Saturday, June 14, 2008

Ladies, I was in the neighborhood so I thought I'd drop by

FranIAm (that "liberal little minx" as one of her commenters wrote) took the Political Compass Test after seeing that Grandmère Mimi had done so and, good lemming that I am, I took it this morning too. I think I've done this before, but I need some silliness this weekend!

I keep the best of company, of course.
Just in case anyone wondered why we get along so well.

Be sure to check out the comments threads at the ladies' establishments to see who else took this and how they scored.

Speaking of in the neighborhood... Though I am home in ABQ this weekend (hooray!), I will be back in NOLA Monday evening. Where are the better places to savor beignets? I have not yet done that and I daren't spend all this time in NOLA without that pleasure. [Though, if any of you expect me to suck crawdad heads you don't know me. I eat very little that comes out of the water.]

It was very comforting to look out the airplane window yesterday as sunset approached and see mesas and a rippled, mountainous landscape (and lots of dirt, as the passenger next to me noted). I think the encapsulation of sense of place may be that I would rather desiccate than rot.

It is rather fun to compare our sense of where we feel at home and why we enjoy it, so long as it doesn't put other places down and get mean-spirited. I know that Mimi and I love our "home" regions and feel that the other's turf is quite alien. Nothing wrong with that. I don't think humid places are bad places, for instance; I just know they are not where I feel at home. I've certainly acclimatized enough that I don't face flying back with dread and look forward to some more exploring.

Happy weekend, everybody!

[Does giddy "I'm back in the West" dance.]
--the BB

Welcome To John McCain’s Women's Clinic

My mother used to speak of "cutting off your nose to spite your own face."

I think it applies to any Democrat who would consider voting for McCain in protest of one's candidate not becoming the nominee, whether one's preferred candidate was Dennis Kucinich, Hillary Clinton, Al Gore, John Edwards, or someone else.

Brave New Films brings us this glimpse into McCain on an issue of concern to many of us.

Arianna Huffington commented three weeks ago:
You'd rather vote for John McCain, a man who has a 25-year history of voting against a woman's right to choose? A man who over the last eight years that NARAL has released a pro-choice scorecard has received a 0 percent rating (in his time in office, Obama has received a 100 percent rating)? A man whose campaign website says he believes Roe v. Wade "must be overturned"? A man who has vowed that, as president, he will be "a loyal and unswerving friend of the right to life movement"?

Protest wisely and help rebuild America.

h/t to SilentPatriot at Crooks and Liars
--the BB

Friday, June 13, 2008


DoD Identifies Army Casualty
Sgt. John D. Aragon, 22, of Antioch, Calif., died June 12 in Kadamiyah, Iraq, of wounds suffered when his vehicle encountered an improvised explosive device. He was assigned to the 1st Squadron, 75th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team...

DoD Identifies Army Casualty
Sgt. Steve A. McCoy, 23, of Moultrie, Ga., died June 10 at Brooke Army Medical Center, San Antonio, Texas, of wounds suffered on March 23 in Baghdad, Iraq, when his vehicle encountered an improvised explosive device.

From Iraq Coalition Casualty Count

Antioch was less than an hour's drive from where I last lived in the Bay Area. My friend Amber is vicar of St George's, Antioch.

May these young men and all whose lives have been sacrificed in this war rest in peace and rise in glory.
--the BB

Of course it would be a third Bush term

Big "DUH!"

From Press the Meat (June 2005):

h/t to Michiganliberal
--the BB


Latest Coalition Fatalities

MNF: MND-B Soldier attacked by IED
A Multi-National Division – Baghdad Soldier was killed from wounds sustained when the Soldier’s vehicle was struck by an improvised explosive device in west Baghdad at approximately 3:30 p.m. June 12

MNF: MNF-W Marine dies of non-combat related incident
A Multi-National Force – West Marine died as the result of a non-combat related incident June 11. The Marine’s name is being withheld pending notification of next of kin and release by the Department of Defense.

