Friday, September 05, 2008

Feds warn climate change could harm giant sequoias Warming temperatures could soon cause California's giant sequoia trees to die off more quickly unless forest managers plan with an eye toward climate change and the impacts of a longer, harsher wildfire season, federal researchers warned Thursday. Hot, dry weather over the last two decades already has contributed to the deaths of an unusual number of old-growth pine and fir trees growing in Yosemite and Sequoia National Parks, according to recent research from the U.S. Geological Survey. In the next decade, climate change also could start interfering with the giant sequoias' ability to sprout new seedlings, said Nathan Stephenson, one of several scientists speaking Thursday at a government agency symposium on how global warming could affect the Sierra Nevada....
The Real McCain In 1993, McCain placed a hold on the nomination of Mollie Beatie, Clinton's choice to head the Fish and Wildlife Service. McCain had been told by his buddies in the Marine Air Corps that the Fish and Wildlife Service planned to halt low-level flights above the Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Reserve, near Yuma, Arizona. McCain's strong-arm tactics worked. Bruce Babbitt sent the senator a letter pledging that the military fly-bys would not be impeded. With this easy victory conquest of Babbitt under his belt, McCain struck again the following year, when he placed a rider onto the California Desert Preservation Act, allowing military flights over the wilderness areas and national preserves created by the act. In 1999 McCain attached a rider to the Defense Appropriations bill that would have permanently transferred to the Pentagon 7.2 million acres of federal wildlife refuge land managed by the BLM and the Fish and Wildlife Service, where they would become used as a bombing range and a testing ground for a new generation of missiles. McCain's rider exempted the military from conducting any environmental review of its programs....A left-wing author, but some interesting issues concerning the west are present. The rest is a typical diatribe.
Judge rules for government in falcon dispute A federal judge has rejected the final part of a challenge by environmental groups to a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service decision to designate the northern aplomado falcon as a nonessential, experimental population in New Mexico and Arizona. The environmentalists alleged the designation violated federal policy and stripped the falcon of needed protections under the Endangered Species Act. They wanted U.S. District Judge William Johnson to declare the designation illegal and force the Fish and Wildlife Service to respond to their petition for critical habitat in Texas, New Mexico and Arizona. Johnson's legal opinion Tuesday upheld the federal agency's determination that there was no native population of falcons in New Mexico before a 2006 program to release them in the state. The program has released about 120 birds since its inception. The judge rejected the environmentalists' contention that New Mexico fell within the species' current range and that New Mexico's population was not "wholly separate geographically" from nonexperimental populations across northern Mexico or those released in West Texas....
Wolf Liaison Gets Acquainted With Residents, Issues Kathy Taylor has been settling in to her new job as the U.S. Forest Service liaison to the Mexican gray wolf reintroduction program, a newly created position. Taylor has been on the job for a little over a month and has been acquainting herself with the issues and the emotion surrounding wolf reintroduction. “My main goal is to work with people who are affected by the program who live in the recovery area -- ranchers and other residents,” Taylor said. “I want to work with them and try to get their views on what changes might make the program work better for them. I’m not making any promises. I’m just talking to people and listening to their thoughts on the program.” Taylor’s job is to work with ranchers and other residents to develop and implement management options designed to reduce the potential for wolf conflicts related to depredations of livestock and pets. She has been a Forest Service biologist for 27 years....
Antelope migration project underway A five-year project is under way to improve the pronghorn migration route from Sublette County to Grand Teton National Park. An inventory of 100 miles of fencing along the route was completed last month. The inventory looked at the location, type and condition of fences on 150 properties in the 33 miles from the Bridger-Teton National Forest boundary south to Trapper's Point, north of Pinedale. The Green River Valley Land Trust in Pinedale is organizing the fencing project. It seeks to improve 500 miles of fence over the next five years to make it easier for antelope and other wildlife to cross. For thousands of years, antelope have traveled the 350-mile route from their summer range in what is now Grand Teton National Park to winter range as far south as Rock Springs. Ryan said improvements for the entire 500 miles of fence will cost an estimated $10.7 million. U.S. Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne announced a $1 million grant for the fencing project this summer. The money is coming from the Jonah Interagency Mitigation and Reclamation Office. The office, which is funded by the energy industry, was established to mitigate the effects of large-scale energy development in the upper Green River Basin....
Groups plan lawsuit over protection of mouse A coalition of environmental groups said Thursday that it plans to sue the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service over a policy that allows the agency to provide Endangered Species Act protections for only part of a species' range. The groups filed a 60-day notice of their intent to sue with Fish and Wildlife and the Interior Department, a step that's required by the Endangered Species Act before a lawsuit is filed. The groups say the pending lawsuit was prompted by the government's July decision to remove protections for the Preble's meadow jumping mouse in Wyoming while maintaining protections in Colorado....
Study: Grazing not a factor in Murphy blaze Restrictions on cattle grazing in the Jarbidge area didn't really contribute to the massive, 600,000-acre Murphy Complex Fire in 2007, states a new report compiled by a team from the Bureau of Land Management, University of Idaho and other state and federal researchers. The study found that any effect grazing, or the lack of it, had on the fire was far overshadowed by the extreme temperatures and other weather factors at the time. But targeted grazing could have the potential to affect fire behavior in "less intense" conditions, the authors state, and should be investigated further as another fire management tool. The peer-reviewed study was released last week after an Aug. 28 presentation for the BLM and the other agencies that contributed, said Heather Feeney, state BLM spokeswoman. The authors also call for more-refined fire models to be developed for rangeland fires. The models most commonly used were developed for forests, which burn differently, Feeney said. But that does not mean the grazing study is not accurate, she said, citing the peer review as assurance that the science was vetted....
Former BLM employee wins appeal on whistleblower retaliation charges A federal administrative review board has confirmed an earlier federal law judge ruling in favor of former Bureau of Land Management (BLM) employee Earle Dixon, who had charged his October, 2004, firing as the project manager for the BLM at the Anaconda Mine in Yerington was in retaliation for whistleblower activities and, as a result, it violated whistleblower protective regulations. Dixon was an environmental protection specialist assigned to the BLM Carson City office starting in October of 2003 before he was fired just prior to the conclusion of his one-year probationary period (Oct. 5, 2004). A month later, he filed a complaint with the federal Department of Labor (DOL), chagging he was fired because of his complaints. Dixon was hired as a two-year term employee whose main task was managing the cleanup of the Yerington copper mine site, the order said. Part of the mine site is on BLM land, which prompted that agency's involvement....
Greens can enter case over roads in Juab Three conservation organizations will be allowed to intervene in a case in which Juab County and the state sued the federal government over who owns three roads in western Utah's Deep Creek Mountains. U.S. District Judge Tena Campbell this week granted the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance, the Sierra Club and The Wilderness Society the right to be defendants in the lawsuit in which the state and county seek ownership of the roads. Campbell agreed with the conservationists' arguments that they cannot rely on federal land agencies to adequately represent their defense of wilderness in cases involving a Civil War-era law known as Revised Statute 2477. "Conservationists now will have a seat at the table on these RS2477 claims," SUWA conservation director Heidi McIntosh said Thursday. "We will be in the courthouse instead of standing on the steps with the doors locked." But the state doesn't believe the organizations should be allowed to intervene since they had no claim of ownership at all. "We're disappointed in the ruling," said Assistant Utah Attorney General Roger Fairbanks....
BLM finalizes oil shale leasing plan The Bureau of Land Management has finalized a plan that would open up about 359,800 acres in northwest Colorado to potential commercial oil shale leasing. About 2 million acres in Colorado, Wyoming and Utah would be available for oil shale leasing under a land-use plan described in a programmatic environmental impact statement (PEIS), which was published in the Federal Register on Thursday. Colorado’s oil shale deposits are concentrated in Garfield, Rio Blanco and Mesa counties. The BLM will wait at least 60 days after publication of the PEIS before it issues a record of decision approving those land-use changes....
California "water bank" in works amid drought California's state government is forming a "water bank" to buy water for local water agencies at risk of shortages next year should a current drought persist, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said on Thursday. Schwarzenegger in June declared the most populous U.S. state to officially be in drought and declared nine counties in its farm-r ich Central Valley to be in a state of emergency because water supplies were so low after two years of below-average rainfall. California's water shortages have been compounded by a federal court order to limit pumping water from the state's San Joaquin-Sacramento River Delta to protect a species of fish....
Bear scares off marijuana farmers The Garfield County Sheriff is crediting a bear for raiding a marijuana operation so often that he scared the farmers off Boulder Mountain. "This bear is definitely law-enforcement minded," said Garfield County Sheriff Danny Perkins, with a laugh. "If I can find this bear I'm going to deputize him." Sheriff's deputies and Forest Service agents discovered 888 young marijuana plants and 4,000 starter sacks -- small plastic bags with seeds -- on Tuesday. Along with the plants, deputies found pipes chewed in half, food containers ripped apart and strewn everywhere, cans with bear teeth marks, claw marks and bear prints across the camp, and bear claw scratches carved into trees. Perkins said it appears that whoever was running the marijuana operation decided to abandon his/her efforts after the black bear repeatedly raided the camp....

