Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Proposal to transfer federal lands to state ownership divisive, and debated

Whether debated over a steaming cup of coffee in a rural café or deliberated in the chambers of the Montana Capitol, the transfer of federal lands to state or private ownership has become a divisive political issue from Eureka to Ekalaka. Proponents and many opponents of a transfer argue that the state outperforms the federal government in management of public lands, and that the wood products industry needs more access to national forests for timber and other natural resource development. Escalating the debate was the Montana Republican Party’s June 2014 resolution making support for the land transfer an official party platform. The language in the resolution calls for a timely and orderly transfer, with government officials working in concert and providing resources to state and local governments to manage the lands, said one of the state’s major supporters of a transfer, Sen. Jennifer Fielder, R-Thompson Falls. The resolution also eliminates any sale of transferred lands without the consent of Montana’s citizens, she said. “I think the resolution is very thoughtful, filled with fact and the belief that Montanans can do a lot better than the federal government managing our lands,” Fielder said. “What right does the federal government have to control 80 percent of Mineral County? The fundamental question is do we want more federal control of Montana or do we want less?” Fielder chairs the SJ-15 working group under the Environmental Quality Council. The working group studies federal management of public lands, and makes recommendations to the Legislature on solutions to management shortfalls. Similar committees examining federal land issues have convened in Utah, Idaho, Wyoming and Nevada. SJ-15 studied a variety of management solutions like better coordination between federal and county governments, but extensive discussion and testimony about a land transfer garnered the most statewide attention...more

Estimates: State management of federal lands could cost Montana $500M

Determining the cost to the state of Montana to take over management of roughly 25 million acres of federal land within its borders is no easy task, but a back-of-the-envelope calculation puts such a deal at close to half a billion dollars. “There’s a whole new sector of land management that would be needed to manage public lands,” said John Grassy, information officer for the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation. “We’re being asked to project how we would staff and program an additional 25 million acres. It’s something we’ve never done before.” Despite the difficulties, the DNRC is still trying to come up with some figures, possibly by this fall. Gov. Steve Bullock has made it clear that he does not endorse a takeover of federal lands in Montana, calling such public property the birthright of state residents. But the Montana Republican Party in June endorsed such a move, including it as one of the planks of its platform. The GOP resolution states, among other things, that such a takeover would benefit Montana residents by allowing a larger timber harvest and clearing forests of fuels that are now burning in historically large wildland fires – thereby creating jobs and reducing air pollution; increase access to public lands, especially for motorized users; and give local governments a greater say in land management in their counties. The state of Utah, which has been leading the federal land takeover charge in the West, has excluded tribal lands, national parks and wilderness areas from its proposed takeover. Given that Montana has about 3.4 million acres of designated wilderness, then the amount of federal land the state might lay claim to is about 21.6 million acres. The BLM also manages about 37.8 million subsurface acres for mineral, oil and gas extraction. The DNRC oversees management of 5.1 million acres, so in acreage alone if the DNRC were to take on the responsibility of Forest Service and BLM land, its workload would increase fourfold...more

Cost of educating new class of illegal immigrant minors estimated at over $760M

A new report puts the price of educating the thousands of illegal immigrant children who recently crossed into the U.S. at a whopping $761 million this school year -- as some school systems push for the feds to pick up the tab. The estimate comes from the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), which issued a report on the 37,000 “unaccompanied minors” – who mainly are from Central America – after analyzing data from the Department of Health and Human Services and education funding formulas in all 50 states. The numbers underscore the concerns critics have raised for months about the burden the surge is putting on local school systems and governments. “We’re not doing American students any favors by dumping in tens of thousands of additional illegal alien children,” FAIR’s Bob Dane told Fox News. The report breaks down the costs by state. The biggest impact reportedly will be seen in California, Texas, Florida and New York. The Empire State leads the list with a bill of more than $147 million. Immigrant rights groups, though, say it’s a small price to pay for helping kids in need...more

‘Militarization’ Critics Want to Review a Pentagon Program After Ferguson. But Police Get Gear This Way, Too.

President Obama has led a chorus of cries for a review of a Pentagon program supplying “excess” weaponry and equipment to state and local police following events in Ferguson, Mo., but it turns out that another federal agency is a major player behind the “militarization” trend. The Department of Homeland Security offers grants designed to increase the preparedness of state, county and local law enforcement agencies in the event of a terrorist attack or other hazards. Besides equipment, the grants cover planning, organization, training and exercise. In fiscal year 2014, DHS awarded more than $1 billion in “homeland security grants” to states and local governments through three channels: the State Homeland Security Program, the Urban Areas Security Initiative and Operation Stonegarden. Missouri participates in the first two. The Show-Me State first signed up for the State Homeland Security Program in October 2003, Mike O’Connell, communications director for the Missouri Department of Public Safety, told The Daily Signal. More than three dozen jurisdictions around the nation got grants in fiscal 2014 under DHS’ Urban Areas initiative, David Inserra, an expert in homeland security at The Heritage Foundation, told The Daily Signal. Cities are picked through an analysis of “relative risk of terrorism.”...more

Having solved all other problems, Obama to fix your dishwasher

by Jazz Shaw

I guess he really was multitasking out on the golf course. The President’s team has been hard at work behind the scenes, coming up with a strategy … well, maybe we should say plan, to address the nation’s many challenges.
Spurred by President Obama’s climate action plan, the Department of Energy is pumping out new standards for refrigerators, dishwashers, air conditioners, ceiling fans, furnaces, boilers, water heaters, lamps and many more appliances. The administration says the standards will not only help the planet but also stimulate the economy by saving consumers money on their energy bills that they can spend elsewhere.
After what we’ve been through with energy regulations, you’d think the administration would be at least a little hesitant to leap in for another grab at that brass ring. I mean, won’t a sudden raft of new requirements for the products everyone has to purchase have some, er… unintended consequences? William Teach seems to have been thinking along the same lines.
While the rules may save a bit of energy (and there is nothing wrong with that, though it should be the consumer choice, not Government Mandate), it will also drive up the cost of the appliances/devices, which will harm the lower and middle classes.
Apparently this was obvious to everyone except the White House...more

