Saturday, December 22, 2007

Sunday reflections – Advent 4

In 1960 Uruguayan Bishop Federico J. Pagura wrote a hymn: "Bendito el Rey que viene en el nombre del Señor." In 1973 Fred Pratt Green translated it. It may be found as Hymn # 74 in The Hymnal 1982, where it is set to the tune Valet will ich dir geben, aka St Theodulph, familiar to many who have sung it for years on Palm Sunday with the text "All glory, laud, and honor."

Blest be the King whose coming is in the name of God!
For him let doors be opened, no hearts against him barred!
Not robed in royal splendor, in power and pomp comes he:
but clad as are the poorest - such his humility.

Blest be the King whose coming is in the name of God!
By those who truly listen his voice is truly heard.
Pity the proud and haughty, who have not learned to heed
the Christ who is the promise and has our ransom paid.

Blest be the King whose coming is in the name of God!
He only to the humble reveals the face of God.
All power is his, all glory! All things are in his hand,
all ages and all peoples, till time itself shall end!

Blest be the King whose coming is in the name of God!
He offers to the burdened the rest and grace they need.
Gentle is he and humble! And light his yoke shall be,
for he would have us bear it so he can make us free.

--the BB

City of God Appeal - Day 23

MP provides today's update:
Thanks to two very generous people our new total is:


We still have some money on its way that has not yet been counted in, so we're still doing very well even though it is Christmas and, by now, we're all broke.

The OCICBW... Community Christmas Appeal this year is raising money to help pay for the work being done by the Anglican Church of Christ the King in the City Of God district of Rio De Janeiro. Full details about the project and how to send your gifts can be found HERE.

Click where it says "HERE" to donate through Paypal
Or, you can send your cheque or money order, marked "City of God" to:

The Episcopal Church of St. Paul
200 Main Street
Chatham, NJ 07928
This is a chance to live the Incarnation this Christmas.
Almighty and most merciful God, we remember before you all poor and neglected persons whom it would be easy for us to forget: the homeless and the destitute, the old and the sick, and all who have none to care for them. Help us to heal those who are broken in body or spirit, and to turn their sorrow into joy. Grant this, Father, for the love of your Son, who for our sake became poor, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

--the BB

Advent thoughts – Saturday of Advent 3

Now why does Psalm 55 make me think of the Anglican Communion's current unpleasantness?
For had it been an adversary who taunted me,

then I could have borne it; *

or had it been an enemy who vaunted himself against me,

then I could have hidden from him.

But it was you, a man after my own heart, *

my companion, my own familiar friend.

We took sweet counsel together, *

and walked with the throng in the house of God.
(Psalm 55:13-15)
Psalm 55 is eloquent as it speaks of betrayal by a trusted friend, an intimate, the last person one would expect to turn on one.

I think of neighbors who have lived side by side for decades, perhaps families who lived next door for centuries: Serbs, Croats, Bosnians--Muslims, Catholic, Orthodox. Then, when it suited the political purposes of some, the divisions were raised in the public consciousness and the ancient ties were forgotten. The calculating dug among the embers for age-old sparks of resentment and fanned them into blazes that consumed the populace. Suddenly the grocer who lives next door, the cobbler down the street, the woman who helped nurse your aunt through a sickness--these are mortal enemies. No one can be trusted. The person you thought you knew became a stranger; the friend of many years is now an enemy.

Or the Tutsi and Hutus in Rwanda who gave little thought to their differences until fear and suspicion raised their heads and the atmosphere went from cooperation to distrust. Before long it all turned to raging slaughter. And then having to live with the aftermath, a waking nightmare.
My companion stretched forth his hand against his comrade; *
he has broken his covenant.
His speech is softer than butter, *
but war is in his heart.
His words are smoother than oil, *
but they are drawn swords.
Cast your burden upon the LORD,
and he will sustain you; *
he will never let the righteous stumble.
(Psalm 55:21-24)

What has happened to the person you once worshiped with, ate with, babysat for, discussed football with, conducted business with, prayed and sang hymns with? The ones with whom you shared the Body and Blood of Christ for decades?

