Killing Birds For Fun and Profit!

The European starling is an invasive species and it appears that the US is trying to eradicate the birds that are living near farms!  Read this-

The Daily Freeman has a story about birds falling out of the sky in the Columbia County Town of Kinderhook… and the startling discovery that the birds, all European starlings, were killed as part of a U.S. Department of Agriculture program to eradicate bird flocks that threaten dairy farms. According to Carol Bannerman, a spokeswoman for the federal agency, birds in such cases are fed a pesticide-laced bird seed and die within the confines of the farm or in other open-space areas. “In this case, it does appear this dairy was in relative close proximity to a small town,” Bannerman said. “It appears some of the birds did go into that town, settled into the trees there and died.” Bannerman added that European starlings are a serious threat to dairy farmers because they can devour large amounts of seed put out for the cattle, and noted that her department had determined about 2,500 starlings had descended on a dairy farm in the Kinderhook area this winter when they were called in. She declined to identify the farm. In addition to eating seed meant for the cattle, she said, the birds leave behind large amounts of excrement that can carry diseases, including salmonella, that can be passed on to the cattle. The pesticide approved for eradication is approved by the FDA and paid for by farmers who seek its application. Once the birds have eaten the pesticide-laced seed, she said, it takes about three hours to three days for them to die. “We regret any sort of concern that some people may have experienced,” the federal official said, adding that the resultant bird carcasses pose no threat to animals that might feed or come in contact with the bodies.


Mass Bird Deaths Near Rte. 724!

Okay folks, check the Reading Eagle for this story!  A family noticed a large group of dead Euorpean starlings laying on Rte 222, near Rte 724 in Berks County.

It is pretty scary to see bird carcasses lying around isn’t it?  Scarier to hear about them happening all over the place since January this year isn’t it?

Okay, so let’s look at what might be causing all the deaths.  One theory that has been trotted out is that the birds flew into a truck.  I’m not going to say that isn’t possible because I’m sure it is…but I’m thinking this is too easy an answer.  I have a hard time believing that birds are just plowing into moving vehicles these days.

Another idea is that birds are ingesting poison and then flying away from the site where they ate bad seeds or bad feed.  This is a strong possibility in my mind.  One particular weed killer has been used by farmers and the chemical has been shown to allow a fungus to grow on the foodstuffs- and this fungus could attack the birds.  I have no proof of that theory- it’s just a guess at this point.

Third you have the ‘it’s been a bad winter’ theory.  Birds are having a hard time feeding this year because of all the snow and thus they are falling out of the sky with empty stomachs and that is the reason they die.  Then why aren’t there several types of birds dying?  Why do we find these groups of the same type of bird?  We know these birds fly together in flocks but they don’t always stay together to feed.  I don’t know about the behavior of European starlings but there have been stories about other bird deaths where all the birds were the same type.   It just  makes me scratch my head.

The bottom line is I’m a little worried.  I’ll keep searching.  And if I find anything I’ll be sure to let you know!




I’m Not a Sock Puppet!

I had a sock puppet once.  It was made out of an old tube sock.  I attached yarn hair and some googly eyes and I think I even used marker for the face and lipstick for the mouth.  It was a very ugly doll but I enjoyed it even in it’s ugliness.

This post isn’t talking about that kind of thing.  This post is about an online phenomenon where people create other identities that then “participate” online in forums and on social media sites for the express purpose of making one person or organizations idea appear to be the idea of many people or organizations.

Okay, so some of you are probably saying ” So what! Big deal!”  And I bet you folks are thinking that you can tell the difference between someone who is fake and someone who is real right?

Well, Sock puppets have become a lot more sophisticated- certainly more sophisticated than my tube sock with lipstick.  These days you can purchase programs that you can tweak so that you have multiple identities.  Then apparently all you have to do is say which sites you’d like to send your thought to and voila’ you’ve just become several people.

