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dia de los muertos 30 October 2009

Posted by marisacat in Border Issues, California / Pacific Coast, Mexico, San Francisco, Viva La Revolucion!.

A San Francisco Day of the Dead installation from November 2, 2008. [link to site]


I also found this charming guide to making your own altar to the departed:

Following are some objects to consider when creating a Day of the Dead Altar. Those marked with an asterisk (*) are central to a traditional Mexican Day of the Dead altar.

* Portrait of the Virgin Guadalupe, Patron Saint of Mexico

* Flowers:

o the cempasuchil flower or orange marigold, which is considered the traditional Aztec flower of the Toltec goddess, Xochiquetazl, the guardian of the graves.*
o Trail of Cempasuchil flowers to lead the dead to the home and altar
o baby’s breath
o wild purple orchids
o coxcombs
o white amaryllis

* Traditionally orange has been the color of the dead along with purple, white, gold, black, and pink, as seen in the other important flowers
* Copal in an incense burner. Copal is a tree resin, sweetened by mixing it with sage and grass. If copal is not available, use any incense.*
* Water, in case the spirits are thirsty from their long journey.*
* Photographs of loved ones.*
* Food. Some Mexican food such as tamales, mole, beans, tacos, tortillas, and salsa as well as special U.S. foods preferred by the departed. Fruits and squashes, pumpkins, etc. can be added as well.* You can also use our recipes for the pan de muerto [see below!], which is very traditional.
* Soft drinks such as Coca-Cola, Orange Crush, etc.; you can also purchase Jarritos, a Mexican soda, at your local Latino store.
* Toys and candy for children.
* Money to remind us that even if we need money we must also be generous with it.
* Other religious symbols such as crosses and icons of saints.
* Candles of all sizes.

* The votive candles found in many Mexican stores which have Catholic saints on them may be appropriate and lend an authentic touch.

Other altar traditions from pre-Columbian times are:

* A frog, which generally represents fertility and also represents the twilight of each day.
* A feather of a rooster to remind us of dawn.
* A mirror to remember the duality of life and death.
* Calaveras, or skulls.* In pre-Columbian times the skulls were symbols of death and sacrifice. They are now satirical and comic.

By using four levels for the altar and the objects listed below you can incorporate some important Aztec symbolism:

* 4 seasons
* 4 directions of the earth
* 4 stages of life (corn in its four stages representing birth, childhood, adult life, and death)
* 4 elements (wind-flute, fire-candles, water-shell, and earth-seeds)

… and a recipe for Pan de Muerto, a Mexican sweet bread for the altar. (If only I could boil water, 😆  I’d give it a try…)

…. AND a true, from scratch, fruit and fresh sugar cane punch:


  • 12 quarts water
  • 10 ounces tejocotes (or peaches)
  • 9 ounces prunes
  • 5 ounces pecans
  • 4 pieces sugarcane
  • 6 oranges
  • 10 guavas
  • 3 sticks cinnamon
  • 2 lb. sugar
  • 1 quart sugarcane spirit, brandy or rum (traditional, but may be omitted)


  1. Cut the sugar cane into strips, wash the fruit thoroughly and cut the guavas into pieces. Boil in the water with the sugar cane, tejocotes (apricots or peaches may be substituted), prunes and cinnamon.
  • When cooked, add the sugar. Remove from heat and add the brandy.
  • Again, if I could boil water… I’d literally kill for some Mexican sweet bread and a lovely home-cooked liquor – alcoholic or other – made from sugar cane and fresh guava.

    Los Angeles Day of the Dead celebrations:

    At the Hollywood Forever Cemetary

    Dia de los Muertos – November 1, 2008 – Sixth Street – Austin Texas:

    Pam Penick photograph

    Bears 29 October 2009

    Posted by marisacat in Afghanistan War, DC Politics, Democrats, Inconvenient Voice of the Voter, WAR!.

    San Diego Zoo Bear [photo from this site]

    Obama on Dover fly in.

    Asked by a reporter if his visit to Dover Air Force Base would impact his decision on the war in Afghanistan, POTUS replied:

    “It was a sobering reminder of the extraordinary sacrifices that our young men and women in uniform are engaging in every single day, not only our troops but their families as well.”

