Saturday, August 15, 2009

Redford joins call to conserve the West

During a gathering of politicos, analysts and policy wonks at the Colorado History Museum on Thursday, celebrity Robert Redford wowed the crowd with his thoughts on how to save the West. Sponsored by Project New West, the day-long gathering of several hundred people listened to lectures and discussed ways of expanding and solidifying the West's new-found political power. Seated on stage in two leather chairs, Redford and U.S. Sen. Tom Udall, D-N.M., informally chatted about Redford's rise from movie actor to high-profile environmental champion. "I think the New West should return to the Old West, when there was an emphasis on communities, on families and neighbors," Redford said, comfortable in bluejeans and a blue shirt. "Dams, all dams, should go away, the faster the better," he said. "The Colorado River today has only half the flow it used to have. "Time and resources are running out for the West. Compromises are needed. I hope we wake up before we lose it for our children." In his outspoken manner, Redford called the leaders of his home state, Utah, "retarded and no friends of the environment," although he had some praise for former Gov. Jon Huntsman, a Republican who recently resigned to become U.S. ambassador to China. Seated in the front row was Utah's delegation to the conference, including state Senate Minority Leader Patricia Jones...DenverPost

Having Children Brings High Carbon Impact

Having children is the surest way to send your carbon footprint soaring, according to a new study from statisticians at Oregon State University. The study found that having a child has an impact that far outweighs that of other energy-saving behaviors. Take, for example, a hypothetical American woman who switches to a more fuel-efficient car, drives less, recycles, installs more efficient light bulbs, and replaces her refrigerator and windows with energy-saving models. If she had two children, the researchers found, her carbon legacy would eventually rise to nearly 40 times what she had saved by those actions. “Clearly, the potential savings from reduced reproduction are huge compared to the savings that can be achieved by changes in lifestyle,” the report states. The impact of children varies dramatically depending on geography: An American woman who has a baby will generate nearly seven times the carbon footprint of that of a Chinese woman who has a child, the study found...NYTimes

I hate to think about where this might lead.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Climate Change Measure Should Be Set Aside, U.S. Senators Say

The U.S. Senate should abandon efforts to pass legislation curbing greenhouse-gas emissions this year and concentrate on a narrower bill to require use of renewable energy, four Democratic lawmakers say. “The problem of doing both of them together is that it becomes too big of a lift,” Senator Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas said in an interview last week. “I see the cap-and-trade being a real problem.” The resistance by Lincoln and her Senate colleagues undercuts President Barack Obama’s effort to win passage of legislation that would cap carbon dioxide emissions and establish a market for trading pollution allowances, said Peter Molinaro, the head of government affairs for Midland, Michigan- based Dow Chemical Co., which supports the measure. “Doing these energy provisions by themselves might make it more difficult to move the cap-and-trade legislation,” said Molinaro, who is based in Washington. “In this town if you split two measures, usually the second thing never gets done.” Ben Nelson of Nebraska and North Dakota Senators Kent Conrad and Byron Dorgan joined Lincoln in suggesting that the climate measure be put off...Bloomberg

Obama moves to block road building in national forests

The Obama administration says it will defend a 2001 rule imposed by President Bill Clinton that blocked road construction and other development on tens of millions of acres of remote national forests. The administration's decision was contained in court papers filed Thursday in a case in Wyoming that could help settle the fate of remote federal forests. The administration is siding with environmentalists in the case. Conflicting court opinions have variously upheld and blocked the so-called Roadless Rule, which prohibited commercial logging, mining and other development on about 58 million acres of national forest in 38 states and Puerto Rico. A subsequent Bush administration rule had cleared the way for more commercial activity there. A spokesman for the Justice Department said the appeal notice, filed in U.S. District Court in Wyoming, meets a Friday deadline to preserve the government's right to pursue the appeal...AP

Obama EPA approves another mountaintop removal mine

The Obama administration late last week quietly approved one of six major mountaintop removal permits that were said to be undergoing close scrutiny by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Without announcing the move publicly, EPA gave the nod for the federal Army Corps of Engineers to issue a Clean Water Act permit for CONSOL Energy Inc.'s Peg Fork Surface Mine near Chattaroy in Mingo County. EPA approved all eight valley fill waste piles originally proposed by CONSOL, provided that additional water testing is done before six of those fills are constructed, agency officials said. Corps officials in Huntington approved the permit on Friday. Copies of key permit documents were not yet being made public, despite a promise from the Obama White House of increased transparency in the permit review process...WVGazette

Exxon Fined for Causing Bird Deaths

Exxon Mobil has agreed to pay $600,000 in penalties after approximately 85 migratory birds died of exposure to hydrocarbons at some of its natural gas facilities across the Midwest. The fine amounts to about $7,000 per dead bird. The oil major pleaded guilty to causing the deaths of waterfowl, hawks, owls and other protected species, which perished around natural gas well pits or water storage areas in Wyoming, Kansas, Oklahoma, Colorado and Texas over the last five years. The deal was struck with the Department of Justice in a federal court in Denver. Exxon had been charged with violating a 1918 federal law designed to protect migratory birds...NYTimes

Enviro Groups Tread Lightly With Endangered Species Act in Appalachia

The last ice age turned the Appalachians into North America's Noah's Ark. The mountain peaks provided a last green refuge above the glaciers, drawing species from across the eastern half of continent. Some 10,000 years later, many have stayed, and the mountains are home to one of the highest concentrations of biodiversity -- from flying squirrels to freshwater mussels -- in the country. Just last month, biologists stumbled across an entire new genus of salamanders in Southern Appalachia, the first new vertebrate genus discovered in the United States in 50 years. Beneath that biodiversity sits 28.5 billion tons of anthracite coal, according to 1998 Department of Energy estimates. The mineral is so central to the region's identity and economy that West Virginia last month declared it the official state rock. The lucrative coal is obtained through mountaintop removal -- dynamiting the tops off the mountains and dumping the leftovers into mountain valleys and stream beds. Environmental groups say the practice is horribly destructive to the region's water, land and wildlife -- but they have been reluctant to use a powerful weapon, the Endangered Species Act, in fighting it. The few national groups that have tried have run up against a special species review process for coal mining, and most have avoided it entirely for fear of upsetting a fragile partnership with their regional blue-collar allies...NYTimes

The Earth Is Warming? Adjust the Thermostat

President Obama and the rest of the Group of 8 leaders decreed last month that the planet’s average temperature shall not rise more than 2 degrees Fahrenheit above today’s level. But what if Mother Earth didn’t get the memo? How do we stay cool in the future? Two options: Plan A. Keep talking about the weather. This has been the preferred approach for the past two decades in Western Europe, where leaders like to promise one another that they will keep the globe cool by drastically reducing carbon emissions. Then, when their countries’ emissions keep rising anyway, they convene to make new promises and swear that they really, really mean it this time. Plan B. Do something about the weather. Originally called geoengineering, this approach used to be dismissed as science fiction fantasies: cooling the planet with sun-blocking particles or shades; tinkering with clouds to make them more reflective; removing vast quantities of carbon from the atmosphere. Today this approach goes by the slightly less grandiose name of climate engineering, and it is looking more practical. Several recent reviews of these ideas conclude that cooling the planet would be technically feasible and economically affordable...NYTimes

Late Cindy Walker leaves songs to Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum

Country artists have given songbooks to the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. They’ve given hand-scrawled song manuscripts, as well, and guitars on which songs were written. But until now, no one has given the actual songs. Wednesday afternoon at the Hall’s Ford Theater, old and familiar songs like “You Don’t Know Me,” “Sugar Moon” and “Dream Baby (How Long Must I Dream)” rang out, heralding an unprecedented gift from the late Cindy Walker, who authored those compositions in life and who bequeathed them in death to the Hall. Museum director Kyle Young announced the gift Wednesday, at a ceremony that found Vince Gill and Grammy-nominated group the Time Jumpers performing Walker’s work. What does one do with 500 songs? Make “mailbox money,” for one thing. Royalties are divided between publisher and songwriter, and the Hall of Fame has already collected more than half a million dollars on two years’ worth of Walker’s share of royalties...Tennessean

Guitar legend Les Paul dies at age 94

Les Paul, the guitarist and inventor who changed the course of music with the electric guitar and multitrack recording and had a string of hits, many with wife Mary Ford, died on Thursday. He was 94. According to Gibson Guitar, Paul died of complications from pneumonia at White Plains Hospital. His family and friends were by his side. As an inventor, Paul helped bring about the rise of rock ‘n’ roll and multitrack recording, which enables artists to record different instruments at different times, sing harmony with themselves, and then carefully balance the “tracks” in the finished recording. A tinkerer and musician since childhood, he experimented with guitar amplification for years before coming up in 1941 with what he called “The Log,” a four-by-four piece of wood strung with steel strings. “I went into a nightclub and played it. Of course, everybody had me labeled as a nut.” He later put the wooden wings onto the body to give it a tradition guitar shape. In 1952, Gibson Guitars began production on the Les Paul guitar. Over the years, the Les Paul series has become one of the most widely used guitars in the music industry. In 2005, Christie’s auction house sold a 1955 Gibson Les Paul for $45,600...AP

Song Of The Day #107

In recognition of Les Paul's passing we will feature some of his music today.

