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Senate Passes Health Care Bill
Thursday, December 24, 2009
I was lucky enough to watch the final vote on TV this morning. Bernie got there late to some applause from the Democratic senators. He voted "Yes" instead of "Aye."

Moments earlier Harry Reid had accidentally voted no, and threw up his hands to uproarious laughter in the chamber while the clerk gave him a moment to change his vote.

Final vote: 60-39 with all Democrats, Sanders and Lieberman voting yes, all Republicans voting no except one. I'm having trouble finding out who it was that didn't vote.

Despite having given Sanders the OK to kill the bill if he wished, and despite its flaws I'm happy the bill passed, and I would be disappointed the conference bill does not pass in both chambers too.

Sure it's a huge giveaway to the health insurance companies, but it's better than a huge giveaway to the war industry, which always happens. If we're going to borrow obscene amounts from China, we might as well let the money pay for band aids instead of bullets for a change.
posted by Haik Bedrosian @ 8:40 AM   2 comments
Markowitz Fails You Can Quote Me
Sunday, December 20, 2009
I didn't hear it all. I just caught the part where she was bragging about killing nine jobs in archive micro-filming in favor of electronic only record keeping. This reminded me her response to my concerns about the evils of paperless voting in which she cited its "efficiencies." That was a red flag.

She seems a lot like Hinda and Hillary. A lot. She bragged about her Emily's list endorsement and her long list of donors. Her statewide victories as SOS. It seems like an 'inevitability' strategy. And "inevitability" is by definition presumptuous.

I liked Shumlin's appearance on You Can Quote Me better. He said Vermont could "get a piece" of the new economy of environmental manufacturing. That sounded good.
posted by Haik Bedrosian @ 6:49 PM   3 comments
Dean and Sanders Uging Reconciliation
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Senate Health Care Bill a Monstrosity- Must Be Killed
Time to get what we can in Reconciliation

Burlington Pols Dean from Ward 5, Sanders from Ward 4 in News Today


Expanded Health Care Coverage? Rumors Are Greatly Exaggerated, Unless Paying Fines Is Now 'Health Care' from Huffington Post today

Sanders would support reconciliation to break Republican filibuster on health bill from The Hill November 10.

Today's Events...

Dean urges defeat of emerging health care bill -AP

Tom Coburn Demands 12-Hour Reading Of Single-Payer Amendment On Senate Floor -Huffington Post

*****Kill the Bill*******

You have to be kidding me. What we might be getting for a health care bill is a mandate to buy crappy private insurance and fines if we don't?

The subsidies offered for those who can't afford insurance would presumably have to be accepted and will come with all kinds of stings attached and hoops to jump through when someone does accept them.

This sucks. This will bankrupt and enslave everybody by turning us all into criminals and it will not produce better health outcomes. It's offensive to both my libertarian and my liberal sensibilities.

Bernie alone can kill this bill. Go for it Bernie. Kill the bill. I say it's ok.


12.17.09 Updated. Here's Howard Dean's Op-ed in Today's Washington Post

Health-care bill wouldn't bring real reform
posted by Haik Bedrosian @ 11:08 PM   2 comments
Danger on the Beltline
posted by Haik Bedrosian @ 4:18 PM   6 comments
Shay's Tweet on BT Lawsuit
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
I had a post a while back called "Leopold to Personally Repay 17M BT Debt." I was kidding of course, but Shay's tweet today lends credence to the idea that there's a little truth in every joke.
# Whoa: #BTV Telecom lawsuit claims CAO J. Leopold's "conduct constitutes deceit" & holds him "personally liable for the unpaid funds." about 3 hours ago from TweetDeck

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posted by Haik Bedrosian @ 9:39 AM   1 comments
Council Delays Financing V
Monday, December 14, 2009
Breaking News: Council Scuttles Piper Jaffray Deal

I think now it's safe to say "scuttles." They just voted 8-6 to put out a request for proposal to try to get other funding offers from other money companies. That move essentially rendered moot the resolution that would have authorized the letter of intent for a 61 million dollar funding deal with Piper Jaffray. So moot, it was withdrawn.