How much is the Department of Interior spending on conferences? Don’t ask the Department of Interior

A new report released Thursday says the Department of Interior is not tracking the money it spends on conferences, and is failing to report conference costs publicly, a violation of the Obama administration’s own policy. The department’s Office of Inspector General’s report noted that the White House Office of Management and Budget has set out rules for conference spending, but said the Department of Interior isn’t following them at all. “We found that DOI provides OMB and the public with estimated expenses rather than actual costs because actual conference expenditures are not tracked,” it said. “As a result, DOI cannot effectively determine if conference or travel expenses have been reduced and, thus, if it has met OMB’s policy guidance to control costs.” In 2011, OMB required federal agencies to ensure a senior-level person reviewed and approved all conferences with expenses above $100,000, and prohibited spending on $500,000 for any single conference. Details on all conferences above $100,000 must be reported publicly. The OIG warned in 2012 that the Department of Interior was not prepared to track this spending, something that is still true today. “We found that DOI was inadequately prepared to accurately track and monitor its conferences and related expenses as required by public law and OMB policy guidance,” it said...more

They can't manage the lands they are responsible for and they can't track federal funds for which they are also responsible.  Do we really need these clowns?

The High Cost of Climate-Change Politics

By Anthony J. Sadar

“Environmental science is a contentious and intensely politicized field,” as the late Michael Crichton correctly noted in his 2004 best-selling novel State of Fear.  And, without a doubt, one particular subset of environmental science - climate science - has been intensely politicized.

Today, the politics of change is investing heavily in a climate of fear.  Based on faulty climate model predictions, the Administration is employing social engineering to grind ahead with a program to crush coal use. Coal and other fossil fuels relied upon for power generation are proffered as scary because they supposedly cause “dirty weather” and other global warming hobgoblins to materialize around the world.

But, although the administration defers to the “settled,” “consensus” view that increased carbon dioxide emissions from power plants will cause global temperatures to rise dramatically, that rise has dramatically not happened for more than 15 years.  Nor is it likely to happen any time in the next few decades, because water vapor, ocean circulations, and solar activity play a dominant role in climate regulation.

Regardless, essential power-generation jobs in the U.S. will be lost over the Administration's obsessive actions based on the dubious climate claim. And, so will relief for those in desperate need of low-cost abundant fossil-fuel energy worldwide.

Right now, there’s a billion-dollar bonanza in government funding for climate-change research, education and reeducation, engineering and reengineering, and state and local government programs.  Heaps of public dollars are ready for the taking for anyone willing to help the feds continue generating and fine-tuning the gloomy “gospel” that preaches “The end is near for low-cost, home-grown, abundant energy use.”  Furthermore, financing is readily available for subsequently fixing a climate problem that doesn’t exist with solutions that don’t work.

Forest Service publishes detailed instructions on how to safely roast marshmallows

The U.S. Forest Service on Friday published a nearly 700-word article on how to safely roast marshmallows, all in preparation for Saturday, which is National Roasted Marshmallow Day. As one might expect, the article is riddled with safety tips that might make you think twice about even carrying matches into the forest at all, let alone actually igniting a marshmallow and putting your family’s life at risk. “First, let’s talk safety,” the article says. “Never start a campfire when there are fire restrictions in place. The restrictions are put in place for your safety and for the safety of others.” It also warns that children should be given a stern talking-to before any of the “fun” begins. “Some experts advocate a 10-foot rule between young children and a campfire,” it reads. “For more information about campfire safety, let Smokey Bear guide you.” Finally, the article gets down to “marshmallow basics,” and starts by recommending the use of a roasting stick “of at least 30 inches.” That’s two and a half feet, or about half as long or more as the children roasting the marshmallows. The article doesn’t recommend a maximum length for a roasting stick...more

Is Michelle Obama running the Forest Service?

The Forest Service admits that most people use roasted marshmallows to make s’mores, and even offers detailed instructions for making one. But it then suggests ways to make s’mores healthy. “Think fruit,” it suggests without any hint that it’s joking around. “Grill thin slices of pineapple and substitute chocolate for the sweet, warm fruit,” it reads. “You will still get a tasty treat but by substituting with fruit, it is healthier – as long as you watch the amount of marshmallows used. If you want to cut down even more on calories, try using slices of angel food cake instead of graham crackers.” It offers several other ideas, a possible sign that even the U.S. Forest Service has been caught up in First Lady Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” campaign.And if a whole marshmallow is a little too much for your overweight kids, the article suggests scrapping the whole idea of roasting marshmallows, and instead using marshmallow creme out of a jar. “Put a piece of fruit on a roasting stick, dip quickly in the crème and roast over indirect heat until a delicious golden brown,” it says. “You’re still having campfire fun, but the focus is on a healthier evening snack.”



The man who tried to shut down a kid’s lemonade stand is now under investigation

A Florida man who became an Internet villain after his quest to shut down a child’s lemonade stand went viral is now under investigation for potentially running an unlicensed home business. Doug Wilkey, 61, has contacted city officials in Dunedin at least four times in the past two years in an attempt to get law enforcement to shut down the lemonade stand operated by his young neighbor, T.J. Guerrero. Wilkey’s complaint, the Tampa Bay Times reported last weekend, is that the lemonade stand is an “‘illegal business’ that causes excessive traffic, noise, trash, illegal parking and other problems that reduce his property values.” CNN said the city sent a community police officer to look into the complaints, which came only from Wilkey. But after speaking to neighbors, the city concluded that the stand run by Guerrero, who is 12, wasn’t really an issue. Well. The city of Dunedin’s planning director is finally going to give a robust response to Wilkey’s complaints — except probably not in the way he’d hoped, the Tampa newspaper reported in a follow-up story. “(Wilkey’s) not following the rules either, or doesn’t seem to be,” planning director Greg Rice told the Times. Wilkey uses his home address for a business he runs, according to the Times. An anonymous individual brought this to the attention of Rice, who told the paper that he’s in the process of writing a letter to Wilkey, informing him that he needs to purchase a business license and sign an affidavit in order to operate a business within Dunedin city limits. If he doesn’t comply with the ordinance he seems to be violating, Wilkey potentially faces a daily fine, the Times reported...more

