The Evening Blues - 2-22-21
Hey! Good Evening!
This evening's music features vocal group The Tams. Enjoy!
The Tams- What Kind Of Fool (Do You Think I Am)
“But they can rule by fraud, and by fraud eventually acquire access to the tools they need to finish the job of killing off the Constitution.'
'What sort of tools?'
'More stringent security measures. Universal electronic surveillance. No-knock laws. Stop and frisk laws. Government inspection of first-class mail. Automatic fingerprinting, photographing, blood tests, and urinalysis of any person arrested before he is charged with a crime. A law making it unlawful to resist even unlawful arrest. Laws establishing detention camps for potential subversives. Gun control laws. Restrictions on travel. The assassinations, you see, establish the need for such laws in the public mind. Instead of realizing that there is a conspiracy, conducted by a handful of men, the people reason—or are manipulated into reasoning—that the entire population must have its freedom restricted in order to protect the leaders. The people agree that they themselves can't be trusted.”
-- Robert Anton Wilson
News and Opinion
Almost 56 years since the day Malcolm X was assassinated in New York City, lawyers and family members of the late civil rights and Black nationalist leader released new evidence they claim shows the NYPD and FBI conspired in his murder. It comes in the form of a deathbed letter attributed to a former undercover NYPD officer who claimed he was pressured by supervisors to lure two of Malcolm X’s security men into committing crimes, a few days before the assassination on 21 February 1965.
The arrests kept the two men from managing door security at the Audubon Ballroom in Washington Heights on the day of the shooting, according to the letter. ...
Malcolm X was shot seconds after stepping to a lectern to speak. Days earlier, he told an interviewer he believed members of the Nation of Islam were seeking to kill him. He was being surveilled by the FBI at the time. His home in Queens was firebombed the week before he was killed.
Worth a full read:
Glenn Greenwald: Congress Escalates Pressure on Tech Giants to Censor More, Threatening the First Amendment
For the third time in less than five months, the U.S. Congress has summoned the CEOs of social media companies to appear before them, with the explicit intent to pressure and coerce them to censor more content from their platforms. On March 25, the House Energy and Commerce Committee will interrogate Twitter’s Jack Dorsey, Facebooks’s Mark Zuckerberg and Google’s Sundar Pichai at a hearing which the Committee announced will focus “on misinformation and disinformation plaguing online platforms.”
The Committee’s Chair, Rep. Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ), and the two Chairs of the Subcommittees holding the hearings, Mike Doyle (D-PA) and Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), said in a joint statement that the impetus was “falsehoods about the COVID-19 vaccine” and “debunked claims of election fraud.” They argued that “these online platforms have allowed misinformation to spread, intensifying national crises with real-life, grim consequences for public health and safety,” adding: “This hearing will continue the Committee’s work of holding online platforms accountable for the growing rise of misinformation and disinformation.”
House Democrats have made no secret of their ultimate goal with this hearing: to exert control over the content on these online platforms. “Industry self-regulation has failed,” they said, and therefore “we must begin the work of changing incentives driving social media companies to allow and even promote misinformation and disinformation.” In other words, they intend to use state power to influence and coerce these companies to change which content they do and do not allow to be published. ...
The key point raised by these last threats from House Democrats is an often-overlooked one: while the First Amendment does not apply to voluntary choices made by a private company about what speech to allow or prohibit, it does bar the U.S. Government from coercing or threatening such companies to censor. In other words, Congress violates the First Amendment when it attempts to require private companies to impose viewpoint-based speech restrictions which the government itself would be constitutionally barred from imposing. It may not be easy to draw where the precise line is — to know exactly when Congress has crossed from merely expressing concerns into unconstitutional regulation of speech through its influence over private companies — but there is no question that the First Amendment does not permit indirect censorship through regulatory and legal threats. ...
