Saturday, April 11, 2009

God has the last word, and it is, Yes!

Our prelude:

O God, who made this most holy night to shine with the glory of the Lord's resurrection: Stir up in your Church that Spirit of adoption which is given to us in Baptism, that we, being renewed both in body and mind, may worship you in sincerity and truth; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Χριστός ανέστη εκ νεκρών,
θανάτω θάνατον πατήσας,
και τοις εν τοις μνήμασι
ζωήν χαρισάμενος

Христос воскресе из мертвих
смертию смерт поправ
и сушчим во гробех
живот даровав

Rejoice now, heavenly hosts and choirs of angels,
and let your trumpets shout Salvation
for the victory of our mighty King.

Rejoice and sing now, all the round earth,
bright with a glorious splendor,
for darkness has been vanquished by our eternal King.

Rejoice and be glad now, Mother Church,
and let your holy courts, in radiant light,
resound with the praises of your people.

How holy is this night, when wickedness is put to flight, and
sin is washed away. It restores innocence to the fallen, and joy
to those who mourn. It casts out pride and hatred, and brings
peace and concord.

How blessed is this night, when earth and heaven are joined
and man is reconciled to God.

Surrexit Christus - Taizé at Génève, December 2007

Easter Greetings
Germanic languages West Germanic languages Anglic languages
English - Christ is Risen! Truly He is Risen! or Christ is Risen! He is Risen indeed!
Old English - Crist aras! Crist sodhlice aras! (Lit: Christ arose! Christ surely arose!)
Middle English - Crist is arisen! Arisen he sothe!
Iyaric Patwa - Krestos a uprisin! Seen, him a uprisin fe tru!
Frisian - Kristus is opstien! Wis is er opstien!
High German languages
German - Christus ist auferstanden! Er ist wahrhaftig auferstanden!
Low Franconian languages
Dutch - Christus is opgestaan! Hij is waarlijk opgestaan! (Netherlands) or Christus is verrezen! Hij is waarlijk verrezen! (Belgium)
Afrikaans - Kristus het opgestaan! Hom het waarlik opgestaan!
North Germanic languages
Danish - Kristus er opstanden! Sandelig Han er Opstanden!
Icelandic - Kristur er upprisinn! Hann er vissulega upprisinn!
Norwegian - Kristus er oppstanden! Han er sannelig oppstanden!
Swedish - Kristus är uppstånden! Ja, Han är verkligen uppstånden!
Italic languages
Latin - Christus resurrexit! Resurrexit vere!
Romance languages
Aromanian - Hristolu unghia! Daleehira unghia!
Catalan - Crist ha ressuscitat! Veritablement ha ressuscitat!
French - Le Christ est ressuscité! Il est vraiment ressuscité!
Italian - Cristo è risorto! È veramente risorto!
Portuguese - Cristo ressuscitou! Em verdade ressuscitou!
Provençal - Lo Crist es ressuscitat! En veritat es ressuscitat!
Romanian - Hristos a înviat! Adevărat a înviat!
Romansh - Cristo es rinaschieu! In varded, el es rinaschieu!
Spanish - ¡Cristo ha resucitado! ¡En verdad ha resucitado!
Walloon - Li Crist a raviké! Il a raviké podbon!
Slavic languages
Church Slavonic - Хрiстосъ Воскресе! Воистину Воскресе! (Christos Voskrese! Voistinu Voskrese!)
Russian - Христос Воскрес! Воистину Воскрес! (Christos Voskres! Voistinu Voskres!)
Belarusian - Хрыстос Уваскрос! Сапраўды Ўваскрос! (Chrystos Uvaskros! Sapraŭdy Ŭvaskros!)
Ukrainian - Христос Воскрес! Воістину Воскрес! (Chrystos Voskres! Voistynu Voskres!)
Bulgarian - Христос Возкресе! Воистина Возкресе! (Hristos Vozkrese! Voistina Vozkrese!)
Macedonian - Христос Воскресе! Навистина Воскресе! (Hristos Voskrese! Navistina Voskrese!)
Serbian - Христос Вaскрсе! Ваистину Вaскрсе! (Hristos Vaskrse! Vaistinu Vaskrse!)
Czech - Kristus Vstal A Mrtvych! Opravdi Vstoupil!
Slovak - Christos vstal zmŕtvych! Skutočne vstal!
Polish - Chrystus Zmartwychwstał! Prawdziwie Zmartwychwstał!
Baltic languages
Latvian Kristus (ir) augšāmcēlies! Patiesi viņš ir augšāmcēlies!
Lithuanian - Kristus prisikėlė! Tikrai prisikėlė!
Celtic languages Goidelic languages
Old Irish - Asréracht Críst! Asréracht Hé-som co dearb!
Irish - Tá Críost éirithe! Go deimhin, tá sé éirithe!
Manx - Taw Creest Ereen! Taw Shay Ereen Guhdyne!
Scottish - Tha Crìosd air èiridh! Gu dearbh, tha e air èiridh!
Brythonic languages
Breton - Dassoret eo Krist! E wirionez dassoret eo!
Cornish - Thew Creest dassorez! En weer thewa dassorez!
Welsh - Atgyfododd Crist! Yn wir atgyfododd!
Indo-Iranian languages Indic languages
Sanskrit - (Kristo'pastitaha! Satvam Upastitaha!)
Southern Zone
Marathi - (Yeshu Khrist uthla ahe! Kharokhar uthla ahe!)
Albanian (Tosk) - Krishti u ngjall! Vërtet u ngjall!
Armenian - (Christos harjav i merelotz! Orhniale harutjun Christosi! -- Christ is risen! Blessed is the resurrection of Christ!)
Greek - Χριστός ἀνέστη! Ἀληθῶς ἀνέστη! (Khristós Anésti! Alithós Anésti! Christ is Risen! Truly He is Risen!)
Altaic languages
Turkish - Isa dirildi! Hakikaten dirildi!
Azeri - Məsih dirildi! Həqiqətən dirildi!
Austronesian languages Malayo-Polynesian Western
Chamorro - La'la'i i Kristo! Magahet na luma'la' i Kristo!
Filipino - Si Cristo ay nabuhay! Siya nga ay nabuhay!
Indonesian - KrÍstus tÉlah Bangkit! Benár día têlah Bángkit!
Carolinian - Lios a melau sefal! Meipung, a mahan sefal!
Hawaiian - Ua ala hou ´o kristo! Ua ala ´i ´o no ´oia!
Basque - Cristo Berbistua! Benatan Berbistua!
Dravidian languages
Malayalam - (Christu uyirthezhunnettu! Theerchayayum uyirthezhunnettu!)
Eskimo-Aleut languages
Aleut - Kristus aq ungwektaq! Pichinuq ungwektaq!
Yupik - Xris-tusaq Ung-uixtuq! Iluumun Ung-uixtuq!
Japanese - (Harisutosu fukkatsu! Jitsu ni fukkatsu!)
Korean - (Geuriseudokkeseo Buhwalhasheotne!)
Na-Dené languages Athabaskan languages
Navajo - Christ daaztsáádéé' náádiidzáá! T'áá aaníí, daaztsáádéé' náádiidzáá!

