Thursday, September 08, 2011

Working on a wilderness presentation for this Saturday, so The Westerner is shorter than usual.

BLM Mulling More Than a Dozen 'Crown Jewels' for Wilderness Designation

The Interior Department is considering more than a dozen areas for Congress to designate as wilderness, the highest level of protection for public lands, according to interviews with several state Bureau of Land Management offices. But the total number and size of those wilderness areas will likely not be made public until Interior Secretary Ken Salazar submits a final report to Congress in mid-October, an agency spokeswoman said. Among the areas considered ripe for new protections are more than 10,000 acres of wilderness study areas (WSA) near Helena, Mont., according to a BLM spokeswoman in the state. The Sheep Creek and Sleeping Giant WSAs garnered the support of commissioners in Lewis and Clark County, said spokeswoman Mel Lloyd. The BLM's Nevada office has apparently forwarded conservationists' recommendations for new wilderness in the Gold Butte, Pine Forest and other areas to the national office, according to a letter this week from state Director Amy Lueders to Nada Culver of the Wilderness Society. The agency's Colorado office, citing the support of local elected officials, forwarded recommendations for six WSAs, including Castle Peak, Bull Gulch, Browns Canyon, Hack Lake, Eagle Mountain and McKenna Peak, a spokesman in Denver said. "The local input kind of jibed with the BLM's current management of these areas as WSA's," said spokesman Steven Hall. In addition, BLM is also mulling "a few" areas in New Mexico for new wilderness designations, according to a spokesman in Santa Fe. A spokeswoman for BLM in Sacramento said the California office also recommended two or three areas that carry broad local support for congressional action, but their location and size was not disclosed. Two recommendations were forwarded by the Arizona office, said Ken Mahoney, a wilderness specialist for BLM...more

Federal officials propose spending $600 million for wildlife refuge to aid Everglades

Federal officials unveiled a formal proposal Wednesday to spend more than $600 million for a 150,000-acre wildlife refuge in Central Florida that's designed to protect the northern headwaters of the Everglades. That land is now mostly occupied by cattle ranches, some of them held by the same family for generations. The plans by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service call for leaving those ranchers still occupying at least two-thirds of the refuge. Instead of buying their land outright, the government would just buy the development rights. The ranchers could continue using their land for ranching and growing crops — and even allowing hunters to shoot deer and other wildlife in what would then be a wildlife refuge. Federal officials don't consider that a contradiction, said Charlie Pelizza, who has helped spearhead the planning effort...more

Pinon Canyon plans draw renewed flak

One of the Army's harshest critics over its use of the Pinon Canyon Maneuver Site has filed an 89-page comment letter that challenges the Army's plan to increase training at the 238,000-acre maneuver area and reads like a lawsuit in waiting. The comment report says the Army's latest environmental study defending its training plan for Pinon Canyon ignores a past federal court decision as well as a four-year congressional ban on new construction at the training area northeast of Trinidad. There is no mistaking the comment report from Not 1 More Acre! reads like a legal brief in its detail and citations and Jean Aguerre, president of the group, said that filing the group's criticisms of the Army environmental study is a required first step before filing any future lawsuits. The deadline for public comment on the Army study was 5 p.m. Friday and Not 1 More Acre! filed its report earlier in the day. "Without our official comments, we wouldn't have the legal standing to go back to court," Aguerre said afterward. Not 1 More Acre! is a group of ranchers and Southern Colorado activists who won a federal lawsuit against the Army in September 2009. That ruling by U.S. District Judge Richard Matsch struck down the Army's initial environmental study that was being used to justify a plan to use more troops and a heavier training schedule at the training range northeast of Trinidad. Simply put, Matsch ruled the Army's own documents, studies and training reports showed that Pinon Canyon had experienced significant environmental damage in the past and that heavier use would only do more. In addition, Matsch said the Army's environmental assessment had not made any effort to measure or mitigate that future damage...more

Archery season’s first wolf killed Sunday

Montana’s archery season for wolves opened Saturday, and the following day, the first wolf was killed. Ron Aasheim, spokesman for Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks, said the wolf, a male, was harvested in Stillwater County. The kill marks the first in the state’s 2011 wolf hunt, which is only the second of its kind to take place. The first occurred in 2009, and both hunts have been surrounded by debate over how many wolves should be killed and whether they should be hunted at all. This season, hunters are allowed to kill 220 wolves — nearly triple the 2009 quota of 75...more

Save the land by saving the rancher

The behavior of Congress might seem unusually erratic, but one thing can be confidently predicted: The Interior Appropriations bill for 2012 will contain the largest cuts in conservation funding in 40 years. Look for lots of hand-wringing and gnashing of teeth in environmental circles. For many reasons, though, I see this as a godsend for ranchers across the West. Whenever public land expands, the private land near it tends to face increasing regulation — the pattern for approximately a hundred years. Much of our public policy and funding has been dedicated to protecting our rich estate of public lands. But what few people understand is that most of the West's public land is over 3,000 feet in elevation; our federal conservation lands are an inventory of rock, ice, evergreen forests and high sagebrush deserts. Private ownership is where the West's most bio-diverse lands exist, and they are found where the region's lifeblood is — around water. Privately owned ranches host the bulk of riparian areas, creating the arteries and veins that flow through our arid and mountain regions. That makes Western ranches the most important segment of private lands in America today — five times more important than lands east of the Mississippi. They're crucial because they provide all the water for Western metropolitan areas, as well as the water that's needed to nourish agriculture, fish, wildlife biodiversity and winter ranges. Ranchlands also provide water for recreation and offer thoroughfares for transportation and our energy grid. If we want to save the American West as part of America's great heritage, we need to save its ranchers...more

High-tech ghost town planned for New Mexico

Families and retirees come to New Mexico to chill in the sun; aliens come to crash-land their ships; scientologists come to build secret compounds and prepare to visit the aliens; the government comes to hide the crashed alien ships and blow stuff up; and studios come to make movies about all of the above. Now, a private company is coming to build a 20-square-mile ghost town of the future. D.C.-based Pegasus Global Holdings is planning to build the model city to test new and up-and-coming technologies such as smart grids, renewable energy, intelligent traffic systems and next generation Wi-Fi. The company says the huge facility, dubbed "The Center," would likely be located somewhere near the Albuquerque or Las Cruces metro areas, giving the company access to multiple Interstate corridors, nearby national labs, universities, and military installations. "The idea for The Center was born out of our own company's challenges in trying to test new and emerging technologies beyond the confines of a sterile lab environment," Robert H. Brumley, Pegasus Global's CEO said in a statement. "The Center will allow private companies, not for profits, educational institutions and government agencies to test in a unique facility with real world infrastructure, allowing them to better understand the cost and potential limitations of new technologies." The company has New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez in its corner. She has been promoting the job-creating potential of the project, which could bring nearly 4,000 direct and indirect new gigs. Pegasus is going to be working on a feasibility study for the rest of 2011 to determine the best location and other details, but it says New Mexico is the only place it's looking...more

Song Of The Day #657

Here is Webb Pierce and his 1953 recording of It's Been So Long.

