Saturday, January 23, 2010


01/22/10 DoD:
Army Casualty Identified
Capt. Paul Pena, 27, of San Marcos, Texas, died Jan. 19 in Arghandab River Valley, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when enemy forces attacked his unit with an improvised explosive device. He was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, N.C.

01/22/10 DoD:
Army Casualty Identified
Staff Sgt. Thaddeus S. Montgomery, 29, of West Yellowstone, Mont., died Jan. 20 at Lorengal Outpost, Afghanistan, of injuries sustained from a non-combat related incident. He was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 12th Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, Fort Carson, Colo.

01/21/10 DOD:
Army Casualty Identified
Sgt. 1st Class Michael P. Shannon, 52, of Canadensis, Pa., died Jan. 17, in Kabul, Afghanistan, of injuries sustained from a non-combat related incident. He was assigned to Headquarters, 7th Army and U.S. Army Europe, Heidelberg, Germany.

[I apologize that I have missed some names since the last post. May that not reflect on the honorable service given or the prayers offered.]


01/23/10 DoD:
Army Casualty Identified
Pfc. Gifford E. Hurt, 19, of Yonkers, N.Y., died Jan. 20, in Mosul, Iraq, of injuries sustained from a non-combat related accident. He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 14th Field Artillery Regiment, 214th Fires Brigade, 4th Infantry Division, Fort Sill, Okla.

May he rest in peace

Deficit hystrionics

David Plouffe editorial in the WaPo:
Don't accept any lectures on spending. The GOP took us from a $236 billion surplus when President Bush took office to a $1.3 trillion deficit, with unpaid-for tax cuts for the wealthy, two wars and the Medicare prescription drug program. Republicans' fiscal irresponsibility has never been matched in our country's history. We have potent talking points on health care, honest budgeting and cuts in previously sacrosanct programs. Republicans will try to win disingenuously by running as outsiders. We must make them own their record of disastrous economic policies, exploding deficits, and a failure to even attempt to solve our health care and energy challenges.

The deficit spending practiced now is to stabilize the economy, rebuild the infrastructure, and stimulate job--and we're not burying it in "off-budget" sleight of hand. Those how raised no hue and cry when Bush drove us into debt can hardly cry "deficit" now without exposing themselves as rank hypocrites. Let's call them out on it.

--the BB

Friday, January 22, 2010

Heart thread - 01/22/2010

From SYNTHEOPOIESIS † ΣΥΝΘΕΟΠΟΙΗΣΗΣ comes a call to prayer:
Please pray. The Holy Trinity is with us.
Dear friends everywhere: The community of the 'Jn1034' is sad today. Our beloved holy elder from Athens who residing in New York is suddenly ill and suffers with a great physical pain. Without him we have a smaller vision and voice, and this Orthodox blog can not be updated. For many decades he is the spiritual elder and the 'éminence grise' of the Pan-Orthodoxy in Europe, the Middle East, and the Americas and his intercession for the Holy Church are international and with honourable merits. Please pray for the health and salvation for the whole world and the many people who suffer a greater agony than he, the people without the grace and the mercy of the Holy Trinity God, the millions upon millions with life and death need and want. Our brother is a remarkable protopresbyter, called out of the world for the Holy Episcopacy of the Church, a man taught of God in the Holy Spirit, a great and humble soul called 'exceptional' by the Ecumenical Patriarch of Phanar, for he is for the heart of the Great Church of Christ. Thank you and may God grant you all many years.

'+Jn1034' from the Holy God-Trodden Monastery of Saint Aikaterini in the Mount Sinai
THROUGH THE HANDS OF +JN1034 . 22.1.10
Our hearts go out to our brothers who have witnessed s faithfully to the abiding love of the Holy Trinity for all creation, calling the Orthodox and all Christians to receive the Sacraments, be the Church, and proclaim Good News to all creation. May the beloved holy elder from Athens be comforted in suffering and weakness, defended by the Holy Angels, and fall asleep at last in Christ, to rise also in Christ.

For the people of Haiti, those who help them, those who support financially and in prayer, and those who love Haiti.

We continue to remember Jane R's mother in hospital, Jane's father, Jane, and the whole family.
Jane R had a lovely and delicious supper at the retirement community w/my father after another day at the hospital. Strong possibility my mother will be discharged tomorrow, with follow-up care at home. Thanks to the Prayer Posse for continuing solidarity and spiritual support.
Journeying mercies for Diane's daughter en route from South Africa.

For Fran and Mark dealing with a dead water heater.

Healing for Christal who sprained back, wrist, and ankle. Also for Charles recovering from a sprained ankle.

For JohnBear still in the process of being fitted out for a clinical trial and for Raven.

For Charlotte diagnosed with breast cancer in both breasts. (See Wounded Bird for more.)

Thanksgiving for the safe arrival of Noah Taliesin Chesterton, for his parents (and grandfather Tim Chesterton).

For Mark (Mapko).

For the repose of the soul of Doxy's father, for her aunt who is taking it especially hard, for her cousins, and for Doxy and her children.

