Wednesday, January 31, 2007

AMBER ALERT: Where's Brian Dubie?

Hey gang. I’m sure you all remember a man named Brian Dubie, don’t you? If not, he’s the goober of a guy who also happens to hold the title of Lieutenant Governor of the State of Vermont. Yeah, our state. He’s also a pilot for American Airlines, yet another excuse for reasonable people to stay the hell off of airplanes. And, to complete this silly little biographical sketch, his brother – the other half of Vermont’s own version of the Dubie Brothers – is the uniform-wearing Dubie Dude who heads Vermont’s National Guard. Or, if you’d prefer, he’s Michael Dubie.

The last time Vermonters truly heard from the Dubester was when he was getting his political head bashed in by Matt Dunne during last year’s election season. Dunne, as you’ll recall, ran the one-note campaign that wondered over and over and over again about Dubie schedule. The underlying point in Dunne’s dogged pursuit of Dubie’s appointment calendar was that the Lt. Gov. was basically a political no-show.

And, let’s face it, Dunne had a point. It’s just that voters were looking for more than one point from a political challenger like Dunne who seemed to be all-too in love with himself and rather ensconced in an unseemly sense of political entitlement.

But Dunne did manage to put a scare into Dubie. Hell, he even managed to elicit some passion from the guy who can truly be called our “accidental” Lt. Gov. for stumbling into the seat in 2002 and then just playing his incumbent cards to win two other elections. Dubie, as you’ll recall, started acting like the enraged frat-boy who saw someone cut in front of him in the keg line when Dunne kept bringing up his empty schedule and empty office.

“Hey,” Dubie would declare, “you better have the facts when you make those kinds of accusations.” And then he’d slam his hand on the desk, point to a stupid little “log book,” and then expect a tear of sympathy when he’d whimper this line over and over again: “And my wife worked late into the night and the weekend to put that book and my schedule together.”

But no one asked him if his wife enjoyed the fruits of his $60,000-plus salary for what has amounted to no-show job except when he want to sell a cow to Cuba, stand silently by Douglas at a couple ribbon cuttings, or painfully try to complete sentences in a few media appearances a year.

Well, the legislative session is in and Dubie’s supposed to be back doing the people’s business so let’s try to find out what he’s been up to. Or, as Dubie would say, let’s “look at the fact.” And we can start by taking a little stroll over to the Dubester’s official website. Go ahead, click on the link, look around for a minute and then come back. I’ll wait.

Now let’s review what we just saw. First of all, for a guy who just came off a campaign where he was accused of doing nothing, you’d think he’d start his new term by doing SOMETHING. Not the Dubester. No siree. He apparently thinks he’s so snug in his electoral cocoon that he can continue to be the Lite Guv Slacker and – worse – be proud of it.

I’m counting exactly two press releases from his office since the November election. Yes, two. And neither is even close to interesting, informative or – well – significant. Don’t believe me? Taste this headline from one of the TWO press announcements his office has put out since the election: “Lt. Gov. Brian Dubie Brings Vermont Aerospace and Aviation Association to Rutland State Airport.”

Wow. Nice work, Brian.

But, since we know you’re a pilot in your real life, it’s pretty damn clear that this event was just a chance for you to use public money to go and hang out with your plane-obsessed buddies. At least I hope that’s the case because you can’t be stupid enough to think that Vermonters give a crap about that meeting. Remember, the election was mostly about the war, property taxes, affordability and health care.

Dubie’s other press burp – er, I mean, release – was a rather sleepy announcement about the fact that he did what he’s required to do at the start of every legislative session: give the Lite Guv inaugural address. And here’s a little Snarky Boy challenge and reward for you, dear readers. I’ll buy anyone who manages to read Dubie’s entire speech a beer or the beverage of his or her choice. The catch is that you’ll have to visit me at Charlie O’s to redeem it and you must enter the formerly-smoky and now just smelly establishment and say these words: “I read Dubie’s entire inaugural address and I’m here for my free Snarky Boy beer.”

That’ll do wonders for your reputation there. Trust me. And you’ll immediately know which one is me because I’ll be the one with my beer coming out of my nose as a result of the uncontrollable laughter.

Now, where was I? Oh yes, Dubie’s website.

Let’s look at what Dubie calls his official “events.” Now remember, this is from Dubie’s website as it appears today, January 30, 2007. Click here to see the first “event” Dubie lists. Yep, that’s from June 2003. And what the hell’s up with that picture? Can you say: Slacker. I swear it’s cropped that way only to hide the bong that must have been on the table.

Now let’s go to Dubie’s last official event, event number two. Yep, the Dubester’s still in 2003. And what better way to prove that you’re on the job and working hard for the people than posting a picture of yourself with a fucking fish.

Where’s Matt Dunne when we need him? Or, better yet, where in the hell’s the Vermont media on this?

Ladies and gentlemen, our lieutenant governor, Brian Dubie, has left the building. Worse, he apparently thinks we – the people – are stupid enough to think he’s working hard by posting a few dopey announcements and photos from 2003 on his website.

I know it’s a little dramatic to issue an Amber Alert for him, but I don’t know what else to do. I don’t know where he is and I don’t know what he’s doing. And while he may not be a child, he’s certainly child-like.

Please, someone, can you find our Lite Guv?

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Peter Welch Will Lose in 2008

Peter Welch is a one-term congressman. Yep, you heard it here first. He’ll follow the last Peter who represented Vermont – Peter Smith – and go down in flames after one term because – well – he’s a pompous ass. And like the first Dick – or, I mean, Peter – he’ll deserve it, too.

Let’s be real. Peter Welch is a phony. He’s a rich kid who does next to nothing for his less privileged neighbors but offer bogus fucking rhetoric. You know, something like, “Oh, I understand, and I’m here to help.” But his idea of helping is to brag about offering a dollar-fucking-rise in the “minimum wage.” Yes, the MINIMUM wage.

But, please, could one of Peter’s wet-behind-the-ears staff members please pull their rich-boy leader aside and tell him that the minimum wage has NOTHING to do with the middle class. I’ve now heard Peter three times on radio shows talk about his concern and support for the middle class and then mention the minimum wage as the only piece of legislation he’s supported in that realm. Huh?

Earth to Peter: Minimum wage is for the poor. As in: The Minimum, you ninny.

And the minimum is clearly something he should know about. Peter, for example, has minimally opposed Bush’s war by signing onto minimalist resolutions that simply aim to offer an opinion – not law – on Bush’s escalation. Worse, Peter the Dick has steadfastly refused to sign onto the real legislation that would become law if passed and mandate clear and unequivocal deadlines for getting the troops out of Iraq and ending the war – you know, just like he promised he would do if elected.

The Snarky Boy humbly predicts that Peter the Dick will wear out his welcome with Vermonters by the time the 2008 election comes around. He’s too full of shit, which means: he’s too much of a politician. He was elected with a very, very, very clear mandate: Kick Bush’s ass. And yet he’s just been busy kissing legislative ass in DC and – worse – vying for Bush’s autograph.

Peter the Dick, for example, hasn’t signed onto one piece of legislation that would mandate an end to the war. He hasn’t signed onto any of the many pieces of legislation that would move toward universal health care. And he refuses to sign onto efforts to impeach a president who has clearly and rather proudly usurped the Constitution and the trust of the American people.

Instead, Peter the Dick just keeps acting like any slick trial lawyer acts when they think they’re smarter than anyone else in the room: they just filibuster and pretend that they’re the smartest one in the room. The problem, of course, is that these kinds of guys convince themselves that the silence around them translates to support when, in fact, it usually translates to silent contempt.

Hey Peter, we – the people – can smell a rat when it crawls on our chests – even when it says it’s a cat.

Here’s how Peter the Dick will go down in 2008: He will become so enmeshed in his DC deal making and attempts to promote his own political career that he will fall on his political face. His anti-war campaign rhetoric of 2006 will become the primary tool for a real anti-war and anti-Bush candidate to emerge in 2008 and make Welch look like the phony political player he is. Thus, Welch will face a strong third-party candidate and a Republican candidate and – holy shit – Peter the Dick will be sent home to walk his dog and enjoy his millions.

And if there is real political justice, he’ll respond in this manner when asked what happened to his political career: “Well, I guess Vermonters expect you to do what you say and I clearly didn’t do that. I got caught up in the game of DC politics and my political career. I wish I would have done more to stop the war. I wish I would have done more to stop Bush. And I wish Vermonters would have taken a millionaire more seriously when I talked about the minimum wage.”

Then, of course, Peter the Dick will utter these historical – hysterical? – words: “I wish Snarky Boy well in representing the people of Vermont for the next two years.”

Oh yeah, baby.

You’ve been snarked.

We'll Talk Later

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Friday, January 26, 2007

Peter Welch Did What?

