Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg

First we mourn, then we fight.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg  official portrait

This isn’t the post I had planned for Saturday but we have all heard the devastating news.

On Rosh Hashanah, Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Supreme Court Justice, died at the age of 87 from metastatic pancreatic cancer.

I think a lot of us had the same first thoughts; “Oh no, not HER” “Not now.””NOOO!!!”

We surely don’t need her gone, not now, not during this shitshow of a year that 2020 has become.

Hearing that horrible news (tragic for her family but tragic for our country and democracy, too) brought me back to the morning my mom (the original Charlotte) died of the same disease, metastatic pancreatic cancer.

Thanks to medical advancements, RBG was able to live a lot longer after diagnosis than my mom.

Hearing about her death brought up all those same traumatic feelings of loss that I felt when I found my mom had died. She lived with us and we had cared for her during her illness with the help of a great hospice.

I had checked on her at around 5am and she was fine, not in distress, still asleep, so I did a little cleaning and made my son’s breakfast so it’d be ready for him when he woke up ‘cos it was a school day. I don’t know what prompted me to check on her again so soon, but I did. She was still in the same position; she LOOKED like she was asleep, but there was a subtle difference. I had never seen a dead person in my entire 32 years on this earth, but I knew. I knew.

I checked her carotid artery and called the hospice nurse. I woke up Angel Boy (almost 7 years old) and managed to tell him all the right things. Hospice had suggested that I ask him if he’d like to kiss his grandma goodbye, so I did. And he did. That pretty much broke me, but I’m a stoic girl and you wouldn’t know I was broken. I can break on the inside but you won’t see it. Things had to be done so I did what needed to be done. I always do.

I miss my mom. Forever.

But this is about Ruth Bader Ginsberg, a brilliant woman whose entire life was inspirational. Her loss is an epic tragedy.

About RBG’s life, the film “On The Basis of Sex” featured a song written and performed by Kesha. Here’s an acoustic version. It needs to be the anthem of our revolution.
First we mourn, then we fight.

Image may contain: 1 person, text that says 'kerry washington @kerrywashington Her rest is earned. It is our turn to fight. 8:08 PM 9/18/20 Twitter for iPhone'

Here Comes the Change

One day I’ll be gone
The world will keep turning
I hope I leave this place
Better than I found it
Oh it’s hard, I know it’s hard
To be the lightning in the dark
Hold on tight you’ll be alright
You know it’s time
Here comes the change
We’re comin’ of age
This is not a phase
Here comes, here comes, the change
Is it a crazy thought?
That if I had a child
I hope they live to see the day
That everyone’s equal
Oh it’s hard I know it’s hard
To be the right inside the wrong
Hold on tight we’ll be alright
You know it’s time
Oh here comes the change
Oh we’re comin’ of age
This is not a phase
Here comes here comes the change
Hope there’ll come a time when we
We can live in and die free
I hope…

Happy Birthday, Anne Frank

Forever fifteen…
#AnneFrank is trending today on Twitter; I wonder what she would have thought about social media? She never got the chance, though, did she, because she died in a concentration camp. I’m still angry and maybe that’s why I stand in solidarity with #blacklivesmatter and for the resistance against brutality.
I think I first read The Diary of Anne Frank when I was twelve or thirteen. The original version of the film is on Netflix, and today seems like a good day to watch it again and to honor her indomitable spirit and to remember what someone like Hitler can do to innocent people. Especially now.
Some of my favorite quotes:
–It’s difficult in times like these: ideals, dreams and cherished hopes rise within us, only to be crushed by grim reality…I still believe, in spite of everything, that people are truly good at heart.
–How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.
–No one has ever become poor by giving.
Human greatness does not lie in wealth or power, but in character and goodness.

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Black Lives Matter in Carlsbad, too

On Friday, in solidarity, I attended a Black Lives Matter march and demonstration in my city.

There were eloquent and passionate speeches by local black leaders; I’m not sure of their names, though—afterwards, the microphone was given to current and former Carlsbad residents of color who spoke, sometimes emotionally, about the discrimination they had faced here growing up or on the job.

