Saturday, June 06, 2009

Nessun dorma

At that point she awoke, screaming hysterically, “Hrochoj Vrotni? Where is the Fierce Mother?”
The nightmare chapter is completed and I am up past my own bedtime. I hope I sleep well. It is a curious thing that I usually sleep easily and well in spite of pondering the most awful things before bedtime.

I think the scene I just wrote is the creepiest and most awful in the book. The idea came to me perhaps two weeks ago, so I knew what it would contain and it was rather easy to write. On the mechanical level, that is. Thank the stars - as my characters would put it - I know the contents of the scene that follows. I much prefer mystical experiences of the deities to nightmares.

All my tales explore the choice between dominion and love (Christ or Caesar?), and stories of the pursuit of power are not pretty, especially in the consequences for others. A narrative on the question of who shall sit on the Lion Throne entails some creative fleshing out of the truth that "war is hell." My stories tend to have happy, or at least "redemptive" endings, but usually at great cost.


Exorcising my own demons?

As the Redactor's Preface to the first volume of the chronicles says:
Family lore says my ancestors worshiped the stars. Perhaps they still call to me. I sometimes feel as though I wrestle with a demon. Or a god. Jacob at Bethel? My great-great-great-whatever walking into the darkness on Mount Rğan? Who knows? How do you slay a demon or gain a blessing? Where is peace, the tranquil resting place? I have yet to find it.
Sweet dreams, my cheeky chipmunks!

--the BB

Stuff and nonsense - updated with detail shot

I had dinner with friends last night, hence no blogging yesterday.

Catalpa (also catawba) near work. They are blooming again.

A close-up of the blossoms

My tomatoes are growing and there are some early blossoms.

I tossed cosmos seeds liberally about the yard. Do you think my poor eggplant has a chance with these puppies all around it? Yes, I will thin.

A close-up shot of the lavender. I so enjoy just standing near this lovely plant. The fragrance rising when I water it is pretty nice too.

This is a laid-back weekend. I am so grateful. Slept in this morning. Finished one chapter and began the next one. Yay!

--the BB

4311 - updated with photos

DoD Identifies Marine Casualty

Lance Cpl. Robert D. Ulmer, 22, of Landisville, Pa., died June 5 as a result of a non-hostile incident in Anbar province, Iraq. He was assigned to 1st Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, II Marine Expeditionary Force Headquarters Group...

DoD Identifies Army Casualty
Spc. Charles D. Parrish, 23, of Jasper, Ala., died June 4 in Balad, Iraq, of wounds suffered earlier that day in Jalula, Iraq, when his vehicle was struck by an anti-tank grenade. He was assigned to the 5th Engineer Battalion...

DoD Identifies Army Casualty

Spc. Christopher M. Kurth, 23, of Alamogordo, N.M., died June 4 in Kirkuk, Iraq, of wounds suffered when his vehicle was struck by an anti-tank grenade. He was assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 82nd Field Artillery Regiment...

DoD Identifies Army Casualty
Sgt. Justin J. Duffy, 31, of Cozad, Neb., died June 2 in Baghdad, Iraq, when an improvised explosive device detonated near his vehicle. He was assigned the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, N.C.

O God of grace and glory, we remember before you this day our brothers. We thank you for giving them to their families and friends, to know and to love as a companion 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.

700! - updated with photo

06/06/09 :
DoD Identifies Army Casualty
Sgt. Jasper K. Obakrairur, 26, of Hilo, Hawaii, died June 1 in Nerkh, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when an improvised explosive device detonated near his vehicle. He was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 87th Infantry Regiment...

06/05/09 :
DoD Identifies Army Casualties
Spc. Jeffrey W. Jordan, 21, of Rome, Ga...died June 4 near Kapisa, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered from an improvised explosive device and small arms fire. They were assigned to the 1st Battalion, 108th Reconnaissance...

