December 21, 2011

Obamacare Abominations - by John Stossel

By John Stossel
President Obama says his health care "reform" will be good for business.
Business has learned the truth.
Three successful businessmen explained to me how Obamacare is a reason that unemployment stays high. Its length and complexity make businessmen wary of expanding.
Mike Whalen, CEO of Heart of America Group, which runs hotels and restaurants, said that when he asked his company's health insurance experts to summarize the impact of Obamacare, "the three of them kind of looked at each other and said, 'We've gone to seminar after seminar, and, Mike, we can't tell you.' I think that just kind of sums up the uncertainty."
Brad Anderson, CEO of Best Buy, added that Obamacare makes it impossible to achieve even basic certainty about future personnel costs:
"If I was trying to get you to fund a new business I had started and you asked me what my payroll was going to be three years from now per employee, if I went to the deepest specialist in the industry, he can't tell me what it's actually going to cost, let alone what I'm going to be responsible for."
You would think a piece of legislation more than a thousand pages long would at least be clear about the specifics. But a lot of those pages say: "The secretary will determine ..." That means the secretary of health and human services will announce the rules sometime in the future. How can a business make plans in such a fog?
John Allison, former CEO of BB&T, the 12th biggest bank in America, of article


My liberal friends fail to understand this logic and fear from the business community!


December 06, 2011

Christmas Present

By Daryl L. Hunter
Growing up as a child in America, as all children, I loved the Christmas season, the Christmas tree, lights, lawn decorations, candy, mistletoe, cookies, Santa Claus, elves, reindeer and most of all presents, it was a magical time of year.

It sure was a surprise at age 12 when I found out that Christ was the root word in Christmas, my secular home had never pointed out the connection. Today I remain more secular than anything else and I question myself, why do I get so flipping angry when ACLU types are trying to remove all vestiges of Christmas from the public square when I am not religious.

The answer must be, the homogenization of Christmas is just another symptom of the dismemberment of traditional American Culture, another victim of the Culture War, call me old fashioned but I liked the America of Christmas past, the time of the singular Scrooge. Today Christmas to me is a lot less about presents and more about turkey, tom and jerrys with friends, family and tradition, but embarrassingly with only a perfunctory explanation and observation of the meaning of Christmas to the kids.

When Christmas retailers insult the patrons of their biggest season by removing the Christmas greeting it makes me want to not buy, when I was told that a member of the Start Bus Board forbade the drivers from displaying the Merry Christmas programmed into their electric signs I was outraged, When Christmas trees became holliday trees I was apoplectic.

I have a hunch that the ACLU and their minions are offending more than just their sworn enemies, the Christian right. If their goal is "not to offend" it is a fool's errand as it is an impossible task because to accommodate the 15% of Americans who are not Christian you have a remaining 85% at risk of being offended as an unintended consequence. If their goal is to offend, they have aspired to a goal they have a gift for achieving.

My hope is my 8 and 11 year olds find the magic in Christmas that I had the privilege to enjoy as a child; I hope it is still possible in this increasingly divisive and hostile social climate. As for me and many others I suppose, I have had a giant intangible stolen from me by the secular leftists of the ACLU and their Christophobe allies and my Christmas's will never be the same.

All the people of the western world are going to have a Christmas on 12-25 of every year, most will have a day off from work whether they celebrate Christmas or not. It stands to reason that a Muslim, Jew or atheist would celebrate an extra day off so merry Christmas to you all.
I originally wrote this in 2006 for a Jackson Hole newspaper "Planet Jackson Hole" but it is a Christmas tradition of mine to repost it every year here on my blog.
Maybe with some additions ~
The following was written by Ben Stein and recited by him on CBS Sunday Morning Commentary.

I am a Jew, and every single one of my ancestors was Jewish. And it does not bother me even a little bit when people call those beautiful lit up, bejeweled trees, Christmas trees. I don't feel threatened. I don't feel discriminated against. That's what they are, Christmas trees.

It doesn't bother me a bit when people say, 'Merry Christmas' to me. I don't think they are slighting me or getting ready to put me in a ghetto. In fact, I kind of like it. It shows that we are all brothers and sisters celebrating this happy time of year. It doesn't bother me at all that there is a manger scene on display at a key intersection near my beach house in Malibu . If people want a creche, it's just as fine with me as is the Menorah a few hundred yards away.