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Rick Perry's Record on the Environment: Is it Bad, or Awful?

In April 2009 the Environmental Protection Agency announced that it had found that carbon dioxide and several other greenhouse gases, though not pollutants in themselves, were subject to federal regulation under the Clean Air Act, because of the threats they pose to human health via climate change. It was not the sort of finding that Texas governor Rick Perry—long a skeptic, even outright denier, of anthropogenic climate change—was liable to welcome. Still, his response was even less measured than one might have expected: In February 2010, along with the state’s attorney general, he sued the EPA. Since then, several other states have followed Perry’s lead in challenging the EPA’s finding. As signaling devices go, suing the EPA is a pretty serious one, and Perry, who is now the frontrunner for the Republican presidential nomination, is serious about it. There are some respects in which his record as Texas governor has been more moderate than his critics suggest or fear, but the environment is not one of them. Throughout his career as a public official—which has spanned more than 25 years, including more than a decade now as governor—Perry’s record on the environment has seemed pretty unambiguous: He has come out against nearly all environmental regulations. That much is obvious, and it’s unlikely that (or, at least, unclear how) he would deny it...PERRY'S CAMPAIGN AGAINST environmental regulation began more than twenty years ago, when he was running for agriculture commissioner, an office that naturally touches on a lot of stewardship issues. In 1990 the Democratic incumbent, Jim Hightower, had come under fire for his efforts to regulate pesticides; Perry, who was then a member of the Texas House and had recently switched from the Democratic Party to the Republican side, was one of the most vocal critics. Perry hadn’t been considered a strong contender for the job, but, partly due to the backing of Texas’s influential agriculture industry, he upset Hightower in what was one of his closest campaigns to date. As agriculture commissioner, Perry continued his fight for farming interests. Pesticides remained a bugbear. One of his early campaigns against the EPA came in 1994, when the agency was preparing to implement a revised Worker Protection Standard that requires more training and protective equipment; Perry complained that compliance was going to hurt farmers. He also parted ways with the EPA over the Endangered Species Act, which he argued prioritized birds and other animals over the livelihoods and property rights of Texas landowners. Most of Perry’s record on the environment suggests an overarching goal to promote parochial business concerns: His interventions against environmental regulations stemmed from his desire to protect specific industries, rather than from some ideological objection to tree-hugging in general. Perry rarely hesitated, for example, to go to bat for the Texan beef industry. In 1992 he came out against the writer Jeremy Rifkin’s “Beyond Beef Campaign,” a movement calling for people to eat less beef because cows produce methane, which contributes to global warming. “This campaign is not about beef,” harrumphed Perry. “It's about Rifkin's desire to police American stomachs." Four years later, as the mad cow outbreak in Britain triggered a brief wave of panic in the United States, Perry even went so far as to ask the state attorney general to sue Oprah for defaming Texas hamburgers. (She won.) To the extent that there has been a consistent ideological thread running throughout Perry’s career it has been the idea that the federal government shouldn’t interfere with states’ rights...more

Spurned on smog, Lisa Jackson has a choice to make

Will EPA chief Lisa Jackson stay or go? That’s the new parlor game among Washington insiders after the White House publicly undercut the agency’s attempts to install tougher regulations on smog. Since the White House’s announcement Friday, Jackson hasn’t spoken publicly on the rule beyond an official statement touting the president’s leadership on clean air issues. Someone who has spoken with Jackson since Friday told POLITICO she’s still digesting it all and hasn’t shared even with those closest to her what her thinking is. President Barack Obama invited Jackson on Air Force One Sunday when he toured areas of New Jersey that had been damaged by Hurricane Irene. Jackson served as a New Jersey state official for several years. As the EPA administrator, Jackson’s been a loyal foot soldier for the Obama administration, leading the Gulf Coast Restoration Task Force and fighting congressional Republicans tooth and nail on environmental regulations. “I certainly think the White House genuinely wants her to be comfortable with this decision and to stay,” an administration source said. A White House official said Obama expects Jackson will stay with the administration. Jackson didn’t get much of a heads up prior to the announcement, prompting criticism from greens that the White House had blindsided the EPA chief. An administration official said that the White House didn’t notify the agency of the decision until last Thursday — and that the EPA was not involved in the decision-making process...more


A top bundler and major investor in a now-bankrupt green company made multiple White House visits before he got a guaranteed stimulus loan that the administration monitored to ensure it was granted. Getting inside the White House was easy for billionaire investor George Kaiser, who made multiple visits to the White House and appeared at White House events next to administration officials. One of the prime investors in the green energy company Solyndra, Kaiser put quite a few tokens in the White House turnstile. As the Daily Caller reports, Kaiser himself donated $53,000 to Barack Obama's 2008 election campaign, divided between Obama for America and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. A world-class bundler, Kaiser also raised $50,000 to $100,000 from others for the senator's campaign. Despite a warning from Solyndra's own accountants at PricewaterhouseCoopers that the company's business model was suspect and raised "substantial doubt about its ability to continue as a going concern," President Obama visited the company and gave it a glowing endorsement as a government-picked winner alongside electric cars and high-speed rail. Despite its spotty business record, Solyndra was the first recipient of green stimulus cash in the form of a $535 million guaranteed loan. The loan not only escaped serious scrutiny, according to the Government Accountability Office, but also was — despite denials by White House officials — fast-tracked by an administration that monitored every step in the process. Kaiser wasn't the only one involved with Solyndra putting tokens in the turnstile. Solyndra itself spent more than $1 million from 2008 to 2011 lobbying Congress for various green legislation from which it would benefit, including the "Solar Manufacturing Jobs Creation Act."...more

Funding, staff shortages threaten national parks

Five years out from its 100th anniversary, the National Park Service lacks funding for critical maintenance and staffing, imperiling the natural and cultural heritage found in America's "special places," watchdog groups and other observers contend. Nationwide, there is a nearly $11 billion maintenance backlog, about half of which agency officials consider "critical" — and the total shows no signs of lessening. Problems include craggy and washed out roads and visitor centers and other aging buildings with stressed electrical systems and worn out roofs. Shortfalls for staffing approach $600 million, according to an estimate by the National Parks Conservation Association, an advocacy and watchdog group. Cultural resources, such as archeological and archival collections and historic structures, suffer from a lack of trained personnel to care for them, it says. "With too few park staff to watch over them, park prehistoric sites and battlefields are looted and destroyed, historic buildings are vandalized and museum collections are left to deteriorate," said the report, one of many by outside groups in recent years that have described park system problems...more

We can expect more of this kind of stuff as Congress and the Super Committee search for programs to "cut".

