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cab67

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Member since: Wed Jul 24, 2013, 12:10 PM
Number of posts: 1,943

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Could the new videos of Marjorie Taylor Greene made a difference?

We've all seen the recently circulated videos of Marjorie Taylor Greene revealing just how loathsome she is - looking for Muslim members of Congress to force them to swear an oath on a Bible, calling for violence, and so on.

On a recent thread, I asked why these videos hadn't come to light before the election, when they might have made a difference. A couple of you suggested that they wouldn't have made a difference in that district - that there was no way a Democrat could have won, and that a lot of people in her district are as unhinged and ignorant as she is.

On the whole, I now agree with that point of view. By November, the results in that district were a foregone conclusion. BUT - I do think one of the videos might have made a difference during the primaries.

I have several Facebook "friends" who are Republicans. They're mostly either family or people I knew in high school; some people in my social and professional circles consider themselves conservative, and may vote Republican, but they had no use for Trump and his core.

Some of them would have no problem with voting for a candidate who'd previously called for the execution of a Democratic congresswoman, or who had the mistaken belief that swearing an oath on anything other than a Bible is somehow un-American.

But most of them would have a very real problem with the video showing her pursuing and shouting at David Hogg. They might like their guns, but they don't think Parkland was some sort of "false flag" operation, and they would recoil at the thought of someone accosting the young survivor of that mass shooting, or any other, to promote conspiracy shit. It would cross too many lines - lines of credibility (however one stands on gun control, these mass shootings happened) as well as lines of decency (someone who actually survived a mass shooting might have a different opinion on gun control than you, and it would be morally wrong to attack that person for sharing it).

Not all of them would feel that way. I saw plenty of commentators on Fox Jazeera attacking David Hogg, and Trump's base will believe anything. But assuming at least some of the conservatives in MTG's district would, there's a reasonable chance they might have preferred a different candidate during the primaries.

Hindsight hope springs eternal, I suppose, but due diligence by the media is central to making sure nutbags don't get elected to Congress.

some warblers

These were all taken last year.


Magnolia warbler, Ryerson Forest Preserve, IL:
[img][/img]


Wet blackburnian warbler, Gillson Park, Wilmette, IL:
[img][/img]


Hooded warbler, Ryerson Forest Preserve, IL:
[img][/img]


Ovenbird, Gillson Park, Wilmette, IL:
[img]?1[/img]


Myrtle warbler (not yet re-split from yellow-rumped warbler, but it should be), Iowa City, IA:
[img][/img]



some hummingbirds.

Three of these - the black-fronted mango, indigo-capped hummingbird, and rufous-tailed hummingbird - were taken at Jardin Encantado, a private residence about 35 miles west of Bogota. The owner has set up a battery of hummingbird feeders, and for a small fee, she'll let you watch from a porch. I saw 13 species of hummingbird - nine of them lifers - and was told it was a slow day for them. (There were other great birds there as well - thick-billed euphonia, several tanagers - so even without the hummingbirds, I'd have had a great time.)

In an earlier post, someone remarked that I must have high-end photographic equipment. In fact, I don't - it's a Canon EOS Rebel SL3. I used the 50-250 mm zoom that came with the kit.

I actually work on living and extinct crocodiles and alligators for a living - while my wife, who's a clinical psychologist, was working with some colleagues in Bogota, I split my time between chasing birds and playing with late caimans and gharials in the Geological Survey collections - so the camera just has to be able to take good photos of fossils and specimens from modern species. That I've learned to take halfway decent wildlife shots is incidental - I work on animals that used to occur everywhere, so I go everywhere, and I'm also a birder, so I generally head to wildlife-friendly areas when I'm not in the collections. The SL3, along with a couple of macro lenses, is perfect for that. It's not a very fast camera, so I haven't invested in a high-end telephoto lens; I'm also still making car payments and raising my daughter, so it's unlikely I'll be able to get one anyway.

The trip to Colombia was memorable for another reason - I took our daughter, who was just starting to walk, to a couple of local parks in the mornings. One of them turned out to be a great place to see sword-billed hummingbirds. (Look them up if you've not seen one. The beak is longer than the rest of the bird.) That I got to see one was a thrill, but being able to share that with my daughter made it that much cooler.


Sparkling violetear, botanical Gardens, Bogotá, Colombia:
[img][/img]


Black-fronted mango, San Francisco de Sales, Colombia:
[img][/img]


Indigo-capped hummingbird, San Francisco de Sales, Colombia:
[img][/img]


Rufous-tailed hummingbird, San Francisco de Sales, Colombia:
[img][/img]


Costa’s hummingbird, Tucson, AZ:
[img][/img]
[img][/img]
[img][/img]

more.....

