Saturday, March 6, 2010

Animal Parks and Zoos: capitalism and captivity

My column tomorrowIn a better world animals wouldn’t be held in captivity” will be considered controversial by some.

As I look around at recent incidents, “Report: Tiger bites keeper to death in Chinese Zoo,” “Women bitten by Bear at Wis. Zoo: fingers severed,” and the recent death of Animal trainer Dawn Branch at Sea World in Orlando, Florida, all trouble me. Tilikum, a 12,000 lb. Killer Whale, probably didn’t mean to kill his trainer, but by all accounts he was “stressed out” from living in isolation, with the exception of breeding attempts.

There’s even a darker side to some “so-called zoos.” A good example would be:

 Tigers Being Turned into Wine!

Although the Xiongsen tiger park, near Guilin in south-east China, appears to be a depressingly typical Third World zoo, with a theme park restaurant and open areas where tigers roam, it actually hides a far more sinister secret: it's a factory farm breeding tigers to be eaten and to be made into wine.

The two reasons for zoos and animal theme parks are to make money and to study the animals in order to keep them from going extinct. At least, that’s the way I see it.

The first reason is inevitable; animals attract people who pay big bucks to see them. So, the argument is that visitors are able to experience seeing exotic (and not so exotic) animals that they might never come into contact with otherwise. With the technology we have today, we could have virtual zoos (holographs and all) that would give people the same experience without putting the animals into captivity.

The second reason is scientific. Zoos are a way to preserve species that might otherwise disappear. I’d rather see scientists spending their time in the wild to study them (I know some do that now) and creating habitats for endangered species that don’t have gawking humans involved.

Be sure to see my column on the subject in Sunday’s (March7) Op Ed page in The Times-Standard.       

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Friday, March 5, 2010

‘Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day’ set

vets logo

By Carl Young

(Veterans Activist)

It’s finally official. Thirty-five years after the war ended in Vietnam, a welcoming home for the Veterans of the Vietnam war has been established.

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed a bill last September, AB 717, which calls for an annualWelcome Home Vietnam Veterans Dayon March 30. The Board of Supervisors, and local cities will be doing resolutions supporting it. Sadly, local veterans are deeply split on the issue of even having a day for Vietnam veterans.

Our country was deeply divided during the Vietnam war, and at times some people were hostile to the returning veterans. Those memories still haunt some Vietnam veterans. The damage done to our fellow Vietnam veterans, and their families, is incalculable. Many will never see their “Welcome Home,” because they prematurely died due to aliments associated with their military service.

I support the establishment of this long overdue day of remembrance, in which 58,000 U.S. troops died and more than 300,000 were wounded. These statistics don’t include the number of suicides, mental health, destroyed families and the illnesses directed associated with our service.

Additionally there is the possibility that many other birth defects and aliments suffered by our children are because of their parents exposure to Agent Orange. The Department of Veterans Affairs only recognizes a few birth defects like Spina bifida.

I think Daniel L. Lawrence, President, of the Humboldt Memorial Chapter 781, Vietnam Veterans of America summed it up well, “We are the only defenders of freedom in this country to be vilified, berated and shunned by our own people. If this resolution brings peace to many Vietnam vets then I am all for it. It’s said that time heals all wounds. I guess not enough time has passed for me to heal my wounds. I am pleased that our country has chosen to not place the blame for this current war on those who doing the fighting. instead placing the blame where it belongs on our so called leadership. For all the problems these new veterans will face, being shunned by their own people will not be one of them.”

Maybe, California’s enactment of a special day to recognize Vietnam veterans will encourage other states to follow, someday making it a national holiday. I also support the idea of establishing a similar day for the forgotten veterans of the Korean War. It’s the very least we can do for those who served so faithfully.

