The Gypsy's Caravan
Monday, May 29, 2006
Saturday, May 27, 2006
More pics from our walk
As usual, click the pic for a larger view.
This river was at it's greatest height, with all the rain we've had this spring
The angry squirrel:
There I was - walking along, looking for a certain plant that I'd seen on the way in, not really paying attention to what was around me, and this squirrel started scolding me from the tree not 5 ft from where I was standing. Then Hubby started scolding me to get away from the squirrel -they carry rabies- and I'm trying to focus the camera on the squirrel, who keeps running up and down the trunk of the tree, scolding and cocking his tail in great exasperation.
Government Gone Wild!
...For many lawmakers, the investigation seems to be moving from the most egregious practices of a few members to criminalizing some basic fund-raising and lobbying techniques. "There is widespread belief on the Hill that the Justice Department is out of control with this idea that campaign contributions equals bribery," noted one Republican close to the caucus.
The thing is, the justice department is correct in following all the threads of corruption back to their source. Because of the nature of power, and the fallibility of human nature in regards to money and power combined, campaign contributions and the abuse of them have nearly torn our government apart.
We NEED public money to finance campaigns. For all those power and money reasons, but also: So that those politicians can get off the campaign trail, and get to work governing our country, for the good of all. Bush and Rove have not ceased to campaign since they started the presidential run in 1999. That's all he knows how to do, and it's not enough. Not by a long shot. Congress spends less and less time actually doing their work, and more time trying to raise money to keep their jobs. It takes alot of effort, selling
your services over and over again, while defending yourself from slander and abuse. It's why professionals hire pimps.
Thus far, government attorneys haven't made such a claim in a case against a lawmaker. But several[lawmakers] have been forced to publicly explain how campaign donations didn't affect their official acts and to turn over documents to the FBI to prove it.
FBI agents are also seeking to interview House and Senate members to see if they leaked information to the New York Times last year disclosing the administration's controversial program allowing some eavesdropping on domestic telephone calls. Justice officials have hinted that criminal charges could be lodged in that investigation.
The cornered rat is lashing out at anyone and anything that crosses him.
"For an administration that needs allies in order to come back," the Justice Department's actions are "dumbfounding," says David Gergen, a veteran of Republican and Democratic administrations.
Mr. Bush has, in some ways, aggravated congressional Republicans since the beginning of his presidency, when he sought strict loyalty from legislative partisans, arguing that his success and theirs were inseparable. Now, many fear that they -- and not Mr. Bush -- will pay an electoral price for backing what is now an unpopular war in Iraq, and the president's plunging approval ratings.
Yesterday afternoon, House Republicans gathered in a windowless basement room for a private meeting aimed at sorting through the roller coaster of the past few days. They left the meeting carrying talking points from Republican leaders: "No one is above the law," the paper said. "Just as no branch of government is above the Constitution."
They're going to say that to bubble boy???
I think (I hope) that Congress is finally learning what happens when you hand over your hard won power to someone else, for their personal use. It will take enormous leverage to get it back. In the process, the underbelly of corruption will be shown to the people, in all it's stinking slime.
Will the republican party be torn apart from the inside in the coming turf war?
Friday, May 26, 2006
Wednesday, May 24, 2006
Our Walk in the Park
Down in his workshop, where else would he be? "Want to go for a walk in the park?" he lifted an eyebrow.
"Oh, sweetie, I'm just all warm and dry."
He looked so disappointed that I relented: "OK, let's go, but this time I'm wearin' my raincoat!"
He even brought his umbrella, and held it over me while I snapped pictures.
..........The path not taken...
This streamlet was overflowing it's banks.
Click on the pics for a larger size.
I loved the sight of dogwood blossoms seeming to float next to that huge black tree.
Sunday, May 21, 2006
One more step closer to being free of Lieberman
Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman won the endorsement of a divided Democratic state convention Friday night, but his challenger, Ned Lamont , garnered enough support to force a primary and a summerlong debate on the war in Iraq.
Lieberman, 64, a three-term senator and his party's 2000 vice presidential nominee, defeated Lamont, 52, an anti-war candidate, on a 1,004 to 505 roll call ballot, the first step on what promises to be his most difficult re-election challenge.
After months on the defensive, when Lieberman saw old allies publicly criticize his support for the war and question his place in the Democratic Party, the Lieberman campaign was in a mood to crow.
"It was a big endorsement, given all the anti-war sentiment in this room," said Sean Smith, Lieberman's campaign manager.
OK, I read that right: a third term senator is saying, after almost 20 years in DC, after running for VP in 2000, that getting his party's endorsement the other night - over someone who was completely unknown before January of this year - is a big endorsement!
