Thursday, September 25, 2008

Liquid

Last night I attended a presentation by Peter Annin, author of The Great Lakes Water Wars. This was particularly timely because the Great Lakes Compact now needs only Bush's planned signature to become law after a multi-year process of being approved by the eight states surrounding the Lakes, and Congress. In theory at least this will help prevent the diversion of water away from the immediate watersheds, but there's a huge loophole which allows bottled water containers of less than 5.7 gallons to be taken and which some regional Congresspeople strongly opposed but failed to stop.

Annin spoke of how the 16 Senators from these states would now be able to better oppose future attempts to send the water to the southwest for example where New Mexico's Governor had already been making noise about wanting it. However, there are a lot more than eight states along the country's coasts and that didn't stop the elimination of the ban on offshore drilling. The difference of course is that the people in the coast states will benefit from the oil. We can continue our lifestyle for another month? Then drill, baby, drill! Folks around the Great Lakes won't get much out of sending water to the desert but I have no doubt that in the long run, this law won't keep the Great Lakes any safer than any area supposedly protected by environmental laws that stand opposed to American greed.

An objection can be made that people around the Lakes are dependent on products such as oil from elsewhere being sent to them so they shouldn't have the right to withhold what someone else needs. The difference is that people are dependent on oil and its products because of choices: what climate they live in, living 50 miles from where they work, eating food from around the world, etc. And of course we're all dependent on it by being born into this industrial society, not a choice any of us was allowed to make. So yes, without oil, a lot of people are going to suffer extreme hardships and many are going to die even if they're well hydrated. Without water, however, everyone is going to die within a few days regardless of how much oil they have.

Annin said there's enough water in the Great Lakes to cover the entire continental U.S. to a depth of 9 1/2 feet. Sounds pretty greedy to be selfish about that much water which could never run out, doesn't it? Ah, but it could, because all resources are finite, a lesson industrial civilization was too foolish to learn. Ask the folks in the southwest who are already overusing their water supply while more people continue to move to the area.

Annin told the story of the Aral Sea where it now takes 5 1/2 hours to drive from where the shoreline used to be to where it is now. Here's an excerpt from his book:
What happened to the Aral? In the 1950s, ambitious Soviet planners embarked on a massive water program designed to make the desert bloom. Engineers redirected much of the river flow that fed the sea, diverting the water to a massive complex of agricultural fields. The Soviets succeeded in their crusade; Central Asia became a booming marketplace—particularly for cotton. But this economic conquest had a severe ecological cost. In just a few decades, the water diversions left the Aral in ruins. Cut off from its freshwater feeder streams, the sea began shrinking. A generation later, the disastrous ecological effects of this grand plan have left thousands of Central Asians in shock. In less than half a century, water levels in the Aral have fallen by eighty vertical feet. The sea has lost 75 percent of its surface area and 90 percent of its volume. The farmer’s gain was the fisherman’s loss—jobs dried up with the water, leaving chronic unemployment and social paralysis. The climate is different too. Like the North American Great Lakes, the old Aral moderated temperature extremes near the shoreline. Now Muynak’s summers are hotter, winters colder, and regional precipitation patterns have changed.
I'm not sure how important fishing is to the Great Lakes economy, but shipping (which is already affected by normal variations in water levels) is a major industry.

Moving on from liquids to liquidity, with even the press and major politicians now admitting how close the entire economic house of cards is to collapsing, with the unemployment rate at a 5 year high nationally and at a 22 year high in this state, with Wall Street gladly accepting the handouts they criticize individuals for asking for, I'm happy to say that I outlasted one particular company.

For a couple years a couple decades ago I worked in mutual funds for a company which in some merger or purchase or some such nonsense became part of some version of American Express Shearson Lehman Blah Blah Blah Incorporated. I remember a conversation about corporate life which I had after I'd given my notice with one of the people I supervised. He talked about playing the game and taking the money, I talked about being so disgusted by the game that I wanted nothing to do with it. Wasn't I a great corporate mentor? I've had to play the game (poorly and always disgusted) a lot more than I wish I had in my life, but I'm still around and Lehman Brothers is not. So long, suckers.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Lists

Mostly nature related, but some just for fun. Some numbers indicate preference ranking, some don't. Some are specific species, some are general genera. With apologies to fellow travelers such as snakes, turtles, mushrooms, spiders, insects, amphibians, and fish, many of whom I'm quite fond but lack enough knowledge and/or experience to make a list of favorites.

