slyvermont: (Default)
I am so psyched. In 2 hours we will have a new president. There are literally millions of people standing shoulder to shoulder on the Mall, milling around the streets of Washington, DC, clogging the Metro. It’s an amazing sight, and I’m not even there. 

In 1961, John F. Kennedy told the country that “a torch has been passed to a new generation.” When he died, when his brother died, when Martin Luther King Jr. died, that torch was snuffed. That flame is being relit today; the joy of young people, of people of color, of so many Americans and citizens throughout the world, is infectious. I hope it’s a light that can lead us through the troubles we have today. 

I’m hopeful, I’m teary, I’m overwhelmed with joy – I’m so glad our country’s heritage is working, that we are peacefully transferring power. 

Since 7 am I’ve been switching back and forth among every news channel. In a few minutes I’m heading downtown, where I hope to watch the events at Montpelier City Hall. Tonight there’s a couple of inaugural balls here; at one I can spend $1 to dance with a cardboard standup of Obama. 

Last night I had a moment when I realized I could get into the car and drive to DC in time to be there in person. Part of me regrets not being there. But I am there in spirit. 

slyvermont: (Obama Vt)
All I can do is cry with joy.

I hope to write more later. But I wanted to post this website now. It has the front pages of newspapers from around the country. It will change tomorrow, when the front pages change (although there does appear to be an archive). So if you want to see how Obama's victory is reflected in newspapers, now's your chance.

Yuck

Aug. 8th, 2008 05:53 pm
slyvermont: (Sark)
Damn. Why can't politicians keep their pants zipped?

Edwards admits to extramarital affair.
slyvermont: (Resistance)
Barack Obama clinches the Democratic nomination for president tonight. As you know, I was torn about the voting decision between him and Clinton in the Vermont primary. I am disappointed she isn’t the nominee – I would love to see a woman president, and I do like her. I am happy with Obama, but I am particularly struck with the historical significance of his nomination, that a black man is receiving a major party nomination as president.

This is what I mean:

I am reading a book called “Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln,” by Doris Kearns Goodwin. I knew Lincoln fought the Civil War to preserve the union, and that his original goal was to prevent the spread of slavery rather than its abolition. But it still amazed me to read his words.

Said Lincoln as he ran for office: he had “no purpose to introduce political and social equality between the white and black races” and he was not in favor “of making voters or jurors of negroes, nor of qualifying them to hold office, nor to intermarry.”

The black man, said Lincoln, “is not my equal in many respects – certainly not in color, perhaps not in moral and intellectual endowment.” Lincoln conceded that the black man is only equal to the white man in “the right to eat the bread which his own hand earns.”

150 years ago, this attitude was commonplace, and most Americans weren’t even willing to grant the black man the right to earn money, as Lincoln was. We think of Lincoln today as the Great Emancipator, but in reality, he didn’t consider the black man his equal.

I am disheartened by the prejudice still expressed by many voters who say that they will never vote for a black man for president. I hope that if Lincoln were alive today he would vote for Obama. And I hope many Americans can overcome their prejudice and not cast a vote based on race. That a black man could be president was inconceivable 150 years ago; but it is a real possibility today.   

Hubris

Mar. 11th, 2008 09:49 am
slyvermont: (Default)
When I walked into the health club yesterday and saw the CNN breaking news was that Eliot Spitzer was linked to a prostitution ring, I stopped short and just stared. First I wondered if it was April 1. Then I wondered if The Onion had taken over CNN. There was no way, no way that could be true.

Well, it’s true. And according to the escort service, he liked kinky sex. Ewww.

Hubris. Bites you in the butt again.

How could he be so stupid? And how could he drag his wife in front of the cameras? His wife standing beside him with her puffy eyes and shell-shocked look was what bothered me the most.

I told Rich last night that if he ever got caught like that, I wouldn’t face the press with him.

At least he didn’t drag his daughters out.

Can he survive this? I don’t know. NY finally gets a Democratic governor, and look what he does. I just can’t get over how stupid this man is. What is it about sex that makes men do these incredibly stupid things?

So, say you’re the governor, your wife won’t do kinky sex, and you have needs. What do you do? What’s the least damaging way to satisfy the urge (besides a cold shower)? Is there anything he could have done that wouldn’t have gotten him in trouble? We’ve already figured out from Clinton that hooking up with an intern isn’t the best solution – although, Bill managed to survive that. So, if Clinton can survive Monica, can Spitzer survive this? Should he?

