Saturday, October 15, 2011

Children banned from blowing up balloons & party whistles under EU safety rules

The EU toy safety directive, agreed and implemented by Government, states that balloons must not be blown up by unsupervised children under the age of eight, in case they accidentally swallow them and choke. Despite having been popular favourites for generations of children, party games including whistles and magnetic fishing games are to be banned because their small parts or chemicals used in making them are decreed to be too risky. Apparently harmless toys that children have enjoyed for decades are now regarded by EU regulators as posing an unacceptable safety risk. Whistle blowers, that scroll out into a a long coloured paper tongue when sounded – a party favourite at family Christmas meals – are now classed as unsafe for all children under 14...more

The GOP's Solyndra Problem

Kimberley Strassel, writing at the WSJ, notes "it was Republicans who in 2005 created the loan program that Mr. Obama would later expropriate to funnel stimulus dollars to his green boondoggles." Republican Governors Perry, Daniels, Barbour and Jindall also had state funds bet on green projects. "The political merit of Solyndra is that it perfectly illustrates the failed Obama economic mentality—that politicians should allocate capital, that government creates industries. Nothing should be further from a free-market mentality..." says Strassel.

She concludes:
The problem is that there are no apolitical subsidies. The economics of political venture capital are bad, but the politics are worse. For Republicans in particular, the green subsidy road leads only to scandals, job-number embarrassments, poor excuses, and a missed opportunity to draw distinctions with big-government liberals. At Tuesday night's debate, Mr. Romney told Herman Cain that "simple answers are . . . often inadequate." But when it comes to green subsidies, Mr. Cain's simplicity is to die for. Government simply "should not be in the business of picking winners and losers, because most of the time they pick the losers," said Mr. Cain. Now there's a presidential energy philosophy for the ages.

Tester jobs, wilderness bill included in U.S. Senate's Interior appropriations bill

U.S. Sen. Jon Tester's Forest Jobs and Restoration Act is included in the Senate's Interior Department appropriations bill, giving it a chance of passage in the 2012 federal budget. The bill provides annual funding for the Bureau of Land Management, National Park Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Environmental Protection Agency, Bureau of Indian Affairs and U.S. Forest Service wildland fire management. The 183-page bill was released Friday. In addition to Tester's Montana legislation, the appropriations bill also includes a provision creating the John H. Chafee Blackstone River Valley National Historical Park in Rhode Island. Tester's bill would create about 1 million acres of new wilderness and recreation areas in Montana. It would also require the Forest Service to open at least 100,000 acres of timber over 15 years to logging, thinning or other mechanical treatment in the Beaverhead-Deerlodge, Lolo and Kootenai national forests...more

U.S. farm subsidy reform may be tied to budget cuts

U.S. farm subsidy cuts of $23 billion would be tied to the creation of a new crop subsidy system under a plan being discussed by Agriculture Committee leaders in Congress, farm lobbyists said on Thursday. The proposal would end the $5 billion-a-year direct payment subsidy. It would endorse a revenue-assistance program to shield growers from "shallow losses" from poor yields or low market prices as the new basis for the U.S. farm program. Leaders of the House and Senate agriculture committees aimed to outline the plan in a letter on Friday to the congressional "super committee". That 12-member panel is charged with finding $1.2 trillion in government-wide cuts. The three most frequently cited areas for agricultural cuts are crop subsidies, land stewardship programs and the federally subsidized crop insurance program. Some lawmakers say land stewardship and public nutrition programs, such as food stamps, should be cut alongside farm subsidies since all are part of the Agriculture Department. Cuts in land stewardship could push some farmland out of long-term setasides and back into crop production...more

Chinese order for US corn signals long-term impact on global supplies, prices

China has made one of its biggest-ever purchases of corn on overseas markets, buying 900,000 metric tons of American corn and showing that growing Chinese demand will play an ever larger role in global grain prices. The country was a net exporter of corn until 2009 but is now struggling to keep up with growing demand for the grain — which is mainly used in China as animal feed — as incomes increase and people eat more meat. The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced Thursday that China had made the purchase, which comes despite an expected record grain harvest in China this year...more

The Westerner's Radio Theater #5

This morning Ranch Radio brings you a 1949 Grand Ole Opry, Hosted by Red Foley and with guest appearances by Hank Williams, Little Jimmy Dickens and Minnie Pearl.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Bringing back the bison: Group pushes reintroduction to Montana public lands

A Montana conservationist, hunter, author and promoter of hunter ethics, Posewitz has lent his voice to the National Wildlife Federation's push to have bison restored to the 1.1-million-acre Charles M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge in northeastern Montana. "What better place, what better species and what better time?" he said. Posewitz's belief is rooted in the history of American sportsmen and their participation in the restoration of other game animals to the nation and to the CMR landscape, such as bighorn sheep and elk. As Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks embarks on a three-year study of the possibility of returning wild bison to the state, the National Wildlife Federation is already pushing for the CMR to be the place. "I've been hunting all of my life, and I can't imagine there would be anything cooler than hunting a bison in the Missouri Breaks," said Kit Fischer of the NWF. "I think this is something that every hunter in Montana has a moral responsibility to support." NWF's push shouldn't be confused with the current Fish, Wildlife and Parks study of possibly placing disease-free Yellowstone bison on two state wildlife management areas (WMAs) and two reservations. Those are separate actions...more

Officials: Maps should curb fire retardant damage

A massive new map collection should keep firefighting air tankers and the fire retardant they drop from hurting fish and other sensitive plants and animals, U.S. Forest Service officials said on Wednesday. "We have between 12,000 and 15,000 maps produced, with all the quads for all the national forests," said Glen Stein, who led the Forest Service environmental impact statement team studying ways to improve fire retardant use. The maps show streams and other water features, as well as ground spots where endangered or sensitive species live. Fire dispatchers and pilots should have the maps available to decide if they can drop retardant in a fire zone without poisoning fish or damaging ground habitat. n 2010, U.S. District Judge Don Molloy of Missoula ruled the Forest Service erred in a 2008 environmental assessment that found retardant had no significant impact on fish or aquatic life. He gave the agency until the end of 2011 to redo that study. Stein said without aerial retardant drops, ground firefighters might have to work farther from the fire perimeter, avoid direct contact with burn areas or even fall back to the closest natural barrier in their assault. That could result in fires getting bigger than they would without retardant drops, he said. The draft EIS also notes that fire retardant chemistry has improved, changing greatly in the last five or six years to be less toxic to wildlife. Stein said the report didn't propose further changes to the retardant formulation. Aerial retardant isn't used on 95 percent of fires on national forests. The new maps put nearly 30 percent of the Forest Service land into aerial buffer zones to protect waterways, and another 1 percent of sensitive ground. The buffer zones protect more than 300 plants and animals on the Endangered Species List and another 3,700 species considered sensitive to retardant effects...more

Park ranger shoots begging wolf

Yellowstone National Park staff killed a wolf Saturday after the animal approached park visitors and employees on multiple occasions, apparently in search of human food. A park ranger shot the 110-pound male wolf from Mollie’s Park near the Mary Bay area. The wolf was estimated to be 2-4 years old. “Since July ... we’ve been documenting seven different cases where this wolf has approached to ... within a few feet of staff and visitors,” park spokesman Dan Hottle said. The wolf, easily recognizable because of black, horizontal “racing stripes” in its fur, circled people in an apparent effort to see if they had any food in their hands or in their backpacks. Most of the encounters took place in the Fishing Bridge area, park officials said. The wolf also lunged at people “not really unlike a large dog that’s jumping in to get food that you might have hiding on you,” Hottle said. “We’re not clear if it was lunging in to bite or just to get closer.” Park staff tried to haze the wolf with noise, clear paint balls and bear pepper spray, but the wolf continued its attempts to get food...more

