Saturday, July 04, 2009

Cowgirl Sass & Savvy

Red, white and cowboy

Julie Carter

Old Glory will wave majestically in rodeo arenas across America this holiday. It's the Fourth of July and cowboys, if they are anything, they are patriotic and optimistically greedy.

This particular holiday is his "Cowboy Christmas," the most lucrative run of rodeos of the year.

Don't misunderstand. It doesn't take a holiday for the cowboy to bring out the flag. It's there at every rodeo. Honor to the stars and stripes happens first, before anything else.

Even the rodeo livestock seems to know the routine. Watch as the cowboys stand at the chutes, hats held over their hearts while colors are posted and the national anthem is played.

The bucking horses in the chute will snort and kick the gate behind them adding to the music's percussion.

For the rodeo contestants, it's a sound that echoes in the recesses of their rodeo memories long after they no longer compete. Like the ringing of Pavlov's bell, it invokes a hunger for the competition about to begin.

Add that to the smell of the fresh-worked arena dirt, the banging of the gates as bucking horses and bulls are moved around, the rattle of arriving trailers as they ease across the parking lot and the sound of hoof beats as a horse lopes across the hard surface to the arena.

I want to believe that almost all of us honor America, our freedoms and the price paid for both. This weekend, I also honor the cowboy for keeping tradition year after year and in economic times that boggle the mind.

Rodeo rigs are progressively bigger, fancier, and technology has kicked rodeoing up a notch from the days of standing at a pay phone along the highway to enter a rodeo or find out when you drew up.

As much as there is that is different, there is still so much the same.

It still requires the basics. First, the cowboy has to get there, and second, he has to have brought his cowboy skills with him.

Fourth of July rodeoing is defined by road-weary cowboys, tired horses, pickups filled with dirty clothes, fast-food wrappers and muddy boots.

The pickup dashboard is full of rumpled programs, Copenhagen cans, empty coffee cups, dust-covered sunglasses, gas receipts, a ball cap or two and a road map. But in every rig, there rides great hope, unlimited optimism and a belief that this time, this rodeo, things will get better.

For me, it wouldn't be the Fourth of July if I wasn't standing in the hot sun, beating rain or dusty wind waiting for the next event to move the entertainment along.

Years past paying entry fees and waiting for them to call my name, now I carry a camera and put what I know of rodeo into print.

I don't suppose I'll ever be anywhere else but at a rodeo grounds somewhere on the Fourth of July. In a mental check of the past 40 years, there have been no more times than I can count on one hand that I haven't been at a rodeo somewhere, in some capacity. Not likely it'll change anytime soon.

Join me at a rodeo for a look into the heart of the rodeo cowboy at his best. Today would be a good day to start.

Julie can be reached for comment at, or wandering with a camera at the rodeo grounds all weekend.

Why I Love America

By Gen LaGreca

I love America for being the place where an upstart group of colonists, against all odds, battled the most powerful empire in the world---and won---all in the cause of liberty.

I love America for establishing a revolutionary new country in which a person’s life is his and his alone to live for his own sake, and government’s sole purpose is to protect that sacred right.

I love America for recognizing that not only is it illegal for a criminal to steal your property, force you to do things against your will, or hijack your life, but the government cannot do these things, either. I love America for declaring for the first time in history that government cannot act like a common criminal but must be accountable to moral law.

I love America for igniting a firestorm of liberty that in a brief page on the calendar of history led to the abolition of slavery, the suffrage of women, and the spread of freedom around the globe.

I love America for triggering an explosion of scientific and industrial advancement and a standard of living unmatched---and unimaginable---in history.

I love America for fostering the climate of freedom in which genius can flourish, making possible the Henry Fords, the Thomas Edisons, the Wright Brothers, and the many other innovators who formed entire new industries that moved mankind forward.

I love America for being the place where wealth was created and earned, rather than looted and plundered.

I love America for spawning the American Dream, the worldwide symbol of the boundless opportunity and achievement that freedom brings.

I love America for making possible a truly civilized society, one of self-sufficient, resourceful, confident, hard-working, wealth-creating, and life-loving people, who lived in a spirit of peace and good will toward their fellow man because no one staked a claim to anyone else’s wallet.

I love America for offering freedom and opportunity to so many of our ancestors who arrived as immigrants, who knew that in America nothing was owed to them and everything had to be earned, and who rose to the challenge, creating a spectacular new life for themselves and for us, their descendants.

I love America for being the country where people could work hard, rise, and be proud of their success, because production, profit, wealth, and achievement were the stuff that American heroes were made of.

No matter how much our country has swayed from its ideals today, I will never forget that I am an American. I will never forget that our ancestors forged a continent not with public aid and bailouts but with the shining vision of a better life and the self-reliance to attain it. Our forebears created wealth, progress, and achievement on an unprecedented scale. No government fed our pioneers, inspected their wagons for safety, certified their chickens, meddled in their businesses, looted their wealth, or subjected their lives to endless controls, permissions, and regulations. No government built the breathtaking skylines of our majestic cities, the proud monuments to free minds and free commerce. The government’s fingerprints can be found only on the shattered shells of public housing that wound our cities, a grim reminder of the failed welfare state.

The time has come to reclaim our legacy from the meddlers, moochers, expropriators, and budding tyrants who are hammering away at Lady Liberty, knocking her down bit by bit, and ready to topple her completely.

We the people must pick up the pieces, make our Lady whole again, and return her to her golden pedestal as the country we love and honor, the country of liberty.

Let us ponder these thoughts on Independence Day.

© 2009 by Genevieve LaGreca

Chicago writer Gen LaGreca is the author of Noble Vision, a ForeWord Magazine Book-of-the-Year award-winning novel about liberty. Her commentaries have appeared in the Orange County Register, Rocky Mountain News, Front Page Magazine, Free Market News Network, Gainesville Sun, Real Clear Politics, and other publications. She holds a master’s degree in philosophy from Columbia University. For more information, see

Published with permission of the author.

I would encourage everyone to read her essay Why We MUST Invoke Our Individual Rights—Now.

Song Of The Day #077

On this Fourth Of July I will make an exception and offer a song from the modern era of country music.

The song is In My Land by Royal Wade Kimes, and is the hidden track on his A Dyin' Breed CD.

This song has special meaning on this day as we celebrate our liberty.

Give it a listen and have a great 4th of July!

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Los Ojos Hatchery Puts $2 Million into Reopening Long-Closed Stocking Facility

The Los Ojos Fish Hatchery is undergoing a $2 million renovation in order to reopen after a four-year layoff. Production had been halted in March 2005 after whirling disease was discovered in the hatchery. The construction work is being performed by El Prado Construction Inc., of Taos., and is being funded by the federal Fish and Wildlife Service, Hatchery Manager Greg Friday said. The infestation was discovered in March 2005 and the state Game and Fish Department-run hatchery has been shut down ever since. One previous attempt was made to clean and disinfect the hatchery but whirling disease was again found in the fish. Los Ojos was the third hatchery in New Mexico where whirling disease had been discovered. Hatcheries near Questa and Pecos were also temporarily closed due to the disease but have since at least partially reopened. None of the diseased fish were released into New Mexico waters, according to the Department...RioGrandeSun

Obama Silences Science: Is This the Change We Were Promised?

President Barack Obama rode into the White House promising open and honest government. So why did his administration bully a career official at the Environmental Protection Agency into silence? Last week, the Competitive Enterprise Institute released a 98 page report written by Alan Carlin, a 38 year veteran of the EPA, on the shaky science employed by global warming alarmists. Mr. Carlin had submitted the report to his superiors for the EPA to consider as it deliberated whether or not carbon dioxide “endangers” human health and welfare. As noted by my colleague Marlo Lewis, an “endangerment” finding isn’t mere bureaucratese. Instead, it’s a legal tripwire that would spark an economically ruinous regulatory chain reaction under the Clean Air Act. But the EPA would not consider Carlin’s report. In a series of incriminating emails, Carlin’s boss bluntly informed him that his report would remain secret for political reasons. Late Thursday night, CEI went ahead and posted a draft version of the document, which you can read here. In a not-so-subtle dig at the supposed scientific backwardness of his predecessor four months ago, President Obama said that science is “about ensuring that facts and evidence are never twisted or obscured by politics or ideology.” Now we learn that his administration has done just that by silencing Mr. Carlin’s voice at the EPA. Is this the change we were promised?...CEI

Green Buildings Get Boost in Cap-and-Trade Bill

Most of the attention in the lead-up to last week’s vote on the Waxman-Markey climate bill was heaped on the cap-and-trade program. There was also a lot of vitriol over how much the bill would cost. Lost in the shuffle are a number of provisions that seem pretty banal but could have a more direct impact on the way we use energy at home and work. Take building codes. The bill mandates that upon passage, all states move to adopt standards for residential and commercial structures that are at least 30 percent better than two widely accepted energy codes. [See update below.] The requirements get more strict over time, and states would get lots of money from the federal government to enforce them. States that fail to comply could have the federal standard thrust upon them...WSJ

State and local governments will no longer be able to set bldg. codes of their choice. The senators from New York will have as much to say about bldg. codes in NM as the NM senators.

