Saturday, October 9, 2010

Tomato Hornworm or Tabacco Hornworm?

This is either a tobacco hornworm or tomato hornworm. I believe it's the former, because it has seven white stripes and a red horn.

It's an amazing looking creature. Click on the photo to enlarge it. It has a fake eye below each white stripe. It also has a face on its rear end (the end with the red horn). 

The tobacco hornworm is the larval stage of the beautiful Sphinx moth. I'm very fond of the moths, which become active as the sun goes down. I have many 4-o'clocks and a few daturas in my garden, so the Sphinx moth is a common visitor. Today when I went into my garden for the first time since last Monday, I found one of my fall tomato plants defoliated, with two large hornworms who look as though they're getting pretty close to the point where they will drop off the plant and burrow into the soil to pupate over winter. The other tomato plants are fine. I took one of the worms off the plant and gave it to the chickens to eat, but I left one there. What the heck. The plant is already ruined -- there's no way it can recover and produce tomatoes before the first frost -- and I'll be glad to have the moths in the garden.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Not All Politicians Are Afraid to Mention This Topic ...

This photo has nothing to do with the following text. I found the picture on an old hard drive and wanted to save it. My daughter took this photo of me a few years ago when I was in my freight-hopping phase.

Until today, I had no idea that a person could be branded for life, barred from employment and housing, forced to endure perverted "treatments" reminiscent of A Clockwork Orange, for the "crime" of falling in love with someone three years younger. Sex Offenders Exposed, published in the Austin Chronicle last month, describes insane laws that group high school sweethearts together with sexual predators who rape and kill children, all under the heading "Sex Offender."

I'm not sure whether this is a worst-case example of a glitch in the way people assess risk, or if there is some other reason for these laws. Maybe a combination of causes. In any event, the laws are clearly hurting people, not helping, and could never have been expected to accomplish the goal of protecting children from sexual predators. Unfortunately, politicians don't want to touch the subject, for fear of being accused of being "soft" on sex offenders. Most people probably don't know how broad the law is -- I certainly didn't. I had no idea you could do prison time, be placed on parole for life, be subjected to monthly lie detector tests, and forced to undergo "treatments" that would make it difficult for you to ever have a normal sexual relationship. You could be subjected to all this, not because you hurt anyone, but because you were a young person who was curious, and you looked at some photos; or because you were 19, and a girl you were in love with told you she was 17, but actually she was only 15, and you held her hand. 

In the comments under the article, one politician was willing to stand up for reason -- Ed Kless says:

I am running as a Libertarian against Senator Shapiro in November. I am running is a straight up race, there is no Democrat in the race.

While I am sure Senator Shapiro (mentioned in the article) meant well in passing this legislation she is just wrong about the purpose of government. It is not to protect people from all harm, but rather to protect their individual rights. 

The unintended consequences of legislation of this nature are rarely looked it. Kudus to Jordon Smith for a fine piece of investigative reporting. We need more stories like this.

Please visit my campaign site at, if you like what you see please consider passing it on to your friends.