Saturday, August 29, 2009

Lest we forget - updated

Mimi writes today:
I remember the more than 1800 people who died and all those who loved them. I remember the 275,000 who lost their homes. I remember those who survived, but suffered through horrendous conditions in the days after Katrina. I remember those who have not returned to their home towns, and who want to, but can't find affordable housing. I remember those in Louisiana and Mississippi still struggling to recover and rebuild their homes and their lives.

Katrina - August 29, 2005
Please see her post with the story, photo, and poem of Our Lady of the Driveway.

I remember leaving New Orleans four days ahead of schedule at roughly this time last year, beginning my vacation early to avoid Hurricane Gustav and wondering if we would have a terrible replay.

I remember driving to work each morning last summer past shells of buildings, gutted structures, empty lots, boarded up homes and business places.

I remember walking past empty businesses cheek-by-jowl with open downtown offices as I went to and fro between the office and the car park.

I remember co-workers telling me how one of the buildings we worked in had six feet of water on the ground floor and it took a couple of years to restore and other co-workers recounting matter-of-factly how their family fled and what they still do to survive.

I remember the first day I arrived and drove from the airport to downtown, approaching the Superdome and the Central Business District while visualizing photos I had seen of the same area under water.

I remember thinking on many mornings, as I drove past the Superdome, that after Katrina the spot where I waited at the light was way under water.

I remember wondering what it must be like for those whose lives were yanked from one reality to a drastically different other reality.

And as I ponder how humans have built cities in uninhabitable spaces from the beginning or history, how those who simply say "don't built below sea level" can be so unempathetic toward others. As a species we would not cover the globe if we only built where it was safe and convenient. And last time I checked I did not choose where I was born.

That this engineering disaster occurred brings shame to our nation. That the response was so FUBAR should haunt us all.

Господи, помилуй
Señor, ten piedad
Seigneur, aies pitié
Κυριε, ελεησον
Senhor, tem piedade
Lord, have mercy

The flood photos are from online sources. The others are my own from summer 2008, three years after Katrina.

Bill in Portland Maine has collected a serious list of quotations from the Katrina period that remind us how shamefully the Bush regime and its enablers behaved and spoke at the time.

--the BB

Democracy in Reserve, Louisiana

I commend to y'all's attention Grandmère Mimi's report of Senator Landrieu's town hall meeting on health care. Grandmère and Grandpère braved the nasty - and I do mean nasty - crowd. She recounts her experience at length and it is worth the read.

Pray for the United States and our often miserable congresscritters to pass an effective, if imperfect, major reform of health care WITH a strong public option. It IS a moral issue.

--the BB

Friday, August 28, 2009

Vrana of Orgl reminded herself to breathe.

There was still the sound of the Fiona flowing past the city but otherwise a profound silence such as she had only known on the stillest nights. She could see vague movement but hear nothing. Perhaps creation itself needed to breathe again, to release its grasp, to return to whatever passed for normal.

Ah, a sprinkling of voices drifted up to her as people tried once more to speak. A world of white began to take on faint shadow, to limn itself in growing color, to become visible.

Never in her fifty-eight years had she seen anything like what she had just witnessed.

One lone woman had become—-for a few moments—-a star, a god standing on the earth.
We can breathe again. The death spell failed though we are not yet sure at what cost.

The battle resumes. Both sides sustain losses but the world did not end.

Shabbat shalom, my naughty night herons!

--the BB

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Not a good day for sorcerers

Time stretched out as B. raised his stone blade, sensing each muscle in his arm and thinking for a moment that he was weightless. Knife, hand, arm all seemed to move of their own accord. A slight movement of air made the sweat trickling everywhere on his body cool and he thought he saw a sparrow hopping at the corner of his eye. The blade hovered and began its descent, returning from the heavens and the daystar on an endless journey downward, earthward, darkward. As the sharpened flint approached the twitching animal, B. felt himself falling beyond all life, all hope, unreachable by gods or mortals.
Every "person of power" who plays a role in this tale was touched by the events of the twenty-second day of the Herb Month. All were alarmed and by noon one is dead and three are exhausted. And the author? His bad knee hurts a lot right now. At work he takes breaks and stretches; writing at home he just sits and lets it hurt until he can't ignore it. Naughty writer!

