April 23, 2014

Open Thread – Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Please use this open thread to post your ideas, information and comments about issues not covered in articles published on this website. Thank you.

Supreme Court on Path to Ending Race Preferences

Ruling in Schuette Case Paves Way for More Equal, Less Divided America

Black Activists in Favor of Ending Quotas Available for Comments

Washington, DC – Attorneys and activists with the Project 21 black leadership network are pleased about today’s U.S. Supreme Court decision on race preferences, and hope the Court’s latest ruling on race-conscious school admissions policies will become decisive in finally ending government-enforced rules creating arbitrary demographic quotas.

“Today, the Supreme Court moved us closer to the colorblind principle that Martin Luther King advocated and that is embedded in the 14th Amendment,” said Project 21 Co-Chairman Horace Cooper, a former constitutional law professor. “I’m pleased that the principle of treating all Americans the same under the law can go forward in Michigan.

In the case of Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action, which was argued before the U.S. Supreme Court last October, the justices considered whether the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals correctly voided an amendment to the Michigan state constitution, passed by voters in 2006, prohibiting preferential treatment in public employment, education and contracting based on “race, sex, color, ethnicity or national origin.” The Michigan Civil Rights Initiative, which became Section 26 of the state’s constitution after its enactment, was supported by 58 percent of Michigan voters. It was struck down, however, by the 6th Circuit in 2012.

Project 21 submitted an amicus brief to the Supreme Court in the Schuette case written and joined by the Pacific Legal Foundation , noting that “[t]he clear effect of Section 26 is to prohibit the State and its political subdivisions from adopting race- and sex-based preference programs.” The brief also presented factual data about how the prohibition of race-based preferences in California increased diversity and minority retention rates. Similar to Michigan, California voters outlawed race preferences in public college and university admissions in 1996.

Project 21 held a meeting of experts to discuss the case featuring Jennifer Gratz, the executive director of the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative after the Court’s oral arguments. Gratz was the plaintiff in the 2003 case of Gratz v. Bollinger that found the University of Michigan’s race conscious admissions policy violated the Constitution’s Equal Protection Clause. Her talk and the discussion following can be viewed online here.

“It remains to be seen as to whether this is the definitive ruling which will eliminate racial preference policies,” said Project 21 Co-Chairman Cherylyn Harley LeBon, a former senior counsel for the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee. “But I am encouraged that we are moving towards creating an equal playing field where the government does not choose the winners and inadvertent losers.”

During the last term of the U.S. Supreme Court, Project 21 was involved in the U.S. Supreme Court race preferences case of Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action as well as Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin on remand from the Supreme Court to the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals. In the previous U.S. Supreme Court term, it was involved in Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin and the voting rights case of Shelby County, Alabama v. Holder.

Project 21 legal experts and other members of the organization have discussed these cases and others in media interviews in venues that include MSNBC, the Fox News Channel, HBO, Glenn Beck’s Blaze TV, the nationally-syndicated Jim Bohannon radio show, Florida Public Radio, the Christian Science Monitor, Reuters and many others.Project 21, a leading voice of black conservatives for over two decades, is sponsored by the National Center for Public Policy Research, a conservative, free-market, non-profit think-tank established in 1982. Contributions to the National Center are tax-deductible and greatly appreciated .

Justice System Gone Totally Berserk

When it comes to the surreal realm of American gun­ control politics, the adage “truth is stranger than fiction” really applies. Just when you think that you’ve heard it all, something even more utterly outrageous pops into the news headlines.

In the nation’s capital, (which has for a long time been the epicenter of the absurd), a law-­abiding gun collector, and reportedly a gentle man, has been dragged through the wringer of a justice system gone totally berserk.<<<Read More>>>

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Oregon: A Lot More Bears Than There Used to Be

A nearly 500-pound male black bear was legally killed by north Lake County ranchers earlier this month after it killed a large heifer and was found in the family’s herd of cattle.

“It’s a whopper,” said Craig Foster, district wildlife biologist with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.

“It was shot legally,” Foster said, emphasizing Marie Leehmann, a third generation owner of the 24 Ranch in Summer Lake had actually gone beyond legal requirements by obtaining a kill permit. “Marie and the Leehmanns went the extra mile above and beyond what they had to do by statute.”<<<Read More>>>


Open Thread – Tuesday, April 22, 2014

MalaysiaAirPlease use this open thread to post your ideas, information and comments about issues not covered in articles published on this website. Thank you.

Washington’s Elk, Elk Habitat Get Boost from RMEF Grants

MISSOULA, Mont.—Nine counties in Washington will receive nearly $180,000 in funding for habitat enhancement projects and research thanks to grants provided by the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation.

