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Thursday, November 5, 2009

A Political Perspective For Those of Us Who Enjoy The Outdoors...


Truths and Not So True...

It was a sale that passed almost without notice, but last Friday, Cabelas (NYSE:CAB) sold their wildlife-art division, Wild Wings, LLC to RDE Acquisition Company, LLC. RDE is owned by a former executive officer of Wild Wings.

Wild Wings is one of the leading publishers, distributors and retailers of wildlife sporting and nostalgic Americana art prints and art-related products and represents more than 50 top North American wildlife artists.

"Wild Wings and its employees have been an integral part of Cabela's success over the last 10 years, and we are proud to have had them as part of our extended family," says Tommy Millner, Cabela's Chief Executive Officer. "With the sale to RDE Acquisition, we know Wild Wings will be in good hands. We wish them continued success and look forward to working with them in the future."

Cabela's will continue to sell Wild Wings products through storefronts, catalogs and online. The company says the sale was to remain consistent with Cabela's "strategy of focusing on core business operations."

Meanwhile, lots of phone calls yesterday regarding a rumored bankruptcy filing by The Pursuit Channel. Recently, Pursuit's been making lots of announcements regarding programming for 2010, so a bankruptcy filing rumor was creating lots of backchannel chatter, especially inside the cable television industry.

The rumor was true - sort of.

Pursuit Channel, the programming entity, is fine. In fact, insiders tell me it's "strong as new rope" and moving aggressively.

So why the confusion?

Because there have been more than one Pursuit Channel corporate entity. The bankruptcy filing was Pursuit Channel, LLC - the original corporate entity, not Pursuit Media, LLC - the current owner. According to Pursuit's Rusty Faulk, the original company had no assets, but some lingering liabilities the former owners wanted to settle once and for all...
So, the filing.

Corporate entities, especially when they're so closely associated, are confusing. But Faulk assures me everything is fine at Pursuit. I don't think I can get it much straighter from the horse's mouth, so that should settle one rumor.

As election results were coming in Tuesday night, it occurred to me that many of the people I've spoken with - and written about - in the past few weeks while crossing the country weren't exaggerating when they said they'd had enough.

I never took the comments from across the country as pent-up anger or even striking out over becoming increasingly disenfranchised or even being out of step with the times. Never even crossed my mind I might be hearing the last wheezing gasps of conservatism in the country.

That's what many of the "beltway experts" were saying - and have been saying about everything from TEA parties to town hall meetings where average people took the opportunity to speak out against proposed legislation they opposed. The experts' "take" on the statements of average people couldn't get beyond their belief they really are smarter than the rest of us.

Not being one of those smart guys, I look it at face value: average Americans saying they simply were not going to keep electing people to office who had proven - repeatedly- that what they said to get elected wasn't what they were going to do after they were in office.

On Monday, I said my travels over the past eight weeks had convinced me people were first going to try and make their displeasure known at the ballot box. Failing the message being delivered at that point, it sounded to me as if portions of the country were prepared to go for more direct measures.

Many of you wrote to echo that impression, and I apologize for having not written each of you personally. I can assure you, however, that you weren't -and still aren't - alone in your frustrations.

But you can be certain this first installment of your message to the incumbents has been delivered - loudly and clearly - despite the punditry to the contrary. If they choose to ignore the message you've sent, well, "stupid is as stupid does."

In Virginia, a virtual housecleaning of the top elected officials, despite the spinning of the political experts, sent a message.

Yet, one political observer said, "these elections mean nothing, we'll have a few minutes of soul-searching in the Democratic party, then go on as if nothing has happened." In other words, one election where supposedly unbeatable incumbents were beaten - handily- doesn't reverse the course of the country in the minds of the learned observers.

Bull. It sends some very clear messages: in Virginia, the message is that voters are tired of business-as-usual politics.

In New Jersey, the message isn't all political; it's rural New Jersey telling their cosmopolitan counterparts they are tired of being treated like bumpkins. They're also tired of being asked to foot the bill for the inability of state government to keep its hands out of consumer pockets.

And in each race across the country where established political machines have found themselves in the unfamiliar position of loser, regardless of party, the message is, essentially, the same: ignore the will of the people at your peril.

That's the message elections have always been meant to send.

---Jim Shepherd

Mr. Shepard publishes The Outdoor Wire, The Shooting Wirwe and The Tactical Wire.
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Best regards!

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