Sunday, April 30, 2006

Tasini Marchers

Last night,

after the March, and after the volunteers get-together, we walked to Ground Zero. It was difficult for both of us. He, who has lived in this city most of his life, and who has been there before, and for me, whose first time it was.

There is a presence there not like anything else I've ever felt. And memories. And, yes, tears.

And, after the tears, anger that this unspeakable tragedy has been used as the pretext for so much additional evil.

Saturday, April 29, 2006


(Timothy A. Clary / AFP / Getty Images)

"The demonstrators stretched for about 10 blocks as they headed down Broadway. Organizers said 300,000 people marched, though a police spokesman declined to give an estimate. There were no reports of arrests."

Day was beautiful and cool. Our table was two down from Billionaires for Bush, and two up from the NY Green Party. Fantastically easy getting people to sign the "troops out, NOW" petition. Everyone was in a great mood, but a little sad: as one woman, a little younger than I said: "Why are we here, again???"

I asked a policeman if he didn't want to sign my petition, and said he'd love to, but his hand was worn completely out from signing petitions [grin]. . . .

After, we went to a little restaurant for a celebration for Tasini volunteers, who included: Raging Grannies, Code pink, and assorted other young and old, black and white, volunteers. And Jonathan Tasini, who actually Marched in the protest.


Friday, April 28, 2006



Thursday, April 27, 2006

The tree outside my window and lining the paths here

is a Sweetgum.

Credit where credit is due (clicky)

Two years later, as the bin Laden family's sole US representative was bailing out George Bush Junior's failing oil business, Jimmy Carter gave another speech on energy, further refining his national energy policy. He had already started the national strategic petroleum reserve, birthed the gasohol and solar power industries, and helped insulate millions of homes and offices. But he wanted to go a step further. "I am tonight setting a clear goal for the energy policy of the United States," Carter said on July 15, 1979. "Beginning this moment, this nation will never use more foreign oil than we did in 1977 -- never. From now on, every new addition to our demand for energy will be met from our own production and our own conservation. The generation-long growth in our dependence on foreign oil will be stopped dead in its tracks right now and then reversed as we move through the 1980s..." In addition, we needed to immediately begin to develop a long-range strategy to move beyond fossil fuel.

Therefore, Carter said, "I will soon submit legislation to Congress calling for the creation of this nation's first solar bank, which will help us achieve the crucial goal of 20 percent of our energy coming from solar power by the year 2000." But then came the Iran/Contra October Surprise, when the Reagan/Bush campaign allegedly promised the oil-rich mullahs of Iran that they'd sell them missiles and other weapons if only they'd keep our hostages until after the 1980 Carter/Reagan presidential election campaign was over. The result was that Carter, who had been leading in the polls over Reagan/Bush, steadily dropped in popularity as the hostage crisis dragged out, and lost the election. The hostages were released the very minute that Reagan put his hand on the Bible to take his oath of office. The hostages freed, the Reagan/Bush administration quickly began illegally delivering missiles to Iran.

And Ronald Reagan's first official acts of office included removing Jimmy Carter's solar panels from the roof of the White House, and reversing most of Carter's conservation and alternative energy policies.

Today, despite the best efforts of the Bushies, the bin Ladens, and the rest of the oil industry, Carter's few surviving initiatives have borne fruit.

It is now more economical to build power generating stations using wind than using coal, oil, gas, or nuclear. When amortized over the life of a typical mortgage, installing solar power in a house in most parts of the US is cheaper than drawing power from the grid. (Shell and British Petroleum are among the world's largest manufacturers of solar photovoltaic panels, which can now even be used as roofing shingles.) And hybrid cars that get 50-70 miles to the gallon are increasingly commonplace on our nation's highways. Instead of taking a strong stand to make America energy independent, Bush kisses a Saudi crown prince, then holds hands with him as they walk into Bush's hobby ranch in Texas. Our young men and women are daily dying in Iraq - a country with the world's second largest store of underground oil. And we live in fear that another 15 Saudis may hijack more planes to fly into our nation's capitol or into nuclear power plants.

Exxon posts another huge quarterly profit. . . .

By Deepa Babington

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM.N: Quote, Profile, Research), the world's largest publicly traded oil company, posted its biggest first-quarter profit ever on Thursday, but higher taxes dragged the results below Wall Street forecasts.

