Thursday, May 31, 2007

The New Jeffersonian Democracy

cross-posted at Green Mountain Daily:

I'm in favor of the energy bill that was passed this session, and I'm sorry (but not surprised) that the Governor plans to Veto it.

More than just a climate change bill, I truly believe that the thinking behind this measure represents a step in the right direction for Vermont from a political and business prospective as well as an environmental one.

From the Burlington Free Press:

Supporters of the bill argue it offers a number of opportunities to save
Vermonters money on heating bills and, in the process, generate jobs.

Chuck Reiss is a Hinesburg homebuilder who's hoping for a change in state law that
would allow a group of homes he's building to share a wind turbine and sell the
excess power to utilities. That change in law is contained in the bill Douglas
has promised to veto.

"It's time to start helping small businesses instead of
large businesses," said Reiss, owner of Reiss Buildings and Renovations, who
added that he has several neighborhoods interested in running group wind
turbines if the law allows it.

In addition to striking a blow on behalf of the environment, this bill can also start setting the stage for a modern version of Jeffersonian Democracy here in Vermont.

In his original vision for this country, Jefferson saw a nation of small landholders...none powerful enough to tyrannize over their neighbors, and yet all enjoying the fruits of their labor and invested in "the system".

For Jefferson, the economic engine he envisioned was primarily agricultural. But the principle holds true in today's post industrial Vermont Landscape as well. The principal of many of us, owning our own business, making decisions here at the local level and wielding a collective amount of econonmic and political power is just as important to the health of our democracy as are efforts to decrease our reliance on oil to the environment.

This bill would begin to help generate economic stimulus needed to speed this process.

One of the things that I've always (begrudgingly) respected the Governor for was the way in which he made the point that Vermont kids SHOULD be able to grow up and do well economically RIGHT HERE AT HOME...

However, by opposing the logic of this bill, the Governor is turning his back on the future of Jeffersonian Democracyand the cause of meaningful employment here in Vermont in favor of a Hamiltonian emphasis on Big Business. The few good jobs we might gain for our youth would pale in comparison to the number we would loose by turning our back on small, forward looking, locally owned and managed Vermont Businesses.

I am glad to read in the Free Press that Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility and other Groups are, according to director Will Patten, "not going to take no on this issue" .

Again, from the Free Press:

Patten said his group will continue to try to persuade the governor not to
veto the bill. Failing that, he said, the business owners hope to persuade
enough legislators to override the veto when the Legislature returns for a veto
session July 11.

According to State Senator Ginny Lyons and State Rep Robert Dostis (who I heard at the recent VBSR convention) letters to leaders really ARE effective...and I hope to write a few. Maybe you will too.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Our Hero!

So... did you see that a foreign country plans to put up a statue in honor of a great American President? One who stood up for Freedom and for Human Rights, and who made America's name respected?
Care to guess which President that would be? I'll give you a hint...it's not the short little bastard on the left.
See this story for the details.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Poll Position

Who?Me? OH BOY! The right wing are in a tizzy this week. A new Gallup Poll has come out that indicated that Congress's approval ratings are even lower than the President's (29% to 33%).

The Reverend Moon's arch-Conservative Washington Times is crowing that the "Democrat-led" Congress is now trailing the President in popularity. (I will say this for the Right-Wingnuts: You have to have incredible powers of imagination and creativity to find good news in the fact that your fearless leader is running at at steady 33%; of course, on the other hand, Reverend Moon- founder of the Washington Times- does believe himself to be the Messiah- so he's got what it takes to engage in this kind of powerful self-delusion.)

At any rate, my friends in the DOP (that would be: Damned Old Party)were quick to start forwarding the news of their President's latest "victory".

Here is my response:

Dear R---,

Thanks for sending this along. What is interesting about the way Big Corporate Media handles the story is that they use this Headline: "Congressional Approval Down" and yet, a little deeper into the story, buried, we learn that: "Although ratings are quite low, Americans have been more positive in their assessments of Congress this year than last year, when an average of just 25% approved of Congress."

