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tv   [untitled]  CSPAN  June 13, 2009 8:30am-9:00am EDT

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down, because he was -- he really did not look well at all, but somebody else noticed that he had a will to live, and intervened. and then somebody else thought, looks like he needs a drink, it was baking on the field that day, so they poured one of the -- one of the soldiers poured some hennessey into his hat and comanche quickly drank it up, and from that point on, became something of a drunk apparently. developed a fondness for booze. but drinking it enabled him to hobble back to a nearby steamer with the help of some of the soldiers, and he was retired with full honors and given the run of the base. you know, after the battle. and became kind of the sea biscuit of his era. he was celebrated as the lone
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survivor of the little big horn, which as i said of course was not true, but because custer had gone down there and this happened, a couple of days before july 4, it was the country's centennial, the country began to turn to comanche as the symbol of hope. well, maybe things aren't so bad, we have this lone survivor, the great war horse comanche, and he developed kind of a cult following and people would come to the base to visit him and so on and he would panhandle for booze and snacks, and although he had been retired, he somehow was pressed into service for the pack train that went to wounded knee. and at that terrible con flagration, one of the last to -- well, the last encounter between the lacota and cavalry,
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the one that kind of finished them off, he watched his longtime handler go down there and when he returned to the fort, he went into a deep depression and never came out of it, and died shortly after that. and you know the army was something of a bureaucracy even then, and there was a lot of argument over who should pick up the taxidermy tabbed and it was never determined and over the years, comanche -- i think i got a little bit ahead of myself. they had him stuffed and mounted and there was an argument over who would pick up the taxidermy tab and people began to shuttle him back and forth to various spectacles and fans would drive from, you know, miles and -- to
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pluck hair from his mane and tail and he was almost kind of a religious figure. finally, he ended up back at the university of kansas natural history museum, where he was initially stuffed and mounted. and today he resides in a glass case in his own room on the fourth floor of the museum. next to the panorama of north american mammals. he has a cult following among military history buffs and people drive for hundreds of miles to see him. in an age when many claim to whisper to horses, perhaps it's time to hear back from comanche himself. the great silent witness who was whispering back across the centuries, and through his transparent walls where treasure hunters can no longer take relics from the mane and tail that once flew in the wind of the great plains and of about that on the great horse desert where the call to boots and
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saddle was never heard. can i have a beer, he sang, anyone got a drink? after the massacre at wounded knee, the frontier had closed, the car at the turn of the 19th century, the car had been invented, the train was crisscrossing the continent, and the horse came to be viewed as a cash crop. many people started to see it as an animal that was obsolete. there were two million horses on the range at that time. i mean, imagine that, two million wild horses running the west. for the next 30 years or so, there, a period known as the era of the great removal ensued, and hundreds of thousands of horses were taken from the range in
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very cruel roundups, led by men who were known as mustangers, and a lot of these men became famous and they are pictured on the cover of "life" magazine and other periodicals, and they presented themselves as brave hunters who were tracking down outlaws and demons, and, you know, the horse was really out of control and had to go, that was the language that fills all the chronicles of that era, and it's interesting to me that as the west closed, the horse -- the animal without which we have no west and certainly no country, came to be deuponnized, even as it was pressed into service to reenact the at the same timing of the west by way of cruel rodeos, and so on. so i document these very
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horrific mustang expeditions that were carried out across the west during the early part of the 20th century. and we would have no wild horses today if it were not for an intrepid nevada character named wild horse annie, whose story i tell in my book. she's an amazing figure. one day on her way to work in 1950, she was driving down a highway outside reno, and she saw blood spilling out of a truck, and she followed it down a remote desert road and watched as injured and bloody mustangs were being offloaded at a rendering plant and she realized right then and there that all of these stories she had heard growing up about these terrible roundups and the cruelty that characterized them, all these
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stories she had heard were true. you know, you still hear them today in nevada, and i'll get into that in a few minutes, but things that are not unlike what she saw that day are still going on, and they're hard to believe unless you see it for yourself. but from that moment on, she spent the next 20 years fighting to preserve wild horses and burrows too and she went right back to her office. she worked as an insurance secretary and she started pounding out letters on her old royal portable typewriter, remember those, and she must have gone through like hundreds and thousands of miles of typewriter ribbon over the yea years, because through her efforts, there were four bills passed to protect our wild horses. she did it first on the local level, where a lot of the mustanging was taking place in
