This 12 September 2017 video shows a roe deer amidst colourful flowers.
Robert-Jan Asselbergs made this video in the Brabantse wal area in North Brabant province in the Netherlands.
Late in 2014, I made this new award: the Real Neat Blog Award. There are so many bloggers whose blogs deserve more attention. So, I will try to do something about that 🙂
It is the first award that I ever made. I did some computer graphics years ago, before I started blogging; but my computer drawing had become rusty 🙂
The ‘rules’ of the Real Neat Blog Award are: (feel free not to act upon them if you don’t have time; or don’t accept awards; etc.):
1. Put the award logo on your blog.
2. Answer 7 questions asked by the person who nominated you.
3. Thank the people who nominated you, linking to their blogs.
4. Nominate any number of bloggers you like, linking to their blogs.
5. Let them know you nominated them (by commenting on their blog etc.)
My seven questions are:
1. Where do most visits to your blog come from?
2. What is your favourite sport?
3. What has been a special moment for you so far in 2017?
4. What is your favourite quote?
5. What was your favourite class when still at school?
6. Anything you had wished to have learned earlier?
7. What musical instrument have you tried to play?
My nominees are:
5. Ohh, Honey
10. ThrifDee #Dubai
14. Reader Choice
This 12 September 2017 video shows a bush cricket singing.
Simone Sweijen in the Netherlands made this video.
This 11 September 2017 video from the USA is called Residents In Florida Assess Hurricane Irma Damage.
By Niles Niemuth in the USA:
Thirteen million without power, seven dead after Hurricane Irma wreaks havoc in Florida
12 September 2017
Hurricane Irma was downgraded to a tropical storm Monday as it made its way north to Georgia and South Carolina, leaving in its wake an estimated $100 billion in damage across the entire state of Florida. As of this writing, seven people have died of storm related injuries in Florida. In the Caribbean, 37 have been killed including 10 deaths in Cuba where the storm made landfall on Friday.
The full impact of the storm was less than had been feared, due to shifts in its trajectory over the weekend. However, the damage is still massive and has further exposed the decrepit state of US infrastructure.
Nearly two-thirds of Florida’s population, or approximately 13 million people, were still without power Monday night after Irma’s high winds brought down trees and power lines across the state and record storm surge flooding inundated cities up and down Florida’s Atlantic and Gulf coasts.
“People need to be prepared for some prolonged and extended outages,” Eric Silagy, president and CEO of Florida Power and Light, which provides power to half the state’s population, warned on Monday.
Some areas of the state are expected to be without power for weeks, as miles of downed power lines will not only have to be restored, but significant sections of the state’s power infrastructure will have to be rebuilt.
“‘Restore’ may not capture the full sense of where we are”, Southern Company CEO and Chairman Thomas Fanning told CNBC. “For the very hard impacted areas, I think you’re in a ‘rebuild’ area. That’s a big deal. People need to understand this is going to take perhaps weeks, not days, in some areas.”
Fanning, a co-chair of the Electricity Subsector Coordinating Council, which coordinates the utility industry and government response to disasters, reported that in the coming days and weeks as many as 60,000 utility workers will be mobilized from across the United States and Canada in the effort to restore power across the region.
Any amount of time without power will be challenging for most, but especially for the elderly and those with health problems that require medical equipment.
As is the case throughout the United States, most of Florida’s power lines are above ground, meaning that significant numbers of people lose power when high winds blow, knocking down trees and branches.
Cuts to utility maintenance crews that remove and trim trees near power lines only increases the power grid’s vulnerability. Residents reported that in the days leading up to the storm, crews were working overtime to catch up on a year’s worth of work to try and minimize the damage, but as usual it was too little, too late.
Ordinances in Palm Beach, Miami-Dade and Broward Counties require new power lines to be placed underground where they will be protected, but there has been no systematic effort across the state to place existing infrastructure underground, or to strengthen substations and power plants that must remain above ground.
The storm has left thousands across the state without access to clean drinking water. Boil water advisories have been issued for communities across the state, as water treatment and distribution plants either lost power or were inundated by flood waters, resulting in a drop in water pressure that could result in the contamination of drinking water with sewage.
By far the worst damage has been done to the Florida Keys where Irma made landfall as a Category 4 hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 130mph. Boats were thrown onto land, RVs and trailer homes strewn about and a massive storm surge inundated the low-lying islands, with waves flooding bridges, homes and resorts.
