The Gypsy's Caravan

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Keith Olberman - I'm starting to like that guy!

MSNBC's Keith Olberman on Bill O'Reilley:

"Remember -> Fox, not Facts."

Monday, February 27, 2006

Some from the Archive

My pictures have not been coming out good lately, (could it be like atheletics, where your state of mind is so important?) So, I've dusted off some from the archive.

This one was a very delicate sunset, reflected on the waters of a lake.

So, what do you think?

(as always, click the pic for a larger view)

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Why Are They Feeding Us Pablum?

In the brouhaha over the Dubai company and our ports, if Mr Bush is to be believed, he knew nothing about the deal before hand, but he's willing to put the weight of the presidency - er, Unitary Executive, behind the deal - using his very first veto. [ooo, pick that toy up and dust it off!] The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey are sueing, governors of Maryland, New York and Pennsylvania have "expressed concerns" about the takeover; Florida Gov. Jeb Bush has said he trusts his brother the president on security issues. [That's a big surprise]

Congress is meeting Tuesday to decide weather to pursue the matter, and the Dubai company has stalled the takeover, in an effort to stave off action by congress.

Meanwhile, I keep seeing all these fluff peices in the news, about what a good ally the United Arab Emirates is, and how they will perform in a professional manner.
Here are a few:,8599,1161466,00.html

The problem with this is that you cannot have it two ways... Either 9/11 was about a war, or it was a crime that required police action. If you go to war, it's not advisable to hand over port security to someone who treats with the other side. UAE is a small and very prosperous country that holds a strategic port open to our military now that we are in Iraq. Before we were there, it was a different story, and after we go, I'm sure that there will be something else to say about the situation.

If, on the other hand, 9/11 was a CRIME, then a forensic investigation should have been performed. The nearest relatives should have been interviewed, the site of the murders should have been processed by forensic experts. The terror network, with help from Interpol and police all over the world [remember, at the time, the world was pouring out a tsunami of support - which crashed onto the huge rocks of the Bush Administration]

None of that was done. Within 24 hours, all of Bin Laden's relatives were whisked through airspace that was closed to all but military traffic, and out of the reach of the police. The site was processed with the aim of recovering victims and their artifacts, to the obliteration of any evidence that would have brought their killers into the light.

War was on, the victors will be the strong and the sadistic, the power mongers and the criminal organizations. The loosers will be you and me, as we see our way of life, our hope of prosperity and freedom and justice all ripped from our fingertips.

Mr Bush says we need not be worried about the security of our ports, and that this company will do a good job. I say: "Mr Bush, you had your choice, you chose war, with your famous statement 'They're either with us or against us!' and now you're stuck with your war, just as we are stuck with it. In a time of war, only Quislings treat with the enemy,and it's been proved that UAE treats with the enemy.

You can't have it both ways, Mr Bush. Sorry...

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Happy Birthday Sara!

It's my oldest daughter's birthday today, she's *wow* 30 years old. Happy Birthday, sweetie, We love you!

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Readings from the Book of Hope

I've been reading this book, and it has lifted my spirits so much, I want to share some of it with you.

It's always too soon to go home. And it's always too soon to calculate effect. I once read an anecdote by someone involved in Women's Strike for Peace (WSP), the first great antinuclear movement in the United States, the one that did contribute to a major victory: the end, in 1963, of above ground nuclear testing and so, of the radioactive fallout that was showing up in mother's milk and baby teeth (and to the fall of the House UnAmerican Activities Committee, the Homeland Security Department of it's day. Positioning themselves as housewives and using humor as a weapon, they made HUAC's anticommunist interrogations look ridiculous.) The woman from WSP told of how foolish and futile she had felt standing in the rain one morning protesting at the Kennedy White House. Years later, she heard Dr. Benjamin Spock -- who had become one of the most high-profile activists on the issue -- say that the turning point for him was spotting a small group of women standing in the rain, protesting at the White House. If they were so passionately committed, he thought, he should give the issue more consideration himself.

Causes and effects assume history marches forward, but history is not an army. It is a crab scuttling sideways, a drip of soft water wearing away stone, an earthquake breaking centuries of tension. Sometimes one person inspires a movement, or her words do decades later; sometimes a few passionate people change the world; sometimes they start a mass movement and millions do; sometimes those millions are stirred by the same outrage or the same ideal and change comes upon us like a change of weather. All that these transformations have in common is that they begin in the imagination, in hope. To hope is to gamble. It's to bet on the future, on your desires, on the possibility that an open heart and uncertainty is better than gloom and safety. To hope is dangerous, and yet it is the opposite of fear, for to live is to risk.

