Thursday, September 10, 2009

Marijuana farming increases amid ailing economy

Machete-wielding police officers have hacked their way through billions of dollars worth of marijuana in the country's top pot-growing states to stave off a bumper crop sprouting in the tough economy. The number of plants seized has jumped this year in California, the nation's top marijuana-growing state, while seizures continue to rise in Washington after nearly doubling the previous year. Growers in a three-state region of central Appalachia also appear to have reversed a decline in pot growth over the last two years. Officers in those areas, the nation's biggest hotbeds for marijuana production, have chopped down plants with a combined street value of around $12 billion in the first eight months of this year. While national numbers aren't yet available this year, officers around the country increased their haul from 7 million plants in 2007 to 8 million in 2008. "A lot of that, we theorize, is the economy," said Ed Shemelya, head of marijuana eradication for the Office of Drug Control Policy's Appalachian High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area. "Places in east Tennessee, eastern Kentucky and West Virginia are probably feeling the recession a lot more severely than the rest of the country and have probably been in that condition a lot longer than the rest of the country." Growers in Appalachia are often hard-luck entrepreneurs supplementing their income by growing marijuana, authorities say. Troopers thrashing through the thick mountain brush there typically find plots that could easily be tended by a single grower, while officers in the two western states have focused on larger fields run by Mexican cartels with immigrant labor...AP

From white lightning to green giggles...them folks down south sure know how to skirt the federales.

U.S. Senate Democrats skeptical about climate bill

Several U.S. Senate Democrats, including a top leader, on Wednesday questioned whether it would be possible to vote on a climate change bill this year, especially with healthcare reform eating up so much of the lawmakers' time. "It's a difficult schedule" with many members already "anxious" about healthcare reform, Senator Dick Durbin, the second-ranking Democrat, told Reuters when asked about prospects this year for a bill to cap emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. Besides the need to pass the complex healthcare bill this year, which Durbin said was "first in the queue," he also noted the need to tackle legislation imposing stricter rules on the U.S. financial industry. Durbin said it was unclear whether the climate bill or financial industry reform would be a higher priority in 2009...Reuters

Environmental Groups Wait to See Definitive Action From Obama

The abrupt resignation Saturday of White House "green jobs" adviser Van Jones has focused new attention on one of the Obama administration's top priorities: the environment. While Jones was criticized as a left-wing zealot, the Obama team's record so far on the environment has been far from radical. The White House's main effort has been to undo several Bush-era policies on climate control, air pollution and the regulation of roadless forests. Those actions, combined with court decisions that have struck down other rules, have given President Obama a relatively blank canvas on which to redraw U.S. environmental policy. But the administration has been cautious, leaving key issues in limbo and questions unanswered about the way it would balance environmentalism and the economy. On the campaign trail, Obama made more than 50 environmental promises, according to the watchdog site, as big as capping U.S. greenhouse gas emissions and as small as providing new habitat for the Osceola turkey...WPost

Global ‘Ecological Board of Directors’ Envisioned by State Department’s Climate Czar

Todd Stern, now the State Department’s special envoy for climate change, once pushed for the creation of an annual “E8” summit to address environmental issues. As the administration’s point man climate issues, Stern represents the United States in international environmental negotiations. One of his biggest upcoming negotiations will be the annual United Nations Conference on Climate Change, which will take place in Copenhagen this December. Stern proposed the formation of the environment-focused E8 – modeled after the “Group of 8” (G8) group of major industrialized democracies – in January of 2007. According to Stern, the new E8 would hold annual summits attended by the leaders of the member-states, just like those held by the G8. This would create, in Stern’s words, “an ecological board of directors able to operate outside the bureaucracy and politics of large UN conventions.” The future climate czar also emphasized the need to put major environmental decisions in the hands of a small group of people rather than a gathering of all nations...CNSNews

This gives you a nice little peek into the thinking of The Politically Superior Ones.

Recession Could Cut Solar Industry in Half by 2010

These are tough days for makers of solar cells. While we rejoice that the cost of solar panels is going down fast, bringing closer the day when more of our power can come from the Great Big Fusion Reactor in the Sky, solar cell manufacturers are getting a double-whammy: Lower prices combined with lower demand (mostly because of the economic recession) are making them bleed red ink. Things are so bad that a market research firm is predicting that "50% of existing solar manufacturers may not survive 2010". Read on for the details...Treehugger

Developing World's Energy Needs Set Stage for Fight

Developing nations' urgent need for more energy has become a central issue this year as developed countries -- including the United States -- push for a global reduction in carbon emissions ahead of a climate change conference scheduled for December in Copenhagen. Many African, Latin American and Asian countries want to avoid legally binding limits on greenhouse gas emissions, blamed for global warming. They say that their emissions are well below those of the developed world and that such limits would hinder their efforts to lift hundreds of millions of people out of poverty, even though economic growth would also inevitably expand the nations' carbon footprints as more of the poor gain access to electricity, air conditioners, refrigerators and cars. The stance of developing nations will also have repercussions in Washington this fall, as the Senate takes up cap-and-trade legislation intended to limit carbon emissions and promote the use of renewable energy. Critics say the proposed emission caps will put U.S. companies at a disadvantage by forcing them to limit their carbon output while businesses in developing countries remain free to pollute...WPost

Greens threaten American Indian prosperity

Navajo Nation, the largest tribe in the United States, has faced a number of enemies in its long history: Anasazi warriors, Andrew Jackson and now, lawyered-up environmentalists. The Navajo homeland, an area that spans parts of Arizona, New Mexico and Utah, is endowed with abundant coal deposits. That makes it ideal for powering the Southwest. Navajo elders are trying to build a new coal-fired power plant to export electricity off the reservation and rev up their ailing economy. For environmentalists, however, coal is unacceptable, no matter the economic consequences, because it comes with a large carbon moccasin print. According to Navajo Nation President Joe Shirley, the $3 billion, 1,500-megawatt Desert Rock power plant would create more than 1,000 annual jobs during the four-year construction period, 400 permanent jobs, and generate more than $50 million annually in reservation revenues. This would be welcome relief -- the reservation is plagued by unemployment of almost 50 percent. A coal power plant may be an economic boon for the Navajos, but it's an eco-sin to green groups. They boast of having stopped the construction of 100 coal plants, as if imposing expensive energy on American consumers is a good thing. Now they have unleashed a phalanx of lawyers to stop the Navajo Nation from helping itself...Examiner

