Saturday, May 10, 2008

The Fiftieth Day of Easter

Pentecost batik by Solomon Raj of India, borrowed from here.

O ye faithful, let us keep and celebrate most radiantly this post-festal and last feast; this is the day of Pentecost, which doth fulfill the appointed time and the promise. For on this day, the fire of the Good Comforter straightway came on earth, as though in form of tongues, and it enlightened the disciples and proved them Heaven's initiates. Behold, the Comforter's light is come and hath illumined the whole world.

Heavenly King, O Comforter, the Spirit of truth, Who are everywhere present and fillest all things, O Treasury of every good and Bestower of life: come and dwell in us, and cleanse us from every stain, and save our souls, O Good One.



[I trust my readers to know that Donne's words are preserved in the original and in this instance we may understand each woman's death to diminish me as well.]

MNF: Soldier killed in non-combat incident
A U.S. Soldier was killed when the vehicle he was traveling in experienced a roll over near Al Asad May 10.

MNF: MND-Center Soldier dies
Center soldier died of non-combat related injuries May 9. The name of the deceased is being withheld pending notification of the next of kin and release by the Department of Defense.

The IGTNT post is here.

Into your hands, O Lord, we commend their spirits.
--the BB

The truth will out

Movie trailer for Standard Operating Procedure

Abu Ghraib....

--the BB

Visitors from the Global Center

Today I noticed two new flags. We have been visited from El Salvador and the Netherlands Antilles. Welcome, friends!

The Netherlands Antilles are rather unusual, a collection of islands that are part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands that will disband nationally at the end of this year. The islands seem never to have been fond of being lumped together. Aruba left the Netherlands Antilles to become its own state within the Kingdom of the Netherlands in 1986. Sint Maarten has also wanted to secede (from the N.A., not the Kingdom of the Netherlands). Sint Maarten and Curaçao are slated to become associated states within the Kingdom while Saba, Bonaire, and Sint Eustatius will become municipalities of the Netherlands. Clear as mud, right?

Now, Sint Maarten is one of the places I have been. While on a sailing trip about the Caribbean we stopped at Sint Maarten, which is the Dutch half of an island, the other half being French and called St Martin. We caught a taxi to drive to the other side of the island so I could be somewhere where French was the local language (first time since 1969 in France). Then we rode back to the Dutch side to rejoin the ship.

I have not been to El Salvador, though I have known Salvadorans in California and our church, St Mark's, Berkeley (the parish that sponsored me for ordination), had a sister relationship with San Juan Evangelista in San Salvador. With death squads and other terrors the times were tense and my bishop almost missed my ordination to the transitional diaconate as he felt he might need to be in El Salvador as members of San Juan had been put in jail a week before the ordination service. It got sorted out, they were released, and Bishop Swing did ordain me. That was in December 1989.

When searching in YouTube for "music netherlands antilles" I got this (may we call it a lively version of the chicken dance?):
'Pia di Galina' from 1997 successful hit album Cocktail Lamu Lamu.
Lyrics (+ rap)by Kizzy Getrouw.

music: Adeeb Oberoi

Crown Records.

message of song:

Let's tell the people we love or respect, that we appreciate them while they are still alive - instead of singing their praises when they're dead and gone. By that time it's too late for them to enjoy it.

Kizzy compares it with a comic view on how we treat chicken: they're never pampered or even given names, and after they die- we suddenly love them, giving them names as: hotwing, extra crispy etc. We even have chicken soup when we're sick. And to make mathers even more tragic, we eat eggs (their unborn babies) for breakfast. The song also dubbeled as a message for men who don't treat a lady with the respect they deserve, and after the girl is gone, tell her how much they need her.

*'Pia di Galina' means 'Chicken leg/ drumstick', and 'Galina' also means 'hot chick/babe'.

The same Kitty Getrouw represents Curaçao at the Caribbean music festival in 1996:

Yolocamba Ita: Canto a la patria revolucionaria
Classic song by Salvadoran folk group.

El Salvador, "Muñequita", Los Tropicalismos Gallos, Cumbia

--the BB

Blame Eileen

I haven't blamed her for anything for quite a while but she led me astray on this one:

You Should Live in the Country

You are laid back, calm, and good at entertaining yourself.

You don't need an expensive big city to keep you busy.

You'll take the peaceful life over the stressful life any day of the week.

I might have gone for her result: small city.

I do need a high-speed internet connection and local live theatre though.
--the BB

Everybody's got their own firebrand

Pastors we associate with are either irrelevant to political campaigns or something we should examine closely. If the latter, then we should do so even-handedly.

Btw, have you met one of McCain's endorsers?

--the BB


DoD Identifies Army Casualty
Pfc. Aaron J. Ward, 19, of San Jacinto, Calif., died May 6 in Al Anbar, Iraq, of wounds suffered when his unit came under small arms fire while conducting cordon and search operations. He was assigned to the 170th Military Police Company...

DoD Identifies Army Casualty
Spc. Alex D. Gonzalez, 21, of Mission, Texas, died May 6 in Mosul, Iraq, of wounds suffered when his vehicle encountered small arms fire and a rocket-propelled grenade attack. He was assigned to the 43rd Combat Engineer Company...

