Saturday, February 04, 2012

Friend of Murdered Border Patrol Agent: Holder Not Accepting Any Type of Accountability

 This morning on Fox and Friends Lana Domino, a friend of murdered Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry, commented on Attorney General Eric Holder's testimony yesterday about the Department of Justice Operation Fast and Furious and Holder's refusal to apologize to the Terry family for Brian's death, which was a result of the lethal program. As Domino expressed in the interview, Holder is refusing to hold himself or anybody else accountable for Operation Fast and Furious and the program's deadly consequences despite vowing under oath yesterday to so.  On top of evading responsibility for the program, Holder's refusal to apologize to the Terry family for the government's incompetence during Fast and Furious, which led to his death on American soil, is disgusting and pathetic; but then again, if Holder were to apologize, he would be inadvertently admitting he and his department did something wrong.
Your words ring hollow and fake, Holder.  Townhall

Here is the Fox News interview:


The Westerner's Radio Theater #20

Make sure your computer is warmed up and take your time downloadin', cuz this morning Ranch Radio brings you a full hour of country music with the June 4, 1948 broadcast of Cliffie Stone's Cowboy Hit Parade - Western Party.   You better hurry to take advantage of those $5 dresses and $19 suits.

Friday, February 03, 2012

Brian Terry’s mother to Holder: You’re ‘a joke’ and a ‘coward’

The mother of murdered Border Patrol agent Brian Terry had harsh words for Attorney General Eric Holder after Thursday’s House oversight committee hearing on Operation Fast and Furious. “THIS IS FOR YOU SON,” Mrs. Terry posted on Facebook at about 3:30 p.m. “Mr. Holder. How come you can never say my sons name. You never have. All i ever hear you say is ‘i didnt find out or I cant say’ Im actually tired of hearing your double talk in answering questions. What a joke you are. You know my son was a real AMERICAN, a WARRIOR, and a HERO, who was also protecting COWARD POLITICANS like you.” “Hope you remember that,” Mrs. Terry added in her message to Holder before signing it: “PROUD MOM OF BRIAN A. TERRY.” Brian Terry was murdered with a weapon his own government allowed to be sold to Mexican drug cartels via Operation Fast and Furious. Like Terry, about 300 Mexican citizens were also murdered with the guns Holder’s Justice Department gave to the drug cartels. Nobody has been held accountable inside the Justice Department, and more than 100 congressmen, three U.S. senators, two sitting governors and all major Republican presidential candidates have demanded that Holder step down in the wake of the scandal. Holder has time and again refused to hold anybody accountable and has refused to step down himself...more

Paul: States should resolve land management issues

Republican Rep. Ron Paul railed against the federal government during campaign stops in Nevada on Thursday, saying states are in the best position to resolve conflicts over the management of wild horses and roads on public lands. During a stop earlier in the day in Elko, Paul said that while he's unsure of the solution to the wild horse problem in Nevada and other Western states, he thinks federal land managers should be the last resort to resolve the issue. He said he would like to see Nevada and other states come up with solutions. "The last thing I think is some bureaucrat in Washington should be solving this problem," Paul said. "I can guarantee they'll make a wrong decision and not please anyone. The more privatized and localized, the better solution it would be." Paul also said the U.S. Forest Service should not be imposing travel management plans on public land in Nevada and elsewhere across the West. The effort, which began under George W. Bush's presidential administration, should be up to the states, he said. "I don't want the federal government dictating to Nevada, period," Paul said. "I want to see the land owned and controlled by the states."...more

Washington ignores key free enterprise issues

Free market and private property advocates and activists are bemused by the current crop of hostile measures coming out of Congress and the Obama administration. Their interests are being ignored and they're saying so. Robert Gordon, the Heritage Foundation's senior adviser for strategic outreach, sees the big picture: "Washington has been ceaselessly issuing environmental regulations that target energy producers, fishermen, farmers, ranchers, foresters and miners -- the people who provide our food, fiber, minerals and energy." Frank DuBois, former rodeo champion (he even kept on after being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis) and a four-term New Mexico secretary of agriculture, takes the detailed look. He's puzzled by the Republican presidential candidates and their silence about problems that can mean life or death to the family ranch. He said, "To my knowledge the candidates are saying nothing about issues such as property rights, endangered species, livestock grazing, and wilderness that are important to us in the West." Like many, DuBois is soured on the campaign ruckus. "The candidates are more focused on attacking each other than on defending those whose lives and livelihoods are under attack by the federal behemoth." Myron Ebell, president of the Washington-based nonprofit Freedom Action, expands on today's GOP presidential front-runners: "Unfortunately, neither Mitt Romney nor Newt Gingrich appears to know or care very much about what federal environmental and land use regulations are doing to destroy the livelihoods of rural Americans and particularly rural Westerners."...more

This was written before Paul hit Nevada.

BLM proposes 90 percent cut in Colorado shale land availability

The Bureau of Land Management is proposing cutting acreage available for potential oil shale leasing to a tenth of the current amount in Colorado. The agency is proposing making 35,300 acres available, compared to about 360,000 acres under a plan issued during the Bush administration. In total, it proposes reducing available acres by more than 1.5 million acres in three western states. Under a 2008 decision during the Bush administration, the BLM allocated 2 million acres for possible oil shale development in Colorado, Wyoming and Utah. The Obama administration agreed to reconsider that allocation as part of a settlement of a lawsuit by environmental groups challenging the 2008 action. The BLM is proposing reducing total acreage in the three states available for possible oil shale development to about 462,000 acres. In Utah, about 91,000 acres would be available for activities related to tar sands activities, down from about 431,000 acres in the 2008 plan...more

Full Steam Ahead on US Offshore Wind This Year

The US is finally moving ahead on offshore wind - it looks like some significant leases will be issued this year off the mid-Atlantic Coast. After passing key environmental reviews, the The US Department of Interior (DOI) announced it will hold auctions and issue leases for offshore wind this year. Offshore wind leases will be issued off the coast of Maryland, Delaware, Virginia and New Jersey. "Offshore wind holds incredible potential for our country, and we're moving full-steam ahead to accelerate the siting, leasing and construction of new projects," says DOI Secretary Ken Salazar...more

New LED Bulbs Light Up National Mall

At a press conference on the National Mall on Jan. 30, Energy Secretary Steven Chu and Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar flipped a ceremonial light switch to reveal the park’s energy upgrades: LED light bulbs installed in the 173 streetlight posts that line the National Mall’s walkways, the Alliance to Save Energy reports. The super-efficient, brighter bulbs will reduce the streetlights’ energy use by at least 60 percent, according to the Trust for the National Mall, as well as make the park, which attracts 24 million visitors a year, safer for nighttime sightseers. The National Park Service estimates that the LEDs will last for more than two decades, compared to the old bulbs which needed replacement every few years...more

They can use the new wind power to provide electricity to light up the LED bulbs don'tchasee. 

Can't you hear them singing, "Oh say can you see, by these new LEDs". 

Me, I keep hearing Dandy Don Meredith on Monday Night Football singing "Turn out the lights, the party's over."

US Labor Department to re-propose 'parental exemption' of child labor in agriculture rule

The U.S. Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division today announced that it will re-propose the portion of its regulation on child labor in agriculture interpreting the "parental exemption." The decision to re-propose is in part a response to requests from the public and members of Congress that the agency allow an opportunity for more input on this aspect of the rule. Following the president's historic executive order on regulation, issued in January 2011, this re-proposal reflects the department's careful attention to public comments and its conclusion that it is appropriate to provide the public with further opportunities to participate in the regulatory process...Press Release

That should be read as, "We've received a bunch of political heat and this is an election year, so we'll back off for the time being."

