31 Jan 2010, 12:43pm
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A PoMo Deconstruction of AGW

Note: the following arrived by email from an unknown (pseudonymous) source. We have no idea what it means, but we like it.

SmutGate reveals the bare naked truth

by Anton LePip

The latest bimbo-esque mythopoetical eruption from the anthropogenic global warming (AGW) camp is the publication of a “romance novel” written by the UN’s climate change chief, Dr Rajendra Pachauri [here].

Return to Almora, published in Dr Pachauri’s native India earlier this month, tells the story of Sanjay Nath, an academic in his 60s reminiscing on his “spiritual journey” through India, Peru and the US.

On the way he encounters, among others, Shirley MacLaine, the actress, who appears as a character in the book. While relations between Sanjay and MacLaine remain platonic, he enjoys sex – a lot of sex – with a lot of women. …

The book, which makes reference to the Kama Sutra, starts promisingly enough as it tells the story of a climate expert with a lament for the denuded mountain slopes of Nainital, in northern India, where deforestation by the timber mafia and politicians has “endangered the fragile ecosystem”.

But talk of “denuding” is a clue of what is to come.

By page 16, Sanjay is ready for his first liaison with May in a hotel room in Nainital. “She then led him into the bedroom,” writes Dr Pachauri.

“She removed her gown, slipped off her nightie and slid under the quilt on his bed… Sanjay put his arms around her and kissed her, first with quick caresses and then the kisses becoming longer and more passionate.

“May slipped his clothes off one by one, removing her lips from his for no more than a second or two.

“Afterwards she held him close. ‘Sandy, I’ve learned something for the first time today. You are absolutely superb after meditation. Why don’t we make love every time immediately after you have meditated?’.”

The dialectic paradigm of smut narrative counterpoised to the apparently asexual neoscientific theory of human-caused global warming — leading to the postdialectic apocalyptic destruction of the planet (Thermogeddon) — suggests a textual neosemanticist union of post-rationality with subcultural capitalist sexuality.

In other words, AGW is Freudian, and not in a healthy way.

The rise of Clintonesque libertine-arianism in postmodern culture is now a pan-disciplinary worldwide phenomenon. We must, therefore, once again search for the meaning of meaning within the clash of premodern traditional structures and postmaterialist socialism.

Pachauri et al. and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007, along with Al Gore, not for scientific achievement (the Peace Prize is not a science prize), but for proliferation of postmodern (sexual) angst regarding imaginary anthropogenic global disaster (the putative coming Ecopalypse).

Contextualisizing a Pynchonist “powerful communication” that includes narrativity as a whole, poststructural dematerialism is offered as a “solution” to neoscientific alarms about the quasi-moral depravity of civilization as we know it.

The wellspring of postmodern neoscience may be traced back to confabulations of the 1970’s, early intercourses between poststructuralist “free love” advocates such as Margaret Mead and population bombers such as Paul Ehrlich and John Holdren (currently the Advisor to President Barack Obama for Science and Technology).

Simply put, the Cultural Revolution of the 1960’s erupted into class warfare over sexual identity and sexual morays [I think he meant mores, as in virtues or values, not eels, but who knows? - Ed], and that tide engulfed scientific institutions as well. Coed-ophilia supplanted rational inquiry, filling the institutional [intellectual?] vacuum left by the poststructuralist dialectic. Traditional science atrophied, and neoscience arose as a substitute.

Joyceian concepts of the distinction between feminine and masculine gave way to neosemanticist theories of sexual multi-morphism. Yet precognitive biological urges remained, and flourished, and with the dissolution of rational inquiry became the defining characteristic, and thus the stasis, of neoscience and postmodern society.

Baudrillard uses the term “Sontagist camp” to denote the conflation of “scientist” with “artist,” thus deconstructing “observation” and science itself as a self-referential semiotic paradigm.

Millernarianism (Doomsday-ism) satisfied the new dialectic and its socialist subtext. Abundance was seen to marginalize the underprivileged. Therefore, an abundance of postmaterialist thought came to dominate. But that neocultural sublimation was flimsy cover for [neo]premodern sexual conquest and exploitation, a profoundly instinctive human practice that continued unabated, and indeed has proliferated.

The anti-populationists copulated as never before, in oxymoronic expression of preapocalyptic hedonism. Neoscience institutions have become breeding grounds in counterpositional dissonance to their deconstructivist thema and schemata.