How New York’s New Gun Control Law Is Working Out (Hint: Not Great)

Which state has the largest National Rifle Association chapter in the nation? No, it’s not Texas. As a matter of fact, it’s not located anywhere near the Wild West or the south. The answer is New York.
In just one year, the New York State Rifle & Pistol Association saw its membership almost double – from 22,000 to 41,000.   The National Rifle Association credits the increase to the “Safe Act” (Safe Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act), one of the strictest gun control laws in the country, hurriedly pushed through by Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the state legislature in 2013 following the Newtown, Conn., school shootings. The NRA says the law is “a largely cosmetic legislative offering” that “instantly turned hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers into potential felons.” Interestingly, very similar to other legislation that was rammed through with little time for lawmakers or the public to analyze (such as Obamacare), the state is providing no numbers on how many people are complying with the law (probably because the numbers are very low), and courts and other government officials have either overturned, suspended or refused to enforce various elements of the law. All to say that evidence to suggest the law is working or making New York safer is hard to find. Unfortunately, there are indicators the law has affected New York in a negative way. Last week, 105 workers were laid off at Remington Arms, one of the largest employers in upstate New York. In February, when Remington announced it would be opening a new plant in Alabama one of Cuomo’s “spokesguys” (that is how he describes himself on his Twitter page) said that “no Remington jobs are leaving NY.” This was Rich Azzopardi’s full tweet from February 15: “Some are misinformed, others gleefully spreading misinformation, but to be clear, no Remington jobs are leaving NY.” Sounds like the only folks who turned out to be “misinformed” and “spreading misinformation” are the folks in Cuomo’s office...more

'Miracle' breaks through in Futurity

After having qualified for all three futurity races this season at Ruidoso Downs, J & M Racing and Farm's Jm Miracle finally delivered on all that promise. Under a perfect ride from Ramon Sanchez, the Oklahoma-bred son of Volcom posted a stirring win in Monday's $2.6 million All American Futurity in front of a capacity crowd on closing day of the 2014 racing season at Ruidoso Downs. Jm Miracle, bred by P.K. Thomas and trained by Umberto Belloc, broke sharply from the three post, dueled for the lead with railsitter Apollitical Blood early in the 400-yard dash. After putting that one away, he dueled with Bodacious Eagle further down the lane before gradually inching clear to post the win as the sixth choice in the wagering at odds of 7.40-1. "He warmed up pretty good, but he was a little excited in the gate, turning his head and looking around," said Sanchez. "He got settled down ,and he got quiet. We got the lead about the middle way. And after that he finished strong." Jm Miracle ran the 440 yards in a fast time of 21.38 seconds, finishing a half-length in front of Mad About The Moon and jockey Sergio Becerra, Jr., who rallied late to earn the place, a neck in front of Sam Crow and rider Ricky Ramirez. Rounding out the order of finish was Apollitcal Blood, followed by Bodacious Eagle, post-time favorite Exquisite Stride, Tempting Destiny, Thunderball B with This Fire Is Cold finishing last. Im a Fancy Pyc was scratched earlier in the day. For Belloc and the J & M Racing Farm stables, Monday was a banner day, winning both the All American Futurity, and earlier in the day, the $100,000 All American Juvenile with Jm Specialwynn. The win in the All American was a particularly satisfying one for the connections. Having earned his way into the Ruidoso Futurity on June 8, then the Rainbow Futurity on July 20 and coming up short on both occasions, Jm Miracle easily picked up the biggest win in his six-race career...more

Ranch Radio Song Of The Day #1283

We missed Swingin' Monday so we'll have a Swingin' Tuesday.  I found out last night my 94 year-old Mother likes Dale Watson, so here he is with South Of Round Rock, Texas. The tune is on his 1995 CD Cheatin' Heart Attack


Texting Southern Style

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Cowgirl Sass & Savvy

Modern medicine in the cowboy world

by Julie Carter

I once told a story about a blind yearling calf that, in the middle of the pasture, loaded up in the stock trailer on his own. I knew the doubters would come running but what surprised me was where the doubt was directed.

Not at the event itself -- the calf actually ending up in the trailer and the three cowboys with ropes but no horses were as surprised as anyone. One of them was sporting recent shoulder surgery and could be of no help except to claim credit for parking the pickup and trailer at a perfect angle.

One skeptic said he suspected the influence of Crown Royal or at the very minimum, an anesthesia overdose not-yet-worn-off the cowboy sporting the $27,000 shoulder surgery. He called that the second lie. “Greg wouldn’t spend $27,000 on shoulder surgery,” he said. “He won’t spend that on a truck.”

This led to group reflection on cowboys and medicine.

Cowboys are sometimes the biggest babies—too tough to take the doc’s advice or medication but world class at moaning and groaning for the 90-mile-drive back to the ranch. It’s not unusual for the Mrs. to grab the pain pill bottle saying “Give me those blasted pills! One of us needs to feel better.”

Most cowboys will sell their soul to get a body part fixed so they can go back out and do whatever it was they did to hurt it in the first place. And first, always, they will self-medicate with an assortment of over-the-counter offerings even if that counter is at the local honky tonk.

Jeff, on the wise-side of his fifth decade, had a stout three-year old colt buck him off resulting in an emergency room visit. This was followed by time spent with triage nurses, doctors, radiology technicians, family practice physicians, orthopedic specialists and a bona fide physical therapist.

His wife carried a dictionary around to translate their diagnosis, prognosis, treatment protocols, medication and device advice. This was followed by a barrage of bills in the mailbox that took a fair amount of accounting expertise to decipher.

