Archive for December, 2008

RITTER: MY STAFF AND I DECEIVED COLORADO ON THE STATE BUDGET DEFICIT

December 31, 2008

People simply cannot say that they were not warned. From the Independence Institute to Gunny Bob the warning was sent out loud and clear.

Gov. Bill Ritter’s office now says its economists used outdated information and underestimated the size of the budget shortfall that Colorado is facing this year.

The new forecast from Ritter’s budget office puts the shortfall in the current fiscal year ending in June at $230 million — more than three times the $70.2 million the governor’s office forecast on Dec. 19. A forecast from legislative staff put the shortfall at $604 million, and the two offices agreed to sit down and go over their calculations together.

Evan Dreyer, a spokesman for the Democratic governor, said a major difference in the forecasts from the two offices was in how they projected revenue from capital-gains taxes levied on the sale of securities or property.

“They (legislative staff) were utilizing a more current data source for their capital-gains projections,” Dreyer said, saying that information came from the Internal Revenue Service while Ritter’s office was relying on older information from the Colorado Department of Revenue.

“We adjusted accordingly,” Dreyer said. “That said, we are going to make every contingency necessary to achieve even deeper cuts if we need to.”

Ritter now is asking state agencies to submit proposals to cut their budgets by 10 percent in the next fiscal year, which starts in July. He had already asked departments to show how they could cut 2.5 percent from their budgets in the current fiscal year.

Even after the revisions from Ritter’s office, there is still a nearly $400 million difference between the executive and legislative branches in their visions of how bad the current year will be.

Dreyer said there are still differences between the offices in how they project revenue from sales tax as well as corporate and personal income taxes.

“Forecasting is an extremely difficult job, even in the best of times, and this is an unprecedented bad time,” Dreyer said, adding that economists had not done anything wrong.

“For the past several months, we have been adjusting the budget and creating the necessary flexibility to keep the budget balanced,” he said. “Regardless of the differing forecasts, we will work together with the legislature to continue prudently managing the budget.”

For members of the legislature’s Joint Budget Committee, whose job it will be to slash spending, the difference in the forecasts is unsettling.

“From a budgeting standpoint, it leaves us as a legislative body the difficult task of deciding which scenario — and we’ll probably be cautious and use the worst scenario — to balance our budget for the current year,” said Sen. Moe Keller, D-Wheat Ridge.

Rep. Al White, R-Hayden, another member of the panel, agreed.

“We are tasked with picking a lane here, and we’ve got two different road maps that have drastically different destinations,” White said. “We can only take the most conservative one because therein lies the least danger.

SOURCE

DEMOCRAT EX-CONGRESSWOMAN’S YACHT CAUGHT TRYING TO RESUPPLY HAMAS

December 31, 2008

There are people that are just plain stupid, and there are those that are ignorant. Sailing a pleasure craft into any area where there is ongoing belligerence, much less full blown war has to fall into one of those two categories. Doing so with the express intent to aid either side turns you into a legitimate target. If they were truly on a purely humanitarian mission why were they not under the colors of, the International Red Cross, for example?

Now, could this have been taken care of in a better way? In my opinion it most certainly could have. Since the craft refused to acknowledge the radio warnings, a shot across the bow. Followed by compliance, or being blown to Allah.

Does that sound cruel? Too bad, it is a war zone. Obey the rules, or pay the price.

(CNN) — An Israeli patrol boat struck a boat carrying medical volunteers and supplies to Gaza early Tuesday as it attempted to intercept the vessel in the Mediterranean Sea, witnesses and Israeli officials said.

The Dignity arrives in Tyre, Lebanon, after it was reportedly rammed by an Israeli military vessel Tuesday.

The Dignity arrives in Tyre, Lebanon, after it was reportedly rammed by an Israeli military vessel Tuesday.

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CNN correspondent Karl Penhaul was aboard the 60-foot pleasure boat Dignity when the contact occurred. When the boat later docked in the Lebanese port city of Tyre, severe damage was visible to the forward port side of the boat, and the front left window and part of the roof had collapsed. It was flying the flag of Gibraltar.