So it should come as no surprise that sexuality has infiltrated and indeed supplanted rational inquiry, despite the overlying Marxist asexual supertext of the neoscientific elites.

SmutGate seen in this context is thus neither pre- nor post-emergent, but is instead foundational and interpolational to the neodialectic cultural narrative of meaning within the neoscientific AGW camp.

4 Jan 2010, 8:43pm
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Short Break

We’ll be taking a short break to attend to some family matters. Back soon,


28 Dec 2009, 5:02pm
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Grandmother Adams’ Bushfire Story

Editor’s note: Roger Underwood is a renowned Australian forester with fifty years experience in bushfire management and bushfire science. He has worked as a firefighter, a district and regional manager, a research manager and senior government administrator. He is Chairman of The Bushfire Front, an independent professional group promoting best practice in bushfire management.

We have posted many essays by Mr. Underwood [here, here]. This one reveals a case of divine intervention, or a miracle, or something similar. You are cordially invited to append (as comments) your own tales of inexplicable salvation.

By Roger Underwood

Patsy Adam-Smith is one of my favourite Australian writers. She has a simple, clean style and she wrote about places and people that I love: the bush, the sea, timberworkers and railwaymen. I also like the way she wrote about her family with such pride and affection, and the stories of her grandmothers who were pioneer settlers in Victoria, one Granny Smith and the other Grandmother Adams.

Her relationship with Grandmother Adams was not a particularly happy one, although they had one thing in common. “We admired the pioneering spirit,” Adam-Smith writes in her first book (Hear the Train Blow, in which she records her childhood, growing up in a railway family during the 1930s). “She would tell me stories by the hour of the pioneering days, and I would listen for as long as she would talk. She and my Grandfather had pioneered the hills of Gippsland.”

They lived in a slab hut with an earth floor, her husband taking work where he could find it to buy their stock, and the mother and children milking the cows while he was away shearing, fencing or sleeper cutting. Adam-Smith goes on: “Grandmother Adams had been burnt out twice in the Gippsland hills. Once she narrowly escaped with her life. My grandfather was away.”

I sent your aunt Anastasia to neighbours to tell them we needed help; the fire was surrounding us [Grandmother Adams recalls]. Not long after she left the wind changed. I looked at the track she had taken and now flames criss-crossed it, and as I watched a blazing tree fell right across it. She was a wonderful horsewoman, you know, and I knew she would get to the neighbours, but I thought she would never get back. The bigger children helped me pull my sewing machine outside and I covered it with wet bags and I gathered up what we could carry. As we left the house I looked across to the only gap that was clear of flames and there was your aunt, sailing over a fallen log, her horse bringing her home at a gallop.

“How did you find that gap?” I asked her.

“I followed the two men,” she said.

“What men? There are no men here,”

“Oh yes, they jumped the log ahead of me. When the wind changed I didn’t know which way to go and these men rode out ahead and beckoned me to follow them.”

At this stage in her story, Adam-Smith writes, her grandmother always blessed herself, before going on…..

There had been no men. It was God Himself that led the girl home.

But men did come through the gap after her. Grandmother Adams and her children were rescued.

There are several things I like about this story, not the least being the importance placed on saving the sewing machine. This is a telling reminder of the importance of these machines (their first, and only ‘labour-saving device’) in the lives of many bush wives and mothers, and also of their value as a hard-won investment. My wife’s maternal grandmother (also a Granny Smith), a pioneer group settler in the karri country, acquired a ‘Singer’ sewing machine during the 1920s, and it was her pride and joy. The machine was inherited from her own Grandma Smith, and was by then already probably 30 years old. It was worked by a foot treadle, connected to the works by rubber driving bands. We have it today. We keep it clean and oiled, and it still works. Both my wife and her mother learned to sew on it.

I also like the spiritual side of the story, and I am happy to accept Grandmother Adams’ explanation of divine intervention. I can recall two mysterious experiences myself at bushfires many years ago, times when I was exhausted or under extreme stress. And I have heard stories from others about the apparent intervention of a mystical power that saved the day. My old forestry mate Brian Cowcher once told me how, when working in the jarrah forest one day, he had stepped off a large log and just before his foot touched the ground, he saw that he was about to land on a tiger snake, which had its head up and was looking at him. Brian said he never knew how it happened, but somehow he found himself again back on the log and standing upright, even though, he said, “he had passed 45 degrees” on the way down.