I just finished composing one of the most dramatic chapters of the book. It is possibly the most evil moment in the tale and one of the most hope-filled. There is nothing subtle in the battle between light and darkness in this scene. The old woman commanded to help the princess recites a spell evocative of St Patrick's breastplate or lorica. It also clearly casts a circle, invoking the four elements and the four directions. The elements are easy to discern, the directions require a knowledge of the geography of my fictional world.

All those years studying Church history, liturgics, and various spiritual paths do make it easy to draw on sources of imagery and themes without cracking a book.

In this fantasy parallel world both pre-Christian and Christian imagery is saturated with light mysticism. Their version of the Prologue of the Fourth Gospel would begin thus:
Annan dechrad n Solus jeroh,
L an Solus lei Zdvas jeroh,
L Zdvas jeroh n Solus.

"In the beginning was the Light...."
Not a difficult stretch, nor alien to the Christian tradition of our own world.

Chapter 64 of the book (First Draft): Light 1, darkness 0.

And now to bed, earlier than last night, thank you Jesus.

Sweet dreams, my sprightly sparks.

--the BB

Heart thread - 08/27/2009

Tonight I offer thanksgiving for new life and prayers for protection of the newly arrived and blessings on the entire family. My niece's sister-in-law has become a grandmother of twins. (What is with my family and twins?)

Niece Paula on facebook:
2 new twin boy nephews just a few hrs old. Wade and Logan. Wade was a little over 6 pds, and Logan was a little over 7 pounds. Parents are our niece and nephew Bridget and Adam (Rick's sister's daughter). Can't wait to see them.


Just got a text message with the info...Wade Adam weighed in at 6# 3 oz and is 18.5 inches long, Logan Dean weighed in at 7# 9 oz and is 20.5 inches long. Logan is experiencing some breathing issues so they are "admitting" him (whatever that means -- since he is already in the hospital). Will find out later I guess.
Grandparents are Connie and Joel.

I also ask your prayers for Irene, an elderly lady who fell this afternoon and has been in the emergency room. No mention of broken bones but the question of hidden head injuries arises, of course, and I just don't know very much. A very dear friend shares her home and gave me this distressing news.

Let us pray that we may be truth and light in our day, no matter what lies and darkness may seem to be all around us.

--the BB

If it all seems too complicated, try this

Why We Need Government-Run Universal Socialized Health Insurance

h/t to tunesmith

--the BB

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

A shapeless sensation of alarm shot through with light

Suddenly I’s lanky frame shadowed the doorway as he leaned against the jamb. N. glanced up and gasped when she saw the stricken look on his face. A very frightened H. stood beside him, clinging to his hand. There was no cart with wood outside.

OK. So the little domestic scene I used between the really dark moments shifted abruptly from reflective bliss to visions of horror. Rather as life suddenly surprises us unpleasantly, yanking us from the ordinary and plunging us into anxiety, sorrow, and combinations of frantic action and frustrated inability to do anything.

The sorcerers' telegraph kicks into action but the spell is almost ready to be cast.

Tonight my prayers are raised for numerous people going through painful times. Some have suddenly, or not so suddenly, become mourners. Some have been stricken with great distress or sudden illness or tragic news. Some are filled with fear or anxiety, some with despair, some are struggling to hope. Some wrestle with chaos, some wrestle with facing the next day.

May grace rain down upon them like oil of healing, anointing them, calming them, strengthening them.

Peace keep your hearts this night, my tender ones.

--the BB

May flights of angels sing you to your rest

Sharon-Gay Smith, a friend through the Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley, the Diocese of California, and Holy Trinity, Richmond, California.


08/26/09 :
DoD Identifies Army Casualties
Cpl. Darby T. Morin, 25, of Victoria, Canada, died Aug. 22 in Logar province, Afghanistan, of injuries sustained during a vehicle rollover. He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 32nd Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team...

