Friday, June 29, 2012

Modesty Suit Targets Officials: A Headline Sure to Draw Notice

I'll have to admit that this headline from drew my curiosity.  This is what I found.

Anaconda Deer Lodge County commissioners named in amended complaint over road

ANACONDA — A private land company is suing the individual Anaconda-Deer Lodge County commissioners for alleged civil rights violations in the ongoing Modesty Creek Road case.

Letica Land LLC has filed an amended complaint that accuses Mark Sweeney, Rose Nyman, Neal Warner, Robert Pierce and Elaine Lux-Burt of violating due process when they voted to open public access on the disputed road in March.
The commission unanimously reaffirmed Modesty Creek Road as a county road, which passes through a stretch Letica’s Montana Big Horn Ranch about eight miles northeast of Anaconda.

But Letica Land promptly filed for a preliminary injunction to keep its gates on the road locked until the court can determine if access is public or private.

Butte District Judge Kurt Krueger has yet to make a ruling on the injunction

Read more:

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Five Chili Dog Fans

Where the Buffalo Roam

The Buffalo Commons is a proposal to create a humongous buffalo range by returning 139,000 square miles of the drier portion of the Great Plains to prairie, and giving it over to the buffalo which once lived in large numbers there. The proposal would affect the following states, Montana, Colorado, Wyoming, Oklahoma, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, and Kansas.

The proposal was the brainstorm of Frank and Deborah Popper, a pair of New Jersey urban planners.  They published an essay in 1987 which pronounced that the current use of the drier parts of the plains is not sustainable, being the consequence of the historical ignoring of the ecological realities of the eara.  Since it was an idea advocated by a pair of Easterners, this Buffalo Commons idea stirred up opposition to the Buffalo Commons during the 1990s.  The original proposal had this change in land use primarily to federal intervention, you see.

Now Westerners tend to be suspicious about Federal land use policies, given that in the Western states, there are larger percentages of total state area owned or controlled by the Federal government than is the case with Eastern states.  See map below; the red areas within each state represent the percentage of total state land that is federally owned:

The Poppers proposed that an area of native grassland, of perhaps 10 or 20 million acres in size, be reserved through voluntary contracts between the Forest Service and thefarmers and ranchers, in which owners would be paid the value of what they would have cultivated over the next 15 years. In the meantime, they would be required to plant and reestablish native prairie grasses, according to a Forest Service-approved program. At the end of the period, the Forest Service would purchase their holdings, while granting owners a 40-acre  homestead.  The original proposal saw the federal government as playing a major role in this transformation.

Why the controversy?  Well, the original proposal seemed to be less optional.  And it also flew in the face of the Frontier Ethos, which is: leave me alone, don't fence me in.

When Frederick Jackson Turner wrote about "the significance of the frontier" was that prior to about 1890 there was unlimited free land in this zone in the frontier zone available, and thus offered a psychological sense of unlimited  opportunity. This, in turn, had many consequences such as optimism, future orientation, shedding of restraints due to land scarcity, and wastefulness of natural resources.  Some, you see, were good, some bad.

But who tended to settle the frontier?  A large percentage were people who fitted in less well in the settled East.  The West became an evocative place; a region where there was a greater relaxation from the rules.  (The concept of HOAs is less a Western notion.)  And these Westerners felt threatened, rightly so, by a greater Federal role in their region.  After all, this is what their parents tried to get away from.

I can understand that.  TVA was and can be fairly intrusive in Tennessee; and some residents feel that TVA exercised a lot of muscle in getting their way.  Governmental agencies are like the elephant in the bedroom.  They can affect your sex life.

And the idea of planned development just did not set well with people who prefer to let things happen.  And there is a certain suspicion and anxiety regarding loss of autonomy from the East.  After all, who wants to be dictated to by New York?

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Have You Ever Been Diddled?

One time there was a town girl and a country girl got to talking about the boys they had went with. The town girl told what kind of car her boyfriends used to drive, and how much money their folks has got. But the country girl didn't take no interest in things like that, and she says the fellows are always trying to get into her pants.

