Saturday, June 19, 2010

How an Alabama fire chief risked jail to save town from Gulf oil spill

Yet if the Gulf oil spill arrives here this week as scientists have forecast, it will not find the town unprepared. A flotilla of nine spud barges – flanked by containment boom – will be waiting, ready to block the 530-foot-wide entrance to Weeks Bay. If all goes according to plan, these rusted steel behemoths will form an impenetrable barrier, defending the estuary’s 19 federally-protected species and the vital marshland which serves as a nursery for shrimp and other seafood so crucial to the Gulf Coast region. They will also preserve an unspoiled way of life. The blockade is being led by Jamie Hinton, the local volunteer fire chief who, at one point, was faced with the possibility of being jailed for violating the federal and state chain of command. His resourcefulness is a parable not only of how desperate Gulf Coast communities have become to save the shorelines on which their lives have taken root, but also of the confusion that can consume and undermine such a massive relief effort. In the end, Magnolia Springs did not need BP or Mr. Obama or the governor in Montgomery...more

I've posted before on how a rafting guide saved a 13 year old girl and was arrested. Now we have a volunteer fire chief threatened with jail for violating the "chain of command." All this demonstrates the incompetency of government and their willingness to threaten or throw people in jail who question their authority, public safety be damned.

The key to the whole story is the following:

Others told him the government would handle it. He scoffed. He remembered the Exxon Valdez, hurricane Katrina, hurricane Ivan. If anyone was going to save Magnolia Springs, it wouldn’t be the feds, BP, or environmental activists. It would be the thousand-odd people who live here. After all, the locals knew the water – knew every twist and turn of Magnolia River, Fish River, and Weeks Bay. They would handle things the way they always did – together.

Jamie Hilton is a hero and I pray his efforts are successful.

CNFR, Championship Round Qualifiers

Bo Simpson, 5th in calf roping
JoDan Mirabal, 11th in calf roping
Walraven/Salvo, 4th in team roping

Men's team is currently sitting in 9th place

No girls made it to Championship Round.

Good luck to the finalists!

New Mexico rodeo team heals, succeeds after losing teammate

A season that began with such promise ended before the first rodeo. Megan McCain, a fiercely competitive and loyal teammate on the Mesalands Community College rodeo team, was traveling with teammates Angela Stash, Daphne Wehrs and Amber Miller on Aug. 21, 2009, on Interstate 40 near Bushland, Texas. A promising year that would eventually lead to Casper was changed when their Dodge pickup was struck head-on by a vehicle traveling the wrong way on the Texas Panhandle freeway. Seat belts helped save the lives of Stash, Wehrs and Miller. It wasn't enough to save the 20-year-old McCain. In the aftermath, Mesalands landed a new identity. "It definitely brought the team together," Mesalands coach C.J. Aragon said. "It was almost like rodeo took a back seat to everything else in the fall, because the kids were just taking care of each other." Aragon has six athletes -- all healing and all improving -- here for the College National Finals Rodeo and a dedicated group of fans at home in the tiny community of Tucumcari, N.M...more

Group targets CNFR

An animal rights group posted a video on YouTube on Thursday showing three scenes of a man covertly shocking what appears to be two different horses to force them to buck during Thursday's performance of the College National Finals Rodeo in Casper. "They claim [horses] are born to buck," said Steve Hindi, president of Showing Animals Respect and Kindness, or SHARK. "They are not," Hindi said. The video appears to show a young man wearing blue jeans, a long-sleeve tan shirt and black hat with his hands on the horses' necks and pulling them quickly away. In all scenes, he immediately tucks a device under his unbuttoned sleeve. CNFR spokeswoman Susan Kanode responded Friday with a press release stating: "Safety and the welfare of animal and human athletes is of the highest concern to the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association. "The use of prods is acceptable where the animal’s safety is a concern as in the case of a horse stalling in the bucking chute," Kanode said...more

Friday, June 18, 2010

Against Gov. Jindal's Wishes, Crude-Sucking Barges Stopped by Coast Guard

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal has spent the past week and half fighting to get working barges to begin vacuuming crude oil out of his state's oil-soaked waters. By Thursday morning, against the governor's wishes, those barges still were sitting idle, even as more oil flowed toward the Louisiana shore. "It's the most frustrating thing," the Republican governor told ABC News while visiting Buras, La. "Literally, [Wednesday] morning we found out that they were halting all of these barges." Sixteen barges sat stationary Thursday, although they had been sucking up thousands of gallons of BP's oil as recently as Tuesday. Workers in hazmat suits and gas masks pumped the oil out of the Louisiana waters and into steel tanks. It was a homegrown idea that seemed to be effective at collecting the thick gunk. So why stop now? "The Coast Guard came and shut them down," Jindal said. "You got men on the barges in the oil, and they have been told by the Coast Guard, 'Cease and desist. Stop sucking up that oil.'" But the Coast Guard ordered the stoppage because of reasons that Jindal found frustrating. The Coast Guard needed to confirm that there were fire extinguishers and life vests on board, and then it had trouble contacting the people who built the barges...more

Security Worries Overshadow U.S.-Mexico Park Plan

After more than 70 years, a project to create an international peace park between Texas and Mexico is slowly moving forward. Last month, Presidents Obama and Calderon signed a joint statement pledging both countries' interest in protecting cross-border wild lands. But worries over border security overshadow the project. When Big Bend National Park was established in 1944 in far West Texas, President Franklin Roosevelt wrote to President Manuel Avila Camacho of Mexico, "I do not believe this undertaking in the Big Bend will be complete until the entire park area ... on both sides of the Rio Grande, forms one great international park." As of last year, Mexico had set aside 2.5 million acres of wild lands on its side of the Rio Grande. Together with Big Bend National Park and Big Bend Ranch State Park, this could become the greatest protected desert ecosystem on the continent. Brewster County Sheriff Ronnie Dodson, whose vast county — bigger than Delaware and Rhode Island combined — includes the Big Bend, says if there was a park in Mexico, he'd stay on his side of the river. "I definitely wouldn't go over there," he says. He's leery of Mexican drug traffickers. But international park supporters insist that the area is relatively safe. They point out that the Big Bend region has less illegal activity than many other areas along the 2,000-mile border. But Dodson disputes that idea. "Within a month, between us and Border Patrol, we've caught 6,000 pounds of marijuana coming out of there [and] numerous illegal aliens. The problem is when people say we're the least, it's because we're the biggest — and we miss a lot," he says. U.S. Rep. Ciro Rodriguez (D-TX), who represents the district that encompasses Big Bend, wrote the resolution to create an international park with Mexico. "This is a very difficult time to be doing this," he says, "but I want to stress that the more communication we have with Mexico the better we will be." There is not yet a detailed plan for a binational peace park. In fact, most lawmakers have not even heard of the idea. Texas Republican Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, who has, released a statement saying she would not support any such undertaking that could compromise border security. A National Park Service official in Washington, D.C., speaking on background, said senior levels of the Interior Department and Mexico's Environment and Natural Resources Secretariat have quietly begun discussions on what an international park would entail. He said the mood is more positive than it's been in years — perhaps because this is one of the few bright spots in otherwise tense border relations...more

Lawmaker Warns Parks Takeover by Mexican Cartels, Illegals 'Intensifying'

Federal environmental laws are handcuffing U.S. Border Patrol agents to a foot-and-horseback strategy as they try to battle Mexican drug cartels and illegal immigrants who are turning wide swaths of America's border with Mexico into a virtual no-man's land. Rep. Rob Bishop, R-Utah, ranking Republican on the House Parks and Public Lands Subcommittee, said the Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge in southern Arizona -- part of which was closed in 2006 because it was considered too dangerous for Americans to visit -- is just the tip of the iceberg. He said there's plenty of other parkland along the border that's either closed to the public or is considered too dangerous because of concern about drug gangs, human smugglers and illegal immigrants, and that the problem is getting worse. "You travel here in America at your own risk," Bishop told The reason the parkland along the border has become so hazardous, Bishop said, is because environmental regulations restrict Border Patrol from using vehicles to patrol in those areas -- except in special circumstances. In turn, he said, drug cartels are being funneled into those swaths as immigration agents get tougher patrolling private land. "It's intensifying," Bishop said. And he said the Obama administration's plan to send National Guard troops to the border will be inhibited by the restrictions on federal land. "I don't care how many troops you send down there -- until they have access to the land, it doesn't do any good," he said...more

