Saturday, June 30, 2007

Cleaning? Hell-- It'll need to be fumigated!

White House Fumigated

According to the AP, Hillary Clinton said that, after 8 years of George W. Bush, the White House was going to need a clean sweep....

....it's going need a hell of a lot more than that.

``Grab your buckets, grab your brooms,'' Clinton said. ``We're going to have to do a clean sweep because there has been a culture of cronyism, corruption and incompetence.''

Sen. Clinton said Bush has squandered the budget surplus that her husband, former President Clinton, left and damaged the nation's standing in the world with a shortsighted approach to diplomacy.

``It is important to be both smart and tough,'' Clinton said. ``I have no illusions about how hard this job is. I have seen it closely. It is always hard, and after President Bush and Vice President Cheney, it is really going to be hard.''

Really, REALLY Hard...it's a mess.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Chittenden Bank:
Is Vermont Losing (Local) Control?

Yesterday's big news was that Vermont's biggest bank was going to be bought by an even bigger bank from out of state. In a $1.9 billion dollar deal, Chittenden Corp is going to be sold to United Financial Inc. of Connecticut.

I don't think the Chittenden Bank sale is the end of the world, but I do think it is worth keeping an eye on.

One obvious reason for concern is the potential loss of white collar jobs here in Vermont; both the Burlington Free Press and the Rutland Herald report that although officials from both banks expect layoffs to have minimal impact, there will be layoffs.

But there is something else to consider...the headquarters of Vermont's largest banking presence will no longer be located here on Vermont soil. Vermont's citizen's will have lost a measure of local influence over an institution that plays a very important roll in the lives of many, many, many of our fellow citizens.

It may not seem important that the top officers of the bank may no longer reside in Vermont neighborhoods, belong to Vermont civic organizations, or send their children to Vermont schools, but there are studies that show that it might.

A trip to Local First Vermont's website yields the results of several studies which illustrate the point. For example, Local First Vermont cites one study by the National Federation of Independent Business that claims that:

Small firms give an average of more than two and a half times the amount per employee than do medium or large firms (small firms give $789 per employee, medium-sized firms $172, and large firms $334)

It is of course more than community involvement or charitible giving...in the end, it comes down to the basic strength of our Vermont Economy....

The Economic Impact of Locally Owned Businesses vs. Chains: A Case Study in Midcoast Maine - September 2003
By Institute for Local Self-Reliance
This study tracked the revenue and expenditures of eight locally owned businesses in Midcoast Maine, as compared to big box stores.Key findings:

* Locally owned businesses spent 44.6 percent of their revenue within the surrounding two counties, and another 8.7 percent elsewhere in Maine, largely on wages and benefits paid to local employees, goods and services purchased from other local businesses, profits that accrued to local owners, and taxes paid to local and state government.

* Big box retailers return an estimated 14.1 percent of their revenue to the local economy, mostly as payroll. The rest leaves the state, flowing to out-of-state suppliers and back to corporate headquarters.

so I'll leave you with one more thought and then urge you to to visit Local First Vermont's website.

It pays to think about who you are doing business with...

Thursday, June 28, 2007

More H. 520 ...at Green Mountain Daily

I spent WAY too much time yesterday blogging about H. 520 and the Democrats' .... well, I don't know what to call it. My gut still says capitulation, but others have labeled merely a "strategic" mistake...

Anyway, I always enjoy playing over in the Green Mountain Daily sandbox with Odum, Jack, JD Ryan, Brattlerouser and others... it certainly beat working.

And the comment threads were fun....

If you just can't get through the day without a dose of Rip and Read (or goDLC)... check out:

Let Me Rephrase That...Another Take On H.520

and the comment string on yesterday's cross-post:

Dems Cave on H.520, or, Now I know How Rush Limbaugh Felt.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Democrats Loose Traction
Shhh, shh, the GOVERNOR'S coming

Well, you know what they say...it's all fun and games until somebody looses an "aye".

Vermont Democrats have talked tough, but at the last minute, they ducked and swerved on H. 520. The picture at left shows my present opinion of Democratic Leadership. (And yes, I suppose some of my fellow bloggers are entitled to watch me eat a piece of humble pie at the blogger's barbecue.)

First, in an excess of politeness, they decided NOT to move the July 11th veto session until later in the year to give themselves more time and more votes to override the Governor's Veto on H.520.