In a January Wall Street Journal op-ed, tech entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy and Yale Law School’s constitutional scholar Jed Rubenfeld warned that Congress is rapidly approaching this constitutional boundary if it has not already transgressed it. “Using a combination of statutory inducements and regulatory threats,” the duo wrote, “Congress has co-opted Silicon Valley to do through the back door what government cannot directly accomplish under the Constitution.”
As the US approached half a million Covid-19 deaths, the country’s top infectious disease expert, Dr Anthony Fauci, struggled for words to convey the grim magnitude of the death toll from the pandemic. “It’s terrible,” he told CNN’s State of the Union on Sunday. “It’s really horrible. It is something that is historic. It’s nothing like we’ve ever been through in the last 102 years, since the 1918 influenza pandemic.” Fauci added that “decades from now” people would be “talking about this a terribly historic milestone in the history of this country. To have these many people to have died from a respiratory born infection, it really is a terrible situation that we’ve been through and that we’re still going through.”
The US death toll stood at 497,957, according to Johns Hopkins University. The US has long had the highest Covid-19 death toll of any country. According to the World Health Organization it has one of the worst per capita death rates, at 148.61 per 100,000. Countries including the UK, Italy and Portugal have higher per capita rates.
Although infection rates have been steadily declining since record highs in early January, the US still recorded 13,347 deaths and more than 500,000 new cases in the past week, according to Johns Hopkins.
Last week an average of 1.32m vaccines were administered each day, according to a tracker by Bloomberg News. The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said more than 61m doses had been administered in the US, with about 5.47% of the population now fully vaccinated.
Worth a click; the article names a bunch of creeps to watch out for in congress and the new administration.
In April, New York became one of the first states to implement liability relief for nursing home operators, after aggressive lobbying and years of donations from the hospital and nursing home industries. Besides New York, at least 27 other states have implemented liability protections for nursing homes. Across the country, 161,000 nursing home and other long-term care residents have died from Covid-19, an astonishing 36 percent of the total coronavirus deaths in the U.S., and there have been over 1.2 million cases in nursing homes, meaning about half of all nursing home residents contracted the virus. The Government Accountability Office released a report in May 2020 titled “Infection Control Deficiencies Were Widespread and Persistent in Nursing Homes Prior to COVID-19 Pandemic.” And study after study has shown a connection between nursing home staffing and Covid-19 deaths, from the New York Attorney General’s office to researchers at the University of Chicago to researchers at the University of California, San Francisco.
The industry, with its powerful lobby, has escaped significant scrutiny, however. Just two nursing home executives have been indicted for Covid-19 deaths, while the industry showered over $10 million on candidates and political action committees in 2020, according to data collected by the National Institute on Money in Politics. Congress has held just one hearing on Covid-19 deaths in nursing homes, in the Ways and Means Health Subcommittee, chaired by progressive Rep. Lloyd Doggett. And in the CARES Act, passed in March 2020, Congress gave the industry $10 billion through the Provider Relief Fund — with no strings attached for quality or staffing — as the Trump administration reduced nursing home inspections and fines. As a result, “there are some nursing home chains where the chain had more profits in 2020 than in 2019,” said Toby Edelman, an attorney and nursing home resident advocate with the Center for Medicare Advocacy.
Now the American Health Care Association is seeking an additional $20 billion in no-strings-attached funds for its members in the next round of Covid-19 relief. Federally, the nursing home industry’s lobby group spent almost $4 million in 2020 on issues including the CARES Act, HEROES Act, and other coronavirus-related legislation.
“The nursing home lobby is so well funded. They have the best lobbyists, they give all these contributions, it’s even more difficult to effectuate change at the state level, and it’s so hard to make changes because of these political contributions,” said Charlene Harrington, professor emeritus of social behavior sciences at UCSF School of Nursing.
Texas Republicans worried about how to further enrich ruthless bastard energy profiteers.
