Friday, February 04, 2011

Gore's Unending Blizzard Of Lies

As the nation digs itself out, the grand wizard of global warming comes out of hiding and blames it all on that SUV stuck in your driveway. A blizzard is a terrible thing to waste. What has been dubbed the Groundhog Day Blizzard has caused Al Gore to poke his head out of his massive carbon-generating mansion in Nashville, Tenn., to blame the 2,000-mile storm on our alleged obsession with fossil fuels. Sorry, Al, but in Chicago the solar panels were buried under upward of two feet of snow as citizens cranked up those polluting snow blowers, a scene repeated in much of the country. In the middle of blowing snow, blowing smoke does not help. Get our drift? Fox News icon Bill O'Reilly recently asked rhetorically, "Why has southern New York turned into the tundra?" He said he'd left a message for Gore. Gore replied on his blog Tuesday that "scientists have been warning for at least two decades that global warming could make snowstorms more severe" and that what we are shoveling is a result of "increased evaporation meeting the cold air of winter." Gore has been relatively quiet in recent months as the hot air of his theories met the cold logic of observable fact. Earth has demonstrably cooled in the past decade as the sun and its solar cycle grew quiet...more

USDA’s Pigford fraud

Race hustlers are shaking down taxpayers for payoffs, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is falling for the scam. The controversy involves a discrimination claim against the USDA for allegedly denying loans because of race. A federal judge approved payments of $50,000 or more based on low levels of proof. This encouraged a mad scramble for cash based on false claims. The “Pigford Settlement,” an agreement that came out of the original 1997 lawsuit by Timothy Pigford and 400 southern black farmers, resulted from some apparently legitimate instances of discrimination. However, plaintiffs’ lawyers got involved, and the number of supposedly aggrieved farmers grew exponentially. Eventually, more than 94,000 claims were filed even though the U.S. Census Bureau never counted more than 33,000 black farmers in America during the years in question. In 2007, then-Sen. Barack Obama began working to pass legislation providing even more money for a whole new class of claimants via “Pigford II.” This push ignored fraud in and several convictions over the original settlement, but Mr. Obama was advised his legislation could help him in a Democratic presidential primary fight against then-Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton. As president, Mr. Obama rammed this new, $4.6 billion boondoggle through Congress during last year’s post-election, lame-duck session. For months, the liberal Huffington Post and Andrew Breitbart’s libertarian have reported growing numbers of Pigford fraud allegations. Numerous black farmers have complained they get short shrift while grifters and lawyers get the loot...more

Elected Colorado Dems back wild lands order

Several elected Coloradans are supporting Interior Secretary Ken Salazar’s order making millions of undeveloped acres of land once again eligible for federal wilderness protection. Seventy people signed a letter today thanking Salazar for his order in December reversing a Bush-era policy. They include more than two dozen Democrats in the state Legislature. Some commissioners of Costilla, Pitkin, La Plata, San Miguel, Summit, Clear Creek and Boulder counties, plus city council members and mayors from around the state also signed it. They say wild lands that support activities like hunting are an economic engine. However some ranchers, those with ties to mining and energy development, and others worry that taking public land out of production would hurt other parts of the economy. AP

The Interior Department's Culture of Contempt

Oops, they did it again. President Obama's grabby-handed environmental bureaucrats have earned yet another spanking from the federal judiciary over their "determined disregard" of the rule of law. Isn't it time to give these misbehaving government hooligans a permanent timeout? Federal judge Martin Feldman in Louisiana excoriated the Obama Interior Department Wednesday for defying his May 2010 order to lift its groundless ban on offshore oil and gas drilling in the Gulf. Nine months later, not a single permit has been issued. Several deepwater platforms have moved out of the area to take their businesses — and an estimated 5,000 jobs — overseas. Billions of dollars in potential oil revenue and Gulf lease sales-related rent have also dried up. This is because Team Obama's eco-radicals never intend to approve them. Every step of the way, the White House team has displayed unbridled defiance — by continually broadcasting its intent and determination to impose the blanket moratorium in spite of the judicial order, and by ramming through a second sweeping ban that did nothing to address the court's concerns after the injunction was issued...more

Let’s Vote on It

One of the many troubling aspects of the Obama administration is its eagerness to use the federal regulatory apparatus to achieve its political goals when it cannot advance them through the democratic process in Congress. The sterling example of this is the EPA’s push to enact, on self-asserted authority, new limitations on the emission of carbon dioxide and other so-called greenhouse gases. The EPA’s decision to do so was explicitly political: It telegraphed its intention to act unilaterally should Congress fail to enact the package of taxes and restrictions known as “cap and trade.” Mindful that the legislation would impose real costs in the here and now but offer only theoretical benefits, and those at some far remove in the future, Congress wisely rejected the bill. And so EPA’s bureaucrats went to their battle stations. Put another way, our elected representatives have failed to comply with the desires of our unelected masters, and the unelected government proposes to assert its supremacy...more

Idaho Conservation Group Models Enviro Success in a Tough Political Climate

Since the November election, a lot of environmentalists have been publicly wringing their hands, despondent about the new political landscape. In fact, ever since the Obama administration appointed Ken Salazar, a Colorado rancher, as Secretary of the Interior, there has been widespread disappointment that nothing has changed. Now, with the new Congress, environmentalists fear things are about to get a lot worse. Rick Johnson, executive director of the Idaho Conservation League (ICL), one of Idaho’s oldest environmental organizations and, some would say, its most successful, does not share this pessimistic outlook. He notes that Idaho politics have always been extremely challenging for advocacy groups like ICL. “So I’m not that flipped out by this,” he said. “We just need to keep our heads down, keep doing what we’re doing and stay the course.” Johnson says ICL tends to take a longterm view, rather than focusing on the more immediate ups and downs. The ICL, founded in 1973, can point to an impressive track record of this steady-as-you-go approach. It includes preservation of the 2.3 million-acre Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness in the ‘70s, the Idaho Clean Lakes and Water Quality Act in the ‘80s, a revised Idaho Forest Practices Act in the ‘90s and, more recently, helping pass the Owyhee Canyonlands Wilderness Bill, the first wilderness designation in Idaho in 29 years. Currently, ICL is in the forefront of the controversial effort to establish the Boulder White Clouds Wilderness in Idaho, or CIEDRA, (Central Idaho Environmental Development and Recreation Act) sponsored and championed by Idaho Rep. Mike Simpson (R)...more

Ranchers rally groups to keep access

More than 1,000 ranchers and other public-lands users have banded together to preserve historic, multiple use of the Jarbidge area of southwest Idaho and northeast Nevada. The Jarbidge Coalition for Multiple Use was created to comment on the Bureau of Land Management's draft Resource Management Plan-Environmental Impact Statement for that area. The plan will guide resource management for the next 15 to 20 years. "One of the big concerns is access to certain areas," said Gus Brackett, whose family has ranched in the area since 1886. The issue is bigger than grazing alone. Sportsmen, all-terrain vehicle enthusiasts and other recreationists wanted a seat at the table as well. They're worried about road closures and lost access to areas that have historically been open to their use, Brackett said. Ranchers are worried about reduced grazing, which could harm their livelihoods, he added. All are concerned with new designations of wilderness areas, wilderness study areas and areas of critical environmental concern. The coalition was formed to address the issues, find consensus and comment on them in a short amount of time with one strong voice...more

Bear smart: researcher urges involvement of ranchers

Officials in Kamloops, as well as other cities on the fringe of wild areas, encourage homeowners to keep garbage indoors in order to deter bears. In the wilderness of the Rocky Mountains in Montana, it's not quite so simple. And rather than just black bears, the population includes bigger and wilder grizzlies. But the concept of keeping people and bears safe, by keeping them apart, is the same. "The name of the game is minimizing attractants," said Seth Wilson, a visiting fellow with the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. "It's not rocket science to minimize conflict with bears. But there are subtleties and complexities." It's those complexities as well as success in reducing conflicts between black bears, grizzlies, wolves and ranchers that Wilson outlined Thursday in a lecture to students in Thompson Rivers University's master's of environmental science program. In addition to his research responsibilities, Wilson is the wildlife co-ordinator for the Blackfoot Challenge, a landowner-led non-governmental organization in the Blackfoot River area in the Rocky Mountains in Montana. Prior to the Blackfoot Challenge taking on the problem of conflicts between ranchers and predators, Wilson said there were 77 of those conflicts in 2003. Last year, by contrast, there were 10 minor incidents - a 93 per cent decrease. The reduction in problem grizzlies came through a systematic reduction in things that attract them in known areas, including sick or dead calves...more