Father of all, we pray to you for these, and for all those whom we love but see no longer. Grant to them eternal rest. Let light perpetual shine upon them. May their souls and the souls of all the departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.

Domine, exaudi nos - 5/10/2008

I got home yesterday evening. Kathy picked me up at the airport and we went to dinner, then she brought me to my place. Home, sweet home! Where the humidity was 16% last night and the outdoor temperature 66.

The back yard is green, the grapevines flourishing and two of the rose bushes covered with roses. Alas, I left the camera in NOLA.

I am celebrating being somewhere other than work this morning by doing one of my favorite things, my "world watch" feature. There has been no time for it. I glance at headlines in passing but they can't sink in. I can barely get through e-mail and quick stops at my friends' blogs each night and the evening is gone and I am up too late, again. I am starved for world news at the moment.

Cease-fire reached in Baghdad's Sadr City, militants say
CNN International - 1 hour ago
BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- An agreement has been reached with the Iraqi government to end fighting in Baghdad's Sadr City district, a spokesman for radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr said Saturday.
Cleric spokesman: Cease-fire in Baghdad's Sadr City The Associated Press
Cease-fire deal reported in Sadr City International Herald Tribune

US says captured man is not al Qaeda in Iraq leader
San Francisco Chronicle - 5 hours ago
A US military spokesman said a man detained Thursday in northern Iraq is not wanted terrorist Abu Ayyub al-Masri, the leader of the Sunni insurgent group al Qaeda in Iraq. Iraqi police announced early Friday that al-Masri, also known as Abu Hamza ...
US: Iraq Al Qaeda chief not captured Chicago Tribune
Leader of al-Qaida in Iraq wasn’t captured, US military says Kansas City Star

(Reuters) - Following are security developments in Iraq at 3:30 am ...
Reuters - 3 hours ago
BAGHDAD - US and Iraqi security forces killed eight gunmen on Friday in clashes in different districts of Baghdad, the US military said.
Sadr aide criticises Iraq's Sistani
Cease-Fire Reported In Sadr City CBS News

Iraq Contractor in Shooting Case Makes Comeback
New York Times - 8 hours ago
The State Department has just renewed its contract to provide security for American diplomats in Iraq for at least another year.
Blackwater unlikely to face charges in Iraq shooting International Herald Tribune
State Dept. renews Blackwater contract Seattle Times

Cessez-le-feu entre gouvernement et miliciens de Sadr en Irak
La - Il y a 3 heures
BAGDAD (Reuters) - Le gouvernement irakien s'est entendu sur l'instauration d'un cessez-le-feu avec les miliciens chiites de l'Armée du Mahdi, de l'imam Moktada Sadr, afin de mettre un terme à plusieurs semaines de violents combats dans Bagdad, ...
Bagdad: cessez-le-feu à Sadr City à partir de dimanche; au moins ...
Irak: treize morts dans des combats à Sadr City depuis vendredi L'Express

At least two dead in shooting at funeral in Lebanon
Reuters - 46 minutes ago
BEIRUT, May 10 (Reuters) - At least two mourners were killed on Saturday when a gunman fired on a funeral procession for a pro-government supporter in Beirut who had died in clashes with Lebanon's Hezbollah fighters, security sources said.
New Beirut violence hits funeral BBC News
Deaths in Beirut funeral shooting

Hezbollah tightens grip of Beirut
Reuters UK - 50 minutes ago
By Khaled Yacoub Oweis BEIRUT (Reuters) - Lebanon's Iranian-backed Shi'ite movement Hezbollah tightened its control of the capital Beirut on Saturday in a show of force after it routed gunmen loyal to the Western-backed government.
Police: 2 killed in Beirut shooting after Hezbollah takeover The Associated Press

Liban: Fouad Siniora demande à l'armée de rétablir la sécurité - Il y a 52 minutes
Le premier ministre libanais, Fouad Siniora, a demandé à l'armée de rétablir la sécurité au Liban, de faire évacuer "immédiatement" les hommes armés des rues et de mettre fin au sit-in dans le centre de Beyrouth. Il a affirmé que "l'Etat libanais ne ...
«L'Etat libanais ne tombera pas» Libération
Liban : Siniora fait appel à l'armée Le Figaro

Zimbabwe's MDC to contest run-off against Mugabe
Reuters - 2 hours ago
By Phumza Macanda PRETORIA, May 10 (Reuters) - The leader of Zimbabwe's main opposition group said on Saturday he would contest a run-off against Robert Mugabe after disputed elections on March 29 in hopes of unseating the veteran president.
Southern Africa: SADC Divided Over Zimbabwe
Zimbabwe opposition leader to participate in runoff Los Angeles Times

Morgan Tsvangirai promises to return to Zimbabwe
Times Online - 2 hours ago
Zimbabwe’s opposition leader said today that he will take part in a presidential runoff and will soon return despite a violent crackdown on his supporters.
Mugabe party hopes for runoff 'as soon as possible': minister Africasia

