Saturday, November 01, 2008

A little too harsh?



I don't think so.

Religious coercion of any stripe is evil. Plain pure and simple.

The Mormon Church and the Knights of Columbus and the Catholic bishops and any other group out there pushing Prop 8 need to get the hell out of other people's personal relationships.*

Right now.

And the people of California need to stand up and tell them so.

Right now. (OK, this coming Tuesday.)

Say no to theocracy.

Say no to discrimination.

Vote no on California Proposition 8.

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*Lest I play favorites here, this goes double for the Anglican Bishop of Abuja (who needs serious emotional healing), though he is promoting oppression in his own country rather than putting out ads to promote discrimination in California. Every bit as evil but the thrust here is on the Prop Hate crowd.
--the BB

A magical day - with political eye candy

You've already seen the sunrise here this morning. I started the day very slowly. Reading, blogging, wanting to but not taking a nap. (Mea culpa, +Maya!)


This was the immediately-post-sunrise view from my bedroom looking toward the west mesa. The little notch in the mesa in the center of the photo is where the road rises up from the valley onto the mesa (where those photos in earlier posts of vast expanses were taken).

Then I drove to Corrales for a late lunch. While driving to Bill's I counted yard signs for McCain and Obama. I saw two more McCain signs than Obama signs in that particular stretch of Corrales Road and the side street. Bill told me that as one goes further north the Obama signs predominate, matching Susankay's observation in a comment earlier.

Lunch at the Indigo Crow with cottonwoods turned golden

Toward the end of the meal light breezes sent leaves fluttering down. Yes, the Land of Enchantment works its spell. I had a delicious beef and gorgonzola sandwich and we split crême brulée for dessert.

I did a bit of shopping then headed to the South Valley Obama headquarters to feel the excitement. I know, very voyeuristic of me. I got a great Obama poster that is now in the guest bedroom window looking out to the street and an Obama sweatshirt.



Martin Heinrich and Obama-Biden stickers on my car


Veterans for Obama


¡Obámanos!

Campaign for Change New Mexico

Yes, here is the local hotspot. It was about 4 o'clock on the Saturday afternoon before the election and the place was swarming with volunteers. All ages were represented but the demographic was decidedly young. I would guess that this election may be the first or second in which many of those present could vote.

Tom Udall for US Senator from New Mexico

Other important races are represented in this field office also. Alas, my photo of the Heinrich sign next to the New Mexico state flag was blurred and I did not want to get in the way of volunteers by trying to get perfect shots. Besides, who needs a Martin Heinrich sign? You will soon see why.

There are a lot of homemade signs for Obama out in the streets, indicating a passion that takes the effort to show support. This was a sign at the entrance of the volunteer headquarters.


New Mexico Lieutenant Governor Diane Denish
and Congressional candidate from District One Martin Heinrich


Yes, we had the real thing there this afternoon. I had already met him, shook his hand, and been told that I may be his "biggest contributor from Louisiana." I had to confess that I live a couple miles from where we were standing but I figure it never hurts to let your future congressman know you are a financial supporter.

Denish is good. She can give a great speech on the fly and I was in tears at the end. She is also a fellow parishioner at St Mike's.

Here they are together just after she arrived.

And this last photo is for my dear friends, Jane R and +Maya Pavlova.

The Byzigenous Buddhapalian, Martin Heinrich, Diane and Herb Denish

What great people. What wonderful volunteers! What a great gound organization. Martin said that there were more Democratic volunteers at work in the South Valley today than had shown up for McCain's rally the other day.

¡Sí, se puede!

Don't forget to vote!

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--the BB

Responding to more lies


Proponents of Prop 8 sent a deceptive mailer insinuating that Barack Obama and Joe Biden support their effort. Both have denounced this tactic and reminded voters that they oppose the measure.

This ad sets the record straight.



You can help the effort here.
--the BB

Getting to know you - My Friends: the musical



And to think: the McCain campaign (sleazepaign?) keeps saying "Barack Obama is not who you think he is."

It seems almost a law of physics that whatever bad thing Republicans say about a Democrat is something that applies tenfold to themselves. The most amazing projection phenomenon.

From Humanitainment with h/t to Jed L
--the BB

Heart thread - 11/1/2008

It has been a while since I last posted a heart thread. I have not stopped praying and try to keep track of all the intercessions, thanksgivings, and "not praying" in blogtopia. Well, not really keep track so much as offer my prayers on the spot and hope to remember to keep folks in my heart.

One we have all been holding in prayer is Roseann, aka Being Peace. I thank Mimi for forwarding this to me:
I've just received word from Roseann, and she is in the hospital, and will have both kidneys removed on Monday. She did not give me a time, but I suspect it will be early.

She's asking for prayers.

Pass this on to MP and the rest of the blog world. The more praying for her the better her recovery will be.

Blessings,

Suzanne
I am going to lift the prayer Mimi used, certain she won't mind.

