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    2006 December - Desert Rat - The Premier Hunting and Fishing Blog of the Southwest!

    Archive for December, 2006

    Vortex Optics - 2007 Products!

    In my opinion - the very best glass available for sportsmen on a tight budget! Carried in Phoenix by Ross Outdoors, or you can purchase online.


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    Posted on 31st December 2006
    Under: Products | No Comments »

    We’re our own worst enemy

    OK, this makes me want to puke. It makes me furious. So mad in fact, that I held off a day before posting.

    Dog Slain

    *Rant Begins*

    This was not an accident. It was idiocy. It was not “oops”. It was irresponsible. I hesitated to post about it, because often, people say “Oh, we shouldn’t talk about this, it draws the Anti’s attention to an anomaly that doesn’t represent us”. You know what? So what. Maybe the Antis are right. Maybe we are knuckle-dragging, slack-jawed neanderthals. You see the stories more than you should - ducks with arrows stuck in them; dogs shot; hunters shot; non-hunters shot.

    Responsible hunters need to focus on eradicating this from our midst. We all see it. Litter. Signs shot. Poaching. Shooting more than your limit. And shootings, “by mistake”. It doesn’t matter if it’s your best friend, your Dad, your boss, or someone you’ve never met. This kind of behavior needs to be stopped. It needs to be reported. It needs to be rooted out, identified, and eliminated. I believe that if a hunter mistakenly shoots another person, or an animal that had no reason to be shot (i.e someone’s hunting dog) then they need to be done hunting. Forever. Sorry, that’s how I feel. No touchy-feely “Oh he’s suffered enough”. No “But he was only 16, he’s matured”. Hunters need to be educated to the point where they are almost scared to pull the trigger, or squeeze the release. I would rather miss killing the buck of a lifetime becasue I dilly-dallied second-guessing myself, than to pull the trigger in haste and harm someone. Or shoot some guy’s dog.

    My God, if people are that stupid, or irresponsible, or nervous, or whatever - I don’t want them out there with me. Or representing my sport (even if unintentionally). I love to hunt - it’s my favourite thing to do. You know what, I wouldn’t die if I couldn’t do it anymore. If a guy loses his hunting privileges forever, due to a mistaken shooting - I’m sure he’ll survive if he has to find another hobby. I’m not sure why he would want to hunt again. I know that I sure as heck don’t want him around me in the woods.

    Bottom line - you can dress a human up in buckskin, strap antlers to his head, and get him to crawl around on all fours - it still doesn’t look like a deer. Ever. If you can’t get that, I don’t want you in the woods with me.

    Hunters who shoot other people. Or Brittanies. Hunters that shoot signs. Hunters that litter. Hunters that booze it up and go hunting. Hunters that exceed their limits. These people are indeed hunters, despite our loudest protests. They are because we allow them to be. They are, becuase the system allows them to be. We need to take a stand. Zero Tolerance is the only way to go. We need to insist on writing and enforcing laws that, if necessary, scare us into acting responsibly in the field. We need to apply enough peer pressure on these kinds of people that they don’t want to hunt anymore. We need to coach and mentor our youth and new hunters in ways that examplify stewardship and responsibility. We need to make them understand, with amazing clarity, the seriousness of what they are doing.

    *Rant ends*

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    Posted on 30th December 2006
    Under: General | 3 Comments »

    Arizona Fishing - better than you would think!

    If you are new to Arizona, you may be astounded at the amount of fishing opportunity here! Attached is an excerpt from the AZGF fishing report. This report is availablein e-mail format. You can subscribe at www.azgfd.com

    Central Arizona
    URBAN LAKES – The urban lakes were stocked with trout last week. Fishing should be good to excellent. Try Power Bait, small spinners or night crawlers.

    TEMPE TOWN LAKE – This fishery has been stocked with 10,000 trout in the past several weeks, so fishing should be good to excellent. Fish will bite on corn, Power Bait, salmon eggs and inline spinners. The west end of the lake under the Highway 202 Bridge will be closed to shore fishing until February due to a construction project. Access to the east dam face can be had from walking down the control road off Miller and Curry. Bass fishing is decent. Try working the ledges early in the morning or right before dark with crankbaits. Minnows under a slip bobber will work as well. Shad, the forage base are very plentiful this year. A mixed bag of yellows, catfish and sunfish can also be caught this way. Yellow bass and bluegill are plentiful in the 5- to 7-inch range and will bite mealworms or night crawlers. Channel catfish averaging 1 to 2 pounds will bite stink baits, hotdogs and shrimp. Carp fishing is excellent using corn and dough-bait. In fact an angler reported catching a 13 pounder last week! Remember no gas motors are allowed (trolling motors are) and you must have a boating permit, which can be obtained, at the Town Lake operations center.

