Saturday, August 30, 2008

Oh, all right then

Eileen blames me this time around. Only fair. (She sure has a mouth on her. We try for a refined tone here.)
--the BB

I refer to Republican governance

Republican governance is unsafe even at the speed of cattle moseying.

I might also invoke the most dangerous of beasts, the coporatocracy, but this time it is the stubbornness of the current government getting in the way of a corporation (in order to stay friendly with the other corporations, of course, and ensure future employment consulting for the modern equivalent of robber barons).
A federal appeals court says the government can prohibit meat packers from testing their animals for mad cow disease.

Because the Agriculture Department tests only a small percentage of cows for the deadly disease, Kansas meatpacker Creekstone Farms Premium Beef wants to test all of its cows. The government says it can't.

Larger meat companies worry that if Creekstone is allowed to perform the test and advertise its meat as safe, they could be forced to do the expensive test, too.
To which I say, tough shit, assholes! (Gotta bring that rating up.)

Step up to the plate on behalf of public safety or you bloody deserve bankruptcy. What on earth makes you think you deserve a free pass on public safety? Do you really intend to be murderers by neglect? Because policies like that are premeditated murder. Don't forget, y'all, that Life is listed as an inalienable right and we don't forfeit that right just because we eat beef (pace vegetarians - though I do think we need to eat a whole lot less of it).

The news above from USA Today. H/t to Kos for bringing it to my attention. As Kos notes, there is no reason for the gummint to tell someone they cannot test for the sake of public safety.

It has come to this.

And that, my friends, is Republican political theory in action.

Do you feel safer now?

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. --That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.
--the Declaration of Independence

I say use the ballot box this time around but for the sake of all sentient beings it is time to abolish Republican rule.

[I'm not saying no good or thoughtful people are registered as Republicans, I'm just saying they need to take their party back and until then no Republican should be elected for anything, anywhere, anytime soon. I'm with Padre Mickey on this one.]
--the BB

Friday, August 29, 2008

Aw fuck!

I have clearly not been posting enough on politics lately.

The Blog-O-Cuss Meter - Do you cuss a lot in your blog or website?
Created by OnePlusYou - Online Dating Service

Have I told you what I think of Dick Cheney, George Bush, Joe Lieberman, or John McCain lately? Wanna see the needle swing red?
--the BB

Safely home

This post comes from Desert Farne, my home in Albuquerque. The upstairs was only 95 degrees this evening but the A/C is on, the ceiling fan in my bedroom is running, and a smaller fan is blowing directly on me in my office right now. Re-entry is always a bit rough but my energy bills (for six days of cooling per month) have been very nice this summer.

Maggie got a bit adventurous in the Phoenix Skyport. Here she is on top of my laptop checking out the scene.

And here she is lined up ahead of the crowd, ready to board. Those who travel Southwest will recognize the numbered pillars telling us where to stand in line. Maggie, of course, was above it all.

As I fumbled for my keys I was greeted by my neighbor Anthony. I had to walk over and use his garage light to see as I dug around in my briefcase to locate said keys. Nice to be home.

While in Phoenix, where I had a long layover, I got to read posts on Sarah Palin, McCain's VP choice and I agree, it was a desperate choice. While she has an extremely high approval rating in Alaska, she may well be a great gift to the Dems this election.

As others have noted, McCain has spent months saying that inexperienced 40-somethings are not fit for the White House. Well, there goes that line of attack. She is far brighter than Dan Quayle though some suggest the better parallel is Spiro Agnew, an inexperienced governor with some corruption issues. (Corruption? In Sen. Stevens' Alaska? How can this be?) She seemed, in one of the earliest interviews, unbelievably unclear on the role of Vice President (who briefed her?) and very eager to promote the causes of Alaska. What a great national and international visionary she makes.

