on the beach

(right, Mona Khalil and friend)

Throughout their 150 million years on earth, life has never been easy for individual sea turtles. Perhaps one in every couple thousand survived to breeding age. There have always been the hazards of predators, disease, and unlucky weather – the drivers of evolution, the producers, if you will, of the species we see now.

Recently the odds have gotten considerably worse. Abrupt, radical change in the environment has overwhelmed even the miraculous adaptive potential latent in the genome.

  Worldwide, sea turtle populations are crashing thanks to drift nets, (illegal) intentional as well as accidental long line fishing, the loss of sea grass beds to pollution and other anthropegenic factors, loss of suitable nesting habitat to beachfront development, and simple overexploitation as a food resource.

Global warming threatens to exacerbate the problems of disappearing habitat and food, and may deliver a killing blow directly. Sea turtles’ gender is not fixed genetically but determined by the temperature of the eggs.Their reproductive cycle is also extemely vulnerable to rising temperatures.

Everyone has to live somewhere. But the turtle populations driven by thousands of years of instinct to nest on the southern coast of Lebanon would seem to have drawn an awfully unlucky hand.

They actually fared pretty well under Israeli occupation. Night patrols kept the beaches empty during turtle prime time.Hezbollah on hand to help baby sea turtles

War disturbs turtles in unlikely Lebanese refuge

Population status and conservation of marine turtles at El-Mansouri, Lebanon 14-page pdf

Lebanese woman fights to save endangered

MEDASSET the Mediterranean Association to Save the Sea Turtle

Lebanon war still impacting sea turtles

In troubled Lebanon, a safety zone for sea turtles

Hazards old

and new

global warming
temperature change sex ratio
loss of sea beds
long line
drift nets

foxes, themselves internally displaced residents of Lebanon, driven out of the hills by last year’s bombing raids.
stray rockets
even a misplaced soccer field

to stir shit title it Hezbollah the protector or some such

Climate turns up heat

Besides her regular duties of patrolling the beach, moving nests from unsafe areas and protecting them with wires shields, Mona Khalil has in her time taken on UN peacekeepers and made them change both their littering habits and the Fijian contingent’s practice of buying turtles on the black market for dinner. She has run off Hezbollah guerillas using her beach as a base during the war, and repaired the damage to her home by Israeli rockets.

The beach itelf is now partitioned between armed factions. Hezbollah, which controls half, has declared the turtles, and one hopes Ms. Khalil as well, under its protection.

For this, and for nothing else, I salute Hezbollah.

Picking up the check at Democracy Cafe

The rummy stumbled out of the cafe, no one cared enough to call him a cab. Left at the table was an oddball pair, looking at the havoc their dinner party had wrecked before them. It had been quite a party, but now the waiter was coming with the bill, and there was awkward silence.

Decadence and disregard for the price of the meals and drinks and debauchery had been immense, and the check had quite a few zeros on it. Long gone were the guests who ran up this outrageous total, leaving the last two to settle and square away the bill at Democracy’s Cafe.

So it is true in reality, as it is in the cafe. A new Democratic Congress and a lame duck President share this table long sat at by corporate fat cats, lobbyists, corrupt congressmen, their hangers-on, entourages and various other party goers who had partied like rock stars in the early 2000s. Now the check is due.

Sadly, the last sweet kiss good-bye to the Republicans is that the bill did not come due during their watch, which is why they are taking being expelled from the restaurant with little to no fanfare. They knew this was coming, and like a dinner guest with no change left in their pocket, they went to the bathroom and never came back. They didn’t even leave a 20 spot to even pretend like they wanted to settle accounts, because they knew they did not need too.

So, the lame duck and sacrificial lambs, who were happy just to get to the table even if the party was obviously winding down, now face a tab of outrageous proportions. The housing market has cooled, the trade debt is outlandish, and somehow some of the party goers had gotten a second tab open, a second duel deficit, that too was suddenly these to poor soul’s responsibility. And not even figured into the total is the price to cover the fight that broke out early on, and all that was broken during its fray.