I encourage everyone to attend the reading of the Resolutions with the following government agencies: Humboldt County Board of Supervisors, on March 23, at 9:00 a.m; the Fortuna City Council meeting on March 15 at 6:00 p.m.; Ferndale (already presented March 4th); Rio Dell March 16th at 6:30Pm and the City of Arcata March 17, at 6:00 p.m. As far as I know, there aren’t any other plans locally to recognize this special day for Vietnam veterans on March 30.

Lastly, I would like to thank the folks at the Eureka VA and Mental Health Clinics and our local Vet Center for the excellent care they provide. I’m hopeful the VA can further support local medical and mental health providers and our veterans through the “fee basis” program, and the establishment of local VA specialty clinics. The professionalism of the staff has been remarkable, as well as the coordination of care with local providers.


Anti-gay senator arrested 'after leaving gay club'

hypocrite mug

 Another political hypocrite is exposed. Finding liars and hypocrites in public office doesn’t seem like much of a challenge anymore. Both Democrats and Republicans have their growing Halls of Shame.    

A US senator with a history of opposing gay rights has been arrested for driving drunk after reportedly leaving a gay nightclub in California.

National media is abuzz about 'K2'. A scary drug, or just another drug scare?

This  Feb. 15, 2010, photo shows a package of K2 which contains herbs and spices sprayed with a synthetic compound chemically similar to THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana. State lawmakers in Missouri and Kansas have introduced bills which would create penalties for K2 possession similar to those for marijuana.(AP Photo/Kelley McCall)

Fake-Pot Panic

 What would he make of all the recent stories about K2, or "fake marijuana," which is essentially a legal, smoking form of psychoactive potpourri?

 Breathless news reports about the substance have been popping up all over in the last few days. If you live in Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Michigan, Missouri, Kansas, or Wisconsin, you've probably seen one. Maybe you even caught a Missouri detective's panicked prediction that K2 is "going to end up killing somebody." As far as we know, though, it hasn't. Why is it suddenly getting all this attention?”

photo source - A package of K2: Herbs sprayed with a synthetic marijuana compound

Pot Propaganda

A look at decades of pro- and anti-marijuana media go here 

How Oakland Is Leading Marijuana Legalization
How L.A. Became Overrun With Legal Marijuana
Ethan Nadelmann's Fight to Legalize Marijuana
VIDEO: Marijuana Mecca,
VIDEO: Pot's Biggest Bud

photo source

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Missing dog turns up 600 miles from home

Image: Deacon the German shepherd

I can’t resist this type of animal story. Each is unique, and best of all, they always end well!

Deacon the German shepherd survived journey from Virginia to Florida

For more animal stories like this go to:

11 true ‘tails’ of survival
From a ham that went on the lam to a Chihuahua that blew away, meet 11 amazing animals that survived a brush (or flush!) with death to reunite with their owners.

FDA orders recall of foods flavored with hydrolyzed vegetable protein

Is it just me, or is it becoming scary to shop at the supermarket these days?

Salmonella found in flavor enhancer used in thousands of processed foods

"Our investigation is continuing. We are proceeding with special studies to make sure foods containing those products are safe," Farrar said. "We are working with food manufacturers and distributors to provide guidance on any products that will need to be recalled. We are also creating a Web page to find any recalled products that may be in their pantry."

For list of recalled products, go to

It's Not a Food. It's in Everything...And Now It's Tainted with Salmonella
Read more at: The Daily Green

Photo source

Anti-Pot Propaganda As Stupid As Ever -- Yet Our Alarmist Media Continues to Hype It

Once again the mainstream media is running wild with the absurd notion that marijuana use causes psychological problems, despite much evidence to the contrary.

It’s this kind of weed rhetoric that the Feds seize upon despite the study’s credibility, to wage their senseless war on marijuana.

The day is coming when this kind of bullshit will come to an end, and the Feds will have to find a new bug-a-boo. Photo source


GOP portrays Democrates as an ‘evil empire’

Image: A poster portraying US President Barack Obama as "The Joker"

Talk about the pot calling the kettle black!  The Bush administration was often portrayed as the evil empire for good reason. Look what they did to the country in eight years.

