Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas

Dear Friends far and near,

A mere 24 hours to Christmas, 2008 is almost in the books. Turning 55 this past Saturday had its pitfalls. No question I look older every time I glance in the mirror so I don’t do it much. The boys tell me to comb my hair. I tell them I am lucky to have hair and I tell everyone I am so old I was a waiter at the Last Supper! This year started off like every year, a whirlwind. We got back from a wonderful holiday and New Years at Pamelot, our farm in Tennessee. A week later we put my Dad on the plane back to Minnesota and a week later grabbed a flight to New York City with the boys. Their first visit to the Big Apple! We stayed in Times Square and took in the sights and sounds of the greatest city on earth. We dined at Carmines, did the Lion King on Broadway, shopped on Canal Street, walked to the World Trade site and covered the financial district which on a weekend was a tad boring for the boys among the canyons of Wall Street but it brought back as it always does the great times I had in 1983 when I trained at 20 Exchange Place with the venerable Kidder Peabody. We also went to the top of Rockefeller Center and the Empire State Building. It was a great trip. Valentines found Pam and me with friends on a private jet to the Florida coast for my one and only round of golf this year. It was a hoot as I sprayed balls up and down the links. A Tiger wanna-be I am not. A couple of weeks later Pam and I headed to Phoenix for the Super Bowl. It is extremely difficult not to have a great time at any Super Bowl function and a super game it was.

Spring break found the gang in Vail doing the whoosh-n-shoosh in the best skiing of my life. It snowed every day and Vail broke the 500 inch mark for the season. Amazing snow but the mule deer herds in the Eagle Valley and Gunnison Basin were hurt, big time. So much for global warming! The summer warmed up and we headed to the great Northwest. Flying into Seattle with Mt. Rainier clear and calling was just a warm-up for a great family vacation. We boarded a seaplane in Seattle and headed for Canada and out into Puget Sound to chase killer whales on a small Zodiac, hiked towards Mt. Rainier and turned back by massive snow drifts and spent July 1st in Victoria, British Columbia, celebrating Canada Day with our neighbors to the north. The weather was great and we enjoyed so much including Butchart Gardens in BC and the Boeing Field Museum. We even were caught in a parade, the Seattle Gay Pride parade as we walked to the Space Needle. The boys saw more than I wanted them to! After getting home we got back into the swing of summer swim season and Hunters job lifeguarding. He turned 16 in June and took the reins of “Red Rover”, my old 1990 Jeep Cherokee. July found Jordan training in the heat for his 5th year of organized football as a 6th grader. As assistant coach we had a great year and won the league championship. Grandpa Doug Parisian came down for the championship game from Minnesota and watched a great football game as we prevailed 12 – 6. Jordan, playing middle linebacker and running back had a great season and gave his all at every practice. A father couldn’t have been more proud. And grandfather either.

Late July found me in Minnesota with friends at the Minnesota Trappers Association summer convention. Probably a finer bunch can’t be found. Always fun and I managed to visit some old haunts that haven’t changed all that much.

School started the second week in August and Hunter began his second year of running cross-country and Jordan busy with football practice. August sports practices are always hot in Georgia. Just imagine. Early September I ran out to my old love, the state of Montana for a few days of trying to shoot a pronghorn antelope with my bow. I succeeded but it didn’t come easy and had to call on a lifetime of experience to bag my animal. It was another priceless trip to Gods last great place. In late September Pam and I headed with friends to the south of France for a week of food and laughs. We loved the beauty of the wine country and the trip was one of our best. October rolled in and before Hunters swim season got underway we found time to head to South Dakota to gun waterfowl and pheasants with some great pals.

I got in some deer hunting in November and dad joined us for Thanksgiving at Pamelot. We have much to be thankful for and good health is a major gift that we enjoy. Dad will turn 86 in a couple of weeks and still goes hard. He is spry and quick with a joke. Some things seem never to change but they will.

In the most unique place I have ever chased whitetail deer, Ossabaw Island, off the coast of Georgia I spent the past few days with some friends gunning small island deer and pigs. We had a blast camping, eating elk steaks, grouper and most of all, laughing. I have never been in such a unique ecosystem that is void of predators and hence such a massive amount of deer and pigs that need to be controlled by rifles. That makes it both coasts I have had the opportunity to enjoy the ocean’s power and currents while deer hunting and for that I am thankful.

