19 Jun 2009, 10:59am
Federal forest policy
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Tidwell Interviewed by the Missoulian

Newly appointed Chief of the US Forests Service Tom Tidwell was interviewed by the Missoulian, published today. The questions were weak, the answers fairly stock.

Personally, I take little inference from the interview. The emphasis on climate change is not realistic, in the sense that climate realism provides evidence that global warming is a hoax and fraud. There has been global cooling for 10 years. There has been no change in snowpack. There has been no change in date of snowmelt. Catastrophic fires are late-season, anyway. But official obeisance to irrational paranoia might be expected in today’s political climate of global warming madness. The implication is that “climate change” will continue to be used as an excuse for megafire. That is not reassuring.

Tidwell’s emphasis on water and watersheds is a refreshing change, however. I am also pleased that he did not use the term “wildlands.”

The interview:

New USFS chief to address climate effects, watersheds

By ROB CHANEY of the Missoulian, June 19, 2009 [here]

Watershed management and climate change science will become top priorities for national forest management, according to newly designated U.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell.

The 32-year veteran of the Forest Service spent the past two years leading the Region 1 headquarters in Missoula. He spoke with the Missoulian on Thursday while wrapping up a senior executive service training session in Maine.

Missoulian: Tell us about the selection process. Who was in charge of the choice, and what were they looking for in a new chief of the Forest Service?

Tidwell: The Secretary of Agriculture (Tom Vilsack) was in charge. They wanted someone who had demonstrated they can work with people, be able to reach out. I expect to develop a collaborative approach. We’ve very successfully been able to move those concepts forward in the Northern Region. And also to have someone who’s been with the agency.

Missoulian: Homer Wilkes backed out of the undersecretary of agriculture job last week. That was the post formerly held by Mark Rey, and it oversees the chief of the Forest Service. Who’s going to be your boss?

Tidwell: Jay Jensen is our acting undersecretary. He’s my boss.

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19 Jun 2009, 10:24am
Uncategorized
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Kruse Reports on the Oregon Legislature

by Senator Jeff Kruse, R-Roseburg, District 1 [here]

GAMES PEOPLE PLAY

Today is Friday, June 19, 2009 and the 75th Legislative Assembly should be drawing to a close. As it turns out we will probably be here at least one more week because not all of the “children” have learned to play together in the sand box. Last week was, in my opinion, one of the worst weeks in the history of the legislature. Not only did we raise taxes by over one billion dollars, we also created significantly more government which was to a large degree the reason for the tax increase. However, that was last week and I have faith in the judgment of the people to reject at least the tax increase portion of the package. Currently the debate is between the Governor and the Democrat leadership over how much of the Rainy Day Reserve Fund to spend. Over the last six years we have created two reserve funds and they each have different requirements.

THE SCHOOL STABILITY FUND

The School Stability Fund is rather simple and straight forward in the way it can be accessed and the funds used. There are certain triggers necessary for using any of the money, for example two fiscal quarters in a row with a significant decline in revenue. All of the trigger events have happened and we will be accessing this fund, which also has rules about how much of the money can be used at any one time. The reason this is simple is because the School Stability Fund is Constitutional. What this means is the Legislature cannot do anything beyond what is in the law without a vote of the people. We will be using the amount of this fund allowed by law, and this is an appropriate action.

THE RAINY DAY FUND

On the surface The Rainy Day Fund was set up the same way as the School Stability Fund with basically the same set of economic triggers. The major difference is this fund is not in the Constitution, just in law. This is a very significant difference simply because the Legislature has the ability to ignore any rules it has set up simply by using the term “Not Withstanding”. So in this case by adding the words notwithstanding and condition or limitation in ORS 293.144 the legislature can use any or all of the Rainy Day Fund for any purpose at any time. The Democrats are proposing to use the majority of this fund now to balance this budget, which I think is a violation of the principles we agreed to in the creation of the fund. As a matter of full disclosure our back to basics budget did propose using some of this fund, but only the amount prescribed in law.

THE GOVERNOR ARRIVES

After being absent for the majority of this session the Governor has now chosen to participate. He has told the Democrat leadership he will veto the K-12 budget if too much of the Rainy Day Fund is spent. The Governor even went to the extraordinary length of meeting with Republican leadership, for the first time all session, to see if we would help him prevent a veto override. We used this as an opportunity to explain to him what our budget proposal was, to which he had no comment. We have also had conversations with leadership over what our position is on this debate. After being told for months we were unnecessary, we are choosing to not commit to either side on this issue for now.

THE GAME IS ON

By law the Governor has 5 days to sign or veto a bill once it reaches his desk while the Legislature is in session. Once the Legislature has adjourned he has 30 days to make a decision. So the goal of leadership at this point is to force the issue before we adjourn. To this end the Ways and Means Committee will be meeting this morning to pass out the K-12 budget and it will be on the Senate floor for a vote this afternoon. This budget will then be voted on in the House on Monday and should be put on the Governor’s desk by Monday afternoon. This would require him to either sign or veto the bill by next Saturday, which would mean the Legislative Assembly could potentially vote to override the veto (if it happens) on the same day.

