Saturday, July 11, 2009

And now for something a little different

Our monthly dinner group met tonight and afterwards we got to visit Jan's three horses, feed them carrots, watch them dine on timothy hay, and see them run around the ring. May I introduce you all to Tuxedo, Charro, and Chica?

Jan rides Chica and Charro to church on Sunday mornings. Tuxedo is young and he has not been ridden yet.

--the BB

Can we say "impunity," boys and girls? - updated with h/t (2x)

Main Entry: im·pu·ni·ty
Pronunciation: \im-ˈpyü-nə-tē\
Function: noun
Etymology: Middle French or Latin; Middle French impunité, from Latin impunitat-, impunitas, from impune without punishment, from in- + poena punishment — more at pain
Date: 1532
: exemption or freedom from punishment, harm, or loss

--Merriam-Webster OnLine

Impunity means "exemption from punishment or loss". In the international law of human rights, it refers to the failure to bring perpetrators of human rights violations to justice and, as such, itself constitutes a denial of the victims' right to justice and redress. Impunity is especially common in countries that lack a tradition of the rule of law, suffer from corruption or that have entrenched systems of patronage, or where the judiciary is weak or members of the security forces are protected by special jurisdictions or immunities.


Opening paragraph from an article by Scott Shane in tomorrow's NYT:
The Central Intelligence Agency withheld information about a secret counterterrorism program from Congress for eight years on direct orders from former Vice President Dick Cheney, the agency’s director, Leon E. Panetta, has told the Senate and House intelligence committees, two people with direct knowledge of the matter said Saturday.
Remember, the CIA is required by law to brief certain members of Congress.

Let's just highlight this little paragraph also:
The disclosure about Mr. Cheney’s role in the unidentified C.I.A. program comes a day after an inspector general’s report underscored the central role of the former vice president’s office in restricting to a small circle of officials knowledge of the National Security Agency’s program of eavesdropping without warrants, a degree of secrecy that the report concluded hurt the effectiveness of the counterterrorism surveillance effort.
He's a criminal on practically every level, professionally corrupt, guilty of war crimes, actively subversive of the United States Constitution, and a traitor.

So why should I worry about obeying any laws? Do I get a free pass?

Update: h/t to AmbroseBurnside

Update 2:
I am very glad to see this front and center in the Google headlines this morning.
Cheney 'ordered CIA to hide plan'
BBC News - ‎1 hour ago‎
Former US Vice-President Dick Cheney gave direct orders to the CIA to conceal an intelligence programme from Congress, US media reports say.
Cheney Ordered CIA to Hide Operation From Congress, NYT Reports Bloomberg
Cheney kept CIA program from Congress, source says CNN

--the BB

Now in a bud vase - updated

This little darling of a rose was opening up delicately in the yard this morning. It is now in a bud vase next to the laptop. It is such a lovely color and stunning configuration. Wow.

The Creator does amazing work.

It's just a Photo Booth picture but I had to share it with y'all.

This beauty clearly deserves better. I got out the camera.

"Tournament of Roses" rosebud

--the BB

So, who called Mrs. Ashcroft?

Now we know. It was George W. Bush his own damned self.

I like the comment by Slothrop:
“Mrs. Ashcroft, we know your husband is near death, but before he dies, we need him to help us cover our asses…”

Vile bastards, every one of them: Bush, Card, Gonzo. That they are allowed to walk the streets with impunity stinks to the heavens.

--the BB

This one is still around too

Again, I turn to Marcy for our update.
A month ago, I argued that the CIA was deploying a waterboarding "shiny object" strategy in its attempt to hide the details of the torture program that they otherwise eliminated by destroying the torture tapes--particularly, that torture started before OLC approved it, and that Abu Zubaydah had cooperated without torture, meaning their entire premise for torture was false.
The gummint submitted a filing yesterday. Marcy sees it as deflective. (Shiny object!)
As a gentle reminder, this litigation is about whether the CIA should be held in contempt because they destroyed the videos showing these activities!! Destruction that a Special Counsel has spent 18 months, thus far, investigating.

But, nonetheless, the CIA insists that there's no bit of evidence that the CIA is trying to hide a crime.

This whole argument is falling apart, and that's even before ACLU picks it apart in their response brief (due in a couple of weeks).

--the BB

The issue has NOT gone away

I realize it has been a long time since I have posted much about warrantless wiretapping (or torture). Neither has had as much press of late though both remain very much on the radar.

