If it’s spring – and it almost is – it must be time for various bird cams. I could go on a big long web search for my favorite – peregrine falcons – but in the meantime, there’s the spectacular, high-def, night vision DC Eagle Cam, featuring Mr. President and the First Lady, whose two eggs are being well-cared for. One is pipping right now. You chicken-coop keepers know what pipping is, right? No? It’s when the eaglet starts to peck its way out of the shell; in larger avian species, it can take a few days.
So that’s where we are. They seem to be good parents so far. Happy birdwatching.
Not quite spring, but it feels like it around here. Birdies singing their springtime songs, and this action in the back yard:
I made it the lock screen on my phone. Because I’m feeling a little starved for color.
Feeling also a little starved for sleep. So this may not last too long today. It’s been a long-ass, tough week. Lots of driving, lots of stress, and a husband with a cold. And I don’t know about you, but I cannot read another word about Donald Trump for at least 48 hours.
In other words, welcome, Friday.
Here’s a little bloggage, then I’m heading upstairs, OK?
WASHINGTON—Declaring that the president had been warned about naming a justice during an election year, a defiant Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell reportedly held up the severed head of Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland this afternoon while standing in front of the Capitol building.
And on the same subject, a little more straight-arrow, Dahlia Lithwick on the GOP’s treatment of Merrick:
He is Scalia’s polar opposite. A careful writer, an infrequent dissenter, a true believer that judges interpret law and don’t make it. That Obama chose to take identity politics off the table with the selection of another Harvard-educated white man will disappoint many of us who had desperately hoped for a court that looks more like America. But at a moment when people are quite literally fighting in the streets about what America should look like, the idea of Obama seeking to turn down the temperature isn’t all that surprising. By picking a “judge’s judge,” Obama has tried to steer the conversation from one about politics to one about courts. Right or wrong, he still believes there’s a difference.
Interesting stuff about DNA and bones and Ireland:
Radiocarbon dating shows that the bones discovered at McCuaig’s go back to about 2000 B.C. That makes them hundreds of years older than the oldest artifacts generally considered to be Celtic — relics unearthed from Celt homelands of continental Europe, most notably around Switzerland, Austria and Germany.
For a group of scholars who in recent years have alleged that the Celts, beginning from the middle of Europe, may never have reached Ireland, the arrival of the DNA evidence provides the biological certitude that the science has sometimes brought to criminal trials.
And with that, let’s start a weekend, eh?
susan said on March 18, 2016 at 12:51 am
This is the peregrine nest I’ve been watching for the last four years or so. It’s ‘way above the Mississippi River in Minnesota. The bonded pair just returned in the last week or so and have already started to mate. The previous male did not return. 🙁 He was 13 years old, which is about the upper limits of peregrines. The only drawback with watching this site is the awful freeway traffic noise (rom 600+feet below) that overwhelms the audio feed. I just keep it on very low volume, and you can still hear the falcons. Imagine how that constant background noise affects wildlife, though. You cannot hear any subtle sounds. How terrible we are to the whole environment…
susan said on March 18, 2016 at 12:59 am
A few other nest cams I watch that are lots of fun:
–Texas barn owls
–Savannah Great Horned Owls, with two fuzzy owlets, and pesky squirrels who take their lives in their own paws by racing over the nest. I have seen squirrel for dinner a few times, though.
–Decorah, Iowa bald eagles, sitting on three eggs that are due to start hatching sometime next week.
Dexter said on March 18, 2016 at 2:23 am
I am disgusted that McConnell and his crew are shooting down hearings regarding Merrick Garland. No American, regardless of what banner he stands under, can say Garland isn’t what we should be able to expect to be nominated for SCOTUS. No, it is because he’s Obama’s choice.
Spring is nigh; birds dropped many loads on my vehicle yesterday.
Suzanne said on March 18, 2016 at 7:15 am
Yesterday, Orrin Hatch was interviewed on NPR. He said that when they said they wouldn’t consider a confirmation until after the election, what they REALLY meant was until after November. In other words, If the Democrat wins the election, they’ll take this guy for fear of getting something worse.
