Video: Smallest Hawk (Last Hawk) Leaves Nest On UW Campus

The third and smallest of the family of Red-Tailed Hawks nesting on the roof of Weeks Hall on the UW-Madison campus finally left the nest today, a few days after his siblings.

While I am very glad to see a healthy bird take off from the nest, I also admit to feeling a bit sad.  Over the past weeks while working on the computer I would have a window open to watch the comings and goings of this nest.  From white puffs of down-like feathers to then growing talons that helped hold animals while ever-stronger beaks learned to shredded rabbit meat from bone–they were a joy to see grow up.

I had wondered how the feeding would go for this smallest hawk still in the nest, but was hopeful things would go smoothly.  I noticed at some point this afternoon a partly consumed rabbit was in the nest, and was so pleased that the smallest of the three was getting food.   Late this afternoon Mother Nature lured the hawk to the edge of the nest and into the wonders of flight.

With that new beginning I am sure on behalf of all those who shared this story we say “Fly High and Strong”.

I want to say a very sincere thanks to the folks at UW-Madison who provided the camera that allowed for such a story to unfold day after day from Weeks Hall, near the Atmospheric, Oceanic & Space Sciences building.  As noted by a cam watcher who tweeted on the site, and I post here with strong seconding of these sentiments…..THANK YOU to SSEC and AOS for providing the resources for this experience during a budget crunch. Badgers rock!

Mitt Romney Does Not Make A Good Neighbor In California–Narcs On Pot Smoker

Things are not looking good for Mitt Romney, who is destined to inherit his own planet, thanks to his Mormon religion.  So why should Romney screw things up for the little guy on earth who just wants a view of the ocean?

But many of the residents of this exclusive tract in La Jolla say they are rankled by what they see from their decks and patios as the Romneys’ blindness to their impact on the neighborhood. And personal politics is fueling their frustration as much as anything else, several days of interviews with about a dozen residents suggest.

It turns out that Mr. Romney — who has likened President Obama’s policies to socialism, called for cutting back on federal funding to PBS and wants to outlaw same-sex marriage — has moved into a neighborhood that evokes “Modern Family” far more than “All in the Family.” (There are six gay households within a three-block radius of his house, neighbors said.)

Four doors up the street from the Romneys is the home of Randy Clark and Tom Maddox, a gay couple who meet regularly with other residents worried by the candidate’s renovation plans.

The men, who married in San Francisco four years ago, were asked by Mr. Romney’s architect to sign a document that stated they have no objections to his planned renovations, which would obscure a portion of their ocean view. They refused.

Mr. Clark, an accountant, is trying to organize a campaign fund-raiser at his home for President Obama and hopes to bump into Mr. Romney on the street, so he can explain, “in a neighborly way,” why he thinks his relationship with Mr. Maddox deserves the same rights and status as the marriage between Mr. Romney and his wife, Ann.

A few houses up on Dunemere are Michael Duddy and his partner, James Geiger, who make no secret of their discomfort with some of Mr. Romney’s politics. Chatting with Mr. Maddox and Mr. Clark a few weekends ago, Mr. Geiger playfully proposed hanging a gay-pride flag from the Italian stone pine tree in his yard “so that Romney’s motorcade has to drive under it.”

Three houses away from Mr. Romney is Mark Quint, a Democrat who said that he is tired of watching neighboring homeowners bulldoze small beach houses to make way for McMansions, fearing a “nightmare of construction.” He sees a discrepancy in Mr. Romney’s ambitious renovation plan.

“The only thing he wants small is government and taxes,” Mr. Quint said. “He likes big houses, big families and big religion.”


Then there is this.

The Romneys rarely entertain neighbors, but they have tried to weave themselves into the fabric of local life. Mr. Romney and his wife take regular walks around La Jolla, exchanging pleasantries with fellow strollers and occasionally enforcing the law. A young man in town recalled that Mr. Romney confronted him as he smoked marijuanaand drank on the beach last summer, demanding that he stop.

The issue appears to be a recurring nuisance for the Romneys. Mr. Quint, who lives on the waterfront near Mr. Romney, said that a police officer had asked him, on a weekend when the candidate was in town, to report any pot smoking on the beach. The officer explained to him that “your neighbors have complained,” Mr. Quint recalled. “He was pretty clear that it was the Romneys.”

New Poll Shows Shift In Minnesota For Gay Marriage Rights

Good news to report from that land with all those lakes.

A new poll indicates Minnesota voters are turning against a proposed constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage.

Public Policy Polling’s newest sampling indicates that with 49 percent of voters are opposed to the measure and 43 percent support it.

That’s a dramatic shift from four months ago when 48 percent supported the amendment and 44 percent rejected it. That was still shy of the 50 percent needed to pass a constitutional amendment.

“Today’s poll shows there is a conversation happening across this state about what marriage means and how this amendment would limit the freedom to marry for gay and lesbian couples,” according to a statement from Minnesotans United for All Families, which is the lead group opposed to the amendment.“The more people talk about this, the more likely they are to vote no in November, and this poll demonstrates that more and more Minnesotans are coming to the conclusion that this is not the right thing to do for our state.”


Just A Note…

…so no one has other impressions….all photos that appear on my blog banner were taken by me, and my trusty Pentax digital camera.

Apologizing To CNN’s Ted Rowlands For Idiots In Madison During Recall Election Coverage

On Tuesday night I had a 60-second conversation with Ted Rowlands, a reporter for CNN who was in Madison covering the historic recall election of Scott Walker.

I would not have felt the need to say anything to Rowlands had it not been for some  miscreants who felt that their behavior was in some way making a point, and not instead just making Madison look particularly stupid.

As Rowlands stood with his crew on the Capitol side of the State Street entrance, waiting for the time he would deliver election news to the nation, several people who resembled hobos jumping the trains in the 30’s started chanting misguided and rude comments about corporate media and CNN.

Clearly I was not impressed with this small group of misfits.

The whole conspiracy line about the media, from those on the right that claim it to be liberally driven to those on the left who think it to be corporate driven, makes me laugh.

When it was obvious Rowlands was not about to go on air at that time I walked over to him, introduced myself as a resident of Madison, and let him know of my  embarrassment for the behavior that was taking place around him.

“This does not represent Madison,” I told him.

He smiled and said, “I have thick skin, and this happens all over.”

I thanked him for the coverage CNN was airing, and we commented on the historic nature of the night in Wisconsin.

It was not until this morning that I heard about different people making a spectacle of themselves as the CNN bus departed from the Capitol Square.

Since I am always eager to put teabaggers who make truly outlandish and preposterous statements on my blog, I think it only fair to post the following video showcasing the lunacy of those who somehow think the media is not fair when reporting the facts.  Please note the almost hysterical nature of the woman who says “who are these people, they are not even from Wisconsin” when referring to the national media.

It is just absurd.

Keep in mind that the recall election was reported and analyzed just as every other election.  Exit polls were used with vote totals in key wards which made for the ease of calling the election early Tuesday night.  These two people featured in the video might first try to better understand the role of reporters, and grasp that once there are facts to support the calling of an election, then it is time to go on air or the web and do so.   That is the job of being a journalist.

Wanting the election returns to have a different outcome is easy to understand.

Making an ass of oneself is another story.