Rep Steve Vaillancourt


Not Just Disapprove, But Strongly So

As if any further bad news could fall on top of Democratic heads, Gallup is out with another dollop today.

Not only is Barack Obama's favorability number nine points under water, but most people now strongly disapprove of him.  With numbers like these, it's hard to see how Democrats maintain control at any level.  

Of course, Republicans are forever capable of making a sow's ear out of a silk purse.  For example, New York Rep Peter King (one of my 10 most clickable, that is to say avoidable) went absolutely berserk over the weekend when the President was seen wearing a tan suit ("the audacity of taupe" some pundit called it--probably Julie Mason in the Press Pool--love that Jules!).  Give the man a break...lest a sympathy backlash kick in. 

Note that even among Democrats, more simply moderately approve than strongly approve.  Since the last survey, the number of Democrats who strongly approved has declined from 57 to 38 percent.  Ouch!

Holy base erosion, Batman!


President Barack Obama's Approval Ratings, by Intensity

President Barack Obama's Approval Ratings Among Republicans, by Intensity

President Barack Obama's Approval Ratings Among Democrats, by Intensity

President Barack Obama's Approval Ratings Among Independents, by Intensity


This Week's Trivia--A Cambodian Holiday

This week's trivia question is thanks to my new radio favorite, Julie Mason who not only hosts the Press Pool on SiriusXM Potus 124 but also apparently picks out the bumper music herself.
When I was listening the other night, I heard the screaming guitar licks from a classic from 1980.  Can that be "Holiday In Cambodia"?  It sure was. Can it be 34 years since I first heard the classic on the album "Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables"?  It sure has.
I can't imagine many political junkies are also punk rock junkies, but if you are, you'll certainly be able to identify the "outrageous" group which gave us such an "outrageous" song.

I can hear someone out there screaming the answer 

"Right guard will not help you here."

For the rest of you, here are some choices--

Johnny Rotten and The Sex Pistols
The Psychedelic Furs
Iggy Pop and The Stooges
The Dead Kennedys
The November Group
Send "Holiday in Cambodia" Ringtone to your Mobile

Holiday in Cambodia Submit Correct Lyrics


You been to school for a year or two
Know you've seen it all
Daddy's car thinkin' you'll go far
Back east your type don't crawl

Play ethnicky jazz to parade your snazz
On your five grand stereo
Braggin' that you know how the n------ feel cold
And the slums got so much soul

It's time to taste what you most fear
Right guard will not help you here
Brace yourself, my dear
Brace yourself, my dear

It's a holiday in Cambodia
It's tough, kid, but it's life
It's a holiday in Cambodia
Don't forget to pack a wife

You're a star-belly sneech you suck like a leach
You want everyone to act like you
Kiss ass while you bitch so you can get rich
But your boss gets richer off you

Well you'll work harder with a gun in your back
For a bowl of rice a day
Slave for soldiers till you starve
Then your head is skewered on a stake

Now you can go where people are one
Now you can go where they get things done
What you need, my son
What you need, my son

Is a holiday in Cambodia
Where people dress in black
A holiday in Cambodia
Where you'll kiss ass or crack

Pol Pot
Pol Pot
Pol Pot

And it's a holiday in Cambodia
Where you'll do what you're told
A holiday in Cambodia
Where the slums got so much soul

Pol Pot



Read more: Dead Kennedys - Holiday In Cambodia Lyrics | MetroLyrics 

  1. Dead Kennedys
    Rock band

Thanks Jules!