The Dignity was carrying crew and 16 passengers — physicians from Britain, Germany and Cyprus and human rights activists from the Free Gaza Solidarity Movement — who were trying to reach Gaza through an Israeli blockade of the territory.

Also on board was former U.S. Rep. Cynthia McKinney.

full story here


Thanks for the memories Coach Mike Shanahan

December 31, 2008

Thanks for the memories Coach Shanahan. Yes, these past few years have not been so great. The past ten actually, so perhaps it is time to move on.

All in all though, I think that Denver. As a community not just the Broncos, are much better off for your having been in Denver.

I for one, will miss you Coach.

Kwanzaa

December 27, 2008

Kwanzaa parade celebrates African-American culture

I have very little to say about this *made up*African BULLSHIT other than to ask you to look at the *Kwanzaa Events* and ask yourself, what in the hell is it that these African-American Asshats really want?

Children’s activities at the Act of Change, 3200 S. Lancaster Road, Suite 320, Dallas, will include storytelling, crafts, drumming and theater from noon to 2 p.m.

Africans/African- Americans for Reparations will discuss the importance of reparations at 6:30 p.m. at Pan-African Connection Book Store, 612 E. Jefferson Blvd., Dallas.

It’s all about the money folks, it’s a SCAM!! REPARATIONS for things that happened long before our grandparents were born, simply another way for *The Brothers* to get free money and not have to work for it!! So very typical now a days!

In 1971, Karenga (inventor of Kwanzaa), Louis Smith, and Luz Maria Tamayo were convicted of felony assault and false imprisonment for assaulting and torturing over a two day period two women from the US organization, Deborah Jones and Gail Davis. [2] A May 14, 1971 article in the Los Angeles Times described the testimony of one of the women: “Deborah Jones, who once was given the Swahili title of an African queen, said she and Gail Davis were whipped with an electrical cord and beaten with a karate baton after being ordered to remove their clothes. She testified that a hot soldering iron was placed in Ms. Davis’s mouth and placed against Ms. Davis’s face and that one of her own big toes was tightened in a vise. Karenga also put detergent and running hoses in their mouths, she said.”

Full Story Here:
FrontPage Magazine

stolen from

TEXAS FRED


Crime in America!

December 26, 2008

i-see-stupid

Crime in America has clearly become a problem of insurmountable proportion. No, I am not talking about drug gangs, or gun toting thugs hell bent on terminal mischief!

Crime has gone to the dogs!

2008 Liberal Media Awards

December 26, 2008

I spent a little more than thirty years living in the Denver area, and one of the things that I most enjoyed while there was listening to the blowtorch of the Rockies, 850 KOA Radio.

The entire line up is great, and they certainly do have the best trafic reports. What follows is commentary, and awards by Mike Rosen. Enjoy!

ROSEN: 2008 liberal media awards

It’s time for the 21st annual Media Research Center’s awards for the most biased, manipulative or downright goofy quotes from liberals in the “mainstream” media. I’m honored to serve, once again, on MRC’s distinguished panel of conservatively-biased judges. Here are some of the lowlights from among the winners and runners- up of Best Notable Quotables of 2008:

* Quote of the Year: Co-anchor Chris Matthews: “I have to tell you, you know, it’s part of reporting this case, this election, the feeling most people get when they hear Barack Obama’s speech. My – I felt this thrill going up my leg. I mean, I don’t have that too often.”

Co-anchor Keith Olbermann: “Steady.”

