Thursday, February 28, 2008

Monday, February 25, 2008

War is Peace

"Violence Against Border Agents Viewed As Sign of Success" (Forgive the freaky website this links to- but this headline is worth it.)

Only Michael Chertoff could interpret the increased violence along the U.S.-Mexico line as an indication that the border is becoming more secure. Some corporations- Boeing, for one- might view it as a successful payload, but only Michael Chertoff secures our homeland by provoking terror and increasingly violent counter-tactics instead of addressing the root causes of these issues.

Oh, wait. I guess that's something of a national strategy these days.

If you think this post is off-topic, think again. One-quarter of the 1,950 mile U.S.-Mexico border outlines public land, including national parks, forests, and wildlife refuges. The mentality of the person tasked with "securing" it is of utmost importance.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Consultation= Kicking the can down the road

Michael Chertoff has a way with words. In denying his Department of Homeland Security's failure to cooperate in any meaningful way with the border residents whose lives he is tearing apart and whose property he is destroying, he says this:
"...As I've made clear, we're not willing to have endless debate. We're not willing to kick the can down the road indefinitely," he continued. "We have made a commitment to the American people to get the job done, and we are going to live up to that commitment."
See! Right there in that last sentence he admits that he plans to build the wall, no matter what, because that's the commitment. To be single-minded in securing our homeland.

That is, the homeland where we screw poor people.

Kicking the can down the road indefinitely is really a pretty apt description of how activists feel under the Bush Administration. Except, maybe, we feel more like the road itself.

So, looking forward: Obama and Clinton answered some questions about the border situation during the debate in Austin, Texas last night. During the debate, the candidates were asked if they would reconsider building the border fence between the U.S. and Mexico, which is obviously a hot button issue in Texas.
Clinton used her visit to the University of Texas at Brownsville in her response. "The University of Texas at Brownsville would have part of its campus cutoff. I would have a review. I would listen to the people who live along the border, who understand what it is we need to be doing to protect our country," said Clinton.

Barack Obama had a similar response. He said, "This is an area where Senator Clinton and I almost entirely agree. I think that the key is to consult with local communities, whether it's on the commercial interests, the environmental stakes; of creating any kind of barrier."
While there is either some confusion about punctuation in the report or some confusion about what constitutes articulation on the campaign trail, neither of them sound like they would rehire Chertoff.

So, heck, there's your good news for today. You're welcome.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Honey, git the gun!

We're sad but not surprised by today's announcement of the FWS removal of the gray wolf from the Endangered Species list. We're perplexed that somehow, 1500 individuals is considered a "soaring" population. Recovering, sure. But ready to be delisted and sold as trophy tags to assholes in the northern Rockies, no way.

Montana is hot to trot on this news- they've already announced the dates of the gray wolf hunting season. Yeehaw!

More on this from Ralph Maughan. Really, no one knows it like him.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Uh... pretty please?

What, pray tell, does the Arizona Game and Fish Department gain from refusing to outlaw lead bullets in California condor habitat? Citing increased voluntary non-lead bullet use by most hunters, the AGFD asserts that requiring such drastic measures such as a complete ban would be be like punishing hunters.
Sullivan of Game and Fish said a ban would punish hunters because non-lead ammunition costs more and isn't available in all calibers.

"It doesn't seem fair to penalize these hunters when they've already proven that they're willing to help us out with this effort," Sullivan said.
Huh? How is something that hunters are supposedly already complying with also considered a punishment? It just doesn't make sense.

Oh, right. Sense. That explains it.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Northern Jaguar Project

Let's face it: jaguars in the U.S. are probably doomed. The Fish and Wildlife Service damned them to local extirpation with its subservience to the Bush Administration by bending right over on the ridiculous border wall biological opinion. But we digress.

The good news- and yes, we here at DL do occasionally notice good news- is that a savvy group of conservationists calling themselves the Northern Jaguar Project mustered up enough bucks to buy a ranch in Mexico to protect resident jaguars. Perhaps up to 120 individuals occupy the lands in question.

And, just because the acquisition is complete doesn't mean they won't still welcome your donations. Check out their link, above.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

"BLM recommends a smaller herd."

I know, you saw the headline and thought, "My goodness! A sea change in the agency!"

But, come on, you knew that couldn't possibly refer to cows, didn't you? Instead, we've got wild horses- the Pryor Mountain Wild Mustang Herd- that need to be reduced by 35 percent. I'm guessing, emphasis on guessing, that these damn wild horses are eating what would better serve somebody's private herd of cattle. Now, that just ain't right!

The wild horse issue is one that most enviros steer clear of (too political!), and most of the "horse lovers" sound like vegangelical whack-jobs.* It's true that wild horses- an introduced species- do a lot of damage in the ecosystems where they are now confined. But still, I resent that the "range" is being given away for mere pennies as cattle feed, and that the agency constantly fails to take a "hard look" at the consequence of these handouts. Yet, the BLM finds all the time in the world to calculate sustainability levels for wild horses and then the resources to have them slaughtered.

