Saturday, April 26, 2008

I remember "I Like Ike"

I grew up in a central California Republican household. I remember the slogan "I Like Ike" during that post-war era. Eisenhower was the first president I really remember (Truman was something in the recent past to my young consciousness).

Atrios posted Ike's farewell speech in two YouTube segments if you're interested.

--the BB

Updates from Zimbabwe

There's this from the Guardian:
Riot police in Zimbabwe yesterday raided the offices of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change as well as those of independent election observers, seizing computers and documents and arresting scores of people in the biggest crackdown since last month's disputed election.


Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN), a coalition of 38 groups that monitored the poll, was raided at the same time. Files were confiscated under a warrant authorising police to search for "subversive material likely to cause the overthrow of a democratically elected government". Police are reported to be searching for the group's chairman, Noel Kututwa.
Oh, and this:
Yesterday [Mugabe] again accused western countries of trying to oust him by conspiring with the opposition. The Herald added to his vitriol, describing African leaders who have criticised the withholding of election results as "myopic stooges".
And there's this from MSNBC:
For the first time in 28 years, the opposition wrested a parliamentary majority from Mugabe's ruling ZANU-PF in a March 29 poll, triggering a recount of 23 out of 210 constituencies.

The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission said 14 out of the 23 seats had been recounted so far, and the original result was confirmed in all of them.
BBC notes this:
Earlier, US Assistant Secretary of State Jendayi Frazer said the level of government intimidation in Zimbabwe was now so high that a fair run-off would not be possible.

She said the only solution was an inclusive government, led by the opposition Movement for Democratic Change.

Zimbabwe Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa called her comments "patently false, inflammatory, irresponsible and uncalled-for".
We all know Mugabe will not go quietly. Iron-fisted dictators never do.

Pray for the people of Zimbabwe.
--the BB

I cannot be silent

Thinkingblue had this video up on Daily Kos and also comments:
But what is even more frightening than torture is that we Americans, have elected leaders who not only use this immoral practice but hold it up as a useful tool touting "the end justifies the means". I think it's more like an end to society and the beginning of anarchy.

God bless Helen Thomas (the last honest WH reporter?)!


Why do the media pretend nothing is going on?

--the BB

Peggy Noonan: racist b**** or jingoistic f***tard?

I use the provocative header to justify Ms. Noonan's dispassionate observation:
Snooty lefties get angry when you ask them to talk about these things. They get resentful. Who are you to question my patriotism? But no one is questioning his patriotism, they're questioning its content, its fullness.
She has raised the issue of what Hunter has rather aptly called "the eugenics of patriotism":
Is that not what we are speaking of here, in the most circuitous possible of ways: the pedigree of the man, the suspicious ethnicity, the unnerving multiculturalism? Are we not speaking of the eugenics of patriotism, patriotism as inherited, bred trait? Because if we are not, by what metric are we taking the measure of such things, and is getting teary-eyed at the mention of gold prospectors truly the test to be administered?
Noonan raises the most absurd question, one I can only make sense of it in terms of the worst jingoistic racism:
Main thought. Hillary Clinton is not Barack Obama's problem. America is Mr. Obama's problem. He has been tagged as a snooty lefty, as the glamorous, ambivalent candidate from Men's Vogue, the candidate who loves America because of the great progress it has made in terms of racial fairness. Fine, good. But has he ever gotten misty-eyed over . . . the Wright Brothers and what kind of country allowed them to go off on their own and change everything? How about D-Day, or George Washington, or Henry Ford, or the losers and brigands who flocked to Sutter's Mill, who pushed their way west because there was gold in them thar hills? There's gold in that history.
In contrast:
John McCain carries it in his bones. Mr. McCain learned it in school, in the Naval Academy, and, literally, at grandpa's knee. Mrs. Clinton learned at least its importance in her long slog through Arkansas, circa 1977-92.
So, growing up in Hawaii doesn't count because it's not really America? (Where was McCain born? Oh yes, Panama.)

Hunter goes on:
Noonan offers not a single element of evidence to support her hypothesis that the patriotism of one candidate needs evaluation, but that of the other two does not. It is a hypothesis not simply devoid of fact, but devoid even of blind assertion: there is no anecdote given to support the theory. There is no past event to be pointed at, or suspicious phrasing to be parsed, or even hushed conspiracy theory. Noonan at no point, during her channelling of the American psyche, offers even one thin word towards explaining why Obama's patriotism needs questioning: she merely asserts that it does, in comparison with the candidate that "carries it in his bones," and "learned it in school, in the Naval Academy, and, literally, at grandpa's knee."
The crux in Hunter's analysis?
Does Barack Obama, in other words, as a black man who grew up exposed to different cultures, from Hawaii to Jakarta to Harvard to Chicago, have the genes for true patriotism?
You can read Hunter's fine dissection of Noonan's twaddle here.

Noonan's lofty perch for all this?
So: Pennsylvania. As seen from the distance of West Texas, central California and Oklahoma, which is where I've been.
Well, Ms. Noonan, I was born and raised in central California. I have grapevines in my New Mexico back yard to honor the soil from which I come. My uncles were farmers and I have fruit trees in my yard too. Just because you have visited these places doesn't mean you ever took your head out of your ass the clouds where Henry Ford brought us the model-T but was not a Jew-hating Nazi sympathizer. I feel nostalgia for how my father felt about those early Ford automobiles but you can bet I don't get misty thinking about Henry Ford.

This pissed me off so I must be a snooty lefty, and believe me, I am damn proud to be one. I fly the flag proudly. I cry when I hear the national anthem. I read and re-read the Constitution. I honor and support our troops whether I support any given war or not. I hold the government accountable because I believe in government of, by, and for the people. Question my patriotism and damn right I get angry. Publish codswallop like this - with its endless, baseless speculation and obvious inferences - and it ticks me off. What a disingenuous pantload you dumped on America's doorstep, Ms. Noonan!

Peggy Noonan should never again be taken seriously except as a widely published threat to common sense and rational discourse.

--the BB

I won't usually do this

I could never sustain the time and heartbreak.

But just for tonight I want to pause with this reminder:

Each is a life, a human in a network of relationship - sons and daughters, wives and husbands, brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers, lovers and friends.

Not numbers.

