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Historic Harrisburg Home Tour another great success

Thank you to Historic Harrisburg.

Their annual home tour was once again a lot of fun. We get to walk around in the winter time’s crisp air, with a lot of interesting and friendly people. All of us care about our community, which is important. The homes are always interesting, and many are spectacular. The hosts are always gracious, sometimes with the aid of a glass of wine, or sometimes a bottle or two.

One thing that bears repeating from past posts about these tours is kudos to Alex Hartzler, who has invested in Harrisburg’s re-development for umpteen years. His effort has been as an investor expecting a return, yes, but let’s face it, his WCI Partners faces an uphill task. There is a lot of risk, and the possibility of very little ROI, if any. And yet they go house by house, block by obliterated, abandoned block, and breathe life into Pennsylvania’s capital city.

Another fact worth repeating from previous blog posts here is the important role of gay people, mostly gay men, in gentrification and the slow reclamation of abandoned neighborhoods everywhere, not the least of which are here in Harrisburg.

You have issues with gay people? OK, you are entitled to those feelings, as sexuality really is a private matter. And if your views are Biblical, as are mine, then again, you and I are entitled to our Biblical views on human activity. That said, in my practical observation gay men are an incredible force for economic development and neighborhood renewal, which are good things in my experience and in my view. And they make fantastic, fabulous neighbors. They tend to be neat, kind, friendly, law abiding, all of which are desirable qualities in a neighbor.

In fact, let’s face it, I am downright envious of gay men: They get to spend all their money and time on themselves.

And in that spending process they are helping rebuild Harrisburg into a prosperous and safe community. So I say Thank you, neighbors; I really do not care about your private lifestyle, and I really do appreciate your investment in my neighborhood and community. Everyone have a wonderful holiday season and a successful 2019.

Here are some photos from our tour.

A reclaimed row home in Mid-Town. 100 years ago, these homes were built of strong and attractive materials, with neat designs. These attributes are being re-discovered and appreciated by many Americans seeking close and walking communities.

My “Princess of Patience” in the Levine home in Uptown. What a woman. Until I returned from the mountains, she had been a hunting widow for many weeks.

This is why I will never have my home on the Historic Harrisburg tour: I would have to meticulously clean my lawn. Thank you to Ray Davis for making his home open.

Illegal & Unlimited immigration is a get-rich scheme for everyone but you

Unlimited, unfettered immigration into, and the illegal alien invasion of America, enriches many people and groups, at an enormous cost to you and me, the forgotten American taxpayer.

Big business is always looking to cut labor costs as far as possible, in order to maximize profits as far as possible, and so most big business leaders support unlimited immigration and the illegal alien invasion. Not all, but an awful lot.

Both major political parties benefit from unlimited immigration and especially the illegal alien invasion. The Republicans benefit because so many of their financiers are big business. Getting those donors the low cost labor churn they want means they get more political money to stay in office and hold onto power.

The Democrats benefit because they get more voters, illegal as they may be, which helps them achieve their goal of artificially gaining political domination over America. A lot of American citizens have stopped voting for Democrats, because they are so obviously devoted to people and policies that hurt Americans.

People promoting illegal invasion immigration are get-rich schemers, hoping to make lots of money off of us, the American citizens. We citizen taxpayers are the ones who underwrite the freebies and benefits given to these invaders that WE TAXPAYERS ourselves would never, ever qualify for. For example, I have been paying Social Security taxes since I was 14 years old, and despite the huge amount of money I have put into that system, I will be very lucky to get some basic Social Security income back when I reach 67 years of age. Illegal aliens just have to show up and probably within a few months they get as much taxpayer aid and support as I would collect from my own Social Security account in several years, many years from now.

Lots of people benefit from illegal immigration and unlimited immigration, except for the other 96% of the American citizens. We deserve leaders who will look out for us, and who will respect all of the hard work we do to earn the money we make to pay our bills and support our families.

Yet, incredibly, America has an entire political party, and a good portion of another political party, devoted to the welfare and happiness of people who came into America illegally and who impose great costs upon those of us who live here and keep the country running every day.

How refreshing yesterday to watch President Trump deal forthrightly with the treasonous leaders Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer, who would utterly destroy America and bankrupt you and me for the sake of twenty pieces of silver. It is a shame GOP establishment leader Paul Ryan is leaving before we could see him get the same treatment from our outstanding president.

The Ups and Downs of Pennsylvania’s Status as Trophy Hunting Destination

When I was a kid deer hunting, you would find a comfy seat somewhere under a hemlock or on a stump, and wait for the deer to storm by. The deer would eventually pass by in herds like caribou on the tundra, so many that you often lost count. Almost all were does, which were mostly off limits to hunting back then, and what you were looking for were any signs of antlers. Any flash of white on top of the deer’s head meant it was a buck, and therefore legal for harvest.

No matter how puny, how scrawny, how insignificant the antlers were, “getting your buck” was the goal, and several generations of Pennsylvanians were raised hunting in this low quality atmosphere. Herds of deer far beyond the carrying capacity of the landscape were the norm, as were pathetic excuses for a trophy, usually spike bucks or Y four-pointers, at best.

