June 30th, 2011

BREAKING: It’s Social Media Day In Burlington, Which Means That VDB Gets Beat Up By Pugnacious Twitterers

by Philip Baruth

Not sure if you’re one of those folks with free time in the middle of the day, but it is Social Media Day here in Burlington, and there’s this if you’re able: a 1:30 panel discussion about politics and social media and the intriguing fusion thereof, featuring super-Councilor Ed Adrian and uber-Rep. Jason Lorber and of course VDB.

Will we be able to get a word in edgewise? No.

But the truth is that Councilor Adrian has been skewering me via Twitter for anemic blogging all morning long, and it’ll be great fun just trying to make him trip over his words with carefully timed eye-rolls and eyebrow shrugs.

And Lorber is a professional comic. So you needn’t fear boredom. And there’s just an outside chance that one of us might say something remotely interesting and/or useful about the capacity of social media to enhance the Democratic process.

Or, you know, not. Still, be good to see you there. That’s 1:30 pm, at Office Squared, 106 Main Street, beautiful downtown Burlington.

June 13th, 2011

Frequently Asked Question: If I Come To The Hamburger Summit on JULY 9 AT BURLINGTON’S NORTH BEACH, Will I Be Photographed in a Compromising Position That Will Later Cost Me My Political Career, or At Least A Trip To Rehab? In a Word: Yes.

by Philip Baruth

The Sign

Odum fights off dog

TJ looks down field

JD and Peter
File Photo: Welch faces Ryan Test, 2007 BBQ

the crowd, huddled
File Photo: Pollina faces Ryan Test, 2008 BBQ

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yusef, and don


makin' patties

everybody uses sunblock


the sign

me and odum

The Good, the Bad, and the Bloggish





susan beard, super-reader


nancy and didier

scudder sign


the beach

bill and neil

Haik's crew


selene scents trouble


Jason doting

Gorty and Arnie






the van


June 6th, 2011


by Philip Baruth

The thing about an arch-nemesis is that they’re never supposed to die, or worse, fade away. Which was the problem with Joe Lieberman: he couldn’t even get the nemesis thing down right. No, he had to just collapse in a gelatinous mass of self-justifying goo. But not Rick Santorum, VDB’s other longtime foe. Santorum, despite losing his last bid for elected office by 18 full percentage points, has decided that America cannot continue to prosper without himself, Rick Santorum, at the helm. He will run for President. Of the country.

Since losing in 2006, Santorum haunts city parks, draped with bunting, picking fights about various slippery slopes.

Are we ecstatic here at VDB? To put it mildly. Santorum typifies the worst of the Christian Right: sanctimonious, hypocritical, leveraging the Lord for political gain at every turn. Can he win the nomination? Not a prayer in Hell. But will we be able to poke a hole in his balloon pretty much every week, maybe twice a week come Iowa Caucus time? You can take that to the bank, as Robert Blake used to say before he killed his wife and beat the rap.

Oh, and will we run The Photo in this new battle we’ve just joined with Santorum? This one’s for you, Steve West:

santorum and brood

June 3rd, 2011

John Edwards Indicted on Six Counts; VDB Completes Four-Year-Long I Told You So

by Philip Baruth

On April 10, 2007, I wrote a post called “The Piece I Never Wrote About John Edwards.” And in it, I talked about why Edwards, whom I’d always admired and supported, struck me as suddenly far less trustworthy when he visited UVM in early 2006. The reaction had to do with the way Edwards seemed to use his wife as a prop, yes, but more he struck me as someone who was very far gone in a highly compulsive venture. Vain and driven, with his terminally ill wife’s welfare nowhere near top priority, was my assessment. And VDB received more negative mail for that post than it had before, or has since. I was playing politics, smearing Edwards to aid Obama, etc.

But of course Edwards would later famously diagnose himself as suffering from extreme narcissism during that precise period of time. And then came the love child, the sex tape, the books, the Oprah segments. And now the indictment: six counts, any of which could lead to jail or to Edwards losing his license to practice law. Take a look at the conspiracy description offered in the indictment, below:

Hard to escape the fact that way back then, in 2007, the guilt and hypocrisy of would-be President John Edwards was so powerful that it could be perceived, felt, measured almost like trace radiation, at a distance of 15 yards, which was about what separated my seat from the podium.

And hard to believe that this guy very nearly took the rest of his Party down with him.

June 3rd, 2011

MARK YOUR CALENDAR, For The Olde Hamburger Summit Cometh Once Again To The White Sands Of North Beach, And Woe Unto Those That, You Know, Misseth It

by Philip Baruth

It’s that time, friends, time to wind the ancient blogger’s horn, and call all political junkies, office holders, citizens, journalists, media mavens both new-school and old-school back to the beach of our fondest summer memories. Yes, that means the Hamburger Summit has been officially scheduled, and the details are these: Saturday July 9th, 1-5 pm, North Beach in Burlington. For those who have made the event, lo, these many years, hosts VDB and Green Mountain Daily heartily welcome you back. For those who have done their level best to avoid it, we’re not too proud to beg: please come and drink our inexpensive beer.


The beauty part about this event is that it always draws a choice selection of both online and real-world political personalities, allowing the two to briefly intermingle, and produce non-stop political conversation. And when you add grilled meat and mayonnaise-heavy salads, it’s a four-hour slice of heaven. For junkies, at least.

The Sign

As always, we’ll provide meat and drinks, and the basic fixings. What can you bring? Yourself, and anyone else who likes to kick around the state of the union in the shade of a massive spreading tree beside the blue waters of Lake Champlain, and maybe a salad. Or a dessert. Or your home-made goat cheese.

It’s all good, as the kids say. Except for beer in bottles. Bottles, bad. Cans, good. On the beach, at least.

More as details warrant. And they’ll warrant, baby. Oh, yes, they’ll warrant real good.

the crowd, huddled