The Gypsy's Caravan

Friday, October 30, 2009

Last Leaves of Autumn

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Teh Credit Card Revolution

I recently got a notice re: my Discover Card, informing me that even though I pay in full almost every month I "tripped a trigger" and they were raising my percentage rate to 29.99%.

After looking at several recent statements, I realized that my due date has been a moving target of late. I pay with my bill payer service, and until this month have done one pymt a month. By moving my payment date around, they found a place where I would not have paid in the last 20 days, and therefore I was "late" twice.

I told my billpayer service to do two payments a month, so I will never go more than16 days without a payment.

Chase also has raised my rate recently - same scenario.

Yesterday I finally gathered all my credit card statements and brought them along to work so I could call them up and cancel their butts if they refused to lower my rates.

I first tackled Discover. I called their customer service line, and started out with the statement: "I really don't care if I have a Discover Card in my purse or not. I explained the situation, which was supported by his own records of my account. I told him that if they really were serious about raising my rate to 29.99%, they could "..take my card and .... I won't tell you where to put it because that would be very RUDE."

I asked him to reduce my percentage rate to 12.5%, and reimburse me the late fees.

He said all of that was good, except he was going to lower my rate to 10.4% effective immediately. Woo Hoo. Now that the late fees are canceled, I have a credit balance.

Next I called Chase, with the same spiel. The credit manager managed to remove some erroneous charges, but refused to do anything about the rates. "Our rates have been frozen until spring, and I can't even do anything about that." I told him that Discover just lowered my rate to 10.4, and if he didn't want me to throw his card into the back of my purse and never use it, perhaps he could find a way...

Nope. The software wouldn't let him. I told him that maybe he could pass on to corporate that the software needed fixing, and that I would be blogging about this situation. Still nope.

Don't know what's up with Chase, but at least DISCOVER CARD has GOTTEN IT!

Snoozin' with Yowser


Tuesday, October 27, 2009

This is Why...

~sunrise, 10/27/9 Coventry CT
...Healthcare is a moral issue.

Biologics are drugs made from living organisms, and they are considered the miracle drugs of the future. They are the new “blockbuster” drugs for the pharmaceutical industry. Herceptin, for breast cancer, costs $48,000 a year, and many insurance companies won’t cover it — or people quickly hit their limits and must pay for it out-of-pocket or go without.


...under the Eshoo/Barton amendment that passed in the House (Hagen/Enzi/Hatch in the Senate), it could “evergreen” and not be sold in generic form–virtually forever.

As Firedog Lake's Jane Hamsher says:


If Big Medical is not interested in serving their customers in a way that fosters health and saves money, then I say it's long past time for *MEDICARE FOR ALL*
- go ahead and raise my taxes, just get control of these criminal corporations who are taking our money and not delivering on healthcare.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Quote of the Day

Snowe may very well end up voting for whatever she and Democrats craft, but that won't make the outcome bipartisan any more than dancing shoes made Tom DeLay Fred Astaire.

~Howard Fineman

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Afghanistan: It's long Past Time To Go

I was reading the newspaper this morning, and came across this opinion piece about Afghanistan.

There have been 60 global neo-jihad (the author’s preferred term projects or “plots” in the West in the last two decades, by 46 terrorist networks or groups connected directly or indirectly with al Qaeda. The first was the original attack on the New York World Trade Center in 1993, and the most recent was a plot to blow up the headquarters of the French General Directorate of Internal Security, the author of which was arrested in December 2008. Of the 60 plots all but one have been completely solved.

Al Qaeda itself was directly linked to 20% of these episodes. Most – 78% -- were the work of “autonomous homegrown groups” with no real connection to al Qaeda, but its admirers, usually inspired by the U.S. invasion of Iraq. Of the 60 “neo-jihad” plots in the West, 9 were actually Algerian terrorist attacks on Paris in the 1990s (for its support of the military government in Algeria), 3 were al Qaeda’s successes (9/11, the London bombings, and indirectly Madrid), 36 were disrupted by police arrests, and 10 failed because of mechanical or organizational failures by the terrorists.

The al Qaeda core organization became active in the West in 1993 (the first Trade Center attack), peaked in 2001 with the 9/11 bombings, and since has been in decline. Only two other al Qaeda-linked attacks were successful (the London transport bombings and the Madrid train-station bombing – which had no active link to al Qaeda, but was copying it.). Some 3 thousand Americans were killed on 9/11, 52 people in London, and 191 died in Madrid.

There has since been no “resurgent al Qaeda” in the West. The overall pattern of international terrorism since 2001 is increasingly that of a “leaderless jihad,” resembling the spontaneous series of terrorist actions and murders of heads of state in Europe and America (including U.S. Presdent William McKinley in 1910), carried out by autonomous utopian anarchists at the turn of the 19th to 20th centuries.