The obits I've seen are not mentioning his country roots. Paul started performing as a country guitarist at the age of 13 and was playing professionally at 17 (he quit high school.) His first two records were released in 1936 and one was under the name of Rhubarb Red. Our first two selections are I Never See Maggie Alone and The Old Spinning Wheel by Rhubarb Red & His Rubes. The first is indicative of the type of country music they were doing, and the second is a good example of Les Paul backing up a fiddle player. You rhythm guitar players should listen closely to the runs and licks he hits.

Les Paul and his wife, Mary Ford had many top hits in the fifties. Player 2 has Chicken Reel, which showcases his guitar style at that time, and one of their biggest hits, Vaya Con Dios

Bronco Buster CD 9023 Rhubarb Red & His Rhubes contains the first two selections. His Capitol recordings are available on the 4 disc box set The Legend and the Legacy

In addition to all his musical accomplishments, Les Paul is also famous among guitar pickers for the following:

In January 1948, Paul was injured in a near-fatal automobile accident in Oklahoma, which shattered his right arm and elbow. Doctors told Paul that there was no way for them to rebuild his elbow in a way that would let him regain movement, and that his arm would remain permanently in whatever position they placed it in. Paul then instructed the surgeons to set his arm at an angle that would allow him to cradle and pick the guitar. It took him a year and a half to recover. His right elbow being set at a permanent 90 degree angle is the reason for the small size and unusual shape of the original "Les Paul" guitar body.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Get The Cluck Out, Judge Orders Mr. Clucky and Girl-Hen

It's official. Mr. Clucky, the Miami Beach rooster, his guinea hen girlfriend Wallflower, and their poultry guardian Mark Buckley lost their appeal in Miami Beach's chicken eviction case. Special Master Joe Kaplan issued a fowl, anti-poultry ruling (see below) against Buckley today, holding that: Mr. Buckley's argument that his rooster and hen constituted an exception to the [City] Code because he considered them to be his "pets", to be without merit. Is it over for these fine feathered friends? Is their legal jig up on the streets of Miami Beach? [Mr. Clucky] Mr. Clucky and Wallflower have been officially ordered to get the cluck out of Buckley's Miami Beach condo. Kaplan ordered that "Mr. Buckley shall be punished" by having to pay a $50.00 fine by Sept. 12, 2009...Courtside

Senator Barrasso says ‘Cap and Tax’ will be harmful to agriculture

Senator John Barrasso, Chairman of the Senate Western Caucus, is standing up for Wyoming agriculture and speaking out against the Administration’s job-killing Cap-and-Tax plan. Barrasso’s comments came during a hearing by the Senate Western Caucus. Barrasso outlined the consequences for Western Agriculture if the “Waxman-Markley bill,” also known as the “Cap-and-Tax bill” passes in the Senate. The U.S. House of Representatives passed the bill in early July. “Cap-and-Tax would only deal another blow to our farmers and ranchers during this recession,” Barrasso said. “Farming and ranching are energy-intensive businesses. Energy costs work into every detail of American farmers’ lives. Farmers use fuel for tractors and combines, require natural gas to make fertilizer, and farm equipment uses energy for irrigation pumps and drying grain before storing it.” The Executive Vice President of the Wyoming Stock Growers Association, Jim Magagna of Rock Springs, testified at the hearing. “Agriculture producers face tough markets in today’s economic climate. Implementing a policy that would increase energy and input costs during these tough times will be harmful to farms and ranches across the West,” Magagna said. “This bill will particularly impact our young producers — those who represent a bright future for American agriculture,” Magagna said...ChicagoReview

Climate bill could cost 2 million jobs

The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) and the American Council for Capital Formation (ACCF) released a study Wednesday that found under a high-cost scenario the House global warming bill could reduce economic growth by 2.4 percent and cost 2 million jobs by 2030. Environmentalists were quick to criticize the study for underselling the development of climate-friendly sources of power and not releasing other assumptions NAM and ACCF fed into the computer model to get their economic forecast, which takes more of a glass-half-empty view than recent governmental reports. But the business groups’ figures will likely provide opponents of capping carbon more ammunition and could add to the angst of senators from industrial states. One key finding is that the climate bill will hurt the manufacturing sector particularly hard. As much as 66 percent of the total job loss from the climate bill could come from manufacturers, the report notes. And though the impact of the bill will grow over time, the economy will start feeling the effects of the carbon cap almost immediately. “Industrial production begins to decline immediately in 2012, relative to the baseline,” the report notes...TheHill

Wolf release in Mexico sparks concern in US

American wildlife officials and ranchers are raising questions over a plan to release a rare North American gray wolf to its historic range in northern Mexico: Will it stay south of the border and what can be done if it threatens livestock? The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said this week it learned of the plan to release captive-bred Mexican gray wolves during a meeting with Mexican officials. A male, female and two yearlings could be released in Sonora state, bordering Arizona and New Mexico, as early as October. Another release is planned for December and more could happen next year as part of an effort by both countries to return the wolves to the wild. What if the wolves cross into the United States? Will they be protected under the federal Endangered Species Act? Or will they have the same "nonessential, experimental" designation as wolves released as part of a reintroduction effort in New Mexico and Arizona? The Fish and Wildlife Service has posed those questions to the agency's attorneys and are hoping for answers in coming weeks. Wolves returning to the wild in Mexico only complicates a troubled effort in the United States, especially if the animals cross the border, said Caren Cowan, executive director of the New Mexico Cattle Growers' Association. "You've got the potential of wolves coming down on you from the north that have one endangered status, and you've got wolves coming from the south that may have a different status," she said. "How are you supposed to tell the difference?"...AP

Phantom Hill Pack Kills 12 Idaho Sheep

Members of the valley's Phantom Hill wolf pack have been linked to the deaths of 12 domestic sheep in the Baker Creek drainage last Sunday and may be killed. According to Suzanne Stone, Northern Rockies representative for the nonprofit Defenders of Wildlife, officials within the Idaho Department of Fish and Game said late Tuesday afternoon that they have authorized the killing of Phantom Hill wolves. Stone said they wouldn't tell her how many members of the pack might be killed. Calls to Fish and Game were not immediately returned. At last count, the pack numbered around 10 to 11 members, not counting any new pups that may have been born this spring. Stone's group is involved in a project to keep wolves and sheep separate in the upper Wood River Valley, the Phantom Hill wolves' home range. The effort, called the Wood River Wolf Project, has succeeded in greatly limiting the number of sheep killed in the area after the Phantom Hill pack was discovered in 2007. But that successful streak may have ended earlier this week...IdahoMtnExpress

At rancher's request, Phantom Hill wolves get a reprieve

After consulting with the rancher whose sheep were killed by wolves in the lower end of Baker Creek last Sunday, officials with the Idaho Department of Fish and Game have elected to "postpone" any retaliatory action against the valley's Phantom Hill wolf pack. According to Jerome Hansen, Fish and Game's Magic Valley regional manager, the decision was reached after Gooding rancher John Faulkner requested that the wolves be given a reprieve. Fish and Game was prepared to kill members of the pack linked to the deaths of 12 sheep, but have decided to hold off for now. The incident occurred near the Newman Creek corrals in the lower end of Baker Creek. The deaths touched off intense behind-the-scenes talks between wolf advocates, Fish and Game, federal Wildlife Services and Faulkner, which reportedly resulted in today's decision. Hansen said Fish and Game will continue to monitor the situation in the upper Big Wood River drainage northwest of Ketchum. He said additional sheep deaths could cause Fish and Game to take action and kill members of the valley's well-known pack. Faulkner's band is still on Sawtooth National Forest land, but will begin trailing south out of the area in the coming two to three days, officials say. The longtime rancher has agreed to allow participants in the Wood River Wolf Project—which seeks to keep wolves and sheep separate in the upper valley—to take additional measures, including setting up night pens, to keep his sheep safe as they trail out of the area, the officials added. IdahoMtnExpress

BLM sued over road maintenance at Steens Mountain

A conservation group has sued the U.S. Bureau of Land Management over maintenance work on old roads in congressionally protected areas around Steens Mountain in the high desert of Eastern Oregon. The lawsuit filed by the Oregon Natural Desert Association claims BLM violated environmental laws by running a road grader and a backhoe over 15 miles of overgrown jeep trails that were supposed to melt back into the landscape as part of special protections enacted by Congress in 2000. BLM resource area manager Joan Suther says the work - done to improve access for a wild horse roundup and controlled burning - was covered by existing management plans that went through environmental review. The association and BLM are to meet Friday to discuss their differences. AP