08/24/09 :
DoD Identifies Army Casualty
Staff Sgt. Andrew T. Lobosco, 29, of Somerville, N.J., died Aug. 22 in Yakhchal, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when enemy forces attacked his unit. He was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne), Fort Bragg, N.C.

08/24/09 :
DoD Identifies Army Casualty
Sgt. Matthew L. Ingram, 25, of Pearl, Miss., died Aug. 21 in Kunar Province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when an improvised explosive device detonated near his vehicle, and his unit came under small arms fire from enemy forces.

08/24/09 :
DoD Identifies Army Casualties
Pfc. Jonathan C. Yanney, 20, of Litchfield, Minn...died Aug. 18 in Arghandab, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when an improvised explosive device detonated near their unit. The soldiers were assigned to 1st Battalion, 17th Infantry Regiment...

08/24/09 :
DoD Identifies Army Casualties
Spc. Troy O. Tom, 21, of Shiprock, N.M...died Aug. 18 in Arghandab, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when an improvised explosive device detonated near their unit. The soldiers were assigned to 1st Battalion, 17th Infantry Regiment...

It looks like an odometer, I know, BUT IT'S NOT. These are irreplaceable lives, every single one of them.

May they rest in peace and rise in glory. May those who love them find comfort and healing.

Thanks for all the good you did for the people

Edward Kennedy

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The Bush Crime Family... a gift that keeps on giving

Susie Madrak provides the goods at Crooks and Liars:
WASHINGTON — Huge flood-control pumps installed in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina don't protect the city adequately and the Army Corps of Engineers could have saved $430 million in replacement costs by buying proven equipment, a federal investigation finds.
USA Today
Meanwhile, Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., asked the Government Accountability Office on Thursday to investigate the Corps and the contract it entered into with Moving Water Industries Corp.

MWI is owned by J. David Eller and his sons. Eller was once a business partner of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush in a venture called Bush-El that marketed MWI pumps.
Washington Post, March 2007
At the end of Susie's post we read:
This begs a couple of questions: Why was a company under DOJ investigation for such serious charges given a major federal contract for New Orleans reconstruction in the first place? And why is the DOJ suit against MWI still unresolved after so many years?

Very good questions.

--the BB

Heart thread - 08/25/2009 - updated

I have two new prayer requests today.

A friend of a friend has learned she has cancer of the pancreas. I ask your prayers for Tricia.

Almighty God, we entrust all who are dear to us to thy never-failing care and love, for this life and the life to come, knowing that thou art doing for them better things than we can desire or pray for; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Another of Smokey's own:
Last Thursday Steve Uptegrove, a Wallowa-Whitman National Forest employee, was killed during a drug enforcement clean up action when he was hit by a falling snag. Steve had worked for the Forest Service since 1985 1975. It is with deep sorrow that I share this message. Please keep Steve's wife Hope, his family, loved ones, friends, and fellow Forest Service employees in your thoughts and prayers during this time of sorrow. In honor of Steve Uptegrove, Secretary Vilsack has ordered flags at all USDA facilities to be flown at half staff.
--Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell

Most merciful God, whose wisdom is beyond our understanding, deal graciously with those who love Steve in their grief. Surround them with your love, that they may not be overwhelmed by their loss, but have confidence in your goodness, and strength to meet the days to come; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Updated with date correction on Steve's service; he began at the Deschutes National Forest in 1975.
--the BB

Monday, August 24, 2009

I am very pleased to read this

Senator Bingaman (D-NM) had a town hall meeting in Albuquerque today. I was at work but I read about it tonight at Daily Kos.

Here's the kicker:
So, the Senator set the table for our highlight moment. The remaining questions we'd carefully prepared and agreed upon had all been asked by other groups. Several of us whispered, wouldn't it be interesting to get a vote from the 200 participants on the public option, after such a thorough discussion? We wordsmithed the question. Our moderator wasn't sure -- we hadn't approved this as a group. So, we polled the table. It was thumbs up, even from our thoughtful skeptic.

