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November 2008

November 25, 2008

No Freshmen on the Sidewalks

A group of Princeton University students have been collecting signatures on Princeton's Proposition 8, which would restore the "traditional" definition of sidewalks — i.e. that freshmen aren't allowed to use them. They can walk on the grass right alongside, though. Separate but equal. Check out the video:

Oh, those clever Ivy Leaguers.

November 19, 2008

It's Like Guitar Hero, But Real

Thursday will see the stately halls of the McCarthy Arts Center at St. Michael's College torn to shreds with PURE ROCK'N'ROLL... and some singer/songwriter folky stuff... and probably some noodley jamming... and at least one a cappella group.

The occasion is a Battle of the Bands happening Thursday evening at 7:30 p.m. The lineup consists of SMC and UVM-affiliated artists Maga, Mic Check, The Sepia Tones, Fink, Free Louis, The Billy Collins Band, Fall Line, John Howland, and Davin. A winner will be decided by the august judging panel of Seven Days music editor Dan Bolles, St. Michael's fine arts department chair Susan Summerfeld, and SMC senior Tom Cadrin, who happens to be a fine musician himself. Admission is $3 for students with ID, and $5 for everyone else. All proceeds benefit the Make-A-Wish Foundation, so it's all for a good cause.

Who knows...maybe the next In Memory of Pluto or Japhy Ryder, who got their respective starts as SMC students, is in this bunch.

Burlington City Council Shows No Love for Burton

Burton You might remember the Burton "Primo" and "Love" lines of snowboards featuring artwork depicting individuals mutilating themselves and also nude Playboy models, respectively. Many community members were upset that Burton, a company that has held fairly high reputation around the area, would not recall the line or even address the concerns of the community.

Well, Burlington's City Council is asking that the snowboarding company hold a meeting with community organizations such as Spectrum Youth and Family Services, The Howard Center, Women's Rape Crisis Center and others who feel the line goes beyond what is reasonable and responsible for a company.

The Council voted 12-1 in favor of passing a resolution requesting such a meeting. The one dissenter, Russ Ellis, a Democrat from Ward 4, felt that it isn't appropriate for the council to be dealing with the issue. He said, "I don't think we want to get into the issue of being a censoring board."

Is it responsible for the city of Burlington to respond to an issue of what some feel is offensive artwork? Where is the line between responsibly serving the citizens and meddling with the 1st amendment?

What do you think?

November 17, 2008

TONIGHT! Radiator Benefit Show @ Club Metronome

Hole_2_2 This is a pretty good week for music (of local and national varieties) in Burlington.  There's a show with four great local rock'n'roll bands going down at Club Metronome TONIGHT at 8 p.m.  The lineup and show times follow:

Fatal Flaws 8:30
Cave Bees 9:30
In Memory of Pluto 10:30
Nosebleed Island 11:30

Cover charge is $5 for those 21 and over, and $8 if you're 18-21, and all proceeds benefit 105.9 The Radiator, Burlington's amazingly great low-power indie radio station.  Check it out if you're free tonight — good music, great cause, and hey, nothing interesting ever happens on Mondays.

Photo of In Memory of Pluto by Jeremy Gantz.

Won't You Be My Neighbor?

Champlain_2 Champlain College had an open house last Wednesday to showcase its renovations and expansions beyond the Hill of Burlington as part of its eerily titled "Master Plan." Styrofoam models and artist renderings were on display, along with architects, planners and the college administrators. I attended the event (as a student) to find out how the residents felt about their big neighbor.

Some residents were upset that Champlain outbid the YMCA for the Ethan Allen Club property, and that there would be more noise and more beer cans in shrubbery. Kathy Valloch found many students to be rude, unreasonably loud (particularly from Thursday through Sunday), and frequently prone to property destruction.

She cited the downtown bars as a major factor, noting that the students "run up the hill screaming once they close." Sounds like UVM kids to me.

Continue reading "Won't You Be My Neighbor?" » COO to Speak at Champlain

Mikel As part of its BYOBIZ Speaking From Experience series, COO Michael Lane will be at Champlain College to discuss the company's phenomenal growth since its founding in 1998. creates web-based marketing campaigns and supports thousands of online marketing solutions across North America for the automotive industry. The company is the recipient of numerous awards including the 2007 Deloitte Technology Fast 50 (growth) award and was listed in the 2007 Inc. 5000’s “Fastest Growing Private Companies of America”.

