Never pass up a chance to sit down or relieve yourself. -old Apache saying

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Audubon birds

Sometimes you need a smile. The news is totally fucked up with Trump fucking up this and stirring up that. Sometimes you need a break. 

So take a break and check out these amazing pictures of bird parents and chicks from Audubon.

Many more pics at the link. They look best on a large screen. Small smartphone screens don't do them justice.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Guam & sex abuse

Recent "exchanges" between North Korea's "Supreme Leader" Kim Jong-un and our own In-House Psycho Donny John Trump have brought Guam back into the national consciousness. But here's another recent story about Guam that probably didn't "break thru" to most Americans.

Ho hum, just another chapter in the long-running horror story known as religion.

Victims' advocates say Guam priest sex abuse lawsuits could top 200

Haidee V. Eugenio, Pacific Daily News (Guam)Published 2:27 p.m. ET April 9, 2017
HAGATNA, Guam — The world’s largest network of priest abuse survivors says Guam’s clergy sex abuse cases could reach into the hundreds over the next couple of years, from 46 at present.

Guam children were allegedly abused by Catholic clergy between 1956 and 1988, based on lawsuits filed in local and federal courts between Nov. 1, 2016 and April 6, 2017.

“I would not be surprised if you saw 150 to 200 cases over the next couple of years,” said Joelle Casteix, volunteer western regional director for the St. Louis-based Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, or SNAP. Casteix said her estimate may seem high but Guam children faced a very influential Catholic leadership.

Based on lawsuits, former altar boys said their parents and other adults they knew, were devout Catholics who did not believe them when they tried to tell them about a priest abuse. Others did not attempt to tell adults at all, out of fear they won’t be believed, lawsuits say. The current plaintiffs -- 45 men and one woman -- are now 37 to 73 years old.

“This scandal has rocked the entire Catholic faithful on Guam, to the point where confidence and trust in our clergy is zero,” said David Sablan, president of the grassroots movement Concerned Catholics of Guam.

Casteix said two other factors have not yet been fully explored: the issue of military chaplains, and finding much younger victims who were abused in the 1990s and 2000s, now that the statute of limitations on childhood sexual abuse has been completely removed.

“Abuse did not stop in the 1980s,” Casteix said. “The reason that you are not hearing from younger victims is that many are not ready to come forward. Others are not healed enough. Others are struggling with addiction. Many have young children and families.”

Casteix, who has been working in child sex abuse prevention for almost 15 years, said the children of Guam faced the same problems that Native Alaska children faced: strong, centralized, very influential Catholic leadership, and children with nowhere to escape

“Eskimo kids were trapped in Alaska villages with no way out, just like Guam’s children were trapped on the island. And for generations, they were sexually abused,” Casteix said. 

“They are the only two places I have worked where child sexual abuse was the biggest unspoken ‘elephant in the room’, so to speak. Everywhere else I have worked — California, Delaware, New York, Florida, Washington, almost every state in the union, Native American reservations, even Europe, the abuse was shocking to parents and the community,” Casteix said.

On Guam and Alaska, everyone was just waiting for the first victim to come forward publicly, she said. “Then the floodgates opened,” she added. When men started publicly accusing Archbishop Anthony S. Apuron of raping or sexually abusing them in the 1970s in Agat, the Legislature introduced a bill lifting the statute of limitations on child sexual abuse.

The bill became law on Sept. 23, 2016. Across America, states have been considering expanding or eliminating statutes of limitations on rape and child sex abuse because of high-profile sex abuse allegations.

Guam's population is about 85 percent Catholic.

much more at link. It's such a damn shame that "missionaries" were sent the world over to "civilize" the natives, while in so many ways the natives were more "civilized" than the missionaries. A tragic history.

Friday, August 18, 2017


A new take on the John Lennon classic, "Imagine", sung by the Arlington, Texas, a capella group Pentatonix.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Great American Eclipse

The Science Channel (SCI) is going ape-shit over the upcoming total solar eclipse on Monday, August 21. On the day of the eclipse, it will be non-stop.

