Tag Archives: Twitter

I think Phil Scott’s Twitter feed has popped a gasket

Until now, @PhilScott4VT has been a repository of fatuous truisms and sketchy statistics. But today, something weird is going on. Either the Twitter feed has been outsourced to a rogue fortune-cookie factory, or it’s simply gone off the rails.

Don’t believe me? Then explain any of these gems.

Today’s Special: Mixed metaphor Pasta.

Here’s a policy we can all get behind. And push over the cliff.

Yeah, incentivize our hopes. That’s the stuff.

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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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Dashboard to the junkyard?

Way back in January 2013, when the earth was young and Peter Shumlin was still popular, the Governor unveiled two online transparency portals aimed “to open access to a litany of information about state government finances and life in the Green Mountains.”

Spotlight provided information on how state funds were being spent. Dashboard offered updates on the progress of Shumlin’s policy initiatives. Shumlin was particularly proud of Dashboard.

“We compiled a list of statistics that’ll show progress, if we’re making progress, or sliding backwards, on issues from crime to school graduation rates,” Shumlin said, referring to the “Governor’s Dashboard” site.

Spotlight is still there. Dashboard, however, appears to have been taken out back and shot.

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And now, a few dispassionate words about Phil Scott

The most irritable people in Vermont politics these days — and it’s not even close — are the hard-core Phil Scott supporters. They’ve even managed to out-outrage the anti-renewable crowd, which is really, really hard to do.

I’ve got a few Phil-o-philes in my Twittersphere, and boy do they get angry when I suggest that Phil Scott is anything less than the exemplar of the Perfect Politician. Here’s an all-too-typical sample.


So let me try to explain how I see the guy.

I don’t hate Phil Scott. I think he’s a genuinely nice guy who’s managed to balance running a business and performing public service. An admirable person in many ways.

What i have no patience for is the Phil Scott hagiography that’s running rampant.

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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.

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Hey look, Doug Hoffer may have a fly to swat

Don’t ever accuse the VTGOP of not being generous. They’ve apparently gifted Auditor Doug Hoffer with a new toy to play with a “serious” challenger for his post. I haven’t seen a news release or anything; all I’ve seen is this Tweet from VTGOP Executive Director Jeff Bartley.

Yay! Dan “Mr. Four Percent” Feliciano! The man who can never quite make up his mind whether he’s a Libertarian or a Republican. But no matter what the label, there’s one thing you can count on:

He. Won’t. Win.

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Phil Scott, blowin’ in the wind

I realize that our universally-liked lieutenant governor is new at this whole “leadership” thing. He’s unaccustomed to taking strong stands and providing firm direction. But if he wants to be Governor, he’d better start practicing. Because right now, he’s displaying the opposite of leadership on the issue of paid sick leave. And the Democrats caught him in the act.

For those just tuning in, paid sick leave almost got through the Legislature in 2015 despite the anguished howls of the business lobby. Phil Scott has been right there alongside them, raising heartfelt concerns about the impact of paid sick leave on small business.

This year, paid sick leave looks certain to pass, with some modest tweaks designed to soothe the tender sensibilities of the bizfolk. And here comes our own Braveheart, triangulating his way to the winning side.

“I like the direction it’s going, and I’m happy to take a position on it once it’s out of committee,” Scott said.

The Democratic Party took note of this and pounced. Here’s a fun Twitter exchange, screengrabbed for your amusement.

Dem/Scott Twitter exchange

Oh, snap!

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Vermont’s Largest Newspaper just can’t take it

You may recall my recent remarks on our thinnest-skinned institution — the fourth estate.

When I criticize the failings or shortcomings of Vermont’s media, they often react with a pained squeal. There’s only one person who’s blocked me from their Twitter feed, and it’s a staffer at a certain Vermont newspaper.

I think it’s now fair to reveal the name of said newspaper. Because the Burlington Free Press itself — the whole shebang — has blocked me from its Twitter feed.

Screen Shot 2016-01-07 at 12.15.45 PM

Profiles in Courage, friends.

My words are just too much for the tender sensibilities of a once-great newspaper. Well, once-adequate, anyway.

While they’re at it, maybe they’d like to cancel my subscription so I can no longer consume their product (and potentially criticize it). And I say “consume their product” because “read their journalism” is such a 20th Century concept.

And yes, I am a paid subscriber. Although if my Tweets are so unbearable, perhaps my money is too tainted to accept.

It’s pathetic. The Burlington Free Press is a coward.

Bill Sorrell gets religion

There was some welcome news from Vermont’s Eternal General about a month back. Bill Sorrell had begun a series of public hearings on the subject of incarceration — specifically, whether Vermont is putting too many people behind bars. Sorrell and others are gauging public sentiment on the question, and considering whether the Legislature should “adopt a resolution to steer Vermont’s criminal justice system away from incarceration,” according to VTDigger’s account.

Sorrell being Sorrell, he cautioned that nothing much would happen anytime soon.

“It would be like moving a battleship through thousands of individual decisions by prosecutors and judges, and in no small part on the decisions by corrections personnel on when the individual is released,” Sorrell told VTDigger.

Still, if this is how Sorrell plans to spend a chunk of his final year in office, then bully for him. We’ve been imprisoning more and more people for the past three decades, with no appreciable effect on public safety. Our prison population is aging and getting more expensive. It also features an appalling over-representation of Vermont’s teeny-tiny black population.

African-Americans make up just 1 percent of the population of a state that is 95.3 percent white, yet they make up 10.3 percent of Vermont inmates. Put another way, a Vermont inmate is more than 10 times as likely as a resident at large to be African-American.

So if Vermont’s top law enforcement official is on board with reducing incarceration rates, that’s a really great thing. More power to him.

One question, though.

Where the hell was Bill Sorrell all this time?

ICYMI, for the past two decades of our mass incarceration binge, he’s been Vermont’s top law enforcement official. So, welcome to the party, Bill. Sorry it took you so long to get here.

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Once again, Darcie Johnston has her finger on the pulse of the electorate

As of this writing, the manhunt continues for Richard Matt and David Sweat, the two escaped murderers in upstate New York and Vermont. Cops on the lookout, distributing flyers all over the place; warnings to campers; constant updates in the local media, a sudden and very real outbreak of fears that Vermonters like to think they’re immune from.

And right on cue, here comes conservative political consultant Darcie Johnston, who hasn’t been on a winning campaign since she left the Jim Jeffords operation more than a decade ago, with the real question that’s on everybody’s mind. Not.

Yeah, really. Those goddamn featherbedding cops, traipsing through the fields and forests at all hours. It’s like a vacation when you think about it. The New York Times:

Those who know the terrain have made jokes that, if the men are in these woods, they are surprised the pair have not turned themselves over to the authorities by now, beaten up by nature and begging for a break. The rain has fallen regularly and hard. The woods are filled with skunks, porcupines and black bears. Then there are the bugs that swarm the forest this time of year: black flies, ticks and deer flies.

Usually, you can count on conservatives to support law enforcement and security as a true core function of government, and express gratitude to those who risk their own safety to preserve ours. But not Darcie, I guess.

I’d like to know her alternative. Call off the search and let the free market sort it out? Contract it to the private sector and hire the lowest bidder?

Hey, I know: send in the drones and bomb ’em out. Might be some collateral damage, but I bet we’d save some precious taxpayer dollars.