Search engine optimizers have been doing the packaged identities for a while now to improve hits online or to use platforms like Craig’s List.  This isn’t new- it just isn’t popularly known.

You can’t even trust something was written by a human because it has bad spelling or it makes assumptions that a person would. These puppets aren’t fake- they are just multiples of one person or one idea.

Are there any ways that you can imagine an apparently popular online idea making a difference in the real world?  Can you see it changing how political games are played?  Can you see it changing how people think about things?

I’m just asking!





Thunder Storm Last Night

When I think of thunder I think of spring and summer.  I rarely think of February.  Last night though showed me that the calendar means nothing to Mother Nature.  Around 2am there were some deep rumbles and a bit of what I’ll call sheet lightning.  It was odd to hear that sound and it woke me from a fitful sleep.

Did anyone else experience that mini storm?



Who Are TeaParty Favorites for 2012?

First I’d like to say I’m not a member of the Tea Party group.  I’m not an independent.  I’m a Democrat with generally centrist views.

I bet you are wondering what allows me to name the Tea Party Candidates so far for 2012?  I guess the answer to that is they have a lot of supporters talking about them.  They are definitely making news.

Okay, so in no particular order here are some of the names you’ll see- Ron Paul, Tim Pawlenty, Sarah Palin, Michelle Bachman, Gary Johnson.

Several of those folks would like drugs to be legalized.  Some of them would like to grow drugs for medical use.   Gary Johnson has gone out of his way to say  that even though he wants drugs legalized he is not suggesting kids and abusers have free access.  On the other hand you have some who are all for the drug war, and who are probably more Republican leaning folks like Mr. Pawlenty.

Ron Paul and Sarah Palin  still have energy but they’ve lost a little of their shine I think.  That of course can change and I  guess we’ll have to wait and see how much excitement and cash they can each raise as we move closer to the election cycle.

Did I miss anyone you’ve heard about?  Do you know anything about any of these folks?  Are there any Pennsylvania leaders we should be talking about in this list?

Just think about it.





We Used Prisoners as Guinea Pigs Back Then

Pictures have emerged providing the shocking proof that U.S. government doctors once experimented on disabled American citizens and prison inmates.

Such experiments included giving hepatitis to mental patients in Connecticut, squirting a pandemic flu virus up the noses of prisoners in Maryland, and injecting cancer cells into chronically ill people at a New York hospital.

Much of this horrific history is 40 to 80 years old, but it is the backdrop for a meeting in Washington this week by a presidential bioethics commission.

ExperimentsPrison ‘volunteers’: In this 1966 picture, medical administrator Solomon McBride questions a clearly marked subject at Holmesburg Prison, Philadelphia. Questions have been rasied about whether inmates were coerced

The meeting was triggered by the government’s apology last year for federal doctors infecting prisoners and mental patients in Guatemala with syphilis 65 years ago.

U.S. officials also acknowledged there had been dozens of similar experiments in America – studies that often involved making healthy people sick.

A review by the Associated Press of medical journal reports and decades-old press clippings found more than 40 such studies.

At best, these were a search for lifesaving treatments – at worst, some amounted to curiosity-satisfying experiments that hurt people but provided no useful results.


Measles Concerns

It doesn’t sound like a pleasant virus but it’s back!  Measles is an illness that has to run it’s course once you have it but it is highly contagious so if you have it you need to try to keep those germs to yourself.  Here are some symptoms and some information for you if you think you might have contracted the virus or someone you know has-


Last reviewed: July 26, 2010.
PubMed Health

Measles is a very contagious (easily spread) illness caused by a virus.

Causes, incidence, and risk factors

The infection is spread by contact with droplets from the nose, mouth, or throat of an infected person. Sneezing and coughing can put contaminated droplets into the air.

Those who have had an active measles infection or who have been vaccinated against the measles have immunity to the disease. Before widespread vaccination, measles was so common during childhood that most people became sick with the disease by age 20. The number of measles cases dropped over the last several decades to almost none in the U.S. and Canada. However, rates have started to rise again recently.