Marcy Wheeler continues to do the most amazing work trying to sift through evidence, work through timelines, and connect the dots so the rest of us can understand what has happened and what is, or is not, being done about it.

This won't make sense if I don't cite a larger than usual chunk. If I am violating fair use, Marcy, tell me and I will whack this down to a link. My intent is to keep people alert and informed.
There were several things going on at once (see this post for more detail). There was some debate about the AUMF--but that got signed on September 18. There were initial discussions about the PATRIOT Act--including how FISA should be altered in it. There was a briefing of HPSCI on October 1 that--Nancy Pelosi understood--was part of expanded NSA authorities. And--according to Barton Gellman--the warrantless wiretap program was approved on October 4, 2001, and it began on October 6, 2001.

In other words, the program was formally approved on the 16th day after the AUMF.

But at least according to Nancy Pelosi, Congress was briefed on ongoing underlying activities as early as October 1.

Meaning, the Bush Administration was already using those expanded authorities--but they were doing so by exploiting the 15-day exemption written into FISA!

So Yoo's analysis is not just dead wrong because FISA clearly contemplates its application even during wartime. But it's even worse because during this particular wartime situation, the Administration had already used that 15-day exemption period as it debated what and how to implement its warrantless wiretap program.

The Administration showed, by its actions, that it knew the AUMF didn't trump FISA. But then it proceeded to base its entire wiretap program on that very assumption.
[Emphasis mine]

You can see Marcy's documentation at emptywheel.

AUMF = Authorization to Use Military Force against Terrorists (September 18, 2001)
FISA = Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (October 25, 1978)
HPSCI = House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence
USA PATRIOT Act: " The contrived acronym stands for Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act of 2001" (October 26, 2001)

Why is all this a big deal? Because it is patent that the Bush administration violated the Constitution with impunity.

Amendment IV
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
--the BB

The seduction of war

The breeze sweeping the F. Valley that day caused the pennons of D. to flap and flutter at full extension, the golden roses dancing on the violet cloth as if to taunt M. who viewed the scene from below with narrowed eyes. Other cities had sworn not to oppose him and he had passed them by. D. was in open defiance and too close to [the capital] to permit its populace to attack him from the rear. At his order the trebuchets began to hurl boulders against D’s walls. Their impact spread through the massive stone and shook the earth below the feet of the trapped populace, rising up their bodies and touching their hearts. Dread, perhaps the greatest weapon of war, was doing its work.
I do not look forward to writing the battle scenes. My preference is scenes describing physical settings or portraying emotional undertones.

Right now there is no escaping the need to narrate the course of this civil war. I try to do so with rapid vignettes, shifting from scene to scene and keeping the reader apprised of the progress of the several armies without dwelling on the horrors. Yet I must share enough of the horrors for the reader to experience the story.

I note, slightly startled but not surprised, that writing the war scenes quickens my own pulse. I feel energized in writing. This - even at such an intellectualized and fictionalized level so far removed from actual warfare - speaks of the seductive power of war, its lies, its combination of heroism and brutality, the way it cloaks destruction with alleged nobility.

As a writer I try to imagine the motives and emotions of the characters. What drives them to do what they do? Why do they respond to events in this manner or that?

I get caught up.

And my president reminds the people of his father's natal continent and the rest of us around the world of the bitter price paid for war.
Now let me be clear: Africa is not the crude caricature of a continent at war. But for far too many Africans, conflict is a part of life, as constant as the sun. There are wars over land and wars over resources. And it is still far too easy for those without conscience to manipulate whole communities into fighting among faiths and tribes.

These conflicts are a millstone around Africa's neck. We all have many identities - of tribe and ethnicity; of religion and nationality. But defining oneself in opposition to someone who belongs to a different tribe, or who worships a different prophet, has no place in the 21st Century. Africa's diversity should be a source of strength, not a cause for division.

And on how many levels may we apply this: "diversity should be a source of strength, not a cause for division"?
--the BB

Friday, July 10, 2009


At some point this evening this little blog logged its 60,000th page view since October 2007.

Welcome friends, new and old.

I am grateful for the people I meet online and the rich and fascinating friendships that emerge.

Peace be upon you all.