I recently learned there will be another one on April 8, 2024, and it will cut a path from West Texas up through Maine. We will only be a hundred miles or so away from it, if Trump hasn't already destroyed the world. 

Wednesday, August 16, 2017


How is it that these evangelical "leaders" can support Trump? Of all people, Trump?! Yeah, what a fine, upstanding dude he is. Oh, yeah, he's a Republican! That certainly transcends any silly morality. The hypocrisy is thicker than ever.

from Patheos (the actual images of the tweets would not copy over, so you can see them here):

CEOs Are Abandoning Donald Trump, But His Evangelical Advisors Are Staying Put

In response to Donald Trump‘s support of white nationalist groups and his bizarre Nazi-approved press conference, the Council on Strategic and Policy Forum chose to disband. This came after several members of Trump’s Council on Manufacturing left independently and put pressure on other members to do the same. Trump later announced he was ending both councils anyway… even though one was already disbanded.
It’s heartening to know that CEOs are either listening to the Americans who denounce Trump’s bigotry or at least felt it was more harmful to their companies to stay onboard than leave the council.
But there’s one group of people still not leaving Trump’s side: His Evangelical Advisory Board.

Jerry Falwell, Jr., the head of Liberty University who’s been a Trump supporter since early in his campaign, celebrated Trump’s “bold truthful” statement about Charlottesville. (Which one? The first one which denounced “many sides”? The second one which was read off a teleprompter? Or the third one where he took back his condemnation of the alt-right and neo-Nazis?) (tweet did not print)
Johnnie Moore, who’s on the board of the National Association of Evangelicals, said he had no intention of leaving Trump’s side: (Tweet did not print)
If Donald Trump isn’t listening to their advice, there’s no reason for the council to exist. If Donald Trump is listening to their advice, then we have an even bigger problem. All the more reason to blame evangelicals whenever Trump makes bigoted, racist statements like he did over the past few days. After all, they’re the ones he’s listening to, right?
African American megachurch pastor A.R. Bernard signed a statement condemning white supremacist groups… but he hasn’t said anything about leaving Trump’s council.
Pastor Mark Burns was busy defending the First Amendment rights of the neo-Nazi groups (which was never the issue) while sharing Trump’s view that “both sides” were to blame.
Pastor Jentezen Franklin said of the “white racist” march that it was “evil personified and we denounce it. This is what hatred and sin looks like.” yet he’s still on board with Trump.
Pastor Jack Graham hasn’t left. In fact, he retweeted a call for a statue of Charles Darwin to be torn down because Darwin was a “white supremacist” and “racist if ever there was one.”
Televangelist James Robison took the Trump approach of asking (video no longer available - coward!) “Are we going to rip Amazing Grace out of every hymnbook because John Newton was a slave trader?”
There are other pastors on the board, including Paula WhiteMichele Bachmann and Robert Jeffress, but no one else (as far as I can tell) has said much of anything about Trump over the past few days, much less that they will leave his side.
What does that tell you about the state of evangelical Christianity in this nation? These leaders’ cowardice in the face of an incredibly simple ethical decision shows you exactly where their loyalties lie. It’s not with the Jesus they constantly preach about. It’s with Trump and everything he represents. They want power and access. And that’s far more important to them that standing on the side of minorities and the oppressed.
It’s not a version of Jesus I’ve ever heard before, but it’s what evangelical Christianity represents today. When corporations and CEOs represent the moral high ground and Christians don’t, you know the entire religion is hitting rock bottom.
What I really don’t understand is that it seems crystal clear that Trump is only using them for their votes. He wants to keep his base happy, and they’re a gateway into that base. He doesn’t care about Christ. He doesn’t even attend the White House Bible study.
Every one of those Christian leaders has the ability to do the right thing, and not a single one so far has done it.
Surprised? Not really. Original.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

kayak "trail"

Our home is on the "bay" side of SPI. On the one hand, I love the idea of a kayak/ paddleboard trail along the bay side of the island. On the other hand, we don't want a lot of extra traffic to spoil our peaceful spot in paradise.