And while they sit there, just now fully understanding their miserable fate while the hooligans of the Gatsby party variety have gone home to sleep it off and wait for these two to take the fall. Because they know the responsibility and debacle of the check will be pinned on those left at the table, freeing them up to return in 2008 to go hog wild again, hands washed and cleaned of their previous indiscretions.

So be wary if you find yourself at the table when the check comes at Democracy’s Cafe. Those who ran up the tab are long gone, but owners of the restaurant, the American people, will not remember that because they do not remember what happened last week. And in 2007, when the economy shitbags because the checks are due, it is not the Republican decadence the people will remember, it will be the Democrats shaking them down to pay for the bill that they will.

And the President will just sit there, wondering exactly how much he can sneak away in a doggy bag.


No top 5 tonight, because right now I am on roof top patio somewhere in Brooklyn  entertaining beautiful girls whose port of calls are listed from around the world.

Seeing in the future publish works. Let’s hope I got the time right in US/Pacific, my ability to operate clocks and calendars is legendary.

Academic Years II


Like the Pixels

The pixels
laid singly
or in short segments
pixilated sand
intricately woven
into a meaningful
pixie dust
to simulate

My world grows
takes new form
until it gets
to the point
where it can be
it’s the flooping
that makes it
distinctly mine

are the pixels
of being
by which we color
the larger
of our lives
in the instant
in the now
is our floop

–Robyn Elaine Serven
–November 8. 2005

Scheduling Reminder

Just below this you will see I have bumped ek’s scheduling post back up near the top. If you DO want a slot, go ahead and sign up. If you prefer to have a floating slot, please post a comment to that effect in THIS essay.

You are NOT required to have a regular slot. But as we get closer to launch date (yippeee!)we need to get a little tighter on how the FP is run.

Anytime more than 3 hrs has passed since the last post by a CE (Contributing Editor) you are welcome to post on the FP. UNLESS someone is scheduled for that slot!

Anytime 90 minutes has passed since a post by an FP’r….Armando, Turkana, OPOL, ek, or me…..you are welcome to post on the FP. UNLESS someone is scheduled for that slot!

We will soon (when OTB gets back) start putting up the days schedule for all to see! Until then, any transgressions are explicitly forgiven!

The requested restriction on posting only meta is gone and forgotten, the FP is now wide open under the rules laid out above.

For those who have not discovered it, on the essay composition page there is a button under “other options” that allows Editors to switch from the FP to the recent list and vice versa.

If you are confused as to whether you are a Contributing Editor or not, first see if you have that button! If you do, you are an Editor. This means you are REQUIRED under pain of the most horrid curses and hexes to post an ORIGINAL non-xposted essay once a week. Or at least pretty close to that!

If I hadn’t made this clear or you still have questions or you wish to curse me back….have at it in the comments below!

But if you wish to sign up for a slot please do it in ek’s essay for ease of correlation.

Thank you!

A Poem for Pinche

Oh this will be easy, because I just know Pinche will never read this poem,  having vowed never to read poetry — I believe he said something to the effect it’s … icky.

So here’s a poem just for you, Pinche, even though you will never read it.

Poem for Pinche

It’s very bad,
It’s awful rotten,
These asshat poems,
By hell begotten.

Pinche vowed,
To close the door
On poems by poets

O how I tremble!
How I quake!
To think my work
Such dire mistake!

From Pinche’s words
oh dare I think
that all my poems
verily stink?

Ah no, alas!
That cannot be!
For lo! The stink
It comes from he!

My fiery rage
Will never die
Till Pinche repents
His evil lie!

For poems are good,
And poems are neat
And I’m a poet,
Cute and sweet.

I shall not stop
’cause Pinche cries
‘gainst poetry
and gives it pies.

So stay away,
I shall not stop!
I’ll write my poems
Until I drop!