    “And obviously,” he said, “the burden that our troops and our families bear in any war time sit is going to bear on how I see these conflicts. And it’s something that I think about each and every day.”

    hmm… Better script writers needed.  However, probably plenty good enough for the general population.

    Tuesday 27 October 2009

    Posted by marisacat in 2010 Mid Terms, 2012 Re Election, Cuba, DC Politics, Inconvenient Voice of the Voter.

    Cojimar, Havana: A woman sits under the shade of an umbrella
    Photograph: Enrique De La Osa/Reuters

    Nothing much today… tho I did read yesterday that the UN is ready to condemn our (Bush’s?  Obama’s?  JFK’s? Too many of “us”?)  blockade, sanctions, whatever the word, against Cuba… We stand quite alone in this.

    Everything for us, no matter who is elevated to top dog, is Fail Safe, 7 Days in May, Dr Strangelove, Manchurian Candidate…. on and on it goes.

    It never ends.

    Monday…. 26 October 2009

    Posted by marisacat in DC Politics, Inconvenient Voice of the Voter, Pakistan, WAR!.

    Rawalpindi, Pakistan: A woman holds a baby and firewood as she walks in a slum Photograph: Nicolas Asfouri/AFP/Getty Images

    This certainly sounds like what is happening… via Counterpunch:

    Now Pakistan


    A conspiratorial view of the world is frequently inaccurate, exposing more the paranoia of the view rather than the reality of the world. The sequential destruction of Muslim nations — Palestine, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, (and Iran is on the list) — may or may not be a conspiracy hatched in Washington D.C., but it is becoming an international reality.  It is no secret that the United States and Europe, with varying degree of mutual cooperation and some make-believe internal discord, superintend the sequential destruction of Muslim nations. This War of Sequential Destruction (WSD), despite Nobel-Laureate Barack Obama’s denials, refuses to go away.

    The WSD is multi-frontal. It crosshairs Al-Qaeda, Taliban, Hezbollah, Hamas, Al-Bashir,  Ahmadinejad, Sunni, Shia, Wahabi, Gaza, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Iran, Afghanistan, and now Pakistan. Many Western policymakers rarely see Muslim nations, including allies, with any inherent respect.  Vice President Dick Cheney described the Muslim world as “brute and nasty.” Obama advisers, though more guarded in their word choices, see Muslim nations no differently. The idea that Islam is inherently violent, openly expressed during the Bush administration, continues to animate foreign policy. The White House holds a new President but Congressional leadership and Washington policymakers are more or less the same. Anti-Islamic policies of warfare and destabilization are intact.  . . . .

    A bit more… and I must say these two graphs are a depressing read, not that it is anything new in the long, drawn out colonial war games:

    After razing Iraq and Afghanistan, the WSD has now turned to ravage an ally, Muslim Pakistan. Pakistan is a nation that the British, in 1947, carved out of India and that India, in 1971, broke into two, liberating Bangladesh from the murderous clutch of the Pakistani military. Over the past sixty-two years, Pakistan’s military and civilian rulers, one after the other, and without exception, have turned to America for military training, weapons, money, and strategic instructions. Eager to send their sons and daughters to Western cities for education and employment, Pakistani politicians, generals, and bureaucrats all look for ways, and create the ways, to oblige Western capitals, particularly Washington D.C. Partly for personal interests and partly out of faulty readings of geopolitical situations, Pakistani rulers, like most rulers in Muslim nations, frequently compromise national sovereignty and public welfare.

    The Pakistani orientation for self-destruction serves American interests. Facing a failing campaign in Afghanistan, Obama advisers decided to expand the war into Waziristan and other parts of Pakistan. The United States desperately solicited the Pakistani military to join the Afghan war. Pakistani rulers, this time a democratically elected government, listened to the American call. They first permitted the CIA to fly drones armed with missiles, which killed a few militants but hundreds of civilians in the tribal areas. The United States later urged Pakistan to invade Swat to kill militants. Pakistan did. Millions of civilians were made homeless. . . . . .

