Three years ago, on August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina made landfall on the US Gulf Coast. The storm devastated nearly 100,000 square miles and displaced over a million people. New Orleans, Louisiana, bore the brunt of this disaster, after the levee system failed and nearly 80 percent of the city was submerged.
Overwhelmingly those most deeply affected by Katrina were among the poorest layers of the working class in a long-impoverished and neglected region of the United States. In the days following the hurricane’s landfall, the initial tragedy in New Orleans was compounded by official neglect, incompetence, and military repression.
The storm and its aftermath exposed in the starkest way the gross inequality at the heart of American social life. Thousands of New Orleans residents stayed behind after a last-minute evacuation was ordered—many of them extremely poor, without means of transportation, disabled or elderly. The low-income and minority neighborhoods—low-lying and long neglected—were virtually obliterated when adjacent levee walls gave way.
Just across the road, a horizontal pole just above the water. This morning, a kingfisher sits down on it! What a fine beginning of a day. A bit later, a moorhen near the same spot.
Many barn swallows, some of them nesting under the roof of our house; some sitting down on the TV antenna of the restaurant.
In a birdwatchers’ hide, a kilometer to the north: mute swans. Great cormorants. Great crested grebes; grey lag geese.
And a kingfisher, sitting on a bald branch.
Then, an osprey, flying across the lake, and sitting down near a treetop.
Later, a buzzard.
In a former church in Kalenberg village, mainly landscape paintings by Frans Obdam, 1921-1988.
Just before going on board in the evening, a rabbit running away.
After the ship has started, the third kingfisher of today, sitting on a vertical pole in the water.
Mr Dolstra, the reserve warden, tells us that there are about 350 roe deer in the Weerribben; which is a lot for a marshy area, not ideal for the species.
This spring, there were nine male bitterns calling. As they are polygamous, that means that there were considerably more nests of this rare species.
As the number of trees in the Weerribben has increased recently, the number of goshawk nests has gone up to thirteen. Which may be a big problem next to a black tern colony … Other tree loving birds, rising in numbers in the national park, are golden oriole; lesser spotted woodpecker; and bullfinch.
Other rare species here are the purple heron; and the otter. In 1967, otters became extinct in the Weerribben as the last one was then found dead. In 2002, otters were brought here again, from eastern Europe and Sweden. Cubs have been born, and there are now about thirty otters in the reserve.
Two noncommissioned officers— Sergeant First Class Joseph P. Mayo, the platoon sergeant, and Sergeant Michael P. Leahy Jr., Company D’s senior medic and acting squad leader, confessed to the killings and gave accounts of the event in signed statements to Army investigators in January.
The statements, obtained by the New York Times, described how each of the two soldiers killed one of the Iraqi detainees with a pistol shot to the back of the head, following the orders of First Sergeant John E. Hatley. Hatley shot the two other Iraqi men, the soldiers said, before ordering them to remove the bloody blindfolds and plastics handcuffs and shove the bodies into the canal.
US deal does not mark the end of Iraq‘s occupation: here; and here.
Owers report said: ‘Our principal concerns about safety are related to children.
‘While staff in the family centre made considerable efforts to support children and their families, they could do little to mitigate the damaging effects of their detention, the length of which often extended into days or even weeks.
‘While support from local social services staff had improved, there was still a lack of appropriate care planning and no formal links with local children’s safeguarding arrangements. Not all staff had received child protection training.
‘. . . we were disturbed to observe some unprofessional conduct by external escort staff.
‘. . . we were concerned to find two recent examples of forced medication applied to detainees threatening self-harm, which had not been subject to thorough review to ensure their appropriateness.
Last week, several news outlets reported that the Justice Department had drafted new rules on intelligence gathering operations which it plans to ratify on October 1, the first day of the new fiscal year and one month before the November elections.
After this post, this week, there will be few, if any, new posts on this blog.
Note: audio very low until 00:02:26. From the third annual (2008) gathering of the progressive netroots live at Netroots Nation in Austin, TX. SAT, 07/19/2008 – 4:30PM, Ballroom G Black bloggers voice will be paid close attention given Obama’s candidacy and while the increased attention and addition of new voices are welcome; our collective voice is just as pertinent for issues unrelated to Obama’s campaign. As such, what steps should we be taking now to make sure that this message is not lost on each other and the larger blogosphere/media infrastructure? PANELISTS: Brandon Q. White, Gina McCauley, Leutisha Stills, Andre Banks, Kevin Myles.
During the next week, there will be few, if any, new posts on this blog.
In cod we can’t trust: DNA shows fish often mislabelled for sale
Friday, August 22, 2008
Many consumers are being reeled in and are paying high prices for fish that has been mislabelled, according to a University of Guelph study.
The study, which will be published next week in the journal of Food Research International, tested the DNA of 100 fish samples taken from restaurants and markets in Toronto, Guelph, Ont., and New York City.
“This not only raises concerns of consumer fraud, but also public health,” said Robert Hanner, the associate director for the Canadian Barcode of Life Network, in a release.
“A person could have allergies to a certain species and if it’s mislabelled that could have dangerous consequences.”
Researchers also noted that some labels for endangered fish species had been swapped.
“Consumers may think they are doing the right thing for the environment by buying a certain type of fish that is eco-friendly when really they could actually still be buying exploited species,” said Hanner.