Saturday, December 12, 2009

La Virgen de Tepeyac

[Responses to the following prayers may be given in either Spanish or English.]

As the Virgin Mary, Saint Juan Diego, and Bishop Don Fray Juan de Zumárraga give us examples of humility, let us humbly pray to the Lord, saying: Señor, ten piedad/Lord, have mercy.

When it was still night, Juan Diego was going in search of the things of God and of God's messages. That we may seek God by night and day, let us pray to the Lord.
Señor, ten piedad / Lord, have mercy.

As Juan Diego dared to go where he was being called, his heart was undisturbed and he experienced no fear. That we may answer God's call without fear, let us pray to the Lord.
Señor, ten piedad / Lord, have mercy.

Mary saw Juan as her most abandoned son, yet dignified. That may we see the dignity of the poor, the suffering, and the powerless, let us pray to the Lord.
Señor, ten piedad / Lord, have mercy.

Mary revealed herself as one of the people of the land. That we may embody the Gospel in our own time and place, let us pray to the Lord.
Señor, ten piedad / Lord, have mercy.

Mary promised to hear the laments of all who suffer miseries, misfortune, and sorrows. That our hearts and hands may attend to those in need, and that we may have faith to offer our own needs to God, let us pray to the Lord.
Señor, ten piedad / Lord, have mercy.

The Virgin of Guadalupe showed the children of both the Old and New Worlds a way forward, turning them from violence toward a path of embracing love and compassion. That we may constantly seek repentance and conversion from all the ways of death unto the ways of the Prince of peace, let us pray to the Lord.
Señor, ten piedad / Lord, have mercy.

A new creation flourishes where the message of Guadalupe is embraced. That we may learn to proclaim God's Good News with all the beauty of flower and song and lives that radiate the Light of Christ, let us pray to the Lord.
Señor, ten piedad / Lord, have mercy.

Please offer your own intercessions and thanksgivings.

The Officiant continues:
Collect for Our Lady of Guadalupe
God of power and mercy, you blessed the Americas at Tepeyac with the presence of the Virgin Mary of Guadalupe. May her prayers help all men and women to accept each other as brothers and sisters. Through your justice present in our hearts may your peace reign in the world. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

--the BB

Friday, December 11, 2009

The Affirmation Declaration

This is a response to the un-Christlike Manhattan Declaration.

You may read the full text of the Affirmation Declaration here.

From there you may follow a link to sign if you are so inclined.

--the BB

Hannukah Sameach

This Hanukkah song is in Ladino, the language of Sephardic Jews, a variant of old Castilian with Hebrew, Arabic, and other influences. Easy to sing along (and understand if you speak Spanish).

OK, who's making the latkes and when should I be there? (I suppose latkes are more Ashkenazic but without them it ain't Hanukkah.)

h/t to Jane R who put this song up on FB.

--the BB

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

What you didn't read in your papers yesterday

Today 56 newspapers in 45 countries [and 18 languages] take the unprecedented step of speaking with one voice through a common editorial. We do so because humanity faces a profound emergency.

Unless we combine to take decisive action, climate change will ravage our planet, and with it our prosperity and security. The dangers have been becoming apparent for a generation. Now the facts have started to speak: 11 of the past 14 years have been the warmest on record, the Arctic ice-cap is melting and last year's inflamed oil and food prices provide a foretaste of future havoc. In scientific journals the question is no longer whether humans are to blame, but how little time we have got left to limit the damage. Yet so far the world's response has been feeble and half-hearted.


Few believe that Copenhagen can any longer produce a fully polished treaty; real progress towards one could only begin with the arrival of President Obama in the White House and the reversal of years of US obstructionism. Even now the world finds itself at the mercy of American domestic politics, for the president cannot fully commit to the action required until the US Congress has done so.


--The Guardian and 53 other newspapers.

[Emphasis mine]

The Miami Herald was the only U.S. newspaper to carry it. Our oligarchic media afraid to let the American people read the truth?

We have troglodytes like Inhofe obstructing at every opportunity. What an embarrassment.

I used to believe that having a Senate that could deliberate and help keep the House from being over-hasty might be a good thing. Now I am inclined to wish it were abolished. Or would at least change its rules to operate more like a representative body and less like an old boys' club.


--the BB

Maha on Knowledge vs. Ignorance

Maha has a fascinating post up, a long and pondering one.
At the Guardian, Sue Blackmore writes about the often-noted correlation between high levels of religiosity and societal dysfunction — the “strong positive correlations between nations’ religious belief and levels of murder, teenage pregnancy, drug abuse and other indicators of dysfunction.”

The concluding paragraphs:
In some parts of the country a culture of personal crisis has taken hold in which people imagine themselves besieged by powerful evil forces, when in fact they’re mostly causing their own problems. But because they are unwilling to be honest with themselves about what’s really causing their problems, the more stressed they are the more self-destructive they become.

