Enter the Broccoli Fairy - Archives
Recently on DU there has been a lot of confusion about the scope and purpose of the Endangered Species Act.
The Act was signed into law by President Nixon in 1973.
According to the USFWS website:
Through federal action and by encouraging the establishment of state programs, the 1973 Endangered Species Act provided for the conservation of ecosystems upon which threatened and endangered species of fish, wildlife, and plants depend. The Act:
authorizes the determination and listing of species as endangered and threatened;
prohibits unauthorized taking, possession, sale, and transport of endangered species;
provides authority to acquire land for the conservation of listed species, using land and water conservation funds;
authorizes establishment of cooperative agreements and grants-in-aid to States that establish and maintain active and adequate programs for endangered and threatened wildlife and plants;
authorizes the assessment of civil and criminal penalties for violating the Act or regulations; and
authorizes the payment of rewards to anyone furnishing information leading to arrest and conviction for any violation of the Act or any regulation issued thereunder.
Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act requires Federal agencies to insure that any action authorized, funded or carried out by them is not likely to jeopardize the continued existence of listed species or modify their critical habitat.
A candidate species is typically either directly listed by the USFWS or NOAA or is a subject of a petition put forward by an individual or group. The USFWS or NOAA will look at the available science and make a ruling. Subspecies may be listed, populations may be listed, or species living within a particular area may be listed.
Once a species becomes listed, a recovery plan is written and critical habitat is determined. The recovery plan typically states the ideal population that the species should get to before becoming delisted. The recovery plan also provides a timeline for recovery, things that need to happen for recovery to be successful, and projected costs. Critical habitat is area that the species could live in that is needed for the species to survive. Critical habitat might be as small as a hillside or as large as the Mojave Desert.
If a species meets the criteria for delisting outlined in the recovery plan, the species is delisted and monitored for 5 years. SPECIES ARE NOT MEANT TO BE PERMANENTLY LISTED. The goal is to have the species recover and become delisted.
All this is well and good, but what does this mean? Aside from active efforts to create more members of a listed species (such as the condor breeding programs) how does the Act protect individual members of a species?
Here in Redding, Caltrans is building a bridge across the Sacramento River. In order to be allowed to build the bridge, Caltrans needs permits from assorted agencies, such as the Army Corps of Engineers, the US Fish and Wildlife Service, and the California Department of Fish and Game. These permits cover issues such as placement of fill in the river, destruction of wetlands, and incidental take of listed species. Before the agencies issue the permits, they'd like to see a discussion of the potential impacts to natural resources as a result of the proposed project. Additionally, since the bridge project is receiving federal money, Caltrans itself cannot participate in a project that would result in "take" of a listed species.
Caltrans knows that they need permits and some hefty environmental documents in order for the agencies to sign off on the project. So they put the project out to bid.
A company such as EDAW, Jones and Stokes, URS, or one of about 80 others wins the bid, and the work begins. No, not building the bridge! The work of writing the documents and getting the permits.
The company will send a biologist to the site, and the biologist will delineate wetlands, count and measure trees, look for sign of endangered species, count elderberry stems and look for exit holes, and so forth. Then the biologist will go back to the office and write up a document or document section discussing all the biological issues at the site. The document or documents in question may take months to write, depending on the complexity of the issues.
For this particular project, the species in the area that must be mentioned in the document are osprey, bald eagle, tricolored blackbird, winter-run chinook salmon, western red bat, vernal pool fairy shrimp, vernal pool tadpole shrimp, valley elderberry longhorn beetle, slender orcutt grass, bank swallow, spring-run chinook salmon, northwestern pond turtle, and Pacific fisher. (Note well: some of these species are California species of concern, and not listed as threatened or endangered by either the state or the federal government.) In addition, raptor species are fully protected, so hawks, owls, and so forth would probably also be discussed.
Usually there is a table within the document that has a list of all the species, and rationalizations for not discussing the species in the text. If I were writing the document, I'd throw out the blackbird, both of the shrimp, and the fisher as being unlikely to occur on the site. Most of the rest of the species would require a full write-up, and a determination of likely occurrence. Just for purpose of the example, let's say there's no impact on most of the species, but a potentially significant impact on bald eagle (federally delisted but fully protected, and state endangered), valley elderberry longhorn beetle (federally threatened), northwestern pond turtle (California species of special concern), two chinook salmon runs (federally threatened and endangered), and western red bat (California species of special concern). Let's say there's also potentially significant impacts on breeding birds.
This is where the bullshit and the game-playing come in. This is also where the project can run into real trouble as far as costs and scheduling.
It's a known fact that there's a big bald eagle nest right next to the bridge site.
Originally Caltrans tried to put a cone over the eagle nest to keep the parents from breeding this year, but the parents flipped out and the cone was taken down. This webcam was put up so that some hapless schmo can watch it all day and see if the eagles are being disturbed by the construction.
