Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Snarky Exclusive! The Super Secret Shumlin & Symington Strategy Sessions Caught on Tape!

Here you go folks. The tapes everyone in the State House has been talking about -- the super-secret strategy sessions of Shumlin & Symington preparing for their great veto override adventures. Granted, it's a bit hard to tell which one is which but, given the techniques, it's clearly them. I'm guessing Shumlin's the one on his feet at the end. But you tell me what you think. You can see the entire video by clicking here.

Stay tuned.

Douglas Whips the Weasels (again)

No big surprise here: The Vermont Legislature – the one controlled by a so-called veto-proof majority of Democrats – failed to override Governor Jim Douglas veto of the anti-global warming bill today. In fact, it wasn’t even close. The Gaye Symington-led Dems in the House needed 98 votes to make the trek to Montpelier worth their time and the tax-payers money but only managed 86 votes. Ouch. And how much more proof do the Dems need that Gaye’s sleepy and passionless style of leadership is…well…sleepy and passionless? Good grief, enough already.

Given my new office job, I wasn’t able to listen to much of Mark Johnson’s coverage this morning from the State House on WDEV. I did, however, hear a bit of his interview with the Guv. The best part was when Douglas accused the Dem leadership of using “weasel” talk in the weeks and days leading up to the special override session. Cool. Earth to Dems: Notice the passion – not to mention the consistency. Douglas didn’t, for example, issue a press release before a negotiating session declaring that his spine is turning to jelly and he might be willing to back-pedal on positions that he only moments before declared that he’d fight to the death over.

And guess what? Douglas won. But we all lost. Damn it. And while the Dems and their oh-so-brain-dead followers will hoot and holler over what an obstructionist Douglas is, I’d suggest that they take a good long look in the mirror, too. Or, better yet, take a good long look at Shumlin and Symington, because the strategy they employed through this whole affair was nothing short of moronic, insulting and just plain bone-headed. But it certainly didn’t stop the Dem stooges from falling for it – right over the fucking cliff.

Douglas was right about one thing: The weasel thing. Bingo.

And now can we officially call that session of the legislature what it was: One.Big. Fucking. Dud. Period.

Oh No, They're Back. State House Daycare is Open Again.

Mmm, I love the smell of fried Democrats in the morning. Or even Republicans for that matter. I mean, what’s the difference anymore, right? Two spoiled kids without much vision beyond their noses. And passion? Forgetaboutit. But, as usual, the joke’s on us – the ones who don’t want to be insulted by joining a “party” when the host will never tell us where the keg is.

Today’s the day the nest of ninnies that comprise the Vermont legislature venture back to Montpelier to – hmm – bicker. Yep. They love to bicker. And moan. And point fingers. Anything but accomplish much of anything that will inspire the populace or – better yet – give us some hope and relief for the future.

If you can’t venture to the Montpelier today to witness the charade of democracy, just get yourself to the nearest hot and sweaty children’s day camp or daycare center. You won’t notice the difference. Oh sure, the size of the whiners will be different, but the rhetoric will be mostly the same, as in: “That’s My Ball!” “No, It’s My Ball!” Whatever.

But, as usual, I’m betting that the not-so-mighty Dems will get their asses handed to them today. Mostly because that’s all they seem to be willing to do of late – whine and lose. Over and over and over.

Oh yeah, and there’s that strategy thing that they can’t seem to get straight, either. You know, like when Senate Leader Shumlin sent his grassroots folks out to fight the good fight over taxing the Vermont Yankee to pay for the energy bill and then he pulled the rug out from under them by offering to remove the tax from the bill. And that pretty much sums up what the Dem leadership thinks about their grassroots fighters – send ‘em into the fray and forget about ‘em. I mean, come on, even Snarky Boy had a moment – just a moment – of compassion for the poor fools who responded to the Dem call for letters to the editor in support of the Yankee tax and then, once published, those same Dem leaders said “never mind” to the whole plan. Dangle, dangle.

But then, faster than you can say “where’s the back bone?” the Dem leaders ran back to their Yankee tax plan after Governor Howdy Doody hiked up his pants and said “boo!” to them in that scary way that only an accountant from Middlebury can muster. Oh baby, feel the power. Not. But it doesn’t take much to blow over the Dem straw men.

So that leaves us with today. What a mess. And, as usual, the only one looking strong is the only one who should be looking like a complete dork: Governor Douglas. I mean, he’s the Republican governor of Vermont denying a bill to fight global warming that a super-majority of Dems have pinned their entire legislative hopes upon. And he’s winning! Unbelievable.

It’s not hard to figure out why Douglas and the Republicans are winning on this one, either. It’s called consistency. Douglas and his shiny team of young Republican guns have done little but slam the door on any and all talk of global warming from the gitgo. Stupid, yes. But consistent for sure.