I remember reading that when the Black Plague started to spread in Europe, people blamed witches and went around killing cats, thinking the cats were associated with witchcraft. The scarcity of cats allowed rodent populations to explode, thereby spreading the plague. A lot of conservative reaction to today’s problems hasn’t evolved much from witch scares. (Energy crisis? Global warming? Lie, deny, and drill baby drill.)

So climate change denial might be seen as symptomatic of a deep social and cultural pathology. But I have no idea what’s to be done about it.

You may read it all here.

--the BB

Heart thread - 12/09/2009

Let us pray for Mother Rhonda's friend who will be having major surgery today.

For Mark (Марко Фризия) who reports:
I was back in hospital, still very weak.
--the BB

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Yoo defends himself... sloppily (updated)

John Yoo (why is this man teaching law at Boalt in Berkeley instead of serving time behind bars?) publishes a self-serving article. In addition to being a war criminal, it appears he is a really crappy lawyer (or a very mendacious one, or both).

Mary addresses his assertion that law is largely irrelevant.

Update: Göran pointed out that the link was not working. I have returned to the original page and cannot get the link to work after several attempts. Here is the full URL:“largely-irrelevant”/

Maybe this will work if you cut and paste. Sorry about that.

--the BB

Lost generation

AARP impresses with this.

h/t to Maha

--the BB

Fresh protests in Iran

h/t Juan Cole

Pray for the People of Iran.

--the BB


The EPA must have been listening to John the Baptist this Advent because it has repented, it has TURNED AROUND!

They are going to be, you know, the Environmental PROTECTION Agency again.


A small emergence from newspeak back towards coherent meaning.

Imagine, PROTECTING the environment.



Responsibility toward the earth and all that lives upon it.

About flipping time.

--the BB

Pink glove dance--Promoting breast cancer awareness

Friend Bruce got this from another friend and I pass it to y'all with love for all women and their health!

Our daughter-in-law, Emily (MacInnes) Somers, created, directed and choreographed this in Portland last week for her Medline glove division as a fundraiser for breast cancer awareness. This was all her idea to help promote their new pink gloves. I don't know how she got so many employees, doctors and patients to participate, but it started to really catch on and they all had a lot of fun doing it.

When the video gets 1 million hits, Medline will be making a huge contribution to the hospital, as well as offering free mammograms for the community. Please check it out. It's an easy and great way to donate to a wonderful cause, and who hasn't been touched by breast cancer?

Ann Somers

According to Snopes the above paragraph is not true. The statement below is true:

Medline donates a portion of its sales of its Generation Pink gloves to the National Breast Cancer Foundation

[Thanks to Ann and Mimi for the Snope update. I loves me some Snopes and slipped up on checking this time.]
Hit it, dance to life!

--the BB

Heart thread - 12/08/2009

Let us give thanks: Mother Sandra is in her own home again.
Dear friends and prayer partners,

A week short of 3 months I joyfully walked into my home, Thursday, Dec 5. I am still using a walker but I am getting up w/o assistance and can walk about 50 feet before I rest.


I will be always grateful to all of you for your many kindnesses. I am convinced that your constant prayers allowed me to remain calm and patient over the weeks so my body could heal. I ask that you please continue your prayers for a healthy closure of the wound.

Blessings to each of you as you explore in faith during this Advent Season.

Vaya con Dios,
Continuing prayers for her healing!

Nineteen years ago today I was ordained a priest by the Rt Rev William E Swing in Grace Cathedral, San Francisco. It was possibly the calmest day of my life with lots that needed to happen but utter peace.

--the BB

Death and more death

Coordinated Bombings in Baghdad Kill at Least 121
New York Times - Steven Lee Myers, Marc Santora - ‎22 minutes ago‎
BAGHDAD - A series of devastating car bombings rocked Baghdad on Tuesday, killing at least 121 people and wounding hundreds more, according to preliminary accounts by witnesses, the police and hospital officials.

Mullen: US 'losing war in Afghanistan'
Jerusalem Post - ‎3 hours ago‎
including some bound for Afghanistan - that "we are not winning, which means we are losing and as we are losing, the message traffic out there to insurgency ...

Logistical nightmares may doom US surge in Afghanistan Baltimore Sun

Pentagon was on defensive in Afghanistan review Los Angeles Times

No Deadline for US Exit From Afghanistan
The New American - Steven J. DuBord - ‎1 hour ago‎
Obama administration officials on December 6 made it perfectly clear that American military forces will remain in Afghanistan for a long time, playing down ...

Senator McCain keeps harping on the need to "win" in Afghanistan. Can "winning" be described, quantified, and achieved? Seems to me as though he's spouting nonsense.

