Friday, June 24, 2011

Mexican troops cross into the United States - video report

A convoy of three military trucks loaded with Mexican soldiers crosses the border at Bridge Number Two clearly violating international law. It happens as Customs and Border Protection inspectors try to figure out what to do. A CBP spokesperson says they got on the phone with Mexican authorities after being alerted that the military trucks were heading their direction loaded down with soldiers and weapons. Mexican leaders say the soldiers, who had just been deployed to Nuevo Laredo, didn't know the area, got lost and then made their way through Bridge Two. It's important to note that CBP did not tell us about the potentially serious situation. It came from another law enforcement agency...more

The Food-Stamp Crime Wave

Lax attitudes toward fraud are spurring swindles across the nation: • Earlier this month, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel revealed that Wisconsin food-stamp recipients routinely sell their benefit cards on Facebook. The investigation also found that "nearly 2,000 recipients claimed they lost their card six or more times in 2010 and requested replacements." USDA rules require that lost cards be speedily replaced. The Wisconsin Policy Research Institute concluded: "Prosecutors have simply stopped prosecuting the vast majority of [food-stamp] fraud cases in virtually all counties, including the one with the most recipients, Milwaukee." • Troy Hutson, the chief of Washington state's food-stamp program, resigned in April after a Seattle television station revealed that some food-stamp recipients were selling their cards on Craigslist or brazenly cashing them out on street corners (for 50 cents on the dollar) and using the proceeds for illegal drugs and prostitution. Washington state Sen. Mike Carrell complained: "Dozens of workers at DSHS [the Department of Social and Health Services] have reported numerous unpunished cases of fraud to me. They have told me that DSHS management has allowed these things to happen, and in some cases actively restricted fraud investigations." • Thirty percent of the inmates in the Polk County, Iowa, jail were collecting food stamps that were being sent to their non-jail mailing addresses in 2009. But Iowa could not prosecute them for fraud because the state's food-stamp form failed to ask applicants whether they were heading for the slammer. Roger Munns, a spokesman for the Iowa Department of Human Services, told the Des Moines Register last year that asking such questions could make food-stamp applications "unwieldy." (Many states do make such inquiries.) Looser federal rules are spurring a bureaucratic crime wave. Last December, two veteran employees for New York City's Human Resources Administration were busted for concocting 1,500 fake food-stamp cases that netted them $8 million. Nine Milwaukee, Wis., staffers plundered almost $300,000 from the program during the last five years, and a Louisiana state bureaucrat pleaded guilty last year for her role in a scam that snared more than $50,000 in fraudulent food-stamp benefits. The Obama administration is responding by cracking down on state governments' antifraud measures. The administration is seeking to compel California, New York and Texas to cease requiring food-stamp applicants to provide finger images...more

Editorial: Is Obama's Oil Dump A Political Ploy?

With Democrats' poll numbers in the dumps, President Obama has decided to release some of the U.S. strategic petroleum reserves to cut prices at the pump. Problem is, its only real "strategic" purpose is politics. The White House announced Thursday that for only the third time in history, the U.S. would release 30 million barrels of oil from the national stockpile. America's 727 million barrel-strong reserve, buried deep in the salt domes of Texas and Louisiana, was created in the wake of the 1973 Arab oil embargo. It's always been meant to cushion the U.S. economy against shocks from sudden disruptions in oil supplies. The spigots have been opened just twice — in 2005 by President Bush, who released 11 million barrels after disruptions from Hurricane Katrina, and in 1992 by President Bush Sr., who tapped 20 million barrels in the wake of the Gulf War. President Obama's release — which is far bigger than either of those two emergencies — is supposedly in response to disruptions from Libya, which isn't even a U.S. supplier. It isn't our crisis. It's more than that, given that the IEA's 60 million barrel release amounts to twice Libya's daily lost output. This looks a lot more like a blatant effort to manipulate oil prices globally, using U.S. resources. Instead, Obama has said this release is part of a "coordinated" effort by the International Energy Agency to lower world oil prices and "save" the global economy...more

Environmentalists, liberal celebrities plan White House protest

A group of environmentalists and liberal celebrities are organizing civil disobedience protests at the White House against a proposed oil pipeline — with the emphasis on “civil.” In an open letter, actor Danny Glover, activists Bill McKibben, James Hansen, David Suzuki and others ask for volunteers willing to risk arrest at the White House from mid-August to Labor Day. At issue is the proposed TransCanada Keystone XL pipeline that would run from the Canadian oil — or tar — sands to the Gulf coast. Environmentalists have lobbyied against it because of concerns over the life-cycle greenhouse gas emissions linked to the use of oil sands-based crude oil, as well as worries about potential spills and the impact on low-income and minority communities. The decision currently rests with the State Department, which is reviewing the environmental impacts of the plan and is expected to make a call on the project by the end of the year. "This is one issue where the president has total control — he has to grant or deny the necessary permits. Congress can't get in the way," said environmental activist Bill McKibben in a statement. "It's where Obama can get his environmental mojo back.”...more

Endangered species hit hard by historic Ariz. fire

The largest wildfire in Arizona history left a charred landscape of blackened forest, burned-out vehicle hulks and charred fireplaces as it destroyed more than 30 homes. It also inflicted a serious toll on an ecosystem that's home to numerous endangered species. The flames spared three packs of endangered Mexican gray wolves but likely killed at least some threatened Mexican spotted owls as it roared through more than a half-million acres of a pristine forest on the New Mexico border. Though some spots were untouched or had only undergrowth burn, the effect of the human-caused Wallow fire will last for decades because it burned so hot in many areas that it completely denuded the landscape, forest specialists said. "The natural fires are good for a healthy forest, but these fires — where the debris has been allowed to build up and it just hasn't been addressed — they come out very hot and just scorch everything. As soon as the monsoon shows up, there's a potential for a lot of soil to move," said Tom Buckley, a U.S. Fish and Wildlife spokesman...more

So when is somebody going to sue the FS for violating the ESA as a result of their "management" policies?

Agency lists science 'gaps' on Arctic drilling

Decision makers lack key scientific information on what effect oil and gas drilling would have in Arctic offshore waters, according to a report released Thursday that also acknowledges pro- and anti-development sides in the largely undeveloped region are unlikely to agree on what is a science "gap" and what is sufficient. The wide-ranging report listed specifics, such as the need for basic weather and oceanographic data that could be fed into models in case of a spill. A better understanding of climate change in the region most affected by warming is also needed. And a fundamental biology about ice-dependent species, such as ice seals and walrus, is also lacking, the report said, as is how they would react to industrial sounds. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar requested the report last year as the Obama administration considered locations and methods for drilling in the Beaufort and Chukchi seas off Alaska's north and northwest coast...more

Fracking and Water: E.P.A. Zeroes In on 7 Sites

The Environmental Protection Agency has chosen seven natural gas drilling sites where it will conduct case studies to evaluate the impact of hydraulic fracturing on local drinking water. Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, involves freeing of natural gas trapped in shale rock by injecting copious amounts of water at very high pressure. It has become increasingly controversial as companies have turned to drilling horizontally at significant depths. Communities fear that this form of drilling may cause serious environmental damage, particularly if the chemicals enter the drinking water supply. Yet companies, arguing that natural gas is a cleaner energy source than coal, are eager to tap these bountiful underground reserves. Last year Congress mandated that the Environmental Protection Agency study whether the drilling is damaging the environment and to what extent...more

GAO Report on Horse Processing Released

The demise of the horse processing industry in the U.S. has not prevented horses from being sold for slaughter and has contributed to a rise in equine neglect and abuse incidents, according to a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report issued Wednesday (June 22). The GAO is an independent nonpartisan agency established to provide Congress with objective, fact-based information intended to improve performance and accountability of federal agencies. In its report released on June 22, the GAO concluded that from 2006 to 2010 the number of horses exported to Mexico for processing rose 660%. The number of horses exported to Canadian processing plants increased 148% during the same time period. "As a result, nearly the same number of U.S. horses was transported to Canada and Mexico for slaughter in 2010--nearly 138,000--as was slaughtered before domestic slaughter ceased," the authors reported. Meanwhile, the number of horses involved in animal cruelty and abandonment investigations in some states increased since processing plants closed in 2007, according to the authors. In Colorado cruelty investigations increased more than 60% from 975 in 2005 to 1,588 in 2009, the authors noted. Officials in California, Texas, and Florida also reported an increase in the number of animals abandoned on private property since 2007. "State, local, tribal, and horse industry officials generally attributed these increases in neglect and abandonments to cessation of domestic slaughter and the economic downturn," the report authors explained...more

