Close Encounters Of The Gubernatorial Kind

For the first time in years, I made a date this (Wednesday) morning to have breakfast away from home while I got my tires balanced (which is not a euphemism for anything, thank you). The Wayside on the Barre-Montpelier Road is a comfy fit; besides, with the average age of the diners usually found there, I can feel pretty damned young!

So after just firing off a letter to the governor's office in Montpelier to complain about his latest veto of anything President Bush wouldn't like, I no sooner step into the Wayside and try to take a seat in one part of the restaurant while my breakfast companion says no, let's sit on the other side. Then he proceeded to choose a seat right behind the counter where Vermont Governor Jim Douglas (R-Bush) was reading the paper and having a meal.

As softly - and sweetly, of course - as I could, I whispered to John, "Uh... are you fucking kidding me? I finally get out to eat and you seat me next to this bloodless Bushie?"

John - having known me only about 20 years so why he'd think I was being "funny" escapes me - thought I was kidding. Then Douglas turned in our direction to talk with someone, John heard the voice, took one look at my face and the way my body was ready to spring, and asked if he needed to move out of the way for his own personal safety. Something about the NEW expression on my face led John (correctly, I might add) to conclude I was serious; that I did not expect to be able to linger another moment without giving Douglas a piece of my mind (something his idol, George Bush, can't exactly offer).

Next, John made the mistake of asking me what I'd call him out for and then sat, bowled over, as I ticked off a list of at least 25 vetoes and other bogus moves he's pulled just in his last term. And I ticked them off loudly enough that the governor - whose entourage was discreetly set aside from him so it appeared the gov was dining alone at the counter - could hear. I mean, I was shaking not only with outrage but perceived self-righteousness; it was my realization of the latter that made me put some brakes on myself.

But there was a bigger reason I behaved (this time!). Douglas - for all my dislike of him - made a point to stop and talk with anyone who was willing to meet his eye contact (except mine.. ahem). When some bratty little kid kept tossing creamers and jelly packages off the table, Douglas kept scooping them up off the floor (later, the mother would brag about how the governor had to keep cleaning up her kid's mess) while he carried on the usual banter. For whatever else he is, and much of it I don't like, much less condone, Douglas was behaving like a Vermonter. And he was being accessible to the people who elected him. Bush has never done this anywhere and, considering Douglas was so faithful to the president, Bush has NEVER visited the state of Vermont as president though many states he has visited hundreds of times (we're ok with keeping the tainted shit out of the state, tyvm). So I have to hand it to Douglas that he, at a time when his popularity maybe isn't so hot, isn't hiding behind his importance.

Now, when Howard Dean (now DNC chairman but then Vermont governor) was gov, I ran into him several times in Montpelier. Even spoke a few times in that brusque New England/Dean way. The state house is right there with every other damned state office building so it's hard not to see your lawmakers and rulers. Loved this about Dean, love this about Vermont.

Where else in America can you get such close access to these people? And if I'd started to blow at Douglas, a lot of things could have happened (after all, I don't know of any governor who doesn't travel with a senior cop, usually in plainclothes, ready to take care of nasty business); the worst of them could be that a man like Douglas would - like Bush - choose to hide away except to attend venues where they handpick everyone in attendance.

Douglas certainly won't have my vote in November when he runs for re-election again. But he gained a smidgen of my respect today while I'm pleased I looked at the bigger picture rather than reacted angrily and rashly and perhaps caused Douglas to stop facing his constituents over a cup of Wayside coffee.


Former Reddites And Indies Leap Onto Democratic Party

As I noted at All Things Democrat, I think there are a host of reasons so many former Republicans and thirdies/Indies have joined new voters flooding into the blue party, among them:

* excitement with the Dem candidates
* Bush - GOP scandals backlash
* that up to 80% of Americans feel the Bushies killed the economy and feel the country in all respects is headed 110 MPH in the wrong direction
* a desire to belong to the only party where they can even dream someone will listen to them
* absolute terror (and not of rogue bombers)
* fear for their children in Bush’s economy and Bush’s wars, given how John McCain praises his efforts

Alas, it will be up to the Dem Party leadership, itself not a single camp, to keep them through November and beyond. Feet to the fire, people; feet to the fire.

Kudos to UVM: Offering Total Education To Low-Income Vermonters

Hurray for UVM, which happens to be an excellent set of schools.

It's not that UVM isn't feeling the financial stress. But it makes sense for them to want more Vermonters to stay within a state that loses so many of its young adults to other markets (a living wage up here can be damned hard to find).


On Funerals And Other Oddities

Sorry for the paucity of posts. I've apparently reached the point in my life where I spend more time attending or helping organize or sending memorial notes or remembrances FOR funerals than for weddings. Which, when you stop to think of some of the horrific bridemaid dresses I've been subjected to over the years, not to mention the number of times I've gone to the wedding of the same person like three (bleepity bleep bleep effing motherbleeper) times .... well.... Let's just say life is some frackin' cabaret and we're not all in the good seats for the right act, if you get my drift.

The latest which, though the funeral I could not attend, bothered me is the younger sister of a regular reader here (and a nearly lifelong friend close enough to be family if I actually liked family) who died way too young leaving two young children. Having lost my parents young, that kind of loss always bothers me. That Lori died way too young and, like too many, trying to do her best considering she was dealt a mucky hand just makes it more sad.