In a moving way but not angry or raging, one after the other shared their negative interactions with the local police that were vastly different from mine. The crowd was mostly young but very diverse, and the common theme was “thank you for coming, thank you for hearing us”.

The only negative incident I personally witnessed was an angry white woman screaming that she wasn’t a racist but then she walked away when no one took the bait and engaged with her toxicity.

I wish that more of my neighbors had come out to lend support instead of fearmongering and condemning and criticizing the efforts of our younger generation who have (rightfully) decided that ENOUGH IS ENOUGH. They should be ashamed of themselves.

Maybe the truth is that they’re a little or a lot racist and the reality is that it’s hidden MOST of the time.

I was proud to be there and to witness this historic event.

I took a LOT of pics and videos ‘cos a pic really is worth a thousand words.

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Crimes against humanity

Tear gas, rubber bullets, martial law, curfews, civil unrest, racism, police brutality–exactly HOW many planets are in retrograde now?? ‘cos something’s going on and it’s beyond the plot of any science fiction story. We’re living in a neverending episode of the Twilight Zone.

Add to that list, Ebola, earthquakes, a possible supervolcano in Yellowstone, the pandemic, record unemployment, food lines…WTF.

What I find to be quite troublesome is the way #blacklivesmatter and the ensuing outrage about yet another senseless murder is the number of people in my little SoCal beach town that are right wing racists who hide behind their so-called “christian” facade. It’s absolutely DISGUSTING and there’s always just the tiniest little hint of anti-Semitism in their rants and comments. That orange puppet really brought out true colors in people, didnt he? The mask has slipped. It’s ugly and depressing, and I’ve lived here for 35 years.

This is a fun little graphic:

Image may contain: text that says 'Food for thought: The last time Saturn was in Aquarius was during the Rodney King Riots. The last time Pluto was in Capricorn was during the American Revolution. Neptune was in Pisces when Rome fell. We have all 3 right now.'

I haven’t yet attended a march or a gathering, but I probably will. We need to do something, stand up, show up,  become part of what’s happening and not allow hatred to continue.

We are not the enemy.

 

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A couple old songs that are way too relevant.

 

My Coyote Friends: Coexist with Love

Good morning!

What an absolutely magical surprise!

This is the first color video of my nightly visitor. It was about 6:00 a.m. Isn’t he absolutely gorgeous?

In this black and white video, there are now two coyotes and since we know they mate for life, I have my fingers crossed waiting to see if they bring me any grandchildren! Wouldn’t that be amazing?

Some coyote facts:

Urban coyotes can create territories out of a patchwork of parks and green spaces.

While many urban coyotes make their homes in large parks or forest preserves, this isn’t the case in all situations. Urban coyotes don’t need one cohesive piece of green space like a single park or a single golf course to call home. They manage to make do with surprisingly small patches of hunt-able land woven together as a whole territory.

Coyotes can thrive in a small territory if there is enough food and shelter, but if there isn’t — such as in sections of a city with only a handful of small parks, soccer fields, green spaces and the like — then they will expand the size of their territory to include enough places to hunt for food to sustain themselves. The size of an urban coyote’s range is dependent on the abundance of food and can be anywhere from two square miles to ten square miles or more. Urban coyotes tend to have smaller territory sizes than rural coyotes because there is so much more food packed into smaller areas, even if that area has only a few scattered parks.

Studies have shown that coyotes much prefer forested areas and large parks where they can steer clear of humans, and they try to avoid residential areas. But when that’s not available, they still figure out how to make do. In a large-scale study of urban coyotes by the Urban Coyote Research Program, it was discovered that “29 percent of collared coyotes have home ranges composed of less than 10 percent of natural land and 8 percent having no measurable patches of natural land within their home ranges.”

Urban coyotes may live in family packs or on their own at different points in their lives.