This is not an official time line and nothing is in writing, just my opinion as to how I think events will transpire. I should also note I will be voting against the K-12 budget simply because it is significantly less than the budget we proposed. Furthermore, there are a lot of bills being held hostage for passage of other bills. In virtually every case the bills have nothing to do with each other, they are just trade bait. I personally do not play this game as I vote all bills on merit and will never vote for something I don’t like to get something I might want. These are the sort of tactics that give politics a bad name.

Sincerely,

Senator Jeff Kruse

18 Jun 2009, 11:22pm
Federal forest policy
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Addressing Forest Service Employee Morale

by Doug MacCleery, 06/18/2009

This is a follow-up to the note I sent on June 3 on the Forest Service’s abysmal rating in the recently released Best Places to Work survey. The agency was 206 out of 216. In this survey, 945 people from the Forest Service responded, a healthy 3% of agency employees. The results are [here].

I understand this issue was discussed briefly at the Forest Service National Leadership Team meeting last week. I believe that it is important to ponder ways to address this critical issue, even as the leadership of the agency is in transition. It would be difficult to conceive of a issue more important to the future of the Forest Service.

Last week (June 10) the Washington Post ran a story on the topic “The Forest Service Struggling with Morale” [here]. This story discussed the Best Places survey, as well as a March 19, 2009 hearing before the National Parks, Forest and Public Lands Subcommittee of the House Natural Resources Committee.

This hearing, “Restoring the Federal Public Lands Workforce,” focused on management and morale issues in three federal land managing agencies — the Forest Service, BLM and National Park Service. Hank Kashtan provided testimony for the Forest Service. Several other government and outside witnesses testified, including George Leonard for the National Association of Forest Service Retirees, and Ron Thatcher, President, Forest Service Council, National Federation of Federal Employees.

Last Friday (June 12), Chief Kimbell issued a letter to all employees discussing the Best Places survey and the Washington Post story. Chief Kimbell reinforced the importance of the issue by stating that it “deserves leadership’s attention and your attention at every level of the agency.” Clearly, this issue is a major one for all those who care about this agency and its future.

There are certainly a variety of factors that have contributed to this situation, several of which were mentioned by Chief Kimbell, including fire transfer and downsizing. Other factors were mentioned by Kank Kashtan at the hearing mentioned above, including centralizing business and human resources in Albuquerque, and others.

But the Forest Service is an agency which has faced many challenges in the past and has found ways to overcome them. In writing about Forest Service history, I reviewed many of these challenges in a brief history, released in 2008: “Reinventing the U.S. Forest Service: evolution from custodial management, to production forestry to ecosystem management” [here]. See, in particular, pp. 62-71. Given our impressive history and important mission, there is no doubt that we can address this challenge — if we will only devote ourselves fully to the task.

The hearing mentioned above provided a wealth of information about the Best Places survey and its implications for the Forest Service, BLM and NPS. It provided detailed information on the causes of the situation, as well as suggestions and recommendations for addressing it. The full hearing record can be accessed [here].

Kevin Simpson, Executive Vice President of the Partnership for Public Service (which helped compile the Best Places to Work survey) testified and discussed in detail the Best Places survey and its implications. This testimony was delivered before the recent ratings were released, which saw the Forest Service decline and BLM and NPS improve somewhat. His summary of the situation (p.6) is that:

The Forest Service, NPS and BLM are fortunate to have workforces that are highly committed to their respective missions and who generally believe their immediate supervisors are doing a good job. But these are also workforces who say they lack the resources to do the job required of them, that their agencies do not excel in recruiting new talent with needed skills, that their leaders fail to inspire and motivate high performance, and that the skill level of the agencies is stagnant. We can say with confidence that an under-resourced, under-trained workforce will not be able to perform at its best on behalf of the American people.

Mr. Simpson also discussed what he thinks should be done to address this issue. He described a NPS case study (p.6 of his testimony) that focused on the situation and made specific recommendations as to what might be done to address it. Most of these recommendations would be applicable to the Forest Service as well. Many could be put in place immediately at various Forest Service organizational levels. Kevin Simpson’s testimony is [here].

There are also other excellent assessments of the situation, as well as recommendations, in the testimonies of George Leonard, Ron Thatcher and others, which can be accessed from the full hearing record link provided above. Mr. Thatcher’s testimony contains both his recommendations and those of 37 district rangers who sent them to the Forest Service National Leadership Team (Exhibit 1).

Many Forest Service retirees are very concerned about the situation and could be called upon to help. For example, I have spoken to a former Chief and a former Associate Chief who both brought up an arrangement called the “Junior Staff” that used to exist in the Forest Service. It was a group of staff level employees (from a variety of resource areas) who had direct access to leadership (no gatekeepers) and who were expected to alert leadership as to important management issues affecting lower level employees.

We clearly do not need to start from scratch to analyze this issue or wait to develop more centralized solutions. We have some capacity at all levels to begin to deal with it appropriately.

Very respectfully,

Doug MacCleery

Douglas W. MacCleery is Senior Policy Analyst and Assistant Director, Strategic and Emerging Issues, Forest Management, National Forest System, USDA Forest Service

“Conservation is our attempt to put human ecology on a permanent footing.” — Aldo Leopold

“The day soldiers stop bringing you their problems is the day you have stopped leading them. They have either lost confidence that you can help them or concluded that you do not care. Either case is a failure of leadership.” — Colin Powell

18 Jun 2009, 5:53pm
Useless and Stupid
by admin
7 comments

Water Panic in Oregon

The Goober of Oregon and his Running Dog Legislature want to force every well owner in the state to put a water meter on their private wells. They also wish to then bill every well owner for using their own water.