I'm not sure what was done about the rest of the species, but I'll give a general outline of what could occur.
Valley elderberry longhorn beetles are a mythical species that lives in mature elderberry bushes. Since they are mythical, they are never seen directly, and their presence can only be inferred by holes in the stems of elderberry bushes. To mitigate for the potentially significant impacts to this species, some unlucky soul will go out and count all the elderberry stems in the project area. Through the magic of Excel, a number of replacement bushes is devised. These bushes may be planted on- or off-site, but they must be protected in perpetuity by the client. If you know where to go, there are fields of mitigation elderberries in the valley.
Adjacent to the project site is an area known as Turtle Bay. Likely mitigation for turtles includes checking the site every day for turtles, and monitoring construction so that turtles don't get hurt by the equipment. (This monitor will probably also be the fish monitor too. I think there are two shifts over there, a day shift and a night shift. Good times.)
Salmon mitigation often consists of halting construction so that the fish can migrate without noise and pollution. This may result in construction ceasing for part of the year. Usually there are also pretty strict rules about erosion from the site entering the river.
Western red bats roost in trees. There are a lot of trees near the bridge site. A bat expert would typically go out and do a bat survey, and if possible, the bats would be excluded from the roost. Exclusion methods may include netting off the area or otherwise physically blocking access to the roost site.
Mitigating impacts to breeding birds may take several forms. There is some sleazy stuff that happens in this area. One can totally denude the site of any vegetation in order to avoid impacts to breeding birds. Typically trees that are going to be removed are removed before the breeding bird season starts. I've also seen developers totally ignore the breeding bird issue and proceed with construction right in the middle of the breeding season. This is why all developers are going to burn in hell for all eternity. But Caltrans usually tries to do the right thing. For species such as cliff and barn swallows, their nests may be destroyed prior to the onset of the breeding season (this is how your friend Xema got bird lice). Construction may be halted during the breeding bird season (note well that if construction is halted for both breeding birds and fish, this can leave as little as four months in the year to actually build anything). Birds may be physically excluded from breeding areas, or harassed until they go somewhere else. Biologists can go find and map all the bird nests on the site, and then monitor the nests until the young have left the nest.
In summary, there's usually an odd song and dance around all these different issues, while totally ignoring the real problems. Why is riparian habitat still being destroyed? Why are wetlands still being filled? Why are we still pretending that fish aren't being killed by dams as opposed to wayward backhoes?
So what does all this have to do with wolves and polar bears?
As noted above, the Endangered Species Act protects species until such time as they are considered recovered. Species are not meant to stay listed forever. Ideally, such species as the California Condor could recover to the point where breeding programs are not needed and they are just another part of the southwestern avifauna.
As far as wolves go, the original recovery plan called for 100 wolves each in Wyoming, Idaho, and Montana, for a total of 300 wolves. Right now there are 1500 wolves across these three states, for a total of five times more wolves than the recovery plan originally called for. Yes, delisting means they can be shot. This is a bummer, yes, but again, the Act was not engineered to protect species in perpetuity.
In addition to the danger of being hunted, the delisting of the wolf means that biologists in the wolf's range will not have to consider impacts to the wolf as a part of any projects. Delisted species are frequently discussed in environmental documents, but the likelihood of potential impacts to the wolf affecting a project are small.
With regard to the polar bear, listing the bear would do NOTHING. It would just be another stupid hoop to jump through for a project to get approval. For the above bridge project, the biologist writing the document would cook up some crap about the added traffic having no impact, and that discussion would go into every other document verbatim. It would be a check mark on a list. Even for a big project with real climate impacts, such as opening a new oil field, there would be some crap in the document about the minimal amount of CO2 that 27 billion barrels of oil would put into the atmosphere and the biologist in question would just stamp the thing with the old "No Impact" stamp.
In summary, yes, the Endangered Species Act is broken. The Act is used to wrangle management of landscapes in a way that I don't think its authors intended. The Act also falls far short of protecting landscapes for the health of the organisms that live there.
As an illustration of this, the Marbled Murrelet is a small seabird that nests in large trees near the Pacific coast. Old growth redwoods are typical habitat for this bird. Most environmentalists want to see the old growth redwoods protected, and if a grove of redwoods has murrelets in it, it can't be cut down. Many environmentalists of the Earth First! stripe I've met know nothing about the murrelet, and wouldn't recognize one if they saw or heard it. They like big redwoods, but they really could give a shit about the murrelet. The murrelet is nevertheless used as a weapon in the fight to save the old growth. If the powers that be had any sense at all, they would just buy all the damn old growth redwoods instead of spending all this time monitoring the birds and fighting in court, but murrelets themselves are an industry. The Sierra Club sends out fundraising flyers bemoaning the plight of the murrelet, Earth First! gets to illegally camp in some terrific groves, hundreds of college students earn some summer cash surveying for murrelets, dozens of federal biologists get grant money to study the birds, timber companies have armies of their own biologists trying to prove that all the other folks are liars, and so forth. Again, all this is not about the murrelet but the trees, and paradoxically, the trees themselves have no protection without the murrelet. The species is the means to an end. Meanwhile, the murrelet is out doing its own thing.