From Hope in the Dark, by Rebecca Solnit

Monday, February 20, 2006

Just When You Thought You'd Heard Enough...

Lab Kat has an interesting post about our rapidly disappearing freedoms. Go and read, it's pretty flagarant.

Girls Rule!

Katerina Vanden Heuvel and Cokie Roberts run rings around George Will and the moderator of This Week's panel discussion. Crooks and Liars has the video.

The High Price of Oil

You may wonder what the end of the oil age will bring. In his book, Crossing the Rubicon, Michael Rupert draws the picture:

Aside from the usual heating and transportation woes;

" Oil is also critical for our food supply. Quantitatively speaking, modern food production consumes ten calories of energy for every calorie contained in the food. when the farmer (or more likely the "agrigusiness employee") goes out to plant seeds, she drives a vehicle powered by oil. After planting she sprays the crop with fertilizers made from ammonia, which comes from natural gas. Then she sprays them several times with pesticides made from oil. She irrigates the crops with water that most likely has also been pumped by electricity generated by coal, oil or gas. Oil powers the harvest, transportation to processing plant, processing, refrigeration, and transport to the grocery store(to which you, the consumer, drive in an oil-powered vehicle).

You may pay for it with a piece of oil that you carry around in your wallet. Then you take it home, cook it by neans of either electricity or natural gas, and eat it on a plate that may have been made from or with oil, after which you wash the plate with a synthetic sponge that is also made of oil.

Consider this: out of six and a half billion people, there are about four billion who don't have, and who want all of the things I have just described........."

So, instead of seeking new tech and more sustainable ways of doing things, our brilliant leadership is emptying our treasury in the attempt to secure the remainder of what's in the ground for the US, even though the military has been proven ineffective at occupying areas that are not interested in being co-opted(certainly since 1776! duh ).

And now, since the research and development departments of all major industries and our own government have all been offshored, even if we were to divert some money from the massive war machine, it would not be paying our engineers and scientists, it would be sending the money and the benefit of the tech work to other countries.

Why do the Politicians hate America so much???

Cross-posted at The DarkWraith's Message Board

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

The Persecution has Begun, Folks!

Patrick, over at Shakespere's Sister, asks the question " Who is Roxanne Jekot?, and why is she being persecuted?" The story is on The Pacific Northwest Inlander Online

A few weeks after Election Night 2002, Roxanne Jekot, a computer programmer who lives in Cumming, Ga., began fearing demons lingering in the state's voting machines. The midterm election had been a historic one: Georgia became the first state to use electronic touch-screen voting machines in every one of its precincts. The 51-year-old Jekot, who has a grandmotherly bearing but describes herself as a "typical computer geek," was initially excited about the new system. "I thought it was the coolest thing we could have done," she says.

But the election also brought sweeping victories for Republicans, including, most stunningly, one for Sonny Perdue, who defeated Roy Barnes, the incumbent Democrat, to become Georgia's first Republican governor in 135 years, while Rep. Saxby Chambliss upset Vietnam veteran Sen. Max Cleland. The convergence of these two developments — the introduction of new voting machines and the surprising GOP wins — began to eat away at Jekot. Like many of her fellow angry Democrats on the Internet discussion forums she frequented, she had a hard time believing the Republicans had won legitimately. Instead, Jekot began searching for her explanation in the source code used in the new voting machines.

What she found alarmed her. The machines were state-of-the-art products from an Ohio company called Diebold. But the computer code — which a friend of Jekot's had found on the Internet — was anything but flawless, Jekot says. It was amateurish and pocked with security problems.

"I expected sophistication and some fairly difficult to understand advanced coding," Jekot said one evening this fall at a restaurant near her home. But she saw "a hodgepodge of commands thrown all over the source code" — an indication, she said, that the programmers were careless. Along with technical commands, Diebold's engineers had written English comments documenting the various functions their software performed — and these comments "made my hair stand on end," Jekot said. The programmers would say things like "this doesn't work because that doesn't work and neither one of them work together." They seemed to know that their software was flawed.