Fast forward forty years and Pennsylvania is now a true trophy hunting destination. It is unbelievable, really, the incredible successes in wildlife management our state has had. And every one of these achievements has come from outstanding planning by state wildlife biologists over decades.

For example, every year for the past fifteen years we have had bear harvests ranging from 3,000 to 4,000 animals, mostly taken within a three or four-day season. Some of our bears, a fairly high proportion, are gigantic, weighing from 500 to 800 pounds. These are eastern black bears the size of western grizzly bears; but they taste a lot better and they lack the aggressive personality of grizzlies.

Other examples of our wildlife management success are the trapping opportunities for otter, fisher, and bobcat, all of which were exotic, unimaginable, almost alien creatures when I was a kid. Someone you knew had seen one at some point in the woods, but they did not show up in traps, or dead on the roadside. Now? These three charismatic, very cool predators are either common or becoming common across Pennsylvania. There are enough of them to begin to alter prey populations, and forest growth, which means there are surpluses for sportsmen to pursue.

And our wild elk! Other states like Kentucky may have newer, much larger herds of wild elk than Pennsylvania, but they do not have the large human population or oversized road system we have here. Kentucky and the other states that have recently added wild elk can sustain larger herds. Nonetheless, Pennsylvania sees about 100 elk harvested annually, many of which are gigantic trophies on par with the best of western herds.

Finally, the biggest wildlife management success is our deer population. And it is our most controversial.

I have had a good deer season this year. Really, an outstanding deer season, in every way. Quality, quantity, time afield, hunting companionship, family time, scenic and remote places…what a fantastic few weeks it has been. How fortunate am I to have had this time, and it is only possible because Pennsylvania Game Commission biologists have done such an outstanding job of managing our deer populations (Quality Deer Management Association recognized the PGC this year  with an award for its incredible deer management).

Here is an example of the controversy surrounding deer hunting here. After sending a photo of one of the deer I took, using a beautiful 1935 German double-barreled rifle made at the peak of German sporting arms engineering, my older friend Jack wrote back to me “If you are not careful, you will clear your mountain of all game.”

In past years Jack has hunted with me at our place and would testify to the high quality deer we have cultivated there. Nonetheless he is anxious about harvesting “too many” deer.

And right there in his statement is the rub, the issue, the friction in our wildlife management here, overshadowing all other successes. Older generations tend to see does as sacred cows, off limits to harvest, whereas the younger generations tend to view deer management through the lens of biology, mathematics, and both habitat and social carrying capacity.

Never mind the other species listed above, just the high quality deer hunting alone makes Pennsylvania a true trophy hunting destination. People are now harvesting gigantic bucks unimaginable fifteen years ago, and that are big enough to hold their own against the long-time trophy deer hunting states like Kansas, Iowa, Illinois and Ohio. Pennsylvania’s deer management is working incredibly well, giving hunters a quality-over-quantity choice that works for today’s hunters and that rankles older generations used to “more is better.”

Deer hunting has gotten so good that, despite much stronger anti poaching laws, people are still going nuts trying to illegally hog up trophy bucks, afraid that if they do not get it, someone else will. Not too many years ago a fine young game warden was gunned down by a night poacher who was determined not to go back to jail (he did). Last week two 57-year-old men were caught shooting at deer from ATVs, and their reaction was to badly beat the deputy game warden and take his gun. They, too, are now in jail.

Older Pennsylvanians seem slow to catch on to our new status as a trophy destination. They act as if does must still be protected (they need not), and as if there are only a couple trophy bucks that must be poached before “someone else steals my buck.” In his recent book To Conserve and Protect: Memories of a Wildlife Conservation Officer, retired game warden Steve Hower recounts some of his experiences dealing with this backwards mindset.

Past PGC executive director Vern Ross used to say at every opportunity he had “Now, today, is the golden age of hunting in Pennsylvania!” Vern was correct then, and even more so now, as hunting opportunities are even better than when he was at PGC.

At some point the vast majority of our hunters will recognize and appreciate what an incredible thing we have now, right now, and instead of complaining about it, they will enjoy it and do what they can too support the PGC.

Some photos below from our bear and deer seasons; the buck photos are from the five minutes I was there on the second night of rifle season at Blue Mountain Deer Processing in Enola, PA. Just look at those incredible heads and huge steer-like bodies! Wow. Unthinkable not too long ago.

“Think those are big? You should have seen the huge ones that poured in here yesterday, on Opening Day,” said Dean Deimler, owner of Blue Mountain Deer Processing.

I have heard of several 160-inch and bigger racks being taken in the mountains, where too many people say “there ain’t no deer.” Like a lot of people, I would rather have a shot at a lifetime trophy buck of 160 inches than see a zillion scrawny spikes and forkhorns.

The young man is my son, who climbed high and steep right along with the adults, handling his firearms expertly and safely, himself taking three deer in two states this season and hunting bear as an adult for the first time. And that is the other ‘trophy’ from deer hunting…watching that next generation grow into an activity as old and as natural as our species.

