Monday, June 30, 2008

Brief Update/Vogue

Viva Espana!
Viva Catalina!
Check your email, I forwarded that poster from O'Malley's.

Otherwise, the weather here in Tacoma, Wa is fantastic. The yellow roses were photographed yesterday in the lovely North Slope District where I make my home.
Tonite I'm going to dinner with my upstairs neighbor, Jean, we are going to celebrate my last regular shift at the Hospital.
I'm per diem now and will work as much or as little as necessary. I am so unfathomably grateful that this has happened for me. I'm going to pay more attention to my studies and to the Blog. I'm going to go to the beautiful places in Washington and Oregon and photograph them all (over time). And when I do go to work I'm going to enjoy it for all the wild and woolly craziness of nursing and health care in this USofA.
More Later....
Oh, oh, oh...lately in the newspapers and magazines there's an awful lot of Cindy McCain striking poses. I wonder if Obama will be hanging the Missus up like a side of beef?
I must say that Cindy is a natural and seems to be enjoying it.
I suppose the election of '08 will hinge largely on who's got the most accomplished and poised (and photogenic) wife.
...and I thought health care was deranged....


Viva Espana! Hola, todos! My team finally won something! Spain are champs in Europe! I can't believe my team actually won! As I have stated here before, my belief in something tends to nullify the outcome. But things can change. I am so pleased with the game yesterday. Soccer tends to be a game where one mistake can rob the deserving team of a win, but this time it did not go that way. Si, si, si! El Copa es aqui!

Other than absolute football bliss, Chris and I are well and exactly the same. I am off to work in a bit, where no one even knows what Euro 08 is. Mom, you need to help me remember to have you take the digital camera home on the 4th so you can upload the mural beginnings here on the blog. Love, Catalina.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

They never meant to imply anything derogatory

State Democrats to take "Sopranos" song out of ad after Italian Club complains
The state Democratic Party said it would change a video about Republican Dino Rossi after the Italian Club of Seattle complained Wednesday that the ad is "racist" and "beyond offensive."
David Postman
Seattle Times chief political reporter
YouTube State Democratic Party's ad
Excerpts from his blog, Postman on Politics
The state Democratic Party said it would change a video about Republican Dino Rossi after the Italian Club of Seattle complained Wednesday that the ad is "racist" and "beyond offensive."
In a letter to Gov. Christine Gregoire, the group said the video, which criticizes Rossi's connections to the Building Industry Association of Washington, "aims to link Italian-American gubernatorial candidate Dino Rossi to Italian-American criminals through the use of the theme song to 'The Sopranos.' "

Primrose Path?

No, no,'s Hyde Park in London when Hermana and I were there one lovely springtime.
The Primrose Path is what happens around every Presidential Election in every country on every planet in the Multiverse. Korea lets the inspectors in....the prisoners come home...Israel and the Palestinians patch things up (again)...
Curtain up! Let the show begin.

So Much News! What Does It All Mean?

Dr. FeelGoodEnough notes that I'm a suspicious person. Or maybe he wanted to explore my theory that hi-jinks aplenty will follow the lifting of sanctions against North Korea. He thinks that there has been intercession by the Chinese, which I don't doubt. The report was handed to a Chinese envoy, for goodness sake. It's the timing that I question. Could this have been accomplished a month ago, or six months ago? Has he kept us all on tenterhooks in order to pull this out of his hat four months before the Presidential election? It smells like Karl Rove to me.

D.C. Gun Ban Struck Down. Good. If the rest of us have to live next to neighbors with armories in their garages, so should our Representatives in Washington.


The Constitution and The Federalist Papers

I had a long talk with Hermana yesterday and I've decided to make a study of the Constitution and the Federalist Papers:
"...I'm going to do a post later today or tomorrow about my study of the Constitution/Federalist Papers--something like: I'm reminding myself about the Founding Fathers (who had troubles or their own, god bless them, and didn't always live up to their own standards) and how our Constitution came to be written and what it actually says (open to as much interpretation as the bible, don't you know). I want to make it alive for myself and understand, a little, of how it applies in 2008 and beyond."

So, I'll be posting bits of my study here and we can discuss it at little or at length.

I don't want to be criticizing if I haven't given the documents a good going over myself. I'll be pulling from the original documents and also from the books and documents that the Founders referenced. I hear that Thomas Jefferson's Library has been re-gathered at the Library of Congress. If there's a link to it I'll study it from here but maybe I'll go to D.C. for a week and have a look at it up close for inspiration.

The Constitution is as fine a document as there ever was. I want to find the central principles that have been forgotten (or that have dimmed for us in our prosperity, strength and dare I say arrogance).

There are a few unchanging truths in this world of humankind; truths that stand in the face of fear and uncertainty and a vastly changed world from that of the Founders. I want to re-acquaint myself with them. This will take a lot of time--I'll post the interesting stuff here for your review.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Yay, Chuck!!!!

Our approval can no further go.

Bainbridge Island

Hello, I drove to Bainbridge today in spite of the price of gas. As you can see, it was a beautiful day. These pictures were taken not far from the ferry dock in the town of Winslow.
I also include a picture of my cat, Mu Bai, who is a smart guy and knew I was leaving for the day--I was pointedly ignored.

Look What Chuck Did!

Good for Chuck! Now, instead of writing to complain, I can write and congratulate him on his good sense. That's a relief for both of us.

From Newsday:

Schumer: Against telcom immunity


Chuck Schumer's spokesman tells us that he's going to oppose the current version of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act legislation, which immunizes telcom companies for past implementation of Bush's requests and expands the government's capacity to surveil without court approval.

