Saturday, January 30, 2010

Zooming on

Some time in the past few days this little blog passed the 80,000 page view mark (since October 2007). Granted, a huge number of hits come from people looking for royals on Google images, thereby finding archival posts here of prince blogging. Still, folks have dropped by from 165 countries and I say, "Welcome" to all.

Thanks to the regulars and commenters who keep this enjoyable for me.

--the BB

Friday, January 29, 2010

Watch us weasel

bmaz reports at emptywheel:
Mike Isikoff and Dan Klaidman put up a post about an hour ago letting the first blood for the Obama Administration’s intentional tanking of the OPR (Office of Professional Responsibility) Report. In light of Obama’s focused determination to sweep the acts of the Bush Administration, no matter how malevolent, under the rug and “move forward” the report is not unexpected. However, digesting the first leak in what would appear to be a staged rollout is painful:

…an upcoming Justice Department report from its ethics-watchdog unit, the Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR), clears the Bush administration lawyers who authored the “torture” memos of professional-misconduct allegations.

While the probe is sharply critical of the legal reasoning used to justify waterboarding and other “enhanced” interrogation techniques, NEWSWEEK has learned that a senior Justice official who did the final review of the report softened an earlier OPR finding. Previously, the report concluded that two key authors—Jay Bybee, now a federal appellate court judge, and John Yoo, now a law professor—violated their professional obligations as lawyers when they crafted a crucial 2002 memo approving the use of harsh tactics, say two Justice sources who asked for anonymity discussing an internal matter. But the reviewer, career veteran David Margolis, downgraded that assessment to say they showed “poor judgment,” say the sources. (Under department rules, poor judgment does not constitute professional misconduct.) The shift is significant: the original finding would have triggered a referral to state bar associations for potential disciplinary action—which, in Bybee’s case, could have led to an impeachment inquiry.


This is not about mercy, reconciliation, or - heaven forfend - truth. It is about impunity. And where impunity prevails the law is irrelevant.

One of my fiercest criticisms of the Obama administration is its refusal to enforce the law where war crimes BY THE U.S. GOVERNMENT are concerned.

Yoo, Bybee, Addington, Cheney, Rice, Bush and several others should not be walking free.

--the BB

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Heart thread - 01/28/2010

Facebook status:
Michael D. is experiencing some difficulties and could use prayers.
[This is not Padre Mickey but another Michael D.]

--the BB

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Right wing heads explode (oh, if they only would!)

CIA Man Retracts Claim on Waterboarding

That's the headline of an article by Jeff Stein at Foreign Policy.
Well, it's official now: John Kiriakou, the former CIA operative who affirmed claims that waterboarding quickly unloosed the tongues of hard-core terrorists, says he didn't know what he was talking about.


"I wasn't there when the interrogation took place; instead, I relied on what I'd heard and read inside the agency at the time."

In a word, it was hearsay, water-cooler talk.
With that admission, claims that waterboarding works sort of evanesce.

Imagine my surprise.

--the BB

Heart thread with good news - 01/27/2010

My friend Steve in California wrote to report that has accepted a job. Amid the details he wrote this:
You and your prayer group definitely helped me through this tough time, but I believe deeply that God closed one door and opened another. I feel very blessed and I feel that this is going to be a very good year for me. K. and I went to see the surgeon last week and we have a new left hip coming on March 16th. We've been working on the wedding stuff to knock out some small tasks.
[Emphasis mine]
I am hoping to be at the wedding this fall.

We have been praying for our friend Mark (Марко Фризия) from whom we have heard nothing for months. Today he posted on his blog, Amictus Sindone.
I am sorry to have been away for so long. In some ways, the full impact of my loss didn't hit me right away. And then I suddenly felt overwhelmed and I reacted by shutting down. And, I think, this loss had a massive impact on my physical health as well as my mental status. Of course, things are far from perfect now. But I seem to be doing better. A blog posting is impersonal compared with emails to my various friends. I will be catching up with emails sooner or later. But it seemed more important to let everyone know how I was doing in general, sooner rather than later.
Mark, dear friend, we are just delighted to know you are still with us and rest assured you are held in prayer.

--the BB

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


01/26/10 DoD:
Marine Casualty Identified
Lance Cpl. Jeremy M. Kane, 22, of Towson, Md., died Jan. 23 while supporting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan. He was assigned to 4th Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, 4th Marine Division, Marine Forces Reserve, based out of Camp Pendleton, Calif.