DoD Identifies Army Casualty
Staff Sgt. Tyler E. Pickett, 28, of Saratoga, Wyo., died June 8 in Kirkuk Province, Iraq, of wounds suffered when his unit was attacked by enemy forces using improvised explosive devices. He was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 22nd Infantry Regiment...

DoD Identifies Army Casualty
Pfc. Thomas F. Duncan, III, 21, of Rowlett, Texas, died June 9 in Sinjar, Iraq, of wounds suffered during combat operations. He was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, Fort Lewis, Wash. The incident is under investigation.

MNF: MNC-I Soldier dies of non-battle related causes
A Multi-National Corps - Iraq Soldier died of non-battle related causes in Baghdad, June 11. An investigation into the cause of death is under way.

Source: Iraq Coalition Casualty Count

Father 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.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Just because

Grandmère Mimi explained to us all in a recent comment that:
"The S&Ls were called homesteads back in the day."

Here is a building once known as the Security Homestead Association. Now it is...

... a Holiday Inn, one of many downtown.

Just a little architectural medley from the past couple of days. With a little luck I will take some photos in ABQ this weekend, but no promises.

Just had a nice glass of cabernet with blue cheese and crackers. I call it dinner. May cleanse the palate with some canteloupe.
--the BB

Three strikes and you're out!

SCOTUS seems to have prompted this return of Thursday Constitution blogging.


Linda Greenhouse at The New York Times reports:
WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court on Thursday delivered its third consecutive rebuff to the Bush administration’s handling of the detainees at Guantánamo Bay, ruling 5 to 4 that the prisoners there have a constitutional right to go to federal court to challenge their continued detention.

The court declared unconstitutional a provision of the Military Commissions Act of 2006 that, at the administration’s behest, stripped the federal courts of jurisdiction to hear habeas corpus petitions from the detainees seeking to challenge their designation as enemy combatants.

I am so flipping stoked by this. What a great thing to come home to after a very long and intense day at work.

Those who have been paying attention, those who care about the rule of law, those who cherish our Constitution have all noted that the Bush administration's behavior has been resolutely lawless. They have no concern for ancient traditions (making them anything but conservative) and no concern for human rights. Even the Supreme Court, hardly a bastion of liberality these days, has now repeatedly slapped them down.

I pray we may yet see the restoration of the rule of the law. In the meantime, stay informed, stay vigilant, stay feisty, and refuse to shut up until law prevails once more.

You may read the whole article here.

I also got an e-mail from Senator Patrick Leahy. He writes, in part:
A majority of the Court has ruled that provisions in the 2006 Military Commissions Act designed to strip away all habeas rights for detainees held at the Guantanamo Bay detention center are unconstitutional. The Court has ruled that the Constitutional right to habeas corpus extends to territories, including Guantanamo Bay, where the United States exercises de facto control. The Court further held that the administration’s detention procedures were constitutionally inadequate, and that those detainees who have been determined to be "unlawful enemy combatants" are entitled to seek habeas relief in Federal court.

The Court’s 5-4 decision sustains the long-held and bipartisan beliefs that I and others have always maintained: Congress made a grave error when, for the first time in its history, it voted to strip habeas corpus rights, instead leaving in place hopelessly flawed procedures to determine whether detainees can be held indefinitely with no meaningful court review merely by the Executive’s decree.
Senator Obama's comments (via SusanG at Daily Kos):
Today's Supreme Court decision ensures that we can protect our nation and bring terrorists to justice, while also protecting our core values. The Court's decision is a rejection of the Bush Administration's attempt to create a legal black hole at Guantanamo - yet another failed policy supported by John McCain. This is an important step toward reestablishing our credibility as a nation committed to the rule of law, and rejecting a false choice between fighting terrorism and respecting habeas corpus. Our courts have employed habeas corpus with rigor and fairness for more than two centuries, and we must continue to do so as we defend the freedom that violent extremists seek to destroy. We cannot afford to lose any more valuable time in the fight against terrorism to a dangerously flawed legal approach. I voted against the Military Commissions Act because its sloppiness would inevitably lead to the Court, once again, rejecting the Administration's extreme legal position. The fact is, this Administration's position is not tough on terrorism, and it undermines the very values that we are fighting to defend. Bringing these detainees to justice is too important for us to rely on a flawed system that has failed to convict anyone of a terrorist act since the 9-11 attacks, and compromised our core values.
Dday over at Digy's Hullabaloo has this to say (and I say "hear, hear!"):
It's really not enough to mount a campaign to end the practice of torture in a future Administration, although that is of course important. There needs to be continued investigations into how this started and who was responsible, and those responsible absolutely must be brought to justice. John Ashcroft, John Yoo, William Haynes, David Addington and Doug Feith all will be sitting before Congressional committees in the next few weeks. Whether it's through the appointment of a special counsel in an Obama Administration, or tracking down anyone involved with authorizing torture when they go abroad and can be charged under international war crimes statutes, justice must out. A truth and reconciliation commission is the best method, but whatever the case, those who betrayed American values and shamed themselves through their actions cannot be allowed to drift free, only to crop up in some successive Republican White House.
I will let the Bill of Rights have the closing comment tonight:

