Friday, September 10, 2010

Obama - Federal zoning for oceans, rivers, bays, estuaries

As if the sputtering U.S. economy weren’t in enough trouble already, the Obama administration is cooking up a new scheme that will extend the heavy hand of Washington to somewhere it has never gone before. Unveiled with precious little fanfare on July 19 in the form of an Executive Order, the White House’s Ocean Policy Initiative will subject America’s waterways — oceans, rivers, bays, estuaries, and the Great Lakes — to federal zoning. Under the scheme, these areas would be managed according to the Orwellian-sounding notion of “coastal and marine spatial planning.” As an unnamed administration official told the Los Angeles Times: “This sets the nation on a path of much more comprehensive planning to both conservation and sustainable use of [ocean] resources.” An elaborate, multi-layered bureaucratic structure would oversee all of this. Nine regional commissions, composed of federal, state, and tribal officials, would decide which commercial and recreational activities are appropriate. Their recommendations, however, would have to be approved by a newly created National Ocean Council, which the White House says will “strengthen ocean governance and coordination.”...more

Alaska GOP Candidate Pledges to 'Take Power' -- and Land -- From Federal Government

Joe Miller, Alaska's Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate, says he came to the 49th state 16 years ago to slake his love for the outdoors, seeking opportunities to hunt and fish Alaska's abundant wildlands. The problem, says the Yale Law School graduate and Gulf War veteran, is that most of those lands remain in the tight grasp of the federal government, which has prevented the state from tapping its vast natural resource base. The answer, according to Miller, is for Alaska to take over management of those federal lands -- including national parks -- and seek responsible development of oil and gas, minerals and timber that could help wean the state off of its dependence on federal subsidies. "The resource base in this state is extraordinary," Miller recently told CBS's "Face the Nation." By handing lands over to Alaska, the federal government would take a huge step toward shrinking the national deficit by shifting the cost of managing those lands to state agencies, Miller said. Federal lands cover roughly two-thirds of the state, but generate virtually no mineral royalties from onshore production. Miller's calls echo the sentiment of the Sagebrush Rebellion that swept through parts of the West in the late 1970s after Congress adopted a new policy allowing land disposals only if it served the national interest. The rebellion took off in 1979 with the Nevada General Assembly's passage of a bill calling for state control of lands held by the Bureau of Land Management, but had largely petered out by the early 1980s. Miller has said there is no constitutional basis for the federal government to own lands in his state that, when combined, are larger than the state of Texas...more

U.S. not 'sovereign' over federal lands, Utah GOP Senate candidate says

An attorney seeking to replace Utah Sen. Robert Bennett (R) has pledged to push legislation to curb the Interior secretary's authority to cancel oil and gas leases and argued that the United States may only exercise sovereignty over federal lands with the consent of the state's Legislature. Republican Mike Lee, a week after narrowly defeating opponent Tim Bridgewater in the state's GOP primary, said he believes the Constitution grants Utah authority to use eminent domain to seize federal lands within its boundaries, a position that worries environmental groups working to protect national monuments and other sensitive lands in the state. Lee, a legal scholar and former clerk to Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito who served briefly as legal counsel under former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman (R), said he would promote public land management policies in Congress that place a greater emphasis on extracting the vast amounts of mineral resources lying underneath his state. The 39-year-old lawyer and former assistant U.S. attorney is considered an early favorite to defeat Democrat Sam Granato in the November general election. Utah has not elected a Democratic senator since 1970. "The so-called enclave clause of the Constitution gives Congress exclusive legislative jurisdiction over federal lands within state boundaries that have been acquired by Congress with the consent of the state," said Lee. "Unless such consent has been granted by a host state's Legislature, the federal government owns those lands not as a sole sovereign lawmaker but as more of a proprietor."...more

Idaho gives Salazar Oct. 7 deadline on wolf pact

Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter says he'll negotiate until Oct. 7 with the federal government on a plan to manage wolves in his state. If no pact comes about, however, Otter says Idaho will no longer be designated agent for monitoring, providing law enforcement support or investigating wolf deaths. Otter delivered the ultimatum in person to U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar in Washington, D.C., this week. At their meeting, they discussed a U.S. District Court decision in August that restored federal protections to wolves in Idaho and Montana - over both of their objections. Otter says he pledged to continue working with federal agencies on a plan for Idaho to manage its roughly 850 wolves, including increased flexibility to kill them when they eat livestock or too many elk. He also wants the federal government to pay for state management efforts. AP

Alaska sues to halt US offshore drill moratorium in state

The state of Alaska filed suit Thursday in US District Court to overturn what it called a de-facto federal moratorium on oil and gas drilling in the state's Outer Continental Shelf. Governor Sean Parnell and state Attorney General Dan Sullivan said the Obama administration's decision to implement a ban on new deepwater drilling in the Gulf of Mexico in the aftermath of BP's Macondo well blowout imposed a de facto moratorium on OCS drilling in Alaska. Such a move, they said, violates the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act and other laws because Interior Secretary Ken Salazar did not consult with Parnell, or involve the state in the decision. "There was no notice, no consultation. We were never told that a moratorium would be coming," Parnell said in a press briefing. Salazar acknowledged during a visit last week to Anchorage that while Alaska was not included in the formal moratorium implemented after Macondo, an informal moratorium on the Arctic OCS was in effect because no approvals would be given on federal permits until safety reviews of deepwater drilling are complete...more

U.S. Government Loaned Mexican Government More Than $1 Billion to Drill Oil in Gulf of Mexico Last Year

The U.S. Export-Import Bank, an independent federal agency, loaned more than $1 billion to the Mexican state oil company PEMEX in 2009 to support the company’s oil drilling in the southern Gulf of Mexico. The bank has another $1 billion in loans in the pipeline for 2010, unless Congress objects. On May 27, after the British Petroleum oil spill, President Obama imposed a moratorium on U.S. deepwater drilling in the Gulf, effecting 33 deepwater drilling rigs in the region. PEMEX was the Export-Import Bank’s largest borrower in 2009 and has borrowed $8.3 billion from the U.S. federal government since 1998. Under the 2009 loan agreements, PEMEX agreed to contract with American firms and purchase equipment from American manufacturers in exchange for the money...more

Forest Service Chief Mum on Why He Imposed Gag Order

The Chief of the U.S. Forest Service is wrongfully withholding documents explaining why he imposed a "gag order" forbidding all staff from responding to media inquiries without headquarters approval, according to a lawsuit filed today by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER). The policy prevents timely release of crime, fire and accident reports, as well as adding weeks to the response time for even routine reporter inquiries. On August 25, 2009, Thomas L. Tidwell, Chief of the Forest Service, issued an order to his leadership directorate concerning "National Media Contacts" in which he forbade any employee from responding to "a member of the national media on any subject; or...a local or regional reporter seeking information about a national issue, including policy and budget issues" without prior clearance from the National Press Office (emphasis in original). In this memo, Chief Tidwell also stated that "I have received disturbing information concerning contacts by some employees with national media, without coordination" and cited the need for "consistent and coordinated messaging."...more

Some say the "wild" in wilderness will be lost if broad cellular service reaches the BWCA

Blackberries won't be just on the bushes in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness if a giant cell phone tower gets built nearby. AT&T's proposal to build a 450-foot tower makes Minnesota's premier wilderness the latest to feel the pressure to extend the reach of cell phones to the great outdoors. Disputes have erupted from Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming to Acadia National Park in Maine about towers and their visual impact. But even outdoor lovers can feel torn between the desire to get away from it all and the need to call for help. "If one life could be saved by [better] cell phone coverage it would be worth it," said Carrie Cartier of Shoreview. "But I do not want to hear nine cell phones ringing across the bay from my campsite because a group of teens has to be able to keep in touch with all of their friends." AT&T proposes to build the tower on a ridge east of Ely, about 1.5 miles from the wilderness boundary...more

