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NM (New Mexico) Game And Fish

Country Sports: Big Fish, and Controversy, on San Juan

The San Juan River, particularly the tailwater fishery in the first 15 miles or so below Navajo Dam in extreme northwestern New Mexico, would by most accounts make the top ten of "destination" fly fishing locales nationwide. Even today, when its fishery is, by common opinion, not what it was a few short years ago, and its management beset by controversy. I got a taste of the fishing possibilities, and an earful on the management debates, on a recent trip to Farmington.

First, the State Game Commission at the Farmington meeting May 29 prohibited the use of more than two flies in the "quality waters" of the San Juan - the first four miles below the dam where bait is already prohibited and single, barbless hooks are the rule. Some anglers, and guides, had taken to stringing out two or three or more dropper flies and the result, many felt, was the unnecessary snagging and injury of trophy trout almost all of which are scheduled for release in that section.

That was the easy part. I got the bigger picture of management debate the next day when Oscar Simpson of the National Wildlife Federation and I went fishing with guides Larry Johnson and T.J. Massey of Soaring Eagle Lodge, plus Marc Wethington.of New Mexico Game & Fish.

We put in near "Texas Hole" dispersed between two drift boats and began to drift, fish, and talk our way downstream.

The main issues, I learned from Johnson, are flow rates and erosion leading to sediment loading of the riverbed.

"The Bureau of Reclamation (BoR)," Johnson said, "manages the release from Navajo Lake to satisfy water users downstream — the Navajo, irrigators and others. We (fishermen) aren't water rights holders so we're at the bottom of the list....we don't get much attention."

Wethington said releases were also timed and controlled by requirements of two endangered fish in waters downstream too warm for trout - the Colorado pikeminnnow and the razorback sucker. Their requirements, at least as the BoR interprets them, can also lead to low flows.

"When they (BoR) raises or lowers the release from one extreme to the other, that's bad for the (trout) fishery," Johnson said.

The low extreme, a 250 cfs minimum, depletes habitat and kills fish though Johnson said that in his opinion such low flows "have not been prolonged."

Erosion into the stream, all agreed, has multiplied with the increase in oil and gas development in the nearby uplands, mostly on BLM land. At Simon Canyon, where we stopped for lunch, I was told of one recent storm event "that sent a load of run-off down the wash where it ended up a wall of silt that went clear across the river."

Heavy siltation affects the river's insect population. A 2002 Game & Fish study said, "There are approximately 100,000 bugs per square meter on the river, " the main reason the San Juan's browns and rainbows average about 16 inches per catch, are thick-bodied and muscular, and not uncommonly reach 20-inches-plus. One indication of the fishery decline due to siltation problems, loss of bugs, and effects of ill-timed water releases was offered by Wethington.

"At the peak (about 2002)," Wethington said, "there were 70 to 80 guides working this section of the San Juan. Now there are 30 to 40."

Stronger comments regarding BoR priorities and BLM oil and gas management came from Andreas Novak, a Farmington angler who has fly fished from the river's bank two or three times a week since 1983. Novak said he has been "stunned" by the number of oil and gas developments, and attendant roads, that have been put in over recent years.

"It's led to erosion like never before," he said. "Most of the fish now are above Rex Smith Wash (the first major drainage below the dam), and where I used to fish the whole four miles of the quality waters, now I just fish the first mile and a half."

Novak has seen far too much of 250 cfs minimum flows to suit him.

"A flow rate of 250 to 350 cfs for six months in the middle of the winter equals a fish kill," he said. "Similar flow rates have been documented from 2002 through 2006. The BoR program is "horde and dump'; they manage the water for what they call "present and future projects', like the (proposed) Navajo Project and Desert Rock coal fired plant which include provisions for water out of Navajo Lake. Yet air quality in San Juan County is already 6th worst in the nation, right up there with big cities like L.A. (Los Angeles). I'd like to see a minimal flow of at least 750 cfs, 1000 cfs would be better, with a 5000 cfs maximum in the spring which I believe is a good thing for the fishery."

Is the glass half full (Johnson) or half empty (Novak)? Regardless, 5000 cfs is just what Oscar and I contended with that day. "Tough fishing," Johnson said, as he tied on a #18 San Juan worm and even smaller #24 midge dropper, tiny flies in my experience that imitate some of the San Juan's food base.

