Saturday, September 18, 2010

Bellamy Brothers - Jalapenos

Here they are doing the Jalapeno song.

Murkowski Launches Write-In Bid; GOP Leaders Embrace Miller

The Alaska Senate race grew more interesting Friday night as GOP Sen. Lisa Murkowski announced she is launching a write-in campaign for re-election — a last-ditch effort to retain the seat she has held since being appointed by her father, former Gov. Frank Murkowski, in 2002. The announcement sets up a three-way race between Murkowski, Democrat Scott McAdams and Republican Joe Miller, who defeated Murkowski in the Aug. 24 primary by 2,006 votes and has the full support of the Senate Republican leadership. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) made clear that the Senate GOP Conference has moved beyond the primary fight and embraced Miller. But Murkowski was defiant. “Alaskans deserve a fighter in the United States Senate who will always stand up for Alaska, who understands our great potential and has the experience, the respect and the seniority to accomplish that,” she said. “I am that Senator.” Murkowski took a shot at Sarah Palin (R), saying she, not the former governor, is “one Republican woman who won’t quit on Alaska.”...more

The late Strom Thurmond is the only Senator to be elected by write-in (1954).

Lisa Murkowski hits up lobbyists

Less than an hour before Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski planned to announce a write-in campaign to retain her seat, her top aide e-mailed scores of the most prominent lobbyists in Washington to ask them to join a Saturday conference call with the senator. Karen Knutson, Murkowski’s chief of staff, emailed scores of top lobbyists in town and employees at some of the largest oil companies – including Chevron, Conoco Phillips and Marathon Oil – to ask them to join the senator on a conference call Saturday, according to a copy of the e-mail and a recipient list obtained by POLITICO. Knutson also sent the invitation to Democratic superlobbyist Heather Podesta – a clue that Murkowski could seek bipartisan financial support in order to fund her write-in campaign. Federal Election Commission records show Podesta has been a consistent and generous Democratic political donor and has never given to Murkowski before...more

Her true colors are showing.

California’s Jobs Terminator

What state ranks third in unemployment, second in foreclosures, has the nation’s worst credit rating, is running a $19 billion deficit – yet insists on spending billions on a greenhouse gas emissions reduction plan that can’t possibly impact global warming? Yes, it’s California, land of the Governator, who signed a bill that may say “Hasta la vista, baby!” to perhaps a million jobs. Yet there’s hope the prosperity terminator can be stopped. The state boasts that the California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, better known as AB 32, is “first-in-the-world.” It requires that by 2020 the state’s greenhouse gas emissions be reduced to 1990 levels, about 25-30 percent less than they’d otherwise be. It demands another 80 percent reduction by 2050. Four years ago California’s economy was booming, with joblessness a mere 4.8 percent. But now that the bear on the state’s flag has taken on new meaning and unemployment is 12.3 percent, even many that are convinced that global warming is a serious man-made problem are having second thoughts. That’s why the California Jobs Initiative, Proposition 23, got the signatures required to put it on the November ballot. It would suspend AB 32 until unemployment stays below 5.5 percent for four consecutive quarters...more

Friday, September 17, 2010

Texas Chef Successfully Deep-Fries...Beer!

I sincerely hope the committee that hands out Nobel Prizes in the science fields have taken notice of one Texas chef who recently achieved a gastronomical breakthrough: deep-fried beer. That’s right. According to this report: The beer is placed inside a pocket of salty, pretzel-like dough and then dunked in oil at 375 degrees for about 20 seconds, a short enough time for the confection to remain alcoholic. When diners take a bite the hot beer mixes with the dough in what is claimed to be a delicious taste sensation. Zable will introduce the dish at a fried-food competition in Texas later this month. He’ll serve five of the ravioli-like bites for a very modest $5...more

You ain't supposed to eat deep fried food, you ain't supposed to drink beer - so this let's you kill two birds with one stone, so to speak.

Sept. 17, Constitution Day

Choose Freedom: Ignore DC

There’s plenty of federal holidays for Americans to celebrate. On July 4th, there’s independence from King George’s England. On the first Monday in September, a holiday was dedicated to the “social and economic achievements of American workers.” Other days throughout the year celebrate autumn harvest, soldiers who died in the civil war and even a person who sailed to this continent nearly three centuries before the country was “founded.”

When there’s no federally-sanctioned holiday to call upon, protesters and activists across the political spectrum often pick “important” dates to schedule events to bring attention to their cause. We’ve seen protests on Tax Day, Independence Day, May Day, Earth Day, and more. And, in the past few weeks we saw great importance placed on days that doesn’t even have a letter in their name, 8/28 and 9/12.

But nowhere to be found on these great lists of “federal holidays” or “protest days” is a celebration of the document that defined the principles of liberty that this country was supposedly founded upon – the Constitution.

LIMITING POWER

The Constitution was signed on September 17, 1787, and every year that date passes by with hardly a sound. Sure, now that it’s considered a day of “federal observance” you’ll find government schools around the country including it in their lesson plans. But these discussions generally focus on “Constitution Trivia” instead of what’s really important. While it may be good to educate our young on how many years a Senator serves, or how Supreme Court justices are appointed, it’s not enough. Seriously lacking in the public discourse is the actual purpose of the Constitution – its underlying principles.

When the Constitution was being considered for ratification, there was strong opposition from famous American figures that included George Mason and Patrick Henry. One major reason for this was a fear of too much power. The founding generation spent their lives toiling under a tyranny – a government without limits. But, when the Constitution was written, it was done to codify in law that the powers of government would be limited to those which had been delegated to it – and nothing more.

The entire system was created under the principle of popular sovereignty – that ‘We the People of the Several States’ created the government, and all powers not delegated to it, were retained. But that’s not something you’re likely to hear from politicians in Washington DC, political pundits, schools, or just about anywhere else. It’s generally not in their interest, either.

If politicians and their backers were promoting such crazy ideas as “originalism” and “limited government” they’d never be able to convince you that they have the power to tell you what kind of health care plan you’ll be getting, how big your toilet can be, what kind of plants you’re allowed to grow, where you’re allowed to exercise your “right” to free speech, whom you can buy and sell from, and even when you must send your children to die for them.

Read the entire article here.

Obama's Science Adviser: Don't Call it 'Global Warming'

John Holdren, director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, says that the term "global warming" is "a dangerous misnomer” that should be replaced with “global climate disruption." At the Environmental Protection Agency's 40th celebration of the Clean Air Act on Tuesday, Holdren said, "I think one of the failures of the scientific community was in embracing the term 'global warming'. Global warming is in fact a dangerous misnomer." And in a speech last week in Norway, echoing remarks he made at a 2007 speech at Harvard University, Holdren said the term "global climate disruption" should be used instead of "global warming."...more

Salvos Fly as Ethanol Ruling Nears

The Environmental Protection Agency has said it will rule by the end of this month on whether to allow gasoline retailers to sell a mixture that is 15 percent ethanol and 85 percent unleaded regular, a change from the current maximum of 10 percent ethanol. Coalitions have lined up — on one side, the corn farmers and ethanol producers, and on the other, the oil refiners, auto companies, manufacturers of gasoline-powered equipment and companies that use corn to raise livestock. Some opponents are raising concerns that are not important to the E.P.A. — for example, that putting more corn into the fuel supply will raise the cost of corn for feeding chickens or pigs. Another argument is that the ethanol could burn hot enough to hurt catalytic converters or eat away the seals in various parts of the engine, resulting in higher emissions. The auto companies maintain that the only way to know is to extend the testing of cars on the higher blend for several more months. Older cars are thought to be more vulnerable because they were not designed with ethanol in mind, whereas cars sold today are engineered for concentrations of at least 10 percent ethanol. So foes of the change are campaigning for a delay...more

