Friday, April 09, 2010

Wolf Encounters Lead To Fear In Ely

For a growing number of people living close to wilderness areas, dangerous wolf encounters and pets being lost to wolves, are an increasing cause of concern. These reports, plus a recent situation in which a woman in Alaska was killed by a wolf pack, are contributing to mounting fear. "Can you let your little kids play in your yard? I certainly wouldn't," said Gary Mitchell of Ely. Many Ely residents are on full alert, keeping a close eye on their children as they play outside; others are thinking twice before letting pets run free. Ely authorities confirm more than five dogs have been killed and eaten by wolves in the last three months. "What happened in Alaska...I'd say the odds are that it will happen again," said Ely Mayor, Roger Skraba. Mayor Skraba says reports of wolf sightings in the area are growing daily. "I've noticed a lot more wolves than ever before, and we've all tolerated them; we've always put up, 'ok they're part of the fabric and they're protected,' but now it's come to the point where when you have two timber wolves walking down the main street, well Chapman Street, of Ely, and a guy going to work walking to his butcher job and he looks over and sees these two wolves walking with him," he said. The fear has now led to legal action. An Ely man and an Aitken County cattle farmer have filed a lawsuit asking that wolves be removed from the endangered species list. They want the state to manage the population. "This all started probably the day that the wolf was drinking out of my birdbath," said Gerald Tyler of Ely who filed the lawsuit...more

Pneumonia outbreak cut bighorn herds in half

A pneumonia epidemic killed about half the wild bighorn sheep around Bonner and Rock Creek this winter, and left biologists with plenty to ponder this spring. "What was amazing to me was how lethal this outbreak was and how fast it spread," said Ray Vinkey, a wildlife biologist with the state Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks who monitored the outbreak in Rock Creek. And there's growing evidence those sheep shared the same disease with herds around Bonner and West Riverside - roughly 40 miles to the west. This winter also gave biologists a rare chance to make side-by-side-by-side comparisons of three response tactics. FWP wardens and biologists shot 95 sick sheep in the hills north of West Riverside, hoping to keep the contagious disease from spreading to herds farther north in the Rattlesnake Wilderness and Blackfoot River corridor. But in Rock Creek, where there are distinct herds in the lower and upper parts of the drainage, biologists collected a few sick animals for tissue samples but didn't do any aggressive culling. Geography dictated part of that response: Sheep are hard to reach in the steep crags of Lower Rock Creek, while the open rolling grasslands of the upper drainage made it impossible to isolate sick animals from healthy ones. The third response took place east of Darby last November when another pneumonia outbreak ravaged the herd there. FWP shooters quickly killed 77 infected sheep but spared neighbors that weren't showing symptoms...more

EPA lead rule will cover more than half of U.S. homes

More than half of U.S. homes could soon be affected by a little-known federal rule to reduce lead exposure. On April 22, the Environmental Protection Agency will begin requiring that contractors who work on pre-1978 homes be certified in lead-safe practices or face daily fines of up to $37,500. The Environmental Protection Agency will be running ads, such as this one, to inform the public about a new rule that requires renovators working on pre-1978 homes to be specially trained to handle lead. "We want people to take it seriously," the EPA's Wendy Hamnett says about the new rule to prevent lead-caused health problems. It will apply to plumbers, carpenters and other remodelers if their work disturbs lead-based paint. Fines apply to untrained workers, not the homeowners who hire them. The EPA is rolling out ads later this month to explain the rule and lead's health hazards. The rule applies to all homes built before lead paint was banned in 1978 unless contractors can show, using an EPA-approved test, that the job area doesn't contain lead. Of 129 million U.S. housing units, 76.5 million were built before 1980, according to the Census Bureau...more

U.S. Forest Service, BLM chiefs will speak in Boise

The director of the Bureau of Land Management and the chief of the U.S. Forest Service will headline a conference May 1 titled "Life in the West: People, Land, Water and Wildlife in a Changing Economy." The Andrus Center for Public Policy will convene the conference co-sponsored by the Foundation for Rocky Mountain Elk and the Idaho Statesman. Former Secretary of the Interior and Idaho Gov. Cecil D. Andrus, the chairman of the Andrus Center for Public Policy, said Thursday that the one-day event will allow Idahoans and others in the West to hear directly about the agency's agendas from BLM Director Bob Abbey and Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell. "Even in a down economy, the American West - Idaho included - is a growing, changing place," Andrus said. "Whether we are talking about the challenges presented by expanding urban areas, the tremendous energy development taking place across the West or the re-introduction of wolves, we face many complicated and contentious issues."...more

California Conservationists, Oil Company Strike Deal

Conservation groups on Wednesday unveiled a new version of an unusual agreement in which they will lobby for an oil company's expansion of drilling off the coast of California in exchange for definite end dates to its local petroleum operations. The revision attempts to address criticisms of the original 2008 agreement by making its terms public, granting the state the right to enforce it and strengthening provisions to ensure an end to operations offshore from scenic Santa Barbara County. A week after President Barack Obama moved to open many federal waters to drilling - except along the West Coast - local environmental groups accompanied by area political leaders unveiled the revised plan at Shoreline Park on a bluff overlooking the blue Pacific with oil rigs in the distance...more

Climate Change Impacts on Wildlife will be Studied

Our nation’s fish and wildlife are expected to be significantly impacted now and in the future as the climate continues to fluctuate. New research will help understand future climate conditions and impacts to species and their habitats. Projects include studies of alterations in Florida’s ecosystems, potential impacts on Great Lakes’ fish, sea-level rise impacts on San Francisco Bay marshes, and the effects of melting glaciers on Alaska’s freshwater coastal systems. “The U.S. Geological Survey has funded 17 new projects through the National Climate Change and Wildlife Science Center,” said USGS Associate Director for Biology Susan Haseltine. “Our future holds new climate conditions and new habitat responses, and managers need projections based on sound science to assess how our landscapes may change and to develop effective response strategies for species survival.”...more

Here are the two projects of most interest to The West:

Trout at Risk in the West Some native trout populations in the western United States are at risk for extinction, with many proposed for or listed under the Endangered Species Act. The recovery of these species is a challenge as climate change is likely to raise water temperatures, alter wildfire occurrences, and increase demand for water resources. USGS scientists are studying how climate change will influence fish habitats and providing data to managers to help them assess extinction risks and develop appropriate response strategies.

Thirsty Plants in the Arid Southwest A warmer climate can bring dryer conditions, threatening plant species in the arid southwestern United States as well as the wildlife that depend on these plants for habitat and food. USGS scientists will expand on existing models that outline climate change impacts to plant populations and include up to 30 plant species. Focus will be placed on plants supporting wildlife of greatest concern. These models will also be used to project changes in wildlife populations.

Salmon Fishermen Swim Against Political Tide in Long-Running Calif. Water War

California congressmen George Miller and Mike Thompson stumped for salmon fishermen yesterday during a political rally here meant to counter the political muscle of San Joaquin Valley farmers who tend to get more media attention in the long-running war over the state's strained water supply. The Democratic lawmakers represent Northern California districts that were once home to some of the nation's most active king, or chinook, salmon runs. But the California and Oregon salmon fishery that largely starts in the Sacramento River north of the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta has collapsed. Commercial salmon fishermen blame the agriculture industry for the fishery's collapse -- namely, Central Valley farmers who have seen their share of water from federal and state sources steadily increase in recent years. Water exports from the delta, the fishermen say, had reached record highs from 2003 to 2007, prior to the fishery collapse and the implementation of pumping limits under the federal Endangered Species Act...more

Plan outlines Snake Dam removal steps

The Army Corps of Engineers on Wednesday released a plan outlining the steps to evaluate the potential breaching of one or more dams on the Lower Snake River if necessary to ensure survival of endangered wild salmon and steelhead. A study -- which would include a technical phase and public policy phase and possibly the development of an environmental impact statement -- is not imminent. A dramatic decline in the four-year average of wild salmon and steelhead listed under the Endangered Species Act or a natural catastrophe are among the "trigger" events that would have to happen to launch the study -- which would take several years to complete, Corps officials said...more

‘Story of Stuff’ is Environmental Propaganda Aimed at Your Child’s Classroom

We’ll start with extraction which is a fancy word for natural resource exploitation which is a fancy word for trashing the planet. What this looks like is we chop down trees, we blow up mountains to get the metals inside, we use up all the water and we wipe out the animals. — The Story of Stuff

This and other ‘teachable moments’ are being brought to a classroom near you by The Story of Stuff. According to the New York Times it has been watched by over 7 million children in the US. Annie Leonard, the filmmaker, says she spent 10 years traveling the globe collecting the information contained in the 20-minute film. It’s hard to know where to start with Leonard. Is it the fact that she had enough “stuff” to spend 10 years on the film; or the amount of stuff she used making the film; cameras, computers, planes and cars; or the fact that everything about her life is based on the very “stuff ” she so abhors; or is it that pretty much everything she says is false. For now lets ignore Leonard as another spoilt idiotic Californian (whose life has been gorgeously enriched by “extraction” and who conveniently ignores that in this anti-extraction sermon) and concentrate on how a documentary that has so many factual inaccuracies is being shown to so many impressionable children by their teachers...more

You can view The Story of Stuff by going here.