(Now as I'm writing they are considering Paul Decelles's resolution to kick the CAO off the board of finance. I'll let Briggs report on what happens with that.)

So will the scuttling of the financing proposal scuttle BT itself? BT's chances of survival are clearly diminished after tonight. It's out of money and another big draw from pooled cash to keep it afloat seems unlikely.

We'll see what happens...
posted by Haik Bedrosian @ 7:01 PM   37 comments
Imperial Heresies
Friday, December 11, 2009
An Imperial Presidency, Like It Or Not
posted by Haik Bedrosian @ 8:34 PM   0 comments
Entergy Poll
Thursday, December 10, 2009
A nice man who couldn't pronounce "legislature" or "nuclear" called just now. He said he was was from Communications Center, Inc. in Spokane Washington and he administered a market research study. It was a straight forward poll that really did take only about five minutes. It wasn't a push poll.

He asked me to rate a bunch of terms on a rather granular 1-100 scale of favorability, with 100 being most favorable.

Entergy 10
VT Legislature 33
Greenpeace 51
VPIRG ("V-Purge") 52
VT Yankee 10

Then he asked me to rate a bunch of phrases related to the potential re-licensing of VT Yankee "Nucular" Power Plant according to my level of agreement. This time my ratings were to be on a much less granular scale of four possible answers- Very much, somewhat not too much, not at all.

VT Yankee should be re-licensed- Not at all
VT Yankee is clean energy- Not at all
VT Yankee helps Vermont's economy- Somewhat
VT Yankee helps makes Vermont more energy independent- Not too much

Then he asked some standard questions to try to put me in a box. I'm an independent who leans more toward the "Democrat" party than the Republican party. I told him it's the Democratic party and asked how his script was written. He assured me that it was written "Democratic" and that he had just made a mistake.

So basically expect Entergy's big sell to be on the economy and on energy independence.

I am opposed to nuclear energy on principle because I don't think we have a right to tell the next 40,000 years of humanity they have to deal with radioactive waste because we the living of today say so. That's just rude.
posted by Haik Bedrosian @ 6:15 PM   0 comments
On Top of Magram's
One time when I was in high school, me and a bunch of friends lead by the gym coach's daughter climbed up the fire escape behind Henry's to the rooftop above Magram's department store. As I recall the last part of the climb was pretty hairy. The view of Church Street from up there is good. I'm pretty sure there's actually a surveillance camera up there now. Good times.
posted by Haik Bedrosian @ 10:38 AM   0 comments
The Oxygen in the Room
Tuesday, December 08, 2009
I watched some of the city council meeting on channel 317 last night. Channel 17 people take note- the audio was terrible. The horrible humming sound made the meeting extremely hard to pay attention to.

One of the things that occurred to me as I watched councilors discuss the non-disclosure agreement they want singed members of the Telecom Advisory Committee (what should actually be the telecom commission if BT were a proper Department) was just how much time and energy councilors are spending on Burlington Telecom. What other issues are getting less attention as a result?

(By the way- Having folks sign an NDA is a little silly in my opinion. Do councilors sign an NDA? If a document is confidential, mark it as such. An NDA would be superfluous to that, and it's unenforceable anyway.)

There is always a hidden story. Whatever it is people are paying attention to, it necessarily means their attention is diverted from something else.

It isn't just loads and loads of money that is at risk because of Burlington Telecom. Its cost also includes attention diverted from other priorities, and other potential opportunities we may never even know about. Opportunity costs, they're called.
posted by Haik Bedrosian @ 11:22 AM   3 comments
Pooled Cash=Taxpayer Funds
Saturday, December 05, 2009
You know for Jonathan Leopold to state flatly the other night that "Pooled Cash is not taxpayer funds" is so upsetting. That is clearly false.

The only possible way to rationalize that "pooled cash is not taxpayer funds" is to parenthetically insert the word "(only)" between "not" and "taxpayer funds."

It isn't only taxpayer funds, true. There are proceeds from parking fines, impact fees, charges from overdue library books, grants, and whatever the folks at the Boathouse feel like contributing- sure. Of course. But it's the property tax, more than any other source that funds the pool.

