Friday, August 19, 2011

Cat and baby deer become best of friends

The story is here.

Obama's New Fuel Economy Standards Will Increase Cost of a Car More Than $11,000

The Obama Administration’s new fuel economy standards will cause the retail price of average motor vehicles to increase over $11,000, according to a study conducted by the Center for Automotive Research. The fourth fuel economy standard of 49.6 mpg is associated with an $11,290 increase in retail price. It is assumed that manufacturers and dealers will pass on the cost increase in fuel economy and safety technology to the consumer, at a retail price equivalent.” The Obama administration’s new fuel economy standards would require automakers to produce cars and light trucks with an average fuel economy of 54.5 mpg by 2025. The Center for Automotive Research says their study is “the result of 11 months of effort and investigation by researchers at CAR in 2010-2011.” Zoe Lipman, the National Wildlife Federation’s Senior Manager for Transportation and Global Warming Solutions argued on a conference call held Thursday that the estimated fuel savings due to these standards will outweigh the “modest” motor vehicle price increases for consumers...more

Behind the Scenes at World's First Spaceport in New Mexico Desert

In the deserts of the western United States, space tourism is becoming a reality as construction progresses on Spaceport America -- the world’s first purpose-built commercial space travel facility, 45 miles north of Las Cruces, N.M. Today, concrete and rebar litter the ground here as crews build walls and windows, roads and runways. They've been toiling for a year and a half and will continue until 2013, when a glowing, round disk standing testimony to the future will be unveiled in the desert -- at least according to artists' imaginations of the facility. Right now it looks like any old construction site, with men in hard hats and prosaic dump trucks carting rubble in and out. In 2013, things will be different. “You’ll experience weightlessness, they’ll actually go near space so you’ll see the curvature of the Earth,” Chris Anderson, executive director of the New Mexico Spaceport Authority, told When the facility is finished, a mere $200,000 will let you take a voyage at least partway to the stars: Virgin Galactic will be the first carrier to transport space-curious passengers from Spaceport America on its sub-orbital missions. The facility is more than 100,000 square feet and includes the terminal hangar and a public viewing gallery for inquisitive visitors not wishing to launch -- it looks out on a desert plain that will someday be filled with spacecraft, some shaped like traditional rockets, others space shuttle-like planes, wingless round disks or whatever spaceship designers of the future come up with. Anderson said the flat desert location 4,600 feet above sea level is ideal for space travel...more

Rabies confirmed in a horse from Eddy County

The New Mexico Department of Health is warning pet and livestock owners in Eddy County and the surrounding area to make sure their dogs, cats, horses and other valuable livestock are vaccinated against rabies after an unvaccinated horse near Artesia tested positive for the disease. The horse began showing signs of rabies two days before it was euthanized at a veterinary hospital. Family members and veterinary staff were exposed to the rabid horse's infectious saliva. Three people in New Mexico and several veterinary staff in Texas have been identified who will need to receive rabies vaccines to prevent them from developing rabies. "Individuals exposed to the horse will need to receive treatment to prevent them from developing the disease. Vaccination of animals, including dogs, cats, horses and valuable livestock, is one of the most effective public health tools we have to prevent humans from being exposed to rabies," said Department of Health cabinet secretary, Dr. Catherine Torres. Dr. Megin Nichols, one of the Department of Health's public health veterinarians, noted that four skunks from Eddy County have been diagnosed with rabies this year...more

Mike and Chantell Sackett vs. the EPA

Bloomberg reports on this important case:

...The Sacketts instead tried to get a hearing in federal court, seeking a declaration that their property wasn’t a protected wetland. The plot is not connected either to the lake or a nearby creek, though Mike Sackett, 45, says part of the land got “wet” at times in the spring. “We sued because we wanted our day in court to say, ‘This is not a wetland,’ ” he says. Two lower courts turned the couple away, saying they could not make that argument until the EPA asked a federal judge to enforce the order. That left the Sacketts in limbo. Restoring the property as the EPA demanded made no sense to them. It would cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, they say, and if they ultimately won the case they’d have to clear the land a second time. But defying the order potentially meant racking up $32,500 in fines each day—and perhaps criminal liability if they continued with construction—while they waited for the EPA to decide whether to pursue the case. “It’s an unenviable choice,” says Damien M. Schiff of the Pacific Legal Foundation, a Sacramento-based property rights group that is representing the couple for free. “It’s really almost no choice at all.” The Sacketts appealed to the Supreme Court, asking for the right to go straight to a federal judge. The high court agreed to hear the case in its fall term. It is being watched closely by environmentalists and property rights activists because of its potential scope. A ruling in the Sacketts’ favor would blunt one of the agency’s favorite enforcement tools. Each year it issues up to 3,000 “administrative compliance orders” to businesses and individuals, demanding an end to alleged environmental violations and applying enough pressure that those who are accused typically give in before the agency has to justify the action before a judge...

Bad wolf—go to your den

Roughly 30 local ranchers gathered at the fairgrounds in Carey, Idaho, last week to talk wolves. But this was far from the typical wolf discussion. The workshop, possibly the first of many hosted by Defenders of Wildlife, took an unusual and widely unacknowledged tack: Don't shoot the predator, protect the prey. The morning served as a crash course in a host of non-lethal deterrents to wolf predation, from guard dogs to grazing rotations. It also marked the first attempt by Defenders to share with the public lessons learned over the past three years by the Wood River Wolf Project. Defenders of Wildlife spokeswoman Suzanne Stone says the project has field-tested numerous tools for decreasing livestock losses to predators, an approach that replaces the habit of killing problem animals with the concept of coexistence...more

Well, they didn't get much of a turnout and who do they blame it on? Ranchers. Ranchers that is who put peer pressure on their more progressive neighbors. The article states:

Stone says Defenders was "nervous" about hosting last week's coexistence demonstration. "We've been trying to fly under the radar on this project for quite some time," she says. "We just don't try to make any kind of public news about [these projects] because the wolf debate is so controversial that it puts a lot of pressure on the ranchers who are partnering with us."

"There was a poor turnout, because—and this is my interpretation—there's tremendous peer pressure right now for ranchers to maintain a solidarity," Niemeyer says of the Wood River Wolf Project workshop, which featured him as a guest speaker. "What it's going to take are some courageous, bold ranchers. We should be talking about keeping livestock alive."

There could be several reasons for the poor turnout, but I kinda doubt peer pressure was one of them.

The ranchers I was raised with and others I've grown to know just don't respond well to peer pressure and as a result don't apply it either.

"Hey Charlie", Ramon the rancher says to his neighbor, "you don't look well today."

"My neck's sore" replied Charlie.

Ramon asked "what the heck caused your neck to go sore on you"?

"Well", Charlie says, "I wanted to go to a wolf meeting tonight and I've been ducking peer pressure about it for two days now."

No, I just can't see that happening. The lady from Defenders may respond to peer pressure. And Niemeyer, the former federale may respond to peer pressure. But if a rancher thought something was gonna improve his operation and his bottom line he'd darn sure go to the meeting.

You see there's one thing the Defenders and the former federale don't have that is probably keeping the ranchers away. Its called credibility.

Salazar - Why We Must Race to Conserve our Wild Areas Now

“The most endangered species in South Dakota these days is a young rancher,” Jim Faulstich told me as we sat in the barn of his ranch in central South Dakota. “As we lose the grasslands, we also lose the wildlife habitat and the hunting tradition that is a vital part of our heritage.” With 6,000 acres of native grasslands and wetlands rich with pheasants, sharptail grouse, prairie chickens, partridge, ducks, antelope, and whitetail and mule deer, Faulstich’s Daybreak Ranch is a special place for both wildlife and hunters. As his father before him did, Jim runs 500 head of cattle on the ranch and welcomes 100 sportsmen each year to enjoy the abundant wildlife and beauty of the land. Someday, he hopes to pass the ranch down to his son-in-law, Adam, and his grandson, Caleb. But he’s worried. Every year, 50,000 acres of grassland are plowed under in South Dakota. I sat down with Jim on a windswept day recently to talk about the future of ranches like his and what can be done to preserve South Dakota’s ranching heritage and the native grasslands that are vital habitat to both game and non-game species. Jim already has much of his land under easements, and together that day, we signed an agreement to have U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologists work hand-in-hand with him to better manage his grasslands both for wildlife and cattle, including providing fencing to make it easier to rotate grazing areas...more