Where's the truth in the wolf issue? Tester & Rehberg

So, was U.S. Rep. Denny Rehberg really “lying,” as alleged last week by Democratic U.S. Sen. Jon Tester’s camp, when Rehberg said he and fellow House Republicans played the lead role in solving Montana’s wolf dilemma earlier this year? And was Tester really the man who got it done, as he describes, by ensuring that a giant budget bill contained language that overturned a federal court decision and returned management of the wolf back to Montana wildlife officials? After spending a few days reporting on the issue, I’m confident each man can claim some credit for trying to tackle this issue, which, in the short term, has led to the enabling of Montana wildlife officials to “manage” the federally protected wolf and allow a wolf hunt in Montana. But as for the gritty detail on who did what, who was most effective and who may be stretching the truth — that’s not as easy to come by, especially for reporters 2,500 miles away from Washington, D.C. More on that in a minute. But first, a quick summary of the wolf issue and the Tester-Rehberg flap over it...more

Man who shot and killed intruding bear in Estes Park will not face charges

The man who shot and killed a bear after he found it eating out of his fridge in Estes Park will not face charges, but official are reminding people to take extra precautions as they visit bear country this season. On Thursday night, a man who was staying at a cabin in Estes Park with his wife and son returned to the cabin to find a bear eating out of his fridge, said Colorado Division of Parks and Wildlife spokeswoman Jennifer Churchill. The bear, which entered the home through an open window, turned and began to aggressively approach the man and his family. The man, whose name is not being released, felt threatened by the bear and shot at it three or four times with a handgun, Churchill said. When the bear approached the man and his family again, he fired at the bear a second time. While the man was apologetic and concerned about the bear's death, his actions were justified, Churchill said...more

Phase one of world's first commercial spaceport is now 90% completed - in time for first flights in 2013 + video

Phase one of the world's first commercial spaceport, which will be the hub for Virgin's consumer spaceflights, is now 90 per cent complete. The 1,800-acre Spaceport America site, in Las Cruces, New Mexico, is the home base for Virgin Galactic, Richard Branson's most ambitious business venture yet. It already boasts a runway stretching to nearly two miles long, a futuristic styled terminal hanger, and a dome-shaped Space Operations Centre. The work is now just months away from completion, according to a spaceport spokesman, and is set to be done by the end of the year, well in time for the first expected Virgin Galactic spaceflights in 2013. Christine Anderson, the newly appointed executive director of the New Mexico Spaceport Authority, told she was 'jazzed' about the progress made so far. Virgin Galactic's WhiteKnightTwo/SpaceShipTwo launch system is still in testing and she says it is up to them when they decide it is safe to fly tourists to the edge of space. At a best guess, she told, flights could begin in the first quarter of 2013. Construction of phase two has already begun and is set for completion in time for Virgin Galactic's pioneering flights. It will include the completion of the Vertical Launch Complex facility, two visitor centres in nearby towns and a further visitor centre on the main spaceport site...more

Check out this video if you want to see what the Spaceport looked like at a dedication last October and you will also see Virgin Galactics' TwoSpaceshipTwo land and take off at the facility.

Song Of The Day #656

Ranch Radio's tune this morning is Eddy Arnold's 1947 recording of Easy Rockin' Chair.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Farmland conservation program may be plowed under

When crop prices rise, farmers plant fencerow to fencerow, even on marginal land where the soil washes off or blows away. When prices inevitably drop, many farmers enroll some of their less-valuable land in federal conservation programs, removing it from production. The largest and most successful of these land-retirement schemes, the Conservation Reserve Program, or CRP, pays farmers about $1.7 billion yearly in exchange for a 10- or 15-year promise to idle land with the highest risk of erosion. Doing this also protects a lot of wildlife habitat, particularly for declining grassland birds, and reduces soil erosion by an estimated 450 million tons a year. But now, CRP is facing a triple threat: Crop prices are high, so farmers didn't renew contracts on 4.4 million acres last year, and they aren't enrolling enough new acreage to make up the loss. The federal budget crisis has put farm conservation programs on the chopping block. And the new farm bill -- which funds farm conservation and other subsidies as well as rural development -- hits Congress next year. In May, 72 agribusiness groups, including livestock producers who want increased grain production for cheap feed, and fertilizer companies eager to maximize sales, asked Congress to put new "flexibility" in CRP -- letting farmers pull out without penalties even before their contracts expire. Groups like Ducks Unlimited and the National Wildlife Federation are defending CRP, but many conservationists and farmers agree that the program could be improved...more

Feds Propose 20-Year Mining Ban on BLM Lands in Northern Arizona and Southern Utah

The US Department of Interior announced in February a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for hard rock (read uranium) mining in Northern Arizona which triggered a 45 day public comment period on 4 alternatives proposed. The public comment period ended and Interior Secretary Ken Salazar on June 20, 2011, announced a 20-year withdrawal of mining claims and exploration on nearly 1 million acres, north and south of the Grand Canyon National Park, managed by the BLM and the Forest Service. The Secretary’s final decision will be made after the final EIS is completed in late 2011. In addition, Secretary Salazar imposed an emergency six-month segregation on the lands being evaluated. That means no new mining claims can be filed on those lands. The emergency segregation ends Jan. 21, 2012. Arizona and Utah government officials have united to block a proposed 20-year withdrawal of 1,000 acres of federal lands in Northern Arizona and Utah that would prohibit new mining claims, a ban that could mean billions of dollars in lost revenues for county and state coffers. Arizona-Utah Local Economic Coalition co-chair Mohave County Supervisor Buster Johnson and co-chair Commissioner Alan Gardner of Washington County have met several times previously with opponents of the federal withdrawal to discuss the coalition’s next move toward securing uranium exploration and mining efforts linked to county’s Arizona Strip. The coalition includes officials from Mohave County and the counties of Kane, Washington, Garfield and San Juan in Utah...more

