Baby animals and spring

Spring has sprung, and baby animals are exploring their big new world. Here’s what to do if you spot a baby animal:

Wait and watch. Most baby birds, rabbits, squirrels, deer and other animals don’t need humans’ help — their parents are usually nearby.

Baby birds with a half-inch or more of tail feathers are good to go. Unless they’re in obvious danger, don’t put them back in the nest — they will only hop out again. If necessary, place the bird on the lowest limb of a small tree or shrub.

If the baby is featherless, gently put him back in his nest (your scent won’t keep his parents away). Can’t reach the nest? Make one from a berry basket, kitchen strainer, or small plastic container with holes punched in the bottom. Line it with shredded tissue and hang it in a sheltered spot near the original nest.

Never try to tame baby animals or keep them as “pets.” It’s against the law in most places and unfair to the animal, who needs to be with and learn from others of his own kind.

If you see any baby animal whose mother has been killed, call a licensed wildlife rehabilitator. For more tips on living with wildlife, visit

Stephanie Boyles
Norfolk VA
Stephanie Boyles is a wildlife biologist with People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.

No more cuts

This comment appeared online in response to a Detroit Free Press poll on whether autoworkers should accept concessions. It is reprinted with the author’s permission.

Anyone who doesn’t need a decent wage and benefits from their work to live on and raise a family, please raise your hand.

No, I don’t expect those who holler for UAW workers to take bigger cuts will offer to take less or volunteer to put their jobs on the chopping block. We ALL need benefits to raise our families and have decent communities, don’t we?

No amount of spin can hide that basic fact as we are told to make do and do without. But the more we give, the more the companies come for and we, our kids and our neighbors face dimmer futures. So why would we accept MORE cuts after 25 years of cutbacks and social decline?

We struggle with growing bills and debt loads while the rich and global live high and cry poor, about how they need even more from us. What should we in the middle and the poor do when we are pushed and squeezed too much?

We can and should figure out how to say, “No, no more cuts.” We can push back and put the squeeze on this vicious game. We can win support for our own demands and more justice. We can respect our lives, our work and our kids’ futures enough to stand up for ourselves. The rich and their fast-living corporate guys can afford to make concessions way more than we can.

Judy Christensen
Detroit MI

Stop the shut-offs

With 57,000 Illinois households facing imminent disconnection of their heat, hot water and ability to cook, and 10,000 households facing electricity shut-offs, the coalition fighting for affordable energy reform is demanding that Gov. Rod Blagojevich declare an emergency and order People’s Gas, ComEd and Ameren to stop shut-offs based on inability to pay.

Consumers face an illegal 26 percent (ComEd) or 55 percent (Ameren) rate increase and a request for an increase by People’s Gas. The Illinois speaker of the House, Michael Madigan, has introduced legislation to create an Illinois Power Authority, which could generate and sell energy in the state to counteract utility monopolies that are out of control.

Curly Cohen and Molly Rose
Chicago IL

No sympathy for Alberto Gonzales

Texas is to Mexicans as Mississippi is to African Americans. In Mississippi, African Americans have suffered lynching, racism, discrimination and super-exploitation for centuries. So too, Mexicans have suffered lynching, racism, discrimination and super-exploitation in Texas.

Attorney General Alberto Gonzales grew up in Texas. Gonzales was a smart youth. He went to Harvard and became a lawyer. He could have used his talents and skills to defend his Mexican community from the ravages of racism and discrimination. Instead, Gonzales chose the quick path to fame and fortune. He became a flunky for George Bush and his gang of right-wing fat cats. These are the same people that continue to exploit the Mexican community using racism and discrimination. Working with this bunch, Gonzales learned to lie and cheat, something these right-wingers do with regularity. Now, he has been caught in a web of lies.

When Gonzales was first appointed as attorney general, his appointment was supported by only a few Mexicans and by a few Latino organizations. Their rationale for supporting him was that even though he was an extreme conservative, he was achieving the highest position ever achieved by a Mexican person in government. Now that the demand for his resignation is being heard, these former supporters have been very silent. No one is defending him now. His guilt of having lied to congressional investigators is obvious to all. Gonzales has brought shame upon himself.

There is no sympathy for Gonzales in the Mexican community. Gonzales never spoke out against the attacks on immigrants. He never spoke out against the proposed border wall. He never said a word about the unconstitutional anti-immigrant laws being passed in cities all over our country.

While immigrants were being arrested in raids on factories and plants, Gonzales was silent. These raids left families torn apart and left children without parents. Gonzales is no hero in the Mexican community. He made his choice of which side he was on. The shame is all his alone.

Armando Ramirez
El Cajon CA