La police, l'armée et les milices harcèlent l'opposition zimbabwéenne
Le Monde - Il y a 48 minutes
Comme à chaque fois qu'il sent le pouvoir lui échapper, le président du Zimbabwe, Robert Mugabe, s'est lancé dans une campagne de terreur. En attendant un éventuel second tour de l'élection présidentielle, la police, l'armée et surtout les milices ...
Le gouvernement zimbabwéen rejette les conditions du MDC L'Express
Le chef de l'opposition annonce son retour au Zimbabwe "dans les deux

Zimbabwe minister says no pre-conditions for run-off
Reuters India - 2 hours ago
HARARE (Reuters) - Zimbabwe's justice minister on Saturday ruled out accepting any pre-conditions for a presidential run-off after the opposition leader said he would only participate if international monitors had full access.
Zimbabwe: Rice Calls African Leaders to Seek Zim Solution

Myanmar (Burma)
Myanmar town struggles to feed cyclone refugees
Reuters - 2 hours ago
MYAUNG MYA, Myanmar, May 10 (Reuters) - Ten thousand cyclone refugees have turned up in this bustling town from the devastated Irrawaddy delta, and their numbers swell by the day despite a lack of food and shelter, an aid volunteer said on Saturday.
UN aid flights resume to cyclone-hit Myanmar (Roundup) Monsters and
Million cyclone survivors still without aid: UN AFP

Burma goes to polls as aid trickles in - 5 hours ago
By Graeme Jenkins in Rangoon and Sebastien Berger Voting has begun in Burma in a referendum on a proposed constitution, despite hundreds of thousands left homeless and starving in the aftermath of Saturday's cyclone.
The powerful men blocking vital Burma aid
Burmese junta goes ahead with ballot despite disaster Scotsman

La junte birmane force l'aide internationale à marchander
Tribune de Genève - Il y a 14 heures
DILEMME | 00h00 Les organisations suisses sont confrontées, comme l'ONU, aux refus criminels de la junte. «Oui, le Programme alimentaire mondial suspend ses vols.» L'annonce faite par Chris Kaye, directeur pour la Birmanie de l'agence des Nations Unies ...
La Birmanie acceptera l'aide d'où qu'elle vienne (ambassadeur à l'ONU) France Info
L'Onu réclame 187 millions de dollars pour la Birmanie La

Burma aid curbs driving up death toll: Oppn
ABC Online - 49 minutes ago
Burma's pro-democracy Opposition said that the cyclone death toll is rising daily because of the junta's aid restrictions and called on the United Nations to send help "by any means.
Burma shuns foreign aid workers BBC News

Russia rolls military hardware in parade
United Press International - 1 hour ago
MOSCOW, May 10 (UPI) -- For the first time since the demise of the Soviet Union, military hardware rumbled through Red Square in celebration of Russia's victory over Nazi Germany.
Video: Victory Day lights up Russia RussiaToday
Russia Parades Military Might New York Times

Russie - Démonstration de force sur la place Rouge
TF1 - 9 mai 2008
Dmitri Medvedev a assisté vendredi à sa première parade célébrant la victoire de 1945 en tant que président de Russie. 8000 hommes ont défilé devant le Kremlin. La Russie fête la victoire dans la Seconde guerre mondiale le 9 mai. Cela faisait 18 ans, ...
Medvedev s'inquiète des "ambitions irresponsables"
Le stylo de Poutine Le Monde

Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka holds crucial vote in war-torn east
Reuters UK - 1 hour ago
By Anuruddha Lokuhapuarachchi BATTICALOA, Sri Lanka, May 10 (Reuters) - Residents in Sri Lanka's war-ravaged east voted for the first time in two decades on Saturday in an election the government hopes will endorse its war to defeat Tamil Tiger rebels.
Voting for Sri Lanka's provincial poll in east closes (Roundup) Monsters and
Voters in eastern Sri Lanka worry about future The Associated Press

China - Japan
On Visit to Japan, China's Hu Has No Time for Old Grudges
Washington Post - 11 hours ago
By Blaine Harden TOKYO, May 9 -- The two economic giants of Asia courted each other this week during a five-day visit to Japan by Chinese President Hu Jintao that played down wartime grudges and played up pragmatic cooperation.
At Tokyo meeting, China and Japan lay groundwork for better ties Christian Science Monitor
Mr. Hu’s Peaceable Visit to Tokyo New York Times

Washington DC
Housing Bailout Bill Seems to Be on Shaky Ground
New York Times - 8 hours ago
By STEPHEN LABATON and STEVEN R. WEISMAN WASHINGTON - Even as the housing foreclosure crisis deepens, legislation to rescue homeowners and their lenders appears to be in significant political jeopardy.
White House leaves door open on housing rescue Reuters
HUD Chief Open to Compromise on Anti-Foreclosure Plan (Update1) Bloomberg

What to do with Pakistan's judges
BBC News - 18 hours ago
Pakistan's parliament is set to call for the reinstatement of sacked senior judges. But, as the BBC's Barbara Plett in Islamabad explains, furious arguments are going on about how much power they should have.
Pakistani leaders to meet in London over judges Reuters UK
Pakistan's Sharif says only 'political will' required to restore ... International Herald Tribune

