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Political notes from Free Press staff writers Terri Hallenbeck, Sam Hemingway and Nancy Remsen



Game on

A Monday visitor to the Statehouse shot this photo of legislators wiling away the time during lengthy floor debate. The screen on the left features a game of checkers. On the right, solitaire.

- Terri Hallenbeck

Who are these idiots? Impeachment anyone?
Yeah, it surely is a sign of the times: i.e., In previous years and, not all that long ago either really, when things slowed down Vermont legislators played cards with each other in the 'card room'; now, as the photo provides evidence of, they seem to play with themselves and even during floor debates. It is no wonder they are so distracted this year!
Have YOU ever tried to sit still and listen to the Distinguished Member from East Toonville talk on and on about something that he knows nothing about?

The floor speeches get dull at times.
Whether any given Distinguished Member seems to know anything about whatever they were talking about while speaking or debating or not or, the fact that the floor debates can prove to be dull at times, is not the point. They are not being paid to enjoy recess, unless or until they are actually at or on recess.

Do teachers allow students to play games on computers during class time when they should be doing their school work or paying attention to someone speaking instead?

Do employees mind when their employees are playing games on computers when the employee should rather be focused on working?

At best it is certainly not being a good role model, particularly when school students are often at the legislature and see legislators goofing off like this, especially when one of their esteemed colleagues are speaking on an issue of import at least to that member if not to those others listening.

What sort of message does that send?

It certainly is a sign of disrespect both for the member speaking as well as for the public and the process.

And, yes, like many members of the public who have sat in back during lengthy periods of time listening to long floors debates on many occasions, I have sat still and listened -- comporting myself in the manner as should be the case during such.

It is one thing for them to be checking e-mail and communicating with constituents, etc., here and there during a lengthy floor debate (as long as it is not during roll call votes of course).

However, if members of the legislature want to play games, they should be doing it elsewhere and also on their own time, not on ours, which is when they should be paying attention no matter how boring the debate may be.

Otherwise, why are they even bothering and, more importantly, what are they being paid to do on the behalf of those who elect them?
This is why a budget cannot get finished.
within my last comment post, the following item should have *read* (3rd paragraph):


Do *employers* mind when their employees are playing games on computers ...

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