Palmetto weevil in Florida, USA


This video from the USA says about itself:

18 January 2017

Florida Palmetto Weevil – is a huge “bug” and this is the first one I have ever seen in the Backyard or anywhere! …

The largest weevil in North America is the palmetto weevil, Rhynchophorus cruentatus Fabricius. The palmetto weevil is native to Florida and until recently was the only species of palm weevil in the continental United States. Once, the palmetto weevil was considered a minor pest, attacking only severely wounded and dying trees. However, it is now known to be a pest of stressed nursery and transplanted palms as well as apparently healthy Canary Island date, Bismarck (Bismarckia nobilis) and Latan (Latania spp.) palms. The adults of this species display various color variations. They can also be quite variable in overall size.

Weevils are a family of beetle that have their mandibles at the end of a, sometimes, very long rostrum (a snoutlike projection of the head). In fact, the rostrum of some weevils (i.e., nut weevils) is as long as their bodies. These modified mouthparts are used for feeding and to prepare holes in host plant material in which eggs are laid. Weevils are a large, diverse and important group of insects. Most feed on plant material, and many are considered to be economic pests. While some adults feed outside the plant, the larvae (or grubs), which have relatively large mandibles and are legless, feed cryptically within the host plant.

Worldwide, there are ten described species of weevils in the genus Rhynchophorus that feed on palms.

The ‘Florida’ palmetto weevil, Rhynchophorus cruentatus, has been reported from coastal regions of South Carolina south through the Florida Keys, and west into coastal Texas. It is also present throughout the state of Florida. Fossil records suggest that the palmetto weevil was present in Florida during the Pleistocene (about 1 million years ago).

Read more here.

Savannah sparrow in Florida, USA


This video from the USA says about itself:

13 January 2017

Savannah Sparrows are a winter visitor to Florida – a striking sparrow with delicate head details and a sweet little call. Identified by a small yellow patch in front of the eyes and a narrow white stripe on top of the head. This one sat still for several minutes which is rare, allowing for a first time clear capture of this species.

Rather than being named for its penchant for grassy areas, the common name of Savannah Sparrow actually refers to the city of Savannah, Georgia where the bird was first documented.

Savannah Sparrow (Passerculus sandwichensis) is the most widespread and abundant wintering sparrow in southeast Florida, occupying a wide variety of habitats that include mangrove edges, saltmarsh prairie, and weedy fields. Like many grassland sparrows, this species uses short chip notes when alarmed, warding off intruders, or approaching its nest. A typical chip note is a soft, hissing tss.

From bloody Iraq war to bloody Fort Lauderdale, USA airport


This video from the USA says about itself:

9 January 2017

Recently there was a mass shooting at the airport in Ft. Lauderdale that claimed the lives of 5 people, the shooter has been caught and we’re now learning more about him. Ana Kasparian and Cenk Uygur of The Young Turks discuss some new details about the Ft. Lauderdale shooter. Tell us what you think in the comment section below.

Read more here.

“The suspect believed to have shot five people to death in a rampage at a Florida airport Friday was being treated in Alaska after complaining of hearing voices and had recently claimed to the FBI that the CIA was forcing him to watch ISIS videos, federal officials said.

THE SHOOTER opened fire at a baggage claim at the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport at 12:55 p.m., apparently shooting people at random.

SHOOTER had been “fighting with a lot of people,” his brother, Bryan, told NBC News in a phone interview from Puerto Rico. His aunt and uncle in New Jersey said Santiago had not been the same since a 10-month deployment in Iraq with the Puerto Rico National Guard.”

By Genevieve Leigh in the USA:

Details emerge of Fort Lauderdale shooter’s experience in military

10 January 2017

The suspected gunman in the Fort Lauderdale shooting, 26-year-old Esteban Santiago, was charged on Saturday with performing an act of violence at an international airport, killing five people and injuring six more. The charges brought forth allow a maximum penalty, upon conviction, of death or imprisonment for life.

On Monday, Santiago was ordered held without bond until a detention hearing next week. He was advised of the charges against him by US Magistrate Alicia Valle and was appointed a federal public defender. A bond hearing was scheduled for January 17 and an arraignment, during which Santiago will formally enter a plea for the charges against him, was set for January 23.

Santiago confessed to opening fire on a crowd in the baggage claim area of the Fort Lauderdale airport shortly after being detained on Friday afternoon. Once in custody, Santiago told investigators that he had planned the attack, purchasing a one-way ticket to the Fort Lauderdale airport from Anchorage, Alaska via Minneapolis-St. Paul, with a 9mm semi-automatic handgun as his only piece of checked luggage.

