Saturday, August 23, 2008

Oh, we never talk about that....

If you should happen to peruse the Wikipedia article on Jim Hensley, Cindy McCain's father, you may notice some familiar storylines - war, being shot down, a married man meeting another woman, divorce....

But there are things one does not discuss in dysfunctional families and it is important to shut these things out of one's consciousness. So, although Cindy Hensley had an older half-sister, she has described herself as an only child.

Now there is a book coming out in which half-siblings from an earlier marriage are also omitted. It is by John McSame's daughter Meghan.

I wonder if the next generation will replicate the patterns? Fascinating.

I have just summarized a fuller treatment by watertiger at Firedoglake.
--the BB

Mother of Exiles

Some things can instantly move me to tears. One of these is any reference to Emma Lazarus' poem The New Colossus.

In my senior year of college I spent the fall semester in France. As a French major I was required to do this, though it felt more like an opportunity than a requirement - as, indeed, it was. I spent two weeks in Brattleboro, Vermont, doing intensive language training and then flew across the Atlantic. It was my first time outside of the United States and, I think, only the second time outside of California. For two months I lived with a French family in Montpellier, the ancient capital of lower Languedoc, and then one month in Paris.

On the morning of January 3, 1968, I rose before dawn and bade my minuscule (but cheap) hotel room in Paris adieu and headed to the Gare du Nord. It was snowing that morning and I doubt I need inform y'all that it was quite magical. I missed home but I did not want to leave France. My fellow semester abroad students and I rode to Luxembourg City where we were to catch our plane to the States. Luxembourg was covered in snow and looked like something out of a fairy tale, only it was real. Flights were delayed by the weather. We headed to the airport when we were supposed to but the plane was still in Brussels. They bused us back to the city and fed us dinner and later in the night we headed, once more, to the airport. The flight took off in the wee hours. We were flying in the perceived direction of the sun, following the time zones, which made the day seem longer. In some pre-dawn hour we landed in Keyflavik to refuel. Then on to New York, a flight that seemed to destroy all consciousness of time and movement. I felt we were in limbo and would never see light or touch the ground again, endlessly hovering nowehere, sapped of awareness by the steady vibration of the plane. When we did arrive at JFK I had to pick up my ticket from there to home and race to catch that plane. As I emerged from customs I saw, incised in a wall, the poem I knew was on the pedestal to the Statue of Liberty.

My feelings about the United States were far more complex than they had been when I left my homeland to experience a larger world. I was far more critical of my native land and also far more appreciative of it.

I read the words in my exhaustion and wept uncontrollably.

It still happens, without fail, every time I read or hear or think of them.

The New Colossus
Emma Lazarus

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
"Keep ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

I wept again tonight, watching the video below. It alludes to the poem and to many other fragments of the dream that is America, the dream into which we hope to grow.

Blessings upon all who came and all who welcomed them.

This is the kind of positive campaigning I want to see more of. No, it is not policy definition from and for the wonks, which we also need, but it is a recruiting poster, if you will, calling upon all Americans to reenlist in making the dream a reality. I am a bhakti yogi and it is the heart appeal that will always speak to me in my native tongue.


UPDATE: As a postscript I want to note that one of my coworkers here in New Orleans gave a Saturday to help build a house for Obama through Habitat for Humanity - so when you see folks painting a home in New Orleans.... [more sniffling]

h/t to Moonbat at Barbara O'Brien's Mahablog for the post introducing me to the video and including the lyrics written by Dave Stewart of the Eurhythmics

h/t to Liberty State Park for the poem

"Mother of the Disappeared / Madre de los Desaparecidos" by Richard Lentz via Trinity Stores and NCR

--the BB

If he's smiling you may want to rethink your responses

As is so often the case, if you want to know what is going on you may do better with comic news than with the cable or network "news" programs. Here is Jon Stewart of The Daily Show with a vintage clip on John Ashcroft appearing before some senators. Joe Biden has some pointed comments to make.

h/t to BrockAun at Daily Kos for the video

I want my country back

So let's get to work to make that happen.

There are no perfect candidates. There will never be a perfect president. These two senators, however, offer us the hope of turning America around to what it once stood for and what it yet might become - a change from the decline into barbarity, ignorance, and incompetence that the Cheney-Bush years epitomize (and Saint Ronnie began).