Almighty God our heavenly Father, graciously comfort your servant Roseann in her suffering, and bless the means made use of for her cure. Fill her heart with confidence that, though at times she may be afraid, she yet may put her trust in you; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Kirstin needs our ongoing prayers as she goes through her year of interferon therapy.

IT has celebrated the joy of marriage to her BP yet faces the ugliness of discrimination and bigotry all around (as do so many). Erika was just married too and we send her best wishes. Also the daughter of the Cunning Runt. So much joy and love for which we give great thanks.

And so much work to do to combat ignorance, fear, and hatred. Let us pray for those speaking the truth in those states voting on marriage discrimination in three days - and, frankly, for the confounding of efforts to propagate lies and hatred.

When Jesus said the poor would always be with us he did not mean that it's all right. Let us hold in prayer those who struggle to survive, who go to bed hungry each night, who have no home or are losing their homes, the unemployed and underemployed and self-destructive workaholics too, the children who see no options for their future, and the despairing. Let us also work for a society where circumstances are far more favorable for living lives of security and dignity.

Let us remember Fran as she seeks steady employment that suits her and brings some joy and satisfaction as well as a paycheck. And Caminante who is going through some major transition right now. And Johnieb who's back blogging once more.

Oh, there are so many more and the more I name the more I am aware of forgetting others. Sometimes my prayers are for "so-and-so's sister" because I remember she is having health problems but I can't even remember whose sister she is. Then I am embarrassed when I read an update and say, Oh, yes, that's the one I meant. I trust God to make all the necessary connections.

Then there are the nations and the peoples thereof. We must not forget the war-torn lands and those undergoing civil strife or recovering from earthquakes and other disasters: the Democratic Republic of Congo, Zimbabwe, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Iraq, Afghanistan, etc.

In these Days of the Dead let us remember our loved ones who have gone before us. Studs Terkel, champion of the working class, has left us. I especially recall my friend Phyllis about whom it is still too painful to write the tribute. I look forward to a really good cry in church tomorrow.

Almighty God, we entrust all who are dear to us to thy never-failing care and love, for this life and the life to come, knowing that thou art doing for them better things than we can desire or pray for; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

--the BB

All Saints' Morning


The sun rose over the Manzanos a few minutes ago. This is the view from my home office. The shades are now shut to keep me from being blinded but I enjoyed the eastern sky just before sunrise.

The flight home was blessedly uneventful, the final leg being in a plane only about 1/4 full. I used my Southwest coupons to swill down a couple of rum and cokes and finished reading Mourning Dove by Aimee and David Thurlo, authors who live in nearby Corrales.

They are among the heirs of Tony Hillerman, who died this week. I enjoy their series of Ella Clah novels that combine police procedural with Navajo culture. Actually, they are much better writers than Hillerman who got the ball rolling but was way too formulaic for my taste. If you have enjoyed Hillerman, I highly recommend the Thurlos to you along with Margaret Coel's books set in Arapaho country.

I left NOLA with few plans for this weekend. By the time I entered my front door last night there were more. Later today there is a bit of shopping and lunch with Bill, mi compañero del camino (my road trip buddy) and I might see if there are still tickets to see a collection of 10-minute plays on politics currently at the Vortex. Tomorrow will be All Saints' Sunday at St Michael and All Angels followed by a working lunch for the adult formation planners. I'll try to get in dinner with another friend before flying back on Monday. A visit to the nearby Obama headquarters may get me working on the campaign a bit but I really need down time and must honor that.

A blessed feast of All Saints to everybody.
--the BB

Friday, October 31, 2008

Wait a minute! Obama is citing a Kagan?



Yes, he did.



Will wonders never cease?

h/t to Greg Sargent at TPM
--the BB

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California does not need to move backward in terms of bigotry




h/t to Penman

Update from Penman's post:
Most of us know about Japanese internment and bans on interracial marriage but this is lesser known.
-- Racially Restrictive Covenants: These covenants were widely enforced in the early 20th century to discriminate against African Americans, Jews and other ethnic groups by prohibiting the lease or sale of property. The covenants were widely used in the Central Valley against Armenians. They were declared unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1948.

So this was ended in my lifetime.

I remember being turned down in West Hollywood (!) when trying to rent an apartment because "this is a family apartment complex." And I'm a reasonably presentable and articulate white male. (Well, when I'm behaving myself anyway.)
--the BB

With a special h/t to FranIAm for this collection of important links. Mwah!

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Defeat the liebots!



h/t to Meteor Blades (who got it from Jane Hamsher)


-the BB

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Thursday, October 30, 2008

She did it again

Yes, the original Lilith, Eileen, tempted me.

And I did eat.

[I always blame her for silly quizzes because she has introduced me to so many fun ones.]

Your result for The 4-Variable IQ Test...

Mathematical

25% interpersonal, 20% visual, 25% verbal and 30% mathematical!


Brother-from-another-mother! Like mine, your highest scoring intelligence is Mathematical. You thrive on logic, numbers, things representing numbers, and sets of things that are sets of other things, with numbers nowhere in sight. You probably like the online comic called XKCD, and if you don't, check it out.