Polar bears are already a symbol of climate change. There's already a symbolic tug-of-war between the Al Gores of the world and the Sarah Palins of the world, where one side relies on the bear to gain $upport for a movement, and the other is happy to go out and shoot a bear as a big "fuck you" to the same movement. Let's be honest here: we're not going to do shit about climate change, and the bear will have to live or die on its own. It's the same story with the wolf and western land use. It's a cycle of "fuck yous" from one side to the other, and it's probably not going to change without a radical rewriting of environmental laws in this country.
-Xema, the Cynical Biologist
I blame the goddamn California democratic party, and all the goddamn democrats in California who could not organize a goddamn trip to the bathroom.
I feel like I should be happy about the election of Obama, but I'm actually really pissed.
I'm pissed about goddamn Prop 8, and I'm pissed about the goddamn district 2 congressional race.
I'm EXTRA pissed that California went for Obama not due to any superior organization on the part of the state party, but DESPITE the state party.
This is the same goddamn party who puts up goddamn nerds with NO charisma against Republican movie stars.
There's a complacency in this state that makes me ANGRY. Yeah, we go blue every four years, but this is also a state where people get KILLED for being gay and being homeless... Synagogues get bombed, crosses get burned... and somehow everyone carries on with this MYTH that California is SO liberal.
Hey people in the Bay Area and LA, instead of being self-congratulatory that YOU live in a liberal area, think for a minute. Think about why prop 8 passed. And NO, it's not those black folks down in Compton or over in Oakland. It's all the folks in Redding and Fresno and Bakersfield and Lancaster. And it's not just the fundies, it's the demoralized democrats who live in these places who are not connected with other democrats and feel like their votes don't matter.
Here in Redding we did not see a SINGLE no on 8 sign, billboard, commercial, or bumper-sticker.
Our congressional candidate, Jeff Morris, who was running against Wally Herger, went down to flaming defeat in a 60-40 blowout. He was outspent by 20 to 1!!!!!!! Herger raised 880,000, and Morris raised 43,000. Morris didn't get a DIME of state or national money.
And you know what the stupid state party chair said? "If we had known Morris would do so well, we would have provided some funding."
And as far as the presidential race went, WE WENT DOWN TO THE LOCAL DEMOCRATIC OFFICE TO GET A DAMN OBAMA SIGN FOR THE DAMN YARD, AND WE WERE TOLD THAT NONE HAD BEEN ORDERED, AND IF WE WANTED ONE WE NEEDED TO GO TO NEVADA.
We put our names down to volunteer for Obama and Morris, and WE WERE NEVER CALLED.
Why does the state party seem to think they can run a 20-county (out of 58) campaign every four years and get away with it? Because they've been getting away with delivering California's 55 electoral votes for the democratic presidential candidate for DECADES, and they don't seem to realize the magnitude of the problem.
And back to the folks in the Bay Area and LA: you have the same problems the state party has. You think you're organized because you have critical mass, but you're totally not organized. All those people in San Francisco who didn't bother to vote? Yeah, that's symptomatic of what I'm saying.
Trying to ramp up a democratic network from scratch every couple years is a FAILURE. It's a failed way to win elections.
The republicans have PERMANENT networks of fundraising and organization. We have SHIT.
Yeah, there's a big fucking list somewhere of people who are willing to throw down some fat cash, but fat cash is NO substitute for a real network of people to campaign for issues like gay marriage, or candidates, or anything else.
In summary, we have a LOT of work to do organizationally in this state.