In other words- MORE Americans approve of this Democratic Congress than of the Republican Gangsters and Yes-Men who were in Washington last year.

But, of course Congressional approval
is still low. Understandable, because this Congress was elected to bring an end to your crazy president's war against the wrong thug in the wrong country. To date, they have not been able to do that.

However, we can still hope, there is lots of good work going on in Washington. Perhaps we can still find a way to win the war on terror by going after the villains who actually attacked us on 9/11 rather than by being distracted by providing business opportunities for the Bush cronies.

And make no mistake, we MUST do this...after all, in just a few months, we will mourn the the SIXTH anniversary of September 11, 2001. And for SIX years, Osama bin Laden has eluded this hapless President.

Afghanistan, despite all of our Military's hard work and sacrifice, is once again becoming a strong hold for the Taliban and a source of Opium and Crime. Of course, this is because George W. Bush pulled our troops off the job.

However, as ever MORE corruption is uncovered in this, the most shiftless administration since that of Warren G. Harding, perhaps we can send Bush to jail where he belongs. Then, perhaps, this Congress approval ratings will rise.

God Bless America.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Impeachment is Back

BillImpeachment is Back…

I don’t have a lot of time to dwell on this, but I didn’t want the sun to go down tonight without mentioning that the impeachment issue is back on the table.

Don’t get me wrong, I’d love to have Bush found guilty of High Crimes and Misdemeanors and removed from Office. I’ve posted about this before. I've also posted about events that I believe will lead us down that happy road.

It’s just that I don’t trust the VERMONT IMPEACHMENT CROWD to get it right.

Passions run so high among the Vermont Netroots, and pragmatism (common sense) is so absent that I fully expect that part of the netroots howling for “impeachment” will shoot itself, and the rest of the center-left coalition, right in the foot.

Sam Hemmingway of the Burlington Free Press posted a piece on the Freeps Blog yesterday about the impeachment movement, detailing the efforts the pro-impeachment wing of the Netroots to cast this all as some huge conspiracy to….to what? Who knows, it’s all a conspiracy, I guess. Everything is, ever since the grassy knoll and Roswell and…and….and the LINCOLN conspiracy, I guess.

Here’s the excerpt from Hemingway’s piece:

[following attempts to set up a meeting between Welch and the Impeachment Posse] impeachment leader James Leas wrote in a widely distributed e-mail Tuesday that … the group had caught Welch in a conspiracy to stick it to the impeachers. And only the righteous efforts of people like Leas kept Welch from getting away with it.

Good God. Peter Welch and Grover Norquist…in bed together...absolutely-- WHY DIDN'T I SEE IT BEFORE? It is so obvious that they MUST be on the same team. Damn it, next time, let's vote for Rainville. (This is heavy sarcasm, just in case you missed it.)

Who IS on the side of these righteous people? Nobody, of course…the entire center-left marching band is out of step but them. They are like the left-wing equivalent of Pentecostal snake handlers and you know what….they are going to make sure that the Democrats are eating their own before this is all said and done.

And Bush will steal another victory, one more time…. After all, I came across this article from 1998. It seems that Bill Clinton’s poll numbers actually ROSE after Republican’s voted to impeach him.

I kind of wish the impeachment crowd would ponder the implications of that fact…but somehow, I doubt they will.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Hatred Vs. Hope

I have to admit to being a bit discouraged. Or at least, I was before this morning.

Yesterday, I found out that I was wrong, and that Mickey Ha-Mouse was not just another piece of right-wingnut propaganda, but a real production of Hamas- teaching Palestinian children that their mission was to dominate the world as Islamists.

Today, I read of the thwarted attack on Fort Dix by a group of Muslims in New Jersey.

My taxi driver this morning said: I don’t know where you come down on this, but it sure seems like it was awful convenient for them guys down there in Washington for this to happen right now.