    LAKE PLEASANT - Striper fishing is decent during using anchovies as bait either near the dam or in the northern coves. Drop shotting is the technique of choice for largemouth bass. Catfish angling is slow, but it is still possible to catch some using stink baits, especially in the warmer afternoons. Crappie fishing is slow. Don’t forget that the bald eagle nest closure will be going into effect on Dec. 15 in the Agua Fria arm of the lake. So watch the buoy lines (they are marked No Entry but some boaters fail to note what they say).

    ROOSEVELT LAKE – The storm passing through the state will likely slow down the crappie and largemouth bass fishing, but the smallmouth fishing could pick up along rocky, windy shorelines. With a few days of warm weather, the crappie fishing should pick right back up again.

    Drop shots and wired worms are the baits of choice for largemouth bass. Catfishing is slow both flatheads and channels. For channels, use shrimp. Try the Salt end near Schoolhouse Point with a live bluegill for flatheads. Note: anglers are reminded of the slot bass size limit that remains in effect at Roosevelt. Bass between 13 to 16 inches must be released immediately. Also those bass below 13 inches and above 16 inches that are kept can only be gutted with the head and tail attached so the legal length can be determined. All other fish such as crappie, catfish and bluegill harvested from the lake must have a piece of skin attached to the fillets so species can be determined.

    APACHE - Lake is 56-percent full at 1,868 feet. The lake level is slowly being raised back up. The Apache Lake habitat project has been completed. Thanks to all the volunteers who came out to help, we could not have done it without your support. Fishing is good for yellow bass down by the dam. Yellow bass are hitting jigs and spoons. Fish for them around balls of shad in 20-60 feet of water. Cut bait also works well for them. Largemouth bass fishing is slow. Carp fishing is excellent with corn and dough bait. There is a certified scale at the marina boathouse.

    CANYON - Lake is 95-percent full at 1,659 feet. Bass fishing has been slow, although some large bass are being caught on swim baits. Rainbow trout were stocked last week. Fish with salmon eggs, corn or Power Bait near the Acacia picnic area.

    SAGUARO - Lake level is 1,524 feet (95-percent full). No reports lately. Bass fishing has been very slow. Rainbow trout have been stocked. Try the Butcher Jones area with corn or Power Bait. There is a certified scale at the marina to get an official weight and still release your catch. Two witnesses are needed for the weight to be official.

    BARTLETT – Lake level is at 1,798 feet (60 -percent full) Bass fishing is slow. Try crawdad imitations and worming rigs (drop shots and Texas-rigs). Some anglers are picking up crappies using Kalin 1/16-ounce black/blue/chartreuse jigs. Catfishing is slow. Remember the live bait most come from the lake itself (excluding minnows, water dogs or worms) not transported from another body of water!

    HORSESHOE - Lake is empty.

    VERDE RIVER – Fishing is poor for largemouth, smallmouth and catfish. Rainbow trout are being stocked near Oak Creek and the Camp Verde Cottonwood area. Use inline spinners and Power Bait. Remember that no baitfish can be transported into this part of the river (above Horseshoe). For further information concerning regulations, call the Arizona Game and Fish Department at (480) 324-3544. This morning flow was 250 cfs at Tangle Creek station above Horseshoe Lake.

    LOWER SALT RIVER (below Saguaro Lake) – Trout have been stocked at Phon D. Sutton and Granite Reef parks (#1575). Power Bait, inline spinners and corn will work. Fly fishermen may have luck using nymphs or wooly buggers.

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    Posted on 30th December 2006
    Under: Fishing | No Comments »


    Even though I suck at it (0 for 3 so far), I always get jazzed when javelina season rolls around. At the urging of my friend and guide Garth Goodrich, I elected to try another unit this year. The season starts January 1st, and I’m psyched as ususal. Woefully unprepared, but excited nonetheless. Good luck to everybody!

