Friday, September 02, 2011

Questions Raised After DOE Hides Costs Of Energy Projects

The Department of Energy has removed from the public eye the total cost of renewable energy projects backed by billions of dollars in federal loans, in response to requests from recipients. The loan guarantee program, which has come under fire by a Republican- controlled Congress, has committed more than $30 billion to 42 renewable energy projects since 2009, when the federal stimulus bill allocated capital for this purpose. Each project is listed in detail on the DOE's website, but the costs were recently taken down. The move is unusual for the Obama administration, which in general has been more forthcoming online with government spending data than previous administrations. However, some critics, especially from Republicans, have complained that the DOE has withheld key information regarding the loan guarantee program in particular. The House Energy and Commerce Committee has been investigating the first loan made under the program in 2009 for solar-panel maker Solyndra Inc., which said on Wednesday that it plans to file for bankruptcy and is laying off 1,100 people. Critics of the program have said that some of the projects could be too risky, especially considering that taxpayer dollars support them. The House Committee also raised questions about the political connections of Solyndra's backers and their role in winning the loan...more

Evidence Suggests Cover-Up in ATF Scandal, as More Guns Appear at Crime Scenes

Just hours after the death of Border Patrol agent Brian Terry, federal officials tried to cover up evidence that the gun that killed Terry was one the government intentionally helped sell to the Mexican cartels in a weapons trafficking program known as Operation Fast and Furious. The revelation comes just days after a huge shake-up of government officials who oversaw the failed anti-gun trafficking program and Congress renewed its demand for more answers. Also late Thursday, Sen. Charles Grassley's office revealed that 21 more Fast and Furious guns have been found at violent crime scenes in Mexico. That is up from 11 the agency admitted just last month. In an internal email the day after Terry's murder, Assistant U.S. Attorneys Emory Hurley and then-U.S. Attorney Dennis Burke decided not to disclose the connection, saying "this way we do not divulge our current case (Fast and Furious) or the Border Patrol shooting case." Grassley, R-Iowa, and Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., said Thursday they are expanding their investigation into the scandal. In a strongly worded letter to Anne Scheel, the new U.S. attorney for Arizona, the chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee requested interviews, emails, memos and even hand-written notes from members of the U.S. attorney's office that played key roles in the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) program...more

Obama Withdraws $90 Billion Draft Clean Air Regulation Due To Cost

President Barack Obama announced Friday that he was directing the EPA to withdraw a draft regulation that would tighten air quality standards for Ozone due to concerns about costs. In a letter to Speaker of the House John Boehner Tuesday, Obama revealed that the rule under consideration by the Environmental Protection Agency could cost up to $90 billion to implement. Obama said that while he supports the regulation, it will be updated again in 2013, adding, "ultimately, I did not support asking state and local governments to begin implementing a new standard that will soon be reconsidered." Obama said the primary cost estimate of implementation is between $19 billion and $90 billion. The Manufacturers Alliance, a lobbying group for industry, put the cost of meeting the regulation at $1.013 trillion and 7.3 million jobs between 2020 and 2030 — numbers the Obama administration strongly contests...more

Weird Westerner Today

Only one legit news story today. The rest are about weird happenings, weird people, and some cartoons I hope bring some laughs.

And a big hello to Tommy Higgins.

BLM: No 'crown jewels' in Wyoming

The Wyoming Bureau of Land Management has waved off a request by the Interior Department to list public lands in the state for possible wilderness protection. The state BLM office didn't identify any Wyoming sites as so-called "crown-jewel" BLM-managed areas. The Interior Department will pass along a list of sites identified as "crown jewels" to Congress, which in turn will place them off-limits to most development and human activity. Thursday was the deadline for state BLM directors to send recommendations of "crown-jewel" lands. The reason no Wyoming sites were listed is because neither Gov. Matt Mead nor any of Wyoming's 23 counties recommended any areas, BLM spokeswoman Cindy Wertz said. In letters to the BLM, both Mead and numerous county commissions criticized the "crown jewels" effort, saying removing areas from multiple use would hurt Wyoming's economy. Wyoming's congressional delegation also wrote Interior Secretary Ken Salazar last month to express similar concerns. But 10 conservation groups submitted recommendations of more than 50 sites for the Wyoming BLM to consider for wilderness protection, including the Oregon Buttes and the Big Empty in the Red Desert, the Dubois Badlands in the Wind River Basin and the Sweetwater Canyon in Fremont County. Their proposals will be passed along to Washington as "informational" supplements, Wertz said...more

Kieran Suckling

Kieran Suckling doesn’t suffer fools gladly. As the founding director of the Tucson-based Center for Biological Diversity (CBD), Suckling is often invited to represent the environmentalist position on cable news shows, national radio programs, and at public debates. Employing a combination of acerbic wit, lighting intelligence, and red-hot passion, Suckling usually flattens his adversaries from the logging, mining, and fossil fuel industries. He’s a rhetorical pugilist who knows that it takes muscle to win arguments in today’s shout-fest public discourse. Suckling’s street-fighting skills are a major asset for the green movement – until he turns them on putative allies. Suckling has boasted that CBD is “like fire and wolves and Apaches to big environmental groups.” Not surprisingly, that attitude has made some greens uncomfortable. It has also made CBD one of the most successful environmental outfits around, a group with a string of victories protecting wilderness. “Uncompromising” is a word that comes to mind...more

If you go to the link, there is more info about Suckling followed by an interview conducted by Jason Mark, editor of the Earth Island Journal.

NM officer having sex on car hood won't be charged

He's in uniform and apparently on duty. But New Mexico State Police said the officer caught on camera having sex with a woman on the hood of a car did not commit a crime. Security camera photographs of the encounter at the remote county-owned Canyon Ranch near Santa Fe, N.M., surfaced several weeks ago. The images were initially sent to state police by the Santa Fe County Sheriff's Department and an internal investigation was started. State police spokesman Tim Johnson said the investigation has been completed and the case is currently in the disciplinary process. He said investigators don't believe any criminal acts occurred but that the officer will be held accountable for his actions...more

Girl, 5, Suffers Bat Bite At Wal-Mart

Last week, Zoe and her mom were grocery shopping. “She was sitting in the child part of the cart, minding her own business,” said Holly. When they walked down the frozen food section, they encountered the unexpected visitor. “The bat flew down the pizza aisle, flew back at us, flew down and landed on her, attacking her and bit her leg,” said Holly. Her left leg still has a mark from the bat bite. On her right leg, is a mark from the painful treatment that followed. “She had a series of three shots for rabies,” said Holly...more

Obama Jobs Plan Leaked

Fun Friday

Song Of The Day #653

Terry Fell had a short recording career, from the late forties to the mid fifties.   He only had one song chart: the 1954 recording Don't Drop It, which Ranch Radio brings you this morning.  Fell is better known for writing songs, such as Truck Driving Man and You're The Reason.

Thursday, September 01, 2011

Prosecutor says bear ran at man

A grizzly shot by a Boundary County man had approached within 40 yards of his children, who were outside playing basketball, and charged at the man after it was wounded, according to a statement by Boundary County Prosecutor Jack Douglas. The statement provides more details about the May 8 shooting. Jeremy M. Hill, 33, of Porthill, Idaho, pleaded not guilty last week to a federal charge of illegally killing a threatened species. A jury trial is scheduled for Oct. 4. Douglas is not involved in the case, but in a three-page statement released over weekend, the prosecutor said he owed it to the people of Boundary County to take a closer look at the issues and “be a beacon pursuing justice.” He gave this account of the shooting:

Hill, his wife, Rachel, and four of the couple’s six children were at the couple’s 20-acre ranch when an adult female grizzly and two young bears appeared on the property. Rachel Hill spotted the bears around 7 p.m. when she looked out her bedroom window. She hurried outside, yelling to the children to get inside the house.