If Schumer backs an effort to remove the immunity provisions, that could be a big deal. Obama has come out against those provisions, but Schumer is a strategic signal caller in the Senate. The key question: Will Schumer support a filibuster on removing immunity from the bill?

If the provisions come out, the compromise legislation could fall apart. But civil liberties advocates have mounted a strong campaign against the idea of Democrats retroactively approving Bush's exercise of surveillance powers outside the FISA law's statutory scheme.

No signal yet from Sen. Clinton on her position, and it's not clear whether the Democrats will have enough votes to successfully attack the immunity issue. All of Long Island's House members supported the bill with telcom immunity in it, except for Steve Israel.

USA Department of Duh...Re: EPA to GWB; GWB to EPA

Hypothetical scenario:
I receive an email on my official site from an official colleague telling me that one of our endeavors is circling the drain. I post an official reply that I'm not going to read it.
Am I still culpable when something hits the fan regarding the said endeavor?
The judge asks:
1. Did you know you had received this email? Yes.
2. Were you capable of opening this email? Yes.
3. Did you open other emails before and after you had received the said email? Yes.
4. You knew at the time that the email was from your colleague with whom you have a mutual endeavor? Yes.
5. Did you reply to this email at all? Yes.
6. What was the text of your reply? That said email would not be opened.
Spare me. I think the EPA should send the White House a Registered & Certified letter. Fax it. Send it Fedex. UPS. On a bus on a plane on a camel on a train.
We are dealing with a global issue on a kindergarten level.

Douglas Adams Called it an 'S.E.P.'.....

"Somebody Else's Problem"

He said that humans go through life unconsciously ignoring problems that are as large as a spaceship landing on the pitch at Lord's Cricket Ground. Even Ford Prefect, who knew about S.E.P.s, could only see them out of the corner of his eye while ducking and weaving. It's the 800 pound gorilla. It's re-arranging the deck chairs while the Titanic is sinking. It's the American Way!

Well gee, now I just talked to you on the phone and I have nothing else left in me to say. That won't last long.

- Maggie

The Feather

From mi Hermana:
What the hell is THIS? Do they think that if they don't open it, it doesn't exist? Is this George's version of Schrodinger's cat? Boy, if this doesn't boil down the Bush Administration's global philosophy to one headline, I'll eat my hat. (The BIG hat. The one that held all those rocks.) WASHINGTON June 25, 2008 White House Refused to Open Pollutants E-Mail By FELICITY BARRINGER The White House told E.P.A. officials that it would not open an e-mail sent in December that argued that greenhouse gases are pollutants that must be controlled. (Editors Note: Visit Rich Simon's site for more cogent analysis than we are capable of producing.)

There's a theory that if you don't see it it's really not there. (Not the theory of the quantum kind)--it's a superstitious theory devoutly hoped for by the helpless and the ignorant: taking the mail out of the box and putting it in the garbage immediately viola! the bills are gone...or like a little kid who thinks if his eyes are closed no one can see him.
But the world always catches up with you--the bill is due and you're caught.
The era of GWB and his flunkies will be known as an embarrassment to the USA--a humiliation.
Enrichment of the few on the backs and the lives of the naive, the poor and the helpless. The worst sin of all of course is the denigration of our Constitution and of our great country--broken levees, roads too expensive to drive on, houses too expensive to live in. We the people have bought into the delusion, we sit with our eyes closed hoping someone else will solve the problem--blaming it on other people and other places.
Our USA is our responsibility---everyone of us. In our naivete we have let our First Principles be sullied. This hallowed ground of America was achieved on the backs and lives of 'others'--that is our original sin. When will we wake up and shoulder the burden? And how will we do it?

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Duko, the Mighty.

(Clearly this is not a picture of Duko. Duko is in the top picture, looking sultry on the floor of Kurt's closet. While Duko may not be as big as this cat, she's a lot scarier!)

Last night Shadow and Tuna almost had a fight. It was the first time this had happened and I really think that it was all a misunderstanding. Shadow had just lain himself down on a pile of (clean) laundry and was about to fall asleep. Tuna, not aware that Shadow was there, jumped up on the pile of laundry and spooked both himself and Shadow, who assumed a defensive posture. Tuna, who’s finally feeling a little more confident after all these weeks, struck a similar pose. It never went any farther than a paw batting because I intervened right away. Being 3 years older and about 5 pounds lighter, Shadow was not going to come out of a battle with 8 year old Tuna unscathed. Anyway, Tuna doesn’t have enough seniority to be getting snotty with anyone, so I made him get down, I picked Shadow up and hugged him and told him that he was a good boy and hoped that would be the end of it.

It wasn’t. A few minutes later, I heard hissing by the china cabinet. Shadow was in his big basket and Tuna had come to kick him out. I jumped out of my chair and swatted Tuna with the Pennysaver. He took off into the bedroom, even though Kurt was in there. (He’s not fond of Kurt yet. Though he may be fonder of him today than he was yesterday.) But this was serious. I had to make Tuna understand that this was NOT going to be tolerated. So, I turned into a cat. I cornered him in the bedroom, hissing, growling and showing my teeth. He slunk back against the bureau but he was hissing back at me and his eyes were locked on mine. I moved forward, very slowly, and I made that noise that the Mother Cat used to make; that freaky, scary yowl. Suddenly he broke eye contact, looking down and to my left. But he was still hissing. I looked down. Right beside me was Duko, in all her shining, coal-black glory, head flattened like a cobra and her tail fuzzed out to the width of a half-used roll of paper towels. Her glowing, yellow eyes were the size of quarters and her mouth was wider than her head! She was going to kill him. And, because she hadn’t seen what started it all, she was going to kill him for me! I was so touched. This from a cat not even ten months old! We both stayed there and rumbled at him for another minute or two, then I stood up and called her off. She came away reluctantly, but parked herself in the bedroom door and wouldn’t let him out for over an hour.