There must be a new definition of federalism out there that I'm not familiar with.

Fuel tax could be replaced with by-the-mile road tax

The year is 2020 and the gasoline tax is history. In its place you get a monthly tax bill based on each mile you drove — tracked by a Global Positioning System device in your car and uploaded to a billing center. What once was science fiction is being field-tested by the University of Iowa to iron out the wrinkles should a by-the-mile road tax ever be enacted. Besides the technological advances making such a tax possible, the idea is getting a hard push from a growing number of transportation experts and officials. That is because the traditional by-the-gallon fuel tax, struggling to keep up with road building and maintenance demands, could fall even farther behind as vehicles' gas mileage rises and more alternative-fuel vehicles come on line. The idea of shifting to a by-the-mile tax has been discussed for years, but it now appears to be getting more serious attention...KansasCityStar

Just think what that would do to us in the west, especially those living in rural areas, because of the distances we travel.

I'm confident the data from the GPS system would never be "studied" or shared with law enforcement or other government snoops.

We can trust them, right?

Should Obama Try to Reset the Planet's Thermostat?

On Monday, the Waxman-Markey climate bill moved to the Senate floor after narrowly passing the House. It's a step, yes—but as everyone knows, cooling the planet will require a lot more than closing an emissions deal. That's why earlier this month the august National Academy of Sciences (NAS) brought together in Washington, DC, leading scientists, economists, policy experts, philosophers, and a menagerie of other experts for a two-day workshop to discuss a crazy-sounding idea: Should the US consider geoengineering the planet's atmosphere to combat global warming? Once a fringe theory, in recent years the idea that humans can change the Earth's climate through direct intervention has begun to gain credibility in climate change discussions. The ways by which scientists propose to directly engineer the Earth's environment to slow the Earth's warming are myriad. Ideas range from injecting aerosols into the atmosphere via fighter jets to reduce solar radiation, to fertilizing the oceans with iron to grow algae blooms that absorb more carbon dioxide, to sending millions of small mirrors or "sun shades" into the Earth's orbit to scatter the sun's light away from the planet and back out into space. And these are but a few of the suggestions now surfacing in scientific circles...MotherJones

Controversies over Redefining Fill Material Under the Clean Water Act

On May 3, 2002, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (the Corps) announced a regulation redefining two key terms, fill material and discharge of fill material, in rules that implement Section 404 of the Clean Water Act. This report discusses the 2002 rule, focusing on how it changes which material and types of activities are regulated under Section 404 and the significance of these issues, especially for the mining industry. The Clean Water Act contains two different permitting regimes: (1) Section 402 permits (called the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System, or NPDES, permit program) address the discharge of most pollutants, and (2) Section 404 permits address the discharge of dredged or fill material into navigable waters of the United States at specified sites. These permit programs differ in nature and approach. The NPDES program focuses on the effects of pollutant discharges on water quality. The 404 program considers effects on the aquatic ecosystem and other national and resource interests. The Corps and EPA have complementary roles under Section 404. Landowners seeking to discharge dredged or fill material must obtain a permit from the Corps under Section 404. EPA provides environmental guidance on 404 permitting. The determination of what is fill material is important, since fill material is subject to 404 permit requirements, while discharge of non-fill material is regulated by EPA under the Section 402 NPDES permit program. The revised rule was intended to clarify the regulatory definition of fill material by replacing two separate and inconsistent definitions with a single, common definition...OpenCRS

Should renewable energy include nuclear?

A new global effort that aims to make renewable energy more accessible to every country in the world will launch on July 1st. Governments are lining up to join the first agency that will advise them on how to make a renewable energy transition. The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) has attracted 108 countries, including the United States and China, which are both expected to announce their membership this week, in a move that experts say could boost the agency's credibility, since both countries are leaders in renewable energy. But supporters worry that IRENA could be undermined by countries that are trying to promote nuclear power as a solution to climate change and dwindling oil reserves. Today, members will meet in Sharm El Sheik, Egypt to vote on a director general for the group and decide which country will host the agency's headquarters. France generates nearly 80 percent of its electricity from nuclear power. It's also one of the world's largest providers of nuclear technology and expertise. Since 2008, French President Nicolas Sarkozy has signed multibillion-dollar nuclear deals with the UAE, Qatar, Algeria, Libya, and Morocco. At the same time, France is promoting nuclear as a form of renewable power because it emits low levels of carbon dioxide. When the European Union defined its long-term target for renewable energy production last year, it tried to include nuclear power in the definition of renewable energy, a move that was rejected by EU members...CSMonitor

Of Hydraulic Fracturing and Drinking Water

A bill introduced earlier this month would bring federal oversight of hydraulic fracturing fluids – chemical mixtures pumped at high pressure into oil and gas wells in order to unlock deposits trapped deep underground. Environmentalists welcomed the bill, but representatives of the natural gas industry say the legislation could lead to increased costs, job losses and increased competition for water — particularly in the West. The bill, known as the Fracturing Responsibility and Awareness of Chemicals Act, (FRAC) was introduced in both the House and Senate by representatives from Colorado, Pennsylvania and New York. It essentially seeks to overturn a 2005 legislative tweak that placed fracturing fluids outside the regulatory purview of the Safe Drinking Water Act...NYTimes

Owyhee Initiative Funding Begins

Duck Valley Indian Reservation - Idaho Senator Mike Crapo will join members of the Shoshone-Paiute Tribes on the Duck Valley Indian Reservation tomorrow to discuss the first phase of funding that will implement provisions of the Owyhee Initiative land management legislation he passed earlier this year. The Owyhee Initiative, an eight-year collaborative written by Idahoans and led by Crapo in Congress, was authorized in the Omnibus Land Management Act of 2009. The process of allocating funding to implement the Owyhee Initiative is now underway through the appropriations process in Congress. Crapo said that other pieces of the Owyhee funding efforts to compensate ranchers for land exchanges, improvements and for giving up grazing rights, will come from a combination of public and private dollars. He said he has contacted Interior Secretary Ken Salazar about funding for the ranchers' needs. Some of the rancher payments, such as retiring grazing rights, must be paid for with private dollars and Crapo noted private groups are leading fundraising efforts in that regard...ABCTV-6

Dubois Destroyed

From our comment section:

There is a town in Wyoming that is also called Dubois.It is about an hour and half from Jackson Hole and just about broke. Every Environmental Policy that has been implemented has systematically destroyed this town.

They lost the Louisianna-Pacific mill in the Eighties, then when the Wolves came in 1995 the big ranches began to disappear.The Grizzly and Wolves have virtually stopped all tourist that used to hike in that Area.

The Wolves and Griz have destroyed the Hunting and Hunting is all that Dubois had left. The Big Game meat processing plant in Dubois processed 10 cow elk in 2008,they processed 25 in 2007.

In the year 2000 Wyo. issued 1500 late cow permits for the Dubois area ,today they issue 150. The reduction in permits began in 2003, that year the were reduced to 500, 2004 they went to 250 and have been at 150 since.

Our moose are gone.

If you would like to call and talk to a fellow who lives in a town that is dying because it has been sanitized by the Sierra Club. Call Darrel at Wind River Meat 307-332-8208.

What has happened to Dubois is a blue print for what is intended for the rest of us,who call the West our home. The Wolves are soldiers nothing more nothing less, and this is a war.

What they want and need is our Land and Water. The other issue that is fueling this insanity is the Hage Decision. Once the Hage Decision is put in place the Wildlife Managers will be liable for damages from Big Game. So the varied Fish&Game Dept have an interest in seeing as many ranchers put out of business as possible.

That is why Wyoming Game & Fish has been so quiet, and wouldn't say Wolf if they had a mouthful.

So watch your backs.