The release continues:

The parental exemption allows children of any age who are employed by their parent, or a person standing in the place of a parent, to perform any job on a farm owned or operated by their parent or such person standing in the place of a parent. Congress created the parental exemption in 1966 when it expanded protections for children employed in agriculture and prohibited their employment in jobs the Department of Labor declared particularly hazardous for children under the age of 16 to perform. The department recognizes the unique attributes of farm families and rural communities. The re-proposal process will seek comments and inputs as to how the department can comply with statutory requirements to protect children, while respecting rural traditions. The re-proposed portion of the rule is expected to be published for public comment by early summer. The department will continue to review the comments received regarding the remaining portions of the proposed rule for inclusion in a final rule. Until the revised exemption is final, the Wage and Hour Division will apply the parental exemption to situations in which the parent or person standing in the place of a parent is a part owner of the farm, a partner in a partnership or an officer of a corporation that owns the farm if the ownership interest in the partnership or corporation is substantial. This approach is consistent with guidance the Wage and Hour Division has provided to the public on its website for the past several years.

That should be read as: "Uh oh, Congress is holding a hearing on this and we need some cover."

And then there is this:

"The Department of Labor appreciates and respects the role of parents in raising their children and assigning tasks and chores to their children on farms and of relatives such as grandparents, aunts and uncles in keeping grandchildren, nieces and nephews out of harm's way," said Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis. "Today's announcement to re-propose the parental exemption means the department will have the benefit of additional public comment, and the public will have an opportunity to consider a revised approach to this issue. We will continue to work closely with the U.S. Department of Agriculture to ensure that our child labor in agriculture rule generally, and the parental exemption specifically, fully reflect input from rural communities."

That should be read as "Pure, USDA, Grade A Bullshit."

Testifying at the Congressional hearing for herself and the Farm Bureau, Chris Chinn said:

Nearly every one of the tasks I just mentioned would be proscribed by DOL. Just to mention the most obvious:
1. Driving tractors is forbidden by proposed Hazardous Occupation Order (HO) #1.
2. Milking cows would most likely be prohibited by proposed HO #4.
3. Cutting weeds would be proscribed by proposed HO #3.
4. Building or repairing fencing would be prevented by proposed HO #6.

On behalf of the FFA, Kent Schescke said:

A major concern with the proposed changes to the child labor regulations is that these changes will limit, if not eliminate, our opportunities to TEACH students to be safe when working in agriculture. If the proposed rules go into place unchallenged, most of these learning opportunities, especially those that take place in the first two years of the instructional program, would be lost or seriously compromised. A recent sample of Supervised Agricultural Experience data across several states indicated that 36% of first and second year agricultural education students were involved in agricultural placement type supervised agricultural experiences. Please allow us to continue to TEACH students to be safe while receiving relevant work experience in agriculture.

You can't do it and you can't teach it.

Abandoned horses becoming big concern in Rogers County

One Oklahoma Rancher fed up after more and more abandoned horses keep appearing in her front yard. Dara Steele has seen 11 abandoned horses in her area over the last two years including one Wednesday night. Steele and her mother, Debra Hill, live just outside of the city limits of Chelsea, Oklahoma. Steele says they are used to seeing abandoned dogs and cats but now they’re seeing more horses. Hill has lived at the ranch for 16 years. She says ever since the some of the slaughter homes across the area closed the number of abandoned horses has risen. Hill says it's only become a bigger problem in the last two years, when she had five horses dropped off in her yard. "It makes you angry,” said Hill. It’s also affected her sense of security. “Some people might think we're going to get robbed, it's the middle of the night and there's a truck stopped outside my house. With us we wake up in the middle of the night and think oh no more animals," said Hill...more

Tijerina Pushes Activists To Keep Fighting

Resting in a wheelchair and using an oxygen machine, the 85-year-old Tijerina went to an event marking the anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, which ended the Mexican War in 1848. Tijerina has often contended that the U.S. government stole millions of acres from Latinos following the war. The United States pledged in the treaty to respect private land holdings, including land grants made under the Spanish and Mexican governments. However, the U.S. government didn’t recognize many of those grants in New Mexico and courts have routinely turned away complaints made by displaced Hispanic families. Speaking to an audience of ranchers and curious onlookers at the New Mexico Statehouse Rotunda, Tijerina urged activists to keep fighting. He also talked about his role in bringing the Spanish land grant conflict into the public’s eye and the 1967 armed raid of a Rio Arriba County courthouse. Tijerina and followers raided the courthouse in Tierra Amarilla to attempt a citizen’s arrest of then-District Attorney Alfonso Sanchez after eight members of Tijerina’s group had been arrested a few days earlier. Sanchez wasn’t at the courthouse at the time, but during the raid, the group shot and wounded a state police officer and jailer, beat a deputy and took the then-sheriff and a reporter hostage. They later escaped. The hunt for the raiders even involved the National Guard. Tijerina eventually spent about three years in prison. Thursday was also the 49th anniversary of Tijerina’s founding of La Alianza, a group organized to represent the heirs of Spanish land grants in New Mexico covered by the treaty. The group sent letters to federal officials about treaty violations and eventually grew to around 20,000 members. Tijerina’s appearance brought out some of his longtime critics who say his violent raid hurt Hispanic families he aimed to help and who contend that his later speeches were tainted by anti-Semitism tirades. Michael Olivas, a Santa Fe resident and law professor at the University of Houston, said his cousin, Eulogio Salazar, the courthouse jailer who was shot in the cheek during raid, was later killed by Tijerina’s men. Salazar testified in a court hearing that the shooter was Tijerina, but that case never made it to trial after Salazar was found dead. Tijerina was later convicted of assault on Salazar. Still, Hispanic New Mexico ranchers say Tijerina’s legacy gave them the confidence to recently file a lawsuit against the U.S. Forest Service over its decision to limit grazing on historic land grant areas in northern New Mexico. David Sanchez, 52, a rancher just north of EspaƱola, said ranchers are now educated enough to see how issues like grazing rights are connected to provisions of the treaty. “It’s not just a grazing issue,” he said. “It’s about access to roads. It’s about our way of life.”...more

Song Of The Day #765

 Ranch Radio continues with Western Swing Week by bringing you Bob Wills and his swinging version of the Jimmie Rodgers tune Never No More Blues.

The tune was recorded at Wills first recording session in Dallas, Texas on Sept. 23, 1935. Some of the band members were:  Bob Wills, fiddle and vocals; Tommy Duncan, vocals; Leon McAuliffe, guitar and steel guitar; Jesse Ashlock, fiddle; Herman Arnspiger, guitar; Al Strickland, piano; Johnnie Lee Wills, banjo; William Dacus, drums.  That's quite a lineup.

