Thursday, November 20, 2008

Fountain, Minnesota- Yes...I'm Going to Go There.

A nail biting recount in the Minnesota Senate election, a slur on President-Elect Obama by Al Qaida's Number Two, and the pending nomination of Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State (which is where Rip and Read always thought she should be)...and yet the most exciting story here is STILL Fountain, Minnesota.

As loyal readers (all four of you) will recall...Today Show Travel Host Peter Greenberg insulted the tiny town of Fountain by including it in his book "Don't Go There."

Rip-and-Read made some hay by imagining an "It's A Wonderful Life" style debate between Greenberg as mean old Mister Potter and George Baily sticking up for the small town. We also posited that, if Mr. Greenberg didn't mend his Elitist Big City Media Ways, that champion of "Real" America, Sarah Palin, would come and get him in 2012.

This didn't go over well with one reader. And, upon reflection, Rip-and-Read can't really blame them...after all, Fillmore County voted against Bush in 2004 as well as for Obama in 2008...so there was no need to bring the Dragon Lady into it other than the fact that I was, quite honestly, stuck for a closing.

But there was a bright ray of Sunshine in all of this. Yesterday, I got a really nice comment from Debra Richardson of the Fillmore County History Center. Debra was quoted in the original article which first caught my attention, and I reprint her comment here on the front page:


This is Fountain's "Fillmore County History Center" Assistant Director, Debra, checking in with a comment. Viewing statistics for our website, I noted the incoming link from your blog.

Firstly, welcome to Minnesota. Secondly, I'd like to extend a welcome to Fillmore County and the village of Fountain, in particular.

We'd love for you to visit our museum. Over the past year, we’ve had 1500 people sign our guest book. Many are from the tri state area- but we’ve had visitors from all over the country- even from...Wasilla Alaska! And no, it was not Gov. Palin, though she would be most welcome. As would be any politician, travel writer, or radio advertising producer. Mr. Greenberg's brouhaha is not colored red or blue. History, sinkhole topography, and tourism are strictly non-partisan...and beyond borders. We’ve welcomed visitors from London, France, the Netherlands, Russia, Germany, and Liberia West Africa. It is frequently commented that our facility ranks up amongst the best museums in the country. Recently, an elder hostel group stopped in on a tour. One of the gentlemen took me aside to say that he’s been to all the renowned American museums and yet it was his opinion that the scope and condition of artifacts in our little museum in a tiny town on the Midwestern prairie shine amongst the best.

As to Mr. Greenberg, he obviously doesn't know a sinkhole from a hole in the ground. We'd love the opportunity to change his view, and viewpoint. Sinkholes are just one of those things you must experience firsthand to be able to comment intelligently upon.
As a natural formation, their very presence provides scientific data and research opportunities. As a unique part of southeast Minnesota's landscape, they're rich in history and lore.

Your “It's a Wonderful Life” clip voice over was clever. We have sinkholes; we also have a sense of humor. No offense taken. However, we do take offense to mistruths broadcast to the nation about our town and published by an author out to sell books, utilizing belittlement and controversy as a means to do so.

That said, we're expecting this sudden national exposure might be to our benefit. As a nonprofit, our limited operating budget doesn't allow the luxury of out-of-area advertising. We couldn't put ourselves on the map; therefore, in that respect we appreciate the backhanded shout-out from Mr. Greenberg.

On behalf of Fountain, Minnesota, I invite you to come visit us, Alex. There's a welcome mat, your choice of sinkholes, and small town hospitality awaiting your arrival.

Despite my cheap humor, Fountain had already managed to make my list of "Must Visit" places...I actually DO want to see the sink holes...and I also want to know more about the political history of this corner of Minnesota's First District.

But, now, after Debra's gracious comments- it's moved up near the top of the list...AND I'm bringing friends AND I hope that everybody who reads Mr. Greenberg's book decides to do the same.

So, once I come back with pictures- there will be (at least) one MORE report about Fountain and the history center.


Wednesday, November 19, 2008

A Fountain of Controversy- Fountain, Minnesota- that is

A few days ago, Rip-and-Read posted about Fountain Minnesota and it's run-in with Today Show Travel Commentator Peter Greenberg.