District of Columbia: 92.9
Prince George's, MD: 88.9
Shannon, SD: 88.7
Petersburg, VA: 88.6
Bronx, NY: 88.2
Jefferson, MS: 87.0
Menominee, WI: 86.9
Macon, AL: 86.9
Manhattan, NY: 85.1
San Francisco, CA: 84.7
Claiborne, MS: 84.5
Starr, TX: 84.5
Zavala, TX: 84.2
St. Louis City County, MO: 83.7
Greene, AL: 83.2
Sioux, ND: 83.1
Phaladelphia, PA: 83.0
Clayton, GA: 83.0
Taos, NM: 81.5
Hancock, GA: 81.1
San Miguel, NM: 79.8
New Orleans, LA: 79.3
De Kalb, GA: 79.0
Brooklyn, NY: 78.9
Alameda, CA: 78.8
Mora, NM: 78.6
Maverick, TX: 78.2
Todd, SD: 78.1
Marin, CA: 77.9
Santa Cruz, CA: 77.8
Suffolk, MA: 77.5
San Miguel, CO: 77.1
Santa Fe, NM: 76.8
Tunica, MS: 76.5
Noxubee, MS: 76.3
Maui, HI: 76.7
Hawaii, HI: 76.0
Essex, NJ: 75.9
Durham, NC: 75.8
Brooks, TX: 75.7
Cook, IL: 75.4
Boulder, CO: 75.2
Berkshire, MA: 75.2
Rolette, ND: 75.1
Dimmit, TX: 75.1
Allandale, SC: 75.1
Dukes, MA: 75.1
Kauai, HI: 75.0
Sumter, AL: 74.9
Lowndes, AL: 74.9
Rio Arriba, NM: 74.8
Duval, TX: 74.8
Multnomah, OR: 74.8
Queens, NY: 74.4
Wayne, MI: 74.2
Bullock, AL: 74.1
Sonoma, CA: 73.8
Pitkin, CO: 73.7
San Mateo, CA: 73.7
Jim Hogg, TX: 73.6
Windham, VT: 73.6
Costilla, CO: 73.4
Buffalo, SD: 73.3
Coahoma, MS: 73.1
Dane, WI: 73.0
Hudson, NJ: 72.7
Franklin, MA: 72.5
Perry, AL: 72.3
Orange, NC: 72.1
Hampshire, MA: 71.8
King, WA: 71.5
Webb, TX: 71.5
Humphreys, MS: 71.4
McKinley, NM: 71.3
Montgomery, MD: 71.3
Presidio, TX: 71.3
Wilcox, AL: 71.0
Guadalupe, NM: 70.9
Lamoille, VT: 70.8
Hertford, NC: 70.6
Norfolk, VA: 70.6
San Juan, WA: 70.5
Sunflower, MS: 70.4
Johnson, IA: 70.2
"Mr. President, this economic bailout is going to cost American taxpayers three Brazilian dollars."
"That doesn't sound so bad... What's that in American dollars, like, 50 cents?"
If climate change is caused by man, then what do we do about it? What SHOULD we try to do about it, and what CAN we do about it?
If climate change is NOT caused by man and we try to do something to slow or stop this perceived imaginary threat, what's the worst that can happen?
I have answered both of these questions for myself; what do you think?
Hundreds of species of birds, including many once-common songbirds such as the meadowlark and American bobwhite, are in severe decline in the United States, falling in population by as much as 90 percent since the 1960s, scientists, government officials and conservation groups told Congress today.
The chief cause is destruction of habitat, scientists told the House subcommittee on fisheries, wildlife and oceans. They said rising food prices and the push for alternative fuels are putting intense pressure on farmland set aside for conservation.
Other killers include invasive plant species that take over native seed and nesting sources, wind turbines located near critical flyways, lighted and glass-encased buildings, lighted cell-phone towers, domestic cats, disease, pesticides and climate change, which also is shrinking habitat ranges.
Farmers racing to plant corn for ethanol, which is subsidized by the federal government, and livestock feed are pulling millions of acres out of the nation's largest private land conservation program, the 32-million-acre Conservation Reserve Program, in which the government pays farmers under 10- and 15-year contracts to keep fragile lands out of production. Rising food and energy prices are leading to political pressure from Congress on the Bush administration to allow farmers to break their conservation contracts without penalty.
A pretty blonde with a bouffant shoots an unseen someone twice. After shooting the person, she breaks down, screaming and crying. She falls in a heap on the floor, cradling the gun. The whole scene is shot in a bright white light, and the only sound is that sort of underwater sound you get in a swimming pool.
Elvis is going down an escalator in an airport. A big, stylized sign, reminiscent of 50's travel posters, welcomes him to Honolulu. All the luggage comes out of a tunnel. Elvis retrieves his small suitcase, and the scene ends with an extended shot of the luggage coming out, going around the carousel, and going back into a tunnel. One particular suitcase seems to be the focus of the shot, and the scene fades out with the blue suitcase retreating into the tunnel. The mechanical sound of the luggage carousel and the sounds of women's heels clacking dominate the soundtrack.
A seedy motel, daylight. Elvis is checking into the motel. The Indian clerk asks how long he's staying, and Elvis says he's staying for a week. As Elvis walks away, the clerk gives him an odd look. Elvis uses the key card to get into his room. The first thing we see in the room a lamp shaped like a hula girl. Once in the room, he takes all of the clothes out of his suitcase and puts them away, hanging his shirts carefully. All of his shirts are very, very similar Hawaiian shirts. They all look brand new. He takes a shower, and while he's in the shower, the camera focuses on him washing his face very carefully, followed by the shot of the water running down onto the floor of the bathtub, past a horrific rusty stain. The sounds of the shower fade in and out with the sounds of a radio in an adjacent room. The music is a sad, slow Mexican ballad.