The end.  😛

senator edwards, it’s me, pfiore8

cross-posted at dKos

Senator, if you mean this:

Enough is enough. When Congress comes back next week, they should stand firm and make their position clear:  No timeline, no funding. No excuses.

Then I’ve got to ask you: Are you ready to show up?

We need somebody to show up, Senator Edwards.

Sir, we are drowning under the weight of bold speeches and big ideas.

Things are serious in our country. We don’t need rhetoric. So I have to ask you… I need to know: are you willing to show up?

Will you show up with the rest of us on September 15 in Washington DC? Senator, please read srkp23’s diary and meet people who are all about showing up.

Senator, will you show up at the opening session of Congress, stand on the steps of our great Capitol, and demand, on behalf of your country:

Enough is enough.  No timeline, no funding. No excuses.

Will you walk from the steps of the Capitol and show up at the White House and tell George W. Bush:

“Enough is enough. No timeline, no funding. No excuses.

Senator, we are desperate. You want bold? You want to build defining moments? You want to pull away from other politicans, pundits, and candidates? Then put it on the line, for us. For your country. Go all in and show up!

h/t to TomP and his diary:  John Edwards on Iraq: No timeline, no funding. No excuses

ps… Senator, if you really want to blow me away, get the other candidates to show up.

Katrina: Two Years Later

( – promoted by pico)

Rather than write another diary on the second anniversary of Katrina, I thought I’d provide a set of resources for people who are interested in reading more, and from a diverse set of viewpoints.  These are newspapers, political blogs, and personal stories, and together they help fill in the giant web of impact that Katrina had on this country, and the distance we’ve come since, and the distance we still need to go.

Naturally, “Two Years Later” is the banner headline at nola.com, a site whose combination of Times-Picayune reporters and informal bloggers helped rocket it to premier place for Katrina coverage during and after the storm.  The mood here is generally upbeat, with articles like “Generosity Banishes Katrina Despair“.  My own stomping grounds held a meeting with speakers who vowed to shut down the MRGO, a shipping inlet that had devastated local marshland and given Katrina’s surge an easy route to attack the parish.

More interesting, though, are the comments left by people telling their own stories of survival and rebuilding.  The city still faces massive problems, especially when it comes to racial and class issues, the insanely high murder rate, and the directionless local government.  But things are getting better in small ways, around the city.

The traditional media is also “celebrating” with some commemorative stories. CNN notes that the coast is “still struggling“, and MSNBC bizarrely puts Bush at the center of their coverage, while the always-dependable BBC has a multimedia presentation with photographs and interviews. 

At DailyKos there’s a slew of diaries today, but I’d especially recommend mlharges’ graphical display of flooding and casualties, Where They Were Found – The Data Tells The Story, and a first-time diary by a New Orleans Councilwoman, New Orleans: Mission NOT Accomplished, which details the difficulties that we face today.  Katrina-related diaries (see here and here) are all over the site this week.

Of bloggers writing locally, be sure to check out A.M in the Morning, written by a woman who returned to the city earlier this year to dedicate herself both to the rebuilding effort and to political advocacy.  Cotton Mouth tackles the efforts along the Mississippi Gulf Coast, while Katrinacrat and Yatpundit (I love those names!) post on Louisiana issues.

In less-exciting news, I’m infuriated by this post (it appears on a couple of blogs) that’s so disconnected from reality that it makes a mockery of all the real issues that these areas face.  We all have a tendency to want to spice up our arguments with powerful rhetoric, but when that powerful rhetoric overtakes the facts, we’re headed down the wrong path.

An ode

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketPhoto Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketPhoto Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketPhoto Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketPhoto Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Midnight Cowboying – Karl Rove, You Magnificent Bastard

You have to give it Rove, his last kiss good-bye was one of the sweetest. The news cycle this week was suppose to be non-stop coverage of a resigning Attorney General. You know, a monumental event as the keeper of the rule of law steps down in disgrace, one of the highest position in the land. Roberto Gonzalez was the purest symbol of the utter contempt the Bush Administration had for the Constitution and our collective social contract. He deserved to be roasted in the international, national and local press as the subservient lackey of cronyism that he was. 