Forest Service chief wants Wallow Fire area rehabilitated quickly

The head of the U.S. Forest Service wants an accelerated rehabilitation of the lands devastated by the Wallow Fire. Tom Tidwell says the response to the fire that burned more than 538,000 acres in Arizona and New Mexico must be immediate and sustained. Tidwell also directed agency personnel to proceed expeditiously so that burned timber can be used for higher valued wood products. The Forest Service says the trees could provide 162,000 tons or 26.5 million board feet of material for wood products. Forest Service work crews have already seeded 99 percent of 80,000 burned acres, reduced the risk of falling trees along 300 miles of roads and identified over 38 miles of power line corridors for emergency hazardous tree removal. AP

Tales of the Red Tape #18: Americans Take a Regulatory Bleating

Some 14 million Americans are jobless, but there just aren’t enough qualified sheepherders or goatherders to meet demand. The federal government, therefore, is allowing ranchers to “import” foreign shepherds to temporarily tend their flocks, but only if they comply with the full range of regulations specified by the official Labor Certification Process for Employers Engaged in Sheepherding and Goatherding Occupations. For 60 years, in fact, the federal government has actually regulated sheep and goat shepherds to ensure that nonimmigrant foreign workers don’t dare deprive Americans of the job. The U.S. Department of Labor issued a revised set of rules on August 4 (Training and Employment Guidance Letter No. 32-10). Any rancher hoping to hire a non-American sheepherder or goatherder must submit an application to federal and state officials no more than 75 calendar days and no less than 60 calendar days before the “date of need.” For each application, a prospective employer must attest...more

Diane Katz goes on to show the absurdity of this reg and concludes with:

For Washington, D.C., in this day and age, to be micromanaging sheepherding and goatherding—as with the unchecked regulatory impositions on most every aspect of daily life—brings to mind an exhortation of Norman Vincent Peale: “Once we roared like lions for liberty; now we bleat like sheep for security!”

Sen. Wants Drought Policy Explanation

Sen. Jeff Bingaman wants the Department of Agriculture to explain why new federal insurance has paid a pittance to New Mexico ranchers during “one of the worst statewide droughts in modern times” — while a similar program in Texas has paid $65.5 million in claims. “(Cattle) producers in my state purchased what they thought was drought insurance, but are now having their claims denied even though the historical vegetation index has shown substantial losses …,” Bingaman wrote Thursday in a letter to Michael Scuse, acting undersecretary for the USDA. About 95 New Mexico ranchers purchased policies last September as part of the pilot program administered by the USDA’s Risk Management Agency thinking payments would kick in with dry conditions. Ranchers have paid about $1.65 million in premiums but the program has paid only about $2,000 in claims here. “The producers expected the insurance to cover the green grass needed to feed their herds in the grazing season,” said Bingaman, D-N.M. “However, they later came to understand that the vegetation index would cover all biomass, including juniper and piƱon trees, cholla cactus, and creosote and broom snakeweed, which cattle can’t eat.” The USDA’s Risk Management Agency has told the Journal the policies are not drought insurance, rather “insuring a decline in the vegetation/greenness index.” The green index is measured from satellite imagery...more

Special Ops, Pig Patrol

The men advanced in the sweltering, pitch-black night, scanning the landscape with night-vision goggles and armed with semiautomatic rifles fitted with silencers. As the party drew nearer to its wary targets, guide Jed Dreher whispered for the men to walk in single file to "decrease our profile." At 50 yards out, they took aim through their thermal-vision scopes and let loose a hail of bullets. The targets scattered, squealing and grunting, into the nearby woods. The prey in this high-tech hunt: feral pigs in pastures near Madisonville, Texas. Hunters Chuck Coiner and Frank Hahnel, clients of guide service Tactical Hog Control LLC, killed five wild porkers that June night, including a 30-pounder that took five bullets to finish off. "Those are tough suckers," Mr. Hahnel remarked after the night's first shoot. "That was awesome." Tactical Hog Control, started in 2009 by Texas ranchers Clark Osborne and Mr. Dreher, is among a handful of next-generation outfitters across the South offering a new style of hog hunting designed to appeal to hunters' inner commando. Each client on a nocturnal hunt with the two men suits up with roughly $40,000 of military-grade gear, including semiautomatic rifles like the DPMS AR-10. The men prowl bumpy pastures and farmland in off-road vehicles bristling with gun racks and infrared headlights...more

Nebraska's best ranch hands

As a fifth-generation Nebraska cattleman, Norm Andrews is equal parts realist and hopeful romantic. Echoing his great-great-grandfather who, in 1873, emigrated from Europe to Cambridge, Neb., with little more than the clothes on his back, Andrews believes successful ranching comes from a willingness to "trade everything except my family and my dog." And when a day goes so poorly that he's left shaking his head as he lumbers to the house, he rehearses his motto: "It shoulda worked." Andrews is just one of many ranchers who believes that, with a good dog at your side, it usually does. "I don't know if I can put words to it, but there's a bond between owner and dog," Andrews said. "The dog's not worried about weather or the note at the bank. He'll go through mud and manure because it's his job." But don't be fooled, he said, "because you don't own the dog as much as the dog owns you." On his own operation, which consists of 1,000 or so acres near Dwight, Andrews considers himself indebted to his best four-legged hand, a cattle dog named Tuck. And before Tuck, there was Spike. "I once tried to put 90 cows in a pen that would only hold 80," Andrews remembered, "and Spike held the 80 in place while I put 10 in my trailer so we could shut the gate."...more

Branding serves as protection for livestock

There are three things we ranchers seem to deal with on a regular basis: Government, Mother Nature and cattle thieves. We can’t always control how the government regulates our industry, and we can’t ever control the hand that Mother Nature deals us. But we can work to protect ourselves against cattle thieves by branding our livestock. Branding is a tradition in Texas. Since before the 1800s, Texas ranchers have used brands to identify their livestock and help prevent cattle theft — a phenomenon that still happens pretty frequently in Texas today. In fact, in 2010, the number of cattle reported missing or stolen to the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association was approximately 7,700, an increase of 220 percent from 2007. In 1877, the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association (TSCRA) was created with the objective of preventing cattle theft. While TSCRA has evolved and expanded over the past century, preventing and solving agricultural crimes, especially cattle theft, remains the foundation of the association. Ask any of the 30 special rangers employed by TSCRA and they’ll tell you the best way to prevent cattle theft is to brand, and in the instance that branded cattle are stolen, they are much more likely to be recovered than unbranded cattle. Last year, TSCRA special rangers recovered or accounted for more than $3.6 million worth of stolen property, much of which were stolen cattle...more

Song Of The Day #641

From 1965 here's Lefty Frizzell and She's Gone, Gone, Gone.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Series Of Mysterious Cat Disappearances In Colorado

Some people in Lakewood are worried after a series of mysterious cat disappearances. About a dozen cats have vanished over the past few months near the Denver Federal Center and neighbors are worried the worst may be yet to come. “I see a cat’s paw; the whole paw,” Diana Sequin said. “It just killed me. I just cried and got on my knees.” Sequin, an owner of four cats, was devastated last week after finding part of her neighbor’s cat in her yard. It was one of many mysterious pet disappearances in her Lakewood neighborhood at Taft and West Dakota Drive. “It’s just a sad, sad thing,” she said. Neighbors say they’ve lost several pets over the last few weeks. Many have put up posters hoping for the animals’ safe return. “We have raccoons, coyotes and foxes. Sometimes larger animals like lions and bears do come into town,” Jennifer Churchill with Colorado Parks and Wildlife said. Churchill believes there’s an easy explanation for the mystery. She says animals like foxes and coyotes are everywhere in Colorado. They prey on smaller animals, especially in the summer. “They’re out there looking for prey items and teaching their young how to hunt. So if there are loose cats out there, unfortunately they could be become part of the process,” Churchhill said. Curtis Moore has lost three cats, including his cat, Walter, who’s hind leg was found by his next door neighbor. “I don’t live in the mountains, I live in the city. I’m ok with wildlife, but I don’t like them eating my pets,” Moore said. As the posters multiply in her neighborhood, Sequin walks her cat on a leash. Other neighbors have serious questions about the mysterious animals roaming their streets. “When they run out of pets, what are they going to attack then?” Moore said...more

Welcome to the world of wildlife Mr. Moore.  You've encroached on their habitat don't you know.  Keep your pets in the house and tear down your fences, as they are not needed and impair the migration of  wildlife.   Then pray the predators of your pets are not an endangered species. If it is, then just stand by as your pet is maimed or slaughtered, or face a   fine of up to $100,000 and be sentenced to a year in jail.  That's just "part of the process" as your friendly wildlife specialist says.  And don't even think of spraying your roses, mowing your lawn or enlarging your patio unless you have completed an Environmental Impact Statement.  Understand that no matter your  or your family's preferences, your property will now be managed according to a Habitat Management Plan.   Yes Mr. Moore, welcome to the world of the rancher and the rural property owner.  