Giant crocodile captured alive in Philippines

Villagers and veteran hunters have captured a one-ton saltwater crocodile which they plan to make the star of a planned ecotourism park in a southern Philippine town, an official said Monday. Mayor Edwin Cox Elorde said dozens of villagers and experts ensnared the 21-foot (6.4-meter) male crocodile along a creek in Bunawan township in Agusan del Sur province after a three-week hunt. It could be one of the largest crocodiles to be captured alive in recent years, he said, quoting local crocodile experts. Elorde said the crocodile killed a water buffalo in an attack witnessed by villagers last month and was also suspected of having attacked a fisherman who went missing in July. He said he sought the help of experts at a crocodile farm in western Palawan province. "We were nervous but it's our duty to deal with a threat to the villagers," Elorde told The Associated Press by telephone. "When I finally stood before it, I couldn't believe my eyes."...more

Pastor trying to secure hay for NM ranchers

With a surplus of hay in Iowa and a shortage in the southwest, a Clovis pastor is working to bring hay to area farmers and ranchers in need. Pastor Bonita Knox with the Trinity Lutheran Church tells the Clovis News Journal they're gauging the need. Knox says the issue of moving surplus hay to shortage areas came up when an Iowa farmer was seated next to a Texas rancher during a mid-August nationwide gathering of Lutherans in Florida. The conversation grew to a plan, now known as "Hay Lift." Knox says she jumped at the chance to include the Eastern Plains in the relief effort. Now Knox is putting out a call to the community to tell her how much hay is needed so that she can report back by Tuesday morning. AP

National Cowboy Symposium riding into Lubbock again

Cowboys and cowgirls with stories to tell and songs to sing will ride into Lubbock Thursday evening with figurative lassos designed to capture a moment of this area’s ranching past. The Sons of the San Joaquin have been signed to headline the singing portion of the 23rd annual National Cowboy Symposium & Celebration to continue through Sunday at the Lubbock Memorial Civic Center. Storytellers with tales of the Old West plan to inspire visions of the frontier through imaginative poetry and prose based on lonely cowboys riding night herd, and ranchers struggling to establish cattle operations in a land where Comanches had recently hunted buffalo. From the Native American side of the Old West, descendants of Quanah Parker will set up tepees on the grassy area across the street to the north of the Civic Center to demonstrate American Indian culture. And in an adjacent area, cowboy cooks from 24 chuck wagons plan to chicken-fry steaks of a quality that food dreams are made of, and boil the strongest coffee known to man...more

Saddled with success

Doug Kuschel has been a rancher his whole life. It’s in his blood, passed down through several generations. Kuschel and his family run their beef cattle ranch the old-fashioned way — the cowboy way — on horseback. “Part of our job here, being in the cattle business, is to ride horses. That’s basically, I believe, the only way to handle cattle,” Doug said. “It’s been done for 100 years and I’d like to continue on with the tradition.” That tradition, however, posed a small inconvenience for Doug, as either he was spending too much time fixing his saddles or the saddle he used didn’t fit right. The solution he came up with was to take matters into his own hands — literally — and it spawned a new business, 33 Ranch and Saddlery in rural Backus. “It was riding inferior saddles, basically. I thought I could do better, make a saddle that I could ride all day,” Doug said. “That’s where I got into it.” Over the years, while continuing the cattle operation, Kuschel worked to perfect his leather craft and his family. Wife Paula, daughter Jennifer, son Levi and daughter-in-law RoseAnna joined together to operate 33 Ranch and Saddlery with a customer base that’s now nationwide. And a true family affair it is. Levi and RoseAnna run the ranch, with Doug helping out when he’s needed. Doug and Jennifer run the saddle shop. Paula handles bookkeeping for both operations. “We’ve got a close family, we’re diversified in cattle and leather, and we’re pretty much going to keep it that way,” Doug said. “It’s worked out for us.”...more

Cowboy hats start to gain steam in late 1800s

The cowboy hat came into its own during the big cattle drives of the latter part of the 1800s in the northern and southern plains of North America. Cowboys needed something to shade their eyes, face, ears and neck from the sun, wind, rain and snow. Before then, it seemed any old hat would do, including top hats, the popular bowlers with brims and the softer "slouch" hats that could be shaped to one's head. Many credit John Batterson Stetson with initiating the cowboy hat design in 1865 that is known today in a variety of styles. Stetson, a New Jersey native growing up in a hat-making family, developed a hat that was called Boss of the Plains in 1865. It was flat-brimmed and had a straight-sided crown rounded on top. Felt, beaver and rabbit fur and other materials were used in varying concentrations in the hats. From the Boss of the Plains came many variations involving different creases, heights of crowns, width and shapes of brims, and colors and bands. Cowboy hats varied by geographic regions in the West, along with how they sat on one's head. Other brands joined the market - Resistol, Bailey, Miller and many others. The Western cowboy hat now is recognized around the world as the defining piece of equipment in Western wear...more

Delbert Trew - Playing for dances brings back entertaining memories

The waltz is a favorite dance of a lot of older people. The name comes from the German word“walzen,” which means to roll, turn or glide. Originating in the 1500s, dancers were not allowed to touch each other. By the 18th century, partners were allowed to embrace as they danced. Introduced first in England, the dance was carried by Napoleon’s soldiers to France, where it became a favorite. Paris once boasted 700 night clubs where the waltz could be danced. It came to America in 1834 and instantly became the rage. By 1921, a new dance called the foxtrot was introduced and stole the spotlight. The waltz faded quickly. Growing up in a musical family, then later playing professionally for 35 years, I consider myself somewhat of a waltz expert. My father played all the old-time waltzes on his fiddle, and then later I learned the new waltzes as they became popular. Playing for dances for the public for many years provided many amusing stories. Here are a few that stand out...more

Song Of The Day #655

Swingin' Monday was a holiday, so let's have Swingin' Tuesday with Banjomania and their recording of Alabama Jubilee.

