrelevant dopes who apparently have nothing better to do but continue their little circle jerk. Whatever. Note to the GMDers who want me to jump in again: Fight your own fights. Or, better yet, get a life.

Even though I’m now an office-sort-of-guy, I’ve still got my boots on the ground when it comes to the blue-collar tips. Consider, for example, the nugget I got last week from a Barre town employee who told me that the mainstream media got the July flood story all wrong. As you’ll recall, the Times Argus and others ran with the story that the flash flooding that sent six-feet of water into the downtown streets was the result of the new development going on up on the hillside. Well, according to my source, that’s only a small part of the problem. The bigger problem is that Barre’s storm drains have been hopelessly neglected, leaving them plugged and unable to handle the amount of water they were designed to handle. But the folks in City Hall, led by the smarmy Mayor Thom Lauzon, have successfully diverted the media from the real story of the neglected storm drains, thus saving their own asses from the embarrassment and culpability of their infrastructure neglect. Yo Mayor Thom, how about some truth?

Speaking of infrastructure neglect, let’s talk bridges. As many of you know, the Minneapolis story hit home with Snarky Boy because, well, I drive on bridges. Gotcha there, huh? You gotta love how politicians all over the country – including our own Howdy Doody Douglas – are rushing to look like they’ve got the bridge situation under control. But Republicans like Douglas shouldn’t be allowed to wipe the egg from their faces quite so quickly. They do, after all, run every election on the mantra of slashing the big, evil central government. You know, that evil empire that does things like...oh…maintain our national infrastructure. And then a neglected bridge pancakes its passengers and the political whores deny their budget slashing ways as fast as you can say “liar, liar, pants on fire.”

Taste this delicious intro to yesterday’s New York Times piece on the bridge collapse:

In the past two ears, Gov. Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota twice vetoed legislation to raise the state’s gas tax to pay for transportation needs.

Now, with at least five people dead in the collapse of the Interstate I-35W bridge here, Mr. Pawlenty, a Republican, appears to have a change of heart.

“He’s open to that,” Brian McClung, a spokesman for the governor, said Monday of a higher gas tax.

That, my friends, is what’s called a whiplash-inducing flip-flop. You just gotta love it when Republicans crank up the tax to save their own ass. Because we all know they don’t really hate taxes, they just hate taxes that don’t either line the pockets of their friends or get them re-elected. Principles? Fuck that.

And let’s not let the Dems off the hook, either. They’re whoring themselves on this issue, too. Surprise, surprise. While there’s a convenient Republican in the center of this storm, the Dems are in full cahoots in the game of transportation earmarks that are leaving bridges like the one in Minneapolis is deep, deep jeopardy. As the Times reported yesterday, the game of transportation earmarks – those not-so-little financial gifts congress members get for their districts – are almost always designated for “sexy” new projects, rarely for repair and simple upkeep. Don’t believe me? How many times have you seen Leahy or Sanders stand in front of an ugly old bridge and hear them declare than they just got the federal loot to repair it? ECHO Centers are better for the political ego, my friends.

Speaking of political ego, let’s get back to Vermont’s Republicans. If, like me, you’re a bit nervous about crossing certain Vermont bridges in the wake of the Minnesota tragedy, well, you should be. Because guess who’s in control of Vermont’s Department of Transportation? An engineer? Nope. A transportation expert? Nope. A seasoned highway safety professional. No way. Think politics, baby. As in: Neale Lunderville, Governor Douglas’ former campaign manager and the former director of the Vermont Republican Party. Barely a decade beyond being legally able to sit next to me at Charlie O’s, Lunderville’s running the Vermont’s DOT for exactly two reasons: political payback and to remain in the Douglas political circle. Yep, as in: political science, Lunderville’s major way back in the – oh – late nineties. Here’s another way to look at it: The 32-year old Lunderville is eight years younger than the Minneapolis bridge that collapsed. And to think they’re calling the bridge young. But, please, I’ve got nothing against young fellas, I’ve just got a beef with young fellas taking jobs they have absolutely no experience with, especially when it may impact the likelihood that I’m still alive after crossing a fucking bridge. But notice, dear readers, that Vermont’s mainstream media – including 7 Daze – won’t touch this part of the story. Instead, we’re getting one bullshit piece after another that features young Neale reassuring us that everything’s a-okay in Vermont. Lap it up, folks.

Finally, thanks to the Snarky reader who sent me this story about bloggers unionizing. Sounds good to me. Now if I could just find a blogging boss I’d be all set. Anyone looking to plunk down about 30K for your very own snarky wordsmith? First come, first served. I promise. (Memo to my current boss: I love you.)

Thanks for playing, folks. It wouldn’t be the state’s most popular blog without your tips and quips. Keep ‘em coming to me at