Le radical serbe Vojislav Seselj mène campagne depuis sa prison de ...
Le Monde - Il y a 54 minutes
Depuis sa cellule du Tribunal pénal international pour l'ex-Yougoslavie (TPIY), le chef du Parti radical serbe (SRS), Vojislav Seselj, conduit sa campagne pour les élections législatives du 11 mai en Serbie. Accusé de crimes contre l'humanité et crimes ...
Serbie: suspense électoral à la veille de législatives cruciales AFP
L'Europe, enjeu central des législatives serbes

Union sacrée des élus flamands contre la minorité francophone
Libération - Il y a 9 heures
Pour la première fois dans l’histoire de la Belgique, la majorité flamande, tous partis confondus, a imposé sa loi à la minorité francophone du pays (40 % des habitants). Dans la nuit de jeudi à vendredi, les 80 députés flamands, de l’extrême droite du ...
BHV: on continue comme si de rien n'était... 7sur7
Dans BHV, la majorité des flamands ne fait plus confiance à Leterme Le Vif/L'Express

Malawi AIDS deaths drop 10 percent, local free drugs study shows
AFP - 13 hours ago
PARIS (AFP) - Distributing free anti-HIV drugs in a district of AIDS-ravaged Malawi helped cut the death toll by 10 percent within eight months, according to a study published on Saturday by The Lancet.
Antiretroviral therapy cuts AIDS deaths in Malawi Xinhua
Malawi Aids success The Mercury (subscription)

War and Abuse
Inquiries into abuse claims by Taliban
Sydney Morning Herald - 23 hours ago
THREE separate investigations are under way into allegations that Australian troops maltreated Afghan civilians who were captured during a raid on a bomb-making operation on April 30.
Houston believes Taliban 'mistreatment' claims are false ABC Online
Diggers will be investigated The Australian

US denies Khadr probe was halted prematurely
Toronto Star - 5 hours ago
GUANTANAMO BAY–The Pentagon disputes claims that political pressure prematurely halted an investigation into the alleged abuse of Omar Khadr when he was detained in Afghanistan.
US derailed probe that could have scuttled Khadr case: lawyer
Dysfunctional family tragedy StarPhoenix

The tasting of the tree became a source of anguish unto Adam in Eden of old, when the serpent poured forth his venom. For by him death entered in, devouring the whole race of humanity. But when the Master came, He destroyed the dragon and granted resurrection unto us. Therefore, let us cry unto Him: O Saviour, spare those whom Thou hast taken unto Thyself and grant them rest with Thine elect, since Thou art the Friend of mankind.
--Saturday of Souls, Pentecostarion

--the BB

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Unless you are terrorists, I think you will find our requests not only fair, but truly patriotic.

Hunter (at Daily Kos) offers a very sensible way through the FISA and immunity impasse.
Fear not: I have a bargain to strike. I would like to announce that we, the slovenly and ignorant public, would be willing to drop our unreasonable outrage over corporations in this nation being given blanket retroactive immunity for violating both federal law and our own personal privacy... for a price of our own. A quid pro quo, if you will -- and certainly, I expect you are well familiar with such arrangements. We simply want a little payback, in order to make sure that you in Congress are asked to live according to the same rules as the rest of us.

Here is my proposal. We, the public, should be allowed to spy on you, and all those you come in contact with, with similar promisees of amnesty.
Enjoy it all here.

In a not-very-encouraging post today mcjoan wonders:
Have Dem leaders really moved in the discussions from whether to provide amnesty to how to provide it? Beyond that, why in the hell do the telcos have a seat at the negotiating table on this issue at all?
Update 2:
Check out the extensive observations by Marcy at emptywheel. The preface:
Now, before I say what I'm about to say, let me reiterate that I believe we should not compromise. The telecoms broke the law when they accepted a letter authorizing the spying on Americans signed by the White House Counsel in lieu of the Attorney General in March 2004, and they should be held accountable for breaking the law.

That said, let me make some points about what basis for compromise Steny might be negotiating, and how such a compromise might be an avenue for transparency about the Administration's (as distinct from just the telecom's) lawbreaking with the illegal wiretap program.

Remember that Steny is not just the chief broker currently on FISA. He was also the chief broker on the House bill that passed on March 14. And that bill had one provision that seems to have been forgotten in recent discussions of compromise, but was clearly intended, even in March, to serve as the kernel of any future compromises: the call for a commission to investigate the illegal wiretap program.

--the BB


Caminante has two more posts on Burma (here and here) and also requests our prayers for Naomi.
Please keep praying for Naomi. She will be having a MRI and bone scan to see if the Ewings has spread into her bones. There are no shadows, per se, but she aches all over. They will be checking her hip, thigh, leg and shoulder.
Many of you have dropped by Kirstin's place for an update and to offer love and prayers. Keep it up.

FranIAm has been making work transitions, as her long-time blog fans know. Cyberhugs going out in that direction.

Have you caught a glimpse of Pseudopiskie's apple blossoms and lilacs?