I also saw several posts contrasting the Obama approach to this campaign, which sounds as though it is a discussion by grownups, and the increbibly juvenile GOP approach - one which is about all kinds of games and no substance. I have long thought that an immature male adolescent psychology governed a great deal of politics and especially among the GOP. Fratboy sniggering, irresponsibility, testosterone poisoning, recklessness, insecurity, and lack of direction. Yep, that sounds like the Grand Old Party of the past few decades. Which is a great pity. It would be nice for the United States if the Republican Party were returned to sensible grownups.

They pose as grownups in contrast to the DFH of the Democratic Party but if one brushes aside the words and looks at their actions it is clearly a facade, one - I believe - deliberately designed to deceive.

This should be interesting.
--the BB

Pale, Paler, Palin

So Grampy McWhiteGuy gots hisself a VP candidate. A woman (good thing). Governor Palin (not such a good thing).

I hear she's a creationist. Shit. As if the last 8 years of anti-science know-nothingism hasn't been bad enough. God help us. [See, you can believe in God and not be a creationist. No need to park your brain at the door.]

I'd like to share some words from Jon Soltz of VoteVets:
Maybe Palin could one day be someone who has the judgment and experience that would make me feel comfortable with her leading our Armed Forces. But not now. Not after just 60 days thinking about those issues, and even then, just toting the party line. What's this say about McCain's judgment - to put political PR above sound judgment when it comes to naming a potential, if not very possible, Commander in Chief? What's it say about his judgment vs. Barack Obama, who faced with the same question, answered, "Joe Biden."

In times like these, with the stakes so high, and the decent chance that McCain might not live long into his first term, I can think of no scarier thought as a proud war veteran than someone with such an empty resume holding in her hands the lives of my buddies still in the service.
h/t to Joe Sudbay at Americablog

Btw, did y'all catch all those generals and admirals standing up for Obama?

Now think of "bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb Iran" McCain in charge. The world really cannot afford this madman.

Check out all of Jon's article at Huffington Post by clicking on his name above.

--the BB

Thursday, August 28, 2008


I am vacating my apartment tomorrow as I leave for work because they don't hold them for folks who go on vacation. So I have been doing laundry, running the dishwasher, packing, and watching the tail end of the Democratic National Convention. It is past midnight, but I have done what I need to do tonight. Tomorrow I slog my way to the car with two bags, a briefcase, the girls, one bag of supplies and weather radio to go with my coworkers this weekend and one bag of non-perishable food and stuff to stay with a coworker until my return. Way too much lugging. I will have to make two trips from the carpark to the office but that's OK.

It is OK because I am well and healthy (for a sedentary old codger) and ready - after some last-minute tasks in Albuquerque - to go on a road trip with my very best friend to see people and places we love.

Also well and healthy - but you know they have to be shaken - are two dear friends.

And that's where the perspective comes in.

You see, a tree fell on Jane R's house. Even small storms can do surprising and unexpected damage. So let us remember Jane and +Maya Pavlova, who seem to be doing fine - thanks be to Godde - and yet their world just changed and their secure home breached.

Love to you two ladies!

Meanwhile, Gustav has not been kind where he has already visited.

So we hold each other in our hearts.
--the BB

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

My plans may change - UPDATE: they have: UPDATED AGAIN

For this weekend, that is. My plan for the road trip is too high a priority. I may fly out of NOLA earlier and not work through the weekend. Just in case Gustav does a number and precludes flying out on Tuesday afternoon as scheduled.

Mimi has a good post on this issue. She also kindly called to inquire after me. It's comforting when the locals look after the newbies.

It's discernment time. Prayers and kind thoughts appreciated. I am not afraid of a hurricane but I don't wnat my trip jeopardized.

I rather think we should all be praying for those who have fewer options than I do.

I looked at the Weather Underground 5-day forecast this morning. It has gotten more dire since last night - upgrading Gustav to a Category 3 hurricane by the time it hits land again - somewhere in the NOLA vicinity.

I am calling our travel department this morning to change my reservation back from Tuesday afternoon to Sunday morning, or if that is not possible sometime sooner.

Thanks for the encouragement to be sensible.