We got our turn. The gentleman who asked the question for us was very clear: "Senator Bingaman, would you be willing to ask for a show of hands in this room of those who support a ROBUST public option, available IMMEDIATELY?"


Easily 90+% of the participants raised their hands! No kidding. He then asked who opposed a public option. Less than 10% of the participants raised their hands.

This was not your average town hall meeting. It had lots of organization. Only those willing to discuss seriously were allowed. They showed up two hours early, were divided into groups that worked on questions, issues, and statements, hammering out something they could agree on. It was very different from the usual, and obviously no heckling loudmouths had a seat at these working tables. But folks of any view were welcome to participate.

What I was looking for, hoping for is this:
But Bingaman said repeatedly that he favored the public option, and left no doubt about this. But he's skeptical that there are 60 votes for this. Fortunately, our group was prepared for this -- we asked if he'd support going the reconciliation route if there was no other way to get past "bipartisan" stonewalling or if there weren't 60 votes for true reform. "Yes", Bingaman said. It was an unhappy yes, because he had reservations about resorting to this. But -- a clear and unmistakable YES on using reconciliation if necessary.
When someone called me last evening on behalf of the DSCC (Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee) gearing up to get some money out of me to help elect and keep Democrats in the Senate - most unfortunate timing after my screed here, oh, and this one - I cut him short and said that until Senator Bingaman distances himself from the shenanigans of the Gang of Six I was not going to give a penny and that I was very distressed and disappointed in what I was seeing. I concluded that it would be good for the call to end right there and hung up, not giving him a chance to respond. I was in no mood for donation pitches.

That's for some context.

Here is a section of his position on health care reform from his official website:
Much attention has been given to whether the bill we send to the president should have a “public option.” I strongly support a public option. The most critical elements of such a plan are that it would be established and overseen by the federal government, and made available to all Americans. The primary purpose of the public plan is to ensure that there is at least one option for Americans that is affordable and would provide meaningful care. By leveraging competition, a public plan would also safeguard against unscrupulous insurances practices. You can learn how the public option fits into health care reform elsewhere on my website.

I am pleased to read that Jeff Bingaman is favoring a public option. I want him to do more than just favor it; I want him to fight for it. I want him to help put pressure where it can make a difference in the Senate so there WILL be 60 votes.

So, Senator Bingaman, are you listening? I would love to vote for you, even donate, but you need to earn that support and I just told you how.

Read it all in flitedocnm's post here.

FYI: The bolded portions were included in an e-mail to Senator Bingaman that I sent off just now, explaining where I am coming from and what I hope for.

--the BB

How far does one go to save one's own skin?

Or to further one's own purposes?

Do we need to, as Cheney said, "work on the dark side"?

A person of power, with a very sharp spear point slightly piercing the skin between his shoulder blades, is ordered to go there.
By now sweat sheeted off B’s head, running down his face and dripping off his nose. He closed his eyes, trying to recall what his uncle had once said after drinking too much. It was actually his mother’s uncle and the old sorcerer terrified little B. with his bloodshot eyes and wild expression. The old man laced his talk with warnings and dark threats. Such things were legend and not to be tried, dangerous to the one who worked them. If you went too far....
The emotional power of scenes like this engages me but I recoil at them. Intellectually I am trying to make them awful enough to tie the reader up in knots, but what am I trying to accomplish? Certainly part of it is forcing us to confront our own dark side, the evil of which we are capable and which we actually perpetrate. If we are not horrified then we have lost something: our compassion, our decency, our humanity.

My descriptions of evil are meant to be cautionary, to remind us what me must avoid, shun, oppose, refuse to do.

The dark and terrible portions of my stories are necessary because the world is not all sunshine. Not the world we know nor the world I imagine.

It is rather like facing what we as a nation have done, what has been done in our names. Glenn Greenwald wants all Americans to read the IG Torture Report that was released today. You may read excerpts at his post (click the link on his name).

