Friday, October 29, 2010

Al Gore: Tea Party making climate science a ‘political football’

Al Gore is on the political offensive against global warming skepticism in the Tea Party movement. “Unfortunately the Tea Party movement seems to want to make belief in science a political football,” the former vice president wrote on his website Tuesday afternoon (and tweeted about today). Gore, a longtime advocate of capping greenhouse gases, points to a New York Times story this month that said, “Skepticism and outright denial of global warming are among the articles of faith of the Tea Party movement.” The story cites a recent New York Times/CBS News poll showing that only 14 percent of Tea Party supporters say global warming is having an effect now, and more than half say it won’t have a serious effect in the future. Gore and former President Jimmy Carter (along with liberal activists) are highlighting ties between the Tea Party movement and fossil fuel interests — including the conservative group Americans for Prosperity, which is backed by billionaire David Koch of the energy company Koch Industries. “It’s not a surprise that the groups supporting the Tea Party are funded by the fossil fuel industry,” Gore wrote on his website...more

We'll see whose product is bought by the public.

If we turn to the market for guidance, it appears Tea Party paraphernalia is really selling well.

Do they give a Nobel Peace Prize for T-shirts?

We'll get another measure of public sentiment Tuesday. That's what Gore & Carter are tying to influence anyway.

EPA extends some oil spill plan deadlines for farmers

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has revised a Spill Prevention, Control and Countermeasure (SPCC) deadline that affects farms and other facilities. Farms in business before Aug. 16, 2002, are expected to have in place an SPCC plan based on regulations in effect at the time it was developed. The EPA has extended the deadline to Nov. 10, 2011, to amend their plan to meet current regulations and implement the amended plan to Nov. 10, 2011. The EPA also has extended the deadline to Nov. 10, 2011, for operations that started after Aug. 16, 2002, to prepare and implement a plan meeting current regulations...

Got that? There you have a good example of how Fedzilla runs things.

Farms and other facilities must have an SPCC plan if they meet all three of the following criteria:

* They use or transfer oil or oil products such as gas; diesel fuel; lubrication, hydraulic, crop or vegetable oil; or animal fat.

* They store more than 1,320 U.S. gallons of oil or oil products in aboveground containers or more than 42,000 U.S. gallons in buried containers.

* The oil or oil products reasonably could be expected to discharge into U.S. waters or adjoining shorelines, such as interstate waters, intrastate lakes, rivers and streams.

That "reasonably could be expected" interpretation by your local Fedzilla employee is a little scary to me.

If it was me I'd fill'er up and shut up.

Our Contemptible Congress

Most people whom we elect to Congress are either ignorant of, have contempt for or are just plain stupid about the United States Constitution. Rep. Phil Hare, D-Ill., responding to a question during a town hall meeting, said he’s “not worried about the Constitution.” That was in response to a question about the constitutionality of Obamacare. He told his constituents that the Constitution guaranteed each of us “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” Of course, our Constitution guarantees no such thing. The expression “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” is found in our Declaration of Independence. During a debate, Rep. Jim McGovern, D-Mass., gave his opinion about the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, concluding that “the Constitution is wrong.” Not to be outdone, at his town hall meeting, Rep. Pete Stark, D-Calif., responded to a constituent’s question about Obamacare by saying, “There are very few constitutional limits that would prevent the federal government from (making) rules that can affect your private life.” Adding, “Yes, the federal government can do most anything in this country.”...more

The DC Deep Thinkers seem to be lacking in their knowledge of the Constitution. No shock there, although the quotes above and others in Walter Williams' column do have a high pucker factor.

33 Years Later, Carter’s Energy Department Still Struggling to Meet Goals

The U.S. Department of Energy, which opened its doors on Oct. 1, 1977 amidst the backdrop of the “Energy Crisis” of the 1970s, is still struggling to live up to the goals the Carter Administration set for it. The department, which has become a huge federal bureaucracy over the last 33 years, came into being largely as a result of the 1973 oil “shortage” that occurred when Arab nations in OPEC, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, staged an oil "embargo" against the United States. President Carter underscored his goal of reducing dependence on foreign oil on Aug. 4, 1977, when he signed into law the bill creating the Energy Department...more

So how is this Carter & Congress creation doing? Let's see:

Imports have risen, not declined

Domestic production has declined

Oil consumption in the U.S. is up, not down

Gasoline usage has grown significantly

Gasoline prices have continued to rise

Not looking too good is it. They have accomplished one thing though:

Today, the Department of Energy has 16,000 permanent employees and 100,000 contract employees around the nation. The agency’s budget, meanwhile, has ballooned from $8.4 billion in Fiscal Year 1980 to $26.5 billion in FY2010.

Companies Fight EPA Proposal to Publicize Their Global Warming Data

Some of the country's largest emitters of heat-trapping gases, including businesses that publicly support efforts to curb global warming, don't want the public knowing exactly how much they pollute. Oil producers and refiners, along with manufacturers of steel, aluminum and even home appliances, are fighting a proposal by the Environmental Protection Agency that would make the amount of greenhouse gas emissions that companies release -- and the underlying data businesses use to calculate the amounts -- available online. The companies say that disclosing details beyond a facility's total emissions to the public would reveal company secrets by letting competitors know what happens inside their factories. More importantly, they argue, when it comes to understanding global warming, the public doesn't need to know anything more than what goes into the air. Other companies are pressing the agency to require a third party to verify the data, so they don't have to submit it at all, or to allow them to argue on a case-by-case basis to keep some of it confidential, a suggestion the EPA warned would delay public release...more