Almighty God, who through your only-begotten Son Jesus Christ overcame death and opened to us the gate of everlasting life: Grant that we, who celebrate with joy the day of the Lord's resurrection, may be raised from the death of sin by your life-giving Spirit; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

And this may be my favorite!

A blessed Easter to you all - all Great Fifty Days of it!
--the BB

Heart thread - 04/11/2009 - Updated

Susankay writes:
Paul -- just got an email today telling me that my high school best friend, Mary Lou, is in the hospital getting blood units after a very bad GI bleed on Thursday. I was able to reach her by phone and she is being brave but still pretty scared. I ask prayers for her and her partner, Melissa, who is trying to keep everything going and keep ML cheerful.


From our congregational requests:
Eydie asks prayers of healing for her friend, Jan, who is recovering from surgery at the Westside Hospital.

I just heard from Deborah B. who has asked for our prayers for her husband’s mother, Erika. Erika had surgery a few days ago and was recovering as expected when her condition began to deteriorate. She has been stabilized but is still in serious condition.

We also hold in prayer the family as they have remained at Erika’s bedside (taking turns) throughout this critical time and continue to do so until they get her home.
Jane R shared news of the passing of one of our great elders.
Franciscan Sr. José Hobday, an influential spiritual lecturer, author and storyteller, died April 5 at age 80 at the Casa de la Luz Hospice in Tucson, Ariz.

Hobday, a Native American, thought that Christians have much to learn from the Native American tradition, including how to make prayer more creation-centered, how to have a greater appreciation of the connection between the living and the dead, how to love and respect silence and cherish solitude, and how to place a greater emphasis on celebration. Native Americans, she once said, have a tradition of creating sacred space within the natural environment and then "giving it back."

She also spoke of our need to cultivate a love for the land in order to stop the destruction of its beauty. She said she saw the Divine present in the people she met, ordinary people doing everyday things: an elderly woman with cancer, a supermarket worker, a truck driver, cowboys, policemen and especially the poor and downtrodden people of world.
Doxy asks ongoing prayers for Jim and his family.
So I will continue to ask for your prayers for the family. There are dark days ahead…it really does feel like Good Friday today.
Details at OCICBW on the following:
Motheramelia asks prayers for Caroline and Wayne.

Father Kenny for his Dad.

Also at OCICBW:
Susan S. asks prayers for her sister.
My youngest sister, Barbara, 52 years old, is now fighting her 3rd round of Breast Cancer.
For the repose of the soul of Alice whose passing was noted by Pagan Sphinx.

For Amber.

For Roseann and Gary.

For Lisa in her grief.

For Jane R's friend Deenie.

For Kirstin who helps make Open Cathedral possible in the Tenderloin district of San Francisco.

For those who will be baptized this Easter throughout the world.

For those throughout the world who face tomorrow and it is still a day of death and mourning.

Holy One, we hold these and countless others in our hearts as we stand before you, even as many - known and unknown - hold us in their hearts. The heart is really all we have to offer in the end, and it is the one thing you ask of us, knowing that everything else will follow. Hear us as we call to you, enfold those we remember and those we forget in your boundless compassion. Strengthen us to do what we ought, to accept what we must, and to do all with grace. Amen.
Via OCICBW late last night:
From KJ:

An extension of a previous request regarding my father, Lloyd. Additional tests have confirmed his cancer to be Stage 4. (Dammit! Amen.) That aside, he is in great physical shape and state of mind. The chemo plan appears arduous.

--the BB

Government policies

--bink at Daily Kos

Blog Against Theocracy 2009

Article VI. Clause 3 of the United States Constitution:
Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.

Amendment I
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

Article 11 of the Treaty of Peace and Friendship between the United States of America and the Bey and Subjects of Tripoli of Barbary, "signed at Tripoli on November 4, 1796 and at Algiers (for a third-party witness) on January 3, 1797, finally receiving ratification from the U.S. Senate on June 7, 1797 and signed by President John Adams on June 10, 1797":
As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion; as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquility, of Mussulmen; and, as the said States never entered into any war, or act of hostility against any Mahometan nation, it is declared by the parties, that no pretext arising from religious opinions, shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.

It is a pity that one would even need to point out that the United States was founded as a secular nation, grounded in Enlightenment philosophy. Many of our founders were deists, a category of religion that few evangelicals would consider even "Christian." God is never mentioned in the Constitution and the creator referenced in the Declaration of Independence - yes, the one who created all men equal and endowed them with inalienable rights, among them life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness - bears no "distinguishing marks" of denomination. Notice that salvation and the pursuit of holiness are not mentioned there.

It is vital for the safety and security, not to mention the dignity and peace of mind, of all our citizens that they be allowed freedom of belief and practice.

Laws may be enacted restricting certain practices that impinge on the rights or well being of others (i.e., you may believe I am possessed of a demon but you may NOT beat me to death to expel it, thanks for caring).

The imposition of one religious group's beliefs on other groups is simply not to be tolerated (and should not even be contemplated, but this nation is full of wingnuts). You may believe that same-sex marriage is sinful but you may not deny my right to marriage. You may think that consumption of shellfish is trayf, but you may not deny my right to eat shrimp. You may think an uncovered woman's head is impious, and I defend your right to cover your head, but you may not force my sisters or nieces to cover their heads. You may think - and how could you, you pervert? - that the death of a raped 9-year-old girl is preferable to aborting the rapist's fetus within her, but you will just have to live with your "moral" abhorrence because that girl has a right to her life and body, dammit.

I don't want to see any set of religious beliefs or practices imposed on others. People fled to this continent to get away from that sort of spiritual tyranny. The last thing we need is to move in the direction of a society in which a religion, any religion, is privileged and has coercive influence.

Those who claim this is a Christian nation or was founded on Judaeo-Christian values are simply wrong. They may wish this were the case but it is historically false. Many of them are working very hard to re-write history and convince the masses that their version is true. They are very dangerous. We need to stand up to these falsehoods and to religious bullies who would foist them on us.

I was alive and in elementary school when they changed the Pledge of Allegiance to insert the words "under God." This means I remember when we did not say that and how difficult it was for third-graders to learn a new version. It was not always thus. And even as a child I was aware that this could raise troublesome questions. Which God? Whose God? It is really not a clear-cut statement at all unless you are so blinded by your assumptions that you cannot even imagine other possibilities.

I cherish my opportunities to believe and worship and serve as I feel called to do. I don't want anyone mucking around in my faith or my conscience and I don't want to do that to anyone else.

To those who do wish to muck around in my faith or conscience I would like to say a very clear and unambiguous, "Sod off!"

