No Disrespect Intended
I write to clarify my comments in last week’s story about Bruce Lisman [Fair Game , August 28]. I meant no disrespect to Bruce in my comments, which were accurately portrayed by Seven Days political reporter Paul Heintz. My comments were meant to describe a group of people in politics, not restricted to Bruce Lisman, who underestimate how hard it is to win statewide or national public office. And to demonstrate how skilled are the politicians who now hold those offices. Barack Obamas — who win the corner office on the first try — come around once in a generation. Bruce Lisman plays an important and powerfully positive role in the life of Vermont, through his philanthropy, Campaign for Vermont and many other activities I know little about. Just because he can’t beat Peter Shumlin doesn’t mean his work is not valuable and important to the state.
I just want to say bad judgment on using the Black River meat-processing photo [“Fresh Cuts,”  August 14]. The knife and meat hook along with the bloody outfits seemed a bit harsh, gross and just plain wrong.
End Sharia Law in Burlington!
[“Beck on BT? Burlington Telecom May Add a Conservative Channel,”  August 14]: Oh, no! There’s been Sharia law in Burlington for six years?! And now someone tells me?! I remember when I first came to Burlington. There were laws for women to walk around topless. Topless. Now women have to walk on the opposite side of the street, covered head to toe in black dresses. All because Al Jazeera came to the television of 4500 customers and caused Sharia law to infiltrate all aspects of society. Thank God ... whoops, I mean Allah … (I don’t want to get murdered) that Jeffrey Kaufman is here to save the day for Burlington and BT.Clearly Fox News, which is offered with BT, isn’t enough of a “balancing” voice! Email Sanders, Shumlin and Weinberger and tell them to end Sharia law!
Beck Is a Gasbag
[“Beck on BT? Burlington Telecom May Add a Conservative Channel,” August 14]: I love Beck; he provides cutting social commentary that is truthful and insightful with a beat you can dance to. Oh, did you mean Glenn Beck? He’s a gasbag that says inflammatory things that have no useful place in constructive discourse. He doesn’t even believe the things he says; he just wants ratings. He is the professional wrestling of news. Al Jazeera and Glenn Beck are not comparable. I believe in free speech, but that doesn’t mean putting anyone who wants to talk on the air.
Animals Deserve Protection
[Re “Bears, Dogs and Hogs — Oh, My! Animal-Themed Laws Enacted in 2013,”  June 26]: Who doesn’t agree with state animal protection laws? Steve King (R-IA), that’s who. He included a provision in the U.S. House farm bill that would repeal a variety of state laws designed to protect dogs in puppy mills, pigs and hens in factory farms, sharks, horses, and the list goes on. Fortunately, the House farm bill failed to pass, and I strongly encourage all of us who care about animal protection to encourage our federal legislators to exclude King’s provisions from the final bill. Americans deserve to have their voices heard — not overridden — when it comes to nonpartisan issues such as animal protection.
I thought that Kevin J. Kelley’s reference to the Moran Plant as “abandoned” was somewhat extreme in his article regarding the delay to the Burlington Skate Park [“Burlington Skate Park Construction Delayed — Again,”  August 28]. Abandoned buildings are usually easily accessible — quite unlike the former Moran Plant. As a longtime supporter of this building, I look forward to its new life sometime soon. In fact, the Moran Plant recently hosted a temporary art installation in conjunction with an artist at the BCA Center on Church Street.
I do agree with Kelley that there isn’t a Burlington project that gets completed on schedule. Many times it’s because neighbors and/or some of the usual local cast of characters will object. The most infamous not-in-my-backyard example is the Southern Connector.
Re Gangs, Race Is Relevant
I’m really glad someone is making gang problems a higher priority for Burlington [“Mary Alice McKenzie Wants to Talk about Gangs. Is Burlington Ready to Listen?”  July 17]. We all need to be aware of the presence and potentially violent repercussions of gangs. To say you can’t talk about this because there may be racial profiling is misguided. Gangs tend to be racial in nature. Some are black; some are white, Latino or Asian. So race does enter into a particular situation. While you can’t judge a book by its cover, or any individuals by how they look or dress, reading the book for a short time often reveals the story inside.
In his August 28 “What’s in a Name?”  Kevin J. Kelley repeats an oft-stated fallacy about the two Heroes: North and South Hero. In fact, the islands are not named after Ethan and Ira Allen, but rather the entire membership of the Green Mountain Boys — the popular name of the Vermonter units who fought for the colonial cause in the Revolution. These are the real 375 or so “heroes” referenced in the islands’ names. I suspect many of the “Boys” would have had a hearty belly laugh at the idea that Ira was any kind of a “hero” in a way that they were not. After his rum-fueled escapades at Ticonderoga, which were actually co-commanded by Benedict Arnold, Ethan spent most of the rest of the war languishing in British prisons after his ill-considered attack on Montréal.
An interesting aside: History records Allen’s story that he demanded the surrender of Fort Ticonderoga “in the name of the Great Jehovah and the Continental Congress!” Some brothers-in-arms remembered what he actually bellowed that night at the fort’s commander as “Come out of there, you damned old rat!” — for my money, a much better line than the one remembered by history!
In his August 21 Fair Game column, Paul Heintz referenced the “Veterans Administration.” That Cabinet-level entity should have been identified as the “Department of Veterans Affairs.”