Solar Energy Lobby Calls For Extending Obama's Stimulus Grants for Solar Power

The head of the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), the trade association that advocates for the the solar energy industry, said Wednesday that the solar industry is “rock-solid” and that a program included in President Barack Obama's 2009 economic stimulus law that provides federal grants to the solar energy industry should be extended. Under current law, the stimulus program is set to expire at the end of this year. SEIA CEO Rhone Resch also said it would be a “huge mistake” to blame the entire industry for the problems at Solyndra, Inc. Resch held a briefing with reporters to address the impact of extending the Section 1603 Treasury Program, which was a part of President Barack Obama's $825 billion economic stimulus law. The program “allows the owner of commercial solar property to receive a 30 percent grant, in lieu of taking the solar Investment Tax Credit,” according to SEIA. As of June 29, the Section 1603 Treasury Program had awarded 2,657 grants totaling $1.18 billion for more than 6,300 individual solar projects in 45 states...more

Forest Service recommends Rosemont Mine be approved

The U.S. Forest Service is recommending a different mining plan for the Rosemont Mine as its preferred alternative, versus Rosemont Copper's preference, its new draft environmental impact statement says. The agency prefers what is called the Barrel Alternative, which would put all the tailings and waste rock from the open-pit mine in Upper Barrel Canyon and a lower portion of Wasp Canyon in the Santa Rita Mountains southeast of Tucson, "and permanently avoids placement of mine waste in McCleary Canyon." Those canyons are part of the drainage system for Davidson Canyon, a tributary to Cienega Creek, one of the last remaining perennial streams in the Tucson area. A tradeoff for that change appears to put waste rock closer to scenic Arizona 83, known as the Sonoita Highway, than the mining company's plan would, maps indicate...more


We decide whether the United States Forest Service's (Service) 2007 Travel Management Plan for parts of the Lewis and Clark National Forest, including the Middle Fork Judith Wilderness Study Area, violates the Montana Wilderness Study Act of 1977 (Study Act) and the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). We hold that nothing in the Study Act, which requires the Service to manage a wilderness study area so as to "maintain" its wilderness character as it existed in 1977, prohibits the Service from exercising its discretion to enhance the wilderness character of a study area. We also hold that NEPA does not require the Service to prepare a supplemental draft environmental impact statement (EIS) where, as here, the final decision makes only minor changes and is qualitatively within the spectrum of the alternatives discussed in the draft EIS. We accordingly reverse the judgment of the district court. BACKGROUNDIn 2007, the Service issued a revised Travel Management Plan governing recreational motorized and nonmotorized use on 1.1 million acres of the Lewis and Clark National Forest. The area covered by the travel plan encompasses the Little Belt Mountains, the Castle Mountains, the north half of the Crazy Mountains and the 81,000-acre Middle Fork Judith Wilderness Study Area...more

U.S. Ranchers Find Markets in Russia for Their Beef, on the Hoof

American cattlemen are finding homes on a new range — the steppes of Russia. Beef ranchers in the United States have honed the characteristics of some robust and meaty breeds of cattle such as Angus and Hereford. But because of trade restrictions, ranchers cannot always export frozen meat from the animals. They can, though, send breeding bulls and heifers on exotic international journeys from ranches in the Midwest to places like Russia, where they are encouraged to prosper and propagate, sometimes under the watchful eye of the American ranchers themselves. “This country has as much potential as anywhere in the world,” Darrell Stevenson, a Montana bull breeder, said here Thursday at an agricultural fair attended by an American trade delegation. While United States business generally has been in the doldrums, cattle exporters are enjoying something of a — sorry, just this once — bull market. Drought in Texas has driven up cattle prices at the same time that a decline in the dollar’s value has aided American exports of all types. Leading the trade delegation was Gov. Sam Brownback, Republican of Kansas. Also on hand: Sam, an American Angus of Montana, lounging in his pen, chewing cud and looking muscular. The selling of breeding bulls abroad is a side of the cattle business known broadly as genetics exports. “They have a lot of grass and they want to turn that into protein,” Mr. Brownback said. Accompanied by Kansas ranchers who produce so-called feed stock, or purebred bulls for other cattle farmers, the governor is visiting Russia and Kazakhstan this month. “They want to find the right genetics.” Russian officials, including the minister of agriculture, he said, are not interested in raising beef import quotas, but are receptive to buying American breeding cattle. “They are taking oil money and putting it into their herd,” he said...more

Bismarck rancher sentenced in deer killing

A Bismarck rancher who pleaded guilty to killing deer in his daughter's feedlot to keep them from damaging feed will spend four days in jail and pay $8,500 in restitution to the state. The Bismarck Tribune reports ( that 69-year-old William Dethloff had a second restitution hearing on Thursday in which the judge reordered the same sentence and restitution he had handed down in January. Dethloff pleaded guilty to eight counts of unlawful taking of big game and nine counts of unlawful possession of big game animals in Burleigh County. He had sought to be allowed to present evidence that he had no other alternative, but a judge ruled that the crimes were "strict liability" offenses. Court documents say a state wildlife investigator found the dead deer in February. AP

Song Of The Day #665

Ranch Radio is feeling Rockabilly this morning. That's a genre of country music we haven't explored so far...but we'll start today. When Elvis walked into Sam Phillips studio he spawned the white man's rock 'n roll music. Some of his early recordings though, such as Blue Moon of Kentucky, That's Alright Mama and our selection today, Mystery Train, started the rockabilly craze that influenced country music all during the 50's and 60's. We'll have a week of rockabilly soon.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Dog rescues another dog on busy highway

 This video is two years old, but its the first time I've seen it.  If you haven't seen this please enjoy.

NM Game Commission names new Director of Department of Game and Fish

Jim Lane, chief of the Department of Game and Fish Wildlife Management Division, was selected as the agency’s new director Thursday by the State Game Commission. Lane will be responsible for overseeing a department with more than 300 employees and an annual budget of more than $34 million. His duties will begin Oct. 29, continuing the pursuit of the Department’s mission to conserve, protect, enhance, manage and propagate the state’s wildlife and its habitat for public recreation and food supply. Lane will replace current Director Tod Stevenson, who announced plans to retire this month after having worked 33 years with the Department, including three as director. As chief of the Wildlife Management Division, Lane was is responsible for a staff of 17 and an annual budget of $4.1 million. His division is in charge of big-game, habitat enhancement, wild turkey, small game, migratory bird, furbearer, bear and cougar programs. In three years with the Department, Lane has helped increase numbers of big-game licenses, improved communication within the agency and with sportsmen and landowners, established a four-year rule process to improve big-game and small-game management decisions, and initiated the process to delist endangered desert bighorn sheep. He previously worked with the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources as an environmental scientist, wildlife division director, wildlife program coordinator and other positions. He holds a master’s degree in forestry from the University of Kentucky, and is a current member of the National Wild Turkey Federation and Ducks Unlimited...Press Release

America’s Worst Wind-Energy Project

The majority of the funding for the $1.9 billion, 845-megawatt Shepherds Flat wind project in Oregon is coming courtesy of federal taxpayers. And that largesse will provide a windfall for General Electric and its partners on the deal who include Google, Sumitomo, and Caithness Energy. Not only is the Energy Department giving GE and its partners a $1.06 billion loan guarantee, but as soon as GE’s 338 turbines start turning at Shepherds Flat, the Treasury Department will send the project developers a cash grant of $490 million. The deal was so lucrative for the project developers that last October, some of Obama’s top advisers, including energy-policy czar Carol Browner and economic adviser Larry Summers, wrote a memo saying that the project’s backers had “little skin in the game” while the government would be providing “a significant subsidy (65+ percent).” The memo goes on to say that, while the project backers would only provide equity equal to about 11 percent of the total cost of the wind project, they would receive an “estimated return on equity of 30 percent.”...more

Crony capitalism doesn't seem an adequate term to describe this.  

