Saturday, October 04, 2008


and stuff. They can't print and deliver them fast enough. The Obama-Biden headquarters in Albuquerque sold 1000 yard signs last Saturday (one at a time, the lady added) and has had none since. They are hoping to get some soon. The volunteer from California said they were short of them in California also.

I did get my Obama-Biden, Martin Heinrich (NM-01), and Tom Udall (NM-Sen) bumper stickers. I will be sporting them the next time I drive the car out of the garage. I also got a Heinrich sign for my window but only because the helpful lad took one down from their office and gave it to me. In return for which I donated another $100 to help offset the nasty RNC funded ads from his opponent. I saw one today. Made me wanna puke.

Not much swag and not even many bumper stickers to go around these days. I am glad folks want these things. I wish we had enough available.

All in all, I visited the Obama, Heinrich, and NM State Dem HQ this afternoon.

In my friend Bill's neck of the woods the McCain signs outnumber Obama signs about 5 to 1 (my informal anecdotal driving poll), though Obama leads overall in NM. Bill lives in, shall we say, a neighborhood that includes folks with lots of money as well as folks of more modest means. One does come to expect obvious signs of class and party divisions following patterns. After all, Bush called the "haves and have mores" his base.

Yesterday someone, seeing my huge house (such a luxury for one person, and I am grateful for it), wondered if I might be a Republican. I showed him this blog so he is under no illusions about my politics. The Heinrich sign was not yet up in my window. It is now.

Got several errands run this weekend but did not get a haircut. I am getting a big shaggy. Tough. Folks will just have to put up with it until next trip.

Will get pics of Eddie the traveler up later. Time for bed.
--the BB

Soy Barack Obama y apruebo este mensaje

It must be emotions week. I cried at Matt's dancing video, I sobbed uncontrollably over Grendel, and now I am all misty with conflicting emotions from this short video.

It's in Spanish. It's about McCain's healthcare abomination. It's reaching out to the hispanohablantes. The plight of our uninsured and underinsured is tragic and shameful. As a nation we should be bitterly ashamed. My heart was already melting. Just hearing Obama speak those words in Spanish (not the best Spanish but not the worst either) moved me. He's not a messiah. Nobody in politics (or churches) is. But I do believe he deeply desires to represent all of the American people. Got me choked up. Here's the ad:

h/t to Steven R with lots on Obama's attack on McCain's "health plan."


10/02/08 BBC:
Bloodiest year so far in Afghanistan
British forces are now being killed in Afghanistan at a faster rate than during the invasion of Iraq. This year has been the bloodiest year so far in Afghanistan for the Nato and US missions there since the Taleban was removed from government in 2001



Latest Coalition Fatalities

DoD Identifies Army Casualty
Pfc. Christopher A. Bartkiewicz, 25, of Dunfermline, Ill., died Sept. 30 in Baghdad, Iraq, of wounds sustained when insurgents attacked his dismounted patrol using small arms fire. He was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 6th Infantry Regiment...

10/03/08 MNF:
MND-C Soldier attacked by IED
A Multi-National Division - Center Soldier was killed when an improvised explosive device exploded near his vehicle south of Amarah Oct. 2. [URL Pending]


Caught up at last

The two most recent nations from which we've had first-time visitors are Belarus and Angola. Welcome to this site!

These bring the total of flags in our virtual collection to the grand sum of 141. It is simply amazing to think that I would have put out something viewed by people from so many different nations and it rejoices my heart. I do, after all, call myself a world citizen on the masthead.

Рэспубліка Беларусь, the Republic of Belarus, lies in the heart of Europe and is bordered by Russia, Ukraine, Poland, Lithuania, and Latvia. It is 40% forest, has lots of rivers and marshes and 11,000 lakes. (Wikipedia)

Belarus is a presidential republic, its capital is Minsk President Lukashenko has altered the constitution so he can remain in office indefinitely and Belarus is treated by the rest of Europe and the US as a tyranny. My guess is that Lukashenko may actually be one of George W. Bush's heroes.

Ivan Buslai sings for you while the young ladies shake what they got:

Alesya sings of her beautiful Belarus (with nice scenery)

Is that the Alesya to whom Dima Koldun sings in this video? (He ends with a wish for Happy New Year)

The Republic of Angola (República de Angola) is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Zambia, and Namibia. Long a Portuguese colony it retains Portuguese as the official language with Kongo, Chokwe, South Mbundu (Umbundu), and North Mbundu (Kimbundu) also officially recognized. Its income is undergirded by petroleum and diamonds though the people are poor. " According to the International Monetary Fund, more than $4 billion in oil receipts have disappeared from Angola's treasury in the 2000s." (Wikipedia)

World Music Potpourri - Bonga (Angola)
This is a HD video that takes a little while to download before playing but the music is delightful.