The mayor of Islamorada, Jim Mooney, told Local 10 News that he expected it would take six months before people’s lives would be “maybe halfway back to normal.”
Monroe County Emergency Management Director Martin Senterfitt described the situation on the islands as a “humanitarian crisis” in a statement Sunday. An indefinite dusk to dawn curfew has been declared by Monroe County Sheriff Rick Ramsay.
Air Force and National Guard units began carrying out a major search and rescue effort Monday, deploying disaster mortuary teams to go door to door on the island seeking out survivors and possible fatalities. Officials estimate that approximately 5,000 of the island chain’s 30,000 permanent residents remained during the storm.
Roadblocks were set up by police on Monday to keep residents who had evacuated from returning to check on their homes. Officials said that evacuees would not be allowed back onto the islands until all 42 bridges connecting the island chain were inspected and declared safe.
A Miami Herald reporter in Florida City captured video of frustrated evacuees protesting and challenging the police after rumors spread that wealthy Keys residents were able to gain early access to their homes.
“There’s got to be one way for everybody, not just the people that got the money and can buy their way in,” Warren Stincer, a resident of Key Largo, demanded. “Are people going in there? That’s a millionaire! They had money and they got themselves in there. It’s got to be the same way for all of us! For all of us!”
Major flooding from tropical rains and storms hit all along the southeast Atlantic Coast Monday as far north as Charleston, South Carolina.
Record flooding hit Jacksonville in northeastern Florida where rain and storm surges pushed water levels on the St. Johns River past the previous high in 1864. The city’s downtown business district along the river was completely flooded, dozens of people had to be rescued from the rising waters, and city officials advised residents to hang white towels from their windows if they needed assistance.
Marco Island off Florida’s southwest coast, where Irma made its second landfall in the state, was left without clean water and electricity. More than a dozen homes had their roofs torn off by high winds. Miami Beach on the southeast coast is set to reopen to residents and tourists today after Irma brought record storm surge flooding to the Miami area on Sunday.
As Hurricane and Tropical Storm Harvey bore down on and flooded the northern Gulf Coast last month with an estimated 20 trillion gallons of rain, some 60 plants belonging to the world’s petrochemical giants on the Texas coast began shutdown procedures. During this time they vented and dumped almost a million pounds of some of the most deadly chemical compounds on earth: here.
This video is the film Fahrenheit 9/11 (2004) by Michael Moore; in English, with Arabic subtitles.
By Bill Van Auken in the USA:
Sixteen years after 9/11: lies, hypocrisy and militarism
12 September 2017
The sixteenth anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks that killed more than 2,900 people in the United States was marked once again on Monday with ceremonies at the site of the World Trade Center’s demolished Twin Towers, the Pentagon and a field in Pennsylvania where one of four hijacked planes crashed as passengers fought to regain control of the aircraft.
Thousands gathered in New York City for the solemn reading of the names of those who lost their lives to a criminal and reactionary terrorist attack that served only the interests of US and world imperialism, which ever since have exploited the events to justify wars of aggression and attacks on democratic rights the world over.
The genuine emotions of sorrow and remembrance shared by those who lost loved ones on 9/11 once again stood in sharp contrast to the banality and hypocrisy of the official commemorations staged by US officials.
This longstanding dichotomy reached a new level with the main speech of the day delivered by the fascistic billionaire con-man President Donald Trump at the Pentagon Monday. Trump, whose first reaction on the day of the attacks was to brag—falsely—that the toppling of the Twin Towers had made his own property at 40 Wall Street the tallest building in lower Manhattan, delivered remarks that consisted of barely warmed-over platitudes from previous addresses, repeated tributes to the American flag and a vow to “defend our country against barbaric forces of evil and destruction.”
Trump repeated the well-worn cliché that on September 11 “our whole world changed.” The phrase is meant to suggest that the unending wars, police state measures and sweeping changes in American political life over the past 16 years have all been carried out in response to the supposedly unforeseen and unforeseeable events of September 11, having nothing to do with anything that came before.
That this is a cynical and self-serving lie becomes clearer with every passing year.