--Paul, the Byzigenous Buddhapalian

The civil war is in full swing - updated

V. Vasnetsov
A Warrior on the Crossroads, 1882
Russian Museum, St Petersburg

Warriors of S., on seeing their fallen lord, redoubled their efforts, hoping to retrieve his body and avenge him. Noble and common blood ran together in dark pools troubled by the continued wind and splashed about by hoof, by foot, and by falling warriors. The earth patiently drank the blood, the tears, the sweat, the piss, and the shattered hopes poured forth in such obscene profusion while crows waited on the edge of the battlefield, hungry and eager.
You cannot expect me to recount the tale of a war that is not from an anti-war perspective now, can you?

The passage above follows the paragraph in which a really decent guy "buys the farm." He is the one who actually has the best claim to the throne and does not want it, for the sake of his children and grandchildren. Why do the nice guys wind up eating the shit sandwiches?

Sweet dreams, my sprightly springboks!

Platoon Music Video: Barber's Adagio

--the BB

Thursday, July 09, 2009

More pieces fall into place

K. reminded the princess that they had come to make things better for all of F., not to surrender to sorrow this early.
Old sorceresses have no shortage of wisdom we are not ready to hear.

On a happier note, I had left a loose thread in the second volume when the baroness of L. ran off to marry the man she loves. Was the barony supposed to rule itself?

It turns out she did have a younger brother. I had forgotten to mention that he, along with her grandfather and great aunt, attended her wedding. At that time she relinquished title and the family, friends, star singers, and their suzerain recognized baby brother as the new baron.

He is now fighting on the side of the princess. His sister, the star singer and sorceress, does what she can from afar.

The persons of power are about to add more magic to the struggles for the throne. But will any of them go so far as to conjure a pestiferous dreng?

Total suckburger of a day with myself and all my coworkers feeling like wrung out dishrags by the end of the work day.

Tomorrow is Friday.

Sweet dreams, my virtuous vipers!

--the BB

Hey, snakes need love too.

Heart thread - 07/09/2009 - updated

From David@Montreal:
dear and beloved Giants of Faith & Practice

the very top of this list has to be the delegates meeting for General Convention 2009 in Anaheim. you notice i put the delegates before the episcopate, and that it because i truly believe that with several radiant exceptions, the episcopacy is the biggest hurdle the Holy Spirit is facing in this wondrous call to transformation of the American Church. Many of these delegates are known & precious to our hearts and i truly believe the role of the laity and clergy is a prophetic one in these meetings.

i would also ask your prayers for ++Katherine, our dear brothers Gene and Mark, Elizabeth, Katie, Susan & Louise, Mark, Terry, Margaret, +Jon, +Marc, +Tom among others, all in Anaheim.

the Integrity Eucharist is tomorrow night at &:30 p,m, Pacific time. I will be sitting in prayer and practice in solidarity with these radiant brothers and sisters and I would encourage you to do so if you are able. Gene will be celebrating, saint Barabara Harris will be preaching, an both Elizabeth, Margaret & Susan will be distributing the Blessed Sacrament. Through the blessed Holy Spirit you can be THERE through your prayer and practice so I'd urge you to give it some thought.

on other fronts:

continued prayers for my cousin Frank please who is still awaiting the outcome of his gene therapy for lukemia, and who has been hospitalized again as treatments have failed to work for c-difficile. please remember Frank's dear wife Carol too.

for Dorian whose MS. appears to have spread to the left side: numbness in both thighs now, and in the last days it's spreading to her left hand

for Crystal and Patrick, each severely wounded young adults at presently real risk (Montreal & Tenessee respectively)

for Roseanne once again fighting for her life

for beloved Ms. C suffering serious knee damage and hobbling around on crutches in New Jersey

for Sister Ellie, suffering ecclesiastical bullying and the possible loss of her livelihood

for Robert my neighbor who is facing the very real pospect of losing his spleen in a desperate attempt to hold off another attack of lukemia

for Jane R's intensive editorial challenge

for Chistopher in limbo over the outcome of his job

for Barbi's on-going discernment process and for the awesome project she has taken on

for all those staring down the incredible challenges of finding gainful employment in these tough times and the prospect of losing their homes. no news on that front here yet, but i persist

please pray for the safety of all those travelling to and from Anaheim, including our cherished June

I had a joyous & tearful telephone conversation from Patrick the other night. A former Roman Catholic priest, who left both his church and the USA for Canada out of serious pain and disillusionment with the Curia and the Bush mis-administration. Easter Even, Patrick was received into the Anglican Church; will be leaving Toronto for Halifax and will be poceeding to ordination in our Church. I have been working for several months with Patrick by telephone, and with audible tears he told me. for the first time in his life he feels truly alive as a son of God... 'This is home,' he told me. 'I've arrived- at last!' So there's the good news also m'dears

with love and profound gratitude for each of you
For my friend Lolly who had surgery on July 6.
UPDATE: "Lolly went in for surgery on Monday and it went well.Tests should be back soon. Thanks for your prayers.--Fitz"

For Janet and Jeannetta.