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    Posted on 30th December 2006
    Under: Hunting | No Comments »

    A Christmas miracle - in the animal kingdom!

    A cool and interesting story fromm CNN. Especially neat for this time of year!

    Virgin Komodo

    Virgin Komodo dragon is expecting

    POSTED: 4:04 p.m. EST, December 20, 2006

    LONDON, England (Reuters) — Flora, a pregnant Komodo dragon living in a British zoo, is expecting eight babies in what scientists said on Wednesday could be a Christmas virgin birth.

    Flora has never mated, or even mixed, with a male dragon, and fertilized all the eggs herself, a process culminating in parthenogenesis, or virgin birth. Other lizards do this, but scientists only recently found that Komodo dragons do too.

    “Nobody in their wildest dreams expected this. But you have a female dragon on her own. She produces a clutch of eggs and those eggs turn out to be fertile. It is nature finding a way,” Kevin Buley of Chester Zoo in England said in an interview.

    He said the incubating eggs could hatch around Christmas.

    Parthenogenesis has occurred in other lizard species, but Buley and his team said this was the first time it has been shown in Komodo dragons — the world’s largest lizards.

    Scientists at Liverpool University in northern England discovered Flora had had no male help after doing genetic tests on three eggs that collapsed after being put in an incubator.

    The tests on the embryos and on Flora, her sister and other dragons confirmed that Komodo dragons can reproduce through self-fertilization.

    “Those genetic tests confirmed absolutely that Flora was both the mother and the father of the embryos. It completely blew us away because it [parthenogenesis] has never been seen in such a large species,” Buley explained.

    A Komodo dragon at London Zoo gave birth earlier this year after being separated from males for more than two years.

    Scientists thought she had been able to store sperm from her earlier encounter with a male, but after hearing about Flora’s eggs researchers conducted tests which showed her eggs were also produced without male help.

    “You have two institutions within a few short months of each other having a previously unheard of event. It is really quite unprecedented,” said Buley.

    The scientists, reporting the discovery in the science journal Nature, said it could help them understand how reptiles colonize new areas.

    A female dragon could, for instance, swim to another island and establish a new colony on her own.

    “The genetics of self-fertilization in lizards means that all her hatchlings would have to be male. These would grow up to mate with their own mother and therefore, within one generation, there would potentially be a population able to reproduce normally on the new island,” Buley said.

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    Posted on 20th December 2006
    Under: General | No Comments »

    What about “No Trespassing” signs?

    There’s something that I think about often, in my traipsing around the deserts of Arizona. Frequently, I see “No Trespassing” signs, and of course, I heed them. This though, is what I wonder about - “What if the land is not properly posted?” There are requirements for posting land. The number (spacing) of signs, size and color of the letters and sign, height, etc. If you’ve ever read a piece of legislation, then you’ll know that a person can’t just “hang a sign”, if they don’t want people on their property.

    So - what do you do, if the land isn’t properly posted? Maybe just a single, faded, old rusty sign. You can barely make out “No Trespassing”. As a responsible sportsman, I have to follow all applicable laws, to the letter. Tags signed, observe unit boundaries and shooting times. There are some pretty specific requirements for any number of things, that hunters have to follow. If the landowner doesn’t hold up his end, are we obligated to respect their wishes?

    I do. I guess, if I know their intent, I’ll respect it. My question is, still - do I have to?

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    Posted on 15th December 2006
    Under: Hunting | 4 Comments »

    A cool Hunting Couple

    Stories like this are always nice to see….

    From the Argus Leader Couple

    Married to the hunt
    By Berdette Zastrow
    For the Argus Leader
    PUBLISHED: December 13, 2006

    The song, “Together Again,” should be “Hunting Together Again.” That perfectly describes big-game hunters Rob and Julie Sasker of Chancellor, especially on October 22, their seventh anniversary.

    “We hunt together because we both enjoy it and have a good time,” said 66-year-old Rob.

    “We bond when we hunt together,” said Julie, 52. “Lots of couples do not have that opportunity. Each of us enjoys it just as much as the other.”

