The Gypsy's Caravan

Friday, September 28, 2007

What we know about children - Per our Dear Leader

"Is our children learning?"

"childrens do learn."

"I cannot look a mother and father of a troop in the eye and say, 'I'm sending your kid into combat, but I don't think we can achieve the objective.'

"One of my concerns is that the health care not be as good as it can possibly be."

"And one thing we want during this war on terror is for people to feel like their life's moving on, that they're able to make a living and send their kids to college and put more money on the table."

"Because of your work, children who once wanted to die are now preparing to live."

"Make no mistake about it, I understand how tough it is, sir. I talk to families who die."

"I think younger workers—first of all, younger workers have been promised benefits the government—promises that have been promised, benefits that we can't keep. That's just the way it is."

"We expect the states to show us whether or not we're achieving simple objectives—like literacy, literacy in math, the ability to read and write."

"[T]he illiteracy level of our children are appalling."

"And if you're interested in the quality of education and you're paying attention to what you hear at Laclede, why don't you volunteer? Why don't you mentor a child how to read?"

"In other words, I don't think people ought to be compelled to make the decision which they think is best for their family."

The public education system in America is one of the most important foundations of our democracy. After all, it is where children from all over America learn to be responsible citizens, and learn to have the skills necessary to take advantage of our fantastic opportunistic society."

"I do think we need for a troop to be able to house his family. That's an important part of building morale in the military."

"You teach a child to read, and he or her will be able to pass a literacy test.''

"One reason I like to highlight reading is, reading is the beginnings of the ability to be a good student. And if you can't read, it's going to be hard to realize dreams; it's going to be hard to go to college. So when your teachers say, read—you ought to listen to her."

"It's important for us to explain to our nation that life is important. It's not only life of babies, but it's life of children living in, you know, the dark dungeons of the Internet."

"Families is where our nation finds hope, where wings take dream."

"If I'm the president, we're going to have emergency-room care, we're going to have gag orders."

"I think we ought to raise the age at which juveniles can have a gun."

"I mean, there needs to be a wholesale effort against racial profiling, which is illiterate children."

"The best way to relieve families from time is to let them keep some of their own money."

"As governor of Texas, I have set high standards for our public schools, and I have met those standards."

"Laura and I really don't realize how bright our children is sometimes until we get an objective analysis."

"We want our teachers to be trained so they can meet the obligations, their obligations as teachers. We want them to know how to teach the science of reading. In order to make sure there's not this kind of federal—federal cufflink."

"How do you know if you don't measure if you have a system that simply suckles kids through?"

"I know how hard it is for you to put food on your family."

From "The Complete Bushisms" at Slate.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

The coming war with Iran

A Coup Has Occurred

By Daniel Ellsberg
September 26, 2007 (Text of a speech delivered September 20, 2007)

Editor’s Note: Daniel Ellsberg, the former Defense Department analyst who leaked the secret Pentagon Papers history of the Vietnam War, offered insights into the looming war with Iran and the loss of liberty in the United States at an American University symposium on Sept. 20.

Below is an edited transcript of Ellsberg’s remarkable speech:

I think nothing has higher priority than averting an attack on Iran, which I think will be accompanied by a further change in our way of governing here that in effect will convert us into what I would call a police state.

If there’s another 9/11 under this regime … it means that they switch on full extent all the apparatus of a police state that has been patiently constructed, largely secretly at first but eventually leaked out and known and accepted by the Democratic people in Congress, by the Republicans and so forth.

Will there be anything left for NSA to increase its surveillance of us? … They may be to the limit of their technical capability now, or they may not. But if they’re not now they will be after another 9/11.

And I would say after the Iranian retaliation to an American attack on Iran, you will then see an increased attack on Iran – an escalation – which will be also accompanied by a total suppression of dissent in this country, including detention camps.

It’s a little hard for me to distinguish the two contingencies; they could come together. Another 9/11 or an Iranian attack in which Iran’s reaction against Israel, against our shipping, against our troops in Iraq above all, possibly in this country, will justify the full panoply of measures that have been prepared now, legitimized, and to some extent written into law. …

He says what I've been feeling more and more lately: The Iran war is getting closer and closer to being inevitable, and it will make the clusterf**k that is Iraq seem like a walk in the park.

For the full text of the speech, click here

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Thursday's quote

-- it is impossible that evil should not come into the world; but take care that it does not enter through you.

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

Here Comes Success!

This guy is one of my heros - right up there with KO

Thanks for the link to Firedoglake

Wednesday's Pic

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Quote of the Day

As Ezra Klein of The American Prospect cruelly but accurately puts it: “The Republican vision is for a world in which the sick and dying get to deduct some of the cost of health insurance that they don’t have — and can’t get — on their taxes.”

Thru Krugman also a very good read.