It should come as no surprise that private well owners (who also own the water rights, which do not belong to the State) are a little peeved at the Goober.

But the Dem-faithful Portland Oregonian newspaper (motto: “We Heart Child Molesters”) is attempting to raise a panic over the “dwindling supply” of water in this rain-drenched place.

From the MolesterNews yesterday:

Good data on water runs dry in Oregon

by Les Zaitz, The Oregonian, June 17, 2009 [here]

Secret House Vineyards ran straight into Oregon’s emerging water shortage when it sought water for 16 acres outside Eugene.

The state Water Resources Department last month told vineyard operators they couldn’t have a new well. It would sap water from a tributary to the Long Tom River.

About the same time, the state turned back a developer’s effort to get irrigation water for 18 homes north of Hillsboro. There wasn’t enough underground water.

Across the valley, Clackamas River Water, a district serving 100,000 people, wanted water for future home use, fire protection, park watering and more. It, too, was told no because of inadequate flows in the fall.

Picking who gets Oregon’s water falls to a tiny agency, the state Water Resources Department. But as water challenges mount, the department has lost employees and suspended research, falling years behind in its work. An agency that lives off data — how much, how deep, how fast — is starved for information. …

“Data is not sexy,” said Lorna Stickel, a Portland Water Bureau executive and former state water commissioner. …

In 1999, 161 people worked there. In 2007, that was down to 138. Staffing shot up with the current budget, but virtually all that will be lost in the coming months.

Well now, we can help. For one thing, we are sexy, Lorna. Maybe we’re not sex perverts like the mayors of Portland, but we like to think we cut a fine figure.

For another, speaking of figures, we know how to do math, unlike the 150-odd folks who work for the state Water Resources Department and the math-challenged journalists of the Oregonian.

… Two years ago, [OR Goober] Kulongoski got the Water Resources Department a $750,000 down payment on a statewide water plan. That bought a study that concluded Oregonians will want another 1 million gallons of water daily by the year 2050. The agency’s challenge is to deliver that water or sharply improve conservation. …

One million gallons is about the amount that comes out of a garden hose if you leave it running for 20 weeks (5 gals/min x 60 min/hr x 24 hr/day x 140 days = 1,008,000 gallons).

It ain’t nothing, in other words. To save a million gallons a day, turn off 140 hoses.

Please send me $750,000 for that tidbit of information, Mr. Goober.

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18 Jun 2009, 10:30am
Federal forest policy Saving Forests
by admin
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An Open Letter to Tom Tidwell

Dear Tom,

SOS Forests welcomes you as the next Chief of the U.S. Forest Service. We salute your prior accomplishments, share in the excitement of your appointment, and wish you every possible success.

And we really mean that. We really do wish your tenure as Chief to be successful. It is going to be a difficult road, though. The deck is stacked against you, but we will help you all we can.

You need our help because the USFS has lost more than half of its staffing over the last 20 years. Many District, Forest, and Regional offices have closed, and those that remain open have skeleton crews. Active management has ground nearly to a standstill.

As a result, megafires are exploding out of control every summer. 2008 saw the California fire bust, with over a million acres burned in that state alone, and more than a dozen firefighter fatalities. 2007 was the worst fire season in five decades, with nearly 10 million acres burned by wildfires and 20 firefighter lives lost. Over 800,000 acres burned in Central Idaho alone, and the aftermath brought catastrophic erosion and degradation of soils and waterways. 2006 was another record-breaking fire season. This year promises to be even worse, if national USFS fire policies do not change.

Halting our current crisis of megafires is a very tall order. You can, however, take a few initial actions that will start your administration off on the right foot.

First, please use the word “forests” in speeches and writings. You are going to be Chief of the U.S. Forest Service. The ground you will oversee is neither “timberlands” nor “wildlands.” It is forests, or forestland. Please refer to it as such.

This is easy to do, costs you nothing, and will demonstrate your core values. (Not to mention that failing to do so will handicap you right away, and come back to haunt you later, too, as it did your predecessor.)

Second, cancel the Whoofoo program. Whoofoo’s (wildland fire use fires) are accidental fires in accidental locations started by lightning during the height of the fire season. Such fires should be suppressed with rapid initial attack, not left to burn. Whoofoo’s led to enormous and expensive tragedies like the Warm Fire, the Tripod Fire, the Tatoosh Fire, the Middle Fork Fire, the South Barker Fire, the East Slide Rock Ridge Fire, the Cedar Fire, and many others.

Whoofoo’s are the renamed equivalents of “prescribed natural fires” which caused catastrophes such as the 1988 incineration of Yellowstone National Park. The lack of rapid initial response with adequate firefighting forces was directly responsible for the 500,000 acre Biscuit Fire of 2003 and dozens of other megafires in the last two decades. Inadequate initial response has been ultimately responsible for every modern megafire, as a matter of fact.