I don't like getting pushed around for being a Jew, and I don't think Christians like getting pushed around for being Christians. I think people who believe in God are sick and tired of getting pushed around, period. I have no idea where the concept came from, that America is an explicitly atheist country. I can't find it in the Constitution and I don't
like it being shoved down my throat.

Jackson Lake sunset, the ice is nearly all gone hinting the promise of Spring. A promise of a sunset that fell short is symbolic of the many false promises of summer we get during our cold and wet Springs.  I filtered this photo to give it a softer, more pleasing feel.

November 26, 2011

Snow Birds

YELLOWSTONE  - As winter settles in on the Greater Yellowstone Region, the snowbirds fly south either by wing or by motor coach. Those of us that are more grounded either by work, will, finance, perverse adrenalin addictions or a slavish dedication to the four seasons settle in and prepare for the curses and blessings of winter.

I grew up in San Luis Obispo California, where the weather hardly changes. In spring it greens up, in summer it turns brown again until February but the temperature rarely dips below 60 degrees and if the water in the garden hose freezes it is a talking point between neighbors. In summer, the thermometer rarely breaks 85 degrees. For many it is the perfect place.

When I was a teenager, I found out San Luis Obispo County was a tourist destination, and nothing could have surprised me more. How could that be, this place is so ordinary? I know, I had all the wisdom of a teenager! As a young adult I moved around a lot, all over California and Alaska, no moss grew under my feet as I lived as the metaphorical rolling stone. I sampled many places before the Greater Yellowstone captured me and wouldn’t let me go. I later concluded my wanderlust was satiated by the change of seasons and my wandering must have been an escape from the drudgery endlessly good weather.

Living in Alaska as a dog musher I decided I liked winter better than summer, which was when my sport of choice occurred, besides there was no mud nor mosquitoes during winter. My preference for winter continued when in my thirties when I moved to Jackson Hole, in the Greater Yellowstone, a skiing nirvana.

As I remained in the Greater Yellowstone season after season year after year, I learned I loved to see each season come, and I love to see each season go. As a photographer I marveled  how the landscape changes every several months and brings a new variety of subjects to my lens. Every season has its primary focus.

Springtime is for grizzly bears as this is the time when it is easier to find them. It is also time to photograph the landscape coming back to life from its long winter slumber. Summer is alive with leafy greenery, summer thunderstorms that bring drama to our landscape, and baby animals fill us with the awe of cute. Fall brings the drama of the breeding season of the mega fauna, elk, deer, moose etc, magnificent creatures fighting for the right to perpetuate their species.

In winter many mountain top dwellers come down to the valleys for the winter so we can get a look at them. Deep snow drives the bighorn sheep, elk, mountain goats etc. to the lower elevations where it is easier to paw their way through the snow for a bite to eat.

Me out enjoying a fresh blanket of snow.
Winter also brings that beautiful blanket of snow. At the beginning of my first winter in Alaska I looked out at the snow covered landscape in a spot where it was valley and no mountains, As I looked I wondered, here we have the dull green of the trees, the white of the snow and the blue of the sky, why is this so pretty. My conclusion was despite the paucity of color or towering mountains the snow-covered landscape smoothed out all the rough edges and softened the look of everything bringing a pleasing ambiance that was different than the one before.

I’m older now and that snow shovel is heavier than it used to be. My driveway seems to have grown as exponentially long as my property tax bill large. Unfortunately, a snow blower costs about the same as a new lens and my propensity to never make my life easier, I always buy the lens or some such thing instead of the snow blower.  Skiing has less appeal as my agility leaves me short of what I once could do.

After moving away from my hometown I learned of its appeal as it is a stunning place, but sometimes you have to back away from something before you can see it.  I no longer prefer winter to summer, and I do play with the idea of a winter escape to southern Utah or northern Arizona. But, since I have neither wings nor a motor coach I will remain here with the less mobile and hole up like the grizzly bear except with frequent forays to capture the beauty that remains constant unlike the ambulatory mentality of man.