Todd Fross

The Legalities of Rainwater Harvesting

Just as people use the sun to generate power for their homes, many homeowners capture rainfall for a variety of uses — from washing dishes to watering gardens during dry spells. But rainwater harvesting, as it is known, can be quite controversial — and in some Western states it is akin to theft. Opponents of the practice argue that if rain or snowfall is captured, less water will flow to streams and aquifers where it is needed for wells and springs. If enough people hijack precipitation, the thinking goes, it would be cheating downstream users who are legally entitled to the water. Proponents, meanwhile, see rainwater harvesting as a common sense solution to water shortages and storm water runoff – and find humor in the notion that collecting even small amounts of water is outlawed...NYTimes

Riding Land Conservation Efforts Get Boost from AQHA

Land conservation projects will get a helping hand from the American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA), after that group signed a memorandum of understanding to work together with the USDA Forest Service. By partnering together, AQHA and the Forest Service will actively promote public-private partnerships that encourage responsible use of federal lands by visitors participating in equestrian activities. Both organizations seek to disseminate information to the public regarding conservation, recreation, and natural resource activities relating to equestrian and recreational stock use. AQHA will work with the Forest Service at the national, regional, and local levels to identify appropriate cooperative opportunities (trail projects, recreational use studies, and educational programs) and pursue these projects with the recreational community in general and the equestrian community in particular. AQHA also will develop and maintain a communication network for equestrian users through its STEP (Stewards for Trails, Education and Partnerships) program...TheHorse

Ranchers dealing with wolf attacks

Pete Carricaburu feels victimized. A life-long rancher, Carricaburu has brought his sheep to graze on the same privately owned land near Dull Knife Battlefield in Johnson County since 1988. He’s learned to deal with mountain lions, coyotes and the occasional black bear. But last Saturday, a savage new element was added to his summer grazing operation when 10 of his sheep fell victim to wolf attacks within hours of being moved to the Big Horn Mountains. ”These are our babies and we take immaculate, good care of these sheep,” Carricaburu said. “Seeing them brutalized was just heartbreaking. We felt we were terrorized and we were. We found a couple of lambs trying to follow the herd with their guts hanging out. It was kind of like a drive-by-shooting.” Carricaburu’s case isn’t an isolated incident. Wyoming Game and Fish Department wolf program coordinator Mike Jimenez confirmed that four different ranchers have lost 52 sheep to wolves in Johnson County since May 4. That number has skyrocketed from the two confirmed wolf kills reported in all of 2008...BuffaloBulletin

Young bear kills four pigs on ranch

A young grizzly bear has been relocated after killing four pigs on a ranch northwest of Cody. “He will be given another chance, but if he gets into further trouble he’ll be considered for removal,” Game and Fish bear management supervisor Mark Bruscino said. Bear No. 434 is a “young inexperienced fellow,” Bruscino said. The first night the bear killed one pig. The second night, he killed three. Two of the 100-pound pigs were partially consumed. The bear was captured June 28 and moved to the Targhee National Forest into an area free of livestock...CodyEnterprise

National Disease Strategy Not NAIS Requested by R-CALF

R-CALF USA recently sent a letter to the Chairwoman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., expressing its appreciation for her decision to hold back further funding for the National Animal Identification System until USDA finishes its listening sessions. R-CALF USA states in its letter that the U.S. needs to create a national strategy to improve livestock disease prevention, control and eradication instead of implementing NAIS. According to the letter, the NAIS proposal tramples over the rights and privileges of U.S. family farmers and ranchers, and the program isn't an effective vehicle to achieve animal health and livestock market benefits. Along with saying 'no' to NAIS, R-CALF says farmers and ranchers across the country have said at listening sessions that USDA is inviting the introduction of diseases into the U.S. R-CALF President Max Thornsberry says it's unconscionable that USDA is knowingly introducing dangerous diseases, citing BSE from Canada and TB from Mexico, while blaming livestock producers for not cooperating with its failed NAIS program. R-CALF CEO Bill Bullard says DeLauro has been informed of an eight-point plan that should be the starting point for the creation of a national disease strategy that will better protect the health of the nation's livestock and the safety of meat produced from the livestock. Bullard says R-CALF is hopeful USDA will redirect its resources to begin development of a national disease prevention strategy. FarmFutures

Norwood novelist wins Colorado Book Award

Norwood writer Amy Irvine McHarg is going to have to build a bigger shelf. Her novel “Trespass: Living at the Edge of the Promised Land,” has won yet another award, the Colorado Book Award for creative nonfiction. McHarg won the 2008 Orion Book Award and the Ellen Meloy Fund’s 2009 Desert Writer’s Award earlier this year. “Trespass” is McHarg’s memoir, following her as she scurries to the outskirts of her Utah homeland. She grew up an insider, a sixth generation Mormon rancher, but finds herself at odds with the predominant culture as she becomes an environmental advocate. As McHarg processes her father’s suicide, she finds herself pushed both figuratively outside the church’s reach and physically outside the Deseret boundaries, in Norwood. It was here, away from the onus of her Utah roots that she was able to finish the book. Throughout the book, McHarg sketches the metaphor of the coyote. Like people outside the church, banished to the edges of Deseret, or the conservationists run out of southern Utah’s wilderness by the storm of motorized recreation, the coyote is scorned and hunted and driven from its homeland. Despite all this, the coyote thrives. McHarg, who resolves “Trespass” in a somber key, reassures her fans that like the coyote she has flourished in her new digs...Telluride

World Champion Bullfighter Pleads Guilty To Cattle Theft

After an eight-month investigation, a cattle theft case in Pittsburg County, Okla., is finally closed after a rodeo bullfighter pled guilty to felony embezzlement of cattle. On June 16, Michael Eugene Matt, 36, of Blanco, Texas, was sentenced to a five-year deferred sentence, including supervised probation and was ordered to pay nearly $15,000 in restitution after assisting in the theft of 300 head of cattle worth approximately $244,000 from a California couple who owned a ranch in Oklahoma. Matt is a four-time world champion Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA) and Professional Bull Riders (PBR) bullfighter and rodeo performer. Traven Wayne Clifft, 22, of McAlester, Okla., was hired by the couple in 2005 to manage the Oklahoma ranch. Investigations revealed that Clifft sold the cattle at area cattle auctions and deposited the money into his and Matt's personal checking accounts. Clifft pled guilty in February to three counts of felony embezzlement of cattle and was sentenced to five years deferred sentence with supervised probation and more than $130,000 in restitution...cattlenetwork

Industry Responds To HSUS Interview

“We’re here to help animals, not hurt them,” a Missouri poultry producer asserted this morning on AgriTalk’s call-in radio program. He cited personal experience, and said that there are numerous independent research studies on poultry housing that show that mortality rates double — or even triple — for laying hens raised cage-free versus those housed in cages due to natural animal crowding behavior. “How is that humane?” he asked incredulously. Adams recalled Pacelle’s claim that HSUS is willing to work with agriculture to develop better conditions for animals; however, that conversation seems to be a one-way street. HSUS is willing to sit at the negotiating table as long as agriculture agrees with what HSUS wants. To this end, a New York caller said of the “negotiations” that took place in Colorado, HSUS says it negotiated the timeline on certain practices from 10 years to 20 years. “It really was a negotiation of the terms of surrender,” the caller noted. David Martosko, research director for the Center for Consumer Freedom, joined the conversation, adding that Pacelle performed “masterfully” yesterday in refusing to be pinned down for what he really is, an animal-rights activist leading an animal-rights group. HSUS is just PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) with better wristwatches and better suits, according to Martosko. Martosko adds that the big concern for HSUS with respect to the Ohio situation is that the formation of an Ohio Livestock Animal Care Board means that HSUS will lose the chance to raise money off the issue. For example, with Proposition 2 in California last year, the group spent millions to promote their position, but made millions more in fund-raising efforts...cattlenetwork

Auctioneer named world champion

After competing for the title four times, Billings livestock auctioneer Ty Thompson has been crowned world champion by the Livestock Marketing Association. Thompson beat 32 other auctioneers from across the nation to win. Lewistown auctioneer Kyle Shobe was runner up. Thompson won use of a pickup for a year, $500, a custom saddle and a bronze statue. The 36-year-old will now travel the country, auctioneering at two dozen livestock sales events. Livestock auctioneers are expected to make split-second judgments on the value of livestock to start the bidding process, and balance the interests of ranchers trying not to sell too low with buyers trying not to overpay. AP

Cowboy's mission takes a break in Casper

Ross Welfl hoped he would get the chance to shower Wednesday night. It would be his fourth shower in the past 21 days. "And I'm feeling it, too," the 47-year-old welder, hunting guide and all-around cowboy said Wednesday afternoon. "Do you smell me? Good thing the wind is blowing this way." "My worst day is probably just a scrape on the butt for those kids and what they are going through with their disease," Welfl said. It's a sacrifice the Cody cowboy is willing to make to help the children at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. Welfl, who is raising money for the facility while he rides, is not sure how many more showers he will get during the 1,200 miles he has left to ride before reaching his destination of Las Cruces, N.M. Welfl left Cody on June 13 with two horses, two mules, a pad to sleep under the stars and a pack of belongings. He plans to ride until Aug. 28 to raise awareness of cancer and wants to be back in Cody before hunting season begins. He hopes to raise money in each city he visits along the way...CasperStarTribune

Song Of The Day #076

Our selection today is by the western dance band duo of Spade Cooley and Tex Williams. Cooley plays the fiddle and is the band leader and Williams does the vocals.