No plan for monument,BLM chief tells crowd

The director of the Bureau of Land Management told a packed forum in northeastern Montana that there are no plans for presidential monument declarations in the region, but it did little to ease the fears of ranchers and many others that the federal government may sweep in and bar them from the land. Bob Abbey acknowledged to the crowd that he cannot rule out future discussions about land protections. However, he promised more than 1,500 people that descended from the area on the small town of Malta for the forum that local comment would be key to any future decisions. “Folks, there is no plan for a national monument in Montana. I want you to know that,” Abbey said. “I want to get the message right out front. There is no proposal for a national monument in Montana.” Ranchers, oil men and others have been very suspicious of federal plans since leaked memos revealed the Obama administration was considering 14 sites in nine states for possible presidential monument declarations. That included 2.5 million acres of northeastern Montana prairie land proposed as a possible bison range. Also included in the memo were sites in Colorado, Utah, New Mexico, California, Nevada, Arizona, Oregon and Washington. Even after Abbey’s clarification that no plans are in the works, the large crowd remained unconvinced. “I know you said you don’t have any monument plans, but what does Obama have for plans?” said rancher Nick Schultz of Grass Range...more

An interview with BLM director Abbey

Bob Abbey, director of the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, said no "serious discussions" of creating a grasslands national monument in northeastern Montana have occurred within the Interior Department, despite "rhetoric" about a paper he authored on land protections for sensitive public lands. "I just want to put to rest the rumors and address the issues head-on," Abbey told the Tribune in an interview Thursday morning in Great Falls before departing for Malta, where he spoke from 7 to 9 p.m. at the high school. At the same time, Abbey added, grasslands contain unique values "and we need to be smart" in managing them. Abbey, who authored what he described this morning as a "concept paper" called Treasured Landscapes, said he's not ashamed of what's in it and welcomes the opportunity to discuss it with Montanans. Abbey said he used the paper to cite areas that have special characteristics worthy of consideration for additional management protections...more

Kind of funny he would get out from behind the desk and assure everyone it was just a "concept paper", about which there had been no "serious discussions"...right before an election.

Nice try Mr. Abbey, but everyone knows this will be hanging over their heads until the last day of the Obama presidency.

Rehberg Proposes Endangered Species Act Amendment

Montana congressman Denny Rehberg says Montanans are steamed about a federal court decision to relist wolves and he’s proposing changes to the Endangered Species Act. Rehberg's written a bill that would prohibit the “endangered” designation for Grey Wolves in Montana and Idaho. First, however, Rehberg wants the public to look at the bill and offer possible changes. Rehberg’s challenger in the general election generally agrees with the congressman’s idea but he would add language providing compensation to ranchers who lose animals to wolf depredation. Dennis Macdonald says Montana has a good management plan. He says the state is being held hostage by Wyoming’s failure to develop an acceptable plan. [link]

The draft Rehberg bill states, "Any Rocky Mountain gray wolf in Idaho or Montana shall not be treated as an endangered species" and "Each of the States of Idaho and Montana shall have exclusive jurisdiction over the management of Rocky Mountain gray wolves within the borders of that State."

Look how far we have come from the vision of our Founding Fathers of a small federal government with limited and delegated powers to a situation where States can't even management wildlife within their borders unless "permission" is given by the feds.

ESA requires real repairs

For the past year and a half, Congress and the Obama administration have become the Mr. Fix-its of politics. They've strapped on their legislative toolbelts and gone to work in the name of "change." They fixed health care -- even though it wasn't needed -- and they fixed Wall Street just in time for those fat executive bonus checks to go out. But one law that is profoundly broken -- and has been since Richard Nixon signed it in 1973 -- has been totally ignored: the Endangered Species Act. The ESA doesn't accomplish its stated goal -- helping to bring back species from the brink of extinction. Since it was passed, 25 species of plants and animals have been delisted -- most because they were put there by mistake. In all 1,375 plants and animals have been put on the list as threatened or endangered. But not helping endangered species is the least of the act's shortcomings. The ESA is the Gordian knot of laws. It creates problems that cannot be solved. In the Klamath Basin, the Columbia and Snake rivers, the Sacramento Delta, and the forests, rangeland and farms of the West environmental extremists use the ESA as a blunt legal instrument to stop economic activity...more

Though the excuse used by the extremists and their lawyers is to "save" salmon, suckers, smelt, wolves, owls, sage grouse and worms, the real, albeit unstated, goal is to stop economic activity they don't support or to shake the federal money tree, or both.

Plan Proposed to Change Federal Land

Eighteen counties in Western Oregon have proposed federal legislation they say would preserve over a million acres of old growth forest, while selling a million acres of less ecologically sensitive federal land. The proceeds would create a permanent trust to replace the money counties came to rely on from timber payments. It would also help fund a 10-year reauthorization of The Secure Rural Schools and County Self Determination Act -- set to expire next year. But the proceeds from the sale would only cover half that bill. Congress would have to come up with the rest. Doug Robertson represents the counties behind the plan. He says for years elected officials have grappled with the question of what to do with these particular lands. He says they have a different legal standing than other public lands. Robertson says study after study was commissioned but in the end little was done...more

HAPNER v. TIDWELL

No. 09-35896.
United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit.
Argued and Submitted February 4, 2010—Seattle, Washington.
Filed September 15, 2010.

OPINION

W. FLETCHER, Circuit Judge.

The United States Forest Service (the "Service") proposed the Smith Creek Project (the "Project") in the Gallatin National Forest to reduce the risk of severe wildfire, to reduce the risk of insect infestation and disease, and to promote habitat diversity. Sharon Hapner, Alliance for Wild Rockies, and Native Ecosystems Council (collectively "Plaintiffs") challenged the Project, contending that it violated the National Environmental Policy Act ("NEPA") and the National Forest Management Act ("NFMA"). After a remand, the district court granted summary judgment to the Service on all of Plaintiffs' claims.

We affirm the district court in almost all respects. We reverse on only one claim, holding that the Project violates NFMA by failing to comply with the elk-cover requirement contained in the Gallatin National Forest Plan...

Read the entire opinion here.

Wolf-Watching Range Rider Quits

The man who garnered international attention for patrolling on horseback for conflicts between wolves and cattle in eastern Oregon, has left the job. The image of Jason Cunningham on a horse warning ranchers about wolves was featured in newspapers around the Northwest. Film crews from as far away as Australia profiled him, too. Cunningham started as Oregon’s first range rider in July. He quit last week. Neither he nor his boss – a Wallowa County rancher – has returned calls asking for explanation. State officials say that his departure isn’t significant, since someone else is taking his place – and the job of mediating wolf-livestock conflict continues. But multiple sources told OPB that Cunningham was forced out for not being anti-wolf enough. One of the environmental groups raising money to pay the range rider’s salary -- Oregon Wild -- says ranchers kept Cunningham from speaking at a recent meeting the group held on wolf eco-tourism. But Oregon Wild says it still supports the range rider program. OPB

NM outstanding water proposal comes under fire

New Mexico regulators are continuing to hear testimony from environmentalists who are backing a proposal to give special protection to headwater streams, lakes and wetlands in wilderness areas across the state. The New Mexico Supreme Court cleared the way for the hearing to begin in Santa Fe earlier this week, but critics say the court has yet to issue a final ruling on whether the state's petition to designate the streams and lakes as "outstanding national resource waters" meets regulations. Attorney Dan Dolan, who represents a statewide ranchers' group, says the court has given him until Sept. 24 to file a response. He's hopeful that means the court will look closer at the petition. Supporters of the petition say it would be "quite the injustice" if the court halted the proceedings now. AP

World's Smallest Cow is a mere 33 inches tall














A minuscule cow with a taste for contemporary music has been named the world's smallest by the Guinness World Records book. Guinness says the sheep-sized bovine from the West Yorkshire region of northern England measures roughly 33 inches (84 centimeters) from hind to foot. The 11-year-old cow is named Swallow and her owner, Caroline Ryder, said she would spend Thursday either grazing with her herd or listening to BBC radio in her cowshed. Swallow is a Dexter cow, an Irish breed known for its diminutive stature, but is small even by Dexter standards. She already has nine regular-sized calves and is pregnant with her 10th. Guinness said her youngest calf has already grown larger than she is. [link]

Horse and mule sale attracts international buyers and sellers

Buyers and sellers are at the Boone County Fairgrounds this week for one of the biggest horse and mule sales in the country. The Boone County Draft Horse and Mule Sale offers everything from saddles to stallions. Some of the best horses and mules in the world are up for grabs at this sale. People from all across the United States are looking for bargains on some of the world’s best teams of draft horses. This is the only American sale where Canadian Rancher Norman Nikkel sells his horses and mules. Nikkel has been raising horses for three generations on his ranch in Manitoba with some of the top bloodlines in Canada and the United States. “We have a lot of satisfied customers down here," Nikkel said. "We really appreciate them. We really enjoy them. We get to see a lot of our horses that we’ve sold in the show ring. It’s a real pleasure.” Many Amish horse owners from across the country come to the Boone County Fairgrounds for this semi-annual auction. This is the 21st year for the Boone County Draft Horse and Mule Sale. The event gets bigger every year...more

Song Of The Day #408











Ranch Radio will close out the week with a double dose of country.