    And this:

    Under coercion, Pakistan has started a civil war that will consume its economy, national security, and tear apart its social fabric. The civil war will spill into many parts of Pakistan. It already has arrived in some parts of Punjab. Militants are unlikely to confine this war to sparsely-populated Waziristan. They are taking the war to the most populated cities, including Peshawar, Rawalpindi, and Lahore. Karachi, which appears to be quiet, is sitting on a tinderbox. Karachi can erupt any minute as its ethnic rivalries are primed for a civil war. It is sheer foolery and a grave analytical mistake to presume that the Pakistani military offensive will provoke no one but only a few misguided militants in the North. . . . . .

    Ooops… 24 October 2009

    Posted by marisacat in 2010 Mid Terms, 2012 Re Election, DC Politics, Democrats, Inconvenient Voice of the Voter.

    Schweine flue “emergency”. National no less. So……. what do we do? Shoot them or move them to higher ground? (Just kidding!)

    You just know the WH considers this bad (baaad! baaad! bad-bad!) PR as they announced it Friday night.

    UPDATE 3-Obama declares swine flu a national emergency

    * Disaster proclamation intended as proactive measure

    * CDC said swine flu widespread in 46 of 50 states (Adds details on new antiviral drug)

    By Patricia Zengerle

    WASHINGTON, Oct 24 (Reuters) – U.S. President Barack Obama has declared 2009 H1N1 swine flu a national emergency, the White House said on Saturday.

    The declaration will make it easier for U.S. medical facilities to handle a surge in flu patients by allowing the waiver of some requirements of Medicare, Medicaid and other federal health insurance programs as needed, the White House said in a statement.

    The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Friday that swine flu has become widespread in 46 of the 50 U.S. states, a level comparable to the peak of ordinary flu seasons but far earlier and with more waves of infection expected.

    Obama signed the statement on Friday night.   . . . .

    A bit more:

    The Health and Human Services Department is trying to deliver vaccines against H1N1 but says production is falling short of projections because companies are having trouble making them.

    HHS has also moved to make available stockpiles of antiviral drugs oseltamivir, made by Roche AG (ROG.VX) under the brand name Tamiflu, and zanamivir, an inhaled drug made by GlaxoSmithKline (GSK.L) under the brand name Relenza.

    On Friday the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued an emergency use authorization for an experimental new drug called peramivir, made by Biocryst Pharmaceuticals Inc (BCRX.O) and licensed to Shionogi & Co Ltd (4507.T).

    The authorization allows the intravenous drug to be used in hospitalized patients who cannot take pills or inhale Relenza or when Tamiflu or Relenza do not seem to be helping.

    Well… more meds can only help…

    I am not sure what it is that is out there… if a designation of H1N1 is a diversion, illusion… or what.  But something virulent and respiratory  is traveling around and effectively killing children and pregnant women… or, at least, that is what is happening in our area.

    And, as the head of the CDC snapped in frustration this week… you cannot yell at the cultures and make them grow faster.  So, as is often the case, we are stuck in the mud.  Or the concrete.  Or the verbiage.

    Stuck waiting, with no cover…

    Pretty simple… 23 October 2009

    Posted by marisacat in Divertissements, Inconvenient Voice of the Voter.

    Minsk, Belarus: A squirrel reaches for a peanut from the hand of a woman in a park
    Photograph: Sergei Grits/AP

    but there is so much ugly imagery out there…

    Just a thread, should anyone want one…..

    War mincing – election mincing – abuse mincing … all the same damned thing. 21 October 2009

    Posted by marisacat in 2008 Election, 2010 Mid Terms, 2012 Re Election, Afghanistan War, Culture of Death, DC Politics, Democrats, Inconvenient Voice of the Voter, Pakistan, WAR!.

    A trio of triplet policemen. New Jersey, 1981
    Michael S. Yamashita / National Geographic /NG Gallery at UK Telegraph

    hmm Jersey cops… I see they are sending Ob into NJ for Corzine. I assume the CW on the street is that Corzine squeaks out a “win”.

    Carry on… what else to say. What waits for Corzine? A sex scandal (and they are so dreary, as they keep rolling out)?? … a pay-for-play scandal (more drear)? Union bagmen scandal (dreary!)? Another union babe mini scandal (double drear!)?

    I can hardly wait…….. not.


