Saturday, October 17, 2009

A page view or two

I believe Mimi and I just pushed this puppy past 70,000 page views this evening. A friend in Berkeley just started blogging (in his 80s, way to go!) and has two posts up. My garrulous typing style has put up 3,353 posts to date.

Thanks to the visitors who come here.

--the BB

Just a tidbit from my archives

The Questions Journalists Dare Not Utter
Letterman uttered. McClatchy:

...there were two much better, more revealing moments in the interview. The first came when Letterman was pressing McCain about his efforts to tie Barack Obama to Bill Ayers, the Chicago professor who founded the Vietnam-era Weather Underground group whose protests included bombings of government buildings. Letterman pressed home the obvious point that Obama was 8 years old when Ayers was engaged in anti-war activities.

Then Letterman noted that we all have associations in our lives that we can't really control, and the viewers thought, Well, here's where Letterman brings up the Keating 5. But Letterman had a better McCain association to recall:

Weren't you once at a fundraiser at G. Gordon Liddy's house? Letterman asked.

If McCain could have gone any paler, he would have. He stammered. Then, mercifully for McCain, a tragedy for television viewers, Letterman cut to a commercial.

Still waiting for closure

Oct. 17 (Bloomberg) -- A special counsel is focusing on whether Vice President Dick Cheney played a role in leaking a covert CIA agent's name, according to people familiar with the probe that already threatens top White House aides Karl Rove and Lewis Libby.

Hace veinte años

17 October 1989

Padre Mickey posted his reminiscences of the Loma Prieta Quake and invited others to share. You may read his comments here. I am pasting below what I put in comments at his site.

I was chatting with coworkers when the building began to shake. A native Californian, I was blase for a few seconds then said, "this feels like a big one." For a second longer I was grateful to be in a doorframe when I remembered the glass in the transom over our heads. Peter, another really big fellow, and I dived under a small table. When the shaking stopped everyone exited the building. Facade had fallen off the brick building across the streets and there was a cloud of cement dust. I held on colleague as she was shaking terribly. Another shouted, "my child" and hurried off in her car. We saw black smoke rising in downtown Berkeley - a tire fire in an auto shop. We all then headed home, totally unaware of the larger picture.

I took surface streets instead of freeway. All the traffic lights were out and people were taking turns in intersections. People were incredibly gracious and cooperative. I got home rather quickly. The only damage in the house was one vase that had hopped off a bookshelf and shattered. I was able to call family. I waited for Bill.

It was hours before he got home as he had to take a bus, instead of BART. I tried to stay positive but was a bit of a wreck until I heard his key in the door. He took the car and gave one of his coworker's a ride to the BART parking lot in Richmond so she could get home.

I worked for a biotech firm. There was major damage in the labs. We stayed home a few days. One friend had driven home on the Cypress Freeway before it collapsed. Some friends were at the World Series. Everybody had a story. I doubt any of us have forgotten where we were and how that day unfolded for us.

Those at the World Series returned to the East Bay by way of the Golden Gate Bridge into Marin then across the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge to the north end of the East Bay. It took many hours.

One coworker lived in the Marina, the area in San Francisco build on landfill that had so much damage and fires. We could not reach her and were terribly concerned. She also had a loft just blocks from work where she had her art studio. We finally learned she was there and not in San Francisco at all. Blessedly, her apartment in the Marina was not damaged as so many had been.

--the BB

An interesting retrospective

Five years ago today Ron Suskind had an article in the New York Times Magazine titled "Faith, Certainty and the Presidency of George W. Bush." It makes for fascinating reading as we ponder the Bush years and the current state of the Republican Party.

It is the article where we encounter this now-famous passage:
In the summer of 2002, after I had written an article in Esquire that the White House didn't like about Bush's former communications director, Karen Hughes, I had a meeting with a senior adviser to Bush. He expressed the White House's displeasure, and then he told me something that at the time I didn't fully comprehend -- but which I now believe gets to the very heart of the Bush presidency.