November 20, 2011

Yellowstone Pine Marten

American Marten, Pine Marten
Greater Yellowstone Pine Marten or American Marten
To By Pine Martin photos go to The Hole Picture Photo Gallery

Life is full of surprises; you will rarely find a grizzly bear photographer as thrilled as when they get the opportunity to photograph a Pine Marten or long tail weasel during the course of their pursuit of photographing grizzlies. Grizzlies are easy for them to find, to get the opportunity to photograph a Pine Marten or a weasel it is a rare event.
Pine Marten, American Marten
Greater Yellowstone's American Marten or Pine Marten as they are colloquially know around here is a North American member of the family Mustelidae (Martes americana). The name "Pine Marten" is derived from the common but distinct Eurasian species of Martes.

Pine Martens are cat-size and slender with long, dark, chestnut-brown fur and a bushy tail with a distinctive creamy-yellow throat. The tail is long and fluffy and is about half the length of its body. Their head is usually lighter in color than the rest of their body it has large rounded ears, a roughly triangular head and sharp nose. A big male American Marten will be 20 or so inches long and weigh around two to three pounds. Compared to other carnivores, Pine Marten population density is low for their body size.

Young Martens or kits are born around April. They will each adult size about three to four months of age although they don't really mature until they are about two years old. The mother will have two to three kits each time she has her babies. When they are born, the kits are naked, blind, and deaf. Life span: may reach 10 years or more in the of article

November 19, 2011

Jackson Hole's National Elk Refuge

Jackson Hole's National Elk Refuge

Bull Elk herd, National Elk Refulge, Jackson Hole Wyoming
Bull Elk herd, National Elk Refulge, Jackson Hole Wyoming
When the sun peaks over the Gros Ventre Mountains east of Jackson Hole, and its light creeps slowly across valley, light creeps over bundles of fur and antlers starting to stir from a cold winter night. As the sun reaches the base of the Grand Teton, orange and yellow light bathes the landscape and 6,000 wintering elk. By ten o'clock, adventurous visitors braving the winter cold venture out on the refuge in horse drawn sleighs to get an up close view of these majestic animals.

In the pre Columbian area elk ranged from the eastern states through central and western North America. They grazed the open prairies, mountain valleys, and foothills. As settlers pushed slowly westward, the distribution of the elk was rapidly reduced to the western mountains. By 1900, elk had disappeared from more than 90 percent of their original range.

When settlers arrived in Jackson Hole and homesteaded the valley in the 1880s, there may have been as many as 25,000 that wintered here. Establishment of farms and ranches displaced the elk from the traditional wintering areas and livestock competed for winter food, and hungry elk raided haystacks. The ranchers had to kill the elk if they wanted to stay in business.
In the early 1900s, severe winters with deep, crusted snow also took a serious toll on the wintering elk. In 1909 the ranchers and town folk of Jackson Hole appealed government to fund some land and a feeding program too save the diminishing elk herd. The refuge was created in 1912 as a result of public interest in the survival of the Jackson elk herd on about 1200 acres. The government has added to it over the years and today the Refuge consists 24,700 acres and is some of the last remaining elk winter range for the Jackson Hole Elk Herd. Prior to1916 Refuge was dotted with over 44 homesteads.

The refuge continues to preserve much of the remaining elk winter range in the valley, approximately one-quarter of the original Jackson Hole winter range. Elk stay on the refuge for approximately six months each winter.

Rest of article and more elk info

November 16, 2011

A few thoughts on Photography

As the sun turns out the lights on another day a central coast surfer makes good use of the last bit of daylight to find the perfect wave to propel himself home. As he watched wave after wave to pick the ones he wanted I wonder if he was cognizant of the outstanding optical phenomena going on all around him. For the surfer it is probably just another sunset, for the visiting photographer it is panoply of subjects on parade in front of the lens.

I wanted to take pictures of the evening light reflection in the wet sand of low tide so I slung my 500mm setup over my shoulder and set my short telephoto setup on the tripod and headed down the beach just shortly before sunset. I was constantly switching between the two. The 500 I would hand hold but I would use the arm on the tripod for a handy and quick support.

I would shoot couples walking and riding bicycles down the beach, I’d shoot them wide then switch to the 500mm. I’d shoot the grand scenic wide then wait for the mobile silhouette to move into the proper place. No shortage of subject matter here.

I moved to Jackson Hole Wyoming from California in 1987 because all the things I wanted to shoot were in the mountains and California's mountains were too crowded and although I spent much time living at the beach what I saw there was no longer special. I enjoyed the grand scene but the ebb and flow of fantastic photo fodder was lost on me.