Thursday, February 02, 2012

Calgary Stampede rodeo ‘should be stopped,’ Bob Barker says after Price is Right contestant wins trip to event

Retired Price is Right host Bob Barker is speaking out against the Calgary Stampede after a contestant on Wednesday’s episode won a trip to the event. The prize, valued at $25,329, included airfare to Calgary, five days at a hotel with car rental, two days at the Stampede, tickets to the rodeo and chuckwagon races, six pairs of leather boots and a Toyota Tacoma truck. Mr. Barker was anything but thrilled by the win. “I’m concerned about the Calgary Stampede’s history of animals dying and animals being abused on a regular basis, not unlike every rodeo here in the U.S. They’re all cruel,” he said from his home in Los Angeles. “They don’t represent the glory of the Old West, or the glory of the Canadian West, they are just cruel and unsavoury forms of entertainment that should be stopped altogether.” Mr. Barker, who retired from the show in 2007, said he first became concerned about the direction of The Price is Right when the show gave away tickets to SeaWorld in Florida last month. He said he called the executive producer to complain, but never got a call back. When Mr. Barker headed the longtime program beloved by canny consumers, “we didn’t do anything that could be described as harmful for animals. We didn’t have fur coats on the show, we didn’t give away leather on the show. We didn’t give away anything objectionable, we were very careful.”...more

Proposed plans released to create a "Yellowstone" of the Southern Rockies

From: Big Game Forever <>

Sent: Wednesday, February 1, 2012 1:26 PM
Subject: Proposed plans released to create a "Yellowstone" of the Southern Rockies

I am sending you the official plan from the federal government to place wolves in the Southern Rockies.  Every sportsman in America needs to see this plan.  These plans will spread wolves into 97.5% of all elk in America.
Here is what they are doing: Baca National Wildlife refuge in Southern Colorado will have wolves transplanted in 2012 if portions of this plan are implemented.  Baca is much, much smaller than Yellowstone.  It is only 70 Miles from Northern New Mexico.  It is only 250 Miles from Southern Utah and Northern Arizona.  Wolves can travel that far in less than a week. 
Yellowstone National Park was used to introduce wolves to the Northern Rockies.  Without your help, history will repeat itself this year in the Southern Rockies.
See the official plan for yourself at the link below (look on page 8, bottom of the first column where they mention the introduction of wolves in Colorado's Baca National Wildlife Refuge). 
Here is how you can help stop these plans:
(1) Spread the word: Send this email to 10 friends and ask them to forward this email to more friends.
(2) Join the Fight: If you haven't already, sign the online petition to stop these wolf expansion plans at
(3) Take Action: It only takes 30 seconds to send a message to your representatives in Congress to stop these plans. Simply go to and click the “Take Action” button to send a message in support of two bills in Congress, S. 249 and H.R. 509, the Big Game and Livestock Protection Act.  Without S. 249 and H.R. 509, it will be very difficult to slow down these plans to expand wolves throughout 97.5% of all elk in America.
Without a very substantial outcry from sportsmen and livestock owners, wolves will very likely be placed in Colorado this year.  While attempts have been made to dismiss the use of wolves as "not the preferred alternative," now that they are an official part of the plan, we are one very small step away from having wolves introduced into Baca National Widlife Refuge.  We can't leave this to chance.
Over 10,000 messages have already been sent to Congress to stop the plans to put wolves in the Baca, but we need many, many more. Especially from the 600,0000 hunters in Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona and Utah.
We need all need to join the fight to stop this from happening.  Remember, Idaho's elk harvest has been cut in half by wolves.  Wolves have been a huge burden for livestock producers.  Without substantial changes to the underlying statutes, it is a bad idea to spread these failed policies to the Southern Rockies.

Here are some news articles about these plans for wolves in Colorado.

We are continuing to research this developing story.  We will keep you apprised as developments arise.
Thanks for your willingness to join the fight to protect our ranching and outdoor heritage.

Big Game Forever, LLC | 314 West Broadway #200, Salt Lake City, Utah 84101

Cibola National Forest Among First Selected to Implement New FS Planning Rule

The U.S. Forest Service today announced eight national forests that will be the first to revise their land management plans using a new National Forest System Planning Rule, after it is finalized in the months ahead. The Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forest in Idaho, the Chugach National Forest in Alaska, the Cibola National Forest in New Mexico, El Yunque National Forest in Puerto Rico and California’s Inyo, Sequoia and Sierra National Forests will begin revising their plans shortly after a final rule is selected. This announcement follows Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack’s news last week of the agency’s intended course of action for finalizing a planning rule, included as the “preferred alternative” in the Final Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS) for the National Forest System Land Management Planning Rule. “These forests will demonstrate straight out of the gate what we’ve been talking about in terms of collaboration,” said U.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell. “People will see that under a new rule, public engagement increases and process decreases, all while provide stronger protections for our lands and water.”...more

Environmental groups propose plan to replace federal forest payments to Oregon counties

A coalition of environmental groups, hoping to head off congressional action they believe would increase unsustainable logging, propose a three-prong approach for replacing federal forest payments to hard-hit Oregon counties. The groups called Wednesday for "shared responsibility" in solving the severe budget problems facing 18 rural Oregon counties that are among those that lost federal payments last year. They said the state, federal government and the counties themselves could each provide a third of the estimated $110 million needed annually to sustain services: The state would increase the harvest tax assessed to private forest owners to $9.21 per 1,000 board feet from $3.21, and disperse revenue to the counties. Federal management of 2.6 million acres of what's known as the O&C forestland would be transferred from the Bureau of Land Management to the U.S. Forest Service, with savings from the consolidation going to the counties. County voters would be asked to approve property tax increases. Many counties now have extremely low tax rates and collect much less than is allowed under state property tax limitations. The proposal is an alternative to bipartisan legislation expected soon from Democratic Reps. Peter DeFazio and Kurt Schrader, and Republican Rep. Greg Walden. Details haven't been outlined, but the Oregon congressmen propose dividing the O&C forestland into two trusts. Half would be preserved and half would be managed for timber production and county revenue...more

Raise taxes on industry, raise taxes on private property and change management to an even more bureaucratic agency - what a great way to create economic development.

Bill would make it easier to kill Oregon wolves

Frustrated that a judge has blocked a state kill order against two members of Oregon's first wolf pack, the Oregon Cattlemen's Association is pushing legislation to boost the state's authority over the predators. Conservation groups that sued the state to stop the kill order say the rancher bill is an effort to circumvent their lawsuit and the state Endangered Species Act, which association's legislative chairman denies. Bill Hoyt, of the Cattlemen Association, said the group would rather the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, not judges, make decisions about wolves. "It is intended to make clear what ODFW has the power to do under what has been agreed upon in the Oregon wolf plan," said Hoyt, a Cottage Grove cattle rancher and past president of the association. He added that the association wants to get some conservation groups on board, because without them the bill is unlikely to pass. Noah Greenwald of the Center for Biological Diversity said by providing a loophole for killing wolves, the bill would create a precedent for getting around state protection for any species that gets in the way of logging, ranching, or development...more

Wolves in Wyoming: A call for state control

The Wyoming rancher was unmistakable, what with the wool cap, work-tattered Carhart dungarees and mud-scuffed boots. He sat, arms folded tight against his chest, as Cat Urbigkit discussed the wolf in Western history and culture. And when it came time for him to speak, it took every ounce of self-restraint not to lose his cool veneer. He told the audience about how wolves had preyed on his great-grandfather’s cattle, and how his family had helped eradicate the wolf from the state. Urbigkit, an award-winning author and photographer who lives on a working sheep ranch near Pinedale, thanked him for his honesty. She’s the author of “Yellowstone Wolves: A Chronicle of the Animal, the People and the Politics” and creator of the blog, “Wolf Watch.” Wolves, Urbigkit reiterated, are a hot-button issue in Wyoming, ever since their controversial reintroduction into Yellowstone National Park in the mid-1990s. They have proliferated, so much so that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service estimates that there are now some 300 wolves in Wyoming, and 1,600 in the region. Time, and federal protection, has given the wolf the strength to survive – and the time has come to delist the wolf from the Endangered Species List. That would allow the Wyoming Game and Fish Commission to classify the wolf as a trophy game animal in northwest Wyoming, then manage their numbers as a predator outside the proposed hunting season of Oct. 15 to the end of February...more