Texas Republicans will use federal funds to help pay exorbitant energy bills hitting ordinary Texans after a deep freeze crippled the state this week, a senior congressman said on Sunday. Millions were subject to blackouts as the cold weather overwhelmed an unprepared state grid, by design independent of federal oversight. The outages contributed to dozens of deaths and a crisis over safe access to water that continued as temperatures rose.
On Saturday, Joe Biden declared a major disaster, releasing funding to help. On Sunday, White House press secretary Jen Psaki told ABC’s This Week the president was “eager to go down to Texas and show his support” but would be careful not to disrupt relief.
Reports have proliferated that some Texans whose power stayed now face enormous bills, as private companies seek to capitalise. The New York Times reported one case in which a 63-year-old military veteran living on social security in the Dallas suburbs faced an electricity bill for nearly $17,000, 70 times what he would usually pay for all utilities combined. “There’s nothing I can do about it,” Scott Willoughby told the paper, “but it’s broken me.”
The Texas Republican Michael McCaul, formerly chair of the House homeland security committee, spoke to CNN’s State of the Union. “The current plans with the federal assistance bill are to help the homeowners both repair, because we have a lot of water leaks, a lot of water damage, pipes bursting, but also [pay] their electricity bills as well,” he said.
Host Dana Bash challenged him, saying: “I’m hearing you say that the federal government is going to help to bail out, and to pay bills in a state which is in part in this mess because it wants to be separate from the federal government. That’s kind of rich, don’t you think?” McCaul dodged the question.
This Is What Deregulation Looks Like: Some Texans Face $10K+ in Electric Bills, Others Still in Dark
Fossil Fuel Exec Brags of 'Hitting the Jackpot' as Natural Gas Prices Surge Amid Deadly Crisis in Texas
More than two dozen Texans have died as a result of Winter Storm Uri—and thousands remain without heat, water, and food—but widespread evidence of human suffering didn't stop one dirty energy executive from boasting about profiting from the crisis.
"Obviously, this week is like hitting the jackpot." That's what Roland Burns, president and chief financial officer of Comstock Resources, Inc., a shale drilling company, told investors on an earnings call earlier this week, according to NPR.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) said Thursday that Burns' comments are a reminder of why the fossil fuel industry and aligned politicians are opposed to the Green New Deal even as its necessity becomes clearer.
As NPR reported, "The storm has reduced natural gas output at the same time that demand—for both home heating and power generation—has skyrocketed," resulting in "catastrophic shortages, as well as some truly eye-popping prices for natural gas in the affected regions."
While "many in the oil and gas industry have taken a blow because wells and pipelines have stopped working in the unexpected cold," NPR noted, "Comstock was already ramping up production in anticipation that natural gas prices would increase."
The company, which operates in Texas and Louisiana, is publicly traded. But Jerry Jones, the billionaire owner of the Dallas Cowboys, is the majority shareholder and biggest beneficiary of what executives called "super-premium prices" of "anywhere from" $15 per thousand cubic feet to as much as $179 per thousand cubic feet. Last quarter, Comstock sold the same gas for $2.40 per thousand cubic feet.
Witnesses have described the moment Myanmar’s security forces opened fire on protesters, killing two people, as tens of thousands of people took to the streets again on Sunday in defiance of the military.
A young man and a teenage boy are believed to have been killed in Mandalay on Saturday when police, supported by frontline troops, used live ammunition to break up crowds of protesters opposing the military coup.
The use of deadly force against demonstrators was condemned by the UN, France, Singapore and Britain, while Facebook announced that it had deleted the military’s main page. It said the army had breached its standards on prohibiting the incitement of violence. ...
In a broadcast on state-run MRTV, the military junta issued a warning ahead of what are expected to be even bigger mass protests on Monday.
“It is found that the protesters have raised their incitement towards riot and anarchy mob on the day of 22 February. Protesters are now inciting the people, especially emotional teenagers and youths, to a confrontation path where they will suffer the loss of life,” a statement from the State Administration Council’s Information Team said.