As details emerge concerning Santiago’s personal history, as well as his experiences serving in the US military, the media and political establishment continue to postulate on the cause of the latest shooting spree. These pundits fail in every attempt, many deliberately, to understand the deadly effects which the US military’s unrestrained brutality abroad over the last 15 years, has had on every facet of American life, and most directly on those forced to carry out the bloody campaigns.

The facts of Santiago’s life which have emerged suggest an impoverished adolescent brutalized by the inhumanity of war. Despite his own efforts, and those of his friends and family to seek help, and even to notify the FBI of his condition, Santiago failed to receive the necessary treatment, if such exists, to reverse the damaging experiences of his life.

Santiago was born in New Jersey but moved with his family to the impoverished US territory of Puerto Rico when he was two years old. He is the youngest of six children and spent his childhood in Penuelas, Puerto Rico, which is a small town of about 14,000 residents. Only about 18 percent of Penuelas residents have an education above a high school degree, and 60 percent of the population lives in poverty, with a median household income of only $14,300.

Santiago joined the Puerto Rico National Guard on December 14, 2007, when he was only 17 years old. Reports from those who knew him as a child depict a highly intelligent, kind and quiet adolescent, who joined the military as a way of moving out of his small, poor town. One former neighbor commented to the Associated Press in shock: “He was very peaceful, very educated, very serious.”

According to Guard spokesman Maj. Paul Dahlen, Santiago was deployed to Iraq in 2010 and spent close to a year with an engineering battalion. While in Iraq, Santiago was part of a team clearing roads of improvised explosive devices.

Santiago received numerous medals and commendations during his time in Iraq including the Iraq Campaign Medal, Meritorious Unit Commendation and the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal. While the extent of his participation in direct combat is still undetermined, some of his awards, such as the Iraq Campaign Medal and his Combat Action badge, are combat related honors. Additionally, his mother told reporters that her son witnessed a roadside bomb in Taji, Iraq, just north of Baghdad, which killed two of his fellow 130th Engineer Company soldiers.

Details and reports from friends and family continue to emerge regarding the toll that his time in the military took on Santiago’s mental state.

A grade school classmate of Santiago’s, and fellow member of the National Guard, Rosemarie Zapata, reported to the New York Times that it was Santiago who convinced her to join the Puerto Rico National Guard, before he was deployed to Iraq. When she saw him again after his deployment in a Walgreens parking lot, she said “he was very different,” adding, “He told me: ‘You would never want to go to Iraq. I saw horrible things, horrible.’ He was very different. He was sad.”

One uncle, Hernan Rivera, told the Record, “Only thing I could tell you was when he came out of Iraq, he wasn’t feeling too good.” Friends and family continue to repeat similar sentiments to local and national media outlets.

After returning from Iraq, Santiago served in the Army Reserves and the Alaska National Guard in Anchorage before being discharged for “unsatisfactory performance,” according to Lt. Col. Candis Olmstead. Olmstead, a spokeswoman for the Guard, would not elaborate on the specifics of his discharge, but the Pentagon reports that he went AWOL several times and was first demoted, and then discharged.

Consistent with these reports, Santiago voluntarily turned himself over to the FBI in November 2016, just a little over a month before the deadly shooting, claiming that the CIA was controlling his mind and was forcing him to watch Islamic State [ISIS] videos. The FBI agents then notified the police, who took him in for psychiatric help. The hospital released him and ceased treatment after only four days.

Friday’s shooting marks the fourth time in the United States since 2013 that an individual previously known to the FBI has gone on to carry out a violent attack of some kind. This list includes the Pulse nightclub shooting, also in Florida, which killed over 50 people, and the Boston Marathon bombing in 2013, killing three.

While Santiago may have confessed to the killings in Fort Lauderdale, the ultimate responsibility for the crime lies not with the mentally unstable war veteran; nor is it the outcome some abstract “evil” entity haunting any single individual, as Governor Rick Scott of Florida has claimed. In fact, Santiago is in many ways himself a victim of US imperialism. The blood of these people, along with all of the tens of thousands killed in the wars abroad, and those who suffer here at home, lies in the hands of the American ruling class.

The truly guilty parties of these crimes are George W. Bush; Dick Cheney; the country’s current commander-in-chief, Barack Obama, the first in US history to oversee two full terms with the country at war; as well as the military leaders, the intelligence community, and the members of both political parties who initiated and continue the criminal wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Syria, Libya, Yemen and beyond; as well as the corrupt media outlets who prop them up.

The horror of the Iraq war, one hundred years from now: here.