Fountain, a tiny town of 343 people in South Eastern Minnesota, bills itself as "The Sink Hole Capitol of the World". Greenberg has included it in his book Don't Go There and joked on the Today Show about spelling mistakes in the town's brochure and quipped that children might fall into a sink hole while bike riding.

After a reading of the story, the first thing that popped into my head was an image of George Baily (of It's A Wonderful Life) delivering a Capra-esque diatribe on behalf of Fountain to Peter Greenburg, whom I mentally cast in the role of mean old Mr. Potter.

It amused me, and so I ran with it. In the end, my sympathies are with Fountain, after all, this is a tiny little town that has one claim to fame, is by all reports a pretty nice little locale, and there is no reason for a big city commentator to go trashing the place.

It also put me in mind of the Red State/Blue State theory of America, in which "The Heartland" of small towns is in conflict with the Big Cities and Sophisticates of the Coasts. So, adopting (with what I hoped was obvious sarcasm) the tone of a Right-Wingnut commentator, I pictured small towns across America rallying behind a resurgent Sarah Palin for revenge.

I have to admit that I found the whole story kind of funny and didn't feel that there were any serious issues at stake. After all, in one corner, you have a town which bills itself as the Sink Hole Capitol of the World, and, in the other corner, you have Peter Greenberg shamelessly plugging his book; which, as Greg Sellnow in the Rochester Post Bulletin points out relies on 40 year old Cleveland jokes for humor- so how good can this tome be?

Not to mention that fact, that, after a nail bitter of an election, I needed something light to write about, and this seemed like appropriately light fare- a travel writer vs. a sink hole...

This story seemed harmless.


This story is still making waves here in South Eastern Minnesota, and the Post Bulletin ran another opinion piece about Fountain/Greenburg Feud today.. In his piece, Greg Sellnow, takes great pains to describe Fountain as:

... a pretty, quaint community. The Root River Trail bike path runs through town. Its main street includes one of the area's last surviving small-town groceries, "Willie's Meat and Groceries."

Greenberg is taken to task for giving the place an "undeserved poke in the ribs".

Here at Rip-and-Read, one anonymous commentator has left no doubt that they were not amused by our take, and they share their opinion that we at Rip-and-Read were guilty of "bigotry" and a "cheap shot"...

The comments attached to Sellnow's Post-Bulletin piece are in the same vein:

"Shame on you Mr. Greenberg...
I thought how uninformed he must be and how stupid he must think everyone must be."

The story, at least around here, has struck a nerve. People have been leaping to the defense not just of Fountain, but also Cleveland, Galveston and, yes, Tracy B and Friend Russell: The CORN PALACE...all places skewered by Peter Greenberg in his book.

...so my question is: what nerve has been struck. And what does it mean, if anything, in a Blue State/Red State Dynamic..? Are we looking at the symptom of something serious here after all?

Comments are always welcome.

Greenberg's book is called "Don't Go There." The original article in the Post-Bulletin was by Laura Gossman and is here.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Reagan's Farewell

Everyday that goes by brings us closer to the end of eight LONG years of the George W. Bush Presidency. Rip-and-Read couldn't be happier as we look forward to Mr. Bush's farewell address.

Today, I happened to stumble across another Presidential farewell on You-Tube. Ronald Reagan is definitely NOT one of Rip-and-Read's favorite Presidents. In my opinion, Mr. Reagan is the DIRECT political ancestor of George W. Bush, and their family tree stretches back to include the lassiez-faire capitalism which contributed to the great depression.

Following both the Reagan and G.W.Bush administrations, the nation has been left more deeply in debt, and struggling under a financial crisis and a massive burden on back of the middle class taxpayer to bailout those at the top of the economic heap. {For Reagan, it was the $105 billion dollar cost to fix the Savings & Loan Industry- while, for the source of America's current economic woes, visit any paper of your choice.)

Also, both men encouraged a spirit of jingoism in this country- often playing to the darker devils of our spirits than to the better angels of our nature.

Still, no one can deny that Reagan had style and a real mastery of communication. The fact that the spirit of his deeds did not always match the spirit of his words does not obscure the fact that the words were often pretty good.