Now you find yourselves divided over your understanding of the Bible, your evaluation of other people's relationships, the (not again? not still?) issue of women clergy.

A few years ago you were working together in your parish food bank. Now you cannot sit comfortably in the same pew. Perhaps not even the same church.

What was the betrayal? And by whom?

Are we the same people we were ten years ago? (On many levels, of course not. And yet....)

Then, of course, there is the issue of those who fan the flames for their own purposes, their own ideological crusades, their own accumulation of power and importance.

These are the things that you shall do:
Speak the truth to one another,
render in your gates judgments that are true
and make for peace,
do not devise evil in your hearts against one another,
and love no false oath;
for all these are things that I hate, says the Lord.
(Zechariah 8:16-17)
Have you noticed how often these pithy summations deal with how we treat one another and not whether we are Jew or Greek, slave or free, male or female, gay or straight, young or old, rich or poor, red or brown or black or yellow or white, rural or urban, isolated or crushed in throngs, unlettered or educated, swift or slow, weak or strong? The Torah, prophets, writings, gospels, epistles, and even the apocalypse all have things to say about abusing each other (don't do it) and treating each other justly (always). While many laws and teachings begin applying to some and not others, there is a clear development toward universality. Not matter who we are or with whom we deal, we are to behave justly, honestly, and graciously. In so doing we recognize the image of God in the other and in ourselves.

When we lose sight of the image of God, then we become capable of incredible cruelty and evil.

I know I have a list of people I demonize on a regular basis. Folks who read here know most of my list too.

How can I look for, espy, and attend to the image of God in them? Perhaps by praying to see it, and for them to find it and live out of it too.

While we're at it, we all have accountability issues. Speaking of which, holding someone accountable upholds their dignity but attributing agency to them.
Then they also will answer, “Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not take care of you?” Then he will answer them, “Truly I tell you, just as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.” (Matthew 25:44-45)

--the BB

Fellow blogger on "grace"

“Nothing is more repugnant
to capable, reasonable people
than grace.”
– John Wesley

With that quotation our friend FranIAm begins a thought-provoking essay on "Debt and Grace."

She notes:
How then can we respond to a God who loves us so much, who gives to us so freely? One can see the problem that we face. So while we may profess our faith and try to live it… well maybe not so much. This is hard work, this grace and receiving business.

And isn't that just the most amazing paradox? That grace should be such hard work, that simply receiving without having to do anything for it is one of the most challenging things in our life.

Bearsy Bob says check it out.
--the BB

I wish I had photos of last night

Yesterday afternoon I bundled up and headed out. It was raining, but quite gently, as I left my house. As I drove along the mesa the rain let up but I could see it descending in the distance in almost every direction. When I got onto the freeway there were occasional snowflakes hitting my windshield. When I got to Old Town I was not dealing with precipitation but was very grateful for a flannel shirt, a very heavy leather jacket, and a scarf wrapped around my neck.

Folks like Caminante will wonder why I even bother to mention anything this mild. Remember, this is a California boy living in the high desert whose one experience of snow in his home town, all one inch of it, was a giddy highlight of his teen life.

I joined my friends Scott and Lawrence for a tour of the "Temples and Tombs: Treasures of Egyptian Art from The British Museum" exhibit at the Albuquerque Museum. [You can read about this traveling exhibit at the Oklahoma City Museum web site here.]
Head from a Statue of Thutmosis III Probably from Karnak New Kingdom, Eighteenth Dynasty, reign of Thutmosis III (ca. 1479-1425 B.C.) Graywacke, Height 17 ½ inches (44.5 cm) EA 986, acquired in 1875, purchased from Selima Harris Trustees of The British Museum Courtesy of the American Federation of Arts

This was similar to a larger exhibit I saw years ago in Los Angeles and I think the same recumbent lion was in that one, though I could be wrong. I saved my fave for last: an encaustic funeral portrait. These would be put on the coffin to identify who was buried therein. They seem to be the very immediate ancestors of icons when I look at the brush strokes and highlighting. What blows me away is their individuality and high level of artistry. One feels one is looking at a specific person with all the uniqueness imaginable. Stunning. Here is one example of that sort of thing (not the one I saw yesterday):
Next I met my friend Susana at a nearby Starbucks and we headed north to Santa Fe. This entailed driving in the snow but there was not much of it and it was no big deal. We meet other friends and met a bunch of new people as we had dinner. As we dined it snowed and the world was transformed with a fresh layer of powder by the time we emerged from the restaurant. We walked several blocks to the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Francis, crunching through the almost-virgin snow. A winter wonderland.