OHV clash: Monument river fence draws heated debate

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management faced strong local opposition Wednesday to its plan to fence off part of the Agua Fria River near Cordes Junction. While some in the packed audience supported the idea, numerous local residents said that part of the river is a popular place to drive their off-road vehicles and they don't want that to change. "We all ride down in the riverbed," local resident Jeff White said. "You guys are taking the main area we all go to hang out." He contended flash floods inflict more damage to the riverbed than off-road vehicles. BLM officials responded that federal laws and regulations give them no choice but to try to stop the illegal off-road vehicles from driving up and down the river on the Agua Fria National Monument in what they call the "River Bend" area. "You guys have got your minds made up, so why did you call us out here?" one audience member asked. More than 100 people crowded into the Cordes community center...more

The Founders on property rights, markets and money

In the Founding era, defenses of property rights proceeded along two main lines: justice and utility. The justice approach treats property as a fundamental right that it would be morally wrong to infringe, regardless of whether it served a useful purpose. The Continental Congress declared in 1774, for example, that “by the immutable laws of nature,” the people “are entitled to…property.” In the Virginia Declaration of Rights (1776), property is an “inherent” right. Massachusetts (1780) called it a right “natural, essential, and unalienable.” Four other states used similar language.[6] Viewed in this way, to deprive someone of his property is to violate a right—to commit an injustice. The Founders’ argument from justice rests ultimately on the claim that “all men are by nature equally free and independent, and have certain inherent rights,” one of which is “the means of acquiring and possessing property.”[8] All six of these early state declarations of rights use almost the same language. In this understanding, all are born free; that is, they own their own minds and bodies. Since all are free, all may freely use their talents to acquire property and to keep or use the property they acquire. For individuals or government to forcibly prevent someone from acquiring property, or to use coercion to transfer property from one person to another, deprives that person of the fruits of his labor. It is a violation of his liberty as well as his property. From the point of view of justice, deprivation of property rights is immoral. Property rights were also understood and defended in terms of their usefulness to life and society, independently of the question of justice...more

Unfortunately, the U.S. now ranks 40th in the world when it comes to recognizing property rights according to the World Economic Forum.

Christo vs. Colorado

Known professionally by his first name, Christo is famous for draping entire buildings, valleys and New York's Central Park in colorful fabric. Now, at age 75, he's trying to convince a swath of southern Colorado to let him temporarily suspend flat sections of silvery fabric over a 42-mile-long stretch of the area's Arkansas River. For two weeks, people will be able to drive alongside this mirror-like ribbon or raft underneath it, he says. He has spent $7 million and 18 years working out the logistics of the project, "Over The River," and he is campaigning hard for the permits to pull it off. Christo is a hot topic in the region: Admirers are eager for the global attention and tourism dollars the artwork could draw in; detractors worry such a circus could clog traffic, disrupt the river and spook wildlife. The main opposition group, Rags Over The Arkansas River, calls Christo an eco-terrorist. Last month, the federal Bureau of Land Management held a weeklong series of hearings in a few towns along the river's edge in Colorado so that locals could debate the project's potential impact on the environment...more

Mandate on light bulbs closes last American factory

The last major GE factory making ordinary incandescent light bulbs in the United States is closing this month, marking a small, sad exit for a product and company that can trace their roots to Thomas Alva Edison's innovations in the 1870s. The remaining 200 workers at the plant here will lose their jobs. What made the plant here vulnerable is, in part, a 2007 energy conservation measure passed by Congress that set standards essentially banning ordinary incandescents by 2014. The law will force millions of American households to switch to more efficient bulbs. The resulting savings in energy and greenhouse-gas emissions are expected to be immense. But the move also had unintended consequences. Rather than setting off a boom in the U.S. manufacture of replacement lights, the leading replacement lights are compact fluorescents, or CFLs, which are made almost entirely overseas, mostly in China...more

Watch For It - The Mexican Incandescent Light Bulb Cartel

So says William Jacobson. See my previous post.

Song Of The Day #402

Ranch Radio is in the mood for some early Merle, so here is Haggard's 1964 recording of Sam Hill.

Border problems putting the United States at risk

Imagine the federal government closing the Boundary Waters Canoe Area, Black Hills National Park or Yellowstone due to the presence of drug and human smugglers. By the way, the parks would be closed indefinitely because the drug cartels and human smugglers are so dangerous and prolific that the entire law enforcement community cannot stop them. Sounds outrageous, doesn’t it? Like something out of a fictional movie, maybe? Impossible scenario on US soil, right? This exact scenario is reality in entire sections of southern Arizona, where parts of five federal lands – including two designated national monuments – are posted with travel warnings or are outright closed to Americans who own the land because of the dangers of “human smugglers and drug trafficking” along the Mexican border. Federal land managers have placed some 48 signs throughout southern Arizona warning American citizens and property owners of the danger of entering selected areas due to illegal immigration traffic, armed drug runners and human smugglers. Since 2001 the bodies of over 1,750 men, women and children have been found in Arizona’s southern mountains and desert. Although the arrests of illegals have declined, immigrant deaths are increasing. In July 2010, Pinal County alone recorded 59 suspected deaths of individuals trying to cross the desert from Mexico. In March 2010 Arizona’s controversial 1070 legislation was sparked for passage when Arizona rancher Robert Krentz was murdered by a suspected illegal alien crossing his ranch. Warning signs have been posted at the Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge and the Coronado National Forest, which covers nearly 1.8 million acres in southeastern Arizona and southwestern New Mexico. Dennis Godfrey, a spokesman for the Bureau of Land Management’s Arizona office, said roughly a dozen signs were posted in early June 2010 along the Sonora Desert National Monument advising that travel in the area is not recommended due to “active drug and human” smuggling. The signs are not far from where a Pinal County deputy was shot and wounded during a confrontation with marijuana smugglers in April and the fatal shooting of two men suspected to be drug smugglers...more

Illegal alien invasion impacts wildlife, hunters

One of the things that we as sportsmen should look at is the impact on wildlife and outdoor recreation, including hunting, that is affected by the constant flow of illegal aliens into Arizona. I, for one, have quit even applying for any big-game tags down south, as I have no desire to deal with illegal aliens and human smugglers sneaking into the country. Then there are the drug smugglers. Those folks are well armed most of the time, and as we have seen recently, they have no qualms about shooting anyone including ranchers and law enforcement officers who try and interrupt their illicit business. This isn't a new problem. It's been going on for some time now and has caused some real problems for wildlife and sportsmen. Besides displacing wildlife from the historical places where they live, the illegals and drug smugglers also bring in tons and tons of trash, which they leave in the desert. Drop sites all over Arizona have produced thousands of pounds of discarded clothes, water bottles, backpacks, food and other items. It has gotten so bad that one group of Southern Arizona sportsmen do annual cleanups of the major drop sites. The Arizona Game and Fish Commission passed a rule that now allows archers to carry handguns on their archery hunts. Why? For protection against illegal aliens, drug and human smugglers mainly in Southern Arizona. Nothing like running into some bad guys when all you have is a sharp-pointed stick, right? We as citizens and sportsmen in Arizona ought to be outraged at what is going on in our state...more

Thursday, September 09, 2010

McCain Rips Into Feds Over Border

The federal government has failed to secure its border with Mexico, and that means local police and deputies have to pick up the slack, Sen. John McCain told a group of border state sheriffs meeting here Wednesday. The Arizona Republican took some direct shots at President Barack Obama, who defeated McCain in the 2008 presidential election. In particular, he singled out the administration's opposition to Arizona's controversial immigration law. "If the federal government had carried out its responsibility, the state of Arizona wouldn't have felt compelled to (pass the law)," he said. McCain spent the first few minutes of his speech talking about the murder of Arizona rancher Robert Krentz, who was killed in March while checking on water lines on his ranch near the Arizona/Mexico border. Authorities believe Krentz was killed by a drug smuggler. "Nobody would consider this being a border that is under control," he said. The people of southern Arizona, McCain said, feel like they live in a "no-man's land."...more

Let's see Senator, you blast the feds for not securing the border, while voting for Bingaman's S. 1689 which would designate a quarter of a million acres on or near the border as wilderness? You accuse the feds of not carrying out their responsibility while at the same supporting legislation that would tie their hands behind their back? What a pile of b.s.

