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Archive → January, 2014

When public officials dodge, dodge, and dodge again

How sad that a private citizen would care more about protecting a public park than the paid public employees entrusted with it. It is amusing, and sad, that a professional or two would find every evasive maneuver literally imaginable (and that is with a very excitable imagination) to avoid doing something that the public very much wants. I guess that at some point, the public will have to find out, and then who knows what they will say about it… Sorry to have to see this and say it.

Pete Seeger – gone

Pete Seeger died yesterday. I met Pete several times in the mid-1980s, when I worked for his brother, John, who was also a remarkable and influential person.  Although most of Pete Seeger’s politics were like his brother John’s — mostly vexing and at best confusing to me, he was a very gentle and nice man who made audiences laugh, sing from their hearts, and feel better by the end of the day. Planet Earth is now a little poorer. Fair sailing, Pete!

PS Pete Seeger was related to Alan Seeger, the namesake of a 90-acre patch of old-growth hemlock and pine on Seven Mountains, on the border of Mifflin and Centre counties.  This little patch of forest cathedral Heaven has been one of my favorite hideaways since my earliest childhood memories.  That a small brook running through it holds sparkly brook trout makes it magic, and not just Heavenly.

Wile-y Coyote, knows the way

On my way out the door this morning, a call came in: “I think you have a coyote,” he said.

Knowing how wiley those coyotes are, I was skeptical and hopeful.

Surely enough, when I arrived the sets were undisturbed, and a second call went like this: “Yeah, we figured out he was mousing, you know – pouncing on mice under the snow,” and then eating them with great pleasure.

So what had appeared like one behavior was in fact something else, entirely.  The coyote had not been trapped, but rather had merrily and quite freely zig zagged his way across the snowy field, chasing tasty mouse morsels.  Human perception has misunderstood things of far greater consequence before, and will again, but the symbolism was instructive.

Once again I am surprised to see how entrenched most people are in a single perspective, as if their own living place, their own community, their own home, their own food, whatever surrounds them, is in fact (and must, must be) a true reference point for everyone else.  As if rural citizens relate to land the same as city slicker flatlanders, whose use for open land is a place to casually watch for deer as they serenely drive to their next appointment.  As if the flatlanders exist for the sole benefit of the rural folks….

How often do we hear activists and religious leaders invoke “peace,” as though what they are doing will actually bring peace, or that they would even know what someone else would call peace.  The take-away for me today was how entrenched in self most individual people are, and how they often (mistakenly) believe that their world view is dominant, “normal,” and correct.  And I’d say that this applies across the board, to all people, and most assuredly to me.

Obama abandons western civilization

If anyone had any questions left about Obama’s loyalties, tonight’s state of the union speech should have clarified that this man is at war with western civilization.

Pledging to veto stronger sanctions on Iran means that Obama is now openly aiding and protecting Iran in its rush to build nuclear bombs.

Obama has now openly broken his pledge to faithfully defend America.  Time is now for this dangerous charlatan to go.


Harrisburg’s new parking scam

Today I parked in a Harrisburg municipal garage. Got my ticket when I entered, and tried to pay when I returned four hours later.

Several poorly written, hand-written notes on lined paper were taped to the payment kiosk. These notes said that the kiosk was now taking only exact payment, that no refunds were being given, that inserting your credit card to pay could result in the permanent loss of your card, and that receipts slips were not printing.

kiosk 2

In other words, you might mistakenly over-pay, because few people carry exact cash for anything, the machine would not give you a receipt for proof that you had overpaid, and you’d get no change back.  What happens if you are in a rush to exit the garage and get on your way to your next destination?  You might just leave a few extra bucks behind to save the time…no doubt that’s part of the purpose.

And we are not talking about nickels and dimes, but dollars only. It cost sixteen bucks to park in the garage for the four hours I was up at the Capitol. That is four dollars an hour, or four quarters for fifteen minutes of parking time (as opposed to one quarter for ten or fifteen minutes like it was until last year). It is a huge amount of money for parking.

And on top of the rip-off parking price, you get zero service, theft of your change due back, and no receipt to prove you did indeed pay.

Harrisburg has some serious challenges, and this parking scam is going to make recovery worse. One of the ways the city is supposed to re-coup its bad debt on the incinerator is lease out the parking garages. Well, here ya go; here is the natural result of that leasing arrangement: All rip-off, no service, outrageous prices, no due process. Really hope the “geniuses” who thought this up are held accountable for this failure.

Wait a minute! The guys who ripped us all off with the incinerator debt never got held accountable, and now we have a whole new set of rip-off guys milking us in new ways. I guess it just doesn’t end, until every taxpayer will have moved from the city and abandoned the place to the crows and the weasels.

Climate change claims can’t ever be wrong

If you haven’t done so already, pay attention to global warming/ climate change claims.

Whenever the weather is hot, or cold, or windy, or in a lull, the vacuous claims are bandied about that these occurrences are evidence of “climate change” or “global warming.”

We’ve had an unusually cold winter. Why, it reminds me of the ones I used to know in my childhood. Do you, too, recall the deep snows on roads and huge piles of plowed snow in parking lots of the 1970s?

