The Gypsy's Caravan

Friday, November 30, 2007

Mike Gravel Rapping: POWER TO THE PEOPLE

*hattip to the guys at the Alternate Brain

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Firefighters being trained for Domestic Spying:

Phoenix Fire Chief says it's the "evolution of the fire service".

The Homeland Security Department is testing a program with the New York City fire department to share intelligence information so firefighters are better prepared when they respond to emergency calls. Homeland Security also trains the New York City fire service how to identify material or behavior that may indicate terrorist activities. If it is successful, the government intends to expand the program to other major metropolitan areas.

As part of the program, which started last December, Homeland Security gave secret clearances to nine New York fire chiefs, according to reports obtained by The Associated Press.

"They're really doing technical inspections, and if perchance they find something like, you know, a bunch of RPG (rocket-propelled grenade) rounds in somebody's basement, I think it's a no-brainer," said Jack Tomarchio, a senior official in Homeland Security's intelligence division. "The police ought to know about that; the fire service ought to know about that; and potentially maybe somebody in the intelligence community should know about that."


The trial program with Homeland Security opens a clear information-sharing channel that did not exist before between the fire service and Homeland Security's intelligence division.

"We're there to help people, and by discovering these type of events, we're helping people," said New York City Fire Chief Salvatore Cassano. "There are many things that firefighters do that other law enforcement or other agents aren't able to do." He added, "A normal person that doesn't have this training wouldn't be looking for it."

Cassano would not discuss specifics, but he said some terror-related information has been passed along to law enforcement since firefighters and officers began the training three years ago. "They've had some hits," Cassano said. "It's working."


the fire service is also represented in at least 13 state and regional intelligence "fusion" centers across the country, where local, state and federal agencies share information about terror and other crimes.


D.C. firefighters and Emergency Medical Service providers are in 170,000 homes and businesses each year on routine calls, Schultz said.

"So we see things and observe things that may be useful to law enforcement," he said. "We can walk into your house.We don't need a search warrant." If an ambulance team should show up at a house and see detailed maps of the district's public transit system on the wall, that is something the EMS provider would pass along, he said.

"It's the evolution of the fire service," said Bob Khan, the fire chief in Phoenix, which has created an information-sharing arrangement between the fire service and law enforcement through terrorism liaison officers. [my ems]

So, how many of us really trust teh Homeland Security Dept to stick to terror or even crime related info? How many of us were wiretapped in the last seven years? We don't know, and they will never willingly tell us.

For the time being, I would not now let a fireman into my home unless it was actually on fire, and I could not put it out with a garden hose.

full article is here

Good Morning!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Pic of the day

The weekend walk took us down by the river, with crisp fall weather, it was a beautiful day.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Many Thanks are Due..

Ice forming on the river pushes up against the shore.

Thanks to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Senator James Webb, Senator Byron Dorgan, and Senator Jack Reed, and all of the the Senate and Capitol Hill staff members who made it possible - for spending the holiday keeping the senate in session so that our pResident could not appoint a bunch of wankers in the interim.

If you want to send an email and let them know:

Email Address:

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Sunday's Pic

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Quote of the day

"United we bargain, Divided we beg."*

*Support unions, while you still have that choice...

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Morning Cup O' ...Dregs!


According to Bloomberg: "The dollar fell..." (read: plummeted) "...the most since September against the currencies of its six biggest trading partners after Chinese officials signaled plans to diversify the nation's $1.43 trillion of foreign exchange reserves.

The dollar fell against all 16 of the most-active currencies, declining to the weakest versus the Canadian dollar since the end of a fixed exchange rate in 1950, a 26-year low against the pound and a 23-year low versus the Australian dollar...

..... China may `diversify out of dollar holdings.'......."

Hell, join the club. According to, that's exactly what Dick Cheney did in 2006, putting between $10m and $25m of his personal assets into The American Century International Bond, a fund whose "prospectus limits dollar exposure to 25% of assets" and has "only 6% of assets in dollars."

This strikes me as an ever so slightly unpatriotic thing to do, if you're the Vice President of our Nation.

Maybe just a little nihilistic.

Kinda-sorta like speeding through all the red lights in Capitol Hill in a hospital zone, blasting Wagner's Götterdämmerung out the gull-wing doors of your Krupp Panzer IV, while wearing a Sudanese blood-diamond tiara, eating a Cuban sandwich and ripping bootleg DVD's right from the warm and bloody entrails of our own fighting men and women in the armed services.