Gustav nears Jamaica as New Orleans keeps watch
The Associated Press - 1 hour ago
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) - Tropical Storm Gustav was heading toward Jamaica early Thursday while many miles away, residents in the New Orleans area watched it with a nervous eye.
Video: New Orleans Makes Evacuation Plan As Storm Nears AssociatedPress
Hurricane Gustav May Threaten Gulf Coast Lex 18

Gustav Kills 23 In Haiti, DR, New Orleans Prepares
Central Florida News 13|, FL - 1 hour ago
MIAMI -- Gustav stalled offshore Wednesday after landslides and flooding killed 23 people in Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Oil workers began leaving ...

Let us pray for those who lost their lives in Haiti and the Dominican Republic.

UPDATE 2 [6:30 PM Thursday]:
I am booked to fly home tomorrow (Friday), leaving NOLA at 2:35 PM, at which time Gustav should still be south of Cuba. My coworkers who remain in NOLA at the moment are preparing to drive en masse to Birmingham where apartments are reserved.

While I lose a nice chunk of income I gain lots of peace of mind, preserve my travel plans, and have more time to prepare for the trip. Given the list of things I needed to do on Wednesday, this is bliss. Tonight I do laundry, eat or toss everything perishable, and prepare to totally vacate the apartment when I drive to work tomorrow morning.

Again, I ask your continuing prayers for those all along the path of storms like this, especially those for whom this poses grave challenges and hardships.

Thanks for y'all's prayers and encouragement.


--the BB

HRC delivers a great speech

I haven't spent the past 35 years in the trenches advocating for children, campaigning for universal health care, helping parents balance work and family, and fighting for women's rights at home and around the world . . . to see another Republican in the White House squander the promise of our country and the hopes of our people.

And you haven't worked so hard over the last 18 months, or endured the last eight years, to suffer through more failed leadership.

No way. No how. No McCain.

--Hillary Rodham Clinton at the Democratic National Convention

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

As you wrestle with your mortgage, property taxes, and insurance, ponder this

Josh Marshall asks this question over at Talking Points Memo:

When Mitt Romney says that it was "hard work" that got John McCain all those houses that he got for marrying Cindy Hensley, what does he mean exactly?
Can you imagine four more years of "hard work"? And we know, from Dubya, that it's hard work presidentin'.

Here's Pink singing here great song "Dear Mr. President":

Enjoy. Or weep. Or rage. In any case, fight for change.
--the BB

The previous banner photo

No one commented or speculated but the banner background for the past while was the ceiling of an elevator at the Place St Charles in New Orleans.

Currently, so to speak, we have the Rio Grande.

--the BB

The cold snap is over

With the advent of Fay over the weekend temperatures dropped in this region. While the daily high has hovered around 91 degrees, give or take a few degrees, since I arrived here at the end of April, things dipped to around 84. We're back up to normal now.

By the time she got to New Orleans, Fay was just a long stretch of rain, off and on but mostly on. I stayed indoors on Sunday and avoided it.

When we left the office building this evening I felt slapped by the heat. Yep, back to normal. (It's actually not all that bad. I do have to adapt to the moisture in the air but I grew up where many days were over 100 and some up to 115.)
--the BB

Monday, August 25, 2008

Heart thread - 8/25/2008

I ask your thoughts, meditations, prayers, and good wishes for Jan Briggs as she moves closer to the Light.

From her daughter Carrie, in an e-mail to family and friends:
I spoke with the doctor today, and finally got an official, definitive answer that she is in fact in the 'actively dying' stage. Of course, they cannot tell us when for sure, as that comes from somewhere far beyond human grasp (in my opinion)....but 1 - 3 days has been a common answer from several of the nurses providing her care, who all also provide the CYA 'could be' scenarios.

Sharon and I are at the hospital 24-7, except for very brief moments when I have to run home to take care of my pets, but someone is ALWAYS with her no matter what. Rest assured, she knows that how loved she is, how missed she will be, and how happy she is to have had each and every one of you in her life.