You should also reconsider Appropriate Management Response, a euphemism for Let It Burn. AMR has led to over 1,000 square miles of unnecessary forest destruction in each of the last two years, including the Payette fires of 2007 and the Northern California fires of 2008. Decision made under AMR have huge ecological consequences but never go through normal NEPA processes. It does not serve our national forests, the Agency, or the mission to avoid proper legal and public involvement procedures.

Third, please initiate a national program to develop natural histories for every National Forest in the System. The histories should reach back at least 10,000 years, and should document the actual, historic, forest development pathways that occurred, in reality, location by location.

We cannot care for our forests, or restore them, or prevent megafires, if we don’t have a good handle on how our forests got here in the first place. Emphasis in the histories should be on ancient anthropogenic fire and the actual human/forest relationships that have had so much impact on the conditions, indeed the very existence, of our forests today.

Fourth, it is time to reconsider and restate the mission of the USFS. In the absence of a clear mission the Agency is rudderless. All resource values are threatened. I encourage you to engage in a national dialog in that regard.

Fifth, please look to forest experts outside of government for advice on forest stewardship. We have much to offer. Ignoring our expertise and deep concern for our public forests is a grievous mistake made by prior Chiefs, much to the detriment of our forests and the Agency. We are ready, willing, and able to assist you. Do not dismiss or discount outside expertise.

We extend our best wishes to you, and to your family and friends, as you embark on this important voyage. We wish you every success. We really do. Because the survival of our priceless, heritage, American forests depends on it.

Sincerely,

Mike Dubrasich
SOS Forests

17 Jun 2009, 2:43pm
Climate and Weather
by admin
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Baghdad Bob (and Jane) of Global Warming

This is pretty funny:

AP Baghdad Bob of Global Warming Continues Ignoring Reality

By P.J. Gladnick, NewsBusters, Media Research Center, June 17, 2009 [here]

Rising sea levels!

Sweltering temperatures!

Deeper droughts, and heavier downpours!

Hey, that looks like fun! Let me try. Here goes:

Saudi spring snowfall!

Plunging temperatures!

Frozen Australians!

One big difference in the two warnings, besides my reluctance to call for a massive government spending program, is that mine have actually been happening on a big scale recently as I reported in NewsBusters. The prior group of warnings have been issued by Seth Borenstein who is quickly earning the well-deserved reputation as the Global Warming Baghdad Bob of the Associate Press. No matter what the actual climate conditions the world is experiencing, Borenstein will continue to engage in Global Warming alarmism to the extreme.

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17 Jun 2009, 2:04pm
Uncategorized
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Tidwell Named New USFS Chief

Breaking news. Gail Kimbell out, Tom Tidwell in as Chief of the US Forest Service

USDA News Release No. 0214.09 [here]

AGRICULTURE SECRETARY VILSACK NAMES NEW CHIEF FOR U.S. FOREST SERVICE

Tom Tidwell brings 32 Years of Experience Working to Protect Our Nation’s Forests

WASHINGTON, June 17, 2009 - Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced that Tom Tidwell will serve as the new Chief for the U.S. Forest Service.

“Tom Tidwell’s 32 years of experience in our forests and impressive track record of collaboration and problem-solving will help us tackle the great challenges ahead,” said Vilsack.

Tidwell has spent 32 years with the Forest Service in a variety of positions. He began his Forest Service career on the Boise National Forest, and has since worked in eight different national forests, across three regions. He has worked at all levels of the agency in a variety of positions, including District Ranger, Forest Supervisor, and Legislative Affairs Specialist in the Washington Office.

Tidwell’s field experience includes working from the rural areas of Nevada and Idaho all the way to the urban forests in California and the Wasatch-Cache National Forest in Utah, where he served as Forest Supervisor during the 2002 Winter Olympics. He also has extensive fire experience, beginning as a firefighter, and accumulating nineteen years as an agency administrator responsible for fire suppression decisions.

“We thank Gail Kimbell for her leadership and deep commitment to protecting our nation’s forests,” Vilsack added.

Most recently Tidwell served as Regional Forester for the Northern Region. His background in fire is extensive. Tidwell will become the third Chief in a row to come out of the Northern Region (following Gail Kimbell and Dale Bosworth).

16 Jun 2009, 5:02pm
Federal forest policy Saving Forests
by admin
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Water supplies at risk from fires in dead forests

By JOAN LOWY, AP, Google News, June 16, 2006 [here]

WASHINGTON (AP) — Water supplies for 33 million people could be endangered if millions of acres of beetle-ravaged forests in the Rocky Mountains catch fire, a U.S. Forest Service official said Tuesday.

Rick Cables, the chief forester for the Rocky Mountain region, told a House panel that the headwaters of the Colorado River, an important water source for residents of 13 states, are in the middle of 2.5 million acres of dead or dying forests in Colorado and southern Wyoming. Severe fires, fueled by these trees, could damage or destroy reservoirs, pipes and other infrastructure that supplies water to millions of people in the Rocky Mountain region.

Moreover, wildfires can “literally bake the soil,” leaving behind a water-repellant surface that sheds rain and leads to severe erosion and debris, he said. The loss of so many trees also will reduce shade in the region, which in turn could reduce water supplies in the hot, dry summer months and accelerate snowmelt in the spring, he said.

