Thursday, May 14, 2009


There's been much speculation as to who President Obama will pick to replace David Souter on the Supreme Court. There seems to be agreement that the nominee will probably be a woman, an African-American, someone relatively young with legal experience and leftist views of the importance of the Constitution.

Given all this there's one obvious candidate who meets all the criteria and who would have the nomination simply by asking, yet her name has never been mentioned: Mrs. Obama. You heard it here first.


Saving What's Left

New Scientist comments upon the parlous state in which many species of birds find themselves due primarily to the loss of their habitat:

Darwin would not be amused. A bird native to the Galapagos islands, the medium tree-finch, this year joined 191 other bird species newly added to the critically endangered list, the roster of the world's most threatened species.

But while the medium-tree finch is in jeopardy because of parasitic flies introduced to the islands, most of the species on this year's red list of threatened species are imperiled by inexorable loss of their habitat.

There was some good news, however, with six critically endangered species downgraded to "endangered". Some owed their reclassification to successful conservation programmes. The threat to the Mauritius Fody, for example, was lifted by moving the remaining birds to an island off Mauritius free of predators.

Another success story is Brazil's Lear's macaw, named after the English nonsense poet Edward Lear. The spectacular parrot has increased fourfold in number through a joint programme involving the Brazilian government, local landowners and conservation organisations.

Aside from habitat loss and predation, the other ominous factor is the impact of climate change, says Fowlie. Mountain-living birds, for example, would die out if the climate they rely on shifts north or south to non-mountainous zones.

Lear's Macaw

I confess to being very conflicted every time I drive around my county and see the huge swaths of land being gobbled up for housing, highways and shopping malls. I find myself having to fight the temptation to be inwardly pleased that the economy is slowing down and housing starts are depressed. I keep asking myself if it isn't wrong to view the reduced pace of the loss of natural lands as a silver lining to the economic crisis.

I know the economic slump is costing people jobs, and that's the source of my inner conflict. I don't want anyone to be out of work, but neither do I want to see our beautiful countryside and crucial habitat buried under vast deposits of asphalt and cinder block.

If I had my way I think I'd preserve it all and require that all new building be done in areas that are already developed, like our cities and the empty malls that long ago closed their doors.

Don't bother to write to tell me how impractical that is. I know it is. That's why I'll never have my way.


Chuck Defarge

Here was Democrat senator Chuck Schumer in 2004 when the sobriety imposed upon our political class by 9/11 still had some residual influence:

"Do what you have to do." Gosh. That sounds like Senator Schumer is saying that if the government has reason to believe that a catastrophe can be averted by squeezing information out of a terrorist then most of his colleagues and he himself would advocate extreme methods of interrogation, methods much more gruesome, one assumes, than waterboarding or sleep deprivation.

But that was then. Now the Madame Defarges of the Democratic party, as Michael Barone aptly refers to them, are cackling with glee at the prospect of Bush officials being carted off to the guillotines. So here is the same Chuck Schumer a month ago:

Let's be charitable and decline to call this hypocrisy. Let's just think of it as moral and logical incoherence. Chuck Schumer like Nancy Pelosi and a host of others in their party were in favor of "enhanced" interrogation before they were against it.

So what's different now from then? The chance to avenge themselves on the Bush administration has presented itself to the Democrats who have gained congressional majorities and control of the White House, so they're seizing the opportunity. They've got their knitting needles working furiously, weaving into the sweater as many names of the people they hate as they can.

Thanks to Hot Air for the videos.