Legislature kills prairie dog bill

A group of riled-up ranchers, who were hoping the Legislature would let them sue the state over prairie dogs, went home disappointed Wednesday. Ranchers like Charles Kruse of Interior and Gary Williams of Wall said they have suffered property damage, lost income and extra expenses by prairie dog incursions on their property - incursions they say the state is legally bound to control. But when they filed a lawsuit to collect damages from the state for failing to do so, the South Dakota Supreme Court threw it out on the grounds of "sovereign immunity," the protection a state has from being sued without its consent. Having failed in the courts, the ranchers joined with Rep. Lance Russell, R-Hot Springs, to solve their problem in the Legislature. House Bill 1168 would have waived the state's sovereign immunity for cases where the state has failed to control a nuisance species. "The only way we can ... in the future, make sure that the state government performs its duties that we've given them as a Legislature is to provide for these public nuisance actions on the part of individuals that are harmed," Russell said...more

CME Group Establishes $100M Fund to Provide Additional Protection for Family Farmers and Ranchers

CME Group today announced that it will establish a $100 million fund designed to provide further protection of customer segregated funds for U.S. family farmers and ranchers who hedge their business in CME Group futures markets. In light of the recent MF Global failure, in which a clearing firm violated CFTC regulations and misused customer monies that should have been kept segregated, CME Group is adding this extra security measure to protect the country's food producers who are using CME Group futures markets to hedge their crops and livestock that feed the world. Under the Family Farmer and Rancher Protection Fund, expected to be in effect by March 1, 2012, farmers and ranchers using CME Group products will be eligible for up to $25,000 per account in the case of losses resulting from the future insolvency of a clearing member or other market participant. Farming and ranching cooperatives also will be eligible for up to $100,000 per cooperative. If losses in a future failure total more than $100 million, participants will be eligible for a pro-rata share of the fund, up to $100 million. This new fund is expected to be backed by an insurance policy and will not be available retroactively...more

Colombia Drug Lords Rustling Cattle

Latin America’s oldest guerrilla group’s penchant for cattle rustling is robbing Colombian ranchers of the benefits of the highest U.S.-traded futures prices since the 1960s. The cash-strapped Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia is selling livestock at below-market prices after a military crackdown on cocaine production made the fighters “desperate for financing,” Juan Manuel Santos, the nation’s president, said last month. The group, known as FARC, may be Colombia’s biggest cattle owner, according to a ranchers federation. “They can sell at substantially lower prices since the cattle is stolen,” said Diego Ochoa, head of research at brokerage Cia. de Profesionales de Bolsa SA, which manages a livestock fund in Bogota. “They get a profit. For the legal producers and the legal middlemen, prices deteriorate.” Stolen cattle can be sold at a discount of 20 percent to 30 percent, weighing on domestic cattle prices, Ochoa said. Those prices slipped 8.8 percent from June 15 to Jan. 24, according to weekly figures provided by the Bogota-based Colombian Mercantile Exchange...more

Reies Lopez Tijerina to make rare appearance for land grant speech

Reies Lopez Tijerina, a controversial figure from the Chicano Movement, is scheduled to make a rare appearance at one of many events honoring the anniversary of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo signing.
The 85-year-old Tijerina is slated to speak Thursday at the New Mexico Statehouse Rotunda. Other events are planned include one organized by ranchers who are suing the U.S. Forest Service over its decision to limit grazing on historic land grant areas in northern New Mexico. In 1967, Tijerina and armed followers raided a Rio Arriba County courthouse in Tierra Amarilla, N.M. to attempt a citizen's arrest of then-District Attorney Alfonso Sanchez over the land grant issue. The raiders shot and wounded a state police officer and jailer, beat a deputy and took a sheriff and reporter hostage. AP

Stamp honours iconic Alberta cowboy John Ware

Canada Post is recognizing an iconic cowboy and pioneer rancher John Ware with a commemorative stamp. It’s one of two stamps issued to celebrate Black History Month. The other one is a tribute to Viola Desmond, a civil rights beacon in Nova Scotia. “(John Ware’s) name has come up several times,” said Joy Parks, a researcher with Canada Post. “When we delved into the story a little bit more, and found the connection to the Stampede, it was just the perfect year to do this with the centennial this year.” Ware was born into slavery in South Carolina circa 1845, working cotton fields as a child. He was freed following the American Civil War and eventually made his way to the foothills of Alberta in 1882. He established a ranch and started competing as a steer wrestler, winning the event at the 1893 Calgary Fair. Ware helped pioneer rodeo techniques that would become staples of the Stampede. When he died in 1905, Ware’s funeral was one of the biggest Calgary had ever seen. Significantly, the stamp of Ware, designed by Victoria-based artist Lara Minja, contains an image of the deed to his land. “He hadn’t been a free man for very long, and to own land as a free man is definitely a milestone in his life,” Parks said...more

Song Of The Day #764

Ranch Radio's Western Swing Week continues with Cliff Bruner's Texas Wanderers performing Can't Nobody Truck Like Me.

The tune was recorded in San Antonio on Feb. 5, 1937 and was released as Decca 5337.  Band members for this session were:  Cliff Bruner, fiddle; Dick McBride, vocals and guitar; Randall Raley, vocals and guitar; Joe Thames, banjo; Leo Raley, vocals and mandolin; Russell Bryant, base; Fred Calhoun, piano

Here's another one dedicated to the Crayola Cowboy who really appreciates songs of this "type".

New report released by GOP lawmakers suggests top Justice officials had extensive knowledge of Operation Fast and Furious

Top Department of Justice officials had extensive knowledge of and involvement in Operation Fast and Furious, claims a new report released Thursday, hours before Attorney General Eric Holder's scheduled testimony to the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. The report released by Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., and Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, top lawmakers investigating the botched gunrunning operation, claims Justice Department officials in Washington and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives were involved in the coordination in the early stages of the operation. ustice headquarters "had much greater knowledge of, and involvement in, Fast and Furious than it has previously acknowledged," the memo reads. The memo, which contradicts claims by the Justice Department, is based upon interviews, documents and emails involving key players of the operation run by the ATF. The operation allowed some 2,000 weapons cross the border into Mexico and into the hands of cartel members. Two of the weapons linked to the program were found at the murder scene of U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry in 2010 as well as other crime scenes in Mexico. Emails released show that Kenneth Melson, former acting director of the ATF, contacted Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer and told him that his organization wanted to take a "different approach" to seizing guns going to Mexico. Breuer responded that it was a "terrific idea" and the department assigned a prosecutor from its Criminal Division to work with the ATF in early 2010...more

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

U.S. to Pay $1 Million in Fees for Fighting Enviro Groups

More than $1 million in attorneys' fees will go to six environmental groups that made the government rethink an extensive network of routes through the West Mojave desert for off-road vehicles. The groups - made up of the Alliance for Responsible Recreation, the Wilderness Society, Friends of Juniper Flats, Western San Bernardino Landowners Association, California Native Plant Society and Community Off-Road Vehicles Watch - claimed the project would threaten the habitats of the desert tortoise and the Lane-Mountain milk vetch, an endangered local plant. In September 2009, U.S. District Judge Susan Illston found the U.S. Bureau of Land Management violated the National Environmental Policy Act and Federal Land Policy and Management Act by failing to place the routes specifically to minimize environmental damage. She awarded attorneys' fees of $1,003,155 to the groups on Monday, finding most of their fee requests reasonable. Illston did not buy the bureau's "overstaffing" argument, which claimed the alliance had "eight attorneys at three different law firms" working on the case...more

Park Service ranger zaps off-leash dog walker with shock weapon

A Montara man walking two lapdogs off leash was hit with an electric-shock gun by a National Park Service ranger after allegedly giving a false name and trying to walk away, authorities said Monday. The ranger, who wasn't identified, asked Hesterberg to remain at the scene, Levitt said. He tried several times to leave, and finally the ranger "pursued him a little bit and she did deploy her" electric-shock weapon, Levitt said. "That did stop him." Witnesses said the use of a stun gun and the arrest seemed excessive for someone walking two small dogs off leash. "It was really scary," said Michelle Babcock, who said she had seen the incident as she and her husband were walking their two border collies. "I just felt so bad for him." Babcock said Hesterberg had repeatedly asked the ranger why he was being detained. She didn't answer him, Babcock said. "He just tried to walk away. She never gave him a reason," Babcock said. The ranger shot Hesterberg in the back with her shock weapon as he walked off, Babcock said. "We were like in disbelief," she said. "It didn't make any sense." Rancho Corral de Tierra has long been an off-leash walking spot for local dog owners. In December, the area became part of the national park system, which requires that all dogs be on a leash, Levitt said...more

So what do you think of this?  It's unbelievable to me.  Next you will be zapped by a drone for unleashed dogs.

