Thursday, July 26, 2007

Front yard vegetable patches make food, but some gardens rile the neighbors

One tomato plant at a time equates to one step at a time in a growing new 'movement' of front yard vegetable patches. Yes, people are getting on board with the idea that one can actually grow food in their own yard and growing it in their front yard sends a message. Instead of all the work and chemicals to maintain a home and garden magazine type yard, one can grow their own food and still have a beautiful 'growing' front yard. What constitutes what is beautiful is in the eye of the beholder anyway, so who says that a perfect, green front lawn equates to the only kind of beauty a homeowner can share?

In this time of heightening awareness of sustainability, environmental concerns, global warming, 'green' living, I am pleased to see the return of something resembling the 'Victory Garden' of WW II era. Another time when this country was at 'war', although, I don't subscribe to the invasion/occupation of Iraq as a 'just war', our troops are deployed in combat in wartime.

We chose to move away from urbania and don't live in a cul de sac of well tended front lawns and landscaping, so I can appreciate that it is a courageous step for people who do live in those kind of 'traditional' neighborhoods to shift to planting vegetables in the front yard instead of trying to grow the perfect grass lawn edged by the perfect compliment of landscaped specimens.

The article mentions how neighbor concerns are met with compromise in growing vegetables in attractive ways that don't detract. Fitting vegetables in among traditional landscaping can be done in such a way as to enhance both. I'm not sure it has to be one way or the other but a compliment of both ways. I saw a home where the front yard had been converted into raised bed gardening and it was quite attractive in a geometric kind of way.

I recently claimed a bit of our front yard to make a combination new flower and vegetable bed. I then claimed a piece along the side for more vegetables. This in addition to my actual kitchen vegetable garden which, btw, I plan to double or triple in size over the coming years. Now I will even plant a tomato plant or maybe a squash in the flower bed that faces the street as my own proud statement to the neighbors, although my neighbors where I live don't require such a statement, they aren't too likely to complain if I turn my entire yard into a vegetable garden and orchard.

Do it - make a statement, plant one vegetable in your front yard and then two and maybe you too will want to rip out your front lawn and grown vegetables instead.

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Army Wives Take Action - Women Bypass VA To Get Better Care For Their Injured Husbands

There have been heartbreaking stories about the shoddy level of veterans' care since the beginning of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Two Army wives decided that wasn't good enough for them, and, as CBS News national security correspondent David Martin reports, they took matters into their own hands.

"I just couldn't accept what we were being told by the VA," says Marissa Behee.

Behee is not a soldier, but she's one of the fiercest warriors of the Iraq War. Ever since her husband, Staff Sgt. Jarod Behee, was shot in the head, she has been fighting for him — and against a Veterans Administration she says was unprepared for the needs of grievously wounded soldiers.

"It's not just Jarod. I mean, he's one of how many that are coming home with a signature head wound. There are so many more out there, and this cannot continue to happen to all those people coming home," she says.

A sniper's bullet drove fragments of Jarod's skull deep into his brain. He probably would not have survived in an earlier war, according to Dr. Rocco Armondo.

With Jarod's life saved, the next battle was at the Palo Alto, Calif., VA hospital where, Marissa says, her husband wasn't getting the therapy he needed.

"It felt like we were just in this holding pattern and our next step in their book was a nursing home," she said. "To me, that wasn't a great plan."

On her own, Marissa found Casa Colina, a private rehabilitation hospital in southern California.

Marissa says she saw a change in Jarod immediately.

"We went from three months at the VA telling us that Jarod can't do this, he can't do that. Then we came here and they got him on his feet and tried walking him around the gym, just to see what he was capable of and to know what they had to work on."

How did it feel to Jarod?

"It felt great," he says. "I was actually getting therapy."

Despite his brain injury, Jarod was capable of walking and more; he was able to work as a hospital assistant. Had Marissa not been so persistent, she says, Jarod "would be sitting in a nursing home right now."

With her battle won, Marissa went to work on a Web site , Wounded Soldier Staff Sgt Jarod Behee, to tell other families what Casa Colina had done for her husband.

read more at CBS news or see the CBS print this page.
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Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Iraq veterans present the first of the folded flags to Congress in "FUNDING THE WAR IS KILLING THE TROOPS" campaign

Iraq veterans present the folded flag to Representative Hoyer's Chief of Staff.

Iraq Vets Announce Tri-Folded Flag Campaign to Hold Congress Responsible:

Washington , DC : Iraq Veterans Against the War is urging a rapid and safe withdrawal of troops from Iraq , adequate funding of the needs of veterans when they return and the rebuilding of Iraq by Iraqis.

According to Garett Reppenhagen, Chair of Iraq Vets Against the War: " Iraq Veterans Against the War is a growing movement of Iraq War era veterans and active duty service members that are opposing the occupation of Iraq . Through our military experience we have learned that the continued presence of US troops in the Middle-East is instigating further hatred toward American Armed Forces and undermining our nation's security. As a result, our military in Iraq is viewed by the majority of the world as occupiers and not peace keepers. The Iraq Veterans Against the War stands by the belief that funding the war is killing the troops."

IVAW will be holding a press conference, rally and the delivery of Tri-Folded American Flags to Speaker Pelosi, Majority Leader Hoyer, and Majority Whip Clyburn on Tuesday, July 17th at the Upper Senate Park at 1:00 PM. A rally will be held at 2:00 PM and flags will be delivered at 3:00 PM.

Speaking at the press conference will be Garett Rappenhagen, Adam Kokesh – who recently gained national media attention when the Marines threatened him with discipline for his anti-war advocacy and Rev. Lennox Yearwood, Jr. is the President of the Hip Hop Caucus, an Air Force Officer who is being threatened with discharge from the Air Force Reserve Individual Reserve Program as a 'national security threat' due to his anti-war, climate change and civil rights activism.

Adam Kokesh described how funding the war is killing the troops saying "As a proud combat veteran who believes in a strong US military and national defense, I find the Iraq war most offensive. Resources that could be allocated to a multitude of other projects to enhance our security are instead being diverted into the futile occupation of Iraq . The brave men and women who have sworn an oath to defend the Constitution deserve better than to risk their lives in a misadventure that is detrimental to our security, and our Constitution. Further funding of this quagmire will only result in more needless deaths."

Rev. Yearwood put the blame for failure to end the war on the Democratic Party leadership saying "On Nov 7, 2006, America went to the polls to demand an end to the war in Iraq, yet this Democratic Congress continues to fund the occupation. As a board member of Progressive Democrats of America, I can say we did not vote for a Democratic Congress or a Republican Congress, we voted for a Human Congress. Representatives Pelosi, Hoyer and Clyburn are putting the interests of the Democratic Party before the interests of humanity, and until they use their leadership in Congress to de-fund the war, Iraq Veterans Against the War holds them personally responsible for the deaths of U.S. soldiers." Yearwood is also a board member of VotersForPeace which puts 'peace before partisanship.'