You probably knew you'd score "Mathematical" as you took the test, and mathy types are usually super-high scorers on this axis, and low on the others. Why? Because you (we) yearn for math.


Anyway, your specific scores follow. On any axis, a score above 25% means you use that kind of thinking more than average, and a score below 25% means you use it less. It says nothing about cognitive skills, just your interest.


Your brain is roughly:


25% Interpersonal


20%Visual


25%Verbal


30%Mathematical



Matching Summary: Each of us has different tastes. Still, I offer the following advice to the world.


1. Don't date someone if your interpersonal percentages differ by more than 20%.


2. Don't be friends with someone if your verbal percentages differ by more than 25%.


3. Don't have sex with someone if your math scores differ by over 40%. You might kill them.

Take The 4-Variable IQ Test at HelloQuizzy



This is intriguing, mostly in what it provokes in me.

I have been working more than full time as an accountant for the past six months and two days. I crunch numbers with such intensity that I have made the Excel program crash about eight times in the past three days. (I love conditional formulae; they save my brain from having to do all the thinking and get me there quicker.)

So my math side may be more to the fore than usual. I really don't spend that much time there, left to my own devices. Then again, I scored 800 on the Advanced Math aptitude test back when we did the SATs and all their relations. That was 45 years ago, however. By the time I took the GRE the second time around it was the Verbal where I got my 800. Yes, I am an aggressive test-taker.

I may be deluding myself, but I believe I love people although I live like a hermit. I don't like crowds and I have learned to love solitude. Superficial socializing bores and drains me but time spent with dear friends is an absolute joy.

When I take tests I stumble over ambiguity in questions because I am an intuitive (in the Jungian or Myers-Briggs sense) and can always see multiple possibilities. But once I have answered a question I don't second guess it and so I am not going back over this test to see what I might have answered differently.

Having said that, I am surprised by the low score on visual. If you are reading this page you have a sense of how highly I value visuals - not to mention the hundreds of photos revealing how I see the architecture of New Orleans. When I take an unhurried stroll on my own I am constantly pausing. At those moments I am entirely sensate, just soaking up detail, texture, pattern, color, form, and interaction in my environment. I don't just stop to smell the roses, I revel in their shades and shapes and variety.

Verbal? Well, y'all put up with my ramblings, so 'nuff said. [I should like to point out the use of "formulae" instead of "formulas" above. I use "formulas" at work because it is the bog-standard term but it grates to type it. I have trouble with stadiums and condominiums also. Ouch.]

Back to maths (the British version this time): When I saw the word "set" I immediately thought of a mathematical or logical set. I think this was because simply taking a test with multiple choices puts me in a mathematical mindframe.

I was not thrilled with the positive choices for vocation. I wanted to select "novelist" but they put that in the set of "worst" jobs. Pity.

OK. Enough.

I am 90% packed to fly home for the weekend tomorrow. Time for bed.

May you all have a great weekend. If you are volunteering for Obama or other great progressive candidates, blessings on your efforts and thank you. Be sure to vote next Tuesday if you have not voted early. Don't forget to send California Prop. 8 and Florda Prop. 2 down in flames if you are a registered voter in either state.
--the BB

4189 - updated


Foto de una ofrenda por Scott Burns



Source

This too is a re-run. I listened to it the other night.



Go ahead. Embrace your tears.

Hold your loved ones in your heart.

Update:

Sgt. Scott J. Metcalf, 36, of Framingham, Mass., died Oct. 29, in Balad, Iraq, of injuries sustained from a non-combat related incident. He was assigned to the 1st Squadron, 32nd Cavalry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division, Fort Campbell, Ky.

[Update source: IGTNT]

Nos acercamos a los días de los muertos. Hay de llorar, recordarnos de los bien-amados difuntos, invitarles a nuestro hogar, regalarles de las ofrendas sinceras de todo corazón.

In the words of the lullaby of the goddess of death in my novel:
Come, my children, and do not fear
The journey home, the path of peace.

The stars await you, their song is joy.
All you leave behind is worry,
All that is good will come to me.
Feasting awaits you and reunion
In my halls where all are welcomed
And my face at last is seen.

(c) 2007-2008 Paul E. Strid
All rights reserved.

I luff this couple. Luff them!



h/t to openthread
--the BB

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So, why does it matter?


The story of three couples:



h/t to Digby at Hullabaloo
--the BB

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Time for the gummint to kick some ass

This is appalling.
The Treasury plans to invest up to $250 billion in a wide swath of U.S. banks in return for ownership stakes, which the government will relinquish when it is repaid.

Among other restrictions, participating institutions cannot increase dividend payments without government permission. They also are barred from repurchasing stock, which increases the value of outstanding shares.

The 33 banks signed up so far plan to pay shareholders about $7 billion this quarter. Companies generally try to pay consistent dividends and, at the present pace, those dividends will consume 52 percent of the Treasury's investment over the initial three-year term.