Here is the local TV news report:

Mother fined $535 after daughter saves endangered woodpecker from hungry cat

An 11-year-old Virginia girl trying to rescue a baby woodpecker instead earned her mother a $535 fine when it turned out the bird was a protected species. Skylar Capo saved the bird from the clutches of a cat which was about to turn the feathered friend into lunch. When she was unable to find the baby's mother, she asked her own mother if they could adopt the orphaned bird. "She was just going to take care of it for a day or two, make sure it was safe and uninjured and then she was going to let it go," said Skylar's mom Alison Capo. As they were headed home they stopped into a store and brought the bird inside where they incidentally encountered an officer from the Department of Fish & Wildlife. The officer informed them that the bird was a protected species and it was illegal to transport it. When they got home, Capo said they set the bird free and it flew away. They reported this to fish and wildlife, but two weeks later, the officer appeared at their door with a $535 ticket...more

Federal Subsidies to Solar Up 626%, Subsidies to Wind Up 946%

While President Barack Obama wants to end subsidies that go to oil and natural gas companies, a new Department of Energy report shows that federal subsidies to clean energy are way up, with solar seeing a subsidy increase of 626 percent between FY 2007 and 2010 and wind getting a 946 percent increase. In April 2011, Obama repeated his call to end subsidies to oil and gas companies and said that “instead of subsidizing yesterday’s energy, we should invest in tomorrow’s,” adding that “clean energy can lead to new jobs and new businesses,” and “[a]n investment in clean energy today is an investment in a better tomorrow.” The report by the Energy Department’s Energy Information Administration (EIA), released in late July, shows that direct federal financial interventions and subsidies in FY 2010 to clean energy equaled $14.67 billion – up from $5.1 billion in FY 2007. Direct federal subsidies to the solar industry rose from $179 million (in 2007) to $1.13 billion (in 2010). That represents an increase of 626 percent. For the wind industry, it received $476 million in direct subsidies in 2007 and got $4.98 billion in 2010. That translates into an increase of 946 percent...more

U.S. Government Investing $500M in Solar Power Projects—In India

The U.S. Export-Import Bank, an independent agency of the federal government, says that it has $500 million in loans in the “pipeline” to fund new solar energy projects—in India. The $500 million in new loans will come on top of $75 million in financing that the Export-Import Bank has already provided this year for solar power projects in India. “In fiscal year 2011 to date, the Bank has approved financing totaling approximately $75 million for four solar projects in India,” the bank said in a July 18 press release. “The Bank also has about $500 million of India solar projects in the pipeline that will generate an estimated 315 MW of solar power.” While in India last month, Export-Import Bank Chairman Fred Hochberg, an Obama appointee, announced two of the new solar projects the U.S.-government bank will be financing...more

EDITORIAL: Obama the biofool

Leftists see the military more as a playground for kooky ideas than as the primary responsibility of the federal government. Consider the scheme President Obama announced Tuesday that will have the armed forces devote a great deal of time, money and energy to switch to so-called advanced biofuels. Underneath the trendy “green” label, however, is a classic example of pork-barrel politics. Under the White House plan, the Departments of Agriculture, Energy and the Navy will divert $510 million in taxpayer funds to develop less efficient sources of power to meet the Navy’s transportation needs. This represents a small down payment, as Navy Secretary Ray Mabus committed to converting half of the Navy’s petroleum use to biofuel by the year 2020. That’s an expensive proposition. The combined services last year used 130 million barrels of petroleum, worth about $13.4 billion, according to Defense Logistics Agency figures. Military experiments with various plant, animal-fat and algae-based fuels represented a fraction of even the daily need of the world’s single largest consumer of oil. So the plan is to subsidize these pie-in-the-sky boondoggles. “Current processes for producing advanced drop-in biofuels are expensive,” an administration memorandum explained. “Therefore, it is necessary that the federal government cooperates with industry to create a strong demand signal and to make targeted investments to achieve the necessary production capacity required.” In other words, nobody in their right mind would select this stuff as a fuel. Despite being $14.6 trillion in debt, the Obama administration plans to blow millions investing in something the private sector says is a fool’s bet...more

The monumental fight over Otero Mesa

The decade-long tussle over energy development in New Mexico's Otero Mesa has been reinvigorated recently, as hardrock mining claims now threaten the region for the first time. New to the debate is the discovery that Otero Mesa may harbor a cache of valuable minerals. A 2010 U.S. Geological Survey study revealed that the Cornudas Range, including 7,280-foot Wind Mountain, may hold 200 tons of minerals, including highly sought-after rare earth metals. Seeing dollar signs, Colorado-based Geovic Mining Corp. staked 161 mineral claims (five square miles worth) this spring, nearby some of the most visited parts of Otero. The General Mining Act of 1872 allows companies to develop staked claims but the BLM is required to do environmental reviews of all proposed actions. Conservationists say exploration and mining of the area could lead to destruction on the scale of the mountaintop removal seen in Appalachia. The company says digging for rare earths would mean only minor disturbances. Regardless, the claims have led to a renewed push to declare Otero Mesa a national monument. While President Obama has yet to invoke his authority to establish monuments under the Antiquities Act of 1906, a BLM memo leaked last year put Otero on a hot list of locations that qualify for nomination...more

A sold out Burning Man sparks quest for tickets

One might think the high winds, scorching heat, chilling overnight lows or remote location would be enough to keep people away from Burning Man. But for the first time in its 25-year history, Burning Man's organizers were forced last month to announce that tickets for the counterculture event were sold out. Even the guy who wrote the book on Burning Man was caught off guard. "I didn't have my ticket," said Brian Doherty, author of 2005's "This Is Burning Man." "I know they said that it could happen, but nobody expected something that has never happened before, to happen. Every single one of us should have planned ahead." The ticket shortage has triggered a scramble for them by some, scalping by others and concern over what the appropriate size of the event should be...more

Salazar loses lawsuit, American energy wins

The policies of Ken Salazar, Mr. Obama's Secretary of the Department of Interior, continue to obstruct domestic oil and gas exploration and risk shutting down domestic energy production. We already know about Mr. Salazar's crippling red-tape bottleneck that slow-walks paperwork to plague offshore drilling and production. Even though a few offshore drilling permits have been issued this year, lingering damage inflicted by the Salazar-Obama moratorium remains. Mr. Salazar always has a new trick up his sleeve, as we see in the report on Salazar pulling leases which the Federal Government had already offered at public auction and had accepted winning bids, meaning an agreement was in place. In some places such conduct is considered a breach of contract. With another of his tricks, Mr. Salazar imposed red tape to obstruct onshoredrilling on some federal oil and gas leases. The Western Energy Alliance sued the Federal Government, including Mr. Salazar. This time the good guys won. Ironically it was a 2009 Obama judicial nominee that ruled against the government, Nancy Freudenthal, judge for the U.S. District Court, District of Wyoming and wife of Dave Freudenthal, a Democrat who was Wyoming governor in 2009. At issue were expedited environmental review rules allowed by the Bush administration called categorical exclusions...more

Wild dog packs roam Navajo Nation

The 55-year-old man was found lying on the side of the road on the Navajo Nation, a pack of dogs mauling him relentlessly. Emergency workers chased them away, but the pack — their ribs sticking out — kept trying to circle back. It was not determined whether the dogs or a seizure felled Larry Armstrong as he went for a walk near his rural home last December. An autopsy report said he died from the bites, but investigators were unable to determine if he was even conscious when he was attacked. Regardless, the case vividly underscored the problems the Navajo Nation — and many other tribal lands — have with stray, feral or just neglected and loose dogs. On the vast Navajo Nation, wildlife and animal control manager Kevin Gleason estimates there are four to five dogs for each of the more than 89,000 households — or as many as 445,000 dogs, most of which roam unchecked, killing livestock and biting people with alarming regularity. "They kill everything," Gleason said in a recent interview. "Cats, dogs, cattle, sheep, horses. We've also had people severely injured by them. We've had people with horrendous bites. We just had a case ... where a man lost 37 sheep to a pack of dogs. "We have that going on all the time. Our officers respond to more than 25 bite cases a month, and 25 livestock damage cases a month."...more