David needs some prayers, as Johnieb informs us.

Tandaina writes of gearing up to sell or rent the house. Such an ordeal calls for loving prayer, methinks. Hang in there! [Love the new blog look and the gorgeous photos, btw.]

Thanks for all the lovely comments and wishes here and elsewhere!

I almost forgot to include this request from SusanKay:
Could you post a prayer request for David, who is apparently homeless and dieing of alcoholism and infection, and for his sister, Kate-Grace who is a friend of mine and for their mother. Katie and her mom could use some help with their prayers as they try to discern what God, love and AlAnon call them to do.

O God, I bless you for the gift of my life: for the journey of which you are the source, the road, and the goal. I thank you for those who have loved me, raised me, taught me, challenged me, and nudged me toward wholeness. May I be a blessing to others and learn to rejoice in them and in creation as you rejoice. Amen.

--the BB

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Standing in the Mystery

There are so many requests I want to put out there right now, new and ongoing.

One quick new one because I need to get to bed.

My sister-in-law's sister-in-law just got news, quite unexpected, that she has advanced metastasized cancer. Prognosis: get to Paris now, or whatever you want to do. I don't even know how to spell her name but she is one of my favorite outlaws. Jeannetta.

You know what to do.

Kirstin, of course, and KJ's sister Karen and all their family, and Robyn, and so many others.

My nephew Jay's birthday was last Saturday. Tomorrow is the birthday of my cousins Bessie and Judy as well as the birthday of Shavon (and Alicia?) at the company where I am working right now - along with the feast of Dame Julian of Norwich. Saturday is the birthday of our baby sister Debbie.

--the BB

Señor, ten piedad

Meteor Blades has a post up at Daily Kos with links to a couple of other articles regarding the plight of the Burmese people following Nargis. The devastation is immense.

Caminante has another post up today on Myanmar.

And Mimi has a great prayer that she found on Beliefnet.

Episcopal Relief and Development responds.

Here are the headlines tonight:
Myanmar under pressure to open its borders to aid
Reuters UK - 2 hours ago
By Aung Hla Tun YANGON (Reuters) - Myanmar's military government came under pressure on Wednesday to open its borders to more international help after a devastating cyclone that a US diplomat said may have killed more than 100000 people.
'Myanmar deaths may hit 100000' Jerusalem Post
Comment by Tion Kwa Bernard Schwartz Fellow, Asia Society

First UN aid flights start arriving in Myanmar
Reuters - 59 minutes ago
By Aung Hla Tun YANGON, May 8 (Reuters) - The first United Nations relief flights started to arrive on Thursday for cyclone victims in military-ruled Myanmar as a US diplomat said that more than 100000 people may have been killed.
Myanmar faces pressure to allow major aid effort International Herald Tribune
Aid Arrives in Myanmar as Cyclone Death Toll Rises (Update1) Bloomberg

La mitad de la ayuda prometida por Pekín ya está en Myanmar
Terra España - hace 40 minutos
El 50 por ciento de la ayuda prometida por Pekín a Myanmar (antigua Birmania) e integrado por materiales como mantas, tiendas de campaña y galletas fue entregada por el embajador chino en Rangún (Yangon) a la Junta militar gobernante, ...
La cifra de muertos por el ciclón en Birmania puede superar los ... El Periódico
Rice insta a la Junta birmana a autorizar la entrada de ayuda ... La Vanguardia
--the BB

Happy Birthday, Contessa!

Jane R - she of Acts of Hope - celebrates her natal felicity (as well as that of her Adorable Godson) today.

Whoop it up amid all the paper grading!
--the BB

Господи помилуй - 5/7/2008

I can't do a full tour but this needs to be on our minds and in our hearts.

Burma death toll 'likely to hit 80000'
ABC Online - 1 hour ago
By ABC correspondent Peter Lloyd and wires An aid official in Burma says the death toll from Cyclone Nargis may be 80000 or more. Kyi Minn is health adviser for World Vision in Burma and he says that on top of the 22000 the military regime has admitted ...
Burmese prisoners 'executed after cyclone hit'
Burma's twin disasters: A cyclone and the generals International Herald Tribune

Caminante has a couple of good posts up on this (here and here).

Maha has a good article about the pathetic US response (after all, the Bushes are focused on whatshername's wedding - you know, the drunk girl).

Holy One, look with mercy upon those injured, displaced, ill or starving in this current devastation, and receive into your arms those who have died. Strengthen those who bring succor to the people of the region. Guide Myanmar and all nations toward grace-filled openness and peace, free from oppression and fear.
--the BB

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Oh, please

Ann Fontaine shared this bit from The Telegraph at The Lead:
The Vatican said last night that the time has come for the Anglican Church to choose between Protestantism and the ancient sacramental Churches of Rome and Orthodoxy.

Cardinal Walter Kasper, president of the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity, told the Catholic Herald that the Anglican Communion must “clarify its identity” and stop hovering between the Catholic and Protestant traditions.
And why, pray tell, should the Vatican's agenda set ours? Or our actions be driven by their sense of timing or urgency?

