“For those who want a basic introduction to the Pacific Island culture of Samoa, this programme is for you! I produced this video some years ago for the Polynesian Cultural Center in Hawai’i. Our fearless cultural instructor is Chief Sielu Avea, long noted for his prowess with a flaming nifo oti in fireknife dancing. Now you can enjoy some aspects of Samoan culture and even learn to cook Polynesian style!”
Have you ever heard of Jack Rackham, also known as the pirate “Calico Jack”? Did you know there were at least 2 recorded histories of female pirates in the Caribbean? Did you know that these stories intersect??
Shelling is a favorite pastime of mine, and the best part is, it can be done year-round.
Storms churn the sea, bringing up many long-hidden ocean treasures up on shore. Yes, the windy Winter months are harsher for shellers, but with several layers to keep warm (a rain poncho helps), you can gather those hard-to-find shells you’ve been waiting for.
Where I live, the Gulf Stream is ever-faithful to bring up surprises from all over. My latest goals are finding dark purple quahog and conch shells. I’m going to make some wampum jewelry with my trusty Dremel tool, and I need some conch shell to experiment making other jewelry beads, or whatever I come up with. Will post pictures when I can get further South…
The growing discontent and dissatisfaction over the “State of the Union” is inspiring many states to consider removing themselves from the United States as we know it, and/or they’re considering breaking themselves off into new states…and even combining with other states or even Canada! Granted, that would literally take an act of Congress to approve it (or probably disapprove it), but it hasn’t stopped several movements toward making America a better, and more cohesive, politically balanced, properly represented, improved place to live.
Or will it?!
So many things to consider – from infrastructure (roads, transportation, airports), to political redistricting, representation…what about the electoral college? Should this be overhauled or eliminated? The answer isn’t simple.
Let’s take the case of Texas for example: “Don’t mess with Texas”. It’s a phrase that Texans are proud of, and they’re very pro-America, generally speaking. Often, when you think of ‘Murica, you think of Texas. I’ve heard the notion that Texas has wanted to secede for over a decade, but it hasn’t happened. To its credit, Texas has massive amounts of land (even unused), many natural resources (think mining), a massive cattle/farming industry (think cattle), NASA, and countless other means to make its own wealth if it were to successfully gain independence of some kind. That said, would Texas opt out of the union in general, or just divide itself up? Texas has an incredibly strong case for making itself independent – but can American survive without Texas? Would Texas keep to itself and not share with the ‘rest of us’? Do they “owe” America anything?
The same questions go to other states wanting some independence, or at least, a radical change. Let’s take a look at who’s wanting what…is there a real race to become the 51st state?
Alaska – an movement called “The Alaskan Independence Party” has declared that Alaska’s inclusion into the United States was, and still is, based on fraud. I’m not sure how active they are now, but it seems there’s still a possible dispute over Constitutional rights, as well as disputes over their Canadian border.
Arizona – would like to make “Baja Arizona” independent.
California – this state actually has at least 2 possible re-renderings of splitting – secession AND annexation!
Part 1 – Splitting the state into 6 states: ” Plan To Split California Into 6 States Would Create 6 Dystopias“.
This graphic from Curbed shows the proposal of the state called “Jefferson”, but add to that “North California”, “Silicon Valley”, “Central California”, “West California”, and “South California”:
Part 2 – There’s a Northern group of residents that would like to join with a portion of Oregon to produce a new state called “Jefferson”: State Of Jefferson: Californians May Get Vote On Secession Movement In June (2014)
Hawai’i – This secession is more referred to as “Hawaiian Independence“. They consider the United States as “Military Occupier” of the nation of the Kingdom of Hawaii. They would like their former Native Hawaiian monarchy restored, and the rest can be worked out according to their proposals.
Maryland – “Some Western Md. Residents Want To Form Their Own State” – current Governor O’Malley is against it, but it seems there’s growing support for the Western side to secede. The movement has considered the new state names Liberty, Antietam and Augusta.