Finally, we all sat together and ‘communed’. I combed Shadow’s hair. I combed Tuna’s hair. I explained to Seven (who knew that something had happened and why wasn’t anybody playing with her?) that we were all friends again. Duko sneered at Tuna. It was perfect. There were no more incidents, and this morning when I got up, Tuna and Shadow were sleeping in the two baskets by the window.

You should have seen us. We were fearsome. We were like partners, Duko and I. We were ‘bad cop’ (me) and ‘worse cop’ (her). I almost wish I hadn’t gotten her spayed. The world needs more Dukos.

Abandoning the Ship of State

...In spite of rock and tempest’s roar,
In spite of false lights on the shore,
Sail on, nor fear to breast the sea!
Our hearts, our hopes, are all with thee..
- Longfellow

We've grown so timid, we Americans. We're afraid of challenge, cowed by bullies (at home and abroad), and terrified by terrorism. (At least that's a chuckle.)

Anyway, in view of the overwhelming dead silence that has greeted Dennis Kucinich's presentation of 35 Articles of Impeachment to the House Judiciary Committee, I decided to write to my Congressman, John Hall of the 19th District, and to Senators Schumer and Clinton of New York State. I urged them to support Rep. Kucinich's efforts, to resist political strategists who don't want to rock the boat now that the tide seems to have turned in their favor. So far, I've only received a reply from John Hall. Very courteous, very concerned. Very sorry. His letter, and my reply to it, below:

From: Congressman John Hall
Subject: Responding to Your Message
Date: Tuesday, June 24, 2008, 9:42 AM
June 24, 2008

Dear Ms. Carneiro,

Thank you for contacting me regarding your desire to see impeachment charges brought against Members of the Bush Administration. I appreciate hearing your thoughts on this important Constitutional issue.

The Bush-Cheney Administration has led our country in the wrong direction and it will take years for us to recover from the damage it has done to our country and to our reputation around the world. The list of its transgressions and mistakes is a long one. The Bush-Cheney Administration took us into a devastating war in Iraq based on misleading statements and false information, has undermined the criminal justice system, weakened Constitutional protections for U.S. citizens, and created staggering federal deficits with its misplaced priorities and reckless federal spending. It has condoned the use of torture and illegal wiretapping, and attacked the Constitutional separation of powers.

Congress has a responsibility to hold the Bush-Cheney Administration accountable and to investigate the Administration's abuses of power and their root sources. We must thoroughly look into the process leading up to the invasion of Iraq and the way in which the American people and the Congress were misled.

To these ends, I have co-sponsored the following legislation since I came to the House of Representatives in January 2007:

-H. Res. 417 to express no confidence in former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales.
-H. Res. 530 to censure President Bush for his role in revealing the identity of a covert CIA employee and for commuting the sentence of I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby.
-H. Res. 625 to censure President Bush and Vice President Cheney for misleading the American people about the basis for war in Iraq.
-H. Res. 626 to censure President Bush and Attorney General Alberto Gonzales for ignoring federal statute, the Constitution, and undermining the separation of powers.
-H. Res. 689 to call on the President to urge full cooperation from former political
appointees in ongoing Congressional investigations.
-H.R. 3045 to void any signing statements by the President.
-I strongly support Chairman Conyers' effort to hold former Administration officials in contempt for refusing to testify in ongoing Congressional hearings.

I vehemently opposed the legislation, S. 1927, passed by both chambers of Congress in August to expand the government's ability to listen in on foreign conversations, without approval of the special court established by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). However, the House has recently passed H.R. 3773 to fix the mistakes in S. 1927-including greater court oversight of wiretapping and improved protections for the rights of Americans.

I believe that I was elected in 2006 by voters who urgently want change in Washington, and an end to the disastrous Bush-Cheney policies. Clearly much remains to be done, however in the past year the House has passed important legislation that includes: A fiscal 2008 budget plan with new controls to ensure fiscal responsibility; homeland security measures proposed by the 9/11 Commission, such as broader screening of cargo bound for the United States, more support for cities at high risk of attack, and improved communications systems for emergency workers so they can better coordinate during an attack or natural disaster; meaningful ethics and lobbying reforms; a far-reaching energy package designed to wean America off its dependence on oil; improvements to child health insurance coverage for low-income families; the first minimum wage increase in a decade; a measure allowing broader stem cell research; and legislation to help students handle soaring college costs and to crack down on misconduct in the student loan industry. I will continue to work as long and hard as it takes to see all of these measures become law despite opposition from the White House.

I understand why many people believe that impeachment of Vice President Cheney or President Bush would be justified, but I do not believe that our country should be put through an impeachment proceeding at this time. Further, it is apparent that no article of impeachment would result in a conviction in the Senate. The process would be extremely disruptive to efforts to pass substantive legislation to block further abuses by the Bush-Cheney Administration and efforts to pass legislation to help solve problems for American families.