Next year will be Hunters senior year of high school and we will be looking at colleges in January. My how time flies and I am very lucky to be a husband and father of such a great family. I say my prayers every day for what the Creator has provided.

Pam has had a very busy year as she contemplates retirement in about 1,000 days. As the Chief Information Officer of the combined AT&T Wireless and Land-line units her days are hectic to say the least. There is a lot of change at AT&T and she is at the forefront.

From our home to yours I hope that next year is the best year of your life. I still like to believe that the best is yet to come and hope that you do to. Again here’s to a warm and blessed holiday season and a stellar 2009. I want to leave you with one of my favorite Native American prayers.

May the Blessings of the Creator be with you and yours.
May warm winds blow gently upon your home and all who enter.
May rainbows always shine on the shoulder of your life.
May your moccasins make happy tracks on your travels.
May good health be yours to enjoy each day.

With best wishes always,

Friday, December 19, 2008

Paulson's only goal was taking care of Wall Street

Hank Paulson is one of the largest dangers to Americans. Believe it.

WASHINGTON -- Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson said Friday he wants Congress to release the second half of the $700 billion financial rescue package, setting up what is expected to be a bruising dialogue with lawmakers from both parties who have expressed frustration with the way he has navigated the financial crisis.
Mr. Paulson said the $17.4 billion Treasury committed to provide General Motors Corp. and Chrysler LLC means that the government has "effectively" allocated the first $350 billion that Congress authorized in early October for the Troubled Asset Relief Program to stabilize the financial markets. Mr. Paulson said he has "confidence" that "we have the necessary resources to address a significant financial market event." (Read the statement.)
"It is clear, however, that Congress will need to release the remainder of the TARP to support financial market stability," Mr. Paulson said. "I will discuss that process with the congressional leadership and the President-elect's transition team in the near future."
Mr. Paulson's statement signals a shift from recent statements when he suggested he wouldn't ask for the rest of the money. Lawmakers from both parties have blasted Treasury's use of the first $350 billion, which has mostly gone to inject capital into healthy banks as well as troubled institutions such as Citigroup Inc. and American International Group Inc. Treasury originally sold lawmakers on the plan as a way to purchase troubled assets off from financial institutions.
Top Democrats have said they would only negotiate with Treasury on the next $350 billion if Treasury creates a huge plan to help homeowners avert foreclosure. The request could spark a battle with lawmakers unhappy with the bailout who want to add new conditions, such as requiring banks to lend the funds they receive.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Deep Capture

Mary Shapiro, Obama's SEC chief should do lunch with the author of this blog:

http://www.deepcapture.com/

Here is a recent entry from his blog. If any of you have ever walked into an SEC office to bring a complaint against a public company, person or fund you know that the presumption of innocence for the entity you believe needs investigation is on them, not on the person walking in to bring the complaint. I've been there and they act as if they are doing you a favor to even listen to your complaint. Shapiro has done little for FINRA and it will take tremendous change for her to do anything at the SEC. It should be quickly disbanded and a new regulator be put in place that can address the markets of 2009 and beyond. It wouldn't be that hard if politics were taken out of the equation. Unfortunately, it is all politics and money. What else is new?