Seven Days has partnered with on The Seven Days AutoFinder, a digital inventory of new and used local vehicles for prospective buyers and sellers.

You can hear Lane speak on Tuesday at 7:30 in Champlain's Alumni Auditorium.

What Will Barack Do For You, College Student?

Almost all of the Vermont college kids voted for Barack Obama, but how many of them actually know what his plan is for higher education, and how it will affect them?

One thing Obama stresses is that he would like higher education to be more accessible, and so, he proposed a fully refundable tax credit to cover the first $4,000 in college tuition costs. Not just any tax credit, this is the American Opportunity Tax Credit. According to Obama, "This universal and fully refundable credit will ensure that the first $4,000 of a college education is completely free for most Americans, and will cover two-thirds the cost of tuition at the average public college or university and make community college tuition completely free for most students." The only requirement for the money would be 100 hours of public service per year.

Yes, that's nice and all but let's be honest, it's a small drop in a big bucket. The real issue is the outrageous cost of college, something I'm not sure Obama's plan reduces. It's not $4k each semester, this is a one-time-thing.

Continue reading "What Will Barack Do For You, College Student?" »

November 16, 2008

Weekend Reading: The Last Word on Personal Attacks in Chitty 3-4

Some reading for the weekend:

A few readers have been wanting to hear more about the personal attacks during the Chittenden 3-4 campaign that I mentioned a few days ago.

Personal attacks or tough campagining? Draw your own conclusion.

  • John Odum at GMD sheds some good light

Cynic coverage over the past months:

Regardless of the conclusions you draw on the tone of this election, and on-campus coverage of it, both winning candidates have drawn their own. Judging from my correspondence with the the two, I can say that after two weeks, considerable tension between Ram and Zuckerman still exists. Hopefully, they'll be able to move forward in a positive way for the people of Chittenden 3-4.

Ed. note: Ed Adrian, who commented here on one of these Chitty 3-4 posts, has just withdrawn from the Burlington mayoral race, citing family obligations — and a need to "work on repairing" some bridges...

Rubblebucket: On WWPV Monday, at Higher Ground Thursday

Rubblebucket So there is a real solid band out of Boston by the name of Rubblebucket, known in a past musical life as Rubblebucket Orchestra. They play music that's best described as a cross between Fela Kuti-style Afrobeat and groove-oriented rock. Rubblebucket also shares members Kalmia Traver and Alex Toth with the prog-reggae outfit John Brown's Body. They've even got a local connection, as the band has its roots in a jam session at the 2007 edition of the always-awesome Burlington Jazz Fest. Back in April their album, Rose's Dream, got a positive review from Seven Days.

If this sounds promising to your ears, good news. Rubblebucket will be on the St. Mike's radio station, WWPV 88.7 The Mike, on Monday night with 'PV music director Mary Cate from 10 p.m. to midnight. If you're not within the station's listening area, you can listen to a live stream on the WWPV Web site. And then on Thursday, Rubblebucket's headlining a show at the Higher Ground Ballroom. Tickets are still available and are just $13 in advance. Dig it.


So, you're really into that guy in psych101 who wears that neon hat and sits two rows and three seats to left of you. Or, maybe you've been eyeing that girl who creates the most beautiful salads at [insert name of wealthy benefactor] dining hall. You've got a crush, so obviously, the next step is to simply ask him/her on a date, right?

Not exactly. Generation Y, especially those of us on college campuses, are increasingly dependent upon modern technology as a dating crutch. Whether it be AIM, Facebook or text messaging, we have a talent of prolonging the inevitable face-to-face interaction that is, actually, necessary for a healthy, stable relationship. Well, Konstantin Schaller and Hussein Alramini, two Middlebury seniors, created yet another medium that perpetuates this e-dating trend.

"Middvites" is a website where you can anonymously invite your crush to social functions that range from dorm parties to discussions with the college President, or even, to the end of class registration (now that's a hot date right there). You simply fill out your email address, that babe-with-the-dreads' email address and the event you will be attending on said night. Middvites then sends the invitation, and, if necessary, facilitates a conversation between you and your crush, all anonymous of course. From there, the difficult choice between confessing your love or simply staring from a distance, is on you.