Like most of us, I was appalled by the President’s State of the Union address earlier this week. So appalled, in fact, that I haven’t been able to find the words to express it.

Sure, Bush said a lot of really stupid and pandering stuff – just like every other blowhard who preceded him. And the members of Congress did what they always do: they cheered and cheered for stuff they’d normally boo and boo for. But, hey, they know that the nation is watching and they need to pretend to be “getting along” and otherwise behaving themselves. Whatever.

But these are different times. We are at war. People are dying in our name. And, worse, people are dying because of the inept policies and decisions of the man at the podium, President George W. Bush. So why were they cheering his every move?

And then we have to get to the Democrats, especially those like our own Peter Welch, who ran on election platforms only a couple short months ago pledging to stop the policies of the mad man at the helm. Hmm, how’s that working out, Peter?

Well, according to this morning’s Times Argus, Peter Welch was among the merry legislators who were clamoring for Bush’s autograph as he left the House chamber last Tuesday night. Yep, the guy we sent to Washington to confront and stop Bush’s dreadful policies was – instead – reduced to a cheerleading ninny seeking Bush’s autograph after a speech in which he basically dissed most everything Welch and his constituents believe in. Go figure.

And how did Welch explain this? Taste this quote:

“It’s like being a Red Sox fan at Fenway and getting Derek Jeter’s autograph,” explained Welch’s spokesman, Andrew Savage, to the Times Argus.

Say what?

First of all, Peter, what you were watching and listening to that night wasn’t a friggin baseball game. It was, instead, about life and death. Or, if you’d rather, war and peace. Baseball’s a game. Politics isn’t, especially when we as a nation and a globe are facing the kinds of issues that you promised us that you’d be going to Washington to fix. And, quite frankly, seeking the autograph of the man responsible for either creating our nation’s current ills or blocking the sane solutions ain’t fixing anything – it’s only making things worse.

If you really want to see Bush’s signature, how about getting him to sign a guilty plea on the impeachment resolution you’re still too afraid to introduce? Or, if that’s too radical for you, how about making him sign – into law or via a veto – a piece of legislation that would put an immediate end to the war?

But your constituents didn’t get that kind of work from you on Tuesday night. Instead, we saw you being reduced to a man overwhelmed by the pomp and circumstance of it all and lining up for a stupid autograph like a boy at a baseball game. Shame on you.

For some perspective, let’s go back to your campaign last fall. While trying to seduce a Vermont electorate that was – and is – irate over Bush’s war policies, you made a big deal over the difference between you and your opponent, Martha Rainville. Specifically, you mentioned time and time again how Martha would be seduced by Bush’s power and you’d be able to stand against him.

How funny is that now that you’ve been caught on camera begging for his autograph? If that’s all we wanted from our only representative in the House we most certainly would have elected Martha because she would have at least been able to get that same autograph in a more dignified manner – like, say, in a private Oval Office meeting.

But that’s not what we wanted. And you knew it, only seemingly to have forgotten it under the bright lights of Washington.

So, autograph seeking debacle aside, what ARE you doing for the vast majority of Vermonters who you convinced that you’d be “confronting Bush” once elected?

Not much, apparently.

The Snarky Boy called your office recently to see what you were doing to stop the war. All I got on the other end of your office’s phone was confusion. Come on, Peter, it’s not as if I was calling about some arcane issue. But, given your staff’s response, it was like they’d never even heard about the Iraq War.

First, some nice young lady tried to simply get my “personal information” so that she could quickly hang up on me and then force me to wait days and weeks and months for some kind of response. But the Snarky Boy ain’t playing that game. I wanted an answer as to what you were actually doing.

“Oh,” said the nice lady, “Let me connect you with Ches Thurber, our military person.”

Cool, I thought, I’m getting things done. But then young Ches Thurber picked up the phone and the confusion only continued.

“Congressman Welch,” he began with all the confidence of a twenty-something person trying like hell to play the expert, “has signed onto Rep. John Murtha’s Congressional resolution to look into the war.”

Wait. Wait. Wait. Stop right there, I said, and listen to yourself. You just said two things that are completely contrary to Welch’s electoral mission: Congressional resolution and to “look into” the war.

Earth to Welch staff: Vermonter’s elected him to STOP the war and CONFRONT Bush.

Poor Mr. Thurber. He was clearly used to having these bland lines just flying over the radar of his other callers. Not me. I am, after all, quite snarky.

I reminded Mr. Thurber that “resolutions” don’t amount to much more than a letter to the friggin editor and a “look into” the war was – well – bullshit. How much more do we want to look before doing something? You could just as easily “look” at a car accident on the highway, but what the victims really want is some ACTION.

“Well,” continued the young one, “the Congressman is still looking at other options.”

But the resolution option is the only one he’s signed onto? I asked.


And what are those other options?

“Well,” replied Thurber, “I’m not really sure right now. It’s all happening so fast and we’re really getting up to speed.”

Oh yeah. That much is obvious, especially when Mr. Thurber’s boss is out hunting for Bush’s autograph rather than seeking the input from congressional colleagues like Nadler, Hinchey, Markey and Woolsey who have done what Welch promised he was going to do and introduced legislation -- not just toothless resolutions – that would END the war in Iraq.

And Vermonters should know – especially the peace crowd – that Welch has not co-sponsored any of those bills. Not one. The best one, from my perspective is Woolsey’s. which you can read about here.

Welch, however, seems to be more interested in playing footsie with the House leadership and gaining Bush’s autograph like some lost kid at Yankee Stadium than doing the work he promised to do when he got there. And, quite frankly, that’s a shame.

What are we going to do about it Vermonters?

Stay tuned for Snarky Boy’s response….

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Reality Check

I just returned from Peter Freyne’s blog and read the news of his illness. I obviously had no idea he was going through this while I’ve been making him the subject of my snarky rants of late. Thus, I have removed my recent posts. More importantly, I’d like to extend my best wishes to Peter as he begins the biggest battle of his life. We all know Peter is strong, and may that strength carry him through and get him back on track soon.

Peace and strength,

(Not-so) Snarky Boy

Tales Of Mere Existence

A big hat tip to Eva at The Deadbeat Club for bringing this video to my attention. But readers/watchers be warned: If cartoon porn isn't suitable for your current surfing environment, wait'll you get home to watch this one.

And the Revolving Door Keeps Spinning...

You people are ruthless. Absolutely and completely ruthless. But I asked you to speak up and – well – you yelled.

For those not up to speed with the current game in play, I asked readers to send me their prediction for which Vermont media stars would quit next and where they would go. I tried to launch a Peter Freyne prediction but got nowhere.

But you folks got far more creative. Here’s a sampling of yours with a couple more of mine thrown in for good measure:

Candace Page will quit the Free Press and sign up to play the Granny on a future remake of the Beverly Hillbillies;

John Dillon will quit Vermont Public Radio and begin touring as John Denver;

Marselis Parsons at WCAX won’t need to quit because he’s already dead;

The Routly/Paulston 7Daze ladies will team up with Rusty Dewees to make a hideously unfunny Vermont remake of Lavern & Shirley;

Bob Kinzel of VPR will seek to replace Marselis Parsons at WCAX because he’s dead, too. But, after being rejected as being too liberal, he’ll take his Elvis sideburns on the road and start playing the King in Midwest venues;

Steward Ledbetter will quit at Vermont This Week only because he’s realizing it will kill you if you sit in that chair too long;

Kristin Carlson will quit WCAX and begin dancing at Barre’s Planet Rock now that the “three-foot rule” is being enforced;

Mark Johnson will quit his WDEV radio show simply because his same old callers -- Bill & Laura in Waterbury, Rama in Williamstown, Dick in St. Albans, and that other guy who says “Mark” after every sentence -- will drive him ape-shit crazy;

Paul Beaudry at True North Radio will quit to become the new head of the North American Man/Boy Love Association, after announcing that he is, indeed, playing the “boy role” in his sordid affair with Bill O’Reilly.

And since the theme from several readers took on the celebrity look-alike mode, let me remind you that one of my original posts featured the little known fact that Anthony Pollina is actually Gene Simmons of Kiss. Just check out the image for yourself.

I know, I know, it’s a stretch to call Pollina a media person – he’s awful and he pays for his airtime – but I think he’s still on the air. Just like he’s still “saving” farmers. Hmm, how’s that going? He’s just lucky that Vermonters like perseverance – not results. He learned that from his old boss, Bernie Sanders, and he’s been “milking it” for decades.