I have always liked the thought of God intervening to save Brian, who was a mentor, a good bloke, and to whose wonderful bush yarns I loved to listen, for as long as he would talk.

December 2009

24 Dec 2009, 3:18pm
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Cantique de Noël

O Holy Night (”Cantique de Noël”) — words by Placide Cappeau (1808-1877), music by Adolphe Charles Adam (1803–1856).

Adam wrote operas and ballets, and is probably best remembered for the ballet Giselle (1841). My personal favorite Christmas song, “O Holy Night”, is operatic to say the least. It requires a well-trained soprano to hit the G above high-C in the musical climax (oh night di-VINE). But I also like the pathos and beauty in the embedded transition to a minor key. “O Holy Night” weeps with hope and devotion. The finish shatters glass and your heart.

This rendition [here] by the Celtic Woman is particularly beautiful and moving.

The words (in English, one translation anyway):

O Holy Night! The stars are brightly shining,
It is the night of the dear Saviour’s birth.
Long lay the world in sin and error pining.
Till He appeared and the soul felt its worth.
A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices,
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.
Fall on your knees! Oh, hear the angel voices!
O night divine, the night when Christ was born;
O night, O Holy Night , O night divine!
O night, O Holy Night , O night divine!

Led by the light of faith serenely beaming,
With glowing hearts by His cradle we stand.
So led by the light of a star sweetly gleaming,
Here came the wise men from Orient land.
The King of kings lay thus lowly manger;
In all our trials born to be our friend.
He knows our need, our weakness is no stranger,
Behold your King! Before him lowly bend!
Behold your King! Before him lowly bend!

Truly He taught us to love one another,
His law is love and His gospel is peace.
Chains he shall break, for the slave is our brother.
And in his name all oppression shall cease.
Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we,
With all our hearts we praise His holy name.
Christ is the Lord! Then ever, ever praise we,
His power and glory ever more proclaim!
His power and glory ever more proclaim!

Merry Christmas!

The Genesis of Old-Growth Forests

Note: due to the crush of work I have accepted recently, I do not have time to prepare new posts for the next week or so. The following is a repost from May, 2008 [here, here, here].

by Mike Dubrasich

Iain Murray, the author of The Really Inconvenient Truths: Seven Environmental Catastrophes Liberals Won’t Tell You About - Because They Helped Cause Them, [here], wrote in Chapter 4 of that book:

With wildfires burning, it is useful to turn to the wisdom of the ancients. When the pioneers first entered the great forests of America, they found that the Native Americans had managed the forests for centuries. Their woodlands contained very few big trees—maybe fifty such trees per acre.

Apparently the Indians had set regular, low intensity fires which burned away accumulations of undergrowth, deadwood, dying trees and particularly small trees growing between the big trees. The larger trees were unharmed, because of their thick fire-resistant bark.

That in a nut shell is the way our old-growth forests developed. Frequent anthropogenic fire gave rise to open, park-like forests, largely uneven-aged at large-area scales. Forest scientists refer to such trees as “older cohort” because they are quite different than the even-aged thickets of trees (younger cohort) that arose following elimination of anthropogenic fire (aka “Indian burning”).

True old-growth forests contain older cohort trees. Those trees are remnants of the the former open, park-like forests that covered much of forested North America, and they may also be viewed as relics of our ancient culturally-modified landscapes.

In this 3-part series, I discuss in greater detail how our old-growth forests came to be here. The issue is important, because we must understand how old-growth forests arose in order to protect, maintain, and perpetuate them. If we value old-growth, and that seems to be a widely-shared value, then it is vital to understand their development.

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31 Oct 2009, 11:09am
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A Halloween Logger’s Tale

by bear bait

A friend of mine, Sam, is a logger. He chases these days because he is too old to hump the hills on the rigging anymore. The crew he works on is composed of key personnel like hook tenders and side rods, all left over from a 4-side outfit squeezed down to one side. Riding out the depression, you know.

Just after lunch he got a call on the radio to get over the hill pronto with a chain saw. He saw the carriage stopped with a turn hanging and thought there was sywash or some hang up…


What had happened was the rigging slinger had turned his back on the turn as it was headed for the trolley. A top slipped out of a bonus and he got javelined just below the collar bone and out the hip on his right side.

So Sam finds himself with a shell shocked rigging crew, including a hook tender-climber-side rod and another hook tender, and Buck down the hill impaled by a 30 foot top.

The exit side was about 2 1/2″ in diameter, and the entry side was 30 foot of top with about 4″ of wood off the entry.