Matthews: “No, seriously. It’s a dramatic event. He speaks about America in a way that has nothing to do with politics. It has to do with the feeling we have about our country. And that is an objective assessment.” (Exchange during MSNBC’s coverage of the Virginia, Maryland and Washington, D.C., primaries, Feb 12)

* Barbra Streisand Political IQ Award for Celebrity Vapidity: “If you can read, you can walk into a job later on. If you don’t, then you’ve got the Army, Iraq, I don’t know, something like that. It’s not as bright.” (Novelist Stephen King at an April 4 Library of Congress Event for high schoolers, later carried by C-SPAN2)

* The John Murtha Award for Painting America as Racist: “What do you think the bigger obstacle is for you becoming president, the Clinton campaign machine or America’s inherent racism?” (ABC’s Chris Cuomo to Barack Obama in a Dec. 20, 2007, interview on Good Morning America)

* Half-Baked Alaska Award for Pummeling Palin

“You know the one thing that I don’t think anybody’s said yet is that she’s very mean to animals, this woman. Why does she have it in for these poor polar bears and caribou, and she aerial-kills wolves? That’s a very mean thing to do. I think that that’s an important point.” (ABC’s The View co-host Joy Behar on CNN’s Larry King Live, Sept. 9)

* Let Us Fluff Your Pillow Award for Soft & Cuddly Interviews

“What of the attacks has busted through to you? What makes you angriest at John McCain, the Republicans? What’s being said about your husband that you want to shout from the mountaintops isn’t true?” (NBC’s Brian Williams to Michele Obama in a taped interview shown on the Aug. 27 Nightly News)

* The Irrelevant Rev. Wright Award

“He was assassinated by sound bites . . . His whole career was being summed up in sound bites that added up to no more than 20 seconds, endlessly played through the media grinder of our national press. He was angry about that . . . he was like a man who goes out and picks up the morning newspaper and gets hit by a cyclone!” ( PBS’s Bill Moyers talking about the Rev. Jeremiah Wright on Comedy Central’s The Daily Show on May 13.

* The ‘Pay up, You Patriots’ Award

“It’s early April, which means these are the few days of the year when Americans of almost any political stripe unite in a perennial ritual: complaining about taxes. Count me out. I’m happy to pay my fair share to the government. It’s part of my patriotic duty – and it’s a heckuva bargain . . . There seems to be an inconsistency about people who insist on wearing flag pins in their lapels, but who grumble about paying taxes . . . Genuine patriots don’t complain about their patriotic obligations . . . Pay up and be grateful.” ( Former ABC and CNN reporter Walter Rodgers writing in the Christian Science Monitor, April 2)

* Politics of Meaninglessness Award for the Silliest Analysis

“Media bias largely unseen in U.S. presidential race” ( Headline over Nov. 6 Reuters dispatch claiming no liberal tilt in favor of Barack Obama)

If your stomach is strong enough to handle the complete awards list, you can get it online at www.MRC.org.

Mike Rosen’s radio show airs weekdays from 9 a.m. to noon on 850 KOA. He can be reached by e-mail at mikerosen@850koa.com.

India and Pakistan…

December 26, 2008

It is beginning to appear that these two longtime neighbors are about ready to throw down with each other. While the recent attack by terrorist’s in Mumbai that is really just a trigger for some age old difficulties that people from both nations have never quite worked out to either sides satisfaction.

The seeds of this brewing discontent go back centuries if not longer than that. From tribal conflicts and caste based societies, to religious conflict and things that go even beyond. This is a region of the world that is a powder keg with a very short fuse. It appears that there are indeed those that would love seeing that fuse ignited. The two countries contain a sizable portion of the worlds human population. Not to mention that others in the region could easily get dragged into any conflict. China and Australia come to mind, and should either of those countries get involved on a military level, others no doubt would also come into play.

The shear numbers of people that reside in the area would insure a war of incredible magnitude if fought on a conventional level. The fact that both India, and Pakistan have nuclear weaponry only presents the world with an even greater risk.

The world can only hope that cooler heads prevail.

More Here

and

Here

Are Democrats Better on Privacy and Surveillance?

December 25, 2008

This piece by James Bovard points out the application of Historical Fallacy by various leftest organizations. Not the least of which is the Democrat Party. To be sure, the Republicans lost any and all credibility over the past eight years as the party of limited government, if indeed they ever truly deserved such a moniker.

The call for a new political party that actually does more than give lip service to the Constitution and Bill of Rights is nothing new. I have serious doubts that anything will come from this need though. Not to mention that the two majority parties have passed laws making any attempt to effectively remove them from the halls of power doomed to utter failure.