On the eve of the anniversary, new revelations emerged linking Saudi Arabia, Washington’s closest ally in the Arab world, to the preparation of the September 11 attacks, in which 15 of the 19 hijackers were Saudi citizens. The corporate media, which published nothing of any significance on the anniversary, largely blacked out this new evidence. The New York Times marked the anniversary with an editorial detailing efforts by the New York City medical examiner to identify human remains.
A federal lawsuit on behalf of the families of some 1,400 of the 9/11 victims has presented evidence that the Saudi embassy in Washington financed what was apparently a “dry run” for the 9/11 attacks in 1999. Two Saudi agents posing as students boarded an America West flight from Phoenix to Washington, D.C. with tickets paid for by the Saudi embassy. The lawsuit states that both men had trained in Al Qaeda camps in Afghanistan with some of the 9/11 hijackers. While on the flight, the two asked flight attendants technical questions about the plane that raised suspicions and twice attempted to enter the cockpit, leading the pilot to carry out an emergency landing in Ohio. Both men were detained and questioned by the FBI, which decided not to pursue any prosecution.
This is only the latest in a long series of revelations that have made it abundantly clear that the events of 9/11 could never have taken place without substantial logistical support from high places. Despite the repeated claims that the attacks “changed everything,” there has never been an independent and objective investigations into how they were carried out. And, despite being what is ostensibly the most catastrophic intelligence failure in American history, no one was ever held accountable with so much as a firing or a demotion.
What evidence has emerged makes it clear that the 9/11 hijackers were able to freely enter the country and attend flight schools despite the fact that a number of those involved had been subjects of surveillance by the CIA and FBI for as long as two years before the attack. Two of them actually lived in the home of an FBI informant.
Twenty-eight pages of heavily redacted documents released in 2016 after being concealed from the public for 13 years established that Saudi intelligence officers funneled substantial amounts of money to the hijackers in the run-up to the 9/11 attacks, while assisting them with finding housing as well as flight schools to attend.
While Saudi Arabia was the government most active in carrying out the September 11 attacks, the involvement of Saudi intelligence really means the involvement of a section of the American state apparatus. This is not a matter of conspiracy theories, but established fact. It is bound up with very real conspiracies involving the CIA, Afghanistan and Al Qaeda going back to the Islamist group’s founding as an arm of Washington’s dirty war against the Soviet-backed government of Afghanistan in the 1980s.
Far from the attacks having “changed everything,” they provided the pretext for acts of military aggression long in preparation. In the wake of the dissolution of the Soviet Union a decade earlier, the ruling class initiated a policy developed to use US military might to offset the decline of American capitalism on the world arena. Afghanistan and Iraq were targeted to secure military dominance over two major oil- and gas-producing regions on the planet, the Caspian Basin and the Middle East.
This thoroughly criminal enterprise, justified in the name of 9/11’s victims, has claimed the lives of over 1 million Iraqis and hundreds of thousands of Afghans and unleashed the greatest refugee crisis since the Second World War.
The invocation of a “war on terror”—passed down from Bush to Obama and now to Trump—to justify these crimes has become not only threadbare, but patently absurd. The results of 16 years of uninterrupted US wars of aggression have included an unprecedented growth of Al Qaeda and related Islamist militias, largely as a result of US imperialism’s utilization of these elements as proxy ground forces in wars for regime change in Libya and Syria.
Moreover, the multiple wars and interventions conducted by the Pentagon and the CIA, from North Africa to Central Asia, can quickly metastasize into a global conflagration, with Washington simultaneously threatening nuclear war against North Korea and pursuing increasingly dangerous confrontations with its principal geo-strategic rivals, Russia and China.
September 11 did not “change everything,” but it did mark the beginning of an escalation of what George W. Bush called the “wars of the twenty-first century”, that is, escalating imperialist aggression that is leading mankind toward a third world war.
This video from the USA says about itself:
Songbirds Pull Together After Hurricane Irma
12 September 2017
After a rocking windy and rainy night of the remnants of Hurricane Irma passing through the Great Smoky Mountains it’s #Songbird strong this morning! Daylight brought an unusual sense of camaraderie among the American Goldfinches, Juncos, Chickadees and other small birds. Six Goldfinches managed to squeeze together on what was left of the finch sock with no fuss or pushing and shoving and even the Dark Eyed Juncos were behaving themselves. A note: deciduous trees provide little shelter in high winds – little birds just love big dense arborvitae trees for shelter from storms and nest building.