06/05/09 :
DoD Identifies Army Casualties
Staff Sgt. John C. Beale, 39, of Riverdale, Ga...died June 4 near Kapisa, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered from an improvised explosive device and small arms fire. They were assigned to the 1st Battalion, 108th Reconnaissance...

06/05/09 :
DoD Identifies Army Casualties
Maj. Kevin M. Jenrette, 37, of Lula, Ga...died June 4 near Kapisa, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered from an improvised explosive device and small arms fire. They were assigned to the 1st Battalion, 108th Reconnaissance...

06/05/09 :
DoD Identifies Army Casualty
Spc. Jarrett P. Griemel, 20, of La Porte, Texas, died June 3 at Forward Operating Base Gardez, Afghanistan, of injuries suffered from a non-combat related incident. He was assigned to the 425th Brigade Special Troops Battalion...

06/05/09 :
DoD Identifies Army Casualty

Spc. Roberto A. Hernandez I, 21, of Far Rockaway, N.Y., died June 2 in Paktya, Afghanistan, of wounds sustained when his mounted patrol was attacked with an improvised explosive device and small arms fire.

This is not a damned odometer turning another hundred miles. It is a tally of lives lost, lives cut short, individuals - each unique, beloved, and missed.

May they rest in peace and rise in glory.

ALMIGHTY God, our heavenly Father, in whose hands are the living and the dead; We give thee thanks for all those thy servants who have laid down their lives in the service of their countries. Grant to them thy mercy and the light of thy presence, that the good work which thou has begun in them may be perfected; through Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord. AMEN.

h/t to Mimi for this prayer.

--the BB

To see whether the vines had budded

11 אֶל־גִּנַּ֤ת אֱגֹוז֙ יָרַ֔דְתִּי לִרְאֹ֖ות בְּאִבֵּ֣י הַנָּ֑חַל לִרְאֹות֙ הֲפָֽרְחָ֣ה הַגֶּ֔פֶן הֵנֵ֖צוּ הָרִמֹּנִֽים׃

I went down to the nut orchard,
to look at the blossoms of the valley,
to see whether the vines had budded,
whether the pomegranates were in bloom.
--Song of Songs 6.11

The photo above is of my Thompson seedless grapevine, taken this morning after watering. When I look at the growing grapes I always think of this song. Yes, song. I don't really know this verse in English, but I have sung it in Hebrew for years (and danced to it back in 1966-67). It's one of my faves (clearly if it has stuck with me all this time).

Come, my beloved, let us go down to the fields.....

--the BB

“I doubt that you shall stop me, old man!”

The meadow-turned-battlefield reeled beneath a cry of horror that flooded from V’s soul more than from her throat, causing huge rocks to tremble and the ground to shift. Those who seemed unaware of her presence all turned toward her in wonder and beheld a dark blue shimmer about her and a sense, not perceptible to their eyes, that blood gushed from her to flood the meadow like rain from a sudden cloudburst.

It always helps to have a sorceress with you in battle but they are not omnipotent.

Friends are on their way but the war for the throne has just begun. Next comes one of the more horrific scenes - one of those that you know is right and must be written but is painful to write and read - a nightmare, blessedly not a literal scene. It is followed by a graced encounter with a goddess.

Up to page 75.

--the BB

Enough with GOP crapflinging!

Presente has organized a grassroots campaign to let ordinary citizens send the following message to members of the Senate Judiciary Committee:

We are outraged by the smear campaign against Supreme Court nominee Judge Sonia Sotomayor. Instead of discussing her record, right-wing activists have sought to question Sotomayor’s intelligence and temperament, and suggested that her racial identity will prevent her from ruling fairly. This thinly veiled racism and sexism is not only insulting to Sotomayor, it's an affront to anyone who believes that a nominee should be judged on her record, not her heritage or skin tone.

The reality is that Sotomayor is an accomplished judge who would start with more federal judicial experience than any Supreme Court justice in 100 years. In her more than 3,000 panel decisions and almost 400 opinions, she has consistently protected the rights of working Americans and become one of the nation’s most respected legal minds. Sotomayor is not only a superbly qualified nominee; she is a powerful example of the American dream and knows how the law affects the daily lives of Americans.

