Category Archives: Fishing

Dictator for a Day – Part I

Long drives, I have found, give your mind plenty of opportunity to wander aimlessly down improbable paths and dream up unlikely scenarios. Such was the case in the four and one half hour trip over the mountains and back on my recent jaunt in search of the regal rainbow trout. I was thinking specifically about the almost daily announcement out of the Obama Administration to take over yet another industry or institution. One day they’re taking over the auto industry while simultaneously shafting the bondholders and giving big chunks of equity to their friends in the UAW. The next, they want to take over the health care business, or the banks, or impose a mammoth carbon tax on everything. Sobering thoughts.

On the long ride back and in the pleasant afterglow of a week of fly fishing, an absurd thought popped into my head, namely: if I were the Dictator of the US for a single day, what would I do? What changes would I make that politically cannot get done the way things are currently organized? Here’s how I fantasized my day as Dictator would go.

After rising early and the requisite morning ablutions and pouring the first cup of coffee, I would take Shakespeare’s advice and “… kill all the lawyers”. Not literally, of course. The little remembered Dick the Butcher uttered these famous words to Jack Cade. Jack envisioned himself the sole autocrat overseeing his version of a quasi-communistic social revolution. Dick was simply making a helpful suggestion. (Henry VI, Part 2, Act 4). Funny…. Jack sounds a bit like Obama.
My method for dealing with the lawyers who have taken over nearly every aspect of our lives, would be to impose “loser pays” rules… just like every other civilized country except the US. You sue and you lose, you get to pay the other guy’s fees plus a reasonable sum for wasting his valuable time. The estimated cost of litigation in the US is 2.7% of GDP plus adding 10-15% to the cost of everything. While I am at it, I would protect doctors from medical malpractice suits and turn over patient complaints to a review board. Egregious cases would be prosecuted and bad doctor’s licenses revoked. Harmed patient would be compensated at a sensible level. I’d mandate the same for drug companies.

After a second cup of coffee: Education.

There can be little serious argument that the public education system is broken and the teacher’s unions won’t allow anyone to fix it. My solution? All per student tax money stays with the kids and they can choose whichever school they want. In other words, if government spends $10,000 per pupil per year to educate her the money would go with the student to attend the school of her choice. Denmark has this system. This would encourage competition by schools to recruit not only students but also the best teachers. Thousands of new private schools would be created.

For Step Two, I would eliminate the Education Department and all the administrative claptrap they require of school systems. In its place, I would create an Education Commission made up of volunteer college entrance officials, educators and business people who would establish a curriculum for grade school, junior high and high school that is heavy on reading, math, science, US and world history and civics. To keep schools from reverting to the multi-cultural, anti-American, diversity heavy and environmental nonsense currently being taught, the Commission would establish national tests for each level and subject. Results of student success must be published so that parents can see what the teachers and students are doing. Students at schools that continued to teach the nonsense so common today would have substantial numbers of students who would fail to graduate. Recognizing that not everyone is destined for college, tech high schools could operate on a modified standard.
For Step Three, I would eliminate the Teacher’s Union. (*Little known fact–37 states do NOT allow teacher strikes, while others allow up to a month of empty classrooms year after year, such as Pennsylvania.)
While I’m at it, I might as well forbid all unions for public employees. They are too powerful as both a voting block and an inordinate drain on the resources of governments at all levels. I’d go back to the civil service system and bring salaries and benefits in line with the private sector. At this time it’s almost impossible to fire an incompetent government worker. I’d establish a system whereby a fired worker got a review within one week and immediately terminated if found deficient.

Time out for another cup of coffee and a little breakfast.

Taxes. They are too high and too complicated with too many breaks for special interests of all stripes. I would eliminate the AMT and the Death Tax and impose a flat tax on all income levels above $35,000 at 15%. Corporate taxes would be set at 15% with no special breaks or deductions and capital gains taxes set at 10%. I’d raise the gas tax by $.50 a gallon and designate that entire sum to the development of a nation-wide system of high speed rail between major cities. I would have private companies run the passenger rail system. Note: gas taxes are already sufficient to maintain the Federal highway system, especially if the Davis Bacon Act were suspended permanently. So, I’d do that too.