Blue tilapia kiss in Florida, USA


This video from the USA says about itself:

6 January 2017

The wild Blue Tilapia spawn is on in Florida and its time to pucker up! Males are digging nests along the banks of the St. Johns River in central Florida and attracting females. Blue Tilapia are mouth brooders and females keep the eggs in their mouths for safety. Males sometime fight with their mouths, but this is a very gentle and careful mouth to mouth contact between two large Tilapia, if an expert would like to weigh in on what they are really doing I’m all ears. Many birds in the background – these fish are too big to worry about being eaten by big herons, but alligators – that’s another story!

Blue Tilapia: Oreochromis aureus

Appearance:

Young nondescript gray with a black spot at rear of dorsal fin; adults generally blue-gray shading to white on the belly; borders of dorsal and caudal fins with red to pink borders; broken lateral line and the spiny dorsal fin is joined to the soft dorsal fin. In central Florida, anglers can assume every tilapia they observe in fresh water is a blue, and any tilapia over 3 pounds is also likely a blue tilapia.

Similar Species

Female Mozambique tilapia (O. mossambicus) nearly identical, but doesn’t grow as large and currently only occurs in coastal areas south of Titusville; possible hybridization between blue and Mozambique tilapias further complicates identification; male Mozambique tilapia easily distinguished by large mouth and black coloration when breeding.

Habitat:

Widespread and abundant in Florida; found in fertile lakes, ponds, rivers, streams, and canals. It is tolerant of saltwater and found in some near shore marine habitats, such as Tampa Bay.

Native to north Africa and the Middle East.

Iraq war comes home to Fort Lauderdale, USA


Fort Lauderdale massacre

By Genevieve Leigh in the USA:

Five dead, eight wounded in Fort Lauderdale, Florida airport shooting

7 January 2017

A gunman opened fire early Friday afternoon at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport in southeastern Florida, killing five people and injuring at least eight others, before being detained by Broward County police.

The incident began in the crowded baggage claim area of Terminal 2, the shooter then moved through a corridor until he ran out of bullets, at which point he laid on the ground “spread eagle” until apprehended by authorities. No shots were fired by the police.

The shooter has been identified as 26 year old New Jersey native, Esteban Santiago. Reports indicate that Santiago was carrying a concealed carry permit for his gun as well as a military identification for the US Army reserves.

Military officials have confirmed that Santiago served in the Puerto Rico National Guard beginning in 2007 and was deployed to Iraq in 2010 for at least 10 months earning a combat action badge for his service. In 2014 he moved to Alaska serving in the Alaska National Guard as a combat engineer. Lt. Col. Candis Olmstead, an official from the Alaska National Guard reported that he was discharged in August 2016 for unsatisfactory performance.

‘Unsatisfactory performance’ is not that sursprising for a person who may have had PTSD; which was not taken sufficiently seriously by authorities.

Law enforcement officials believe Santiago had arrived on a flight from Anchorage, Alaska, catching a connection in Minneapolis-St. Paul before flying on to Fort Lauderdale. Upon arrival the suspect picked up his firearm at baggage claim, went into the men’s bathroom to unpack and load his weapon with ammunition and began the shooting spree. Authorities are looking into witness reports that the suspect got into an altercation on board his flight to Florida, law enforcement officials said.

According to multiple media reports, Santiago fired openly into the crowd, stopping only to reload his weapon, and did not appear to be targeting anyone specifically. One witness from Minneapolis, who was nearby when the shooting began, described the scene to NBC, “Everyone started screaming and running. The shooter made his way down through baggage claim. He had what looked like a 9mm and emptied his entire clip. People were trying to run.”

Videos on social media show a chaotic scene of large crowds running across the tarmac between terminals, some taking cover behind vehicles. Many who were left unharmed in the wake of the shooting stayed on the scene to help those who had been shot, using items from their luggage to stop the bleeding from gunshot wounds.

Santiago is currently being questioned by the police to determine his motive, however, much information has surfaced regarding his mental state prior to the attack. According to media outlets, Santiago was being treated for mental health problems in Alaska, including hearing voices.

According to law enforcement officials, Santiago entered an FBI office in Anchorage, Alaska in November last year claiming that the CIA, in the form of voices in his head, were forcing him to join ISIS. Officials say local police were promptly called, and he went voluntarily to a mental health facility for treatment.

In response to the shooting, Florida Governor Rick Scott told reporters: “The citizens of Florida will not tolerate senseless acts of evil. Whoever is responsible will be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law.”