On Nov. 6, 2007, I voted with a majority of the House to send H. Res. 799-a resolution outlining articles of impeachment against Vice President Cheney, to the Judiciary Committee to consider. Although I share many Americans' deep frustration with the actions of the Bush Administration, taking this resolution directly to the House floor bypassed the Judiciary Committee and would have subverted procedures for introducing impeachment findings. I believe this would have created a dangerous precedent for future Congresses. In addition, the resolution itself cited actions which, while outrageous, do not meet the Constitutional standard for impeachment of "treason, high crimes or misdemeanors."

A number of House Committees including Judiciary and Oversight and Government Reform have launched continuing investigations and oversight hearings into the activities of the Bush-Cheney Administration and dramatically increased accountability, which was completely lacking in the previous Republican-led Congress. As these investigations proceed, Congress must take strong action to address illegal conduct.

Again, thank you for contacting me. If I can be of any further assistance in the future please do not hesitate to let me know.


John Hall
Member of Congress

Dear Mr. Hall,

I'm very thankful that you took the time to respond to me. I'm not entirely happy with your reply, but I do thank you for it. I haven't yet received replies from Senators Schumer and Clinton, and I'll remember that at voting time.

I agree that impeachment hearings would be highly disruptive. The very nature (though not the aim) of the impeachment process is disruption. It's the point at which we go back to our first principles, because we have nowhere else to go. Since all legislation is informed by the Constitution, there can be no piece of legislation that takes precedence over the process.

The Bush-Cheney administration is only partly to blame for this eight year reign of lawlessness. You and I, the entire voting population, have aided and abetted them by letting them do it. We are all complicit. And now, after all we've learned, are we still going to be taken hostage to fear (of disruption) by letting them get away with it?

They didn't just attack Iraq; they attacked the Constitution. Now they have to answer for it. WE are the Constitution. The American families that you are concerned about? THEY'RE the Constitution. Furthermore, their grandchildren and great-grandchildren will be the Constitution. How much weaker, how much more compromised will it be then?

President Bush has poked a big old metaphorical hole in the hull of the lifeboat and we can keep bailing. Or we can fix the hole and stop sinking.

- Lois Carneiro

Ride'em Bloggers! Part 2

Ride'em, Hermana!!!
...more to come. This has been an anticipatory eeehaaa...

Photos, Updates and a Recipe!

I've been out taking pictures, these are from June 17th and June 21st. There's a dogwood from the next block over and a mystery flower that I'll have to rely on Hermana for ID'ing. The sepia land/seascape is the south end of Vashon Island, Gig Harbor over on the peninsula and beyond the Harbor are the Olympic Mountains.. The lovely heron was standing below the dock at the Silver Cloud in Tacoma and the rickety looking dock (it's not rickety--it just looks that way) stands at the bottom of McCarver Hill in Old Town Tacoma.
Tomorrow I'm driving around the Olympic Peninsula and I should be able to get some good photos.
My last day of work is coming up--Saturday the 28th of June. I tremble with joy.
And I have a recipe: I saw a recipe for garlic spears in the NYT last week and when I went to the farmers market this week there they were! Garlic spears as pretty as can be. They are the tops and unopened blossoms of the garlic bulb--you could put them in a vase and they'd be fabulous. But cooking them is better.
I got one bunch of garlic spears and one bunch of baby broccoli.
Washed and trimmed the lot and steamed them briefly with a little salt right on the veg.
Then plated them prettily and drizzled with olive oil and crumbled goat cheese.
I bet some sliced Maui or Walla Walla sweet onions would be a nice addition.
I have no political or religious remarks today because I'm feeling overwhelmed by those subjects just now.
George Carlin died, he was in his 70's. Tim Russert was my age. 58.
I wish I'd done more drugs.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

More Cockle Warmers

Here are some more of my favorite sites.


Why? It’s an enchanting game/puzzle/story that presents a challenge to me, but doesn’t frustrate me to the point of quitting. (This is for oldsters only. It’s a doddle for anyone under 30.)

SciTech Daily

Why? It’s great site for recent science and technical articles. Updated daily.

Botany Photo of the Day

Why? For the terrific pictures of plants from all over the world, usually photographed in situ.

The Brick Testament

Why? Need to brush up on your scripture? Visit The Brick Testament. You can read bible verses there that are never read out in church today. (I’m not counting Fred Phelps and the Westboro Baptists.) The image that accompanies this post is from The Brick Testament.

Cornwall Cam

Why? Because of Charles Winpenny’s photos of one of the loveliest places I’ve ever been. His site is updated almost daily and that’s how often I visit it. My only problem with this site is that it doesn’t render well in Firefox, so I have to use IE to see it.


Why? One of the best sites I know for debunking urban legends and emails about deadly ‘Pop Rocks’. Use it. Think of the bandwidth we’ll free up if we can eliminate some of the chain-mail hoaxes that litter the cybersphere!

Friday, June 20, 2008

Viral Email

If anyone out there has avoided being the recipient of a viral email, may your good fortune continue forever. But the rest of you, you know what I’m talking about. I’m talking about the semi-hysterical, semi-irrational messages that appear in your inbox everyday. Since these emails, almost without exception, urge the reader to forward them to everyone in their address book, you might receive two or three copies of the same email. (It’s happened to me, and when it does I forward my reply to everyone in my address book.)

There’s no end to the incredible variety of subjects these emails cover. Obama’s father was born on Mars! Disney World is the secret headquarters of the WTO. Mexicans have cooties! Rapists hide under your toilet seat. Adolf Hitler is alive and living with Michael Jackson. HIV was developed by white supremacist homophobes. HIV was developed by Communists. HIV was developed by Obama’s father. I mean, really!