The aide said that guys like me were ''in what we call the reality-based community,'' which he defined as people who ''believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality.'' I nodded and murmured something about enlightenment principles and empiricism. He cut me off. ''That's not the way the world really works anymore,'' he continued. ''We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality -- judiciously, as you will -- we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.''
The article concludes thus:
Can the unfinished American experiment in self-governance -- sputtering on the watery fuel of illusion and assertion -- deal with something as nuanced as the subtleties of one man's faith? What, after all, is the nature of the particular conversation the president feels he has with God -- a colloquy upon which the world now precariously turns?

That very issue is what Jim Wallis wishes he could sit and talk about with George W. Bush. That's impossible now, he says. He is no longer invited to the White House.

''Faith can cut in so many ways,'' he said. ''If you're penitent and not triumphal, it can move us to repentance and accountability and help us reach for something higher than ourselves. That can be a powerful thing, a thing that moves us beyond politics as usual, like Martin Luther King did. But when it's designed to certify our righteousness -- that can be a dangerous thing. Then it pushes self-criticism aside. There's no reflection.

''Where people often get lost is on this very point,'' he said after a moment of thought. ''Real faith, you see, leads us to deeper reflection and not -- not ever -- to the thing we as humans so very much want.''

And what is that?

''Easy certainty.''
This was weeks before the 2004 election when serious corruption in Ohio led to Bush inhabiting the Oval Office for four more years.

I realize the issue of whether he was actually elected in 2004 is a matter of debate but I believe it was stolen. Again.
--the BB

The GOP has it covered

--the BB

Heart thread - 10/17/2009 - updated

From Mimi we have a Myron Update:
Good Morning Everyone,

Myron spent the last evening in the ER at Christiana because of abdominal and back pain. An ultrasound was performed and a significant amount of sludge was seen in the gall bladder. The doctors decided to wait for several hours then repeat the ultrasound and it was determined he would in fact need to have the gall bladder removed. At this point the gall bladder is too inflamed to remove so they will wait a couple of days until it calms down a bit before surgery. An endoscopy will be done at the time of surgery to make sure there are no stones in any of the ducts.

Thank you all for your continued good thoughts and prayers.


Strengthen your servant Myron, O God, to do what he has to do and bear what he has to bear; that, accepting your healing gifts through the skill of surgeons and nurses, he may be restored to usefulness in your world with a thankful heart; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Prayers for Mimi and her upcoming cataract surgery, that it will all go well and that she will have peace of mind through it all.
When my mother had her surgery, I watched the procedure live on TV from a camera fitted with a microscopic lens. At the time, I thought that Dr. B. must be quite sure of his skills to permit a family member to observe, and I was impressed with his dexterity and speed in the operation. Just last year, in "New Orleans Magazine", Dr. B. was rated the best ophthalmologist in the neighborhood by his peers in the profession. He was a pioneer in our area with the small-cut cataract procedure, and I should have chosen him from the beginning. I believe that the mix-up at Ochsner turned out to be a blessing in disguise.

After lunch, GP and I headed over to the office (me driving), and, to make a long story short, my surgeries are scheduled for Nov. 9 and Nov. 23 by a doctor I know and in whom I have great confidence.

The bit of bad news is that I have early-stage dry macular degeneration in both eyes. For now, the treatment is a vitamin supplement, which I already take, and which obviously didn't prevent the condition from developing in the first place.
For Roseann and Gary, ongoing prayers. I have not seen an update on this surgery.
On Monday the 12th, I will have vein graft surgery. This is being done for dialysis purposes. I don't want to do it, there is significant risk of bleeding and clotting, but my doc is insisting. With the catheter I have now the risk of infection is great. It is not a matter of IF and infection but WHEN. So what's a girl to do.
For Eileen's cousin Mary Beth:
Mary Beth made it through her surgery well, but she is in ICU, and her brain is still quite swollen. It will be several days before any damage to her brain can be assessed – the aneurysm was apparently deep and her surgery was quite invasive, so there are concerns about her vision and possible cognitive functions. Her doctors report she is young and strong though, and so they have hope she will make a full recovery.