Speckled pigeon, near Lake Turkana, Kenya:
[img][/img]


Downy woodpecker, Wilmette, IL:
[img][/img]


Hairy woodpecker, Evanston, IL:
[img][/img]


Red-bellied woodpecker, Evanston, IL:
[img][/img]


Red and yellow barbet, near Lake Turkana, Kenya:
[img][/img]


Ruby-crowned kinglet, Wilmette, IL:
[img][/img]


Pin-tailed whydah, near Nairobi, Kenya:
[img][/img]


White-rumped shama, Chulabhorn Dam, Thailand. One of the few shots I took there that actually looks like an animal.
[img][/img]


Abyssinian slaty flycatcher, National Museum of Ethiopia grounds, Addis Ababa:
[img][/img]

...and still more. (raptors this time.)

Bald eagle, somewhere south of Homer, AK:
[img][/img]
[img][/img]
[img][/img]


African fish eagle, Lake Naivasha, Kenya:
[img][/img]


Red-tailed hawk, near Naperville, IL:
[img][/img]


Rüppel’s griffon, Debre Zeyit, Ethiopia:
[img][/img]


Turkey vulture, near Iowa City, IA:
[img][/img]


Black vulture, Canyon del Sumidero, Chiapas, Mexico:
[img][/img]


Secretarybird, Nairobi National Park, Kenya:
[img][/img]


Pygmy falcon, west of Lake Turkana, Kenya:
[img][/img]


American kestrel, Tucson, AZ:
[img][/img]


Northern crested caracara, Attwater’s Prairie Chicken National Wildlife Refuge, TX:
[img][/img]

more photos I've taken.

Some more.


Abyssinian owl, Bale Mountains, Ethiopia:
[img][/img]


Shoebill, near Entebbe, Uganda:
[img][/img]
[img][/img]


blue-footed booby, Rabida Island, Galapagos Islands:
[img][/img]


anhinga, Cameron Prairie, LA:
[img][/img]


African darter, Doho, Ethiopia:
[img][/img]


northern fulmar, St. Paul Island, AK:
[img][/img]


lilac-breasted roller, Lake Bogoria, Kenya. (I think this is my favorite bird. That, and the white-breasted nuthatch for personal reasons.)
[img][/img]


parakeet auklets, St. Paul Island, AK:
[img][/img]


Maybe more later (passeriforms, woodpeckers, raptors, waterfowl).

photos I've taken. (LINKS FIXED)

Thought I'd share some of these. They're not in any particular order.

(Please bear in mind - my camera was purchased for professional purposes. It was intended to take photos of objects of various size, none of which is moving, and all of which are near me. This is why action photos I've taken of birds at distance aren't necessarily of professional grade.)


Kori bustard, Middle Awash NP, Ethiopia:
[img][/img]


western gull, Ocean Shores, WA:
[img][/img]


ring-billed gull, Northwestern University campus, Evanston, IL:
[img][/img]


African jacana, Murchison Falls NP, Uganda:
[img][/img]


sanderling, Monterey, CA:
[img][/img]


little bee-eater, near Nairobi, Kenya:
[img][/img]


pygmy kingfisher, Melka Kunture, Ethiopia:
[img][/img]


black-crowned night heron, Everglades NP, FL:
[img][/img]


goliath heron, Murchison Falls NP, Uganda. The gray object behind it is a hippo.
[img][/img]


guira cuckoo, Riberao Preto, Brazil:
[img][/img]


greater roadrunner, near Tucson, AZ:
[img][/img]


sandhill crane, near Homer, AK:
[img][/img]


speckled mousebird, grounds of the National Museum of Kenya, Nairobi:
[img][/img]


northern saw-whet owl, Iowa City, IA:
[img][/img]




More later if there's interest.

Trump is not a snake.

I've seen way too many people calling Trump a snake. Or comparing him to one. Or doing that with some or all of Trump's followers.

This has to stop.

Snakes are amazing. That they lack limbs doesn't make them lowly - indeed, if one watches a snake move through its landscape, one sees elegance personified. (Or animated, I suppose.) And all kinds of animals move close to the ground - mink, for example - without risk of being misused as a metaphor for low or corrupt status. Snakes may sneak up on their prey, but that's equally true of owls, cats, alligators, badgers, and any number of other ambush predators - none of which is used to symbolize treachery or cowardice.

