Thursday, June 27, 2002
Wednesday, June 26, 2002
BREAKING NEWS: Justices on 9th Circuit Court contract Athlete's Tongue, a common ailment among those who attempt to injest their own feet.
An Update: It's now being reported that the Supremes have ruled that school vouchers are not unconstitutional; even if those vouchers wind up at parochial schools. Some are saying that the 9th will, en banc, overturn the Pledge ruling. This voucher ruling from the Supremes may be the shot-across-the-bow that they'll need to muster the courage to do so.
More than a few people are beginning to take a serious look at what we've been doing with our National Forests over the last century. It's been the policy of the government to suppress forest fires. The idea seems to be to make the forests look like something out of a Disney film. Of course, the trees aren't on celluloid, the animals aren't cute nor do they sing and dance, and Man has a larger role in the wild than as the antagonist for the cute, furry, anthropomorphized critters.
Before Man arrived in the New World, forest fires burned without Smokey putting them out. The wildlife and the plantlife were designed with periodic fires in mind. When the Indians arrived, they tool advantage of this living system. Part of what they did was to set fires. Of course, they subtly changed that environment, but what they brought into being has existed here for ~15,000 years. European colonists continued the practice of burning for over 400 years. It is only in the last 100 years that we stopped the practice. And it is the last 100 years that we've seen these super fires as we see now in Arizona and Colorado.
In trying to maintain a mythical forest, we've ignored the reality of what's really there. These are ecosystems that require periodic burn-offs. When those burns don't occur, the undergrowth accumulates until a superfire results. Why is this bad? Because these fires are often way too hot. Seed pods that are supposed to be cracked by low temperature fires are incinerated by these hot fires. What's left behind isn't seeds ready to germinate in renewed soil; what's left is barren, lifeless ash. It's time to get back to managing the forests as they have been for thousands of years. We should not be putting out fires. We should be setting them in the springtime when the fuel is still a bit moist. This will result in low temperature burns that renew the forest.
A related issue is hunting. The same Disney-fied bunny huggers who abhore fires also abhor hunting. But what they fail to see is that Homo Sapiens has been a predator in the New World for thousands of years. The prey species have come to depend on them just as they do the mountain lion or the wolf. Removing Man from the food chain is as devastating as removing any other predator is. Man and his hunting are as natural as Man and his fires are. The environment need Man's influence to maintain its balance. The feel good policies of the bunny huggers are destroying that balance.
Monday, June 24, 2002
you hear calls to yet again bail-out failing projects like Amtrak, it's one of those times.
It's more than a little annoying to see Dubya going along with a plan
to save what should never have been started. If private industry saw no merit
to a passenger line like Amtrak, then what made Big Government think that
it was worth while? Politics, of course; but that's no substitute for sound
business practices. Pass the Advil.