Consider This: My Absence

I have been away from blogging for almost a year. I do have a good reason though. For the last year, I have participated in a novel writing course which will expand to my writing repertoire. The class will finish at the end of the month. The process has been daunting and time-consuming at the same time it has been a lot of fun.

At the end of the course, I will split my time between the novel and the blog. I am considering a lot of subjects to post but for now posts of consideration.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

    

Walk the Walk

selective focus photography of bald eagle
Photo by RalfGeorg on Pexels.com

As we approach another critical election, I thought I would look at some of the phrases we consider in the history of our government.

    Let’s start with the phrase “We the People.” When I was taught in school the declaration of Independence, and the Preamble of the Constitution was like a gospel song. Voices boom used width pride. But when I was growing up, we were still enjoying the fruits of the Allied victory in Japan and Europe. As a person who shared this countries birthday, I had to memorize them. The reality is that the founding fathers meant them as introductory remarks. I always thought our representatives came from the people themselves via the electoral process. But that is not the case for the most part they are white rich men and women who have made a name for themselves. They are not first responders, farmers, factory workers. This November we have a wide diversity of people wanting to serve their constituents. And so they don’t fall into the trap that their predecessors did, we must campaign for term limits and the removal of Citizen United.

    Our politicians love to talk the talk regarding “endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights” including “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. These rights are not meant to be taken or given away. The only people that can give these rights away is us. We are the only ones that can allow them to be taken away. So, it is very important that we stop talking the talk and start walking the walk. Be sure to go vote on November 6th. I don’t care if you walk, drive, ride or fly but vote.

What is at stake health care, Social Security, Medicare, and immigration.

    

Another Black Friday

There could be any number of Black Fridays. For me, there are currently two. The first when Jesus Christ was crucified, the second October 1929, but a third is on its way. Tomorrow our Senate will vote on the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. According to reports, the confirmation is going to happen. Which is a shame because in the process we have destroyed the credibility of a woman by the entitlement.

What has been proven is that Dr. Ford is an incredibly strong and brave woman. Secondly, what lengths the privileged and white supremacists will go to. White supremacy is not just hatred of nonwhites and the Jewish faith. It is a fear of anything that will take aware of their power whether it be in the bedroom, in the workplace, or in the government.

There was a time that the majority of the citizens of this country at a relationship with God. As that relationship declines so did our values. The values such as equality, decency, compassion and many more are almost extinct. What upsets me most is how hypocritical we as a nation have become. We pledge allegiance to one nation Under God. The word Under God means a whole lot to me. It established a link to the first commandment. I am speaking. about the prologue “I am the Lord, thy God…” Powerful word at least a commitment to hope and faith and protection. The final section “you shall have no other Gods before me.” This is where the hypocrisy comes in – we do have other gods; sex, drugs, money, possessions, and idols (flags, anthems, athletes, and entertainers.)

Tomorrow a potential drunk, accused sexual predator, liar, and entitled man will be confirmed to the Supreme Court. I require more out of the judiciary than that. In that, there is no hope, faith or protection. I require more out of the judiciary than that.

This November I am not hoping for a blue wave. I pray that it will be a blue cyclone. At least that is what I am praying for.

One of many Endangered Species of ANWR

Caribou 1

An Endangered Species of ANWR

When I was researching this topic, I learned one thing that many people think that Caribou and Reindeer are interchangeable. But they are not. And although neither species are in danger of becoming extinct, the Caribou of ANWR will be affected if oil exploration is allowed and that can be avoided.

One similarity of the species is that they are both adaptive to cold weather with their unique coats and hooves. Their significant difference is size and location. Caribous are ? and live on the North American Continent whereas reindeer live in Scandinavia and Russia. There is also the domestic issue, reindeer are the oldest domesticated species.

Since caribous are not domesticated, they face significant challenges. Because of their migratory ways, caribous are sensitive to changes in their habitat. This species is particularly vulnerable to climate change and the two significant factors that could disrupt their habitat, oil, and gas.

Studies are being done to address the threat. The University of Alaska – Fairbanks is studying changing temperatures effects in Arctic Alaska. The nature conservancy joined the school to explore how caribou and other arctic animals might respond.