Please continue your prayers, good vibes, loving thoughts, etc, we all know mom can feel them, and they provide us strength as well.

Jan is my sister Iva's niece.
--the BB

Our next First Lady

We don't need four more years of the same uptight smiles.
--the BB

Mimi shares great wisdom with us

Which she often does, amid sundry frivolity (Doug is such an evil influence).

For those who have enjoyed the virtual tour of New Orleans that comes from my photography or considered deeper issues when Kirstin was here last January and wrote at length, Mimi now shares her experience at the Rising Tide Conference.

Building on John Barry's talk, Mimi comments as follows:
Dams for producing electricity in North and South Dakota prevent sediment from moving down the Mississippi River to build up wetlands in Louisiana. 10,000 miles of oil and gas pipelines run through the Louisiana marshlands. The pipelines have contributed greatly to land loss. Louisiana produces a large portion of the oil and gas used in the US today, one fourth, I believe. Were the oil and gas wells, the pipelines, and the refineries in Louisiana put out of business, the rest of country would suffer greatly.

It may be hard for folks from other parts of the country to understand that what happens in Louisiana is not simply a local issue. Purely out of self-interest, if for no other reason, attention must be paid.
Read more at her post and those that precede and follow it.

Our lives are all so closely interwoven one cannot pull any thread without affecting the entire fabric.
--the BB

John McSame on the economy

A brilliant discussion of the economy. Brilliant.

Thanks to the jedreport for this iconic summary of what McSame is offering. If you click the link you can read the transcript.

--the BB

Sunday, August 24, 2008


08/24/08 :
DoD Identifies Army Casualty
Staff Sgt. David L. Paquet, 26, of Rising Sun, Md., died Aug. 20 at Combat Outpost Vegas, Afghanistan, of undetermined causes while conduting a patrol. He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 26th Infantry Regiment...

08/22/08 :
DoD Identifies Army Casualty
Sgt. 1st Class David J. Todd Jr., 36, of Marrero, La., died Aug. 20 in Bala Morghab, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when his unit was attacked by enemy forces using small arms fire. He was assigned to the Afghan Regional Security...

McSame is infallible

Surely you knew that? If you need reinforcing, there's this:

All hail, McSame!

h/t to John Aravosis at Americablog for the video. McCain repeatedly plays the POW card to deflect any criticism and the video takes this to its logical conclusion - absurdity.
--the BB

Some shots from yesterday

Or the day before. I quite lose track of time when I work six days a week and do not always get to church on Sundays (mea culpa).

Anyway, one sees above another view of what I call the wedding cake ornament atop the Hibernia Bank Building (now Capital One). If I have not told the tale before, that white ornament was the first thing to be lit after Katrina, providing an easily visible sign of life and hope.

Below we have two shots of another building along Gravier Street with lovely contrasting terra cotta and white stone and great dentillation.

Sigh, they just don't make 'em like they used to.

[Yes, I am a great fan of neo-classical architecture and of well-proportioned ornamentation - in case anyone is new here.]
--the BB

A PROUD gold medalist

Seanflynn at Daily Kos has pointed out that NBC suppressed the usual biographical detail they so love when a gold medalist (men's 10m dive) turned out to be gay. The Australian media are not so skittish.

Seanflynn reports:
For those of you who watched the Olympics last night, you saw one of the great upsets - Australian Matthew Mitcham winning the gold medal in the men's 10 metre platform. He won on his last dive, defeating the favored Chinese contestant, and preventing the host nation from sweeping all 8 metals in diving.
Matthew Mitcham is one the first out gay athletes, and probably the highest-profile one, ever to win a gold medal.

Already a major figure in Australia - Olympic swimmers in that country rank with NBA players in the US - his personal story was huge news there this spring (fall in Australia) when he came out.

Read the whole article here and/or click here for the video.

Congratulations Matthew! Much joy to you and Lachlan.
--the BB