Al Qaeda’s relations with the Taliban today are troubled. According to Sageman, any “Taliban return to power in Afghanistan will not mean an automatic new sanctuary for al Qaeda.” He concludes that “effective counter-terrorism strategy [is] on the brink of completely eliminating al Qaeda.” There will be no organization to return. This is the result of effective international and domestic intelligence cooperation as well as good police work. So why, one asks, is the U.S. expanding its war in Afghanistan?

Why indeed. On the same page in my paper was Ron Paul's op-ed, wherin I found this:

I get quite annoyed at this very narrow line of questioning. I have other questions. We overthrew the Taliban government in 2001 with less than 10,000 American troops. Why does it now seem that the more troops we send, the worse things get? If the Soviets bankrupted themselves in Afghanistan with troop levels of 100,000 and were eventually forced to leave in humiliating defeat, why are we determined to follow their example? Most importantly, what is there to be gained from all this? We’ve invested billions of dollars and thousands of precious lives – for what?

The truth is it is no coincidence that the more troops we send the worse things get. Things are getting worse precisely because we are sending more troops and escalating the violence. We are hoping that good leadership wins out in Afghanistan, but the pool of potential honest leaders from which to draw have been fleeing the violence, leaving a tremendous power vacuum behind. War does not quell bad leaders. It creates them. And the more war we visit on this country, the more bad leaders we will inadvertently create.

Another thing that war does is create anger with its indiscriminate violence and injustice. How many innocent civilians have been harmed from clumsy bombings and mistakes that end up costing lives? People die from simply being in the wrong place at the wrong time in a war zone, but the killers never face consequences. Imagine the resentment and anger survivors must feel when a family member is killed and nothing is done about it. When there are no other jobs available because all the businesses have fled, what else is there to do, but join ranks with the resistance where there is a paycheck and also an opportunity for revenge? This is no justification for our enemies over there, but we have to accept that when we push people, they will push back.

The real question is why are we there at all? What do our efforts now have to do with the original authorization of the use of force? We are no longer dealing with anything or anyone involved in the attacks of 9/11. At this point we are only strengthening the resolve and the ranks of our enemies. We have nothing left to win. We are only there to save face, and in the end we will not even be able to do that.

The former administration went in without thinking, without listening to real experts. They cherry picked info to support their preferred action. They ignored reality because they were intent on creating a reality - however improbable and unworkable - GW Bush as Julius Cesar. They wanted him(the war dodger) to fill the role of conquering hero. They thought we would strike down presidential term limits.

This is a recurring republican theme, when they're in power - remember Guiliani? He wanted to stay on as gov of NY even after the election. Then, Bloomberg did what Guiliani couldn't accomplish even with 9/11 still fresh in everyone's minds.

But these words keep ringing in my mind:

When there are no other jobs available because all the businesses have fled, what else is there to do, but join ranks with the resistance where there is a paycheck and also an opportunity for revenge? This is no justification for our enemies over there, but we have to accept that when we push people, they will push back.

We also need to realize that we are shaping our own society as well as their's. While the job losses continue because we are spending our treasure worshiping death rather than fixing the planet, the people without jobs and health insurance end up going where there are jobs and insurance - into the armed forces.

Right now our economy seems to consist of three major centers of overweening greed, and not much else: The military/industrial complex, the medical/pharma/insurance complex, and the financial/government complex. Everything else seems to have flown the coop, and the only parts of these three that are still here are the parts that don't involve good middle class jobs.

Can Obama dismantle the American Empire, and return us to our republic?

Does he even want to?

Friday, October 23, 2009

Three Dimensional Chess

After reading this... my question is - Is this happening because the Dems think it would cause all of the Republican Governors to be voted out at the next election after they "opt out" of the public option?

How many of those same Governors actually refused funds from the stimulus? none.

And now they're going all around their states taking credit (with those big "publisher's clearing house" photo op checks) for the infrastructure and economic boost that the stim funds are providing.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

We made an Offer...

...on this ranch in Oregon. This is a shot from the back of the buildings, and there's 45 acres that goes with. Cross your fingers for us, we're really hoping to get a good deal on this one! For lots more pics, my sister and her boyfriend walked the property line with a GPS unit, taking pictures all the way.

A little piece of Summer

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Forget 350, How about 6.5 billion?

I've been wondering for years when we'd get back to the basics:

Contraception is ‘Greenest’ Technology

U.N. data suggest that meeting [the] unmet need for family planning would reduce unintended births by 72 per cent, reducing projected world population in 2050 by half a billion to 8.64 billion. Between 2010 and 2050 12 billion fewer “people-years” would be lived – 326 billion against 338 billion under current projections. The 34 gigatons of CO2 saved in this way would cost $220 billion – roughly $7 a ton [metric tons]. However, the same CO2 saving would cost over $1 trillion if low-carbon technologies were used.(my ems)
We as a species have been scatting in our own nest for the last 200 years, and we're getting close to making our life support system(the earth's ecosystem) unable to support us. If the US had not led the world down the "human proliferation at any cost" road in the Bush years, we wouldn't have so many people competing with the rest of the ecosystem for sustenance, and trashing up the place.

