Location of Last Season’s Acorn Woodpecker Party was uploaded to Flickr

Castle Rock Trail, Walnut Creek, CA.

From Wikipedia:
The breeding pair excavate a nest in a large cavity in a dead tree or a dead part of a tree. A group of adults may participate in nesting activities: field studies have shown that breeding groups range from monogamous pairs to breeding collectives of seven males and three females, plus up to 10 nonbreeding helpers. Young from a single brood have been found with multiple paternity.

Male acorn woodpecker with "granary tree" full of acorns

Acorn hoarded by acorn woodpecker
Food and homes
Acorn woodpeckers, as their name implies, depend heavily on acorns for food. In some parts of their range (e.g., California), the woodpeckers create granaries or "acorn trees" by drilling holes in dead trees, dead branches, telephone poles, and wooden buildings. The woodpeckers then collect acorns and find a hole that is just the right size for the acorn. As acorns dry out, they are moved to smaller holes and granary maintenance requires a significant amount of the bird’s time. They also feed on insects, sap, and fruit.

Defense and storing
The acorns are visible, and the group defends the tree against potential cache robbers like Steller’s jays and western scrub jays. Acorns are such an important resource to the California populations that acorn woodpeckers may nest in the fall to take advantage of the fall acorn crop, a rare behavior in birds.
Acorn woodpeckers can also be seen sallying from tree limbs to catch insects, eating fruit and seeds, and drilling holes to drink sap. The acorn woodpecker will use any human-made structures to store acorns, drilling holes into fence posts, utility poles, buildings, and even automobile radiators. Occasionally the woodpecker will put acorns into places where it cannot get them out. Woodpeckers put 220 kg (490 lb) of acorns into a wooden water tank in Arizona. In parts of its range the acorn woodpecker does not construct a "granary tree", but instead stores acorns in natural holes and cracks in bark. If the stores are eaten, the woodpecker will move to another area, even going from Arizona to Mexico to spend the winter.


embiggen by clicking

I took Location of Last Season’s Acorn Woodpecker Party on July 01, 2016 at 04:09AM

and processed it in my digital darkroom on July 06, 2016 at 10:11AM

James O’Keefe and the myth of the ACORN pimp

Yee godz, I hope the terrorist wannabe1 James O’Keefe goes to jail for a long, long time.

Fact: On the guerilla clips posted online and aired on Fox News, O’Keefe was featured in lots of cutaway shots that were filmed outside and showed him parading around with Giles in his outlandish cane/top hat/sunglasses/fur coat pimp costume.

The cutaway shots certainly left the impression that that’s how O’Keefe was dressed when he spoke to ACORN workers.

But inside each and every office, according to one independent review that looked at the public videos, O’Keefe entered sans the pimp get-up. In fact, he was dressed rather conservatively. During his visit to the Baltimore ACORN office, he wore a dress shirt and khaki pants. For the Philadelphia sting, he added a tie to the ensemble.

Instead, the ’70s-era, blacksploitation pimp costume was a propaganda tool used to later deceive the public about the undercover operation. It was a prop that was quickly embraced by the mainstream media and turned into a central part of the ACORN story.

It’s true that Giles was seen on the ACORN office tapes scantily clad as she discussed her future prostitution plans with ACORN workers. But it was the pimp costume, or the idea that O’Keefe was sitting there getting ACORN advice while decked out in it, that really hit the laughter button and caused the press — and public — to guffaw at ACORN’s apparent cluelessness. Read: Not only were the ACORN employees morally suspect for doling out tax advice to a would-be prostitute, but the low-income advocates were dumb as stumps to boot!

[Click to continue reading James O’Keefe and the myth of the ACORN pimp | Media Matters for America]

Amazingly2 the corporate media has endlessly repeated, breathlessly, as if the facts were just as idiot O’Keefe described them. Click the URL link above if you want to be amused3 by the gullibility of the 4th Estate…

  1. just imagine for a second that an Arab Muslim, in full desert regalia, attempted to wire-tap the office of a Republican member of the Homeland Security committee. Right, there would be 25 hours of outrage each and every day until the offender was waterboarded into confessing he killed Millard Fillmore. But since Senator Landrieu’s affiliation is with the Democratic Party… []
  2. well, not really, if you have an iota of memory of the history of political theatre in the US []
  3. or sickened []

Falling for the Far Right’s ACORN Agenda

ACORN is not the problem, FOX News1 is

Wheel of transformation

The Washington Post’s Darryl Fears and Carol D. Leonnig describe “The $1,300 mission to fell ACORN.” It started with a phone call to James O’Keefe III (the “pimp”) from Hannah Giles (the “prostitute”), daughter of a conservative blogger named Doug Giles. The plan from the very beginning was to damage the reputation of the organization. O’Keefe admits that his enmity for ACORN derived from its success helping Democrats win elections, not from any charges of corruption. The Post also points out that in Philadelphia ACORN employees called the police when the duo left the offices there. The videotape of that encounter has yet to be released, and so the prevailing image of ACORN in the mainstream media has been the one that the video makers, with a vendetta against the organization, wanted out there.

Hysterical Fox News commentators have blown this story up like a hot air balloon, and much of the rest of the media appear to believe that what Fox says goes. Andrew Alexander complains that “traditional news outlets like The Post simply don’t pay enough attention to conservative media or viewpoints.” But writing in the Columbia Journalism Review, Rick Perlstein responds: “Why would a newspaper like the The Post be training its investigative focus on ACORN now? Whether you think ill or well of ACORN, they’re a very marginal group in the grand scheme of things and about as tied to the White House as the PTA.”

