Saturday Surprise — Birds’ Tongues!

A nice crisp, cool autumn weekend … at long last!  You guys have big plans?  I have no idea if we do or not … the girls usually decide what we’ll do on a Saturday, and I’m just along for the ride, the bank card, and the driver.  I can’t believe that October is already half over … seems like it only started yesterday!

A few days ago, a friend and I were having a conversation about whether birds have tongues, and if so, whether they have taste buds.  Of course … a perfectly normal conversation!  What?  You don’t discuss such things?  Anyway, naturally the question kept burning in my mind, keeping me awake far into the wee hours, and I simply had to satisfy my curiosity.  Well … turns out they do have tongues, and this ferruginous hawk just had to prove the point!ferruginous-hawkJust as birds come in all different shapes, sizes and varieties, so do their tongues — long tongues, short tongues, spiky tongues, curly tongues, forked tongues, frayed tongues, brush-like tongues.  Care to take a look at a few?

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This rainbow lorikeet has a brush-like tongue

These hummingbirds have forked tongues that are rolled up inside their beaks until submerged in liquid, at which time they partly unfurl.  As the hummingbird drinks, the forks of his tongue furl and unfurl, so it’s almost as if he is drinking through two straws.hummingbird-1

hummingbird-2Isn’t this guy pretty?  He’s a purple honeycreeper (looks blue to me) and has a very long tongue, to enable him to drink nectar from flowers (or the hummingbird feeder you have on the back porch).purple-honeycreeper.jpgWoodpeckers also have very long tongues that are also sharp and spiky … the better to get the bugs out of the holes in trees!  And here you thought they just liked waking you at 6:00 a.m. on a Saturday!  This guy decided to take the easy way out, though, and drink from the hummingbird feeder.woodpeckerWhile we’ve established that birds do have tongues, what they don’t have is teeth, so birds of prey, such as fish-eating birds, have tongues with little rear-facing hooks or spikes to prevent a captured fish from slipping away from them.  Penguins have very spiky and partially keratinized tongues, meaning that parts of the tongue are made strong and stiff by keratin.

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Gentoo penguin chick

Geese and ducks also have spiky tongues, as well as hairy tongues and tongues with hard flat surfaces that, from a distance, seem to resemble a human’s tongue.  However, they are really nothing like our tongues, for they are covered with hairs and spikes that act like a sieve, allowing the bird to filter food particles from the water.

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Canadian geese

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Mallard duck

So, we’ve seen that birds have tongues, but do they have taste buds?  Now, this whole conversation started because my friend’s budgie had stopped liking one food that he was once very fond of, and nearly gobbled another that he never used to like at all.  Turns out that yes, birds do have taste buds, but not very many, and not on their tongues, but rather in their bills!fieldfareTaste buds in birds haven’t been the subject of much research, so not as much is known, but what is known is that birds have far fewer taste buds than we humans.  Depending on the species, birds may have fewer than 50 or up to roughly 500 taste buds, while humans have 9,000-10,000 taste buds. Birds can taste sweet, sour and bitter flavors, and they learn which of those tastes are the most suitable and nutritious food sources. The sensitivity to different tastes varies by species, but most birds use other senses—sight and hearing most prominently—to locate the best foods.

And now you know more than you ever thought you wanted to know about birds’ mouths!  Hope you enjoyed the pictures and the mini-lesson!  Now go forth and have a fun & wonderful weekend, my friends!

For more fun reading about birds and their mouths, here are the sources I used:

Let’s talk about bird tongues  (Research on Dark-eyed Juncos and why animals do what they do)

Bird Senses and How They Use Them  (The Spruce)

How Do Birds Taste Their Food?  (Audubon)

Corporate Profits Over Life?

There is yet more evidence that corporate profits matter more than life in the U.S.  Last November one of the issues on the California ballot was Proposition 12.  In a nutshell, Proposition 12, the Prevention of Cruelty to Farm Animals Act …

“…  outlaws the most extreme forms of animal confinement throughout the Golden State. Once it’s implemented, egg-laying hens, baby calves raised for veal, and mother pigs will no longer be confined in cages. Additionally, all eggs, veal, and pork sold in the state will meet this standard.”

