Friday, May 04, 2007

The Unbelievable 30%

Actually, all humor aside, I highly recommend this piece by Rozius (of Rozius Unbound fame and infamy) available at All Things Democrat. It asks the very serious question: how the hell is it that there remains about a 30% core of Americans in just about every damned poll who still support George W. Bush through every horrific thing he has done (and failed to do) as president-in-cheat.

This 30% figure has stayed almost a constant for the last two-plus years when so very much more awful has happened not just on Bush's watch but directly because of what he does. (And brownie points to anyone who knows what American "tragedy" is referenced in the book/movie, "Invasion of the Body Snatchers.")

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Radio You?

I'm passing this along because I am a major proponent of this (and frankly, I'm considering doing this on my own, both over the airwaves along with simultaneous Webcast - and yes, I promise NOT to sing).

Have you ever dreamed of running your own radiostation? Here's the chance to make it happen.

The Federal Communications Commission is about to open up the publicairwaves to local communities.

The federal agency will open a brief window inOctober for issuing full-power, noncommercial radio licenses.Now may be the last chance for you or your community group to secure alicense.

But you have to be ready, organized and committed:Visit to Learn More

Free Press is working in partnership with Prometheus RadioProject, the Future of Music Coalition, and the Radio for PeopleCoalition to help communities across the country set up their own local,noncommercial stations.

Here's what you need to do to secure a spot on the dial:

Visit our Web site at

Enter your ZIP code in the "frequency finder" to see if space on the dialis available near you Answer the GetRadio questionnaire to see if you'reeligible to apply.

This opportunity may be our last chance to reclaim a segment ofthe radio spectrum for the public. Over the past several decades, localradio stations have been bought up and consolidated under a handful of largecommercial conglomerates. The result has been lousy, cookie-cutter formatsthat sound the same anywhere you go.

Be There, Friday to Learn About Voting Fraud and How To Counteract It

We know how much you love Ben Cohen (of Ben & Jerry's), our founder and creative visionary. Well, Ben and Greg Palast, a hero of the verified voter movement, will be together in Montpelier, VT this Friday to talk about voting integrity and the work we have left to do to secure our elections. And you are invited.

When: Friday, May 4th at 7:00pm

Where: Unitarian Church of Montpelier, 130 Main Street (at School Street) (map)

Greg was a pioneer journalist who exposed the dirty secrets of electronic voting, and Ben was the creative spark behind TrueMajority's famous "Computer Ate My Vote" campaign -- which helped eliminate paperless voting in states across the country. See them together at Friday's event which is hosted by Vermont voting activist and WGDR's Jim Hogue.

Friday, April 06, 2007

April 15-22: Join The Boycott to Impeach For Peace and Justice

More information here on the action against the Bush Administration.

Bigger Than You Think: The Story Behind The Pet Food Recall

The San Francisco Chronicle offers you the skinny on what has killed thousands of beloved cats and dogs thanks to tainted pet food.

Sweet Irony: Newt Gingrich Helps Bankrupt UVM's College Republicans

Ah, sweet mystery of life... nothing spells greed like GOPeons named Newt Gingrich. From the Burlington Free Press:
There was a certain irony in the recent demise of the College Republicans at the University of Vermont. What ultimately proved to be the club's undoing was an appearance on campus by a national Republican heavyweight: Newt Gingrich.

When the club invited Gingrich to speak at Ira Allen Chapel on Oct. 6, 2005, he settled for an undisclosed honorarium that was apparently higher than the College Republicans could afford. They took out a $7,000 loan from the Student Government Association to help pay the bill, but more than a year later, when the loan still wasn't fully repaid after several ultimatums, the Student Government Association decertified them. In other words, the College Republicans were removed last month from UVM's long list of "recognized," or subsidized, student clubs.

That left the College Democrats and the International Socialist Organization as two of the more prominent political organizations for students, and it left political conservatives with virtually no formal organizational outlet on campus.

This raises the question of how diverse the political climate is at UVM, a school where liberal or left-of-center views are widely seen as predominant.

Friday, March 16, 2007

From Siberia To Mud Season To Blizzard Yet Again?

For the first time in three months, temperatures here in Vermont hit above freezing which was great cause for celebration. However, we hit aboving freezing here in South Woodbury with well more than two feet of snow still in place from the St. Valentine's Day record blizzard and a big snowstore after that, which meant that Mud Season (one of the two additional seasons Vermont boasts besides the standard four; Black Fly Season is the other one) commenced.

Now, after days of trying to move along dirt roads where the ruts are two-feet or more deep, in a ride that was FAR more harrowing than anything any amusement park can or would dream up, we're back to just over single digit temps, the mud has frozen and now, we're told to expect a possible blizzard starting before midnight.

Oh goodie. More snow. More stuff to melt next time temps hit the seasonal average of a day-time high of 38 degrees Fahrenheit. So we can either stop freezing our asses off but be forced to stay home at the risk a bad accident OR have frozen toes while you're able to get out of the driveway in the car.

Oh joy. Oh bliss. Oh $@*$!

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Civil Rights Under Siege In Israel

This letter from Mark Hage of Montpelier in the Time Argus, I believe, states some excellent points:
Thank you for your editorial ("Israel's Dilemma," Feb. 23) on the controversy in Israel over a manifesto that calls for the country, officially a "Jewish state," to become a bi-national state with full equality for all citizens.

Since the mid-90s, Palestinian citizens have intensified their political and legal efforts to achieve the same rights as Jews. There are more than one million Palestinian citizens in Israel, and they live under apartheid-like conditions. Hundreds of rural communities have been established since Israel was created in 1948, but are closed to Arab citizens. For 60 years, vast tracts of private Arab landholdings have been confiscated by government authorities to benefit Jews exclusively.

