Friday, August 17, 2007

Coffee and Provocation

Life Imitates Blog:
Last week I jokingly recommeded a nice starter topic for the editorial pages: Send pound puppies to Asia to be eaten, thereby turning a public liability into a corporate asset. Well, it seems someone in India is either reading this blog or ... uh . . . "great minds think alike." The Daily Telegraph reports that in New Delhi a local councilor -- Mohan Prashad Bharadwaj -- has suggested that Delhi's 300,000 strays should be rounded up and sent to Korea to be made into soup. Editorial writers everywhere can now have a field day. Bonus prize for working in the phrase "dog days of August."

AKC Terriers Work a Fox:
I take back everything I ever said about American Kennel Club terriers being rarely found in the field. Take a look at this fox. Wow!

The AKC is Forming a PAC:
The American Kennel Club is forming a Political Action Committee or PAC. Do we need more of those? Apparently.

Congressmen Hunter Fails Civics 101:
Congressman Duncan Hunter (R-CA) has introduced the "Teddy Roosevelt Bring Back our Public Lands Act," which would limit the amount of money that states can charge non-residents who hunt big game exclusively on U.S. Forest Service or Bureau of Land Management land. Duncan Hunter seems unaware that this law is unconstitutional under the 10th Amendment, but don't spend too many brain cells thinking about it, as this legislation is not going anywhere. There is not even a Senate version of this bill. Ben Nelson, chaiman of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus (a bi-partisan group consisting of more than half the members of the Senate and House who support hunting and fishing), is dead-set against this bill, as are such diverse Members of Congress as reliably right-wing Rep. C.L. “Butch” Otter (R-ID) and reliably left-wing Rep. Mark Udall (D-CO). So why was this bill even introduced? Simple: Election-year pandering to hunters.

Packing in the Parks:
Speaking of election-year pandering (see post above), wanna-be-President Ron Paul's latest bright idea is to allow folks to pack handguns in our National Parks. Why? For protection. Hmmm. We've gotten along fine for 100 years, but now we need strap-ons to see Old Faithful? When did the U.S. Government lose the right to control the conditions of access to the property that it owns? And does this "anyone, any time, any place, any weapon" theology extend to foreign nationals entering military bases with bazookas? How about angry U.S. citizens with handguns and rifles visiting the U.S. Capitol, the Pentagon, the White House, and the Supreme Court? This kind of political pandering is chum put into our political waters by politicians seeking to attract sucker fish. It's an insult, that they think they can find them in the hunting community, and a sadness that they so often do.

Invasion of the Invasives:
The newpapers in Florida report that there are about 5,000 pythons in the Everglades now -- a real free-breeding population of snakes that grow to about 20 feet. This population got a foothold when former pets escaped or were cut loose by owners tired of the expense of feeding them rats, rabbits, and chickens. Because so many python owners seem to suddenly "lose" their snakes when they get to a certain size, Florida will now require all pythons to be microchiped and pay a permitting fee of as much as $100 a year. In addition, snake owners must account for where their snake is, and if it is dead it has has to be presented to a vet or some other local authority.
. . . . . Snakes are hardly the only invasive species problem in Florida, of course. Over in in Lee County, Florida, there are so many feral Iguanas running around that local authorities have contracted with a private, Sarasota-based company to kill as many of the estimated 10,000 animals as it can, at a cost of $20 a head.



jdege said...

"Why? For protection. Hmmm. We've gotten along fine for 100 years"

Have, we, now?

In 2005, there were 13 murders, 44 rapes, 9 armed robberies, and 60 aggravated assaults in our National Parks.

And in many parts of them, police response is a long time coming.

Meanwhile, carry's been legal in our National Forests since we started having National Forests.

Christopher Landauer said...

Two questions:

(1) What is with the anti-microchip people? Are they big brother fearing tin foil hat wearing types? I ran across one recently at a frisbee tournament at a larger event where there was a microchip clinic.