D.C. to the rescue: preserving pikeminnow, chubs and desert vistas

Washington took steps to preserve some critical Colorado natural resources Wednesday, with Interior Secretary Ken Salazar on hand for the dedication of the new Dominguez-Escalante National Conservation Area on the Uncompahgre Plateau south of Grand Junction, and Sen. Mark Udall introducing a bill to help with the recovery of endangered fish on the Western Slope. The Dominguez Canyon Wilderness area is comprised of 66,000 acres of Colorado desert -– where there will be no development allowed –- surrounded by 140,000 acres the Bureau of Land Management will continue to permit grazing and any other uses allowed for nearby private property owners. Udall, meanwhile, announced the introduction of a bill that would allow the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation to release water in Ruedi Reservoir. The bill would make permanent a temporary agreement in place since 1999 when the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service ruled water users on the Western Slope must dedicate 10,825 acre-feet of water to help with the recovery of four endangered fish species – the Colorado pikeminnow, the razorback sucker, the humpback chub and the bonytail chub. A permanent solution was needed by next year, and water users have agreed that half of the amount will be met by converting unused agricultural rights and half will come from water in the Ruedi Reservoir that is not currently obligated...Colo.Independent

Local loggers bemoan Sierra Pacific mill closures

The closure of a third Sierra Pacific Industries facility in the Sierra this summer has at least one local logging firm yearning for the old days when sawmills were abundant in northeastern California. Ed Walker at Robinson Enterprises was not sure Wednesday what the full impact would be of the recent closure of SPI's mill at Sonora and the earlier shut-downs of the small-log mill in Quincy and the mill in Camino. “There's just that many fewer mills to take logs to,” Walker said. Robinson took logs to all three mills from lumbering sites over the years, but those logs will all probably go to SPI's mill in Lincoln now, he said. That could also add to fuel expenses for trucks that will pass by the closed mills to get to Lincoln. Both Walker and Bob Mion of the California Forestry Association blamed lawsuits by environmentalist groups for tying up federal timber sales this year and causing fewer logs to flow into the system...TheUnion

Ranches ordered evacuated as fire spreads in northern Santa Barbara County

Authorities have ordered the evacuation of 14 ranches near a wildfire in northern Santa Barbara County. The order was issued Tuesday, hours after authorities closed nearly 111 square miles of the Los Padres National Forest. Forest Service spokesman Maeton (MAY'-tuhn) Freel says most of the closed area is inaccessible backcountry. He says ranchers are moving their horses and other livestock. The 4-day-old wildfire in the San Rafael Wilderness area of the forest has scorched more than 32 square miles of brushy canyon lands and crested a ridge a few miles from the ranches. More than 1,000 firefighters are battling the blaze. It's 10 percent contained. AP

There are no motorized vehicles allowed in wilderness areas, so how do you move livestock out of harm's way? Drive them horseback and hope you outrun the fire?

Whatcom County planners propose controversial 'rural centers'

The Whatcom County Planning Commission will continue reviewing a controversial proposal to draw lines around certain rural centers and trim development potential outside those lines. The proposal by county planners would designate areas throughout rural Whatcom County as rural centers, where either housing or business development has been clustered historically and is higher in density than state law now considers "rural." Planners have drawn boundaries around these areas. They're proposing to change zoning inside the boundaries to allow development to continue with the same uses, sizes and densities as was there in 1990. Outside of the boundaries, zoning would be changed to allow only rural growth. In many cases, that means land currently zoned to allow one or two houses per acre, as examples, would be rezoned to allow only one house per 10 acres. Also, some areas outside the boundaries zoned for commercial or industrial development would be rezoned to one house per 10 acres. The proposal has been met with fierce opposition by some county residents, who are calling it a government land grab, while others support protecting rural farmland...BellinghamHerald

Debt Spurs 'Wild West' Cattle Rustlers

Cattle rustlers apparently spurred on by the recession are mounting more raids across what used to be the Wild West. The number of livestock being stolen by outlaw cowboys has almost tripled in recent years. Rangers in Texas and Oklahoma reported an upswing in thefts from 2,400 in 2007 to 6,400 last year. Those responsible are increasingly being driven by personal money woes, with thieves known to have stolen cattle to help pay off their mortgage or other debts. The crime conjures up images of the Old West of fact and fiction, with tobacco chewing cowboys dusting off their chaps after a good day's rustling. But the effects are very much real and current - some farmers have seen their livestock depleted by hundreds of cattle as a result. Concerns are mounting over the increased rustling and the state of Texas is introducing tougher sentences for those caught. It falls short of the lynch mobs that used to deal with cattle thieves in the olden days, but it does mean that those found guilty of stealing even one cow are likely to end up in jail...SkyNews

All-You-Can-Eat "Testicle Festival" Being Held

Young ranchers and farmers in Santa Cruz County are holding the first-ever "Testicle Festival" in Watsonville, California, on August 22nd. Farmers and ranchers between the ages of 18 and 35 will be serving bull testicles, asking if they actually taste like chicken. The Santa Cruz County Farm Bureau Young Farmers and Ranchers were looking for a fun and different way to hold a fundraiser and are hoping to have 100 people show up. There will be other food available other than the testicles. All of the testicles will be USDA inspected and deep fried. Other names for this delicacy are rocky mountain oysters, calf fries, cowboy caviar, and prairie oysters, just to name a few. As part of the pamphlet, it says: "No bull … join us for balls of fun!!" ShortNews

They ought to sponsor this for the cattle might change some bad behavior.

Corb Lund To Release Losin' Lately Gambler

Acclaimed Juno-Award winning singer/songwriter Corb Lund makes his New West Records debut with Losin' Lately Gambler, a new album propelled by stand-up bass and steel guitar set to his Jack London-esque yarns about down-and-out cowboys, whiskey and ranching. Showcasing his exhilarating style of Western music, Losin' Lately Gambler (September 29, 2009 / New West Records)was recorded in Nashville and produced by Harry Stinson (Steve Earle, Lyle Lovett). Lund is a storyteller, first and foremost. His narratives on Losin' Lately Gambler range in topics from gambling, steer riding, veterinarians (inspired by his father's line of work) and beyond...PressRelease

Song Of The Day #106

Staying within this week's exploration of the late fifties and early sixties, our selection today will be Sheb Wooley's 1961 tune That's My Pa.

It's available on several collections, including the 22 track cd Sheb Wooley & Ben Colder - 22 Greatest Hits and the 4 disc box set That's My Pa.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Avian flu promotes Parkinson's?

Avian influenza can cause a predisposition to Parkinson's disease, according to research published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. "It's an exciting finding," said Malu Tansey from Emory University School of Medicine, who was not involved in the research. Epidemiological studies done in the 1980s showed that survivors of the 1918 Spanish influenza, a pandemic that killed more than 50 million people worldwide, had a greater incidence of Parkinson's disease later in life than the general population. Recent studies have suggested that the currently circulating strain of avian influenza has similar pathology to the 1918 flu. Though the subtypes of the viruses are different (Spanish flu shares the H1N1 subtype with the current H1N1 swine flu, whereas avian influenza has an H5N1 subtype), both viruses appear to enter the central nervous system (CNS) and can cause encephalitis, or inflammation of the brain. Richard Smeyne at St. Jude's Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee, and colleagues infected mice with avian flu and tracked how the infection progressed to the nervous system. "We thought [the virus] would get in [to the CNS] via the blood stream," through the blood brain barrier, said Smeyne. Instead, the virus entered "in a backdoor way," infecting the axon terminals of peripheral neurons first, specifically those of the gut and lung. The virus then traveled from the axon to the neuron cell body, where the researchers think it may be able to infect other neurons. Strikingly, said Smeyne, "this virus was mimicking the pattern of progression of Parkinson's disease." According to the generally accepted system of staging the disease's progression, Parkinson's starts in peripheral neurons and slowly makes its way into the CNS, much like the progression of viral infection. "It is interesting to me," said Tansey, that the virus "clearly infects the areas that are the most sensitive to chronic inflammation," such as the midbrain, where much of the neuronal death seen in Parkinson's disease occurs...TheScientist

Groups push for special wolf protections

Three conservation groups have filed petitions with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, asking that the Mexican gray wolf be protected under the federal Endangered Species Act as a subspecies separate from other gray wolves. Gray wolves in most of the lower 48 states, including the Mexican wolves, are protected as endangered species. But the groups contend the species-wide listing hasn't been sufficient to recover Mexican wolves in the Southwest. With the petitions, WildEarth Guardians, The Rewilding Institute and the Center for Biological Diversity hope to force the agency to update a decades-old recovery plan for the Mexican wolf. In 1998, the government began reintroducing Mexican wolves along the Arizona-New Mexico line in a 4 million acre-plus territory. AP

Fewer lawsuits possible benefit of forest pact

Long on opposing sides when it comes to forest use, timber interests and environmental groups have agreed on how thinning and prescribed burns should be done on nearly 1 million acres of Arizona’s ponderosa pine forest. The upfront agreement could take tough disputes out of the courtroom and lead to fewer delays in implementing projects, U.S. Forest Service officials say. Some 170 lawsuits over the past 51/2 years have been filed challenging timber harvest and fuels reduction on national forests, according to the agency. “We are looking for more opportunities to replicate this,” said Faye Krueger, deputy forester for the Southwest region that includes Arizona and New Mexico. A handful of similar collaborations have been recently used in forest restoration, range management and forest road access plans across the West. One of the largest western forest restoration projects cleared a major hurdle in April, when two environmental groups and a Flagstaff logging company agreed to limit the size of trees that could be cut along Arizona’s Mogollon Rim. The trees would be removed as part of efforts to restore a natural fire regime. The Mogollon Rim, a prominent line of cliffs that cuts across north-central Arizona and divides the state’s high country from the desert, has been the site of some of the state’s biggest wildfires...AP