Cooley was very popular on the west coast, won a battle of the bands contest with Bob Wills, and had six top ten hits. His career ended in 1961 when he was convicted of killing his wife. He served 8 years, was let out to play a charity concert, and died backstage after the performance.

The tune is Troubled Over You and is available on the two disc Swinging the Devil's Dream from Proper Records.

Federal agents hunt for guns, one house at a time

Success on the front lines of a government blitz on gunrunners supplying Mexican drug cartels with Houston weaponry hinges on logging heavy miles and knocking on countless doors. Dozens of agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives — sent here from around the country — are needed to follow what ATF acting director Kenneth Melson described as a “massive number of investigative leads.” All told, Mexican officials in 2008 asked federal agents to trace the origins of more than 7,500 firearms recovered at crime scenes in Mexico. Most of them were traced back to Texas, California and Arizona. Among other things, the agents are combing neighborhoods and asking people about suspicious purchases as well as seeking explanations as to how their guns ended up used in murders, kidnappings and other crimes in Mexico. The ATF recently dispatched 100 veteran agents to its Houston division, which reaches to the border. The mission is especially challenging because, officials say, that while Houston is the number one point of origin for weapons traced back to the United States from Mexico, the government can’t compile databases on gun owners under federal law. Agents instead review firearms dealers’ records in person. “An angry ex-girlfriend or wife is the best person in the world, the greatest source of information,” Sloan said. ..HoustonChronicle

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Scientist Tries to Connect Migration Dots of Ancient Southwest

From the sky, the Mound of the Cross at Paquimé, a 14th-century ruin in the Mexican state of Chihuahua, looks like a compass rose — the roundish emblem indicating the cardinal directions on a map. About 30 feet in diameter and molded from compacted earth and rock taken near the banks of the Casas Grandes River, the crisscross arms point to four circular platforms. They might as well be labeled N, S, E and W. “It’s a hell of a long way from here to Chaco,” says Steve Lekson, an archaeologist from the University of Colorado, as he sights along the north-south spoke of the cross. Follow his gaze 400 miles north and you reach Chaco Canyon in northwestern New Mexico, a major cultural center occupied from about A.D. 900 to A.D. 1150 by the pueblo people known as Anasazi. Despite the distance, Dr. Lekson believes the two sites were linked by an ancient pattern of migration and a common set of religious beliefs. But don’t stop at Chaco. Continue about 60 miles northward along the same straight line and you come to another Anasazi center called Aztec Ruins. For Dr. Lekson the alignment must be more than a coincidence...NYTimes

Forest Service must reinstate tougher guidelines

A federal judge in San Francisco Tuesday struck down national forest management rules devised by the Bush administration that environmentalists had denounced as a thinly veiled sop for timber companies. U.S. District Court Judge Claudia Wilkin ruled in favor of a group of 14 environmental organizations that sued the U.S. Forest Service for essentially relaxing regulations in violation of the National Environmental Policy Act and Endangered Species Act. The decision means the Forest Service will have to reinstate rules protecting fish and wildlife and limiting logging in 150 national forests and 20 national grasslands covering 192 million acres, including more than a dozen national forests in California. "It is a great victory for national forests," said Marc Fink, a lawyer for the Center for Biological Diversity, which was one of the plaintiffs. "We're hoping today's ruling is the final nail in the coffin for the Bush forest policies and that we can move forward and do what is right for the forests."...SFChronicle

EPA to Let Calif. Set Own Auto Emissions Limits

The Environmental Protection Agency yesterday granted California's request to set its own limits on greenhouse gases from autos -- a long-sought victory with limited impact now that the federal government has pledged to impose national limits. That decision grants California a waiver to impose a limit on the emissions from new cars, when no such rules now exist in federal law. The EPA reversed a decision by the Bush administration, which rejected California's waiver request in March 2008. The District and 13 states, including Maryland, have pledged to adopt California's new rules as their own. Automakers selling in these states will be required to reduce new cars' average emissions by 5 percent in 2010, by 14 percent by 2011, and by 20 percent by 2012, said Tom Cackette, a deputy director of the California Air Resources Board. But a White House announcement in May drained this decision of much of its meaning. President Obama pledged that, beginning in 2012, the federal government would impose its own limits on tailpipe emissions. California officials agreed to accept the federal standards, which Obama said will require cars and light trucks to average 35.5 miles per gallon by 2016. That means that the practical impact of yesterday's decision will mostly come between now and 2012, when the federal regulations kick in...WPost

Can Farm Groups Kill the Climate Bill?

Despite a much-publicized deal struck for agriculture in the House energy and climate bill, many farm groups are lining up against the legislation emerging from Congress. The reluctance of groups like the American Farm Bureau Federation and the National Pork Producers Council to get behind the measure threatens to kill it in the Senate, according to some political analysts. On Friday, the House passed legislation, 219-212, setting up a mandatory nationwide cap on greenhouse gases. "Agriculture can in effect hold this bill hostage," said Barry Rabe, a public policy professor at the University of Michigan. "This suggests we're only at the beginning of the negotiating process."...NYTimes

Klamath restoration negotiations delayed

Dam removal negotiators were unable to come to an agreement Tuesday, missing the deadline set for finalizing a plan to remove four aging dams on the Klamath River. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar said Tuesday that an agreement is “within reach” and should be completed by the end of summer, according to a press release from the U.S. Department of the Interior. Negotiators from Oregon, California, the U.S. Department of Interior, and the utility company PacifiCor, had tentatively agreed to a dam removal deal in November 2008, with a deadline for a finalized agreement set for Tuesday. The efforts aim to rebuild the Klamath fishery and sustain agricultural communities who rely on the Klamath River. All parties have agreed to extend the deadline for a final agreement on the future of the Klamath Hydroelectric Project to September 2009. The tentative agreement from last year has since been joined by 22 other stakeholders...TimesStandard

Wireless Sensor Technology Predicts Fires in Forests

Voltree Power said it has completed a successful trial demonstration of its innovative climate sensor network, one that can be powered by energy harvested from living trees, according to a June 25 press release. The three-day test and system installation demonstrated the successful integration with the existing “Remote Automated Weather Stations” network, transmitting air temperature, humidity, and diagnostic data. Using low-power radio transceivers, sensors, and its patented bioenergy-harvesting technology, Voltree has provided a new means for fire prediction and detection. Developed under the oversight and guidance of the U.S. Forest Service as well as the Bureau of Land Management, the system employs sensors for air temperature, relative humidity, and voltage and can generate alerts in the event of a fire. In such cases, the wireless mesh network transmits data signals from one unit to another until they reach a Vaisala-built central monitoring station. These stations subsequently provide a satellite microwave uplink connection that allows the collected information to be shared with numerous government agencies and many other users worldwide...EP

Happy 65th Birthday, Smokey Bear!

Did you know Smokey Bear has profile pages on Facebook, MySpace and YouTube?

Did you know the FS has a new ad campaign celebrating it's 65th anniversary, with the campaign slogan "Get Your Smokey On" and displaying a new modern version of Smokey Bear?

Sorry FS and Ad Council, but he's still Smokey THE Bear to me.

Obama Cabinet Plans a Listening Tour of Rural America

The White House announced this afternoon that President Obama has directed many members of his Cabinet to begin what it describes as a “listening tour” of rural America this summer, beginning on Wednesday just outside Erie, Pa., in Wattsburg. With little notice, the first session begins tomorrow, as Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., Commerce Secretary Gary Locke and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack head there to talk about rural broadband service. The event, which is supposed to occur at noon at Seneca High School there, is expected to highlight a piece of the $787 billion stimulus package devoted to that issue. Many of the areas listed for visits by other Cabinet secretaries are situated in swing states — Zanesville, Ohio, for example, or parts of North Carolina — which turned out favorably for Mr. Obama in the 2008 election...The calendar is empty then for about six weeks, until Mr. Vilsack again ventures into swing territory in Scottsbluff, Neb., and an end-of-September event in Las Cruces, N.M., on rural infrastructure...NYTimes

Guard to seek volunteers for border

The Obama administration is developing plans to seek up to 1,500 National Guard volunteers to step up the military's counter-drug efforts along the Mexican border, senior administration officials said Monday. The plan is a stopgap measure being worked out between the Defense Department and the Homeland Security Department, and comes despite Pentagon concerns about committing more troops to the border — a move some officials worry will be seen as militarizing the region. Senior administration officials said the Guard program will last no longer than a year and would build on an existing counter-drug operation. They said the program, which would largely be federally funded, would draw on National Guard volunteers from the four border states. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because the details have not been finalized. Officials said the program would mainly seek out guard members for surveillance, intelligence analysis and aviation support. Guard units would also supply ground troops who could assist at border crossings and with land and air transportation...AP