And poor Hillary (read that with some sarcasm). Spitzer was one of her supporters. She doesn’t want to lose a superdelegate, but supporting Spitzer now would not be a good thing. What’s Bill Clinton’s wife supposed to do?
slyvermont: (anti-war)
One of the reasons I went back to journalism is to be able to be more than just an observer on election night. In the 90s I went to Vermont Democrat headquarters (fun in 1992, depressing in 1994) – which was enjoyable, but I always felt strange. Like I was on the wrong side of the fence. Even though our newsroom is small and relatively quiet, it is fun to shape the paper, have access to the wires, be around smart and informed people. Plus we had a ton of good food to eat. The TV was on, but the sound was off, so I didn’t get to listen to all the analysis – small price to pay.

Yesterday I voted. Turnout here was very high; the Montpelier clerk said it was “wild.” There were no lines (this is rural Vermont, after all). Some towns here had turnouts of 70-80 percent.

Vermonters split their ticket. Socialist Bernie Sanders is our new U.S. senator. Really one of the nice things about living in a small state for years, and being a journalist here, is that you meet people when they first started. I’ve known Bernie for years; interviewed him many times when he was mayor of Burlington. I remember the tie hanging up in his office in Burlington, which he only wore if he needed to. He was always such a character – and now he’s in the U.S. Senate. Wow. He beat billionaire Rich Tarrant, who spent gobs and gobs of money – $100 per vote – highest ever nationwide, I think the paper said this morning. Tarrant only got 33% of the vote.

On the other hand, our Republican governor and lt. governor were re-elected.

And major congratulations to Kelly (you go girl!), because it looks like Arizona defeated its anti-gay marriage amendment. Before you all move there, remember that Vermont and Connecticut have civil unions, Massachusetts gay marriage and New Jersey will have something soon.

I got home around 2:15 a.m. It was a long, but fun, night.
slyvermont: (typewriter girl)
Today is Town Meeting Day. It’s one of the things that make Vermont special.

Even though I’ve lived here for 21 years (wow, how did that happen?), I’ve never attended a real town meeting – where the residents raise their hands to vote and decide on the spot whether to buy that fire truck or repair the roof. I’ve always lived in the "larger" cities (if you can consider a place with 8,000 people large) where I voted using a ballot, and even as a reporter was never assigned to cover a meeting. So I asked to go cover a real town meeting today.

I went to a small town north of Montpelier, called Worcester. Population 900. Number of houses – 380. There was the town moderator exhibiting his dry wit; the residents worried about tax increases, the 15-minute debate over whether to set aside $10,000 to fix a bridge (“the bump in the road is where the foundation and the bridge are separating”). There were no controversies, but that’s OK. It was cool to watch. Real, grass roots democracy.

Then I voted in my own town, of course. We may have democracy, but the sad thing is that there were no contested races. I hate filling in the circles for people running unopposed. What’s the point? There are a lot of uncontested races this year, in a lot of communities.

Off to work soon. It’ll be a late night. But fun.
slyvermont: (Default)
WASHINGTON (AP) — The vice president’s chief of staff, I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby Jr., was indicted Friday on charges of obstruction of justice, perjury and making false statements in the CIA leak investigation, a politically charged case that will throw a spotlight on President Bush’s push to war.

Libby, 55, resigned and left the White House.

Karl Rove, Bush’s closest adviser, escaped indictment Friday but remained under investigation, his legal status casting a dark cloud over a White House already in trouble. The U.S. military death toll in Iraq exceeded 2,000 this week, and the president’s approval ratings are at the lowest point since he took office in 2001.

Friday’s charges stemmed from a two-year investigation by special counsel Patrick Fitzgerald into whether Rove, Libby or any other administration officials knowingly revealed the identity of CIA officer Valerie Plame or lied about their involvement to investigators.

----

I am glad this case resulted in something substantial being charged. As seedy as Judy Miller's tactics were, I'd hate to think she spent months in prison for nothing.

Noooo!

Jul. 1st, 2005 03:02 pm
slyvermont: (typewriter girl)
Justice O'Connor is retiring? Say it's not so.  To quote [livejournal.com profile] sith_bitch, we are so screwed.

I have a great deal of respect for her and how she's made decisions. She's the type of conservative I can deal with. As someone told the Washington Post, O'Connor is "someone who put reason ahead of ideological fervor."

What I am not looking forward to is all the rancor that will permeate the replacement search. All I can do is cross my fingers and hope that a jurist like O'Connor or Kennedy is found hidden away in the Republican camp. (The New York Times had a really interesting story this week about how conservatives are so angry at Kennedy that some want to impeach him.)

OK, now some good news. Spain legalized gay marriage!