It’s common to see a single coyote hunting or traveling on its own, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it is alone. Coyotes are highly social animals and this didn’t change when they entered the urban ecosystem. Coyotes may live as part of a pack, which usually consists of an alpha male and female, perhaps one or two of their offspring from previous seasons (known as a “helper”) and their current litter of pups. The pack may also welcome in a solitary traveler if their territory can support another member. Packs living in sizable protected areas can have as many as five or six adults in addition to that season’s pups.

However, a coyote may also spend part of its life on its own, known as a solitary coyote. This is common when young coyotes disperse from their pack and go in search of their own territory, a new pack to join, or a mate with whom to start their own pack. A coyote may also spend a stretch of time as a loner if it was an alpha in a pack but lost its mate. According to Urban Coyote Research Program, between a third and half of coyotes under study are solitary coyotes, and they are usually youngsters between six months and two years old.

Because coyotes hunt and travel alone or in pairs, it is often thought that they don’t form packs. The study of urban coyotes has helped to correct this misconception and has revealed much about the social lives of coyotes.

Urban coyotes mate for life and are monogamous.

Speaking of mates, coyotes mate for life and are 100 percent faithful to that mate. A 2012 study published in the Journal of Mammalogy found that “among 18 litters comprising 96 offspring, [researchers] found no evidence of polygamy, and detected a single instance of a double litter (pups from different parents sharing the same den).”

This loyalty holds even when there are other coyotes in adjacent territories and plenty of opportunity for cheating. But coyote pairs stay faithful and faithful for life. Some of the pairs followed by the research team were together for as long as 10 years, only moving on when one mate died.

The researchers believe that this monogamy plays an important role in the success of urban coyotes. Because a female can adjust her litter size based on the availability of food and other factors, she can have larger litters of pups in a city where there is a buffet of rodents, reptiles, fruits, vegetables and so much else in a relatively small area. She also has a dedicated mate to help her feed and raise the pups, so these large litters have a higher survival rate, resulting in more coyotes reaching an age to disperse to other areas of a city.

Even when food is less abundant or there is territory pressure from other coyotes, the couple stays together year after year. Coyotes may be opportunistic about matters of food and shelter, but not when it comes to love.

Urban coyotes do not feast on pets and garbage; they typically stick to a natural diet.

Due to sensationalistic reporting, many urban residents think all coyotes are out to eat their dog or cat at the first opportunity, or that they’re dumpster divers of the first degree. On the contrary, studies have shown that urban coyotes stick mainly to a natural diet.

Coyotes are opportunistic omnivores and will eat fruits and vegetables along with animal prey.  A study by Urban Coyote Research Program analyzed over 1,400 scats and found that “the most common food items were small rodents (42%), fruit (23%), deer (22%), and rabbit (18%).” Only about 2 percent of the scats had human garbage and just 1.3 percent showed evidence of cats. “Apparently, the majority of coyotes in our study area do not, in fact, rely on pets or garbage for their diets,” say the researchers.

This aligns logically with urban coyotes’ preference of sticking to parks, preserves, cemeteries, and other out-of-the-way areas as much as possible. The food available in these locations is rodents, reptiles, fallen fruit and other food items that are part of a natural diet.

Coyotes of course take feral cats or the occasional domestic cat that has been left outdoors, and there is certainly evidence that coyotes that have become habituated and overly bold will go after small dogs. However pets are not primary prey for them, not by a long shot.

As it is with the presence of apex predators in any ecosystem, having coyotes living and thriving in an urban area is a positive sign of the health and biodiversity of urban areas. Their presence can be considered a thumbs-up for the quality of a city’s urban ecology.© Jaymi Heimbuch / Urban Coyote Initiative

Urban coyotes often switch from naturally diurnal and crepuscular activity to nocturnal activity.

When urban residents see coyotes “in broad daylight” it is often assumed that the coyote has grown overly bold or is ill in some way. Actually, it is perfectly normal for a coyote to be out during the day, as this is their natural time for hunting.