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Western Forests Face a Flammable Future Wildfires have charred more than 4.4 million acres nationally so far this year. That’s almost good news. In each of the four previous years, fires had swept over at least 6 million acres by this point in the season, so 4.4 million to date seems close to a blessing by contrast. Indeed, 2008 is proving to be somewhat of an aberration—a fairly mild fire year across a Rocky Mountain West where massive, sometimes uncontrollable fires have become commonplace in recent decades. Last winter brought ample snow across the mountainous West, and helpful rains have fallen through the spring and summer. Abundant moisture has helped limit the size and severity of fires. A new report, however, warns that this year’s conditions are far from typical. The study by the National Wildlife Federation, “Increased Risk of Catastrophic Wildfires: Global Warming’s Wake-Up Call for the Western United States,” documents how the frequency and severity of wildfires have increased dramatically in recent decades. The upshot: “Warmer springs and longer summer dry periods since the mid-1980s are linked to a four-fold increase in the number of major wildfires each year and a six-fold increase in the area of forest burned, compared with the period between 1970 and 1986,” the report says. Today’s fire season is 78 days longer than a generation ago....
19-square-mile ice sheet breaks loose in Canada A chunk of ice shelf nearly the size of Manhattan has broken away from Ellesmere Island in Canada's northern Arctic, another dramatic indication of how warmer temperatures are changing the polar frontier, scientists said Wednesday. Derek Mueller, an Arctic ice shelf specialist at Trent University in Ontario, told The Associated Press that the 4,500-year-old Markham Ice Shelf separated in early August and the 19-square-mile shelf is now adrift in the Arctic Ocean. "The Markham Ice Shelf was a big surprise because it suddenly disappeared. We went under cloud for a bit during our research and when the weather cleared up, all of a sudden there was no more ice shelf. It was a shocking event that underscores the rapidity of changes taking place in the Arctic," said Mueller....
Environmentalists can't corral Palin At the National Governors Association conference where she first met John McCain, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin had other business: making her case to Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne against classifying the polar bear as a threatened species. Months later she sued Kempthorne, arguing that the Bush administration didn't use the best science in concluding that without further protection, the polar bear faces eventual extinction because of disappearing sea ice as the result of global warming. Palin, McCain's vice presidential running mate, has had frequent run-ins with environmentalists. In her 20 months as governor, Palin has questioned the conclusions of federal marine scientists who say the Cook Inlet beluga whale needs protection under the federal Endangered Species Act. She has defended Alaska's right to shoot down wolves from the air to boost caribou and moose herds for hunters, and — contrary to a view held by McCain — is not convinced that global warming is the result of human activity. Environmentalists have nicknamed Palin the "killa from Wasilla," a reference to the small town where she formerly was mayor....
Did you say Republicans for Environmental Protection? I couldn’t help but notice all the elephants in the room. Especially the green one. “So why are you not an oxymoron?” I asked David Jenkins at the Republicans for Environmental Protection booth during a reception for GOP faithful at the Minneapolis Convention Center this week. Jenkins had an answer — and a big metaphorical stick. “Theodore Roosevelt. He’s the father of conservation and environmental stewardship in this country,” he said. “What our organization is about is reclaiming that tradition.” Ticking off a list of environmental achievements of more modern Republican presidents, Jenkins credited Richard Nixon for creating the Environmental Protection Agency and signing the Clean Air and Endangered Species acts. Gerald Ford forged the country’s first fuel economy standards and Ronald Reagan signed agreements to curb the ozone hole, he said. “People listen to Rush Limbaugh or Sean Hannity and they hear all that vitriol aimed at anything environmental and they think that’s what conservatism is. Our organization believes that conservatism is conserving and being good stewards. The top of our ticket this time, John McCain, is of the same belief we are.”....
Frozen semen helps save endangered species U.S. National Zoo scientists have used frozen semen to help save the black-footed ferret, one of the most endangered species on Earth. Two black-footed ferrets at the zoo have each given birth to a kit that was sired by males that died in 1999 and 2000. Officials said the two ferrets were artificially inseminated in May with frozen semen from the two deceased males whose sperm samples were collected and frozen in 1997 and 1998. Once believed extinct, 18 black-footed ferrets discovered in 1981 were removed from the wild to establish a captive breeding and recovery program in Wyoming. The National Zoo's Conservation and Research Center in Front Royal, Va., said it was the first institution outside of Wyoming to breed the species. National Zoo scientists said they also developed the first successful artificial insemination technique for the species that deposited sperm directly into the uterus. Zoo officials said the population has grown from 18 to more than 700 black-footed ferrets living in the wild.
EPA uses rare veto to prevent giant flood control pump The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has this week exercised a rare veto under the Clean Water Act of 1972 in order to kill off the introduction of a giant flood control pump proposed for the Mississippi Delta. The EPA ruled that the $220 million U.S. Army Corps of Engineers flood-control project would destroy thousands of acres of wetlands, putting at risk the habitats of hundreds of endangered species as well as reducing water quality in the region. The controversial pump, which is supported by farmers, city and local-elected officials, would shift six million gallons of water per minute from 67,000 acres of wetlands along the Yazoo River, mostly for the benefit of flood-prone farmers, reports the Associated Press....
Anthrax kills wildlife near Turner's ranch Naturally occurring anthrax has killed two deer and is likely responsible for the deaths of 14 elk in drainages near Ted Turner's ranch, where more than 250 domestic bison died of the disease last month, state wildlife officials said. The animals probably became ill after coming into contact with anthrax spores in the soil that had been dormant for years, said Neil Anderson, wildlife lab supervisor for the Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks. State veterinary officials suspect anthrax killed the elk, but the carcasses were spotted from the air and the cause of the deaths hasn't been confirmed. State veterinarian Mary Zaluski said the outbreak seems to be slowing, likely due to cooler weather, which sends anthrax back into dormancy, and ranchers who are vaccinating and providing antibiotics to herds....
Tough economy, legislation presses horse industry Peggy Goeke said she has a couple of foals from a good brood mare and a hand-picked stallion. "They have a lot of good breeding and good talent behind them," Goeke said. Horses like that used to fetch anywhere from $5,000 to $8,000, she said."I'm not selling them for $200," said Goeke, of Warren County. "That's giving them away. Most of us are just hanging on to them." The economy has hit the horse industry hard. The price of grain and feed has skyrocketed along with the price of fuel. Fewer people are attending horse shows and competitions. However, horse experts also point to the closing of the nation's only horse slaughterhouses in Illinois and Texas as another bad development for horses and horse owners. Legislation in those states banned the slaughterhouses, and there are no others in the United States. Meanwhile, horse rescue facilities are full and most are not accepting more horses....
Montana loses disease-free status for cattle Montana has lost its federal disease-free status for brucellosis, triggering mandatory testing of cattle being shipped out of state. Brucellosis, which can cause female cattle to abort their young, has been found twice in Montana in the last two years near Yellowstone National Park. Eradicated elsewhere in the country, the disease persists in Yellowstone's bison, elk and other wildlife and is occasionally transmitted to cattle. The testing of cattle is expected to cost ranchers in the state's billion-dollar cattle industry an estimated $6 million to $12 million. It will be required of export cattle that are capable of breeding and over 18 months of age, at a cost of $7.50 to $12 per head....
Food Companies Pledge Not to Use Clones Twenty food companies have told a consumer group that they won't use milk or meat from cloned livestock. The companies, including Smithfield Foods Inc. and Kraft Foods Inc., were responding to a survey conducted by the Center for Food Safety, a consumer group that opposes animal cloning. Polls have shown most consumers are uncomfortable with the idea of eating products from cloned livestock, whether for health, ethical or environmental reasons. At the same time, products from the offspring of cloned animals are trickling into the food supply....
Meeker Classic sheepdog trials runs Wednesday through Sunday Bring your lawn chairs, binoculars and sunscreen to watch the 22nd annual Meeker Classic Sheepdog Championship Trials being held from Sept. 3-7. The five-day sheepherding competition has a $20,000 purse and up to $5,700 in cash awards and in-kind prizes. The sport of sheepdog trials replicates what is required of a dog helping a rancher in his daily work. Bred for their intelligence and ability to manage sheep, the dogs - usually border collies - test their skills in maneuvering sheep in a calm, controlled manner over the course. The Meeker trials will feature 120 top handler/dog teams from throughout the U.S., Canada and South Africa....
Appaloosa Appaloosa is an old-school western, the kind where men are men and women are, well, RenĂ©e Zellweger. This is Ed Harris’s first directing effort since 2000’s Pollock and here, too, plenty of red is spilled. He stares holes through the bad guys as sheriff Virgil Cole, a tough-as-nails sheriff hell-bent on ridding the small town of Appaloosa of a murderous rancher (Jeremy Irons channelling Daniel Plainview). Viggo Mortensen, a real-life cowboy, oozes cool as his partner. Zellweger is mostly a bust, and the film feels double its 114 minute running time, but Appaloosa redeems itself through unexpected moments of levity, Harris’s steady direction and the god amongst men, Lance Henriksen....
Great Falls centenarian shares wisdom Bradac's family moved to North Dakota to homestead when she was four. Their modern amenities are today's antiques; Bradac still remembers singing as her mother did the family's laundry on a washing board. Until the age of 32, long past normal marrying age in those days, Bradac was single and taught junior high. When she married, Bradac became a rancher. She and her husband raised cattle until he died in 1969. Through two hard North Dakota winters, Bradac lived on the ranch alone before she moved to Great Falls, a town she had always liked. When Bradac's two oldest daughters talk about their mother's work ethic, they repeat, in unison, a rhyme she clearly told them often. "If a job is once begun, never leave it 'til it's done. If a job be large or small, do it well or not at all." Except, they say, she always left off the last few words. "Not at all" wasn't an option....
Cowboy poet, singer to get Lifetime Achievement Awards Don Edwards, a 50-year player in preserving the West with songs, and Waddie Mitchell, who paints figurative cowboy landscapes of the Southwest with words of poetry, have been chosen to receive Lifetime Achievement Awards by the American Cowboy Culture Association. The artists will be honored during an Awards Banquet at 6 p.m. today at the Lubbock Memorial Civic Center in the opening act of this year's four-day National Cowboy Symposium and Celebration. Mitchell is from a rural area of northern Nevada, and he remembers he went to a school that had 11 students and one teacher for first through eighth grades. "When it came to high school, I had to board in town because we lived quite remote - 60 miles, and 30 miles of it was dirt roads," he said. "We are in the high desert where we get lots of winter. I absolutely hated boarding in town, so I quit school and went to buckarooing for a living when I was 16."....

