*Afternoon Update posted below*
Wait a minute!
The National Weather Service says it was 45 degrees at the Burlington International Airport at 6:54 am EDT.
A little chilly for August, eh? And a wet Ernesto weekend ahead?
Roger Hill had the day off at 'DEV this morning. Back tomorrow, but his forecast is not uplifting at Weathering Heights.
Ahead this last day of August - we have another round of back-to-back dueling Montpeculiar pressers from Republican Gov. Jim Douglas (10:30) and his Democratic challenger Scudder Parker (9:30). We hope have an update this afternoon on how they did.
But to keep busy this morning, and make yourself feel good at the same time, go read the just-released 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals decision overturning the restrictions the great (Leahy nominated) U.S. District Court Judge William K. Sessions III of Cornwall, Vermont placed on the hallowed 1st Amendment. It's the Williamstown Middle School t-shirt case that Adam Silverman did a real nice job on in this morning’s Burlington Free Press.
You can get the 26-page “GUILES v.MARINEAU" decision right here as a pdf file.
Background at the Vermont ACLU website.
Happy Free Speech in America Day!
Parker Challenges Douglas on Energy Issues
Nice day for Montpeculiar and we got our favorite beans at Capitol Grounds!
Democratic gubernatorial hopeful Scudder Parker was in good form this morning in Room 10 at the Statehouse. Anson Tebbetts was there from Ch. 3 and Stewart Ledbetter from Ch. 5. And from radio land, Steve Zind from VPR. Yours truly, in addition to Seven Days responsibilities including blogging, was there to get a radio story for WDEV. No one from the Times Argus/Rutland Herald 's Montpelier-based Vermont Press Bureau showed. And no one from The Burlington Free Press' Capitol Bureau did either.
Oh, that's right, the management of the Gannett-owned Freeps closed its Montpelier bureau down a couple months ago. A cost-efficiency apparently.
Doesn't matter. Even with a capitol bureau, the Freeps' print competition did not staff either Parker of Douglas' morning pressers. The new A.P. Bureau chief John Curran was there to cover their bases and those of other Vermont dailies.
***CORRECTION*** - posted September 1: A.P. DID NOT staff Parker's presser as I sloppily suggested above (and, yes, I was there,,,,oops!. Sorry, gang!
J.C. from A.P. was at the Guv's. Didn't write anything, though. Has to be a strange new world to the new guy from Atlantic City, eh?
Terri Hallenbeck over in the Freeps blog just caught our geeky mistake and addressed it in her talented way. Appreciate the criticism! Flattered, actually, coming as it is from a journalist and jogger.
Journalist Hallenbeck is reading and responding to this new "Freyne Land " thing! On Gannett time!!!
Does Jim Carey know?
As it was, Scudder made some good hits, but didn't get a statewide story in the papers.
Parker the Democrat, who served in the Vermont Senate before Dubya’s daddy was President, took direct aim at incumbent GOP Gov. Jim Douglas like I personally haven’t caught him doing before. Timing, they say, is everything.
Scudder said that under the Douglas administration, energy prices have “gone through the roof” - with no solutions provided by our current chief executive. And energy prices are expected to keep increasing. Said Scudder:
“There are three critical components of a serious strategy to reduce the cost of living:
“You have to plan carefully. You have to increase efficiency, and you have you have to invest wisely. On all three of these principals, Mr. Douglas has failed.”
Skidder, er, Scudder, made a point of telling the press that King James, as I call him, “is more than two years behind in putting out a comprehensive energy plan that could provide the blueprint for coping with the current energy costs.”
And, said Parker, Jimmy D “is a chronic skeptic and underachiever in increasing efficiency. And he has no thoughtful investment strategy to secure affordability in the future.”
Bing, bang, boom!
A subject near and dear to the former director of Energy Efficiency for the state.
Within the hour, up on the Fifth Floor, Gov. Jimbo scoffed at Scudder's attack saying , “Well, I’m sure he’ll try to take credit for everything and try to blame everything on me. Probably I’m responsible for the tent caterpillars and the common cold,” he joked. “We’re going to hear a lot of things between now and Election Day.”
Yes, we are. And the incumbent, a seasoned veteran of the statewide circuit. had a prepared comeback on the topic at hand.
‘I don’t understand how [Scudder] can talk about rising energy costs,” said Gov. Douglas, “when he tried to make energy costs even higher. He and his friends in the House of Representatives tried to raise the gas tax. That’s a regressive tax that would have impacted low and middle income Vermonters the most. I’m pleased that Senate Democrats and I worked hard together to say no.”
Jim Douglas - still a George W. Bush supporter as well as an ever vigilant champion of the low-income Vermonter!
But our charming Republican governor quickly became less chatty when asked about his recent public disagreement with Republican Lt. Gov. Dubie on utility-scale wind development in the Green Mountains, or rather, on the Green Mountains.
Last week, Doobie-Doo all-of-a-sudden described himself in Lyndonville as “an unabashed supporter of wind,” noting “there are a lot of potential sites in Vermont even though they may be on ridge lines.”
If you’re at all familiar with Jim Douglas’ well-articulated policy against commercial wind power in Vermont, you know that what the Doobster said was pure and utter heresy!
“With all due respect,” said the Guv in response to our press conference inquiry, “I’m not going to characterize differences. I’m going to tell you how I feel. I really believe. based on our conversations, that we’re not as far apart as you think.”
He deflected the question and declined further comment on the Dubie “wind gap.”
He’s good at that, isn’t he?