It’s not that I wonder where all this is coming from. There have always been cock-eyed stories floating around about 12 foot alligators in the NYC sewer system, or about the babysitter who discovers that the “children are dead and the phone call is coming from inside the house”, or that there was a bloody hook hanging from the car door handle. But mostly everybody knew that they were crapola. What happened to make us so credulous? I know what happened. The ‘Forward’ button happened, that’s what!

Honestly, some of these viral emails are so comprehensively misleading that you would almost need to answer them line-by-line. That’s tedious for me and for the people that would be reading my reply. Still, that’s my job. I feel compelled to do it. But I urge all of you who may be tempted to forward anymore ‘Very Interesting’ items to me; Check with Snopes, check with Google, check with Wikipedia. Don’t rely on just one source. Be suspicious of emails that are confusingly or vaguely worded, that don’t cite reputable sources, that ramble from subject to subject, or draw conclusions from questionable or insufficient data. Most important; don't believe something just because it says what you want to hear.

The preceding paragraphs are for those people who mistakenly forwarded incorrect information in good faith. By that, I mean that you actually believed that what you were forwarding was true. I've made many mistakes myself and you have my sympathy. We'll do better in the future.

But for those of you who knowingly disseminate untruths, half-truths, whoppers, fibs and lies, simply because you want to do damage, you have my complete contempt. Appending a sentence about how you "don't know if this is true, but (you're) forwarding it anyway" will cut no ice with me.

- Maggie

I got one of THOSE emails today....

.....saying that Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi and the Democrat controlled Congress are responsible for the high price of gas. The image above (click for larger image) was part of my reply. Nancy and Harry are not among my favorite people in the world, precisely because they've done virtually nothing to oppose the current administration regarding foreign policy, energy policies, climate change and constitutional issues, but to give them all the credit for the oil debacle would be unfair.

This email also contained indignant allegations that Cuba and /or China will be allowed to drill for oil in areas that remain off-limits for oil-drilling to the U.S. As Rich Simon writes, " Yes, this sort of thing is insidious --it's self-replicating propaganda, designed to look like a "note from a friend of a friend".

These are easy to pop -- just look for who would be the financial beneficiary if one were to take the actions or adopt the positions therein proscribed.

It's pretty obvious in this one."

(I'll take a leap here and guess that, since the original email was directed at "oil company haters", it's Big Oil that wants this propaganda spread around like confetti.)

I replied with this:

Cheney Mistaken on China Drilling Oil in USA's Backyard
By By H. Josef Hebert, Associated Press
June 13, 2008

Washington (AP) - Vice President Dick Cheney's office acknowledged on Thursday that he was mistaken when he asserted that China, at Cuba's behest, is drilling for oil in waters 60 miles from the Florida coast.

In a speech to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Cheney said on Wednesday that waters in the eastern Gulf of Mexico, long off limits to oil companies, should be opened to drilling because China is already there pumping oil.

"Oil is being drilled right now 60 miles off the coast of Florida," the vice president said. "We're not doing it, the Chinese are, in cooperation with the Cuban government. Even the communists have figured out that a good answer to high prices is more supply."

He cited his source as columnist George Will, who last week wrote: "Drilling is under way 60 miles off Florida. The drilling is being done by China, in cooperation with Cuba, which is drilling closer to South Florida than U.S. companies are."

Congressional Democrats pounced on the vice president's remarks and were backed up by independent energy experts, who called the assertion hyperbole at best and a falsehood at worst.

Cheney's office said in a statement to The Associated Press that the vice president had erred.

"It is our understanding that, although Cuba has leased out exploration blocks 60 miles off the coast of southern Florida, which is closer than American firms are allowed to operate in that area, no Chinese firm is drilling there," according to the statement.

Cuba clearly is interested in developing its deep-water oil resources, estimated at more than 5 billion barrel, including areas within 60 miles of Key West, Fla., energy experts said.

Jorge Pinon, a senior energy fellow at the University of Miami specializing in Latin America, said Cuba has awarded offshore oil leases, or concessionary blocs, in its offshore waters to six oil companies -- none of them Chinese -- and soon may announce an agreement with Brazil's state oil company, Petrobras.

"But no one is currently drilling in any of those concessions," said Pinon in a telephone interview. Pinon, who supports drilling in the eastern Gulf and believes it can be done without hurting the environment, said China is being raised as an unnecessary "boogeyman" by drilling proponents.

"There is no actual drilling yet. ... There is exploration," said Johanna Mendelson-Forman, a senior fellow on energy and Latin America at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

She said China's oil company, Sinopac, has conducted exploratory drilling on a lease on land in western Cuba, but is not involved in the offshore development.

But talk of China drilling in waters within 50 miles to 60 miles of Key West has been a common theme among Republicans. They are clamoring to open more of the country's offshore waters to energy development, including the eastern Gulf where drilling is strongly opposed by Florida officials.

"China, thanks to a lease issued by Cuba, is drilling for oil just 50 miles from Florida's coast," Rep. George Radanovich, R-Calif., recently wrote in The Modesto Bee in California, arguing for opening waters that have been off limits for 25 years to U.S. companies.

Radanovich's office said the congressman was in transit and not immediately available Thursday.

House Republican leader John Boehner of Ohio, calling for more domestic oil production, declared, "right at this moment some 60 miles or less off the coast of Key West, Fla., China has the green light to drill for oil."

