Source of Photograph: Gephardt Daily
Thursday, June 25, 2015
Thursday, March 26, 2015
After the movie Blackfish premiered, conservation and animal rights activists established a mission to harpoon and kill Sea World. But in their relentless attacks on Sea World are they actually throwing out the baby with the bathwater in their attempts to close down the park's animal entertainment division?
After seeing Blackfish, it is very easy to be a critic of Sea World. Seeing a performing killer whale or elephant is viewed as abuse in some circles. Political correctness in some circles does not condone the ownership of animal coat or drooling over a piece veal.
Political correctness or not, after visiting Sea World in Aurora Ohio in my teenage years, I knew I never wanted to go back.
For me, seeing a "petting" dolphin sitting essentially in a SeaWorld wading poll just was depressing. (It was equally as bleak seeing a captive gorilla banging at its glass window in a zoo).
I never cared for animals doing tricks whether at SeaWorld, at a circus or my dog standing on her rear legs around begging for food. Just give me a well-managed sea aquarium or zoo any day to catch a glimpse into the world of wild animals just acting themselves.
But let's face it for every performing whale, dolphin, or sea lion at SeaWorld, many of these animals are dying in our increasing polluted and over fished oceans.
If SeaWorld did not exist, many people would not really appreciate the magnificence of the very intelligent orcas and other seal mammals. After witnessing a killer whale at Sea World, one cannot help appreciate the conservation of those mammals.
Source of Photograph: From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
And by the same token if animal rights organizations did not exist, people would not fully appreciate how utterly reckless and cruel people and corporations can be in keeping wild animals in captivity or slaughtering domestic animals for food and dress accessories.
SeaWorld does have its well-deserved detractors----but I think eliminating Sea World would have some consequences in ocean and sea life preservation.
Until Sea World, the general public did not really appreciate a killer whale's intelligence or role in the oceans' ecosystems. SeaWorld rightfully deserves much credit for the good things they have done in preserving and understanding not only killer whales but other sea animals.
A former SeaWorld employee, Erin McKinney, wrote in his blog for Awesome Ocean, that condemning SeaWorld is really a bad idea.
McKinney persuasively noted that SeaWorld
Has the the largest rescue and rehabilitation program in the world
Contributes millions of dollars in conservation funding annually
Is regulated by the USDA, National Marine Fisheries Service and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Has one of the best staff of experts providing a collective knowledge of marine life care
Granted shows like National Geographic Wild and Animal Planet make us aware of the planet's natural plant and animal resources. But going to places to see the actual animals resonates with people who for the first time might be educated to learn that if not protected many of the animals they are seeing may not exist in the wild but only in zoos.
SeaWorld will likely be reinventing itself over the next years---unless it is driven into bankruptcy by zealous animal rights activists. Perhaps SeaWorld will cut down on the tricks and concentrate on making some large animal exhibits which are equally as breathe taking as a killer whale jumping out of the water.
SeaWorld and all parks with wild animals needs to be monitored. However, if you have the good fortune to go to any of the SeaWorld parks or zoos, go and have a good time and don't over think the experience of viewing captive performing animals.
Should SeaWorld disappear, so will a good place that educates us about some very dynamic animals.
Posted by edward houghton at 10:17 PM
Monday, March 9, 2015
The United States Department of Justice (DOJ) issued its Findings of Two Civil Rights Investigations in Ferguson, Missouri.
The report found no reason to prosecute Deputy Darren Wilson for the death of Michael Brown.
The DOJ concluded Brown attacked Wilson and the witnesses after changing their accounts were not credible nor matched forensics. The DOJ concluded the case against Wilson lacked prosecutive merit and should be closed.
Of course two lives were ruined because of Michael Brown's bad behavior. And we all know the rest, Wilson will be defending himself legally as well as his reputation for many years yet to come.
However, if there was to be anything good to have resulted because of the shooting, Attorney General Eric Holder commenced an investigation into Ferguson's police department. The DOJ did find that:
The department found that the FPD has a pattern or practice of:
The department found that Ferguson Municipal Court has a pattern or practice of:
- Conducting stops without reasonable suspicion and arrests without probable cause in violation of the Fourth Amendment;
- Interfering with the right to free expression in violation of the First Amendment; and
- Using unreasonable force in violation of the Fourth Amendment.
- Focusing on revenue over public safety, leading to court practices that violate the 14th Amendment’s due process and equal protection requirements.
- Court practices exacerbating the harm of Ferguson’s unconstitutional police practices and imposing particular hardship upon Ferguson’s most vulnerable residents, especially upon those living in or near poverty.Minor offenses can generate crippling debts, result in jail time because of an inability to pay and result in the loss of a driver’s license, employment, or housing.
The department found a pattern or practice of racial bias in both the FPD and municipal court:
- The harms of Ferguson’s police and court practices are borne disproportionately by African Americans and that this disproportionate impact is avoidable.
- Ferguson’s harmful court and police practices are due, at least in part, to intentional discrimination, as demonstrated by direct evidence of racial bias and stereotyping about African Americans by certain Ferguson police and municipal court officials.