--Another American for separation of church and state

Looking back

Bill Moyers - Public Affairs Television
04.12.04 - As the April 15 tax deadline nears, the General Accounting Office revealed that more than 60 percent of American corporations didn't pay a dime in taxes during the boom times of the late 90's. Meanwhile, over the last couple of years, corporate profits, as a percentage of the overall economy, have soared to historic levels.

Well, let's take the two separately. The Arab connection is that the Republicans back in-- in 2000, 1999 and 2000, were putting a major emphasis on the Muslim vote, believe it or not. And the estimates range from-- anywhere from three million to seven million Muslims, and in some states they were deemed to be pivotal. And Florida was one of them. And it looks like the Republicans swept the Muslim vote in Florida with 50,000, 60,000. So that would mean that that was the margin.

So when they were courting the Muslim vote, they were dealing with a lot of these Saudi-funded Muslim foundations in the United States, some of which later turned out to have some links to some of the problem. 'Cause of course the Saudis were-- were part of the problem.

Now, the Bushes have a long tie to the Saudi royal family, and indirectly to the Bin Ladens. And as a result of the ties to the Saudis, we don't need to take it any further than that for the moment; they put through in 2001 a change called the visa express. By which people in Saudi Arabia could get U.S. visas without actually going in and being photographed by U--

This was when?

In 2001. June 2001. And three of the terrorists came into the United States under this very permissive framework. Then after 9/11, a group of people from Saudi Arabia, several groups were-- including Bin Laden family members, were allowed to fly back when very little else was moving. Fly back to the Middle East. So this is coddling. (LAUGH) It's hard to define it any other way.

But isn't that, in large part, the consequence of an American economy that runs at high speed on Middle Eastern oil?

Well, oil is absolutely critical here, obviously. And if you think that Saudi Arabia might be falling apart, you want to think about getting Iraq which also has huge reserves.

If you look at the way in which the Bushes have conducted foreign policy, oil has always been a major priority.

It's a family that's always been connected to the oil business. I mean, it goes back literally 100 years. And oil is a very major yardstick. But frankly, they're right about that. Oil for us is a huge yardstick. But in their particular case, it's more than for other people because that's what their background is.

But every administration has to try to protect that flow of oil?

And they have. You can go all the way back to FDR in the 1940s declaring Saudi Arabia a major concern. Obviously in the 1970s. Everybody's done it.

But the other presidents, however much they cared about oil, didn't have these personal involvements.

The battle for Fallujah during the invasion last year was not particularly fierce. Al-Nazzal tells me that the people of Fallujah refused to resist the Americans just because Saddam told them to. He says, "If Saddam said work, we would want to take off three days. But the Americans had to cast us as Saddam supporters. When he was captured, they said the resistance would die down, but even as it has increased, they still call us that."

In fact, it would have taken very little to gain the good will of the people of Fallujah. Tribal people like these have been easily duped by imperialists for centuries. There was no reason why the U.S. could not have followed that time-tested strategy of using the carrot instead of the stick.
Now it is too late; the town has reached its tipping point.

To Americans, "Fallujah" brings to mind the gruesome death of four contractors; to Iraqis, the name stands for the savage reprisal that has killed 600 Iraqis, including an estimated 200 women and over 100 children (women and children are not members of the mujaheddin, which makes at least half of the dead noncombatants, not including many of the men who were civilians, as well).

When a Special Forces colonel said during the Vietnam War, "We had to destroy the town in order to save it," he encapsulated the insane logic of the entire war in a single statement.
The same logic is being applied in Iraq today by the Bush administration: Fallujah cannot be "saved" from its mujaheddin unless it is destroyed.

Rahul Mahajan is publisher of the weblog "Empire Notes." He was in Fallujah recently and is currently writing and blogging from Baghdad. His most recent book is "Full Spectrum Dominance: U.S. Power in Iraq and Beyond."

Great social movements are not sparked by subtle shifts in policy or retooled versions of familiar proposals. Nor are they sparked by attacks alone. We need to offer an overarching moral vision for America that is the alternative to the conservative movement's "Leave us Alone Coalition." My response to the Leave-Us-Alone Coalition is simple: Sorry, no can do. There are no gates or walls high enough. There are no bank accounts large enough to isolate you from the consequences of growing social inequities. We are all in this boat together. And the fact that there isn't a hole at your end of the boat doesn't mean you are safe.

The vision of all of us in the same boat together is the founding vision of this country. Even before there was a United States of America, when John Winthrop landed in Massachusetts Bay in 1630, he stood on the deck of the Arbella and gave a speech that gave voice to what would become a central American creed: "We must bear one another's burdens...we must be willing to abridge ourselves of our superfluities, for the supply of other's necessities." This is the heart of what this country is about. And the exact opposite of the conservative messianic vision of national salvation through ever-bigger tax cuts. But let's not fool ourselves. This call to worship at the church of tax cuts, while very destructive, has also proven incredibly alluring: it's clear, it's broad, and it's accessible.
--Arianna Huffington

At some point here, doesn't it seem even remotely logical that Bush is the least necessary president in generations? He's spent 233 days at the ranch. And, as previously noted, 40% of his presidency at his various retreats. That doesn't even count all the campaign appearances and faux "official appearances" which were really campaign stops. It means that no one gives a good goddamn whether he's there or not. Hell, even Col. Henry Blake on MASH, the fictional leader most analogous to Bush in his apprehension of the duties of the position, occasionally was really in charge instead of being granted the illusion of control.
// posted by Rude One @ 11:36 AM

With a title like "Worse Than Watergate" -- and written by THE John Dean -- do we need to say anything more?
Dean documents how Bush and Cheney have "created the most secretive presidency of my [Dean's] lifetime." For someone who was exposed to the dark secrets of the Nixon administration, there can be no more searing indictment.

And an indictment this book is. The only thing that keeps Bush and Cheney from being impeached is the carefully crafted veil of secrecy that they have created to hide their misdeeds from public and legal scrutiny.

Of course, controlling all three branches of government -- Soviet style -- helps. And it also helps to have an Attorney General who is as blindly loyal as a pet pooch.

" To say that their secret presidency is undemocratic is an understatement," Dean declares.
The only thing, Dean argues, between Bush, Cheney and orange jumpsuits and jail bars is the revelation of the truth. John Dean gets as close as one can get in this book.

There’s No Braveheart Running the White House
by Nicholas Von Hoffman

He may run as the Fetus-Protector President or the Old-Time Religion President or the One-Man and One-Woman Marriage President or the Privatization President or the No-Medicare President or the One-Test-Fits-All-Children President, but George Bush cannot run as the Commander-in-Chief President. In rough times, he is the little man who isn’t there.

Twice in George Bush’s life, when all hell broke loose, he vamoosed. His first disappearing act was during the Vietnam War, when he was a no-show officer in the Air National Guard. The second time he skedaddled was 9/11.