"Even China recognizes that oil and natural gas is readily available off our shores, thanks to Fidel Castro," complained Rep. Roy Blunt of Missouri, a leader of a GOP energy task force.

Rep. Edward Markey, D-Mass., accused the Republicans of pushing oil development by "scaring up the ghosts of communism and xenophobia" and "perpetuating a myth that China is drilling off the coast of Florida."

Anyway, I promised that I'd post this in the blog, since I wouldn't want anyone else to be taken in by this spurious email. I'll publish something more colorful later.

- Maggie

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Don't Make Me Take Out My Samurai Sword, John!

I wrote to my congressman (John Hall, Democrat, of the 'Fightin' Nineteenth, as Stephen Colbert would say) and asked him his position on the Articles of Impeachment that Dennis Kucinich presented to Congress on June 10th, and why there was no mention of it on the front page of his website, which is quite up-to-date otherwise. I told him that I sincerely hoped that I would receive a relevant reply to my letter. If I don't hear from him shortly, I'll write again. This evening, I'm going to write to Senators Schumer and Clinton. (After I inspect their websites.)

RE: The floating feet! Clearly, those feet are only showing up because they're encased in big puffy sneakers that float. Granted, a lot of people wear shoes like that on a daily basis, but other people wear regular leather shoes that wouldn't float. Can you imagine how many other feet there are out there, that we'll never even know about? I wonder if all the feet were at the same level of decomposition or if some are fresher than others? I hope this mystery gets solved. I'd hate never to know why this is happening.

I'm thinking of mowing my lawn. It's a good day for it. Partly sunny and in the mid 70's. But boy, I just don't feel like it. I've only got about a hundred pages left on the book I'm reading: I could finish it and then mow the lawn in the evening. Yup! That's what I'm going to do.

- Constant Reader

Aside from the foot issue...

...I can't think of anything to write. I did go to the waterfront yesterday to take some pictures. There's one right here...its a great blue heron and it was standing not far from the dock at the Silver Cloud.

Here's another. Across the way there you see the entry to Quartermaster Harbor on Vashon Island as seen from the dock at the Silver Cloud in Tacoma, Wa. It was a cloudy morning as it is today and kind of hard to get an impressive shot.
I worked last night and I'll work tonite again and then I get the weekend off. I'm so ready to begin working on a per diem basis; I'll probably work quite a lot but at least I'll be picking the days and nights that I do work. I can bunch them all up at the beginning of the month and then take 2 weeks off if I want!! I can read books and watch movies and play with the cat without trying to fit in a nap--unless I want to. Only five more shifts of someone else's choosing.
(I could've gone on at some length about the feet--its like some bizarre horror movie...picture it: Sailing peacefully through the islands and having these feet come bobbing along like a flock of ducks! All wearing shoes, but none of these feet belongs to the other--lonely feet. Well, its just too crazy to go on about at so I'll stop and simply hope that someday the mystery is solved. I neeed to know [I meant to put the 3 e's in there].)
More pictures tomorrow.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

I Want a Pair of These!

And I have two very good reasons for wanting them. First, if I wear long pants, I won't have to take my shoes off at the airport security point. Second, if I'm flying to see you.....well, you guys are the ones with all those disarticulated feet coming ashore. (We're up to six now, right?) If I come to the PNW with four feet, I might return to NY with at least two.

- Maggie

..Afoot! I know. I almost called you about that foot last night...

....but I was waiting for more information. Left or right? Adidas or Manolo Blahniks? What IS it with the PNW? I don't believe in Ley lines, but there is something drawing all the nuts to your neck of the woods.

Run! Run while you still have feet to run with!

- Maggie

Happy Feet?


Tuesday, June 17, 2008

West Country Idyll

It's a good thing that you put that picture of yourself up there, because I was going to do it. Now I can put up the picture I took while hanging off the bridge over the Abbey Basin in Penzance. And I hardly fiddled with it at all. I adjusted the color balance a little and removed a piece of trash that was floating in the water, but that's all.

I just wish I'd had my camera handy when Bronwyn's son buzzed us in his helicopter! That was great. Amongst the many rocks that are on my desk, I have a very old piece of cement that I picked up when we walked down to the sheep pen. What a lovely day that was. Remember that huge eucalyptus that they had? I'd never seen one in real life, outside of the NY Botanical Gardens.

So I hear that the House Judiciary Democrats have suggested they may accept a compromise in which Karl Rove would be interviewed in private, without being under oath, about the politicization of the Justice Department. Isn't that just dandy? The Republicans make the Justice Department their own personal franchise, and no one has to answer for it. Or, if they do have to answer for it, they don't have to risk perjuring themselves when they lie about it. Anyway, why bother? They subpoena Rove, they subpoena Harriet Miers, and our President tells them to ignore the subpoenas. Maybe that was covered by one of the 44,000 signing statements that George scribbled all over any new legislation that crossed his desk. (On the other 43,999, he just wrote, "You're not the boss of ME! Nyaaaah, nyaaaah....) I wish he'd run out of crayons already!


- Maggie

Speaking for me

Hermana can speak for me anytime:

"I don't want to speak for your mother, but I think she'd agree with me on this point. We're not going to lay down and roll over for criminals who think our Constitution is "just a goddamned piece of paper"! George Bush said that. The man who vowed to "protect, preserve and defend " the Constitution said that! George Bush wants us to be scared of him; scared that we might end up on an enemies list if we say or do or think the wrong things. Scared to buy the 'wrong' books or belong to the 'wrong' organizations. He wants us to spy on our neighbors and report 'suspicious' activity. He wants to hold secret trials for people who violate secret laws. Well, he can kiss my blatantly Socialist, Feminist, Atheist ass. There comes a time when you have to stand up. Here I stand."