Jeremy Hill, who had been in the shower, grabbed his daughter’s .270-caliber rifle, loaded the weapon and ran outside. Hill saw one of the bears climbing up the side of the family’s pig pen. He fired a shot at that grizzly, a 2-year-old male. The two other bears ran into the woods behind the home.

The shot bear tumbled off the fence surrounding the pig pen and ran off, limping slightly, after the other two bears. The family’s dog chased the bear, which turned around and charged at Hill, who was standing by a large basement window under the deck.

“Fearing there was nothing but (him) and a large pane of glass to keep the wounded bear out of his house, Jeremy took aim and fired again,” Douglas’ statement said.

The bullet hit the grizzly and the bear rolled to the ground. It tried to get up, but fell.

Hill thought the bear was dead. He went inside to calm his wife and children and call the Idaho Department of Fish and Game to report the shooting. But Hill noticed that the grizzly was crawling off toward the woods. “Knowing that a wounded grizzly bear posed a significant threat,” Hill fired a final shot, killing the bear, according to Douglas’ account.

Come on libs, you should understand, it was for the children.

Fish and Wildlife: Wolves Killing More Idaho Cattle and Sheep

The Times News reports this morning that wolves are killing more livestock in Idaho. As the Gem State launched another wolf hunting season Tuesday, officials with Idaho Fish and Game said depredation cases by wolves were up by more than 17 percent compared to last year. And according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, wolves have attacked and killed 50 cattle, 34 sheep and three dogs in the past year. "We're hoping that this hunt deters future livestock kills," Mike Keckler of Fish and Game told the Times News. Keckler said Idaho experienced a notable drop in depredations during the last wolf hunt in 2009...more

Wolf hunt gets off to a slow start in Idaho

The prospect of wolf hunting in the Northern Rockies has been the subject of fraught court fights and emotional public hearings, but the second legal wolf hunt in the region in this century has gotten off to a lackadaisical start in Idaho. A backcountry hunt started Tuesday in 13 zones across the state, where there are an estimated 1,000 wolves. Quotas have been established in many parts of the state, but there's no overall limit on the number of wolves that can be killed this season. Officials do want to maintain a population of at least 150 wolves in that area with 15 breeding pairs. But only 7,774 Idaho residents had purchased hunting tags for wolves by Tuesday, along with 571 out-of-state hunters -- less than a third the number sold during the 2009 hunt, which was the first since wolves were removed from the protections of the federal Endangered Species Act...more

NYC Howl-In Protests Idaho Wolf Hunt

Activists, holding a protest at New York City's Central Park, told Citydesk that they "had great response from the public today," encouraging citizens to call Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter, pledging to boycott Idaho until the wolf hunting season, which began today, stops. Protestors said they have launched an international boycott of Idaho, Montana and Wyoming regarding the hunts. "One woman named Christina Rose from Australia said she was cancelling her tour of Yellowstone National Park after learning about (the hunt)," said Edita Birnkrant of Friends of Animals, the organization sponsoring today's protest. "That's just one story of many who were educated today about the bloody hunt happening in Idaho right now."...more

Favorite Obama solar company declares bankruptcy

Solyndra, a major manufacturer of solar technology in Fremont, has shut its doors, according to employees at the campus. "I was told by a security guard to get my [stuff] and leave," one employee said. The company employs a little more than 1,000 employees worldwide, according to its website. Solyndra was touted by the Obama administration as a prime example of how green technology could deliver jobs. The President visited the facility in May of last year and said "it is just a testament to American ingenuity and dynamism and the fact that we continue to have the best universities in the world, the best technology in the world, and most importantly the best workers in the world. And you guys all represent that." The federal government offered $535 million in low cost loan guarantees from the Department of Energy. ome Republicans have been very critical of the loans. "I am concerned that the DOE is providing loans and loan guarantees to firms that aren't capable of competing in the global market, even with government subsidies" Florida Congressman Cliff Stearns told the New York Times...more

Sayonara to Solyndra as Obama's solar dreams are turning into a political nightmare.

New Report on Global Warming Contradicts U.N.’s IPCC

The United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), already under severe criticism for violating the requirements of academic peer review and relying on secondary sources, comes under attack again in a new report co-produced by three nonprofit research organizations. According to the new report, “natural causes are very likely to be [the] dominant” cause of climate change that took place in the twentieth and at the start of the twenty-first centuries. “We are not saying anthropogenic greenhouse gases (GHG) cannot produce some warming or have not in the past. Our conclusion is that the evidence shows they are not playing a substantial role.” The authors of the new report go on to say “the net effect of continued warming and rising carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere is most likely to be beneficial to humans, plants, and wildlife.” Both conclusions contradict the findings of the widely cited reports of the IPCC. The report was produced by The Heartland Institute, Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change, and Science and Environmental Policy Project (SEPP), three national nonprofit organizations based in Chicago, Illinois; Tempe, Arizona; and Arlington, Virginia; respectively. The 430-page report was coauthored and edited by three climate science researchers: Craig D. Idso, Ph.D., editor of the online magazine CO2 Science and author of several books and scholarly articles on the effects of carbon dioxide on plant and animal life; Robert M. Carter, Ph.D., a marine geologist and research professor at James Cook University in Queensland, Australia; and S. Fred Singer, Ph.D., a distinguished atmospheric physicist and first director of the U.S. Weather Satellite Service. Seven additional scientists and one policy expert on sustainable growth made contributions to the volume. The book is titled Climate Change Reconsidered: 2011 Interim Report because it precedes a comprehensive volume that is expected to be released in 2013. It focuses on scientific research released since publication of Climate Change Reconsidered: The 2009 Report of the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC)...more

Cloudy outlook for global-warming faithful

It’s not surprising that prominent members of the “me” generation who think the universe revolves around themselves also believe they hold sway over Earth’s climate. New science is dispelling their delusion and confirming that Mother Nature still is in control of the environment. It turns out the sun’s cosmic rays play a commanding role in atmospheric cloud formation and thus surface temperatures. This is according to research in the Aug. 25 edition of the journal Nature by scientists at the prestigious CERN particle physics laboratory in Geneva, Switzerland. In a CLOUD (Cosmics Leaving Outdoor Droplets) experiment, specialists fired a beam of energy from the lab’s Proton Synchrotron accelerator into a chamber filled with gases that approximated the composition of the Earth’s atmosphere. As the beam ionized chemicals in the gases, it produced aerosols, which in nature act as seeds for cloud formation. The findings are a strong indication that cosmic rays striking the planet have a similar effect on atmospheric chemicals and stimulate the creation of clouds. It follows that spikes in the intensity of the sun’s cosmic rays stimulate the growth of more cloud seeds, resulting in more widespread cloud cover and a cooling effect at ground level. For dogmatists who believe humans are heating the earth by allowing so-called “greenhouse gases” to billow into the atmosphere, countervailing evidence indicating the sun plays a primary role in climate change is a faith-shaker. This is akin to saying “God is dead” to Al Gore and his fellow believers who insist their junk science is “settled” and no do-overs are allowed...more

Past Alarmism and the Future of Manmade Global Warming

Polls show that roughly one person in two is concerned about manmade global warming. Why? Because vivid, alarming forecasts, even those based on weak foundations, are persuasive. For a while at least. We’ve seen this many times before. Take the alarm over mercury in fish: in 2004, an Environmental Protection Agency employee warned that 630,000 babies per year were born at risk of brain and nervous system damage due to “unsafe” levels of mercury in their mothers’ blood. Expectant mothers were discouraged from eating fish. Japan consumes a lot of fish, and the supposedly unsafe levels cited by the EPA are exceeded by 74% of women of childbearing age there. Yet there is no evidence that their children are mentally deficient. In fact, only benefits have been reported from high levels of fish consumption, including good brain function and improved intelligence at age four. Working with Professor J. Scott Armstrong of the University of Pennsylvania and others, Dr. Kesten Green identified 26 previous alarms that are analogous to the dangerous manmade global warming scare. Besides the alarm over mercury, the 26 alarms include familiar ones like electromagnetic fields (EMF) and cancer, and DDT and cancer. All of the analogous 26 alarms analyzed by Green and Armstrong turned out to be false, either completely or to such an extent that actions intended to be remedial caused greater harm than the supposed problem. See for descriptions of some of the other 26 analogies: because media report alarms enthusiastically but not their demise, many readers will be surprised to find that alarms they still believe to be true have now been debunked...more