The real problem at hand was getting to the cure. His actual diagnosis was Type 2 acromioclavicular separation, as in “hurt shoulder.” That made logical sense as that is where he landed. If he had just had the foresight to find a soft spot to land all this could have, in theory, been avoided.

Each of the specialists, with a serious direct eye-to-eye gaze, told him to wear the immobilization device. We call that a splint. They advised he not lift anything including his arm and it would be six weeks before he move anything except his lips to moan.

Next was the electric stimulation to the muscles to facilitate healing and a very dedicated physical therapist determined to bring wellness no matter the pain level. In a moment’s time the cowboy was promoted from complete immobility to lifting weights over his head.

A series of repetitive moves with pulleys, weights and other devices ensued, moving the cowboy into a realm of exercises he couldn’t have done before the accident, let alone while on injured reserve.

The cowboy declared there was nothing about roping that was as physically hard as what the therapist had him doing. So he went home from therapy, saddled his horse and roped a pen of steers just because he could.

Hee Haw’s multi-talented Archie Campbell played many rolls on the 60s-70s variety TV program, one of which was the leering doctor giving sage advice to his patients that would hold true still today.  “If it hurts when you do that, don’t do that.”

Julie can be reached for comment at jcarternm@gmail.com.

A bunch of heifers and a future

School House Pasture
A bunch of heifers and a future
Prince Albert tins
By Stephen L. Wilmeth

            The empty Prince Albert tobacco tin was the clue.
            Dusty and I were coming down the main drainage of Brock Canyon just west from his headquarters when we saw it. The conversation immediately shifted to Albert Wilmeth.
‘Mr. Wilmeth’ left an esoteric legacy among the circle who knew him. Prince Albert tins were a lingering part of it. For years after he was gone and Dusty had acquired the School House allotment, he or others would occasionally find one of those rusting tins. Most of them were found where they were tossed when the tin was emptied and the last cigarette was rolled. Others were found and used as chats with notes in a pile of rocks signifying a mining claim.
            I can remember the process very well. Rain or shine, hot or cold, still or in a spring wind, he would reach for his makings. He would tear off a piece of paper and put the rest back. He’d crease the wrap in his left hand and then reach for the Prince Albert in his jumper. Never pulling the horse up, he’d tap the tobacco out, spread it, lick the paper and spin it into a perfect roll.
He’d then reach for a match and strike it across his Levis. If the wind was blowing, he’d use his jumper as a windbreak.
I loved the smell of those freshly lit cigarettes.
            I can’t remember what Dusty and I did with the tin that day. I wish I had kept it. It would mean a lot to me, and … it would certainly prompt memories.
“Time to jingle, son”
            That nudge was from Grandpa Albert and the clock in the front of the house would have just chimed 5:15.
Indeed, time to jingle and that meant gathering the horses. In our vernacular, it was simply, horses. That meant the dozen or so horses that were kept in the pasture that ran between the headquarters on the west side of the Mangus and across the creek to the filling station at Mangus Springs.
            I never dreaded waking. It was always a thrill to be on the cusp of making a ride. The only regret I have now is not spending yet more time with Grandpa. Perhaps that is now impacted by the desire to converse with him in terms of years of experience as opposed to being a kid that just wanted to follow him around horseback.
            The sweet smell of predawn greeted us as we walked to the barn.
            We talked sparingly. Grandpa was not a great detail communicator. He would keep you between the posts, but he would make you work most things out by yourself. Other than catching the horse on which we jingled, that meant catching your own day horse. That meant throwing your own saddle. That meant figuring out how to do what he told you to do.
            As you got your saddle and pads out of the barn, he’d be off into the dark to catch the lone horse “kept up” for the purpose of gathering the horses those mornings. That one time he’d throw the saddle, and, when we were little, he’d boost us into the saddle.
            He’d walk with you to the gate, open it, and then … you were on your own.
            The gather was an experience of immense freedom. The predawn, the cool morning, the feel of the fresh horse, the anticipation of the inevitable run back to the corral, and the responsibility were learning experiences few ten year old and younger kids could fathom today. Wrapped in the security of that little silver horned saddle, all the tools of making a young cowboy were brought to bear.
It was exhilarating.
            The order of business that day was to move replacement heifers from the windmill trap to School House pasture. After eating breakfast, we were saddled and gone promptly at 7:00. Goofus, the sorrel gelding, was mine for the day. Jack was bowed up and walking sideways under Grandpa as we left the corral. We were in full ranch regalia that morning. We were going to be in the brush for part of the ride and leggins’ were the order.
            Grandpa would have a hard time striking a match across his split hide batwings. He’d have to strike them under the nail of his right thumb.
            I was always told it was exactly one mile to the windmill in the windmill trap. We made the ride without ever letting the horses trot. By the time we got there and started gathering, both horses were reaching and walking. That was the mandatory rule of horsemanship with my grandfather. He could get as much out of a horse as anybody I ever saw. Even at the end of hard days, he still had a horse under him. He taught you those things without ever saying anything.
            The heifers were heifers.
            Like young girls that didn’t know whether they were still little girls or women, they simply reacted to the herd responses. Days like that taught me something Grandpa didn’t. I don’t recall him ever putting older cows with his weaned calves. We now believe the influence of an older cow that knows the country and has been with those home grown replacements is a stabilizing factor. The calves won’t be as silly and unpredictable with a nurse cow.
            The first quarter mile was fast and furious. It was the right stuff for ten year old cowboys who have been exposed to a few runoff cattle.
            The climb out of the trap helped settle the cattle, and, by the time we topped out, we had things in pretty good order. There was still little talking as our attention was on the calves and the expectation that the descent down the other side would present another challenge of holding them up and together.
            When they did try to run, Grandpa got them headed and I kept the drags up and close. By the time we hit the extended canyon bottom off the other side of the divide, we had them lined out and acting like young ladies. It was then time for a bit of conversation back and forth.
            The cut in the bottom of the canyon along the two tracked road helped split the herd and I was coming down the left side of the drive across the cut from the rest of the calves and Grandpa. There was order, though, and we let the calves set their own pace.
            “What are you going to do with your life, Stevie?” he asked out of the blue.
            I suppose my delayed reaction was typical of that ten year old. He asked me again and there was insistence in his demeanor.
            “I am going to be a cowboy just like you, Grandpa”, was my natural inclination and reaction on a day like that one.
His response was not at all like I had expected. He was very negative about it and told me there were better things that needed to be pursued. I didn’t like that response and felt very intimidated by his less than patronizing drilling that continued. He was pretty tough with me.
We finished our drive by holding the heifers up at the corral and water lot in the bottom of School House Canyon. We forced them to hang around the water to make sure they all saw what was there and the importance it would be to them and they wintered in that pasture.
The ride out
Grandpa was never just my friend. He was my abuelo who seldom wavered from seriousness. It was always work and sticking to business. The fact we finished the drive didn’t mean the day was over, and … far from it.
Since we were over in that part of the country, it was necessary to make a little soiree out across it. I now know he was looking at feed. We also looked at water gaps. We checked for tracks of cattle that were not supposed to be there, and we checked waters.
When we finally turned and headed for the house, we topped out and crossed the divide right in the same place Dusty and I found that empty tin of Prince Albert tobacco 32 years later. Very likely Grandpa had lit another smoke and settled in for that ride off the ridge. He would have been thinking what he needed to do next, and I was doing what was most important … I was following him horseback.