From the AP (via Boston.com):

Symington had said the day before that she was contemplating delaying the
July 11 vote until September to accommodate some lawmakers that said they
couldn't make it to the Statehouse that day.
But Republican legislators
wanted the session held July 11, as scheduled.
"I've had a commitment from each and every one of the 49 Republicans to be there on July 11, but I know that Democrats don't have a full slate," said House Minority Leader Steve Adams, R-Hartland.
Symington said she decided not to change the date after speaking with the minority party caucuses.

That's what I like about Democrats...we're so NICE! We speak to the minority and make things convenient for them....and I'm sure, positive, that the Republicans would do the very same for us...they are such decent folk. (Careful, dear reader, or some of my dripping sarcasm will fall on your shoe.)

Now, after talking tough and even bringing AL GORE into the act...Vermont Legislators turned tail and dropped the tax on Vermont Yankee at the last minute...maybe, they begged Governor "BIG JIM" Douglas....you'll like us better now, please, sir, please?

And of course, the Gov. smiled and said, "No. I don't like you any better than I did before. I'm STILL going to Veto your bill. And now, I've taken your measure and found that you, despite your numbers, are lacking in strength, in determination, and will power."

And I'm sure we Democrats will growl, and show our tiny little yellow teeth, and then go cower in a dark hole somewhere.

This was a clear case of what we should do (H.520- combating global warming, promoting exciting new Vermont businesses, not giving Nuclear Power a cheaper tax rate than wind energy) and what we shouldn't do...

As a friend of mine just put it: "Sometimes, you have to draw the line and just stand there...win or loose."

Sometimes, it's the Heroic Last Stand (the Alamo, Masada, Roland and Rear-Guard) that gives others the courage to carry the fight to victory...but Vermont's Democrats have refused to do that. They have decided to play it very safe...

...and that makes me very sad, very sorry, and frankly, very much less likely to lick a stamp or write a check the next time around.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Victory for the Forces of Darkness
Bong Hits For Jesus

Damn, it was all good fun back when Walter Wrenchall did a "Rip and Read" broadcast about Bong Hit's for Jesus...but today the supreme court has struck down the arguments for free speech...the vote was predictable...the Reagan-Bush Hobgoblins voted to squash free speech, the moderates (too few to win) voted not to. Once again, the forces of darkness have triumphed.

Read the CNN Article here. The Blog title leads to the Washington Post.

You can hear the original Walter Wrenchall report here.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Sunday Dinner with Peter Welch

Sometimes, it’s worth it just to hear what you already know. Tonight, I attended the Burlington Democrats’ “Sunday Supper with Peter Welch”. It was a beautiful evening, and the St. John’s Club is a fine place to sip a beer and watch the sun settle down over Lake Champlain.

And, as always, Vermont Politics never ceases to amaze me…in what other state but this could a nobody like me mingle with Jill Krowinski, Executive Director of the Vermont State Democratic Party, State’s Attorney T.J. Donovan, former Governor Madeline Kunin, and a host of other party dignitaries and still find a couple of friends to comfortably shoot the breeze with about nothing in particular?... That is what Democracy should be but some times I'm afraid we've cornered the market in Vermont with out meaning to.

Nothing very important happened…a crowd of semi-friendly Pro-Impeachment protesters waited out front to press their opinions on the congressmen. Peter Freyne was outside for the meeting (where a good reporter should be) and if there was anything of note that happened, I’m sure you can find it on his blog.

Peter Welch entered and gave his speech. Mostly thanking us, his fellow Democrats, for the work we did last fall in helping him get to Washington. Having licked a couple of envelopes myself, I have to admit I enjoyed my teeny tiny little moment of vicarious triumph. “I’m almost ashamed to admit how much I am enjoying the job”, he said. I don’t doubt it…his work on the Waxman committee alone has got to be a blast.

Another one of the things that made an impression on him is that so much of the time spent in Washington, on areas such as democracy, the environment, is all devoted just to trying to achieve things that have been a reality in Vermont for a long time.