The Desert Chorale is an amazing ensemble, singing a wide variety of music with great skill and grace. We enjoyed their winter concert including Britten's Ceremony of Carols, the well-known Carol of the Bells sung in Ukrainian, and other works. The Cathedral is an amzing setting. Earlier this year I heard them perform the Rachmaninoff Vespers, a concert that blew my socks off--truly one of the most amazing musical experiences of my life (and I was familiar with the work).

This is an old snow photo from last December but you work with what you got, right?
When we got back to my car it had about 3-4 inches of snow on it. I had a flashback to my first experience of this (a newbie here, remember) leaving work on December 19, 2006.
Only this time it was downtown Santa Fe, a world of adobe buildings and farolitos. And this time I had devices for removing snow and ice from the car, leather gloves, and the knowledge that a large container of kitty litter was in the trunk in case I got stuck and needed traction. One does learn. Quickly.

I only wish I could have snapped some pics last night, especially of the cathedral in the snow. Lovely.

Back now in the far southwest end of the South Valley of ABQ where it's much warmer. I doubt there was anything here but rain. Striking how the north end of the same town can have snow and we see none..

Maintaining our standards

Every once in a while I check to see how I'm doing. So long as I discuss the behavior of the Bush gang of thugs and international criminals there is an extremely high chance I will stay at nothing tamer than "R." Some readers may guess that my political rants involve a high level of self-censoring because it is difficult to discuss mass social obscenity without strong language. In other words, this "NC-17" rating as tame compared to how I feel.

In any case, notwithstanding the pretty pictures you have been warned that we feature ugly topics, including Dick the dick and the White House trail of death, destruction, torture, and misery. There: that's two more dicks, a death, and a torture for you. Aw, hell, some mornings you want to crawl back in bed. If only Cheney and Bush would crawl back into whatever hellhole they came from the world would be a better place.

Have a nice day!

This rating was determined based on the presence of the following words:
death (12x)

torture (8x)
dick (7x)
kill (4x)
hell (3x)

dead (2x)
whore (1x)

Friday, December 21, 2007

Here we go again

The BB said, ‘Eileen whom you gave to blog with me, she gave me this silly quiz, and I took it.’

You Are A Poplar Tree

People tend to look up to you, and it's a bit lonely at the top.
Inside, you are not always self confident, but you show great courage.
Mature and organized, you are reliable in any situation.
You tend to have an artistic or philosophical outlook on life.
You are very choosy in love and take partnership seriously.

The mature and organized line is total hooey, but there you have it.

Everybody, Let's Dance!

The Touching of Thomas

If the title suggests Padre Mickey's Dance Party, it should. Today is the Feast of Saint Thomas the Apostle and the Winter Solstice.

Padre Mickey was ordained ten years ago tomorrow. December 21 was a Sunday that year and the feast was transferred to Monday, so today's feast is the festal anniversary, just as tomorrow is the calendar anniversary of his priesting.

¡Felicitaciones, Padre Mickey!

The Church is so much richer for your ministry, in Panamá and online.

Send him some love. And let's dance! Woohoo!
--the BB

A Prayer for the People of the Diocese of San Joaquin

And especially for Fr. Fred and the People of St. Nicholas Episcopal Church, Atwater, California.