Stephen L. Wilmeth is a rancher from southern New Mexico. “Grandpa was the only man of his standing and his generation that I know whose children all earned college degrees. Of that, I hope he was proud, but, like it or not, his words didn’t sway me. I dreamed every day of owning those heifers we put over that ridgeline.”

Baxter Black: Fair board drama

I went to America last week … the middle of America, Kansas, to a county fair. I flew into Denver and drove across miles and miles of green prairie. If America has a heart, it’s out on the plains. It’s not an easy place to live. You have to earn its respect. It will test you with blizzards, tornadoes, floods, droughts, dust, plagues and loneliness. It is often all or none. One learns to be self-sufficient.

The county fair is often the biggest event of the year in many plains communities. Carnivals, tractor pulls, rodeos, cotton candy … where else can you get cotton candy? And the occasional traveling cowboy poet. For the agricultural folks it has two purposes: to train the next generation of farmers in the profound knowledge that it takes to feed the world, and second, to meet and educate consumers about where their food comes from.

This summer, the plains have turned into a garden. Less rain at the right time is better than more rain at the wrong time, which brings me to my trip. By the time I reached the little town in Kansas, the clouds were beginning to huddle, planning their next play. I went by the fairgrounds to greet the fair board and check in. My performance was to be in the outdoor rodeo arena. The bell horn speakers sounded like the announcer at the Kentucky Derby.

We, the board and I, worked on the sound system so it didn’t sound like a tornado warning. When it was perfect, we moved it and broke one of the connectors. Repair required a trip to Radio Shack in the next town 42 miles away. The sky was turning a bruised blue color in the north. I went to the hotel and changed into my fancy shirt. The show was advertised as a 7 p.m. performance. At 6 p.m., I was back at the fairgrounds. The crowd was beginning to gather in the stands. Many of them had driven 50-plus miles to be there. The carnival temporarily had shut down in anticipation of rain. The clouds looked ominous. The storm hit at 6:30 p.m.

New Mexico’s forests are warming and transforming

The sun illuminates patches of green on brown and black hillsides around Highway 152 near Emory Pass in the Gila National Forest. Gambel oak and other shrubs whose roots survived a lightning-sparked wildfire in 2013 sprout on many slopes once dominated by ponderosa pines. Black, mangled masses of wood and dead barley plants loom over the new growth, which also includes aspens, grass and wildflowers. The barley grew last fall from seeds the U.S. Forest Service dropped to minimize erosion after the Silver Fire. Pines survived in many areas within the 139,000-acre burn scar. But in other places, the trees were incinerated – and in the most heavily torched areas, new pines aren’t sprouting. Though New Mexico hasn’t seen a similarly large fire this year due in part to recent rains that have pushed parts of the state out of drought, such blazes have become commonplace here. With so many coniferous trees dying – including ponderosa pines and the official state tree, the piñon –forests in Southern New Mexico, Northern New Mexico and beyond are transforming into new ecosystems people living today haven’t seen before. Credit human-caused overgrowth in our forests, along with drought and the planet’s warming climate, for the shift. In the desert Southwest, an immense amount of tinder sits on top of a drier landscape in a climate that’s warmer than at any time in the past 1,000 years, scientists believe. “We can’t stop the fires. We can’t stop the forests from thinning themselves out, because there’s just not enough water to support this biomass,” says Craig Allen. Since the 1980s, the U.S. Geological Survey research ecologist has studied the history of landscapes in the Southwest and how climate change is affecting them. It’s possible that, in the future, more mountain ranges across the Southwest will look like America’s newest national monument, the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks monument in Doña Ana County, Allen says. Some ponderosa pines and piñon grow in the Organs, particularly around water sources. But more drought-tolerant shrubs and grasses cover much of the Organs and other peaks in the national monument around Las Cruces, which by road is about 95 miles southeast of Emory Pass. It’s not a question of if New Mexico will lose coniferous forests. Up to 18 percent of the Southwest’s forests were lost to wildfire and bark beetle outbreaks – both issues related to the warming climate – between 1984 and 2006, according to a 2010 study Allen helped author. The question is how many coniferous trees New Mexico is going to lose...more

Stunning satellite images show summer ice cap is thicker and covers 1.7 million square kilometres more than 2 years ago