My fictional world is shot through with grace. There are horrors and wickedness and suffering but one also finds compassion, honor, reconciliation, healing, and beauty. Not unlike the world we know.

At Doxy's wedding Bishop Curry told us all we are called to be witnesses. Witnesses to love in a world that needs that witness. I believe we are also witnesses of evil and must bear witness to that also. But the final word, always and ever, is Love, and is Yes.

Even after this breather, I don't think I'm ready to finish the scene I am writing. Not tonight.

Sweet dreams, my raucous raccoons!

--the BB

The Senate Finance Committee has no shame, no scruples, and no soul

To the Senate Finance health care bill.

It's a disaster waiting to happen. It screws over the American people and enriches the insurance companies.

From slinkerwink:
The Senate Finance Bill Forces You To Pay 35% of The Bill!
This is precisely why we need the public option as a cost containment in the final bill product, and why we MUST work hard to influence the final conference report! According to the Los Angeles Times, the Senate Finance Bill is a "bonanza" for private insurers because without a public option to lower premium costs and provide competition, what insurance companies get are 47 million new captive customers with big fat government subsidies (i.e. bailouts) that are forced to buy junk insurance plans.


And you know what's egregiously bad about this? Private insurance companies currently pay about 80% of insurance policy claims, and in the Senate Finance Bill, the requirement for them will be lowered to 65%! That means you'd be required to pick up 35% of your medical bills. See? You get covered, but you're forced to pay 35% of your bills.

You have been warned.

Keep pressuring your senators.

--the BB

There is now some hope

From the NYT:
Justice Dept. Report Advises Pursuing C.I.A. Abuse Cases
WASHINGTON — The Justice Department’s ethics office has recommended reversing the Bush administration and reopening nearly a dozen prisoner-abuse cases, potentially exposing Central Intelligence Agency employees and contractors to prosecution for brutal treatment of terrorism suspects, according to a person officially briefed on the matter.

The recommendation by the Office of Professional Responsibility, presented to Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. in recent weeks, comes as the Justice Department is about to disclose on Monday voluminous details on prisoner abuse that were gathered in 2004 by the C.I.A.’s inspector general but have never been released.
I am pleased with this indication that laws may be upheld. It is a first step to have this recommendation. Now to actually follow the recommendation, investigate, and prosecute where appropriate.

--the BB

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Of course, I believe silliness is one of the gifts of the Spirit

Poster courtesy of Project for the Old American Century

Dare to dream otherwise!

--the BB

Let us pray for the people of Greece

Greek Forest Fire Rages near Athens, Damages Homes
Sat Aug 22, 2009 12:52pm EDT
ATHENS (Reuters) - A large wildfire raged out of control on the outskirts of Athens on Saturday, burning several homes and thousands of acres of forest.
--borrowed from JN1034

Here is a video from Greece:

John Aravosis talks of this on Americablog with links.
--the BB

A very wet thunderstorm has arrived; it's been gathering all afternoon

View through a wet screen
(Makes me think of Monet)

World through wet glass

My back yard seen through a wet window

--the BB

Dispelling myths

Have you read T. R. Ried's article in The Washington Post, "5 Myths About Health Care Around the World"? You should.

All the other developed countries have settled on one model for health-care delivery and finance; we've blended them all into a costly, confusing bureaucratic mess.

Which, in turn, punctures the most persistent myth of all: that America has "the finest health care" in the world. We don't. In terms of results, almost all advanced countries have better national health statistics than the United States does. In terms of finance, we force 700,000 Americans into bankruptcy each year because of medical bills. In France, the number of medical bankruptcies is zero. Britain: zero. Japan: zero. Germany: zero.

Given our remarkable medical assets -- the best-educated doctors and nurses, the most advanced hospitals, world-class research -- the United States could be, and should be, the best in the world. To get there, though, we have to be willing to learn some lessons about health-care administration from the other industrialized democracies.
Note: Yes, Ried has a book coming out tomorrow, but that doesn't invalidate his points.
--the BB

I'm calling horseshit!