A Forest Service analysis indicates people in San Diego, Los Angeles, Phoenix, and Tucson, Ariz. who get their tap water from the Colorado River get one quart of every gallon from national forests in the Rocky Mountain region.

“The arid West absolutely depends on national forests as the source for their water,” Cables said. “The reach of this watershed is unparalleled in the West.”

While bark beetle outbreaks are naturally recurring events in the West, the current outbreak — which has killed nearly 8 million acres of trees — is the biggest in recorded history, Barbara Bentz, a research entomologist with the Forest Service, told the committee.

Besides Colorado and Wyoming, other states especially hard hit include Idaho, Montana, Oregon and eastern Washington. In Canada, more than 22 million acres have been affected and scientists suspect that the death of so many trees is altering local weather patterns and air quality.

Officials from affected states who testified said they need help to avoid a potential catastrophe. Local officials said want more money to clear trees from buildings, transmissions lines and other facilities. They also seek government help for companies trying to turn dead trees into wood products, especially pellets that can be burned to produce energy. If a market can be created for the dead trees, it can help offset their costly removal, they said.

“We need resources on the ground,” said Sloan Shoemaker, executive director of the Wilderness Workshop, a Colorado conservation group.

Protecting lives is the top concern. At least a dozen Colorado towns are surrounding by dead forests and another dozen towns border the forests. The region is also home to ski resorts like Vail, Breckenridge and Winter Park. Trees falling across roads, blocking potential evacuation routes in event of a fire is a key concern.

Another concern is thousands of miles of electricity transmission lines that run through the forests. There is a possibility that multiple fires at the same time could cause widespread regional power outages, Ron Turley, special projects manager for the Western Area Power Administration, told the committee.

“This could have significant regional and potentially national consequences,” Turley said.

16 Jun 2009, 1:38pm
Politics and politicians
by admin
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Obama, Congress Target US Public

The Climate Hoax has reached Pearl Harbor proportions. Illegitimate President B. Hussein Obama has now fired upon the American Public in a bellicose attack based on the most colossal forgery and sham of the century, anthropogenic global warming.

From the UK Guardian:


Obama targets US public with call for climate action

Climate impacts report warns of flooding, heat waves, drought and loss of wildlife that will occur if Americans fail to act on global warming

Suzanne Goldenberg, US environment correspondent, guardian.co.uk, 16 June 2009 [here]

The Obama administration is poised for its most forceful confrontation with the American public on the sweeping and life-altering consequences of a failure to act on global warming with the release today of a long-awaited scientific report on climate change.

The report, produced by more than 30 scientists at 13 government agencies dealing with climate change, provides the most detailed picture to date of the worst case scenarios of rising sea levels and extreme weather events: floods in lower Manhattan; a quadrupling of heat waves deaths in Chicago; withering on the vineyards of California; the disappearance of wildflowers from the slopes of the Rockies; and the extinction of Alaska’s wild polar bears in the next 75 years.

Today’s release is part of a carefully crafted strategy by the White House to help build public support for Obama’s agenda and boost the prospects of a climate change bill now making its way through Congress.

Thirty scientists? Thirty thousand scientists have signed a petition declaring that “There is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of carbon dioxide, methane, or other greenhouse gases is causing or will, in the foreseeable future, cause catastrophic heating of the Earth’s atmosphere and disruption of the Earth’s climate” [here].

Some 800 scientists, economists, legislators, policy activists, and media representatives attended the Third International Conference on Climate Change, in March, with 80 speakers and 60 co-sponsoring organizations expressing the viewpoint that “global warming is not a crisis, that it is probably natural and not caused by human activity, and that computer models are unreliable guides to future temperature change” [here].

In addition:

* Sea levels have not risen in three years [here]. After a rapid rise during the first 8,000 years of the Holocene, sea levels have risen only 2 mm per year for the last 2,000 years [here]. Yet that natural increase has slowed of late as polar ice has increased.

* Hurricanes and tornadoes hve declined in number and strength in recent years and have been shown to be related to natural oceanic oscillations, not falsely alleged global warming [here, here].

* There have been no floods in Lower Manhattan. Terrorist bombings perped by Islamo-Fascists yes, floods no.

* Cold weather-related human mortality vastly exceeds warm weather-related mortality [here, here]. The carbon taxes proposed by Obama and Congress will kill more people as both heating and air conditioning costs will skyrocket.

* Grapes are not “withering on the vine,” wildflowers are not disappearing, and polar bears are not going extinct. Those claims are pure falsehoods. As a matter of fact, over the the last three decades of “global warming”, the world polar bear population has tripled or quadrupled.

* Climate warming, which is not happening, would increase agricultural production. The warmest areas of the planet are also the most productive. That is an undeniable fact.

* Computer model based greenhouse gas theories of runaway global warming have been thoroughly debunked. The earth’s atmosphere, with cloud albedo and tropical heat transfer from the surface to outer space, has kept global temperatures within a range of plus or minus 8 degrees Centigrade for at least the last half a billion years [here], despite asteroid collisions, super volcanoes, flood basalts, and other global catastrophes.