Grace to you and peace, my Sisters and Brothers,
And calm and courage abounding

The deep love of the Father

The true word of the Son

The blazing power of the Spirit

The humble faith of Mary

The protection of the Holy Angels
The strong earth upholding you

The pure air to keep you breathing steady

The blessed Three beside you

The Holy Ones of God all about you

The Congregation of the Faithful with you

In the time of trial

In the time of testing
In the moment of doubt
And in the day of battle

Christ be your shield

Christ be your backbone

Christ be your compass
Christ be your sure foundation

From all illusions may Christ deliver you

From all deceit may Christ deliver you

From all malice may Christ deliver you

From all snares may Christ deliver you

Christ speak in you the true word

Christ work through you the holy deed

Christ establish you in holy love

Christ maintain you in perfect peace

This day and the day after

This day and all your days

This day and at the last day.


Check out Kirstin's post on this.
--the BB

I want to apologise

The Jesus I worship is not likely to collaborate with those who vilify and persecute an already oppressed minority. I myself could not have opposed the injustice of penalizing people for something about which they could do nothing - their race - and then have kept quiet as women were being penalized for something they could do nothing about - their gender, and hence my support inter alia, for the ordination of women to the priesthood and the episcopate.

And equally, I could not myself keep quiet whilst people were being penalized for something about which they could do nothing, their sexuality.

For it is so improbable that any sane, normal person would deliberately choose a lifestyle exposing him or her to so much vilification, opprobrium and physical abuse, even death.

To discriminate against our sisters and brothers who are lesbian or gay on grounds of their sexual orientation for me is as totally unacceptable and unjust as Apartheid ever was. (February 2004)

I want to apologise to you and to all those who we in the church have persecuted.

I’m sorry that we have been part of the persecution of a particular group. For me that is quite un-Christ like and, for that reason, it is unacceptable.

May be, even as a retired Archbishop, I probably have, to some extent, a kind of authority but apart from anything let me say for myself and anyone who might want to align themselves with me, I’m sorry.

I’m sorry for the hurt, for the rejection, for the anguish that we have caused to such as yourselves. (17 December 2007)

— The Most Rev Dr Desmond Mpilo Tutu, former Primate of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa, Archbishop Emeritus of Cape Town

You can listen to the interview containing the apology here. It brought me to tears when I heard the last two sentences quoted immediately above.

h/t to JN1034 for the texts
--the BB

Bouncing around in Blogtopia™

This is just a catch-all post on the first Friday of winter. [Which means the days are getting longer now. Hooray!]

Six Degrees of CIA Torture by marktheshark at Daily Kos speaks about issues of Constitutional law and Jonathan Turley's thoughts on recent revelations (via Raw Story).
"Just when you think this scandal can't get worse, it does," the George Washington University Law School professor told CNN's John Roberts. "I mean, this is a very significant development because it shows that this was not just some rogue operator at the CIA that destroyed evidence being sought by Congress and the courts. It shows that this was a planned destruction, that there were meetings, and those meetings extended all the way to the White House."
The phrase "could constitute as many as six crimes" caught my attention. Read it all here. Turley is a frequent guest on Countdown with Keith Olbermann.

I may post daily links to Rep. Wexler's petition on starting hearings regarding impeachment of Dick Cheney. Thanks to those who signed on yesterday. 122,614 signatures as I type this.

Bushco Retreats on Politicizing Military Lawyers by Gary Norton, also at Daily Kos, gives us this update:
The Bush plan, through the Pentagon's General Counsel, to politicise the Judge Advocate General Corps (JAG) has been withdrawn. The means by which they had hoped to achieve this was to require that all JAG promotions be approved by the political lawyers in the Pentagon.

As reported by the Boston Globe today the proposal died a swift death....
How Bush Hides the Budget Deficit by gjohnsit shares this comedic bit:
Despite years and years of record deficit spending, the Bush White House is still trying to sell itself as some sort of fiscally responsible entity. For instance, just the other day it created a press release titled:
Setting the Record Straight: President Bush Holds the Line on Irresponsible Spending