Mr Smith, this is only politics as usual. These triangulators have forgotten their base, they just are going for the easy win, and don't care about the anger that is bubbling up from the grass roots.
Lamont, a Greenwich businessman seeking statewide office for the first time, also could claim a victory as he won 33 percent of the vote, more than twice the 15 percent necessary to force a rare primary against an incumbent senator. The primary will be Aug. 8.
"The significance is the people of Connecticut want change," Lamont said.
As Lamont spoke to reporters, his young supporters chanted, "Ned! Ned!"
All I can say is: Woooo Hooo, and may I be one of the first to have the honor of donating to his primary run.
You can see his commercials here, they are clever, optomistic, and do not sling mud.
From the Hartford Courant: Lieberman's In Trouble an editorial by Kevin Rennie
When Ned Lamont captured a staggering third of the 1,509 votes cast Friday, the green challenger's handlers were the most surprised camp in Hartford's Expo Center. The Lamont campaign got a late start this past winter and wondered as recently as a week ago if it would reach the 15 percent threshold required to get on the ballot without resorting to the laborious petition alternative. In the end, Lamont showed support across the state. (I was surprised too, and point out that a week ago I dismissed Lieberman consultant Roy Occhiogrosso's prediction that Lamont could get 30 to 40 percent of the vote.)
The Lieberman people seemed dispirited all night. His demonstrators waved and rubbed together curious-looking wiener-shaped balloons advising "Stick With Joe" as they made their way through the aisles in a short, obligatory demonstration to the tune of "Still the One." They became animated only when "Soul Man" came over the sound system, providing a cover to stop chanting and start dancing.
OMG, how incredibly appropriate, a weiner on a stick!
Discomfort turned to pain for the Lieberman campaign when the first town in the 1st Congressional District began the roll call: Barkhamsted cast its two votes for Lamont. The challenger received votes in town after town, sometimes one at a time, sometimes considerably more. When once Lieberman-friendly Windsor cast 13 of its 17 votes for Lamont, a roar of surprise filled the hall. Lamont would sail past the crucial 15 percent threshold before reaching his 4th Congressional District stronghold. Lieberman ought to be grateful it was not a secret ballot. If it had been, some of the 100 missing delegates might have found the backbone to vote.
The darkest omens for Lieberman came near the end of the night when Southbury, nearly the last to vote, announced it was still waiting for a response to a winter invitation to Lieberman to meet. Until he does, Southbury cast five votes for Lamont, three abstentions and zero for Lieberman. One of the night's loudest cheers rang out.
Tell you what, after all teh form letters that I've gotten from Lieberman's office help, I can really relate!!
*crossposted at the Dark Wraith Message Board.
Open letter to Senator Lieberman
You asked after the recent convention in Hartford, "If they[the delegates] want to send me a message, why don't they just email me?"
Well, here I am again emailing you for the umpteenth time, and I'm here to tell you it's not your "principled stand" on Iraq. The fact that you stand up for murdering Iraqi civilians in an illegal war and call it "principled" is beyond the scope of this letter.
The reasons that I oppose you in your attempt to be reelected a senator that represents me are many and varied, but there is one overarching theme:
Your disgusting and consistent support of all the worst excesses of the Bush administration, to the detriment of your constituents. Your open and vocal support of Bushco's policies even and especially when they are directly opposed to the Democratic party's views and aims.
Go be a republican, won't you? ...oh yeah, that's right - they don't want you!
Thank you once again,
I've been trying to send that email all afternoon, and it's not going thru. I wonder if his servers are being inundated?
Friday, May 19, 2006
Both candidates were unopposed. Swann, the former Pittsburgh Steelers star, received 574,276 votes, while Santorum, who is seeking a third term, drew 552,559, according to unofficial totals compiled by the Pennsylvania Department of State that were 99 percent complete Thursday.
In the Nov. 7 general election, Swann will face Democratic Gov. Ed Rendell; Santorum is running against state Treasurer Bob Casey.
Less than six months before the election, independent polls show both Republicans trailing their Democratic opponents by double digits.
Despite the overall low voter turnout, people who vote in the primary typically are committed to their party, said Thomas J. Baldino, a political science professor at Wilkes University in Wilkes-Barre.
So, people who vote in the primary are very motivated to vote, and they show up and get a ballot. On the ballot are several names, would you NOT vote yes or no for the most famous of the group? Well, 21,717 people did not bother to vote yes for Santorum, who ran in the primary unopposed. Almost 22,000 people failed to push the button for him, after they went to the voting venue, stood in line, maybe opened their wallet and showed their license(I always have to...), and voted for the candidate for governer(also unopposed). That's 22,000 loyal republicans that refused to push that button. They've probably voted for him before, yet they didn't push that button yesterday.
Is this like a golden ray of light???