The Tri-Folded Flag Campaign is being spearheaded by Iraq Veterans Against the War but already other anti-war groups are joining in. Among the groups already signed on to the multi-month campaign are Military Families Speak Out, Veterans for Peace, VotersForPeace, Grassroots America, the Hip Hop Caucus and Democracy Rising. The campaign will let the House Democratic leadership know that voters will be holding them responsible for failing to end the war by sending them tri-folded flags between now and the end of September.
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Tuesday, July 17, 2007

End Time for Our Monkey Puzzle Tree - dying, no dead and time to take it down

Ahhh, I found someone else who's mature Monkey Puzzle Tree died - like our 90 + yr old tree has died. Big hat tip to blog That and This for providing an account of demise of the tree, decision to take it down (fell it), along with great accompanying photos and links.

Last spring/summer season I knew our Monkey Puzzle Tree was dead beyond dead. Sweetie was unwilling to let go and acknowledge the tree was a goner - no more - the one almost green instead of brown branch just wasn't enough life to save the tree. This spring/summer he acknowledges it is dead and we need to bring it down.

I honestly do not know the habit of this tree in it's natural setting when it finally does die and have been trying to find out. Does it fall, does it remain standing and if so how long before it falls of it's own accord. The neighbors seem to think because it is so old, so rooted that it is unlikely to ever fall. I think if it did fall it would take out the entire street corner, and then which way would it fall - on our house - which neighbor's house??

We are talking now about having it felled and leaving enough stump to have a totem carved out of what is left. We are being told that we should think about selling the wood as it is highly valued in some places. We are told the wood is too difficult to carve and the totem pole idea does not have merit. One way or the other though, I think the tree needs to come down.

Which is why the blog account at That and this was such a good find for me... thanks!

photo 2000 of the real estate listing for the house, shows the Monkey Puzzle Tree as it was. We bought the house in Nov 2002, and the lower limbs were already straggly and looking sickly. Our neighbor was willing to cut the lower limbs in early spring 2003 (a decision I made that I didn't consult with Sweetie about first and he was very, very unhappy about it). Because the tree was planted on what over the next 90 years would become a paved intersection in our small fishing village, the largess of the tree caused a blind spot for traffic making turns at that corner. Losing the lower limbs opened up visibility at the intersection. But, and it may or may not be related, the tree seemed to quickly lose what vitality it had and began the process of dying.

2005 spring/summer season photo of our dying (dead) 90 + year old Monkey Puzzle Tree (The Araucaria Family: Araucariaceae)

Winter 2006 photo of what is now clearly a dead monkey puzzle tree - all that is left is trunk and limbs and that green at the very tippy top - the last breath of hope of life for the tree - by spring it was brown.
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It was a little more than 'dental problems' - Secretary of VA, Jim Nicholson Resigns

Secretary of Veterans' Affairs, Jim Nicholson, announced he will be resigning on October 1, 2007, according to a press release from his office.

Nicholson has weathered a number of scandals, namely the massive loss of veterans' data in 2006, since he was sworn in as Secretary of Veterans' Affairs on February 1, 2005. Nicholson was also criticized for claiming the number of injured vets is overblown since "a lot of them come in for dental problems."

Nicholson plans to return to the private sector. He did not release any definite plans.
Veterans Affairs Secretary Resigns

Also I urge you to see and hear the fullness of Jim Nicholson in his inadequate responses being interviewed in video - link
'Bob Woodruff: To Iraq and Back' in which he responds to the VA's lack of ability or resources to respond to the severity of Traumatic Brain Injury with his comment 'a lot of them come in for dental problems.'

And see my story on the ABC special 'Bob Woodruff; To Iraq and Back' at Washblog.


At a hearing held last June by the House of Representatives Committee on Veterans Affairs, Department of Veterans Affairs Under Secretary for Health Jonathan Perlin testified that, "Traumatic Brain Injury accounts for almost 25 percent of combat casualties suffered in OIF/OEF by US Forces." With over 20,000 combat injuries to date during the ongoing global war on terror, this means that there are almost 5,000 service members suffering from traumatic brain injuries. While advances in body armor and battlefield medicine save the lives of many soldiers, they do not protect against impacts that cause brain injury.
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'the struggle in Iraq can certainly be lost militarily, but it cannot be won militarily' General Wesley Clark testimony at House Armed Services

To underscore the obvious, the struggle in Iraq can certainly be lost militarily, but it cannot be won militarily, and certainly not with the limited US forces currently deployed. The hour is late, but not yet too late, to leave behind an integral, developing, and stable Iraq. But it is also true that the Administration has demonstrated its incompetence in designing and carrying out a strategy for success. And so I appeal to members of this committee to do your duty: help save our military, and help rescue our nation from the perilous consequences of our strategic blunders."

On July 12, 2007, General Clark testified before the House Armed Services'
Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee

It's only proper, therefore, that this Subcommittee help ask and answer the hard questions to be asked concerning our over four years deployment in Iraq: whether it is "succeeding," and, if not, how the mission should be modified or curtailed, and at what cost.

These questions are in no way the material of abstract, hypothetical musings. Just about everyone in public life has now formed strong opinions, and certainly the American public has, also. By strong majorities they believe the war is unwinnable, and want the strategy changed. They also want the troops brought home - and taken good care of when they return here - but they don't want to lose. And so the public debate has increasingly turned on the consequences of a withdrawal for Iraq, our friends in the region, and for ourselves - with a "precipitous withdrawal" being the one which leads to increased violence.

You can receive the testimonies of the generals and state Department experts that can discuss every tribe, militia and province. I don't propose to do that today. But what I would like to do is offer my perspective on the region, and then propose a course of action which could prove to be the "least worst" of the choices available.

The United States is today engaged in a four-fold struggle in the Middle East, and each of the struggles is interconnected with the others. At the most benign level, the US is in hot competition economically, to capture its share of oil exports and earnings, and to sell its share of goods and services. Our long term dependability has been a winning factor in building enduring US influence and commercial penetration in the region. Second, the US works to assure to security and safety of the state of Israel, within the broader interest of seeking to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and helping Israel assure its long term survival and success within the region. Third, the United States is engaged in a three-decades long struggle against Iranian extremism, which has manifested itself through terror bombing against US forces, harassment of oil shipping lanes, the pursuit of a long range, nuclear strike capability, Iranian interference in Lebanon, and, of course, assisted by our topping of Saddam Hussein, within Iraq itself. Finally, the US is caught up in the almost ten-year-old struggle against Al Qaeda.