I stand with Judge Sotomayor, and urge the Senate Judiciary Committee to give her nomination a speedy hearing and a positive confirmation.

Go here to sign it.
--borrowed in its entirety from David Neiwert at Crooks & Liars

Yo he firmado. ¿Y tú?
--the BB

Just say no to settlements

Some very interesting responses in the Friday polls in the Israeli papers:
Q: Should Israel freeze settlement construction? 

Yes -- 52% 

No -- 43% 

Q: Should the illegal outposts be evacuated?

Yes -- 70% 

No -- 25%

Q: If it is decided to evacuate the settlements, will you join those
 resisting this? 

Yes -- 12% 

No -- 85%

--See Jo-Ann Mott's article here.

I'm just sayin'.

--the BB

Stephen Colbert to visit the troops in Iraq - updated with proud slogan

Stephen Colbert will broadcast four shows next week from Baghdad, where he says he'll be "Bob Hoping" it for the troops. [...]

Both the character Colbert (silent "t") and the real Colbert (pronounced "t"), a Catholic family man, are ardent supporters of the troops. He has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for the Yellow Ribbon Fund (a charity that assists injured service members and their families), and he's a board member of, which benefits the schools of military kids.

"Sometimes my character and I agree," Colbert said in an interview at his Manhattan office before leaving for Baghdad. "My character and I both know the Apostles' Creed and my character and I both think it's a shame that we're not talking about the troops anymore."

--lifted from BarbinMD

As y'all may well imagine, I am a fan of Stephen. I love his humor and the crazy persona he assumes in his show. I think his trashing of the previous administration with Bush sitting just feet away was one of the most heroic acts of satire+prophetic speech ever. He's also one helluva decent guy and I delight that he is going.
"I don't want to forget that people are struggling through the things that I sometimes make jokes about," he said.

The 45-year-old comedian says he's not afraid of the danger of visiting Iraq ("I'm not a high value target"). Instead, he said he's only nervous about doing a good show for the troops.

"The show is always about me, it's always about the character," said Colbert. "What's different about this is, it's really about them. If they laugh, I'll be completely satisfied." (link)
I also fully agree that "it's a shame that we're not talking about the troops anymore."

If you'd like to do something for our troops, here are some links: - the one Colbert works with

If you want to do something to assist our military and their families, please visit or Fisher House. If you have frequent flyer miles you would like to donate to hospitalized veterans or their families, see Fisher House's Hero Miles program. If you would like to assist the animal companions of our deployed military, information is available here. Sending a care package to a soldier in Iraq or Afghanistan is; read how at Other ways to support the troops are in this diary. And don't forget them when they get home. Visit and Hire Heroes USA to learn what you can do.

I just ordered two hygiene kits (1 female, 1 male) for a couple of random troops through Not very glamorous but I pray it means some comfort for folks in an inhospitable situation. (Last time I did this it was cookies.)

--the BB

M le Président des États-Unis parle en Normandie

From left, U.S. President Barack Obama, Britain's Prince Charles, Britain's Prime Minister Gordon Brown, Canada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper, and French President Nicolas Sarkozy arrive at the American Cemetery at Colleville-Sur -Mer, near Caen, Western France, Saturday, June 6, 2009 to attend a ceremony marking the 65th Anniversary of the D-day landings in Normandy. (Francois Mori/AP Photo)

We live in a world of competing beliefs and claims about what is true. It's a world of varied religions and cultures and forms of government. In such a world, it's all too rare for a struggle to emerge that speaks to something universal about humanity.

The Second World War did that. No man who shed blood or lost a brother would say that war is good. But all know that this war was essential. For what we faced in Nazi totalitarianism was not just a battle of competing interests. It was a competing vision of humanity. Nazi ideology sought to subjugate and humiliate and exterminate. It perpetrated murder on a massive scale, fueled by a hatred of those who were deemed different and therefore inferior. It was evil.