Southwest fire center battles worst blazes in 28 years

At the Southwest Coordination Center, nerve center for federal, state and local response to forest fires in Arizona and New Mexico, managers are using a variety of software programs and information technology tools to help juggle resources to battle blazes during the worst fire season in nearly three decades. In terms of conditions that spread fires -- drought, heat and wind -- "this is as extreme as it gets," said Bob Leaverton, regional fire and aviation director for the Forest Service. Leaverton said he has never seen such a dangerous combination of dire conditions in his 28 years with the Forest Service. As a result, the Southwest has experienced a series of massive fires in 2011 -- the worst in almost 30 years -- including the 826-square-mile Wallow Fire, the largest Leaverton has experienced in his career. Now the Southwest Coordination Center, staffed by personnel from the Forest Service, the Bureau of Land Management, the National Park Service, Bureau of Indian Affairs, the Fish and Wildlife Service, the Arizona State Land Department, and the State of New Mexico Division of Forestry, is managing the response to six active fires in Arizona and eight active fires in New Mexico. The center also monitors five inactive fires in Arizona and another two in New Mexico...more

Idaho water group opposes Fish and Wildlife post pick

It didn't take long for Idaho's largest water users' group to oppose President Obama's recent nomination for assistant secretary of fish, wildlife and parks at the Interior Department. Rebecca Wodder, president of American Rivers and an advocate for dam removal, is not the right person for the job, according to the Idaho Water Users Association. At American Rivers, Wodder pushed for the removal of the four lower Snake River dams and was a critic of the federal government's salmon recovery plans. "We are deeply troubled that President Obama has nominated the head of a national environmental advocacy group, which has made it a mission to challenge the operation and continued beneficial use of water storage and delivery projects in the state of Idaho and call for the removal of federal dams on the Snake River," Norm Semanko, executive director of the association, said in a letter to the state's two U.S. senators...more

Old MacDonald’s Commodity Cartel

Growing an herb (the legal kind) might seem pretty straightforward. Clear soil; plant seeds; water, fertilize, and harvest. Until the government gets involved, that is. Then we have the likes of Marketing Order No. 985 (7 CFR part 985), as amended. Just as with almonds, apricots, avocados, cherries (both sweet and tart), citrus (from Florida and Texas), cranberries, dates, grapes, hazelnuts, kiwis, nectarines, olives, onions (from Idaho, eastern Oregon, southern Texas and Walla Walla), peaches, pears (from Oregon and Washington), pistachios, plums, prunes (from California and Washington), potatoes (from Idaho, eastern Oregon, Washington, California, Colorado, Virginia and North Carolina), raisins, tomatoes, walnuts, and wheat, to name but a few, the federal government actually oversees the precise amount of spearmint oil (!) available for sale every year in various locales. The quotas are set by the estimable Spearmint Oil Administrative Committee for the Far West Region, which works alongside The Almond Board of California, The Apricot Marketing Committee, The Avocado Administrative Committee, The Cherry Industry Administrative Board, The Citrus Administrative Committee…well, you get the picture...more

High Gas Prices = Low Regard for Rural Culture

I don’t have any service to haul off my trash; I have to do it in my pickup. I have animals that sometimes need to be transported in a private vehicle to the veterinarian. I work in a semi-rural hospital that is a twenty-minute drive from my door. My partners and I work at all hours of the day and night. (A similar phenomenon exists in local industries such as our regional nuclear power plant.) Shift work is a thing for which even the best (real or theoretical) public transport is often unavailable. I have friends who work in construction jobs which change from month to month. I know elderly persons who live in the country and need to buy groceries or access medical care so they can continue to live independently. More to the point, I know folks with not only children, but limited incomes, for whom $5-a-gallon or higher gasoline would be a crushing economic blow. If folks in rural areas don’t have vehicles, pesky little things such as energy production, manufacturing, and farming won’t happen. Fine dinners in city restaurants would lack a certain ambiance without food and lighting. The belief that $5 or higher gasoline will make us drive less, become more efficient, and convert to better fuels is a bitterly new flavor of anti-rural prejudice. The progressive intolerance of, and antipathy toward, rural people and their cultures reaches a new high when it insists we would all be better off if only we drove less. Ultimately, it implies that we should all move closer to the urban beehive or simply deal with our country perversity and stay on the porch out here in the sticks...more

A colorful past: The history between the Forest Service and the Rainbow Family has been rocky

It’s a daunting task under usual circumstances: Bring as many as 20,000 people to a remote spot in the forest where they will set up a small city of camps, kitchens, fire pits, churches and latrines — all without running water or basic sanitation. Now try it with a group that has no centralized governing body and a long tradition of bucking authority. That’s what the Rainbow Family of Living Light has undertaken in Skookum Meadow, a place deep in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest where it will host its annual national gathering. In a spectacle that recalls the 1960s peace movement, between July 1 and 7, as many as 20,000 Rainbow members will pray for peace, dance, drum and share food, dope, stories and smiles. Rainbow Family members call it a return to the land. Hundreds of these nomads are already making preparations in the meadow, about 16 miles east of Mount St. Helens. The Rainbow Family has been hosting similar gatherings in U.S. national forests since 1972. With each year, the Rainbows’ arrival fascinates, startles and even frightens the small communities — in this case, Cougar and Woodland — on the edges of the nation’s federal forestlands. Dreadlocked kids, some as pungent and scraggly as the dogs they bring with them, have been trickling through Woodland. A good number of them are panhandling on street corners. Rumors are already running wild of disorderly behavior, although Woodland authorities say there have been no major problems...more

Song Of The Day #606

Ranch Radio's tune this morning is Talk To Your Heart by Ray Price. The song was recorded in Nashville on February 5, 1958 and released as CO-60196.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Hidden camera video shows a link between smugglers and the Arizona wildfires

...Dever confirmed McCain’s theories and told reporters that “When this fire was started, Montezuma National Monument was closed. The forest around it was closed… So, whoever started the fire was there illegally.” He continued to explain that the fire started near the U.S./Mexico border and the only people “traveling in that area were smugglers or illegal aliens.” The residents, ranchers and Border Patrol Agents this reporter talked to in the field the pass few days, clearly stated illegal aliens/drug smugglers started many if not all of the Arizona wildfires. One rancher said, “In some cases, these wildfires can be caused by lightning strikes, but we haven’t had rain for weeks.” Several other agents in the field explained that calls came into the office that illegals in distress started signal fires in more than one instance. “We just got another call today from illegals that started a fire because they were lost. In other cases, illegal aliens create a diversion fire, so drug smugglers can get their dope across the border,” said one agent who didn’t want his name divulged for fear of retaliation. Confirming this scenario is raw footage taken from a Secure Border Intelligence (SBI) hidden camera. The new footage was taken in the forest wilderness near Nogales, Arizona that has been closed by officials and it shows suspected smugglers crossing in front of a SBI camera. Shortly thereafter the viewer can see the fire raging pass the camera. A representative from Secure Border Intel suggests the federal government has not secured the border south of these wilderness areas, putting communities in danger in Arizona...more

Here's the video:

NASA Scientist Accused of Using Celeb Status Among Environmental Groups to Enrich Himself

The NASA scientist who once claimed the Bush administration tried to "silence" his global warming claims is now accused of receiving more than $1.2 million from the very environmental organizations whose agenda he advocated. In a lawsuit filed Tuesday in Washington, D.C., a group claims NASA is withholding documents that show James Hansen failed to comply with ethics rules and financial disclosures regarding substantial compensation he earned outside his $180,000 taxpayer-paid position as director of the Goddard Institute for Space Studies. The lawsuit claims Hansen privately profited from his public job in violation of federal ethics rules, and NASA allowed him to do it because of his influence in the media and celebrity status among environmental groups, which rewarded him handsomely the last four years. Gifts, speaking fees, prizes and consulting compensation include...more

Environmentalists push to keep U.S., others from oil drilling in Arctic

Environmentalists are toiling to stop a modern-day gold rush at the top of the world, as the U.S. and four other countries scramble to stake claims to potentially vast oil riches under the frozen waters of the Arctic Ocean. Environmental activists such as Greenpeace are opposed to any resource extraction in the region. “Greenpeace has been protesting on all Arctic ice drillings since 2000,” said Truls Gulowsen, program director of Greenpeace Nordic. “We believe it’s high time to put some bars on the industry’s push into the area. It’s too vulnerable, and there is no way to clean an oil spill out of ice.” The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) estimates that the Arctic region contains 90 billion barrels of oil, representing about 13 percent of the undiscovered petroleum in the world. The region could yield about $8.3 trillion in oil revenue at today’s prices. Some oil experts say the oil fields off the Arctic coasts of the United States, Canada, Norway, Russia and Greenland, which is part of Denmark, could be more than double the USGS estimate...more

Gore: On Global Warming, Obama Has Changed Little

The Democrats' leading environmental messenger, Al Gore, is declaring that President Barack Obama has failed to lead on the issue of global warming. In a 7,000-word essay posted online Wednesday by Rolling Stone magazine, Gore says the president hasn't stood up for "bold action" on the problem and has done little to move the country forward since he replaced Republican President George W. Bush. Bush infuriated environmentalists by resisting mandatory controls on the pollution blamed for climate change, despite overwhelming scientific evidence that the burning of fossil fuels is responsible. The scientific case has only gotten stronger since, Gore argues, but Obama has not used it to force significant change. "Obama has never presented to the American people the magnitude of the climate crisis," Gore says. "He has not defended the science against the ongoing withering and dishonest attacks. Nor has he provided a presidential venue for the scientific community ... to bring the reality of the science before the public."...more