Propaganda posing as environmental literacy

Kids aren’t the only ones going back to school this week. Powerful environmental advocacy groups are joining them in the classroom. On June 21, the Maryland State Board of Education approved an “environmental literacy” graduation requirement at the behest of organizations that promote their far-left political agenda based on misinformation and anti-capitalist fervor. According to the program’s curriculum, environmental literacy means turning children into central planners. For instance, it instructs students to “*evelop a strategy for fair distribution of a limited amount of energy available within a community” and to create a “plan for the fair consumption of goods” and to “eliminate … unnecessary consumption of goods.” Maryland has not provided funding for the program, so it is very likely that the teaching materials will be provided free of charge by environmentalist groups. One likely such provider is the No Child Left Inside Coalition (NCLI), an environmentalist group that has expressed its strong support for the new curriculum. NCLI advocates “major societal change … in response to global warming” - in other words, central planning and a deindustrialization agenda based on climate alarmism. This dovetails with the Maryland curriculum’s instruction to students to “explain how human impacts threaten current global stability and, if not addressed, will irreversibly affect earth’s [sic] systems.” The only piece missing is a deadline of environmental Armageddon to be proved false in 10 years...more

Obama: 7 proposed regulations would each top $1B

President Barack Obama says his administration is considering seven new government regulations that would cost the economy more than $1 billion each a year, a tally Republicans will pounce on to argue that Congress needs the power to approve costly government rules. In a letter to House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, Obama lists four proposed Environmental Protection Agency rules and three Transportation Department rules estimated to cost in excess of $1 billion. One of the proposed EPA rules - an update to the health-based standard for smog - is estimated to cost the economy between $19 billion and $90 billion. The letter, dated Tuesday, comes as the Republican-controlled House prepares to consider legislation that would require congressional approval for any new regulations that would impose a significant cost on industries. The four environmental regulations, which target air pollution and coal residue primarily from coal-fired power plants, already have been attacked by House Republicans, who have said they would kill jobs and harm the economy...more

Illinois Gov. calls for ‘electric’ highway, says "Lincoln would be very proud"

The future is here when it comes to electric vehicles, and Gov. Pat Quinn has a vision for an electric highway. With the unveiling of the Nissan Leaf, a 100 percent battery-operated vehicle, this week in Illinois, Quinn says it’s time for an electric highway, a road from Chicago to Springfield with electric vehicle charging stations along the way. “I look forward to having a Land of Lincoln, electric highways from Chicago to Springfield,” Quinn said. “I think Abraham Lincoln would be very proud of us." The state, according to Quinn, has a plan in the works to buy some electric vehicles for state use. Asked where the funding would come from for electric vehicle charging stations, Quinn says money was already built into the capital budget for electrical vehicle enhancements, with emphasis on charging stations...more

Yup, would just be another "internal improvement" that Lincoln and the liberal Republicans of that era were famous for.

The Land of Lincoln has turned into the Land of Loonies.

A green funeral: New body 'liquefaction' unit unveiled in Florida funeral home

A Glasgow-based company has installed its first commercial "alkaline hydrolysis" unit at a Florida funeral home. The unit by Resomation Ltd is billed as a green alternative to cremation and works by dissolving the body in heated alkaline water. The facility has been installed at the Anderson-McQueen funeral home in St Petersburg, and will be used for the first time in the coming weeks. It is hoped other units will follow in the US, Canada and Europe. The makers claim the process produces a third less greenhouse gas than cremation, uses a seventh of the energy, and allows for the complete separation of dental amalgam for safe disposal. Body tissue is dissolved and the liquid poured into the municipal water system. Mr Sullivan, a biochemist by training, says tests have proven the effluent is sterile and contains no DNA, and poses no environmental risk...more

And instead of I'll Fly Away the congregation will sing I'll Float Away.

Rose Parade Float Upsets PETA

The city of Glendale will enter into the Tournament of Roses Parade this year for the 99th time. This year, their float features a circus elephant pulling a calliope. The design with the circus elephant was the idea that everyone agreed on. Everyone except the animal rights group, PETA. PETA protested and objected at city council meetings that this was promoting circus cruelty to elephants. "They do a good job, they do a great job. But I think, they're just taking it over the top," said Garry Ackerman, president of the Glendale Rose Float Association. Glendale was blindsided by the criticism, and they took a step back to evaluate. "I think for us it was a surprise to see the plight of animals, tied in with this float," said Glendale Mayor Laura Friedman...more

World record pumpkin contender - video

Giant Pumpkin from anchoragedailynews on Vimeo.

Song Of The Day #652

Ranch Radio has found out Forty Nine Women is ideal, according to this 1947 recording by Pee Wee King and The Golden West Cowboys.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Problem Solved: Panda Poop & Biofuels

The waste of one of the world’s most endangered animals may hold the key to producing biofuels. Brown and grad student Candace Williams discovered something amazing in panda excrement. They analyzed the fresh feces of bamboo-eating pandas at the Memphis Zoo. They found microbes in panda droppings break down super-tough plant materials — grasses, corn stalks and wood chips. “Once you have the bacteria you can grow them outside of the intestinal track of the panda,” Brown said. Eventually the scientists want to try engineering the digestive enzymes on a large scale so plant waste could be used to make biofuels, instead of relying on food crops like corn. “Being able to produce a biofuel from two waste products is pretty incredible,” Williams said...more

Looks like one of those new "green jobs" may be recycling Chinese bear shit.

It's probably the reason behind this recent crime spree: Men accused of stealing $60,000 in toilet paper.

‘Smart Collar’ in the Works to Manage Wildlife Better

The collar of the wild is coming. And in the same way that the smartphone changed human communications, what might be called the “smart collar” — measuring things that people never could before about how animals move and eat and live their lives — could fundamentally transform how wild populations are managed, and imagined, biologists and wildlife managers say. The collars, in development in academia and intended for commercial production in the next few years, use a combination of global positioning technology and accelerometers for measuring an animal’s metabolic inner life in leaping, running or sleeping. From the safari parks of Africa to urbanized zones on the edge of wildlands across the American West — places where widespread interest in the devices has already been voiced, scientists said — the mysteries of the wild might never be the same. “What you end up with is a diary for the animal, a 24-hour diary that says he spent this much time sleeping, and we know from the GPS where that was,” said Terrie Williams, a professor of biology at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and one of three co-investigators on the project. “Then he woke up and went for a walk over here. He caught something over here. He ate something and we know what it was because the signatures we get for a deer kill vs. a rabbit kill are very different.”...more

Elko County wants end to 15-year-old trout case

Never one to back down from a fight with the U.S. government, northern Nevada's rural Elko County has been feuding with federal land managers for decades over environmental protections they say go too far. So it comes as a bit of a surprise to lawyers for the government and the environmental groups they've been battling for 15 years that the county's district attorney thinks it's time to end a legal skirmish over protecting a threatened fish and controlling a national forest road. "There is nothing left to fight about," Deputy District Attorney Kristin McQueary said about the dispute that pitted a citizen work crew called the Shovel Brigade against the Endangered Species Act. Mother Nature started the whole thing in 1995 when the Jarbidge River flooded its banks and washed out the final 1.5-mile stretch of the remote road that winds up a steep narrow canyon. The road dead-ends at a wilderness area where motorized vehicles are prohibited in the rugged mountains near the Nevada-Idaho line, about 70 miles west of Utah. The Forest Service initially made plans to repair most of the road, but backed off when Trout Unlimited objected based on concerns about the impact erosion from the road work would have on bull trout. The agency abandoned the idea altogether when then-Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt declared the fish threatened in 1998 in Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana and Nevada. That's when the Elko County commissioners decided to take matters into their own hands and make their own repairs to the road they claimed belonged to the county in the first place, not the feds...more

Looks like the end for the Shovel Brigade.