The same is true of every Afghan or Iraqi life lost.

It's not a game. War is hell. They are not statistics. Not a single person who perishes is a statistic.

I post the military death toll for Iraq as the number changes. When I get a chance I cut and paste a bit more. I do not want that ever to be for me an automatic excercise.

Time after time faithful persons take the time to honor the fallen in the recurring diary at Daily Kos titled "IGTNT" (I got the news today). That is where I found these photos tonight. With each photo there is some background, some hint of the impact of their loss. Where they are from, which unit they served in, how they died, whom they leave behind.

From tonight's diary:

After a hundred years
Nobody knows the place, --
Agony, that enacted there,
Motionless as peace.

Weeds triumphant ranged,
Strangers strolled and spelled
At the lone orthography
Of the elder dead.

Winds of summer fields
Recollect the way, --
Instinct picking up the key
Dropped by memory.

- Emily Dickinson


Please remember these heroes and their loved ones in your thoughts and prayers tonight, and always. May the winds of summer fields help us recollect the way --

Here is the series of IGTNT diaries.

May they all rest in peace and rise in glory.

--the BB

Friday, April 25, 2008

Heart thread - 4/25/2008

Tonight's invitation to prayer it tinged with rejoicing. It might more aptly have been labeled as follows:

We may begin the weekend celebration rejoicing with the Rev. Dr. Elizabeth Kaeton who passed the defense of her doctoral thesis today.

It is finished.

I passed.

Woo hoo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Congratulations, TELDP (The Evil Lesbian Doctor Priestess)!

[The sequence of adjectives occasionally becomes a challenge even for literate native speakers, don't you find? Dr. TELP just did not ring true.] Dr. K seems respectful but I like to think of her as Lisbeth, perhaps the most endearing version that MP uses. Of course, I went to a college where the instructors were all Doctors or would soon be so, and we thus called them all Mr., Mrs., or Miss (it was back before "Ms." when dinosaurs roamed the earth and we rode giant Mormon tapirs).]

Whatever you get called, Lisbeth, we are proud of you!

We also rejoice that yesterday's eye surgery went well for Kirstin. She needs our prayers for post-operative healing and stuff, so please hold her closely before God.

From the comments thread in yesterday's post we have these requests:

FranIAm asks our prayers for Ben, an amazing 8-year-old boy with a recurrence of cancer. "Apparently Ben tells others he has no time for this as he is very busy running his own 8 year old's version of a mini-kids cancer charity. For other kids..."

Jane R asks our prayers for Leah who has, in rapid succession, lost her mother and her paternal grandmother on the verge of graduation. Jane concludes: " I thank you for your prayers for her, for her dad, stepmom, and siblings, and for her other grandmother who has also been in ill health."

Deacon Ormonde provides an update on the struggle to serve the homeless in New Orleans. Let us remember the homeless and displaced, refugees throughout the world, and those who work with them to heal, rebuild and find a way home (in every sense of that word). Also Ormonde himself as he goes through chemo.

The Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin continues its work of returning with joy and dedication to the mission of the Church. The chancellor and Bishop Lamb are working hard to protect the diocese. For reconciliation, healing, cleansing, renewal among the people there, let us pray.

[Summary information and links at Fr. Jake's on the Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief filed by the EDSJ, Bishop Lamb, and TEC. I cannot recall reading a legal document with such delight as the Church attempts to reclaim what has been stolen from it. I sorrow for those who have been misled. Regular readers here know I cut no slack for those who mislead.]

For all victims of false prophets and wolves in sheep's clothing and for ourselves when we err and go astray or are blinded by our desire for power.

For those who stand up and speak out on behalf of the disempowered and marginalized in society and in the Church.

For those who seek to embody the Good News by becoming God's radical welcome and channels of divine grace.

I wouldn't mind a few prayers for me as I head off on Sunday to work in New Orleans. I know that sounds glamorous but there will be little time to experience the city and I will be away from home far longer than I like to and while it seems exciting from the outside I am only doing it because I need the income. So I think it's my heart and emotions and attitude that need the prayer, because I really don't want to do this. My roses are just about to bloom and I want to be here, watching my fruit grow and close to my friends.

Diane, Scout's mom and a very busy pastor, has found out she cannot forever be the Energizer bunny and recently went from "a little sore throat" to being sick and could use some healing (and probably some rest).

Padre Mickey, the Lovely Mona, and others of the Panamanian household are at the beach for a couple of weeks. May they have a blessed and restorative time!

Jane R has way too many undergraduate theses to read. As she writes: "St. Mark, pray for us."

With that, I believe we have come full circle.

Since the midnight hour will quickly be upon me and we all are way too busy, here is a prayer by Gerhard Tersteegen (1697-1769), a Pietist:

God, you are in your holy temple, let all that is in me be still in your presence; still in my tongue, in my will, in all my desires and thoughts; I will cease from any sort of activity: O how precious in the sight of God is a gentle and quite spirit silent in his presence.

--the BB

Barracks for Charlie CO 2/508 82n Airborne

A father takes a video of the barracks his son and other troops live in when they return from serving in the mountains of Afghanistan.

While we enrich the contractors and spend a trillion dollars on a war, we then expect our troops to live like this. WTF is wrong with this nation?

h/t to Digby (Godde bless her) and to Vet Voice and the Fayetteville (NC) Observer - and Mr. Edward Frawley who took the video and spoke up!
--the BB

It's all my fault

We're always blaming poor Doug for the jokes we love and promote, or I'm blaming Eileen or Mimi or someone for leading me astray. Today I blame nobody else. [Take note; don't know when this happens again.]

I heard that rice prices were headed up. I like having staples on hand.

About a week ago I went into Costco and bought two large sacks of rice: one plain white and the other basmati. That's a lot of rice for a one-person household. Thought I'd be ahead of the next price increase.

OMG, I'm a hoarder!

Now Costco is limiting how much rice folks can buy at one time (Sam's Club too).

Fortunately for me, the news articles say it started in Thailand, not Albuquerque.

Oh yes, I got a big bag of pinto beans too.

--the BB


04/25/08 DoD Identifies Army Casualty
Staff Sgt. Ronald C. Blystone, 34, of Springfield, Mo., died April 23 in Baghdad, Iraq, from wounds suffered when he encountered small arms fire during a dismounted patrol. He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 66th Armor Regiment...