Of course, if we could all use less and stop all the trashing, the earth could support more of us.

And I suppose we'll do that just about as soon as we take responsibility for overpopulating this planet.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Rascals and Fools, part XXXVI

From TomDispatch:

$915.1 billion in total Iraq and Afghanistan war spending to date has been a no-brainer, even if it could, theoretically, have been traded in for the annual salaries of 15 million teachers or 20 million police officers or for 171 million Pell Grants of approximately $5,350 each for use by American college and university students.

Next March, we will collectively reach a landmark in this new version of the American way of life. We will hit the $1 trillion mark in total Iraq and Afghanistan war spending with untold years of war-making to go. No problem. It's only the proposed nearly $900 billion for a decade of health care that we fear will do us in.

Nor is it the Pentagon's fault that U.S. states have laws prohibiting them from deficit spending. The 48 governors and state legislatures now struggling with budget deficits should stop complaining and simply be grateful for their ever smaller slices of the federal pie. Between 2001 and 2008, federal grant funding for state and local governments lagged behind the 28% growth of the federal budget by 14%, while military spending outpaced federal budget growth with a 41% increase. There is every reason to believe that this is a trend, not an anomaly, which means that Title 1, Head Start, Community Development Block Grants, and the Children's Health Insurance Program will just have to make do with less. In fact, if you want a true measure of what's important to our nation, think of it this way: if you add together the total 2010 budgets of all those 48 states in deficit, they won't even equal projected U.S. military spending for the same year.

Oh Yes, the Grownups are in charge...

Monday, October 19, 2009

Halliburton: Carpet Bagging War Profiteers

The Bastards!

Hattip to Alternate Brain

Friday, October 16, 2009

Friday Cat Blogging

Snoozin' with Yowser

Thursday, October 15, 2009

SNOW in October!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Republicans: one big spit bucket full of FAIL!

Check it out over at Please Cut The Crap

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Another Birthday for me...

Awww... Sweetheart, they're so pretty!

Friday, October 09, 2009

Another Letter

Dear President Obama,

Regarding this news:

In the most profound financial change in recent Middle East history, Gulf Arabs are planning – along with China, Russia, Japan and France – to end dollar dealings for oil, moving instead to a basket of currencies including the Japanese yen and Chinese yuan, the euro, gold and a new, unified currency planned for nations in the Gulf Co-operation Council, including Saudi Arabia, Abu Dhabi, Kuwait and Qatar.

Secret meetings have already been held by finance ministers and central bank governors in Russia, China, Japan and Brazil to work on the scheme, which will mean that oil will no longer be priced in dollars.

I have to suggest that we need a new Clean Green Jobs Initiative - We need govt support to open a solar panel factory in every city in the US. We need to give those factories contracts to produce solar panels to line the highways and produce electricity to run our govt buildings and streetlights, and charge cars while they're parked at the meter.

This will bring down the price of the panels to where residents can afford to purchase the panels for their homes, and then we'll have the distributed energy network that we need.

Replace Imported Oil and Coal fired plants with clean green electric.

Become the world leader in reducing emissions.

Create badly needed jobs.

Stimulate the economy.

Cheap power could do more for us than any transitory flood of dollars.

Thank You
SB Gypsy

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Pass it on..

Health care is a human right.

This is fight against bloodless corporate interests and the cost is human lives.

Medicare for all. NOW.

...carry on.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009


The moon shots happened while I was in High School, and I thought surely we would be able to visit space installations by now... But the Government Types wanted to keep space to themselves, and managed to keep us out for most of my lifetime.

When Zubrin is on TV ranting about how we should already have a mars colony up and going, I completely know how he feels.

I personally blame it on Nixon and all of his comrades. But that's water under the bridge.

This, THIS is finally good news:

"The winning of the X Prize, the takeover of the Mir space station by private investors and the flight of Dennis Tito to the space station were the three shots that convinced investors that there was a market for commercial human spaceflight, a way to capitalize on it in the near term...and people willing to put money into the idea," Tumlinson said.

Comparing it to the moment before the flag is dropped on a race track, "the teams are building their cars and rolling them out to the starting line," Tumlinson said.

The Tumlinson timeline: Within the next few months the first companies will begin flights and within two years the first paying customers will be flying. Within three years the first commercial facilities will be overhead and within five years you will be able to fly commercially to orbit on a private spaceship.

Go here for more

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