The nations that joined together to defeat Hitler's Reich were not perfect. They had made their share of mistakes, had not always agreed with one another on every issue. But whatever God we prayed to, whatever our differences, we knew that the evil we faced had to be stopped. Citizens of all faiths and of no faith came to believe that we could not remain as bystanders to the savage perpetration of death and destruction. And so we joined and sent our sons to fight and often die so that men and women they never met might know what it is to be free.

You may read the full text here:

American Cemetery at Colleville-Sur -Mer, near Caen

This blog honors the sacrifices made by all involved in that day that turned the tide of modern history and offers profound thanks to them.

O Juge des nations, d'un coeur reconnaissant nous faison mémoire devant toi, des hommes et des femmes de notre patrie, qui, à l'heure de décision, ont pris tant de risques pour la liberté dont nous jouissons aujourd'hui. Fais que nous ne trouvions pas de repos avant que toute la population de ce pays puisse bénéficier de la liberté véritable et accepte avec joie la discipline qu'elle impose. Nous te le demandons par Jésus le Christ notre Seigneur. Amen.

O Judge of the nations, we remember before you with grateful hearts the men and women of our country who in the day of decision ventured much for the liberties we now enjoy. Grant that we may not rest until all the people of this land share the benefits of true freedom and gladly accept its disciplines. This we ask in the Name of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
--Le Livre de la Prière Commune, 689 / The Book of Common Prayer, 839

--the BB

Anyone doing turkey stuffing out of season?

These are Texas sundrops nestled beneath one of my two huge, healthy bushes of cooking sage.

If you need sage, stop by and help yourself. Ditto for rosemary or Greek oregano.

--the BB

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Warrantless wiretapping

How many posts have I done on FISA saying "it isn't over"?

Two good posts on the latest developments in court may be found here and here. Just in case you want to track what's happening.

--the BB

Thank you, friends

I visited Janet this evening after work. She is doing well. The lymph nodes appeared clean, which is an excellent sign. I told her all kinds of folks were praying for her, including people I have not met. I assured her there would be prayers from Sweden (because I know how reliable Göran is, and he was and there were).

Now that I have her permission, I can share that Janet is my sister-in-law. She thought it odd I would have been so discreet but I felt it courteous not to be more explicit until we had chatted. After all, allowing strangers to pray for one hardly seems, well, Episcopalian! (Teehee)

I had dug out my oil stock and so she was duly anointed with Oil for Healing as I prayed on behalf of the Whole Church Universal for her healing.

My thanks to all of you for your prayers.
--the BB

Heart thread - 06/04/2009

Janet's surgery appears to have gone well yesterday and she is home recuperating. Issues of ongoing treatment will be decided after results. I ask your prayers for her healing and for the spiritual resources to deal with the unexpected challenge that has come her way. Also for the family.

Jane R has an update on Deenie and call for prayer. Also ongoing healing for Adorable Godson.

There are several requests at OCICBW.
Themethatisme, J and her child C, Sally's son Paul, Renz's parents and Tristan, Oonagh and her Kenny.

Mimi asks prayers for Klady and her daughter and teammates, Mimi's daughter and grandson, and miracle cat Tigger.

On the twentieth anniversary of the Tienanmen Square Massacre let us pray for those killed, those who still mourn, those who dream of freedom, and a turning of heart for all oppressors.

For the repose of the souls of those lost in the Air France crash and for those who mourn.

For positive respectful dialogue in all areas and specifically for President Obama's overtures in the Muslim world.

For the US journalists on trial in North Korea.

For the unemployed.

For decent affordable health care for all in the United States.

Add your own in comments.

--the BB

PS: I was at Kirtan Mass last night (offering the Eucharistic Prayer) and went to bed quite early, so there was no blogging yesterday.

It took a while

But the girls are home together at last. On Monday Olivia came home to join her sister Clara.