    They habitually start the fall hunting seasons with Minnesota black bears. Then it’s on to Black Hills elk if they are lucky enough to draw a tag or two. Antelope, mule deer, and East River deer and Montana elk and deer keep them busy through December. Their rifles are then put away for three months. They welcome spring with prairie dog hunts, taking grandchildren to the Murdo and eastern Montana areas.

    Rob had a Black Hills elk tag this fall and they hunted northwest of Hill City. They scouted two days before the season to find elk and to become familiar with the area.

    “Rob spied a seven-by-seven bull while scouting,” Julie said. “Naturally, he had his heart set on getting him, but he never saw him again.”

    The couple hunted the first weekend along Six Mile Road and on small unmarked trails that took them to nearly 6,000 feet.

    “That’s where the elk hang out,” Julie said.

    A friend of the couple told them to look up the friend’s brother, an avid elk hunter, who lived in the area. The Saskers took the advice on their first trip after they had hunted hard and not seen any elk.

    “Our new friend taught us a lot about the area and all the nooks and crannies,” Julie said. “You have to be familiar with the area to be successful.”

    The Saskers own a tractor repair shop and also raise soybeans and corn. The couple had to be home for fall harvest, and when that job was completed they returned to their Black Hills hunting grounds.

    During the hunt, Rob was still thinking about the giant seven-by-seven bull he’d seen earlier. He passed up shooting six-by-sixes he saw, hoping for a shot at the elusive big guy.

    “That was a testosterone problem,” remarked Julie.

    Two days later, the Saskers saw only a spike during the morning hunt. They climbed up ridges and followed snow trails, looking for elk. They heard bugles in the morning, answered them and heard nothing in return. After walking three ridges, they found a herd of 20 elk. The couple stopped, waited and watched. More elk came sauntering in, joining the herd until there were about 40 animals.

    The Saskers followed the herd and then got ahead of them.

    “Three spikes were by themselves off behind the herd,” Rob said. “I decided to shoot, so using my knee for a rifle rest, shot a spike that was 140 yards away. It just dropped. I had my Black Hills elk.”

    Rob and Julie met through a mutual friend 10 years ago. Rob, who grew up hunting with his father, taught Julie to hunt and they are now inseparable during big-game seasons.

    They agree that the best part of any hunt is the chase.

    “You can’t see anything sitting in the pickup,” Rob said.

    “You have to walk,” Julie added.

    The Saskers are no strangers to Montana. They have elk hunted at a friend’s ranch in the Madison Mountain range for the last six years. It takes nearly three hours to climb to the top of the mountain on which they hunt. If the weather is warmer, they have to climb higher to find elk. If there is snow, elk will be on a lower elevation. The bugling season is over when Saskers hunt elk there, so only a cow call can be used to stop the elk and make a shot possible.

    “I did not bag an elk the first three years we hunted out there,” said Rob. “Now I have gotten one a year for the last three years.”

    Julie has not been lucky enough to draw a tag, but accompanies her husband on every trip.

    “I go out glassing for elk with Rob in the afternoons,” Julie said. “We want to find where they are bedding. I like seeing elk and I’m just waiting to get my own tag.”

    Since Julie did not draw an elk tag or mule deer tag this year, she applied for South Dakota antelope. She was successful and hunted in Butte County.

    The couple enjoys their northern Minnesota black bear hunts immensely. Again, they have to adjust their schedule according to fall harvest. The season opens September 1 and they hunt the first week. Although they have been hunting black bears for seven years, Rob has only bagged one, which is now a rug in the Sasker home.

    In addition to sharing hunting stories, Julie also shared a frustration concerning other hunters. When they were hunting the Black Hills, they encountered the same Conservation Officer twice. Each time the officer had a different confiscated bull elk in his pickup bed. “The officer said the hunters thought they shot at cows,” she said. “Both times. One of the bulls was a large five-by-six.

    “That is just a disgusting waste. All hunters that get a big-game tag should have to take a class. They have to know what they are doing out there. They also have to be sure that there is nothing behind their target, like a house or farm. Learning all this should be mandatory.”

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    Posted on 15th December 2006
    Under: Hunting | No Comments »

    Show Low Poachers Pay the Piper

    Arizona Game and Fish Department

    For immediate release Dec. 14, 2006

    Show Low couple assessed $16,000 for poaching trophy elk and deer
    New law on the books allows Game and Fish Commission to employ stiffer penalties

    PHOENIX – A Show Low couple convicted of multiple violations relating to the poaching of a trophy-class elk and a mule deer became the first violators to feel the effects of a new law on the books allowing the Arizona Game and Fish Commission to employ tougher penalties, especially for repeat or gross offenders.