Since the site is relatively new, the success rate is still to be determined, but at the very least, it does provide a list of hot on-campus events, which, through Twitter, can be sent to cell phones... Freshman twiddling their thumbs in their room at 9pm on Friday nights are rejoicing everywhere.

November 12, 2008

Howard Dean Soon-to-be Unemployed

Former Vermont Governor Howard Dean says he plans on stepping down from his position as DNC Chairman at the end of his four-year term, which began in 2005. There are rumors that Dean will find a position in the Obama cabinet, perhaps as Secretary of Health and Human Services or even Surgeon General. One thing is for sure, Dean's Fifty State Strategy played a pivotal role in the Democrats winning the Presidency, and there should be little doubt that Dean will land on his feet just fine.

Champlain College To Buy Ethan Allen Club

Eac_club Champlain College is purchasing the Ethan Allen Club on College Street, adding more space to the college's growing need to house its students. The college also recently purchased the Eagles Club's building on Pine and Maple earlier this summer, as it plans to accommodate all 2,000 of its students by 2016. The newly acquired buildings will reportedly fit 600 beds. Champlain intends to begin the permit process for the Ethan Allen Club this upcoming summer, and will hopefully break ground by 2011, when the Club moves out.

Champlain College has scheduled two open houses for neighbors and community members to discuss details of their Master Plan. The first is being held this evening at 6 P.M. in the Hauke Lounge, and the second will take place on Saturday from 9 A.M.-12 P.M.

Brainwashed Students Elect Teenybopper

If you've paid attention to the hotly contested political races like the Ram, Zuckerman and Pearson 3-4 battle, you've surely noticed that college voters played a pivotal role in the outcome. But you might not have heard about the Grafton County (NH) treasury battle between Republican incumbent Carrol Elliott and Democrat Vanessa Sievers. Sievers, a 20 year-old Dartmouth student, defeated Elliott by 600 votes out of 42,000 cast.

How did Elliot feel about it? She believes she lost because of "brainwashed" college students, adding that students just voted for the Democratic ticket and Sievers is a "teenybopper." The "real" voters endorsed Elliott on the ballot.

It's hard to argue that Elliott comes off as an immature sore loser, but how valid are her comments? Siever targeted Dartmouth and Plymouth State students, primarily through Facebook. Dartmouth has a total enrollment of less than 6,000 students and Plymouth State has roughly 5,000. Even if all voters from both schools filled in the Democratic ticket, that's about 1/4th of all votes cast. Students may have made a difference but they alone did not decide the election.

Elliott, though, may be right to be upset. Temporary residents are making important decisions for a county, something I bet many full-time residents find alarming. At the same token, if they were truly concerned they would have voted for Elliott. This is the strange, two-sided coin of democracy. It does, however, beg the question — how informed are college students?

Well, what do you guys think?

November 11, 2008

Hope, Expectations, and Our New President

Hope A week has passed since Barack Obama was elected our next president, and life has become... strange. Everyone is just so happy. Paranoid, angry political grumblings have given way to positively elated proclamations of our newly together nation and how great America is. Last night I heard the folk singer Nathan Moore talk about all of the songs he's written in the past eight years have to be thrown out because they're no longer applicable. The very fabric of our existence has been altered. The collective pants-shitting feeling of the Bush presidency has miraculously disappeared. It's pretty cool.

However, Barack Obama's momentous acceptance speech last Tuesday may have temporarily made me beam, but my cynicism is already setting back in. Chiefly, it's because I'm wondering how this poor guy is ever going to live up to the massive expectations we've all put upon him.

Let us not forget that Obama has, occasionally, said some hawkish things in regards to a military strike on Pakistan. When it comes to the Israeli/Palestine conflict, the president-elect appears that he'll hold the same always-pro-Israel line that our previous presidents have held. He's come out and said that he is not in favor of gay marriage, although he (mercifully) doesn't believe in banning it federally and is in favor of civil unions. Basically, Obama isn't and never was the shining beacon of progressive thinking that Vermont college students act like he is (and that neocon operatives tried to paint him as).