Much later in the evening, it's dark and Elvis goes down to the beach. He's wearing a clean, pressed Hawaiian shirt, and khaki slacks. There's a party at the beach, and it's very crowded. The only light is flickering bonfires and tiki torches. The camera lurches drunkenly towards the bonfires and torches. Loud, chaotic music with a fast beat and lots of trumpets is playing. All the other men are dirty and unshaven, and all the women are beautiful, but hard and greedy looking. Almost everyone is either smoking a cigarette or pot. The crowd parts and a beautiful woman with long, stringy blonde hair is standing there. She looks strung out. She's wearing a tiny bikini, and she has almost no breasts. She runs her hand slowly down her smooth, deeply tanned torso, stopping when she gets to her crotch. The implication is clear. A man steps out of the crowd and moves towards Elvis. He gestures at the woman, and says to Elvis "You like what you see?" Elvis doesn't respond.
Elvis goes back to his motel room. It's dark. He turns on the light, and there's a naked woman in his bed. She's beautiful, with white skin, raven black hair, and large breasts. He asks "Who are you?" and she responds "I had nowhere else to go!" He accepts this, and slowly gets ready for bed, putting on blue flannel pajamas, and brushing his teeth in the bathroom. A tiny window above the shower is open, much too small for her to have come in through. The dirty rose-colored curtains blow slightly in the wind. Once in bed, she reaches for him, but he turns away. She looks totally crushed. She sneaks into the bathroom and sobs silently. The fluorescent light on the ceiling flickers several times and goes out.
The next day, Elvis is standing in a bank. He's talking to the teller, a middle-aged, slim, black woman. He asks about a safety deposit box, and gives the teller a key. The teller walks into the back, and Elvis looks around the bank in a bored manner. The teller asks him to follow her, and he does. Women's heels are the only sound, other than the dialogues between Elvis and the teller.
Perfect, curling waves are breaking out in a perfect blue ocean. The camera is looking out towards the water, so no land is visible. The camera slowly sinks, and the sound goes from crashing waves to that same swimming-pool sound.
That evening, he goes back to the party on the beach. It's almost identical to the previous night. Elvis moves forward through the crowd, but this time, the crowd parts to show the blonde with the bouffant from the opening shot. She's wearing a tight, short-sleeved pink sweater, and long, full skirt with a crinoline. They see each other, they're lit with a white light, and the music changes to "I Can't Help Falling in Love With You." They move towards each other, and give each other broad smiles. For a second, the spotlight brightens to the intensity of the opening shot, and we see her sobbing and holding the gun. Then the spotlight fades back to normal. Her eyes widen and her smile gets bigger. She says her name is Betty. They smile. They're in love. He asks if he can see her again, and she says yes. As Elvis leaves the beach party, in a shadowy corner he sees the strung-out blonde from the night before performing oral sex on a man with long, stringy blonde hair. The man grins at Elvis, and he's missing several teeth.
Again, Elvis goes back to his room to find the dark-haired woman. She's still naked. He asks her what her name is and she says "Veronica, my name is Veronica." She gives her head an affected toss. She looks like she's not telling the truth. Again, she's shown in the bathroom crying.
The waves are shown again. An Iiwi flits through the trees. The camera zooms in on the bird's eye. This shot is oddly grainy compared with the rest of the film.
Elvis and Betty are in a diner. They're both drinking milkshakes with long straws. They look very happy. Betty asks Elvis why he came to Honolulu, and Elvis replies that someone died. She looks sad for a minute, then brightens and says "Well, I'm glad you came!" He says "I'm glad too!" They hold hands. Betty asks if he would like to come over for dinner. Elvis says he would like that very much. Again, "I Can't Help Falling in Love With You" is heard.
The same evening, Elvis knocks on the door of a house. He's looking exceptionally clean-cut in a starched white shirt and tie. Betty's parents open the door. Betty's dad is tall and tan. He's wearing an argyle sweater. Betty's mom is dressed in a short-sleeved white blouse with a ruffled collar, a long skirt with a crinoline, and an apron. She's wearing pearls. She has a strangely hurt expression. They all sit down at the table. Betty serves them all. They're all drinking milk. Betty's dad asks Elvis what his father does for a living. Elvis responds that his dad manages a plant. Betty's dad smiles and nods approvingly.
After dinner, Elvis and Betty go into the den. The den's got wood paneling and a rock fireplace, and looks just like Mrs. Robinson's den in "The Graduate." There's an odd, strangely blocky red lamp in the corner. Elvis stares at the lamp, reminded of something. When he turns around, Betty is standing there naked. He moves towards her, embracing her passionately. Betty's father is shown leering at them through some wooden blinds from another room in the house. He clearly loves watching them together.
After leaving Betty's house, Elvis goes back to the beach. He thinks he sees the strung-out blonde, but he realizes it's another girl.
Elvis goes back to the motel, and Veronica is there. He doesn't say anything to her. She cries in the bathroom some more.
Waves. The Iiwi.
Betty and Elvis are on a picnic together. They're on a bluff overlooking the ocean. They've got a blanket spread out, and they're drinking cokes out of a bottle. Betty is a sweet, innocent girl again. No mention is made of the previous evening.