The Wall Street Journal has reconstructed the President’s movements on that day. What he did and when he did it has been fuzzed over by the President and his operatives, but the facts are out. He said, for example, that on the day in question, "one of the first acts I did was to put our military on alert." But he didn’t. Air Force General Richard Myers, then the acting head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, gave that order without having consulted him. The reason for the fib was to show George to the voters as a man in control of himself and the situation through shot and shell.

On Dec. 3, 2001, Mr. Bush, who had been visiting a school in Florida when the attack happened, told an audience that "I was sitting outside the classroom, waiting to go in, and I saw an airplane hit the tower—the TV was obviously on. And I used to fly myself, and I said, ‘Well, there’s one terrible pilot.’" It didn’t happen, at least not as Mr. Bush tells it; instead of issuing orders, he must have been making up stories. The television set wasn’t on where he was; no pictures of the first plane hitting the tower were shown until 12 hours after he had left Florida, so he was BS-ing. We all like to embellish, but if the President throws bull feces around, it inspires doubts, not confidence.

David Corn in The Nation

A small but signficiant White House cover-up fell apart this past weekend.
When the White House finally released the August 6, 2001 President's Daily Brief, it marked the end of a two-year effort on the part of the Bush administration to prevent the public from learning that a month before the 9/11 attacks--and weeks after the U.S. government had collected "chatter" indicating Osama bin Laden was planning a major strike--Bush received information indicating that al Qaeda was intent on mounting attacks within the United States.
Condoleezza Rice was instrumental in the attempt to keep the contents of this PDB--which was entitled "Bin Ladin Determined To Strike in US" and which noted that al Qaeda "apparently maintains a support structure [in the United States] that could aid attacks" and that the FBI had detected "suspicious activity...consistent with preparations for hijackings or other types of attacks"--from becoming known. And it is obvious why it was so important for her and the White House to smother this PDB.

The existence of the August 6 PDB was first revealed by CBS News' David Martin on May 15, 2002. But Martin's report only referred to the PDB in one sentence that noted the PDB had warned that an attack by bin Laden could involve hijacking U.S. aircraft. CBS did not report the title of the briefing or any other material it contained. A media furor erupted after the White House acknowledged Bush had received this PDB. The day after the CBS News report, The New York Times carried a front-page story with a headline declaring, "Bush Was Warned Bin Laden Wanted To Hijack Planes."

The disclosure of the PDB came at an especially awkward time for the White House. Two weeks earlier, news reports revealed that an FBI agent in Phoenix in July 2001 had written a classified memo suggesting that a group of Middle Eastern aviation students might be linked to terrorists (including bin Laden) and that the FBI had not taken any action in response to this agent's investigation. The "Phoenix memo" received a flood of media coverage, and the Bush administration--which heretofore had not had to field any tough questions about the government's pre-9/11 performance-- was confronted with queries about the negligent handling of the agent's prescient report. At the same time, the case of Zacarias Moussaoui was in the news. On May 15, the Times reported that before 9/11 an FBI agent had speculated that Moussaoui, the suspicious aviation student arrested by the FBI on immigration charges in the summer of 2001, might have been planning to fly a plane into the World Trade Center. News reports had previously indicated that the FBI had not pursued the Moussaoui case vigorously prior to September 11.

Remember folks, all the stuff above is what we knew BEFORE the 2004 election!

Thirty years ago, President Bush was my student at Harvard Business School. In my class, he called former president Franklin D. Roosevelt, Class of 1904, a “socialist” and spoke against Social Security, unemployment insurance, the Securities and Exchange Commission, and other New Deal innovations. He refused to understand that capitalism becomes corrupt without democratic civic values and ethical restraints.

In those days, Bush belonged to a minority of MBA students who were seriously disconnected from taking the moral and social responsibility for their actions. Today, he would fit in comfortably with an overwhelming majority of business students and teachers whose role models are celebrated captains of piracy. Since the 1980s, as neo-conservatives have captured the Republican Party, America’s business education has also increasingly become contaminated by the robber baron culture of the pre-Great Depression era.

Bush is the first president of the United States with a Master’s of Business Administration (MBA). Yet, he epitomizes the worst aspects of America’s business education. To privatize Social Security, he is peddling a colossal lie about its solvency. Furthermore, Bush, along with today’s business aristocrats, shows no compassion for working Americans, robbing them to benefit big business and the very rich. Last year, due to Bush’s tax cuts, over 80 of America’s most profitable 200 corporations did not pay even a penny of their federal and state income taxes. Meanwhile, to pay for his additional tax cuts for the very rich, Bush is drastically cutting back several social services, such as federal lunch programs for poor children.


Oregon Gay Marriages Voided - 37 minutes ago
by Newscenter Staff. (Salem, Oregon) The Oregon Supreme Court on Thursday nullified the marriages of some 3,000 same-sex couples who were wed last year. The marriages were performed last March in Multnomah County. (story). ...

April 15th: You're getting screwed
Molly Ivins - Creators Syndicate

04.14.05 - AUSTIN, Texas -- Happy tax day, fellow citizens!

My favorite authority on taxes is David Cay Johnston of The New York Times, who won a Pulitzer for reporting on the terminally unsexy topic of taxes. His book "Perfectly Legal -- The Covert Campaign to Rig Our Tax System to Benefit the Super-Rich -- and Cheat Everyone Else" is the single best work on public policy of recent years, I think.

Johnston reports: "Through explicit policies, as well as tax laws never reported in the news, Congress now literally takes money from those making $30,000 to $500,000 per year and funnels it in subtle ways to the super-rich -- the top one-one hundredth of one percent of Americans.

"People making $60,000 paid a larger share of their 2001 income in federal income, Social Security and Medicare taxes than a family making $25 million, the latest Internal Revenue Service data show. And in income taxes alone, people making $400,000 paid a larger share of their incomes than the 7,000 households who made $10 million or more."

The rest of us are subsidizing not only the super-rich, but also corporations. Fifty years ago, corporations paid 60 percent of all federal taxes. But by 2003, that was down to 16 percent. So individual taxpayers have to make up the difference, as corporate profits soar and wages fall.
As more and more rich people cheat on their taxes, the IRS is increasingly unable to go after them because it is so poorly funded.

For all this, we can thank the Republican Party.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005
John Bolton in the News

The New York Times, 4/13:
The longer John Bolton’s Senate hearing for the post of United Nations representative went on, the more outrageous it seemed that President Bush could have nominated a man who had made withering disdain for that world body the signature of his career in international affairs. Some fear that the aim is to scuttle the United Nations. It’s more likely, but just as disturbing, that this is another example of Mr. Bush’s rewarding loyalty rather than holding officials accountable for mistakes, especially those who helped build the case for war with Iraq.