And how do you propose to bring further security to the border? The same Albq. Journal article states:

Event organizer Jim Burleson said McCain was invited because members of the coalition wanted to learn more about a recently passed bill that appropriates $600 million for border security. In an interview with local media, McCain said the bill will also help battle any dangers associated with the drug war in Mexico. "I think it's helpful, it's just not enough," McCain said. He said he planned on introducing new legislation that would appropriate even more money.
Your plan appears to be: a) appropriate more money to hire more border patrol and give them better equipment, and b) designate more land along the border where they are prohibited from patrolling and can't use modern equipment.

In other words, your plan is pure, unadulterated b.s.

Expect the USDA inspectors in your office tomorrow.

After 20 years of protection, owl is declining but forests remain

Twenty years after northern spotted owls were protected under the Endangered Species Act, their numbers continue to decline, and scientists aren't certain whether the birds will survive even though logging was banned on much of the old-growth forest in the Pacific Northwest where they live in order to save them. The owl remains an iconic symbol in a region where once loggers in steel-spiked, high-topped caulk boots felled 200-year-old or even older trees and loaded them on trucks that compression-braked down twisty mountain roads to mills redolent with the smell of fresh sawdust and smoke from burning timber scraps. Regionwide, the owl populations are dropping 2.9 percent a year. In Washington state, they're declining at 6 to 7 percent a year. While that may seem like a small number, it adds up, said Eric Forsman, a research wildlife biologist with the U.S. Forest Service's Pacific Northwest Research Station in Corvallis, Ore., who's studied the owl since 1968. "Nothing we do seems to work for the spotted owl," Forsman said...more

GAO will probe Forest Service's handling of Station fire

Acting on a request by California lawmakers, the investigative arm of Congress has agreed to conduct a broad inquiry into the U.S. Forest Service's handling of last year's devastating Station fire, officials said Wednesday. The state's two U.S. senators and several House members last month urged the Government Accountability Office to examine the Forest Service's decisions and tactics in the fire fight, including its use of aircraft and whether enough was done to protect homes that burned in Big Tujunga Canyon. In addition, a U.S. inspector general is investigating the Forest Service's failure to release recordings of telephone dispatch calls to a federal review team and the public. The Times sought the recordings last year and again this year under the Freedom of Information Act, but Forest Service officials said they did not exist. The inspector general's probe could lead to criminal charges, depending on its findings. The Station fire was the largest in Los Angeles County history, burning 250 square miles of the Angeles National Forest and destroying scores of homes and other structures. Two county firefighters were killed while defending their camp on Mt. Gleason. The Times reported that the Forest Service misjudged the threat posed by the fire at the end of Day 1, scaled back its attack that evening and did not fill its own commander's order for a heavy aerial assault shortly after sunup the following morning. The lawmakers asked the GAO to investigate all those matters...more

Interior Department: Oil Regulators Overworked, Undertrained

The U.S. government's top regulator for offshore oil and gas drilling rarely conducts surprise inspections, routinely fails to follow up on noncompliance violations and has not adequately trained its work force, according to a new report from the U.S. Interior Department. The 37-page report, released Wednesday by the department's Outer Continental Shelf Safety Oversight Board, provides a bare-bones look at a group of regulators who are often overworked and undertrained and yet are charged with approving multibillion-dollar drilling projects and enforcing safety and environmental rules. Bromwich said in the conference call with reporters that his bureau had already begun tackling some of the problems identified in the report, calling the findings "relevant and extremely timely." The report takes a particularly close look at the permitting process, in which government staff are plagued by an increasingly large workload...more

I guess the new name wasn't enough.

GOP House Candidate Opposes Grasslands Wilderness

Republican congressional candidate Kristi Noem said Wednesday she opposes a bill that would designate a part of the Buffalo Gap National Grasslands in southwestern South Dakota as a wilderness area. The designation could reduce or eliminate cattle grazing by ranchers who lease the land, and it could interfere with control of forest fires, prairie dogs and noxious weeds in the area, Noem said. "I believe this federal land grab is a solution in search of a problem," Noem said in a written statement. "Multiple use management of these lands has been successful. We should continue what has worked in order to preserve and protect these lands and to ensure these lands are available to be enjoyed by the public." South Dakota Sen. Tim Johnson, who sponsored the bill to designate the land as a wilderness area, said Noem is spreading false information about his proposal. The Democrat said his proposal would provide stronger protection of grazing and give the U.S. Forest Service, which already manages the land, tools to deal with fire, invasive weeds and prairie dogs. Noem's opponent, Democratic Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin, has not taken a public position on the wilderness bill...more

DeFazio questions use of foreign workers on forest-thinning projects

U.S. Rep. Peter DeFazio says he wants a federal agency to scrutinize companies that employ foreign workers on Oregon tree-thinning projects financed by federal stimulus funds. DeFazio sent a letter last week to the Department of Labor's acting inspector general, Daniel Petrole, asking him to investigate. The Springfield Democrat said foreign workers should not be hired at the expense of qualified Oregonians. Last month, The Bulletin newspaper in Bend reported that several companies awarded U.S. Forest Service contracts funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act filed applications to use foreign workers. Four companies that sought permission to employ 300 foreign workers in Oregon received a total of $10 million to thin forests. Under the temporary worker program administered by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services division of the Department of Homeland Security, employers must report that there aren't enough U.S. workers available...more

Sheep shot with arrow in Volusia County, deputies say

A sheep was found dead in a pasture in Volusia County on Tuesday with an arrow stuck in its back, deputies said. Investigators were called to a ranch on Lake Winona Road in DeLeon Springs, after a rancher reported finding the sheep lying dead under a tree in the pasture. Deputies said the sheep had a black arrow stuck in its back near its shoulder. The rancher said he'd last seen the herd of sheep at about 1 p.m. the day before...more

87th annual Zozobra: The lives and deaths of a beloved bogeyman

Born in 1924, he has suffered a fiery demise every year since and remains Santa Fe's equivalent of the bogeyman. A large crowd is expected today to celebrate the 86th birthday (and death) of Zozobra, aka Old Man Gloom, as the Santa Fe Kiwanis presents his annual burning at Fort Marcy Park. The late artist Will Shuster (1893-1969) is credited with giving birth to Zozobra back in 1924, although former New Mexican editor E. Dana Johnson is reportedly the one who named him. For the first two years, the effigy was known as Old Man Groucher. Though he's put on weight and grown some over the years — he was 18 feet tall in 1924; now he's close to 50 feet — not much has changed with Zozobra, whose conflagration precedes the Fiesta de Santa Fe weekend. Zozobra originally burned in an open field somewhere between what is now the Main Library and the current offices of The Santa Fe Reporter, Sena said. There was a fire station nearby at the old City Hall, which reassured everyone. Zozobra moved to Fort Marcy in either 1939 or 1940. Accounts vary, though Shuster, in a 1964 interview, said it was December 1940, because he recalled that it was snowing, and film star Errol Flynn torched the marionette...more