And so, I found myself listening to Reagan's farewell speech. My vision of what capitalism is, and how it should be managed by the American people is different that his - but with his most basic, bedrock vision of what America should be, I couldn't agree more...and in his exhortation to teach our children not only what is wrong with America, but, more importantly, what is RIGHT in America- I wholeheartedly concur.

Because, in the end, if you don't firmly believe that your nation is, at it's best, a shining city on a hill, then you have no reason to keep fighting to make her all she should be.

Here's Mr. Reagan's address:

Saturday, November 15, 2008

The Today Show vs. Fountain, Minnesota: Land of 10,000 Sink Holes and 343 people

Fountain, Minnesota, which is about 30 miles south of Rip-and-Read's new home, bills itself as "The Sink Hole Capital of America". With only 343 residents, the sink holes are just about all they have. Sadly Rip-and-Read has just learned of a dastardly move by the venal Eastern Elite Establishment to take even this title away from poor Fountain...leaving them with nothing but holes.

According to the Rochester Post Bulletin, Today Show Travel Host Peter Greenburg totally dumped on the little town and it's 343 residents by including their attraction in his book, "Don't Go There", and then waxing funny about it on the morning news.

Mostly notably, Greenburg seized on the fact that the word "Capital" was misspelled in the town's tourist brochure. Of course, there are very few things guaranteed to tick Rip-and-Read off faster than a spelling purist. There is a misconception that Good Spelling equals High Intelligence, when, in fact, it is no more than a signal of Petty Pedantry. If bad spelling was good enough for our Founding Fathers, then it is Good Enough for us...and should be more than Adequate for an elitist like this Greenburg fellow.

According to the article, no one is sure if Greenburg actually managed to visit the "Sink Hole Capital of the World." The Post Bulletin's Laura Gossman interviewed Debra Richardson of the Fillmore County History Center:

Richardson said she'd like to invite Greenburg to stop and visit the town.

"We could take him out to a sinkhole and let him know they aren't a danger to children in the area," Richardson said. "Many kids are fascinated by sinkholes and are eager to learn more about the formations."

Rip-and-Read is sure that this is true...who wouldn't want to spend a day, perhaps even a week, looking at, thinking about, and maybe falling into, a sink hole: nature's playground? Any Red Blooded American Tourist would be Proud to include this stop on their itinerary; Afterward, they would display photos prominently in the digital picture frame bought from Walmart to commemorate the experiance.

After thinking about Peter Greenburg's snide comments (which I admit I've neither heard nor read) I couldn't help but see this as a big city swipe at small town life. I wondered just what that great defender of Small Town American Values, George Bailey of It's A Wonderful Life would have said. I imagine something like this:

In the end, this just tells us that the results of the recent election have gone to the heads of the Big City Elite Media...and they think they can return to their old ways of disparaging the citizens of tiny little God-Fearing, Sink Hole Havin' burgs like Fountain.

Well, I would like to remind Greenburg and his cohorts that Sarah Palin, that great champion of the Real American, will be back- with a plumber AND a six-pack, and that this time: IT'S PERSONAL...

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

In Which Slingbacks and Syrup Gets Noticed, Russell Dreher Keeps Moving, and Rip-and-Read uses the Royal We a Lot

It was never part of our plan at Rip and Read to be interviewed for a documentary film...and it was certainly never part of our wildest dreams that we would get our first IMDB Movie credit for playing ourselves in a documentary about Vermont Drag Queens...but sometimes, that is the way fame finds us- unprepared and in the tub.

Actually, the really sad part is that We've not even had a chance to see the movie yet.

We have, however, watched friend Russell Dreher sweat bullets over it's creation and marketing these past few years, we've dropped a nugget or two of useless publicity advice when asked, and we've been amazed at the Herculean efforts of friend Russell to get his film shot, produced, and now marketed. It's been great.

Slingbacks and Syrup tells the story of Vermont's own Drag Troupe "The House of LeMay" and illustrates the impact these unlikely heroes (or, is that heroines?) have had on their community. As a member of said community who would do just as well as any other, it was our privilege to be interviewed for the film.

Just this fall, Slingbacks and Syrup had a very successful premier at the Burlington Film Festival, where it was one of the best attended entries.

