September 30th, 2011

Bachmann: Obama To Blame For the Sudden Scarcity Of Brutal Dictators

by Philip Baruth

Fresh off her assertion that Hezbollah is attempting to construct “missile sites” in Cuba, Michelle Bachmann is now “blaming President Barack Obama’s stand on Israeli-Palestinian peace talks for the uprisings against autocratic governments across the Arab world,” reports the Associated Press.

You heard right: she’s “blaming” the President for the fall of dictators across the Middle East. Breathtakingly ignorant, truly.

And the most amazing thing is this: from her hard-won seat on the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, where she’s privvy to a wide range of top secret and classified information, Bachmann is now actively campaigning as the Republican in the race who really knows what’s going on in the larger world. She’s campaigning, in a word, on intelligence.

Enough said.

September 28th, 2011

NC Governor Suggests “Suspending” Elections, But Just For Two Years

by Philip Baruth

Democratic Governor of North Carolina suggests “we ought to suspend, perhaps, elections for Congress for two years.” This in front of the Rotary Club, and in the spirit of allowing Congress to work in these troubled times without worrying overly about what the voters have to say. Reminds VDB of the good old days, when Bush and Giuliani were both sort of half suggesting, in the wake of 9/11, that some times were just too troubled for actual elections. Unbelievable.

September 28th, 2011

Palin “Contemplation Piece”: Presidency Pales Beside Being “Out of a Box,” Greta

by Philip Baruth

Palin begins the big, long, excuse-soaked walkback: “I’m going to keep repeating, though, Greta, through my process of decision-making with my family and with my close friends as to whether I should throw my name in the hat for the GOP nomination or not for 2012 — is a title worth it? Does a title shackle a person? Are they — someone like me, who’s a maverick — you know, I do go rogue and I call it like I see it.

“Somebody like me — is a title and is a campaign too shackling? Does that prohibit me from being out there, out of a box, not allowing handlers to shape me and to force my message to be what donors or what contributors or what political pundits want it to be? Does a title take away my freedom to call it like I see it and to affect positive change that we need in this country? That’s the biggest contemplation piece in my process.”

September 26th, 2011

The End To The Longest And Least Likely Trial Balloon In Vermont Political History

by Philip Baruth

After sniping wildly at Bernie for the last year or so, and threatening a run for Governor or Senator, and announcing that he would not seek re-election as Auditor, Tom Salmon Jr. has now announced that he will seek re-election as Auditor. Why? Uh, Tropical Storm Irene. And because “politics is not a game for sissies, and if you’re afraid to change your mind based on new information then you should get out.” Truer word never spoken.

September 26th, 2011

Obama Tries Direct Mockery

by Philip Baruth

Obama, in a speech Friday to the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation: “I expect all of you to march with me and press on. Take off your bedroom slippers, put on your marching shoes. Shake it off. Stop complaining, stop grumbling, stop crying. We are going to press on.” You know, if this Administration took half as tough a line with their ideological opponents as they do with their political supporters — those the White House refers to as “the professional Left” — we’d have real health care reform and the President would be on a glide path to a second term.

Bedroom slippers? Stop grumbling, stop crying? Is it VDB or is this all just a wee bit more insulting than it actually needed to be? That’s nerve, coming from a guy who just killed the EPA’s attempt to move smog regulation out of the Bush era. And who also happens to be in the process of cutting trillions from the social safety net.

A whole lot of nerve.

Late Update, Wednesday, 12:49 pm:

Was wondering if we were the only ones who thought the “Stop Complainin’” Speech was seriously maladroit. Turns out not: L. Douglas Wilder, former Governor of Virginia, took it amiss as well. So that’s Maxine Waters, Wilder, and VDB makes three.

September 23rd, 2011

BREAKING: VDB Endorses Schweddy Balls

by Philip Baruth

To this point, we’ve felt no need to weigh in on the recent “Schweddy Balls” controversy. Ben and Jerry are big boys, as (apparently) is Alec Baldwin. And of course what ice cream launch isn’t enhanced by a whiff of scandal, and the resulting page views? But now the American Family Association has entered the field, and damned if they haven’t threatened a boycott and thus gotten VDB’s goat.

One Million Moms, the AFA’s astroturf women’s group, has now sent out an action email, and it’s a small masterpiece of humorlessness. Worth the price of admission? Their explanation of the SNL skit that launched the joke at issue:

“[Baldwin, playing Pete Schweddy] then explains that he sells popcorn balls, cheese balls, rum balls—balls for every taste—and the ball puns proceed for about four minutes. Ben & Jerry’s chose to go with fudge-covered rum and malt balls for their flavor. The skit culminates in Baldwin stating that ‘No one can resist my Schweddy Balls.’”

But of course the AFA’s real problem isn’t with the pun. It’s with Alec Baldwin, and Ben and Jerry. And, of course, the creeping gay agenda:

“In the past, Ben & Jerry’s has released controversial ice creams, like a special edition of Chubby Hubby called Hubby Hubby last year which celebrated gay marriage. It seems that offending customers has become an annual tradition for Ben & Jerry’s.”

Now, let VDB say this about schweddy balls: they are as American as the Founding Fathers, who fought in all conditions, including in the humid Southern states. Will we eat this flavor when it’s limited-batched into the company’s hometown HQ on Church Street in Burlington? You’re damn right we will.

And love every cringe-inducing minute of it.

September 22nd, 2011

Would You Support The XL Pipeline If You Knew It Would Bring Jobs, Peace, And An End To Morning Breath? Yes, or Very Yes?

by Philip Baruth

So, in case it wasn’t clear from the outset, the XL Pipeline would not only produce a lot of environmental devastation on the front end, but a great deal of money on the back end. And when that’s the case, you don’t sit on your thumbs waiting for the people to offer up their opinion of the deal — you go out and make those opinions. And push-polling is a time-tested, corporate-friendly favorite. — PB

Hey VDB,

I hope you’re doing well. Just got a robo-call push poll from the Kochtopus Consumer Energy Alliance touting all the jobs, energy security, and cheap gas prices which, in their view, strip mining for net-energy-loss tar sands oil and piping it from Canada to Texas will supposedly bring. The pro-tar line of questioning wrapped up by asking my gender and whether I was over 50 (it was a land line call.) Just thought you might like to know…

– Dan

September 21st, 2011

Read This, And Then Live With It

by Philip Baruth

Decrying activists and activist judges at every turn, the national GOP has always managed to distract attention from its own disturbing tendency to actively subvert America’s democratic process. But check out this very thoughtful piece over at the Washington Post. Concise, logical, well-argued, and it winds up with the conclusion that if the GOP is willing to destroy government at its roots — the popular vote — then there is nothing Democrats can do but fight fire with fire. Not a pleasing conclusion, but at least it’s a conclusion. Which we’ll settle for, most days these days.

September 18th, 2011

Borders Firesale: Report From The Front

by Philip Baruth

Nothing on God’s earth sadder than the very last day of a three-month-long going out of business sale at Borders. Every image sadder than the last: the empty floor space, the picked shelves, the way that romance novels were left behind as every other genre raptured. Only scattered books, and no two of a kind anymore, except for the exception that proves the rule — Glenn Beck novels and thrillers. Many copies available, even now. The very saddest of the very sad.

September 16th, 2011

A Very Sad Day Here At VDB HQ

by Philip Baruth

Charlie Sheen kicks off the absolutely standard and predictable rehabilitation tour, admits to Leno that over the past year he was “losing,” asserts that he is not mad at his network honchos anymore — and never did, in fact, have tiger blood. Please, if everyone could just . . . you know, leave for a few minutes. VDB needs to be alone with this news.

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