These struggles help frame the ongoing conflict in Iraq, circumscribing the options and weighting the alternatives. The US will not and cannot abandon the region, nor our friends and interests there. The analogy with the US withdrawal from South Vietnam ought therefore to be unthinkable. US interests require continuing engagement in this region. But neither can the US make mincemeat of the fragile and artificially created states in the region, nor the governments that rule them, however much we should disagree with their policies and principles, for any of these existing governments is, if not a bulwark against a stronger Al Qaeda presence, then at least a regional actor which may be held accountable in some sense. We don't need any more failed states in the region, whether in Gaza or in Iran. Yet over the next twelve-to-eighteen months the Iranian nuclear effort is likely to culminate in the credible capability of significant uranium enrichment, and, absent a real diplomatic initiative from the Bush Administration, either this Administration or the next will be forced to acquiesce in an Iranian nuclear capability - with all the risk that entails - or execute a series of air and naval strikes to delay or destroy that capability - with the risks of further aggravating tensions and terrorist activities as well as disrupting global markets and flows.

So, the issue isn't troop strength in Iraq, but rather US national strategy in the region. As of now, it is not too late for that strategy to be significantly altered. The US would have to renounce its aims and efforts of regime changes, pull back such forceful advocacy of democratization, engage in sustained diplomatic dialogue with governments in the region, including Syria and Iran, heed the advice of regional friends and allies like Saudi Arabia, Jordan, the Emirates and Qatar, and work not to isolate Hamas but to reshape it. This new strategic approach to the region must be linked to a deeper, more effective political effort within Iraq to align interests and structures, in order to produce the kinds of compromises necessary to end the civil war there. The tactics, principles and techniques of such a shift in strategy are no mystery. I and many others have for years called for such changes. But it seems all too clear that the leaders in the White House today have not, thus far, even seriously considered such change. They persist in seeking a largely military solution, focusing on troop strength and tactics, and have had the temerity to label a 20% increase in US troops as a "new strategy," when all along it has been obvious that we have needed perhaps three times the on-the-ground troop presence they directed.

Consequently the "surge" strategy has produced no miracles: some local progress in Baghdad neighborhoods, perhaps, and an accompanying effort, perhaps underwritten by our Saudi friends, against Al Qaeda in Anbar. But the political agreements expected to emerge, miraculously, from the presence of a few more thousand US troops in Baghdad haven't.

The deeper truth is that we are engaged in a civil war inside Iraq aided and abetted by outside powers. It is not at all clear that the "surge" will, even were it to succeed in reducing the violence, bring this war to a successful conclusion. We are playing on others "home court." They own porous borders, language skills, long term relationships inside Iraq, and sufficient means to ratchet-up resistance and encourage divisiveness when and where it suits their purpose.

When well-trained and equipped troops are thrown into stabilization missions, they normally do succeed in temporarily tamping down violence. This is the historical record of occupying armies, from Europe to Asia. Local opponents watch for vulnerabilities, redeploy to elude the occupier’s grasp, and deepen their structures in preparation for the resumption of hostilities. But unless mechanisms for political reconciliation take hold, violence seems inevitably to resume and escalate as aggrieved parties find ways and means to pursue their aims despite the presence of an occupying force.

In the case of Iraq, these tendencies are exacerbated by the competitive struggle between Iran and its Shia surrogates, and the Saudi and Jordanian support for the Sunni's. The Iraqi government itself lacks the legitimacy and capability to resolve this struggle, whatever its "legality.". And so, no matter the vicissitudes in civilian deaths, or car-bombings, or disappearances in Baghdad, the underlying dynamics of the struggle continue. This Administration has refused to address their strategic causes and has left our brave soldiers and Marines hostage to a regional power struggle.

For this reason, I believe the time has come for the Congress to demand that the Administration begin the redeployment of American ground forces and state publicly and clearly that there will be no permanent US bases in Iraq. At best, this underscores the seriousness of the American people and helps incentivize Iraqi leaders themselves work to stop the conflict through suitable dialogue and compromise. Thus far, this has been notably lacking among the Iraqi's. At the very least, the redeployment will provide immediate relief for overstretched US ground forces.

These initial redeployments would be modest in scope, designed to stimulate internal Iraqi political dialogue, incentivize more intensive Iraqi efforts at accommodation, and underscore to the region that the United States will not be held hostage. I would like to see the withdrawal of two brigades over the next six months.

But this should be coupled with legislation compelling the Administration to address to Congress its strategy and regional efforts within sixty days. Pending suitable modifications to the Administration strategy to encompass full diplomatic and political efforts in the region and within Iraq, and assuming continual recommendations by military commanders to retain the enhanced troop levels, then Congress should support the "current less two brigades" force through March, 2008, after which the US forces should begin a twelve-month transition out of direct combat operations, except against Al Qaeda, with a residual training, security, and counter-terrorism force sized in the 50-80,000 range, which will gradually phase out.

This is the force which would effectively under gird US diplomacy, assist the Iraqi's, maintain US capabilities against terrorists, and provide sufficient relief for the US to regain strategic military maneuverability.

However, if the Administration refuses to change its strategy appropriately, then I would see the need for a more rapid withdrawal of US forces, commensurate with reduced chances of success and the greater likelihood of having to reengage militarily within the region at a later time.

To underscore the obvious, the struggle in Iraq can certainly be lost militarily, but it cannot be won militarily, and certainly not with the limited US forces currently deployed. The hour is late, but not yet too late, to leave behind an integral, developing, and stable Iraq. But it is also true that the Administration has demonstrated its incompetence in designing and carrying out a strategy for success. And so I appeal to members of this committee to do your duty: help save our military, and help rescue our nation from the perilous consequences of our strategic blunders.

7/12/07 - General Wesley Clark's Testimony before the House Armed Services' Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee | WesPAC


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Monday, July 16, 2007

How can you argue with this young soldier? His truth exceeds any political truth.

An offer Bush, Cheney, Lindsey Graham, & McRomniani should not refuse.

Do you realize just what you say when you spill terrible talking points?

The troops may as a majority harbor traditional patriotic sentiment but they ain't as stupid as our politicians.

Some of them are just plain common sense human beings.

Here's my hurried transcript excerpt from an ABC News film clip (Thanks for the tip to Dan at On The Road to 2008)

"I challenge Bush to come and spend a tour with me. I'll serve another 15 months if he will. They don't need to pay me any more. They don't have to do anything just come here and hang out with me.

We have people up there in Congress with brain of a two year old who don't know what they're doing. They don't experience it.
I challenge the President or whoever has us here for 15 months to ride along side me. I'll do another fifteen months if he comes out here and rides along with me every day for 15 months. I'll do 15 more months. They don't even have to pay me extra."

