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Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

barred-owl

Trigger warning:  Even if you love birds and half-way decent nature writing, alt right special snowflakes should not read the following text. It might harm your delusions of dominance, or at the very least, it might make you angry or sad.  We can’t have that.

I don’t know what caused the old barred owl that roosts deep in the white pine thicket to let out a single haunting scream. Perhaps the weather was ready to change, and before the snow falls, they let out their little eerie screams in the gray wood. It is an odd little ritual, but one I listen for when I know it might be snowing soon.

But it was a oddly mild day in early February, and no snow was forecast.  No rain either. Just the ugly winter sun casting its sallow glares on the gray woods.

I knew they would come, but they came more quickly than I imagined. Tiny black jets zoomed sharp across the hollows and ridges until at last they found their target in the pine woods. It was a murder of crows on a mission.

The owl had stupidly positioned herself on the bow of a dead quaking aspen, and she was now exposed for the aerial attacks of the corvids.

One would distract her with its loud cawing, while one of its compatriots would zip in and peck the owl on the head.

More crows kept coming until the pine thicket had about 20 of them, each screaming its curses as the predator as a few of the braver ones dived bombed her from behind.

After about thirty minutes, the owl took flight across great hollow beyond the pines, but every crow followed her gray form, harrying her as if she were some great pestilence on the land.

A barred owl is a beautiful animal. Its soft gray feathers are streaked down the breast with darker gray streaks, and the feathers that form the dishes on its head frame the darkest brown eyes of any owl in these woods.  To us, it is an impish creature with the eyes of a cocker spaniel.

To a crow, it is perhaps the greatest of all demons. During the day, the crow’s sharp eyes and keen intellect work in tandem with its more maneuverable wings to avoid the owl’s depredations.

But at night, when the crows roost in flocks in their favorite trees, the owl becomes a gray dragon of the night. She comes swooping in on soft wings and carries off the hapless crows before they ever know she is there.

The long nights of winter must the worst sort of hell for crows. Hour after hour they sit in darkness, sleeping or trying to sleep, and at any moment,the soft wing-beats of the gray dragon could come to cast some death among the canopy.

The crows’ remedy for this terror is to go on the offense.  They spend much of their days scouting for owls. If they spot a large owl of any species, they will begin the most aggressive cawing and harrying of it they can muster. They will dive bomb it from behind until the owl, which usually wants to spend its days sleeping, will fly off. If the owl finds another roost in roughly the same vicinity, the crows will begin the same crazed harrying.

I’ve seen crows spend hours doing this behavior. I have come to think of it is as the primary activity of crows. They might spend some time in the winter searching for food, but they are always up for a good war on owls.

A single crow would stand no chance against an owl, but crows are intensely social and remarkably intelligent birds. They work together to drive the owl from their hunting and foraging grounds. They surely must have some sense of solidarity that allows themselves to risk injury in confronting the gray dragon.

In this way, crows are not too different from us. Our species has a strong sense of solidarity. We once banded together to throw stones and sticks at the great cats and giant snakes that preyed upon us. Later, we did the same toward the great predators we encountered as we left Africa. We spent many long nights, hoping that a Machairodont or a leopard wouldn’t come sailing in on one of our band and carry him off as silently and swiftly as the owl does with the crow.  We may have spent our days looking for where such beasts made their lairs and then we may have spent lots of time driving them away from our encampments.

We’ve become good at fending off threats. We started with sticks and rocks. Then we made arrows and spears. Then we rudimentary firearms, and then graduated to machine guns and tanks. We made sophisticated cannons and then intercontinental ballistic missiles.

And now a handful of countries posses the ultimate weapons– ones that will destroy virtually all of humanity and all life if we ever use them.

Most of us have no reason to fear the predators of the night, but we still live in fear. Fear drives us into madness at times, for deep down in that massive brain of ours, there is still a terrified ape that knows that a leopard could be lurking somewhere.  Our hope is that the rational parts of that brain temper the scared simian.

Right now, I see us in madness. The frightened ape mindset has taken over enough of the polity in my country to allow an absolute madman to take over. He lies to everyone, promising the moon, the sun, and the stars, but what is worse is he lies to himself..

He was elected in part to drive out the “bad dudes” as he calls them. These “bad dudes” become “bad hombres” when talking about Latinos, but they mean much the same. He speaks of the foreigner, who either wants to engage in violent jihad against Americans or steal someone’s job. Or maybe sell drugs.