For first time, more corn used for ethanol than livestock

For the first time ever, more of the corn crop may go into gas tanks than into the stomachs of cattle and poultry destined for kitchen tables. The prediction drew little response last week when it was released by the USDA in its Crop Production and Supply/Demand Report for the 2011 crop season. The USDA kept its prediction for ethanol production demand for corn at 5.05 billion, but lowered demand projections for livestock feed by 100 million bushels to 5 billion bushels. That fuel now tops livestock as the primary user of corn struck at least one observer as noteworthy. “That’s a first-time-ever type of change,” University of Missouri Extension economist Ron Plain said in a statement released by the university. “For forever,” Plain said, “ feed was the largest single use of corn.” The news comes as criticism that pro-ethanol subsidies and policies are raising food prices globally seems to be reaching a crescendo...more

Song Of The Day #640

Ranch Radio brings you Marty Robbins and his 1964 recording of Rainbow.

Firearms from botched ATF sting linked to violent crimes in El Paso, Phoenix

LA Times   Firearms from the ATF's Operation Fast and Furious weapons trafficking investigation turned up at the scenes of at least 11 violent crimes in the U.S., as well as at a Border Patrol agent's slaying in southern Arizona last year, the Justice Department has acknowledged to Congress. The department did not provide details about the crimes. But The Times has learned that they occurred in several Arizona cities, including Phoenix, where Fast and Furious was managed, as well as in El Paso, where a total of 42 weapons from the operation were seized at two crime scenes. The new numbers, which expand the scope of the danger the program posed to U.S. citizens over a 14-month period, are contained in a letter that Justice Department officials turned over to the Senate Judiciary Committee last month. The July 22 letter, signed by Assistant Atty. Gen. Ronald Weich, was sent to Sens. Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.) and Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa), the top members of the Senate Judiciary Committee. It was in response to questions posed to the Justice Department about Atty. Gen. Eric H. Holder Jr. and the weapons operation. The program was intended to identify Mexican drug cartel leaders and smuggling routes across the border by allowing illegal purchases of firearms and tracking the weapons. Instead, many of the guns vanished...more

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Obama Dismisses Farmer's Concerns About Regulations: 'Don't Always Believe What You Hear'

During a town hall meeting at Wyffels Hybrids in Atkinson, Illinois, a farmer expressed concern to President Obama about forthcoming regulations. The man stated that people would rather be farming than "filling out forms and permits to do what we like to do." President Obama told the farmer "don't always believe what you hear" and blamed Washington for ginning up speculation. Obama added that, "Nobody is more interested in seeing our agricultural sector successful than I am, partly because I come from a farm state." FOX News

Here's the video of the event:

Notice there is no discussion about regulations, good or bad, just the insinuation the farmer is misinformed.

Kintigh says lizard not endangered

The most controversial reptile in Texas and New Mexico does not deserve a place on the federal endangered species list, a group said Monday. State Rep. Dennis Kintigh, R-Roswell, led a volunteer panel that in May began studying the dunes sagebrush lizard. Kintigh, a retired FBI agent with no background in biology, said from the start he did not support endangered status for the lizard. He said his group's research backed up his initial hypothesis. "The committee was surprised by the contradictions the data presented," Kintigh's group said in its report. "There is a clear lack of an unequivocal sense about the actual range of the species and habitats preferred." The report was made public by the Chamber of Commerce of Artesia. A conservation group immediately criticized the report as amateurish and incorrect. "Today's event was a public-relations stunt, not a science review," said Jay Lininger, an ecologist with the Center for Biological Diversity in Albuquerque. He said Kintigh and U.S. Rep. Steve Pearce, R-Hobbs, "stacked the panel" with people who opposed protection for the lizard...more

Here's the real danger to dunes sagebrush lizard - A Texas Roadrunner.   Law Professor William Jacobsen says that's a real dunes sagebrush lizard in the bird's mouth.

Wolf advocates sue to stop Idaho hunt

An Idaho wolf season that many believed was a certainty was placed at risk over the weekend as three conservation groups requested an emergency injunction to halt wolf hunting from a federal appeals court. Alliance for the Wild Rockies, Friends of the Clearwater and WildEarth Guardians asked the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of appeals to stop the wolf hunts until an appeals case regarding the congressional budget rider that removed wolves from federal protection can be decided. James Tutchton, attorney for Alliance for the Wild Rockies, argued that the injunction is absolutely necessary, as a decision on the congressional budget rider that removed wolves from protection in Idaho and Montana could be two years in the making. "In the meantime, states like Idaho and Montana could shoot the majority of the wolves that live there," he said. "Wolves could be totally wiped out in particular parts of Idaho, which would set recovery back even further." But the issue is not really about wolves, Tutchton argued, but rather about the "sleazy" way that wolves were removed from protection under the Endangered Species Act. Rep. Mike Simpson, R-Idaho, and Sen. Jon Tester, D-Montana, attached a rider to a nearly 500-page congressional budget bill that forced the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to re-issue its 2009 Final Rule. The rule stated that wolves in Idaho, Montana and parts of Washington and Oregon were recovered and therefore should be removed from the Endangered Species Act...more

I find myself in agreement with Tutchton. Just about everything the Congress does is "sleazy".

When they originally passed the ESA it was "sleazy."   But talk about your sleaze: the ESA hasn't been reauthorized since Sept. of 1992.  Congress just keeps funding and the FWS keeps enforcing a law that is no longer on the books.  Now that, Mr. Tutchton, is sleaze of the highest order. 

The butterfly effect

Washington County water management officials and their partners are over 10 years into a project to raise Scoggins Dam at Hagg Lake in the hopes of providing clean water for several hundred thousand people in the future. But there is still a long way to go. The project has thus far faced years of bureaucratic red tape, the discovery of rare and endangered species near the dam and the federal government stepping in with demands of its own. In mid-June an exciting ecological discovery was made. The Kincaid's Lupin, a threatened plant, and the Fender's Blue, an endangered butterfly were discovered around Hagg Lake. These species are endemic to the Willamette Valley and part of southwest Washington, according to Kathy Cushman, a land and water specialist with the Bureau of Reclamation. These dusty looking blue butterflies have only about a 10-day lifespan and are very rare. They are only found where the Kincaid's Lupin grows, which is host to this butterfly species. The plant has only a short time every spring when its seeds can be collected before they burst forth to further propagate the plant. "The dam raise could take out about 70 percent of the known Lupin population at Hagg Lake," Cushman said. "So the impact on the butterfly would be a 70 percent loss of its host plant." However, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation is working with Clean Water Services and the U.S. Department of Fish and Wildlife to come up with a plan to expand the plant's habitat, mitigating the adverse impact on its population. Seeds from the plant have been collected for replanting but it could take up to five years before it is known whether replanting efforts are successful...more

Surely 200,000 people can go without water so a butterfly can live 10 days. Or, as being proposed we can do both - we just have to wait another 5 years and spend the millions of dollars it will take. The article says, "The cost of raising the dam cannot be estimated right now" but I'm sure the D.C. Deep Thinkers will find it a wise investment.

Endangered frog species clings to life after failed reintroduction effort

One of the nation's most ambitious wildlife reintroduction efforts has suffered a setback with the deaths of 104 mountain yellow-legged frogs that had been rescued from Southern California's fire-stripped San Gabriel Mountains in 2009, authorities said Tuesday. The federally endangered frogs, which recently metamorphosed from the tadpole stage, died in captive breeding tanks over the last several weeks at the Fresno Chaffee Zoo in Fresno, Calif. The Fresno zoo is not the only facility to have run into problems while trying to spur a jump in the population of the 3-inch amphibians. Thirty-six tadpoles have not been seen since biologists at the San Diego Zoo's Institute for Conservation Research released them a year ago into a remote San Jacinto Mountain stream from which they had been absent for a decade, zoo officials said. In 2006, seven mountain yellow-legged frogs - found three years earlier in a shallow pool in the San Bernardino Mountains after a large brush fire - died at the San Diego Zoo. Studies showed those frogs died of the same type of fungal infection that is killing frogs around the world...more

I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1990 and some days I look down and my legs are yellow.  But please, please don't let the gov't rescue me.   I've got plans for the future. 