The Hoffs

Here is another picture of Jeremy with a baby, his sister Esther, and his cousin Mindi in the foreground.
--the BB

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

I read really grim stuff before bedtime - and sometimes I write really grim stuff before bedtime

By the end of the third day the Battle of Evec’s Ridge was winding down. Two fifths of those who began the fight now walked the stars. An equal toll bore fresh wounds, some incapacitated and others carrying on in pain and weakness. Pyres lit the sky each night filling the air with the sickly tang of charred death and still there were bodies lying about. Carrion birds had gathered. Banners lay trampled in the bloody mud, injured horses were killed in mercy, and not a few warriors begged for the same fate.
Now it is the turn of the younger brother of the woman who offered herself under sacred feathers to see if he can turn the craziness around. The balancing act between betraying one's kin, betraying one's people, and betraying oneself is never easy.

I believe this old version of the well-known song (not this performance, but this version) lies behind my choosing "aruh" as the word in my mythical world for "woe" or "alas!"

Aruh hne n'Iswealdh an lwaithre tosdach jelaigh!

[Alas, the Isenwild lies in the ashes of death!]

--A lament related to a later volume (but written in the 70s and typed from memory after decades)

Of the next three chapters I only know what happens in two scenes. I can only predict the largest story lines.

Sleep well, my precocious parakeets!

--the BB


06/01/09 AP:
4 U.S. troops killed by bombs in Afghanistan
Two roadside bombs that struck back-to-back only miles apart hit two U.S. military vehicles Monday, killing four American troops, U.S. and Afghan officials said.

4307 - updated with photos

DoD Identifies Army Casualty

Pfc. Samuel D. Stone, 20, of Port Orchard, Wash., died May 30 in Tallil, Iraq, of injuries suffered during a non-combat related vehicle roll-over. He was assigned to the 1st Squadron, 303rd Cavalry Regiment, Bremerton, Wash.

DoD Identifies Army Casualty

Spc. Marko M. Samson, 30, of Columbus, Ohio, died May 31 in Tikrit, Iraq, of injuries suffered from a non-combat related incident. He was assigned to the 277th Aviation Support Battalion, 10th Combat Aviation Brigade, 10th Mountain Division...

DoD Identifies Army Casualty

Pvt. Thomas E. Lee, III, 20, of Dalton, Ga., died May 29 in Mosul, Iraq, of wounds suffered when an explosive device struck his vehicle. He was assigned to 3rd Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division...

DoD Identifies Army Casualty

Pvt. Bradley W. Iorio, 19, of Galloway, N.J., died May 29 at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Landstuhl, Germany, of injuries suffered from a non-combat related incident May 27 in Tallil, Iraq. He was assigned to the Special Troops Battalion...

Monday, June 01, 2009

Grief beyond words

The noble lady mentioned Saturday now rides forth, offering herself as a hostage to prevent the destruction of her city and people. Five worthies follow in her wake, having risen to her example.

As for her father....
H. looked on from the ramparts, his face tense as a drawn bow, wishing death and unspeakable destruction on M., his people, and his allies.
Others ride forth from the next city to the north to defend her town, not knowing what she has done. Still others have assembled to join in battle. Can one gather so much powder and not expect a spark?

I did not get much written yesterday and really very little today. Now here I am, up at midnight and dead tired. To bed!

Sweet dreams, my rascally ridgebacks!

--the BB

Heart thread - 06/01/2009

I ask your prayers for Janet who has surgery on Wednesday: for the healing skill of the medical professionals, for the recuperative powers of her body, for her peace of mind. Also for her husband, sons, and larger family.

Roseann asks our prayers for Gary, who has surgery on Friday, June 12. Ongoing prayers for both of them.

David has asked for prayers "for Rosemary, her heroic husband and her two young sons please," along with numerous others. See them all chez Mimi.