Some 60% of voters approved the measure, and it was signed into law.  The Humane Society of the United States backed the measure, while People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals opposed it, saying it did not go far enough.

However, the meat industry claims that it violates the U.S. Constitution’s Commerce Clause by requiring out-of-state producers to comply with California’s rules or face a sales ban. The North American Meat Institute, whose members include processors such as Tyson Foods, Cargill, Smithfield Foods, and retailers including Wal-Mart, Chipotle, Target, and Whole Foods, said enforcing Proposition 12 would hurt producers and consumers by significantly increasing their costs.  And so, on Friday they filed a lawsuit (isn’t that the answer to everything these days?) in Los Angeles federal court seeking an injunction against the sales ban targeting out-of-state veal and pork.

The law, if enforced, would …

  • Prevent egg-laying hens, breeding pigs, and veal calves from being housed inhumanely in small cages for their entire lives.
  • Reduce the risk of people being sickened by food poisoning and factory farm pollution by preventing overcrowding of animals in small spaces.

It would also likely cost producers more to comply, and thus raise the consumer prices for eggs, pork and veal, for we all know that companies like Tyson and Wal-Mart aren’t going to eat a single penny of that increased cost but will pass it on to consumers.

My take?  Thanks for asking … if these producers cannot treat the animals humanely, then they can go out of business for all it matters.  People should eat less pork and veal anyway, and fewer eggs as well.  We would all be healthier.  I’m sick and tired of the big corporations putting their profit ahead of lives, whether human, animal, plant, or the planet.  And speaking of the planet …

CaliforniaCalifornia seems to consistently be ahead of the pack on trying to improve such things as the environment, human and animal welfare, etc.  California has the strictest emissions standards in the nation for autos and trucks, and recently the state worked with auto makers to maintain those standards, but last month Trump & Co revoked the state’s authority to set state-level standards.  Why?  Because Trump & Co are in the pockets of the fossil fuel industry.  Higher emission standards like California’s mean the oil companies will sell less fuel and … GASP … may lose some of their multi-billion dollar profits!  ¡Ay, pobrecitos!

But then … wait for it … the Environmental Protection Agency last week followed up with letters to California that threatened to wield rarely used provisions of environmental law to withhold federal funding from the state if it did not take specific steps to clean its air and water!  That’s what they were trying to do, for Pete’s sake!!!

Legal experts say this amounts to weaponizing environmental laws intended not only to undermine California’s liberal government but to send a message to other states that might defy Trump.

The Clean Air Act specifically offered states the ability to set their own environmental standards if Washington grants them a waiver.  This move infringes on states’ rights, is a threat to the very principle of states’ rights.

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Andrew Wheeler

Andrew Wheeler, who now heads the EPA, worked in the law firm Faegre Baker Daniels, representing coal magnate Robert E. Murray and lobbying against the Obama Administration’s environmental regulations.  Conflict of interest???  It seems to me that under Wheeler, just as under Pruitt before him, the Environmental Protection Agency is doing the exact opposite of protecting the environment!

Are we to sit quietly while big corporations and Trump’s gang of thugs abuse animals and destroy the air we breathe, the water we drink, and everything else under the sun only for the sake of lining their own pockets?  Think about it.

‘Toons … Just ‘Toons

It’s Sunday … I think we’re all exhausted after a week of one ‘breaking news’ story after another … so I think we should sit back and let those talented cartoonists entertain us this afternoon, don’t you?  No doubt they’ve had plenty of material to work with this week.


This is one I can certainly relate to … can you?

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On Monday, young Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg gave a show-stopping speech at the United Nations Climate Summit.  Trump chose to attend some other function instead, mostly in order to thumb his nose at the planet and the 7+ billion people living on it.  Overall, the summit did not produce the commitments from nations that we had hoped, and was rather a disappointment, but there have been increasing numbers of people turning out for the climate strikes, as Wolf Boy showed us yesterday.  Some people are taking climate change seriously, just not the world leaders who need to.