More Stream Habitat Planned for Flycatcher

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service plans to designate 2,000 miles of habitat next to streams across six western states as critical habitat for the southwestern willow flycatcher. The flycatcher is a small migratory bird listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act since 1995. The affected states would be California, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Arizona and New Mexico. The agency designated 599 miles of rivers and streams as critical habitat for the flycatcher in 1997. In 2005, the agency added another 138 miles of river habitat to the designation, resulting in a total of nearly 121,000 acres of habitat designated as critical to the bird's survival. The Center for Biological Diversity sued the agency over the 2005 designations, arguing that it was insufficient to support the food and breeding site needs of the willow flycatcher. The agency settled with the group in 2010, and agreed to add an additional 2,000 miles of stream habitat to the designation...more

Elk to star in wolf plan

A draft Wyoming Game and Fish plan would give officials broad authority to kill wolves that upset elk feeding, prey on livestock, damage property or cause economic damage. The plan also would require state officials to maintain a “recovered, stable and sustainable” population of the predators that numbers at least 100 in 10 packs. Wyoming would commit to monitoring wolf genetics and would allow migration of at least one wolf into the greater Yellowstone Ecosystem population each generation — about four years. Officials will present the draft Wyoming Gray Wolf Management Plan at a meeting at 7 p.m. Aug. 24 at the Center for the Arts. It seeks to accomplish management goals through public hunting. The plan, a precursor to hunting regulations, anticipates the federal government removing the wolf from Endangered Species Act protection as agreed to with the state. The plan gives managers tools to kill or hunt wolves to preserve elk and other ungulate numbers. For example, hunting seasons may be extended to “realize hunting quotas that are not significantly filled during the proposed hunting season, reduce wolf populations in areas where they are causing unacceptable impacts to ungulate herds, alleviate predation and/or conflicts at state-operated elk feedgrounds, or reduce wolf populations in areas that experience persistent livestock depredation,” the document states. An unacceptable impact is defined as “any decline in a wild ungulate population or herd that results in the population or herd not meeting the state population management goals or recruitment levels established for the population or herd,” the document states...more

Obama Likes Fish More Than Coal Jobs

Last Tuesday, the Obama administration launched its latest assault against Appalachian surface coal mining. This one comes from the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), and it is best described as ‘jobs for minnows.’ To be precise, the FWS issued a final rulemaking to list five species of minnows as “endangered” under the 1973 Endangered Species Act (ESA). Two of the five tiny fish, the Cumberland darter and laurel darce, are present in small streams in the Cumberland Plateau region that are affected by effluent from surface coal mining. Once a species is listed as “endangered” pursuant to the 1973 Endangered Species Act, all federal agencies “shall…insure that any action authorized, funded, or carried out by such agency…is not likely to jeopardize the continued existence of any endangered species or result in the destruction or adverse modification of [critical] habitat of such species…” The FWS identified three “pollutants” from surface coal mines that endanger these species: sedimentation, salinity, and selenium. All three of these “pollutants” already are regulated by the Clean Water Act at levels necessary to protect wildlife. In June, the EPA set standards for salinity so low that Administrator Lisa Jackson has conceded the regulation would effectively outlaw surface coal mining in Appalachia. The FWS’s decision to list as “endangered” the Cumberland darter and laurel darce is indicative of this administration’s belt-and-suspenders approach to regulation. In its war on coal, the President is leaving nothing to chance...more

Wiener wars

I really hope Oscar Mayer’s lawyers rolled up in the Wiener-Mobile when they arrived at a federal courtroom in Chicago Monday. Beef content in hot dogs and truth in advertising are points of contention as the Oscar Mayer lawyers square off with those from competitor Ball Park Franks in federal court this week, with each company accusing the other of false advertising. Ball Park Franks is a division of Sara Lee Corp, while Kraft Foods Inc. fuels the aforementioned Wiener-Mobile and pays Oscar Mayer lawyers. According to an Associated Press article, the dispute began in 2009, when Sara Lee filed suit, asserting Oscar Mayer ads claiming the brand beat Ball Park Franks in national taste tests were deceptive. Kraft fired back with a suit claiming Ball Park Franks went too far with an advertising claim to be "America's Best Franks." Sara Lee also disputes Oscar Mayer’s promotions saying its beef hot dogs are “100 percent pure beef.” If you want to be picky, I suppose they aren’t 100 percent beef, as they all contain seasonings in addition to meat. Oscar Mayer defends its claim, saying it simply means beef is the only meat in the company’s beef wieners...more

Song Of The Day #639

Ranch Radio will be meandering around the 60's this week and we'll kick it off with Merle Haggard's 1965 recording of All My Friends Are Gonna Be Strangers.

Gun crimes drop at Virginia bars and restaurants

Virginia's bars and restaurants did not turn into shooting galleries as some had feared during the first year of a new state law that allows patrons with permits to carry concealed guns into alcohol-serving businesses, a Richmond Times-Dispatch analysis found. The number of major crimes involving firearms at bars and restaurants statewide declined 5.2 percent from July 1, 2010, to June 30, 2011, compared with the fiscal year before the law went into effect, according to crime data compiled by Virginia State Police at the newspaper's request. And overall, the crimes that occurred during the law's first year were relatively minor, and few of the incidents appeared to involve gun owners with concealed-carry permits, the analysis found...more

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

ATF promotes supervisors in controversial gun operation

The ATF has promoted three key supervisors of a controversial sting operation that allowed firearms to be illegally trafficked across the U.S. border into Mexico. All three have been heavily criticized for pushing the program forward even as it became apparent that it was out of control. At least 2,000 guns were lost and many turned up at crime scenes in Mexico and two at the killing of a U.S. Border Patrol agent in Arizona. The three supervisors have been given new management positions at the agency's headquarters in Washington. They are William G. McMahon, who was the ATF's deputy director of operations in the West, where the illegal trafficking program was focused, and William D. Newell and David Voth, both field supervisors who oversaw the program out of the agency's Phoenix office. McMahon and Newell have acknowledged making serious mistakes in the program, which was dubbed Operation Fast and Furious...more

Drought conditions blamed for NM cattle sell-off

Pat Woods
Livestock owners have been selling their cattle at an alarming rate recently, according to local cattle brokers and ranchers. They cite the lack of feed because of drought conditions for the sell-off. According to Clovis Livestock Auction sales representative Rustin Rowley, in just the last two months, weekly livestock sales have almost tripled, increasing on average from about 1,500 head to 4,200 head. “This time of year, ranchers don’t normally have to spend much money to feed cattle cause they’re eating grass but there’s no grass right now so they’re selling them,” Rowley said. “Some of them are quitting and some keep feeding them. It’s just a management decision on what they do.” Rowley said because there is no grass, ranchers are having to spend more on feed they cannot afford, causing them to sell their cattle. He said most local ranchers have sold at least some of their cattle, but some have had to sell all. “We may be selling all these big numbers this year but then we could be way down next year because everyone sold their cattle,” Rowley said. “So we could be recovering from this for the next two years. If it doesn’t rain in the next 30 days, they’re not going to be able to grow grass for next year anyway. These next 30 days are critical, I think.” Local cattle ranchers agreed the next 30 days are important. “I’ve got a window here of about 30 days to get enough moisture to plant wheat, so I’ll have a chance to make a wheat pasture and make profit off of it to be able to buy cattle and get back ahead,” said Pat Woods, a cattle rancher in the Curry, Quay and Santa Fe counties. “If I can’t do that, the only option is to get rid of the rest of the cattle ‘cause they will literally have nothing left to eat.”. Woods said he has had to sell half of his cattle this year, taking his head count from 1,600 to 800. He said he has made less profit from his livestock than he normally would because they are about 120 pounds lighter per head than normal...more