* The carbon taxes to be inflicted by Obama and Congress on America will do absolutely nothing to alter global temperatures — but will destroy our already reeling economy. Mass poverty, disease, and starvation will result worldwide from the despicable hoax-backed blitzkrieg waged upon America by evil-doers, who are reminiscent of the 20th Century megalomanical dictators who perpetrated the greatest inhumanities in recorded history.

The time has come to impeach the entire US Congress and the illegitimate President, and replace the evil hoaxers with rational, pro-American, pro-human representatives.

There is no point in writing letters to criminals and traitors in public office. Instead, petitions for recall should be prepared and signatures gathered. There is no time to waste. Dump your Congressperson and Senators now. Concurrently, a total housecleaning of worthless government functionaries should be enacted — fire everyone regardless of past performance — and restock government offices with entirely new personnel, chastened by the upheaval that proceeded them.

The hoax-based, ruthless, and destructive attacks on America waged by our own government against the citizenry must be abated and extinguished immediately.

14 Jun 2009, 1:10pm
Federal forest policy Saving Forests
by admin
7 comments

Ninth Court Rules Against Wackos, Approves Thinning in Kootenai NF

Note: Sorry for the delay in posting this. We have been too busy this Spring but are trying to catch up.

On April 17 the Ninth Circuit Federal Court of Appeals upheld a lower court ruling (by Donald W. Molloy, US District Judge for the Montana District) that allowed the Kootenai National Forest to proceed with nine planned forest health thinnings.

The thinning projects were challenged by the WildWest Institute and The Ecology Center. The plaintiffs made a number of specious and defective claims that were summarily rejected by a three-judge panel made up of justices Thomas M. Reavley,Richard C. Tallman and Milan D. Smith, Jr. The decision is [here].

The Bristow Area Restoration Project, Fortine Project, West Troy Project, Pipestone Timber Sale and Restoration Project, Lower Big Creek Project, South McSwede Timber Sale and Restoration Project, Alder Creek Project, Cow Creek Project, and McSutten Project may now proceed.

Fed Up With Draconian Environmental Regulations

Note: The following letter was written in response to proposed changes in the Clean Water Act. Different subject, same sentiment. I think all of us can relate to the sheer frustration when we take the time to volunteer and adhere to a public process that has ignored us and failed us. Have you noticed how overwhelming public opposition to these insane proposals seem to have no impact whatsoever? — Helen F.

From: Daniel H. Varoujean, Chair, Coos Soil and Water Conservation District Board

To: U.S. Senators Wyden and Merkley; U.S. Representative DeFazio

I and my Board of Directors urge you to not support the changes to the Clean Water Act as proposed in S.787 [here, here]. We have spent the last ten years trying to bring farmers and ranchers into compliance with the last round of Draconian environmental regulations while trying to minimize the loss of farmland and farm production. What has become apparent to us and our constituents is that this latest attempt to further regulate the use of our private property is not about clean water just as the carbon emission/global warming fraud is not about clean air or “saving of the planet.” It is simply a brazen attempt to gain further control over our property and our very lives.

I am a marine ecologist by trade, and have spent the last 35 years conducting research on the population dynamics of endangered species, including salmon and seabirds, the restoration of coastal wetlands and the quantification of pollution in our coastal embayments and estuaries. Over this period I have watched environmental standards first used to correct serious resource use and pollution problems, but then these standards, over the last two decades, evolved into regulations that take one’s property (both real and monetary) at the “point of a gun” with no compensation, for reasons that have little, if anything, to do with proper resource management and everything to do with achieving a [imaginary] state of ecological nirvana.

What I and my Board want to make you aware of is that a growing number of people are no longer going to voluntarily cede control of their lives and property for some perceived “collective” good so politicians can placate the environmental groups or so a pack of morons living in our urban areas can feel good about themselves.

Allowing the change of the wording in the Clean Water Act thereby making it possible for the federal government to control all surface water is unacceptable.

Couple this with the State of Oregon proposing several new statutes to control our water use (e.g. requiring us to put meters on our domestic wells) to go along with the existing statutes that steal our property (e.g. wetlands and non-point source pollution regulations), I can assure you that rural land owners will revolt. And by “revolt” I do not mean peacefully demonstrating on the steps of the State Capitol.

What is becoming abundantly clear is that we no longer have recourse through our federal and state legislatures, administrations, or courts to stem the taking of our property and thereby our liberty as the quest to satisfy bogus claims of protecting our natural resources and the environment marches on. Members of Congress and Oregon’s legislature have come to the point of having to decide to reinstate our rights by rolling back the hundreds of rules and regulations that prevent the actual, wise use (i.e. conservation) of our natural resources on public lands and that take our private property without compensation, or to continue down the course of subjugating us to the power of growingly despotic governments.

If you decide to continue on course, then you should not be surprised or feign indignation before the TV cameras when a great number of us decide to protect our freedom, our property and our very lives at the point of a gun. We are no longer going to just sit in the darkness fearfully awaiting the rap on the door by some fascist regulator your actions have loosed upon us.

Daniel H. Varoujean II, June 11, 2009

Note: Maggots Merkley and Wyden are both sponsors of S.787 [here], so they are unlikely to vote against it. The bill as written drops the word “navigable” from the Clean Water Act, thereby expanding the regulatory reach of the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to cover every drop of water in the Nation.