You may not have realized that the Bush Administration was using its spare time as a stand-up comedy act.
Juan Cole at Informed Comment notes this:
Mitt Romney slammed Democratic Senate leader Harry Reid for saying the the Iraq War was lost. Romney has to define what 'victory' would look like in Iraq. My guess is that it doen't look very much like the current situation.
Wall Street losses, in historical perspective by Chris in Paris at Americablog, where he notes these eye-catching facts:
  • Morgan Stanley posts first ever quarterly loss. The company has been in business for 72 years (from The Washington Post)
  • Bear Stearns has reported its first ever loss in 84 years. Even during the Great Depression, they did not report losses (from CNBC)
Raed Jarrar and Joshua Holland assert that Bush, Maliki Break Iraqi Law to Renew UN Mandate for Occupation (found at Truthout; original at Alternet):
On Tuesday, the Bush administration and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki pushed a resolution through the U.N. Security Council extending the mandate that provides legal cover for foreign troops to operate in Iraq for another year.

The move violated both the Iraqi constitution and a law passed earlier this year by the Iraqi parliament - the only body directly elected by all those purple-finger-waving Iraqis in 2005 - and it defied the will of around 80 percent of the Iraqi population.
Lakota withdraw from treaties, declare independence from U.S. (USA Today):
The Lakota Sioux Indians, whose ancestors include Sitting Bull, Red Cloud and Crazy Horse, have withdrawn from all treaties their forefathers signed with the U.S. government and have declared their independence. A delegation delivered the news to the State Department earlier this week.

Portions of Nebraska, South Dakota, North Dakota, Montana and Wyoming comprise Lakota country, and the tribe says that if the federal government doesn't begin diplomatic discussions promptly, liens will be filed on property in the five-state region.
Hau. Lila waste yelo. (Yes! It is very good. --O.K., that almost exhausted my Lakota.)

Given the record of the current administration, can the rest of us withdraw? (A joke, but a very sad one.) h/t to BlondeSense for this story.

Goats Do What They Do. Woman Ticketed.
Carol Medenhall of Dibble, OK received two tickets: one for allowing her goats to be seen mating in her yard, and another for allowing her goats to be seen relieving themselves in her yard.

Yes, Dibble, Oklahoma, has some strange laws on the books. This story is from boing boing via BlondeSense.

How about some historical review?
I looked in my files last night for articles from 2 and 3 years ago.
This time in 2007 I was reading things like this:
Armando writes "Nonsense from Justice on Warrantless Surveillance ":
The Justice Department has issued an absurd defense of President Bush's authorization of warrantless electronic surveillance. As I have stated before, in the end, the argument necessarily boils down to arguing that the President, when acting as Commander in Chief, has unchecked and unconditioned power.
On Christmas Day 2005, SusanG wrote "Bush Tried to Kill Post CIA Prison Story":
Last week, we learned that Bush summoned New York Times editors to the Oval Office in an effort to kill the NSA domestic surveillance story.
Now we can add another summons to the list ... according to tomorrow's WaPo, Bush put pressure on the Post as well to kill its CIA secret prison story.
Neither newspaper complied.
Looking back three years:
How does this sound?
FBI E-Mail Refers to Presidential Order Authorizing Inhumane Interrogation Techniques
Newly Obtained FBI Records Call Defense Department’s Methods "Torture," Express Concerns Over "Cover-Up" That May Leave FBI "Holding the Bag" for Abuses

Read the Hoffmania article here.

Also from three years ago Juan Cole discusses a CNN poll
The poll found that nearly half of Americans understood that things have gotten worse in Iraq in the past year, and the fools who think the situation has improved have been reduced to a mere fifth of the public....
On a more affirmative note:
One can read last Friday's poem of the week
I, Too, Sing America by Langston Hughes

And just for fun head on over to FranIAm's place for some Yiddish humor.

*Blogtopia was coined by skippy the bush kangaroo (he likes to get credit for it)
--the BB

Ten Times One Is Ten

On Daily Kos this morning I ran across Edward Everett Hale's familiar 1870 poem with the title in the header. Here it is again as a reminder to us all.

h/t to xofferson and Meteor Blades

--the BB

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Advent thoughts – Friday of Advent 3

One of the more interesting and, I believe, theologically significant juxtapositions in the Apocalypse occurs in chapter five. It is, however, obscured by the Daily Office lectionary that splits the two images, placing the first one one day and the second on the following day. Because of this I am rejoining the two images by taking a snippet from yesterday and its sequel from today.