NH farmer wins early release after gun sentence

A New Hampshire farmer who became a folk hero to gun rights activists after he was imprisoned for brandishing a handgun at a trespasser on his property won early release Wednesday. The New Hampshire Executive Council voted unanimously to free Ward Bird, just two months into his three-year sentence. His wife, Ginny, said he would come home to "lots of tears, lots of hugs and a big celebration." Bird, 49, of Moultonborough, had sought a full pardon to clear his name. The council voted in his favor, but Gov. John Lynch vetoed the pardon, saying the judicial system had given Bird's case a thorough review and he would not undermine that. The council then immediately voted to commute his sentence, and Lynch let that vote stand. "I, like the (sentencing) judge, have concerns the punishment does not fit the crime," Lynch said. Bird's felony conviction for criminal threatening with a firearm remains on his record. He can no longer possess guns. Attorney General Michael Delaney said a full pardon would have restored Bird's right to own and carry guns...more

How Jimmie Rodgers And I Saved The Hi-Fi

Dad served in the Navy in WWII. Sometime in the late 50’s or early 60’s they started a Navy Reserve Unit in Albuquerque and Dad joined. This meant another paycheck plus each year he went on a two weeks cruise with his Navy buddies.

Mom would use these two week periods to purchase items she, shall we say, just never got around to while Dad was home.

On this particular occasion she purchased a Hi-Fi record player. For you youngsters that stood for High Fidelity. Not quite Stereo, but supposedly better than a standard phonograph player.

When Dad returned from his Navy duty he noticed the Hi-Fi right away and announced “The damn thing’s going back.” Later that evening he came to my room to explain his position. “Did you see those big speakers on that thing?” he asked. “Those are for big dances in gymnasiums and things like that…people don’t have them in their houses.” “Hell”, he continued, “I could wind up the ol’ Victrola at the ranch and hear it clear out at the barn when I was feedin’ the horses.” He went on to say it was “going back” and he was sure I understood.

Mom was hanging tough though, so I took my allowance and went to the record shop. That was when they had booths and you could listen before you bought. Going through the LPs in the Country section, I noticed one with a picture of a man and his guitar and the man was wearing a railroader hat. I didn’t know Jimmie Rodgers from the man in the moon but I liked the picture and had them play it for me in the booth. I guess even at that young age I was a sucker for old time country, because I liked it and bought it.

I was playing my new album when Dad got home that evening. He was still opposed and telling Mom it was “going back”, so he went to the back of the house to put up his things. In just a little while he stepped back into the living room and said, “Is that Jimmie Rodgers”?

He sat down and listened for awhile and then told me stories about how people would come to town and stop by the DuBois Drug Store just to listen to the latest Jimmie Rodgers record.

And we got to keep the Hi-Fi.

Note: As a young girl my Mom got to see Rodgers in person, which you can read about here.

Song Of The Day #500

Ranch Radio will celebrate our 500th Song Of The Day with a couple of tunes from The Father of Country Music, Jimmie Rodgers. Any Old Time was recorded in 1929 and Nobody Knows But Me in 1931.

Rodgers recordings are widely available.

Should I keep this up for another 500?

Political Catch Pen

With the Republican Study Committee in the House now at 170 strong, it is causing tension for the Republican leaders reports Politico in House conservatives push on policy.

In The GOP's Tea Party Tango Mark Mckinnon discusses the Tea Party's impact on the House and the Senate.

Ian Murray says alot more people than you think work for the government in Leviathan.

Citing House Republicans announcement they will only cut $32 billion from the budget, Libertarians say “Tea Party betrayed by tiny Republican budget cuts”.

At NRO, Robert Costa writes about Senator Rand Paul's budget proposal in Rand Rips and Andrew Stiles his maiden speech in The Question of Compromise.

In Funny Business, The Washington Prowlers says big corporations are falling in line to support Obama's "Startup America" program.

James Capretta writes about The Darkening Skies over Obamacare.

T.L. Davis reports on Death in the Desert: Project Gunwalker and the ATF Cover-Up.

The Hill reports the FEC has inflation-adjusted contributions in FEC increases contribution limits

Argus Hamilton: Bill Clinton was named Man of the Year by the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals because of his public campaign urging everyone to eat vegan. He talked about how easy it was for him to switch to a meat-free diet. All he had to do was eat at Taco Bell.

Thursday, February 03, 2011

The power has gone out three times this evening, so there may not be a The Westerner tomorrow.

Stella Isabel Montoya 1928-2011

Stella Isabel Montoya of La Plata, N.M., died Sunday, Jan. 30, 2011, in Farmington. She was 82.

She was born to Onofre R. and Alvina Martinez Jaquez on Sept. 30, 1928, in Silverton.

On June 22, 1948, she married F.F. “Chano” Montoya in Farmington.

For many years, Mrs. Montoya was involved with the “Make It Yourself with Wool” contest that promoted wool products produced in the U.S. She was active in various agricultural organizations and spent a lot of time traveling throughout the country representing important agricultural issues.

In 1994, Mr. and Mrs. Montoya received the New Mexico State Cattleman of the Year award. They were the first to receive the award as a couple. They were also inducted into the History Makers Hall of Fame for Farmington. In 1990, they received the prestigious Citizen Award from the Bureau of Reclamation with the U.S. Department of Interior.

She and her husband served on the Fort Lewis College Foundation board of directors for several years, and was the president of the La Plata Water Conservancy. Mrs. Montoya also received many other awards and served on various boards.

Her son Davin Montoya said Mr. and Mrs. Montoya were as active in Colorado as they were in New Mexico.

“She was always willing to share her political opinions,” her family said.

Mrs. Montoya enjoyed working in her yard and garden. She was a member of the Sacred Heart Parish in Farmington.

Mrs. Montoya was preceded in death by her husband of 47 years, F.F. “Chano” Montoya; and son Theodore Montoya.

She is survived by her sons Davin Montoya of Hesperus, Anthony Montoya, Louis Montoya and Thomas Montoya, all of La Plata, N.M., and Charles Montoya of Farmington; daughter, Andrea Dunn, of Lamar; brothers Onofre “Buster” Jaquez and Gilbert Jaquez, both of Aztec; sisters Mary Jo Sarason of Albuquerque, Dolores Jaquez of Sonoma, Calif., and Georgia Lewis of Charlotte, N.C.; 15 grandchildren; and 11 great-grandchildren.

Visitation will be held from 4 to 6 p.m. today, Feb. 2, 2011, at Brewer, Lee & Larkin Funeral Home, 103 E. Ute St. in Farmington. A rosary will be recited at 7 p.m. today at Sacred Heart Catholic Church, 414 N. Allen Ave. in Farmington. A funeral Mass will be celebrated at 10 a.m. Thursday, Feb. 3, 2011, also at Sacred Heart Catholic Church. The Rev. Tim Farrell will be the celebrant. Burial will take place at Greenhorn Cemetery in La Plata.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be sent to the Fort Lewis College Foundation, 1000 Rim Drive, Durango CO 81301; Northwest New Mexico Hospice, P.O. Box 3336, Farmington, NM 87499-3336; or Basin Home Health, 200 N. Orchard Ave., Farmington, NM 87401.