Deere targeted for backing climate bill + video

Deere & Co. is coming under pressure to drop its support for legislation aimed at cutting greenhouse gas emissions. Two groups, FreedomWorks and the National Center for Public Policy Research announced today that they’re running ads in two cities with major Deere operations – Waterloo, Ia., and Moline, Ill. – aimed at generating complaints to company executives from their employees. Deere is part of a coalition called the Climate Action Partnership – DuPont, parent company of Pioneer Hi-Bred is another one – that has been backing climate legislation. The ads claim that a cap-and-trade system that the legislation would create to raise the cost of fossil fuels would eliminate many jobs. Viewers are urged to call John Deere’s compliance hotline...more

Here is the 30 second ad:

San Francisco Calls for Meatless Mondays to Tie Diet to Climate Change

Besides approving rules against using plastic grocery bags, mixing recycling with compost, and smoking in sidewalk cafes, San Francisco supervisors have passed a resolution asking residents to observe meatless Mondays. San Francisco supervisors passed the resolution Tuesday for no-meat Mondays in their latest legislative endorsement of healthy, eco-conscious living. It cannot stop the city's residents from eating meat. Instead, it is meant to call attention to the relationship between diet and climate change. To some, the resolution is a welcome reminder of the small part that residents play in solving a larger problem. Others, however, were left asking for Board of Supervisor-Free Fridays...more

But I want one of them steaks!

Cows absolved of causing global warming with nitrous oxide

In the past environmentalists, from Lord Stern to Sir Paul McCartney, have urged people to stop eating meat because the methane produced by cattle causes global warming. However a new study found that cattle grazed on the grasslands of China actually reduce another greenhouse gas, nitrous oxide. Klaus Butterbach-Bahl, of the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology in Germany, carried out the study in Inner Mongolia in China. He found that grassland produced more nitrous oxide during the spring thaw when sheep or cattle have not been grazing. This is because the greenhouse gas, also known as laughing gas, is released by microbes in the soil. When the grass is long snow settles keeping the microbes warm and providing water, however when the grass is cut short by animals the ground freezes and the microbes die. Dr Butterbach-Bahl said the study overturned assumptions about grazing goats and cattle. "It's been generally assumed that if you increase livestock numbers you get a rise in emissions of nitrous oxide. This is not the case," he said...more

HSUS escalates war on animal agriculture

Since California voters passed Proposition 2 in 2008, Humane Society officials have ramped up their campaigns to alter state laws regarding animal welfare. They're reaching out to young people, including a presentation at last month's National 4-H Conference in Washington, where they encouraged teenage future farmers to treat livestock with respect. The organization has also been buying chunks of stock in publicly traded food companies, in part to be able to introduce shareholder resolutions and pressure company executives to alter their purchasing decisions. The strategy has worked. Companies including Wendy's, Sonic Corp. and the parent company of the IHOP and Applebee's restaurant chains have all started shifting to using cage-free eggs, according to Humane Society officials. Wal-Mart Stores Inc., the nation's largest grocer, said in February that the eggs sold under its store label were now cage-free. But the farmers are fighting back. In recent months, agribusiness lobbyists and farm groups have bombarded companies sympathetic to the Humane Society with letters asking them to halt donations to the group. "HSUS seeks to remove meat from our dinner tables, leather goods from our closets, animals from zoos and circuses and eventually -- pets from our families," Kansas Farm Bureau President Steve Baccus wrote in a letter to Bank of America Corp. posted on the bureau's website. The Humane Society, he wrote, is "a powerful, well-funded activist organization pursuing what most reasonable observers would consider an extreme anti-animal agenda."...more

Song Of The Day #281

Ranch Radio presents more tunes from 1965. Here's two that charted in the top 30: Ribbon of Darkness by Marty Robbins and Ode To The Little Brown Shack by Billy Ed Wheeler.

I dedicate the Wheeler tune to Rand Perkins.

Hope everyone has a great weekend.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Krentz Services/Memorial/Reward

Rob Krentz

A rosary will be held for Rob Krentz at St. Luke’s Catholic Church, 211 E. 15th St., Douglas, Arizona, on Friday, April 9th, at 6:00 pm. A memorial service will be held at Douglas High School Gym, 1550 East 15th St on Saturday April 10th at 10:00 am. A reception will follow at the Gadsden Hotel, 1046 G Avenue in Douglas.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations to the “Rob Krentz Memorial Fund,” The Cowbelles - c/o Carol Riggs, 4466 N. Brooks Road, Douglas, Arizona 85608.

Cards to may be sent to: Krentz Family, PO Box 3592, Douglas, Arizona 85607
A Robert Krentz Memorial Fund has been established at Wells Fargo Bank to aid the family. Anyone that would like to donate to this fund may do so at any Wells Fargo using the following account number: 5560960899. A calf donated by Sunny Shores will be auctioned and re-auctioned at the Willcox Livestock Auction April 8, with proceeds to the Memorial Fund.

The Arizona Cattle Growers Association is offering a reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person(s) responsible for the murder of Rob Krentz and is collecting contributions and pledges to supplement the ACGA’s own contribution to the fund of $5,000. (see contribution fund below) The New Mexico Cattle Growers’ Association is contributing $1,000 to this fund.

It is worth noting that Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano has announced a $25,000 reward for information leading to a suspect.

Rob Krentz - The Man

Rob was always active in the community. He served as president of the Cochise/Graham Cattle Growers, Board of Directors of the Arizona Cattle Growers, president of the Whitewater Draw NRCD (National Resource Conservative District), a member of the New Mexico Cattle Growers’ Association, served on the Apache School Board and was involved with many other organizations. He graduated from Douglas High School and the University of Arizona.

Rob was a kind and gentle man, a loving husband, brother, father, grandfather, uncle and a good friend. He will be sorely missed.

Rob is survived by his wife of 36 years Sue, (past Arizona State Cowbelle president, advocate on border and endangered species issues and much more) two sons Andrew and Frank, daughter Kyle, two grandchildren, sister Susan Pope and brother Phil and numerous nephews and nieces. Both Andy and Frank are graduates of New Mexico State University.


The Arizona Cattle Growers Association is offering a reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person(s) responsible for the murder of Robert Krentz and is collecting contributions and pledges to supplement the
Association’s own contribution to the fund of $5,000.

Contributions to the Reward Fund can be made to: Arizona Cattle Growers’ Association - Krentz Reward Fund

Print and return this form to the ACGA Office:
1401 N. 24th St. #4
Phoenix, AZ 85008

The Cochise County Sheriff will be responsible for determining if the conditions of the reward have been met and identifying the person(s) entitled to receive the reward and in what proportions. Contribution to the Reward Fund will be returned if, by April 1, 2012, no one has been arrested and charged with the crime or if no there are no criminal proceedings pending that may lead to a conviction. If an arrest has been made, contributions to the Reward Fund will be held until the related criminal proceedings have been concluded, at which time contributions will be returned if a conviction has not been obtained and the Reward Fund distributed.

If an arrest has been made, the Association will continue to hold the Reward Fund until the related criminal proceedings have concluded at which time the reward will either be paid or the Reward Fund distributed in accordance with the
contributors’ directions.