Some parents do not let their children get vaccinated because of unfounded fears that the MMR vaccine, which protects against measles, mumps, and rubella, can cause autism. Large studies of thousands of children have found no connection between this vaccine and autism. Not vaccinating children can lead to outbreaks of a measles, mumps, and rubella — all of which are potentially serious diseases of childhood.


Symptoms usually begin 8 – 12 days after you are exposed to the virus. This is called the incubation period.

Symptoms may include:

  • Bloodshot eyes
  • Cough
  • Fever
  • Light sensitivity (photophobia)
  • Muscle pain
  • Rash
    • Usually appears 3 – 5 days after the first signs of being sick
    • May last 4 – 7 days
    • Usually starts on the head and spreads to other areas, moving down the body
    • Rash may appear as flat, discolored areas (macules) and solid, red, raised areas (papules) that later join together
    • Itchy
  • Redness and irritation of the eyes (conjunctivitis)
  • Runny nose
  • Sore throat
  • Tiny white spots inside the mouth (Koplik’s spots)

Signs and tests


  • Measles serology
  • Viral culture (rarely done)


There is no specific treatment for the measles.

The following may relieve symptoms:

Some children may need vitamin A supplements. Vitamin A reduces the risk of death and complications in children in less developed countries, where children may not be getting enough vitamin A. People who don’t get enough vitamin A are more likely to get infections, including measles. It is not clear whether children in more developed countries would benefit from supplements.

Expectations (prognosis)

Those who do not have complications such as pneumonia do very well.


Complications of measles infection may include:

Calling your health care provider

Call your health care provider if you or your child has symptoms of measles.


Routine immunization is highly effective for preventing measles. People who are not immunized, or who have not received the full immunization are at high risk for catching the disease.

Taking serum immune globulin 6 days after being exposed to the virus can reduce the risk of developing measles, or can make the disease less severe.


Hidden Police

Is it something about Spring that brings out the hidden cop cars?  I noticed 3 of them today.  I figured it was the nice weather that made them think that everyone would be getting out of the house and driving around.

I don’t want to show any disrespect for the police- if people are speeding or doing things that result in them getting tickets for violations then so be it, I just want those of you who aren’t thinking about police to remember that they are looking at how you are driving!

Be safe!




Sands Casino Bethlehem

Today I visited the new casino in well, in Bethlehem.  We got to, um Bethlehem and we drove down a very pot-holey street and saw a sign directing us to this big steel building and suddenly you see the sign for the Sands.  It just doesn’t seem to fit where it is but hey, there were a lot of people there so who am I to say where casinos should go.

Apparently folks come from Philly and New Jersey and New York- just to stick their cards into slot machines or play Pa Gow, or Baccarat.  I’m not one of the people that love casinos but it was nice to see the place.  I guess there are about 600 machines that say they are 1 cent machines or 2 cent machines- but when you sit down you quickly find out it can say it’s any amount on the machine but it only allows you to use 25 credits to play- so even at a 2 cent machine you are playing one game for 50 cents.  I found that playing those slots and only going with one line was a bad move.  When I upped the amount of lines I was playing at once I won- but my winnings were soon wiped out after another couple of button presses.

Remember you used to call those machines ‘one armed bandits’.  well, I couldn’t see anyone using the arms today.  I guess it is computerized so you don’t have to but for me some of the excitement was gone.

There were some eateries there.  They were very expensive- a 19.95 sandwich was a little rich for my blood.  But that didn’t seem to stop the places from getting people in there eating.

After we left the casino we drove through Allentown and I stopped at Josh Early Candies.  ( I like candy).  Then my husband took me to Red Robin for lunch and then we came home.

Am I going back?  Well, I’m going back to Josh Early Candies!  But I’m probably not going to plan another casino trip to Bethlehem.  It was nice, but it’s just not my cuppa!