Most Palestinian children, prior to the university level, attend segregated, inferior and under-funded schools. Arab towns, the poorest in the country, are short-changed annually when it comes to municipal budgets and funding infrastructure projects.

Palestinians are no strangers to police brutality, and Israeli cops, like Jewish soldiers, are prone to being trigger-happy when their weapons are aimed at Arabs. In October, 2000, police shot dead 12 unarmed Palestinians and a man from Gaza during protests against Israel's repressive measures in the occupied territories. No Jewish officers were indicted for this atrocity.

Job discrimination against Palestinian workers is widespread, and substantial sectors of the Israeli economy are off-limits to them. The civil service is the country' largest employer, but in 2004, just 5 percent of its 55,000 workers were Palestinian. Islamic and Christian holy sites get a pittance of their funding from public coffers, and according to English journalist Jonathan Cook, "almost all of the Muslim and Christian holy places that existed in Israel before 1948 have been destroyed, fenced off, locked up or converted for the use of Jewish communities."

Israel is confronting a civil rights movement within its 1967 borders, and a national liberation struggle in the West Bank and Gaza. Both challenge the fundamental tenets and structures of Zionism, which elevate Jewish blood, privilege and religion over democracy, equality and the rule of law.

Mark Hage


Double Tragedy in Cabot

Those who watch Vermont news no doubt heard of the death by hit-and-run driver of a 27-year-old Cabot man, Jason Bear, Sunday evening, left to die in a ditch along the side of Route 215. The tragedy was compounded when it was discovered that the person who hit this by all accounts sensitive young father of a five-year-old son was none other than his stepfather, a man my age, also of Cabot, William Luther.

I realized I was probably in the same store when the dead young man was looking at DVDs and was traveling along that same road myself that evening. I wish I had some sense of what had happened so I could have gotten this young man assistance since he may have lived for some time after he was hit.

Many locals have criticized Luther for the action - not just leaving the scene of an accident and not trying to get his stepson help - but also for trying to cover up his crime by damaging his Jeep by first running it into a cement buttress and then into trees before he arranged to have the vehicle towed some distance away. But I suspect this was just a very sad case of someone panicking and then, as a result, doing absolutely everything wrong. I doubt those who make such mistakes ever believe ahead of time they would be capable of going to such lengths but, in truth, tragically, it happens all the time.

The only part of this that angers me is that Luther, like so many others, used, "I was drinking" as an excuse for what happened. But drinking and driving is a conscious act, so when you drink alcohol (or take drugs) and then get behind the wheel, "I was drunk" simply is no excuse. It enrages me everytime I hear someone use drugs or alcohol as a defense against an act they commit.

Otherwise, however, this case just saddens me: one life destroyed, another well on its way to such, and the rest of the family and close friends left to grieve for what might have been if Luther had not been drinking or out driving, or if he'd sought help for Bear immediately.

Unemployment In The State Is Rising

Story here, but the statistics don't show another face to the issue which should make these stats look far worse: the number of Vermonters under-employed and those who work 2-3 jobs, often without any benefits, and still can't make ends meet since Vermont is NOT a cheap place to live.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Vermont Confidential

Say hello to one of my new Green Mountain discoveries, Vermont Confidential (the blog). Looks good!

Friday, February 16, 2007

Vermont Made History Twice This Week, Actually

[Ed. note: Cross-posted at Cut to the Chase.]

Not just as the first to pass a resolution against Bush's handling of the Iraq war through both sides of the legislature (Iowa followed soon thereafter), but because our St. Viagra's day blizzard was the second worst in recorded weather history (and man, walking through chest-high corridors of snow with well over my head drifts is REALLY increasing the sense of cabin fever).

I like the first record; the second I could have done without (or done, but not with continuing single-digit-at-best temps).


Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Say Hello to...

Vermont Secession, the blog, which is already off to a rousing start!

Vermont Votes On Its Own Iraq War Resolution

From Democracy Now today (update: the resolution passed in both the state house and senate):
In Vermont state legislators are voting on its own Iraq war resolution. Vermont could become the first state in the nation to pass a legislative resolution calling for the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq. 139 People Died in Iraq on Monday In news from Iraq, at least 139 people were reported killed across the country on Monday. Earlier today 16 people died in a suicide bomb attack in central Baghdad. The blast occurred outside a food warehouse used to distribute subsidized food rations.

We, Who Are About to Fry, Pollute You

Right after midnight, I'm going to bite the proverbial bullet, click the button, and transform this blog, along with Cut to the Chase, to the new Blogger platform.

I'd love to lie convincingly enough to myself - and you - to think everything will be fine post-conversion but I've worked with software too long to believe this is even remotely possible. ::cough::

So, cross your fingers. S'ok?

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

A Note From A Cousin of Casey Casavant, Iraq Vet and Blackwater Operative

Since I had my say - in which I hoped to reflect some admiration for the dead former Iraq soldier, Casey Casavant, and my feeling that he was not just "another" Blackwater "soldier of fortune" op, but perhaps failing badly in doing so - I feel it's only right to post, where it will be seen, a comment that arrived from Tamera Pariseau, who identifies herself as the E Montpelier VT native's cousin:
Casey wasn't "forced" to do anything. Casey was doing something he believed in, whether we agree with it or not, and for that I am extremely proud of him.

Casey's family is and always has been very proud of him and his service to his country. Please don't tarnish that by making assumptions about things you know nothing about.

I've never been a believer in this war, but I'm damn proud of my cousin.
You should be proud of your cousin.

As I wrote, I am no fan of Blackwater or of the Bush agenda in Iraq; that is quite separate, however, from those called upon to serve in the U.S. military. Your cousin did a most difficult job that was asked of him, not once but in three separate tours for the U.S. military.

My comment about "forced" through three tours was taken straight from the media, which has (often and quite reprehensibly) misreported; I should have made that clear.