We went to see ZZ Top last friday nite, and What A Show! They played at the Mohegan Sun Arena, which holds, we guestimated, about 3-5k people. Almost intimate. (heh)

My favorite moment:

Billy G at the mike: ... we found a Dollar Store...

crowd: yay! yay! dollar store!

Billy G: Now, you don't even need sales people there, 'cause everything in it is ONE DOLLAR!

crowd: yay! yay! ONE DOLLAR!

Billy G: You don't even need a CASH REGISTER there, 'cause everything in it is ONE DOLLAR! You just bring up one thing, and pay one dollar...

crowd: yay! yay! ONE DOLLAR!

Billy G: ...and so, we went inside.. and I looked in my wallet, and it was empty! But, Ol' Dusty looked in his, and he had a TWO DOLLAR BILL!

crowd: yay! yay! TWO DOLLAR BILL!

Billy G: ...So, we looked around, and we didn't see anything we wanted, until we got to the very last display... where we found...


Monday, September 24, 2007

All That's Left

There's not much left in my garden right now other than these dahlias, and they are really enjoying the indian summer sun and heat!

Friday, September 21, 2007

Put your thinking caps on...

NEW HAVEN - Fed up with the Iraq war, the peace movement is trying its own surge.

After years of large-scale national demonstrations in Washington, New York and other cities have failed to end the war, activists are embarking on a campaign that starts today with more than 100 local protests around the country.

The protests will continue on the third Friday of each month, with participants pledging to stop their daily routines on that day and take some kind of action.

Halleluiah! It's time to make us some noise!

Thousands have signed the pledge, promising to wear black armbands, stand silent, put signs on their lawns, or not buy gas or shop, organizers say. One woman is buying plastic toy soldiers, putting "bring me home" tags on them and leaving them in public places.

"This is something that will catch on," said Bill Fletcher Jr., one of the organizers. "I'm very excited about it."

The campaign is called the Iraq Moratorium, inspired by a similar effort during the Vietnam War that peace activists say was effective in galvanizing opposition. "I think it has terrific potential because it provides a focus at the local level so a much broader spectrum of folks can be involved," said John Humphries, an organizer in Hartford. "It has the potential to involve much larger numbers of people and energize them over time."

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Another Fine Pic

Misty morning, taken from the raised deck. The flowers are impatiens, and are doing so well in this shady yard that I'm planning for flower beds full of them. Pinks and purples and red...

*click the pic for the full sized photo

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Join Dodd and Leahy to Restore Habeas

Go here to co sponsor the legislation.

*hattip to Digby for the linkee!

Sixty-eight percent of Americans say that U.S. troop levels in Iraq should either be reduced or that all troops should be removed - similar numbers to those before Mr. Bush's speech.

In fact, it is even worse than that, since the percentage of Americans who believe we should either maintain or increase our current troops levels in Iraq was higher B.P.[Before Petraeus] (30%) than it is A.P.[After Petraeus] (27%). Conversely, the percentage of Americans who want a troop reduction or complete withdrawal increased after the Petraeus Week (from 65% to 68%).

More revealingly still, only a small minority of Americans -- the depressingly familiar Bush dead-enders -- actually believe Gen. Petraeus' claims that "the surge has made things in Iraq better." A substantial majority of Americans disbelieves the assertions of The General Who Must Not be Challenged.


Seems like he's getting just as much support for his "surge" as he did for creating his Social Security Accounts...

Thanks to Glen Greenwald for the info, go there to read the rest of his excellent article. (Wait thru the commercial for a day-pass to salon...)

Monday, September 17, 2007

Monday's Pic

Wouldn't you rather be here? My brother took this one on a Caribbean Cruise.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Environmentalists 1, Automakers 0

In a crucial ruling on the global warming issue, a federal judge said Wednesday that regulations adopted by Connecticut and 12 other states to curb greenhouse gas emissions from cars and light trucks don't conflict with federal law.

Judge William K. Sessions III, of U.S. District Court in Burlington, Vt., ruled against the auto industry on every point in its attempt to block implementation of the rules, which are aimed at reducing global warming.


Sessions discounted the automakers' claims that complying with the regulations would be technologically and economically unfeasible. "It is improbable that an industry that prides itself on its modernity, flexibility and innovativeness will be unable to meet the requirements of the regulation," he wrote.

Thank goodness we still have some judges with common sense left on the bench.

Read the whole article here.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Well Done, Senator Dodd

I was so proud of Senator Dodd's interview last night on KO.
I'm beginning to think he could make an excellent president. He has a complete plan to withdraw the military from Iraq. When signing off, KO asked him - What is the first thing you'd do if elected president? His reply:


Right On!