Keep your suggestions coming, folks.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

BREAKING NEWS! BREAKING NEWS! Darren Allen is Leaving the Press Bureau

This just in folks: My well-placed sources have informed Snarky Boy that Darren Allen of the Vermont Press Bureau is going to pack it in as a reporter and, instead, do what he does best: flak, flak and flak. Yep, Darren has announced in an inner-office memo to his Press Bureau staff that he’s leaving his directorship there to – ready for this – go to work for the Douglas Administration as the public relations man at the Agency of Natural Resources (ANR). And he’s not wasting much time with the move, either, since Allen is apparently going to begin his new job on February 5th.

Good riddance, Darren. The Snarky Boy has been hard on you because the it’s been clear that you’ve been basically asleep at the journalistic wheel, clearly bored with the task and doing little but jogging with newsmakers and all too happy to avoid the hard questions. And now we know why: You were looking for another job. And you don’t get a job in this state unless you kiss some ass, hold your tongue, write fluff, and/or write the truth under a nice little name like….well…Snarky Boy.

You heard it here first. Now wait for the rest of the journalism ninnies to play catch up.

Can You Say: Jealousy? I Knew You Could -- Just Like Candle Boy Could

Oh my goodness, the Vermont blogging ninnies are at again. Once again, they’re showing their Snarky Boy obsession by making little old me the subject of their whining. Good grief, could someone please tell them to get a life? Like much of what pretends to be a Vermont cultural scene, the Vermont blogging club is about as boring and uptight as it comes. Ironically – just like their politics – the Vermont mainstream bloggers pretend to be oh-so different but never cease to be normal when it comes to content. So, please, fellas, get over me because one of my biggest fears is that your boredom might be contagious if you give me too many links.

And with that I’ll bet they all went to buy the latest Rusty Dewees video, sent each other insider giggles about some latest blogger tech gadget, called Bernie’s office just to make sure he still knew it didn’t matter to them that he wasn’t doing anything, and then checked their blogger stats page to see if more than seven people cared to read their words. Hey fellas, a mirror would be cheaper – and it would save you a hell of a lot of time.

Now, please, let me get back to my work of entertaining the masses…

Monday, January 22, 2007

God Save....Your Football Team!?!

Hey gang. Sorry I’m late today. And thanks for all the emails, too. Yowza, I think we’ve found some kind of snarky love here, no? Yeah, you’re right – probably not. But a painter guy’s got to dream…

Speaking of painter guy, what a miserable day with the brush. Let me say what needs to be said: I wish house wives still drugged themselves silly like the good old days when my mom was a housewife and popped valium like popcorn. And that goes for househusbands, too. Good-fucking-lord (ew, that’s an odd image), what a miserable bunch.

I was finishing up an inside (paint) job today and the little lady of the house about made me bonkers. Of course, it didn’t help that I showed up a bit hung over from an afternoon – and a good chunk of the evening – at the bars watching football. Let’s just say that it’s NOT my last day at the Queen of Liberty Street’s house – not after she bitched and moaned about the “shimmering-ness” (her word, not mine) of the second coat.

Okay, she wants to see “shimmering-ness,” fine – check out my ass as it shimmers to the door for the last goddamn time. Fuck it.

Or at least that’s what I wanted to say. But, in my business, you don’t get very far with that kind of trash talk. So, instead, you say something like, “yeah, I see what you mean. I’ll go down to Sherwin Williams and see what they did wrong with the mix.”

Ah, and then you go back to the scene of yesterday’s crime – Charlie O’s – slam a cold one and then thank your lucky stars that you have a blog called Snarky Boy to go home to. In other words, you little word suckers are about to get the rant from the painter bastard. But, then again, that’s what you always get.

First, let’s look at the football games. I won a cool $20 bucks on both games yesterday. I took both home teams – Chicago and Indianapolis – and won ‘em, baby. But I played more pool than I watched. Let’s face it, football is fucking boring until the last couple of minutes. And then they still seem to do their best to put you to sleep with one goddamn commercial after another.

But I was alert enough to see the best fan sign of the day from a snarky bastard Chicago fan. Before I give you the goods, let me remind you that Chicago was playing New Orleans. The sign read: “The Chicago Bears will finish what Katrina started.” Ouch.

To me, that sign was better than all the bullshit about how New Orleans needed the Super Bowl victory this year to help “heal the city.” Give me a fucking break. New Orleans doesn’t need a Super Bowl victory, they need a butt load of federal cash, an administration that would stop shitting on them, and an American public that would stop nodding in agreement when someone says something as stupid as “New Orleans needs a Super Bowl victory.”

But the worst part of the football day came at the end of the second game between Indianapolis and New England. I was on cloud nine in the midst of all the obnoxious New England fans – yes, reveling in their losing ninniness – when I stopped to watch the postgame festivities. First up on national television was the owner of the Indianapolis Colts, Jim Irsay, who had this to say about the win: “All the glory of this win goes to God because it was God’s plan to give us this victory.”


Then it only got more weird when the crowd went wild and cheered this kind of nonsense. And then it went off the weird meter when the coach of the Colts, Tony Dungy, grabbed the microphone – again on primetime national television – and had this say: “All the thanks for this game goes to Jesus because it was Jesus who made all this happen.”

Oh fuck. Suddenly, it became really goddamn clear that I just wasted hours of my life watching little more than Christian lunatics playing a really stupid and violent game. Well, at least I got some good pool playing and socializing in – not to mention the free snarky beers.

But let’s go back to the God and Jesus statements. How fucked up do you have to be to believe that God and Jesus are rooting for your football team? And they can’t even get it straight if it was God or Jesus who had the plan for them to win for – excuse the pun -- Christ’s sake.

If these boys really believe in this hokum – the God/Jesus fiction – wouldn’t they also want to believe that God/Jesus had something better to do on a Sunday evening than plan for one football team to beat another? I mean, we are a world with many wars, famines, injustices and inequalities amongst us, no?

But, if you follow their logic, their God/Jesus basically took the day off from people in real need to make sure their team got to the fucking Super Bowl. Sorry, but that’s just whacked, not to mention more than a wee-bit evil.

And this whole “God/Jesus is on my side” stuff kind of proves that the people spouting it didn’t do a very good job of reading the Bible novel. I read it and I found the Jesus character to be rather opposed to this competition thing. In fact, he seemed rather hippyish to me. And if he was anywhere on Sunday, he would have been at an outdoor sandal fest long before he would have been inside a dome cheering with those war-happy lunatics.

You’ve really got to have a keen love for yourself – not to mention a beyond bloated since of importance – to not only believe but publicly declare that your team won because God/Jesus is on your side. It’s that kind of thinking that could lead you to – let’s say – start a war in the Middle East.

Fuck it. It’s been a long day. I’ve got a ton of other stuff to share with you but it’ll have to wait until later.

Stay tuned….

Friday, January 19, 2007

Baruth Makes His Move on Welch, Darren Allen in Mourning

Media Watch, Part 2: Baruth Panders (again)

Well, well, well, it sure didn’t take old “me-too” Philip Baruth over at Vermont Daily Briefing very long to jump on the “Welch is larger than life and who cares about the issues” bandwagon. Taking the lead from the mainstream media, blogger Baruth enters the Welch ass-kissing fest with a big smooch today. No, he didn’t go jogging with Welch – Baruth likes donuts more than jogging anyway. Instead, he took the easy way out by reprinting a “Roll Call” article on the new staff members of Welch’s congressional team.

While I understand the point of Baruth is to align himself with anything that looks and feels politically safe (read: irrelevant), I have to wonder where he thinks the news is here. The Vermont media has saturated us with stories about all the local lads who are drying off the wetness behind their ears and now beginning their power elite climb as congressional staff members.

There is no news in this piece – especially for Vermonters. This just fills Baruth’s apparent never-ending need to feel like a “player” and to crawl into Welch’s lap and purr like a good little propaganda soldier should. Poor Phil, he’s on so many bandwagons he probably can’t even hear the music anymore. Because when he’s not checking in his better judgment to pretend Obama is the next coming of – ahem – Bill Clinton, he’s wetting himself with insider glee that he played fucking frisbee with Saint Peter’s new staff. Then, of course, Baruth will always let his pen meander in opining pander for Sanders and Leahy when his political Viagra begins to wear down. Whatever.

But notice, just like with the mainstream media, this “liberal” blogger won’t say a word about Welch and the issues. Baruth could have, for example, told us about the attempts by to pin Welch down on his Iraq war position. Green Mountain Daily, another Dem cheerleading site, rose to the occasion and waded in those waters. But not Baruth, who’s apparently more concerned with a lunch invite and yet another photo opportunity than to actually press Welch on the important ISSUES of the day.

And so it goes. But we shouldn’t be surprised. I mean, come on, if you qualify to do Vermont Public Radio commentaries, you can be certain that all of your sharp edges have been safely sanded to a somnambulant softness. Yawn.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Media Watch

Here’s a quick look around the Vermont media landscape, with more than a few pokes and jabs thrown in for good measure.