    John D. Polzin was civilly assessed a total of $16,000: $8,000 for the loss of a 6×6 bull elk and $8,000 for the loss of a 7×5 mule deer buck to the state. In order to quantify the loss of the trophy animals to the State of Arizona, the Game and Fish Department enlisted the help of an official appraiser.

    In addition, the Game and Fish Commission revoked the hunting, fishing and trapping privileges of John Polzin for 10 years and Shelly L. Polzin for five years (the maximum possible for each case). The Polzins must also successfully complete an Arizona hunter education course prior to having their license privileges restored in this state.

    But the commission’s action to revoke their licenses has more far-reaching implications for the Polzins. Arizona is a member of the Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact with 22 other states. For the Polzins, that means they will not be able to legally hunt in any of those states until their license privileges are restored in Arizona.

    The action by the Game and Fish Commission in the Polzin case would not have been possible had it not been for the newly-bolstered wildlife law, sponsored by Rep. Jerry Weiers, R-Glendale, which was passed by the Arizona Legislature and signed by Gov. Janet Napolitano in May of 2006. This new law, which took effect in September, creates a system of civil assessments and license revocations based on the number of convictions an individual has for unlawfully taking or wounding wildlife.

    The new law also allows the Game and Fish Commission to permanently revoke or suspend a person’s hunting privileges for various offenses, including unlawfully taking trophy or endangered species.

    “In the past, the Game and Fish Commission could only revoke a violator’s hunting, fishing and trapping licenses for a maximum of five years, no matter how severe or egregious the case…not any more. Now when we have serious offenses, we can employ stiffer penalties,” says Commissioner Mike Golightly of Flagstaff.

    Wildlife Manager Robert Birkland, the investigating officer in the case, says the Game and Fish Commission sent a strong message that Arizona’s wildlife is a valuable asset owned by the people of Arizona. “Hopefully the new law will serve as a deterrent to potential violators,” he says.

    The commission’s actions were made possible because the couple had already been found guilty by the courts. John D. and Shelly L. Polzin of Show Low were indicted by a Navajo County grand jury for a total of 44 charges, but entered a plea agreement last spring where the charges were reduced.

    John Polzin pleaded guilty to five charges, including taking a mule deer buck without valid license or tag, possessing an unlawfully taken mule deer buck, obtaining a 2005 resident hunting and fishing license by fraud, taking a bull elk without valid license and tag, and possessing an unlawfully taken bull elk. Shelly Polzin pleaded guilty to three charges, including possessing an unlawfully taken mule deer buck, obtaining a 2006 resident hunting and fishing license by fraud, and possessing an unlawfully taken bull elk.

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    Posted on 15th December 2006
    Under: Arizona News | No Comments »

    Big Game Super Raffle

    Arizona Game and Fish Department

    For immediate release Dec. 15, 2006

    Give a unique hunt of a lifetime opportunity this holiday season

    PHOENIX – Want an exciting, yet simple holiday gift, perhaps to use as a stocking stuffer? Give your favorite hunter a chance at one or more hunts of a lifetime in Arizona.

    This is the second year for the Arizona Big Game Super Raffle, which raises money to benefit this state’s big game species. The Arizona Game and Fish Commission sets aside one tag per big game species each year for the super raffle. These super raffle tags include antelope, black bear, buffalo, Coues whitetail, desert bighorn sheep, elk, javelina, mule deer and turkey (Gould’s or Merriam’s). All the proceeds raised from raffling each tag are used to benefit that particular species.

    All the super raffle tags are for special season dates, and each hunt is 365 days, starting Aug. 1, with very few limitations on hunting areas. The prices for each ticket have been set to give every hunter in the world an opportunity to win a true hunt of a lifetime. Arizona offers some of the best trophy opportunities in North America for each of these species.

    The cost of the raffle tickets range from $5 to $25, depending on the species. The deadline to purchase a raffle tag is June 25, 2007, but they are on sale now in plenty of time for the holidays. A public drawing will take place in July 2007, and the time and place will be announced at a later date. You can obtain ticket order forms at arizonabiggamesuperraffle.com.