Natural Gas Hits a Roadblock in New Energy Bill

The natural gas industry has enjoyed something of a winning streak in recent years. It found gigantic new reserves, low prices are encouraging utilities to substitute gas for coal, and cities are switching to buses fueled by natural gas. Aubrey McClendon of Chesapeake Energy blamed “Congressional apathy” for coal’s price advantages. But its luck has run out in Washington, where the industry is having trouble making its case to Congress as it writes an energy bill to tackle global warming. For all its pronouncements that gas could be used to replace aging, inefficient coal-fired power plants — and reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the process — lawmakers from coal-producing states appear committed to keeping coal as the nation’s primary producer of power. Those influential lawmakers, from both parties, say that new technologies under development to capture and bury emissions of coal are a better bet than gas for long-term solutions to climate change. The difference of opinion is about more than what is best for the environment, of course. Industry profits are riding on the outcome of the discussion — a rich mix of politics, environment, science and business...NYTimes

Ranchers: Ruling topples Army dominoes on Pinon Canyon

Ranchers fighting the expansion of the Army's Pinon Canyon Maneuver Site believe a federal court ruling this week toppled the first domino in a series of Army studies used to justify sending more troops to Fort Carson with the expectation they can train at the 238,000-acre military reservation northeast of Trinidad. The lawsuit was filed by Not One More Acre!, one of the ranching groups opposed to the expansion of Pinon Canyon. Board members said Matsch's decision should call into question other environmental reports the Army has done to support sending more troops to Fort Carson with the expectation they will train at Pinon Canyon in the future. "The Army said in court they had not begun building any new facilities at Pinon Canyon (to support more training)," a group member said on background Wednesday. "But from our view, Judge Matsch's decision pushes them back to square one." Matsch agreed in his ruling Tuesday. He sharply rejected the Army's analysis and process, pointing out that Army reports produced during the lawsuit - but not made available to the general public previously - demonstrated the Army was aware of extensive environmental damage at Pinon Canyon from previous and more-limited training maneuvers. The judge said the Army's own land management analysis in 2006 said the Army could only use Pinon Canyon about five months of the year if the grasslands were to recover afterward. Even so, the 2007 impact study said that adequate mitigation plans were in place to support even a year-round training schedule. "That conclusion is inconsistent and irreconcilable with the Army's analysis in 2006," Matsch wrote. He also sharply disagreed with the Army failing to release the reports about environmental damage during the public comment period on the proposed environmental study...PuebloChieftain

Ranchers waiting to hear about Piñon Canyon plans

Ranchers are waiting to hear what the Army will do next after a federal judge rejected its plans to increase operations at a training site in southeastern Colorado. Andrew Ames, a spokesman for the U.S. Department of Justice, which represented the Army in the case, said Matsch's opinion is being reviewed, and no decision has been made about what to do next...the ranchers' attorney, Steve Harris, said he believed the Army inflated its need for year-round training to back the case for expansion. Harris believes Matsch's decision means the Army must halt its plans to increase training and to start construction at Piñon Canyon. But he said he plans to confirm that with the Army's lawyers. Harris said he hopes the Army will give up on the expansion, given the recession and setbacks in the Colorado Legislature and in Congress. "This is a project that, for a variety of reasons, has been shown not to be in the best interest of the American people," he said...AP

Utah-Nevada water plan draws fire

An agreement that would allocate water in the Snake Valley aquifer equally between Utah and Nevada doesn't make sense because it assumes an excess of water in the West Desert, residents and experts from both states said Wednesday night. During a "citizens meeting" organized by the Utah Association of Counties and the Great Basin Water Network, opponents of the proposed agreement between the two states and the Las Vegas public water utility questioned why details of the four-year negotiations remain secret, given the potential harm to residents and the environment. "We don't have any surplus water in Snake Valley. For goodness' sake, we're the epicenter of the drought," said Cecil Garland, who has ranched the West Desert near Callao for 36 years. Unveiled during four public hearings in Utah and Nevada last month, the proposal is drawing fire from ranchers, conservationists and elected officials from both states. The Southern Nevada Water Authority wants to build a 300-mile pipeline that would siphon 50,000 to 60,000 acre-feet from the valley to support current and anticipated growth in Las Vegas...SaltLakeTribune

BLM uses pink flags on dog poop

After placing a hundred flags across the first hundred yards of the trail to raise awareness among dog owners Saturday morning, she still had not marked out all the dog feces that scarred the start of the path. "People may think that it's 7,200 acres, they have one or two dogs, what's a couple of poos a day?" asked Jakl, of the U.S. Bureau of Land Management. "But it adds up, as you see." The BLM, which oversees the public lands on the former Army base, opened the popular hiking trail in the spring of 2005. The trailhead begins off Creekside Terrace Road just south of Salinas, near Portola and Reservation roads. Creekside Terrace Trailhead is a dog-friendly park, but many dog owners have not been picking up droppings, and the fetid waste is piling up. Despite previous efforts by park officials to educate the public about the dangers posed by not cleaning up after their pets, as much as five gallons of poop is picked up each week in the parking area. Rangers are hoping the pink flags will draw more attention than fliers have in the past...Californian

They should use some of that BLM stimulus money to scoop up Lassie's leavings.

Then use solar energy to process the poop into an organic fuel to be used in BLM vehicles.

That way we could smell them coming from a long ways off.

New Gallery at The National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame

The National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame announced today the opening of a new Hall of Fame Gallery. This new permanent addition to the museum will highlight 4 to 5 honorees during four-month rotations. The new gallery will feature exhibits on recent inductees and stories on honorees and their artifacts. In addition, interactive kiosks with photos, videos and other in-depth information will let visitors explore honorees’ artifacts not on display in the Museum. The first exhibit rotation will discuss the Hall of Fame in general and will recognize honorees in five broad categories: Champions and Competitive Performers; Ranchers (Stewards of Land and Livestock); Entertainers; Artists and Writers; and Trailblazers and Pioneers. Specifically, this inaugural exhibition will highlight Georgie Sicking, Pamela Harr, Faye Blackstone, Louise Massey Mabie, and Velma Johnston, “Wild Horse Annie.” The Hall of Fame Gallery will display the wide range of abilities and talents of the 190 women honored in the Hall of Fame...DallasArtNews

Cats becoming prey to coyotes

This summer, posters for missing cats have become nearly as common in some suburban neighborhoods as “For Sale” signs in front of houses. Your Turn: Despite the warnings of coyotes in neighborhoods, do you still let you pet out at night? Despite the news reports for several years now that coyotes, and more recently fisher cats, have become commonplace in Rhode Island, people continue to let their cats out at night and wonder why they don’t return in the morning. Cathy Lund, owner of City Kitty Veterinary Care, a cat-only veterinary office, says she strongly encourages her pet owners to keep their cats inside. She estimates about 90 percent do. She can recall only one cat in her practice surviving a coyote attack. “The mortality rate is pretty high,” she said. “Most cats are domesticated, overweight and a little sedentary.” Charlie Brown, a wildlife biologist at the state Department of Environmental Management, says he fields several hundred calls annually from people who are concerned about coyotes, and often their concerns begin with their pets. He tries to make it clear: coyotes are now in every community in Rhode Island, except for Block