Ted Rall speaks

Why are so many respected journalists parroting the Democratic party line? I suspect that corporate media culture, rather than Judith Miller-style malfeasance, is largely to blame. Ink-stained newsrooms have been replaced by bullpen offices indistinguishable from those of banks or insurance companies. Reporters used to come from the working classes. They distrusted politicians and businessmen, and politicians and businessmen loathed them. Today's journalists are products of cookie-cutter journalism schools. Because graduate schools rarely offer scholarships, few come from the lower or middle classes. They look like businessmen. When they meet a politician, they see a possible friend. They wear suits and ties. And when a U.S. senator like Joe Biden feeds them a line of crap, they gobble it up.
Ted Rall has a new column here where he outlines the perfidity of the Democratic Party as they while away the next year counting coup on the failing Bush administration and the war grinds on. There's something very corrupt about letting our troops get killed and maimed and tortured in a war zone for political profit.

Hey, Senator Reid, Speaker Pelosi -


It's the only right thing to do.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Time to bust out of the Box!

WASHINGTON - Democrats are in a box on the Iraq war debate, lacking the votes to pass legislation ordering troops home by spring but tied to a support base that wants nothing less.

Two days of testimony from Gen. David Petraeus, the military commander in Iraq, and Ryan Crocker, the U.S. ambassador there, seemed only to harden positions among lawmakers. GOP

conservatives said real progress was finally being made and more time was needed, whereas Democrats said the absence of a political deal in Baghdad meant the strategy failed.

Absent any significant changes in the political landscape, Democrats are where they were before the August recess: without the 60 Senate votes needed to pass anti-war legislation unless they soften their demands.

What I'd like to know is just why they cannot turn the pressure around, and send the legislation to Bushco to veto, and hold a presser to let the country know they did what their conciences dictated, and if it's not good enough for Bush, let him figure out how to get the money he needs to keep the troops in that hellhole.

Perhaps they need to take out that old tool, the fillibuster. Require all the Democratic party Senators to give the speech of their lives for it, and make sure all of it is televised, and use the speeches for their reelections.

I know, I know, the dems are technically in the majority and the fillibuster is a tool of the minority. In this I feel that those who wish to stop the war are effectively in the minority. And, it would give them a whole lot of time to make their case.

I'm just an office manager, and I can think of several ways to get it done. All I can logically take from this is that either the Dems are in collusion with the warmongers, have been bought, or are too cowardly to stand in defense of our constitution and our way of life.

The full article is here

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Check Out This 5-min Vid

Brittany Please, just get a pole - you'd make a pretty good living in Reno with that dance...

Monday, September 10, 2007

Administration "expert" slices and dices Iraq

While serving on the assessment team, Kilcullen drew up a list of core American interests in Iraq, which he later gave to senior officials at the White House and the State Department. In order of priority, the list contained the following items:

  • maintain the flow of oil and gas in the region;
  • prevent the establishment of an Al Qaeda safe haven in Iraq;
  • contain Iranian influence; prevent a regional war;
  • prevent a humanitarian catastrophe on the scale of Rwanda; and
  • restore American credibility in the region and in the world (which Kilcullen called “the master interest,”
and which doing all the others would go a long way toward achieving). Some interests, he acknowledged to me, might be incompatible: for example, undermining both Sunni-led Al Qaeda and Shiite Iran.(*bullets mine)

I don't know about you, but I believe that all these "items" were created by Bush/Cheney when they chose to wage an unnessessary war of choice.

I'm fully expecting an attack on Iran before the end of the month, one that we won't be able to stop, because the Senate just unanimously passed a resolution that says that Iran is already waging war against us in Iraq. They've given Bush/Cheney the "advance to Go, collect $200.00, and get out of jail free" card.

Can we expect Duh-Bya to do anything other than take advantage of whatever the Dem congress gives him - and unanimously, fer cryin' out loud?

A more honest argument says that it’s simply not a core American interest to prevent Iraqis from being massacred: the result of a withdrawal may be a humanitarian tragedy but a strategic footnote. (Obama’s statement implied as much.) This viewpoint has recently brought together hard-nosed realists, antiwar progressives, and isolationist conservatives. Even in narrow strategic terms, though, American interests would be harmed by large-scale slaughter in Iraq. The spectacle, televised around the world, would deepen the feeling that America is indifferent to human, especially Muslim, life. It would brand the U.S. as untrustworthy to potential allies and feckless to potential enemies. And it would destroy what’s left of American prestige. Toby Dodge, an Iraq expert at Queen Mary College of the University of London, who also served on the strategic-assessment team, told me, “What has defeated America in Iraq, apart from the failure of the state and its own incompetence, are a bunch of radicals with nothing more sophisticated than reëngineered artillery shells and rocket-propelled grenades. That is a loss of cataclysmic proportions.”