A sampling of the "greatest 4 musicians of Angolan music history"

OK, let's get the blood flowing and learn to dance Kizomba:

--the BB

Cheney Redux 2 - scarier than the original! - Updated

We know about the difference between cosmetic and structural damage. When someone hits my door with theirs in a parking lot and it leaves a superficial ding, that's really cosmetic. I don't like it but my car door is still sound. If someone clips my car and door is crumpled and won't open: that's structural. Same thing with houses. Cosmetic damage is usually highly visible and irritating. Structural damage may well be hidden and undermining the integrity of your home. You might not be aware of it until something collapses. Substructures are especially important. You want a solid foundation of great integrity, capable of supporting all the rest.

This is why, in national politics, I am more concerned with actions and attitudes that undermine the Constitution, erode checks and balances, and flout the law in general. That is structural damage that threatens our form of government.

The Cheney-Bush maladministration had done a lot of undermining of our basic governmental structure. They have ignored and violated laws repeatedly. They have sought at every turn to redefine basic concepts, reducing them to meaninglessness or twisting them into something new that will serve their power-hungry purposes.

Dick Cheney (unease be upon him) has resented encroachment on his vision of executive authority ever since Congress acted against the abuses of the Nixon administration. He has worked steadily to restore power to the executive branch and to increase it with no evident end in sight, to the detriment of the legislative and judicial branches of government and of us all. Given free rein, and he damn near has been given free rein, he would accrue all power to the White House with absolutely no checks and balances whatsoever.

He personifies the structural damage the United States has been suffering as we are destroyed from within.

Need I mention his central roles in lying the United States into invading and occupying Iraq, establishing the lawless detention center of Gitmo, the implementation of torture, and treasonous outing of a CIA operative? His crimes against the Constitution, the US Code, and humanity stink to high heaven.

The New York Times editorial chimes in at this point:
It is hard to tell from Ms. Palin’s remarks whether she understands how profoundly Dick Cheney has reshaped the vice presidency — as part of a larger drive to free the executive branch from all checks and balances. Nor did she seem to understand how much damage that has done to American democracy.


The Constitution does not state or imply any flexibility in the office of vice president. It gives the vice president no legislative responsibilities other than casting a tie-breaking vote in the Senate when needed and no executive powers at all. The vice president’s constitutional role is to be ready to serve if the president dies or becomes incapacitated.

Any president deserves a vice president who will be a sound adviser and trustworthy supporter. But the American people also deserve and need a vice president who understands and respects the balance of power — and the limits of his or her own power. That is fundamental to our democracy.

So far, Ms. Palin has it exactly, frighteningly wrong.
Read it all here.

It seems that Sarah Palin shares Cheney's vision of a powerful vice-presidential office. That scares the shit out of me. She is not merely ignorant, she is unbelievably dangerous (and power-hungry and abusive, if stories from Alaska are to be credited). She represents additional structural damage to our nation. We cannot afford it. The Constitution is on the verge of crumbling as it it unless the people, the courts, and Congress stand up for it.

We need people who believe in restoration of balance in our government, not augmenting its worst destructive aspects.

h/t to davidkc's post "Wow, who spiked the grey lady's Metamucil?"

Here are Rachel Maddow and Jonathan Turley disucssing the issue.

h/t to rainyskip at Daily Kos
--the BB

Two more!

Christ of the Khmers
through the hands of Paul E Strid

St Cuthbert's Episcopal Church,
Oakland, California

(c) Paul E Strid (just ask me for permission)

On or around September 25 we had our first visitors from Cambodia and the Cayman Islands. A hearty welcome to them and to all their fellow citizens who may follow.

I have never been to Cambodia but long-time readers of this site know that I have wonderful Cambodian-American friends from the church in Oakland, California. The stories of life under the Khmer Rouge and their escape to Thailand are harrowing. And those are only the ones they have chosen to share. It has been my privilege to baptize four generations of members of one family and, sadly, to bury members of the oldest and youngest generations.

I made a short-lived attempt to learn more than five rote sentences in Khmer but transliterations just were not working and the Cambodian alphabet utterly defeated me. I learned the Hebrew and Greek alphabets when I was twelve and learned to recognize most of the Arabic and Russian ones as well. I was young and my mind absorbed easily. In my 50s learning came more slowly. If anyone needs some books for learning Cambodian, I have them and they can be yours for the asking.

