Saturday, March 10, 2012

The Westerner's Radio Theater #023

 This edition brings you the All Star Western Theater with special guest star Tex Ritter.  The program aired on October 6, 1946.  Take note that part of the story takes place in White Oaks, NM

EDITORIAL: Obama and the 50-buck light bulb

The 50-dollar light bulb is a good metaphor for the Obama administration - way too expensive for most Americans to put up with. A new LED fixture from the Philips Corp. is the latest public-relations disaster for the Energy Department. The 60-watt equivalent bulb won the Energy Department’s $10 million “L Prize” for an environmentally sensitive bulb that is “affordable for American families.” The retail price is $50 each. The new LED is more energy-efficient than standard incandescent bulbs and may last up to 10 years. Yet given that it costs 50 times the price of the typical old-style bulb, this eats up any long-term savings. The Energy Department defends the bulb’s exorbitant price, claiming costs are expected to fall over time. However, the original contest guidelines projected a retail price less than half of what the bulb wound up costing, and there are already much less expensive LED bulbs available that didn’t benefit from the Obama administration’s seal of approval. It’s unseemly to give $10 million of the public’s money to a corporation in times of austerity when presumably Philips should have been trying to develop efficient, reliable, cost-effective light bulbs anyway. It’s called capitalism. The Solyndra solar-panel debacle and the other risky, losing Obama administration investments in “green technology” underscore the wasteful nature of government intervention in these emerging markets...more

Friday, March 09, 2012

Miners sue feds over Grand Canyon withdrawal

A mining advocacy group claims the recent withdrawal from new mining claims of more than 1 million public acres north of the Grand Canyon violates a host of federal laws and puts an illegal burden on its members and their hundreds of mining claims in the region. The Northwest Mining Association, based in Spokane, Wash., sued the Secretaries of the Interior and Agriculture, and Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Forest Service, in Federal Court. The NWMA claims that its members "have properly located and currently maintain hundreds of unpatented mining claims on and near the Arizona Strip," a vast, lonely region north of the Grand Canyon near the Utah border. "Virtually all of these claims are located within the over 1 million acres of federal lands withdrawn by defendants," the complaint states. "But for the withdrawal, NWMA's members would seek to locate additional claims on the withdrawn lands. Accordingly, NWMA and its members have suffered injury in fact and are adversely affected and/or aggrieved by defendants' withdrawal." The group claims that comments collected during the environmental review process suggest that "uranium mining is not an environmental threat to the Grand Canyon or the Colorado River watershed," and that "the extent of the uranium resources and the economic impact associated with a withdrawal were grossly underestimated." Mountain States Legal Foundation spokesman William Perry Pendley in a statement: "Secretary Salazar's decision is particularly outrageous because one of his own agencies, the U.S. Geological Survey, estimates that the withdrawn lands contain uranium that, if mined to capacity, would generate electricity to power Los Angeles for 154 years." The group seeks judicial review, claiming the withdrawal of lands violated the Federal Land Policy and Management Act, the National Forest Management Act and the National Environmental Policy Act...more

Go get'em Perry.

Idaho Gov. Otter wants more federal money for wolves

 Hunters, trappers and others wiped out nearly a third of Idaho's wolves last year after the state took over management from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. But about 750 survived, and Gov. Butch Otter wants federal money as reimbursement for Idaho having to host them. Otter says the federal government needs to give the state and ranchers more money to compensate for the wolves. Fish and Wildlife, though, wants to cut back on money for Idaho since the wolves are no longer on the endangered species list. Otter complained to Congress about the wolves last week, testifying in Washington, D.C., that wolf reintroduction had been forced on the state and the federal government should be “exploring a long-term funding mechanism to mitigate this federal action.” He argued that the feds should be paying for wolf and elk management costs in Idaho, and that “livestock producers should be reimbursed for confirmed and probable livestock losses.” Otter’s office said the state was instead told to expect a gradual cut in federal wolf management dollars over the next four years from $704,000 down to zero...more