My sincere sympathies to you and your family. I've lost loved ones in war as well as lost those I knew because they came back forever, irrecoverably changed by what they experienced. It's most terrible, even in the best supported wars.

I am encouraged, however, by the number of Google and other searches I see on Casey's name. Too often, I'm afraid, the dead in Iraq - civilian and military - go anonymous for all but their family and friends.

Montpelier's Thom Hartmann Takes Helm From Al Franken At Air America

Looks like the great - and quite nearly, the late - experiment in anything other than hard right radio, Air America, has been saved. And as Air America's "flagship" personality, Al Franken, steps down to explore a run for U.S. Senate for Minnesota (kick Norm Coleman's ass, Al), Montpelier, VT's own Thom Hartmann will step in to replace Al in the prime time slot.

You can read the entire story, including how it was former NYC consumer advocate Mark Green's brother, Stephen, who is buying Air America to save it from dissolution, on the Huffington Post.

Thom is already on the radio, including on Air America, and the author of several books, including "Screwed, The Undeclared War Against The Middle Class" (a must-read, IMHO).

Give 'em hell, Thom!

Saturday, January 27, 2007

One of the Blackwater Employees Killed in Blackhawk Helicopter Crash in Iraq a Neighbor

[Ed. note: Cross posted at our national sister blog, Cut to the Chase.]

From the Times Argus (E Montpelier is my neck of the proverbial frozen woods):
A Vermonter who graduated from U-32 High School was one of the five Blackwater security employees that died Tuesday morning when their helicopter went down in Baghdad.

Casey Casavant, 36, played soccer, hockey and lacrosse and was a cowboy at heart, according to his sister, Kristen.

"He was just fun-loving, smart-alecky; one of the funniest people you'd ever meet," she said in a telephone interview from Montana, where her family moved when Casey was 6 years old.

The second-to-last child of four, Casavant moved back to East Montpelier with his brother to live with his father when he was in the seventh grade, Kristen said.

Casavant graduated from U-32 in 1989 and went on to Norwich University for approximately a year before joining the Air National Guard, then the Air Force, and the Army, eventually becoming an Army Ranger.

"That was his true passion," Kristen said. "He just believed in what he was doing; he believed in protecting his family and country."l
Now, I am NOT pleased with Blackwater; not its leaders, administration, or its sweetheart deal as privitized military black ops/security for the Pentagon. They're doing some terrible things in Iraq.

But this fellow was forced through three tours of duty in Iraq in the Army and only then decided to go to private contractor status under Blackwater (I'm told it's easier to quit the military if you agree to join up with one of the "Christian" mercenary praetorian guard types like Blackwater).

Thus, I view Casavant differently than I would the usual Soldier of Fortune wannabe who joins up for the big money to go play black ops in Iraq.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Testing 1-2-48

Why All The Applause And Cheers For the President at The SoTU Address?


Give me one good reason. Telling us he will balance the budget, when you know full well this will come through more cuts to basic services (public education, health care, services for our returning troops) yet with bigger tax cuts to the wealthiest citizens, is more smoke and mirrors.

When do we stop this deception? Stop even allowing this man (and again, with him, I use the term quite loosely) to pretend he has answers when his answer to everything is:
  1. more war
  2. more tax cuts to the wealthy
  3. privitize everything


I'm sure there is a good ::cough:: reason why Blogger has not seen fit to post a single (damned) message in more than an hour. After all, there is always an excuse, although they rarely bother to give one anymore.

What Is The State Of The Union?

I noticed that CNN and other outlets were suggesting people fire up their camcorders and record their own State of the Union (SoTU) address. I'll spare you the video and audio - my hair is having a bad year so far - but here's my take on the state of America:
    America is disheartened, disillusioned, depressed, and despairing.

    Under Mr. Bush's "watch" (and, except for all the spying he does on our mail (snail and electronic), our phone calls, our blogs and other Web sites, et al), we've watched our country driven to bankruptcy on existential-only threats while billionaire contractors made huge new profits in Iraq and Afghanistan and here at home with homeland (in)security no-bid contracts only to show no real performance.

    The president, while waging war on the working and middle class (sadly, much of the working class no longer can afford to deceive itself into believing they are middle class anymore), has talked non-stop about bigger and bigger tax cuts for billionaires and wildly-wealthy-already corporations like energy companies that have already secured the biggest taxpayer-to-corporation welfare checks in history.

    But Americans have some responsibility for our "state" as well. We have not usually participated in our so-called representative democracy with many of us not even bothering to show up to vote; of those who do, many don't bother to call or write their reps to voice their approval or disapproval over what they do.

    We need to take our country back and become far more vocal as well as knowledgeable about what is going on. If we don't want America to be an empire, then WE must step up to the plate and make our government realize we need to focus Washington's attention on education and health care and domestic policy and STOP the madness with trying to reshape the rest of the world in the image of corrupt Capitol Hill.

    We have seen our elected representatives all too often fall down on the job. So ultimate responsibility must fall to us. If we can't trust them to do their jobs, then we must not fail to do ours as citizens, as voters, and as global citizens as well.

Will Vice President Dick Cheney Be Forced To Resign Now?

[Ed. note: Cross-posted to our national blog, Cut to the Chase.]

From some of the word out of the opening day of testimony at the Scooter Libby/PlameGate/CIA Spy Leak trial comes some of the first serious questioning of whether Cheney's (bad?) actions will result in his resignation.

From Crooks & Liars (and see my previous posts on this topic here and here today):
Considering that Patrick Fitzgerald has clearly outlined a trail that leads right to the office of the Vice President, the obvious question hangs in the air: If this whole CIA leak case was authored by Cheney, does he need to resign?

Digby: Holy Moly

Norah O'Donnell is asking Andy Card and Leon Panetta if the president is going to have to ask Dick Cheney to resign as a result of what's being alleged at the Libby Trial. (They both punted.)

