Monday, January 31, 2011

Support the People's Revolution in Egypt

Petitions by|Start a Petition » members in Egypt are asking all of us to support them.

Late on Saturday night, two pro-Democracy activists -- a young man and a young woman who've asked that we not use their names out of fear of imprisonment and torture -- started a petition on, dictating the text to an ally over a phone line because the government has shut down the internet throughout the country.

These Egyptians -- activists participating in what is being called the "January 25 Movement" -- believe we're at a possible tipping point within the country. The Egyptian army has is siding with the protesters, the President has already been forced to dismiss his entire cabinet, and there are unconfirmed reports that some members of the ruling family are leaving the country.

These Egyptian activists believe that a flood of international support right now can help to change the course of Egypt's history for decades to come.

This is extremely urgent -- please don't wait to take action.

Sign the Petition here.

Text of the Petition:
On January 25, we the people of Egypt took to the streets to demand our rights! We are not unified by one party, class or religion: we are not Muslim and we are not Christian, we are not rich and we are not poor - we are the multifaceted people of Egypt - Muslims and Christian's and Egyptians of all classes.

We demand our civil, political and human rights.
We demand the immediate resignation of the president and parliament.
We demand a new constitution.
We demand free and fair elections.
We demand the complete and total release of all political prisoners and detainees.
We demand the return of open access to all communication networks.
We demand that the police stop shooting at us, stop their brutality and stop their attacks on journalists.

We are the January 25 movement, and we are not going to stop until our demands are met! We call on Egyptians and internationals to lend a hand and help us win by signing this petition, which will be sent to Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, officials in the interior and foreign ministries, and Egyptian embassies all over the world.

Winning this campaign depends on our ability to call on thousands of supporters like you. Sign the Petition here.

Please also consider signing the Amnesty International Petition to the US Government to Press Egypt to Reign in Security Forces during Protests. Sign Here.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Egypt's Day of Rage

Having been fortunate to have traveled to Egypt twice in recent years, I have been riveted by the events unfolding there since Tuesday January 25, 2011. Today's "Day of Rage' has shown that the Egyptian people are no longer afraid. They are protesting a brutal regime and decades of corruption. I support their efforts to free themselves and wish them peace as they strive for a better future that will bring them democracy. The U.S. media is only just starting to pay attention to this. Up to yesterday, there was scant, pathetic coverage of this important story. Finally, CNN seemed to have woken up today. Some good resources to follow the events:

Al Jazeera English website with live coverage
My Twitter Egypt List
Enduring America Live Blog
Mother Jones reporting on Egypt Explained

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Naomi Klein: Addicted to Risk

The Canadian writer of The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism, Naomi Klein, gives a worthwhile TED Talk on the Gulf Oil catastrophe and its meaning beyond the surface environmental disaster:

Related Post:
Gulf Oil Spill: A Crash Course in Deep Ecology

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Requiem for the Redwing Blackbirds

I've never been a fan of fireworks. When I moved to the U.S. 5 years ago, I was astonished at the widespread, offensive use of fireworks - just in my neighborhood. Never mind the big professional displays, after my first July 4 here, I vowed to never go out again on July 4. Now it seems that these horribly polluting, assaulting fireworks are the cause of the mass death of 5,000 blackbirds on New Year's Eve in Arkansas. I grieve for the birds. Nature is under assault from humans on all sides. From the Audobon Magazine:

Illegal Fireworks Likely Cause of Massive Arkansas Blackbird Deaths
By Alisa Opar

Professional-grade fireworks probably caused the deaths of thousands of red-winged blackbirds in Beebe, Arkansas, on New Year’s Eve. The loud noises, combined with birds’ poor night vision and large winter gathering, likely led 4,000 to 5,000 birds to crash to their deaths.

That’s the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s “strong working hypothesis,” Karen Rowe, a Commission ornithologist.

Here’s what officials have pieced together:

At 10 p.m., residents heard several extremely loud, “window-shaking” noises that are believed to have come from professional-grade fireworks, which no one had permission to set off. The blasts came from an area near the birds’ winter roost.

About 15 minutes later several folks went outside when they heard the whooshing wings of a blackbird flock flying at its normal fast speed. “But when they looked up, instead of the birds being above treetop level, like they usually are, they were at rooftop level,” says Rowe. “They crashed into houses, cars, trees, mailboxes, shrubbery. Everything around.”

Blackbirds don’t usually fly at night. The big booms apparently flushed the birds from their roost, and then poor eyesight and disorientation stymied them from making it back safely.

“Necropsy report shows trauma primarily to the chest,” says Rowe. “Hemorrhaging in the body cavity, bruised skulls, blood clots in brain. It’s consistent with crashing into something rather than falling.”

Toxins don’t appear to be a factor, says Rowe, adding that the death toll is difficult to estimate because feral cats, raccoons, and other scavengers likely made a meal out of the fallen creatures.

The loss of any animals is regrettable, says Rowe. “I don’t want to see it again, but I especially hope we don’t see it with any declining species like cerulean warblers.”

Beebe residents aren’t likely to see a repeat of the freak event on the Fourth of July, the only other day the city allows fireworks. Blackbirds will be spread out on their individual nests then, instead of congregating in their winter roost.

It appears that similarly mysterious bird deaths in Louisiana around the same time are unrelated. “Initial findings indicate that these are isolated incidents that were probably caused by disturbance and disorientation,” says Greg Butcher, Audubon’s director of bird conservation.

The birds—red-winged blackbirds, common grackles, brown-headed cowbirds and European starlings—are abundant species that flock together in large nighttime roosts during the winter months. Roosts can contain from tens of thousands to 20 million individuals or more.

Blackbirds are so prolific that during the Christmas Bird Count this year, Rowe says she and another biologist commented that they spent so much time counting blackbirds that they didn’t get to search out more rare species. “This will teach us,” she says wryly.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year to all my readers...may the new year bring you good health, prosperity, joy, warm sunshine, laughter and all your heart's desires.