The Texas behemoth reported a profit of $8.4 billion, on the heels of record earnings of $10.7 billion in the previous quarter. The news is expected to fuel growing consumer resentment in the United States over Big Oil's long-running profit bonanza.

Stung by soaring gasoline prices, U.S. lawmakers and consumer advocates have stepped up calls for special taxes on oil company profits and the repeal of tax breaks the companies enjoy.


Winter Solstice Sunshine

Winter Solstice Sunshine

Later today your Mother will come with me
while I show her your special spot.
The sun lingers a moment
on those fallen bluff rocks
the shortest day (longest night).
The cabin we built in our mind
has you stoking a fire
too chilly yet for morels above the waterfall
where you shared the spirit of the ten point buck.

For like the year you left us for now
Beautiful Child, that year too as today
spring solstice had passed before
the longest night began.

That short winter day we sat together and shared dreams
the sun lingered as we broke bread.
a memory that warms me still
if only too briefly.

~~ Phil Specht

Wednesday, April 26, 2006


Tony Snow

Dubyah's missed lesson -- GEORGE W. BUSH should have learned an important lesson when he was getting drubbed this week in Michigan: When it comes to primary politics, there is no such thing as the high road.

Bush toured the upper Midwest last weekend, fresh off a hard-won triumph in South Carolina. But rather than flexing his muscles as in Dixie, he behaved like a fop. He and his campaign shelved hard-hitting ads that put McCain on the defensive and instead stressed the Texan's sunny positives. They dodged a televised debate with McCain -- shades of New Hampshire! -- and, instead, Bush cooed that he smelled victory.

The sequence made the man appear loopy, like the professional boxer who, several years ago, had an epiphany in the ring and began to hug his opponent, weeping and talking of love. (Authorities sent the pugilist to the nut house.)

Compare and contrast this with the demeanor of McCain. After losing in South Carolina, McCain delivered a sharp-tongued threat to his chief opponent: Put up your dukes or else. The senator was testy, confrontational and ungracious about losing. He had no interest in making a virtue of defeat. He was determined to win -- and to emerge not merely sanctified but deified.

He accused Bush of dirty campaigning, of being an empty suit, of presenting himself to the public under false pretenses. He jabbed out each accusation as if he were stabbing a voodoo doll. While prim members of the press found the performance too bitter for their tastes, voters had a different take: They saw somebody who came to conquer, not to pose.

click title for the rest

Looks French, no?

Frederic Auguste Bartholdi

Snow Job

. . . Media Matters for America has documented numerous false and misleading claims advanced by Snow as a Fox News commentator:

Snow falsely asserted that former ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV said his wife, Valerie Plame, "wasn't covert for six years" before she was exposed as a CIA operative by syndicated columnist Robert Novak.

Snow put forward numerous falsehoods to argue that "[e]volutionary theory, like ID [intelligent design], isn't verifiable or testable. It's pure hypothesis."

Snow claimed that Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is the "most liberal justice in American history," despite evidence to the contrary.

Snow peddled the baseless Republican National Committee talking point that 2004 presidential candidate Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) had blamed U.S. troops for the explosives looted from the Al Qaqaa military installation following the invasion of Iraq. Snow said, "[T]he Kerry campaign is not criticizing the president here. They're criticizing our troops."

Following President Bush's lead, Snow distorted Kerry's stated desire to reduce terrorism to a "horrible nuisance." Snow claimed Kerry had "called terrorists a nuisance."

Snow backed Swift Boat Veterans for Truth's attacks on Kerry, falsely claiming, "[T]here has been no documentary contradiction of the Swift Boat stuff."

Snow falsely defended Bush from probing questions regarding his National Guard service.


click title

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

And the winner is. . . .

Bush Says He Tried to Avoid War 'To The Max,' Explains How God Shapes His Foreign Policy

By E&P Staff

Published: April 24, 2006 4:45 PM ET
NEW YORK President Bush today said he had tried to avoid war with Iraq "diplomatically to the max."

Speaking to a business group in Irvine, Ca., he admitted mistakes were made in planning for the Iraq invasion, but he defended the troop level, saying "it was the troop level necessary to do the job," and he would commit the same number if given a second chance.