It is amazing to me how even now I ignore what is right out my window because something better is 100 miles down the road where the grass is greener. The beautiful ubiquity around me shamefully I rarely see.

Yes I get plenty of good stuff in my area but I do feel like a slacker when I look at what my visiting photog buddies like Jeff Clow, Stephen Oachs, Jerry Patterson etc. produce in a short window of time on their visits. They as visitors with a limited window of time have to look closer and do a better job of “seeing” to make good use of their time. Consequently when I look at what they produce in my back yard it opens my eyes to some of what I have driven past of failed to seek out.

July 15, 2011

Weird Wildlife Behavior

Grizzly Bear Sow 610 of Grand Teton National Park had been chasing these elk and has been eating their calves for days yet these elk do much more than tolerate her presence.

July 08, 2011

Grizzly 399 and 610 - Grand Teton's famous roadside bears‎

Grizzly #399 and cubs and their fans
399 and her new batch of cubs getting ready to cross the road in Grand Teton National Park. Print For Sale
GRAND TETON NATIONAL PARK - Beloved and famous Grand Teton Grizzly Sow 399 and new set of triplet cubs made their debut on June 5, 2011 to the delight of many, but especially to Jackson Hole and Yellowstone's cadre of wildlife photographers like myself. 399 the four-hundred-pound grizzly acquired her unimaginative moniker in 2001 when, as a five-year-old sow, she was trapped and fitted with a radio collar so researchers could track her. Bear 399 was born to a mother who had no history with the legendary Yellowstone Grizzly Bear Study Team that tracks bears across the landscape.
During the summer of 2004, 399 emerged from her den with a single cub, but the cub disappeared. It is assumed it had a deadly encounter with an adult male grizzly which are known to kill cubs. Male grizzlies are the greatest treat to cubs, as female grizzlies will not come into heat as long as they are nursing cubs.
In late November of 2005 she denned up in the Teton Wilderness north of Grand Teton National park for hibernation. The following spring, she emerged with three new cubs in tow. Almost immediately, the sow and cubs drew large crowds. They became a sensation unlike any Grand Teton Park grizzly in modern memory. of story

Grizzly Bear sow #399's cubs in Grand Teton National Park.

June 30, 2011

Teton Valley Summer Festival and Glenn Beck

Hot Air Ballooning

Teton Valley Summer Festival

Driggs Idaho - The Teton Valley Summer Festival features Hot Air Balloons, the traditional Community Fourth of July Celebrations, Arts and Crafts, the Old Time Fiddlers' Contest, a myriad of Recreational Activities, numerous food service and social events, and a whole lot more!

The classic celebration in Driggs, Idaho brings folks from all over to enjoy the 4th in an exciting way. Hot air ballooning early in the morning is only part of the fun. There's also a pancake breakfast, live music and a parade. The evening fireworks put an end to a fabulous day of fun.

Glenn Beck, Driggs, IdahoGlenn Beck will be headlining the July Fourth weekend celebrations in Teton Valley. On Saturday, conservative pundit Glenn Beck will speak before the start of a July 2 fireworks show at Huntsman Springs, the major Driggs development built by the Jon Huntsman family of Utah. Beck a political pundit who champions conservative opinions and challenges current liberal and Democratic leaders, finds popularity through his often faith-based opinion.

Summer in Teton Valley offers visitors and residents a variety of outdoor recreational activities. Come the Fourth of July, people from all over the country make the trip to Teton Valley to participate in the annual Summer Festival.

More Teton Valley Information

June 06, 2011

Bear Jam, Grizzly Sow 399 Is Back

GRAND TETON NATIONAL PARK • Beloved and famous Grand Teton Grizzly Sow 399 and new set of triplet cubs made their debut yesterday to the delight of many. 399 gained her identity in 2001 when, as a five-year-old sow, she was caught in a research trap and fitted with a special collar that emitted signals. During the summer of 2004, 399 had a single cub, but the youngster disappeared, probably from a deadly encounter with an adult male grizzly which are known to kill cubs because sow grizzlies with cubs do not breed.

After losing her collar in May 2005 399 was recaptured and collared again. In late November of that year, she denned up in the Teton Wilderness north of Grand Teton National park for hibernation. The following spring, she emerged with three cubs in tow. Almost immediately, the four-hundred-pound grizzly sow and cubs drew large crowds. They became a sensation, unlike any Jackson Hole grizzly in modern memory.