The UN’s nuclear inspectorate has struck a three-month deal with Iran giving it sufficient continued access to verify nuclear activity in the country, opening the space for wider political and diplomatic talks between Tehran and the US.
Iran will go ahead with its threat to withdraw this week from the additional protocol, the agreement that gives inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) intrusive powers.
However, following a weekend of talks with officials in Tehran, the IAEA’s director general, Rafael Grossi, announced that he had struck what he described as “a temporary bilateral technical understanding” that will mitigate the impact of Iran’s withdrawal from the protocol, and give the IAEA confidence that it can continue to verify Iran’s nuclear activity.
Grossi added that the move “salvages the situation” and avoids the position of the inspectors “flying blind”. He said the agreement, from which either side can withdraw, gave space for wider diplomatic discussions between the US and Iran to go ahead.
He said the law suspending Iran from the additional protocol had been passed by its parliament and now “exists and is going to be applied. There is less access, let’s face it.”
Report of Illegal $80 Million Arms Transfer by Erik Prince to Libyan Warlord Raises Question of Who's Backing Former Blackwater CEO
Erik Prince, the founder and former CEO of the mercenary firm Blackwater and a close ally of former President Donald Trump, sent weapons to a Libyan warlord in violation of a United Nations arms embargo, according to a confidential U.N. document reported Friday by the New York Times.
The U.N. report, which investigators sent to the Security Council on Thursday, reportedly details how Prince sent foreign mercenaries armed with attack aircraft, gunboats, and cyberwarfare capabilities to support renegade military commander Khalifa Haftar during a major 2019 battle in eastern Libya.
According to the U.N. report, the mercenary operation cost $80 million and included a plan to form a hit squad to locate and assassinate commanders opposed to Haftar.
Haftar, a one-time CIA asset considered Libya's most powerful warlord, has fought to overthrow the North African nation's internationally recognized government during the country's second civil war since the overthrow of longtime dictator Muammar Gaddafi in the 2011 Arab Spring revolts. Haftar has enjoyed various degrees of support from Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, and Russia. British, French, U.S., and UAE warplanes have also assisted his forces.
In 2019, Trump reportedly granted permission for Haftar—who stands accused of ordering his troops to commit war crimes—to launch an air campaign against the U.N.-backed Government of National Accord, attacks which killed hundreds of civilians in the Libyan capital of Tripoli.
The U.N. report raises questions about whether Trump was complicit in Prince's violation of the international arms embargo against Haftar's forces.
Anas el-Gomati, director of Libyan think tank Sadeq Institute, told Al Jazeera that using mercenaries allows leaders to "outright refuse that you have any knowledge of what's going on."
"To what degree did Trump help facilitate this war alongside Erik Prince?" asked el-Gomati, who also wondered whether "Erik Prince was coordinating with Russian Wagner Group mercenaries in Libya, and has helped them establish a foothold in the way he helped the United Arab Emirates establish a foothold in Libya."
Another unanswered question is who funded Prince's $80 million operation. Wolfram Lacher, a Libya expert at the German Institute for International and Security Affairs, told the Times that Prince has "been linked to the Trump administration, the Emirati leadership, and the Russians."
"For me, the question is who is tacitly backing him?" asked Lacher. ...
This isn't the first time Prince has been accused of breaking domestic and international laws against weapons transfers. In 2012 his anti-piracy security force in Somalia was accused by the U.N. of "the most brazen violation of the arms embargo by a private security company." Prince was also reportedly the target of an FBI investigation last year for weaponizing crop dusters.
Sherrod Brown Demands Biden Immediately Remove Two 'Key Agents' of Trump Agenda to Destroy Social Security
Sen. Sherrod Brown on Friday demanded that President Joe Biden immediately remove and replace Andrew Saul and David Black, Trump administration holdovers whom the Ohio Democrat described as "key agents" of the former president's sweeping assault on Social Security.