Urban coyotes have made a behavior change to avoid humans, switching from being active at dawn and dusk or during daylight hours, to being mostly active at night. This strategy lowers their risk of encountering a species of which they are naturally afraid while still hunting in an urban territory.

However, if a coyote needs to be out during the day to hunt or to get from one place to another, there isn’t necessarily anything wrong or odd about the coyote’s behavior. In fact, in the spring and summer when raising their pups, coyotes need to find more food and so may be more active during the day and thus spotted more often. Urban residents frequently misinterpret daytime sightings as a rise in the urban coyote population or that the coyote could be rabid, neither of which are usually true.

Urban coyotes help control the populations of other problematic urban wildlife like rodents.

It’s so easy to think of urban places as home to humans, pigeons, crows and raccoons, and that’s about it. But our cities are increasingly home to an ever more diverse array of wildlife species rats have been an issue in cities ever since cities were invented. Coyotes play a role in limiting the populations of these species and more, helping to keep a balance and increase biodiversity in urban ecosystems.

Rodents are the primary food source for coyotes in rural and urban areas alike, and studies have shown an increase in the rodent population in areas where coyotes are removed.

The easiest way for city residents to avoid negative interactions with coyotes is to avoid feeding them, either accidentally or on purpose, and otherwise habituating them to humans.

When coyotes become overly bold or aggressive, and in the rare instances when coyotes have bitten humans, it usually is discovered that they were being fed.

Coyotes have a natural fear of humans, and like most wildlife, will start to lose that fear and even become aggressive if they are being fed. This is the reason wildlife managers warn people to never feed wildlife, and there is the saying, “A fed coyote is a dead coyote.”

Once a coyote loses its fear, it is likely to become a problem animal and that means animal control will have little choice but to lethally remove it.

Feeding coyotes sometimes happens on purpose, but it can also be done accidentally when people leave pet food on their porches intending it for cats or dogs, when they leave scattered seeds under the bird feeder, or even when they leave fallen fruit or compost in their yards.

Educating the public on the importance of not feeding wildlife and removing any food sources, as well as educating them on safe and humane coyote hazing strategies to maintain coyotes’ fear of humans, is the best way a city can avoid negative interactions and instead enjoy quiet coexistence.

People often feed urban coyotes accidently by leaving out pet food, open compost bins, fallen fruit and other tasty morsels for these opportunistic eaters to find. © Jaymi Heimbuch / Urban Coyote Initiative

Trapping and killing or relocating urban coyotes does not reduce the overall population of coyotes.

A common reaction from urban and suburban residents when they learn coyotes are living in their area is to ask for the removal of the coyotes, either through lethal means or by trapping and relocating them. However, animal control officers have learned through a lot of experience that this is not only a lot harder to do than it sounds, but it does nothing to reduce the number of coyotes living in an area. In fact, it has the opposite effect.

Coyotes are territorial and keep other coyotes out of their home range. The larger the territory of a coyote pack, the fewer coyotes are present overall. Removing coyotes from an area opens that location up for new coyotes to come in and claim it as their own (and there will always be more coyotes coming in to fill a void), often resulting in a short-term increase in coyotes as the territory lines are redrawn by the newcomers. Additionally, when there is less pressure from neighboring coyotes and more food available, female coyotes will have larger litters of pups, again creating a short-term increase in the number of coyotes in that area.

There are other problems with trapping coyotes. As the Humane Society points out, “The most common devices used to capture coyotes are leg-hold traps and neck snares. Both can cause severe injuries, pain, and suffering. Leg-hold traps are not only cruel and inhumane for coyotes, but may also injure other wildlife, pets, or even children. Non-target wild animals are also caught in traps, and many sustain injuries so severe that they die or must be killed.”

If a city wants to limit or reduce the number of urban coyotes living there, the easiest thing to do is allow existing coyotes to work out their own territories, naturally stabilizing the coyote population. There will never be more coyotes in an ecosystem than that ecosystem can support, so (despite what some may think) a city can never become “overpopulated” or “infested” with coyotes.