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In 2016, the Russians influenced the presidential election in favour of Donald Trump and clearly with his knowledge and approval.  Now, Trump apparently felt that his buddy Vlad (Putin) wasn’t doing enough to help him, so he attempted to blackmail and bully the newly-elected President Zelenskyy of the Ukraine to dig up dirt on one of his opponents for the upcoming 2020 election.   

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But, of course Trump still has a ‘healthy’ relationship with Russia … 

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And … the topic I know you’ve been waiting for … impeachment!  The phone call between Trump and President Zelenskyy was the straw that broke Nancy Pelosi’s the camel’s back, and finally Speaker Pelosi was convinced that impeachment is necessary, despite her misgivings.  

Impeachment

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Tom Toles Editorial Cartoon - tt_c_c190918.tifimpeach-1impeach-2impeach-5

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Many, including myself, have likened Trump to a mobster, and these two speak volumes …

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The gun crisis … and yes, it is a crisis … in this country is never out of the news for very long …

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And finally, a few random ‘toons …

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Enjoy your Sunday afternoon, friends!

Attention: Global Climate Strikes! Attend One, Save the Planet

You all remember the interview I did with Wolf Boy a month or so ago? Well, today he has written a post that I simply must re-blog. It wasn’t too long ago that he was only vaguely aware of Greta Thunberg, but today she is a hero in his book, as she is in mine. Mat even attended a Climate Strike in Waterloo, Ontario this past Friday. Thumbs up to you, Wolf Boy! 👍

Blog of the Wolf Boy

“Saving our planet, lifting people out of poverty, advancing economic growth… these are one and the same fight. We must connect the dots between climate change, water scarcity, energy shortages, global health, food security, and women’s empowerment. Solutions to one problem must be solutions for all.” Ban Ki-moon


If you haven’t heard, Greta Thunberg has started a phenomenon which is catching on all around the world. She protests every Friday night where-ever she travels. The last two weeks there have been Climate Strikes across the globe! I took to my principles and did what every good boy should do, I skipped class and attended. 😀

And it was worth it!

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I can’t tell you how happy this made me, to see just how many people are taking this seriously now. This has been a bullshit issue that’s been plaguing humanity for way too long now, and it took a…

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Snarkier Than Usual Snippets …

snarky-3Snarky.  I’m feeling very snarky today.  Come to think of it … I don’t think there has been a day in the last three years that I haven’t felt snarky!  Care to join me?


We don’t arrest children!!!

Last Thursday, two six-year-old children were arrested in Florida.  That’s right … six years old … arrested … taken to jail.  Their crimes?  Being kids.  One, we know, was a little girl named Kaia, who had a bit of a temper tantrum while in class.  Her grandmother says she is dealing with some health issues and had not slept the night before.  It is unclear what ‘crimes’ were committed by the other child, a little boy.  The children were handcuffed, put in the back of a police car, and taken to the Juvenile Assessment Center.  Handcuffs.  Police car.

The arresting officer, Dennis Turner, was a retired police officer serving as a “school resource officer”.  Let me tell you just a bit about Turner’s past record.  Turner was charged with aggravated child abuse in 1998 in connection with his 7-year-old son.  In 2016, he was reprimanded for using excessive force after stunning a man five times with a Taser during an arrest.  And these are only the incidents that were reported last week after he arrested the two children.  Aggravated child abuse.  And yet, he was allowed to work as a resource office in a school.

Turner has since been terminated and the parents of the children have received an apology from Orlando Police Chief Orlando Rolón.  But, the question remains … how could this have been allowed to happen?  Who in their right mind thinks it is okay to treat children as young as six-years-old in this manner???  School resource officers came into being after the Columbine shootings in 1999, but it seems to me that arresting a six-year-old child for throwing a temper tantrum has literally nothing … nothing … to do with keeping children safe from guns!

Yes, Turner is gone, but the fact that school resource officers are able to arrest children is simply wrong. Is this an isolated incident, or have there been others that simply didn’t make it to the news?  This story likely wouldn’t have received national attention but for the fact that Kaia’s grandmother, justifiably outraged, spoke on camera of the incident to a local television station, and from there it exploded.