I might have thought the same thing, but then I remembered Farfour the Mouse: teaching hatred to children, and I realize once again that there really IS a war going on – and that the United States, under George Bush, may have lost our best chance to end it quickly by allowing himself to be distracted by Iraq.

If we had treated this as a police action, instead of as the "Holy War" American Pentecostals were hoping for, we might have brought Osama to justice, rather than allow him to remain at large and free to inspire other crazies.

With this new escalation, I realize that it will be harder and harder for the voice of common sense to be heard.

That got me a little depressed.

Until I went out on to my front porch this morning. My fiancĂ©e is away for the year, and she didn’t trust me to take good care of the hanging flower basket on the front porch. So she replaced it with an artificial basket of flowers.

This morning, I went out to the front porch to drink my coffee and I noticed that the porch railing under the fake plant was daubed with mud. That shouldn’t be, I thought.

So I went over to look, and there, buried deeply within the plastic leaves, was a tiny little nest with 4 brilliant blue robin’s eggs in it.

I’m not going to come up with some sappy bit of glurge about how the truth shines through like bright blue robins eggs….but I will say that, for just a moment, I was able to take some hope from the sight.


If you are looking for some anti-glurge, check out this site.

The Jesus and the Bunny Story

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Mickey Militant
Or "Hamas" Presents- Mickey Hah-mouse

Mickey Militant

The Right-Wing Nut Jobs come up with so much Garbage: the Weapons of Mass Destruction are in Iraq….no, no, wait…they’ve been moved to SYRIA….or, wait, oh, I know—the DOG ate them….

I just get used to discounting EVERYTHING they say.

So, when I got an email this morning from some right-wingers with whom I fight a running gun-battle about an ARAB MICKEY MOUSE teaching children to “hate Israel and America, and aspire to what is claimed as Islam's inevitable and impending world domination.” I thought yeah, yeah…this from the same people that bring us fascist dolphins and Rush Limbaugh singing “Barack the Magic Negro” ...


So…I blew it off.

But, it turns out, it is true…according to the Associated Press

A giant black-and-white rodent _ named "Farfour," or "butterfly," but unmistakably a rip-off of the Disney character _ does his high-pitched preaching against the U.S. and Israel on a children's show each Friday on Al-Aqsa TV, a station run by Hamas. The militant group, sworn to Israel's destruction, shares power in the Palestinian government.
"You and I are laying the foundation for a world led by Islamists," Farfour squeaked on a recent episode of the show, which is called "Tomorrow's Pioneers."

So…to my right correspondents, I apologize…you were right and I was wrong. Hate won another battle today, both in the middle-east, and here at home.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Worth A 1000 Words

They Say A picture is worth a Thousand Words...so I'll leave you with this one.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Masters and Slaves- Welcome to a New Blogger

A few years back, I became part of an email circle that consists of a lot of hard line Radical Republicans, and a few-hold outs from the sixties. Raz, with whom I've corresponded, but never met, is one of the latter.

I was very happy to find out that he has finally started his own blog, which you can find at:


and which I will add to my blog roll.

Rather than blogging here at Rip and Read today, I responded to Raz's "Lucifer Effect" post...check it out.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Bill Frist is Not Guilty- So WHAT?

Man, oh, man. There is NOTHING louder or more annoying than a bunch of Right-Wing Republicans who think they've been wronged by the "Liberal Media". Not even Barbara Streisand sounds so shrill.

Thus, the cacophony started the other day with the news that Bill Frist had been found not guilty of stock fraud.

Here is a little clip from the Wall Street Journal:

When insider-trading allegations against former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist surfaced back in 2005, they were splashed on the pages of major newspapers from coast to coast. Now that Dr. Frist has been vindicated, the silence is instructive. Is anybody out there?

Listen? Hear that? That is the small plaintive voice of the wronged right wing crying:
"Is Anybody Out there?"

It breaks my heart, it really does, and so, on behalf of Liberals everywhere, I offer the following FRONT PAGE headline:


WASHINGTON- In a shocking development, the Securities and Exchange Commission found a high ranking Republican not guilty of stock fraud this week.