The scientists are most concerned about 58,000 caribous of the Teshekpuk Lake. In June of every year, the herd congregates, north of the lake to birth their calves and seek relief from insects. If condition change in the area it will have a profound effect on the herd.

Caribou Facts

 

Caribou 3

 

Caribou and in some circles are also called reindeer, in five countries, Canada, Russia, Greenland, Russia, Norway, and Sweden, and one state: Alaska. As the seasons change so does the diet of the caribou. They feed on a variety of plants in the summer when vegetation is plentiful. As the seasons change so does the dietary regime of these animals. They feed on a variety of plants when the vegetation is abundant. However, during the winter caribou use their hooves to dig through snow to get to moss or lichens.

Because they are migratory and search for food across the tundra, God has adapted them for weather. The areas of their bodies that have been modified are fur, skin, and hooves. Because of their fur and skin caribou are after to stand the cold water of the northern rivers.  The wide design of their hooves allows them to cross muddy or snow, and helps the dig, as mentioned earlier, and swim.

The weight of a female caribou range from 180 – 200 pounds. Male caribou, on average, can double the female weight. They have been recorded as large as 600 pounds. Gender doesn’t matter as height which ranges between 33-35 inches at the shoulder.  Both genders have and do shed their antlers but at various times. The older male caribou after the rut (mating season) and females lose theirs in the summer.

The mating season or rut occurs in the fall, and the calving occurs in the spring. Female caribous only give birth to one calf.

The Porcupine Caribou

The reader may ask why I am concentrating so much attention on the caribou on the ANWR. My research has given an indication that it is the largest mass of animals in the region. There are two herds found in the area.  The Porcupine herd which numbers are estimated at 152,000 and the Central herd numbers 23,400 animals. Throughout the year the caribou goes through seven distinct phases of activities, some of which involve long migrations.

Spring Migration

During the spring migration, the caribou segregate themselves into groups which migrate at different times. Pregnant females, some yearlings, and barren cows migrate first, in early March. The bulls and juveniles follow a few weeks later. The pregnant females arrive on the north slope in mid to late May.

Calving

The caribou calves are born the last week in May and the first two weeks of June. The blessed event usually takes place between the Hulahula and the Babbage Rivers, in the foothills of the Coastal Plains. The area is generally free of snow.

There is a high degree of coordination and of the adaptation to reduce the overwhelming amount of predators, such as grizzlies, wolves, and on occasion the golden eagle. There exists a brief period of time in which the number of calves is more significant than predators.

Since the calves are able to stand and nurse within one to two hours after birth. After twenty-four hours they can run and follow their mothers over short distances. Because of this ability, they are able to escape their predators.

Post Calving Aggregation

The caribou’s most significant problem other than predators is mosquitoes. The mosquitoes emerge in late June and early July. So the caribou gathers in large groups and looks for areas where there are breezes and cold temperatures. Cold winds give the caribou time to feed and get relief from the mosquitoes. By mid to late July the herd moves off the Coastal Plain and into the foothills and mountains. Sometimes the herd will remain on the North Slope for the winter, then travel south and east to Canada. The Porcupine herd will move westward from the 1002 area and mingle with the Central Arctic Herd.

Dispersal

After the mosquitoes decline and the herd disperses this species is plagued by the warble fly and the nose-bot fly. Both species are nasty, but then what pest isn’t.

The warble nose fly looks like a small bumble bee. Its eggs in the fur of the abdomen legs of the caribou. The warble fly lays its eggs in the coat that covers the legs and abdomen of the caribou. Once the larvae are established, they burrow under the skin and travel to the back of the host. Then the warble fly larvae encapsulate and cut a breathing hole in the skin. Later in the months of May or June, the encapsulated larvae cut an exit hole, crawls out, and drops to the ground and develop into mature warble flies. A caribou can carry as many as a hundred of these pests.

The nose-bot fly lives up to its name by carrying live larvae which it deposits into the nostril of the caribou. The larvae then travel from the nose to the base of the throat. By spring the larvae are large enough to actually interfere with the breathing of the caribou.

The caribou can’t avoid the warble or nose-bot flies like mosquitos. Because the pests are such strong fliers the caribou stand with their heads low. In July and August caribou are seen violently shaking their heads, stamping their hooves, or running across the tundra.