If Leopold wants to act like a Stephen Wright joke ("Sometimes you can't hear me because I'm speaking in parentheses.") he can.

But most people would just call that lying.


posted by Haik Bedrosian @ 2:09 PM   4 comments
Council Delays Financing IV
Friday, December 04, 2009
Breaking News: BT Business Plan Totals 7 Pages

Well I missed the dramatic conclusion of the big city council meeting. Marrisa Caldwell walked past channel 17's camera and it suddenly went black. It seemed like she might have kicked a cord out of place or something.

Just before that the administration distributed its confidential written documentation to the council. That disbursement was to have happened in executive session, but the council was tired so they opted to take it and go.

As a consequence the public now knows that what was distributed were two separate pro formas which taken together fit on about seven sheets of paper.

The administration just isn't going to give councilors all the information they asked for. If councilors don't like it, they can vote to kill BT. See my previous post for thoughts on how likely that is.

Note to councilor Adrian- You may share those pro formas with your caucus's staff attorney. I say it's ok.
posted by Haik Bedrosian @ 1:07 AM   3 comments
Council Delays Financing III
Thursday, December 03, 2009
So the council's big BT meeting is going to start in about 15 minutes. We'll see what kind of information they're given. I'm sure they will hear all kinds of dire warnings about what will happen if they don't take the financing. Leopold will craft projections to assure the council of BT's eventual profitability. People can make numbers say whatever they want them to say.

The good thing about tonight is that the city council is trying to pry open the hood on this baby so as to finally have a look-see at the engine. It's ridiculous that everything has been so friggin' secret. I'm proud of the things Paul Decelles said in the paper today. It's not monopoly money, and I hope he does fight like hell to avoid executive session tonight.

If it's "our network" then enough with all the damned secrecy. It's OUR network!


They did the hard scary stuff with Leo and numbers first and got that that of the way- now the BT folks are doing the feel good stuff. The new customer service person Lisa seemed good, however her presentation included the use of "ie" where she actually meant "eg." Oh God, does she make Donnelly's old salary? Jesus Christ. I want to die.

Is it me or did Leopold change his tune a bit from "you don't just walk away from a 33 million dollar debt"a few weeks ago to "no legal recourse" tonight, saying now that if the council decided not to appropriate a lease purchase payment, then Piper Jaffray could only seize BT and no more, and the investors who purchased the certificates of public good will have simply realized the downside of their own risks- taken freely by them. Sure, heh heh- nobody else would want to enter into a lease purchase finance with the city ever again, but otherwise- Scott Free! It was unclear to me what their answer was as to how that scenario might affect the city's bond rating.

It's like I'm watching a game show. You know the contestant is gonna say "no deal!" They're gonna press their luck and they're gonna shoot the works.

There are only two options: kill BT now or keep rolling the dice, and it's simply a political impossibility that they kill BT now. It simply is. It's like fighting gravity. Killing BT would certainly incur painful unknowable fallout and cause many bills to come due immediately. Whereas refinancing... ahhh... the can gets kicked down the road... things settle down... the issue goes away...

Remember kids- no good deed goes unpunished. Suppose a majority votes to pull the plug now. What will they be remembered for? Killing BT. Even if it's the right thing to do, it won't win you any votes, because voters and tax payers would feel the pain immediately. Kicking the can down the road is politically irresistible, because A) if it fails down the road, you don't get the blame B) If BT actually succeeds you can take credit as a visionary, and C) it isn't your money at risk, except for part you might personally have to pay to the city for your own property tax and whatnot.

There are immutable laws of the universe that far surpass what we suppose is our own free will. This issue is done. It is as I have foreseen.

And hey- maybe BT can add the customers it needs and become a success. Who knows? It was me who had the problem with emailing BT and getting called back, by the way. I am all about treating the customer right, especially when I'm the customer.

You are visitor #95,999 to this blog. Thank you for reading. Visit Often!


posted by Haik Bedrosian @ 5:13 PM   13 comments
Give 'em Hell Bernie!
Wednesday, December 02, 2009
This is why we vote for this guy.