As a friend says in Spanglish: ¡Por fa-f*cking-vor!

It seems to me we have made it clear for centuries now that we are both and neither and rather happily not fitting into either camp.

As my CPE supervisor taught us years ago, one sign of mental health is knowing that there are always more than two choices.

I realize that Rome and Constantinople (and the other patriarchates) have considerable difficulty with the concept of ancient orthodoxy that is democratic and not chained to thoroughgoing clericalism. I say we offer them a way forward. I know they don't see it this way but I refuse to accept that as my, or our, problem.

It is in our not fitting neatly into other people's niches that we have our own gifts to offer to the larger Church. By our traditional and sacramental nature we shall ever be a thorn in the side of the Prots. By our democratic approach and openness to new manifestations of God's presence and power we shall ever be a thorn in the side of the other sacramental communions. I believe this is a good thing.

In sum: Hey, Walt, stuff your "must."
--the BB

More visitors from Asia

This evening I came home to learn that we have had our first visitors from Afghanistan and Qatar. A hearty welcome to you both and to any of your compatriots who shall visit here in future!

I shied away from trying to copy the Pashto script and settled for a transliteration. Nor can I write a lot or post a lot of music these days.

Qatar is an Arab-speaking constitutional monarchy and its capital is Doha. It occupies a peninsula bordered by Saudi Arabia and the Persian Gulf.

Afghanistan is an Islamic presidential republic located in the heart of Asia. The capital is Kabul and the official languages are Dari and Pashto.

Here is your tourist ad for Qatar:

And a half-minute of traditional Qatari music:

Two American filmmakers get outside the city to show you a different view of Afghanistan:

And an Afghan music video:

--the BB

Oh, baby!

Pamela Hess writes for AP:
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The House Judiciary Committee voted Tuesday to compel a top aide to Vice President Dick Cheney to testify to the committee about the Bush administration's interrogation practices.

David Addington, Cheney's chief of staff, refused to testify without a subpoena. No date has been set for his appearance before Congress.

John Yoo, the former Justice Department lawyer who wrote a now-repudiated memo allowing the harsh interrogations of military prisoners agreed late Monday to testify to Congress about those practices, averting a subpoena. Yoo is now a law professor at University of California-Berkeley.
Now I know this does mean that things will proceed smoothly, or even proceed at all. Nonetheless, just to read of a subpoena being issued gives me the all-overs, don't you know?

And check out this paragraph:
Former Attorney General John Ashcroft, former Under Secretary of Defense Douglas Feith, and former Assistant Attorney General Daniel Levin have also agreed to give testimony at a future hearing. Former CIA Director George Tenet is still in negotiations with the committee, according to House Judiciary Committee spokeswoman Melanie Roussell.
Dday pointed me to this over at Hullabaloo and has some interesting and relevant information to add. Check it out.

Let's get the truth out!


Logan Murphy has a post up at Crooks and Liars about an Iraqi citizen suing US contractors over torture at Abu Ghraib.

May truth prevail and the guilty be held accountable! Let's start in the White House!
--the BB

Monday, May 05, 2008


It seems like a couple of weeks since we passed the four thousand mark. Sigh.
Staff Sgt. Chad A. Caldwell, 24, of Spokane, Wash., died April 30 in Mosul, Iraq, of injuries sustained while conducting dismounted combat operations. He was assigned to the 3rd Squadron, 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, Fort Hood, Texas.
Sgt. 1st Class Lawrence D. Ezell, 30, of Portland, Texas, died April 30 in Baghdad of wounds suffered when an improvised explosive device detonated near his unit during combat operations. He was assigned to the 71st Explosive Ordnance Disposal Group, Fort Carson, Colo.
Sgt. Jerry L. DeLoach, 45, of Jackson, Ga., died July 7, 2007, at Fort Knox, Ky. He had been medically evacuated from theater, and died of a non-combat related injury. He was assigned to the Warrior Transition Unit at Fort Knox.
...they rest from their labors.

For these three and all their comrades, the brave women and men who face the horrors of war on our behalf - peace, respect, and honor.

For the Iraqi people - that they may be delivered from conflict and freed to rebuild their land.

For the healing.

May we be delivered from the hell of war.

h/t to blue jersey mom for today's IGTNT post.
--the BB

FISA update

I don't have time to expound on this topic these days. Y'all know the issues. Here's an update from mcjoan (bless her!) with an action item from the ACLU [link].
--the BB

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Always an adventure

Grandmère and Grandpère took me out for dinner tonight, an early celebration of my natal festivity (since Jane R ratted me out - hey, everybody, Jane's birthday is at the end of this week too). It was very gracious and generous of them. We headed out to a section of town that I had not been in yet and we dined at Andrea's, a very nice northern Italian restaurant. We shared antipasto misto, then I had a spinach salad, shrimp risotto, and praline cheesecake. Mimi and I rattled on about our blog interests and GP patiently put up with both of us.

Yes, there are photos, but I don't have means for download here.

Yes, we got just a little bit lost coming back, but with Mimi's navigation we found our way back and I am safely home. That is the "always an adventure" bit in the title above. I never count on following a path that is both known and intended here. Even when the streets are known there is the "turn here" or "try this" element as drivers and passengers negotiate the trip.