It’s clear to Snarky Boy that Darren Allen of the Press Bureau and Peter Freyne from Seven Days have a gentlemen’s agreement to do little more than fawn over our congressional delegation. And to make sure neither has to work too hard, they’ve agreed to divide up the task of making Peter, Bernie and Pat look bigger than Camel’s Hump. Darren Allen has obviously taken on the role of cheerleader for Welch, while Freyne’s carrying the water for Sanders. As for Leahy, well, they’ve obviously decided that he’s already attained God-status so they share in the glow of fawning over him.

I beg to be corrected on this, too. Please, dear readers, scour the words and works of Allen and Freyne and try to find just ONE negative reference to their appointed political lovers. I’ve tried and tried and tried and I can’t find one. Hell, they won’t even quote someone who says a negative word about them. It has, quite clearly, been nothing but fluff, fluff, and fluff from these two.

In fairness, perhaps we should cut Allen and Freyne some slack. They’ve both been going through a bit of a mid-life crisis. Allen, of course, ended his marriage not too long ago and has been frolicking in the juices of new love. Allen moved to Vermont several years ago with his wife, Maria Archangelo, who recently took the strange career move from the Times-Argus to a soon-to-be-republished Waterbury weekly. Ouch.

As for Freyne, he’s been enmeshed in a very public display of life bewilderment for months now. If you don’t believe me, just sit by yourself at one of the many coffee shops Peter can be found perusing and just wait for him to saunter over to you and start spilling his guts out about being lost. But beware: He can’t stand it when you don’t know who he is or don’t fawn over his work.

Both these boys are clearly bored. The Vermont media culture does not allow for REAL reporting, instead demanding the kind of hero-worship that these two can now pump out with their eyes closed. Then, whatever kind of muckraking muscles they ever had begin to atrophy from the lack of use and, next, they just start making everything about them and their relationship to the power elite.

But it’s not very satisfying – for them or us.

Speaking of the Times-Argus, Sue Allen (no relation to Darren) is trying her best to revive the rather lifeless local newspaper. Her first promise to readers was to bring more local news and fewer wire reports to its front page. So far, she’s following through with her promise.

Today’s Times-Argus, for example, has five stories on the front page and four of them are on local matters and written by local authors. Nice. The lead story is on the imminent departure of Montpelier’s Rep. Francis Brooks from the voting side of the legislature. As we all know by now, Brooks is looking to fill the soon-to-be-vacated position of Sergeant-at-Arms at the State House. The current occupant of that position, Kermit Spaulding of hunting law violations fame, is apparently scheduled to hand his job over to Brooks within weeks.

The departure of Brooks from the Legislature means that his seat will be open and Governor Douglas gets to make the appointment to replace him. Imagine how tempting it is for Douglas to stick it to the Montpelier Dems? But he won’t. Not because he doesn’t want to but because the guy’s got very little political capital given that he’s staring at two veto-overriding chambers in the State House. The last thing he can afford to do is stick his finger in the legislative hometown’s Democratic elite.

Sooooo….Douglas will be a good little governor and appoint Montpelier’s Mayor, Mary Hooper, to fill Brooks’ seat. It’s an obvious choice, despite the embarrassingly self-serving speculating by Odum over at Green Mountain Daily who included his wife in his short list of Brooks' possible replacements. For a guy who pretends to be “connected,” Odum is almost always wrong, almost always self-promoting, and almost always wondering why the big media won’t take him and his sophomoric Dem cheerleading site seriously. Hmm, I wonder?

But let’s get back to the Times-Argus. While Allen seems to have a good handle on bringing local stories to the fore, let’s hope she sets her sights on breathing some life into their op/ed page. Let’s face it, the Times-Argus needs some good columnists and some better give and take on these most important pages. Personally, I’d like to see Allen grab some fine writers from across the political spectrum and have them go toe to toe on the important LOCAL issues facing the area. Or, better yet, put some trust in a couple writers to let it rip a couple times with their own columns with no rules other than to provoke and entertain. If they can do it in the sports pages with Jim Higgins – a great addition, by the way – why can’t they do it on the op/ed pages? Just a suggestion. And, yes, I’m available.

And we’ll end this rather schizophrenic look at the media with a delicious look at two headlines that appeared on the same page in last weekend’s Wall Street Journal. On the top of the page, there was this headline: “Companies Trim Executive Perks.” And right below it, there was this one: “Disney CEO Iger’s Bonus, Salary Total $17 Million.”


Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Bumpersticker Art

A War -- and its Opponents -- with No Plan

Boy, oh boy, it didn’t take long for those tough talking Dems to slide right into irrelevancy, did it? Remember all that Pelosi talk about “the first 100 hours”? Hmm, and what did they accomplish in those hours? Not much – if anything.

And that tough talk about the war? Forgetaboutit. The latest out of Queen Hillary is that the Dems will be calling for “limits and conditions” on the manner in which Bush is executing the war. Limits and conditions? How fucking lame can they get?

Earth to Dems: The people who were suckered into thinking you meant what you were saying during the election season (again), thought you were going to “hit the road running” and END the war. To hell with your limits and conditions. Because, quite frankly, we’ve reached our limits with your sheer ninniness.

I mean, come on, when you can’t even distance yourself from a Republican like Jim Douglas on this issue, how can you possibly be expected to be taken seriously? Yes, Jim Douglas has also asked for limits and conditions. Yawn.

Okay, okay, if you want limits and conditions, try these: Time’s up. Yep, your time is up. The war must end now. And, if both parties continue to drag their heels, we – the people – propose these conditions: You’re fired.

Clear enough?

I couldn’t find a copy of the New York Times last Saturday so grabbed the Wall Street Journal instead. They’re now publishing a weekend edition that is – dare I say – damn good. Their “leisure & arts” section is simply superb as far as the big media goes.

And I blew my own mind while finding myself enjoying a column by – ready for this – Peggy Noonan. Yes, THAT Peggy Noonan, the former wordsmith for Ronnie Reagan.

In her piece, “The Two Vacuums,” she rather adroitly casts a pall over the two parties, condemning the Bush speech to the nation as a “dreadful mistake” and the Democratic response as – well – empty. In this day and age of partisan cheerleading with nary a shred of reason to any of it, it was nice to see an ex-political hack like Noonan pen a piece that said what needs to be said: Both parties are fucked. Worse, both parties are fucking with us.

Then we turn our attention to the so-called anti-war movement here in Vermont. You’d certainly expect their creativity, numbers and effectiveness to be growing now that the war is as dreadfully unpopular as it is, no? Well, no. They are, in fact, just doing the same old thing and continuing to play footsie with Sanders, Leahy and Welch who must be wondering how much they’re going to be allowed to get away with. You haven’t, for example, heard one of them talk about bringing the troops home now, have you? Nope. So far, all three seem to be content with either the Hillary “limits and conditions” nonsense or the just as silly attempt to pass a nonbinding “resolution” condemning the Bush’s prosecution of the whole mess.

But the anti-war crowd, just like Vermont’s mainstream media, seems to be ignoring the whole charade. Darren Allen, for example, has had incredible access to Peter Welch – jogs and all! – but he apparently hasn’t broached the subject that most Vermonters would really like know: When’s Peter going to present a plan to bring our troops home now? It was, after all, the primary issue in his campaign.

This weekend, the anti-war folks will be doing what they always do: They’ll be marching from City Hall in Montpelier to the State House lawn so the same people can say the same things and everyone who bothers to show up to hear those same things can feel good about just showing up.

But stopping a war involves more than just showing up. It involves a plan. Some strategy. Some creativity. And – gasp! – some risks on the part of the leaders and masses. But, so far, everyone just seems to be real, real happy with the burn the candle for peace strategy. And no one seems to be willing to “escalate” the activism to match the “escalation” of the war and the increasing understanding amongst practically everyone of just how wrong, unjust and illegal this war is.

My advice to the peaceniks on Saturday? Well, why don’t you skip the march to the State House and, instead, march yourselves to the offices of Welch, Sanders and/or Leahy and DEMAND that they put forward plan NOW to END the war. No more hot air. No more dilly-dallying. No more bullshit about Obama coming to our rescue.

I mean, come on folks, we’ve got numbers on our side! If we can’t get some movement on an issue where over 70% of the public agrees with us, how lame can we be?

In other words, it’s time to stop the bullshitting and start the activism.

Rant complete. Now get back to work.


Snarky Boy

Monday, January 15, 2007

Where Did All the Journalism Go?

Yikes, that was a weird week – and weekend. But I survived and, contrary to the rumors propagated by the True North crowd, I wasn’t abducted by Cheney-like warriors and sent to Gitmo-like prisons to serve a sentence for failing to bow to the lunatics of the right wing. Whew.