    In addition, Swarovski donated a package of products for an optics raffle. This package includes the 15×56 ER binoculars, 10×42 El binoculars, an ST-80 spotting scope with a 20-60x eyepiece, Swarovski Laser Rangefinder and 4-12×50 rifle scope. An Outdoorsman’s tripod with all the appropriate tripod adapters will be included, as well. The optics raffle proceeds are used to defray the costs of conducting the raffle.

    Each person who purchases one of each species hunt raffle tickets and the Swarovski raffle ticket ($150 total) will also have a chance to win a six-day caribou hunt for two animals in Quebec with Safari Nordik, a scoped firearm, air travel from any city in the continental United States to Quebec and $500 cash for trip incidentals. The trip includes fishing at no additional charge and the opportunity to add a bear hunt at the outfitter’s standard rates. Sportsman’s Warehouse has generously donated this package valued at $6,500.

    This unique cooperative effort has become a model for wildlife fundraising. The Arizona Big Game Super Raffle participants include the Arizona Game and Fish Commission, Arizona Antelope Foundation, Arizona Bowhunter Association, Arizona Chapter of Safari Club International, Arizona Deer Association, Arizona Desert Bighorn Sheep Society, Arizona Elk Society, Arizona Wildlife Federation, Foundation for North American Wild Sheep, Mule Deer Foundation, National Wild Turkey Federation, and the Arizona chapters of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation.

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    Posted on 15th December 2006
    Under: Conservation Groups | No Comments »

    Where’s the outrage about profits?

    I’m not much for political/economic commentary, but I can’t help but wonder (again) about the mainstream media’s “spin” on things - as well as the (oft misguided) public outcry. If this was an oil company, people would be outraged. If this was oil execs receiving bonuses, we’d all be yapping. It was my understanding, that the oil company’s profit margins were nowhere near what Goldman-Sachs’ was….


    ‘Bonus heaven’ at Goldman Sachs after record year
    By Jenny Anderson
    Published: 2006-12-13 09:41:02

    NEW YORK: Money is not supposed to grow on trees. Unless you happen to work at Goldman Sachs.

    Scores of Goldman bankers and traders were to find out, starting Wednesday, what their bonuses will be, and chances are that they will be impressive. The bank is paying $16.5 billion in compensation this year, an average of roughly $623,418 per employee.

    The investment bank reported earnings Tuesday that left jaws agape on Wall Street. Quarterly profit soared 93 percent. The bank earned nearly as much per share in 2006 as in the previous two years combined, both of which were also record years. Immediately after the results were released, they were labeled the best ever by an American investment bank.

    Wealth on Wall Street is not distributed evenly, of course. Rainmakers in investment banking can expect to see $20 million to $25 million each, and traders who booked big profits will take home a chunk of those profits, as much as $50 million each, according to senior executives at leading Wall Street banks.

    “Anyone at the bonus line at Goldman Sachs died and went to bonus heaven,” said Michael Holland, chairman of Holland & Co., a New York- based investment firm. “It doesn’t get any better than this.”

    The bonuses at Goldman, the leading merger adviser in the industry, and elsewhere on Wall Street (Lehman Brothers and Bear Stearns report earnings Thursday, and their earnings are expected to be robust as well) are expected to give the New York area’s economy a substantial boost, particularly in sales of high-end residential real estate, luxury cars and other costly goods.

    “When these guys learn what their bonuses are, we are among the first people they call,” said Pamela Liebman, chief executive of Corcoran Group, a residential brokerage. “They call their mothers, and then their real estate brokers.”

    Investment banking earnings are often proxies for the health of the American and global economy. And conditions have been ripe for Goldman and its competitors to mint money.

    Stock markets have been on a tear for months, while credit markets — far bigger than the equity markets — have continued to be robust. Credit derivatives continue to grow at a geometric pace, with $27 trillion outstanding. Opportunities to invest in companies, trade securities or advise clients in markets around the world, including China, Russia and the Middle East, abound.

    Private equity firms continue to buy larger and larger companies — witness Blackstone Group’s $36 billion acquisition of Equity Office Properties Trust, the largest U.S. office-building owner and manager, a deal on which Goldman advised. And hedge funds, which account for 40 percent to 80 percent of trading in certain markets, represent significant profit-making potential for Wall Street — and, of course, for Wall Street’s persistent leader.