Here's a photo Hermana took while we were in Cornwall. I just found these photos and as I look at them I think about why we went and how we felt and the suprising things we came upon. It was great. When we get together we always gravitiate to earth and ocean. We always go to the edge. Maybe now we jump in.

I'm not a soapbox sort of person so this blog is a more or less comfortable place for me to put my toes in the water--it may never get to be any more than this. But for now, here I stand as well.

Monday, June 16, 2008

(C)update (Thirty Seven Days!) and BushGate

(Photo update only. Click for larger images. If it doesn't work the first time, hit your 'back' button and click on the photo again.)

It's not really rage, Cat. It's indignation, disbelief and, finally, determination. We've lived through something like this before. Long before you were born, there was Vietnam, an unwinnable and torturous 'police action' which stretched on for years and years. Because a military draft had been instituted for young men, there were protests and riots on college campuses and in government buildings. In 1970, the National Guard was called upon to keep order during an anti-war protest at Kent State University in Ohio. They ended up shooting 13 students, killing four of them.

The American people were lied to. During the time that we were fighting the North Vietnamese, we were also waging secret wars in Cambodia and Laos. I know that history repeats itself, and, since we never learn the lessons history teaches us, it repeats itself over and over! But for this to happen again, in our lifetimes, is like a bad dream. And some of the very people who colluded with the Nixon/Ford administration have helped orchestrate our invasion of Iraq.

Nixon didn't get us into the war in Vietnam; we were already there when he took office. But he used White House staff and resources to secretly spy on the Democratic National Committee, in hopes of consolidating GOP power by sabotaging the Democrats. He encouraged secret wiretaps and he obstructed justice by withholding and destroying evidence. Eventually, his Vice President faced criminal charges and was forced from office, his attorney general and chief of staff were in disgrace, and the President himself would have faced impeachment if he had not resigned. (He evaded criminal charges because Gerald Ford, the man Nixon had chosen to replace Vice-President Agnew, pardoned him. If it seems like they were making up their own laws, they were.) For your mom and I, it's deja vu, all over again.

Anyway, from what you say, you are doing something about it. You're staying informed, you're writing letters and you're getting out there to vote. If more people do what you're doing, we may be able to clamber out of this pit that we're in.

I don't want to speak for your mother, but I think she'd agree with me on this point. We're not going to lay down and roll over for criminals who think our Constitution is "just a goddamned piece of paper"! George Bush said that. The man who vowed to "protect, preserve and defend " the Constitution said that! George Bush wants us to be scared of him; scared that we might end up on an enemies list if we say or do or think the wrong things. Scared to buy the 'wrong' books or belong to the 'wrong' organizations. He wants us to spy on our neighbors and report 'suspicious' activity. He wants to hold secret trials for people who violate secret laws. Well, he can kiss my blatantly Socialist, Feminist, Atheist ass. There comes a time when you have to stand up. Here I stand.

- Maggie

Hello, Angry!

Wow, there is a lot of political rage on this blog. It makes me feel so detached. While I find Dick and his Georgelings absolutely out-of-hand, I just can't think of a thing to do about it. I voted. That didn't help. I send hate mail to my senator about Gitmo, but that doesn't help either. At least I stay informed, which is more than I can say for most people my age. Any age, really.
So I just got home from work. It was outrageously busy. Chris is snoring away on the couch and Jake called a bit ago. He is in Salt Lake at the HQ of what will hopefully be his new workplace. He said he would call me when he knew more tomorrow and that Salt Lake is very beautiful.
This coming weekend I will be away in Portland for a bachelorette party. I've got a really good song stuck in my head. I am eating some apple and contemplating how I will ever get to sleep. At least is was gorgeous outside today. I slept through most of the sun but I had happy thoughts about the state of my tomato plants whenever I cracked an eye to look outside.
Maggie, I took your advice and moved my African violets to my south facing windows. They are absolutely full of flowers now and I smile whenever I go into the kitchen. There they sit in all their purpleness.
I started the mural! Just sketched it all out so far and I didn't take any pictures because pencil on wall does not show up well. But it looks good and most importantly the owner really liked it. I love you, Catherine

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Are you shittin' me, Pyle???

If you've got time to sleep, you've got time to post. You can sleep after June 28th.

You've no idea how I look forward to new posts. You know, it's funny but I was planning a 'Pet Peeves' post just before I saw yours. My pet peeves weren't going to be as global as yours. They were going to be more like; Why do the skunks keep digging up my cone flowers? Why is there so much bird poop on my car? Those are the sort of peeves I was going to write about. Maybe I still will.....

Sleeping Woman

I did a Google search for pictures of sleeping women. I needed a zaftig woman with gray hair but no luck--this is the best I could do. Pablo's not too shabby but I was disappointed that, apparently, no one wants to see a gray-haired zaftig woman sleeping.
Anyway I'll probably be sleeping for the next few days. No one will be watching.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Pursuing Pet Peeves

I firmly believe that if we instituted a military draft for all able-bodied citizens, we'd see a lot more interest in a thorough investigation of this iniquitous and lawless administration. We'd also see a little more action at the voting booths.

- Maggie

Sites That Warm My Cockles.

Dr Ian West’s site dedicated to the geology of the Wessex Coast of England.