Y’know … if these are the extremes we must go to in order to protect our children from gun violence in schools, then maybe … just maybe … it’s time we address the real problem … the largely unchecked flow of guns into the hands of any who want them?  Think about it … but think quietly … wouldn’t want to upset the NRA and the legislators who are in their pockets now, would we?  Nah, far better to keep on traumatizing children than to upset Uncle Wayne!


Da Fox has a conscience? 

Well … Fox News seems to have a conscience, but a very limited one.  Yesterday, after young climate activist Greta Thunberg gave a blistering speech (more about that in a later post), Fox News invited right-wing commentator Michael Knowles of the Daily Wire to discuss Thunberg’s speech and the climate crisis.  Here’s what he said …

“If it were about science it would be led by scientists rather than by politicians and a mentally ill Swedish child who is being exploited by her parents and by the international left.”

GASP!  Fortunately, I did not see this interview (I have never once turned on Fox News), or I would likely have thrown something through the television screen!  What a grade-A jackass!

Fox News actually issued an apology …

“The comment made by Michael Knowles who was a guest on The Story tonight was disgraceful. We apologize to Greta Thunberg and to our viewers.”

So, you might think that perhaps Fox isn’t so bad after all, that maybe they have a heart and a conscience, yes?  Don’t be fooled.  For on the same day, Fox’ own Laura Ingraham, she of the poisonous tongue and zero values, used her program to criticize Greta Thunberg, saying …

“Greta Thunberg didn’t have to read her address, she actually memorized it. The implication is, of course, that to ensure the future, everyone must sign on to these globalist solutions. Cede control of our economy, our way of life, our way of transport, how many children you want to have, and if we don’t go along, we will be punished by our own children. Does anyone else find that chilling? I can’t wait for Stephen King’s sequel, Children of the Climate.”

Fox News has not commented on Ingraham’s nastiness.  Her own brother, however, apparently got the conscience and the brains in the family, for he did take her to task, saying …

“Clearly my sister’s paycheck is more important than the world her three adopted kids will inherit. I can no longer apologize for a sibling who I no longer recognize. I can and will continue to call out the monstrous behavior and the bully commentary born out of anger.”

Thumbs up to Curtis Ingraham … at least somebody recognizes that his sister is a grade-A b**ch.


Oh, the IRONY!!!

Breaking news just in … “Trump officials threaten to withhold highway funds from California for its ‘chronic air quality problems’”

SAY WHAT???

Was it not just last week that Trump announced he would not allow California to set state emission standards that were stricter than the federal standards???  Does this ‘man’ carry a brain around with him at any point?  Oh wait … yeah, we all know where he carries his brain, and it damn sure ain’t in his head!  This is akin to a parent not allowing their child to eat healthy vegetables, but instead shoving cookies and candy into them, then punishing them for being fat!!!


And speaking of the Witless Wonder …

Yesterday, Trump popped into the UN briefly, though he did not participate in the Climate Summit that was taking place.  It appeared he only popped in to get his name in the news, to make a number of inane comments … to be the “center of attention” as he seems to feel a need to be.  One of his comments, though, is beyond belief:

“I would get a Nobel prize for a lot of things, if they give it out fairly, which they don’t. They gave one to Obama immediately upon his ascent to the presidency and he had no idea why he got it.”


And now that I have unleashed my snark, I must go clean something … take my hostilities out on dirt and dust!  But, I shall leave you with a bit of humour …

The Big Picture

We all know the many atrocities Trump has committed in his 32+ months in office and they are never far from our minds, but there are so many that sometimes it’s hard to see the big picture.  David Leonhardt’s column in the New York Times today simply lists, line by line, 40 of the worst atrocities committed by the man who calls himself ‘president’.  Note that there are many not even on this list, such as his rollback of environmental regulations and his 12,000+ lies.

Take a look at the list … some you may have even forgotten, in light of newer, more vitriolic ones.  And after you look at all 40 of these, ask yourself a question:  How can anybody in their right mind possibly support this ‘man’?  And yet, in the past week, his approval rating has actually gone up!  If you still have any Trump-supporting friends left, show them this list, and ask them the question.  It has become one of life’s greatest mysteries to me … even greater than how many stars are in the sky!