Enviros ‘helped’ wolf lose protection

The pro-wolf lawsuit groups also shrugged off hunters' concerns, by repeatedly pointing out that the northern Rockies overall have plenty of elk. (The latest totals: Idaho has about 100,000 elk, Montana has 117,880 and Wyoming 120,000.) It didn't seem to matter to them that wolves were taking a heavy toll in some locations. At the end of 2010, there were only 4,635 elk in the famous herd on Yellowstone's northern edge - a radical decline from the 14,538 elk that were there in 2000. The elk herd on the West Fork of the Bitterroot, in western Montana, had only seven calves for every 100 cow elk, alarming biologists who say the herd won't survive without at least 25 calves per 100 cows. Idaho's long-declining Lolo elk herd was down to 2,000 from a record 16,000 in 1988. There were other factors involved, of course, including subdivisions taking over Bitterroot winter range and the Lolo forests reclaiming meadows created by previous fires. But an adult wolf eats 11-35 elk per year. To claim that hundreds of wolves were having little or no effect on big game numbers smacked of willful naivete; it was like the oil and gas industry insisting that the decline of deer and antelope around Pinedale has nothing to do with the 1,400 gas wells drilled on that winter range. As state wildlife managers try to recover elk herds in places like the Lolo, permits to hunt cow elk are eliminated, infuriating hunters who are accustomed to taking a year's supply of meat from those herds. Hunting families rely on that meat, and the permits mean even more to agencies like the Idaho Fish and Game Department, which relies almost entirely on the sale of hunting and fishing licenses to pay its staff and carry out habitat protection and other projects. The lawsuit-filing groups also had a mixed relationship with the ranching community, at best...more

Ore. House votes to pay ranchers for wolf kills

The Oregon House unanimously passed a bill Wednesday to pay ranchers for livestock lost to wolves moving into the state. The legislation had appeared dead, but was revived after ranchers, conservation groups, and the governor's office spent three days in a closed room last week hammering out details of the $100,000 package widely deemed crucial to getting ranchers on board with restoring wolf packs that were bounty-hunted to extinction in Oregon in the early 20th century. Chief sponsor Rep. Greg Smith, R-Heppner, said it is a promising compromise between groups that started off far apart, but ultimately ranchers may have to be given broader rights to shoot wolves. Another bill will be introduced when lawmakers come back in February. "I think it's important that property owners be able to protect their property, and that's definitely an item where we'll keep up a discussion," he said. Bill Hoyt, a Cottage Grove cattle rancher and president of the Oregon Cattlemen's Association, said the bill was a good compromise, but the fund would likely have to grow as wolves expand their range. He added that the conservation group Defenders of Wildlife was shutting off their payments to ranchers in September...more

Bishop Meets With DOI Officials to Confirm that the Wild Lands Proposal is Gone for Good

House Natural Resources National Parks, Forests and Public Lands Subcommittee Chairman Rob Bishop (R-UT) today met with Department of Interior (DOI) Deputy Secretary David Hayes and Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Director Bob Abbey to discuss DOI Secretary Ken Salazar’s recent memo halting administrative efforts to unilaterally designate new Wild Lands areas. House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Doc Hastings (R-WA) also attended the meeting. On April 14, 2011 the House of Representatives passed the Department of Defense and Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Act, the budget to fund the remainder of FY2011. This legislation included a provision cutting off all funding through September 2011 for the controversial Secretarial Order #3310, which outlined plans for the creation of new de-facto wilderness areas or “Wild Lands.” Subsequently, on June 1, 2011 DOI Secretary Ken Salazar issued a memo to BLM Director Bob Abbey stating that “pursuant to the 2011 CR, the BLM will not designate any lands as ‘Wild Lands’.” “Deputy Secretary Hayes and Director Abbey reiterated that Secretarial Order #3310 is dead. They both assured me that no administrative action will be taken to designate Wild Lands now or any time after FY2011,” said Congressman Bishop. “The only way to move forward on public land issues is to avoid unpredictable, unilateral actions without congressional input. Both Director Abbey and Deputy Secretary Hayes stated their intention to reduce the uncertainty that has plagued the debate in recent years and pledged to seek more consensus on these issues by improving coordination and dialogue with Congress and stakeholders.” In the memo, Secretary Salazar also stated that Deputy Secretary David Hayes will work to develop recommendations regarding the management of lands with wilderness characteristics. Congressman Bishop expressed a concern over the creation of new management plans and indicated that he was interested in learning more about what Deputy Secretary Hayes would be looking to implement. During today’s meeting, Deputy Secretary Hayes also indicated that his recommendations were not imminent and that the Administration would work closely with Congress once those recommendations were release

Oil on the Range

South of Salinas, where the dark green valley floor gives way to golden slopes of the Gabilan and Santa Lucia mountains, there appears what ranchers call “hill land.” On a bright spring morning, cattle are clustered in the shade of scattered oaks or long-dry creek beds, foraging grass. It’s a windless, still day but for the flicking of cows’ tails and the repetitive pumping of oil rigs, which also dot the landscape, some perched on lonely hilltops or shrouded inconspicuously among oak trees. 
This odd pairing of ranching and oil industries has been a feature of the San Ardo landscape for more than half a century, with little conflict and friendly relations between residents and oil companies. 
Now the oil industry’s footprint in the region faces scrutiny as the Bureau of Land Management plans to lease out about 2,600 acres between Lockwood and Bradley for oil exploration. The current proposal is significantly scaled back from an earlier, 35,000-acre version, but it’s nevertheless stoking debate over how much oil development – and what type – is good for this rural area. Ranchers who lease their land to oil companies worry that increasingly vocal South County activists could scare off additional oil exploration – and with it, revenue they say they need to keep this land rural.

Arizona wildfire burns horses as well as pasture and homes

When fire ripped through the mountain pasture in southern Arizona, old roping horse Charlie panicked and charged straight into a sheet of flame. "When fear takes over, sometimes they react. His reaction was to pull away and run right into the wildfire," said horse rescue worker Theresa Warrell. The veteran workhorse, who suffered burns to his hoofs, underbelly, muzzle and eyes, is among hundreds of horses and other livestock rescued as the Monument Fire roared down out of the Huachuca Mountains and galloped across tinder-dry ranchland in this high desert valley. As around 11,000 people were evacuated and scores of homes burned to the ground, volunteers worked around the clock to save horses, donkeys, cats, dogs and even hens exposed to the wind-whipped blaze that drove residents from their homes often with just with minutes to spare. For animal experts, saving often panicked livestock presented an even greater challenge to rescuers...more

Underwear with a message wins Gold Lion award

Boulder, Colo.-based clothing-seller 4th Amendment Wear nabbed a Gold Lion award in the Promo & Activation category for its metallic ink underclothes. The firm's offerings include men's boxers and women's underwear that have the 4th Amendment printed on them in an ink that is designed to shine bright in those full-body airport scanners. The result: TSA X-ray officers are confronted with the amendment that protects against unreasonable searches just as they scan someone's privates. The publicity surrounding the glowing garb caused 4th Amendment Wear to sell out its first run immediately...more

New Mexico Border Dreams: Contraband, Cattle, Computers and Space Cowboys

Written by Kent Paterson, some interesting stuff on the Spaceport, Charlie Crowder, NM Border Authority, Dave Cargo, Santa Teresa POE, etc.