Many thanks to those of you who have been praying for her.
For Mother Sandra as she continues to heal and recuperate:
Mother Sandra is still at Kindred Hospital and continues to slowly progress in her healing. This will be a lengthy process of unknown duration and it is expected that she will continue to be at Kindred for awhile. Where she will go after Kindred will be dependent upon her healing and strength at that time.
For Bishop Marc who has run into a major complication after surgery for prostate cancer:
Saturday evening, continued difficulty breathing and slightly elevated temperature. Sheila and I decided to go to the emergency room. During a 15-hour stay in the emergency department at UCSF it was determined that a blood clot had broken away from veins in my lower left calf and made its way into my lungs – I had an extensive pulmonary embolism, with one large clot in the pulmonary artery, and smaller ones branching out through the lungs. I was eventually admitted to the hospital, after being put on blood thinners, and was discharged on Sunday evening.

This surprising event means that my recovery has been extended a bit, but I’m still in fact recovering. I’m back under the careful, tremendously competent eye of my primary care physician who mercifully shows me no mercy, and have the best help possible in Sheila.
For the diocesan conventions of California and Rio Grande (and any others) this weekend. May the Holy Spirit guide and renew.

Are you familiar with Ellie's blog Does Not Wisdom Call? If not, pop on over for some lovely meditations and art. Consider it a Sabbath treat to yourself. Please say a prayer for Sister Ellie as you do.

MadPriest is not back so you know he's up to no good. Pray for him anyway.

Mark is healing from sundry injuries and can use our prayers.

Jane battles deadlines and a fresh bout of respiratory crud and a shot of the Holy Spirit's eloquence and healing combined would not be amiss.

Last Tuesday was the 33rd anniversary of the loving commitment of Elizabeth and Ms Conroy. That calls for celebration and prayers for blessings on their years ahead. May they be many, rich in love, health, and joy.

For Marsha who had surgery on both feet on Wednesday:
As promised, I want to let you know about Marsha's surgery today. I just spoke with her: she is back home, the surgery went well, she ate half a sandwich, Max is being an excellent nurse, and she has no pain. Alleluia!
For Joe struggling with many challenges.

Happy Birthday today to my high school classmate Nancy Boghosian and to my U.S. Representative in Congress Martin Heinrich.

For Frank and Carol, for Susan, for Karen, for Kathy.

For the raising up of a new and vibrant congregation in the South Valley at Our Saviour.

For peace in Pakistan where the military has begun a new ground offensive against the Taliban in South Waziristan.

For wisdom and long-term thinking with regard to Afghanistan.

For the people of Zimbabwe.

For the elimination of hunger as we are mindful of World Food Day.

A joyous Diwali to all who celebrate it.

For those threatened by bushfire in central Queensland and those who fight the fire.

For the talks between India and China.

For the people of Guinea and an end to the crisis there.

Voting in Botswana has just come to an end; for the people of that nation.

For legitimate and respected government in Honduras.

For universal health care in the United States and for all who struggle for it.

For Ralph and Susan.
Still moving/settling in, and dealing with mounting health complications for both of us.

Stay tuned, and humor us with prayers if they come naturally. Seems likely that we’re gonna need them.

--the BB

Friday, October 16, 2009

OMG, it's a Republican

Isn't it amazing how bullies are really all WATBs?

How dare you expose my meanness, my bigotry, my economic rape of the poor? If you demand the same rights I have, you are treading on my rights! I'm the victim here! I'M THE VICTIM!

Why is everyone so mean to meeeeeeeeeeee?

In the category of "we can dish it out but we can't take it...."
"Elder Bush Decries Lack of Civility in Politics"
Look, you spawned the little shithead that fucked over our country; take some responsibility, Poppy. I may be, and I am, a foulmouthed ranter who thinks your family is nothing better than an organized crime group, but I didn't foist Junior on this nation, OK? I'll sit in the balance with your "civility" any damn day.

As Hoffmania observes:
And that said while not naming by name any right wing nut like Beck, Savage, Hannity, Levin, Limbaugh, Gallag...