    More (late in the day I posted a long comment in the last thread) of the Jane Mayer New Yorker interview which IS online, unlike her big article on the great expansion of drone sorties over Pakistan under The Peace Prize (those poor fucked up Norwegians).

    How does the continued collateral damage from Predator drones square with General Stanley McChrystal’s order to the military to lay off the air strikes in Afghanistan and avoid civilian deaths?

    Well, you could argue it either way. There is less collateral damage from a drone strike than there is from an F-16. According to intelligence officials, drones are more surgical in the way they kill—they usually use Hellfire missiles and do less damage than a fighter jet might.  . . . .

    Oh, let’s have some more of that…

    If the C.I.A. doesn’t have experience killing people, who is piloting the drones?

    It doesn’t take as much talent or experience or training to pilot a drone as it does to pilot a real plane. The skills are much like what you need to do well in a video game. And the C.I.A. has outsourced a lot of the drone piloting, which also raises interesting legal questions, because you not have only civilians running this program, but you may have people who are not even in the U.S. government piloting the drones.

    You mention in your piece that drone pilots, who work from an office, suffer from combat stress.

    Someone sitting at C.I.A. headquarters in Langley, Virginia, can view and home in on a target on the other side of the world with tremendous precision, even at night, and destroy it. Peter Singer, who wrote a book on robotic warfare, said that cubicle warriors experience the same stress as regular warriors in a real war. Detached killing still takes a tremendous emotional toll inside our borders.  . . . .

    Weep for them.  Copiously.. so it gets noticed.

    Meanwhile, keep breathing while waiting for The Big Transparency from The Peace Prize:

    What would the outlines of a more transparent drone program look like?

    Michael Walzer, the political philosopher, has noted that when the United States goes about killing people, we usually know who they can kill and where the battlefield is. International lawyers are calling for a public revelation of who is on this list, where can we go after them, and how many people can we take out with them. They want to know the legal, ethical, and political boundaries of the program.


    Update via TimesOnline on the Catholic M&A, LBO, whatever it is, of the Anglican dissidents.

    Good comment from the thread…

    Ros Roberts wrote:

    You’re an Anglican? You want to become a Catholic? Nothing easier: all you have to do is completely change what you believe in: take on board transubstantiation, Papal infallibility, purgatory, things like that.

    But if that is so easy for these people, why don’t they simply decide to believe that women are people too and can be bishops too?

    October 21, 2009 9:28 PM BST

    Farther down (at the bottom, actually) on the FP of the Times is this further story rising from the Irish Revelations… as the chapters and verses continue…

    [T]he facts of Kathleen O’Malley’s life would probably not have been believed ten years ago, not before the dam finally burst on the Roman Catholic Church in Ireland.

    A long-awaited report into clerical abuse in the Diocese of Dublin is expected to be published this week and bishops are bracing themselves for another round of public anger. It will be a horror story of how known paedophile priests were shunted from parish to parish by their religious seniors. The number of children who suffered as a result of the Church’s cover-up could run into thousands.

    It will also be another shattering blow to the moral authority of an institution that once ruled Ireland with an iron rod, following hard on the heels of the Ryan report, an independent tribunal that concluded in May after a decade of evidence-gathering that there had been “endemic and systemic” sexual, physical and emotional abuse of hundreds of thousands of Irish children in residential institutions run by religious orders. Four years ago, when Kathleen first told her story in her memoir, Childhood Interrupted, there were plenty of cynics around who were prepared to cast doubt on the extraordinary tale of suffering inside a system that seemed akin to the worst excesses of a totalitarian regime. . . . . .

    What “blow to the moral authority”? Where is that blow?

    As a mirror to the concrete entombment of the so-called political class (withhold the vote, FFS!) the ONLY thing the Church responds to is LESS MONEY in the collection plate and, FFS, withhold the children.

    People won’t do that… They continue to fork over (really) the children to an abusive system.  With or without ritual sexual abuse.

    [T]hat is small consolation for Kathleen O’Malley. “I don’t know at what point the religious gained their power, but they had total power and autonomy to do as they wanted. We were brainwashed to say that we were well-looked after.”