11 Jun 2009, 2:05pm
Politics and politicians
by admin
6 comments

Gardening Tip: Exterminating Root Maggots

Note: updated version 06/12/09

As many gardeners can attest, root maggots are a pernicious destroyer of garden crops.

Root maggots are the larvae of numerous species of dark gray flies (family - Anthomyiidae) that look like the common housefly, only smaller. The most common and serious root maggot pest in Oregon is Dalia radicum, the cabbage root maggot. It was introduced from Europe more than a century ago and will feed on plants of the mustard family or Cruciferae (e.g. cabbage, broccoli, turnips, radishes, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, cress, mustard).

The adult flies lay their eggs in the soil in the spring or early summer at the base of host plants. The eggs hatch into maggots that feed underground on succulent roots, riddling them with tunnels and inducing rot. Affected plants lack vigor, may be stunted or yellowed, and often wilt during the heat of the day. After feeding for 1-3 weeks, maggots begin to pupate in plant roots or the surrounding soil. There are several generations per year.

These pests require cool, moist weather, a good description of Oregon in June and are generally limited in distribution to areas north of the 40th parallel. They are especially destructive in Canada. Were global warming true, one benefit would be fewer root maggots in Oregon.

Maggots (1/3 - 1/4 inch long) are small, yellowish white, legless larvae with tapered or pointed heads and blunt rear ends.

The adults engaged in voter outreach:

There are many methods of root maggot control, some more effective than others. The USDA recommends application of a registered pesticide such as Diazinon to the entire seedbed before planting or transplanting, mixing into the soil to a depth of 3 to 4 inches [here]. Mechanical controls may also be used:

Root maggot infestations can be prevented by covering the seedbed with a cheesecloth or screen covering placed immediately after seeds are sown. Covering should extend at least 6 inches on either side of the seed row. A square of tar paper (3 to 4 inches wide), or other sturdy material, placed at the base of each transplant will prevent adult cabbage maggots from laying eggs around stems. Cones made of window screen and placed over individual transplants will also prevent attack by cabbage maggots and have the advantage of being usable in subsequent years.

An organic method is the use of beneficial nematodes (Steinernema and Heterorhabditis). Nematodes are parasitic round worms available at many garden supply outlets. They come in sponges soaked with millions of the critters. The sponges are squeezed into watering cans or sprayers and applied at the base of infested plants. The nematodes swim down into the soil (moist soil is necessary) and if they encounter a root maggot, they bore into the body wall. Once inside they release bacteria that kills the host maggot. Nematodes will also lay eggs and multiply, protecting plants throughout the growing season (if the soil is kept moist).

Of course, if the host plant already has its roots chewed by root maggots and rot has set in, that plant cannot be saved.

Nematodes will attack the larvae of fleas, gnats, craneflies, corn borers, cutworms, and cucumber beetles, as well as fly maggots.

If your garden plants, especially young transplants, are wilting from root maggot infestations, it may be too late. The best thing is to apply nematodes at time of planting, repeating the application every 8 weeks or so.

Nota bene: if regular readers think this discussion of root maggots is somehow a metaphor for the US Congress, you are projecting. Root maggots are natural pests — although there are many similarities, Congress is decidedly unnatural.

Raul Grijalva Is Clueless

We have been discussing employee job dissatisfaction in the US Forest Service for the last two posts. Now Congress has chimed in, with predictable stupidity.

The Washington Post reports today that the House Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands held a hearing regarding USFS employee morale. The comments made by Congressoafs, especially those by Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Tucson), are so outlandish as to deserve special attention.

Struggling to Boost Forest Service Morale

By Joe Davidson, The Washington Post, June 10, 2009 [here]

When cowboys and school kids sing “Home, home on the range. . . . Where seldom is heard a discouraging word,” they probably aren’t thinking about employees of the U.S. Forest Service.

But on the nearly 200 million acres of forests and grasslands the service manages, there are plenty of discouraging words to be heard. The grumbling is so bad that the agency’s low morale was the focus of a recent congressional hearing.

Prison guards “enjoy their jobs more than park rangers,” Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.) said during a hearing of the House subcommittee on national parks, forests and public lands. “We want to find out why.”

Raúl, you dunderhead, the US Forest Service does not employ park rangers. People with that job description work for the National Park Service. The NPS does not have a morale problem. In the Office of Personnel Management survey NPS ranked 61 out of 216 in job satisfaction. That’s in the upper third in their class (Agency Subcomponents).

The US Forest Service manages the National Forests. They aren’t parks. They don’t have park rangers. Get with the program, Raúl!

More from the WaPost:

While trying to figure that out, Grijalva wants to put more staffers into the national forests, parks and other public lands through legislation the House Natural Resources Committee will consider today. His Public Land Service Corps Act would train public land managers to fix trails, clean campgrounds, control erosion and restore marine systems along the oceans and Great Lakes.

So Raúl would fix the morale problem at the US Forest Service by building more trails. Professional land managers are to be trained how to pick up shovels and do stoop labor, and that will fix their attitudes. As if!

Here’s a pic of the Congressoaf from Tucson:

Yep. you guessed it. He’s a global warming alarmist who wishes to cripple the American economy in service to Al Gore’s hoax. There is no global warming, the globe has been cooling since 1998 (despite increasing CO2), nothing that Raúl proposes will alter global temperatures one iota, but he wants to bomb us back to the Stone Age anyway.