In addition to the ridiculus financials, Robert Bryce, the author of the above piece, summarizes what one participant in the webinar had to say about defending wind projects:

During the webinar, Justin Rolfe-Redding, a doctoral student from the Center for Climate Change Communication at George Mason University, discussed ways for wind-energy proponents to get their message out to the public. Rolfe-Redding said that polling data showed that “after reading arguments for and against wind, wind lost support.” He went on to say that concerns about wind energy’s cost and its effect on property values “crowded out climate change” among those surveyed. The most astounding thing to come out of Rolfe-Redding’s mouth — and yes, I heard him say it myself — was this: “The things people are educated about are a real deficit for us.” After the briefings on the pros and cons of wind, said Rolfe-Redding, “enthusiasm decreased for wind. That’s a troubling finding.” The solution to these problems, said Rolfe-Redding, was to “weaken counterarguments” against wind as much as possible. He suggested using “inoculation theory” by telling people that “wind is a clean source, it provides jobs” and adding that “it’s an investment in the future.” He also said that proponents should weaken objections by “saying prices are coming down every day.”

Education on the issue is a "real deficit" and the more people find out about wind energy projects the less they support them. Instead of presenting facts and figures supportive of their proposals, the advocate proposes an "inoculation theory" to attack counterarguments and then obfuscate, mislead and outright lie about the proposal.

It's seldom you will see the methodology of environmental advocates so blatantly layed out before you. Remember it, as we will see again.

Salazar: 'Offshore Wind's Brightest Days Are Still Ahead Of Us'

If the nascent offshore wind industry needed a boost of federal support, it surely received one from U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) Secretary Ken Salazar, who took the stage Tuesday with an upbeat message. Speaking at the opening session of the American Wind Energy Association's Offshore Windpower Conference & Exhibition in Baltimore, Salazar told attendees, "Offshore wind's brightest days are still ahead of us, and we are going to stand up offshore wind turbines in the U.S." Responding to negative media reports surrounding bankrupt solar company Solyndra, a down economy and a tough financing market, Salazar urged attendees to forge ahead. "I don't back down - and Barack Obama does not back down," he said, adding that claims that renewable energy is just the latest fad are "greatly exaggerated."...more

Senators And Congressmen Introduce The Northern Arizona Mining Continuity Act

U.S. Senators John McCain (R-AZ), Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Mike Lee (R-UT) and U.S. Congressmen Trent Franks (AZ-02), Rob Bishop (UT-01), Jeff Flake (AZ-06), Paul Gosar (AZ-01), David Schweikert (AZ-05) and Ben Quayle (AZ-03) introduced the Northern Arizona Mining Continuity Act of 2011. This legislation will stop the U.S. Department of the Interior from banning mining in a vast area of Arizona, and killing jobs in the uranium mining industry. In a recent letter to Department of Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, several members of Congress wrote in protest of the Secretary’s proposed a one million acre withdrawal of mining rights. The members stated the withdrawal has nothing to do with protecting the Grand Canyon environment but is actually ‘de facto wilderness’ for a region that conservationists previously agreed would remain accessible to the mining industry. The Interior Department’s own environmental study on the proposed withdrawal found ‘no conclusive evidence’ that modern-day mining operations in this area are harming the Grand Canyon watershed. The Northern Arizona Mining Continuity Act of 2011 would uphold the historic agreement embodied by the Arizona Wilderness Act of 1984 (AWA) that designated parts of the Arizona Strip as Wilderness and restored other lands to reasonable and safe uranium mining uses...more

Haven't read the bill, but it appears they are going after this specific withdrawal. This issue will continue to pop up until they address the Secretary's authority in general to withdraw this amount of acreage.

Environmentalists: Where's the 'Guy We Thought We Were Electing President?’

At a Washington, D.C, rally protesting the Keystone XL pipeline project on Friday, environmentalists expressed disappointment and disillusionment with President Barack Obama. “We need—somehow—to find that guy we thought we were electing president. And we have to figure out, where they are holding him, and release him,” said environmental activist Bill McKibben. At that point, the crowd broke into cries of “Free Obama.” McKibben, an author and scholar who founded an international grassroots campaign against climate change, has emerged as the leader of the ongoing pipeline protests. In his speech at the Washington rally, he quoted Obama’s campaign promise to “end the tyranny of oil” and to “have the most transparent government the world has ever seen.” McKibben told CNSNews that the Keystone pipeline – which, when finished, would bring crude oil from Alberta, Canada to Texas oil refineries – “is the biggest decision the president faces this fall and it’s entirely on him. Congress isn’t in the way. And we will find out whether he meant it when he said we need to fight global warming and have a transparent government.”...more

Onetime cockfighting suspect sues over killed chickens

A Livermore rancher once accused of taking part in a cockfighting ring has filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against Alameda County, crying fowl over the seizure and destruction of more than 300 of his chickens. Mark Jaegel Sr., 54, was among seven people arrested in January 2008 by Alameda County sheriff’s deputies for an alleged cockfight at a ranch at 4400 North Livermore Road in unincorporated Livermore. Deputies later searched Jaegel’s home on Tesla Road and confiscated 344 fighting cocks and hens. The sheriff’s office obtained an order by Judge Hugh Walker of Alameda County Superior Court to destroy all the chickens after some had been found to be afflicted with Marek’s Disease, a contagion that causes internal lesions in birds. But Jaegel said the disease is treatable and that deputies had no right to kill his feathered friends. “Plaintiff was never notified of any intent to destroy his chickens nor was he charged or convicted of any offense that would have provided a lawful basis for the destruction of his animals,” said Jaegel’s suit, filed in U.S. District Court in Oakland...more

Blackfeet Reservation: Cattle found dead near salty reservoir

The Blackfeet Environmental Office suspects toxic concentrations of salt in a reservoir led to the deaths of more than two dozen cows on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation last week. A rancher on the east side of the reservation reported the dead cattle to the environmental office last Thursday, Shawn Lahr told the Great Falls Tribune. Lahr and others visited the site Monday and counted 29 dead cows. He said the animals apparently died after drinking water in a stagnant reservoir. Samples of the water and the cows' blood have been sent to a lab for testing, Lahr said. Aerial photos of the site show areas of white in the soil indicating high levels of salt, he said. At high concentrations, salt water can be deadly to cattle said Jan Holzer, program director of the Montana Salinity Control Association in Conrad. Holzer says this year's higher precipitation levels resulted in a higher water table and the most saline seep the state has seen in a decade. Water seeps to the surface and evaporates, leaving behind naturally occurring salts...more

Truckers lend a hand for the big ‘bale out’

This is not your typical bail out, but it is a “bale out” designed to help parts of Texas and Oklahoma get through one of the worst single-year droughts in recorded history. Truckers, farmers and a growing community from far and wide are pitching in to help ranchers who are out of feed for their livestock and horses because of the ongoing extreme drought and widespread wildfires. The Indiana Motor Truck Association announced that seven flatbeds from among its members would be loaded with hay donated by Indiana farmers and shipped to needed areas. Those trucks are scheduled to convoy to Terrell, TX, on Thursday, Oct. 13, where the hay will be distributed. Farmers and truckers from Tennessee chipped in the past few weeks to help Oklahoma ranchers with hay, and loads continued to arrive from Wisconsin, Alabama and other states that yielded enough to share. Agricultural losses in the Lone Star State have already topped $5 billion according to Texas AgriLife Extension Service. On Oct. 1, Texas Gov. Rick Perry renewed a previous disaster proclamation which suspends certain trucking restrictions related to hay transport. The Texas Department of Agriculture is doing its best to connect those who have hay with those who do not. Other states have temporarily lifted permit requirements to assist in the effort, as well. Alabama, for example, issued special hay-hauling permits to deliver feed to Texas. Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin recently extended an executive order that lifts permit requirements for hay haulers...more

It's great to see the voluntary cooperation and assistance and praise to those who are participating.

Usually a disaster declaration means more government involvement, but in this case it means less. Let's see those trucking restrictions lifted permanently.