Drought threatens West Texas town's existence

Garrett Gilliam stared hard into the brown hills beyond the drying lake bed as a vaporous black column spiraled into the cloudless West Texas sky. Maybe it was smoke; maybe just another heat-driven dust devil. Either way, trouble was in the air. A young man in a white cowboy hat, Gilliam is Coke County's agricultural extension agent and a volunteer firefighter. He has witnessed firsthand the impact of a near-unprecedented drought that has depleted Robert Lee's water supply and spawned more than three dozen wildfires that have raced across the region's arid hills this year. “That's in the next county,” Gilliam muttered, lowering his eyes, his relief evident. With Texas gripped in a seemingly intractable drought that state climatologist John Nielsen-Gammon has declared the worst single-year dry spell in 116 years, Robert Lee, population 1,106, has emerged as an alarming worst-case example of what scant rainfall and triple-digit temperatures can do. Since January, Robert Lee — named for the iconic Army officer who pursued Indians through the region before the Civil War — has received only 3 inches of rain, about a fourth of its midyear average. Daily temperatures routinely approach 110 degrees in the shade. The E.V. Spence Reservoir on the nearby Colorado River — Robert Lee's source of drinking water — is more than 99 percent empty. Without a miraculous meteorological turnaround, this town 30 miles north of San Angelo could be bone dry by early next year. The drought has collapsed lake-based tourism in the town that once called itself “The Playground of West Texas,” led longtime ranchers to sell their livestock and prompted town dwellers to consider moving elsewhere...more

Drought recalls long, punishing dry spell of 1950s

After enduring nearly a year of drought, Texans have grown accustomed to seeing acres of withered crops, scores of dried-up ponds and mile after mile of cracked earth. But the drought that began last fall has yet to eclipse the infamous dry spell of the 1950s, a bleak period when the skies stubbornly withheld moisture. It was the state's worst drought ever. Nearly everyone who lived through that time remembers constant hardship: Water supplies ran so low some communities had to import it from Oklahoma. Farms and ranches failed. And the lack of rain actually changed the state's demographics because so many families fled rural agricultural areas for cities. Now, with the possible return of another La Nina weather phenomenon, Texans who remember that desperate decade from childhood or adolescence are facing another intense drought that could drag on for at least another year. "I hope this is not going to be like the drought of the `50s," said Pete Bonds, 59, who has cattle ranches in 27 Texas counties. He recalls how the extreme dry weather wicked away the water levels in lakes near Fort Worth. From 1949 to 1957, Texas got 30 to 50 percent less rain than normal, and temperatures rose above average. In search of grazing land, many Texas ranchers took their cattle to Kansas, where Jim Link was a preteen ranch hand. He remembers trying to find a missing steer one day in a pasture and walking into a strangely empty house. "It was kind of spooky," said Link, now a 68-year-old part-time cattle rancher south of Fort Worth. "The table was still set. The furniture was still there. The clothes were in the closet. The bank had foreclosed on the house." Link once asked his grandfather how the drought compared to the Depression. "He said the biggest difference was that in the `30s, it broke people financially. But the 1950s broke them spiritually."...more

Judge partially blocks BLM's Green Mountain Grazing Allotment proposal

Plans for about 40 miles of fencing and future water wells and troughs on the Green Mountain Grazing Allotment came to a halt following a judge’s decision on Aug. 5. Western Watersheds, an Idaho-based nonprofit group that works to protect watersheds in eight Western states, including Wyoming, earlier filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Bureau of Land Management to stop the construction part of the agency’s grazing plan released May 20. The allotment encompasses 522,000 acres and is one of the region’s largest unfenced grazing areas. It runs to the northern end of the Red Desert, and the varied topography serves 16 permitees who share 19 permits. Several of the most pristine sections of the Oregon Trail run through the area. The BLM has managed the land since the 1930s. Its new strategy was designed to help protect riparian areas while allowing ranchers to make a living by grazing cattle, agency officials said. It included reducing the amount of cattle on the land, a rotation system for grazing areas and fencing and well construction. After the Aug. 5 decision by Administrative Law Judge Harvey C. Sweitzer with the U.S. Department of the Interior Office of Hearings and Appeals, the BLM will continue to work with permitees on grazing, BLM spokeswoman Sarah Beckwith said Friday. But all range improvements are on hold. Water development projects and fences cost taxpayers money and don’t protect riparian areas, said Jonathan Ratner of Western Watersheds. Even if permitees paid for the fencing, he would oppose such action because it cuts the land into smaller pieces, potentially hurts wild horse and sage grouse populations, and takes the focus away from the real issue: keeping livestock numbers lower on the land. “With the simple solution of cowboys being cowboys and actually herding their livestock, we don’t need fences,” he said...more

See how simple it is? Let's see, 522,000 acres and 16 ranchers.  Why they would only have to cover 32,625 acres a day, which comes to only 11.9 million acres a year.  So simple.   Kind of makes you wonder why  those ignorant ranchers have been building fences all these years.  Guess they didn't have Jonathan Ratner around to tell them "we don't need fences." 

Grizzlies Return, With Strings Attached

Russell Talmo, a bear management technician, greeted John and Leanne Hayne at their ranch on the windswept edge of this tiny town with a gift: a can of pepper spray to ward off grizzly bears. Ms. Hayne worries that she will encounter a grizzly when she walks to the post office, half a mile from home. “One day I opened the back door, and there was one there and it stood up on its hind legs,” she said. “It’s eerie and primal and it makes the hair stand up on the back of your neck. That’s when I decided I should carry pepper spray.” The bears here in Montana can be whoppers, too. Occasionally, they exceed 800 pounds, the biggest that grizzly bears get outside Alaska. The record here for a captured bear is 860 pounds. So it goes these days along the Rocky Mountain Front, where the high plains rise to meet the sculptured peaks of the Northern Rockies, south of Glacier National Park. In 1975, when grizzly bears were listed here in the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem as threatened — a less restrictive form of protection than endangered — there were 200 to 300 grizzlies. Now, there are more than 900 in the ecosystem, and the population increases 2 to 3 percent each year. It is the largest population of grizzlies in the lower 48. After more than three decades of recovery efforts, though, they are coming down from their refuge and greatly expanding their range. “Bears are recolonizing their grassland habitat,” said a pleased Mr. Talmo. “They are showing up in places where they haven’t been seen in generations.” Last year a grizzly bear killed chickens near Loma, Mont., a farming community 175 miles from the mountains, the farthest east a grizzly is known to have traveled in the last century. People there were shocked. It was the bear’s second offense, and it was tracked down, trapped and euthanized. In May, a rancher near Fairfield, Mont., a town also on the plains, shot two grizzlies that had killed seven of his sheep. Shooting an endangered species, unless in defense of a human life, is illegal, and he was fined $2,000 in federal court. Because of the growth of the grizzly population, United States Fish and Wildlife Service officials are writing a plan to manage the bear if its protected status as threatened, under the Endangered Species Act, is lifted. Such a change is probably at least a few years away. Still, said Christopher Servheen, the service’s grizzly bear recovery coordinator since 1981, “they’re recovered, they’re doing well, they are pushing out in all directions.”...more

Evergreen Solar files for bankruptcy, plans asset sale

Evergreen Solar Inc., the Massachusetts clean-energy company that received millions in state subsidies from the Patrick administration for an ill-fated Bay State factory, has filed for bankruptcy, listing $485.6 million in debt. Evergreen, which closed its taxpayer-supported Devens factory in March and cut 800 jobs, has been trying to rework its debt for months. The cash-strapped company announced today has sought a reorganization in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Delaware and reached a deal with certain note holders to restructure its debt and auction off assets. Evergreen — hurt by lower-cost competition in China and plummeting prices for solar panels — also said it will cut more jobs — 65 layoffs in the United States and Europe, mostly through the shutdown of its Midland, Mich., manufacturing facility. That would leave Evergreen with about 68 workers according to a head count listed in the bankruptcy filing. To cut costs, Evergreen shifted some of its production to Wuhan, China, last year. That joint venture will remain operating subject to financing talks with Chinese investors...more

Congress urged to act on horse slaughter

Horse rancher M.C. Baker says he opposes inhumane treatment of horses - that’s why he believes the federal government was wrong to halt horse slaughter. Baker, a self-described "grouchy old veterinarian" who runs horse breeding center Alpha Equine in Granbury, Texas, said by removing funding for inspections of slaughter facilities five years ago, Congress created a cure worse than the disease. After all, horse owners have to do something with aging animals. So, many are slaughtered anyway - but in Mexico instead of the U.S., a new congressional report indicates. "Now those horses are being sold extremely cheap, and most everybody in the horse business knows what’s happening to them," Baker said. The practice is prevalent: U.S. horse exports to Mexico increased more than six-fold between 2006 and 2010, and exports to Canada more than doubled in that time, the U.S. Government Accountability Office found. Roughly the same number of U.S. horses - nearly 138,000 - continues to be slaughtered as before Congress stopped funding for inspections, the report said. Since then, horse abandonment is up, and average horse auction prices, adoptions and general horse welfare have suffered, based on accounts from state veterinarians and reports of abandonment and neglect...more

You mean the do-gooders didn't actually intend to increase the pain and suffering of these animals? Forget intent, because that is exactly what they have accomplished. At least now you don't have to have a damned ol' CDL to haul them to Mexico.