Project aims to bring tourism, revenue to South Padre Island

South Padre Island city manager Susan Guthrie says the city plans to start constructing a venue project in an effort to attract year-round tourism to the city.
"When the whole project is done, we really will see a kayak trail and a paddle boat trail that goes all the way up the coast on the bay side,” Guthrie said. “We'll see a wind sporting facility that will attract wind sporters from all over the world and make it easy for them to access our bay that has the best conditions that you could have for these sports. It's going to be an amazing project and attract a lot of visitors."
The project will be paid for by the new venue tax, which Guthrie says generates about $2 million each year. The city will get bonds to cover the different phases of the project, but the venue tax--which was passed in November 2016-- will be used to pay for those bonds.
"I think it's been in the last year that the city really took the concerted efforts to find the funding stream to be able to do this," said Guthrie.
The first phase of the project will include the kayak launch and paddle boat station, which will be built behind the convention center.
Guthrie says the project is still in its early stages, as the city has to get permits before starting construction in order to address any environmental aspects or impacts the project may pose.

Monday, August 14, 2017

A Day in the Life

of Joe Republican. The below is an oldie, but goodie, as they say. I think it might have appeared around 2004. It probably could use some updating. I may have even printed it here before. Who can remember?

It's a bit over the top but in general it hits the truth. Conservatives have fought just about every change (or betterment) of society because....well, because they're conservative? Every action has a reaction, I guess. And every type of progress makes some people wish for "the old days."

A Day in the Life of Joe Republican

Joe gets up at 6 a.m. and fills his coffeepot with water to prepare his morning coffee. The water is clean and good because some tree-hugging liberal fought for minimum water-quality standards. With his first swallow of water, he takes his daily medication. His medications are safe to take because some stupid commie liberal fought to ensure their safety and that they work as advertised.

All but $10 of his medications are paid for by his employer's medical plan because some liberal union workers fought their employers for paid medical insurance - now Joe gets it too.

He prepares his morning breakfast, bacon and eggs. Joe's bacon is safe to eat because some girly-man liberal fought for laws to regulate the meat packing industry.

In the morning shower, Joe reaches for his shampoo. His bottle is properly labeled with each ingredient and its amount in the total contents because some crybaby liberal fought for his right to know what he was putting on his body and how much it contained.

Joe dresses, walks outside and takes a deep breath. The air he breathes is clean because a bunch of environmentalist wacko liberals fought for the laws to stop industries from polluting our air.

He walks on the government-provided sidewalk to the subway station for his government-subsidized ride to work. It saves him considerable money in parking and transportation fees because some fancy-pants liberal fought for affordable public transportation, which gives everyone the opportunity to be a contributor.

Joe begins his work day. He has a good job with excellent pay (used to be!), medical benefits, retirement (gone!), paid holidays and vacation because some lazy liberal union members fought and died for these working standards. Joe's employer pays these standards because Joe's employer doesn't want his employees to call the union.

If Joe is hurt on the job or becomes unemployed, he'll get a worker compensation or unemployment check because some stupid liberal didn't think he should lose his home because of his temporary misfortune.

It is noontime and Joe needs to make a bank deposit so he can pay some bills. Joe's deposit is federally insured by the FSLIC because some godless liberal wanted to protect Joe's money from unscrupulous bankers who ruined the banking system before the Great Depression.

Joe has to pay his Fannie Mae-underwritten mortgage and his below-market federal student loan because some elitist liberal decided that Joe and the government would be better off if he was educated and earned more money over his lifetime. Joe also forgets that in addition to his federally subsidized student loans, he attended a state funded university.

Joe is home from work. He plans to visit his father this evening at his farm home in the country. He gets in his car for the drive. His car is among the safest in the world because some America-hating liberal fought for car safety standards to go along with the tax-payer funded roads.

He arrives at his boyhood home. His was the third generation to live in the house financed by Farmers' Home Administration because bankers didn't want to make rural loans.

The house didn't have electricity until some big-government liberal stuck his nose where it didn't belong and demanded rural electrification.