"Why would a trophy trout bother?" I thought. Yet our strike indicators kept dipping under. Oscar, who claims he is no fly fisherman, landed two rainbows and a brown in the 15 to 16 inch range. I hooked three myself, lost two (one at the net) before finally landing a roughly 16-inch rainbow that was easily the heaviest trout at that length I've ever seen. T.J. handled the net quite nicely.

A few days after we left, Johnson reported a client had just caught a 27-inch brown that went 9 lbs. Since the browns in the San Juan, unlike the rainbows, are naturally reproducing, this was a special catch.

"The San Juan is still good," Johnson said. "It could be better. I'd like to get a small group together, including guides, local anglers, Game & Fish, State Parks and a few others. If we could come to agreement on what the San Juan needs, we could then go to BoR and BLM as a unified force and maybe influence some changes for the better."

"Good idea," I said, though fundamental change for wildlife and recreation will always be tough so long as the water rights are reserved for the consumptive users. I'd say the trout of the San Juan are worth more than a new power plant any day. But we have a hundred years of law and tradition to overcome before instream flows equal consumptive uses of our rivers. A new paradigm is needed in western states water management.

For more information on fishing the San Juan, have a look at Larry Johnson's website at:

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Jen Moss Nude Antics

Photo: "Naked Lady" Jen Moss Nude Antics, Topless Parade Lawsuit?

Jen Moss has put quite a bit of pressure on law officials in her community, as well as the people living there, because the Oregon woman, known as the "naked lady", has threatened to sue if she can't be nude on July 4th.

Let us explain. Jen Moss is a woman frequently seen riding her bike topless in Ashland. Jen now wants to be in Ashland's Fourth of July parade...nude.

Jen claims that the law states to cover "genitalia" in the city park, but not your breasts - and that's what Jen is using to threaten the Chamber of Commerce with a lawsuit if they don't allow her to be in the parade with nothing but a g-string on.

To older men, that may be a dream, but for mothers and wives, Jen's demand is outrageous and just plain weird. Not only that, but a naked woman in a parade doesn't exactly qualify for family entertainment.

The Chamber of Commerce claims Jen wants to lead skaters "wearing only a hemp G-string and blowing a conch shell."

Parade chairman James Kidd says: "We don't feel that someone in the parade who is topless or nearly naked is appropriate for a family audience."

He continues: "She's welcome on any other day of the year to do that, but not on the Fourth of July while in the parade."

The AP reports: Moss told the Ashland Daily Tidings in an e-mail that if she can't be nearly naked in the parade, she would "run around near naked protesting their unconstitutional(ism) and un-Americanism." And she said, she would ask the American Civil Liberties Union for help in a lawsuit.

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Dragon Millipede And Other New Species Of Animals

Thousands of new plant and animal species were discovered in 2007, though only 10 were bizarre enough, lethal enough or just plain cool enough to garner spots on a new Top-10 list.

Each year, the International Institute for Species Exploration (IISE) at Arizona State University issues the Top 10 New Species list, which spotlights flora and fauna described during the previous year, so in this case 2007.

The new list includes lethal animals like a box jellyfish (Malo kingi) — named after Robert King, who apparently died after he was stung by this species — and the Central Ranges Taipan (Oxyuranus temporalis), now thought to be one of the most venomous snakes in the world.

And a dragon millipede, whose shocking-pink exterior would put a 1980s fashionista to shame, gets a spot on the list. Rather than setting trends, the arthropod uses its gaudy coloration to alert predators of its toxicity.

Some species made it onto the list due to their modern monikers, including the Michelin Man, a succulent plant from Western Australia that resembles the rotund tire guy. Also on the list: an ornate sleeper ray from the east coast of South Africa that was named after the Electrolux vacuum cleaner brand due to the animal's ability to suck up prey in the water.

While scientists discover thousands of species each year, with an estimated 16,969 species considered new to science in 2006, plenty of plants and animals are waiting to be found. Scientists estimate 10 million or so species exist on Earth, with 1.8 million species described since Carl Linnaeus developed the modern system for naming plants and animals in the 18th century.

"Most people do not realize just how incomplete our knowledge of Earth's species is or the steady rate at which taxonomists are exploring that diversity," said Quentin Wheeler, an entomologist and director of IISE.

The international committee was chaired by Janine Caira of the University of Connecticut, and included scientists from across the globe, including the United States, United Kingdom, South Africa, Spain and New Zealand.

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Of the thousands of new species discovered on Earth in the last year, only 10 of them are special enough to make it to the top. has a run down of the top 10 new species discovered last year and some of them are doozies.