Hola! USDA’s Farm Service Agency Tweeting en Español

USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA)—the agency responsible for equitably serving all farmers, ranchers, and agricultural partners in the United States with effective agricultural programs—recently launched a Spanish-language Twitter account. We hope it helps to reach Hispanic farmers and ranchers in a new way. We’ll “tweet” the latest information on farm programs, loan announcements and emergency designations. We’ll also issue updates via Twitter on the Hispanic and women farmers claims process. “We are excited to offer a tool that reaches folks for whom English is not their first language,” said FSA Administrator Bruce Nelson. “As the population of Hispanic farmers and ranchers continues to grow, we need to grow with them and provide resources to help educate and inform all of our customers.”...more

Everything posted on The Westerner automatically is posted on Facebook and Twitter. You can friend me on Facebook by going here or follow me on Twitter here.

Having reached the conclusion that most if not all of USDA's programs are wasteful and counterproductive, I hope someday to "tweet" goodbye to USDA and "tweet" hello to farm & ranch freedom.

Positive Reaction Pouring in on FTA Passage

President Obama called the passage of trade agreements with Colombia, Panama and South Korea, as well as Trade Adjustment Assistance, a major win for American workers and businesses. House Agriculture Committee Chair Frank Lucas, R-Okla., says the ag industry is going to benefit from significant, new market access as a result of the passage of the three trade deals with Colombia, Panama and South Korea. He points out that according to the American Farm Bureau Federation, the U.S. will see $370 million more in farm exports to Colombia annually as a result of the FTA with that country. The agreement with Korea, once fully implemented, could boost increased farm exports by $1.9 billion. Lucas says the agreements put us in a better position to compete globally, expand U.S. exports, create jobs and bring much-needed income to communities across rural America. NCBA President Bill Donald says cattlemen also have a lot to gain when the agreements are fully implemented. He says the bext example is found in the agreement with Korea. The U.S. International Trade commission says annual exports of U.S. beef to South Korea are expected to increase as much as $1.8 billion. Implementation would phase out South Korea's 40% tariff on beef imports over 15 years...more

Certified organic beef ranchers sue government for herbicide spraying

Alleging that a government contractor sprayed an herbicide on their property as part of transmission-line maintenance, the owners of a state-certified organic beef farm in Skagit County, Washington, have sued the U.S. government and the contractor for damages incurred by the contamination of their property. Benson v. United States, No. 11-01619 (U.S. Dist. Ct., W.D. Wash., Seattle, filed September 28, 2011). According to the complaint, the plaintiffs have a contract with the government “with regards to all maintenance on the power lines and providing recovery of any resulting damages.” In 2008, the plaintiffs were allegedly notified that spraying would take place, and they spoke with a government representative explaining that their property could not be sprayed. They were allegedly assured that this would be noted in the paperwork and that no herbicide would be sprayed on their property. Despite the assurances and despite a “no spray” sign on the access gate to the plaintiffs’ property, herbicide was sprayed on the property in 2009. They claim that they had to sell their existing herd on the regular market, which resulted in insufficient income “to pay off the operating capital loan needed to run the farm in 2009.” They also allegedly lost a contract for the purchase of 100 cows per year for ten years...more

Couple with baby get lost in corn maze, call police

Getting lost in a corn maze is supposed to be fun. But it turned into a nightmare for a Massachusetts couple who got so turned around that they had to be rescued by the police. It all started late Monday afternoon, when the couple entered a corn maze at Connors Farm in Danvers, Mass., about 23 miles north of Boston. After about an hour in the maze, darkness began to fall. The couple, who were there with their 3-week-old baby, could not find a way out. As the mosquitoes started to descend, they placed a desperate call to 911 asking to be rescued...more

Spanish matador left blind in one eye after being horrifically gored through the head - video

ONE of Spain’s most popular matadors has been blinded in his left eye and paralysed down one side of his face after he was gored through the head during a bullfight. Juan Jose Padilla, slipped after placing banderillas in the bull and the animal struck piercing him through the jaw during Zaragoza’s Fiestas Del Pilar on Friday to the horror of the 20,000 onlookers. Television images showed the sickening moment when the bull’s left horn penetrated Padilla’s lower jaw to emerge beside his protruding eyeball. He was helped out of the ring after the gory incident with blood gushing from his head screaming “I can’t see, I can’t see.” The 38-year-old native of Jerez then underwent a life-saving five-hour operation to repair severe damage to his eye, bone, muscle and skin...more

Here's a graphic presentation, including slo-mo, of the event.

Song Of The Day #664

Ranch Radio is feeling helpful this morning, so here's a tune that goes out to all you little darlin's I've helped in the past:  Billy Swan's 1974 recording of  I Can Help.

U.S. Sheriffs: Securing Border With Mexico is ‘About Saving America’ From Terrorists

Nine sheriffs from around the country came to Washington D.C. Wednesday to send a message, they said, about the threat posed by Mexican drug cartels and some illegal aliens operating and committing crimes in communities throughout the United States. Offenses range from driving drunk to murder and are not limited to states along the southwest border, they said. “We suffer those same problems in Frederick County,” the Maryland county’s sheriff, Chuck Jenkins, said during a panel discussion in the House Rayburn Building. “This is about the rule of law.” “This is about saving America,” Jenkins said. “This is about public safety and national security.” The focus of Wednesday’s panel discussion was border security and the challenges faced by local law enforcement agencies combating criminal activities carried out by Mexican drug cartels and some illegal aliens. According to the Department of Justice National Drug Intelligence Center’s 2009 data, Mexican drug cartels are operating in some 200 U.S. cities. The CIS paper shows that immigrants are no longer settling primarily in large urban areas but also in smaller cities and towns across the country. Over the last decade, Alabama led the nation in immigrant population growth (92 percent), followed by South Carolina (88 percent), Tennessee (82 percent), Arkansas (79 percent), Kentucky (75 percent) and North Carolina (67 percent)...more

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

COWBOYS & COMMUNISTS (under a cowgirl moon) - Music Video

Not my kind of music, but an interesting video nevertheless.

Cowboy Up aims to bring cowboy lifestyle to energy drink market

The life of a rancher means standing with one boot dusted in cowboy culture and the other taking its shine from entrepreneurship. Somewhere on the frontier between both worlds is the brand. Husband and wife team Bert and Montie Madera own and operate the Pitchfork Cattle Company, a ranch that runs cattle on 32,000 acres west of Jal in Lea County, N.M. Aside from the brand on their roughly 700 head of cattle, they control a brand that may be familiar to imbibers of energy drinks, Cowboy Up. While cattle brands long have served to provide evidence of ownership, the brand of an energy drink sets it apart from others on the shelf. In the case of Cowboy Up, the owners hope to tie their drink to the lifestyle shared by others who live the cowboy way. "We've heard that saying for years, 'cowboy up,'" Bert said, "so it fits right in." The Madera family has been working a ranch since 1932, when Bert's grandfather Rufus founded the operation that would grow into the Pitchfork (not to be confused with the larger ranch by the same name in King County). Now the ranch is home to a fifth generation of Madera ranchers, with three teenage grandchildren lending a hand to get cattle to market...more