The Bush administration has probably illegally violated Americans’ privacy more than any presidency in at least a generation. Many Americans are understandably ready to throw out Republicans who trampled the Bill of Rights.

But is the solution to elect a Democrat? Many liberals were shocked in July when putative Democratic Party presidential nominee Barack Obama voted in favor of the bill to retroactively immunize illegal wiretapping by Bush officials and telephone-company executives. Even worse, the bill authorizes the federal government to conduct far more warrantless wiretaps whenever the president claims the nation is endangered.

Some Americans are looking back at the 1990s as a comparative Golden Age for Privacy. Unfortunately, most people have forgotten that the Democratic Party’s record on surveillance was dreadful.

The Clinton administration consistently championed the right of government employees to stick their noses almost anywhere — into people’s email, car, house, or personal effects. Clintonites set off one false alarm after another to justify extending government’s right to intrude. The administration consistently sought to exploit technological development in order to maximize government’s control over the citizenry.

The Fourth Amendment states,

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

The purpose of the Fourth Amendment was to prevent government officials from having dictatorial power over citizens.

The prohibition against unreasonable searches is the key to the Fourth Amendment.

As law professor Jeffrey Standen observed in an article he wrote for Legal Times, each extension of government power makes further extensions “reasonable” — since “reasonable” is defined on a sliding scale by however much intrusion people will tolerate from the government. The Clinton administration often sounded as if the only searches that were unreasonable were the ones that government officials did not care to do.


Public housing and the Constitution

In 1993, the Chicago Housing Authority (CHA) began warrantless sweep searches of residents’ apartments to confiscate firearms. Other cities, such as Baltimore and Philadelphia, also used warrantless mass sweeps of public housing apartments to seize guns and other items. Law professor Tracey Maclin observed, “During these sweeps, officers would rifle cabinets and dresser drawers, look inside refrigerators, overturn mattresses and sofa cushions, and inspect private papers and closed boxes.” In early 1994, the CHA proposed beginning routine no-knock raid sweeps. On April 7, 1994, federal judge Wayne Andersen ruled that the dragnet searches were unconstitutional, warning, “The erosion of the rights of people on the other side of town will ultimately undermine the rights of each of us.”

President Clinton was outraged that a judge limited the power of the police, and announced, “I’m so worried that all the progress that’s been made will be undermined by this court decision.” Two months later, he visited the Chicago housing projects, again endorsed the searches, and declared, “The most important freedom we have in this country is the freedom from fear. And if people aren’t free from fear, they are not free.”

In Clinton’s view, public-housing residents apparently had no reason to fear the housing police’s storming into their apartments. Yet, court testimony showed that the warrantless searches, none of which occurred within 48 hours of actual shooting incidents, were ineffective at reducing crime. Harvey Grossman of the American Civil Liberties Union observed,

Instead of meeting their obligations to provide real safety, Chicago officials perpetrated a hoax by convincing many residents that warrantless sweep searches of all apartments would enhance their safety.

CHA officials have complained that they are forbidden by federal regulations from even checking whether applicants for public housing have a criminal record.


Pawing is not searching

The Clinton administration consistently argued that few, if any, government searches were blocked by the Fourth Amendment. In early 2000, the Supreme Court heard the case of U.S. v. Bond. A Greyhound bus was stopped at an internal Border Patrol checkpoint in Texas. After agents checked all the passengers’ identification, one agent went through and pawed, squeezed, and manipulated each piece of luggage in the overhead bins. He detected a suspicious object in one canvas bag — and Steven Bond was shortly thereafter charged with possession of a brick of meth. Bond’s lawyer argued that groping the luggage was an unconstitutional search.

The Clinton administration argued that no constitutional rights were violated because Bond and other passengers had no “legitimate expectation of privacy.” The Clinton administration brief asserted,

The fact that tactile inspection of a bag’s exterior may reveal information about its contents no more establishes a search than when officers standing on a public sidewalk or in open fields make observations of the contents of a car or a house. Passengers handling bags in a manner similar to the manner of Agent Cantu may not pay attention to what they sense, or know how to interpret it. But nothing bars government officers from using specialized knowledge to keep themselves alert to, and to help them interpret, that which any other member of the public might have sensed. To take this reasoning to its logical conclusion, since people in rush hour subway trains are occasionally most uncomfortably pressed against each other — so cops should be allowed to press their bodies against that of any passenger.