You mean that instead of using the money to increase lending and inject capital - the ostensible purpose of the bailout - they are planning on using 52% of that money to pay dividends? In which case they don't really need the fucking money from the Treasury, do they?

Banks have been making money hand over fist in recent years; look at the outrageous fees they charge and the low interest they pay the customers. I am of the opinion that their investors, having had such a cushy ride for a while at customer expense can bloody well feel some of the pain now.

Put another way, why do GOP politicians and servile pundits raise a hue and cry about redistribution of wealth only when it is distributed downward and not upward, as it has been quite rapaciously since reaganomics took over? Gross hypocrisy of the first order.

I wish Waxman and Cuomo every success:
New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo is demanding information about executive compensation and bonuses at nine banks that have received federal funds under TARP, the U.S. Treasury's Troubled Asset Relief Program.

In a letter to each institution's Board of Directors, Cuomo warns the bonuses could violate New York's state fraudulent conveyance law.

"Obviously," he writes, "we will have grave concerns if your expected bonus pool has increased in any way as a result of your receipt or expected receipt of taxpayer funds from TARP."

Indeed.

h/t to Chris in Paris at Americablog for pointing all this out (here and here)
--the BB

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

I remember the VC Bird International Airport


Actually there are a few specific things I remember about it.

The humidity. (I had not lived in New Orleans yet.)

The casual security (by the standards I was used to).

My purchase of an Antiguan flag in a gift shop at the airport. As I recall, the woman who sold it to me said that I would smile when I saw it. I have smiled when I put it on the flagpole at our former home.

Waiting - on the plane on the tarmac - for hours before taking off.

So, Antigua is one of the places in the world that I have actually been and tonight a virtual flag joins my real one (3'x5').

Today we had a visitor from Antigua & Barbuda, making the flag shown above the 144th to join the collection from nations whence visitors have come to this site. A hearty welcome to our new guest!

Our visit was part of a cruise of the "treasure islands." It began and ended in St John's, the capital of Antigua. We sailed on the Star Clipper and they played Vangelis' music from 1492 each evening as they unfurled the sails and we set out from port. Hokey but fun and stirring. The first evening especially as the golden sun struck the sails and we were under way. My first, and thus far, only cruise.

Antigua is the main island of the nation of Antigua and Barbuda.

Here is your travelogue video:



Here's some music featuring the flag of Antigua. It will make you smile.



A little iron band music before the cricket match:



Red, Red / Causion
Music Video from Causion. Antigua's Reggae Ambassador:



Enjoy!
--the BB

Vote



It's that simple.
--the BB

h/t openthread at Daily Kos

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Excuse me while I monger some fear for ya


Actually, simply substituting "interracial" for "gay" in this ad underscores the extent to which this is just about discimination.

And the lies? Sweet Jesus! If anybody's gonna burn in hell....

Beware: very high creep content factor.



h/t to Hoffmania
--the BB

What I remember... What I miss


Love is an amazing "resource." It is not exhaustible. There is plenty to go around. When given away, it increases. The more you give, the more you have. We do not need to be frugal with it.

Which is another way of saying that marriage is not something anyone needs to hoard. Or protect by not sharing. Which does not really protect it at all.

Since today is Blogswarm for No on Prop 8 Day (and don't forget Prop 2 in Florida), I would like to reflect a bit on that seemingly terrifying thing: gay marriage.

I want to do so by reflecting on the 24 years I spent living with another man. Perhaps if more folks knew what a gay relationship is like they might lower their anxiety level.

One might begin by making it clear that that majority of our life was not in or about the bedroom and most of the time spent there was spent sleeping. I will return to that.

We had to work on all the compromises that two persons under the same roof have to deal with, with mixed success (like most folks also, I would guess). Once we had two bathrooms we were spared having to deal with how much time either of us spent in the shower or hogging the bathroom, how toothpaste tubes should be squeezed, whether the toilet paper should come forward over the top or under the bottom, etc. We both hung up our towels. Hiring people to clean our home probably extended our relationship by quite a few years.

We were an odd couple. I was the Oscar to his Felix as I am a slob and he was compulsive. I am grateful for his helping my life be more in order (though I am not sure I ever told him that).

I was terribly surprised the first time I said I loved him. It was January 24, 1978. Yes, I am a romantic and I remember the date. He told me our relationship could no longer go on (not a surprise as we had been wrestling with this explicitly for a couple of years) on February 12, 2002. The next morning was Ash Wednesday. It was a tough Lent for both of us. Two days later he brought red roses home for me for Valentine's Day and I wrote a sonnet and inscribed it in a card for him. Our relationship changed, but it did not end. We could not maintain a healthy intimate relationship and, in retrospect, both doubt it could ever have lasted indefinitely, but we did not fail to love.

I remember coming home to our home after work. He, unfortunately, remembers a grim anxious face on me as I did so in the last years but I recall the larger reality, the joy of coming to our home, to him, to a place of love and growth and healing - the home we had built together for ourselves and for friends and guests who could experience it as a place of welcome and blessing.