    For the year, Goldman produced record revenue of $37.7 billion and a record profit of $9.5 billion, or $19.69 per share.

    In the quarter, the bank earned $3.15 billion, or $6.59 a share, on revenue of $9.41 billion. Investment banking revenue climbed 42 percent to $1.3 billion, and trading and principal investments rose 57 percent to $6.6 billion.

    Even David Viniar, Goldman Sachs’s cautious chief financial officer, sounded vaguely optimistic.

    “Our economists’ view is that we will continue to have good economic growth, somewhat slower in the U.S., somewhat better in Europe and very good in Asia,” Viniar said. And “our business tends to be tied to economic growth more than anything else.”

    Fueling Viniar’s optimism is the breadth of Goldman’s business as well as the number of deals the bank has in the pipeline.

    Like many universal and investment banks, Goldman Sachs has transformed its business to capitalize on sea changes in the capital markets, particularly new opportunities in far-flung markets and a shift from issuing and trading conventional stocks and bonds to building and trading complex derivative products. .

    In 1997, investment banking and trading and principal investments produced roughly the same revenue ($2.6 billion and $2.9 billion, respectively) in a total net revenue of $7.4 billion.

    In 2006, investment banking earned $5.6 billion while trading and principal investments produced $25.6 billion — almost 70 percent of the $37.7 billion in net revenue.

    Goldman derives significant profit from acting as an investor, deploying the firm’s capital to buy and sell companies. In the second quarter, the bank spent $2.6 billion for a 5 percent stake in Industrial & Commercial Bank of China, the largest state-owned bank in China ($1.6 billion came from Goldman Sachs’s private equity funds, and the rest was financed off Goldman’s balance sheet). When the Chinese bank went public in October in the largest initial public offering ever, Goldman’s stake soared in value. For the fourth quarter, Goldman made $949 million in profit on the investment.

    Article continued at the link posted

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    Posted on 15th December 2006
    Under: Politics and More | No Comments »

    Man whacks a 7-legged deer

    Too bad it wasn’t a turkey. Mmmmm… all those drumsticks

    From the Star-Tribune in Minneapolis

    Wisconsin man bags deer with 7 legs

    Associated Press

    FOND DU LAC, Wis. — Rick Lisko hunts deer with a bow but got his most unusual one driving his truck down his mile-long driveway.

    The young buck had nub antlers — and seven legs. Lisko said it also had both male and female reproductive organs.

    “It was definitely a freak of nature,” Lisko said. “I guess it’s a real rarity.”

    He said he slowed down as the buck and two does ran across the driveway Nov. 22, but the buck ran under the truck and got hit.

    When he looked at the animal, he noticed three- to four-inch appendages growing from the rear legs. Later, he found a smaller appendage growing from one of the front legs.

    “It’s a pretty weird deer,” he said, describing the extra legs as resembling “crab pinchers.”

    “It kind of gives you the creeps when you look at it,” he said, but he thought he saw the appendages moving, as if they were functional, before the deer was hit.

    Warden Doug Bilgo of the state Department of Natural Resources came to Lisko’s property near Mud Lake in the town of Osceola to tag the deer.

    “I have never seen anything like that in all the years that I’ve been working as a game warden and being a hunter myself,” Bilgo said. “It wasn’t anything grotesque or ugly or anything. It was just unusual that it would have those little appendages growing out like that.”

    Bilgo took photos and sent information on the animal to DNR wildlife managers.

    John Hoffman of Eden Meat Market skinned the deer for Lisko, who wasn’t going to waste the venison from the animal.

    “And by the way, I did eat it,” Lisko said. “It was tasty.”

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    Posted on 15th December 2006
    Under: General | No Comments »

    Soldiers getting too much attention

    The Globe and Mail doesn’t have much credibility with me anyway. This pretty much seals it. Imagine it - CBC’s “Obsession” with military is “creepy”. Funny thing is, the CBC hasn’t exactly been a harbinger for the military, as of late…

    Reproduced under the provisions of the Fair Dealings Act

    Globe and Mail

    CBC’s military obsession just feels creepy


    Wednesday, December 13, 2006 – Page R3

    As you may have gathered from yesterday’s epistle from the TV Cranny, the mood here is evasive.