For all the requests on the Prayer List at OCICBW.

For Father Tony and the Episcopal Church of Our Saviour that we may reach out and find meaningful and effective ways to serve the South Valley.

For my ex-FIL Jack in whatever medical course he pursues.

For the closing of Gitmo and the restoration of civil trials and rule of law.

For the homeless, the hungry, and the unemployed.

--the BB

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Pecunia Rex (updated with additional graphic)

As Watertiger puts it:
So much for Scalia's "strict construction" of the Constitution. SCOTUS just handed down its decision in FEC v. Citizens United, and it's the most blatant piece of judicial activism you'll read.

Nice Republic we had. Shame something happened to it.
Adam B has a nice post up at Daily Kos on today's decision. You may read it all here. In a nutshell:
In a long-awaited 5-4 decision today, the Supreme Court of the United States has overturned its 1990 decision in Austin v. Michigan Chamber of Commerce which had allowed states to ban corporations from using treasury money to support or oppose candidates through independent expenditures. [Bans on direct corporate contributions to candidates were not at issue in this case; you'll have to wait a few years on that one.]
Arthur Delaney also writes about it at Huffington Post. The President was not amused.
"With its ruling today, the Supreme Court has given a green light to a new stampede of special interest money in our politics," said President Obama in a statement. "It is a major victory for big oil, Wall Street banks, health insurance companies and the other powerful interests that marshal their power every day in Washington to drown out the voices of everyday Americans... That's why I am instructing my Administration to get to work immediately with Congress on this issue. We are going to talk with bipartisan Congressional leaders to develop a forceful response to this decision."

Rep. Alan Grayson is fighting back. His bills have blunt, humorous titles but that makes for clear concepts and the intent is serious.

As Randi Rhodes has said on several occasions, when corporations have colonoscopies we can start considering them persons.

Bush succeeded in creating the most "business-friendly" Supreme Court in history. For "business-friendly" you may read "friendly to the corporatocracy."

Put another way, the corporations can haz all ur chezeburgers. The American People can suck eggs.

--the BB

Speaking of rule of law

I am hugely disappointed in the Obama Department of Justice and Office of Legal Counsel on many fronts. This shit was not OK when Republicans did it and its NOT OK when Democrats do it.
But in a surprise buried at the end of the 289-page report, the inspector general also reveals that the Obama administration issued a secret rule almost two weeks ago saying it was legal for the FBI to have skirted federal privacy protections.

The Obama administration retroactively legalized the entire fiasco via a secret ruling from the Office of Legal Counsel.
[Emphasis mine]

Go read more at Emptywheel's Obama Gorging Himself on Poison Fruit.

I intend to hold ALL presidents accountable.

--the BB

Possible murders at Gitmo - don't gloss them over

The Rude Pundit
puts it out there:
Torture and Murder at Gitmo: A Risky Political Opportunity If Obama Is Willing to Take It:
The Rude Pundit has said it before, and he'll keep saying it: the Obama administration's failure to investigate and prosecute the crimes of the Bush administration will lead to its downfall. You wanna establish moral authority to "change the tone" in Washington? Then adhere to some goddamned moral code. The laws of the land are a good place to start. As so many members of yer progressive punditry are saying, Barack Obama has to make Bush and the Republicans own the crises we are now in. And one way to do that is to reveal the extent that the United States under Bush tortured innocent people. It's ugly, and it's awful, but, hell, most violent crimes are.

So far the Obama administration has backpedaled on anything resembling holding the Bush crime group accountable. Which suggests Obama may preach rule of law but doesn't really believe in it. Political reality, you say? I offer this political reality: if you eschew the integrity of the law you have no lasting political future.

"Bush did horrible things," the observers in the future will say, "but Obama did nothing about it. The U.S. presidency is corrupt, though and through, devoid of moral principle."
As you read Horton's piece, you eventually get through the violence and the cover-up (as suicides, called "a good P.R. move" by an assistant secretary of state) to the stomach-churning section where, it seems, the Justice Department of the Obama administration is refusing to investigate the case in more than a cursory way. Why? More than likely because of fear of wrecking bipartisanship and ruining that oh-so-precious comity in Congress, under the notion of always "looking forward, not backward." Which sounds so Cheneyesque that it's even more nauseating than the Republican crowing over Scott Brown's victory lap.

I have seen pursuit of consensus paralyze churches. We are watching pursuit of comity destroy the Obama presidency.

--the BB

What's with Chinese spam?

I am suddenly getting about one comment a day in Chinese with links. From what I can discern these are links I do NOT want here. Have the spambots run amok? And this is with word verification!

And now you know, gentle readers, why I insist on approving every comment.

I also disallow gratuitously carping comments.