The bear who dared: Awesome polar animal descends 300ft cliff in a bid to scavenge eggs from some VERY surprised birds

For birds nesting on a precarious cliff, the last visitor they might expect to see would be a hulking polar bear clambering down to join them. Yet this bulky beast somehow managed to descend a craggy precipice in Russia’s remote Arctic archipelago of Novaya Zemlya. The young male risked life and limb scavenging for eggs along the 300ft-high rock face thronged with hundreds of squawking Brunnich's Guillemots...more

Maybe there's hope for me after all

New investigations at an iconic cave site on the Channel Island of Jersey have led archaeologists to believe the Neanderthals have been widely under-estimated. Neanderthals survived in Europe through a number of ice ages and died out only about 30,000 years ago. The site at La Cotte de St Brelade reveals a near-continuous use of the cave site spanning over a quarter of a million years, suggesting a considerable success story in adapting to a changing climate and landscape, prior to the arrival of Homo sapiens. The La Cotte ravine has revealed the most prolific collection of early Neanderthal technology in North West Europe, including over 250,000 stone tools. These include stones with sharpened edges that could be used to cut or chop, known as hand axes. The huge amounts of carefully manufactured tools show just how technologically skilled early Neanderthal groups were...more

Heritage Action Scorecard Released: NM Reps get scores of 0, 0, 6, 10 & 75%

Heritage Action has released their Legislative Scorecard. According to their press release:
Heritage Action’s legislative scorecard currently encompasses 30 votes and 5 co-sponsorship scores in the House and 19 votes and 4 co-sponsorship scores in the Senate. The votes cover the full spectrum of conservatism, and include legislative action on issues both large and small. 13 Senators and 27 Representatives received scores above 85%.

For NM the scores were:

Bingaman - 0
Udall - 0
Heinrich - 6
Lujan - 10
Pearce - 75

Can you video the police?

Yes, according to an August 26th unanimous opinion from the First Circuit Court of Appeals.

"Glik was exercising clearly-established First Amendment rights in filiming the officers in a public space, and that his clearly-established Fourth Amendment rights were violated by his arrest without probable cause."

Jeffrey P. Hermes blogs about it here and provides this background:

For those of you not familiar with Simon Glik's case, Glik was arrested on October 1, 2007, after openly using his cell phone to record three police officers arresting a suspect on Boston Common. In return for his efforts to record what he suspected might be police brutality -- in a pattern that is now all too familiar -- Glik was charged with criminal violation of the Massachusetts wiretap act, aiding the escape of a prisoner and disturbing the peace.

Gun Inquiry Costs Officials Their Jobs

The Obama administration on Tuesday replaced two top Justice Department officials associated with an ill-fated investigation into a gun-trafficking network in Arizona that has been at the center of a political conflagration. Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. announced the resignation of the United States attorney in Phoenix, Dennis K. Burke, and the reassignment of the acting director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Kenneth E. Melson. The two officials became the highest-profile political casualties yet in the fallout from a disputed effort to take down a weapons-smuggling ring based in Arizona and linked to Mexican drug cartels...more

Family arrested in gun bust; feds raid LC, Deming stores

A family with gun stores in Las Cruces and Deming was arrested early Tuesday on federal charges they were illegally selling guns and ammunition to Mexican cartel members. Rick Reese, a federal firearms licensee and the owner of New Deal Shooting Sports II on Amador Avenue and New Deal Shooting Sports in Deming, his wife Terri and their two sons Ryin and Remington were arrested Tuesday morning in Las Cruces. The four reportedly sold weapons allegedly favored by Mexican cartels - 27 AK-47-type rifles, three AR-15 rifles, two .50 caliber rifles, and two 9 mm pistols - to undercover agents after their alleged smuggling activities were discovered, according to the indictment. In the 30-count indictment, which was unsealed Tuesday, Rick Reese, 55, Terri Reese, 48, 24-year-old Ryin Reese and 19-year-old Remington Reese are charged variously with conspiring to smuggle firearms and make false statements, firearms smuggling and money laundering from April 2010 until July 2011...more

Great drought taking toll on Oklahoma cotton

The Great Drought of 2011 continues in Oklahoma with brutal effects. Record breaking temperatures are still underway and based on recent forecasts will continue. It appears that we will have virtually no surviving dryland fields produce harvestable yield. Because of the extreme environment, reduced yield due to fruit shed and small boll size will plague many irrigated fields this year. Many factors are involved in this situation. Insect issues were not involved. Poor fruit retention can be attributed to heat stress and drought...more

Song Of The Day #651

Tick from the Piney Woods of East Texas has castigated Ranch Radio for not recognizing Kitty Wells' 92nd birthday yesterday.  Shame on me.  Well's 1952 hit It Wasn't God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels was the first time a woman had topped the country charts and we bring it to you today.  She also had some hits singing duets with Red Foley so I've also included their 1954 recording of One By One.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Daryl Hannah arrested in Keystone XL pipeline protest

Actress Daryl Hannah has been arrested in front of the White House along with other environmental protesters who oppose a planned oil pipeline from Canada to the U.S. Gulf Coast. The sit-in Tuesday involved dozens protesting the Keystone XL pipeline. It would go through Montana, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas to refineries in Houston and Port Arthur, Texas.Before she was arrested, Hannah told The Associated Press the protesters want to be free from dependence on fossil fuels. The group calls for clean energy investments instead. Hannah says they hope President Barack Obama will not bow to oil lobbyists.Hannah sat down on the sidewalk near the White House and refused orders from U.S. Park Police to move.She has been arrested in the past for environmental causes. AP

You never can trust a mermaid...

The Animas river is ailing

The Animas River flows into Durango like the vena cava into the heart, carrying our lifeblood, sustaining our way of life. But the river is sick, and it is getting sicker every day. A giving waterway, the Animas has silently borne demands placed on it ever since the first settlers populated its banks. Native inhabitants of the region, by contrast, used it little. First came hard-rock miners exploiting the immense riches of the San Juan Mountains in the 1860s. Later, mining produced radioactive tailings from uranium milling. The wounds left by mining still bleed contaminants into the Animas. In fact, toxic discharges have worsened in recent years, raising the specter of a major federal cleanup effort. Less alarming, but still of growing concern, are wastes – herbicides, pesticides, fertilizers, pet excrement – that ooze from the region’s growing population like sweat from pores. Then there is our thirst and the water siphoned to slake it...more

This is part of a series at the Durango Herald. Other titles so far are:

Want water? Take a number

More than a century of measurements

Demands on the Animas River

Fatal bear attack in Yellowstone is the second this summer

A Yellowstone National Park hiker whose body was found last week was mauled and killed by a grizzly bear, authorities confirmed Monday. The hiker was identified as 59-year-old John Wallace of Chassell, Mich. He was traveling alone and had pitched his tent in a campground along the Mary Mountain Trail on Wednesday. His body was discovered Friday morning by two hikers. An autopsy conducted on Sunday confirmed that Wallace died of traumatic injuries from a bear attack. "There was no witness to this incident and we really don't have a lot of information to help us determine why this attack may have occurred," said Al Nash, park spokesman. He said park rangers are conducting fly-overs of the area where the attack occurred. "The next step is to see if we can find a bear, and then determine if that is the bear involved in the incident," he said. "That might help them figure out why this attack happened at all." Wallace is the second person to die of a bear attack in the park this summer. In July, a female bear attacked and killed a 57-year-old Torrance man...more