Michigan (Upper Peninsula) – some may not know there is such a thing as “The Upper Peninsula” of Michigan, and herein lies the problem. To many Americans, they see a US map and cannot name which state this peninsula belongs to, much less, reckon how it’s part of the U.S. and not Canada! The resident “Yoopers” as they affectionately call themselves, are definitely a different breed than their “mitten” counterparts, whom they call “trolls” (who live South of the Mackinaw bridge). I can verify this – I lived in the Upper Peninsula. They are ⅓ the mass of the state, yet only a fraction of the population (gorgeous, yet sparsely-populated woodlands!). “51st state? Yoopers are talking up secession from Michigan again“. I’m not sure they have the infrastructure to support it, but I understand where they’re coming from.
Then there’s the idea that Vermonters wanted to secede and somehow join Canada. I haven’t seen any recent articles that declare this movement still active, but it certainly exemplifies their independent spirit.
“If All Those State Secession Movements Got Their Way, America Would Look Like This Map: The 61 States of America” – this is a great article in the “New Republic” newspaper that gives some great graphics to explain how the new electoral college would work.
Add to all of this – think about all the Native American tribes who are regaining their former homelands, and the tribes who will become sovereign nations. How does that factor into the literal landscape of America as we know it? As a matter of fact…this is a whole other talk show, but…consider the fact that the Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Indian Affairs needs to massively overhaul their Federal Recognition process that declares native tribes to be sovereign nations. The more independent sovereign nations there are, the less “control” the federal government has over the land and people, which is exactly what they don’t want. Which leads one to believe, “no wonder the recognition process is broken!”. See “Federal Recognition Process: A Culture of Neglect“. The recognition process is buried under logistical mazes, incomprehensible bureaucracy, and outright fraud. It’s basically a “pay-to-play” racket funded by our own American government. There is certainly a movement to overhaul the broken recognition process, and it seems that Congress is listening…but are they acting? Does Congress have too much control, and therein lies the problem?
Do any of the above states really have a legitimate case? I’m no political scholar, so I can’t even give an opinion here. But I do support any movement that is trying to correct imbalances and injustices by overbearing government entities. I do think it’s time for a change, and I can’t wait to see how things turn over, and turn out!
It’s ever-increasing in popularity – watching American Bald Eagles on webcams!
American Bald Eagles are no longer an endangered species, therefore, many more are in existence to watch. With funding from various public donations and private resources, webcams over nests have captured compelling day-to-day lives of bald eagles – sleeping, waking, eating, mating, birthing, feeding, nesting, protecting, hunting and other various socializing activities of these majestic raptors.
With today’s technology, scientists and the public can now see bald eagles up close and personal. And it’s become a passion for some.
Bald Eagle webcams are very popular in America and worldwide. Can you imagine? Some of the most fervent and passionate bald eagle viewers are on every continent. The bird-watching and raptor-watching community is very thankful to have the support of citizen watchers from all over the globe, every hour of every day. Several webcams are solar powered and may not be on during the night, but many (with helpful grants and donations) have upgraded high resolution cameras that run 24//7 so not a moment is missed.
Think about it – it’s like another “citizen science project” that I previously blogged about: people from around the world are watching our American bald eagles for their own education, and they’re providing very valuable feedback about their observations. Many classrooms are reported to have regular live viewings of these majestic raptors. This is the closest we’ve ever gotten to viewing Bald Eagles in their natural habitat, so the public is voracious in its appetite to catch a glimpse of a yet unknown world.
Until this year, I hadn’t seen bald eagles in person; I’d only seen them on a webcam or TV. Side note, I checked out the website called “eBird” and found out where bird-watching hotspots are in my area. Because I did that, I was thrilled and privileged to be about 20 feet from one in a tree. What a glorious sight to behold!
To send you to the right places, I’m listing some great eagle-watching websites and webcams:
If you can’t get physically out there to watch American Bald Eagles in action, go online – take flight!
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