Fox Attack - Woman Remains In Hospital

“I hear this terrible screaming; I look over and there’s this fox hanging off her arm,” Mr. Dupont said. He has worked as a wildlife specialist for 27 years. “The fox bit her arms, her legs, blood is dripping everywhere.” “He was rabid for sure,” Mr. Ford, 44, of Worcester, said in a telephone interview from his hospital bed in the emergency room at UMass Memorial Medical Center — University Campus, shortly after the attack. “This animal was tearing her up. I just ran up and punted it off of her.” The fox walked a short distance from the woman after releasing her from his jaw, and Mr. Ford said he started yelling at her to run into the house. The woman made it safely into the house, but the fox immediately started coming after him. The attack victim, who was not identified by authorities, remained hospitalized today. “She was a complete mess; she came out of the house on a stretcher. There was blood on her hands, face, back, legs, arms; all her clothes were bloody. Bobby Ford was a hero for stepping in,” Mr. Dupont said...Telegram

HT: Outdoor Pressroom

Animal ID plan scorched at Nebraska listening session

As a long procession of critics pounded away at the federal government’s floundering animal identification initiative Tuesday, federal veterinarian Dave Morris sat in the back of the room, mostly expressionless and sometimes occupied with his cell phone. “I think this one was consistent with many of the others,” he said later of the 14th and final listening session held across the country. It happens that the Nebraska session comes at a time state and federal officials are testing thousands of cattle and trying to contain the first two cases of bovine tuberculosis in Nebraska in 17 years. But that chilling Rock County development did not seem to affect the attitudes of many of the cow-calf producers who stepped to the microphone on the outskirts of Omaha on Tuesday. To them, the livestock identification plan is a government invasion that’s likely to become mandatory, add to their cost of production and infringe on their ability to run their operations as they see fit...JournalStar

Song Of The Day #075

This morning we will feature Charlie and Ira Louvin, the Louvin Brothers, and their 1956 recording of What Is Home Without Love.

It can be found on their 8 disc box set Close Harmony and on their CD Tragic Songs of Life.

Enjoy that harmony.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Four jaguar captures, three deaths

Octavio Rosas, a doctoral student at New Mexico State University, had set out snares in an area near Nacori Chico in the Sierra Madre mountains of eastern Sonora. Early that warm morning, he and another biologist found a jaguar trapped in one of their leg snares. The jaguar lunged at the pair, but they were able to get a dart loaded with the sedative ketamine into its hindquarters. When the first dart didn't sedate the animal, Rosas applied two more doses, half the quantity of the first. The animal never recovered from sedation and died as the warm morning turned hot. Rosas attributed the death to "heat stress."...ArizonaStar

Congressmen Say They Didn't Have Chance to Read Full 1,200-Page Climate Change Bill Before Vote

Almost all of the House members surveyed Friday by had not read the entire 1,200-page climate-change bill before they were to cast their vote Friday evening. But almost all of them knew how they were going to vote. Rep. Neil Abercrombie (D-Hawaii) said that he supported the bill the House was considering (and subsequently approved Friday evening by a narrow 219-212 vote), but he had not read the whole bill. “You’d have to have hours and hours and hours to be able to do all that, but we’re well aware of the main items,” Rep. Abercrombie told But the liberal member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus also said he was skeptical about “how it works out in practice.” The 300-page amendment became an issue on the House floor Friday. House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) took time to read parts of it to the House and comment on its provisions, complaining that House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) had added it to the bill at 3:05 a.m. Friday morning. “Don’t you think the American people expect us to understand what is in this bill before we vote on it?” Boehner asked on the floor Friday afternoon. Boehner voted against the bill...CNSNews

Only a few staff, and fewer Congressman, actually knew what was in the bill.

The Politically Superior Ones don't really need to read something to know whether it is good or bad.

They just know they need to "do something", and that something is always to make the government larger and more powerful.

Climate bill shaped by compromise

That strategy yielded a narrow victory in the House on Friday. The question was, did Obama, Waxman and other supporters give away so much in the process that the benefits to the environment ended up being slim to none -- especially since the bill now goes to the even less sympathetic Senate? "There's a point at which you've got to ask yourself, what are we doing here? What's the point?" said Elaine Kamarck of Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, who was a Clinton administration official and advisor to then-Vice President Gore. So far, most of the major environmental groups are sticking with Obama. Most groups calculated that, in sum, the bill was worth moving, said Emily Figdor, the federal global warming policy director for Environment America. "We think there's a lot of problems in the bill," she said, but "we need to take that first step. We're so long overdue."...Environmentalists watched the deals go down with varying cases of nerves. Greenpeace labeled the final bill "a victory for coal industry lobbyists, oil industry lobbyists, agriculture industry lobbyists, steel and cement industry lobbyists." An Environmental Protection Agency analysis this month suggested the bill would barely make a dent in the nation's oil imports, even though Obama repeatedly promised it would. A study by the environmentalist Union of Concerned Scientists said the renewable electricity standard, watered down by compromise, might spur less wind and solar use than no standard at all...LATimes

The Ag Deal & The Climate Bill

I've posted links here to many articles about the deals cut to get the climate bill passed in the House.

One of the deals made was by reps from agricultural districts, and Steve Pearlstein at the Washington Post is not too happy about it. He writes:

But, for farmers, it wasn't enough to get a free pass on carbon emissions. They are unhappy that the effect of the caps and pollution permits will be to raise the price of their fuel, fertilizer and electricity. No matter that other Americans will suffer similar effects. In the mind of the entitled American farmer, any increase in costs or reduction in revenue -- whether from natural causes, market forces or government regulation -- must be compensated for by the government.

So farmers demanded that they be allowed to earn some extra cash by reducing the carbon footprint on their farms and selling these "offsets" to the factories and power plants unlucky enough to be subject to the carbon-cap regime. They want to be paid extra if they change the feedstock to cut down on cow burps and farts. Or if they use the no-till method for planting seeds, which doesn't release the carbon trapped in the soil. Or if they put in devices to trap the methane released from animal poop.

And they demanded to be paid not just if they do these things in the future, but also if they did them last year or the year before. They demanded the payments even if they are already getting a check from the government to do the same things as part of some other conservation program. And perhaps most notably, they demanded that the job of supervising this offset program be shifted from the Environmental Protection Agency, whose focus would actually be ensuring that the reductions are real, to the Department of Agriculture, which sees its mission as preserving, protecting and defending American farm subsidies.

He goes on to say "Elmer" also cut a deal on an ethanol issue, and then farm groups, such as the Farm Bureau still had the audacity to oppose the bill. He closes by saying the next time ag comes to DC for emergency drought aid, they should be told "to go pound sand."

You see, no one except the Politically Superior Ones, or those they have annointed, are supposed to exercise political power. All you "Elmers" should get ready to "pound sand" (unless, of course, there are turtle eggs nearby).

HT: Reason

EPA Did Not Release Internal Report That Dissented from Conclusion That Carbon Emissions Cause Global Warming

The EPA did not publicly release a March report that raised questions about the validity of the agency's conclusions that carbon emissions were a cause of global warming and an endangerment to human health--primary assumptions behind the cap and trade bill that passed the House on Friday. Critics--including eight congressmen--say the document was suppressed in spite of an Obama administration pledge to bring greater transparency to government. The report was an evaluation of the EPA’s current Technical Support Document (TSD), analyzing the endangerment of human health caused by greenhouse gas emissions. Despite the unpublished report's argument that the TSD was not conclusive in its findings, the EPA told the White House that carbon emissions did indeed endanger the health and welfare of Americans. The Competitive Enterprise Institute obtained and released a draft of the dissenting document last week, along with internal correspondence CEI says proves the report “was kept under wraps and its author silenced because of pressure to support the Administration’s agenda of regulating carbon dioxide.”...CNSNews

How and why science is buried or distorted depends on only one thing - which party controls the Executive Branch. Will groups spring up, like they did under Bush, to monitor Obama's corruption of science?

Audubon sues FEMA over issuance of flood insurance in Oregon

The Audubon Society of Portland and other environmental groups are suing the Federal Emergency Management Agency over its issuance of flood insurance in Oregon, saying the government doesn't adequately consider the effect of floodplain development on wild salmon and steelhead. The suit, filed last week in the U.S. District Court of Oregon, says floodplain development has hindered recovery of fish listed under the Endangered Species Act. Oregonians currently hold 32,757 individual flood insurance policies providing $6.8 billion of coverage in 259 local communities, the suit says, with a 17 percent increase in policies from September 2004 to October 2007. The "overwhelming majority" of the participating communities are within the geographic range of ESA-listed species, the suit says...Oregonian

Here you have the Politically Superior Ones supporting two policies at cross purposes. On the one hand, for votes, subsidize those who prefer to live in a floodplain, and on the other, for the enviros, restrict human activity to protect plants and animals. Too bad our enlightened leaders didn't realize the first policy does damage to the second.

