The Gypsy's Caravan

Monday, March 31, 2008

Support Senator Webb's New GI Bill

The National commander of the American Legion, Harry Colmery, was the architect of the original GI Bill. He asked a question that is as resonant today as it was then: "If we can spend 200 to 300 billion dollars to teach our men and women to kill, why quibble over a billion or so to help them to have the opportunity to earn economic independence and to enjoy the fruits of freedom?"

hattip to Alternate Brain

Bush's New Financial Fix

I heard on the news this morning a review of the pResident's new plan to fix our financial system. The announcer (I didn't catch his name) was of the opinion that jamming all the agencies that now do rules and oversight into one big agency won't do anything to repair the mess we're in, and won't do anything to prevent our sterling financial industry from doing it all again (hell, they made enough on this mortgage mess to make them hungry for more...).

Iowa Democrat Tom Harkin, the Senate Agriculture chairman weighs in:
"Merely attempting to paper over the crisis by little more than a change in the structure of the bureaucracy in Washington doesn't come to grips with the reality and the gravity of the situation."(emphasis mine)

Packing all those agencies into the unfortunately named Homeland Security Department didn't do shit for our security either. It only delivered all the FEMA funding into the hands of spendthrifts and fools.

They've done it before, and they have good reason to think they'll get away with it again - smoke and mirrors, and more busywork from the Moron in Chief.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Bush's Agriculture Department ready to give meat packers a pass

WASHINGTON - Under pressure from the food industry, the Agriculture Department is considering a proposal not to identify retailers where tainted meat went for sale except in cases of serious health risk, The Associated Press has learned.

Had that been the rule in place last month, consumers would not have been told if their supermarkets sold meat from a Southern California slaughterhouse that triggered the biggest beef recall in U.S. history.

The plan is being considered as the USDA puts the final touches on a proposed disclosure rule. It had lingered in draft form for two years until getting pushed to the forefront in February, when 143 million pounds of beef were recalled by Westland/Hallmark Meat Co. in Chino, Calif., after undercover video by an animal-rights activist showed workers abusing crippled cows.

Agriculture Department spokesman Chris Connelly confirmed Wednesday that the agency is weighing whether to make naming the stores mandatory only for so-called "Class I" recalls, which pose the greatest health hazard. The Chino recall was categorized as "Class II" because authorities determined there was minimal risk to human health.

~ SNIP ~

Partly for competitive reasons, industry groups support the way recalls are currently done, where a description of the recalled product is released by the Agriculture Department's Food Safety and Inspection Service along with some other information including where it was produced.

Retailers must remove recalled meat from their shelves but there's no requirement that they notify their customers about meat already sold, though some take voluntary steps to do so.

Consumers may be able to identify prepackaged foods like hot dogs that the Agriculture Department mentions by brand name, but with ground beef or other items that are repackaged at grocery stores, there's usually no identifying information on the package to tell consumers it's a recalled item.

Kristi Thacker, a registered nurse in the small town of Eldon in central Missouri, said she had no idea the frozen ground beef in her freezer, purchased at her local grocery store, was tainted until her 5-year-old daughter became sick from E. coli. This was during a recall in 2002 and her daughter, Savana, has now recovered.

"My child would not have gotten sick if they would have told me that I had bad hamburger. I would have thrown it away," Thacker said in an interview Wednesday. "Instead, a month later, with bad hamburger sitting in my freezer the whole time, she became deathly ill."

I'm already hearing lots of people saying not to give the fed govt any money because they waste it and don't do shit while people are dying...

Read the whole thing here.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Open Letter to Senator Clinton

Dear Senator Clinton,

I know that Hillary will not be reading this directly, this will go to a volunteer who's job is to sort mail - that's why I've CC'd the offices of Howard Dean, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, Edward Kennedy, Chris Dodd, John Edwards, and Henry Waxman.

I'll tell you right off, my dream ticket was Dodd/Edwards.

By the time the primaries came to CT, I no longer had a candidate, so I was content to sit back and watch the show, knowing that both of our candidates would make a good president, and knowing that it was a shoe-in for us Dems this year. I also took comfort that the one not living in the WH next February would be a powerhouse in the Senate making sure that the new administration gets what it needs to change course swiftly and neatly.

After watching you on last night's news however, I have something to say, and I hope you take note:


You have virtually no chance of taking the nomination by popular vote, so I guess you have decided that if you cannot win by playing fair, you'll leave a desert behind you.