A Ponzi Scheme that is Bigger than Bernard Madoff’s

December 13th, 2008 by Mark Mitchell
Bernard L. Madoff’s fraud is “stunning,” says the SEC. It is a crime of “epic proportions.” But, says the SEC, we have nothing to worry about. The SEC caught the bad guy. It “moved swiftly” to protect the integrity of the financial markets.
Nonsense.
The only thing “stunning” is that the SEC continues to condone and even fraternize with the organized mob of hedge fund miscreants who have destroyed hundreds of companies, wiped out the jobs of countless ordinary folks, and brought our financial system to the brink of ruin.
The Madoff case may one day prove to be “epic,” but right now it can best be described as “pathetic” – or just plain “weird.”
Apparently, the SEC began receiving tips from Madoff’s enemies (rival brokerages, private investigators working for rival hedge funds, etc.) several years ago. The commission made inquiries, but took no action.
Then, earlier this week, Madoff purportedly had some kind of nervous breakdown, announcing to his sons that he was a criminal.
If we can believe the news reports, the sons then called the FBI, which dispatched an agent to Madoff’s apartment.
Madoff, dressed in a baby blue bathrobe and slippers, opened the door, and said, “I know why you are here.”
With that, the agent arrested Madoff, and within a few hours the FBI and the SEC had whipped out cases accusing Madoff of wrong-doing, but providing few details.
Indeed, it is clear from reading these cases that the FBI and the SEC know nothing about Madoff’s market making and hedge fund firm except that two employees (Madoff’s two sons) have made the vague claim that Madoff told them, vaguely, that his hedge fund was “a giant Ponzi scheme.”
Madoff’s lawyer says his client has admitted to no such crime.
Children do not usually turn in their fathers to the FBI unless they bear other grudges. And it is standard operating procedure for shady high-finance predators to sniff out and prey on feuding relatives who are in business together.
This in no way suggests that Madoff is clean, but it raises the possibility that even dirtier people orchestrated the demise of Madoff and his hedge fund in order to absorb his more lucrative (and crooked?) market making operation.
An alternative explanation comes from Bill Cara, one of the nation’s more perceptive business writers. He concludes that Madoff “is just the beginning. I don’t know, of course, more than you, but…I think he has in fact indicted himself to cause prosecutors to investigate the entire corrupt system.”
Whatever the real story, it is clear that market makers are accessories to a scheme that is much, much bigger than Madoff.
The key players in this scheme are 20 or so mega-billionaire hedge fund managers, who operate with a supporting cast that includes not just market makers, but also smaller hedge funds, rogue prime brokerages, corrupt lawyers, dishonest journalists, bogus one-man credit rating agencies, dubious index trackers, bribed “experts,” skalawag statisticians, compromised professors, private investigators, crooked financial researchers, captured government regulators, hustlers, felons, thugs and mafiosi.
The mega-billionaires masterminded their scheme in the 1980s, and ever since, they and their progeny have been working together – raiding and destroying public companies for profit. In the rubble of these attacks (there are hundreds of examples) one can almost always find evidence of unrestrained naked short selling (people selling things that they do not possess – phantom stock, phantom bonds, phantom mortgage backed securities, phantom CDOs, all manner of phantom derivatives).
This is the organized exploitation of our national clearing and settlement system – a system that fails utterly to ensure that traders actually deliver that which they have sold. If the SEC and FBI are looking for a “Ponzi scheme” of “epic proportions” – this is it.
Mr. Madoff surely knows something about this scheme. Market makers (Madoff’s operation was among the better known) are exempt from rules prohibiting naked short selling. They can sell stock that they have not yet borrowed or purchased, so long as they are legitimately “making a market” (i.e. maintaining liquidity) — and only if they intend to settle the trade soon after. In practice, however, billionaire hedge fund managers have rented market makers’ exemptions to manipulate markets with phantom securities – a blatant crime that is rarely prosecuted.
While Mr. Madoff is talking to the SEC and the FBI, I am going to begin telling you more about the scheme that is bigger than Bernie. Soon, I will name those 20 mega-billionaires, their supporting cast — and the man who is their guru. The evidence is pouring in – there is much to reveal.
But for now, let me leave you with a quotation from the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s “Notice 93-77.” Published in 1993, it reads:
Shortly after the market crash of 1987, “then Treasury Secretary Nicholas F. Brady referred to the clearance and settlement system as the weakest link in the nation’s financial system…Gerald Corrigan, President of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York noted: ‘The greatest threat to the stability of the financial system as a whole was the danger of a major default in one of these clearing and settlement systems…”
“The connection between a crisis in the clearance and settlement system and the financial industry was highlighted by the bankruptcy in 1990 of Drexel Burnham Lambert Group…As described in the [SEC’s] testimony before the Senate Banking Committee, near gridlock developed in the mortgage-backed securities market and in the corporate debt and equity markets where Drexel was an active participant.”
Now that our financial system has come to a screeching halt, read those words for clues as to how much worse things can get – and whom we need to stop to prevent that from happening.
* * * * * * * *
Mark Mitchell is a reporter for DeepCapture.com. He previously worked at the Wall Street Journal editorial page in Europe, Time magazine Asia, the Far Eastern Economic Review, and the Columbia Journalism Review. Email: mitch0033@gmail.com

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Bernie Madoff

Can anybody believe that this scum bucket isn't in cuffs and stripes yet?

