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Posts from — December 2010

Lady Gaga

I just discovered Lady Gaga last night.  This video was advertised large on my YouTube page, so I figured what the hell and clicked on it.  I’ve heard of Lady Gaga peripherally from the popular media all around me, but like most 38 year olds, I ignore the vast majority of everything- so I haven’t dealt with watching or listening to Lady Gaga until last night.

So last night I did.  I really like this video and song, and her performance in them.  I think it’s a brilliant work of art.  It’s got all the accoutrements of a run of the mill pop video, but it has some extra very genuine element that makes it feel important and unique.

I watched a few others and I can say I’m a Lady Gaga fan.  I’d never spend money on her, or go to a concert.  But if she keeps making videos, I might click on them.

December 30, 2010   1 Comment

Categories and Twitter

I just spent some time categorizing hundreds of blog posts under the list of topics to the left.  You are most welcome to click on any category and read its associated posts. 

Also I put a Twitter button up.  Click that to go to my Twitter page.

Thank you for reading  Visit often!

December 30, 2010   2 Comments

Dave Hartnett Wins W4 Dem Nod

Breaking News

David Hartnett was nominated tonight by the Ward Four Democratic caucus to run for the city council seat being vacated by Nancy Kaplan.

Observers tend to doubt the Republicans will run anyone against him, since Hartnett is said to be personally and politically very close to Kurt Wright, the most senior Republican on the city council.

December 29, 2010   3 Comments

General Apologies

I just want to say I’m sorry to everyone I have mischaractarized, taken off guard, rubbed the wrong way, insulted, offended and pissed off recently.  I’m sure I was just trying to be honest and/or do the right thing.  Please forgive me.

December 28, 2010   2 Comments

The Place To Be III

Merry Christmas.   Thank God it’s over.  I have to finish up my reporting on the Wards 4 & 7 NPA meeting Tuesday. It’s not going to be great reporting, but it’s free to read. I just want to relay a couple of things before I forget them. Off the top of my head and in no particular order-

*Somebody asked Vince, Paul and Kurt to respond to something Shay Totten reported in the 12.15.10 “Fair Game” column. Specifically:

“Leopold remembers it differently: He presented “Fair Game” with minutes from a late November 2007 city council meeting, during which he explained to councilors that BT would run out of money in March 2008.

In the spring of 2008, the finance board got a follow-up analysis of BT that included the good, the bad, and the ugly.”

Their answers were all surprisingly weak. In a nutshell- Vince:’I wasn’t there’; Paul:’I don’t remember’ Kurt:’Being on the council is hard/I blame the mayor’

*People have wildly different levels of understanding of the Burlington Telecom issue. That’s because it’s complicated.

*Kurt said again that his top priority was recovery of the 17 million. I said the 17 million was lost and what we really ought to be worried about was the 33 million The City owes Citi Capital.  To try to make this point I asked the city councilors if BT was part of the City of Burlington and they hedged on even that.  Kurt tried to say it was an ‘Enterprise Fund’ or something- but I mean seriously.  Really?  We can’t even come to grips with known, obvious and basic facts like ‘The City of Burlington owns Burlington Telecom? ‘ If BT isn’t part of  The City, then why were three city councilors and the mayor there anwering questions about it.  I mean, really?

*In hedging on whether or not BT was even part of the City, Kurt also hedged on whether the 33 million will even have to be paid back. I said Citi Capital will sue us for it and win. Kurt said nobody knows how such a lawsuit would turn out.

*Bob then said the 17 million wasn’t lost, that it was invested in the building of the fiber network.

*The mayor’s assisant Joe Reinert, sitting near me in the audience leaned over and told me that the 33 million dollar loan was not backed by the full faith and credit of the City of Burlington as I was suggesting, and he advised me to Google what a “municipal lease purchase agreement” is, which I did immediately with my super-duper Blackberry smart phone. I read this which kinda backed up what he was saying, but not entirely in my opinion.

After the meeting I discussed the municipal lease-purchase concept with Reinert a little more.  I said that in theory, the city was only on the hook for returning the equipment it was leasing, but that giving back a fiber network was not the same as giving back a fire truck.  I pointed out that a smart person (Leopold) once said “you don’t just walk away from a 33 million dollar debt” and asked why the city’s damaged credit rating didn’t indicate the debt was ours.  Reinert said the damaged credit rating was not because BT couldn’t make its monthly payments to Citi Capital, but because of the insolvency caused by the 17 million missing from the cash pool.  I’m not sure I get it.  I’m not sure I buy it.  But it is interesting, and I will pursue these questions further when I interview the mayor in January.

