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Wolf Poachers, Truth in Advertising, Free Beer and Trump 

Well it was only a matter of time. Like a right-wing nut job who actually believes all vitriol that is dished up on a.m.

Wolves and The Wild,
Wild East

Well it was only a matter of time. Like a right-wing nut job who actually believes all vitriol that is dished up on a.m. radio and decides to do something about it with a gun in hand or a bomb in the trunk, some coward slunk into the woods of Eastern Oregon, put a rifle to his shoulder and illegally shot a gray wolf, one of the less than 20 that have been documented in the state of Oregon since the federal wolf recovery plan was launched two decades ago. Federal wildlife agents reportedly found the slain wolf, a young male member of the Wenaha pack that had only recently been fitted with a radio collar, on Sept. 30 in a remote area of the Umatilla National Forest. News of the find leaked out late last week when federal wildlife officials confirmed the find to the Associated Press. Conservation Organizations were quick to condemn the shooting, which comes on the heels of a contentious summer for wolf politics in Oregon where several livestock killings prompted state officials to issue kill permits for a pair of wolves believed responsible.

The hunt was ultimately halted after conservation groups, including Oregon Wild and Cascadia Wildlands, filed suit against the state and federal government over the legitimacy of the hunt. Just a few weeks later, a federal judge in Montana reversed the Bush Administration's decision to remove wolves from the Endangered Species list in Idaho and Montana, which effectively turned wolf management back over to the federal government and averted planned hunting seasons for wolves in Idaho and Montana. Those hunts were expected to result in the harvest of hundreds of animals. While Oregon had no plans to issue tags for its small population of wolves, the state must now defer to the federal government on issues like how to handle livestock kills. In other words, no more shoot-from- the-hip wolf hunts.

The documented success of Oregon's fledgling population and the state and federal governments reticence to shoot first and ask questions later has been a bur under the saddle of ranchers in places like Wallowa County. In the past year they've raised the rhetoric around wolves up to the Fox News level of paranoia and misinformation. Hopefully cooler heads will prevail around Oregon's wolf politics. In the meantime, conservation organizations are offering a $7,500 reward for the arrest and conviction of the Wenaha wolf poacher. Fish and Wildlife Service is throwing in another $2,500 for the smoking gun, so to speak. Anyone with information can report it to the Fish and Wildlife Service, 503-682-6131.

What is Homeless?

There are a lot of different ways to live homeless. There's the gypsy hobo with a knapsack across his shoulder who chooses a Steinbeck or possibly Kerouac-esque life free of the constraints of work, family and worldly possessions, preferring to sleep under the stars or in a boxcar. Then there's reality and the grim prospect of a family of four sleeping in a car, or squatting in a friend's living room, or putting their valuables into hock so they can afford a few nights at a weekly rate motel. Then there's the Jason Conger version of homelessness, the one where you spend the summer on a farm in the Santa Cruz mountains living in your dad's RV after he sells his home and decides to use the opportunity to spend some time with his kids. Not exactly Grapes of Wrath, friends. But that's exactly what Conger is selling to voters in his media campaign that claims the developer cum attorney cum candidate once lived out of the back of his dad's pick-up as a homeless youth before working his way through Harvard Law. Wow, sounds like a great Hollywood script! Just remember that it's in the feature category, as in fiction category, not the documentary one as Conger would have us believe.

Is Anyone Still Afraid of the OLCC?

If we can rewind our brains back a couple of years, we will remember a time when local bar owners, festival managers and regular drinkers lived in fear of the Oregon Liquor Control Commission. The culture has changed here in Bend, and a lot of that has to do with the whole debacle surrounding Doitchin Krastev (formerly "Jason Evers") the disgraced former OLCC regional manager who was formally charged last week with aggravated ID theft and filing a false statement on a passport application. With "Evers" in jail - and having been demoted and kicked out of town long before then - the OLCC just doesn't seem as scary. First off, we got to carry our beers around the Les Schwab Amphitheater again this summer, and then came the rush of happy hour advertisements on bar windows around town (and every bar that didn't already have a happy hour, then starting up a happy hour). Now, there's a political ad running on television that features our state representative, Judy Stiegler, sipping on a 10 Barrel brew, letting us know that drinking a beer need not be borderline criminal activity, as "Evers" made us believe for so long. So mark this down: 2010 is the year when Bend finally stopped being terrified of the OLCC. (MB)

President Trump to Obama: You're Fired!

Is Donald Trump the moderate Republican's answer to the Tea Party? Donald Trump, the hairstyle-trailblazing tycoon and most notable humanitarian of his generation, recently hinted that he might like to try his hand at running for leader of the free world. Last weekend, Trump accepted an honorary doctorate from the University of Aberdeen in Scotland in honor of his "business acumen." During the visit to Scotland, he was questioned about his potential run for president in 2012 and he said he is "being serious about it. I've been asked for years to do it. And I had no interest. This is the first time I am considering it." Trump cited a poll taken in New Hampshire that was favorable toward the puffy opportunist, saying, "I really like the people of New Hampshire because they are strong people, they are intelligent people. They know what's happening to this country is wrong. So I can understand why I did well in a poll."

Trump also announced that, despite having previously donated money to the Democratic Party, he would run as a Republican. "If I were interested, I'd be a Republican," he said.

While Trump's political (and Republican) credentials are thin at best, at least a small part of every American must be itching to see Trump the President maligned on SNL. (SR)

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