He ran as a crow who sees a lot of owls. The Muslims were an owl. The Latinos another owl. The media was an owl.  Foreigners in general were owls.

And now that he’s been in power just these few weeks, I think there is an owl, and that’s the president!

We need to be good crows and start cawing away.

We need to say boldly that there is an owl, and we’re not about to be taken in the night.

We must remember that as crows we can act together to stand up to an owl.

He is not our gray dragon in the night, but with his hand on the button, that gray dragon could become a mushroom cloud.

Our constitutional system, hewed from the green wood of England and transported and modified on this system, could be threatened by a man who sees the rule of law as an encumbrance to his obvious genius and popular appeal.

The gray dragon of the night could descend upon us in one crazed tantrum or with slight winnowing away of liberal democracy one tweet or executive order at a time.

But we cannot allow the gray dragon to come and take us.

This the crows know, and we must follow their lead.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Hunting Days

This is a pretty good documentary about the foxhunting controversy in the UK.

Source. (Part II is here).

I’m not actually much of an animal rights activist, so some scenes, like where they kill dairy bull calves with a bolt gun to feed the hounds really don’t get me going.

I don’t think this documentary makes the hunt saboteurs look very good. Covering up their faces  like that reminds me of the Shining Path terrorists in Peru.

Or the Klan.

These people have created a cult where the fox is like the sacred cow of India. Don’t ever kill a fox! Fox hunting is dog fighting!

Anyone who has ever seen how dogs, even very nice ones, react to the sight of a fox will tell you that dogs don’t think of foxes as being the same species.

Plus, even if it were two members of the same species, it’s not fighting at all. The fox almost always gets away without a dog laying a fang on it.

But when you have a Labour Party that decided to stab its most hardcore supporters in the back in the 1980’s, then have Tony Blair come in and continue the job as a “socialist” prime minister, the only bone it could throw to its “base” was to come up with convoluted foxhunting ban (which is full of loopholes).

And then St. Tony of the Foxes proceeded to join the Great Texan Liberator into the clusterfuck and outright crime that was the Iraq War.

He was more willing to push for the perceived rights of foxes than for the rights over how many people were killed in Iraq.

And that is the story of how perverse the modern political world is.

The left is left protesting badger culls and signing petitions to save the life of giraffes while the whole damned project of building decent societies based upon social democratic principles is being eviscerated.

If you want to know the big reason I don’t care too much for animal rights activism, it’s because it’s a giant distraction.

And it allows scumbags like Tony Blair to claim to be for progressive ideals while doing the exact opposite.

 

 

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ed schultz beagle

There is a rumor going around on the internet that Ed Schultz shot a dog while hunting.

There are two versions of this story:

1. He did it while drunk.

2. He did because the dog refused to retrieve a duck.

I would like to know if this is true.

I am known to be somewhat on the leftward side of politics, and I have been a fan of Ed Schultz since way back.

But is this story true?

I would like a source that has the following criteria;

1. Not from Glenn Beck.

2. Not from any right wing extremist websites.

Apparently this story is well-known in North Dakota.

So please enlighten me…

 

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akc  Russia anti gay law

Respect.

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(Not one of the anti-Obama catahoula breeder's dogs!)

(Not one of the anti-Obama Catahoula breeder’s dogs!)

I admit there are some dogs I’ve just not qualified to own.

I’m not going to try an ovtcharka of any sort. That’s just way outside my area of expertise.

Ditto on Fila Brasileiros.

I don’t think I would be a good fit for a pet coyote either.

Now, all of those are based upon what I know and what I know I don’t know.

My political views have little to do with it.

Now, the dog world is quite political– about the dogs.

And those politics are often amusing, and if they were ever to stop, I’d run out of material for this blog in very short time!

But I’ve noticed in recent years that the actual human political scene has worked its way into dogs.

Many dog breeders are radical libertarians or paleoconservative. Many dog rescuers are vegan leftists.

I’m actually neither, though I’d be closer to being called a “leftist” than a libertarian.

I left a well-known list on Yahoo! groups because all they did was Tea Party this and Tea Party that and conspiracy theory this and conspiracy theory that.

And no one ever talked about dogs.

But politics aside, most dog people don’t really care who you voted for.

At least I hope not.