Online condolences may be sent at

Obama, Bingaman to talk energy

President Barack Obama has summoned Sen. Jeff Bingaman to the White House on Wednesday for a one-on-one talk about energy policy, including the legislative prospects for the “clean energy” standard that was a central part of last week’s State of the Union speech. Bingaman (D-N.M.) is Obama’s first and most important target if the so-called CES has any chance of making it into law in 2011, before presidential politics consume Capitol Hill. A White House spokesman said Tuesday that the meeting with Bingaman was a follow up to the State of the Union message and Obama’s call for “policies to promote clean energy and strengthen our security, decrease pollution, and create new jobs. The Energy and Natural Resources Committee chairman has long been critical of the idea of including more traditional forms of energy like nuclear power and “clean coal” in a nationwide standard. Instead, he prefers an exclusive focus on renewables like wind, solar and geothermal power...more

Study finds bag tax ineffective

A new report finds the bag tax that Washingtonians have been paying for more than a year now to be a job killer and economic loser. The study, commissioned by Americans for Tax Reform and conducted by the Beacon Hill Institute, examines the economic fallout of the D.C. bag tax. One of the more annoying taxes ever devised, the levy covers even those little plastic bags that Subway puts your foot-long in. Macy's has to charge a bag tax with all purchases storewide for the simple reason that it sells Godiva chocolates. According to the report, the bag tax will result in the elimination of more than 100 local jobs and precipitate a $5.64 million decline in aggregate disposable income for 2011. The majority of this income would have been spent in the District and, as a result of the bag tax, D.C. will now needlessly forgo an additional $108,340 in sales tax revenue and will see investment drop by $602,000, with the bulk of the loss occurring in the retail sector. The report's findings underscore that the bag tax takes its greatest toll on the District's poorest residents and communities...more

Obama Budget Cuts Visualization

White House, key senator in standoff over South Korean trade deal

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) has a beef with the South Korean trade deal, and it could hurt President Obama's prospects for winning quick approval of the pact. The U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement is a key item on Obama's job-creation agenda, as his chief of staff reiterated Wednesday. "We want Korea," William M. Daley told reporters at a breakfast organized by Bloomberg News. But Baucus, whose committee oversees trade issues, is siding with cattle ranchers from his home state who were shut out of the deal. He has pledged opposition until South Korea reconsiders restrictions on the many U.S. beef exports it has barred. Baucus's stand is a major obstacle to the White House and Republicans who are eager to bring the long-delayed pact to the Senate floor. Baucus has not said whether he will merely vote against the agreement or will use the full force of his authority as finance chairman to block it indefinitely. The senator said he is working behind the scenes with U.S. trade officials to tweak the agreement to ensure Montana ranchers get a better deal. "When I see that, I'll support Korea," Baucus said...more

Arizona Ranchers Not Happy With Janet Napolitano's Border Plan for Rural Areas -- or Lack Thereof

The Arizona Cattleman's Association is not impressed with a speech given by Homeland Security Director Janet Napolitano this week, in which, the group says, she "abandoned her mantra of the past year that the U.S. Mexican Border...'is more secure than ever.'" During a speech at the University of Texas' El Paso campus, Napolitano touted the efforts of the federal government in curbing border violence and preventing drugs and illegal immigrants from coming across the border. The ACA isn't satisfied with Napolitano's assessment and feels she "has focused herself on border cities where emergency response is seconds away leaving rural areas in the cold once again." The group also says it's unfair of the homeland security chief to charge those who point out unchecked dangers on the border with trying to "score political points." "The secretary fails to recognize that Mexican cartels don't really care if their targets or their victims are Democrats or Republicans," Arizona Cattle Grower's Association President Steve Brophy says. "Secretary Napolitano also says that calling attention to the border security situation in southern Arizona is bad for business on the Border," the group says. "Is a cry for help to the Department of Homeland Security bad for business? Would it be better for business that we not speak of the problem, the threat and the dangers, and just hope it goes away?...more

UA Report Looks at State of Southwestern 'Foodsheds'

Unprecedented pressures exist on food security and farming capacity in the U.S. borderland states, according to a new regional food assessment by University of Arizona researchers and their colleagues. The Sabores Sin Fronteras Foodway Alliance has just published "State of Southwestern Foodsheds." Noted agricultural ecologist Gary Paul Nabhan, a research scientist with the UA Southwest Center, said the 36-page collection of essays "is the first assessment of the health and well-being of food systems in the borderlands states." The report includes a number of findings. The rates of hunger and food security in Arizona and New Mexico are rapidly rising at a pace exceeding that of the national average. Based on current U.S. Census data, Arizona is now the second poorest state in the nation and New Mexico ranked third. Both are among the lowest 13 states for food security and among the six worst states for dealing with childhood food insecurity. By discerning where leverage points are for positive change, Nabhan and Fitzsimmons hope to stimulate more innovation, such as encouraging more low-income people to use the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, to purchase fresh foods at farmers markets, rebuilding meat processing infrastructure or grouping several restaurants to share transportation costs of accessing local produce. At the same time, the food-producing capacity of the desert borderlands is under severe stress...more 

I can't wait to read it. 

Yak bills roam Wyoming house

At the request of local commissioners and ranchers, the state legislature has entered the fray in the Johnson County Yak War. The House Agriculture Committee has introduced three bills aimed at controlling yaks-at-large. House Bill 57 would give the state authority to declare feral livestock a nuisance and charge owners for the cost of herding and transporting the animals. House Bill 58, which was defeated in committee, would have allowed county commissions to declare feral livestock a public nuisance and impose fines accordingly. And House Bill 173, which is scheduled for hearing Thursday in the agriculture committee, would amend state statute to read that nuisance animals shall include “a dog, cat or yak.” At the heart of the issue are a herd of wooly Asian bovines that seemingly don’t know how to stay home. The herd, owned by John and Laura DeMatteis of Yak Daddy Ranch, has irked neighbors and led them to seek legal relief from just about every angle and from entities ranging from the Johnson County Board of Commissioners to the state Stockgrowers Association, the state Livestock Board and now the state legislature. The problem started last April when three Johnson County ranchers first approached the county seeking relief from the Yak Daddy Ranch yaks that they claimed repeatedly crashed through fences and into neighboring pastures, eating up precious grass and posing the threat of impregnating cows...more

Why cattle markets are having a cow

Cattle prices are on the hoof lately. But don't just blame Ben Bernanke. There are plenty of other places to point the finger if you want to assess responsibility for record livestock prices. You can start with wrongheaded U.S. energy policy, tightfisted herders and soaring food demand. Like so many other commodity markets, cattle have been in full trot since the Federal Reserve said in November it would loosen the money supply to keep the economy crawling along. Futures prices for live cattle, the ones being fattened up for slaughter, hit an all-time high last month after rising by nearly a third over the past year (see right), and the action in cash markets has been every bit as wild. "This has been a dramatic rise in the last few months," said Paul Engler, who runs Cactus Feeders, an Amarillo, Texas-based cattle feeder. The Fed's monetary laxity is surely a contributing factor, though it is far from the only one. Prices for all agricultural goods have been screaming higher over the past year, as demand from fast-growing developing countries threatens to overwhelm supplies that aren't growing nearly as fast...more

10 Best Old Cowboy Movies

Selecting the 10 best old cowboy movies isn't as straightforward as it sounds. Most people consider westerns and cowboy movies to be different terms for the same film genre. They are not. Cowboy movies are films that involve cowboys, ranchers or the handling of livestock as a central part of the plot. Thus, movies that focus on gunfighters, cavalry and Indian fighting without some explicit connection to cowboys are excluded from the list of ten best old cowboy movies. 1. “The Searchers” A taciturn, unpleasant Confederate cowboy returns home after the war to visit his family in Texas. When Comanches kill the family, the cowboy and a companion begin a years long search for his niece, the only survivor of the massacre. 2. “Shane” Farmers are trying to work their land and build a community, but a powerful cattle baron and his men are determined to drive them from the range. It looks like he will succeed until a reformed gunfighter appears on the scene and sides with the farmers. This is one of the best old cowboy movies because it is based on true events. 3. “Red River” In desperate bid to save his ranch, a cowboy leads a cattle drive to new beef markets. But, he is such a viscous, tyrannical boss on the trail that his own son leads a coup against his leadership...more

American Idol: It’s time to cowboy up

Wednesday, the “American Idol” judges went to Austin, Texas, and wrangled a real winner — a cowboy named John Wayne Schulz. Bowing to maternal pressure (she wanted him to audition), the humble rancher wowed the judges with a Brooks and Dunn number. He had a nice clear voice and a strong, loving heart. Mom, he told the judges, had battled breast cancer and he wanted to do something to please her. “He’s the kindest person you’ll meet,” mom said. And, sure enough, he prompted tears, got the golden ticket and sang like a dream. Look for him to rope a spot in the finals. Goodness deserves success...more

Song Of The Day #499

This morning Ranch Radio presents Reno & Smiley picking The Black And White Rag.

