Voices from Russia

Sunday, 6 October 2013

Russia: Beware of Foodie-Bears!

Barbara-Marie Drezhlo. Was it Your Turn to Lick the Spoon. 2012

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T-shirts in souvenir shops in Moscow’s Arbat tourist district read, “I’ve been to Russia, there are no bears”. The print mocks the popular stereotype that Russia’s all about endless cold winters, vodka, and bears have rescued a couple after a bear broke into their countryside home, attracted by the smell of fresh borshch. A patrol turned up in the early hours after a neighbour raised the alarm and found the couple hiding in their sauna, where they temporarily lived as their home was under renovation. Meanwhile, the bear enjoyed hot borshch in their garden. A warning shot was enough to scare the intruder back into the woods. No one was hurt, although the bear damaged the building. The couple said that they’d left the homemade borshch to cool on the porch and went to bed. They woke to “loud banging” and saw a bear breaking the windows of their glassed-in porch. Then, it got inside and treated himself to all the borshch, which was still hot and delicious. Often, people spotted bears looking for food around dachas in the area before, but happily, no one reported any attacks.

Although the case may seem funny to some Americans, but he who laughs last laughs best, as encounters between bears and humans are actually not that rare in the USA and Canada, and may far exceed those reported in Russia. Thus, recently, hungry grizzlies in Yellowstone National Park were really determined to share a meal with people. Since the area is popular with tourists, officials had to issue a warning after they recorded several bear attacks on visitors in the park straddling Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho. Officials with the park and two national forests that border it said that numerous recent sightings of bears seeking berries and other foods near roadways and popular trails prompted them to issue the advisory, which called on campers to take precautions like carrying bear spray and hiking in groups. Some 600 federally-protected grizzly bears wander around Yellowstone and its border areas. Each year in the region there are about five encounters between bears and humans that result in injuries. Fatal attacks are rare.

In recent years, conservationists said that climate change caused a decline in whitebark pines, which produce the nuts that are a food source for grizzlies and black bears, forcing them to roam around, starving and frustrated. Late summer and early fall are typical times for encounters, as bears begin to seek out more food to pack on pounds before going into winter hibernation. At the same time, summer is the peak tourist season for national park visitors. In July 2010, a grizzly killed a camper and injured two others in a national forest in Montana near Yellowstone. The following year, in separate attacks, bears fatally wounded two hikers. On 15 August, a grizzly wounded two hikers at Yellowstone, but a second pair of hikers warded off the bear with bear spray. The same day, a grizzly bit two biologists collecting grizzly habitat data in Idaho near the park. The scientists drove off the bear with bear spray.

Meanwhile, Nevada wildlife officials pressed local governments near Lake Tahoe to penalise residents for not having bear-proof trashcans, saying that existing regulations to address trash-raiding black bears are insufficient. The Reno Gazette-Journal reported that Nevada Department of Wildlife Director Tony Wasley told trustees that they could address the vast majority of human-bear conflicts by decreasing the availability of human garbage. He said, “Ultimately, total removal of human food sources as an attractant for bears is the only way to avoid these types of human-bear conflicts”. Wasley also thought that it would help matters if the district enforced existing laws that penalise residents for being careless with their trash. Local jurisdictions already have rules on the books to address problems posed by trash-raiding bears, but many residents don’t think that they go far enough.

In the Canadian province of Ontario, the bear population dangerously grew to an alarming number. According to a recent census by the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters, there are some 150,000 bears in Ontario; no one is entirely sure of really how many of them there are precisely. The bear population has increased every year since the cancellation of the spring bear hunt in 1999, and so has the number of incidents involving bears, including a vicious and unprovoked attack on a woman near Peterborough. Thus, some local activists favour an early season hunt.

