Great Barrier Reef, we hardly knew ye

Before we begin, I must rise and give a standing ovation to all my Dutch friends.

You did it. You rejected populism! The Dutch did something that the British and Americans could not do.

In case you haven’t been following the Weinblog™, this burst of joy is in reference to Geert Widlers, the extremely radical, far-right “Dutch Trump” whose party fell significantly short of winning the most seats in the Netherlands parliamentary elections on Wednesday.

The country’s Prime Minister, Mark Rutte, whose party did win the most votes, said in his victory speech that the craziness in the U.S. under Donald Trump made people rethink choosing a populist leader.

It’s great we get to be the guinea pig so other countries don’t screw up like we did.

But anyway, let’s shift gears to something a little more demoralizing that’s happening on the other side of the globe: the deterioration of the Great Barrier Reef.

It’s a pretty sad thought that one day, if I ever have grand-kids, I’ll have to explain to them that it was during my generation when we learned that the Great Barrier Reef was dying … and we did nothing to stop it.

That’s the reality. A recent paper published by scientists informs us that one of our planet’s foremost natural phenomena is in mortal danger – 30 years quicker than we expected. While the reef requires warm underwater temperatures to survive, global warming has caused temperatures to rise too much, proving deadly.

Great Barrier Reef

But the researchers explain that not all is hope is lost, and that there is time to restore the necessary conditions to salvage the precious underwater ecosystem.

But we have to act now.

Spoiler alert: we won’t.

Barack Obama was the symbolic leader of the monumental Paris Agreement, at which nearly 200 countries agreed to take tangible action to combat climate change. Now Obama’s gone, and Trump has threatened to pull the U.S. out of the agreement.

As much as we will want to blame Trump, though, Australia is as guilty as anyone else, as their conservative government continues to support fossil fuel development, including the construction of a proposed coal mine – a pretty big shocker considering the barrier reef is responsible for bringing the country some 70,000 jobs and billions of dollars in tourism revenue.

One would think that would motivate them to act. Guess not.

The Barrier Reef is as astonishing as anything our natural world has to offer. So astonishing that it’s often considered one of the modern wonders of the world.

Think of the massive development of a city over time into a complex, vivacious metropolis. Now imagine that underwater, constructed entirely by living organisms. It’s almost impossible to fathom.

And we are letting it die.

But hey, at least we’ll always have coal, right?

Although, if the first two months of Trump’s presidency are any indication, perhaps the courts will find a way to step in and override his complete disregard for climate change, just like they did for a second time with his proposed travel ban.

Hawaii Travel Ban

As we all have the distinct displeasure of remembering, Trump was a man unleashed during his campaign. Initially, he had only tepid support, and he was just running his mouth saying whatever he felt like to appeal to his base. Many of those things were downright bigoted.

And now he is suffering the consequences.

Yes, the revised travel ban down cut out the most controversial parts of the first one. But the damage has already been done. No matter how stately the administration attempts to word this thing, we know what they want to do. And in America, we don’t discriminate based on religion.

It’s refreshing to finally see somebody hold Trump accountable for his recklessness.

And credit must be given where it is due: you did it, Hawaii! Yeah! High five!

From now on, you will be remembered for being a popular honeymoon destination, the movie Lilo and Stitch, and … putting a stop to Trump’s second travel ban.

Put that shit right on the license plate.

Meet the new face of the $20 bill. Hint: it’s a woman.

What makes the Weinblog extra special is that we don’t just talk about interesting topics in the news and never return to them again. The last thing I’d ever want to do is leave you hanging.

It’s one thing to hear about something and become informed, but at the end of the day, we want the resolution, damn it. There’s nothing worse than unresolved drama. Nothing.

Well, maybe chlamydia.

Speaking of which …Johnny Depp. Last time his name popped up here was in May 2015, when I couldn’t help but voice my amazement when the Australian government made him extradite his dogs from their country because he flew them in without declaring them.

Depp HeardAustralia is apparently very careful about preventing disease. So careful that they actually threatened to kill his dogs if he didn’t remove them from the Land Down Under. Facing that prospect, Depp promptly had his dogs flown back home, probably in a much more luxurious way than any of us would ever travel from Australia to the U.S.