And for those keeping score at home, please note that Snarky Boy remains an equal opportunity political basher. If you don’t believe me, just ask the grumbling Darren Allen and his new boyfriend, Peter Welch. I’m only mentioning this because I’m sick and tired of the emails accusing me of being a sock-puppet for the Democrats, Republicans or Progressives. Yep, I’ve been accused of carrying water for all three. Whatever.

Speaking of Allen, he penned yet another love note – er, op/ed piece – to Welch on Sunday in the Times-Argus. In fact, I think he wrote the only article in the entire edition of the paper that wasn’t about Bill McKibben of global warming fame. Don’t believe me? Pick up a copy. It won’t be hard to find, just look for the half-page photo of McKibben on the front page. And then count how many articles or references you can find about McKibben throughout the paper. Here’s a hint: lead article, lead editorial, self-penned op/ed piece, and three – yes three – pages worth of news about him in the front section.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m among the admirers of McKibben and one of the early readers of his book, The End of Nature. But how much McKibben can one person take in one edition of a newspaper? It’s the Vermont way, you know: Make a darling out of someone or something and then just milk it to death until all meaning is lost. Pretty soon, McKibben will be starring with Rusty Dewees in some production that won’t really be very good but EVERYONE will HAVE to see and/or send video copies to our out of state relatives.

But the best part of the McKibben saturation was knowing that it was making Vermont’s state curmudgeon, John McClaughry of the Ethan Allen Institute, even more bat-shit crazy than he normally is. McClaughry, of course, is the lone guy behind what he calls an “institute,” and his steady lurch to the right over the years has only made him more and more lonely. But he’s made a nice little living out of being the media’s very own right wing lunatic when a right wing lunatic who can complete sentences is needed.

And, true to form, the media called on McClaughry to trot out his nonsense and all but declare that Bill McKibben – rather than the combustion engine --- is actually the enemy of the universe. Oh sure, John, now crawl back into your hole and wait for your next opportunity to look absolutely nutty.

My biggest fear with all this McKibben worship going on is that it’ll just end there. In other words, we’ll all just be made to feel so good about talking about the issue of global warming and the warmth we all feel for Saint Bill that we’ll forget that the point of the love-fest was to get something done or, dare I say it, make some sacrifices for the future of the planet.

And what a shame it would be if all the hot air about hot air did little more than give the flailing Dems an opportunity to take the spotlight off the fact that they have no real plans for this issue or any of the other major issues confronting them.

But, I’ll bet you’re wondering, what does any of this have to do with Darren Allen’s column? Nothing, really. I just got a bit off track. Deal with it.

Allen and Welch still seem to be in their civil union honeymoon period, with Welch calling on Allen to write fawning words about his every congressional move and, not surprisingly, Allen obliging. Don’t believe me? Well then, read this little intro from Allen yesterday: “U.S. Rep. Peter Welch, a Democrat in his first weeks as a congressman from Vermont, made a hike in the minimum wage one of his biggest priorities while he was on the campaign trail, and, last week, he and his colleagues delivered.”

Good job, Darren, we now know that you can re-type the words from your boyfriend’s press releases. Next time, though, try reporting. Oh, in case you forgot, that’s where you get opposing viewpoints and – gasp! – challenge the viewpoints that are spoon fed to you. But, beware, you might actually have to put in some more time and – heaven forbid – ruffle some feathers along the way.

Oh yes, there was something good in his column that I wanted to pass along: “Forgetting that lawmakers rarely put in a five-day 40-hour week at the office, their annual $165,200 incomes work out to an hourly take of about $79. For an eight-hour day, that works out to little more than $635 – or a cool two times what a minimum wage worker earns in a week.”

Yeah, but Peter’s got that cute dog to feed. Oh yeah, and all those millions in trial lawyer riches to manage. Perhaps Darren could ask him if he’s really concerned about the poor, how much of his unneeded salary is he donating to them?

Just a suggestion.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

The Visit from "The True North Listeners"

Goodness gracious. Sorry for my tardiness today but I’m still recovering from the visit I got from two nice gentlemen who showed up at my door this afternoon and simply introduced themselves as the “listeners of True North Radio on WDEV.” They were so nice, in fact, that they let me take their photos (see above) before we sat down to chat.

While more than a bit startled by their ability to find me, I did manage to fire a few questions their way and – rather easily – deflect their anger toward the ring-dings my housemate had stowed in our cupboard for just this kind of visit.

First, I had to know more about the manner in which they introduced themselves.

“Did you really say you were ‘the listeners’ of the True North Radio show?” I inquired.

And they did what they’d do after every question I asked during their brief visit: They’d gather up their knuckles from the floor and – in perfect unity – turn to one another and scrape ears. I swear it was like they had rehearsed it or something.

But, to my first question, they responded rather disjointedly, “Huh?”, sounding like two Paul Beaudry’s standing right in front of me.

I know, I know, you’re wondering how a simple response of “huh” can sound disjointed. Well, trust me, it did. Perhaps it was the ear-smacking vibrations or the strangely slow manner in which they blinked their eyes. Whatever it was, it was disjointed, just like their hero, Paul.

And so I repeated the question, this time with some more clarity: “You said you were ‘the listeners’ of Paul’s show, that seems to imply that you’re the only listeners.”

Holy shit, they did it again, but this time with really bizarre crossed eyes – again in unison -- and an even louder, “huh.”

I gave up on that question.

Why are you here? I asked.

“Because we are the listeners of True North Radio,” they replied.

Yeah, we already covered that, I told them.

“We’re mad,” they then interjected.


Oh damn, more silence.

Again, I tried to help them: I’ll bet you’re mad about what I wrote about Paul, aren’t you?

“We think so.”

Well, I continued, you should know that I already heard from Paul himself and he didn’t seem to be all that mad. In fact, this is what he wrote to me (I then handed them a printed version of this email I received from Paul last night): “Thanks for the insult. I have been reading your blogs (sic) for months. It's about time you contacted me. Thanks for tuning in. Best, Paul Beaudry.”

“You’re lying,” they replied, after about ten minutes of reading it with their lips moving.

And then I took them to my computer and showed them the email, complete with the apparently “secret” email Paul uses for such correspondence (

“Paul emailed you directly!” one of them said, but I can’t remember which one was which. “Well then, you’re a friend of ours if you talk with Paul.”

Whatever. I was just plain tired from a day of painting and thrilled that these two ear-flappers weren’t going to try and test my abilities to run like hell when confronted.

And then they proceeded to walk into my living room, opened a small folder of photos, and began laying them out on my coffee table.

I’ve got things to do, fellas, I told them, but to no avail.

“Here, come here, and look at this,” one of them said, as he pointed to a photo of several men in hunting fatigues (see photo). “That’s us at Paul’s last gathering. All of us.”

You mean Paul’s listeners?

“Yes, we are Paul’s listeners and there we all are.”

Hey, thanks for sharing, but I’ve got to get going, I declared.

“But there are more,” they continued, “like the photos of Paul’s truck pool (see photo) and the limo he used for his second wedding (see photo).”

Hey, that’s great, I replied, but I’ve really got to get going.

“But we have to show you who we’re looking for,” the other one said (again, I was having a hard time telling them apart).

Okay, what are you looking for?

“Paul gave us this sketch (see sketch) and told us to find anyone and everyone who looked like us or like this (they pointed to the sketch) to listen to WDEV at 11 in the morning everyday.”

And when did he tell you to do this?

“At the gathering,” they replied, this time in unison as they pointed back to the photo of the gathering.

Well, how many people have you found so far?

“Just us,” they replied. “That’s why Paul calls us the listeners.”

Hey listen, listeners, I replied, what do you say I let you have that whole box of ring-dings if you leave now and let me get on with my evening?

And their eyes grew as big as their ears. “You mean it?”

Of course I do. And you know what else? Count me in as a listener, too. I’ve got nothing else to do when I paint all day.

High fives all around!

But, better yet, “the listeners” left. And I’ve still got time for a few games of pool at Charlie O’s before the President spins his merry madness about the war.

Snark on, readers. Snark on.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Paul Beaudry: The Vermont Left's Favorite Lunatic

Vermont’s most paranoid and right-wing cartoon character, – er, I mean, radio host – Paul Beaudry of WDEV’s True North Radio, is on the run again. This time, the guy who likes to talk tough but does little but cower when his hate-filled rhetoric is challenged, is using some of his $250-plus and hour air time to whine and moan about an anonymous group of people who are targeting Paul’s advertisers with “radical” messages like this: “We don’t want to support businesses who support far-right lunatics who attack teachers, gays and peaceniks.”

There are several things that are comical about Paul’s on-air whining about being attacked. First of all, Paul’s making his pitiful little living by doing little more than attacking people. So, when you spend your life saying “boo” to other people, you really can’t get much traction when you try to play the victim when people say “boo” right back at you. Yes, I know a thing or two about this.