Amendment V

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia, when in actual service in time of war or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

--the BB

I'm voting Republican

Scared ya, didn't I?

Catch the video.

h/t to thereisnospoon
--the BB

Pray for the people of Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe Under Military Rule?
TIME - 2 hours ago
A Zimbabwean soldier secures the area as Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe toors The Zimbabwe Internatinal Trade Fair in Bulawayo. Shaken by the rebuke he suffered at the hands of Zimbabwe's voters on March 29, President Robert Mugabe was widely rumored ...
Desperate in Zimbabwe Akron Beacon Journal
Zimbabwe: Jails Emptied to Take in Opponents

Elegantly simple columns

The CBD (Central Business District) of New Orleans has lots of neo-classical architecture. I am fond of neo-classical architecture, so I am having a field day looking at columns, capitals, the occasional pediment, various forms of decorative carving, arches, and pondering proportion.

Here is a closeup of the capitals:

--the BB


Latest Coalition Fatalities

DoD Identifies Army Casualty
Staff Sgt. Tyler E. Pickett, 28, of Saratoga, Wyo., died June 8 in Kirkuk Province, Iraq, of wounds suffered when his unit was attacked by enemy forces using improvised explosive devices. He was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 22nd Infantry Regiment...

DoD Identifies Army Casualty
Pfc. Thomas F. Duncan, III, 21, of Rowlett, Texas, died June 9 in Sinjar, Iraq, of wounds suffered during combat operations. He was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, Fort Lewis, Wash. The incident is under investigation.

MNF: MNC-I Soldier dies of non-battle related causes
A Multi-National Corps - Iraq Soldier died of non-battle related causes in Baghdad, June 11. An investigation into the cause of death is under way.

From the Iraq Coalition Casualty Count

Psalm 130 De profundis

1 Out of the depths have I called to you, O LORD;
LORD, hear my voice; *
let your ears consider well the voice of my supplication.

2 If you, LORD, were to note what is done amiss, *
O Lord, who could stand?

3 For there is forgiveness with you; *
therefore you shall be feared.

4 I wait for the LORD; my soul waits for him; *
in his word is my hope.

5 My soul waits for the LORD,
more than watchmen for the morning, *
more than watchmen for the morning.

6 O Israel, wait for the LORD, *
for with the LORD there is mercy;

7 With him there is plenteous redemption, *
and he shall redeem Israel from all their sins.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

I'm alive and OK

I realize I have not posted since very early yesterday morning.  Tuesday was a long day at work, just shy of 13 hours.  At the end of the day I got time with the boss to work on some gnarly challenges that had stymied me and she is usually tied up in meetings or answering questions from many people all at once.  Tonight I was, I believe, still recuperating from the long work day yesterday and have not even read all the blogs, just a few.

I do have thoughts for another reflective post and a few more pics and will be traveling this weekend.  Home to ABQ where I will preach on Sunday morning and have dinner with my ex and my (still) father-in-law for Father's Day (got him a card tonight on the way home).