All this put me in a fine mood to sit and hear a sermon to the choir, and Peter Welch gave a short but rousing one, revisiting the themes from the campaign. The main difference between the Republicans and the Democrats, he argued, is that they say: “You’re On Your Own”, we say: “We’re in this together.” It’s like listening to old favorite song on the radio…sure, you know all the words…but they still make sense…and they still ring true...every time.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

More On H. 520

A couple of good editorials on H.520 today....

From the Rutland Herald: June 19, 2007

[After Stamping his Veto on the Legislature's Engery Bill] Douglas has come up with his own energy-efficiency program, and he is urging the Legislature to act on it.

If the override fails, Plan B for Symington will come in January when the Legislature reconvenes. The Legislature is not prepared in a special session in the middle of the summer to act on a complex proposal like the one Douglas has offered, which has come, not in the 11th hour, but in the 13th...

Douglas cannot stymie the Legislature's action, then loft his own plan into the debate after the fact, then pretend that he is the one taking the initiative. The Legislature took the initiative, and now that Douglas has shot down the Legislature's bill, he must accept responsibility for the lack of action.

By Judy Bevins, Vice-Chair, Vermont Democratic Party, Letter to the Editor: Times Argus

All [H. 520] does is readjust the rate of taxation Vermont Yankee pays, which was frozen in place by the Republican-controlled Legislature and the governor in 2003, making that rate the same as what new wind developments will pay.

And then Jim Douglas vetoed the bill. Why? Because he worries about the "message" this sends to the business community. Actually, the message that the governor is sending to his friends in big business is, "Whisper in my ear, and we'll make a deal."

It was only after his inaction started hurting him politically that Jim Douglas cobbled together a "plan" to address energy efficiency. What does the governor's plan do? It requires average Vermonters and Vermont businesses to take out loans to pay for efficiency measures. The message Gov. Douglas has sent Vermont citizens and small business owners with this so-called plan is, "Want to save energy? Why don't you go further into debt. You can afford it, right?"

The problem is many Vermonters, already struggling with high costs and debt from a variety of sources, including home mortgages, student loans and credit cards, can't afford it. Rather than close a loophole that allows a business to pay less than its fair share to both the General Fund and the Education Fund, Jim Douglas is putting the burden on the backs of ordinary Vermonters.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

A Couple Of Random Things That Yanked My Chain

No real time for a blog today...but I still got some complainin' to do.

AMERICA - Your Prius is ready.

Driving through Boston yesterday, I saw a billboard from Toyota that Said "America, Your Prius is Ready"...if that doesn't just say it all...that we...the former heavyweight champion of the manufacturing world...are waiting on some other country to serve us up the right car. Whooff!

Republican Fundraising- Bush's Birthday.

The DOP (that would be: Damned Old Party) is sending Bush a Birthday Card...and asking for money! You can see it here for yourself...I don't even have to go into why this bugged me, do I?

Bill O'Reilly: The No Spin Zone.

I was standing in line waiting for my sandwich and heard the announcer introduce Bill O'Reilly's show as "The No Spin Zone"....what a lot of crap!

Oh well...back to work.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Delenda est Carthago
H.520: Overriding The Veto

I am not an expert on the History of the Roman Republic. But what I do know leads me to believe that I would never have gotten along with Marcus Porcious Cato The Elder and, (which is basically to say the same thing in a different way) if Marcus Porcious Cato was alive today-- he would have been a neo-con.

Thus, it may seem odd that I would turn to Cato as inspiration in the fight to save H.520....the Vermont Energy Bill.

(The Vermont Legislature passed H.520, Governor Jim Douglas has Vetoed it...and it's going to take a lot of work on everyone's part to help the Vermont Legislature rise to the occasion and Override the Veto..."Ed's" post on GMD is a great summary of the issues involved.)

However, Cato the Elder was nothing if not single minded, and like him or hate him, his single-minded approach lead to results. Having decided that the Rome's rival city-state, Carthage, constituted a major threat to the Republic, Cato developed a single minded obsession with that city.

He therefore ended every single speech, no matter what the topic, with the phrase: "Delenda est Carthago"- which means: Carthage must be destroyed.

And so his speeches would sound something like this: "....and so we must implement this agricultural policy...AND CARTHAGE MUST BE DESTROYED."

Eventually, Cato's single-mindedness paid off, and Carthage was literally wiped off the face of the earth.

Why tell this story? Simple...I would like to propose that Vermont's liberal blogging community adopt a similar tactic between now and the July vote to override the Governor's Veto of H.520....