The Supreme Court, in a decision written by archconservative Chief Justice William Rehnquist, scorned this particular minimalist interpretation of the Fourth Amendment. He declared, “Physically invasive inspection is simply more intrusive than purely visual inspection.”

Some of the Clinton administration’s anti-drug policies were highly egalitarian, striving to violate everyone’s privacy. During the 1996 presidential campaign, Clinton proposed mandatory drug tests for all teenagers applying for a driver’s license. This followed the Clinton administration’s endorsement of mandatory drug tests for school students in a 1995 Supreme Court case. Clinton administration Solicitor General Drew Days argued that a school district “could not effectively educate its students unless it undertook suspicionless drug testing as part of a broader drug-prevention program,” as Cato Institute lawyer Tim Lynch noted.


High-tech hustles

A 1998 ACLU report observed that the Clinton administration had

engaged in surreptitious surveillance, such as wiretapping, on a far greater scale than ever before…. The Administration is using scare tactics to acquire vast new powers to spy on all Americans.

On April 16, 1993, the Clinton administration revealed that the National Security Agency had secretly developed a new microchip known as the Clipper Chip. A White House press release announced “a new initiative that will bring the Federal Government together with industry in a voluntary program to improve the security and privacy of telephone communications while meeting the legitimate needs of law enforcement.” This was practically the last time that the word “voluntary” was used.

The Clipper Chip presumed that it should be a crime for anyone to use technology that frustrates curious government agents. The ACLU noted,

The Clipper Chip proposal would have required every encryption user (that is, every individual or business using a digital telephone system, fax machine, the Internet, etc.) to hand over their decryption keys to the government, giving it access to both stored data and real-time communications. This is the equivalent of the government requiring all home-builders to embed microphones in the walls of homes and apartments.

Marc Rotenberg, director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, observed, “You don’t want to buy a set of car keys from a guy who specializes in stealing cars.” When the federal National Institute for Standards and Technology formally published the proposal for the new surveillance chip, fewer than one percent of the comments supported the plan.

The administration eventually abandoned its Clipper campaign but stepped up its attacks on purveyors of encryption software.


Wiretap mania

When the Clinton administration proposed legislation to massively increase the number of wiretaps, they named their offering the “Digital Telephony and Communications Privacy Improvement Act of 1994.” Apparently, the more the government could invade people’s privacy, the safer they would be. In the final cut-and-paste on Capitol Hill, the bill was renamed the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act.

On October 16, 1995, the telecommunications industry was stunned when a Federal Register notice appeared announcing that the FBI demanded that, as a result of the new law, phone companies provide the capability for simultaneous wiretaps of one out of every hundred phone calls in urban areas. As the ACLU noted, the FBI notice represented “a 1,000-fold increase over previous levels of surveillance.”

The 1994 law led to five years of clashes between the FBI and the communications industry over the new standards. The Federal Communications Commission was designated as the arbiter of such clashes in the act; in August 1999, the FCC caved and gave the FBI almost everything it wanted.

The FCC bowed to FBI demands and required that all new cellular telephones be de facto homing devices. Cell phones must now include components that allow law enforcement to determine the precise location where a person is calling from.


Conclusion

The Clinton administration’s attitude towards high-tech should have alarmed any Americans who think the government is not entitled to read their email, tap their calls, or know precisely where they are. Clinton’s power grabs should have taught Americans of the perils of allowing politicians to ignore the Fourth Amendment. Any such “lessons learned” were declared “null and void” after 9/11 by the same politicians who quickly put their own boot prints on the Constitution.

Unfortunately, neither the Democrats nor the Republicans have a good record of respecting citizens’ privacy. Perhaps it is naive to expect politicians to obey the Constitution when so many Americans believe that omnipotent government is their only hope for survival. Americans need to relearn why the Founding Fathers distrusted politicians across the board, regardless of nation, party, or creed.