Slain Arizona rancher told family illegal alien needed help

An Arizona rancher who was killed in March transmitted a radio message to family shortly before he was shot to death, according to a newly released report from the Cochise County Sheriff's Department. Robert Krentz's brother Phil told officers that Krentz said over the radio that he had seen an illegal alien on his 35,000-acre ranch who appeared to need help, then they never heard from him again. Another local rancher told sheriff's deputies he overheard the radio communication between the Krentz brothers. That rancher's name has been blacked out in the heavily redacted police report. He corroborated Phil Krentz's statement. He remembered Robert Krentz saying it appeared the illegal alien was hurt and someone should contact Border Patrol. The police report says the shooting happened around the same time as that communication...more

Cowboy Rancher Rob Krentz Murder Case Reports Tell of Intense Loyalty by His Dog "Blue"

Nothing earthshaking emerges in the carefully edited CCSO reports. What does hit us hard, however, is the remarkable loyalty that Krentz's beloved blue heeler--appropriately named Blue--showed to his master until the very end. As we described in our story, Rob Krentz's body was found out on the family's sprawling ranch in southeastern Cochise County hours after he and Blue went missing. Krentz had been shot twice from close range by a still-unknown assailant. Blue was shot once in the back, but still was clinging to life as authorities moved into the crime scene around midnight last March 27. The sheriff's police reports describe how Krentz, after being fatally shot, had fallen out of the Polaris all-terrain vehicle he and Blue had been riding around in. Blue was lying in the back of the vehicle near his slain master when authorities arrived. The dog was"extremely weak and shivering," according to the reports, but roused himself when the deputies tried to approach Krentz's body, causing them to retreat. Soon, they realized that Blue couldn't move, and he was fading fast. They phoned an animal-control officer, who drove out to the remote setting and euthanized the animal. Investigators later traced tire tracks from Krentz's ATV back about 1,000 yards, to a location where they strongly suspect he was shot before speeding off. At the shooting site, the detectives found "shoe prints and dog paw [prints] in the dirt" in proximity to each other. That finding may prove interesting down the road. We long have suspected that Blue somehow had a role in what happened out on the Krentz Ranch on the morning of March 27...more

A Step Backward: the Valles Caldera National Park

I wonder what Stewart Udall would have thought. On May 27th, his son Tom, along with Jeff Bingaman, both Democratic Senators from New Mexico, introduced a bill in the U.S. Senate that transfers title to the 89,000-acre Valles Caldera National Preserve, located near Los Alamos National Laboratory, from the U.S. Forest Service to the National Park Service. This is big news because the intention of the original bill creating the Preserve, passed by Congress in 2000 and signed by President Clinton, was to maintain the formerly private property as a “working ranch.” Congress also created a nine-member Trust to manage the Preserve and charged it with the unprecedented mission of combining ecological stewardship with financial self-sufficiency. It was an audacious and visionary experiment in public lands management – and quite controversial. To many, myself included, it looked like an intriguing step forward in the effort to confront the fiscal, bureaucratic and procedural gridlock engulfing the federal estate. To others, however, it was a dangerous step in the wrong direction. Now, it looks like an experiment in danger of expiring prematurely...more

Oregon gets taste of living with wolves

Wolves finally have returned to Oregon. Two small permanent packs roam the far northeastern corner of the state -- giving Oregon its first real taste of what's ahead as Canadian gray wolves repopulate their historic haunts. "Wolves were a missing piece of that ecosystem," said Cat Lazroff, spokeswoman for the 530,000 member Defenders of Wildlife environmental group. But Wallowa County ranchers beset by a rash of wolf attacks on calves this spring insist that cattle and Canis lupus will never co-exist in their rugged county, where cows outnumber people almost 4-to-1. "You've got essentially a social experiment here," said Wallowa County Sheriff Fred Steen. "Wolves are a very efficient, four-legged piranha." Wildlife managers fall in the middle of the debate -- they've sent government hunters to kill two wolves because of attacks on livestock and issued permits to several ranchers, allowing them to kill wolves if they catch the animals preying on their cattle. This is likely the beginning of a culling cycle that should keep the wolf population down in Oregon, preventing dramatic declines in livestock and Rocky Mountain elk, said Ed Bangs of Helena, Mont., the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's gray wolf recovery coordinator. That's little comfort to ranchers worried about their livelihoods. The 10-wolf Imnaha pack, which ranges near Joseph and Enterprise, has killed up to nine calves since early May on private ranchland in the green and nearly treeless Wallowa Valley...more

Montana to trap grizzlies on prairie

Northwest Montana grizzlies — which number about 800, the largest population in the Lower 48 — are a federally protected "threatened" species. But bears on the eastern front of the Rocky Mountains, which are part of the larger ecosystem, aren't waiting to be delisted to establish new home ranges on the prairie — more than 100 miles east of the core population. The two young grizzlies that have been eating Danreuther's grain first showed up at Floweree on June 7, near the Missouri River, where they haven't been seen in a century. They have since retreated to the Teton River, which the bears followed to get to the prairie. Now they are thought to be moving between the ranches of Danreuther and his neighbors, the Reichelts, who live 35 miles northeast of Great Falls on the Teton. "It's kind of unnerving," Danreuther said. It's the second time in two years that young grizzlies have made marathon journeys from the mountainous Front to the rolling plains of Chouteau County. Last summer, a lone grizzly traveled 177 miles along the river, reaching Loma. "We're all on a learning curve," said Mike Madel, a grizzly bear management specialist with Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks. On Saturday, one or both of the bears pushed in a window on a shed in the farm yard of the Reichelts to get at pig feed. That's why FWP made the decision to capture and relocate the bears back on the Front, Madel said...more

2 Nevada men plead guilty to killing wild mustangs

Two men changed their pleas Wednesday and acknowledged that they shot and killed five wild mustangs in Nevada in a case that flooded U.S. prosecutors with thousands of e-mails from around the world expressing outrage at the slaughter. Todd Davis, 45, admitted in federal court in Reno that he and Joshua Keathley, 36, had been drinking and used "poor judgment" when they shot the horses with an AR-15 semiautomatic rifle in November near the Nevada-California line. Prosecutors said they offered no plea bargain and intend to seek the maximum penalty of one year in jail and $100,000 fine for each at the sentencing set for Sept. 14. "The intentional and malicious harassment, abuse and killing of federally-protected wild horses should not and will not be tolerated," said Dan Bogden, U.S. attorney for Nevada. In changing their pleas, the two Lovelock men admitted to U.S. Magistrate Judge Robert McQuaid that they shot the horses about 150 miles northwest of Reno, a violation of the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971...more

Court buries Palouse worm's bid for endangered-species list

The giant Palouse earthworm isn't that big, doesn't spit and doesn't smell like lilies, and now a federal court has decided it is not time to grant the worm endangered-species protection. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals this week affirmed a lower-court ruling that found there is not enough evidence to prove the little-seen worm is threatened. Justices found that virtually all information about the creature is limited and inconclusive. In April, University of Idaho officials announced that living specimens of the worm were captured for the first time in two decades. While the 9th Circuit decision involved a petition filed several years ago, environmentalists have since filed a new petition seeking endangered-species protection. "We think that under the new (Obama) administration, that petition will get a better hearing than the last one did," said Noah Greenwald, endangered-species program director for the Center for Biological Diversity in Portland...more

I was curious. So I wandered on over to the Hat Creek Cattle Company and Livery Emporium and asked Gus McCrae and Capt. Woodrow Call if, in all their travels, they had ever seen the giant worm.

