Good Deeds

Good Deeds

Sometimes good acts prevail even after evil-doers reverse them:

The previous Republican controlled Congress and current Trump administration wiped out Section 1502 of the Dodd-Frank Bill, the “Rule on Conflict Minerals.” But that rule had such a powerful effect when first passed by Congress that the world embraced it and has continued to strengthen it despite the official reversal by the United States.

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Much Discovered

Much Discovered

So let’s say you’re running for national office. And let’s say you’re an incredible progressive promoting aggressive implementation of climate change remedies and reforms including a moratorium on any new development of fossil fuels.

And then let’s say that less than a few months before the election an oil-equivalent billion barrels of gas are discovered in your country. What do you do? This is exactly what’s happened in South Africa, elections on May 8.

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Simbakubwa

Simbakubwa

Sometimes you unearth amazing discoveries in the deep masquerading shade under an arch of limestone in the scorching fossil fields of a desert in Kenya. Other times it’s in the backside of a drawer!

What Ohio University scientists Nancy Stevens and Matthew Borths have discovered is no less impressive just because they didn’t get their hands dirty finding it! Intending to study the bones of ancient hyaenas tucked away in hundreds of drawers of the Nairobi National Museum, Nancy discovered the world’s biggest ever lion!

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Super Tuskers

Super Tuskers

Last month one of the last known super tuskers died. The last time I saw one was in April, 2008. A “Super Tusker” is somewhat arbitrarily defined as an elephant with two tusks each at least 1½ meters long and each weighing at least 80 kilos. It was sipping water from a pool in Ngorongoro Crater.

Looking for super tuskers isn’t just a fun hobby. Elephant survival is directly linked to the size and weight of their tusks. Unfortunately, this is also the singular characteristic that attracts poachers.

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Random Ransom?

Random Ransom?

The Trump Administration has reversed a long-standing policy of the American government to refuse to ransom kidnapped Americans. The policy was enacted in 1973 under then Sec. of State Henry Kissinger who vowed no “blood money” for terrorists.

Uganda’s junior tourism minister, Godfrey Kiwanda Ssubi, told Ugandan-State TV Sunday that the ransom asked by the kidnappers for the release of American Kimberley Sue Endicott was paid “with the help of the U.S. government. Whatever these people (kidnappers) demanded for was paid,” Ssubi said.

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A New Human Spring

A New Human Spring

Elections, 0. Popular Uprisings, 3 (or more). Are we experiencing a new Arab Spring? Or better, a new Human Spring?

Popular uprisings in The Sudan, Algeria and South Africa are creating governments that align with the will of the people. Elections in the UK failed to achieve Brexit and so misconstrued the will of the Britts that it’s comic. Elections in the U.S. were called not by a majority vote; so they were never democratic to begin with. Elections in Israel reaffirmed the power of one of the vilest men ever to run a country. Democracy as it’s been known for a century or more is failing. Street protests, especially in Africa, are succeeding.

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Fooled Napping

Fooled Napping

When blood boils you need to take in a very deep breath of crisp, cold air. That’s what I’ve been doing ever since the story broke Sunday of the “rescue” of kidnapped American Kimberly Sue Endicott in Uganda together with her Ugandan guide.

Blood boils with the heat caused by screams no one listens to: I’ve been telling people for years not to visit Uganda and in particular where Endicott was kidnapped. Two young Brits were just kidnapped in that area last year! What’s worse?

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Bad Democracy

Bad Democracy

Africa as my lifeway’s platform for roughly 5 months annually during the troubled times of the last few years has radically changed my view of democracy.

Last week Rwanda celebrated the first quarter century in possibly a thousand years without a mass genocide. The Sudanese Army fired on the Sudanese secret service last night to protect opponents of the government.

The avowed communist state of Ethiopia last year implemented a series of human rights protections that may be the most progressive on earth. All of these stellar human rights’ accomplishments were in totally undemocratic regimes.

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OnSafari: Sick & Dying

OnSafari: Sick & Dying

Never have I felt so ashamed despite a life filled with dangers unchallenged and compromises poorly made. Right now I’m sitting in the van Galder bus to Rockford having just returned from several months on safari, writing my mea culpa at O’Hare’s Terminal 5 before it, too, seems too ordinary.

It was incredibly crowded. According to my automated entry receipt the time was 12:57p, Saturday, April 6. I normally cruise through immigration and customs, boasting that I know the best lines and routes, but today I lamented not having Global Entry.

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OnSafari: Lion Kill

OnSafari: Lion Kill

The rains had finally restarted. For a month in the crater the buffalo wandered back and forth searching for every blade of grass that still grew, as Cyclone Ida drew every drop of water from East Africa into her tempest against southern Africa.

The ton-heavy buff could withstand a month or so with little to eat. They’d spent their lives chomping down 20 kilos of fodder daily, building the most formidable muscles on the veld, and the crater still had good sources of water and salt.

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OnSafari: Safari Hunt

OnSafari: Safari Hunt

I don’t know why a hunter hunts. I have had very close friends and business partners who were hunters, and I’ve listened to them quietly and for long periods of time as they describe almost existentially “the chase” inevitably concluding that it is a first principal of homo sapiens to conquer all else living.

I’ve heard them wax about the raw wilderness and how a hunt requires them to understand its most intricate devices or succumb to failure. They speak of the beautiful mornings and operatic sunsets, the great expanses of landscape and endless sense of freedom that arises from “communing with nature.”

I don’t think they understand the wild.

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OnSafari: Tarangire Trials

OnSafari: Tarangire Trials

Climate change is not just hot and extreme weather, but peculiar weather. I walked into my tent in Tarangire National Park yesterday at 530p at it was 93½ F, about ten degrees above normal. Tarangire which should now be lush and green and fresh with blossoms is hot, dry and dusty.

But all over the place is water! The Tarangire sand river has running water! (It’s normal to be dry on top of the sand; water runs under the sand most of the time in Africa’s great sand rivers.)

There were ponds of water and wallows almost everywhere. My group had an exceptional introduction to amazing Africa as we watched for some time around 200 zebra race into a water hole, freak, race out, turn their funny heads back to the water in amazement there had been no lion or python, and race back into the pond! Again and again!

This strange situation, where the veld the temperature and air feels like a drought but the veld holds so much water, is precisely because in January and February there was too much rain.

This is really, really peculiar. Now the animals seem to be doing quite well with it. In addition to the hundreds of zebra, we watched with great excitement around 35 elephant saunter out of the river towards a very big sausage tree under which was trying to hide a very concerned lioness.

Ele don’t really see after they’re 12 or 13 years old, but their other senses are beyond belief. We watched anxiously until the one ele finally noticed the lioness.

The ele turned with ears out and flipped her trunk at the lion as if to throw a rock. After a single trumpet practically every elephant in view starting running towards the poor lioness!

She got away, of course, but she was very, very embarrassed.