A Moment of Silence…

A moment of silence for the Thylacine.

On July 10th in 1936, the Tasmanian government passed legislation protecting one of its more unique animals… a creature that had died off in the rest of the world. This was the Tasmanian marsupial wolf.

But they were a bit late, since by the time they got around to protecting the beastie, THERE WAS ONLY ONE LEFT.  Just two months after the protective legislation passed, the final representative of marsupial wolves died in captivity.  Seems that a careless zookeeper locked him out of his shelter, so he was exposed to extreme temperatures (hot Tasmanian day, cold Tasmanian night) and perished into eternity.

There’s some footage available of the very last Thylacine, too.

Now, some people claim to have seen surviving specimens in the wilds of Tasmania.  I suppose this isn’t completely impossible.  In fact, the Tasmanian wolf interests me because it is one of the more likely cryptozoological animals.  Unlike Bigfoot or the chupacabra, we know the creature once existed.  And unlike the alleged dinosaurs in the Congo or giant ground sloths in the Amazon, we know it existed recently.

I think it would be extremely cool if there was a remnant population surviving somewhere in the dense wilderness.  I’ll need more than some spotty eyewitness accounts to convince me, though.

Alive or not, this episode should make us more aware that things do go extinct. Speaking of…

A moment of silence for another highly endangered specimen:

That’s right. In one of the most shameless displays of cowardice I’ve ever seen, the US Congress decided to pass a bill to expand the government’s illegally-begun surveillance and wiretap system.  Bush signed it into law today.

The surveillance system which has largely evaded the normal checks and balances, accountabilities, and usual channels, was begun in violation of the U.S. Constitution.  What we’re seeing today is an attempt at making it all legal.  Sort of like if I’ve been robbing banks across the country, then get elected, then pass laws making it okay for me to rob banks.

According to the New York Times: “Debate over the surveillance law was the one area where Democrats had held firm in opposition.  House Democrats went so far as to allow a temporary surveillance measure to expire in February, leading to a five-month impasse and prompting accusations from Mr. Bush that the nation’s defenses against another strike by Al Qaeda had been weakened.  But in the end Mr. Bush won out, as administration officials helped forge a deal between Republican and Democratic leaders that included almost all the major elements the White House wanted.”

It’s funny, but Democrats were handed victories in the mid-term election because of voter disapproval over Republican abuse of power, heavy spending, and corruption.  But now those same Democrats are simply empowering those same Republicans.  Even Barrack Obama, a statesman I truly like, compromised his expressed opposition and voted in favor of this.

Oh, and on the same day, Karl Rove defied a subpoena to appear before Congress.  Just flat-out didn’t show up.  I wonder what would happen to us plebeians if we ever displayed this audacity?

Guess that’s why I’ve been a lifelong non-partisan.  Agree with some things on the conservative side, some things on the liberal side, and many things in between, above, and beyond.

Watching this Week: Lawrence of Arabia and the Star Wars trilogy (the only one, thank you.)

Reading this Week: Neuromancer by William Gibson.

It is sobering to reflect that one of the best ways to get yourself a reputation as a dangerous citizen these days is to go about repeating the very phrases which our founding fathers used in the struggle for independence. – Charles A. Beard

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