As New Mexico enters its second century as a US state, two big economic developments loom over the southern border county of Dona Ana. While vastly different at first glance, they are both rooted in timeless, science fiction-like human fantasies of rapidly moving humans and their goods from one place to the next. Promising jobs and prosperity, both are products of long-time state plans and underwritten to varying degrees with tax-payer money. And both exemplify bipartisan border economic development strategies and philosophies that span multiple state administrations as well as the two major political parties. The first development is actually located in Sierra County but close enough to the Dona Ana County line to garner support from the local powers-that-be. Situated 45 miles north of Las Cruces, Spaceport America is expected to be in the business of shooting wealthy tourists into space by 2013...more

Australia’s national day of protest to ban live export

The aim of the NATIONAL DAY OF ACTION TO END LIVE EXPORT is to provide ordinary Australians, public figures and politicians from all parties and of all political persuasions, the opportunity, on the same day, at the same time, right across Australia, to publicly voice their concerns about live export. Millions of Australians are calling on the Australian federal government to permanently ban the shipping of cattle, sheep and other animals, to overseas destinations for slaughter. There is no possibility of the Australian federal government guaranteeing the welfare of Australian animals when they are sent overseas. The live export market is costing Australia thousands of jobs within the meat processing industry and is harming Australia’s economy. Therefore, on both moral and economic grounds, the live export trade ought to be banned. Numerous high profile figures, politicians and animal welfare advocates will be speaking on the day...more

‘Horse Whisperer’ inspiration remains a humble cowboy

Buck Brannaman is a simple, soft-spoken man under a dirty rancher’s hat, an American cowboy who infuses his teachings with a hint of humor, tough love and common sense. Lounging under a cabana by the pool of the Hotel Solamar in the Gaslamp Quarter, brown boots up on a wicker stool, he looked a little out of place. Lately, Brannaman has been doing interviews for the release of the Sundance Audience Award-winning documentary “Buck.” “She must have just caught me at the right time,” Brannaman said, recalling the day first-time director Cindy Meehl, who had been to a few of his horse clinics, asked him if he wanted to be the focus of a film. “It was funny that I said yes, because over the years, there have been quite a few people that have asked me and I’d say, ‘No, do it on something else.’ ” For 29 years, Brannaman has been helping people with horse problems. Or, as he likes to put it, “horses with people problems.” He believes that his career path began when he was taken away from his abusive father at 12. At the home of his foster parents, Forrest and Betty Shirley, horses were a refuge: “They seemed to have a way of giving me just what I needed at the time, in terms of the healing and the comfort that I was looking for.”...more

Song Of The Day #605

It's Lefty Frizzell on Ranch Radio this morning singing Give Me More, More, More (Of Your Kisses).

8 Bodies found in mountains in northern Mexico

The bodies of eight men were found in Moris, a town in the Tarahumara mountains of the northern Mexican state of Chihuahua, officials said. The victims, who ranged in age from 19 to 30, were attacked last Saturday by at least 10 gunmen, Chihuahua state Attorney General's Office spokesman Carlos Gonzalez said. Only four of the victims have been identified and investigators have not determined the motive for the killings, Gonzalez said. Nine bullet casings from an assault rifle were found at the crime scene along with an SUV that had several bullet holes in it, the AG's office spokesman said. Chihuahua is Mexico's most violent state and home to Ciudad Juarez, a gritty border metropolis located across the border from El Paso, Texas, where more than 900 people have died in drug-related violence this year. The northern state has accounted for about 30 percent of the more than 40,000 murders committed in Mexico since late 2006, when President Felipe Calderon declared war on Mexico's drug cartels...more

Mexico demands probe into killing of rock-throwing migrant by U.S. Border Patrol agent

A Mexican national was shot dead by a U.S. Border Patrol agent on Tuesday night on the Mexican side of the Tijuana, Baja California-San Diego, California border, officials said Wednesday. Mexico's Foreign Affairs office (SRE) said the victim's body was found on national territory, strongly condemning the death and demanding a thorough investigation. "Through the General Consulate in San Diego, we demand that U.S. Border Patrol agents offer a detailed explanation of the incident and a thorough investigation," the SRE stated, adding that the Embassy of Mexico in Washington and government offices in Mexico City have also demanded explanations through their corresponding diplomatic channels. According to reports, U.S. Border Patrol agents discovered three people trying to enter the U.S. illegally by jumping the border fence. However, two of the men were able to escape and return to the Mexican side while agents tried to detain them. While the third man tried fighting off U.S. Border Patrol agents, the other two, among them Yanez, threw stones and a piece of wood with nails attached to it against the agents. One of the agents, who has remained unnamed, then shot and killed Yanez...more

U.S. border security: Huge costs with mixed results

Perched 20 feet above a south Texas cabbage field in a telephone booth-sized capsule, a National Guardsman passes a moonlit Sunday night with a gun strapped to his hip, peering through heat detector lenses into an adjacent orange grove. Deployment of 1,200 National Guard soldiers for one year: $110 million. This same night, farther west on the border, a haunting whistle blasts through the predawn quiet as a mile-long train groans to a heavy stop halfway across a Rio Grande River bridge. In a ritual performed nightly, a Customs and Border Protection agent unlocks a gate, a railroad policeman slides the heavy doors open, and they both wave flashlight beams under, over and in between the loads of cars, electronics and produce, before they pass through an X-ray machine searching for hidden people or drugs. One rail cargo x-ray screening machine: $1.75 million. On this night in southern Arizona, a screener examining tractor-trailer loads of charcoal spots something odd and asks for a closer look. Drug sniffing dogs bark. He finds 8,000 pounds of baled marijuana in several trucks. Customs and Border Protection officer average annual salary: $75,000. Drug-sniffing dog: $4,500. As Congress debates border funding and as governors demand more assistance, The Associated Press has investigated what taxpayers spend securing the U.S.-Mexico border. The price tag, until now, has not been public. But AP, using White House budgets, reports obtained through Freedom of Information Act requests and congressional transcripts, tallied it all up: $90 billion in 10 years. For taxpayers footing this bill, the returns have been mixed: fewer illegal immigrants but little impact on the terrorism issue, and certainly no stoppage of the drug supply...more

Mexican Gang Moves Into Guatemala

El Petén province, a vast stretch of wilderness in northern Guatemala known for its rainforests and stunning Mayan pyramids at Tikal, is fast becoming a stronghold for a notoriously bloodthirsty Mexican cartel. Last month, soldiers entered a cattle ranch in El Petén to find the remains of a brutal human slaughter: Twenty-seven bodies strewn across the property and a pile of heads thrown over a fence. On a wall was a message written in blood and signed "Z200," a moniker authorities say belongs to a local wing of Mexico's Los Zetas. Authorities said the massacre at Los Cocos ranch, which included two women, was the nation's largest since its 36-year civil war ended in 1996. The growing presence is a topic high on the minds of U.S. leaders, who claim more than 60% of cocaine bound to their country passes through Guatemala. On Wednesday, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton is set to lead talks in Guatemala City with Central American leaders on how the U.S. can better assist them against drug traffickers...more

Editorial: Was Fast And Furious A Gun-Control Plot?

Rather than a botched attempt to catch criminals, was the ATF program actually an attempt to advance gun-control efforts by an administration that has blamed Mexican violence on easy access to U.S. weapons? If "Operation Fast and Furious" was merely a botched attempt at law enforcement, why was a supervisor of the operation, David Voth, "jovial, if not, not giddy but just delighted about" marked guns showing up at crime scenes in Mexico, as career Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives agent John Dodson told Rep. Darrell Issa's House Oversight Committee? Perhaps because all was going as planned until it was learned that two of the AK-47s recovered at the scene of the fatal shooting of Border Patrol agent Brian Terry in December were bought in ATF's Operation Fast and Furious. That wasn't supposed to happen. "Allowing loads of weapons that we knew to be destined for criminals — this was the plan," Dodson testified to the panel. "It was so mandated." ATF agent Olindo James Casa said that "on several occasions I personally requested to interdict or seize firearms, but I was always ordered to stand down and not to seize the firearms." Yet, as we've noted, gun-tracking operations stopped at the border. That seems odd if the purpose was to catch gun traffickers and their drug-lord bosses. It makes sense, however, if the real purpose was to perpetuate, in the interests of pursuing the administration's gun-control agenda...more

ATF has opened-up U.S. taxpayers to huge lawsuits from Mexico

Last week, it was discovered that two assault rifles sold under the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) program known as “Operation Gunrunner” were used in the 2010 abduction and murder of a Mexican lawyer. The victim, Mario Gonzalez Rodriguez, a high-profile attorney, and brother of former attorney general of Chihuahua, Patricia Gonzalez Rodriguez, was kidnapped in October by gunmen working for the Sinaloa Cartel. Over the course of two weeks, he was repeatedly tortured before being killed by his captors. The cartel posted several videos online which show Rodriguez bound and repeatedly being electrocuted by hooded men. His body was unearthed in November, just outside the kidnappers’ compound. Fox News is reporting that U.S. law enforcement officials have confirmed that two AK-47s purchased in Arizona by a straw buyer, under Operation Gunrunner and allowed to be taken across the border were recovered during the investigation of Rodriguez’ murder. It is impossible to determine the number of murders which have, and will yet occur at the hands of cartel gunmen who have basically been armed by the U.S. government. However, it is only a matter of time until the families of the victims, Mexican police departments and the Mexican federal government begin filing lawsuits, with the U.S. taxpayers as the ultimate target...more

Mexican Gangs Stealing Growing Amounts of Fuel

Mexican crime groups have virtually taken over the pipeline system of Mexico's state oil monopoly, stealing growing amounts of fuel and gaining an important source of new revenue as they fight other gangs and Mexico's government, The Wall Street Journal reported Saturday, citing Petroleos Mexicanos. The problem is not new, but it is expanding at a rapid pace, as the crime groups learn technical expertise that can foil electronic monitoring systems. The total amount of fuel, including crude oil and gasoline, diesel and liquefied petroleum gas taken during the first four months of the year is slightly greater than the total amount stolen all of last year, Petroleos Mexicanos CEO Juan Jose Suarez Coppel said this week. During the first four months of this year, these groups stole an estimated $250 million worth of fuel at market prices, Suarez Coppel said. That translates to nearly one million barrels of fuel, according to Pemex, as it is known...more