For Jennifer, mending from broken heart and looking for an apartment.

For Mark and Nikolai and Radoslav, because international friends are precious.

For dear Lisa who is "still feeling lonely" after the passing of her beloved Ian.

For the repose of the soul of Samantha and for her parents, Bill and Justine.

For our Orthodox brothers at JN1034 during pan-orthodox deliberations and especially for JN1034-Athens.

For Fran on retreat and trying to leave her crackberry off.

For Kirstin adjusting to a body no longer on interferon but not sure how to be without it yet.

For Margaret serving at GC and Joel back home.

For the People of Iran.

For those suffering the horror of war or civil strife.

For those who work for justice, freedom, and peace.

--the BB

Nous n'avons pas oublié le peuple iranien

We have not forgotten the Iranian People.

It is almost 26 minutes long but this is a stunning background piece by Al-Jazeera on the Iranian protests. You will get more of a feel for what happened here than on American television.

More importantly, citizens of the United States need to get a feel for Tehran and for Iranian youth.

h/t to Juan Cole at Informed Comment

Thousands of protesters streamed down avenues of the capital Thursday, chanting "death to the dictator" and defying security forces who fired tear gas and charged with batons, witnesses said. The first opposition foray into the streets in 11 days aimed to revive mass demonstrations that were crushed in Iran's postelection turmoil.

--AP via Nico Pitney at HuffPo

Photos from (via Nico)

...that government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the earth.
--the BB

Wednesday, July 08, 2009


07/08/09 :
DoD Identifies Army Casualty
Spc. Christopher M. Talbert, 24, of Galesburg, Ill., died July 7 in Shindad, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when an improvised explosive device detonated near his vehicle. He was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 130th Infantry Regiment...

07/08/09 :
DoD Identifies Army Casualty
Pfc. Nicolas H. J. Gideon, 20, of Murrieta, Calif., died July 6 at Forward Operating Base Salerno, Afghanistan, of injuries suffered earlier that day in Paktya, Afghanistan, when insurgents attacked his unit using small arms...

07/08/09 :
DoD Identifies Army Casualty
Capt. Mark A. Garner, 30, of North Carolina, died July 6 in Argandab District, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when an improvised explosive device detonated near his vehicle. He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 4th Infantry Regiment...

07/08/09 :
DoD Identifies Army Casualties (4 of 4)
Spc. Issac L. Johnson, 24, of Columbus, Ga. He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 108th Reconnaissance, Surveillance and Target Acquisition Squadron, Rome, Ga... died July 6 in Konduz, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when an IED...

07/08/09 :
DoD Identifies Army Casualties (3 of 4)
Spc. Chester W. Hosford, 35, of Hastings, Minn. He was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 106th Cavalry Regiment, Dixon, Ill... died July 6 in Konduz, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when an improvised explosive device detonated near their vehicle.

07/08/09 :
DoD Identifies Army Casualties (2 of 4)
Sgt. Brock H. Chavers, 25, of Bulloch, Ga. He was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 121st Infantry Regiment, Americus, Ga... died July 6 in Konduz, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when an improvised explosive device detonated near their vehicle.

07/08/09 :
DoD Identifies Army Casualties (1 of 4)
2nd Lt. Derwin I. Williams, 41, of Glenwood, Ill. He was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 106th Cavalry Regiment, Dixon, Ill... died July 6 in Konduz, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when an improvised explosive device detonated near their vehicle.

07/07/09 :
DoD Identifies Navy Casualty
Petty Officer Second Class Tony Michael Randolph, 22, of Henryetta, Okla. died July 6 in an improvised explosive device attack on his convoy in northern Afghanistan.

07/06/09 :
DoD Identifies Army Casualties (2 of 2)
Pfc. Aaron E. Fairbairn, 20, of Aberdeen, Wash...died July 4 at Combat Outpost Zerok, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when insurgents attacked the outpost using small arms and indirect fires.

07/06/09 :
DoD Identifies Army Casualties (1 of 2)
Pfc. Justin A. Casillas, 19, of Dunnigan, Calif...died July 4 at Combat Outpost Zerok, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when insurgents attacked the outpost using small arms and indirect fires.