If I wanted a reTHUGGlikkin' for a president, I'd vote for McCain in Nov.

McCain is your target, and by joining in on the Swiftboating of Obama you are destroying not only Obama's chances but any Democrat's chances in Nov. I am personally urging you to direct your awesome powers against the real and despicable opponent in this election. McCain is the one you have to beat, whether or not you are the nominee.

I'm making you a promise: If you keep up the attacks on Obama, I'm staying home on Election day. If you win the nomination by the votes of Superdelegates against the wishes of the electorate, I'm staying home on election day. Because if you do all that, you're no better than the republican facists. I'd rather sit this one out than vote for a facist - real rethugg, or faux republican, it makes no difference to me. I refuse to sign off on anyone who is so arrogant that they willingly and purposefully sow the fields with salt.

I'm completely angry with the federal govt, for letting Bushco/Darth Cheney do all the damage they've done, for appointing them in the first place rather than making sure the votes were counted, and for sitting on your thumbs while the nation was lied into war, and then continually abdicating your responsiblity to check their excesses.

We have been stuck with a republic, and I would rather keep it than go through the chaos of a civil war with uncertain outcome, so you are on notice: I will be doing everything in my admittedly puny power to make sure that those responsible for the last eight years are drummed out of office.

Sincerely SB Gypsy

More Recalls -

_About 18,000 Backyard and Beyond metal water bottles, manufactured in China and distributed by Downeast Concepts Inc., because surface paints contain high levels of lead, which is toxic if ingested by children.

About 3,000 toy penguin figures, manufactured in Thailand by Plan Toy Inc., because the figure's head can come off and expose sharp points.

story here

Shafta and Gatt are sure working out well for us and our economy ....

Friday, March 21, 2008

Are they Insane?

".... Imagine if you went to a hospital to have an operation on your knee, and your surgeon completely botched it, permanently shattering your knee instead of fixing it and, in the process, needlessly removing your healthy kidney and recklessly causing damage to your heart and lungs. Then, as you tried to decide what you should do to rectify the damage -- and you sought out the advice of doctors who presciently warned you not to have that doctor operate -- the guilty surgeon insisted that he be allowed to operate again to fix it and that you listen to him regarding what should be done.

And when you screamed at the guilty surgeon -- as every sane person would -- to stay as far away from you as possible and that he was the last person from whom you wanted advice, he kept telling you: "Oh, forget about the past. This isn't about assigning blame. What matters is figuring out what to do now." You would think such a person insane for that line of thought. But that's exactly what war advocates like Anne-Marie Slaughter -- and John McCain -- are insisting that we do. That's how the establishment can insist that the Iraq War is an asset for John McCain even though Americans overwhelmingly think that his support for it was a grave mistake. "Forget the past." ...."

Great article over at Glenn Greenwald's place

Victory Garden Revisited

Fantastic article about new niches for raising veggies, here

Thursday, March 20, 2008

ABC news: Open Letter

In Re: your article today on Senator Hillary Clinton's schedule as First Lady

You've GOT to be kidding!

I have never seen a sleazier hit piece in all my years on the face of this earth, and I've been around a long time.

This ridiculous and disgusting panty sniffing does not belong on ABC (nor on CBS, NBC, FOX or cable) especially in reference to a sitting Senator and Presidential Candidate.

I would hope that those responsible would be given a little time off (without pay) to meditate on Respect (in relation to our candidates and in relation to the American People). Perhaps you could assign them an essay on that very subject (or, better yet - make them write on the blackboard 1000 times: I will always be respectful in my writing to Women, Men, minorities, and victims.)

SB Gypsy

write your own:
(feel free to cut and paste any of above)

Now, Here's an X Prize

...that'll pay off big for everyone!

NEW YORK - The X Prize Foundation, best known for its competitions promoting space flights, is offering $10 million to the teams that can produce the most production-ready vehicles that get 100 miles per gallon or more.

More than 60 teams from nine countries have signed up for the competition so far, including California electric carmakers Aptera Motors and Tesla Motors, German diesel carmaker Loremo and a team from Cornell University.

Teams will be able to sign up through mid-2008, when applicants will be narrowed to those who can prove they would build production-ready, consumer-friendly cars. Those that qualify will race their vehicles in cross-country races in 2009 and 2010 that will combine speed, distance, urban driving and overall performance.