Because I don't believe God changes the laws of physics for our convenience, I cannot really ask y'all to pray for no lightning on Friday, but I would very much like for my plane to leave on time and get home on time this round.  We had some great bolts of lightning this afternoon, with deep rumbly thunder and warm rain.  I love electrical storms when I'm not scheduled to fly.

Enjoying the humor while the Mad One is vacating.  Hope summer is treating everyone well.
--the BB

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

The Bush end-run

Leila Fadel of McClatchy-Tribune reports (via the Houston Chronicle):
BAGHDAD — Iraqi lawmakers say the U.S. is demanding 58 bases as part of a proposed "status of forces" agreement that will allow U.S. troops to remain in the country indefinitely.

Leading members of the two ruling Shiite parties said in a series of interviews that the Iraqi government rejected this proposal, along with another U.S. demand that would effectively hand over the power to determine whether a hostile act from another country is aggression against Iraq. Lawmakers said they fear this power would drag Iraq into a war between the U.S. and Iran.

"The points that were put forth by the Americans were more abominable than the occupation," said Jalal al Din al-Saghir, a leading lawmaker from the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq. "We were occupied by order of the Security Council," he said, referring to the 2004 resolution mandating a U.S. military occupation in Iraq at the head of an international coalition. "But now we are being asked to sign for our own occupation. That is why we have absolutely refused all that we have seen so far," he said.

I remember when the concern was 14 permanent bases. This is NOT getting enough publicity.

--the BB

Heart thread - 6-10-08

It is hard enough to deal with disease. Working through bureaucratic medical systems does not make it easier. Communication is often difficult. And there is the endless worry.

Please keep Kirstin and all with similar struggles in your prayers.

My friend Phyllis could use some prayer too.
--the BB


Latest Coalition Fatalities

DoD Identifies Army Casualty
Sgt. 1st Class David R. Hurst, 31, of Fort Sill, Okla., died June 7 in Baghdad, Iraq, of wounds suffered when his vehicle encountered an improvised explosive device. He was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 30th Infantry Regiment...

MNF: SVBIED attacks Coalition Forces in Kirkuk
A suicide vehicle-borne improvised explosive device exploded near a patrol base in the Ta’Mim province, June 8, killing one Coalition force Soldier.

MNF: MND-B Soldier attacked by IED
A Multi-National Division - Baghdad Soldier was killed when the vehicle he was riding in was struck by an improvised explosive device at approximately 9:45 p.m. June 7 in eastern Baghdad.

Source: Iraq Coalition Casualties Count

Monday, June 09, 2008


This is just wrong on so many levels. Makes me wanna scream.

Maha reports:
Apparently the new trend in “criminal justice” is not to allow rape victims to use the word rape, or even sexual assault, in court. Instead, a woman testifying against someone who has raped her is supposed to say “when the defendant and I had sexual intercourse.” In one case, the woman could not call herself a “victim” or the alleged perpetrator an “assailant.”

The reason given for this nonsense is that the word rape is prejudicial. By the same logic, words like theft, fraud, and murder ought to be banned from trials, too.

Yes, the accused has a presumption of innocence, but it seems some judges presume the complainant must be lying. Fair trial? I don’t think so.

--the BB

Kucinich tiene huevos. ¡Viva!

I see that Rep. Dennis Kucinich introduced articles of impeachment against George W. Bush in the House today, complete with documentation of all 35 (!) articles.

I have long supported using this remedy for the constitutional crisis we have been in for some time. I do not care whether it is feasible. I do not care whether we "have the votes." The public investigation of the crimes of this administration needs to take place. While the instrument of impeachment was thoroughly degraded by the Republicans who went after Bill Clinton for lying about a blow job (anyone who really cared about that needs a life), if Congress does not use this remedy now it may never again be possible to use it.

--the BB

The Denver Post concludes an editorial on FISA thus:
The last time immunity was debated in Congress, House Democrats held firm, saying they thought the administration's modifications would amount to a suspension of the Constitution. We hope they have the same courage of their convictions this time around.

I hope they pay attention on the Hill.

h/t to mcjoan, of course
--the BB

Sing, my pretty, sing!

