Saturday, March 29, 2014

Idaho's death warrant for 450 wolves

eoy wolves under siege email

An SOS for Idaho's wolves from Defenders of Wildlife:

Dear Virginia,
I am writing with sad news.
Despite heroic efforts by people like you, yesterday, Idaho’s governor signed a virtual death warrant for hundreds of the state’s wolves.
The new law, HB470, establishes a $400,000 special fund, the sole purpose of which is killing as many wolves as possible. It is part of a broader effort by wolf-haters to reduce Idaho’s wolf population down to 150 animals – which means killing more than 450 wolves.
We cannot leave any stone unturned in our fight to protect wolves.  
  • Our legal team is assessing options.
  • Our field staff is gearing up for the fight of their lives and are mobilizing other residents of Idaho to push back on this terrible proposal.
  • Here in Washington, D.C., we’re using this as Exhibit A with the Department of the Interior as proof of what we’ve been saying along – when wolves lose protection they die.
We’re not giving up. Not by a long shot.
Jamie Rappaport Clark, Defenders of Wildlife
Jamie Rappaport Clark
Defenders of Wildlife

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

A musical flashmob initiated by one little girl

Saw this on Facebook this afternoon and couldn't resist finding it on YouTube and reposting it here:

Published on May 31, 2012 On the 130th anniversary of the founding of Banco Sabadell we wanted to pay homage to our city by means of the campaign "Som Sabadell" (We are Sabadell) . This is the flashmob that we arranged as a final culmination with the participation of 100 people from the Vallès Symphony Orchestra, the Lieder, Amics de l'Òpera and Coral Belles Arts choirs.

On behalf of feminist leader Gloria Steinem

Photo courtesy of
I met Gloria Steinem the first time at a Planned Parenthood meeting in Rochester, Minn. where Gloria was the featured speaker. I was privileged to shake her hand afterward. When I marched in Chicago in support of the ERA, Gloria and several other feminist leaders led thousands of us through Grant Park. Several years later, I attended her book signing event in the Twin Cities. I am so grateful to Gloria for all she has done on behalf of women around the world.

Gloria is 80 years old now, and I thank Upworthy for providing this video.   

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Jimmy Carter speaks out on America's use of drones

Throughout his presidency and the years since he left office, Jimmy Carter has consistently demonstrated the courage of his convictions. Whether he's addressing the Palestine-Israeli situation, the oppression of women in the church and throughout our culture, his critique of the NSA's surveillance overkill, or President Obama's love affair with drones, Carter tells it like it is:

Former President Jimmy Carter sat down with HuffPost Live on Tuesday to discuss his book "A Call To Action," throwing some cold water on the Obama administration's use of drones in the process.

When asked about his stance on the policy, Carter said he "would not" rely on drone warfare, arguing that they kill innocent people and aggravate hatred toward the United States. 

"I believe it creates more additional terrorists, with the fervor of killing Americans, than we would be if we were not using the drones to kill people," Carter said of the policy.

You can watch the video of the interview with HuffPost Live here:

Friday, March 21, 2014

Meet up with Elizabeth Warren and Al Franken

Get your tickets to the Humphrey-Mondale dinner here:

Hey, all you Minnesotans and any other interested parties, guess who's coming to town on March 29th? Well, I'll be, if it isn't Elizabeth Warren joining Al Franken at the annual Humphrey-Mondale dinner!  And if you're not lucky enough to be a Minnesotan and enjoy our fine winters here, you might win a trip to the big gala event. Check out Warren's letter that hit my inbox this a.m.:

Dear Virginia,

Would you like to meet up on March 29th?

It won’t be just the two of us – you could bring a friend along, too. And my friend Al Franken will be there -- along with a room full of the most passionate, fun-loving, ready-to-win-in-2014 Democrats.

It’s the annual Humphrey-Mondale Dinner, and I’m told it’s the biggest night on the calendar for progressives in Minnesota.

Click here to make a contribution to help Al win this year, and you’ll be automatically entered for a chance to win!

I’m looking forward to a great night -- but I’m not just coming to Minnesota for fun. We have work to do to make sure Al gets to continue standing up to Wall Street, pushing for a fair minimum wage, and fighting for middle class families in Washington.

That’s what I’m going to be talking about in Minnesota: taking on powerful special interests and leveling the playing field so every kid has a chance to succeed.

When it comes to fighting for progressive values in the Senate, I can’t do it alone. I need senators like Al with me. And that means I need all of you to stand with him.

Click here to help Al reach his $250,000 March goal, and you’ll be automatically entered for a chance to win a trip to meet with Al and me in Minnesota on March 29!

Make no mistake: The powerful special interests will spend whatever it takes to defeat Al this November. I’m going to do everything I can to make sure he has the resources to fight back. Are you with me?

Thanks for doing your part to help. And I hope to see you in Minnesota on the 29th!

Elizabeth Warren

P.S.: Al’s campaign is covering travel and accommodations for the winner and his or her guest. And that winner could be you! Click here to contribute, and you’ll be automatically entered for a chance to win.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Obama's reward and punishment strategy for resolving the Ukraine crisis

David Ignatius, associate editor and columnist at the Washington Post, offers an excellent analysis of Obama's strategy in response to Vladimir Putin's precipitation of the crisis in Ukraine. Reading Ignatius's commentary, however, must cause any rational adult to wonder at the necessity for the reward and punishment routine that seems required  to resolve international conflicts without resorting to all out war. And we're forced to ask ourselves, why can't prominent world leaders in the 21st century engage in mutually respectful communication to promote peace and justice throughout our shared planet?