$5.1 million refuge watering system helps delay elk, bison supplemental feeding

Forage produced from a new sprinkler system is likely spreading out elk and delaying the start of supplemental feeding on the National Elk Refuge, officials say. Last summer was the first year staff used the $5.1 million system, which, when fully operational, will increase irrigation from 900 to 4,300 acres. During field sampling Thursday, National Elk Refuge and Wyoming Game and Fish Department biologists found forage that’s still available for elk to eat, despite recent heavy snowfall...more

A sprinkler system for elk?  And they can't balance the budget.

Group plans to sue over Whitefish Jesus statue - video

The Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) announced in a press release Tuesday that their group will be suing the U.S. Forest Service over what they believe to be an unconstitutional presence of a statue of Jesus Christ on Whitefish Mountain Resort. The FFRF states it has prepared a legal complaint and plans to file it in Montana federal court soon. This reaction comes after Flathead National Forest Supervisor Chip Weber announced that he was reauthorizing a special use permit for the Knights of Columbus so that the statue can stay for the next decade. "I understand the statue has been a long-standing object in the community since 1955, and I recognize that the statue is important to the community for its historical heritage based on its association with the early development of the ski area on Big Mountain." Annie Laurie Gaylor, FFRF co-president says that the FFRF will not let this slide...more

video removed

Lawsuit to target Over the River

As Fremont County commissioners take testimony today on the temporary-use permit for Christo's Over the River project, University of Denver law students will be filing a suit in an attempt to block the grand scale art project. The New-York based artist Christo has gotten initial permission to suspend 5.9 miles of silvery, translucent fabric panels above the Arkansas River in eight different segments of a 42-mile stretch between Canon City and Salida in August 2014. The U.S. Bureau of Land Management gave the project a green light after a lengthy Environmental Impact Statement process. Christo still is required to obtain temporary use permits from both Fremont and Chaffee counties. Also on Wednesday, students in the Environmental Law Clinic at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law will file a lawsuit in federal court in an attempt to block Over the River. The suit will be filed on behalf of the grass roots, volunteer organization Rags Over the Arkansas River, which opposes the project...more

An Administration’s Green Fiascos Pile Up

The Obama administration has spent three years and billions of tax dollars in efforts to jump start a “green energy” industry in the United States. The president says that “sustainable,” clean energy sources are the wave of the future, vital to America’s future security and the well-being of the entire planet. And yet, after all this time and all that money, all the administration has to show for those efforts are a series of spectacular failures that would make a less arrogant leader blush. The Solyndra fiasco is the highest-profile of the president’s many green failures, but it’s hardly the only one. Barely a week goes by but that we learn of yet another government-funded “clean energy” boondoggle. Let’s consider a few examples. Late last year, Beacon Power Company filed for bankruptcy protection. Beacon had previously received a $39 million government-guaranteed loan in order to fund research aimed at producing energy storage devices on an industrial scale. These kinds of “super batteries” are necessary solely to cover for the deficiencies and unreliability of solar and wind power. Last Thursday, Ener1 Inc. filed for bankruptcy protection. Ener1 develops lithium storage batteries for electric cars manufactured by a company called Think Holdings, AS, which in turn has a manufacturing company located in Elkhart, Indiana. Ener1 received over $130 million in stimulus funds, and a $480 million loan from the Energy Department, promising to deliver 1,400 jobs to Indiana, while Think Holdings would generate a further 415 jobs. To date, Enre1 has created 275 jobs, while Think Holdings is down to 2 people who guard a plant at which about 100 electric vehicles – most of them unfinished – sit idly in storage. A year ago, Vice President Joe Biden hailed Ener1 as one of “100 Recovery Act projects changing America.” “A year and a half ago, this administration made a judgment,” he said at the time. “We decided it’s not sufficient to create new jobs—we have to create whole new industries.” Unfortunately for Ener1, the free market did not share the Vice President’s enthusiasm...more

Clean-energy hostages

“Let the fossil fuels go, or the wind industry gets it in the wallet.” That’s the threat congressional Republicans need to convey to their colleagues across the aisle to stop the Obama war against fossil fuels. Despite President Obama’s effort in his State of the Union address to position himself as favoring an “all of the above” approach to domestic energy production, the reality of the past three years has been quite to the contrary. After failing to crush the coal industry with the ill-fated Waxman-Markey cap-and-trade bill, Mr. Obama has since loosed his regulatory agencies, especially the thuggish Environmental Protection Agency. The EPA is on the verge of proposing its greenhouse gas emission rules for power plants - the “cap” part of cap-and-trade - despite ongoing litigation over their legality. One concern is that the rules as implemented will block the construction of new coal-fired power plants - the very same sort of power that safely provides about 45 percent of U.S. electricity. And those existing plants are in danger, too. Not only has the EPA issued its expensive anti-coal Cross-State Air Pollution Rule and Mercury Air Toxics Standard - part of the suite of regulations known as the “EPA train wreck” that pose a threat to electricity reliability - the president has also sicced the Department of Interior and Mine Safety Administration on the coal industry to interfere with underground mining...more

Conservationists call for action on mining claim markers that have killed Nevada wildlife

Saying pipes used to mark mining claims in Nevada and across the West could be killing birds by the millions, conservationists are demanding federal land managers take action. The American Bird Conservancy recently wrote Bureau of Land Management Director Bob Abbey and U.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell asking the federal government to eliminate the threat posed by uncapped metal or PVC claim marker pipes that become deathtraps for birds. “We’ve got a serious bird mortality issue out there,” conservancy spokesman Robert Johns said. “There is no organized, concerted approach to dealing with this problem. That’s what we’re asking the BLM and Forest Service to do.” It’s a problem that’s been recognized for years and one which poses threats not only to birds but lizards, small mammals and insects as well, Nevada BLM officials and biologists with the Nevada Department of Wildlife agree. A change in state law provides some flexibility to deal with the issue, but its sheer scope poses a major challenge, officials said. Uncapped pipes appear to be an ideal nesting spot for birds but once they enter, birds can’t fly out or climb free. Death of dehydration or starvation in Nevada’s desert climate quickly follows, with victims including mountain bluebirds, starlings and woodpeckers, among others...more

Angry Landowners Fight Eminent Domain in Pa. Gas Field

When federal regulators approved a 39-mile natural gas pipeline through northern Pennsylvania's pristine Endless Mountains, they cited the operator's assurances that it would make sparing use of eminent domain as it negotiated with more than 150 property owners along the pipeline's route. Yet a few days after winning approval for its $250 million MARC 1 pipeline in the heart of the giant Marcellus Shale gas field, the company began condemnation proceedings against nearly half of the landowners — undercutting part of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's approval rationale and angering landowners. Some of the landowners are now fighting the company in court, complaining that Central New York Oil and Gas Company LLC steamrolled them by refusing to negotiate in good faith on monetary compensation and the pipeline's location. Their attorneys say CNYOG has skirted Pennsylvania's eminent domain rules...more