GHWB: Washington DC likes its Republicans Dead, and Why Bipartisanship Died with Him

In addition to the amazing amount of laudatory handwringing by an ordinarily partisan and hostile press, the fact that even the stand-out , stand-alone US Patent & Trademark Office is closed tomorrow, in memory of the recently deceased President George H.W. Bush, it stands to reason that former DC residents-turned-DC skeptics like me are concluding that DC only likes Republicans when they are dead.

The long established Leftwing media mantra that Republicans are either stupid, or evil, or racist etc. etc. magically ends when a moderate Republican like GHWB dies. They never said these nice things about him when he was alive. Suddenly his long time willingness to “reach across the aisle” and repeatedly cave in to Leftwing demands is a laudable bipartisan trait so missed now in Washington, DC.

The truth is that bipartisanship, as defined by the post-WWII litany of policy and legislative cave-ins, willing defeats, and betrayals by Washington DC Republicans, has come to an end. Bipartisanship always meant Republicans giving in to liberal Democrat demands, and now that the well is dry for a majority of Republican voters, that is, there are no more concessions to be made without Republicans simply pulling out a wakizashi and committing seppuku, the idea of giving in yet one more time is anathema to the base and many newly elected officials.

Simply said, there is no more bipartisan giving to be done by Republicans. For seventy years they already done given in on everything they could without absolutely giving up on everything they believe in and stand for. This is why on issues like civilian disarmament (“common sense gun control”) and climate change (“environmental quality”) Democrats have now fully come out from hiding and gone for broke.  On these issues Democrats no longer lie and dissemble and promise it’s not as bad as their enemies say; now they make it clear: No guns that are actual guns allowed for any civilian, and expect coercive big government catastrophic Western Civilization -ending ‘climate change’ policies masquerading as reasonable mom-n-pop water quality environmental policy.

To Democrats and their mainstream media arm, President George Herbert Walker Bush #41 represents the halcyon days of Democrat push and Republican give. He was definitely not the leader of pushback that we have in the current White House resident. And so he must be lauded, and missed oh so much. To the mainstream media, GHWB’s legacy was showing how a real Republican ought to lead in politics: By falling back and giving in and losing whenever given the chance.

That was bipartisanship, and it was how Republicans became great and good in the eyes of the DC establishment. And it is why so many establishment Republicans, the GOPe, still oppose President Trump: By standing firm and even pushing back for pro-America, pro-Constitution principles and policies, Trump prevents GOPe members from getting their public plaudits from the biggest mouthpiece around, the Democrat Media.

Our modern Salem Witch Trials in 2018

Back in the 1690s, Salem, Massachusetts, was the home of notorious intrigue involving witchcraft (following a similar hunt for “witches” throughout Europe). In the end, twenty innocent people from Maine to Massachusetts were executed, and as a result a great deal of changes were made in judicial procedure.

Much has been written about the Salem Witch Trials, so its history will not be repeated here. But the way it happened is instructive, because we like to think that today, in our modern age and nation, nothing like it could happen. And yet, the same thing is happening now, only under political guises.

The essence of the Salem witch trials is that a person would become suspect as a “witch” simply upon someone’s baseless accusation, with some finger pointing and rumor mongering. The accusation could have its genesis in not liking someone’s personality, a personal feud, not agreeing with them on some minor point or other, or on financial matters. Then a howling mob would be ginned up, assemble, and demand that the “witch” be killed.

At best a show trial would be arranged, in which the “witch” would have an opportunity to defend herself (occasionally himself) against baseless accusations, including the testimony of ghosts. There was no real evidence, just accusations and whipped up emotional fervor. Most accused witches died, with the survivors being those who admitted to their guilt and begged forgiveness.

Here at the end of the most modern age of 2018, which is some 330 years after all the witch hysteria business in Salem, one would like to think we are in an advanced mental, scientific, and legal state, not prone to supporting howling mobs seeking immediate retribution for some wild accusation without any evidence. And yet, you would be wrong about that. It seems that we are just about where Germany was in the late 1920s: A nation too big, too successful, too advanced to fail. And yet, Germany did fail, spectacularly, and with enormous costs.

Looking back over 2018, we have seen the same kind of behavior that caused and surrounded the Salem witch trials: In a sea of literal hysteria and insane cries, wails, and screeches of people clawing at the doors of the Supreme Court and the US Senate, Justice Kavanaugh was falsely accused of things he obviously never did (two of his accusers have since recanted); President Trump is blamed for every little thing that could possibly be construed to be wrong; people who disagree with political extremists are called “climate deniers” amid calls for their execution or incarceration by professors and professionals. Even the Koch brothers, with whom I share only some views, are demonized by the Left the way Germany’s Jews were demonized by the Nazis.

All of this political persecution relies on the presumption of guilt rather than of innocence, and the use of simple accusations and whipped up hysteria. Nothing good can come of it, and yet America has one political party dedicated to this approach of resolving political differences.

Apparently, at least half of America is made up of “witches.”