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Sheriff Dever blames Mexican Smugglers for fires

Two Arizona wildfires that have scorched a quarter-million acres combined and destroyed dozens of homes just north of the U.S.-Mexico border were probably started by Mexican smugglers, the Cochise County sheriff said on Tuesday. The remarks by Sheriff Larry Dever are likely to add to the furor sparked by Arizona Senator John McCain when he suggested that illegal immigrants were to blame for some of the massive wildfires raging out of control in the state. Cochise Sheriff Dever told reporters the Monument Fire was "man-caused" and started in an area near the border fence that is closed to visitors and known to law enforcement for "high-intensity, drug- and human-trafficking." "It wasn't the rabbits or the rattle snakes that started this fire, it was human beings, and the only human beings believed to be occupying (the area) were smugglers," he said during a news conference. Dever said traffickers intentionally light fires to use as signals, to keep themselves warm and as diversions "to keep ... law enforcement off their backs." He added that the Horseshoe 2 Fire was likely sparked in the same way...more

NBC Blames Wildfires on 'Climate Change,' Then Accuses McCain of Using 'Tragedy for a Political Purpose'

In a report on the Arizona wildfires on Tuesday's NBC Today, correspondent Miguel Almaguer touted how "The Forest Service says this historic wildfire season is caused in part by climate change." After promoting that politically charged claim, Almaguer declared that Senator John McCain had created a "firestorm" by noting that illegal immigrants have contributed to past wildfires. At the top of the show, co-host Ann Curry proclaimed: "Heated controversy. A debate blows up over John McCain blaming some wildfires in Arizona on illegal border-crossers." Later, she framed an interview with McCain this way: "Now to more on that controversial comment by Arizona Senator John McCain....We spoke to the Senator earlier this morning. We began by asking him if he was trying to use this current tragedy for a political purpose."...more

AZ Sheriff: Why More Troops at Korean Border Than U.S. Border?

Arizona Sheriff Paul Babeu said the Obama administration’s decision to extend the deployment of 1,200 U.S. National Guard troops along the U.S. border with Mexico until Sept. 30 is “pandering” and that those numbers “fall far short” of what military power is needed to keep the country safe. Babeu noted, for comparison, the 28,500 U.S. troops stationed in South Korea to help defend it against North Korean aggression; U.S. troops have been stationed in South Korea for 58 years. Babeu is the sheriff of Pinal County in southern Arizona and is on the frontlines against illegal immigration, human traffickers, drug smugglers, and potential terrorists. He was named the 2011 National Sheriff of the Year by the National Sheriff’s Association on Sunday, June 19. “What are we doing?” Babeu told by telephone. “We need 6,000 armed soldiers on our border to protect America. Homeland Security starts at home.” He was talking about the National Guard...more

Traver Likely to Become Acting Chief of ATF; Not Likely to Get Confirmed

Andrew Traver, the man the White House nominated last November to head up ATF, is in Washington Tuesday to speak to Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. His arrival comes in the midst of a major controversy — or screw up as some might say — involving ATF’s “Operation Fast and Furious”, which encouraged gun dealers to sell to “straw purchasers” — all with the hopes of tracing the guns to the Mexican cartels. What’s expected to happen is that Traver, who heads up the Chicago ATF office, will be appointed acting director of ATF, replacing the acting head Kenneth Melson, who will likely be pressured to resign. After that, what’s also likely to happen is that Traver will never be confirmed. I could be wrong. But the NRA has launched an aggressive campaign to block his confirmation, claiming he’s very anti-gun rights. The confirmation has been stalled in the Senate. The Obama White House doesn’t seem to have the appetite for a fight like that. And it’s not likely to want to spend it’s political capital on Traver — at least not until the 2012 election is over...more

Issa: ATF Chief Should Go But Higher Ups Also Culpable

Amid reports that Kenneth Melson will be forced to resign as acting director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, a Republican congressman says “he should” lose his job. Melson “was part of the bad judgment” ATF exhibited in allowing guns to be sold in the U.S. to people acting on behalf of Mexican criminals, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) told Fox & Friends Tuesday morning. But the bad judgment attached to ATF’s “Operation Fast and Furious” goes higher than Melson, Issa said. Attorney General Eric Holder “should have known – I believe it was his obligation to know” what was going on at ATF, Issa said. Holder wasn’t doing his job properly if he didn’t know, the congressman added. The botched mission “did sort of develop at ATF,” Issa said on Tuesday, but higher-ups in the U.S. Justice Department had to know about it – all the way up to Lanny Breuer at least, he said. Breuer is the assistant attorney general in the Justice Department’s Criminal Division. Issa also noted that a federal judge had to sign off on wiretaps used as part of the ATF operation. Issa indicated that even if Melson does resign, people at the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the Justice Department must be held accountable...more

Editorial: Who OK'd 'Guns To Gangs' Program, And Why?

...First, as operations go, this one was "felony-stupid," as Issa put it in the hearings. There was no effort to trace the weapons even after letting them get out. If the weapons weren't traced, why was this operation sanctioned? The White House made a big deal about U.S. weapons flowing south to Mexico, claiming 90% of all weapons in the hands of cartels came from U.S. gun merchants. But that argument was false, based on the cherry-picked samples Mexico offered for inspection. For Mexico, it was a chance to divert attention from their loose border controls and blame the gringos. As for Obama, he wanted to reinstate an assault-weapon ban in 2008, but said he did not have the political capital to do it. Bob Owens, writing for Pajamas Media, noted that the administration seemed to want to whip up a crisis requiring a crackdown on guns in the U.S. It gets worse. President Obama has long wanted gun-control-oriented ATF agent Andrew Traver to head the agency. Now, with Melson rumored to be ready to quit this week, he may get his way and benefit. There are real questions that must be answered about who knew about this, and when. An American lies murdered for what may be political aims. He has a right to justice — as high up as it goes...more

Taxpayers Win Three Times Over in Defeat of S. 782

The U.S. Senate voted 51-49 today against proceeding to final passage of S. 782, a bill which would increase spending on a Great Society-era community activist government slush fund. The Senate Republican leadership wanted senators to be able to vote on several amendments to improve the bill. Chief among these was an amendment by Senator Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) which would end the ethanol mandate and kill the death tax. When paired with the Feinstein-Coburn amendment (passed last week) which eliminated the ethanol tax credit and tariff, these two mendments would have gotten the government permanently out of the ethanol preference business. Without the DeMint amendment, S. 782 was a triple loser for taxpayers: 1. It spent taxpayer dollars on liberal community activist groups emulating ACORN 2. It ignored the ethanol mandate. The ethanol mandate is the true impetus spurring non-free market ethanol consumption, since it alone is responsible for most government-induced production of ethanol. 3. S. 782 as amended would have been scored by the Joint Committee on Taxation as a net tax increase, giving even more money to the Appropriation Committees to spend on Obama's super-sized government...more

Clean Water Act change slides through Senate

A bill allowing pesticide manufacturers and users to avoid the Clean Water Act permitting process passed in the Senate Agriculture Committee today. If passed in the Senate, bill H.R. 872 lets farmers spray pesticides near public waters without having to meet Clean Water Act permitting requirements. A 2007 EPA rule allowing all pesticides listed in the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) to be exempted from Clean Water Act permitting requirements was reversed by the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in 2009. The amendment, on its way to the Senate floor, reinstates the exemptions, effectively skirting the legal battles over whether pesticide residue is a chemical waste that can be regulated as a pollutant under the Act. Growers, ranchers and others have highlighted the regulation as an example of unnecessary federal bureaucracy, while environmentalists supported it as a hedge against over-use of chemicals that may be perilous to aquatic life and to drinking water...more

The Great Arizona “Bale-out” to help Arizona fire damaged ranchers

Over 90 ranches in the Wallow Fire, Horseshoe 2 Fire and Murphy Fire areas had their grazing lands burn over in the last five weeks. It is estimated that over 800,000 acres have been lost…much of it grazing land…. and several of the fires are still burning. This is a serious problem for ranchers. Grazing lands are highly regulated by BLM and the Forest Service so one cannot just move their cattle from a burnt pasture to one that was not burned under their grazing leases and ranch management plans. Many ranchers lost all their pastures. It takes years to build up a good herd or mother cows and bulls…and if the cattle have to be sold off the ranch is wiped out. Over 7,000 cattle have had to be relocated in the wake of the fires so far. To help save the impacted ranches the Arizona Cattle Growers Association has started the Great Arizona “”bale out” to seek donations to buy hay for the fire damaged ranches...more