In the northern part of the Canadian province of Manitoba, a polar bear chased and bit a man. Earlier this month, the bear chased Garett Kolsun whilst he was walking home after a night of celebrating with friends in Churchill. It cornered him on a porch, swiped at him with his paw, and sank its teeth into his hip until Kolsun said he managed to distract it with the light from his mobile, which allowed him to flee to safety. The Hudson Bay community has fame as the polar bear capital of the world, and it attracts tourists coming for at least one glimpse of the predator. Nevertheless, the animals pose a threat to residents, and when they’re captured, they’re kept in a holding facility that’s commonly referred to as the polar bear jail.

However, this particular offender got a new home in a Winnipeg zoo. Margaret Redmond, president of the Assiniboine Park Conservancy, said that, within the next few weeks, the bear would be transported from Churchill to the International Polar Bear Conservation Centre. Redmond said that this would be the first polar bear from the wild to be housed at the facility, which the conservancy opened last year. On Saturday, Redmond said, “Otherwise, it was determined that he was going to be euthanised because he was such a danger”. His new home will eventually be part of a new four-hectare (10 acres) exhibit, due to open next June, that profiles northern Canada’s animals and its fragile environment. Redmond said that she hasn’t personally spoken with Kolsun about how he feels about the polar bear’s new home in Winnipeg, but she said that provincial officials talked with him before the decision was made. Kolsun suffered only a few superficial puncture wounds and scratches from the attack. Redmond said, “He feels very good about this option, he sees that this is an opportunity for the animal, rather than having to be euthanised, to serve as an ambassador to his species in what will ultimately be a very large and comfortable area for the bear”.

That was a lucky escape for the Canadian bear, but his black pal captured after it wandered through Athol MA wasn’t that lucky, as Massachusetts Environmental Police euthanised it. They caught the bear after it climbed a tree and police tranquilised it. A spokesman for the state environmental affairs office told the Athol Daily News that, after that, the bear couldn’t be released in New Hampshire or Vermont, as both states are holding black bear hunting season; they have an agreement with Massachusetts that any “chemically immobilized” animal can’t be released into the wild within 45 days of the season’s start. It’s not hunting season in Massachusetts until November. However, the spokesman said Environmental Police euthanised the bear, instead of releasing it, because the chemicals used to tranquilise it are potentially fatal to any hunter who might shoot the bear, then eat it.

Another black bear felt at home in Gatlinburg TN and was caught on camera walking the city’s streets, climbing up the steps of the local convention centre, and even following the crosswalk to cross the street. ABC News said that Tricia Alexander captured a video of the bear, then, posted it to her Facebook page. She was sitting in her car, but not everyone had the good sense to keep at a distance. As the bear made its way through the city’s streets, weaving in and out of restaurant-goers, people clamoured to come within just feet of it in order to get a good picture of with their mobile-phone cameras. Dr Marcy Souza of the University of Tennessee School of Veterinary Medicine told local ABC affiliate WATE, “Unfortunately, a lot of people in our society are getting more desensitised to wild animals, as we move more and more into this digital age, and we don’t actually get out into the woods, so, you don’t encounter these animals very frequently except for on TV. Although he looks cute and cuddly, they can actually be pretty fierce. That bear probably weighed somewhere in the range of 800 pounds (363 kilogrammes) would be my guess, and they can do some serious damage if he got cornered as he did in some of those situations”.

A commenter on Alexander’s Facebook post wrote that he works near where the video was shot and the bear “comes around all the time”. Alexander herself commented that she had another encounter with a bear on the streets of Gatlinburg in 1997 in a hotel parking lot. The abovementioned cases are just a few in a string of human-bear encounters registered in bear-inhabited communities, so their residents should better not banter about Russians and their hungry bears. The borshch-eating bear was at least decent and well-behaved… he finished his meal and left like an Englishman… with no goodbye.