I you're thinking in narrow strategic terms, perhaps there's good reason for the world to be feeling that America is indifferent to human, especially Muslim, life. By our own actions it is arguable that the U.S. IS untrustworthy to potential allies and IS feckless to potential enemies. Can American prestige BE restored by remaining in the killing fields, or will we go down the same road that the USSR took to oblivion and bankruptcy?

HOW MANY MORE HUMAN LIVES WILL IT TAKE to restore American prestige?

I mean really - how many? Another thousand, a couple of thousand, a hundred thousand?

America threw away 50,000 american military lives after they KNEW Vietnam was unwinnable; and who really knows how many Vietnamese were needlessly slaughtered?

How many more? Who's son or daughter will be shot or blown up because the United States cares more about it's Prestige than it's children? How many Iraqis will die before it's the world has enough shock and awe?

What the heck are we doing there?

The full New Yorker article, discussing our (slim) options in Iraq is here

Friday, September 07, 2007

Friday Dragon Blogging

A chinese dragon

Comcast cuts Internet service to bandwidth hogs

The rapid growth of online videos, music and games has created a new Internet sin: using it too much.

Comcast has punished some transgressors by cutting off their Internet service, arguing that excessive downloaders hog Internet capacity and slow down the network for other customers. The company declines to reveal its download limits.

"You have no way of knowing how much is too much," said Sandra Spalletta of Rockville, whose Internet service was suspended in March after Comcast sent her a letter warning that she and her teenage son were using too much bandwidth. They cut back on downloads but were still disconnected. She said the company would not tell her how to monitor their bandwidth use in order to comply with the limits. (emphasis mine)

Seems to me that unlimited means that I could be downloading 24/7, and that would be within my contract. This company needs to be sued.

full story: here

Quote Of The Day

"We'll continue to work with nations like Russia to advance our shared interests while encouraging Russia's leaders to respect the checks and balances that are essential to democracy," Bush said in a speech to business leaders at the summit.

Oh, the irony....

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Same stream, other side of the road.

Dear Senator Reid,

No timetable - no funding.

No excuses.

Thank You

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Pic 'O the Day

If you have the bandwidth to open this pic (just click on the pic) the full size one's worth it.

Here's the link to Keith Olbermann's latest Commentary: Bush is Just Playing Us With "Troop Withdrawl"

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Open Letter to Senator Feinstein

Dear Senator Feinstein,

a quote from someone I know*:
The Dems are throwing in the towel on the US Attorney scandal for nothing in return but the thrilling fact that Fred Fielding and the White House finally listened to them.
(They like us they really like us!)

What this means is that the new AG will be some standard GOP clone who will promise never to lie and never to do all those bad things that Gonzales did.
For the sake of the Constitution of the United States of America, and We The People, please grow some cojones! A spine! a backbone.

It's time to fillibuster that judge-candidate that you allowed to pass into the full senate for confirmation. You were the one with the lapse - the only thing you can do to make up for it is to start the fillibuster, or would you saddle us with yet another hard right radical on the second tier of our justice system??

It's so hard to see the Democratic majority continue to shoot themselves in the foot (and We The People straight thru the heart). Stop working for the republicans!

Hint: they're all thugs. I know you don't want to believe it, but if they had any honor, they'd join with you to impeach Bush and Cheney.

Jim Hightower once was asked about bipartisanship. His reply:

The middle of the road contains only two things - a broad yellow stripe, and roadkill.

Is that how you want to be percieved?

I'm imploring you to choose a side, and praying that it is the side of We The People, the side of democracy, the side of justice for ALL.

Please don't let us down.


*[It's from DIGBY Scroll down to "The Legacy"]

Sunday Pics

It's kinda neat how each year this watergarden is a little different. This year while I was setting up the house plants on the deck, I had this old spider plant to deal with. It is at least 15 years old, it was potbound and abandoned on the patio of a condo I moved into ten years ago. I potted up all the babies, made two planters, and used the hanging pot that the mother plant was in for something else. I was left with a mass of spider plant that I couldn't separate, and which was too big for any pot I had on hand. I stuck it into the basin that the waterfall pours out into, thinking that I'd pick up a bigger pot at the store soon. Of course, I forgot, and this plant has gone wild filtering the fish water.

*click on any pic for a larger view

Closeup of the frog in the pic above. He just hung out as I went all about snapping off pics. I was kneeling right on the same stone that he was sitting on, trying to get a different little frog, and he just sat still as you please...

Water hyacinth in the stream. The only thing that cleans the fish water (and the pond is pretty over stocked right now) is the stream. All the plants in the stream, as well as sunshine and aeration, keep the water crystal clear and fresh.

I thought this pic was striking because of the many layers - sky, plants, water surface; and silent, shadowed fish beneath. The slashing shadows of the plants contain the submerged fishy world. Multiple gateways, and nets.

/* sjg */ Site Meter /* sjg */