Recent report from 'inside sources' says Roswell was extraterrestrial crash

The so-called "Roswell incident" has been in the media recently due to a new book about Area 51 by writer Annie Jacobsen. In her book yet another version of the story has been put forward, this one even stranger than some of the others – if that is possible. However, the often-told and widely-known story about a crash of an extraterrestrial craft near Roswell in the summer of 1947 keeps surfacing. "Here is the correct information regarding the reported two or three crashed alien craft and sites," the alleged DIA source reportedly claims. "During the briefing, the USAF reported that there might have been three flying saucer crashes in New Mexico. U.S. Army/Air Force found three possible crash sites in New Mexico." "One site was located approximately 40 miles north of Roswell." "One site was located approximately 10 miles southeast of Corona." "And one site was near Shaw Mountain, south of the Plains of San Agustin in western NM. The latter site was found in 1949 by some ranchers," the anonymous source reportedly states." "The first two sites were believed to be two different craft, however, the USAF later determined that the site north of Roswell and southeast of Corona were the same craft, which broke up into two distinct pieces." "In 1947, another piece of the Roswell craft was found by a rancher east of Corona, along State Route 247." The alleged anonymous source reportedly goes on to state, "As I have said for many years, there has not been a single book written that tells the true, real story of Roswell nor the other crash site in western New Mexico."...more

Obama's Food Police in Staggering Crackdown on Market to Kids

Tony the Tiger, some NASCAR drivers and cookie-selling Girl Scouts will be out of a job unless grocery manufacturers agree to reinvent a vast array of their products to satisfy the Obama administration’s food police. Either retool the recipes to contain certain levels of sugar, sodium and fats, or no more advertising and marketing to tots and teenagers, say several federal regulatory agencies. The same goes for restaurants. It’s not just the usual suspected foods that are being targeted, such a thin mint cookies sold by scouts or M&Ms and Snickers, which sponsor cars in the Sprint Cup, but pretty much everything on a restaurant menu. Although the intent of the guidelines is to combat childhood obesity, foods that are low in calories, fat, and some considered healthy foods, are also targets, including hot breakfast cereals such as oatmeal, pretzels, popcorn, nuts, yogurt, wheat bread, bagels, diet drinks, fruit juice, tea, bottled water, milk and sherbet. Food industries are in an uproar over the proposal written by the Federal Trade Commission, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Food and Drug Administration and the U.S. Department of Agriculture...more

Song Of The Day #604

The Delmore Brothers are on Ranch Radio today with See The Coon In A Hickory Tree.

The tune was recorded in Atlanta on Feb.6, 1940 and was released on Bluebird B-8418.

"I really loved them.  I think they've influenced every harmony I've ever tried to sing" - Bob Dylan

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

McCain under fire for blaming blazes on immigrants

As if Arizona's immigration debate wasn't already hot, Sen. John McCain has ignited a barrage of criticism by saying that there is "substantial evidence" that illegal immigrants are partly responsible for wildfires in the state. McCain is standing by the statement he made over the weekend as he toured a massive wildfire in eastern Arizona, but immigrant rights advocates say the state's senior senator is using illegal immigrants as scapegoats. Authorities have said humans started the three major blazes in Arizona, but investigators don't know any more details. The ruckus over McCain's comments came as thousands of evacuated Arizonans were allowed to return home from a wildfire that has destroyed 58 homes on the outskirts of Sierra Vista, Ariz., about 15 miles north of the Mexico border. An estimated 1,600 people remain evacuated...more

Lawmakers blame fires on migrants, drug smugglers

Three US Republican Congressmen said that illegal immigrants and drug traffickers are causing numerous fires blazing along Arizona's border with Mexico. "Some wildfires in Arizona (across our southern border) are regrettably caused by drug smugglers and illegal immigrants," Senators John McCain and Jon Kyl and congressman Jeff Flake, all three of Arizona, said in a statement. Arizona is experiencing one of the worst fire seasons in its history. The congressmen said their statement was backed by briefings with a senior Forest Service official. "This statement is consistent with what we've been hearing for years, as well as testimony by the Forest Service and media reports dating back as far as 2006," the statement added. McCain said Saturday at a press conference in Arizona that sometimes illegal immigrants who enter the United States from Mexico set fires to send signals between themselves or to mislead authorities...more

Behind The Flames: The science behind the behavior of a fire

Last week, Lieser created a fire behavior model which incorporated how known blazes in the area of the Monument Fire behaved. He included information about historical fires and ran the data through a computer model 2,000 times. The end result was a possible fire path which had little variance, Lieser said. Although the blaze initially followed the computer model, there were some deviations which caused Lieser and others concern. The intensity of the flames and the rate of spread were issues, but when the wind speed variations and wind directions changed, Lieser and others knew the Monument Fire was not going to follow most of the expected historic track. “Computer models assist with the analyzing, but those models require interpretation,” he said. There always is a variability factor which has to be calculated, including what percentage of a fire will behave erratically, Lieser said. The conditions feeding the Monument Fire create a real danger that something unusual will happen, Lieser said...more

Regulatory State Wins Big In Court

We'd usually call it a victory when the Supreme Court rules 8-0 against environmentalists. But since the decision that came down Monday does nothing to stop the march of the regulatory state, what's the difference? The court case in question involved a global warming lawsuit by green groups and several states targeting the nation's five top electricity producers. The court said that it's up to the Environmental Protection Agency to regulate pollution, not anyone who can gin up a "nuisance" suit. That's cold comfort since the Environmental Protection Agency is already doing the green lobbies' bidding — no matter what it costs an economy still reeling from the last recession. In fact, two EPA greenhouse gas rules aimed at coal-powered plants would cost 1.4 million jobs and boost household electric bills by 12%, according to a study by NERA Economic Consulting. Another analysis by FBR Capital Markets put industry costs at more than $80 billion and the power loss at coal-fired plants at 45,000 megawatts. Meanwhile, the EPA will soon force power plants out West to install costly pollution-control equipment — at a cost of $1.5 billion a year — to cut haze. And that's to say nothing of the roughly 200 economic and policy rules in the works at that agency...more

Editorial: Forest officials cause gun chaos

The number of guns in the United States roughly equals the population. Gun owners have raised billions for wildlife conservation and public lands by paying a 10 percent tax on all gun and ammunition purchases. People who own guns reasonably desire to use them. The right to own and use guns has no less protection than the right to speak. Civil war could not disarm this country. Yet, for some reason the United States Forest Service has little time for recreational shooters. The agency takes extraordinary measures to facilitate hikers, campers and mountain bikers. It maintains facilities for them and cleans up their trash. The agency has allowed clear-cutting in order to facilitate skiers, even though skiers kill and maim themselves and others when things go wrong. We applaud the Forest Service for facilitating a variety of dangerous and otherwise burdensome activities. The forests belong to the people who pay for them — especially gun owners, who pay more than their share for conservation. What we do not applaud is the agency’s efforts to shut out gun owners. The service has shut down the only two public ranges in El Paso County, the state’s most populous county and the county with the second-highest per capita gun ownership in Colorado...more

Alaska Challenges USFS 2001 Roadless Rule

Alaska Governor Sean Parnell and Attorney General John Burns have directed the Alaska Department of Law to file a legal challenge to the Roadless Rule adopted in 2001 by the United States Forest Service. The Roadless Rule prohibited local and regional control over decisions about road construction, reconstruction and timber harvest on roughly 58.5 million acres of national forest lands and grasslands. Until a recent Alaska Federal District Court ruling, the state’s largest national forest, the Tongass National Forest, was exempt from the Roadless Rule under a 2003 settlement agreement with the federal government and Alaska. In a recent court decision, a federal judge sided with the village of Kake and reinstated the Clinton-era roadless rule in southeast Alaska's Tongass National Forest. U.S. District Judge John W. Sedwick in Anchorage issued his final decision in May 2011, making a March ruling official. Sedwick found that a Bush administration decision in 2003 to exempt the Tongass from the roadless rule was arbitrary and capricious. “Applying the Roadless Rule to national forest lands in Alaska diminishes jobs and hurts families, and removes local and regional management of the forests from the state, communities, residents, and foresters,” Governor Parnell said. “This is the wrong time for the Forest Service to further restrict timber supply, new mining jobs and development, and impose higher energy costs on communities."...more

Interior Secretary favors permanent new mining claim ban in Grand Canyon region

While the Obama Administration extended its emergency ban on new mining claims around the Grand Canyon only until December 20, 2011, statements made by federal officials at a press conference at Mather Point in the Grand Canyon National Park Monday indicate the ban will probably be permanent. Although U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar repeatedly stressed that mining projects currently in the regulatory pipeline remain alive and viable, fears of possible contamination of the Grand Canyon watershed were repeatedly stressed by federal officials speaking during the news conference...more