First up is a song you won't hear everywhere, the 1957 recording of I Want Her Blues by Bob Gallion.

That's followed by a warning to all you Weekend Warriors from Johnny Bond in his recording of Put Me To Bed.

Gallion's tune is on his 20 track CD Out Of A Honky Tonk.

Bond's song is on his 30 track CD Put Me To Bed.


Thursday, September 16, 2010

Ranchers react to ruling on grazing permits

Idaho ranchers expressed disappointment with Monday’s U.S. District Court ruling requiring the Bureau of Land Management to release the names and addresses of grazing permit holders. “We see this as an invasion of privacy,” said Wyatt Prescott, executive vice president of the Idaho Cattlemen’s Association. The Western Watersheds Project and WildEarth Guardians sued for the information under the Freedom of Information Act, and the judge ruled that the public’s need to know about public land use outweighed any privacy concerns. Jon Marvel, Western Watersheds executive director, said the ruling forwarded the cause of transparency in government. Prescott said Marvel’s intent had little to do with transparency. “This is just part of an anti-grazing agenda,” Prescott said. “This is a threat to those families, but not from the standpoint that they’re doing anything wrong.” Prescott said Western Watersheds has the resources to tie ranchers up in litigation until they go broke. He said that would affect the vast majority of Idaho cattle ranchers because most use public land, including corporations such as J.R. Simplot Co. and Agri Beef Co...more

Committee nixes EPA spending vote

The Obama administration scored a minor victory Tuesday when Senate Democrats abandoned plans for a committee vote that could have handcuffed its ability to write climate regulations. The Appropriations Committee canceled Thursday’s markup of the fiscal 2011 spending bill for the Environmental Protection Agency and Interior Department. Republicans were optimistic they would win on an amendment targeting the Environmental Protection Agency’s global warming authority because of help from moderate and conservative Democrats. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), chairwoman of the subcommittee in charge of EPA’s budget, issued a statement blaming the delay on a $100 million amendment offered by the White House Monday affecting the reorganization of the Interior agency that oversees offshore drilling permits and revenue. But Republicans quickly labeled Democrats as chickens, saying the schedule change was really about EPA. “They’ve turned tail and run once again,” said Robert Dillon, a spokesman for Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), a member of the Appropriations Committee. “It’s amazing how afraid they can be to take a vote.”...more

Bozeman man attacked by grizzly while bow hunting

A grizzly bear attacked a Bozeman bow hunter in the southern Gravelly Mountains last Sunday morning, according to a state game warden. Matt Menge suffered a broken right forearm and large cuts on his head from the attack, which he described as a fast and sudden attack in dense forest, said Warden Sam Sheppard with the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks. Sheppard said Menge was bow hunting near the west fork of the Madison River south of Ennis. While he had driven up to the area with a friend, he was hunting alone, traveling back to his truck when the attack happened, he said. "This is just something that has the potential to happen when people archery hunt in those areas with a resident grizzly bear population," Sheppard said. "You're stealthing along, cammo-ed up, being extremely quite and you just bump into them." Menge was carrying pepper spray, but could not reach it before the bear reached him, Sheppard said...more

Outfitter camps drawing grizzlies

Bear managers have relocated five grizzlies in the past week from the Pacific Creek area east of Grand Teton National Park after the bears raided outfitter camps for horse feed. On Sept. 9, Wyoming Game and Fish personnel captured an adult female with three yearling cubs. The bears were relocated to the North Fork of the Shoshone River. “The mother with the cubs got a food reward and did a small amount of damage to a utility trailer,” said Mark Bruscino, Game and Fish bear management program supervisor. Monday, Game and Fish captured another grizzly, an adult male, after he obtained horse feed and damaged a tent. That bear was also relocated to the North Fork of the Shoshone. Bruscino said the Pacific Creek area is a hot spot for bears and also an area highly used by outfitters and other members of the public. The relocations were necessary to ensure public safety, he said...more

Bureaucracy complicated news of man’s fatal grizzly mauling

Fatal bear attacks are rare, and the deadly mauling in June of a botanist by a grizzly bear that researchers had trapped and released just hours earlier is thought to be the first and only such incident in the United States. Any attack on a human by a predator draws intense scrutiny from the news media and the public. But bear attacks around Yellowstone National Park happen in a politically charged climate where every rumor, fact and utterance can become fodder for a wider debate on wildlife management. Internal communications and other documents from federal, state and local agencies gathered using public records laws show that wildlife officials closely monitored media coverage of Evert’s death. But there was no single authority that represented a unified voice for a diverse group of individuals and agencies involved in grizzly bear management. Those documents, and interviews with officials involved with the response to Evert’s death, also show that concern about politics, legal liability and interagency relationships complicated communications with the press and the public...more

Wyoming Delegation Protests Interior Memo

Wyoming's congressional delegation is taking issue with a U.S. Interior Department memorandum that they say suggests a secret plan to restrict land use in the state. Republican Sens. Mike Enzi and John Barrasso and Rep. Cynthia Lummis wrote Interior Secretary Ken Salazar on Wednesday expressing their concerns about the memo. In an internal BLM memo, the agency identified up to 13 million acres nationwide that President Barack Obama could designate as new national monuments. The delegation says the memo mentions using land-use planning to limit oil and gas development in Wyoming. The Interior Department has insisted the memo is nothing more than brainstorming. Federal law prohibits the president from designating monuments in Wyoming without congressional approval. The delegation says the memo appears to suggest ways to circumvent the law. AP

Forest supervisors oppose mega-loads

Supervisors of the Clearwater and Lolo national forests say they're concerned allowing oversized loads of oil processing equipment to travel from Lewiston into Montana could set a precedent that transforms the scenic highway into an industry byway. Clearwater supervisor Rick Brazell and Lolo supervisor Deborah Austin each wrote letters to the Departments of Transportation in both states. The Lewiston Tribune reports both are concerned that the slow-moving loads which will cause periodic road closures could hamper public access to the forest, pose safety hazards, alter natural views and disturb campers. Both Brazell and Austin acknowledge that they have little authority to prevent the shipments, but asked the state agencies to consider the long-term effects of permitting the loads. AP

MT ranchers go to court to end well exemptions

Montana ranchers are asking a state court to review a Department of Natural Resources and Conservation ruling that said homes built in rural areas can be exempted from water permit rules. Four ranchers and a conservation group, the Clark Fork Coalition, were named in the lawsuit. It was filed Tuesday in Lewis and Clark County, and says the DNRC was wrong to uphold well exemptions in an August decision. More than 70,000 permit exemptions have been granted in recent decades, allowing developers to drill wells despite senior rights held by other water users...more