10 Favorite Mammals
:
1) Wolf
2) Humpback Whale
3) Raccoon
4) Cat
5) Squirrel
6) Snow Leopard
7) Red Fox
8) Porcupine
9) Bat
10) Fisher

10 Favorite Birds:
1) Raven
2) Crow
3) Bald Eagle
4) Red-winged Blackbird
5) Pileated Woodpecker
6) Turkey Vulture
7) Barred Owl
8) Blue Jay
9) Peregrine Falcon
10) Catbird

Favorite Nature Book Series:
1) Smithsonian Nature Books--each book covered a species, usually with a good mix of science and natural history anecdotes. Sadly, most of these are unavailable with some used copies listed at a high price at sites such as Amazon. I have about half of them and have read library copies of others. Fine books but very poorly organized publishing from this museum, with multiple series and most titles quickly going out of print.

2) There are two fine 3-book series published by Stackpole Books, written by John Eastman and illustrated by Amelia Hansen which cover birds and plants of Eastern North America. The series titles begin with "Birds of..." or "The Book of..." and remind me somewhat of Donald Culross Peattie's famous A Natural History of Trees. Entries include sections on behavior, ecology, and lore among others.

3) Seven books have a title beginning "Tom Brown's Field Guide to...", but they're not so much field guides as an emotional/spiritual guide to survival and connecting with the natural world. Written by Tom Brown, famous and somewhat controversial tracker and teacher.

4) Stokes Nature Guides--covering topics from bird behavior to observing insects to nature in winter, most of these very readable and enjoyable books are sadly out of print.

5) National Audubon Society Nature Guides--these attractive out of print books were ecosystem field guides. Rather than focusing just on birds or trees, they included a mix of plant and animal life found in a wetland or eastern forest (the two titles I've held onto). For standard field guides, a mix of the Audubon and Peterson series will generally do the job.

6) Sierra Club Naturalist's Guides--my favorite series despite having few photos and drawings. Nine titles covered different regions of North America ranging from coastlines to deserts to forests to mountains and attempted to provide info on everything in those regions--ecosystems, geology, weather, wildlife, plants. Unlike field guides, these are intended to be read as guides to ecology rather than individual species, and luckily I was able to get a full set of these at discount prices as they were going out of print long ago.

10 Favorite Trees:
1) Oak
2) Willow
3) Pine
4) Hemlock
5) Hickory
6) Cottonwood
7) Beech
8) Sycamore
9) Maple
10) Walnut

10 More Favorite Non-animals of Various Forms:
1) Skunk Cabbage
2) Pitcher Plant
3) Indian Pipe
4) Cattail
5) Jewelweed
6) Bluebead Lily
7) Jack-in-the-Pulpit
8) Marsh Marigold
9) Ferns
10) Mushrooms

5 Favorite Bob Dylan Albums:
1) Blood on the Tracks
2) Time Out of Mind
3) Oh Mercy
4) Highway 61 Revisited
5) Freewheelin'

10 Favorite "Nature" Writers:
1) Henry David Thoreau--What do I need to say? You'll find him at the top of my other writers list also. Possibly the most important American author and book.
2) David Quammen--Masterful columnist. His essay collections are as entertaining and educational as any book can be.
3) David M. Carroll--This artist/author/lover of wetlands was kind enough to write and send me a copy when I wrote to ask him about one of his out of print books.
4) Edward Abbey--Somewhat justly hated the "nature writer" label he earned with Desert Solitaire. Always more of a social critic, his Monkey Wrench Gang was an inspiration in the creation of Earth First!. Along with his books of essays, I've enjoyed the letters and journals which have been published since his death.
5) Rick Bass--Author of a wide variety of material, his books on grizzlies, wolves, winter, and his home in the Yaak are the ones I appreciate.
6) John Hay--Cape Cod writer; The Way to the Salt Marsh is a collection of pieces from his many books over a forty year period.
7) Robert Finch--Another Cape Cod author, The Primal Place is his most recent.
8) Paul Gruchow--I've only read one of his books, Boundary Waters, which he discussed with us at a book club meeting by the shore of Lake Superior. It has some wonderful sections such as one on dragonfly metamorphosis. He was painfully honest about the demons he struggled with, and died a year or two later.
9) Joseph Wood Krutch--Honestly, I've only intensely browsed the one collection I have of his writing, all out of print, but it looks wonderful.
10) John Muir--To round out the ten, for his place in history and his euphoria in nature.