Bernie is going to move to block Ben Bernanke's reappointmed as Fed Chair. From The New York Times...

"...Senator Bernard Sanders is expected to hold up the nomination of Ben S. Bernanke for a second term as chairman of the Federal Reserve.

The move is unlikely to derail Mr. Bernanke’s reappointment, but it could slow the confirmation process and give the Fed’s critics additional opportunity to press their case. As a practical matter, it means Senate Democratic leaders will have to line up 60 votes in favor of Mr. Bernanke rather than a simple majority at a time when the Federal Reserve is under increasing populist attacks from lawmakers on both the right and the left...

“...In this country, there is profound disgust at what happened on Wall Street,” Mr. Sanders said in a telephone interview. “People want a new direction and people are asking, where was the Fed? How did the Fed allow this to happen, when one of their mandates is to oversee the safety and soundness of the banking system?” [Emphasis added]"

Seriously. Where the hell was the Fed? Push back on 'em Bernie. The little guy is gettin' killed out here in America. People's teeth are falling out because they haven't been to the friggin' dentist in 15 years. It's practically third world.
posted by Haik Bedrosian @ 7:14 PM   0 comments
Briggs and Montroll
I'm pretty sure I just saw John Briggs talking to Andy Montroll in the downtown mall.

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posted by Haik Bedrosian @ 2:33 PM   2 comments
Mulvaney-Stanak Resigning from Council
Emma Mulvaney-Stanak is resigning from the Burlington City Council because she is purchasing a house in Ward Three. Her statement is below the row of stars to follow.

This will leave Democrats holding a majority of the remaining 13 members and only two Progressives, both from Ward Three, until after our next council elections in March.

Dear Ward 2 neighbors,

I hope all of you had a good holiday last week. As the end of the year approaches, I want to share two important updates as your Ward 2 city councilor.

My first update, which I will elaborate on in a minute, is to regrettably inform you that I need to resign my city council seat as of mid December. I have purchased a home on Front St. which is located in Ward 3 and the moment I move I must resign my seat on the council under the city charter. I am excited to set down more permanent roots in the Old North End, but it is bittersweet given the location.

The city charter requires the council seat to remain open given that we are within three months of the next election (Town Meeting Day). At that time, my term will have one year remaining and will be open for a candidate to be elected to finish the term. My last day in the ward will be December 15.

Again, leaving my seat mid term is not an easy decision—representing Ward 2 has been a great honor and I have learned a tremendous amount about my neighbors from my door-to-door campaign and about city government over the last nine months. I now know how important it is to have strong councilors from the Old North End, who can voice the needs of our neighborhoods within city hall while listening to residents concerns about city affairs. My commitment to the Old North End has only grown from this experience. I have actively been working to encourage other Ward 2 residents to consider running for city council next year, so we can continue to have strong representation on the council.

My second update is to report on some issues moving forward within city government that impact the ONE and working people. These issues include:

#1 Movement with Our ONE Bike Path. Under the leadership of long time and newer local leaders in our neighborhood, we have substantial activity happening with reworking the entrance to the bike path that runs from Manhattan Dr/St Louis St along Rt 127. This effort shows the power of community input and dedication to unite a community vision with city resources to improve our neighborhood. A Community Development Block Grant is being submitted within the next few weeks and great things are on the horizon for this project.

#2 Working People’s Issues. Several resolutions have been advanced by Progressive Councilors from the ONE to support health care for all and real reform within Vermont, to reaffirm and strengthen the city’s livable wage ordinance for city workers and city contractors, and to make sure the Moran Project abides by responsible labor principles such as hiring local labor.

#3 Our Schools. Under the leadership of Edmunds parents and through pure persistence, the city finally applied and received a grant to redesign the crosswalks on Main St. in front of Edmunds. A short term solution is also underway after more parent leaders pushed the council to direct several city departments to coordinate a common sense approach to increased safety until the new plan can be implemented. Also, our two elementary schools were celebrated this fall as they began their new magnet school programs. While we have a lot to still do to address socio-economic divisions in the school, the magnet schools represent a lot of hard work by local parents and educators and a true commitment to our children.