Well, 11 months later, Depp and his extremely hot wife, Amber Heard, issued an apology. And it’s just awkward.

Upon watching it, two thoughts came to my mind. First, this initially struck me as a possible case of Stockholm Syndrome. Somehow they were brainwashed by Australian officials and were led to believe that biosecurity was truly the most important thing in the world. The emotionless way they delivered this message was just eerie. I’m half expecting a sequel tomorrow where the couple will convince me to join the Church of Scientology.

But then it dawned on me that they were clearly ordered by Australia to do this to avoid being charged for criminal activity. And as a result, you have the most insincere apology in the history of the world.

This apology means even less than the instinctive “sorry” we mumble after we bump shoulders with someone on a crowded sidewalk.

Nonetheless, as Justin Bieber has taught us, it’s never to late to say you’re sorry.

And let’s wrap up today with another news update that will allow us to carry women around in our pocket.

Remember the movement last year to put a woman on the $20? Well — it’s finally Harriet Tubmanhappening! We did it! Change happened!

Seriously, when we’re on the cusp of electing our country’s first female president, this feels like the smallest victory in the history of activism.

But at least they made a solid choice in Harriet Tubman, a former slave and abolitionist, who was also a Union spy during the Civil War.

What I found most amusing was the incredible backlash the U.S. Treasury received when they first announced that a woman will be put on the $10 rather than the $20, replacing Alexander Hamilton, who was not only the first Secretary of Treasury, but who has become an increasingly popular figure more than 200 years after his death thanks to the outrageous success of a Broadway show that bears his name.

The Treasury made the right choice in the end, though, sacking Andrew Jackson from the $20, who was not only a slave owner, but was not too kind to Native Americans, either.

And in an age where paper money is being phased out by credit cards, that Harriet Tubman-labeled bill will mostly surface during the most common cash-only transactions, like ransoms, drug deals and to be slipped into the g-string of a pole-dancing stripper.

In other words, it will get plenty of use.


Loving your dogs is now a criminal offense

How much do you love your dogs?

Enough to go to prison for them for 10 years? If you answered yes, then you have something in common with Johnny Depp.

You’re a dog martyr.

The actor who has played Jack Sparrow one too many times is under fire with Australian authorities after he violated their quarantine laws by illegally flying his two dogs into the country without declaring them.

Australians care so much about preventing contagious diseases from crossing their borders that Depp was actually warned that if he didn’t remove his dogs from the country, they would be put down. Depp obliged and flew his dogs out, but now it’s possible that charges may be pressed against him.

Johnny Depp dogsThis is a real story.

The Australian Minister for Agriculture, Barnaby Joyce, was so insistent that the dogs leave, that he actually tweeted an update to his followers once they were gone. The tweet simply read, “dogs done.”

Without context, that tweet sounds like it’s coming from somebody lamenting their dogs running away. Or the tagline for a Gone Girl sequel featuring a canine kidnapping.

Clearly Australian officials do not give two shits about how they are perceived by outsiders, because going after somebody because he enjoys spending time with his dogs — and then threatening to put them down — is not how you endear yourself to others.

In fact, I think threatening to kill perfectly healthy dogs is probably one of the most evil things any government regime can do. Well, besides exterminating six million Jews, I guess.

But it’s Australia, so why would they care? I think it’s physically impossible to hold any animosity towards that country. Name one thing they’ve done to piss you off, ever. Just one thing. It’s the same nation that has koalas. Plus, they gave us Margot Robbie. And that gives them an eternal pass.

Michael Vick didn’t even serve three years in jail, and he orchestrated a brutal dog fighting ring that saw saw dogs get drowned and electrocuted.

I highly doubt charges will be pursued against Edward Scissorhands. But if they do, and he’s somehow convicted — despite the fact that he obliged by flying them out — then people better rally around his release like they did for Nelson Mandela.

And if you’re going to convict the actor for anything, how about throwing him in the slammer for the monstrosity of a movie that was Mortdecai?

Now that is a punishable offense.