John Malone Is Now America's Biggest Landowner

Earlier this year Malone passed fellow media mogul Ted Turner to become America’s Biggest Landowner with 2.2 million acres, thanks to a giant investment in timberland in New England. It capped a quick ascent for the cable-television magnate, who joined the list of the nation’s land barons last year, shoving aside ranchers and timber magnates, some of whom have owned their acreage for generations. He entered the list at No. 5 after buying New Mexico’s 453-square-mile Bell Ranch in 2010, then passed Turner earlier this year after buying 1 million acres in New Hampshire and Maine from private equity firm GMO Renewable Resources. Aside from Malone’s quick trip to the top, the list didn’t change much this year. Compiled by Land Report researchers with the assistance of Fay Ranches, a Western land brokerage, the list includes the usual family timber dynasties as well as the owners of the King Ranch in Texas, once considered unimaginably huge but now, at 911,000 acres dwarfed by the holdings of Turner and Malone. No. 2, of course, is Turner, the CNN founder who began buying ranches in the 1970s and now controls 2 million acres in New Mexico, Colorado, Montana, Florida and several other states. At his customary spot in the Top 5 at No. 3 is Archie “Red” Emmerson, whose Sierra Pacific Industries boosted its holdings to almost 1.9 million acres this year. At No. 4 is recent entrant Brad Kelley, a Tennessee cigarette magnate who poured the profit from the $1 billion sale of his company into 1.7 million acres of land in Florida, Texas and New Mexico. Below him by half a million acres is the Irving family of Canada, who own a little less than 1/20th of the state of Maine (plus a bunch more in Canada). The No. 6 landowners are the Singleton family of New Mexico with 1.1 million acres. Henry Singleton was a brilliant engineer who co-founded Teledyne and began buying land in New Mexico in the mid-1980s. Now his heirs run the massive Singleton Ranches, headquartered in Santa Fe, one of the nation’s biggest cattle and horse-breeding operations...more

A conversation with environmental historian Stephen Pyne on wildfire

Since the publication of his book Fire in America: A Cultural History of Wildland and Rural Fire in 1982, Stephen Pyne has been regarded as one of the world’s leading experts in the environmental history of fire. He spent 15 seasons as a wildland firefighter on the North Rim of Grand Canyon National Park and was the recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship in 1988. He is a professor at Arizona State University, specializing in the history of ecology, the history of exploration, and the history of fire. He is at work on a book on the history of wildland fire in the U.S. from 1960 to the present day. Why 1960? My previous history, Fire in America, ends in the 1970s, but a lot has happened since then. We need a new story, not just a continuation of the old one. We’re coming up on the 50th anniversary of the opening salvo in our modern battle over what to do about wildfire — it was the Tall Timbers Fire Ecology Conference in Florida in 1962. That’s where the idea of reintroducing fire into the landscape, particularly prescribed fire, was really pushed. They were arguing against this firefighting juggernaut, as they saw it, that was sort of mindlessly putting out fires and causing all kinds of problems in doing so. There’s a lot that works with 1960. There’s Kennedy’s comment, about the torch being passed to a new generation. And 1961 was a relatively big fire year in the Northern Rockies. The Brentwood-Bel Air Fire in L.A. in 1961 announces in a celebrity sort of way that the wildland-urban interface, what we now call the WUI, is here. What was going on with the land-management agencies in 1960? The U.S. Forest Service was the dominant power, really, when it came to wildland fire policy, but in 1962 the wheels start coming off. By 1968 the National Park Service has broken ranks and created its own fire policy, and the other federal agencies follow suit. So the whole thing fragments...more

SunPower: Twice As Bad As Solyndra

How did a failing California solar company, buffeted by short sellers and shareholder lawsuits, receive a $1.2 billion federal loan guarantee for a photovoltaic electricity ranch project—three weeks after it announced it was building new manufacturing plant in Mexicali, Mexico, to build the panels for the project. The company, SunPower (SPWR-NASDAQ), now carries $820 million in debt, an amount $20 million greater than its market capitalization. If SunPower was a bank, the feds would shut it down. Instead, it received a lifeline twice the size of the money sent down the Solyndra drain. Two men with insight into the process are SunPower rooter Rep. George R. Miller III, (D.-Calif.), the senior Democrat on the House Education and Workforce Committee and the co-chairman of the Democratic Steering and Policy Committee, and his SunPower lobbyist son, George Miller IV. Miller the Elder is a strong advocate for SunPower, which converted an old Richmond, Calif., Ford plant in his district to a panel-manufacturing facility...more

Editorial: Why does Washington need more real estate?

It's a policy based on self-preservation for thousands of federal bureaucrats: Washington's vast real estate portfolio mustn't ever shrink. In other words, for every acre of land removed from federal control and placed in private hands, another acre somewhere else must be purchased and put under Washington hegemony. Otherwise, federal land agencies may eventually be unable to justify the massive herd of government agents now employed to oversee these holdings. This tenet has played out in Nevada for years, where the federal government controls some 86 percent of the state. Heaven forfend that should ever fall to, say, 80 percent, however. So whenever the Bureau of Land Management auctions off acreage in urban Southern Nevada, it uses some of the proceeds to buy "sensitive" lands elsewhere in the state...more

Court Nixes Arizona Land Management Suits

The U.S. government is properly managing more than a million acres of public land north of the Grand Canyon, where environmentalists claim off-road vehicles and grazing livestock are destroying natural and cultural treasurers and poisoning endangered California condors with carrion full of lead, a federal judge ruled. U.S. District Judge Paul Rosenblatt sided with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in two related lawsuits last week, finding that the agency's 2008 management plans for the Grand Canyon-Parashant and Vermillion Cliffs National Monuments conform to federal law. The monuments encompass some 1.3 million acres of lonely, arid sweeps of high-desert plains and towering red-rock cliffs north of the Grand Canyon's north rim, on the Arizona-Utah border. The Wilderness Society, the Center for Biological Resources and other groups claimed in two separate lawsuits that the agency's long-term management strategy for the lands goes against the presidential proclamations that initially protected them. In granting summary judgment to the BLM in both lawsuits, Rosenblatt found that the agency's resource-management plans will adequately protect the lands. He pointed out that the plans close nearly 90,000 acres in Vermillion Cliffs and nearly 300,000 acres in Grand Canyon-Parashant to "motorized and mechanized vehicle use," including some 360 miles of routes that were previously open to such use. Rosenblatt also found that the BLM's management plans for livestock grazing pass muster, as they close some 34,000 acres in Parashant to grazing and "establish new standards and management actions to protect rangeland health."...more

Chupacabra in Mississippi?

With its blue hairless body, rounded ears and scarily sharp teeth, this strange creature has been creating quite a stir. Shot dead by a Mississippi homeowner, it has re-opened the debate as to the very existence of the mythical chupacabra - which is said to hunt livestock by sucking the blood out of animals. Truitt Barnard, who gunned the beast down in his Simpson County garden after spying it from 130 yards, said: 'Strangest animal I've ever seen. I've been hunting 50 years. Dubbed the 'Bigfoot of Latin culture', the chupacabras - which means goat sucker in Spanish - have been reportedly seen since 1995. Popular legend uses the phrase to describe unknown animals that attack livestock, usually goats, and allegedly drink the animal's blood. But Jackson vet Troy Majure said Mr Barnard's unusual find was probably not the mythical animal. He said: 'All the cases I know it would be a type of canine, whether it's a fox coyote dog.' He revealed it also could be a hybrid of the animals, and said: 'This one looks like it's pretty emaciated as well, when I say emaciated it looks like it could use a good meal. 'Chronic mange will actually cause blue in color and give the appearance that you see with the so called Chupacabra.'...more

Truitt Barnard said the beast's 3/4 inch long double canines were the same as those seen by others on the mythical chupacabra

Hank Jr. pens response to ESPN - Free download

In response to his departure from Monday Night Football, Hank Jr. has released his response in music.  You can download his Keeping Change for free by going here.

Song Of The Day #663

This a different week on Ranch Radio as I pick whatever song I'm in the mood for, no matter the era or genre of music.

Today I'm feeling kind of bluesy and I'm also tired of dealing with a certain type of person.  Put the two together and you get Pugsley Buzzard performing Your Mind Is On Vacation But Your Mouth Is Working Overtime.   The tune is on his  16 track CD Chicago Typewriter.