We photographers and wildlife watchers of Jackson Hole and Yellowstone who have assumed the role of amateur cognitive ethologogists have concluded that 399’s predilection for frequenting areas rife with humans may be purposeful. Our ethological-projection is merely guesswork by amatures but we surmise that 399 has determined that as annoying as we humans are, we are not dangerous. Male grizzlies steer clear of human congestion therefore conjested national park habitat may be safer than truly wild grizzly habitat.

399 is remarkably attentive, passing on the instincts of survival taught by her mother and necessary to survive in a crowded human world. One of the cubs of her 2006 litter now has two cubs of her own this spring and is roaming another part of Grand Teton National Park where she is frequently seen.

All the cubs 399 delivered in 2006 reached adulthood, which is a statistical anomaly, which rarely happens in nature. Grizzly sow 399 my know what she is doing.

March 30, 2011

Foster Friess On Healthcare

The American Policy Summit in Phoenix last weekend marked a moment of maturity for the tea party movement as citizens gathered focused on the ideas they were for, not against.

Following potential 2012 presidential candidate Herman Cain's Friday evening remarks, Foster kicked things off Saturday sharing ideas on health care and the need for the federal government to stress incentives, not mandates.

One of the more exciting ideas from the summit was the Health Care Compact initiative. It recognizes the need move beyond mere repeal and replace, and puts forth positive solutions. At its core, the Health Care Compact, seeks to shift authority from federal government to state governments, allowing them freedom and flexibility to seek unique health care solutions.

View Foster's remarks (15 min) here and learn more on the Health Care Compact initiative at

Matthew Taylor

Watch live streaming video from videoeventonline at

March 24, 2011

Jackson Hole's World Championship Snowmobile Hill Climb

Jackson Hole’s World Championship Snowmobile Hill ClimbAs the snow begins to melt and the valley warms, Jackson Hole Wyoming buzzes with one of its largest events of the year: the World Championship Snowmobile Hill Climb.
Snowmobile touring in Yellowstone National Park or tackling a few dozen of the hundreds of miles of the Continental Divide snowmobile trail are memorable challenges for the average snowmobiler, but, for some who have honed their skill of ascending vertical snow banks on the steepest climbable mountains of the west, the Jackson HoleÕs World Championship Snowmobile Hill Climb provides the opportunity too show off their prowess.
World Championship Snowmobile Hill Climb is not an event for the meek, Held annually the last weekend of March the Hill Climb challenges over 100 of the bravest and brightest stars on the professional snowmobile circuit. The racecourse is straight up a double black diamond (expert only) ski run called Exhibition. Exhibition rises 1,500 vertical feet above the town of Jackson. The upper end of Exhibition known aptly as Rock Garden is a double-black diamond ski run with an unfathomable 45 degree slope which puts the wobble in extreme skiersÕ knees and makes mincemeat out of $10,000 snow machines. These competitors are snowmobiling up places most of us are scared to ski down. Guts and a good sled may take you over the top or as has happened to some a tumble to the bottom may dash the dreams of an aspiring climber.

.....................Rest of Story and more info

Jackson HoleÕs World Championship Snowmobile Hill Climb

January 18, 2011

Ed Koch former New York Mayor and staunch Democrat Praises Sarah Palin

By Ed Koch former Democrat Mayor of New York City

Why do I defend Palin? As I see it, in the current battle for public opinion Sarah Palin has defeated her harsh and unfair critics.....................She has established that she has enormous power to persuade people. A self-made woman who rose from PTA mother to Governor of Alaska, she is one of the few speakers in public life who can fill a stadium. Her books are enormous successes. Her television program about Alaska has been a critical and economic success. When Sarah Palin addresses audiences, they rise to their feet in support and applause. She is without question a major leader of the far right faction in the Republican Party and its ally the Tea Party.
I repeat my earlier comment that she "scares the hell out of me." Nevertheless, she is entitled to fair and respectful treatment. The fools in politics today in both parties are those who think she is dumb. I've never met her, but I've always thought that she is highly intelligent but not knowledgeable in many areas and politically uninformed. I don't believe she will run for president in 2012 or that she would be elected if she did. But I do believe she is equal in ability to many of those in the Republican Party seeking that of article