Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Cuckoo rescue

Yesterday while sitting on the couch in the living room and reading, I was startled by a loud thump of something hitting the picture window. Looking out the window I couldn't see anything, but if whatever it was had dropped straight down, I wouldn't have been able to. When I went outside, I saw this:


It's a yellow-billed cuckoo. I watched her (him? you can't tell with cuckoos) for a few minutes but she just sat there, completely dazed. Following Cornell Lab's instructions for birds involved in window collisions, I went inside and prepared a shoebox. When I came back out, she had pulled herself together a little, but was still clearly dazed.



I put her in the box. She didn't seem injured, but was unresponsive to being handled.



I took the box inside and left her to recover for about half an hour.



When I took her back outside (she had pecked the box a couple of times, so I figured (hoped!) she was ready to go) and took off the lid, she immediately jumped out but then just sat there.


I put my hand down and she climbed on to it. She sat there for a few minutes, gradually getting perkier and letting me take a few pics:









And then she pushed off and flew over into the bushes at the woods' edge. Another minute and she was gone.



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At 11:27 AM, June 30, 2015 Anonymous Picky had this to say...

How wonderful to have her sitting on your hand.

As to her jumping out of the box, perhaps she was Irish and found that Union Jack culturally offensive?

 

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Saturday, June 27, 2015

The week summed up

five panel strip showing confederate flag coming down and rainbow flag being raised


(from SPLC)



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Scalia Burns

Snerk. Check out how Justice Scalia would burn you. Here's how he burned me:

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Friday, June 26, 2015

Uh, hello?

"But no court, no law, no rule, and no words will change the simple truth that marriage is the union of one man and one woman. Nothing will change the importance of a mother and a father to the raising of a child. And nothing will change our collective resolve that all Americans should be able to exercise their faith in their daily lives without infringement and harassment." Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has announced his defiance.

But that paragraph must mean, if it's not pure applesauce, that Texas intends to outlaw divorce for couples with children and mandate remarriage for widows and widowers with children and single mothers.

And it must mean that any church that wants to marry gays has to be able to do it legally, because otherwise they're being infringed.

edited to add this update: Though he disapproved of the ruling, Paxton said that Texas would be following the Supreme Court ruling, and county clerks in Texas began issuing marriage licenses to gay couples on Friday.

and edited again to add this great picture from the Dallas Morning News:



APPLESAUCE it was.

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One more time!


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YES!





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WTF NPR? Really. WTF

I'm flabbergasted.

On NPR today David Greene asked Roxanne Gay this (quote is from memory) :

The Lord's Prayer says "Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive the trespasses of others."1. You're not really living up to the spirit of that when you say you can't forgive him.

Jesus Louisus.

I can confidently say that not once did I hear someone say that people who don't forgive Dzhokar Tsarnayev or Osama bin Laden or the 9/11 terrorists or anybody else isn't being a good Christian.

Seriously?

This is racism. This is white privilege. Black people should forgive this white boy who walked into a black church and killed  nine strangers because they were black and who wanted to start a race war, so "we" can "heal" and "move on".

Fuck that.

"Forgiving, healing and moving on" are to make us white folks feel better about ourselves. We move on. Black people stay where they are.

And that needs to end.


(1: oh yeah. That's not what it says. It says "as we forgive those who trespass against us".)

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Thursday, June 25, 2015

Good news on Two Fronts

The ACA is Here to Stay!

Read about it here

But also important today, the Court upheld "disparate impact" in housing discrimination - the provision that criminalizes practices not just of overt unfairness, on-the-surface racial discrimination, but also policies that were unintentionally biased, such as zoning strategies that inadvertently promoted segregation, as well as more subtle tactics that make it harder for minorities to live where they want to. It's not as flashy as the Obamacare ruling, or the same-sex-marriage one that might come tomorrow or might come next week, but it's very important, particularly in the light of all the talk of institutionalized racism we've heard this past week.

Read about it here.

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Sunday, June 21, 2015

The Week in Entertainment

DVD: Candide with Sir Thomas Allen, Paul Groves, and Kristin Chenoweth (thanks, Kathie!) A genuinely beautiful animated film called The Song of the Sea.

TV: Cleared Perception off the DVR backlog. I'm glad they didn't go with the Daniel-loves-Kate-so-she-doesn't-marry-Donnie ending they were flirting with. That would have been such a mistake for the characters. Since the show is apparently not coming back, the ending was the ending, and for once it's reasonable. There was no way they could work out as a couple. Also caught up on Modern Family, which is as always amusing but not earth-shattering. Don't get me wrong, I like it a lot, but I did manage to go a couple of months without it.