Yes, they had, and I detected a definite dislike of the critter. Why, I asked the pair, do you feel that way about the giant worm? "Cuz", Gus said, "they killed every damn jackalope in the West."

Now you know.

Song Of The Day #338

Ranch Radio presents Hank Thompson's 1954 recording of Breakin' The Rules.

CNFR, 3rd Round, Perfs 1#2

Saddle Broncs

Steve Hacker----NS

Calf Roping

Bo Simpson-----9.6
JoDan Mirabel--10.4

Team Roping


Barrel Racing

Jordan Bassett----15.10


Jessica Silva----13.5

Goat Tying

Staci Stanbrough----7.0

Won't know who makes the Championship Round until after the Friday night performance.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Mexico's bloodshed worsens as hundreds die in last 7 days

More than 200 people have been slaughtered during the past seven days in the most violent week in the criminal insurgency racking Mexico since President Felipe Calderón unleashed federal forces against drug trafficking gangs. The carnage has cut a wide arc through Mexico and underscored the gangsters' brazen willingness to take on military troops and Mexican federal police in direct combat. The conflict constitutes the most serious organized violence since the Mexican Revolution began a century ago. And it has become one of the largest armed conflicts in the world. For example, the more than 2,700 people murdered last year in Ciudad Juarez outstrips the combat fatalities suffered by civilians and Allied troops in Afghanistan during the same period, according to statistics compiled by United Nations and private analysts...more

16 slain as Juárez violence continues

The wave of violence continued to sweep through Mexico, with at least 16 people killed Wednesday in Juárez -- most of them executed. The day after Calderón addressed the country about his fight against organized crime, a group of gunmen shot and killed four men and two women at a drug rehabilitation center in Juárez, Chihuahua state officials said. Investigators found the six bodies on the ground near the Clinica Integral Contra las Adicciones in the Angel Trías neighborhood. At the scene, police found 49 bullet casings, and authorities rescued a baby. The massacre took place almost a week after more than 25 gunmen with high-powered weapons burst into a drug rehabilitation center in Chihuahua City and killed 19 men, an act that was described by officials as the worst multiple killing in the city's history. In other violence, three men and an 18-year-old woman were killed about 2:30 p.m. Wednesday at an electronics repair shop in the Tierra Nueva neighborhood in Juárez, police said. Earlier Wednesday, a Cereso prison security guard was killed and a commander was wounded while they were traveling in an official vehicle at the intersection of Hacienda Central and Acacias streets. Three Mexican federal police officers were killed and another was wounded Monday when they were attacked by heavily armed gunmen in Chihuahua City, police officials said. The officers were taking part in a drug dealing investigation and were traveling on a city street Monday afternoon when gunmen with AK-47 and AR-15 rifles shot them. The attack in Chihuahua City occurred the same day that 10 federal police officers were killed in highway ambush in the state of Michoacan...more

CBP Shooting Highlights Assaults on Agents

A lot of facts about US/Mexico border violence have been omitted from the conspicuously opportunistic outrage over a Border Patrol agent’s unfortunate fatal shooting last week of Sergio Adrian Hernandez Huereca, a 15-year-old Ciudad Juarez teenager who assaulted the agent while trying to illegally get into the US. There has also has been silence about the repeated penetration of US territory by Mexican military forces, who in several instances fired on US Border Patrol agents. According to T.J. Bonner, president of the National Border Patrol Council and a former Senior Border Patrol Agent, US immigration enforcement records show the boy had been arrested six times on various charges related to human smuggling or illegal entry into the US. Bonner further claimed the boy provided a sworn statement to investigators last year about an organized smuggling enterprise with which he’d been involved. Neither Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) nor Customs and Border Protection (CBP) confirmed Bonner’s account of the boy’s alleged criminal background. But what there is no doubt about is that for many years the US/Mexico border near Juarez has been a highly combustible environment, and that it ignited when Huereca was shot on June 7 by an El Paso Station Border Patrol agent...

So Homeland Security Today couldn't get a confirmation from CBP.

Seems like SOP for the Border Patrol.

I emailed a simple question to Doug Mosier, PIO for the El Paso sector over a month ago. To date I've received no response. Not even an aknowledgement of receipt or a referral to someone who could answer the question.

A few days later I emailed Lloyd Easterling, Director of Media Relations at headquarters with a series of questions. Same deal - no response.

These guys have either been muzzled, or they don't give a damn.

In either case, they are rapidly losing friends.

Uptick in Violence Forces Closing of Parkland Along Mexico Border to Americans

About 3,500 acres of southern Arizona along the Mexican border is closed to U.S. citizens due to increased violence in the region. The closed off area stretches 80 miles along the border and includes part of the Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge. It was closed in October 2006 "due to human safety concerns," the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said Wednesday in response to news reports on the closure. Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu told Fox News that violence against law enforcement officers and U.S. citizens has increased in the past four months, further underscoring the need to keep the 80 miles of border land off-limits to Americans. The refuge had been adversely affected by the increase in drug smugglers, illegal activity and surveillance, which made it dangerous for Americans to visit. "The situation in this zone has reached a point where continued public use of the area is not prudent," said refuge manager Mitch Ellis...more

Wish Fox and the other MSM folks would get this right.

It's a wildlife refuge, not a park. It's the former Buenos Aires Ranch which was purchased by the FWS in 1985. From private, to federal, to drug traffickers.

FWS has put out a media advisory.

Federal Regs on Environment May Be Hindering Border Security, Lawmakers Say

Federal environmental regulations that prevent border agents from expanded patrols of national wildlife parks appear to have had a hand in the government's decision to declare an 80-mile stretch of Arizona-Mexico border a virtual no-man's land. U.S. Reps. Doc Hastings of Washington, Peter King of New York, Rob Bishop of Utah and Lamar Smith of Texas said their bill, if passed, will address environmental degradation of federal lands and help close national security gaps along the border, which they say has become an uncontrolled highway. "Effectively securing our borders against illegal entry is a matter of homeland security," King said in a statement. "Border Patrol agents spend every day on the front line, securing our homeland from terrorists. Denying or limiting the Border Patrol access to public lands and allowing the flow of illegals, including potential terrorists, doesn't protect anything."...more

It's not just the reg's, it's the laws such as the Wilderness Act. The reg's just implement the law. Nothing much will change until their bill, H.R. 5016, or something very close to it becomes law. Here's the language from their bill:

On public lands of the United States, neither the Secretary of the Interior nor the Secretary of Agriculture may impede, prohibit, or restrict activities of the Secretary of Homeland Security to achieve operational control (as defined in section 2(b) of the Secure Fence Act of 2006 (8 U.S.C. 1701 note; Public Law 109-367).

Drug cartel violence may doom famed Kentucky Club, Ciudad Juárez institution since prohibition

Every time waiter Sergio Peña goes to work at the Kentucky Club in an elegant white shirt and tie, it seems like one more velorio, a funeral wake. "So many businesses are closing," Peña said. "And people won't know the history here. ... We are in de luto, grief." As Mexican drug cartel violence spills nearer, the faithful of the Kentucky Club hope this border bar built by Kentucky distillers during Prohibition makes it past age 90. But in Juárez, a city as violent as war-torn Afghanistan, some doubt the survival of this institution that once catered to the rich and famous. Marilyn Monroe bought drinks for the club's patrons to celebrate her divorce from playwright Arthur Miller. Liz Taylor and Richard Burton toasted their fractured partnership. Bob Dylan sought lyrical inspiration, Ronald Reagan sought a cool one...more

A favorite place for The his younger days.

Never saw Marilyn Monroe or Liz Taylor, but I did see a young and beautiful Sharon Rose Chesher there.