We did sing a Cambodian Sanctus during part of the year, singing it in English, then Khmer, then English again. The setting was written by the sister-in-law of one of our members whose husband is a pastor in the Midwest.

The Kingdom of Cambodia is currently best known for the horrors of the Pol Pot regime and for the magnificent sacred ruins of Angkor Wat.
Modern satellites have revealed Angkor to be the largest pre-industrial urban center in the world, larger than modern day New York.
As part of the area known (though less so nowadays) as Indochina it has a culture shaped by India and China. The early Hindu heritage transformed to a Buddhist one and the primary religion is Theravada Buddhism. The ancient Khmer Empire establishes both cultural identity and memories of former glory. Wikipedia notes that its main industries today are garments, tourism, and construction. Anyone who would like to understand what happened to Cambodia when the Khmer Rouge took over should see the movie The Killing Fields. and check the website of the Yale Cambodian Genocide Program.

Here is a video on the phenomenon with a hip-hop song on power, territory, and rice (caution: some strong images).

Just yesterday I saw a BBC article about some of the perpetrators of those horrors being tried at long last.
Five former members of the Khmer Rouge have gone on trial in Cambodia, accused of kidnapping and killing two members of a mine clearance team.


The trial is seen as a sign that Khmer Rouge figures no longer enjoy immunity.
Separately, the trial of a senior Khmer Rouge leader facing war crimes charges has reportedly been delayed.

The Khmer Rouge ruled Cambodia for a four-year period in the late 1970s.
Forced from power by a Vietnamese invasion, the Maoist guerrillas continued to battle government troops from strongholds in the north-west for two decades.


The communist group implemented radical policies considered responsible for the deaths of an estimated 1.7 million people from starvation, disease, overwork and execution.
Traditional Cambodian music played by musicians who survived land mines:

Kong Nay is one of those living treasures, a master of the Cambodian guitar known as the chapei dong veng, he was forced to play nothing but Khmer Rouge music. He survived that era and now passes on a dying art form. As a great blind musician he is sometimes called "the Cambodian Ray Charles."

Gotta have a song about young love, right?

The Cayman Islands are a British overseas territory located in the western Caribbean Sea, comprising the islands of Grand Cayman, Cayman Brac, and Little Cayman. It is a major financial centre in the Caribbean.


The Cayman Islands have the dubious honour of having experienced the most hurricane strikes in history. Due to the proximity of the islands, more hurricane and tropical systems have affected the Cayman Islands than any other region in the Atlantic basin (brushed or hit every 2.23 years). The Cayman Islands enjoy a high global standard of living fully dependent upon tourism and tax-haven dependent banking.


There are more businesses than residents in the Caymans and I think I should not even get started about tax havens this morning. I will note that IMNSHO it is not unrelated to the deregulation of financial institutions and our current economic crisis.

George Town is the capital and Queen Elizabeth II is the sovereign, estimated population is 62,000 and the currency is the Cayman Islands Dollar.

Kings Of Convenience - Cayman Islands (something soft and gentle and not likely to get your hips moving)

49 seconds of the steel drum band float in the Pirates' Week festival in the Grand Cayman:

DJ Nicholas In Cayman Islands

--the BB

Friday, October 03, 2008

Getting to know you - the series

Haven't you noticed, suddenly I'm rather truth-free,
Because of all the baseless, untrue
lies I'm telling about you

[Yes, as a young lad I read Anna and the King of Siam and saw The King and I and got the album and played it over and over and over again and memorized every word of every song. This was the height of my American musical theatre fandom and it was all downhill from there. I really am a rather pathetic queer when it comes to musicals.]

Now, where was I? Oh yes, pondering the McCain campaign and its falsehoods or omissions so egregious they count as falsehoods. Consider McCain's record on opposing higher taxes.

Maverick my ass.

It's not that there are not times when taxes need to be raised or adjusted; it's that they pretend to be champions of lower taxes who would never, ever vote to raise them. Or, as a radio ad I heard today (on the local channel that carries liberal talk shows like Stephanie Miller, Ed Schultz, Thom Hartmann, and Randi Rhodes) put it - "be very afraid of Obama, he'll raise your taxes" -brought to you by the McCain-Palin Campaign and the Republican National Committee. Asshats.
--the BB

Sitting with anxiety

I know one of the things my therapist was hoping I would learn is sitting with my discomfort, sitting with pain, sitting with anxiety as opposed to constantly running from them, shutting down feelings, and generally being my depressed, dissociated self. I am better at all this though I still have a long way to go.

Speaking of the pervasive anxiety in our society, exacerbated by economic woes, Mother Kaeton ponders what Grendel gave to Jonathan and writes:
I think we all need to spend more time in The Garden as Mary Magdelene. It's important to feel that exquisite mixture of joy and sadness before we get to witness the Resurrection - once again, for the first time.