He is happy to see his father, who is now retired. His father lives on Social Security and a union pension because some wine-drinking, cheese-eating liberals made sure he could take care of himself so Joe wouldn't have to.

Joe gets back in his car for the ride home, and turns on a radio talk show. The radio host keeps saying that liberals are bad and conservatives are good. He doesn't mention that the beloved Republicans have fought against every protection and benefit Joe enjoys throughout his day. Joe agrees: "We don't need those big-government liberals ruining our lives! After all, I'm a self-made man who believes everyone should take care of themselves, just like I have."

Sunday, August 13, 2017

out for blood

Used to be we would think that, as the old, racist fucks died off, things would get better, we could advance more rights, the GOP would gradually die out. So wtf is with all these young white guys in their 20's that are already so filled with hate? Where do they learn it? No one is born a racist Nazi skinhead asshole. They learn it from someone, or by watching too much Fox News. And with the internet these days, awesome information and total garbage are available in equal measure. Discernment, people! 

'Out for blood': Man arrested in plan to bomb Oklahoma bank

(in case the video doesn't work, go here.)

A 23-year-old man who was "out for blood" when he attempted to detonate what he believed was an explosives-laden van outside an Oklahoma bank in a plot similar to the deadly 1995 bombing of the Oklahoma City federal building, authorities said Monday.
During a meeting with undercover FBI agents in June, Jerry Drake Varnell of Sayre, Oklahoma, said he held "III% ideology" and wanted "to start the next revolution," a reference to the "Three Percenters" patriot movement — begun in 2008, galvanized by President Barack Obama's election — and that has rallied against gun control efforts and pledges resistance to the federal government over the infringement of constitutional rights.
Ignorant hatemonger
Jerry Drake Varnell
Federal officials arrested Varnell early Saturday in connection with a plot to detonate a vehicle bomb in an alley adjacent to BancFirst in downtown Oklahoma City. Varnell is charged with attempting to use explosives to destroy a building in interstate commerce.
Varnell made an initial appearance before a federal judge Monday afternoon and remains in the custody of federal marshals. Court records do not indicate whether Varnell is represented by an attorney.
U.S. Sen. James Lankford of Oklahoma, a member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, said the allegations are a somber reminder that Americans must remain vigilant about home-grown extremism and radicalization in local communities.
A III% group said Varnell had joined their group less than a year ago but was never active and has been removed from its membership rolls. In a statement, III% United Patriots spokesman Dylan Hunter says the group condemns Varnell's alleged acts. "His claim about following the III% ideology are blatantly false as we do not condone acts of terrorism," Hunter said.
On Saturday, a rally by white nationalists and others opposed to a plan to remove a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee from a Charlottesville, Virginia, park turned violent and led to the death of a 32-year-old woman who was struck by a car allegedly driven by a man into a crowd of people protesting the rally. A Virginia State Police helicopter deployed in a large-scale police response to the violence then crashed into the woods outside of town and both troopers on board died.
A federal complaint filed on Sunday says a confidential informant told the FBI in December that Varnell wanted to blow up a building and "that Varnell was upset with the government and was seeking retaliation."
Officials said Varnell initially wanted to blow up the Federal Reserve Building in Washington, D.C., with a device similar to one used in the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing that destroyed the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, killing 168 people and injuring hundreds more.
In a series of text messages with the FBI's informant, Varnell "claimed to have a bunker for when the world (or United States) collapsed" and indicated he was trying to build a team, the complaint states. "I'm out for blood," the complaint quotes Varnell's texts. "When militias start getting formed I'm going after government officials when I have a team."
But an undercover FBI agent posed as someone who could help Varnell build a bomb and the device used was actually inert, authorities said. Varnell's actions were monitored closely for months as the plot developed. 
"There was never a concern that our community's safety or security was at risk during this investigation," said Kathryn Peterson, special agent in charge of the FBI in Oklahoma.
The undercover agent met face-to-face with him on June 1 to discuss obtaining materials for an ammonium nitrate and fuel oil bomb similar to the one used in the Oklahoma City bombing, the complaint states. Varnell indicated at the meeting that he had previously made homemade explosives and that he "was of the same mind with people who wanted to use explosives and make a statement," the complaint says.
"Something needs to be done," Varnell said, but killing a lot of people was not a good idea, according to the complaint. During text conversations in July, Varnell stated he wanted to conduct the attack after closing hours to prevent casualties but conceded that some bank workers or custodians who were inside the building could be killed or injured in the blast, it says.
The complaint says Varnell helped assemble the device and load it into what he believed was a stolen van. Shortly after midnight on Saturday, Varnell drove the van by himself from a storage unit in El Reno, about 30 miles (48 kilometers) from the bank in Oklahoma City, and dialed a number on a cell telephone that he believed would trigger the explosion. The FBI and members of a Joint Terrorism Task Force arrested Varnell shortly before 1 a.m.
The complaint also states that Varnell prepared a statement to be posted on Facebook after the explosion which reads in part that the attack was "retaliation against the freedoms that have been taken away from the American people" and "an act done to show the government what the people think of its actions."
Both of Oklahoma's Republican U.S. senators said the alleged plot could have rivaled the devastation caused by the Oklahoma City bombing 22 years ago.
"It is chilling to think that a sympathizer of Timothy McVeigh would want to act on hate, as a tribute to the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing, the deadliest terrorist attack on American soil before September 11," Lankford said. Sen. Jim Inhofe said law enforcement authorities "successfully prevented a hateful act of domestic terrorism."
If convicted, Varnell faces between five and 20 years in prison.