Salmonella at Egg Farm Traced to 2008

A major egg producer linked to an outbreak of salmonella that has sickened more than 1,500 people conducted tests as far back as 2008 that indicated the possible presence of the dangerous bacteria in its henhouses, according to records released on Tuesday by Congressional investigators. The records show that there were 73 instances over about two years in which sponges swabbed on egg conveyor belts and other areas in Wright County Egg’s barns showed the presence of salmonella bacteria, including the strain that infects eggs and causes human illness. In at least one case, further tests showed that the toxic form, Salmonella enteritidis, was present. Records the company provided to Congress, however, “did not show whether Wright County Egg took appropriate steps to protect the public after receiving the positive test results,” Representative Bart Stupak, a Michigan Democrat who is chairman of the House Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, wrote in a letter this week to Austin J. DeCoster, the owner of the company...more

FDA poised to impose limits on antibiotic use in meat animals

Dispensing antibiotics to healthy animals is routine on the large, concentrated farms that now dominate American agriculture. But the practice is increasingly condemned by medical experts who say it contributes to a growing scourge of modern medicine: the emergence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, including dangerous E. coli strains that account for millions of bladder infections each year, as well as resistant types of salmonella and other microbes. Now, after decades of debate, the Food and Drug Administration appears poised to issue its strongest guidelines on animal antibiotics yet, intended to reduce what it calls a clear risk to human health. They would end farm uses of the drugs simply to promote faster animal growth and call for tighter oversight by veterinarians. The agency’s final version is expected within months, and comes at a time when animal confinement methods, safety monitoring and other aspects of so-called factory farming are also under sharp attack. The federal proposal has struck a nerve among major livestock producers, who argue that a direct link between farms and human illness has not been proved. The producers are vigorously opposing it even as many medical and health experts call it too timid...more

12th annual Sheep Wagon Days kicks off today in Craig

If ever there were a reason to adopt a sheep’s state of mind, the next few days would be an ideal time to follow the flock. The 12th annual Craig Sheep Wagon Days begins today on the grounds of the Wyman Museum. Running through the weekend, the agri-tourism event includes numerous educational demonstrations about the heritage of sheep ranching in the area and the craftsmanship of yesteryear. Blacksmiths, saddle-makers and leather workers will be on hand to show attendees what life was like when regional ranchers created their own tools and equipment in the 1800s and early 1900s. Exhibitions about weaving, butter-making, sheep-shearing and branding also give the experience of life on the ranch for local students and visitors...more

Baxter Black: It's your head or your pocketbook

I was sitting on the beach reading the Malibu, Calif., newspaper to acquaint myself with local concerns. There were the usual stories: real estate, recession, anti-motorcycle rants, the Interior Secretary's visit to the park and the anti-rodenticide brigade. The second page had a story complete with photos of a very sick bobcat. One of the Valley Wildlife Care group diagnosed him as having "active rodenticide poisoning." I called the group's number. The answering machine said they were too busy to handle "information calls" since they were deluged with people bringing in injured birds, mostly baby birds that had fallen from their nests. They require so much care. They reported that in order to save the anemic bobcat, a healthy bobcat donor had arrived from almost 200 miles away to administer a blood transfusion. The prognosis was "poor." As a kid I can remember trying to feed baby birds with an eyedropper and taping splints on varmints' broken legs. I don't think I saved many. Rocket forward 50 years and veterinary medicine is now capable of performing almost any procedure that can be done in humans. The question then arises, is there any limit on how much one can reasonably spend to save a dying bobcat? How much would Gandhi spend?...more

Song Of The Day #407

Ranch Radio's selection today is She Took by Johnnie Lee Wills.

This version is on his 14 track LP album Rompin', Stompin', Singin', Swingin' on Bear Family Records.


Recent violence forces Juarez to cancel Diez y Seiz celebration

Heavy security has moved in as Mexico celebrates the bicentennial of its independence. Worries that drug cartels could launch an attack during the holiday festivities has the country on edge. Those fears have led Juarez to cancel its Diez Seis de Septiembre, Independence Day celebration. The mood in Juarez is tense. And this year's celebration should have been bigger than ever. September 16 marks 200 year's since Mexico declared independence from Spain, but vendors are struggling to sell even a few flags. Last year the streets were filled with festive stands as Juarez prepared for the independence day holiday. But this year the border city has cancelled the public celebration. The mayor will still give the grito - or re-enact the cry for independence. But the ceremony will be brief and is not expected to attract a crowd...more

Here is the KENS-TV news report:


Neighbors fearful of violence in the desert

In the wake of a recent murder, where a man was shot and burned on the Ironwood Forest National Monument this weekend, people living in the area are worried for their safety. "These things happen a lot, and have happened over the years quite a bit." Cindy Coping is talking about the violence near her home Northwest of Tucson. "You're very aware of your surroundings at all times, you're armed most of the time. And you know when somebody's coming down the road you take notice of it and you get a good look at them," Coping said. Coping, a cattle rancher, worries because of incidents like this when detectives found a body shot and burned South of her ranch this weekend. "It came to a head in 2007 when we had a murder out here, a mass shooting." She's referring to a shooting that happened just outside their home. Four gunmen opened fire on this truck carrying 10 illegal immigrants, three of them died. "People were left out here, some of them were, they were spread out over quite a distance."...more

Pinal County sheriff, residents plead for anti-smuggling help

But in July, the Murphrees saw more than the occasional mountain lion. For at least three days, a man appeared to be surveying the area from a cave on the mountainside. The Pinal County Sheriff's Office believes that man, a Mexican national who has since been deported, was a lookout for smugglers. "It's scary," Pennee Murphree said. "We just want the public to know it's close and it's real and there's a criminal element there." The Murphrees and other residents told their stories Wednesday alongside Sheriff Paul Babeu, who is calling for more federal help while at the same time asking the county to fund an anti-smuggling unit of his own. Babeu said government officials have been dismissive of his claims of escalating violence associated with illegal immigration and drug smuggling. He said 14 bodies - all connected to drug or human smuggling - were found in the Pinal County desert between January and August and that Sheriff's Office calls for assistance from the U.S. Border Patrol through July nearly topped all requests for help made last year. Residents are also reporting more run-ins with smuggling elements, Babeu said. Nancy Henderson was at work last Tuesday when her home outside Arizona City was burglarized, presumably by smugglers or illegal immigrants. Gone were a cache of guns, batteries, food, night vision gear and socks. Tracks from her home led into the desert. "This isn't happening at the border," Henderson said. "This is happening in my backyard, and I strongly believe if something's not done now to stop these people, it's going to be in all your backyards before long. . . . This is America, the land of the free, and I don't feel free right now."...more

Mexican police neutralize car bomb in border city

Mexican police carried out the controlled detonation of a car bomb Saturday in the troubled border city of Ciudad Juarez, across from Texas. A phone tip around midnight led authorities to a dead body in a car in a shopping center parking lot, the federal Public Safety Department said in a statement. In a second car, police found the bomb. Agents deactivated the device and removed most of the explosive material to analyze it before safely detonating the vehicle, the department said. There were no injuries. Juarez is the same city where drug traffickers staged the first successful car bombing in Mexico, killing three people in July. There have been three other vehicle explosions in recent weeks in Ciudad Victoria, capital of the border state of Tamaulipas...more

Juarez Violence Changing Lives: UTEP Students Affected

In May, 2010, UTEP student Alejandro Ruiz Salazar, 19—also an employee of the Graduate School—was the first known UTEP student slain in Juarez since the beginning of the current drug war. The same day, former UTEP student Jorge Pedro Gonzalez Quintero, 21, was murdered. According to Steve McCraw, Director of the Texas Department of Public Safety, the situation in Mexico is worse now than the Colombian drug war of the 1980s and 1990s ever was. “Colombia was never threatened like the government of Mexico is with the level of violence,” McCraw stated at a Capitol hearing. “At first, we all saw the violence and murders as something that would never happen to us but now so many families have been torn apart, and a once prosperous, to some extent happy city, has been destroyed,” Acosta commented. As of July, 2010, a new record for fatalities has been reached in Juarez: 1,645 homicides in a seven-month period. Despite President Felipe Calderon’s war against organized crime, 6,022 crimes have taken place in Juarez from January 2008 to July 24th of this year. This deadly toll includes children, men, women, and even foreigners that have lost their lives in this dangerous city. Mexican federal authorities report that 25% of homicides related to organized crime in the country are committed in Juarez alone...more