01/26/10 DoD:
Marine Casualty Identified (3 of 3)
Lance Cpl. Timothy J. Poole, 22, of Bowling Green, Ky...assigned to 1st Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force, Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii.

01/26/10 DoD:
Marine Casualty Identified (2 of 3)
Lance Cpl. Zachary D. Smith, 19, of Hornell, N.Y...assigned to 1st Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Lejeune, N.C... died Jan. 24 while supporting combat operations in Helmand province

01/26/10 DoD:
Marine Casualty Identified (1 of 3)
Sgt. Daniel M. Angus, 28, of Thonotosassa, Fla..assigned to 1st Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Lejeune, N.C... died Jan. 24 while supporting combat operations in Helmand province

Monday, January 25, 2010

Heart thread - 01/25/2010

My friend Karen sends news and two prayer requests:
My youngest son, Mark Hill (age 39), is in the Colorado National Guard. His battalion is being deployed to Afghanistan where he will be for more than a year. He will be in supply serving with a multi-service task force.

Please keep him in your prayers.

ALSO: You may know that Tad [Karen's husband] is having double knee replacement next week (2/3). The plan is a few days in the hospital, then 2 weeks in rehab facility, then home. Please keep healing prayers for him.
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.

--the BB

Not safe for work

... but oh so perfect!

Balls Beer for Health Care Reform, the Full Version

h/t to Susie Madrak at Crooks and Liars

--the BB

Allez, les Saints!

During the 6.5 months I spent in New Orleans in 2008 I got a taste of the passion of Saints' fans. Utterly dedicated, faithful, and always there. (Not easy to drive through on weekends if I was on my way to work in the office building that looked down on the Superdome.)

For that reason, and because I love our Grandmère Mimi, I rejoice in the season they have had and I hope they win the Superbowl.

The Night We Drink That Dixie Down
Nick Lick and the Hickies new song for the New Orleans Saints Playoffs 2010

Snaffled shamelessly from Wounded Bird

--the BB

Yep, gonna happen - updated

God willing and the Rio Grande don't rise, the trip to Turkey is on. Which is to say: my passport arrived today. I can stop biting my nails (well, figuratively; I've never been a nail biter). Tickets are paid for, so now it's only - only, he says - organizing the packing. Reading up. Yes, probably learning another dozen words of Turkish, though I have abandoned hopes of doing more.

I. Am. So. Relieved.

This being the Feast of the Conversion of St Paul, and therefore my feast day, I will take the passport as my saint's day present. Thanks, y'old curmudgeon. You proved God can use the most intractible material, which gives us all hope. Pray for us.

--the BB

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Heart thread - 01/24/2010

My niece Paula just sent this out news on Jim and Sharon Tuck. The Tuck family are folks I know from way back when.
Been watching the postings on Facebook about Jim Tuck. In case you didn’t know Sharon and him were in an accident north of Bakersfield on Monday night. They hydroplaned and get a guardrail. Jim was posting on FB and said they came thru it with some issues, but not in the hospital. He had 3 broken ribs and bruises. On Thursday Sharon made postings that said he was in ICU at the VA hospital with 4 broken ribs and a punctured lung and going thru blood transfusions due to the loss of blood from internal bleeding. Sharon just made a post that he has requested everyone to pray for him extensively as he is in severe pain on 3 different fronts. They are also doing a cat scan on him tomorrow. Just thought I’d let you know.
O God of heavenly powers, by the might of your command you drive away from our bodies all sickness and all infirmity: Be present in your goodness with your servant Jim, that his weakness may be banished and his strength restored; and that, his health being renewed, he may bless your holy Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

--the BB

A delightful read

I just finished reading Julia Child's My Life in France, written with Alex Prud'homme, her grandnephew.

Her memories, served up here with photos by her husband, Paul, made for delightful reading and I felt sad as I neared the end, knowing that this visit to France with the Childs was coming to an end.

If any of you are looking for some nice escapist reading (and these days, don't we all need some?), I heartily recommend the book.

This has been a good weekend. Not horrendously productive but productive enough and with rest included. I have done two loads of laundry; had lunch with friend Kathy; taken out the hoe and reestablished most of the wells around trees, vines, and roses in the back yard; done the church schtick for several hours today; watched some telly; taken a nap; and dined on four-cheese ravioli with pesto and green salad with blue cheese. A nice bit of chillaxin' woven through all of that. I even had occasion to defend my personal boundaries (though, granted, this entailed going to bed and waking up angry, but it's dealt with now).

I hope y'all had a good weekend.

I shall try to be bright-eyed and bushy-tailed for my saint's day tomorrow.

--the BB