Documents indicate ATF, FBI allowed Indiana ‘crime gun’ sales

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives has acknowledged an Indiana dealer’s cooperation in conducting straw purchases at the direction of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Exclusive documents obtained by Gun Rights Examiner show the dealer cooperated with ATF by selling guns to straw purchasers, and that bureau management later asserted these guns were being traced to crimes. From the confidential source providing the documents: The dealer…was sent a "demand letter," based on the number of traces to him, which was retracted after his attorney pointed out they resulted from his cooperation with ATF. (Strangely, he got two voicemails from two different ATF people, both saying they were the head of the tracing operation). Some of the straw men turned out to have felony convictions, the agents called the FBI background check system and fixed it so the transactions would be approved, something which may also have happened in Phoenix. (The attorney wasn't clear as to whether the guns were actually delivered to the gangs). If the guns did not make it to criminal end users, why the demand for the reporting requirement was made remains unexplained: A demand letter, dated February 14, 2011 and signed by Charles J. Houser , Chief, National Tracing Center Division, informed the dealer he was required to provide acquisition and disposition information on firearms obtained from non-licensees, as well as to provide quarterly reports, based on ATF’s assessment that the dealer “had an unusually high number of traces of new crime guns with a relatively short ‘time-to-crime’…” In a response dated March 10, 2011, attorney Brent R. Weil of Kightlinger and Gray, LLP, informed Houser: Specifically, my client participated with and cooperated in certain law enforcement operations during 2009/2010 at the behest of ATFE enforcement officers from the Evansville, Indiana office (Agent Kevin Whittaker) and in the course of doing so, followed their instructions regarding the completion of certain transactions and the delivery of firearms to purchasers who did not clear the standard NICS [National Instant Check System] background check and were suspected of being involved in the purchase and transportation of handguns out of state despite passing NICS’s background checks...more

Monday, September 05, 2011

Killing barred owls to help spotted owls

Barred owls killed
Wildlife biologists are proposing to shoot hundreds or even thousands of Pacific Northwest barred owls as a way to protect the endangered Northern spotted owl. Barred owls are larger, more aggressive and have been taking over spotted owl territory for the past 20 years. The proposal to shoot barred owls is part of a federal spotted owl recovery plan that will be released soon. Whether to intervene in what some see as a natural competition between species is a matter of hot debate among biologists, conservationists and the timber industry, which argues that we've set aside huge chunks of habitat for a bird that now can't be saved...more

In Shooting Owls, Zach St. George writes:

    Spotted owls, Strix occidentalis, and barred owls, Strix varia, are each other’s closest relatives — so closely related that they can interbreed and produce fertile offspring. They look similar, with dark eyes, rounded features and brown plumage, and as nocturnal rodent-hunters in big, dense forests, they both fill the same niche. Both birds must have a territory to defend to attract a mate and reproduce. They’re natural competitors, but it’s not quite an even fight. The barred owls are just a little bigger and heavier — and more aggressive.
    Nobody can say for sure how barred owls got to the Pacific Northwest. For hundreds of thousands of years spotted owls and barred owls stayed on separate sides of the continent, but sometime in recent history — scientists believe around 100 years ago — the barred owl began its push westward. There’s no question that the Great Plains were once the barrier that kept barred owls confined to the east, but there are multiple theories on what helped the owls bridge the gap, said Fish and Wildlife biologist Kent Livezey.

You just had to know what was coming:

One idea is that climate change allowed the owls to venture farther north into existing forests.

However, it looks like they won't be shooting owls to protect owls in the near future:

Fish and Wildlife biologist Robin Bown, who is leading the work on the environmental impact statement for barred owl removal experiment, said that the agency is at least a year-and-a-half out from any experiment that would remove barred owls. First it has to complete the environmental impact statement, estimate costs, and settle on a method of removal. Removing the owls alive is an option. Capturing barred owls with nets, however, is difficult, time intensive, and costly. Bown said capturing the owls alive only to release them later in unfamiliar territory is morally questionable. “Realistically, it’s shoving it under the carpet so you don’t have to watch the birds die,” said Bown. Shooting the birds, on the other hand, is relatively simple and cost effective. The process begins the same way as banding: Use territorial calls to draw the barred owls out, wait until they land on a branch and are easy to hit, and shoot them with a shotgun.

Battle for the California Desert: Why is the Government Driving Folks off Their Land?

The Antelope Valley is a vast patch of desert on the outskirts of Los Angeles County, and a segment of the few rugged individualists who live out there increasingly are finding themselves the targets of armed raids from local code enforcement agents, who've assembled into task forces called Nuisance Abatement Teams (NATs). The plight of the Valley's desert dwellers made regional headlines when county officials ordered the destruction of Phonehenge: a towering, colorful castle constructed out of telephone poles by retired phone technician Kim Fahey. Fahey was imprisoned and charged with several misdemeanors. But Fahey is just one of many who've been targeted by the NATs, which were assembled at the request of County Supervisor Mike Antonovich in 2006. LA Weekly reporter Mars Melnicoff wrote an in-depth article in which she exposed the county's tactic of badgering residents with minor, but costly, code violations until they face little choice but to vacate the land altogether. "They're picking on the the people who are the most defenseless and have the least resources," says Melnicoff. collaborated with Melnicoff to talk with some of the NAT's targets, such as retired veteran Joey Gallo, who might face homelessness if he's forced to leave his house, and local pastor Oscar Castaneda, who says he's already given up the fight and is in the process of moving off the land he and his wife have lived on for 22 years...more

Here is the video:

Solar power increasing lead poisoning

Solar power plants stand as major culprits in lead emissions and lead poisoning in India and China, according to a study conducted by a University of Tennessee-Knoxville professor Chris Cherry. Solar plants make significant use of lead batteries. The study announcement declared that up to 2.4 million tons of lead emissions could result from the use of these unsafe batteries. Lead pollution predicted to result from investments in solar power by 2022 is equivalent to one-third of current global lead production. Also, a large percentage of new solar power systems continues to be reliant on lead batteries for energy storage due to the inadequate power grid in these countries...more

Obama tells kids one of the 'greatest challenges facing' their generation is 'climate change'

President Barack Obama told Scholastic News Kid Reporters during a TV interview that one of the "greatest challenges facing" their generation is “climate change.” "Another big challenge that your generation is going to face is the environmental challenge,” Obama stated, after citing the economy as another big issue. The interview was conducted by Scholastic News kid reporters as part of the new program on the “Challenges Facing America's Youth.” Obama explained: “There are some big challenges around climate change. The temperature of the planet is getting warmer because of the pollution that we are sending up in the air, the carbon that we are releasing.” He added: “That is something we are going to have to really focus on.”...more

