Neo-conservative Irving Kristol dies


This video from the USA says about itself:

Leo Strauss and the Politics of the American Empire

Anne Norton, born in 1954, is an American professor of political science and comparative literature. She currently holds a chair in political science at the University of Pennsylvania.

Norton’s central intellectual interest has been the meaning and consequences of political identity. In the video, Norton defines the neoconservative political identity.

From the Daily Beast in the USA:

Irving Kristol, a fixture in American political thinking for decades, has passed away at 89, according to The Weekly Standard, the magazine helmed by Kristol’s son, Bill. Born in Brooklyn, New York, Kristol became a major critic of Communism following World War II.

Neo-conservatism, the political philosophy that held sway during the George W. Bush administration, has often been traced back to Kristol’s pen. He edited Commentary, Encounter, and The National Interest, among other publications.

A comment by “Ritarita”, also in the Daily Beast, about neo-conservatism:

Actually
I don’t mind
That the term has been
Expanded-
To include all of those
On the Right who believe that war
And especially pre-emptive war
Should be America’s foreign policy-
And have never met any war they didn’t like
As long as someone else was
Fighting it for them
.

David Kilcullen, a top Australian-born advisor to the US military, delivered a lecture in Sydney on September 3. His remarks provide an insight into the methods and mentality of those directing the US-led wars in Iraq and Afghanistan: here.

In 1955 James Burnham, the intellectual godfather of modern American neo-conservatism, reviewed The Prophet Armed, the first volume of Isaac Deutscher’s monumental biography of Leon [Lev Davidovich] Trotsky: here.

Obituary: Hilton Kramer, art critic and neoconservative: here.

First United States Manx shearwater chick fledged


This video from Wales is called Skomer Manx Shearwater Burrow Cam.

From The Green Blog in the USA:

Rare chick reaches flying age on Maine island

Posted by Boston Globe Business Team September 18, 2009 01:09 PM

By Beth Daley
GLOBE STAFF

Matinicus Rock, an island off mid-coast Maine, already has the distinction of being Maine’s most diverse seabird nesting island.

Still, researchers got a huge surprise earlier this month when they found a young Manx shearwater bird on the island – the first time the species is known to have reached an age old enough to fly in the United States.

Researchers from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Audubon discovered the chick in a relatively shallow burrow – one of six on island. At first, they thought it an adult: shearwaters have been observed on the island, part of the Maine Coastal Islands National Wildlife Refuge, for twelve years.

But on closer examination, they found remnant patches of fluffy light gray down around the legs that gave them proof it was a nearly fledged chick.

“This is what we all work and hope for;” said Stephen Kress, director of Audubon’s Seabird Restoration Program.

The team almost missed the discovery. It takes 120 days for a pair of shearwaters to hatch and raise a chick until it’s old enough to fly. If researchers arrived a few days later, they may never have found evidence the chick hatched on the island, 26 miles off Rockland.

The birds, with their awfully cute scientific name Puffinus puffinus, nest throughout the eastern North Atlantic, especially in Great Britain. Related to the albatross, the crow-sized birds have a wingspan of nearly three feet and are named because they fly low over the water. Great Britain studies suggest they may live 56 years and travel over five million miles.

The birds have visited the western North Atlantic since the 1950s and their breeding was first confirmed in 1973 when a pair produced a chick on Penikese Island in Buzzards Bay but it was not clear what happened to the chick. While another breeding pair was confirmed on an island in Newfoundland, there were only tantilizing clues the bird was nesting in the U.S.: A shearwater was seen on the 22-acre Matinicus Rock in 1997 and a nesting burrow was found the next year. An egg was even found in 2005 in the burrow but it never hatched. In 2006 and 2007, up to 19 Manx shearwaters were seen around the island and burrows were found in 2008. The young shearwater was found in one of the burrows.

Manx Shearwaters rescued from Pembrokeshire beach: here.

Diving of Great Shearwaters (Puffinus gravis) in Cold and Warm Water Regions of the South Atlantic Ocean: here.

