Daily Archives: May 1, 2023

Masking Is Becoming a Rarity, But Mask Panic Is Still a Thing

Oh boy. Mark your calendars and get your popcorn ready. The anti-maskers are coming to Burlington!

Yeah, not sure what they’re so upset about. The city’s indoor mask mandate expired more than a year ago, and masking is rapidly becoming a fringe activity. I’m still being cautious, but I recently attended an indoor event and was the only person to wear a mask in an crowd of about 30.

But anyway, here it comes, “The Vermont Emergency Forum to Assess the Respiratory Hazards of Masks” on Friday, May 12 in the Contois Auditorium. You could probably guess who’s behind it, but I won’t keep you in suspense. The sponsors are the Vermont Institute for Human Flourishing, the nonprofit plaything of conservative megadonor Lenore Broughton and her new bestie, former VTGOP chair Deb Billado, and Vermont Stands Up, a wannabe statewide organization of the anti-mask, anti-vax crowd.

And then there’s the “facilitator” of the all-day event: “Dr.” Rob WIlliams, once best known for the Second Vermont Republic organization that was once kinda respectable on the left but turned out to be Confederate-adjacent at the very least, and now host of “V-TV,’ an online interview show that’s been booted from YouTube but can still be seen on Vimeo if you must.

Oh, and you’ll also get the chance to bump elbows with the Desautels Family, who’ll be getting a “BREATHING CHAMPIONS AWARD” (caps theirs). Paterfamilias Mike Desautels, you may recall, was stripped of his UPS Store franchise in 2021 for refusing to abide by the state’s indoor mask mandate.

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Bobby Starr [Reportedly] Goes Off the Deep End

When last we saw nominally Democratic Sen. Bobby Starr, he was pontificating about all the supposedly “able-bodied” homeless folk livin’ it up in state-funded motel rooms when they oughta be goin’ out and gettin’ a job. Or, as he put it, “The able-bodied, it’s time to go to work and have a place for them to work and earn and provide for their own, as far as I’m concerned.”

That was his argument for ending the motel voucher program on schedule this summer. He didn’t say we’re coddling the ungrateful lazy poors, but that was the umistakable message he was sending. Shades of the Welfare Queen.

But wait, there’s more!

Starr reportedly expanded on his asshattery in a conversation after the hearing with Brenda Siegel, housing advocate and 2022 Democratic candidate for governor. We’ve only got Siegel’s word for this, although she says there were other witnesses. But there are good reasons to believe her; she’s still lobbying for a voucher extension in the FY24 budget, and has no motivation at all to slander a lawmaker, not even Bobby Starr.

Siegel posted her account of the exchange <a href="http://<iframe src="https://www.facebook.com/plugins/post.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fbrendasiegelvermont%2Fposts%2Fpfbid0rStfwv74gYMA1rKx3UFnDaWsvUzieQtoUrvkzrr164kvwReLXmS63nun9cxGRuLKl&show_text=true&width=500&quot; width="500" height="296" style="border:none;overflow:hidden" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="true" allow="autoplay; clipboard-write; encrypted-media; picture-in-picture; web-share">on her Facebook page. Highlights follow.

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