Expert Says Cartel Members Living Among Us

Cartel members may be living next to you, down the street or in your neighborhood. You might never know unless you see it on the news. Examples include the deadly shooting on Expressway 83 in McAllen three weeks ago. The man who died was a Gulf Cartel operative. The McAllen Police Department won't give us any information about him or show us his picture. They won't even talk about the shooting. The truth is we may never know the exact number of cartel crimes that might be happening in the Valley. What we can tell you is two or three homicides a month may not be just homicides. They may be cartel hits. Hundreds of drivers cross the border legitimately everyday, including cartel operatives. “There’s a lot of fraud that goes on and they have the money to use fraudulent documents,” says former DEA Supervisor Phil Jordan. Jordan says he estimates there are hundreds of cartel members living in the Valley. He says we're talking about cartel bosses and upper management flying under the radar with fake names. They're not on the DEA or FBI's most wanted list yet. “They have safe houses on this side of the border so if there's problems on the Mexican side, they can come to the American side,” says Jordan. Cartel hits happen all the time. We just don't know it. “There’s at least two or three a month that happen but are not documented as such because they are classified as murders,” says Jordan...more

Gunwalker: Issa Reveals Drug Enforcement Administration Involvement

It was a brutal weekend for the Obama administration: Gunwalker continued unraveling at a faster pace, with new developments suggesting that Attorney General Eric Holder may not be the only Obama appointee destined for a political fall and possible criminal charges. In an interview with Chris Wallace on Fox News Sunday, House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa revealed for the first time that the Drug Enforcement Administration was far more involved in running the operation than the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives: It wasn’t an ATF operation. They were part of that. It was a joint operation in which DEA knew more than ATF. This directly conflicts with prior statements by DEA Administrator Michele Leonhart — she claimed that the DEA only played a supporting role and that her DEA agents in El Paso and Phoenix were only “indirectly involved in the ATF operation through DEA-associated investigative activity.” She further absolved her agency by claiming that “DEA personnel had no decision-making role in ATF operations” associated with Fast and Furious. Unfortunately for the Department of Justice, the higher level of collusion between different federal law enforcement agencies that report to the attorney general make it even more unlikely that Eric Holder and other senior DOJ personnel were unaware of the real goal of the operation...more

Federal appeals court panel rules in favor of D.C. gun law

A federal appeals court panel on Tuesday upheld the District’s authority to impose a system of handgun registration and rejected a challenge to the city’s ban on semiautomatic assault rifles and large-capacity ammunition clips. The 2-to-1 decision by a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District leaves in place the gun-ownership regulations passed by the D.C. Council after a landmark U.S. Supreme Court ruling in 2008 ended the city’s decades-old handgun ban. Calling the ruling “an important victory for the District of Columbia,” Mayor Vincent C. Gray (D) said it “upholds our government’s authority to pass reasonable gun laws.” “It supports the registration requirements as well as the bans on assault weapons and large magazines — each of which are key components of the District’s battle against violent crime,” the mayor said in a statement. Although the opinion sided with the city on the issues of assault rifles and ammunition clips and ruled that the District can require handgun registration, the judges did not back every provision of the registration law. For example, gun registrants are required to submit their firearms to police for test firing so ballistics records can be kept. They also must agree to be photographed and fingerprinted by police, pass vision and gun-knowledge tests and undergo periodic background checks to maintain their registrations. The panel ordered the District Court to hold more hearings on those provisions and others to determine whether they are necessary for public safety. Meanwhile, the requirements will remain in effect...more

The opinion is here.


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The murder of New Mexico border rancher Larry Link remains unsolved

It’s been nearly six months since New Mexico rancher Larry Link was unexpectedly gunned down on his property and New Mexico State Police say they are no closer to solving the murder. The lack of news about the June 7, 2011 murder weighs heavily on the minds of ranchers whose property straddles the international border with Mexico. However, most ranchers believe the crime was perpetrated by someone connected to the drug smuggling community. Spokesperson for the New Mexico Police, Tim Johnson, indicated that locals in the region are perplexed that the murder investigation has not produced any leads and “encourages anyone with information to contact the State Police.” The ranch where Link was executed is home to known-drug smuggling corridor. This murder falls on the heels of longtime Arizona rancher Rob Krentz, who was also killed by unknown assailants. These two unsolved slayings have forced property owners along the southern region to travel heavily-armed at all times. Those with any information about the Larry Link murder can reach the New Mexico State Police at (575) 524-8827 or to report an anonymous tip, call Crime Stoppers at (575) 542-8827...more

Land and Water Conservation Fund under attack from Republicans in Congress

The Land and Water Conservation Fund, which Congress created in 1965, helped pay for this open space, along with large swaths of land in other areas across the country. But there is a fight looming in Washington as Congress plans to drastically cut the program's budget, and President Barack Obama, who had accepted cuts in the past, appears ready to oppose them. The White House has warned it will veto the House Interior spending bill, in part because of its cuts to the conservation fund. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said in a telephone interview that the bill would bring conservation "as close to zero as it's been in modern times." The fund is supposed to receive $900 million each fiscal year out of U.S. offshore oil and gas revenue to pay for federal land acquisitions. But with the exception of fiscal 1998, its funding has consistently fallen well short of that mark. The 2011 operating plan provided $300.5 million, and although Obama asked for $900 million for fiscal 2012, the pending House appropriations bill for Interior allocates just under $95 million. Now, the program's backers are launching a grassroots drive to enlist Republican support for increased funding. Late last month, the Bull Moose Sportsmen's Alliance posted two billboards aimed at Colorado Republicans: one in Grand Junction praised Rep. Scott Tipton for adding $5 million to the program through a floor amendment, while another in Colorado Springs bashed Rep. Doug Lamborn for trying to zero out the program...more

Boo on Tipton and an Atta Boy for Lamborn.

The feds own 655 million acres, nearly 30% of the land in the U.S.  That's a land mass larger than France, Germany, Spain, Portugal & the United Kingdom...combined.

They can't manage what they've got and if there is a need to acquire environmentally sensitive or historically important land they can do so by exchange.

No Net Loss of Private Property used to be a battle cry and it needs to be raised again. 

From green jobs to pink slips - a national scandal

Solargate is just the tip of the iceberg. This cliche within a mixed metaphor reflects the madness of President Obama’s obsession with “green jobs.” It would be bad enough if this disaster were limited to possible criminality at Solyndra, the California-based solar-panel maker that Mr. Obama stimulated with loan guarantees despite repeated internal warnings. Solyndra’s Aug. 31 bankruptcy transformed 1,100 green jobs into pink slips and marinated taxpayers in $527 million of red ink. But many green-jobs programs that have not been raided by the FBI - as befell Solyndra on Sept. 8 - nonetheless are fiscally reckless enough to merit a five-alarm national scandal. Consider: c Hopewell Junction, N.Y.'s SpectraWatt Inc. scored $500,000 from the Energy Department in June 2009 and $150,000 from the National Science Foundation in June 2010. On Aug. 19, the solar-power company went bust. c Evergreen Solar was stimulated with $5.3 million of Massachusetts government cash and praised by the White House for helping “kick-start the economy.” Evergreen went bankrupt on Aug. 15. c Mountain Plaza Inc. went bankrupt in 2003. Nonetheless, its “truck-stop electrification” technology won $424,000 in EPA stimulus funds administered by Tennessee's Transportation Department. Yet again, Mountain Plaza filed for bankruptcy in June 2010. c Notwithstanding its February 2009 bankruptcy and default on a $58 million loan from BNP Paribas, Wisconsin-based, ethanol-oriented Olsen's Mill Acquisition Co. was stimulated with $10 million in January 2010, along with Olsen’s Crop Service. ADM purchased the defunct operation’s assets last month...more

Solar plants in Mass. and Mich. to be auctioned

An Illinois liquidation firm has been named to handle the auction of former Evergreen Solar plants in Massachusetts and Michigan. Hilco Industrial said in a statement Monday that it had been appointed by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court to take bids on the Evergreen facilities in Devens, Mass., and Midland, Mich., including all related assets housed in the plants. The solar energy company closed the Devens plant in January and moved manufacturing operations to China. It had previously received more than $20 million in grants and $11 million in tax and lease initiatives from Massachusetts. Evergreen filed for Chapter 11 protection in August and suspended operations at the Midland plant...more