The remarks came as another former general joined seven others who in recent days have called for the resignation of Pentagon chief Donald Rumsfeld, saying he had mismanaged the planning and execution of the war.

Bush also explained, in unusually stark terms, how his belief in God influences his foreign policy. "I base a lot of my foreign policy decisions on some things that I think are true," he said. "One, I believe there's an Almighty. And, secondly, I believe one of the great gifts of the Almighty is the desire in everybody's soul, regardless of what you look like or where you live, to be free.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Sunday, April 23, 2006

I spy

(CBS) A CIA official who had a top role during the run-up to the Iraqi war charges the White House with ignoring intelligence that said there were no weapons of mass destruction or an active nuclear program in Iraq.

The former highest ranking CIA officer in Europe, Tyler Drumheller, also says that while the intelligence community did give the White House some bad intelligence, it also gave the White House good intelligence — which the administration chose to ignore.

Drumheller talks to 60 Minutes correspondent Ed Bradley in his first television interview this Sunday, April 23 at 7 p.m. ET/PT.

Drumheller, who retired last year, says the White House ignored crucial information from a high and credible source. The source was Iraq's foreign minister, Naji Sabri, with whom U.S. spies had made a deal.

When CIA Director George Tenet delivered this news to the president, the vice president and other high ranking officials, they were excited — but not for long.

"[The source] told us that there were no active weapons of mass destruction programs," says Drumheller. "The [White House] group that was dealing with preparation for the Iraq war came back and said they were no longer interested. And we said 'Well, what about the intel?' And they said 'Well, this isn't about intel anymore. This is about regime change.' "

More: clicky title

Saturday, April 22, 2006

This is a repost: Something wonderful happened today: another blogger get-together, a sort of Deaniacs United. . . Thankful, Phil, and Donna had lunch in Iowa, then cleaned up a tornado damaged site in Dean teeshirts, Donna and Thankful met the blog baby cows, and got bit on da bum, and then met Phil's Dad, and were introduced as "those women from the internet" he knows. . . This post, about "more than a family" seemed especially appropriate for today, and Phil's poem, for an anniversary tomorrow. All love to all of you.


Friday, September 23, 2005

I wanted to leave something pretty big to hold this blog for a couple of days until I can get back to a computer, and was thumbing through my poetry file. Found this.

Yes. Tears are running down my face just now, not only for kimmy and Uncle Beatle, not only for Phil, and his family, but for all of us on that blog, who became so much a family. Or more than a family. I've seen a definition of family: family is the place where people have to love you. So more than a family? Where people love you even though they don't have to.

The first line is for Uncle Beatle (and my son); take time for yourself and take

Broken Oak, Broken Birch
The first day my eyes didn't see black
I saw Rachael chewing your boot,
and when she looked behind me for you and wimpered
I did too.
The boot hung for 12 months
on that post by the barn.
Sweet Rachael died on the road
crossing to look for you.
We threw out the tickle chair
(no one else called it that)
Mom bought the recliner for Father's Day
for you boys
and when you piled on the tickle fight I was having
with your brother
we broke the oak frame
holding it together
we broke the oak
And that broken down chair
sat by the house
too painful to move
your gravestone that
broke oak

I moved your boot not long ago
about a month after I handed you to Jesus
(Sorry it took so long)
Your voice no longer answers messages.
The chair is in the dumpster today.
Your ashes are in 18 states, a mighty river,
and the Ocean.
The pillow that saved your life in Phoenix
went with us on that family pilgrimage in your car.
And lay on the gravestone of our favorite childhood
author, and went to the peak of the Green Mountains.
Your Mother brought back moss
from that upthrusting granite where we left your ashes
(you can see fifty miles)
There is a Birch above
with the same branch broken as the one
by your memory garden
broken birch
broken oak

Posted by Phil from Iowa at August 6, 2004 08:38 PM

Thanks, Phil ♥

posted by puddle at 9/23/2005 12:27:00 AM 3 comments

Mount Kilimanjaro



Happy Birthday, Mom!

Friday, April 21, 2006

Crude oil closes above 75 dollars a barrel in New York

This is how the famous Times Square looks like from the 30th floor of Reuters...

From one of my favorite Iraqi bloggers! My, how far Raed has come. . . .


