Monday, January 28, 2008

Check Out This Interesting Site is about Nature and Vermont, two of my favorite things!!

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Disunited States

Crossposted @

While we're shaking up the political scene in the U.S., I think we're due for a revamp of a little something I call government as usual. This long drawn out primary has convinced me it needs to be a short quick process. Left to their own ends, the candidates are pulling off the gloves, to no ones benefit. Look at McCain & Romney, and Obama & Clinton, dividing their own parties. It makes people want to turn off their TV's already and we've got till November.

1st change is a national primary. A week of televised debates on real issues, then everyone in the country votes in a primary. There shouldn't be any states whose opinion counts anymore than others. It would cut down on costs and why should the states be treated unequally? The only thing going on in our nations economy right now is all the wealth being spent and applied toward the presidential election. Think about it, if the money was being put toward job creation or national debt our economy wouldn't be going down the pooper.

2nd change is along the line of treating all states equally, and goes along with the idea of a national primary. We eliminate the electoral college, the president must win by popular vote. After all, are we not all americans? Does one person's vote not count equally as anothers? The person getting more votes from citizens should be the winner. This would be true democracy, not the watered down version we've all been fed for years. Yes, it would make campaigning harder, to reach a bigger audience. But then maybe real issues would be addressed instead of proving which candidate can bicker and sidestep issues more. We need a president who can lead, unite, and bring the hope of prosperity. Not divide and conquer.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

The Exposition Needs To Pay Taxes

Crossposted @

Saturday, I had the pleasure of accompanying my father, grandfather, and nephew to the annual Yankee Sportsman's Classic. It was held at the Champlain Valley Exposition in Essex Junction. A great outing, we saw lots of taxidermy animals and fish, and oufitters from as far away as Montana, North Carolina, and Canada. Exhibits, products, campers, boats, cars, trucks, ATV's, galore. There were lots of things to benefit Camp Ta-Kum-Ta, a camp for kids with cancer.

It took us about three hours to weave throught the sensory delight. Along the way I got to see my nephew of 6 years use a laser gun to shoot deer on a TV screen at the Fish and Wildlife Dept. exhibit. He shot a BB gun to benefit the camp, fished in the pond to benefit the camp. We entered a raffle for the camp. Still as we passed the concessions I began to wonder. All these people who had been elbow to elbow since the show opened, with a line long out the door as we left and every adult paying ten dollars to get in.

All these thousands of adults paying to attend an event in the dead of winter. The vendors pay to be there, and concessions are sold. This is one of many events outside what is typically thought of the "fair season". The Champlain Valley Exposition has become a year round venue, it should be paying taxes. It developed new facilities and expanded its season, it has long past its fairground status. The day they undertook to develop new year round facilities was when I feel their tax status changed.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Election Coverage Abroad

I was blown away last night watching the news to see how much of the world is tuned into our presidential election. I thought they were showing pictures of a rally in the US. Turns out it was crowd of Europeans holding Obama signs!

Our election is easily getting as much attention abroad as it is here in the United States. The message of change has resonated well beyond our borders. Fighting two wars, and facing the makings of a recession, the world is watching us. Just like we watched Europe when the Iron Curtain fell.

The United States has been a major player in the world for a great many years. It has helped shape the course of world history several times. Everyone watches and wonders, is the worlds most powerful nation on a downhill slide? If nothing else they want to see what lies in the future. Will it be a continuation of the Bush years, or a return to some sense of normalcy?

This is Americas chance to shine. To show the rest of the world that our political system may not be perfect, but it works. Or at least that their are Americans trying to make it work. Our allies worry and rightfully so, if the U.S. sinks, who and what will it take down with it?
Many questions that will only be answered by the outcome of our next presidential election.......

Great White Hunter #3 Another Interupted Deer

Back before they changed the law in Vermont to no shooting spikehorn bucks (those with less than three points), I almost had a nice one. I was actually up in one of my buddy’s wooden stands along a long draw of northern white cedar that butts up and runs along the length of an alfalfa field. From my vantage point in that corner I was able to see straight and shoot across the backside of the field where it edges a swamp.

It was warm for November, I was dressed for night temp’s when the sun heated my outfit, and I broke a sweat. So warm that my glasses had begun to collect moisture and fog up when a doe and two skippers came out twenty yards to my right. When they sauntered out of range I wiped my glasses, in time to have a car drive by and scare them back in front of me. Staying still as I let them pass they scented me on the wind and with flags up walked into the brush.
Just as the tall trees on the west side of the field began to lay their shadows on the field, I detected movement in the opposite corner.

I focused my binoculars as a small spikehorn stepped from the woods, about a hundred twenty pounds with foot-long spikes of antler on its head. Deciding to harvest I drew my rifle, a .243 caliber Howa modeled after a Weatherby. While I steadied the crosshairs and waited for a vital shot, the deers attention turned toward the road.

I saw movement in my peripheral vision, and turned to my left to see what the deer was looking at. I realized it was a guy walking his dog down the road. All of three seconds later he’s yells to the deer at the top of his lungs “shoooo, gitttt, run deer!!” and started clapping his hands. The commotion gets his dog barking as I turn my attention back to the scope and the deer. A perfect crosshairs on the center of a big white bobbing flag, as it turned into the woods. I heard a crash. I heard a snort. But that was all, no more deer that night.

