Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Black Rhino, Mosaic Tailed Rat, and the US Senate

I keep wanting to write about happy things. I'm a happy guy, and much in my life is happily reported. Happy things come up. But before I can get a streak going, I strike out against something sad or horrible or tragic, like a slider down and away. And I find I have to take note. The Western Black Rhino, subspecies of the rhino, is officially extinct, poached to oblivion by humans for its horn. It's a fact; it's a thing. On a small island off Australia called Bramble Cay, a rodent called the mosaic tailed rat (Bramble Cay melomys rubicola), which was indigenous only to that tiny island, has disappeared. Rising seas destroyed its food sources. Global warming, i.e., climate change, has risen seal levels enough to cause the rat's extinction, the first extinction linked directly to human activity's impact upon climate. It's a fact; it's a thing. The United States Senate failed to pass even the most rudimentary compromise legislation on background checks and restrictions on people on the no-fly list for buying guns. In the aftermath of the horrific mass murder in Orlando, 85-90 percent of Americans favor better restrictions. It is a non-partisan opinion, but the Republicans in the Senate stood firmly with the NRA and the 10-15% very vocal minority. It's a fact; it's a thing. Seems to me, the wrong small group of mammals died out this month.

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