The speech by former US Vice-President Al Gore was apocalyptic. ‘The North Polar ice cap is falling off a cliff,’ he said. ‘It could be completely gone in summer in as little as seven years. Seven years from now.’ Those comments came in 2007 as Mr Gore accepted the Nobel Peace Prize for his campaigning on climate change. But seven years after his warning, The Mail on Sunday can reveal that, far from vanishing, the Arctic ice cap has expanded for the second year in succession – with a surge, depending on how you measure it, of between 43 and 63 per cent since 2012. o put it another way, an area the size of Alaska, America’s biggest state, was open water two years ago, but is again now covered by ice. The most widely used measurements of Arctic ice extent are the daily satellite readings issued by the US National Snow and Ice Data Center, which is co-funded by Nasa. These reveal that – while the long-term trend still shows a decline – last Monday, August 25, the area of the Arctic Ocean with at least 15 per cent ice cover was 5.62 million square kilometres. This was the highest level recorded on that date since 2006 (see graph, right), and represents an increase of 1.71 million square kilometres over the past two years – an impressive 43 per cent. Other figures from the Danish Meteorological Institute suggest that the growth has been even more dramatic. Using a different measure, the area with at least 30 per cent ice cover, these reveal a 63 per cent rise – from 2.7 million to 4.4 million square kilometres...more

Eco-activists 'painting a big, green bull's-eye' on Colorado for election day

Environmentalists in Colorado may have lost a rallying cry this year when efforts to limit fracking didn't make the ballot, but that hasn't stopped eco-activists from painting a big, green bull's-eye on the state. Several national groups already have begun campaigning in Colorado in preparation for Election Day, and the Environmental Defense Fund on Tuesday vowed to make the state the centerpiece of a broad effort to highlight the issue of climate change. The overall aim is to energize young and environmentally conscious voters — although questions remain on whether the latest initiative, along with other pro-environmental efforts in the state, can reverse a long-standing trend of low turnout in midterm election years. "It's certainly the biggest thing we're doing nationally," Environmental Defense Fund spokesman Keith Gaby said of the group's planned $2 million campaign in Colorado to get 100,000 voters to the polls. Expected to work a similar beat will be staffers and volunteers for NextGen Climate, an advocacy group founded by investor and environmentalist Tom Steyer. A consultant to NextGen Climate said the organization is planning a multimillion-dollar effort in Colorado this year that will focus on the highly competitive U.S. Senate race between Democratic incumbent Mark Udall and Republican challenger Cory Gardner. Also backing Udall in his Senate race is the League of Conservation Voters. Group officials are marshaling a large get-out-the-vote drive that they said could tip the scales. "We are going to be putting forth a major effort this fall to ensure that young people, married and single women and Hispanic voters turn out and vote for pro-environment candidates," said Daniel J. Weiss of the League of Conservation Voters...more

Is the EPA listening to voters or a billionaire climate activist?

As the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) moves forward with its plan to regulate carbon emissions from power plants, Americans deserve answers to two questions: who really drafted these regulations, and who will be hurt by them? The EPA claims the regulations were drafted for the benefit of all Americans. The evidence, however, points to regulations that were drafted by wealthy climate activists and special interest groups without regard for the impact on American families. Advertisement One of the most glaring examples of this is the role of billionaire Tom Steyer. Steyer is a former hedge fund manager whose fortune was accumulated in part due to investments in fossil fuel projects. He has since pledged to divest himself from these investments and fight the fossil fuel industry. These days, he is best known for his pledge to spend up to $100 million dollars during this election cycle to help Democrats committed to advancing his climate change agenda. Recently, Steyer hired Daniel Lashof to become the chief operating officer of his “super PAC,” NextGen Climate. Prior to that, Lashof was a scientist at the Natural Resources Defense Council and one of the architects of the group’s climate proposal. In a recent New York Times report, the EPA was found to have used that NRDC proposal as the basis for its own greenhouse gas regulations. Americans should be concerned with who is influencing the EPA’s decisions because it is evident that these special interest groups care little about the pocketbook issues facing most Americans. Taking coal out of our nation’s energy portfolio will increase electricity costs and hurt families on a budget. This year, families earning less than $30,000 annually are expected to pay an average of 26 percent of their income on energy costs. Higher electricity bills will leave these families with even less money for basic necessities like food and housing. Instead of listening or addressing these concerns, many elites prefer to mock them. Addressing a crowd in Aspen, Colorado, Steyer recently insinuated that everyday Americans, “99.5 percent of the people,” simply cannot comprehend climate change while “super-sophisticated people,” are working to address the issue. Steyer’s remarks demonstrate how one-sided the environmental community believes this issue is and how grossly out-of-touch they are with the reality facing American workers who deserve to be equal stakeholders in this debate...more

Banning chocolate milk backfires

To some, banning chocolate milk from elementary schools seemed like a good idea, but new Cornell University research shows that removing chocolate milk from school menus has negative consequences. “When schools ban chocolate milk, we found it usually backfires. On average, milk sales drop by 10 percent, 29 percent of white milk gets thrown out, and participation in the school lunch program may also decrease,” reports Andrew Hanks, lead author and research associate Cornell’s Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management. “This is probably not what parents wanted to see.” The Cornell study, which included professors David Just and Brian Wansink was published today in PLOS ONE; it examined what happened when chocolate milk was banned in a sample of Oregon elementary school. It shows what happens when chocolate milk-loving kids are suddenly confronted with something paler – and proposes what researchers hope can be a healthful compromise...more