The Boston Globe, 4/13
Bolton’s nomination deserves to be rejected by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee not merely because he has been obsessed with a xenophobic notion that US sovereignty is in mortal danger of being lost to international organizations but because Bolton has taken stances that harm national security.

South Florida Sun-Sentinel, 4/13
The most compelling testimony against John Bolton, President Bush’s nominee for a vital United Nations post, didn’t come from State Department subordinates. No, it came from Bolton himself. …
His nomination ought to be withdrawn, but not because he verbally bullied the U.N. The United Nations is a deeply troubled organization in need of dynamic and forceful diplomats. Every member country, including the United States, ought to send a representative to New York who will insist the U.N. do its job, period.
The problem with Bolton is not that he’s outspoken, but that he’s not a straight shooter. He is given to playing reckless politics, then castigating those who correct his exaggerations.

In Victory for Bush, House Approves Bankruptcy Bill

Published: April 14, 2005

WASHINGTON, April 14 - The House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved a major overhaul of the nation's bankruptcy laws today, completing Congressional action on the measure and sending it to President Bush for his signature.

The vote, 302 to 126, produced the first significant revision of the federal bankruptcy laws in 27 years. The legislation is the culmination of years of intensive lobbying by the nation's largest banks, credit card companies and retailers, which have complained about what they say is a rising tide of abusive bankruptcy filings.

It is a big victory for Mr. Bush, who supported the measure, and a sharp setback for civil rights organizations and consumer groups. They say the new law will be a huge giveaway to special interests at the expense of many middle and lower income families.

Those groups say that the increase in filings over the last 30 years is a symptom of other problems, including the growing number of uninsured families facing high medical bills. They also link the rise in bankruptcies to the increasingly aggressive efforts by credit card companies, banks and retailers to promote easy credit often accompanied by hidden and high fees.

Oil prices soar on talk of possible US attack on Iran
ABS CBN News - 10 hours ago
NEW YORK - London's Brent oil contract soared to a record high and New York crude hit its highest point in more than seven months Monday owing to talk of a potential US military strike on Iran. Traders said ...
Crude Oil Rises to Record in London on Iran Supply Concerns Bloomberg
Oil prices breach $69 on possible US-Iran conflict Mail & Guardian Online

Judge indicts 29 people over 2004 Madrid train bombings
Hindu - 1 hour ago
Madrid, April. 11(AP): A Spanish judge on Tuesday handed down the first indictments in the 2004 Madrid train bombings, charging 29 people with murder, terrorism or other crimes after a two-year probe. The ...
Judge indicts 29 over Madrid bombings Globe and Mail
Indictments soon in Madrid bombing CNN International

New evidence of the utter moral bankruptcy of the Bush Administration is coming along to light so fast it’s hard to keep up. This morning’s clue comes to us from Larry Margasak of the Associated Press:

Key figures in a phone-jamming scheme designed to keep New Hampshire Democrats from voting in 2002 had regular contact with the White House and Republican Party as the plan was unfolding, phone records introduced in criminal court show.

The records show that Bush campaign operative James Tobin, who recently was convicted in the case, made two dozen calls to the White House within a three-day period around Election Day 2002 — as the phone jamming operation was finalized, carried out and then abruptly shut down.

AP prints Bush's spin on Libby leak, that he was trying to "spread the truth," yet fails to mention that in fact Bush knew the info leaked was false
by John in DC - 4/11/2006 12:27:00 AM
The Associated Press is running a story with Bush's latest comments on why he authorized certain intelligence information to be leaked in 2003:
President Bush said Monday that he declassified sensitive prewar intelligence on Iraq back in 2003 to counter critics who claimed the administration had exaggerated the nuclear threat posed by Saddam Hussein.

"I wanted people to see the truth and thought it made sense for people to see the truth," Bush said during an appearance at Johns Hopkins University's Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies.

Okay, and do you think it might be relevant to include in the AP story the fact that the information that Bush leaked in order to supposedly "spread the truth" was in fact information that had already been proven wrong months BEFORE Bush authorized it to be leaked?

In other words, Bush wasn't spreading the truth, he was intentionally spreading lies. Do you think you'd find that relevant?

My friend Marc just sent me the following from the National Review's blog. It's written by George Conway, a Republican heavily involved making Paula Jones a household word (i.e., he's really REALLY Republican). Yet, here is what he has to say about not just George Bush, but the entire Republican party.

And again, he's writing this on the Web site of the uber-conservative National Review:
I'm disgruntled, too, and I'm going to get it all of my chest this morning: I've never voted for a Democrat in a general election in my life, and I don't expect to anytime soon, but it's been impossible for me over the past couple of years to get enthused about the Republican party.

I voted for President Bush twice, and contributed to his campaign twice, but held my nose when I did it the second time. I don't consider myself a Republican any longer. Thanks to this Administration and the Republicans in Congress, the Republican Party today is the party of pork-barrel spending, Congressional corruption — and, I know folks on this web site don't want to hear it, but deep down they know it's true — foreign and military policy incompetence.

Frankly, speaking of incompetence, I think this Administration is the most politically and substantively inept that the nation has had in over a quarter of a century. The good news about it, as far as I'm concerned, is that it's almost over.
Published on Thursday, October 28, 2004 by
Two Years Before 9/11, Candidate Bush was Already Talking Privately About Attacking Iraq, According to His Former Ghost Writer
by Russ Baker

He was thinking about invading Iraq in 1999," said author and journalist Mickey Herskowitz. "It was on his mind. He said to me: 'One of the keys to being seen as a great leader is to be seen as a commander-in-chief.' And he said, 'My father had all this political capital built up when he drove the Iraqis out of Kuwait and he wasted it.' He said, 'If I have a chance to invade·.if I had that much capital, I'm not going to waste it. I'm going to get everything passed that I want to get passed and I'm going to have a successful presidency." Herskowitz said that Bush expressed frustration at a lifetime as an underachiever in the shadow of an accomplished father. In aggressive military action, he saw the opportunity to emerge from his father's shadow.