What's next?  "Stealing People's Mail" (also by the DKs)


A Charity Checkpoint in Arlburgh, Vermont

    1. For the first time (and hopefully the last) time in my life I experienced what would best be described as a charity checkpoint this afternoon.  You've heard of sobriety checkpoints, but this one had nothing to do with stopping drivers to check for levels of alcohol and everything to do with stopping travelers to part them from a few of their coins. Alburgh, population 503, is the farthest northwest you can get in Vermont. It's bordered by Quebec on the north and Rouses Point, New York across Lake Champlain on the west.  As such, Alburgh receives its fair share of traffic on a holiday weekend; the line of cars going back into Quebec at 5:30 p.m. was about an hour long (there was no wait on the U.S. side).  Right in the middle of Alburg, on Vermont Route 2 (the only road through town, I'm told), a line of cars was stopped for a "coin drop", a charity for the local volunteer fire department.  Of course, you didn't have to donate, but every traveler was slowed down (maybe about a five minute back-up for those wishing to stop and donate; almost everybody did) on a major traveling day.
This just didn't seem right to me, so I've stopped at two interstate rest areas on I89 to check it out.  The lady at the one in Swanton said she was familiar with the procedure; the lady here in Burlington termed the stoppage "insane; they don't do that in any other town around here."  

Don't get me wrong; I have nothing against charities; volunteer fire departments are the best kind, but to stop every car (not just local ones mind you) to ask for a donation seems unwise transportation policy to me.  
I can only assume some type of permission had been granted for this shakedown, but who would authorize such a procedure?  If it can be done toay in Alburgh, Vermont, why not tomorrow in every little town across the land?
What this most reminded me of, frankly, was the panhandlers in Montreal who will weave through traffic at red lights, offering to squeegee your windows (that is to say, to make them even dirtier) for a loonie.
The fact that government sponsored panhandling is going on this Labor Day weekend in the northernmost town in Vermont is hardly reassuring about the way we raise monies or control our traffic.
The least they could do next time would be to establish an e-z pass line to avoid the slowdown.
Map of Alburgh, VT


"Wanna Scarf, Honey?"

If it weren't Elvis Presley saying it, or in this case Jacques Millette playing Elvis, I suppose that line, "Wanna scarf, honey?" would be considered sexist.

Elvis must have given away hundreds of scarves in the free show at the Montreal Casino last night (it was scheduled for six hours; I only caught the last hour).

Not bad, not bad at all.  He had the sneer and the swagger down pat, some of the moves.  His voice wasn't bad (of course, he couldn't hit those high notes for six hours) and the live band was okay also, but what really sold the show was his interaction with the audience; kiss all the ladies and give them scarves (I assume the casino provided them as souvenirs for its patrons).  Of course had he been the real King, the women would have torn him apart as he headed out into the audience.

The casino production team probably made a mistake by playing old black and white clips of the real Elvis in the background, because no matter how good the sneer, swagger, moves, and voice, no one could pack the chairma of the King.  He might just be the greatest entertainer of all time.

Believe it or not, I've never seen an Elvis impersonator live, and I think I'm going back tonight.  Hey not only was it free (no tickets required), but free non-alcoholic drinks were right at hand (of course, there was alcohol for a price; the province of Quebec realizes all the profits, unlike casinos which have been planned for New Hampshire).

The most requested song seemed to be "In the Ghetto".

He also did a passable version of "My Way".


Perry Bypasses Legislature To Bring Slots To Texas

Here's the story out of Texas I alluded to a few days ago. Apparently, Governor Rick Perry's racing commission has indeed voted to allow slot machines without legislative approval.  Note in this story that WMUR's James Pindel and I disagree as to whether or not this could be a problem for Presidential candidate Perry.  I repeat what I told the Austin repoter--it's not about gambling, but about a governor bypassing the legislature to get something done.  Apparently, Texas courts will decide the issue.



Here’s a look at some of the historical horse racing machines at the Kentucky Downs.


If it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck,and waddles like a duck, it's a slot by another name.

Read more here:


‘Historical racing’ approved, but legal fight continues
By Tim Eaton<>, Austin American-Statesman
August 29, 2014
With its approval Friday of a new form of betting, the Texas Racing Commission defied conservative state lawmakers, set the stage for a lengthy legal battle and — if some people in important presidential primary states are correct — hurt the potential presidential candidacy of Gov. Rick Perry.