The U.S. Won’t Secure a Single Additional Mile of Border in 2010

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security is planning to move several hundred Border Patrol agents away from the U.S.-Mexico border and will not secure a single additional mile of the U.S. border in fiscal 2010, according to the department’s annual performance report. The document—“Department of Homeland Security Annual Performance Report: Fiscal Years 2008-2010”—was originally published by the Bush administration on Jan. 15 and was updated by the Obama administration on May 7. Until this year, the department showed steady progress in this metric. In fiscal 2005, for example, it had a goal of putting 150 miles of border “under effective control,” and it achieved 288 miles. In fiscal 2008, it had a goal of putting 674 miles of border “under effective control,” and it achieved 757 miles. But this year, the progress stalled. In fiscal 2009, according to page 24 of the report, the department’s goal is to have 815 miles of border “under effective control.” In fiscal 2010, it says, the goal is also to have 815 miles of border “under effective control.” In other words, whatever else it does over the next 12 months, the department does not plan to bring a single additional mile of border “under effective control.”...CNSNews

Song Of The Day #129

Here's Gene Autry and his 1940 recording of The Call Of The Canyon.

It's available, along with 17 other songs on The Essential Gene Autry: 1933-1946.

Just sit back, relax and enjoy.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Gray wolf hunts can continue, federal judge says

A federal judge said gray wolf hunts can go on for the first time in decades in the Northern Rockies, just months after the animals were removed from the endangered species list. U.S. District Judge Donald Molloy denied a request by environmentalists and animal welfare groups to stop the hunts in Idaho and Montana, saying plans to kill more than 20 percent of the estimated 1,350 wolves in the two states would not cause long-term harm to the species. The wolf population could sustain a hunting harvest in excess of 30 percent and still bounce back, Molloy said in his written ruling issued late Tuesday. The ruling left unresolved the broader question of whether wolves should be returned to the endangered list. However, Molloy said the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service appeared to have violated the Endangered Species Act when it carved Wyoming out of its decision to lift protections in May for wolves elsewhere in the region. That suggests environmentalists could prevail in their ongoing lawsuit seeking to restore protections for the predator. “The service has distinguished a natural population of wolves based on a political line, not the best available science. That, by definition, seems arbitrary and capricious,” Molloy wrote in his 14-page ruling...AP

Judge scuttles environmental review of Army expansion plan

A federal judge has thrown out an environmental review of the Army's plan to increase its training at a site in southeast Colorado. U.S. District Judge Richard Matsch (maych) in Denver issued a ruling Tuesday overturning a 2007 environmental analysis. The ruling says the Army didn't adequately assess the environmental impacts of the increased intensity and duration of training at its Pinon Canyon Maneuver Site. The ruling comes in a challenge by area ranchers who oppose stepped-up training and proposed expansion of the 370-square-mile site to about 525 square miles. The Army says it needs to increase training and expand the site to accommodate new weapons, tactics and soldiers from Fort Carson, 90 miles to the northwest. A spokesman for the U.S. attorney's office in Denver says federal attorneys haven't had time to review the decision. AP

Three groups ask feds to protect reintroduced ferrets

Three environmental groups say they are petitioning the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to protect reintroduced populations of black-footed ferrets as endangered. The federal government already protects black-footed ferrets as an endangered species. But it's a Catch-22: The protection doesn't apply to 17 reintroduced ferret populations in eight states, which are the only black-footed ferrets known to exist in the wild. Instead of being endangered, they are considered "nonessential experimental" populations. The groups WildEarth Guardians, Biodiversity Conservation Alliance and Center for Native Ecosystems want three black-footed ferret populations - in western Arizona's Aubrey Valley, southwestern South Dakota's Conata Basin and southeast Wyoming's Shirley Basin - designated as endangered. The groups announced Tuesday that they had submitted an endangered species petition to the Fish and Wildlife Service. One problem the ferrets face is how the same government agencies overseeing them also work to exterminate nearby populations of prairie dogs, said Lauren McCain, desert and grasslands policy director for Santa Fe, N.M.-based WildEarth Guardians. Prairie dogs are black-footed ferrets' only prey...AP

Verdict questioned in sheep-dog case

Investigators have not identified a dog that attacked a person last year on a trail near The Canyons, an attorney for a sheep rancher in the Snyderville Basin claims. Still, Basin resident Stephen A. Osguthorpe, 61, was found guilty Aug. 21 on two counts of allowing sheep dogs he was responsible for to injure a woman and dog in separate attacks in September 2008. Osguthorpe is well known for campaigning in 2004 for a seat on the Summit County Commission. His attorney said Osguthorpe plans to appeal the August convictions. On Sept. 14, 2008, Rick Whitty, who was bicycling with his unleashed dog, claimed his pet was attacked by a sheep dog. Naomi Doyle was bicycling near The Canyons on Sept. 19, 2008, when a sheep dog bit her buttocks, prosecutors say. "The Osguthorpes don't own any dogs," Osguthorpe attorney David Scofield said in a telephone interview. "They hire professional sheep herders who own highly trained sheep dogs." Osguthorpe was away from Summit County during both attacks last year, Scofield said. Scofield criticized Summit County Animal Control officers who claimed Osguthorpe admitted the dogs involved in the attacks were his. "Can you explain to me how a man who is in Delta, Utah, who hasn't witnessed the dog attack, who hasn't seen the dog, could possibly admit that it was his dog that was involved in the attack?" Scofield added. "Their assumption is so strong that it's Steve Osguthorpe, that they're in there testifying that he confessed that it's his dog. It's a joke." But sheep were present during both attacks, Summit County prosecutor Helen Strachan said...ParkRecord

Runnning Brook Gal wins All American Futurity

Mine That Bird drew a record number of fans to this year's All American Futurity, then Runnning Brook Gal gave them a great show. Runnning Brook Gal, a 2-year-old Utah filly, got a clean break on a wet track and wasted no time getting into a full sprint to win the $2 million All American Futurity on Monday, the biggest event in quarter horse racing. The second-fastest qualifier in trials, Runnning Brook Gal wasn't slowed by a light drizzle and covered the 440 yards in 21.144 seconds. It was the third All American victory for trainer Paul Jones but the first for owner Albert Richard of Roosevelt, Utah. "She's a quick little filly and she can scoot across the ground," Jones said. "She got an awesome break. The field kind of opened up. She had plenty of running room and the further she went, the better she got." Shesa First Ratify ran second and New Mexico-bred First Corona Call was third...AP

Wolf Hunting Sign

Josephine's Pizza and RV between North Fork and Gibbonsville, Idaho. Western Watersheds photo.