To Jekot, there appeared to be method in the incompetence. Professional programmers could not be so sloppy; it had to be deliberate. "They specifically opened doors that need not be opened," Jekot said, suggesting the possibility that Diebold wanted to leave its voting machines open to fraud. And, ominously, the electronic voting systems used in Georgia, like most of the new machines installed in the United States since the 2000 election, do not produce a "paper trail" — every vote cast in the state's midterm election was recorded, tabulated, checked and stored by computers whose internal workings are owned by Diebold, a private corporation. Jekot was particularly alarmed — and outraged — to learn that company CEO Walden O'Dell is one of the GOP's biggest fundraisers in his home state of Ohio and nationally.

~ snip

Jekot says: "since October 2005:

1. We paid the taxes on our home (of 12 years) through an escrow account maintained by the lender. Despite that, the State foreclosed on and sold the home, and forced us to move to the above rental
2. The license plates on our vehicles have been cancelled/suspended
3. My drivers license has been suspended
4. Our voter registration has been moved to inactive status

Do these people have no shame?? Oh yes, they're in power, so - nope, they don't.

Dragon AND Kitty Blogging

Valentine's Day

I took a walk yesterday, at lunchtime. It was good to get out of the office for a little, into the fresh air.

We only got around a foot to two feet of snow last weekend, and with the temps in the high 40's this week, it's melting fast!

(click on the pic for a large view)

Just about a half hour after I took this pic, the whole row came crashing down. (That's why they call them widowmakers.)

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Guns Do Not Kill People - Vice-Presidents Do

Lame ass shooter....

Sunday, February 12, 2006

I heard the plow go thru around 4am

It's snowing now. I heard the plow go thru around 4am. You gotta know it's a big storm for them to wake me up like that. We live on a cul de sac, and it's the absolute last street in our town to be plowed. Always. So, if I hear the plow before 7am, I know it's a big storm.

The falling snow gets caught in a little eddy of air right outside my kitchen window. It's wafted up and around and then hangs there in thin air, until the wind whips through and takes it all in a huff.

It's cold in the house. We're keeping the thermostats down to conserve. I'm wearing sweats, a turtleneck, and my full length terry robe with the hood(up). I guess I could fire up the coal stove, that sucker would heat this whole four bedroom house, if we set up fans to move the air back into the bedrooms. But that's a whole huge project, starting a coal fire.

The snow makes everything soooo quiet, I hear only the humm of my computer, and the wind nudging the windchimes, occasionally letting out a howl.

Our handsome little titmouse comes around looking for a snack inbetween blows.

The titmouse let me get within 2 feet of him(window in between), but this cardinal was not so easygoing.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

DNC: Get a Clue!

The Dark Wraith has pointed me to a post on Shades of Grey that very neatly set out a problem that we've been having with the Democratic party. I emailed a copy of it to the DNC, with this addendum:

...and I just want to close with, I'm darn tired of waiting for the Democratic party to get a clue. You chose probably the worst person to rebutt Mr Bush's SOTU adress, when the best person apparently already had a speech written, since he delivered it the very next day. I'm talking Rep Murtha, and his speech was a very inspiring one, unlike the one that Governor "Caterpillar Eyebrow" whatever his name is gave.

One might think that, instead of saving us from these evil republican bullies who are taking apart our government piece by piece, you are afraid of taking the reins when there's a depression coming, caused by said bullies' incompetent, profligate, and irresponsible leadership.

Shame on you, for letting us all go down the drain! I expected a fillibuster of Alito, and got nothing. If you don't use the only power you have, you in reality have no power at all, and it's your own fault. I want to belong to a party that fights for what our country has always stood for: Liberty and Justice for ALL!!

The Liberty part of that is being fast eroded, and the Justice part was just beginning (after 200 years of work) to bring fruit! ...and you're abandoning the fight? Where's the party solidarity? Why are you all trying to be republican lite, and ignoring your base??? Do you actually think anyone's going to vote republican lite, when there's real republicans to vote for?

Please, get your scene together!

sincerely, SB_Gypsy

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

letter to the president: at blondesense

If you haven't already been to blondesense, Jaye Ramsey Sutter has a great post here go on over and read!

Monday, February 06, 2006

What Gonzalez Said

Gonzales Defends Legality of Surveillance

Monday's hearing got off to a rocky start when Republicans and Democrats disagreed over whether Gonzales should be sworn in. Democrats said he should, but Specter said it wasn't necessary. . . . . He wasn't.

"My answers would be the same whether I was under oath or not," Gonzales told the panel.

I'm sure Gonzales was telling the truth there, but that's not the point, Boffo! The point in swearing someone in is in case they should lie, they will go to jail for a long time!