I would like to keep Ellie remembered, and Kirstin who nears the end of her interferon treatments, and Jay with ongoing adjustment to learning he has diabetes, and Clara who has gone home and Olivia who will soon follow.

For all aboard the Air France jet that disappeared over the Atlantic and all who love them.

For the people of Pakistan as they struggle with Taliban.

For the people of Afghanistan and a peace that benefits the people.

For the people of Iraq that their occupation may end and the various factions learn to live with each other in peace.

For Canaan that Israelis and Palestinians may share the land in peace and justice.

For peace in the Koreas.

For deliverance from violent extremists of every stripe.

For victims of torture, terrorism, and domestic violence.

For those who live in constant pain, doubt, confusion, despair, rage, or anxiety.

Almighty God, you proclaim your truth in every age by many voices: Direct, in our time, we pray, those who speak where many listen and write what many read; that they may do their part in making the heart of this people wise, its mind sound, and its will righteous; to the honor of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

--the BB

Pride Month

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim June 2009 as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month. I call upon the people of the United States to turn back discrimination and prejudice everywhere it exists.
[Emphasis mine]

You may read the entire declaration chez Susan Russell

--the BB

Life and death in the unholy land

June 1 (Bloomberg) -- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rejected U.S. President Barack Obama’s demand for a halt to all construction in West Bank settlements.

Netanyahu, who spoke at a meeting of the parliament’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, said a call by the U.S. to stop all so-called natural growth in existing settlements was unreasonable, according to someone who was present at the meeting and spoke on condition of anonymity because the session was held behind closed doors.
"So-called 'natural' growth" indeed!

Perhaps if the U.S. defunded Israel until settlements ceased things might shift. But since AIPAC has Congress by the gonads it will never happen. More's the pity.

I have no sympathy for those who have stolen land beyond the 1967 borders and I do hold the government of Israel accountable for allowing it. It is not in Israel's best interest and it perpetuates hostility every bit as much as the rhetoric and actions of Hamas or Hezbollah.

Think how much easier the task of the IDF would be if they were not defending scattered settlements.

There is NO excuse for the settlements.

Nor was there an excuse for stealing land from the First Nations of this continent.

Historical realities, but not justifiable.

Swinging out on a tangent....

When I was a pious, Baptist teenager I suspect I may have wanted to visit "the Holy Land." I cannot remember that desire in me any time from Baptist seminary days onward. I do not believe any particle of creation is more or less holy than any other part; it is all the body of God. Where Abraham and Sarah or Jesus and Mary once walked means less to me than that all of the cosmos is the expression of the Word. I am more interested in where Jesus is in our lives today than where he was two millennia ago.
--the BB

Imagine: enlightening the citizenry!

WASHINGTON, June 1 (Reuters) - A federal judge rejected on Monday a U.S. government request to keep secret the unclassified evidence that it says justifies the continued imprisonment of more than 100 Guantanamo Bay prisoners.

U.S. District Judge Thomas Hogan ruled the government cannot keep the documents known as factual returns from public disclosure and must seek court approval to keep specific information secret.

"Public interest in Guantanamo Bay generally and these proceedings specifically has been unwavering," Hogan wrote. "Publicly disclosing the factual returns would enlighten the citizenry and improve perceptions of the proceedings' fairness."

--the BB

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Quote of the day

Frank Rich in the New York Times (I recommend you read this carefully and let it sink in):
The Bush administration did not make us safer either before or after 9/11. Obama is not making us less safe. If there’s another terrorist attack, it will be because the mess the Bush administration ignored in Pakistan and Afghanistan spun beyond anyone’s control well before Americans could throw the bums out.

--the BB

I regret that hanging is not available

To deal with war criminals, that is. It is rather like my position on hell. I don't believe in it, but I want to hang on to if for certain persons. We saw to it that Saddam Hussein was hanged. It would seem apt for the same fate to befall equally guilty war criminals. (Bush, Cheney, and the whole damned WHIG crowd would be a nice start.)