5 October 2013

Voice of Russia World Service

http://voiceofrussia.com/2013_10_05/Russia-beware-of-foodie-bears-7537/

Thursday, 15 November 2012

The Separated States of America

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A petition campaign for secession launched in several American states is gaining momentum. A day ago, Texas succeeded to collect more than the 25,000 signatures needed for the petition to receive a go-ahead. Now, there are already seven states where the number of signatories has exceeded the needed threshold… besides Texas, they’re Louisiana, North Carolina, Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, and Florida. Although in any foreseeable future any secessionist move by the above states (and an unknown number to follow) is unlikely to bear fruit in terms of real secession, one should regard the move as a signal that the question is being included on the American political agenda.

The US Constitution doesn’t allow the possibility for any state to secede from the Union. The memories of the Confederation of 11 Southern states and the Civil War that followed are still fresh in the national memory. Probably, no one in the USA would like to repeat that experience, although in regional popular perception (most overtly expressed in Gone with the Wind) the southerners have the reputation as people of honour defending the core values of a free society.

The only state that has a formal exemption from the constitutional provision banning secession is Texas, which joined the Union as an independent state, and is still nicknamed the “Lone Star State”. It’s hardly surprising that the deeply-conservative state was the pioneer of the current secessionist campaign and was the first one to exceed the 25,000 threshold. It’s collected more than 100,000 signatures. However, even Texas, legally speaking, is highly unlikely to be granted independence… as far back as 1868, the US Supreme Court ruled in Texas v White case that states lacked the power to unilaterally secede from the Union.

Some critics of the petition campaign point out that the underlying reason for it is purely political and that this is nothing more than just a reaction of Romney supporters to their electoral defeat. In this sense, one can compare the campaign to the proclamation of the Confederation in 1860 as a reaction to Abraham Lincoln’s election. Nevertheless, one should not only note that Barack Obama is far from being a second Lincoln, but one should consider another small fact. Amongst the seven states that have so far collected 25,000 or more signatures, Obama defeated Romney in Florida on 6 November.

Other critics say that the secession of the states seeking it would serve the Union well and badly affect the states themselves. According to this point of view, the states seeking secession are amongst the weakest in terms of economy. “The Confederation of Takers” is what the Washington Post commentator Dana Milbank called the possible (or, rather impossible) future composition, writing, “If Obama were serious about being a good steward of the nation’s finances, he’d let them” secede, further including into the Confederation such relatively-poor states as Alaska, West Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, and Mississippi. Well, the above states may be relatively poor, but amongst them, only Tennessee is among the seven that have collected the needed amount of signature. Definitely, the label of “poor state” can’t be applied to states like Florida, and even less so to Texas, whose economy is booming due to vast oil reserves, and who would become the world’s 15th ranking economy in case it succeeded in gaining full independence.

Again, for the time being, such considerations don’t constitute anything more than wishful thinking. Still, the very idea of secession may not be ripe, but they’ve definitely sown the seeds for it. Back in mid-90s, I saw a map published in one of the American newspapers depicting the country in 2017. Apart from the Lone Star Texas as an independent, it showed sovereign entities like the Dixieland Confederation, Theocratic Kingdom of Utah, the Wild West and New England Republics, and some others.

However, seriously, even if one may disregard the idea of secession for the time being, one shouldn’t exclude it altogether. Do you remember what enthusiasm surrounded the enlargement of the EU some eight years ago, in May 2004? What’s become of European integration now? It’s best if we didn’t dig deeper into it, in order not to frighten the Americans. Lastly, supporting secessionist movements in countries that aren’t eager to follow American policy has become one of the basic principles of Washington‘s attitude towards global issues… from Kosovo and other parts of former Yugoslavia, to Baloch separatists in today’s Pakistan. Maybe, Washington strategists should remember the old maxim… “One who lives in a glass house shouldn’t throw stones?”