Animal rights groups seek veto of Utah's ‘ag-gag’ bill

While showing gruesome video of abused farm animals taken by undercover activists, animal rights groups called Friday for Utah Gov. Gary Herbert to veto a bill that would outlaw such snooping. "If this bill is signed into law, we will challenge it all the way to the Supreme Court," Nathan Runkle, executive director of Mercy for Animals, said in a Salt Lake City press conference. The Legislature this week passed HB187 by Rep. John Mathis, R-Vernal, a veterinarian. It would ban photographing farm animals or operations without permission or "under false pretenses," and could lead to jail sentences of up to a year and/or fines of up to $2,500 for violators. Animal rights groups call it the "ag-gag" bill for seeking to outlaw undercover investigations...more

Domestic wolf shot by rancher

After spotting a wolf harassing his horses early Wednesday, a Ferndale-area livestock owner shot and killed the animal. He later discovered that it was a domesticated wolf that had escaped from a nearby kennel. Andy Stewart said his dogs started making a ruckus at about 1 a.m. He went outside with a shotgun to investigate, seeing a canine trot off into the timber. “I figured it might be a wolf,” he said. Because he had sheep that are about to lamb, he stayed up to make sure they wouldn’t be threatened. The wolf returned again and was chased off by his dogs before he had a chance to shoot. At about 4 a.m., the wolf returned again, and this time Stewart found it chasing one of his four horses. “He was right on the heels of one horse,” Stewart said. “I had to drop the flashlight. I shot once and didn’t know if I hit him. He went behind a burn pile and I shot again and thought I hit him.” He did hit the mostly white male wolf, and after finishing it off he contacted Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks. Warden Chuck Bartos responded and determined that the animal fit the description of a wolf that escaped from the property of a woman who raises pure-bred wolves about five miles away. It wouldn’t have made a difference under Montana law if the wolf had been wild. “He was within his rights either way,” Bartos said of Stewart. “It was harassing his livestock and he did what any rancher would, I think.”...more


"There will be found to exist at all times an imperious necessity for restraining all the functionaries of the Government within the range of their respective powers thereby preserving a just balance between the powers granted to this Government and those reserved to the States and to the people."

- President John Tyler

Song Of The Day #789

Ranch Radio brings you Johnny Bond and his 1953 recording of Put A Little Sweetnin' In Your Love.

The tune is on his 30 track CD Put Me To Bed on Bear Family Records.

NAPOLITANO: Can the president kill you?

Can the president kill an American simply because that person is dangerous and his arrest would be impractical? Can the president be judge, jury and executioner of an American in a foreign country because he thinks that would keep America safe? Can Congress authorize the president to do that? Earlier this week, Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. attempted to justify presidential killing in a speech at Northwestern University law school. In it, he recognized the requirement of the Fifth Amendment for due process. He argued that the president may substitute the traditionally understood due process - a public jury trial - with the president’s own novel version of it; that would be a secret deliberation about killing. Without mentioning the name of the American the president recently ordered killed, Mr. Holder suggested that the president’s careful consideration of the case of New Mexico-born Anwar al-Awlaki constituted a form of due process. Mr. Holder argued that the act of reviewing al-Awlaki’s alleged crimes, what he was doing in Yemen and the imminent danger he posed provided al-Awlaki with a substituted form of due process. He did not mention how this substitution applied to al-Awlaki’s 16-year-old son and a family friend, who also were executed by CIA drones. He also did not address the absence of any support in the Constitution or Supreme Court case law for his novel theory...more

Elderly rancher pulls gun on 3 thieves who came back for more - video

An elderly cattle rancher recently came face-to-face with three thieves on his property, and he took the matter into his own hands. The thieves might have been arrested if Vance West had been able to get someone to help him. Vance West, 92, is a veteran and father of three. He lives by himself outside Bois d'Arc on more than 100 acres. “See, there's where they left,” he told a reporter, pointing out tire tracks. “They will be back. I think they will be back.” West says three men stole nearly $3,000 worth of equipment from one of his sheds. He missed the first time they came around, but not the second. “He started climbing over the gate, and I told him not to climb over. He climbed over anyway, so I pulled a gun on him,” West said. “I told him, ‘Do you see where it's cocked?’ He says, ‘I can see,’” West said. “He was sassy. He told me he wasn't going to do it.” The men got away when West tried to flag down someone on his county road...more