Then one of the elders said to me, ‘Do not weep. See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered, so that he can open the scroll and its seven seals.’ Then I saw between the throne and the four living creatures and among the elders a Lamb standing as if it had been slaughtered, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth. He went and took the scroll from the right hand of the one who was seated on the throne. (Apocalypse 5:5-7)

Notice how John the Seer is reassured that the Lion of Judah is worthy to open the sealed scroll. John looks for this Lion of Judah and what he sees is a Lamb appearing to have been slaughtered.

It is a stunning juxtaposition and reversal of expectation. One looks for a Lion and finds a Lamb. One looks for a conqueror and behold instead one slaughtered. What is this vision teaching John? What is John teaching us?

First there is the reassurance of continuity. We are talking about the Lion of Judah, the rightful ruler in Davidic symbolism. What is going on here is part of the salvation history of the people of Israel carried into the future. It is about the Anointed of God.

But it is not simply one more Davidic king, one more ruler of Israel, one more military victor. It is a conqueror but one who conquers through other means. The triumphal one is one who was led like a lamb to the slaugther. His victory is not won with horses and chariots, with myriads of warriors, with glittering weapons. It is won in his death. It is won on the Cross.

The power that triumphs is not the power of physical might, not political power, not the power of manipulation and subjugation. It is a different kind of power altogether. Recall yesterday's message from Zechariah: Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, says the Lord of hosts.

So it is a lamb, the Lamb of God that takes away the sins of the world, who is the victor, who is worthy to open the seven-sealed scroll and unfold the ending of the Great Story. It is the Lamb that ransomed saints for God from every tribe and language and people and nation to whom is now ascribed blessing and honor and glory and might as heavenly worship ascends.

Sometimes you need a fresh perspective to help you see what's there. When I read the psalm verse in the graphic immediately above I think of being in a pit, sort of like Jeremiah, with water seeping in, my feet in the damp soil sticking to me like clay. Mire is boggy ground, another yucky place to be stuck. But the Latin (see first graphic) has that rather obvious genitive form "fecis" and we all know the plural nominative version: feces. Puts it in a whole different light. God, you pulled me up out of the shit.

Now that's a visceral, descriptive faith: the kind psalmists are known for. And there are times "mud" just does not capture what we feel stuck in.

But God reaches out, reaches down, and pulls us out and sets us freee.

Now THAT'S Good News.
The word of the Lord came to Zechariah, saying: Thus says the Lord of hosts: Render true judgments, show kindness and mercy to one another; do not oppress the widow, the orphan, the alien, or the poor; and do not devise evil in your hearts against one another. (Zechariah 7:8-10)

No commentary necessary. Res ipsa loquitur.

Aboriginal Art:
Full Waterlily Harvest by Gaye Leon

Today's prayer comes in honor of St Thomas the Apostle, who found refuge in the wounds of Christ. Today, December 21, is his feast in the calendar of the The Episcopal Church. The prayer is the Anima Christi, ca. 14th century, sometimes attributed to St Ignatius but actually dating earlier.

ANIMA Christi, sanctifica me.
Corpus Christi, salva me.
Sanguis Christi, inebria me.
Aqua lateris Christi, lava me.
Passio Christi, conforta me.
O bone Iesu, exaudi me.
Intra tua vulnera absconde me.
Ne permittas me separari a te.
Ab hoste maligno defende me.
In hora mortis meae voca me.
Et iube me venire ad te,
Ut cum Sanctis tuis laudem te
in saecula saeculorum.

Soul of Christ, sanctify me
Body of Christ, save me
Blood of Christ, inebriate me
Water from Christ's side, wash me
Passion of Christ, strengthen me
O good Jesus, hear me
Within Thy wounds hide me
Suffer me not to be separated from Thee
From the malicious enemy defend me
In the hour of my death call me
And bid me come unto Thee
That I may praise Thee with Thy saints
and with Thy angels
Forever and ever

--the BB

Friday Prince Blogging

We're back, prince fans!