The commission voted to change its rules to allow “historical racing.” The new form of gambling allows bettors at racetracks to use electronic terminals — which look like slot machines — to wager money on horse races that have already been run and stripped of all identifying details.
The only dissenting vote came from a Texas Public Safety Commission representative who said it didn’t appear that the Racing Commission had the authority to allow historical racing. A representative from the state comptroller’s office abstained. The seven other commissioners voted in favor of the controversial new form of betting.
Historical racing machines could arrive at Texas tracks in about six months. But before anyone can place a bet, the Racing Commission will have to give a nod to the specific technology headed to Texas, Chairman Robert Schmidt said.
The commission also will face a legal fight by opponents of historical racing. Critics say historical racing is an expansion of gambling and that only the Legislature, not the Racing Commission, has the authority to do that. But supporters of historical racing say it is a form of legal betting that doesn’t expand gambling and therefore doesn’t require legislation or a statewide vote.
State Rep. Matt Krause, R-Fort Worth, made the first legal challenge on Thursday, when he applied for a temporary restraining order in a Tarrant County court. But Krause’s effort fell short Friday morning when the judge denied the application. The decision from the bench cleared the way for the commission to vote.
Krause, who was represented by the general counsel from the conservative group Empower Texans, will get his day in court. Next month, a judge will hold a hearing in which Krause’s lawyers will argue that the commissioners didn’t have the authority to change their rules to allow historical racing.
Rob Kohler, a consultant and lobbyist for the Christian Life Commission of Texas Baptists, testified at Friday’s Racing Commission meeting that historical racing terminals might not meet the technical definition of slot machines, but they certainly will open the door to expanded gambling in Texas.
Lawyer Stephen Fenoglio, who represents charitable bingo halls, said historical racing would hurt the charities — particularly veterans groups — that benefit from bingo halls by siphoning away bingo players.
Also, Joe Webster, a representative for the Kickapoo Indian tribe, which operates a casino in Eagle Pass, testified that historical racing would harm the tribe and the businesses that support it. Specifically, the tribe’s casino would lose patrons if Retama Park near San Antonio introduced historical racing, Webster said.
On the other side of the issue, racing industry representatives, who brought the idea of historical racing to the commission, said they see it as a natural extension of already legal pari-mutuel betting and shouldn’t be equated with slot machines, even if it can look a lot like the flashy, Las Vegas-style machines.
Andrea Young, president of Sam Houston Race Park, said the commission “has thrown a lifeline to the Texas horse industry.”
“This move will help grow purses and will slow the stampede of Texas horses and horsemen out of our state,” she said.
The vote by the commissioners — most of whom were appointed by Perry — could have political implications beyond Texas.
Tom Coates, a gambling critic from Des Moines, said Perry’s possible presidential opponents might use the commission’s vote as a way to portray Perry to Christian conservative primary voters as a proponent of expanded gambling who sneakily shuffled it in through a back door.
“I think Perry might suffer some damage,” Coates said.
New Hampshire state Rep. Steve Vaillancourt, a Republican from Manchester, said libertarian-leaning GOP primary voters in New Hampshire also might see the commission’s vote on historical racing as an end-run around the legislative process.
“I think this could blow up into an extremely big issue,” Vaillancourt said. “I certainly don’t want a quasi-dictator as president.”
Vaillancourt, a supporter of Sen. Rand Paul for president and close follower of gambling measures across the country, said New Hampshire GOP voters are especially sensitive to executive overreach these days, as it has been a frequent criticism of President Barack Obama.
James Pindell, the political director at WMUR in New Hampshire, discounted the claims of Perry’s vulnerability. Historical racing in Texas won’t become an issue in the New Hampshire primary, the first primary election held in the U.S., he said. It doesn’t have the same effect as the death penalty, health care or drivers’ licenses for people in the country illegally, Pindell said.
“It would defy historical precedent for a local issue that does not have national implications to seriously impact a presidential race in New Hampshire,” he said. 


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