07/06/09 :
DoD Identifies Marine Casualty
Lance Cpl. Charles S. Sharp, 20, of Adairsville, Ga., died July 2 while supporting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan. He was assigned to 2nd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force...

So many since I reported four days ago.

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


Had you come ... as utter strangers, I would fight you to the death.
I am in Chapter 48 now, trying my best with spreadsheets and maps to keep track of which army is where, who is alive and who already dead. There are five major contingents of warriors moving across the countryside. It is dizzying. Like many forms of storytelling, this intercuts among different locations and characters, and sometimes back and forth in time, to keep threads interrelated and maintain suspense and interest. Too much of that and everyone is lost, including the author. I try to go by instinct and hope I gauge it right.

There is a bit of guerrilla warfare going on as the flanks are harried by attacks from the forest. And at that point I fell asleep at the computer. Time for bed. Need my energy by next Wednesday night: opera!

I hired the kid across the street to weed my yard. He finished it tonight. Hooray! Now the HOA won't come writing nasty letters again.

No hornworms visible on the tomatoes this evening. This is good. The first cosmos blossom has burst open. It is a deep reddish purple, quite intense.

Lovely cadmium red light washes on the scattered clouds tonight, just before they turned irrevocably gray.

Garbage, mostly yard trash, and recycling at the curb for tomorrow.

Dear God, move in grace and power among the deputies and bishops at GC09.

Sweet dreams, my cheerful chimney swifts!

--the BB

So very many requests

There are many prayer requests for our attention. I do not have time to list them all. You may check with OCICBW here and here, and FranIAm here.

I would like to highlight dear Roseann:
I am now having problems with blood clots. I couldn't do dialysis today because of blood clots in my catheter. At least they sent me home from the hospital as there is nothing they can do and I'm more comfortable at home.
Thanks everyone. Your prayers and kind words mean so much to me. I just don't know what is going to happen but I guess none of us ever do. It is so hard to want to live when I am this sick. I broke down and cried yesterday. I want my mommy, I want to feel good, I want to walk in the grocery store instead of ride the go-cart thing. I want to whine and cry and pitch a fit because that always makes things better, right?

Thanks for listening to me and praying for me. When I get well I'll have a big bar-b-q and you're all invited.

Also, Fran shares news of Samantha's death at age 12:
**UPDATE** It is with great sadness that I read about Samantha's passing upon awaking today. May this angel rest in peace. I can't imagine what Bill and Justine are going through at this time. Please, please pray for them.** While I am married to my old college boyfriend, I did have other college boyfriends. Well one other one really.. Anyway, he and I have connected on FB and shared many a laugh. This is not a time for a laugh as his 12 year old daughter Samantha has a terrible illness and it is not getting better. Please pray for Samantha, Bill and Justine. From what I just read, Samantha may have only hours to live.
Prayers for one and all.

--the BB

Death among the shrubbery

We've had rain lately, including a serious shower, so the yard is hardly drying out but I gave everything some water last night anyway. One yellow rose bush has some nice flowers on it but mostly we are not in a photo op mode right now. Lots of green and growing. There is one tomato shifting from green toward red, the first! I also picked lots of lovely green critters off my tomatoes before they ate everything.

When I was eighteen I was a pacifist. I registered with my local draft board as a conscientious objector. I was as ready as any 18-year-old to die for my country but not to kill for it. Forty-five years later I am more in touch with my anger and the violent potential within me. While I appreciate many Buddhist teachings, I nonetheless have a mixed record on killing sentient beings. The tomato horn worms had their lives cut short last night.

They are beautiful. I could have gotten some amazing photos, I suppose. But I don't think I can take a photo one minute and slaughter the next.

Now, aren't you glad I try to put my violence into fiction most of the time? Aren't you sorry you read this post?

--the BB

Monday, July 06, 2009

... for the renewal and mission of your Church

Almighty and everliving God, source of all wisdom and understanding, be present with those who take counsel in Anaheim for the renewal and mission of your Church. Teach us in all things to seek first your honor and glory. Guide us to perceive what is right, and grant us both the courage to pursue it and the grace to accomplish it; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

O God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, our only Savior the Prince of Peace: Give us grace seriously to lay to heart the great dangers we are in by our unhappy divisions; take away all hatred and prejudice, and whatever else may hinder us from godly union and concord; that, as there is but one Body and one Spirit, one hope of our calling, one Lord, one Faith, one Baptism, one God and Father of us all, so we may be all of one heart and of one soul, united in one holy bond of truth and peace, of faith and charity, and may with one mind and one mouth glorify thee; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

As in politics, so in the Church, I may be a harsh critic of sad realities yet I wish ever to strive for the vision, the dream, the possibility of what should and what might be. I certainly wish for GC09 to be open to an outpouring of the Holy Spirit that God may work wondrous surprises, may show us options beyond our either/or thinking, and may further the reign of God through our fumbling efforts.