If that's the beltway chatter, look for the Republican noise machine to go into high gear.

Beware of Mary Matalin's upcoming appearances, I'm just sayin'…

The timing of this really couldn't be worse. On the day of Bush's State of the Union speech, you have a former senior official pointing fingers at your closest advisor, a Republican prosecutor pointing fingers at your Vice President, and polls that show that two-thirds of Americans have given up not only on his plan for Iraq but on his presidency.

Ironically, in the same breath, Republican pollster Frank Lutz told Democrats they had to play nice now that they are in the majority in Washington (Luntz sang a much different tune when Republicans were in power!):
GOP pollster Frank Luntz has been advising conservative Republicans for years on how to exploit language to smear Dems and win elections. It was Luntz, for example, who teamed up with Newt Gingrich to shape the Contract with America in 1994.

And now, Luntz has taken to the pages of the Huffington Post to offer the left some advice: don’t act like his Republican clients.

I am not in the habit of offering partisan linguistic advice to Democrats. But in the genuine spirit of bipartisanship - seriously - I thought this is the perfect time to convey a simple point to the still-euphoric faces of Democrat activists: Don’t twist the knife. […]

Democracy is at its best when its practioners use language to unite and explain rather than divide and attack…. We need an intelligent debate, not a sound-bite contest.

Given Luntz's record, this just doesn't make any sense.

I think playing nice and decent should be the norm, regardless of who is in power. But all we got was nastiness and a war of sound bites, with Republicans telling Dems they might as well go home and twiddle their thumbs because they were in charge for years.

Goodbye, Alps! Hello, Global Warming!

The Global Warming/climate change bad news - just like the egregious effects we keep having upon it - just keep coming: scientists now estimate the glaciers of the Alps will be gone, as in melted, by 2050, or a few years after the world may lose most of its fish used in human diet.

Sorry, Austria: the president just really needs to ride almost alone in that gas hog of a limousine even just to get a cheeseburger!

Vermont Iraq War Veterans Decry President's Surge Plans for Iraq

In case you missed it, here's the Times-Argus' coverage of Saturday's protests against President Bush's Iraq escalation plans which included a few Iraq War veterans who say this is a very, very bad idea.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Sunday's New York Times Profiles Bernie Sanders, Vermont's "Socialist" Senator

If you missed The Times' profile of Vermont's only Independent (nee Socialist) senator, catch it here. I offer you but a snip:
When Bernie Sanders visits a high-school class, as he does regularly, students don’t hear a speech, a focus-grouped polemic, a campaign pitch or, heaven forbid, practiced one-liners. Nor, in all likelihood, do they hear Sanders tell stories about his family, childhood or some hardship he has endured. He makes no great effort to “connect” emotionally in the manner that politicians strive for these days, and he probably doesn’t “feel your pain” either, or at least make a point of saying so. It’s not that Sanders is against connecting, or feeling your pain, but the process seems needlessly passive and unproductive, and he prefers a more dynamic level of engagement.

“I urge you all to argue with your teachers, argue with your parents,” Sanders told a group of about 60 students at South Burlington High School — generally liberal, affluent and collegebound — one afternoon in mid-December.

[...]Next topic: “How many of you think it was a good idea to give the president the authority to go to war in Iraq?”

No hands.

“C’mon, anyone?”

He paused, paced, hungry for dissent, a morsel before lunch. Sanders says he thinks Iraq was a terrible idea, too, but he seemed to crave a jolt to the anesthetizing hum of consensus in the room.

“Iraq is a huge and very complicated issue,” Sanders said, finally. (“Huge” is Sanders favorite word, which he pronounces “yooge,” befitting a thick Brooklyn accent unsmoothed-over by 38 years in Vermont.) He mentioned that Vermont has had more casualties in Iraq per capita than any other state in the union, including one from South Burlington High School.

“O.K., last call for an Iraq supporter,” he said. Going once, going twice.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Vermont to O'Reilly: Go [Bleep] Yourself

Provided by Five Before Chaos (thank you!), and a perfect followup to the previous post on Bill O'Reilly's latest nut-case crusade against the state of Vermont (like we would want O'Reilly's brand of "justice").

Bill O'Reilly's New Campaign Against Vermont

I posted this at Cut to the Chase last night, but it definitely belongs here, too:
I dunno: I would be far more worried about Vermont if we drew Fox's Bill O'Reilly's praise rather than his off-the-wall condemnation. And remember: last time he led a boycott against Vermont, our tourism dollars INcreased. And if you're wondering about Bill's "championing" for exploited children, read my earlier post where he makes one teen sound like the kid "liked" being kidnapped and held.

From the (Barre/Montpelier) Times-Argus:
    Another year, another national condemnation of Vermont by right-wing cable talk show host Bill O'Reilly.This time, the Fox News commentator is calling a Bennington County judge and prosecutor "villains" for their parts in sentencing a sex offender last week.

    Unlike the furor that was unleashed almost exactly a year ago when now-retired Chittenden Superior Court Judge Edward Cashman initially sentenced a sex offender to a minimum of two months in jail for repeatedly assaulting a child, the state's top elected officials are defending the Bennington County plea deal.

    "Public safety and protecting our communities from sexual offenders has been and will continue to be a top priority for this administration," said Jason Gibbs, Gov. James Douglas' press secretary. "But the governor will not comment on the woefully uninformed opinion of one talking head."

    O'Reilly – who featured the Cashman decision last year on several shows in which he called for a national boycott of Vermont – again took aim at justice in the Green Mountain State. On his Monday "O'Reilly Factor" – the top-rated "news" show on cable television – he said that the Bennington County case was "another atrocity in Vermont. Is there any excuse for this? How could this happen in America?"

