Recommended Reading: Kate Evans in Hakai Magazine, 6 January 2020

Six men set out from Iceland in a small rowboat. Their destination: Eldey, the nesting ground for the rare great auks.

Jumping ashore, they spotted a pair of the birds guarding an egg. In the ensuing chase, the two auks were killed and their egg was accidentally crushed. The men didn’t know it, but they had just killed the last great auks ever seen alive.

Read the article here.

 

Trigger Warning: Cruelty to Animals

Wall Street Journal, 24 December 2019, p. A6

U.S. HALTS BOMB-SNIFFER DOG PROGRAM AFTER DEATHS IN EGYPT, JORDAN

by Jessica Donati

The U.S. has stopped providing bomb-sniffing dogs to Egypt and Jordan after an investigation disclosed that several dogs in those countries died because of mistreatment and neglect, U.S. officials said Monday.

The report was triggered by a whistleblower complaint and published by the State Department Office of the Inspector General … prompting the department’s response.

The report found that two dogs died in Jordan of neglect and mistreatment this year, including one death caused by heat stroke and another by poisoning from an insecticide.

Three out of 10 dogs provided to Egypt in August 2018 have died, the report found. Egyptian authorities have refused to grant U.S. personnel access to the dogs or their kennels. The U.S. Embassy has requested medical reports for the dogs that died this year.

Stanford Spokes: A Summer 2020 Learning Project

One Summer. 6 Students. 6 Bikes. 10 States.

This summer, six Stanford students will spend three months biking from San Francisco to D.C., teaching hands-on educational workshops to local middle school and high school students along the way.

Read all about the project here.

Map+Final

Stay tuned.

The US Secretary of Education is a Grifter

Betsy DeVos Could Face Jail After Judge Rules She Violated 2018 Order on Student Loans

by Tareq Haddad (Newsweek, 10 Oct 2019)

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has been threatened with the possibility of jail after a judge deemed she was violating a court order for continuing to collect student debts on a now-defunct school.

That ruling, handed down in June of 2018, was made by U.S. Magistrate Judge Sallie Kim and prevented DeVos and her Department of Education for going after former students at the bankrupt Corinthian Colleges Inc.

However, Kim said she was “astounded” to discover that DeVos was violating the court order at a hearing in San Francisco on Monday after a filing by the Education Department earlier disclosed that more than 16,000 former students at Corinthian College “were incorrectly informed at one time or another … that they had payments due on their federal student loans.”

At least 1,800 people reportedly lost wages or tax refunds according to the filing.

“At best it is gross negligence, at worst it’s an intentional flouting of my order,” Kim said, reported Bloomberg.

You can read the entire article here.

From a Friend in New South Wales

Thank you for thinking of us. Most days we wake up with smoke haze, some days worse than most. There are a few bad days where visibility is less than 100 m.

My brother-in-law lives seven minutes away. He lives close to the bush. He received a text to be ready to evacuate. He asked if he could stay in our house, just in case. There were spot fires near him.

It is sad that people have lost their houses and homes, right after Christmas.

I sometimes wonder if this is the “new normal”? It is not sustainable. Definitive proof of climate change.

San Mateo Farmer’s Market: Meeting Fellow Warren Campaign Volunteers

The California primary is March 3!

Stay tuned.

The World This Year: The Economist, 21 December 2019

The Economist sent a reporter to traverse the length of the southern border, from El Paso to San Diego. The result below:

p. 39:

El Paso to San Diego: Donald Trump’s wall will irrevocably change America’s southern border

. . . a new wall is rising, and it will not be so easily sliced through. America’s new border wall is made of 30-foot-tall (18 in some places) steel bollards filled with concrete, sunk six feet deep into a concrete foundation and topped with five-foot slabs of solid steel designed to impede climbing . . .

Some Democrats argue that Mr. Trump is merely replacing walls that already exist. That is not true. When a 30-foot wall, impenetrable to wildlife and surrounded by a network of roads and lights, replaces a low fence, it really is a new structure, in much the same way that replacing a garden shed with a ten-storey office block would be. A journey from El Paso to San Diego makes clear just how deeply the wall will change the character of America’s southwestern border. Emma Lazarus’s poem on the Statue of Liberty welcomes to America the world’s “huddled masses yearning to breathe free.” Mr. Trump’s wall sends the opposite message.

In Arizona’s Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, an environmental atrocity occurs:

. . . along the new sections of wall . . . lie massive, fallen saguaro cactuses in sections — bulldozed for the barrier. They can live for centuries. Some of those cut down were probably standing before Arizona was a state.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Homelessness: The Economist Holiday Double Issue

“Roughly 5,000 people live on the streets of San Francisco, a 19% rise in just two years.”

The Economist

The Overstory, p. 288

Hopefully, self will finish reading this book here, in Oxford. Then, she can lug it home to Redwood City, where it belongs. Even though Redwood City has NO actual redwoods any more.

Loggers to Nick Hoel and Olivia Vandergriff, into their second week of sitting on the crest of an ancient redwood:

  • “These trees are going to die and fall over. They should be harvested while they’re ripe, not wasted.”

Nick (or Olivia, it’s not all that clear in this passage):

  • “Great, let’s grind up your grandfather for dinner, while he still has some meat on him.”

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Global Fund for Women: Statement

NOTE: Lest you confuse this with Ivanka’s Global Women’s Initiative WHICH DOES NOTHING, the Global Fund for Women has existed in Menlo Park for decades, and provided small grants to women establishing their own businesses, from small villages in India and Africa, to women’s clinics, all over the world.

22 October 2019

No politician should come between a patient and their doctor, no matter what country they live in — but that’s exactly what the Trump administration has done. This is about health and rights — which transcend partisanship and borders.

One of Trump’s first actions as President was to reinstate the devastating global gag rule, which denies funding to international organizations working on global health if they provide abortion service or even referrals. This means that 26 million women and families worldwide are denied access to contraception, cancer screenings, STI treatment, and safe abortion services. And just last month, the same laws were expanded to the United States under Title X, which will prevent millions of women from being able to access affordable reproductive healthcare.

Global Fund for Women supports women’s rights organizations that are expanding legal and safe abortion access for women and girls, and funds feminist organizations that are documenting the impact of the global gag rule.

You can read more about this excellent organization, here.

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