There seem to be multiple versions of the "Gang of Six," but they all sound like bad news to me.

Ryan Grim reports at HuffPo:
A bipartisan group of centrist and conservative senators sent a letter to the Democratic and Republican leaders on Friday urging delay in consideration of health care reform.

The letter, obtained by the Huffington Post, was drafted by Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) and is also signed by Democratic Sens. Mary Landrieu (La.) and Ron Wyden (Ore.). Independent Joe Lieberman (Conn.), who caucuses with Democrats, signed on, as did Maine Republican Sens. Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins -- moderates heavily courted by President Obama.
And to what purpose, senators? You've had August to study costs and benefits. Is your staff lazy or incompetent? I tell you what: pull your spanner out of the spokes and shove it you-know-where.

It is a sad commentary that anyone would call these folks centrists. The perspective of the Village is badly skewed. And Nelson, Landrieu, and Wyden are DINOs, not Democrats.

Let's take a closer look at what these miserable excuses have been crafting, shall we?
Before they left Washington for the August recess, the Finance group, known as the "Gang of Six," had crafted the outlines of a package that trimmed more than $100 billion from the House price tag and jettisoned a government-run insurance option, which has become a rallying cry for many liberals but is opposed by Republicans. The senators also were looking to provide insurance subsidies to a smaller, less affluent group than the House bill would.

After meeting via teleconference for more than an hour late Thursday, the Senate group is now looking to go further. They support a requirement that all individuals carry health insurance, but they are considering creating a bare-bones insurance policy that would be easier for people to afford without government help. They are also talking about further reducing the number of people eligible for subsidies, said an aide familiar with the talks.
As Digby so aptly comments:
Awesome, awesome plan. If we could just get rid of all subsidies and consumer protections, it would be perfect. All that would be left is the mandate.

Buy insurance stock.

What I, as a New Mexican, find distressing is that Jeff Bingaman is participating in this. Matthew Reichbach reports at The New Mexico Independent:
U.S. Senator Jeff Bingaman will participate in a teleconference to discuss health care reform legislation with his fellow members of the Senate Finance Committee’s “Gang of Six” according to “sources familiar with the agenda,” Roll Call reports.
Senator Bingaman, if you are part of this approach then you are tossing us, the American people, aside and I say, "Shame on you!" Distance yourself from this now or you will never get my vote in the future.

Riechbach reports in a follow-up:
The Senate Finance Committee’s “Gang of Six” held a teleconference last night that Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, D-Mont., said featured “a productive conversation.”


Bingaman, a Democrat, also sits on the Senate Health, Education Labor and Pensions Committee (commonly known as the “HELP committee”) which passed its own version of health care legislation earlier this year.

The other members of the “Gang of Six” besides Bingaman and Baucus are ranking member Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, Kent Conrad, D-N.D.,and Mike Enzi, R-Wy., and Olympia Snowe, R-Maine.
Senator Jeff Bingaman [OpenSecrets]
Insurance: $160,875
Health Professionals: $547,616
Pharmaceuticals: $144,498
Hospitals/Nursing Homes: $100,986
Health Services/HMOs: $61,799

TOTAL: $1,015,774
Granted, that's only a third as much as Max Baucus got from the same sectors.
[Source: where you can see all the senators and their contributions from these sectors. Makes for interesting reading.]

Robert Reich has some pertinent observations:
I really don't get it. We have a Democratic president in the White House. Democrats control sixty votes in the Senate, enough to overcome a filibuster. It is possible to pass health care legislation through the Senate with 51 votes (that's what George W. Bush did with his tax cut plan). Democrats control the House. The Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, is a tough lady. She has said there will be no health care reform bill without a public option.

So why does the fate of health care rest in Grassley's hands?

It's not even as if the gang represents America. The three Dems on the gang are from Montana, New Mexico, and North Dakota -- states that together account for just over 1 percent of Americans. The three Republicans are from Maine, Wyoming, and Iowa, which together account for 1.6 percent of the American population.