We shall appreciate your completing this form by filling-in the appropriate directions above and providing us with the following information for our records:

Contribution Amount: ___________________

Contributors Name: ___________________________________________

Address: ______________________________________________________

Telephone Number: _____________________

Email Address: _________________________


Poll: American Opinion Shifts Toward Energy Over Environment

For 10 years Gallup polls have been asking Americans which is a higher priority - energy development or environmental protection. In survey results released Tuesday, for the first time respondents chose the development of energy supplies over protecting the environment. Gallup's Jeffrey Jones said the results of the March 4-7 poll of 1,014 American adults represent a continuing shift in public opinion toward energy production. In the same poll, Gallup pollsters found a new high in the percentage of Americans favoring economic growth over environmental protection, he said. Since 2007, when preferences for environmental protection were the greatest (58% to 34%), the opinions of respondents to this question have shown significant movement each year in the direction of prioritizing energy production, Jones explained. This change has been evident among nearly every major demographic subgroup, although self-identified liberals have remained relatively steadfast in saying the environment should be a higher priority, he said...more

Ritter submits roadless-area protection plan to White House

The haggling over how to protect roadless national-forest land in Colorado intensified Tuesday as Gov. Bill Ritter submitted a newly sweetened plan to the Obama administration for approval. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack issued a statement praising the plan for providing "strong protections" — then announced that the Forest Service will look into "adding significantly to the number of acres receiving a higher level of protection." At stake is how much recreation, mining, logging and other activities the government will allow on 4.19 million acres of Colorado's 14.4 million national-forest acres. Environment-advocacy groups pressing for rigorous, consistent protection raised concerns that Colorado's plan would weaken a contested 2001 national rule covering 58 million acres nationwide. Forest Service regional chief Rick Cables said federal officials will feed Colorado's plan into "the federal process, to do the analysis with public input."...more

County to feds: They're our roads!

According to a report from the Blueribbon Coalition, which advocates for public use of public property in the region, the vote came yesterday at a meeting of the San Benito County board of supervisors. By a 4-0 vote, the board ordered reopened about 25 miles of county roads that are within an area closed off to the public by the BLM in a 2008 decision. Don Amador, western representative for the BlueRibbon Coalition, said the board "earned a place in the history books for taking a stand against a federal bureaucracy that has proposed a closure of historic proportions in their county." He said the county officials made clear that they "take seriously their constitutional role as a champion of the people." "When the federal government ignores the will of the people, local voters and users that visit the area have little choice but to look elsewhere for relief. Up and down the state, I see a growing number of counties who are joining with the people in defense of historic access to federal lands," Amador said. "Today's vote to reopen the roads for street-legal vehicles should be a clear signal to the BLM that their effort to make the Hollister Field Office a 'Human Free Zone' is going to be challenged." George Hill, a spokesman for the Hollister office of the BLM, told WND that federal bureaucrats were a little surprised by the county's move. They have now asked the county to clarify how it intends to proceed since while the county roads in the region can be opened, the BLM land remains off-limits. Hill said a draft long-term plan for the area is being worked on now, and he blamed the off-road vehicle fans in the area for putting "pressure" on the county to reopen the roads...more

Off-roaders in search of trails

The dustup between all-terrain vehicle enthusiasts and land conservationists is intensifying this year as more people go in search of places to ride and more groups race to protect large portions of public lands. Three bills under consideration by Congress would grant wilderness protection to more than 34 million acres of land. And 13 million acres in 11 states are under consideration for new National Monument designation, says Department of Interior spokeswoman Kendra Barkoff. If those proposals become law, motorized vehicles would be barred from such lands in Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming. "Any closure is bad because it leads to more and more closures," says Jack Hickman, president of the Arizona Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV) Coalition. "With more people buying vehicles and less land to recreate on, it means more damage to the land." The number of off-road vehicles grew 230% from 3 million in 1993 to 10 million vehicles in 2008, according to a U.S. Forest Service estimate. Sites across the country previously open to off-road vehicles have been closed in recent years because heavy use or abuse tore up soil and plants or eroded roads leading to silt buildups in nearby waters. They include...more

Judge hears grazing arguments

How to gauge harm to threatened steelhead was a central question in a three-way courtroom battle last week between ranchers, environmentalists and the federal government. U.S. District Judge Ancer Haggerty heard arguments in the case Tuesday, March 30, in Portland. The debate stems from a legal challenge against cattle grazing in Eastern Oregon's Malheur National Forest. An environmental group, the Oregon Natural Desert Association, claims the federal government violated the Endangered Species Act by permitting grazing to degrade steelhead habitat in the national forest. A key measure of cattle grazing's impact on steelhead is bank alteration, which is basically the percentage of the streambank that's altered by hoof prints. Ranchers on 13 allotments in the forest are expected to keep bank alteration below 10 percent to 20 percent, depending on the area, as part of the federal requirements that allow grazing...more

BLM envisions tri-state mega complex for wild horses

Bureau of Land Management's (BLM) California, Oregon and Nevada District Offices along with U.S. Fish and Wildlife are in the conceptual stages of creating a two million acre management complex for wild horses in Southeast Oregon, Northeast California, Northwest Nevada and the Sheldon National Wildlife Refuge also in Northeast Nevada. The concept involves a management shift from individual Herd Management Areas ( HMA's) and smaller HMA complexes to an aggregate of HMA's called the Tri-State Complex. BLM's Winnemucca District Office manager, Gene Seidlitz says, " We're just in the initial discussion stages of developing that sort of strategy of treating all of those areas as one big complex based on what we've been finding recently which is a significant amount of movement between HMA's and outside HMA's into other areas." "Speaking just on behalf of Nevada," explains Seidlitz, "I think these complexes are going to be the future. Whether it's complexes out of the Ely District, the Elko District, the Winnemucca District or Nevada Mountain District. I think you're going to see more of these HMA's being treated as complexes based on the location of them and based on the similarities of movement, forage, water, etc."..."Speaking just on behalf of Nevada," explains Seidlitz, "I think these complexes are going to be the future. Whether it's complexes out of the Ely District, the Elko District, the Winnemucca District or Nevada Mountain District. I think you're going to see more of these HMA's being treated as complexes based on the location of them and based on the similarities of movement, forage, water, etc...more

Alaska 'bear man' pleads guilty to charges of feeding game

After nearly a year of legal wrangling, Charlie Vandergaw, who for 20 years fed and coexisted with the bears at his Mat-Su cabin, has pleaded guilty to eight counts of intentionally feeding game, according to the state Office of Special Prosecutions and Appeals. Vandergaw, 71, was charged last May with 20 counts of illegally feeding game at his "Bear Haven" in the Yentna River valley, about 50 miles northwest of Anchorage. Vandergaw pleaded guilty last week to eight of the charges and prosecutors have dismissed the remaining 12, Assistant Attorney General Andrew Peterson said. A plea agreement, if accepted by the judge, calls for Vandergaw to receive 180 days of suspended jail time, a fine of between $20,000 and $72,000 and three years of probation, Peterson said. Vandergaw's sentencing is set for Thursday morning in Palmer...more

Montana judge: Weed-spraying plan could hurt bears

A federal judge in Montana has ruled that a U.S. Forest Service plan to spray herbicide from helicopters over the Kootenai National Forest does not adequately protect dozens of grizzly bears. U.S. District Judge Donald Molloy says the agency's plan to allow multiple low-altitude flights goes against its own guidelines that say such frequency and duration would likely have an adverse effect of the bears. The Alliance for the Wild Rockies sued the Forest Service over the weed-spraying plan, saying it would drive bears from their habitat and could be harmful to people in the Libby area. Molloy's March 30 ruling allows the Forest Service to go ahead with other parts of the program, including ground application of the herbicides. AP

Florida judge competes in Pocatello rodeo

Bud Hallman is used to being addressed as “Your Honor.” Here in Pocatello, he hopes to hear rodeo fans shout “You’re on ‘er!” Hallman has a day job, a judge in the 5th Judicial Circuit Court in Sumter County, Florida. But this week, he will be trying to best fellow steer wrestlers at the Dodge National Circuit Finals Rodeo, some of whom are 30 years his junior. Is it not a crazy idea for a 56-year-old man with an excellent job to travel across the country so he can leap from the back of a perfectly good horse onto a 500-pound critter with pointy horns? “The thought crossed my mind,” Hallman says. But? “I missed it,” Hallman concedes. His shift from circuit judge to circuit rodeo finals contestant is plenty amazing...more

