War on Drink Update | Inside Track | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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War on Drink Update 

Because of Sanders' continued assault on Big Pharma, Jeffords rakes in drug-company donations.

Bernie Sanders

Published October 20, 1999 at 1:00 a.m.

Over at Cop Central they'll tell ya it's not easy protecting a college town come Friday night. But this year, the Burlington Police Department is demonstrating remarkable ingenuity in its indefatigable battle to keep Budweiser out of the hands of college students aged 20 or less.

Recently, at the city police commission, Lt. Thomas Tremblay informed the civilian oversight panel that the cops have no trouble predicting where the rowdiest Friday night parties will be — they just drop by Pearl Street Beverage (the only establishment in Burlap that sells suds by the keg), and inspect the keg registry.

Clairvoyance is instantaneous!

If they see a few kegs heading to one address, explained Tremblay, they make a note of it so they can swing by later in the evening and bust the underage imbibers and their gracious host.

And though it sounds a trifle Orwellian, the coppers can rightfully walk in and demand the list. Manager Mike Blow said the state liquor control board informed him any law enforcement officer has a right to check the keg registry. But Blow objects to coppers camping out in his parking lot checking customers' IDs as they leave. "It's intimidating," he said. Last week the uniforms gave a 40-year-old customer a hard time because there was a minor in his vehicle. It turned out it was his daughter! "They're going overboard," Blow said. "Besides, we just picked up six false IDs last weekend. Our guys do a really, really good job."

If only the younger set would just smoke pot, sip Mountain Dew and practice safe sex. But no-o--o-o-o!

GOP vs. Fourth Estate — The wailing and gnashing of teeth from the ranks of the Vermont GOP is growing louder these days. There's talk of the insiders cite recent columns by Chris Graff of the Associated Press and Jack Hoffman of the Rutland Herald/Times Argus as well as a certain cartoon in Emerson Lynn's St. Albans Messenger. A-ha! A conspiracy!

The Rs are steaming since Graff chewed up GOP gubernatorial hopeful Ruth Dwyer last week. St. Christopher dissed the early launch of Dwyer 2000. He decreed it a violation of Vermont's treasured time-honored political tradition.

The Rs also chafe over Hoffman putting GOP director Jimmy the Joker Dwinell through the psychotic meat grinder for the satirical “Missing Years” contest the GOP runs in their newsletter.

And Emerson’s cartoon — by Franklin County school teacher Al Salzman — depicted Republicans as marauding, headless Cossacks slaughtering women and children.

Damn liberal press!

The Rs have a point. Ruthless Ruth is far from lonely on the campaign trail. Democrats Jan Backus, Ed Flanagan and Elizabeth Ready have been flying in campaign mode, too. Chainsaw Liz and her “Ready for Auditor” T-shirts have been a parade marching fixture since May. “Apparently, it’s only objectionable for Republicans to start early scoffs GOP Chairman Patrick Garahan.

Hoffman was taken to the woodshed by fellow journalist M. Dickey Drysdale in Sunday's Herald. Drysdale, editor of the Herald of Randolph, accused Hoffman of "hyperventilating" and, curse of curses, lacking a sense of humor.

Nice try, Dickey! But I've seen Jack laugh...once. At least a bit of a chuckle, or a potential chuckle.

And Al Baby's "A Different Drummer" cartoons are uniformly of the "in your face, capitalist pig!" variety. You should see what he does to Gov. Howard B. Dean III.

Relax, gang. No grassy knoll here.

BernieWatch 2000 — One beneficiary of Congressman Bernie Sanders' war against the Greedy Fat Cat Pharmaceutical Industry is none other than his likely soon-to-be opponent, Sen. Jim Jeffords.

In Jeffords' last campaign, in 1994, 10 drug company PACs cut checks to his campaign war chest. The largest contribution was $5000 from Glaxo Wellcome Inc.

This time Jeezum Jim is a special favorite of the drug companies. He chairs the committee that gives them cover. And with Bernie beating the war drums, the money is flowing in early. Already Jeezum's collected checks from 19 pharmaceutical PACs. Glaxo and Pfizer are in for $10,000 each. Yep, Jim Jeffords is clearly their boy.

Recently, before his weekly "pork for Vermont" press conference, Jeezum joked he has "Bernie to thank" for the gushing drug money. Of course, he noted, there can be a downside. It's all in "how you handle it," he said.

By the way, Business Week just broke a story of GOP "political dirty tricks" being used against Ol’ Bernardo. A GOP operative who works for Republican Conference Chairman J.C. Watts of Oklahoma has registered Internet addresses, including "berniesanders.org" and "sandersforsenate.net."

Business Week reports: This is extremely slimy, yelps Sanders. Your own name is being stolen from you.

"Say what you will," insist a Sanders staffer to Seven Days "He does not yelp."

"Bark" and "growl" is more like it.

Mail Bag — Keep those e-mails and letters coming! Last week yours truly was spanked on the bottom for upbraiding the clergy, specifically Rev. Gary Kowalski, pastor of Burlington’s Unitarian Universalist Church. Fourteen members of his congregation wrote we were “unkindly” for noting Kowalski didn’t return calls seeking comment on a new development in the controversial matter of City Councilor Tom Smith and the Bosnian bail jumper.

The Kowalski 14 bragged their pastor is “an advocate for animals” and an opponent of “racism” and “homophobia.”


We meant no harm. Honest. But Rabbi Joshua Chasan, who had signed the Tom Smith fundraising letter with Rev. Kowalski, had an epiphany and subsequently apologized to his congregation for signing. Chasan forgot about the woman at the heart of the case. The woman who had been punched and beaten.

See, way too many men slap, punch, kick, strangle and kill “the woman they love.” It’s really sick. Every Monday morning down at the Palace of Justice you’ll see at least a half-dozen new domestic assault dockets posted with the names of husbands and boyfriends who “stepped up to the plate” that weekend a smacked a woman right out of the park. In certain circles it’s perfectly acceptable. She must have deserved it, right?

Look, we're against racism and homophobia, too. And honest to God, yours truly loves animals awful bad. But domestic violence and the attitude that nurtures it cannot go unchallenged. In the interests of interdenominational equity, Seven Days offered the Unitarian co-signer the opportunity to comment on Chasan's epiphany. However, when opportunity knocked at Rev. Kowalski's door, the clergyman bolted it shut and hid behind the congregation.

What do you think? It was probably just a simple careless oversight that explains the Kowalski 14's omission of "domestic violence" from their resume of the reverend's social agenda. Or was it a case of heads in the sand?

Hey, ostriches are animals, too, you know.

Correction — GOP state chairman Patrick Garahan is not a "Rutland native," as mistakenly reported here. The fiesty chair of the party out-of-power is a native New Yorker — Long Island, of all places! He landed in the Rut in 1973 and currently resides in South Burlington. Sorry, Patsy. How 'bout dem Yankees?

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About The Author

Peter Freyne

Peter Freyne

Peter Freyne, 1949-2009, wrote the weekly political column "Inside Track," which originated in the Vanguard Press in the mid 1980s; he brought it to Seven Days in 1995. He retired it shortly before his death in January, 2009. We all miss him.


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