by Peter Freyne
Everybody knows syndicated editorial cartoonist Jeff Danziger's artistic style and political point of view, but not many folks would recognize him if they tripped over him on Church Street. Once upon a time he called Vermont home and taught at U-32 High School. Today his home is "Hell's Kitchen" on the isle of Manhattan. Over the years Jeff and I have chatted on the phone, had mutual friends, and exchanged emails, but it's been years since I've seen him - I thought he was taller? He's certainly aging gracefully, though. Aren't we all?
It was standing-room-only last night at Borders Books in beautiful downtown Burlington as Danziger presented a slide show of his cartoons and signed copies of his latest book. Great show! Too bad something like that isn't available live somewhere on TV or the Internet.
One day, eh?
Fellow bloggers are telling me that audio and video files will be the next step here on "Freyne Land." And we've learned that Seven Days has created a position for an Internet chief. Brave New World.
Born in 1943, Jeff Danziger served in the U.S. Army in Vietnam. Bronze Star. Post-war in the 1970s he was a teacher at U-32. Later he was with the Christian Science Monitor for years.
A man of few words, Danziger lets his cartoons do the talking. But he had a few zingers, calling Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice, "One of the oddest people to come along in our game for a long time."
Democratic Rep. John Murtha, the former Marine who puts our troops first is "one of my favorites," said Danziger.
"Good town, bad paper," he replied. He was referring to the Gannett-chain daily, The Burlington Free Press. The Freeps, said the cartoonist, "is a Gannett product that one can pick up at the end of the driveway and finish reading it by the time you get back to the house."
Ouch! We should note that Danziger's stuff has appeared for years in the Sunday Rutland Herald/Times Argus. Thanks be to god!
Ahead today, we've got the big renewable energy conference at Burlington's Wyndham Hotel (formerly the Radisson). Hot topic and it's only getting hotter. Gov. Jim Douglas and his Democratic challenger Scudder Parker have an afternoon debate planned. Should be a hot one.
Do check back.
*Update* 8:15 p.m.
Beautiful Thursday afternoon as the days shorten. Not many boats left in the water, but there were people out and enjoying what we have.
Was just finishing up an update an hour ago - with four fricken photos - and I hit the wrong button at the wrong time!
C'est la vie.
Lets' try again:
Was posting something on the Thursday afternoon gubernatorial debate on energy issues at the Radisson Hotel. I know, I know, it's got a different name, the Wyndham or something, but, hey, It opened as the Radisson Hotel in the late 1970s, and we all knew it as the Radisson. I've got old memories. Besides, I don't support the name-changes of landmark buildings. Just 'cause somebody buys it, doesn't mean the Empire State Building can become the Exxon Building.
Anyway, now I remember. Two things:
1. I figured out a way I could have saved a Vermont businessman $7-8-9 million. I'd simply talk Richie Tarrant out of running for the U.S. Senate. I've lost track of the people who've called, writtten and stopped me on the street to express their absolute revulsion for Tarrant. I knew from his first TV commercial way back in January that the message of this first-time Republican statewide candidate was:"This Campaign is about one thing and one thing only - ME!"
Never before in Vermont history has someone so effectively spent so much money to end up so despised by so many Vermont voters (and non-voters, too). Richie Rich, you have insulted the intelligence of the people of Vermont! You represent the worst of New Jersey!
Mission accomplished, Richie?
Hey, for 10 percent of the millions of wasted dollars you've poured down the proverbial toilet, I would have talked you out of it! But, hey, obviously, you know it all. And obviously, you don't need the money.
2. Can you folks tell from the photos of Democratic gubernatorial candidate Scudder Parker (above right) and Republican Gov. Jim Douglas (left) which one was taken before the Big Energy Debate and which was taken shortly after?
Many on the left would imagine Gov. Scisssorhands was a "Daniel in the Lion's Den?"
Outside the "Lion's Den," Vermont's top Republican had a little support, though his side was outnumbered. That's former Republican State Rep. Frank Mazur of South Burlington in the shades with the Douglas for Governor sign and the baseball cap. And sorry, I have to do a better job getting names. It used to be the photographer who did that. Now I'm the photographer. The woman with Mazur, I think, is a legislative candidate. Reader help, please?
And a SurveyUSA Vermont poll out today shows Gov. Douglas still looking comfortable, eh?
Approve 57 percent
Dissapprove 36 percent
Not Sure 7 percent
Margin of error +/- 4 percent.
Gentleman Jim Douglas' lifetime of campaign exprience is showing, folks.