The 2014 grants will positively affect nearly 1,600 acres in Asotin, Cowlitz, Jefferson, King, Okanogan, Pend Oreille, Pierce, Skamania and Yakima Counties. There are also two projects of statewide interest.

“There is a great need to conserve and improve habitat in Washington through the use of prescribed burns, forest thinning, meadow restoration, noxious weed treatments and other projects,” said David Allen, RMEF president and CEO. “We also committed considerable resources toward three different elk studies including one focused on determining the cause of hoof rot.”

Allen thanked RMEF volunteers in Washington who raised the grant money through banquets, membership drives and other activities. He also thanked volunteers and members around the country for their dedication to conservation.

“Our volunteers continue to amaze. Their hard work and passion makes a huge difference for elk and elk country,” added Allen.

Since 1985, RMEF and its partners completed 521 different conservation and hunting heritage outreach projects in Washington with a combined value of more than $110.6 million.

RMEF grants will fund the following projects, listed by county:

Asotin County—Treat 325 acres of noxious weed populations such as rush skeletonweed, whitetop, spotted knapweeds, hawkweeds and sulfur cinquefoil before they become established.

Cowlitz County— Aerial spray 75 acres, plant 15,000 trees/shrubs and seed 50 acres to decrease noxious weeds and increase elk forage production and quality in an area that showed poor body condition in elk that winter within the 27,000-acre Mudflow Unit of the Mount St. Helens Wildlife Area; treat mouse-ear hawkweed within 100 acres of the Mount St. Helens Wildlife Area and National Volcanic Monument with additional work completed by volunteers who may pull Scotch broom whips.

Jefferson County—Enhance the forage on 60 acres of previously pre-commercially thinned habitat for Roosevelt elk by piling slash to improve animal movement on the Olympic National Forest.

King County—Purchase six new GPS collars and refurbish four others to place on elk in the Snoqualmie Valley study area to determine if elk are using the newly created habitat areas, and to get a better population estimate in order to manage an elk herd (numbering approximately 480) near the communities of North Bend and Snoqualmie. This project will also thin and seed an additional 30 acres to provide forage for elk away from the valley floor.

Okanogan County—Thin 303 acres to prepare for an 804-acre prescribed burn to stimulate growth of grasses, forbs and shrubs for elk, mule deer and other wildlife in the Chesaw Wildlife Area.

Pierce County—Relocate an existing gate to better protect wintering elk and increase utilization of three newly created forage openings in the Snoqualmie National Forest. A fourth opening is planned. This winter range closure (Dec 15-May 1) has been in existence with an agreement between the U.S. Forest Service, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife and timber industry landowners for more than 30 years.

Pend Oreille County—Use prescribed fire to remove encroaching conifers and improve forage production on 200 acres of elk summer range in the upper Middle Fork Calispel Creek Drainage on the southernmost edge of the Colville National Forest; and apply prescribed burning to 90 acres of a decadent shrub field to rejuvenate browse above Lost Creek drainage designated as elk winter range in the Colville National Forest.

Skamania County—Complete 222 acres of restoration at four meadow sites by removing encroaching conifers, removing four miles of old barbed-wire fencing and installing boulders and a gate to prevent motorized vehicle access to three of the meadows in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest. Two of the four meadows receiving treatment support Mardon skipper butterfly and pale blue-eyed grass, both Sensitive Species; provide funding for a study assessing the changes in the carrying capacity for elk near Mount St. Helens by comparing the eruption blast zone with state and federal land outside the blast zone where timber cutting was drastically reduced. Quantifying changes in elk habitat conditions will provide a foundation for evaluating forest management, predicting future habitat condition trends and a basis for elk population management in the area.

Yakima County— Treat 20 miles of roadside and 200 acres of rangelands for noxious weeds on the Oak Creek Wildlife Area with a focus on the Sanford Pasture area that was recently acquired with RMEF assistance.

Statewide—Fund lab analysis, sample supplies and sample shipment of calf elk tissue with early hoof disease lesions to labs around the world to address the factors behind the outbreak of hoof rot affecting the Willapa Hills and Mount St. Helens elk herds in the southwestern corner of Washington; provide funding to help expand a program offering listening sessions and soliciting input of new sportsmen’s groups, community leaders, policymakers, and others about public land concerns such as maintenance and public access.

Conservation projects are selected for grants using science-based criteria and a committee of RMEF volunteers and staff along with representatives from partnering agencies and universities.

Partners for the Washington projects include the Colville, Gifford Pinchot, Olympic, and Baker-Snoqualmie National Forests; Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife; University of Alberta; Washington Wildlife and Recreation Foundation and various sportsmen, wildlife, civic and government organizations.

