September 18th, 2008

Hen Party

Impatient for eggs

The girls are starting to really look, well, henlike. Less like teenaged chickens and more like hens. They are reaching an age where they could start to lay any time, now. Then they will back off for the winter, if what I read holds. Unless I give them some extra light in the evening. Apparently, chickens are day-length sensitive. Juanita, however, is an Ancona, and those are supposed to be good winter layers. I'm hoping Bianca will manage to become a layer, too.

Bianca is ENORMOUS, as big as a goose. I've joined an online support group for caretakers of Cornish Cross chickens, as they are "disposable" chickens that are intended to be harvested as broilers before they reach maturity, and develop distinctive health problems as they age, related to their size. Most don't ever see two years, but some of the people in the group have some that are 4 years old, which is geriatric for a Cornish Cross, and they have serious health issues. But they see they are exercised, and people exchange tips for better chicken health for these birds. Andrew wants to keep Bianca going as long as possible, so we'll see.

Bianca has been put on a controlled diet. Lots of veggies, little scratch, and encouraged to scratch in the compost with the others. Probably good that she likes to roost on the top perch, where she can see over the fence, because it makes her jump and flap her ridiculously undersized wings. You can see her going "I think I can, I think I can..." as she works herself up to it. I have been rearranging the perches recently, to give her a slightly more comfortable way of getting up, and have put in another high perch with fewer sharp edges, as her bulk really presses edges into her feet.

Everyone is starting to inspect nest boxes and small enclosed spaces. They are also pecking at the oyster shell bits I've put out for them. YES! This hopefully means eggs are coming soon. Everyone on the chicken boards are reporting when their spring chicks are starting laying, and what their ages are. The older girls are hitting 20 weeks, so they could start any time. Bianca is two weeks younger, so she may lag, but who knows? I just know I'm starting to get egg-anticipation.
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Palin and Privacy -- right on, Salon!

Yesterday, I mentioned about Palin's Yahoo account being hacked. Salon has something to say about this, and the Republican reaction to it.

"Still, it's really a wondrous, and repugnant, sight to behold the Bush-following lynch mobs on the Right melodramatically defend the Virtues of Privacy and the Rule of Law. These, of course, are the same authoritarians who have cheered on every last expansion of the Lawless Surveillance State of the last eight years -- put their fists in the air with glee as the Federal Government seized the power to listen to innocent Americans' telephone calls; read our emails; obtain our banking, credit card, and library records; and create vast data bases of every call we make and receive and every prescription we fill and every instance of travel and other vast categories of information that remain largely unknown -- all without warrants or oversight of any kind and often in clear violation of the law.

The same political faction which today is prancing around in full-throated fits of melodramatic hysteria and Victim mode (their absolute favorite state of being) over the sanctity of Sarah Palin's privacy are the same ones who scoffed with indifference as it was revealed during the Bush era that the FBI systematically abused its Patriot Act powers to gather and store private information on thousands of innocent Americans; that Homeland Security officials illegally infiltrated and monitored peaceful, law-abiding left-wing groups devoted to peace activism, civil liberties and other political agendas disliked by the state; and that the telephone calls of journalists and lawyers have been illegally and repeatedly monitored.

And the same Surveillance State Worshipper leading today's screeching -- Michelle Malkin -- spent the last several years deriding those who objected to the President's illegal spying program as "privacy crusaders" and "constitutional absolutists" and "civil liberties absolutists".

Shouldn't these same people be standing up today and insisting that if Sarah Palin has done nothing wrong, then she should have nothing to hide? If Sarah Palin isn't committing crimes or consorting with The Terrorists, then why would she care if we can monitor her emails? And if private companies such as Yahoo can access her emails -- as they can -- then she doesn't really have any "privacy" anyway, so what's the big deal if others read through her communications, too? Isn't that the authoritarian idiocy that has been spewed since The Day That 9/11 Changed Everything -- beginning with the Constitution -- to justify vesting secret and unchecked surveillance powers in our Great and Good Leaders?"
Oh my, if she has nothing to hide... What's good for the gander is good for the goose, and the govmint is always looking for ways to goose us. So what's the big deal? Oh, we're the government, and we're different, you say? Hmm, I seem to recall a certain Senator from California saying that about her concealed weapons permit and how that related to the rights of the citizenry to keep and bear arms for self defense. (Hypocrisy and elitism are remarkably free of party orientation.)
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