...write about whatever you want...but somewhere in each post...don't forget to mention "...AND H. 520 MUST BE PASSED."

You could even write in Latin if you want...but, like George W. Bush, I’m not sure if there is a Latin word for "Veto".

At any rate, I hope you have a great weekend...and H.520 MUST BE PASSED.

Please Note: This post appeared, in slightly different form, at Green Mountain Daily and H.520 Must be Passed.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Republican Roustabout Raises Bad Behavior Bar to New Heights.

Have you seen the Birmingham News this morning? Well, you're in for a treat! In my last post, I opined that Jim Douglas was resorting to the "Rule By Fiat" strategy of George W. Bush....but of course, our Vermont Republicans are down-right civilized compared the the more virulent "Dixie Strain".....

Most Republicans claim to value action over words. Mostly, as far as I can tell, there are two main reasons for this:
But folks, I am here to tell ya- Alabama State Senator Charles Bishop, done took his party's disdain for discussion to a whole new level when he walked across the Senate Chamber and Walloped Democrat Lowell Barron right upside the head. Yaaaaahooooo!

I'm gonna let you read the article for yourself...but I'll be damned if this here Senator Bishop feller ain't gone and raised the bar for Republican behavior-- I fully expect Dick Cheney to act like a MAN and to let HIS fists do the talking next time he and Leahy meet..."Ffff You" just won't cut it any more.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

H 520. Overriding a Douglas Veto

I've already written about my support for H 520, the energy bill which the Vermont Legislature passed, and which Governor Douglas swears will wither under the heel of his veto, and which the Democrats who control the Vermont House are going to fight to keep alive in a summer session.

I believe that, in addition to a strong symbolic blow against Global Warming (at, at the beginning of an uphill battle, symbolism is actually very, very important), this bill would also be the first step towards creating a business climate in Vermont which would favor small innovative companies...companies which would supply good jobs, and opportunities for citizen ownership and Independence...building, in short, post-industrial version of Jeffersonian Democracy.

There are other reasons to want this bill passed over Jim Douglas' objections. As John Odum, over at Green Mountain Daily has pointed out:
Legislative Democrats had their chances for a significant power shift increase dramatically today - and they have Jim Douglas to thank for it.
Despite an enormous, broad-based push on its behalf, the Governor has made it clear he will veto the climate change bill, which has become less and less controversial the more members of the media, the legislature and the public have had time to familiarize themselves with it...

...if a Douglas veto -any veto - is overridden, that'll be the headline in all the papers the next day. And the perceived power shift will have the potential to send shockwaves into the next session, as well as the next election season.

The Burlington Free Press raises an interesting point in a Monday Editorial( yes, the Burlington Free Press...no, I'm not kidding) on Governor Jim Douglas and H.520. In speaking of Douglas' alternative to H 520, the Free Press asks:
At the same time, if the administration had the ideas and the power to act on global warming without legislation and without a new tax, then why did the governor wait until after the session to make his move?
...At the same time, if the administration had the ideas and the power to act on global warming without legislation and without a new tax, then why did the governor wait until after the session to make his move?

I think, alas, the answer to the paper's question is obvious: Vermont Republicans have adapted the Republican National Strategy.

The Republican national strategy, which has worked so well for George W. Bush, boils down something very simple: ignore the will of the people, they will go home eventually.

This is a strategy which has stymied progress and overridden the express choice of the people time and time again- the most recent and obvious example being the failure of the U.S Congress to force an end to the now pointless Iraq War.

And I think it is now clear that this Republican National strategy is seeping down to the State Level.

Ruling by fiat is so much simpler than engaging in debate with one's opponents. So much easier than crafting compromises.

Rather than engage in a debate, the administration will wait for the legislature to have it's say, and then, go ahead and do exactly what it wants, secure in the knowledge that the people won't be back in sufficient numbers come summer time....

...we'll see, I guess.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Republicans On Crime:
Falling Down on the Job

Perhaps because they love to say things like "Dead or Alive" or "Bring 'em On" or "Lock 'em Up" or "Book 'em, Dano"--- Republicans have earned a reputation as being Tough on Crime.

Perhaps because we have looked to the root causes, have extended some sympathy for the conditions that breed crime, we Democrats have earned a reputation as being Soft on Crime.