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Nevada governor chides Forest Service over fire Nevada's governor has criticized a U.S. Forest Service decision to let a wildfire burn unchecked for two weeks, allowing it to "get out of control." A lightening-caused fire that ignited Aug. 21 in northeast Nevada has grown from about 13 square miles to 76 square miles, officials said. It also has moved to within 4 miles of the small town of Jarbidge. "The forest fire that we have today was allowed to get out of control, knowing the dangers of the fuel loading and the weather conditions — dry, hot, windy," Gov. Jim Gibbons told the Elko Daily Free Press. The agency allowed the fire to burn as part of a management practice called "wildland fire use," which is used to manage lightning-caused fires in remote areas where fire is a natural component of the ecosystem....
Firefighting aircraft at risk The safety of a fleet of nearly 800 firefighting aircraft, many of them aging, converted warplanes, has raised controversy for years as the number of tragic air accidents mount. The fleet suffered another fatal accident Monday when an air tanker crashed on takeoff Monday in Reno causing the death of the three people onboard. The plane had made retardant drops on the Burnside Fire south of Lake Tahoe, and was taking off to fight a different California fire when witnesses say the plane’s engine caught fire. The incident was not an isolated mishap, according to an Associated Press review of planes owned and contracted to the U.S. Forest Service. Since 1991, 27 people have died in the crashes of air tankers either operated by or contracted to the U.S. Forest Service. According to a February Scripps Howard article, 28 Forest Service aircraft have crashed between 2002 and 2006....
Ninth Circuit Gets It Right: No Indian Religious Veto Meanwhile, in September 2002, to ensure its economic viability, Arizona Snowbowl proposed to make artificial snow with reclaimed water purchased from Flagstaff. When the Forest Service approved that proposal in June 2005, American Indian religious practitioners sued under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), enacted in 1993 to strengthen judicial review of government acts affecting religion. Although the Supreme Court ruled the RFRA unconstitutional as to States, it arguably remains applicable to federal actions. An Arizona federal district court rejected the claim; however, a Ninth Circuit panel held the plan tantamount to a government edict that Christian “baptisms be carried out with ‘reclaimed water.’” In December 2007, the Ninth Circuit reheard the case en banc. In August 2008, by 8-3, the Ninth Circuit, relying on the Supreme Court’s 1988 ruling, reversed the panel’s decision, rejected the RFRA claim, and held that "[G]iving one religious sect a veto over the use of public park land would deprive others of the right to use what is, by definition, land that belongs to everyone." Left undecided was an issue federal lawyers, for unknown reasons, had failed to raise: whether the RFRA applies at all to federal land....
There Goes The Sun For most people, August was an unremarkable month. But for those who keep an eye on celestial events, it was an extraordinary 31 days. For the first time in nearly 100 years, the sun created no visible spots. The last time that happened: June 1913. While this caught some by surprise, it was expected by two astronomers from the National Solar Observatory in Tucson, Ariz. Dailytech.com reports that in 2005, William Livingston and Matthew Penn, who had been noting small spectroscopic and magnetic changes in the sun, concluded that "within 10 years, sunspots would vanish entirely." While most see this as more news to yawn by, some are paying attention. One such person is Anthony Watts, a television meteorologist for a quarter-century and self-professed "green." He drives an electric car, promotes conservation and alternative energy, and is concerned about the consequences of decreased solar activity. "Let us all hope that they are wrong," Watts wrote on his blog wattsupwiththat.com. "For a solar epoch period like the Maunder Minimum inducing a Little Ice Age will be a worldwide catastrophe economically, socially, environmentally, and morally."....
Whiteouts mar close of Burning Man celebration Blustery winds and constant whiteouts threatened the climax of the Burning Man celebration Saturday afternoon and evening. As late a six o’clock it was unsure if the big burn of the Man would take place. But authorities went ahead with the burning despite the day-long whiteout that had put all preparations on hold. As usual, thousands of Burners lined up in a wide circle around the Man, this time atop a scaffolding marked by the flags of the world’s nations. The Black Rock Desert playa is composed of clay powder and is easily blown into a blinding storm. All day Saturday until early evening whiteout conditions existed in the temporary city. The final head count was unavailable due to the storm but projections called for attendance of 50,000, up from last year’s 47,000....
New leasing standards Bridger-Teton forest supervisor Kniffy Hamilton is considering new ways to judge whether to permit leasing 44,700 acres for energy development in the Wyoming Range south of Jackson. Hamilton’s agency is restudying a plan to lease the contested parcel, located near the Hoback Rim above Bondurant, after an Interior Department board rejected a plan to allow exploration and development. It cited insufficient environmental reviews in its rejection. Hamilton could include an intensive air quality analysis in the leasing review and could recommend stipulations that reduce the disruption caused by exploration or development. The news comes along with a geological assessment of the Wyoming Range acreage that suggests less gas underground than was previously thought....