    The prosecutor in the case, Deputy Bennington County State's Attorney Andrew Costello, stood behind his decision to offer a plea deal that allows Andrew C. James to avoid jail time after admitting to sexually assaulting a 4-year-old boy. His office said Tuesday that given the constraints in the case – there were no other witnesses and no physical evidence linking James to the crime – obtaining a conviction that puts James under a lifetime of supervision was "the best we could do."

    He rebuffed O'Reilly's criticism – and that of former Rutland County state Sen. Wendy Wilton, who, as during the Cashman controversy, appeared on the talk show Monday night – as ill-informed.

    "I think what he did here was jump to conclusions about the case and its resolution without really knowing anything about it at all," Costello said. "For Bill O'Reilly, this wasn't about the facts, it was jumping to conclusions. It's what he does.""Look, I think initially, when you just look at what this man was charged with and look at the resolution of the case, I understand how this can seem outrageous," he continued. "But when you know the facts, and once that's explained to people, they understand. To take this kind of criticism from someone who doesn't even know what he's criticizing is disheartening."

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Say Hello to

Rip and Read.

Military Recruitment: Let's Make Their Day, Give Them More Than They Ever Dreamed

I posted this yesterday at Cut to the Chase, but it's almost more appropriate for here.

Was just listening to the tail end of Jim Hogue's "House on Pooh Corner" program on WGDR [the Friday, January 19th show] (streaming here; community radio for Central Vermont broadcast out of the Eliot Pratt Center of Goddard College in beautiful downtown Plainfield - if you spit, you'll miss it).

While I didn't hear who had put forth the idea, whether Hogue (who often dresses up at Ethan Allen for the Second Vermont Republic - our secession from the States' movement) himself or someone else, I sorta like it.

To whit:Military recruiters are scrambling to try to get every warm body they can get to serve in Bush's "surge". So let's give them more than they ever dreamed.Although Hogue's piece recommended every man 58 or over show up at recruiting offices to volunteer their services - and keep the recruiters from talking to the hungry 18-year-olds also waiting - I say, let's not be sexist here.

Any women care to join me at the local recruiting office (which I think is in not-quite-so-beautiful-downtown Barre - the only place around here with actual chain stores)? The more the merrier. I'll even drive!

The older, the more infirm, the better! If you're 75 or older, the coffee's on me!

Don't speak English? No problemo in Bush's surge!And yes, I am quite serious. I'm available next Thursday. What about you? Can't make it then? That's fine. I think maybe I'll be making this a regular excursion! Join me when you can.

Oh, and we don't have to limit our offer to the Army. I'm thinking the Navy, the Marines, and maybe the Air Force. Let's give 'em all a shot!

Damn. What should I wear? It's too cold for my purple silk and the heels. I've never enlisted before, unless you count the Young Republicans (and I wouldn't, if I were you).

Bill O'Reilly, About To Speak Before Group Supporting Missing and Exploited Children, Suggested Found Missouri Teen Was Having Too Much Fun

[Ed. note: Cross-posted on our national blog, Cut to the Chase.]

This story disgusted me even more than all the other disgusting, pathetic things Fox News boast host, Bill O'Reilly, spews. As usual, he's denied he said this, pretending that the videotape recording was (of course) expertly manipulated by everyone who hates him (like France). Posted on Mirror on America (also read the Media Matters' coverage of it here):
Conservative Spokesman Bill O’Reilly Attacks Missouri Kidnapping victim Shawn Hornbeck. Just when you think this scumbag could not go any lower, he outdoes himself.

Bill O’Reilly stated on his program that Shawn’s “experience in captivity was fun"….and that "he liked it”. According to O’Reilly, Shawn Hornbeck enjoyed being victimized by his captor…. A man who will go down in history as one of the worst child predators of all time.

O'Reilly was asserting that since Hornbeck did not try to get away.... he must have liked it.

I have seen a lot of outrageous things from Bill O’Reilly, but this just goes over the top. This goes way beyond anything that I have seen from this guy before.

Fox News should get rid of this creep or, at the very least, they should make him apologize. However, Fox News is unlikely to take this step because O’Reilly generates high ratings for the company…. and Fox has no moral character whatsoever. By keeping O’Reilly on the network after this, Fox will show a lot of people what they are all about (those who didn’t already know).

This guy is the face of the Republican Party.

[...] It’s clear that he does not know what the hell he is talking about. His profound ignorance is clear in his statements.

[...] I could not let this go without challenging it, and neither should anyone else.

Watch The Video of Bill O'Reilly Making His Sick Comments

Check These Out

Some interesting bits posted by Brattlerouser at Green Mountain Daily in his weekend link dump:

NEW BALLOT QUESTION CALL FOR NEW INVESTIGATIONS INTO 9-11 ATTACKS: Looks like the city of Burlington will get a chance to vote on a non-bindling resolution calling for new investigations into the attacks on Sepetember 11th, 2001. The Burlington Free Press has the story.

NEAT NEW SITE: For those of you interested in Entergy Vermont Yankee or other issues related to nuclear power in Vermont and elswhere check out Green Nuclear Butterfly. The sister site to Entergy Watch, Green Nuclear Butterfly is an excellent site for news and "quirky" views, anti-nuke sources & organizations, pro-nuclear sources & organizations, Chernobyl, and green suppliers. The guy who runs it is Royce Penstinger and he's not afraid to take on Greenpeace or their views on nuclear power. He invites you to join in the struggle.