I'm really curious to see what will happen after a few months of an Obama presidency. Will all of those people who took to the streets chanting "OBAMA!" on Tuesday night go back into their usual role of playing the opposition, albeit a lot less frequently than was necessary against Bush? Will Obama's supporters remain enamored even as he becomes the leader, not the underdog? Will everyone stop watching The Daily Show?

I don't want it to seem like I don't like Obama. I do, I voted for him, and I'm excited to see what will become of our country under his leadership. I just hope that all of the talk about the "hope" that Obama represented during his campaign hasn't led to impossibly high expectations.

Because what will we have if our hope in President Obama turns out to be misplaced?

November 07, 2008

St. Michael's Tries to Go Trayless

Though it inspired nearly-unanimous good feelings across the St. Michael's College campus this week, the election of Barack Obama as our next president was only the second-most-talked-about issue around the lovely college grounds this week. The primary topic of discussion? Our dining hall in Alliot Hall got rid of its trays this week. The trays will return next week, but they'll be gone for good come January... maybe.

The college's sustainability coordinator, Heather Ellis, along with our environmental group, Green Up SMC, have been advocating traylessness in Alliot for much of this year. Champlain, Middlebury, and UVM have all been trayless since at least last year, but trends take a while to get out here to Colchester. Sodexo and the Student Association finally sponsored this week's attempt at traylessness. To their credit, both sources have been behind the move, with the Student Association distributing a few emails and flyers touting the positive reasons behind getting rid of our trays.

Obviously the environmental benefits would be numerous, as each tray takes 11 oz. of hot water to wash, not to mention the soap and chemicals that are required, as dining services general manager Hank Strashnick says in this article. Indeed, a sign was displayed in the dining hall on Thursday evening announcing that 920 gallons of water had been saved during the first three days of trayless Alliot. The hope is that traylessness will reduce the amount of uneaten food wasted by students, as well. Apart from the green benefits, the costs saved by not having to wash trays will be put towards the planned "fourth meal" program, where the dining hall will open late at night on weeknights — just in case three meals a day of delicious Sodexo college food weren't enough.

Still, the SA and Sodexo have taken pains to make it clear that this is merely a pilot program, and that the plans to go totally trayless in the spring semester could still be called off if this doesn't go well. And there has, in fact, been some outcry towards the no-tray movement. Why? Well, because it's just too damn hard to carry all that food without a tray!

Listen: if you're eating enough food that it requires more than one trip to the serving area, then you could probably use the exercise.

A final decision on whether or not Alliot will, in fact, go permanently trayless next semester has not yet been announced. Despite the complaints, I'm confident that the SA and Sodexo will realize the extensive benefits and make the change permanent. Because it'd be absolutely pathetic if we sacrificed the very extensive environmental and monetary benefits of dumping trays just because a few people can't be bothered to make a second trip to get their extra bowl of pasta and cake.

More coverage on trayless Alliot is available from our two campus media sources, The Echo and The Defender. Notice how the kid in the second picture of The Echo's article swiped a tray from the small pile that's been left for disabled students. What a badass.

Vanquished Rep. Pearson Talks to WG

Chrispearson Representative Chris Pearson of Chitty 3-4 got back to me last night with some brief thoughts about the election.  Pearson was defeated on Tuesday in a close, and at times bitterly personal race to reclaim his seat in the State House alongside Progressive colleague Dave Zuckerman.  He will be replaced in January by Democrat Kesha Ram.

I never was the most popular when I was at UVM, so I guess this shouldn't be a surprise.  But I don't take it too personally.  It is hard to challenge the two-party system and it's not like the vote reflects a rejection of my record in Montpelier.  I remain very proud of what I accomplished while I was fortunate enough to serve my community.

I am disappointed that my opponent got away with suggesting I was a blatant liar without offering even a shred of evidence to back that up. Her strategy is a good example of why I think we need a new direction in politics and it was upsetting to see it used in a local race here in Vermont.

No comments on future plans...

November 06, 2008

Zuckerman's Take, and the Audacity of Ignorance

Zuckerman Newly re-elected Representative Dave Zuckerman just got back to me with his thoughts on the election.

I have mixed feelings as I do not recall Obama saying that change meant throwing everyone out. It was about a deeper message and meaning.  I feel that Chris and I have been those messages in the local/state level (although obviously not with the orator skills or charisma that Obama has.)  But that Chris' work on those very same progressive ideals that Obama has, were not appreciated. We did our best to put out information on issues and substance, and sadly they were overcome by the (albiet wonderful) wave of excitement.