New Mexico Old Time Fiddler's Association 42nd State Championship Contest

Oct 3 at 10:00am to Oct 5 at 5:00pm

T or C Civic Center


Friday, October 3, 2014: MC: TBA
Saturday, October 4, 2014: MC: Wes Burris
DIVISION 1: (12 & under) DIVISION 2: (13-40)
Entry Fee: None Entry Fee: $10.00
1. $100.00 & Trophy 1. $350. & Trophy
2. $ 80.00 & Trophy 2. $100. 00
3. $60.00 & Trophy 3. $75.00
4. $75.00 & Trophy
5. $50.00 & Trophy
6. $30.00 & Trophy
DIVISION 3: (41-65) DIVISION 4: (66 & UP)
Entry Fee: $10.00 Entry Fee: $10.0
1. $350. &Trophy 1. $350. & Trophy
2. $100.00 2. $100.00
3. $75.00 3. $ 75.00
Sunday, October 5, 2014: MC: Wes Burris
SIERRA COUNTY SENIOR OLYMPICS KITCHEN: 8:00 AM – 4:00 P.M. SPECIAL GOSPEL SING: 10:00 A.M. -11:00 A.M. Hall of Fame Induction: 11:00 A.M. -12:00 PM LUNCH: 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM CONTEST FINALS: 1:00 PM - APPROXIMATELY TO 5:00 P.M
DIVISION 5: Accompanist DIVISION 6: State Championship
(NM Residents only)
Entry Fee: $10.00 Entry Fee: $20.00
1. $250.00 1. $500.00 & Trophy
2. $125.00 2. $200.00
3. $100.00 3. $100.00
Contact: Zelma Iorio, NMOTFA Secretary Phone: 575 297-4125 E-mail: nmofta@hotmail.com
Mail: PO Box 469, Truth or Consequences, New Mexico 87901


Ranch Radio Song Of The Day #1282

Red Foley & The Sunshine Boys Quartet performing Peace In The Valley will wrap up "Country Classics Week" on Ranch Radio. The tune was recorded in Nashville on March 27, 1951 and released as Decca 46319. 


White House: Border Crisis Over For Now

White House press secretary Josh Earnest said that the crisis of unaccompanied minors at the southern border is over “for now” on Friday. Earnest cautioned that “these numbers are very volatile,” and pointed out that the hotter summer weather is part of the reason for the decrease in unaccompanied minors, but credited actions taken by the Obama administration for the reduction in unaccompanied minors at the border, saying, “There is no doubt that the administration has made a substantial contribution to the reduction in those numbers.”...more

Border Surge Fueled By Obama's 99.3% Chance Of Being Allowed To Stay

The Obama administration has quietly released 37,477 illegal immigrant minors into the U.S. and deported a mere 280. So much for its warning to border jumpers that if they came here illegally, they'd be deported. Much of the debate on the unprecedented border surge from Central America over the summer has been over whether the Obama administration's lax immigration policies have encouraged illegal immigration or if the crisis is a crime wave driving some 90,000 unaccompanied minors north through the U.S.' unguarded Texas border. The answer couldn't be clearer than in the latest reporting from the Washington Examiner, which noted Friday that 37,477 illegal immigrant minors in the first six months of 2014 have been released into the U.S., while just 280 have been deported. It exposes as false President Obama's protestations, made in the heat of the public relations disaster of the border surge, that anyone crossing the Texas border would be sent back. Obama made those claims in response to photos of human squalor that were leaked to Breitbart and gained broader attention via Drudge Report. Turns out he wasn't sincere at all. The news of illegals being released into society gives potential new border surgers the message that the border is open and anyone who is caught entering by the Border Patrol will be permitted to stay. The data can only assure them — and the cartel smuggling groups whispering to potential illegals that they'll get "permisos" — that the president's word is worthless. Actions speak louder than words. With the odds of being released into the U.S. at 99.3% and the odds of being deported at 0.7%, there's a clear incentive to try one's luck...more

Online posts show ISIS eyeing Mexican border, operatives in Juarez

Social media chatter shows Islamic State militants are keenly aware of the porous U.S.-Mexico border, and are “expressing an increased interest” in crossing over to carry out a terrorist attack, according to a Texas law enforcement bulletin sent out this week. “A review of ISIS social media messaging during the week ending August 26 shows that militants are expressing an increased interest in the notion that they could clandestinely infiltrate the southwest border of US, for terror attack,” warns the Texas Department of Public Safety "situational awareness" bulletin, obtained by FoxNews.com. The three-page bulletin, entitled “ISIS Interest on the US Southwest Border” and dated Aug. 28 was released to law enforcement on Thursday. “Social media account holders believed to be ISIS militants and propagandists have called for unspecified border operations, or they have sought to raise awareness that illegal entry through Mexico is a viable option,” states the law enforcement bulletin, which is not classified. Despite assurances that no threat to American soil is imminent, the watchdog group Judicial Watch said Friday that Islamic State operatives are in Juarez, just across the border from Texas, and are planning to attack the United States with car bombs. "Agents across a number of Homeland Security, Justice and Defense agencies have all been placed on alert and instructed to aggressively work all possible leads and sources concerning this imminent terrorist threat," Judicial Watch stated on its website. The Texas law enforcement bulletin cites suspected fighters from the terrorist group previously known as ISIS and based in Syria and Iraq as eyeing a border crossing...more

Mexican cartels ramp up human smuggling business

Recent waves of Central American immigrants arriving illegally in the U.S. have made human smuggling at least temporarily more lucrative for Mexican drug cartels, according to a U.S. Department of Homeland Security agent. Oscar Hagelsieb, assistant special agent charge of the department’s investigations unit in El Paso, told The Dallas Morning News (http://bit.ly/VY6fpN) for a Saturday report that the Gulf cartel and others in the region have “clamped their claws” into human smuggling, without abandoning their drug smuggling activities. “We’ve been able to trace millions of dollars going into the Reynosa area. You cannot operate a criminal venture of that magnitude without the cartels having a major role in it,” Hagelsieb said. Guadalupe Correa-Cabrera, associate professor at the University of Texas at Brownsville, says new groups could also get involved in human smuggling, which she said has “become much more profitable.”...more

Surge of illegal immigrant kids poses challenge for schools

What was a crisis on America's southern border is now turning into a major challenge for school administrators across the country. Tens of thousands of unaccompanied minors have crossed into the U.S. in recent months, and those not being held in health department-run facilities have in many cases been sent to live with sponsors, who are typically extended family members. As the new school year begins, the children, who in many cases don't speak English and have limited reading skills, are showing up for class. This has raised questions in local districts about the strain it could put on teachers. "They may have only gone to 2nd or 3rd grade, have limited literacy in their first language. That does create a different kind of teaching impact on a school than our traditional immigrant families," Anne Arundel County, Md., administrator Kelly Reider told Fox affiliate WBFF. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal has complained that Obama Cabinet members promised to keep state officials in the loop, yet he says Louisiana received no warning of the influx. "In my state, the Obama administration sent over a thousand children without telling us, without telling social services, without telling the schools," Jindal said on "The Laura Ingraham Show."...more

Saturday, August 30, 2014

"45 Seconds" - The time Tom Udall gave rancher Mike Lucero in DC

This is a political ad for Allen Weh, but goes a long way in demonstrating how Udall has treated the ranching community in NM.