*None of the Republican councilors advocated for the city dumping BT outright.  Actually maybe Paul did.  I’m not sure.  Kurt didn’t.  He said he wants the City to be a minority stakeholder so there would be some chance at recovering the 17 million.  I’m not sure I buy Kurt’s line of thinking on this either.  Even as a minority stakeholder, The City would still endure the risk of loss, and BT would still have to succeed for the City to see its 17 million again someday.  Going for the minority share just seems wishy-washy to me.  I’m more of the opinion that the City should either be all-in, or get the hell out entirely.

***This is totally off topic and unrelated- but I heard an ad for the New York Lottery the other day promoting lottery tickets as great holiday gifts.   I can’t imagine a worse gift idea.  The odds are you’d would be giving a losing ticket and a worthless present.  If you beat the odds and actually give away the winning lottery ticket as a gift, then how shitty would you feel knowing it could have been yours?

December 25, 2010   6 Comments

The Place To Be II

The NPA was a little disorganized, but it worked.  The open forum on Burlington Telecom broke out during the city councilors’ report, and it never stopped, so in essence it took the form of a Q & A with Vince Dober, Paul Decelles and Kurt Wright.  Bob Kiss took part from the audience, answering questions from there.  I spoke with him a bit before the meeting convened and he agreed to do another interview with me.  Sweet.   Hopefully we can set that up soon.

The place, as usual, was a virtual who’s who of hardcore local political types.  In attendance beside the folks I mentioned, Dale Tillotson, Lea Terhune, Karen Paul, Russ Ellis, Bernie O’rourke, Dave Harnett and Loyal Ploof.

I’ll come back to this…

December 21, 2010   4 Comments

The Place To Be

Lifted from Front Porch Forum. If they can get a quorum without me, I’m going to skip tonight’s Policy and Advocacy meeting in favor of going to the NPA.

By the way. Last night there was a school board budget hearing that drew a total of four members of the public. The next one is at Tuesday, January 4th at 7pm at BHS. After the hearing, the nine board members present held an executive session to talk about the superintendent. Then we came out of executive session and all of us voted to offer her a 1 year contract extension. I had some reservations about doing that, but really what does anyone do in a situation like that? You go with the devil you know. Jeanne’s not perfect, but we could easily do worse. I just hope she will be gracious enough to accept a pay freeze. I’ll advocate for that.

Now coming up in just two hours- a rockem’ sockem’ evening of “where’d the 17 million go?!” at the Ward 4/7 NPA!

By Dale Tillotson, NPA Steering Committee Member – Ward 7, Birch Ct,
Tue, 14 December 2010
Post your note to neighbors:

Ward 4 and 7 NPA meeting Tuesday Dec 21 6:45PM. Hot topic. Burlington Telecom. Open forum will be held bring your thoughts attitudes, suggestions and opinions. Bring a friend they will get in free of charge just like you. Please note we hold no executive sessions at NPA meetings.

December 21, 2010   3 Comments

Fair Game

Shay’s Fair Game from 12.15.10 and 12.08.10

Senator Tim Ashe on running for mayor:

“I am hoping to play a big role in my second term,” said Ashe. “I’d have to be a total jerk to be talking about another office or election. Particularly one that is so far away.”

Obama was talking about running for president two years before November 2008.   I don’t think that necessarily makes him a jerk at all, let alone a “total” jerk.  I’m curious to know which nomination Tim Ashe would seek.  Progressive or Democratic?  As far as I know there is no “fusion” primary.  Whatever.  New Poll.  One vote per computer per month this time.  Not scientific, but just to tend slightly more toward science, I’ll ask that only likely Burlington voters participate.  Thanks.  Now let’s get it on!  (Ding Ding)  

For Mayor (Choose One):
Kurt Wright
Joan Shannon
Ed Adrian
Karen Paul
Tim Ashe
David Hartnett
Haik Bedrosian
Bob Kiss
Hinda Miller
Andy Montroll
Free polls from

December 19, 2010   8 Comments

The Agony of Christmas

Christmas is so painful for me.  So painful.  The deficit between what society expects of me and what I have to offer is so great.  You’re supposed to think of  “that perfect gift” for “everyone on your list” every. single. year.  I’m just sick of it.  My gifts have are utterly berift of imagination or spirit.  Gift cards for everyone.  For a grocery store.  Nothing over two dimensions unless you’re a child…

…And I’d better stop there on this.

December 18, 2010   Comments Off

You Can’t Win

I heard about this book from the 1920s called “You Can’t Win” by Jack Black. Not Tenacious D Jack Black. Jack Black from the 20s Jack Black. It’s about his life as a hobo, drifter and thief.

I didn’t read it. But I really like the title. It pretty much sums up life.

December 18, 2010   Comments Off