On the edge of common sense: A product with mass-market appeal

The ad companies are always on the lookout for new inventions they can market for millions. On a trip to Cedarville awhile back, Rachael and James told me a story, and I immediately recognized its mass-market advertising potential. It seems Uncle Jack had diagnosed bilateral pink eye in one of his Black Angus bulls. (Note: before you say anything, I observed that I had rarely seen pink eye in black bulls, but Rachael stuck to her guns so I didn't quibble.) Uncle Jack decided to treat it with a big shot of LA 200. The bull was difficult to push, much less get into the corral, so Uncle Jack figgered they could drive up next to him and administer the dose freehand. They tried, but the bull was too skittish. What to do? What to do? Just as fear is the father of fence chargers and whacking your thumb is the stepfather of cussing, so is necessity the mother of invention. Uncle Jack set about constructing the Plastic Syringe Injection Extender, or PSIE. He used a 35cc plastic disposable syringe; 4 feet of 1¼ inch PVC pipe; 4 feet, 6 inches of 1-inch PVC pipe; and duct tape. He taped the big PVC to the syringe, then inserted the 1-inch PVC inside the larger to act as a plunger. Voila! He practiced on apples, Styrofoam, a roasted chicken, an old car seat and his late grandfather's

Song Of The Day #128

Ranch Radio brings you a history lesson this morning.

The 1959 recording of Rachel's Guitar by Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper is today's selection.

I had this on a 45rpm record when I was in junior high, but it's available today on their 4 disc box set Big Midnight Special.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Groups Pushing For For A Joint Secretaral Order: Wildlife Corridors

This policy document is apparently "in the works" and being submitted and endorsed by the groups listed at the end of the document. For brevity I deleted the list of policy papers---The Westerner


With consideration for the roles and responsibilities of other Departments

The Challenge: Habitat loss, fragmentation and climate change

Landscape scale habitat loss and fragmentation threaten the future integrity of our nation’s natural heritage by disrupting important ecological interactions and patterns of movement. Such disruptions undermine the health of wildlife populations and the likelihood they will persist over the long term. Climate change is adding to these cumulative impacts by exacerbating the negative effects of habitat loss and fragmentation. Local climate disruptions will cause changes in long term ecological cycles of fire, drought, and flood, as well as in seasonal patterns of precipitation and temperature. In response, many species will need to adjust home ranges and movement patterns to adapt to climate-driven shifts in habitat. However, in many cases, fragmentation will impede such adaptation, potentially resulting in isolated plant and wildlife populations that will be highly vulnerable to extirpation or extinction.
One hundred years ago, America faced the prospect of dramatic changes to our natural heritage as a result of the industrial revolution and the rush to exploit our natural resources. We met this challenge by establishing parks, refuges, forests and other protected areas for the benefit of all Americans. Our forebears also established a new generation of directives to guide the federal land, water and wildlife agencies in the management of these irreplaceable resources. Today, we face a challenge of similar historical significance in the form of global climate change, the loss of biodiversity and habitat fragmentation due to widespread human-induced land and water use changes.
Federal resource agencies, as well as Congress, have an opportunity to successfully address this challenge by taking immediate steps to prioritize the protection of ecological connectivity, which encompasses both functional and structural connectivity for plants and animals. This will ensure that agencies with responsibility for America’s lands, waters and wildlife cooperate to further these priorities. In doing so, they must recognize that this issue transcends jurisdictions; therefore, it is imperative that federal agencies, states, tribes, landowners and other partners work in cooperation.

A Solution: Maintain and restore ecological connectivity

Leading scientists agree that the number one recommendation for counteracting the negative consequences of climate change to wildlife is to increase connectivity (see Heller and Zavaleta. 2009. Biodiversity management in the face of climate change: a synthesis of 20 years of recommendations. Biological Conservation). Connected habitats allow species an opportunity to adapt to local shifts in habitat through migration, dispersal and movement. As a result, effective management of our public lands and waters must incorporate measures for identifying and protecting ecological connectivity for plants and animals.
‘Connectivity’ can be broken down into ‘structural connectivity’ and ‘functional connectivity.’ Structural connectivity refers to the physical relationship between landscape elements whereas functional connectivity describes the degree to which landscapes actually facilitate or impede the movement of organisms and processes. Functional connectivity is a product of both structure and the response of organisms and processes to this structure. Distinguishing between these two types of connectivity is important because structural connectivity does not imply functional connectivity. In general, when we use the term ‘connectivity’ or “ecological connectivity” we are using the functional definition.

Federal and State Recognition of the Importance of Connectivity

Federal agencies and state governments are recognizing both the intrinsic value of ecological connectivity to species persistence, for economic sustainability and as a means of addressing the challenge of adapting to climate change. This recognition is documented by the following policy papers and actions, some wholly, others with portions, focused on maintaining connectivity:


From Policy to Implementation: a Joint Secretarial Order

A Secretarial Order issued jointly by the Departments with primary responsibility for our lands, waters and wildlife, will elevate to priority-status ecological connectivity as a key climate adaptation strategy, as well as a means to counter habitat fragmentation. This will allow agencies to move expeditiously and collaboratively across Departments and with partners to take action. An Order will direct federal agencies to identify measures and take concrete actions that address the challenge of ensuring adequate levels of ecological connectivity are maintained and restored to achieve a sustainable future.

Suggested components of a Secretarial Order:

(a) Evaluate the effect of agency plans and actions on ecological connectivity for terrestrial and aquatic plants and animals and take such actions as are necessary and consistent with law to protect or restore connectivity (e.g., standards, guidelines, administrative designations, rulemaking).
(b) Assess the quality and availability of existing and potential core habitats (e.g., national parks, national wildlife refuges, roadless areas, wilderness study areas) for terrestrial and aquatic species and ensure connectivity between these areas exist; incorporate the best available scientific information to assess the likely impacts of climate change on these cores and corridors and plan to adapt to those likely changes.
(c) Prioritize the management of fish, wildlife and native plants and their habitats on public lands and waters in a manner that protects, expands and enhances the options for wildlife and plants to move and adapt to climate change and habitat fragmentation.
(d) Work collaboratively with State and local governments, Indian tribes, and non-governmental organizations to manage and conserve habitats and ecological connectivity to achieve the purposes and goals outlined in (a) through (c) above, and coordinate these activities with ongoing efforts, such as the Western Governors’ Association’s state-based Decision Support Systems.
(e) Monitor and evaluate the effect of federal, state, and tribal actions on ecological connectivity and where appropriate adapt actions to obtain the goals of this Order.
(f) Provide clear timelines for action to implement the Order that give guidance and certainty to federal agencies and stakeholders.
(g) Ground the Order in each Department’s statutory authorities and responsibilities – e.g., the National Environmental Policy Act – to provide the Order with sufficient strength.
(h) Direct the Order’s provisions to be converted into Departmental regulations, rules, policies and procedures so that the protection of ecological connectivity is institutionalized.