Obama ozone decision blindsides enviros - and his own EPA

Leaders of environmental and public health groups arrived at the White House Friday morning for what was supposed to be a look-ahead at the fall energy and environment agenda. What they got instead was a rude awakening. Administration officials told the stunned enviros that President Barack Obama was pulling the plug on plans to tighten Bush-era ozone standards — standards Obama’s own EPA chief has previously declared “not legally defensible.” The environmentalists may have been the last to know, but not by much; an administration official told POLITICO that the White House didn’t notify the EPA of the decision until Thursday — and that EPA officials were not involved in the decision-making process. The EPA was “completely blindsided by this,” said John Walke, clean air director at the Natural Resources Defense Council. As recently as last month, EPA lawyers were asking a federal appellate court in Washington to delay litigation over the Bush-era ozone standard because a new Obama ozone rule was just around the corner. But on Friday, Obama announced that he was asking EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson to put the new rule on ice — referring to the decision as part of a larger effort aimed at “reducing regulatory burdens and regulatory uncertainty, particularly as our economy continues to recover.” The about-face has environmentalists and other progressives fuming...more

Obama’s decision on smog rule offers hints on regulation strategy

President Obama’s controversial decision last week to suspend new anti-smog standards offered hints — but not the full road map — of how the White House will navigate politically explosive battles with congressional Republicans over which industry regulations to sacrifice and which ones to fight for this fall. The Friday decision, which angered many environmental activists and won praise from business groups, represented the most high-profile case in a debate that carries deep implications for Obama’s reelection campaign as he tries to spur job creation, woo business donors and fire up his voting base. It came as the president prepares for a major address Thursday night to lay out a new employment strategy. Most notable in the smog decision was that Obama made it himself — undercutting his own Environmental Protection Agency leadership and siding with industry officials who warned that stricter ozone standards risked further damage to a fragile economy. And yet, as the administration signals that it will stand by other rules opposed by industry groups, advocates on both sides are left wondering what broader strategy may be guiding the White House as it reviews existing and proposed regulations...more

Stung by the President on Air Quality, Environmentalists Weigh Their Options

For environmental groups, it was the final hard slap that brought a long-troubled relationship to the brink. In late August, the State Department gave a crucial go-ahead on a controversial pipeline to bring tar sands oil from Canada to the Gulf Coast. Then on Friday, leading into the holiday weekend, the Obama administration announced without warning that it was walking away from stricter ozone pollution standards that it had been promising for three years and instead sticking with Bush-era standards. John D. Walke, clean air director of the Natural Resources Defense Council, an advocacy group based in New York, likened the ozone decision to a “bomb being dropped.” Mr. Walke and representatives of other environmental groups saw the president’s actions as brazen political sellouts to business interests and the Republican Party, which regards environmental regulations as job killers and a brick wall to economic recovery. The question for environmentalists became, what to do next?...more

This is good news for America, but I fear may be costly for those of us in The West.  The enviros are upset, as this one among many quotes demonstrates:

And Justin Ruben, executive director of, a five-million-member online progressive political organization that played a significant role in President Obama’s election in 2008, said he was sure that his members would be deflated. “How are our members in Ohio and Florida who pounded the pavement in 2008 going to make the case for why this election matters?” Mr. Ruben said. “Stuff like this is devastating to the hope and passion that fuels the volunteers that made the president’s 2008 campaign so unique and successful.”

So how will the President renew that "hope" and "passion" and get the enviros back on board? Don't forget the Antiquities Act and his ability to create National Monuments by the stroke of a pen.

Sheriff Talks Chasing Smugglers at Border

From the border battle -- it may sound like a scene from a movie, but there's a dangerous game happening right in our own back yard. Pinal County deputies arrested some illegal aliens after a chase through the desert -- with speeds reaching nearly 100 miles an hour. Deputies tried to pull over an SUV carrying about 25 suspected illegal immigrants. When it got stuck in a river bottom, the occupants got out and fled on foot. They were apprehended. Fox 10’s Alexis Vance talks to Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu about this latest violent chapter in the border battle.

Remember, Pinal County is in central Ariz., it is not on the border.  Here is the Fox News video report:

The great remote roundup - video

HT:  Debbie Laney

Proud to be a New Mexican - video

HT: Brenda Kirkland Schmidt

Sunday, September 04, 2011

Cowgirl Sass & Savvy

Old dog memories

By Julie Carter

Good stories from country folk are the heartbeat of the lifestyle. Hitting the top of the charts are tales of horses, snakes and wild cattle events.

And like any lover of animals, there are always great stories about at least one special dog in their life.

Favorite dog memories certainly aren’t limited to rural living but it is often in those settings that you will find those memorable canines in larger numbers. Acres of living space allows for the accumulation of an assortment of critters. Happens before you realize it. before one realizes it.

At one time, my family had five of those absolutely worthless mutts that they loved, fed and nurtured until they went to doggy heaven.

Bridgett, a Saint Bernard, was quite the “nanny” of the bunch, but she did look a little out of place on a dry high-desert ranch in New Mexico. Her most unpopular day was when she broke through the door into the house to steal a roast that had been set out on the counter to thaw.

Poppy and Puppy were the watch dog/guard dog committee. They would bark you in the door then Puppy would leave to his guard post and Poppy would stand and “smile” at you. She had a muzzle and teeth that looked like she was perpetually smiling.

Tiny was just that-- very small on a “compared to” basis. He was some sort of terrier dog with big bug eyes. There was nothing special about Tiny except he was always there. He had joined the herd of mutts that had been dropped off or deserted and had eventually found their way to a middle-of-nowhere ranch.

And then there was Rupert. Rupert was a small red, long-haired mutt that, until his dying day, thought it was his job to bark and bite even when he was deaf, blind and had no teeth. He’d lie under the kitchen table and when an unsuspecting guest would move their feet the wrong direction, he’d make an attempt to “gum” their foot off.

There were more dogs after that -- Jessie, Mike, Murphy and Pepe among others. The point is we all have memories of a special dog, be it mutt or purebred.

We cuss them, love them, and call them names. And we miss them more than we can explain when they are gone. They are doormats, babysitters, guardians and companions. Often completely worthless pain-in-the-rear buddies, they mark a place in our hearts that lasts forever.