We can take extra steps to make an area less appealing to coyotes by removing all extra food sources – from fallen fruit or ripe vegetables from backyard gardens to pet food left on back porches – and removing sources of water. The fewer resources available, the larger the territories need to be to support the resident coyotes, and the fewer coyotes there are overall.

Coyotes are here to stay and removing them is not and will never be an option. Our one and only path forward is coexistence. https://urbancoyoteinitiative.com

Learn more about coyotes and support the great work of Projectcoyote.com

A Slice of Covert Racism

On a recent flight back home, I was sitting in my usual choice of an aisle seat mostly because I don’t like to crawl over strange legs when I need to use the restroom.

An older (older than me) woman crawled over me to take the window seat.

A young man was escorted to his seat directly across from me by a flight attendant who commented on his height and asked him how old he was as he was flying as an unaccompanied minor.

He was nine-years-old and about six feet tall.

Just a little boy in a man sized body.

I could feel his embarrassment as he was singled out for his height and I’m sure has had to endure a zillion comments about it.

He was very quiet, but seemed a little scared, so I chatted with him a bit, and he was very sweet. His dad was picking him up and he would be starting school in San Diego. He began to open up and just as I suspected, he was a little boy who didn’t really know how to deal with the fact that he looked like he was in high school.

The older woman next to me said, in a very heavy southern accent, “I should get his autograph now, he’s going to be famous.”

I didn’t respond to her right away because I wanted to give her the benefit of the doubt or maybe I had misinterpreted what she was alluding to, but she repeated herself loud enough for the young man to hear, and I felt that I needed to do something.

I said, “What are you saying? That because he’s tall, his only life path is basketball?”

She looked at me and said, “Well, he’s tall…” and then her voice and thought faded.

I replied loud enough for anyone to hear, “Maybe he’s going to be a doctor. Or a professor. Or an artist or a writer. Just because someone has a physical trait doesn’t mean it’s a life sentence. He can and should do whatever touches his heart.”

The woman had so much ingrained covert racism built into her that she didn’t really know what to say, but a few minutes later she told me that she thought about it and agreed with me, so then we had a pleasant rest of the flight.

Did I change her?

Probably not, but the grateful smile I received from a nine-year-old made my day.

(And did I really need to mention that he was a six foot tall African American nine-year-old child or did you figure that out for yourselves?)

And then I saw this photo of Trump serving fast food to the Clemson team.
More covert or not so covert racism. Love Reggie Bush’s tweet.

Last Chance for Animals

Not too long ago, I was walking on the beach and saw this van and it piqued my curiosity:

animal news van

What is the Animal News Van?

The Animal News Van (ANV) is Last Chance for Animal’s education and news reporting tool.

Partnered with the LCAnimal.org website, it effectively educates millions of people in Southern California on animal issues.

The van’s TV screens, speaker system, and LED message board impart important information. It is the first of its kind on the West Coast, reaching people across cultural and economic lines.

What Does the ANV Educate About?

The ANV educates the public about the plight of animals used in modern society for food, entertainment, clothing and scientific curiosity.

The ANV is committed to disseminating truthful information and promoting conscious, informed lifestyle decisions in order to improve the manner in which animals are treated in the American culture. Millions of dogs, pigs, rats and other animals will be grateful when human compassion and understanding finally reaches out its arms to embrace them. (Info from LCA website.)

I’ve been involved in animal activism for a long time, but I had never heard of Last Chance for Animals, so when I got home, I researched the organization and learned about their mission statement:

Last Chance for Animals (LCA) is an international, non-profit organization dedicated to eliminating animal exploitation through education, investigations, legislation, and media attention.  LCA believes that animals are highly sentient creatures who exist for their own reasons independent of their service to humans; they should not be made to suffer for the latter.  LCA opposes the use of animals in food and clothing production, scientific experimentation, and entertainment and promotes a cruelty-free lifestyle and the ascription of rights to non-human beings.

Pretty cool, huh?

I reached out to local volunteers and offered to participate when there was an outreach event that needed some help. A couple weeks ago, there was an opportunity at the Escondido Street Fair, and I signed up for the morning shift.