Elvis goes back to the party on the beach. He sees Betty talking to a group of rough-looking men. When Betty sees him, she moves towards him, blocking his view of the men. She's half-hidden in the darkness. He asks "What are you doing here?" She steps into the light, and he sees she's been crying. She's desperate, and wild eyed. He says "Come home with me. Come back to my hotel." Then he grabs her and holds her pressed against him.
They go back to his hotel, and it's a totally different room. This room is paneled in rich wood, and there are red drapes covering the window. This room is much nicer, and Veronica is nowhere to be seen. The red lamp from Betty's parents' den is on the bedside table. They get in bed and start to make love in slow motion. She's crying, and he kisses away her tears. The under water sound is heard, and the light turns into a bright spotlight.
The next morning, Betty takes a shower, and the water is shown dripping down onto the shower floor. It's a nice tile now. Slow music is playing, with lots of violins. Meanwhile, Elvis is packing. He opens the closet door, and there is nary a Hawaiian shirt to be seen. Betty comes out of the bathroom wearing a short jean skirt over a tight black bodysuit. Her hair is straight and shoulder-length with bangs and streaks. They smile at each other.
They're back at the airport, and they're getting on a plane together! They take their seats, and smile some more. They're very much in love. She pats her stomach, implying she's pregnant. Elvis looks at her proudly.
The closing shot is almost the same as the opening shot. Betty, with the bouffant, is screaming and crying. She falls in a heap on the floor, cradling the gun. White light, swimming pool sound.
Posted by XemaSab in General Discussion: Presidential (Through Nov 2009)
Thu May 15th 2008, 04:50 PM
*Gov. Janet Napolitano-- I've heard her name floated before. It would be unlikely to have two people for Arizona running.
*Gov. Mike Beebe-- He only got in last year. He's an unlikely choice.
*Gov. Bill Ritter-- He only got in last year. He's an unlikely choice.
Gov. Ruth Ann Minner-- Her term in office is over this year. I think Delaware would be "safe" without her, but we also wouldn't be giving up a good spot by picking her. She's the longest-serving female governor in the US today.
Gov. Rod Blagojevich-- We're not going to pick someone else from Illinois.
*Gov. Chet Culver-- He only got in last year. He's an unlikely choice.
*Gov. Kathleen Sebelius-- I've heard her mentioned before.
*Gov. Steven Beshear-- He only got in last year. He's an unlikely choice.
Gov. John Baldacci-- Maine should be "safe" without him.
Gov. Martin O'Malley-- He only got in last year. He's an unlikely choice.
Gov. Deval Patrick-- He only got in last year. NOT GONNA HAPPEN.
Gov. Jennifer M. Granholm-- Not born in America.
*Gov. Brian Schweitzer-- He's got a degree in soils! Awesome!
Gov. John Lynch-- Hasn't been in office very long. From a swing state.
Gov. Jon Corzine-- Hasn't been in office very long. Was a senator for a long time.
*Gov. Bill Richardson-- I've heard his name mentioned.
Gov. David Paterson-- He's been in office what, two weeks? Not gonna happen.
*Gov. Michael Easley-- His term is up this year. He was attorney general of NC for a long time. Might make an interesting choice.
*Gov. Ted Strickland-- He only got in last year. He's an unlikely choice.
*Gov. Brad Henry-- Seems very conservative. One of the biggest issues in his campaign was cockfighting.
Gov. Ted Kulongoski-- Oregon is probably secure without him.
*Gov. Edward Rendell-- Unlikely choice.
*Gov. Phil Bredesen-- Made a brazlian dollars running an HMO.
*Gov. Tim Kaine-- He's pretty new, and we might not get another democrat in office there.
Gov. Chris Gregoire-- She'd make an interesting choice.
*Gov. Joe Manchin III-- Swing state governor.
Gov. Jim Doyle-- Wisconsin should be pretty safe, but nevertheless maybe that's the way to go.
*Gov. Dave Freudenthal-- Degree in economics, former US Attorney, endorsed Obama.
Posted by XemaSab in General Discussion: Presidential (Through Nov 2009)
Fri Apr 18th 2008, 02:30 PM
What's your prediction for Pennsylvania?
I think Hillary's going to win it by 8 points (54 to 46), spin it as a hugh comeback, and stay in the race, despite the fact that she'll only net about 22 delegates and she'll still be about 114 delegates behind.
(This would increase her "must win" margin to 65% versus her current 62% in order to pull even with Obama before the convention, not counting superdelegates. This would also, ironically, lower Obama's "must win" percent to 43% in order to secure enough delegates for the nomination.)
What do you guys think?
Posted by XemaSab in General Discussion: Presidential (Through Nov 2009)
Mon Mar 24th 2008, 03:15 AM
This man is the scum of the earth, and his company is one of the most evil companies out there.