Conservation Groups Urge Stop to Wolf Negotiations

In a letter to Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer and Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks Director Joe Maurier, conservation organizations are urging state officials to stick with science in determining adequate populations of gray wolves, rather than negotiating with environmental and animal rights groups to allow surplus populations. The agency is currently negotiating a settlement with the 13 groups who sued to keep gray wolves federally protected under the Endangered Species Act. These negotiations potentially threaten to weaken the state's authority to manage populations of game and non-game species, presenting a dangerous precedent for other states seeking to manage wolf populations through their respective state agencies. The letter, signed by Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation President and CEO David Allen, Mule Deer Foundation President and CEO Miles Moretti, and Big Game Forever/Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife President Ryan Benson, also decries the state's failure to include sportsmen, farmers, ranchers and other stakeholders in the settlement processes relative to wolf control...more

Now Anti-Wolf Groups Are Blowing It

No reasonable deed goes unpunished, eh? That must be how wildlife managers or advocates who actually want to resolve the wolf-delisting impasse must feel. On September 23, I posted a commentary with the title, Pro-Wolf Groups Blew It where I criticized the left-leaning plaintiffs in the various lawsuits for pushing too hard, too long and turning fence-sitters and most Western politicians into the anti-wolf camp and possibly endangering the integrity of the Endangered Species Act. Now, the pendulum has swung to the far right. Energized by newfound support from basically every Western senator and representative, anti-wolf hunting groups such as the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Mule Deer Foundation and Sportsman for Fish and Wildlife have not only insisted on extreme actions but, incredibly, also want to keep wildlife agencies and green groups from even talking to each other about a possible compromise...more

Hunter kills grizzly near Cody

Wildlife officials are investigating a grizzly bear encounter near Cody in which a hunter shot and killed a grizzly bear after being bitten by the bear. The hunter was bitten at least twice on the left thigh Wednesday morning in the Upper South Fork Valley, about 35 miles southwest of Cody, according to Mark Bruscino, bear management officer for the Wyoming Game and Fish De-partment. The hunter was alone, but was able to walk out of the backcountry, and was assisted by someone in the area, Brus-cino said. The hunter has received medical treatment and is expected to be released today, Bruscino said. Additional details were not immediately available, and authorities are still investigating the incident, he said...more

Grizzly Bear Numbers Hit New High in Yellowstone Region

Grizzly bear numbers in and around Yellowstone National Park have hit their highest level in decades, driving increased conflicts with humans as some bears push out of deep wilderness and into populated areas. Scientists from a multi-agency research team announced Wednesday that at least 603 grizzlies now roam the Yellowstone area of Wyoming, Montana and Idaho. That's more than three times the number in 1975, when hunting was outlawed and the species placed on the endangered list. But more bears also means more run-ins with humans -- although bear biologists are quick to point out that visitors to the region are more likely to die in a vehicle crash than a grizzly mauling. Two people have been killed by grizzlies in the Yellowstone region this year: one west of Cody, Wyo., and another near Cooke City, Mont...more

Markey earns A+ rating from Pinon Canyon Expansion Opposition Coalition

Betsy Markey has earned a perfect score from the Pinon Canyon Expansion Opposition Coalition for her efforts to stop the expansion of the Pinon Canyon Maneuver Site in Southeast Colorado. The Coalition wrote, Markey earns A+ rating from Pinon Canyon Expansion Opposition CoalitionPCEOC has given Betsy Markey an A+ rating for her efforts to stop the Pinon Canyon expansion. She is a candidate that has put her congressional votes and legislative efforts where her mouth is to keep Pinon Canyon from expanding. Betsy Markey co-sponsored and pushed for legislation that included the ban on funding for any expansion of Pinon Canyon. She thus has a proven track record on stopping the Pinon Canyon expansion. The only thing that keeps the expansion from happening at this point is the congressional funding ban that Congressman John Salazar and Betsy Markey have worked to get renewed each year. The future of southeastern Colorado hangs in the balance – we survive if Pinon Canyon isn’t expanded – we are eliminated if it does. That includes a large part of the 4th Congressional District that Congresswoman Markey represents...more

Want a new tractor? Ask Obama - he'll pay half

California farmers and ranchers are helping lower air pollution in the San Joaquin Valley and other smog-laden regions by embracing a federal program that replaces old diesel tractors with cleaner-running farm equipment. In the last two years, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Natural Resources Conservation Service has helped farmers replace 814 aging machines with more modern equipment. Federal officials say next year they will invest $24 million in the program, which splits the cost of upgrading equipment with owners...more

Enviro group sues over NM, Ariz. wolf listing

An environmental group has sued Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, seeking to force him to rule on a petition to list the Mexican gray wolf in New Mexico and Arizona as an endangered species separate from other gray wolves in North America. The wildlife program director for WildEarth Guardians, Nicole Rosmarino, said the Mexican gray wolves face potential extinction in the wild. WildEarth Guardians filed its lawsuit Wednesday in federal court in Phoenix, alleging Salazar's decision is overdue. An Interior Department spokeswoman, Kendra Barkoff, said Thursday the agency cannot comment on pending litigation. Another conservation group, the Center for Biological Diversity, filed a notice Wednesday of its intent to sue the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in federal court in Washington, D.C., saying the agency failed to respond to petitions to list the wolf and three other species. WildEarth Guardians, the Center for Biological Diversity and The Rewilding Institute filed petitions in August 2009 for a separate listing for the Mexican gray wolf. The Fish and Wildlife Service agreed this August to review the status of the species. Such a positive finding triggers a one-year status review—an in-depth look to decide if the species should be listed. But WildEarth Guardians' lawsuit contends Salazar should have decided last November whether to review the wolves' status...more