Donald Trump vs. the United States of America

Just the facts, in 40 sentences.

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By David Leonhardt

Opinion Columnist

Sometimes it’s worth stepping back to look at the full picture.

He has pressured a foreign leader to interfere in the 2020 American presidential election.

He urged a foreign country to intervene in the 2016 presidential election.

He divulged classified information to foreign officials.

He publicly undermined American intelligence agents while standing next to a hostile foreign autocrat.

He hired a national security adviser who he knew had secretly worked as a foreign lobbyist.

He encourages foreign leaders to enrich him and his family by staying at his hotels.

He genuflects to murderous dictators.

He has alienated America’s closest allies.

He lied to the American people about his company’s business dealings in Russia.

He tells new lies virtually every week — about the economy, voter fraud, even the weather.

He spends hours on end watching television and days on end staying at resorts.

He often declines to read briefing books or perform other basic functions of a president’s job.

He has aides, as well as members of his own party in Congress, who mock him behind his back as unfit for office.

He has repeatedly denigrated a deceased United States senator who was a war hero.

He insulted a Gold Star family — the survivors of American troops killed in action.

He described a former first lady, not long after she died, as “nasty.”

He described white supremacists as “some very fine people.”

He told four women of color, all citizens and members of Congress, to “go back and help fix the totally broken and crime-infested places from which they came.”

He made a joke about Pocahontas during a ceremony honoring Native American World War II veterans.

He launched his political career by falsely claiming that the first black president was not really American.

He launched his presidential campaign by describing Mexicans as “rapists.”

He has described women, variously, as “a dog,” “a pig” and “horseface,” as well as “bleeding badly from a facelift” and having “blood coming out of her wherever.”

He has been accused of sexual assault or misconduct by multiple women.

He enthusiastically campaigned for a Senate candidate who was accused of molesting multiple teenage girls.

He waved around his arms, while giving a speech, to ridicule a physically disabled person.

He has encouraged his supporters to commit violence against his political opponents.

He has called for his opponents and critics to be investigated and jailed.

He uses a phrase popular with dictators — “the enemy of the people” — to describe journalists.

He attempts to undermine any independent source of information that he does not like, including judges, scientists, journalists, election officials, the F.B.I., the C.I.A., the Congressional Budget Office and the National Weather Service.

He has tried to harass the chairman of the Federal Reserve into lowering interest rates.

He said that a judge could not be objective because of his Mexican heritage.

He obstructed justice by trying to influence an investigation into his presidential campaign.

He violated federal law by directing his lawyer to pay $280,000 in hush money to cover up two apparent extramarital affairs.

He made his fortune partly through wide-scale financial fraud.

He has refused to release his tax returns.

He falsely accused his predecessor of wiretapping him.

He claimed that federal law-enforcement agents and prosecutors regularly fabricated evidence, thereby damaging the credibility of criminal investigations across the country.

He has ordered children to be physically separated from their parents.

He has suggested that America is no different from or better than Vladimir Putin’s Russia.

He has called America a “hellhole.”

He is the president of the United States, and he is a threat to virtually everything that the United States should stand for.

World That Once Was … Redux

I wrote this post over a year ago, but I think it is as relevant today as it was a year ago, and with the environment being top news this week, it seems a good time to ‘re-play’ it.  


I was sitting dozing before the fire when my two great grandchildren rushed into the room …

“Grannie, Grannie … we’re bored!  Will you tell us some stories?  Will you tell us about the cabin in the woods?”

“Yeah, an’ Grannie … will you tell us again ‘bout how you used to play outside … an’ how there was grass an’ you could even see the sky?  Please, Grannie, please?”

Now, I know their mother would not wish me to fill their heads with what once was and can never be again, but … it is all I have left to give them … the world that once was.  And so, I make room for one of them on either side of me, and I begin …

Well, you see, when I was a little girl, so many years ago, I would wake up on Saturday morning, do the few chores assigned to me, and then run outside to play with my friends.  Sometimes we played football in the street, sometimes we rode bicycles, and other days we went out in search of caterpillars that we would keep in canning jars with holes poked in the lids and some grass and water in the bottom.  And then we would wait for them to turn into beautiful butterflies.