Congress: As I pointed out in a previous blog, members of Congress in most all instances are careerists and lawyers. I’d impose immediate term limits on these professional politicians. Two terms for Senators and three two-year terms for the House seem like plenty. Any member exceeding those limits would retire at the next election. This would eliminate a lot of pompous assholes.
The President: The current primary system is too long and way too costly. Let the parties select their candidates and start the campaign for President no earlier than six months prior to the election. I would also eliminate the contribution limits to candidates (McCain Feingold) but, require full disclosure of all contributors. Everyone has figured out how to get around the spending limits anyway and it restricts the “little guy” in favor of deep pockets like unions, lawyers and mega billionaire nut jobs like George Soros.

Potty break.

Immigration: this is a toughie but must be done. First, I would empty the prisons of all illegals and send them back to their country of origin. Our prisons are overcrowded anyway and, why should we feed and house these guys who should not be here in the first place? Mexico and other South American countries where most of these criminals come from would certainly object. Tough. If they refused, I’d get all the old parachutes in the possession of the military, strap them on the prisoners, fly them over Mexico (or wherever) and kick them out the back door of a C-130.

No immigration policy can work unless you stop the flow of illegals across the southern border. I’d immediately order the ATF forces that worked on drugs previously (when I get to drugs you will see why these guys are available), plus the National Guard and the Army if necessary to the southern border. To assist in stopping the flood of illegals, I would widely broadcast in Mexico that people caught trying to sneak in would not be eligible for the guest worker program.
Guest Worker Program: With some 12 million illegals living in the US at a cost of hundreds of billions of dollars annually in welfare, medical and school costs, it’s obvious that many need to be sent back. I would establish a guest worker program that gives preference (on a points system) to people who speak English, have a job and/or a home and have been in the US for a long period. I would give them a Social Security number and require them to pay taxes like everyone else. Any other illegals would be sent back and not allowed to apply for guest worker status. Those leaving voluntarily could apply for GW status in the future. Police and immigration officials must check for citizenship of all suspected illegals. For those haughty mayors who harbor illegals in their “sanctuary cities” I would order their immediate arrest.
While this program might cause some difficulty for wealthy southern California homeowners in getting cheap lawn care and house cleaning services, it would create jobs for inner city youth.
In recent years the US has restricted the number of highly educated immigrants from certain countries while favoring the uneducated and poor from undeveloped countries. I’d reverse that policy since the booming economy from the tax policies and the reining in of the predations by the lawyers would certainly vastly increase the demand for skilled workers.

OK. Time for lunch and a short nap. More after.


Filed under Dick, Dictator, Fishing

Blogging When the Sun Shines

I recently received an email from one of my three readers pointing out that I had not posted anything to my blog since June 11th. Time slips by quickly doesn’t it? Especially when the sun finally comes out. I do have several excuses. The first and principal one being sloth. It’s true. The less I have to do, the more difficult it seems to actually finish anything. Proof to the old saw, “If you want something done, give it to the busy guy.”

