Swans Commentary » swans.com October 20, 2008  



Sarah Palin's Dodo


by Martin Murie



Pic: "rubber dodo" - Size: 8k
Rubber Dodo
(Courtesy of the Center For Biological Diversity)



(Swans - October 20, 2008)   The second annual Rubber Dodo Award goes to Sarah Palin. Here's the press release, in part, from the Center For Biological Diversity:

"Governor Palin has waged a deceptive, dangerous, and costly battle against the polar bear," said Kieran Suckling, executive director of the Center for Biological Diversity. "Her position on global warming is so extreme, she makes Dick Cheney look like an Al Gore devotee." Palin has waged a deceptive public relations campaign, asserting that the polar bear is increasing. But many populations (including Alaska's southern Beaufort Sea) are in decline and two-thirds (including all Alaska bears) are projected to disappear by 2050 by the U.S. Geological Survey. Palin has repeatedly asserted that Alaska Department of Fish and Game scientists found fatal flaws in the sea ice models used by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to determine the polar bear is threatened. When challenged, Palin refused to release the alleged state review. Independent scientists eventually obtained a summary through the federal Freedom of Information Act, revealing that Palin had lied: The state mammalogists concurred with the Fish and Wildlife Service determination that Arctic sea ice is melting at an extraordinary rate and threatens the polar bear with extinction. "All global warming deniers are eventually forced to suppress scientific studies, and Palin is no different," said Suckling. "To maintain her ludicrous opposition to protecting the polar bear in the face of massive scientific consensus, Palin stepped over the line to lie about and suppress government science." Palin has since filed a frivolous lawsuit against the Bush administration to have the threatened listing overturned. Meanwhile, the U.S. Geological Survey announced on September 16th that the 2008 summertime Arctic sea-ice melt was the second greatest on record, nearly matching the extraordinary melt of 2007. "Palin's insistence that Arctic melting is 'uncertain' is like someone debating the theory of gravity as they plunge off a cliff," said Suckling. "It's hopeless, reckless, and extremely cynical." Background: In 1598, Dutch sailors landing on the Indian Ocean island of Mauritius discovered a flightless, three-foot-tall, extraordinarily friendly bird. Its original scientific name was Didus ineptus. (Contemporary scientists use the less defamatory Raphus cucullatus.) To the rest of the world, it's the dodo -- the most famous extinct species on Earth. It evolved over millions of years with no natural predators and eventually lost the ability to fly, becoming a land-based consumer of fruits, nuts, and berries. Having never known predators, it showed no fear of humans or the menagerie of animals accompanying them to Mauritius. Its trusting nature led to its rapid extinction. By 1681, the dodo was extinct, having been hunted and out-competed by humans, dogs, cats, rats, macaques, and pigs. Humans logged its forest cover and pigs uprooted and ate much of the understory vegetation. The origin of the name dodo is unclear. It likely came from the Dutch word dodoor, meaning "sluggard," the Portuguese word doudo, meaning "fool" or "crazy," or the Dutch word dodaars meaning "plump-arse" (that nation's name for the little grebe). The dodo's reputation as a foolish, ungainly bird derives in part from its friendly naiveté and the very plump captives that were taken on tour across Europe. The animal's reputation was cemented with the 1865 publication of Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. Based on skeleton reconstructions and the discovery of early drawings, scientists now believe that the dodo was a much sleeker animal than commonly portrayed. The rotund European exhibitions were accidentally produced by overfeeding captive birds.

I quote at length to show how fanatic right-wing extremists can be, and that reminds me of an even greater transgression of statutory law, the Shrubite's intent to totally gut the Endangered Species Act. Reminder: that law was signed by then-president Richard Nixon. It's a hatchet job, showing clearly the intent to ignore fauna and flora of our home planet. As manager of the Endangered Species Act, Dirk Kempthorne (winner of the first annual Rubber Dodo award) outdid himself, setting a record of 15 months without a single listing of a species as endangered. He had help in that from docile scientists in the Department of Interior's Fish and Wildlife Service. Why do those guys give in so easily? A scientist's code is clear enough: Do not suppress or falsify evidence, even if it trashes your own pet theory.

Jumping now to another subject, I have been reading the latest SPECIAL ELECTION ISSUE OF the Canyon Country Zephyr that has an extensive section devoted to readers putting in print what they would do if they were Prez of these United States. One letter's list of intents includes restoring the Department of Defense's faux title back to the original: WAR DEPARTMENT. On one of my furloughs from the Bay Area army hospital I traveled with my dad, Olaus, through the western states. We re-visited an abandoned Civilian Conservation Corp. camp (the CCC was commanded by the U.S. Military) in the northern desert country of Nevada. Wandering through the camp we came upon a stack of big, tough, brown envelopes with WAR DEPARTMENT in the upper left hand corner. Olaus hesitated, not wanting to take something without permission, but these envelopes were obviously left behind for coyotes, bobcats and desert winds. We ended up with a big bundle and put them to good use as files for various sketches and manuscripts. I've always remembered the elegant -- yes that's the word -- straightforward three-letter word: WAR.

The letters in the Zephyr are from a select group of readers, that's obvious enough, but they all express gut disgust to be living in a country whose government can spend nearly eight years trashing the earth. The presidential acts are all copied from the current regime's modus operandi, dictatorial, as if the old-fashioned "Balance of Powers" embedded in the Constitution were totally forgotten. That's the discouraging thing about these letters. Otherwise, it's good to read the mad energy given a chance to spout.


· · · · · ·


If you find our work useful and appreciate its quality, please consider
making a donation. Money is spent to pay for Internet costs, maintenance
and upgrade of our computer network, and development of the site.

· · · · · ·


Internal Resources

US Elections & Democracy

Activism under the Radar Screen


Patterns which Connect

America the 'beautiful'


About the Author

Martin Murie on Swans (with bio).



Please, feel free to insert a link to this work on your Web site or to disseminate its URL on your favorite lists, quoting the first paragraph or providing a summary. However, please DO NOT steal, scavenge, or repost this work on the Web or any electronic media. Inlining, mirroring, and framing are expressly prohibited. Pulp re-publishing is welcome -- please contact the publisher. This material is copyrighted, © Martin Murie 2008. All rights reserved.


Have your say

Do you wish to share your opinion? We invite your comments. E-mail the Editor. Please include your full name, address and phone number (the city, state/country where you reside is paramount information). When/if we publish your opinion we will only include your name, city, state, and country.


· · · · · ·


This Edition's Internal Links

Blips #75 - From the Martian Desk - Gilles d'Aymery

2008 US Elections: Recommendations - Swans Editors

Confessions Of A Naderite - Jan Baughman

The New York Times "Reports" On The National Endowment For Democracy - Michael Barker

Mimic Man - Book Review by Peter Byrne

The Letters Of Noel Coward - Book Review by Charles Marowitz

Acquired Taste: Seeing Beyond The Obvious - Raju Peddada

American Economy Predicaments - Walter Trkla

Willpower - R. Scott Porter

Methane Is Poisonous - Carol Warner Christen

Mondana Commedia n.5: Fine (World Comedy n.5: The End) - Poem by Guido Monte & Alison Phipps

Head Up! - Polesy by Marie Rennard

Letters to the Editor

· · · · · ·


[About]-[Past Issues]-[Archives]-[Resources]-[Copyright]



Swans -- ISSN: 1554-4915
URL for this work: http://www.swans.com/library/art14/murie58.html
Published October 20, 2008