Fall Migration

The caribou can begin migrating any time from late August to mid-October, moving southward. They will roam between 100-300 miles into the Brooks Range near Arctic Village, Alaska. And sometimes they get as far as the Ogilvie and Richardson mountains of the Yukon. While continues continue to migrate south mountains of they continue to store up fat. All of them will need their fat stores for winter, but the males in particular will use massive energy reserves for the rut. During the migration the bulls are getting into brief sparring matches, displaying their aggressiveness. Another sign that the rut is near is the bull is shedding the velvet from their antlers by rubbing them against trees and shrubs.u

Conclusion:

My reasoning for this essay is to point out that these creatures are unique with a definite purpose in the creation. One of the last comments I want to make is that these animals provide subsistence for the Inupiat Eskimos and Athabascan Indians that live along their migratory routes.

The greed of the 1% is driving this administration in destroying the last vestiges of Wilderness in this country. Oil drilling in the ANWR would disrupt the habitat of the caribou and as a result the peoples of the region.  For what? Are we becoming so inhuman?

 

 

 

 

The Rock

Twenty-four hours ago the words of a hymn I remember from my youth came to mind. Especially the refrain of “My Hope Is Built.” The refrain makes reference to Christ being the solid rock, and all other ground is sinking sand.

According to the definition is Wikipedia the cornerstone is defined as the first stone set in the construction of a foundation. It is important because all other stones will be set in reference to all other stones.

While I was on the Internet earlier I came across two articles that which concerned events in this country. The events were the shooting in Parkland, Florida and the Senate failing to produce an immigration bill. I had a sinking feeling and that is when my mind played a long remembered verse, but all my mind was only hearing the words sinking sand. The more and more I contemplated the news the more apparent I became of the words. Today I started putting it together.  While the Declaration of Independence is the cornerstone of the Constitution and the foundation of government, it is cracking and our government, is sinking in chaos, there is a life raft. We discover the true rock is found at the end of our journey with Jesus as we move toward Jerusalem and once again we witness the Crucifixion and the Resurrection. If we stand on our faith and remember Jesus is the rock we never have to fear sinking sand.

The Year of Lessons Learned

I started the year full of high hopes. I was finally retired and going to enjoy myself and do the things I wanted to do. The year started fine with me returning to faithful church attendance. I had mentioned before that I spent forty-two years in the world of IT.  Actually when I first started the official name was Data Processing. As a long time member of that professional community, I can say a person does not have anything like a healthy life. For twenty years I worked 12 hours a day, seven days a week, and then had a week off. So, in reality, I worked 26 weeks a year, with holidays and vacation. A young man’s game for a while. However, the opportunities to attend church often aren’t great. Then I worked 18 years in which I worked 3 and 1/2 days, twelve hours a day. Because a more significant part of that was spent work Wednesday – Saturday. So on my second weekend of retirement, I returned to church service and felt everything was going to be alright. I was back at my spiritual home.

I started this blog to pursue my writing interests.  I am a graduate of Long  Ridge Writers Group, where I learned to write non-fiction and fiction. I intended to write short stories and develop characters for other short stories. However, Donald Trump became President of our country and has torn asunder everything I believe in. I have lived in one of the most racist cities in the nations for sixty-six years. I held on to the belief that all people are created equal, not so much as because our founding document says so, but the Bible states that God created man in his image.

When I was a boy, my father instilled a love of nature. We watched the Wonderful World of Disney religiously. I loved the exceptional time-lapsed photography of fauna. And the individual heartwarming stories. That is why I have such a love of nature and environment.  I do not have any degrees in conservation or environmental studies, but I do believe we are undergoing a climate change. After all hasn’t the world gone through these changes over many millions of years. For earthlings, this climate change is man-made. A reasonable person should understand that after nearly fifty decades of belching carbon dioxide into the atmosphere some damage had to be sustained. Mainly we have done everything we could to eradicate trees from our environment. This is natures air cleaner. We owe the future generations an effort to turn this around.

I am committing myself to making an effort by posting whatever I learn about God’s gift to us; this planet,  why it is important we make an effort to save parts of it from our own undoing. Of course, there are two purposes for this to improve my writing and to inform you the reader. I will also be writing some general fiction too. Of course, to do all this, I am going to have to stay healthy by not breaking fingers and coming down with pneumonia.