Ted Cruz says he wants to abolish the IRS, so I think I’ll forgo doing my taxes this year until after the people have spoken. Why waste my time if I can just fill out that postcard he keeps talking about?
basset said on March 18, 2016 at 8:17 am
Been watching the Indianapolis falcon cam the last few years, activity is tapering off there but a post on their blog has several other links, including one in the Fort:
Connie said on March 18, 2016 at 8:23 am
My husband is an amateur nature photographer, and is always looking for birds. He spent last spring and summer photographing an osprey nest on a cell tower near the library. We live close to Wolverine Lake which is a byway for migrating birds, where he regularly shoots pics of ducks that are just passing through. And just the other day I saw my first Redwinged Blackbird, always one of the first signs of the end of winter.
nancy said on March 18, 2016 at 9:01 am
The Fort’s falcon cam gets on my nerves. It’s only still images, not high-def, and reloads every 10 seconds. Last night I could watch the D.C. eagles breathing, for god’s sake. Time to upgrade that thing.
brian stouder said on March 18, 2016 at 9:34 am
Leaving aside birds high atop towers, there’s this – which is a genuinely oddly-written news story
The Chamber of Commerce seems to have edited this bit –
The man, who was in his second day on the project, fell about 800 feet Thursday from the unfinished Wilshire Grand Center around noon and either hit the back edge of a passing car or struck nearby. Once finished, the building will be the tallest in the West
And we gotta have the “ick” factor too, eh? –
She could say no more about what may have caused the man to fall or why he was on the upper floor. His name has not been released. Los Angeles Times photographer Mel Melcon, who was on assignment at the building, said he heard the man hit the ground.
Deborah said on March 18, 2016 at 10:12 am
We watched a perrigrine falcon family for years that lived in the bell tower of St. Michael’s church in Old Town. They may still be there but I haven’t noticed the tell tale signs, like pigeon heads lying around on the ground around the church, I guess they don’t eat the heads. It was cute to watch the parents teaching the young ones to do things on the ledge of the tower. You could see them flying around the lake in Lincoln Park and even around the skyscrapers close to us. Their flight is so graceful and elegant it always reminds me of this poem by Gerard Manley Hopkins:
I caught this morning morning’s minion, king-
dom of daylight’s dauphin, dapple-dawn-drawn Falcon, in his riding
Of the rolling level underneath him steady air, and striding
High there, how he rung upon the rein of a wimpling wing
In his ecstasy! then off, off forth on swing,
As a skate’s heel sweeps smooth on a bow-bend: the hurl and gliding
Rebuffed the big wind. My heart in hiding
Stirred for a bird, —the achieve of; the mastery of the thing!
That’s not the whole poem but it’s my favorite part, here’s more about the poem http://www.poetryfoundation.org/learning/guide/182786
brian stouder said on March 18, 2016 at 10:25 am
That looks like a thread-win, to me!
AndreaJ said on March 18, 2016 at 10:56 am
Another bald eagle cam
This one is from Codorus State Park in York County, South Central PA, about a half hour from us. This pair had two babies hatch at the end of March last year and are expected to have more hatch next weekend. You can hear the wind today and other birds chirping!
St Bitch said on March 18, 2016 at 10:59 am
More from the Dahlia article:
Maya Angelou famously cautioned that “when someone shows you who they are believe them; the first time.” Obama with this pick shows us exactly who he is, as he has done time and again. And nobody should be all that surprised that he chose a nominee who has spent 19 years showing us exactly who he is either.
When the best argument that Senate Judiciary Committee member Orrin Hatch, who in the past has expressly supported Garland for the Supreme Court, can come up with is that he is “a good man” who “shouldn’t be brought up in … the most toxic” election season of his 20 years in the Senate, well, the perfect Lewis Carroll inversion is complete. “Stop being reasonable Mr. President, and stop giving us nominees we respect and have to beat to a pulp against our will” sounds less like responsible governance and more like the cri de coeur of a serial abuser. The GOP refusal to even meet with Garland, whom they all avowedly like, is like some weird form of abstinence education: If we meet him, we have to give him a hearing; if we give him a hearing, we have to vote; if we do that, we have to treat him like garbage. Next thing we know? Pregnant.
jcburns said on March 18, 2016 at 11:50 am
The Southwest Florida Eagle Cam (YouTube link) meets all of Nancy’s basic criteria…it’s high-resolution, and in our limited experience, when you check in, there are eagles there.
