Daily Archives: April 21, 2015

Don’t expect the Governor to do anything about Bill Sorrell

Went to Governor Shumlin’s news conference today, planning to ask about the Bill Sorrell situation. Which, as you might recall, featured Our Eternal General facing questions about possible campaign finance violations (and VTGOP Vice Chair Brady Toensing formally requesting an independent counsel), and Our Eternal General assuring us all that Our Eternal General is above reproach and an independent probe would be a waste of money, Trust Me On This.

And a couple days ago, I rhetorically asked the state’s top elected Democrats what they planned to do about it.

Shumlin4.21.15The answer from Governor Shumlin? Nothing anytime soon. Maybe nothing ever. Because he’s just too busy doing the people’s business.

(If the press corps had been playing the Governor Shumlin Drinking Game, in which everyone has to take a swig every time he repeats certain catchphrases, we all would have been falling-down drunk within a few minutes. The rhetorical bag of tricks was emptied in an effort to evade responsibility.)

I threw out the first Sorrell question: Does the Governor think there should be an independent counsel to look into the allegations?

You know, as you can imagine, I am really focused on trying to get my agenda through the legislature. It’s the most ambitious agenda that I’e set out. And these things have to succeed. Balancing $112M budget shortfall. Getting out of hear with a clean water bill that actually cleans up our polluted waters. Making sure that we finally address both the cost and quality issues in our education system. Getting out of here with my energy bill. That’s what I’m focused on.

I have not had a chance to read the complaint. When the Legislature is all done, I suppose I’ll have time to do that, but I’m focused on my job.

Even by Shumlin standards, that was a rapid-fire pivot away from the question at hand. Continue reading

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Scion of Koch-favored candidate to visit Queen City

This ought to be fun.

Dudebrah! Duuuuuuudebraaaaaah!!

Dudebrah! Duuuuuuudebrah!!

The link takes you to an announcement that, yes indeed, Matt Walker will be guest speaker at an Activism Training on Thursday evening at UVM.

Event organizer is none other than American Majority, the “raising up the next generation of nutballs” group whose Vermont chief is Tayt Brooks, former Douglas administration flunky and the guy who blew a million bucks of Lenore Broughton’s fortune on the ill-fated Vermonters First “buy an election” effort. This whole event stinks of the conservative big-money network spearheaded by the Koch brothers. Continue reading

The barely concealed extremism of an anti-vaccine group

We’re gearing up for another round of the philosophical-exemption debate at the Statehouse. As you may have heard, a State Senate committee is considering a bill that would remove the philosophical exemption for childhood vaccinations. Which has the anti-vaccine community’s knickers in a knot.

Well, they don’t call themselves “the anti-vaccine community,” but that’s exactly what they are. Vermont’s primary anti-vaxx group is the Vermont Coalition for Vaccine Choice (VCVC). It publicly presents itsels as entirely focused on parental choice. From its website:

We are not “anti-vaxxers”… We are dedicated to preserving health choice and informed consent for parents and all Vermonters.

Vaccine movie posterProblem is, the leaders of VCVC just can’t help themselves. Their website prominently trumpets the work of, among others, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., an anti-vaxxer who promotes the discredited vaccine/autism canard and who has called vaccination “a holocaust.”

But if you want to see the real scope of VCVC’s nutbaggery, you ought to follow its Twitter feed. You’ll find links to every scattered anecdotal report of alleged vaccine harm, every fringey “scientific study” attacking vaccine efficacy or safety, every alternative-medicine type promoting their own agendas, and every rhetorical excess about vaccination, doctors, nurses, government, and science.

Here are a few choice examples. Reminder: these are communications from a group that claims NOT to be “anti-vaxxers.”

Let’s start with a ham-fisted attack on Vermont media for the unforgivable sin of reporting the science on vaccines, which is fully as probative as the science on climate change and evolution:

They’d probably call me a sellout too. Problem is, I haven’t seen a dime from Big Pharma. I just happen to believe the massive preponderance of scientific evidence. VCVC, on the other hand, searches through the flotsam and jetsam of junk science.

The study was published in the Open Journal of Pediatrics, one of many “open journals” created by Scientific Research Publishing (SCIRP), which offers “244 English language open access journals.” SCIRP is based on Wuhan, China, and has been accused of being a predatory open access publisher.

Predatory open access publishers don’t provide the editorial oversight of real scientific publishers; they aggressively solicit papers, publish them with little or no review, and then try to bill the authors for publication costs. In other words, their articles are not to be trusted. But if an article calls vaccination into question, VCVC is happy to accept it at face value and promote it.

More… after the jump. Continue reading