Officials close to final Idaho roadless plan
The U.S. Forest Service is close to finishing a plan for managing more than 9.3 million acres of roadless backcountry in Idaho. The agency released a final environmental impact statement on the proposed Idaho roadless rule on Friday. The Forest Service expects to release a final draft of the proposed rule in 30 days. The plan is the culmination of a lengthy process to determine how Idaho's roadless areas and other untouched lands will be managed, preserved or opened to logging and other uses. While revisions to the proposed rule include further land protections and have appeased some environmentalists who earlier criticized the proposal, national conservation groups such as The Wilderness Society say the Idaho rule undercuts a federal roadless policy that former President Bill Clinton issued before leaving office in January 2001....
Plague threatens prairie dogs, endangered ferrets Under a hot sun, a crew of four buzzed across the prairie on all-terrain vehicles a few miles from the pinnacles and spires of Badlands National Park, pausing frequently to spray white insecticide dust into prairie dog holes. And when the sun went down on many summer days, another crew took over to shine spotlights across the grasslands, trap endangered black-footed ferrets and vaccinate them against the sylvatic plague, a killer spread by fleas that threatens the ferrets and their main food source, the black-tailed prairie dog. Officials from five federal agencies and a number of conservation groups hope the double-barreled approach will stop the spread of plague and save prairie dogs and ferrets in the 20-mile long Conata Basin, a portion of the Buffalo Gap National Grasslands that lies just south of the Badlands in southwestern South Dakota....
ODFW puts 6-year-old boy out of business Frog Boy has been busted. A first-grade businessboy was pitted against state game law this week, when young Cole Gomes, 6, of Alder Slope was told his lucrative frog-selling venture is illegal. "They said the frogs are on the endangered species list and he can't even give them away, that they can't be taken off our property," explained Julie Montgomery-Gomes, Cole's mother. Actually, the frogs apparently are on the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife protected wildlife list, but the effect is the same - Cole's frog business has been shut down....