And today we bring you HRH Louis Alphonse de Bourbon, duc d'Anjou, aka Luis Alfonso Gonzalo Víctor Emanuel Marco de Borbón y Martínez-Bordiú.
French Royal Arms of the House of Bourbon from Wikipedia Commons

Louis Alphonse was born on 25 April 1974 in Madrid. He is the great-grandson of King Alfonso XIII of Spain and first cousin once removed of King Juan Carlos I of Spain (and, on his mother's side, also great-grandson of Francisco Franco).

(photo source)
Among the Legitimist party who adhere to the elder branch of the Bourbon dynasty, he is deemed the pretender to the French throne (and would reign as Louis XX). The French courts have recognized his right to the title Duc d'Anjou in spite of the protests of the Orléanist branch. He is considered the senior legitimate representative of the House of Capet since the death of his father in 1989.

(photo source)
In addition to France, he has claims to the thrones of Jerusalem (yes, that unfortunate period known as the Crusades and all that) and Navarre.

Also Duke of Burgundy, Duke of Touraine, Duke of Bourbon
(photo source)

In France his supporters style him: "Sire, Louis, 20e du nom,
par la grâce de Dieu Roi de France, de Navarre et des terres d'Outremer".
Sire, Louis, 20th of that name, by the grace of God King of France,
of Navarre, and of the Lands Beyond the Sea
(source, which is a yahoo group dedicated to him)

"A King without a Throne"
(photo source)
(Now this pic makes me think of one of my teddy bears: His Orthodox Majesty Maximiliano Cuauhtémoc Juárez Primo, Emperor of El Cerrito, Archduke of Hercules, and Margrave of the Great River. He is knows as "Cocoa" to his friends. This man is too cute for all those titles, and I haven't even listed all of them.)

(photo source)
At Versailles. A much more dashing figure than Louis XIV, if you ask me.

(photo source)
Louis Alphonse married Venezuelan heiress Maria Margarita de Vargas y Santaella on November 6, 2004 in La Romana, Dominican Republic. The King of Spain does not care for Louis Alphonse's claims to the French throne and no Spanish royals attended the wedding.

(photo source)
The Duke and Margarita seem to have survived this royal snub.

At les Invalides with his wife and grandmother
Emmanuelle de Dampierre, duchesse de Ségovie

(photo source)
Louis Alphonse and Margarita had their first child, a daughter, named Eugenia on March 5, 2007 at Mount Sinai Medical Center, Miami, Florida. She was baptised at the papal nunciature in Paris in June 2007. French legitimists recognise her as Princess Eugenie of Bourbon; in Spain her name is Doña Eugenia de Borbón y Vargas. [Wikipedia]

(photo source)

Perhaps I've not the only suspicious mind

A Secret Service officer keeps spectators back
as smoke billows from the historic
Eisenhower Executive Office Building.
Reuters photo by Kevin Lamarque (vis SF Chronicle)

From a Washington Post article (via the San Francisco Chronicle):
The historic Eisenhower Executive Office Building next door to the White House caught fire Wednesday morning, and city firefighters broke windows and doused the second and third floors with water to extinguish the two-alarm blaze.

At an afternoon news conference, Washington Mayor Adrian Fenty and Fire Chief Dennis Rubin said security concerns prevented them from saying exactly where or how the fire started.

But a source with knowledge of the fire said the flames began in a utility closet off Vice President Dick Cheney's ceremonial office on the second floor. The flames were confined to the closet, but a significant amount of smoke raced through the building, the source said. [emphasis mine]
Pat Oliphant offers this cartoon:

Dan Wasserman echoes it with this:
And Ann Telnaes adds a couple more elements here:

Have you heard about Congressman Wexler's attempt to force action on the Cheney impeachment resolution that was referred to committee?

Bill Hare posted this at Political Cortex yesterday evening:
Congressman Robert Wexler indicated that he hoped he would receive at least 50,000 signatures of support online when he announced along with House Judiciary Committee colleagues his intention to bring before that body the subject of impeaching George W. Bush and Dick Cheney.