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nevada and she did it once on the state level and through her letter writing campaign, which over time, picked up a lot of steam and was reaching people around the world, she got legislation passed and signed in the 1950's on the federal level and then in 1971, the big bill that exists to a degree today, the wild free roaming horse and burrow act was signed into law by richard nixon, and i describe the ceremony in my book at the rose garden, it was a beautiful moment and he -- he gave an eloquent speech on behalf of wild horses, quoting thoreau in the process, if you can picture that. here's a president who of course don't get no respect, but you know, in modern times, of all the presidents we've had, save for the past four or five administrations, he really was the one true friend of our wild
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horse, not ronald reagan,, you know, our great equestrian president. not george w. bush, the guy with the ranch. it was richard nixon who spoke out most eloquently on behalf of wild horses, and was really not since u.s. grant was something of a horse whisperer himself. he used to dress down salters and you his command in the civil war for mistreating horses. it was not since u.s. grant that a president had spoken out on behalf of wild horses. so since 19 is it 1, that bill has been the law that protects our wild horses, but people have been trying to unravel it since then. and something i discovered after i began looking into the massacre that i mentioned earlier, is that in the american west, a bizarre war is under
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foot. it is a variation of the old range wars of the 19t 19th century, and it is waged by stockman and sage brush rebels, with copies of the second amendment tucked into their back pocket and it is backed by republicans and democrats and a federal agency that circumvent the wild free roaming horses and burrows act of 1971. along with small town officials who march to the great american battle cry, don't tread on me. their target is the wild horse, and the war rages most intensely in nevada, where more than 50% of the country is remaining mustangs still roam. most of our mustangs are in nevada at this point because it's the state that has the most hiding places. it's a beautiful state with a lot of really extreme terrain. if i had to hide, that's where i'd go, and as these sew rains roundups that i talked about earlier, the ones that were
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amped up in the beginning of the 20th century began to be carried out, our country's wild horses began to move into the most remote pockets of wilderness and that's how they ended up in nevada. in my book, i document some of the roundups that still go on today. so now they're legal and they're carried out by federal agencies, primarily the bureau of land management, which is in charge of looking after our wild horse populations and because the corporate cattle industry would like to see mustangs removed from our public lands, they regard wild horses as animals that steal food from cows, which also graze on public lands. the bureau of land management has been removing many, many,
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many horses over the years, and a lot of these horses are funneled into the government's adopt a horse program and through that program, some of them end up in good homes, some of them end up going into service with various law enforcement agencies, some are picked up by the u.s. marine mounted color guard for service in their ceremonies, but plenty of others unfortunately fall through the cracks, and end up at the slaughter house. that's one part of this ongoing war against the wild horse. and the other part is this massacre that i mentioned earlier, and that as i found out during my research, unfortunately hasn't been the only one over the years, and there are various lone operators who like to go out into the wilderness and whack wildlife, including wild horses and often what happens is authorities look
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the other way because the horse has been so deuponnized and there are -- demonized and there are certain constituencies which would like to see our great partner removed from the range. to kind of take a closer look at this dark side of our war against the wild horse, i've been -- i have visited the massacre site in the virginia range several times. and i've gone out there with a couple of the women who are often called to the site of these incidents, and they run a sanctuary in carson city called wild horse spirit, they rescue abandoned and wounded and wild mustangs and they, meaning kellyanne bobby have been my guides into this area for quite some time.
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so i want to read this passage about a recent trip of mine up into the virginia range. we had arrived and we parked near the site and walked up a rise. it was springtime and the stands of sage were puffy with rain and fragrance. except for our footsteps, it was quiet. the horse, intact hoofs and manes and at the same times were still there, forever preserved in the dry mojave air. there was a pair of leg bones and they were crossed as if running in repose. they were as pure of white as you will ever see, polished and did a rested and battered by the winds of the great basin, radiating almost a reverse silhouette of wildness, paralyzed in time. betty knew exactly which horse this was and had told me about her on her first visit to the site. she was horse number one in the court record or hope, as she and bobby had named her. the one who had prompted the phone call from animal chrome. -- control.