Gunslinging? It's a gal thing

When Judy Rhodes founded a group more than a decade ago to encourage women to shoot and hunt, her own outsize personal ity guaranteed that members would be a force to be reckoned with in the outdoors. The group - DIVA . . . Women Outdoors Worldwide, or DIVA WOW - now counts more than 1,500 members around the world. Rhodes, the daughter of a Texas rancher who learned how to handle a BB gun at age 4, said that about half of the women who join also have strong outdoors backgrounds, while the other half haven't picked up a gun before. "That was just second nature to me to see a shotgun or a rifle in the gun rack," said Rhodes, a feisty blonde with a Southern accent. "Whenever something slithers, crawls or hops, you've got to pop it." The group offers clinics and seminars in fishing, archery, dog training, and how to handle handguns, shotguns and even an AR-15. They also organize hunts all over the world. Statistics from the National Sporting Goods Association show that the number of women hunting and shooting has been on the rise. According to the latest statistics, women hunting with firearms have increased from about 2.7 million in 2000 to about 3 million last year, and the number target shooting reached about 4.7 million...more

N.D. Cowboy Hall of Fame earns national honor

The North Dakota Cowboy Hall of Fame will be honored Thursday as the western museum of the year for 2010. The award, among the group’s American Cowboy Culture Awards, will be presented in Lubbock, Texas, at the 22nd annual National Cowboy Symposium and Celebration. Darrell Dorgan, executive director for the hall of fame, and Phil Baird, president, will be among North Dakota representatives on hand at the event. Dorgan said the nomination was somewhat of a surprise, coming from a visitor to the hall of fame’s center in Medora while researching a cattle trail running from Texas through Medora. “It’s one of those nice things that just happens,” Dorgan said. The North Dakota Cowboy Hall of Fame joins an impressive list of past recipients of the award including the National Cowboy Hall of Fame in Oklahoma City. “This is a pretty healthy honor,” Dorgan said. “This puts us in a different league.” Dorgan said the North Dakota Cowboy Hall of Fame differs from others in that displays and exhibits featured there are dedicated to telling the story and history of the state. “We tell the story of the plains horse culture,” he said, whether it relates to cowboys, American Indians, ranchers or former presidents of the United States...more

Song Of The Day #401

Yesterday I posted Creator of TV western "Bonanza" dead at 93 and a commentor wrote:

In tribute, might I suggest that you offer as "Song of the Day" Lorne Greene singing the theme song from Bonanza. On second thought, it would probably cause your readership to plummet.

I thought this was a great idea, and agree about Greene's singing. So instead here is Al Caiola playing the theme from Bonanza. It turns out that in 1963 both Faron Young and Johnny Cash recorded versions of the song with lyrics. I prefer Cash's version so offer it here also.

Ranch Radio doesn't want to offend any Lorne Greene fans so the third selection is his 1964 recording of Ringo which I liked and was a minor hit.

Enviros getting paid to go away - and the taxpayer and consumer get to pay again


It is no surprise that there is a big difference between legal requirements, radical opinion, political power, private extortion . . . and then there is the rest of the story. With regard to the payment of attorneys’ fees to radical environmental groups, radical opinion and political power seem to often win and legal requirements are ignored. In fact, political power supporting radical opinions forced payment of at least $4,697,978 in taxpayer dollars to 14 environmental groups in 19 states and the District of Columbia. Political power payments for radical opinions happens 21% of the time when attorneys’ fees are paid.

And then there are the cases where these same radical environmental groups are extorting millions from major corporations and local governments as payment to drop appeals and protests. For example, recently Western Watersheds Project (“WWP”) and Oregon Natural Desert Association (“ONDA”) extorted $22 million from El Paso Corporation to drop their protests of the Ruby Pipeline project. In another case, the Center for Biological Diversity (“CBD”) extorted almost $1 million from Alameda County, California to drop its protests to a City’s approval of a residential and commercial development project. The general theme is that money changes hands, development moves forward and the taxpayers and consumers get stuck with the bill.

The story goes like this:

Attorney Fees Legal Requirements:

Under the Equal Access to Justice Act (“EAJA”), attorneys are only supposed to be paid if they represent the prevailing parties in a lawsuit against the federal government. According to EAJA, a prevailing party must achieve a court-sanctioned change in the position of the federal agency through litigation.

Under the Endangered Species Act, Clean Water Act and other fee shifting statutes whose funds come out of the Judgment Fund, attorneys’ fees are only supposed to be paid if the attorney achieved some success in the litigation for the plaintiff. Thus, the plaintiffs had to achieve some benefit from the litigation through the courts.

Radical Opinion:

All too often however, radical environmental groups, WWP for example, sue the federal government because they claim the government failed to consider the cumulative impacts of all livestock grazing everywhere in the Western United States on a species that is not even listed as a threatened or endangered species. NEPA is the procedural statute that requires impacts of federally permitted decisions be considered–the Act does not require a particular outcome, just that the government consider all the impacts of its decision.

Quite frankly, I do not believe that the WWP or other radical groups care at all about the NEPA process or wildlife because these groups do not spend any of their money on projects that benefit the land or the animals on it. Rather, the goals of WWP and others are to eliminate livestock grazing under all circumstances in all locations. They even claim that cattle contribute to global warming by “belching carbon,” like the internal gas emissions of livestock are any different from the internal emissions of cats, dogs or other wildlife. This is not about the environment . . . it is about eliminating land use and ownership starting with ranchers and moving to other groups once the ranchers are gone.

Political Power:

The federal government however gets a copy of the WWP suit and instead of defending its NEPA documentation and decision and protecting the ranchers’ rights to continue grazing, the government pays WWP our tax dollars just to make the litigation go away. In 21% of the cases – more than $4.6 million dollars worth – there is no court decision and no determination that the WWP was “prevailing,” just a request to please withdraw the litigation and more taxpayer money is paid to radical groups who use their political power to assert minority radical opinions.

Private Extortion

Getting paid to go away is not just about taking American tax dollars for attorneys’ fees; now radical environmental groups are directly extorting money from businesses as well while more costs are passed on to the American consumer. Recently WWP and ONDA announced that it has extorted $22 million from El Paso Corporation in exchange for dropping their protests to the federal government’s permits allowing El Paso to build the 680 mile long natural gas Ruby Pipeline. As part of the deal, El Paso did not change the route or any other aspect of the pipeline, it just paid ONDA and WWP to go away.

In the California case, CBD extorted almost $1 million from Alameda County for “habitat acquisition” in exchange for dropping its protest to the development of a residential area. This is just more American taxpayer money going to radical environmental groups.

And the rest of the story. . . .

And the rest of the story is that the American taxpayers across the country are paying more money to a minority of radical causes. Even harder to take is that the ranchers whose cattle grazing were drawn into the WWP litigation because they happened to graze where WWP wanted them eliminated (everywhere) have to now go back to the government to assist with preparing more paperwork, the government has to spend more time writing documents, and there is more pressure to just walk away from another American small business. And the big corporations and counties who are paying extortion dollars are just passing their losses along to the American consumers. It is our dollars that are paying for the destruction. This is not a phenomenon that just happens to Western ranchers, but “getting paid to go away” occurs when roads are widened, bridges are built, water supplies are updated, timber is cut, fishermen are out in their boats, pipelines are built and in all other businesses across this country.

With regard to the attorneys’ fees payments, in more than 21% of its cases, the federal government does not even defend its decisions; it spent more than $4.6 million to make cases filed by radical environmental groups go away. There is no way to measure the additional money that is being directly extorted from businesses and governments so that radical groups will withdraw appeals and protests. That is a sad story with a very bad ending.