--the BB

Wednesday, January 20, 2010


I stopped at REI on the way home tonight and picked up some shirts. I have scores of shirts, all in cotton, but these are unnatural shirts that can be washed and hung up to dry overnight: in other words, shirts for travel that do not entail taking an entire wardrobe with me. (Touching them makes my flesh crawl, I have to say. God never meant such fabrics to exist. Be sure to alert Pat Robertson that I made a pact with the devil tonight in order to travel lightly.) Other items as well. Working on the list of all I need to take on the trip, thinking about how to keep it to a minimum.

A nap is calling and I feel +Maya urging me to heed the call.

--the BB

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

A molder of consensus

The Rude Pundit pointed me to Dr King's speech outside Santa Rita prison. Words to remind us what leadership is (because I fear we can no longer remember):
"Somebody said to me not too long ago, 'Dr. King, don't you think you're hurting your leadership by taking a stand against the war in Vietnam? Aren't people who once respected you gonna lose respect for you? And aren't you hurting the budget of your organization?'

"And I had to look at that person and say, 'I'm sorry, sir, but you don't know me. I am not a consensus leader. And I do not determine what is right and wrong by looking at the budget of the Southern Leadership Conference or by taking a Gallup poll of the majority opinion.'

"Ultimately a genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus but he's a molder of consensus. And on some positions, cowardice asks the question, 'Is it safe?' Expedience asks the question, 'Is it politic?' Vanity asks the question, 'Is it popular?'

"But conscience asks the question, 'Is it right?'
What leaps out at me is "I am not a consensus leader" and "Is it right?" Gawd, I wish we had some more members of Congress who acted on what is right and told consensus to go take a hike. I'm not into claiming to be pure and noble for the sake one's rightness, but I would love some fiery speeches and strong votes to do what is right and not what is expedient, or sufficiently acquiescent to the corporatocracy that owns this nation.

Preach it, brother Martin, keep on preaching it!

--the BB

One step against the war criminals


Professor Francis A. Boyle of the University of Illinois College of Law in Champaign, U.S.A. has filed a Complaint with the Prosecutor for the International Criminal Court (I.C.C.) in The Hague against U.S. citizens George W. Bush, Richard Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, George Tenet, Condoleezza Rice, and Alberto Gonzales (the "Accused") for their criminal policy and practice of "extraordinary rendition" perpetrated upon about 100 human beings. This term is really their euphemism for the enforced disappearance of persons and their consequent torture. This criminal policy and practice by the Accused constitute Crimes against Humanity in violation of the Rome Statute establishing the I.C.C.

The United States is not a party to the Rome Statute. Nevertheless the Accused have ordered and been responsible for the commission of I.C.C. statutory crimes within the respective territories of many I.C.C. member states, including several in Europe. Consequently, the I.C.C. has jurisdiction to prosecute the Accused for their I.C.C. statutory crimes under Rome Statute article 12(2)(a) that affords the I.C.C. jurisdiction to prosecute for I.C.C. statutory crimes committed in I.C.C. member states.

--David Swanson at Daily Kos

Click the link above to read it all.

How about "renditioning" them to the Hague?

I marvel that they are allowed out in public at all. It must take an amazing level of self-delusion to be able to step out into sunshine. Par for the course for sociopaths.

Blessings on Frank A. Boyle and godspeed!

--the BB

Natal festivities - updated

Iva and Shirley

Today is the birthday of my Little Sister, Iva. December 17 was the birthday of my Big Sister, Shirley. They are both my older sisters but the photo above shows why they are Big Sister and Little Sister.

Now then, aren't they just both way too cute? I love this photo.

Happy birthday!

Ivajeane e-mailed to say: "You do have a more realistic picture of me that is not seventy years old!"

So here she is, the morning after her grandson's wedding.

--Little Brother

Monday, January 18, 2010

And the nominees are....

The Standing Committee of the Episcopal Diocese of the Rio Grande is pleased to announce five nominees for the 9th Bishop of the Diocese.

In alphabetical order the nominees are:

The Reverend Ellis Tucker Bowerfind, Rector
St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, Alexandria, Virginia

The Reverend James R. Harlan, Rector
Church of the Ascension, Denver, Colorado

The Reverend Jedediah D. Holdorph II, Rector
St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, Medford, Oregon

The Reverend John S. Nieman, Rector
Holy Trinity Parish, Clemson, South Carolina

The Reverend Dr. Michael Louis Vono, Rector
St. Paul’s Within the Walls, Rome, Italy

I have glanced quickly at their shorter bios and will be offline for a while. I invite anyone who knows these gentlemen or knows of them to share any information that may be helpful to the discernment process. As one canonically resident in the Diocese of California, I may not vote in the episcopal election here but our collective future will be shaped by it.

May we listen to the Spirit and be guided to a good and godly bishop.

--the BB

Come, Holy Spirit

For the Standing Committee of the Diocese of the Rio Grande in session today as they prepare to announce the list of candidates for bishop, for the petition process thereafter, and for the Holy Spirit's guidance as we elect a new bishop in a few months.

Almighty God, giver of every good gift: Look graciously on your Church, and so guide the minds of those who shall choose a bishop for this Diocese that we may receive a faithful pastor, who will care for your people and equip us for our ministries; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

--the BB