Enviros Sue Interior for Allowing Genetically Engineered Crops in Wildlife Refuges

The Secretary of the Interior ignored environmental dangers to let private parties grow genetically engineered crops on National Wildlife Refuges, environmental groups say in Federal Court. The Center for Food Safety, Beyond Pesticides and Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility say Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and its Director Daniel Ashe violated the National Environmental Policy Act and the Administrative Procedure Act. The plaintiffs challenge the "cooperative farming agreements with private parties that allow National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) land to be farmed, some with genetically engineered (GE) crops. "In order to support its decision to enter into the cooperative farming agreements, FWS prepared a six-page environmental assessment and issued a finding of no significant impact, despite evidence that growing GE crops on refuge lands is a major federal action which significantly impacts the quality of the human environment, is highly controversial, and which has potentially harmful effects on human health, the environment, and wildlife," the complaint states...more

Song Of The Day #638

Ranch Radio was on leave Monday so let's have Swingin' Tuesday. Here's a western swing ditty by the Modern Mountaineers called Everybody's Truckin'.

OpenDrive was slow this morning, so you may have to click on it several times to get it to play.

William "Bill" Kimble 1921-2011

William “Bill” Kimble was born in Bixby, OK, the son of Floyd C. Kimble and Retha Vide Stiltz Kimble.

The extended Kimble family moved to Douglas, AZ in 1926. Bill Kimble’s grandfather Charles Chester “C.C.” Kimble invested in the ranching business and his four sons (Roy, JB, Floyd “F.C.” and Gus) continued to ranch for decades afterwards with F.C. and Gus operating ranches east of Douglas.

Bill attended Clawson Elementary school, Carlson grammar school and graduated from Douglas High School in the summer of 1938. He attended New Mexico Military Institute in Roswell NM and transferred to Stanford University. In 1941, he enlisted in the US Army for ‘the duration of the War’ after Pearl Harbor. After basic training, he was assigned to the Army Air Corps Station in Port of Spain, Trinidad as a cryptographer and attained the rank of technical sergeant.

He returned to the States and married his high school sweetheart Genevieve Louise Ford on April 23, 1945, who joined him at his last Army post in San Bernardino, CA. In 1946, they returned to Douglas, where Bill and his father formed the Kimble Cattle Company and ran several ranches, including the original property near Chiricahua, over the course of the next 30 years.

Bill and his wife Louise had seven children between 1946 and 1963 - all born in Douglas. He participated in the Douglas community as an member of St. Luke’s Catholic Church, B.P.O.E., Sheriff’s association., Apache, AZ School Board, Whitewater Draw NRCD, American Legion, NRA member. He worked with the National Rural Electric Cooperative Agency to bring electricity to the San Simon valley. He was a strong advocate and supporter of the establishment of Cochise College near Douglas.

There are many fond memories of holidays spent on the ranch and in Douglas with the extended family, particularly his nieces and nephews of the Deen, Wagner and Brady families.

He is survived by his widow Louise Kimble, her sister Mary Ellen Ford of San Francisco, CA, and seven children: Melinda Kimble (James Phippard) of Washington, DC, Bill Kimble Jr. (Michele) of Apache, AZ and Rodeo, NM. Sue Krentz (widow of Rob Krentz) of Apache, AZ, Melissa Strahl (Stuart) of Clarendon Hills, IL, Marguerite(Lily) Percell (Mark) of Phoenix, AZ, Jon Kimble (Laura Cullen) of Fresno, CA, and Steve Kimble (Josie) of San Diego, CA. In addition there are thirteen grandchildren, seven step-grandchildren, and three great grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his parents and sisters Elizabeth Kimble Wagner (Betty) and Margaret Kimble Deen (Peggy).


Donations can be sent to the Arizona Cattle Growers’ Association, Restore Our Border Plan at 1401 N 24th St Suite 4 Phoenix AZ 85008. Thank you so much!!! Patrick A BrayExecutive Vice President Arizona Cattle Growers' Association1401 N. 24th Street, Suite 4Phoenix, Arizona 85008O: 602-267-1129F: 602-220-9833C: 602-762-0671


Monday, August 15, 2011

Working on wilderness stuff and finishing my column for the New Mexico Stockman.  Will get back at it tonight.

Obama Ignores even Internal Dissent on Environmentalist Agenda

President Obama will stop at nothing to pursue his war on coal. He won’t even listen to those within his own administration. His Small Business Administration advocacy office sent a long and detailed letter regarding the new Maximum Achievable Control Technology (MACT) regulations to EPA Director Lisa Jackson, in which the SBA reported that the “EPA may have significantly understated the burden this rulemaking would impose on small entities.” The law mandates the installment of new filters in energy plant smokestacks, but it also imposes higher energy costs on businesses and consumers as the cost of compliance is passed down. Despite the EPA’s own admittance that the mandate “is unlikely to substantially affect total risk,” Obama and Jackson remain steadfast in supporting it even though it risks the loss of 251,000 jobs, according to the Unions for Jobs and the Environment...more

Judge tosses drilling policy expanding environmental review

A federal judge in Wyoming on Friday threw out a 2010 Obama administration policy that rolled back exemptions from environmental review for certain oil-and-gas activities on federal lands.  Judge Nancy Freudenthal ruled that the Interior Department and U.S. Forest Service policies that scaled-back the exemptions were issued without proper public notice and comment. Freudenthal did not address the substance of the challenge brought last year by the Western Energy Alliance, an industry group that represents oil-and-gas drillers active in western states. The industry group alleged the policy ran afoul of a 2005 energy law that required the exemptions – called "categorical exclusions" – for certain drilling activities in an effort to expedite drilling...more

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Cowgirl Sass & Savvy

The Camaraderie of Country Women

 by Julie Carter

There are many women who inspire me to write about a lifestyle that sets them apart from the majority; one that finds understanding only from those that share the same.

When they tell me their stories, I use their experiences along with mine to weave a word tapestry depicting the lives of cowgirls, ranch wives and country women.

These are strong, independent females who can ride, rope, cook, shoot and laugh even when it takes a special effort to find something humorous in the moment.

They clean up quite tolerably for polite company or a trip to town and often surprise the gentry with their ability to carry on an engaging conversation on just about any topic.

We like to think there is a calling for bright, beautiful, and brassy ranch women, each with a great sense of humor. It’s our story and we are sticking to it.

We've all had a job or nine in our lifetimes, other than ranching or during ranching. In my particular group there are several teachers, a realtor, a title person, along with some very accomplished business women. And then there is me with the many hats, all of which give my stories a twist of real-life views.

Ranch life creates within each of us an ability to view the world from a different angle -- usually from the bottom looking up. More often than not, we end up with the jobs that nobody else wants and that keep us working long past when everyone else is gone.

We sort our priorities on a survival rating scale and we don’t give much energy to those pesky little moments that plague everyone’s days.

Our survival gear includes a Bible and the ability to easily name what we are thankful for each day. Our early morning prayers cover rain, cattle, children and the occasional dream of a faraway vacation. Or, just an hour of “me” time is most appreciated.

We soothe our souls with laughter, primarily in laughing first at ourselves but with no fear in finding humor in each other. We have no patience for whiners but will spend our last breath helping someone truly in need.

We greet our day long before the sun does and tackle each situation as it comes. Those rarely arrive single file and often create the need to "cowgirl up”.

We doctor children, pets, livestock and husbands. We have bottle fed babies, birds, puppies, kittens, rabbits, calves, colts and the occasional fawn. We mend fences, britches and children’s broken hearts.

We live in places where the driving directions include roads with no names, and the words cattle guard, gravel road and gate.

It is the norm to find our conversations far from the usual "woman talk" of hair color, the latest fashion in pumps and purses or a Saturday night concert. Most often, we talk about feeding cattle, calving heifers, a new baby colt, the veterinarian's last visit, and sometimes the location of the next county fair pig sale.