The other big reason is sunshine. We finally had some warm weather here in the Pacific NW after a dismal and cold spring. That means fishing and golf. Mid-June my pal, Rob, and I headed over the mountains to the BC interior for some serious fly-fishing at Corbett Lake. The trip got delayed a week when Rob’s 13 year old lab, Sedge, passed away. Sedge had been our lookout in the bow of the boat on past trips and it seemed prudent to give everyone a little time. He will be missed.
Corbett is a private lake loaded with big, fat rainbow trout. A highly productive lake with abundant insect hatches makes Corbett a perfect place for fly fishing and even the Holy Grail of trout nuts: dry fly fishing. The small cabins are, well, rustic. But, Peter the owner and chef puts out some decent dinners in the lodge. It won’t make the Orvis catalogue but serious fly fishermen from far and wide know big ‘bows lurk just off the weed beds ready to test the strength of your leader.
After the first day we figured out the program for ’08. Every day at 1:30 a mayfly hatch started on the shallow flats and the rainbows moved in for a late lunch. Some of the takes were vicious attacks while others quiet slurps. Big, pissed off fish! After breaking off several we both tied on heavier tippets. The action would be fast and furious for 10 minutes and then go quiet for a while before starting again. By 3:00pm, like someone had thrown a switch… it was over. Big fish too. We each landed several in the 4 to 5lb. range and one hog snapped Rob’s tippet like a rotten shoelace. He jumped twice near the boat giving us a good look. My guess: 8lbs. All catch and release, of course. Although on the last day I had a nice 3 pounder that was too injured to live and I brought him home for an appointment with my braising pan.
On July 4th son Mike and I flew to Winnipeg from Vancouver. The next morning at six we boarded a twin-engine turboprop for Hatchet Lake Lodge near the northern border of Saskatchewan (IOW, way an’ the Hell up there). It’s a trip I have wanted to take for a long time and I was not disappointed.
George Flemming built the place 35 years ago and wisely started catch and release well before it became fashionable. Consequently, the fishing is extraordinary for big northern pike, lake trout, walleyes and the rare grayling. George also managed to get a bulldozer in there by hauling it over the ice in winter and built a 6000’ gravel runway on a glacial ridge allowing serious land based aircraft access to this remote wilderness. Unfortunately, we did not get to meet George. He was in the hospital with the dreaded “Big C” and it did not sound like he would ever make it back to Hatchet Lake.
The main lodge is a massive log structure with a dining room capable of handling 50 guests (only 25 present during our stay), a bar and lounge, a tackle shop and a library. The out cabins, also made of logs, feature bedrooms, bath and living rooms. It’s still cold up there at night (and sometimes during the day) so the wood burning stove in the living room comes in handy. The lodge has its own electrical generating system and water system so you wouldn’t say we were exactly roughing it.
Days started at 5:30 when someone came by with a pot of coffee and threw a couple of logs in the stove. Breakfast at seven and with our Native guide we started fishing at 8:00.
Hatchet Lake itself is 20 miles long and 10 miles wide. Several lakes connect to Hatchet and you can access those lakes by portage or run the rapids, an exciting experience to say the least.
Dry fly fishing for grayling in these rapids can only be described as exceptional. These fish have become nearly extinct in the US and southern Canada. Mike and I were catching one on nearly every cast. Nice ones too. Beautiful fish!
Of course, the main attraction was big northern pike. When I say big, I’m talking about 15 to 20 pounders being relatively common. We caught at least a half dozen over 40” with Mike landing the biggest at 44”. It would not be an exaggeration to say that we caught over 200 pike. I wanted to catch them on my 8wt fly rod and got a few the first day before my fly got snagged in the net when Leonard, our guide, (who looked disturbingly like the sketch of Ted Kazinski … the Unabomber) landed Mike’s first big pike and the subsequent chaos in the back of the boat snapped the tip off my rod. So it was spinning gear and spoons. Since it stayed windy and cool most of the time and the pike were not in the shallows, fly-fishing would have been tough anyway.
On two of the days we opted for fly outs to remote lakes. The 15 or 20-minute hops offered a good view of the area and the vast amount of territory and the small amount of human interference with this wilderness. When we arrived at the lakes we found boats and motors waiting and once we took off we never saw the other fishermen until we returned to the landing to meet the floatplane at the end of the day.
Each day our guide would bonk a couple of smaller fish and prepare “shore lunch” consisting of fried fish fillets, potatoes with onions and heated cans of baked beans and corn. Not exactly Adkins Diet, but mighty tasty after a morning of fresh air. Sitting there on a rocky shore munching on a crispy piece of fish and watching an eagle making lazy circles high above…. well, as the man says, “It don’t get much better than this”. All in all, a fantastic trip.
Two days after returning from Hatchet, Loi and I took off on a road trip to the Okanogan, central British Columbia’s answer to Napa Valley. The ostensible purpose of the trip was to attend the anniversary party and pre-house warming of our Whistler neighbors, Tony and Barb. The party at their yet-to-be-completed home on the lake turned out to be a memorable affair. We had an opportunity to spend some time with our friends and get in a game of golf before a couple of days of touring this beautiful part of BC. The five-hour drive back through the mountains gave us a chance to reaffirm just how huge, beautiful and uninhabited our Province actually is.
So now we’re back in Whistler where the house and my golf swing needed some attention. I point all this out to my three faithful readers to confirm that, despite your suspicions, I have not been laying abed until mid day or spending my afternoons sucking beer in the shade. Not yet anyway.


Filed under Dick, Fishing, Mike