Richard A. Clarke, who should be in a position to know, shreds the Cheney-Rice twaddle that's being peddled these days.

Yet listening to Cheney and Rice, it seems that they want to be excused for the measures they authorized after the attacks on the grounds that 9/11 was traumatic. "If you were there in a position of authority and watched Americans drop out of eighty-story buildings because these murderous tyrants went after innocent people," Rice said in her recent comments, "then you were determined to do anything that you could that was legal to prevent that from happening again."

I have little sympathy for this argument. Yes, we went for days with little sleep, and we all assumed that more attacks were coming. But the decisions that Bush officials made in the following months and years -- on Iraq, on detentions, on interrogations, on wiretapping -- were not appropriate. Careful analysis could have replaced the impulse to break all the rules, even more so because the Sept. 11 attacks, though horrifying, should not have surprised senior officials. Cheney's admission that 9/11 caused him to reassess the threats to the nation only underscores how, for months, top officials had ignored warnings from the CIA and the NSC staff that urgent action was needed to preempt a major al-Qaeda attack.
A few more sentences
Yes, Dick Cheney and Condoleezza Rice may have been surprised by the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 -- but it was because they had not listened.


The White House thought that 9/11 changed everything. It may have changed many things, but it did not change the Constitution, which the vice president, the national security adviser and all of us who were in the White House that tragic day had pledged to protect and preserve.
It is all rather damning, though almost any review of the evidence we have before us is.

I would like the entire American public to be aware that we already knew Bush & Cheney were full of crap. Way back when.

Frank Rich, in his column at the NYT today, notes of the journalists who just did the research that refuted Cheney's claims in his recent emesis of lies that passed for a speech that
These are the same two journalists who, reporting for what was then Knight Ridder, uncovered much of the deceit in the Bush-Cheney case for the Iraq war in the crucial weeks before Congress gave the invasion the green light.

On Sept. 6, 2002, Landay and Strobel reported that there was no known new intelligence indicating that “the Iraqis have made significant advances in their nuclear, biological or chemical weapons programs.” It was two days later that The Times ran its now notorious front-page account of Saddam Hussein’s “quest for thousands of high-strength aluminum tubes.” In the months that followed, as the Bush White House kept beating the drum for Saddam’s imminent mushroom clouds to little challenge from most news organizations, Landay and Strobel reported on the “lack of hard evidence” of Iraqi weapons and the infighting among intelligence agencies. Their scoops were largely ignored by the big papers and networks as America hurtled toward fiasco.
[Emphasis mine]

h/t to teacherken

Remember, we all have a duty to stand up to twaddlemongers.

--the BB

Dig and delve? Not so much.

I did not even weed and deadhead today, unless you count about four small tumbleweeds and a few rose hips. After the lovely brunch I got a late start in the yard. The lovely blue sky of the morning had become, in my part of town, an increasingly dark shade of gray. The wind had picked up, which makes photos tricky. My subjects would not stay still. Even so, here is the sharing from this afternoon, after I had watered everything.

Oops, I lied. These first two pics are from my bedroom window. Above is the view looking down to the northwest corner of the yard. You can see my three peach trees, tomatoes, coral roses, grapevine, magenta petunias interplanted with green beans, and the piñata rose bush.

This was the view toward the mesa at that time.

Arizona rose with Italian parsley peeking out beneath

Tournament of Roses rose

Another Tourneament of Roses rose fully opened

Sun Spray roses (blowing in the wind, thus not in focus)


Golden Showers rose

Iceberg rose with potato vine in the background

And that's today's yard tour. I am rather certain one of my tomatoes will not make it. If the other six produce I will be in an abundance. We shall see. Two have begun to bloom already. The two eggplants and the zucchini seem to be surviving. I have about six green bean plants that have made it. No fruit this year (nothing set because of the vagaries of blooming times, frosts, and winds), but some promise of vegetables. Oh, and the basil plants are happy.

I know these are very frequent updates with not much change but I am sharing my delight in beauty.

--the BB