LA Times: The killings don't stop in Ciudad Juarez

Drug-related violence continues to consume Ciudad Juarez in northern Mexico, just across the border from El Paso. Last Thursday's toll of 25 killed over a three-hour period rattled a city that is already accustomed to numerous deaths a day. It was the highest single-day toll recorded in the border city since the violence erupted there more than two years ago. Victims in Thursday's shootings range in age from 15 to 67. They were mostly ambushed inside their homes, reports the El Paso Times. Ciudad Juarez Mayor Jose Reyes Ferriz said the killings were believed to be acts of retaliation by the Juarez cartel for an alleged kidnapping of a child by the rival Sinaloa cartel. What's not clear is what all those victims had to do with the alleged kidnapping...more

Mexico's Top Migration Official Quits After Senate Hearing

Mexico's commissioner of National Migration Institute has resigned after being summoned by the Senate in the wake of the massacre of 72 migrants by suspected drug traffickers that shocked a northern Mexican state bordering Texas, U.S. Senators summoned Cecilia, who is also the former president of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee for Latin America and the Caribbean, to explain measures her office had taken to protect migrants moving through Mexico. Cutting across party lines, the senators condemned the massacre and acknowledged that Mexico could not "demand respect for its nationals in the United States" when it "does not assure the dignified treatment" of migrants from other countries on its own territory...more

Front-and-center sheriff does not take role lightly

With appearances on cable news channels and in front of Congress members increasing exponentially these last few months, Cochise County Sheriff Larry Dever has become one of the most visible faces and loudest voices representing the efforts of local-level law enforcement to force the hand of the federal government to take stronger measures to secure the nation's border with Mexico. "It's been an interesting set of circumstances that have led to this," Dever said in a phone interview Thursday. Dever was speaking from New Mexico, where his position in the national conversation about border security was highlighted once again after he was elected chairman of the Southwest Border Sheriff's Coalition. "All of these guys are saying the same thing, speaking with one voice," he said of the sheriffs from 26 border counties that make up the organization, which was formed three years ago in an effort to better combat border violence...more

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Deputies Rope & Handcuff 7-Foot Alligator Near Florida School

Deputies in Florida had to handcuff a rather unusual suspect -- a 7.5-foot-long alligator. Three deputies in a Tampa-area school trapped an alligator roaming lounging against a wall near the Forest Lakes Elementary school Monday morning. A crossing guard at a Tampa-area school spotted the gator around the time children would be walking to school. She immediately called the deputies, who called a trapper when they arrived. The trapper wasn't able to get to the area right away, and the alligator started moving toward the intersection where kids were crossing to get to school, according to the sheriff's office. The deputies roped the gator's neck and tail as the animal rolled and thrashed, its tail breaking off chunks of stucco from a nearby wall. Deputies later secured the gator's mouth with electrical tape and handcuffed its hind legs. Florida Fish and Wildlife officials took custody of the animal until the trapper arrived. Fox

This may start a new headin' & heelin' event. I expect Denny Gentry will be promoting this at the World Series of Team Roping finals. I'm sure Gator Ropes will be a big sponsor.

A friend and I were discussing the pro's, con's and possible problems with gator roping this afternoon, and he later sent the following:


A common problem for team roping producers is: what to do with corriente cattle once they get too big. Cattle are forced to be slaughtered and eaten by the same ropers that tormented them during their earthly days. Luckily for gators there is a reptile rescue for gators in Mosca, Colorado. Established in 1990, on an old tilapia farm and fed by geo-thermal hot springs. Here the gators can live out their lives in comfort and ease. There is even a “gator rodeo” for reptile reminiscing about the old days when they out ran the ropers. All of this is true, although I can’t believe someone actually has gators near Alamosa.

Do ya think he is kidding? Then go check out Colorado Gator & Reptile Park

My friend also said there would be a place for the gators to go prior to final retirement:


As the gators age and become slower, they are relegated to serve as roping stock in “businessmen’s" roping around the country. These older, more sophisticated gentlemen really like the handbags, wallets, boots and briefcases given away as prizes.

As a former roper though, I know there are many questions about gator roping that need an answer. For instance:

Will this be a team tyin' event rather than team roping? In other words the ropers are tied hard and fast and the header dismounts and ties a square knot (rather than handcuffs) on the hind legs?

Or will it be dally team roping, and if so does the heeler catch the tail (like the deputies) or those short hind legs? How do you make a gator "hop" anyway?

Will Gentry have to modify the settings on the WS Barrier for gator ropings?

Will corriente gators from Mexico turn out to be superior to the Florida variety?

How much will you have to pay the guys in the strippin' chute?

Clem McSpadden used to have big pasture ropings, so couldn't we do the same with gators? I would propose the ropings be held in a Wildlife Refuge. Hey Gentry, I'd be glad to help you on that one. Just call Obama and tell him you're a community organizer from Crow Flats and I'm sure you'll get it approved right away.

The Green Police

Beware the green police. They don't carry guns and there's no police academy to train them, but if you don't recycle your trash properly, they can walk up your driveway and give you a $100 ticket. They know what's in your trash, they know what you eat, they know how often you bring your recycles to the curb -- and they may be coming to your town soon. That is, if they're not already there. In a growing number of cities across the U.S., local governments are placing computer chips in recycling bins to collect data on refuse disposal, and then fining residents who don't participate in recycling efforts and forcing others into educational programs meant to instill respect for the environment. From Charlotte, N.C., to Cleveland, Ohio, from Boise, Idaho, to Flint, Mich., the green police are spreading out. And that alarms some privacy advocates who are asking: Should local governments have the right to monitor how you divide your paper cups from your plastic forks? Is that really the role of government? In Dayton, Ohio, chips placed in recycle bins transmit information to garbage trucks to keep track of whether residents are recycling -- a program that incensed Arizona Sen. John McCain, who pointed out that the city was awarded half a million dollars in stimulus money for it...more

Montana Coalition Formed to Oppose National Monument

A coalition of several Montana industry associations has been formed to oppose President Obama's plan to set aside millions of acres in Montana as a national monument. They plan to stand in opposition to the plan on Sept 16, when Robert Abbey, (pictured) Washington, D.C., director of the Department of Interior's Bureau of Land Management (BLM), will speak in Malta about the proposal at the invitation of Phillips County Commissioners. The President's plan "would halt Montana's economic recovery," says Dave Galt, Executive Director of the Montana Petroleum Association. "Montana's major employers are industries that work the land to produce products that people use: coal, energy, and food. The administration's Monuments proposal would mean the end of the line for many farmers, ranchers and companies. And, it would mean more shuttered schools in rural communities," said Galt. Many school districts, which rely upon revenues from natural resource production are joining forces with the coalition, which in addition to the MPA includes, the Montana Farm Bureau, the Montana Mining Assoc., Montana Rural Education Association, Montana Stockgrowers Assoc., and Montana Woods Products Assoc...more

Ranchers voice concern over bombing range expansion

Ray Jilek said he worries his Spearfish business will be crippled if the Air Force goes ahead with plans to dramatically increase its training airspace across South Dakota, North Dakota, Wyoming and Montana. The chief pilot at Eagle Aviation joined about 100 other people Tuesday at the first of several listening sessions over the proposed expansion of the Powder River Training Complex, where B-1B Lancer and B-52 Stratofortress bomber pilots train. Jilek expressed concern over an Air Force plan that would at times redirect his flights to and from Billings, Mont. “This effectively will cripple aviation in our area,” Jilek said after the hearing at the Rushmore Plaza Holiday Inn. “I’m concerned that they haven’t even considered the business traveler who will wait an extra four hours.” Ranchers said the area will be ruined by the noise of the bombers flying at only 500 feet and upward of 500 mph. “We treasure our peace and quiet,” said rancher Marvin Kammerer, who ranches near Ellsworth Air Force Base. “If it’s so safe, then why don’t they just fly over Rapid City at midnight and let them hear the sound of freedom?”...more