A MOST UNLIKELY SUPPORTER FOR IMPEACHMENT: Ever heard of Bruce Fein? Fein served as an associate deputy attorney general in the Reagan Administration, where he helped formulate conservative arguments on key legal issues that are still current today. He had stints as a resident scholar at the Heritage Foundation and an adjunct scholar at the American Enterprise Institute. He also writes a regular column for The Washington Times newspaper, one of the country's leading conservative dailies. But his bona fides don't end there. He has trashed the Roe v. Wade abortion decision and is on record saying:

    "President George W. Bush should pack the United States Supreme Court with philosophical clones of Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas and defeated nominee Robert H. Bork," Washington Lawyer, February 2005
He voted for Bush in 2000 and 2004, and he applauded the nomination of John Roberts as Bush's "finest hour." He EVEN drafted the arguments for the impeachment of William Jefferson Clinton in 1999.

So why the hell would he support investigations into impeachment for Geroge W. Bush? Find out more in this interesting article from The Progressive magazine. A most excellent interview in my book!

Vermont Impeach

Say hello to Vermont Impeach.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

It's Baa-aaa-aaack! Vermont Towns Urged Once Again To Consider Bush Impeachment

[Update: Check out Vermont Impeach, a resource of the Vermont Impeachment Movement.]

From yesterday's (Barre/Montpelier) Times Argus; FYI, The Nation named DeWalt one of the nation's top progressives of 2006:
Dan DeWalt is hoping what he started in his small town a year ago will spread around Vermont this Town Meeting Day and eventually to the halls of Congress.

DeWalt a member of his town Select Board, got his meeting to vote last year to support a call for Congress to impeach President Bush. He said this year, people in 50 Vermont towns are circulating petitions to get the question before voters at Town Meeting, the first Tuesday in March.

"We will be barnstorming the state on this," DeWalt said. "In towns where we do not get it on the warning" — the official agenda for the meeting — "we will try to have it taken up under other business."

DeWalt, a musician and woodworker, saw his effort in Newfane matched by four other towns passing similar resolutions. The vote drew both praise and derision nationwide.

"What we did last year became a clarion call for towns all across the country where people were despairing of the war and the state of the Constitution," DeWalt said. "Now, there's a real possibility Vermont can get the nation's attention focused on impeachment."

DeWalt said the effort is getting support — and expected visits to Vermont — from Cindy Sheehan, the anti-war activist and mother of a soldier who died in Iraq, and former Rep. Elizabeth Holzman, D-N.Y. Holzman was on the House Judiciary Committee that impeached President Nixon and is the author of "The Impeachment of George W. Bush."

Anne McClaughry, interim chairwoman of the Vermont Republican Party, said Bush had done nothing to warrant impeachment.

"These people hate Bush and want to bash him," she said of the impeachment effort's backers. "Hate and contempt are bogus grounds for impeachment, and I trust Vermonters will think it through and ultimately decide for themselves that voting 'yes' on a resolution to impeach the president is unworthy."
Apparently Ms. McClaughry finds perfectly acceptable this administration's blatant disregard for the U.S. Constitution, the well-being of the nation, reckless disregard for "obscure little documents" like the Magna Carta and U.S. law, as well as:

  • lying us into wars in both Afghanistan and Iraq
  • deliberately sending troops into multiple arenas without a clear mission, without sufficient equipment or protection, and without any exit strategy
  • working tirelessly (about the only time Bush has, too) to try to block any real investigation into the terror attacks on 9-11-2001 or implementation of plans to try to prevent the massive death and destruction caused from occurring again
  • responding to an unhappy country's electorate by threatening an expansion of Bush's endless wars into Iran and Syria

And this is just barely scratching the surface of what the Bushies have "accomplished" in their "success that has not yet occurred."

One wonders what psychotropic medications Ms. McClaughry is taking or should be prescribed.

Evangelicals Finally "Get Religion" On Global Warming

Leading scientists and evangelical Christian leaders have agreed to put aside passionate differences over the origin of life and work together to curb alarming levels of global warming that threaten the survival of life on Earth.

I find this encouraging. I never quite understood the very vocal and stubborn opposition to considering global warming a real issue by evangelicals since - it only makes sense - it's only smart and right to take better control of the gift of our planet. In fact, I was aghast when I first read a few years ago that a large group of Texas evangelical church communities had come out with a statement that none of them had to "worry" about global climate change because they expected The Rapture to occur before there was enough change in the environment to seriously affect them. That, to me, is a terribly unwise gamble.

I also do not "see" that being a born-again Christian must mean, by definition, a complete and deliberate ignorance of science.

[More: At least 50 New Hampshire towns put climate change initiative(s) on the ballot this spring. Also, there is this from the Times Argus: Sanders, Leahy re-introduce Jeffords global warming bill — Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders is planning to introduce a bill that would cut greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent by the middle of the century. ]

David Van Deusen: "Crisis And Hope On Vermont's Farms"

Vermont Commons offers a transcript of an interview by David Van Deusen conducted with Peter Sterling, Vermont dairy farm organizer.

I've got a big snip here, but visit Vermont Commons for the entire piece which is definitely worth reading, whether you're a farmer, a dairy consumer, someone passionate about the state you call home, or a mix of two or three of these:
In 2002 a group of Vermont dairy farmers approached organizers Anthony Polina and Peter Sterling and asked them to help form a democratic organization that could effectively fight for farmers’ rights. What grew out of this is the Dairy Farmers of Vermont (DFV). Today this grassroots organization consists of over 300 farms representing a staggering eight hundred and fifty million pounds of annual raw milk, or one third of the total produced in the state. They expect to open a farmer owned milk processing plant sometime shortly after the year’s first significant snow fall. What follows is an interview with DFV organizer Peter Sterling about the organization, their future plans, as well as the general state of agriculture in Vermont and beyond.

Interviewer: Peter, what is the situation with Vermont’s dairy farms?

Peter Sterling: Under Clinton and the Bush administration there has been enormous consolidation in the processing industry. Where [Vermont] farmers, twenty years ago had 15-20 places they could sell their milk, now they basically have two Agrimark and Dairy Farmers of America, [the latter of which] gobbled up the St. Albans Coop.