Why this thief isn't behind bars tonight defies decency. He will get his due and it won't be soon enough.

Ossabaw Island, 2008




In the most unique place I have ever chased whitetail deer, Ossabaw Island, off the coast of Georgia I spent the past few days with some friends gunning small island deer and pigs. We had a blast camping, eating elk steaks, grouper and most of all, laughing. I have never been in such a unique ecosystem that is void of predators and hence such a massive amount of deer and pigs that need to be controlled by rifles. That makes it both coasts I have had the opportunity to enjoy the ocean’s power and currents while deer hunting and for that I am thankful.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Prison wouldn't be enough for this guy........

Why Franklin Raines isn't behind bars belies the issue of politics. I guess it's taxpayers be damned. I say throw away the key if and when justice is ever served.


Dec. 9 (Bloomberg) -- Former Fannie Mae Chief Executive Officer Franklin Raines faulted regulators and lawmakers for encouraging the mortgage-finance company and its competitor Freddie Mac to expand into riskier loan products with limited oversight.

“It is remarkable that during the period that Fannie Mae substantially increased its exposure to credit risk its regulator made no visible effort to enforce any limits,” said Raines, who was ousted in 2004 and accused by federal investigators of accounting manipulation. Raines made his comments in written testimony being delivered today to the House Oversight and Government

Reform Committee in Washington.
Raines, his successor Daniel Mudd, and former Freddie Mac CEOs Richard Syron and Leland Brendsel told the committee that it was a struggle to meet the companies’ dual mandates as profit- making, shareholder-owned corporations that were also required to promote affordable housing, according to the written testimony. Congress pressured the companies to finance more and lower-income borrowers while the regulator did little or nothing to curb their increasing exposure to riskier mortgages, the executives said.
Representatives Henry Waxman and Darrell Issa disputed that account, saying the companies played a primary role in the housing slump and made reckless bets that hurt the market.
“Their irresponsible decisions are now costing taxpayers billions of dollars,” Waxman, the committee chairman, said at the hearing. Waxman said the CEOs ignored the “warnings of risk” and ended up following the market instead of leading it.

Well Capitalized
Raines said the companies’ regulator, the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight, didn’t seek to restrict the amount of credit risk.

“The regulator limited its intervention to the size of the on-balance sheet mortgage portfolio and the attendant interest rate risk,” Raines said. “Indeed, right up until the time Fannie Mae was placed into conservatorship, the director of Ofheo maintained that the company was well capitalized to withstand the losses it would face.”

Ofheo, which was reorganized with expanded powers this year as the Federal Housing Finance Agency, placed the companies in conservatorship Sept. 6 after regulators discovered that losses at the two largest sources of U.S. mortgage financing were preventing them from fulfilling their mission of supporting the housing market, officials have since said.
Up until the companies were taken over, Mudd said the FHFA “declared us in full compliance with our capital requirements.”

Full Compliance
“At the time the government declared conservatorship over the company, we were still maintaining capital in accord with the relevant regulatory standards, and we were still -- along with Freddie Mac -- the principle source of lending to the mortgage market,” Mudd said in written testimony.
Fannie and Freddie, which own or guarantee $5.2 trillion of the $12 trillion U.S. home loan market, have accounted for 70 percent of all mortgages originated this year, according to the FHFA.
Mudd said the takeover of Fannie was unnecessary, and a “more modest” form of government action would have been enough to keep the business sound.
“While I deeply respect the myriad challenges facing the Treasury Department and the regulator, I did not believe that conservatorship was the best solution for Fannie Mae,” Mudd said in his testimony. Mudd said he argued for “more modest government support” that could have been used to raise private capital, “basically something more like the program many banks are eligible for now,” according to the testimony.