Here's the video news report:


‘Karma’: $107k plug-in hybrid dies on test track, automaker got $528m US loan guarantee

This Fisher Karma had to be towed

The Fisker Karma is a plug-in hybrid car that seems to have everything the rich and famous — and environmentally correct — look for in a set of wheels. Sleek silhouette? Check. Green cred? Check. Six-figure price tag? Check. Reliable battery? Not so fast. In a test conducted Wednesday by Consumer Reports magazine, the niche-market $107,850 sports car conked out completely, after a short ride at 65 miles per hour on a Connecticut test track. “Our Fisker Karma … is super sleek, high-tech — and now it’s broken,” Consumer Reports wrote on its website late Thursday...more

Energy Sec. Chu doesn’t own car, but his wife drives BMW gas-guzzler

In a piece of video that shot across the Internet Thursday like a sports car doing zero-to-60 in four seconds, Energy Secretary Stephen Chu told the House Subcommittee on Energy and Power that he does not own a car. But The Daily Caller has confirmed that Chu’s wife does — and it’s quite an automobile. There’s no Chevy Volt in the Chu household’s driveway. TheDC has obtained motor vehicle registration records showing that Jean Chu (née Fetter) is the owner of a 2002 BMW 325i, a sports sedan with a gas-guzzling 6-cylinder engine. And its engine requires premium gasoline. AAA determined on Thursday that the average U.S. price for that grade of fuel was $4.03 per gallon. When the car was first sold, its EPA-estimated fuel economy was rated at 18 miles per gallon in the city and 27 mpg on highways, according to, a website run by Secretary Chu’s own Department of Energy. The website reports that the car’s average fuel economy was 21 mpg — back when it had zero miles on its odometer. The U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics has reported that the average fuel economy of light-duty passenger vehicles for the 2002 model year was 29.0 mpg, putting Mrs. Chu’s car in the less-than-efficient column...more

Thursday, March 08, 2012

N.M. Atty Gen sues NM farmers


The board of directors of the Elephant Butte Irrigation District is taking direct aim at the latest lawsuit filed against the district and its 6,000 farm families.
The latest legal broadside came when a process server working for the N.M. AG’s office in Santa Fe came slipping in between the pecan trees to deliver a lawsuit to pecan farmer James Salopek, chairman of the EBID. The suit is directed by NM Attorney General Gary King against the EBID and El Paso County Water Improvement District #1 seeking to invalidate a legal and binding operating agreement between the two entities. The operating agreement equitably divides the Rio Grande Project water between the two irrigation districts. In addition to seeking to invalidate the operating agreement, the lawsuit also challenges the method for determining how the quantity of upstream New Mexico’s water is calculated in an attempt to keep more water for the middle Rio Grande. The underlying issue here is that the State of New Mexico is soon going to be in a position where they are not making the required deliveries under the Rio Grande Compact to Compact Texas. By seeking to change the method by which certain calculations are made, upstream New Mexico is seeking to put themselves in a better position regarding their required deliveries to Compact Texas, which would have the effect of delivering less water to EBID farmers. The lawsuit was originally filed last year against the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation but it has now been expanded by the State to include the local farmers.
The EBID board is asking all involved (including the City of Las Cruces) to ask serious questions about these actions which on the surface seem to be a brazen water grab (from his own constituents) by an Attorney General who is attempting to further his political career at the expense of New Mexico agriculture. It may come down to the fact that there are more votes north of Elephant Butte Lake which could come in very handy in a statewide political race... EBID Press Release

Obama Calls for New $1B Program to Promote ‘Alternative’ Vehicles + API Not Happy w. Obama