 

My Stand

Like a lot of other Americans, I believe the GOP tax cut is heinous, and I do think taxes should be cut. In my particular case, I worked 42 years and most of that time was paycheck to paycheck. I have seen trickle down economics instituted twice, and it didn’t work either time. This package, what can you expect from stone cold people, whose primary goal is to deprive the less fortunate of life. I would like to remind the morality party even Jesus Christ ministered to the poor and sick.

I would rather see the government require two steps that they would have to meet. First, require that the corporations bring the outsourced jobs back to the United States. Secondly, bring back their profits that they have hidden so they can be taxed and fine.  I would prefer that they would have cut the taxes of the 1% and kept the estate tax, What happens to Trump’s promise of taxing corporations for moving jobs outside the country. At least with this tax package, we won’t have to build a wall, the immigrants will flock back to Mexico for work. Then maybe they’ll construct a fence to keep Americans out.

The headline has been rampant with news stories about the GOP being upset with Robert Mueller’s investigation. One story I read was that the GOP accused investigators of not liking Trump. Imagine the criminal castigating the police officer for shooting at him. “You’re supposed to love me.”

Finally, the depletion of our resources concerns me. Who is Trump selling the oil and coal too when the rest of the world is trending toward renewable energy. These natural resources that he and his comrades are so eagerly depleting were the same resource need for the allied effort against the Axis powers in the 1940s. We may need these resources to stop Putin.

The Case for the American Grey Wolves

The Case for the American Grey Wolves

As a young man, my father would regale me with stories of his hunting prowess. He was quite honest about it he preferred to small game. However, he also helped me develop respect for the ecosystem of our country. In mid-teens I was taken into the Boundary Waters of Minnesota where I had a brief encounter with a wolf.

At the time, I was enthralled by the scenery I was studying when I had a feeling I was not alone. It is an attitude I have developed throughout my years of camping and hiking. When I looked around, I saw the wolf trotting deeper into the woods. Since then I have made contributions to saving the wolf.

So I became alarmed when I learned that Congress had declared war on the American Wolves. The Senate introduced a bill that would release hunting restrictions on the wolves in four states Minnesota, Michigan, Wyoming, and Wisconsin. A week a similar bill was introduced in the House of Representatives. So to better understand I did some research.

From a person that has a background as a scientist and conservationist, I learned about three possible explanations. According to the author Leda Huta, the first reason is money. State revenues are increased by state fish and wildlife agencies, by the sale of fishing and hunting licenses, and the sale of ammunition. Because these organizations depend on revenue from hunters. It is likely that they are going to cater to hunters who want only humans killing deer and elk. The trophy hunters want to kill wolves.

Secondly, ever since the wolves were reintroduced to the wolves by the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Services, the wolf is not considered an essential cog in the ecosystem, but a representative of everything federal.

Lastly, is the mythology, that we have created about wolves. That they are supernatural beasts that threaten our existence, as in Red Riding Hood or stories about Werewolves.

In 2011, Bob Robb wrote in “Six Reasons to Kill Wolves,” is first there are too many wolves. Especially in areas where there is a lot of food, such as Yellowstone National Park. So much so that the wolf was removed from the Endangered Species Act in 2009. He states that in the sports hunting season of 2009 that 72 of 75 targeted wolves were killed in Montana, and 188 of 220 in Idaho.

Secondly, Robb states that wolves decimated the ungulate population. From the hunters, point of view the elk, deer, and moose populations have plummeted. Lower ungulate numbers mean state game managers are forced to offer fewer hunting licenses.  This means less revenue for that prospective state.

Then there is the third reason which is the elk and deer are not stupid. They are heading to higher ground to avoid being dinner for wolves. This put a hardship on the hunter because they have to engage the rougher terrain which has caused some hunters to quit hunting.

The fourth reason involves the belief that wolves don’t care what is on the menu. When wolves have less game to hunt, they have wandered into human habitation. When that happens pets and cattle become lunch. However, when ranchers complain about lost livestock and animal rights groups offer to mitigate the cost.

