Once again, the ocean trawler of political commentary has dredged up a boatload of dead things, old boots and trash… and now we get to display it proudly at our unofficial stall just outside the fish market.
First of all, the What On Earth Did You Think This Would Actually Accomplish? Award goes to everybody associated with the candidacy of Christopher-Aaron Felker for Burlington City Council, from Felker himself to the entire Burlington Republican Committee to our old bicoastal buddy Bradford Broyles, who took a break from developing D-List TV and movie ideas to sign on as Felker’s campaign manager.
Setting aside Felker’s horrifically offensive stance on transgender folk (i.e. that they don’t exist), let’s focus on the practicality of this enterprise. Felker, who looks for all the world like a character from an Ayn Rand novel, is a libertarian-type conservative with views that would make Steve Bannon blush — and he’s running for council in Ward 3, which has been a Progressive stronghold for four decades. How on Earth does he think this is going to end?
Maybe he’s doing it because it’s a great way to be a real-life concern troll. Maybe the party was so happy that someone — anyone — stepped forward that they didn’t do their due diligence. (Or maybe they share Felker’s views.) As for Broyles, I have no idea why he’s bothering with this. I’m sure he’ll inform me and his 324 followers via Twitter. Anyway, congrats, Brad. I’m sure you’ll find a prominent place to display your Veepie amongst all your Oscars and Emmys.
After the jump: Media misdeeds and covering the blue ass.
Up next, the Welcome to Vermont, Here’s Your Veepie Award to VTDigger’s newest scribe, public radio veteran Fred Thys. Apparently his first priority was to do yet another story about employers begging for workers, which is already the tiredest media trope of 2021. Earlier this week, he tweeted “Vermont business owners: Are you having a hard time finding employees? If so, could I talk to you?”
Sigh. This is already the tiredest media trope of 2021. Why does he feel compelled to deposit his own pee on this long-suffering lamppost? (To be fair, an editor might have assigned this article. In which case, the editor deserves a Veepie of their own.) And if you insist on writing yet another story about would-be employers, you absolutely must include information about what they’re offering for pay and benefits. You might discover some sort of correlation between unfilled jobs and sucky conditions.
Another media member gets the coveted I’m Running Out of Chances to Make a Fool of Myself on Live Statewide TV Award goes to right-wing “journalist” Guy Page. At Gov. Phil Scott’s Tuesday Covid briefing, Page asked the following:
Regarding your plan to build new housing for Vermont’s homeless…I’m gonna play devil’s advocate for a minute. Are you concerned that adding to housing supply might actually stimulate demand? Along the idea of “If you build it, they will come”? Either because Vermonters might actually choose unemployment or underemployment to meet income guidelines, or people might move to Vermont in anticipation of better housing than where they are?
Yeah, well, okay. So you’re saying people will voluntarily abandon their current housing or quit their jobs in hopes of getting a schweet new state-funded pad? Or that busloads of the unhoused will flock to Vermont because we built some new apartments? I think you vastly overestimate the desire of economically insecure, just-hanging-on people to indulge in three-dimensional chess.
Finally, we have the Any and All Criticism of My Profession Is Automatically Invalid Award, which goes to Public Safety Commissioner Mike Schirling. This week brought news that the state Human Rights Commission had found the Vermont State Police guilty of race discrimination in its handling of crimes at the Black-owned Clemmons Family Farm. The commission’s vote was unanimous, and it came after a three-year investigation showed that troopers “were adversarial” toward Lydia Clemmons’ reports of threats and vandalism from a former farm tenant. The report by HRC attorney Nelson Brownell was based on extensive interviews plus “court documents; more than 2,000 emails, including internal police correspondence and communications with Clemmons and others; photographs; body camera footage; and 911 calls.”
That mountain of documentation didn’t stop Schirling from reflexively defending his charges. He said the report came as “a shock” to him, and that “The report in its entirety and almost every fragment of information that is discussed in the report was taken in the light least favorable to the state police.”
You should have a doctor take a look at that uncontrollable kneejerk, Commissioner.