Category Archives: gender issues

That’s right, the woman is smarter

Takeaways from today’s gubernatorial debate on women’s issues, viewable here

1. Bill Lee has nothing to contribute to this campaign.

2. Phil Scott offers empathy, but no ideas or policies on women’s issues.

3. Sue Minter’s getting good at this.

And finally, and most importantly,

4. This debate shows why we need more women in political office.

Let’s take ‘em in order.

Firstly, Bill Lee is a joke of a candidate, even by the oddball standards of Vermont small-party politics. He arrived late, delaying the start of the debate by about 15 minutes. He’d done nothing to prepare. He had little to say on the issues. His answers meandered all over the place. At one point, he appeared to utterly forget the question and just rambled on until his time was up. And here are a few examples of the Spaceman’s forthcoming entry in Bartlett’s:

Continue reading

Oh, and about that other ubiquitous crime wave…

One of the most eye-opening resuls from last month’s VPR Poll concerned substance abuse. When respondents were asked to name “the most important problem facing Vermont,” 17 percent named “drugs.” The only other issue scoring higher than six percent was “economy/jobs/cost of living” at 28 percent. And when asked specifically if opiate addiction is a major problem, a massive 89 percent agreed.

Even more striking were the figures for personal connections to opioid abuse. 53 percent have been affected by opiate addiction or know someone who has. And 94 percent “personally know” someone who has struggled with addiction.

Practically the entire state.

If we needed convincing that opiate addiction is a serious problem, we shouldn’t anymore.

But let’s take another pervasive issue of a similar scope. An issue that’s usually lost in the white noise, that’s never been the subject of a State of the State address.

Continue reading

Skunk at the party

The abrupt end of Norm McAllister’s first trial on sex-crime charges — a case of prosecutorial overreach, malfeasance, or cowardice, or a combo platter of all three — creates a world-class headache for Franklin County Republicans.

DoonesburyGuiltyMcAllister’s second trial is vaguely scheduled for sometime this fall, and will be conducted by the same legal Dream Team that flushed the first case down the sewer. Between now and then, we’ve got ourselves a primary vote and maybe a general election. McAllister has filed for re-election, and there’s nothing to stop him from carrying on.

Well, shame, perhaps. But he’s already proven he has precious little of that commodity. Remember the Franklin County Legislative Breakfast in January, when the recently suspended McAllister not only showed up, but tried to chair the meeting?

There will be a three-way Republican primary for two Franklin County ballot spots, featuring incumbent Dustin Degree, incumbent in-limbo McAllister, and State Rep. Carolyn Branagan.

It wouldn’t be a surprise, at all, if the esteemed ranks of Franklin County Republicans renominated McAllister despite the massive and unmistakable aroma surrounding him. Vermonters are, after all, strongly inclined to support incumbents — or too lazy to do their homework, take your pick.

Continue reading

The McAllister “trial” was a disgrace

Mad as Hell, boys and girls.

That’ll do for a start.

Today, the prosecution threw in the towel on the first of two cases against accused rapist Norm McAllister. And absolutely threw their star witness under the bus.

Disgraceful.

There is much more to say, but let’s start there. The accuser did not step forward of her own accord; the authorities encouraged her to do so, and actively solicited her testimony.

She was a reluctant witness from the start. Until the last moment, there were doubts about whether she would show up.

As it turned out, she shouldn’t have. She was subjected to hours of raw, hurtful questioning about every little detail of a series of intimate assaults. And what was her reward?

Less than 24 hours later, the prosecution threw up its hands and said, “Never mind.” Her compliance, her assistance, her exposure in the media, her dutiful effort to testify accuately to events that happened several years ago — all flushed down the toilet.

Continue reading

Phil Scott needs a refresher course in “Leadership”

The Man Who Would Be Governor Of All Vermonters had his first chance to display some authentic leadership, and he blew it big-time.

In the wake of the Orlando tragedy, which struck at the hearts of thousands of Vermonters, Phil Scott did the absolute minimum. He issued a paragraph of generic condolences and kept to his schedule of content-free glad-handing.

While somewhere between 1,000 (Burlington Free Press) and 2,000 (VTDigger, so let’s call it 2,000) people gathered for a vigil in Burlington, including numerous political leaders, Phil Scott was… um…

… which followed earlier appearances at the Equinox Valley Nursery, Wilcox Ice Cream, and Miles Lumber and Fuels. Because as far as his campaign was concerned, it was just another Monday in Vermont and there was no reason to postpone a single feel-good photo opportunity.

Continue reading

Tweetblocked by Meg Hansen

You do remember Meg Hansen, the far-right ideologue who’s being paid to craft messaging for the Vermont House Republicans?

Yeah, she just blocked me on Twitter. She’s also blocked at least one prominent Democrat who had presumably given her some blowback for her obnoxious, Christianist Tweets. Which must be a bit of an embarrassment to a VTGOP trying to hold onto a fig leaf of mainstream credibility.

Well, here’s one more embarrassment: the last Tweet I shall ever see from the keyboard of Ms. Hansen.

Meg Hansen tweet

Aww, that’s nice. No time for sincere condolences or “thoughts and prayers,” just straight to scoring political points, eh, Meggle?

Continue reading

Here’s another sign of the VTGOP’s “moderation”

In case you haven’t noticed, there’s one guy who tends to provide comment and reaction quotes to the media on behalf of the Vermont Republican Party.

No, it’s not Phil “Mr. Leadership” Scott. It’s usually not Senate Minority Leader Joe Benning. Sometimes it’s VTGOP chair David Sunderland. But more often than not, the Republican quote machine is none other than House Minority Leader Don Turner.

Meg Hansen, from her LinkedIn page. (Fair use!)

Meg Hansen, from her LinkedIn page. (Fair use!)

And there’s a person at the controls of the Turner Quote Machine. Her name is Meg Hansen. She handles “strategic communications” for the House Republican Caucus. And she has a very enlightening Twitter feed, for those who still think Vermont Republicans are really a different breed than their national counterparts.

This is the kind of person who’s crafting the Vermont Republican message these days.

She’s been harshly critical of Syrian refugee resettlement, invoking the myth that refugees are a big fat drain on the public treasury. (In fact, the vast majority of refugees quickly become productive members of society.)

Stick around. There’s lots more.

Continue reading