Humans threaten bears in San Bernardino National Forest

When a bear decides it's a fine idea to hop onto a picnic table surrounded by people, something clearly has gone wrong. But officials say it's not the bear that is to blame. In fact, the bear that forced the closure of a picnic area next to San Bernardino National Forest's busiest trailhead on July 7 had simply adapted to a quick and easy food source: hot dogs and other human fare left out -- sometimes intentionally -- by picnickers and area residents. "People were leaving a lot of food unattended; they weren't properly throwing it away in the bear-proof cans. There was even reported cases where people were intentionally feeding the bear," said John Miller, deputy public affairs officer for the U.S. Forest Service. "What we have is ... a human behavior problem." Once bears learn to associate human scent with easy food sources, they are more likely to venture into picnic areas, according to Jeff Villepique, associate wildlife biologist at the California Department of Fish and Game...LATimes

Smokey Turns 65

He’s sixty-five years old and still a noteworthy public figure. He recently joined Twitter. He appeared shirtless on the Today Show and Al Roker didn’t bat an eye. Instead, he handed him a jar of honey. That’s right -- it’s Smokey the Bear. This past weekend, one of America’s most recognized spokesmascots celebrated his 65th birthday. Now Smokey, like many other aging public figures, has to tackle the question of how to remain relevant without losing the characteristic quality -- ranger-hatted bear minding the fine line between civic-minded and corny -- that made him a star. If Smokey's past 65 years have any lesson, it may be: sometimes you have to stick to what works. Smokey wasn't the first forest-fire prevention mascot. After a Japanese submarine surfaced in 1942 and fired shells that ignited a blaze dangerously close to the Los Padres National Forest, the Forest Service tried characters that ranged from Death on horseback spewing fire (too apocalyptic) to eerily smiling Nazi officers above the text “Our Carelessness, Their Secret Weapon” (too ominous) to Bambi (too copyright-infringing). Finally, in 1944, they settled on a bear mascot, and Smokey was born. His original slogan was a little passive -- “Smokey Says -- Care will prevent 9 out of 10 forest fires,” so in 1947 Smokey shifted to, “Remember -- Only YOU can prevent forest fires.” This remained the slogan for more than fifty years. Now that Smokey is 65, he’s started experimenting. He’s joined Facebook, MySpace, Youtube, Flickr, and Twitter...WPost

Group seeks high-fence hunting ban

A sponsoring committee is trying again to outlaw the practice of "high-fence hunting" in North Dakota, submitting paperwork with the secretary of state on Monday for a potential 2010 ballot measure. North Dakota Hunters for Fair Chase is sponsoring the petition, which would outlaw the practice of charging a fee to hunt animals in enclosed, inescapable preserves. The group's co-chairman, Roger Kaseman, said they had enough signatures to put a similar measure on the 2008 general election ballot, but failed because of technical errors. Now, Kaseman said he thinks there is still enough support in North Dakota to outlaw the practice that he said goes against fair chase hunting principles. Kaseman said there are about a dozen hunting preserves in North Dakota, but Shawn Schafer, the executive director of the North Dakota Deer Rancher Association, said there are six. Schafer, who opposes the ban, said the hunting preserves in North Dakota are legitimate businesses that help promote hunting. "We feel it's a violation of our private property rights," Schafer said of the potential ballot measure. "The hunting that we do is legal and ethical."...BismarckTribune

Son suing over dad's death by poisoning

The gruesome death of Jim Robinson nearly 40 years ago to the day was replayed Tuesday in a Mesa County courtroom in a wrongful death suit being pursued by Robinson’s son. Matt Robinson of Grand Junction is suing Meeker sheep rancher Nick Theos for damages related to his father’s death, which was attributed decades later to exposure to thallium, a poisonous element used in the 1950s and 1960s for a variety of purposes, from killing insects to coyotes. Nick Theos frequently used thallium to kill coyotes and other predators, Matt Robinson’s attorney, Keith Killian, told a jury of five women and two men during opening statements Tuesday. No witnesses, however, ever saw Theos administer thallium to Jim Robinson, Killian acknowledged. His case in that regard is circumstantial, he said. Opposing attorneys pointed out that Robinson himself was selling thallium to Meeker-area ranchers at the time he began showing symptoms of the illness that ultimately killed him. But Theos had carried on a long-term affair with Robinson’s wife, Lois, and married her after Jim Robinson died, Killian said. Nick and Lois Theos also actively opposed efforts by Matt Robinson to exhume his father’s body, and Nick Theos once threatened Rio Blanco County Sheriff Si Woodruff as he investigated the death of Jim Robinson, Killian said. The findings made by Dr. Robert Kurtzman, a pathologist and former Mesa County coroner, suggest a long-term exposure, then a “killing dose” of thallium was administered to Jim Robinson, Killian said...GrandJunctionSentinel

Rich in Western history

Ask Drew Gomber about the question he's asked the most after his Western history presentations and he shudders, almost irritated by the question. "Did Billy the Kid really get killed and was he Brushy Bill Roberts?" Gomber said. "The answer is yes, he really got killed. Anyone who even looks at the record from a distance should know that." Gomber, a Western historian who has worked and appeared in a variety of shows on Discovery Channel, A&E, Biography and the now-defunct "Wild West Tech" TV series on the History Channel, was in Alamogordo on Tuesday for First National Bank's "Lunch and Learn" series. Gomber continued to expound on Roberts, who he said claimed to be Billy the Kid and was never killed by Pat Garrett. "(Roberts) was a pathetic, sad old man trying to make himself famous," Gomber said. "Before he claimed to be Billy the Kid, he claimed to be a member of the James Gang. He supposedly was also in Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show. None of it is true. He didn't do any of that. "In fact, we found (Roberts') family Bible and he was born in 1879. That means he was 2 years old when "The Kid" was killed..."The Lincoln County War originated with an insurance policy. It was not a range war, it was a war between merchants." Gomber went on to explain that a young Englishman, John Tunstall, arrived in Lincoln County seeking to go into business opposing people who had a stranglehold on the area. "He underestimated who he was dealing with and ultimately paid for it with his life," Gomber said. "He was murdered by a duly authorized sheriff's posse. His former friends and associates got together and called themselves the Regulators because they were going to regulate justice. They were appointed constables, so now there were two duly authorized groups of lawmen running around the countryside killing each other. That meant the law had broken down." Gomber said it became a "free-for-all" and no one will ever know exactly how many people were killed during the Lincoln County War. "My guess is about 100 in a six-month period," he said. But Gomber didn't stop there. He continued to talk more about the Lincoln County War in a way that puts the listener at the scene...AlamogordoDailyNews

Song Of The Day #105

Taking a look at 1959, there were some big hit songs that year. The Battle Of New Orleans by Johnny Horton was #1, The Three Bells by The Browns was #2, and #3 was El Paso by Marty Robbins.

In addition, two sets of brothers had hits that year, which Ranch Radio will feature today. The Louvin Brothers had My Baby's Gone and The Wilburn Brothers had Somebody's Back In Town.

It's a shame those boys had such hell with women.

The Louvin song is available on the 24 track CD When I Stop Dreaming: The Best of the Louvin Brothers.

The Wilburn Song is available on the 18 track CD Greatest Hits-The Wilburn Brothers.

Man Gets 6 Months for Yawning

Make sure you get plenty of sleep before going to court. Clifton Williams didn't and he's been sentenced to six months in jail for yawning. "I was flabbergasted because I didn't realize a judge could do that," Williams' father, Clifton Williams Sr., told the Chicago Tribune. "It seems to me like a yawn is an involuntary action." Williams, 33, attended his cousin's July hearing at Will County Courthouse in Joliet. His cousin, Jason Mayfield, pled guilty to a felony drug charge. As the judge sentenced Mayfield to two years probation, Williams let out a yawn, an involuntary faux pas in such a formal setting. Circuit Judge Daniel Rozak thought the yawn was criminal and sentenced Williams to six months in jail, the maximum penalty for contempt of court without a jury trial. Rozak's order said that Williams "raised his hands while at the same time making a loud yawning sound," causing a disrespectful interruption in court. So in a strange turn of events Mayfield, the felon, will be able to walk freely, while Williams, the yawner, will have to spend at least three weeks behind bars for his offending yawn...NewYork

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

U.S. plans roadless forests guideline

Swinging through Colorado to promote legislation aimed at adapting to climate change, U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack declared Monday that there will be a national plan for managing roadless forests. But he stopped short of squelching Colorado's efforts to develop its own plan, lauding Gov. Bill Ritter's efforts to build consensus. "You obviously want input. You obviously want a national roadless rule that has as much broad-based support as possible," Vilsack said, responding to media questions after a discussion with agricultural producers and Democratic U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet of Colorado. The Obama administration "is very committed to protecting the roadless areas generally. We think there needs to be a national approach to this," Vilsack said. Colorado officials have resolved to press ahead developing a state plan to replace a 2001 federal rule that protected 58.5 million roadless acres, including 4,243,500 in Colorado. Colorado's latest draft would protect 4,184,000 acres and allows road-building for water supply, mining, power and fire breaks...DenverPost