The river Aare in Bern reached the record level set during floods in 1999. (Pic: Diccon Bewes)

Euorope is flooding. Again. The Danube.

Can't fool Mother. . .

Hat tip: Making Light. Click title

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

On my way home, I'm on my way home. . .

After sixteen months

mine broke. Evidently, it's not replaceable. Still. I won't. Ever. Surrender.

Ah, I remember. And that's the best place to leave it. . . .

The Worst President in History?


Thanks, Annilow
Update: thanks to Paine ♥

Walking the White House plank

Two weeks ago, Fitzgerald filed a motion before the federal court in the Libby case stating that his investigation had proved that the White House engaged in "concerted action" from "a plan to discredit, punish or seek revenge against" former ambassador Joseph Wilson, who revealed that the rationale of the Iraq war was based on false information that the White House knew was bogus. Fitzgerald declared further that he had gathered "evidence that multiple officials in the White House" had outed his wife's clandestine identity to reporters as an element of revenge.

* * *

For months, Rove's attorney, Robert Luskin, has assured the press that his client, who was believed to be vulnerable to indictment for perjury, is in the clear. But Libby insisted that he was entitled to "disclosure of such documents" in Rove's files "even if Mr. Rove remains a subject of a continuing grand jury investigation".

Karl Rove is a subject of Fitzgerald's investigation - this is the headline buried in Libby's filing.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Blogger will be down on April 19 2006 from 4 pm PST to 4:45 pm PST due to planned maintenance. We regret any inconvenience caused to our users. You will still be able to view your blogs.

Posted by Prashant at 14:58 PST

I read the front page

Progress. Of. A. Sort.

Laughing ourselves to death. . . .

Setting the Record Straight
By William Rivers Pitt
t r u t h o u t | Perspective

Wednesday 19 April 2006

I hear the voices. And I read the front page. And I know the speculation. But I'm the decider and I decide what is best.

- George W. Bush, 18 April 2006

Bill Simmons, an excellent sportswriter for ESPN, uses a yardstick he calls the Unintentional Comedy Rating to measure the humor of events that were not designed to be funny. For example, level 86 on a scale of 100 is achieved by "any Wimbledon interview where Bud Collins tried to say something foreign to a non-American champion like 'danke shein.'"

A recent perusal of the White House web site unearthed a page that, I think, scores a perfect 100 on the Simmons scale. The page is titled Setting the Record Straight, and is intended to carry forth the administration's argument that it did nothing wrong in pushing for the invasion and occupation of Iraq. Note the rough-edged graphic at the top, meant to display the gritty reality of truth according to Bush and the boys. It isn't funny, not at all, and yet ... it is unintentional comedy of the purest ray serene, a perfect 100 no matter what the East German judges have to say. It is almost, dare I say, sublime.

More --> click title

Thanks Edwin

Mutter Erde verblutet an ihren Kindern

That would be:


Hear no science, see no science

Scientists Say They're Being Gagged by Bush
By Juliet Eilperin
The Washington Post

Sunday 16 April 2006

White House monitors their media contacts.

Washington - Scientists doing climate research for the federal government say the Bush administration has made it hard for them to speak forthrightly to the public about global warming. The result, the researchers say, is a danger that Americans are not getting the full story on how the climate is changing.

Employees and contractors working for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, along with a U.S. Geological Survey scientist working at an NOAA lab, said in interviews that over the past year administration officials have chastised them for speaking on policy questions; removed references to global warming from their reports, news releases and conference Web sites; investigated news leaks; and sometimes urged them to stop speaking to the media altogether. Their accounts indicate that the ideological battle over climate-change research, which first came to light at NASA, is being fought in other federal science agencies as well.

The phoebes found a place for their nest: under my porch roof, above the door. I see them swooping down as the arrive and leave. With luck, next year they'll build another next to this one, and the year after, too. They don't reuse old nests.

The shadbush (serviceberry) is in full bloom now, looking like butterflies in the deep woods where bloom is sparse. Apple everywhere is blooming, as is the redbud. Bloodroot peeking shyly out.

Spring in full force, coltsfoot already in blowsy seed.

Sad to leave just now. But glad to find out how NYC spring is taking place, and if the doves have found a place to nest yet, and to feed the fat little park squirrels.