Forest Service rules deemed ‘unworkable’

The Public Lands Council (PLC), the National Cattlemen's Beef Association (NCBA) and the American Sheep Industry Association (ASI) said the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Forest Service ignored concerns of industry and members of Congress, disregarded federal statute and defied logic in its preferred alternative forest planning rule, which according to a Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement released by USDA on Jan. 26, 2012, will be issued as the final rule in 30 days. Margaret Soulen Hinson, ASI president and Idaho producer, said ASI, PLC and NCBA are extremely disappointed that the Forest Service opted to retain the requirement to "maintain viable populations of species of conservation concern" in the preferred alternative forest plan. She said the term "maintain viable population" does not appear in federal statute and has already proven a problem under the current planning rule, as it is ill-defined and nearly impossible to achieve. Soulen Hinson said there is no scientific consensus on what level of any given population is "viable" or how it is to be managed and added that the new rule expands the provision beyond vertebrates to all species, including fungus and moss. NCBA President and Montana cattleman Bill Donald said many aspects of the draft rule, which NCBA, PLC and ASI found unworkable and commented on, are still included in the preferred alternative planning rule. He added that the creation of a new category of protected species, completely unrelated to Endangered Species Act called "species of conservation concern" and determined at the whim of the regional forester, will negatively impact the livestock industry's ability to access forest lands to raise healthy animals. Donald said the modified alternative is in ways worse than the draft rule. "It seems that the Forest Service is intent on locking-up the forest system and locking-out ranchers from land that we have responsibly managed for decades," Donald said...more

2012 grazing fee remains same as last year

The Federal grazing fee for 2012 will be $1.35 per animal unit month for public lands administered by the Bureau of Land Management and $1.35 per head month for lands managed by the U.S. Forest Service. The 2012 fee is the same as last year’s...more

Mountain lions killed after killing puppy and goats

There have been several mountain lion sightings in Indian Valley recently, causing some concern among ranchers and residents alike. A mountain lion was taken under depredation permit Monday, Jan. 23, after it killed a border collie puppy over the weekend in Genesee, and another two lions were killed Wednesday, Jan. 25. The puppy was taken right off a well-lit porch at the home of Brian and Heather Kingdon early Saturday evening, with adult dogs around and the owners inside watching television. Another lion that killed goats on a neighboring ranch was still being pursued, according to local Department of Fish and Game (DFG) Warden Kyle Kroll. Van Probst, well known for his lion tracking abilities and work with landowners and local game wardens, killed the lions. “I think there’s two yearlings and a female,” Probst said of the first three lions seen in the Genesee area. He thinks maybe the lion’s offspring have been recently forced out on their own and know where the easy prey is...more

Cattle Shipped Out of Texas in Record Numbers During Historic Drought

Texas breeding cattle chased the rain in 2011 to plains states such as Nebraska, South Dakota and Kansas -- even all the way to Florida -- tripling the amount shipped out of state the year before. That 150,000 head left this stricken country is only the latest metric by which to judge the huge toll the drought has taken on ranchers. "Because of the drought, so many people in Texas were forced to sell off their cows because they couldn't afford to feed them and there's no grass," Texas A&M livestock economist Dr. David Anderson tells Unfair Park. Coupled with the cattle sent streaming into stockyards and slaughterhouses, the export of breeding cattle had the effect of causing the greatest reduction in the state herd since the Great Depression. In total, we're looking at the smallest herd Texas has seen in half a century. And despite the winter rains, ranchers are still selling off breeding cows -- the engine of the Texas cow-calf operation -- at a steady clip. "The number of beef cows going to slaughter is still at a fairly high level in this region," Anderson says. For ranchers who can hold on, the depleted stock means higher calf prices at market, he adds. But for those looking to replenish their herd with replacement heifers, the buy-in will be high...more

Arizona cattlemen offering $1,500 reward for info in steer's recent killing

A cattlemen's group is offering a cash reward in hopes of finding whoever is responsible for shooting and butchering a steer in southeastern Arizona earlier this month in what could be the latest in a string of livestock killings. The Southern Arizona Cattlemen's Protective Association says it is willing to pay up to $1,500 for information leading to a felony conviction in the case. The association says the steer was killed about 11 miles southeast of Patagonia off of a Forest Service road.
The group says the killing is similar to various other livestock killings on various ranches between Sahuarita and Nogales in the last several months. AP

Song Of The Day #763

Western Swing Week continues on Ranch Radio this morning with the Tune Wranglers recording of Texas Sand.

The tune was recorded in San Antonio on February 28, 1936.  Band members were:  Ed "Buster" Coward, vocals and guitar;  Joe Barnes, vocals and banjo;  Harrell Williams, vocals and base;  Tom Dickey, fiddle;  Edward Whitley, piano.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Sixteen Concerned Scientists - No Need to Panic About Global Warming

A candidate for public office in any contemporary democracy may have to consider what, if anything, to do about "global warming." Candidates should understand that the oft-repeated claim that nearly all scientists demand that something dramatic be done to stop global warming is not true. In fact, a large and growing number of distinguished scientists and engineers do not agree that drastic actions on global warming are needed. In September, Nobel Prize-winning physicist Ivar Giaever, a supporter of President Obama in the last election, publicly resigned from the American Physical Society (APS) with a letter that begins: "I did not renew [my membership] because I cannot live with the [APS policy] statement: 'The evidence is incontrovertible: Global warming is occurring. If no mitigating actions are taken, significant disruptions in the Earth's physical and ecological systems, social systems, security and human health are likely to occur. We must reduce emissions of greenhouse gases beginning now.' In the APS it is OK to discuss whether the mass of the proton changes over time and how a multi-universe behaves, but the evidence of global warming is incontrovertible?" In spite of a multidecade international campaign to enforce the message that increasing amounts of the "pollutant" carbon dioxide will destroy civilization, large numbers of scientists, many very prominent, share the opinions of Dr. Giaever. And the number of scientific "heretics" is growing with each passing year. The reason is a collection of stubborn scientific facts...more

New Data Could Renew Global Warming Debate

The release in England last week of temperature data suggesting the earth has been cooling off over the past 15 years is bound to set off a new debate over global warming, according to a report Sunday in the Daily Mail. According to the London newspaper, the data released by Britain’s Met Office and the University of East Anglia’s Climatic Research Unit indicates that instead of facing rising temperatures the world may be headed for a “mini ice age to rival the 70-year temperature drop that saw frost fairs held on the Thames in the 17th Century.” The Mail reported the data, which was collected over time from 30,000 measuring stations, indicates the warming trend may have actually ended in 1997 and is now headed in the opposite direction...more

Global Warming Activists Seek to Purge Unfriendly TV Weathermen

Concerned that too many “deniers” are in the meteorology business, global warming activists this month launched a campaign to recruit local weathermen to hop aboard the alarmism bandwagon and expose those who are not fully convinced that the world is facing man-made doom. The Forecast the Facts campaign — led by, the League of Conservation Voters and the Citizen Engagement Lab — is pushing for more of a focus on global warming in weather forecasts, and is highlighting the many meteorologists who do not share their beliefs. “Our goal is nothing short of changing how the entire profession of meteorology tackles the issue of climate change,” the group explains on their website. “We’ll empower everyday people to make sure meteorologists understand that their viewers are counting on them to get this story right, and that those who continue to shirk their professional responsibility will be held accountable.”...more