No Man’s Land
Mudd said lawmakers ought to rethink the structure of Fannie and Freddie as shareholder-owned companies with a public mission and “whether the economy would be better served by fully private or fully public” government-sponsored enterprises. With the U.S. housing market in a “freefall,” he said the companies could not “flourish” under the constraints of a business model that required them to support the entire market.
“I would advocate moving the GSEs out of No Man’s Land,” Mudd said. “Events have shown how difficult it is to balance financial, capital, market, housing, shareholder, bondholder, homeowner, private and public interests in a crisis of these proportions.”
Raines and the other executives echoed that sentiment.
“The GSE model is a far from perfect way to achieve the goal of using private capital to achieve the public purpose of homeownership and affordable rental housing,” Raines said. “However, if the public policy goal remains the same, it will be hard to find a model that has more benefits and fewer demerits than the model that worked reasonably well for almost seven decades at Fannie Mae.”

Monday, December 08, 2008

Never forget...........

'The most terrifying words in the English language are: I'm from the government and I'm here to help.' - Ronald Reagan

The truth and only the truth please.......

Wall Street needs billions upon billions to feed itself every year. In 2009 it may need less.

As the world knows, the legions of salesmen who generate the massive fees and commissions that are required to "feed the Street" rely on the public to keep the machine running smoothly.

When the public gets bent over and taken to the woodshed, it mirrors the relationship Congress has to America's citizens.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Dakota Storm 2008 from Craig Rasmussen

Getting There

We started the Storm with a smooth pick-up at MSP on Halloween. Dean and Hunter came in from Atlanta and Bentley and I from DC. We all arrived with-in minutes of each other and Tommy in the Black Silvy was there to collect us and all of our belongings. Basically, nothing had changed from 2006, except Hunter. He had grown, filled out and become a handsome young man.

We headed to Kari and Dan’s to transfer gear and say hi to them and Lilli. Little did we know that Joe the Plumber, complete with uniform and butt crack would be there to say hi, offer gifts to the soon-to-be birthday boy and share a Leine with us. Lillie, the Halloween bumble bee was asleep, nonetheless we had some good times and merriment and then headed into the dark prairie skies to Morris and the Old Sunwood Inn. Grandpa Doug was waiting there in the room with the heat at tropical levels. We had some laughs, a drink and hit the sack.

Entering Dakota Territory

At first light on Saturday a resplendent rooster greeted us, just like a SD Game and Fish plant, a few yards inside the state line. Little did we know it would take us three days of hunting in SD to bag our first rooster after such a glorious site.

Before we left Morris that morning for SD we had a Red-Letter Breakfast with the aforementioned party, plus Dave Amberg and Paul Rentz—old friends of Dean, Doug and Me, in some way. Tom and Hunter greeted them for the first time. It’s hard to recount the good feeling of the food, stories and number of laughs at that table that morning, and the surprise in the parking lot as hundreds of Canadas taunted us as we said, ”So long.”

Near Lake City as we crested the SD Coteau, ducks were in most of the ponds and Dean harvested our first bird. First blood. It was our first and last grey duck. Benny, like a prison inmate out on good behavior and me as the warden, scooped-up the hen gadwall in the road ditch. Game on.

Ducks were on the Coteau, but permission was tough. We headed west and fell off it to the James River plains. We had clear skies and mild weather. Benny found a full mallard drake on the shores of a small, grassy creek after I dropped it. A few hours and a few miles later, we found the mallards pouring into standing, flooded corn. We learned then and there about how much rain they had in NE SD and what it did to the crops and to the ducks. I pleaded with some young farmers/duck hunters who were in their combines , picking their wet corn. I begged for permission to head into this beehive on the other side of the road. They had seen the mallards pouring into the standing corn. Truth be known, these guys had a whole section of such action, and they knew it and knew that it was more than they could take advantage of. Finally they said, “Go ahead.”

We hustled in there, as the mallards dove in, like kids to candy. We enjoyed every minute of the spectacle until the sun set, which happened all too quickly. We came out of there in short order, hot with muddy boots and many mallards.