(edit update)

This is the followup report to the ABC News report, of Sean Smith's embed with American troops in Baghdad from The Guardian, that aired on 7-16-07.

Here is the written report:
'I Am the Mother of the Driver'"I am the mother of the driver of the Bradley you see upside down and burning," she wrote. "He was 19 years old and could see the futility of Iraq invasion and occupation."
from ABC comments on their newscast exclusive; soldier challenges Congress in 'A Violent and 'Normal' Day in Baghdad' footage. "I am Alex Varela's mother, the driver of the bradley shown here upside down and burning, 6 soldiers from the 1-5 Cavalry out of Fort Hood Texas died on May 19th and I hope the pictures this nation is viewing become an Icon for the occupation ending'

photo at ABC News Smith captured a deadly attack on a Bradley armored vehicle, seen here. (photo credit -Sean Smith/Guardian)

'I Am The Mother of the Driver"
Reactions to Rare Footage of U.S. Troops in Iraq

(Edit update)

Rarely seen on our News programs. We get major blast news, numbers killed of civilians and how many of our Military Personal, but rare footage of what's happening Daily. ABC News showed a cut of this report on 7-16-07, the Guardian Unlimited has the full report and it was shown on British TV.

"I challenge Congress and the President to do my Rotation!!",,2125978,00.html

The Guardian's award-winning photographer and filmmaker Sean Smith spent two months embedded with US troops in Baghdad and Anbar province. His harrowing documentary exposes the exhaustion and disillusionment of the soldiers.


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Bush Sets up Petraeus to Fall?

Excellent round up here at IraqSlogger;
Much of it copy/paste below, but there is more so visit Iraq Slogger. Hat tip, as it saves me some time getting all of these important developments blogged. Homefront and NY Times article cites military families voicing fatigue and coming out in opposition - no wonder with repeat stop-lossed and extended deployments to Iraq. Hmmm, so do you think President Bush is keeping with the pattern to set up General Patraeus to take the fall that rightfully belongs to this President and this Administration? And when Prime Minister Nouri al-Malaki, says that Iraq is ready to take over security "any time" the Americans want to leave, who are we not to listen and do what he has invited us to do -- LEAVE!

IraqSlogger; US Papers Sun: Bush Sets up Petraeus to Fall?

Washington politics again dominate Sunday's news, but the flurry of news that we got last week is diminishing. Are the reporters getting tired? Thankfully, the Washington Post has a must-read on President George W. Bush's relationship with Gen. David Petraeus, and why that could cause trouble for the general down the line. And The New York Times provides some spin control on Bush's "gentleman's 'C'" he gave Iraq last week, and throws in a couple of stories from the home front.

Thomas E. Ricks of the Post has the must-read piece of the day -- especially if you're the top general in Iraq. He picks up on how often Bush mentions Gen. David Petraeus, commander of the American forces in Iraq, and muses that Bush is pushing some of the Iraq political burden onto the general, possibly setting him up as the fall-guy should the surge strategy fail. "Bush has mentioned Petraeus at least 150 times this year in his speeches, interviews and news conferences," Ricks writes, "often setting him up in opposition to members of Congress."

He mentions U.S. Ambassador to Iraq, Ryan Crocker far less frequently. At his latest news conference, Bush mentioned Petraeus 12 times and Crocker only twice. Marine Lt. Gen. Wallace Gregson (Ret.) told Ricks the president is sending the message that Iraqi is "purely a military problem." That's convenient, since that's the only part of the U.S.'s plan in Iraq that's showing any progress, according to the White House's own report (spin notwithstanding.) The political process on the part of the Iraqis, which is key to holding the country together and which is more important than the military aspect, has shown no progress.

Linking Petraeus and the surge strategy, which was Bush's idea, not the general's, will allow Bush to turn on Petraeus if Iraq falls apart -- as the administration has done with many former generals whenever it changes course, said Lawrence Korb, a former Pentagon official. Paul Wolfowitz publicly humiliated Gen. Eric Shinseki, who said Iraq would need more troops. Gen. George Casey, Petraeus predecessor, was blamed for not doing enough to secure the Iraqi people. Marine Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, "was effectively fired last month." Ricks has great historical context on this issue, noting that while commander of the 101st Airborne Division during 2003, Petraeus often clashed with L. Paul Bremer over decisions that later turned out to be mistakes.

The Times' Jim Rutenberg picks apart last week's White House report on Iraq, and determines that, shockingly, the report "included several grim assessments of the Iraqi government that contrasted with the more upbeat public statements of President Bush, his top aides and public White House briefing materials in the past few weeks." In recent statements, both White House Spokesman Tony Snow and Bush said the Iraqis were making "progress" on the crucial oil law. But the report listed that benchmark as "unsatisfactory."

The picture is much the same regarding the reconciliation with members of the Ba'ath Party. The rule seems to be upbeat statements in the past, gloomy report card. A spokesman for the National Security Council, which oversaw the report's drafting, said the report was "a snapshot in time" and that developments appeared different from one moment to the next. Why have reports at all, then? If events in Iraq exhibit a quark-like uncertainty principle, there is no way to predict the future or learn from the past. Darn! The main point of this article, capped by the NSC's public throwing up of hands in the face of the inscrutableness of Iraq, deserved tougher treatment from Rutenberg. It would have been nice to see a more aggressive line of questioning: Why were upbeat statements made when the report said the opposite? Why can't the administration extrapolate?

David M. Herszenhorn writes for the Times on a proposal floating around the Senate to adopt the 79 policy recommendations from the Iraq Study Group as official U.S. policy. The story's a fine primer on the bill, drafted by Sen. Ken Salazar, D-Colo., but it doesn't really give a sense of its chances for passage or who, exactly is for it. Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., likes it for its "fresh start" while Majority Leader Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., doesn't, saying the bill has no teeth in it. Why is he so opposed? Are the domestic politics involved? The bill will come to a vote next week after all other proposals have been voted on, offering a last chance before the summer recess to pass something. After that, the next window is September.

The Post continues its series on four Congress members it profiled last week, recapping the week's news. (The members of Congress profiled are Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., Rep. Dan Boren, D-Okla., and Rep Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill.) There's nothing greatly revelatory in this, if you've been following the news, but it's a nice way to put faces on the debate in Iraq wracking the Senate and House. Snowe, in a long-anticipated move, broke with the White House, Boren and Isakson both are waiting until September and Schakowsky, party of the House Democratic whip team exulted in the turning of the tide in Congress on the war. "It's just over," she thought to herself. "And the question is: How soon can we do it?"