James Bovard is the author of Attention Deficit Democracy [2006] as well as The Bush Betrayal [2004], Lost Rights [1994] and Terrorism and Tyranny: Trampling Freedom, Justice and Peace to Rid the World of Evil (Palgrave-Macmillan, September 2003) and serves as a policy advisor for The Future of Freedom Foundation. Send him email.

GOVERNMENT & POLITICS

December 25, 2008

From the Left: Blagojevich saga continues

The Illinois state legislature officially launched an impeachment inquiry into the shenanigans of Democrat Governor Rod Blagojevich this week. Several weeks of hearings into Blagojevich’s pay-to-play schemes and other questionable acts are set to take place, perhaps leading to a full scale impeachment trial that may remove him from office. It is not, however, an open-and-shut case, which may explain why Blagojevich has no intention of stepping down quietly from his post. In fact, he has been reporting for duty as if nothing has changed, even signing into law a bill involving the same casino and horse-racing industries that he allegedly used to squeeze campaign contributions in exchange for his signature.

It turns out that prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald was not able to catch the sale of Obama’s Senate seat on tape, which would have greatly solidified his case. He was rushed into arresting Blagojevich because the Chicago Tribune was no longer interested in holding onto the story without publishing it. Great moments in American journalism, indeed.

Whether Blagojevich walks or pays the price for his corruption remains to be seen, but right now, all eyes are on Obama’s Senate seat. Illinois Democrats want Blagojevich out the door, but they are not interested in stripping him of his power to appoint Obama’s replacement. Still, Blagojevich’s lawyer says the governor will not make an appointment. Such a move would likely lead to a special election for the Senate seat that a Republican could win if the voters make Chicago’s crooked Democrat Party pay for playing. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has vowed that the nation’s senators will not welcome a Blagojevich appointment to Washington. But if that appointment came from Illinois’s Democrat Lt. Governor? Well, that’s a different story.

Meanwhile, Team Obama has officially cleared itself of any wrongdoing in the scandal by releasing the following statement: “At the direction of the president-elect, a review of transition staff contacts with Governor Blagojevich and his office has been conducted and completed and is ready for release. That review affirmed the public statements of the president-elect that he had no contact with the governor or his staff, and that the president-elect’s staff was not involved in inappropriate discussions with the governor or his staff over the selection of his successor as U.S. senator.” Let’s move on folks, nothing to see here.

Ponzi scheme benefits Democrats

Speaking of corruption, Bernard Madoff, founder of Manhattan-based Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities, was arrested and charged with securities fraud this week in what may be history’s largest Ponzi scheme. Investors in Madoff’s hedge funds may have lost anywhere from $17 billion to $50 billion. Investment details aside, Madoff was a major player in Washington politics — for the Democrats. Since 1993, the Madoff clan has donated more than $380,000 to individual politicians and political action committees, including $100,000 to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. In particular, DSCC head Sen. Chuck Schumer (the other senator from New York) received money from Madoff — $39,000 for his 1998 and 2004 races. One will search in vain for such details in Leftmedia stories about Madoff, however. Apparently, it isn’t worth a mention.

Hope ‘n’ Change: Obama’s education secretary

At first glance, Arne Duncan, Chicago’s top public school official, appeared to be a safe pick as Obama’s education secretary. Naturally, however, Duncan’s record doesn’t seem to merit his elevation. In America’s third-largest school district, Duncan did manage to improve graduation rates, but other statistics are disturbing, such as the fact that only 17 percent of eighth graders can read at grade level, and only 25 percent of all Chicago students scored above the national average in math. Duncan was also instrumental in the proposal of a homosexual high school in Chicago. Furthermore, Duncan is tied to the Chicago Annenberg Challenge, Bill Ayers’ brainchild for radicalizing, rather than educating, Chicago’s youth. Now Bill Ayers can influence all publicly educated American children. Finally, we find it curious that Obama thinks Duncan is worthy to be education secretary for his work in Chicago, even while the Obamas didn’t dare put their children into the public school system Duncan oversees.

