Saturday, November 14, 2009

Serving the overlords

The deficit is the bludgeon used by the wealthy bondholders to beat liberals into retreat on doing anything that might make average citizens feel that democratic government might be a better guarantor of economic security than their rich overlords (who are doing "God's Work" allegedly on their behalf.)


Reporting back on the day at Our Saviour, ABQ

The full report is on the church blog. Then, as I came home and began to rest my weary body (though I was not doing the heavy lifting, all those other folks were), I got an e-mail that Integrity of the Four Corners offered Evening Prayer today and took up a collection and are sharing part of that with Our Saviour, Albuquerque. Remember how, in the early church, offerings were shared about the Eastern Mediterranean by personal messenger? Well, this gift will be brought in person to Our Saviour a week from tomorrow.

I don't know about y'all but it makes me very aware, and humbled, to feel in continuity with the early church.

Comforting and disturbing thoughts flit through my head. Today I was carrying a hammer from my car back to the church. My new hammer is at home but this is an old one. It was one of my father's hammers. He was a builder and his father was a builder. They helped build schools, churches, houses, and mountain cabins. I felt a link with them for a few moments, though I am anything but "handy." A few moments ago, following on this memory, I thought of Jesus' words to Francis: "rebuild my church." It was not, of course, a physical building that Francis helped rebuild but the larger church. Feeling linked to something that awesome is, well, kind of terrifying. Of course, we are talking about the Episcopal Church in the South Valley, not the church universal. But every part of Christ's Body is equal to every other part and affects the whole.

Feeling kind of small tonight. But hopeful.

Peace be with you all this night.

--the BB

Thursday, November 12, 2009


11/12/09 DoD: Marine Casualty Identified
Lance Cpl. Justin J. Swanson, 21, of Anaheim, Calif., died Nov. 10 while supporting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan. He was assigned to 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Pendleton, Calif.

11/06/09 DoD:
Army Casualty Identified
Spc. Julian L. Berisford, 25, of Benwood, W.V., died Nov. 4 in Paktika province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when insurgents attacked his unit using small arms and rocket-propelled grenade fires. He was assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 509th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division, Fort Richardson, Alaska.

11/09/09 DoD:
Army Casualty Identified
Spc. Aaron S. Aamot, 22, of Custer, Wash., died Nov. 5 in Jelewar, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when enemy forces attacked his vehicle with an improvised explosive device. He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 17th Infantry Regiment, 5th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, Fort Lewis, Wash.

11/09/09 DoD:
Army Casualty Identified
Spc. Gary L. Gooch Jr., 22, of Ocala, Fla., died Nov. 5 in Jelewar, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when enemy forces attacked his vehicle with an improvised explosive device. He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 17th Infantry Regiment, 5th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, Fort Lewis, Wash.

11/10/09 DoD:
Marine Casualty Identified
Sgt. Charles I. Cartwright, 26, of Union Bridge, Md., died Nov. 7 while supporting combat operations in Farah province, Afghanistan. He was assigned to 1st Marine Special Operations Battalion, U.S. Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command, Camp Pendleton, Calif.


11/10/09 DoD:
Army Casualties Identified (2 of 2)
Chief Warrant Officer Mathew C. Heffelfinger, 29, of Kimberly, Idaho...assigned to the 2nd Squadron, 6th Cavalry Regiment, 25th Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, Schofield Barracks, Hawaii...died Nov. 8 in Tikrit, Iraq, of injuries sustained when their OH-58D helicopter crashed.

11/10/09 DoD:
Army Casualties Identified (1 of 2)
Chief Warrant Officer Earl R. Scott III, 24, of Jacksonville, Fla...assigned to the 2nd Squadron, 6th Cavalry Regiment, 25th Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, Schofield Barracks, Hawaii...died Nov. 8 in Tikrit, Iraq, of injuries sustained when their OH-58D helicopter crashed.

11/06/09 DoD:
Army Casualty Identified
Staff Sgt. Amy C. Tirador, 29, of Albany, N.Y., died Nov. 4 in Kirkush, Iraq, of injuries sustained from a non-combat related incident. She was assigned to the 209th Military Intelligence Company, 1st Squadron, 14th Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, Fort Lewis, Wash.

11/09/09 DoD:
Army Casualty Identified
Spc. Tony Carrasco Jr., 25, of Berino, N.M., died Nov. 4 in Ad Dawr, Iraq, of a gunshot wound suffered when enemy forces attacked his unit. He was assigned to 2nd Battalion, 32nd Field Artillery Regiment, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, Fort Riley, Kan.