But the fact is that it was a Democratic President, Bill Clinton, who presided over the first DECREASE in violent crime in the last decades of the twentieth century.

Under Reagan, under Bush I, crime was up. Under Clinton, violent crime fell dramatically.

Now...the Republican’s are back, and so is crime. Coincidence? I think not.

Neither, apparently, do the Editors of Alabama's Huntsville Times. In my web search on this issue, I came across this editorial. I find it particularly fascinating, because this burst of common sense bubbles up from a Red, Red Republican Red state*

Violence is up; it will be expensive and difficult to reduce it.

If you think the illegal immigration problem is a thorny one to solve, check out the increasing incidence of violent crime. Not violent crime somewhere else; violent crime in Huntsville. The Rocket City's rate was up 18 percent from 2005 to 2006...

... What's the cause? The usual suspects. Here [is one]:

Not enough police. The money for federal grants that pay for more local officers has declined under the Bush administration. It has other spending priorities. And local governments haven't found the revenue to hire more police without federal help[emphasis added].

Now, here's the rub...WE HAD IT LICKED. (When I say "WE", I mean the Democrats, and, although my fellow blogger J.D.Ryan over at Five Before Chaos will HATE THIS, I mean SPECIFICALLY "we" Democrats of the more pragmatic, centrist type...i.e. The DLC.)

The COPs (or Community Oriented Policing) program was created as part of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement act of 1994. The program is described on the Department Of Justice website as follows:

the mission of the COPS Office is to advance community policing in jurisdictions of all sizes across the country. Community policing represents a shift from more traditional law enforcement in that it focuses on prevention of crime and the fear of crime on a very local basis. Community policing puts law enforcement professionals on the streets and assigns them a beat, so they can build mutually beneficial relationships with the people they serve. By earning the trust of the members of their communities and making those individuals stakeholders in their own safety, community policing makes law enforcement safer and more efficient, and makes America safer

More money to hire police, more pressure put on those police to become a part of their neighborhoods, to cut off crime at the source rather than serve as an occupying army...and crime fell during the Clinton years.

During George W. Bush's administration, however, COPs has been underfunded (and police officers have been pulled from their jobs at home to fight overseas in Bush's disastrous war) and Crime, according to the FBI is going up again.

An essay on the DLC website takes Bush to task:

Remember the great crime wave of the late 1980s and early 1990s? Well, we're beginning to get some nasty reminders of what it was like before the large and sustained -- and in some places dramatic -- drops in violent crime that America enjoyed for about a decade. Recently released FBI statistics showed violent crime up nationally in 2006 for the second year in a row, with particularly disturbing rises in murders and armed robberies in Midwestern cities.

Even as crime shows signs of making a big comeback, the Bush administration and congressional Republicans have consistently worked to undermine the crime-fighting initiatives of the Clinton years, cutting federal law enforcement assistance to states and localities by about $2 billion since 2002. At the same time, many police departments are struggling from personnel shortages (in part because police officers are disproportionately represented in the reserve and national guard units that have been called up for Iraq), higher costs, and new anti-terrorism responsibilities.

A particular target for the GOP has been the COPS (Community Oriented Policing Services) program, the signature Clinton crime initiative that placed over 100,000 new officers on the streets in the late 1990s, and also strongly promoted the proactive, problem-solving policing strategies that showed such great success in reducing crime in many major cities...

Democrats are trying to reauthorize COPs...and yet this action is being held up by Republicans in the Senate...

Again, the DLC:

... it's time for Republicans to get over their strange antipathy toward the importance of police officers in fighting crime, and their reflexive opposition to any initiative identified with President Clinton. In anticipation of the unpleasant new crime statistics, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales called for a national response focused on -- you guessed it -- longer mandatory sentences for those convicted of violent crimes. If we learned anything about crime-fighting in recent years, it's that smart policing can have a big impact on preventing crimes before they happen. It's certainly no time to deny police departments the help they need to turn around the upsurge in violent crime. And we encourage presidential candidates in both parties to make this a serious issue in 2008.

But, if the Republicans continue to have their way (which, I hope, is unlikely) then we are more liable to get something along the lines of what the Huntsville Timespredicts:

What we require are a variety of approaches that target all of the problems and promote a variety of solutions. Above all, we need, as a country, to embrace the noble concept that civility, not violence, should be a national virtue.