Guardian angels, watch over GM and GP as they journey back home tonight.

It was so nice of them to make the trip and a huge thank you! to both of them.

This morning I picked up a coworker and we headed to town to catch solemn high mass at St Anna's. Yes, Kirstin, I said hello and gave Fr. Bill a hug for you. I have photos to prove I went to church this morning also (same delay for downloading, however). The closing hymn was siyahamba and I carried on shamelessly (I hope they have stopped talking about me at the ordination in Utah by now), singing it lustily in English, Xhosa, and Spanish - clapping and bouncing about.

Let's make it nice and easy

I am going to lift virtually all of a post from Hoffmania because it's short and, I believe, important.

[Aside: I am rather glad I was exposed to no political news for almost a week. Don't know how much silliness and pandering I can take.]

Gas drops 18c a gallon (from the tax, not oil company profit).
People drive more.
People buy more gas.
Oil companies win.

Demand goes up.
Supplies go down.
Oil companies raise prices.
Oil companies win.

Summer ends.
Gas goes back up 18c a gallon.
People still have to drive to work.
Oil companies win.

Oh, and all summer long, American bridge and road maintenance crews will be unemployed.

If that's what you want, vote for McCain or Clinton.

Well said, Hoffmania!
--the BB

Many guests: potential friends

We had our first visitor from Iceland last weekend but with my hasty preparations and travel, I have not had the chance to celebrate that fact. Today we had our first visitor from Oman. Welcome to you both! As y'all can see from the counter, we are now up to 107 flags in the virtual collection. I love the fact that I have no idea what part of the world the next flag will come from.

I have, briefly, set foot on Icelandic soil. It was January 4, 1968, on my flight home from a semester in France. We had taken the train from Paris on the morning of January 3 and arrived in Luxembourg City. There was a delay because of snow storms and our plane did not leave until the middle of the night. We stopped in Keyflavik for fuel. Now remember what a sheltered existence I had led in the Mediterranean climate of Central California. When I stepped out of the plane to descend the stairs to the tarmac, in those January pre-dawn hours, I was certain that if anyone had touched my ears they would have shattered like brittle glass and fallen in shards on the Keyflavik tarmac. I had never experienced cold quite like that.

I know, what a wuss. We waited in the terminal while they refueled, then got back on board for what seemed an endless flight in limbo. Eventually we really did get to New York and on to home.

This means I missed actually seeing Iceland, though you can tell by my weather-wussness that I should prefer to see it during the summer.

Iceland obtained home rule in 1904, sovereignty from Denmark in 1918, and established the current republic in 1944. The capital is Reykjavik, the language is Icelandic, and the population is somewhere around 316,000. It is a volcanic island of glaciers and geysers. [Wikipedia]

Iceland has taken great steps to become independent of fossil fuels, showing possibilities to the rest of the world. Way to go, Iceland!

The Sultanate of Oman occupies the southeastern end of the Arabian Peninsula. The Sultan is an absolute ruler though he has instituted and elected advisory council and the nation has three women ministers. The capital is Muscat, the language Arabic, and cardamom is a widely used spice in the cuisine. [Wikipedia]

For those of you who know Tracie the Red via OCICBW, you are aware that her Joe is a practitioner of Asatru - the revived ancient Northern European faith in the Aesir. Here is a video about Asatru in Iceland (9:49m). It is a serious spiritual path not to be confused with bastardized Northern European imagery invoked by white racist groups (just in case anyone suffers that misconception). [We were all praying for Joe and Tracie when his father died.]

Here is a slideshow tour (with nice photos) from someone's visit to Iceland (8:14m):

Here is a contemporary singer's treatment of an Icelandic folk song (lovely bittersweet feel to it) - no claim to authenticity here and he explicitly says his pronunciation was still in process but it's really nice):

A little contemporary Icelandic pop music:
Augun Opnast - Menn Ársins

And now some nice visuals of Oman with music to get your hips moving:

Omigod, what have the Scots done to the Omanis? [Traditional Omani music and dance, complete with a bagpipe of some kind - 1:47m]:

Yes, indeed, here is an Omani pipe band - pipes, drums, and saxophones included.

I do think Omani drummers have more fun than Scots drummers.

Here is some music (guitar and vocal) with poor quality photos but it's of the Omani team (red and white) playing football (1:42m).