In other Obama news, the president-elect has asked Saddleback Church pastor Rick Warren to deliver the invocation at his inauguration on 20 January, a move that has created more anger on the Angry Left, if such a thing is possible. Obamaphiles are upset mainly because Warren led conservative support for California’s Proposition 8, which sought to re-ban same-sex marriage. Kevin Naff, editor of the homosexual rag the Washington Blade, called the choice a “slap in the faces” of homosexual voters. “We have just endured eight years of endless assaults on our dignity and equality from a president beholden to bigoted conservative Christians. The election was supposed to have ended that era. It appears otherwise.” On the other hand, we’re not convinced Obama has truly seen the light.

Clinton reveals donors

Bill Clinton released the list of 205,000 donors to the Clinton Foundation Thursday as part of the deal with Barack Obama for Hillary Clinton’s spot in the cabinet as secretary of state. The donors include members of the Saudi royal family and other Middle Eastern leaders, and total foreign donations total more than $140 million. Though Clinton released donation amounts only in ranges and not exact amounts, we now know that Saudi Arabia gave at least $10 million and the ruling Zayed family of the United Arab Emirates donated between $1 million and $5 million. The governments of Oman, Qatar and Kuwait gave more than $1 million each, as did those of Australia, the Dominican Republic, Norway, Brunei and Taiwan. To put it mildly, considering U.S. interests around the world and in the Middle East in particular, these donations create an interesting dilemma for Hillary. The Clintons’ practices, which show how small time Gov. Blagojevich really was, should also provide some fodder for Republican senators interested in challenging her nomination.

News from the Swamp: Federal deficit skyrockets

Federal spending grew 25 percent in 2008 according to a joint White House-Treasury Department report released this week. Taxpayers will end up more than $1 trillion in the hole thanks to this steep rise, which is accounted for mostly by significant growth in veterans’ benefits and tax revenues that have remained static due to a yearlong recession. The scary part is that this trillion-dollar red mark comes before Uncle Sam’s bailout escapades are taken into account. President-elect Obama’s plan for another stimulus package early next year will only increase the federal deficit, which went from $162.8 billion in fiscal 2008 to $454.8 billion just one year later. But never fear, members of Congress are set to receive a pay raise of $4,700 a year beginning in January.

This “damn-the-torpedoes” strategy of not worrying about the deficit during times of economic strain will one day sink the American economy. This year, the federal government will spend $450 billion on just the interest on the national debt. That interest payment ranks fourth in total government outlays, behind Medicare-Medicaid, Social Security and defense. In 30 years, the government’s current tax revenue will cover only half of what it owes. We’re soon going to be looking for change, all right.

GOP House cleaning

After their devastating defeat in the November elections, Republicans are cleaning House in an attempt to reinvent the party and regain voter confidence. For starters, they have followed the scent of pork to the state of Alaska, where Rep. Don Young is the latest casualty in a purge that took down former Alaska Governor Frank Murkowski in 2006 and, more recently, Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens. But unlike Murkowski, who was given the heave-ho by voters in favor of Sarah Palin, and Stevens, who was found guilty of accepting improper gifts, Young is being booted by Republican leadership in an effort to avoid another full-blown scandal.

Already associated with the infamous “Bridge to Nowhere,” Young is now rumored to be under criminal investigation for allegedly earmarking funds for a Florida freeway interchange (yes, 5,000 miles from home) that would have enriched a friend. At the time, Young was serving as chairman of the Transportation Committee.

Young’s descent began with his recent removal from the Republican Steering Committee, and his effective exclusion thereafter from party decision-making in Alaska, from having a role in setting the GOP agenda; it continued last week, when House Republican leader John Boehner informed Young that he will no longer be the Republican top dog of the Natural Resources Committee. Young has held a seat on the committee for many years, and served as its chair in the 1990s.

Still, Young will retain his office, his seniority, and his committee memberships, including the Natural Resources Committee. He continues to deny any wrongdoing and has expressed his confidence that he will be vindicated and will regain his post.

