Monthly Archives: August 2008

Sen. Leahy hangs with the rock stars

I’m bubbling over with jealousy this morning that Sen. Patrick Leahy rubbed shoulders with a few members of one of my long-time favorite bands, Death Cab for Cutie, at the Democratic National Convention this week.

Here’s band member Chris Walla gushing about meeting Leahy.

A little later last night I was introduced to Senator Patrick Leahy from Vermont who is, in my personal opinion, a total badass. If it weren’t for his leadership (he’s the chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee) we’d still be stuck with Alberto “Howdy Doody” Gonzales as our Attorney General. And of course I froze when I met him and couldn’t say much more than “thank you” and polite stuff like that. But I was reminded yet again, as I have been many times over the last 10 years, that I play in a band with a uniquely difficult name: Death Cab for Cutie isn’t the sort of moniker that any career politician can get too cozy with, without some serious scrutiny. And Leahy is the very definition of “career politician.” It was a pleasant and affirmative, but very short, interaction. Suffice it to say that I doubt we’ll be texting one another in the days ahead.

If anyone is interested, I recommend Death Cab’s 2001 album "We Have the Facts and We’re Voting Yes" and 2005’s "Plans." It’s sugary indie pop at its best.

-Dan Barlow

Complaint filed against Pollina campaign

Michael Colby – a perpetual thorn in the side of Anthony Pollina – has filed a formal complaint with the Vermont AG’s Office over the candidate’s alleged disregard for Vermont’s campaign finance law. Here’s a copy of the letter he and Boots Wardinski sent today.

August 20, 2008

Mike McShane
Assistant Attorney General
State of Vermont
109 State Street
Montpelier,  VT 05609-1001

Dear Mr. McShane,

Please consider this letter an official citizens’ complaint regarding 
the political fundraising of Anthony Pollina, a publicly declared 
“independent” candidate for governor of Vermont.

As you know, the Secretary of State’s office has requested that the 
Pollina campaign return all contributions of more than $1,000 in 
order to comply with what in considers to be the current law. To 
date, the Pollina campaign is refusing to return the money.

As concerned citizens of the State of Vermont, we offer this 
citizens’ complaint regarding the fundraising actions of the Pollina 
campaign and its apparent disregard for the law as interpreted by the 
Secretary of State’s office.

We look forward to hearing from you.

-Dan Barlow

Burlington Free Press cuts 6 jobs

Sad news this morning as we find out that the staff reductions across Gannett’s newspaper line has hit the Burlington Free Press. According to the paper, they cut six positions today to reduce costs in the face of a tough market for newspapers.

Some of those cuts are likely to come from the newsroom while the rest are spread across other departments in the paper.

Here’s the official release from Publisher Brad Robertson:

On Friday, August 15, President and Publisher Brad Robertson announced the Burlington Free Press will be reducing its staff by six employees. Starting Monday, August 18th the affected employees will be notified.

Currently there are 213 employees at the Burlington Free Press. Although the six employees represent less than 3% of our employee base we are cognizant of the financial and emotional impact of this decision.

Impacted employees will receive one week of pay for each year of service with a minimum two-week severance benefit. Medical benefits will continue for the length of the severance period.

The layoffs are a result of economic trends that are impacting advertising revenues—unfortunately, we anticipate these trends to continue through 2008.

-Dan Barlow

You know who else hasn’t released their personal financial information?

Cindy McCain.

Gov. James Douglas – who has been very tough on House Speaker Gaye Symington for not releasing her husband’s financial information in their race for Vermont governor – is a strong supporter of McCain’s campaign for president.

-Dan Barlow

But what does Leahy think?

The sudden death of Bruce Ivins – the man the government now says carried out the 2001 anthrax attacks – has seemed to ask more questions than it answers.

Now, former U.S. Sen. Tom Daschle, who was one of the targets of the attacks, said he has doubts about the government’s case against Ivins, who killed himself last week.

"Given their checkered past and the difficulty that they had in getting to this point — the bungling of the Hatfill part of the investigation — leads me to be very skeptical."

Remember, U.S. Sen Patrick Leahy was also a target of the attacks. The letter addressed to him killed at least two people on its way to being delivered.

I emailed Leahy’ staff late last week to see if they wanted to respond to the development.

Their answer:

At this point he has no plans to…I’ll let you know if that changes.

Does that seem odd to anyone else?