What we'll probably get is a "War on Crime" from a politician who will use the figures to scare us and to make it appear that the matter is being addressed.

But, in the meantime, crime creeps back into our cities, our once solid national financial strength seeps from between our fingers, and our once awesome position of respect throughout the world evaporates like ice in the sun...

Just another example of progress rolled back, and opportunity squandered...brought to you by the Bush Administration.


*(Although, I must admit, I don't know much about the Huntsville Time's editorial staff...they may be a bunch of liberal holdouts trapped in the heart of the Confederacy.)

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Al Gore Endorses Vermont's H520 Energy Bill

I just got an email alert from the Vermont Democratic Party...
Breaking News: Climate Change Bill gets Gore's support!

Vice President Al Gore has educated the nation on the threat of global climate change. Now, the Vice President has taken notice of the Vermont legislature's groundbreaking Energy Efficiency and Affordability Act and is offering his support for this legislation.

Vice President Gore confirmed Wednesday morning that he will issue a live statement in support of Vermont's legislation via video conferencing Thursday, June 7 at 3 p.m. Senate Pro Tem Peter Shumlin and Speaker Gaye Symington will introduce the Vice President at the Vermont Interactive Television studio in Montpelier. If you can't make it to the capital, satellite studios will be open in Bennington, Brattleboro, Middlebury, Williston and Saint Albans.

Of course, this makes me happy...however...as a member of the cast of Audio Dream Theater...I already knew Gore was in tight with our team!

Post Script

Although some businesses have expressed concern about H.520 others realize that this is a "pro-business" bill...or, at least, it's pro the kind of businesses that SHOULD define Vermont...Hear audio of the Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility Press Conference here.

Also, Freyne has an interesting email from Rep. Tony Klein on his blog--here's the quote:
I noticed the [Douglas Administration] never mentioned the
companies that do support H.520 like our homegrown Ben and Jerry's, Green
Mountain Roasters and NRG Systems among many others. These companies were
created here by Vermonter's.

The Companies that [the Douglas Administration]seems to only represent
certainly weren't created here and certainly don't have their headquarters
located within the boundaries of Vermont.

Well Said.

Some Things ARE worth Fighting For:
D-Day, June 6th 1944

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

My Reading List:
Kevin Phillips, Theodore H. White

Poor Rip and Read. I have been neglecting it of late. I’ve not really been able to clear off a lot of time to write in my blog, nor read the blogs of others. Work has been busy, and there are many other changes swelling in my life as well.

What little free time I have been able to find, I’ve spent reading. And wishing I could find just a little more time in the day to write about what I’ve been reading.

One amazing read has been Kevin Phillips’ American Theocracy: The Peril and Politics of Radical Religion, Oil, and Borrowed Money in the 21st Century. The dust jacket sums up Phillips’ argument:

From Ancient Rome to the British Empire, Phillips demonstrates that every world-dominating power has been brought down by an overlapping set of problems: a foolish combination of global overreach, militant religion, diminishing resources, and ballooning debt. [This is] exactly the nexus of ills that has come to define America’s political and economic identity at the start of this century.”

It was a fascinating and frightening read. But it helped me begin to understand much that has happened in the last few years that seemed otherwise inexplicable to me.

This morning, I read the preface of Theodore H. White’s America In Search of Itself: The Making of the President: 1956-1980.

I came across a couple of quotes which I just had to share:

  • “American [academia]contributed so largely to the victory [in World War 2]…and such thinkers would go on to achieve in American life the status of a mandarinate until, like the Chinese mandarins, they lost touch with reality”

  • “Nowhere was a warning [to liberals, overstepping themselves in the 1960s] more clearly voiced than by one of the dominant liberals of the time, John Gardner, then Secretary of Health-Education-Welfare: “ ‘There are some people who have…a vending machine concept of social change. You put a coin in and out comes a piece of candy. If you have a social problem you pass a law and out comes the solution.’ ”

  • “The trouble with the liberal idea was that liberals, looking back, could not distinguish between their genuine triumphs and their failures. Their peril in the eighties would be that the good they had done might be washed away with their blunders.”