Fracking for natural gas: EPA hearings bring protests

Public hearings over hydraulic fracturing or "fracking" brought hundreds of protesters to Binghamton, N.Y., Monday, carrying signs and shouting slogans either opposing or favoring expansion of the controversial process for extracting natural gas from shale. The Environmental Protection Agency's public hearings are part of a broad investigation, begun in March, into the human health and environmental effects of fracking – focusing on air pollution and water pollution. The chemical effects that fracking fluids may have on water supplies after being injected into the ground to extract gas are a special focus. But a new study conducted for the American Public Power Association (APPA) suggests that if wider use of natural gas in electric power production comes to pass nationwide – as many analysts now expect – such controversies may be just beginning. "Even if fracturing continues, serving a much larger market will require even more drilling that is already at record levels," the APPA study found...more

N.M. official: Headwaters deserve special protection

Nearly half of New Mexico's surface water comes from federal forest lands, and some of those headwater streams, lakes and wetlands deserve special protections to ensure they continue providing clean water for the state, a top official with the New Mexico Environment Department said Tuesday. Marcy Leavitt, head of the department's Water and Wastewater Division, was among the experts who testified before the Water Quality Control Commission at the start of a four-day hearing at the state capitol. The commission is considering a petition by the department that aims to designate about 700 miles of rivers and streams, 29 lakes and more than 4,900 acres of wetlands in a dozen wilderness areas as so-called "outstanding national resource waters." The designation would protect the waters by prohibiting any activities that would degrade water quality. Critics, including the New Mexico Cattle Growers Association and some local water groups, argue that resources in wilderness areas are already protected and that such a broad designation could harm rural New Mexico. Two state senators Democrat Phil Griego, of San Jose, and Republican Clint Harden, of Clovis also raised objections during Tuesday's hearing. They pointed to a joint memorial passed by the Legislature in 2009 that opposed the outstanding waters initiative until more scientific data could be collected. Officials with the New Mexico Game and Fish Department testified that providing additional protections to headwaters could benefit wildlife, including threatened and endangered species...more

Oilfield truck traffic hurting county roads

Increased oilfield traffic in the southern reaches of Eddy County is causing damage to county roads that were not built to accommodate heavy trucks. To address the issues, county leaders, Bureau of Land Management officials from the Carlsbad Field Office and representatives from the oil and gas industry are meeting to see if a coalition can be formed to help the county with road maintenance and road development in the future. Jim Stovall, BLM Carlsbad Field Office manager, said last week BLM staff and county commissioners sat down together for a preliminary meeting. Future meetings will include representatives from the oil and gas industry. Eddy County Commissioner Tony Hernandez said oil and gas traffic has increased at an "extreme rate," especially in District 1, which is his district. "Those vehicles are doing a lot of damage to our roads. The roads are old rural roads that were probably built 30 to 40 years ago and utilized by the ranching community" Hernandez said. "The roads were not built to accommodate heavy oilfield trucks. I get phone calls on a daily basis regarding county road conditions. It's not that our road department is not doing its job. They can't keep up with the maintenance because of the rough conditions of the county roads caused by oilfield traffic."...more

Cooper earns biggest career win at Justin Boots Playoffs

A win at one rodeo can change everything. Just ask Clif Cooper. The 22-year-old Decatur, Texas, cowboy earned the biggest win of his career when he roped and tied a calf in 8.0 seconds in the final round of the Justin Boots Playoffs, Sept. 12 at the Fair & Events Center. Cooper won $13,500 overall, and the triumph moved him from 18th to seventh place in the Wrangler Million Dollar Tour Standings, assuring him a spot in the Justin Boots Championships, Sept. 23-25, in Omaha, Neb. The middle son of ProRodeo Hall of Famer Roy Cooper, Clif came into the competition unheralded and with $17,686 in Tour money. He left western Washington a different man and with total Tour money of $31,186. “I have always said I was the late bloomer, and it was going to happen sooner or later,” Clif Cooper said. Clif’s older brother, Clint, and younger brother, Tuf, have both qualified for the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo twice...more

Song Of The Day #406

Ranch Radio will hurry back to the traditional sound for the rest of the week.

Today's selection is Hey Joe! by Carl Smith.

You'lll find the tune on his 20 track CD The Essential, 1950-1956.


Tuesday, September 14, 2010

How Food Recalls Work – A Behind-the-Scenes Look at Distribution Technology

This is from an interesting post at The Distribution Blog:

However, not all farmers are keeping tabs on everything that flows out of their farm. Surprisingly, despite all the recalls in recent years, farmers are not legally required to track their produce. I spoke about this issue with Dennis Ferrarelli of Produce Pro, Inc., a leading provider of software for the distribution of perishable goods, and he emphasized the importance of planning ahead. In fact, some industry groups are advocating for recall planning guidelines, such as the Produce Traceability Initiative (PTI). The PTI’s ultimate goal is supply chain-wide adoption of electronic traceability for every case of produce by the year 2012. In order to accomplish this, the PTI has encouraged use of the Global Trade Item Number (GTIN), which would include a company’s unique prefix and reference numbers for the individual product. With such specificity written into each GTIN, companies could pinpoint the contamination source and recall only the affected items, avoiding a disastrous total recall. However, many farmers pass on this opportunity because they are often expected to front the costs related to traceability themselves. By the time a farm has paid for its GS1 Company prefix, installed barcode scanners and printers, and made arrangements to label every case with a barcode, it could be looking at a $200,000 implementation. So, each farmer has a choice: spend a lot of money upfront to make food recalls easier or save that money and hope a recall never happens. Similar to the health insurance situation, traceability advocates would like to force farmers to make the first choice for the presumed benefit of the farm as well as the consumer. Should farmers be legally required to join these initiatives? Will the U.S. government stop walking on eggshells with this issue before we find ourselves talking about the great food recall of 2011? Share your opinion in the comments section below.

Republicans Request Full Committee Hearing on Dangerous Federal Lands Near Southern Border

WASHINGTON, D.C., Sep 14 - Today, all 20 Republicans on the House Natural Resources Committee sent a letter to Chairman Nick Rahall (D-WV) highlighting the recent violence and increase of criminal activities on public lands near the U.S.-Mexico border. Letter excerpts: “Drug smuggling, murders, human trafficking and other illegal activities have become prevalent on America’s public lands, including National Parks, National Forests, Wildlife Refuges, and other protected areas near our Southern border. In June, the Washington Post reported that since 2006 over 23,000 people have been killed due to drug violence in Mexico—violence that is spilling into, and through, our federal lands.” “As the Committee of jurisdiction over the majority of our federal lands and considering the gravity of the current situation, we believe it is this Committee’s duty to act to ensure that both public safety and environmental protection are achieved on public lands by taking the steps necessary to fully secure the border against cartels and criminals. The American people deserve straight answers from the agencies responsible for protecting our borders and public lands. There is simply no excuse for allowing government policies to continue that hamper the Border Patrol and create paths of access to violent criminal activity. This situation is what led Republicans to introduce a legislative solution (H.R. 5016) that very simply ensures the Border Patrol has the authority to achieve operational control of the border on public lands.” “In addition to calling both Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar and Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano before the Committee, we request that a hearing include witnesses from the relevant agencies, including the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Forest Service, National Park Service, and the Bureau of Land Management. State and local law enforcement should also be included.”...Press Release

New Nonprofit To Take Over Wolf Payments

Defenders of Wildlife on Friday wrapped up its long-standing program of compensating ranchers for livestock killed by endangered Mexican gray wolves, as the payment program is shifted to another nonprofit organization. Now Fish and Wildlife is in the process of setting up a board of stakeholders, including both ranchers and conservationists, that will decide how to disburse funds managed by the Washington, D.C.-based National Fish and Wildlife Foundation. The program has been dubbed the Mexican Wolf Interdiction Trust Fund. The payments will compensate ranchers for animal losses attributed to wolves, as well for trying to minimize conflicts between lobos and livestock. Those efforts could include hazing wolves, setting up fencing or paying range riders to protect herds, according to Tom Buckley, spokesman for the Fish and Wildlife Service's regional office in Albuquerque. Caren Cowan, executive director of the New Mexico Cattle Growers' Association, said "it was very generous of Defenders to do a program at all, since we believe it was the federal government's responsibility." But Cowan said the standard Defenders had set for a confirmed wolf kill in order for ranchers to receive compensation was "so high that we believe only a small percentage of the animals killed was being compensated." Cowan said she hoped the board determining payments from the Mexican Wolf Interdiction Trust Fund employs a lower standard for confirmed wolf kills...more