Baseball elements have roots in ag

We are reminded by the Texas Department of Agriculture that the 2010 World Series has a tie to the ag industry from wooden bats, leather mitts, and wool socks to cotton uniforms. “Baseball fans may be surprised to know how agriculture plays out on the Field of Dreams,” says Todd Staples, Texas agriculture commissioner. “America’s pastime would be a tough pitch without the products of farmers and ranchers. So whether you’re rooting for the Texas Rangers or San Francisco Giants in this year’s World Series, keep an eye out for agriculture while you’re staying glued to the tube.” * Baseball bats are made of wood, and in Texas the timber industry produces more than 500 million cubic feet of lumber annually with a delivered value of more than $600 million. * Leather is used to make mitts and Texas leads the nation in cattle with more than 13 million head, which have an annual production value of about $6 billion. * Peanuts are a favorite snack at baseball games, and in Texas we produce more than 700 million pounds — enough to make 7 billion peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. * Hot dogs are a traditional favorite at baseball games and the Texas pork industry has an annual statewide economic impact of more than $250 million. * Hot dogs also need hot dog buns. Texas growers produce an average of 90 million bushels of wheat annually — enough to make more than 25 billion hot dog buns. * Texas is a leading dairy state and produces enough milk each year to fill the Texas Rangers’ ballpark in Arlington nearly eight times...more

Words of the Old West: Poetry gathering keeps cowboy heritage alive

Riders in the Sky have been doing it "The Cowboy Way" for 33 years now. They just completed their 6,000th appearance, have been to every state in the Union and are out "beating the bushes wherever we can," said Ranger Doug in a telephone chat from his home in Nashville. Their purpose is to carry on the great tradition started by the Sons of the Pioneers, Gene Autry, Roy Rogers and others of the cowboy music genre. "We're trying to keep the music alive, keep the appreciation for it alive," Ranger Doug said. Riders in the Sky will be in Salt Lake City to kick off the 16th Annual Cowboy Poetry Gathering and Buckaroo Fair with a concert Monday night at Abravanel Hall. The rest of the festival will take place in Heber Valley, Tuesday through Sunday, Nov. 2-7, with other top Western entertainers, including Suzy Bogguss, Ian Tyson, the Bar J Wranglers, Sons of the San Joaquin, Red Steagall, Hot Club Cowtown, R.W. Hampton and Wylie & the Wild West...more

Song Of The Day #424

Your Ranch Radio tune to get you ready for the weekend is Webb Pierce's 1957 recording of Honky Tonk Song.

I like this Yahoo player, but you just can't keep it from making a play list. I'll try to have something more suitable to what I do hear by next week.

Webb Pierce - Honky Tonk Song.mp3

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Salazar Says His Post in Obama’s Cabinet Safe After BP’s Spill

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, once criticized by President Barack Obama for taking too long to toughen regulation of offshore oil and natural-gas drilling, said he expects to keep his job after the mid-term elections. “I absolutely believe that I will stay on,” Salazar said today in a phone interview. “The president and I talk about what I do here at Interior. I think he’s pleased with the work I’ve done. He’s told me so.” Salazar’s performance drew criticism in the months after a BP Plc well blew out in the Gulf of Mexico on April 20, setting off the worst U.S. oil spill. The Interior secretary has been among Obama Cabinet secretaries expected to depart after the Nov. 2 elections, according to Michael McKenna, president of MWR Strategies, an oil-industry consulting firm in Washington. “The perception is the administration didn’t handle the BP spill terribly well and Salazar’s going to be the guy who pays the price for that,” McKenna said in a phone interview today. “He, for better or for worse, is going to be the fall guy.”...more

Maybe. Maybe not. I'm trying to track down a rumor...more later.

New lawsuit filed as Interior secretary seeks compromise

Less than 24 hours after Interior Secretary Ken Salazar met with representatives from the timber industry and conservation groups to resolve a decades-old battle over federal timberlands in Western Oregon, conservationists filed a legal challenge to a U.S. Bureau of Land Management timber sale. But those filing the challenge in U.S. District Court in Medford to the Spencer Creek timber sale just west of Keno on the BLM's Lakeview District say it isn't intended as a rebuke against Salazar's efforts. The legal complaint, filed Tuesday, seeks a review of a biological opinion issued by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Aug. 3 which determined the planned harvest was not likely to harm spotted owls or their habitat. Joining the local conservation group in the case was Oregon Wild in Portland and Eugene-based Cascadia Wildlands. The case was filed by Earthjustice and Western Environmental Law Center on behalf of the groups. Janet Lebson, spokeswoman for the Fish and Wildlife agency's Portland office, said attorneys for the agency are reviewing the 51-page document...more

Gridlock on wolves alienates key allies

An impasse over wolf management in the Northern Rockies is alienating hunters and ranchers, groups whose support is crucial to the canny predators’ long-term success in the region, experts say. Many are fuming at wolves’ recent return to the Endangered Species List in Idaho and Montana. The action canceled public wolf hunts in both states this fall, even though wolf counts in Idaho and Montana far exceed the minimum federal recovery goals of at least 30 breeding pairs and more than 300 wolves. “We had an agreement that lots of people signed off on. And now they feel betrayed,” said Dan Pletscher, a wildlife biology professor at the University of Montana. Idaho had a minimum of 843 wolves at the end of 2009, and Montana had 524. “We get above the federal goal, and that’s still not enough,” said Elaine Allestad, a Montana sheep rancher. The mounting frustration is bad news for wolves, said Pletscher, who predicts a rise in illegal killings and potential weakening of the Endangered Species Act. Idaho and Montana congressional delegations are sponsoring bills to return management of their wolf populations to their states. It’s politically expedient, Pletscher said, but that type of legislative maneuvering ultimately undermines the science-based process in the Endangered Species Act...more

Dr. Pletscher, it was "legislative maneuvering" that created the ESA. As long as the people feel "betrayed" they will turn to Congress for relief. You should either support amendments to the ESA to allow for more flexibility, or you can expect more "legislative maneuvering".

Anyway, trying to set it up as "science based" vs. "legislative maneuvering" ain't gonna cut it here.