The Great American Dream, which had its genesis in the hearts and minds of women and men across the Pond, is not about success. It's about Freedom - the freedom to be fully, wholly human. The freedom to feel the full range of emotions - from sadness to joy and everything in between.

Yes, even anxiety.

I am beginning to realize that the best thing I can do as a pastor - besides listening and keeping watch over my flock in this time of the Dark Night of the Soul - is to pray for the kind of miracle which Jonathan describes.

I'm going to pray for the death of my inner "Religious Salesman" and stop trying to be a success at being a priest and selling faith. Instead, I'm going to pray that I may be a more faithful priest.

I'm going to pray that I might be able to lead the people God has sent me to serve through this Valley of the Shadow of the Death of Success and into the place where we all may be blessed with the freedom to experience a greater fullness of our humanity.

We have enough of everything we need. Jesus taught us that. Just a Mustard Seed of faith is all we need. Just a tiny mustard seed is all, which must go into the ground and die before it becomes one of the mightiest trees in the Garden.

That, or the death of a little dog named Grendel.

Read it all here.

With apologies for excerpting so much and hoping she won't mind.
--the BB

We are the ones

h/t Elizabeth (TWLP)*
*W for wonderful
--the BB

Thursday, October 02, 2008

The greatest of these is love

Posted with joy

h/t to Mad Priest at OCICBW where I first saw it and to the others. I think we should take this viral. Bless yourself and watch.
--the BB

Under Bush we have had enough of a culture of death


To life!

Israelis for Obama via FranIAm:

Many thanks to the Jewish Alliance for Change who put this together.
--the BB

I've just had a good cry

My friend Grendel has gone home. This is joyous news for him and all the dogs and saints who were waiting for him and now he has his Golden Tail. But I just can't stop crying right now.

If you never knew Grendel, this was his blog. Love to Aghaveagh and Liam and to all Grendel's friends: canine, feline, and human.

I know there is Gravy.

Requiescat in pace et lux perpetua luceat ei.
--the BB

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

All roads lead to the White House

Though Karl Rove, Harriet Miers, and others have stonewalled the investigations, the nearly 400-page inspector general's report released this week provides a far clearer sense of the White House's role in the U.S. Attorney purge of 2006.

Read more at TPM.
--the BB

Cheney Redux?

Avid pursuit of WMD - anthrax - links with terrorists - be very afraid!

Ah yes, Cheney's favorite fiction: the Mohammed Atta meeting in Prague that wasn't. The standard White House lines leading up to the invasion and occupation of Iraq. What White House stooge was uttering them on November 28, 2001?

Here's some background for y'all on the allegations that the lead hijacker of 9/11, Mohammed Atta, met with an Iraqi spy in Prague. First a clip of Darth Cheney denying what he'd said earlier:

And some follow-up:
The claim that terrorist leader Mohamed Atta met in Prague with an Iraqi spy a few months before 9/11 was never substantiated, but that didn’t stop the White House from trying to insert the allegation in presidential speeches, according to classified documents.

Cryptic references to the White House efforts are contained in a new Senate Intelligence Committee report released last Friday that debunked purported links between Saddam Hussein and Al Qaeda. However, attempts by committee Democrats to make public a more explicit account of White House interest in the anecdote were thwarted when the “intelligence community” refused to declassify a CIA cable that lays out the controversy, according to congressional sources. Democrats charged in a written statement that intelligence officials had failed to demonstrate “that disclosing the [cable] ... would reveal sources and methods or otherwise harm national security.” The Democrats also complained that officials' refusal to declassify the cable “represents an improper use of classification authority by the intelligence community to shield the White House.”

According to two sources familiar with the blacked-out portions of the Senate report that discuss the CIA cable's contents, the document indicates that White House officials had proposed mentioning the supposed Atta-Prague meeting in a Bush speech scheduled for March 14, 2003. Originated by Czech intelligence shortly after 9/11, the tendentious claim was that in April 2001, Atta, the 9/11 hijack leader, had met in Prague with the local station chief for Iraqi intelligence. The sources said that upon learning of the proposed White House speech, the CIA station in Prague sent back a cable explaining in detail why the agency believed the anecdote was ill-founded.

According to one of the sources familiar with the Senate report's censored portions, who asked for anonymity due to the sensitivity of the subject, the tone of the CIA cable was “strident” and expressed dismay that the White House was trying to shoehorn the Atta anecdote into the Bush speech to be delivered only days before the U.S. invasion of Iraq. The source said the cable also suggested that policymakers had tried to insert the same anecdote into other speeches by top administration officials.
[Emphasis mine]

Cheney. McCain.