Friday, August 11, 2017

sky lanterns banned

Again, we see that one person can make a difference. This is good news.

S.A. man's petition helped end popular sky lantern festival on South Padre Island

Sky lantern releases have garnered plenty of popularity in the United States the last few years.
But one San Antonio man is on a mission to ban them for good. And last week he saw some success.
Mario Giacalone created a petition in December to put an end to Lantern Fest on South Padre Island. Last week, after hearing from Giacalone and other groups, the City of SPI voted 5 to 1 to deny the event's permit.
Lantern Fest would have celebrated its second year in September. Giacalone said the two-day event was expected to draw in a crowd of 3,000 to 4,000 people.
While he's the first to admit Lantern Fest and other events like it make for an "amazing, gorgeous sight," Giacalone also told the lanterns, especially when they are released by the thousands, are environmentally destructive. 
"But people don't realize that when those things land, it's not a gorgeous site. They are pretty, but that five to 10 minutes of beauty is not worth the amount of damage," he said.
"Basically people are lighting fires on balloons and letting them loose to fly away," Giacalone said. "A little fact on those balloons is they are designed to burn for 5 to 10 minutes. They can get altitudes up to 1,200 feet and have been known to fly to up to 5 miles away."
Giacalone said these ceremonies have led to dead livestock, injured children, wildfires, damage to sea life and more. The devices themselves are made from bamboo rigs, nylon material and chemically treated rice paper.
After a 8-week experiment, the Shoreline Department
of South Padre Island found that sky lanterns materials do not biodegrade. 
In the weeks leading up to the vote, an 8-week experiment was performed to determine the bio-degradation rates of sky lanterns in the Laguna Madre. The Shoreline Department of SPI found that a fully burnt lantern will take seven weeks to reduce to the bamboo ring and weathered string.
"If it doesn't burn out and it hits the ground, which they do by the hundreds, now you have this liquid device soaked in a flammable material," Giacalone said, adding, or if they don't burn out, they can go into the water and pollute the ocean. 
Even after South Padre Island banned the festival, Giacalone continues to work on spreading the word on sky lantern dangers. He is trying to reach other areas near San Antonio where these events take place. 
"They are trying to hold one outside of Bastrop which hasn't recouped yet from the major fire that almost burned the city down five years ago," he said. 
Giacalone said that if Texas adopted the international fire code, then sky lanterns would be banned statewide; however, even if adopted, the state could choose to not apply it in full. 
In the meantime, this San Antonian is taking matters into his own hands.
"My goal is to make citizens aware of the dangers of what these things can do, get the state involved and pass an ordinance to ban these devices," Giacalone said. "I'm not done." 