Tree rings record changing snowpack, research finds

Greg Pederson sees the recent publication of his research on snowpack declines in the West as a prime opportunity to reiterate the difference between climate and weather in this record-setting wet spring. Pederson, an ecologist with the U.S. Geological Survey in Bozeman, was the lead author of a paper published last week in Science magazine detailing the decline in snowpack observed by examining tree rings from the watersheds of the Columbia, Missouri and Colorado river basins dating back more than 800 years. His findings: Not only has snowpack declined compared to past climate fluctuations, but there's also been a "decoupling" of precipitation in the Colorado River basin and that of the Northern Rockies. What this means is the tendency for the north to have high snowpacks when the south is experiencing meager ones, and vice versa, has shifted to declining snowpack across the West. The long-term implications of reduced snowpack in the West, which provides water to an estimated 70 million people in just the three drainages Pederson studied, portends huge challenges for water managers in the future, he said...more

Rainbow gathering brings hundreds of new faces, with many more on the way

Mica Schmelzer said Rainbow Family members are hard to miss. Asked to describe the people she's seen streaming through Cougar over the past few weeks, she smiled and said: "Dreadlocks, pungent smell." The travelers have a lot of dogs with them, she said, and the dogs all seem to be wearing bandanas. The clothing, she said, is a throwback to the '70s. About 400 of them are now reportedly settled in a meadow 16 miles southeast of Mount St. Helens — and more are on their way. Many, many more. The Rainbow Family of Living Light has chosen Skookum Meadow, deep in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest, as the site of its annual gathering. The event, from July 1 through 7, is expected to draw tens of thousands of people. The group, a loose counterculture network that recalls the 1960s peace movement, hosts the event to socialize and pray for peace. It's been hosting similar gatherings on U.S. national forests since 1972. "I'm nervous as a business owner," said Beth Rogers, who owns the Cougar Resort. Wild rumors about the Rainbow group are flying. Rogers said she's heard of the visitors blocking the road, defecating in public, abusing their dogs, even urinating on the produce in a Woodland grocery store. She said U.S. Forest Service officials told her not to leave her gift shop unattended and to quarantine any stray dogs from the group because they likely haven't had veterinary care...more

Stock watering issue reaches state Supreme Court

The Washington State Supreme Court will rule in the coming months on whether livestock operations can withdraw unlimited amounts of groundwater. "The fate of the industry rests on this case," Jack Field, executive vice president of the Washington Cattlemen's Association, said. The issue revolves around the 30,000-head Easterday feedlot in Eastern Washington. The court heard oral arguments in the case June 16. A lawsuit was filed in 2009 by several Franklin County dryland farmers and two environmental groups -- the Center for Environmental Law and Policy and the Sierra Club -- that want to stop the feedlot from going forward without first obtaining a groundwater permit for the full amount of drinking water the cows will need. The defendants -- Easterday Ranches, Washington state and the Ecology Department -- say they have the necessary water rights and permits. Attorney General Rob McKenna issued an opinion in 2005 that Ecology cannot reduce exempt withdrawals of groundwater below those specified under the law. Under current law, all groundwater withdrawals require an application and permit from Ecology. Exemptions from this permit requirement include any withdrawals of public groundwater for stock watering purposes...more


Song Of The Day #603

Ranch Radio has another mystery song for you, as The Western Melody Makers sing Who Put The Turtle In Myrtle's Girdle.

Monday, June 20, 2011

ATF acting director may resign over Fast and Furious program

Kenneth Melson, acting director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, is expected to resign under pressure, perhaps in the next day or two, in the wake of the controversy over Operation Fast and Furious, two senior federal law enforcement sources said Monday. In the operation, straw buyers were allowed to purchase illegally large numbers of weapons, some of which ended up in the hands of cartels in Mexico. Attorney General Eric Holder will meet Tuesday with Andrew Traver, head of the ATF field office in Chicago, about possibly becoming the agency's acting director, according to senior federal law enforcement sources, who are familiar with the details of the controversy. The operation has come under intense criticism since the December killing of a U.S. Border Patrol officer...more

Don't make Melson a Fast and Furious scapegoat

Credible media reports have it that Kenneth Melson, acting director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, will get his walking papers this week as a result of his approval of Operation Fast and Furious, aka "Gunwalker." That's the program in which ATF purposely allowed as many as 2,000 lethal weapons, including assault rifles such as the infamous AK-47, to be sold to representatives of Mexican drug cartels. The idea was that ATF would be able to link the weapons to specific individuals and prosecute them after the firearms were recovered at crime scenes in Mexico and the U.S. Melson and other senior ATF officials enthusiastically backed Gunwalker, which originated in the agency's Phoenix office. The ludicrous logic behind Gunwalker was exposed in December when a U.S. Border Patrol agent was killed in a confrontation with drug cartel thugs about 18 miles inside the U.S. border with Mexico in the Arizona desert. Two Gunwalker assault rifles were recovered from the scene in which Agent Brian Terry, an ex-Marine with a wife and children, died in the shootout. At least 150 Mexican law enforcement officers and an unknown number of cartel figures and civilians have also been killed with Gunwalker weapons. What ATF officials thought would become a key tool in bringing down the Mexican cartels instead, and predictably, became a U.S. government-sanctioned gun-running operation that bought enough high-powered weapons to equip hundreds of remorseless killers operating on both sides of the border. It would be a miscarriage of justice, however, if Melson is made a lone scapegoat in this sordid affair, while others of equal or greater culpability are allowed to remain on the job without being held accountable...more

Judge rules in favor of livestock grazing

The appeal by WWP objected to the renewal of the grazing permits, which had been approved after a thorough environmental review. The Forest Service grazing decision also incorporated adaptive management principles to improve environmental conditions in the forests. The ranchers and the Forest Service worked together to develop management steps that would address resource issues and still be cost-effective. Upon reviewing the briefs and the administrative record, the court affirmed the decision of the Forest Service and allows continued livestock grazing under the adaptive management that everyone committed to do. As CCA counsel Connie Brooks explained, “This decision is especially significant because Western Watersheds had objected to the fact that the Forest Service had worked closely with the grazing permittees to develop management plans that made sense and would achieve the Forest Service’s objectives. While federal law calls for these grazing plans to be written in coordination with ranchers, this litigation would have undone the cooperation and consultation that has characterized the grazing program on the Salida Leadville Ranger District of the Pike San Isabel National Forest.”...more

You don't see that headline very often.

Living with Mexican wolves and the liberal press

In writing, "Afraid of the Big, Bad Wolf," your columnist does not seem to have researched any of the documented damage caused by Mexican wolves. It appears his biased article came directly from his personal agenda, rather than the facts. I felt it necessary to provide documented facts concerning the Mexican wolf. Catron County has been documenting wolf-human, wolf-animal interactions since April 2006. This year alone, there have been 16 documented confirmed wolf-livestock depredations, 1 probable depredation, and 4 confirmed injuries. However, your columnist conveniently omits any mention of this serious problem for local family ranchers. Since 2006 to the present, there have been 140 wolf-human incidents and 240 wolf-animal incidents, for a total of 380 incidents. Fifty percent of wolf interactions were on private property, indicating Mexican wolves are highly habituated and lack an avoidance response to humans, thereby posing a major threat. Habituated wolves seek out humans and human use areas. They are bold and come to homes where children play. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service supplementally feeds the wolves all the time, including right now, causing the wolves to become further habituated by food conditioning. Bus stop shelters were built with donated materials to protect school children after two children were followed home by wolves after they got off the school bus. Wolves were also documented at the elementary school by the swing set. County Sheriff Shawn Menges had deputies on guard during recess while the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service John Oakleaf tried to trap the un-collared wolf...more

EDITORIAL: U.N. climate propaganda exposed

The entire world will soon depend on renewable energy so governments ought to start subsidizing these industries immediately. So said the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in a report released Tuesday. The study’s conclusion was such a blockbuster that the panel issued a press release last month previewing the finding. “Close to 80 percent of the world’s energy supply could be met by renewables by mid-century if backed by the right enabling public policies a new report shows,” it proclaimed. Since this statement was supposedly based on actual scientific research, Steve McIntyre, editor of the Climate Audit blog, did what the IPCC must have assumed nobody would bother doing. He checked the sources cited in the report. He discovered the IPCC’s banner claim was not the work of prestigious and disinterested scientists toiling away in a laboratory, but of hacks with a political agenda and direct financial stake in the issue. The 80 percent claim was lifted directly from a paper entitled, “Energy evolution 2010 - a Sustainable World Energy Outlook,” whose primary authors included Sven Teske from Greenpeace and Christine Lins from the European Renewable Energy Council (EREC). According to the latter group’s website, it is “the united voice of the European renewable energy industry.” EREC speaks on behalf of the companies that make windmills, solar panels and other uneconomic forms of energy that rely upon heavy government subsidies to turn a profit. Not surprisingly, the IPCC’s primary goal has been to browbeat governments around the world into pouring taxpayer cash into this rent-seeking industry. In addition to being the source of the 80 percent claim, the Greenpeace activist also happened to be a primary author of the relevant chapter of the new IPCC report, “Special Report on Renewable Energy Sources and Climate Change Mitigation” (SRREN). The incestuous relationship is not limited to Mr. Teske. Greenpeace and the renewable-energy lobby jointly released a version of the “Energy evolution” report that contained a forward by Rajendra K. Pachauri, the IPCC’s director general. The IPCC sees nothing wrong with this arrangement...more