Ian Urbina of the Times turns his eyes to the nation's military families, where support for the war is showing signs of collapse. Polls among military families show support for the war down, and an increase in pessimism toward the outcome. More families are talking to their representatives and senators, asking them to help end the war. Recruiting efforts are suffering, mainly due to resistance from families. Longer and repeated deployments are eroding the support among the spouses. Even a few military wives on bases -- usually the least likely to speak out in opposition to their husband's efforts -- have joined an anti-war group that represents military families.

"I backed this war from the beginning," said Beth Pyritz, 27, who recently joined the group. "But I don't think I can look my kids in the eyes anymore, if my husband comes home in a wooden box, and tell them he died for a good reason." Urbina notes, however, that this is still a minority phenomenon. Many military families still support Bush, and dissent among the families was more widespread during the Vietnam War (the draft didn't help). But the dissent is real, and more soldiers are voting with their feet. In the 2006 fiscal year, 3,196 soldiers deserted, compared to 2,543 in FY2005 and 2,357 in FY2004. Since the beginning of the current fiscal year, which began in October, 871 soldiers have deserted.

Speaking of deserting, Michelle York of the Times writes of an Army medic who went AWOL after kind of losing it in Iraq and exhibiting serious PTSD symptoms. Spec. Eugene Cherry's was a high-profile case and was about to go to court-martial when last week the Army dropped the charges and gave him a general discharge. It's significant because guys who've been AWOL for as long as he has been -- he's been on the lam since fall 2005 -- usually get lengthy prison terms. The Army is realizing the toll Iraq is taking on its soldiers.


Megan Greenwell leads the Post's roundup of news from Baghdad with a press conference from Prime Minister Nouri al-Malaki, who said that Iraq was ready to take over security "any time" the Americans want to leave. However, he added, it would be nice if the Americans provided more weapons and training, saying that's what the Iraqi forces need. (Which will take time, totally negating his claim that they can take over "any time.") Greenwell rightly recognizes the prime minister's remarks worthless and quickly moves on to what matters to the Iraqi people: the continuing deterioration in the security situation.

Eleven people died in three car bombings across Baghdad. There was more sectarian warfare, as 23 bodies were found in various neighborhoods, included four women. The victims had been tortured and shot in the head. Gunmen in Jebala killed eight Shi'ites, about four miles south of Baghdad. A U.S. soldier was killed and another wounded when an EFP exploded near their convoy in eastern Baghdad. A landmine killed another soldier, but Greenwell doesn't know where.

The military announced it had captured a "senior leader" of al Qaeda in Iraq, but apparently didn't name him. The alleged bad guy operated a network of cells in and around Mosul, the military said. And at least six insurgents were killed in a U.S. airstrike in Diyala province, Greenwell reports. She mentions that the military said, "the airstrike was necessary to protect women and children the gunmen were using as shields." Hm. Airstrikes seem a highly imprecise way to deal with what amounts to a hostage situation.
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Sunday, July 15, 2007

Update - Yard and Garden - July 15, 2007

Update - July 15, 2007

Vegetable Garden; doing well enough.

Progress of seeds I planted;

-- Corn plants are looking now like corn you see in corn fields.
-- Beans, coming along, not too impressive yet
-- Squash - zucchini doing okay; yellow summer squash doing okay; acorn squash planted late but they started then failed overnight one night (slugs?? or was it because I decided to fertilize and the acorn squash plants were too new to take being fertilized.
-- Cucumbers - well, there are plants, but it's not too impressive yet.
-- Beets have popped up and are shaping out nicely. Note; beets seem to do well here.
-- Radishes planted and harvested already, much less nibbling by critters this year.
-- Elephant Garlic is doing quite well but can't tell till I harvest the bulbs.
-- Garlic (normal size) seem to be doing okay, can't see any flowering though. The transplants at the back of the house failed.
-- Pumpkins - only one or two, the rest failed.
-- Green, Red, Jalapeno peppers - failed
-- Dill - failed
-- Carrots - two plants growing - the rest I accidentally stepped on when they were newly coming up and they were damaged, okay ruined.

Progress of transplants from garden center;

-- bib and red lettuce - okay and growing well. Note; red lettuce adds color to the green garden. Use again!
-- spinach - failed.
-- tomato plants - doing well, one plant has tomato forming.
-- pepper plants - seemd to be doing okay.
-- cucumber plants - hard to tell, still so compact and small.
-- pumpkin plant - slow but growing.
-- onions - doing okay. Separated each bulb and planted 2 batch crops in garden.

Newly planted vegetable bed by front door;

After Sweetie recreated the entrance area at the front door in front yard, he created a new bed for planting. This year I wanted to use it for more vegetables. Since it is strictly clay, I needed to amend it with compost and top soil, before planting anything. It is too late in the season to plant seeds, so I picked up some vegetable plants at the garden center at our one and only department store in the region -- Dennis Company. I'm grateful they carry vegetables, herbs, flowers favorable to our climate and area. It makes for a somewhat limited line to choose from, and it's about 75/25 that what I buy will do well in my yard.

-- Squash - flying wheels squash (looks interesting on the label!) - 1 plant.
-- Squash - hubbard squash - 2 plants.
-- Squash - acorn squash - 2 plants.
-- Peppers - varieties - jalapeno - 2 plants, pimento - 2 plants, green - 2 plants

When Sweetie began this project he finished up another project at the other corner of front yard, bricking in and squaring off that corner. I had started last year to create a tiered flower garden effect to replace the brick step tiers he took out. We discovered in our digging that PO had apparantly tried to create about 4 steps, using bricks, from the garage up to the front yard. Over the years, it got buried, so we found a treasure of bricks and attempted to make it workable. It wasn't too workable, which is probably why it got overgrown in the first place.

He took the bricks to use elsewhere, and that left the tiered effect, which I was prepared to design into a tiered flower garden. I started with some plants late last growing season, and they hadn't much chance of setting up in their new places, so when he decided to change the corner, the plants were amenable to being transplanted.

I'm not real sure now what those plants are by name, so I'll have to backtrack and see what I blogged last year. One is hellebos, and three others to be identified.
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Friday, July 13, 2007

Washington state Reps Reichert, Hastings, McMorris vote no on troop withdrawal; still with the President's stay the course failed Iraq war policies

"We have to allow the professionals to do their job," Rep. Dave Reichert, R-Wash., said, referring to the commanders.

Reichert joined Washington's two other Republican House members, Doc Hastings and Cathy McMorris Rodgers, in voting against setting a withdrawal deadline. (quoted from Seattle PI article)
Reading the article at the Seattle PI today, and I guess I really am amazed that our Washington state Republican Representatives seem to have moved not an iota from their position of sustaining the daily scores of our U.S. troops in Iraq. Didn't they get the message that June was the deadliest month for the deaths of soldiers from Fort Lewis?