What the Rude Pundit said

Don't you get tired of misogynist fucktards?

Almost the entire debate over abortion in the health reform bill was a defense of the Hyde Amendment. Democrats used to talk about overturning it completely because it's an unfair, government-imposed burden on poor women. But the anti-choice forces have so controlled the rhetoric that we are left with this sad moment, where in order to even pass a meager insurance bill, another assault on poor (and at least some middle class but, really, all) women occurred by preventing any abortion coverage in any insurance plan in a federal government insurance exchange.

Tell you what: let's up the fuckin' ante here. What is the number one cause of an unwanted pregnancy? Balls and the jizz contained therein. So how about an amendment that says if a woman gets pregnant and is forced to carry the baby to term no matter what, the dude who knocked her up has to get his nuts cut off. There's your trade-off, and men and women both get to have "consequences" for their actions. The result is more babies in the short term, but a whole lot less in the long term. There's details to be worked out. But castration's in the Bible somewhere, isn't it? Like "And, lo, God did tell Zebechaiah to chop the junk off the fornicator Jake"? If not, it should be. Just say it's a new translation.

--the Rude Pundit

Of course, all those nutless bastards in the Senate have nothing to lose in this proposal. Can't cut their hearts out either, 'cause they lack those. Must be some reasonable penalty for their behavior.

No, I'm not oozing charity this evening.

--the BB

Privatizing national defense was never a good idea

Top executives at Blackwater Worldwide authorized secret payments of about $1 million to Iraqi officials that were intended to silence their criticism and buy their support after a September 2007 episode in which Blackwater security guards fatally shot 17 Iraqi civilians in Baghdad, according to former company officials.
As trifecta writes at Daily Kos:
The press was so bad in those two months following the massacre, that Blackwater had to act. They didn't reform, they hatched bribery plots, trying to find Iraqi officials who cared more about a nice cash payout than justice for the seventeen dead citizens that they were elected to represent.

The story is just crossing the wires. Let's just hope this doesn't get diverted to Joe Lieberman's Subcommittee and the truth shall come out. These folks need to go to prison, starting at the rotten head at the top.

--the BB

I've been wondering where the countervailing voices were

US ambassador warns against Afghanistan troop surge
Times Online - ‎4 hours ago‎
The US ambassador to Afghanistan has dramatically intervened in the debate about troop reinforcements, warning President Obama against committing tens of thousands of extra troops to the country.

What? A voice of reason? Someone aware of the history of Afghanistan, perhaps?

How did they let in someone who does not benefit from the military-industrial complex?

Good to read this.

--the BB

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Veterans' Day would not be complete without this

James Gandolfini interviews 10 soldiers who survived severe injuries while serving in Iraq.

What a fine, beautiful, strong person this soldier is.

I have wept several times today. I cannot comment now.

Thanks to Elizabeth Kaeton for pointing me to this video and for her comments and the prayers she shares.

--the BB

Heart thread - 11/11/2009 - updated

Happy birthday to my brother-in-law Jack, 79 today and, as his daughter reminds us, a vet.

Happy birthday to Bob Pankratz, seminary classmate from many years back.

Happy birthday to Philip Becker Freyder, college classmate from even further back.

Happy birthday tomorrow to Fran.

Roseann celebrated Holy Eucharist at home yesterday evening, inviting us all to be with her in spirit.
Now I can write
Friends, I enjoyed, rejoiced and celebrated HE in a way that is still giving me the chills. I felt so much love and I was able to return that love. I will always be grateful. I could feel you all with me and if love were a color this house would still saturated.

Thank you all for your presence in my life. Thank you, thank you.

Oh, and FYI if I haven't told you already Dr. Kimball says passing should be very gentle, that my heart till just stop. I feel comforted by that fact.

Love you all and I'll try to write more tomorrow.

Love, R
For Molly the Wonder Dog. Susankay writes:
Molly the WonderDog has been diagnosed with Diabetes Insipidus. While another miraculous cure would be lovely, we would be oh so grateful if the prayer legions could ask that it be a treatable variety.
For Lindy in her work in China.

For expectant mothers, especially Rachel, and their families.

For Frank and Carol.

For Jim, Ruthie, and their sons.

For David, Doxy's father, whose cancer has spread, and for Doxy and her family.