Saul and Black—Social Security Administration (SSA) commissioner and deputy commissioner, respectively—are "incapable of carrying out Democrats' vision of protecting and expanding Social Security," Brown said in his first statement as chairman of the Subcommittee on Social Security, Pensions, and Family Policy, a Senate Finance Committee panel.
"As agents of the Trump Social Security agenda, they cut the benefits that hardworking Americans have earned, attacked the Social Security Administration's employees, denied beneficiaries due process, and needlessly increased disability reviews during the Covid-19 pandemic," said Brown, pointing to the slew of regulations SSA pursued during Trump's four years in office.
"No one has been safe from their path of destruction," the Ohio senator added.
Led by Social Security Works, advocacy groups have been calling on Biden to clean house at SSA for weeks, arguing that the president cannot uphold his pledge to preserve and strengthen Social Security while leaving opponents of the program in key positions.
Last month, as Common Dreams reported, Biden included Saul on a list of acting officials who will lead federal agencies as the president's nominees are confirmed—a move that raised questions over whether Biden intends to try to remove Saul, whose six-year term does not expire until 2025.
While current law states that the SSA commissioner can only be removed "pursuant to a finding by the president of neglect of duty or malfeasance in office," Social Security Works argued in a November report (pdf) that Supreme Court precedent set by Seila Law LLC v. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau gives Biden the power to oust Saul.
"President Biden should give Commissioner Andrew Saul the choice to resign or be fired and require all other SSA political Schedule C appointees, including Deputy Commissioner David Black, to vacate their offices that day," the report reads.
Though Deputy Commissioner for Retirement and Disability Policy Mark Warshawsky—whom one critic called "the Stephen Miller of Social Security policy during the Trump years"—resigned last month, Saul and Black have not given any indication that they plan to follow suit despite backlash against their leadership from rank-and-file SSA employees.
In a statement on Friday, Social Security Works executive director Alex Lawson applauded Brown for demanding the replacement of two SSA leaders "who have spent years waging war on Social Security beneficiaries."
"Every current and future Social Security beneficiary is fortunate to have Senator Brown, a longtime Social Security champion, looking out for our interests as the chair of this critical subcommittee," said Lawson.
U.S. Capitol Police officials told congressional leaders the razor-wire topped fencing around the Capitol should remain in place for several more months as law enforcement continues to track threats against lawmakers, a person familiar with the matter told The Associated Press on Thursday.
The police officials suggested that the fence remain in place until September, in part because investigators are tracking continuing threats against lawmakers and the Capitol complex, the person said. The threats range in specificity and credibility, but they include online chatter about extremist groups potentially returning to Washington and to the Capitol in the coming weeks, the person told AP.
The police officials said the fence is needed as a physical barrier to prevent a potential repeat of the Jan. 6 insurrection when thousands of pro-Trump rioters stormed the Capitol as Congress was voting to certify Joe Biden’s presidential win, the person said.
Rights groups are warning that new immigration enforcement guidelines unveiled by the Biden administration on Thursday would leave federal law enforcement officers with "significant discretion" to continue carrying out harmful and unjust deportations, despite the president's promise to move away from the inhumane policies of the Trump era.
The interim guidance (pdf), which took effect immediately, directs Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers to prioritize the removal of individuals deemed a threat to national security, border security, or public safety—categories that activists say are far too broad, giving federal officials excessive leeway to deport people who don't pose a threat. For example, the new guidelines define "any noncitizen who unlawfully entered the United States on or after November 1, 2020" as "a border security enforcement and removal priority."
To deport a person who does not meet any of the three categories, ICE agents will now need preapproval from a field office director or special agent in charge.
Naureen Shah, senior advocacy and policy counsel for the ACLU, said in a statement that the new guidelines represent "a disappointing step backward from the Biden administration's earlier commitments to fully break from the harmful deportation policies of both the Trump and Obama presidencies."