Wrong then. Wrong now.

Oh, and while we're all obsessing on economic woes, what might you suppose will be the effects of a 50% unemployment rate? That's the case in Iraq right now. Heckuva job, Dubya.

h/t to Juan Cole at Informed Comment
--the BB

Blame Bruce

A little boy goes to his dad and asks, “What is Politics?”

Dad says, “Well son, let me try to explain it this way:
I am the head of the family, so call me ‘The President.’ Your mother is the administrator of the money, so why don’t we call her ‘the Government.’ We are here to take care of your needs, so we will call you, ‘the People.’ Your nanny, we will consider ‘the Working Class.’ Your baby brother, let’s call him ‘the Future.’ Now think about that and see if it makes sense.”

So the little boy goes off to bed thinking about what Dad has said.

Later that night he hears his baby brother crying, so he gets up to check on him. He finds that the baby has severely soiled his diaper. The little boy goes to his parents' room and finds his mother asleep. Not wanting to awaken her, he goes to the nanny's room. Finding the door locked, he peeks in the keyhole and sees his father in bed with the nanny. He gives up and goes back to bed.

The next morning, the little boy says to his father: “Dad, I think I understand the concept of politics now.” His father says: “Good, son, tell me in your own words what you think politics
is all about.” The little boy replies: “The President is screwing the Working Class while the Government is sound asleep. The People are being ignored and the Future is in deep shit.”

Mimi has her sources (Dennis and daughter) and I evidently have mine.
--the BB

Interview over # 3

Hiring firms take a dim view of resume padding.

Everybody tries to put the most favorable framing on experience but saying or implying you did stuff you didn't is frowned upon.

Governor Palin has been touting the Russian experience - trade negotiations and all that - to indicate her foreign policy chops.

The Associated Press, not known for fact checking or serious investigative reporting for some time now, surprises us when they do it. Martha Mendoza at AP has this to say:
Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, who touts her state's proximity to Russia as part of her foreign policy experience, has not met with Russian leaders or delegations, negotiated any Russian issues or visited the country, according to an Associated Press review of records from the governor's office.

Interview over.
--the BB

Tuesday, September 30, 2008


09/30/08 :
DoD Identifies Army Casualty
Sgt. William E. Hasenflu, 38, of Bradenton, Fla., died Sept. 28 in the Jaji District, Afghanistan, from wounds suffered when his unit was ambushed by enemy forces using small arms fire. He was assigned to the 1st Squadron, 61st Cavalry Regiment...

09/29/08 AP:
Afghan policeman fires on U.S. soldiers, kills 1
An Afghan policeman opened fire on U.S. troops inside a police station in eastern Afghanistan, killing an American soldier and wounding several other people, officials said Monday.

Receive them, O Christ, into the arms of your mercy.


Latest Coalition Fatalities

09/30/08 MNF:
MND-B Soldier dies of wounds from small-arms fire attack
A Multi-National Division - Baghdad Soldier died of wounds at approximately 12:45 p.m. at a Coalition force's Combat Support Hospital Sept. 30. The Soldier was wounded when his patrol came under small-arms fire in northern Baghdad...

DoD Identifies Army Casualty
Staff Sgt. Ronald Phillips Jr., 33, of Conway, S.C., died Sept. 25 in Bahbahani, Iraq, of wounds suffered when his vehicle encountered an improvised explosive device. He was assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 7th Infantry Regiment...

DoD Identifies Army Casualty
Capt. Michael J. Medders, 25, of Ohio, died Sept. 24 in Jisr Naft, Iraq, of wounds suffered when a suicide bomber detonated a vest during operations. He was assigned to the 2nd Squadron, 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, Fort Hood, Texas.

DoD Identifies Army Casualty
Pfc. Jamel A. Bryant, 22, of Belleville, Ill., died Sept. 27 in Baghdad, Iraq, of injuries sustained in a vehicle accident while on patrol in Wahida, Iraq. He was assigned to the 40th Engineer Battalion, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division...

09/29/08 MNF:
MND-B Soldier dies of wounds from SAF attack
A Multi-National Division - Baghdad Soldier died of wounds at approximately 6:30 p.m. at a Coalition force Combat Support Hospital Sept. 29. The Soldier was wounded when his patrol came under small-arms fire at approximately 5:30 p.m. in northern Baghdad


We do not forget them.

Still catching up

I became aware of first-time visitors from these three nations on Holy Cross Day (September 14). With Andorra and Zambia in the mix tonight we are truly ranging from A to Z.