Vol. 08 No. 51
19 December 2008

Patriot Post

Colorado DOW adds new easement

December 25, 2008

The Colorado Division of Wildlife secured one really great present for everyone a few days ago. I cannot think of anything that has been acquired on a scale like this since the acquisition of the Forrest of the Bear, Bosque del Oso SWA.

NEW DOW EASEMENT PROVIDES HUNTER, ANGLER ACCESS


GUNNISON – Hunters, anglers and wildlife watchers will soon have access to an additional 4,800 acres of terrain in Saguache County in south central Colorado thanks to a new conservation easement. The easement, which includes public access, was purchased by the Colorado Division of Wildlife with money from the Colorado Wildlife Habitat Stamp program and in cooperation with Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO).

Combined with a previous easement at this site, the public will have access to 7,100 acres, including 8 miles of cold-water stream that provides excellent fishing.

After two years of negotiations, the DOW closed Dec. 18 on the deal which will provide permanent protection from development for significant big game winter range habitat, Gunnison Sage-grouse habitat, more than 4 miles of cold-water stream and riparian habitat along Cochetopa Creek, and public access. The land is located about 35 miles south of Gunnison, with easy access from Colorado Highway 114.

“This is a tremendous addition to the conservation of overall wildlife resources for the people of Colorado,” said J Wenum, area wildlife manager for the DOW in Gunnison. “This property provides habitat for a wide variety of wildlife, and includes a great trout stream and riparian areas. The easement also provides public access for hunting, fishing and wildlife viewing.”

On three sides, the property adjoins BLM and U.S. Forest Service lands, and the Dome Lakes State Wildlife Area. The proximity guarantees that migration corridors for wildlife will remain in perpetuity. The newly acquired property also adjoins the existing Cochetopa State Wildlife area, a pre-existing easement that totals 2,300 acres and includes 4 miles of cold-water stream. The two easements are now combined and total 7,100 acres and 8 miles of stream. The original easement, set up in the 1970s on what was the Coleman Ranch, was the first of its kind acquired by the DOW. That ranch was later purchased by Terry and Joanne Snyder of Norwood who have owned the entire Snyder Ranch for more than twenty years.

“The Snyder Ranch acquisitions will insure that important big game, small game, Gunnison Sage-grouse and fishery habitats are protected in perpetuity,” said Tom Spezze, southwest regional manager for the DOW. “It will also provide the public with some very significant and quality hunting and fishing opportunities for future generations to enjoy. This important acquisition exemplifies what the intent of the Habitat Stamp set out to accomplish for wildlife, hunters and anglers. I have known and worked with the Snyders since the 1980s. I am very proud and appreciative that we have established this long-term ranching and wildlife partnership between the DOW and the Snyder family.”

Much of the property is irrigated hay meadows and riparian areas which provide excellent winter range and migration corridors for elk, year-around range for pronghorn and habitat for numerous other wildlife species. The livestock operation will continue. The Snyder family will continue to manage grazing activities so that pastures remain in good shape. Because of the large pasture configurations on the property, wildlife can move easily through the ranch.

“The property has been well taken care of and the family understands the value of wildlife,” Wenum said.

Public access areas will be established and the DOW plans to have the area ready for the public by the summer of 2009.

“This was a complicated transaction but it was well worth the extra effort. We greatly appreciate the cooperation of the Snyder Family,” Wenum said.

The Colorado Habitat Stamp Program was started by the DOW in 2006 after approval by the Colorado State Legislature. Since then the DOW has collected more than $10 million, leveraged that money for an additional $38 million in grants and partnerships, and has protected more than 40,000 acres of land in Colorado.

Great Outdoors Colorado continues to provide critical matching dollars for Habitat Stamp projects. GOCO receives approximately $53 million annually from the Colorado Lottery. The GOCO program was enacted by Colorado voters in 1992 to help local governments, land trusts, DOW and Colorado State Parks protect and enhance the state’s park, wildlife, trails and open space heritage.

For more information about Division of Wildlife go to: http://wildlife.state.co.us.


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