The purse will be split between two categories: mainstream and alternative cars. Mainstream cars must carry four or more passengers and have climate control, an audio system and 10 cubic feet of cargo space. They also must have four or more wheels, hit 60 miles per hour in less than 12 seconds and have a minimum top speed of 100 miles per hour and a range of 200 miles.

Read the rest here

Another China Import Kills Americans

It turns out that Heparin, the drug that's given to patients during operations to control bleeding, is being made with ingredients imported from China. Some of those ingredients were contaminated, and have caused the deaths of 19 people so far.

It's time to restore the regulations (each one bought with the life and health of victims past) and hire enough inspectors to make those regulations meaningful.

Read more here

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

R. I. P. Arthur C Clarke

Our world will be less without you.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Open Letter to MSNBC

Dear Sirs,

Please loose The Scar on your new show Race for the White House. Old Joe has his own MSNBC morning show where he can yell and browbeat his co-hosts all he wants, isn’t that enough? I personally am so tired of all the shouting and crude and rude behavior on these shows that I've stopped watching them.

So. Please - no more shouting over other people, no rudeness and boorishness.

The disrespect that your "news persons" (stenographers and opinion staters- they certainly are NOT investigative reporters) show to their guests is pathetic and indicative of their lack of intelligence and lack of wit. I take it as gospel that the rudeness is meant to cover stupidity. It only underlines it in my book.

Thank You

SB Gypsy

Friday, March 14, 2008

Greg Palast has the Skinny on why Eliot Spitzer was taken down


Gallup to the polls

A new USA Today/Gallup poll was released yesterday - the fundamental question:

Which would be better for the United States?

Keep a significant number of troops in Iraq until the situation there gets better: 35%

Set a timetable for removing troops and stick to it regardless of what is going on in Iraq: 60%

It's time to set up a plan for leaving!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

The Drum Major Institute - Grades the candidates..

As for the three top presidential contenders, Senators Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton each received an “A+” grade. Stunningly, Senator McCain was the only member of the Senate to receive an “incomplete” because he missed a majority of the graded votes. Even Senator Tim Johnson, who suffered a life threatening brain hemorrhage in December 2006 and did not return to the Senate until September 2007, managed to vote on 50% more pieces of critical middle-class legislation than did Senator McCain. “When it came to doing something about the middle class, Senator McCain simply wasn’t there for them,” said Ms. Schlesinger.

The stronger the middle class, the stronger our economy, and the richer everyone is... This is a no-brainer, folks.

Hattip: Firedoglake

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Quote of the day

"Tomorrow is a mystery.

Today is a gift - that is why it is called the present."

~Eleanor Roosevelt

Monday, March 10, 2008

America hates the GOP

From Pew (2/24)

"Please tell me if you think the REPUBLICAN Party or the DEMOCRATIC Party could do a better job in each of the following areas. Which party could do a better job of [see below]?"

Foreign policy: Democrats +5

Immigration: Demorats + 5

Iraq: Democrats +10

Taxes: Democrats +12

Morality: Democrats +10

Economy: Democrats +19

Education: Democrats + 29

Health care: Democrats +30

Reforming government: Democrats +25

Energy: Democrats +34

Environment: Democrats +44

ha. ha. ha.

hattip: firedoglake

CO2 output must cease altogether, studies warn

When it comes to deciding how drastically to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, O'Neill said, "in the end, this is a value judgment, it's not a scientific question." The idea of shifting to a carbon-free society, he added, "appears to be technically feasible. The question is whether it's politically feasible or economically feasible."
Article here

The idea of maintaining this world (the only world proven to have life on it) in a livable condition appears to be technically feasible. The question is whether it's politically feasible or economically feasible.

Actually it IS a scientific question, and we don't really have a whole lotta time left to answer it. That guy must not have any children or grandchildren.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Pic of the Day

Just fooling around waiting for the storm to arrive. I'm hoping that it won't turn to snow any time soon.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

McCain trying to complete the genocide of the American Indians in AZ

all for coal to light up the Strip in 'Vegas

Jesus' General has the poop.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008


I've been researching natural building methods, and this video is just so cool. It's the making of a cob oven.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Winter Storm "Ethan"

So far this winter we've lucked out here in our part of CT (knock on wood), and haven't had a truely horrendous storm. The season's not over until after April Fool's day, so here's hoping our luck holds.

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