--the BB

Domine, in adjuvandum me festina - 5/4/2008

Myanmar (Burma)
VIDEO: Cyclone devastates Myanmar
Reuters - 1 hour ago
May. 4 - Hundreds of people have been killed after a powerful cyclone pounded parts of Myanmar. Myanmar's military government declared disaster areas in five states on Sunday after Cyclone Nargis pounded the Irrawaddy delta region.
At least 351 reported dead as cyclone hits Myanmar (3rd Roundup) Monsters and
Cyclone toll exceeds 350

Violence flares during autonomy vote in Bolivia
AFP - 37 minutes ago
SANTA CRUZ, Bolivia (AFP) - Violence erupted at some polling stations in the Bolivian province of Santa Cruz on Sunday as the territory held an autonomy referendum deemed illegal by leftwing President Evo Morales.
Video: Bolivia's Red Ponchos call to arms - 04 May 08 AlJazeeraEnglish
Bolivia's richest region votes on autonomy drive Washington Post

Zimbabwe opposition: Will they join a runoff vote?
Christian Science Monitor - 3 hours ago
Ongoing violence may impede a runoff between President Robert Mugabe and the opposition's Morgan Tsangirai. By Scott Baldauf | Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor JOHANNESBURG, South Africa; and HARARE, Zimbabwe - More than a month after ...
Zimbabwe to fix presidential run-off date 'soon': officials AFP
Zimbabwe Electoral Officials to Meet Soon on Presidential Runoff Date Voice of America

Zimbabwe to fix presidential run-off date 'soon': officials
AFP - 1 hour ago
HARARE (AFP) - Zimbabwe's electoral commission said Sunday it would soon fix a date for the presidential election second round, as the opposition continued to consider under what conditions, if any, it would take part.
Zimbabwe Electoral Officials to Meet Soon on Presidential Runoff Date Voice of America
Zimbabwe opposition mulls conditions for run-off Reuters India

Tibet - China
Dalai-China talks end abruptly as Beijing talks tough
Times of India - 1 hour ago
BEIJING: The much-awaited talks between the Dalai Lama's envoys and China ended abruptly on Sunday, hours after the two sides met for the first time since the unrest erupted in Tibet in March, with Beijing demanding "credible moves" from the the ...
Talks start between China and Tibetans International Herald Tribune
Dalai Lama Representatives Meet With Chinese Officials Voice of America

Dalai Lama leads prayers for victims in Tibet - 3 May 2008
Dharamsala, May 3 (IANS) Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama presided over a special prayer meeting here Saturday in remembrance of those Tibetans who have been killed in recent anti-China protests in Tibet.

Palestine - Israel
Rice pushes for peace progress; Israel denies hidden agenda
The Associated Press - 1 hour ago
JERUSALEM (AP) - Facing mounting Palestinian frustration at the pace of peace talks, the United States leaned on Israel on Sunday to lift restrictions that chafe West Bank residents and stifle an already limping economy.
Rice: Mideast peace deal possible by end of year CNN International
Rice calls for concrete steps to improve life in West Bank AFP

Israel Hints at Uprooting Settlements in Peace Deal
Voice of America - 33 minutes ago
By David Gollust Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni indicated Sunday Israel may uproot some of its West Bank settlements as part of a peace accord with the Palestinians.

Iraq: Al-Sadr Refuses to Meet Baghdad Delegation In Iran
RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty - 3 hours ago
By RFE/RL analyst Kathleen Ridolfo Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki dispatched a delegation of leading Shi'ite figures to Iran last week in order to present Tehran with mounting evidence of Iran's support for rogue militias in Iraq.
Iraq says no hard evidence of Iran support for militia AFP
Iraq says to probe claims of Iran meddling Washington Post

Iraq's first lady unharmed after her motorcade is bombed
The Associated Press - 5 hours ago
BAGHDAD (AP) - A bomb hit a motorcade carrying Iraq's first lady through Baghdad on Sunday, while the US military said a roadside explosion killed four Marines in the deadliest attack in western Anbar province in months.
5 US, 2 Georgian Troops Die in Iraq, Officials Say Washington Post
Turkish military says it killed 150 Kurdish rebels in northern Iraq CNN
Kurds dispute toll in Turkey's airstrikes in Iraq Los Angeles Times
More than 150 PKK rebels killed in N Iraq Xinhua

Irak: au moins 13 morts dans les combats à Sadr City (armée ...
Le Monde - Il y a 5 heures
Au moins treize miliciens chiites ont été tués depuis samedi soir dans des accrochages à Bagdad avec des unités américaines, à Sadr City, un bastion du chef radical antiaméricain Moqtada Sadr, a annoncé dimanche l'armée américaine. ...
Bagdad évite de mettre en cause l'Iran Le Figaro
Neuf activistes tués dans la nuit à Sadr-City La

Global food crisis
Asia fears lost decade, unrest from food price shock
Reuters - 1 hour ago
By Andrew Hay MADRID, May 4 (Reuters) - Soaring food prices may throw millions of Asians back into poverty, undo a decade of gains and stoke civil unrest, regional leaders said on Sunday as they urged a boost to agricultural production to meet rising ...
Asian Development Bank rethinks its strategy for reducing poverty International Herald Tribune
Asian bank in food crisis warning BBC News

O God, you feel the anguish that troubles billions of hearts and hear the cry of every creature. It is a very small thing that we should hold before you the pains and fears of your creation for it is in you and by your grace that all things exist. We turn to you for the unexpected grace, the deep wisdom, the hope-filled perseverance, and the renewed energy to join in your work of creation and redemption, to become your channels of sanctification here and now. Look with compassion upon the world you cherish so passionately and upon us who stand before you that all things may be brought to wholeness. Amen.
--the BB