*click the title for the link
Wednesday, May 17, 2006
USA TODAY even thinks it's unfair!
....Though a measure costing $70 billion over five years is not as big as some of Bush's earlier tax cuts, it includes a number of gimmicks to lowball its cost. One is a provision that will allow wealthy people to convert traditional IRAs, which allow tax-free deposits, to Roth IRAs, which allow tax-free withdrawals. This will generate revenue over the next five years because such conversions trigger tax payments. But, over time, the government will lose out on the taxes that traditional IRAs generate at retirement. It's also an indicator that the Republicans know future Congresses will have to pay for their irresponsibility. The only reason to convert an IRA is if you think tax rates will rise.
Nor does the centerpiece of Bush's tax policy - rates of just 15% on dividends and capital gains - passes the fairness test. Most middle-class American wage earners pay higher taxes on the fruits of their hard work than is paid by those fortunate enough to have substantial investment income.
In short, this bill is bad policy in motion. It is time to adopt taxes that are fair, sensible - and stable enough to allow average taxpayers to make plans. bolds mine
Now, I administer the simple IRA program here at work. I also have a Roth IRA that I started myself. The difference between the two is telling: The simple IRA takes pre-tax money and invests it. The proceeds are supposed to be taxed when they are used. The ROTH IRA, on the other hand, uses already taxed money and invests it. Since the money was already taxed, the proceeds are not taxed when used. There is a ceiling(for most of us) on how much you can put in a ROTH per year. To allow this conversion violates those limits. This is just another way to rob the future to pay for an illegal murderous war.
read the whole thing here.
Tuesday, May 16, 2006
Monday, May 15, 2006
Laura Bush doesn't believe bad polls
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. First lady
Laura Bush said on Sunday she does not believe opinion polls showing her husband's approval ratings at record low levels. Interviewed on Fox News Sunday, Laura Bush said she did not think people were losing confidence in President George W. Bush, despite a series of polls showing support for him at its lowest point in his five-year presidency and among the lowest for any president in the past 50 years.
Dream on, bubble girl.
"I don't really believe those polls. I travel around the country. I see people, I see their responses to my husband. I see their response to me," she said.
"As I travel around the United States, I see a lot of appreciation for him. A lot of people come up to me and say, 'Stay the course'."
That's because you live in a Potemkin universe, you see. If you actually had an unedited, unvetted conversation with one of us peons, you'd get an earfull! But, then you'd have to take your fingers out of your ears, and whip off that blindfold, and stop humming: "lolly lolly lu lu, I can't hear you"
Mrs. Bush complained that when her husband's popularity was high, newspapers did not put that on the front page. Now it was low, they took great delight in highlighting the fact.
Actually, Missy, I remember his high ratings blaring across the headlines - perhaps you don't read the paper either....
...and more rain
Potentials... A number of outcomes are flying around in the air right now, and none of them seem to be shining. Lately, it's been feeling to me like the 15 minutes just before a crack-banger thunderstorm.
The powers that be brood over their plans in secret, never reviewing them with the people who have experience and imagination.
When their plans are put in motion, reality sprouts new tendrils in all directions, escaping all control.
Saturday, May 13, 2006
Friday, May 12, 2006
Tuesday, May 09, 2006
Monday, May 08, 2006
Interview With Bush
And so elections can be good signals of what people are really thinking. I believe that there's still work after elections to be done, but there's no doubt that we've got to spread liberty and freedom if we're going to defeat this ideology that really says there should be no rights for women, there should be no religious freedom, and by the way, we'll carry out our foreign policy through acts of violence and murder."
George W Bush May 7 2006
So, GW, does that mean you will be working hard here at home for those goals??
Sunday, May 07, 2006
The splintering of the left
Here's an exerpt:
I don't really give a crap what other people believe or don't believe, religious or not, so long as they aren't aggressive jerks about it. When they start being aggressive jerks, then yeah, that I find objectionable and uncomfortable, not to mention harmful. Since I'm not out to convert anybody, I don't see why I should put up with other people trying to aggressively convert me -- to anything. But as far as what other people choose to believe or not, well, whatever.
Exactly! and if everyone would live and let live, and give each other the respect we deserve; the whole world would work a lot smoother, and more prosperously.
I still don't understand why some people can think they could game the system by being greedy - of money, of power. You don't have to have alot of either to abuse others with less, and there are burgeoning instances of those with petty powers that are abusing both the public trust, and the people around them.
This corruption has become endemic in our govt, our companies, our society. You read about scandal after scandal, and you become so frustrated that we have sacrificed excellence on an alter to the penny pinchers, and instead of replicating our prosperity around the world, we have allowed our prosperity to be exported and diluted.