A Solar Flare For The White House

Government documents indicate that the White House plan to financially aid a failing green energy company might have been outside the law. The sun never sets on the Solyndra scandal. On Friday, while most of America was preparing for the weekend and not paying attention to the news, the government released a batch of Solyndra emails.
They showed that Treasury Department and Office of Management and Budget officials were concerned about the Energy Department's giving Solyndra more money even after the failed company had defaulted on its $535 million government loan. Specifically, the officials worried that the plan was putting Solyndra investors before taxpayers, a violation of federal law. So disturbed were Treasury and OMB that they advised the Department of Energy to consult with the Department of Justice. But DOE, eager to pump the chimera of green energy, declined...more

Issa Eyes Political Connections That Drove Loan Approvals Like Solyndra

The Obama administration engaged in a pattern of approving loans that were not qualified to receive taxpayer money, according to one Republican House chairman who says the development is as disturbing as the potential loss of billions of dollars in investments. Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., chairman of the House Oversight and Government Relations Committee, said Sunday that the administration's approval of a loan guarantee for solar power company Solyndra -- which went belly up shortly after a half-billion dollar investment by the federal government -- is just one example of a "breach of protocol" in approving loans...more

Hardy N.D. cows fly to Kazakhstan to replenish herd

Hundreds of North Dakota cows bred to withstand brutal cold are being shipped in jumbo jets to Kazakhstan to help build the nation's beef industry. Bill Price, president of Bismarck-based Global Beef Consultants, says it's the second year of a 10-year agreement with the former Soviet republic's government. "They like our northern genetics," said Price, who also is a rancher. Most of the cattle are coming from North Dakota ranchers, with some from surrounding states, he said. "We'll keep sending them cattle as long as they keep sending money," Price said of the oil-rich nation. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Most of Kazakhstan's cattle were sold or slaughtered after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, and its herd had been reduced from about 35 million animals in the early 1990s to about 2 million. More than 2,600 pregnant cows and heifers were shipped last year on Boeing 747 air freighters from North Dakota to Astana, capital of Kazakhstan, Price said. About the same number of cattle are slated to be shipped this year, he said...more

Ag child labor proposal gets worse when details revealed

"If you thought the new non-agricultural rules prohibiting virtually all employment of youth under 16 were overzealous, the details in this document are downright oppressive," Anderson said. "The DOL assumes that youth under age 16 lack the 'cognitive ability' to herd animals on horseback, use battery-powered drills, put hay bales on a bale elevator or use any equipment except if powered by hand or foot." The document betrays an attitude in government that - perhaps unconsciously - would destroy the generational family structure commonly found on farms. "In agriculture it is common for farms to be operated by two, three or even five generations of family members," Anderson said. "The grandparents own the land, their children are buying into the farm and may have some land on their own, and the grandchildren are working to understand what it takes to be a farmer. If the parents and grandparents operate the farm, the grandchildren under 16 would be prohibited from working on the operation." Such restrictions and inconsistencies are why Anderson and other Michigan Farm Bureau officials are pleading with farmers to submit comments to the DOL before the Nov. 1 comment period expires. Read the entire document by googling federal register Vol. 76, No. 171 ag youth. "Don't let the spin fool you," Anderson said. "They'll say there's nothing for farm families to worry about because there is an exemption for children working on their parents' farm. The DOL proposal says it will maintain the family exemption, but later limits the exemption for any business or multi-generation farm."...more

An appeal for a veto of Aamodt water settlement funding

Next Friday (Oct. 14) is the deadline for Gov. Susana Martinez to decide what bills from this past special session of the legislature she will either sign or veto. One of the bills before her is an $86 million in capital outlay projects and one of the items in that bill is $15 million for the Aamodt water settlement. Chupadero resident Paul White may be swimming upstream so to speak, but he wants Gov. Martinez to line-item veto the Aamodt funding, saying there hasn’t been enough public input into the decision, that it risks drying out the Rio Grande, is unfair to farmers and ranchers and could ultimately cost taxpayers much more than the initial $15 million payment. White says the Aamodt agreement could cost as much as $400 million. The settlement includes construction of and funding for a regional water system. New Mexico senators Jeff Bingaman and Tom Udall enthusiastically supported the settlement but there are still residents in northern New Mexico (like Paul White) who are dead-set against it for ecological and financial reasons...more

Cattle growers seek centennial ranches

The New Mexico Cattle Growers Association (NMCGA) is looking for centennial ranches, ranches that have been owned and operated by the same family for 100 years or more. "Ranching has been the heart and soul of New Mexico's rural communities, and our state's economy, for generations, and that history is worth recognizing," said Bert Ancell, NMCGA president. "We are asking centennial ranchers to contact our office with their ranch name and brand, which will be used in the coming months as we celebrate the history and tradition of ranching and the livestock industry in New Mexico." The state will celebrate its centennial next year, and the New Mexico Livestock Board will mark its 125th year. In 2014, the NMCGA will celebrate 100 years of working on behalf of state cattle producers. For more information, or to provide your ranch's information, call the NMCGA at (505) 247-0584, or send an email to:

Texas longhorn cattle trail

In 2011, because of the severe drought in Texas and the Southwest, there has been a huge influx of Texas cattle into the (relatively) greener pastures of Nebraska, a movement not seen, perhaps, since the great cattle drives in the last quarter of the 19th Century. In 1836, the Texicans declared their independence from Mexico and Texas became, for a short time, an independent country. At independence time, the vast area, spreading from the Rio Grande to the Nueces River, south and west of the present city of San Antonio, was the domain of Mexican ranchers, who oversaw large herds of cattle on their rancheros. The Texas Revolution saw the Mexican ranchers driven from their homes, back to Mexico, south of the Rio Grande, leaving most of their cattle behind. The new Texas government declared that all unbranded cattle were to become public property, leading to the branding of large herds of cattle by the Texans. Even so, because of the small value of cattle at the time, many, if not most of the abandoned Mexican Longhorn cattle (which breed originated in Spain) reverted to a wild state. Between 1836 and the Civil War these cattle multiplied -- did they ever. It is estimated that there were some 100,000 head of Longhorns in this area in 1830. By 1865 that number had grown to over 5 million! And by that time the cattle spread over a good portion of the central plains region of the Lone Star State. These wild cattle gave rise to a new industry in Texas. Because of the large number of cattle, prices were very cheap in Texas -- as little as $3 per head, while in Chicago, for instance, they were worth 10 times as much...more

Book celebrates Mrs. Weadick as Stampede marks centennial

Lenore McClean in Florence Weadick's Saddle
Like many other youngsters of her time lucky enough to grow up here, the now 72-year-old McLean has vivid memories of the American teen who ran away from her home on a Minnesotan Sioux reservation to join the circus at the turn of the last century, changing her name from Grace Maude Bensell to Flores LaDue. In time, McLean would come to know the remarkable woman as Florence Weadick — “but we always called her Mrs. Weadick.” The sartorially savvy cowgirl, known for riding “slick,” or not tying down the stirrups, was one of the true greats of the 20th century. She could rope six running horses with her lasso. Her exploits in the 1912 inaugural Calgary Stampede won her not only the $300 Cowgirls’ Fancy Roping competition, but also a city lot for best complete outfit. She won three unprecedented world championships for trick and fancy roping, retiring undefeated. It’s hardly surprising that as the Calgary Stampede’s planning rolls into high gear for next year’s centennial of the internationally known event, such icons as this woman who ranked right up there with the likes of sharp shooter Annie Oakley, should be getting their due. Those stories have been compiled into Bryden’s book, The First Stampede of Flores LaDue (Simon and Schuster Canada), which will be officially launched Oct. 21 at the 2011 Western Legacy Awards, the Stampede’s annual homage to individuals in the community who exemplify western heritage and values...more

A Message To Obama From Rural Americans

Song Of The Day #662

When it comes to painting the town, I always tried to give it several coats.  I've been thinking about that and how lucky I was to never quite have the experience that Adam did in Adam & Evil by the Coal Porters.  It's a dandy tune, all six minutes of it, and you can find it on their 12 track CD  Turn The Water On, Boy!