This document reflects input from the following groups: American Wildlands, Center for Large Landscape Conservation (CLLC), Center for Native Ecosystems, Conservation Northwest, Defenders of Wildlife, Environmental Defense Fund, Freedom to Roam, Grand Canyon Wildlands Council, Sierra Club, Sonoran Institute, The Wilderness Society, Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, Western Environmental Law Center, Western Wildlife Conservancy, Wildlands Network, Wildlife Conservation Society, and Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative.

Uncle Sam Polluted Valleys But Won't Pay for It, Mining Firm Says

A mining company claims the federal government is to blame for selenium pollution from four Idaho mines, which Uncle Sam permitted to fill valleys with mining waste. Nu-West Mining says the government withheld information about the problem, then provided inept cleanup supervision and refuses to pay Nu-West the $10 million it has spent on environmental remediation. The Forest Service, U.S. Geological Service and Bureau of Land Management refused to accept plans for phosphate mining at four public land sites near Soda Springs, so mining companies were forced to accept the federal plan to dump shale waste into valleys over streams and on other surface areas, according to the complaint. Phosphate deposits in this region are typically found on either side of a rock layer with high selenium content. Though large quantities can be toxic, selenium is an essential micronutrient for animals in small doses. The government directed mine operators to stockpile the waste shale and dump it on the ground because it promoted revegetation of the sites, the lawsuit claims. The selenium pollution became public in 1996 when six horses on a nearby ranch were diagnosed with selenosis. Five had to be euthanized. Nu-West says that without help from the feds, it relocated the affected rancher. Nu-West claims that despite Forest Service testing in the early '90s that indicated selenium in local water supplies, the agency omitted that information from published water quality reports. Nu-West says it found out about the federal testing in 2007 after a Freedom of Information Act request...CourthouseNews

Federal, state wildlife agencies launch campaign to prevent grizzly bear killings

Federal and state wildlife agencies have launched a campaign to prevent grizzly bear killings in the greater Yellowstone region after a record number of deaths last year. More backcountry ranger patrols are planned, thousands of warning signs will be posted and hunters and hikers will be encouraged to use pepper spray instead of firearms when approached by a bear. Forty-eight bears were killed by humans last year, out of 79 total grizzly deaths. That included at least 20 killed by hunters who shot the animals out of self-defense or after mistaking them for black bears. There are an estimated 600 grizzlies in the Yellowstone region of Idaho, Montana and Wyoming. They were removed from the endangered species list in 2007, although it remains illegal to intentionally shoot the animals. Seventeen grizzlies have died so far this year. If the death rate stays high for a second consecutive year, that would trigger a review of the bear's endangered status...AP

Massive desert wildlife refuge effort nears OK

The Desert National Wildlife Refuge Complex is on the verge of becoming a reality. The complex would consist of more than 1.6 million acres on four wildlife refuges stretching from Las Vegas to central Lincoln County. The plan for the massive complex cleared the second-to-last stage of federal permitting last week with the release of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Final Comprehensive Conservation Plan and Environmental Impact Statement. A final decision is expected some time after Sept. 21. Under the proposed plan, the fish and wildlife agency would restore thousands of acres of desert spring, riparian and upland habitat for threatened and endangered species, migratory birds and other wildlife. It would also expand efforts to control invasive plants and animals and expand surveys and monitoring of key wildlife species. Additionally, the federal agencies plan significant improvements to visitor services, including new trails, interpretive exhibits, environmental education programs and visitor contact stations...LasVegasSun

Report Analyzes Energy Impacts on New Mexico, Reviews Impact of Possible Drilling in Otero County

A new report analyzes the economic and fiscal contribution of the oil and natural gas industries in New Mexico along with a case study of proposed energy development on Otero Mesa in Otero County that asks whether potential drilling there would create more benefits than it would foreclose. The study then concludes with five public policy options. “Jobs and personal income from industries associated with the extraction of fossil fuels are a small part of New Mexico’s economy,” said Ben Alexander, the report’s lead author. “Even at the height of the recent energy surge, these industries accounted for two percent of all employment and three percent of total personal income in the state.” However, oil and natural gas revenue is a major revenue source for New Mexico and accounted for 18 percent of all state and local revenue in 2007. “While the state does a good job of capturing value from oil and natural gas resources, New Mexico is exposed to significant volatility in energy revenue,” according to Alexander. “The state also returns the lowest proportion of oil and natural gas revenue to local government in the Intermountain West.” The analysis by Headwaters Economics, Potential Impacts of Energy Development in New Mexico, With a Case Study of Otero County, also found that drilling proposed by the Bureau of Land Management on Otero Mesa would provide little employment and revenue—even at peak production—to either the state or county, and that energy development proceeds to the county may not cover the county’s share of infrastructure and service costs...HeadwatersEconomics

HatTip NMLeftRight

Enviro's Love Recession

Recessions, of course, cause great economic hardship. But they also temper the impact of growth on the environment. They have unexpected spin-offs such as reduced traffic noise and diminished pollution, and they provide a hospitable climate for initiatives like surcharge fees to eliminate plastic bags. Recessions also prompt real estate developers to come up with better ways of dealing with housing construction and sanitation. Developers are more amenable to the use of solar panels because of tax credits and are installing toilet systems that minimize water use. Furthermore, the economic slowdown gives Smart Growth advocates a chance to test new civic designs without having to fight developers in the courts. Urban environmental directors like George Hawkins of Washington, D.C., have used the current period to take a strong stand on improving water quality. "This is a good time, says Mr. Hawkins, "to live up to the dictates of the 1972 Clean Water Act without developers neutering it with special exemptions." Less disposable income, he thinks, might result in less trash...BaltimoreSun

Two livestock-eating repeat-offender wolves killed in Oregon

Two problem wolves involved in five separate incidents of killing livestock in the Keating Valley area were killed in Baker County on Saturday by animal-control agents with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services. Officials with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife on Aug. 29 authorized the lethal take by Wildlife Services after biologists and staff members from both agencies investigated and confirmed the final two livestock killing incidents at a private ranch. The first livestock kills took place on the evening of April 9, and the last happened the night of Aug. 27 on the same ranch. Investigators documented the loss of 29 domestic animals in the five separate incidents, all of which occurred on private property. Four of the five incidents occurred on one ranch, and the fifth happened on an adjacent ranch. Evidence including bite marks and other wounds on the livestock, track sizes, the wolves’ historic use of the area and the style of the kills confirmed that the same two wolves were involved in all of the livestock losses...StatesmanJournal.

