Rep Steve Vaillancourt


Here Chickie, Chickie, Chickie

From The Grand Bibliotheque in the Latin Quarter in Montreal.

In honor of the late great Johnny Carson, the royal we feature an occasional bit on our TV show called Vaillancarnak in which, having never before seen the questions, I divine answers in a rather mystical manner.

The turban is firmly in place.

The envelopes please.

Having never before seen the question, Vaillancarnak divines the answer to be--

"Open a Chick-Fil-A in Mt. Vernon."

This is where an Ed McMahon lookalike would repeat the answer.

"Open a Chick-Fil-A in Mt. Vernon" and I would proceed to rip open the evelope.

The question, of course, is, "What is Bill O`Brien planning to do with his spare time after voters toss him out this fall?"

You say one is not nearly enough...

The envelope please...

The answer is, "In the mirror."

The question, of course is, "Where should Bill O`Brien look if he really wants to find nepotism in state government?"

If you have to explain `em, any good comedian will tell you that you shouldn`t do `em, but then I`ve never claimed to be a good comedian.

The mirror reference is in regard to O`Brien`s refusal to comment on his $45,000 a year staffer Shannon Bettencourt, wife of the disgraced Republican majority leader.  O`Brien couldn`t find nepotism in executive departments which are beyond his control, but he could find it right under his nose if he really wanted to root in out.

Check the mirror, Mr. Speaker.

I for one just can`t wait to to to that Chick-Fil-A in Mt. Vernon.  I`ll be right in line behind Ray and Kathy.

The Chick-Fil-A controversy was all over the radio as I drove to Montreal last night (it`s rather difficult locating keys like the apostrope on this French computer--after all they have to make room for the accent marks).

This one is a no brainer.  No matter what you think of the owner`s homophobic remarks, he certainly has a right to run his business.  Chicago and Boson mayors have no right trying to block him from locating hin their fair cities.  If you don`t like what he says, don`t patronize the establishmen.  I`d never heard of the pace before, and now I just can`t wait to chow down on the first Chicken burger when it opens in Mt. Vernon.

The fact that Vaillancarnak has resurfaced does NOT mean that I`m smoking any of the funny stuff up here, although dealer are quite active right at the metro stop just outside the library...hmmm...

Maybe the jokes would be better if I tried, but that would be wrong...not to mention illegal. 


House Site To Feature Attendance For All Reps

The House clerk informs me that due to a great amount of interst, attendance scores for all 400 State Reps will soon be posted on the House web site.  I had posted some of them here last week, but they were not available electronically leading some to wonder why not.

Give it a few days and you should be able to find scores for all 400 on the state site.  The number of perfect 100 scores is currently at 100.   I got a 99.  Soon, I'll be posting a composite of attendance/HRA/Liberty scores for all Manchester Reps and selected House "leaders".  In other words, there's a maximum of 300 points.  I'm not listing just the highest scoring, but the highest scorer I could find was Carol McGuire of Epsom,

This is the kind of information that will be available only here.  The attendance scores, however, will be posted on the House site.

It's a bit confusing because the attendance percentages for 2011 and 2012 are noted separately.  The Liberty Alliance scores are separate for each of the two years, but the House Republican Alliance has combined the two years into one score. 

If you know of an other ratings, including those from more liberal groups, let me know.


"And That's The Way It Was" For The Rome Games

Of course, we think of NBC when we think of the Olympic coverage today (the network continues to force feed us pre-packaged segments rather than live events).

It used to be ABC.  How can we ever forget Jim McKay and Howard Cosell broadcasting the slaughter of Israeli athletes from Munich in 1972?

But it wasn't always NBC or ABC when it came to the Olympics.

It was CBS back in 1960, a fact I learned from Douglas Brinkley's new biography of Walter Cronkite.

In fact, Walter Cronkite was the Bob Costas of that year.  He was the studio host of the 1960 games, but he never left the country to fill that role.

As related by Brinkley, Jim McKay was working for CBS at the time and was scheduled to do the winter games from Squaw Valley in 1960, but he apparently suffered a nervous breakdown, and the executives at CBS turned to Cronkite.  He did a stellar job (didn't he always?) that they kept him aboard for the Rome games although he didn't go to Rome.

This was before coverage of the space lauches, before the death of Kennedy, before the CBS Evening News went from Douglas Edwards to Cronkite and from 15 to 30 minutes (1963).

I never knew Walter Cronkite hosted the Olympics 52 years ago.

It's just one of the fun facts from Brinkley's great book.

For example, as a 12 year old, I remember Cronkite being removed from covering the Democratic convenion in 1964--yes, I was a political junkie even back then. 

Brinkley has the story, including how Cronkite just didn't like Barry Goldwater and was out of control for the Republican gathering in San Francisco earlier that summer.  (Attempting to compare Goldwater with Hitler, CBS aired the line, "He's as American as apple strudel."  Ouch.  "Sieg Heil" indeed!).

I also used to watch the black and white "What's My Line" on CBS Sunday nights at 10:30 p.m., but until I read the Brinkley book, I never realized that Cronkite and other CBS reporters covering the 1956 convention in Chicago entered and signed in in an attempt to stump Bennett Cerf, Arlene Francis, and Dorothy Kilgallen.

I know that 10 minute clip is googleable because I found it and use it on this week's Liberty Express (Manchester TV23 Thursday at 9 p.m., Sunday at 6 a.m. and noon and up now at

Too bad we couldn't replace Costas and the NBC pre-packagers in London with someone like Walter.  "That's the way it was" not from Rome, but for Rome in 1960.