Herskowitz also revealed the following:
· In 2003, Bush's father indicated to him that he disagreed with his son's invasion of Iraq.
· Bush admitted that he failed to fulfill his Vietnam-era domestic National Guard service obligation, but claimed that he had been "excused."
· Bush revealed that after he left his Texas National Guard unit in 1972 under murky circumstances, he never piloted a plane again. That casts doubt on the carefully-choreographed moment of Bush emerging in pilot's garb from a jet on the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln in 2003 to celebrate "Mission Accomplished" in Iraq. The image, instantly telegraphed around the globe, and subsequent hazy White House statements about his capacity in the cockpit, created the impression that a heroic Bush had played a role in landing the craft.
· Bush described his own business ventures as "floundering" before campaign officials insisted on recasting them in a positive light.

and the Whitehouse leaps in to action.....
. Herskowitz: "The lawyer called me and said, 'Delete it. Shred it. Just do it.' "

In 1999, when Herskowitz turned in his chapters for Charge to Keep, Bush's staff expressed displeasure -often over Herskowitz's use of language provided by Bush himself. In a chapter on the oil business, Herskowitz included Bush's own words to describe the Texan's unprofitable business ventures, writing: "the companies were floundering". "I got a call from one of the campaign lawyers, he was kind of angry, and he said, 'You've got some wrong information.' I didn't bother to say, 'Well you know where it came from.' [The lawyer] said, 'We do not consider that the governor struggled or floundered in the oil business. We consider him a successful oilman who started up at least two new businesses.' "in the end, campaign officials decided not to go with Herskowitz's account, and, moreover, demanded everything back. "The lawyer called me and said, 'Delete it. Shred it. Just do it.' "

Lacking Biolabs, Trailers Carried Case for War
Administration Pushed Notion of Banned Iraqi Weapons Despite Evidence to Contrary
By Joby Warrick
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, April 12, 2006; A01
On May 29, 2003, 50 days after the fall of Baghdad, President Bush proclaimed a fresh victory for his administration in Iraq: Two small trailers captured by U.S. and Kurdish troops had turned out to be long-sought mobile "biological laboratories." He declared, "We have found the weapons of mass destruction."
The claim, repeated by top administration officials for months afterward, was hailed at the time as a vindication of the decision to go to war. But even as Bush spoke, U.S. intelligence officials possessed powerful evidence that it was not true.
A secret fact-finding mission to Iraq -- not made public until now -- had already concluded that the trailers had nothing to do with biological weapons. Leaders of the Pentagon-sponsored mission transmitted their unanimous findings to Washington in a field report on May 27, 2003, two days before the president's statement.
The three-page field report and a 122-page final report three weeks later were stamped "secret" and shelved. Meanwhile, for nearly a year, administration and intelligence officials continued to publicly assert that the trailers were weapons factories.
The authors of the reports were nine U.S. and British civilian experts -- scientists and engineers with extensive experience in all the technical fields involved in making bioweapons -- who were dispatched to Baghdad by the Defense Intelligence Agency for an analysis of the trailers. Their actions and findings were described to a Washington Post reporter in interviews with six government officials and weapons experts who participated in the mission or had direct knowledge of it.
None would consent to being identified by name because of fear that their jobs would be jeopardized. Their accounts were verified by other current and former government officials knowledgeable about the mission. The contents of the final report, "Final Technical Engineering Exploitation Report on Iraqi Suspected Biological Weapons-Associated Trailers," remain classified. But interviews reveal that the technical team was unequivocal in its conclusion that the trailers were not intended to manufacture biological weapons. Those interviewed took care not to discuss the classified portions of their work.
"There was no connection to anything biological," said one expert who studied the trailers. Another recalled an epithet that came to be associated with the trailers: "the biggest sand toilets in the world."

Subsidizing fish to swim
Molly Ivins - Creators Syndicate

04.11.06 - AUSTIN, Texas -- We need to keep up with the daily drip, that endless succession of special favors for special interests performed by Congress, or we'll never figure out how we got so far behind the eight ball. While the top Bushies lunge about test-driving new wars (great idea -- the one we're having is a bummer, so let's start another!), Congress just keeps right on cranking out those corporate goodies.

Earlier this month, the House effectively repealed more than 200 state food safety and public health protections. Say, when was the last time you enjoyed a little touch of food poisoning? Coming soon to a stomach near you. What was really impressive about H.R. 4167, the "National Uniformity for Food Act," is that it was passed without a public hearing.

"The House is trampling crucial health safeguards in every state without so much as a single public hearing," said Erik Olson, attorney for the Natural Resources Defense Council. "This just proves the old adage, 'Money talks.' The food industry spared no expense to ensure passage."
Thirty-nine attorneys general, plus health, consumer and environmental groups, are opposing the law. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, the food industry has spent more than $81 million on campaign contributions to members of Congress since 2000.

The bill would automatically override any state measure that is stronger than federal law, the opposite of what a sensible law would do. The NRDC says state laws protecting consumers from chemical additives, bacteria and ingredients that can trigger allergic reactions would be barred, and that includes alerts about chemical contamination in fish, health protection standards for milk and eggs, and warnings about chemicals or toxins such as arsenic, mercury and lead. Happy eating, all.

Y'all remember the spinach scare, the tomato scare, then peanuts, then pistachios....

Most Americans Want Gonzales Out, Aides to Testify, Poll Shows
Bloomberg - 4 hours ago
By Heidi Przybyla. April 11 (Bloomberg) -- US Attorney General Alberto Gonzales should resign, most Americans say, and White House aides should be forced to testify before Congress about their involvement in the dismissal of eight US attorneys.

Home Foreclosures Increasing Above 2001 Recession Levels
by bonddad
Wed Apr 11, 2007 at 04:54:33 AM PDT
For economic commentary and analysis, go to the Bonddad Blog
And here's more:
The percentage of mortgages in default rose to 2.87%, surpassing the worst levels following the 2001 recession.
"The news is unremittingly bad," CNBC's Steve Liesman said Tuesday. "Delinquency rates were up in 44 of the 50 states."
The only states where delinquencies didn’t increase were Kansas, Kentucky, Montana, North Dakota, South Carolina and Utah.

President Bush wants to hire a War Czar to oversee operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. 
The problem: Nobody wants the job. 
They realize they would have to put up with Vice President Dick Cheney and his allies still pushing their disastrously irrational policies.

It's just not really clear why CNN gives this talentless nutjob, who engages in the nastiest smears imaginable almost on a daily basis, a microphone.
--Blue Texan writing about Glenn Beck (LOL, and that was back then! --BB)

More on Michael Mukasey's false 9/11 and FISA claims
(updated below)
The San Francisco Chronicle became one of the few media outlets to report on the multiple false claims about 9/11 and FISA in Michael Mukasey's speech two weeks ago, as they adeptly summarized the key events in this article today. As the article, using the Lee Hamilton and other quotes reported here, put it: "It seemed like a sensational disclosure -- a phone call that, if traced and monitored, could have allowed authorities to thwart the attacks -- but it has proved difficult to verify."

[Actually, there was no such thing and Mukasey was pulling it out of his ass, but hey, why just tell the truth when testifying before Congress? Nobody will do a damn thing if you lie.]

Today's Must Read
By Paul Kiel - April 11, 2008, 10:05AM

Thanks to ABC News and the AP's follow-up yesterday, we now have a very good idea of how the U.S. began to torture detainees in early 2002, even before the Justice Department had officially blessed the techniques by way of the infamous August, 2002 memo by John Yoo.

ABC reported earlier this week that certain brutal interrogation techniques were approved by the National Security Council's Principals Committee following Abu Zubaydah's capture in March, 2002. Among the members of that council were Vice President Dick Cheney, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, Secretary of State Colin Powell, CIA Director George Tenet, Attorney General John Ashcroft, and it was chaired by Condoleezza Rice, then the National Security Advisor.

