Open thread

Haven't had an open thread in a while, but there's lots of random news worth sharing, including this scary bit about the decimation of Monarch butterflies.

Monarchs lay their eggs only on milkweed, and patches of the plant have rapidly disappeared from the Great Plains over the last decade. As corn prices have risen — spurred in part by a government mandate to add ethanol to gasoline — farmers have planted tens of millions of acres of idle land along the monarchs’ path that once provided both milkweed and nectar.

At the same time, growers have switched en masse to crops that are genetically engineered to tolerate herbicides. The increased use of herbicides has all but wiped out milkweed that once sprouted between rows of corn and soybean.

As a result, Dr. Taylor said, the monarchs must travel farther and use more energy to find places to lay their eggs. With their body fat depleted, the butterflies lay fewer eggs, or die before they have a chance to reproduce.

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Did not know this

Well, somewhere in the back of my mind I knew that monarchs lay eggs only on milkweed, but I didn't realize that the plant and the insect are being eradicated. This is scary indeed.

Here's my open thread contribution: Congressman Gone Wild! (no, not Rabon; that's covered in a separate thread). And then there's Congressman Tamed!

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"What I see from the folks who are opposing our agenda is whining coming from losers." -- Thom Tillis

Bee population a true threat

Few people don't like the monarch butterfly. Easily recognizable and such a grand piece of nature.

What is a true threat to our world society, though, is the reduction in the bee population world wide.

http://e360.yale.edu/feature/declining_bee_populations_pose_a_threat_to_...

Off to DC

I'm off to DC for a Voting Rights Summit and Fair Vote Conference. Hopefully I'll come back with more ideas on fighting voter suppression at the state wide level, what actions people can take at the local level, on how to fight to restore the Voting Rights Act nationally, how to grow the Rising American Electorate's participation in the electoral process (women, youth, Latinos, people of color, LGBTQ, etc) and other innovative ideas to support accessible voting and opposing big money buying our political process.

We aren't the only state going through this wave of voter suppression. We aren't alone. There have got to be good ideas and strategies out there in addition to the ones we're already trying. And so far I'd say we're off to a good start responding with the Moral Monday movement that's now spreading to Georgia, and to South Carolina as Truthful Tuesdays. And if we can make the HKonJ Moral March & Rally the biggest rally North Carolina has ever seen, then we'll be off to a very good start.

2014 is going to be the first statewide election since the Moral Monday movement started, and the last statewide election before the photo ID voter suppression goes into full effect. It's going to decide the balance of the General Assembly, along with several important judicial races, and it's going to decide a US Senate race that could flip control of the Senate nationally depending on its outcome. It's a narrow and crucially important window in which to fight for voting rights and get out the vote. And we have to use it to the fullest.

Godspeed Jake!

Learn some good stuff. You're right, we need all hands on deck this year.

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"What I see from the folks who are opposing our agenda is whining coming from losers." -- Thom Tillis

A few photos from the first day

Thanks, Jake

for this and all you do.

Martha Brock

Happy to be a part of such a great team

I'm just happy to be a part of such a great team doing this work.

Here's the scene from our 2nd day in DC.

Ran across a McCrony internet poll on Facebook

Right now "Terrible" is by far the most common rating. Would be nice to keep it that way. here's the link.