The Forgotten Man - Jon McNaughton (video)

A promo for his art work, but well worth watching.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Climate: New study slashes estimate of icecap loss

Estimates of the rate of ice loss from Greenland and West Antarctica, one of the most worrying questions in the global warming debate, should be halved, according to Dutch and US scientists. In the last two years, several teams have estimated Greenland is shedding roughly 230 gigatonnes of ice, or 230 billion tonnes, per year and West Antarctica around 132 gigatonnes annually. Together, that would account for more than half of the annual three-millimetre (0.2 inch) yearly rise in sea levels, a pace that compares dramatically with 1.8mm (0.07 inches) annually in the early 1960s. But, according to the new study, published in the September issue of the journal Nature Geoscience, the ice estimates fail to correct for a phenomenon known as glacial isostatic adjustment. This is the term for the rebounding of Earth's crust following the last Ice Age...more

Existence of rare red fox confirmed

The genetic signature of canine slobber on a bait bag of chicken scraps and a fuzzy photograph from a motion-sensitive camera north of Yosemite National Park have confirmed the existence of a red fox, thought to have been all but wiped out, the U.S. Forest Service announced last week. "The last known sighting of a Sierra Nevada red fox in the Sonora Pass area was some time in the 1920s," said Mike Crawley, Bridgeport District ranger. "Needless to say, we are quite surprised and excited by this find." Federal wildlife technicians Emily Crowe and Julien Pellegrini were checking hundreds of photos when they came across an overexposed image taken at 2:17 a.m. Aug. 11 of what appeared to be the rare red fox — with its characteristic white-tipped tail — trying to get at the bait bag dangling from a tree. The Sierra Nevada red fox (Vulpes vulpes necator) lives at high elevations, eating small mammals and birds. It has a reddish head, back and sides; black backs of the ears; black "socks" on its feet; and a white-tipped tail. But the only known population of the fox is roughly 20 animals clinging to survival in the Lassen Peak region, about 150 miles to the north...more

Also see Spotting of red fox could ignite endangered species battle

Obama’s EPA: School Marms R Us

The Obama Administration’s EPA and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NTSHA) are proposing new rules “labeling each passenger car with a government letter grade from A to D based on its fuel efficiency and emissions,” the Wall Street Journal reports. The new rules “would be the most substantial changes in 30 years to the familiar price and mileage labels afixed to new cars on sale at dealership,” the article continues. Only in the make-work world of bureaucrats would the addition of the letters A, B, C, or D to product labels be considered “subtantial changes.” The proposed rules imply two judgments about Americans. One is that we’re too stupid to understand how miles-per-gallon and estimated annual fuel costs affect our wallets. Our math skills are so poor that quantitative information must be supplemented with letter grades labeling “this car good, that car bad.” The second judgment, closely related to the first, is that Americans are school children and EPA/NHTSA are the Nation’s teachers. The agency folks apparently think that no matter how old we get, we still want to be teacher’s pet...more

In Search of the Bradshaw Ranch….

Back in the day, the site was owned by Bob Bradshaw who had acquired enough cattle to earn agricultural status for the ranch. But over the years, the U.S. Forest Service continued to cut allotments at the ranch and by the mid 1990s the taxes on their operations grew to an unmanageable amount. Around this time his son John, took over the ranch and promoted it as an adventure destination for tourists – offering horseback riding, jeep tours and dinner dances. The Arizona weather and spectacular rock formations of the area provided additional inspiration, but the 90-plus acre site was soon purchased by the US Federal Government and is today managed by the US Forest Service. The purchase could be considered good news, one would think, as the ranch should be considered public land… But no, the entrance gates to the Bradshaw Ranch remain securely chained by three different padlocks and two large signs which prominently announce: “Property of the US Government — Trespassers will be prosecuted to the furthest extent of the law!” And they are serious about that, trust me. From what I have been able to research, all prior attempts to gain any kind of official permission to enter the site have been flatly refused without exception or explanation. As far as the general public is aware, the mysterious Bradshaw Ranch is officially called an ‘archaeological site’ and remains firmly ‘off-limits’ – some would say ‘off outer limits’. But back to what makes the Bradshaw Ranch so fascinating for UFO believers and those keen on the unexplained… since the mid 1990s and significantly around the time the US Government showed so much interest in the site that they were prepared to acquire it, incredible and strange phenomena began to bereported, leading one to rationalize the strict ‘no-go’ policy as perhaps a good idea, yes?...more

FDA considers approving genetically modified salmon for human consumption

The Food and Drug Administration is poised to approve the first genetically modified animal for human consumption, a highly anticipated decision that is stirring controversy and could mark a turning point in the way American food is produced. FDA scientists gave a boost last week to the Massachusetts company that wants federal approval to market a genetically engineered salmon, declaring that the altered salmon is safe to eat and does not pose a threat to the environment. "Food from AquAdvantage Salmon . . . is as safe to eat as food from other Atlantic salmon," the FDA staff wrote in a briefing document. Those findings will be presented Sept. 19 to a panel of scientific experts which will advise top officials at the FDA whether to approve the altered salmon. The panel is holding two days of meetings to hear from FDA staff, the company behind AquAdvantage and the public. AquAdvantage is an Atlantic salmon that has been given a gene from the ocean pout, an eel-like fish, which allows the salmon to grow twice as fast as a traditional Atlantic salmon. It also contains a growth hormone from a Chinook salmon...more

U.N. Agency Calls Meeting on Spike in Food Prices

A U.N. food agency said Friday it has called a special meeting on the recent spike in food prices, responding to fears of a repeat of the shortages that led to riots in parts of the world two years ago. The announcement by the Rome-based Food and Agriculture Organization followed Russia’s decision to extend its ban on wheat exports. The ban has been held as partly responsible for the 5 percent increase in food prices worldwide over the last two months, to their highest level in two years. Mozambique saw deadly riots this week triggered in part by an increase in the price of bread. There has also been anger over rising prices in Egypt and Serbia, while in Pakistan — where floods destroyed a fifth of the country’s crops — the prices of many food items have risen 15 percent. Drought in Russia — and the country’s subsequent restrictions on wheat exports — forced a sudden sharp rise in wheat prices, the agency said. Higher sugar and oilseed prices also were factors in the higher index...more

Corn Prices Hit 23-Month High

Corn prices rallied to a fresh 23-month high after a closely watched private crop forecaster called the abundance of U.S. grain supplies into question. Informa Economics, a Memphis, Tenn.-based agricultural consultancy, is projecting that the current U.S. corn harvest will yield on average 3.9% less than the latest estimate by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. This is a significant downgrade in a time of tight global grain supplies. Russia has banned exports of wheat for several months in the wake of a record drought. This has put pressure on markets for other grains, as consumers such as livestock-feed suppliers look for substitutes, and sparked fears of global food shortages. Informa Economics estimates a final U.S. corn yield of 158.5 bushels an acre, according to information reviewed by Dow Jones Newswires. The firm doesn't publicly release its predictions. That compares with the USDA's most recent estimate of 165 bushels an acre. Corn prices surged after the firm distributed its figures to customers. The front-month contract, for September delivery, settled 3.9%, or 16.75 cents, higher at $4.4975 a bushel on the Chicago Board of Trade...more

Corngrowers concerned about new pesticide regs

Since the Clean Water Act was passed in the early 1970s, the Environmental Protection Agency has interpreted the law to exclude lawful pesticide applications regulated under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act from National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permits. But early in 2009, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled the permits are necessary for the application of pesticides. The National Corn Growers Association sees this as a game changer that would impact any grower that uses pesticides. “In the past, you knew if you were applying a pesticide according to the label language you were in compliance with federal pesticide law,” said NCGA Director of Public Policy Rod Snyder. “At this point, with additional Clean Water Act requirements and the possibility of citizen suits under that act should a pesticide happen to reach a body of water, even a ditch or a puddle, you have a secondary layer of regulations with potential legal vulnerabilities that you did not have before.” The citizen action suit provisions within the Clean Water Act are a major concern for NCGA. This interpretation of the law would require permits for pesticide usage. These provisions also make it possible for activist groups to directly sue farmers should they feel that there is a breach of a permit or a permit was not applied for at the agency. This would provide ample opportunities for lawsuits attacking farmers in the courts...more

When Mother Nature and Mother Obama both hit you at the same time, it ain't a pretty sight to see.