We discuss the books we have read and the movies we like. Potluck recipes are a given, as is the brand and style of the most comfortable work boot.

We understand each other. We know that fixing supper and fixing the stock tank float is not an either/or choice. A knowing nod always follows the first line of a story that begins, "We went to check a gate and he said we would be right back."

I will never take for granted the influence in my life these women are or that they inspire me in an untold number of ways.

May we always find a way to laugh together and may our stories bring laughter to someone who
needs it.

Julie can be reached for comment at

Judges, Kings, and Select Committees

Failure of Congress
Judges, Kings, and Select Committees
Help, Help!
By Stephen L. Wilmeth

     As our country anticipates the return of elected representation to Washington, we must all be struck with the irony of the pending action of what we are told will unlock the gridlock of our government.  From out of nowhere a new governmental body has been invented . . . the Select Committee.
     First Came Judges
     I must confess that it is a good thing there is no requirement for my operating manual to be selected on the basis of choice between the Old or the New Testament.  It is only on the faith that truth reigns supreme in both works that I admit that those guys in the Old Testament would have probably been my preferred childhood friends!
     Raw human spirit and emotion, epic battles, wisdom, love stories, the smell of horses, the strength of youth, courage, and God’s high expectations in the action and loyalty of his creation all form the immense backdrop of those times.  In the end, man’s inability to achieve and hold standards of conduct that reflected those expectations prevailed.  Darkness would return time and again.
      From the midst of the ebb and flow of the good and evil, mortal man cried for help.  “We need judges down here to maintain order and justice!” was the plea.
       When I read from the book of Judges my take is that the plea for mercy was met with the recurring reminder that judges weren’t necessary.  Man had been given all of the tools he needed to uphold the will of God, but man didn’t think so and his actions certainly didn’t display it. 
    In the end God relented and judges were not only allowed, they were, more often than not, appointed by Him.  Those people, men and women, were more than legal advisers.  They were leaders and enforcers of standards that maintained and managed society. 
     Some were good and some were not.  They were human.  They were influenced by their culture and the company they kept. 
     What can be discerned, however, was that the people tended to follow the examples of the judges.  Those that exhibited characteristics and traits of goodness projected those traits into the lives of their community.  Those that didn’t promoted unrest and chaos.
     Bring on the Kings
     The Book of Judges magnifies a fact of human nature.  Left unto itself, society predictably returns to tendencies of corruption and self destruction.  The appointed judges were not rulers.  They were moderators, enablers, and deliverers, and the results of their influences were often insufficient and disappointing.  The people clamored for more fairness and equality.
    “We must have ultimate authorities down here!” was the cry of the masses.  “These judges are not adequate to get this thing right.  We need some real authority.  We need a king!”
     Again, the lessons and theme of the Old Testament were not in agreement with that human outcry.  God reminded the folks repeatedly they had all the tools and capabilities they needed to uphold His will.  In the end, He relented.  He allowed the people to have their kings.  They weren’t needed, but the combined shortcomings of those cast in His image had to have something to make things better . . . they weren’t getting it done on their own.
    Teachings from the books
     The books of Kings are, with all intents and purposes, a recapitulation of the Book of Judges in terms of results.  The cycles of good and bad were predicated on the character of the king at the moment. 
     Distinct cycles of spiritual relationships gave rise to cycles of peace and prosperity and or anguish and hopelessness.  Pragmatic glimpses of distinct forms of wisdom were also elevated into the narrative.  Wisdom came in two forms.  One was of the world and the other was from God.
     History has demonstrated the former ultimately prompted self destruction and corruption.  The latter gave rise to peace and periods of enlightenment and charity.  In the end, all forms of human governance failed and God had to resort to the ultimate solution and  . . . the ultimate sacrifice.
     To the Select Committee
     The next drama we will watch nightly from Washington will be the closed door negotiation of the newest branch of government, the Select Committee.  We will also hear the anguish cry from the majority of the elected crying foul play in exempting them from the process. 
     This is a cry, though, from the ages.  It was first chronicled in the Book of Judges and repeated in the Books of Kings.  It is not new, and  . . .  it is long past tedious. 
     “Help . . . help us (me) out down here.  We (I) need fairness and equity!  Nobody is listening to me, uh, I mean us!”
    The reality is that the suggestion of “us” was never an issue.  It wasn’t in the days of the Old Testament and it isn’t today.  It is code for ‘me’.
    Our government has proven to us without a doubt they are incapable of fixing the greatest problems of our time.  They are the problem.  They were in the collapse of 1928.  They were in the Oil embargo of 1973.  They are in the teetering world economic collapse of 2011.    
     Leaders become followers
     Even the political impasse that is represented by the Republican/ Democratic split is nothing new.  Old Testament Israel was tragically split by similar philosophical differences.  Sometime just before 900 BC, northern Israel became ‘Israel’ and southern Israel became ‘Judah’.  The result was a division of peoples united in blood and faith, but confounded by worldly differences and disputes. 
     Several of the Founders worried about that very threat of fracture.  Adams adamantly warned against political parties.  He believed such a political course could spell the destruction of the union.  His belief was that as long as leaders were responsible for their actions personally as judged by their electorate rather than a political mob, they would fight for the sovereign rights of the individual. 
     His model for a leader was one that did not allow the elected to seek a safe haven within the midst of any mob.  Standing alone was the only way the high road would be traveled.  It would only be there that societal truths would remain unfiltered and unadulterated from productive citizens of home districts and states back to Washington.  It was only there the most basic building block of the union, the sovereign individual, would remain strong and inviolate.  Arguably, history has concluded he was right.
     Words not truths
     As I write, a copy of the Constitution sits within six inches of my right hand.  I like it there.  It is symbolic of a relationship I want to maintain with another group of men that appear to me to have had more than a trifling propensity toward Old Testament tendencies. 
     Curiously, though, I am less prone to wave it as a banner.  Yes, leaders need to swear their historic oath to defend it just like they should proudly pledge allegiance to our flag, but those things are immaterial if they are predisposed to defend it on the basis of symbolism rather than defend it to their death on substance.  We can afford only leaders who have it imbedded in their hearts and souls.
     It is time to call it for what it is.  A mob rule has prevailed in Washington and they have robbed and spent the national treasury with pitiful disdain. 
     There is not a single member of the House or Senate who could stand in judgment alone and explain to anybody the justification of an equation that shows income of $2.17 trillion, expenditures of $3.82 trillion, and a national debt of $14.3 trillion.  Only the mob of the House and Senate can justify such disregard for the American people.
     Back to basics
     Sovereignty of the faithful individual is ageless.  It is the building block that long predates our modern world, but time and again it has been ignored and minimized.
    This crisis will affect Washington leadership.  When the money is stripped away this time individual leaders are going to stand in judgment.  History teaches us that such a process fails to eliminate the real challenge, but is does counter the cycles.
     In the meantime, the Select Committee drama will be played out in Washington.  It will be interesting to watch, but the collective, failed leadership is now a bigger issue.  The cry of ‘Help, Help’ is no longer acceptable.  The folks who are now intently watching from the hinterlands are methodically filling their quivers, grooming their horses . . . and polishing their chariots! 

Stephen L. Wilmeth is a rancher from southern New Mexico.  “Has the patience of productive Americans been stretched enough to make wholesale changes in Washington?  If it has, the glad handing Communists of the Democratic Party are in trouble . . .  but so are the Republicans who represent their constituencies with conciliatory, rear guard leadership.” 


Congress. What Congress?  These folks haven't passed a budget in two years, delegate their law-making authority to bureaucrats and have let the President wage war without a Congressional declaration.

And now this Select Committee with twelve members, six from each party.  This is nothing but political theatrics to try to convince the voters they are really doing something.

However, I'll be the first to say this committee will lower the lobbyists.  Instead of having to lobby 535 members they can now limit their efforts to the select 12.  But these 12 will know how to handle it, because between them they've received $3 million in contributions over the last 5 years:  $1 million from the health care industry, $700,000 from defense contractors, $600,000 from agribusiness and $580,000 from the labor unions according to the AP.

They are supposed to deliver their recommendations by Thanksgiving and Congress must vote on them by Christmas.

So don't be expecting a Silent Night. 

They'll all be wanting to play Santa Claus, but not for you or me or anyone else seeking fiscal sanity.

Our Christmas stockings will be as bare as the federal treasury.