Senator wants accounting of groups reimbursed for suing government

Scrutiny of the Equal Access to Justice Act went bipartisan on Monday when Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., submitted a bill calling for a complete accounting of how much the fund pays people and groups that successfully sue the federal government. Last summer, House Republicans proposed their own EAJA overhaul, which would limit who can request reimbursements and also tracks the money paid out. Rep. Denny Rehberg, R-Mont., supported that measure. In an interview on Monday, Tester said EAJA has been blamed for funding environmentalist lawsuits without looking at the full picture of the fund's uses. "Especially with Social Security and the Veterans Administration, we just don't have a lot of facts out there about how the money is being utilized," Tester said. "We don't know how it's impacting agency budgets. I thought it would be a good idea to get more information before we take steps to reform it." The Equal Access to Justice Act became law in 1980 under President Jimmy Carter and was permanently funded in 1985 by President Ronald Reagan. Under a paperwork reduction reform by President Bill Clinton in 1995, annual accounting of EAJA spending lapsed and was never reinstated. The result was that each agency handled its own requests and paid them out of its individual budget. Some agencies keep close track of the spending. A single call to the U.S. Forest Service Region 1 headquarters in Missoula produced a report of $1,984,981 in EAJA payments between 2000 and 2010. But calls to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service were referred to the U.S. Department of Justice, whose spokesman said he couldn't find an accounting. While many environmental groups have received EAJA payments after defeating government agencies in court, the fund has also been used by business owners to challenge Occupational Safety and Health Administration decisions, veterans seeking benefits from Veterans Affairs, and security firms suing the Citizenship and Immigration Services...more

U.S. Forest Service streamlines appeal process; critics object

What's the difference between an appeal and an objection? When dealing with the U.S. Forest Service, it determines whether your complaint gets dealt with on paper or face-to-face. A recent change in Forest Service decisionmaking requires project opponents to argue their points much earlier in the process. Proponents of the change expect better, faster decisions on logging sales, special use permits and other activities on national forests. Agency sparring partners fear it limits people's ability to block bad decisions. "Frankly, we think it's going to be a huge improvement," said Keith Olson of the Montana Logging Association. "In order for somebody to become a litigant, they have to have involvement in the project. They can't come in at the 11th hour and throw a monkey wrench in the works." "I think it's kind of screwy," said Arlene Montgomery of Friends of the Wild Swan, an organization that's frequently tangled with the Forest Service. "The normal process is they scope a project, release an environmental assessment, you comment on that, they make changes. Then they issue a decision and you can appeal the decision...more

Environmental group to lawmakers: 'Don't drill and drive'

An environmental group is criticizing the House Republican plan to tie a new federal highway bill to increased offshore oil drilling. The New York-based Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) said in a memo to reporters Monday that its message to lawmakers this week could be compressed to one sentence: "Don't drill and drive." GOP leaders in the House are planning to use revenue from increased offshore oil drilling to pay for their version of a new surface transportation bill that would last four years and cost $260 billion. Transportation advocates have sought a long-term reauthorization of highway and transit programs, which currently expire on March 31, but the NRDC said it should not come like this. The NRDC praised the Senate's plan to pass a two-year budget for highway programs that relies on more traditional sources of funding such as the highway gas tax as "bi-partisan."...more

Custer Battlefield Museum Files Lawsuit Against the United States In U.S. Federal Court of Claims

After years of harassment, false allegations, and wrongful persecution, Christopher Kortlander, founding director of the Custer Battlefield Museum, and the businesses he operates at Garryowen, Montana, have filed a multimillion dollar lawsuit in the U.S. Federal Court of Claims in Washington DC against the United States (1:11-cv-00601-MBH Kortlander et al v. USA). The lawsuit was filed in response to the actions of various law enforcement agents of the Bureau of Land Management, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Department of the Interior, and the United States. Kortlander states that the purpose of the suit is to recover from the damages caused by years of malicious prosecution by the many federal agencies involved in two raids on his businesses and private residence. Even worse than the recently publicized federal harassment of Gibson Guitar Corp., Kortlander alleges that numerous federal agents from several agencies conducted an unremitting witch hunt against him, dating back to 1996. At that time, Kortlander dated the ex-wife of a BLM Special Agent who used his federal law enforcement authority to spy on the comings and goings of his ex-wife and Kortlander. Following Kortlander's report of harassment, the agent was reassigned out of the BLM and his law enforcement undercover team was disbanded. Since then, Kortlander says he has been targeted by federal law enforcement agents, with the intent of destroying his reputation as a dealer in historical artifacts, and forcing him to close the businesses he owns and operates in Garryowen, Montana, which includes the Custer Battlefield Museum that he founded in 1995. Said Kortlander, "Despite repeated raids on my home and my businesses, and the destruction of my personal reputation, I had done nothing wrong, and no criminal charges were ever filed against me," although, Kortlander says, the threat of impending multiple federal felony indictments were held over his head for nearly five years. "I'm still trying to force the government to return all the seized items," he added. "I'm not the only person this has happened to," Kortlander continued. "For every case like mine that is mentioned in the media, there are many more that never get noticed. Federal agents can and have destroyed the lives of many law-abiding citizens. If you run afoul of the administration bureaucracy, you can be targeted for financial ruin and public humiliation without the benefit of the Constitutional protections which a defendant enjoys when a case is filed for prosecution in the judicial branch of government. I'm determined to bring this misuse of federal power and taxpayer dollars into the light of day."...Press Release

Ex-foes aim for common ground on Idaho forests

The easy work for former adversaries in the Idaho timber wars was to start talking and develop trust. Now those environmentalists, foresters and loggers are testing the strong relationships they’ve forged in collaborative efforts state-wide. The Idaho Forest Restoration Partnership is tackling the hard issues about how much timber can be cut and thinned to restore healthy forests, and how that will be paid for. “So much of it comes down to what we are leaving behind,” said Jonathan Oppenheimer, senior associate for the Idaho Conservation League. “More and more, we’re having these discussions.” The collaborators are in Boise this week for two days of conferences aimed at finding common ground on thinning or cutting the forests of North Idaho. There is consensus among environmentalists and industry foresters that thinning the ponderosa pine-dominated forests makes them healthier, more resilient and more resistant to large-scale fires. Ponderosa pines make up most of the forests around Boise. There is less agreement about the stands of trees that grow in the wetter, higher elevations — “mixed severity forests” — that make up most of North Idaho. But forest science is beginning to suggest that these large areas of mixed-severity forests can, and perhaps should, be cut...more

Killer sheepdogs and five other top terrors of the backcountry

Anyone thinking about abandoning the safety and comfort of the big city for a trip to Colorado's savage backcountry, take heed. Not only might you be braving the caprices of nature and the hardships of an untamed wilderness, but you could also encounter a particularly fierce breed of sheepdog. According to this horrific account in the Durango Herald, the dreaded Akbash sheepdog from Turkey might even bark at you. The aggressive dogs, which are increasingly being used on Forest Service lands and elsewhere on the Western Slope, apparently do a damn good job of protecting their flocks from predators. But they've managed to alarm some hikers and mountain bikers, leading officials in Silverton to fret about their impact on the tourist trade. Mind you, there have been no accounts of people actually being mauled by these ferocious canines. The Forest Service doesn't even have any official complaints. But hikers and bicyclists have felt "intimidated" by their presence: "The dogs snarl and, according to some reports, chase them." Not exactly the same as being chased by a bear, a mountain lion, or one of the other predators the dogs are keeping at bay, but still. You can see how scary they are in this actual Forest Service photo of an Akbash...more

Mr. Prendergast then lists and discusses the five other top terrors of the back country, starting with #5, rocks and #4, trees and so on.  Hilarious stuff.