Hat tip ~~ Tild

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

"a man of applied ignorance'

The case Gore makes is worthy of sleepless nights: Our Earth is in extremis . It's not just that polar bears are drowning because they cannot reach receding ice flows or that "The Snows of Kilimanjaro" will exist someday only as a Hemingway short story -- we can all live with that. It's rather that Hurricane Katrina is not past but prologue. In the future, people will not yearn for the winters of yesteryear but for the summers. Katrina produced several hundred thousand evacuees. The flooding of Calcutta would produce many millions. We are in for an awful time.

You cannot see this film and not think of George W. Bush, the man who beat Gore in 2000. The contrast is stark. Gore -- more at ease in the lecture hall than he ever was on the stump -- summons science to tell a harrowing story and offers science as the antidote. No feat of imagination could have Bush do something similar -- even the sentences are beyond him.

But it is the thought that matters -- the application of intellect to an intellectual problem. Bush has been studiously anti-science, a man of applied ignorance who has undernourished his mind with the empty calories of comfy dogma. For instance, his insistence on abstinence as the preferred method of birth control would be laughable were it not so reckless. It is similar to Bush's initial approach to global warming and his rejection of the Kyoto Protocol -- ideology trumping science. It may be that Gore will do more good for his country and the world with this movie than Bush ever did by beating him in 2000.

For more: click title

Monday, April 17, 2006

Asparagus and Trumpet Mushrooms with Humboldt Fog

Pairing with Edelzwicker

Edelzwicker is an easy-going wine that slips down easily. It has a tinge of sweetness which makes it just right for a summer meal. In Alsace Edelzwicker is often served with a dish featuring asparagus. The supporting role in this recipe is played by Trumpet mushrooms and if you can find it, Cypress Grove Humboldt Fog Cheese. If you can't find the cheese, stop by Navarro's tasting room and buy a wheel or substitute another goat cheese. This recipe showcases local, fresh ingredients and can be on the table in no time, either as a side dish or as a vegetarian main course.

* Asparagus, 1 bundle, split lengthwise
* 1/4 lb. or about 1 cup sliced Trumpet Mushrooms
* 6-8 thin slices Humboldt Fog, or ashen goat cheese equivalent
* 3 tbsp. Extra Virgin olive oil
* Salt and Pepper to taste
* 3 pinches lemon zest for garnish
* 1 tbsp chopped parsley for garnish

Heat skillet to medium and add olive oil. Heat until slightly smoking then add sliced mushrooms. Toss until mushrooms are fully covered, about 1 minute. Add asparagus and toss over medium heat until cooked al dente. To check, pull a spear of asparagus out and let it cool for a second. It should be firm and slightly crisp if its nearing perfection. Remove from heat and add the slices of Humboldt Fog. A wedge or wheel of the cheese is easier sliced if it is placed in the freezer for 20 minutes. This allows for thin slices. Arrange on a serving plate and top with cheese. Let it melt a little and garnish with lemon zest and parsley. Serve hot.

Serves 2-4.

Spring!! Ramps!!

Native Americans knew ramps well. They used them in decoctions to treat coughs and colds, and they made a poultice from the juice of the strong summer bulbs to alleviate the pain and itching of bee stings. The Menomini called them pikwute sikakushia (skunk plant), and they referred to an area near the southern shore of Lake Michigan, where ramps grew abundantly, as CicagaWuni or shikako (skunk place). The term was later applied to a white settlement now known as Chicago.

The late wild foods evangelist Euell Gibbons considered ramps "the sweetest and the best of the wild onions. They have a mild onion flavor with a hint of garlic, which I find delicious." The mildness is relative, however. Though definitely more delicate than the typical wild onion or garlic, ramp greens are decidedly more pronounced and lingering in flavor (though less hot) than ordinary cooking onions.

Democratic pollster Geoff Garin said GOP House candidates have reason to worry. His surveys find that 82 percent of Americans who say they voted for Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.) in 2004 plan to vote for a Democrat for the House this year. But only 65 percent who voted for Bush say they will vote for a Republican House nominee, Garin said. The remaining 35 percent say they are open to voting for a Democrat or staying home.

Via Just a Bump in the Beltway

Hattip ~~ Tild