Alaska appeals federal court ruling upholding endangered species protections for polar bears

The state of Alaska is appealing a federal ruling that upholds a 2008 decision to give polar bears federal protection under the Endangered Species Act. Alaska Attorney General John Burns says the federal government’s decision was based on “uncertain predictions of future threats” of habitat loss, not on observed threats or declining bear numbers. Gov. Sean Parnell says the bear population has more than doubled in the last 40 years and doesn’t merit special protections. The state says it filed its appeal notice Friday...more

The region’s whackin’ and stackin’ griz this year

The recent news about charges pending against a North Idaho Man for the May 8 killing of a grizzly bear in his yards wasn't an isolated case. The region had a virtual grizzly killing spree in May as two grizzly bears also were shot and killed in western Montana, according to a story by The Missoulian. An antler hunter shot a sow grizzly bear — orphaning two cubs — in the Blackfoot-Clearwater Wildlife Management Area, according to Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks officials. In a separate incident, the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribal Wildlife Management Program said a 2-year-old female grizzly was shot and killed by a Ronan-area landowner as it went after his chickens. The young grizzly shot near Ronan was the fourth bear lost from the Flathead Indian Reservation's grizzly population in 10 months due to grizzly-chicken encounters...more

Notice to all Grizzlies:  It's ok to attack a man's livestock, cuz he'll be prosecuted to the full extent of the law if he tries to protect his property.

Warning to all Grizzlies:  Stay the hell away from tribal chickens.  Those Flathead's will blow you away and use your grizzly grease to cook up their chicken wings.

Question to Authorities:   What the hell is a "grizzly-chicken encounter"?   Is it kinda like a "windshield-moth" encounter? 

Study seeks to quantify cost of endangered species

The state of Alaska wants to study — and quantify — the economic costs of Endangered Species Act listings. In a solicitation for proposals, the commerce department said there has been a "constant expansion" of use of the act since the 1970s and that potential or actual listings in Alaska have stopped, slowed or threatened development. It said implementation of the act has had "substantial" economic effects but that the study will seek to determine the size of those resulting from designations under the ESA. There is a $350,000 budget for the project. The notice, issued Thursday, said the study's author should seek to have the results published in a "respected, peer-reviewed journal." They also would be discussed in public forums. Responses are due by Sept. 19. The contract would run through the end of the fiscal year, with the state having the option to extend it. Wanetta Ayers, director of the department's Division of Economic Development, said Friday that it is incumbent upon the state to understand the barriers stemming from ESA designations, and to be able to articulate those. She said a goal of the study is to try to determine how designations affect business decisions and what the costs for state or local government to be involved are...more

FWS Must Restore 'Lost Credibility,' New Director Says

The Fish and Wildlife Service must work to restore its credibility with the public and establish a framework to ensure that science, not politics, drives endangered species listings, according to the agency's new director. Dan Ashe, a 16-year agency veteran who took the helm at the end of June, said his primary goal as director is to create an environment within FWS built around a commitment to science and excellence in public service. "At our core, we continue to recognize that we are a scientific organization, and that we are committed to the fundamental practice of science as a bedrock in the organization," Ashe said in a sit-down interview this week with Land Letter. Regaining public confidence in the agency's commitment to science will take time, but Ashe said big changes have already occurred under the Obama administration...more

Wind Power Is Dying

While the U.S. is dumping billions of dollars into wind farms and onshore and offshore wind turbines, this energy source is being cast aside as a failure elsewhere in the world. Some 410 federations and associations from 21 European countries, for example, have united against deployment of wind farms charging it is “degrading the quality of life.” The European Platform Against Wind farms (EPAW) is demanding “a moratorium suspending all wind farm projects and a “complete assessment of the economic, social, and environmental impacts of wind farms in Europe.” The EPAW said it objects to industrial wind farms which “are spreading in a disorderly manner across Europe” under pressure from “financial and ideological lobby groups,” that are “degrading the quality of life living in their vicinity, affecting the health of many, devaluing people’s property and severely harming wildlife.” A petition for a moratorium has been sent to the European Commission and Parliament, said EPAW chairman J.L Butre. France, earlier his year ran into opposition to its plan to build 3,000 megawatts (MW) of offshore wind turbines by 2020. That year is the target date the European Union set for providing 20 percent of its energy through renewable sources. An organization called the Sustainable Environment Association, opposes wind power, saying the subsidies will “not create a single job in France.” In Canada, Wind Concerns Ontario (WCO) has launched a province-wide drive against wind power...more

Calif. could be first state to ban foam containers

Restaurant owner Gary Honeycutt says a push in California’s Legislature to ban the plastic foam containers he uses to serve up takeout meals could cost him thousands of dollars in an industry where profit margins are razor thin. BJ’s Kountry Kitchen, in the heart of California’s farm country, uses about 26,000 of the 9-inch foam clamshells a year, mostly for takeout by the customers who come in for the restaurant’s popular breakfast omelets. “We put cheese on those omelets. And when we put the cheese on, it’s really hot and bubbly and it goes right through the biodegradable stuff,’’ he said. He said he expects his costs would more than double if the state requires him to use only biodegradable cartons. The bill by state Senator Alan Lowenthal, a Democrat, would prohibit restaurants, grocery stores, and other vendors from dispensing food in expanded polystyrene containers beginning in 2016. If signed into law, the measure would make California the first to institute a statewide ban on such containers...more

Underground river stretching 3,700 miles found under the Amazon

A huge underground river appears to be flowing thousands of feet beneath the Amazon, Brazilian scientists have claimed. Valiya Hamza of Brazil's National Observatory said researchers found indications that the subterranean river is 3,700 miles long, about the same length as the Amazon on the surface. Mr Hamza said the discovery of the possible underground river came from studying temperature variations at 241 inactive oil wells drilled in the 1970s and 1980s. He said "thermal information" provided by the state oil company Petrobras allowed his team to identify the movement of water 13,100 feet beneath the Amazon. The Amazon, the earth's second-longest river, is by far the largest in terms of water flow, draining a large part of South America...more

Meetings planned on desert bighorn sheep proposal

The New Mexico Department of Game and Fish has scheduled two public meetings in southern New Mexico to discuss a recommendation to delist desert bighorn sheep from the state's threatened and endangered species list. The meetings will be the evening of Sept. 6 in Deming and Truth or Consequences. Desert bighorn sheep were listed as a state endangered species in 1980 when the population was estimated at fewer than 70. Through management efforts including releases, selective predator control and support from numerous wildlife conservation groups, the population estimate is now 645. Officials say that far exceeds the delisting criteria under the state Wildlife Conservation Act. The state Game Commission will have to make a final decision on the recommendation to delist the sheep. AP

Rancher does own road work, sends Pima County the bill

Andy Smallhouse earlier this summer turned left at Frustrated, went right on through to Fed Up and kept going until he landed on Doing Something About It. The 38-year-old rancher, whose family has run the Carlink Ranch out in Redington, on the far northeast side, for five generations, said it's never been easy getting the county to maintain the seven or so miles of dirt road it's responsible for out there. But with increasingly limited transportation-maintenance dollars, it's been all but impossible. Smallhouse said he had at least three meetings with the county, even though it's almost a two-hour drive each direction. "We get a lot of promises, and then nothing ever happens," he said. He said that he and the other ranching families pay taxes but get very little back in services. And in order to maintain their businesses, whether they're selling cattle or hay or lumber, they've got to have roads to haul it on. "It got to the point that people wouldn't buy my hay because it was tearing up their vehicles." So Smallhouse did what any self-reliant rancher type might do. He rounded up two workers and graded the road himself with the equipment he uses to repair the roads on his own ranch. And then he sent a bill to the county for $2,530 under the heading: Emergency road grading...more

Song Of The Day #650

The tune on Ranch Radio today is You Gotta Have A License by Tommy Collins.