The tune is on their 4 CD Box Set Reno & Smiley: 1959-1963.

Tomorrow, in celebration of our 500th Song Of The Day we'll have some music by the Father of Country Music. I'll also tell the story about Jimmie Rodgers, me and the Hi-Fi.

We’re All Terrorists Now

...This follows a long line of fusion center and DHS reports labeling broad swaths of the public as a threat to national security. The North Texas Fusion System labeled Muslim lobbyists as a potential threat; a DHS analyst in Wisconsin thought both pro- and anti-abortion activists were worrisome; a Pennsylvania homeland security contractor watched environmental activists, Tea Party groups, and a Second Amendment rally; the Maryland State Police put anti-death penalty and anti-war activists in a federal terrorism database; a fusion center in Missouri thought that all third-party voters and Ron Paul supporters were a threat; and the Department of Homeland Security described half of the American political spectrum as “right wing extremists.”...more

Political Catch Pen

Amy Garner at the Wash. Post reports Pairing of religious conservatism with fiscal sets Iowa tea partyers apart.

Steven Hayward addresses liberal revisionism of Reagan in Reagan Reclaimed.

Will President Obama Abide by Court’s Decision and Suspend Obamacare? asks Michael Franc and Roger Pilon has legal questions about ObamaCare After Judge Vinson’s Ruling.  Also see Peter Ferrara's The Legal Future of Obamacare at The American Spectator.

Michael Rappaport discusses the Presentment Clause in How a Bill Becomes a Law: The Constitutional Way

Orrin Hatch plays ball with tea party reports POLITICO.

Americans For Prosperity President Tim Phillips explains How House Republicans can seize the moment.

In his maiden speech on the Senate floor Rand Paul compares Tea Party to abolitionist movement

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

The EPA versus spilled milk

Despite the old saying, "Don't cry over spilled milk," the Environmental Protection Agency is doing just that. We all understand why the Environmental Protection Agency was given the power to issue regulations to guard against oil spills, such as that of the Exxon Valdez in Alaska or the more recent BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. But not everyone understands that any power given to any bureaucracy for any purpose can be stretched far beyond that purpose. In a classic example of this process, the EPA has decided that, since milk contains oil, it has the authority to force farmers to comply with new regulations to file "emergency management" plans to show how they will cope with spilled milk, how farmers will train "first responders" and build "containment facilities" if there is a flood of spilled milk. Since there is no free lunch, all of this is going to cost the farmers both money and time that could be going into farming — and is likely to end up costing consumers higher prices for farm products. Does anyone seriously believe that any farmer is going to spill enough milk to compare with the Exxon Valdez oil spill or the BP oil spill?...more

Salazar aide defends 'wildlands rule'

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar is unlikely to change his mind on a rule that keeps some federal lands off limits. The policy, known as the "wildlands rule," allows the Interior Department's Bureau of Land Management to propose some federal land as protected wilderness. The policy has been condemned by energy industry representatives, congressional Republicans and Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead. Salazar aide Steve Black on Monday said the department welcomes public input, but the decision will likely stand. "We want to get that feedback, work through those issues," he said. "But I don't think you should expect material delay or change in the direction of that policy." Black, who advises Salazar on energy, climate policy and related land issues, spoke before the Wyoming Infrastructure Authority board at its winter meeting in Jackson. Nearly 70 people, mostly energy industry representatives, attended the public meeting...more

Hatch: Stop Obama's War On The West

In their latest attack on the rural West, President Obama and Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced unauthorized and unlimited “Wild Lands” designations in western states. Federal law is clear that “wilderness” can be designated only by Congress, but the President has the audacity to hope that this subtle wording change, from “wilderness to “Wild Lands,” will let him act without constraint in closing off vast public lands to the public who own them. Utahns and other Americans living in the West, with their way of life at stake, hope he’s wrong, and I will be introducing legislation to stop him. The recent announcement demonstrates brazen contempt for the rule of law. These lands belong to the people, not to federal land managers. The Wilderness Act passed in 1964 clearly gives Congress authority over these lands, and Congress has not approved this action. Federal law also requires input from local and state officials on these matters. Furthermore, the President’s announcement blatantly disregards agreements the federal government has stricken with Utah and other states to keep this kind of action from happening. Finally, it reverses comprehensive Resource Management Plans that have taken decades and hundreds of millions of dollars to complete...more

Officials gear up to fight the feds

State legislators and county officials in Utah are gearing up for what they expect will be a heated legal fight against the Bureau of Land Management’s new wild lands policy. The controversial policy was announced by Interior Secretary Ken Salazar on Dec. 23 and gives the BLM the authority to designate millions of acres of publicly owned lands in the West as “wild lands,” and apply the same restrictions on use that exist in wilderness areas. The move has drawn support from environmental groups, wilderness advocates and some politicians in Utah and around the nation who say a definitive plan to protect BLM administered land is long past due. Locally though, the policy has drawn the ire of elected officials who say they don’t plan on seeing it enacted without mounting a staunch opposition. “I was shocked and almost in disbelief when this announcement was made,” said state Rep. Kraig Powell, who represents Duchesne, Uintah, and Wasatch counties. Challenging the new directive has become a top priority for many government leaders in Utah, not just rural legislators. When the 2011 general session of the Legislature began last week, representatives and senators were already collaborating on multiple bills to combat the wild lands directive...more

Wyoming counties join foes of BLM wildlands inventory

Park County joined the Wyoming County Commissioners Association on Tuesday in voting to publicly oppose a federal order directing the Bureau of Land Management to inventory public land with wilderness characteristics. In a 3-1 vote at their meeting Tuesday, commissioners objected to a Dec. 22 order by Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar directing the BLM to maintain a “wilderness resource inventory” for public lands under its jurisdiction. Commissioners voted to sign the petition opposing the order. Those who supported the move accused Salazar of usurping his authority in trying to declare new wilderness without action by Congress. “Salazar is trying to circumvent the Wilderness Act,” Commissioner Joe Tilden said. “He's taking it upon himself to declare a lot of these areas as wildlands.” Tilden said Park County is home to roughly 532,000 acres of potential wildlands. Designating them as wilderness, he said, would effectively halt future oil and gas exploration. Commissioners Loren Grosskopf and Tim French agreed. French called Salazar's order a “raw abuse of power.”...more

Editorial: Lands bill

...Now, Utah lawmakers may be ready to say "enough is enough." The final straw appears to have been an announcement in December by U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar that his agency would review millions of acres of undeveloped land in Utah as possible wilderness areas. Such a designation means no development would be possible. One plan for dealing with the problem comes from Rep. Carl Wimmer, R-Herriman. The controversial lawmaker certainly is hitting a hot button with this piece of legislation, which would void any federal land designation made without the Legislature's approval. In other words, the federal government would make wilderness designation proposals to the Utah Legislature before they could go into effect. Legislative attorneys are reviewing the language in the bill, but even if they deem it to be legal, it's a good bet the federal government won't be willing to comply. Any defiance at the federal level will prompt potentially expensive litigation and, as some critics of the bill fear, possible confrontations between law enforcement officials at various levels of government...more

Wild Lands Designation Threatens Access

This new "Wild Lands" policy comes on the heels of a victory when U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) dropped his effort, on Dec. 21, 2010, to pass a massive omnibus public lands bill that would have inappropriately designated millions of acres of public land as Wilderness. The very next day Salazar signed Secretarial Order 3310 and the same day the 111th Congress adjourned sine die. On Dec. 23, 2010, Salazar held a press conference in Colorado announcing the new "Wild Lands" policy. With the new "Wild Lands" policy, anti-access advocates and the administration are now seeking an end-run around Congress. Salazar's order has far-reaching implications because the BLM manages about 245 million acres of public land nationwide, primarily in western states. Federal lawmakers quickly called the "Wild Lands" policy a "land grab" and a blatant attempt to usurp congressional authority. The AMA sent a letter, dated Jan.11, 2011, to Salazar asking him to explain whether the new "Wild Lands" land-use designation will block traditional routes of travel for off-highway riding. To view the letter, click here . And to view the AMA's press release, click here.