That would require a level of maturity and wisdom the leaders of the world's superpowers have evidently not as yet reached.

Ignatius writes:

Since the Ukraine crisis began, Obama administration officials have talked about pushing Russia toward the "offramp" and de-escalation. That's the best diplomatic outcome, but it will require an unlikely public reversal by Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The premise of the administration's approach is that Putin will decide that he made a mistake by seizing the Crimean region of Ukraine and, as he faces ever-greater costs, will negotiate a face-saving compromise, concluding that Russia's interests are better served by a return to the status quo

The exit path, as envisioned by the White House, seeks to address Russian concerns without undermining the new Ukrainian government. To answer Putin's complaints about the supposed mistreatment of Russian-speakers, international monitors have arrived in Crimea. But Russia must now work with the transitional government in Kiev and support elections to choose a successor to President Viktor Yanukovych, who fled last month. Finally, the Russians must return to their military bases in Crimea
It's a lot for Putin to swallow and so far, he has refused. Russian troops remain in control in Crimea, and Moscow appears to back the upcoming Crimean referendum to break away from Ukraine and join Russia. But even Putin, with his ex-KGB man's bravado, doesn't appear eager for all-out war in Ukraine
Obama on Thursday added pressure for Putin to stand down. The White House announced visa restrictions and a structure for targeted sanctions against Russians and their allies who are threatening Ukraine's sovereignty. Since no individuals or companies are yet named, the sanctions gun is unloaded, for now. The message to Putin was that the further he moves to annex Crimea, the more he risks economic damage to himself and friends, and to Russia itself.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Mindfully meditating on the Ukraine crisis – well, why not?

Kerry says Russia 'hiding hand behind falsehoods."

It’s disorienting to read Thich Nhat Hanh’s book, The Art of Communicating, while out of the corner of my mind following the back and forth between U.S. and Russian officials over the Ukraine crisis.

On the one hand, Nhat Hanh advises deep listening and sensitivity to the suffering of the other; on the other hand the escalating threats between two world superpowers are reminiscent of cold war rhetoric.

I grew up in that era and such exchanges bring back the chilling threat of a nuclear holocaust. I kind of wish these U.S. and Russian officials would form a mindfulness meditation group like mine and read together The Art of Communicating. It couldn’t hurt.

"We are now deeply concerned by reports of military movements taken by the Russian Federation inside of Ukraine," Obama told reporters in Washington.

"The United States will stand with the international community in affirming that there will be costs for any military intervention in Ukraine."

Any violation of Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity would be "deeply destabilizing," he said.

Russia said on Tuesday that it would retaliate if the United States imposed sanctions over Moscow's actions in Ukraine.

"We will have to respond," Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said in a statement. "As always in such situations, provoked by rash and irresponsible actions by Washington, we stress: this is not our choice."

"We have frequently explained to the Americans ... why unilateral sanctions do not fit the standards of civilised relations between states," Lukashevich said.

In the meantime, the Guardian’s Shaun Walker reports from Belbek airbase in Crimea:

It may be that the three rapid warning volleys fired into the air at Belbek air base on Tuesday morning are the closest Russia's military manoeuvres in Crimea ever come to actual clashes.

The Russian troops surrounding Ukrainian bases have given a number of ultimatums for soldiers to give up their weapons or defect, but when they have not been met nothing has happened.

At Belbek, outside Sevastopol, the Russians took control over much of the airfield several days ago, but on Tuesday the Ukrainian troops gave their own ultimatum, demanding to be given access to the weapons storage facilities on the base. They marched towards the Russians, unarmed and carrying the Ukrainian flag and a Soviet World War II flag, some of them singing the national anthem.

The Russians fired warning shots and screamed that if they advanced any further the Ukrainians would be shot in the legs. The Ukrainians halted, and gave the Russians until 2pm to let them pass. After another brief standoff at that time, with the Russians again pointing their guns at the Ukrainians, they again turned round.

Read more:

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Extinction of the red wolf detrimental to all species

A recent email from Jamie Rappaport Clark, president of Defenders of Wildlife, reminds us that the extinction of even one endangered species is detrimental to all species and yes, we human beings are dependent for our survival on the health of the global ecology.

Dear Virginia,

Fewer than 100 red wolves remain in the wild.

And if we don’t act soon they will continue to be shot and killed.

It’s why we’re in court, fighting with all we’ve got. And it’s why I need your help today!

In the past year alone, 14 red wolves have met untimely deaths in the North Carolina woodlands where they are making their last stand. The most recent victim – a radio-collared wolf found shot to death only last month – is the seventh to die from bullet wounds.

And the bloodshed could escalate dramatically if North Carolina state officials continue to permit hunting for coyotes in red wolves’ tiny habitat – including hunting with spotlights at night. Smaller than gray wolves, these wolves are barely larger than coyotes, and share coyotes’ coloring.

It’s hard to distinguish between a coyote and a red wolf under ideal conditions. At night, it’s all but impossible.

Defenders’ legal team is fighting to stop coyote hunting in red wolf territory. A legal ruling is expected in the coming months.

For nearly 67 years, Defenders of Wildlife has been America’s leading force for protecting wolves and other endangered wildlife.

We are only as strong as our supporters – people just like you.

America’s red wolves are making their last stand. Won’t you stand with them?


Jamie Rappaport Clark