But life goes on until it doesn't any longer, and there's much to do to try to change the world beyond the immediate moment. So....

I'll be posting again starting today.


Just Like I Learned in Journalism School: Dog Bites Man Equals No Story BUT When Woman Bites Pit Bull, There's a Story!

And it's here: the story of the little woman who bit a pit bull defending her dog.

They also used to tell us, besides that if it bleeds, it ledes, that we should never estimate the great interest in the people - especially, if always seemed, American people - to like to get themselves on the news. Sometimes, in anyway possible.


Iraq War Blogswarm: Three Trillion Lies And Still Going Strong

Today, as we mark that dark mid-March day in 2003 when President Bush, complete with a raised fist pumping air like he was about to go into the final playoffs to give "'em one more for the Gipper..." gesture and dispatched the first soldiers off to war, the cold, harsh light of day makes it a heluva lot easier to see all the lies.

After all, it was not just one single lie that Bush used to get us into Iraq but a multitude of them, including:

  • weapons of mass destruction everywhere>

  • doctored intelligence reports that led to the outing of CIA covert operative, Valerie Plame Wilson, because Bushies did not like that Wilson's husband, former ambassador Joe Wilson, would not pretend Niger "yellow cake" uranium story was true

  • Saddam was about to launch a campaign to make kittens and puppies in perfect little American suburbia all sick

  • the war would take a few days to a few weeks, completely pay for itself, and there is "absolutely no way" to lose it

  • the entire world sees the war as right which is why we had to pay them and bully them into joining the "coalition of the willing"

  • actions in Iraq certainly won't distract us from catching Osama bin Laden, regroup al Qaeda, or exhaust our resources for the global war on terror
  • Need I list more?

    Swarm Swarm Swarm! How To 'Do It"

    You can be as low tech - talk to others about Iraq face to face vs. cyber - or high tech as you care to be. The point is to get people talking critically - not as in bad but with attention to details - about the war and the completely horrific administration of it from minute one.

    The March 19th blogswarming people list all the ways you can jump in.

    A Blogswarm To End All Swarms? Dream On!

    However, the March 19th blogswarm commencing now is not to be taken lightly. Indeed, this war has never been a lightweight when it comes to brutality, sheer horror, the depths of human depravity, the ridiculously small amount of lying it took for Bush to get America to buy into a war that was not, nor was it ever, making torture sound like the most patriotic thing an American can do, anything to do with September 11th or al Qaeda, etc.

    The race in November is, at its core, part of a much more fundamental competition against those who turn fascism into proud patriotism and bankrupted our nation at the same time securing record profit for banks who brought about the foreclosure crisis and energy companies demanding tax payers build them free refineries while we say thanks! for those $4/gallon at the umps.

    We need a leader who can take us OUT of Iraq ASAP and not in the 100 years or so Republican presidential candidate John McCain recently proudly proclaimed it may take.


    War With Iran Closer?

    General William Fallon, who until this week was the most recent head of CentCom and the atrocity that is Iraq, has been referred to many times as perhaps the only person standing in the way of Bush-Cheney's nightmare folly of war with Iran.

    Now Fallon has been effectively forced out.

    I dunno. Scott Ritter predicted an April 2008 all-out war, us vs. Iran. Fallon's departure makes me damned scared this IS it. (Bush has pushed out countless people who dared suggest his plans were bad.)

    Anyone else concerned?


    The Spitzer Resignation: Our Loss As Well As His

    OK, color me fucking amazed (and not in a good way): you can lie entire nations INTO a war, and then lie about the results of that war every damned day, and yet if anyone speaks out against the lies, the naysayers are the "evil doers". Screw a prostitute using your own money and bye.

    Clearly, it was WRONG of Spitzer to do what he did when he was, quite recently, New York State's chief prosecutor who could make decisions on others engaging in some of the same acts. But I still can't begin to equate prostitute-hiring with the needless deaths of more than a million innocents in Iraq (and I think that number is notoriously, obscenely low for what we know happened) as well as a MINIMUM of 4,000 soldiers.

    What was sickening was the complete holy sanctity of the right yesterday, proclaiming there has never been a bigger scandal (oh really? Watergate? Iran-Contra? every fucking thing the Bush-Cheney team has DONE?) and, oh yeah, btw, "we want Spitzer out because he prosecuted so many CEOs and finance people." Read: Republicans LOVE to protect the worst offenders and God help anyone who tries to play by the rules. And then to use laws on the books from 1918 and federal task forces to bring Spitzer down, when we've got the anthrax killer still going about his business just makes me ill.

    And not a single Dem seemed to lift a lip to say anything to the contrary.

    Howard Fineman Falls Over Himself Gushing About John McCain

    Yes, this man - well, genetically male anyway - actually earns income as a chief correspondent for Newsweek AND as an MSNBC political consultant. I mean, the lady lobbyist McCain "helped" back in 2000 probably never wrote something so flowery and aquiver as Fineman wrote here about McCain.

    Excuse me, please. I need a very long, very hot shower. And mouthwash.