All she said was "I don't believe in it!!!" Well, that's about all I could pull out of her and without some other trite slogan to work with, I have to assume that her stance comes from some other non-dog application of microships. The reason is simple, pet animals don't come into contact with the government very often, so any worries about Big Brother tracking you through your dogs seem silly. Local governments can hardly enforce registration and Rabies tags EXCEPT WHEN YOUR DOG IS LOOSE and they catch them. So why would anyone think that the government is competent enough or interested enough to track your dog.

And that is the one case when I'd REALLY want someone to know exactly who the lost dog belongs to. Tags are easy to lose or remove, tattoos might go unnoticed. Even if it costs me a ticket from the Fuzz, I'd have my dog back or at least be notified of his captivity and have legal recourse to free him versus remaining in the dark until Fido is rehomed or euthanized.

She must be a rancher since I am pretty sure that cattle have been radio tagged for years. Maybe there's some issue there. Well, I google "anti microchip cattle" and I get more Big Brother BS about human cattle and omnipresent government.

So I'll ask, is there any rational argument against a PedID chip that is readable only from a few feet and requires access to a Pet DB that really only has info in it that I have on my dog's tags anyway?

And (2), I ran across the following Zen quote twice in the last week and I can't seem to grasp what it means.

"The one who is good at shooting does not hit the center of the target."

Ok, so it makes no sense on a literal level. Unlike darts, the bullseye is the highest goal (not the triple twenty) on a target. So this saying doesn't suggest that hitting the periphery is better than hitting the center.

I also don't think it's a platitude to losers who don't perform as well trying to convince themselves that they are better than those who do excel. "I'm better even though I didn't win..."

Ok, so trying Zen101... if everything is one, then you and the target must become one... and the arrow must be in the target before it is released...

That still doesn't explain why the center of the target is not the desired spot.

Ok, google a little bit, come across Zen and the Art of Archery (and a paper describing how the book as much created the fad as described an art... sounds like the revisionist history of the dog crowd) and read that the target is but a mirror.

Ok, possibility. If we're loose with our language, then the target is actually the archer and the physical target is simply the mirror of the art that occurs with the man with the bow.

The beauty is in the hunt, not the kill, so to speak. The actual location of the arrow on the target is not the goal, it simply demonstrates that the transient movements of the archer were perfected, simply a record of an event, not the goal itself.

Ok, fine. But that's a long garden path with what I see as a boldly meaningless phrase to start with. Wouldn't it better to say "the goal is perfection of ourself, the target is but a mirror" ???

All the places that the phrase shows up have no explanation, and even in context it makes little sense to me.

Any idea?

PBurns said...


Look up the murder and rape statistics on U.S. military bases where pretty much everyone has access to a gun. Are they higher or lower than in our National Parks? Here's a hint: The U.S. Army alone had over 400 rapes last year on its bases in the U.S.

Now compare the size of the U.S. Army to the number of visitors and others to our National Parks which had 272,623,980 visitors, 145,000 volunteers, and 20,000 permanent, temporary or seasonal employees in 2006. Which location are you more likely to get raped? Less likely?

The point here is that the idea that guns *prevent* crime is about as silly as the notion that guns *create* crime. In fact guns are simply a tool -- a tool that is LESS needed in our National Parks because the population that visits there tends to be far less violent than normal.

Another question: What percentage of the violent crimes in our National Parks involved firearms being used by the attacker? I would bet the answer is not zero! In fact, it is legal to have guns in our National Parks now, provided they are in a home in a National Park, in an RV vehicle in a National Park, or in a Park hotel room. It is simply not legal to drive around with one or have one strapped to you -- a ban that went into effect in the 1870s to prevent poaching, and a ban that should remain in my opinion and in the opinion of National Park Service employees who have enough trouble dealing with drunks and poachers as it is.


jdege said...

"Look up the murder and rape statistics on U.S. military bases where pretty much everyone has access to a gun."

You clearly have little experience with U.S. military bases. The soldiers don't carry, except during exercises. Civilians don't carry, period. State-issued carry permits are not valid.

