Tuesday, May 21, 2024

A Baby Bird, and Politics

Here's one of this year's new baby birds -- a starling -- demanding food from its harried parent.


The funny thing is, the bird feeder is directly below these birds, hanging from that hook. You'd think if the chick could fly to the top and perch there, it could also fly to the feeder itself.

Well, I knuckled under last night and mowed the lawn. I had to rebel against the tyranny of "No-Mow May." As I said the other day, we're keeping about half the lawn unmowed, mostly in the back, so we're doing our part for the insects. But not mowing anything was just getting too out of control, and the slugs and snails were having a field day.

Also, Dave saw what he thought was a rat on the back patio, and we sure don't want that. So we need to beat back the wilderness a bit. (Maybe I need to welcome those cats I complained about yesterday?)

As you can see, there's still plenty of greenery out there. I set that lupine on top of a milk crate to try to keep the slugs away from it. It looks trashy, but hey, I'm from Florida.

(In fact, I found that very milk crate in Florida when I was about 13 years old. I was collecting beer cans with my brother in some woods near our house and it was abandoned there. I brought it home, cleaned it up and I've kept it ever since, through all my moves. For years it was my laundry hamper. Now it's a staircase for slugs!)

Did any of you see Ezra Klein's column in The New York Times about "why Biden is losing"? It's very provocative. The part I found most interesting, as a former newspaper journalist, was this:
In April, NBC News released a national poll breaking the race down by where respondents got their news. Biden led by 49 points among voters who relied on newspapers. He led by 20 points among voters relying on national network news. In the slightly archaic-sounding category of “digital websites,” Biden led by 10 points. If the election were limited to (these) voters... he would win in a landslide. 
But Biden is behind, and here’s why: Among voters who rely on social media, Trump led by four points. Among voters who rely on cable news, Trump led by eight. Voters who get their news from YouTube and Google favor Trump by 16 points. And voters who don’t follow political news at all favor Trump by 26 points.
It shows in stark terms that Trump's supporters tend to be less well-informed, or (to be generous) more distrustful of mainstream media and perhaps media in general. I'm not sure how people who don't follow political news at all could even bring themselves to vote. Perhaps those less-involved voters just won't come to the polls.

Nonetheless, it was a sobering column and one that Biden and his supporters should take seriously. I think the Democrats need a big shake-up before November. What it should be, I'm not sure -- but given the abhorrence of Trump there's no reason this race should be this close. It's an embarrassment, and one the Democrats must remedy.


Moving with Mitchell said...

I hope the democrats figure out how to overcome this idiocy.

I love how fledglings look so much bigger than their paremts. Great photos!

Ed said...

I don't disagree with anything you said. In my opinion, I think the election is already over in this particular case. With the options being Biden or Trump, both who have run before, everyone has made up their mind and all the polls are showing from now to election is what a particular segment of population (the one actually poled) thinks is going to win. That isn't to say Trump is a shoo in since many polls have him leading, because there is a segment of the population, which I belong too, that eschew polling but plan on voting.

I think if we were to vote next Tuesday by secret ballot and then in November by regular ballot, both results would be exactly the same no matter the debates or anything short of the death of a candidate between now and then.

Yorkshire Pudding said...

Fascinating but scary observations upon preferred news sources.

I never knew that collecting beer cans was a popular pastime for Floridian kids. Previously, I just assumed that they all liked playing with handguns.

As for slugs and snails having a "field day", surely you mean a "suburban garden day".

Sabine said...

We caved in as well with the no mow May thing. It has rained so much that the lawn (meadow full of clover and friends) was getting to high to move the mower by the time June comes around. But like you, we have plenty of wild area left and mowing a small - by comparison - area is really not going to affect insect life as much as any golf course etc. does.

There is some debate on it, especially on who actually started this and why:

River said...

I agree, Trump is an abhorrence and I am so sorry that so many just can't see it.

Will said...

I wish that our local council understood what no-mow May was about, as they seem to randomly cut or leave verges along the roadside. In some cases they leave for a while, then come back and trim just as the flowers are opening when another couple of weeks woul have seen the bees get a chance at the nectar. Same thing later in the year, cut the verges before seeding having left them for months beforehand.

Elle Clancy said...

The fact that Trump is even running is an embarrassment. And it just boggles my mind that this dreadful man has such support. I don't know what I will do if he wins. I never thought that type of worry would enter my head but he will destroy this country if re-elected. And anyone who disagrees w/that comment isn't following politics at all. It isn't hyperbole.