Crimes of Wolf Passion and Ignorance

HumanHatredLet’s set the standard for this article right out of the starting gate. It is my opinion that poaching (defined as illegal taking) of game is a crime. I do not endorse or make excuses for poaching for anyone. And as much as I would condemn a poacher for their actions, I will equally condemn an ignorant, emotionally intoxicated fool who, especially in a position of authority, opens their mouth and makes statements that are so ignorant they should never be allowed to speak in any official capacity.

Found in The Republic, is a quote from Idaho Department of Fish and Game conservation officer George Fischer about poaching. He says:

“It’s real easy for people to blow a gasket about wolf predation,” said Idaho Fish and Game District Conservation Officer George Fischer. “They are very passionate about it, they are very irate about it and they are livid about it. Yet there is a two-legged wolf out there that is probably killing as many or more than wolves. Wolves are causing an impact, there is no doubt about it; I don’t want to downplay that at all, but two-legged wolves are probably killing more or stealing more game than wolves. That is the shock-and-awe message.”

According to this same article “officials” are estimating that in all of Idaho in one year, 600 elk, 80 moose, 260 mule deer and 1,000 whitetail deer are taken illegally. That’s 1,940 wild ungulates. So, let’s use “official” claims to see if Fischer’s statement that humans are poaching more animals than wolves is true.

It’s difficult to shoot a moving target, as that is the case with trying to determine how many wolves are in Idaho. However, continuing to use “official” data, according to the 2013 “official” Status of Elk and Wolves Reports, July 2013, at the end of year 2012 Idaho had nearly 1,600 wolves (that figure is officially declared as a minimum estimate).

According to the Final Environmental Impact Statement – 1994, Page 38 – Chapter 3, “Environmental Consequences”, Cumulative Effects Analysis, the FEIS states that: “One hundred wolves are predicted to kill about 1,650 ungulates per year.” Since 1994, I have never laid eyes on any official report of that number decreasing but I have seen several that places the number of ungulates killed per year, per wolf higher than 16.5.

So, for the sake of argument and to substantiate or disprove claims that poachers do more damage than wolves, let’s stick with “official” data and claims. Let’s take the “nearly 1,600 wolves” in Idaho estimate and round it down to 1,500. Let’s keep the number of ungulates killed by wolves per year at 16.5. Doing the math we easily see that wolves kill an estimated 24,750 ungulates per year in Idaho.

Let’s look at that again. George Fischer, of the Idaho Department of Fish and Game, who appears to love wolves more than he hates humans, said that poachers illegally kill 1,940 ungulates a year in Idaho. My math is a bit fuzzy here but I think that’s like less than one tenth of one percent.

There are so many sayings about what people should do before they open their mouths. The one that quickly comes to mind is the one about it being better to make people wonder how stupid you are than to speak and remove all doubt.

It’s a shame really, because nobody approves of poaching game. What’s sad is an official with Idaho Department of Fish and Game, exemplifying such anger and hatred toward the human species in an attempt to protect a wild animal.

Damn we got our priorities all screwed up!

N.H. Couple Snowmobiling Gets Attacked by Moose

On Saturday, I was sent a link to a story and a video of a New Hampshire couple snowmobiling near Jackman, Maine near the Canadian border recently. The story tells of how the moose, “suddenly veered off the snowmobile track, turned around and charged them.” I watched the video and was left with what I thought was a reasonable question: Why were they following this moose in the manner they were, forcing the moose to move at an accelerated pace, especially during this time of year?

The time of the year is April in Northern Maine. At time most critical for wild ungulates, i.e. deer and moose. Fat reserves are all gone, green-up is still a few weeks away so food is in short supply and the animals are probably emaciated from carrying around winter moose ticks. In short, the moose is in no condition to be fleeing from the pursuit of two snowmobiles.

In the article linked to above, it states that the couple reported the incident to “authorities” and they, “told them that the situation was handled properly.” I’m not sure exactly what that means. Did they handle the situation properly because they notified authorities, or were they told following the moose, perhaps causing the moose to turn and attack, was the right thing to do?

From my perspective, and yes I was not there, the video tells a different story. Under the circumstances I have described above, it is my opinion that these people should not have been chasing a moose down the snowmobile trail. Their actions caused the moose to stop the relentless pursuit and attack his tormenter.

It seems I was not completely alone in my thinking, as later in the day, I received another link to this story. A New Hampshire wildlife official who viewed the same video said, “So I hate to be judgmental, but clearly if they had followed it for a while, there’s a chance it pushed the animal to its limits and it decided to become a bit more aggressive in protecting itself.”

Sometimes people should show a bit more patience and respect for animals like this and just stop and take a break and see if the moose is going to go about his business, eventually getting out of the way. The video shows the two snowmobilers hot on the moose trail; something that shouldn’t be done at anytime of the winter.

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