As the report was released more stories have come out detailing the the pattern of political corruption and racism in Ferguson. Almost unbelievable was the story that the Ferguson judge who aggressively fined and jailed poor residents owes $170,000 in unpaid taxes.
|Ferguson Judge Ronald J. Brockmeyer|
The outrage and somewhat irony about Ferguson, was that politicians and police targeted their own black majority constituency with impunity.
One reason--- among many---the Ferguson, Missouri political climate occurred was the lack of black community participation in the election of their city's officials.
There is an almost universal truth about politicians and their bureaucratic minions. If politicians are not held accountable at the voting booth, they will service their own interests.
So to the non-voting residents of Ferguson, you got what you did not want because you chose not to vote. Again much thanks from this voter to the non-voters of Ferguson for the tragic civic lesson.
Posted by edward houghton at 10:10 PM
Thursday, March 5, 2015
Perhaps by the time this blog is printed, Australians Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan will have been executed in Indonesia for attempting to smuggle heroin out of the nation well over a decade ago. As an American admittedly I shake my head wondering the justification of such an execution when the act was non-violent and occurred such a long time ago.
Westerners read about Islamic nations executing not only killers but citizens who abandon Islam or engage in same sex relations or extramarital affairs. China executed political opponents during and after the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989 . Now China is purging their country of corruption which will likely end up with some executions.
This upcoming Monday, Kelly Renee Gissendaner,is scheduled for execution in Jackson, Georgia. On the other hand, due to a hung jury 2xs during the penalty phase of her trial, convicted murderer Jodia Arias was spared the death penalty.
Admittedly there are some very sick men and women on death row in the United States and society would be best served if they were gone. But killing them is nothing more than sweet revenge by an angry citizenry for their actions.
Americans know the death penalty is generally reserved for killers and on very rare occasions people convicted of high treason. Other death penalty nations don't appreciate the distinction.
With the United States continued implementation of the death penalty, death penalty nations will ignore pleas by the United States for clemency for their death row citizens and view any protests as American interference in their internal affairs.
The Death Penalty Information Center has a map showing which nations have dropped the death penalty.
Source of Map: Death Penalty Information Center
Posted by edward houghton at 4:28 PM
Monday, March 2, 2015
The mass media (television, movies, newscasts, social networking sites etc.,) can be a contributing factor to how many of us perceive ourselves in comparison to others.
Many years ago, for some reason I decided that I had greater feelings of anxiety when I was watching talk shows of successful people interviewing other successful people.
Now showing my age, I realized the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson was a venue for the rich and famous to show case just how rich and famous they actually were. I found myself looking at my deficits and my mundane life in comparison to the guests being interviewed and very unhealthy feelings of depression and jealousy would emerge.
NBC Late Night Host Johnny Carson
So, I just went cold turkey and quit watching shows like Johnny Carson. Today I rarely turn on television talk shows, only read magazine as People in the doctor's office or grocery store line, and avoid shows like Entertainment Tonight. For me, those shows and magazines just highlight the lifestyles of the affluent which long time ago passed me by.
Do I wish I was more affluent?
I would be less than truthful to say that I don't care. I suppose writing a blog is one way that as a writer I get out there and maybe some one would at least consider my opinions on a topic of some value. Perhaps someday, something I write will become a part of Brainy Quotes!
So it did not come to me as such a big surprise when I read that a study suggests that too much Facebook can lead to envy and depression.
Guess because most of my "friends" on Facebook live in Akron, Ohio, are very middle class, and friends of Bill W., I really don't find myself getting too envious of their activities as I am certain they are not of mine. (Matter of fact, probably most of my Facebook friends all probably view envy and jealousy as one of many character defects which at one time ruined our lives!)
But I can readily understand the danger of checking into a Facebook page daily to see what your thousand plus intimate friends are doing!
So my advice to those who are depressed because of the successes of their Facebook friends, much like I did with Johnny Carson, walk away from Facebook for awhile and see if you will feel better!
Posted by edward houghton at 3:56 PM
Sunday, March 1, 2015
Well, at least the world now has a face to one of the most despicable men in the world. Mohammed Emwazi (aka) Jihadi John has finally been unmasked and hopefully he and his partners in crime are captured and killed.
Over the past several weeks the news media has highlighted the so-called plight of 3 British girls going to Syria via Turkey to join ISIS. Our sympathies should go out to their families, but these young women are knowingly joining a sadistic groups as ISIS and should garner no sympathy.
It is easy to say that young people are impressionable, but to knowingly engage in murder suggests that these folks probably had already had a screw loose!
The late twenty six year old American, Kayla Mueller, went to Syria to provide humanitarian aid. Mueller was probably atypical of American youth and Americans in general, who willingly entered a dangerous situations to provide humanitarian aid to the people of civil worn torn Syria.
She was a fine example that a young person does not have to engage in evil acts to feel accepted.
And of course there are probably numerous young Muslim men and women who will remain nameless who have sacrificed their own lives as they fought and continue to fight against ISIS.
Let's quit making excuses for young westerners who go fight with ISIS.
By now, everyone should know what ISIS is about. Those who seek out or promote organizations like ISIS have a perverted sense of what it means to be human and lack moral scruples and likely and are already predisposed to sadistic behaviors.
Posted by edward houghton at 2:43 PM