They waged wars and drove the national debt though the roof. They came up with the idea of spying on Americans (Patriot Act), and the oil barons danced as Dubya looted oil resources in Iraq. Cheney was the perfect Darth Vadar.

No, the real evil empire fell in the last elections. Having said that, I would also like to point out how miserably the Obama administration is doing. He hasn’t kept one campaign promise yet. The corruption in Washington continues to thrive. The people who surround him are idiots with personal agendas. The American people got rid of the “Evil Empire” in 2008 and replaced it with a three-ring circus staffed with lobbyists and clowns.   

RNC chair disowns document showing Democrats as cartoon ‘Evil Empire’

 Democrats on Wednesday sharply criticized a fundraising document that caricatured President Obama as the Joker, while Chairman Michael S. Steele sought to distance himself from it.

The three Democratic leaders were gathered under the heading "The Evil Empire."

 Robyn Beck / AFP - Getty Images

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Of pretenders, contenders and perenial title winners

Inside move

 The Lakers dismantled the Pacers – 122 – 99 -  last night.

Yet their critics continue to say

they are lazy with sloppy play… 

Next up is Miami the city of sin,

 It shouldn’t be that hard to get another win

The hype will be about Kobe vs. DWade,

After 3 quarters the Heat are gonna fade

DWade may make an ESPN move or two, but he won’t be able to pull his team thru

Knock him down 3 times & he will get up 4, But all that accomplishes is a butt that is sore.
But give DWade credit, he does have a Ring, and after Kobe, he is the next best thing
Not like that lil actress Princess Jimmy, All she knows how to do is dance and shimmy
The Princess does not have the fire that burns within, which is why a Ring she’ll never win
The only way the Princess will see a ring, is if her puppet steals some of the Mamba’s bling
So don’t slip up Princess you need every win, If you hope to get back to the Finals again
But I’m afraid home-court won’t do you no good, the Lakers will beat you in your own hood

The hardest opponents the Lake’s have to play,Is the team they see in practice everyday

Kobe against Thriller, Lamar against Pau,

I would pay for a ticket to see that scrimmage “yawl”

It’s probably better than The Finals would be, To see The Thriller try and shut down Kobe

But we must play out the regular season string, before the coronation for our 16th Ring
You probably think I am cocky I know,

The Lakers are Destinies Team - didn’t your Mama tell you so?


Child directs air traffic at JFK Airport

I’ve heard of kids coming to their parents jobs for a day to see what they do. This is the first time I’ve heard of a child doing the parents job however.

I’m sure there has been other cases. This one is particularly worrisome. Someone could have died. You’d think that no one other than authorized personnel would be allowed up in the tower. I’ll bet when this is over, there will be new rules.

A child apparently directed pilots last month from the air traffic control center at John F. Kennedy Airport, one of the nation's busiest airports. The Federal Aviation Administration said today that it was investigating the case.

Child directs air traffic at JFK Airport

March 3 UPDATE: The FAA is investigating five transmissions from the control tower at JFK Airport in New York City, where tapes reveal that the child of an air traffic controller directed planes on a runway. NBC’s Tom Costello reports. See Video

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Rare Buddhist flower found under nun's washing machine

Rarely seen Buddhist Udumbara flowers, which blossom every 3,000 years, found under washing machine, Lushan Mountain, Jiangxi province, China

A rarely seen Buddhist flower, which blossoms every 3,000 years, has been discovered under a nun's washing machine

The only thing I ever found under our wash machine was lint and dust. I wonder who was around to document the last time one of these babies bloomed? Just curious. It appears to me that this rare little flowers can suddenly pop up out of nowhere (but somewhere where Buddhists live and can recognize them).

You could be just walking along in an alley in China Town, San Francisco, when one of these pale plants could spring up next to a trash can. If they can grow under a wash machine why not? But then what do you do? You can’t pluck the fragile stems and put them in a vase. Wait! Your cell phone has a camera. Now, if you can just find an expert to confirm your find…you’ll make the news!