Each outrage is replaced by another so quickly that we have no time to defend our way of life as it slips through our fingers. You get so used to slashing the opponent's arguments to ribbons that you begin to become hyper-reactive to any slightest deviation from what you in your gut know is true and right.
That is when you know that you have become them.
Solidarity is our only raft on the sea of life.
Trillium are red...
Thursday, May 04, 2006
This mat of creeping flox was from a 4" pot a couple of years ago - now it's about 4 feet in diameter. I'm thinking I may put some up by the road, where the salt discourages plants...
.....................................................Life from life -
Tuesday, May 02, 2006
Open Letter to President Bush
On Waking Up Sleepless in the Middle of the Night
By John Brown
TO: The President
FROM: A former American diplomat
SUBJECT: Waking up in the middle of the night
Mr. President: Do you ever wake up in the middle of the night? Do you? Do you ever wake up sleepless in the middle of the night?
What have you done in Iraq? Do you ever realize, in the middle of the night, what you've done? Do you?
1. You've caused over 2,370 American soldiers to die in an impoverished land that never attacked us. Was that the right answer to 9/11 or the "threat" from Iraq? Do you ever ask yourself that question?
2. Because of your Iraq invasion, thousands of U.S. enlisted personnel are maimed, physically and mentally, for life. What can you tell these victims of your war? That you're honored by their duty towards you, our "mission-accomplished" commander-in-chief?
3. Your decision to go to war has led to the death of tens of thousands of innocent Iraqis. Do you have any remorse for this, Mr. President? Or was it that, for you, Iraqis only really deserved to serve as props in "shock and awe" -- your name for your made-for-TV porno/violence program at the beginning of the war, produced and distributed directly into our living rooms by the mainstream media? (Thank you, Fox News.)
4. Will you ever, ever accept responsibility for making torture all-American at Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo, and elsewhere? And the Statue of Liberty -- why, tell us why, did you allow it to be replaced by that image of an abused, hooded, helpless prisoner on a box? Aren't you the least bit concerned at how America is seen by the rest of the world because of your war -- as a brutal aggressor nation, dismissive of the opinions of mankind?
5. What about your mercenaries ("Pentagon contractors") that our tax dollars pay for? Who are they? What are they doing in their multi-thousands in Iraq, and to the Iraqis? Do you know? Or don't you care to know?
6. You said you wanted to "rebuild" Iraq -- but isn't it true that all you've really done is construct a Roman-Empire-style camp, a "Green Zone" for Iraqi collaborators (whom you now mistrust) and U.S. personnel in the heart of Baghdad that is an invitation to insurgent mortars? Haven't you -- tell the truth -- destroyed in Iraq more than you have built? Haven't you?
7. You say Iraqis now live in a land of "freedom" -- but what kind of freedom? How can it ever be like the Four Freedoms of Franklin Delano Roosevelt -- freedom of expression and worship, joined with freedom from want and freedom from fear? As electricity fails and bombs terrify citizens in Baghdad, where is the freedom you promised Iraqis, Mr. President?
8. Your occupation of Iraq has led to a bloody sectarian conflict. Why do you and your ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad now blame the Iraqis for their problems? Don't you share responsibility for the desperate situation they are in?
9. Your trillion-dollar binge of destruction in the cradle of civilization -- who will pay for it? The widows of our soldiers? Our young people, already too debt-burdened paying for their educations? Or their baby-boomer parents who may see their pensions evaporate to support your war?
10. Why can't you truthfully tell us, Mr. President, the reasons you led America into war? Was it for the WMD, for regime change, for the oil, for grand neocon visions, to avenge your father, to win elections at home? What were your real intentions? Are you afraid to tell us? Or is the truth that, deep down, you never really knew?
11. And, Mr. President, as you contemplate another war, this time against Iran, won't you ever wake up in the middle of the night, and stop more madness before it is too late?John Brown, who writes regularly for Tomdispatch and Tompaine.com, is a former diplomat who resigned from the State Department over the planned war in Iraq, compiles the Public Diplomacy Press Review, available free upon request at the site.
The 'Tomgram" this was posted in has more commentary from Tom Englehardt, and background on the diplomat and the forces surrounding this letter - good stuff, go read!
* hattip to Tom Engelhardt TomDispatch.com /posted at Working For Change
Monday, May 01, 2006
[The Iraqis who were in charge wanted to know who the heck invited R&R to come over, anyway - they were afraid that R&R would damage their credibility!]
Bowen's report offers a dismal forecast of what might be left behind when the U.S. leaves, said Michael O'Hanlon, an analyst at the Brookings Institution in Washington who has studied the U.S. effort to rebuild Iraq.
``The bottom line is that infrastructure and quality-of-life indicators in Iraq are not getting better,'' he said. ``So much effort is being put in for so little progress.''