Lawsuit Could End Fire Retardant Use After 2011

As many as nine air tankers have dropped retardant -- a mixture of water, fertilizer and red dye -- on both the Fourmile Canyon fire in Boulder County and the Reservoir Road fire in Larimer County. The retardant is used to build a perimeter around a fire and not dropped directly on the flames to put out the fire. "It's not an extinguishment, it's a retardant. It's basically there to slow down and help the ground crews 100 percent," said David Stickler, a pilot for one of the lead planes that guides and acts as a lookout for an air tanker. "You want to stop it so when the fire's coming up towards the house, it's going to slow down at that point and let the ground firefighters get in there and knock it down the rest of the way." A federal lawsuit filed in 2003 and another in 2008 by the Forest Service Employees for Environmental Ethics calls into question the use of fire retardant. The lawsuit suggests the mixture jeopardizes fish, plants and other habitat...more

OUR VIEW: Radicals try to stop firefighting planes (vote)

What’s more dangerous? Forest fires or lawsuits by radical environmental groups?...They look to the sky, hoping for the comfort of aircraft that drop red retardant — missions flown by brave men and women who have long been considered essential special forces in our wars against wildfires. Maybe the right drop will save their home. But the sky is empty, devoid of the aircraft that fly into smoke. The planes are grounded because environmentalists feared fire retardant might kill fish, or harm endangered plants. They filed a lawsuit to stop the aerial missions. One of the litigants spoke about a conspiracy called the “fire industrial complex,” in which government spends millions to enrich private contractors who dump retardant. If this lawsuit and the odd conspiracy theory sound far-fetched, they are not. It is all in the works. An environmental group known as the Forest Service Employees for Environmental Ethics filed suit to stop the aerial drops twice since 2003, and in July a judge gave them a favorable ruling instead of laughing them out of court...more

BLM denies it sent mustangs to slaughter auction

Wild horse advocates are asking the federal government to investigate allegations that the Bureau of Land Management sent 172 Nevada mustangs to an auction attended by "slaughter buyers" in July. The horses were rounded up by the BLM in the Pilot Creek Valley area near Wendover and auctioned off in Fallon on July 10. By law, federally-protected horses can't be sold for slaughter, but the agency says the horses sent to the auction were abandoned domestic horses or their offspring, not federally-protected mustangs. Such "estray" or "feral" horses aren't covered by the 1971 law that protects established herds of free-roaming mustangs. Federally-protected wild horses can't be legally sold for food, but estrays can be sold for eventual slaughter in Mexico or Canada, where firms provide horse meat for human and animal consumption. "I'm disgusted the BLM did what it did with these horses," said Jill Starr, president of Lifesavers Wild Horse Rescue. Starr bought 169 of the horses at the auction. Six have been adopted and the remainder will be offered for adoption or released in a sanctuary, she said. "The BLM makes the majority of the decisions on estrays based on physical appearance and or brands on the animals as well as history of unauthorized horse activity in the area," said Bryan Fuell, field manager of BLM's Elko District Office...more

Forest Service will spend $10 million to return Cold War site to nature

The U.S. Forest service says it will spend $10 million to raze a former Cold War defense facility and return its mountaintop site to nature. On a 5,960-foot mountain peak 40 miles east of San Diego, the Laguna Mountain Air Force base was a busy place in the Cold War as hundreds of personnel -- technicians, radar scanners and military brass -- tracked Soviet submarines cruising off San Diego, prepared to alert the nation in case of nuclear attack, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported. The federal government wants to raze the mountaintop complex of nearly a dozen gutted and derelict structures closed for 25 years. The Forest Service will stage a groundbreaking ceremony Thursday to open the restoration project, which is expected to be completed by early 2012...more

Your "stimulus" funds at work. A more complete story is here.

Tucson-based advocacy group makes industry of suing on behalf of wildlife

Wearing a rakishly unbuttoned short-sleeved shirt and two days’ worth of stubble, Kieran Suckling looks more like an auto mechanic than one of the most influential and polarizing wildlife conservationists in the country. But when he talks about how he came to devote a career to animal advocacy, he betrays an academic career steeped in philosophy and biological diversity. It’s a philosophy that has catapulted Suckling – and the Tucson-based group he co-founded and now directs, the Center for Biological Diversity – to the forefront of the 21st century conservation movement. The group has achieved its high profile in part through its litigation-based approach to conservation. Since July 1, for example, the center has filed 12 lawsuits to prevent development around the country that it contends would threaten various endangered species. Even the center’s detractors, however, concede that it is remarkably successful at effecting change through litigation. Suckling boasts that the center has achieved a favorable outcome in 93 percent of the lawsuits in which it has participated...more

"rakishly unbuttoned"? My, my.

Wal-Mart Accused by Labor Union, Farmers of Suppressing Agriculture Prices

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is the target of an unlikely alliance between a labor union and farmers and ranchers who say the world’s largest retailer is using its power to hold down prices in the agriculture industry. The United Food and Commercial Workers International Union, which has tried unsuccessfully to unionize Wal-Mart’s employees, is urging the Obama administration to broaden its antitrust inquiry into meat, dairy and seed businesses to include the retailer. Wal-Mart’s defenders say its policies benefit consumers, ensuring them low prices. The viewpoint of the union, the UFCW, is echoed by such groups as the National Farmers Union, a 190,000-member organization. Until recently, farmers and ranchers had mostly been directing their ire at meat producers such as Tyson Foods Inc. and Smithfield Foods Inc. Now some are saying Wal-Mart, whose motto is “Save money. Live better,” is unfairly cutting food costs at their expense. “We’ve got to really join forces if we’re going to win against this abusive market power,” Mike Callicrate, a rancher based in Colorado Springs, Colorado, said in an interview. Wal-Mart’s critics said they anticipate, after years of government reluctance to regulate farming, that President Barack Obama will inject more competition into the food-producing business. Antitrust investigators usually are concerned about rising, not falling prices, which are a cornerstone of Wal-Mart’s business strategy, said Andrew Gavil, a law professor at Howard University in Washington...more

Trapping Ban in New Mexico

Lame duck governor Bill Richardson, Democrat, recently ordered a six month ban on legal furbearer trapping throughout the Gila and Apache National Forests in New Mexico because of reintroduced Mexican gray wolves. The reasoning within Executive Order 2010-029 states that the wolves are “suffering from human development, reduction in habitat, and hunting”. Yet no provisions in the order were made to address any of those so-called impediments to the constantly faltering reintroduction effort. Trapping was singled out instead. The order directs the Game & Fish Department to “undertake a study of the various traps” used in the so-called “wolf recovery area” and “pursue appropriate regulations to allow trapping within the Recovery Area …and…pose minimum risk of harm or injury to the Mexican gray wolf”. Well, this has already been done for legal citizen trappers, but it has NOT been regulated for wildlife agencies and their minions routinely trapping these same wolves. But the governor either doesn’t know of or care about such a discrepancy. When I worked for the Arizona Game & Fish Department, for example, shooting from vehicles and across roads, as well as the use of traps that were deemed illegal for citizens were considered “biologically justifiable” and were standard actions. Close scrutiny of the Mexican wolf reintroduction doesn’t hold up very well in this department either; and doesn’t help Governor Richardson’s reasoning at all. The federal Wildlife Services (APHIS/WS) was given the responsibility of trapping these wolves for a variety of reasons from the inception of the reintroduction program. The animals were trapped to put or change radio collars on them; to inoculate them; to relocate them or possibly to euthanize them. All of these captures were and still are done with #7 McBride foothold traps, a rig that is illegal for citizens of either Arizona or New Mexico to use...more

Court Clears NM Headwaters Protection Hearings

Hearings on protecting New Mexico's headwaters will go on as planned today. That was the word from the state Supreme Court late Monday, after the court rejected a request from the Cattle Growers Association to stop the hearings. The association is concerned about a proposal from the Environment and Game and Fish Departments to designate 700 miles of rivers and streams, 29 lakes, and about 6,000 acres of wetlands in the state as "outstanding national resource waters," and how that might interfere with grazing allotments on Forest Service land. If the proposal is approved, the U.S. Forest Service would be required to protect the current water quality of those waters, which are mostly located in wilderness areas, and include some key headwaters, according to Lorimier. "Those are streams that originate in the Gila, to streams that are ephemeral, and originate in foothills, or in higher elevations that don't have spring activity."...more

Also see this from the Cattle Growers.

