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CSotD: Paradoxes, dilemmas and flat out lies

Signe Wilkinson riffs on the recent report saying that our bird population has dropped by over a quarter since 1970, listing a number of ways in which birds die, though not, apparently, the Big One.

The study itself is behind a paywall, but reading the reports from NPR and the Washington Post, the major problem seems to be less a matter of accidents than of shifts in the ecosystem.

Loss of grasslands impacts the seed eaters, while use of neonicotinoid pesticides  — the same ones blamed for killing off honeybees — impacts insectivores.

Building greenspace into land use planning doesn’t have to mean parks that look like lawns. People can enjoy walking through a natural landscape if local governments will run a Brush Hog through once or twice a year to trim a path through the scrub.

And the idea that neonicotinoids are killing birds as well as bees should drum up additional pressure to get them off the market.

These things have both long-term and short-term impacts.

My dog owner friends and I have noted that, while we had a couple of beaver colonies along the mile and a half of the Connecticut River where we walk our dogs, they appear to have moved on this year. Not far, just upriver to a place with more aspen trees, since they’d cut many of them from this stretch.

The trees will replace themselves and the beaver will be back in a few years. Circle of Life and all that.

More complex, but more critical to our pooches, is predicting the tick population, which is tied into acorns and hazelnuts and beechnuts and squirrels and mice and thus the weather.

These seasonal variations — the ticks by year, the beavers by decade — are a natural ebb and flow, but when you screw with the environment, you can make them permanent, by replacing forest and brush with lawns or by shifting the climate to change the normal cycles of acorns, mice and, yes, ticks.

And not only do you kill the insects birds need when you spray those lawns with neonicotinoids, but when you let your fertilizer leach from your waterfront lawn into the water, you create toxic algae blooms and other dire effects there.

Point being that it’s not all that hard to turn this around, though it does mean taking a responsible role in that Circle of Life, and that applies to both agribusinesses and tree huggers.

Which is to say that, while farmers don’t need to spray their fields with toxins, the fact that an invasive species is cute also should not permit it to run free to kill hundreds of thousands of birds a year.

Keep your insecticides in the tool shed and your cat in the house.

 

Juxtaposition of the Asked-and-Answered

(David Horsey)

(RJ Matson)

Having gone off on a rant over Wilkinson’s panel, I’ll compensate by leaving this pair to talk amongst themselves.

 

Besides, if I start ranting about Moscow Mitch, I’ll go off-topic and bring up his lovely, smiley, charming Conflict of Interest and her extremist views of federalism and states’ rights.

 

And, as Ann Telnaes suggests, it’s getting a little hard to keep track of what the hell conservatives believe on those topics.

 

So Answer Me This

Clay Bennett points out that we’ve put a lying frat boy on the bench of the Supreme Court, and the cartoon is as funny today as it would have been back when we first saw Moscow Mitch and his lockstep crew do the deed.

Nobody with any experience of the world could have possibly believed this spoiled preppy, and whatever he did to anyone else, he lied about his drinking and his adolescent lifestyle, and not only whined and wept, but arrogantly insulted members of the United States Senate.

Well, his lack of decorum might have shifted some votes, but the perjury should have simply been disqualifying. Which it wasn’t.

But now a couple of NYTimes reporters have come up with some very solid proof of that perjury, and it’s not too late to get Bluto off the bench.

The fact that an editor made a mistake in preparing their report for the paper is all but irrelevant.

The error was corrected and, even as first printed, didn’t change the validity of the charges. It’s like saying “We don’t have fingerprints, but here are six people who saw the robber climbing out the window with the money.”

Predictably, the administration claims that the correction means the whole story was wrong.

What is disturbing is that the same commentators who never read the Mueller Report but are sure it proved nothing are now echoing the claim that a minor correction negates all the charges.

If they had the integrity to read the story for themselves, they would realize how insignificant the error was.

I can admire loyalty, but I hate laziness.

“Orwellian” refers to governmental manipulation, but it only works with a compliant citizenry.

Meanwhile, check this out:

As Mike Luckovich notes, Canadian PM Justin Trudeau was guilty some years ago of donning brown makeup in order to dress as Aladdin, and it has sparked outrage.

As CNN reports, Trudeau is penitent and frank about it:

“What I did hurt them, hurt people who shouldn’t have to face intolerance and discrimination because of their identity. This is something I deeply, deeply regret,” he said. Darkening your face, he added, “is always unacceptable because of the racist history of blackface. I should have understood that then, and I never should have done it.”

So here’s the question:

If you are one of the people who said Kavanaugh could have gotten off the hook by admitting that he was immature and irresponsible, that he drank way too much and behaved like an ass, then apologized and assured Senators that he has since matured and mended his ways …

… are you holding Trudeau to the same standard?

Because he’s doing just what you said Kavanaugh should have done.

And what we all said that Clarence Thomas should have done.

And what Al Franken actually did.

Funny old world, ain’t it?

Community Comments

#1 Sean Martin
September/22/2019
@ 7:53 am

The difference between Kavanaugh and Trudeau is actions since. Trudeau has empowered minorities in Canada, given them places at the tables where their experiences are needed. Kavanaugh has become a conservative twit of a judge who thinks slapping down human rights for anyone Not Like Him is perfectly acceptable.

Trudeau grew up.

Kav is still a drunk frat boy.

And that’s the difference.

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