Saturday, February 28, 2015

CPAC Update: Rand Paul wins CPAC straw poll

The CPAC Foreign Policy Split: Old Hawks and Young Doves

The CPAC Foreign Policy Split: Old Hawks and Young Doves

We Got on Grindr at CPAC
We Got on Grindr at CPAC

#14 Terps Cap Perfect B1G Home Slate Saturday

Maryland honored its seven-member senior class prior to tipoff vs. Michigan Saturday.
Courtesy Maryland Athletics

Maryland honored its seven-member senior class prior to tipoff vs. Michigan Saturday.

COLLEGE PARK, Md. (AP) -- Melo Trimble scored 19 points, and No. 14 Maryland beat Michigan 66-56 Saturday to complete an undefeated season at home in the Big Ten.

A gritty defensive battle turned in the Terrapins' favor late in the first half, and Maryland (24-5, 12-4) never trailed over the final 20 minutes.

The Terrapins finished 18-1 at home - the only defeat against Top 10 Virginia on Dec. 3. Maryland's 9-0 mark at home in the Big Ten includes Tuesday's win over fifth-ranked Wisconsin, the conference leader. It is the first time Maryland has wrapped up its conference slate at home with an undefeated record since the 2001-02 season.

Dez Wells had 13 points, six rebounds and six turnovers in his final home game at Maryland. The Terps honored their seven-member senior class which included Spencer Barks, Jon Graham, Richaud Pack, Varun Ram, Evan Smotrycz, Jacob Susskind and Wells prior to tipoff.

“Obviously, it was a great day for us. To be able to play everybody and honor every senior, it was hard to do. A lot of good things happened today. A lot of the seniors played well for us. We got everybody in and we finished 9-0 in the league at home, which is hard to do," head coach Mark Turgeon said. "Our fans would not let us lose so that is why you come to Maryland; to be a part of that. We got one chapter out of the way as we move forward through the rest of the season.”
Zak Irvin led Michigan (14-14, 7-9) with 15 points. The Wolverines went 19 for 52 from the floor, including 5 for 21 beyond the arc, in losing for the sixth time in seven games.

Maryland let an eight-point lead shrink to 43-40 before Trimble sandwiched a pair of three-pointers around a basket by Irvin to make it 49-42.

It was 49-44 before Wells hit a jumper and Trimble sank three foul shots for a 10-point cushion with 5:18 remaining. Soon after that, 3-pointers by Jake Layman and Wells made it 60-48.

That was enough to assure the Terrapins their fifth straight win. They won the previous four by a total of 15 points.

Maryland closed the first half with a 12-0 run for a 30-21 lead. Trimble, Layman and  Pack contributed three-pointers to the surge.

Before that, the game featured four ties and eight lead changes.

Michigan shot 32 percent from the floor before the break, missed eight of nine attempts from beyond the arc and went scoreless over the final four minutes, 57 seconds.

Maryland travels to Rutgers on Tuesday and Nebraska next Sunday as it wraps up the regular season with a pair of games on the road.

And the purple humpbacked whales

The 20 Ton Humpback WHALE that's making waves & Demand by aquariums in China and elsewhere is driving the capture of beluga whales.

Techy GUYS

Brutal Russian Whale Hunt Exposed: Is This the Next 'Cove?'

In a trailer for the Russian documentary film Born Free, the camera follows beluga whales as they flex, turn, and glide through the dim green undersea light with a grace surprising for such stout creatures.