I read Cintra Wilson in our local Hartford Advocate. Her columns always inform and amuse, and I haven't heard much about this issue* in the MSM. As govt. operatives continue to ENRON the US treasury, they are also running the printing presses as fast as they can, in order to gut the boomers' savings.

*go read, very worthy snark

Friday, November 16, 2007

Friday Dragon Blogging

I thought this was cool, more here.


Krugman On Obama

Dear Senator Obama,

To paraphrase Paul Krugman's worthy column, I am one of the Online Progressives who fought against the Bush administration’s attempt to panic America into privatizing the New Deal’s crown jewel, and I am outraged at your position on Social Security.

Social Security isn’t a big problem that demands a solution; it’s a small problem, way down the list of major issues facing America, that has nonetheless become an obsession of Beltway insiders. And on Social Security, as on many other issues, what Washington means by bipartisanship is mainly that everyone should come together to give conservatives what they want.

We all wish that American politics weren’t so bitter and partisan. But if you try to find common ground where none exists — which is the case for many issues today — you end up being played for a fool. And unfortunately IMHO, that’s what has just happened to you, Senator Obama.

I can't stand Clinton's 'conservatism without the thuggery', but I'll be damned if I vote for someone who's spouting a Republican talking point - and a very destructive one at that. You were doing better in my book when your campaign was avoiding contention within the party. It's the thugs in the White House, and the Koolaid Kidz in Congress that need the thumpin'. Don't let them divide and conquer just when we're getting some traction.

Thank You

* my edits

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Pic of the day

More pics.. this morning's sunrise

Sunrise action as I drive to work...

and Storm action when I get there.

And, for good measure, here's a link to a verrrry interesting article. Excerpt :

Let me say again so that there is no misunderstanding. I stand here today as a former US Marine saying we are killing women and children in Iraq. This is the true nature of war. War lends itself to atrocities. Don't think you can use an organization designed to kill other human beings for anything humanitarian. That has never been our mission. That was crystal clear from the moment I was forced to bury the crate of humanitarian food given to me in Kuwait.

I was kinda hoping that international grownups would weigh in on our Moron-In-Chief's saber rattling ways...

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Mukasey Grants Security Clearances to DOJ Investigators

Domestic spying inquiry restarted at DoJ

"We recently received the necessary security clearances and are now able to proceed with our investigation," H. Marshall Jarrett, counsel for the OPR, wrote to Rep. Maurice Hinchey, D-N.Y. A copy of the letter, dated Tuesday, was obtained by The Associated Press.

Hinchey and other Democrats have long sought an investigation into the spying program to see if it complies with the law. Efforts to investigate the program have been rebuffed by the Bush administration.

"I am happily surprised," Hinchey said. "It now seems because we have a new attorney general the situation has changed. Maybe this attorney general understands that his obligation is not to be the private counsel to the president but the chief law enforcement officer for the entire country."

The OPR investigation was begun in February 2006 but was shut down a few months later when the National Security Agency refused to grant Justice Department lawyers the security clearances to ask questions about the program. Justice Department officials said Gonzales recommended Bush approve the clearances, but the president said no.

Dare We Hope? Is this first play by the new Atty General a fake, a whitewash, or a real investigation into serious wrongdoing by the administration? I would hate to think that the only reason it's happening now is to take the pressure off the administration until he can slink back to Crawford.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Our Latest Project

I know it's too early for the holidays, but between late summer and fall cleanup is the perfect time to do projects. We can set it all up on the driveway, because the mosquitos have died down and the risk of rain is small. Hubby does the cutting and sanding and bolting and painting. I get to do the finish decorations.

We've had this one on the back burner for a couple of years. They just need a last touchup on the white, to hide the screw heads, and it'll be ready for the lawn.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Funny Thing Happened...

Not last night, but the night before last(that would be Wed Am).. My phone rang at 1am, and picking it up while still in the haze of a deep sleep, I heard what sounded like automatic rifle fire, and a man yelling into the phone what sounded like 'Alawee, Alaweee', and chattering in a foreign language in the background. I did the "hello, hello" deal, and not getting any response that I could understand, I hung up and turned over. At 1:30am the phone rings again, same voice (minus the gunshot sounds this time) with the same word. I whimper "stop calling me" before I hang up again.