So, I repeat: Why has it come down to these six? Who anointed them? Apparently, the White House. At least that's what I'm repeatedly being told by sources both on the Hill and in the Administration. "The Finance Committee is where the action is. They'll tee-up the final bill," says someone who should know.

Mr. President, it is time you stopped playing so nice - and I do not buy that you are playing three-dimensional chess, you're just wussing - and kicked some senatorial ass. Get on it, dammit!

--the BB


08/22/09 :
DoD Identifies Army Casualty
Spc. Justin R. Pellerin, 21, of Boscawen, N.H., died Aug. 20 in Wardak Province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when an improvised explosive device detonated near his vehicle. He was assigned to 2nd Battalion, 87th Infantry Regiment...

08/21/09 :
DoD Identifies Army Casualty
Pfc. Brian M. Wolverton, 21, of Oak Park, Calif., died Aug. 20 in Kunar province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when insurgents attacked his unit with indirect fire. He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 32nd Infantry Regiment...

08/21/09 :
DoD Identifies Army Casualty
Army 1st Sgt. Jose S.N. Crisostomo, 59, of Inarajan, Guam, died Aug. 18 in Kabul, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when an improvised explosive device detonated near his vehicle. He was assigned to International Security Assistance Force Kabul, Kabul, Afghanistan

08/20/09 :
DoD Identifies Army Casualties (2 of 2)
Pfc. Morris L. Walker, 23, of Chapel Hill, N.C...died Aug. 18 in Paktika Province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when an improvised explosive device detonated near their vehicle. They were assigned to the 1st Battalion...

08/20/09 :
DoD Identifies Army Casualties (1 of 2)
Staff Sgt. Clayton P. Bowen, 29, of San Antonio, Texas...died Aug. 18 in Paktika Province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when an improvised explosive device detonated near their vehicle. They were assigned to the 1st Battalion...

08/20/09 :
DoD Identifies Army Casualty
Spc. Paul E. Dumont, Jr., 23, of Williamsburg, Va., died Aug. 19 at Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan, of injuries sustained from a non-combat related incident. He was assigned to the 149th Transportation Company, 10th Transportation Battalion, Fort Eustis,


DoD Identifies Army Casualty
Pfc. William Z. VanOsdol, 23, of Pinson, Ala., died Aug. 19 at Ad Diwaniyah, Iraq, of wounds suffered when enemy rocket fire struck his quarters. He was assigned to the 172nd Support Battalion, Schweinfurt, Germany.

DoD Identifies Army Casualty
Spc. Matthew D. Hastings, 23, of Claremore, Okla., died Aug. 17 in Baghdad, Iraq, of injuries sustained from a non-combat related incident. He was assigned to the 582nd Medical Logistics Company, 1st Medical Brigade, 13th Sustainment Command, Fort Hood, Texas.

Today's back yard tour

Sun Spray roses

Singing in the Rain rosebud

Cooking Sage

Texas Sundrops

Blue Mist in the breeze

Iceberg rose

Most of my very few blossoms on the very lush green trumpet vine are hidden amid the leaves where one cannot enjoy them.

But this cluster went "over the top."


Thompson Seedless grapes

One of the golf-ball-sized tomatoes I have been enjoying.
You can see that it grew amid vines that the hornworms
had been chewing on. This one is now in the kitchen.

Yellow pear tomatoes


A rosebud. I see it and think "speranza."

The Flame Seedless grapes had some critter chomp on all their upper leaves, leaving the grapes in full sunlight. So I have a vine of raisins. Not what I had hoped.

This petunia seems to be in a three-dimensional photo.

Cherry tomatoes

Piñata rose
This is the sole blossom right now. This bush almost died back altogether, its leaves badly sunburned this summer. There is new growth and I have not despaired.

And that concludes today's tour of the back yard. All close-ups as the late summer yard is not inspiring in larger vistas. But lots of beauty in spots.

For which I thank Godde, Ate Wi, Ina Maka, and all my relations (for many insects and other critters as well as the plant nations and the waters make this possible).

--the BB