As for the Park Service Ban, understand that this applies to more than just Yellowstone and Yosemite. The George Washington Parkway in the Virginia suburbs of D.C. is owned and operated by the Park Service, and the ban applies. A Virginia resident who might be carrying legally under Virginia law who decides that the parkway would make an effective shortcut is violating federal law, by the act of driving down that road.

Long-standing law with respect to carry in the National Forests is simple - it follows the jurisdiction of the state in which the National Forest is located. If you're legal to carry in a state, you remain legal should you cross into a National Forest.

The proposed bill would have our National Parks, National Monuments, National Recreation Areas, National Historic Areas, National Seashores, etc., operate in the same way.

There are many who don't see this as unreasonable. And I don't believe that efforts to address these problems can be rightly written off as "political pandering".

PBurns said...


You don't have to believe these efforts are political pandering (still a free country), but others who have studied the history of this "debate" have come to that conclusion.

As the article in the Casper Wyoming Star-Tribune notes ( see ) this "debate" was started by the failed campaign of do-nothing Virginia Sen. George Allen back in November of 2006, as he tried to resurect a Presidential campaign that had tanked after he referred to an American-born citizen of Indian extraction as a "macaca" and then expressed outrage and shame when he discovered his own mother was both Jewish and from Tunisia (making him an African-American Jew, I suppose). The "macaca" boy, by the way, was a staight A-student in his high school, played football (defensive end) on his high school football team (he stands 6'4" tall), is a tournament chess player, a sportswriter for his college paper, and an outstanding student at the U. of Virginia where a 4.0 average is NEVER enough to gain you admission). I hope HE runs for Senate here in Virginia. We have sure done worse!

As for military bases, I enter one pretty often (Fort Myer, just up the street) where the guards are all packing coming and going, and you better have a reason for being there. If your argument is that NO ONE is safe unless EVERYONE is packing on their person every minute of the day then I will let that statement stand without comment. The folks at the White House, the Capitol, and the U.S. Supreme Court have a very dim view of that position as I have already noted. So too does the U.S. military, as you have already noted.

See the article at the link posted above as to what the folks in the Shenandoah National Park think. Bill Wade, the former superintendent of the Shenandoah National Park, and the current head of the Coalition of National Park Service Retirees, says this idea "would result in increased risks to both visitors and wildlife, and has been introduced by Sen. Allen solely to ingratiate himself with the gun lobby."

Yep. And as someone who has walked 100 percent of the Appalachian Trail in the Shenandoah National Park (and walked it alone), I can assure you it is about the safest spot on earth provided you drive slow in the early morning fog; the deer really *are* dangerous. The bears, not so much.


Christopher Landauer said...

While I'd love to live in a world where "security guards" actually do what their name implies, and I assume that the quality of entry guards is superior on a military base than in a school, my experience is that "police protection" is a pleasant myth.

I was a senior at a high school only a few miles away from Columbine in 1999 and I had met one of the victims through speech and debate (as well as that blow hard Brooks Brown). Despite the media and conspiracy fascination with the possibility that an innocent kid was shot by police outside the school... my concern was why the two guilty kids weren't shot by police inside the school.

Especially the onsite "security guard" who ran his fat ass out of the building faster than you can say coward, let alone dereliction of duty. But that's not letting the "we let them run out of ammo first and then waited an hour" SWAT team who sat on their asses until everyone was dead.

But despite the necessity for singular, rather non representative, and overblown events to galvanize political support for legislation... it's too easy for any special interests to monday morning quarterback and inject their supposed cure-all.

As for pandering, find me one politician who doesn't. There's no super hero type in congress, there's only graft, pork, and re-electing the snakes who can bring home more government money than your state pays out. Where's the venom toward Teddy or Byrd? Those two are despicable caricatures.

Christopher Landauer said...

Talk about creepy timing... this is todays wikiHowTo feed:

I really like the last suggestion: Don't expect the Cavalry.

And this assumption: "Leave attacking the gunman to those equipped and trained to do so."

Mind you, there's no indication that you should seek training and equipment. Be a sheep and leave that to the border collie.

Leave it to the "security guard" or the "Sit While Attackers Terrorize SWAT."