...oh, forget it. They LIKED his ugly kid. Some things just explain themselves.

--the BB

When the perps are behind bars, I will let this rest

This is too delish:
“It cannot be suggested that information as to how officials of the U.S. government admitted treating (Binyam Mohamed) during his interrogation is information that can in any democratic society governed by the rule of law be characterized as ’secret’ or as ‘intelligence’…”

--Paisley Dodds for the AP (full article here)

What is this all about? In a nutshell:
In a stunning and refreshing decision, the British High Court has overruled the British government’s attempt to suppress torture evidence on the US and British treatment of Binyam Mohamed.

See bmaz's article at emptywheel.
“In our view, as a court in the United Kingdom, a vital public interest requires, for reasons of democratic accountability and the rule of law in the United Kingdom, that a summary of the most important evidence relating to the involvement of the British security services in wrongdoing be placed in the public domain in the United Kingdom.”

The British High Court shows the world how torture is considered in a real legal system.


--the BB

Thursday, October 15, 2009

You're parasites

You will not see anything this exciting on any other program. Stay till the end.

God bless Rachel for speaking the truth to people who behave as total scumbags.

"I think you're really bad for the country."

--the BB

Movie night at Desert Farne

A couple weeks ago I came across my VHS copy of Sordid Lives. A tacky, funny, moving movie. I had forgotten how moving. Yes, when Olivia Newton-John sang "I'm coming home" in the church I got all soppy.

Still trying to get over the hair on the deceased's sister. I may have been traumatized, though not as much as Brother Boy by Dr. Eve's tatas.

--the BB

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Three cheers for the courts!

If you would like to keep up with some exciting developments in the courts, visit Emtpywheel.

Bmaz has some great posts up today. You can read Judge Jeffrey S. White:
Considering the delay in disclosure thus far in this matter, the current administration’s pointed directive on transparency in government, and the public’s renewed interest in the question of legal immunity for the telecommunications companies that participated in the warrantless wiretapping program while considering currently pending legislation repealing the amendments to FISA, the Court finds that the public interest lies in favor of disclosure. This Court has already found, when deciding the motion for preliminary injunction in this case, that “irreparable harm exists where Congress is considering legislation that would amend the FISA and the records may enable the public to participate meaningfully in the debate over such pending legislation.”

Preach it, Your Honor!

Also, Judge Vaughn Walker ain't buyin' the bullshit the Prop 8 proponents are slinging:
A federal judge on Wednesday refused to dismiss a legal challenge to Proposition 8, concluding that the ongoing courtroom battle over California’s voter-approved ban on gay marriage must be resolved in a full-blown trial.
On the judicial front I am, so far, rather disappointed in the Obama administration. News like this encourages me in the belief that the courts may speak up on behalf of the American People and justice when Congress and the White House posture and dally.

I also loved yesterday's smackdown of Oily Taint.

--the BB

Heart thread - 10/14/2009

We remember Mimi who has an appointment today with an optometrist to start the process for having cataract surgery. May peace surround her and may things progress smoothly toward clearer vision.

For Fran and Jane R and PJ and all who have way too many tasks to do and not enough time to do them in.

For MadPriest and the Mrs while they are away.

For Mark (Mapko) who mourns and sorts out life without Nikolai.

For The Cunning Runt who is " moving and setting up a new phone system and dealing with some rather serious health issues."

For diocesan conventions this weekend for the Dioceses of California and the Rio Grande.

For continued healing for Bishop Marc.
Recovery for the Rt. Rev. Marc Handley Andrus will take a little longer than originally hoped, and he will not be in attendance at the 160th Convention of the Diocese of California this Friday and Saturday. Bishop Marc will make his presentation to the convention by video. For more personal information about Bishop Mark’s health status, visit his blog:
For Joe.

I sent this to David@Montreal yesterday and share it here with y'all:
Since the Holy Spirit is described in Corinthians as both the giver of diverse gifts and the source of unity, my "beatific vision" is one of ever-increasing complexity with ever-increasing interrelatedness. One one level, of course, that is simply the reality of what already exists in God, yet I believe it is not static but ever unfolding, growing, and dazzling in the divine imagination. No wonder we have to run to catch up, while we must also be still and just know awe.