Sherwood Forest up for sale

Britain's Sherwood Forest, best known as refuge for the legendary Robin Hood, soon may be home to logging crews. Half of Great Britain's public woodlands could be sold off and commercial tree-cutting could get under way in Sherwood Forest and the Forest of Dean under an austerity budget being considered by the nation's new leaders. The proposal to sell off British woodlands was revealed this week in the United Kingdom's Sunday Telegraph. The newspaper story quoted unnamed sources in Whitehall, a term often used as a synonym for the British government. After 13 years of control by the Labor party, Great Britain's new government, elected in May, is a Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition that has unveiled an austerity budget. It calls for major cuts in almost all government spending, including defense and social services. The country's 1.85 million acres of public forest are managed by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. A spokesman for the department, known as Defra, said the agency could not comment on any of the specifics of what he described as "leaks" speculating on future government policy...more

Some day we will have our own Robin Hood who instead of stealing from the King's men will actually remove the forests from the King's jurisdiction and return them to the people.

Global extinction crisis looms, new study says

A growing number of creatures could disappear from the earth, with one-fifth of all vertebrates and as many as a third of all sharks and rays now facing the threat of extinction, according to a new survey assessing nearly 26,000 species across the globe. In addition, forces such as habitat destruction, over-exploitation and invasive competitors move 52 species a category closer to extinction each year, according to the research, published online Tuesday by the journal Science. At the same time, the findings demonstrate that these losses would be at least 20 percent higher without conservation efforts now underway. The survey, conducted by 174 researchers from 38 countries, came as delegates from around the world are meeting in Nagoya, Japan, to debate conservation goals for the coming decade. Environmental groups are pushing for a goal of protecting 25 percent of all land on earth and 15 percent of the sea by 2020. At the moment, roughly 14 percent of terrestrial areas and less than 1 percent of the ocean enjoy some degree of environmental safeguards...more

Isn't it funny how things work out. This research just happened to be released prior to the UN meeting. I'm sure this is all about science and politics has not infiltrated the hallowed halls of research.

EPA head: New carbon controls on trucks, buses and vans 'win for planet'

The Obama administration on Monday continued its push to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles, proposing the first-ever emissions limits for medium- and heavy-duty trucks and buses. The new rule proposes separate performance standards for three categories of vehicles: combination tractors, heavy-duty pickups and vans, and vocational vehicles. 

For long-haul combination tractors, the standards would require a 20-percent reduction in carbon dioxide emissions and fuel consumption by the 2018 model year.

 For heavy-duty pickup trucks and vans, the standards would differ by fuel type. The rule is estimated to achieve a 10-percent reduction for gasoline vehicles and 15 percent for diesel vehicles. For delivery trucks and other vocational vehicles, up to a 10-percent reduction in fuel consumption and CO2 emissions is required by model year 2018...more

Cattle collusion accusations debated

In talking about the cattle market, “it all comes back to supply and demand,” said Rex Bland, a part-owner of the Cal-Tex Feedyard in Trent. Bland said he may receive cattle bids from two different buyers, one in the Texas Panhandle and the other in South Texas. “At times, when there’s a lot of cattle around, it’s hard to get a competitive bid,” Bland said. Currently, a lack of supply has led to higher beef prices, however. “We don’t have enough cattle in the United States,” Bland said. Average beef retail prices have climbed from $4.18 per pound in July 2009 to $4.44 per pound last July. The tight supply of cattle resulted from lean years for producers battling factors such as drought, high feed prices and the recession. Despite the recent boost, some producers are speaking out about what they describe as a lack of competitive offers for their cattle. The Associated Press interviewed some cattle producers who reported having no choice but to sell the vast majority of their cattle to one buyer. An AP analysis of shipping logs and sales receipts confirmed their accounts. “You either give them to these guys, or you have no market,” said Bob Sears, who ran one of Nebraska’s biggest feedlots before declaring bankruptcy in March. Not everyone agrees, however. “Our members believe they are getting competitive bids,” said Ross Wilson, chief executive officer of the Texas Cattle Feeders Association. Ranchers may send their cattle to a feedlot so the animals gain weight before being slaughtered for food...more

Tight cattle supply will keep prices high in next few years; US exports booming

Americans love their beef, but with prices expected to remain high for the next few years and other options plentiful, their loyalities might be challenged. Average retail prices of beef have climbed from $4.18 per pound in July 2009 to $4.44 per pound last July, a change largely due to a tight supply of cattle. Ranchers and feedlots have reduced supplies in response in large part due to rising prices of corn and soybeans fed to cattle, economists said. "You've got a whole bunch of things coming together and it's driving all meat prices higher," said Ken Mathews, an agricultural economist with the research arm of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. "Beef is the highest price of the meats so that's the one that gets the notice." Cattle producers "took it on the chin" the past several years, Texas A&M University livestock economist David Anderson said, "and the response to that economically is to produce less because you're losing money." The poultry and pork industries are poised to fill the gap, which ultimately could cause beef prices to drop. Consumption of poultry — chicken and turkey — is forecast to climb by 8.4 percent to 107.9 pounds per person, by 2019, according to the USDA. "It puts beef in a difficult demand situation longer term," Anderson said. The USDA projected per capita consumption of beef would drop through 2014 — to 56.2 pounds — as beef production continues to lag...more