Compare that with what's happening in NM.

See below.

NM Wolves Not Removed Despite 7th Attack

From Wolf Crossing

The caption under the second photo says "This 600-700 pound yearling was examined confirmed and put down today 8-30-09"

For some background on this killing spree and the refusal of the USFWS to remove the offending wolves see my post U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service leaves livestock-killing wolf pack in wild

On The Edge Of Common Sense: Not one more acre

How do you put your mind around oppression for the common good and eminent domain? The explanation most times is "follow the money." The clash between country vs city grows with each new tourist who comes to visit and stays. What used to be a principled debate between 'conservationists' and ranchers and farmers has become a crass, closed-door battle between The Government-Conservation-Realtor-Construction Complex and isolated bands of native defenders of private property rights. To wit, southeastern Colorado ranching communities vow to allow "Not One More Acre" to be condemned, co-opted, coerced, seized or bamboozled by the government to expand Ft. Carson Military base's Pinon Canyon Maneuver Site at the expense of their homes and livelihood. We've all watched family residences condemned to allow shopping malls to be built. We've seen towns nationwide moved wholesale by dam construction or highways. Not to mention feedlots or dairies sued by cities that grew out around them. Colorado, our grand Colorado, has become the poster child for blatant efforts to beg, buy or steal water rights and land to supply the Front Range's voracious growth. What are these Not-One-More-Acre ranchers' chances of succeeding? If they were Eskimos or baby seals being routed from their habitat, I'd say a good chance. If they were Snail Darters, Spotted Owls, or Dolphins there would be a hue and cry in their defense. It is ironic that there are probably fewer ranchers than there are Blue Whales. Why not "save the ranchers." They are the truly endangered species. But to understand what is at stake you must put yourself in their position. Imagine you are a painter and the government decrees you must offer up all your life's work to be destroyed. "Don't worry, Mr. Russell," they say, "Here's some money, you can paint more."...NormanTranscript

Teddy Roosevelt’s battle to preserve wild America

Douglas Brinkley’s dramatic and entertaining “The Wilderness Warrior: Theodore Roosevelt and the Crusade for America’’ tells us how an earlier generation saved endangered animal species and huge expanses of threatened wilderness. Roosevelt’s first 50 years of life can be understood anew, Brinkley argues, by concentrating on his passionate love of nature and his fight for conservation. Not quite a full biography but much more than a study of Roosevelt’s conservation policies, this grand book is about Teddy and the outdoors. Young “Teedie,’’ though a Manhattanite, learned to collect birds in his own juvenile museum of natural history, and he made his troubling asthma less daunting by getting into the woods to observe nature and climbing mountains in search of game. Roosevelt family members were, according to Brinkley, early animal-rights advocates; this includes TR’s Uncle Rob, who wrote what Brinkley calls “the mid-nineteenth-century equivalent of Rachel Carson’s ‘Silent Spring.’ ’’ Rob urged his countrymen to clean up rivers and streams to save America’s fish, and converted his young nephew to conservation. Roosevelt’s sojourn as a rancher in the Dakotas, which Brinkley judges as his salvation from a near nervous breakdown in 1884, ignited his passion for the West. Born again under the magic of the stars, Roosevelt turned eager to urge others to recover from what Brinkley calls a “nature-deficiency disorder’’ and to preserve the beauty of wild nature. So Roosevelt wrote about what he loved...BostonGlobe

‘Non-GMO’ Seal Identifies Foods Mostly Biotech-Free

Alarmed that genetically engineered crops may be finding their way into organic and natural foods, an industry group has begun a campaign to test products and label those that are largely free of biotech ingredients. With farmers using gene-altered seeds to grow much of North America’s corn, soybeans, canola and sugar, ingredients derived from biotech crops have become hard for food companies to avoid. But many makers of organic and natural foods are convinced that their credibility in the marketplace requires them to do so. The industry group, the Non-GMO Project, says its new label is aimed at reassuring consumers and will be backed by rigorous testing...NYTimes

A fading way of life: West Texas ranches struggle to stay afloat

Some experts suggest that keeping traditional family ranches together is becoming increasingly difficult. More and more ranchers, faced with escalating costs of doing business, drought in some cases, steep inheritance taxes and other factors, give up sharing the dream and sell out to developers or investors more interested in using ranches for hunting and recreation. Neal Wilkins, director of the Texas A&M Institute of Renewable Natural Resources, pointed out that Texas has 142 million acres of private farms, ranches and forest land, almost the size of the entire national forest system, owned by an estimated 250,000 landowners. "All across the entire half of the state, we've had a huge loss over the past decade of large ranches greater than 2,000 acres in size. Those ranches are being subdivided into smaller ownerships," Wilkins said, adding that inheritance taxes are so steep in Texas that ranchers almost have to be independently wealthy to keep a ranch intact. "It points to needed changes in the tax code. And we're going to have to start rewarding landowners for good land management, good stewardship and good wildlife management. Even though people in El Paso don't see ranch land or experience its scenic beauty, they do experience the benefits of it through clean air, clean water and those sorts of things," Wilkins said. In mid-July, James H. "Jay" Williams III, a longtime El Paso area rancher who operated his family's ranch in the Cornudas area for many years, died without leaving any children. His siblings are managing the ranch with the help of a neighboring rancher but they are still debating whether they can keep the ranch in the family. Marianne "Bunny" Beard laments it has become tougher to find skilled cowboys who can rope and ride and brand livestock and do all the other ranch-related chores. Her husband, Rob, a longtime rancher, is helping the Williams family look after the livestock. "Cowboys are a dying breed," Beard said. "It's kind of a closed community and it's getting smaller, unfortunately."...ElPasoTimes

Retired Rancher Sets Records In Weight Lifting

Amadeus Kosarek is deceptively strong. Approaching 60 years of age, he weighs less than 150 pounds and is a cancer survivor. Last month he set a new record in open raw powerlifting in his weight and age category with a lift of 350 pounds in a national weightlifting championship at Rogers. The lift won him the title of national police champion and open raw masters champion. He explains that “raw” means drug-free and no heavy elasticized equipment allowed. He said wearing a simple single-ply suit and leather belt is a “true measure of strength.” Kosarek, also known as Joshua or A.J., is a retired cattle rancher and peace officer who now lives near Green Forest on the Boone Carroll County line. He trains at the Fitness Club and in a barn at his house. In 2007, he held titles in two weight classes: 375 pounds in 165-175 pound division and 325 pounds in the 148-pound classification. Kosarek said he lowered his weight with “real hard summer work at his ranch in Texas, not eating as much and baling hay all summer long.”...MorningNews