The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan shares borders with Syria, Iraq, Israel, Palestine, and Saudi Arabia. Its strategic location has yielded a rich history. Jordan is a constitutional monarchy. King Abdullah II has been educated at Oxford, Sanhurst, and Georgetown. He is a fan of Star Trek. (That's tonight's nod to prince blogging.)

Jordanian song - Zeghritee ya nashmeia (lots of patriotism and shots of His Majesty here)
زغرتي يا نشمية

The Principality of Andorra (Principat d'Andorra) is located between Spain and France. It is a principality with dual heads of state: the Bishop of Urgell and the President of France. The national language is Catalan and, since March 2005, Andorra recognizes civil unions of persons of the same sex. The official government site is, of course, in Catalan. You can check it out here.

Festa Major d'Andorra la Vella 1976(Orfeó Andorrà)

The Republic of Zambia is a high-plateau African nation with river valleys. The decline of copper prices in the 70s damaged the economy. 44% of the population is concentrated in urban areas. "The Zambian staple diet is based on maize. It is normally eaten as a thick porridge, called Nshima, prepared from maize flour commonly known as mealie meal. This may be eaten with a variety of vegetables, beans, meat, fish or sour milk depending on geographical location/origin. Nshima is also prepared from cassava a staple food in some parts of the country."

ZAMBIAN MUSIC -By Wala (makes these old bones want to move)

A hearty welcome to those first visitors from each country!

My info, as usual, is all lifted from Wikipedia.

--the BB

Tuesday geography blogging returns for a night!

Carta ipsa loquitur

Venezuela - the Middle East

Senes ipse loquitur:

[For the non-Latinists, that's: "The old man himself speaks."]

h/t to John Aravosis of Americablog, the second site where I saw the video.

Update: Of course! Mimi's place was the first site where I saw it. And isn't she always ahead of the curve (and well ahead of me)?
--the BB

I know, "gotcha" politics. Still....

Governor Palin can't name a newspaper:

Transcript here (h/t to georgia10 at Daily Kos)

Now, pick your jaws up off the ground and get back to registering voters.
--the BB

Do something nice for yourself

I have seen Matt Harding, The Dancing Guy, and his videos a few times. They are always a joy. Tonight I came home to e-mail from a friend linking to this.

Hey, why link when you can embed?

It made me smile, yes, but in my weary exilic situation it simply made me cry with delight.

What a lovely break from the consequences of economic irresponsibility and political struggles.

Here is Matt's web site.

Thanks, Bruce!
--the BB

Still low

Because it doesn't count the words in graphics....

The Blog-O-Cuss Meter - Do you cuss a lot in your blog or website?
Created by OnePlusYou - Free Online Dating

Or I'm less of a pottymouth when typing than when speaking. (Ding, ding, ding! We have a winner.)

Monday, September 29, 2008

Raising the cussing quotient

Governor Palin on Gaza

Just read this. Six paragraphs by Jeffrey Goldberg at The Atlantic. I am whomperjawed.

To paraphrase the Great Litany:
From governors of Alaska with the comprehension of junior high schoolers,
Good Lord, deliver us.

--the BB

He's a deregulatin' kind of guy

h/t to Maha and her post "Holy Bleep"
--the BB

Getting to know you (a series)

John McCain likes to gamble. His preference is for craps.

I don't want him gambling with the future of this nation or the world, thank you very much. Oh, and by the way....

h/t to dday at Digby's Hullabaloo
--the BB

Eddie and the Bear

While Maggie and Belle are back in Albuquerque, regaling their siblings with tales their dad needn't hear and planning escapades dad really doesn't need to hear about, I have not returned to New Orleans alone.

Yes, that silhouetted figure checking out the Superdome from my boss's office is another one of the kids, one who especially wanted to visit the Crescent City.

I'll let him speak for himself.


My name is Eddie (Oedi if my dad is looking, but nobody can spell that).

My family came to California with the eucalyptus trees but we were less invasive.

I am extremely fond of shrimp and crawfish and enjoy a good annelid étouffée.

I like to hunt and fish but that doesn’t make me a bubba. I also like Faith Hill, Mozart, and vintage Three Dog Night. I am an awesome swimmer. I'd vote for Obama if I could but it's hard to register if you write with webbed feet. Moose are my friends. In fact, one of my brothers is a Moose. Pample is back home in Albuquerque. I do not shoot moose or wolves, just to be clear. OK, enough politics.

Paul took me to the vet to have my poison spurs removed but the rest of me is intact, so if you know any fine monotreme females, send them my way. I’ll put another shrimp on the barbie.