But Karl Rove had his boy’s back. He had an ace in the hole that would kill any and all discussion of Gonzo by the talking heads. He had something that involved at least a few of the meaty morals Americans love. The fall from grace of a powerful figure. Adultery. And best yet, gay sex in a public space. It was even signed sealed and delivered by a Guilty plea and fines paid. He held it in his sleeve till Roberto was ready to meet him in Texas. He had been sitting on for months.

So on Monday, minutes after Bush and Gonzo’s pressers, the Senator Craig story appeared on The Hill. Minutes. Go check the time stamps. Once everyone realized that this scandal already had a plea entered, the firestorm was started. The Gonzo story was not nearly as sexy as a Senator trying to hook-up in a toilet stall at a public restroom in an airport no less.  News programmers far and wide dumped the rather boring sound bites of Gonzo leaving town for the sex scandal. By the next news cycle, Gonzo wasn’t even making the top fold, it was all Senator Craig, all the time. The only other happy person about this was Michael Vick. He was like Rep. Gary Condit on 9-11. Yep, I still remember that shit.

It was a brilliant play, though, Rove knew America and the media would latch on to PottyGate and let Gonzo slip out of town. This is why I always loved Karl, he was a master of being 50 steps ahead of the spider. He could twist the media around like silly putty, and press it on newspaper and make the story contort to any of his whims. He was a true avatar of meta. Evil, but a genius. I will always remember him as the one the Democrats could never pin down or control, or even put up a fight against. He owned them. Pure and simple.

Even as the spin masters of the left sat in their war rooms on Monday, they were confused about how to tackle the news cycle. Their softball issue of Gonzo leaving DC in disgrace had been supplanted by gay sex scandal of a Republican Senator. Even that is brilliant.

Do they come out and condemn him for being a hypocrite? Do they use the family values card? Was he entrapped? How could the spin that without coming off looking like complete and utter assholes. They couldn’t, which is why you didn’t hear a peep out of them. Well, played Karl.

And of course, all the talking points they had assembled on Gonzo were now for a second tier story. KARL! Why do you hurt so good! I mean, that was a great two-fer. And all you had to do was destroy a man’s life.

See you in Texas Karl, but stay out of the Senators race in the Lone Republic. Your boy is dumb as a box turtle and I got a true-blue war hero on my ticket. And plus we will be playing on my home turf, not yours, not matter what Bushie tells you. You will have to face a meta avatar of the left, though I am sure you would enjoy the challenge for once.

God knows the Democrats in Washington couldn’t give you one. Ever.

Stay you,
you magnificent bastard,


My Five Favorite Things Today:

1) Tube Map for Miss South Carolina

2) How to Spend $1,000,000 USD on Food a Day

3) Why the Zune is Brown

4) This Modern World: It’s like we shot a whole country in the face!

5) This Girl Will Kick Your Ass

Pinche Tejano, Over and Out.

[poll id=”




This is a test of my first diary at DocuDharma.  It is also a bit of personal philosophy.

With reference to the phrase: start as you mean to go on, I give you this…..


There is a fine line between
a wise woman and an old crank.

It is not physical
  measured in wrinkles.

It is not spiritual
  measured in piety.

It is not scholarly
  measured in degrees.

It is not ego
  measured in abilities.

It is knowing just how much to say
  to pique someone’s curiosity.

It is knowing when to keep silent
  but smile and nod.

It is knowing what is really
  worth remembering.

It is knowing what is necessary
  to forget.


Open Thread

A Christening

Poem du Jour:

Art Link

The Body

Some people call it
people who quite probably
think my existence is
pornography personified.

But it’s just a bunch of
blood red dots on a
yellow background
a stark symbolization
of much of my life

I say to them (to you?)
eliminate war, the worst obscenity,
from my tv news, from the planet,
from existence, from conception
and then we’ll talk

–Robyn Elaine Serven
–October 28, 2005

Load more