--the BB

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

It's not the Republican Party; it's who runs things

Buhdydharma spells it out for us in simple terms:
Why was Bush able to ram his agenda through so easily? Because his agenda was the agenda of the Ruling Class.

Why can't Obama get his agenda through?

Because his agenda directly attacks the Ruling Class.
Think about all the pushback and who lies behind it.

Click on the name above to read it all.

--the BB

Take names and kick ass

Why do they hate women?

Why do they obstruct justice?

Why do they condone violent rape?

They have two things in common:

They are all male.

They are all Republicans.

--the BB

Dear Senator Reid

Now would be a good time to enforce some party discipline in your caucus. If you cannot, why not just fucking resign?

Love and kisses,
the BB

Jane Hamsher
puts it more politely:
Either you’re going to enforce caucus discipline or you don’t have a party. You have instead a collection of self-interested narcissists, each one with the ability to derail any legislation they don’t like. Every Senator who derives their political power from membership in the caucus is thereby granted the power to torpedo any piece of legislation from coming to a vote, with no consequences. It’s an outrage.


10/13/09 DoD:
Marine Casualty Identified
Staff Sgt. Aaron J. Taylor, 27, of Bovey, Minn., died Oct. 9 while supporting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan. He was assigned to Marine Wing Support Squadron 372, Marine Wing Support Group 37, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Pendleton, Calif.

10/13/09 DoD:
Marine Casualty Identified
Lance Cpl. Alfonso Ochoa Jr., 20, of Armona, Calif., died Oct. 10 while supporting combat operations in Farah province, Afghanistan. He was assigned to 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force, Marine Corps Base Hawaii, Kaneohe Bay.

10/12/09 DoD:
Army Casualty Identified
Spc. George W. Cauley, 24, of Walker, Minn., died Oct. 10 in Bagram, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when insurgents attacked his vehicle with an improvised explosive device on Oct. 7 in Helmand province. He was assigned to the 114th Truck Company of the Minnesota Army National Guard in Duluth, Minn.

A garden, a casserole, a challenge

Is this evening a semblance of normalcy?

I came home and watered the back yard. Noted more leaves falling, more green tomatoes, some ripe ones, pondered the yard work I should have done yesterday when the day was beautiful. But I didn't, did I, Blanche?

I threw together a casserole of ham, noodles, eggs, cream, green chiles, cheese, bread crumbs. Not heavenly but not bad. Good use of what is in the house.

I'm not running off anywhere tonight.

Tomorrow we have our inaugural healing Eucharist at San Gabriel, to be a regular feature on second Tuesdays. I look forward to that. The masters for the liturgy and the proper lessons were printed yesterday and I can have copies made at lunch.

Today at lunch I wolfed down a really tasty cheese sandwich (good bread full of what berries and stuff and extra sharp Vermont cheddar, nothing else) and drove to Diocesan House. There I turned in the keys so someone else can cover Our Saviour this coming Sunday while I am back at San Gabriel. I did a pep talk for diocesan staff as they ate their lunches and politely listened. Actually, I think they catch the possibilities. They also confirmed that in the entire SW quadrant of Albuquerque there are only the Cathedral Church of St John and Our Saviour.

According to the city's website, Albuquerque's population is 860,000. Now, I know that the SW quadrant does not hold 1/4 of that, we are still more sparsely populated than the rest of the city. But let's pretend for a moment that the SW does have 215,000 people in it and only two Episcopal Churches.

Would it be rude to point out that the money in ABQ lies in the opposite direction (the NE heights)?

Or that the motto of the diocese is "we are a missionary people" when San Gabriel is the only mission started in many years, and it was started by a parish?

Yep. Very rude.

Consider it a challenge.

Time to act like people who really believe their lives have been changed by God's love. To act like people who really believe God loves all creation. To act like people who are called, empowered, and commanded to be part of the healing of the world.