Let's make government work again.

Let's make it happen.

Yes, we can.

You can donate here. I did this morning.
--the BB

Now where did this "Obama is an elitist" crap get started?

From The Jed Report (via Daily Kos)
--the BB

Friday, August 22, 2008

In case you've been wondering

Yes, I will continue to put up photos of New Orleans. I just have not been out taking more lately. Here are some from about two weeks ago. I had noticed the big clock...

... but I had not noticed the giant wristwatch on the side of the building. What a great way to advertise your business!

Yes, Belle and Maggie were checking out the painters when they spent their last day at the office. New Orleans may never be the same after these two.

--the BB

Margaret is on a roll right now

Check it out at Leave It Where Jesus Flang It - some great posts with memorable quotes and stuff to chew on.

I'm loving the one from Pascal:
Men never do evil so completely or cheerfully as when they do it from religious conviction.
And be sure to catch the message from Rabbi Sherman Wine.

(I'm not doing specific links; treat yourself and scroll a bit.)

--the BB

Heart thread - 8/22/2008

I just received an update from my sister's niece's daughter:
Last night was her roughest yet, after sleeping for 12 hours straight, she awoke to excruciating pain that was extremely difficult to relieve.
Thank you all from the bottom of our hearts for your outpouring of love and prayers for mom, they have meant the world to her, and will continue to bring strength to all of us.
Jan is being transferred to a hospice ward of a local hospital as pain management has become too difficult. I know you will help pray her, uphold her, love her into the Light.

I also learned this evening that my cousin Laura died of a heart attack on Tuesday. Two of her siblings have preceded her and I have lost five younger cousins over the years. We were not close, geographically or emotionally, but Laura was one of the few (four?) relatives who attended my ordination to the priesthood. I had not even known she was in Grace Cathedral that day. Later she wrote to say what a thrill it was to see her cousin stand at the altar to bless the congregation. I hope that now she knows that in feeling that and sharing it with me it is she who blessed me.

Into paradise may the angels lead you. At your coming may the martyrs receive you, and bring you into the holy city Jerusalem.

--the BB

People lived here - follow up



The area photographed in this post from June 7 has been cleared now. The four photos immediately above are from two weeks ago showing the cleared stretch where once there were homes.

Let us remember those who once lived there (and in other parts of New Orleans and environs) who lost their homes - and some their lives - along with those in exile and those who rebuild their homes and their lives.
--the BB


Latest Coalition Fatalities

DoD Identifies Marine Casualty
Lance Cpl. Travis M. Stottlemyer, 20, of Hatfield, Pa., died Aug. 17 as a result of a non-hostile incident in Manama, Bahrain. He was assigned to the 3rd Fleet Antiterrorism Security Team Company, Marine Corps Security Forces, Norfolk, Va.


Two Canadian soldiers killed in Afghanistan
Sapper Stephan John Stock...with 12 Field Squadron, 1 Combat Engineer Regiment from Edmonton, Alberta, and attached to the 2nd Battalion Princess Patricia?s Canadian Light Infantry Battle Group.

Two Canadian soldiers killed in Afghanistan
Corporal Dustin Roy Robert Joseph Wasden...with 12 Field Squadron, 1 Combat Engineer Regiment from Edmonton, Alberta, and attached to the 2nd Battalion Princess Patricia?s Canadian Light Infantry Battle Group.

08/21/08 AFP:
Eight troops dead in Afghanistan in 24 hours
Eight international troops including three Poles and three Canadians have been killed in Afghanistan over the last 24 hours, a military source said Thursday.


O God, whose mercies cannot be numbered: Accept our prayers on behalf of your servants, and grant them an entrance into the land of light and joy, in the fellowship of your saints; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

When I think of California....

Emeryville, San Francisco, the Bay viewed from the El Cerrito Hills

San Pablo Bay viewed from Mare Island

Stoked, susankay, absolutely stoked.

And this is the groom of the upcoming wedding with a much younger, thinner, and hairier BB, his granduncle:

--the BB

New Mexico sky

Senza parole

Getting to know you (continued)

I know it's already been a few news cycles ago but do you recall the indignation (some real and much ginned up) when news of John Edwards' extramarital adventures became known? Have the media been as eager to discuss McCain's adventures? Or do we continue to operate on the principle that IOKIYAR?*

Ah, Republican family values at work!

h/t to JedReport (who continues to provide links and sometimes develop his own videos)

*It's OK if you are Republican
--the BB

Heart thread - 8/21/2008

Let us remember today those who have run out of options, save that of choosing how they journey into the Light.