10 Favorite Literary Writers:
1) Henry David Thoreau
2) William Shakespeare
3) Fyodor Dostoevsky
4) Mark Twain
5) D.H. Lawrence
6) Charles Dickens
7) Lawrence Durrell
8) John Steinbeck
9) John Dos Passos
10) Thomas Wolfe

5 Classics I Haven't Read:
1) Moby Dick
2) War & Peace
3) Don Quixote
4) Ulysses
5) Divine Comedy

5 Favorite Beatles Albums:
1) Rubber Soul
2) Abbey Road
3) White Album
4) Revolver
5) Let It Be

There Are Places I Remember:
1) The Porcupine Mountains and Michigan's Upper Peninsula as a whole--beautiful natural areas and a small human population: it's not just a coincidence.
2) Walden Pond, nearby Fairyland Pond and surrounding woods and bogs--history, nature, rebellion, friends.
3) French Quarter--twenty years after my only visit, the food, music, bars, and people remain strong in my memory. Hurricane Katrina resonates with a tragic sadness matched for me in my life only by the Challenger explosion and the 1968 assassinations of Kennedy and King.
4) Stellwagen Bank--site of many whale sightings.
5) Purgatory Chasm--It's not very big, but it's a lot of fun. How often do you get to squeeze through a boulder?
6) Green Circle--I almost moved to Stevens Point because of this 30 mile trail. Some of it is on neighborhood sidewalks, but most of it winds along beautiful rivers and wetlands and through forests and fields.
7) Emerald Necklace--I lived near the Arboretum and worked in the Back Bay and would often run between the two with my work clothes in my pack.
8) Northern New England--the Vermont towns of Brattleboro and Burlington, the New Hampshire mountain hikes, the Maine coastline and Portland
9) Moose Hill--My nature date. Over the years, several women joined me on a train from Boston to explore this diverse Mass Audubon sanctuary. I made an annual pilgrimage to see the skunk cabbage bloom, and standing inside a decaying tree took a close-up photo whose colors and textures always reminded me of looking across a canyon at the opposite wall.
10) Jacks Fork--College canoeing in the Ozarks.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Government Repression of Austrian Animal Rights Activists

You may not have heard about the big crackdown in Austria a few months ago, but I don't think the actions of the government and industries there are very far removed from what's going on here in the United States, whether it be animal or environmental activists or more mainstream political protesters. Certainly the repression is at most a matter of degree and not a difference of intent. Those in power, whether it be corporations or the Democrat/Republican Party, will do and have done whatever is necessary to eliminate any threat to their power.

One of the folks who recently spent 100+ days in jail despite no evidence against them is Dr. Martin Bullach. There's a long and interesting older interview with him here. The following statement following his release provides a little history of animal rights in Austria as well as government actions leading up to his recent jailing. I've bolded a few paragraphs near the end which should be of interest to anyone, animal rights activist or not, who's not an enthusiastic supporter of our current way of life. Much more information and history is available on his group's website.

Statement from Martin Balluch after his release:

It’s now been a week since I was released from prison. 104 days in a prison cell are over! It is seriously shocking to see how far police repression will be taken in order to stop legitimate and successful protest for animals in the name of a majority of the population, just because it runs contrary to the profit interests of a powerful minority.

Many many thanks to each and every one of you for all you have done for me. I am deeply humbled by the immense amount of solidarity and support we prisoners have received from the international animal’s rights community.

I was released without the keys to my home, my car or my office being returned to me. I was also not given my computer, access to my bank account or even my wrist watch! If it had not been for friendly folk supporting me, I would have had to sleep rough during the last week, without any money. Our office – and the offices of 6 other animal rights groups – are still empty. Nothing has been handed back so far, no video material or photo cameras, no computers, no data of our membership, no photo- or film archives, and no book keeping. The intention is obvious: since the jailing of us had to be stopped, depriving us of any material is the next move to silence VGT and prevent us from being effectively active.

Let me briefly remind you how all this came about.

In 1997, we developed the idea in Austria of confrontative – but fully legal – grass roots campaigns including all means of civil disobedience in order to achieve reformist changes. The campaign targets were pragmatically chosen on the grounds of being practically achievable and supported by a majority of the electorate. The aim was, though, to see real changes, and not just symbolic gestures, i.e. changes that would make a world of a difference for the animals concerned – and for the people exploiting them.

