Saturday, October 03, 2009

Friends, we have not hit bottom yet

Paul Craig Roberts, Former Assistant Treasury Secretary under Ronald Reagan:
The unemployment rate, as reported, is a fiction and has been since the Clinton administration. The unemployment rate does not include jobless Americans who have been unemployed for more than a year and have given up on finding work. The reported 10% unemployment rate is understated by the millions of Americans who are suffering long-term unemployment and are no longer counted as unemployed. As each month passes, unemployed Americans drop off the unemployment role due to nothing except the passing of time.

The inflation rate, especially "core inflation," is another fiction. "Core inflation" does not include food and energy, two of Americans' biggest budget items. The Consumer Price Index (CPI) assumes, ever since the Boskin Commission during the Clinton administration, that if prices of items go up consumers substitute cheaper items. This is certainly the case, but this way of measuring inflation means that the CPI is no longer comparable to past years, because the basket of goods in the index is variable...


If measured according to the methodology used when I was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury, the unemployment rate today in the US is above 20%. Moreover, there is no obvious way of reducing it. There are no factories, with work forces temporarily laid off by high interest rates, waiting for a lower interest rate policy to call their workforces back into production...
[Emphasis mine]

h/t to bobswern at Daily Kos

Prayer for commerce and industry (BCP):
Almighty God, whose Son Jesus Christ in his earthly life shared our toil and hallowed our labor: Be present with your people where they work; make those who carry on the industries and commerce of this land responsive to your will; and give to us all a pride in what we do, and a just return for our labor; 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.
Prayer for the unemployed et aliis:
God of compassion, look with pity on those who seek work and cannot find it, those who lose their jobs, those who are underpaid and miserable in the work they have, and those who have given up. Move the hearts in this and every land to marshal resources, to plan and innovate, to dream and dare that work may be found and those now in want may have the means to meet their necessities. Deliver us from the plans of the wicked who would thwart honest work and just recompense and guide us in the ways of justice and the common good. Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Collect for Labor Day (BCP):
Almighty God, you have so linked our lives one with another that all we do affects, for good or ill, all other lives: So guide us in the work we do, that we may do it not for self alone, but for the common good; and, as we seek a proper return for our own labor, make us mindful of the rightful aspirations of other workers, and arouse our concern for those who are out of work; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
--the BB

Как у вас дела?

ինչպէս էք?

Τι κανεις;

Gearing up. It's language learning/refresher time. Maybe, with some new Turkish, brushed up Armenian, Greek, and Russian I can communicate in something other than English next February.

Unlike Spanish, written Turkish gives me no clue on where the accent goes. I am adjusting to the i without a dot over it (ı) having a schwa sound. I popped the first CD in and listened to the first conversation with introductions. This is going to take a while. I cannot use latinate roots to help me along.

Possibly the only time I ever heard Turkish was when Roxie and Jack were chatting and did not want their children to understand. I was in the same class as their son Charlie. He and his sister Susan did not speak much Armenian but understood it when their parents spoke, so "adult" conversations were in the language the kids did not know. But if I heard any Turkish fifty years ago, I do not really remember. The sounds and rhythms of Armenian are familiar to me, whether I understand the words or not.

My conversational Greek is limited to about five phrases. Not really a lot more in Armenian.

I know I could travel in Turkey using English alone, but what's the fun (or challenge) in that? And where is the effort to open up to another culture? That, for me, is one of the most important reasons for traveling abroad.

The Blessing of Our Relatives tomorrow! Fr. Anskar, my Swedish priest teddy bear, will join us to bless the animals on the feast of St. Francis. My friend Jan rides her horse to church and we have a hitching post. I imagine she and some of her friends will have the equine contingent there for this event. Rhonda+ will preside over the Blessing, though we will share the individual blessings, and I will preside at the Eucharist. I anticipate a bit of chaos. Par for the course. In communities that trust God and one another we can all ride with untidiness.

May Francis and Clare intercede for us all. Blessings on San Francisco, the see city of my canonical diocese, and ongoing prayers for my bishop, +Marc.

--the BB

The outing

I'm a lumberjack and I'm OK!

Said the Libby to the Miller: "The aspens are turning."

A beautiful day!

Kathy and I drove up to Hyde Park outside of Santa Fe and adjacent to the Santa Fe National Forest. It was an incredibly beautiful day. We saw the glories of autumn in forests where aspens turn golden, like a shower of coins (feeling nervous, Danae?).