President Barack Obama used his visit to a North Carolina truck manufacturer on Wednesday to announce a $1 billion program to promote electric and other alternative vehicles through tax incentives for consumers and federal grants to states to finance infrastructure to support them. The “National Community Deployment Challenge” includes incentives for individuals and businesses to buy “advanced cars and trucks” through a $10,000 tax credit – up from the $7,500 allowed under current tax law. The plan also includes a “Race to the Top” contest that would award grants to states with “model communities” that invest in the infrastructure to support those vehicles, such as charging stations or natural gas corridors “where alternative fuel trucks can transport goods without using a drop of oil,” the White House Press Fact Sheet on the program states...more

The API isn't happy with Obama.  The article also has this, which includes some interesting stats:

At the same hour that Obama was making his announcement in the swing state of North Carolina, the House Subcommittee on Energy and Power was holding a hearing on causes of the high gas prices facing U.S. consumers – up from under $2 when the president took office to almost $4 in most states today. Jack Gerard, president and CEO of the American Petroleum Institute, said the administration claim of an “all-of-the-above” approach to energy policy does not seem to include oil and gas. “The administration says it is for more oil and gas, but rejects the Keystone XL pipeline,” Gerard said. “It says it is boosting domestic production onshore, but new leasing on federal lands is down 44 percent, and the number of new wells drilled is down 39 percent.
“It says it is opening offshore areas but the latest plan keeps 87 percent of these areas off limits,” Gerard said. “It says oil and gas activity in the Gulf of Mexico is back to normal, but the latest forecast says production this year will be down nearly 21 percent from 2010. “It says it is for natural gas, but 10 federal agencies are looking at new regulations that could needlessly restrict it,” Gerard said. “It calls for “all-of-the-above” then threatens the companies that could lead an energy renaissance with $85 billion in discriminatory tax increases,” Gerard said...

USDA and Interior Department initiate joint conservation program

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar announced a $33 million partnership today funded through the Wildlife Habitats Incentives Program (WHIP). They said the joint program, Working Lands for Wildlife, will allow landowners to benefit from conservation practices focused on seven specific species. “In return for voluntarily implementing conservation practices, the federal government will provide landowners with the regulatory certainty that they will not be asked to take additional conservation actions in the future,” Salazar said. Sign-up begins today for the program, which will initially focus on the following seven species: greater sage-grouse, New England cottontail, bog turtle, golden-winged warbler, gopher tortoise, lesser prairie-chicken and the Southwestern willow flycatcher...more

The last two are in NM.

Navajo Water Project Working to Secure Its Path - Eminent Domain?

Jimmy Detsoi touted a proposal that he thought would get unanimous support from people in a small Navajo community where raising livestock is synonymous with culture and tradition, the advent of the massive federal Navajo-Gallup Water Supply Project. He had identified nine residents with livestock grazing permits on a patch of northwest New Mexico land that is in the path of the 280-mile, $1 billion pipeline project that will bring water closer to thousands of Navajos on the eastern side of the reservation. More than 40 percent of Navajo residences across the 27,000 square-mile reservation still do not have running water, and many have the arduous task of hauling water miles for basic uses like cooking, washing and drinking. The pipeline also will bring water relief to the city of Gallup, N.M., and parts of the Jicarilla Apache Nation. Detsoi, the grazing official in Twin Lakes, N.M., was seeking approval from the permit holders for the pipeline to cross their lands. One refused. The man told tribal officials that the destruction of vegetation and being unable to access a road would cause too many problems. The start of project construction this year is dependent on completion of various permitting, land acquisition and contract activities. Tribal officials are hesitant to use eminent domain, which allows the tribe to seize property for economic development, against grazing rights holders because it brings back harsh memories of when the federal government pushed Navajos off their land and forcibly relocated some of them...more

I'm confused (what's new?) about this eminent domain thing.  The article says:

 The right to graze livestock is sometimes treated as land ownership, which doesn't exist for tribal members on the reservation because the land is held in trust by the federal government. To Detsoi, grazing permit holders aren't giving up much by allowing the water pipeline and could benefit from the grass seed that's planted as part of reclamation. "A lot of people think they own the land," he said. "We've been trying to tell them, we don't own the land. The land still belongs to the government."