In 1998, fur farming was banned and 43 fur farms had to close down. By 2002, a law had been introduced to ban all wild animals in circuses. In 2004, the campaign to ban cages for laying hens – including enriched ones – reached its peak. It was then that powerful interest groups felt our pressure for the first time. We confronted the governing Conservative Party, which was the only party opposed to a battery farm ban, during 2 provincial and 1 presidential election. The agricultural spokesperson of the Conservatives in the southernmost province reacted so angrily to our anti-election rally, that he actually attacked me on the podium during my speech and punched me in the face. The Conservatives lost all 3 elections and eventually gave in to the pressure. From that time onwards, it was not only death threats by farmers and their agents that became part of our lives. The secret service was put on our tracks. No demo went by without plain clothes guys with listening devices, watching and photographing us.

But the ministry of the interior went ever further. Our demos were banned to a large extent, we were fined huge amounts of money for the most minor law infringements and the ministry warned all schools about our “radicalism”. In addition, in 2005 the secret service arranged for a raid on our office to secure our accounts to try to charge us with some kind of tax fraud. We now have documents of meetings between secret service agents and our political enemy whereby they discuss suggested strategies against our demos and actions and arrange for coordinated media work to libel us. A spokesperson of the secret service called animal rights the biggest threat to national security and the minister of the interior named VGT publicly as a violent organisation.

When, on 2 occasions, some criminal damage was done to a car and the shop of a furrier, the secret service aided the furrier in publicising this damage widely in order to set up animal rights groups like VGT for being the target of police attacks in the future. Also, contrary to the spirit of the constitution, secret service advised our political enemy to register demos at places where we wanted to do demos, in order to give police a reason to ban our demos as, on paper, the space is already “booked”. These pseudo demos never actually took place.

When all this didn’t do the trick, another step of escalation was decided upon. At the end of 2006, the owners of Kleider Bauer and representatives of the Conservatives as well as high ranking police officers met and spoke about how to destroy VGT. The minutes of those meetings are now in our hands and make for gruesome reading. It says that there is no evidence of any criminal wrongdoing and that banning our demos cannot be upheld, so a special police unit consisting of more than 32 agents from the secret service, the murder division and from the anti-terror police locally and nationally was formed with the sole purpose of framing us.

This special unit started the largest operation of spying on political activists ever conducted since World War 2. For almost 2 years, 2 private houses, a pub as a meeting place as well as the VGT office were bugged. The telephone and the email conversation of more than 30 people were listened in on. Two cars, among them mine, had tracking devices put on them. 17 people were followed and watched 24 hours a day. 3 private homes had video cameras filming their entrances. And undercover agents were put into VGT to infiltrate us. Further, more than a dozen potential targets of animal rights activists were under permanent surveillance.

To justify this operation, secret service drew up a list of 240 acts of criminal damage and arson (including ripping up illegal circus posters) from the last 13 years, which might have had something to do with animal rights, and claimed there was one big international criminal organisation responsible for all of them. In order to inflate the damage, a number of cases of accidental fire were presented as animal rights related arson, and one butyric acid attack on a Kleider Bauer shop was enlarged to a damage of 500,000 euro, which later led to civil law suits because the insurance company made it clear that this figure was about 50 times too large. Most likely, that was another dirty trick out of the hat of the secret service, to inflate the damage out of proportion in order to be able to justify a violent police attack later on.

Since by May 2008, this huge surveillance operation had not come up with any hint of any criminal activity, the ministry of the interior escalated the police terror even further. On 21st May 2008, 23 police squads of between 30 and 50 officers each attacked as many homes and offices of animal rights activists in the early morning hours. The doors were smashed open and masked officers surrounded people in their beds pointing guns at their heads and went on to turn the places upside down. Since the law against criminal organisations, which was used in this case to justify the operation, states that at least 10 members are necessary to make the law applicable, exactly 10 people were put on remand while almost 40 were arrested and questioned for up to 10 hours.

Since police and public prosecution had absolutely no evidence against any of us, they spoke to media as well as the judges responsible for extending the incarceration and pretended that they had a huge amount of evidence, but it had to be kept secret since the operation and investigations were ongoing.