Commission stands firm on turbine locations
There will be no late changes to current plans to construct a 36-turbine wind farm on top of White Mountain, Sweetwater County commissioners told the project's developer Tuesday. Last summer, Utah-based Tasco Engineering Inc. and partner Teton Power LCC were granted a conditional-use permit for the construction of the wind farm -- to be located on private and federal lands between Rock Springs and Green River -- at a cost of about $100 million. The proposed site lies near the scenic landmark called Pilot Butte and near the county's recently completed Wild Horse Loop Tour, which runs along the rim of White Mountain. The project marks the county's first foray into wind energy production. Commissioners were also perturbed that Tasco is seeking federal permission to construct an additional 62 wind turbines on Bureau of Land Management lands on White Mountain and has discussed increasing the size of the original project by as many as 200 additional turbines....
BLM to thin sagebrush south of Bloomfield The U.S. Bureau of Land Management plans to thin up to 31,000 acres of sagebrush in the checkerboard area south of Bloomfield. The work is to begin Sept. 15 and continue through the first week of October on BLM and Navajo tribal and allotment land where sagebrush density exceeds naturally occurring historic levels. A BLM rangeland management specialist, Jeff Tafoya, says thinning the sagebrush will allow the growth of native grasses and other vegetation that can be eaten by wildlife....

Cowboys protect the range with satellite phones
US FIREFIGHTERS have roped in Idaho cowboys as fire wardens using satellite phones. Eastern Oregon suffers a lot from wild fires and if Firefighters do not move quickly the state could be ablaze. Apparently ranchers who make their livelihoods in some of America's most remote backcountry have been given satellite telephones provided by the federal Bureau of Land Management and the Idaho Bureau of Homeland Security. The phones are connected to Iridium Satellite LLC's 66 satellites orbiting overhead which can put in a call even when the mobile phone tower on War Eagle Mountain is blocked....