Secondly, Paul’s porn of choice is the free market. As listeners know, his love affair with what he thinks is the “free market” just totally gets him off. But, like so many confused conservatives today, Paul suddenly hates the free market when people use it to put the squeeze on him. And that’s exactly what these so-called anonymous people are doing: they’re using the free market to contact Paul’s advertisers and tell them that they find their support for his hate unacceptable.

And Paul’s pissed. Or, more accurately, Paul’s scared. That’s why he’s led off his last few shows with confused rants about being under siege and – of course – using this kind of fear mongering as way to raise money from his loony supporters.

Personally, I’m not buying it. In fact, I’m betting that this so-called threat is about as illusive as Bush’s WMD assertions in Iraq. In other words, it’s all bullshit – just like much of the drivel that comes out of his rather lunatic mouth.

This “threat” is little more than a fundraising appeal. You see, Paul’s funding is clearly in trouble. The money people who shit-canned his predecessor, Laurie Morrow, were counting on a more energetic -- albeit whacky -- Paul to be able to tap some of the large amounts of cash needed to financially carry his hour a day on Vermont’s top radio station.

But that clearly has not been the case. Instead, Beaudry’s been an embarrassment to many of those same funders who understand that his christo-fascists rhetoric just doesn’t fly in a state that just elected Bernie Sanders with nearly 70% of the vote. Oops, where’s Morrow’s “brainy” conservatism when they need it?

The conundrum facing the money folks behind Beaudry’s show is that they want to pull the plug because he’s basically a moron. If you don’t believe me, just try to listen to him and keep track of how often he butchers the English language (e.g. “There’s a bunch of people that is attacking us”) or – worse – just doesn’t make any sense whatsoever (he did, after all “guarantee Tarrant and Rainville victories).

And so, while Paul feels the financial pinch from his backers, he’s getting more paranoid and reactionary about his opponents. Instead of admitting that the show is going down the tubes – beginning with the loss of his Rutland station – he’s going to do what he does best on behalf of the Bush agenda: Declare that he’s being attacked and that he’s “at war” with his phantom attackers with the hopes that enough goofy people will fall for it and send him money.

But, like Bush and his claims of WMDs and an Iraqi connection to 9/11, it ain’t holding up for poor Paul. His financial backers are getting more nervous and it would probably take no more than two hands to count the number of listeners who’ve ponied up cash to help him out. Don’t believe me? Well, why would he mention just ONE schmuck who gave $25 when he opened his show the other day? To use your kind of rhetoric, Paul: That ain’t gonna cut it, buddy.

So, tick-tock, the clock is running out on Paul. And it’s a whole lot easier for a paranoid freak like Paul to begin blaming some “anonymous” bogeyman out there than admit that his show just sucks. Besides, I think the people on the left who would naturally dislike his drivel kind of like the fact that Paul’s got the microphone because he’s simply not credible. Nope, he’s so whacked he’s almost funny.

I mean, come on, Beaudry apparently can’t even arrange a kickback from Tarrant to help pay the hourly rate for his show. Hey, maybe Tarrant wasn’t so bad after all? He apparently knows a loser when he sees one.

My suggestion: Call Beaudry’s sponsors and thank them for supporting his show and making Vermont Republicans look so ridiculous. But then also let them know that you’ll never buy a damn thing from them because Paul convinced you about the powers of the free market.

But, please, Paul, don’t give up. Ken Squire needs your money so he can keep Amy Goodman’s Democracy Now on his airwaves

Monday, January 08, 2007

Universal Cell Phone Coverage or Universal Health Care? Governor Douglas Missed Our Message

Okay, okay, I’ve given the mainstream media more than enough time to get off their collective asses. I’m not waiting any more for a response. I’m going to give it. This session of the Vermont Legislature will be a complete and utter failure for those of us truly struggling for something real to be done.

There. I said it. But you didn’t need to hear it from me. You already knew it. Because you’re either a snarky little bitch/bastard of your own or you’ve been reading, watching or listening to the Vermont media of late.

Take, for example, the Vermont Public Radio “analysis” a few days ago that basically wagged its high-wattage finger at us and said: The Democrats will and should go slow with their new-found veto-proof majority in both houses.

Huh? Go slow? Why?

It was, after all, the Dems who BLAMED Douglas for the ridiculous compromise called Catamount Health, a health care “solution” that no one can explain or seemingly understand. Well, Mr. and Mrs. Dem, you’ve got the power. Let’s see you use it.

Hell, even the Governator of California (a Republican!) has seen the light when it comes to health care and – just today – called for universal health care in his state. Better yet, he did it all with a broken leg from a rather elitist ski trip. Oh, feel the compassion, baby.

But, here in the so-called Socialist Republic of Vermont, we’re still fixated on the absurd notion of “going slow.” Hmm. Why?

Well, the snarky answer, of course, is that the news media in this state is largely and almost exclusively a big nest of suck-up ninnies. They remain more interested in being happily glad-handed at the next political press conference than cheered by the people they’re supposed to be reporting to.

Vermont likes to pretend. We are, quite clearly, the great pretend state. We allowed, for example, Howard Dean to take his traveling national political road show on the road with the notion that he was, well, liberal. Now that was funny. And we even turned a blind eye to the notion that it was Dean who “led” our great foray into civil liberties by “signing” the civil unions legislation. Well, was we all know, he signed that in the closet (pun intended). Dean ran from that truly liberal legislation like he ran away from almost every other liberal piece of change that came within 20 feet of his rich ass.

Oops, I’m digressing again.

Oh yes, I was talking about pretending. And that, once again, leads me to Governor Douglas.

Our lame little governor pretended throughout an entire election season that he was running to make Vermont “more affordable.” Just like the Rove-inspired national Republicans, Douglas talked taxes while on the campaign trail. If you can remember back to a few months ago, you’ll recall that Douglas made issue number one of his re-election campaign the “affordability” Vermont. He talked tough on reducing taxes, increasing job opportunities, and putting a stop to the trend toward the brain and job drain in our little state. The option, of course, was to continue to tether himself to his hero in the White House but we all know how that would have worked out – even with the milquetoast Scudder yapping at his heels.

Well, Douglas had the podium last week to deliver his “state of the state” speech and about 25 of the 5,000 words had to do with his so-called affordability agenda. That was SOOOOO yesterday. Instead of trying to address the issue he ran on, Douglas found a brand new issue: making Vermont more compatible for the elite few who carry or care about electronic devices. Yep, Douglas changed his tune faster than a Phish acid-flashback, and what was a fixation on the little guy in early November became a suck-up to the big guy in January. Ho-hum. That is, after all, what we expect from Republicans isn’t it? Let them eat cake!

Hey Jimmy boy, we don’t need fucking coverage for blackberries or cell phones, we need jobs! And, please, don’t tell me the two are connected. Because, as far as this blue-collar bastard can calculate, the cell phone coverage you so want for Vermont is more for the yuppie soccer moms we see tooling around the Interstate than us poor slobs trying to knock on doors and otherwise communicate directly with people looking for our services.

Which reminds me, will the State of Vermont be responsible for their little yuppie crashes if you give us all universal coverage?

Holy shit, I just said “universal coverage,” didn’t I? I think I just hit the nail on the head. I’ll bet Douglas just confused universal health care coverage for universal cell phone coverage. But notice, dear readers, how fast the old bastard jumped to make a move for all of us, anywhere and anytime, to have the “right” and ability to make a stupid fucking phone call. Too bad he won’t act just as fast when it comes to a visit to the doctor or medical treatment, huh?

And what about all that red-baiting with the “socialism” word? Isn’t it, Mr. Douglas, socialized cell phone coverage that you’re proposing? And if socialized cell phones work, why can’t socialized medicine? And did you notice how fast he jumped at the chance to hand millions of dollars of the tax-payers money over to the cell phone and cable corporations but he’ll continue to draw the line to provide the same cash to help with Vermonters’ health care premiums?

Think about it. And then call a Democrat and tell them to wake the fuck up.

If you need a slogan, try this: Universal Cell Phone Coverage is Good, Universal Health Care is Better.

You heard it here first.
0'Reilly calls peace activist 'lunatic'

You gotta see this. And then you gotta ask yourselves, why aren't we doing this in Vermont?

Peter + Darren (2-gether/4-ever)

If, like me, you enjoy journalism, politics and porn, you got the trifecta on Sunday via Darren Allen’s big smooch of a column on our newly minted congressman, Peter Welch. Let’s just say that Darren didn’t heed Snarky Boy’s advice last week to start reporting on our congressional delegation rather fawning over and flacking for them. Because, my friends, this one was way, way over the top – even for Vermont’s rather non-existent muckraking traditions.