With their bulbous heads, stumpy snouts, and pokey front fins stuck onto long, thick bodies, belugas could be alien creatures in a 1950s science fiction story.  Still, most viewers probably won’t need the score’s heart-tugging plink of piano notes to get that these ethereal white whales are perfectly formed for life in the world’s ocean.
But the music’s abrupt slide into a muddy, pulsing mix of drums and cellos underscores the brutality of the scenes that follow. In one, around a dozen belugas are crowded into narrow water pens bound with rusty wire, diving and rising anxiously while tourists look on. In another, plaid-shirted men wrestle with netted wild belugas in the shallows of a rocky beach, dragging some of them by ropes wrapped around their tails. Captured whales lie passively on the beach, out of their natural element and seemingly in shock.
Welcome to the Russian "Cove."
Wild-caught beluga whales in a holding facility at Srednyaya Cove, about 100 miles outside Vladivostok. (Photo: Courtesy Gayane Petrosyan and Maxim Lanovoy)
Gayane Petrosyan has spent nearly two years documenting the hunt for wild beluga whales in Russia, as well as their conditions in captivity. Now the Russian journalist and filmmaker hopes to expose the beluga hunt to her nation and the world, much as the 2009 Oscar-winning documentary The Cove drew the global attention to the annual slaughter of dolphins in Taiji, Japan.
“We [hope] that the film will cause a wave of public debate in Russia, which in turn will help change state laws to protect the rights of animals,” Petrosyan said in an email.
“Whales and dolphins should come back into the wild,” added Tatiana Beley, the film’s creative producer and writer, “excepting the rare cases when it’s impossible because of their physical and mental health.”
The belugas are conditioned before being sold to aquariums. They must learn to accept being fed by people, or starve. (Photo: Courtesy Gayane Petrosyan and Maxim Lanovoy)
It is hard to find exact figures for how many Russian belugas are captured from year to year in commercial hunts. The single hunting team working during the 2012 season captured 44 belugas, according to an interview with marine mammal researcher Dmitri Glazov published on the official Kremlin website. That number was a record high, according to Glazov.
But in 2013, the Russian government approved an apparently unprecedented live beluga take of just over 260 whales: 18 for scientific research and 245 for sale to marine parks and aquariums. The enormous quota prompted Glazov and biologist Olga Shpak to go to the Sea of Okhotsk, off Russia’s eastern coast, to observe the hunt. That year they observed at least 81 whales taken from the wild.
The holding facilities also sell tickets to visitors who want to view the belugas. (Photo: Courtesy Gayane Petrosyan and Maxim Lanovoy)
Activists say that the quota has risen because demand—and prices—for the animals have soared.
“They’re selling them to China, to facilities in Russia—there are lots of little dolphinariums all over the place, and nearly each one has a beluga,” said Naomi Rose, a marine mammal scientist with the Animal Welfare Institute.
Aquariums in other Asian countries as well as Canada also buy the animals, she added.
In 2013 some U.S. parks and aquariums tried and failed to get a federal permit to import 18 belugas from Russia.
A U.S.-based Russian fisheries official did not respond to a request for comment on the country’s beluga whale policies.
Men wrestle a netted beluga whale onto a trailer during the summer 2012 hunt on Chkalov Island, a coastal island at the southern end of the Sea of Okhotsk. (Video courtesty of Gayane Petrosyan and Evgeniy Tagiltsev.)
Masha Vorontsova is a biologist and the director of programs in Russia and the former Soviet republics for the International Fund for Animal Welfare. She confirmed that China’s demand is driving up the number of belugas removed from the wild.
As China becomes richer and more urbanized, she said, “every big city is building an oceanarium,” and each wants the prestige of owning a beluga whale.
During the mid-2000s, Vorontsova said, IFAW worked with a sympathetic official at the Russian Ministry of Natural Resources to halt permits for beluga hunts. Marine mammal exports ceased for about four years, she said, until a new and less interested minister took his place, and the hunts resumed.
“The problem here [in Russia] is that individual people are making a lot of money” selling wild-caught belugas, she said. “They’re paying for the expedition and the hunt but not the resource,” Vorontsova said. “If the government started making permits very expensive, it would become a lot less profitable” to hunt the white whales.
In their report to the International Whaling Commission on the 2013 hunt, Shpak and Glazov described how three teams of hunters used motorboats to surround groups of belugas in Sakhalinsky Bay with nets. Two of the teams drove the whales into shallow water for capture, while the third netted them in deep water.
Shpak and Glazov reported that of the 81 belugas captured during their observations, at least 34 died during the hunt. But the mortality rate was likely higher, they believed, because several dead whales with entanglement marks on their bodies washed up on nearby islands. One of these, a young beluga, had a rope and the remains of a sand-filled sack tied around its tail.
“Some (we believe, all) captured whales, which did not adjust to captivity and were later released unreported, were ‘replaced’ by additional captures,” Shpak and Glazov reported.
Whales that survive the hunt must then endure days of transportation across hundreds of miles, by ship or river barge, to facilities in the region’s larger cities, such as Vladivostok. In these way stations the belugas are conditioned for captivity.
“This is really a place to break the psychology of the animal, which has to understand at some point that it will either die of hunger or eat dead fish from a person's hands,” says Grigory Tsidulko, a former marine mammal trainer at the Moscow State Zoo, in the film’s trailer.
Sale of beluga whales is not banned under the Convention on International Trade inEndangered Species, the chief international pact on wildlife trade, because globally belugas are still considered abundant. But different populations often have distinct social and genetic characteristics, according to biologists, which can be lost if that group of belugas is depleted or dies out.
Rose was introduced to Petrosyan during a marine mammal science conference in St. Petersburg last year. After seeing some of Petrosyan’s footage, Rose agreed be interviewed on camera and has since become an enthusiastic public supporter of the project.
She said she witnessed “inappropriate” conditions for belugas in three Russian facilities. They included one in St. Petersburg that housed two belugas, a dolphin, a walrus, and a sea lion in what she described as “a former Olympic training pool from the 1980s.” The animals performed for the public in the deep end, while the shallow end was curtained off as a holding area.
“Gayane got behind the cloth,” she said, and filmed the animals lying listlessly in cages and pens. “It’s horrendous,” she said. “One of the belugas was lying at the bottom of the pool; it was alive but just sort of holding its breath, behaving abnormally.”
“She’s doing this right when it needs to be done, because the situation is spiraling out of control,” said Rose. “But she’s taking some risks…so international distribution [for the film] is important.”
Vorontsova agreed that poor conditions for belugas and other marine mammals are a nationwide problem in Russia.
Her organization has also supported Born Free by allowing Petrosyan to film wild belugas at an IFAW whale study site on the White Sea. Petrosyan “is very dedicated,” said Vorontsova. “My staff met with her and said she’s very determined to make the film, that she really believes what’s going on is wrong.”
Petrosyan and Beley have raised more than $30,000 on crowdfunding site Indiegogo to complete the film.
The situation for belugas and other marine mammals in Russia may change if the public takes it up, Vorontsova said. President Vladimir Putin has at times taken an interest in wild belugas, she noted, and might not oppose moves to slow or end the hunt.
There are signs that members of the Russian public are beginning to turn against the treatment of belugas at aquariums.
“It was very similar to a concentration camp,” a young man says in the film. “I had the impression we bought tickets to look at prisoners.”