Peruvian sheepherders' lawsuit alleges abuses by Craig ranch

Two Peruvian sheepherders who left a Craig ranch with only the clothes on their backs filed a federal lawsuit Tuesday saying they were abused by ranchers with a 20-year record of federal labor complaints. John Peroulis & Sons Sheep Inc., Louis Peroulis, Stanley Peroulis and Crisologo Damian — a recruiter of workers for the ranch — are named in the suit filed in U.S. District Court in Denver. Roel Espejo, 25, and Juvencio Samaniego, 32, are experienced sheepherders who participated in the federal H-2A visa program, which allows foreign workers to come to the U.S. for temporary agricultural work. Espejo arrived in Colorado in March 2009, and Samaniego came in June with the promise of a $750 monthly salary, a camper to sleep in and food provided by their employer. The lawsuit, filed by attorney Jennifer Lee of Colorado Legal Services, says each man paid Damian thousands of dollars in recruitment and travel fees to come to the U.S., fees prohibited in the H-2A program. The men claim Stanley Peroulis confiscated their passports and visas so they couldn't leave the ranch. Much of the time, they were hungry because they didn't have enough food, the suit says...more

If you're a moose, don't call 911

In case you missed the details, a couple of Ohioans hiking to the U.S. Forest Service camp at Crescent Lake, where they planned to stay and do some snowboarding, encountered a moose under attack by wolves. This sort of thing happens in the wilds of Alaska. Unlike the socially caring, friendly, familial wolves known to urban Americans, Alaska has wolves that grab other animals with their teeth and try to rip out chunks of flesh until the animals die. Anyway, the Ohioans ran into this process in action. Their story, if it is to be believed, is that they encountered a moose charging down the trail in their direction with a wolf clinging to it, fangs embedded the moose's neck. The wolf, they say, saw them, let go of the moose and fled, which makes them a whole lot luckier than the Western Alaska teacher recently killed by wolves. Yes, I know, wolves don't kill people, people kill, yadda, yadda, yadda. Or it at least there are no "recorded" instances of wolves killing people, which might have something to do with the holes in the record-keeping for the period before humans all but exterminated wolves in most of North America. Suffice to say, there isn't an American Indian tribe out there lacking oral histories of wolves laying waste to people, and there is no reason to doubt those stories. So the Ohioans were probably lucky the wolf, in their version of events, let go the moose and fled. The moose, however, was still there, and it was agitated. You would be, too. And when a moose is agitated, it does one of two things...more

Song Of The Day #280

Staying with 1965, Ranch Radio presents two more songs that placed high in the charts: A Tombstone Every Mile by Dick Curless and Love Bug by George Jones.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Clean And Safe

Twenty-five killed and four missing in West Virginia. Six dead, dozens missing in China. How many more must perish in coal mines before the green lobby ends its opposition to a safer energy source? More than 100 Americans have died in coal mines since 1984. Over that same period, not one American has died in a nuclear energy accident. In fact, no American has ever been killed in an atomic energy accident — and that includes any sailor in a Navy that makes extensive use of nuclear fission to power its fleet. Worldwide, only 56 deaths are directly traceable to a nuclear energy accident. And all of those were the result of the 1986 Chernobyl disaster that has correctly been blamed on poor Soviet engineering and design, not atomic power's inherent risk. When properly harnessed, nuclear power is a clean, steady source of renewable energy. It doesn't sling out ash, generate acid rain or emit mercury or arsenic. It has been safely used for decades in the U.S., Sweden, Switzerland, South Korea, Belgium and France. The last two use nuclear energy to meet more than half of their electricity needs...more

Crapo seeks tax credits for endangered species work

In 2008, U.S. Sen. Mike Crapo accomplished part of his plan to encourage landowners to work with the Endangered Species Act, securing a permanent tax deduction for species expenditures on private land. But that was only half of what Crapo, R-Idaho, set out to do. He’s now trying once more to get Congress to approve similar tax credits, competing with a number of other tax proposals in the wake of the mortgage crisis and recession. The senator on March 24 introduced the Endangered Species Recovery Act of 2010, which would provide credits for both habitat protection easements and restoration work. Co-sponsored by eight other senators both Republican and Democrat — including fellow Idahoan Jim Risch, Sam Brownback of Kansas, Olympia Snowe of Maine and Jon Tester of Montana — it’s been referred to the Senate Finance Committee, where Crapo is a member. The bill is another step in Crapo’s pursuit of piece-by-piece ESA reform. On Friday, he told the Times-News that he believes he has support for the bill’s substance, but is concerned its cost may once again block its passage. The credits would cost nearly $1 billion in the first five years and more than $1 billion in the second five years. “There’s only a certain amount of flexibility in the budget for that sort of” cost, he said...more

Idaho wool growers file lawsuit over bighorns

The Idaho Wool Growers Association and Shirts Brothers Sheep has filed a lawsuit against the Idaho Department of Fish and Game concerning bighorn sheep management. The groups in the lawsuit filed earlier this week contend Fish and Game has not lived up to a 1997 agreement the groups say was designed to protect domestic sheep growers from potential adverse effects to their businesses from bighorn sheep introductions. The groups are asking for unspecified damages "in an amount to be proven at trial." The lawsuit comes several months after the Payette National Forest released a set of proposed updates to its plan to keep domestic sheep from intermingling with wild bighorns, citing disease transmission that kills bighorns. One alternative in the draft calls for reducing domestic grazing by about 60 percent in Hells Canyon and allotments in the Salmon River Canyon...more

Nonprofit Group Will Prod Companies to Report Their Water Use

The Carbon Disclosure Project, an investor-backed nonprofit organization that has persuaded some of the world’s largest corporations to disclose their greenhouse gas emissions, will announce on Wednesday that it is asking 302 global companies to begin issuing detailed reports on their water use. The move begins a campaign to put water consumption on par with carbon emissions as a concern of company shareholders. Scientists predict climate change will aggravate worldwide water shortages in the coming decades. “For investors, it’s a material issue,” Marcus Norton, head of the new project, called C.D.P. Water Disclosure, said in an interview by phone from London. “It matters because long-term investors in particular see that water scarcity is going to impact companies’ operations and supply chains.” Companies increasingly are running into water-related obstacles. Last week, New York State denied a permit for Entergy’s Indian Point nuclear power plant because of its enormous consumption of cooling water. A few days earlier, the Environmental Protection Agency issued new water quality rules that could limit mining company operations. And in California, regulators recently pressured the utility giant FPL Group to use more water-efficient technology in a solar power plant project while denying access to water supplies to other developers...more

Conservative Evangelicals embrace God and green

The cultural revolution of the 1960s and '70s included the birth of the environmental movement. That's when "there was a deep split, and the right stole God and the left stole green," says Jonathan Merritt, a 20-something evangelical Christian who sees himself as a political conservative but also as an environmentalist. "I think God and green go together, and I think they belong together." While many Chris­t­ian denominations enthusiastically support efforts to combat climate change, evangelical Christians, who tend to be both theologically and politically conservative, have been caught up in an internal tussle over the issue in which skeptics seem to hold the upper hand. But a new generation of Evangelicals such as Mr. Mer­ritt – who, he argues, carry less "baggage" from the 20th-century's cultural wars – are making a spirited effort to show that their religious beliefs and their environmental concerns are not only compatible but inextricably linked. "I'm an environmentalist because I'm a Christian and not in spite of that fact," says Merritt, an author and speaker whose book, "Green Like God: Unlocking the Divine Plan for Our Planet," will be published on Earth Day, April 21...more