Thursday, August 10, 2017

scripted news

Yep, we may have a lot of TV stations in this country, but not that many owners. I just learned that KGBT-TV Channel 4 in the Rio Grande Valley is one of those Sinclair Broadcasting stations. I caught one of those "Bottom Line" reports with Boris Epshteyn and nearly threw up. Last time I will watch their local news.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

nuclear war?

Nothing will get your anxiety level up like a Trump-North Korea pissing match.

Monday, August 7, 2017

bloody sea mites!

Just when you thought it was safe to get in the water!! Let's hope this doesn't start happening all over the place! Yikes! Damn that intelligent design!

Australian teenager in hospital after sea bug attack

An Australian teenager is recovering in hospital after being bitten by multiple "mite-sized sea critters".
Sam Kanizay, 16, found his feet and ankles covered in blood after soaking his legs in Melbourne's Brighton Beach on Saturday evening.
Jarrod Kanizay said his son arrived home with what "looked like a war injury" and that his legs would not stop bleeding. The family are seeking expert opinion to identify the flesh-eating bugs.
Marine biologists have said they were likely to have been sea fleas, tiny scavenging marine animals.
After a tiring football game on Saturday evening, the 16-year-old decided to soak his legs in the cold bay near his home. Speaking to the BBC's World Update radio show, Sam described feeling pins and needles in his legs after standing waist-deep in dark cold water for about half an hour.
After shaking off what he thought was sand coated around his ankles, he walked across the beach before looking down and realising that his feet were "covered in blood".
"It bled for ages, and it's still seeping blood now," he said.
"It looked like a war injury... like a grenade attack. It was really bloody," his father told BBC News.
"We got him in the shower but as soon as we did that the blood kept re-appearing," said Mr Kanizay. "It wasn't clotting at all. It just kept bleeding and bleeding."
After two local hospitals could not identify the cause of the multiple pin-prick injuries, the Melbourne father decided to investigate and went back to the beach.
"I collected these strange creatures from the same spot last night by trapping them in a net and standing in the water myself," he said. "We got thousands of these little mite-type bugs and they've been sent on to experts."
Mr Kanizay said he hoped the sandy-coloured mites would not scar his son, and he is expected to make a full recovery.
"We are just waiting on the experts to tell us what they are and how they behave and why this happened."
Marine biologist Dr Genefor Walker-Smith, who saw some of the samples, told Australia's Herald Sun newspaper that the bugs were probably lysianassid amphipods, or sea fleas.
"It's possible he disturbed a feeding group but they are generally not out there waiting to attack like piranhas," she said.
Experts have said such cases are very rare and that there is no reason for alarm.
No, of course not! Original.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

border wall bullshit

Trump's stupid border wall, which Mexico is refusing to pay for, of course, is now planned to cut right through several wildlife areas in deep south Texas, including the Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park, the Santa Ana Wildlife Refuge, and the National Butterly Center in Mission, Texas, among other areas. They feel like, since these refuges are technically government property, they can do whatever they want without those pesky property owners complaining and filing suit.

If I ever pulled up to our Llano River ranch road to find a work crew, heavy machinery, pink flagged survey stakes, and trees slashed to the ground, I’d likely grab my husband’s shotgun.