Pearce: New Mexicans speak out on Gila road closings

Some, like Reverend Mike Skidmore from Truth or Consequences, simply love escaping with their loved ones into the Gila. For Rev. Skidmore, the Gila is a place to enjoy nature and “get away” — an experience he has shared with his children, grandchildren, and even members of his congregation. He fears that road closures will force everyone to the same crowded campsites, ending the days of quiet refuge and fellowship he always found there. Others have expressed concern for the elderly and disabled. The joys of the forest should be available to everyone, not just those with the physical ability to hike miles with a heavy pack. Charlie and Paula Stevens have camped in the Taylor Creek Canyon together for the past 35 years. The couple explained that as they grow older, they will become unable to access their spot without roads. Restricted access could bring their lifelong tradition to an end. This sort of discrimination against the elderly and disabled is unacceptable. Those who live in the Gila, including ranchers and farmers, are deeply concerned. Roads throughout the Gila connect them to their livelihoods, their homes, and their backyards...more

Senate climate battle begins with two bills

Dueling bills to block federal climate change rules landed in the Senate Monday, signaling interest by conservative Republicans and centrist Democrats in curtailing the Environmental Protection Agency. But it’s not clear whether the presence of two measures creates political momentum for halting greenhouse gas regulations, or instead reveals divides among EPA foes that can’t be bridged. Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), who is a member of the GOP leadership team, introduced a sweeping bill with several Republican colleagues that would completely upend the ability of federal agencies to regulate emissions or consider climate change when implementing various environmental statutes. (It would, however, allow current tailpipe standards to remain in place.) Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) introduced a less aggressive bill with several centrist Democrats that would delay EPA’s rules for stationary emissions sources like power plants and refineries for two years. Frank O’Donnell, head of the advocacy group Clean Air Watch, worries that the sweeping Republican bill could create a political opening for Rockefeller’s measure, a bill he said would set a bad precedent by suspending enforcement of clean air protections...more

New Mexico Livestock Growers, Counties Withdraw Wolf Lawsuit

Plaintiffs in a lawsuit that asked the federal government to remove endangered Mexican gray wolves from the wild in New Mexico have now filed a motion seeking voluntary dismissal of their suit without prejudice, meaning that they could refile a similar suit later. This is the third unsuccessful suit against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service attempting to undermine the Mexican wolf recovery program. In this case, the plaintiffs are Catron and Otero counties, two livestock-industry associations and three ranching operations with grazing permits in the Gila National Forest. “This lawsuit was entirely without merit; the plaintiffs’ motion to dismiss their own suit suggests they realize neither the law nor the facts are on their side,” said Michael Robinson of the Center for Biological Diversity, which intervened in the lawsuit in support of the government together with Defenders of Wildlife. “With only a few dozen Mexican wolves struggling to survive in the wild, a new rash of federal trapping and shooting would push this unique animal even closer to extinction.”...Press Release

House GOP readies restrictions on EPA

In a sharp challenge to the Obama administration, House Republicans intend to unveil legislation Wednesday to ban the Environmental Protection Agency from regulating greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act and expect to advance the bill quickly, officials disclosed Tuesday night. The officials said the bill would nullify all of the steps the EPA has taken to date on the issue, including a threshold finding that greenhouse gases constitute a danger to the public health and welfare. In addition, it seeks to strip the agency of its authority to use the law in any future attempts to crack down on the emissions from factories, utilities and other stationary sources. Many scientists say that carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping pollution contribute to global warming, and attempts at regulating them is a major priority for President Barack Obama as well as environmentalists. Critics argue the evidence is thin and that new rules will drive up the cost of business and cause the loss of jobs. The officials who described the GOP plans did so on condition of anonymity, saying they were not authorized to pre-empt the release of a draft measure prepared by the Energy and Commerce Committee, chaired by Rep. Fred Upton of Michigan...more

Interior Department issues new policy protecting government scientists

The Interior Department set new rules Tuesday that will protect scientific information and the people who create it from political interference, earning wide praise from outside groups that have long alleged that top political officials regularly manipulate or misinterpret data. The new scientific-integrity policy applies to the department's 67,000 employees as well as its contractors, grant recipients and volunteers when they analyze or share scientific information with reporters and the public or use the department's information to make policy or regulatory decisions, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said. The hiring and promotion of officials should be based on "knowledge, credentials and experience relevant to the responsibility of the position," according to the new policy, which also requires the public distribution of scientific and scholarly work not protected by government secrecy laws...more

Is this the same Ken Salazar who distorted the scientists' report on offshore drilling?

Ninth Circuit abandons federal defendant rule in NEPA cases

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals en banc has ruled that the “federal defendant” rule, which categorically prohibits private parties and state and local governments from intervening of right on the merits of claims brought under NEPA, is no longer law in the Ninth Circuit. The Wilderness Soc’y v. U.S. Forest Serv., No. 09-35200 (9th Cir. 1/14/11).    Abandoning the rule, which had already been abandoned by all U.S. circuit courts except for the Seventh and Ninth, the court stated that the rule was “at odds with the text” of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 24(a)(2) and the standards applied in other intervention-of-right cases. The ruling arose out of a challenge to the Forest Service’s plan to designate about 1,200 miles of roads and trails for use by motorized vehicles in Idaho’s Sawtooth National Forest. Several conservation groups challenged the plan, arguing that it violates NEPA’s environmental assessment provisions. The rule became an issue when three recreational advocacy groups tried to intervene on the Forest Service’s side. The district court applied the federal defendant rule and denied the intervention. The groups appealed, urging the appellate court to modify or eliminate the rule. In addition to the appellants, 37 “friends of the court” joined the lawsuit to argue that the “categorical prohibition on the ability of private parties and state and local governments to intervene of right as defendants on the merits of NEPA cases” should be abandoned...more

Eco-groups sue Forest Service over motorized routes

A quintet of environmental groups has sued the U.S. Forest Service, arguing that the agency gave its blessing to hundreds of miles of routes for motorized vehicles without proper review. The groups, represented by the environmental law organization Earthjustice, say the routes slice through some of the most treasured parts of the Pike-San Isabel National Forest: in wetlands, along gold-medal fishing streams and across important habitat for endangered Preble's meadow jumping mice and Mexican spotted owls. National forests already are criss-crossed by thousands of miles of vehicle routes — for cars, Jeeps and all-terrain vehicles — but new routes are supposed to undergo a thorough review to determine their impact before they are approved. The 500 miles of disputed routes did not go through such a process, the lawsuit alleges. Still, they appeared on the Forest Service's Motor Vehicle Use Map, according to the lawsuit. "Once they're on the map, it's sort of official permission from the Forest Service to use them," said Melanie Kay, an attorney for Earthjustice. The lawsuit was filed Monday in U.S. District Court in Denver. The groups listed as plaintiffs were The Wilderness Society, the Center for Native Ecosystems, the Quiet Use Coalition, Wildlands CPR and Great Old Broads for Wilderness...more

Center established to 'balance debate' on environment

To counter what he calls misinformation put out by environmental groups, Southern Arizona attorney Hugh Holub has established the Center for Sustainable Development. There is a range war going on in Southern Arizona with a clear effort on the part of a couple specific groups to kick all ranchers off public lands in the West, says Holub, who is founder and executive director of the new organization. For instance, Holub said efforts are under way to increase fees for federal grazing because according to the Center for Biological Diversity, cattle grazing contributes to the endangerment of the Desert Tortoise. In December, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said the listing of the Desert Tortoise as an endangered species is warranted, however, due to other priorities it will have to wait. During the wait time, the service will make any determination on critical habitat during development of the proposed listing rule. "People who aren't aware of this don't know how much it will affect everyone in Southern Arizona, especially in Tucson," Holub said. "They way some of the language is written home building, ranching, RV/ATV use, power lines, gas lines - just about everything is subordinate to the tortoise." Holub said issues like this shouldn't be driven by litigation, as most of the claims by these groups are. Instead they should be driven by science...more