  • Walter Cronkite--What's My Line - YouTube 27, 2008 - 9 min - Uploaded by crepehanger47
    Here, Walter Cronkite, Charles Collingwood, Douglas Edwards, Eric Sevareid, and Robert Trout were the ...
  • Wednesday

    R.I.P., Gore, R.I.P.


    “Don’t stick your tongue out at me, Bill.”

                That’s one of the lines I remember most from my childhood.

                In fact, my best friend and I used it throughout our senior year in high school, that’s how much we appreciated the line and the man who uttered it.

                As I recall, it was used during one of the debates on ABC-TV during the 1968 conventions.

                The Bill was a reference to William F. Buckley Jr., and the man who was involved in a no holds barred verbal slugfest with Bill was, of course, Gore Vidal who passed on today at age 86.  (In this day and age, I trust the Vidal-Buckley clip is googleable).

                I was a big fan of Gore Vidal, not as much for his books as for his verbal prowess throughout the years.

                Don’t get me wrong, I managed to get through Burr (on my third try), and I admired Vidal as a writer, but I found him very difficult.  I remember trying to get through Lincoln as bedtime reading one winter, but it was simply too depressing.

                I will miss Gore Vidal the same way I miss Walter Cronkite; he was around so often during the formative years of my life I use him as a landmark of my coming of age.  What was I doing when Gore or Walter did this or that?

                Howie Carr, on WRKO, shared a couple of Vidal’s other great quotes with his listeners this afternoon.

                Upon the passing of heavy drinking and drugging Truman Capote at age 59, Vidal was more succinct than “Don’t stick your tongue out at me Bill.”  He called Truman’s death a great career move.

                Speaking of memories from earlier in life, remember those interminable Capote interviews with Dick Cavett.

                Vidal’s other quote from Gore was typical, the kind of straightforward assessment that made Vidal both a loved and hated figure.  It’s not enough to succeed, he once said; others have to fail.

                How true, how true!

                RIP, Gore, RIP.

                Maybe I should try—once again—to get through some of that historical fiction which has eluded me at every try.

                The last time I tried that was when I made a list of books any intelligent person should read before he or she dies.  I put A Tale of Two Cities at the top of the list and couldn’t get through the first chapter.  Indeed, “It was the best of times; it was the worst of books.”

                Like Dickens, Vidal as a writer was never my cup of tea, but he was a great man.

                (On the other hand, I’ve read everything from Kurt Vonnegut and John Irving three times and anxiously await Vonnegut’s newest—it must be just about time).

                I continue to read and truly enjoy Douglas Brinkley’s great biography of Cronkite (see other posting).


    Thumbs Way Down To The Brits, Mr. Bean, Mary, And Sir Paul

    We know, we know; London is the first city to host a third Olympic games.  That in itself, at a time when many of the world's greatest cities have never hosted a single Olympics, is an outrage, but the opening ceremonies, no matter how many times NBC hacks told us how spectacular they were, were spectacularly DISAPPOINTING.
    The only thing great about the opening was the march of athletes, smiles on their faces in anticipation of great moments to come, but then NBC brought us even that on a tape-delayed basis and didn't hesitate to skip through certain counties as they worked in more and more commercials.  Hey, geniuses at NBC, if are on tape delay anyway, why cut out certain "lesser" counties?  How sickening was it to here Bob Costas mention time and again how the athletes were marching faster than planned?
    Very sickening.  That was your problem, Bobby Boy, and we didn't need to keep hearing it.
    After the great spectacle in Beijing four years ago, I for one was expecting a letdown in the London opening, but I could never imagine just how hokey or terrible it would be.
    Mr. Bean is one of my least favorite British comedians (I actually remember walking out of one of his movies once in Montreal), yet he was given a precious ten minutes of foolishness during the opening.
    I admit to enjoying Mary Poppins (a little) 30 or 40 years ago, but is that the best the Brits could serve up to a world awaiting a great opening?
    Whoops....we did get some silliness out of Harry Potter.
    Then there was that business about the real Queen and the phony James Bond.  NBC and even organizers are still wetting themselves over how clever that gambit was.
    Not at all clever.
    The thousands who were "employed" to take down the Hobbit set and get ready for industrial England could just as well have stayed home as far as I was concerned.
    This was an Olympic opening, not some move producer's fantasy of what he could do if given enough time and money.
    It was a spectacular failure and although i admit to being tone deaf (that's what my seventh grade music teacher convinced me) I certainly cannot be the only one who thought SIR Paul was off key when he sung and shouted Hey Jude at us.
    Hey Brits, you'll never get back to days of controlling the world with your imperial bullying.  An island ruling a continent indeed!
    Hey Brits, London should never have awarded given the Olympics a third time.
    Let's see now..
    New York?  Never.
    Boston?  Never.
    But lest I sound provincial...Toronto?  Never (Montreal and Berlin, my favorite cities, had the games once each and that was enough.  Berlin tried to get the 2000 games, but most Berliners were opposed!)
    Rio is a great choice for 2016.
    Istanbul would be fantastic for 2020.
    Let's never return to a city which has had the games once or twice (no, not even Paris; Athens was an acceptable exception) as long as there are scores of cities waiting for a first try.
    And please no more Mr. Bean, Mary popping in, Harry's enemies or graying female lookalike Sirs singing off key.
    Now let's get down to the serious stuff like porno beach volleyball (not to mention little girls gymnastics).  Hey, has anyone caught the controversy over how the women competing are so cold in London that they have to triple the number of body inches they are clothed in.
    C'est dommage.  C'est tres, tres dommage.
    I'll take water polo for a thousand please, Alex, with a touch, just a touch, of phony white water rafting thrown in for good measure.