Flour power

There’s a disconnect somewhere in Montana’s food chain. In a given year, Montana is the third-largest wheat-producing state in the country. At the same time, nearly three in 10 Montanans live in a condition that James Dodge, food resource developer for the Montana Food Bank Network in Missoula, calls “food insecure.” A collaboration between the MFBN and the Montana Grain Growers Association is bringing more of Montana’s amber waves of grain to the state’s dining room tables. Begun in December, the Our Neighbor’s Daily Bread program gives Montana’s wheat farmers a convenient way to donate their product, in the form of milled flour, to the MFBN, which then shares it with some 200 partner hunger relief agencies across the state. “Our guys are trying to help Montanans in need,” said Carl Mattson, conservation and farm program associate for the MGGA. The Great Falls-based association has some 1,200 farmer members representing about half of Montana’s annual wheat crop. Rather than trying to ship flour from all over the state to the MFBN warehouse in Missoula, the growers can, when they deliver grain to their local elevator, specify a dollar amount or bushel equivalent that they’d like to donate to the food bank network. That money is then put into an account that the MFBN can draw on anytime its flour supply runs low. Last week the network took delivery of 7,500 pounds of flour from a mill in Great Falls. So far nearly 60,000 pounds of flour have been donated...more

Animal-Rights Advocates Bare Teeth in a Novel Way

Animal-rights groups are aggressively stepping up legal tactics in an approach that is picking up steam nationally. The latest such instance was heard in a Wisconsin court on Thursday involving sheep that died of decompression sickness. In Madison, prosecutors declined to pursue University of Wisconsin officials and researchers whose test subjects, three sheep, inadvertently died of an illness that befalls deep-sea divers, decompression sickness or the bends, during U.S. Navy-financed experiments aimed at helping submariners. But two animal-rights groups, Alliance for Animals and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, seized on a little-invoked state law to aid their case. The law allows citizens to petition a judge to order prosecutions when there's probable cause to believe a law has been violated and when a district attorney has refused to issue a complaint. At a hearing Thursday, an attorney for the animal groups asked Dane County Circuit Court Judge Amy R. Smith to order a special prosecutor to file civil charges against the university employees for killing animals using decompression, a condition caused by rapid changes in air pressure that can disrupt blood flow, which is outlawed in the state. The judge said she would issue a ruling later this month. State and local laws vary when it comes to animal-cruelty measures. Some animals, including farmed animals and rodents, have few if any protections. But animal-rights groups are cleverly using existing laws to help protect them. Lawyers in Indiana, Oregon and Washington state have used foreclosure laws to secure liens on horses, dogs and other pets of people charged with abuse to seize the animals. Because pets are considered property, the lawyers, working with local shelters can secure a lien equal to the cost of treating or boarding the abused animals and then auction them off for the price of the lien. The shelters so far have been the only bidders, allowing them to take possession of the animals and then offer up the pets for adoption...more

Song Of The Day #279

Sticking with 1965, #3 is I've Got A Tiger By The Tail by Buck Owens and #12 is Girl On The Billboard by Del Reeves.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Report: Artifacts source blamed self for suicides

Two days before he killed himself, the undercover informant in a federal sting targeting looted Southwestern artifacts told a friend he felt responsible for the suicides of two defendants, according to police reports released Thursday. Ted Gardiner told the friend he was upset over his involvement in the case and felt like he'd been ``thrown to the curb,'' according to records released by the Unified Police Department at the request of The Associated Press. The sting eventually led to charges against 26 people for allegedly stealing and trafficking in American Indian relics taken illegally from public and tribal lands. Two people, including a prominent southern Utah doctor, committed suicide last June shortly after the indictments were announced...more

Notorious Colorado developer cuts off ski route outside Telluride

Tom Chapman, a controversial southern Colorado real estate broker known for leveraging remote parcels for high returns from governmental agencies fearing development in the state's most pristine high country, is at it again. This time, Chapman's Gold Hill Development Co. is blocking ski passage through the middle of Telluride's treasured Bear Creek drainage, where the local ski-hill operator recently began offering guided backcountry ski trips. In a press release issued this week, Chapman said roughly 103 acres of mining claims he just acquired for $246,000 is now closed to skiing and hiking. Citing a history of avalanche-related deaths and injuries in the expert-only backcountry terrain, the release said Gold Hill Development Co. "has full cause to exclude all parties from its private lands for reasons of liability for injury and/or accidental death." "GHDC intends to enforce its right to exlude people from its private property by using Colorado trespass law if necessary," read the release. Chapman, 59, has a 26-year history in Colorado of finding obscure, seemingly undevelopable mining claims located in the middle of highly valuable land. Threatening to build homes and roads on private islands inside federal wilderness or national parks has netted him millions. In several cases, the federal government has either paid his price or swapped him other parcels of public land in exchange for inholdings he said he planned to develop...more

Feds, horse advocates at odds over pigeon fever outbreak in captured Nevada mustangs

After a new report of disease, wild horse advocates are angered about what they say is poor care of horses in federal custody at a private holding facility in Fallon. Pigeon fever comes from a bacteria in soil that is picked up by flies and transmitted when they bite horses. "The name comes from the large chest abscesses that some horses get, which can look like the large breast of a pigeon," said Heather Emmons of the U.S. Bureau of Land Management. She said the BLM estimated that 2 percent of the wild horses gathered December through February from the Calico Complex north of Reno recently showed "clinical signs of healed abscesses from pigeon fever." "It was not something acquired through the soil at the Indian Lakes Road facility," she said. Ginger Kathrens of the Cloud Foundation wild horse advocacy group disputes that statement...more

Kane road battle turns into fight over records

When the president of a taxpayer group asked for records concerning how much Kane County has spent in seven years on its battle with the federal government over ownership of roads on public lands, he couldn't believe the answer. "They told us it would cost $27,000 and take a few years to get," said Sky Chaney, who heads the 400-member Taxpayer Association of Kane County. "This is ridiculous." For nearly a decade, the Kane County Commission has battled the Bureau of Land Management in federal court over ownership of roads lacing the redrock country of southern Utah. The county has mostly been on the losing end of court rulings, including appeals, except for the latest challenge. The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals initially ruled against the county, but has now decided to rehear several issues. That case centers on the removal of 31 BLM road closure signs on hundreds of roads in the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument and Glen Canyon National Recreation Area in 2003. The court has asked lawyers to file briefs on several issues. Chaney's group wants to know the total amount spent not only on the legal maneuvering, but on activities like those in the 2003 case, when the county replaced the removed signs with new ones...more

A study of the social, economic & environmental costs of drilling moratorium

In recent decades our nation has restricted a significant expanse of federal onshore and offshore Outer Continental Shelf (OCS)1 lands from natural gas and oil exploration and production.2 The federal government estimates these lands may contain 285 Trillion cubic feet (Tcf) of natural gas and 46 Billion barrels of oil (Bbo) of undeveloped energy resources.3 This study: 1) updates4 the nation’s onshore and offshore natural gas and oil resource base in moratoria and non-moratoria areas; and, 2) using the updated resource estimates, assesses the social, economic and environmental impacts to the nation of maintaining the moratoria in the upcoming decades.5 The findings reveal an energy future for the nation that increases the cost and restricts the availability of domestic oil products and natural gas. Primary residual impacts: reduce real consumption levels; decrease gross domestic product (GDP); increase dependence on foreign oil and natural gas imports; increase payments to exporting nations; decrease real industrial shipments; elevate energy costs; decrease employment levels; decrease household income; and, produce a mix of negative and positive environmental effects.6...more

Clifford Hardin, Who Cut Subsidies at Agriculture Dept., Dies at 94

Clifford M. Hardin, who as the first secretary of agriculture in the Nixon administration succeeded in limiting subsidy payments to the nation’s largest farmers, died Sunday at his home in Lincoln, Neb. He was 94. The University of Nebraska, where Mr. Hardin was chancellor from 1954 to 1968, announced the death. In 1970, in delicate, secret negotiations with lawmakers, the soft-spoken Mr. Hardin put together a deal that would limit federal subsidies to any one farm to $55,000 on each of three basic crops: cotton, wheat and feed grains. Critics had long questioned what they considered a disproportion of federal supports going to the biggest farms. The 1970 farm bill also included a “set-aside” plan that Mr. Hardin had proposed. It called for farmers to agree to leave a certain percentage of their land idle to qualify for federal payments and price supports...more

