the dormouse sleep strategy, japanese lake wallpaper, the event that ended slavery

the dormouse

Sleeping through danger: the dormouse approach to survival

The dormouse in Alice in Wonderland was well advised to stay asleep – especially as doing so did not prevent it from taking a full part in the tea-time conversation. Dormice in Europe spend about eight months of the year asleep and are extremely safe during this extended period, with almost all of them surviving the winter.

Some people have a sleep strategy to deal with emotional upheaval in their lives – a good example movie example was the character Jessica Lange played in Men Don’t Leave. A friend once called it the Protestant sleep response. I’m not sure as to why he thought Protestants were especially adapted at it. They don’t get something they want or the cat has to stay at the vets for a few days. No problem. Just sleep until whatever the problem is works itself out. It must involve some belief in the magic of sleep. Like the old saying that god looks out for drunks, fools and children – troubles pass sleepers by. Unlike most small mammals that reproduce frequently, the dormouse also saves their reproductive energy.  Preferring to mate when there is plenty of energy rich seeds like acorns. The sleep strategy seems to work, as most of the populations of dormouse that are doing well in Europe are also the ones who sleep the most. Joan Cusack ends up throwing Lange, fully clothed into a cold shower. One of the consequences human dormice should consider.

spring in japan

japanese lake wallpaper

The urban myth spread by conservatives, who could not seem to be able to muster up and win an honest argument against health care reform, created the lie of the year in 2009 for their “death panels” nonsense. Thinking it over they seemed to have changed their minds, death panels are a great idea, Texas Conservatives Create Real Death Panel

Besides whacking education jobs and trashing university research, the Texas Legislature is considering yet another way to avoid raising even one more precious penny of tax money.

A state Senate subcommittee on Medicaid spending is offering its own final solution:

Let people die.

Our very own death panel voted last week against adding $23 million in lifesaving medications for poor Texans with HIV, essentially turning away the 2,000 new patients who will need help in the next two years.

At a meeting where the Senate Finance Subcommittee on Medicaid restored $4.5 billion for health care, including money for mental-health services and nursing home patients, those 2,000 Texans didn’t make the cut.

According to the same report there is still a chance funding will be restored. Texas passed a property tax cut in 2006 which alone is responsible for about $9 billion dollars of their budget shortage.

This is from an article adapted from “1861: The Civil War Awakening,” by Adam Goodheart

Frank Baker, Shepard Mallory and James Townsend were field hands who — like hundreds of other local slaves — had been pressed into service by the Confederates, compelled to build an artillery emplacement amid the dunes across the harbor. They labored beneath the banner of the 115th Virginia Militia, a blue flag bearing a motto in golden letters: “Give me liberty or give me death.”

After a week or so of this, they learned some deeply unsettling news. Their master, a rebel colonel named Charles Mallory, was planning to send them even farther from home, to help build fortifications in North Carolina. That was when the three slaves decided to leave the Confederacy and try their luck, just across the water, with the Union.

Maj. Gen. Benjamin Franklin Butler, the Union commander at Fort Monroe could have, and considered returning the escaped slaves to their owner, but he didn’t. Lincoln has not yet signed onto abolition, having said, “I have no purpose, directly or indirectly, to interfere with the institution of slavery in the states where it exists,I believe I have no lawful right to do so, and I have no inclination to do so.”

Cary got down to business. “I am informed,” he said, “that three Negroes belonging to Colonel Mallory have escaped within your lines. I am Colonel Mallory’s agent and have charge of his property. What do you mean to do with those Negroes?”

“I intend to hold them,” Butler said.

“Do you mean, then, to set aside your constitutional obligation to return them?”

Even the dour Butler must have found it hard to suppress a smile. This was, of course, a question he had expected. And he had prepared what he thought was a fairly clever answer.

“I mean to take Virginia at her word,” he said. “I am under no constitutional obligations to a foreign country, which Virginia now claims to be.”

“But you say we cannot secede,” Cary retorted, “and so you cannot consistently detain the Negroes.”

“But you say you have seceded,” Butler said, “so you cannot consistently claim them. I shall hold these Negroes as contraband of war, since they are engaged in the construction of your battery and are claimed as your property.”

Ever the diligent litigator, Butler had been reading up on his military law. In time of war, he knew, a commander had a right to seize any enemy property that was being used for hostile purposes. The three fugitive slaves, before their escape, were helping build a Confederate gun emplacement. Very well, then — if the Southerners insisted on treating blacks as property, this Yankee lawyer would treat them as property, too. Legally speaking, he had as much justification to confiscate Baker, Mallory and Townsend as to intercept a shipment of muskets or swords.

You can tell Butler was a lawyer before he suddenly became a general. There is a lot more to the article and how this single event cascaded into what would be the end of slavery.