"The interim enforcement priorities detailed today import the injustices of the criminal legal system and will lead to continued disproportionate deportations of Black and Brown immigrants," Shah argued. "The priorities use sweeping and overbroad presumptions of threat that have for decades resulted in biased profiling and harmful immigration consequences for Black and Brown people, including Muslims."
"The priorities presume that all recent border-crossers are threats, in total contravention of President Biden's commitment to ensuring that people seeking asylum are treated with dignity," Shah continued. "We expect better from the Biden administration, and believe that the next 90 days will continue to reaffirm the need to force ICE to downscale its operations."
Former president Donald Trump will address the Conservative Political Action Conference, or CPAC, in Florida next week, about the future of the Republican party and the conservative movement, a source familiar with the plan told Reuters on Saturday. The CPAC meeting will be held in Orlando, Florida from 25 to 28 February, with Trump speaking on the final day, Reuters reported. ...
A number of top Republicans who are considered possible candidates for the 2024 presidential nomination are also due to speak at CPAC, including former secretary of state Mike Pompeo and Kristi Noem, the governor of South Dakota.
Two notable figures not on the CPAC speaker list are former United Nations ambassador Nikki Haley and former Vice-President Mike Pence.
Some four dozen Republican donors were on a fundraising conference call on 5 February with Liz Cheney, the congresswoman and only Republican House leader to vote for Donald Trump’s impeachment for his role in the mob attack on the Capitol on 6 January. Many of the donors on the Cheney call are expected to donate the maximum amount of $5,800 to her 2022 re-election campaign before the end of the first quarter of this year, to ward off a primary challenge to her which Trump loyalists like congressman Matt Gaetz are encouraging, said Michael Epstein, a leading Maryland Republican donor. ...
The number of donors on the call reflects in part a growing movement among Republican fundraisers to try to fight off threats from the Trump-supporting majority, which has maintained its hold on the Republican base, despite Trump’s loss to Joe Biden in the 2020 election. Though still a minority in Republican political circles, Trump’s critics – and the moneyed donors who are backing them – are scrambling fast on multiple fronts to try to prise control of the party away from those loyally toeing the Trump line. ...
A more aggressive effort to try to take on Trump and his allies and move the Republican party away from their influence, is also being mounted by a new Pac called Country First, which was unveiled in late January by the Illinois congressman Adam Kinzinger, one of just 10 Republican House members who voted to impeach Trump. Kinzinger, who has been censured by his local party for backing Trump’s impeachment, was outspoken after the Senate failed to convict Trump.
Worth a full read, many more important details in the article:
A full four years since the powerful Oceti Sakowin prayer camp at Standing Rock fought the pipeline’s construction, Indigenous water protector Steve Martinez was jailed this month in relation to his presence there — although he has not been convicted or even accused of a criminal offense. In no uncertain terms, Martinez’s current detention by federal authorities makes clear that state violence against Indigenous climate struggle is far from a thing of the past.
Martinez is being held for his refusal to give testimony before a federal grand jury, a notoriously secretive judicial process that has historically been weaponized against activist communities. Grand jury resisters like Martinez are detained under a torturous peculiarity in U.S. law that permits a judge to hold a person in contempt of court if they refuse to cooperate with a grand jury subpoena. The grand jury resister can then be imprisoned with the express purpose of coercing testimony. If it can be shown that the coercion will not work, and the imprisonment is thus punitive, rather than coercive, such incarceration becomes illegal. It was for grand jury resistance that the incoercible Chelsea Manning was also recently imprisoned for over a year.
In Martinez’s case, the grand jury appears to fit within a pattern of the state using such processes to browbeat activists engaged in struggle. The grand jury ostensibly revolves around a 2016 incident in which another water protector at Standing Rock, Sophia Wilansky, was seriously injured; Wilansky has claimed that the police were responsible. Though grand juries are opaque, the authorities seem to have convened this latest assembly in an effort to prove a fanciful theory that the injury was caused by water protectors themselves — perhaps even the injured young woman. This is the context of Martinez’s resistance.