We identify a dog with his owner and vice versa. When we lose a loved one, their dog is a cherished link to them in the days ahead. When we then lose the dog it’s like losing the person all over again.

Dying of old age is the ultimate we can wish for our pets. Rural living brings with it other dangers for them that can shorten their life span including snake bite and predators. It’s hard to tell a dog with a tendency to hunt to not be sniffing around the bushes because he might find a diamond back.

I’ve lost some pretty special dogs over the years that hurt my heart deeply. And always, I swore I’d not get another one to avoid the pain. Then somewhere along the way a roly-poly blue heeler puppy would catch my eye and I’d cave to the cuteness.

And the cycle would begin again.

Julie can be reached for comment at And no, don’t send me your puppies, blue heeler or otherwise.

The Moral Gestapo

Malaise of Theory
The Moral Gestapo
Imminent Threats
By Stephen L. Wilmeth

     As the Obama administration welcomes its newest top economic advisor to their team, the press has notified the masses of his intellect and his expertise in that job saving invention, minimum wage.  He is an expert on the subject having studied and written about it from his position at Harvard.
      Although my graduate degree came from Harvard on the Rio Grande in New Mexico and my knowledge of minimum wage is only real world, a metric from that experience is worth sharing.  In 1997 following a series of minimum wage increases in California agriculture, we summarized our internal labor statistics by age group.   In a company that spent more than $20 million annually in labor, the result was not insignificant and it was probably indicative of all companies in similar pursuits.
     At the start of the decade, almost seven percent of all hourly summer employees were students who had traditionally sought employment during summer vacations.  By 1997, that percentage had dropped to less than .2% of total expenditures. 
     The result was obvious.  As the government coerced increases in the minimum wage, our willingness to provide summer employment for that age group was overshadowed by the reality of could we afford without reciprocal skill levels.  The youth that benefited from the exposure of real world experience as well as gainful summer employment were eliminated permanently from our work force.
     The minimum wage debacle is but one of a series of hoaxes that has been perpetrated on our society.  In the real world, it eliminated a segment of the work force that needed exposure to entry level jobs that were never intended to be career options.  Many who understand it will argue it did exactly what its proponents warned against.  The mandated upward creep of dollars pushed the most vulnerable into traps between the historical benefits and the marginal existence that came from the scant gains in job opportunities.
     Play the Oldies
     How many other orchestrated debacles have we lived through, similarly?  Shall we start with global warming, or are we just too disgusted to face that tedious issue?
     The truthful historical place to start would be to describe how every real world debacle has been mirrored by the genius of a human creation, but that is mundane.  A more conventional place to start is to listen to the trumpets played by the doomsday oracles. 
     In World History, we were taught that farming blossomed in the middle latitudes when human society evolved enough to have leisure time to contemplate agricultural practices.  The lesson went on to describe how the climate was warm enough to grow crops, and adequate gathering allowed them to spend time on farming ideas, right?  No, farming came from the consequences of starving to death!   
     The more realistic version was that nomadic tribes grew to the point that their historical ranges were impacted by expanding ranges from others and food shortages developed.  Near starvation, some enterprising character figured out he could bolster the food supply by tending it, and, over time, the process became sedentary farming. 
     If NPR or Al Gore would have been in charge of the smoke signals, though, it would have been a pending disaster.  The end of the world would have been at hand, and, if regulations weren’t put in place, appendage atrophy would occur!
    Play it again, Sam
    Consider other history.  DDT was banned in the United States after the geek brigades convinced everybody that eagles would lay eggs that would bounce and feel like silly putty.  In 1951, India experienced 75,000,000 cases of malaria.  With DDT usage, the documented case load decreased to 50,000 a decade later.  Untold millions of human beings were saved from terrible deaths, but we were never told the positive story.
     Americans were warned that the preservation of food by irradiation would make us all sterile and “the children” would be born into a bleak world that was illuminated only by moonlight.  Today, 30 countries now embrace the practice as one of the most environmentally friendly methods of food preservation.
     After decades of safe use, Americans were warned that chlorinated water was the culprit in increasing birth defects. Few have been reminded similarly of the magnitude of the pollution reducing benefits of the chemical and fewer yet have been told of the trash science in the original airwave rants.
    In the 1930’s . . . and ‘’40s, ‘50s, ‘60s, ‘70s, ‘80s, ‘90s, and ‘00s for that matter, Americans were warned in grisly monotones of the pending water shortages that will forever alter our way of life.  Interestingly, the same grim forecasts came for oil starting in the 1850’s.  How many of us remember Jimmy Carter in a national broadcast breaking the shattering news that the world only had 21 years of oil reserves left?
     We could go on and reminiscence about low sperm counts being predicated on PCB’s, electric razors begetting cancer, cyclamates culturing bladder cancer, and mercury poisoning spreading from sea foods, but we could also fast forward and read today’s headlines.  The same stories exist . . . the names are just changed.
    Play Misty for me
     The year 2004 was especially a hot year for smoke signals for mercury.  That was the year that the EPA set a limit and indicated that 630,000 babies a year would be born with brain injuries.  Fast forward to the finding that Japanese women with mercury levels exceeding those standards by 74% exhibit no such results was just not news worthy.  Perhaps the monotone narration that week was still the developing loss of polar bear habitat and how that would impact Detroit’s economy.
     I loved the history lessons how man was going to terminate himself by salting up precious farmland and the world would starve.  I remain perplexed, though, by the foreboding half life of uranium conundrum especially when I see recent pictures of Hiroshima where the bomb exploded.
      It is the same reaction I get when I see the highlight reel from the yearly trip to the Trinity site.  It is there the curious get to inspect and touch the earth that remains covered by shards of glass created by the first atomic bomb blast.  What happened to the zillion year half life and death ray issue? 
     Perhaps the most ridiculous warning of all was the announcement that came from the learned elite following Ben Franklin’s electrical experimentation.  His findings convinced everybody to put lightning rods on their homes.  It was then that the warning came forth in the literature that the practice would poison the earth.  It seems the accumulation of high levels of electricity would ruin the soil and render it dangerous for the production of food! 
     Could this be the missing link in the global warming debate?  What was Al Gores’ great-great-great-great-great grandfather’s name, anyway?
     Strike up the band
     Two major prevarications are in the process of being instituted on our behalf.  The first is the concoction of the green job fiasco.  The truth that the greatest projects remain in the heads of the dreamers is no more apparent than in the green jobs crusade.  The facts are it will take nine or ten times more capital to deliver green sourced energy than from conventional generation sources.  Money needed for investments in manufacturing jobs will be diverted and more of the historical manufacturers on the bubble will disappear.  The green job farce will also add a minimum of .6-.7% annually to the inflation rate.    
     A second and very worrisome development will appear shortly from the Department of Labor.  A tight lipped White House has approved changes in child labor laws that could have lasting impact on the social structure and the already tenuous recruitment process of young farmers and ranchers.
     The changes will mirror European standards by again raising age levels and reducing work hours of minors working in agriculture. This time the effects will not impact a broad socioeconomic spread of youth because those American youths are no longer employed in agriculture.  It will affect the children of farm families.
    Heretofore, children working under the supervision of their farming parents had broad allowances to participate in the family business.  The expected changes will make use of ownership structures to reclassify a swath of those young people.  For example, farming operations that are organized as an LLC will no longer have the broad family supervised allowances.  Technically, the child works for the LLC and not the parents, and must be treated differently.  If this madness is instituted, he becomes the domain of and protected under the law by  . . .  the federal government!
Stephen L. Wilmeth is a rancher from southern New Mexico.  “Do you remember the city kids who came to the country and wanted to play with you?  Do you remember your reaction when they wanted to try their airy ideas?  The problem today is there are too many of them . . . and they get to try out those ideas! ”