    She is scornful of the progress Ireland is making towards righting these heinous wrongs. “They say they now want to put up a monument to all those who were treated badly. They had a garden party with the President of Ireland, to which around 130 victims were invited, but I wasn’t and neither were thousands of others. And that was like my evidence to the Ryan commission, which was ignored. I was never given the opportunity.”  . . . .

    What “blow to the moral authority”?  Where?  From whom?!

    Banter 20 October 2009

    Posted by marisacat in 2010 Mid Terms, 2012 Re Election, Inconvenient Voice of the Voter, WAR!.

    Nothing to do with the Tapper v Gibbs below, I just like to pop up these lovely photos of women riding in the far far back of the family automobile, as I land on them….

    Gibbs carries on the brilliant weekend had by the WH emissaries… and the righties are loving it.  I have lost track of the outlets and voices who see this dumb fake media war as worth anything, much less a pretzel’s precious time.  Helen, The Nation, Ruth Marcus, even his old stand-by, NYT.


    Tapper: It’s escaped none of our notice that the White House has decided in the last few weeks to declare one of our sister organizations “not a news organization” and to tell the rest of us not to treat them like a news organization. Can you explain why it’s appropriate for the White House to decide that a news organization is not one –


    Gibbs: Jake, we render, we render an opinion based on some of their coverage and the fairness that, the fairness of that coverage.

    Tapper: But that’s a pretty sweeping declaration that they are “not a news organization.” How are they any different from, say –

    Gibbs: ABC –

    Tapper: ABC. MSNBC. Univision. I mean how are they any different?

    Gibbs: You and I should watch sometime around 9 o’clock tonight. Or 5 o’clock this afternoon.

    Tapper: I’m not talking about their opinion programming or issues you have with certain reports. I’m talking about saying thousands of individuals who work for a media organization, do not work for a “news organization” — why is that appropriate for the White House to say?

    Gibbs: That’s our opinion.


    Other than that… have to love the Pope to the Anglicans: come on over, we are ante-deluvian!! No “untidiness” here!! (oh no none at all!)

    John Allen at National Catholic:

    In a move with potentially sweeping implications for relations between the Catholic church and some 80 million Anglicans worldwide, the Vatican has announced the creation of new ecclesiastical structures to absorb disaffected Anglicans wishing to become Catholics. The structures will allow those Anglicans to hold onto their distinctive spiritual practices, including the ordination of married former Anglican clergy as Catholic priests. . . . the main American branch of the worldwide Anglican Communion. American Episcopalians are said to number some 2.2 million.

    today’s move creates the possibility that bishops’ conferences around the world can create personal ordinariates, a special structure that’s tantamount to a non-territorial diocese, to accept Anglicans under the leadership of a former Anglican minister who would be designated a bishop.

    . . .former Anglican clergy who are married may serve as priests in the new ordinariates, but they may not be ordained as bishops. Seminarians for the new ordinariates must be trained alongside other Catholic seminarians, though they may have separate houses of formation.

    The details will be presented in a new apostolic constitution from Pope Benedict XVI, expected to be issued shortly. Popes issue apostolic constitutions in order to amend the church’s Code of Canon Law, in this case to create new legal structures.

    The Vatican note described the new “personal ordinariates” as similar to the structures created throughout the world to provide pastoral care for members of the military and their families. The structures are in effect separate dioceses, presided over by a bishop and with their own priests, seminarians, and faithful.

    Mergers and Acquisitions?  Leveraged Buy-Out?

    I notice some of the righties think there will be wholesale evacuation to the Holy Roman Empire by African Anglican priests and congregations.

    Good luck to all! May they all, evacuees and welcoming arms, trip over the Consecrated Host, the Body and Blood of Jeeesuhs!

    What is left to say about much of anything that is going on?  It’s all about head counts…

    It’s a fish!..? It’s a plane!..? 18 October 2009

    Posted by marisacat in 2010 Mid Terms, 2012 Re Election, Culture of Death, DC Politics, Inconvenient Voice of the Voter, Lie Down Fall Down Dems, WAR!.

    Rahovec, Kosovo: A flock of starlings flies over the town
    Photograph: Hazir Reka/Reuters

    No… it’s a bird!  Starlings over Kosovo, a place that haunts, especially as the wars grind on.