Now, Seven Days, Vermont's arts and news weekly newspaper, has run a feature on one of the stars, Bob Bolyard...but Russell gets a great plug in the article as well:

The “LeMay half” of Bolyard’s alliance with Hayes, McLaughlin and the others recently got a new shot of publicity. Slingbacks and Syrup, a documentary on the history of the LeMay phenomenon, premiered at October’s Vermont International Film Festival. For director Russell Dreher, who commuted from New York to film LeMay events and conduct interviews, it was a hefty labor of love. Dreher financed the film himself, and during the editing process, he lost his job and was diagnosed with cancer.

Dreher eventually emerged with a clean bill of health and a finished film, which is currently for sale on the LeMays’ website. He says other festivals have shown interest, including one in Canada that he prefers not to name yet.

Way to go, Russell (and hats off to Bob, Mike and the House of LeMay too). We at Rip and Read are proud of you.

Oh, yeah, I can hear you asking now- where can I buy a copy of this? Well, right here: of course! https://www.createspace.com/254167

Monday, November 10, 2008

Franken vs Coleman: Down to 204

The gap continues to shrink in the nation's hottest Senate Race, and, Norm Coleman continues to drop in my estimation. Over the weekend, the Coleman campaign filed a "sneak attack" motion on a Saturday-- giving the Press and The Democrats almost no time to respond. Again, I came prepared to disagree but respect Norm Coleman-- it's not taking long, however, to get the full measure of the man.

More local media from KAALtv.com on the race.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Tough, Tough Times Ahead, It Seems

The New York Time's headline today says it all: "Jobless Rate Highest in 14 Years". America has lost 1.2 million jobs this year, and 6.5 percent of people are looking for work.

Likely to prolong this period of pain is the fact that the banks who survived the free for all of lending, are now cutting way, way back on the credit they are giving. On a larger scale, this is part of what happened during the 1930s, and one of the reasons why it took us so long (over a decade) to recover completely from the effects of the Crash.

Still, it is worth noting, in an age when the media has become more alarmist than the nut on the street with the "The World Will End Tomorrow" sign that the unemployment rate during the Depression was almost 25% - despite media claims, this is NOT the greatest crisis since the depression, and that is worth remembering.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

For Minnesota It is Not Over: We head into a Recount.

Here in Minnesota, voter turn out was the highest in the nation. Almost 3 million voters went to the polls yesterday. Norm Coleman, the incumbent Republican currently looks like he has held on to his seat by a mere 475 votes. The race automatically heads into a recount.

The Rochester Post Bulletin reports that the recount will cost the tax-payers of Minnesota some $90,000. Coleman,who recently became a target in a civil suit which alleges that some of his supporters pressured fellow business people to funnel cash to the Senator's wife's company, with the express purpose of enriching the GOP incumbent, claims that if it were him, he would "step back" from a recount and let the results stand.

......really? I mean, seriously, Norm...REALLY?

Norm, are you really telling me that you would take all the people who supported you, who gave money (legally) and who knocked on doors for you and throw them right under the bus by "stepping back" in the face of what looks like less that 500 votes...out of 3 million?

I don't know you but is that really the kind of guy you are? If I were a Republican, and you spat in the face of MY hard work and financial contribution that way, I would never forgive you.

If you "stepped back" - it would not be noble. It would be an act of cowardice and a betrayal of those thousands - no, hundreds of thousands- of people who believed in you and went to the polls to make their voice heard on your behalf.

Yes- $90,000 dollars is a lot of money, it is more than many Minnesotans make in a year (most definitely including yours truly), but the idea that $90,000 is "wasted" on a recount is absolute bunk.

When it comes to ensuring that the voice of the people is truly heard, $90,000 is a minuscule amount...a bargain really.

You should be ashamed of yourself for suggesting otherwise. I hate to throw the "U" word around, as Michele Bachmann does, but it's almost....UNAmerican of you.

Update: "The Senator is has Reported Every Gift He's Ever Received"

I'm still playing catch up with Minnesota Politics. After hearing Franken speak, it was easy to decide that I was FOR him-- but now that I'm getting to know Norm Coleman and his outfit a little better I...well, wow- can we say: AGAINST?

