Sonja and I took the dogs for a walk out at 4th of July Creek this afternoon. While there we caught a glimpse of our first Black Oystercatcher of the year. They're such cool birds...probably one of my favorites in the area. The weather was so snowy and cold this morning that it was a very pleasant surprise when it turned into a beatifully sunny afternoon. Perfect for Harvey and Luna swimming at the beach with three sea lions and a harbor seal. Lots of waterfowl on the water, too. Here's the list of what we could spot from shore:
Black Oystercatcher, Mallard, Pintail Duck, American Widgeon, Green-winged Teal, Barrow's Goldeneye, Surf Scoter, White-winged Scoter, Black Scoter, Marbled Murrelet, Greater Yellowlegs, Mew Gull, Glaucus-winged Gull.
I just found out that a good friend of mine from Fairbanks got his first article and set of photographs published. The article, "Birds in the Night Light," can be found in the May/June 2006 issues of Birdwatcher's Digest. You can find this available at bookstores and can even buy it online.
Finally, I recently received the following forward from someone who thought I might have a thing or two to say about it. Normally, I just delete these out of hand since they tend to be stupid chain letters prophesizing riches for those who do email it to others or doom on anyone who doesn't pass it on. But I got this one from someone who rarely sends forwards, so I decided to give it a chance.
I've decided to intersperse my comments directly into this piece of garbage, in order to address each part in turn. So, the underlined sections are direct quotes from the forward, while my comments are not underlined.
WOULDN'T IT BE GREAT TO TURN ON THE TV AND HEAR ANY U.S. PRESIDENT, DEMOCRAT OR REPUBLICAN GIVE THE FOLLOWING SPEECH?
My Fellow Americans: As you all know, the defeat of Iraq regime has been completed.
Since congress does not want to spend any more money on this war, our mission in Iraq is complete.
I don't necessarily have anything really bad to say about this section, although I would like to provide a factual clarification. The defeat of Saddam Hussein's regime is complete...I seriously doubt American troops will ever be able to "defeat" the civil war that started after the U.S. invaded. So I think suggesting that our "mission" is complete is completely wrong...unless our mission was to illegally overthrow a sovereign government and plunge an entire nation into chaos and violence. If that's the case, then sure, our mission is complete. Let's leave now.
This morning I gave the order for a complete removal of all American forces from Iraq. This action will be complete within 30 days. It is now to begin the reckoning.
All I'm going to say here is, now that we've made this mess, it's our ethical responsibility to see it through to the end. To leave now and abandon the Iraqi people to civil war and suicide bombers after CAUSING this entire fiasco would not only be utterly wrong and immoral (ugh, i hate that word), but disastrous for regional stability...not to mention being utterly stupid.
Before me, I have two lists. One list contains the names of countries which have stood by our side during the Iraq conflict. This list is short. The United Kingdom, Spain, Bulgaria, Australia, and Poland are some of the countries listed there. The other list contains everyone not on the first list. Most of the world's nations are on that list. My press secretary will be distributing copies of both lists later this evening.
I love this section. It illustrates the stupidity and arrogance of our current administration perfectly. You think there might be some reason why the vast majority of the world's nations chose not to support the war in Iraq? Think it might be possible that the rest of the world actually cares about adhering to international law instead of unilaterally deciding to invade another country? Yeah, I do too.
Let me start by saying that effective immediately, foreign aid to those nations on List 2 ceases immediately and indefinitely. The money saved during the first year alone will pretty much pay for the costs of the Iraqi war.
Funny that the author of this forward neglected to mention the amount of foreign aid the United States gets from those nations on List 2. The ramifications of ceasing "aid" to 4/5 of the planet would send the American economy into an irrecoverable tailspin. No more oil. No more cars (many parts of "American" cars are manufactured elsewhere in the world). No more computers. No more Nutella. No more Heinekin. No more MONEY to help pay for all of the things our government spends money on. Many people don't realize that when our government spends more than they earn (deficit spending), they have to borrow the remainder. That money has to come from somewhere. And guess who we go to for that money? Nearly every nation on List 2.
Ceasing U.S. aid to nations on List 2 will do nothing but destroy the U.S. completely and totally. Oh yes, this is a marvelous idea. I'm so glad the author of this forward thought of it.
The American people are no longer going to pour money into third world Hell-holes and watch those government leaders grow fat on corruption. Need help with a famine? Wrestling with an epidemic? Call France.
If anything, this statement alone allows us to write the author of this post off as an ignorant bigot. What he (and I use that pronoun deliberately...I refuse to believe a woman could ever write such garbage) fails to comprehend is that the U.S. government is usually only a minor player in the amount of aid given to countries facing famine, war, disease, and the like. In fact, it is usually only the big disasters the media chooses to focus on that result in any form of significant monetary assistance from the U.S., due primarily to Congress finding it a convenient way of boosting their popularity by appearing to "care" about those in need. The "List 2" nations are often some of the biggest contributors to improving the living conditions of people in "third world hell-holes."
In the future, together with Congress, I will work to redirect this money toward solving the vexing social problems we still have at home. On that note, a word to terrorist organizations. Screw with us and we will hunt you down and eliminate you and all your friends from the face of the earth.
*begin sarcasm* Oh, this is sure an effective threat. Particularly considering the incredible success we've had finding the guy responsible for the September 11 attacks. But I guess it's not all that important to bring Osama bin Laden to justice...surely not more important than destroying a nation that posed no threat whatsoever to us. *end sarcasm*
Thirsting for a gutsy country to terrorize? Try France, or maybe China.