The Dragon Millipede "whose shocking-pink exterior would put a 1980s fashionista to shame" is one of the lucky few. The Dragon Millipede uses its neon coloring to warn predators of its poison.

Photo via Insects Galore!

There's also the Central Ranges Taipan (also known as the Oxyuranus temporalis) which is "now thought to be one of the most venomous snakes in the world."

The diverse list also includes the eponymous Michelin Man plant named, unsurprisingly, for its uncanny resemblance to the chubby white tire mascot, the Electrolux Addisoni Ray, named after a vacuum for it's "ability to suck up prey in the water."

The most adorable of the bunch is the Styloctenium mindorensis, a "large and charismatic fruit bat species...from the Philippine island of Mindoro."


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Sony Playstation 3 Update 2.36

Sony PS3 Update 2.36: Playstation 3 getting ready for in-game XMB

Earlier this week, the guys over at PS3 daily informed us that rumours were surfacing that a new Playstation 3 firmware was imminent. It turns out that the speculation was true, as firmware v.2.36 has now been officially released and is available for download.

The current update is a minor one, only designed to improve system security and improve stability for a range of titles. More importantly though, it appears that firmware 2.40 is on the horizon and finally news that the Playstation 3 is getting ready for in-game XMB, a feature that many of you gamers out there have been waiting to get your hands on. It is unclear yet what stability issues have been fixed yet, as I know a lot of you have been having a few problems with bugs in GTA IV, and we are unaware yet, as to if this update has made any changes to MGS4, most notably interaction with the in-game iPod perhaps. Feel free to leave a comment if you have found any changes to your games as a result of this firmware update.

Also announced on the official PS3 blog, is the addition of ‘trophies’ which will be come on the 2.40 update. Little information is known on this but Sony have stated, “The update will also include “trophies,” an exciting new feature that we’ll be providing more details on soon, as well as some other new enhancements.”

I can imagine these trophies to be some sort of award system as compared to the Xbox 360’s gamer points. It certainly does look very positive for the PS3 over the next few weeks, it will be interesting to find out just how the in-game XMB functions, and how smoothly it will interact with it’s games, stay tuned to find out more news on this.

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Woman With Histrionic Personality Disorder Fled Over Care Order Threat

Woman fled over care order threat

Natalie Bracht and her children
Natalie suffers from a personality disorder

A woman fled her Wearside home with her five daughters because she found out they were to be taken into care.

Natalie Bracht, 34, left her Sunderland home on 17 May with her children and is believed to have travelled to London.

Police said they are concerned for the safety of the girls, aged between five and 13, because Ms Bracht suffers from a 'histrionic personality disorder'.

Northumbria Police officers are being assisted by their counterparts in the Metropolitan Police force.

After recent information placed the family in the Harlesden area of London, officers now believe she may have moved to another part of the city, or even returned to the North East.

On Monday Northumbria Police were granted permission by the High Court in London to reveal that all of the children were the subject of interim care orders.

Mental condition

Detective Sergeant Dave Willett said: "We went to the High Court because we felt that it would help our search for the girls and their mother if the public knew they should be in the care of their local authority.

"Natalie has been previously assessed as having a histrionic personality disorder.

"She and the girls have no visible means of support and I want to urge anyone who may be sheltering or supporting them financially to consider her mental condition and the care orders.

"We have real fears for the welfare and safety of the girls and our number one priority in this case is to get them home safe and well."

Ms Bracht moved to the North East in 2006 with her children from Germany and speaks good English, with a heavy German accent.

The father of three of the girls has travelled to the UK from Germany to help with the investigation.

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Lara Logan Appears On The Daily Show

Jon Stewart's guest tonight was the Chief Foreign Correspondent for CBS News, Lara Logan, who has lived in Baghdad since the beginning of the Iraq War. She has some blunt things to say about the view of the war that manages to filter through to the average American's awareness via the mainstream media, that Americans need to see the dead bodies of American soldiers (and Iraqi civilians) in order to understand the situation there. We need to see and understand the resurgence of the Taliban — including breaking 400 of their top fighters out of prison just this weekend. I'll put it to you this way: no matter how brave, dedicated, and well-trained our military forces are, they can never win a war without the support and involvement of the entire country. We will never see an end to the war on terror as long as the American people don't care what happens "over there" wherever our troops are at the time, nor as long as so much of the world thinks we're more of a threat to peace and stability than Al Qaeda and the Taliban and and the Tamil Tigers and ETA combined. Anyway, enough of my soapbox, you tuned in for a transcript....