Aussie, Aussie, Aussie, oy, oy, oy!
Well, you can see he's quite the guy, funloving and adventurous. I think he has seen more of New Orleans than I have. Since platypodes (I'm going for the Greek plural since it is really a Greek word slightly latinized) dine on shrimp, crawfish, and annelid worms he is in platy heaven!

Bubba Gump on Decatur seems to be one of his haunts. Since you can't get me near a crawfish I let him wander where he will and have fun. I have heard him mumble "étouffée" in his sleep. Auntie Jen likes cuddling with him on especially stressful days. What a charmer.

Here are a few more architectural details. I really have not been out and about with the camera much lately. Work. Rest. Lather. Rinse. Repeat. I have now worked 15 days in a row and am looking forward to flying home Thursday evening.

Detail of capital on the Whitney Bank Building, New Orleans

Cool detail on the corner of St Charles and Common

Ornamentation of the upper windows

Ornamentation of the lower windows

Sunrise gilds the buildings of the CBD, New Orleans

Sunrise on the Superdome

Closeup of sunrise on the Superdome

A platypus and his bear take their ease

And that's the news from Lake, uh, Pontchartrain!
--the BB

Still catching up

Remember this reinforcing moment from our geography blogging?

In case you don't, or do but cannot name the country, I will cut you more slack than I did in the original post. It's Mali, the 132nd country from which we have had a visitor. This was over a month ago and I have been terribly remiss at welcoming new nationalities to this site.

With profound apologies to those first guests from new (to us) countries, I want to welcome you all most heartily. May you find this a safe and pleasant place (my internal-to-the-United-States political vitriol notwithstanding).

La République de Mali celebrated its Independence Day just one week ago, September 22, as it became independent of France on that day in 1960. French is the official language and the capital is Bamako.

Wikipedia recounts: "Present-day Mali was once part of three West African empires that controlled trans-Saharan trade: the Ghana Empire, the Mali Empire (from which Mali is named), and the Songhai Empire. In the late 1800s, Mali fell under French control, becoming part of French Sudan. Mali gained independence in 1959 with Senegal, as the Mali Federation in 1959. A year later, the Mali Federation became the independent nation of Mali in 1960. After a long period of one-party rule, a 1991 coup led to the writing of a new constitution and the establishment of Mali as a democratic, multi-party state."

Mali Music - Bamako City

The Chamorros are the indigenous people of the Territory of Guam (Guåhån), an unincorporated territory of the United States. It is the largest of the Marianas Islands, located in the Western Pacific Ocean. English and Chamorro are the two official languages. The capital is Hagåtña.

Wikipedia has this interesting note on Chamorro culture:
Historian Lawrence Cunningham in 1992 wrote, "In a Chamorro sense, the land and its produce belong to everyone. Inafa'maolek, or interdependence, is the key, or central value, in Chamorro culture … Inafa'maolek depends on a spirit of cooperation. This is the armature, or core, that everything in Chamorro culture revolves around. It is a powerful concern for mutuality rather than individualism and private property rights."
Guam Chant & Dance-I Fanlalai'an Chant Group

The Republic of Moldova, located between Romania and Ukraine, represents territory also known in history as the Principality of Moldavia and Bessarabia. The capital is Chişinău. Moldovan, the official language, is virtually identical to Romanian (and its identity with or difference from Romanian is, of course, a hot political topic). It is famous wine country. Does Dennis have any recommendations?

Something to get your blood pulsing and your booty shaking:
Zdob Si Zdub - Miorita

--the BB

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Looking beyond a candidate's skin color

Bill Maher skewers our stereotypes, pointing out how specious they are in his New Rules:
Now, take a look at these pictures. Here are the CEOs of Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, AIG and the Lehman Brothers. I know the first thing that jumps out about these faces is that they all happen to be white, and they all happen to be responsible for stealing. But what you have to understand is that these whites are a product of a society that made them that way. It was the neighborhoods and the schools they went to: Harvard, Yale, the Wharton School of Business. They never learned the value of doing real, actual work and the first step to fixing that is better role models, so kids growing up white today don’t think the only way out of Westchester is corporate crime. Or a government handout or sailing. So I get it, the temptation is to look at McCain and vote against him because you don’t see an individual, you just see another typical welfare whitey.

And it’s true, he’s spent his entire life shuffling from one low-paying government job to another. Well, except those years he spent in prison. Typical! And between you and me, he’s not very articulate. Oh, he may have some street smarts, but he’s not what you call an educated man. He freely admits he’s ignorant about the economy. And apparently the only thing his white running mate knows how to do is crank out one baby after another. And now of course, her teenage daughter is pregnant out of wedlock. Because she learns it at home! But that doesn’t mean we should assume all white people are like that, just because so many of them are.

h/t to Nicole Belle at Crooks and Liars
--the BB

SNL: Katie and the Moosekiller

Oh, just because.
--the BB

What planet is he living on?