“An’ you didn’t even have to wear an oxygen mask to go outside, Grannie?”

“What’s a butterfly?”

No, child, we didn’t need to wear oxygen masks to go outside back then, for the air was fresh and clear, and you could look up and see how blue the sky was … not like today when all you see is murky yellow air.  A butterfly, sweetie … well here … let me draw you a picture …butterfly

They aren’t around anymore … I guess they couldn’t survive in the bad air. We would play outside all day, sit in the grass to eat our sandwiches, and when night fell, we caught lightning bugs.  They aren’t around anymore either, but they were little bugs that had some chemical at the tail end of their body, and as they flew, they lit up a pale yellow or green colour.  It was how they ‘talked’ to the other lightning bugs. When I was a young girl, sometimes there would be hundreds of them in the yard, all lighting up at once.  Oh, it was quite a sight to see and I always looked forward to their arrival in summer.

“What about the parks, Grannie?  Tell us ‘bout the parks … pleeeeease!”

Oh yes, the parks.  Sigh.  Back then, we had national parks … hundreds, maybe even thousands of acres of forests with streams where the water was so clear you could see the fish swimming and the rocks in the very bottom.  And nobody could build a business or a factory or even houses in the national parks, because they were protected land.  The government protected them so that the critters that lived in them could live in safety and so that we would always have beautiful natural land to visit.

“What kind of critters lived there, Grannie?”

Well, it depended on where the park was, but most were home to deer, elk, snakes, squirrels, bears, wolves, coyote, birds and many others.

“Why did the parks go away, Grannie?  Didn’t people want them anymore?”

“What happened to the animals?”

Well, child, I think that most of us wanted the parks, we appreciated them and loved being away from the cities, just enjoying the beauty of nature.  But, there were some people who thought it was more important to use that land to drill for oil and gas, and to build hotels and factories, and the government gave in to the wishes of those people without listening to the rest of us.

“Why?”

Because those people who wanted to get rid of the parks had more money than the rest of us, and people with more money … well, they always get their way.  Now as to what happened to the animals … some of them were taken to other places, but as a rule they didn’t adapt well to their new environments and … well, they … just … died.

“Grannie … why are you crying?  Are you sad because the animals died?”

Oh, child … yes, I am very sad because the animals died, but I’m also sad because … well, because the whole life I once knew has died.  I remember running through open fields, watering flowers and letting a big bumblebee land on my nose.  I remember hiking in the woods with my friend Herb, how green the foliage was, how tall the trees, how clear the water in the streams.  And I am sad, for all of that is gone now.  Did I ever tell you about the great redwood trees on the west coast?  Why, those trees … some were so wide that they even made a road right through the center of the tree!!!  And they got so tall that you could barely see the top … sometimes as tall  as almost 400 feet!!!  I saw them plenty of times when I was a girl, but they were always a sight to behold.

“What happened to the redwoods trees, Gran?”

Well, mostly I think they were chopped down, but I hear the ones that were left just died for lack of oxygen.  They can’t put oxygen masks on trees like they can people, you know.  Same reason there’s no grass left in people’s yards … living things need clean air to breathe, even plants.  I’m tired now, children, and it makes me too sad to remember how life used to be.  Tell you what … bring that book about the bears that you like so much and I’ll read to you.

“Grannie … how come you never go to church with us?”

Because, child, I don’t believe in any of that nonsense they tell there about how some people are better than others because of the colour of their skin or who they choose to love.  It’s a waste of time that I can spend doing better things.

“But mommy says you’re gonna get in trouble with the law and have to go to jail if you don’t go to church …”

Hush child … it matters not anymore … now go get that book like I told you.trees-2.jpg

Today’s ‘Toons!!!

The cartoonists have been working overtime ever since Trump took the Oath of Office (an oath he never understood nor intended to keep) on 20 January 2017.  I have to hand it to them, they do one heck of a job!  I wish I had their talent.  Let’s take a look at a few of this week’s toons.