Newly released documents offer timeline in killing of rancher

Few new details on the shooting death of a Cochise County rancher were revealed by a number of newly released sheriff’s office reports in which much information was blacked out with a marker. Robert Krentz was reported missing by relatives March 27 after they lost contact with him while he was out checking wells on his 35,000-acre property northeast of Douglas. Here’s a look at that timeline as related: On the morning of March 27, Robert Krentz went out to check on four wells scattered throughout his property. Between 9:30 a.m. and 10 a.m., Krentz radioed his brother, Phil Krentz, and said he had encountered an illegal immigrant who was apparently injured. This account was corroborated by two local ranchers who said they heard the radio traffic from their property nearby, according to the narratives of Cochise County deputies and investigators contained in the report. After the initial message, contact between Krentz and his brother was lost. About 30 minutes later, Krentz’s son, Frank Krentz, went to Lower Well, the first well his father was checking that day, after noticing the dirt path leading to the next well did not show tracks his father’s ATV would have left, had it proceeded on to the next well. When the son arrived at Lower Well around 11 a.m., Robert Krentz was nowhere to be found, according to the report. Family members began to call and radio for Robert Krentz, but received no reply. About 6:45 p.m., the Cochise County Sheriff’s Office received a call from the Krentz family reporting Robert Krentz missing. A search began, and shortly before midnight, a Department of Public Safety helicopter located Krentz’s body about half a mile from the well. Sheriff’s deputies arrived at the scene soon after and determined both Krentz and his dog Blue had been shot. Krentz was pronounced dead at the scene, while the dog, which later had to be euthanized due to its injuries, continued to protect him from approaching investigators. As the sun began to rise about 6:10 a.m. the following morning, sheriff’s deputies and a Department of Corrections chase team followed the ATV’s tread marks north from the scene. About 1,000 feet away, acceleration marks, dog tracks and a single set of footprints were found, according to the report. Utilizing a bloodhound, the chase team began following the footprints south. An agent with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement later informed deputies that he tracked the same set of footprints to about a mile north of the Mexican border...more

Song Of The Day #337

Ranch Radio will start a new feature today - Country Music Through Time.

Hank Williams recorded I'm Satisfied With You in 1947, the year I was born. For some reason Fred Rose didn't release the song until 1954, after Hank's death.

George Strait had a hit with tune in 1983, the year I left Washington, DC for good. It's on his Right or Wrong CD.

My version of Hank's recording is from his 10 CD set The Complete Hank Williams.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

My coverage of the oil spill

For the most part, I've left it up to the big boys.

But now that his declining poll numbers have caused Obama to do his televised address, and the most left of the greens are using this to call for Salazar's resignation, I decided I better give you a taste of what is out there.

Plus a few of the items aren't being covered by the MSM.

Obama's Gulf war

Mr. Obama is failing in two critical responsibilities. First is his role as interagency coordinator. As chief executive, the president is charged with coordinating interagency responses to crises, which entails establishing clear lines of authority, allocating resources across bureaucratic boundaries and ensuring that agencies work in a cooperative fashion to mount a coherent and effective response. Mr. Obama's team got off to a rocky start. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano failed to request support from the Navy to assist in the oil-spill response, later confessing she didn't know about the Navy's considerable oil-spill-response resources. The incident commander, Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen, was unaware of a company in Maine standing idle that could produce 90,000 feet of containment boom a day until a journalist brought it to his attention. Mr. Obama's administration stood in the way of Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal's proposal to block the encroaching oil by constructing temporary sandbars. This week, Mr. Jindal decided to press ahead anyway. Mr. Obama's announced six-month moratorium on oil and natural-gas drilling in the Gulf will do more economic harm to the region than the spill itself. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar defended the policy, saying it was reviewed by a team of experts from the National Academy of Engineering, but the experts later released a letter saying the "moratorium was added after the final review and was never agreed to by the contributors."...more

The Spill, The Scandal and the President

Like the attacks by Al Qaeda, the disaster in the Gulf was preceded by ample warnings – yet the administration had ignored them. Instead of cracking down on MMS, as he had vowed to do even before taking office, Obama left in place many of the top officials who oversaw the agency's culture of corruption. He permitted it to rubber-stamp dangerous drilling operations by BP – a firm with the worst safety record of any oil company – with virtually no environmental safeguards, using industry-friendly regulations drafted during the Bush years. He calibrated his response to the Gulf spill based on flawed and misleading estimates from BP – and then deployed his top aides to lowball the flow rate at a laughable 5,000 barrels a day, long after the best science made clear this catastrophe would eclipse the Exxon Valdez. Even after the president's press conference, Rolling Stone has learned, the administration knew the spill could be far worse than its "best estimate" acknowledged...more

Talk Is Cheap

When the President gave his first address from the Oval Office Tuesday night, I was surprised the networks weren't running a live feed of the Gulf oil spill in the corner of the screen. Not only because they are almost always running that live feed, but because it was be a perfect image of what has been happening for almost 60 days now. Oil has been flowing out of a hole at the bottom of the sea at an astronomical rate, and the President has been talking. Just talking. Even in his speech Tuesday night, he started by telling the American people what he had directed BP to do. But where is the action? He said that there are 3,000 oil cleanup workers in four states and 1,000 ships -- but he didn't say that he sent them. He said there are over 17,000 National Guard troops there, but those are the National Guard troops belonging to the Gulf states (of which there are over 50,000 troops) and acting under their governors' leadership. And nonetheless, where are the results of all this effort? Oil is spilling out at higher rates than ever before. The President used this Oval Office speech to create more theatrics, which has characterized his presidency, when it should be about sound policy and executive action...more

Gulf Lawmakers to Obama: It's Time to Lift Ban on Offshore Drilling

Gulf region lawmakers are demanding an end to the moratorium on offshore oil drilling imposed by the Obama administration, saying the cost to workers' livelihoods exceeds the risk of another spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Louisiana Rep. Charlie Melancon joined several of the region's other congressional members on Tuesday to argue that a six-month moratorium would result in 20,000 lost jobs and the collapse of offshore drilling companies and suppliers, who contribute $6 billion a year to federal coffers. Melancon, a Democrat, along with 19 other Gulf lawmakers, held a press conference Tuesday to demand an end to the moratorium and to advocate for "responsible offshore drilling and continued development of our natural resources."...more

Enamored with wind, Obama ignored drilling risks

Under Obama, the Minerals Management Service, driven by a strongly ideological commitment to green energy sources such as wind and solar power, chose to stress "renewables" while de-emphasizing the tough and dirty work of managing the nation's existing offshore oil wells. "What they did essentially was divert the attention of the agency away from regulating offshore drilling and focus it on the expansion of offshore renewables," says one well-informed Republican House aide. It started early in the new administration. Salazar's first departmentwide order, issued March 11, 2009, was to declare "facilitating the production, development, and delivery of renewable energy top priorities for the Department." Salazar chose Elizabeth Birnbaum to head the MMS in large part because of her record of environmental and green-energy advocacy. Shortly after Birnbaum was fired, her defenders told the trade publication Environment and Energy Daily that "she had not been ordered to clean house at the scandal-stained agency, but to promote renewable energy."...more

Greens call for Salazar's resignation

In the wake of the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, it was only a matter of time before someone asked Interior Secretary Ken Salazar to go. A group of several dozen conservation groups and scientists -- including more than 30 who urged President Obama not to appoint Salazar in the first place -- are now calling for his resignation. WildEarth Guardians, an environmental group based in Santa Fe and Denver, has begun circulating a letter calling on Obama to fire Salazar on the grounds that he has failed to restore scientific integrity to the Minerals Management Service and the Interior Department as a whole. Nicole Rosmarino, wildlife program director for WildEarth Guardians, said she was optimistic the president would replace Salazar. "Between the oil-slicked waters of the Gulf of Mexico and the blood-stained Northern Rockies, more of us are demanding 'a new sheriff in town.' It is vital for Ken Salazar to turn over his badge to someone willing to face reckless industries with courage and strength," she wrote in an e-mail. "We will continue to remind Obama of this at every turn: It's time to give Ken Salazar his walking papers."...more