I know that our home was an outpost of the Kingdom of God. We did not tear each other down (though we did hurt each other), or carp in either public or private. We rejoiced in welcoming others, honoring them, feasting them, celebrating people and the events in their lives. I remember ironing the immense linen tablecloth, so large I had to go up one side and then back down the other, flip it over and do it again to get the linen pressed and dry. He would cook for two days when the big feasts approached. I would set the table and arrange flowers and play sous chef. When we brought out the crystal and china and silver(plate) there was no intent to be pretentious; we wanted to share a beautiful and festive meal with folks we love.

It is true that without the expense and responsibility of children we could do this more easily since we were DINKs (double income no kids) - the part of "the homosexual lifestyle" my very straight nephew thought had a lot going for it. We never had the joys or challenges of raising children though we rejoiced in the children of our friends and in watching them grow up.

When I was working on sermons he would ask me what the lessons were, then probe what I thought they meant for "Joe slob in the pew." (Hah, Joe the plumber is a latecomer here.) When he said that, he was not putting down the people who sat where he sat but making me aware that I could not get lost in lofty theology. What did I have to say for someone going through painful times? For someone seeking an anchor, a compass, a way to get through one more day or a direction to journey for a lifetime. I would offer my preliminary thoughts and he would push back, hard. I think he easily altered two thirds of my sermons and always for the better. We were a good team (and it still happens though less frequently).

We shared interests and so could enjoy discussions of history and philosophy, concerts and plays, museum trips, travel, creating a beautiful garden where once there was only dirt.

We complained about our jobs and encouraged each other when cast down. We stimulated each others's thoughts and feelings. We were there to accept each other, no matter what. We helped each other heal of old wounds (and are still working on that project together). We enjoyed each other's mind and heart. We still talk together in our own mode, full of polylingual word plays and historical references. In thirty years I have always found him interesting and enjoyed his company. It never mattered whether we were working on something together or companionably doing different things just knowing the other was there.

When we split these are the two things I consciously missed immediately. (1) Snuggling up and falling asleep in each other's arms. (2) Doing dishes together and discussing the day - or the party we had just thrown, usually with opera or a symphony playing in the background.

I sleep like a baby when cuddled with him. And recently, after dinner at his place, I stayed to help with the dishes. He put on the Saint-Saens Organ Concerto, a frequent musical accompaniment to our doing dishes in years past. We also remembered the time a friend, the organist at our church, was going to play it with the San Francisco Symphony, only to fall very ill at the last minute. A young substitute was brought in and we watched in fascination and dread as the terrified musician counted measures to make sure he did those big entrances on time. It is this sort of story that is part of a shared life that creates a common experiential vocabulary and brings pleasure in reminiscing.

Forsan et haec olim meminisse iuvabit.*
--Aeneas, encouraging the troops after shipwreck on the coast of Carthage

This, my friends, is much of the basic reality of gay marriage - except that we did not have nor were allowed to have all the automatic benefits of marriage. We had to write wills to protect each other and our shared investments, have powers of attorney for healthcare, and make sure our doctors and families understood our wishes in case of emergency. Nothing would have been automatic. It would all have had much more complication if we had adopted children.

Had we married legally we would now be one more divorced couple, but it would have been nice to have the option. And, as I said last night, we are more blessed than most divorced couples. We still have the love. For which I thank God and all our friends. It is all grace and always was and always will be.

Proposition 8 is driven by ignorance. Ignorance kindles fear. Fear leads to hatred. Hatred incites violence.

One cannot quell fear and its sequelae by force. But "perfect love casteth out fear."

Let love happen, my friends.

Let love flourish.

Let love be, unhindered.

Share it. It will grow.

Yes, this was a different kind of sonnet from a heart full of love.

Nobody's marriage was cheapened or threatened by our love. Nor ever would be.

Stop the lies by speaking the truth. Speak the truth in love. Let the whole world know the truth. Hold fast to the truth.

These three abide: faith, hope, love. And the greatest of these is love.
--the BB

*Perhaps some day even these things will be a joy to remember.

Hat tip to FranIAm for alerting me to the blogswarm. You can learn more and check out what others wrote through the link. Way to go, Mombian.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Juan Cole articulates what I was thinking on the subject

So let's let him say it better than I would:
The McCain campaign is now warning against "one party rule" if Obama is elected president at at time when there will likely be a Democratic landslide in the House and the Senate.

...

McCain would only have credibility on this issue if he denounced the Republican majority in all three branches of government in 2000=2006.

I don't think he did.
Read it all here.
--the BB

This is so important


Senator Feinstein is, to put it mildly, not only too centrist but downright problematic when push comes to shove (can we talk judges here?). I have been furious with her on many occasions, and written to tell her so back when I was a consitutent.

But she does a good thing here.



The bigots and theocrats (severely overlapping sets) are putting a lot of money and emotional investment into Prop Hate (8) in California. It matters a great deal to them. The same can be said for Prop 2 in Florida.