Newshour with Jim Lehrer episode (link) 'Fort Lewis Memorializes Fallen Soldiers From Iraq War' - Lee Hochberg, Correspondent;

'Last month was the deadliest month of the war for Washington state's Fort Lewis, the nation's third-largest Army post. Twenty soldiers from the post lost their lives in Iraq. In June, there have already been 13 more deaths, 30 percent of all the U.S. military deaths in Iraq this month.'

The link provides the interview, the video, and I feel so humbled as the names of each are remembered and memorialized.
photo is the weekly vigil held every Tuesday at the Federal Building in Seattle, WA
the poppies and ribbons carry the names of the soldiers connected to Washington state

What and how is this in the 'support the troops' meme readily used by Republicans whenever any Democratic legislation is introduced.

My son-in-law goes back to Iraq for his second 'stop-lossed', 'extended' deployment in a few months. He, along with all the other troops deploying right now are 'automatically stop-lossed' and 'extended' to serve 15 month deployments before their boots ever touch the ground in Iraq. He tells us he is being told to let the family know it could be 18 months or longer. It's a good guess that once he and his unit get to Iraq, another stop loss will be added to lengthen the tour - once they are there, in Iraq, already, and can't do a thing about it.

I'm real tired of the politics governing the lives of all our young servicemen and women. Their graves are not marked Republican or Democratic - they are smote by the hand of this Administration who would rather engage in partisan power plays than react to the reality that has become the failed policies of Iraq occupation/war. The external and internal wounds of returning troops are not labeled Republican or Democratic wounds - they are wounds - many untreated and untreatable. The anxieties of the families of the troops, who are among the first military families to experience multiple deployments of their loved ones, may have some things to say to both parties - Republican or Democratic. It might sound like this 'Enough is Enough' in sound decibles from respectful disagreement to shouting from the rooftops.

I don't favor Democratic Congress over Republican Congress, but I do favor helping both parties find the internal courage to 'get real' about our troops and the Iraq war. You are destroying our families with this nonsense about an 'all volunteer military' in the face of this first time phenomenon of repeat combat deployments, two, three, four, five and more times. No other war, no other warriors, no other military families have faced this kind of warfare with a 'forced volunteer' military doing multiple combat deployments in modern times; I'd hazard to say in the history of the United States of America.

Seattle PI article; Washington's House Democrats vote for pullout

By CHARLES POPE P-I WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT WASHINGTON -- Embracing national frustration rather than President Bush's plea for patience, Washington state's House Democrats joined their party members in declaring the strategy in Iraq unworkable.

All six House Democrats from Washington voted yes on a 223-201 party-line vote for legislation that would require U.S. troops to begin leaving Iraq within 120 days after the measure becomes law. The state's three Republicans opposed the bill.

The vote came only hours after the White House released an interim report detailing unsatisfactory results by Baghdad to reconcile political differences and improve security.

'If the president can find progress in this report, he has a different set of standards than I do,' Rep. Jim McDermott, D-Wash., said, echoing a theme voiced by many Democrats during the daylong debate.

The showdown in the House was the first of a series of Iraq-related votes Democratic leaders have planned to put pressure on Bush and Republicans to change what they insist is a doomed course in Iraq. The goal, they say, is that continued dark news from Iraq along with pressure from the approaching 2008 election campaign will begin to break down Republican opposition.

On Wednesday, McDermott was even more blunt in a speech speech from the House floor. "There is no credibility left in this administration. None," he said. "This White House cannot whitewash the truth any longer. The American people are exasperated by a commander in chief who is blind to what's happening in Iraq. U.S. soldiers have not failed, but this president has. U.S. commanders have not failed, but this administration has."

On that point the public seems to agree. Only 23 percent of people contacted in a July 2 poll by CBS News approved of the job Bush was doing in Iraq.

Republicans dismissed the House measure as a political ploy that would take authority from military commanders for decisions about troop levels and priorities. They also said that it's too early to form hard judgments about the success or failure of Bush's "surge" strategy, which put about 30,000 additional U.S. troops into Iraq.

"We have to allow the professionals to do their job," Rep. Dave Reichert, R-Wash., said, referring to the commanders.

Reichert joined Washington's two other Republican House members, Doc Hastings and Cathy McMorris Rodgers, in voting against setting a withdrawal deadline.

Reichert said he would be willing to defy the White House if he determines the surge policy is flawed. That point has not arrived, he said, adding that he would like to see quicker progress. "A majority of Americans want to see this war end. I'm one of them."

The House debate, however, was defined by its sharp edges.

read more at Seattle PI article Washington's House Democrats vote for pullout: "Washington's House Democrats vote for pullout

Seed Newsvine
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Sunday, July 8, 2007

New York Times says it's time to bring the troops home post haste - Now!!

It is time for the United States to leave Iraq, without any more delay than the Pentagon needs to organize an orderly exit.

It is frighteningly clear that Mr. Bush’s plan is to stay the course as long as he is president and dump the mess on his successor.
New York Times Editorial, July 8, 2007

Wasn't I pleased to read the editorial of the New York Times 'The Road Home' calling for bringing the troops home now - no more point for them to be in Iraq. I count this as an unexpected birthday gift to myself. My birthday was yesterday. Thank you NY Times and it's about time! After all the President did say in 2005, that it was going to be a 'long war' and the next President was going to have to figure out what to do about Iraq. Why did it take you till 2007 to 'hear' and believe what he said. This isn't exactly new news, and how many lives were lost between the time the President said those words and you are getting around to expressing the same conclusion as an editorial piece. Still a thank you New York Times is in order.

In the words of the New York Times editors;


July 8, 2007

The Road Home

It is time for the United States to leave Iraq, without any more delay than the Pentagon needs to organize an orderly exit.

Like many Americans, we have put off that conclusion, waiting for a sign that President Bush was seriously trying to dig the United States out of the disaster he created by invading Iraq without sufficient cause, in the face of global opposition, and without a plan to stabilize the country afterward.

At first, we believed that after destroying Iraq’s government, army, police and economic structures, the United States was obliged to try to accomplish some of the goals Mr. Bush claimed to be pursuing, chiefly building a stable, unified Iraq. When it became clear that the president had neither the vision nor the means to do that, we argued against setting a withdrawal date while there was still some chance to mitigate the chaos that would most likely follow.

While Mr. Bush scorns deadlines, he kept promising breakthroughs — after elections, after a constitution, after sending in thousands more troops. But those milestones came and went without any progress toward a stable, democratic Iraq or a path for withdrawal. It is frighteningly clear that Mr. Bush’s plan is to stay the course as long as he is president and dump the mess on his successor. Whatever his cause was, it is lost.