TSA Agent Admits to Aiding Accused Drug Dealer

A former federal security officer has admitted helping a man accused of running a drug ring evade security and smuggle money through the Buffalo Niagara Airport. Minnetta Walker was arrested in March. She admitted Friday in federal court helping the man get around airport security scanners, The Buffalo News reported. Walker, 43, had been suspended from her job as a behavioral detection officer for the Transportation Safety Administration. As a behavioral detection officer, Walker was trained to observe and analyze human behavior and had unrestricted access to the airport and its security stations. Sometimes, she'd direct travelers she appeared to know, including Frank, away from security lines where body image scanners or pat-downs might detect large sums of cash, and escort them to their gates so they wouldn't be pulled aside for random inspections, authorities said. She'd also alert travelers to the presence of undercover law enforcement officers, authorities said...more

Monday, August 29, 2011

Pearce to attend emergency tree cutting; Cowboy Dinner & Dance postponed so folks can support Otero County

Otero County “Emergency Plan” Launches Local Environmental Resource Management

Cloudcroft, NM (August 26, 2011) Congressman Steve Pearce will participate in Otero County’s emergency tree cutting plan on September 17, 2011. Cutting will take place on one acre of the Lincoln National Forest near Cloudcroft in efforts to clean up the forest and decrease the spread of fires.

“This is an important day for New Mexico,” said Pearce. “I look forward to joining in this effort to restore common-sense forest management to New Mexico. It has been an uphill battle to begin logging again in New Mexico, but September 17th will mark the beginning of increased public safety and local environmental resource management. Fires have devastated overgrown forests, and it is time to take back our forests and protect our families. I commend the Otero County Commissioners for their efforts to bring the power back to local government.”

The Otero County Commission voted in June to create an emergency plan, allowing the county to forego U.S. Forest Service policy and cut trees in the event of an emergency. They created an 80,000-acre plan that calls for responsible management to protect local watershed and prevent fires that have threatened Cloudcroft for many years.

Otero County Commissioner Ronny Rardin has spearheaded efforts to thin the forest around Cloudcroft. “This is not just about a tree,” said Rardin. “It’s about the fact that our county has been in a declared state of emergency for quite some time now because of severe drought. Our forest has been overcrowded for too long. We are going to show the world what an acre of forest land should look like.”

The public is invited to attend the event, which will take place during Cloudcroft’s annual “Lumberjack Day” festivities at 12:00 noon on September 17th.


Hidalgo County Cowboy Dinner and Dance Postponed in Support of Otero County’s Emergency Tree Cutting Plan

Animas, NM (August 30, 2011) The 3rd Annual Hidalgo County Cowboy Dinner and Dance, scheduled for September 17, 2011 in Animas, NM will be postponed in support of Otero County Commission’s emergency action plan to assume responsibility of forest management in Lincoln National Forest. Cutting of the first tree is planned on September 17, 2011.

“For years Otero County has been trying to get the U.S. Forest Service to properly manage National Forest lands in their county. Now they’re drawing a line in the sand. Either the Forest Service starts actively managing the National Forest in Otero County or the county will”, states Judy Keeler, President of Hidalgo County Cattle Growers and one of the sponsors of the dinner/dance. “We’ll be there to show our support on September 17th when Congressman Peace and the Otero County Commissioners cut down the first tree” she

The music for the fourteen Cowboy Dinner and Dances held since August 2008 has been provided by Joe Delk and Bucky Allred with The Delk Band and other musical friends. The events are held in honor of rural families, rural traditions and our rural heritage. There has never been an admission charge for these events. Financial support is only through donations.

“The multiple-use of our federal lands is crucial for our local economies and counties have got to stand up and assert their authority to insure involvement in the management decisions of federal agencies, especially when it impacts the socio-economic fabric of the community. Hidalgo County folks will gladly forgo this year’s dinner/dance fundraiser to stand up for Otero County’s decision to take back their forest” states Delk.

Cowboy Dinner & Dance fundraisers are held to support the efforts of the Gila Livestock Grower’s Association and the Catron County’s Americans for Preserving our Western Environment to raise funds to fight the actions of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Mexican Wolf Reintroduction program. The citizens of Catron County are bearing the disproportionate share of the socio-economic burden of this absurd program.

Judy Keeler says, “Come to Cloudcroft on September 17, 2011 to show your support”!


Seattle Green Jobs Program Gets $20M, Creates 14 Posts, 3 Homes Upgraded

A green jobs program in one of America's greenest cities is being called a bust 16 months after a $20 million federal grant to weatherize homes in Seattle ended up putting just 14 people to work in mostly administrative jobs and upgrading only three homes in the area. "The jobs are not there," Todd Myers, who wrote the book "Eco Fads," told Fox News. "So we're training people for jobs that don't exist."...more

Protection of 2,000 miles of river proposed to save Willow Flycatcher

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service wants to keep the Willow Flycatcher from going extinct by protecting 2,000 miles of stream, including portions of Tonto Creek, Roosevelt Lake and the Verde, Gila and Salt rivers. In response to a lawsuit, the Fish and Wildlife Service more than doubled its previously proposed critical habitat for the tiny, insect-eating songbird that winters in the tropics before undertaking an epic journey to build its summer nests in thick, streamside vegetation throughout the Southwest. The designation of critical habitat doesn’t affect the use of private land, but does require the federal government to do anything it can to protect the areas critical to the bird’s survival. The Fish and Wildlife Service originally proposed designating about 1,500 miles of river as critical habitat, then dropped the number to about 737 miles as a result of lawsuit threats by the Arizona Cattle Grower’s Association. The Willow Flycatcher nests in dense, streamside vegetation, mostly in stands of willows and other native riparian vegetation. Cattle grazing can cause big changes in such areas if ranchers let cattle gobble up willow saplings in the spring. Most ranchers graze their cattle on federally-owned land, which means the listing of critical habitat could dramatically affect their operations...more

House Republicans Seek to Remove U.S. Funding for UN Climate Efforts

House Republicans are applying a search and destroy tactic to international funding for global warming this budget season. It goes like this: Ax any line items with the words "climate change." Their primary targets are a pair of crucial United Nations initiatives designed to slow warming worldwide and educate policymakers about the evolving science of climate change. On the chopping block for 2012 are millions in funding for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the world's leading scientific advisory body on global warming. The IPCC shared the Nobel Peace Prize with Vice President Al Gore in 2007, and governments often use its periodic reviews of climate risks to set targets for reducing carbon emissions. The GOP-led effort would also cut all U.S. funding for the 19-year-old U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the main forum for the global effort to limit emissions of heat-trapping gases. UNFCCC climate treaty talks are mired in longstanding rich-poor rifts and mistrust of the United States for its refusal to ratify the 1997 Kyoto Protocol and accept binding emissions limits...more

American Indians more affected by climate change

American Indian tribes may be disproportionately affected by climate changes as compared to the general population, a National Wildlife Federation study found. The study, released this month, found that American Indians and Alaska Natives in North America are more vulnerable to climate changes because they are more heavily dependent on natural resources and live closer to the land than does the general population...more

Saving the polar bear and saving the children hasn't worked out too well for them, so they'll have a go at the Native Americans.   Maybe this will catch the public's eye, and for sure the grant spigots will be turned on and the lobbying will commence.   Get ready for another crying indian in all your favorite media outlets.

Iron Eyes Cody is no longer with us so maybe they'll use Al Gore Instead.