The Ecstasy and the Agony

That Saturday night while at the Hunter’s Inn, we received permission from a wonderful fellow to hunt a flooded bean field that held thousands of ducks and geese. We were pumped and due to our excitement, the shift in times due to DST changes and my inability to figure out ‘what the hell time it really was’ we got up and set out the decoys and ourselves way too early the next morning. Hunter and I went into the middle of the wet beans and Dean and Tom held next to the high and dry road. The ducks did not wait to come in. Hunter and I watched a true waterfowl spectacle. First light broke and ducks from all varieties buzzed us from every way. We just watched. There was going to be no hurry. We saw to the northeast where the mallards were heading. It was the flooded, standing corn. Here we go again.

We moved to a fence line next to the flooded corn and soon Hunter took an incoming drake. Nice shot. What followed was a true waterfowler’s delight—a clear, mild day with northern mallards ‘workin’’ and falling out of the sky to where we were. The Ecstasy. Soon greenheads began to fall to the gun and they kept coming.

Meanwhile, Dean was working the road and stalking Canada geese, collecting his limit of Canadian geese by incredible means.

The Agony of the morning came when my gun jammed as the mallards circled. It was jammed for the rest of the trip. Hunter and I were short of our limit. More Agony came when Hunter tried his damndest to connect on these big birds at short and long range with his new gun but he just seemed snakebit. We swithched guns, I missed too but we did collect a few more. The agony continued at the end of the morning when the SD Game and Fish Warden checked us as we came out and found a gun w/o a plug in it and fined Tommy. He was zealous in his efforts to comb through everything on us and in our vehicles.


The Hoots

On Monday we hunted on landed farmed by a colony of Hutterites—the locals call them the Hoots. They are from German stock and practice a socialistic, communal life style. We spoke on Sunday with the Farm Manager who oversees 6000 acres of production plus all the related livestock. He had ducks in his flooded corn. He couldn’t have been nicer or more interesting. We hunted their land on Monday morning but only scratched a few ducks because someone had been there the night before. As we pulled the decoys and began walking out, the geese came over us as we had hoped. What else is new?

We ended Monday on a wild-goose chase. We spotted the single greatest concentration of light geese any of us had ever seen landing on a body of water. We ate chili, marveled at them, chased a pheasant on the lake’s edge and planned our attack. Dean and Hunter set-up in a field for them while Tommy and I pursued other means which meant asking to get on another flooded cornfield across from the light geese. It had mallards and geese in it. We were turned down. Tommy, Benny and I struck out for some pheasants and ended with up two mallards. One after Tommy waded into the flooded corn in his stocking feet to retrieve it. Benny proudly carried the bird back to the truck for us.

Tuesday’s sunrise on land of the Hoot’s produced visual wonders that are famous in the northern plains. It made up for the lack of Canadas that never appeared in our spread which was right next to their colony. The sun, the range of colors, the cloud patterns, the rain tornado, the waves of migrating birds with a mysterious single bird soaring in the mix created a changing picture of interest for us for over two hours. We left the field empty handed but not disappointed. That was right when Tommy’s chili began to work on all of us at a fearsome rate.

Sand Lake and History

We headed west. In the afternoon, we found a wet section where the mallards were piling into flooded corn and beans. A wonderful old-timer working on drying his crop gave us permission. We waded into the mallards and they arose in waves. We came out with a nice brace of drakes.

After off-loading some cleaned birds to a local bachelor, we headed west to where the James River forms the Sand Lake National Wildlife Refuge. We crossed it and marched some pheasant land on its west edge that Tommy secured for us. Finally we had our first rooster courtesy of Tommy. Me and Benny collected our second and we thought we had our third but it took all of what Tommy and I had to offer and still ran off before Benny could close on it. A few other cocks were shot at but none were dispatched. We headed to our hotel.

Presidential history was made that night but due to the lack of television coverage at the Hunter’s Inn in Britton, SD, we were not able to follow it. Welcome to the Northern Plains.

Oh for the Robo

Dean and Hunter took off to see Doug and head to MSP for their flight home to Atlanta. Tommy and I were to head through SD onto Balaton. We all left early. Tommy and I wanted to start in the cornfield again east of Sand Lake. It proved to be a good choice. Ducks and pheasants were everywhere and were calling in the fog as we were getting ready. We watched a rooster try to spot us for a few minutes before we headed in. We dropped some drakes, continued on and wished we had a robo over some beans since they wanted to come in to them sooo bad. Our SD Game Warden said that a robo is all the decoy you need. We left happy but wishing for more.