The Dems, on the other hand, have been led down the ever-twisting strategic road paved by Shumlin in the Senate and Symington in the House. No, I’m driving! No, no, I’m driving! Good luck with that.

I know it’s too late for advice, but the Dems should certainly spend some time with Drew Westen’s book, “The Political Brain: The Role of Emotion in Deciding the Fate of the Nation.” In it, he nails the modern peril of the Dems: They have no passion. Duh. But, better yet, he gives them plenty of advice that can be boiled down to the most obvious: believe in something and fight for it. Again, duh. But, strangely enough, it’s the kind of advice the Dems obviously need.

Okay, okay, so my prediction for the day inside the State House: The Dems lose. Yawn.

Nothing like a veto-proof majority, huh?

[P.S. Here’s some free advice to all legislators today: When Peter Freyne of 7 Daze asks you if you’ve seen Al Gore’s “Inconvenient Truth,” just say yes. It’ll shut him up. Because that’s all he ever asks on this issue.]

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

The Republicans Are Having All the Fun, Part 3,568

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Sue Allen Gets Snarky!

Cool. Sue Allen, the semi-new editor at the Times Argus, let her newspaper’s snarky side spill forth this morning in an editorial that took both the Vermont Dems and the Repubs – particularly the giant ego machines known as Peter Shumlin and Jim Douglas -- to task for the drama surrounding tomorrow’s veto override session of the legislature. Oops, did I say “ego machines”? I meant to say whining children. But, then again, narcissism and the development of the ego are rooted in that precious zone of childhood development. I say put the bastards in a crib and let them work it out on their own. Like Sue Allen and the Times Argus, I’m tired of them forcing the entire state to witness their tantrums and – worse – force us to baby sit them through their nonsense. Or maybe no one but the paid politicians, paid lobbyists and paid journalists is even paying attention to this stuff. What a racket.

Here's my favorite snarky bit from the TA editorial:

Artificial crises between Douglas and the Legislature have become each party's stock in trade: Douglas because he can present himself as the voice of reason holding the Democratic (read out-of-control liberal) hordes at bay; the Legislature because, with Democrats in control of both the House and the Senate, it's handy to have a scapegoat to blame failures on, a role they're happy to see the state's highest-profile Republican assume. And the cries of Panic! Fire! Alarm! serve to make political agitation seem like an important function in the state. For paid political agitators, that's a good thing. For the rest of us, it's like living in a white noise generator.

The simple truth is that most Vermonters wish that Tweedledee Douglas and Tweedledum Shumlin would go away and let us enjoy the summer without fretting over their self-created, self-fulfilling apocalypse.

Nice work.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

New & Improved: Snarky Boy on Drugs!

Oh fuck, you again. Yeah you. Or is it me? To be honest, I’ve lost track of who’s who. So let’s try this: I’ll be me and you be you. And I mean it this time. No more games. Or else.

As for me, I’m on drugs. Yep. The Snarky One is all dosed up on pain medication. And before you start begging me for a pill or two for your own maladies, let me be clear: I ain’t sharing. Period. Because I need every last one of the precious capsules.

You see, I started taking this mountain biking thing a bit too seriously over the July 4th holiday week. And the next thing I knew I was flying in the air and landing squarely on a large rock – ass first with my back perpendicular to the stone so as to squish my fucking spine like an accordion. Technically, I have what the fine docs are calling a “spinal contusion as a result of a traumatic compaction.” Fuck yeah. And you should have heard me holler.

This happened on the Fourth of July. So my day of celebrating turned into a day at the hospital, a visit to a chiropractor and a whole hell of a lot of just plain whining about the pain. Okay, it’s time I let you in on a little secret: When it comes to bodily pain, I am one big pussy. As big as they come, in fact. Hell, I didn’t even want to be left alone while the lovely nurse made her way for the lead wall in the x-ray room. Just give me the meds and set me free, damn it.

But the worst of the worst was the news on the red sticker placed prominently on the med container: “Do Not Consume Alcohol With This Medication.” Say what? And while I haven’t broken the rule yet, I do have a pretty good feeling that they’d go marvelously together. We’ll see.

I really didn’t mind missing the whole Fourth of July evening thing. Is it me, or does it just seem like an excuse for fat, gluttonous, and loud Americans to be fat, gluttonous, and loud Americans? Enough already. And, please, put your fucking shirt back on because you’re making me sick. And that goes for your husband, too.