04/25/08 DoD Identifies Army Casualties (2 of 2)
1st Lt. Timothy W. Cunningham, 26, of College Station, Texas...died April 23 in Golden Hills, Iraq, of injuries suffered in a vehicle incident. They were assigned to the 1st Squadron, 32nd Cavalry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team...

04/25/08 DoD Identifies Army Casualties (1 of 2)
Pfc. John T. Bishop, 22, of Gaylord, Mich...died April 23 in Golden Hills, Iraq, of injuries suffered in a vehicle incident. They were assigned to the 1st Squadron, 32nd Cavalry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division...

04/25/08 DoD Identifies Marine Casualties (2 0f 2)
Lance Cpl. Jordan C. Haerter, 19, of Sag Harbor, N.Y...assigned to the 1st Battalion, 9th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Lejeune...died 4/22 from wounds suffered while conducting combat operations...

04/25/08 DoD Identifies Marine Casualties (1 0f 2)
Cpl. Jonathan T. Yale, 21, of Burkeville, Va...assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Lejeune...died 4/22 from wounds suffered while conducting combat operations...

04/25/08 MNF: MND-C Soldier attacked by IED
A Multi-National Division - Center Soldier was killed in an improvised explosive device attack south of Baghdad, April 24.

--courtesy of Iraq Coalition Casualty Count

Father and Mother of all, we pray to you for those we love, but see no longer: Grant them your peace; let light perpetual shine upon them; and, in your loving wisdom and almighty power, work in them the good purpose of your perfect will; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

De re oeconomica

Overseas reports this:
MSNBC has two Nobel Prize economists on right now. They were asked which of the three - Obama, Clinton or McCain - would be best for the economy, and both replied Obama.

Joseph Stiglitz, who was connected to the Clinton presidency and a 2001 prize winner, said that Obama's speech 3 weeks ago on the economy was brilliant. He also said that the deregulation of the markets during Clinton's presidency was a mistake and the markets need to be re-regulated.

Edmund Phelps, 2006 prize winner, agreed. We need a new way of looking at the economy and Obama is the one that can do that. We do not need the thinking of the past.

More at the full post.
--the BB

As though he cared - updated

Hunter writes of John McCain's tour of forgotten places and his spouting about never letting something like the government's neglect of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina happen again.
On the day Katrina struck New Orleans, John McCain was meeting with President Bush on an Arizona tarmac in order to be presented with a cake; the occasion was his 69th birthday. In the next months, McCain used his position in the Senate to vote against Medicare relief and unemployment benefits for homeless New Orleans residents, and against investigations into what went wrong. But McCain understands the forgotten city, and McCain is alarmed by the inaction of senators such as himself, and McCain vows to investigate what went wrong so that it will not be repeated. You must believe all these things, because if you do not, you are calling into question the sincerity of a four day bus tour.

There was a time I thought John McCain had integrity and was one of the good guys among Republicans. That was a while ago.

Jonathan Stein at Mother Jones writes of McCain's responses to Katrina:
That attitude was borne out in McCain's actions and votes. Forty Senators and 100 members of Congress visited New Orleans before he did; he finally got there in March 2006. He voted against establishing a Congressional commission to examine the Federal, State, and local responses to Katrina in med-September 2005. He repeated that vote in 2006. He voted against allowing up to 52 weeks of unemployment benefits to people affected by the hurricane, and in 2006 voted against appropriating $109 billion in supplemental emergency funding, including $28 billion for hurricane relief.

Shortly after the disaster in New Orleans, McCain did introduce a bill that sought to improve communications mechanisms for first-responders and authorities. The bill failed to go anywhere, and McCain later voted against other bills that had similar provisions.
h/t Truthout

This sort of all-empty-words-and-no-helpful-actions behavior is precisely what Barack Obama said ordinary folk were bitter about. Bitter? Damn skippy lots of Americans are bitter! Bitter about bullshit being shoveled our way by politicians while our quality of life degenerates and our security decreases.

--the BB


I am so looking forward to having a progressive Democrat in the seat now occupied by the Bush-enabling repugnican Heather Wilson.

When I get my tax rebate, some will go to Martin Heinrich for Congress.

--the BB

The video with GF

This is part of a series on "Europa" on a Dutch program showing a visit of Prince Georg Friedrich to Doorn House, where his great grandfather Kaiser Wilhelm II lived after leaving Germany in 1918. You get to see the Prince chat a bit near the beginning. Except for one commenter in English, the rest is in German (with Dutch subtitles) and Dutch.

--the BB

I want to trade Georges

I would be willing to trade a bushwhacking Bush-Walker for a Hohenzollern. At least until President Obama's term begins.

So today we take a look at His Imperial and Royal Highness Georg Friedrich Ferdinand Prinz von Preußen, head of the House of Hohenzollern.

His official page recounts the following:
George Frederick Ferdinand Prince of Prussia was born on the 10th of June in 1976 in Bremen/Germany. In the year before the wedding of his parents, Prince Louis Ferdinand jr. (1944-1977) and Countess Donata of Castell-Rüdenhausen (* 1950) had caused large media attention. Tragically, his father died shortly after Prince George Frederick’s first birthday from severe injuries he had suffered in a military training exercise. His widow gave birth to a girl, Princess Cornelie-Cécile, six months later. Therefore Prince Louis Ferdinand sen. (1907-1994) designated his grandson Prince George Frederick to become his heir.

Georg Friedrich passed his A-levels at Glenalmond College near Perth, Scotland.

While a couple of uncles contested his succession as head of the House of Hohenzollern, the courts ultimately awarded him the position while allowing the uncles a portion of the Prussian inheritance.

I am so loving the pin-up photo with autograph. If y'all are dithering over what to get me for my birthday, get in touch with GF.

Like almost every other royal in Europe, he is in line for the British throne, #151 according to Wikipedia.

The family takes its name from this fortified castle. It is owned 1/3 by one branch of the family and 2/3 by the royal branch.