With the Global Climate Strike yesterday, and the United Nations’ Youth Climate Summit today, and the UN Climate Action Summit on Monday, needless to say climate change is on everyone’s mind this week.  The U.S., specifically Donald Trump, is working hard to add fuel to the fires of the global climate crisis by rolling back environmental regulations, trashing the Clean Water Act, and attempting to forbid states from enacting their own, stricter emissions standards.  To add insult to injury, while world leaders from around the globe travel to New York for the UN Summit on Monday, Trump has announced that he will be too busy at some religious conference to attend the Climate Summit.  So it is only right and proper that the cartoonists have made the U.S. and Trump the brunt of their humour.

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It’s been just three weeks since the last mass shooting in the U.S., and the subject of gun regulations is never far from most of our minds.  We the People (at least the sane majority of  us) have been calling for gun legislation for … forever, I think.  Expanded background checks and a ban on assault weapons is a good place to start, but when you mention either of those, the gun nuts in this country go so crazy that you’d think we were asking them to give up their wife and kids.  Well, actually I think some of them would give up their wife and kids with less argument than they would give up their guns!

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Ol’ Brett Kavanaugh, the only person I’ve ever seen who can make even uglier facial expressions than Donald Trump, is back in the news this week, as a new book, The Education of Brett Kavanaugh:  An Investigaton, by two New York Times reporters, Robin Pogrebin and Kate Kelly, was released on Tuesday.  The two reporters covered Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearing and they say that the “foundational mission” of the book was not just to learn more about the allegations against Kavanaugh but to get “a much better context for who he was as a person and what his educational years and career were like, and who is the man who has been portrayed in these two starkly polarized ways.”  I haven’t read it, and am not sure that I can stomach reading an entire book about such a horrible excuse for a human.

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Recently, Ivanka was asked what she had gotten from her parents, and she said that from her father she got her moral compass!  🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣

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You’ll remember Trump’s juvenile antics, re-drawing the path of Hurricane Dorian on an official map, with a Sharpie?  When you do something that bloomin’ stupid, you gotta expect it to catch the eye of the cartoonists for quite a while …

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Lies.  Trump lies.  Most every time he opens his mouth, he lies.  Need I say more?

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And I end with just a bit of humour at the expense of former White House Press Secretary, Sean Spicer.  Sean-Spicer


Have a nice weekend!

 

Open Letter To Congress …

Dear Congressperson …

Yesterday was a day that will live on in history.  In more than 150 nations, over 4 million people (and counting) turned out in thousands of cities and towns around the globe to raise awareness and to demand action from governments.  Their words, “You had a future and so should we”, and “We vote next”, should have opened your eyes, but somehow, I sense that you are wearing blinders and did not see their banners, and have ears stuffed with cotton and did not hear their chants.

My purpose in writing this letter is to put you on notice that you are marching to the beat of the wrong drummer.  You are putting your own interests, and those of such large corporations as the fossil fuel, logging, and auto industries ahead of the well-being of not only your constituents, but all life on the planet.  Those aforementioned industries, as well as the gun lobby, may put money into your re-election campaigns, but they are not the ones who pay your salary, and they are not the majority whose votes will determine your future on November 3rd, 2020.

Make no mistake … there is a genuine climate emergency happening right under your very nose.  You know it’s true … all you have to do is listen to the scientists who, frankly, are much better educated in the subject than you.  All you have to do is check the weather for the past nine months to see that 2019 has been the hottest year on record.  Ever.  You have no excuse for saying that climate change isn’t real, that it isn’t caused by human activities.  All you have to do is read how many bees and birds have been lost in the past decade.  How many species are either extinct or bordering on extinction.

Rather than act to preserve life on earth, you sit back on your thumbs and allow a madman in the Oval Office to repeal environmental regulations that were never enough but were at least a start.  You allow him to make our air much dirtier, our water less safe, and our entire world a much uglier place.  And all for what?  How much benefit do you think you’ll get from those few hundred thousand dollars that are being added to your coffers when your children cannot even go outside to play because the air is not breathable?

Of the 192 nations on the globe, 190 are actively trying to change the way they do things in order to fix what the industrialized nations have broken – our environment.  All except the United States and Brazil are at least making an effort.  How does that make you feel?  Do you feel proud?  Believe me when I say that the majority of people in this nation look at you and see a person who has sold us downriver to line his own pockets.