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Palin's Importance When Alaska governor Sarah Palin was chosen for the McCain vice presidential ticket, most attention was on her beauty-queen past and down-home North Woods family life. In reality, she's the powerful governor of Alaska, the most pivotal state in the union for energy. John McCain understood well that it's the one state that can liberate the U.S. not just from high prices but from increasingly threatening enemies whose power derives solely from high oil prices. Alaska was purchased in 1867 explicitly to ensure America's energy future. Palin's leadership has done much to develop Alaska's energy resources, but the state is still stonewalled by Congress. Palin's strong Alaskan presence in Washington will change that....
How Palin Got Picked Earlier in the day, McCain had spoken to Palin, who was visiting at the Alaska State Fair in Palmer. According to McAllister, that conversation had its roots in a comment McCain made in his TWS interview ten days earlier. McCain had called Palin "a remarkable woman" and said that he planned to consult her as he reexamined his position on oil exploration in Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Palin is for drilling; McCain--for now--is against it. McCain has had a long and sometimes heated rivalry with Alaska senator Ted Stevens, the upper chamber's greediest collector of congressional pork. Going back more than a year, McCain has used Stevens's pet project--the $389 million dollar bridge between Ketchikan, Alaska, and the island that hosts its airport that is known as the "Bridge to Nowhere"--in his stump speech as an example of the problems besetting Washington. Palin, who was skeptical of the project, ordered the state to find a "fiscally responsible" alternative. She has challenged the state GOP as corrupt and openly chastised establishment Republicans for failing to live up to conservative principles....
Thompson Speech Hits Media on Palin Fred Thompson will forcefully defend the selection of Sarah Palin tonight in a speech Republicans are characterizing as "red meat." He will argue that the feeding frenzy over Palin's is the result of "panic" from the Democrat-friendly mainstream media. "What a breath of fresh air Governor Sarah Palin is. She is from a small town, with small town values, but that's not good enough for those folks who are attacking her and her family. Let's be clear, the selection of Governor Palin has the other side and their friends in the media in a state of panic. She is a courageous, successful, reformer, who is not afraid to take on the establishment."....
Disappearing owls, threatened forests, and the city-country conflict "Ghost" is a word field biologists use to describe a species near the end of the time on earth. It's a spooky concept, but well-established -- the journal Science uses the word, for example, to describe the now-famous Ivory-Billed Woodpecker. These sort of ghosts can jolt authorities into drastic action. In the Southeast, for example, the federal government says it is prepared to spend $27 million on a plan to bring back the large, charismatic woodpecker long thought to be extinct. As of 2005, one male was known to exist, although the bird has not been captured clearly on film in decades. Today in the Pacific Northwest, history is threatening to repeat this old story in a new way. Millions of acres of national forest were set aside as protected habitat to save the Spotted Owl under the Clinton administration, but, in a bitter irony, as the bird becomes increasingly rare, it becomes easier to argue that much of this forest is no longer owl habitat and shouldn't be protected....
Cooler Heads in the GOP Crafting a platform that marries John McCain to the Republican base on environmental policy is a little like filing a lawsuit against yourself in which you only get to write one brief. By the time you’re done, you’ve scratched through so many lines and penciled in so many revisions that the document is barely legible. I wish I could show you my copy of the energy section of the 2008 Republican Platform’s working draft. You wouldn’t be able to read it, but you’d see what I mean. The first thing that’s scratched out is “Global Warming and” at the top of a section that used to read “Global Warming and Environmental Protection.” The energy subcommittee — whose task is to draft energy- and environmental-policy language of which the full Republican Platform Committee can approve — decided to strike the phrase “global warming” anywhere it appeared in the document, either replacing it with the more neutral “climate change,” or removing it altogether. The global warming vs. climate change debate was part of the effort to find a common ground between McCain, who believes that warming is an urgent threat that requires an aggressive reduction in greenhouse-gas emissions, and Republicans who are skeptical of such claims....
Veep Nominee Palin and the Exxon Valdez Case A lawyer for the class of Alaskan commercial fishers who sought punitive damages stemming from the Exxon Valdez oil spill in 1989 confirmed this afternoon that Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin -- Sen. John McCain's pick for vice president -- and her husband Todd, both commercial fishers at the time, could have qualified as members of the class. But neither filed claims by the deadline this past February. "They were both eligible to participate," says Stanford Law School professor and Davis Wright Tremaine partner Jeffrey Fisher, who argued on behalf of the plaintiffs before the Supreme Court last term. Then and now, Todd Palin fished for salmon in Bristol Bay, which is far from Prince William Sound where the devastating spill occurred. But Fisher said that early in the litigation, the "mandatory punitive damages class" was defined to include both those who fished in "oiled fisheries" that were damaged directly, and "unoiled fisheries" like Bristol Bay, where the damage was less direct....
Feds in the Fishbowl Under the Clean Water Act of 1972, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers are granted jurisdiction over the “navigable waters” of the United States. If a boat can float on it, it’s theirs to regulate. Over the years, the definition of “navigable waters” overflowed its banks, expanding to include virtually anywhere with detectable levels of H2O. In 2006 the U.S. Supreme Court issued a muddled opinion in Rapanos v. United States that reined in some of the more exotic interpretations of “navigable waters.” Now Rep. James Oberstar (D-Minn.) and Sen. Russ Feingold (D-Wis.) have introduced the Clean Water Restoration Act, which would replace the phrase “navigable waters” with “waters of the United States,” by which they mean “all waters subject to the ebb and flow of the tide, the territorial seas, and all interstate and intrastate waters and their tributaries, including lakes, rivers, streams (including intermittent streams), mudflats, sandflats, wetlands, sloughs, prairie potholes, wet meadows, playa lakes, natural ponds, and all impoundments of the foregoing.”....
Ruling bars road to landlocked property Land trusts across the state are looking at a court decision in Nevada County and the precedents it could set for conservation easements elsewhere. In a tentative ruling, a county judge has decided in favor of the Nevada County Land Trust and landowners Bill and Anna Trabucco in a civil lawsuit brought by adjacent landowner Ian Garfinkel. But the ruling does not appear to decide between each party’s core issue: Garfinkle argued old roads crossed the Trabucco property, and as public byways, he wanted to use them to access his landlocked parcel. The Trabuccos argued a road on their land would violate their conservation easement, which preserves their ranch as agricultural land in perpetuity. Rather, the Aug. 22 decision by Superior Court Judge Robert Tamietti is that the roads portrayed on Garfinkle’s maps cannot be proven to be on the Trabucco property. Land easements such as the Trabuccos’ began about 30 years ago, said Darla Guenzler, executive director of the California Council of Land Trusts. The group represents 86 land trusts statewide. “These early cases are especially important. That’s why our organization is watching carefully so good rules are created,” Guenzler said....
Theft on Music Row The first hearing in a Music Row property seizure case was postponed Thursday when a city agency decided instead to ask a Nashville judge to consider its proposal to settle the dispute. The Metropolitan Development and Housing Agency asked to delay a hearing scheduled for Friday morning so it could formally introduce a proposal to divide Music Row business owner Joy Ford's property in half. The proposal is meant to end a dispute that has halted a $100 million plan from a Houston firm, Lionstone Group, to redevelop a three-acre plot on the Music Row roundabout. The city's court filing was made less than a day before lawyers for the MDHA were scheduled to ask Circuit Judge Barbara Haynes to approve a petition that would have let the agency seize Ford's building at 23 Music Circle E., and its 9,000-square-foot lot, for $900,000 in compensation. Earlier this year, the MDHA agreed to acquire the property for Lionstone and resell it to the firm at cost....
Sea-Ice Melt Imperils Walruses, and Economy Based on Them Though walruses are federally protected, Alaska Natives have subsistence rights to hunt them and rely on the meat, skin, intestines and tusks -- for food, clothing and boat coverings, and to carve the ivory jewelry and souvenirs that are a signficant source of income. But in the past few years their economic circumstances have worsened. A warming climate melts the sea ice more rapidly, thinning the walrus herds and forcing native hunters to travel greater distances to track their prey. As the ice has melted, the window of time in which the hunters can pursue the walrus is much shorter -- about three weeks, compared with two months in better years. This past year, the King Islanders of Nome did not get a single walrus, meaning they will have to do without walrus meat this winter and will have to buy ivory to carve, for about $50 a pound....
Carbon Offsets: More Harm Than Good? From Coldplay to Leonardo diCaprio to Al Gore, influential environmentalists are increasingly modeling green behavior by neutralizing their carbon emissions through carbon offsets. Briefly, offsets are based on the notion that consumers can balance out carbon intensive activities, like travel, by contributing to projects that reduce greenhouse gases. Between 2005 and 2007 the market for carbon offsets grew 175%, reaching $110 million (Faris 2007). But just as buying indulgences in the Middle Ages never really erased your sins, carbon offsets rarely counteract your carbon use. Moreover, in some cases, carbon offset projects actually hurt local people. Many experts now believe that well-intentioned consumers are not just wasting their money on offsets, but that purchasing them actually does more harm than good....
Sea level rises may accelerate due to melting ice sheet The vast Greenland ice sheet could begin to melt more rapidly than expected towards the end of the century, accelerating the rise in sea levels as a result of global warming, scientists warned yesterday. Water running off the ice sheet could triple the current rate of sea level rise to around 9mm a year, leading to a global rise of almost 1 metre per century, the researchers found. Sea levels are already on the rise as a result of increasing temperatures, because the oceans expand as they warm up, but until now scientists have had a poor understanding of how quickly ice sheets such as those in Greenland and Antarctica will begin to disappear....
Eco-Oscars The green carpet was rolled out on August 4 for the first-ever Ecological Society of America (ESA) Student Ecofilm Festival, part of the ESA's annual meeting in Milwaukee, WI. There was no popcorn in sight, but there was plenty of beer and chips to go around -- this is a city founded on brewing, after all. The Ecofilm Festival was the brainchild of Alan Covich, an ecologist at the University of Georgia and former ESA president. Covich devised the event as a way for students to engage in educational outreach. Young ecologists cum filmmakers were invited to submit 5-7 minute short movies in one of three categories: "methods in ecology," "pure nature," and "humans and the environment." A panel of eight judges -- seven ESA members together with the EarthDance Environmental Film Festival's founding director Zakary Zide -- then chose the best film in each category. The winners received a free registration to the meeting, worth $150....

