Wednesday, February 28

Things that Give me a Headache

I just got the following three headlines from the Out for Democracy mailing list:

Largo official plans sex change-- this was surprising, but I thought "that's really cool that someone feels comfortable enough in a public position to do this."

The next headline was a Letter from the city official with some really nice stuff in it:
Many transsexuals who make the decision to transition to their proper gender are often forced to quietly leave their job in order to avoid embarrassment and discrimination. However, it is not my nature to run from difficult challenges. I take tremendous pride in being your city manager and a part of our Largo family.

Working with so many dedicated employees over these many years is the most rewarding professional experience of my life. I have devoted my passion serving this community and building lifelong friendships and I am unwilling to just walk away and hide.
The next notice I got, however? Not so nice. It read: "Largo starts process of firing manager who wants sex change."

At least the mayor has some integrity, saying that Stanton has "...done a great job for us... done what we asked... taken the heat over and over and over again..." But the most of the rest of the council wants to throw Stanton under a bus.

This is just pathetic.

Tuesday, February 27

A sad day for bloggers

John Odum, from Green Mountain Daily has decided to give up blogging. The Second Vermont Republic didn't care for the fact that he brought some accusations about them to light and decided (instead of responding by refuting the accusations) to go after him on a personal level. They issued a press release not only mentioning where he worked, but referencing his boss by name and implying that the organization (a non-profit agency) might be supplementing the work he does for the blog.

This is beyond acceptable. I have no problem with a heated, even occasionally derogatory and personal, debate, but to instead to go after someone's employer is absolutely reprehensible.

Friday, February 23

Friday Bird Blogging: Rough-Legged Hawk

I've tried to get pictures of rough-legged hawks before, but none of them came out particularly well. I was in this specific location to look for them but didn't expect to see one close up. I spotted this one driving up the road, turned around and pulled up across the street from it, opened my window and just took as many pictures as I could before it flew off. The conditions were poor (dull, grey day) but I'm happy with what I got here.

Birders do a really nice job of taking care of one another-- I never would have known to look here except for other birders reporting rough-leggeds in the area. As usual, clicking on the picture will give you a larger version with more info.

Wednesday, February 21

I know blogging is a business for some people, but...

I was on huffington post and spotted a post with the advertisment shown:

Now... I don't know about anyone else, but to me this particular ad strikes me as a bit repulsive and I don't know why any pro-feminist blog would be willing to accept this sort of advertisement. I've always had a problem with media images of girls which blur the idea of what their age is.

Maybe I'm missing something; maybe if I'd clicked on the ad (which I never do with inline ads), it would have led me to something unexpected, like a page about child exploitation. Maybe I'm misjudging this. Can anyone help me out here?

Sunday, February 18

CNN needs a little proofreading

From a recent CNN transcript (emphasis mine):
John Amaechi never made the record books during his four-season NBC career, but he's making history now as the first former professional basketball player to openly say he's guy.
Guy Pierce? Guy Noir? Just a wild and crazy guy?

At least, given their prime time headliner they didn't accidentally transcribe the word as "faggot."

Saturday, February 17

Concerned Women for America: Keep the Bigotry Subtle

You can't make stuff like this up. Per a press release from Concerned Women for America:

CWA Calls Former NBA Star’s Comments Harmful 2/16/2007

Washington, D.C. — A former NBA star has made disturbing and harmful comments about his feelings toward people trapped in the homosexual lifestyle... Tim Hardaway said that he “hates gay people” and that he distances himself from them because he is “homophobic.” Concerned Women for America (CWA) is disappointed that a man who is respected by many sports fans would make such inflammatory remarks.

“Hardaway’s comments are both unfortunate and inappropriate,” said Matt Barber, CWA’s Policy Director for Cultural Issues. “They provide political fodder for those who wish to paint all opposition to the homosexual lifestyle as being rooted in ‘hate...’

“It’s perfectly natural for people to be repelled by disordered sexual behaviors that are both unnatural, and immoral... Hardaway’s comments only serve to foment misperceptions of widespread homosexual ‘victimhood’ which the homosexual lobby has craftily manufactured.”

Right. Hardaway's comments are bad because they demonstrate that there are people who hate gays, and that contradicts the CWA.

One thing bigots hate is having their bigotry made clear.

Friday, February 16

Friday Bird Blogging: Red-Shouldered Hawk

This red-shouldered hawk appeared in our yard in November of '05 for a week or two, but the blue-jays flushed it out and it disappeared. Much to our surprise, it showed up again in '06 and has been here off and on ever since.

For the longest time, I was certain that this was a red-tailed hawk. This is partially because I'd been trying for ages to get pictures of a red-shouldered hawk and couldn't imagine I had such easy and immediate access to one and partially because, being a juvenile, it's a tricky identification for a newer birder.

Personally, by the way, I put this particular picture down as one of the best I've ever taken.

Monday, February 12

Surely the end times are at hand.

Newsflash: Daily Kos and the Free Republic actually agree on something: the SAFETY (Stopping Adults Facilitating the Exploitation of Today's Youth Act) Act sucks.
A bill introduced to the US House of Representatives would require ISPs to record all users' surfing activity, IM conversations and email traffic indefinitely.

The bill, dubbed the Safety Act by sponsor Lamar Smith, a republican congressman from Texas, would impose fines and a prison term of one year on ISPs which failed to keep full records.

In addition to the complete loss of online privacy, I forsee a lot of ISPs going out of business. All that extra storage is going to cost.

Saturday, February 10

Friday Saturday Bird Blogging: The European Starling

The European Starling, from a distance, looks like a black version of an American Robin. It is, however, a pervasive and invasive species in the United States, having started with a mere flock of 100 birds imported from Europe by a group which intentionally introduced it to America because they wanted every bird mentioned in the works of Shakespeare to be present on the American continent.

Despite their dark coloring, their plumage is actually fascinating: a mixture of black and much lighter spots with a fairly captivating pattern. They are fairly voracious and can descend in large flocks and clean out a suet cage in less than a day, if so inclined. This picture is of a pair of starlings sitting in one of our backyard trees as part of a larger flock.

Friday, February 2

Friday Bird Blogging: Horned Lark

Throughout fall and Winter, flocks of these small birds show up at Parker River Wildlife Refuge, often thwarting my attempts to photograph them. Every once in awhile, however, I get it right. Tiny bird, jumping all around. But a few of the 50+ pictures I took of them worked. This is the best of the bunch.