Basically, Allen went jogging with Welch while on company time in DC. And Welch, sensing what a little poodle of a journalist he had at his disposal, took Allen on a heavy-handed jog “past the Capitol, past the Washington Monument, the White House, the World War II Memorial, and then up the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.”

I’ll bet with each and every stop along the way Welch was wondering how much Allen was going to let him get away with without firing a substantive question or challenge his way. But, as those of us who endured the entire sappy length of this column can attest, there was nary a challenge in the midst. Nope, this was all myth building all the time. Worse, it was just plain hokey.

Just taste these lines from the beginning: “As we started, he turned toward the majestic building, its dome framed by wispy pink clouds, and then he turned to me.”

I honestly thought the next line was going to be: “And he kissed me so passionately and lovingly that I knew a civil union was in our future.”

But no such luck. Instead, all we got was hundreds and hundreds of additional words worth of political swooning over Welch, their consummating jog together, and cliché after cliché and fucking cliché.

Don’t believe me? Taste this: “And viewing it through the eyes of a new congressman is a sure way to be reminded of why we send 535 people here, pay them generous salaries and provide them with staffs that do their bidding.”

Or, if that bit of ass kissing isn’t good enough for you, try this: “On his first day, he presided over the House (OK, it was between 10 and 11 p.m., but he presided, nonetheless) and accepted the accolades of dozens of family members, friends and fellow congressmen.”

Come on, Darren. It would only be news if a congressman REJECTED such accolades. As a viewer of C-SPAN, I can most assuredly tell you that accepting accolades is a very normal part of ANY congressman’s day.

Vermonter’s, unfortunately, have become all too used to this kind of suck-up journalism. It’s one thing to accept a private jog with a congressman, but it’s quite another to use that kind of access to simply fawn and fall for the spin of it all. Did Allen ask Welch one tough question? Did he challenge him in any way? Did he even make light of the heavy-handedness of it all? Nope. This was purely and simply love at first spin.

Oh boy, and we wonder why Vermont’s political incumbents stay in office for as long as they want to stay in office. With journalism like Allen’s, it’s a smooth ride, baby.

Next time, fellas, get a room.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

The Shake Down

This morning’s Times Argus also features a Darren Allen front-page piece on the beginning of the Sanders/Welch congressional era. It’s little more than the same warmed over fluff about their victories and the beginning of the new Congress. And, as is always the case with the Vermont media, Allen allows crap like this quote from Bernie go completely unchallenged: “As I went around the state during the campaign, I heard people say, ‘You go down there and give them hell, you shake that system up.’ That’s precisely what I intend to do.”

Well, Bernie, that’s what you said you were going to do 16 years ago when you first went to Congress as a member of the House. And how did that work out? I don’t recall any major system shake-up while you were there. In fact, it seems as though you drifted to the right – straight into the Democratic fold – and were most ineffective in a Congress that slashed at our civil rights, gave repeated approvals – funding and otherwise -- for an illegal war, and continued the policies of social and economic inequality that you love to rail against.

Darren Allen and the rest of the Vermont media have to get over their hero-worship of our elected leaders and start muckraking for crying out loud. Otherwise, Bernie’s just gonna keep bullshitting us into believing the “shake things up” hype. Mark my words, Bernie ain’t shakin’ up anything. He’ll do what he did in the House: Play the good soldier, avoid anything truly controversial, and say the some old stuff about the growing disparity between the rich and the poor while doing nothing about it but getting richer. I guess that makes him an expert on the disparity, huh?

Come on, Darren, the Press Bureau sent you to DC to cover Sanders and Welch, not flack for them. Dig, my boy, dig. Find something other than the words from their press releases to report. You can do it. I know you can.


Sports? Why not?

Gotta love that photo above of Notre Dame’s rather stout coach, Charlie Weiss. Boy, talk about inspiring athleticism. Ouch. You’ve got to wonder at what time this morning after he sees that picture will he begin cutting down on his morning donuts. Because, let’s face it, he ain’t eatin’ the Mark Johnson breakfast cereal. Not only did he and his team get their asses handed to them by LSU last night in the Sugar Bowl (41-14), it was the team’s ninth straight bowl game loss. The sports pundits are saying it was because of a lack of “team speed.” Yep, and I’ll bet that hefty coach ain’t speeding things up any, either. Except, of course, if someone screams “pork chops” during practice. Then all hell breaks loose.

And, while we’re speaking about coaches, how about the story in this morning’s Times
Argus about the Northfield basketball coach who was recently arrested for arranging a crack deal in the Shaw’s parking lot in downtown Montpelier? But that’s not all. At the time of his crack arrest in December, the coach, Charles Ellis, was out on bail for DUI and negligent homicide charges in New Hampshire. Upon reading about Ellis’ arrest record in the Times Argus (yes, reading about it in the Times Argus), Northfield school officials made the brilliant decision to let him go. Tough call there, huh?

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Vermont Dems Open with a Big Yawn

Okay, you’re all in for it now. I’ve got my favorite band of the moment on (The Kills) and I’m pumped from a day of listening to talk radio and painting the holy hell out of the interior of a house that I’d rather have pissed on than painted. Oh my, was that rude? Damn straight it was rude. Get over it.

The streets of Montpelier were loaded today with a whole host of cheery ninnies on their way to do the “people’s business.” Yep, it was day one of the new legislature, and oh-my-fucking-goodness couldn’t you just feel the sleepiness of it all?

The leads on the radio news sounded something like this: Go slow. Go real fucking slow.

They were talking about, of course, the not-so-mighty Dems who always seem to talk tough for about an hour after they’re elected but then never cease to run from their own shadows when they get a mere moment’s worth of political power.

But the Vermont Dems’ go-slow, propose nothing of real substance other than look and study issues of apparent substance seemed to be just fine with the Dem Kool-Aid drinkers and the just as sleepy populace. If you don’t believe me, put on your stink masks and venture over to Green Mountain Daily and witness the nothingness of the post by GMD godfather Odum on the words of nothingness by Speaker Symington. I mean, come on, she said absolutely nothing of substance, nothing that would inspire, and much that would insult the intelligence of those of us who – even for a moment – believed the tough talk about the new, mighty, veto-proof Dems coming to Montpelier. But that wouldn’t stop the Dem-cultists from cheering, pretending apparently that she actually said something of substance. A big shout-out and bravo to the not yet banned “GiveTexasBack” who tried to shove Odum’s stupid words right back where they came from.

Go back, my dear readers, and look up Symington’s words and tell me if you see anything about universal health care, about banning GMOs, about shutting down Vermont Yankee, about a concrete plan to end the perverse dichotomy between the haves and have-nots in this state, about gay marriage not just civil unions, about REAL support for our ag and rural economies and culture, about the arts, or about holding the Douglas’ administration’s feet to the fire about supporting the Vermont National Guard’s continued participation in the illegal and immoral war in Iraq. Nope, not a peep about any of that. Only more fucking platitudes about platitudes revolving around platitudes centering on the platitudes of go fucking slow and trying real, real hard to just get along and go slow. Fuck that.

The national Dems tried the same bullshit in DC today. But they didn’t get away with it. Instead of being allowed to drone on about all the stupid shit they wanted to drone on about, they got ambushed by Cindy Sheehan and a bevy of protesters who entered their stage little press moment with chants like this: “De-escalate, investigate, troops home now.”

Bravo, Cindy, Bravo.

And I’ll bet the activist in Vermont will do what they normally do: cheer the faraway actions of people like Sheehan but then condemn anyone and everyone who tries the same stuff here in Vermont.

Take, for example, that little entrepreneur of peace, Joseph Gainza of the Vermont Chapter of the American Friends Service Committee. While he continues to garner a very nice salary in the name of spreading peace and stopping the war, he only managed to gather 12 of his friends to his most recent vigil “protest” of the war. Sorry, but if you can only manage to get 12 people out at a lame anti-Iraq-war protest in Vermont in 2007, you suck. Or, better yet, you’re methods and message are just fucking boring. Or all three.

So, in case you’ve missed the comparison here, Sheehan was kicking the shit out of national Dems by barging in on their abundance of substance-free blather, forcing them to call an early end to their rhetorical shenanigans while Gainza and the Vermont peace crowd was busy roping in 11 other creatively-challenged “activists” to stand around for an hour burning a candle and whining.

Oh yeah, but Gainza’s sooooo nice. They mean soooooo well. And, besides, they’ve got the (Not-So) Raging Grannies on their side. Yawn.

Fuck it. If no one else is going to raise hell with these ninnies in Montpelier, Snarky Boy will. Watch your news closely, my friends, because Snarky Boy is about to make a public relations strike. The Dems who have a veto-proof majority cannot be allowed to ponder their navel for a year as they’ve proposed while those of us struggling our asses off to earn enough money to pay our taxes, pay our health care costs and donate endless hours to stop the war, protect the environment, and shut down the Vermont Yankee get absolutely nothing in return.