Anyway, it's poorly thought out public policy to subsidize development anywhere, endangered species or not.

So, have the Politically Superior Ones figured this out?

Apparently not, as a post at Open Market on a similar issue points out:

...Case in point: The Homeowner’s Defense Act proposed by Representative Ron Klein (D-Fla.). The bill proposed by Rep. Klein would, among other things, set up a large “catastrophe” fund for state insurers in the Gulf, particularly for Florida. The fund would be a pre-funded bailout of state run insurers in the event of a hurricane disaster. The special fund would allow state insurers to continue charging below-market rates for the risks being taken without having to collect enough assets to stay solvent in the event of a large disaster. The benefits of the fund would come specifically to those living along the coastlines of the Gulf, yet the costs would be spread out across the entire U.S. It should come as no big shock then that the act’s main supporters are a congressman from Florida and Florida Governor Charlie Crist.

Given that one group is getting all the benefits of the bill, it should also be no surprise that many groups would stand up against it, including some very unlikely partners. As reported in a piece in Politico last week, both environmentalist and free market groups are uniting to oppose the legislation. Free market groups like CEI are against the legislation on the basis that it intervenes in the market process and spreads the burden of risk on undeserving parties. Furthermore, the subsidizing of insurance rates for these Gulf States incentivizes building homes in areas at higher risk during hurricane disasters, as well as the construction of less safe homes. Environmentalist groups, despite their different mission, are opposed to the bill on the grounds that it would incentivize building homes in environmentally sensitive habitats, like those where sea turtles lay their eggs...

Just give it a nice title, like The Homeowner’s Defense Act, and then enact the same old wrong-headed policy.

Saving Species No Longer a Beauty Contest

Are we ready to start saving ugly species? When it began compiling lists of threatened and endangered animals and plants more than 35 years ago, the U.S. government gave itself the same mandate as Noah's Ark: Save everything. But in practice, the effort has often worked more like a velvet-rope nightclub: Glamour rules. The furry, the feathered, the famous and the edible have dominated government funding for protected species, to the point that one subpopulation of threatened salmon gets more money than 956 other plants and animals combined. Now, though, scientists say they're noticing a little more love for the unlovely. They say plain-Jane plants, birds with fluorescent goiters and beetles that meet their mates at rat corpses are getting new money and respect -- finally valued as homely canaries inside treasured ecosystems. But it still can be a hard sell. That's obvious here in California's Central Valley, where farmers are locked in a bitter fight with a glassy-eyed smelt. "Over a stupid fish," said Mendota Mayor Robert Silva...WPost

Possum Plays Dead Inside Gym’s Soda Machine

A baby opossum's instinct to play dead evidently didn't help matters after it got wedged inside a soda machine at an upstate New York fitness club. The animal ran into the Court Jester Athletic Club in Johnson City, N.Y., near Binghamton, and scurried behind a soda machine in the front vestibule Wednesday evening. The club's assistant manager called police realizing the critter was stuck inside, hanging upside down in a compartment below the soda dispenser. A police officer tried to pull the animal from the bottom of the machine, but it was lodged in place and making no apparent move to escape. About a half hour later, an employee arrived with a key for the machine, the front panel was opened and the animal rescued. The officer released it in a nearby cemetery. AP

It's all Trew: During hard times, Americans find a way

Some of the younger set may not believe it, but this is not the first financial setback in America. Many arriving on the Mayflower during the initial discovery of America were there because of indebtedness, legal convictions and thankful for the opportunity to pay off their debts by fulfilling service contracts by settling in the new world. It seems America has always been made up of opportunists who can make something of nothing, create wealth and well-being. Yet sooner or later, push the envelope too far, overreach and go bust. Just wait a while and those same people will be right back making something of nothing and the cycle continues. The reason why the cycle continues is there are always a few of the more conservative who remember the boom-and-bust cycle, build up a reserve and keep the cycle going at some speed or another. It never seems to change from generation to generation. We once had a neighbor with a large family and whose farming practices and work habits were not the best. When hard times came, a crop missed or a financial setback occurred, he felt called by the Lord to preach. A few revivals here and there, baskets of food donated, and the bad season was weathered. He would return to his old farming and labor

Song Of The Day #074

I'm in the mood for fiddle music this morning, so we're gonna have a fiddle fest featuring two of my favorite fiddlers, Tommy Jackson and Howdy Forrester. Funny how Ranch Radio always seems to play what I'm wanting to hear.

So give a listen to Forrester doing High Level Hornpipe and Cruel Willie, and Jackson playing Stony Point and Trouble Among The Yearlings.

Good luck trying to find their stuff. Here's hoping some reissues will be forthcoming.

Monday, June 29, 2009

High court losses stun environmentalists

Environmentalists suffered a stunning 0-for-5 outcome in the U.S. Supreme Court this term, their "worst term ever," according to advocates and scholars. The defeats left the environmental community, and even its traditional antagonist in these cases — the business community — wondering where the Court is heading in this increasingly important area of the law. Is the Roberts Court pro-business, anti-environment, pro-government — or something else? Their answers are as varied as the issues raised in the five cases that the justices decided. What is clear is the Court's heightened interest in environmental law. The justices have decided 15 cases in just the past five terms, but in none of those terms, in fact in none of the past nine terms, have environmentalists experienced a complete shutout. For environmentalists, the defeats were particularly painful because their interests had prevailed in the courts below in all five cases. The justices granted review at the behest of business, even when the solicitor general of the United States recommended denying review. "They were all victories below for environmentalists, so you wonder if the Court is making some strategic choices in the cases it picks," said Jonathan Cannon, director of the environmental and land use program at the University of Virginia School of Law...NationalLawJournal

Major economies consider halving world CO2

Major economies including the United States and China are considering setting a goal of halving world greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 when they hold a summit in Italy next month, a draft document showed. The text also says the 17-member Major Economies Forum (MEF) will seek to double public investments in low-carbon technology by 2015 and boost funding from both public and private sources as well as from carbon markets to fight global warming. The draft was put forward by the United States and Mexico at talks in Mexico this week, without reaching accord before a MEF summit on July 9. U.S. President Barack Obama launched the MEF to help toward a new U.N. climate pact due in December. "We support an aspirational global goal of reducing global emissions by 50 percent by 2050, with developed countries reducing emissions by at least 80 percent by 2050," according to the draft text, obtained by Reuters and dated June 22...Reuters

Texas businesses fret about climate change bill

While many Texans see the need to address global warming, the potential impact of climate-change legislation narrowly passed by the U.S. House of Representatives on Friday is stirring concern among businesses and industry groups in Texas. John Fainter, president of the Texas Association of Electric Companies, said his organization is worried about the Waxman-Markey bill’s effect on power generators and electricity consumers. It is virtually certain to mean higher costs for consumers, whose utility bills are already raised by the state’s torrid summers, Fainter said. Texas also uses huge volumes of power because of industrial activity such as petroleum refining and chemical manufacturing. In a letter to the Texas congressional delegation, the Fort Worth-based Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association urged lawmakers to reject Waxman-Markey, saying the cost would outweigh any benefit. The organization can’t support legislation that "would push more family ranches in Texas out of business," said association President Dave Scott, a rancher from Richmond, near Houston. "We are very concerned about the increased costs of fuel, electricity, feed, fertilizer, equipment and other production costs necessary to maintain a successful ranching operation should this bill become law," he said...Star-Telegram

Beetles Add New Dynamic to Forest Fire Control Efforts

Summer fire seasons in the great forests of the West have always hinged on elements of chance: a heat wave in August, a random lightning strike, a passing storm front that whips a small fire into an inferno or dampens it with cooling rain. But tiny bark beetles, munching and killing pine trees by the millions from Colorado to Canada, are now increasingly adding their own new dynamic. As the height of summer fire season approaches, more than seven million acres of forest in the United States have been declared all but dead, throwing a swath of land bigger than Massachusetts into a kind of fire-cycle purgatory that forestry officials admit they do not yet have a good handle on for fire prediction or assessment. Dead trees, depending on how recently they died, may be much more flammable than living trees, or slightly more flammable, or even for a certain period less flammable. The only certainties are that dead forests are growing in size and scale — 22 million more acres are expected to die over the next 15 years — and that foresters, like the fire-tower lookouts of old, are keeping their eyes peeled and their fingers crossed...NYTimes

Funds to fight fires going up in smoke

This year's forest fire season has arrived across the West, bringing with it the disturbing trends of ever larger fire suppression costs mostly paid for by the national taxpayer, and often to protect second homes that are only seasonally occupied. The price of fighting forest fires has increased substantially, now accounting for half of the Forest Service's budget and costing taxpayers billions. Just this month, the U.S. House of Representatives unveiled its war-related supplemental spending bill that also includes $250 million for fighting wildfires this summer — funding that is in addition to the $1.1 billion already appropriated for federal firefighting this year. Yet we have failed to address one reason why forest fires have become so expensive: the increasing number of private homes, many of them second residences, near forested public lands. Across the West today, only 14 percent of private land adjacent to forests has homes on it. But this relatively small percentage is tremendously expensive. When combining local, state and federal efforts, the cost to protect homes from forest fires exceeds $1 billion per year. If 50 percent of the forested private lands were developed, firefighting costs could exceed $4 billion. In addition, climate change is expanding the length and severity of fire seasons...DenverPost

Video - Assignment Earth: Mexican Wolves

For a green perspective on the issue...