Georg Friedrich was only a year old when his father died. His sister was born after their father's death. She suffered congenital encephalitis as a result of cytomegalovirus and this unfortunately resulted in developmental disability. I found three nice photos of the two children with their mother. This is the only later photo of Princess C-C that I have seen. Until Georg Friedrich sires an heir, she is next in line to head the family.

Much easier on the eyes than George IV of Amerika. And he's intelligent. Sigh.

This photo is from the official Hohenzollern site and I give it a big Woof!

Ladies, he's single.

--the BB

Domine, in adjuvandum me festina - 4/25/2008

Tibet - China
In Shift, China Offers to Meet With Dalai Lama Envoys
New York Times - 2 hours ago
By JIM YARDLEY BEIJING - China appeared to bend to international pressure on Friday as the government announced it would meet with envoys of the Dalai Lama, an unexpected shift that comes as violent Tibetan demonstrations in western China have ...
China says it's ready to meet with aide to Dalai Lama The Associated Press
China Offers to Meet with Dalai Lama Representative Voice of America

World leaders hail China's nod for talks with Dalai's envoy
Hindu - 1 hour ago
London (PTI): World leaders on Friday welcomed China's decision to reopen dialogue with a representative of the Dalai Lama as a "major" and "first" step in resolving the vexed Tibet issue and to end the recent unrest there.
China, Dalai Lamato talk Melbourne Herald Sun
Sarkozy hails China's decision to meet Dalai Lama envoy Times of India

UE satisfecha por próxima reunión entre China y representantes de ...
Terra España - hace 1 hora
La Unión Europea manifestó hoy su satisfacción por el anuncio de una próxima reanudación del diálogo entre representantes de China y del Dalai Lama, líder espiritual del Tíbet. La agencia oficial Xinhua informó de que miembros del Gobierno central ...
Barroso dice en Pekín que sus conversaciones sobre el Tíbet fueron ... Público
Economía/Macro.- La visita de Barroso da inicio a las ...

United Nations - US - Syria - North Korea
UN probes US Syria reactor claim
BBC News - 4 hours ago
The UN's nuclear watchdog says it will investigate US claims that Syria was building a secret nuclear reactor with North Korean help.
Video: Syrian ambassador rejects US nuclear charges AlJazeeraEnglish
Amanpour: Is US trying to force nuke standoff? CNN International

US Syria claims raise wider doubts
BBC News - 4 hours ago
By Jonathan Marcus More than half a year after the Israeli air strike that destroyed the alleged nuclear reactor under construction in Syria, Washington's release of what it says are still images of the facility before the raid amounts to the ...
UN Nuclear Watchdog Head Slams US for Withholding Syrian Nuclear Info Voice of America

Consideran peligrosa táctica de EU hacia Corea del Norte
Milenio - hace 4 horas
“El gobierno de Estados Unidos decidió encender una “bomba política” a su manera”, subrayó el periódico Suddeutsche Zeitung. Berlín.- El diario alemán Suddeutsche Zeitung consideró hoy como drástica y peligrosa la táctica utilizada por el servicio ...
Damasco denuncia las acusaciones estadounidenses como medio de presión Univisión
Funcionario de la ONU critica a EE.UU. Voice of America

Zimbabwe police raid opposition, election offices
The Associated Press - 1 hour ago
HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) - Heavily armed police swooped down on opposition headquarters and independent election observers' offices on Friday, arresting hundreds and beating and shoving scores of people in the clearest signal to date that the government ...
Mugabe's future may hold key to resolving Zimbabwe's crisis International Herald Tribune
Zimbabwe: SADC Pushes for GNU

Scores held as Zimbabwe police raid opposition HQ
AFP - 52 minutes ago
HARARE (AFP) - Zimbabwean police raided the headquarters of the opposition and independent election observers on Friday as the United States ratcheted up the diplomatic pressure on veteran President Robert Mugabe.
Video: Violence mars Zimbabwe election recounts - 23 Apr 08 AlJazeeraEnglish
Zimbabwean Riot Police Raid Opposition Party Offices Voice of America

US backs off comments on Zimbabwe election
International Herald Tribune - 46 minutes ago
AP WASHINGTON: The US State Department is backing off comments by its top Africa official asserting that Zimbabwe opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai had won the country's presidential elections.

Israel - Palestine
Israel downplays Hamas peace offer
AFP - 47 minutes ago
JERUSALEM (AFP) - Israel on Friday dismissed as "not serious" a Hamas proposal for a six-month truce in Gaza, where UN agencies suspended aid distribution and warned that shortages hurt the peace process.
Security and Defense: Combat boosts Jerusalem Post
Israel firm on no talks with Hamas United Press International
West Bank shooting follows failed peace effort
Egypt sends police reinforcements to Gaza border Reuters South Africa

Car bomb kills at least three in Pakistan
Reuters - 2 hours ago
PESHAWAR, Pakistan (Reuters) - Pro-Taliban militants exploded a car bomb outside a police station in northwestern Pakistan on Friday, killing at least three people, police and a militant spokesman said.
US and Afghans doubt Pakistan's impending deal with militants International Herald Tribune
Police official says bomb kills 3 in northwestern Pakistan The Associated Press

Pakistan closing in on pact with militant's tribe
Reuters - 1 hour ago
PESHAWAR, Pakistan (Reuters) - Pakistan is close to clinching a peace pact with one of the most recalcitrant tribes in its lawless border regions to rein in a Taliban leader regarded as a cohort of al Qaeda.

