a story from hummingbird banding in Louisiana

  I came across a banding blog post that brought back memories. Hubby and I banded hummingbirds in Louisiana years ago, to help our friends Olga and Walter at their (bird-friendly!) property. A lot of early mornings were spent at our friends' house, just sitting by the pond or by the side of the house to watch birds. Over the many decades that they owned the property their love of birds drove the property's design. It was overgrown to begin with, but every year they cleared and planted the varieties that were the most attractive to birds. By the time we met them and visited this bird paradise, hundreds of winged creatures already called their place home. You can sit on their property on any given day and spot a huge variety of … [Read more...]

Oil Spill Politics and the US Energy Policy

...and the political posturing and spinning begins. The majority of primaries and gubernatorial races are still ahead of us. See the schedule here for each state: http://bit.ly/dy2Avp For one, I'm disappointed with the administration's slow response to this crisis. I'm surprised that Obama issued a statement last Friday still supporting the expansion of offshore oil and gas production in US waters, but I agree. I'm not surprised there was not a chorus of Democrats jumping on this statement. Here's a nice technical blow-by-blow of the Deepwater Horizon explosion by one of the workers on the rig: Welcome to the World of Deep-water Risk As I've said before, this accident is Mother Nature's wake-up call to everyone. Deep-water … [Read more...]

another blow to the New Orleans economy

Earth Day 2010 ironically kicked off with a blazing bonfire at the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig, 66km off the Louisiana coastline. The rig was contracted to a BP plc unit (who faces the brunt of bad PR), but it was owned and operated by Transocean Ltd, the world’s biggest offshore drilling contractor. After the initial explosion the platform burned for two days, then it sank into the Gulf of Mexico. WattsUpWithThat explains the drilling technology and below is a graphic from the Times-Picayune showing how difficult it is to shut off the leak. Images, like the one above, can be found on the boston.com site. Full-scale investigations are under way to determine the cause of this accident, with all parties using the event to advance their … [Read more...]

…hark the Twelfth Night revelries [sic]

Christmas is amazing for the fact that everyone-- even strangers-- gets caught up in the goodwill and cheer and carries it forward. But then that atmosphere fizzles after the New Year, and it isn't even a nice segue into calmness-- more like someone pulls the plug and abruptly the party's over so go home. Not so in New Orleans. The end of the holidays marks the start of another season also tied to the winter solstice, Mardi Gras. The trees and lights don't go down, they just get the green, purple and gold ornaments added in. Adults get to be kids again and it all starts with the Twelfth Night Revelers bal masque! Avoid the French Quarter frat scene-- where Mardi Gras is reduced to a tacky garish spectacle that metrosexual yupster … [Read more...]

Shakespeare

Beware the leader who bangs the drums of war in order to whip the citizenry into a patriotic fervor, for patriotism is indeed a double-edged sword. It both emboldens the blood, just as it narrows the mind . . .And when the drums of war have reached a fever pitch and the blood boils with hate and the mind has closed, the leader will have no need in seizing the rights of the citizenry.Rather, the citizenry, infused with fear and blinded with patriotism, will offer up all of their rights unto the leader, and gladly so. How do I know? For this is what I have done. And I am Caesar. --- William Shakespeare … [Read more...]

Dire Straits… please wake up

The Katrina disaster presages dire times. The status quo will drastically alter life in the coming decades. It needs the attention of an astute citizenry and a responsive, able leadership. Consider our suicide economics. As if five years of steadily growing cutbacks to programs in environment, poverty reduction, welfare, and healthcare were not enough, the 2006 budget deliberated prior to Katrina contained $35 billion in further reductions. Billions in tax cuts for the wealthiest build brass at corporate offices instead of supporting much needed public investments ie. levee systems and emergency response networks. For the poor, that paltry check from Uncle Sam in effect adds up to significant cuts in health coverage and social security. … [Read more...]

Time for Civic Action

If you are reading this then you know someone who was tremendously affected by our government’s stunning ineptitude, at all levels, across party lines.Think beyond the spin of mainstream media. Let your legislators know how you feel about this catastrophe, and begin your letter with a statement that you are a constituent. One vote is a valuable asset to your elected officials, especially in the projected overhaul of the political landscape. With midterm congressional elections coming up in 2006 your letters will not go unread. And we all have a stake in this.The following websites list contact information for our elected House Representatives, our elected Senators, and our President. It’s time to inspire our policy makers towards … [Read more...]

Blame Game My Ass

I understand many are still reeling and recovering from a direct hit of this past week's events. I understand media fatigue. I understand the need to start the recovery period. But I refuse to believe that complacency, which has graced the path of every bungle of the past five years, will follow this phenomenal failure of government. We the American people are more intelligent than that. We have to wake up and smell the rot that is fast enveloping our country, long before Katrina hit, long before conditions allowed the the White House to be put up for sale. "This is the Law and Order, Terror and Morality government, and it cannot save its citizens from a biological weapon called standing water."Listen to or read the transcript of a searing … [Read more...]