    Think it was ABC national news tonight, a segment on Obama, asking dully which is what dullards will be:

    “Is he up to the job?”, “Is he tough enough?”

    Even as media rhetoric, I mean, jesus!  They have to ask?

    Just today, the parade of Chicago Mayberry non-Machiavellis was appalling.  Rahm, Axelrod, Valerie Jarrett  (with special appearance by Robert Gibbs tomorrow).

    A snaggle of gaffes, bumbles and stammering pauses.

    What is more pointed, ABC news followed the Obama segment with a segment on Benny Hinn.  A LONGER segment on Hinn:  Is he real?  Does he heal?

    So appropriate.

    Theirs dead, ours orphaned 17 October 2009

    Posted by marisacat in Afghanistan War, Culture of Death, DC Politics, Inconvenient Voice of the Voter, Iran, Iraq War, Israel/AIPAC, The Battle for New Orleans, U.S. Senate, WAR!.

    Two young kestrels and a barn owl share a nesting box in Boston, Lincs, after both mothers picked the wooden box as the ideal site to bring up young [MASONS NEWS SERVICE]

    Or, so I posted once long ago at Orange Mess.  Here is a dicey wrinkle.  Seems ”ours” are attempting suicide.  I would think “theirs” are suiciding… and by that I don’t mean our heinous tellings of suicide bombers, every telling of which is supposed to spur on the wars, as we react in horror to their atrocities.

    And he’ll go on giving speeches.  Emphatically promising.  I think when he announces the troop increase to Afghanistan, he should be a little honest and tell us, we are “staying the course”.


    UPDATE, 12:05 pm on the Pacific Ocean

    hmm I read the AP report yesterday on Obama in New Orleans… and this comment did leap out.  Google helpfully framed it for me, all blockquoted and linked.  Thanks Google.  Perhaps they noticed as well.

    response to a question from Bordenave about the former Charity hospital, which once provided indigent care and was a main training hospital, Obama replied that he wished he “could just write a check” but “we’ve got to go through procedures.”

    more by Barack Obama – 19 hours ago – The Associated Press (134 occurrences)

    Here, however, is worse. Tho not shocking, Obama never ”got” what happened in New Orleans. Long ago, in his brief time in the US senate, he took his lead on New Orleans from Clinton and Bush 1… As I recall, he even flew into New Orleans once on AF1 with Bush 2. He also said that nothing about the aftermath was about race (in a speech later removed from his senate web site).

    It was always about race, and everything else too.

    This criticism is from Ambinder of The Atlantic, who, if accidentally poked will, like Chatty Cathy, begin to recite Democratic apologia, lies and promises.

    Seems Peace Prize really bombed in NOLA.

    Rethink 1: Obama Doesn’t Get Katrina?

    It wasn’t so much the brief duration of President Obama’s trip to New Orleans that riled the Katrina-smarties — the folks who’ve spent the past several years obsessing, healthily, about the destruction of an American city. It was that, when he spoke there, he got his facts wrong. And he got his facts wrong to such an extent that he convinced folks like Harry Shearer that Obama has no idea what really happened during Katrina.

    How could this possibly be? Everyone knows that happened during Hurricane Katrina. It hit New Orleans, causing massive flooding, and the government’s anemic response compounded the disaster.

    Shearer quotes Obama:

    “Katrina may have swept through this city, but it did not destroy this community, and that is because of you, the people of New Orleans. It has now been just over 4 years since that terrible storm struck your shores. And the days after it did, this nation and all the world were witness to the fact that the damage from Katrina was not caused just by a disaster of nature but also by a breakdown of government. That the government wasn’t adequately prepared and we didn’t adequately respond.

    Shearer responds:

    The government wasn’t adequately prepared and we didn’t adequately respond” echoes Obama’s campaign rhetoric about the aftermath of the disaster; his other remarks display a glaring, and for such an intellectually voracious and insightful man, quite possibly knowing ignorance of how we got here.

    Typically, having mis- or non-diagnosed the problem, he came with no solution, no pledge (aside from the vaporous “build stronger” without reference to build what, how, by whom) to take the steps only the federal government, under strong leadership from a committed chief executive, can take to prevent the disaster from recurring.

    Staying the course.