The 4,000th American to die in the Iraq War died on Easter Sunday.

According to the Associated Press:

* The 1,000th American died in September 2004.

* The 2,000th American died in October 2005.

* The 3,000th American died in December 2006.

* There have been about 15 soldiers wounded for every fatality in Iraq.

This is a vast "improvement" over Vietnam, when there were 2.6 wounded for every death. Now better equipment and medical care in the field keeps many soldiers alive who would have died of their injuries in earlier wars.

We lost many many more soldiers in Vietnam, about 4,850 a year from 1963 to 1875. We lost about 12,300 soldiers a year in Korea, from 1950 to 1953.

But this doesn't matter to the children, wives, husbands, mothers and fathers of those who have died in Iraq. Their pain, their loss is not lessened by such statistics.

We must grapple with the past if we are to move wisely into the future.
--the BB

Friday, April 10, 2009

Holy and Great Saturday

Since, then, we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast to our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who in every respect has been tested as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. (Hebrews 4:14-16)
Lord Jesus Christ, you stretched out your arms of love on the hard wood of the cross that everyone might come within the reach of your saving embrace: So clothe us in your Spirit that we, reaching forth our hands in love, may bring those who do not know you to the knowledge and love of you; for the honor of your Name. Amen.

I do not, as those who come here often know, interpret the prayer above in terms of attempts to get others to believe as I do. I do see it as expressing a vision of Jesus on the cross embracing all creation, including us at our worst and at our most broken. From my own stance, this is a vision of God--the Ultimate, the Source and Goal of all, the Ground of becoming, whatever term one prefers--embracing us, taking us and all into Godself. It is also a vision of humanity embracing a God just that vast, compassionate, and incomprehensible.

Yes, for me, the tradition of understanding the Christ as both human and divine works, is meaningful, and even necessary. I am Chalcedonian, but I don't think everyone must or should be.

It is all metaphor, mystery, and grace upon grace. I cannot limit it or define it or constrain it. I can receive it, rejoice in it, be formed by it, celebrate it, and trust it. I entrust myself and all sentient beings to it. I am also enough of a mystic to believe that all matter is sentient, and all matter is a manifestation of energy, so nothing is excluded.

On Holy and Great Saturday we come to a quiet place of stillness, of waiting in hope and dread, of standing empty, and seeking to follow Jesus into that dark emptiness, trusting God and refusing to give up on love.

While we wait a great upheaval takes place and hell is harrowed. We come to the end of all our striving and God is yet at work.
If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also through his Spirit that dwells in you. (Romans 8:11)

Ruhe sanfte, sanfte Ruh'!

O God, Creator of heaven and earth: Grant that, as the crucified body of your dear Son was laid in the tomb and rested on this holy Sabbath, so we may await with him the coming of the third day, and rise with him to newness of life; who now lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Und Joseph nahm den Leib und wickelte ihn in ein rein Leinwand und legte ihn in sein eigen neu Grab, welches er hatte lassen in einen Fels hauen, und wälzete einen großen Stein vor die Tür des Grabes und ging davon. Es war aber allda Maria Magdalena und die andere Maria, die satzten sich gegen das Grab. Des andern Tages, der da folget nach dem Rüsttage, kamen die Hohenpriester und Pharisäer sämtlich zu Pilato und sprachen:

Herr, wir haben gedacht, dass dieser Verführer sprach, da er noch lebete: Ich will nach dreien Tagen wieder auferstehen. Darum befiehl, dass man das Grab verwahre bis an den dritten Tag, auf dass nicht seine Jünger kommen und stehlen ihn und sagen zu dem Volk: Er ist auferstanden von den Toten, und werde der letzte Betrug ärger denn der erste!

Evangelist (T), Pilatus (B)
Pilatus sprach zu ihnen:
Da habt ihr die Hüter; gehet hin und verwahret's, wie ihr's wisset!
Sie gingen hin und verwahreten das Grab mit Hütern und versiegelten den Stein.

Nun ist der Herr zur Ruh gebracht.
Mein Jesu, gute Nacht!
Die Müh ist aus, die unsre Sünden ihm gemacht.
Mein Jesu, gute Nacht!
O selige Gebeine,
Seht, wie ich euch mit Buß und Reu beweine,
Dass euch mein Fall in solche Not gebracht!
Mein Jesu, gute Nacht!
Habt lebenslang
Vor euer Leiden tausend Dank,
Dass ihr mein Seelenheil so wert geacht'.
Mein Jesu, gute Nacht!

Wir setzen uns mit Tränen nieder
Und rufen dir im Grabe zu:
Ruhe sanfte, sanfte ruh!
Ruht, ihr ausgesognen Glieder!
Euer Grab und Leichenstein
Soll dem ängstlichen Gewissen
Ein bequemes Ruhekissen
Und der Seelen Ruhstatt sein.
Höchst vergnügt schlummern da die Augen ein.

66a.(76.) Evangelist (I: T)

And Joseph took the body and wrapped it in a pure shroud of linen and laid it in his own new tomb, which he had had hewn within a rock, and rolled up a heavy stone in front of the door of this tomb and went away. In this place was Mary Magdalene and the other Mary, who sat themselves next to the tomb. On the day after, the one after the Preparation, came the chief priests and the Pharisees together unto Pilate and said:
66b. Chief Priests and Pharisees (Chorus I, II)

Sire, we have taken thought how once this deceiver said when he was still alive: "I will in three days' time again stand here arisen." Therefore, command that now the tomb be guarded until the three days pass, so none of his disciples come forth and steal him hence and to the people say: "He is risen from the dead," for thus will the final deceit be worse than the first one!

66c. Evangelist, Pilate (I: T, B)

And Pilate said unto them:

Ye have your watchmen; go ye forth and secure it as best ye can!

So they went forth and made safe the tomb with watchmen and did seal in the stone.
67.(77.) Recit. (I: B, T, A, S; Chorus II) Zion, The Faithful

Now is the Lord brought to his rest.

My Jesus, now good night!

The toil is o'er which all our sins have laid on him.

My Jesus, now good night!

O thou, most blessed body,
See how I weep with grief and sorrow for thee,
That thee my fall to such distress hath brought!

My Jesus, now good night!

Have all my life
For thy great passion countless thanks,
That thou my spirit's health such worth did pay.

My Jesus, now good night!
68.(78.) Chorus(4) (Chorus I, II) Tutti

We lay ourselves with weeping prostrate
And cry to thee within the tomb:
Rest thou gently, gently rest!

Rest, O ye exhausted members!
This your tomb and this tombstone
Shall for ev'ry anguished conscience
Be a pillow of soft comfort
And the spirit's place of rest.
Most content, slumber here the eyes in rest.