brian stouder said on March 18, 2016 at 11:54 am
The one nice thing about last summer, when we were stuck in a hotel for 7 weeks, was that it was out near Eagle Marsh – a protected wetlands area – and the array of wildlife that inhabits/orbits/patrol that area is marvelous
Dorothy said on March 18, 2016 at 12:15 pm
I just got to see the first hatchling get fed by one of the parents! It was so cool. I noticed something dead was in view of the camera – not sure if it’s a pigeon or perhaps a bird. Flies have been on it. Once the first parent got up off the nest, the other one came over and tore off a piece of the dead thing and fed it to the babe. Then it tucked itself on top of the baby and now you can’t see it anymore.
BACK TO THE WEBPAGE!
Dorothy said on March 18, 2016 at 12:42 pm
A pigeon or perhaps ANOTHER bird. That’s what I meant to type. Guess I”m too excited.
Kath said on March 18, 2016 at 12:43 pm
Also check out the Minnesota DNR Eagle Cam
The eaglets are getting bigger every day. So far I’ve seen them eat a rat, a mallard, a crow, some lovely brown trout, and a muskrat. Eagles are so common in the twin cities now I see them almost every day this time of year as I cross the Minnesota River on my way home from work. Last weekend, we were walking on the river road in St. Paul and saw an eagle fly over some houses and then fly very low along the road for about a block. Then it headed out over the Mississippi.
nancy said on March 18, 2016 at 12:52 pm
Dorothy, it’s a catfish — it was more intact yesterday. Eagles are basically scavengers.
Sue said on March 18, 2016 at 2:31 pm
Was it here that I read the story about the teacher who tuned into an eagle webcam in the classroom and was watching with the kids one day when the eagle flew in with a cat?
Jakash said on March 18, 2016 at 2:59 pm
It’s fascinating to me to realize, while reading the NYT article about Garland visiting the Capitol yesterday, that, despite the years of bullshit that have preceded it, this Supreme Court bullshit is the most viscerally upsetting thing the Republicans have managed (to date, needless to say.) I find it even more infuriating than the rise of Rump, which is certainly saying something. Sure, Sen. Frowning Tortoise has long since decided that obstructionism will make for an acceptable legacy. Blatantly stating in 2010 that “The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president.” made that abundantly clear. Still, there’s a bit of a difference between even that and refusing to do his Constitutionally-defined job.
“Senator John Cornyn of Texas, the No. 2 Republican and a member of the Judiciary Committee, said on Thursday that he expected Democrats to keep repeating their demands for a confirmation vote, but he urged them to desist.
‘It’s frankly a waste of time,’ Mr. Cornyn said…”
Coming from a member of the party that has chosen to maniacally vote to repeal Obamacare dozens and dozens of times, that’s rich, indeed.
But it just highlights why this is so infuriating to me. Everybody knows the House is full of local yokels subject to the whims of their most loud-mouthed constituents. The Senate is supposed to be the more moderate, deliberative bunch who actually think a bit about doing the right things. I suppose those days are long past, of course, but this refusal to take up the S. C. nomination seems more like treason than obstructionism as usual. The idea that the voters need to weigh in, when we elected Obama twice already is so stupid I can’t believe they say it with a straight face. Being the one to fill the S. C. vacancies that might arise on his watch is specifically why many of us enthusiastically supported THIS president. Sheesh!
Jakash said on March 18, 2016 at 3:01 pm
Sorry about that above rant. It’s part of the reason why I am delighted that Nancy, Susan, et. al. have linked to those bird camera sites today, though. I could use a diversion, thanks! : )
Mark P said on March 18, 2016 at 3:04 pm
The Berry College (Rome, Ga) is here
We live not far away. One day last year I saw one feeding on a deer carcass at the edge of the road. We have a certain class of hunters here who often dump deer remains on the road, along with every other thing imaginable.
Deborah said on March 18, 2016 at 3:09 pm
When we lived in St. Louis they had a program where they introduced perrigrine Falcons onto roofs of high rise buildings so they would help control the pigeon population in the area. One of those Falcons used to perch right outside of our dining room window and watch one of our cats who liked to sun on the inside sill of that window. The cat watched the falcon as intently as it was being watched. It was a standoff. Neither one could get to the other with a window screen and glass in between them.
