The girl with the faraway eyes.

maggie

A tribute.

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More from the Seniors’ center.

Last week one of the women at the Senior’s Center brought in a Scrabble game. I told them that I thought it was pretty cool and they asked me to play. I couldn’t at the time but a couple of days later, I joined them. I saw some mighty strange words on that board so I asked about a couple of them. They had an Official Scrabble Dictionary as backup. Apparently, according to said Official Scrabble Dictionary, any sound that can be uttered by a human, from any orifice, is considered a legitimate word.

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Some new neighbors.

Eagles6764

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Mississinewa or Bust

50Reunion

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2 cold 2 bolt

2 cold 2 bolt

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My view of illegal immigration

I’m as sick of hearing about immigration as I am tired of being railroaded by our corrupt and inept government. They continually rub our noses in the fact that we the people, who elected them to serve us, have no say as to who comes into our country and the effect they have on us.
As I see it, the illegals’ home countries and the US would be better off if they weren’t here. No matter how hard they work, they still cost the American taxpayer $360 billion annually to educate, incarcerate, feed and heal. That number doesn’t include the $56 billion a year that they send back to their home countries and out of our economy, where they earned it. And, who knows what the cost of detention hearings is. Detention hearings should have been stopped as soon as they realized that most never show up. Illegals don’t deserve a hearing at all but, if our government says they must, here’s a suggestion; give them an affidavit for a detention hearing, a court date and send them back on the spot.
If they had enough initiative to cross the border to work, it seems they would have had the gumption to stay home and at least try to correct the inequities of their bankrupt culture, a culture of their own making, in the third world cesspools from where they came. It’s called a revolution.
We’re not completely blameless though. The US should have sealed its Southern border generations ago, so those people would have had little choice but to do what was needed, and still needs, to be done. Unfortunately, with American capitalism’s insatiable appetite for cheap labor and the downward pressure on wages such illegal labor exerts on wages across the board, combined with an unfounded fear of communism, that didn’t happen. As a result, the average US citizen/taxpayer gets yet another fucking.
Most of the people who are pro-immigration usually have bulletproof jobs (actors, attorneys or, no job at all) that can be taken from them by an illegal immigrant. Talk to a carpenter, bricklayer or a roofer about that. By the way, I worked as a carpenter’s helper, hod carrier, construction laborer and I have pissanted many a bundle of shingles up a ladder onto a roof. The jobs Americans supposedly won’t do. Americans won’t do them for third world wages, nor should they. Enter the immigrants from the South.
To complicate things further, due to our lax border policy, there are so many here that few feel a need to assimilate any longer. Even the ultra-liberal Netherlands has language requirements that must be met in order to gain citizenship. Assimilation was, once upon a time, what made the melting pot culture that used to be America, so rich. Immigrants, once upon a time, became Americans first, even as they kept their old world values, traditions and recipes.
Most of what gets exported from South and Central America is drugs, gangs and a few bananas. Bananas will be extinct in a few years, who needs the rest? The United States certainly does not.

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Naturewalk 2014

Since retiring, I spend more and more time out walking with my camera in hand, exploring my surroundings, mostly on the road I live on and I have come to appreciate the diversity and amount of life in areas like bar ditches and sloughs, that most people wouldn’t look twice at, nor think twice about clearing. Life is there and lots of it. I recently completed Texas Master Naturalist training to learn more about the intricacies of nature and I continue to be amazed, especially at what goes on in the margins. One of my great pleasures is learning without being taught but rather, by simply observing. For my efforts I have gotten hundreds of images of all types of flora and fauna.
I have noticed that the more I seek out wildlife, the less of it there is to be found. I can smell the reason as the smoke from the burning of hundreds of bulldozed trees wafts through the air here. As more land becomes suburban sprawl, it drives farmers to clear more land, much of it marginal or it would have already been tilled, most of which would be better off it were left alone. Especially for wildlife and, in the grand scheme of things, for us as well.
There is a lot of slash and burn land clearing going on, much of which, I’m pretty sure, is in violation of a number of federal laws such as the Clean Water Act, the Clean Air Act and the Endangered Species Act. Also, clearing land at this time of year, while birds are beginning to nest, is in violation of the Migratory Bird Act. While not strictly enforced, they are still the law of the land. Clearing land is just one of those things that’s ingrained in our culture, like those old photos of belching smokestacks that were a symbol of progress a long time ago. Before we knew better. Much of the land being cleared around here is wetland, which is a valuable resource for migrating shorebirds, and endangered species such as Timber rattlesnakes (sorry but, yes, they’re highly endangered, much of it due to them being a delicacy for the wild hogs that are now everywhere), and any number of Warblers and plants like native Texas orchids as well as those animals close to the edge such as Bald Eagles and Pileated woodpeckers
I’m not out to demonize farmers either. I’m from farm country with all of my relatives except my father, being farmers. Farming has simply become more efficient. From a wildlife standpoint however, it is ruthless. Conservation efforts need to keep up.
I grew up hunting quail, pheasant and rabbits in woods and harvested cornfields. There were woods and fencerows where these animals could raise their young. Almost all of that is gone now. In the upper Great Plains, they’re plowing up ground that hasn’t been disturbed since the Ice Age to plant corn and soybeans. If you know anything about what created the Dust Bowl, you know that it was mostly the plow. Once you break up those ancient root systems that have been in operation for centuries, there’s no going back.
Most of the problem is that of those involved, both in and out of government, not being able to step back and take a rational look at what’s needed to make a sustainable, rather than a take-no-prisoners system of agriculture.
We have had programs in place such as the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP 1985) that paid farmers to remove environmentally sensitive land from crop production to establish plant cover to prevent soil erosion and water pollution. It was one of the most successful government conservation programs ever. It brought back stable grasslands and endangered birds. The problem was that it didn’t keep pace with the prices of corn and soybeans. Farmers could make more money by plowing them for crops, even if the land was marginal. If the crop failed, the farmer is, more often than not, covered by federal crop insurance. Crop insurance, by incentivising farmers to till up every square inch of land no matter how marginal, is a big reason that we’re losing our native grasslands and marshes.
Engaging in an activity that uses more of the resources it’s intended to create than it produces is pure idiocy by any standard and that’s precisely what the growing of corn for ethanol is. To destroy land and wildlife for that simply defies logic.
There are some rather painless solutions here if we think ahead instead of chasing a fast buck. First, the CRP should be ramped up to keep up with commodity prices to make it worthwhile for farmers to leave more land undisturbed. A farmer shouldn’t be punished for doing the right thing nor should they be taxpayer subsidized by allowing them to write off the expense of clearing land for crops. Second, we think ahead instead of chasing a fast buck.
Considering all of the corporate welfare schemes our government engages in, like foreign aid to nations of people who want to kill us, the Conservation Reserve Program is a gem that can go a long way in insuring a healthy future for America. Ramp it up and fund it well. We’re running out of space and time.

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