Why? Because I’ve always been interested in geology, particularly sedimentology. This extremely comprehensive site can fill an entire evening for me. WanderingL and I have even visited some of the places he’s studied. (I’m such a creep that I brought a really big hat with me and made my elder(ly) sister use it to carry all the rocks and fossils I collected. Sucker!)

The image above is an aerial photo of Chesil Beach, a tombolo that connects the Isle of Portland to the mainland at Weymouth. The picture is from Dr West's site and you really need to click on it to get the full effect. On the day my sister and I were there, there was such an onshore wind blowing that the spindrift was as high as the island beyond.

Geoffrey Chaucer Hath a Blog

Why? It’s just a total hoot. The most hilarious items are the movie reviews, but the bits about his ‘wyffe’ and his ‘werke’ are also worthy of a change of underwear. I actually purchased several of his T-shirts, one of which reads, “Ich Pwne Noobs” Don’t miss it!

Scorp10n Bowl

Why? It’s a great Left Coast blog by Rich Simon. (very refreshing to a ‘Blue’ woman, trapped in a bright Red county in the suburbs of New York City.) Unlike so many other political bloggers, he doesn’t rant or spin or froth at the mouth. (As I am wont to do.) He provides actual facts and figures to back his conclusions. If you catch him on a really good day, you might get a little poetry or literature thrown in there too. I don’t visit this site as often as you should, because I get it delivered to my inbox, fresh out of the oven.

Said the Gramophone

Why? There are scads of MP3 blogs out there, and a lot of them are really good. This is my favorite. It’s an interesting blend of all things musical. You never know what you’ll find there. A good site to get lost on.

Wayne’s Word – An On-line Textbook of Natural History.

Why? If you have any interest at all in botany/biology, this site will keep you reading long enough for your butt to fall asleep. It’s written with enthusiasm, and is clearly understandable to the casual reader. It’s a treasure trove of information. Read it and learn.

Arts & Letters Daily

Why? It’s a well-chosen variety of articles on diverse subjects from reputable sources. It’ll keep you up-to-date on politics, philosophy, literature, theater and all manner of other subjects. If you want to converse intelligently at parties, read ‘Arts & Letters Daily’.

Robert Krampf’s Science Videos

Why? If you like ‘Mythbusters’, you’ll like Robert Krampf. His videos are often messy, sometimes explosive, always interesting. A good site for kids, but adults will like it too. (Editor's Note: This is a 'Pay' site, but it's got plenty of free stuff to watch and read.)

I’ve got lots more, but my fingers are tired. Anyway, I have a (C)update to publish, so I’ve got to go and scrape the barnacles from the hull.


Pet peeves

That was them. I'm finished for a while now.
Thanks for listening.


Attention, young people of the America and the world.

Who do you suppose is profiting from all the alcohol and cigarettes you consume?

Who makes money because you get stoned?

Keeping you stupid and-self involved is a money-maker for plenty of folks.

Here's what they look like.

Throw money at them!!

Americans don't have to ante up for anything. There's a war on, we are billions of dollars in debt but nobody's going to complain because there's no sacrifice involved.
Bush and Co. obviously know that appealing to our baser instincts will keep us quiet. No draft. No taxes. "psst...let's send them all $600.00...that will keep them sucking their thumbs"
I'm surprised we even have thumbs.
But raise the gas prices--we can spread that blame all around.
Somebody must be well-invested in oil.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Death to all Tyrants!

Yahoo Yippity! When you throw caution to the winds you absolutely put it into orbit! Good for you!! That'll put paid to all the folks who thought I was the only smart-aleck in the family.

I think I spotted myself in that flock of sheep. I'm the one carrying the liter bottle with exactly three ounces of seltzer left in it. Or better yet, three ounces of duckweed. Brainiac (Rich Simon) has clued me in that if I cultivate enough of it, I can use it to produce hydrogen for fuel cells. I'd have to expand my operation to make it a going concern. Think of all the 30 cc syringes I'd need. Speaking of Brainiac, he's now trumped me in all my strong areas; Literature, Music, Geology (Who knew there was oil under Burma except Rich Simon and the Federal Department of Exxon/Mobil?), Geography, World History and now, Freshwater Biology. My only solace is that NOBODY beats me at Yahtzee! (Best 5 out of 7 games.) (Bugger! Best 4 out of 7 games.)

I wrote to this guy today (Editor's Note: The ensuing comment by Jim Maggiore is particularly damning.) who seems not have the proper spirit concerning impeachment. He thinks the effort is doomed to failure and offers this as a crumb of hope. "However, having the Judiciary Committee hold the hearings might at least document the criminality of the Bush Administration in a coherent manner." Maybe he's right, but I don't think we should lay down just because Nancy Pelosi is afraid that impeachment hearings might mess up the seemingly favorable staus quo for the Dems. (By the way, Ms. Pelosi needs a much heavier gavel and voice lessons from Jesse 'The Body' Ventura.)

Notice how I revived the Western Theme that you used to such good advantage? It took me awhile to find that. But I've been cooking for the Ethnic Club today, so I've had planty of time to fart around while the sauce was reducing. (It stuck to the bottom of the pot a little, but it was only very dark brown - not blackened - so....)

To Whom it May Concern: Fritz the Cat! And I didn't even look it up. It came to me, as in a dream. (Was Coleridge high when he wrote 'Kubla Khan', or just sleepy? I can't remember. I do remember that the guy who figured out the molecular structure of benzene did so in a dream. He was probably suffering from benzene toxicity, which gave him nightmares.)

- Maggie

Waiting at the Airport