High-tech Montana bear trap phones home

If you think the bears Ryan Alter catches in his traps are cool, you should have seen the skunk. Alter has built a bear trap that sets itself, takes mug shots and phones home when it catches something. It's undergoing its third season in the field with Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks bear managers. "The nature of what we do is: You don't know until you look," said Alter, whose East Missoula-based Alter Enterprises builds high-tech gizmos for field biologists. So it wasn't too surprising when his trap's onboard camera got shots of a Condon-area skunk sneaking bites of the deer-haunch bait last fall. The basic grizzly bear culvert trap has been around for decades. It's a big aluminum tube with a sliding door at one end and a baited tripwire at the other, mounted on a trailer so it can be towed where it's needed. Alter added cameras both inside and out, with satellite uplinks that feed the images back to the trap manager's computer in real time. He linked that to a set of solar-powered battery mats that generate enough power to run the electronics even on a cloudy day. And he's working on a sensor that will read the computerized identification chips that biologists are now implanting behind captured bears' ears...more

Border security website chronicles firsthand accounts of drug trafficking along Texas/Mexico border

Following the recent shootout between U.S. law enforcement and the Mexican drug cartels on the Texas/Mexico border, Texas farmers and ranchers continue to face intimidation and threats from criminals tied to these violent organizations. In an effort to highlight the growing problems associated with a lack of border security, the Texas Department of Agriculture’s website will debut a multi-part testimonial series titled, “Texas Traffic – True Stories of Drug and Human Smuggling.”
The series will provide firsthand accounts from Texas farmers, ranchers and law enforcement officers who have been subjected to drug running, human trafficking and other criminal activities that have taken the form of international terrorism right here on U.S. soil. These true stories are a testament to the reality that the violence initiated by drug cartels has been spilling northward into Texas. Texans along the border and elsewhere across the state should not have to endure this physical violence and intimidation here in the land of the free and the home of the brave. This violence against our people, combined with the threat to our nation’s food supply is a threat to our homeland security...more

Turd Burgers: Japan scientist synthesizes meat from human feces - video

Mitsuyuki Ikeda, a researcher from the Okayama Laboratory, has developed steaks based on proteins from human excrement. Tokyo Sewage approached the scientist because of an overabundance of sewage mud. They asked him to explore the possible uses of the sewage and Ikeda found that the mud contained a great deal of protein because of all the bacteria. The researchers then extracted those proteins, combined them with a reaction enhancer and put it in an exploder which created the artificial steak. The “meat” is 63% proteins, 25% carbohydrates, 3% lipids and 9% minerals. The researchers color the poop meat red with food coloring and enhance the flavor with soy protein. Initial tests have people saying it even tastes like beef. Inhabitat notes that “the meatpacking industry causes 18 percent of our greenhouse gas emissions, mostly due to the release of methane from animals.” Livestock also consume huge amounts of resources and space in efforts to feed ourselves as well as the controversy over cruelty to animals. Ikeda’s recycled poop burger would reduce waste and emissions, not to mention obliterating Dante’s circle for gluttons...more

Will vegetarian's feces be turned into veggie burgers?

I do know some folks I'd like to serve some shit sandwiches to.

Here's the video report:

Mother Nature at bat

What do agriculture, baseball and Mother Nature have in common? Any farmer or rancher will tell you, without hesitation, that in the competitive industry that is agriculture, Mother Nature always bats cleanup, and nine times out of 10, she bats for the opposition – she’ll make or break you every time. So far, 2011 is shaping up to be a tough crop year for our farmers and ranchers. It seems anything that wasn’t frozen by late blizzards or swept downstream in floodwaters is either too wet to plant or inaccessible because of a new lake covering the road. It’s an unfortunate reality that somewhere in the U.S., this very minute, a farmer or rancher is battling the elements – and as most agricultural producers know all too well … you win some and you lose some. So what happens when you lose?...more

Security tightens for onion production

Walk through the office door and be prepared to sign in on a clip board. And don't forget the security badge. No, you're not in a federal office. Nor an elementary school, where such measures might be a given. Rather, it's an onion-packing and shipping shed in Salem, about 40 miles north of Las Cruces. Throughout the summer, tens of thousands of onions will arrive, be sorted by size and quality, packed into boxes or bags and shipped out to various places throughout the country and even Canada. It's a process that over the past decade has taken a turn toward tighter security, as increasing scrutiny is placed on the safety of the nation's food supply. At Chile River Corp. in Salem, co-owner Shayne Franzoy said he reduced numbers of workers, from about 80 last year to 25 this year. He bought a piece of machinery that handles the bagging of onions, instead. That wasn't because the cost of wages was too high, Franzoy said, but rather he wanted to reduce human involvement, which in turn cuts chances for food contamination. "The less people you have actually handling the onions, the better off you are," he said. Everything we're doing is automated." And Franzoy said employees must adhere to strict rules. There's no personal food allowed on the operating floor. No chewing gum. No sodas. No tobacco products. Also, the onion shed is fully enclosed, which guards against trespassers and, just possibly, anyone with bio-terrorism in mind...more

Fewer hands in the fields

It was a Tuesday afternoon at the height of blackberry season, and the Paulk family farm was short 100 pickers. It was Don Pedro's job to find them. Pedro Guerrero, 54, the smiling, soft-spoken man in black cowboy boots whom everyone calls Don Pedro, was barreling down two-lane roads in a compact Chevy on a hunt for his own people. He was searching amid the trailers and tumbledown rental houses and mercados that have sprung up since the 1990s, when waves of Latinos began arriving in Georgia to harvest food, serve it in restaurants and scrape it from soiled plates. Don Pedro — like farmers across Georgia — is worried that the state's tough new immigration law, set to take effect July 1, is scaring away an illegal immigrant labor force. The Georgia Department of Agriculture this month released a survey of farmers who said they needed to fill more than 11,000 positions lasting from one day to a year. Critics of U.S. farming practices have long said Americans would take such jobs if they paid better. Don Pedro said his job has never been so tough, nor workers so scarce. His boss had told the state Labor Department he needed pickers, but he had received no responses. He wasn't surprised, even though the jobless rate in Irwin County was 13%. Few here believe that native Southerners, white or black, wish to return to the land their ancestors once sharecropped or tended in bondage...more

Tougher rules on bovine tuberculosis proposed

Even before nearly 200 steers were ordered quarantined in Pinal County over a single case of bovine tuberculosis, federal authorities were already reviewing testing procedures with an eye toward more rigorous standards. A task force from the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, an agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, began drafting plans to eradicate bovine TB and brucellosis, another serious cattle disease, in September and has been collecting public comment since May. In addition to testing animals when they are imported, the proposal would require retesting 120 to 180 days after they enter the country. No follow-up tests are currently required at the federal level, but some states require retesting of foreign cattle before they cross state lines. The proposal could change after the public comment period, which ends July 5, said Lyndsay Cole, a spokeswoman for the inspection service. Cole said the proposal still must go through the regulatory approval process, and no date has been set for when changes would take effect...more

Rancher brought closure to U.S. pilot's family

In the middle of the night on June 9, 1977, a missile-laden fighter jet on a training mission for NORAD crashed almost right in seven-year-old Reid Moynihan's backyard. The F-106 Delta Dart clipped the treetops in a thick forest of the Porcupine Hills and burst into flames before hurtling to the ground on the south end of the Moynihan family ranch. Military officials were soon at the scene about 35 kilometres west of Claresholm to clean up after the crash and remove the remains of the young American pilot who went down with his jet. For weeks, no one else was allowed near the site. Locals knew little about why the fighter jet went down in the southwest Alberta ranchland, and the military wasn't saying much. Young Reid's curiosity burned. "I felt sorry for the poor fellow that died," recalls Moynihan, now 41. "To me, it wasn't just some old aircraft. This was an interceptor fighter jet with some guy trained to protect Canada and the United States." When the military released the scene, a forestry where the Moynihans' cattle grazed, Reid trekked out to the crash site armed with a pair of needle-nose pliers to pry metal jet fragments from the scorched trees...more

Song Of The Day #602

It's Swingin' Monday on Ranch Radio and we have not only a swingin' tune, but a mystery to boot. Here's Arthur "Guitar Boogie" Smith & His Cracker Jacks with Who Shot Willie?

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Johnny Salvo is NIRA Champion Calf Roper

Johnny Salvo tied his final calf in 9.0 seconds to win second in the round and become the NIRA Champion calf roper for the 2nd time in his college career.

Shiann Irwin ran the barrels in 14.33 to split third in the round.

Cooper DeWitt scored a 70 on his saddle bronc to split 7th in the round.

Kendra Stineman missed her calf and Dixie Richard's goat got up.

The women and men's teams both placed in the top ten at the CNFR.

Congratulations to the student-athletes and to Coach Jim Dewey Brown for a great showing at the finals.