This right-wing stunt proved such powerful catnip to mainstream media bigfeet that amazingly, George Stephanopoulos thought it worth discussing with the President of the United States during a rare one-on-one interview opportunity. The president quite understandably explained that that he wasn’t following the story very closely, and that the country was dealing with more serious problems right now. (U.S. grants to ACORN, already suspended, account for literally 52 seconds of annual U.S. government spending, according to one careful estimate.) Stephanopoulos had nothing else to say. As though he were correcting himself, he continued, “Afghanistan is a serious problem facing the country right now.” Oh, yeah, Afghanistan….

[Click to continue reading Think Again: Falling for the Far Right’s ACORN Agenda]

Constantly amazed at how pliable the news media is to whatever is the Right Wing smear-de-jour. Sickeningly familiar from constant repetition.

  1. and their masters []

Anti-ACORN Bill Ropes In Defense Contractors Charged With Fraud

For the fun news of the day – in all the GOP haste to smear ACORN based on the actions of a couple of rogue employees, the language of the bill does the one thing I had suggested in jest as an answer to an unrelated topic. Namely, be more harsh on corporations that break laws. Except in the actual bill as written and voted on, any crime charged to a corporation would bar it from feeding at the public trough. Ooopsie!

Early Morning Meditation

The congressional legislation intended to defund ACORN, passed with broad bipartisan support, is written so broadly that it applies to “any organization” that has been charged with breaking federal or state election laws, lobbying disclosure laws, campaign finance laws or filing fraudulent paperwork with any federal or state agency. It also applies to any of the employees, contractors or other folks affiliated with a group charged with any of those things.

In other words, the bill could plausibly defund the entire military-industrial complex. Whoops.

Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Fla.) picked up on the legislative overreach and asked the Project on Government Oversight (POGO) to sift through its database to find which contractors might be caught in the ACORN net.

Lockheed Martin and Northrop Gumman both popped up quickly, with 20 fraud cases between them, and the longer list is a Who’s Who of weapons manufacturers and defense contractors.

The language was written by the GOP and filed as a “motion to recommit” in the House, where it passed 345-75. It carried the Senate by an 83-7 margin.

POGO is reaching out to its members to identify other companies who have engaged in the type of misconduct that would make them ineligible for federal funds.

Grayson then intends to file that list in the legislative history that goes along with the bill so that judges can reference it when determining whether a company should be denied federal funds.

[Click to continue reading Whoops: Anti-ACORN Bill Ropes In Defense Contractors, Others Charged With Fraud]

Too funny.

Should We Be Concerned?
[Buzzards circling in a park probably built by Brown and Root, LBJ’s favorite defense contractor, now owned by Halliburton and/or KBR]

The Project On Government Oversight gives a little perspective:

Bear in mind that, since 1994, ACORN has reportedly received a total of $53 million in federal funds, or an average of roughly $3.5 million per year. In contrast, Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman respectively received over $35 billion and $18 billion in federal contracts last year. (Their totals since 2000 are $266 billion for Lockheed and $125 billion for Northrop.)

Congress should clamp down on contractor fraud and waste, but it needs to keep a sense of proportion. If ACORN broke the law it, should be punished; however, Congress also needs to crack down just as rigorously on the contractors who take an even larger share of taxpayers’ money and have committed far more, or far more egregious, acts of misconduc

[Click to continue reading The Project On Government Oversight (POGO) Blog]

late update: one of the ACORN employees caught on tape, Juan Carlos Vera, actually reported the incident to the police. The police said they would need more information.

Police say he contacted law enforcement two days later. The detective consulted another police official who served on a federal human smuggling task force, who said he needed more details.

The ACORN employee responded several days later and explained that the information he received was not true and he had been duped.

[Click to continue reading Police: ACORN worker in video reported couple – Yahoo! News]

Still was fired, and made the butt of a thousand jokes on Fox News…

Reading Around on September 18th through September 21st

A few interesting links collected September 18th through September 21st:

  • Back Issues : The New Yorker

    “Today we launch Back Issues, formerly a department in our News Desk blog, as its own blog on newyorker.com. In the coming weeks and months, we’ll use this space to delve through more than eighty years of New Yorker history, with an eye to relating that history to the happenings of the day. Our chief goal will be to make this vast resource approachable and useful to our readers.”

    maybe its just my inner historian, but I love looking at news coverage from years before I was born

    Melrose Park Speakeasy.jpg

  • Chicagoans for Rio 2016 – It would be exciting to host the Olympics here in Chicago. But you know what would be even better? Rio De Janeiro. Just let Rio host the 2016 Olympics. We don’t mind. Honest.
  • In defense of ACORN | Salon

    To claim that the stupid behavior of a half-dozen employees should discredit a national group with offices in more than 75 cities staffed by many thousands of employees and volunteers is like saying that Mark Sanford or John Ensign have discredited every Republican governor or senator. Indeed, the indignation of the congressional Republicans screaming about ACORN and the phony streetwalker is diluted by the presence of at least two confirmed prostitution clients — Rep. Ken Calvert and Sen. David Vitter — in their midst. Neither of those right-wing johns has been even mildly chastised by their moralistic peers. Nobody is cutting off their federal funding.


  • suburban romps.jpg
  • freedarko.com: A Significant Bullet – From the press kit for Herzog’s new film Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans: “I call upon the theoreticians of cinema to go after this one. Go for it, losers.”