America is back. It was not the landslide victory for democracy that polls misled us once again to expect. (Just shoot me if I ever again read a poll.) But we have a decent, experienced, sane President-elect Biden, and thrillingly, we finally have a very exciting and gifted woman and a minority in Vice President-elect Harris. After having a sociopath as president for these four excruciating years, just returning to normal will be such a tremendous relief and improvement.Continue reading
On the longest night of the year, under a full super-moon, a ritual evolves in a small Utah town.
Bluff, Utah, December 21, 2018
A full super-moon rose as complete dark enveloped a crowd gathered in the December cold around campfires and torches to celebrate the longest night of the year with art, culture, and sculptural pyrotechnics.
For those like me who are not motivated by the Christian religious myth of Christmas, Winter Solstice is the natural time to celebrate the turn of the seasons. A ritual is called for and one is evolving in rural Bluff, Utah, with all the resulting tensions that come with change and growth.
From my new companion blog, The No Bull Sheet
January 14, 2018, Torrey
Here in the West it is cowboys and Indians again. Or still. I believe the battle will soon turn against the cowboys.
Cliven Bundy and his deadbeat cowboy clan remain free, still owing the United States over $1 million in federal conviction fines and grazing fees, and still illegally trespassing their cows on desiccated public land. Trump came to Utah in December and signed away some two million acres of national monuments, the largest rollback of federal land protection in the nation’s history. Utah has lost the lucrative Outdoor Retailer convention. As our politicians disgracefully cheer, Gallup reports that 61% of Mormons approved of Trump in 2017.
I am trying to figure out what gives. Continue reading
2017 was a rough year for our beautiful, fragile, public lands in Utah. I look at the image above and all I can see is Utah’s Republican politicians celebrating a gang rape led by the pussy grabber in chief. I am with the Salt Lake Tribune that the image is of Utah at its ugly worst as these quislings celebrate kicking American Indians in the teeth and sucker punching the rest of America. All in the name of . . . what exactly? Continue reading
No sooner had the Bears Ears National Monument been proclaimed than local Utah politicians launched a concerted effort to undo it. Kirsten Allen and her gang at Torrey House Press have gone to great lengths to help support the making of the Monument and may indeed have played a role in its creation by the President Obama and the Department of the Interior. They created and published Red Rock Testimony and took hundreds of copies to Washington D.C. They simultaneously came out with Edge of Morning, a book of all Native voices in support of the Bears Ears. These are very nice people, why would they promote an outcome that local people don’t want? Continue reading
Utah Representative Rob Bishop has brought out Southern Utah University professor Ryan Yonk, to give testimony to the Public Lands Subcommittee about his recently issued paper, a paper without peer review, asserting wilderness and protective designations for federal lands have a negative economic impact on local communities. No wonder right wing climate change deniers like Bishop feel like academia can be bought. Just as when Bishop towed Escalante Mayor Jerry Taylor before Congress to testify against national monuments and Taylor received serious backlash from his own chamber of commerce when he got back to Escalante, Yonk is getting backlash. Headwater Economics and Republican Jim DiPeso of thedailygreen.com and the policy director for Republicans for Environmental Protection reply. . . . more>>
Kirsten and I had dinner with Soren and his wife Kristen while we were in Steamboat Springs last week. Soren is the son of my old Wasatch Advisors partner, Roy Jespersen, and it was good to catch up with Soren and find out what he was working on for The Wilderness Society. I was disappointed to learn that public land grazing is considered a third rail by The Wilderness Society, but encouraged about the work they were doing, along with ranchers, on protecting land that ought not to be drilled and mined. Soren published this about Salazar’s visit to the West recently. . . . more>>
Western politicians and special interest local factions have always been against the idea of protecting and conserving tracts of public land. It’s no different today. Kirsten and I were just in Moab this week — it’s now late in September– and the town is still packed with tourists. We had breakfast with a couple from upstate New York who were blown away by the vast beauty of the open West. Folks from around the U.S. and the world flock in for a taste of America’s wild heritage, to the point that we risk loving the land to death. Yet our local politicians speak as if conservation is a D.C. based political conspiracy that hurts the West. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar is in Utah promoting conservation this week. Is it representative that he gets the cold shoulder? . . . more>>
The possibility of breaking the 28-year stretch of no new wilderness designations in Montana by designating the Sleeping Giant and Sheep Creek WSAs thrills John Gatchell, the conservation director for the Montana Wilderness Association. “That area looks the same now as it did when Lewis and Clark passed through here 200 years ago,” Gatchell said. “Captain Clark walked across it hunting, while Lewis brought the boats up the Missouri River. It has a lot of historical value for us here in Lewis and Clark County — it’s our heritage.” BLM Director Bob Abbey recently visited the area. . . . more>>