--the BB

Still working the alliances

Well, I've sorted out the claimants to the Lion Throne, and there are plenty of them, all rather young. There are a few in one family that may well have the best claim but only one in that branch has royal blood from the southern islands through his father - always good to impress those who pay any attention to the concept of aristocracy. [Rolls eyes.]

If, perchance, you are one of the 40% of all my visitors who still come here because of prince blogging, you should know that I am talking about my fantasy fiction here. You need not google any of this stuff; it's all just in my head (and on a few disks).

Today I began playing with the geography and economy of the principality. These are, after all, always drivers in power plays.

All of which runs counter to the message of the Cross. But then, my fiction illustrates folly and wickedness aplenty or there would be little of interest, nicht Wahr?

Eh bien, au lit! Dieu vous bénisse.

--le BB


4/10/09 KUNA:
US soldier killed in Kabul
A US soldier was killed in a non-combat incident in Kabul, central capital of Afghanistan, on Friday. A statement issued by the US forces' Bagram Base here said the incident was being investigated.

As Göran offers prayers in Sweden for all these posts, I want to remember that Americans are not the only ones dying in these places.

04/10/09 stockholmnews:
Swedish patrol in Afghanistan attacked
A Swedish patrol, part of the international Isaf forces, were shot at near Mazar-i-Sharif in Afghanistan yesterday evening. The Defence force is very confidential about what happened but it is clear that they were shoot...

04/09/09 :
DoD Identifies Marine Casualty
Lance Cpl. Blaise A. Oleski, 22, of Holland Patent, N.Y., died April 8 while supporting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan. He was assigned to 3rd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force...

Let us also remember the people swept under the terrible term "collateral damage" and every family torn by war.


Latest Coalition Fatalities

04/10/09 MNF:
Five U.S. Soldiers and two ISF killed by suicide truck bomb
Five U.S. Coalition Soldiers were killed, and one wounded from a suicide vehicle borne improvised explosive device attack earlier today in Mosul. Two Iraqi Security Forces were also killed and 20 wounded.

Dona eis requiem

Thursday, April 09, 2009

We receive our own with love and dignity

This past Sunday night the body of Airman Staff Sgt. Phillip Myers, 30, of Hopewell, VA, an Air Force explosive ordnance disposal craftsman who died saving the lives of others in Afghanistan, arrived at Dover Air Force Base. The world was watching, as for the first time in 18 years, the media was allowed to cover the return of our nation’s war dead – with the permission of SSgt. Myers’ wife Aimee and family.

Please join me in welcoming home an American hero who served in harm’s way in Iraq and Afghanistan. May we honor his memory and sacrifice as we mourn alongside his family, friends, community and unit.
A ceremony to honor SSgt Myers is reported to have taken place today in England. The town of Hopewell, VA would also like to honor him if his family wishes it. He will be buried with full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery per his request on April 27.

Rest in eternal peace, SSgt Phillip A. Myers. Your mission is complete.

Good Friday

Wisdom 1:16-2:1,2:12-22

But the ungodly by their words and deeds summoned death;
considering him a friend, they pined away
and made a covenant with him,
because they are fit to belong to his company.

For they reasoned unsoundly, saying to themselves,
‘Short and sorrowful is our life,
and there is no remedy when a life comes to its end,
and no one has been known to return from Hades.
‘Let us lie in wait for the righteous man,
because he is inconvenient to us and opposes our actions;
he reproaches us for sins against the law,
and accuses us of sins against our training.
He professes to have knowledge of God,
and calls himself a child of the Lord.
He became to us a reproof of our thoughts;
the very sight of him is a burden to us,
because his manner of life is unlike that of others,
and his ways are strange.
We are considered by him as something base,
and he avoids our ways as unclean;
he calls the last end of the righteous happy,
and boasts that God is his father.
Let us see if his words are true,
and let us test what will happen at the end of his life;
for if the righteous man is God’s child, he will help him,
and will deliver him from the hand of his adversaries.
Let us test him with insult and torture,
so that we may find out how gentle he is,
and make trial of his forbearance.
Let us condemn him to a shameful death,
for, according to what he says, he will be protected.’

Thus they reasoned, but they were led astray,
for their wickedness blinded them,
and they did not know the secret purposes of God,
nor hoped for the wages of holiness,
nor discerned the prize for blameless souls;
Plus ça change....

And what are OUR covenants with death? How has our wickedness blinded us? Do we hope for the wages of holiness? Might we begin anew, now that we stand, once more, before the cross - stripped of our defenses and delusions?

Make yourself pure, O my heart.

I have not hidden your saving help within my heart,
I have spoken of your faithfulness and your salvation;
I have not concealed your steadfast love and your faithfulness
from the great congregation.
--Psalm 40:10

Almighty God, we pray you graciously to behold this your family, for whom our Lord Jesus Christ was willing to be betrayed, and given into the hands of sinners, and to suffer death upon the cross; who now lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Mache dich, mein Herze, rein
Johan Sebastian Bach, St. Matthew Passion, Karl Richter, Walter Berry

Mache dich, mein Herze, rein,
Ich will Jesum selbst begraben.
Denn er soll nunmehr in mir
Für und für
Seine süße Ruhe haben.
Welt, geh aus, lass Jesum ein!

Make thyself, my heart, now pure,
I myself would Jesus bury.

For he shall henceforth in me
More and more
Find in sweet repose his dwelling.
World, depart, let Jesus in!

--the BB

Wednesday, April 08, 2009


04/08/09 :
DoD Identifies Army Casualty
Spc. Adam M. Kuligowski, 21, of Arlington, Va., died Apr. 6 in Bagram, Afghanistan, of injuries sustained from a non-combat related incident. He was assigned to the Special Troops Battalion, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), Fort Campbell, Ky.


Latest Coalition Fatalities

DoD Identifies Marine Casualty
Lance Cpl. Stephen F. Dearmon, 21, of Crossville, Tenn., died April 3 as a result of a non-hostile incident in Anbar province, Iraq. He was assigned to 2nd Marine Logistics Group, II Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Lejeune, N.C.

DoD Identifies Army Casualty
Spc. Israel Candelaria Mejias, 28, of San Lorenzo, Puerto Rico, died April 5 near Baghdad, Iraq, of wounds sustained when a mine detonated near him during combat operations. He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 2nd Infantry Regiment in Task Force...

DoD Identifies Army Casualty
Sgt. Daniel J. Beard, 24, of Buffalo, N.Y., died April 3 in Al Diwaniyah, Iraq, of injuries sustained from a non-combat related incident. He was assigned to the 147th Postal Company, 21st Theater Sustainment Command, Wiesbaden, Germany.

Almighty God, with whom still live the spirits of those who die in the Lord, and with whom the souls of the faithful are in joy and felicity: We give you heartfelt thanks for the good examples of all your servants, who, having finished their course in faith, now find rest and refreshment. May we, with all who have died in the true faith of your holy Name, have perfect fulfillment and bliss in your eternal and everlasting glory, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.