--the BB

Her aura was the color of death

As the princess rides toward the fray:
Two who rode with her stood out. Of all [those from her ancestral land] present, K. was not a warmaiden, though she was present with all the ferocity of ten warriors. She made no effort to conceal who and what she was. Whenever Č. glimpsed her indirectly a white glow seemed to surround the ancient [sorceress]. K’s aura was the color of death and the princess was glad that K. was on her side.

The second unusual fighter present was there by the deliberate concession of [Duke V.]. H. of U., the eldest hostage, having sworn allegiance to Č., was allowed to fight for her. The others remained in T. amid great protestation. H. wore a tunic of green and red, divided vertically with a wavy line. Over all were two golden otters. Like the princess, he was cadenced by golden flaunches to show he was the third child of [Baron] B., the late Marshall of F.. The tunic had been made by his mother’s ladies in waiting and sent to him with her blessing a few years ago. Č. thought he looked a few inches taller wearing the arms of his family and riding into freedom after four long years.
Not much by way of news or commentary from me today. Work was very busy and I have been very tired of late. Took a one-and-a-half-hour nap shortly after getting home this evening and about to crash now.

For the heraldically literate among you, the heraldry of this parallel world varies from ours. Brisures of cadency are different (though men and women are not distinguished). This is why flaunches are for the third-born, unlike the mullet for males in English heraldry or the snowflake for females in Canadian heraldry.

Being the third-born is, coincidentally, an outward visible sign of a rapport between the princess and H., a rapport born of shared sorrows. I did not plan this as their birth order was established in the genealogies long before this scene was written. I love the surprises that emerge.

Sweet dreams, my herbivorous urchins.

--the BB

Sunday, July 05, 2009

"we mutually pledge to each other our lives"

We, therefore, the Representatives of the United States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States, that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. --And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.
People in Iran are pledging to each other their Lives, their Fortunes and their sacred Honor. They may not be publishing a declaration but they are, literally, puttin their lives on the line to insist on a legitimate, elected government.

For part of an "axis of evil" they sure do a good job of mimicking our founders, don't they?

Pray for the people of Iran and for improved relations between Iran and the United States.

Pray for peace with justice in the Middle East.

This concludes our Independence Day weekend mini-series.

--the BB


Lance Corporal Seth Sharp, 20, US Marine, no unit or details reported yet.

Two US Army soldies, names and details not yet released.

A congregational celebration

San Gabriel Episcopal Church, a parochial mission of St Michael and All Angels, celebrated one year at its current location. One needs, perhaps, to spend a couple of years wandering about in the wilderness, meeting in homes, or renting spaces for a few hours on Sunday and thus having to set up and take down every week, fully to appreciate being "settled." We are now located in Corrales, NM, and we can leave things in place and meet throughout the week. Bonus!

It does not feel as though it has already been a year.

Clearing things away after the Eucharist

If you're not having fun at church, something's wrong.
Mother Rhonda is enjoying the fan hidden beneath the altar.
I thought she might fly away. She was flapping her arms,
hence the blurriness of her hands in the photo.

Mother Sandra is our founding vicar, having
shepherded this rowdy crew for the first years

Father Daniel preached today.
This is the Daniel who was ordained last December
on the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

Dale and his daughter Keira.
She is the first person baptized at San Gabriel.
Seeing this I cannot help seeing a variant on the
Madonna and Child motif. Nice to have a father-daughter icon!
[I tend to sit in the back and play with Keira,
at least on the Sundays when she is feeling playful.]

While seated at the picnic table I shot this view of the Sandia Mountains in the background. Of course, no matter where you are in Albuquerque and environs, the Sandias are in the background.

You may see the full photo album here.

--the BB

Once I learn to use my camera....

... and play with shutter speed, etc., I might get some really cool shots.

For now I am still a "point and shoot" guy. I took a few pics last night that are technically not much but they still say something about my love of what I see.

The emergent moon

Hau, Hanhepiwi!

Fireworks in my part of town.
This is the street on the other side of my back fence.

--the BB