Sunday, August 26, 2012

Florida - In The News Again

I admire those bloggers who put up new, interesting, thought provoking and often funny posts frequently.  No matter how much I tell myself that I will strive to post more often, I consistently fail in that goal.  For that, please accept my apology.

It certainly isn’t due to the fact that I don’t have something to say about a lot of things.  It may be that there are just too many things that grab my attention. At this time it is mostly politics.  The problem, however, is that I wouldn’t be satisfied with X = BAD and Y = GOOD.  It’s not that strictly opinion pieces are inherently faulty or bad, it is that personally I feel the need to support my opinion with relevant references.  I attribute that to my scientific background and the importance of citations when presenting a “theory.”  For me, putting up my viewpoint in a blog post is much like a debate of one.   If you, the reader, are to accept my point of view on a certain topic you deserve more than just my opinion.  It is important that you understand how I arrived at that opinion.  Finding those sources isn’t always easy, even with the internet and it takes time, which I don’t always have.  

The internet is full of unfounded accusations, conspiracy theories based upon little or no proof, along with ongoing memes that won’t die even though they are clearly ridiculous to me.  Unfortunately it has become common for too many people to limit their information sources to one or two people, one network, one news source or a specific blog.  I certainly understand that people are busy, they may not have access to the technology necessary to do their own investigation and/or they simply aren’t curious enough to dig a bit deeper on some or many subjects.  And recent studies have shown that human nature is to listen to those with whom we agree.  That, in turn, keeps us away from alternate perspectives and, in many cases, limits additional pertinent information.  

There are certain people in the media whose veracity I trust.  They include the Nobel Prize winning economist, Paul Krugman, along with former Secretary of Labor, Robert Reich, Charlie Pierce, the Politics Blog columnist for Esquire magazine, both Rachel Maddow and Melissa Harris Perry who anchor their own shows on MSNBC and linguistic professor George Lakoff.  The one federal politician that I consistently listen to is Senator Bernie Sanders.  Of course, my informed life, along with a good bit of laughter, wouldn’t be complete without Jon Stewart and The Daily Show.  

The blogs I turn to on a regular basis include Alternet, Treehugger, Vox Felina and Sky Dancing.  These blogs cover politics, the environment and cats (especially issues relating to feral cats).  For humor and common sense wisdom, The Eco Cat Lady Speaks can’t be beat, IMHO.  I read other blogs, along with news articles, but not as regularly as I check in on the above mentioned sites.  

Right now Florida is back in the headlines.  There are three big stories that have brought focus on my state once again.  The Republican National Committee (RNC) will be holding their presidential convention in Tampa, Florida beginning tomorrow, August 27th.  Due to the tropical storm, Isaac, which is now between Cuba and the Florida Keys, the RNC has postponed the kick off of the convention to Tuesday afternoon.  Tampa sits directly on Florida’s west coast and concerns about high winds, storm surge and possible flooding have elicited concern for the attendees.  And the third attention grabber?  Florida’s former Republican governor, now an independent, Charlie Crist has endorsed President Obama in the upcoming election.  It seems that Florida’s public relations team is doing a bang up job keeping our state on the national and international radar.  For me, however, my main concern is when and where Isaac will make landfall.   

The news will cover the human lives and homes impacted.  What is generally missing from these natural disaster stories, however, is the impact on the environment and the wildlife.  That is the coverage I care about the most.  Another blog that I check in on from time to time is Barrier Island Girl ( .  The author lives in Pensacola Beach, located on Florida’s Panhandle.  She is a wonderful photographer and a volunteer turtle observer.  Storms this season have already destroyed a number of sea turtle nests, preventing the eggs from hatching.  Now there is the possibility of losing the remaining nests.  

All species of sea turtles, throughout the world, are critically endangered (find out more about sea turtles here: .  The BP oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico two years ago killed 613 turtles - that is the official count ( That official number doesn’t include those turtles who weren’t counted because they didn’t wash ashore or when they did they went uncounted.  

Most hatchlings don’t survive under normal conditions, so when the populations have been so severely impacted due to human causes, the survival of each and every hatchling becomes all that more important.  From past experience, I feel certain you won’t be reading any stories about these losses should higher tides due to Isaac inundate the coastline bordering the Gulf of Mexico.  Frankly, I could care less if a bunch of Republicans get wet or have to stay inside their hotel rooms.  My thoughts are on those beaches and turtle nests imperiled by the coming storm, along with all of the other non-human animals whose lives and homes are in Isaac’s path.  

UPDATE - 08/26/12 3:56 PM EST - 3 nests hatched last night.  DJ of Barrier Island Girl got a message from one of her blog followers & headed to the nest.  Those nestlings were shepherded into the Gulf by 9PM last night.  Two other turtle volunteers were at the other 2 nests last night.  Isaac is projected to increase the tides on Tuesday night.  Fingers crossed more nests will hatch today and tonight. 


  1. Awwwww... thanks so much for the shout out. I seriously doubt that I deserve to be mentioned in the same paragraph as those other folks, but I am flattered nonetheless.

    I'm keeping my fingers crossed for the sea turtles. I fear that having lived most of my life in land-locked Colorado I have little to no understanding of things that impact ocean life. But I've been worrying about the forest wildlife this year with the drought we've had here. The bears are getting desperate - which isn't good... it tends to drive them towards populated areas where they end up getting killed. Bears in backyards have become all too common in recent years, and I worry about them as the climate continues to change. And then there are the wild horses who are literally dying from dehydration, not to mention lack of food. Heavy sigh.

    That's really good news about Charlie Crist - I fear I've had a hard time following politics lately... it all just makes me so damned mad that I want to spit. Especially the voter suppression stuff... I just can't figure out why Rachel is the ONLY person who seems to be reporting on it.

    CatMan says that in the big picture this all means that the Republicans know they are in the minority when it comes to policy and what the people want, so the only way they can win is by lying and suppressing the vote - and that the whole country is moving away from them. So in a certain sense it's good news, but it still just infuriates me. Hopefully I'll survive a few more months of the swing state ad barrage, but I've definitely cut WAY back on watching news because I fear I may damage my television by screaming at it!

    BTW - I always LOVE your posts, no matter how infrequent they may be!

  2. For whatever my opinion is worth, your blog never fails to bring balance & smiles into my day. And, it is obvious it does that for your many readers who comment.

    Trust me, the fires & the drought make me grow increasingly concerned about the wildlife who are impacted. For those that survive, their homes & food supply are gone. Then there are those who cannot escape - horrific. But what media outlet even mentions that toll? NPR has run a great series on the fires, but even they aren't talking about wildlife.

    The wild horses have been victims of lack of water for many, many years. The ranchers who graze their herds on public lands, at a cost of next to nothing to them, have often fenced off what water holes exist in order to keep the water for their livestock and make them off limits for wildlife, horses in particular.

    Actually Rev. Al Sharpton was the first, at least to my knowledge, that made Voter ID/voter suppression an issue. He wouldn't stop talking about it & finally others on MSNBC & then mainstream media picked it up as a story. Gotta love those good ole Koch Brothers & ALEC. Those a-holes have nothing but disdain for the little people who have made them wealthy by buying their products. They are behind the anti-immigration laws & Stand Your Ground laws infecting so many states.

    Thanks for your kind words and your comments. It means a lot to me. You know you are the inspiration behind the pictures in my posts. You do it much, much better, however!