New tactics weeding out farm crime

Santa Paula grower Bob Pinkerton was certain the young man he saw walking down a street was the one who had been drinking beer and smoking pot in his large avocado orchard in recent days. Worried that he was a thief, Pinkerton used his cellphone to snap a photo and e-mailed it to Sgt. Tim Hagel of Farm Watch, an agricultural version of the Neighborhood Watch crime prevention program. Within four hours, a sheriff's deputy had detained the man and arrested him on suspicion of vandalism and trespassing on Pinkerton's property. The man, a local vagrant, was on probation for earlier farm thefts. Pinkerton, a third-generation rancher, credits Farm Watch -- an e-mail newsletter and alert network -- with helping him nab the guy. "It's essential," the grower said. "If you don't have a mechanism for getting the word out, when you see something, you might just blow it off." Created last year, Farm Watch helps farmers and ranchers keep a lid on the problem of agricultural theft, said Hagel, the Ventura County sheriff's sergeant who set it up. Twice a month, Hagel compiles information about patterns of thefts, suspects and crime-prevention tips and e-mails the newsletter to about 350 Farm Watch members, who pass the tip sheet on so it eventually reaches more than 700 people in Ventura County...LATimes

Phoenix hatmaker's business brimming from comeback

Twenty-five years ago, Rich Roundtree-Glisson quit his job at Sperry Flight Systems Co. in Phoenix and hit the rodeo circuit, selling cowboy hats out of the back of his pickup. He was pursuing his dream of self-employment with an interest in headgear he picked up from a friend, Steve Speros, who cleaned and blocked hats at Butler's Western Wear in Phoenix. "I was sick of my 9-to-5 job and was looking for something I could do on my own," Roundtree-Glisson said. Today his business, Heritage Hats in Phoenix, has the state's largest selections of Western and dress hats and customers from all over the country. His inventory of about 3,500 hats ranges from the gigantic 5-inch-brim Resistol Open Crown popularized by Hoss Cartwright (Dan Blocker) on the 1960s "Bonanza" television series to sleek fedoras with natty bands, which, after decades in decline, are making a comeback as a fashion accessory. There are also pork pies, bowlers, traditional top hats and panamas, which are handmade in Ecuador. Prices range from under $30 for a standard wool hat to more than $1,000 for one with mink fur in the felt. His customers are Arizona ranchers, actors, U.S. presidents and, increasingly, younger buyers looking to make a fashion statement with a traditional dress hat. Dress hats, which have been out of favor for more than 40 years, are storming back in popularity, giving a sizable boost to his business. Sales of dress hats such as panamas and fedoras are up more than 325 percent this year and are outselling Western hats 3 to 1, Roundtree-Glisson said...AP

Restoring a bloodline

Quarter horses were originally bred to be small, powerful sprinters that excelled in quarter-mile races. Because the heavily muscled horses had low centers of gravity and an innate sense about cows, they also became popular for ranch work and rodeos. During the 1900s, though, more thoroughbred blood was bred into quarter horses, altering their characteristics. The horses became less versatile, according to breeders who are now breeding back to original quarter horse characteristics. Horses with at least 80 percent of the original bloodlines are called “foundation” quarter horses. “The look and attitude of the horse began to evolve, because the only new blood that was allowed was thoroughbred,” according to Carol Hassebroek. “So, the foundation quarter horse is about the original horse prior to the addition of all the modern thoroughbred blood.” The National Foundation Quarter Horse Association, based in Enterprise, formed in 1995 and now has some 36,000 members...BendBulletin

It's All Trew: Funerals have changed, but this wedding was old-timey

The Trew Ranch hosted a recent wedding between Jeanne Smith and Keith Latham, both of Amarillo. The "different program" occurred as both are members of The Plum Creek Brigade, a mountain man historical group. Instead of rented tuxedos, extravagant bride's and bridesmaid's attire and fancy dress for the visitors, all were encouraged to wear mountain man clothing, and the entire proceedings resembled an old-time rendezvous of the 1840s. All was legal and respectful of the occasion, with the parson wearing tall black boots, a black suit, string tie and black stovepipe hat. The groom wore about the same clothing topped with a long duster. The bride wore a gorgeous period gown, had flowers woven into her hair and arrived riding sidesaddle on horseback. The ring bearer was a pretty little mule wearing a pack saddle bearing a silk pillow with the rings attached and was led by the bride's young daughter. The son of the bride gave her away wearing a Mohawk haircut and full Indian dress. The best man was the groom's brother who also carried a loaded flint-lock rifle. When the Parson asked if anyone objected to the marriage, the best man and several fully armed mountain men stood up and threatened the crowd. No one objected. With the vows finalized, the groom kissed the bride amid yells, whoops and whistles, birdseed was thrown, black powder volleys were spent into the sky, garters and bouquets tossed and the frivolities began. The three-day event, complete with chuck wagon meals and libations took place on Gnarly Camp Ground on Rock Creek, almost like an old-time

Song Of The Day #127

Ranch Radio will start the week off with Eddy Arnold.

Here's The Tennessee Plowboy singing his 1952 recording of Easy On The Eyes.

My version comes from the 7 disc box set There's Been A Change In Me 1951-1955.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Cowgirl Sass & Savvy

The 89-cent pizza

Julie Carter

Cooking has always been a challenge for our boy Dan the Team Roper. He seems to focus on the shortcuts and then wonders why he has a 99-percent failure rate, that he still has to eat.

Dan has established a running record of blowing up tator tot casseroles in the microwave and a subsequent serious failure with his attempt at cornbread in the Crockpot.

His latest venture has been the acquisition of a brand new "deeeluxe" toaster oven and last week's attempt to make a nice supper for himself when he got in from the roping arena.

"They looked real good in the picture on the box," he said his slow Texas cowboy drawl accented with a touch of his happy-hick personna.

"I bought a couple of them 89-cent frozen pizzas and thought they would make a right good supper for me and Mary Margaret."

Mary Margaret is Dan's newest dog who is the replacement for a few "good'uns" that went on to their great reward. She's one of those little dogs that is half a dog high and three dogs long - a black, tan and white Corgi who quickly established her adoration of Dan.

They all - the dog, cat, horses and cowboy - live happily at Dan's place in the woods. The smaller critters 7share the comfort of his trailer house where he has put the bed in the kitchen "where it belongs," he said. I was afraid to ask the logic on that one.