There is something seriously wrong with this picture. And these.


* Love ya, vegans. Please don't hate mail me! ;)

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Ideological secession?

I loved this headline: California, Mexico pledge to fight climate change.
"It is an agreement between Mexico and California to work cooperatively on ways to enhance policies for environmental protection and sustainable natural resources," Schwarzenegger said in a statement.
In other words, vowing to do what Bush won't do.

It's great that the rest of the world already kind of thinks of California as its own country. Mexico, California, Africa...

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Glug, glug, glug....

Lake Mead, a key source of water for millions of people in the southwestern United States, could go dry by 2021, a new study finds.
The study’s findings indicated that there is a 10 percent chance that Lake Mead could be dry by 2014 and a 50 percent chance that reservoir levels will drop too low to allow hydroelectric power generation by 2017. There is a 50 percent chance the lake will go dry by 2021, the study says.

Researchers say that even if water agencies follow their current drought contingency plans, those measures might not be enough to counter natural forces, especially if the region enters a period of sustained drought or if human-induced climate changes occur as currently predicted.
Anyone else thirsty?

Both of this country's two fastest growing states, Nevada and Arizona, rely on Lake Mead's water supply.

We can smirk about Las Vegas and we can fiddle while Rome burns. Or we can enact severe restrictions on growth and water usage and let the folks who can't give up their swimming pools go the hell back to Michigan. We can get serious and confront the utter un-sustainability of large populations in the desert southwest and then boot the lawns, cotton fields, and golf courses out.

Or we can continue in the happy la-la land that is America these days. But la-la ain't going to fill Lake Mead, and 2021 is only 13 years away.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Know Compromise!

For the 22 miles of Texas that will have levees raised instead of the border wall, the "compromise" sounds like a good thing. Right?

Yeah, right. And Michael Chertoff is a secretly a wonderful person.
Levees are man-made embankments to prevent flooding. The ones in the area will be reinforced with 18-foot-high (six-metre) concrete barriers with sheer faces.

Stefanie Herweck of the No Border Wall Coalition said the government's "assertion that these are not walls is just spin. They are making the deal sound sweeter than it is."
Hmmm....18-foot high concrete barriers with sheer faces. Where have we seen those before?

This op-ed from a little paper in Texas really calls the "compromise" out on the carpet.
We, as taxpayers, will be paying for at least part of the cost of a border barrier that most of us didn’t want in the first place, with some vague hope that we will be reimbursed somewhere down the line by the federal government, which was supposed to be responsible for seeing to it that the levees were in good repair in the first place....

On balance, although the Hidalgo County levee/wall “compromise” announced Friday still stinks, it is probably better than the alternative, which was no alternative at all.
It's really classic, isn't it? The people of Texas aren't stupid enough to miss the trick. They are just trying to find some small glint of good in the whole mess, and in this case, it's protection from flooding. Can't blame 'em, really.

- Lozen

"They hate us for our thongs, people."

This hilarious line from a San Francisco Chronicle story on the border wall made me spit out my coffee this morning. The article points out the "security risk" of the huge numbers of unfenced miles of coastline that are wide open for illegal entry:
"Why isn't somebody fencing in Miami? ...Where is the fence at Malibu?"
A point of clarification: Mr. Chertoff, Please don't get the wrong idea. "Fences? We don't need no stinkin' fences!," OK? Not in Miami, not in Malibu, not in Arizona, and not in Texas.

In fact, Mr. Chertoff, we're getting pretty sick of your ilk altogether. Tick, tick, tick...

- Lozen

Friday, February 08, 2008

The Second Extermination

Looks like the second extermination of the Mexican gray wolf in its native habitat is well underway. The AP is reporting that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service counts even fewer wolves in the wild this year than last year. No one is even surprised anymore. Ranchers gloat. Enviros howl. Feds load their guns. Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

Fewer wolves are released, fewer survive, and some go suspiciously missing. The fear-smear campaign being waged in Catron County is absurd, but the whiners are apparently winning. The ranchers whine about their cows being brutally killed by wolves... the same cows that are headed for the stun gun at the slaughterhouse! Give me a break.

And speaking of cows, stop eating them, OK? It isn't just about the ethics of eating animals anymore. It's about reducing your carbon footprint.

To the size of a pawprint, preferably.

- Lozen

Thursday, February 07, 2008

A thousand more

Another day, another heartbreak. This photo was taken and forwarded anonymously from southern Arizona.

Good work, Michael Chertoff. I FEEL SO MUCH SAFER!

- Lozen

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

A thousand words

Unfortunately, I don't know who to credit for this drawing:

If you know who drew it, please post to the comments. Thanks.

- Lozen