Antibiotics and Meat DO Mix

CEI submitted comments this week on an FDA proposed guidance that “encourages” farmers and antibiotics manufacturers to stop using “medically important” antibiotics for livestock growth promotion purposes. There’s actually a pretty large body of scientific research showing how much so-called sub-therapeutic doses actually contribute to consumer health by reducing pathogen loads in animal-derived foods and have a positive impact on human safety (see here, here, here, and here, for just a few examples). Plus, when the European Union banned antibiotics for livestock growth promotion, the expected decrease in the incidence of resistant human pathogens did not occur. In most cases, the number of resistant bacteria continued rising, and in some cases they rose dramatically. Moreover, the incidence of foodborne illness also rose substantially. This shouldn’t have come as much of a surprise, since it’s estimated that livestock uses account for as little as 10 percent of the problem with antibiotic resistant bacteria...more

Creator of TV western "Bonanza" dead at 93

David Dortort, who created "Bonanza," the top-rated western that aired for 14 years on the NBC television network, died September 5 at his Los Angeles home. He was 93. Debuting in 1959, "Bonanza" was the most-watched show on U.S. television from 1964 to 1967 and maintained a place in the ratings top 10 for a decade. Dortort also created "The High Chaparral," which originally followed "Bonanza" on Sunday nights on NBC and ran for three seasons. Dortort pitched "Bonanza" in 1959 as a way of helping to promote the sale of color television sets manufactured by the U.S. electronics company RCA, then the parent company of NBC. "Bonanza" would be filmed in color in scenic Lake Tahoe, Nevada, and feature a cast of relative unknowns -- Michael Landon, Lorne Greene, Dan Blocker and Pernell Roberts -- as members of the fictional Cartwright family. Departing from the typical TV western formula of the day that focused on lone gunslingers and drifters, Dortort chose instead to depict the lives and adventures of a widowed rancher and his three sons living together on the Ponderosa Ranch...more

Song Of The Day #400

For our 400th offering here at Ranch Radio we give you Buck Owen's 1959 recording of Second Fiddle.

How Enviros Obstruct the Border Patrol

But this story, and another in the New York Times ("On Border Violence, Truth Pales Compared to Ideas"), plus almost everyone else, missed the real story: migrants and drug smugglers (marijuana, mainly) are attracted to parts of Arizona for a specific reason. On these federal lands, environmental regulations prevent the Border Patrol from doing its job. That's what the mainstream media won't report. Over and over again, Bishop makes this simple point. The U.S. side of the 1,950-mile border with Mexico is about 60 percent private land and 40 percent federal. "Almost all" of the migrants and drug smugglers come across federal lands, protected by stringent "wilderness" designations or endangered species rules. The federals are submissive before the environmental regs that interfere with border enforcement. The Border Patrol, a division of Homeland Security, has to complete lengthy environmental reports and get permission from the Departments of Agriculture and Interior before it can do anything. This can take several months. So yes, there is indeed an Arizona funnel through which the illegals enter. One federal agency works against another to create the funnel. The Mexicans are all but invited to come in and trample down the wilderness, which of course they don't care about. They actually cut down endangered cacti and lay them across roads to keep the Border Patrol out...more

Arizona signs along I-8 warn of human, drug smuggling violence

Truckers making their way east and west through Arizona may want to avoid areas near Interstate 8. The federal government has posted signs warning of violence and criminals tied to drug and human smuggling. Dennis Godfrey, a spokesman with the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Land Management, said his agency put the signs out in June in response to increased danger in a 40-mile area south of I-8 near the Sonoran Desert National Monument. That 487,000-acre desert includes about 200,000 acres south of I-8 that have seen increased drug and human smuggling activity in recent months, Godfrey told Land Line Thursday, Sept. 2. Violence in the area has surged in recent months, though it hasn’t become prevalent on the highway, Godfrey said. Instead, authorities are asking travelers to be careful and try to avoid access roads and other areas south of I-8. The massive state desert acreage and an even larger expanse of Indian reservation make up an eight-mile buffer between most of Arizona and Mexico during the 40-mile stretch, and have become key smuggling routes for violent Mexican cartels to move humans and drugs...more

Battle zone on the border

A day after the bloodiest border shootout to date, residents who have endured years of violence on both sides of the Rio Grande counted their blessings. The gunbattle Thursday between Mexican soldiers and the Zetas drug gang killed at least 25 of the narcos near the town of Ciudad Mier, about 20 miles south of the border. It was yet another confrontation in what has become a battle zone in Mexico's drug war. "Two weeks ago, right across the border, there was a running gunbattle in Miguel Aleman. We could hear the shots," Capt. Francisco Garcia of the Roma police said Friday. Referring to other nearby Mexican towns, he said, "Three days ago, they had a shootout in Nuevo Guerrreo. And in Los Guerras, they have shootouts almost every night." So far, the violence has not crossed the Rio Grande. On Friday, another shootout occurred on a highway in the neighboring state of Nuevo Leon. In that battle, five suspected narcos were killed by army troops. The violence has forced citizens on both sides of the border to dramatically change their behavior. For starters, casual trips across the Rio Grande are now just old memories. Foot traffic across the bridge in Roma has dropped by up to 90 percent this year, according to Mexican officials...more

Mexican drug wars fester along US border

Deaths and threats happen all around Mexico, but in recent months Tamaulipas has displaced Pacific Coast states like Sinaloa and Baja California when it comes to high-impact violence. Tamaulipas is the end of the shortest route for drugs and illegal immigrants into the US. It accounts for about 3 per cent of Mexican homicides, a figure that is growing, according to Mexican officials. The Calderon government attributes the worsening of the war in northeastern Mexico to the split between the Gulf Cartel and Los Zetas, according to the Calderon government's security spokesman Alejandro Poire. The two groups had cooperated for more than a decade. The fight has drawn in other cartels like the Sinaloa Cartel of drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman and La Familia Michoacana, a bitter enemy of Los Zetas, who stepped into Tamaulipas to help the Gulf Cartel. "Tamaulipas is a strategic point to take drugs in and out of the United States, since it has a vast coastline and important cities like Nuevo Laredo, Miguel Aleman, Reynosa, Rio Bravo and Matamoros, which are the closest destinations for the criminals who move drugs through the Gulf of Mexico," the government report said. Nowadays the cartels' business reaches well beyond drugs, and that explains last week's migrant massacre and many attacks on bars, butchers' shops, bakeries, funeral homes and media outlets...more

California's Prop 19, on legalizing marijuana, could end Mexico's drug war

On Nov. 2, Californians will vote on Proposition 19, deciding whether to legalize the production, sale and consumption of marijuana. If the initiative passes, it won't just be momentous for California; it may, at long last, offer Mexico the promise of an exit from our costly war on drugs. The costs of that war have long since reached intolerable levels: more than 28,000 of our fellow citizens dead since late 2006; expenditures well above $10 billion; terrible damage to Mexico's image abroad; human rights violations by government security forces; and ever more crime. In a recent poll by the Mexico City daily Reforma, 67 percent of Mexicans said these costs are unacceptable, while 59 percent said the drug cartels are winning the war. We have believed for some time that Mexico should legalize marijuana and perhaps other drugs. But until now, most discussion of this possibility has foundered because our country's drug problem and the U.S. drug problem are so inextricably linked. Proposition 19 changes this calculation. For Mexico, California is almost the whole enchilada: Our overall trade with the largest state of the union is huge, an immense number of Californians are of Mexican origin, and an enormous proportion of American visitors to Mexico come from California. Passage of Prop 19 would therefore flip the terms of the debate about drug policy: If California legalizes marijuana, will it be viable for our country to continue hunting down drug lords in Tijuana? Will Wild West-style shootouts to stop Mexican cannabis from crossing the border make any sense when, just over that border, the local 7-Eleven sells pot?...more

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Backyard Volunteers Count Fireflies to Track Possible Decline in Numbers

Scientists are hoping a network of backyard volunteers who spent the summer counting fireflies can help them determine if the luminous insects are in a decline. About 700 volunteers from across the nation counted fireflies in their backyards, local parks and meadows and also noted their color and flash patterns. The volunteers then entered their observations into an online database that’s central to the Firefly Watch program sponsored by the Boston Museum of Science. Scientists are worried by reports from the public that they are seeing fewer fireflies each summer, possibly because of habitat destruction from suburban sprawl. About 5,100 people from 42 states and four other nations have taken part in Firefly Watch’s online effort since it debuted in May 2008...more

Alright! I can't wait for urban backyards to be declared critical habitat.