I was mad. I was angry. I was venisonless. However I had learned an important lesson, take the shot you’ve got before it was the shot you had. That guy probably didn’t know I was sitting there watching him, all decked out in camouflage as I was. Would kind of like to think things had been different had I been wearing orange and the guy saw me. Maybe....

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Jumping Ahead To The 2008 Presidential Election...........

.....I still have to wonder about what part the electoral college will play in the outcome. Here we are over 200 years later and still one person's vote does not count the same as another's. The state you reside in being the deciding factor. Are we not one nation?

We fought a war to be one nation. We've fought many wars as one nation. We are all Americans. More than this though it's a simple matter of numbers. A candidate may have more Americans vote for them, but because of the electoral college, lose the election. If more people in the United States voted for a candidate, they should be president. That is true democracy.

Its too bad the constitution has no provision for emergency constitutional conventions. Suspend the electoral college, make the 2008 election by popular vote. Yeah, that'll happen.... It's almost like the framers intended to make a constitutional convention timeframe prohibitive. They understood humanity well. Make it a difficult and time consuming process and they'll lose interest.

So we're stuck with it. The residents of some states votes do count more than others. These will continue to be "key" states for candidates to campaign and spend money in. I really do feel this is a black eye on our American democracy. In this day and age we can and should do better.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Pax Americana

Ode to years of history long gone by, for our republic countless Americans have died. Many of whom were better countrymen than I, this is why its important to try. To chart a course for the future, we must understand our past. Thank those before you that our nation has no caste. Proudly honor those who serve in air, on land, and under mast.

Bravery and resolve preserve the freedoms we cherish. Without the political framework we embrace, our way of life would perish. Our nations best defense is a strong offense? Invading other countries for National Security is not a good pretense. It makes others fear we seek to rule the world in the imperial sense. Places the whole world on guard, and makes diplomacy tense. Return to isolationism may be the way, wrap the U.S. in a fence.

Rugged individualism, pull yourself up by your bootstraps? What about the American childeren who go hungry, starving for food scraps? Worry about Americans first, Foreign Policy is a corporate trap. Our great nation is on the wrong road, time to get a new map. Instead of iron fist, lets rule with a light tap. Time is short with none to waste, always struggling to make haste. Like a turkey in the oven though, it needs a baste. Everything by process leaves the right taste.

Relax, take it slow, have fun. No need to drown from a weight on your chest. Just strive to always do your best. People who take themselves too seriously are a bit ridiculous!

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Fairpoint Communications Got What It Deserved…………

………..For trying to Tarrant Vermont! That’s right, I said it! What were they thinking? TV ads minutes apart for months and Vermont still said no. Did they actually think they could just dump a bunch of money into advertising and get their way? I’ve never been so proud of Vermont’s Public Service Board, way to stand up to the big guys.

Regardless of Maine’s acceptance of Fairpoint’s terms, our state did the right thing. Monopolies of any utility especially statewide is asinine, just too much power for one company to possess. The simple fact is Vermonters asked for things, issues that were side-stepped or minimized by Fairpoint.

There was no negotiation or middle ground. Fairpoint pretty much said here this is what we’re going to do, approve it. For someone to already act like a monopoly in the state when they’re not even yet, makes me wonder what the future holds? It’d be nice if they were at least fair and to the point with Vermont.

Those ads on TV look like anywhere small town Vermont, but what are they really telling us? How financially they will be able to do this…….How financially this will help them. What about us? Where is the promise to Vermonters not to start jacking prices once they take over? Where’s the promise that when there’s a storm of significant proportions that they’re going to get out and get the lines back up in a timely manner? With a monopoly there aren’t any competitors for service, so why bother? What if it made better financial sense for the company to wait a week? They tell it to you straight in the ads, its all about the company finances.

Is all hope lost? Not really. If Fairpoint will come to the table, and Vermont’s Public Service Board holds steadfast, than an understanding can be had. In this case Vermont needs to think less like government and more like a corporation. What do we want to get from this, and how will it benefit us? The Public Service board should negotiate for better rates and increase caps from the start. Time will tell if the company is fair and to the point, and this was a good thing for Vermont.

VT Fish and Wildlife Spoiled My Ice Fishing!

Think ice fishing in Vermont is as simple as grabbing some gear and bait and going? You’d certainly be wrong this year. Vermont Fish and Wildlife has enacted a rule that they hope to have the legislature approve as law this session. Certainly not something written for the average Vermonter.

It’s very confusing and leaves a person with nothing but questions. I was only able to glean several things from it myself. There is to be NO PERSONAL BAITFISH COLLECTION. Nothing like making people have to go buy bait, fishing used to be a poor mans sport. How can a minnow on the approved species list, caught in Lake Champlain, be bad for use as bait in Lake Champlain?

KEEP YOUR RECEIPT for your bait with you. But don’t forget that it’s only GOOD FOR 48 HOURS. No longer do you just have to remember your license, but lose or forget that receipt for your bait and you’re fined. Now you have to run to the baitshop and wait in line like everyone else in the morning. THE MINNOWS MUST BE DESTROYED WHEN YOU LEAVE THE ICE, no more bringing them home and using them tomorrow.

Fish and Wildlife is all up in arms about this new fish disease that they think might be coming, or might already be here. It seems more like a knee jerk reaction to me. If it’s here, it’s here, and there’s not much we can really do about it. Who will want to buy a license, go wait in line, and still be afraid they didn’t dot their i’s and cross their t’s. The department is likely to strong arm this into law by “educating” legislators on the issue, stand up to the propaganda.