Jon Stewart interviewing Lara Logan, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, ©2008-06-17 Comedy Central®


Jon Stewart: Welcome back. My guest tonight, she is the Chief Foreign Correspondent for CBS News, welcome to the program Lara Logan; ma'am! Come join me, please, have a seat. You remind me of a young Ted Koppel.

Lara Logan: Dan Rather used to say that about me.

Stewart: Stop it! What's happenin'? How are ya? It's nice to see ya. You just got back from — ?

Logan: Iraq.

Stewart: Iraq. What'd you get me? Did you bring me anything back, or —?

Logan: I did.

Stewart: A small token?

Logan: A few components of suicide bombs, you know, a couple of useful things.

Stewart: What is — what don't we know? Do we know anything about what's going on over there? Are reports of what's really going [on] over there, getting out? You've been there since this whole thing started — what are we missing? We know nothing.

Logan: No, I don't think we really do have much of an idea of what's going on in Iraq. We have all these armchair academics who go over for one visit, you see Laura Bush going, "This is my third time" going to Afghanistan; she doesn't mention that she was only there for a few seconds. You know, listening to —

Stewart: Are you saying that a few seconds in Afghanistan is not enough to really get the full flavor of a country torn by violent war?

Logan: It depends what you're looking for.

Stewart: Mm-hmm. You think they might not be looking for the right things? How hard is it? I know you're over there filing these amazing stories; do you have to fight for airtime? Do you say, "I've got the scoop on the Afghan warlords that have turned against the United States and are helping the Taliban," and they're all like, "Geez, I dunno — [stage whisper:] Britney's back in rehab!?

Logan: Or Paris Hilton's getting arrested, yes.

Stewart: WHAT?? "Breaking News:" [pause] But how hard is it to get those stories on?

Logan: It goes in cycles. You know, this is an election year, so "politics, politics, politics!" all the time. And you hear that people are tired of hearing about the war, so you have to fight against that, but generally what I say is, I'm holding the RPG; it's aimed at the bureau chief, and if you don't put my story on air, I'm going to pull the trigger. That's worked.

Stewart: So — I guess if you're giving advice to a young journalism student, you might say, "Threats of violence to the editors"?

Logan: And the jihadi manuals on suicide bombings.

Stewart: That's the way to read through it!

Logan: It's all on the Internet.

Stewart: What do you feel like — do you watch the news that we're watching in the United States?

Logan: No.

Stewart: Do you see what we're hearing about the war?

Logan: No.

Stewart: We might actually know everything.

Logan: If I were to watch the news that you're hearing here in the United States, I'd just blow my brains out, because it would just drive me nuts.

Stewart: Really??

Logan: Yes. [audience cheers]

Stewart: I am glad to see you overcome your shyness, because — [pause] Where do you think — ? If you were to say, if you had your druthers, would we be focused right now — in terms of just reporting, because I know this isn't about policy — Afghanistan or Iraq? Where do you think the big story is?

Logan: I don't think we should have to choose between — which war, you know, is...

Stewart: Right.

Logan: So we have more soldiers on the ground in Iraq than we do in Afghanistan, do we pay more attention? I think we should — I mean, it's very hard, because you hear all the time: "People are tired of the same thing over and over." I did a piece with Navy SEALs once. It took me six months of begging, screaming, breaking down walls, crawling on my knees, to get that imbed, and when I came back with that story I was told, "These guys — you know, one guy in uniform looks like any other guy in a uniform." And I'm on high-value target raids, taking down some of the most wanted Taliban fighters and Al Qaeda fighters in Afghanistan, and I'm told, "Well, you know, one Arabic name sounds — unless it's Osama bin Laden, who cares about — you know, Mullah Ben Shaq, whatever?" So —

Stewart: Who's — ? I mean, these are the people that are in charge of what goes on these programs.

Logan: Well, although, for example — well, you know, Jeff Fager of 60 Minutes always says to me, "Iraq, Iraq, Iraq! Afghanistan, Afghanistan! We don't see enough of it, I want people to know more, people to see more" — I mean, it's —

Stewart: There are people pushing it —

Logan: Yes.

Stewart: — to try and get it through.

Logan: There are lots of people trying to get it through.

Stewart: And what about the danger for you? I mean, you're clearly, you know, you're a big, intimidating force — when you go out there, I mean, have you been hurt? Have you been — I mean, how do you protect yourself?

Logan: You know, often I work until 8 in the morning. I woke up one morning and I looked at the clock, and it was like, 11:00 a.m., and I thought, "Shit! I've got to get up!" and then I thought —

Stewart: Uh — I don't allow that type of language on this program. I don't care that you've just spent the last 5 years in a war zone, we have standards here.