The political leaders Washington has backed are incapable of putting national interests ahead of sectarian score settling. The security forces Washington has trained behave more like partisan militias. Additional military forces poured into the Baghdad region have failed to change anything.

Continuing to sacrifice the lives and limbs of American soldiers is wrong. The war is sapping the strength of the nation’s alliances and its military forces. It is a dangerous diversion from the life-and-death struggle against terrorists. It is an increasing burden on American taxpayers, and it is a betrayal of a world that needs the wise application of American power and principles.

A majority of Americans reached these conclusions months ago. Even in politically polarized Washington, positions on the war no longer divide entirely on party lines. When Congress returns this week, extricating American troops from the war should be at the top of its agenda.

Seed Newsvine

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Saturday, July 7, 2007

"Supporting the Troops" Means Withdrawing Them; article by General William Odom

Congress clearly and indisputably has two powers over the executive: the power of the purse and the power to impeach. Instead of using either, members of congress are wasting their time discussing feckless measures like a bill that "de-authorizes the war in Iraq." That is toothless unless it is matched by a cut-off of funds. General William Odom

Finding this article today by General William Od0m at on this my birthday was a gift in itself. As a long standing traditional military family, I agree with every word of General Odom's thoughts in this article.

original article at Nieman Watchdog

'Supporting the troops' means withdrawing them

Gen. William Odom writes that opponents of the war should focus public attention on the fact that Bush’s obstinate refusal to admit defeat is causing the troops enormous psychological as well as physical harm.

By William E. Odom

Every step the Democrats in Congress have taken to force the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq has failed. Time and again, President Bush beats them into submission with charges of failing to "support the troops."

Why do the Democrats allow this to happen? Because they let the president define what "supporting the troops" means. His definition is brutally misleading. Consider what his policies are doing to the troops.

No U.S. forces have ever been compelled to stay in sustained combat conditions for as long as the Army units have in Iraq. In World War II, soldiers were considered combat-exhausted after about 180 days in the line. They were withdrawn for rest periods. Moreover, for weeks at a time, large sectors of the front were quiet, giving them time for both physical and psychological rehabilitation. During some periods of the Korean War, units had to fight steadily for fairly long periods but not for a year at a time. In Vietnam, tours were one year in length, and combat was intermittent with significant break periods.

In Iraq, combat units take over an area of operations and patrol it daily, making soldiers face the prospect of death from an IED or small arms fire or mortar fire several hours each day. Day in and day out for a full year, with only a single two-week break, they confront the prospect of death, losing limbs or eyes, or suffering other serious wounds. Although total losses in Iraq have been relatively small compared to most previous conflicts, the individual soldier is risking death or serious injury day after day for a year. The impact on the psyche accumulates, eventually producing what is now called "post-traumatic stress disorders." In other words, they are combat-exhausted to the point of losing effectiveness. The occasional willful killing of civilians in a few cases is probably indicative of such loss of effectiveness. These incidents don't seem to occur during the first half of a unit's deployment in Iraq.

After the first year, following a few months back home, these same soldiers are sent back for a second year, then a third year, and now, many are facing a fourth deployment! Little wonder more and more soldiers and veterans are psychologically disabled.

And the damage is not just to enlisted soldiers. Many officers are suffering serious post-traumatic stress disorders but are hesitant to report it – with good reason. An officer who needs psychiatric care and lets it appear on his medical records has most probably ended his career. He will be considered not sufficiently stable to lead troops. Thus officers are strongly inclined to avoid treatment and to hide their problems.

There are only two ways to fix this problem, both of which the president stubbornly rejects. Instead, his recent "surge" tactic has compelled the secretary of defense to extend Army tours to 15 months! (The Marines have been allowed to retain their six-month deployment policy and, not surprisingly, have fewer cases of post-traumatic stress syndrome.)

The first solution would be to expand the size of the Army to two or three times its present level, allowing shorter combat tours and much longer breaks between deployments. That cannot be done rapidly enough today, even if military conscription were restored and new recruits made abundant. It would take more than a year to organize and train a dozen new brigade combat teams. The Clinton administration cut the Army end strength by about 40 percent – from about 770,000 to 470,000 during the 1990s. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld looked for ways to make the cuts even deeper. Thus this administration and its predecessor aggressively gave up ground forces and tactical air forces while maintaining large maritime forces that cannot be used in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Sadly, the lack of wisdom in that change in force structure is being paid for not by President Bush or President Clinton but by the ordinary soldier and his family. They have no lobby group to seek relief for them.

The second way to alleviate the problem is to withdraw U.S. forces from Iraq as soon as possible and as securely as possible. The electorate understands this. That is why a majority of voters favor withdrawing from Iraq.

If the Democrats truly want to succeed in forcing President Bush to begin withdrawing from Iraq, the first step is to redefine "supporting the troops" as withdrawing them, citing the mass of accumulating evidence of the psychological as well as the physical damage that the president is forcing them to endure because he did not raise adequate forces. Both Democrats and Republicans in Congress could confirm this evidence and lay the blame for "not supporting the troops" where it really belongs – on the president. And they could rightly claim to the public that they are supporting the troops by cutting off the funds that he uses to keep U.S. forces in Iraq.

The public is ahead of the both branches of government in grasping this reality, but political leaders and opinion makers in the media must give them greater voice.

Congress clearly and indisputably has two powers over the executive: the power of the purse and the power to impeach. Instead of using either, members of congress are wasting their time discussing feckless measures like a bill that "de-authorizes the war in Iraq." That is toothless unless it is matched by a cut-off of funds.

The president is strongly motivated to string out the war until he leaves office, in order to avoid taking responsibility for the defeat he has caused and persisted in making greater each year for more than three years.

To force him to begin a withdrawal before then, the first step should be to rally the public by providing an honest and candid definition of what "supporting the troops" really means and pointing out who is and who is not supporting our troops at war. The next step should be a flat refusal to appropriate money for to be used in Iraq for anything but withdrawal operations with a clear deadline for completion.

The final step should be to put that president on notice that if ignores this legislative action and tries to extort Congress into providing funds by keeping U.S. forces in peril, impeachment proceeding will proceed in the House of Representatives. Such presidential behavior surely would constitute the "high crime" of squandering the lives of soldiers and Marines for his own personal interest.

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Thursday, July 5, 2007

Willow Twig Rooting Solution for new cuttings recipe

I tried what is known to garderners in hand me down folklore of using willow twigs to make a rooting solution to use with new cuttings. I cut several off my mother's old willow tree, and put them in a large jar, let them gestate for several days and then added the solution to the 'new cuttings' to take root. I wasn't successful.

I found this at another blog and wanted to share the 'recipe' here, so for my own use in my own garden on my own blog here is another recipe for Willow Water rooting hormone.