In Government We Mistrust

...a remarkable Gallup poll this week that asked the public about its views of government and various businesses. The federal government dropped to its lowest approval levels ever. Only 17% were positive, 63% negative, for a net approval rating of minus-46%. Government never ranks well, but for the first time since Gallup began asking in 2003 it fell to last place—below even the oil and gas industry, which netted minus-44% approval. Gallup is hardly an outlier. In a mid-August Washington Post poll, merely 21% was satisfied with "the way this country's political system is working," down from 38% in 2009. Some 78% were dissatisfied, up from 61% in the 2009 poll and 64% in 2007. The Pew Research Center also reported last month that only 22% of the public is "basically content" with the federal government, by far the lowest share since the survey began in 1997...more

Can the World Still Feed Itself?

As befits the chairman of the world's largest food-production company, Peter Brabeck-Letmathe is counting calories. But it's not his diet that the chairman and former CEO of NestlĂ© is worried about. It's all the food that the U.S. and Europe are converting into fuel while the world's poor get hungrier. "Politicians," Mr. Brabeck-Letmathe says, "do not understand that between the food market and the energy market, there is a close link." That link is the calorie. The energy stored in a bushel of corn can fuel a car or feed a person. And increasingly, thanks to ethanol mandates and subsidies in the U.S. and biofuel incentives in Europe, crops formerly grown for food or livestock feed are being grown for fuel. The U.S. Department of Agriculture's most recent estimate predicts that this year, for the first time, American farmers will harvest more corn for ethanol than for feed. In Europe some 50% of the rapeseed crop is going into biofuel production, according to Mr. Brabeck-Letmathe, while "world-wide about 18% of sugar is being used for biofuel today." In one sense, this is a remarkable achievement—five decades ago, when the global population was half what it is today, catastrophists like Paul Ehrlich were warning that the world faced mass starvation on a biblical scale. Today, with nearly seven billion mouths to feed, we produce so much food that we think nothing of burning tons of it for fuel. Or at least we think nothing of it in the West. If the price of our breakfast cereal goes up because we're diverting agricultural production to ethanol or biodiesel, it's an annoyance. But if the price of corn or flour doubles or triples in the Third World, where according to Mr. Brabeck-Letmathe people "are spending 80% of [their] disposable income on food," hundreds of millions of people go hungry. Sometimes, as in the Middle East earlier this year, they revolt. "What we call today the Arab Spring," Mr. Brabeck-Letmathe says over lunch at Nestle's world headquarters, "really started as a protest against ever-increasing food prices."...more

$35M for Mice, Fairy Shrimp, Mussels, and Beetles

The Obama administration is spending $35 million to buy 30,000 acres of private property across the U.S. this year to make permanent homes for mice, fairy shrimp, mussels, prairie bushes and beetles. The San Diego fairy shrimp, as well as the Arroyo toad, coastal California gnatcatcher and Southwestern willow flycatcher, will benefit from one California habitat that spans 600 acres and costs $6 million.
The fairy shrimp, crustaceans in the same taxonomic order as “sea monkeys,” are less than an inch in size and live in vernal pools that spring up after a heavy rainfall. Critics call the pools mud puddles. The vernal pool tadpole shrimp, along with the California red-legged frog and San Joaquin kit fox, will benefit from $4.4 million to buy 1,800 acres for habitat and wildlife corridors. Some of the other stewardship efforts include nearly $3 million to buy 20 acres of prime Gulf-front property for the Perdido Key beach mouse in Florida at a price tag of $150,000 an acre. Beach lots totaling eight acres along the Atlantic Ocean in St. Johns County, Florida, will also be purchased for more than $200,000 for the Anastasia Island beach mouse...more

Man arrested for biting snake

A US man is in custody after he bit a pet python in what California police said was an apparently unprovoked attack. The suspect, David Senk, 54, was arrested on suspicion of unlawfully maiming or mutilating a reptile, Sacramento police said. The badly injured snake underwent surgery. Senk said he had no recollection of the incident after blacking out from drinking but felt "horrible as hell about it." The snake, measuring 3 to 4 feet in length, is recovering after a vet stitched it up...more 

 I've been around some but I'm here to tell you that is...D-R-U-N-K.

Alaska Woman Punches Bear in Snout to Save Dog

Black bears in residential neighborhoods aren't exactly unheard of in Juneau. While many people stay inside when bears are about, one local woman says she had a different instinct when she saw her dog was in trouble. It started out as a typical evening for 22-year-old Brooke Collins. She let her dogs out as usual but this time, she said there was a black bear outside who took hold of her dachshund Fudge. She said she feared for her pet's life and, in an instant, ran over and punched the bear right in the face to make it let go. "It was all so fast. All I could think about was my dog was going to die," said Collins. "It was a stupid thing but I couldn't help it," she said. "I know you're not supposed to do that but I didn't want my dog to be killed."...more

Song Of The Day #654

Ranch Radio brings you some old time gospel music with the Dixie Reelers and their recording of I Shall Not Be Moved.