Don't Blame School Food For Obesity

Don't blame the on-campus sale of snacks for making kids fat. So says a study of 19,000 middle-schoolers. Shouldn't it be clear by now that good health starts at home? It's time to chill out about the Cheetos, if these or similar guilty pleasures are being sold at your kids school. It's not that they're nutritious. It's just that they're not the dangerous fat bombs that many dietary activists have made them out to be. And another thing: Don't expect school to teach your children how to eat. That's up to you, Mom and Dad. A newly published study by researchers at Penn State, using data on 19,450 children from fifth to eighth grade, found no link between weight gain and the availability of so-called "competitive foods." That label covers food such as soft drinks, candy bars and chips sold in vending machines or snack bars and not required to meet federal nutrition guidelines for school meals — in short, junk food. Most middle schools covered in the study sell it, often to raise money for athletics and other student activities. It's also a fat target for those who blame the food industry — rather than the choices people make with regard to diet and exercise — for the nation's obesity epidemic...more

Folklorist’s Global Jukebox Goes Digital

Alan Lomax 1942
The folklorist and ethnomusicologist Alan Lomax was a prodigious collector of traditional music from all over the world and a tireless missionary for that cause. Long before the Internet existed, he envisioned a “global jukebox” to disseminate and analyze the material he had gathered during decades of fieldwork. A decade after his death technology has finally caught up to Lomax’s imagination. Just as he dreamed, his vast archive — some 5,000 hours of sound recordings, 400,000 feet of film, 3,000 videotapes, 5,000 photographs and piles of manuscripts, much of it tucked away in forgotten or inaccessible corners — is being digitized so that the collection can be accessed online. About 17,000 music tracks will be available for free streaming by the end of February, and later some of that music may be for sale as CDs or digital downloads. Starting in the mid-1930s, when he made his first field recordings in the South, Lomax was the foremost music folklorist in the United States. He was the first to record Muddy Waters and Woody Guthrie, and much of what Americans have learned about folk and traditional music stems from his efforts, which were also directly responsible for the folk music and skiffle booms in the United States and Britain that shaped the pop-music revolution of the 1960s and beyond. Lomax worked both in academic and popular circles, and increased awareness of traditional music by doing radio and television programs, organizing concerts and festivals, and writing books, articles and essays prodigiously. At a time when there was a strict divide between high and low in American culture, and Afro-American and hillbilly music were especially scorned, Lomax argued that such vernacular styles were America’s greatest contribution to music...more

Song Of The Day #762

Ranch Radio's Western Swing Week brings you one of my favorites: Little Betty Brown by Milton Brown & His Musical Brownies. 

The tune was recorded in Chicago on Jan. 28, 1935.  Band members are:  Milton Brown, vocals; Derwood Brown, vocals and guitar; Ocie Stockard, vocals and banjo; Bob Dunn, steel guitar; Wanna Coffman, base; Cecil Brower, fiddle.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Mexican wolf encounters on the increase

Earlier today I posted Crystal Diamond's account and pictures of her wolf encounter.

Laura Schneberger at Wolf Crossing has an excellent piece on this and other wolf encounters.  Here are some excerpts:

With the onset of the 2012 breeding season sightings, close encounters and home encounters have created a difficult situation for managers of the Mexican wolf program and they are not getting much slack from local governments and citizens. In December the program issued it’s first lethal control order after a female wolf with a long track record of livestock depredations and human habitation was found circling a private home at regular intervals where small children were exposed to her close presence. The same wolf had birthed a litter of hybrid pups the prior spring and FWS are still on the lookout for the one Mexican wolf hybrid that got away. They haven’t found it presumably it will add to the genetic mix that is the rare Mexican wolf. The remarkable thing about this control action is the fact that despite dozens of human safety encounters since the beginning of the program many of which involved their attraction to children, this was the first time the agency admitted lethal control was warranted for human safety reasons...

Crystal Diamond has suffered an unbelievable amount of slander in the local news media simply because she is in proximity of the expanding Mexican wolf population. The activists who have repeatedly attempted to destroy her credibility and reputation have deliberately avoided the factual reports on the situation that are available to them. Instead they choose to blame and attack a mom over the death of a problem habituated aggressive wolf.  The message is that this wolf was special, this wolf was presumably more special than Crystal’s small children and their safety and their freedom to exercise their rights on their own land at at their own home. This wolf is not special. Genetically this wolf was redundant to the population of Mexican wolves, which include over 400 in captivity...

Crystal’s Wolf Encounter

Saturday January 28, 2012

I was traveling east on Hwy 59 with my 2 young daughters in the car when my oldest, who frequently gets carsick, demanded a quick roadside stop. I pulled over just east of Poverty Creek and removed her from the vehicle. We walked around for several minutes so Cayden could get some fresh air after being sick on the shoulder of the road. The drivers door and back door were wide open. My 2 year old daughter, Reece, remained in the car crying hysterically to be removed from her car seat. After about a 5-6 minute stop, I loaded Cayden back in the car. I then walked around the back of the vehicle & towards my door when I saw a wolf standing in the middle of the road within 20 feet of my open car door. I ran to jump in my car & shut the door. The wolf, who had been standing still then walked up to the drivers side of my vehicle and stood a moment. Reece was still crying loudly. Using the camera feature on my phone I was able to capture several photos of the fearless behavior of this uncollared wolf. He'd pace in front of my vehicle from one side to the other, again and again. After watching each other for about 6-7 long minutes, the wolf seemed to tire of us and began to trot off to the south. As soon as I'd put the car in gear & move forward a few feet- it would quickly stop & curiously trot back to the car (the 2nd time he walked off, noticed movement, then returns to the road was captured on video recording). The standoff had now lasted roughly 12-15 minutes. Needing to get on my way, I slowly drove off. Leaving him sitting on the roadside shoulder, exactly where my 3 year old daughter had been sick just minutes before. This is the 2nd time in just over one month that a wolf has come within feet of my children.

Crystal Runyan Diamond
Beaverhead Ranch

Look at the size of that wolf!

Slow going for Mexican gray wolf recovery

The Mexican gray wolf population in the Southwest is hanging on, but continues to struggle partly because not enough wolves are being released from captivity, according to conservation advocates who would like to see federal biologists do more to recover the species. For the first time since 2006, the overall population grew, from 42 to 50. The government did not remove any wolves from the wild in 2010, but released just one wolf, captured in 2009, back into the wild. Mexican wolves, the smallest genetically distinct subspecies of the North American gray wolf, were eradicated from their native territory in in the U.S. by 1970. Recovery efforts started with an endangered species listing in 1976. The species was saved from extinction when the last five wild wolves were captured in Mexico to start a captive breeding program. The first captive-bred wolves were released back into the wild in 1998. The wolf population in the Southwest is designated as experimental and nonessential, which give wildlife managers more flexibility to address livestock depredations. According to the 2010 annual report from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the 2010 end-of-year count confirmed 23 radio-collared wolves (16 adults, 4 subadults, and 3 pups). The population consisted of 10 packs (4 in Arizona, 6 in New Mexico). Twenty-seven uncollared wolves, including uncollared singles and groups, were documented throughout 2010. Seven packs produced wild-conceived, wild-born litters. This is the ninth consecutive year wild- born Mexican wolves bred and raised pups in the wild. According to the agency, 91 percent of the radio-collared individuals and 96 percent of all documented wolves were wild-born...more