In my efforts to keep learning, I'm seeking out more Minnesota Blogs. Here's what I found over at MNBlue in a diary by "The Big E"...

In a related scandal to the one above, Norm Coleman has been accused of taking gifts of expensive clothing from wealthy supporters.

So, his campaign manager was asked by the Minnesota Press Corps: Did He? Or Didn't He.

Watch this You-Tube video from the press conference as Coleman's campaign manager Cullen Sheehan does the best stonewalling act since the Nixon Whitehouse.

Holy Cow? Are these people for real? This is such a simple question, guys. If you're honest: Answer.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

In Which We Reach the End & A New Beginning: Election Day, 2008.

Election Day 2008 is history, and WOW! What History it is! An awe-inspiring milestone for our country. Throughout this election, I haven't given too much thought about the role of race except when it became a campaign issue. Personally, I would have voted for Barack Obama if he had been purple with bright yellow spots....he was the right person at the right time.

But as I sit here this morning, still trying to take it all in- I am amazed to think that the day has come when part of Martin Luther King's Dream has come true. Yesterday, the nation as a whole overwhelmingly judged a man based on the content of his character, rather than the color of his skin.


It was back to DFL Volunteer Headquarters yesterday for one last day of door knocking. Minnesota has same-day registration so there is a potential set of would be voters who may not have made up their minds even yet to vote. The Olmsted County Democratic-Farmer-Labor party was out in force yesterday to persuade them.

In the mid-afternoon, I found myself in Stewartville...about nine miles outside of Rochester. This little town is evocative of hundreds of small towns across the nation...in some ways, it seemed there was no more appropriate place to be yesterday than right in the heartland of the country.

My partner for the day, Diane and I kept working on into the evening. The polls didn't close until 8pm- so if there was a chance we could get one more person out to vote for Obama, Franken, and Walz- it was worth knocking.

And there were a few great moments. In Stewartville, I met a woman coming toward me talking on her cell phone: "Sir?" She said to me, "who are you campaigning for?"

"I'm out for Obama, Al Franken, and Tim Walz- DFL!" I said.

She spoke back into her phone: "Yeah, that's what he said. Walz and Franken. Yeah...I thought I was seeing double. No. No. He's out here right now."

She put the phone to her palm and spoke to me again: "My girl-friend is a Republican. They quit yesterday." She seemed hurt. Almost as if I were cheating or something. I have to admit, I hadn't had a chance to speak with any undecided voters, but it felt good just to be out- keeping the pressure on.

"Well, it ain't over till it's over. So, we're still out today. Good Luck!"

I also met a woman who had voted already. She took great pleasure in telling me about her brother-in-law. A life long Republican, he finally soured on George W. Bush and told his sister-in-law that he had become a "Gopher" (spelled: GOPer)- meaning, a FORMER Republican. I met quite a few voters who had changed party's (at least this once) because of George W. Bush.

In the end, every single person I talked to HAD voted...and Minnesota seems to have kept it's title as the state with the highest voter turnout in the nation. Reports are that 3 million of 3.7 million eligible voters went to the polls yesterday.

When we returned to volunteer headquarters...the place had been cleaned up top to bottom-- it was amazing to think that, a few hours ago, this room had been full of food, coffee, fellowship, energy and a drive to work for this country. Now, the remaining staff and volunteers were sitting in a tired circle...allowing their batteries to recharge a bit before heading over to the Marriott and what we all hoped would be a victory party.


And in the end...well...you know how it ended. What an amazing day for the United States of America and for our friends and allies around the world. I met so many people in England who had great regard and affection for America, but who had wondered for the last eight years what had happened to their old friends and who passionately pinned their hopes on this race. One young British lady said she literally wept for joy this morning.

This may not be a popular sentiment among all Democrats, but John McCain's speech last night was, as one person wrote on a friend's facebook page: a class act. He reached out and found what was best in America and her people. His speech reminds us that this man has been an amazing public servant and who has given so much to his country. One of the benefits of our Democratic Victory will be a chance re-express our admiration for this great American.

The hard work will begin today. We, as American's have just completed a tough and often bitter contest. I am reminded of Winston Churchill's guidelines for waging war and peace. He said: "In war, resolution; in defeat, defiance; in victory, magnanimity; in peace, good will."