Censorship

Jan. 31st, 2005 10:25 am
slyvermont: (Default)
Since I’m not hanging out in the preschool set anymore, I haven’t met Buster.  A regular on the PBS Arthur series. Buster now has his own series. He visits different families around the United States. He’s visited Mormons and Jews, families who live in trailer parks, in cities and on farms. You get the idea. When he came to Vermont, he went maple sugaring with two sets of kids whose parents are both women. Yes, lesbians. (I sort of know one of the women, too).

When the new Education Secretary learned about this episode, she condemned it. Why? Because this is not showing diversity, but a deviant lifestyle that we don’t want to promote to our innocent children.

PBS agreed to axe the story.

This pisses me off to no extreme.

First, it bothers me that the secretary of Education interfered, and that PBS capitulated. This smells like censorship to me. If families decide that they don’t want their kids to see this episode, they can turn off the television. Why should her values dictate what other parents want their kids to learn about?

And I’m ashamed that PBS was coward enough to agree to this censorship.

Why is it OK that Buster visit a Mormon family and not a lesbian family? I haven’t seen the episode (our local PBS station will be running it), but my understanding is that these two families come across as decent, happy, well-balanced, successful, headed by two parents who love each other. The lifestyle is not being promoted, just shown. Is a kid going to become lesbian because she sees this? Is she going to become Mormon when she watches the episode about the Mormon family? Isn’t one of the basic ideas of education in this country – excuse me, the whole idea of our country period – to accept differences in religion and beliefs. We are a diverse country. We can only accept this diversity if we understand it and learn about it.

In Vermont, when civil unions were first introduced, there was a lot of opposition to them. What we’ve learned as a state is that the world hasn’t fallen apart since lesbians and gay couples were united. Polls have shown that the acceptance of civil unions has grown considerably since they were first introduced – that people who were against them are now for them. That’s because we got to see these families close up; we got our education.

Why shouldn’t the rest of the country get this education as well?

My paper's editorial put it this way )

And now, think about those two families and how those kids feel. Imagine explaining to your children that the government doesn’t want other kids to be “exposed” to your deviant family.

Second news commentary, another type of censorship.

A major story in Vermont has been the “Crazy about You” Bear, from our very own Vermont Teddy Bear Co. This bear, available for a limited time before Valentine’s Day, comes dressed in a straitjacket and with commitment papers, to show your crazy love for your sweetie. (here is is). The mental health community is furious. It’s demanded the bear be taken off the market. The governor of Vermont agrees. The head of Vermont Teddy bear has refused – and may lose her position on the board of a local hospital because of her stance.

I really don’t know what to think about this one. The bear is really really cute. I’m actually thinking about getting one -- it'll probably be a collector't item. My first reaction was that the company perhaps went a little overboard here. But the more I look at the bear, the more I think it’s okay. I don’t know – I guess I can see both sides of the argument.

Voting

Nov. 1st, 2004 06:24 pm
slyvermont: (Default)
I voted today. I love voting. I always walk away feeling so accomplished. It still awes me that 216 or so years ago these men who never heard of computers or telephones or typewriters or ballpoint pens came up with this totally original government where the people decide who governs them – and that it is still around today, and in most cases, improved upon. Voting is such a gift.

I’ll never forget my first vote. I was 18, a freshman in college. I had to vote absentee. I have this vivid memory of walking across campus after visiting the post office, practically skipping, as I wanted to yell to the world that I had just voted FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER! 18-year-olds hadn’t had the vote for very long then: it was just the second presidential election affected by the 26 Amendment.

We had a newsroom meeting this afternoon planning our election coverage. Our drop dead time is 1:30a.m. – that’s when the last page goes to the pressroom. All bets are off as to whether there will be a result for the presidential race.

Politics

Oct. 19th, 2004 12:41 am
slyvermont: (Default)
I drove to Burlington last week discovering on the way that AirAmerica,
the left’s response to Rush Limbaugh  & co., can be heard in
the Burlington area. What a blast!



I particularly enjoyed the interview Al Franken had with an undecided
voter who finally made up his mind. He had learned that all the Bush
campaign appearances are screened, and only supporters are allowed in.
That is so undemocratic, he decided, and antithetical to the beliefs
that created this country, that it made up his mind.



One of the things I find fascinating, when I read articles about
undecided voters, is what criteria people use to make their decisions.



I just read a NY Times piece on this, where one guy decided that he was
leaning towards Bush because he is more “personable.” I really didn’t
think that when the founding fathers wrote the job description of the
president, they had “winner of the Miss Congeniality contest” in mind.







Political ranting ahead )

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