I am ordering the immediate severing of diplomatic relations with France, Germany, and Russia. Thanks for all your help, comrades. We are retiring from NATO as well. Bon chance, mes amis.
Oh, now there's a smart policy. I guess we can say goodbye to the oil we buy from Russia, as well. It's not like we use oil, anyway. We're America. We don't need the rest of the world!
I have instructed the Mayor of New York City to begin towing the many UN diplomatic vehicles located in Manhattan with more than two unpaid parking tickets to sites where those vehicles will be stripped, shredded and crushed. I don't care about whatever treaty pertains to this. You creeps have tens of thousands of unpaid tickets. Pay those tickets tomorrow or watch your precious Benzes, Beamers and limos be turned over to some of the finest chop shops in the world. I love New York.
Ok, this might actually have a smidge of merit. Unfortunately, he resorted to sophomoric name-calling, which automatically makes him sound like a rambling idiot.
A special note to our neighbors. Canada is on List 2. Since we are likely to be seeing a lot more of each other, you folks might want to try not pissing us off for a change.
This is the macho, arrogant nationalistic bullsh*t that has turned the rest of the world against the U.S. This crap has to stop, and it has to stop now. Seriously, am I the only one sick of watching stupid American sheep wrap themselves in a flag and tell the rest of the world to f--- itself while shouting to the wind how America is so freaking special? I hate to break it to anyone who doesn't know, but we are FAR from the most "free" nation on the planet. We are far from the beacon of civil liberties that many like to brag about. We are far from the benevolent do-gooder nation that people seem to think we are and enjoy complaining about.
On the contrary, we are a nation whose leaders and media desire nothing more than to keep us in a perpetual state of fear and anxiety. Because if we are afraid, we will consume. And the more we consume, the richer they become. We are a nation of unhealthy, resource-consuming sheep who refuse to think for themselves and only believe what can be summarized in a 10-second soundbyte. We are nation that is destroying our educational system and natural treasures due to massive budget cuts and record deficits in order to pay for an illegal war based upon a manipulation of the truth.
Ok, not every American is a fat, greedy, arrogant pig...but sometimes it sure seems like there are a helluva lot of them.
Mexico is also on List 2. President Fox and his entire corrupt government really need an attitude adjustment. I will have a couple extra tank and infantry divisions sitting around. Guess where I am going to put em? Yep, border security. So start doing something with your oil.
I'm not even going to get into the whole immigration debate. Suffice to say that every single white American alive today is the descendant of an immigrant who arrived in this country longing for a better life. It would be nice if those screaming for a wall to be built between the U.S. and Mexico would remember that now and again.
Oh, by the way, the United States is abrogating the NAFTA treaty - starting now.
Wow, I actually agree with this statement. Perhaps this will stop some American corporations from "fleeing" the laws of the U.S. in order to rape and plunder poorer nations with weaker environmental laws and sell their stuff back to Americans for record profits without having to pay tariffs.
We are tired of the one-way highway. Immediately, we'll be drilling for oil in Alaska - which will take care of this country's oil needs for decades to come. If you're an environmentalist who opposes this decision, I refer you to List 2 above: pick a country and move there. They care.
Actually, I would prefer it if the author of this post would be the one to find another country to live in. There are plenty out there who don't give a rat's ass about their natural heritage and wilderness areas. Go rape those. I prefer to keep our wilderness areas the way they are, thank you. Besides, I'm with the majority on this one, thankfully.
It is time for America to focus on its own welfare and its own citizens. Some will accuse us of isolationism. I answer them by saying, "darn tootin."
I agree with the idea of this statement, if not the attitude. It's about time the U.S. stops its empirialistic endeavors and hypocritical "let's spread OUR brand of freedom and democracy" attitude and starts taking care of the problems HERE and NOW. Hell, even if we cancelled the order for one B-2 stealth bomber (price tag $2 BILLION dollars), we could pay the salaries of an additional 57,143 teachers for our public schools.
Nearly a century of trying to help folks live a decent life around the world has only earned us the undying enmity of just about everyone on the planet.
Nope, sorry. It's actually the arrogant unilateralism, cowboy macho nationalistic zealotry, isolationism and blatant disregard for international law that has earned us the undying enmity of just about everyone on the planet.
It is time to eliminate hunger in America. It is time to eliminate homelessness in America. It is time to eliminate World Cup Soccer from America.
Yes. Yes. And who gives a flying crap.
To the nations on List 1, a final thought. Thanks guys. We owe you and we won't forget.
Oh, and here's the bonus we promised you for kissing our asses and a rag to wipe that brown stuff off your noses.
To the nations on List 2, a final thought: You might want to learn to speak Arabic.
Now we can add racism to the list of this author's attributes. Nice.
God bless America. Thank you and good night. If you can read this, thank a teacher. If you are reading it in English, thank a soldier.
*rolls eyes* Today's soldiers are the biggest sheep around. I should know...I was one of them. I have no respect for anyone who volunteers to go destroy the lives of innocent civilians and assist in perpetuating the civil war that we started.
(Please forward this to at least ten friends and see what happens! Let's get this to every USA computer!)
Please don't. Rather, try to come up with your own thoughts about today's world and what you believe is good or bad about it. I don't care if you agree with me or not, just think for yourself. Refuse to be a sheep. Resist the urge to simply parrot back what you hear without actually considering the implications of what you are saying. Learn more about the world and its inhabitants, both human and nonhuman. Learn another language. Educate yourself. Celebrate humanity's diversity, don't fear it.
But most importantly, become an individual. There are far too few of us left.