In direct reference to Ms. Ram, he quipped, "She worked hard.  She was smart about her campaign to take advantage of the wonderful Obama wave."

There's been a palpable feeling out there in the Zuck/Pear camp that this election could have been different had there been a stronger focus on the issues, instead of the dramatics of personal attacks.  Many have expressed this sentiment to me, blaming a cocktail of culprits ranging from unfair state Democratic tactics to inattentive media coverage to ignorant UVM students.  In the words of one commenter on this blog:

When the majority of people voting [are] students who are uninformed about local politics and issues, I find it hard to believe that her victory was anything more than a UVM popularity contest.

True, many UVM voters have a limited understanding of VT politics, but knowledge of the issues is not a prerequisite of enfranchisement.  Nor does winning the votes of an ignorant electorate de-legitimize an electoral victory.  After all, Mr. Zuckerman also benefited from on-campus votes.  In the end, Ms. Ram's Election Day get-out-the-vote effort trumped the Zuck/Pear ticket.  Take a walk through campus, the "Vote for Kesha" chalk is still etched on the sidewalk in more than a dozen popular locations. 

I'm still waiting on comments from Mr. Pearson.  I'll post them when they've arrived.

I just want to say thank you...

Thank you to my generation. In recent years we have been labeled as 'apathetic' and criticized by our baby-boomer parents for lack of political fervor. And to be honest, who can blame us?

My first introduction to American politics was Bill Clinton's impeachment. In 2000, as a wide-eyed 8th grade U.S. history student, I watched the electoral college system fail us. Finally, for the past eight years, I have witnessed the most unpopular President haphazardly send our troops into Iraq and turn a budget surplus into a deficit of $454.8 billion — that's just for 2008.

We have developed a political consciousness within a divided, and often cynical, environment. In these recent months, however, I have never been more proud of my peers, as we have proven that given the right opportunity — the right candidate — we, too, can play an active role in our future. So, here's to a new era, a new direction...a new hope.

Vermont Election Coverage

We all know by now that Obama is the President, but what happened to politics in Vermont? The gubernatorial race between incumbent Republican governor Jim Douglas, Democratic Candidate Gayle Symington, and Independent Anthony Pollina closed with Douglas running away with the election.

The governor received over 50% of the vote. Pollina and Symington each garnered 21% of the vote.

Peter Welch was reelected as a US Representative with 84% of the vote and Lt. Governor Brian Dubie was reelected as well, defeating Democrat Tom Costello by a double digit margin.

Jason Lorber and Rachel Weston won the uncontested election in the 3-3 district, which is comprised of much of the old north end, and Champlain college's campus.

The heated, well-publicized Chittenden 3-4 between UVM's former student president Kesha Ram, and Representatives Pearson and Zuckerman, concluded. Both Zuckerman and Ram were elected. Read Max's blog post for more.

Tim Ashe, a Democrat and Progressive, gained the final state senate seat, joining Hinda Miller, Diane Snelling, Ginny Lyons, Ed Flannagan and Doug Racine. After an incorrect vote count in one ward had been corrected, Ashe jumped ahead of Richmond candidate Denise Barnard for the final seat.

November 05, 2008

"We Finally Turned This Shit Around," Inebriated College Students Report

College students in Burlington, Vermont are excited that a liberal Democrat wins the Presidential election. The Free Press is there...

If you were within two miles of Church Street last night, you might have heard students shouting "this is our fucking country, too!" and "Who is tired of everyone else run our fucking lives?!" They eventually broke line and chanted "Obama!" for a few minutes before updating their twitter status on their cell phones.

Some even took their shirts off in the name of democracy while shouting "USA! USA! USA!" followed by the European soccer chant, "Oley, oley, oley, ohhhh-ley!"

Finally, they concluded their celebration with "No more Bush!" and a spirited rendition of "We Finally Turned This Shit Around, No Blood For Oil!" The popular college student hymnal dates back centuries.

Young voters were not the only ones excited, it seems. A 34 year-old man on North Street "shots" 18 rounds in Burlington neighborhood to express his joy of Obama's victory.

If nothing else, Wednesday, November 5, 2008 will prove that it's not just politics as usual.

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