When they got down the hill, Sam told them to hold Buck down and he cut the log off each end sticking out. Buck’s legs were under him and he was in a bent over position.

All the while 911 stuff was going on, cell phones you know, and soon a medivac chopper was overhead. But their protocol is not to land without qualified ground crew. Sam told the pilot that the donkey puncher would be the qualified ground crew because he needed the EMT right now, and the ones from town were maybe an hour out. Sam briefly but directly described the situation to the pilot.

So the donkey puncher got the chopper landed in the clearing, and the EMT came over the hill with the litter, blankets, and first aid kit slung to the trolley.

Sam had sent the turn in before he cut the log off. That made some nervous, but he said you can’t work with a turn hanging over your head, and until the turn was gone, the trolley wasn’t of use… so live with it!!!

The conical shape of the top sealed the wounds. No bleeding at exit and little at entry. But Sam knew it was close to stuff and looked for bloody foam from punctured lungs and blood pressure for liver and kidney failure. No apparent rodeo there, but he was very careful not to move stuff.

They got Buck into a litter, but the EMT had to cut more log off on the big side with a frigging Leatherman! Sam says a handsaw will be in the first aid kit by Thursday.

And then the locals got there in fireman turnouts and rubber boots without traction, precipitating another rodeo on a cow’s face far down in the hole. Bad deal, but they humped the guy out, and it was over an hour and half until they had him in the chopper and off to Corvallis Good Sam trauma unit.

His boss called about ten last night and said Buck was out of surgery, and you guys did a good job.

All have First Responder cards — the whole crew — but Sam said nobody was taking charge so he did. Someone has to have the order of things in their mind and see that they are attended to. He said when nobody was in that spot he just took over. He is outspoken, growly, a hard ass, and in conflict with those who don’t work hard, run hard, and work safe.

The log that impaled Buck was 2.5″ on the pointy end, and 4″ diameter where it was sawed off. It went in just below his shoulder on the left back side. It came out just in the middle of his right hip. It back scattered along the rib cage and spinal column before the energy was spent — that might have been the pointy end hitting dirt. It flipped him like a bad pancake. A top. You know, total utilization. Chips for the shut-down pulp mill.

Buck is still in the hospital. To remove his woody process and burden, the ER docs sliced him diagonally across the back and removed it, cleaned the wound, and then sewed him back up. They had him walking around yesterday. But he has some issues with chipped vert processes and cracked ribs, and a hell of a hole to heal from the inside out. He is not out of the woods yet, no pun intended.

Sam is on the floor under the influence of a valium and a muscle relaxer, hurting big time. Firemen in slick boots aren’t much help in humping a litter out of the brush.

Life in the woods. Never a dull moment.

The EMT from the medivac told the boss that his crew was very, very well trained and did all the appropriate first aid. So much for the dumb shit logger paradigm.

I thought you would be interested in real life logging stories, fresh from the brush. I am not going to say all the info is absolutely factual… the fog of battle stuff, etc. For that matter, I got it all second hand and can’t attest to the truth of any of it.

The story about the victim is that he controlled his destiny, and that of others. He was in the bight on his own. Nobody made him, or ordered him. In fact, the standing order is to vacate the bight when a turn is coming.

The boss asked the crew who made the decisions during the emergency. They said joint. Crew consensus. A band of brothers deal, it looks like. We did what we needed to do, we know what we did, and we knew what we were doing. We have to live, daily, with the dangers, and with confidence in each other.

And that’s the way it was, somewhere on a razor ridge behind Siletz, not long ago.

17 Oct 2009, 11:39pm
by admin

Billions Paid to Enviro Litigants


To: Interested Parties
From: Karen Budd-Falen, Budd-Falen Law Offices, L.L.C.
Date: September 15, 2009
Re: Environmental Litigation Gravy Train

Below please find a press release/Letter to the Editor regarding the amount of litigation filed by environmental organizations and the amount of attorneys fees these groups have received from the federal government for these cases. I am sure that you will be as shocked by these numbers as I have been.

Consider these facts:

* Between 2000 and 2009, Western Watersheds Project (”WWP”) filed at least 91 lawsuits in the federal district courts and at least 31 appeals in the federal appellate courts;

* Between 2000 and 2009, Forest Guardians (now known as WildEarth Guardians) filed at least 180 lawsuits in the federal district courts and at least 61 appeals in the federal appellate courts;

* Between 2000 and 2009, Center for Biological Diversity (”CBD”) filed at least 409 lawsuits in the federal district courts and at least 165 appeals in the federal appellate courts.