New Mexico delays controversial Gila vote

The sinuous Gila River arises from springs and caves in the Black Range Mountains just west of the Continental Divide in New Mexico’s Gila Wilderness. From there, it tumbles down box canyons before twisting through the ranches and farms of southwest New Mexico’s Cliff-Gila Valley and onto the cactus dotted plains near Silver City. Once, the Gila flowed 650 miles all the way to the Colorado River on the California-Arizona border, but today, the waters disappear in the desert outside Phoenix. As New Mexico’s last major dam-free river, the Gila is an anomaly in an arid region where states fight to control every last bit of water. But a decision is near that could alter the river’s flow forever. New Mexico’s nine-member Interstate Stream Commission is considering three proposals to divert up to 14,000 acre-feet of water from the Gila —about 4.5 billion gallons — for cities, farms, and people in the four counties of southwestern New Mexico. The commission announced on Tuesday that it’s postponing its final vote until later this fall. The diversion proposals are among 15 — including municipal water conservation and irrigation ditch improvements — that the commission is weighing before a December 31 deadline, when it must choose whether or not to take advantage of water it’s entitled to under the 2004 Arizona Water Settlements Act. The law reserves $90 million in federal funds to help improve the water supply in the southwestern part of the state, either through conservation programs, or through building a diversion. But the latter comes with an additional $46 million subsidy. The commission has spent millions analyzing the technical feasibility, economic costs, and environmental impacts of the various proposals as well as on studies of the Gila itself — from its hydrology and riparian ecosystems, to how climate change will impact future flows. But with many inquiries still in progress, key details surrounding the diversion proposals remain murky. The basic idea, however, is that they would draw water only during major flood events like those that accompany the late summer monsoons — when the river flows at 30,000 cubic feet per second, unleashing a half-mile wide torrent filled with trees and boulders. Because of the volume, the commission maintains that the diversions would have a minimal impact on the Gila...more

Zozobra draws more than 30,000 to Fort Marcy park

Though he wore no customary skirt or bow tie, Will Shuster's Zozobra burned late Friday night for the 90th time in Fort Marcy Ballpark as he always has — in front of a cheering, jeering crowd. Police say this one exceeded 30,000 people. And the burn went off smoothly, despite complaints earlier in the week about changes in Zozobra's appearance, the event's separation from Fiesta de Santa Fe and worries about potential violence that could arise because of overcrowding. But of the dozens of people interviewed during the event, no one complained about the new look of the 50-foot marionette, few cared about the separation from Fiesta, and the Santa Fe Police Department reported no major incidents or arrests. Ray Sandoval, director of the event for the Kiwanis Club of Santa Fe, said about 10,000 advance tickets were sold across the nation. It’s unclear how many were sold at the gates Friday night, but this year’s burning did appear larger than the 2013 event, which drew 31,000 spectators. A man dressed as a city attorney from the 1920s stepped in front of Old Man Gloom and read the charges levied against him, concluding with a triumphant shout: “I hereby sentence you to death by fire!” Gloomies — children dressed in sheets — swung their arms and paraded in front of Zozobra. People carrying torches lit large, dry bundles of sticks, and finally, the fire dancer who traditionally ignites Old Man Gloom began a winding dance. Zozobra let loose his guttural moans and the crowd began its mantra: “Burn him. Burn him.” When Zozobra finally exploded into flames, his groans grew increasingly frantic then stopped altogether. As the fire consumed him, he finally collapsed into a pile of wood, nails and ash, and the crowd rejoiced with savage cries at his fiery demise at about 9:30 p.m. The ceremony ended with a fireworks display over the Fort Marcy park...more

Border Patrol agent fires at armed militia member

A Border Patrol agent pursuing a group of immigrants in a wooded area near the Texas-Mexico border on Friday fired several shots at an armed man who later identified himself as a militia member. Border Patrol spokesman Omar Zamora said agents had been chasing a group of immigrants east of Brownsville Friday afternoon when an agent saw a man holding a gun near the Rio Grande. The agent fired four shots, but did not hit the man. The man then dropped his gun and identified himself as a member of a militia. Zamora said no other details were immediately available. Cameron County Sheriff Omar Lucio, whose agency is involved in the investigation, said the incident occurred on private property and it appeared the man had permission to be there. He was not arrested, Lucio said. The man, whose name has not been released, was wearing camouflage and carrying a long arm that was either a rifle or shotgun, Lucio said. The agent had lost the group of immigrants when he turned around and saw the man holding the weapon. An unknown number of militia members have come to the Texas border following a surge in illegal immigration this summer...more

Immigrant Detention Center (Artesia) Not Approved By State For Childcare

As Immigration lawyers prepare to battle the federal government over possible due process violations against immigrant women and children detained in Artesia, records obtained by KUNM raise another legal question about the facility—whether the detention center is in compliance with state child welfare laws. Protesters from across New Mexico lined the streets near the immigrant detention center in Artesia last week decrying what they said were substandard living conditions and due process violations at the former border patrol training center. Hundreds have been deported from Artesia since the facility was re-purposed as a detention center to accommodate the flood of Central American women and children arrested at the border after fleeing violence and poverty in their home countries. These kinds of problems—lack of medical care and improper nutrition—would be illegal in a state-licensed childcare facility. And lawyers working in Artesia say they’re illegal in the immigrant detention center too, if they’re happening. That’s because of a law that requires immigrant detention centers that hold minors to either move children into state licensed childcare facilities within 72 hours of arrest or to have the state license the detention center itself as a childcare facility...more