NM State Fair administrator nabbed for DWI

One of the New Mexico State Fair's leading administrators was picked up late last night for drunk driving on a street just off the fairgrounds. Chief Financial Officer Joseph McIntyre was charged with his 2nd DWI Offense, but State Fair leaders aren't talking publicly about it. According to the criminal complaint, the 42-year old McIntyre was picked up on Central Avenue near Louisiana, which is located just outside of the State Fairgrounds. An Albuquerque Police officer saw McIntyre's vehicle make a U-turn in the middle of Central Avenue. When the officer tried to pull the vehicle over, the driver "came to a jerking stop in the middle of Central Avenue." Police say McIntyre had bloodshot eyes with the smell of alcohol coming from his face. He also had slurred speech...more

County Sues Farmer, Cites Too Many Crops

DeKalb County is suing a local farmer for growing too many vegetables, but he said he will fight the charges in the ongoing battle neighbors call “Cabbagegate.” Fig trees, broccoli and cabbages are among the many greens that line the soil on Steve Miller’s more than two acres in Clarkston, who said he has spent fifteen years growing crops to give away and sell at local farmers markets. “It's a way of life, like it's something in my blood,” said Miller. In January, Dekalb County code enforcement officers began ticketing him for growing too many crops for the zoning and having unpermitted employees on site. Miller stopped growing vegetables this summer and the charges were put on hold as he got the property rezoned. Two weeks after approval, however, his attorney said the county began prosecuting the old charges, saying he was technically in violation before the rezoning. Miller faces nearly $5,000 in fines, but he said he plans to fight those citations in recorders court later this month...more

Los Payasos - gov't at work.

Charlie Daniels, Unsung Singing Hero

It was some thirty years ago when I first caught a Charlie Daniels concert. He was the back-up to the Marshall Tucker Band at the old Capital Centre outside Washington D.C., and that night, he stole the show. When he finished his blazing set the audience erupted and brought him back for an encore. When the Marshall Tucker Band finished their rather good performance, it made no difference: the capacity crowd roared for yet another performance from Charlie Daniels. It’s a metaphor for his life. At a time when he should, deservedly be disappearing into the shadows, he’s back – with the crowd roaring once again. Despite recovering from a stroke and nearing his 74th birthday, Charlie still plays about 100 concerts a year, including Sean Hannity’s “Freedom Concerts” to benefit the children of our fallen and disabled U.S. soldiers through Ollie North’s Freedom Alliance. So much has Charlie become ingrained in the “Freedom Concerts” (he performed in all eight shows this year) and in the effort to support our military worldwide that he deserves his own tribute. He is America’s unsung singing hero...more

Song Of The Day #405

In honor of Charlie Daniels, the Unsung Singing Hero, Ranch Radio will continue Swingin' Monday right on into Tuesday, and bring you two Daniels tunes: The South's Gonna Do It Again and Wichita Jail.

Many enjoy reading Charlie's Soapbox Articles.

New Book and Related Campaign on CAFOs

NEWS ADVISORY

Date: September 13, 2010

From: Cyndie Sirekis, Director of News Services, AFBF

Topic: New Book and Related Campaign on CAFOs
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A new 400-page hardcover photo/essay book, CAFO (Concentration Animal Feeding Operation): The Tragedy of Industrial Animal Factories, will be released on Oct. 1. In addition to 450 photos, the book includes essays by dozens of writer-activists including Michael Pollan, Eric Schlosser, Tim Philpot, Anna Lappe and Wendell Berry. A collection of 30 essays from the hardcover book were published in July in a smaller, paperback version, The CAFO Reader: The Tragedy of Industrial Animal Factories. Both books were edited by Dan Imhoff (author of Food Fight, Farming with the Wild, Paper or Plastic, Building with Vision, and Farming and the Fate of Wild Nature) and may be ordered online from University of California Press and Amazon.com.

The books strive to expose “the horrors of industrial food production.” Referring to CAFOs, the publisher notes, “It is quite possible to banish these animal factories from the face of the Earth; it only takes the will and determination of citizen activists.”

According to promos for the books, “Industrial livestock production is now a leading source of climate-changing emissions, a source of both freshwater and ocean pollution, and a significant contributor to diet-related diseases such as obesity and the spread of foodborne illnesses. The intensive concentration of animals in such crammed and filthy conditions dependent on antibiotic medicines and steady streams of subsidized industrial feeds poses serious moral and ethical concerns for all of us.”

A section of essays in the books is the basis for a related educational campaign, “Putting the CAFO out to Pasture.” Through this effort, activists are calling for major reforms to modern production agriculture, including an end to CAFOs. Consumers are urged to make changes to their diets and support public policy that fosters pasture-based farming for livestock of all types. Additional information is available online at www.cafothebook.org.

The following messages should prove helpful in the event you receive media calls regarding the books and related campaign:

• The treatment, health and well-being of farm animals are of utmost importance to farmers and ranchers. Proper animal care leads to production of high-quality milk, meat and eggs.
• Farmers and ranchers are committed to providing high-quality, healthy food products such as milk, meat and eggs. They know that healthy animals result in healthy food for consumers and that starts with top-notch animal care.
• Nutritious diets, healthy living conditions and good medical care are among the many animal welfare practices routinely used by farmers and ranchers.

In addition, AFBF’s Conversations on Care website contains additional information about how the vast majority of farmers and ranchers care for their animals. That includes the following messages:

• Healthy animals mean healthy food for you and your family.
• For animals to produce meat, milk and eggs, America’s farmers and ranchers must take all possible steps to ensure that animals are well cared for seven days a week, 52 weeks a year.
• As farmers and ranchers, we recognize that superior animal welfare practices lead to the production of high-quality, safe and wholesome meat, milk and eggs, and we’re constantly seeking ways to improve the well-being and comfort of our animals.
• Simply put, without healthy and content animals, farmers and ranchers would not be in business.
• Farmers and ranchers care deeply about the health, well-being and safety of our animals, and we ensure our animals’ well-being through proper management and shelter.
• Farmers and ranchers provide adequate food, water and medical care to protect our
animals’ health.
• We also provide appropriate shelter to ensure livestock can exhibit normal behaviors at rest and remain protected from disease, competition, injury and predators.
• Quality Assurance programs at the national and state levels provide farmers and ranchers with guidelines for the production of safe, wholesome animals, including recommendations on necessary animal handling and facilities.
• Standards for animal care should be based on the expertise of veterinarians, farmers, ranchers and animal scientists -- the people who work with farm animals daily.
• American farmers and ranchers have been working with veterinarians, animal scientists, agricultural engineers and animal well-being experts to continually develop and support reasonable science-based guidelines and audits.
• As the people who work with livestock 24/7, farmers and ranchers, as well as veterinarians and animal care scientists, provide the voices of experience and reason in addressing animal welfare issues.
• Changes to animal well-being guidelines should be based on data, expert analysis and economic feasibility.
• Adding unnecessary costs to U.S. production will increase the amount of food imported from places that have an inferior record on food safety and animal well-being.
• Overzealous standards will increase the price of food, negatively affecting all families trying to make ends meet.
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