Skokholm island: here. And here.

Kestrel and butterfly


Today, in Berkheide nature reserve.

A great cormorant flying.

A kestrel hovering in the air.

A small copper butterfly.

A rabbit.

Sea holly flowering

Sea holly, not flowering anymore, in the dunes close to the beach.

On the beach: carrion crows, lesser black-backed gulls, and herring gulls (some of them eating orange bits).

Afghan war puts Berlusconi under pressure


This is a video of an anti Bush demonstration in Rome, Italy.

From Al Jazeera:

Italian PM calls for Afghan exit

Silvio Berlusconi: ‘We are all convinced that we have to get out of Afghanistan as soon as possible’

The Italian prime minister has called for international forces to withdraw from Afghanistan, after a suicide attack in the capital Kabul killed six Italian soldiers.

“We are keen to bring our boys home as soon as possible,” Silvio Berlusconi said on Thursday as he arrived for an EU summit in Brussels.

The Italian leader conceded that any decision would only be made with the country’s Nato allies, saying that Italy “is dealing with an international question that you can’t decide on your own because that would betray an accord”.

But he added: “We are all convinced that we have to get out of Afghanistan as soon as possible.”

Civilians killed

At least 10 Afghan civilians were also killed in Thursday’s blast on a road linking Kabul’s international airport to the US embassy.

Fifty people were injured, according to Afghan officials.

“This is an unhappy day for Italy,” Berlusconi told reporters.

The presence of Italian troops in Afghanistan has become increasingly controversial in Italy and has put pressure on Berlusconi’s governing right-wing coalition.

Berlusconi’s rhetoric now is different from his own minister of “defence”, Ignazio La Russa‘s, stay-the-course rhetoric on the death of these six Italian soldiers. So, there seem to be tensions within the right-wing government coalition itself. Mr La Russa used to be a bigwig in the neo-fascist Alleanza Nazionale. That party has fused recently with Berlusconi’s party, the PdL.

However, there are still tensions between Berlusconi’s old guard and the neo-fascist Johnny-come-latelies, including their leader Fini. Including, apparently, about the neo-fascists being more hardline on the Afghan war.

British politician Gladstone’s words about Afghanistan in the Midlothian by-election of 1879 bear thinking about. They were: “Remember that the sanctity of life in the hill village of Afghanistan (among the winter snows) is as inevitable in the eye of almighty God as can be your own”.

Afghanistan: Sham Elections; by Yohannan Chemarapally: here.

Manifestation for Italian press freedom, Amsterdam: here.

Six-year-old’s ladybug discoveries


From Wildlife Promise blog in the USA:

Ranger Rick Six-Year-Old Helps Cornell Lab and NSF With U.S. Ladybug Recovery

It seems we must never underestimate the power of NWF’s favorite raccoon — Ranger Rick. Here is an AP story about how a motivated six year old Ranger Rick Reader helped Cornell researchers and the National Science Foundation locate a colony and obtain specimens of rare vanishing ladybugs.

Mary Esch at AP reports:

“John Losey, an entomologist at Cornell University, launched the Lost Ladybug Project last year to try to figure out why once-common native ladybug species had all but disappeared across the country. The project, funded by the National Science Foundation, recruits citizen scientists – especially children – to search for ladybugs and send photos of them to Losey and his colleagues.

Of particular interest are the nine-spotted, two-spotted and transverse ladybugs, three native species that have declined dramatically.. The big breakthrough came in June, when 6-year-old Alyson Yates and her mom, Kate, started sending in photos of nine-spotted ladybugs from their rural backyard in Lakeview, Ore., in the sagebrush desert east of the Cascades. It was really an amazing find,” Losey said. “Usually, someone just finds one or two. Alyson and Kate sent in a couple one day, a few more three days later, a couple more a few days after that. It became apparent they had a population out there.”

Convergent Lady Beetle Hippodamia convergens: here.