Besides, being a Montpelier resident – yes, with my own apartment again (my, oh my, a lot has happened, huh?) – I got to celebrate on July 3rd. And the best part of the day was venturing out to see J.D. Ryan of Five Before Chaos fame play his bass at Langdon Street Café. The boy’s got talent – lots of it. And the fellas playing with him in the band called Lingo Mungo ain’t so bad, either. Nice groove. Fine crowd. And most everyone left me alone. Now I’m officially granting J.D. two Snarky Immunity Cards for having talent. It works like this: the next two times that I get the urge to verbally slap J.D. upside of the head for doing something dopey like posting at the dreadful Green Mountain Daily site, I will hold my tongue. But I’ll only do it twice. Use them wisely, my friend.

Speaking of the Vermont blogosphere, I tried like hell (again) to find any shred of entertainment value in the political blogs while I was double dosing on meds and found little but Freyne telling us about his laundry and his recycling days (again), Odumb at GMD donning his Dem Party pom-poms in one display after another of his usual ass-scratching attempts at logic, and the same old Baruth at Vermont Daily Briefing continuously vaulting himself high into the narcissistic air of Planet Love Thyself. Good fucking grief, is this all Vermont’s got to offer?

Actually, I wasn’t quite fair to Freyne. Because other than his increasingly awkward (and redundant) references to his weekly laundry, recycling and column deadline routines, he’s also very faithfully stalking our U.S. Senators, Pat Leahy and Bernie Sanders. I really think he’s got a crush on both of them. I mean, come on, every piece he writes about them has them all but walking on water. And all those photos, too! Sometimes I think Leahy and Sanders are going to put a restraining order on Freyne for all the stalking he does of them. One thing’s for sure, they don’t need to hire him because he’s already working for them – shamelessly.

Oh hell, the meds are wearing off and I’ve still got a pile of notes and story ideas to get through. So let’s rip through them in bullet form:

* Montpelier’s own David Dobbs has a feature story in today’s New York Times Sunday Magazine about a mental health malady known as “Williams Syndrome.” According to Dobbs, it’s a “genetic accident that causes cognitive deficits and a surplus of unguarded affability.” Well, I guess no one will accuse me of having that disease. Read the article, though, it’s very interesting.

* Vermont Public Television’s sleepy little news show, Vermont This Week, featured some former Vermont journalists who quit the news biz to become flaks for businesses and/or politicians. The panel was comprised of Diane Derby, Darren Allen and Steve Larose. While nothing real earth shattering – or even moderately interesting – came from the show, it was fun to witness the defensive Darren Allen try to stammer around for a coherent thought (ah, just like his columns!). He also got a bit testy at the get go when the host Stewart Ledbetter asked him why he chose to leave journalism and go to the “dark side.” “Well,” snapped Allen, “I’d hardly call working for the people of Vermont going to the dark side.” He’s clearly not getting any smarter in his new job. Because, as the rest of us clearly know, he doesn’t work for the people of Vermont, he works for the Douglas Administration. The people of Vermont would have never hired him. I also have to say that it was odd to see Diane Derby and Darren Allen be lumped together on equal footing as “former Vermont journalists.” Let’s face it, Derby’s got more talent in her pinky finger than Allen has in his entire body. And she didn’t seem to have too much love for Allen during the show, either, barely looking at him while he droned on about whatever the hell he was droning on about – oh yeah, himself (of course).

* Finally, if you’re still under the dopey liberal spell that those “carbon offsets” are anything but complete and total bullshit, check out Tom Friedman’s column in today’s New York Times. Here are the money quotes:

If people really want to generate money to plant trees or finance green power, why not have them offset their real sins, not just their carbon excesses? We started to play with his idea: Imagine if you could offset the whole Ten Commandments.

No, really, think about it. Imagine if there were a Web site — I’d call it — where every time you thought you had violated one of the Ten Commandments, or you wanted to violate one of them but did not want to feel guilty about it, you could buy carbon credits to offset your sins…

…Here’s how it would work: One day, you’re out in the backyard mowing the lawn and suddenly you covet your neighbor’s wife. Hey, it happens — that’s why “thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wife” is one of the Ten Commandments. No problem. You just go to and buy 100 trees in the Amazon or fund a project to capture methane from cow dung in India — and, presto, you’re free and clear.

Obviously there would be a sliding scale. Taking God’s name in vain or erecting an idol might cost you only a few solar water heaters for a Chinese village, whereas bearing false witness or stealing would set you back a pilot sugar ethanol plant in Louisiana.

As for adultery, well, I think that’s where the big money could be made. My guess is that we could achieve a carbon-neutral world by 2020 if we just set up a system for people to offset their adultery by reversing deforestation of tropical rain forests or funding mega wind and solar power systems in China and India.

You people just got a whole hell of a lot more than you deserve. And I hope you realize that. Now, please, leave me alone, I’ve got meds to take and drug-induced dreams to enjoy. In other words, thanks for playing.