Sherri said on March 18, 2016 at 3:12 pm
Jakash, that some Republican Senators have indicated that they might be willing to confirm Garland in a lame duck session highlights just how ludicrous their claims about letting the people have a voice are. “Let the people have a voice!” unless we don’t like how that turns out, in which case we’ll confirm this guy because this guy isn’t so bad.
brian stouder said on March 18, 2016 at 3:40 pm
And let’s state the obvious: President Obama incites deep-seated anger in millions of people, because they see a black man stepping off Air Force One, and they see a black man achieving an extremely satisfying bit of American resolution; thinking of the way he turned around our economy; and how he killed that shit-head Sammy bin Laden, after W basically gave up on the job; and how he personifies American good cheer and confidence and intelligence, every day; and even leaving aside his beautiful wife and kids.
The guy is a walking Chamber of Commerce/sunny skies/idealized American man!
And all the lip-flappers have thought to do is to refine and distill resentment and distrust, based on mis-information and outright lies, for 8 solid years.
And now we’re going to have our first woman president, and we can just see how they’ll treat her…
alex said on March 18, 2016 at 3:41 pm
I work just down the block from the Fort Wayne bird cam and the cam doesn’t catch all the carnage that I see on the sidewalk. Animal parts everywhere some mornings.
Another curious thing I see a lot of around here are dead bats on the sidewalk. Does their sonar get messed up by mirrored glass windows or something?
Suzanne said on March 18, 2016 at 4:17 pm
Two good columns in the NY Times today–Sorry about the long links. I don’t know how to shorten them.
Heather said on March 18, 2016 at 4:23 pm
Alex, interesting/sad about the bats. The U.S. bat population is suffering from something called white nose syndrome, a sort of fungus–has killed millions of them. Wonder if that’s it.
brian stouder said on March 18, 2016 at 4:54 pm
Suzanne – that was the only David Brooks column that I can remember ever reading, which I could agree with every single word
brian stouder said on March 18, 2016 at 5:27 pm
…and by the way – that photo of the beautiful flowers in the backyard is a keeper!
Suzanne said on March 18, 2016 at 5:42 pm
As I read Brooks’ column (& the comments which are exceedingly interesting) I found myself astounded. After years of allowing the raging lip flappers of the world and the likes of Trump screaming about that birther nonsense, it’s amazing that it finally dawned on someone like Brooks that people actually do BELIEVE what the lunatic fringe espouses. Did they think Limbaugh & Glenn Beck’s devotees just thought theirs was an entertaining schtik? A good friend of mine’s husband now has a safe full of gold nuggets because Beck said it was the only way to survive the coming economic collapse. A co-worker is stocking up on the Glenn Beck sponsored freeze dried meals (goal is 3-4 months worth) so his family won’t starve when terrorists attack. When your duly elected senators & governors and congress people refuse to say that enough is enough, you get Trump. And Brooks is surprised??
MichaelG said on March 18, 2016 at 5:49 pm
“pigeon heads lying around on the ground” You kill me, Deborah.
McConnell has four years left in his term at which time he will be 78 and will possibly retire. He almost got his ass beat last time. I don’t think he made a lot of friends with republican senators who have to run this year by committing all of them to his ridiculous refusal to consider the Garland nomination. If the dems keep up the pressure I’m sure there will be some serious fraying. And Sherri @24, that’s exactly what the repubs are saying and Sen. Hatch is fully aware of it. You can see how uneasy he is.
Jolene said on March 18, 2016 at 7:22 pm
Jakash and others, I appreciate and share your outrage over the GOP refusal to consider Merrick Garland’s appointment. So, I hope you will forgive me if I urge you all, one more time, to let the relevant senators know how you feel. It may be that public opinion will have no effect, but it is the only possibility.