I am too sick for a transplant. I have to have both kidneys removed and go on dialysis before I can be considered for a transplant. The infection level is still so high that if I went on the immune suppresant drugs it would kill me. Of course the infection is killing me so that's why both kidneys have to be removed ASAP. I probably won't be around much but if there is anything to report I'll ask my husband to post for me.

Much love and prayers for all of you, Roseann (BeingPeace)

--via OCICBW

Along with Jan, Phyllis, and Rhoda.

Keep watch, dear Lord, with those who work, or watch, or weep this night, and give your angels charge over those who sleep. Tend the sick, Lord Christ; give rest to the weary, bless the dying, soothe the suffering, pity the afflicted, shield the joyous; and all for your love's sake. Amen.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Getting to know you, getting to know all about you....

Learning to loathe you, certain that you loathe me.
It seems you're a nut case, short-fused and rather creepy
Because of all the scary and true
Things I'm learning about you
Day by day.
--with apologies to Oscar Hammerstein II

h/t to Steven R at Daily Kos

Be informed!

--the BB


DoD Identifies Army Casualty
Pvt. Janelle F. King, 23, of Merced, Calif., died Aug. 14 in Baghdad, Iraq, of injuries suffered in a non-combat related incident. She was assigned to the 115th Combat Support Hospital, Fort Polk, La.

08/19/08 MNF:
MND-C Soldier killed in attack
A Multi-National Division - Center Soldier was killed as a result of a rocket attack on a forward operating base near Amarah Aug. 19. The Soldier's name is being withheld pending notification of next of kin...[URL Pending]

--the BB


MoD: Corporal Barry Dempsey killed in Afghanistan
It is with great sadness that the Ministry of Defence must confirm the death of Corporal Barry Dempsey from The Royal Highland Fusiliers, 2nd Battalion Royal Regiment of Scotland, who was killed in Afghanistan on Monday 18 August 2008.

08/19/08 :
DoD Identifies Army Casualty
Pfc. Jonathan L. Luscher, 20, of Scranton, Pa., died Aug. 17 at Forward Operating Base Mehtar Lam, Afghanistan, of injuries sustained in a non-combat related incident. He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 109th Infantry...

08/19/08 WaPo:
Bomb in Pakistan Kills at Least 26 People
As Pakistan's coalition government got off to a new start a day after the resignation of President Pervez Musharraf, political disagreements and a bomb that killed at least 26 people Tuesday in the country's volatile northwest underscored...

08/19/08 :
DoD Identifies Army Casualties (2 of 2)
Pfc. Paul E. Conlon Jr., 21, of Somerville, Mass...died Aug. 15 in Wardak Province, Afghanistan, when their vehicle struck an improvised explosive device and then received small arms and rocket-propelled grenade fire.

08/19/08 :
DoD Identifies Army Casualties (1 of 2)
1st Lt. Donald C. Carwile, 29, of Oxford, Va...died Aug. 15 in Wardak Province, Afghanistan, when their vehicle struck an improvised explosive device and then received small arms and rocket-propelled grenade fire.

08/19/08 :
DoD Identifies Army Casualty
Staff Sgt. Kristopher D. Rodgers, 29, of Sturgis, Mich., died Aug. 16 in Korengal, Afghanistan, when an improvised explosive device detonated near his vehicle. He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 26th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team...

08/19/08 Reuters:
Sarkozy to fly to Afghanistan after French deaths
President Nicolas Sarkozy will fly to Afghanistan on Tuesday after 10 French soldiers were killed and 21 wounded in a clash with Taliban insurgents, and he declared France remained committed to its mission there.

--the BB

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

More later

But I need to note that there are four more flags in our virtual collection: Mali, Seychelles, Guyana, St Kitts and Nevis. Welcome to all new visitors!

Catching up

It's not as though anything of interest to the general world has taken place, but for my chums who visit here this may be reassurance that I have not fallen off some putative edge of the earth.

There were definitely too many late nights, not necessarily related to carousing.