Jack Huning leaves distinct legacy

The first time Patty Guggino met John L. "Jack" Huning, she had a lump in her throat worrying about Huning's reputation as a stern man. "I had always heard he was generous, but very stern," Guggino said. So in fear and trembling, she went to Huning's office to ask for a donation for a church fiesta she was helping organize. "He said, 'What do you need' and I said, 'We need a beef.' He was kind of startled a little bit, because a whole cow is a pretty big thing, but he just looked at me and said, 'Okay, you've got it.' And we were friends from then on." Guggino's anecdote is perhaps a CliffsNotes version of Huning, 81, who died Thursday from pneumonia he contracted after surgery. Stern and serious in nature, this third-generation Huning, who furthered the illustrious family's impressive legacy through his activism in the economic development of Los Lunas, was generous — almost to a fault. And behind the seriousness was a wisdom and wry sense of humor that made him a caring father, a successful rancher and a businessman whose management and development of the family's property was geared toward what was best for the village of Los Lunas. Huning fit seamlessly in a family that emigrated from Germany in 1858. Louis Huning established a merchantile and acquired vast land holdings that spanned the New Mexico-Arizona border...more

O’Day was outlaw, but a comical criminal

That would be horse thief, bank and train robber, ladies' man and Wild Bunch front man Tom O'Day, whose legend - or lack thereof - is being perpetuated by Cody resident Ray Maple. Maple has high hopes that O'Day will one day be recognized for his colorful role in Wyoming history. O'Day's life of crime began when he took up the work of scouting out information in preparation for a bank robbery by the Wild Bunch. He did his snooping, and grew more and more thirsty as he waited for his outlaw friends. He tied up his horse outside a local bar and began swilling beer. By the time his friends arrived, O'Day was pretty pickled. "He was so drunk he couldn't get back on his horse," Maple says. It's one of his favorite tales. Lawmen went after all the outlaws, but they could only catch O'Day, whom they found stumbling around near the hitching post, inadvertently spooking the horses. Maple relates how another time O'Day was riding by a wealthy rancher's spread when 15 well-bred horses caught his eye. He probably figured they were unhappy in their present circumstances, so he decided to wrangle them into a better life. He herded them to a hideout on Copper Mountain. Unfortunately, the horses belonged to an ambitious and wealthy Wyoming rancher, B.B. Brooks. He noticed the absence of his fine horses, and lawmen soon followed the trail that led to O'Day, who likely felt he was merely taking part in a popular cottage industry of the time, namely, horse thievery. For that horse stealing he was sentenced to several years of state hospitality in Rawlins. A lone deputy was assigned to transport O'Day to court on one count of horse thievery. There would have been 15 counts, Maple explains, one for each of Brooks' stolen horses, except that the horses had been held at an area stockyard as evidence and, ironically, someone re-stole them from that facility. That still left the hot horse O'Day had been riding, which was evidence enough. He was sentenced to five years of state hospitality in Rawlins. Luck again turned on O'Day, who learned that Rancher Brooks had by then become Wyoming Governor Brooks, whose term began in 1903. Uh-oh. Tom O'Day, was now guilty of stealing horses from the governor...more

Cowgirl honorees exemplify courage

On Thursday at Will Rogers Memorial Center, the National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame will honor five such women at the 35th annual induction luncheon. Each honoree was selected to exemplify the courage and independence of women who shaped the American West. Betty Dusek, an all-around champion in professional rodeo with 14 titles, competed during the golden age of the all-girl rodeo. She was director of calf roping contests in the developmental years of the Girls Rodeo Association. Kay Gay knows rodeo inside and out, from keeping time and scheduling livestock truckers to actually competing as a barrel racer. Her dedication to preserving our Western heritage continues with her work for the Mesquite Championship Rodeo and the Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo. Having published four books and over 200 articles on animal welfare subjects, Temple Grandin is known for designing livestock facilities with handling systems to lessen anxiety for animals and provide greater safety and efficiency for the plants. She also speaks publicly of the obstacles of autism she has faced. As author, teacher, cattle rancher and naturalist, Joyce Gibson Roach enjoys many awards for her writing which focuses on Texas and the Southwest. Her book The Cowgirls is considered to be a primer for women on horseback, from ranch to rodeo. The late Hortense Ward was the first woman admitted into the Texas Bar Association and the first in the South to practice before the U.S. Supreme Court. She staunchly defended women's rights and spearheaded the act that allowed married women in Texas to control their own property and earnings...more

Song Of The Day #423

Today Ranch Radio brings you Ernest Tubb's 1954 recording of Two Glasses, Joe.

Unfortunately, the Yahoo media player automatically makes a playlist by linking to all the music on my page at Open Drive, even if it is in a different folder. That ain't gonna work. I'll keep looking.

Ernest Tubb - Two Glasses, Joe.mp3

Bad Driver? In Debt? Proposed NYC Law Would Ban You From Owning a Gun

New York City residents who want to own a gun may soon be denied permits if they are litterbugs, if they are bad drivers, or if they have fallen behind on a few bills. Under proposed revisions to the police department's handgun, rifle and shotgun permit procedures, the NYPD can reject gun license applicants for a number of reasons, including: If they have been arrested or convicted of almost any "violation," in any state; having a "poor driving history"; having been fired for "circumstances that demonstrate lack of good judgment"; having "failed to pay legally required debts"; being deemed to lack "good moral character"; or if any other information demonstrates "other good cause for the denial of the permit." Critics say many of the restrictions are vague, have nothing to do with one's fitness to own a gun and are unconstitutional. Supporters say the new restrictions will make gun purchasing more efficient and don't give the NYPD any more power than it already has...more

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Forestry takes spotlight at UN biodiversity talks

Delegates at the UN Convention on Biological Diversity meeting in Nagoya, Japan, have put sustainable forestry management at the forefront of their negotiations, as these habitats are home to thousands of the world's plant and animal species, and can also help slow global warming. The UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) estimates that the world is currently losing some 13 million hectares (32 million acres) of forest cover per year, mostly in tropical countries. That is down from 16 million hectares per year in the 1990s, but activists say it is still too much. As well as hosting habitats for animals, forests help regulate climate and rainfall and also prevent soil erosion, flooding and landslides. On Tuesday, talks focused specifically on the UN-backed scheme called REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation). Under REDD, wealthier nations pledge funds to protect forests in poorer countries, which agree to forego their right to exploit these areas for timber or development...more

REDD looks like Obamanomics on a world wide scale.

