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Posts from — June 2010

BSD Superintendent’s Blog

Burlington Schools Superintendent Jeanne Collins has a blog.   Check it out:

BSD Superintendent’s Blog

June 30, 2010   Comments Off

Chanel no 5.

I am made of blue sky and golden light.
And I will feel this way forever.

Share the fantasy.
Chanel no 5.

June 28, 2010   10 Comments

Earthquake and Michael Hastings

Did you feel that earthquake today?  I knew immediately that it was an earthquake and also that there was nothing to worry about.  Vermont has earthquakes sometimes.  This was probably my fourth or fifth.

And how about this fellow Michael Hastings, huh?  My brother in law called me today to say it was his good friend Michael who wrote the Rolling Stone article that got the U.S. commander in Afghanistan fired.  He said I probably met Hastings at his wedding five years ago.  I don’t remember.

Non sequitur alert.  I attended the special school board meeting yesterday where four of us attended in person and four other commissioners attended by phone to muster a quarum of eight so we could appoint Brian Williams the interim principle of Wheeler Elementary aka The Integrated Arts Academy.

June 23, 2010   1 Comment

Beyond Comprehension

I’ve had a terrible feeling about the puncture in the earth at the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico since it started leaking oil on April 20.  I just have never had a clear picture in my mind of what it looks like down there.  For example, when I picture BP shearing off a jagged pipe and putting a cap on it, it’s hard for me to conceptualize how that fix did not solve the problem, but it obviously didn’t.  I also didn’t get how pumping golf balls and tires into it was supposed to succeed in stopping the flow, when pumping heavy mud into it had just failed.  Now there’s serious talk about detonating a nuclear explosion on it to try to stop the flow, and some reports that are circulating are unbelievably dire:

“A dire report circulating in the Kremlin today that was prepared for Prime Minister Putin by Anatoly Sagalevich of Russia’s Shirshov Institute of Oceanology warns that the Gulf of Mexico sea floor has been fractured “beyond all repair” and our World should begin preparing for an ecological disaster “beyond comprehension” unless “extraordinary measures” are undertaken to stop the massive flow of oil into our Planet’s eleventh largest body of water.

Most important to note about Sagalevich’s warning is that he and his fellow scientists from the Russian Academy of Sciences are the only human beings to have actually been to the Gulf of Mexico oil leak site after their being called to the disaster scene by British oil giant BP shortly after the April 22nd sinking of the Deepwater Horizon oil platform.”

I don’t know if the report is true, but I do know the oil has been locked away under the crust of the earth at the bottom of the sea for a long time.  Maybe millions of years.  I know no other animal or sea creature on earth would have ever attempted to drill a hole at the bottom of the ocean for any purpose.  I know that as recently as only 200 years ago, drilling a deep hole at the bottom of the ocean would have been impossible, even for humans.

Humans have very little experience with poking holes in the earth at the bottom of the ocean, and the earth itself has very little experience with getting those holes poked into it. 

In other words, we have no idea what we’re fucking with down there.  It might be worse than we can possibly comprehend.

June 16, 2010   5 Comments

Thom Fleury Blast!

Here’s a new addition to’s “Blast From The Past” showcase.  He’s my predecessor on the school board, a former Video World manager, and he’s about to be Koko’s school principal- The man, the myth, the legend… Ladies and Gentleman… Mr. Thom Fleury!

Click Picture for Full Blast!

June 12, 2010   1 Comment

The City Kids Are Alright

Breaking News

City Council Keeps “Nuclear Option”

to Scuttle After-School Changes on Table

I talked to John Briggs downtown today and he said Paul Decelles and Karen Paul were sponsering a resolution that would put the kibosh on the politically disastrous plan for the school department to absorb the after-school program and kick its long-time leaders to the curb.

I went to today’s informational meeting about this incredibly unpopular, practically radio-active proposal at CP Smith, and there was nobody there representing the superintendent or the ‘leadership council’ she’s a member of, which is offering the proposed changes.   The community members who were there were livid and non-plussed.  They implored me as a school board member to try to stop the plan.

I called Paul Decelles this evening and he said that he and Karen Paul had both drafted kibosh resolutions, but he deferred because hers was better and so it’s Karen’s resolution- which will call for an expanded leadership council to go back to the drawing board- that’s on the council’s agenda for Monday night.   Here is the operative clause:

“NOW, THEREFORE, LET IT BE RESOLVED, that the recommendation put forward by the Leadership Council be put on hold until January 1 with the Leadership Council continuing to meet but with the addition of the following members: no more than three parents who have children attending Burlington Kids, one site coordinator now employed by Parks and Recreation and one now employed by the School Department, one school board member and one City Councilor who will together to review the budget, evaluate the program and assess its challenges and successes, and arrive at a process for public engagement so the communities’ voice can be heard.”