Pioneers would have broken many of today's laws

Let's examine how many of today's laws the early pioneers would have broken if they were settling the west today. First, using ground that is zoned agricultural for a housing development would require many meetings with the planning commission, the city council, and I'm sure would require many additional meetings with attorneys, architects and engineers before final approval to build would be granted. Digging a well without a permit would be a major legal infraction. Don't even think about removing wood, rocks or other building materials from their historic locations without authorization from the BLM. That old worn out old wagon by the side of the house would surely be an eyesore. I am sure it would take the code enforcement people less than a week to ticket the poor pioneering family for that infraction. When a pioneer family was running low on food and went hunting. They did so without a license, which today would result in thousands of dollars in fines and a jail sentence for poaching. Let's not overlook the outhouse. The outhouse today would be considered a major infraction of the sanitation laws and undoubtedly the E.P.A. and Hazmat would have to be called in for a major clean-up. In those days numerous child labor laws were being broken on a daily basis, and you would be hard-pressed to find a pioneering family that wouldn't be under investigation by Child Protective Services today...more

It's All Trew: Louisiana Purchase a great deal

Imagine this, three men, all from different nationalities, each survivors of wars and reigns of terror, mutually suspicious of each other and in addition each was still alive only because they had escaped the gallows or the guillotine in their own countries, all sitting down in a dim-lighted salon in Paris, France, to conduct business. What kind of business? One representing the most powerful man in the world at the moment, would offer to sell a huge tract of land he did not own or know the boundaries, to another man who had little money much less the authority to buy. That tract of land consisted of all the lands the Mississippi River drained including all the lands its tributaries drained, basically all the property north of the Gulf of Mexico and west of the Mississippi River to the Shining Mountains (wherever they were) north to Canada (wherever that was). Now, is that a clear legal description or what? The seller was Napoleon who needed the money to fight his next war. The buyer was Thomas Jefferson a man without an army, navy or hardly any money in his treasury and who was surrounded by hostile neighbors in his new country. Not only that, but in order to buy the land he would have to borrow the purchase money from England, one of his hostile neighbors and also one of the only countries in the world with that much money to loan...more

Song Of The Day #278

This week Ranch Radio will go visiting 1965, the year yours truly graduated from high school.

Today we will feature the #1 and #2 songs for the year: Buck Owens - Before You Go and Roger Miller - King of The Road.

Mexico drug gangs turn weapons on army

Drug traffickers fighting to control northern Mexico have turned their guns and grenades on the Mexican army, authorities said, in an apparent escalation of warfare that played out across multiple cities in two border states. In coordinated attacks, gunmen in armored cars and equipped with grenade launchers fought army troops this week and attempted to trap some of them in two military bases by cutting off access and blocking highways, a new tactic by Mexico's organized criminals. In taking such aggressive action, the traffickers have shown that they are not reluctant to challenge the army head-on and that they possess good intelligence on where the army is, how it moves and when it operates. At least 18 alleged attackers were killed and one soldier wounded in the fighting that erupted Tuesday in half a dozen towns and cities in the states of Tamaulipas and Nuevo Leon, the army said, topping off one of the deadliest months yet in a drug war that has raged for nearly 3 1/2 years...more

2 children killed in Mexico border state shootout

A shootout in northern Mexico between soldiers and suspected drug cartel gunmen killed two children and wounded five of their relatives who were caught in the crossfire, the latest in a string of deaths of bystanders in the nation's drug war. The 5- and 8-year-old brothers were traveling in their family's car when the gunbattle broke out on a highway near the border city of Nuevo Laredo, the Tamaulipas state government said in statement Sunday night. The statement corrected an initial government report that only bystander was killed in the confrontation Saturday night. Two suspected gunmen were also killed. "We ran and tried to hide in the brush, but they kept shooting," said Maria Guadalupe Delgado Castillo, an aunt of the dead children. She sobbed as she waited outside the Nuevo Laredo General Hospital where her relatives were being treated. One family member was shot in the stomach and the other four had less severe injuries. The state government said 11 family members were in the car, which it described as an "all terrain vehicle" similar to the ones in a convoy of drug cartel suspects. The statement did not say which side fired the bullets that struck the family's car...more

Mexican cartels cannot be defeated, drug lord says

Mexico's war on the drug trade is futile even if cartel bosses are caught or killed as millions of people are involved in the illicit business, a senior drug chief said in an interview published on Sunday. Ismael "el Mayo" Zambada, the right hand man of Mexico's most notorious drug lord, Sinaloa cartel boss Joaquin "Shorty" Guzman, blamed the government for surging drug violence and said President Felipe Calderon was being duped by his advisors into thinking he was making progress. "One day I will decide to turn myself in to the government so they can shoot me. ... They will shoot me and euphoria will break out. But at the end of days we'll all know that nothing changed," Zambada told the investigative newsmagazine Proceso. "Millions of people are wrapped up in the narco problem. How can they be overcome? For all the bosses jailed, dead or extradited their replacements are already there." Zambada, 62, one of Mexico's most wanted drug lords, has never been arrested despite a $5 million reward offered in the United States...more

2nd Mexican helicopter sighted in U.S. airspace

The U.S. Department of Defense said it was investigating the second sighting within three weeks of a Mexican military helicopter flying in U.S. airspace over rural Zapata County. “The incident did occur and it's still under investigation,” department spokeswoman Maj. Tanya Bradsher said, confirming that the copter, believed to belong to the Mexican navy, was seen Sunday. Rick Pauza, a U.S. Customs and Border Protection spokesman, earlier in March confirmed a Mexican military helicopter hovered as long as 20 minutes on March 9 over a residential area near Falcon Lake, a reservoir on the Rio Grande. Jason Darling, a U.S. Border Patrol spokesman in Laredo, said Border Patrol agents responded to the scene of “a report originating from the community” within a half-hour of receiving it Sunday but did not see the helicopter themselves. He said the copter was reported near U.S. 83 between Zapata and Laredo. Zapata County Sheriff Sigifredo Gonzalez said Sunday's sighting was the second one confirmed, but several others were reported to him during the past two weeks that he couldn't be sure enough about to forward to the federal government. Gonzalez said the unconfirmed incursions occurred on March 20 and on Monday and Tuesday and were reported to him by a deputy, a local news reporter, and a federal officer who the sheriff said has since been muzzled by higher-ups. “I don't want to get him involved because it sounds like they're going to fire him for saying the truth,” Gonzalez said of the officer. But Gonzalez said he didn't pass along those reports to federal officials because he wasn't sure about them. He said federal officials initially rebuffed his initial reports of the March 9 and Sunday sightings, which he made to the Joint Operations Intelligence Center because he had photos from witnesses and a pretty good idea that they were Mexican military operations. When Gonzalez told the officials he had photos, however, they blamed their lack of knowledge of it on faulty radar, he said. Then other federal officials confirmed the incidents to reporters. “It's becoming more common now every day,” he said. “My problem is we find these things out through our media instead of our government. It goes to show how incompetent I guess our government is.”...more

This would never happen if it was a wilderness area.

You will recall this language from S.1689, Bingaman's wilderness bill:

(e) Military Overflights- Nothing in this section restricts or precludes--
(1) low-level overflights of military aircraft over the wilderness areas designated by subsection (a), including military overflights that can be seen or heard within the wilderness areas;
(2) flight testing and evaluation; or
(3) the designation or creation of new units of special use airspace, or the establishment of military flight training routes, over the wilderness areas.

So you need special legislative dispensation to fly over a wilderness area. Therefore, a wilderness designation would prevent these incursions of Mexican helicopters.

Uh, oh. It just says "military" without specifying the country of origin. Maybe the Mexican navy could fly over the Potrillos after all.