The fifth reason is wolves are the poster boy animals. Wolves are beautiful animals thus making them poster child from animal rights groups. “I’ve actually had officers from some prominent animal rights’ groups tell me that when they need to raise some quick cash, all they have to do is send out a mailer with the picture of a wolf on it that begs their donors for a few bucks to keep the evil hunters from killing these poor, innocent creatures.”1

In the sixth reason, Robb argues that endless litigation holds the wolves protected. Animal run wild are his primary targets.  Robb states that these groups advocate letting animals run wild and to stop hunting.

The Other Side

The general consensus before 1995 regarding recovering a damaged area biologists believed that the only way to rebuild plant life before anything else. This meant that healthy plants had to be established first, then insects, small rodents, birds, larger herbivores, and then, at last, the top predators fell into place. However, the Endangered Species Act required the reintroduction of top predators before plant life. So, in 1995, the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service reintroduced wolves to Yellowstone National Park. Since then the ecological effect named the trophic cascade has taken place. What has happened is that the grey wolves began something more natural than had been seen in sixty-five years: an ecosystem balance.

The Trophic Cascade

The term trophic refers to different levels of the food chain, with plant life at the bottom and the top level predators at the top. An example of a cascade is that of a stream coming to a waterfall. Once the water of the creek flows down the waterfall until it hits a rock and splits forming two waterfalls which hit rocks and creates other waterfalls. Now we can insert the wolf into the scenario.

The method of using the trophic cascade proved to be more of a success than anyone expected. Because the grey wolf preys on the most vulnerable, the diseased, the young, old, weak, and injured, individuals, of the ungulate population, herds of elk, moose, and deer. Because of the wolves method of hunting, it aids in the regulation herd size distribution which impacts biodiversity. Otherwise, elk, deer, moose overgraze the vegetation, which leads to the degradation of their habitat. Which in turn, leads to damaging effects on other native wildlife.

When the wolves were removed, smaller predator grew and with growth increase their range. This led to exploitation of their prey. An example of this occurred in the southeastern United States when red wolves were eliminated. After the red wolves elimination, the raccoon and coyote numbers rose sharply. This caused the reduction of wild turkeys and small predators such as foxes which preyed on smaller mammals. The smaller mammals were found to be responsible for infesting ticks with Lyme disease and with the more significant populations of smaller mammals Lyme disease has spread.

Because of the deer, elk and moose willow and aspen stands have regenerated. Along with the restoration of streambed vegetation native habitats for native birds, fish, and beaver. Aquatic habitats were improved by stabilizing channels and controlling erosion.

The impact on the survival of pronghorn, for the better because of the competition between coyote and wolves. Yellowstone National Park reported in 2007 that in some areas of the park the coyote population had been reduced by 50 percent. As a result, the increase in the pronghorn population was seen to rise from 20 percent to 70 percent. The populations of the red fox also saw an increase.

Eagles, bears, and magpies have benefited from the presence of the wolf because these carrion-feeders live on the remains left by wolves. The remains of the kills by wolves help other species survive stress filled winters.

The return of the grey wolves has also has helped aquatic, riparian vegetation. Sin the ungulates are no longer overgrazing the plant life along stream beds has grown stronger. Beaver had also returned to Yellowstone.

Conclusion

Many a time, sitting around campfires and I have stared at the starry canopy above wondered at the mind that put together this amazing world. After the research I’ve done, I am convinced that our wolves are an intricate part of our ecology. I do believe that animals should be able to run and free. That is when they are the most beautiful. I do not condone disbanding hunting, but I do not like methods being used.,  such as hunting from airplanes or using automatic weapons. Iconic predators such as the grizzly bear and the grey wolf are not food. However when money is involved the environment and ecology lose.

  1. http://www.y petersenshunting.cdrom/uncategonalirized/6-reasons-to-hunt-wolves/#ixzz4tLiyapVI

2nd Amendment Freedoms Vs. Life, Liberty, Pursuit of Happiness

No flag waving. Just short and personal. Too many lives have been lost because of this nation’s bloodlust. I would like you to consider this scenario. Consider the death toll, if the Las Vegas shooter had access to silencers. The same proposition that the House of Representatives will be considering. If you still support second amendment freedoms, then I challenge you to seek out the family members of the latest casualties and explain to them your gun ownership rights are more important than their loved one’s life.

