August 30, 2008 archive

The Great Lakes: fresh water seas

They say the best way to protect something is to personalize it.  So please, meet the Great Lakes…


The environment of the Great Lakes region is blessed with huge forests and wilderness areas, rich agricultural land, hundreds of tributaries and thousands of smaller lakes, and extensive mineral deposits. The region’s glacial history and the tremendous influence of the lakes themselves create unique conditions that support a wealth of biological diversity, including more than 130 rare species and ecosystems.

The environment supports a world-class fishery and a variety of wildlife, such as white-tailed deer, beaver, muskrat, weasel, fox, black bear, bobcat, moose and other furbearing animals. Bird populations thrive on the various terrains, some migrating south in the winter, others making permanent homes. An estimated 180 species of fish are native to the Great Lakes, including small- and large-mouth bass, muskellunge, northern pike, lake herring, whitefish, walleye and lake trout. Rare species making their home in the Great Lakes region include the world’s last known population of the white catspaw pearly mussel, the copper redhorse fish and the Kirtland’s warbler.

The region’s sand dunes, coastal marshes, rocky shorelines, lakeplain prairies, savannas, forests, fens, wetlands and other landscapes contain features that are either unique or best represented withink the Great Lakes basin. For example, the world’s largest freshwater dunes line the shores of Lake Michigan.

Over the course of history, many types of pollution have inflicted and been reduced in the region, yet significant challenges remain. These range from threats to divert water out of the Great Lakes basin to the introduction of nonindigenous invasive species and airborne toxics into the basin. Protection of water quality and sustainable development remain long-term goals.  Link

Unless otherwise specified, all pictures are courtesy of: SeaWiFS Project, NASA/FSFC, and GeoEye

Weekend News Digest

Weekend News Digest is an Open Thread

From Yahoo News Top Stories

1 Gustav swells to dangerous Cat 4 storm off Cuba

By WILL WEISSERT, Associated Press Writer

1 minute ago

HAVANA – Gustav swelled into a fearsome Category 4 hurricane with winds of 145 mph (235 kph) on Saturday as Cuba raced to evacuate more than 240,000 people and Americans to the north clogged highways fleeing New Orleans.

Gustav already has killed 78 people in the Caribbean and the U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami said it could strengthen even more after hitting Cuba and entering the warm Gulf of Mexico on a projected course for the Katrina-battered U.S. coast.

Cuba grounded all national airline fights, though planes bound for international destinations were still taking off at Havana’s Jose Marti International Airport. Authorities also canceled all buses and trains to and from the capital, as well as ferry and air service to the Isla de Juventud, the outlying Cuban island-province next in Gustav’s path.

SeaWorld: otters, sea lions, and the big guys

The scene to the left is a view from above of the exhibit called Rocky Point Preserve.  The exhibit allows a person to get up close and personal with sea otters and dolphins.  I’ve saved the dolphin picks for a later essay.

Today is about the sea otters and sea lions because they appear together in a play performed later:  Clyde and Seamore’s Risky Rescue™.  There is nothing some people like more at a zoo or circus than seeing how clever other humans are at teaching some “dumb animal” how to do tricks to amuse humans.  The play speaks to the craving of such people.  I figure it could have been worse, however.  The stars of this show also perform a take off of the Tonight Show called Sea Lions Tonight.  We were spared that one.

One should always remember when one is in San Diego that above all else, it is a Navy town.  Every public gathering seems to begin with a salute to the people currently in uniform, an invitation to veterans to stand (an invitation which I find I never accept), and an invocation of nationalistic pride and/or jingoism.  In the case of Clyde and Seamore, the play has a naval theme.

Getting beyond the political junkies

As much as I love blogging, I often think about the danger that comes when we think about and craft political strategies based on assuming the level of information that we political junkies pay attention to.

Just as an example, I told the story here about my conversation during the whole FISA debate with a co-worker who is a Democrat. She had never heard anything about FISA, even though she tends to read the largest newspaper in the Twin Cities daily. So of course, she would never question her support of Obama because of that. And perhaps more importantly, she would never apply any pressure to Obama either in the campaign or once elected to do the right thing on that issue.

Just yesterday I got together with another one of my friends who is probably the best informed of anyone I know in RL. She had never heard about Obama’s disagreement with the Supreme Court decision against extending the death penalty to crimes where murder is not involved.

I haven’t even asked anyone if they’ve picked up Obama’s nuance about getting out of Iraq vs. getting “combat troops” out of Iraq. But I’d venture to say it would NOT be something that has broken through the consciousness of most voters.  

Moving Forward

Though it seems to have gotten a bit lost in the Palindrone, you may remember that a skinny black kid with a funny name officially wrapped up the Democtratic nomination for President recently.

65 days until the end of Bushco.

After being consumed in the purifying (ha) fire of  the primary wars in one form or another for nearly two years, LeftBlogistan is now loosed from the yoke of THAT internal division and can now run free.

65 days until the end of republicanism.

But wither shall it run? Tom P very deftly outlines what we are fighting.  I will add my summation. We are fighting the power structure that has seized hold of this country. The power structure of the haves making this country safe for the haves. While casting aside the have-nots. If you are wondering where you fall, just ask McCain. Do YOU make more or less than $5 million a year?

On The Road Again

Let’s get serious for a moment.

There are better and more important things than politics. And if things don’t quite work out the way we’d like them to regardless of who wins the election in November, don’t forget that the road we want to travel is always out there…

Putin Accuses US Of Staging Georgia Conflict

It appears that reality has been turned on it’s head once more, and the history books have been written by the right wing propaganda machine and the media, and the story has been acceded to by the public and seems to have been accepted nearly completely by a coopted antiwar movement, all in favor of winning the presidency at any and all costs now.