People to call:
Mitch McConnell, Senate Majority Leader
Phone: (202) 224-2541
Charles Grassley, Chairman, Senate Judiciary Committee
Contact info available at http://www.senate.gov/general/contacting.htm
Deborah said on March 18, 2016 at 10:00 pm
Jolene, I need to call Mark Kirk, the Republican Senator of IL. He had made noises that he’s willing to consider Obama’s nominee but quickly back tracked on that. He’s in a pickle in IL because he either will get primaried by the tea party or get replaced by the Dem candidate, Tammy Duckworth. Kirk had a stroke a while back and was in rehab for months and months. I feel sorry for the guy, but not that sorry.
I have loved looking at all the bird cams today. I think I could turn into a serious birder if I gave it half a chance.
Jolene said on March 18, 2016 at 10:19 pm
I heard that Mark Kirk is on board, Deborah. He has called for a vote. I didn’t see anything about backtracking, but it’s possible there’s something more recent. In any case, it’d be good to call. They need to hear when we support their decisions as much as when we are pushing a different point of view.
Deborah said on March 18, 2016 at 10:39 pm
Jolene, what I was referring to was a statement he made earlier. Right now he’s campaigning in IL and has made this new statement about being on board with Garland. I think he’s decided that he has more of a risk losing to Duckworth, so he’s moving towards the middle. At least that seems to be what he’s doing today. We’ll see.
MichaelG said on March 18, 2016 at 11:35 pm
Well, Deborah, you’ve pretty much presented it. Can they be loyal to the turtle or do they respond to the people in their states who are going to vote for or agin them.
Jakash said on March 19, 2016 at 2:05 am
Okay, Jolene, will do…
Elsewhere — https://twitter.com/SCOTUSnom
From which one learns that:
“14 presidents have had 19 nominees confirmed to the Supreme Court during presidential election years.”
“5 presidents have filled spots on the court AFTER THE NEXT PRESIDENT WAS ELECTED.”
David C. said on March 19, 2016 at 6:41 am
We have at least two active nesting pairs of eagles in our area, one is just a two mile bike ride away. They’re nesting on a cell tower. I’m told that the towers near the river are built with nesting baskets for raptors. I really enjoy watching the eagles, especially when the wind is up and the nestlings are trying out their wings. Another favorite is when the parents take a fish carcass away from the nest and drop it. I can’t resist the though of someone in the big houses along the lake sitting on their deck with their morning cuppa and having a fish carcass land on their lap. A guy can dream, can’t he?
beb said on March 19, 2016 at 11:51 am
Gawker,com, whose tagline is “today’s gossip — Tomorrow’s news” seem to be falling down on the job. There’s not one word about the Hulk Hogan sex tape verdict, which is otherwise all over the internet. A $155 million verdict. Someone really lost big-time on that case. Oh, yeah, that would be Gawker media…
St Bitch said on March 19, 2016 at 12:19 pm
Thanks for digits, Jolene. Since I’m in Iowa, I’ll give Grassley a ding.
MichaelG said on March 19, 2016 at 12:54 pm
Isn’t Grassley a thousand years old and up for re-election this year? That could be a fun campaign.
There are some finches in a tree in the vacant lot next to my house. I don’t know how those little things survive the winter. I guess it just isn’t that cold here.
Deborah said on March 19, 2016 at 12:56 pm
Well I was wrong about Sen Kirk. He didn’t say he was on board with Garland, he said he deserved a vote. Quite different. But still, he’s not being as obstinate as his fellow R Senators.
Jolene said on March 19, 2016 at 1:05 pm
Yes and yes, MichaelG. Grassley is ancient (82) and up for re-election in the fall. A couple of TV talkers have said that he is the key to the question of whether Garland gets a hearing–that if he wants to do it, McConnell be damned. Supposedly, he is close to his constituents, and will be influenced by their view of whether to hold hearings.
Of course, this is all just gossip. I have no idea how credible it is. But it makes a certain amount of sense. If I were him, I wouldn’t want my legacy as committee chair to include this highly political obstruction.
Jakash said on March 19, 2016 at 1:53 pm
Whatever Sen. Kirk is actually thinking about this, he’s at least smart enough to figure out that the optics of calling for a vote make sense for him politically. Better to tweak the R leadership, who will probably give him a pass, given his political situation, and go for appearing “reasonable” to the electorate in Blue Illinois.
From that WaPo article Jolene linked to @ 35: “Further complicating matters for Kirk is that Garland grew up in Illinois, in a Chicago suburb only a few miles from the border of the congressional district Kirk used to represent.”