Kennedy said the eavesdropping program could actually weaken national security, raising the prospect that terror suspects could go free if courts rule evidence collected from such surveillance to be tainted.

"We don't believe prosecutions are going to be jeopardized because of this program," Gonzales told Kennedy.

That's because you don't bother to prosecute them, you just go ahead with the torturing.

Gonzales argued that Congress did, in fact, authorize the president in September 2001 to use military force in the war on terror.

I'm sure that Congress had no idea that the president wanted to spy on us, especially since he reiterated and underlined the idea very clearly during the 2004 election:

He said, "Nothing has changed, by the way. When we're talking about chasing down terrorists, we're talking about getting a court order before we do so." He Lied.

Got $3,000.00 to give to the war effort?

Especially when Preznit Incompetent is asking Congress to make sure all those Tax Cuts For the Rich become permanent - at the expense of needed services to the middle class and the under-middle class. Like he said during the 2004 election: "the rich won't pay it, so who's left?"

Well, that would be you and me.

As the admitted direct cost of the war reached $250 billion last week -- and the White House asked for $120 billion more on Thursday -- new analyses estimate that the invasion of Iraq could end up costing $2 trillion before it is over.

If you remember, the White House's own economic adviser, Lawrence Lindsey, was fired for predicting, in September 2002, six months before the invasion, that the total cost of the war might reach between $100 billion and $200 billion. What I (and perhaps others who questioned the wisdom of the war before it began) remember is the hundreds of e-mails and letters I received after I quoted Lindsey and used the higher figure as more likely. "Moron" and "traitor" were among the more polite epithets of the day.

Numbers can be misleading, of course. Some, such as the long-term cost of treating damaged survivors of battle, can be exaggerated or minimized. Some can be hidden in other budgets or drawn from confusing off-budget accounts.
But the exact figures are not the issue. The Washington issue is that the Bush administration has been lying from day one about the cost of this "preventative" war of choice. The original White House estimate of the total war cost was $75 billion, including the destruction of all Iraqi "weapons of mass destruction."

...actually, I seem to remember them telling us 1.5 billion, and the rest was to come out of Iraqi oil profits....

The war, in fact, is a factor in the escalating cost of petroleum products here and everywhere else in the world. Leaving that aside as you watch the gas-pump digits rise to Super Bowl numbers this weekend, two anti-war research institutes, the International Relations Center and the Institute for Policy Studies, estimate that the war's cost per citizen has reached $727 -- or close to $3,000 for a family of four. By the end of this year, those figures should reach about $1,300 per citizen, or more than $5,000 for that family of four.

That calculation was based on a very conservative estimate of war costs to date of $204 billion. But even with that low-balling, those billions could have provided health care for 46 million Americans without health insurance, the hiring of 3.5 million elementary school teachers, or the construction of 2 million units of affordable housing. It's money lost in the fog of war -- or perhaps it will be used to do wonderful things for us all by Halliburton and the other defense contractors and private militaries being paid to make Iraq into Iowa with oil. (emphasis mine)

Now, I could find a whole lot of useful things to do with that kind of money, first and foremost being the complete revamping of our educational system - back to the way it was while I was growing up(I had an excellent education, back in the 50's and 60's), starting with raising the pay of those brave souls who stand up there and teach day in and day out. The Dark Wraith has an excellent post here about the educational largess that Bushco has just promised. *Note here for the record that Bushco has a very bad record in promise fulfillment.

You literally could not pay me enough to teach a high school class now a days, the way the kids abuse their schooling priviledge.

I would also use that money to fund research and development of truly clean energy alternatives, and to make our ports and borders secure.

What would you do with all the money that Bushco is dumping into the Halliburton and Exxon/Mobile coffers?

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Dragon Blogging

Study in Black White And Brown

In the first week of the year, before all the snow had melted, I went for a lunchtime walk near where I work, and took some pictures of the wetland(swamp) there.

People mostly leave this area alone, marshy and impenetrable without waders. Beavers are usually removed by the local trapper.

Occasionally the local trapper will call my brother with the offer of a beaver, racoon, or deer carcass that he's been asked to remove. My brother trains a search and rescue dog, as well as raising guide dogs for the blind (for the dog's first year). He uses the BARF (bones and raw food) diet for his dogs, and welcomes game animals that he can store in his freezer.

I loved this tree's squiggly branches!

The reflections...

... and my favorite.

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