Internet, TV main news sources for Americans

 This information seems to confirm my belief that Americans rely too heavily on the corporate media. What do you think?

“The Internet is now the third most-popular resource for Americans' daily news, behind local and national television news, and about a third of cell phone owners are using their devices to catch up on the latest information, according to a new study.”

A third of cell phone owners access stories on their mobiles, study says

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Monday, March 1, 2010

Judicial Watch Announces List of Washington's "Ten Most Wanted Corrupt Politicians" for 2009

Judicial Watch, the public interest group that investigates and prosecutes government corruption, today released its 2009 list of Washington's "Ten Most Wanted Corrupt Politicians." The list, in alphabetical order, includes:

  1. Senator Christopher Dodd (D-CT): This marks two years in a row for Senator Dodd, who made the 2008 "Ten Most Corrupt" list for his corrupt relationship with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and for accepting preferential treatment and loan terms from Countrywide Financial, a scandal which still dogs him.
  2.  In 2009, the scandals kept coming for the Connecticut Democrat. In 2009, Judicial Watch filed a Senate ethics complaint against Dodd for undervaluing a property he owns in Ireland on his Senate Financial Disclosure forms. Judicial Watch's complaint forced Dodd to amend the forms. However, press reports suggest the property to this day remains undervalued. Judicial Watch also alleges in the complaint that Dodd obtained a sweetheart deal for the property in exchange for his assistance in obtaining a presidential pardon (during the Clinton administration) and other favors for a long-time friend and business associate. The false financial disclosure forms were part of the cover-up. Dodd remains the head the Senate Banking Committee. 2. Senator John Ensign (R-NV):A number of scandals popped up in 2009 involving public officials who conducted illicit affairs, and then attempted to cover them up with hush payments and favors, an obvious abuse of power. The year's worst offender might just be Nevada Republican Senator John Ensign. Ensign admitted in June to an extramarital affair with the wife of one of his staff members, who then allegedly obtained special favors from the Nevada Republican in exchange for his silence. According to The New York Times: "The Justice Department and the Senate Ethics Committee are expected to conduct preliminary inquiries into whether Senator John Ensign violated federal law or ethics rules as part of an effort to conceal an affair with the wife of an aide…" The former staffer, Douglas Hampton, began to lobby Mr. Ensign's office immediately upon leaving his congressional job, despite the fact that he was subject to a one-year lobbying ban. Ensign seems to have ignored the law and allowed Hampton lobbying access to his office as a payment for his silence about the affair. (These are potentially criminal offenses.) It looks as if Ensign misused his public office (and taxpayer resources) to cover up his sexual shenanigans. Go here to see the remaining seven politicians.

Fox dominates indecency complaints

The home for extreme Republicans, often referred to as Fox News, has about as much credibility as a talking aardvark!

“Thanks in large part to "Family Guy" and some of its live sports programming, Fox leads all broadcast networks in getting under the skins of Americans. Almost 50% of the top 50 broadcast TV indecency complaints filed at the FCC were directed at Fox.”

Photo source

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Remembering a 'rosy sentimentalist' and a 'fretful conservative'

By Dave Stancliff/For the Times-Standard

Posted: 02/28/2010 01:30:31 AM PST

I'd like to pay tribute to a man who died exactly one year ago today, leaving behind a notable legacy in radio broadcasting.

Descended from five generations of Baptist preachers, he was blessed with an authoritative baritone voice. His distinctive staccato delivery caught my attention one day in 1976 while I was channel surfing on my car radio. I became a lifelong fan after that broadcast.

This man was born in the heart of the Bible Belt, Tulsa, Okla., on Sept. 4, 1918. He was called a “born talker” by family and friends while growing up. In high school, he was a champion orator. He got his first radio job at 14 with the help of one of his teachers. Go here to read the “rest of the story.”

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Blog Break Until Presidential Election is Over

I finally hit the wall today. I can't think of what to say about all of the madness going on in this country right now. I'm a writer...