And by the way, all the ranchers I know "are more heavily dependent on natural resources and live closer to the land than does the general population."  Does the National Wildlife Federation think anglo ranchers are raising their cattle in the suburbs?

Looks like I was right about the grants and the lobbying:

The National Wildlife Federation released the study in collaboration with the Tribal Lands Program, Institute for Tribal Environmental Professionals, National Congress of American Indians, Native American Fish & Wildlife Society, National Tribal Environmental Council, Native American Rights Fund and the University of Colorado Law School. The study asks Congress to increase funding to allow the Bureau of Indian Affairs to seek solutions. It also stresses the need for the federal government to enforce tribal rights to natural and cultural resources and calls on tribes to use their sovereign authority to address climate change and plan appropriately...

They're looking for a solution from the Bureau of Indian Affairs?  Now that's a laugh.

No, they want the BIA to fund grants.  It's about more $$ for federal grants, not global warming.  It's certainly not about the well-being of Native American ranchers.   Call it TARP for Teepees.

Free-ranging market could save wolves

Get your rifles ready: Wolf season opens in Montana and Idaho in early September, and for as little as $11.50 you've got a better chance than ever of bagging this toothy predator. In July, Montana doubled its kill quota to 220, and Idaho, well, it has declined to set a quota. Wyoming plans to treat wolves as predators in most of the state, allowing them to be killed on sight starting next fall. If all goes according to plan, the Rocky Mountain​ wolf population will be knocked down 60 percent from its peak of 1,733 in 2009. This is obviously a perfectly sound strategy for preserving an iconic American species, which taxpayers have spent hundreds of millions of dollars breeding and feeding. No, not wolves, but public-lands ranchers, whose livestock graze on federal property and who are increasingly concerned about attacks by free-ranging wolf packs. During this 15-year saga over wolves in the West, which pits conservationists against cowboys, it was easy to miss that the most outspoken cattlemen were not simply asking to guard their private property from deadly intruders. They were defending their right to pay rock-bottom prices to let their cattle graze unchaperoned on 162 million acres of federal land. Conservationists were forced to claim these open spaces, vilifying ranchers and hunters and tying up federal regulators in a two- year lawsuit that was ultimately circumvented by Congress. Federal grazing policies seem designed to foster conflict rather than cooperation. The future of both wolves and ranchers depends, in part, on reforming our archaic and noncompetitive system through a shift to transferrable federal grazing permits sold on a regulated market...more

Cheney tells inside story of how he bucked administration on 2nd Amendment

Former Vice President Dick Cheney’s autobiographical book offers new information about a rare instance of Cheney breaking with his own administration’s official policy on a Second Amendment appeals court ruling, angering a top aide to then-President George W. Bush. Cheney describes in his book that he staunchly disagreed with the administration’s Justice Department’s amicus brief not fully supporting the appeals court ruling on the issue. The administration argued that the ruling was too broad and asked the Supreme Court to send the case back to the lower courts. “This stance seemed inconsistent with the president’s previous position on the second amendment and it was certainly inconsistent with my view,” Cheney wrote. Therefore, Cheney, in 2008, in his capacity as president of the Senate and not vice president of the United States, signed an amicus brief with other members of Congress — after an aide for Republican Texas Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison approached Cheney’s office — expressing support for the appeals court decision. Not everyone in the West Wing was thrilled, Cheney recounts...more

New immigration policy

The White House announced a relaxed immigration policy Friday which allows illegal aliens to remain in the U.S. without being deported. An administration spokesman said you can't just move twelve million people to another country. That's not true, Mexico did it...Argus Hamilton

No hope ahead: Wheat crop outlook predicts spare winter for ranchers - video

As the record drought continues to suck the life out of the Texas soil, the ranchers that haven't left their business behind are in a fight for survival. "I'm getting sick of the heat!" exclaims Falls County farmer and rancher Billy Maresh. It's the phrase that's quickly replacing "howdy" as the official Texas greeting. As plants wither and cattle herds dwindle, the hardest stretch may yet be ahead. With feed for cattle already in record demand, a dismal outlook for oats and wheat -- the winter grazing crops -- means no relief in sight. News Channel 25 met with Morris in a dusty pasture just outside the town of Rosebud, where a legion of watchful grasshoppers stand guard over acres of parched earth, waiting to devour any green that dares to defy the sun's angry rays. "The temperature on the ground is probably 150 degrees," says Maresh. "You can probably cook an egg on it, you can imagine grass can't grow."...more

Here is the TV news video report:

Moffat County families continue ranching tradition begun by ancestors

Colorado families who have owned and operated their farms or ranches for at least 100 years took center stage Friday at the Colorado State Fair in Pueblo. The 25th annual Centennial Farms Celebration, which took place Friday, recognized 18 families. In honor of the event, Gov. John Hickenlooper proclaimed the day as “Colorado Centennial Farms Day.” “These long-standing farm and ranch families play an integral role in preserving important aspects of Colorado’s history,” Ed Nichols, Colorado Historical Society president and chief executive officer, said in a news release. “In spite of the pressures of growth, changes in farming methods, drought and economic conditions, these families have maintained their way of life while many historic barns and other agricultural sites around the nation are disappearing at an alarming rate.” Given the nature of the agricultural industry, keeping a ranch in the family is no easy feat. Still, as members of longtime ranching families in Moffat County can tell you, it is rewarding...more

McCauley-McCamant Pine Springs Ranch

The McCauley-McCamant Pine Springs Ranch is located southeast of Winslow, and is still in operation today. The McCauley family is responsible for bringing the very first rodeo to Winslow. Pictured here are Dewey McCauley (the tall man in the black hat) and his ranch hands, along with his Chinese immigrant cook. McCauley was not only a rancher, but also an attorney in the area. AzJournal

I wonder if they had a permit for those guns.

Song Of The Day #649

It's Swingin' Monday on Ranch Radio and here are the Texas Tophands playing 12th Street Rag western swing style.

You'll find the tune on the 27 track CD Diggin Texas Swing 1946-1955 by Krazy Kat records.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Cowgirl Sass & Savvy

The ‘country’ in country kitchens

by Julie Carter

The further the world gets into this new millennium, the more foreign country living becomes to the majority of the world.

This was brought home to me most recently when a group of women I know fulfilled the duty of answering a death in the family with a well-accepted process that occurs in ranch country.

When there is a death in a ranch family, the neighbor women rally at the home of the bereaved. They come bearing a casserole, water and toilet paper -- all essentials for the crowds of people about to descend. They also come prepared to do cleaning duty.

It’s not that ranch homes are always in need of these merry maids, but because they exist amidst blowing dirt from pastures and corrals, are subject to a parade of muddy boots and a wide variety critters, there is almost never a time that at least the top layer of dust doesn’t need knocked off and a mop run over the kitchen floor.

However, the number of ranch wives available for the task has dwindled over the years and the cleaning crew is sometimes foreign to the everyday state of a country kitchen.

Asking of the only ranch woman present, “What is that doing here?”

“Oh that. It is a pair of wire pliers.”

“Should they stay on the desk?”

“Probably. She’ll need to find them where she left them.”

“Oh, that is a vaccine gun and yes it should stay in the kitchen window.”

“Don't use too much water; all we’ve got is what we brought.”

“Don't throw that away. You change pipeline valves with that. And, yes the valve core-getter goes back into the ash tray.”

If you browse the magazines such as “Country Woman,” please know that "country" has several different meanings. I not only have never had a ranch kitchen that comes even close to resembling those glossy page photographs, I don't know anyone out here in the "country" who does. The ranch kitchens I am familiar with have a “lived-in” look to them.

The dining room, which usually means, "where the table resides,” is the heart of any country home. When company comes, it is where they sit and converse. That is solid country tradition.