Mary Margaret has her own recliner that she occasionally shares with the cat named Gato. She is not allowed in Dan's recliner and he isn't allowed in her's. It's an understanding they reached early on and it keeps the household orderly.

To give Dan his due, he hasn't always been school-ed in the finer points of dining. One time he and some of his kin headed over to Joe Allen's barbeque joint in Abilene - world famous, at least in those parts.

The waitress that appeared, had on a very low-cut shirt, and was showing an ample amount of cleavage. One of the male kinfolk zoomed right in and was quickly lost in the staring. The waitress gave her spiel of the day's specials and as she wrote the orders, this mesmerized cowboy, still staring, said, "I'll have one."

They waited awhile and lunch appeared. He looked at whatever it was they brought him, unable to identify it, and tells his wife, "Mama, next time we go somewhere and the waitress has more cleavage than I do butt crack, you do the ordering."

Dan's nearly a celebrity now. His following of fans down at the tractor store gathers on Fridays to read the latest of the Dan stories.

When the last cooking adventure showed up in print, they began offering their treasured bachelor cooking recipes, although not all are single. The best one involved tuna, jalapenos and mustard on tortillas and for breakfast, stale Fritos with beer to moisten them.

That particular guy had been rodeoing for a week or so, came home to a Mother Hubbard pantry, woke up hungry and remembered a bag of Fritos in the truck from the last road trip. And, of course, he had beer.

Dan hasn't quite figured out what happened inside the toaster oven but related that the pizzas came out tough enough "to use for new soles on his boots."

"They just didn't look like the picture on the box," he lamented.

He offered them to Mary Margaret and the last he saw, she was tossing one around like a plastic Frisbee and wasn't quite sure it was something she should eat.

Dan said soon after he was headed out to find some pliers to try to get the cheese off that "thing" in the bottom of the toaster oven.

I hope he remembered to unplug it first.

I'd say it might be a real hair-curling event, but with Dan, there would be no evidence of that.

Visit Julie's Web site at Her books are available there..

It's The Pitts: It’s Not My Fault

Lee Pitts

Have you noticed how nothing is nobody's fault any more. An accused mass murderer is not guilty because his daddy whipped him when he was a pup. Or his mother took away his teddy bear. If a politician gets caught with his pants down it's not his fault... it's the media's fault for bringing it to the attention of his wife.

Currently the art of excuse-making is being raised to new heights by husbands, Wall Street businessmen and politicians.

Naturally, there are occasions around the ranch and home when even you might need a good excuse that was written by a professional. Here are some of my favorite excuses that may come in handy for you someday. Just remember, if my excuse doesn’t work don’t blame me for the failure of your career, car or marriage (choose one). It was bound to fall apart sooner or later.

"I'm sorry officer, I know I was speeding but my tail lights don't work and just to be safe I wanted to get home in a hurry before it gets dark. Safety first is my motto."

"How was I supposed to know you were coming home early? It’s all your fault: you should have called."

"Honey, I know I failed to feed the kids and the cows, and a few other minor jobs, but I had to take the week off to get my teeth cleaned." Or, if you don’t like that one try this... "I know you told me to feed the kids good food while you were gone to your sisters but we ran out of Velveeta, Kool Aid and beer nuts."

"Yes, I know he built her a new house, bought her a Mercedes and took her to Italy but it’s all your fault, not mine. She made a better marriage than you did."

"Hi honey, I'm home. I know I'm late but the clock broke at the bar."

"I know I didn't get you that expensive bubble bath you wanted for your birthday. Have you tried eating chili beans and taking a bath? It works for me."

"That darn calf must have just fell on the wrong branding iron."

"Well, if those darn writers would write shorter stories maybe I wouldn't spend all my time in there reading. So there!"

"I'm afraid sir that my wife must have left my deer tags in my other pants. Besides, how was I supposed to know the gun was loaded? There’s no warning label."

"If you wouldn't have been driving so fast in the first place my spit cup never would have fallen over."

"I know I promised you that we'd be rich some day but how was I to know that my wealthy parents would live so long?"

"I’ll admit that if I hadn’t been drinking that maybe our new pickup would not have been stolen. But I did get the license plate number of our truck as the thieves drove away."

"I didn't want to wake you so I just stayed out till I knew you'd be awake. Wasn’t that thoughtful of me?" (This excuse is usually followed by the sound... KABOOM!)

"I had to order out because dinner wasn’t ready. I thought I heard you say 60 degrees at 450 minutes! It's not my fault you gave bad directions."

"I realize now that I should not have cut up my newest pair of Wranglers to make eye patches but they were the only clean pair. Maybe if you'd do the laundry a little more often we wouldn't have these problems." (Warning: If you use this one you’d better be ready to run fast or defend yourself!)

"I'll agree that we don't get much milk from that cow I bought at the auction but it's not his fault."

"I know I should have been there... but we'll have other kids." (Probably not.)

More Pork For Pig Farmers

The Agriculture Department, in a bid to help the ailing pork industry, said Thursday it will buy another $30 million of pork in an effort to boost prices. The USDA already has pledged to purchase $121 million of pork this year for government food-assistance programs, but producers continue to struggle. "This action will help mitigate further downward prices, stabilize market conditions, stimulate the economy, and provide high-quality, nutritious food to recipients of USDA's nutrition programs," USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack said...WSJ

If $121 million didn't work what makes them think another $30 million will?

It won't mitigate, it won't stabilize and it damn sure won't stimulate anything except my typing fingers.

If the gov't could buy our way to prosperity they'd a done it a long time ago.

These pussy pig farmers can now join the ranks of other government lackeys and inbred industries - Wall Street, banking, autos, etc.

It's a bunch of political pig shit and I can smell it clear down here at Mesquite.

Get a Gun in D.C. -- Do You Feel Lucky?

It took $833.69, a total of 15 hours 50 minutes, four trips to the Metropolitan Police Department, two background checks, a set of fingerprints, a five-hour class and a 20-question multiple-choice exam. Oh, and the votes of five Supreme Court justices. They're the ones who really made it possible for me, as a District resident, to own a handgun, a constitutional right as heavily debated and rigorously parsed as the freedoms of speech and religion. Reluctantly, Mayor Adrian M. Fenty's administration set up a process through which about 550 residents -- now including yours truly -- have acquired a handgun. But as my four trips to the police department attest, D.C. officials haven't made it easy. Which was exactly their intent...WPost

Song Of The Day #126

Our gospel tune today is Mac Wiseman singing I'd Rather Live By The Side Of The Road.

This version is from his 6 disk box set 'Tis Sweet to Be Remembered: Complete Recordings 1951-1964.