Since that initial announcement support has reached levels that enabled Wexler to double his initial expectation as he has just passed the 100,000 milestone. He now is hopeful of receiving 250,000 signatures of support in his effort and anticipates initiating action before the end of the year.

It is significant to note that when Congressman Wexler approached the mainstream media about running his announcement as an op-ed piece that he was spurned by those stalwarts of the mainstream media, the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post, the Boston Globe and USA Today.

There is not much coverage of the impeachment issue in the SCLM (so-called liberal media). As noted above, even an op-ed (co-authored by three members of the House Judiciary Committee) can't make it into the big papers. Only the Miami Herald, in Wexler's home state of Florida, included an edited version as a "letter to the editor."

You can read the op-ed for yourself here (click on "read the op-ed"). NOTE: Wexler is pushing for the HEARINGS to happen. That is how you investigate allegations to determine if there are actual grounds to proceed to impeachment. If, in the light of substantive issues, we don't even examine the evidence then Congress isn't doing its job.

Meanwhile, the FCC is acting to allow further consolidation of the media. That ain't gonna help keep us informed when it's already so difficult to find out what is going on. Ask me if I give a rat's ass about Britney's underage sister getting pregnant. [Clue: I don't.]

Here are the opening paragraphs from John Dunbar's AP article (via the Seattle PI):
WASHINGTON -- The Federal Communications Commission, overturning a 32-year-old ban, voted Tuesday to allow broadcasters in the nation's 20 largest media markets to also own a newspaper.

FCC Chairman Kevin Martin was joined by his two Republican colleagues in favor of the proposal, while the commission's two Democrats voted against it.

Martin pushed the vote through despite intense pressure from House and Senate members on Capitol Hill to delay it. The chairman, however, has the support of the White House, which has pledged to turn back any congressional action that seeks to undo the agency vote. [emphasis mine]
To borrow a shot title from the BBC: Are you being served?

I do not think We the People are being served well at all.

bincbom writes at Daily Kos:
Please take the time to sign the petition, if you haven't already. Cheney impeachment is on the receiving end of a colossal media blackout, and if we "netroots" people don't help, nothing will happen.

Remember that the situation was much the same back in 1973. Impeachment charges against Nixon were filed in the House of Representatives, and then widely ignored by Congress, just like what's happening right now. An outcry from the enraged public finally forced Congress to act.
"How do I sign the petition?" you ask. Just go here to sign the petition. As of this moment it has 109,255 signatures.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Thursday Constitution blogging

Calvin and Hobbes en español by Bill Watterson
Daily strip in English here; in Spanish here

I am a huge fan of Calvin and Hobbes. I was crushed when Bill Watterson decided to stop while he was still fresh. Mercifully, there are re-runs (see links above). I read it every day in both English and Spanish.

Not too long ago I came across the strip excerpted above. Calvin is discussing Santa and says (my translation):
Who appointed him?

How do we know he's impartial?

What criterion does he use to determine good or bad?

What about attenuating circumstances?

Kids should have benefit of legal counsel, don't you think?

Quite a list of judicial expectations!

And where might we find such ideas?
Amendment VI

In all criminal prosecutions,
the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial,
by an impartial jury
of the state and district wherein
the crime shall have been committed,
which district shall have been previously ascertained by law,
and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation;
to be confronted with the witnesses against him;
to have compulsory process
for obtaining witnesses in his favor,
and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense.
And then we have Article III. Section 2. Clause 3:
The Trial of all Crimes, except in Cases of Impeachment, shall be by Jury; and such Trial shall be held in the State where the said Crimes shall have been committed; but when not committed within any State, the Trial shall be at such Place or Places as the Congress may by Law have directed.
And perhaps a touch of this:
Article. IV. Section. 2. Clause 1:

The Citizens of each State shall be entitled to all Privileges and Immunities of Citizens in the several States.
Gotta love those immunities.

Young Calvin is probably no constitutional lawyer, just a troublemaking kid who will work any conceivable angle to get away with it. Still and all, one cannot help suspecting that this perpetual six-year-old has a better grasp of the United States Constitution than most voters.

Know your rights!

Know the basis of your government!

Be informed!

Speak out!


--the BB