* In addition, over the last 15 years, the Wilderness Society has filed 149 federal court lawsuits, the Idaho Conservation League has filed 69 federal court lawsuits, the Oregon Natural Desert Association has filed 58 lawsuits, the Southern Utah Wilderness Association has filed 88 lawsuits and the National Wildlife Federation has filed 427 lawsuits.

* In total, the eight environmental groups listed above have filed at least 1596 federal court cases against the federal government.

* Every one of the groups listed above are tax exempt, non-profit organizations. Every one of those groups listed above receives attorney fees for suing the federal government from the federal government.

* These statistics do not include cases filed in the administrative courts, such as BLM administrative permit appeals before the Office of Hearings and Appeals or Forest Service administrative appeals. These statistics only include federal district court cases.

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16 Aug 2009, 3:58pm
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Paralleling Failed Fire Policies with Disastrous Military Strategies

Editor’s note: Roger Underwood is a renowned Australian forester with fifty years experience in bushfire management and bushfire science. He has worked as a firefighter, a district and regional manager, a research manager and senior government administrator. He is Chairman of The Bushfire Front, an independent professional group promoting best practice in bushfire management.

Last March we posted an essay, Australian Bushfire Management: a Case Study in Wisdom Versus Folly by Roger Underwood, in the W.I.S.E. Colloquium: Forest and Fire Sciences [here]. (We have posted other papers by Mr. Underwood, as well, see [here]. The essay also appears in the Fall 2009 issue of Range Magazine [here]).

Mr. Underwood mentions Australian General Sir John Monash in Wisdom Versus Folly. American readers may not be familiar with Sir John. Mr. Underwood writes:

I now realise that I presumed more knowledge of Australian military history than could be expected of any non-Australian. The Monash story is an interesting one from several angles. I jotted down the attached for you this afternoon, hoping it might fill in some gaps. Essentially, what Monash devised was the concept of “combined operations” which came to full fruition in WW2, notably on D-Day. It was Monash’s genius to find a way for the infantry, the artillery, the air force and the tank corps all to work together in a single detailed plan which fused their individual capabilities to best advantage.

Mr. Underwood’s “afternoon jotting” follows:


Monash on the Western Front

By Roger Underwood

In a paper written earlier this year in the wake of the 2009 Victorian bushfire disaster, I drew a pointed analogy. The failed and failing bushfire policies and management strategies in Australia these days have their parallel with the disastrous military strategies adopted by the British Generals in the early years of World War 1. Both were designed to fail, both ignored the lessons of history, and both resulted in inevitable and un-necessary losses of lives.

In my paper I also drew attention to the role played by the Australian General Sir John Monash who engineered the final breakthrough on the western front, having designed and implemented a winning strategy. I called for a new Monash to lead a renaissance in modern Australian bushfire management.

Since then I have been asked several times to explain World War I strategies and Monash’s role. I had taken it for granted that most people understood this stuff. The questions have come especially from Americans who generally lack the intense interest in WW1 history felt by Australians — especially those of about my generation, most of whom had a father, grandfather or uncle who fought and died at the Dardanelles or in Flanders.

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29 Jun 2009, 10:58am
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The Definitive How to Write A Book Book

Stephen J. Pyne. 2009. Voice & Vision: A Guide to Writing History and Other Serious Nonfiction. Harvard Univ. Press.

A review by Mike Dubrasich

Note: We usually place book reviews in the W.I.S.E. Colloquia, but this book does not fit readily into any of those, or perhaps it fits in all of them. So we placed it here.


It is a rare thing for a champion of a sport to write the definitive instruction manual. Jack Nicklaus’ Golf My Way springs to mind, as does Ted Williams’ The Art of Hitting.

Voice & Vision is one of those remarkable and special All-Star pedagogies: a how-to-write-a-great-book-book written by a champion of the sport.

Dr. Stephen J. Pyne is Regents Professor at Arizona State University. He is author of Awful Splendour: A Fire History of Canada (2007); Year of the Fires: The Story of the Great Fires of 1910 (2001); Fire in America: A Cultural History of Wildland and Rural Fire (1982); Burning Bush: A Fire History of Australia (1991); World Fire: The Culture of Fire on Earth (1995); Vestal Fire: An Environmental History, Told Through Fire, of Europe and Europe’s Encounter with the World (1997); The Ice: A Journey to Antarctica (1986), and numerous other histories, memoirs, essays, and texts about fire, history, and the human condition, (and a novel, too: Brittlebush Valley).