We found some nice public pheasant ground near Sand Lake. Shortly after opening time. Benny flushed rooster that flew to me and which I missed twice , but Tommy reached out and touched him from over 60-70 yards going away. A great shot! Benny did the collection.

We packed up and headed south and found half-sections filled with light geese but could not get on. We ran into ‘Cover Girl’ who farmed with her husband, and we asked her for permission, but it was too late. They all lifted and she drove away in her red Escalade all made-up, pouty and determined.

On our journey out of Northern SD toward Balaton we saw the full spectacle of the migration. Geese topped every hill, ducks swarmed every pond and pheasants were leaving every cornfield for evening cover. We knew a storm was on the way. Tommy and I marveled at it all and collected, with Benny’s help, a very nice rooster. Several others slipped out of our grasp.


Wet and Wild

We arrived in Balaton that evening in time for a warm meal. Our purpose was to be with and help Grandma Phyl. We set out to do that the next morning since the wet and windy dawn made it easy to sleep in and not worry about hunting. Lot of tasks were accomplished in the house and it was great poking around the house and helping out. We did journey out later in the rain to see what pheasants we could locate. We saw them huddles in farm groves and underneath no hunting signs. Tommy and Benny chased after 5 roosters right at town’s edge but they knew the game and took off early. The same thing happened the next morning when the rain turned to snow. Due to needing to get to the airport, we decided not to walk with a local friend Bob Villa but we thought we would just do a quick drive after breakfast. We saw plenty of roosters and one presented itself nicely but it flew out on the opposite side of a drifted in willow tree and Tommy did not catch up with it. That turned out to be our ‘last whack’.

We loaded up and with Benny in his usual spot in the front of the pick-up we headed to MSP. Joe the Plumber was around and we chatted with him for a bit and off-loaded some mallards. The flight home was uneventful. South Dakota was a ‘nice package’ with good times with family and friends, no major travel issues and lots of birds to see, but it left us a bit short of full satisfaction, for some reason. Maybe it was hearing, “no” too much or not having many pheasant chances or not being able to fool more geese—I don’t know. We did have great action on mallards which made up for a lot.

All of our experiences, plus those form previous hunts will be factored into the planning for The Storm of 2009.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Boo-yah Cramer...............

"Jim Cramer is a charlatan. He turns the serious issue of personal financial security into a complete joke. There is nothing that comes out of James Cramer's mouth that allows people to make intelligent investment decisions."

A quote from David Swenson in the December/January 2009 issue of Worth magazine. Mr. Swenson is the chief investment officer of Yale University.

Late to the party boys..........

"You can't get much uglier than this. The economy has just collapsed, and has gone into a free fall," said Richard Yamarone, chief economist at Argus Research in New York.

"It's just a disaster," said Stephen Stanley, chief U.S. economist at RBS Greenwich in Greenwich, Conn.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Main Street versus Wall Street

The fine Americans in the fly-over states have every right to be totally miffed.

The bailout of the losers at Citigroup get $300 BILLION in guarantees, the scum running the Big Three auto's want over $30 billion and today they have these bogus hearings with the back-slapping folks on Capital Hill.

It is a slap in the face to every American taxpayer.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Yes Virginia, there is a BIA