And you don't have to be a fundamentalist to believe and act like this. Liberals can do it too. And trust me on this, ABQ does not have a superfluity of progressive and inclusive churches.

Anyone care to dream dreams and have visions?

Just saying.

--the BB

Monday, October 12, 2009

Canadian Thanksgiving- news of Frank

David sends us this moving news (on Canadian Thanksgiving Day):
dearest Giants of Prayer & Practice
Just in from a long walk with Willie the blessing daschund, and the phone was ringing
Frank, my very dear cousin, fighting lukemia with genetic therapy with an imprefect genetic match had called Mam when he couldn't get me on the phone.
Late last week he and Carol were headed into Vancouver for one of his twice-weekly days of outpatient treatment at the hospital, when all of a sudden Frank felt an incredibly sharp pain and tearing deep inside his calf.
The pain persisted all the way to the hospital where he was admitted as an emergency.
Turns out two pieces of cartelarge had become so brittle from all of the differant treatments Frank's been undergoing and twoe rogue pieces of cartelage were circulating in his body via the blood. Minor piercing of the lungs, some damage to the heart but thankfully no damage to either major veins into or out of the heart. The pain in his calf was indeed a tear of some seriousness which is being left to heal itself.

After the situation had been normalized, apparently the head of the whole cancer program came in to shake Frank's hand- to tell him how he couldn't understand, how with all Frank's been through, and now this, that he's still alive. To quote' you should have been dead, several times over.'
Carol said, with tears in his eyes, Frank told the doctor he was being kept alive by prayer alone- 'It's my cousin's gang of saints' (that's you guys)
Apparently the doctor at first misunderstood, thinking Frank and Carol might be Mormon, until Frank explained we're Anglican/Episcopalian/ RomanCatholic/Buddhist
Frank apparently waxed quite lyrical about the bunch of you, and by the time he'd finished the doctor was shaking his head, smiling with tears washing his own cheeks.

Litterally Frank's first call when he got home today, was to try and get me, and then to talk with Mam, to say thankyou, thank-you, thank-you to the Giants & to ask for your continued prayers.
To quote my beloved cousin, he's never felt so loved in his whole life, and that's saying a lot, as he had two wonderful parents (an only child) who adored the beautiful human being they'd been given.

I'd also ask for prayers for my sister Susan, who has spent the Thanksgiving week-end in hospital following a minor stroke with complications- tests still being run on the second day as they haven't quite got it all figured out.

Thanksgiving and continued prayers for Frank and his wife Carol and those who minister to him. Also fresh prayers for Susan and all minister to her. And for David and his whole family.

What a great bit of news to come home to this afternoon!

--the BB

A redeemed people

Our friend David@Montreal shared with me a comment that I want to pass along to a wider audience, the suggestion that
...just possibly what the Holy Spirit is doing during these troubling times is calling us to finally live and act [as] a redeemed people instead of an imperial machine.

Amen to that, Brother David, amen to that!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Planting a seed

On behalf of TEC and the Episcopal Diocese of Rio Grande it was my privilege to open the doors and preside at Holy Eucharist this morning.

I did not have time or resources for a whole new sign but I did get our logo out there, and the word "Episcopal."

The church as they left it; the church as it looked this morning.

The new frontal is made of green African fabric that has been waiting in my fabric collection for a worthy purpose. It was just the right size to hem and hang on the altar too. A friend picked up flowers. I brought in my Ethiopian processional cross for the occasion, though it is safely back home now.

Attendance: a hefty 4. An offering was taken and will be turned in to the diocese.

Someone from the break away group parked next door and watched to see who and how many showed up. If we are threatening, we must be doing something right.

Afterward my friend and I went to the 66 Diner and had retro comfort food: meat loaf for me and chicken fried steak for her, both with mashed potatoes and gravy.

So, we have a building (two in fact) but no church (the people). Pray for God to raise up leaders with the hearts of missioners, for wise and creative and effective communication and outreach. There is opportunity here.

Rehydrating and resting this evening.

Blessed be Godde.

--the BB