In the past, when an election has ended we have not always found ways to achieve both Magnanimity and Good Will- for the sake of our country, I profoundly hope we can do it now.

Here in Minnesota, we've had some mixed results. Al Franken was trailing Norm Coleman by a mere 800 Votes as of this morning out of 3,000,000 votes cast, that is a razor thin margin. And there will be a recount.

In the sixth district, Michele Bachmann, who first drew fire by pawing George W. Bush during his State of the Union Address in 2007, and who again insulted all of America by declaring that people who didn't agree with her radical right views were somehow UnAmerican, managed to hang on to her seat despite heroic efforts on the part of the DFL to do the nation a great service and send her into political exile.

But here in Minnesota's first district, Tim Walz won handily and will return to Congress. I spoke with fellow blogger Jennifer who remembers that, when she first volunteered for the Olmsted County DFL, their offices were in an empty garage...and a grant from the state headquarters of $75 for a phone line was a huge deal. Tonight, as we gathered in the big beautiful ballroom of the Marriott, I could only take my hat off in respect to these people who have fought so hard and who have made a huge difference to their community.

As for President-Elect Obama- words all but fail me. Comments from friends have been pouring in and popping like celebratory fireworks...I'm tired, amazed, relieved, and happy. And I am so proud of the United States today.

May God Bless the United State and All Her People


WOW! It's still slowly sinking in....wow.

Wow. I can't believe it. Wow!

I'm proud to be an American. I'm proud of us all. Hat's off to John McCain. His speech tonight was a class act, all the way.

Yes, we can.

God Bless America!

Monday, November 03, 2008

Obama Has Nailed It (We Sincerely Hope):
Further Adventures on the Campaign Trail

Well, it was back to Olmsted County Democratic Farmer Labor party headquarters for another day of Get Out the Vote.

Part One: A Tough Race

It's an exciting race.

Al Franken is neck and neck with Republican Norm Coleman. This has been an incredibly negative race in Minnesota. In the past, Al Franken has been both a comedian and an unabashed partisan writer and talk show host...there are those here who seem to be having a hard time seeing past that.

And yet, Minnesota is facing a looming unemployment crisis. A quick search of the Rochester Post Bulletin's website reveals more than one story on this topic. Not only are laid-off workers facing a tough job market here in the state, but the problem is hitting many different types of jobs and tiers of employment. This is a time for action and change. Barack Obama does not need to face more opposition in the U.S. Senate as he tries to bring that change.

Now, Norm Coleman has been dragged into a dirty Texas Lawsuit in which one Republican businessman in the Lone Star State accuses a Norm Coleman Supporter of pressuring him to make payments to companies with ties to Coleman and his family.

The truth will not be known for a while, but rather than confirm or deny the substance of the allegations, Coleman immediately blamed FRANKEN for the mess he was in....although the Franken campaign denies even knowing about the suit until it hit the papers, and Coleman couldn't come up with any evidence to prove that Franken or his campaign was involved.

I'm fairly new here in Minnesota, but frankly, that's about all I needed to know about Norm Coleman...this sounds like it's right from the Karl Rove "Bait and Switch" playbook....when your hands are dirty, wipe them on someone else.

The big question now is: While Minnesota have time to see through Norm Coleman?

Part Two: DFL HEADQUARTERS Just like Family

So, full of righteous indignation about the perfidy of Republicans when cornered, I made my way back to DFL headquarters to knock on more doors for Obama, Franken, and Tim Waltz.

Let me tell you, these folks here in Minnesota know how to do things right! When I entered, I was checked in by Jennifer- who has the best Obama campaign regalia anywhere. She's even painted her fingernails for change! It's awesome!

I learned that Jennifer is a fellow blogger. Her's is entitled: "Everyone is Entitled to My Opinion." Let's hope that tomorrow the rest of the country agrees with her on that!

Next, Tim Walz- former National Guardsman, High School Teacher, Football Coach and now Congressman from the 1st District- arrived with his wife, Gwen, (not pictured) and gave another great speech from the hip. Gwen is a terrific speaker in her own right, and took the opportunity to inspire the crowd with a quote from Martin Luther King, Jr: "The Moral Arc of the Universe is long but it bends toward Justice." Good words to inspire us as we hit the streets.