You've heard the rumors about McCain's "health plan."

Tonight I read this from Jacki Schechner at Americablog:
George Stephanopoulos followed up on Friday night and asked John McCain a little bit about his health care plan this morning. Specifically, he wanted to know if it's true McCain plans to tax your health care benefits at work as if they're salary. Not only is it true - very, very true - but you're not getting the full story. McCain says he'll give you a $2500/$5000 (individual/family) tax credit to go out and buy your own insurance instead. Sounds great, but do you know how much insurance costs these days?

Let's see, $2500 will pay my health insurance premiums from January through March. WTF am I supposed to do from April through December? Go without insurance?

He's not even on another planet. John McCain is living in some parallel universe where you are middle class until you make over $5 million per year and you can have eight houses and still characterize your opponent as an out-of-touch elitist. "My friends" my ass. McCain doesn't know me, doesn't know anything about the lives of ordinary people, and sure as hell is not my friend.

Go tax your billionaire buddies, asshole. I have enough trouble paying my premiums without you taxing them.

PS: I don't have Photoshop on my laptop and apologize for the crudeness of my photo alterations. Not for the crudeness or vulgarity of thought, however.
--the BB

¡Vamos a votar por Obama!

La raza conoce algo de esparanza, paciencia, y fé. Han luchado por siglos y sobrevivieron. Ya se reunen para la elección. Esta canción me alegra y quería compartirla con Uds.

This song came out of the Hispanic community in Taos, New Mexico. I hope you enjoy it.

[Translation of my intro: The People (la raza) know something about hope, patience, and faith. They have struggled for centuries and survived. Now they are gathering for the election. This song makes me happy and I wanted to share it with y'all.]

Toda la familia unida y presente
Obama es nuestro presidente

All the family united and present
Obama is our president

I recognized the New Mexico state Democratic headquarters on San Pedro Street in Albuquerque at the end. It was one of the very first places I visited when I moved to New Mexico, I think within the first week. I was registered and ready to vote!

I love the faces in this video!

h/t to Anni of the NMKOS crowd for pointing me via e-mail to max227's post with the video.
--the BB

Sunday Prince Blogging

Accidents of inheritance and ancestral power plays give rise to the traditional concept of nobility. Then there is nobility of the soul.

Paul Newman was this kind of noble.

We all know him as a stunningly handsome and gifted actor.

This is what stands out for me:
Newman was a co-founder of Newman's Own, a food company from which Newman donated all profits and royalties to charity. As of May 2007, these donations had exceeded US$220 million.

Since this is a Constitution-emphasizing site, how about this?
Among other awards, Newman's Own co-sponsors the PEN/Newman's Own First Amendment Award, a $25,000 reward designed to recognize those who protect the First Amendment as it applies to the written word.

And this:
One beneficiary of his philanthropy is the Hole in the Wall Gang Camp, a residential summer camp for seriously ill children, which is located in Ashford, Connecticut. Newman cofounded the camp in 1988; it was named after the gang in his film Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969). Newman's college fraternity, Phi Kappa Tau, adopted "Hole in the Wall" as their "national philanthropy" in 1995. One camp has expanded to become several Hole in the Wall Camps in the U.S., Ireland, France and Israel. The camp serves 13,000 children every year, free of charge.

Or this:
In June 1999 Newman donated $250,000 to Catholic Relief Services in aid refugees in Kosovo.
[All these tidbits are from Wikipedia.]

No, that is not his beloved wife Joanne Woodward in this photo. It is a mother he met at an event for Kerry in 2004. Her story is one of the reasons Paul Newman is a true prince among mortals. Michael Daly writes about it here. That is what prompted me to post in tribute to Paul Newman.

From the Hole in the Wall Gang Camps:
He was a man of extraordinary generosity, vision, creativity and compassion. His selfless commitment to the welfare of children living with serious illnesses has been inspirational to people around the world. Twenty years ago, Paul Newman founded The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp, the first in what has grown to become the world’s largest family of camps serving children with serious illnesses. The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp is part of his living legacy, and for that we remain forever grateful. His leadership and spirit can never be replaced, but he has left us with a clear course for the future.

Paul’s dream lives on in the joy, magic and healing power of Camp. What an extraordinary privilege to have shared his friendship and affection.
Rest in peace, Mr. Newman. And thank you.
--the BB