  • and lastly:

  • “Reagan would probably be the last United States President to have worn a uniform in World War 2—unless his Vice-President, George [H.W.] Bush, succeed him, in which case, Bush, a genuine war hero, might very well be remembered as the last national leader ever to have served in actual combat.”

Now, as Bush’s son and his cronies, men who escaped combat when they did their service, lead us through a disastrous war, I can’t but help be amazed at the accuracy of White’s prediction…after all….the book was penned in 1982!

    Monday, June 04, 2007

    The NEW New Nixon
    Audio Dream Theater Returns

    Nixon _Returns_byADBThey may have called Bill Clinton the "Come Back Kid", but perhaps the American Politician who reinvented himself most successfully, time and time again, was Richard Nixon. In each new permutation, we were told that this was "The New Nixon".

    Well, this twisted and fascinating man is gone now...and, wherever he is, it must really irk him that he can't make just one more comeback.

    At least he couldn't...until now!

    You see, Nixon IS back.

    And it's all thanks to Philip Baruth over at Vermont Daily Briefing.

    Thanks to Philip's wizardry at the typewriter, Nixon has found his way back into the arena in the latest episode of Audio Dream Theater's League of Extraordinary Republican Gentlemen.

    Episode 3: Statehouse of the Living Dead features the voice-work of:

    It probably goes without saying that I feel very lucky to be a part of this little acting company...but I'll say it anyway, because I am.

    I hope you enjoy Statehouse of the Living Dead! at least half as much as I enjoyed working on it!

    Sunday, June 03, 2007

    Newt Gringrich Slams Bush
    Beware Geeks Bearing Gifts

    There is an old proverb which warns us: Beware of Geeks bearing gifts. (The Romans later changed this to “Greeks”, but I am sure it was a type-o.)

    This week, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, a geek* in the true and original sense of the word, gave a gift to we-who-hate-Bush, he went onto the Fox Network and denounced the utter and complete incompetence of the Bush Administration.

    The AP summed up part of Gingrich’s argument:

    "All you have to do is look at the examples I've given you today where the government simply fails," said Gingrich, citing the administration's handling of the war in Iraq, its immigration policies and response to Hurricane Katrina.

    And according to the article by the Bloomberg News Service:

    ``The administration has very, very high goals -- democracy throughout the Middle East -- and very weak bureaucratic support for those goals,'' Gingrich said on Fox. ``And the result is an enormous mismatch in just sheer implementation.''

    Bush ``doesn't methodically insist on changing things,'' Gingrich said.

    ``Here we are, 5 and ½ years after 9/11, and the fact is, I would argue, we're losing the war around the world with Islamic extremists and they are, in fact, gaining ground,'' he said.

    HA! HA! Gingrich is making our points for us! What a great day! But wait…something is not right. There is a fly in the buttermilk. You see, as much as I LOVE watching one Republican Elder eviscerating another, I can’t help but dwell on those last two points:

    The terrorists are getting stronger, and so, we must insist on changing things.

    Perhaps, Gingrich simply means we have to clean up and streamline the workings of the government bureaucracy.

    But I keep thinking about a little noted speech Newt gave over in New Hampshire in 2006. I didn’t find it until months later, when I tried to write a funny essay on Newt’s infidelity during the Clinton crisis….I remembered then, and am recalling now, that there is absolutely NOTHING funny about Newt Gingrich:

    “This is a serious long term war, and it will inevitably lead us to want to know what is said in every suspect place in the country, that will lead us to learn how to close down every website that is dangerous, and it will lead us to a very severe approach to people who advocate the killing of Americans and advocate the use of nuclear of[sic] biological weapons.”

    Newt Gingrich is seriously proposing that we: "adopt rules of engagement that use every technology we can find to break up their capacity to use the internet, to break up their capacity to use free speech, and to go after people who want to kill us"

    In effect, Newt is saying, we are going to need to place Freedom of Speech in a sort of Blind Trust, until we win the war on Terror.

    I think that when Newt Gingrich talks about drastic changes, he actually has something like THIS in mind.

    And I shudder to think of it. All too often, we liberals tend to think that, if the American People are deeply dissatisfied with the Republicans, they will turn to us.

    But what would they do if they were offered a choice even FURTHER to the right?

    That’s what keeps me awake at night.


    The term Geek,in it's origional usage, denoted a performer in a circus who captured attention by perferming unspeakable acts.