The Gypsy's Caravan

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Pics of the Day

Thursday, June 26, 2008



now get that out of your head...

heh heh

*another word for "torx"

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Just How Many...

...need to turn down millions of dollars in federal money before we conclude that the program that's giving the $ out is flawed??

A federal tally shows that participation in the [abstinence only sex ed]program is down 40 percent over two years, with 28 states still in. Arizona and Iowa have announced their intention to forgo their share of the federal grant at the start of the fiscal year that begins Oct. 1.

The program was created by Congress in 1996 as part of welfare reform.

Since 2002, lawmakers have approved 19 short-term extensions — usually for three or six months at a time. But on three occasions, the program was extended for just a few days.

Whatever state officials think of the program's aims, that's not the kind of bureaucratic consistency they need to budget for employees and to put contracts out to bid.

"The funding stream became inconsistent. We didn't know from one quarter to the next whether we'd be getting the rest of the money," said Elke Shaw-Tulloch of the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare. "We got to the point where we didn't have any infrastructure to put the money to use. At the same time, there was mounting evidence the abstinence programs weren't proving to be effective."

Throw in a rising pregnancy rate among 15-19 year-olds in Idaho — 2,543 pregnancies in 2006 compared with 2,396 in 2004 — and state officials decided last summer it was time to get out. (my ems)

It's time to stop the insanity. The election cannot happen soon enough.

The complete article is here.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Peace Train

2006 Nobel Peace Prize Concert

US officials refused to let him enter the country the last time he tried to come over here from England, where he currently lives.

Protect your freedoms:

click on the graphic to go donate!

Glenn Greenwald has more today.


Watch it if you have time, it is a good quick explanation.

And here's the ad that will run in the Washington Post next Thursday :


Monday, June 23, 2008

RIP George Carlin

We'll all miss you.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Portrait of a Sell Out


Uranium Speculation Already Begun

Bulldozers first, four-wheeled locusts next, then dust in the wind: Like some devastating one-two punch, mineral development and motorized recreation are essentially guaranteed to create the next Great American Dustbowl. First, uranium prospectors bulldoze more roads to add to the thousands of miles of roads already carved across open Western lands in previous booms. Next, a horde of Off-Road Vehicle (ORV) riders take to them, causing more erosion and bio-degradation.

ORV ownership has expanded exponentially throughout the West and most of our deserts have already become weekend ORV theme parks. Those tens of thousands of untrained riders are barely regulated. Enforcement is a joke. They go where they wish and do what they please. Ecological devastation from the exploration and extraction cycle, already substantial, is aided and abetted by the inevitable crush of ORVs. As these riders braid new tracks through lands that otherwise qualify for wilderness protection, they may lose their standing forever, while already compromised wildlife habitats are further fragmented.

The thin and fragile soils of our deserts, barely held in place by a delicate microbiotic crust, have already been overgrazed and overrun. It can take twenty years to grow that protective microbial mat, but one spinning tire can destroy it in one second. If you live to the east of us, expect to see the dust under that "crypto" crust released into your air, as high desert winds churn it up and carry it away. Recent research concludes that snowpack in the Colorado mountains is melting earlier and faster due, in part, to dust blowing in from Utah and Nevada that covers the snow fields and absorbs heat. The Dustbowl, of course, is another old story. Unlike the dust storms of the 1930s, however, our Western dust may have the added charm of being radioactive.

Now that McSame is calling for 45 more new nuclear plants (nearly one new one per state) the speculators are goin' nutts out west. Talk about Coal and oil polluting the earth, Uranium mines are their insane, 290lb 6'8" younger brother. Uranium not only pollutes while it's mined, processed, and used, it leaves toxic waste that will not be safe for 100,000 years or more. You gotta know it's bad stuff if we're trying to figure out how to warn people who know nothing about our language, science, or culture to keep away from it. We already have more of it than we know what to do with. Now they want another round of pollute, pollute, pollute, pollute.

Read all about it in the Tomgram

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Signs of the Times

“Ten years ago I could never have imagined I’d be doing this,” says Greg Pal, 33, a former software executive, as he squints into the late afternoon Californian sun. “I mean, this is essentially agriculture, right? But the people I talk to – especially the ones coming out of business school – this is the one hot area everyone wants to get into.”

He means bugs. To be more precise: the genetic alteration of bugs – very, very small ones – so that when they feed on agricultural waste such as woodchips or wheat straw, they do something extraordinary. They excrete crude oil.

Unbelievably, this is not science fiction. Mr Pal holds up a small beaker of bug excretion that could, theoretically, be poured into the tank of the giant Lexus SUV next to us. Not that Mr Pal is willing to risk it just yet. He gives it a month before the first vehicle is filled up on what he calls “renewable petroleum”. After that, he grins, “it’s a brave new world”.