Oil complex spared the brunt of Gustav
Energy analysts and traders were cautiously optimistic Monday that the vital Gulf Coast oil complex had dodged a potentially devastating blow. A weakened Hurricane Gustav came ashore about 70 miles southwest of New Orleans, passing over the key Louisiana Offshore Oil Port but missing areas most heavily populated with oil and natural-gas drilling rigs and production platforms, experts said....
Court: Beef Exporters Can't Test for Mad Cow Disease Beef exporters are banned from testing their cattle for mad cow disease without approval from the government, which has exclusive control on test kits, a divided federal appeals court panel said today. A Kansas-based exporter, Creekstone Farms Premium Beef, seeking to test its cattle to minimize public fear, challenged Department of Agriculture regulations that block corporations from buying and using kits to test for mad cow disease. There is no cure and no treatment for the neurological disease. It’s 100 percent fatal. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, in a 2-1 opinion, upheld USDA control of the kits. Judges Karen LeCraft Henderson and Judith Rogers sided with the government; Chief Judge David Sentelle dissented...Go here to read the opinion.
Animal Clones Are in Food Supply Milk and meat from the offspring of cloned livestock are entering the U.S. food supply. The number of clones is on the rise, and no one is keeping track of all their offspring. In January, the Food and Drug Administration said products from cloned cattle, pigs and goats -- and their conventionally bred offspring -- are safe to eat. Phil Lautner, who owns a farm in Jefferson, Iowa, said he has sent offspring of clones to be slaughtered for food in the past "several years." He said he currently is raising 50 to 100 clone offspring, many from his six genetic matches to the acclaimed bull Heat Wave. Bruce Knight, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's undersecretary for marketing and regulatory programs, said he can't rule out the presence of clone offspring in the food supply. "There's no way to differentiate them," he said, but added that the number is so small that consumers are "highly unlikely" to have consumed products from them....
Just right for the garden: a mini-cow It's the little cow with a big future. Rising supermarket prices are persuading hundreds of families to turn their back gardens into mini-ranches stocked with miniature cattle. Registrations of the most popular breed, the Dexter, have doubled since the millennium and websites are sprouting up offering “the world’s most efficient, cutest and tastiest cows”. The Dexter, a mountain breed from Ireland, is perfect for cattle-keeping on a small scale, but other breeds are being artificially created to compete with it, including the Mini-Hereford and the Lowline Angus, which has been developed by the Australian government to stand no more than 39in high but produce 70% of the steak of a cow twice its size....
The last of the real cowboys Tall, large boned, rugged in countenance, brown-red in complexion, Charlie Fenton of Big Bar, clothed in blue jeans, cowboy boots and wide brimmed hat, represented the kind of strength of character and endurance western novelists like Zane Grey and Louis Lamour described so accurately. But it was a wonder to a few that such persons actually lived among us, were not figments of the imagination of these prolific writers. Charlie was a native son of Big Bar, a country so vast and empty, so wild and free, and still so relatively unpopulated that it is difficult for those of us living in the rural centres that we do, to imagine....

It's All Trew: Travelers forced to siphon
The high price of fuel today is no doubt affecting travel across the country. Many prospective travelers will choose to hunker down and stay closer to home come vacation time. This is not the first time fuel prices spawned drastic measures. There was a time when 38-cent per gallon gas brought out the worst in travelers. In the old days, during the migration of people fleeing the Dust Bowl and Depression, travelers offset the fuel cost by camping out in bar-ditches rather than pay a hotel or tourist-court bill. Though camping sites were available for 50 cents per night the bar-ditch was cheaper. Many brought home-canned foods from their cellars and prepared meals over a campfire rather than pay at a cafe. A delicious Depression Stew could be made with almost any ingredients and maybe a stray cottontail as plenty of onions, turnips and peppers would cover any odd taste with ease....
Inspector's method grounds 9 aircraft, TSA says Nine commuter aircraft were grounded for safety inspections Tuesday at Chicago's O'Hare airport after a federal security inspector climbed onto them by grabbing sensitive outside instruments, the Transportation Security Administration said Wednesday. "It delayed a lot of folks getting to where they had to go yesterday," said American Eagle spokeswoman Andrea Huguely. "This was something we had never experienced before." Sam Mayer, a spokesman for the Allied Pilots Union, said the maneuver could have damaged the probes. Pilots use readings from the probes to gauge the probability of icing. "Apparently the TSA inspector hoisted himself up using the TAT probe as a stirrup. He repeated the same procedure with nine aircraft. Most TAT probes have a painted decal on the side that reads 'NO STEP,' " he said. "We caught it this time, but who knows if this has happened other times ... and with other planes that are out there," Mayer added....

About this incident, Francis Ney writes,

"Not content with turning airports into poorly run copies of East Germany, not content with stealing passenger's water, making mothers drink their own breast milk, harassing and/or torturing the handicapped, wand-raping pretty women, stealing medication, trying to steal a medal of honor from the NRA president, depriving travelers of their constitutional rights and imprisoning those who object, Totally Senile Assholes have crossed the line from seeing terrorists where none exist to manufacturing their own terror attacks."
Lawyers: Gonzales mishandled classified data Former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales mishandled highly classified notes about a secret counterterror program, but not on purpose, according to a memo by his legal team. The memo, obtained by The Associated Press, acknowledges that Gonzales improperly stored notes about the program and might have taken them home at one point. Removing secret documents from specially secured rooms violates government policy....
Real ID Laws Are a National Catastrophe Pennsylvania is poised to join 11 other states that have passed laws rejecting the federal Real ID Act. Many more have objected to it. Passed by Congress in 2005 - without any debate - Real ID is nothing more than an attempt by Congress to strong-arm the states into accepting and funding a national ID scheme. It requires states to produce new, standardized driver's licenses with machine-readable technology, and to create databases that hold copies of American citizens' sensitive identity documents. The tab for all of this is expected to be nearly $17 billion, with the state governments forced to shoulder the majority of the financial burden. The states' revolt against Real ID is unprecedented in modern American history and it demonstrates the breadth of the opposition. In states across the country, political leaders from both the left and the right have rejected this dangerous and unworkable program. Real ID suffers from serious flaws that will affect the rights of every American. It mandates that every state's database - containing Social Security cards, copies of birth certificates, etc. - be linked and accessible to tens of thousands of DMV employees....
Judge orders release of Rosenberg trial evidence A U.S. federal judge on Tuesday ordered the release of a further eight grand jury transcripts from the 1951 espionage prosecution of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, a lawyer for the National Security Archives said. The Rosenbergs were convicted in 1951 of passing atomic secrets to the Soviet Union and executed in 1953. "Historians are just salivating to get their hands on this stuff," Vladeck said. "This will complete the historical record about the espionage activities of the Rosenberg spy ring." As a rule, grand jury proceedings are secret. Hellerstein has already ordered the release of transcripts for 35 of the original 46 witnesses -- who had either died or had given consent -- who testified before the Rosenberg grand jury....
U.S. immigration cops nab 595 in largest-ever raid U.S. immigration agents have arrested 595 people at a Mississippi factory in what was the largest workplace enforcement raid in the United States to date, an immigration official said on Tuesday. Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokeswoman Barbara Gonzalez said federal agents arrested the workers in a raid at the Howard Industries Inc. factory in Laurel, Miss, on Monday. The swoop at the plant, which makes electrical equipment including transformers, was part of an ongoing investigation into identity theft and fraudulent use of Social Security and for illegal immigrants....