A Laymen’s Look At The Paris Accord

A Layman’s Look At The Paris Accord

When I heard of the President’s decision to leave the Paris Agreement, I was discouraged, but when I thought about it: his decision reminded me of a line from one of my favorite movies. In the movie the Wrath of Khan, in an anti-climatic scene, a dying Spock whispers to Captain Kirk “Logic dictates that the needs of many outweigh the needs of the few.” In the president’s mind, the needs of the few outweigh the needs of the many.

 When I first heard of the Paris Accord I wanted to shout from the rooftop. This was the first time these many nations came together to agree on a strategy for a major crisis. That is other than war. So when Trump announced that the U. S. was going to withdraw from the Paris Accord. In my mind, I heard “the needs of the few outweigh the the of the many.”

 148 nations met adopt green energy resources and to limit the rise in global temperatures. At the same time, these countries are cooperating to cope with the impact of unavoidable climate change. What the agreement acknowledges is that the threat of climate change is urgent and irreversible. The signatories felt that the problem of emission reduction could only be addressed through the cooperation of all countries.

What is the effect of the cuts?

      According to the agreement: “Holding the increase in global average temperature to well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.”

The goal of 2 degrees as a limit had been discussed for several years. The global warming will still increase, but it won’t be as significant if nothing was done. The agreement notes that even if every signatory meets their obligation of 2 degrees world temperatures will still rise by 2 degrees. However, this is just a first step. It is the hope of all the signatories that the world will figure out how to get to the 2-degree goal, in time.

The accord goes onto a goal of pursuing loftier limits of 1.5 degrees temperature increase. The agreement states, “and to continue the efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 degrees C above pre-industrial levels, recognizing that this would significantly reduce the risks and impacts of climate change.”

 If the initial target of 2 is an ambitious goal, the Paris Accord goes to further suggest an even harder ambitious goal. The reason for the second ambitious goal was because of the campaigning of small island nations. These countries argued “noting that even if the temperature increase was held at 2 degrees, the resulting rise in sea levels would devastating for them.

Those island nations weren’t able to establish the 1.5 degrees as the primary target; the representatives were successful getting it into the Paris Accord. The reality is the 2-degree goal is lofty, and no one is sure if or how that is going to be achieved. The 2 degree Celsius may be the target, but world leaders have not figured out how to obtain it.

I am sure you have heard the figure $100 billion dollars in conjunction with the Paris Accord. This money is to be used to help developing countries swap from fossil fuels to greener resources and also to adapt to the effects of climate change. This contribution is the bottom level estimate of developed countries would have to contribute. Over the years this contribution is going to rise.

 The nations do not expect that they will be able to reduce emissions shortly. When the countries came to Paris every one of them had a voluntary pledge. Those pledges are now codified which sets a framework for the reductions to begin by 2020. That year is also the projected time to submit long term plans for the future. Not a pledge for the short term, but for one for future generations.

 The one element of the deal that President Barack Obama supported was that in the year 2020. In 2020 the reductions are supposed to begin. Every five years, every nations target will be reevaluated to move the world closer to the 2-degree target.

 President Obama support for this idea was to have each country’s goals submitted 9-12 months before they are finalized. This allows time to be created for other nations can seek clarity about the proposed targets. The goals should reflect progress from earlier targets. The target should be the highest each country can achieve. This framework should drive climate ambition while technologies improve and circumstances changes.

The target date for climate improvement is roughly mid-century or 2050. That is when the world is supposed to meet the goal of zero emissions of green house gases. However, no one expects the world to quit using every form of technology that greenhouse gases use. One example is the removal of carbon dioxide which could be accomplished by growing more trees. I guess that is why President Trump targeted Giant Sequoia National Monument. Those trees absorb two-thirds of the carbon dioxide for their species.

Personal Conclusion

 I have to agree with Trump’s supporters that the document is a lot of words. However, it is a lot of words targeting a particular problem setting real goals, not just talking about it. If we do not believe there is a critical issue with climate change: Please consider this all buildings and vehicles emitting fossil fuel emissions for ninety decades. Don’t you think there could be some damage?