Salazar "Rearranging Deck Chairs on the Titanic" Says Babbit

Former Department of Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt ripped on current Secretary Ken Salazar's plans to reform the beleaguered Minerals Management Service over the weekend. "I think Salazar is basically rearranging the chairs on the deck of the Titanic," Babbitt, who served as secretary for eight years under Bill Clinton, told Platts Energy Week. In the weeks since the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon, the Minerals Management Service has been blasted for years of lax oversight that likely contributed to the disaster. Salazar announced an overhaul of policies of the department last month, shortly after splitting MMS into separate divisions to oversee revenue collection and regulation. The head of MMS was pushed out as well as attention to the agency's failures grew. But Babbitt says splitting the department doesn't go far enough. "You can walk down the hall and the environmental regulation will be a different office in the same agency," said Babbitt. "I think we need much more basic structural reform." Environmental oversight of offshore drilling should be handled by a separate agency altogether that can serve as an independent regulator, possibly the Environmental Protection Agency...more

Scapegoating Birnbaum, Saving Salazar

Last week Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar threw an old friend of mine, Liz Birnbaum, from Obama’s creaky Hope-Express. For ten months she was the head of the Mineral Management Service. Not exactly a lifetime you say? Well, according to Salazar, who has been on the job 16 months, that should have been enough time to clean up a dysfunctional agency that has been in the news repeatedly over recent years because of its habit of sleeping with the oil industry, both figuratively and physically--the same industry it was established to baby sit after being spun off from the Bureau of Land Management, the mother agency which was also criticized for being unable to fully protect the public from the all-powerful oil drilling fraternity. Despite what is reported in the press, and megaphoned by the headline seeking, platitude prone Salazar, MMS is not uniquely dysfunctional among Interior agencies, for none of the other regulatory agencies within Interior have ever received awards for protecting the public interest either. The greater tragedy is that the oil spill has killed people and a huge swath of the Gulf’s environment, ruined countless lives through lost jobs and incomes, and will continue to wash its aftermath over people and the environment for decades to come. The greatest tragedy of all is that similar disasters will inevitably reoccur if we don’t change. The chances of reasoned change seem remote and certainly not something to believe in. As for Salazar, he has shown himself to be just another contemptible politician by making Birnbaum the scapegoat for Deepwater...more

Song Of The Day #336

Today Ranch Radio brings you a tune by the Tennessee Plowboy.

Here's Eddy Arnold performing Just A Little Lovin'(Will Go A Long Way).

Arnold's music is widely available as you can see by going here.

CNFR, Second Round

Bronc Riding

Steve Hacker---69.5

Calf Roping

Bo Simpson------16.1
JoDan Mirabal---19.2
Johnny Salvo----10.3

Team Roping

Walraven & Salvo-------8.4
Mirabal & Livingston--15.7

Barrel Racing

Jordan Bassett----14.63


Carleigh Marr----3.2
Jessica Silva----NS
Staci Stanbrough-NS

Goat Tying

Staci Stanbrough---8.3

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Shortened version

Finishing up my column for The New Mexico Stockman, so this is a shortened version of The Westerner.

Videos On What Is Really Happening On Our Border With Mexico

Border Wilderness – Too Dangerous for the Public

The US no longer controls many wilderness, park, monument and wildlife refuges along our southern border. Drug cartels control these areas. Land designations have a significant impact on the ability of the Border Patrol to effectively control crime, due to the numerous restrictions imposed, such as no use of motorized vehicles and no mechanized equipment. Our wilderness, national wildlife refuges, monuments and other federal lands along the Arizona border are becoming havens for criminal activity due to drug and human smuggling cartels that now "own" these areas. They understand the severe restrictions on Border Patrol and law enforcement, and it makes these areas very "criminal friendly". We must secure our borders and get law enforcement in these areas. Wilderness on the border does not make sense.

Wilderness Threatens Border Security

The Department of Interior has actually put up vehicle barriers to keep the Border Patrol OUT of some DOI controlled lands. Federal Wilderness designation has a significant impact on the ability of the Border Patrol to effectively control crime, due to the numerous restrictions imposed. Our wilderness, national wildlife refuges, monuments and other federal lands along the Arizona border are becoming havens for criminal activity due to drug and human smuggling cartels that now "own" these areas. They understand the severe restrictions on Border Patrol and law enforcement, and it makes these areas very "criminal friendly". We must secure our borders and get law enforcement in these areas.

Trash On The Border

Our wilderness, national wildlife refuges, monuments and other federal lands along the Arizona border are being destroyed by illegal immigrants and drug smugglers. They are dumping TONS of trash, destroying vegetation and doing damage beyond comprehension to our wilderness, wildlife refuges, monuments and other federal and state owned land. We must secure our borders and get law enforcement in these areas to protect our natural resources. If this continues, these areas may never recover from the damage.

The Price of Admission – Wilderness Rape Trees

Rape Trees in the Arizona wilderness represent unimaginable violent crime against women. Our wilderness, national wildlife refuges, monuments and other federal lands along the Arizona border are becoming havens for criminal activity due to drug and human smuggling cartels that now own these areas. Law enforcement is minimal due to environmental regulations. We must secure our borders and get law enforcement in these areas.

Advocates: Wolf case a test for endangered species

A federal court hearing on Tuesday could decide how the federal Endangered Species Act is interpreted, and whether the government can use political considerations in choosing how and where a species can be listed under the act, according to people on both sides of the issue. U.S. District Judge Donald Molloy will hear arguments in Missoula on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's April 2009 decision that designated northern Rocky Mountain gray wolves a distinct population segment, took the wolves off endangered species list and turned over wolf management to Montana and Idaho wildlife officials. The same decision left federal protections in place in Wyoming, where state law is considered hostile to the wolves' survival. Wyoming law declares almost 90 percent of the state a "predator zone" where wolves can be shot on sight. Key among the arguments by Defenders of Wildlife, the Greater Yellowstone Coalition and the other plaintiffs is that leaving federal protections in one state while removing them in the other two is a violation of the law that protects wildlife. The Fish and Wildlife Service says it considered all relevant factors in making the decision and it has the discretion to limit endangered species protections to just that portion of the species' range where it is endangered...more

Anti-wolf website angers conservationists

Wolves are getting another day in court. But one blogger says, no matter the ruling, the animals have to be controlled. "Things will turn around, with or without approval," says Toby Bridges. Bridges runs, a website spear heading the anti-wolf movement. " We do not need anymore wolves," says Bridges. "We are losing elk, deer, moose, and other big game just way too fast." Not everyone agrees though. Some conservationists think we're not doing enough. " Under the endangered species act, they should be afforded the protections to move into Oregon, Wyoming, Washington, Utah, Nevada, Colorado, and most of the Western states," says wolf advocate Jerry Black. Bridges tells the News Channel his website has up to 10,000 visitors a month. He gets dozens of emails every day, and thinks the message hunters and ranchers are sending is clear. " The other side needs to know, that if push comes to shove, sportsmen in this state, and sportsmen in the Northern Rockies are going to take care of this problem," says Bridges. Earlier this month, Bridges posted an article on his blog about how to kill wolves using poison. The information angered environmentalists and conservationists...more

Oil Spill in Utah

Chevron is expected to unveil a cleanup plan this morning, after a day in which the company focused on containing an oil leak that fouled Red Butte Creek and Liberty Park pond, in hopes of keeping the toxic spill from reaching the Great Salt Lake. An oily sheen could be seen Sunday afternoon on the surface of the Jordan River as it flowed through Rose Park Golf Course. But Utah Division of Water Quality scientists did not visually detect any oil farther downstream at a small dam in the lake's marshlands, almost seven miles from the source of the leak in a Chevron pipeline on Salt Lake City's east bench. "That's good news that it hasn't reached the Great Salt Lake," DWQ Director Walt Baker said of the critical migratory bird habitat, the ultimate recipient of whatever flows down normally docile Red Butte Creek. The creek's character changed sometime early in the weekend when a buried, 10-inch diameter Chevron pipeline carrying crude from northwestern Colorado's oil fields sprung a major leak...more

Vehicle kills grizzly in Grand Teton park

Grand Teton National Park says a vehicle struck and killed a male grizzly bear that darted onto U.S. 89 inside the park. Park spokeswoman Jackie Skaggs said a Jackson man called park officials the night of June 2 to report the incident. Skaggs says he wasn’t charged. The man, whose name wasn’t released, stayed at the scene till park officials arrived. Skaggs says he seemed distraught. The 3 1/2-year-old bear had been captured and tagged as a cub about two years ago, along with his mother and a sibling, in the Buffalo Valley area after causing property damage...more

Of woolly mammoths and farming

As the glaciers melted about 10,000 years ago, torrents of freshly melted ice and snow were sent rushing down the Santa Clarita Valley. Was that water free of chloride — the naturally occurring component of common table salt now pitting downstream strawberry farmers against local upstream tax-strapped homeowners? Answer: Not so much to concern anyone worried about contamination. Mammoths and saber-toothed cats that roamed this valley and later experienced trouble with tar pits in Southern California had become extinct by the time the glaciers melted, paving the way for a variety of unique fish and fowl to enjoy pristine Santa Clara River water. The purity of the post-glacial water pretty much provided the benchmark for federal legislators who defined uncontaminated water in 1972 when they hammered out the Clean Water Act. Basically, the water enjoyed by all Americans should be free of all contaminants — as if it were rainwater, according to the act. Since the ice age, however, a lot has ended up in the Santa Clara River, providing a spicy, if not salty, history...more

Cattle association rangers ride herd on rustlers

H.D. Brittain's job is to catch cattle rustlers – and he's gotten busier in a sour economy. So much so, he says, because some rustlers are stealing just to pay their mortgages. "Some of these people are out-of-work cowboys," said Brittain, one of 29 special rangers for the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association. "We're seeing more and more ... people stealing what they need to make ends meet." Brittain spoke last week at an association meeting at an auction house in Cleburne, where he gave ranchers tips on protecting their livestock. He averages about 50 open cases, some as simple as a grandchild suspected of stealing a cow from a grandparent to large-scale thefts of more than 1,200 head of cattle. While some thieves may be driven to rustle as a last resort, others are repeat offenders who know they can get close to true value when the animals are resold. "When times get tough, these guys are going to steal anything they can get their hands on," Brittain said. Last year, the special rangers, working with other law officers, recovered more than 3,900 head of cattle along with other livestock – almost half the number reported stolen. The estimated value of the recovered property: more than $4.8 million...more

Famed Canadian stock contractor Weatherly dies at 72

Stan Weatherly, who founded Big Country Rodeo in 1971 and turned it into one of Canada’s finest rodeo stock contracting firms, died June 8 at Stettler (Alberta) Hospital and Care Center. He was 72. The cause of death has not been established, but the Botha, Alberta, rancher had complained the night before of abdominal and hip pain. Weatherly was the elder statesman of Canadian stock contractors, having supplied stock to the Calgary Stampede for nearly three decades and every Canadian Finals Rodeo since its inception in 1974. His best-known bucking stock included two-time CFR saddle bronc champion War Cry (2005-06), 1980 Calgary Stampede champion bareback horse Tanya Tucker, and Stampede champion bulls Cowtown’s Raisin’ Hell, a two-time winner, and Handyman. “Right now, we probably have about 140 bucking horses and 60 bulls,” said Warren Weatherly, who admits he hasn't looked too far into the future. “Certainly we will honor our commitments to the end of the year, absolutely.”...more

Song Of The Day #335

Ranch Radio isn't slowing down much today as we present Hank Snow's 1952 recording The Gold Rush Is Over.

The tune is available on his 20 track CD The Essential Hank Snow.

Monday, June 14, 2010

CNFR, First Round, Final Results


Steve Hacker---No Score


Bo Simpson------9.2 Wins the round.
Jo Dan Mirabal--12.5 14th in round
Johnny Salvo----22.9


Salvo & Walraven---16.9
Livingston & Lytle (UMT)--NS
Mirabal & Moody (SDSU)----NS


Jordan Bassett----14.64 5th in round


Staci Stanbrough----2.3 seconds 2nd in round
Jessica Sivla-------4.0
Carleigh Marr-------NS


Staci Stanbrough----7.1 Tied for 14th

Wildlife group threatens suit against feds to protect jaguar

A wildlife group is gearing up for a fight to force the federal government to better protect jaguars, although the big cats have virtually disappeared from the country. The Center for Biological Diversity wants the Wildlife Services division of the U.S. Department of Agriculture to stop the trapping, snaring and poisoning of nuisance predators that could result in the killing or endangering of jaguars and ocelots in the Southwest. Spokesman Michael Robinson said the group is concerned about anti-predator efforts in Arizona, New Mexico and possibly Texas. "They're not targeting jaguars, but if they're setting up a snare for a mountain lion, there's a chance a jaguar could end up in that snare," he said. A lawsuit could come as soon as mid-July. At the end of April, the conservation group gave the government 60 days' notice of its intent to sue. The lawsuit notice alleges that Wildlife Services and the federal Fish and Wildlife Service have failed to consult on activities that would affect both the jaguar and the ocelot. It also argues that a more than 10-year-old biological opinion on how jaguars can be affected by predator-control programs is outdated and that new scientific information shows that they need better protection...more

Unlike Bingaman, Simpson seeks and gets consensus on wilderness bill

After nearly a decade of labor and compromise, sweeping legislation that protects hundreds of thousands of acres as wilderness in Idaho's Boulder-White Cloud mountains is headed for a Senate hearing this week. The Central Idaho Economic Development and Recreation Act goes back to Congress on Wednesday, but this time with what some say is a significantly greater chance of passing. For the first time, the bill's champion, Rep. Mike Simpson, R-Idaho, has the support of the entire congressional delegation. "Basically, he is looking forward to this being the year it gets done," said Simpson's chief of staff, Lindsay Slater. First proposed by Simpson in 2001, the bill has evolved through five Congresses. In its current form, the measure has been hailed as a compromise across aisles and a victory for a variety of competing interests. In the past, Simpson lacked the support of a fellow Republican who kept the legislation from moving in the Senate, Sen. Larry Craig, who retired at the beginning of 2009. Rick Johnson, the executive director of the Idaho Conservation League, said that although the Democrats who lead Congress balked at a conservative Republican presenting a wilderness bill, they've grown to see Simpson's sincerity...more

Simpson spent 10 years working with local interest groups until he had a bill with a broad consensus of support.

Not Bingaman. After less than a year he is ready to ram a bill through which is opposed by the business and ag communities, and those concerned about border security and flood control.

Why won't Bingaman take the time to get it right?

Hickenlooper sides with ranchers on Pinon Canyon

Gubernatorial candidate John Hickenlooper got his first chance Sunday to speak directly with landowners in the path of the Army's proposed expansion of its Pinon Canyon Maneuver Site. Hickenlooper, who owns a lot of property in Denver, said he was behind the ranchers in defending their property rights. "In the end, it's your property. So as far as I am concerned, I will come down every time on the side of the ranchers," Hickenlooper said. "The reality is that what happens here sets a pattern for the whole state right?" Hickenlooper is running against Republican Scott McInnis, who supports the military's position on site expansion. The 238,000-acre training site for Fort Carson is northeast of Trinidad...more

So, we have a Democrat who wants to limit federal expansion and protect property rights and a Republican who wants to expand the federal government and diminish the amount of private property in his state.

I'm having a hard time grasping this picture.

Candidates to present views on Pinon Canyon expansion

The Pinon Canyon Expansion Opposition Coalition will be hosting an event called the 'Pinon Canyon Preservation Festival' from 1pm to 8pm on June 19th, in Kim, CO. Besides information and art displays at multiple locations in the town of Kim, there will be a BBQ dinner, music, poets and a silent auction. This festival will also be an opportunity for many elected officials and candidates to present their views and proposed actions relative to ending the expansion of Pinon Canyon. The Army still desires to expand the 238,000-acre PCMS and refuses to follow court orders to limit activity to historic use levels, made by Federal Judge Matsch. Building out of the current site continues, which is also ignoring the congressional ban on expansion as well as most other laws and regulations that were placed to provide oversight of and accountability by the military regarding efforts to expand Pinon Canyon. "Once again, the Army pushes the envelope as if the law doesn't apply to them." Said Lon Robertson, rancher and President of the PCEOC. "People don't realize that they continue to push the expansion by adding buildings, resources and other functions to the current site, a build out that was ordered stopped by Federal Judge Matsch last year. And we intend to keep this out in public view to press our candidates and elected officials for action to hold them accountable and put an end to this effort once and for all."...

A modest proposal for protection of threatened species

...The specific benefit to us in protecting a specific species seems to be irrelevant. That the world and civilization would probably not collapse if the caddo madtom (an Arkansas fish) or the helotes mold beetle (in Texas) or even the gray wolf (in several states) were to become extinct does not prevent the listing and protection of a species. Protecting species who are natural enemies of each other opens up morally gray areas. By protecting the sea lion, the danger to the protected salmon is increased. And why protect species that prey on humans and domestic animals, such as the cougar or the gray wolf? I have also wondered how the federal government got the power to protect these things. I am told that it is based on the constitutional provision authorizing it to “regulate interstate commerce.” I guess I'm dense, but I don't see what the Santa Ana sucker (in California) has to do with interstate commerce. In examining the entire list of endangered or protected species (at I notice one that has not been given any protection at all, even though severely threatened: the agricola americanus. It seems to me that this species certainly qualifies as much as many of those on the list. Its common name is “American farmer or rancher.” The numbers of this species are certainly dramatically decreasing. Only a few decades ago it constituted 20 percent of the American population. It is now hovering around 2 percent. Its habitat is shrinking as a result of encroaching urbanization. Large areas of former habitat are now covered with tract homes and shopping malls, especially in the more naturally suitable areas...more

Delta fish rulings could affect endangered species law

Recent court rulings on Delta fish protection measures threaten to open the floodgates for lawsuits to weaken rules protecting endangered species. U.S. District Judge Oliver Wanger ruled in two Delta cases that pumping restrictions meant to protect endangered fish could be relaxed because federal scientists had not adequately justified them and because the government had not done separate studies on their effects. The decisions cheered water agencies and property rights advocates but alarmed environmentalists. Since the U.S. Supreme Court in 1978 ruled in favor of another fish — the snail darter, which was threatened by the Tennessee Valley Authority's plan to build a dam — the law has held that economic cost may not be balanced against the threat of extinction. Wanger did not contradict that principle, but he said federal regulators lacked adequate scientific evidence for their Delta pumping restrictions. And he said the government should have done an environmental impact study under the National Environmental Policy Act to look for alternatives and determine the impact on the "human environment." The Delta cases, Wanger ruled, are unlike the snail darter case because the regulations have affected human welfare by increasing unemployment, for example. "It's not just economics. It's talking about health and welfare," said Brandon Middleton, a lawyer for the libertarian Pacific Legal Foundation. Several government officials and lawyers said such studies are never done on endangered species rules, though they are often done on the projects on which the rules are applied...more

Rodeo culture a tradition in Utah

Marilyn and Matthew Wood are not your typical rodeo parents. They never did rodeo as children or as adults, nor did their parents before them. However, their children's love of horses and desire to become part of Utah's rodeo culture 30 years ago overwhelmingly took over their family, and now the Woods continue the long-standing family tradition with grandchildren piling in their trucks and trailers to head off to nearly 50 rodeos around the western U.S. every summer. "They call it the Great American Trailer Race in Utah," Marilyn Wood said laughing, a comment on all the traveling families like theirs who also spend their summers training children, riding horses and bulls, roping calves and mingling with fellow cowboys and cowgirls on the rodeo circuit. Rodeo, since its creation, has become more a lifestyle, Wood said, a culture that not only Utahns in the horse and cattle business but children growing up among the animals and with cowboy folklore have come to idolize and call their own. Rodeo culture dates back to the early 1800s, according to some historians, but could be related to a practice in New Spain as early as 1537, when Spanish authorities had ranchers brand their horses and cattle to differentiate them from wild horses, calling the practice "Rodeo del Ganado," according to author and historian Joel H. Bernstein...more

It's all in the family

Capturing the spirit of the Texas ranchers requires quite a bit of blood, sweat and dirt. A task Jon Lindgren has decided to make his own. Lindgren, based out of Midland, is directing a documentary about the Texas rancher’s role in our nation’s development of land and resources, our communities and industries and all facets of life. But Lindgren wasn’t an easy sell. “It took me about six months to convince him this was worth his time and effort … that the market for this was just right,” partner and documentary producer Chip Balzer said. Balzer and Lindgren, with ViaMedia, have been working on the documentary for about two months, and it all started with research and talking to historians. Lindgren and Balzer wanted to find out who’s been around the longest and feature some of the biggest names in ranching. The idea the duo wanted to develop was ranching from the eyes of the descendents. Ranching often operates much like royalty, the land, traditions and work ethic are passed on to descending generations. This criteria was met by the Cowden family of the Half Circle C ranch about two miles south of Crane. Candi Cowden is a fifth generation rancher in her family. Cowden said the 10,000-plus acre ranch has been in her family since about 1860...more

Public to Get Tour of Famed Author's NM Ranch

In the mountains north of Taos along an ancient Kiowa Indian trail is the historic ranch of famed English author D.H. Lawrence. There are towering pine trees and vistas stretching from the Colorado Rockies to the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. This is the place where Lawrence, deemed by many as one of the greatest writers of the 20th century, found his inspiration for several of his stories and poems. Visitors will be able to tour Lawrence's ranch on June 19 with experts from the Friends of D.H. Lawrence, a local nonprofit group dedicated to all things Lawrence, and hear their stories about the famous people who frequented the ranch — from Georgia O'Keeffe to Tennessee Williams. Lawrence took over the 160-acre spread from prominent socialite Mabel Dodge Luhan during the early 1920s. Luhan tried to give the ranch to Lawrence's wife, Frieda, but Lawrence insisted that they pay for the property. That payment came in the form of Lawrence's manuscript for "Sons and Lovers." Several miles down a dirt road off the highway, the ranch — owned by the University of New Mexico — features Lawrence's memorial, two cabins and a home that was built by Frieda Lawrence following her husband's death. The memorial has a colorful history of its own. Warner said there was a bit of disagreement among Frieda Lawrence, Luhan and friend Dorothy Brett, an artist who had lived at the ranch, about what to do with Lawrence's ashes. To keep the other women from getting their hands on them, Frieda dumped them into the cement that was used to build the memorial...more

Pony Express gallops through Utah

The staked-out horses, mail saddlebags and camp cooking made Sunday morning at the Willow Springs Ranch a lot like old times. Very old times. Dozens of Utahns, Nevadans, Wyomingites and other Western history buffs congregated with RVs and tents around a clapboard shack that 150 years ago served as a horse and rider station for the short-lived Pony Express mail service. Trail enthusiasts make the ride between St. Joseph, Mo., and Sacramento, Calif., each summer in 10 days -- by sun and moon -- with little fanfare. But this year they're doubling the time so they can stop to celebrate the anniversary. What killed the labor- and horsepower-intensive enterprise after just a year and a half is still poking through the door in the shack. A few feet of telegraph wire, the same that made east-west communication lighting-quick beginning in 1861, coils from the air through a peephole and hangs over a dusty desk in what's now part storage shed and part family museum. A saddle rots next to an unused bed. More than 600 riders will participate in the ride, which this year moves west to east. Each wears the blue jeans, red shirt and yellow bandana of the historic rider. Most will ride about two miles before trading off with other enthusiasts, said Les Bennington, the National Pony Express Association president, who lives in Glenrock, Wyo. Some will ride faster than 20 mph, but most trot along at half that speed or less. In 1860 and 1861, Bennington said, the original riders would gallop 10 or 12 miles at a time on mustangs before reaching a new station and switching to a fresh mustang. About every 60 miles they would come to another station, where they passed off the mail to a new rider and waited for incoming mail so they could remount and head back the other direction...more

Sacred Sheep Revive Navajo Tradition, For Now

For as long as anyone can remember, Churro sheep have been central to Navajo life and spirituality, yet the animal was nearly exterminated in modern times by outside forces who deemed it an inferior breed. Now, on a Navajo reservation of northern Arizona and New Mexico, the Churro is being shepherded back to health. Amongst modern prefab houses and hogans, the multisided traditional homes of the Navajo, are often corrals with small bands of sheep grazing nearby. "Sometimes you find me, and I just want to sit in the corral with them," Navajo weaver Roy Kady says. "Just find a corner and I sit there. They motivate me, even just to see them; it's that strong to me." Churro sheep are smaller than most breeds and have a long, wavy lustrous fleece that is valued by Navajo weavers like Kady. He lives near Teec Nos Pos, where he's chapter president — sort of like being the town's mayor. For him, this flock is part of something larger, something he calls "din'e bi iina," the Navajo lifeway. "Din'e" is the preferred name for the Navajo, and "bi iina" means "lifeway." "Sheep is your backbone," Kady says. "It's your survival. It's your lifeline." For centuries, the Churro was all these things, providing the Navajo with what they needed to survive in the stark desert: meat for sustenance, wool for weaving clothing and blankets, sinew for thread. It's no wonder the Navajo are grateful, even reverential when it comes to the Churro...more

It's all Trew: Area full of historical tidbits

Perusing through countless magazines, newspapers and books, both old and new, turns up numerous interesting tidbits of history. These are tucked away in my inbox and when I find enough to fill an article I group them together. Here are some samples: Seventy-five years ago on March 18, 1935, the first "shelter-belt" was planted on the Horace E. Curtis farm near Willow, Okla., in Greer County. For those who don't know, a shelter-belt is a group of rows of various types of trees, chosen for their hardiness, drought resistance and fast growth. To help supply fruit for the sometimes desperate families trying to survive the Dust Bowl, various fruit trees including apricot, apple, pear and peach trees were planted. To help supply wooden posts for fencing and lumber, bois de arc and black locust trees were often added. Their primary purpose was to provide a shield against the prairie winds of the Dust Bowl. One of my recent articles told that today's Dalhart was known at one time as Twist when the first railroad was constructed through the area. This statement generated an e-mail from Gerald Hook of Russellville, Ark., who is my "resident railroad expert." He sent an article from a 1929 railroad magazine that reported on Dec. 9, 1928, at 2:15 a.m. a northbound freight train moving at about 25 mph ran about one mile beyond Twist, a sidetrack where it was supposed to wait for a southbound passenger train to pass by. It seems the passenger trains always had right-of-way over freight trains. This created a terrible train wreck...more

Song Of The Day #334

Ranch Radio brings you Swingin' Monday, where we bring you uptempo tunes to get your heart started and your blood flowing.

Today's tune is Farewell Blues by the Virginia Boys. The Virginia boys are the band of Jim & Jesse McReynolds, and that is Jesse cross picking the mandolin.

You'll find the song on the 66 track 2CD set The Sensational Sounds of Bluegrass.

CNFR - Round One - Sunday performance

Bronc Riding

Steve Hacker reride


Staci Stanbrough 2.3 seconds (so far the second fastest time)
Jessica Siva 4.0
Carleigh Marr NS

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Cowgirl Sass & Savvy

No true West in New York City

by Julie Carter

We who live on the sunset side of this country tend to forget there is a great big world out there that has absolutely no idea what the West really is.

True West magazine hit the "big time news" (their own words) when they became the topic of review by MediaPost's "Magazine Rack."

Headquartered in New York City, you have to surmise this was an adventure for the writer that began as soon as she flipped open the glossy cover of the magazine and proceeded thumbing through the pages.

Her journey commenced with the True West's reputable variety of Western features, illustrations, photos and travel opportunities.

"We get the occasional cowboy," New York writer Fern Siegel said in her review, "but he tends to be more Village People than Buffalo Bill. That's not counting the Naked Cowboy, who corrals Times Square in his underwear."

Siegel lives in downtown Manhattan and claims the Empire State Building as her "true north"-- a world foreign to the real cowboy as illustrated by Siegel's use of Buffalo Bill as a measure of authenticity. The reference to the Naked Cowboy is pure entertainment without any serious evidence of anything more.

A NYC icon, the Naked Cowboy is some dude who performs on Times Square wearing only his BVDs, boots and hat, with a guitar strategically placed to give the illusion of nudity.

Now he is licensed to perform marriages. For a mere $499, you can get hitched by Reverend Naked Cowboy in Times Square.

With acerbic wit, Siegel winds through True West magazine's history, then down a trail to that particular issue's overviews of "extreme historic getaways."

She skeptically doubts the validity of the term "eco-tour" listed on the description of the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge train ride. For her, the giveaway was in the photo that showed, as she put it, "black steam belching coal dust in the pristine sky."

However, she was enlightened with the offering of an Arizona Cowboy College in Scottsdale where "hopefuls learned roping, shoeing and horsemanship."

Siegel's fascination was captured with a feature about the fight for Geronimo's remains and his great-grandson's argument to have them returned from Fort Sill, Okla. to Silver City, N.M., per Geronimo's wishes.

In her written tour through other parts of the magazine, Siegel recognizes True West Executive Editor Bob Boze Bell's desire for historical accuracy, the same that he touts on his "True West Moments" show on Encore's Westerns Channel.

Siegel points out instances in Western movies that might cause Bell's factual meter to quiver.

"I'm guessing the washboard abs and over-pumped biceps Brad Pitt sports whenever he swaggers onto a horse in Ralph Lauren chaps or Clint Eastwood's precision beard, which has clearly made friends with Hammacher Schlemmer's $400 electric razor, are two quibbles," she wrote. "There could be more."

Siegel said the magazine was the "real McCoy" for aficionados. I took that to mean, in the realm of her New York knowledge, it was the real deal ... if you like that kind of stuff.

Remember those popular Pace Picante ads where the Southwestern cowboys made fun of the greenhorn who bought salsa that came from New York City?

While my intent is not to belittle Siegel's review of the magazine, I do find a hint of disdain buried in the flow of her verbiage. So, it was with great delight that I noted the listing of her title at MediaPost. "Deputy Editor."

In the merriment of the moment, I paused to wonder if that position came with a tin star badge; the signature of lawmen of the West.

Nah, not from New York City. Get a rope!

Julie can be reached for comment

"Ladies' Night" at bars ruled illegal

It's a bastion of bar culture: "Ladies' Night," staged to attract female customers by cutting their drink prices and cover charges. It's also illegal gender discrimination, according to the Minnesota Department of Human Rights. The department charged this week that by having ladies' nights, five Twin Cities establishments denied men the right to "full and equal enjoyment" of their businesses. "Gender-based pricing violates the [state] Human Rights Act," Commissioner James Kirkpatrick said in a statement...more

What they will be doing is denying men "full and equal enjoyment" of the women who don't show up because of the higher prices.

Thus we will have another government-created shortage, and in this case, a darn serious one.

When the shortage becomes severe, the Obama administration will come up with some kind of subsidy for the women who are priced out of the

Subsidies always end up producing an oversupply, so...this may be a damned good policy after all!

QUESTION: I still haven't figured out what the subsidy should be called, nor which agency in the government would administer it. Any ideas out there?

So, the government can't run a cemetery either

Read the sad, but not surprising news about Arlington National Cemetery here.

Health care and energy are next.