15 November 2012

Boris Volkhonsky

Voice of Russia World Service

http://english.ruvr.ru/2012_11_15/The-Separated-States-of-America/

Editor’s Note:

Texas isn’t “rich”… it has one of the most pronounced gaps between the Affluent Effluent and the rest of us in the USA. Its labour laws are laughable and union organisers are beaten and killed in the state regularly, with the perps never found. If the federal military bases and the federal government apparat were to leave Texas, it’d fatally harm its economy, and the Texas Grand Old Perverts know it. The other states of the Old Confederacy are even deeper at the federal slop chute. You see, the “conservatives” who scream about “rugged individualism” would be sunk if they weren’t sucking off “libtards” in New York, New Jersey, California, Washington, and New England. If we didn’t have to support the rightwing parasite states, we’d be in far better shape. Such is the TRUTH of America…

I say, “Let the bastards secede! Go! It’ll destroy the rightwing in what’s left of the USA”. Besides that, we could erect trade barriers against the “New Republic” (as they wish so badly to be “rugged individualists”). (sigh) Let’s be honest… these thieving holier-than-thou sanctimonious mofos aren’t going to leave us… their leaders realise that if they left, their personal finances would be affected, and that’s paramount to the greedy and godless (especially those who maintain a “religious” veneer).

BMD

Monday, 13 August 2012

13 August 2012. Disgraced Monastery Calls Fathausen “Martyr”… They Sound Just Like All the Other Soreheads Who’ve Left Us

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Well, JP’s nuns in Maryland have spoken. Click here for their missive. Read it? Good! We’ve heard it all before, haven’t we? They sound EXACTLY like all the other disaffected parties that left us. They sound JUST like the bunch in Brookline… like Vitaly‘s coterie up in Québec… like Gregory Williams’ cabal in Tennessee. In other words, kids, this isn’t new in the least. It’s the same ol’ song sung by the same tired ol’ minstrel. They did NOTHING wrong… JP did nothing WRONG. All of us who’ve stood against JP’s uncanonical application of the heretical Brum Doctrine (the idea that the Metropolitan is the tinpot dictator of the Church) are “persons-instruments of usurpers of the Primate‘s throne”. WOW… they make is sound like we’re all emissaries of Satan. The rest of it followed in the same vein, as you saw when read this.

There is no need to refute this dreck. Read it and heed it, though. These jabronies actually believe this, and you’ll do yourself a disservice if you don’t take it seriously. NO… you must oppose it… but it IS serious. These people refuse to see reality. No amount of argument or love will sway these sorts, they’re invincibly set in their way. If that’s the case, let them go… and don’t bother them (that’s a sin). They’re nothing but modern-day Avvakum Petrovs and the only cure for such a lot is to IGNORE them.

Crazy world that we live in, isn’t it? Pass the jug… it’s going to get more INTERESTING before we come to the last homely home. God DO spare us…

Barbara-Marie Drezhlo

Monday 13 August 2012

Albany NY 

Thursday, 8 December 2011

8 December 2011. Tennessee Firemen Watch House Burn to the Ground and Do NOTHING

Filed under: politics,USA — 01varvara @ 00.00
Tags: , , , ,

If you haven’t paid up the swag demanded by the rightwing pigs in South Fulton TN, they’ll REFUSE to put out the fire… they’ve done it TWICE.

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Read this. When I tried accessing the City of South Fulton’s webpage, all that I got was a “Fedora Test Page”. They use the ususal rightwing dodges… people didn’t pay the demanded fee… they should understand that if they don’t pay up, well, they won’t be protected. That’s what the Republican slimers believe in and they do act upon their gross and inhumane ideology whenever they can. If you don’t pay up… we won’t protect you! That’s the “Christian USA” for ya… Tennessee is one of the Buckles on the Bible Belt. “See how they love one another”… indeed.

NB:

When I checked Wikipedia earlier, there was an item stating that South Fulton was the city where firemen TWICE refused to put out fires because people in outlying communities hadn’t ponied up a demanded fee on rural townships. That information’s no longer there. It’s why you can’t totally trust Wikipedia, any jerk can edit it. Wikipedia should put the information back in (it’s true) and “lock” the piece so that lying Republican slimers can’t edit it out. This tells you volumes about the Republicans and their attitude to the Truth, doesn’t it?

BMD

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