Because farmers don’t have enough places to sell their milk these two big corporations, which control 85% of the fluid milk in New England, can dictate the price. And they often dictate horrible measures. Farmers have to pay the transportation cost. When gas prices go up, they tag farmers with a surcharge for hauling milk. They charge farmers a fee for those ‘Got Milk?’ ads. Dairy farmers pay for those with a surcharge that is taken out of their milk check. It has basically created a slave system for farmers.

For example, farmers, when they get their milk check every week, have no idea for how much it’s going to be for. Imagine anybody else being asked to go to work and run a business and not having any idea how much their product is going to sell for. You would never ask a teacher or a politician to do that. They know what their pay stub is. But farmers are slaves to this system, when the milk prices plummet there is nothing they can do. These big milk guys, if they had their way they would have just one big farm with 10,000 cows. Because for them it is inefficient to make all these stops.

So what you’ll notice is the big politicians like [former Vermont Governor, Democrat] Howard Dean or [current governor, Republican] Jim Douglas or their AG secretaries pay lip service to farms going out of business, but they always say ‘don’t worry, the amount of milk Vermont is producing is not falling.’ Like that’s the measure of how good things are going.
[Ed. note: In the spirit of disclosure - although all I'm doing here is pointing you to the article, my partner, John, happens to work for AgriMark at the Cabot Creamery. Our dog loves the idea that John works for cows. ::chuckle::]

Listen to VPR's Program On Vermont Secession

Posted on Rob Williams' blog at Vermont Commons:
Thanks to VPR's Fran Stoddard and Patti Daniels for sharing the publicly-owned airwaves for a one hour conversation about Vermont's peaceably seceding from the U.S. Empire and forming an independent republic.

To listen to and/or download the show click here.

And join us.

Free Vermont.

"Bush Must Go"

[Ed. note: Cross-posted at our national sister blog, Cut to the Chase.]

President Bush must go?

Who am I to argue? I think we've had very good cause for removing him for no less than six (6) years. But then, had votes been fully counted in Florida in 2000 and Ohio in 2004 (and had the American public stood up and demanded they do so), we would not have had the worst possible Bush in office and perhaps we would have escaped September 11th (2001), Afghanistan, the war in Iraq, the bankruptcy of America and a whole huge list of other atrocities and avoidable tragedies.

Vermont's Kirby Mountain blog points us to this powerful and passionate posting by Paul Craig Roberts at CounterPunch:
When are the American people and their representatives in Congress and the military going to wake up and realize that the US has an insane war criminal in the White House who is destroying all chances for peace in the world and establishing a police state in the US?

Americans don’t have much time to realize this and to act before it is too late. Bush’s “surge” speech last Wednesday night makes it completely clear that his real purpose is to start wars with Iran and Syria before failure in Iraq brings an end to the neoconservative/Israeli plan to establish hegemony over the Middle East.

The “surge” gives Congress, the media, and the foreign policy establishment something to debate and oppose, while Bush sets his plans in motion to orchestrate a war with Iran.

...Bush’s entire “war on terror” is based on lies. The Bush Regime, desperate to keep its lies covered up, is now trying to prevent American law firms from defending the Guantanamo detainees. The Bush Regime is fearful that Americans will learn that the detainees are not terrorists but props in the regime’s orchestrated “terror war.”

...The only reason for the Bush Regime’s policy of indefinite detention without charges is that it has no charges to bring. ...

Nothing can stop the criminal Bush from instituting wider war in the Middle East that could become a catastrophic world war except an unequivocal statement from Congress that he will be impeached.

[This essay also describes the treasonous cover-up of Israel's attack on the U.S.S. Liberty in 1967.]
Colorful emphasis mine.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Should ABC Lose Its License? What Needs To Be Done When ABC Flashes Death Images of Saddam Hussein As A "Funny" Promo?

[Ed. note: Yes, I am livid and no, I do not believe I am over-reacting. Cross-posted at our national sister blog, Cut to the Chase.]

You are not apt to find me screaming for the FCC too often. I think people are better arbiters of what they should read and hear and see than another fool federal agency. If I knew of a better agency to contact, I would go that route instead.

Yet what I just saw on TV just now both enraged and sickened me so completely that I am now filing a complaint with the FCC.

I turned on the TV to catch the local news at 11; the satellite was already tuned into an ABC affiliate station in Vermont (Channel 44, I believe) with "20/20" wrapping up (which is good because John Stossel makes me ill). Obviously, however, this was part of a national promo rather than something local.

Immediately comes a promo for Jimmy Kimmel's crappy show which, as part of it, displays for several seconds a post-execution image of the late Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein lying on a stretcher, his head (of course) cocked at an odd angle. There was really no question what it was or that Hussein was dead.

When the hell did a post-hanging photograph of a dead human being become something used so lightly, for comic relief, with no advance warning?

I believe obscenity is in the eye of the beholder, but I can't quite imagine any sane person failing to find the use of such a photograph in such an utterly tasteless manner as completely and revoltingly obscene.

There is no possible excuse for this.

I want someone's ass for this and no, not the ass of some 20-year-old nobody production assistant. And yes, I am quite serious about the FCC. Nor do I intend to stop there.

Comments? Did anyone else see this? Did you have a reaction to it?

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Homeless Man Fights Burlington Condo Conversions

Morgan W. Brown of Norse Horse's Home Turf points us to Cathy Resmer's latest Seven Days piece, "A House Divided", about homelessness and one man's efforts to make a difference in Vermont's ever-burgeoning vista of condos and McMansions.

Congrats, too, to Resmer who was just named Seven Days' first online editor.

Friday, January 05, 2007

As Seen in Vicinity of Federal Courthouse in Burlington

I had occasion to be in Burlington on Wednesday and happened to notice that all along the parking meters and public signs lining the street on which the U.S. federal courthouse is located, someone had placed Impeach! and other signs wherever there was room.