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she had probably been here for a day or two betty recalled and as she continued, it was like a prayer. she was lying in the sand, she had dug a small hole with her front legs, intermittently trying to get up. i knew the story well and in bearing witness, there was comfort and then betty's voice trailed off and we walked on. after a wile, we came across the horse known in the nevada court system as number four. like the others, bobby and betty gave him a name. it was alevin. he was the one who was shot in the chest and whose eye was mutilated with a fire extinguisher. his carcass, the barrel of his chest was kicked and blown clean by time, wind and critter, looted always in the great white open. his spine was vanish, but still flush against the sands. there was a stallion watching us that day, betty had told me long ago. now reciting the rest of the prayer. just standing at the perimeter, as we found each dead horse, with the sun went down and we
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got if our cars, he trotted on down the road. his family had been wiped out, but we still didn't know how bad it was. as i walked the site this time, i saw that someone or something, maybe a coyote or perhaps the weather, had moved a few of the large stones in the cross under a juniper tree, that betty had made on the one year anniversary. but it was still very much a cross and i decided that a natural forest had disturbed the stone. a person who wanted to vandalize the scene would have done more damage. and then i discovered something new, an empty box of winchester cartridges, lodged between the branches of another juniper tree. i think it's time to go, i said, but as we walked back to the pickup, there came a wonderful site. a few horses down from a rise. since the massacre, betty rarely saw them in the canyon and they had visited it several times a year, as a kind of groundskeeper for the kill site.
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on my visits, i had not seen any horses either, nor had i seen any half prints, which made me think that they had been avoiding the area, because in the desert, tracks last for a very long time. the horses that approached were brown with black manes, the justify any and beautiful nevada horses that nobody asked for at the adoption centers. we stopped if our tracks and watched temperature and they watched -- them and they watched us back. after a wile, we bid them farewell. as i headed down the mountain, i took one more look. they were reclaiming their home. and in the higher elevations of the nevada desert and in certain pockets across the west, mustangs still roam, unfettered in pretty herds, each herd with its own story. the little book cliff in colorado, in idaho, the hal cha. the mustangs at havasu, gallop,
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grazing, trying to make more of their own. pawing through the ice in winter to scrounge for forest. appearing in the backyards of the new leva towns that are recommend kiting across the desert, -- replicating across the desert. spreading seed so new grasses can grow, stopping for a drink, trying to cross highways, trappers running from bullets, on they go, but for how much longer, we cannot say. they really belong not to man, will james wrote, but to that country of junipers and sage of deeofdeep arroyos and mesas. now i just want to show you one picture. can you all see this? this is bug, the horse that survived the christmas massacre. outside reno in 1998.
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this is a picture of her taken last june. i had been visiting with her as you can tell, she's about 11 years old now, and she's just the sweetest and most big hearted horse i've ever met. i thought you might like to meet her. she's a spiritual and historical descendescendant of comanche, ae horses that are still running the west today, there are pain at most, 20,000 of them, are, you know, they are our heritage, and they have a right to be here in america. this is their land and without them, we would not be here, america would not exist. so i would just like to leave you with that thought and this image of bug and i'd be happy to take any of your questions and
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to you about what's going on with wild horse protection and what you can do to get involved and try to help them if you'd like. thank you for coming. [applause] >> we actually have a couple of moments that we can take questions from the audience. anybody have any questions? >> can i ask you all a question? do any of you have horses? what kind do you have? morgan. have you heard at all about the wild horse situation? yeah. what state are you? [inaudible] >> oh.