Fly swatters and fly and mosquito spray will be outlawed.

The Western Watersheds Project will claim backyard pets transfer distemper and other harmful diseases to fireflies.

The Wildlands Project will want "fly corridors" between backyards and school playgrounds.

The United Nations will designate city parks and football fields as Biosphere Reserves.

The Native American Urban Tribes will claim many of the backyards are sacred sites.

Land & Water Conservation funds will be used to acquire backyards.

Interior Secretary Salazar will announce that fireflies are a "keystone species" and are negatively impacted by global warming, necessitating immediate "collaborative" action.

In return for Backyard Habitat Management Plans, Salazar will sign agreements with homeowners to allow inadvertent "takes" of fireflies.

The Center for Biological Diversity will sue Salazar for violating NEPA, the APA and the ESA...and win.

The Dems will be bewildered when they discover a disproportionate number of backyards with fireflies are owned by minorities and the economically disadvantaged, meaning the ESA itself violates their concept of "environmental justice".

The Repubs will scream and holler and hold hearings...then do nothing.

And in an interview with MSNBC President Obama says he hopes the American public will understand "there are no fireflies in Muslim backyards."

Yes, I just can't wait.

And forgive me Lord, but I hope city sewer plants are declared prime breeding ground for fireflies.

NM senators support illegal immigration super highway

When New Mexico's Senators Jeff Bingaman and Tom Udall introduced S.B. 1689 in September 2009, immigration was barely a blip on the public's radar. Over the last year, other issues such as stimulus spending, health care, and cap-and-trade have stolen the spotlight. Their harmless sounding bill, which makes land in New Mexico part of the National Wilderness Preservation System and the National Landscape Conversation System, received virtually no attention. Now that immigration is in the spotlight as non-border states mimic Arizona s controversial immigration law, polls show that the majority of the public wants to stem the tide of illegal immigrants. S.B. 1689 will disappoint that majority. Unless people speak up, this New Mexico bill will sail through on a professional courtesy to Sens. Bingaman and Udall. In southern New Mexico the proposed Organ Mountains Desert Peaks Wilderness National Conservation Area sets aside a long north/south strip of land just miles from the border that contains all the elements that make it perfect for the movement of both human and drug trafficking: wilderness/de facto wilderness safe havens; east /west highway access; rugged and complex north/south mountain and drainage orientation; and high, strategic points of observation...more

Calif. School Named for Al Gore May Be Toxic for Students

A new $75 million campus dedicated to “environmental themes” has been named for former Vice President Al Gore (and Rachel Carson who championed environmentalists’ campaign against the use of DDT, a chemical used to fight off malaria-carrying mosquitos). The Carson-Gore Academy of Environmental Sciences is scheduled to open its doors for a new school year on September 13, but classes may be delayed unless excavation crews can successfully remove and replace toxic dirt on the premises. The LA Times reports: Construction crews were working at the campus up to the Labor Day weekend, replacing toxic soil with clean fill. All told, workers removed dirt from two 3,800-square-foot plots to a depth of 45 feet, space enough to hold a four-story building. The soil had contained more than a dozen underground storage tanks serving light industrial businesses. Additional contamination may have come from the underground tanks of an adjacent gas station. A barrier will stretch 45 feet down from ground level to limit future possible fuel leakage. Groundwater about 45 feet below the surface remains contaminated but also poses no risk, officials said...

It will be toxic in more ways than one.

The irony of Jesse Jackson's stripped SUV

Add Jesse Jackson’s ride to prominent vehicles being stripped in Detroit. Following the embarrassing news that Mayor Dave Bing’s GMC Yukon was hijacked by criminals this week, Detroit’s Channel 7 reports that the Reverend’s Caddy Escalade SUV was stolen and stripped of its wheels while he was in town last weekend with the UAW’s militant President Bob King leading the “Jobs, Justice, and Peace” march promoting government-funded green jobs. Read that again: Jackson’s Caddy SUV was stripped while he was in town promoting green jobs. Add Jesse to the Al Gore-Tom Friedman-Barack Obama School of Environmental Hypocrisy. While preaching to Americans that they need to cram their families into hybrid Priuses to go shopping for compact fluorescent light bulbs to save the planet, they themselves continue to live large. “We need an economy that creates employment that can't be shipped overseas,” the Green Rev wrote for CNN about the march. “Home-grown American labor will be installing windmills and solar panels. A green economy is not an abstract concept.” Well, its certainly abstract to Jesse...more

'Climate migrants' projected to flood U.S.

Climate change in Latin America — and the accompanying drought, flooding and desertification — is likely to drive increased illegal migration across the Mexico-U.S. border in coming years, according to a report. Worsening economic conditions, spiraling social tensions and growing political instability will drive greater numbers to make the dangerous journey to the United States in the long term, according to the American Security Project, a bipartisan nonprofit research group focused on national security threats. While migration might be down in the short term, in the long term the "United States is likely to see an increase in migrants all across the southern border due to climate change and its follow-on effects," said the report's author, Lindsey Ross, a scholar at the American Security Project...more

The ASP press release accompanying their report says:

Dr Jim Ludes, the Executive Director of ASP said: “This report highlights the consequences to the United States, and especially the communities and law enforcement agencies along America’s southern border, of not tackling climate change.” He went on to note: “Climate change is a crucial issue facing the United States that needs to be addressed now. We can no longer put our heads in the sand. It has real, tangible consequences.”

I'm no scientist, but I certainly understand the political message behind this report: conservatives, either get behind cap and trade and other global warming initiatives or see our country over run by "climate migrants".

When I look at the Board of Directors for ASP and see it has dems like Gary Hart and John Kerry, and repubs like Christine Todd Whitman, you might say I'm a wee bit suspicious of their agenda.

Save the Light Bulb

Dear John Boehner, Ted Poe, and Members of the incoming 112th Congress, If you do only one thing in your time in Washington, and frankly I hope you do only one thing given your propensity to expand government (other than eradicating Obamacare), it is this: SAVE THE LIGHT BULB. People may not realize it, but one of the first acts of the Democratic Congress in 2007, was to ban the light bulb effective in 2014. Seriously. Now, you may say that this is an exaggeration, and it is a bit, but the incandescent light bulb is the light bulb of choice for millions of Americans. It turns on instantly, it can be tossed in the trash without summoning a hazmat team, and is cheap. The compact fluorescents cannot be treated that way and cost more. Likewise, we are forced to deal with China for every purchase...more

Here is Rep. Ted Poe's 2008 floor speech on compact flourescent light bulbs:

Endangered or not, wolf killings set to expand

Government agencies are seeking broad new authority to ramp up killings and removals of gray wolves in the Northern Rockies and Great Lakes, despite two recent court actions that restored the animal's endangered status in every state except Alaska and Minnesota. Various proposals would gas pups in their dens, surgically sterilize adult wolves and allow "conservation" or "research" hunts to drive down the predators' numbers. Once poisoned to near-extermination in the lower 48 states, wolves made a remarkable comeback over the last two decades under protection of the Endangered Species Act. But as packs continue to multiply their taste for livestock and big game herds coveted by hunters has stoked a rising backlash. Wildlife officials say that without public wolf hunting, they need greater latitude to eliminate problem packs. Montana and Idaho held inaugural hunts last year but an August court ruling scuttled their plans for 2010. "As the wolf populations increase, the depredations increase and the number of wolf removals will increase. It's very logical," said Mark Collinge, Idaho director for Wildlife Services, the U.S. Department of Agriculture branch that removes problem wolves, typically by shooting them from aircraft. At least 1,700 wolves now roam Idaho, Montana and Wyoming. There are more than 4,000 in Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota. New populations are taking hold in Oregon and Washington, and wolves have been sighted in Colorado, Utah and New England. Some of the most remote wilderness habitats are becoming saturated with the animals. As a result, packs are pushing into agricultural and residential areas where domestic animals offer an easy meal...more