That snow was considered normal back then. Then we had twenty years of warm winters. Now we’ve had two years of cold winters. It’s certainly not global warming! Why, could it not simply be the natural variation of a complex, large weather system in a complex planet?

No matter what, people claiming that current weather is evidence of some bigger trend cannot ever be wrong. No matter what the weather is, they ascribe it to their favorite sky-is-falling environmental crisis du jour. It is a pretty ingenious way to argue, you have to admit: They just cannot ever be wrong. No matter what the evidence is – black or white, Saturday or Wednesday, Mars or Venus, cold, hot, very cold, very hot, lukewarm, tepid, accurate or inaccurate – or when it occurs, it all proves the same thing to promoters of human-caused climate change.

And the fact is that there are real environmental quality issues that need to be addressed and resolved. One that is near to my heart is the high grading of private forests, where the best commercial trees are removed and the junk trees are left behind. This creates huge swathes of forest with little habitat value for animals, and little present or future commercial value for landowners and the surrounding society that needs their forest products.

How sad that high grading forests is accomplished with such simple emotional appeals: “Why Mabel, we will just take the big trees, and leave the little ones for later. There’ll be lots of green left in your woods,” goes the high-grader’s sales pitch.

Because western clearcutting was so damaging to western ecosystems, clearcutting got a bad name back east. Back here most of our private forests are at a point where it’s either clearcutting most of our private woods, or allowing forest fire to shape them. Most of our private forests need to be re-set to zero. That will provide maximum diversity and the broadest habitat and commercial values.

But like claims of global climate change, clearcutting is another false boogey man whose opponents are driven by emotions, and not science. And the real damage is allowed to go on under the false guise of “protecting” the forests.

Ryan Loskarn – to be judged

Ryan Loskarn. Look him up. No need to say here what he did. Today he took his own life. Now only One will judge him, and not a jury.

Viewing child pornography creates a demand for child pornography, and it creates the conditions where children are subjected to the worst physical abuse imaginable. It is not a victimless crime to watch child porn.

The worst retribution is justified. Suicide is the easy way out. Hanging yourself is the right thing to do. Thank you.

Update**** I extend my condolences to Ryan’s family. To his credit, his shame was so overbearing that he could not live with it. Like defeated Roman generals and honor-bound Samurai warriors of old, Ryan took his own life to atone for his great failure. It is to his credit. And one more thing: Like the traditionalist he was, wrestling with his inner demons, he took responsibility for his actions. I wish another political party out there showed a smidgen of the same awareness among their own failed leaders. Instead, red-handed murderers like Ted Kennedy are exalted.

Who is a “sportsman”?

Sportsmen were the nation’s first conservationists, advocating in the 1890s for sustainable harvests of previously unregulated birds, fish and animals like deer and bear. Acting against their own individual self-interests, they banded together to place limits on wildlife and habitat so that future generations would have opportunities to fish, hunt, camp, skinny dip, sight-see, wildlife watch, and help wildlife recover from 300 years of unregulated market hunting and industrial exploitation.

By the 1920s, a culture of stewardship and natural resource conservation was cemented into the sporting ranks by leaders like Gifford Pinchot, Teddy Roosevelt, and Aldo Leopold. Hunting clubs across rural America incorporated stocking programs, tree planting, and facilitating public land purchases to improve and increase wildlife habitat.

Fast forward to today, where wildlife populations are largely stable, wildlife habitat is not in crisis mode, and hunters and anglers are experiencing the best opportunities to harvest trophy fish and game in many decades. We are living in a golden age of the outdoor lifestyle.

Riding on the successes of past generations, today there are some grumbling guys with guns, crabbing that they don’t have anything to hunt. The real shameful behavior is the recent abandonment by some of these men of the sportsman’s stewardship ethic and the conservation pledge that made the hunting community highly respected among the larger society. A group of disaffected users, takers, and malcontents calling themselves “sportsmen” recently endorsed HB 1576, a proposed Pennsylvania bill which would gut the very state agencies charged with protecting Pennsylvania’s natural resources, and remove from state protection those plants and animals necessary for healthy hunting habitat.

The question on the table is, Are these men sportsmen? Are they sportsmen like Aldo Leopold was a sportsman?

While I wait to hear back from others, my answer is No, these men are not sportsmen. They are simply men with guns, freeloaders, spoiled children living off the hard work of both past and present generations, while complaining it isn’t enough and they want more, now, dammit. Their behavior is short-sighted and embarrassing, nothing like the visionary selfless sacrifice of their forebears. They should be publicly shamed and drummed out of the ranks of sportsmen.

“The last word in ignorance is the man who says of an animal or plant, “What good is it?” If the land mechanism as a whole is good, then every part is good, whether we understand it or not. If the biota, in the course of aeons, has built something we like but do not understand, then who but a fool would discard seemingly useless parts? To keep every cog and wheel is the first precaution of intelligent tinkering.”
― Aldo Leopold

It doesn’t get any better or more American than this

MLK speaks from the heart in a speech that can never be replicated, and which bears hearing again and again…Note “dignity and discipline.”

Hunters United for Sunday Hunting @ Great American Outdoor Show

Hunters United for Sunday Hunting will be in booth 4511 in the Outfitters Hall of the Great American Outdoor Show. Come see us.