Steve Pyne is a literary master, a leading historian, a weaver of words, a lyrical scribe, a story teller, a humorist, an indefatigable researcher, and most especially, a teacher.

And a friend. I admit my bias. But he was a great writer long before I knew him. Indeed it was through his books that I first came to know him. Many of Pyne’s essays may be found at W.I.S.E. (see the History of Western Landscapes and Forest and Fire Sciences Colloquia).

Now, with kindness and mercy, he has written a book that explains how he does it, for all of us who aspire but need a guidepost or two, without which we would flounder in ruts and get nowhere, or worse, write some putrid academic drivel that no one can read nor would they want to.

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

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


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 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.


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.


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.


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.


Senator Jeff Kruse

17 Jun 2009, 2:04pm
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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]


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).

8 Jun 2009, 10:16am
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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…

11 May 2009, 9:49am
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More Delays, with Apologies

Although the posts have been few and far between lately, they are going to get even sparser for a bit. I beg your indulgence for four more days while I complete the last of my Spring tasks. After that I will be back at the grindstone grinding out the best in forest news and thought for your pleasure and edification.

Thank you for your patience.


9 May 2009, 11:37am
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African Book Pirates

An Open Letter to Amazon.com CEO and COB Jeff Bezos

Dear Jeff,

So there I was minding my own business when Amazon.com sent me a digital blurb announcing a new book and inquiring whether I wished to buy it.

The book you promoted to me is the alleged “Population History of American Indigenous Peoples” by Charles C. Mann et al. [here].

That was very exciting email because Charles C. Mann is one of my favorite authors, one whose important and artfully-crafted writings are featured at W.I.S.E. [here, here]. CCM is also a correspondent, and so I sent him a congratulatory email.

Imagine my surprise, Jeff, when Charles informed me he had never heard of the book!

It turns out that the publisher, Alphascript Publishing (a subsidiary of VDM Publishing House Ltd. of Maritius [here]), is a PIRATE. They took some old essays by Mann and others, scanned them and created a “book” out of stolen pieces, and are now selling the purloined booty on your website.

You (they) are asking $124 for a paperback copy of a pirated work, which doubles (at least) the piracy factor. None of which goes to the actual authors, by the way, who had no idea this was going on.

Jeff, Jeff, Jeff. You don’t want to be a pirate. Pirates meet cruel fates. Pirates get shot in the head by snipers and their carcasses thrown to the sharks, no questions asked. There is no doctor-supervised waterboarding or other friendly interrogation. There are no trials where pirate “rights” are protected. Just a bullet in the brain and quick conversion to shark chum.

Even the French Navy, heirs to Jean Lafitte and other famous cutthroat brigands, has limited tolerance for pirates [here].

I warmly suggest you cease and desist from book piracy. It’s not a good sideline biz for Amazon. Your liabilities in the matter exceed any possible equity you might gain.

You are welcome to sell legitimate books about pirates. You can shout “Yo ho ho” and drink a bottle of rum. But you don’t want to BE a pirate, or fence pirated works.

This is free advice, but I’d absorb it if I were you, Jeff.

Clean up your act. Hove to and swab your deck. Otherwise, beware of naval armadas steaming into your port and blowing you out of the water.

Your Pal and Card-Carrying Occasional Amazon Customer,

Mike D.

3 May 2009, 11:09am
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Been Busy

I regret the lack herein of plenty of pithy posts lately, but I have been busy with a variety of non-computorial matters; specifically installing a large market garden in part for survivalist purposes given the state of the economy but mostly for fun, and supporting the ceramic arts via multiple and sundry mostly beast-of-burden and other brutish tasks, traveling yon and hither pursuing matters of personal, consanguineous, and professional interest, and the like; which in concert have worn me out as well as detracted from the profusity of postings we all have come to expect if not value; and I also read a book, which took some time because of the sheer weightiness and richness of the book, which was about how to write a book and was brilliant at many levels; and which has inspired me to improve my writing skills, as you can see.

Now through this gray morning window of opportunity we will try to rapid fire a waiting backlog of pithy yet pregnant items of import that relate to the various subsites of W.I.S.E. until the next duty calls which is expected sooner rather than later. I predict the showers to continue, although there is a strip of blue sky off to the west.

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