From AP (via SusanG at Daily Kos):
McClellan to testify before House in CIA leak case


WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Bush's former spokesman, Scott McClellan, will testify before a House committee next week about whether Vice President Dick Cheney ordered him to make misleading public statements about the leaking of CIA agent Valerie Plame's identity.

McClellan will testify publicly and under oath before the House Judiciary Committee on June 20 about the White House's role in the leak and its response, his attorneys, Michael and Jane Tigar, said on Monday.

Get out the popcorn.
--the BB

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Dang, this feels good!

From the pen of David Horsey, whose work can be viewed here.
--the BB

Ross Perot on John McCain

The Daily Mail has an article about the wife McCain dumped. Near the conclusion we read what Perot has to say about the Senator from Arizona.

But Ross Perot, who paid her medical bills all those years ago, now believes that both Carol McCain and the American people have been taken in by a man who is unusually slick and cruel – even by the standards of modern politics.

‘McCain is the classic opportunist. He’s always reaching for attention and glory,’ he said.

‘After he came home, Carol walked with a limp. So he threw her over for a poster girl with big money from Arizona. And the rest is history.’
Just thought the American people should know.

h/t to LieparDestin at Daily Kos
--the BB

A short note on the Lower Ninth

Although I was in that area today, I felt like an intruder. When I am taking pics downtown or in the French Quarter or elsewhere, I don't feel like a tourist. I am a witness to the city in which I am currently working. But where the devastation was so great it did not feel right to go about snapping photos, not even as a witness on behalf of the people. And, in fact, I did not get to the worst-hit spots. I saw lots of modest homes, all new but not part of tracts, which is unusual. And shops, mostly new. There were a few old ones, but not many. They had long since been torn down and replaced. I saw grassy fields where I am certain homes once were. I saw a few buildings still bearing the spray-painted marks of the rescue searchers. Advertisement for construction materials and contractors were everywhere. Some larger buildings were still being torn down. It was a beautiful day and a sobering afternoon.

My hat is off to those who rebuild, those who return, those who stay.
--the BB

Some shots of Canal Street and the Vieux Carré

As you can see, the Ritz-Carlton is in what used to be the Kress building (for those of us old enough to remember S. H. Kress & Co. 5-10-25¢ Store).

The above is the facade of the Orpheum Theater.

You may well guess the Belle and Maggie are laying claim to this piece of prime real estate.

And that concludes our tour for today.

À bientôt!
--le BB

Maggie and Belle expect Sunday outings now

And today was quite an outing. I drove over to the region of the Lower Ninth and back again. Then we parked downtown and hoofed it into the French Quarter and across to the Riverwalk. Here are the girls watching a tanker going one way and a paddle wheel boat going the other.

Behind them a little way away was Jackson Square and St Louis Cathedral, where we visited last Sunday with Grandmère. (I honestly think they expect daddy to spoil them like an indulgent grandparent now. Sigh.)
Then they noticed a building that was preserved but turned into a brewery.

Belle: Hmm, aren't you getting a bit thirsty, Maggs?

Maggie: Now that you mention it.

And, though they are of age, I schlepped them off in a different direction. After a very hot walk through the French Market (I melt at 70 degrees in dry climates, so you can imagine, though for your sensibility's sake I hope you don't), and daddy wound up springing for bottled water, lest we all perish of heat stroke.
One more shot of the Mississippi.

And la pucelle d'Orléans, Jeanne. The girls wanted to climb up on the horse. Daddy could not reach that high and was quite afraid of getting arrested in the attempt. No beer and then this. An afternoon of disappointments.

When I was growing up on Madison Avenue in Fresno, California, we had a crepe myrtle in the back yard. It is a rather lovely tree/shrub with ruffly petals. Ours was a medium, slightly purplish pink. Here in New Orleans I have seen quite an array of shades from the pink I grew up with to the more intense pink in this photo to a warmer and darker reddish shade to snow white and a color I had not seen in crepe myrtles before, a lovely orchid-lavender shade, quite delicate.

There are tons more photos from today, mostly French Quarter architecture.

Later, gators.
--the BB