“The state should not be intimidating people and trying to blame us for harm they caused,” Martinez said in a statement released by supporters. “I didn’t want to lose my freedom, but they are not going to break me.” ...
While the black-box nature of such proceedings permits the government dangerous secrecy over its prosecutorial intents, this grand jury ostensibly relates to the investigation of events leading to the maiming of Wilansky in November 2016. Wilanksy almost lost her arm when she was struck by a high-impact munition during a standoff with police during the Standing Rock protests. Martinez, who had access to a car and was near the scene, drove a bleeding Wilansky, bone and tissue protruding from her mutilated arm, to meet an ambulance at a nearby casino. Wilansky and those present with her that night insist that her grave injury was caused by a concussion grenade lobbed by a sheriff’s deputy of the Morton County, North Dakota, sheriff’s office, whose officers were attacking water protectors that night. Morton County has continuously denied accusations of excessive force, blaming the water protectors, and even Wilansky herself, for her injury. The county claims that it was a protester’s propane canister that exploded and ripped through Wilansky’s arm, despite the fact that medical reports deemed that the injuries are not consistent with a propane tank explosion.
For Martinez, the latest grand jury constitutes a demand to assist the government’s effort to blame water protectors for Wilansky’s injury.
The largest oil refineries released tons of air pollutants into the skies over Texas this week, according to figures provided to the state, as one environmental crisis triggered another. Refiners and petrochemical plants along the US Gulf coast scrambled to shut production as an arctic air mass spread into a region unused to frigid temperatures. ...
Shutdowns led to the refineries flaring, or burning and releasing gases, to prevent damage to processing units. That flaring darkened the skies in eastern Texas, with smoke visible for miles.
“These emissions can dwarf the usual emissions of the refineries by orders of magnitude,” said Jane Williams, chair of the Sierra Club’s national clean air team, adding that US regulators must change policies that allow “these massive emissions to occur with impunity”.
The five largest refiners emitted nearly 337,000lb of pollutants, including benzene, carbon monoxide, hydrogen sulfide and sulfur dioxide, according to preliminary data supplied to the Texas Commission on Environment Quality (TCEQ).
Conservationists in Cyprus are urging authorities to expand a hunting ban throughout a coastal salt lake network, amid concerns that migrating flamingos could swallow lethal quantities of lead shotgun pellets.
Martin Hellicar, the director of Birdlife Cyprus, said flamingos were at risk of ingesting the tiny pellets lying on the lakebed as they fed. Like other birds, flamingos swallow small pebbles to aid digestion but cannot distinguish between pebbles and the lead pellets. “Last year we had tens of losses of flamingos,” Hellicar said.
Cyprus is a key stop on the migration path for many types of birds flying from Africa to Europe. Larnaca Salt Lake, a wetlands network of four lakes, typically welcomes as many as 15,000 flamingos from colder climates. They stay through the winter and leave in March. Other water fowl to frequent the lake include ducks, waders and seagulls.
Hunting is banned around most of the salt lake, but hunters are still allowed to shoot ducks in the network’s southern tip.
The government’s game and fauna service said that in the first two months of last year, 96 flamingos were found dead in the Larnaca Salt Lake wetlands as a result of lead poisoning. Panayiotis Constantinou, a Cyprus veterinary services official who has conducted autopsies on flamingos, said lead from the pellets poisoned the birds.
Also of Interest
Here are some articles of interest, some which defied fair-use abstraction.
A Little Night Music
The Tams - Hey Girl Don't Bother Me
The Tams - Laugh It Off
The Tams- I've Been Hurt
The Tams - Untie Me
The Tams - There Ain't Nothing Like Shagging
The Tams - Do I Worry
The Tams - Shelter
The Tams - Standing In
The Tams - Riding For A Fall
The Tams- Be Young Be Foolish Be Happy