Burson-Marsteller is a PR firm. But it's not just a PR firm. These people defend EVIL. Clients include the Nigerian junta, the Indonesian government following genocide in East Timor, the Argentinian junta, Saudi Arabia, Monsanto, Union Carbide, Exxon, Blackwater, Philip Morris, Shell, the company that built the reactor at Three Mile Island, the National Cattlemen's Beef Association (following Mad Cow worries), Dow Corning, McDonald's, and the company that made the Dalkon shield IUD. They created the group the National Smoker's Allience with money they got from Phillip Morris to lobby in favor of so-called "smoker's rights." They also created the group "Foundation for Clean Air Progress" which lobbies the EPA for weaker air standards. They've lobbied for "food disparagement laws," which prevent you from publically saying cheeseburgers are bad for you, as Oprah learned. They even handled the PR for the company that made Aqua Dots.
From their website:
Burson-Marsteller has developed a specialized capability surrounding labor relations communications, whether it be for companies engaged in contract renewal negotiations; companies facing strikes or lock-outs at negotiation impasse; companies facing the constant deluge of negative publicity and attacks through a "corporate campaign;" or companies pursuing more positive partnerships with labor organizations. We seek to position companies in a way that is first consistent with, and complementary to, their existing corporate reputation, brand promises and commitments, and then provide the company with greater control of its critical reputations and relationships, and therefore able to effectively pursue its strategic goals. For each company in its own unique situation, this requires a different approach.
Coalition & Issues Management
In addition, the Burson-Marsteller Issues & Advocacy Practice also offers a wealth of experience and expertise in industry-specific issue areas, such as:
From the farm to the table, our experience with many agricultural and food clients has demonstrated that we must constantly strive to stay in touch with society's changing expectations. We help clients address new science, emerging threats, regulatory issues, NGO and media scrutiny, product recalls, food safety legislation and litigation.
Our experience shows that we can make a meaningful difference in meeting diverse stakeholder expectations: safeguarding public health, protecting product brand and organizational reputations, enhancing the safety of the food supply, as well as restoring markets and reassuring consumers following recalls and outbreaks of food-borne illness.
Environment, Sustainability & Climate Change
Burson-Marsteller's team of environmental communications consultants includes professionals with strong experience in issues management, crisis communications and reputation management. They also have a strong understanding of the complex regulatory, political and social landscapes that influence how natural resources are protected, conserved and used.
Burson-Marsteller aligns a unique environmental knowledge and expertise with diverse communications capabilities to help clients inform and engage key stakeholders about sustainable business practices and environmental stewardship.
Trade and Development
Burson-Marsteller enjoys a long, rich background of trade communications. Applying a broad range of public relations expertise to complex trade issues, the firm's experience includes a number of high-profile cases and negotiations, from helping pass NAFTA to reducing U.S. and Canadian barriers to lumber sales. Burson-Marsteller has helped public and private clients alike communicate their point of view on Capitol Hill legislation or White House regulation.
Here's one of their proud case studies:
Texas Electric Choice: The Power is Yours. Use It.
In 2001, electricity deregulation was a four-letter word. Rolling blackouts plagued California; legislatures across the country were delaying or scrapping plans to open their electric markets to competition; and nobody had imagined the havoc Enron would wreak on the industry. Amidst the turmoil, the Public Utility Commission of Texas challenged Burson-Marsteller to reverse the negative trend of public perception and educate Texas' more than 5 million eligible electricity customers about competition in the Lone Star State.
At the time, the campaign faced many obstacles to its education efforts including: the scapegoating of Texas energy companies by other states; Shell Energy's and New Power's departure from the Texas electric market; ongoing billing and customer switching delays in the Texas market; and the resignation of the Texas PUC Chairman.
Based on guidelines set forth by the Texas Legislature and the campaign's research, Texas Electric Choice developed the following objectives:
Educating as many electricity customers as possible, moving toward the 80-percent goal.
Motivating customers to choose an electric provider.
Conducting a fully bilingual campaign (English and Spanish).
Positioning the Texas PUC as the source of unbiased information, as the watchdog that ensures safety and reliability of electric service, and as the protector of customer rights.
Direct Impact (The Grassroots Company) is a wholly owned subsidiary of B-M.
From their website:
Why Direct Impact?
Over the years, the term grassroots has come to mean different things to different people. In media coverage, grassroots is often an abstract concept used without context or explanation. In political and public relations circles, grassroots has evolved into a popular buzz word, with many companies claiming to "do" grassroots. But at Direct Impact, grassroots is more than a concept or a buzz word. For the past two decades, we have specialized in grassroots communications, activating campaigns at a local level and bringing innovation and success to clients—large and small—across the country.
We are consistently chosen to help execute clients' most important grassroots efforts because:
As clients increasingly realize they need grassroots, Direct Impact provides customized strategies and answers for their most pressing grassroots challenges.
Direct Impact offers clients a single point of contact and a centrally managed, dedicated team of seasoned grassroots professionals for every program.