Mexican gray wolf found dead in NM; 4th this year

Another Mexican gray wolf has been found dead in southwestern New Mexico, dealing a further setback to a struggling program to reintroduce the endangered animals along the Arizona-New Mexico border. The female wolf was found dead on Oct. 12 in Sierra County. It was the fourth wolf found dead since June. A spokesman for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Albuquerque, Tom Buckley, said the wolf's body was sent to the agency's forensics laboratory in Ashland, Ore., to find out what killed the animal. The male wolf that had been traveling with her has not been spotted, but Buckley said there's no reason to believe something happened to him. He said there had been no mortality signal from the male wolf's radio collar. The signal is set off when an animal does not move for a set time. The two animals, known as Morgart's Pack, were in the Gila National Forest in September, according to the program's monthly update...more

Oil Drillers Want Bush-Era Rules Back

Oil and gas drillers claim the Department of Interior made up a regulation that is perverting a law meant to reduce bureaucracy by exempting some permits from environmental review. At issue are interpretations of the law promulgated this year by the Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Forest Service, which the Western Energy Alliance claims reversed more favorable 2005 agency interpretations. The Western Energy Alliance, on behalf of 400 drilling companies, says the "self-created" regulation relating to Section 390 of the Energy Policy Act "turns the statute on its head" by applying environmental controls. The drillers refer to a settlement agreement in Nine Mile Canyon Coalition v. Steiwig, in which it claims the BLM undid a federal statute "in a private negotiation behind closed doors with three environmental groups in Utah." The drillers claim the BLM agreed to reinterpret the section of the law on granting drilling permits, changing it to require an environmental assessment or environmental impact statement under the National Environmental Policy Act. Such review is costly and time-consuming, the drillers say, and subverts the intent of the Energy Policy Act, which it claims is to "streamline the regulatory process," by skipping environmental review for minor projects. The 2010 interpretation also imposed a new condition, that project areas exhibiting "extraordinary circumstances" be newly subject to environmental review processes. This "turns the statute on its head" by hinging categorical exclusions on NEPA rather than making them exempt from NEPA, the drillers claim...more

Custer museum owner sues BLM

The owner of the Custer Battlefield Museum in Garryowen is suing the federal Bureau of Land Management to force it to give him documents related to investigations and searches of his businesses. Christopher Kortlander, who owns the museum and a business called Historical Rarities Inc., said in a complaint filed Monday that the BLM is wrongfully withholding documents he has requested under the Freedom of Information Act. Greg Albright, BLM spokesman in Billings, said he has not yet seen the lawsuit. In 2009, Kortlander filed more than a dozen FOIA requests seeking information and documents from the BLM and other federal agencies, including the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the FBI and the Department of Justice. The requests sought any information held by the agencies about Kortlander or the investigation and searches of his businesses in 2005 and 2008. “They gave him absolutely nothing,” said Kortlander’s attorney, Harold Stanton of Hardin. “We just want them to comply with the Freedom of Information Act and give us the information that was requested.”...more

Space tourism to accelerate climate change

Climate change caused by black carbon, also known as soot, emitted during a decade of commercial space flight would be comparable to that from current global aviation, researchers estimate. The findings, reported in a paper in press in Geophysical Research Letters1, suggest that emissions from 1,000 private rocket launches a year would persist high in the stratosphere, potentially altering global atmospheric circulation and distributions of ozone. The simulations show that the changes to Earth's climate could increase polar surface temperatures by 1 °C, and reduce polar sea ice by 5–15%. Private space flight is a rapidly maturing industry. Spaceport America, a launch site in Las Cruces, New Mexico, opened its first runway on 22 October. During the next three years, companies such as Virgin Galactic, headquartered at Spaceport America, expect to make up to two launches per day for space tourists. Meanwhile, the NASA Authorization Act passed by US Congress in September provides US$1.6 billion in private space-flight investments to develop vehicles to take astronauts and cargo into orbit...more

So the Richardson administration has spent millions of dollars to...increase global warming. And all the while trying to saddle the rest of us with his version of cap and trade. We have our own Al Gore right here at home.

Mineral rights not included in state's bid for Ortiz Ranch

The state's proposed purchase of the Ortiz Mountain Ranch to expand Cerrillos Hills State Park and launch a wild-horse sanctuary won't include the mineral rights. The privately owned mineral rights have been leased by the owner to Santa Fe Gold, an Albuquerque-based company, according to state officials. The mineral rights belong to Anne Potter-Russ, a Kansas resident who inherited thousands of acres of mineral rights around the Galisteo Basin and Ortiz Mountains from her grandfather. She did not return messages left at her home by Monday evening. According to Santa Fe Gold's website, the precious-minerals company leased exploratory and development mineral rights to 57,000 acres (90 square miles) of the Ortiz Mine Grant in 2004, but later relinquished the lease on 14,000 acres of the land it considered not valuable. The company's preliminary studies indicate there could be 2 million ounces of gold scattered about in deposits on the remaining land...more

Actor Kilmer slashes price for NM ranch by $10M

Actor Val Kilmer has dropped the asking price of his New Mexico ranch by $10 million. The 5,328-acre spread near Santa Fe includes a seven-bedroom, 11-bathroom, 11,573-square-foot house along with guest quarters. The property went on the market in early 2009 for $33 million, but a Craigslist ad last week lowered the price to $23 million. Darlene Streit of Santa Fe Realty Partners posted the ad and has the property listed on her website. She says she believes the ranch is priced well and there has been interest. The ranch borders national forest land and several miles of the Pecos River. It also has more than 10 natural springs and miles of hiking and riding trails. Streit says the ranch has been a labor of love for Kilmer. AP

What a deal, on $4300 an acre! 'Course there's a helluva ranch house that comes with it.