2 coyote attacks in 1 hour in NYC suburb; tot hurt

A teen and a toddler have come face-to-face with a coyote in two separate incidents within about an hour in a New York City suburb. The toddler's father took her to get medical care, but the teen was unhurt. Authorities say a coyote lunged at the teen boy shortly before 7 p.m. Sunday in Rye Brook. About an hour later, the 2-year-old girl was attacked near her home about two miles away. In June, the town of Rye — about 3 miles from Rye Brook — had two coyote attacks within four days. A 3-year-old girl playing in her backyard was jumped from behind by a coyote, and a 6-year-old girl was mauled by two coyotes. After those attacks, authorities in Rye urged parents to keep their kids inside on summer evenings. Rye Brook is about 30 miles northeast of Manhattan. AP

HT: Outdoor Press Room

Animal Activists Use Oil Spill to Push for Wildlife’s Day in Court

According to the American Bar Association, a number of organizations have recently tried to sue under the Endangered Species Act on behalf of sea turtles who have died in the Gulf. In federal court, the groups sued to force BP into halting controlled burn operations meant to stem the spread of oil. In early July, BP and the Coast Guard agreed to allow environmental scientists to “observe” burn efforts to ensure the turtles would be removed from danger. In addition, the ABA reports that People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has called on the attorneys general of Alabama, Florida, Louisiana and Mississippi to prosecute executives of BP on animal cruelty charges. ”The oil leak represents an example where tremendous pain and death are brought to individual animals,” Michigan State University law professor David S. Favre says. ”The law penalty has no easy way to deal with these individual deaths,” he says. This is something animal activists want changed and some are pushing for new laws that would extend legal rights and protections–usually reserved for humans–to animals. One of these activists is President Obama’s “regulatory czar” Cass Sunstein. Sunstein has come under public scrutiny in the past for his controversial views surrounding “rights” for livestock, pets and wildlife. “[T]here should be extensive regulation of the use of animals in entertainment, scientific experiments, and agriculture,” Sunstein wrote at the University of Chicago in 2002...more

Seven Myths About Green Jobs

While governments around the world pour taxpayers' money into a whole range of supposedly win-win "green investments", this paper finds that these waste resources and reduce economic growth without necessarily protecting the environment...more

The study is by a British think tank, but the following was interesting:
“Green investment” isn’t even a reliable way to improve the environment, the study finds. Steel is one of the world’s most carbon-intensive industries, yet the United Nations Environment Programme counts steelworkers as having “green jobs”, because steel is needed to make wind turbines.

Another distortion on behalf of the greenies.

Obama Administration Reverses Course, Forbids Sale of 850,000 Antique Rifles

The South Korean government, in an effort to raise money for its military, wants to sell nearly a million antique M1 rifles that were used by U.S. soldiers in the Korean War to gun collectors in America. The Obama administration approved the sale of the American-made rifles last year. But it reversed course and banned the sale in March – a decision that went largely unnoticed at the time but that is now sparking opposition from gun rights advocates. A State Department spokesman said the administration's decision was based on concerns that the guns could fall into the wrong hands...more

Scientist's Firing After 36 Years Fuels 'PC' Debate at UCLA

A longtime professor at UCLA, told that he would not be rehired because his "research is not aligned with the academic mission" of his department, says he's being fired after 36 years at the prestigious school because his scientific beliefs are "politically incorrect." But UCLA says Dr. James Enstrom's politics have nothing to do with its decision. Enstrom, an epidemiologist at UCLA's School of Public Health, has a history of running against the grain. In 2003 he wrote a study, published in the British Medical Journal, in which he found no causal relationship between secondhand smoke and tobacco-related death – a conclusion that drew fire both because it was contrary to popular scientific belief and because it was funded by Philip Morris. Now Enstrom says his studies show no causal link between diesel soot and death in California – findings that once again set him far apart from the pack and put him in direct conflict with the California Air Resources Board, which says its new standards on diesel emissions will save 9,400 lives between 2011 and 2025 and will reduce health care costs by as much as $68 billion in the state. Enstrom questions the science behind the new emissions standards, and he has raised concerns about the two key reports on which they were based – exposing the author of one study as having faked his credentials and the panel that issued the other study as having violated its term limits...more

Song Of The Day #399

Ranch Radio forgot Swingin' Monday last week, and since many are here after a long weekend, we'll give you a Triple Whammy of up tempo tunes to get your week started.

Today we'll feature Kina Lankford and her 10 track CD Copenhagen Kisses.

Looking at the three songs, the first is something I've spent many hours trying to prevent, the second has happened many times and the third just swings.

The tunes are Peeling Labels, Copenhagen Kisses, and Songs About Saturday Night.

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Cowgirl Sass and Savvy

Just about perfect

by Julie Carter

In my book, fall is about as perfect a season of the year as any of the four.

It is the time when all things that make cowboys, rednecks and assorted combinations thereof the very happiest.

At the ranch, it's payday time. Cattle buyers resurrect from out of nowhere and all eyes, ears and cell phones are on the markets.

Whether the crop is yearlings or fresh-weaned calves, every year is a new episode of "let's make a deal."

The blooms on everything green, nurtured by summer rains and sunshine, are at their peak of beauty.

Flowers abound both in the yards and thanks to the rains this year, also in the fields and on the hillsides.

While your cowboy might not be big on posies, I guarantee you he's happy with the tall grass and practically gleeful over the fat cattle lying in that grass, bellies full and hides licked slick.

The camouflage corps have their binoculars focused and their weapons of choice tuned while they dream dreams of the perfect hunting season(s).

Let a hint of crisp slip into the morning air and hunters everywhere trade in their hammocks and barbeque tools for game calls and camping gear.

Cattle trucks start rolling down the highways between the ranches and the wheat fields or feedlots.

Every small-town café has a parking lot periodically filled with flatbed pickups pulling stock trailers along with other pickups loaded with 4-wheelers, coolers and all the trappings of a Cabela's made-to-order hunting camp.

Here in the Southwest, throw in the smell of roasting green chiles to complete the fall ambiance and life is just about as perfect as you can get it.

If that isn't enough to paint a picture of the best of the year, add to the mix some pre-season football that seamlessly morphs into a regular season of high school, college and professional games.

Whether football is your "thing" or not, the onslaught of sports-mania permeates the air, unsurpassed by anything including politics.

Neighbors helping neighbors to get all the fall cattle work done is a jewel in the crown of ranching.

Calendars are full of marks on dates for the ranch up the road, the ranch down the road and another one an hour or so away.

Those days will be dedicated to the time-honored custom of "neighboring" -- where the work and the fun, and there is always some of that, is shared with folks that know you'll be there when they need an extra man, horse and help.

Now is the time for all good men ... and horses, dogs, kids and ranch wives ... to rise to the call of long hours, dusty corrals, sunrises that bless the "waiting on daylight" mornings, rattling trailers, ready ropes, the smell of sage and cedar, hot coffee poured from a campfire pot and the camaraderie of cowboys working a vocation they wouldn't trade for anything.

The life is not all that glamorous or romantic, but it does have an intangible something that anchors men's souls to the land.

Whether they own it or hire on to be part of it, it transforms an occupation into a belonging and an existence into a passion for living.

Julie, steeped in fall nostalgia, can be reached for comment at