I want some of those bugs for my compost! Article here

The Freeway Blogger Rides Again!

hattip to Skippy

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

William Bunch Says it Straight Out:

Push Back

I have long wanted pushback on those of the Dem persuasion who are working along with Bushco to deny our constitutional rights in order to further their own quest for power. Steny Hoyer and Rham Emanuel are two of the worst offenders, right now lying thru their teeth while they work with Bush to provide amnesty to AT&T and all their friends for spying on the American public.

Yesterday a new alliance was formed between liberty loving people of all political persuasions to fight the march of repression in the US. Glenn Greenwald has the complete info here. When I clicked over to make my contribution, We had already raised almost $146,000.00 for the express purpose of defending our constitutional rights against a corrupt and power hungry political establishment. Please read the whole thing, and if you have the ching to apply, let's push the hell back at them!

06/19/08 10am UPDATE:

$197,210 Has been collected in two days for the express purpose of defending our 4th amendment and constitutional rights to privacy and to warranted-only searches.


Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Open Letter to Phil Griffin at MSNBC

Dear Phil Griffin,

I read with interest your take on the Keith Olbermann / misogyny in the campaign issue. Please pay attention:

quote from Shakesville -

Griffin knows that some of that anger is aimed at his star anchor. "It was, like, you meet a guy and you fall in love with him, and he's funny and he's clever and he's witty, and he's all these great things," Griffin said of the relationship between Olbermann and the Clinton supporters among his viewers. "And then you commit yourself to him, and he turns out to be a jerk and difficult and brutal. And that is how the Hillary viewers see him. It's true. But I do think they're going to come back. There's nowhere else to go."

How many problems are there with this quote?

1. Griffin implicitly identifies all Clinton supporters as women. Clearly, wrong. I'm not even going to bother finding a link.

2. He casually uses the metaphor of a battered spouse / partner / girlfriend to illustrate his point. If these are the terms you're using to describe a hefty chunk of your audience, I think it goes without saying that his network has a problem. But beyond what it illustrates about his attitude toward Clinton supporters and women in general, his use of this metaphor trivializes violence against women. As a national news executive, one would hope (vainly, it seems) he would understand that comparing his ratings problems to the widespread problem of domestic abuse is way out of bounds.

3. He casts Keith Olbermann as an abuser. Did this guy even have a rudimentary course in public relations? I mean, rule No. 1 is "Don't call your client as a wife beater."

4. It's belittling. The whole quote paints the viewer (specifically, women viewers, mind you) as helpless, love-sick puppy dogs.

5. Ultimately, the abuse is OK. Olbermann doesn't have to do a damn thing because the viewer (read: women) will come crawling back. In a Fox-dominated world, there's no place else to go, right?

Personally, I can think of a number of different places one could go at 8pm on a weeknight (watch a DVD, read a book, frisky business with a lover). Shockingly, NONE of them involves watching Countdown on MSNBC!

I would like to add to that complete analysis - I was a cheerleader for KO's Countdown. I used to talk it up as the ONLY place to get the news with an acceptable truthiness quotient. I was glued to the tube for that hour. After Keith's poor showing this election season I no longer talk it up, and if I miss the program for an evening or two - so what?

The first step in changing yourself for the good is to acknowledge your failings. If Keith Olbermann actually thinks that all of us who are righteously outraged are hysterical - then perhaps you need to glean your tv personalities from somewhere besides the locker room.

Thank you for your time


Monday, June 16, 2008

Here's another good energy article from Tom Dispatch

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Trillium, Iris and Daylillies on a summer sunday

sweet trillium - one of the few blue flowers

I've always thought these plants were kinda untidy, but now I'm thinking more along the lines of "architectural".

The daylillies reach for the sky.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Regulation !

There's a tiger-striped butterfly almost dead center in this pic, but you have to click to embiggen in order to see it... ;)


The ironic thing is that the Agriculture Department’s deference to the beef industry actually ended up backfiring: because potential foreign buyers didn’t trust our safety measures, beef producers spent years excluded from their most important overseas markets.

Hell, I haven't eaten beef for years. I still don't trust the chickens who're guarding that particular hen house.

But then, the same thing can be said of other cases in which the administration stood in the way of effective regulation. Most notably, the administration’s refusal to countenance any restraints on predatory lending helped prepare the ground for the subprime crisis, which has cost the financial industry far more than it ever made on overpriced loans.

Yes, it may have cost the financial industry a whole lot - which is guaranteed by the US taxpayer in fact if not on paper.

