eagle

I saw an eagle on Sunday, high above the Mississippi in St. Paul, swooping and soaring over the river under a bright blue sky.

When I was in junior high school, back in the early 1960s, bald eagles were an endangered species. Growing up on a farm near Litchfield, I saw kingfishers and orioles, mourning doves and meadowlarks, but never a bald eagle. Back then, only 487 nesting pairs of bald eagles still lived in the lower 48 states. They were on the path to extinction, my teachers told us, like passenger pigeons, which were extinct before I was born….

Today, eagles soar over rivers and highways and cornfields. They, like wild turkeys and timber wolves, are success stories of conservation efforts like the Endangered Species Act, first passed back in 1966 as my teachers told us about the coming extinction of eagles….

This article published in MinnPost, 8/27/2019. Click here to read entire article. 

[Photo credit: Mathew Schwartz on Unsplash]

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August 29, 2019 · 11:20 am

Stand Up Against Hatred Now

Imam Muslim American SocietyThursday night, I saw the first news reports from New Zealand. Another terrorist attack on a mosque, then on two mosques. “Dozens” dead, then 49, now 50. Denunciations of the terrorism by government officials, the hunt for the shooter or shooters, the arrest, the manifesto, grief, rage, numbness.

The terrorist who killed 50 people at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand boasted of being a fascist and a white nationalist. He praised U.S. President Donald Trump as “a symbol of renewed white identity.” He expressed hatred of immigrants, calling them “invaders,” the same language used by the terrorist in the Pittsburgh synagogue massacre. That’s also the language of President Donald Trump, earlier on the day of the shooting, as he vetoed the Congressional action against his border wall national emergency. “People hate the word ‘invasion,’ but that’s what it is,” he said. Continue reading

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Mythical Good Republicans

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The Unicorn Defends Itself, one of the series of seven tapestries The Hunt of the Unicorn (Wikimedia Commons)

When our daughter was growing up, in the age of Newt Gingrich, her father and I tried to explain that he was an aberration, that back in the day, Republicans and Democrats usually disagreed but often found ways to work together. We told her that many Republicans cared about the good of the country, that some supported and voted for civil rights bills and the minimum wage. Minnesota had good Republicans, we said. We might not agree with them or vote for them, but they were not corrupt or evil or committed to making the rich richer and the poor poorer.

She did not believe us.

“Where are these mythical good Republicans?” she asked. Continue reading

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‘America First’ is America Betrayed

 

Every weekend now.png[CORRECTION 11/23/2018*] The president says America will make $110 billion dollars selling arms to Saudi Arabia, so he will overlook the torture and dismemberment of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi on the orders of the Saudi government. The president says this is putting America First. He lies on both counts. The first lie is that selling out human rights is putting America First. The second lie is the $110 billion: the actual arms deal is only $4 billion.

The president’s position reminds me of an old story:

A man asks a woman if she would be willing to have sex with him for a million dollars. She replies affirmatively. He then asks if she would be willing to have sex with him for ten dollars. “Absolutely not!” she replies indignantly. “What do you think I am?”

“We’ve already established that,” he says. “Now we’re just haggling over price.”

The president’s position is that America is a whore, selling out principles for profits. If the price was right, would he sell bone saws to the torturers?

“America First” betrays America and Americans. Continue reading

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Vote as if

vote as if

Vote as if:

You believe we can build a better world together.

 

 

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Vote on Tuesday—Here’s my two cents worth

 

vote-button

Someone I don’t even know emailed me this week to ask for my voting recommendations. Usually, I get a couple of family and friend calls on Election Day, but this is a first for me. So, here are my voting recommendations. A lot of my information comes from Naomi Kritzer, a writer who does careful research for every election and publishes it in a race-by-race analysis on her blog, Will Tell Stories for Food. Thanks, Naomi!

Top of the ballot this year has become very easy: Continue reading

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Celebrating Citizenship Day

06212014 naturalization 5

June 2014 Naturalization Ceremony

Today is Citizenship Day. Across the country, thousands of new citizens are swearing allegiance to this country and this dream. Last Tuesday, I saw 875 new citizens sworn in at the St. Paul River Center. They came from 91 countries, but now they are part of one country. More new citizens were sworn in on Thursday in Moorhead, and even more across the country during the past week and today. They all swore to “support and defend the constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic.”

Continue reading

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Pulling back the curtain on the Donald of Oz

pay no attention to the man behind the curtain
The Wizard of Oz came to Duluth last Wednesday and it wasn’t a pretty sight. Hiding behind a curtain of presidential power, he pulled all the usual levers and set his supporters roaring “Build that wall!” and “USA!”

Like the Wizard of Oz, Donald Trump is a small man with a big voice and loud lies. Lots of lies. Continue reading

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Remembering the 1960s (and 70s)

Wild Mares.png

If you can remember the 1960s, you weren’t really there.”*

The old quote has some truth in it, but if you want to remember the 1960s (which really ran over into the 1970s), Dianna Hunter has a book for you. She will be at the East Side Freedom Library on June 19 to read from her memoir, Wild Mares: My Lesbian Back-to-the-Land Life. Continue reading

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Recycling and the China connection

IMG_6113My recycling is staying right in Minnesota.

CORRECTION 6//19/18 – Eureka has not shipped to China since 2013.

After a friend pointed me to a New York Times article saying that recycling is going into landfills, because China has closed the door on U.S. garbage imports, I double-checked. Yes—Minneapolis and St. Paul recycling still stays mostly in Minnesota. Eureka Recycling, our non-profit recycling provider, does not ship our paper, plastic, or anything else to China, and has not done so since 2013.

“About 80% of our materials are sold to markets in MN, 90% in the upper Midwest, 100% in North America,” reports Lynn Hoffman, co-president of Eureka. She adds that they are still impacted by China’s import ban, because flooding of U.S. recycling markets has driven prices down.

According to the NYT article, roughly one-third of the 66 million tons of material recycled in the United States each year is shipped overseas. China was the largest importer of U.S. recyclables, and accepted about half of the entire world’s exports of recyclables. Last year, China announced that it would no longer be “the world’s garbage dump,” and it stopped importing almost all recyclables on January 1, 2018.

“We have been outsourcing impacts of our consumption in our trash,” says Hoffman, and the change could be a good thing for the recycling industry. She hopes for investments in U.S. recycling infrastructure to “create good quality material with high value.” The change, she says, could be a good thing for the industry.

On the other hand, there’s a danger that recycling imports will simply shift to other countries, such as India, where standards and regulations are lower. That would perpetuate the problem of dumping our garbage on other people

“We’re not opposed to shipping overseas on principle,” Hoffman says. The problem is that, “in those markets, it can be harder to track your material and know what’s happening to it. Transparency is a big deal for us, and that leads us to markets that are closer to home.”

She says the global shake-up could be an opportunity to rebuild in a way that’s great for recycling, and great for our communities. Investment in recycling infrastructure doesn’t come cheap, but, she says, “It’s always less expensive than trash,” especially if you consider the hidden costs of landfilling to human health, water, and cleaning up spills.

Want to know more about where your recycling goes? Check these out:

CORRECTION 6//19/18 – Eureka has not shipped to China since 2013. The article originally said Eureka had never shipped to China, but Eureka has informed me that it did ship some materials to China prior to 2013. Lynn Hoffman clarified in an email: 

“We’re not fundamentally opposed to sending material to China or any other export market – as this is a global commodity industry. We have prioritized local markets as much as possible over the years because it results in more environmental benefit (less transportation) and more local economic benefit.”

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