Now, let me give you something to ponder on as you lie in bed tonight trying to sleep.  If every other nation is putting their efforts into replacing fossil fuels with renewable energy sources in order to save lives, and we are not, how long do you think it will be before they collectively take action against the U.S.?  Think about it this way … you live in a neighborhood where everyone takes good care of their property … lawns are neatly manicured, sidewalks are swept, no trash or litter is lying around.  But, there is one family who just doesn’t take care at all of their property.  There is trash all over their yard, and every time the wind blows, their trash is blown into your yard and every other.  How long before you and your neighbors take action against this one family?  Not long, I’m betting.

Whether you like it or not, we live in an age of globalization. Every nation is in some form or fashion dependent on the others.  Technology has made it so, and there is no turning back.  There are at least a few nations that have the ability, should they choose to use it, to shut down the U.S. power grid today … tomorrow … or the next day.  I hear you saying that we have the technology to stop such an attack, but do we really?  Congressman … we couldn’t stop Russia from hacking the 2016 election, so how great do you really think our security systems are?  I’m guessing not all that great.

The U.S. Constitution provided a system of ‘checks and balances’ with the intention of keeping any one branch of government from gaining so much power that they would pose a danger to the democratic principles of this nation.  Those checks and balances, however, only work when everybody does their job, when Congress actively provides oversight of the executive branch, the president.  YOU ARE NOT DOING YOUR JOB!!!  You are taking a salary that millions of people work their asses off every day to provide you, and in return you are giving us nothing!

Protecting and repairing the environment is the single most important issue facing this nation and the world today, and you are playing Russian Roulette with it, with our lives.  Frankly, your ridiculous crypto currency, your pet projects, even the economy … none of them matter one whit if we don’t address the climate crisis and NOW.  Not next year, or a decade from now … TODAY!

As a citizen and taxpayer, I am determined to do everything in my power, little though that may be, to make the public aware of just how little you are doing, how little regard you have for our lives, in hopes that you will be replaced with someone who actually cares more for life than profit next year.  I find much of this entire Congress to be a sorry lot indeed, especially those of you in the pockets of the fossil fuel industry and the NRA.  You allow the person whose fat arse is sitting in the Oval Office to bully you, and you cower under his wrath.  At what cost?  The cost of all life on earth.

Be afraid, Congressman … be very afraid, for those of us who care more about life than profit are the majority and we are energized, we are sick and damn tired of paying you to further your own interests instead of looking after ours.

Global Climate Strike Is Today!

Today is The Day.  Thousands of people, young and old, have taken to the streets to make their message heard.  The message?  SAVE OUR PLANET! 

climate-1In Melbourne, Australia, 100,000 protested in what was the largest climate action in Australia’s history.  Banners in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, ranged from serious to humorous. One read, “Climate Emergency Now.” Another said, “This planet is getting hotter than my imaginary boyfriend.” In Mumbai, children in oversize raincoats marched in the rain. Thousands turned out in Warsaw, the capital of coal-reliant Poland.climate-3Roughly 100,000 demonstrators showed around the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, holding signs reading: “Stop the Global Pyromania,” “Short-Haul Flights Only for Insects,” and “Make the World Greta Again.” Across Britain, there were large protests from Brighton to Edinburgh. The turnout in London especially large, with organizers estimating more than 100,000 participants.climate-2In the U.S., largest emitter of carbon dioxide per capita in the world, and the country whose government is doing the least of any to help stop the devastation brought about by climate change, protests are planned in every city.  As I write this, it is too early yet to know how many people took the day off school and work to make their voices heard, but I believe it will be many and their voices will be heard loud and clear.cliimate-4Possibly the biggest ‘mover and shaker’ in the area of addressing climate change is a 16-year-old young woman from Sweden about whom I’ve written a number of times before, Greta Thunberg.  It was Greta who inspired the Fridays for Future movement — kids who have been skipping school every Friday to demand more aggressive steps from world leaders.climate-5Today, I share with you this video by Greta and British writer and environmentalist, George Monbiot.  Please take a few minutes to watch … I promise it will be worth your time!