"Well, I guess there is a first time for everything," said old timer....

* As a medical student, young Frist was known to adopt local pet cats from the humane society and then dissect them. He did this, he said, to improve his grades. It is probably a coincidence that the FBI lists bed-wetting, fire setting, and cruelty to animals, as early warning signs that a child might grow up to be a serial killer.

See this entry for more detail:

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Now What?

DipShit In Chief

Yesterday, we got to read about how the Presidential Spokes-Goblins complained that the timing by Democrats in forcing Bush to Veto the Spending Bill near the anniversary of the Land-on-an-Aircraft-Carrier-and-declair-mission-accomplished speech by Bush was just a stunt designed to expose a....what? Legitimate Photo Op by the President?

Today, Bush has vetoed the suplimental spending bill which contained withdrawal deadlines. Bush said it would be stupid to tell the enemy when we were going to withdraw...but then, if, as the President said, the mission WAS accomplished...then what the hell are we still doing and dying there for?

The problem is that it will be difficult for Democrats to create a fallback strategy that works. Ultra-Liberals are going to vote for NO FUNDING if the bill doesn't talk about withdrawal. Moderate Democrats and Republicans will vote for funding without withdrawal timelines because we just can't leave our troops in the lurch. We can't hurt Bush without hurting them.

What should be done then?

Personally, I like the plan favored by the Democratic Leadership Council--- go ahead and vote the money...get the troops what they need...but only keep them in the field for a short time until the money Runs out, and Bush has to come back and ask for more... this will remind the American people of two things. 1) Democrats DO support the Troops, and 2) Bush's war strategy has been a complete failure which has cost far too much in both lives and treasure....

The "short leash" approach undermines the administration's classic Rovian tactic of polarizing the debate into a false choice between perpetual pursuit of failed policies and a precipitous withdrawal, with no rational "exit strategy" in either event. And forcing Bush back to the negotiating table quickly will also maintain unity among virtually all Democrats and some Republicans who agree that ending our combat role in Iraq

Read the DLC article here:


According to an AP Article posted this afternoon entitled, Veto Makes Democrats Weigh Concessions, :

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer told reporters ...``We're not going to leave our troops in harm's way . . . without the resources they need,'' said Hoyer, D-Md.

Hoyer was reluctant to say exactly what the bill will look like, but said he anticipates a minimum-wage increase will be part of it. He also said the bill should fund combat through Sept. 30 as Bush has requested, casting doubt that Democratic leaders would adopt a proposal by Rep. John Murtha, R-Pa., to fund the war two or three months at a time.

In the article, Nancy Pelosi is quoted as saying: ``The president wants a blank check. The Congress is not going to give it to him"

But, somehow, I fear that that is EXACTLY what is going to happnen.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Whew...I'm back...

After what seems like several years of redoing the bathroom, painting the house and packing up books, I have returned to Rip and Read.

Did anyone notice I was gone?

I still have to keep this brief today, but could not let this new story go without comment:

Bush to veto Iraq bill, make statement

See: http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20070501/pl_nm/iraq_bush_veto_dc_4

In a move that comes as no surprise, the President is going to try to thwart attempts to stop his trumped up detour from the war on terror and return the nation to the path of common sense.

But here is what caught my eye...

Democrats appear to have timed the delivery of their bill for Tuesday's fourth anniversary of Bush's landing on an aircraft carrier in the Pacific Ocean where he declared that major combat had ended in Iraq after the March 2003 invasion. The deck was decorated with a "Mission Accomplished" banner.

..."It is a trumped-up political stunt that is the height of cynicism," Perino said. "It is very disturbing to think that they possibly held up this money for the troops and troops' families and the resources that they need to try some PR stunt on this day."

Wow! A trumped up stunt to call attention to another trumped up stunt that has cost billions of dollars and thousands of American Lives.....Gee...no wonder she's pissed.