Dam decision poses test for Obama team

On Friday, we will learn a lot about the Obama administration's asserted commitment to science and law on environmental matters. The proving ground is in Washington and Idaho on the lower Snake River, the Columbia's largest tributary, where four dams and their reservoirs are salmon killers. U.S. District Judge James Redden, weary from years of evasion by the National Marine Fisheries Service, has called for an aggressive new approach and set the upcoming deadline. The lower Snake dams are strategically critical because scientists believe that breaching them offers the best hope for reviving the fabled Columbia River wild salmon, which have been decimated by development, especially dams. These four dams have crippled the finest, highest and most expansive salmon habitat in the lower 48 states -- Idaho's wild, pristine country along the Continental Divide and the Wallowa Range in Oregon...Oregonian

Idaho gets no takers for wolves

Idaho isn't getting into the wolf export business any time soon. Earlier this year, Idaho Department of Fish and Game Director Cal Groen sent letters offering up Idaho wolves to any state that wanted to manage them. So far, at least 20 states have rejected Idaho's pitch to trap and export some of its wolves. A bill approved by the 2009 Legislature required the department to explore the idea. Sen. Gary Schroeder, R-Moscow, the bill's sponsor, says he didn't expect any takers. Instead, he said the pitch to other states is an attempt to help insulate the state against claims that could be made in lawsuits by environmentalists opposed to the federal government's decision to take wolves off the endangered species list. He said environmentalists could argue that if Idaho wants to reduce its wolf numbers, then it should give them away instead of killing or allowing public hunts. Idaho is now poised to have its first wolf hunting season in decades this fall. The state Fish and Game Commission later this month will review hunting quotas and rules for hunting...AP

Climate Change Seen as Threat to U.S. Security

The changing global climate will pose profound strategic challenges to the United States in coming decades, raising the prospect of military intervention to deal with the effects of violent storms, drought, mass migration and pandemics, military and intelligence analysts say. Such climate-induced crises could topple governments, feed terrorist movements or destabilize entire regions, say the analysts, experts at the Pentagon and intelligence agencies who for the first time are taking a serious look at the national security implications of climate change. Recent war games and intelligence studies conclude that over the next 20 to 30 years, vulnerable regions, particularly sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East and South and Southeast Asia, will face the prospect of food shortages, water crises and catastrophic flooding driven by climate change that could demand an American humanitarian relief or military response...NYTimes

Wind Farm May Violate Endangered Species Act

Environmentalist groups have filed a federal lawsuit to require operators of a proposed West Virginia wind farm to obtain a “takings” permit under the Endangered Species Act before they can begin operations. According to the Animal Welfare Institute and Mountain Communities for Responsible Energy, the proposed Beech Ridge Energy wind farm in Greenbrier County will disrupt the habitat and likely kill an unacceptable number of endangered Indiana bats. According to the Animal Welfare Institute and Mountain Communities for Responsible Energy, the proposed wind farm will injure and kill scores of Indiana bats that live in caves near the wind farm. The groups say Beech Ridge Energy will be violating the Endangered Species Act by failing to obtain a federal “incidental take” permit from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. This permit is required if an otherwise-lawful activity results in the incidental death of or harm to an endangered species. Beech Ridge Energy conducted two studies to count bats in the area, but opponents say the surveys are inadequate. A proper bat count and estimation of resultant bat deaths is necessary, the lawsuit states, because the Indiana bat is one of the most endangered land mammals in the world...HeartlandInstitute

Generous Assumptions on Cap and Trade Do Not Mask the Costs

The Heritage Foundation recently released its economic analysis of the Waxman-Markey cap and trade bill, and unsurprisingly, found devastating results. The goal of cap and trade is to force energy prices to rise so high that people use less of it. And boy do they. Even under the most generous assumptions the Heritage analysis found: Gas prices will rise 58 percent. Gas prices are expected to increase in the future even without cap and trade. Waxman-Markey would add an additional $1.38 to that increase. Electricity prices will rise 90 percent. In total, a family of four can expect per-year energy costs to rise $1,241 by 2035. A family of four will also reduce its consumption of goods and services by up to $3,000 per year, as its income and savings fall; Over the 2012-2035 time frame, the years in which we modeled the bill, aggregate GDP losses will be $9.4 trillion; in other words, we will be $9.4 trillion poorer with cap and trade than without. The government will collect $5.7 trillion in energy tax revenue. By 2035, job losses will be nearly 2.5 million. All of these costs come after very generous assumptions about renewable energy and does not include the full economic impact of the legislation...TheFoundry

Feds Holding Back $100 Million in Drill Leases

Brian Wixom's company has paid the U.S. government hundreds of thousands of dollars for leases to drill for oil and gas on federal lands over the years, only to never put a rig in the ground. The money simply sits in a federal bank account as Wixom and other drillers wait for an agonizing bureaucratic process to run its course. As it turns out, the federal government is holding a boatload of money for leases it auctioned and sold but hasn't issued, holding them back for bureaucratic review because of environmental protests and lawsuits. The backlog grew exponentially under the administration of President George W. Bush as it pushed for more domestic drilling. The Associated Press has calculated that the government is sitting on close to $100 million paid for millions of acres of energy leases in the Rocky Mountains that have been withheld for as long as seven years, according to records and interviews with BLM officials in Utah, Colorado and Wyoming. Drillers are steamed by the process. They don't understand why the federal government is sitting on such an enormous sum of money, especially at a time when politicians in Washington are so focused on spending stimulus money to revive the economy...AP

Yosemite's big trees withering away

There might be a scientific reason that the old-growth trees in Yosemite National Park don't seem quite as big or as plentiful as those in your grandfather's early snapshots of the park. The number of large-diameter trees - those at least 3 feet across - has dropped 24 percent over the past seven decades due to "moisture stress," according to scientists at the U.S. Geological Survey and the University of Washington. That is, they're parched - and global warming is a likely culprit, experts said. The die-off of these forest behemoths affects the appearance of a park that draws more than 3.5 million visitors a year. Scientists also worry it could affect wildlife, exacerbate climate change and stunt regrowth after wildfires. "Large trees do perform some unique functions," said Jim Lutz, co-author of the study and forest ecology researcher at the University of Washington. "Some vertebrates and mammals need large trees to nest in. If you're an animal of a certain size the tree has to be big."...SFChronicle

Colorado Wild Horse Gather Halted By Judge

A federal judge sided with wild horse advocates this week when she ruled the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) could not remove wild horses from the West Douglas Herd Area in northwest Colorado as planned. The BLM had planned to remove the 175-horse herd from the 120,000-acre range area in July 2008. The gather was postponed after The Colorado Wild Horse and Burro Coalition Inc. and other wild horse advocates sued to halt the plan because would unnecessarily remove the wild horses from their traditional ranges. On Wednesday (Aug. 5), U.S. District Judge Rosemary Collyer ruled that the gather plan violated Wild Horse and Burro Act of 1971 because federal law only allows the BLM to remove excess horses from overpopulated ranges. The agency had not declared the range overpopulated before proposing the gather, Collyer said. More than 175 horses currently reside on the West Douglas range. However, the area can only support 50 horses, said BLM Public Affairs Specialist Vanessa Delgado...TheHorse

Colorado sees slowing spread of deadly cattle STD

The spread of a venereal disease that can cause cows to lose their calves appears to be slowing in Colorado, and state agriculture officials plan to strengthen policies to keep it that way. Trichomoniasis (trik-oh-moh-NIE-ah-sis), or "trich," is of particular concern in the West, where grazing associations and permits for grazing on public land allow cattle to co-mingle. Dozens of Colorado producers were hit with trich last year. Some 43 cattle facilities in 18 counties were quarantined so infected bulls wouldn't spread the sexually transmitted disease. So far this year, 13 facilities in eight counties have been quarantined, according to the Colorado Department of Agriculture. Four counties had quarantines as of July 30. "We are doing better," said state veterinarian Keith Roehr, citing the quarantines, better education about trich among producers and more testing this year. "There's a lot of awareness on the part of producers that, in the end, will be beneficial to the cattle industry in Colorado."...AP

Meat Importer Suing Broadcaster Over US Beef Scare

A domestic meat importer yesterday filed a lawsuit against the broadcast network MBC and five producers of an investigative news program for reporting false facts about U.S. beef. Park Chang-kyu, president of A Meat and meat and restaurant chain Orae Dream, filed the lawsuit with the Seoul Southern District Court. He is seeking about 300 million won (240,000 U.S. dollars) in damages against MBC, five producers of “PD Notebook,” and actress Kim Min-sun.“Our companies suffered about 500 million won (410,000 dollars) in operating losses due to distortion of facts on American beef by the MBC program ‘PD Notebook.’” A Meat is the first importer of American beef to sue the network over its misinformation on American beef presented in the program. “We suffered huge damages because the MBC report discouraged consumers from eating American beef, forcing dozens of Orae Dream restaurants to shut down. The candlelight vigils also delayed our beef import schedules by more than a month,” he said. “We’ve suffered 1.5 billion won (1.22 million dollars) in damages, but I seek just 300 million won (240,000 dollars) in compensation for now.”