4am, the phone rings again, same old thing. After running it through my brain a couple of times, and hearing the hubby stirring in his room, I took the phone to him(caller ID) and asked what he thought about it. Well, hubby's job is fixing industrial lasers, and he has friends within the small community of laser repair techs that tour the world fixing industrial lasers, so he thought maybe it was his Indian friend calling from who-knows-where and not realizing that it was the middle of the night here. It seems, the sound of a laser firing is very similar to the sound of automatic rifle fire. Hubby tried to call the number, but it had 12 digits, and didn't work...

Now, because we just recently redid all of our communications - phone, cable and internet - my number was under hubby's name, and the first to pop up under his name in directory assistance. Hubby called in to get that fixed (the only reason I have my own number is so I don't have to answer his phone, which rings constantly), and the person assisting him said we could call in with the number and get it traced.

When I got home last night, we did have the number traced, and the number was from


I kid you not! Knowing that cell phones always tell where they were bought, not nessessarily where they are when being used, I think the person who called could be literally anywhere - from next door to actually being in Syria. Any call from that phone would go through international "tubes". So, I probably already have people wiretapping my phone....hello, FBI, CIA, NSA, and WEV!

We called the local police to report the incident, and the cops were all like: "Uhm, and what do you expect us to do about it?".

Well, I don't know!

If it should happen again, I'm calling the FBI directly.

We've been going around and around about it, thinking there's lots of explanations:

  • The same thing we thought it was in the first place: a friendly laser tech, calling for some input- but using a phone picked up in Syria...
  • Just a wrong number
  • Somebody watching a movie(black hawk down?) and screwing around with the phone
  • Somebody "over there" who wants to screw around with the CIA and all those spooks, and is calling random numbers in teh US - just to watch, or imagine, the anthill explode..
  • Someone in our government who wants to screw around with *me* specifically, since I speak out in opposition(I know I know, but I'm scraping the barrel here)
What do you think it could be??

If I should stop posting, you'll know what happened...

From The Archives


From an interview Nov 7 with Salon's Michael Scherer

Mike Huckabee responding to question about abortion and the state and fed govts:
...But here's the issue: One has to decide, is this a political or a moral issue? If it is a political issue, then you can argue that each state could have its own political solution to it. If you believe it's a moral issue, then you really have to believe that morality does not change at the state line. That idea that morality is different in Massachusetts than it is in Texas is the rationale of the Civil War.

Do we want the federal government imposing morality? You are comfortable with the federal government playing that role?

Well, let's remember that all law establishes morality. That's what law does. The law of speeding is saying that it's immoral to go at 85 miles an hour. The morality is that we have established a 65-mile-an-hour limit. So that's what all law does: It establishes that it is wrong for me to murder you.(my ems) We've determined that that's not a good idea. I'm sure you are happy to hear that. So if I go over that law and murder you anyway, then society is going to punish me because I have violated a moral code, which we have all agreed to. So that's what law does. When people say you can't legislate morality, I am thinking, actually that is exactly what you do every time you pass a law. Now you don't legislate behavior. That's true. You can't legislate people's behavior. But all legislation legislates morality by its very nature. It defines the right and the wrong of the people.

I think Huckabee has some very basic concepts confused here.

LAW1 [law] Pronunciation Key
1. the principles and regulations established in a community by some authority and applicable to its people, whether in the form of legislation or of custom and policies recognized and enforced by judicial decision.
2. any written or positive rule or collection of rules prescribed under the authority of the state or nation, as by the people in its constitution. Compare bylaw, statute law.
3. the controlling influence of such rules; the condition of society brought about by their observance: maintaining law and order.
4. a system or collection of such rules.
5. the department of knowledge concerned with these rules; jurisprudence: to study law.

As opposed to:

MOR·AL /ˈmɔrəl, ˈmɒr-/ Pronunciation Key - Show Spelled Pronunciation[mawr-uhl, mor-] Pronunciation Key - Show IPA Pronunciation
1. of, pertaining to, or concerned with the principles or rules of right conduct or the distinction between right and wrong; ethical: moral attitudes.
2. expressing or conveying truths or counsel as to right conduct, as a speaker or a literary work; moralizing: a moral novel.
3. founded on the fundamental principles of right conduct rather than on legalities, enactment, or custom: moral obligations.
4. capable of conforming to the rules of right conduct: a moral being.
5. conforming to the rules of right conduct (opposed to immoral): a moral man.
6. virtuous in sexual matters; chaste.