And the ambiance and decor? Several stacks of mail waiting to be sorted, livestock papers from four states and auction notices for the next six months fill one corner. Those must be guarded and save for “just in case.” Usually there is an envelope or a newspaper with phone numbers written on them that come with specific, "don't throw these away" instructions.

Vaccine guns in various stages of cleaning and repair take up a small side table. The ever-important Rolodex serves as the centerpiece on the table right next to the toothpicks. Both are critical to the head cowboy’s moods. Having to look for them is not acceptable.

An assortment of boots and shoes guard the doorway. His, hers and a small-fry size make it an Olympic event to get in the door and not trip. The broom stands against the wall ready to shove out the chunks from the corrals that inevitably escape a heel or a pant leg bottom. And pet tracks, justified with, "Honest Mom, they just came in by themselves."

Country is synonymous with warm, welcome hospitality. In the middle of nowhere, it means don't mind your boots, I was going to clean later anyway. It means warm food and hot coffee and as my grandmother used to say, "Come on in, the latch string is always hangin' out!"

Julie can be reached for comment at

I like this from Julie's Facebook page:

"The original point and click interface was a Smith & Wesson. "

American Education

The Cupboard is getting bare
American Education
What Happened to Ms. Jones?
By Stephen L. Wilmeth

     I heard a retired education administrator talk the other day.  He seemed to have all the answers, but what he said is still a mystery.  Optics, and metrics, and baselines, and enough mumble jumble that he certainly seemed to convince himself and others . . . until the discussion switched to retirement.
     Who’s Rich?
     The conversation got to the point of economics of teaching, and, as if on cue, the song and dance about how teaching was a tradeoff with the private sector having the advantage in earnings.  The co-host of the radio talk show asked the educator a question about retirement earnings.  How much did he earn was the question, but he never actually answered.  
     He gave a hypothetical response of how much a teacher could earn based upon time and earnings at the time of his retirement.  The result in his example came out somewhere near $65,000 annually.  Not rich you say?
     The private sector alternative
     If a private sector citizen is planning for a retirement after 30 years and intends to make $65,000 annually without a hiccup he needs to have packed away a sizeable stock portfolio or a yet bigger savings account.  In the private world, a 30 year career would put the citizen at age 55 or thereabouts.  Think hard.  How many of your friends in the private world have retired at age 55?
     If a savings account is the vehicle to retirement, the private citizen would have to have built a net worth of nearly $2 million in his 30 year career.  If it was a stock portfolio his investments would not have to be quite that amount, but certainly he would have had to average sinking over $20,000 per year into good investments or a well managed fund in order to achieve enough security to retire at 55.  It takes an awfully good job to consistently sweep that much money off annually.  It also takes a very well managed fund to secure the end game of a planned pre-social security retirement goal.  That is why folks in the private world don’t retire at 55.
     The money pit
     The United States is borrowing $4 billion per day.  The estimate of total unfunded liabilities at the federal level may be as high as $114 trillion at this time.  At the rate of current economic activity, that represents 10 GDP years to support those liabilities.  Our hypothetical early retiree from the private sector would be hard pressed to think he could ever retire if his liabilities equaled 14 years of his income. 
     The retired administrator concluded his segment on the airwaves by reminding young folks that a career in education still presented a rewarding opportunity.  He did the expected by restating yearly earnings wouldn’t match those of the private sector, but I suspect a whole lot of folks are beginning to see that verbal charade for what it is.  When the reality is that a permanent fund of upwards of $1.8 million must be in place to support each retirement, the idea of rich takes on a whole different meaning.
     Try equating that to the general population in the private sector.  In the real world, retirements after 30 year careers have been mere figments of the imagination.  They don’t happen because economic realities simply don’t add up out where the cupboards are robbed to keep this big machine afloat.
     Comparisons are automatic
     The data shows that the American educational system is the most capital intensive system in the world.  What we also hear incessantly when quality education is discussed is the need to for more funding.  Americans have been far too patient in dealing with that response.  Two things come to my mind when I hear it.  One is Ms. Jones and the other is another notch on the charade stick.
      Where oh’ where have the Ms. Jones’ of the world gone?  My Ms. Jones was a grade school principal.  She was the most terrifying human being in the history of the world.  She and the school secretary ran the school.  They ran it all without discussion. 
      There were no such things as equal rights and societal sensitivity.  There were no such things as maternal leave, disability allowances, or in service days, either.  What you could expect was fresh milk from T&M dairy, the pledge of allegiance, the occasional local radio snow day announcement that girls were allowed to wear pants to school, and Hunter’s’ Holiday.  Priorities were north and south!
     If you didn’t behave in class, there was that march down the hall to visit with Ms. Jones.  Worse yet was if she came to the room and hauled you out in front of the class.  If you have ever twitched a horse, you know the attention you paid to Ms. Jones’ every move as she directed you effortlessly with your ear twisted and all circulation cut off. 
    Everybody was scared to death of her.  Tough boys broke down into tears having to face her and answer her questions.  Maybe it was the look she gave you or maybe it was the split bat with holes drilled in it that hung on her wall.
     If you weren’t performing in class it meant a call from the school and a discussion with Ms. Jones and your summoned parents.  There we sat there across the desk from her taking a thrashing without saying much.
     That experience was only a bubble off the horror scale of what you faced from your parents afterwards.  There are those that now believe that it wasn’t so much your wellbeing that they were concerned with it was the prospect of going back in there to face that principal again.  They were afraid of her, too!
    She was an equalizer, she balanced all things, she didn’t let parents interfere with quality education, and  . . . she was the best friend we ever had.
     The loss of substance
     If the truth was known, Ms. Jones, the school superintendent, Mr. Gaines, and the school board could have run the county as well if there had been a few more hours in the day.  Nobody in my memory ever lined up to go battle the school board over some movement or cause.  If you walked in there to read the right act to Chester Williams, Mansel Mortensen and those other school board members you might find yourself back outside.  If you were lucky it would have been through the open door and not a closed window!
     That kind of local control is gone.  For too long, the educational process has run its surroundings rather than its surroundings running it.  The NEA and the Department of Education have transformed a system that was once predicated on the individual student to a process that is fragmented by social rule of the commons.  Sure the explanations are made and all the buzzwords are used with alacrity, but decisions are orchestrated through career path professionals and bureaucrats rather than no nonsense, old style educators.
     There may be worse examples of the transformation of a system that was managed efficiently by the likes of Ms. Jones and Mr. Gaines to a system run by the NEA and the modern educational bureaucracy, but they are few and far between. 
     If the recent debacle in Wisconsin is a precursor of things to come, it appears that from every angle the educational system is bloated, it is corrupt, it is poorly managed, and, notwithstanding the rhetoric, the education of the individual student is not the highest priority.  When the constant cry is an incessant call for more funding, it is time to fix the system . . . it is broken.
     Back to basics
     A place to start is to send all highly educated administrators to a remedial seminar in nursery rhymes.  Three of the rhymes would each require a short treatise which would be graded.  The first would be ‘Chicken Little’, the second would be the ‘Goose that laid the Golden Egg’, and the third would be ‘Fox in the Henhouse’. 
     Next, there would be the announcement that, henceforth, all retirement funds would come from savings from annual budgets, personal retirement accounts, and future earnings of students.  At the end of 30 years, all educators would have the option to consider retirement.  There would no longer be any multipliers or automatic assurances.  It would be based solely on this combination of factors.
    Perhaps, the preparedness of individual students  . . . would become the priority.            

Stephen L. Wilmeth is a rancher from southern New Mexico.  “I looked up to two respected men of the land in my past . . . Roy and Smokey.  In separate discussions I asked them when they took their last vacation and each of them pondered and remarked, “Well, I don’t think I ever took one.”  They lived in the real world . . . and neither retired.”