I grew up among fundamentalists, people who were reading Dobson and LaHaye when they were just coming on the scene. I do not want these people gaining more power or spreading their lies, fears, and hatred.

So I checked my bank balance and just forked over another $100 to fight Prop 8.

I wish I could send a video of me to all my aunts and uncles and cousins reminding them that they know me and most of them know my ex and they all know that if we had been allowed to and chose to marry it would not have harmed their marriages or cheapened their relationships. It would not signal an outbreak of ménages à trente or been a harbinger of widespread bestiality. They all know that we both believe passionately in protecting children from any kind of exploitation or abuse. Even our separation only showed that we are, indeed, very much like everyone else. Yet more blessed than most because love survived and friendship remains. Many divorced couples can say the same but even more cannot, alas.

Help say NO to discrimination any way you can.

And thanks.
--the BB

I am emotional today

It's not just work stress.

It's election season, for sure.

It's the knowledge that people are going through tough times.

That people go hungry who shouldn't have to.

That people are afraid of love.

That folks are bombed into eternity.

That people plot the death or destruction of others.

That lies are brazenly told in public.

That some people believe them.

That so many people are driven to hatred by their fears.

That power brokers - political, religious, corporate - struggle for control while regular folk suffer and die because of the tussles of the mighty.

That we continue to ravage the Earth.

That people do not know that love is possible or that they are precious.

That we are shipping our young women and men off knowing that some of them will return in flag-draped coffins.

That the world can still be so beautiful.


I have broken into tears three times already, once at work talking about our troops.

Once listening - for the third or fourth time - to a video I will repost soon.

Once listening to this.



John Aravosis at Americablog posted it today noting that he watched again and it still makes him cry. I have posted it before and it clearly gets to me too.

Just thinking about train whistles in the night is enough to set me off.

May you have the gift of tears to wash your soul, to water your hopes, to keep your heart tender.

--the BB

Long, hectic day

Light blogging today (after very busy blogging on the weekend). Today was quite frantic at work, from the time I logged on to the computer until I finally wound down and logged out. During most of the morning I was snapping at folks and strongly implying they were in danger of having their heads bitten off. I was being pulled in too many directions and asked too many questions all at once while I was trying to complete one complex task after another. When I am working on one gnarly deadline item it is not a good time to ask me about another especially complicated one. Those who did that today will probably not try it again anytime soon.

Which means I was quite unpleasant. Well, there you have it. We were all frazzled.

In order not to start tomorrow the same way I stayed late tonight and finished up what I hope are the last of the nasty items I've been tackling for the past week. It felt good to print off the summaries, make the adjustments, and put the files back to bed.

I doubt this means tomorrow will be calm but at least less fierce and frazzled.

On happier notes: we are having crisp autumn days in New Orleans right now. My usual habit of only a lightweight cotton shirt with no undershirt or sweater or other layers does not quite work when the wind blows. Cool and dry breezes. Woohoo!

Tonight as I walked toward the apartment I heard a freight train going by and realized I had just heard its whistle.

Most of my life I have lived where I could hear trains going by. I love the sound of a train at night. Very satisfying.

Since it is already after ten p.m. right now this may be the only post tonight. Still reading this morning's comics, then on to the political blogs and friends' blogs.

Peace out.

And vote.
--the BB

Monday, October 27, 2008

It's dropping off the radar

But I thought we should all note (and be aware of) the fact that Ashley Todd was a PAID organizer for the CRNC (College Republican National Committee), not just a volunteer for McCain.

h/t to dworth (Rachel Maddow video on the topic if you click)
--the BB

More change I can believe in

I am eager to replace the lying [expletive deleted] Heather Wilson with someone I can count on to get us away from the devastating policies of GWB. Wilson has tried to paint herself as a "moderate" but she is just one more Bush enabler.

This is the sort of crap we've suffered in NM-01. (You would not believe the duplicitous form letters I have gotten from her office when I write in to protest or ask for her to take sensible Actions.)

THIS IS FROM CNN (via a very different Heather at Crooks and Liars):
BLITZER: Heather Wilson, are you embarrassed that the Republican National Committee spent $150,000 buying designer outfits for Sarah Palin at Saks and Neiman-Marcus, another $20,000 for make-up in the first two weeks of October alone, $10,000 for hair? Is this what a hockey mom should be getting?

WILSON: Well, that sounds like there are some staffers at the RNC who need a little education on how to shop at Wal-Mart and Ross Direct. But it does concern me in the last 10 days of an election campaign we're talking about those things.

WILSON: And we could talk about Barack Obama's ties or the vice president's hair transplants or something like that.

WASSERMAN-SCHULTZ: Barack Obama doesn't spend that kind of money on ties. He buys them himself.

WILSON: But I would rather talk about things that matter like which direction we go to get our economy back on track. And we have two very different candidates in very different directions here, and I think that Americans should be concerned about Pelosi, Reid and Obama because Katie bar the door on government spending if that's the way Americans choose to go. And we will go back to very big government and government in your lives in every aspect of your life.

