Thursday, July 24, 2014

Mallard and ducklings

A mallard and her seven ducklings were swimming by the banks of the pond yesterday morning.  They've still got some growing up to do before fall!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Simple elegence

Plants by the pond's edge at twilight curved gracefully in the evening's setting sun.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

F-35 in the news

Interesting to see in a report in today's StarTribune, Weapons Makers: the case for defense, noting that progress on the F-35 fighter "is years behind schedule and stratospherically over budget".  One note of good news is that global spending on weapons went from a record $1.7 trillion in 2008 down to $100 billion.  

Another interesting statistic from this article - the Pentagon's budget is as big as the next 16 defense ministries COMBINED.  Wow.  We've got the world's finest military industrial complex money can buy!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Military spending versus other national priorities

"Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed.

This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. The cost of one modern heavy bomber is this: a modern brick school in more than 30 cities. It is two electric power plants, each serving a town of 60,000 population. It is two fine, fully equipped hospitals. It is some fifty miles of concrete pavement. We pay for a single fighter with a half-million bushels of wheat. We pay for a single destroyer with new homes that could have housed more than 8,000 people. . . . This is not a way of life at all, in any true sense. Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron."

President Dwight D. Eisenhower, April 16, 1953

Now, more than 61 years later, the United States military budget continues to demonstrate misplaced priorities.  The current budget is $821 billion, far greater than any other nation in the world. According to an article in the NY Times, the military's most recent weapon of choice, the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, is expected to cost taxpayers $396 billion.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Pretty weeds

Weeds were blooming by the side of the pond yesterday.  The city of Crystal has a "no mow" policy that allows plants to grow naturally for a few feet by the shore of the ponds at Bassett Creek Park.  The park staff will however every so often come through and clear out the vast number of willows, etc. that then to shoot up and block people's view.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Plant fun

Green energy comes to the neighborhood

Who says plants can't read?

Friday, July 18, 2014

Common Merganser Ducklings

A quartet of young common mergansers swam across the pond at Bassett Creek Park yesterday morning.