After, as Walz passed through the crowd, I got the chance to tell him how impressed I'd become with his campaign in such a short time. When I mentioned I'd recently moved from Vermont, he immediately responded with: "Peter Welch! Great, great guy. Good congressman." Felt good to hear.

My experience going door to door was much the same as it was the first day...although I am getting more comfortable doing it. Many people are concerned by the direction the country has been heading in, and are looking for a chance to vote for something better.

And again, the fall weather is warm and beautiful...color still clinging to the trees and the geese flocking overhead.

And finally, back to campaign headquarters, where Mary, Carolyn and the rest of the kitchen volunteers have spent the day whipping up chili, grilled cheese sandwiches as thick as your thumb, and a host of other goodies to reward a worker for a good day's work.... I'm doing a lot of walking, but at this rate, I don't think I'm going to loose any weight.

As I arrived home, tired, but ready for one last push tomorrow my wife greeted me at the door, took one look at the campaign stickers all over my shirt and said: "Hello Honey! You look like the Back Bumper of a Car!"

Well, she has a point.

Good luck to us all Tuesday.

Hey! I Know That Guy! Burlington Free Press Profiles Neil Jensen

The Burlington Free Press ran a profile of Neil Jensen on November 1st. Neil was one of the first Vermonters to organize for Barack Obama. I have been privileged to work with Neil Jensen on Philip Baruth's Jim Douglas Trilogy for Audio Dream Theater. In fact, it was Neil, along with Philip who encouraged this blogger to first look seriously at Barack Obama... I didn't take me long to like what I saw.

In addition to being a first class voice for change in Vermont, the Free Press article neglected to mention that Neil also does first class Voices. His imitation of Obama is damn good. His Henry Kissinger is spot on. And he does Al Gore's voice better than Al Gore does.

Read Sam Hemingway's article, Monkton Man Called It Early, over at the Free Press: Here.

And speaking of Vermont Daily Briefing and Philip Baruth....thanks for the hat tip, Philip! VDB posted some additional pics from the Al Franken for Senate Rally I attended the other morning...AND Philip rightly points out that, when it comes to photographic ability....I have a good eye for radio!

Thanks----- My Friends....


Gotta go now...out to knock on more doors for Franken and Obama today.


Sunday, November 02, 2008

Dinner Near Norm, Pancakes With Al:
Pass the Syrup Please!

Well, I've been sitting on the English sidelines for the last year- watching American politics from afar, but Minnesota sure has been doing her best to make up for it these last few days.

About two weeks ago, Bobbi and I went out to dinner with my sister-in-law and my "brother-in-law" (he isn't yet, but this is a subtle campaign) to the St. Paul Hotel for a very good, and very expensive, dinner.

Well, we look over at the next table, and who should be enjoying a post-senate debate meal, but Norm Coleman- the GOP incumbent - fresh from fighting for his political life against Al Franken. If you click on the photo below, Norm is just visible in the background.

A few days later, as I've already described, I get to have breakfast at a campaign rally with Al Franken....

I have to admit, the steak is good at the St. Paul Hotel, but in this case, I MUCH preferred the pancakes.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Violating Sarah Palin's Rights: "So Dumb It Hurts"

Not much time to blog today, out to knock on doors again. But I just had to throw up a link to this: Sarah Palin is claiming that, by criticizing her campaign rhetoric, the media is violating her first amendment rights.

Read Glenn Greenwald on Salon to get the full story...he also takes a slap at liberal columnist Maureen Dowd who equally deserves it.

The stand out quote is as follows:
The First Amendment is actually not that complicated. It can be read from start to finish in about 10 seconds. It bars the Government from abridging free speech rights. It doesn't have anything to do with whether you're free to say things without being criticized, or whether you can comment on blogs without being edited, or whether people can bar you from their private planes because they don't like what you've said.
People have the right to say whatever they want. But when they tell lies, or stick their Uggs in their Mugs...other people have the right to point it out. If they tell lies, they suffer the consiquences. Sarah must have been out at a pageant rehearsal during that social studies class. Read the piece...please!