WASSERMAN-SCHULTZ: Wolf, when it comes to spending, it's the Republicans under the Bush administration that have gotten us into the biggest deficit in American history. We had a --

WILSON: It is the Congress that appropriates, Debbie, and you of all people know that.

WASSERMAN-SCHULTZ: And the Congress was controlled by Republicans for eight out of the last 10 years, so let's keep that in mind.

WILSON: And we balanced for the first time since 1969.

WASSERMAN-SCHULTZ: No, no, no, my dear, you got us into a deficit situation within three years of the Bush administration. So, we had a Clinton surplus and we have a Bush deficit and that's what John McCain would continue more of the same.
Wasserman-Schultz is great. Let's get Heinrich in there to work with her and other progressive Dems.
--the BB

625 - updated



10/27/08 AP:
Suicide bomber kills 2 American soldiers
a suicide bomber wearing a police uniform blew himself up inside a police station in northern Afghanistan on Monday, killing two American soldiers and wounding five other people, officials said.

Source

UPDATE (10/30):
10/28/08 :
DoD Identifies Army Casualties (2 of 2)
Sgt. Nicholas A. Casey, 22, of Canton, Ohio, who was assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne), Fort Bragg, N.C...died Oct. 27 in Baghlan, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when a suicide bomber detonated explosives...



10/28/08 :
DoD Identifies Army Casualties (1 0f 2)
Sgt. Kevin D. Grieco, 35, of Bartlett, Ill., who was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 122nd Field Artillery, Illinois Army National Guard, Sycamore, Ill...died Oct. 27 in Baghlan, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when a suicide bomber...


10/29/08 :
DoD Identifies Marine Casualty
1st Lt. Trevor J. Yurista, 32, of Pleasant Valley, N.Y., died Oct. 27 while supporting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan. He was assigned to 5th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force...

You may read more about Casey and Grieco at IGTNT (where I found the photos).

O God of grace and glory, we remember before you this day our brothers and sisters. We thank you for giving them to us, their families and friends, to know and to love as companions on our earthly pilgrimage. In your boundless compassion, console those who mourn. Give us faith to see in death the gate of eternal life, so that in quiet confidence we may continue our course on earth, until, by your call, we are reunited with those who have gone before; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Just in case you've missed it...

... what with Wardrobegate and Senator Stevens' conviction and skinheads plotting to kill 102 African Americans before attempting to assassinate Barack Obama...

The United States has committed an act of war against Syria.



One last little masturbatory exercise by the chimperor or a rehearsal for Iran? Who knows?

There are conflicting claims (there always are) about terrorists versus civilians, etc. The White House track record on credibility is, shall we say, shaky. So while I don't know that actual terrorists were not involved I would never believe they were involved just because the US government says so.

Which is a very sad thing to acknowledge.

If George W. Bush himself says anything, or Dick Cheney, I automatically assume it is a lie and I am almost always proven right in the long run.

Be alert.

This is no small thing.

This is why I have clamored for impeachment for yonks now.

And, just to gratify Susan S., I do think Nancy Pelosi has been a total asshole on this issue. Grrrr. If I could impeach her for taking impeachment off the table I'd do it in a heartbeat. What on earth does she think upholding the Constitution of the United States entails? It's not always politically expedient. George Bush and his band of thugs are criminals by US and international law alike. They have gone scott free on all their lawbreaking. He should have had his ass hauled off to the slammer long ago. And I hope he winds up there yet.

It is, of course, major pardoning season since his term nears its end.

Grrrrrrr.

It's a growly night whenever I think of W.

h/t to Cernig at Crooks and Liars and Juan Cole at Informed Comment (here and here)

UPDATE:
From Al-Jazeera
The Syrian government has warned of retaliation if the US strikes again across the border from Iraq, demanding that its sovereignty be respected.

The warning came a day after Syria said eight people were killed in a US helicopter attack in the border village of Sukariya.

...

"All of them are civilian, unarmed, and they are on Syrian territory," he said, adding that among the dead were a farmer, three children and a fisherman.
[One may love or hate or discount Al-Jazeera but it is an excellent source of new from the Arab world and with an Arab perspective.]
--the BB

We're so flipping scary, after all

Like, this is a threat? To anyone?



If this frightens you, you need to:
  1. Get a life
  2. Get a good therapist
  3. Get a better worldview
  4. Get a grip
  5. All of the above

h/t to Hoffmania


Hoffmania also points out, via Andrew Sullivan, that the mother of Erik Prince of Blackwater fame donated $450K in support of Prop Hate. Your small donations all accumulated can counter her big one. Give here.
--the BB

Liberal is not a dirty word

Digby pointed to this NYT Op-Ad. If you click on it to enlarge it it is legible (barely for us near-sighted folk).


It is from the Institute for America's Future crowd.

"We are the children and grandchildren of Americans who built a new democracy and a new prosperity from the ground up."

Digby headlines her post "Traditional Values." Indeed, that is what they are in the best American tradition.