The judges complied and continually extended the remand detention without any charges being brought due to there being suspicion of a criminal organisation. This suspicion was described as follows:

· The use of non-public internet platforms to discuss issues

· Encryption of emails and computers

· The use of non-registered fully legal mobile phones

· The expression of supposedly radical opinions on internet discussions in the last 11 years

· Campaign work involving emails which demand changes and threaten the use of demos

· International contacts, especially international meetings and gatherings with foreign animal rights activists

This utterly ludicrous list of “evidence” of suspicion of a criminal organisation was seriously put forward by the judges to extend the remand detention. No criminal act was in any way connected to the 10 held in prison, but the judges argued that this was not necessary. The criminal acts were committed with the same spirit – to further animal rights – and that was sufficient. The mere existence of criminal acts committed somewhere at some time by persons unknown completely unconnected to the accused was used to turn legal groups into supposedly criminal ones. That criminal acts were never the issue is proven by internal protocols that surfaced, which showed that the special police unit concerned with the case had met 4 weeks into our prison stay to debate nothing but the issue how to further damage VGT. A number of ideas were put forward and an additional meeting on the same topic was agreed upon for 4 days later. Obviously, the question on how to destroy VGT – and not how to solve any crime – was highest priority in police meetings.

But police and state prosecution lost the media battle for public sympathy. An unprecedented wave of international protests in front of Austrian embassies in countless countries shamed the Austrian government. Throughout the whole 104 days of incarceration, daily demos were held outside the prisons and additional vigils and protests took place, including large protest marches drawing in 800 participants. The Green Party and the Social Democrats criticized the police actions with increasing impatience. A huge amount of protest letters were sent to the ministry of justice as well as to other politicians, heads of state and newspapers. Eventually, the Green Party decided to nominate myself as a candidate for the next Parliamentary elections.

At this stage, there was no sign of any legal moves succeeding in liberating the imprisoned. The case of whether the remand imprisonment was legal is still pending at the Supreme Court. A decision is expected within the next 2-4 weeks. In the meantime, political pressure was mounting, which suddenly led to our release on 2nd September, after 104 days.

The release was not justified by stating that there is no evidence, albeit that this is so obviously the case. The release was instead justified by saying that the time already spent in prison was out of proportion with the prison sentences expected if a guilty verdict were reached.

A weird move to save face! Instead of saying the truth that there is no evidence, the reference to an expected sentence was used, although the charge of criminal organisation carries a maximum sentence of 5 years – and arson 10 years.

The case is not over yet, though. The damage has been done, the threat of the law §278a criminal organisation is still looming above anyone being politically active. We are still accused, even if not charged. However, the longer this status is being drawn out, the longer police have the opportunity to claim that we are serious suspects, which they widely do in the press. A political trial would have the media watching, and then this ludicrous “evidence” would not stand a chance. In order to safeguard animal rights activism and, more generally, political activism in Austria, 3 things must be achieved. Firstly, those responsible for this police terror must be brought to account for what they did. Secondly, the damage inflicted must be fully compensated for. And thirdly, the law §278a must be revoked.

Exactly 40 years ago, the tanks of the then Soviet Union broke into the Czechoslovakian Republic to destroy with violence what has been called the “Prague Spring”, the new socialist system with a humane attitude. Dissidents were locked up and the tiny seedlings of a new society were violently uprooted. This attack on fundamental basic rights has been justly criticized all over the globe. Western democracies boast of being so different and defending liberal principles. But our case proves them wrong. New laws including bans on fur and battery farming, as well as the removal of fur and battery eggs from ever more department stores and supermarkets, were the animal rights seedlings marking the dawn of a new attitude. Dissident animal rights thinking was infiltrating ever more areas of society. And the tanks of a “democratic” system smashed it all up, and locked up the most active critical thinkers.

Yes, we have the right to free speech and to protest and to associate freely. But those freedoms end when they are used to effectively change society. You can express your opinion – as long as not enough people listen and act correspondingly. You can protest – as long as profits are not touched by it. And you can freely associate – as long as you only debate and do not influence society significantly by action. Austria has a relatively low level of animal rights related criminal activity, but a very high level of animal rights related successes. And Austria saw the largest and most violent police operation ever conducted against animal rights anywhere and anytime in the world. Is it not obvious that there is a direct connection?

Internal papers clearly reveal that the senior officers in the secret service consider any effect of political campaigning outside Parliament a threat to national security. Only Parliament is justified to direct society through electoral majorities. Political pressure from groups outside Parliament are not justified in principle, and therefore amount to terrorism.

If social activism seriously affects the profits of powerful cliques, the secret service is set in motion to smash this movement. However, in reality, outer parliamentarian pressure groups are the most important corrective of the abuse of power by influential cliques, they are the lifeblood of democracy and the safeguard to national security. Indeed, it is the secret service that poses the biggest threat to our constitution.