Read: The Mathematician's Shiva, which I saw at Zeno's blog and enjoyed very much.The Replacement Child, recommended by Judy Blume at the end of In the Unlikely Event as being about a family who lived through the events of her novel. The Fateful Day, the latest in the Libertus series. Began The Edge of Nowhere, first in a trilogy set on Whidbey Island. Pretty good so far.

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At 9:57 AM, June 23, 2015 Anonymous Kathie had this to say...

So glad you enjoyed the "Candide." Did you also see Kelli O'Hara in the supporting role of Valencienne in this winter's Met's "Merry Widow" on PBS last Friday (speaking of Broadway stars with opera chops)?

 

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Father's Day

My father (left in roughly 1960; I remember well the sweet smell of his pipe; and below with some fellow shutterbugs at about the same time) turned 92 on his last birthday. He's got a few aches and pains and treatable ailments, but on the whole he's still going strong. I won't be there today - though I called - but I get home a couple of times a year for longish visits - I'll be there in just over a week for the summer one.

Sometimes I hear coworkers talk about their fathers and know: I got so lucky with mine. So lucky.

Happy Father's Day - I love you.

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Happy Solstice

solstice sunrise


It's the Solstice! Summer solstice here in the northern hemisphere - nearly Midsummer Day - and winter solstice in the southern, nearly Midwinter.


Longest day or longest night: may it find - and leave - you happy.

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Saturday, June 20, 2015

A modest suggestion

This is the Stars and Bars. (Yes, this one, not the battle flag.) Or if we don't want to get hung up the terminology, this is the first national flag of the CSA.

You almost certainly didn't recognize it, because hardly anybody does. So here's my suggestion:

If you sincerely want to honor your Confederate ancestors for gallantry or whatever it is you say, try a different flag. Use this one.

Because whatever they may have been "originally," a black swastika in a white circle on a red field is not an innocuous Hindu symbol and the Confederate battle flag is a symbol of hateful, terrorizing racism.

And if it's really about "heritage, not hate", you don't want people to misunderstand you.

(ps: here's an historian's take)
(pps: not going to get into a discussion about whether hate isn't the "heritage", though as a child of the South I am qualified. That's not the point. If you don't want people to think it's true, stop displaying a symbol that no longer has any other real meaning.)

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Friday, June 19, 2015

"I don't get it"

The Guardian looks at Jon Stewart looking at Charleston, for those who don't like video clips.

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Looking back at Juneteenth

The Hidden History of Juneteenth tells a story that this week shows us we still need to hear: Juneteenth and what it really was.

Not just that white, rebel Texans hid the news of Emancipation.But that
Ending slavery was not simply a matter of issuing pronouncements. It was a matter of forcing rebels to obey the law. To a very real extent, the Emancipation Proclamation and the 13th Amendment amounted to promissory notes of freedom. The real on-the-ground work of ending slavery and defending the rudiments of liberty was done by the freedpeople in collaboration with and often backed by the force of the US Army.

Granger’s proclamation may not have brought news of emancipation but it did carry this crucial promise of force. Within weeks, fifty thousand U.S. troops flooded into the state in a late-arriving occupation. These soldiers were needed because planters would not give up on slavery. In October 1865, months after the June orders, white Texans in some regions “still claim and control [slaves] as property, and in two or three instances recently bought and sold them,” according to one report. To sustain slavery, some planters systematically murdered rebellious African-Americans to try to frighten the rest into submission. A report by the Texas constitutional convention claimed that between 1865 and 1868, white Texans killed almost 400 black people; black Texans, the report claimed, killed 10 whites. Other planters hoped to hold onto slavery in one form or another until they could overturn the Emancipation Proclamation in court.

Against this resistance, the Army turned to force. In a largely forgotten or misunderstood occupation, the Army spread more than 40 outposts across Texas to teach rebels “the idea of law as an irresistible power to which all must bow.” Freedpeople, as Haywood’s quote reminds us, did not need the Army to teach them about freedom; they needed the Army to teach planters the futility of trying to sustain slavery.

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Juneteenth

JuneteenthToday is Juneteenth -

"On Juneteenth we think about that moment in time when the enslaved in Galveston, Texas received word of their freedom. We imagine the depth of their emotions, their jubilant dance and their fear of the unknown."

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