She heard the full tale of how my ex and I met, the wild incandescent fling I had after he and I split, all the poems of love and grieving I wrote a few years back (well almost all). Themes of life and hope and loss and grief and ongoing transformation and the eternal invitation into the future.

As we were descending from the mountains we saw some plumes of smoke. By the time we got back down to Santa Fe you could see great clouds of smoke. Pray for those endangered by wildfires.

We had lunch at Tomasita's next to the train station in Santa Fe. Kathy remembers when Tomasita's was a converted private house on Hickox, many years ago. I promised to lift a margarita for Doxy and I did so. The food was delicious.

Lots of revisiting memories for both of us, and allowing time and grace to carry us forward.

And that, my friends, was my sabbath adventure. (I know - I traveled more than 1,000 paces from home; do I look observant? Mr. Green Chile Cheeseburger?)

The conclusion of one poem:
and I breathed the morning air
grateful for the time
our hearts made love
as we slept.

--the BB

Friday, October 02, 2009


10/02/09 :
DoD Identifies Army Casualty
Staff Sgt. Jack M. Martin III, 26, of Bethany, Okla...assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 1st Special Forces Group, Fort Lewis, Wash... died Sept. 29 in Jolo Island, the Philippines, from the detonation of an improvised-explosive device.

10/02/09 :
DoD Identifies Army Casualty
Sgt. 1st Class Christopher D. Shaw, 37, of Markham, Ill...assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 1st Special Forces Group, Fort Lewis, Wash... died Sept. 29 in Jolo Island, the Philippines, from the detonation of an improvised-explosive device.

10/02/09 :
DoD Identifies Army Casualty
Staff Sgt. Alex French IV, 31, of Milledgeville, Ga., died Sept. 30 in Kwhost, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when enemy forces attacked his unit using an improvised-explosive device. He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 121st Infantry Regiment, Lawrenceville, Ga.

09/30/09 :
DoD Identifies Marine Casualty
Lance Cpl. Jordan L. Chrobot, 24, of Frederick, Md., died Sept. 26 while supporting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan. He was assigned to 2nd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Lejeune, N.C.

Thursday, October 01, 2009


DoD identifies Air Force casualty
Senior Airman Matthew R. Courtois, 22, of Lucas, Texas, died Sep 20 as a result of a non-hostile incident on Abdullah Al Mubarak Airbase, Kuwait. He was assigned to the 366th Security Forces Squadron, Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho.

DoD Identifies Army Casualty
Spc. Ross E. Vogel, III, 27, of Red Lion, Pa., died Sept. 29 in Kut, Iraq, of injuries suffered from a non-combat related incident. He was assigned to the 67th Signal Battalion, 35th Signal Brigade, Fort Gordon, Ga.

Wandering into the past

As I said last night, I have threatened poetry. I have tales in my life that friend Kathy has never heard. Whether over margaritas or out in nature, stories will be told and poems will be read.

I could not find the binder with all the poems of that era but the poems are all on the computer so I just spent about 40 minutes printing them all.

Most cannot be shared here. They are private, they include acrostics that spell out names, and some are still too intimate.

Sixty may well be the new forty {skeptical look}, but sixty is still sixty and I have already gone past that number. I have come to the season in life where one begins to review more, hoping to integrate the shards of one's years, to distill some wisdom from the journey, to make sense of one's life.

I have crossed cyberpaths on Facebook with people I have not seen or chatted with in ten, twenty, or forty-five years. This can be challenging. I was so busy keeping multiple masks on and trying to keep various facets of my life from colliding together that I have almost no memories of high school. Some, but compared to my classmates, virtually none. And not many more from college. A classmate reminded me a while ago of an episode in my freshman year that I do recall but had not thought of more than once in the intervening decades.

This Saturday I am not merely taking an opportunity but creating one to revisit the tumultuous transition after the love of my life and I took separate paths. [May I say at this point how grateful I am for my therapist and Paxil and people who loved and upheld us both?] Life was a true roller coaster - typical in those circumstances but we all must take our own ride.

So, in the medium of poetry and the presence of a dear friend, I shall revisit that ride.

Poetry, by the way, was how I managed to feel my feelings and survive. I was churning out something like two poems a week, a large percentage of them acrostics. I love the challenge of acrostics. You may read some of my poems (and hymns) from that period here.

Each night, immediately after the Lord's Prayer, I pray for the one I hold dearest (still) and for the one I briefly risked loving - the two who are the center of all those poems.

Don't you imagine the discussion and insights that emerge from this nostalgic visit come Saturday will prove fascinating? The content will not show up here but my musings thereafter may.

May we all find healing and integration of memories as we journey toward wholeness.