Border Fence Under Renewed Fire After Rancher Killing

Of the 646 miles of barriers currently constructed along the 2,000-mile southern border of the United States, 300 miles are vehicle barriers, according to the Department of Homeland Security. That means they're meant to keep out cars and trucks, but aren't high enough to keep out people crossing the border illegally on foot. Fencing in place just south of the Krentz family ranch in southeastern Arizona is exactly that kind of vehicle barrier, plus there's a sizable gap in the fence nearby. Residents and officials say the security barrier is simply ineffective, and that the killing last month is shining a light on the problem. Rancher Wendy Glenn, Krentz's longtime friend and neighbor who heard the man's last radio transmission to his brother, said she has roughly 4 miles of border fence along Malpai Ranch. The "wildlife-friendly" barrier -- one that allows large animals and determined people to pass through freely -- ranges from large Normandy-style "X" crosses to standard posts and rails, topping off at no more than six feet high, she said. "It doesn't keep any people out," Glenn told on Monday. "We don't want any more fence here. We want more people on the border. No matter what they put in, they're going to tunnel under, cut through, or use ladders. We don't need that."...more

A Growing Border Crisis Is Opportunity For Terrorists

The beleaguered Border Patrol estimates that several million illegal immigrants cross over the 2,000-mile long southern border every year. Obviously, they're not all staying. The interdiction effort is so overextended that huge numbers are able to cross back and forth on a regular basis. And the traffic in undocumented workers, ruinous as that has been for schools, hospitals and law enforcement throughout the Southwest, is the least of it. The Mexican drug cartels smuggle thousands of tons of heroin, cocaine and methamphetamine across the border every year, the majority of it through Arizona. They use private and commercial vehicles, human "mules," tunnels and light planes to penetrate U.S. territory. The drugs are distributed to around 20,000 street gangs in 2,500 cities across the United States, representing a million gangbangers, who grip their neighborhoods in a reign of terror. Billions of illicit dollars flow back across the border to the cartels, which are growing in power. If millions of pounds of illegal drugs flowing in from Mexico annually doesn't alarm you, what if it were tons of anthrax or high explosives? Don't think for a moment that terrorists somehow have missed the fact that the U.S.-Mexico border is an imaginary line in more ways than one. The time is coming, and doubtless is not far off, when they strike on our soil again. No one should be surprised on that dark day when we learn that the instrument of terror entered the United States across our southern border...more

Armed men storm Mexico border prison to free 13 inmates

Thirteen inmates escaped when armed men arrived in 10 vehicles and stormed a prison in the border city of Reynosa, Mexican officials have said. Three prisoners died during the raid but it was unclear who shot them. Authorities have put 31 prison staff under investigation in connection with the escape. It was the second big jailbreak in a week in Tamaulipas state, which has seen an increase in violence blamed on a split between rival drug gangs. The jailbreak in Reynosa, which lies just across the US-Mexico border from McAllen in Texas, happened on Friday night. The authorities reported the raid and the deaths of the three prisoners but did not give details of the escape until Sunday...more

Mexican army sending four helicopters to border

The Mexican Army is sending four military helicopters to help fight organized crime in the embattled border states of Tamaulipas and Nuevo Leon. Mexico’s Ministry of Defense made the announcement on Easter Sunday. The Mexican army reported two Bell 212 and two MI-17 helicopters are being sent for reconnaissance work and to provide support for troops engaging in gun fights with drug cartels. The MI-17 helicopters are able to carry up to four tons and will be used to deploy troops and equipment. Since late February, Tamaulipas and Nuevo Leon have seen round after round of armed clashes between rival drug cartels as well as shootouts between drug traffickers and the Mexican Army...more

Fleeing violence, more Mexicans seek U.S. asylum

Jose Jimenez, a mechanic, is now doing odd jobs in an American town after escaping a violent city in northern Mexico where drug traffickers threatened to kill him when he refused to build secret compartments in tractor-trailers to hide U.S.-bound drug shipments. He's hoping the U.S. immigration system can keep him alive — and he's not alone. He is one of a growing number of Mexicans receiving asylum in the United States, where until recently most Mexican immigrants had sought work permits. But the escalating drug violence south of the border over the past four years has prompted immigration judges and federal asylum officers to approve more asylum petitions...more

Jose Jimenez? You've got to be kidding.

Perhaps you remember these comedy routines by Bill Jose Jimenez.

Monday, April 05, 2010

The Same Old Drill

Too little, too late, too clever and for the wrong reasons. That's a good way to describe President Obama's decision to allow a little offshore drilling. Of course, most of the environmentalist base of the Democratic Party sees it the other way around: too much, too soon (since "never" is their preferred timeline), too dumb but for the right reasons. Obama justified his decision to allow drilling in the eastern Gulf of Mexico, the southern Atlantic and some coastal regions of northern Alaska on the grounds that it would create jobs and serve as a "bridge" to the carbon-free Brigadoon we've long been promised. The reality is that his decision was entirely political. Aiming to win vital Republican support in the Senate for some kind of bipartisan cap-and-trade legislation, he lifted the ban where the polling was in favor of doing so. Sound science, energy policy and economics were the last things on his mind. On that, there's widespread consensus...more

Oil and Water: Obama supports another already subsidized industry

But what we champions of the market often fail to realize is the extent to which the current oil based economy is subsidized by governments. Oil, when it was plentiful and easy to get at built its own market fairly quickly 100 years ago. In the decades since however oil has been subsidized and competitors regulated away by the government. So it is unfair to characterize the current debate over fuel sources as one where oil is the good, free market choice and “alternative energy” as simply an example of another government sponsored boondoggle. Over the years the oil industry has been one of the great beneficiaries of government largess. It is estimated that worldwide the oil industry will enjoy nearly $500,000,000,000 in government subsidies from various countries in 2010 alone. How can alternative energy compete in a marketplace where the main competitor is subsidized to this extent? President Obama has now opened up much of America’s coastline to oil drilling much to the surprise of many on the left. Many of Obama’s traditional opponents have applauded the move. But really this is just an example of the bizarre things that happen in markets that are warped by government intervention. Conservatives and libertarians should be aware of this. The opening up of our coastlines to oil exploration is not a “freeing” of an otherwise freely operating market, it is just an example of the ongoing manipulation of a market that has been anything but “free” for many, many decades...more

Big Bird Learns It’s Not Easy Being Green - Video

This is not a post about Sesame Street or the Childrens Television Workshop. No, this is about a literal big bird, a griffon vulture, and its unfortunate failure to maintain separation from a large power-generating windmill in Crete. Renewable energy proponents want to portray an image of their technology being “free” and “green” and “non-impacting”. The realists among us point out that any technology of sufficient scope and power to meet our country’s energy demands has some downside, too. It’s been my experience in the U.S. that the Fish and Wildlife Service levies heavy fines for migratory waterfowl accidentally killed because of industrial mishaps. For endangered and protected species (condors, pelicans, all raptors), the fine per bird can also run to many thousands of dollars...more

Here's a video of the bird's demise:

Utah Passes Law to Seize Federal Land - Video Report

From the Glenn Beck show, Judge Napolitano hosting.

Everglades deal in jeopardy after judge's ruling

Gov. Charlie Crist's grand plan to revive the dying Florida Everglades by buying back the land is in jeopardy after a federal judge Wednesday ordered the state to resume construction on a multimillion-dollar restoration project. Work on the 25-square-mile reservoir - the largest of its kind in the world - was halted in 2008 after water managers said a lawsuit from environmentalists could hinder their ability to complete the project. The decision to stop work came just a month before Crist announced a plan to spend $1.75 billion to buy all of U.S. Sugar Corp.'s 180,000 acres and assets in the Everglades. Crist's plan has since been scaled down, because of the economy, to $536 million for 73,000 acres from U.S. Sugar, the nation's largest cane sugar producer. U.S District Judge Federico Moreno's ruling on Wednesday could now end it all. Moreno granted a motion from the Miccosukee Indians, who live in the Everglades, to force the South Florida Water Management District to resume construction of the massive reservoir with an estimated cost of up to $800 million. The district oversees the state's Everglades restoration efforts and has said previously it likely couldn't afford both the U.S. Sugar deal and the reservoir...more

HSUS Targeting 4-H Kids Through ‘Humane Teens’ Campaign

Just like Carrie Underwood appealed to kids about becoming a vegetarian on PBS Kids a few years ago, I was told that Humane Society of the U.S. (HSUS) was recently given the chance to push their political agenda on teens at the 2010 National 4-H Conference on March 20-25, 2010. 4-H is an organization based on integrity, hard work, service to others and a passion for agriculture, yet, it certainly seems like nothing is sacred anymore. HSUS went directly to the future food producers of America to advance their mission to abolish animal agriculture and eliminate meat and dairy products from our diets. After reading their handout for kids at the conference, “Mission: Humane Action Guide” for teens, it’s quite obvious they are trying to convert wholesome farm kids to campaigning, lobbying HSUS activists. Keep reading; you won’t believe the propaganda they are pushing on today’s youth. The propaganda passed out during one of the workshops at the conference showed kids how to write letters to the editor, start a club, appeal to legislators, influence others and push for vegan meals in their school cafeterias. HSUS has 11 million followers, and in 2009, they trained 2,100 activists, and it looks like they are aiming to pull in our youth, as well. Wayne Pacelle (CEO of HSUS) is clearly willing to do anything and everything these days to advance his agendas...more

Be sure and read her updates.