Let us pray for the peoples of the Middle East and Central Asia.

--the BB

Monday, December 07, 2009

Information on the health care bills

This comes courtesy of

Here's where we are:

The House of Representatives passed their bill last month. The Senate is aiming to pass its version before Christmas.

Overall, both pieces of legislation would do four major things:

Create a "Health Insurance Exchange." The bills create a one-stop marketplace where people can choose from various insurance plans, including the public option. The details aren't set yet, but initially the Exchange would likely be open to the self-employed, people without insurance at work, and small businesses.1 The key with the Exchange is that it brings "the bargaining power and scale that's generally accessible only to large employers" to individuals—and with that, lower costs and better options.

Provide insurance to over 30 million more people. The House bill would expand coverage to 36 million people by 2019. The Senate bill extends coverage to 31 million.

Outlaw discrimination based on pre-existing conditions and gender. Insurance companies will have to stop denying coverage to people with "pre-existing conditions." And they won't be allowed to charge women more than men for the same coverage.

Eliminate coverage limits and price-gouging. The bills differ on some details, but in general would place limits on how much people have to pay for health care beyond their premiums. They both cap out-of-pocket costs and ban insurance companies from setting limits on how much health care they'll cover for a person each year.

Of course, the devil is in the details, and much in these bills still needs work.

Here's what still needs to be fixed:

Both bills leave millions uninsured. The House bill leaves 18 million without insurance in 2019; the Senate bill, 24 million. Neither comes close to the vision for universal coverage so many of us fought for for years. We'll all need to fight to continue to expand coverage in the bills this year, and in the years to come.

The Senate public option is weak, and conservatives are pushing to make it weaker. The public option is a core piece of reform that will create real accountability and competition for private insurance—and that's why it's at the center of such a huge fight. While the House bill creates a national public option, the Senate lets states opt out, denying their residents access to it. Plus, conservatives are working to weaken it even more. We're all going to have to fight hard for the strongest version possible.

Many reforms don't start quickly enough. While some pieces of reform go into effect right away, the larger structural changes are not scheduled to go into effect until 2013 (House bill) or 2014 (Senate bill). This includes the Exchange, the public option, and subsidies—the major ways coverage will be expanded.

Required insurance could still be too expensive for many. Both bills require virtually all Americans to have insurance. But the caps on how much we're expected to pay are way too high, and the subsidies are way too low. Many progressives are working to fix this, but it's going to be a significant fight.

Reproductive rights are severely restricted in the House bill. An egregious anti-choice amendment in the bill virtually prohibits anyone purchasing insurance in the Exchange from buying a plan that covers abortion—even if paid for with their own money. We need to make sure the final bill doesn't include this rollback of reproductive rights.

The Senate bill could discriminate against lower income workers. The current Senate legislation retains a version of what's called the "free rider" provision, which essentially penalizes employers for hiring lower income workers. This provision needs to be fixed before the bill is finalized.

I thought this might be helpful for folks who don't have time to read the bills.

--the BB

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Nothing spectacular to report

In my own life, that is.

This weekend included two loads of laundry, one church meeting, one worship service, hiring young people to clean up my back yard, and sharing a plum pudding with friends at a nice potluck supper last night. The yard looks great (for this bare time of year). They yanked up my summer annuals and vegetables, all long since dead. They did some light pruning. They cleaned up lots of leaf detritus. They prepped soil and planted the rest of my tulips and daffodils. This afternoon I watered everything and did some minor pruning of the fruit trees. Lots of down time today, for which I utter "huzzah!"

Now, to bed at a reasonable hour and off to work tomorrow.

--the BB
Add Image

NY State Senator Ruth Hassell-Thompson

h/t to Fran

--the BB

Terrorist attack in Rawalpindi

The Taliban Movement of Pakistan, headquartered in South Waziristan, struck at Rawalpindi again on Friday. Two militants scaled a ladder to drop into a mosque in the city's military residential area and then to shoot worshipers before detonating their belt bombs. They killed 40 and wounded nearly 100. Among the injured were former high-ranking military officers, now retired.

--Juan Cole

Let us pray for all victims of violence and for all who work for justice and peace.

In the tender compassion of our God *
the dawn from on high shall break upon us,
To shine on those who dwell in darkness
and the shadow of death, *
and to guide our feet into the way of peace.

--the BB

This is most unfortunate

WASHINGTON - The United States does not know where al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden is hiding and has not had any good intelligence on his whereabouts in “years,” Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Saturday.

Speaking in an interview to be aired on Sunday on ABC's "This Week" program, Gates also said he could not confirm reports this week that a detainee might have seen bin Laden in Afghanistan earlier this year.

"We don't know for a fact where Osama bin Laden is. If we did, we'd go and get him," Gates said in excerpts released by ABC.

Tota Bora was bungled from the top.

--the BB