Feral hogs leave wake of devastation throughout parts of Texas

Texas’ feral hogs can be rabid predators, and they are carving paths of destruction across much of the state. Central Texas is not immune. With an estimated population of 3 to 4 million in Texas, feral hogs mow down crops and kill deer fawns and goat kids. They are even known to attack people. “Feral hogs are a problem in just about every county in the state,” said Texas Farm Bureau spokesman Gene Hall. “Those things can do more damage than a bulldozer.” Jan Loven, district supervisor of U.S. Department of Agriculture Wildlife Services, told Texas A&M University’s Robert Burns, “They’re utter destruction is what they are.” Oglesby farmer Neil Walter knows well the destruction feral hogs can cause. Walter said he lost about 5 percent of his corn crop to feral hogs this year, despite taking measures to try to protect against them. “We hunt them, and we also trap them,” Walter said. “But that’s just like swatting flies with a fly swatter. We’ll never get ahead of them.”...WacoTribune

West Nile Virus: 35 States Active, First 2009 Horse Death in California

When West Nile Virus (WNV) made its march from East Coast to West Coast starting in late 1999, California was one of the last states to be struck by the disease. In the past couple of years, California has had the highest rate of West Nile virus problems in the country, and it now has recorded its first horse death for 2009 due to the disease spread by mosquitoes. Nearly every county in California has had birds or mosquitoes discoverd this year that test positive for West Nile virus (WNV), according to the Centers for Disease Control. The first horse death due to West Nile virus was reported near Tracy, Calif., on Aug. 6. There has also been one human case reported in San Joaquin County, where the horse resided, according to an article on

Horses being killed in South Florida -- for their meat?

Geronimo was a beautiful painted quarter horse. "He was a type of horse that he got along with everybody," says owner Ivonne Rodriguez. She had Geronimo for five years -- until his slaughtered carcass was found under a tree. Someone is killing horses in Southeast Florida. Since January, 19 horses have been reported butchered -- 17 in Miami-Dade County and two in Broward County. And that might be just a conservative estimate. "That number is extremely low," says Richard "Kudo" Couto of the South Florida Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. "There are many more slaughters in South Florida." Couto, an SPCA investigator, says many butcherings are going unreported by people who do not want to get involved with law enforcement. Police concede that underreporting of such animal cruelty crimes is a concern. The reported deaths are being investigated by a multiagency team that includes Scott Andress from the Miami-Dade Police Department. "In the majority of these cases, the carcasses exhibited signs of being slaughtered and dismembered, and the meat removed from the bodies," Andress says...CNN

Bellamy Brothers could make more moola

After a long weekend playing shows in Texas it's an early rise time on the Bellamy Brothers Ranch— cattle sale time. "Our family has played music and raised cattle for as long as I can remember and they were doing it even before that," David Bellamy said laughing. "So that's kind of all we've ever done." Sixty countries, two European tours this year alone the Bellamys are only too happy to be back at the Pasco County place that's been in their family since the Civil War. 35 years after "Let Your Love Flow" hit number one on the charts, The Bellamy Brothers are about to hit another high note, in this second business of theirs. They are trying out a prototype that may change cattle ranching forever, new technology to help weigh their small herd in Darby. A task that used to take a lot of time and trouble. Family friend and fellow rancher Joey Spicola has an invention called the ClicRweight, a point and click from the laptop-- and they have a weight right there on the spot. "Used to you'd have to get on a horse, herd them into a trailer, take them to a scale," Spicola said. "That was a 2-day process depending on how many you want to ship and now we can do it in 10 minutes." ClicRweight's website boasts a team of world-class engineers, including faculty and graduate students from the Engineering and IT departments at Texas Tech University and optics engineers working on NASA contracts...FoxTampaBay

Song Of The Day #104

Sticking with the general time frame of Monday's tune, and as it so happens the "Bakersfield Sound", today's selection is the 1960 recording of Excuse Me (I Think I've Got A Heartache) by Buck Owens.

It's available on the 16 track The Very Best Of Buck Owens, Vol.1 and on the 5 disc box set Act Naturally: The Buck Owens Recordings 1953-1964 .

Monday, August 10, 2009

President Obama's EPA plans fewer toxic cleanups than Bush

For years, the Bush administration was criticized for not cleaning up enough of the nation's most contaminated waste sites. The Obama administration plans to do even less. In Obama's first two years in office, the Environmental Protection Agency expects to begin the final phase of cleanup at fewer Superfund sites than in any administration since 1991, according to budget documents and agency records. The EPA estimates it will finish construction to remove the last traces of pollution at 20 sites in 2009 and 22 sites in 2010. During the eight years of the Bush administration, the agency finished construction at 38 sites on average a year. Of the 527 contaminated properties still needing cleanup on the Superfund list, 40 have progressed to the point where all that's left is removing the last piles of contaminated soil, building a treatment plant to strip the groundwater of toxic pollutants, or capping a landfill so contamination does not enter the drinking water or air in surrounding neighborhoods. At the other 1,060 hazardous waste sites still on the list, construction is finished and the last stages of the cleanup are under way -- a process begun before Obama took office...AP

Wolf-control program challenged in Congress

Alaska's predator control program to kill wolves, which drew renewed national scrutiny during former Gov. Sarah Palin's bid for vice president, is under attack in Congress. Two California Democrats have introduced legislation that would all but ban the practice of shooting wolves from airplanes to control their numbers. The legislation, introduced by Sen. Dianne Feinstein and Rep. George Miller, would force Alaska game officials to declare a biological emergency that shows the imminent collapse of a species without the program Even if the state could demonstrate such an emergency, the law would limit aerial hunting to state or federal wildlife employees, barring private contractors that are currently allowed to kill wolves from fixed-wing airplanes. "What this bill does is essentially makes it impossible for Alaska to manage wolf populations in any sort of responsible way," said Pat Valkenburg, deputy commissioner of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. "We finally have a program that works and to end it because of the emotional feelings of uninformed people is just not a good idea."...AnchorageDailyNews

Coyotes will be next.

Mexican cartels smuggle oil to US

U.S. refineries bought millions of dollars worth of oil siphoned from Mexican government pipelines and smuggled across the border — in some cases by drug cartels expanding their reach. At least one U.S. oil executive has pleaded guilty to a conspiracy that involved what prosecutors said was about $2 million in stolen Mexican oil, U.S. Justice Department officials confirmed to The Associated Press. On Tuesday, the U.S. Homeland Security department is scheduled to hand over $2.4 million to Mexico's tax administration, the first batch of money seized during a joint investigation into smuggled oil that authorities expect to lead to more arrests and seizures. "The United States is working with the Mexican government on the theft of oil," said Nancy Herrera, spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney's office in Houston. "It's an ongoing investigation, with one indictment so far."...AP

The Climate Bill Sends Lobbyists Into $27 Million Spending Frenzy

Leading up to the vote on the climate bill, 1,150 business and interest groups lobbied Congress on climate issues, spending an estimated $27 million or more, according to a report from watchdog group, the Center For Public Integrity. Of that, 460 of the lobbying groups were formed in the second quarter of this year, just to focus on shaping the bill. Everyone got in on the lobbying action from universities to farm hands to religious groups. The argriculture lobby--in particular, the ethanol lobby--threw its weight around, with 19 companies entering the lobbying fray for the first time in their history during the second quarter. Of these, the Center for Public Integrity singles out POET who is the largest producer of ethanol. It formed a new group called Growth Energy with other ethanol producers. Wesley Clark was the public face, but behind the scenes is a well connected group that includes CEO Tom Buis, "a long-time fixture in the farm lobby", and Jim Nussle, an ex-Congressman from Iowa also joined as special advisor...GreenSheet

Governors oppose DoD emergency powers

A bipartisan pair of governors is opposing a new Defense Department proposal to handle natural and terrorism-related disasters, contending that a murky chain of command could lead to more problems than solutions. Vermont Gov. Jim Douglas (R), chairman of the National Governors Association, and Vice Chairman Gov. Joe Manchin (D) of West Virginia penned a letter opposing the Pentagon proposal, which they said would hinder a state's effort to respond to a disaster. Current law gives governors control over National Guard forces in their own states as well as any Guard units and Defense Department personnel imported from other states. The letter comes as the Pentagon proposes a legislative fix that would give the secretary of Defense the authority to assist in response to domestic disasters and, consequently, control over units stationed in an affected state. "We are concerned that the legislative proposal you discuss in your letter would invite confusion on critical command and control issues, complicate interagency planning, establish stove-piped response efforts, and interfere with governors’ constitutional responsibilities to ensure the safety and security of their citizens," Douglas and Manchin wrote to Paul Stockton, assistant secretary of Defense for Homeland Defense and America's Security Affairs...TheHill

Finally, they are standing up to the feds. Must be no money involved.

