Tag Archives: David Goodman

Dr. Levine Says the Quiet Parts Out Loud

America’s Tallest Health Commissioner* stepped out on a limb earlier this week by agreeing to a long-form interview with David Goodman of WDEV and VTDigger. David is an accomplished journalist and skilled interviewer, and the results were predictable: the good doctor kinda spilled the beans.

*Citation needed –Ed.

Dr. Mark Levine acknowledged that the Scott administration’s Covid policies are not based on public health science. He used the word “hope” an uncomfortable number of times He implied that the administration welcomes a spike in Covid cases because it would build immunity in the population. He actually said that the admin is trying to “distract people from case numbers.” He admitted that the long Covid consequences of the Omicron variant are unknown. And he said his own behavior is substantially more cautious than the administration line.

Let’s start with “hope.” He said “hope” or “hopefully” a total of eight times. That’s an awful lot of conditional optimism for a set of policies that’s drawn heavy criticism from many experts, including Levine’s two immediate predecessors.

Levine was hopeful of a smooth transition from pandemic to endemic. He was hopeful that more people will get vaccinated. He hopes to “minimize serious illness and death.” He hopes that widespread shortages of test kits will be a thing of the past. He hopes that long Covid won’t be a major issue because of our high vax rate, and he hopes long Covid will be less of a problem after the Omicron wave than it’s been for other variants.

All that hope validates my view that the administration is taking substantial risks, essentially betting they can get through the pandemic without too much damage.

Other points…

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The Phil Scott Twitter Account is gettin’ stupid

A small part of the yesterday’s Tweetfest between Yours Truly and some of Phil Scott’s hardcore fans was about my persistent bird-dogging of Scott’s official Twitter account. Which I suspect is written by others, considering that it often refers to “Phil” in the third person.

And yeah, I frequently Retweet @PhilScott4VT with my commentary attached.

Don’t like it? Stop sending out mass quantities of Tweets that are inaccurate, insipid, or both.

And boy, this afternoon brought a prime example from the “both” category.

(Phil’s ghost-Tweeter has but a distant acquaintance with the proper deployment of the apostrophe.)

Ooh! Rough, tough manly man, tossin’ trash in the pickup. Hands callused and creased, fingernails packed with the crud of honest labor. Bet he uses Lava Soap with “millions of particles of volcanic pumice.” A true Man of the People.

And the only candidate in the race “who knows what it’s like to live paycheck to paycheck.”

What bullshit.

What complete, utter, USDA Prime, phoney-baloney, ROFLMAO bullpuckey.

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Sue Minter is building herself quite the resumé

Rockin' the hard hat.

Rockin’ the hard hat.

Deputy Transportation Secretary Sue Minter is usually the first female in otherwise male-dominated lists of Democratic politicos on the rise. (ANR Secretary Deb Markowitz, who finished a strong #3 in the 2010 gubernatorial primary, deserves mention as well; but the grapevine says she’s unlikely to make another run for elective office. That could change, of course.) She briefly broke through the GruberGruberGruber wall of news noise this week, with the announcement that AOT Secretary Brian Searles is retiring and Minter will take his place.

This is notable enough. But what I hadn’t realized until I read media accounts of her promotion is that she is building a very strong political resumé, putting her in a good position for a future run at statewide or Congressional office. Let’s look at some highlights, and my apologies if I missed anything:

— Four-term state representative who served on the Appropriations Committee as well as the Transportation Committee. Generally considered a key member of the Democratic caucus. That’s eight years of legislative experience.

— Named Deputy Transportation Secretary at the onset of the Shumlin Administration, so there’s four years of administrative experience in a big, sprawling, crucial agency. Plus, since a lot of transportation funds come from the feds, four years of experience dealing with our Congressional delegation and the D.C. crowd.

— Named Irene Recovery Officer in December 2011, replacing Neale Lunderville. Had to deal with the tough slog of rebuilding infrastructure — which also involved a lot of work (and facetime) in Washington, D.C.

— Member of the White House Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience. More credibility and connections in Washington.

— Now being elevated to full Cabinet status, and a high-profile Cabinet post at that. Speaking purely politically, lots of opportunities for ribbon-cutting and other feel-good news, making connections with local officeholders, and looking tough and managerial when something bad happens. (AOT is much better for this kind of stuff than, say, Human Services.) Nothing like wearing a hard hat and reflective vest to counteract stereotypes about women in politics.

Transportation’s mission also enjoys broad tripartisan support: nobody’s against roads and bridges.

— Married to David Goodman, writer, broadcaster, and brother of progressive radio icon Amy Goodman. I’m not falling back on the tired trope of defining a powerful woman by her marriage; in this case there’s some relevance.

(Also, her teenage son Jasper is a sportswriter for the Times Argus and sportscaster for WDEV Radio. Good grief.)

That’s an extremely impressive list in a period of about ten years. It’s a crying shame there aren’t more Vermont women moving upward in liberal politics, but if we only get one, Sue Minter’s a damn good one.