Don't tell Richardson, or they will be raising wild horses and having Cabinet meetings out there.

Union hails agreement with Forest Service on benefits for domestic partners

The National Federation of Federal Employees is hailing an agreement with the Forest Service that will provide certain benefits for the domestic partners of workers as a "historic achievement." The collective bargaining agreement, which took effect Monday, allows domestic partners in same-sex or opposite-sex relationships time off to care for newborns, newly adopted children and newly placed foster children. Time off is also allowed to care for an ill partner. The agreement is one more step in the Obama administration's sometimes halting effort to recognize the full humanity of gay and lesbian people in the federal workplace...more

Sheep ranchers look into 'targeted grazing'

On a harvested wheat field in Yolo County, Don Watson’s “wooly weeders” hungrily chomp on a gourmet feast of invasive plants that have overtaken the property. The landowner pre-irrigated the field to let the weeds to grow out before Watson put his sheep to work on the land. The idea is to allow the animals to clean up the field rather than using herbicides. “This is just a symbiotic quid pro quo that we’re doing,” Watson said. “We gain on the lambs and they’ll gain from how (the lambs) are inoculating the soil with manure, which acts as a fertilizer.” Watson, who spoke last week at a workshop on targeted grazing, currently operates two businesses: Wooly Weeders, which provides grazing services for vegetation management, and Napa Valley Lamb Co., which produces meat and wool. The California Wool Growers Association held the workshop in Woodland to help educate producers about the potential profitability, as well as the legal and financial risks, associated with adding grazing services to livestock operations...more

Notice the flexibility and innovation on private land, as compared to federal ownership.

Property is a central economic institution of any society, and private property is the central institution of a free society...David Friedman

Song Of The Day #422

Today's tune on Ranch Radio is performed by Shreveport, La.'s Singing Sheriff, Faron Young (his band was named The Country Deputies). If You Ain't Lovin' (You Ain't Livin') was recorded in 1954 for Capitol Records.

For some trivia, Peanuts' cat in the comic strip was named Faron and was named for Young. Charlie Schultz was an admirer.

Arizona replaces controversial signs warning residents of illegal drug activity

Arizona signs confirming that drug and human smuggling activity was taking place well inside the Arizona border have received a face lift and now offer campers and hikers different information when they travel to the Arizona public land regions. The new sign now reads, “Visitor Information Update- active federal law enforcement patrol area, clean-up and restoration crews at work, contact BLM rangers for current area status.” In smaller print in the lower left-hand side of the sign provides the Bureau of Land Management district office phone number and encourages residents to call 911 for emergency. The tamer BLM signs sparked speculation as to why Arizona’s Bureau of Land Management decided to make the change. Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio put it in plain and simple language; “They were embarrassed.” “Arizona’s BLM decided to change the signs after they created a national hysteria and they decided to temper it,” said America’s toughest Sheriff. The new signs went up over the weekend as a result of a Congressional bill that granted $600 million to increase border security measures. BLM received a special $200,000 emergency grant to conduct and increase patrols in the southwest portion of Arizona in an effort to saturate the region, according to BLM spokesperson Deborah Stevens...more

BLM takes part of their grant "to conduct and increase patrols" and spends it on signs? Does that comply with Congressional intent?

This was a political decision pure and simple and I wonder who actually gave the order to change signs.

GAO report says Obama administration not allowing Border Patrol to do their job

I've posted on this before (Feds feud while land is overrun, 'Green' red tape said to hinder Border Patrol, Border Patrol Projects Caught Up for Months in Red Tape, Government Study Shows) but the GAO report is still making news. This is from yesterday's Washington Examiner.

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has released a report claiming that the Interior Department and the Agriculture Department have prevented about 15 percent of the 26 Border Patrol stations in the American southwest from apprehending illegal aliens and drug smugglers. Before Border Patrol agents can build roads or set up surveillance posts on at least half of the land along the U.S./Mexican border, they must first apply for permission from the Interior Department and the Forest Service. Before permission is granted (if it is), the land management agencies conduct environmental studies which take several months. Of course, all the while…both drug and human smugglers operate basically unimpeded...

Update on Sue Krentz from Judy Keeler

Hi everyone,

I apologize if you're receiving more than one copy of this, I combined several lists so everyone would know how Sue is doing....

Most of you already know Sue Krentz was hit by a drunk drive about a month ago (article below). She and a friend were crossing the street when a car came around the corner and hit them.

Both ladies were injured and air vacced to the University Hospital in Tucson. Sue suffered severe injuries including 5 breaks in her hip, a broken leg, head injuries and several fractures in her spine. She has been in ICU in the University Hospital for the last month.

She was moved into Rehab last week and I’m here to report she’s on the mend!! Thanks to everyone’s prayers and thoughts she’s doing much better.

She still has a lot of surgeries and rehab to look forward, but Sue’s a fighter!!! She's set her mind to be home by Nov 18th, pray she gets to be there for their shipping!!

October 31st is Sue’s birthday. Thought you might like to send her a card or give her a call and let her know you're thinking about her.

If you call or visit, try to be brief (I know that's hard to do with Suzie), but she’s still on pain meds and they make her sleepy. If she falls asleep, it’s not because she doesn’t want to hear from you!!

Here’s her contact info:

Susan Krentz
Health South
2650 N. Wyatt, Rm 218
Tucson, AZ 85712

Several people have asked about making donation to help offset the medical costs. ACGA has established the following account to help the family. If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact their office- 602-267-1129.

Wells Fargo - Sue Krentz Recovery Fund 5206283169

I’ll be Tucson with her Wednesday and Thursday.

And, keep her in your prayers!! She has a long row to hoe!!


Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Turtles last hurdle for huge solar project

The only thing standing between California and the largest solar power plant in the world is four desert tortoises. The four reptiles will be relocated in the coming weeks to make room for the Blythe Solar Power Project in eastern Riverside County by the end of the year. The plan was approved Monday by the Interior Department. At 6,000 acres, the project will be the largest concentrated solar power plant in the world, said Bill Keegan, spokesman for Solar Trust of America. It eventually will generate 1,000 megawatts of electricity, enough to power 300,000 homes. The project is just one of nine in the state that are racing to meet a deadline set by President Obama's economic stimulus package. Renewable power projects that secure all their permits and start construction by the end of this year can receive a federal grant worth 30 percent of the project's cost, in lieu of taking a tax credit of equal value. The site will use mirror arrays to collect and concentrate sunlight. When focused on a tower filled with liquid at the center of the four separate arrays, that energy will produce steam. The steam will then turn a turbine to generate electricity. Keegan said he expects the $6 billion project to begin generating power by the second quarter of 2013...more

Shouldn't they be called TARP turtles?

Do you reckon BLM was under any pressure to meet that deadline?

First the Bushies pressured them on oil and gas, and now Obama pressures them on wind and solar.

Let's see, 30 percent of $6 billion better damn well believe those turtles were gonna get moved.

There is more info from the AP, including the fact the project is by a German company.

D.C. toilet shortage

The calls of nature may be particularly loud at an upcoming D.C. event if attendees don't have a place to "go." Comedy Central organizers are having a hard time finding port-o-potties for their rallies to take place in a week and a half, after the Marine Corps Marathon planners snatched up about 800 of them for the same weekend. The organizers of Jon Stewart's Rally to Restore Sanity and Stephen Colbert's March to Keep Fear Alive, both to take place Saturday, Oct. 30, have asked the marathon staff to share the portable toilets with their 65,000 expected to attendees. But the Marines aren't budging -- they plan to lock the toilets until the morning of their race the day after, they tell the New York Times...more

There's all kinds of things I could say about this but I will refrain. I've always been fond of the Marines though.

Aren't there any endangered turtles in DC?

BLM director wants to reopen inquiry

The director of the U.S. Bureau of Land Management has asked federal investigators to reopen an inquiry into a former Farmington BLM manager. Steve Henke faces renewed questions regarding his tenure leading the BLM's Farmington office after a previous investigation found he accepted golf vacations and other gifts from the oil and gas industry. The call for further investigation indicates Henke's problems are not resolved. BLM Director Bob Abbey "has new information, and he has referred that information to the inspector general," said Celia Boddington, a bureau spokeswoman. Abbey, in an Oct. 18 letter to Interior Department Acting Inspector General Mary Kendall, requests the office "renew its investigative inquiries regarding certain questionable activities that may have occurred during the tenure of Steve Henke," including activities that "eventually led to his employment by the New Mexico Oil and Gas Association." Until resigning in May in retirement from the BLM, Henke served for nine years as district manager of the BLM's Farmington field office. He is now president of the oil and gas association, a trade group that advocates for industry interests. Henke did not return messages seeking comment Monday...more

Wildlife agencies stress extreme caution (bears)

This year, bears are on the move and hunters need to be aware. That’s the message from wildlife managers at the Wyoming Game and Fish (G&F) and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS). Last week, a Sublette County incident came to light that reinforces the need for caution. According to FWS Special Agent Roy Brown, an adult grizzly bear was shot and killed on Forest Service land in the Horse Creek area west of Merna. The incident took place on Sept. 7, but because a Department of Justice policy prohibits public disclosure of information in pending cases, information about the shooting wasn’t available until after charges were dropped in mid October. Reading from the incident report, Brown said a Wyoming outfitter, his guide and an out-of-state client were hunting moose in a remote Wyoming Range area above Horse Creek when they unknowingly disturbed a grizzly from its “daybed.” Brown said the men first noticed the bear when it growled and charged. The guide – who was leading the group – shot the bear with a .450 Marlin rifle, knocking it down. When the animal attempted to get up, the guide shot again. Brown said a third shot ensured the wounded bear was dead. Brown said there was no evidence the bear was protecting a kill and the report did not mention cubs. The three men rode horses from their camp and were hiking when the bear charged them. The men did not have downed game. This has been a particularly busy year for wildlife managers. In the past two months, grizzly bears have attacked three hunters and several cattle on public grazing allotments north of Pinedale and near Merna...more

Mountain lions seen in Tucson area

Hikers have recently spotted mountain lions in Sabino Canyon northeast of Tucson and other nearby areas, prompting wildlife officials to urge caution. The U.S. Forest Service says as many as four lions were seen in Sabino Canyon in late September. Agency spokesman Joshua Taiz says there was a “territorial encounter” involving a male and female lion and two of her cubs. But Taiz says none of the lions have approached or attacked people...more

Judge Allows Colorado Mustang Gather

A federal court judge has denied wild horse advocates' motion for an injunction to prevent a Bureau of Land Management (BLM) mustang gather in Colorado. The BLM began gathering wild horses that had moved outside of the Piceance-East Douglas Herd Management Area, southwest of Meeker, on Oct. 11. BLM public affairs specialist David Boyd said the gather was necessary to maintain a healthy wild horse herd that is in balance with other resources and land uses. In a suit filed in federal court on Oct. 7, Habitat for Horses (a Texas-based equine welfare agency), the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, The Cloud Foundation, Toni Moore, and Dr. Don Moore asked the court to stop the BLM from removing any of the horses pending a complete judicial review of the BLM’s conduct. On Oct. 21, U.S. District Court Judge William H. Pauley, III, of the Eastern District of New York, declined to grant the injunction on multiple grounds including that the BLM is obligated to manage public lands "not solely to maintain the vitality of wild horse populations."...more