Of course, that didn’t keep him from saying “I think given Mitch’s view, I don’t see his view changing too much. Eventually we will have an election, and we will have a new president, and the new president will come forward with a nomination.”
Not exactly a profile in courage. The gist: Oh, hell, the Majority Leader (R-Galapagos) isn’t gonna change his mind, so we’ll get back to our traditional fixation with the Constitution and original intent when it suits us. For now, it’s all politics, all the time, Constitution be damned — but hey, at least I’ll be kinda nice to Garland, you Illinois voters! Wink, wink.
Sherri said on March 19, 2016 at 2:19 pm
Hulk Hogan sues Gawker media for $100 million for posting a sex tape, and is awarded $155 million. Erin Andrews sues the talker and the hotel who enabled him for $75 million, and is awarded $55 million. Interesting juxtaposition.
basset said on March 19, 2016 at 2:51 pm
and how much of that will either of em actually get?
Jolene said on March 19, 2016 at 3:20 pm
Following various links, I came across this Boston Globe article About Hillary just as she was about to become First Lady. Most of it focuses on the transformations she went through in college and her activities as a student leader. Very interesting in that it illustrates that she has been the Hillary we know for a very long time–smartest kid in class, concerned about justice, a pragmatic problem-solver. Worth the time.
Brandon said on March 19, 2016 at 3:33 pm
It’s a $115 million verdict.
Sherri said on March 19, 2016 at 3:55 pm
Neither of them will get anywhere near those awards, but that’s not really the point. I just find it interesting that a jury chose to go over the amount that Hulk Hogan asked for in his case, but another jury awarded Andrews less than what she asked for, which was less than what Hogan asked for. The defendants in both cases were less than sympathetic, so I find the difference in the two cases a bit jarring.
The reaction on social media, needless to say, is uniformly positive for Hogan, while not so for Andews. There is still too large a segment of people who don’t think women should be anywhere near their precious sports, and therefore deserve whatever harassment (and worse) they get.
beb said on March 19, 2016 at 8:04 pm
I apologize for incorrectly listing the amount of Hulk Hogan’s jury award. Brandon is right: it was $115 million.
Kevin Drum writes that some of the political operatives in the Republican part are starting to go tired of the endless grift that is their busisness.
I used to think Drum was a center-right liberal and wished he was more of a firebrand. These days I’m enjoying his calm reactions to all the craziness in the world.
brian stouder said on March 19, 2016 at 8:29 pm
So here’s a semi-seasonal non-sequitur for ya’all.
As I become an old man (which beats the alternative), one thing that’s come onto my radar is the idea of a self-propelled lawn mower. For my birthday (double-nickel) my lovely wife got me one – which makes me very, very happy!
And we have a perfectly good push-mower that’s always been garaged (never seen the weather) and starts on the first pull, etc.
First thing I said to Pam was – let’s put it by the street with a sign that says “free” – and be done with it. She promptly smacked that idea down and said she could sell it for $60 – whereupon I said she couldn’t get half that much for it – whereupon she laughed uproariously and began typing on a Facebook entry – whereupon I said ‘if you get $25 for that thing, you win” – whereupon she got one offer after the next after the next; and the first guy that showed up pulled the recoil start and was satisfied that she roared to life, and he peeled off $40 for Pammy!
She’s definitely the brains of this household!
Deborah said on March 19, 2016 at 9:41 pm
Brian, maybe she could sell my husband’s car for him. Ha ha.
MichaelG said on March 20, 2016 at 12:26 am
I’d be after Pam to buy lunch.
jcburns said on March 20, 2016 at 10:42 am
A UK Royal Research Ship at the forefront of British naval engineering may well be christened the RRS Boaty McBoatface. Huzzah!
beb said on March 20, 2016 at 2:16 pm
Brian @52. My friend used to sell his art at SF conventions. He discovered that he sold more pieces when he raised the prices on his photos. The morale seems to be that if you undervalue the worth of your stuff, people will undervalue it, too.
So giving away a free mower suggests there’s something wrong with it. Putting a moderately high price on it allows for bargaining down which makes the buyer happy (he’s getting a bargain) and the seller happy because they got a decent amount for “trash.”