Scene@ "Bird Dog" Training | Politics | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

Seven Days needs your financial support!

Scene@ "Bird Dog" Training 

St. Edmund's Hall, St. Michael's College, Colchester, September 14, 5 p.m.

Leanne Rios
  • Leanne Rios

It's easy to challenge America's crony-rich elected establishment from your couch. Last Friday at St. Mike's, Vermonters learned how to do it at political events.

For more than two hours, a 20-person crowd of college students and community members received lessons in the art of "bird dogging" - i.e., asking aggressive questions of impressionable political candidates. Topic of the day? Global health, or the lack thereof.

First to speak was Leanne Rios, a New Mexico organizer from the White River Junction-and-Washington, D.C.-based Global Health Council. According to Rios, who wore dress pants and a sash, average Joes and Janes still hold sway over their congressional representatives. Her Power Point presentation featured a procession of faceless digital stick figures. Congressional folk "welcome hearing from their constituents, no matter whether you're old or young," she said at one point. "Wait - do you guys know what a constituent is?"

The next presentation, by Jennifer Flynn of the New York-based Health Global Access Project, offered some actual bird-dogging tips. "When are people weak?" she asked rhetorically. "When they're vulnerable. And when are they vulnerable? When they're running for office."

After relaying some anecdotes from the 2004 election, Flynn moved behind a podium and pretended to be Republican presidential hopeful Rudy Giuliani. "Come on, everyone loves me, I'm America's mayor, ask me some questions!" yelled the radical activist.

Siham Elhamoumi, a 22-year-old organizer with the Vermont Global Health Coalition, stood up. "Eight thousand people die every day of AIDS worldwide," she began. "Would you support $50 billion in funding for HIV/AIDS over five years?"

"Giuliani" scratched his head. "Actually," the faux contender confessed, "I'm here to discuss security issues."

Got something to say? Send a letter to the editor and we'll publish your feedback in print!

More By This Author

About The Author

Mike Ives

Mike Ives

Mike Ives was a staff writer for Seven Days from January 2007 until October 2009.


Comments are closed.

Since 2014, Seven Days has allowed readers to comment on all stories posted on our website. While we’ve appreciated the suggestions and insights, the time has come to shut them down — at least temporarily.

While we champion free speech, facts are a matter of life and death during the coronavirus pandemic, and right now Seven Days is prioritizing the production of responsible journalism over moderating online debates between readers.

To criticize, correct or praise our reporting, please send us a letter to the editor. Or send us a tip. We’ll check it out and report the results.

Online comments may return when we have better tech tools for managing them. Thanks for reading.

Keep up with us Seven Days a week!

Sign up for our fun and informative

All content © 2021 Da Capo Publishing, Inc. 255 So. Champlain St. Ste. 5, Burlington, VT 05401
Advertising Policy  |  Contact Us
Website powered by Foundation