Taliban commander in Pakistan orders halt to attacks
Town Hall - 11 hours ago
By MUNIR AHMAD The top Taliban commander in Pakistan called a cease-fire Thursday and ordered followers to halt attacks, while the government said it was pursuing peace talks with tribal elders in the volatile border region.
Car bomb at police station kills 3 in northwestern Pakistan; 24 ... (Pressemitteilung)
Militant Orders His Fighters to Stop Attacks in Pakistan Pakistani Newspaper

Iraqi journalist killed in drive-by shooting north of Basra
International Herald Tribune - 1 hour ago
AP BAGHDAD: Iraqi police say a radio journalist has been killed in a drive-by shooting near the southern city of Basra. Adnan al-Asadi, the head of the local al-Nakhil radio station and police have identified the slain journalist as Jassim al-Batat.
Al-Sadr calls for end to Iraqi bloodshed The Associated Press
US planes strike Sadr City neighborhood of Baghdad, Iraqi official ... CNN International

Sadr Says Not to Attack Iraq Forces
New York Times - 57 minutes ago
He said he would oppose any American military bases in Iraq. He also issued a “final warning” to the Iraqi government to end its crackdown or face an “open war until liberation.
FACTBOX: Security developments in Iraq, April 25 Reuters
Aide to Iraq's al-Sadr: Threat of open war aimed at US The Associated Press

Pentagon Reports on Iraq's Military Are Suspect, Audit Says
Bloomberg - 2 hours ago
By Tony Capaccio April 25 (Bloomberg) -- The US public and lawmakers should be skeptical of the Pentagon's quarterly reports on Iraq's progress toward building a viable military and police force, according to a new audit. The reports from the Defense ...
IG: Dead count toward Iraq force strength
Report: Iraqi forces lacking USA Today

Sunnis Agree to End Boycott, Rejoin Iraq Government
New York Times - 4 hours ago
By JAMES GLANZ BAGHDAD - Iraq’s largest Sunni bloc has agreed to return to Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki’s cabinet after a boycott that lasted nearly a year, several Sunni leaders said on Thursday, citing a recently passed amnesty law and the ...
Iraq's Maliki says factions agree to rejoin government Reuters
Sunni bloc ready to rejoin Iraq Cabinet Los Angeles Times

Nepal results affirm Maoist victory - 55 minutes ago
Final results from Nepal's elections show former Maoist fighters have won 220 seats, making it the largest group in the 601-seat constituent assembly.
Final results declared in Nepal BBC News
Nepal's ex-rebels win 220 seats in final assembly results Hindu

New Mexico - U.S. Senate
New Mexico Sen. Domenici Admonished by Ethics Panel
AHN - 1 hour ago
David Iglesias, the US Attorney for the District of New Mexico before he became one of nine US attorneys fired by the White House in 2006, said in a congressional hearing last year that Domenici contacted him to ask about whether charges against a ...
Domenici Rebuked for Call to US Attorney Before Election Washington Post
Ethics committee criticizes retiring Sen. Domenici The Associated Press

Sri Lanka
Explosion hits bus in Sri Lanka
BBC News - 1 hour ago
There has been an explosion inside a bus in the Sri Lankan capital, Colombo, which is believed to have caused a number of casualties, police say.
At least 12 die in Sri Lanka bus blast -officials Reuters
Seven killed in Lanka blast Hindu

Explosion meurtrière à bord d'un bus à Colombo, au Sri Lanka
L'Express - Il y a 55 minutes
Au moins seize personnes ont trouvé la mort lors d'une explosion d'origine indéterminée dans un autobus à Colombo, la capitale du Sri Lanka, annonce un porte-parole de la police, qui a également fait état d'une quarantaine de blessés. ...
Sri Lanka: 23 morts dans l'explosion d'une bombe dans un bus AFP
Explosion mortelle en banlieue de Colombo Radio-Canada

Scientific break from political stuff
Tyrannosaurus rex protein proves dinosaurs
Times Online - 6 hours ago
For all its appearance as a ferocious predator, Tyrannosaurus rex was just an overgrown chicken, researchers have found. Analysis of protein preserved within a fossil bone has provided molecular evidence to support the theory that dinosaurs evolved ...
Terrifying Tyrannosaurus Rex had close links to the humble chicken Daily Mail
T. rex kinship with chickens confirmed New Scientist (subscription)

Iran 'stepping up arms to Iraq'
BBC News - 1 hour ago
The most senior US military official has accused Iran of increasing the flow of weapons to Iraqi insurgents. Adm Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, also said Iraqis were being trained in Iran to fight against US troops.
Top US officer warns of Iran efforts in Iraq and region Reuters
US official: Iran boosting support for Iraqi insurgents The Associated Press

Cargo ship contracted to US military fires towards Iranian boat
Daily Mail - 55 minutes ago
A cargo ship under contract to the US military has fired at least one shot towards and Iranian boat, it was confirmed today. A US defence official said the ship contracted to the US Military Sealift Command had fired at the Iranian craft.
US-contracted ship fires toward Iranian boat Reuters South Africa
Navy-Contracted Vessel Fires Warning Shots on Iranian Boats KPTM-TV

Putin signs law curbing referendum rights
Reuters UK - 4 hours ago
MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian President Vladimir Putin signed into force changes to a law on Friday that Kremlin critics say will further stifle democracy by curbing the topics that can be put to referendums.
Russia amends media law following disputed report alleging Putin's ... International Herald Tribune
Russia Remembers Yeltsin Voice of America

By Thy Cross, O Christ Saviour, guide us unto Thy truth, and deliver us from the snares of the enemy. Thou Who didst arise from the dead, extend Thy hand and, by the intercession of Thy Saints, raise us up who have fallen in sin, O mortal-befriending Lord.
--Friday of the Samaritan Woman, Pentecostarion

--the BB

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Heart thread - 4/24/2008

In addition to the wounds and brokenness of the world, its hopes, its peoples, its web of life, let us also remember:

Elizabeth Kaeton defending her doctoral thesis tomorrow (4/25). May TELP prevail in power, grace, and joy.

Kirstin recovering from eye surgery (see post immediately below).

Add your own requests in comments if you'd like and we'll pray for them.
--the BB

Kirstin's OK!

At about 8:15 pm MDT my cell phone began to buzz and I fled Russian class, knowing it would be Kirstin. She was back at the dorm, feeling a bit loopy, but otherwise fine. Surgery seems to have gone very well and they only did the right eye. The antibiotic was causing some stinging but she was hanging in there and sounded compos mentis. Well, as much as she and I ever do on the phone. She needs to take it easy tomorrow and will be well on her way back to normal the day after.

Thank you King Jesus and Holy Mother Mary, Saint Lucy, Saint Laika, Saint Cuthbert, and anyone else y'all tend to invoke.

Let's keep her in our prayers as her eye continues to heal.
--the BB

My apologies

1.  I will be incommunicado this evening just when I should be hearing how Kirstin's surgery went.  As soon as I get back to a computer I will publish updates.

2. I did not know when I posted the Barack ad that it was going to launch every time anyone came here, though I myself found out the hard way (every time I checked my posts).  We've all heard it enough, though I like it, and I have deleted it so folks can log in here in peace.