More importantly, snakes actually play a valuable role in their world. Many of them help keep rodent populations under control, for example. If someone's found a valuable role played by Trump, I haven't seen it.

Trump is no snake. He is unworthy of the comparison.

(The same is true for the McConnell-turtle trope that floats all over the place. Turtles are far too noble for that comparison to work.)


just saying.


Added on edit - if I had to compare Trump with a vertebrate, that vertebrate would be a hagfish. There's nothing among vertebrates slimier than a hagfish. But even hagfish have the nobility of purpose as scavengers, and being able to make a granny knot out of your body - something hagfish can actually do - is actually kind of cool, so I've taken to describing Trump as hagfish shit that walks as a man does.

There are two people we should remember as holding some responsibility.

That Trump started off the Beer Nut Putsch goes without question. There's been a lot of talk about how this could have happened, and whether anyone else is responsible.

Two names are getting a lot less mention in this regard than they should be. Both, ultimately, allowed Trump to happen.

1. Gerald R. Ford. They say he "healed the nation" by pardoning Nixon? No - he showed that presidents can pretty much do what they want, so long as they can count on a pardon at some point.

He didn't heal a wound. He put a bandage on it, but the wound nevertheless remained. Now, it's septic.

Ford's pardon of Nixon allowed Iran-Contra to happen. I actually think that was worse than Watergate. It also allowed the GW Bush administration to lie us into an unnecessary war and promote war crimes during its execution.

Trump acted as though he wouldn't face consequences because, based on past history, he figured there wouldn't be any.

2. Newt Gingrich. He led the effort to impeach Bill Clinton not as a matter of ideals, but to Clinton down, thereby elevating his own stature. But it backfired - Republicans ended up impeaching Clinton because Clinton lied about an extramarital affair, and although I thought he should have resigned or been censured, I'm like most people - it wasn't an impeachable offense.

The result? Republicans got slammed in the 1998 midterms - a day on which I felt genuine pride in being an American - and Gingrich ended up losing power.

Many voters now perceive impeachment not as a constitutional mechanism for punishing a president for wrongdoing, but for political payback against someone from the opposing party. I don't know whether it was popular in 1973 and 1974 - I was less than 10 years old at the time - but it was certainly unpopular when it happened to Clinton. This unpopularity was, to an extent, expressed the first time Trump got impeached, even though the reasons for impeaching Trump were more than legitimate. This is why we saw even otherwise-reasonable people asking whether Democrats were doing it because they hated Trump and were desperate to just get rid of him.


Moreover, congressmen are now very wary of impeaching someone. They worry about sharing Gingrich's fate. That the Clinton impeachment was nakedly a matter of political ambition, and that it happened during the 1998 midterm elections, meaning the whole thing was still very fresh in everyone's mind, doesn't seem to register.



I really do think the role both men played in the history of American politics enabled Trump to act as he did.

There has to be real accountability this time. Whether this involves prison time or a lifetime ban on running for office - or both - doesn't really matter anymore. Trump has to be held accountable, and so do those in government who cooperated them. We have to make it clear that actions bring consequences, that impeachment is sometimes necessary, and that we've learned from the errors of Ford and Gingrich.

How do we reclaim language? How do we reclaim symbols?

On Thursday morning, I was still half-asleep when I got dressed.

The shirt I put on - which happened to be on the top in the drawer - was a New England Patriots jersey.

I grew up in western Massachusetts; that, and a father who rooted for the New York Giants, more or less ensured I'd be a Patriots fan. So one of them is from that team. (I managed to find one in the modern design, but with Steve Grogan's number - that way, I don't have to look like I approve of their more recent quarterback, the one who came from a large Midwestern public university whose mascot is a big ferret*.) I'm not really a football fan at all, but the jerseys are comfortable, and I'm still nominally a Patriots fan, much as I'm still nominally Catholic.

It occurred to me, very quickly, that I probably shouldn't wear that jersey in public. Not Thursday, anyway. The word "patriot" had taken on a new and far less positive meaning.

I'm sure we'll eventually be able to use the word "patriot" again, but I have no idea how long that will take.

Likewise - it's going to be a long time before I display an American flag. Even with Biden in office and Democrats in charge of Congress, the fact that so many of the pieces of hagfish shit that walk as humans do were waving American flags during their insurrection means it, too, now has a less-than-positive connotation.

I have no idea if this will ever change.



*I have described Michigan vs Wisconsin games as "weasel vs weasel." From an evolutionary standpoint, it's spot-on accurate.
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