It started with stars, which I haven't seen in the morning for a while, due to the thick cloud cover, then it turned into streaks of scarlet before the sky went all dandelion yellow and up came the sun, rising from the sea well before 6 a.m. and making it all sparkly and shiny, even as the gray started to pile up again on the horizon.
I've been hearing reports from friends and family about the Midwest heat wave and drought that has ripened peaches 10 weeks ahead of schedule and caused corn, which is typically knee-high by the 4th of July, to shoot up to waist level already. Yet here, it feels cool for the end of May, though the ocean isn't too chilly, even for dips at dawn.
Still, I wonder when it will warm up enough to coax the camphor trees that shade my yard into flowering, providing food for my bees. I never gave much thought to such things, but now as I move through my neighborhood, I look at all the foliage in terms of its ability to sustain bees.
Meanwhile, literature mounts on the — duh! — toxic effect that pesticides have on bees, with scientists reporting that exposure to even “safe” amounts of a specific neonicotinoid known as imidacloprid can cause bees to become picky eaters, ignoring perfectly good nectar they would normally feed on as they seek out sweeter stuff, to the detriment of the hive.
Yeah, screw the blossoms. Gimme some of that high fructose GMO corn syrup! Amazing, now we're even turning the bees into fricking sugar junkies.
Meanwhile, we're getting the first official reports of radioactive seafood showing up off California, with scientists attributing it to — duh! — the Fukushima nuclear plant disaster. As one researcher observed: “That’s a big ocean. To swim across it and still retain these radionuclides is pretty amazing.”
Yeah, just think — everything really is connected! But the big message: no worries! The elevated levels are still well below the U.S. government's regulatory limits.
And you just know the government is always looking out for your best interest.
Like the way the Obama Administration has so thoughtfully and helpfully asked a judge to reverse her ruling on the super scary National Defense Authorization Act. Seems she barred enforcement of one provision — the part where the government can order indefinite military detention of anyone considered to be a terrorism suspect, anywhere in the world, without charge or trial, including U.S. citizens — as un-Constitutional. As Reuters reported:
The judge said she was worried by the government's reluctance at the March hearing to say whether examples of the plaintiffs' activities - such as aiding the anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks in the case of Birgitta Jonsdottir, a member of parliament in Iceland - would fall under the scope of the provision.
Of course, such a move isn't really surprising from a president who, as the New York Times reports, personally oversees a "kill list" of folks targeted for assassination, a list that includes U.S. citizens and teenage girls. As the Times reports:
It is the strangest of bureaucratic rituals: Every week or so, more than 100 members of the government’s sprawling national security apparatus gather, by secure video teleconference, to pore over terrorist suspects’ biographies and recommend to the president who should be the next to die.
This secret “nominations” process is an invention of the Obama administration, a grim debating society that vets the PowerPoint slides bearing the names, aliases and life stories of suspected members of Al Qaeda’s branch in Yemen or its allies in Somalia’s Shabab militia.
William M. Daley, Mr. Obama’s chief of staff in 2011, said the president and his advisers understood that they could not keep adding new names to a kill list, from ever lower on the Qaeda totem pole. What remains unanswered is how much killing will be enough.”
Oh, that's too easy. In a nation where weapons are the number one export and death can be doled out from air conditioned rooms by remote control, no amount of killing will ever be enough.