We have gnus

I owe, I owe, so off to work I go!

After pretending for the past four months that I was retired, I am taking a temp job consulting in New Orleans for a brief while. This means flying out midday this Sunday. Yes, I have had and occasionally still need to have a secular career. Grimbling. That is, number crunching. I have worked about twenty years in accounting and that, not the church, has been my primary source of income. Not a CPA or MBA or even an accounting degree (my education being in languages, religion, and history). But I went from a temp to an accounting clerk and on up the ladder to accounting manager in a biotech firm.

This work assignment came as a total surprise yesterday.

The laptop is going with me, of course, so I will be able to read, blog, communicate, etc. But you will see a sudden drop in posting quantity here.

Kirstin was busy connecting with people in NOLA in January. I will be busy connecting with numbers and expect to have close to zero social life. The point is to earn money and then come home. I do hope to meet Mimi and Grandpère at some point, however.

And speaking of Kirstin, today was her big eye surgery, so hold her in your prayers as she comes out of it, her eye muscles get adjusted, and she recuperates. She and I have a similar condition although my opthalmologist, back when I was a young boy, said I had no muscle to double in the afflicted spot. To this day I cannot move my right eye to the right. Thank Godde for peripheral vision.

Yes, one can do much worse than springtime in New Orleans as a work venue.
--the BB

A nation in transition

Today we received a visit from someone in Nepal, a nation that recently held national elections and is making the transition from monarchy to federal republic. The Maoist party received the most votes and the organization of the new government is currently in daily headlines.

Welcome to this site! You have brought our virtual flag collection up to 105 flags.

A little Nepaliwood music for you:

Damphu The musical instrument of Nepal (traditional instruments)

16 Brahmins Deusi - Traditional Nepali Song and Dance

And, finally, Orlando Bloom with Children in Nepal (a UNICEF trip):


--the BB

Prions le Seigneur - 4/24/2008

Syria - North Korea - election year scariness
N Korea 'linked to Syria reactor'
BBC News - 7 hours ago
North Korea was helping Syria build a nuclear reactor, US officials are to tell lawmakers in a closed session. Unnamed officials told the Washington Post newspaper that the US had video footage of the Syrian facility with North Koreans inside.
Video Links North Koreans to Reactor, US Says New York Times
North Koreans Taped at Syrian Nuclear Site Voice of America

Syria denies US accusation over nuclear reactor
Reuters - 54 minutes ago
LONDON (Reuters) - Syria on Thursday dismissed US accusations that North Korea was helping it build a nuclear reactor that could produce plutonium.
US Lawmakers to See Video of North Korean Assistance at Syrian ... Voice of America
CIA: North Korea 'helped Syria build nuclear reactor'

US thinks N.Korea aided Syria on plutonium program
U.S. Daily - 13 hours ago
By Arshad Mohammed These satellite images, taken August 5, 2007 (Top) and October 24, 2007 (Bottom), show a suspected nuclear facility in Syria.
Source: lawmakers to get video evidence on Syrian facility
White House to reveal video that prompted strike on Syrian facility Minneapolis Star Tribune

Briefings to focus on possible North Korea-Syria nuclear link CNN International
Syria denies accusation N. Korea helping it build nuclear reactor Ha'aretz

Oh, by the way... a couple of members of the committee were briefed on this last November but the maladministration touts this like crazy when they finally brief the rest of Congress - belatedly and ACCORDING TO THEIR LEGAL OBLIGATION - and you cannot help wondering why, if this is a crucial issue, they dilly dallied for so long and now - oh my! - it's some kind of crisis. WTF?

It is all manipulation. If there were a critical issue Congress should have been briefed back when. If not, don't come fearmongering now.

In short, don't let them scare you; they're inveterate liars.

And I'm not saying there is no issue here, or no threat, only that we cannot trust the Bush crowd to deal honestly with the American people.

Tibet - China - Olympic Games
Riot-scarred Tibet reopens to Chinese tour groups
The Associated Press - 1 hour ago
BEIJING (AP) - China is welcoming domestic tour groups back to riot-hit Tibet, an official news report said Thursday, but there remains no word on when foreign tourists will be allowed to return.
US: China must talk to Dalai Lama
EU leader Barroso visits China with large delegation at special time Xinhua

Dalai denies supporting separation of Tibet
All India Radio - 22 Apr 2008
The Dalai Lama has denied the Chinese claim that he supports separation of Tibet. The exiled Tibetan spiritual leader told a gathering at Colgate University in Hamilton, New York that he only wanted autonomy to preserve its unique culture and ...
Once a serf, Sitar represents the other side of Tibet
US asks China to resume dialogue with Dalai Lama Phayul

Jeux Olympiques : Pékin "apprécie" le soutien de Raffarin - Il y a 2 heures
Le Premier ministre chinois a félicité le vice-président de l'UMP qui a vivement critiqué la décision du maire de Paris de faire du dalaï lama un citoyen d'honneur de la ville. L'ancien chef du gouvernement français est en Chine depuis plusieurs jours, ...
Raffarin: «Le geste de Delanoë est une très grave erreur politique» Libération
Poncelet : la Chine "disposée" à dialoguer Le Figaro

Tibet Government Issues Warning Ahead of Olympic Torch Arrival
Washington Post - 1 hour ago
By Jill Drew BEIJING, April 24 -- Tibetan government authorities warned today that there would be severe consequences for anyone who spreads rumors that "excite popular feeling," as the region braces for the arrival of the Olympic torch sometime in the ...