Special Song - Video

"You Picked A Fine Time To Lead Us, Barack"

Looks like a coupla guys, sitting around in their dorm room and having fun. They took Kenny Rogers' You Picked A Fine Time To Leave Me Lucille, added some creative lyrics and uploaded the thing to You Tube two weeks ago.

As of this morning, it's had 683,000 views.

No need to worry about the younger least not these guys.

Song Of The Day #277

Ranch Radio likes the flatpicked guitar. To get your heart rate up this Monday morning we offer Dakota Dave Hull with an acoustic, bluegrassy and swinging version of Steel Guitar Rag. At about 2:20 of the cut you'll hear my favorite flatpicker, Doc Watson, take a break.

The tune is available on Hull's 13 track CD Hull's Victory.

Ranchers Alarmed by Killing Near Border - NY Times

Sooner or later, they all feared, one of them would be killed. The ranchers, retirees and others who prefer to live off the grid in the vast desert near the Mexican border regularly confront the desperate and dehydrated illegal border crossers, who knock on their doors for directions and water, and lately more of the less innocent, who scurry across their land or lie low in the brush, stooped with marijuana and other drugs bundled on their backs. Now, according to the leading police theory, the inevitable has occurred, whipping up a political storm and sending a shiver through a community not easily shaken. “You never know who you’re dealing with out here because you get all kinds of traffic through here,” said William McDonald, a fellow rancher on the vast mesquite scrubland pocked with canyons and scattered mountain ranges floating on the horizon like islands. Mr. McDonald and other residents said that in the last year or two the traffic had taken a more sinister turn, with larger numbers of drug smugglers, many clad in black and led by armed scouts. “It was only a matter of time,” he said. “Everything was in place for something like this to happen.” Residents said they believed that the completion of a segment of the border wall near Douglas shifted smuggling traffic farther east in the last couple of years to more remote, rugged areas along the New Mexico border. The area is guarded by two divisions of the Border Patrol who use different types of radios and have had trouble communicating with each other, officials at the agency have acknowledged. In addition, ranchers said, many of the agents are newly hired and unfamiliar with the area, slowing response times. While some believe that the border wall completed in the last few years has slowed down large groups, many others have little faith in it. By all accounts, Mr. Krentz never got caught up in border politics. A bear of a man with a reserved nature, he could seem imposing at first glance but almost always rendered help to those who needed it, friends and family said. “He was a typical ranch kid,” said Wendy Glenn, a neighbor and longtime friend who said she heard Mr. Krentz’s last transmission on her radio. Now, like others, Ms. Glenn said she planned to be more cautious. “Usually if somebody needs help, you walk up to them and help them,” she said. “We won’t just walk up and offer help anymore.”...more

See the NY Times Slideshow.

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Cowgirl Sass & Savvy

One more day in the saddle

by Julie Carter

His thickened, aged hands held a pencil poised over a small notebook as his thoughts took him back where his heart still was. As his mind traveled back, he could clearly see the moment.

It was a crisp fall morning and the smoky smell of a cedar fire from the bunkhouse stove was held low to the ground by the cold air. He pulled the cinch on the bronc he'd just roped from the remuda, knowing that he was tightening his saddle down on a thousand pounds of buck that was about to commence.

At 20, he was not only ready to do battle with the bronc, but knew he'd win.
And by the end of a long day and many miles, the colt would be a better horse and the makings of a good friend.

True to his knowledge, when he snubbed the colt up close and stepped up in the stirrup, quickly throwing his leg over the saddle to take a deep seat before the explosion, as predicted, the bronc came apart with a grunt and a snort.

The other cowboys stood around the corral watching, laughing and taking bets. After a few short minutes of squeals and explosive effort from the horse as he did his best to unseat the cowboy, the bronc pulled up into a short gaited lope around the pen. The cowboys on the ground threw open the gate, waved their hats in the air and the show was over as the cowboy and the bronc followed the breaking daylight to the horizon.

The old cowboy's mind returned to the task at hand, energized with the recall of the happiness he had felt in those days when he could top any bronc in the pen, spend from dusk to dawn in the saddle, and be anxious to do it again the next day.

A humble cowboy, he knew he was just one of many that lived in an era that was now relegated to stories and memories.

His memories were unique only to him and the need to share them with someone was pressing on his heart with each passing year.

Inside his gnarled, knotted body, crippled by too many occupational wrecks, lived a soul that longed for the freedom of his youth. Reality allowed that it would soon soar, but only to that great roundup in the sky where he hoped most of his compadres waited for him.

A tear slowly formed at the corner of his eye as he wrestled with the burden to write down his lifetime of cowboying from California to Texas. Through the years, he'd drifted from one state to another and the names of ranches, men and horses, each with their own detailed story, ran through his mind as his shaky hand formed the words.

He didn't recognize the legendary life for what it was while he was living it. He wasn't even quite sure now why it seemed better looking back at it than it did living it.

He did know that the words he put to paper would be all that was left of who he was when he was gone.

But his intent was not for himself, but to tell those that knew him that he remembered, that it mattered.

What he knew was that he'd give all that he had, which wasn't much, to turn back the clock far enough to do it all again, just one more time, one more day in the saddle.

It's all that ever mattered in his life. One more day in the saddle.

Julie can be reached for comment at Visit her website at

Song Of The Day #276

Ranch Radio wishes everyone a wonderful Easter.

Here is the bluegrass group IIIrd Tyme Out with It's Not What You Know (It's Who You Know) from their 12 track CD Singing on Streets of Gold.

Krentz family statement

On March 27th, our Husband, Father, Grandfather, Brother and Uncle was murdered in cold blood by a suspected illegal alien on the Ranch.

This senseless act took the life of a man, a humanitarian, who bore no ill will towards anyone. Rob loved his family instilling in them the importance of honesty, fair dealing and skill managing all aspects of a large 100 year old ranching operation producing food to make our Country strong and healthy.

He was known for his concern and kindness helping neighbors, friends and even trespassers on his ranch with compassionate assistance in their time of need.

We hold no malice towards the Mexican people for this senseless act but do hold the political forces in this country and Mexico accountable for what has happened. Their disregard of our repeated pleas and warnings of impending violence towards our community fell on deaf ears shrouded in political correctness. As a result, we have paid the ultimate price for their negligence in credibly securing our Borderlands.

In honor of everything Rob stood for, we ask everyone to work peacefully towards bringing credible law and order to our Border and provide Border Patrol and County Law Enforcement with sufficient financial resources and manpower to stop this invasion of our country.

We urge the President of the United States to step forward and immediately order deployment of the active U.S. military to the Arizona, New Mexico Border

Thank you for all for honoring Rob. We want the truth known.

Feds have fiddled too long as border security failed

The killing of rancher Robert Krentz in Cochise County has put a microscope on the situation along the U.S.-Mexico border that has been simmering dangerously for a long time. It's far too little to say "I told you so" to the federal government - but Arizonans who must live with the destructive effects of a dysfunctional immigration policy and a porous border knew that this kind of violence could, and in a matter of time would, happen. After such a tragedy, it's common to hear laments of "it didn't have to happen." This killing brings into stark relief the security failures that have persisted along the border for years, despite warning signs and plain common sense. Law enforcement officials suspect Krentz was murdered by a smuggler who then crossed back into Mexico. The area is well-known as a drug-smuggling route and immigrants who cross the border illegally into Arizona also traverse through the ranch land. It's unconscionable that problems ranchers and others who live and work along the border have warned of for years have been allowed to persist - problems that are fixable and within the federal government's control. The federal government has thrown millions upon millions of dollars at the border, but still law enforcement agencies - or even different groups within the same agency - cannot communicate easily via radio because they use different systems...more