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[inaudible] >> well, horses move very quickly between the domestic and the wild and they will -- there aren't any wild herds in illinois for them to hook up with, but if there were, they would do it very quickly. the horse is an amazing creature that way. it doesn't take much. he is our great partner, as you know, i've been talking about. but -- and the horse that's kind of a strange role on this planet, you know, scientists have found that there's a space behind his teeth and there's only one thing -- one thing that fits into that space and that's a bit, so it's almost as if the horse involved in sync with human kind in order to help us create civilization, but look at the martyred role that it's played over time. but they address this issue of
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horses being dumped because of the economy. you know, there are some people who use that as an argument to reopen the country's slaughterhouses and personally, i'm not in favor of that, and i think that if people can't afford to take care of their horses, they should try to investigate sanctuaries, which of course are beleaguered these days, but are stepping up to take them in. a horse is like any member of the family and not to be jetsoned with things get tough. i would like to mention a new bill on the house floor, it's h.r.-1018, which seeks to expand the 1971 law that i mentioned earlier, and it has been rolled back in recent years, and it would ban helicopter roundups, among many other wonderful things that it proposes to do
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and i will urge everybody to call your representatives and ask them to get behind it, because as it stands now, you know, we are on the brink of losing our great partner, you know, the greatest icon of freedom that we've ever known, it's about to head over the american stage, and to me, if we can't save the wild horse, what does that say about us as americans? i think that, you know, that's the book that -- the big question my book explores. we are a cowboy nation and we're betraying the horse we rode in on. any other comments or -- ok. thank you all. see you over at the book store. tanks a lot for coming -- thanks a lot for coming. [applause] >> deann stillman is the author of 29 palms, a true story of murder, marines, and the mojave. ms. stillman has written for the "new york times," the village
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voice, and on-line publications, salon and slate. she began researching mustangs 10 years ago after several dozen were killed outside of reno, nevada. for more information, visit deann stillman.com. :
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>> we're at bookexpo america in new york city, the booth for regnery publishing with marjorie ross. what do you have coming out this season. >> we're actually very excited about several of our books for summer and fall, and, of course, it's good time to be a conservative publisher in washington, d.c. because there's a lot to talk about. our first book i'll tell you about is a book by repeat best-selling author michelle malkin, and it's called culture of corruption. it's probably the first anti-obama book coming from any publisher, and we think it's going to be very, very big.
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she's done a real investigative reporter's job of looking at president obama, who he's brought in to work with him, who's come from the corrupt city of chicago and what they're up to. and i think the story she's going to tell is that unlike the promise of change and maybe some reform in washington, government is up to the same old tricks, and you're not going to like what you hear when you hear about what's happening in the halls of government. >> another book coming out this fall by dinesh d'souza, life after death. tell us about that. >> another great best-selling author for regnery, his last book was called what's so great about christianity? and this was a counterargument to all the antigod books that had come out years ago, dawkins and hitchens had been talking about there was no rational basis for believing in god, and
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dinesh d'souza said, well, quite the opposite, there's a rational reason for believing in god, this book takes up where that book left off. why it makes perfect sense, logical sense to believe in heaven, the afterlife, miracles and things that are not particularly consistent with the atheist point of view. and he takes a very logical, rational approach to proving why it makes more sense to believe in the afterlife than to dismiss it as a fairy tale. >> finally, mark furman, the murder business. >> another regnery best-selling author. he did his very first book with us about 1 years -- 12 years ago. of course, that was the brook that -- book that broke open the o.j. simpson murder case. he's come back to regnery with a very, very interesting book. he's, of course, best known as
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an analyst of crime, and he has solved a lot of the biggest crimes that we have seen. he is a fox news contributor, he talks a lot about crime and justice and detective work on tv. this book is probably a media-biased book. the media's role both complicit and accomplice in solving crimes, but also in our sort of obsession with crime as entertainment. and his point is that we have probably gone too far in treating crime as entertainment and reality tv and how that gets in the way of solving crimes of investigators and police detectives doing their job and what it means if -- for us as a society. should be a very interesting book and hopefully another good best seller for regnery. >> marjory ross, thanks so much. >> thank you very much. a pleasure to see you. >> up next, bill ayers,
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distinguished professor of education and senior university scholar at the university of illinois at chicago and founder of both the small schools workshop and the center for youth and society. he joins booktv for an in depth interview from the printer's row lit fest in chicago. >> host: bill ayers, in your book "to teach," you talk about teachers having a moral choice. what is that moral choice? >> guest: i think that teaching is profoundly ethical work, and the moral choice is to take the side of the students, see them as three-dimensional people with hearts and minds and spirits, and to see yourself as somebody who is in the position of shepherding the choices of others. and that gives you a very profound, i think, ethical responsibility. so part of it is to see the students whole, to see them as human beings, not as little inteha

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