Morals may or may not speak to any law, but a law does most definitely not speak to morals. Is it really immoral to speed? If you ask me, it's dangerous to speed. Is it really immoral to skip the turnsignal if there's no other car around? It's illegal, and it may not be a good habit, but I do not believe that it's immoral.

How about buying liquor on Sunday? Illegal in CT, not illegal in some other places. Certainly, if I was out buying a bottle of wine for an evening dinner party, it could in no way be termed immoral.

Or walking around naked? I mean, not that I am a nudist, or want to see anyone in that condition, but I really cannot see anything immoral about standing in the sun in your birthday suit - if you really want one of those all over tans.

Peeing in your yard anyone? (can be useful, if your toilet is on the blink or you have a dog to train or there's an obnoxious dog next door) - it's illegal, even gross, but not immoral.

Smoking Medical Marijuana - the DEA and the Supremes say it's against Federal Law, but some states have other views, the medical community has an even different take on the subject, and I don't see any immorality. It wasn't even illegal in the US until the Mexican American war.

Do we want someone that confused to inherit the Imperial Presidency of the Bush Administration?

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Nova: Saved By The Sun

I finally got around to watching a Nova that's been sitting in my TIVO for couple of weeks, and what a good show that was! (linkie..)

They featured Colorado Physicist Amory Lovins in one segment(who's also featured in the Nov Popular Mechanics). Here's a quote:

"We do have a national energy policy - it's basically to keep wasting lots of energy, import it at whatever price and by whatever means are nesessary, keep stealing from our kids, and keep screwing up the climate.

You may think this is a senseless, immoral and wasteful energy policy, and you would be right.


The amount of research money going into energy, public and private, has shrunk several fold - at a time when we need it the most. And, it's shrinking even further - THIS IS CRAZY!!!"
What we desperately need right now is a new energy initiative, one on a par with the New Deal. What we've got is Cheney and Halliburton. . .

Well, good night Irene!

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Whatever happened to Public Financing?

ACLU lobbyist sees telecoms' power
Caroline Fredrickson, the director of the ACLU Washington Legislative Office, said in a briefing for reporters Monday, “It is so troubling that Congress would consider providing immunity, intervening in these court cases and dismissing them without having the opportunity for the cases to be heard by a court.”

Fredrickson added wryly, “As someone who lobbies on the Hill regularly, we’re always rubbing up against the phalanxes of telecom lobbyists who are up there. I think members of Congress are feeling a great deal of pity for the sad circumstances that telecoms might find themselves in.”

Members of Congress she said, “are hearing from them on a regular basis as they attend their fundraisers. So we understand why there’s so much resonance for those arguments.”

It's SO long past time to get the big money out of politics. We must get public financing of elections or we loose our democracy.

*When I followed the link to this the title was "Dissident Democrats fume, but Lack Recourse." , and I was struck by the "Dissident" label - are the authoritarian radicals in our government about to round up the dems, and stock those big prison camps that Halliburton is building all over the US? (Paranoia - it strikes deep, into your mind it's gonna creep...)

Monday, November 05, 2007

Pics from Oregon

Hi Mom,

Stevie and I went to the coast and we got a couple good pictures. What do you think?


I think they're gorgeous.

and dramatic..


Just to get a sense of the sheer size,

Check out this detail.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Hunter's Moon

The full moon, on the western skyline at sunrise. Taken a couple of weeks ago... It looked just ginormous!

...and here's a bonus Quote for the day...

An energized populace, aroused by injustice and pressing for change, is not something to be feared and constrained; it is the very lifeblood of democracy.
~ Jack M. Balkin

Friday, November 02, 2007

Another Fine Fall Sunrise

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Quote of the day

“Automakers should stop acting like they’re playing the Tappet Brothers’ game, ‘Stump the Chumps,’ and start supporting higher fuel economy standards in Congress’ energy bill.”

~ Click and Clack - the Tappit Brothers (Tom and Ray Magliozzi)
*hattip to The Alternate Brain

Thursday's Pic

*click on the pic for a full size view

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