These fragments have I shored against my ruin
--T. S. Eliot, The Waste Land

--the BB

Failing to do the impossible

The only reason we’re still playing political patty cake about what to do in Afghanistan—or anywhere else in that part of the world—is to determine who gets the blame for "losing." A popular adage of war says it’s the losers who determine when they’re over. So, the logic goes, as long as we don’t quit, we can’t lose. Hence the "long war."

It’s all about seeing who gets the blame for failing to do the impossible.
--Commander Jeff Huber, U.S. Navy (Retired)
I commend his entire post to you.

Any delusions of "winning" in Afghanistan are just that.

Crackhead neocon hawks have no credibility in a rational world. I hope Obama is not led down their path of futility and more death for no viable purpose.

--the BB

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

No gnus

Nothing new to report today. Too tired to rant, most of the prayers are out there already, nothing clever or profound to contribute. Mama said there'd be days like this....

Got a little writing done today. Watched some TV tonight. Cooked me up some filet mignon and topped it with a sauce of seriously reduced crimini mushrooms in demi-glace. Added a glass of 2006 Zinfandel. Now to bed.

Planning a day trip Saturday to see the aspens turned all golden up in Hyde Park. There is a promise of margaritas at Tomasita's in Santa Fe. I have threatened to read poetry.

Bonne nuit, mes enfants!

--the BB

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Damn you, Max Baucus and your ilk!

For tonight, at least, and probably until we get decent health care for everyone in this nation, Max Baucus' sins are retained. So are Kent Conrad's.

It is appalling to think that this asshole can bloviate like this:
"No one has been able to show me how we can count up to 60 votes with a public option," Baucus said. "I want a bill that can become law."

One of the first things he could do to make 60 votes possible is to give it his wholehearted support, since 2 out of 3 Americans WANT a strong public option. All he has done - allegedly in the name of (pardon me while I puke) bipartisanship but more likely as a good lapdog for his health industry donors - is enable the naysayers.

The man is so full of shit he could walk into the Capitol and back up all the toilets merely by his presence.

Oh yes, I am furious with DINOs like Baucus and Conrad and the others who enabled the Rethugnicans today. Their opposition to the watered down compromise of a public option - contrasted with single payer, which is what we should be going for and progressives HAVE ALREADY COMPROMISED ON - which means they support letting the health insurance industry in its ongoing rape of the American people and murder by spreadsheet, shows their true colors. They have no respect for the American people, their needs, their will, or their intelligence.

Fortunately for them, God is their judge. If it were up to me they'd be burning in hell tonight.


Barring that I hope their sorry asses get kicked to the curb in the next primary.

--the BB

On mange bien ici

This evening a call came in at work just one minute before the call queue closed. I got it. The call lasted just over one hour. Sure, I billed the overtime, but ugh!

On my way to the parking lot I flipped open my cell phone and called Bill to see how many nibbles he got on the idea of seeing Oedipus next month as a group. It seems we now have a party of six for some Greek tragedy.

Then he asked if I would like to join him and his dad for supper. I accepted. Only fools turn down Bill's cooking.

Lovely to see them both.

We started by enjoying a Snow's Lake Vineyard 2007 Syrah from Rosenblum. Just lovely. Thank you, Steve!

First Course: a tomato and rice soup from the second volume of Mastering the Art of French Cooking. Homegrown tomatoes. Lovely.

Second Course: Shrimp in Julia Child's Nantua sauce served over gemelli with broccoli florets. Bill described all the steps in making this sauce. OMG - in a commercial restaurant this should have cost an arm and a leg. And the portions were generous. The sauce was a form of liquid velvet. You knew it was rich and you didn't care; it was heaven.

Third Course: Salad of green leaf lettuce with scallions and small wedges of homegrown tomato with oil and vinegar.

Fourth Course: Apple slices flamed in bourbon and ladled over vanilla ice cream.

I had planned to come home and cook tonight. So glad my plans changed. Thank you, Bill!

I got my camera out of the car just for this rose in Bill's front garden.

It will be a long time before I know how to do night photography of the moon, but here is the moon and that little white speck below the cottonwood branch on the right is Jupiter, I believe.

That's my night. That's my story. And I'm sticking to it.

--the BB

Heart thread - 09/29/2009

I cannot honestly say I have any developed theology of prayer. And my practice is really quite sloppy. But I do believe it is an amazing privilege to hold the world in our heart with love and to stand before the Infinite Mystery. Doing that can be called by many names and done in endless fashions but I believe it matters.