Syria - Israel - Palestine
Assad confirms Olmert's Golan offer
Jerusalem Post - 55 minutes ago
By JPOST.COM STAFF Syrian President Bashar Assad confirmed reports in the Arab media to the effect that Israel had agreed to relinquish the Golan Heights in exchange for peace with Syria.
Assad confirms Israeli peace offer The Associated Press
Assad confirms Israeli peace offer, suggests no direct ... International Herald Tribune

Gaza talks 'progress' amid siege - 1 hour ago
The Palestinian group Hamas says "big progress" is being made in indirect negotiations with Israel towards a temporary ceasefire in the Gaza Strip.
UN warns Gaza aid distribution may end Jerusalem Post
Collapse of Gaza aid distribution just hours away: UN AFP

Israël serait prêt à lâcher le Golan pour faire la paix avec la Syrie
Libération - Publié depuis 1 heure
Le président syrien, Bachar-Al Assad, tiendrait cette information du Premier ministre turc, lequel agit comme médiateur depuis 2007. Pour l'heure, l'Etat hébreu se refuse à tout commentaire. Le Premier ministre turc Recep Tayyip Erdogan «m’a informé ...
Israël envisagerait de se retirer du Golan
Bachar el Assad évoque une offre de paix d'Israël, suggérant qu'il ... La

A Peace 'Deal' in the Works in Israel?
Catholic Online - 16 hours ago
A Syrian news agency releases reports that a Golan Heights-Peace deal is in the works. JERUSALEM (AsiaNews) - “Independent” Syrian news agency Cham-Press has reported that Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has offered to exchange the Golan Heights for ...
Israel offers to give back the Golan Heights Malaysia Sun
Syria says Israel ready to return Golan for peace accord

Acusa Israel a Hamas de “fabricar” una crisis de combustible
Milenio - hace 6 horas
Algunos habitantes de la Franja de Gaza dijeron que funcionarios de Hamas han recogido parte del combustible para su uso personal y también lo han entregado a otros funcionarios de alto rango ya empleados del gobierno, sin distribuir el resto entre la ...
Ven pocas posibilidades para tregua entre Israel y Hamas El Universal (México)
Cerrarán planta de electricidad de Gaza El Financiero (México)

La ONU interrumpe la distribución de alimentos en Gaza por falta ...
Terra España - hace 28 minutos
La ONU ha interrumpido la distribución de alimentos en la franja de Gaza tras quedarse sin reservas de carburante, según ha anunciado un portavoz de la Agencia para los refugiados palestinos. "Hemos suspendido la distribución de toda ayuda alimentaria ...
Peligra el envío de la ayuda humanitaria a Gaza por la falta de ... Diario Directo
La ONU está agotando sus reservas de combustible en Gaza La Voz de Galicia

US prepares to deal with Maoists
The Associated Press - 1 hour ago
WASHINGTON (AP) - This month's surprising election victory for ex-rebels in Nepal could force the Bush administration to deal with a group it has considered a terrorist organization.
Indo-Nepal peace treaty to be scrapped: Maoists Times of India
Maoists vow swift exit for Nepal king after poll victory AFP

Maoists win Nepal assembly poll
BBC News - 2 hours ago
Officials in Nepal say the former rebel Maoist party has won elections to the country's new assembly. With all the votes counted, the Maoists have won almost 30%, with their nearest rivals taking 21%.

Au Népal, les vainqueurs maoïstes promettent le départ du roi
Libération - Il y a 3 heures
La commission électorale a confirmé la victoire des ex-rebelles aux élections à l'Assemblée constituante. La monarchie devrait bientôt faire place à une république. C’est désormais officiel, les maoïstes ont largement remporté les élections du 10 avril ...
Népal: les maoïstes, vainqueurs des élections, sont aux portes du ... Le Point
Népal : Prachanda rencontre les donateurs et les diplomates XINHUA

India has no favourites in Nepal: Envoy
MSN India - 8 hours ago
Kathmandu:India's outgoing ambassador Shiv Shankar Mukherjee has said that New Delhi has "no favourites" among political players in Nepal and that it played an "impartial" role in the recent elections.

New Nepal Govt. will encourage private investment: Maoist Chairman - 21 hours ago
Kathmandu, Apr 23 (ANI): Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist (CPN-M) Chairman Prachanda on Wednesday said that the new government under his party’s leadership would create conducive atmosphere for national and foreign investments.
India's Maoists vow to continue fighting despite election success ... San Diego Union Tribune
Crucial NC CWC meet from today Himalayan Times

Zimbabwe-Bound Ship Heads Back to China
New York Times - 58 minutes ago
AP By CELIA W. DUGGER, DAVID BARBOZA AND ALAN COWELL JOHANNESBURG - A Chinese ship carrying armaments made by a Chinese state-owned company and bound for Zimbabwe has headed back to China without unloading its cargo of bullets and mortar bombs, ...
Zimbabwe arms returning to China BBC News
Zimbabwe arms row ship turns back CNN International

Diplomatic squeeze tightens on Mugabe
AFP - 1 hour ago
HARARE (AFP) - The diplomatic squeeze on Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe tightened Thursday as a controversial Chinese arms shipment was called back and the top US envoy for Africa began a tour of the region.
China Recalls Zimbabwe Arms Shipment Voice of America
In full: Miliband Mugabe statement BBC News

Australia calls for arms embargo on Zimbabwe
ABC Online - 1 hour ago
Australia has backed the British Government's call for an international arms embargo against Zimbabwe to discourage any escalation in post-election violence.

US says opposition won Zimbabwe presidential vote
International Herald Tribune - 50 minutes ago
AP PRETORIA, South Africa: The top US envoy on Africa says the Zimbabwean opposition leader won presidential elections. Assistant US Secretary of State for African Affairs Jendayi Frazer was speaking in South Africa Thursday at the start of a visit to ...
Australia calls for arms embargo on Zimbabwe ABC Online
Zimbabwe: Victims of State Brutality Speak Out

International Summits Held to Tackle Iraq's Security
FOXNews - 3 hours ago
By Alireza Jafarzadeh On Tuesday, the third international summit to tackle Iraq’s security will be held in Kuwait. Washington is pushing for Arab countries to take a more active role in Iraq by opening embassies and providing financial assistance.
Insecurity blocks Saudi embassy in Iraq The Associated Press
New momentum for US-Iran dialogue Asia Times Online

New jobs set for 2 US commanders with Iraq role
International Herald Tribune - 4 hours ago
By Thom Shanker WASHINGTON: A Pentagon plan to elevate General David Petraeus and his former deputy means that the two commanders most closely associated with President George W. Bush's current strategy in Iraq will have responsibilities over the wars ...
Video: US Iraq Commander gets promotion RussiaToday