On the other hand, the individuals who made shitpiles of money on those loans are still sitting on their shitpiles of money, and there's no effort that I know of to relieve them of those shitpiles either. Corporations come and corporations go - they can die unlamented since they aren't persons. They can be fined and penalized, but unless those unethical and perhaps illegal transactions are looked into, and any persons who performed illegal acts are punished; those who are tempted to repeat their crimes in order to obtain their own shitpile of money will not be deterred.

The moral of this story is that failure to regulate effectively isn’t just bad for consumers, it’s bad for business.

And further, it's bad for the American way of life, and bad for the middle class who gets to cover all bets in the end.

full article here


Remember - If you can't beat 'em, report 'em to Homeland Security - they'll beat 'em for you!
~ Stephen Colbert

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Pic of the day

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Blue Dogs want a bipartisan panel

... to study entitlements. I wish they would realize that the reason Social Security and Medicare are called "entitlements" is because we as taxpayers are ENTITLED to the benefits - as in "already paid for them". I ask you: if an insurance company decided 40 years into a life insurance policy that they are just going to reduce the payout because... well, the money has already been spent on our employee's paychecks and nothing is left ... that company would end up in court on fraud charges.

I say, if anything is to be cut, cut the military budget, cut it to the bone, and keep on cutting until the budget is balanced, because right now we are spending more than the whole rest of the world put together on our military, and it is just making misery all over the place.

Perhaps if they didn't have so many bombs to fall back on they would invest some time and energy on diplomacy for a change.

"Don't let the bastards grind you down" ~ Bono

A Real Visionary

"... Uniting our efforts to build rather than to destroy..."

Those of us who were in tune knew this way back then. I watched the republicans tear at our conservation legislation and thought they were misguided. Now I know they are just selfish greedy bastards.

I must confess that I am uncomfortable with how easy it is for these people to switch brands and decide that they are democrats now.

hattip goes out to Digby at Hullabaloo

Thursday, June 05, 2008

I Take a Quiz:

What philosophy do you follow? (v1.03)
created with
You scored as Existentialist

Your life is guided by the concept of Existentialism: You choose the meaning and purpose of your life.

“Man is condemned to be free; because once thrown into the world, he is responsible for everything he does. It is up to you to give [life] a meaning.”

--Jean-Paul Sartre

“It is man's natural sickness to believe that he possesses the Truth.”

--Blaise Pascal







Justice (Fairness)


Strong Egoism








Divine Command


Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Quote of the day

Valerie Plame was the kind of real life secret agent that George Bush dreams of being, when he's not too busy pretending to be a Cowboy or a Fighter Pilot.
~ Bill Maher

and a hattip goes out to Blue Gal

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

War Profiteering - Carpetbagging in other words

From Greg Palast:(here)

I wish to hell the Democrats would call their plan what it is: A war profiteering tax. War is profitable business – if you’re an oil man. But somehow, the public pays the price, at the pump and at the funerals, and the oil companies reap the benefits.

Indeed, the recent engorgement in oil prices and profits goes right back to the Bush-McCain “surge.” The Iraq government attack on a Basra militia was really nothing more than Baghdad’s leaping into a gang war over control of Iraq’s Southern oil fields and oil-loading docks. Moqtada al-Sadr’s gangsters and the government- sponsored greedsters of SCIRI (the Supreme Council For Islamic Revolution In Iraq) are battling over an estimated $5 billion a year in oil shipment kickbacks, theft and protection fees.

The Wall Street Journal reported that the surge-backed civil warring has cut Iraq’s exports by up to a million barrels a day. And that translates to slashing OPEC excess crude capacity by nearly half.

Result: ka-BOOM in oil prices and ka-ZOOM in oil profits. For 2007, Exxon recorded the highest annual profit, $40.6 billion, of any enterprise since the building of the pyramids. And that was BEFORE the war surge and price surge to over $100 a barrel.

It’s been a good war for Exxon and friends. Since George Bush began to beat the war-drum for an invasion of Iraq, the value of Exxon’s reserves has risen – are you ready for this? – by $2 trillion.

It's time to end the fantasy that "our" MegaCorporations are(or ever were) operating in the interest of the people of the United States. The purpose of a corporation is to make as much profit as it can for it's stockholders, and damn the workers, damn the taxes, damn the governments it buys, damn the environment - except for green lipstick, that pig is terribly ugly.

It's time to make clear in our laws that Corps are not people, and Corps are greedy ugly things that should be regulated stringently.


With the Dew Still On

columbine in the sunny garden at work

These oriental poppies are blooming here for the first time.

chives and iris compete for space with tiny pinks

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