Bill would help property owners when cattle wander

When Angela Moreno moved from suburban Phoenix to her dream home in the wide-open spaces near this southeastern Arizona city she expected a less-stressful life. Instead, Moreno and her husband, David, have encountered a rural nightmare. She said a bull owned by a local rancher has terrorized her and others in her neighborhood since last summer. Moreno said she first encountered the bull when it charged her car while she was in it. It leaped over a 4-foot fence and ate her vegetable garden, and then it tore through a 6-foot-high chain-link fence, she said. Then Morenos tried an electric fence, but it didn't even faze the bull, she said. State Rep. Daniel Patterson, D-Tucson, said plight faced by the Morenos and others prompted him to introduce legislation aimed at making it easier for property owners to recover damages when cattle wander off open range and encourage ranchers to prevent intrusions. HB 2127 would make it a Class 2 misdemeanor for owners to knowingly or unknowingly allow cattle to venture without permission onto private property. Current state law has that provision only for sheep and goats. The bill also would remove a requirement that property owners living next to open range must have installed a 50-inch-high barbed wire fence to seek damages from ranchers whose livestock wander. Property owners could collect whether or not they put up fences...more

Blizzard keeps Midwest cattle ranchers busy

The winter storm that paralyzed cities across the Midwest has made life harder for exhausted ranchers like Byrd. Even those whose cows aren't ready to give birth have been busy trying to keep their water from freezing, putting out extra rations to make sure the animals maintain their weight and watching for signs of frostbite. Feedlots in the Texas Panhandle lost cattle several years ago when temperatures plummeted unexpectedly. The animals "just flat froze, standing in the lot," said Bill Hyman, executive director of the Independent Cattlemen's Association in Texas. While widespread deaths aren't common, Hyman said it's not usual to lose some animals to frostbite or freezing. In 2007, more than 1,000 cattle died during a winter storm that struck 44 Kansas counties that were home to 3.7 million cows...more

Female Troubles: Don’t drop the lingo through

People that are involved with livestock and agriculture take for granted that everyone seems to know what they are talking about in conversations. It has nothing to do with “redneck” verbiage or anything that implies a lack of knowledge; in fact the opposite can be said. Less than 2 percent of the population makes the food and fiber for the rest. With numbers like that, you bet that there is a whole lot of science and technology making that staggering statistic possible. And where there is applied science, there are scientists. Scientists love naming things so that the common population couldn't possibly say it all in one breath. I believe it is in their code of ethics somewhere. Consequently, when farmers or ranchers try to use the words, we sound stupid sounding them out, not to mention losing a couple of hours of daylight just saying them. Therefore, it is common to see words shortened or dropped entirely for the sake of getting as much accomplished in a conversation as possible. Ag people (see how easy it is?) love to make abbreviations and verbs out of scientific words. Case and point...more

Song Of The Day #498

Sticking with traditional bluegrass Ranch Radio brings you the 1953 recording of Pain In My Heart by Mac Wiseman.

The tune is on his 6 CD box set 'Tis Sweet to Be Remembered: Complete Recordings 1951-1964.

Arizona Attorney General Criticizes Bloomberg's Gun-Show Sting

Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne says New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg overstepped his power in authorizing investigators to run an undercover sting operation at a Phoenix gun show. Horne said Tuesday the sting was a public relations stunt. During the sting, investigators hired by New York City bought semiautomatic pistols after they said they probably couldn't pass a background check. Horne says Bloomberg ought to consider the skyrocketing crime in his city before sending police officers to another state. Bloomberg spokesman Jason Post disputes Horne's characterization of New York City's crime and says the sting was carried out by Arizona-based private investigators, not city police. AP

Political Catch Pen

Mitch McConnell grabs opening for health care vote by offering the repeal amendment to a bill reauthorizing the FAA.

Tea Party Gets Early Start on G.O.P. Targets for 2012
reports the NY Times.

Patrik Jonsson at the Christian Science Monitor asks Can the tea party survive success?

Jeffrey Lord at The American Spectator writes about Reagan in Ronald Reagan's America

Ronald Reagan: The One Man Tea Party
writes Ruth King.

In CPAC’s Culture Club Jean Lopez writes about conservatives arguing over what it means to be one.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Dozens of Federal Lawmakers Oppose New 'Wild Lands' Land-Use Policy

Nearly 60 federal lawmakers have joined forces to ask Department of Interior Secretary Ken Salazar to withdraw a recent order creating a new land-use designation that could bar responsible off-highway riding from public land, the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) reports. In a letter dated Jan. 28, Rep. Rob Bishop (R-Utah), the outgoing chairman of the Congressional Western Caucus; Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), chairman of the Senate Western Caucus; and 47 other House members and eight other senators asked Salazar to rescind Secretarial Order 3310, which Salazar signed on Dec. 22. The order created a new land-use designation called "Wild Lands" that essentially allows officials in the federal Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to manage public land as if it had received a "Wilderness" land-use designation from Congress, but without requiring congressional approval...more

Governor Denounces Decision on Alaska ‘Wild Lands’

Alaska Governor Sean Parnell expressed grave concerns Thursday about a recent decision in December by U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar to evaluate 87 million acres of federal land in Alaska as potential “wild lands.” That designation would effectively allow the federal government to create more wilderness in Alaska without congressional oversight. Secretarial Order 3310 issued December 23, 2010 by Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar directed the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), based on the input of the public and local communities through its existing land management planning process, to designate appropriate areas with wilderness characteristics under its jurisdiction as "Wild Lands" and to manage them to protect their wilderness values. "Americans love the wild places where they hunt, fish, hike, and get away from it all, and they expect these lands to be protected wisely on their behalf," said Salazar. "This policy ensures that the lands of the American public are protected for current and future generations to come." In comments submitted recently to the Department of the Interior, Governor Parnell said Interior’s wild lands designation will diminish access to federal lands and cost jobs. “Putting such a sweeping initiative in place overnight, with no congressional direction and no advance consultation with affected states or the public, is unfathomable,” Governor Parnell said. He noted that Alaska lands have been repeatedly studied, with large areas placed off-limits to resource development...more

Utah County mobilizes against wild lands policy

Tooele County officials are adding their voices to a chorus of state leaders opposing a new federal wild lands policy. The Tooele County Planning Commission on Wednesday recommended amending the county’s resource management plan within the general plan to reaffirm a policy in favor of multiple-use management of Bureau of Land Management lands. The policy also states the county is against designating, managing or treating further areas as wilderness. The move is in response to U.S Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar’s December order directing the BLM to designate appropriate areas with wilderness characteristics under its jurisdiction as “wild lands” and to manage them to protect their wilderness values. The order also instructs the BLM to maintain an inventory of public lands with wilderness characteristics. Tooele County Commissioner Jerry Hurst said the new ‘wild lands’ policy would lock up 6 million more acres in Utah. “They would be accessible only by horseback and hiking, no motorized access,” he said. “It would lock up all of the multiple uses of the land, like mining and forestry. It would limit grazing and any activities that require motorized vehicles on those lands, so I’m very much opposed to that, as is much of the state.”...more

State to feds: No more national monuments without asking us first

The state House of Representatives on Saturday approved a resolution that would prohibit the designation of national monuments in Montana without state’s approval. “I don’t necessarily oppose monuments but I do oppose them without the consent of the legislature and governor,” said Rep. Ken Peterson, R-Billings, who introduced House Joint Resolution No. 4. He said there has been some abuse in Washington as the Antiquities Act law allows the president to make such a declaration. The House passed the second reading of the resolution 76-23. It is listed as a joint resolution of the state Senate and House. The third reading will be Monday. The joint resolution urges Congress to amend the Antiquities Act to require that land used as part of a national monument to be small, and that Congress approve any designations...more

Wild horse classification could conflict with state law

You can lead a federally protected horse to water, but if you let it drink you could be in violation of Nevada law. That's if a proposal to the state's water engineer by the Nevada Board of Wildlife Commissioners is adopted. In the letter addressed to Jason King, state engineer with the Division of Water Resources, the wildlife commission asks King to notify of each federal agency that is responsible for overseeing feral horses and burros that continued use of water "of which there is no designated beneficial use" is in violation of state law. Furthermore, the letter asks King to request that the federal agencies - in this case the Bureau of Land Management - that it needs to remove from the range all feral horses and burros covered under the Wild Horse and Burro Act from areas where they are "making unlawful use of Nevada waters." Under Nevada law, waters on public lands must be utilized by livestock or wildlife. The commission argues that feral horses and burros are not livestock or wildlife under federal guidelines, therefore the horses are consuming water resources illegally. The commission states in the letter that it supports working with water rights owners, but to have vested water rights the resource must have been put to beneficial use of livestock before 1905, according to state law. For claims after 1905, the individual has to justify beneficial use, and file a claim with the state engineer. The commission goes on to list several legal definitions of "livestock" and "wildlife," concluding that feral horses and burros are neither...more

An interesting approach.