The fact is that Georgia was put up to attacking South Ossetia by the neocons to force a long expected Russian hand to create a new cold war that down the road may go nuclear, and to try to give a campaign advantage to McCain as another “enemy” from which he will promise to “protect” you.

But not only is John McCain attempting to use the situation to swagger and show how “tough” and ready to stand up to “Russian aggression” he is, Barack Obama has obviously decided that a manufactured false reality is a useful political tool as well, even one that has the potential to kill many, and if he can be slicker at treating you as stupid as the republicans are treating the public… well, I suppose that’s just his “pragmatism” showing how fit to be president he is.

August 30, 2008 – 4 min 45 sec

Gareth Porter: The US is going to use a double standard to condemn Russia

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin accused the US of staging the Georgian conflict. His statements echo two articles pointing to Senator John McCain’s foreign policy adviser, Randy Scheunemann, in which conservative politician Pat Buchanan calls Sheunemann ” a dual loyalist, a foreign agent whose assignment is to get America committed to spilling the blood of her sons for client regimes who have made this moral mercenary a rich man.” Gareth Porter also states that The US is going to use a double standard to condemn Russia.”

Gareth Porter is a historian and investigative journalist on US foreign and military policy analyst. He writes regularly for Inter Press Service on US policy towards Iraq and Iran. Author of four books, the latest of which is Perils of Dominance: Imbalance of Power and the Road to War in Vietnam.


VP pick Sara Palin frightens me.

She frightens me because I fully understand the power of ultra conservative, fundamentalist women and I know how many of them there still are. All I have to do is go sit in a diner in any small town in Minnesota, and listen to nearby conversations for a half hour to know that things are not than much different today than they were in the 60’s, for women born and raised there.

Or I can simply stay home and spend time in the Lobby of this large senior apartment complex, and listen to my “good christian neighbors” bemoaning the lack of morals, those “godless gays”, and how “The blacks are everywhere now!”

Gustav’s Coming, We’re All Watching (Updated x 2)

cross posted from The Dream Antilles

It looks like Hurricane Gustav (it’s now a hurricane and not a tropical storm) is headed directly for New Orleans.  Weatherunderground gives us computer modeling that is not at all comforting:


Notice the uniformity of all of the computer models.  Notice that the computers bring Gustav extremely close to New Orleans as a category 3 hurricane.

Join me in the City that Care Forgot.

Brave New Foundation: War Scar Chapter 1

Topic: Loss of Limb/Post-Traumatic Stress War Scar Chapter 1

Jerry Cortinas

Army Veteran

Lonnie C. Moore

Program Analyst

U.S. Army Warrior Transition Office

Docudharma Times Saturday August 30

Sarah Palin Governor Alaska (R)

Candidate for Vice President of the

United States


Moose Hunter

Likes Hunting Moose

Moose Hunter

Likes Hunting Moose

World Crisis Management Experience: The 3:30am Moose Call    

Other Qualifications


 Palin has risen quickly from PTA to VP pick

Alaska’s first-term governor and McCain’s new running mate is enormously popular in her state, despite some tensions with other Alaska Republicans.

 By Cathleen Decker and Michael Finnegan, Los Angeles Times Staff Writers

August 30, 2008

Palin is breathtakingly unlike any other vice presidential pick in American history — a gun-toting, mooseburger-eating former Miss Wasilla, an Alaska governor whose parents nearly missed her national unveiling because they were out hunting caribou.

The first woman to grace a Republican ticket stepped onto the stage with McCain in Dayton, Ohio, surrounded by her husband and four of their five children, including a baby born in April. The tableau of everyday mom-ness, however, may have masked the ambition and grit that have marked Palin’s meteoric rise in Alaska.

Two years ago, she knocked off the sitting Republican governor in the primary and a former Democratic governor in the general. Her relations with Alaska officialdom have not always been sunny, resuscitating a nickname given when, as a high schooler, she led her basketball team to the state championship: “Sarah Barracuda.”

By her own telling, Palin’s political rise has been improbable.

Thai protesters break into gov’t office as PM heads to consult king


 Thai protesters broke into abandoned government offices Saturday in their escalating campaign to force Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej from office.

The prime minister, just back from visiting the revered king’s seaside palace, meanwhile planned to return there Saturday evening to consult on the crisis, a government official told AFP, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Chamlong Srimuang, one of the leaders of the so-called People’s Alliance for Democracy for whom an arrest warrant has been issued, ordered 45 PAD guards to break into the main government building on Saturday afternoon, activists said.

The PAD have been holding a protest camp in the grounds surrounding the building since Tuesday, and 15,000 people were rallying in the compound on Saturday.


Surge in Natural Gas Cars Has Utah Driving Cheaply  


Published: August 29, 2008  

SALT LAKE CITY – The best deal on fuel in the country right now might be here in Utah, where people are waiting in lines to pay the equivalent of 87 cents a gallon. Demand is so strong at rush hour that fuel runs low, and some days people can pump only half a tank.

It is not gasoline they are buying for their cars, but natural gas.

By an odd confluence of public policy and private initiative, Utah has become the first state in the country to experience broad consumer interest in the idea of running cars on clean natural gas.

Utahans are hunting the Internet and traveling the country to pick up used natural gas cars at auctions. They are spending thousands of dollars to transform their trucks and sport utility vehicles to run on compressed gas.

Roundup of ctrenta’s DNC dispatches

I thought we should have a round up of ctrenta’s excellent reporting from last week’s DNC convention in Denver-

I want to personally thank ctrenta for all the work and I hope all of you had a chance to enjoy it.

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