    It is mid-December and a certain matter, so obvious and in your face that it would poke you in the eye, has not been dealt with. Far from it. It’s all digression and evasion.

    The matter is Christmas, the holidays, whatever you’re calling it yourself. Tinsel, mistletoe, Frosty the Snowman, Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer, eggnog, shopping and having a meltdown in the mall. You know what I’m talking about.

    I’m not against it. It is what it is. But I come from a contrary people. And the time has come to speak plainly: There is no period in the calendar year that breeds more nonsense and specious, nitwit sentimentality in the popular culture than this, the holiday season.

    The media in general and television in particular can often exceed sentimentality and get outright sanctimonious on various issues. Right now, the CBC appears to be using the holiday season to go overboard on the matter of our military.

    The other night, I turned on The National on CBC, expecting the day’s news coverage, as any person might. Up popped Pastor Mansbridge in a black turtleneck sweater and suede jacket, yakking at me from a military base near Edmonton. He informed viewers that this special edition of The National was about “the home front” or some equally inane phrase. It was about our military and the mission in Afghanistan, in other words. But it was couched in we’re-all-in-this-together coverage of the military and their families in that Edmonton location.

    There was an air of giddiness and excitement. It was easy to tell how important it was — the actual news of the day was hurried along so that we could get back to talking about how great the military is.

    Excuse me? I haven’t counted the minutes and hours that CBC-TV News has devoted to chronicling the mission in Afghanistan and the military’s role, but I know what it feels like. It feels creepy. There’s something odious about our public broadcaster appearing so obsequious in its obvious celebration of what the military is doing in Afghanistan.

    Of course, any thinking, feeling person can grasp the difficulties facing families with a member serving in Afghanistan. It’s tough and emotionally wrenching. But we don’t need to be hit over the head with the message.

    Besides, the population is not united in support of our current role in Afghanistan.

    The CBC’s obsession with the military bespeaks a diminution of journalistic standards that is reprehensible at any time, but the clear and obvious linking of the military with the holiday season is simply appalling. It sentimentalizes the armed forces and their action in Afghanistan. War is not something to be sentimentalized at any time. To sentimentalize is to fetishize under the guise of good feeling. To fetishize the military is to appeal to the authorities for respect. And in this case, “authority” is the minority Conservative government.

    The debate about Canada’s role in Afghanistan is one of considerable scope and complexity. It is debated almost daily by politicians from all sides. The day after The National indulged in its boosterism, this paper had, on its front page, a report that Bloc Québécois Leader Gilles Duceppe is ready to trigger the defeat of the Conservative government if Canada’s role in Afghanistan does not change soon. Opposition Leader Stéphane Dion is also demanding a refocusing of the Afghan mission, and says the government was wrong to prolong its military commitment there until 2009.

    In this circumstance, CBC’s attitude and actions give the appearance of an obedient press corps, placating the government.

    The other night, that National special included terrifying footage of our soldiers in action. There were profiles of soldiers who had been decorated for bravery, and interviews with some of them. A few were clearly giddy from the experience of combat. Their perspective on combat was raw and unfocused. Medals for valour they may have won, but logic and truth they have not. Instead of advertising, the National special might as well have carried the message “Brought to you by General Rick Hillier.”

    The military command our respect. But CBC-TV News doesn’t need to drool over our soldiers. The country is not united behind the current Afghan mission and, at this time of year, self-doubt is still okay. Discomfort and disapproval too.

    Airing tonight: Bones (Fox, Global, 8 p.m.) is a souped-up episode. For a start, it’s directed by David Duchovny, who was Mulder on The X-Files. It also has two notable guest-star turns. Kathy Reichs, the writer and forensics expert whose work was the basis for the series, makes an appearance. And Ryan O’Neal turns up as a priest.

    The plot has a man’s body found gutted, burned and hung up like a scarecrow on the roof of a government building in Washington. While “Bones” Brennan (Emily Deschanel) investigates, she gets a message that the case has something to with her long-lost father.

    Me, I’m away for a day. Back here on Friday.

    Dates and times may vary across the country. Check local listings.


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    Posted on 14th December 2006
    Under: Politics and More | No Comments »