Logan: Usually that's a good way to break the ice. You get in a Humvee with soldiers, they're all on their best behavior, they've been told not to swear about you, and you say, "Yo, what's up, motherfuckers?" and then it's all done.

Stewart: Really? [audience cheers] Wow. You know where that doesn't work? Florida retirement villages. [pause] What about you, though, safety-wise? Are you there with security details? Are you there with armed —

Logan: We have security details, we have Iraqi security guards.

Stewart: Then have you been exposed to gunfire and explosions and that type of thing.

Logan: Sure. Well, that morning in Baghdad, I looked at the clock, and I thought, Well, okay, I can have half an hour more, because I've only had 3 hours, went back to sleep, woke up, sat on the side of the bed thinking, I've gotta get up! and then it's like "Boom!" and the hotel blew up underneath me, so... They blew up the building. I think they were trying to kill some sheikhs, but, you know, they got a few other people, including a 5-year-old Iraqi girl.

Stewart: See, even that — the idea of that to me — if that happened in this country, that would be the biggest story for the next two years. It's as though we've become numb. I mean, there were 51 people killed today, in a Shi'ite neighborhood in Iraq — are we just numb? Have we lost our humanity with this entire situation?

Logan: Yeah, we have. You know, I was asked once, "Do you feel responsible for the American people having a bad view — a negative view — of the war in Iraq?" and I looked at the reporter, and I said, "Tell me the last time you saw the body of a dead American soldier. What does that look like? Who in America knows what that looks like? 'Cause I know what that looks like, and I feel responsible for the fact that no one else does." You know. That's what I feel responsible for: that nobody really understands, and the soldiers do feel forgotten. They do, no doubt. From Afghanistan to Iraq, they absolutely feel — it may be — we may be tired of hearing about this 5 years later, they still have to go out and do the same job. I was in Sadr City, when it was just going absolutely hell for — I mean, Sadr City was like Armageddon, and there were soldiers there who'd been in-country 9 months who'd never seen combat like that, just thrown into it. You're talking about a convoys ambushed with 5, 6 armor-piercing bombs, rocket-propelled grenades, everything — 9, 10, 15-hour battles.

Stewart: And it's something that we might get just a brief glimpse of on the news or just a mention, and that kind of thing? Well, what kind of —

Logan: And more soldiers just died in Afghanistan last month than Iraq — who's paying attention to that? 33,000: highest troop level since the war began, 7 years after we defeated the Taliban.

Stewart: Well, certainly, you know, it's funny — we criticize the government an awful lot, but I guess we have a responsibility that we haven't lived up to as people, either, to keep ourselves up on it, so we appreciate everything you're doin', and thanks for comin' on and seein' us.

Logan: Thank you.

Stewart: And be safe. [to audience:] Lara Logan!

My take: if our nation is at war, then the entire nation, not just the military, must be engaged to give our all to the fight, and that means paying attention to what is happening in the war. If we aren't willing to pay attention to the war, and demand truthful and accurate information, then we have to get our troops out.

The American people do not back a prolonged military presence in Iraq. The Iraqi people do not back a prolonged military presence in Iraq. Thus, in the interests of both the American people and the Iraqi people, we must withdraw as rapidly as we safely can. We should do our best to minimize the damage to our national interests — not forgetting that the peace and stability of Iraq is in our national interest. We must recognize that our national interests are damaged if more of our soldiers are wounded or killed, but also when people on our side commit torture and other war crimes. If you think that pulling out of Iraq will cause "blowback" against the United States, compare that against the blowback from having the reputation as the country that tortures and indiscriminately kills Muslim men, women, and children. The War on Terror has changed one thing quite decisively in our national security equation: it is now more important that we be loved (or at least liked and respected) than that we be feared.

Lastly, my top recommendation if you want to know what's really going on in Iraq and Afghanistan (and the rest of the world), there's no better place to start than the top name in international journalism, Al Jazeera. It's a damned shame that the American people aren't clamoring to demand their cable systems carry the English-language channel, even while we demand that CBS News and all the other domestic sources give more airtime to reporters like Lara Logan and others of her dedication to getting the truth out there.

P.S. My brother, Bill Madison, used to work at CBS News. I haven't had a chance to ask him if he knows Lara Logan, but he did write in his blog, "Billevesées," about his reflections on the view from a competing newsroom of Tim Russert

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