It was a great opportunity to connect with the public and educate them about the plight of factory farmed animals and the myriad of vegan options that are cruelty-free and SO healthy.

We handed out lots of vegan chocolate chip cookies and plant-based “milk”.

If you’ve never heard of Last Chance for Animals, visit the website and get involved!

Last Chance for Animals
https://lcanimal.org/

Mayor, Mayor, on the wall…

Who’s the most intelligent, caring, and forward thinking of them all?

Lolz, THIS is pic speaks a thousand words, doesn’t it?

At the last of three Mayoral candidate debates/forums in Carlsbad, this one hosted by Pacific Ridge School and moderated by Voice of San Diego’s Jesse Marx, we witnessed a tired old sour faced dinosaur listening to the brilliant words spoken by a true visionary.

THIS is what Carlsbad needs.

Present in the moment, alert, thoughtful, intelligent…

Cori Schumacher.

Real. Genuine. Authentic.

Mayor Mall is the embodiment of “liar liar pants of fire“.

He was not truthful when he said he really really really responds to each and every email.

I can only speak for myself BUT I know that is specifically and categorically UNtrue.

He has NEVER responded nor acknowledged any email OR snail mail letter I personally sent to him during the years he’s been mayor of Carlsbad.

He delivered more confusing and obfuscating word salad, but what REALLY spoke to me was the demeaning and misogynistic device he used by consistently referring to Cori Schumacher as “her” or “she”, instead of affording her the respect Cori deserves by speaking her name, and by snarkily laughing while she was responding to questions.

This is a tool in the arsenal of a misogynist who covertly/overtly minimizes, diminishes, and depersonalizes women.

Unacceptable.

We will no longer have our voices silenced.

Vote for Cori Schumacher.

It’s a win-win for Carlsbad.

Ocean Warrior: Sea Shepherd’s Captain Paul Watson

Despite suffering from a sinus infection, Sea Shepherd’s Captain Paul Watson showed up on Saturday morning to meet and chat with the public when the vessel, M/V Farley Mowat, was docked in San Diego Harbor at the Maritime Museum, offering free tours all weekend.

Tcapt watson me

I took the train downtown and got there just in time to greet Capt. Watson as he arrived, and he kindly set aside time to respond to a couple of questions.

This is a man who walks the walk and talks the talk. He is a man of integrity and I admire him immensely and support his ideals and goals.

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While I’m waiting for the pics and video to download to WordPress, I’ll ask you a question…do you know who Farley Mowat was?

Canadian born, he authored one of the books that inspired me and shaped my existence as a wolf activist: Never Cry Wolf.

He created a body of work staggering in its quality and breadth: Sea of Slaughter, A Whale for the Killing, Grey Seas Under, Lost in the Barrens, Virunga: The Life of Dian Fossey (that became the movie Gorillas in the Mist), and many more.

One of Canada’s most popular and prolific writers, he became a champion of wildlife and native Canadian rights and a sharp critic of environmental abuse.

His writing spoke deep truths about humanity’s responsibility for the planet and the species we share it with. In doing so, he became one of the pioneers of the environmental movement.

The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society ship Farley Mowat was named in his honor, and he frequently visited it to assist its mission.

The M/V Farley Mowat has been in the Sea of Cortez saving the protected vaquita porpoise from gillnets: 

(https://enchantedseashells.com/2018/04/14/battle-in-the-gulf-of-california-for-the-traffic-of-sea-cocaine-maritime-herald/)

 

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Nothing happens without dedicated volunteers!

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Captain Paul Watson is a Canadian-American marine wildlife conservation and environmental activist who founded the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, an anti-poaching and direct action group focused on marine conservation and marine conservation activism.

Since WordPress doesn’t allow me to post videos directly to a post (I have a free blog), here’s a link to a couple of videos of Capt. Watson I posted on Facebook. It can’t be embedded, but if you click on “Watch on Facebook”, you’ll be able to watch!