Scientists study 'garbage patch' in Pacific Ocean

It is a problem of massive plastic proportions -- a giant floating debris field, composed mostly of bits and pieces of plastic, in the northwest Pacific Ocean, about a thousand miles off the coast of California. It's called the Great Pacific Garbage Patch and it covers a vast area of hundreds, maybe even thousands, of miles of open ocean. Now researchers are trying to learn more about the sea-bound trash zone and perhaps find answers to basic questions. A crew of scientists from the University of California's Scripps Institution of Oceanography has embarked on a three-week mission aboard the research vessel New Horizon, heading for the debris field to study it...CNN

Obama Daughters Featured in Controversial Food Ad

A controversial ad campaign featured in the Washington, D.C., metro area is comparing public school lunches across the country to what President Obama's daughters eat at their elite private school. reports that the ad, sponsored by Physicians Committee For Responsible Medicine, shows an eight-year-old girl speaking about the "healthy" vegetarian lunch choices Sasha and Malia Obama have at Sidwell Friends -- a Quaker private school in Northwest Washington, D.C. The girl then asks, "Why don't I?" The ad also claims that children in public schools are more likely to be fed meat and cheese products, according to the station...FoxNews

Protect ranchers to protect sage grouse?

Rancher Royce Schwenkfelder isn't waiting for the federal government to decide whether it will protect sage grouse under the federal Endangered Species Act. He's working with the Idaho Department of Fish and Game now to develop a set of conservation measures to protect the bird on the 6,000 acres of pasture, cropland and sagebrush he and his brother, Bob, own in Washington County. He might cut his hayfield differently to ensure he doesn't kill any birds hiding there. Or he might delay when he grazes a nesting area until after the grouse have raised their chicks. "A lot of these things I already do," Schwenkfelder said. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will decide by February whether to list the greater sage grouse across 11 states where its native sagebrush steppe habitat lies. But Schwenkfelder hopes that a novel candidate conservation agreement that the state is working on with Fish and Wildlife will give him some assurance the listing won't force him out of business. The agreement would cover 500,000 acres across western Idaho around Weiser, Midvale and Cambridge where somewhere from 300 to 600 sage grouse live among the cattle ranches, farm fields and 20-acre ranchettes that are rising in this rural area on the fringe of the Treasure Valley. In exchange for voluntary conservation efforts, ranchers would not face new regulations on their private land if the sage grouse is listed. The agreement won't prevent ranchers who graze on federal land from facing new restrictions on lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management across southern Idaho. But in the area covered by the agreement, 66 percent of the land is private. The agreement would last for 30 years, and a rancher could pull out at any time...IdahoStatesman

If you have private property, they will work with you.

If you lease public land, down comes the hammer.

Why treat the leaseholder different than the landowner? Just because you can?

The voluntary, incentive based approach is the most effective regardless of the land status.

Quarantined bison from Yellowstone attract interest

Wildlife officials say a Montana Indian tribe, an Illinois zoo and a North Dakota landowner are seeking to take a small herd of wild bison that have been held in quarantine outside Yellowstone National Park. The animals were spared in 2005 and 2006 from a government program that captures and slaughters most bison leaving the park to prevent the spread of the disease brucellosis. Federal and state wildlife officials want to use the quarantined animals as seed stock to form new bison herds. The hope is to return the iconic Western animal to areas of the country where it once thrived before being hunted to near-extinction in the 1800s. The approximately four dozen bison now in the 200-acre quarantine facility in Corwin Springs, Mont. could be slaughtered if no home is found. "We need to get the animals out in December," said Ken McDonald, wildlife administrator with Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks. "They're crowded and the cows are pregnant again and ideally you want to get them out early in their pregnancy." An earlier plan to transfer the animals to the Northern Arapaho Tribe in central Wyoming collapsed this spring. Tribal members voted to keep the animals out over fears of brucellosis, which can cause pregnant animals to miscarry...AP

Water war: Teton River hot spot in statewide fight over rights

The lower Teton River is drying up almost yearly and drought isn't the cause, insists rancher Steve Kelly, who is frustrated by the shortages of water for his hayfields, livestock and home. "The alternative was to dig wells," said Kelly, who ranches between Carter and Fort Benton. "Then the wells went dry." Upstream and downstream users in the Teton River basin, which spans almost 200 miles through the heart of agricultural country, are feuding over scarce water supplies. Kelly and others from Carter to Loma are blaming irrigators 100 miles to their west near the Rocky Mountains for using so much water that flows aren't strong enough to make it to the plains where they live. But that charge is denied by Choteau-area ranchers such as Ross Salmond, president of Eldorado Cooperative Canal Co., who get first crack at the river and use its water to make hay and other crops flourish based on a 100-year-old court decision. "We just want to maintain what we've got," Salmond said. Similar disputes over water are occurring across the state as part of a massive, decades-long effort by the state to examine the accuracy of every historic water rights claim in Montana. Statewide, there are 219,000 pre-1973 claims in 85 river basins...GreatFallsTribune

One if by Land, None if by Sea: Patriots Ride to Halt Eco Fish “fry” in CA Dust Bowl

A coalition of conservative, taxpayer, agricultural and logging industry organizations will march to the steps of California’s capitol building in Sacramento on Friday, Aug. 28 to fight for the livelihoods of working families over the rights of a federally protected fish. “The government is putting fish before families. The insanity must end,” says attorney Mark Meckler, national coordinator of the grassroots Tea Party Patriots. “It is devastating California’s economy. We are being crushed by burdensome regulations and taxes imposed by politicians who care more for causes and political gamesmanship than people.” The rally from noon to 5 p.m. protests California’s restrictive environmental laws that often pit eco-activists against business or community interests: In this case, the state’s “bread basket” versus a bait fish. Protesters blame “Eco-Tyranny” and global warming hysteria for decisions like Wanger’s and California’s own version of Cap-and-Trade regulations for closing businesses, family farms and creating economic ghost towns in the Central Valley. “It’s time to repeal AB 32, which is essentially California’s experiment in controlling global warming,” the Tea Party Patriot’s Meckler adds, “It is devastating California’s economy.”...CFP

‘Grizzly Wars’ Explores Uphill Fight to Save a Species

Grizzlies are one of the most iconic of the endangered species that have all but vanished from the American West. Efforts to bring them back, though, have been dogged by their reputation for eating humans, a trait that has made them even less popular than wolves as government biologists have fought to help the species regain some of its lost ground. Even hikers, who tend to be among the most conservation-minded among forest users, have balked at the idea of sharing more hiking trails with more grizzlies. Author David Knibb tells the tale in his book Grizzly Wars: The Public Fight Over the Great Bear. Plenty of other species have suffered at the hands of human expansion across the continent. Some have disappeared altogether. Few, though, spark the imagination, or for some, the hatred, that the grizzly does. Ranchers worry they’ll gobble their cows and sheep. Neighbors worry the bears will invite themselves over for dinner. Hikers worry about close encounters in the woods...NewWest

High fence ranching, pro or con?

High fenced ranchlands were few and far between when I was a kid. Today, fifty years later, they are a common sight. Population increases, fragmentation of our private lands and personal objectives each played a part in the development of these deer proof boundaries. But there is a pro and a con to high fence strategies, though the con, in my opinion, may not be exactly what you think...As the years went by, it also became harder and harder to sustain or make a profit raising livestock, so many ranching families turned to the hunting industry to supplement their income. The demand for hunts, hunting leases and land grew with time, along with a fascination for hunting and raising big whitetail bucks. This demand drove up the price of land and hunting opportunities. New businesses grew out of the industry, including landowners who raised exotic game; selling hunts, breeding stock and/or venison, or all three. One example is Venison World Inc., ( headquartered in Concho County, which helps exotic game producers get their lean-tasty-venison to the consumer. It was during these years that many landowners high- fenced their properties. “Half of our crews are building high fences,” Raymond Meza, owner of Twin Mountain Fence Company, told me in 2005. This year, thirty percent, or 240 miles, of his contracts involve the construction of high fence. So why are so many high fences going up?...SanAngeloStandardTimes

Great Divide ranchers lose cattle to suspected rustlers

Brad Ocker got the first call in October 2008, as cattle ranchers across Moffat County brought their herds off summer pastures and began to count their stock. Three ranchers near the Little Snake River northwest of Great Divide were missing cattle, as many as 50 head of mature Black Angus all together. The suspected cause: rustlers. This year, Ocker, Colorado brand inspector for Moffat County, and Gary Nichols, Moffat County Sheriff’s Office deputy, are preparing to head any potential thieves off at the pass before they can strike again. Whether it’s known as cattle rustling or its modern equivalent of livestock theft, the Old West lives on in the country’s remote places, Ocker said. “As long as cattle are running out on the range and they’re worth money, and the economy is the way it is and people are out of work, you better watch your livestock,” he said. Nichols has seen other rustling cases before, but nothing like this...SteamboatPilot