Paramilitaries may have entered Mexico's drug wars

The gruesome discovery of 32 bodies scattered in houses in the port city of Veracruz this week is the latest sign that Mexico's drug-fueled violence is entering a new phase in which murky paramilitary-style squads are carrying out mass exterminations. Jose Luis Vergara, a spokesman for Mexico's marines, said Friday that troops had arrested eight suspected members of a squad known as "Zeta Killers" on Thursday and that their confessions led troops to three houses where they discovered the bodies. It was the latest ghastly event to send shudders through Veracruz. Two weeks ago, gunmen dumped 35 semi-nude, mutilated bodies along a freeway underpass in Veracruz in broad daylight. Opponents of President Felipe Calderon, whose policies have been widely criticized for failing to curb, or perhaps even feeding, the violence, say the recent killings indicate the emergence of paramilitary vengeance squads...more

Fast and Furious weapons were found in Mexico cartel enforcer's home; 6 in Columbus, NM

High-powered assault weapons illegally purchased under the ATF's Fast and Furious program in Phoenix ended up in a home belonging to the purported top Sinaloa cartel enforcer in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, whose organization was terrorizing that city with the worst violence in the Mexican drug wars. In all, 100 assault weapons acquired under Fast and Furious were transported 350 miles from Phoenix to El Paso, making that West Texas city a central hub for gun traffickers. Forty of the weapons made it across the border and into the arsenal of Jose Antonio Torres Marrufo, a feared cartel leader in Ciudad Juarez, according to federal court records and trace documents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. The smugglers' tactics — quickly moving the weapons far from ATF agents in southern Arizona, where it had been assumed they would circulate — vividly demonstrate that what had been viewed as a local problem was much larger. Six other Fast and Furious guns destined for El Paso were recovered in Columbus, N.M...more

The bitter price to pay for Mexico's bloody drugs war

From a windswept ridge high above El Paso, looking out across the Rio Grande to the vast plains of northern Mexico, Marisol Valles García can almost see her home town. But she can't go back. Ms Valles, 21, fled Mexico in fear of her life, hustling her parents, sisters, husband and one-year-old son into a 4 x 4 vehicle and hurtling across the border to seek asylum in the United States. They left just in time. That night a squad of hit men arrived at their small bungalow and ransacked the rooms. "I would like to go back home," she said. "But if I hadn't left my country I wouldn't be alive now." In spite of her diminutive size and sweet, girlish manner, Ms Valles had some powerful and vicious enemies. The criminology graduate was appointed chief of police in the small town of Praxedis G Guerrero, 50 miles east of Ciudad Juarez and a few miles from the US border. Last year almost 4,500 people were killed in Chihuahua state alone, as the cartels slaughtered each other – and innocent bystanders – to wrestle for control of the valuable trafficking routes. Praxedis is right in the centre of the battleground. Ms Valles's predecessor as chief of police, Juan Manuel Carbajal, 45, was executed as he drove through the streets of the town of Caseta. His predecessor, Martín Castro Martínez, 62, was four days into the job when he was abducted. His head was left outside the police station in a coolbox...more

Monday, October 10, 2011

Tug-of-war between urban, rural emerges in Las Vegas pipeline duel

Somebody’s future is going to dry up, dozens of people testified Friday in a water-rights hearing for a Las Vegas water pipeline. Will it be the ranchers, small towns and tribes of western Utah and eastern Nevada who fear groundwater pumping from their valleys? Or will it be the casinos and, in better economic times, construction crews that fuel southern Nevada’s economy? Or is there — as Vegas water officials assert — enough to go around? Both sides lined up at microphones in four Nevada cities to make their case to Nevada’s state engineer, who is considering the Southern Nevada Water Authority’s applications for groundwater from Spring Valley and associated aquifers near Ely, Nev. The utility also is seeking water from the state-border-straddling Snake Valley, for which the engineer will conduct a separate hearing next year. "This is a catastrophic event if this pipeline does not go forth," said Anthony Rogers, a Las Vegas resident who identified himself as an unemployed construction worker. "It will basically shut down Las Vegas. The hotels will not be able to flush their toilets." A rural Utah farmer from the 70-person west desert enclave of Eskdale countered that pumping groundwater and lowering the water table in the region’s interconnected valleys would doom his settlement. "The water that we pump is essential to our existence," David Surlin said, "because we are an agricultural community."...more

The quote that the "hotels will not be able to flush their toilets" cries out for comment. Problem is, Sharon has advised that every response I've come up with so far is not printable. One contained a recommendation on what the urban dwellers could eat, another was a takeoff on the ad "what happens in Vegas", another...well you get the picture.

$500 million to train for "green jobs" - Only 10% find work

A $500 million Labor Department program designed to train workers for green jobs has come up far short of its goals, with only 10 percent of participants finding work so far, the agency's assistant inspector general has found. The report said the low rate makes it unlikely the program will meet the goal of placing nearly 80,000 workers in careers in energy efficiency or renewable energy by 2013. "Grantees have expressed concerns that jobs have not materialized and that job placements have been fewer than expected for this point in the grant program," said the report from Assistant Inspector General Elliott Lewis...more

Unemployment rate is 9% for workers in general, 90% for green workers. Central planning anyone?

U.S. unlikely to hit advanced biofuel goal: report

The United States will likely fail to reach its long-term mandate for making advanced ethanol from trees, grasses and crop waste unless producers innovate significantly, a scientific advisory group said on Tuesday. The National Research Council's comments are the latest sign that backers of alternative fuels must wait longer for "next-generation" ethanol. Touted as the motor fuel of the future, it has struggled with high production costs and other setbacks. "Absent major technological innovation or policy changes, the ... mandated consumption of 16 billion gallons of ethanol-equivalent cellulosic biofuels is unlikely to be met in 2022," a study by the council said, referring to long-term targets in U.S. law for the biofuel. The study, which drew challenges from the U.S. agriculture secretary and industry groups, also said cellulosic fuel without subsidies would be feasible only with oil above $190 a barrel, far higher than the current level near $80...more

Dayville ranchers file suit over elk

Dayville ranchers Loren and Piper Stout filed a federal court lawsuit Friday, Oct. 7, challenging the state to manage elk herds to steelhead standards. The Stouts hold permits to graze livestock on the Malheur National Forest, but have been restricted in recent years by streambank standards intended to protect endangered fish habitat. However, the Stouts contend that the state's failure to control elk populations is to blame for repeated and excessive violations of these standards on streams in their grazing allotment. Although livestock are normally only on the allotment for a few weeks each year, elk are present year-round. "In the same way that livestock use is restricted, the state needs to reduce the number of elk to meet the range condition standards being set by the federal fish agencies to protect steelhead," said Loren Stout...more

Bureau told to answer allegations over helicopter incident

A judge has left open the option for injunctive relief in a case filed against the Bureau of Land Management over an incident in which the skids of a helicopter purportedly touched a wild horse. Last week, Judge Howard McKibben ordered that the motion for injunctive relief in wild horse advocate Laura Leigh's case against Interior Secretary Ken Salazar addressing "humane treatment" be answered. The case centres on alleged inhumane conduct at bureau roundups...more

They are just counting coup.

Eco-friendly festival can't sustain itself

It was the first New World Festival of Eco-Friendly Science and Technology and quite possibly the last. The event near the beach in Santa Monica, which had been scheduled to run through Sunday, was shut down abruptly Saturday afternoon. Its website had promised robots, a petting zoo, six stages of live music and more than 150 exhibits. But the gathering on Saturday looked more like a medium-sized, eco-friendly farmers market. Howard Mauskopf, the festival's organizer, said he needed to shut down because so few people had shown up. "We're in a position where we don't have the financial ability to continue," he said, adding that he would have needed eight to 10 times the crowd that was present to make ends meet. He said he is going to try to reimburse food vendors next week. "I don't know why people didn't come," he said...more