I have been living with scratched lenses on my glasses for some time. Thanks be to God and employment, I could afford new ones. This is especially good since the hinge on the left temple was broken and the old glasses kept falling off my face or were often sitting aslant on my face. Very irritating and disorienting. This task took much of Friday but I had new glasses to drive to Santa Fe for dinner and the opera. Lovely food and I commend Mucho Gusto on Paseo de Peralta to anyone wanting a nice meal.

[I must also confess that while waiting for my eye exam I indulged in some retail therapy, buying a bunch of new shirts. I love the wrinkle resistant things they do with cotton nowadays - all the joy of wash and wear without slaughtering all those polyesters.]

Handel's Radamisto is definitely for Baroque opera fans, one of which I am not. The singers and orchestra were great but, much as I love Handel in his oratorios or Water Music, the music was - to my ears - boring and the story line frustrating. The ├╝ber-wuss Radamisto is the kind of prince and husband one wants to kill. Why his adoring wife would want him to kill her is beyond me; should be the other way around. The set in the first act looks like bordello flocked wallpaper on acid. Action, as in much Baroque opera, is rather static. And it is all solos until the very end when they finally sing together. That moment, for the four of us attending together, was probably the first moment of real musical interest. Still, it was a good night out and, as you all have seen, we had spectacular clouds. Pity I could not capture the moon and clouds afterward for you. I got home at 1 a.m. since I have an hour and a quarter drive from Santa Fe to my corner on the south end of Albuquerque.

Saturday was spent at the car dealership where I had a major service done on the car in anticipation of the road trip to California next time I fly home. Yes, I will take the camera and the laptop on this picaresque adventure. Saturday evening was Jack's 93rd birthday party - today being the day itself. Happy birthday, Jack! Good food and wine enjoyed with the family.

Sunday morning I headed to the north end of town once again for Eucharist at San Gabriel Mission where I preached, recounting to the congregation the painting at Margaret's blog. We are all cheering for the Canaanite woman. Wonderful to see the folks at St Gabe's, including some new ones. The mission is growing, thanks be to God and the faithful people who have been hanging in there for the past two years.

It was then dash home, change shirts, finish packing, and head to the airport. I slept all the way to Houston and most of the way to New Orleans, much as I had slept on the way home.

Yesterday I managed to work an 11-hour day, including a meeting with the big boss (as high up the ladder as I ever encounter), then drove my immediate boss home (she has a cold and I could not allow her to walk home after work) and continued on to the airport to pick up my carpool mate who was getting in from her weekend away.

Now, none of that is terribly exciting but at least you know what I have been doing when not blogging.

Oh, and the photo is a shot of my garden, or at least the Thompson seedless grapevine, viewed from my bedroom window.
--the BB

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Grampy McCain opines again

..."the first, probably, serious crisis internationally since the end of the cold war."

Interesting that he skips over the Afghanistan, and Iraq conflicts so blithely. What DOES he know about history and foreign policy anyway?

On a minor note of snark: Perhaps I lack the advisers and language mavens but is Abkhazia really pronounced "Abskaya"? I am afraid John McCain would just be one more "nucular" president in more than one sense. Fifth from the bottom of his class then and probably about the same relative position in understanding the world today.
--the BB

No third term!

Here is a little something to ponder.

h/t to JoeSudbay at Americablog

--the BB

As for the "evangelical vote"...

Did you realize there is whole new generation of evangelicals who take Matthew 25 seriously and don't match up with the Jesus-and-me+Armageddon old school stereotype?

Check out this endorsement of Obama by some famous modern church leaders:

To find out more about the people in this ad and the Matthew25 organization, check out this diary at Daily Kos.
--the BB

Two words: Supreme Court

I have a 25 year record pro-life record in the Congress, in the Senate, and as President of the United States I will be a pro-life president, and this presidency will have pro-life policies. That's my commitment. That's my commitment to you.
--John McCain
As JedReport, who provides this clip for us, notes: "Too bad he isn't pro-life when it comes to war."

There are folks out there who think McCain is pro-choice. They need to know this.

As Frank Rich writes in the NYTimes:
So why isn’t Obama romping? The obvious answer — and both the excessively genteel Obama campaign and a too-compliant press bear responsibility for it — is that the public doesn’t know who on earth John McCain is.
[emphasis mine]

Let's help them find out who this walking disaster really is.
--the BB