Musician to honor Texas' Goodnight

He used to ride the trails, driving cattle along the famous routes in North Texas. His ranch, one of the largest in Texas, still stands near Palo Duro Canyon, where a highway is named after him. But it's just one of several roads, awards and events that bear his name - in addition to a ghost town and a university. Andy Wilkinson grew up hearing about Charlie Goodnight, the legendary Texas cowman and rancher whose name is splashed all over the state. After all, Goodnight is Wilkinson's distant uncle. Wilkinson said he had an interest in Goodnight from a family point of view, but it wasn't until he met his lifelong friends Jim Fluger, the executive director at the Ranching Heritage Center, and Byron Price, the editor of the University of Oklahoma Press, that his interest in the rancher as a historic figure really set in. With the help of the two men, Wilkinson began researching his ancestor's life. The work culminated in an album, which makes sense since Wilkinson is a professional musician. In 1994, Wilkinson released "Charlie Goodnight: His Life in Poetry and Songs," an album that featured several Lubbock legends, including Donnie, Kenny and Lloyd Maines, Don Caldwell and Wilkinson. Since the release in 1994, the group has performed the concert several times for the Lubbock Arts Festival and the Ranching Heritage Center. Now, after a 10-year hiatus, it will return Aug. 22 to the Ranching Heritage Center, 3121 Fourth St., as a benefit concert to raise money for the Ranching Heritage Association. The concert will feature returning artists, such as the Maineses and Wilkinson's daughter Emily Arellano, and newcomers, including actor Barry Corbin, singer Red Steagall and cowboy poet Waddie Mitchell...LubbockOnline

Antique Firearms from the Roy Rogers & Dale Evans Museum to be Auctioned

As anyone would expect of a true cowboy collection, there are several exceptional Colt single action army revolvers. An engraved and gold-plated Colt single action army revolver from the Roy Rogers Museum is estimated to bring $7,500 - $9,500. This is a highly decorated, Colt SAA revolver that is fully documented as one of the revolvers owned by one of the best known movie and television cowboy stars. Other Colts from this prominent collection include a Colt single action artillery model revolver ($4000 - $5500) and a pair of consecutively serial numbered Colt single action army revolvers ($4500 - $6500). Rock Island Auction boasts firearms for every level of collecting with an exceptional Colt 'Frontier Six Shooter' single action revolver with factory letter ($30,000 - $50,000). No western collection is complete without a few good Winchester lever actions. Among the 500+ Winchesters, this auction will offer two fantastic factory engraved presentation grade Winchester Model 21 Grand American two-barrel trap shotgun presented to and owned by Roy Rogers and Dale Evans each estimated to bring upwards of $55,000. Each one is an example of an original two-barrel set, model 21 Winchester presentation grade, factory engraved, Grand American trap shotgun that was commissioned or presented by the Winchester factory directly to Roy Rogers and Dale Evans...PressRelease

Song Of The Day #103

This week we'll move forward to the late fifties and early sixties.

Our selection today is Sha-Marie by Wynn Stewart and it's available on the 10 disc box set Wishful Thinking.

Ranch Radio sends this special request out to Vicki Ligon.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Cowgirl Sass & Savvy

Fresh faces of tomorrow

Julie Carter

Where did they all come from? Dozens of new, (to me) young, fresh faces with big smiles, easy laughter and energy without end.

The county fair has been in forward motion all week starting with the arrival of the kids and their animals for the junior livestock shows. Squealing pigs, bleating lambs and goats, crowing roosters and the sounds of laughing children fill the barns as the activity of the annual event moves in a blur through each day.

This beehive of activity from daylight until well past sundown is accented with the faces of families. Everywhere there are babies in strollers and toddlers exploring their freedom to be able to wander to the ring fence, under the bleachers or to the nearby goat pens to point and touch the animals inside.

Tweens and teens in groups can be found everywhere practicing their social skills of looking cool and the age-old art of looking but pretending not to look at the opposite sex.

Grandmas and grandpas, aunts, uncles and cousins line the bleachers cheering on their favorite show contestant. Businessmen, teachers, doctors, lawyers, judges and young adults who have moved beyond their county fair days all drop by to inhale a dose of show ring ambience and visit with people they sometimes see only at the fair each year.

Like Christmas, the county fair comes every year, and like Christmas, in brings different gifts to each one involved.

For me, it's the delight in watching people, mostly the kids. I love the dynamics of county fair families - from the diehard, dedicated competition-driven to the timid first-timers who seem a little overwhelmed but are eager to become a long-term part of something that highlights the last month of summer every year.

For every bit of sadness there is in not seeing those "favorite kids" that became the cream of the crop in the show ring after 9-10 years of showing before they went off to college, there is a renewed energy that comes in watching the first-year kids so full of hope and enthusiasm.

This year there seems to be an influx of faces I haven't seen around the fairgrounds before. And I love it. New "fair moms" and dads line the show ring, stand in the wings dressed in the usual style of fair families - rubber boots, wet jeans from time on the wash rack and hands full of brushes, rags, a spray bottle, a bucket and the occasional lead strap or bottle of fly spray.

The indoctrination process to reach full-fledged fair parent status takes only one day. The day their child is to show his or her animal.

Today's fresh faces of the fair are tomorrow's hope. Raised on values involving, honesty, fairness, thoughtfulness for others and hard work before reward, these 9- and 10-year-olds experiencing their first fair will one day be managing the world. I'm very glad that behind them is a legion of hard-working people who are willing to volunteer hundreds of hours of their time to make this event happen.

Thank you families for being there. Thank you fair board and volunteers for making it the place to be in August.

See you at the fair.

Julie can be reached for comment at

An Old Sea Story

There's an old sea story in the Navy about a ship's Captain who inspected His sailors, and afterward told the Chief Boson that his men smelled bad.

The Captain suggested perhaps it would help if the sailors would change underwear occasionally. The Chief responded, "Aye, aye sir,I'll see to it immediately!

The Chief went straight to the sailors berth deck and announced, "The Captain thinks you guys smell bad and wants you to change your underwear.

Pittman, you change with Jones, McCarthy, you change with Kwiatkowski, and Brown you change with Schultz. Now get to it!!!"


Someone may be promising "Change" in Washington; but don't count on things smelling any better!

Immigration raids and the Fourth Amendment don't mix so well

Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents made headlines last summer when one of their teams raided, without a warrant, a home in Yuma, Arizona, unconnected to illegal immigrants and owned by an agent with a sister agency. Now, a report penned by experts in law and law enforcement says that ICE regularly ignores constitutional guarantees when conducting its raids. The raid on the Slaughter home may have raised eyebrows across the country, but such conduct has become all too common in parts of the United States. In the Southwest, drivers have become accustomed to roadblocks along the highways manned by Border Patrol. Even some police officers, such as those in Arizona represented by the Mesa Police Association, have grown weary of the endless targeting of illegal immigrants, and have pushed back against proposals to turn every encounter between cop and pedestrian into an immigration status check. In fact, Mesa's Chief of Police George Gascon is one of the authors of Constitution on Ice: A Report on Immigration Home Raid Operations, a report from the Benjamin Cardozo Law School's Immigration Justice Clinic. According to that report:

Through two Freedom of Information Act lawsuits, the authors of this report obtained significant samples of ICE arrest records from home raid operations in New York and New Jersey. Analysis of these records, together with other publicly available documents, reveals an established pattern of misconduct by ICE agents in the New York and New Jersey Field Offices. Further, the evidence suggests that such pattern may be a widespread national phenomenon reaching beyond these local offices. The pattern of misconduct involves:

• ICE agents illegally entering homes without legal authority – for example, physically pushing or breaking their way into private residences.

• ICE agents illegally seizing non-target individuals during home raid operations – for example, seizing innocent people in their bedrooms without any basis.

• ICE agents illegally searching homes without legal authority – for example, breaking down locked doors inside homes.

• ICE agents illegally seizing individuals based solely on racial or ethnic appearance or on limited English proficiency...[link]

TN man charged with assault for shooting burglar

A Tennessee man has been charged with assault for shooting a burglar he caught leaving his neighbor's home. According to a report in The Kingsport Times-News, Dennis McClanahan, 52, caught Dustin Eads, 29, breaking in to a neighbor's mobile home trailer. McClanahan had called 911 to report the break-in when he saw Eads exit the trailer. McClanahan confronted Eads at gunpoint and attempted to hold him for police. Eads reportedly went for the gun and a struggle ensued during which McClanahan struck him in the head with the handgun. Eads broke free and attempted to flee in his vehicle, while McClanahan tried to shoot out the tires. One round also shot out the back window of the vehicle. Later, a second 911 call came in from Eads' wife, reporting her husband had been shot in the chest, though reports indicate the chest wound may have been an exit wound with the round initially impacting Eads in the back. Sullivan County District Attorney Greeley Wells, who is handling the case, notes that under Tennessee law, deadly force may only be used in self-defense...Examiner

The Great New Orleans Gun Grab

I recently finished reading The Great New Orleans Gun Grab: Descent Into Anarchy by Gordon Hutchinson and Todd Masson. To give you an idea of how interesting this book is, I finished all 190 pages PLUS the Appendix materials in just under three hours. Both Hutchinson and Masson are professional writers, and they do an excellent job conveying a story that is fascinating, frightening, horrifying, and often, beyond belief. I found myself muttering, numerous times, "Certainly this did not happen in the United States." Well, it did happen. And every gun owner owes it to himself to at least know the story of Katrina and the complete failure of law enforcement vis-a-vis the law-abiding gun owner. "Descent into Anarchy" is a mild description of what happened. The Great New Orleans Gun Grab is not a gun show "meat and potatoes" manifesto full of wild conspiracies and extremists views. In the words of the folks who suffered through the injustices, the actions of our elected government are laid bare for all to inspect. It is not anti-police nor anti-government; it is pro-truth. And the truth will enrage you...BFA