For Eileen's friend Mary Beth, of whom Eileen writes:
I figured it’s time for another update on Mary Beth – although really not much has changed. She is now recovering at home and doing fairly well. Her eyesight in one of her eyes it still a problem, and she is still frustrated with that. I again thank all of you who have been praying for her.
For Mimi and Diane in ABQ, both recovering from eye surgery.

For continued healing for Sandra Bess+.

For Diane R. and her new computer.

For oppressed minorities throughout the world.

For those who mourn this day, who weep this night, who cannot sleep, who are far from home or have no home, whose demons taunt them, who know no peace.

For peace.

For those having a colonoscopy tomorrow; you know who you are.

Lord God of hosts, you clothed your servant Martin the soldier with the spirit of sacrifice, and set him as a bishop in your Church to be a defender of the catholic faith: Give us grace to follow in his holy steps, that at the last we may be found clothed with righteousness in the dwellings of peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

--the BB

Vets against escalation in Afghanistan

Have you thanked a vet today?

Almighty God, we commend to your gracious care and keeping all the men and women of our armed forces at home and abroad. Defend them day by day with your heavenly grace; strengthen them in their trials and temptations; give them courage to face the perils which beset them; and grant them a sense of your abiding presence wherever they may be; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Wouldn't it be great if every one of us did something good for veterans today?

Check out IAVA, America's first and largest Iraq and Afghanistan veterans organization. You can find stories, videos, and pictures straight from Iraq and Afghanistan, along with news about the latest issues facing the Troops, and hard-hitting commentary from war veterans. Click on the link below to go to IAVA's website and get the "ground truth" about the war from the people who were there.

I just donated to IAVA in honor of our friend Mark (Mарко Фризия), a U. S. Army vet. He has a Veterans Day post up.

"...It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us -- that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion -- that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain -- that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom -- and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth."
President Abraham Lincoln, Gettysburg Address, November 19, 1863
If you'd like to support our troops serving today, you can go to Any Soldier.

Another anti-war liberal who is....

--the BB

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

A hauntingly lovely song

Mt Ararat

This is an Armenian song about a young man from Bingyol who is very much in love and missing his beloved. I found myself lost in the harmonies. Zulal at a Songs and Flight Concert in Northridge, CA.

h/t to Janine at Facebook. Shnorhagalatyun'n.

What the heck? Let's have some more of these talented young ladies.

--the BB

Monday, November 09, 2009

Too big to exist: precisely!

Bernie Sanders went and did it. Here is the bill in toto:

To address the concept of ‘‘Too Big To Fail’’ with respect
to certain financial entities.

1 Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representa-
2 tives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,
4 This Act may be cited as the ‘‘Too Big to Fail, Too
5 Big to Exist Act’’.
8 Notwithstanding any other provision of law, not later
9 than 90 days after the date of enactment of this Act, the
10 Secretary of the Treasury shall submit to Congress a list


1 of all commercial banks, investment banks, hedge funds,
2 and insurance companies that the Secretary believes are
3 too big to fail (in this Act referred to as the ‘‘Too Big
4 to Fail List’’).
6 Notwithstanding any other provision of law, begin
7 ning 1 year after the date of enactment of this Act, the
8 Secretary of the Treasury shall break up entities included
9 on the Too Big To Fail List, so that their failure would
10 no longer cause a catastrophic effect on the United States
11 or global economy without a taxpayer bailout.
13 For purposes of this Act, the term ‘‘Too Big to Fail’’
14 means any entity that has grown so large that its failure
15 would have a catastrophic effect on the stability of either
16 the financial system or the United States economy without
17 substantial Government assistance.
Short. And to the point.

Way to go, Bernie!

--the BB

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Making headlines

I followed a link from Göran to see photos of the two new bishops in the Church of Sweden and enjoyed seeing the photos at SvD (Svenska Dagbladet, on the web since 1995). I especially liked the smiling, openly lesbian bishop standing next to the king.

Scrolling down I came across this glaring headline.

And y'all thought I was quietly minding my own business at home, right?

Actually, this means there is a controversy over Stockholm's skyline. My last name, cognate with the German Streit, means "conflict, battle, strife." If you think that's good, ponder this: "Paul" means "small of stature" or, as I like to translate it, "runt."

May God richly bless the ministries of Bishops Eva Brunne (Stockholm) and Tuulikki Joivunen Bylund (Härnösand).

--the BB