I also have never been polled in my life but always vote.

Andrew said...

I agree with you. I just can't understand how some otherwise decent people could possibly vote again for someone who may be convicted of many crimes and maybe be gaoled if the accusations from so many directions are proved. Obama had charisma. Biden does not, but I expect he is competent. It is good that presidential power is somewhat limited. But states seem to have far too much power and some are doing crazy and awful things. Biden's publicity and social media team don't seem to be doing a great job.

Bob said...

I don't trust polls, as we saw in 2016 when the polls said Hillary would win, and Democrats stayed home because they were unsure of her, and the menace took office.

It'd be hard for Biden to win any MAGAts to his side because, as you said, and as I read elsewhere, they are generally less educated and believe whatever the cult leader tells them, and what the minions at Fox spew.

Ellen D. said...

I don't trust the polls. I have not been polled and I always vote. I can't even imagine that Trump could win as it is too horrifying to think about. I think Democrats are spreading the news of all that has been accomplished under this administration.

The Bug said...

I really hope that the polls aren't right, but I'm also worried because it feels like a large swath of younger voters are just not going to vote at all because of "Genocide Joe." And what will that do?

Ms. Moon said...

I don't care where someone gets their news- if they think that the doddering, criminal, racist, sexist, lying, whining baby candidate who promises to be a dictator only on day one is the best choice as a president they are an idiot.
It would appear that the US is filled with idiots. Hateful, ignorant idiots.
Just my opinion!

Linda Sue said...

Biden should have stepped down long ago and given it to a younger, smarter, more clear candidate. Biden keeps stepping in the sh*t. He has lost the black vote , he has lost the youth, he has lost anyone with common sense and the ability to read. The alternative is dictatorship , a mad man at the helm. Not a great choice. Christian Nationalists want a dictatorship, that is how their rational works. So- not optimistic, here. Still voting against the felon and voting for grampa ...no other choice.
Dennis mowed the front, left the back yard grassy and soft for the bugs and ducks. Who knows what else is hiding in there. Could be another cougar!

Sharon said...

That is a very interesting analysis of the voting public. It's also very scary.
That little bird is looking very demanding.

Marcia LaRue said...

I am so tired of people talking like Biden is practically on his deathbed! You would think that turning 80 is the end of life, thinking, living ... Jesus ... I am 80 and soon to be 81 and I am not even close to throwing in the friggin towel and neither is Joe Biden!
Polls ... Bah! Naysayers ... Bah!
Just get out the goddamned vote and vote Blue 🔵!

Susan said...

I do not trust the polls entirely. They can be skewed. The courts continue to nail/expose DT. Yet he continues to rant. I will be glad when he is out-of-the-picture. I am mowing the lawn too. Ticks/Lyme disease is rampant and ticks prefer long grass.

ellen abbott said...

it's no mow here until April or maybe later, not until all the spring wildflowers finish and go to seed. by May, that's been done for a while.

I don't put any stock in polls and the media refuses on reporting all the good Biden has done. even so uninformed democrats are not going to vote for Trump. the man is deteriorating before our very eyes. and who do polls call? mostly people with landlines because most people with cell phones have the phones set to only ring if it's someone in their contact list. so whatever sample they are taking is skewed. and
Trump's latest post on his untruth social media platform just referred to his administration if he wins as a unified Reich. the lunatic fringe is eating it up though. but that's what they are, the fringe.

Lynn Marie said...

The latest on no-mow May here in Maine is that you should think more in terms of delaying mowing just a bit, not refusing to do it for a month. Do it, say, every two weeks rather than waiting a full month. The reasoning is that the grass gets so tall that insects can't find the small flowering plants below. Makes sense to me and still allows for a full crop of bluets and violets for humans & insects to enjoy.

Margaret said...

I agree with The Bug. I'm terrified and feel that Trump has a good chance to win. No matter what, November will be a frightening time.

Tasker Dunham said...

Super bird shots.
The problem with news on social media is that it can be targeted to tell people what they want to hear, and it does not have to be true.

Kelly said...

That's a well-traveled milk crate! I guess you don't get enough serious sunshine/heat that it will crack from being outside like that?

John Going Gently said...

That second photo is rather moving dint you think ?

Jeanie said...

I saw that article too and you're right -- it IS sobering. I don't know what they can do either but you're right -- it needs to be something. I just don't get it.