Scott’s statement is a clear indication that the response of the ruling establishment to the shooting will be no different from the countless others which have plagued American society. No political figure or media newscaster has broached the subject of the social roots of this “evil.”

While a certain level of personal responsibility for the senseless killing of the five individuals on Friday afternoon lies with Santiago, the more fundamental cause of this act of violence is found not in the personal failings of one deranged individual but with the type of society from which he emerged. One need not delve deep to see that this incident is one of many devastating effects of the United States’ quarter century of bloody imperialist wars abroad, coming home.

While it is not clear whether or not Santiago’s mental health issues were present before serving in the military, it is likely that his experience in training and in combat played a role in providing him with the technical know-how to carry out such an attack, and, more profoundly, inflicting the kind of psychological damage that would compel someone to murder innocent people.

Also significant is that fact that the suspect, who seems to be himself a victim of US imperialism, sought help from [the] same institutions which placed him in the situation that likely caused his disorder, the US military establishment.

Far from being equipped to treat the victims of their bloody wars, the dismal state of health care, and moreover psychological care, available to the population at large- let alone veterans– appears to have been inadequate to assist Santiago.

The details of Santiago’s treatment and mental state are still being released and verified, however, if the current facts released remain true, it appears that Santiago may have been a double victim of the capitalist system, both in the suffering the effects of serving as soldier in its imperialist wars abroad and its dismal state of social services at home.

As of this writing none of the victims have been identified, but as is the case with all such outbursts of violence, the devastation inflicted on the victims, their families, those innocent bystanders who will forever be affected by the bloody scene, and all those following the incident from afar, will be significant and irrevocable.

As more details emerge, the establishment’s response to this latest shooting will predictably seek to channel the public’s anxiety and anger toward support of a host of reactionary initiatives – intensification of the phony “war on terror,” the militarization of the police, the need to revive “traditional family values,” and more.

On the Internet, Islamophobes try to blame this violence by a non-Muslim on Islam.

Airport Shooting Suspect Checked Gun, Despite Mental Health Issues. The veteran told the FBI his mind was being controlled by the government. He was never on a no-fly list. 01/07/2017 01:31 pm ET: here.

“Only thing I could tell you was when he came out of Iraq, he wasn’t feeling too good,” his uncle, Hernan Rivera, told The Record newspaper.

US soldier’s massacre at Fort Lauderdale Airport


This video from the USA says about itself:

Fort Lauderdale Airport Shooting: Multiple Dead, Suspect in Custody | ABC News

6 January 2017

Nine people were injured in a shooting at the Fort Lauderdale–Hollywood International Airport in Florida, a senior federal official said, and a suspect is in custody.

First of all, I wish strength and recovery to the family and friends of the dead and to the injured in this terrible atrocity.

From the Daily Mirror in Britain, about Florida in the USA:

Fort Lauderdale Airport shooting suspect named as Esteban Santiago: what we know so far

Senator Bill Nelson named Santiago on, saying he was carrying military identification – the suspect was reportedly also wearing a Star Wars t-shirt

The suspected shooter behind the rampage at a Florida Airport has been named as Esteban Santiago.

Senator Bill Nelson named Santiago on news channel MSNBC, saying he was carrying military identification.

Santiago is reportedly 26 years old and appeared alone in the Terminal 2 baggage claim area wearing a Star Wars shirt.

He is from New Jersey, lived in Alaska for some time but was carrying a Florida driving licence and had a concealed carry permit for his gun, Fox News reported.

He flew into Fort Lauderdale on Air Canada from Canada and had the handgun in his checked luggage, NBC News reported.

His itinerary had begun in Alaska before a connecting flight in Canada, CBS added.

The airport had two Air Canada flights arriving at midday – a 11.50pm arrival from Montreal and a 12.07pm service from Toronto.

The shooting began just before 1pm.

Police said they would not comment on the shooter for now and what a possible motive could be for the massacre.

I don’t know the possible motive either.

However, in earlier cases where soldiers committed mass murder, the cause often turned out to be PTSD as a result of bloody wars in Iraq, Afghanistan or elsewhere.

Ring-necked duck in Florida, USA


This video from Florida in the USA says about itself:

3 January 2017

Male Ring-Necked Duck takes off from small marsh. These are flighty little ducks and this is the first time I got this species on video. A striking diving duck with black crest and goldish eyes: Ring-necked Duck (Aythya collaris).

Ring-necked ducks tend to favor sheltered waters more than the other diving ducks do. They are often found in small flocks on small, tree-lined ponds and shallow Florida lakes where they dive for plants and seeds.

The video is both at normal speed and in slow motion.