Forest Service vying for water rights

The U.S. Forest Service is addressing "Notice of Application to Appropriate Public Water Instream Flow Maintenance," posted at area post offices. The Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests is applying for non-consumptive water rights to ensure enough water flow remains in streams to sustain and protect fish, wildlife and recreation opportunities within the Forest's streams. The Forest Service must apply for a water right from the state of Arizona just like any other water user. The non-consumptive water right the Forest Service is applying for does not allow the agency to use the water from the stream, it will not divert or interfere with surface water flow, and does not affect any existing (senior) water rights. The Forest Service is applying for the water right to protect forest water resources that are vital for a healthy forest ecosystem. The Forest Service cannot file for water rights on lands that they do not manage...more

Video: Robert Redford, environmental hypocrite?

Redford is one of the main opponents of a plan by the Pacific Union College to build an eco-village in Angwin California. The college says it needs the funds because of a dire financial situation. The village is close to Redford’s vineyard in the Napa Valley. However whilst publicly opposing this development “to preserve the rural heritage” Redford has been quietly selling development lots in the Sundance Preserve for $2 million. These lots are intended for vacation homes close to Redford’s Sundance Ski Resort. The double standard is revealed in a short film Robert Redford Hypocrite which has just been released. Film director Ann McElhinney said the film is not criticising Redford for selling his property. "It is great that in a recession Mr Redford can find so many buyers. I am delighted that those houses will be built, creating jobs and vitality in a remote area but it is shocking that Mr Redford would deny others similar opportunities to make a profit and create jobs." The film’s co-director Phelim McAleer said the film was highlighting the double standards of so many celebrities and environmentalists. "This is just another example of environmental elites telling the rest of us how and where we must live and what we are not allowed to do, but thinking that those rules don’t apply to themselves. Robert Redford has shown himself to be a hypocrite - plain and simple," said McAleer. The film - released on YouTube - also shows how Redford has campaigned against "dirty fuels" and wants to end the use of oil whilst promoting flying by doing lucrative voice overs for a series of United Airlines commercials...more

Here is the video:

Barrasso Introduces Climate Change Pre-emption Bill; Contra Bingaman

Senator John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) is introducing his Climate Change Pre-emption bill, an initiative that would prevent the EPA and other such agencies from unilaterally regulating greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions without explicit Congressional Authorization. Sen. Barrasso’s legislation looks to put an end to runaway regulation dictating the nation’s energy and industry policy. It has four main goals: 1) To prevent the federal government from applying outdated environmental laws to climate-change issues. 2) To restore and preserve the role of the Congress as the most important body in determining U.S. climate and energy policy. 3) To forbid, in absence of explicit Congressional Authorization, federal regulation of GHG under the rubric of climate change. It would pre-empt possible applications of the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, National Environmental Policy Act, etc. 4) To preclude legal action against emitters of GHG based simply on their supposed contribution to climate change. Unfortunately, there are some lawmakers on Capitol Hill who are more than happy ceding their power to unelected bureaucrats: Senator Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.) is dead-set on giving the government to them through the creation of yet another federal agency, the Clean Energy Deployment Administration (CEDA). He has also supported the imposition of Clean/Renewable Energy Standards, which would constitute another massive interference with American industry. Bingaman’s proposed Energy Efficiency Enhancement Act seeks to dictate standards for common light-bulbs and appliances; as with all of these proposals, it smacks of more spending, bigger government, and an outdated, unscientific attachment to a radical “green” ideology. Each of these policies would put undo strain on an already fragile economy, while stretching the effects of the federal nanny-state into every American home. As far as Bingaman and his allies in the Senate are concerned, there is no appliance too small to warrant bigger government...more

Dems: Oil, Gas Drillers Pumped Diesel into Ground

Oil and gas companies have injected more than 32 million gallons of fluids containing diesel fuel underground without first getting government approval as required, a report by congressional Democrats said Monday. Lawmakers said the use of diesel fuel by large companies, such as Halliburton and BJ Services Co., appears to violate the Safe Drinking Water Act, because the companies never obtained permission from state or federal authorities to use the diesel fuel. The probe found no evidence that the use of diesel fuel contaminated water supplies. The year-long probe was led by Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., and other two other Democrats on the House Energy and Commerce Committee. Waxman is the panel's senior Democrat and a former chairman. The investigation found that 12 of 14 companies hired to perform hydraulic fracturing, also known as "fracking," used diesel alone or in a mixture from 2005 to 2009. Of the 32.2 million gallons reported, most was injected in Texas, followed by Oklahoma, North Dakota, Louisiana and Wyoming...more

Save the environment or save the economy? The brewing battle over bottled water could kill jobs

For more than a few years environmentalists have fueled a movement to ban or significantly reduce consumer use of bottled water. Dozens of universities and municipalities have already taken action to curb bottle water use. But the impact of such a ban on the U.S. economy, especially in the current economic climate, could be significant. “It could be massively destructive for the industry,” said Tom Lauria, spokesman for the International Bottled Water Association. More than 150,000 jobs in the water bottle industry could be at risk, and billions of dollars of exports of polyethylene terephthalate, a primary ingredient used to produce water bottles, could also be at risk. The National Association for PET Container Resources (NAPCOR) said 1.4 billion pounds of PET were collected for recycling in 2009. Of that, 780 million pounds was exported, mainly to China, which purchased 726 million pounds of PET. Kate Eagles, NAPCOR’s communications director said, “Valuable plastic material gets used in domestic products in China; it’s not waste and it’s not garbage and that sometimes gets glossed over.” Eagles added, “They [China] have a huge appetite for recycled plastic. They have a huge population and they don’t have a lot of natural resources.” Translation: China is paying U.S. companies more than $7 billion to recycle our waste...more

New EPA Report Confirms Biofuel Policy Harms Environment

A draft EPA report released a few days ago largely confirms what we already know, that conventional biofuels produced on a large scale in the United States (corn ethanol), offer slight GHG reductions but come with a host of other, more troublesome,  problems. As the report is still a draft, the EPA has asked that it not be cited or quoted from. The report is available here. If you navigate to page 116 you can find their preliminary conclusions and recommendations. Remember, the U.S. is mandating that U.S. consumers purchase corn ethanol which is harming the environment (one of its many negatives), while paying the corn ethanol industry to produce these fuels and keeping a cleaner competitor (sugarcane ethanol) from entering the country via a protective tariff...more

Turning ranches into one big refuge

A 150,000-acre expanse of cattle ranches and grasslands just north of Lake Okeechobee will soon become a national wildlife refuge where the public can hunt, fish and bird-watch. But the proposed Everglades Headwaters National Wildlife Refuge and Conservation Area will also help decades-long efforts to restore water in the Everglades, by filtering polluted runoff before it flows into Lake Okeechobee. Because the refuge will eventually provide plenty of opportunities for outdoor recreational activities for Florida residents and visitors, officials involved in its planning want to hear from the public. In February, local ranchers, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and other federal and state agencies will host public meetings in cities close to the refuge. About 50,000 acres of the proposed refuge would be purchased by the federal government. The remaining 100,000 would be protected through conservation easements on private land...more

Judge tosses challenge to Idaho roadless plan

A federal judge has tossed out a lawsuit from environmentalists over Idaho's handcrafted plan for managing millions of acres of roadless wilderness across Idaho. U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill issued the ruling Friday defending the so-called Idaho Roadless Rule that guides future use and protection for 9.3 million acres of backcountry. The rule was written by Idaho officials after a series of statewide meetings before winning approval by the U.S. Forest Service in 2008. The plan was challenged by a coalition of environmental groups opposed to letting state determine how to manage federal public land. They also claimed the Idaho rule opened too much to logging, mining and other activities that could threaten endangered species habitat. Winmill said federal laws protecting endangered species were not ignored in drafting the plan. AP

Judge: Redo off-roading routes in Mojave Desert

A federal judged ordered the U.S. Bureau of Land Management to re-designate more than 5,000 miles of off-road vehicle routes in the western Mojave Desert within three years. The Jan. 29 decision by Judge Susan Illston in U.S. District Court in San Francisco said the agency, in designating the routes in 2006, did not properly follow rules that protect wildlife and other resources on public land. The judge rejected demands by the environmentalists who sued to close off-roading routes in the Juniper Flats, Wonder Valley and Edwards Bowl areas of the Mojave Desert. However, Illston instructed the BLM to develop plans in the coming months to place signs on routes, update maps, monitor for illegal off-roading activity and beef up law enforcement. She also required the agency to evaluate the status of various habitats in the region, to monitor air quality near off-roading areas and provide informational kiosks at access points to such areas...more

That shows you who is managing federal lands today: enviros and the courts.

