After 20 years of protection, owl is declining but forests remain

From the Vancouver - Twenty years after northern spotted owls were protected under the Endangered Species Act, their numbers continue to decline, and scientists aren't certain whether the birds will survive even though logging was banned on much of the old-growth forest in the Pacific Northwest where they live in order to save them. The owl remains an iconic symbol in a region where once loggers in steel-spiked, high-topped caulk boots felled 200-year-old or even older trees and loaded them on trucks that compression-braked down twisty mountain roads to mills redolent with the smell of fresh sawdust and smoke from burning timber scraps. Regionwide, the owl populations are dropping 2.9 percent a year. In Washington state, they're declining at 6 to 7 percent a year.
While that may seem like a small number, it adds up, said Eric Forsman, a research wildlife biologist with the U.S. Forest Service's Pacific Northwest Research Station in Corvallis, Ore., who's studied the owl since 1968. "Nothing we do seems to work for the spotted owl," Forsman said. The fight over the owl, however, perhaps the fiercest in the history of the Endangered Species Act, was always about more than just protecting a surprisingly friendly, football-sized bird with dark feathers, dark eyes and white spots. It also was about the future of the ancient Douglas fir, red cedar and Western hemlock forests that once stretched from northern California through Oregon and Washington state into British Columbia, and the habitat they provide for hundreds of species. The owl was considered an indicator species, reflecting the health of forests where trees as old as 1,000 years grow. When the owl was listed as a threatened species in the summer of 1990, it was seen not just as a way to halt the decline in owl populations but also to end logging in the federal old-growth forests. Read more

Deficits, Bailouts, Stimulus, and Zero Interest Rates

This is a picture of what Japanese Nikkei 225 Index has experienced as a result of 20 years of terrible government policies that involve:
1. massive deficit spending
2. massive government bailouts of politically connected industries
3. gigantic government action labelled as stimulative
4. interest rates near zero for two decades
It is not a pretty picture. The peak was reached in 1990 just under 40,000. Overnight the Nikkei 225 closed at 9369. Can you say.....unfunded pensions and retirement benefits cuts? I knew you could.


Internal Squabbles at Fed

Federal Reserve officials are publicly disagreeing over the benefits of pursuing new monetary stimulus in a sign that Chairman Ben S. Bernanke hasn’t secured a consensus on whether to buy more Treasuries. Policy makers have the tools to act and should respond “vigorously, creatively, thoughtfully and persistently” to a slow recovery, Boston Fed President Eric Rosengren said yesterday in a New York speech. Separately, Philadelphia Fed President Charles Plosser said in New Jersey that the central bank risks its credibility by taking actions, such as additional securities purchases, that may fail to help the labor market. Read more here:

Richardson Backpedalling on Childcare

Bill Richardson
From The New Mexico Independent - Nearly $2.5 million in federal stimulus money will go to boost children’s programs facing budget cuts, Gov. Bill Richardson announced today. Most of the new money — $2 million – will help thousands of children stay in childcare services administered by the New Mexico Children, Youth & Families Department for a couple of more months, according to a news release Richardson’s office issued Wednesday. But Voices for Children New Mexico, while applauding Richardson’s decision, said his action ”amounts to using an aspirin when what’s needed is a transfusion.” Read more here:


David Corn: Campaign 2010

David Corn
Five weeks. Thirty-five days. Eight hundred and 40 hours. Fifty thousand 400 hundred minutes. Or 3,024,000 seconds. That's how much time is left between now (that is, this Tuesday morning) and the 2010 midterm elections. Is that sufficient time for President Obama to do anything -- and I do mean anything -- to change the political landscape before Nov. 2? Weeks ago, as the final stretch began, Democrats in Washington were beginning to grouse that Obama was not revving up the base -- let alone winning back alienated (or disappointed or angry) independent voters. Read more here: