Friday, June 25, 2010

Ken Salazar Gets a Kick in the You-Know-What

For all his John Wayne rhetoric on the BP oil spill, President Obama has failed to administer a swift kick to the ample, deserving rump of Interior Secretary Ken Salazar. No matter: Federal judge Martin Feldman has now done the job the White House won’t do. In a scathing ruling issued Tuesday afternoon, New Orleans–based Feldman overturned the administration’s radical six-month moratorium on deepwater drilling — and he singled out Salazar’s central role in jury-rigging a federal panel’s scientific report to bolster flagrantly politicized conclusions. In a sane world, Salazar’s head would roll. In Obama’s world, he gets immunity. The suit challenging Obama’s desperately political ban was filed by Louisiana rig company Hornbeck Offshore Services, which sued on behalf of all the “small people” in the industry whose economic survival is at stake. As the plaintiffs’ lawyer argued in court, the overbroad ban promised to be more devastating to Gulf workers than the spill itself. “This is an unprecedented industry-wide shutdown. Never before has the government done this,” attorney Carl Rosenblum said. Scientists who served on the committee expressed outrage upon discovering earlier this month that Salazar had — unilaterally and without warning — inserted a blanket drilling-ban recommendation into their report. Allow me to be more injudicious: Salazar lied. Salazar committed fraud. Salazar sullied the reputations of the experts involved and abused his authority...more

The Bait-And-Switch On Cap-And-Trade

President Obama's speech to the nation last week about the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico followed a predictable script. Whenever a problem confronts this administration, the president's answer is sure to include one of a trio of his 2008 campaign initiatives: health care reform, action to address climate change or education reform. Obama claimed in 2008, for instance, that these long-term, slowly acting changes were a fix for a temporary downturn in the economy. Now, in an even greater leap of logic, he contends that the 1,427-page Waxman-Markey bill (which addresses climate change) is the proper response to the oil spill. Obama's advocacy of this bill exemplifies the incoherence and dishonesty of our present debate about energy policy. Two distinct problems — those associated with oil imports and those associated with greenhouse gas emissions — are treated as if they were one and the same...more

Top oil-rig regulator plans "SWAT team" to root out agency's corruption

Three days into his new job, the man President Barack Obama chose to clean up the Minerals Management Service announced Wednesday that he would create an investigative "SWAT team" to scour the agency and root out corruption and conflict of interest. Michael Bromwich said he's using a model he developed as inspector general at the Justice Department in the 1990s, creating a team of lawyers and investigators reporting directly to him and who can quickly follow up leads or anonymous tips from within the imploded agency. Bromwich — who will direct the agency's former regulatory functions under the newly christened Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement — described the team as potentially the most powerful tool to change an agency culture that lawmakers from both major parties blasted Wednesday, with Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine calling it "rife with cronyism and corruption."...more

So it goes from the MMS to the BOEMRE...pretty impressive don't ya think? Problem solved I'm sure. Guess this is the last time you will see the MMS logo on this blog.

Montana kills bear that bit man's ear through tent

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks wardens captured and killed the black bear on Thursday that was suspected of biting a camper in the ear near St. Regis. The wardens also killed the sow's cub of the year after confirming reports the bears had become accustomed to human food. "It's a sad ending," FWP Warden Capt. Jeff Darrah said on Thursday afternoon. "This bear had been seen by several local residents in garbage. Once she was seen chewing a hot-tub pool cover." On Monday, the 170-pound sow bear chewed through the tent of Ellensburg, Wash., resident Rob Holmes. It took 21 stitches to reattach Holmes' earlobe. He and a friend were camped by the Little Joe River about four miles from St. Regis, at a U.S. Forest Service primitive camping site...more

Group: Feds fail to protect Mexican spotted owl

An environmental group is suing the U.S. Forest Service, claiming the agency has violated the Endangered Species Act by failing to uphold protections won more than a decade ago for the Mexican spotted owl in the Southwest. WildEarth Guardian's lawsuit, filed late Wednesday in Tucson, Ariz., asks the court to keep the Forest Service from approving or implementing any permits or projects on national forests in Arizona and New Mexico that would negatively impact the owl until the agency prepares a biological assessment and consults with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The group claims the federal government has ignored its responsibility to track the owl's numbers throughout the two states and that the Forest Service continues to approve logging, grazing and other activities on the region's 11 forests that could potentially harm the bird...more

Brewer asks Obama for Arizona border plan details

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer is telling President Barack Obama she's anxious for details on how his administration's plans to tighten border security will apply to Arizona. Brewer tells Obama in a letter released Thursday that she'd like specifics on National Guard deployments and other steps to be taken in Arizona before a planned Monday visit to Phoenix by Obama administration officials to discuss his plans. The meeting is an outgrowth of Brewer's June 3 visit to the White House, where she and Obama discussed border security and immigration...more

FBI reviews complaint about BLM wild horse roundup

The FBI is reviewing a Las Vegas woman's claim that U.S. land managers broke a federal law protecting wild horses when they removed nearly 2,000 mustangs from public rangeland in Nevada about six months ago. FBI Special Agent Joseph Dickey confirmed Wednesday they received a formal request for an investigation earlier this week from Cindy MacDonald, a horse protection advocate who has challenged roundups before. She claims the Bureau of Land Management gathered far more horses than allowed during the roundup in the Calico mountains about 200 miles north of Reno. Dickey says the FBI takes all complaints seriously. He tells The Associated Press they are evaluating her claims and should make a decision in the coming days on whether to open a formal investigation. AP

BLM to Impound 175 Stray Wild Horses Near Nevada-Utah Line

State and federal officials have announced plans this weekend to impound about 175 horses near the Nevada-Utah line that are believed to be strays or descendants of horses abandoned by private owners over the years. Officials for the U.S. Bureau of Land Management say the herd north of West Wendover has grown in size and is causing considerable impacts to BLM-managed public land resources. State officials will try to establish legal ownership and offer the horses back to the lawful owner. Those without owners will become state property. The estray horses are separate from and not subject to the federal protections afforded wild roaming horses and burros. The roundup begins Friday and is expected to last three or four days. AP

Loss Of Faith

It's an awful thing in a country when its people no longer believe the government protects them and their rights. Yet, a new poll shows that's exactly where Americans are headed right now. In a Rasmussen poll of 1,000 adults taken last Friday and Saturday, nearly half, or 48%, said they see government today as a threat to their rights. Just 37% disagreed. The poll also found that only one in five (21%) believe current government has the consent of the governed. In other words, people think much of what our government does today is illegitimate — possibly even illegal. For a democratic republic such as our own, this is extraordinarily dangerous. The Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were created explicitly to protect Americans' rights by limiting the scope, reach and power of the federal government. The Declaration promises "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness," and goes on to say that "to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed." In short, our government was designed to protect our rights — not to serve as an all-embracing nanny state that slowly, silently strips us of our ability to act as free individuals...more

On the topic of faith in government, I've been an avowed atheist for many years.

Polling data like Rasmussen's does have positive benefits, such as this:

Senate defeats federal jobs bill Republicans on Thursday defeated the Democrats' showcase election-year jobs bill, including an extension of weekly unemployment benefits for people out of work more than six months. The 57-41 vote fell three votes short of the 60 required to crack a GOP filibuster, delivering a major blow to President Obama and Democrats facing big losses of House and Senate seats in the fall election. The rejected bill would have provided $16 billion in new aid to states, preserving the jobs of thousands of state and local government workers and providing what White House officials called an insurance policy against a double-dip recession. It also included dozens of tax breaks sought by business lobbyists, and tax increases on domestically produced oil and on investment fund managers.

Portales auction owner charged with embezzlement

The owner of the closed Portales Livestock Auction has been charged with embezzling nearly half a million dollars from a customer. Randy Bouldin, 39, was arrested June 2 on a charge of embezzlement over $20,000, court records show. He was released on a $10,000 bond the same day. Bouldin is accused of keeping more than $450,000 for 1,000 head of cattle he sold for a Portales dairy in December 2008, according to a press release from the 9th Judicial District Attorney’s office. The dairy owners told investigators with the district attorney’s office Bouldin wrote them a worthless check for $478,669 and when the check did not clear, they were unable to collect their money from him, according to the release. A telephone listing in Bouldin’s name was not a working number. Bouldin’s attorney Wesley Pool declined to comment on the case. An investigation by Senior Agent Dan Blair with the district attorney’s office indicated Bouldin deposited the money he received for selling the cattle into his account and spent it for personal uses, the release said...more

Song Of The Day #344

Ranch Radio brings you Tommy Collins performing What'cha Gonna Do Now and hopes everyone has a great weekend.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Border Patrol Cancels Arizona Conference

Two federal agencies have joined the "boycott Arizona" trend and nixed conferences there out of concern over the state's immigration law, a Democratic Arizona congresswoman said, calling the development "very troubling." Further, her office said the Border Patrol "verbally" canceled a conference set for May at a resort in Prescott after an official asked that it be moved out of concern over the immigration law debate. The Border Patrol -- which has more than 4,000 agents in Arizona, representing nearly a quarter of its force -- had booked 40 rooms for the event before canceling, though there was no contract signed for the event, according to Giffords' office. Giffords' office said the cancellations were confirmed by the Arizona Hotel and Lodging Association. The congresswoman is among a number of Arizona officials who argue that the boycotts imposed by cities across the country do nothing to change the law and only punish workers and businesses there. The boycotts would hit the hospitality industry, which is made up in large part of Hispanic workers, particularly hard...more

Al Gore A "Crazed Sex Poodle?"

In a bizarre statement to police, the Oregon woman who claims that Al Gore fondled and groped her during a massage session described the former Vice President as a giggling "crazed sex poodle" who gave a "come hither" look before pouncing on her in a Portland hotel suite. In a taped January 2009 interview with cops, the 54-year-old woman, a licensed masseuse whose name has been redacted from police records, read from a lengthy prepared statement that detailed her alleged October 2006 encounter with Gore at the Hotel Lucia. It is unclear why, two years later, she approached Portland police and sought to memorialize her allegations against Gore, who she portrayed as a tipsy, handsy predator who forced her to drink Grand Marnier, pinned her to a bed, and forcibly French kissed her. The woman's statement--which could be mistaken for R-rated Vice Presidential fan fiction--describes Gore as a man with a "violent temper as well as extremely dictatorial commanding attitude besides his Mr. Smiley Global Warming concern persona."...more

BP Is Pursuing Alaska Drilling Some Call Risky

But about three miles off the coast of Alaska, BP is moving ahead with a controversial and potentially record-setting project to drill two miles under the sea and then six to eight miles horizontally to reach what is believed to be a 100-million-barrel reservoir of oil under federal waters. All other new projects in the Arctic have been halted by the Obama administration’s moratorium on offshore drilling, including more traditional projects like Shell Oil’s plans to drill three wells in the Chukchi Sea and two in the Beaufort. But BP’s project, called Liberty, has been exempted as regulators have granted it status as an “onshore” project even though it is about three miles off the coast in the Beaufort Sea. The reason: it sits on an artificial island — a 31-acre pile of gravel in about 22 feet of water — built by BP. The project has already received its state and federal environmental permits, but BP has yet to file its final application to federal regulators to begin drilling, which it expects to start in the fall. Some scientists and environmentalists say that other factors have helped keep the project moving forward. Rather than conducting their own independent analysis, federal regulators, in a break from usual practice, allowed BP in 2007 to write its own environmental review for the project as well as its own consultation documents relating to the Endangered Species Act, according to two scientists from the Alaska office of the federal Mineral Management Service that oversees drilling...more

Federal Gov't Halts Sand Berm Dredging

The federal government has shut down the dredging that was being done to create protective sand berms in the Gulf of Mexico. The berms are meant to protect the Louisiana coastline from oil. But the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Department has concerns about where the dredging is being done. The department says one area where sand is being dredged is a sensitive section of the Chandeleur Islands, and the state failed to meet an extended deadline to install pipe that would draw sand from a less-endangered area. Plaquemines Parish President Billy Nungesser, who was one of the most vocal advocates of the dredging plan, has sent a letter to President Barack Obama, pleading for the work to continue. Nungesser said the government has asked crews to move the dredging site two more miles farther off the coastline. "Once again, our government resource agencies, which are intended to protect us, are now leaving us vulnerable to the destruction of our coastline and marshes by the impending oil," Nungesser wrote to Obama. "Furthermore, with the threat of hurricanes or tropical storms, we are being put at an increased risk for devastation to our area from the intrusion of oil"...more
Once again, our government resource agencies, which are intended to protect us, are now leaving us vulnerable...

The Parish President's quote says it all. Environmental laws are preventing the Border Patrol from fulfilling their mission and preventing local communities from protecting themselves and their property. I just wonder how much longer the public will put up with this.

Feds won't discuss fatal bear mauling near Yellowstone

In response to a June 23 email request for information about the fatal bear mauling of Erwin Evert near Yellowstone Park on June 17, Interagency Grizzly Bear Study Team leader Chuck Schwartz said, "it is inappropriate for me to discuss the details of this incident until the investigation is complete."...more

Here are the questions Dave Smith asked:

1. Was the area closed, or were people simply warned to be cautious due to the study team working in the area? What, exactly, did the signs say?
2.Did cabin owners along Kitty Creek receive written notification that bears were being trapped in the area?
2a. If cabin owners received written notification about the trapping, what, exactly, were they told?
3. Were lodges and other commercial ventures in the area notified about the bear trapping in advance, and exactly what were they told?.
4. Was the boy scout camp notified in advance?
5. How many days did the study team spend in the Kitty Creek area?
6.Were (Aldrich-type) foot snares used?
7.How often are the snares checked, and do you have any sort of electronic device that alerts the study team when a bear is captured?
8. How long are bears observed as they recover from being tranquilized?
9. Do people working in the field for the Interagency Grizzly Bear Study Team get written guidelines with protocol for warning the public about grizzly research activities?

Severity Of Pollution In U.S. National Parks Confirmed In New Studies

Two studies conducted over several years show toxic contamination from pesticides, the burning of fossil fuels, agriculture, industrial operations and other sources are a continuing concern in national parks of the West. In research performed by an international group of scientists over several years, pollution was found in all eight of the national parks and preserves that were studied, in terrain ranging from the Arctic to southern California. Most of it was caused by regional agriculture or industry, but some had traveled thousands of miles from distant sources in Asia and elsewhere. The two recent reports, both published in Environmental Science and Technology, reinforce previous research that has identified such problems, scientists say, and better quantify the extent of the concerns...more

And the studies will keep rolling in and be used to justify: a) expansion of existing parks, and b) the creation of buffers or zones around parks where certain practices or industries will be banned.

U.S. inclined to keep Nevada lake dry over debts

For a second straight summer, a once-scenic mountain lake in Nevada— acquired by the federal government for $46 million in 2008 for public recreation — will remain drained and its future in limbo until a complex case over the final price tag is resolved in federal court. Incline Lake, on a ridge above Lake Tahoe near the California state line, was drained by its owners, the Incline Lake Corp., last year after a seismic safety study suggested its dam might fail during an earthquake, said Cheva Heck, a U.S. Forest Service spokeswoman. A one-time gathering spot for Nevada's rich and famous, the 720-acre parcel was transferred to the Forest Service with a $46 million payment to the Incline Lake Corp. Cabins around the lake were torn down and a private observatory relocated to Reno in 2008. The corporation and federal government are in U.S. District Court in Las Vegas to determine whether its sellers are owed more money through a "friendly condemnation" proceeding. The corporation had sought as much as $75 million but could not reach agreement with federal appraisers, said Glen Williams, a representative of the former landowners. Sen. John Ensign, R-Nev., secured more than $5 million in federal funds to rebuild the dam, which would allow the lake to be refilled. But the Forest Service will not do so until the legal case is resolved, Heck said...more

Kilmer sets the record straight with NM neighbors

Val Kilmer took the unusual step Wednesday of going before a county commission in rural New Mexico to make amends with some of his neighbors who are angry over disparaging comments attributed to the actor over the years. San Miguel County commissioners invited Kilmer to explain magazine interviews in which he said he lives in the "homicide capital of the Southwest" and proclaimed that 80 percent "of the people in my county are drunk." He also made insensitive comments about war veterans. Hard feelings about Kilmer's words resurfaced with a plan for his Pecos River Ranch to open three guest houses to paying customers. After Wednesday's meeting and Kilmer's apology, commissioners gave Kilmer the go-ahead. Dressed in a black blazer, blue button-up shirt and a bolo tie, the star of movies including "Tombstone," "Top Gun" and "The Doors" had his hair tied back as he stood before commissioners and more than four dozen people at the county courthouse. With a prepared statement folded in his hands, he explained that his words were taken out of context and misunderstood. "I can only ask that you view my apology as a stepping stone toward repairing this misunderstanding between us so that we can go forward, working together toward a common interest in promoting and protecting our beloved New Mexico," Kilmer said. He said he has lived in the area for more than two decades and loves it. His grandfather is buried here, his father lived here, and his children were born here and have grown up here, Kilmer said. But he understood why some residents are upset...more

Song Of The Day #343

Ranch Radio asks who could sing about broken hearts and gasoline? Jimmy Heap and Tom T. Hall sure could.

Today we feature Jimmy Heaps' 1953 recording I Got Ethyl In My Gas Tank (No Gal In My Arms). Then we'll move to 1980 and Back When Gas Was 30 Cents A Gallon by Tom T. Hall.

Do you remember when love was only 60 cents away?

Napolitano highlights steps to secure border

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said Wednesday the federal government will create a program to let state and local police in non-border states rotate down to the border to help local authorities go after smugglers along the U.S.-Mexico line. Taking aim at what she called "bumper sticker" get-tough slogans, she reasserted that the federal government, not states, should be in charge of enforcing immigration laws. The former Arizona governor also said the Obama administration has made huge strides on security, though she said the border still can be more secure and said administration officials are in the middle of "surging" more boots on the ground...more

You'll note I included a handy B.S. detector with this post. You will need it.

Here is their "fact sheet".

US to deploy drones to shore up border with Mexico

The United States plans to deploy two drone aircraft along the Texas-Mexico border as part of a new effort to stem organized crime and illegal immigration, Homeland Security chief Janet Napolitano said Wednesday. The two Predator drones will be used to patrol the border and in nearby areas in the Gulf of Mexico, once Congress approves the 500 million dollars President Barack Obama has requested, Napolitano said in a Washington speech. "These types of flights aren't necessary everywhere," she said in comments to the Center for Strategic and International Studies. "But this is the case in the Texas border." The United States currently has four drones patrolling the border with Mexico in Arizona and one in the northern border with Canada in the state of North Dakota, according to the Department of Homeland Security...more

Reduced overtime stymies Border Patrol

The U.S. Border Patrol has quietly reduced its current force of available agents along the U.S.-Mexico border by cutting the overtime hours they can work even as the Obama administration is asking Congress for hundreds of millions of dollars to hire 1,000 new agents, and Congress and the public are clamoring for beefed-up border security. Several rank-and-file and senior agents told The Washington Times that a new overtime directive issued at the agency's Washington headquarters will limit their ability to get their jobs done, reduce coverage during peak smuggling periods and allow more criminals to avoid apprehension. "By lowering the statutory overtime cap nearly 15 percent through the current administrative restrictions, top-level managers in the Border Patrol are depriving Americans of desperately needed coverage along the border at a time of national crisis," said T.J. Bonner, a veteran agent who heads the National Border Patrol Council, which represents all 15,000 of the agency's nonsupervisory agents. Because of the nature of the job, most Border Patrol agents average at least two hours overtime a day and the agency, as part of its ongoing recruitment effort, has promised what it called an "excellent opportunity for overtime pay." The overtime cutback comes at a time that violence against the agents, according to Department of Homeland Security records, is up 31 percent this fiscal year...more

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Mexican Gangs Maintain Permanent Lookout Bases in Hills of Arizona

Mexican drug cartels have set up shop on American soil, maintaining lookout bases in strategic locations in the hills of southern Arizona from which their scouts can monitor every move made by law enforcement officials, federal agents tell Fox News. The scouts are supplied by drivers who bring them food, water, batteries for radios -- all the items they need to stay in the wilderness for a long time. “To say that this area is out of control is an understatement," said an agent who patrols the area and asked not to be named. "We (federal border agents), as well as the Pima County Sheriff Office and the Bureau of Land Management, can attest to that.” Much of the drug traffic originates in the Menagers Dam area, the Vekol Valley, Stanfield and around the Tohono O’odham Indian Reservation. It even follows a natural gas pipeline that runs from Mexico into Arizona. In these areas, which are south and west of Tucson, sources said there are “cartel scouts galore” watching the movements of federal, state and local law enforcement, from the border all the way up to Interstate 8. “Every night we’re getting beaten like a pinata at a birthday party by drug, alien smugglers," a second federal agent told Fox News by e-mail. "The danger is out there, with all the weapons being found coming northbound…. someone needs to know about this!” Without placing direct fault on anyone, multiple agents told Fox that the situation is more dangerous for them than ever now that the cartels have such a strong position on the American side of the border...more

Video Report - Mexican Drug Cartel Threatens Nogales, AZ Police Officers

I previously posted about this here.

Here is the video report:

Naked Cowboy To Naked Cowgirl: Stop Copying Me

New York City's famous Naked Cowboy wants a bikini-clad woman who calls herself "The Naked Cowgirl" to stop ripping off his trademark. The Times Square cowboy has sent a cease-and-desist letter to Sandy Kane, a former stripper who's now a fixture of the city comedy scene. "Your use of Naked Cowgirl is essentially identical to the Naked Cowboy and is clearly in violation" of Burck's trademark, read the letter, according to the New York Post. The cowboy, whose real name is Robert Burck, says if Kane's going to make money by posing for photos he wants her to sign a "Naked Cowboy Franchise Agreement." Most licensed franchisees are required to pay $5,000 a year or $500 a month. But Kane, whose real name is Sandra Brodsky, said she doesn't owe Burck anything...more

Gus and Captain Call were unanimous. She should copy him...right in front of the Hat Creek Cattle Company and Livery Emporium.

Obama to push climate change on back of BP spill

Barack Obama will on Wednesday make a renewed push to spur the US Senate into action on climate change, saying the BP oil spill underlines the urgency for the country to lessen its dependence on fossil fuels. The US president will host senators from both parties at the White House – including those who have proposed variations on a climate change bill – but analysts are sceptical about whether he can overcome the political impasse on a proposal that is seen as essentially a tax...more

Salazar seeks to reimpose drilling moratorium

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar says he will issue a new order imposing a moratorium on deepwater drilling after a federal judge struck down the existing one. Salazar said in a statement Tuesday evening that the new order will contain additional information making clear why the six-month drilling pause was necessary in the wake of the Gulf oil spill. The judge in New Orleans who struck down the moratorium earlier in the day complained there wasn't enough justification for it. Salazar pointed to indications of inadequate safety precautions by industry on deepwater wells. He said he would issue a new order in the coming days showing that a moratorium is needed. The White House also is appealing the judge's ruling. AP

Keeping it local when it comes to management of natural resources

This past April, President Barack Obama launched the America's Great Outdoors conservation initiative in an effort to confront the serious challenges our natural resources face today. This initiative recognizes that while we've made significant progress in protecting natural resources in America, we still face significant challenges. Our public and private working lands face threats from fragmentation and development. I'm particularly concerned about the loss of prime agricultural and forests lands that provide a wealth of benefits to Americans including clean water, wildlife habitat, food and fiber, and others. Through America's Great Outdoors, the President has tasked us with developing conservation agenda worthy of the 21st century and to reconnect Americans with our great outdoors. In an attempt to address these issues, Obama has instructed the U.S. Department of Agriculture and our federal partners to host a series of listening sessions to learn about what's working and what's not in land conservation, in getting Americans outside, and to learn how the federal government can be a better partner in these efforts...more

Be sure to utilize the handy B.S. detector if you chose to read more of Secretary Vilsack's column.

USDA halts use of beetles against saltcedar in 13 states

Concern about an endangered bird has caused the U.S. Department of Agriculture to declare a cease-fire in its biological war against saltcedar, an invasive tree that has taken over riparian areas across the West. The USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service last week formally ended its program of releasing saltcedar leaf beetles to eat saltcedar, also known as tamarisk, in 13 states: Colorado, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Montana, Washington and Wyoming. The reason for the program's demise is the southwestern willow flycatcher, an endangered species found in scattered pockets around the Southwest. The bird nests in saltcedar, as well as in native willows and cottonwoods. Concern that beetles could destroy much of the bird's nesting habitat was why the USDA excluded New Mexico, Arizona and California from the beetle-release program, which began in 2005. Now, scientists think the beetles are likely to spread from the states where they were introduced. They say it could be just a matter of time before the insects chew through saltcedar all the way down the Colorado River drainage in Arizona and eastern California...more

EPA orders Simplot Cattle to change watering practice

For at least the past five years the Simplot Cattle Feeding Company’s Grand View feedlot has been found by the Environmental Protection Agency to be discharging contaminated water into the Ted Trueblood Wildlife Refuge and Snake River. On June 11, the EPA announced in a press release it has issued a legal order to the company to immediately cease all discharge. The order stems from Simplot’s use of a constant flow stock watering system, that when not used for irrigation (usually from November to March), a portion of the water is diverted to pasture, irrigation ditches, or into the wildlife refuge, all of which ultimately flow into the Snake River. Simplot’s National Pollutant Discharge Elimination Systems (NPDES) permit is essentially a “no discharge” permit, Potakar said. If watering system flows do not leave the facility they are not considered discharge. At this time, EPA is handling the violation administratively, which carries potential $16,000 per day, per violation fines if Simplot doesn’t follow the order...more

Eastern Oregon Ranchers Accused Of Setting Fires

A pair of Harney County ranchers have been accused of setting fires that have caused damage to more than 45,000 acres of public rangeland since the 1980s. Federal prosecutors said Dwight Hammond Jr., 68, and his son Steven Hammond, 41, both of Diamond, were also indicted on charges of threatening to assault firefighters by setting fires near them. The federal grand jury indictment said the Hammonds have publicly complained the U.S. Bureau of Land Management "takes too long" to complete required environmental studies before doing controlled rangeland burning. The indictment alleges the two men also set off uncontrolled fires under cover of naturally occurring dry lightning storms in the Steens Mountain area...more

Ranchers and environmentalists go to bat for El Dorado grasslands

Ed Borba's hat, mustache, oversized belt buckle and boots suggest a rancher. The bumper sticker on his truck completes the picture. It reads, "Eat Beef: The West Wasn't Won on Salad." The cattleman's West, though, hasn't been won definitively. Borba and others in El Dorado County are fighting to preserve the ranching way of life and its contribution to the local economy. The struggle is against development pressures, and they've found allies among the environmentalists who have often been the enemies of ranchers. "Ed took a chance and picked up a phone and called me," said Jamie Beutler, chairwoman of the California Democratic Party's Rural Caucus and an environmental advocate. Republican rancher and Democratic environmentalist have come together this time to try to preserve grasslands – for grazing and for wildlife...more

Song Of The Day #342

George Morgan and his 1949 recording of Room Full Of Roses is featured today on Ranch Radio.

The tune was written by Tim Spencer, a member of the Sons Of The Pioneers (who's family homesteaded in NM). When Spencer passed away, the other Pioneers made sure the church was full of roses.

Drug cartels threaten U.S. City Police Deptartment

Violence along the U-S Mexico border has for the most part stayed on the Mexican side. But, a recent incident involving a Nogales police officer may have changed the tide. For the first time in the history of the Nogales Police Department, threats have been made against the entire police force. The Nogales Police Chief has put out an alert to law enforcement officers saying a Mexican drug cartel has threatened officers to stay away from conducting off-duty drug busts. If they don't, they'll be targeted by a sniper or by other means. It was two weeks ago when Officer Angulo, Officer Gaston Ortega, and a third officer responded to an off-duty officers request for assistance. The officer had come across drug smugglers who he says has more than 400 pounds of marijuana. Officer Gaston Ortega says, "When I talked to the officer more or less to get a location on him, he said the mules or the backpackers were surrounding him and he was by himself." The off-duty officer was with another person from the Bar K S Ranch. They were looking for cattle that had wandered off. Once the officers came to the aid of the off-duty officer and were able to secure the marijuana, the smugglers ran back towards the border. Border Patrol Agents apprehended three of them, but three more got away. The Nogales Police Chief says through informants, they received word from the drug cartels that, "their off-duty officers not in uniform are to ignore or look the other way when there are narcotics flowing across the border."...more

Gunmen fire on Mexican town hall near border; kill 3 police

Authorities in northern Mexico say assailants sprayed a town hall with gunfire, killing at least three police officers. The Nuevo Leon state attorney general's office says police found 200 shell casings from assault and semiautomatic rifles outside the Los Herreras municipal office, which also houses the town's police force. Such weapons are often used by drug cartel hitmen. Prosecutors said Tuesday a vehicle found at the scene had "Z-40" and "Z" painted on its windows — apparent references to the Zetas drug gang. Authorities blame fighting between the Gulf cartel and the Zetas for a recent surge in violence in Nuevo Leon, which is close to Mexico's border with Texas. The attack happned around midnight Monday. AP

Drug Cartel Activity Threatens Texas Water Supplies, Lawmaker Says

Drug cartel activity along the Mexican border presents serious security threats to the area's water supply system, particularly on federally-owned lands in southern Texas, a U.S. lawmaker says. Members of the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Water and Power held a hearing Thursday on H.R. 4719, a bill that would create a Southwest Border Region Water Task Force to monitor and assess the water supply needs of the area. Rep. Tom McClintock, R-Calif., ranking member of the House subcommittee, told that the situation needs immediate attention, particularly in light of reports that a Mexican drug cartel -- the Los Zetas -- unsuccessfully plotted to blow up the Falcon Dam along the Rio Grande last month. "If the plot against Falcon Dam had succeeded, it would have affected more than 4 million residential customers," McClintock said Monday. "We need to focus our attention on securing these border water systems from attack by Mexican drug cartels, but also their use as a conduit for the illegal importation of drugs and people." McClintock said escalating violence along the Mexican border is a result of restricted access by U.S. Customs and Border Patrol agents to federal lands due to environmental regulations enforced by the Department of Interior...more

Obama requests $600 million for border security

The Obama administration formally asked Congress on Tuesday for $600 million in emergency funds to hire another 1,000 Border Patrol agents, acquire two drones and enhance security along the Southwest border. The money would also pay for an additional 160 Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents and extra Border Patrol canine teams, according to a senior White House official who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly...more

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

War over the border: White House says Kyl is lying about security; AZ senator stands his ground

A few days ago, Arizona Republican Sen. Jon Kyl told a town meeting in North Phoenix that President Obama personally told him that the administration will not secure the U.S.-Mexico border because doing so would make it politically difficult to pass comprehensive immigration reform. “I met with the president in the Oval Office, just the two of us,” Kyl said. “Here’s what the president said. The problem is, he said, if we secure the border, then you all won’t have any reason to support comprehensive immigration reform.” “In other words,” Kyl continued, “they’re holding it hostage. They don’t want to secure the border unless and until it is combined with comprehensive immigration reform.” This morning, a White House spokesman told ABC News that Kyl is lying. “The President didn’t say that and Senator Kyl knows it,” communications director Dan Pfeiffer told ABC. “There are more resources dedicated toward border security today than ever before, but, as the President has made clear, truly securing the border will require a comprehensive solution to our broken immigration system.” Now, in an interview with KVOI radio in Arizona, Kyl says his account of the Oval Office conversation is accurate. “What I said occurred did occur,” Kyl said...more

Judge blocks Gulf offshore drilling moratorium

A federal judge struck down the Obama administration's six-month ban on deepwater oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico on Tuesday, saying the government rashly concluded that because one rig failed, the others are in immediate danger, too. The White House promised an immediate appeal. The Interior Department had halted approval of any new permits for deepwater drilling and suspended drilling of 33 exploratory wells in the Gulf. Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said President Barack Obama believes that until investigations can determine why the spill happened, continued deepwater drilling could expose workers and the environment to "a danger that the president does not believe we can afford." Several companies that ferry people and supplies and provide other services to offshore drilling rigs asked U.S. District Judge Martin Feldman in New Orleans to overturn the moratorium. They argued it was arbitrarily imposed after the April 20 explosion on the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig that killed 11 workers and blew out the well 5,000 feet underwater. It has spewed anywhere from 67 million to 127 million gallons of oil into the Gulf. Feldman sided with the companies...more

Border Patrol Charged Millions for Habitat Damage, Republicans Say Enough 'Extortion'

Republican lawmakers are calling on the Interior Department to stop charging what they describe as "extortion" money from the Border Patrol -- millions of under-the-radar dollars meant to cover environmental damage stemming from their everyday duties along the U.S.-Mexico border. The Department of Homeland Security, which houses the Border Patrol, last year signed a deal with Interior -- the administrator of America's parklands -- to cough up $50 million for environmental "mitigation" needed in the wake of the construction of a border fence. That was after DHS had already spent or committed millions more for expected environmental damage caused by the Border Patrol over the years. Though both the departments of Homeland Security and Interior say the money goes toward preserving and restoring sensitive habitats, Republicans say the arrangement doesn't make sense. The Border Patrol needs that money to address the weighty task of securing the border, they say, arguing that agents are actually helping conserve the environment by keeping out smugglers and immigration violators who have no regard for America's natural resources...more

Oregon Supreme Court upholds ruling in favor of land-rights activist Dorothy English

The Oregon Supreme Court ruled in favor of the late property rights pioneer Dorothy English on Thursday, presumably closing the book on a divisive land-use case that changed state law and shook our sense of place. The court upheld an earlier decision by the Oregon Court of Appeals and ordered Multnomah County to pay English's estate $1.15 million. The Supreme Court ruled that English had obtained a valid final judgment in the case and that the Multnomah County Circuit judge who heard the original case should have issued a writ of mandamus ordering the county to pay. English's case has long been portrayed by property rights advocates as an example of heavy-handed government interference. And in English, a colorful, sharp-tongued widow, they found a willing and even sympathetic figure. English, who died in April 2008 at age 95, wanted to develop her 20 acres off Northwest Skyline Boulevard outside of Portland. She and her late husband bought the property in 1953, and she wanted to divide it into eight home sites for her extended family. But the county had changed the property's zoning in the intervening years and wouldn't grant English a development permit. Property rights lawyers intervened, and the outspoken English became the "poster girl" for 2004's Measure 37, which gave property owners the right to develop their land in the way permitted when they bought it. English filed the state's first Measure 37 claim, and was joined by 6,500 Oregonians who demanded either compensation for diminished property values or for the right to build, in many cases, extensive subdivisions. Local governments such as Multnomah County were given the choice of either paying or waiving development restrictions...more

Val Kilmer's New Mexico neighbors block actor's attempts to turn ranch into a hotel, demand apology

Val Kilmer is feeling the heat. The actor, who wants to turn his 6,000-acre New Mexico ranch into an upscale bed-and-breakfast, is under intense pressure this week from neighbors trying to block the project, the Wall Street Journal reported. Kilmer, 50, found himself in the danger zone with locals when he applied for permits for the venture, launching protests from fellow Santa Fe area residents still upset about comments he made in past magazine interviews. The actor was quoted in a 2003 interview with Rolling Stone as saying his neighborhood was "the homicide capital of the Southwest" and that "80 percent of the people in my county are drunk." At a hearing to discuss Kilmer's application for permits, The Journal reported, a group of area residents and veterans demanded an official apology from the actor before allowing him to host paying guests at his Pecos River Ranch. Jesus Lopez, the county attorney, agreed, told The Journal that Kilmer's quotes were "incendiary" and created a "clear and present danger threatening public safety."...more

Ninth Circuit upholds critical habitat analysis, both on meaning of "occupied" habitat and on economic baseline analysis

SUMMARY: Arizona Cattle Growers' Association (“Arizona Cattle”) appeals from the district court's grant of summary judgment rejecting its challenge to the United States Fish and Wildlife Service's (“FWS”) designation of critical habitat for the Mexican Spotted Owl. Arizona Cattle argues that the FWS unlawfully designated areas containing no owls as “occupied” habitat and that the FWS calculated the economic impacts of the designation by applying an impermissible “baseline” approach. We find no fault with the FWS's designation of habitat for the Mexican Spotted Owl. The FWS did not impermissibly treat unoccupied areas as “occupied,” and we hold that it permissibly applied the baseline approach in analyzing the economic impact of the critical habitat designation...more

Brava, Sen. Murkowski

Last Thursday, by a vote of 53-47, the Senate rejected S.J.Res.26, Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s resolution of disapproval to overturn EPA’s endangerment rule. Although Sen. Murkowski fell four votes short of achieving a legislative victory, she nonetheless won an important political victory. During the past four-plus months, despite vicious attacks by eco-pressure groups and preemptive cringing by the subsidy dependent auto industry, Sen. Murkowksi worked patiently, calmly, and indefatigably to clarify the real issues, which are: (1) “The sweeping powers being pursued by EPA are the worst possible option for reducing greenhouse gas emissions”; (2) “politically accountable members of the House and Senate, not unelected bureaucrats, must develop our nation’s energy and climate policies”; and (3) ”those policies must be able to pass on their own merits, instead of serving as a defense against ill-considered regulations.” All 41 Republican Senators and six Democrats voted to stop EPA from ‘enacting’ controversial global warming policies through the regulatory back door. This means Democratic leaders have become the Party of Endangerment — the party taking ownership of the regulatory consequences of EPA’s endangerment rule; hence the party taking responsibility for the economic fallout...more

The Senate's global-warming circus

The Senate undermined its constitutional role last week with a vote that allows the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to regulate greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act. The 53 senators favoring this huge delegation of authority to the executive branch disregarded the principle of separation of powers. The low quality of the debate that preceded the vote, as well as its result, should put an end to the Senate's reputation as the world's greatest deliberative body. The motion being debated and voted on was simple. It was to disapprove the ruling by the EPA, known as the endangerment finding, that greenhouse gases endanger human health and welfare. According to the terms of the Congressional Review Act, under which Sen. Lisa Murkowski, Alaska Republican, brought the motion, the resolution would have terminated the legal force and effect of the finding. It was most assuredly not a vote on the science upon which the EPA based its decision. Yet this was the prime argument used by the resolution's opponents. Sen. Barbara Boxer, California Democrat, for example, compared the motion to a vote to repeal the law of gravity. This was possibly the most embarrassing Senate argument since former Sen. Ted Stevens, Alaska Republican, insisted that the Internet was "a series of tubes." It also set up a straw man. Nothing in the resolution sought to overturn one word of the scientific case for global warming - or even mentioned it. Another straw-man argument raised to help defeat the motion was that the resolution was a reward to BP and "Big Oil."...more

Pelosi: Climate Change Legislation is a 'Moral Issue'--'We Have a Moral Responsibility' to Preserve 'God's Beautiful Creation'

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said last week that passing energy and climate change legislation is a “moral issue”—although, at the same time, she indicated that she is “agnostic” about what means should be used in legislation to reduce dependence on foreign oil and consumption of fossil fuels. Pelosi also said the issue was about "God's beautiful creation" which we have a "moral responsibility" to preserve. Pelosi was responding to a reporter who asked if she was disappointed that President Barack Obama, in calling for a new U.S. energy policy in his speech last Tuesday from the Oval Office, did not specifically advocated legislation that would limit U.S. carbon emissions, or so-called “cap-and-trade” legislation...more

Up Sucker Creek in southwest Oregon, gold miners' rights collide with environmental realities

At 38 years old, clean shaven and well spoken, Clifford R. Tracy doesn't fit Hollywood's archetype of a wild-eyed and white-bearded gold miner. But Tracy is Oregon's top gold mining rogue to environmentalists -- and a champion for a contingent of gold miners who say regulators are trampling their long-held property rights. Last year, Tracy was convicted of illegal mining along Sucker Creek on U.S. Forest Service property in southwest Oregon, after he felled trees, dug mining pits and diverted a stream without permission. He spent 13 days in jail because he wouldn't agree to stop mining. In Jackson County jail he went on a hunger strike, the jail confirms, and says he lost 20 pounds." It wasn't that bad," Tracy says. "The food wasn't that great anyway." Now Tracy has applied to mine just downstream on Bureau of Land Management property next to the creek, which happens to be one of Oregon's top streams for wild coastal coho, listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. The showdown on Sucker Creek comes downs to a conflict between the General Mining Law of 1872, which helped settle the West by promising easy access to minerals, and modern environmental laws such as the Endangered Species Act, adopted 101 years later. It also spotlights the controversial roles of federal agencies that manage public lands...more

U.S. Supreme Court lifts ban on Monsanto's genetically engineered alfalfa seeds

The Supreme Court on Monday lifted a nationwide ban on the planting of genetically engineered alfalfa seeds, despite claims they might harm the environment. In a 7-1 vote Monday, the court reversed a federal appeals court ruling that had prohibited Monsanto Co. from selling alfalfa seeds engineered to resist Monsanto's popular weed killer Roundup. The U.S. Agriculture Department must now decide whether to allow the genetically modified seeds to be planted. It had earlier approved the seeds, but courts in California and Oregon said the USDA did not look hard enough at whether the seeds would eventually share their genes with other crops. The case is between Monsanto and a Greenleaf, Idaho, company, Geertson Seed Farms, which was founded in Oregon and has grown, bagged and sold alfalfa seed since 1942. Growers who raise organic or even conventional crops worry about contamination from the genetically engineered crop. Critics also worry the crop could encourage greater use of Roundup, polluting ground water and leading to more resistant weeds. "This Supreme Court ruling is important for every American farmer, not just alfalfa growers," said David F. Snively, Monsanto's senior vice president and general counsel. "All growers can rely on the expertise of USDA and trust that future challenges to biotech approvals must now be based on scientific facts, not speculation."...more

Ending the ethanol experiment

Despite visits to both the Bush and Obama administrations, Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva's request to end the U.S. tariff on Brazilian ethanol has fallen on deaf ears. Mr. Lula might be in luck - the tariff is set to expire at the end of 2010, and current congressional gridlock could prevent its extension. Supporters of sensible U.S. trade policy can only hope that happens. Ethanol represents a small percentage of the total U.S. fuel supply. Because of federal mandates, most gasoline purchased today is actually a mixture of 90 percent gasoline and 10 percent ethanol, E10. Ethanol has been unable to prove itself as an efficient form of renewable energy, though it may perhaps play an important role in our nation's future energy supply. Taxes on imported ethanol force consumers to rely on inefficient and expensive ethanol produced from corn in the United States. These tariffs, in effect, declare war on consumers, raising the price at the pump as well as the price of all goods and services that require transportation to their final point of sale. They also perpetuate our dependence on foreign oil by reducing investment in the global ethanol industry. If foreign ethanol is less profitable because the U.S. effectively shuts it out of our market, less money is poured into its development. The irony is delicious. While politicians pay lip service to diversifying our energy sources, trade policies such as import tariffs may have the opposite effect. Taxing foreign ethanol is bad, but subsidizing domestic production is as bad or worse. The current ethanol subsidy is a 45-cents-per-gallon federal tax credit, and payments since 2005 have exceeded $20 billion. This acts as a double benefit: Ethanol producers already are guaranteed income through legislation that requires gasoline to be blended with ethanol. These companies are provided guaranteed business and then a subsidy on top of it...more

Song Of The Day #341

Ranch Radio today is featuring Jim Reeves and his 1953 recording of Bimbo.

Monday, June 21, 2010

The IPCC consensus on climate change was phoney, says IPCC insider

The UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change misled the press and public into believing that thousands of scientists backed its claims on manmade global warming, according to Mike Hulme, a prominent climate scientist and IPCC insider. The actual number of scientists who backed that claim was “only a few dozen experts,” he states in a paper for Progress in Physical Geography, co-authored with student Martin Mahony. “Claims such as ‘2,500 of the world’s leading scientists have reached a consensus that human activities are having a significant influence on the climate’ are disingenuous,” the paper states unambiguously, adding that they rendered “the IPCC vulnerable to outside criticism.” Hulme, Professor of Climate Change in the School of Environmental Sciences at the University of East Anglia – the university of Climategate fame — is the founding Director of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research and one of the UK’s most prominent climate scientists. Among his many roles in the climate change establishment, Hulme was the IPCC’s co-ordinating Lead Author for its chapter on ‘Climate scenario development’ for its Third Assessment Report and a contributing author of several other chapters...more

Cleanups of Spill and an Agency Test Salazar

When President Obama boasted in his televised address on Tuesday about his team of leaders fighting the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, he spoke glowingly of his energy secretary, his Coast Guard commander, even his Navy secretary. Then he turned to Ken Salazar, his interior secretary. “When Ken Salazar became my secretary of the interior, one of his very first acts was to clean up the worst of the corruption at this agency,” Mr. Obama said, referring to Mr. Salazar’s oversight of the Minerals Management Service, the agency responsible for regulating offshore drilling. “But it’s now clear that the problem there ran much deeper, and the pace of reform was just too slow.” Shortly before the speech, the White House announced that Mr. Salazar would be getting a powerful new deputy, Michael R. Bromwich, a veteran investigator and former prosecutor, to supervise the remaking of the minerals service. What was not mentioned was that Mr. Salazar had appointed two aides to do the same job just a month before, and that Mr. Bromwich’s new assignment essentially reversed not only that move but also perhaps Mr. Salazar’s entire overhaul plan for the minerals service. Mr. Salazar’s job is not in immediate jeopardy, and the president values the work he has done and will continue to do at the Interior Department, said Robert Gibbs, the White House press secretary. But a senior administration official, who spoke of a delicate personnel matter only on the condition of anonymity said, “The president and the White House are watching very, very closely the pace of reform at Interior to see that progress is being made that truly cleans it up.”...more

Obama's Gulf Spill Panel Short on Scientific Expertise, Long on Environmentalism

The panel appointed by President Barack Obama to investigate the Gulf of Mexico oil spill is short on technical expertise but long on talking publicly about "America's addiction to oil." One member has blogged about it regularly. Only one of the seven commissioners, the dean of Harvard's engineering and applied sciences school, has a prominent engineering background -- but it's in optics and physics. The White House said the commission will focus on the government's "too cozy" relationship with the oil industry. A presidential spokesman said panel members will "consult the best minds and subject matter experts" as they do their work. The commission has yet to meet, yet some panel members had made their views known Environmental activist Frances Beinecke on May 27 blogged: "We can blame BP for the disaster and we should. We can blame lack of adequate government oversight for the disaster and we should. But in the end, we also must place the blame where it originated: America's addiction to oil." And on June 3, May 27, May 22, May 18, May 4, she called for bans on drilling offshore and the Arctic. "Even as questions persist, there is one thing I know for certain: the Gulf oil spill isn't just an accident. It's the result of a failed energy policy," Beinecke wrote on May 20. Two other commissioners also have gone public to urge bans on drilling...more

Arizona officials cancel bridges for squirrels

Arizona Department of Transportation is cancelling plans to install 41 new bridges on Mt. Graham for squirrels. The nylon webbing bridges were for the endangered red squirrel. The goal was that the bridges would provide easier access to food. ADOT Director John Halikowski says, "ADOT will not spend funds simply because they are available."...more

My previous post on this was $1.25 Mil To Save Rodents In Crime-Infested Border State.

Grizzly kills man near Wyoming's Yellowstone park

A grizzly bear killed a Wyoming man outside Yellowstone National Park, apparently just hours after researchers trapped and tranquilized the animal. The attack happened Thursday in the same place where two researchers with the Interagency Grizzly Bear Study Team had examined a large adult male grizzly earlier that day, Park County Sheriff Scott Steward said Friday. The suspect bear was wearing a radio collar. Authorities didn't intend to venture into the woods to chase the animal, however. They hoped to trap it — again — and do DNA testing to see if it was indeed responsible. "Certainly there is a good chance it was the bear they were working on," Steward said. "There's certainly the exception, where it's just another bear." Shoshone National Forest officials closed off the Kitty Creek area, about six miles outside the Yellowstone East Entrance, until further notice. The victim was Erwin Frank Evert, 70, who went hiking around 12:45 p.m. from his cabin in the Kitty Creek drainage. When Evert didn't return, his wife went looking for him and met one of the bear researchers. The researchers had been getting ready to leave the area but one of them returned to the place where they had found the bear in a previously set trap, then tranquilized the animal for study. The researcher found Evert's body where they had left the bear to wake up, about two miles from Evert's cabin...more

Grizzly shot from helicopter

Wildlife officials are notifying guest lodge owners near the east entrance to Yellowstone National Park that they have killed a grizzly bear that is believed to have fatally mauled a man Thursday afternoon. The adult male grizzly bear had been snared and tranquilized by federal researchers Thursday morning and fitted with a radio collar before being released. Wildlife officials used a helicopter to track and shoot the bear Saturday morning after making unsuccessful attempts Friday to catch it. Authorities are conducting blood and DNA tests in an attempt to confirm that the bear shot Saturday is the one that killed Evert. Initial tests results are expected sometime Saturday, while more definitive tests should be completed by Monday...more

DNA tests match dead bear to mauling

A lab analysis has confirmed that a bear shot dead early Saturday morning near the east entrance to Yellowstone National Park is the one that fatally mauled a man Thursday afternoon in the same area. Rapid DNA testing of genetic material from the bear that was left on the victim matched blood drawn from the bear when it was tranquilized Thursday, said Chris Servheen, grizzly bear coordinator for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Servheen said he decided late Friday to authorize killing the bear if it could not be captured, because experts could not definitively determine whether the animal’s actions were natural and defensive or aberrant and unusually aggressive...more

Fed land managers hold int'l conference on "ick factor"

Public-land managers worldwide increasingly seek "exit strategies" for dealing with human waste as more people venture into the wild. The managers will brainstorm at an international conference on the subject — held at the end of July in Golden by the American Alpine Club — with participants from a dozen countries, including Argentina, China, Kenya and New Zealand. "This is a growing concern," said Denali National Park ranger Roger Robinson, coordinator for the conference, who has introduced a packable "clean mountain can" and led high-altitude cleanups. "It all boils down to contamination of watersheds," he said. "When you have a lot of use, you just can't go under a rock anymore." Rocky Mountain National Park rangers issue about 2,000 sacks each year to hikers headed up Longs Peak and to rock climbers going to Lumpy Ridge, asking them to pack out their biological waste. It's not required but is recommended. But even the most conscientious campers can be grossed out by carrying a bag of their own waste. "There's still still the ick factor," said Brenda Land, a U.S. Forest Service expert on remote toilet systems...more

Well, this is a big problem that deserves a solution. So, I started to head over to the Hat Creek Cattle Company and Livery Emporium to consult with Gus and Woodrow...then I thought maybe not.

If I started explaining "exit strategies" and the "ick factor" and experts on "remote toilet systems", well I just might wind up in the outhouse myself.

Head first.

Tyson, Meat-Company Pricing Power Target of New Rules

Tyson Foods Inc., Smithfield Foods Inc. and other large meatpackers would be barred from buying animals from each other and limits would be set on their exclusive contracts with large livestock suppliers under a rule proposed by the government to address antitrust concerns. Industry consolidation and increasing packer ownership of livestock have lowered the prices smaller farmers receive for their cattle, hogs and poultry, U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said today. Exclusive contracts among larger producers and meatpackers keep small farmers in the dark about pricing, limiting their negotiating power, he said. Under the USDA proposal, meatpackers would be barred from signing higher-paying contracts with large producers than farmer groups that can provide the same quantity and quality of livestock, “without providing legitimate justification for the disparity,” according to an outline of the rule on the USDA’s website. Packers also would be prohibited from sharing prices with competitors and receiving livestock from each other. Sample contracts also would be made available on a USDA website, in a move to improve transparency, the department said...more

As demand grows for locally raised meat, farmers turn to mobile slaughterhouses

When Kathryn Thomas wanted to turn her sheep into lamb chops, the federal government required her to haul them across Puget Sound on a ferry and then drive three hours to reach a suitable slaughterhouse. Not anymore. These days, the slaughterhouse -- and the feds -- come to her. A 53-foot tractor-trailer rattles up to her farm on Lopez Island, the rear doors open and the sheep are led inside, where the butcher and federal meat inspector are waiting. When the job is done, the team heads out to the next farm. The slaughtermobile -- a stainless steel industrial facility on wheels -- is catching on across the country, filling a desperate need in a burgeoning movement to bring people closer to their food. It is also perhaps one of the most visible symbols of a subtle transformation at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, long criticized for promoting big agribusiness...more

Group Calls for Investigation of Brazilian Beef

Food & Water Watch, a Washington, DC-based consumer group, yesterday called on the Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Agriculture to investigate imported beef products from Brazil that could be adulterated with residues of the veterinary drug Ivermectin. In a letter to the Inspector General, the group detailed the discovery of residue contamination problems in processed beef products from Brazil, problems which caused the USDA suspend processed beef imports from Brazil entirely. According to Food & Water Watch, the agency has failed to call for a recall of the products that entered the United States before the imports were halted. They believe the potentially contaminated meat made it into canned meat products, which are likely still on shelves. This specific case comes just months after an investigation by the agency's Inspector General revealed severe flaws in the agency's program in the federal food safety system meant to keep chemical or drug residues out of meat products...more

The five horses that changed history

Horses have shaped history long before the invention of writing or the wheel. A new museum exhibit looks at their place in society. J Edward "Ted" Chamberlin, a horse breeder and professor of comparative literature at the University of Toronto, has collected stories about horses for most of his life. Even so, the author of Horse: How the Horse Changed Civilizations was hard-pressed to narrow down the list of horses that changed history to just five. Horses have shaped history since long before the invention of writing or the wheel. For humans, horses have been food, transport, instrument, symbol and inspiration. Here are Chamberlin's choices of five horses that changed history: 1. Przewalski's horse The Asiatic wild horse, Przewalski's horse, which is called "takh" in Mongolia, is still the closest thing to the prehistoric horse that inspired Stone Age man to paint this image of power and freedom on the walls of a cave. The Przewalski's horse is the only surviving true wild horse. Others, such as the ponies of Sable Island or mustangs of the West, are actually feral horses. It has a slightly different genetic makeup from the modern riding horse, but is closely related to the horses ridden by the Mongol hordes that swept over Asia, conquering everything in their path. Przewalski's horses, once extinct in the wild, were collected in zoos and have been reintroduced in Mongolia, where they are a prized symbol of national identity...more

Pitkin County jailbreaks

It's hard to say exactly when these dashes from confinement actually began, as the Pitkin County Courthouse, jail included, was only completed as recently as 1891, but there is an 1881 account of an ugly act committed by a man named Harrington against another fellow, Jackson. Following an argument, Harrington fired two pistol shots at Jackson, merely whistling them through his hat, which was enough to charge Harrington with attempted murder. Poor marksmanship should have been the accusation. Harrington, being escorted to the Canon City jail (there wasn't one stout enough in Aspen) escaped near Buena Vista. The chagrined sheriff, embarrassed by his predicament, appointed a “dead-eyed” James Van Pelt as deputy with instructions to bring in Harrington, “dead or alive.” Riding the slower horse, Harrington turned and drew first on Van Pelt, but Van Pelt, clearly the better shot, deftly put two slugs into Harrington, saving further expense to Pitkin County. One of the most famous escape artists of all-time, a man who put “jail” and “break” into the same sentence more often than most killers, was a man named Harry Tracy. For a time he was part of Butch Cassidy's gang and hung out at Brown's Park in northwestern Colorado, a popular hideout...more

Song Of The Day #340

It's Swingin' Monday on Ranch Radio.

Rhonda Vincent normally sings and plays straight up Bluegrass, but on World's Greatest Biggest Fool her and her band performn a nice swing tune.

The tune is available on her 12 track CD Good Thing Going

Gee, isn't that album cover a little larger than usual?

Obama tells Kyl : I won’t secure border b/c Republicans will have no reason to support “comprehensive immigration reform"

On June 18, 2010, Arizona Republican Senator Jon Kyl told the audience at a North Tempe Tea Party town hall meeting that during a private, one-on-one meeting with President Obama in the Oval Office, the President told him, regarding securing the southern border with Mexico, “The problem is, . . . if we secure the border, then you all won’t have any reason to support ‘comprehensive immigration reform.’” [Audible gasps were heard throughout the audience.] Sen. Kyl continued, “In other words, they’re holding it hostage. They don’t want to secure the border unless and until it is combined with ‘comprehensive immigration reform.’”...more

Arizona's senators tour border, hold town hall

Problems with illegal immigration and border violence. It's life for people living along the Arizona/Mexico border. And they have plenty to say about it. KOLD News 13 went to the border town of Douglas Saturday, where Arizona's two U.S. senators took a tour, and held a town hall meeting. At the meeting Senators John McCain and Jon Kyl, both Republicans, got an earful from people who live in southeastern Arizona, along the border with Mexico. Many of them feel they are living in a war zone. Ed Ashurst said, "My home's been robbed. I had two vehicles stolen. I've had nine firearms stolen." Ashurst also lost his friend, fellow Douglas rancher Robert Krentz to murder along the border. The town hall brought out nearly 100 people who live in and around cities and towns along the Arizona/Mexico border. They had plenty to say to their senators. Joyce Bracht is from Hereford. "I can't ride my horses because it's too dangerous. That should be your number one responsibility to make us safe," she said. Huachuca City Mayor Byron Robertson told the lawmakers, "Last week when my police chief called me in and told me that an SUV-minivan had been stopped on I-10 with a 50-caliber machine gun mounted in the back and a rocket launcher." hough many in the audience liked what they were hearing from the senators, frustration was a recurrent theme. Carlos Valenzuela of Douglas expressed it this way: "We can hear something really great here, but then they can't seem to find the consensus in Washington." After the town hall, we went back to rancher Ed Ashurst to ask him what he thought had been accomplished. He said, "Nothing. Absolutely nothing. We need action. We don't need words. Everybody's aware of the problem. We need some solutions." Before the town hall, Senators McCain and Kyl had a closed door meeting with local ranchers. We're told the discussion was sometimes emotional and heated on the part of the ranchers...more at KOLD-TV

Here is a KVOA-TV news report:

Five Federal Lands in Arizona Have Travel Warnings in Place

Imagine the federal government closing a section of the Lincoln Memorial because it was under the control of Mexican drug lords and bands of illegal immigrants. That scenario is playing out as reality in southern Arizona, where parts of five federal lands -- including two designated national monuments -- continue to post travel warnings or be outright closed to Americans who own the land because of the dangers of "human and drug trafficking" along the Mexican border. "This is one of those things that the Department of Interior does not want to publicize," said Rep. Rob Bishop, R-Utah, ranking Republican on the House Parks and Public Lands Subcommittee. "These bad actors are now being channeled into federal lands along the border because it's so easy to make that access. The situation is getting worse on federal lands and will only get worse until we make some proactive activity to change the status quo." "Frankly," Bishop continued, "the status quo is failing. We are failing to control our borders."...more