Qatar makes bid for Northwest water

If there’s one thing Aberdeen has, it’s water. Coming from the sky in the form of rain and, more importantly, coming out of its industrial pipelines and reservoirs. And a company with ties to the Middle East has approached the city about buying huge quantities of water, Public Works Director Larry Bledsoe told the Aberdeen City Council Wednesday night. Bledsoe said this morning that the Gulf Pacific Rim Group from Doha, Qatar, has made official inquiries with him to purchase upward of 30 million gallons of water per day, probably even more. The Middle Eastern company has contracted with a Renton outfit to start negotiations. Bledsoe said the City of Aberdeen has more than enough water to spare, especially with the closure of Weyerhaeuser’s pulp mill in Cosmopolis, which used 30 million gallons per day...DailyWorld

California lawmakers lose bid to change water rules

Central California lawmakers have failed again in their effort to block the environmental rules steering irrigation water toward the protection of endangered species. With Interior Secretary Ken Salazar planning a Fresno town-hall meeting for Sunday, a powerful House panel decided to quietly bury the controversial San Joaquin Valley amendment. Unlike a similar effort last week, this latest amendment never reached the House floor. The proposed amendment to a $32 billion Interior Department funding bill would have blocked spending on two so-called "biological opinions" governing crucial California water flow. These biological opinions mount to federal water management rules that protect the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and species including salmon and the delta smelt. "For the San Joaquin Valley, the majority in this House has chosen fish over working families," Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Visalia, declared Thursday. Last week, Nunes won permission from the House Rules Committee to offer a similar amendment to a Commerce Department spending bill. The amendment failed by a closer-than-expected 218-208 margin, with 37 Democrats supporting it...McClatchy


I was contacted by The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles and they let me know of some interesting posts on HSUS and PETA, including the video Where Do the HSUS Donations Really Go? It's a TV report from the ABC affiliate in Atlanta, Ga. Rasch points out the news station quickly removed the story and video but he has managed to obtain it anyway. You might want to check it out.

Rebellion on the Range Over a Cattle ID Plan

HORSE SPRINGS, N.M. - Wranglers at the Platt ranch were marking calves the old-fashioned way last week, roping them from horseback and burning a brand onto their haunches. What they were emphatically not doing, said Jay Platt, the third-generation proprietor of the ranch, was abiding by a federally recommended livestock identification plan, intended to speed the tracing of animal diseases, that has caused an uproar among ranchers. They were not attaching the recommended tags with microchips that would allow the computerized recording of livestock movements from birth to the slaughterhouse. "This plan is expensive, it's intrusive, and there's no need for it," Mr. Platt said. Mr. Platt said he already did all he could to fight epidemics. He does not bring any outside animals into his herds, and he happily staples on metal tags that identify animals to help with brucellosis control. But as he drove his pickup from grasslands into dense thickets of piñon pine on this highland desert that requires 100 acres per cow, he explained why he thought the federal plan was wrongheaded...NYTimes

JBS Swift Beef Co. expands beef recall over possible E. coli contamination

JBS Swift Beef Co. of Greeley, Colo., is voluntarily expanding its beef recall to include about 380,000 pounds of products because of possible E. coli contamination. A recall earlier this week involved about 41,000 pounds of products. The U.S. Department of Agriculture said Sunday that all the beef products in the expanded recall were produced April 21 and are in boxes bearing "EST. 969," a package date of "042109" and a time stamp ranging from "0618" to "1130." The USDA says an investigation by its Food Safety and Inspection Service of 24 illnesses in multiple states prompted the company to re-examine its food safety system. The department says 18 of the illnesses appear to have the same cause, and the company is conducting the recall "out of an abundance of caution."...AP

'Food, Inc.' chews up Monsanto, agribusiness cousins

The movie "Food, Inc." begins in the aisles of a grocery store, then eventually makes its way through Southern chicken coops, western feedlots and Indiana cornfields. The film ventures into hog slaughterhouses, through the hallways of Congress and to a celebrated farm in Virginia, exploring how food makes its way to American dining tables and skewering the industrialized food system along the way. It's not a scenic drive. The documentary attempts to demonstrate that the food Americans eat is largely controlled by a handful of corporations — and all at the expense of the environment, human health and the economic well-being of farmers. Many farmers likely haven't seen the film yet because it hasn't made its way out of larger cities. But the documentary has incited some farmers, who, along with food activists, have filled blogs and social media sites with debate and rancor. "The thing the film does is attempt to pit everyone against the agribusiness sector," said Trent Loos, a cattle and goat rancher in central Nebraska, who runs a nonprofit organization called Faces of Ag. "Farmers understand we have to work in conjunction with agribusiness." "Basically they're implying we need to go back 80 years," Loos said. "Kenner thinks he's siding with farmers and he's not. He's ignoring the farmers' willingness in implementing the science and technology in today's food system."...STLToday

Horse remorse

As many a remorseful horse owner learns too late, the animals aren't just lawn adornments - they tend to represent a considerable investment of time and money. On average, horses need about 1.5 percent of their body's weight in food each day, on top of 5 to 10 gallons of water. Throw in a visit from the farrier (for hoof care) every six weeks, a dentist appointment each year and essentials such as salt licks, dewormer, supplements and shoes, and the cost to keep a horse in acceptable health for a year ends up at about $1,500. Then multiply that by 30, the number of years in a typical horse's life. Or you could multiply it by 50, the number of horses Diane McCracken and her small staff of volunteers care for at the Spring Creek Horse Rescue, the only rescue of its kind in La Plata County. A convergence of factors has helped dim Spring Creek's outlook, along with the fates of many unwanted horses in the U.S. Federal legislation banning horse slaughter passed in 2007, and has so far yielded a glut of older and infirm horses that might otherwise have become entrée meat for Europeans and others who hold no taboo against eating horse. Restrictions against interstate travel and the transportation of horses across the Canadian and Mexican borders, where horse slaughter is still permitted, have made the process more clandestine and the conditions for transported horses unmonitored. And with a recession winnowing the finances of most Americans, some horse owners are faced with a dilemma, said Jon Patla, director of the La Plata County Humane Society's Animal Protection unit...DurangoHeraldNews

National Tribal Horse Coalition Joins the United Organizations of the Horse

At a historic meeting in Fort Hall, Idaho, on May 13, 2009 the Northwest Tribal Horse Coalition became the National Tribal Horse Coalition and joined with the United Organizations of the Horse. The ability of tribes to manage their horse herds is severely constrained by the loss of markets for unusable horses, and they are coming together to find solutions that will benefit all tribes. The meeting was hosted by the Shoshone Bannock Fish & Game Law Enforcement Department. Among the topics of the day were how to prevent animal rights groups from using a romantic ideal of Native Americans in their propaganda which is at exact cross purposes to the reality that tribes are facing on the ground; what to do about all of the horses that are abandoned on tribal lands; internal policies that tribes can adopt to help manage the surplus of horses; and efforts to collaborate with non-Indian organizations like the United Organizations in order to further the best interests of horses and horse people at the state and federal levels...UOH

American Indians support horse slaughter

Katherine Minthorn Good Luck, representative of the National Tribal Horse Coalition on the United Organizations of the Horse's Founding Leadership Team, reports that the National Congress of American Indians has passed a resolution expressing the tribes' views in regards to federal interference with their ability to sustainably manage horses on tribal lands, and supporting the reopening of US processing facilities. Tribes in at least four states-Oregon, Montana, North and South Dakota-are working to establish humane processing facilities on tribal lands to provide an economic boost, jobs, and a much-needed valuable use for excess horses on tribal lands, and as a service to all horse owners. This resolution was passed at their Mid Year Conference in Niagara Falls, NY, June 14-17. DroversJournal

Florida horse rider helmet law signed by Gov.

