Cecil the Lion Thoughts

It saddens me that such a magnificent animal was killed in such a terrible fashion.

Now before anyone flies off the handle, let me clear about some things. In general I support hunters and hunting, but I do so based on some principles hunters in my family have had for generations:

  1. Hunt only what you need. Do not overhunt
  2. You eat what you kill and not let go to waste the rest of the remains.
  3. Respect the animal you hunt. Do not let an animal suffer.
  4. Do not hunt endangered or near endangered animal species.
  5. No trophy hunting.

The final two principles came about in more recent years as a result of endangered species populations and a general disgust for those who hunt solely for trophies. That said, we’ll move…

I know some question the outrage over a lion’s death. Even with my opposition to trophy hunting and the hunting of endangered species in general, I too would question the outrage over killing a lion. What makes this one different for many is  what information we have at this point: Cecil was apparently lured from the preserve, by all accounts made to suffer for 40 hours from a man obviously not skilled enough to track and kill a lion properly, and the fact the hunters then attempted to destroy the collar Cecil war as part of ongoing study.

In my opinion, the group of hunters actions before, during, and after the hunt and subsequent uproar are those of poachers, not legitimate hunters and guides. So I can understand the outrage quite plainly.

My hope is those involved are prosecuted by the Zimbabwean government and that this incident inspires more people to look into ways to end trophy hunting, protect and help repopulate endangered and near endangered species, and in general look for ways to preserve our planet’s wildlife and habitats for the enjoyment of all.

Test Post

Just a test post of some new blogging tools. I’ve decided to attempt reviving this blog once more while being less cynical in my posts than before. Still will mostly be my observations on the world from my little part of it.

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Two people shot in Rainier Valley, officials say

gray3:

This happened near where I live in Seattle. I’m thinking now I should have tried to get that condo I was looking at rather than renew my lease.

Originally posted on Q13 FOX News:

SEATTLE — Seattle police said they were investigating a shooting Friday afternoon in Rainier Valley.

The Seattle Fire Department tweeted that medics were providing aid to two people with gunshot wounds. Medics said they suffered non life-threatening injuries.

Officials said they were blocking traffic in the 4400 block of S. Othello Street for the investigation.

No further details were immediately available.

Stay with Q13 FOX News for updates on this developing story.

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Foot In Mouth: Biden on voter ID laws

Vice President Joe Biden said Republican-controlled states like Wisconsin were leading an “assault” on voting rights designed to “repress minority voting” through their passage of laws that require people to present a photo ID to vote.

Too bad Vice President Biden has no idea what he is talking about when he trots out the leftist myth that voter id laws are used to repress minorities. The leftist case against voter IDs is further undermined by the federal 2002 law, the Help America Vote Act, and numerous court cases upholding rather strict identification laws in states like Indiana. In other words, more leftist scare tactics to try to cow and control the Democratic base and stir up potential supporters/voters.

It’s rather insulting when political parties think they need to instill fear in order to get support, but sadly it is too often effective. But that is another discussion entirely.

I, my brother, and several others in my voting district were victims of voter fraud several years ago during off-year elections (i.e. midterm elections) in which others posed and voted in our stead. This of course was only discovered because when we showed up to vote, we were listed as having already voted with some scribbled signatures next to our name. We were allowed to vote on temporary ballots, but everyone knows that those never get counted unless a race is extremely tight, which is a rare event. Additionally, in later years my name showed up on petitions (that were dismissed) I did not sign.

So in effect, I was potentially, If not outright, denied my vote by someone else because no one bothered to confirm who the people voting were. This blatant voter fraud did not happen in later elections at that particular polling place as they simply demanded everyone show their state voter registration card (which everyone at the time got for free and I believe still do) or picture identification. That’s not to say there weren’t any other questionable voting practices, only that such flagrant violations were addressed.

Obviously as a result of my personal experience I am a firm believer in requiring verifiable identification in order to be allowed in elections of any sort in the United States. I believe most Americans agree with this position as well.