Raúl has a freaking problem: he’s clueless about damn near everything.

more »

Exploring USFS Employee Dissatisfaction

In the previous post we noted that the US Forest Service ranked close to last among federal agencies in employee job satisfaction, according to the annual survey administered by the Office of Personnel Management.

Why might that be? What is it that is so awful about working for the USFS?

Many if not most people would assume that USFS employees get to work out-of-doors, in gorgeous settings, in the bosom of Mother Nature, with respectable pay and benefits, and so should be quite happy, or at least relatively happy compared to other federal employees.

But they are not happy, evidently. Why not?

We can only surmise, and invite you to consider the question as well. One clue is that USFS employees rated Effective Leadership - Leaders near the bottom. The employees are not happy with the USFS leadership. And the Office of Personnel Management rated leadership as the single most important factor in job satisfaction.

But that is a little too vague to really answer the question. What is it about the leadership that is so disheartening to the employees?

One answer might be that USFS leadership has put their employees in untenable situations. USFS policies have alienated rural communities, and the employees have to live in those communities where the public is at odds with their agency.

The USFS leadership has shut down all commercial uses of public forests, and that has been a hammer blow to the people whose livelihoods depend on resource production of one type or another from public lands.

The USFS leadership has promulgated megafires that harm adjacent communities in myriad ways. The residents don’t like that. They are also very aware that land management and fire policies are set by DC insiders and urban know-nothings without the least regard for the opinions of those most impacted.

Rural residents have watched in shock and awe as the USFS has burned their watersheds and destroyed their lives and livelihoods. Residents have been forcibly evacuated as USFS fires have been allowed to burn uncontrolled in mid-summer, exploded across federal property lines, and burned the homes, ranches, farms, and businesses of the evacuees.

The USFS leadership has promulgated road closures, roadless areas, wilderness areas, and other bans on human uses of the public estate, which may not affect dim-witted Easterners and other urbanites, but most definitely affect rural residents who work and recreate on public lands.

USFS Chief Gail Kimbell has made it her personal mission to shut people out of 400 million acres of their own private lands, as well. Her Open Space Initiative is designed to ban roads, homes, lawns, and any other form of human presence on lands that do not belong to the government but are the private property of rural residents, who were not consulted.

The USFS has lost any and all goodwill they once enjoyed with the rural public. Nowadays when the USFS holds a public meeting in an “affected” community, they must bring along federal marshals to safeguard the employees assigned to attend, because the affected public is madder than wet hens.

The cases are legion of angry crowds screaming imprecations at the poor sot employees who themselves have no say-so regarding USFS policies. None but the clueless rookies wear USFS uniforms in public or otherwise let it be known who they work for, for fear of angry backlash from understandably bitter and angry rural residents.

So that could be one reason for declining job satisfaction. Employees who thought they were going to commune with Nature have discovered they are looked on as an occupation army, one hellbent on utter destruction, and who have become the targets of extreme dissatisfaction from the citizens they oppress.

That would be my surmise. What’s yours?

8 Jun 2009, 10:16am
Uncategorized
by admin
4 comments

USFS Among Worst Fed Agencies to Work For

Each year the Office of Personnel Management does a survey of employee job satisfaction in 216 federal agencies. This year the US Forest Service ranked 206 [here] in their class (Agency Subcomponents).

Only the Office of the Secretary of the Interior, Federal Student Aid, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Defense Contract Management Agency, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, the Transportation Security Administration, the Federal Aviation Administration, the National Drug Intelligence Center, and the Office of Postsecondary Education ranked lower.

The Office of Personnel Management reports:

Designed to help a broad audience of job seekers, researchers, federal employees and government leaders, Best Places to Work in the Federal Government draws on responses from more than 212,000 civil servants to produce detailed rankings of employee satisfaction and commitment across 279 federal agencies and subcomponents.

The Partnership for Public Service and American University’s Institute for the Study of Public Policy Implementation use data from the Office of Personnel Management’s Federal Human Capital Survey to rank agencies and subcomponents. Agencies and subcomponents are ranked on a Best Places to Work index score, which measures overall employee satisfaction, an important part of employee engagement. The Best Places to Work score is calculated both for the organization as a whole and also for specific demographic groups.

The Forest Service ranked lowest of all USDA agencies. USDA itself ranked 23 out of 30 Large Agencies.

USFS employees gave the category Effective Leadership - Leaders a score of 35.3 out of 100 [here], which ranked 209th among all other Agency Subcomponents ratings.

Interestingly, the Office of Personnel Management rated leadership as the single most important factor in job satisfaction [here]:

For the fourth time in a row, the primary driver of job satisfaction in the federal space is effective leadership. While this finding is no surprise, the reasons behind it are. In a first, the 2009 Best Places rankings break down which factors shape employees’ views of their leadership. Conventional wisdom holds that the greatest influence on an employee’s satisfaction is his or her immediate supervisor. However, the 2009 Best Places rankings reveal that it is actually the quality of an agency’s senior leadership that has the greatest bearing on employee views. …

The federal government consistently lags the private sector according to several indicators of worker satisfaction. Government trails the private sector most dramatically when it comes to effective leadership…

 
  
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