The tea leaves say Karen’s resolution would have broad support if it remains on the agenda.  The latest scuttlebutt however is that  ‘leadership council’ member Mari Steinbach who runs Burlington’s Parks and Recreation Department may be backing off and rethinking.  She, the superintendent and the other ‘leadership council’ members met tonight to come up with some adjustments to their incredibly unpopular current plan. 

Decelles said the council is keeping the kibosh resolution on Monday’s agenda as a sort of “nuclear option,” in case the current incarnation of the ‘leadership council’ doesn’t step back from the brink of its utterly toxic, third-rail of an idea on its own.  “If the leadership council recognizes their error, we may not need to go through with the resolution.” he said.

June 9, 2010   2 Comments

Fifty Percent Does Not Matter

John Briggs reports today that last night the city council…

“Approved by an 11-3 vote, with the council’s three Republicans opposed, a measure that instructs the Charter Change Committee, by Oct. 25, to create language for the charter requiring a majority vote — 50 percent plus one — for the winning candidate in a mayoral election. If approved by city voters, the change would then require approval by the Legislature.”

A couple of thoughts on this-

*The charter change committee might just hand the council IRV again.

*Assuming IRV (or Condorcet or any such method) is out, and a real runoff must be employed to attain 50%+1, then I hope the folks who argued in favor of IRV because it would spare us the expense of a runoff, realize a majority-winner system will likely necessitate that dreaded expensive runoff. I hope the anti-IRV folks like me who argued for the benefits of a “real” runoff vs. an “instant” runoff realize a majority winner system will likely necessitate that critical extra-time to hear from the top candidates- or for an October surprise to happen.  Oh boy!

*Anyone arguing any side of a new system related to the council’s action last night is likely to find themselves in some kind of hypocritical territory, because at the very least what’s good for the goose ought to be good for the gander. Why don’t we ever include city council races in these discussions?  They’re all still at the 40% threshold, aren’t they?  Tinker with yer own darn elections, why don’t cha, council?

*Just leave it alone already people. I’m with the Republicans on this. It’s fine the way it is. Nobody questions the legitimacy of a plurality mayor or a of a plurality president for that matter. Move on already.

June 8, 2010   2 Comments

The Real Map of my Life

Ladies and Gentleman, I present to you a wonderful friend and now fellow blogger- Cara, and her new blog:

The Real Map of my Life

June 3, 2010   1 Comment

Before School Program at Flynn?

School Commissioner Item- A constituent wrote to me and asked me to try gage interest in starting a fee-based before school program at Flynn.  If any Flynn parent has an interest in that please email me at  This in no way a promise that such a program would be created.  I’m just gaging interest as a constituent service.  Thanks.

June 2, 2010   3 Comments

Al and Tipper Gore

Did I ever tell you about the one time I met Tipper Gore?  It was at UVM, in 92 I guess.  It went something like- I asked her what I thought to be a smart question and she squawked back at me something like ‘environment, environment, environment, Grateful Dead, environment, environment…’  totally unrelated to my question.  I thought it was odd at the time, but now that I’m older it actually makes sense.

I got to meet one of their daughters one time too, but I can’t remember which.  She was on the Waterfront in Burlington.  She was nice.  Shook hands will Al twice too but never spoke to him.  Voted for him but didn’t work for him.  I felt I learned a lesson from that so I worked for Dean in 2004.  He lost.  Then I didn’t work for Obama and he won.  So what does that tell you?  Nothing.  It’s hard to know facts or learn lessons in the universe, and politics is a dismal science.

But the point of this post is that has been getting mad traffic in the last couple of days and I just figured out why.  They’re all arriving at this post via Google Images because of the old photo-booth picture of Al and Tipper Gore I have there.  See it down there on the left sidebar?  It’s cute.

Anyway yesterday my blog welcomed 431 visitors from all over the place, which makes it my second biggest day on record- except perhaps for the day CNN linked here.  I think that day was huge but I don’t remember the numbers.  The top day I’m sure of the number for was the day Bob Kiss was re-elected.  On that day I had 499 visitors.

I guess word on the street are that Al and Tipper are officially separating, which may be what sparked the mad rush for such a picture.  What are my thoughts on their separation you ask?  Well I don’t know.  Who cares?  Good for them, I guess.

Yeah I know.  You didn’t ask.

June 2, 2010   Comments Off