Do I think there is rampant voter fraud in the United States. No. Rather I think there is rampant corruption with numerous groups across the political spectrum trying to sway and steal elections in ways both obvious (intimidation, defamation/slander, judicial activism) and subtle (gerrymandering, ethno-centrist pandering, legislative maneuvering, propagandist or politically slanted “news”) to steal the voice of the legitimate voting public.

Civilian Airliner Shot Down Over Ukraine

As those reading this post know by now a Malaysian Airlines Boeing 777 was shot down over Ukraine near the Russian border.

My condolences to all those killed in this tragedy,

Who’s Responsible

It is currently unknown who shot the plane down: the Russians, the Russian backed insurgents, or the Ukrainians. All have access to weapons capable of taking down the airliner.

While Ukraine has anti-aircraft weapons as well, but has no reason to be firing them at large planes since the rebels have no such aircraft at their disposal. Hence, I am more dismissive of the idea that the Ukrainian military shot down the plane, as Russia claims

Given recent activities in the area (namely the rebels shooting at and shooting down Ukrainian aircraft) I believe it was in fact the insurgents using Russian supplied equipment like the Buk missile system, which does have the capacity to reach the cruise altitude the Malaysian Airliner was said to be at. I also base this on the rebels own claims on a social networking site of shooting down an aircraft around the same time as MH-17 went down, post which later were deleted once it became clear a civilian airliner had been shot down.

So at this point, I blame the insurgent separatists and, ultimately, Vladimir Putin for instigating the military crisis in Ukraine through the invasion of Crimea and Ukraine, supplying rebels with weapons, and fomenting his pan-Slavic ethnocentric ultra-nationalism in the region.

What Should Be Done

Regardless of who is responsible for the attack, every effort (including military means if need be) should be made in ending the rebels assaults in Ukraine and bring those responsible for killing hundreds of innocent passengers on the plane to justice. I know that isn’t likely, given Putin is already spinning the blame to everyone else but his own disastrous policy in the region. If it turns out the Russian (or even Ukrainian) military is directly involved in attack, there needs to be some serious repercussions. Repercussions along the lines of a ban on all travel to and from the offender nation (or their sponsor), an world wide embargo on products, a rapid deployment of EU and NATO forces to all nations to form a buffer between the conflicting sides, stripping away of all international economic and sporting events, and so forth. In other words, no more weak willed verbal rebukes but tangible punishments that hurt those committing these acts.

What Will Be Done

Sadly, with our current president whose early thought this event was: “It looks like it may be a terrible tragedy”, I suspect nothing. I think Obama was channeling George W. there. “May be”? Seriously? Regardless of how the plane went down it is a tragedy.

Obama has shown himself to be spineless in the past in a whole manner of violence and conflicts erupting across the face of the planet so I expect little to nothing to be done.

Germany Routs Brazil

Despite supporting Germany to win the World Cup, I was still shocked at today’s routing of Brazil. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a team collapse, especially a team like Brazil known for it’s quality. I almost think Brazil should have dragged 11 random guys out of the stadium crowd and had them play the Germans instead. This isn’t to say that the German team was excellent, they were, and they made some history today.

Looking forward to see who the Germans play next.

World Cup 2014 Thoughts: US Men’s Team

I have to say that I think the U.S. Men’s National Team did decently this time around in the World Cup. They still had some moments of their past mediocrity but in general they acquitted themselves well in a very competitive group. It was called the Group of Death with good reason after all. At least I didn’t have a moment as I’ve in previous World Cups where I thought the Women’s National Team would make a better showing against the other nation’s men’s teams. (Don’t think the WNT is good? Check their record compared to the MNT.)

So while still scratching my head in puzzlement over the absence of Donovan from the roster and the unfortunate injuring of Altidore I think overall the USMNT is on its way to improving it’s international competiveness. For the team they have much to look forward to in qualifying for the 2018 World Cup in Russia (if it remains there, but that furball of a mess is another issue).

For now I shall go on to supporting the remaining teams I favor: Germany and Columbia.