I came home to this news from David@Montreal:
I was out to 'burbia last Friday to spend some truly wonderful time with Mam
it was a radiant day- the first of that 'thinner light' of early autumn
Mam was well- as enthusiastic and positive as ever,; we spent a bit of time in her garden- tidying up etc.
over one of several cups of tea we shared heart prayers for a number of folks, and that;s when she told me - that morning, knowing that I would be coming out, she had called our beloved cousin Frank, and his wide Carol in Brittish Columbia and through God's unfailing grace, and the love and generosity of your hearts Franks had beaten this latest round of c-difficile.
yes, there's still a form of pneumonia I've never heard of, but the experts say it's 'absolutely exceptional' the way his new immune system is building itself considering it was only a 9 of 10 genetic match.

Frank specifically asked Mam to pass on his deepest thanks to what he calls 'David's Giants', and Carol told Mam he still gets teary and shakes his head with incredulity when they speak of the great web of prayer and love which is upholding them through this.
at present Frank can manage to walk almost three city blocks!

still not out of the woods, Mam and I literally sang the doxology at this news- but then with a Welsh Mam praise is often sung!

as you continue to remember Frank and Carol in your prayers and practice, I'd particularly ask prayers for a beloved sister who has more than nine hours driving ahead of her in the next 24 hours.

to each and every one of you, my heartfelt thanks for your faithful generosity my beloved Giants of Prayer and Practice, you are such an awesome embodiment of the truth and blessing of living as the Living Body of Christ.

with love, prayers and abiding gratitude
From DioBytes, eNews from the Diocese of California:
Bishop Marc doing well after surgery
Sheila Andrus reports that Bishop Marc did very well with his surgery yesterday afternoon. The surgeon, she said, was extremely positive about how the surgery went and the outcome. It is not yet known when Bishop Marc will be released from the hospital, but that will happen in the next few days.

The Andrus family are all very grateful for the prayers and good wishes that they have received and they look forward to this time of healing.
Prayers for Grandpère and Grandmère:
Well Now...
...the good news is that he was NOT hurt. The bad news is that Grandpère ruined the front fender and bumper on my one-year old car. If you recall, the reason my car is fairly new is that GP totaled my old car driving in New Orleans. Here we are in New Orleans, and he's done it again, only this time with much less damage. He is a very good driver in most instances, but he is not a city-smart driver. Have you guessed who plays the fool in this drama? Moi! Maybe GP learned a lesson. I hope so. If not, next time it won't be in my car.
For those who mourn, especially grandchildren.

For Jack, aka Doorman-Priest:
This Friday evening I will be meeting with the Examinations Committee of the Lutheran Church to "discuss the way forward". I would value your prayers.
For young Oliver and his family, including Grandfather Malcolm+.

For Counterlight and Michael, one recovering from flu and the other coming down with it.

For victims of tsunami:
A tsunamBoldi ripped across islands of the South Pacific, wiping out several villages and killing at least 34 people in Samoa and American Samoa, with the number of dead expected to escalate as more bodies are found.
For victims of typhoon:
By Nguyen Van Vinh DANANG, Vietnam, Sept 30 (Reuters) - The biggest floods in decades threatened Vietnam's central provinces on Wednesday following a powerful typhoon that swept into the country after wreaking havoc in the Philippines.
For peace and justice in Honduras.

For peace and justice in Canaan, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Iraq.

For the establishment and acknowledgment in the United States of public health for all as a human right.

For widespread awareness of urgency and a will to cooperate in the matter of climate change:
WASHINGTON, Sept 29 (Reuters) - Global warming will cut into world grain yields and result in less food being available in the developing world in 2050, a think tank said on Tuesday, calling for aggressive action to boost food output.
For normalized relations between Cuba and the United States.
Jane R had the scoop on Facebook (AP/Yahoo):
A senior American diplomat has held unannounced, high-level talks in Havana with the Cuban government, three State Department officials told The Associated Press on Tuesday, raising hopes for a thaw in long-icy relations.
For Diane who gots a cold.

Ongoing prayers for Myron, for Roseanne, for Joel, for Jeannetta, for Sandra, for Janet, for my other Diane, for Kathy, for John, for Karen, and all those you, dear readers, bring in your hearts to this post.

Holy Raphael, Healer of Heaven, by God's mercy succor the ill and comfort the afflicted.

--the BB

Monday, September 28, 2009


09/28/09 :
DoD Identifies Army Casaulty
Spc. Kevin J. Graham, 27, of Benton, Ky., died Sept. 26 in Kandahar, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when insurgents attacked his vehicle with an improvised explosive device. He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 17th Infantry Regiment, 5th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, Fort Lewis, Wash.