--the BB

A shifting profile

It is an election year and I have been working in New Orleans for the past six months. Both of these factors have shifted the emphases of this blog. I used to have lots more posts on prayer, regular meditations, weekly articles on the Constitution, pictures of handsome princes (who, by the way, still provide a huge percentage of my hits from around the world), geography posts, and endless posts on torture and domestic spying. Now I count the dead and talk politics. I also have been busy with my camera.

Here is a recently revised tag cloud of the BB from Technorati:

Who knows what will emerge in the next six months as I return home, we all see what life after the election is like, and time and chance happen to us all?

We are all works in progress and so is the world.
--the BB

Sunday, October 26, 2008

4188



Latest Coalition Fatalities

10/26/08
DoD Identifies Army Casualty
Pfc. Cody J. Eggleston, 21, of Eugene, Ore., died Oct. 24 at the National in Bethesda, Maryland, of wounds suffered on October 16 in Baqubah, Iraq, when he received indirect fire. He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 5th Infantry Regiment...


10/25/08
DoD Identifies Air Force Casualty
Staff Sgt. Brian P. Hause, 29, of Stoystown, Pa., died Oct. 23 of non-combat related medical causes at Balad Air Base, Iraq. He was assigned to the 20th Equipment Maintenance Squadron, Shaw Air Force Base, S.C.


Source

Photos courtesy of IGTNT at Daily Kos
Updated with Pfc. Eggleston's photo too

How about someone truly alive in the White House?

Michelle Obama in Gainesville, Florida

I love this photo. Michelle Obama was out there hopemongering.

I cannot help comparing this picture in my mind to Pickles Stepford and the Cindybot. Let's get this great woman into the White House as First Lady!

Can I get an Amen?

You can see a video excerpt of her appearance in Gainesville last week here.

h/t to Bob Sackamento for the article and the photo
--the BB

Tips on the ponies

Dillinger tries to get some inside tips

Saturday has become a regular take-your-kids-to-work day. Since I did not work yesterday, we substituted Sunday and the boys joined me. While Norbert and Eddie were playing in Aunt Jen's cubicle (what did they do with all that strapping tape, anyway?), Dillinger sneaked into the the office of the head woman to confer with her horses.

There is a race track in Albuquerque. Should I be concerned? What does a responsible dad do when asked for a sudden jump in the old allowance?

I suppose what parents have done for many years when faced with such a request. Say no. Hard to say "no" to such a cutie but I suppose it is time I give up my illusions of innocence in my kids.

[I know. I'm the one who brought them to the Big Easy.]
--the BB

Re+novare

To renovate is to make new.

Here are two shots of the same building, one taken on May 27 and one taken today.


It is difficult to get a good sense of the change because the first photo was taken when sunlight reflected from the windows of the office where I work and created this dappled effect. Artsy but unhelpful. If you click to enlarge you will see plywood doors, general dinginess, cracks, etc. Back then the building was being worked on the interior and a huge crew was gathered each morning preparing to tackle the immense task.

In the past month or so they have been busy as well on the exterior, doing some repairs and applying a couple coats of paint. One can see the difference.


Having observed such efforts, I would like to see the building opened for occupancy. This former office building (yes, another bank in the Central Business District) will become a tower of luxury apartments. I will be gone before that happens, however.

I thought y'all might enjoy some photos of progress.
--the BB

Texture in the half-empty city

I have heard folks use the figure 52%, as in 52% of the pre-Katrina population now lives in New Orleans. After all this time.

It is easy to believe when viewing all the homes, shops, restaurants, and office buildings that have not been restored. Also easy to lose sight of when viewing everything at a distance.




Boarded up. Only certain events take place there.


A sidewalk grill I walk over every day.


Empty space waiting for new life (reflections compete here with the interior destined, I would guess, for retail space).


Yes, this is the same car below that is reflected above. The car park where I park each day and its still abandoned first floor.

When I turn the corner from Loyola (having just passed the incredible clarinet mural) onto Gravier I drive past another boarded up office building, then in the second block another, though it has a coffee and sandwich shop opened on the first floor.

The restaurant on the first floor of the Baronne Hotel featured Philippine food, presumably because of a Philippine chef. A couple of weeks ago I noticed that it seemed closed and, sure enough, the space is for lease.

Everywhere I turn I see both empty, unrepaired buildings and freshly restored ones, cheek by jowl. If you work in the building trades there is lots of work to be done.

These are photos from the past few days.
--the BB

Have you begun to think about criteria for the Cabinet?

In August 2007 Obama addressed the question:



h/t to Cernig at Crooks and Liars
--the BB

Changing the subject



h/t to Hoffmania
--the BB

John McSame



h/t to Joe Sudbay at Americablog
--the BB

Senator Obama in Denver



Senator Barack Obama in Denver, Colorado

Did I mention that McCain got a crowd of 1,000 in New Mexico yesterday?




Police: More than 100,000 watch Obama


You can read his speech here.
--the BB