So finally the town girl says, "Have you ever been diddled?" The country girl giggled, and she says yes, a little bit. "How much?" says the town girl. "Oh, about like that," says the country girl, and she held up her finger to show an inch, or maybe an inch and a half.

The town girl just laughed, and pretty soon the country girl says, "Have you ever been diddled?" The town girl says of course she has, lots of times. "How much?" says the country girl. "Oh, about like that," says the town girl, and she marked off about eight inches, or maybe nine.

The country girl just sat there goggle-eyed, and she drawed a deep breath. "My God," says the country girl, "that aint't diddling! Why, you've been laiiid!"

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

How to Tell Where a Driver Is From

One hand on wheel, one hand on horn: CHICAGO

One hand on wheel, one finger out window: NEW YORK

One hand on wheel, one finger out window, cutting across all lanes of traffic: NEW JERSEY

One hand on wheel, one hand on newspaper, foot solidly on accelerator: BOSTON

One hand on wheel, one hand on nonfat double decaf cappuccino, cradling cell phone, bricks on accelerator, gun in lap: LOS ANGELES

Both hands on wheel, eyes shut, both feet on brake, quivering in terror: OHIO, but driving in BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS

Both hands in air, gesturing, both feet on accelerator, head turned to talk to someone in back seat: ITALY

One hand on 12 oz. Double shot latte, one knee on wheel, cradling cell phone, foot on brake, mind on radio game, banging head on steering wheel while stuck in traffic: SEATTLE

One hand on wheel, one hand on hunting rifle, alternating between both feet being on the accelerator and both feet on brake, throwing McDonald's bag out the window: TEXAS

Four-wheel drive pick-up truck, shotgun mounted in rear window, beer cans on floor, squirrel tails attached to antenna: ALABAMA

Two hands gripping wheel, blue hair barely visible above windshield, driving 35 on the Interstate in the left lane with the left blinker on: FLORIDA

Sunday, June 10, 2012

If You Play a Country Song Backward

Try this sometime.

AA works.  Your wife, kids, and dog will come back.  Mama comes alive again, and Daddy is released from prison.  You get the job you originally failed to get, due to the boss's son getting caught messing around with the secretary.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Politics Is Somewhat Important . . . . But

Politics is important.

But a good analogy of how the print and televised media covers it is the Baptist bras of the joke:  they make mountains out of molehills.

Case in point:  The failed Wisconsin recall election.

Personally, I think other states should have that option; but I'm not sure it was really called for there.  [I would not have voted to recall Walker.  That should be used only in the case of world-class malfeasance.]  Anyway, it was a good story, worthy of a mention.  Certainly more than DWTS or American Idol results, which our pandering media seems to favor nowadays. 

But when pundits or scribblers try to go beyond the facts and infer possible long-term political trends and outcomes, I must say:  not so fast!  This recall election occurred in only one state, and it was strongly linked to unionization of government employees.  In other words, it was heavily based on a single issue.  When the national election happens, there will be a lot of points to consider.

And then there's the time factor.  The Presidential election is five months away.  A lot can happen.  There's always the possibility of an October Surprise.  And those can bounce both ways.  It might be an entirely different ball game.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

The Most Surreal Television Commercial Ever!

This commercial is one of the weirdest, yet cute, commercial ever!  Darius Rucker, Brooke Burke, Vida Guerro, the Submissive Chicken, the Burger King, and others make appearances.

Friday, June 1, 2012

An Engineer, a Consultant, and a Statistician

An engineer, consultant and statistician were driving down a steep mountain road in Western Montana one evening.  All of a sudden the brakes failed and the car careened down the road out of control.  But half way down, the driver somehow managed to stop the car by running it against the embankment narrowly avoiding going over a very steep cliff. They all got out, shaken by their narrow escape from death, but otherwise unharmed.

The consultant said: "To fix this problem we need to organise a committee, have meetings, write several interim reports and through a process of continuous improvement, develop a solution."

The engineer said: "No! That would take far too long, and besides that method never worked before.  I have my trusty penknife here and will take apart the brake system, isolate the problem and correct it."

The statistician said: "No - you're both wrong!  Let's all push the car back up the hill and see if it happens again.  We only have an N of 1 here!!"