But so far, police violence has had the opposite effect on our movement than what they aimed for. We now have more activists than ever before. Animal rights is being taken seriously as a new social movement. It is being talked about everywhere. And the public sympathises ever more with us. Since having been released from prison, I have been approached countless times on the streets by strangers who congratulated me and wished me luck, and many even put money into my hands. People, who I mostly do not know, bought me a new computer, a watch, a mobile phone and a bike and even offered me a new flat to live in for a while. The bike shop gave me a 100-Euro-bikelock for free in solidarity.

The movement stood up in solidarity behind us prisoners. Now, as a movement we are more united and willing to cooperate than ever before. And the events prove beyond any doubt that our approach to achieving animal rights in the long run is effective. If the reforms we achieved had been welcomed by animal industries, surely they would not have sent the boys round to punch us up.

This year, our campaigns might have suffered a drawback. But when the case is won, we will push on with more energy than ever before. I am determined to see this through and am looking forward to new advances towards animal rights in the years ahead.

Monday, September 8, 2008

It Takes a Village to Save a Cat

I don't think I need to add anything to this article. Call it the flipside to those condo folks who wanted to wipe out a cat colony. Which neighborhood would you rather live in?

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Falling

What a relief to find summer suddenly gone. It wasn't especially hot, but it did seem more humid than usual to me when I ventured out for a view of the Lake or a taste of thimbleberries. This week I've woken up to a bit of a chill in the apartment a couple mornings and the forecast shows highs in the 50s. I feel like I'm falling in love.

Just as I was also breathing a sigh of relief at feeling my book/cd/stuff inventory reduction projects were done (temporarily) for the first time in months, I find myself buried under a new pile of reading material. A couple interlibrary loans of books on Transcendentalism to skim-read, Peter Carey's His Illegal Self (a memory lane trip to the 60s and communes), the September issue of The Sun (overflowing this month with homelessness, death and destruction . . . and Readers Write about Porches :-)).

A couple months ago, I was invited to take part in Amazon's Vine program (they send a list of things you can have for free if you write a review) and recently wrote a review for Chet Raymo's When God is Gone, Everything is Holy. A great title which the book didn't live up to in my opinion. Here's the one brief passage which did:

"Night, wind, grass. And, yes, bread and wine too, although not as symbols of something otherworldly and divine, but as themselves. Bread, wine, candlelight, rain on window glass, thunder somewhere afar off. The early morning coo of the mourning dove. A stone picked up along the path, hard and cool in the hand.

"If I am to have a scripture, let it be written in the language of things. Concrete, sensual, particular things. This woman that I love. The touch of her skin. This drop of rain on glass. This stone."

But most of the book seems to deny those very values, spending most of its time dwelling on what happens inside the human mind and body and praising technology and a mechanistic view of the world. It would certainly be a starting point for some interesting conversations however. I hope to get more pleasure from the next book I have to review, a long comical post-apocalyptic novel with a fuzzy cover--The Gone-Away World--but I suspect I won't be getting to it very soon.

Even when not working I don't have time to do all the things I want to do, and I've always been baffled by the folks who say they'd be bored if they weren't spending forty hours a week doing meaningless crap. Whatever lies ahead for me, I'm very glad I've gotten to spend most of the past eight years unemployed or working part time before my body got too feeble to enjoy it.

I may tear myself away from the books long enough to get in a hike this week before the arrows start flying in Duluth's woods. The city's trails are snow-covered for at least five months, a mudpit for two, and hunting is allowed throughout the entire autumn. This year the city decided that letting killers shoot down from tree stands wasn't enough fun, and the arrows will be flying horizontally for three months. Yee-haw! Who said the Midwest was backward?

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Animal Shelters and Political Gatherings

Letting other people tell you about...

Here's an article about the largest animal shelter in the state which killed over 14,000 animals last year, smaller no-kill shelters, and all the troubling sad issues involving pet euthanasia. This is a subject I've been trying to remain in denial about for as long as possible because it's the most probable future for Walden, who's a sweet cat to me but probably not very adoptable due to his black & white coloring, terror of all other humans, and an occasional habit of urinating in locations other than his litter box. To date all I've done is make a list of some no-kill shelters but my recent decision to stay here as long as possible gives us until spring to deal with it.

Will Potter's Green is the New Red blog has a nice round-up of the police activities going on at the Republican convention which corporate news sources won't bother telling you about. Personally, if I'd moved to St. Paul a couple years ago as I almost did and probably should have, I'd be at the Nader Super Rally right now. Anyone who really cares about things like democracy, integrity, honesty, and representation should find someone other than a Democrat or Republican to vote for.