Forest Service wary of underage drivers in Idaho

U.S. Forest Service officials are considering altering forest roads in Idaho for safety reasons following a 2009 decision by Idaho lawmakers that opened the roads to drivers younger than 16 operating off-highway vehicles without a state-issued driver's license. "While responsible OHV (off-highway vehicle) recreation is welcome on national forest system roads, safe operation of motor vehicles on national forest roads is compromised because unlicensed and untrained drivers are now sharing roads designed and maintained for passenger cars and commercial truck traffic," said Harv Forsgren, regional forester of the Intermountain Region based in Ogden, Utah. The agency said more than 2,500 miles of roads Forest Service roads in Idaho are "roads of concern" that could be dangerous for unlicensed drivers. The Forest Service is taking public comments through Feb. 22 about roads in the eight national forests in the state...more

Forsgren is just looking for any excuse he can to close more roads. Either that, or he considers himself smarter than the entire State of Idaho when it comes to vehicle safety.

Ag Secretary: Federal Dietary Guidelines Changed My Life

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack confessed today that he had “never read” the federal government's dietary guidelines until he joined the Obama Administration and since he read them it had changed his life. “I must admit personally, I had never read the dietary guidelines until I got this job. But I read them in detail. I read all of them and I realized how significantly different my eating habits were from what constituted a healthy pattern. So personally, my life has changed by virtue of these dietary guidelines,” he told an audience at George Washington University on Monday as he and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius unveiled the newest set of federal dietary guidelines...more

Unfortunately, based on his policy and legislative pronouncements, Vilsack has "never read" the Constitution either.

And speaking of obesity, both Secretaries should be looking at their own departments.

Cattle baron slain in Mexico

A Mexican cattle baron was found slain Friday a few hours after his abduction in suburban Monterrey, an official said. The body of the 74-year-old Arturo B. de la Garza was dumped near the town of China on the highway linking Monterrey, the state capital, with the border city of Reynosa, an official spokesperson told EFE. He was kidnapped Thursday night outside the headquarters of the state ranchers union in Guadalupe. A message was found alongside the cattle baron's body, but authorities have not revealed its content...more

Growing Artificial Meat in Labs to End Hunger

In a small laboratory on an upper floor of the basic science building at the Medical University of South Carolina, Vladimir Mironov, M.D., Ph.D., has been working for a decade to grow meat. A developmental biologist and tissue engineer, Dr. Mironov, 56, is one of only a few scientists worldwide involved in bioengineering "cultured" meat. It's a product he believes could help solve future global food crises resulting from shrinking amounts of land available for growing meat the old-fashioned way ... on the hoof. Growth of "in-vitro" or cultured meat is also under way in the Netherlands, Mironov told Reuters in an interview, but in the United States, it is science in search of funding and demand. "There's yogurt, which is cultured yeast. You have wine production and beer production. These were not produced in laboratories. Society has accepted these products." If wine is produced in winery, beer in a brewery and bread in a bakery, where are you going to grow cultured meat? In a "carnery," if Mironov has his way. That is the name he has given future production facilities. He envisions football field-sized buildings filled with large bioreactors, or bioreactors the size of a coffee machine in grocery stores, to manufacture what he calls "charlem" -- "Charleston engineered meat." "It will be functional, natural, designed food," Mironov said. "How do you want it to taste? You want a little bit of fat, you want pork, you want lamb? We design exactly what you want. We can design texture."...more

Song Of The Day #497

Ranch Radio is in the mood for some traditional bluegrass, so here are Flatt & Scruggs and their 1951 recording of Pain In My Heart.

Their recordings are widely available, as you can see here.

Kill The Internet 'Kill Switch'

Virtually the first thing an authoritative Egyptian government did to quell dissent was to shut down its Internet. So why are we debating a bill to give our government the same power? In George Orwell's classic "1984," the control of information and its flow was critical to Big Brother's maintaining his grip on the people and manipulating their passions. Authoritarian governments and dictators worldwide know that lesson well. The ability to see how others live and to exchange ideas is a catalyst to dissent and unrest. The ability to choke off that flow is a necessity for authoritarian governments. The Internet and social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter have helped fuel democratic movements from our own Tea Party to the Iranian dissidents. Which is why we are concerned about the resurrection of a bill that would give our government the ability to shut down part or all of American cyberspace in what the government would declare a "cyber-emergency." Certainly the need for enhanced cybersecurity is clear, but why the ISPs and the government are incapable of protecting their own turf is unclear...more

Political Catch Pen

Finding the individual mandate violates the Commerce claus Judge Rules Health Care Law Is Unconstitutional

Referring to the 1773 Tea Party Federal Judge: A Wink at the Tea Party in Overturning Health Law

The liberals claim their money in politics is good and conservative money is bad says Timothy Carney in The Kochs vs. Soros: Free markets vs. state coercion

Seven in ten tell Gallup GOP should listen to tea party

But they don't, as The Hill reports Republicans embrace Obama rail initiative

The authors report on two approaches Right's weapon: Constitutional force

The Boston Globe reports Tea Party activists train to be candidates

Jonathan Allen writes Republicans are terrified of the tea party

Nearly 11 Percent of US Houses Empty, 18.4 million are vacant this report says.

Moody's has announced Unfunded Pension Obligations to Factor into State Credit Ratings

Monday, January 31, 2011

Top Republicans craft strategy to fight EPA’s expanding regulatory reach

Top Republicans in the House and Senate are in the middle of crafting a plan to stop unprecedented regulation by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) of carbon dioxide emissions, but confusion abounds the details. Republicans bent on stopping the rules face key challenges — including the threat of a presidential veto on any legislation they pass and uncertainty over a prospective budget fight in March. House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton met with Senate Environment and Public Works Committee ranking member Sen. James Inhofe on Wednesday to discuss potential legislation that Upton would introduce in the House, where Republicans hold a majority. The meeting, one of a series the two officials have been holding to coordinate House and Senate strategy on the issue, did not appear to result in any significant progress. “I’m sorry, I can’t tell you anything about the meeting,” said Inhofe spokesman Matt Dempsey. The legislation the two are discussing would likely remove greenhouse gasses from the EPA’s reach under the Clean Air Act. For now, the EPA is claiming authority to regulate carbon under the Clean Air Act because of an “endangerment finding” in which the agency declared the emission to be harmful to society. Now, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson is sprinting to finalize regulations to implement the endangerment finding that could have a major impact on American industry and economy. While Inhofe and Upton nail down legislation, one key issue yet unresolved by Republicans is what role the appropriations committees will play in the effort to take on EPA regulations. “No one knows if appropriations committee will do something to stop EPA first,” the top lobbyist for a major energy trade association told TheDC.

The article continues:

When the current continuing resolution (CR) – legislation that authorizes government spending at current levels – expires in March, Republicans will have to decide whether to take on the EPA by cutting off funding. In a new budget or spending bill, Congress could instruct the EPA not to spend any money on implementing global warming regulations. If the GOP is unsuccessful in March, insiders say a “clean” CR is likely. That means spending will not change and the EPA will be able to continue regulating until at least the end of this fiscal year.

That is the same strategy I previously posted could be used to defund Secretarial Order 3310 on Wildlands Policy.