Here's what you do:

1. Get a handful of willow twigs (any Salix species will do)

2. Cut them into pieces a few inches long

3. Soak the twigs in a few inches of water for a day or two; then remove the twigs.

4. Use the willow water to soak cuttings in overnight, or to water flats of newly started cuttings, or to help transplants.

Now remember since this method isn't very exact, the strength of the willow water can vary depending on the time of year, the number of twigs, the concentration of hormones in the twigs, and the amount of time that the twigs were soaked. You will, however, still get a solution that will help your plants root.

hat tip to Weekend Gardener
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Three returning combat Iraq veterans arrested at Fort Benning - Iraq Veterans Against the War continue to speak - are we listening?

IVAW members were arrested while attempting to enter Ft. Benning to speak with members on the base.

Adam Kokesh, IVAW (Iraq Veterans Against the War) was arrested after entering Fort Benning to check on fellow members, Liam Madden and Nate Lewis.

All three face a hearing for criminal trespassing - July 27, 2007

These three are returning Iraq veterans:

Sgt Liam Madden, U.S. Marine
Liam served as a Communications Electronics Specialist in the Marine Corps from January 2003 to January 2007. While enlisted he was deployed to Iraq, Kuwait, Thailand, Okinawa, Japan, and Korea. During his last year in the Marines, Sergeant Madden co-founded the Appeal for Redress, a campaign of service members demanding that congress halt the war in Iraq.

Sgt Adam Kokesh, U.S. Marine, Served in: MCRD San Diego, CA Camp Pendleton, CA Fort Sill, OK Camp Fallujah, Iraq Rock ASP, Iraq Fallujah Peninsula, Iraq Fallujah Liaison Team CMOC, Iraq Camp Lejeune, NC
(You can read more about Adam Kokesh at his own blog )

Nathan Lewis, U.S. Army returning Iraq veteran.

All three are returning Iraq veterans with military base privileges and appropriate identifications. For more detail about how military bases view 'protesters' at the gates of military installations, and when those protesters are the troops themselves .....

detail account of this arrest at Veterans for Common Sense;

News Archives

July 1, 2007 - Three Iraq war protesters were arrested Sunday evening after crossing onto Fort Benning property.

Liam Madden and Nate Lewis, both 24, were taken into custody by military police shortly before 6 p.m. for stepping onto federal property, according to post spokeswoman Monica Manganaro. A third unidentified protester was also detained for committing the same infraction approximately 30 minutes after Madden and Lewis were arrested, Manganaro added.

Lewis and Madden, both members of Iraq Veterans Against the War, were charged with criminal trespass. They, along with six other members of the anti-war organization, are currently on a bus tour protesting military bases around the country and speaking to soldiers. The group's tour bus was parked outside the stone gate on Fort Benning Road off Victory Drive, Manganaro said.

Michael Blake, 24, of Iraq Veterans Against the War, said his comrades didn't break the law intentionally. They simply crossed a line that wasn't clearly marked, he said.

"What they were doing is they were going to step up to the guard and ask him if they could come onto base," Blake said. "It was a complete accident."

Manganaro said she didn't know the specifics of the incident, but the law is clear when it comes to protesting on military installations: It's illegal.

"If individuals are protesting outside a military installation and they come onto the installation, they've broken a law."

Manganaro said the protesters were given a verbal warning not to come onto the property.

Blake said Madden and Lewis are both veterans with valid Veterans Affairs cards and should be allowed onto the post. As soon as the protestors crossed the line, Blake said, two military police officers approached them, cuffed them and charged them.

This isn't the first incident of Iraq Veterans Against the War protestors being detained for bringing their message to military installations.

According to the group's Web site, five members were handcuffed Saturday morning at Fort Jackson in South Carolina after attempting to meet a fellow member on base for lunch. They were wearing T-shirts with "Iraq Veterans Against the War" and because of that they were considered protesters, Blake said.

None of the members were arrested that day, but they were removed from the base, Blake said.

In addition to the handful of anti-war Iraq veteran protestors traveling from base-to-base, a small crew of film makers from the Showtime Network is also on hand to document their journey. Blake said their presence, however, had nothing to do with Sunday evening's proceedings.

"We had no plan to go on base unauthorized," Blake said. "We're all pretty upset. We didn't come here to make trouble."
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Wednesday, July 4, 2007


500 Years of Female Portraits in Western Art

Music: Bach's Sarabande from Suite for Solo Cello No. 1 in G Major, BWV 1007 performed by Yoyo Ma
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Sunday, July 1, 2007

Fun video 'The Store Wars' May the Farm be with you.....

'The Store Wars' May the Farm be with you. A fer fun video to offset the very serious video below.

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Cool digs in the Pacific Northwest

Chris - are you cool enough? Article in the Chicago Tribune about a newly opened hotel in your 'Pearl District' in Portland, Oregon. Video shows the building and room, and it is so 'Pearl District' for sure. Check out the video at the link.

Ace Hotel


1022 SW Stark St.,

Portland, Ore.

Beautiful hipsters sip coffee, read magazines and listen to alternative rock music under a vintage hotel sign. Stacked old books and suitcases make up nightstands. Converse sneakers wiggle inside the lobby's black-and-white photo booth.

Welcome to the 79-room Ace Hotel Portland, where chic meets cheap and minimalist flair mixes with military earth tones.

And, despite a retro feel, the hotel also offers Wi-Fi, flat-screen televisions and even turntables in some of the rooms, all uniquely decorated -- some with walls painted by local artists and other touches that mix vintage with modern.

read more and watch the video at this link.
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Nutricide - Criminalizing Natural Health, Vitamins, and Herbs

The video starts off looking like some lecture and I started to hit the stop button, but decided instead to hear it out for a bit, and then I was intrigued. Because she was talking about something as if I should already know what it is and I realized I hadn't even heard of it, let alone realize what it is, so I listened.

Do you know what Codex Alimentarius is? And if you do, then you're ahead of me on the knowledge scale. Do you know how it will be affecting our food supply - and somthing so vital as our food supply will be in another of what feels like 'corporate take-over' in every aspect of our daily living.

Maybe you're interested, maybe not, and the good Dr in this video does a fine job of explaining by building the foundation steps so that even if you think you don't care about Codex Alimentarius, you likely will after watching some of this video!

The Codex Alimentarius is a threat to the freedom of people to choose natural healing and alternative medicine and nutrition. Ratified by the World Health Organization, and going into Law in the United States in 2009, the threat to health freedom has never been greater.

This is the first part of a series of talks by Dr. Rima Laibow MD, available on DVD from the Natural Solutions Foundation, an non-profit organization dedicated to educating people about how to stop Codex Alimentarius from taking away our right to freely choose nutritional health.

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