Love the bird shots -- I just posted similar and they make me smile, those feeding birds. Wonderful shots -- your timing was perfect. And I hear you on no-mow May. Our township gets very cranky about that and issue citations. But no one can see my backyard. Not that it grows much anyway -- hardly enough to mow in the first place!

Finally, sent you a FB message and friend thing -- I was trying to find a post of yours from some time ago about that Cosmos restaurant (WWII) -- I couldn't remember when you wrote about it but I wanted to share it with a friend after seeing another link (which I put in the FB message.) Thanks!

Jeanie said...

PS -- you can put it in blog, reply to message or if you prefer, just email jeanie@wkar.org. Thanks!

Red said...

The whole issue is complicated and doesn't need to be. Everybody wants to put their slant on things. My best recommendation is listen to the two characters and see what they say instead of listening to commentators.

Allison said...

So, recently, the orange menace was on television, talking about he has some interesting thoughts on regulating birth control. Since he has no thoughts, I guess that's coming from his handlers, the ones that pull the strings.

Steve Reed said...

Mitchell: I think it's something about the way the chick is standing -- kind of puffed-up.

Ed: That's a good point. I don't think there are many undecided voters. But I think Democrats need to be more enthusiastic about their candidate to ensure they turn out.

YP: Beer-can collecting was a popular trend in the late '70s and early '80s. I have no idea why, but I had a HUGE collection, which I eventually sold for $50 to a guy at a flea market.

Sabine: I didn't think about the rain factor. I will check out that link!

River: It's astonishing that he appeals to anyone, isn't it?!

Will: Strange. It sounds like they're trying to do some version of No-Mow May but they're getting the timing wrong.

Elle: I am astonished he has as much support as he does -- and I worry because historically, polls have UNDERstated his support, not overstated it.

Andrew: His supporters have convinced themselves that all these charges are simply partisan attacks with no basis in reality. I just don't know what to do about people who ignore facts.

Bob: I don't think Biden will EVER win Magats to his side. My concern is that Democrats won't turn out. And as Klein points out, any inaccuracy in the polls is historically more likely to be in Trump's favor.

Ellen D: I've never been polled either, even when I lived in the states. It does make you wonder who they're talking to!

Bug: Exactly. I think that's the danger. Young people don't like him and many centrist voters aren't motivated to support him. I'm a hard-core Democrat but I'm holding my nose.

Steve Reed said...

Ms Moon: Well, I don't disagree, but I think it's interesting that there's a clear link between the idiocy and the source of people's news.

Linda Sue: I feel exactly as you do. Biden has done some good things but he's made some terrible steps that have alienated large factions of voters, or at the very least made them less excited about supporting him.

Sharon: Doesn't it?! I guess a human baby crying is quite demanding too.

Marcia: It's not just his age. Although some things have gone well for Biden, I think he's made some missteps, as Linda Sue said above, and I'm also not a fan of the idea of Kamala Harris being his potential successor. (I would also argue that an 80-year-old woman is not as old, developmentally speaking, as an 80-year-old man -- but I do think many politicians tend to stay in office too long.)

Susan: God, I wish he was out of the picture.

Ellen: I think it's reasonable to have questions about the structure if the polls, and in this case I can't answer them. A good poll has ways to mitigate against calling only certain groups of voters -- like only people with landlines, for example. Klein also warns against shrugging off poll results in the column.

Lynn Marie: Oh, THAT's interesting. I hadn't read that. It sounds like between what you and Sabine have posted I need to do some more research on No-Mow May!

Margaret: I will be so glad when it's over. I hate this period of campaigning. I think I'm mostly just mad at Biden for running at all, and not stepping aside for new talent.

Tasker: Absolutely! People who get news from social media aren't getting news; they're getting information that reinforces what they already believe.

Kelly: I don't think it will. I hadn't thought of that! (I don't think it will be out long, either -- just long enough to get the lupines through their blooming phase.)

John: I always think baby bird photos are moving!

Jeanie: Oh, I haven't checked Facebook! (I'm not on it much.) I think if you look at the Web version of my blog (on a computer) and use the search field at the upper left you should find that post. I think it was called Cosmo Restaurant. I'll e-mail you a link.

Red: All the talking heads on TV are exhausting and seldom very helpful. But I don't mind newspaper columnists. I think newspapers provide more and better-organized information. (Not surprising since I worked for newspapers for years!)

Allison: I saw that! A sure way to lose women's votes, particularly. And then he tried to walk it back.