British foreign secretary visits Iraq amid further clashes
The Associated Press - 4 hours ago
Britain has about 4500 troops in Iraq, most of them based at an airport camp near the southern city of Basra. Britain suspended plans to withdraw about 1500 troops this spring after fighting broke out last month between Iraqi forces and Shiite ...
US paradox of construction and destruction Asia Times Online
UK's Miliband to back Maliki security drive Reuters

Iraq's Maliki says factions agree to rejoin government
Reuters - 1 hour ago
By Ahmed Rasheed BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Parties that walked out of Iraq's government last year have agreed to rejoin, Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki said on Thursday, in what could amount to a long-awaited political breakthrough.
US deputy commander calls on al-Sadr to stop attacks in Iraq The Associated Press
US paradox of construction and destruction Asia Times Online

United Kingdom
Freezing assets of terror suspects 'unlawful and unconstitutional' - 2 hours ago
By Nick Allen The Government’s anti-terrorism strategy was dealt a devastating blow today as the High Court ruled that its powers to freeze suspects’ assets were unlawful and unconstitutional.
Freezing assets of terror suspects ruled unlawful Times Online
Terrorism ruling is new blow for government Reuters UK

Sri Lanka
L'armée sri-lankaise multiplie les assauts contre les séparatistes ...
Le Monde - Il y a 3 heures
Une nouvelle offensive de l'armée sri-lankaise contre les rebelles tamouls du LTTE (Tigres de libération de l'Eelam tamoul) dans la péninsule de Jaffna s'est soldée, mercredi 23 avril, par environ 200 morts, le bilan le plus lourd depuis dix-huit mois ...
Combats au Sri Lanka : au moins 116 morts Les Échos
Des affrontements font 90 morts au Sri Lanka, selon l'armée La

Sri Lanka not worried about possible Indian intervention
Xinhua - 2 hours ago
COLOMBO, April 24 (Xinhua) -- The Sri Lankan government said Thursday it was not worried about the resolution passed by an Indian state to intervene in Sri Lanka's escalating conflict between the government and Tamil Tiger rebels.
Disputed claims on S Lanka clash BBC News
Let's be clear -- Tamil Tigers are the terrorists in Sri Lanka National Post

Rebel bases bombed in Sri Lankan northeast
Radio Australia - 59 minutes ago
Military officials in Sri Lanka say air force jets have bombed suspected Tamil rebel bases in the northeast. The attack comes a day after fierce fighting between the two sides in the northern Jaffna peninsula.
Disputed claims on S Lanka clash BBC News
143 killed in Lanka fighting Hindu

Ecuador - Colombia
Ecuador dice que tiene actitud firme frente a las FARC
El Universal (México) - hace 35 minutos
AP 09:56 La desconfianza de Ecuador en el gobierno colombiano impide cualquier intercambio de información sobre asuntos de seguridad pero eso no modificará "nuestra actitud firme frente a las FARC", dijo el ministro de Defensa Javier Ponce el jueves a ...
Acusa rector a Uribe de ser un injerencista Excélsior
Uribe rechaza estatus de beligerancia a FARC planteado por Correa Unión Radio

Uribe a las FARC: 'que ni lo sueñen' estatus beligerancia que ...
Terra España - hace 42 minutos
El presidente de Colombia, Alvaro Uribe, dirigió hoy a las FARC un rotundo 'que ni lo sueñen' el estatus de beligerancia que planteó otorgar a esa guerrilla colombiana su homólogo de Ecuador, Rafael Correa, si deja de secuestrar. ...

Uribe revela que es investigado por una masacre paramilitar en 1997
La Voz de Galicia - hace 12 horas
Horas después de que su primo fuera detenido acusado de nexos con paramilitares, el presidente Álvaro Uribe reveló que las autoridades investigan la denuncia de un preso que lo acusa de participar en una reunión para planear una masacre de 15 ...
Presidente colombiano salpicado por "parapolítica" tras captura de ... AFP
El testigo que acusa a Uribe de participar en una matanza en 1997 ... Terra España

European Union
The Treaty of Lisbon (also known as the Reform Treaty) is a treaty signed on 13 December 2007 in Lisbon, Portugal. It alters how the European Union (EU) works through a series of amendments to the Treaty on European Union (TEU, Maastricht) and the Treaty establishing the European Community (TEC, Rome), the latter being renamed Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU). The two consolidated treaties would form the legal basis of the Union, and combined constitute most of the content of the rejected European Constitution. The Treaty of Lisbon is scheduled to be ratified in all Member States by the end of 2008, in time for the 2009 European elections. [Wikipedia]
Le parlement danois ratifie le traité de Lisbonne
La - Il y a 13 minutes
COPENHAGUE (Reuters) - Le parlement danois a approuvé jeudi par 90 voix contre 25 le traité européen modifié signé l'année dernière à Lisbonne par les Etats membres. "Je suis heureux que le traité ait été ratifié. Désormais l'UE peut passer à l'action" ...
Traité de Lisbonne: le Danemark ratifie Le Figaro
Les parlementaires danois ratifient le traité de Lisbonne

Taliban Leader Orders Cease-Fire in Pakistan
Washington Post - 1 hour ago
By Candace Rondeaux and Imtiaz Ali ISLAMABAD, Pakistan, April 24 -- A top Taliban leader in Pakistan with links to al-Qaeda has ordered a cease-fire as part of a deal negotiated with the country's new government, according to Taliban and Pakistani ...
Cease-fire gives hope for peace in Pakistan CNN International
Pakistan wants peace deal with militant tribe The Associated Press

Italy's Saint Pio goes on display
BBC News - 9 hours ago
The body of the popular Italian saint, Padre Pio, is to go on display in a glass coffin in southern Italy. Padre Pio was said to have had stigmata, or bleeding wounds of Jesus, on his hands and feet.
Italian saint draws huge crowds
Padre Pio's body goes on public display 40 years after his death Times Online

Let Heaven and earth radiantly rejoice today, for Christ hath appeared as a human in the flesh, that He might deliver from the curse the whole race of Adam; and when He came to Samaria, He was made wondrous by wonders. He that is compassed about by the waters of the clouds standeth nigh unto a woman and seeketh water. Wherefore, let all us the faithful worship Him, Who of His own will became poor for our sake in His compasionate counsel.
--Thursday of the Fifth Week, Pentecostarion

--the BB