Nicole Hornstein was riding a horse when the animal stumbled and fell, tossing her, and her head slammed into the pavement. The 12-year-old girl, who wasn't wearing a helmet, died in 2006 after 20 days in a coma. But her death was not in vain, her father and state legislators said Monday, moments before Gov. Charlie Crist signed a safety bill into "Nicole's Law." About 80 people attended the signing at The Acreage's Hamlin Equestrian Park, adjacent to an equestrian ring. The signing comes three years after Nicole's accident. Her father, Gary, traveled regularly to Tallahassee to push for the law. As legislators pondered the bill, two other children were injured in horse-related accidents. Similar to the youth-helmet law for riding bicycles, Nicole's Law requires horseback riders 16 and younger to wear a helmet when riding on public roads and rights of way and while taking riding lessons. Rodeos, parades and private property are exempt...SunSentinel

How Portales won the battle for Eastern New Mexico University

Louise H. Coe, the senator from Hondo, was unescorted while in Santa Fe. Her husband, a paraplegic, stayed in Hondo and managed their ranch while she was at the Legislature. She was the only senator undecided on the college location issue. Bryant was a gruff, serious-minded man. It was hard to imagine passionate thoughts ever crossing his mind. When the future of Portales was at stake, however, he started having romantic ideas. Who could persuade Coe to vote for Portales? She would be needing an escort to a Santa Fe celebration on the eve of the big vote. Who could escort her and sell Portales in the process? Bryant’s prospects for success brightened as he selected the man. Napoleon Bonaparte Fields, known as “Boney,” was a handsome, debonair, smooth-talking men’s clothing-store owner in Portales. He was an impeccable dresser and drove a new Buick Roadster convertible. More important, he was the most eligible bachelor in Portales. Bryant appeared to be a rock of power who never asked for help. On that day, however, he knew he needed help from a man with different talents than he possessed. He needed a lady’s man. Soon after Bryant explained the situation, “Boney” Fields washed his car, packed his best suit and was on his way to Santa Fe. He carried the hopes of Portales with him...ClovisNewsJournal

Baxter Black: Prepare for over-mess ups

When we talk about someone who is over-prepared, we think of a person who is very thorough and able to handle all possible contingencies. It is a good habit to have especially if you are someone who regularly messes up and therefore must be ready to respond when you over-mess up! A case in point; my friend Robin qualifies as this particular trip illustrates. He left the Coachella Valley headed west on California Highway 91 in his newly acquired 20-year-old pickup. It was pulling a slightly older 16-foot C&W stock trailer missing two rails with one new tire and two horses on board. Traffic was heavy. A motorist passed him on the left and pointed behind. Robin looked in the side mirror to see black smoke boiling from beneath his trailer's left wheel well. As he watched, the tire exploded. Pieces of tread and sidewall filled the air as if he had hit a land mine. "No sweat," he thought, taking full control. "I've been here before. I've got a spare."

Song Of The Day #073

Today's song is I Wanna Be Hugged To Death By You, recorded in 1954 by Hawkshaw Hawkins. More on Hawkins later.

The song is available on the 3 disc collection Hawk 1953-1961, a Bear Family Records product.


Sunday, June 28, 2009

Song Of The Day #072

Today's gospel tune on the Radio Ranch is Methodist Pie by Hylo Brown and The Timberliners.

It's available on his 20 Gospel Favorites CD.

Cowgirl Sass & Savvy

Honeybees and the cowboy

Julie Carter

Fighting honeybees. Not something that would immediately come to mind when you think about cowboys, but then, there is a long list of things that cowboys do because it needs doing.

Doesn't mean they are good at it, or that they ought to, they just do.

It takes a lot to back down a cowboy because his very nature is to fight things until the bitter end. Wisdom is rarely involved.

So, when a cowboy finally throws up his hands and says, "Call for help," you know he's reached the end of it.

Our hero had been fighting uninvited honeybees for most of the spring. He managed to convince them to relocate a number of times.

The last had been from the front porch where he used a guaranteed bee-removal spray that had a range of 27 feet.

If you hit them square in the eye, they would get only mildly ill on their way to find a new nest.

Decimation was minimal.

After feeling somewhat confident that visitors were now safe at the front door, the cowboy realized his opponents had taken up residence in the horse pasture.

Using height as a human deterrent, they were busy buzzing in a huge oak tree, about 25 feet from the ground.

Not wanting to be on a ladder with hundreds of angry, buzzing, stinging bees on attack, the cowboy wisely called in a professional.

Everyone, in theory, finds his or her specialty in life and in the geographical area of this bee infestation, there is a man known as the "bee guy."

When telephoned, he promised to come that very morning and ended the phone call with some bee knowledge.

"The bees are just like the English. Kill the queen and the whole colony will fold up."

He promised his mission would be the assassination of the queen.

The bee guy arrived and offered his business card that read, "Beez-R-Us, If you've got'em, we'll come swat'em."

He said his fee would be $150 but he guaranteed his work.

Upon arrival, the bee guy donned a rather spectacular suit similar to those used for moon walks, along with a fetching hat reminiscent of a cross between "Dr. Livingston, I presume" head covering and a diving helmet.

The cowboy felt this was one project he did not particularly need to supervise personally, which in itself, was a rare occurrence.

The only other time in recent memory was when the rattlesnake hunters arrived at the New Mexico ranch.

The goofy snake hunter insisted on showing the cowboy his biggest catch of the day.
He scooped him out of the snake box and laid him on the ground at the cowboy's feet. Didn't take the cowboy long to look at him.

Meanwhile back at the beehive, it was only a day after the bee guy's attack on the oak tree bees that the lady of house was startled to find bees swarming in her master bath.

The queen-less colony of bees apparently had a Lady Camilla bee-in-waiting.

They had migrated to the eaves over the bathroom window, set up housekeeping and were coming through the attic, down the light fixture and into the bathroom.

The little lady's effort to discourage them from joining her bath was to fog them with an entire can of spray, aimed at their general vicinity.

The bee guy was promptly requested to return, based on the guarantee of his work.

When the cowboy called, he explained that the bees had migrated back to the house.

With a wily tone to his voice, the bee guy asked the cowboy how was it he recognized them to be the same bees?

Warranty coverage may prove difficult with that looming question.

Stay tuned. Bee season is just now in full swing.

New Border Fear: Militia Violence

“Somebody just came in and shot my daughter and my husband!” the woman shouted to the 911 dispatcher. “They’re coming back in! They’re coming back in!” Multiple gunshots are then heard on a tape of the call. The woman, Gina Gonzalez, survived the attack after arming herself with her husband’s handgun, but both he and their 10-year-old daughter died. The killings, last month, have terrified this small town near the Mexican border, in part because the authorities have now tied them to what they describe as a rogue group engaged in citizen border patrols. The three people arrested in the crime include the leader of Minutemen American Defense, a Washington State-based offshoot of the Minutemen movement, in which citizens roam the border looking for people crossing into the country illegally. Former members describe the group’s leader, Shawna Forde, 41, as having anti-immigrant sentiments that are extreme, at times frightening, even to people accustomed to hard-line views on border policing. The authorities say that the three suspects were after money and drugs that they intended to use to finance vigilantism, and that members of the group may have been involved in at least one other home invasion, in California...NYTimes

Pentagon & Homeland Security To Work With Local Police

The Pentagon and Department of Homeland Security recently hosted a teleconference for law enforcement agencies and associations such as the National Association of Chiefs of Police to discuss the Obama Administration's interest in using the military during "emergencies." Officials announced during the teleconference that the Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator W. Craig Fugate met with the Commander, US Northern Command, General Gene Renuart, to discuss "pre-disaster planning, response and recovery in support of the federal response to the 2009 hurricane season as well as wild fires, floods and other potential disasters." The meeting reinforced the important relationship between the two organizations and focused on the operational role of US Northern Command and what resources and skills they bring to any major Federal effort related to all-hazards preparedness, response, recovery and mitigation. It was also an opportunity to meet operational leaders who would fill key positions in those support efforts. However, many law enforcement executives and organizations went on the record saying they did not appreciate the prospect of federal troops usurping the authority of local and state law enforcement agencies or the role of the National Guard unit currently under the control of governors. "My initial reaction is: why are we allowing federal troops to basically invade the sovereignty of individual states when each state has its own law enforcement agencies and each state possesses an armed and trained National Guard and, in the case of some states such as New York, a trained militia?" according to New York police officer Edna Aquino. "We have not used armed federal troops in New York since the Civil War when Union troops and Navy battleships attacked dissenters who opposed conscription by the Union Army," she added...NewsWithViews