Good for them!

As it was, I thought I might be denied entrance into the courthouse by the security people who work the screening system after the older one looked ready to choke at the sight of my "Bush, War Criminal" button (with an ever foolishly grinning Dubya) affixed to my shoulder bag. He looked toward his colleague but said nothing, nor did I.

Monday, January 01, 2007

We's Supposed To Rescue Mr. Bush's "Legacy"?

[Ed. note: Cross-posted you know where. Also, I really tire of always hearing Mr. Bush portrayed as a victim of circumstances, when he's almost invariably the perpetrator. It's never a piece that talks about how Americans or others have been harmed by Bush but of how poor Mr. Bush is being abashed and abused. Please!]

(Who says we want him rescued?)

The excellent Steve at The Carpetbagger Report summarizes Nick Kristof's column beautifully (so I don't need to do so):
If you missed the NYT’s Nick Kristof’s year-end piece yesterday, it was a sight to behold.

Kristof noted that the president’s legacy “doesn’t look good right now,” and imagined a future obituary that described Bush leaving office “vilified and disgraced.” Kristof proceeded to offer 10 suggestions for the president to pursue in 2007 that might help him “rescue” his legacy. It’s quite a list.

* Negotiate with Iran and Syria, and “renounce permanent military bases in Iraq.”
* Start working on an Israeli-Palestinian peace plan.
* Confront the genocide in Darfur.
* Dump Dick Cheney and get a new VP.
* Expand the government’s efforts to combat AIDS.
* Address climate change.
* Give up on the idea of attacking Iran.
* Give up on privatization and embrace a Clinton-like approach to Social Security reform.
* Address our disgraceful inequities in health care and pursue Carter’s idea of comprehensive coverage for children up to age 5.
* “Steal [policy ideas] from your critics and rivals.”

It’s enough to make me wonder if Kristof has been watching the same president as the rest of us the last six years.
Me, too, Steve. Me too! Yet, as I wrote above, I have no desire to rescue him.

Evict, yes.
Impeach? Fine and dandy.
Put on trial for war crimes and treason, absolutely! It's our moral and global responsibility.

But rescue? Not one of my top 3,917 priorities for this year (I'd paint my toe nails pink first and I abhor the color pink - I'm not crazy about toe nail polish either).

You can also find a piece about this at Raw Story.

Vermonter Dan DeWalt Named One Of Most Valuable Progressives of 2006

[Ed. note: Cross-posted at Cut to the Chase.]

Reported by Odum at Green Mountain Daily and, I believe, well deserved (congratulations, Dan!):
From The Nation Online's John Nichols, author of The Genius of Impeachment: The Founders' Cure for Royalism (emphasis added):
    Nancy Pelosi may have tried to take impeachment off the table, but the crew, led by the indomitable David Swanson, kept forcing it back on. Their coalition's website remains the "go-to" place for the latest on investigations, inquiries, subpoenas, legal actions and every other move to hold this president and vice president to account. And their passion for empowering citizens to promote "impeachment from below" and other accountability initiatives has forged a loose-knit but very real national movement. Watch for this movement to get a lot more attention in March, when a drive organized by Newfane, Vermont, town selectman and impeachment impresario Dan DeWalt and others will see dozens of town meetings endorse articles of impeachment.
Dan proved that a single person can make a substantial difference and help drive a movement.

This is a lesson we all should take to heart to remind us that you don't need a huge budget or other massive resources to get people to think and to move in a more evolved direction.

Open Thread: Share Your Thoughts On The Year Back And The New One Just Begun

[Ed. note: Cross-posted to Cut to the Chase.]

For those of us who are thoughtful - and who are not suffering with the effects of any potential excess indulged in at midnight - New Year's Eve and Day are often a time of serious reflection.

So let's start off today's posting with your observations, thoughts, hopes and dreams, disappointments and disasters (both real and perceived).

  • What were your great and worst moments of 2006, personally or otherwise?
  • What was the worst/best thing that happened (to you, your community, your country, your world)?
  • What do you want out of 2007?
  • Can you identify and share three events/changes/miracles you want to see this year?

Please add your comments here. I'll even jump start this:

Q: Great and worst moments of 2006?
A: Great:

1) Meeting and getting to know some extraordinary people, including some of you.

2) Having some people I respect extend themselves to me, including some of you as well as neighbors who had the occasion to tell me this year what a good neighbor I was and how much they appreciated me.

3) Discovering singer/songwriter Leonard Cohen and his hauntingly beautiful, "Hallelujah".

4) Reading some exceptional books (use links to read more or to order from Powells, a union bookstore), including:

* Jimmy Carter's "Peace, Not Apartheid"
* Barbara Ehrenreich's "Nickel and Dimed"
* Marc Estrin's "Insect Dreams: The Half Life of Gregor Samsa"
* Julia Cameron's "The Artist's Way"
* John Perkins' "Confessions of an Economic Hit Man"
* David Mamet's "South of The Northeast Kingdom" (about life where I live in Vermont where Mamet is my neighbor)
* John Dean's "Conservatives Without Conscience"
* Thom Hartmann's "Screwed: The Undeclared War Against The Middle Class"
* Eckhardt Tolle's "The Power of Now".

5) Being able to share with people who have less than I.

6) Finally hearing someone on network TV news (Keith Olbermann of "Countdown" on MSNBC) state some truths so much of the rest of the media cowers and hides from; Olbermann's many "Special Comments" have been powerful and extraordinary.

1) Having the world as I knew it personally shatter around me, despite my best efforts to prevent it.
2) Feeling powerless to help people as much as I wanted.
3) Not getting a couple of jobs that just seemed perfect for me.
4) Losing a friend.
5) Suffering with a chemical depression that defies any form or combination of treatment.

Happy New Year!