09/26/09 :
DoD Identifies Army Casualties (3 of 3)
Sgt. Titus R. Reynolds, 23, of Columbus, Ohio...assigned to the 4th Battalion, 23rd Infantry Regiment, 5th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, Fort Lewis, Wash...died Sept. 24 in Omar Zai, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when enemy forces attacked their vehicle with an improvised explosive device.

09/26/09 :
DoD Identifies Army Casualties (2 of 3)
Sgt. Edward B. Smith, 30, of Homestead, Fla...assigned to the 4th Battalion, 23rd Infantry Regiment, 5th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, Fort Lewis, Wash...died Sept. 24 in Omar Zai, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when enemy forces attacked their vehicle with an improvised explosive device.

09/26/09 :
DoD Identifies Army Casualties (1 of 3)
Spc. Joseph V. White, 21, of Bellevue, Wash... assigned to the 4th Battalion, 23rd Infantry Regiment, 5th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, Fort Lewis, Wash...died Sept. 24 in Omar Zai, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when enemy forces attacked their vehicle with an improvised explosive device.

09/26/09 :
DoD Identifies Marine Casualty
Lance Cpl. John J. Malone, 24, of Yonkers, N.Y., died Sept. 24 while supporting combat operations in Farah province, Afghanistan. He was assigned to 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Fore, based out of Marine Corps Base Hawaii, Kaneohe Bay.

Have a tissue handy

h/t to Hoffmania and the St. Petersburg (FL) Times

--the BB

Call them out!

I helped pay to air this in Montana.

--the BB

Heart thread - 09/28/2009 - updated

Today we pray for Bishop Marc Andrus of California who has surgery for prostate cancer this afternoon.

Sheila Andrus reports that Bishop Marc did very well with his surgery this afternoon for prostate cancer. The surgeon was extremely positive about the surgery and outcome. It is not yet known when Bishop Marc will be released from the hospital, but that will happen in the next few days. The Andrus family are all very grateful for the prayers and good wishes and they look forward to this time of healing.
--the Episcopal Diocese of California (at Facebook)

And for Mimi's niece Donna, who will have surgery today for breast cancer.
Before an Operation

Almighty God our heavenly Father, graciously comfort your servants Donna and Marc in their suffering, and bless the means made use of for their cure. Fill their hearts with confidence that, though at times they may be afraid, they yet may put their trust in you; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Today is the birthday of the Rev JoAnne Bennett.

Also the birthday of my friend Bruce.

Watch over your children, O Lord, as their days increase; bless and guide them wherever they may be. Strengthen them, when they stand; comfort them when discouraged or sorrowful; raise him up if they fall; and in their heart may your peace which passes understanding abide all the days of their life; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
I give thanks that my sister-in-law Janet is doing well in her treatments and pray for her continued healing and health.

I offer prayer for Janet's sister-in-law Jeannetta who is dying.
Almighty God, look on this your servant, lying in great weakness, and comfort her with the promise of life everlasting, given in the resurrection of your Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
For the people of the Philippines:
The authorities in the Philippines admitted today to being overwhelmed by weekend floods which inundated the capital, Manila, killing unknown hundreds of people and making tens of thousands homeless. [A new storm threatens.]
For the people of Honduras:
Honduras suspends civil liberties amid calls for 'rebellion'
For those who labor to respect the earth:
Climate envoys met today in Bangkok with a new sense of urgency, saying negotiators are racing against a December deadline to devise a global deal.
--the BB

Sunday, September 27, 2009

She is also Lalut's granddaughter; don't underestimate her

"I am here before you to state, with neither threat nor treachery, that I lay claim to the throne of my father and his father before him and my grandfather before him.”

The princess declares her purpose to one of the Regents. She is not going to lay siege to the capital, as one claimant has already attempted. She sends no assassins into the castle by stealth. The Regents will have to decide whether to open the gates to her or not. For now, all remains in flux.

As usual, no writing over the weekend, but I did make progress last week (finally).

Tonight a new piece of the puzzle manifested itself. I will need to write it into the narrative when I revise. A prominent minor character just acquired more depth.

I need to compose a lament (think David lamenting Jonathan) for this tale. Or at least snippets of it. It is one of the fictive sources of the story.

The Chronicles involve stories within a story. As an amateur historian I have to at least postulate my sources, and sometimes write portions of them.

Here is my first Turkish vocabulary word to master:

Tomorrow I will work on "no."

Sweet dreams, my snoozing serpents!

--the BB