It has come to my attention via a reader in the Blog Readers’ Group today that there is one kennel that is denying placing any puppy or adult dog with Obama voters.

This is Oak Hill Catahoulas in Townsend, Georgia. The owner of the kennel is Kyle Duncan.

Judging from what it says on the bottom of his website, he’s not a big fan of Obama. And if you voted for him, you aren’t getting a dog from him!

oak hill catahoulas

Click to enlarge.

The page says:

If you voted for Obama, or you are a Registered Democrat I will not sell you a dog, You have proven that you can not take care of an animal, there are no food stamps or Obama care for animals!!! Please do not call or Email me, you are a loser!!!

Well, I did vote for Obama, even though even though almost no one in my state did, and I’ve been a registered Democrat as soon as I was old enough to register to vote.

I think this fellow is also operating under the assumption that the only person who would want a Catahoula, which are very good hunting dogs, would be conservative hunter types.

But not all American hunters are conservative, just as not all white Southerners are.

I can see the idea that you only sell to working homes as a tradition that exists in so many breeds, but why cast the net so small that it gets only the conservatives?

We live in a strange country. And at a very strange time.

Even the effing dogs are caught up in the spectacle.

It’s a shame.

A damn shame.

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And I have for years:

facebook marraige equality

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Here’s an account of what I would regard as the scariest thing ever to come out of West Virginia. This happened in 1974, not the seventeenth century.

The events described in this piece by James Haught of the Charleston Gazette, and these events occurred in Kanawha County, which is the state’s most populous county. It’s where the state capital is located, and one would think it would be a little bit more urbane in its instincts. In some ways, it is, but if this could happen in this part of the state, just imagine what the more rural areas could be like?

Just imagine a world where this cold happen:

Rock-throwing mobs forced schools to close. Two schools and the board office were bombed. Two people were shot. Coal miners struck to support the religious protest. Ku Klux Klansmen and right-wing kooks flocked to Charleston. Some upriver residents tried to form a separate county. A preacher and his followers discussed murdering families who wouldn’t join a school boycott. The minister finally went to prison.

Nope. Not Muslims. Not in Pakistan.

Here. In America.

And what caused all that furor?

Modernity. The books ere nothing more than run of the mill textbooks that covered things that every student in America should learn.

Nothing else.

The Rev. Charles Quigley prayed for God to kill the board members who endorsed the books. A grade school was hit by a Molotov cocktail. Five shots hit a school bus. A dynamite blast damaged another grade school. A bigger blast damaged the school central office.

Near-riot conditions continued. Robert Dornan of California, a pornography foe, addressed a crowd of 3,000. Protesters started evangelical schools. A fundamentalist magistrate led an attempt to make eastern Kanawha a separate county.

Minister Horan and three of his followers were indicted for the bombings. Ku Klux Klan leaders led a Charleston rally to support them. An imperial wizard from Georgia said the Kanawha textbooks contained “the most vulgar, vile and filthy words in print” — which was odd, since non-fundamentalists couldn’t find any obscenities in them.

Nice.

In modern times, we’d call these people terrorists, but I guess because they said Jesus a lot, they just couldn’t be real ‘turrists.”

One of the big reasons why I don’t vote Republican is because the Republican Party has decided to play games with these people.

No, they may not want to blow up schools, but they definitely hate public education.

They hate modernity and rationalism.

And they will do anything to force that upon the nation.

They don’t have to use dynamite.

All they have to use is elect the right number of fanatics to office, and they’ll blow up public education for us all.

A common thread among religious right leaders is that they hate big government.

This is a lie.

They love big government.

They don’t want a government that educates children or provides decent medical care.

But they do want a government that controls what you think and what you read.

They do want a government worries about what happens in the bedroom. They do want a government that can control the standards for science education.

If the Republican Party would tell these people to take a hike, I might consider voting for some of them.

Until it does, I’m voting straight Democratic ticket.

Do I think things like this can happen again?

Absolutely.

I wouldn’t have wasted my time writing this if I didn’t have some concern that it might happen again.

Right now the Republican Party is a wounded beast.

It is wounded largely because it hitched its wagon to the religious right.

However, the religious right has so strongly worked its way into Republican Party institutions, and it will be very difficult to kick to the curb.

In fact, as soon as the religious right feels that it’s about to get some push back from the party, that will be the moment in which it goes completely off the rails.

You thought it was off the rails before?

You haven’t seen anything yet.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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