Bathtub Gin Lyrics

(Anastasio, Goodman)
© Who Is She? Music, Inc. (BMI)

Brett is in the bathtub
making soup for the ambassadors
and I am in the hallway
singing to the troubadours

The kings are all lined up
outside the gate
and the autumn bells are ringing
but they'll just have to wait

Where is the joker?
Have you seen him around
with his three coned cap
that he wears like a crown

Have you seen his stripped stockings
and heard his sad tale
about the kids under the carpet
and the purple humpbacked whales

Here come the ambassadors
they show up one by one
Brett is tasting all the soup
to see if it is done

Wendy's on the windowsill
waiting to be let in
and we're all in the bathtub now
making bathtub gin

The kings storm the hallway
they've climbed up through the gate
they didn't mean to be impolite
but they just couldn't wait

Here comes the joker
with his silly grin
he carries a martini
made of bathtub gin

Here comes the joker
we all must laugh
cause we're all in this together
and we love to take a bath. 

Subzero temps hit Hope Animal Sanctuary!

A winter polar vortex — WORSE THAN LAST YEAR'S! — plunged south, driving bitterly cold arctic air into the Deep South ... Mississippi included.  Home of Hope Animal Sanctuary.

If you remember anything of the suffering and pain that abused and abandoned animals here faced last year, you’ll see immediately why we need your help now...

In Defense of AnimalsLast winter, you'll recall we faced burst pipes and water hoses that froze solid in a matter of hours.  Hope Animal Sanctuary staff raced back and forth, back and forth, hauling water and heavy hay bales from the main building to each enclosure and paddock over treacherous, slippery ground. It was an endless loving circuit — made many times daily — to feed and keep the animals warm.

The subzero cold was especially hard on our older animals, crippled by the pain of arthritis.

Now — UNTHINKABLY — we've been HIT AGAIN with another arctic blast... and more are predicted this winter!  With every lifesaving penny already spoken for at IDA's Hope Animal Sanctuary, your generosity is the only salvation on the horizon.
  • Your tax-deductible donation helps us provide enough hay for food, and so our dogs and cats can huddle up and keep warm when the next cold front hits.
  • You'll cover the cost of bowl warmers in every enclosure and paddock so our dogs, cats, pigs and horses can have a steady supply of unfrozen water.
  • You'll fund the purchase of heated therapeutic dog beds for our elderly friends at Hope Sanctuary to ease their aches and pains.
Many have lived their entire lives outside in the cold and in chains.
In Defense of AnimalsImagine the relief and comfort of a heated bed on a subzero night!

Your emergency donation now provides that relief.  And with even more funds, we’ll be able to install heating in every building.  That is a miracle almost too great to ask for.

But for now, focusing on our most critical needs, please give a gift of: fresh hay, clear and unfrozen water, and warm beds for our fragile older animals.

Please help us keep the animals safe and warm.

P.S. The cold-weather resources made possible by your emergency winter donation will also ease a critical load on Hope Animal Sanctuary staff — freeing up precious time to respond to dire rescue calls like Leonard's.  Maybe you remember him...

... In the grip of last year’s polar vortex, Mississippi wind chills plummeted to a deadly 10 degrees below zero.  The call to help Leonard came in long after dark, but we couldn’t wait for morning. Chained without shelter, the little crippled dog was dragging his broken body around in a desperate attempt to stay alive, using only his front legs!

He's safe and warm now, so please: For the love of dear, abandoned friends like Leonard, make your emergency winter donation now.  Thank you so very much.

IDA is involved in many projects to protect animals' rights, welfare, and habitats. Money contributed to IDA supports ALL of our worthy programs and gives us the flexibility to respond to emerging needs. 
Thank you for your support and consideration.