Law banning guns at ‘public gatherings’ has racist past
Next month is the 140th anniversary of the Camilla Massacre, when a group largely made up of blacks heading to a Southwest Georgia Republican political rally were shot up by white locals after being warned not to bring guns to town. Gun-rights advocates say the September 1868 massacre, in which at least nine freedmen were killed and up to 25-30 were wounded, led the General Assembly to ban citizens from carrying firearms at political rallies and other “public gatherings.” The aim, they say, was to keep guns away from blacks. “It was entirely about race,” said Ed Stone, president of GeorgiaCarry.org. Earlier this month the group made a presentation to a Senate committee that will consider legislation for the 2009 session that would likely loosen the “public gatherings” section of state law, allowing Georgians with licenses to carry firearms in more places....
Wyoming loses gun case in federal court A federal appeals court in Denver has ruled against Wyoming in a lawsuit over a state law that seeks to allow people convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence to regain their gun rights. A three-judge panel of the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Monday ruled that the procedure spelled out in Wyoming law fails to expunge the criminal record of people convicted of domestic violence. The ruling is a victory for the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. The agency had informed Wyoming that if it persisted in using the state law, that the federal government would no longer accept Wyoming concealed weapons permits as a substitute for instant background checks for gun purchases. The 2004 Wyoming law at the center of the lawsuit allows people convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence to petition in state court to expunge their conviction and restore their gun rights. The law requires that petitioners must have completed probation, and it limits people to just one such request....

Federal judge charged with sex crimes
Samuel Kent, a U.S. District Court Judge in Texas, faces one count of attempted aggravated sexual abuse and two counts of abusive sexual contact. The indictment claims Kent, 59, "did knowingly engage in sexual contact with another person without that other person's permission." That person, who is not identified in the filing, is described as a court employee. The Chronicle identifies the alleged victim, who says the abuse started in 2003....

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Hundred-year dialogue - Ranch wife 201
Cowgirl Sass & Savvy

Julie Carter

It is simple and it's predictable. The following is an upper-classman study for the ranch wife that has graduated from Ranch Wife 101, and is in the golden years of her tenure at the ranch.

When he says:

· "There is nothing in this house to eat."

That suggests that the aluminum foil covering the very many dishes in the refrigerator left from yesterday's branding, are making them invisible. The same foil will not have that affect if covering a pie or cake on the counter.

· "I'll get that heavy box for you - just give me a minute."

This comes with the same flexible time span as his, "We'll be right back."

· "We're going to have a good calf crop this year. You should go with me and look at them, they're so cute now."

Translated, that reads: Bring those little hands of yours, we likely have some calves to pull after last night's 4-foot snow.

· "You're really getting to be a good hand horseback. You deserve a better horse now." Dead giveaway for his plan to buy a new horse that he's eyed and then promote you to something he's already worn out.

· "You can always see what is going wrong with my roping. Would you come out to the arena with me and help me figure it out?"

A master at subterfuge, he is saying the neighbor that he was counting on to run the chute has canceled out.

· "Since you're going to town anyway to get supplies for the cattle working, would you pick something up for me?"

Certifiably, this list will require possibly two pages of a Big Chief tablet and will include something large and covered with grease, going by the bank to sign a heart-stopping bank note, vaccines that must be kept cold and beer with the same requirement, a couple of new ropes of a particular lay which every store in town will not have, and a widget, for which he has forgotten the correct name, from the NAPA store.

· "How much do we have in the checking account?"

This is not actually an inquiry of the current financial status, but has two possibilities of translation.

1. He's found something he cannot exist without, has already written a check for it and is looking for a good way to let you know the account is likely already overdrawn.

2. You are backed in the roping box, focused on some earned R & R, but he is tired of heeling for you and is wrangling a way to go do something he'd rather do.

· "What did you do with my ..." Fill in the blank here. This could be anything from the D-9 cat used to push brush to a small gizmo fix-it for the roping chute.

In reality, it indicates he has misplaced something and would like help finding it. In any event, absolutely the only answer you can give is that you never saw whatever it is, in your entire life.

· "I'll eat some of that if it would make you feel better."

Sometimes his efforts made you feel so good, it required making another, whatever it was, to feed the company it was intended for in the first place and who are arriving within the hour.

· "Did you open (or shut) all those gates when you moved the cattle to the back pasture this morning?"

This usually comes right after you have gotten to bed at the end of a long, long day.

The guarantee is that it will make you lay awake all night and question yourself.

It will also reveal that after the first 100 years of marriage, he still thinks you don't have enough sense to do things right and actually thinks you would admit to it if you didn't.

I have been told there is a measurable amount of dignity in silence. I am still working on that dignity thing.
LOS PAYASOS - GOVERNMENT AT WORK

NASA Security Badges are a Health and Safety Risk Of all the things that could possibly go wrong for the US space agency, you wouldn't expect the security ID badge holder of NASA employees to rank very high on the list of "risks." Unfortunately, the new high-tech security badge holders recently issued to NASA employees have been identified as having a fairly problematic health and safety design flaw. Should the badges' metal clasps be installed incorrectly, they could pose a projectile risk, possibly causing serious eye injuries… Admittedly, this isn't big news in the realms of the space exploration, but it is news nonetheless, proving that even NASA cannot escape from clerical design flaws. In an effort to fall in line with President Bush's Homeland Security Presidential Directive-12, NASA employees have to carry a new type of badge which is protected against being read from a distance and also provides the wearer with some freedom as to when they want to show it. Unfortunately, there is a design flaw with the badge and on August 15th, NASA had to issue a warning to Kennedy Space Center employees stating that the new Identity Stronghold badge holder has the "potential to introduce dangerous Foreign Object Damage (FOD) to flight hardware areas and can cause personnel injury if the metal clips are installed improperly."....