Written by Tim Giago

Yes Virginia, there is a Bureau of Indian Affairs. No Virginia, there is no bureau of African/American, Hispanic American, or Asian/American affairs.
The United States government in its infinite, all seeing, all knowing and all caring wisdom decided that in order to better regulate and oversee the lives of the indigenous people, it had to create within the U. S. Department of the Interior, an agency to be the trustee and caretaker of the First Americans. After all, the Indian people were children, wards of the government, people unable to care for themselves. That they had survived for thousands of years without the benevolence of the BIA apparently was not taken into consideration.
I’m sure that if one dug deeply into the dusty archives of the federal government one would find programs dedicated to African/American slaves, Hispanic/American immigrants and field workers, or of the influx of Asian/American railroad workers and miners. It’s just that the government did not create a bureau to serve their needs.
Now why would they create a bureau just to serve the Native Americans? Mostly out of greed. The Indian tribes had what none of the other racial minorities had: millions of acres of land filled with natural resources. The government had already subjugated or obliterated the tribes of the eastern seaboard and driven the Cherokee, Creek, Choctaw and the other tribes of the Southeast on a Trail of Tears to the Territory of Oklahoma.
The tribes of the Northern Plains and of the Southwest would not go down without a fight. The troops of General Miles found this out at the battle on the Rosebud and General George Armstrong Custer and his Seventh Cavalry learned their lesson when they were annihilated on the Little Big Horn. It was only after the systematic destruction of the vast buffalo herds that clothed, housed and fed the Plains Indians that the government was able to bring the tribal leaders to the table of false treaties. In the meantime, Geronimo and his followers were teaching the American Army the art of guerilla warfare in the Southwest.
The treaties were nothing more than shams intended to quiet and appease the Indians while the more complicated schemes of divestiture and captivity without fences (called reservations) were initiated. While the tribal leaders touched the pen to the treaties with all honesty and integrity, the representatives of the United States government signed the same treaties with one hand behind their backs, fingers crossed, in the new, covert gesture of dishonesty known as “honest Injun.”
There were those warriors who knew that the treaties would become nothing more than worthless pieces of paper. You will not find the signatures of Crazy Horse or of any of his followers on the Treaties of 1851 or 1868. Crazy Horse ceded nothing or surrendered nothing to the United States. Crazy horse was feared by the USA because of his high stature with the people of the Great Sioux Nation. He was murdered when he brought his people into Fort Robinson to talk about peace and justice.
Soon the BIA had spread its tentacles to all of the Indian reservations out West. As they set up their agency headquarters they soon started to report to the U. S. Army the numbers of Indians that did not report to their agencies as ordered. As the Army went out to hunt them down the term “off the reservation” was born.
It is written that the Little Crow wars of 1862 that caused several hundred deaths happened because an agent of the BIA, when he was told that the Dakota people under his supervision were starving said, “Let them eat grass.” His body was found next to his agency office with grass stuffed in his mouth. The aftermath of this uprising was that 38 Dakota warriors were hanged in the largest mass hanging in American history at Mankato, Minnesota. President Abraham Lincoln gave this mass execution his approval.
The 12-year-old lawsuit initiated by Eloise Cobell, a lady of the Blackfeet Nation, seeking the recovery of billions of dollars mishandled or stolen outright by the Bureau of Indian Affairs from the Indian people, is still in litigation. Perhaps an honest and rightful settlement in this case will restore some of the integrity lost by the United States government in its treatment of its indigenous people.
Yes Virginia, there still is a Bureau of Indian Affairs and it has had a long history of good, bad and evil deeds. Perhaps under the leadership of the first African/American president, Barack Obama, the BIA will be reorganized to do the job it has never been able to do in its one hundred year history: to serve with justice, honesty and integrity, the needs and concerns of the indigenous people of America. Yes Virginia, it is worth a prayer.
Tim Giago, an Oglala Lakota, was born, raised and educated on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. He was the founder and first president of the Native American Journalists Association and the founder and publisher of Indian Country Today, the Lakota Times, and the Dakota/Lakota Journal.

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CHIPPEWA PARTNERS, Native American Advisors, Inc. is a Registered Investment Advisor, founded by Dean Thomas Parisian in 1995. The firm is a manager to an exclusive clientele and is closed to new clients. As a Registered Investment Advisor, our expertise developed over 35 years balances experience, integrity and tremendous work ethic. Dean Parisian is a member at the White Earth Reservation of the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe, a former NYSE and FINRA arbitrator and trader who began his career with Kidder Peabody and later worked for Drexel Burnham Lambert in LaJolla, CA. His philanthropic interest is in Native American education and he's endowed a significant scholarship for Native Americans at the University of Minnesota. His greatest accomplishment includes raising two sons and 26 years of marriage. The Parisian family enjoys outdoor pursuits at Pamelot, their farm in Tennessee and at the Ghost Ranch, their ranch on the Yellowstone River in Montana. For media requests contact the firm via email: ChippewaPartners (at) gmail dot com, on Twitter: @DeanParisian. Global 404-202-8173