#4 And finally important issues of pedestrian and traffic issues are beginning to be identified and addressed in various pockets of the ONE, most recently traffic calming options for Walnut St where a local child was injured by a passing car.

What these projects show me is the strength of the Old North End, the leadership of neighbors, and the helpfulness of having City Councilors who are strong advocates for our neighborhoods. I have worked hard to make my time on the council help to amplify the voices and existing leadership in our community while helping to get our issues on the table. It has been challenging at times to make progress on important local issues, but also rewarding to start to make headway on some issues I outlined as my priorities during my campaign last winter.

While I am excited to continue to live in the Old North End, I am leaving a great Ward with lots of character and charm in every small neighborhood. Please know I will continue to stay involved in city and local community issues. I am also more than happy to continue to help answer questions and concerns in an unofficial capacity about city or neighborhood issues until a replacement is elected in March. I regret needing to leave my seat, but I know Ward 2 has many dedicated community leaders who will continue to advance issues from our neighborhood on a grassroots level, regardless of who serves as the city councilor. Please let me know if you have any questions.

Happy Holidays and thank you.

Emma Mulvaney-Stanak
Ward 2, City Council
posted by Haik Bedrosian @ 11:31 AM   3 comments
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by "Heretic"

Norsehorse's Home on the Web
by Morgan W. Brown

Norsehorse's Home Turf
by Morgan W. Brown

Political Animal
by Steve Benen and featuring Hilzoy

Politicker VT
by Jared Corey Kushner

Reason and Brimstone
by Julie Waters and Friends

The Carpetbagger Report
by Steve Benen

The Dwinell Political Report
by James Dwinwll

The Prog Blog
by Vermont Progressives

Tirade Parade
by "Tirade25"

Vermont Commons
by Brian McClintock

Vermont Hum
by Brian McClintock

Vermont Scrap Wood
by Scrapwood

Vermont Snarky Boy
by Michael Colby

What's the point?
by "Vermonter"


Fletcher Free Library
Burlington City Arts
Burlington Free Press
Burlington College
Burlington Currency Project
Burlington Film Makers
Burlington Gardens
Preservation Burlington
Burlington Nights
Burlington Schools Coalition
Burlington Telecom

The Just Once Archives:

Amendment I

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

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Amendment VII

In suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise reexamined in any court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.

Burlington Music Scene

Big Heavy World
Icebox Records
Live Music Beth
Tom Azarian

Other Random Websites

Radio Free Quaker
CCTV Channel 17
Here (BurlingtonPol.com)

Ari K's Strange Blue Planet

Bach's Cello Suite #1 in G Major Prelude

"Bulldog's" Bio

My Dream House


Daily Kos

Michael Moore


CCTV Channel 17

VCAM Channel 15

Vermont Guardian

UVM Cynic

WVAA 1390 AM


90.1 WRUV FM

Lois the Hot Dog Lady

Women Helping Battered Women

Dr. Tuna, et al.


Burlington "Free" Press

WCAX Channel 3 (CBS)

WPTZ Channel 5 (NBC)


Vermont Bar Association

Chittenden Solid Waste District

Chittenden Solid Waste District

Carnegie library building

Wiki Leaks

Madeleine Kunin's Resume

Famous Vermonters Part I

Famous Vermonters Part II

True Crime in Burlington

Kennedy Family Tree

Rockefeller Family Tree

Bush Family Tree

Church of the Subgenius

Robert Anton Wilson

Right Here Writing From China!

Democracy Now!

Neighborhood Planning Assemblies

Huffington Post

Editor and Publisher

Bet on Politics!

Political Graveyard

Rasmussen Reports

Mark Fiore

Frame Shop

The King of All Media

Alexandra Kosteniuk





Boob Nazis



Center for Digital Democracy

Free Radio Burlington

The Freedom Forum

Amendment II

A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.

Random Election Literature





"Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore, Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed, to me: I lift my lamp beside the golden door."

-Emma Lazarus, 1883

Church Street Energy System

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