At Direct Impact, we know the value of grassroots communications as a stand-alone asset or as a strategy to support our clients' broader objectives. Whether working directly for the client or in partnership with agencies and outside counsel, we meet and exceed expectations.
Direct Impact has an unrivaled commitment to excellence and a history of success. We combine proven practices with innovative thinking to deliver the most effective grassroots campaigns for our clients.
There's a name for this. It's called astroturfing.
In summary, by hiring this man and his firm, Hillary Clinton has associated herself with pure scum, and she should dissociate herself from him immediately.
Posted by XemaSab in General Discussion: Presidential (Through Nov 2009)
Thu Feb 07th 2008, 03:04 PM
Donald Rumsfeld is giving the president his daily briefing. He concludes by saying: "Yesterday, 3 Brazilian soldiers were killed."
"OH NO!" the President exclaims. "That's terrible!"
His staff sits stunned at this display of emotion, nervously watching as the President sits, head in hands.
Finally, the President looks up and asks, "How many is a brazillion?"
I got my Bachelor's in Soil Science with a minor in Watershed Management back in 2003. I was originally intending to qualify for federal hydrology jobs, but alas, that extra semester of calculus just didn't quite happen my last semester in school. I've got some additional fun classes like climatology and geography that didn't apply to my degree, but that I took for personal enrichment. I've got to be frank and say that my grades were not all that. I chose a major that I thought would be a challenge, and it was. I worked hard for my degree, but I got a lot of B's and a lot of C's.
I've also been a bit of a birder for a few years, so when I was in school I did summer work as a biologist looking at birdies.
When I gradumacated I got a job as a biologist with an environmental consulting firm. Walking transects and writing reports for housing developers was ultimately soul-sucking, and I left that job after a year and a half.
Two years ago I got a job here in Santa Barbara with a different consulting firm that was much more to my liking. Instead of working for housing developers, we worked on power projects and other infrastructure projects. Unfortunately, I was downsized a couple months ago, and now I am at a crossroads.
Here are my options as I see them:
I could go back to school. I'm interested in exploring more of the technical side of hydrology and geology. I feel like there are holes in my learning, and I'd like to take more math, fluvial processes, minerology, structure, chemistry, and allied sciences. I'd also be interested in taking plant taxonomy ('cause I am teh worst botanist ever (more of which later)) and Spanish (because I am hoping to bird the bejeebus out of teh neotropics in teh next decade). I don't think I could get into a master's program without doing more undergraduate work and building my GPA. But I'm kind of wondering what new doors more schooling would really open.
I could go to work as a soil scientist for the Feds. I'd probably want to be more of a soil conservationist than a soil scientist. However, most of the soil jobs seem to be out in BFE.
My mom's an editor with an environmental consulting firm in Northern California and she could get me a job doing editing there no worries. I don't think I could get a job doing editing anywhere else because I lack experience.
I could just go with the status quo and get a job doing consulting biology.
I sort of hate consulting biology. First of all, I'm really not a biologist. I'm really good at wetland soils and hydrology (two out of three!), but I am hard pressed to identify any plants beyond like, the most basic level. Fir, pine, manzanita, willow, comp, grass, little forby jobber, and so on. I'm an ace birder, but I don't have permits for anything. I don't know shit about mammals, fish, inverts, or herps other than what I've picked up on the job. Therefore, most of what I write feels really half-assed. Which isn't to say that I think I'm doing a worse job than anyone else, I just have the good sense to feel ashamed of the substandard quality of my work.
Also, and I hate to say this, but most of my colleagues have been total dumbshits. I deeply suspect that most of what THEY write is half-assed, but they don't even have the sense to know that what they write is crap.
I just feel like a cog in the bullshit machine. And the worst part about it is working on projects you hate. I've been out to some beautiful rangeland areas that some asshole developer wanted to put 5,000 McMansions on. And you go back to the office and write the report like that's going to be the only development in the area, when you know that there are all kinds of other developments proposed for the next parcel over, and the parcel beyond that one, and the parcel beyond that one. It makes you feel like an enemy of the environment, a poser, and a hypocrite, but it pays the bills.
The argument in favor of working for the enemy is that I feel like I do have some integrity, and maybe it's better to have someone with some integrity doing the work instead of someone who's a total sellout. But maybe I'm kidding myself, and I'm a sellout and I don't know it.
The additional wrinkle here is that I currently live in Santa Barbara, which is SWEET, but the only jobs here are consulting biology jobs. I really don't want to move.
So what are my options? Tell me something good here.
Also, what do you guys do, and are you happy with it?
In pictures, the desert looks really desolate. I know there's lush vegetation around the rivers, but most of the place it just looks like there's nothing. No bushes, no trees, no interesting rocks, just flat desert.
Is this the case over much of the country, or is this a misleading impression?
Especially, how do you tell if he likes you as a friend or as something more?
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