Come on, folks, when you see a droning Dem at the microphone, don’t applaud their droning nothingness, seize the goddamn thing. Just like Cindy. Heh, it beats burning a candle for nothing….

You’ve been warned. Snark on.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Mourning the Dead Men

Big fucking deal, Saddam Hussein’s dead and Gerald Ford is dead. Now, please, can we just move on? Actually, we shouldn’t really move on from the Saddam death. We should be using the injustice of it all to rally the citizen troops to bring the military troops home right this minute. How many blunders, after all, are we going to let this idiot-boy-king president of ours get away with?

Time’s up, Georgie. In fact, you’ve been playing in what seems like the world’s longest game of overtime ninniness. Oh yeah, that’s why we have what they call “oppositional” parties, right? Now THAT’S funny.

If any of you so-called insiders have an ear with the new majority Dems, do me a favor and wake the bastards up. And, yes, I want a hell of a lot more from them than this silly little public relations bullshit from Nancy Pelosi about working really, really hard in their “first 100 hours.” Sorry, but that’s exactly what we saw when Clinton became president in 1993. He talked real cool for about 100 hours – you remember, he jazzed us up about health care and letting gays have the same rights to kill in the military (oh baby, purr, purr) and then the opposition said “boo” and he turned his creepy eyes toward interns. The rest, as they say, is history.

And, if history really repeats itself, old Nancy will be caught lifting her skirt for some power-hungry intern in the 101st hour of her great legislative revolution.

[Snarky editor intervenes: Yo, Snarky, you’re on the wrong track here. And, besides, you’re making me sick.]

Sorry about that.

Now, where was I? Oh yeah, death. Saddam is still dead. Gerald Ford is still dead. And, goddamn it, James Brown is still dead, too. Personally, I’m getting through this first day back to work bullshit by entertaining my mind with notions of the three of them all spending some quiet time together in purgatory. Face it, there’s endless entertainment in that scenario. And at least I’ll admit it.

While toiling away today on some ridiculous inside paint job, with some nagging homeowner with way too much fucking time on her hands watching my every move, I got to listen to some of the Gerald Ford funeral proceedings. It really only needs one word to describe it: Boring. And, being the Snarky Boy of wordiness, I’m going to use some more words: Goofy, pompous, suffocating, artificially spiritual, and, well, a complete waste to time and resources.

Despite the typical rush by nearly everyone to anoint the newly dead as shitters of the great stinkless shit, let me be among the lonely few who will say: Gerald Ford was a Republican Ass. He was a keeper of the Republican flame of protecting those with wealth and power and – on his good days – throwing crumbs to the rest of us. He was hideous on Middle Eastern politics – just go back and listen/watch the debates with Carter. He denied the country the right to truly right the wrongs of Tricky Dick, thus carrying on the notion to this day that presidents should be allowed to get away with all kinds of illegal shit. Notice, dear readers, I said “illegal shit,” thus denying Clinton’s constant pursuit of the legal blowjob from the umbrella of presidential forgiveness. Whatever.

My favorite radio station, WDEV, made one of its few programming errors – outside of still giving the rightwing lunatic Paul whatever-the-fuck-is-his-last-name and Anthony Tediously Boring Pollina their programs – by trying to broadcast the funeral live. Ouch. While it was still a bit more lively than the average Pollina show (and without the apologies, platitudes, and healthy doses of “ums,” “whatchacallits” and all-too-frequent assaults on the English language), it was a super bad decision to carry such an event on live radio.

If you don’t believe me, consider the fact that it took the pickled Betty Ford about 15 minutes to walk to her seat. Yep, 15 minutes to walk. Now imagine how fucking exciting that was on the radio.

The truth is, no one really seemed to want to be at the Ford funeral, and I’m sure there couldn’t have been more than a few political lunatics like yours truly who bothered to listen. I mean, come on, he was an accidental president whose most important acts were letting a felonious president walk scot-free and entertaining a nation by stumbling over his own tongue or feet.

Oh fuck, just bury the guy, and stop dragging his shriveling wife all over the goddamn country for these ridiculous public farewells. Shit, old Betty was probably just hoping the cameras would all just go away so she could finally have that drink she promised Gerald she’d never have again. Halleluiah, she must have been thinking, put the fucker in the ground and get me a Vodka Gimlet.

Sorry, Betty, no such luck today, because the pompous asses of politics and power elite etiquette would be forcing a nation to endure the nonsensical droning of the likes of the Bush presidents, Henry Kissinger and Tom Brokaw. Yikes.

The best performance was clearly by Henry Kissinger because I’m sure no one could understand a goddamn word he was saying. He clearly forgot to spit out the mouthful of gravel he gulped before taking the podium. And as Central Vermont listeners of Jim Hogue’s WGDR radio show know, Jim does a better imitation of Kissinger than Kissinger does of himself. Thus, I was sure old Jim made the pilgrimage to DC to pull one over on the nest of ninnies who gathered for this presidential farewell.

But since I know Hogue didn’t travel to DC – mostly because I doubt he had permission from Craig Hill – I’ll have to withdraw my nomination of Kissinger and, instead, hand my best performance at the Ford funeral nomination to George Bush the Senior. And that’s only because George Sr. actually did an imitation of Dana Carvey imitating him as president. It was way surreal. All I can add is, if you missed it, look it up.

Oh fuck it, I’m done with this shit. I’m going to go and try to find Betty Ford at the bar. You’re on your own folks. Thanks for stopping by.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Happy Fucking New Year

Happy fucking New Year, people. And what a year it’s going to be. The Snarkmaster’s got plenty of tricks up his/her sleeve. (The his/her reference is for the ninnies who keep writing to me about their dopey little theories about who/what I am. Keep guessing, ass-faces.)

Speaking of ass-faces, you gotta love the media attention and complete lack of outrage from the Dems on the grotesque hanging of Saddam Hussein. Oh sure, Saddam was one evil motherfucker, but I thought the good old U.S. of A. was trying to prove how goddamn “civilized” we are to that war-ravaged and hate-filled region?

Sorry, but that ridiculous trial and most obscene hanging scene was anything but civilized. It was barbaric, tragic, cruel, cowardly and over the top unjust. If you don’t believe me, just ask Amnesty International or any of the other numerous international human rights groups who called the whole affair exactly what it was: a sham.

If, like me, you heard the whooping, hollering and celebrating out of the DC area this weekend, it had nothing to do with New Year’s Eve. Nope. Instead, that was the sound of Donald Rumsfeld and his merry men of illegal-warmongering celebrating the fact that Saddam has been killed and, as a result, will be unavailable for their future war crime trials. Saddam, after all, was sitting on a whole heap of evidence that proved how absolutely wonderful Rummy and his friends had been to him over the years. Hell, they even set him up with all those elusive weapons of mass destruction that Saddam so cheerfully used on the Kurds and the Iranians for years and years.

My favorite headline during the Saddam lynching fiasco was from our little hometown paper, the Montepelier-Barre Times Argus. Actually, it was a sub-headline, and it declared that the “U.S. Played a Role” in Saddam’s death sentence. No! Do you really think so? How fucking stupid do they think their readers are? Please, don’t answer that.

Personally, I’d like to know where all these great new Dem leaders are on this issue. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I haven’t heard a peep out of any of them about Saddam’s execution. And if they don’t want to condemn the death penalty – as they should be doing – why couldn’t people like Bernie Sanders, the new self-proclaimed savior of the Senate, find it within himself to condemn the barbaric nature of the hanging scene.

As we’ve all heard by now, the Saddam execution scene was, indeed, as barbaric as it gets; and this, after the U.S. promised to make sure it would be carried out in a “dignified” manner. Or, as should have been added in every news account of such nonsense, as “dignified” as a killing can be.

The U.S., however, couldn’t even prevent the thugs who carried out the death sentence to stop their taunting of Saddam as the noose was tightened on him. They were, as it has been widely reported, chanting the names of his political and religious rivals and telling him to “go to hell.” Oh yeah, real dignified.

Hell, the U.S. couldn’t even prevent the blood-thirsty yahoos from sneaking in their own cell phone cameras to capture the entire death scene – the sound of Saddam’s snapping neck and all – and then post it rather ghoulishly all of the Internet within hours. Feel the dignity.

Sadly, this is just another political/ethical/legal blunder in a long, long line of blunders by President Bush and his obscenely cruel and unjust foray in Iraq. It will most certainly give the growing number of America-haters in the region yet another reason to hate this country. It will put fuel on the political and religious fires that are already raging. And it will mark yet another failed opportunity for the U.S. to have done something right in Iraq, which, in the Snarky Boy’s opinion, should have been to hold Saddam for life in a gesture of true civility and future healing.

Like I said, happy fucking New Year.