Bugs, the drought, politics, and more

I love the sunflowers outside my bathroom window when I take a shower.  Had to grab my camera for a photo of one of the bees.  The spider was next to my bedroom patio.  If I seem to take a lot of photos of spiders, you may get the idea that there are a lot of them around here.  Correct.

The other night there was a wolf spider in a ceiling corner of my TV room, too high to reach with my feather duster, so I left it.  The next night I was working on my computer and a wolf spider (the same one?) landed on my desk like a commando (from the wall? from the ceiling?)  I put a glass over it, a card under it, and took it outside.  Thought of taking a photo of it in the glass, but it looked unhappy, so I didn’t take the time to get my camera.  Then another downstairs that I took outside.  (They are much too large to vacuum, which is what I did with the black widow in my bedroom.)  But no flies, no moths, no mosquitoes, or any other bugs other than the tiny ants tending their aphids on my sunflowers, those scale insects which I tossed out, unfortunately, with the plant, and the beautiful grasshoppers.

What’s wrong with this picture?

Arizona (with what, half the nation?) is in a drought.  (Tucson had only 6.22” of rain during this year’s monsoon season.)  Farmers are in trouble.  But we’re a Red State (‘cept for that dot of blue that is Tucson) and Republicans don’t believe in government handouts.  (Let them eat cake!)  As Romney has said:

There are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe that government has a responsibility to care for them…  I’ll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.

But the farm family of one of Arizona’s Republicans running for the Senate has taken government money:

The family of Rep. Jeff Flake, the Republican nominee for Arizona’s open U.S. Senate seat, has received farm subsidies under federal programs that he has proposed ending.

Flake’s family benefited to the tune of $254,121 in farm subsidies from the U.S. Department of Agriculture between 1995 and 2004, according to the Environmental Working Group. The subsidies were for the F Bar Cattle Company in Snowflake, Ariz., which is operated by Flake’s family.

Flake, who was elected to the House in 2002, is running against Democrat Richard Carmona for the seat of retiring Sen. Jon Kyl.

Flake has been a leading opponent of farm subsidies, including proposing legislation in 2011 to end direct payments from the Agriculture Department to farmers under the 1996 Freedom to Farm Act. 1

 Arizona Summary Information

$1.52 billion in subsidies 1995-2011.

  • $1.22 billion in commodity subsidies.
  • $105 million in crop insurance subsidies.
  • $103 million in conservation subsidies.
  • $87.2 million in disaster subsidies. 2

(Photo from the Web of a pickup truck traveling a dusty road amidst dry corn fields near Bennington, Nebraska, on September 6.)

Do we help our farmers whose crops have withered in the fields, who have had to cull their herds because there is not enough to graze on, or do we vote Republican?  (Or have those farm subsidies only gone to the agribusinesses anyway?)

Despite considerable pressure to adopt a subsidy-laden farm bill as drought conditions wither crops, the House on Tuesday scrapped plans to extend massive agriculture subsidies for yet another year.

The lavish legislation approved by the Committee on Agriculture and its Senate-approved counterpart would continue to allow agribusiness to feed off taxpayers by hundreds of millions of dollars each year. A third alternative, proposed this week by Representative Frank Lucas  would have extended current programs for one year.

Taxpayer-financed crop insurance will compensate the vast majority of farmers, most of whom have realized record income in recent years. The greater risk is continuing the massive farm subsidies that distort planting decisions, skew commodity supplies, and enrich profitable agribusinesses at the expense of smaller farms. 3

 Movies

I get a lot of movies from the library, most of them old (or I get on the bottom of a list – 221 of 221 holds on 24 copies).

A two-year-old movie, My Name is Khan, is a well-done tearjerker (four hankies).  Definitely not your standard Bollywood (the only one of which I’ve seen is Monsoon Wedding, with different actors).  I think that Shahrukh Khan did a great job portraying an Indian Muslim man in the U.S. with Asperger’s syndrome.  The film, on its release, broke many box office records.  Part of the reason is that Khan and his co-star, Kajol, are major stars in India, one of the all-time classic duos.

The twenty-three-year-old movie, Glory, hasn’t lost much over the years.  I was captivated.

Denzel Washington won the Best Supporting Actor trophy for his “riveting performance as a defiant ex-slave turned soldier in this Civil War drama”.  Admittedly, he rarely smiles in the film, but when he did his absolutely gorgeous white teeth look much too good for those of an escaped slave.

I hated to see Morgan Freeman doing an ah-gosh gospel routine around the campfire, but after he went on to Driving Miss Daisy, he became God in 2003 (in Bruce Almighty and its sequel Evan Almighty in 2007) and Nelson Mandela in 2009 (Invictus).

Her Secret Is Patience

Have any of you seen this sculpture in Phoenix?

Her Secret Is Patience is a public art sculpture commission designed by artist Janet Echelman for the city of Phoenix. Its creation was the result of collaboration between the artist and a team of award-winning engineers, architects, planners, and fabricators. It is located downtown in the Civic Space Park. The sculpture consists of painted, galvanized steel; polyester twine netting; and colored lights. The title of the piece is a quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson.  [“Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience.”]  The project had a budget of $2.5 million.

1http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/11/jeff-flake-farm-subsidies_n_1874696.html

2http://farm.ewg.org/region.php?fips=04000

3http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2012/08/farm-bill-extension-dodging-agriculture-reform-will-not-do

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One Response to “Bugs, the drought, politics, and more”

  1. Jim Says:

    We treasure the wolf spider, because they eat the adult blood sucking cone nose; we also leave the jumping spider, because they eat the juvenile cone nose.
    Art inspired by jelly fish, and other wonders of nature are incomparable to nature herself.
    The drought is a national disaster; no patriotic party ignores national disasters.

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