But Marianna TreviƱo Wright, director of the National Butterfly Center, has more self-control than me. She peacefully, but forcefully, ordered five contractors off the 100-acre private property owned by the National Butterfly Center in Mission, Texas along the U.S. Mexico border. Then she took to the media.
Wright told local reporters that the National Butterfly Center received no notices or requests for access to the property–even though “no trespassing” signs were prominently displayed. According to a story in the local Mission, Texas paper, the crew wielded chainsaws, two mechanized brush cutters and other pieces of heavy machinery. They told her they were on assignment from the Tikigaq Construction LLC firm in Point Hope, Alaska. Their job: mark a 150-foot clearance for President Trump’s border wall.
“Just about every type of wildlife is here,” Wright told Progressive Times reporter Jose de Leon III. “This habitat is rich and diverse….What will happen to them if the wall is built here?”
The stretch of South Texas destined to host Trump’s border wall includes at least three wildlife areas. Photo via National Butterfly Center
Next door to Wright at the 2,000+ acre Santa Ana Wildlife Refuge, planning for Trump’s border wall has been underway for months. According to a July 14 story by Melissa del Bosque in the Texas Observer,  U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials have been meeting quietly with private contractors to plot out the first piece of Trump’s border wall here for half a year. Plans call for 28 miles of a new levee wall system in the Rio Grande Valley and 32 new miles of border wall system here. An 18-foot levee wall will stretch for almost three miles right through the Santa Ana wildlife refuge. Construction could begin at Santa Ana as early as January 2018, a federal official who asked to remain anonymous told the Observer.
Designated by the federal government in 1943 as a sanctuary for migratory birds and managed by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Santa Ana straddles the Rio Grande and is considered one of the most diverse ecosystems left in the United States. Along with the NBC and the Bentson State Park, the natural areas collectively provide habitat for the endangered ocelot, the jaguarundi, coyotes, bobcats, armadillos and 400 species of birds. See video below.
Known as one of the top birding destinations in the world, Santa Ana is being sacrificed precisely because of its federally protected status. Since the U.S. government owns it, they won’t be subjected to pesky lawsuits from private landowners like Marianna Wright and the National Butterfly Center. As another story in the Texas Observer noted in June, a third or more of 320 condemnation suits filed against private landowners to build a wall in 2007 are still unresolved.
In contrast, the National Butterfly Center (NBC) is a project of the North American Butterfly Association (NABA), a privately funded, nonprofit organization. Like its Santa Ana neighbor, NBC is devoted to the conservation of wildlife–specifically wild butterflies in their native habitats. NBC features a native species garden, offers walking trails, observation areas, educational exhibits and a plant nursery.
In a four-and-a-half minute video posted on on July 22,  Wright describes the flagrant disregard for the rule of law exercised by the work crews.
“They flat-out  ignored the private property sign and began work clearing trees along our road and the Rio Grande River,” she says in the video, as the South Texas breeze blows across the microphone.
According to the American Immigration Council, approximately 650 miles of border fence already exists as of early 2017. We have 350 miles of primary pedestrian fencing, 300 miles of vehicle fencing, 36 miles of secondary fencing behind the primary fencing, and 14 miles of tertiary pedestrian fencing behind the secondary fence. These barriers run the gamut from tall metal and concrete posts to solid corrugated steel walls, metal fencing, and combinations thereof. Then there’s the surveillance tools–towers, cameras, motion detectors, thermal sensors, stadium lighting, ground sensors, drones. This montage of deterrents comprises the existing infrastructure aimed to stop the unauthorized entry of people, drugs, and arms into the United States.
But as former Department of Homeland Security Secretary under Obama Jeh Johnson said in a November 2016 speech: “We can spend billions of dollars to build a 10-foot wall on top of a 10,000-foot mountain. But if you’ve come all the way from Central America, it’s not going to stop you.”
Last weekend, as Wright posted her video, dozens, perhaps hundreds of illegal immigrants who tunneled, hiked, swam or waded across our border were discovered packed in an unairconditioned semi truck in a San Antonio Wal-Mart parking lot. The temperature climbed to 104 degrees here on Saturday, and was likely higher on hot asphalt.
When a Wal-Mart employee noticed people streaming from the back of the truck, he rushed 
over to provide assistance and dialed 911. Several people were already dead; more than 20 were sent to local hospitals with extreme dehydration, asphyxiation and other health issues. By Monday 10 people had perished.
Wright is right: It’s NOT just about the butterflies. Nor is it just about property rights. It’s about much much more than that.
Find the National Butterfly Center’s Stop Trump’s Border Wall Legal Defense Fund campaign here.