And the Navajo President says:

 While consent is preferred, Navajo President Ben Shelly has warned that he will enforce eminent domain along the project that is on the fast track by President Barack Obama's administration and came as the result of years of negotiation on tribal water rights.

How can something be treated as property "sometimes"?  I can understand if the feds own the land and have delegated the right of eminent domain, but just what are they condemning?   The feds own the land so it must be the grazing permit?

Song Of The Day #788

 Ranch Radio's tune today is Eddy Arnold's 1947 recording of Molly Darling.

Whose land is it?

Has the federal government become so arrogant as to claim ownership of the land over which it has jurisdiction? Put differently, does the United States of America exist to protect and defend the property of each individual living within its borders, or to own and control that property itself? This is not a theoretical question reserved for intellectual banter. It is a real question pondered often, especially by those in western states, where the majority of land is owned and regulated by the federal government. Although the federal government owns less than 10% of almost every eastern state, it owns large swaths of the West: 65% of the land in Utah, 83% of Nevada, 63% of Idaho, 45% of Arizona, 44% of California and similar percentages of the surrounding western states. That may soon change if the efforts of the Utah legislature are successful. The legislature has passed a package of bills that demands that the federal government give up its claim to huge sections of “public” land. One of the bills includes a demand that nearly 30 million acres be handed over to the state — nearly 50% of the land in Utah — by 2014. “If sovereignty means anything, it means not having to say pretty please, or mother may I,” state Rep. Ken Ivory, who is leading the Utah initiative, recently told Fox News...more  

The column also says:

 During the nineteenth century, the federal government acquired what is now the western U.S. through the Louisiana Purchase, the purchases of Florida, the Oregon Territory and Alaska, the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo and a few smaller agreements. Until 1976, the federal government had a policy of gradually disposing of these lands in order to form new states. The money generated from the land sales would then be used to pay down the national debt. In 1833, President Andrew Jackson remarked that such an arrangement “bound the United States to a particular course of policy … by ties as strong as can be invented to secure the faith of nations.”


In 1894, Congress passed Utah’s Enabling Act, which laid out the conditions under which Utah could become a state. The act guaranteed that if Utah became a state, the federal government would sell off Utah’s federally owned lands in a timely fashion. Utah complied with the act and became a state in January 1896. In 1976, Congress passed the Federal Land Policy Management Act, which says that “it is the policy of the United States that the public lands be retained in Federal ownership unless … it is determined that disposal of a particular parcel will serve the national interest.” The Federal Land Policy Management Act clearly violates Utah’s Enabling Act, as well as the enabling acts of other western states...n short, the federal government promised to give Utah the land it controlled, selling it off to pay down the national debt. In a flagrant violation of that contractual obligation, the federal government now wants to keep two-thirds of the land in the entire state with no regard for its previous promise, let alone the massive imbalance in federal land holdings between eastern and western states.  

It's time everyone learned the fed's aren't "bound" by anything, not even by "ties as strong as can be invented to secure the faith of nations” and their "promises" mean nothing.

BLM's Childrens Book & Using National Parks as Classrooms

BLM children's book: Tortoise journeys across Arizona The Bureau of Land Management has produced a children's book about a tortoise that takes a 100-year journey across Arizona. "Tori Tortoise Turns 100" features landscapes managed by the BLM throughout Arizona. Tori was born on Feb. 14, 1912, the same day that Arizona became a state, in what would later become the BLM's Ironwood Forest National Monument northwest of Tucson.   

And this article says: 

The book was the brainchild of Pamela Mathis, the BLM Phoenix District public affairs specialist, and Angie Bulletts, Phoenix District manager, Mathis said. The Phoenix District already had started a program to get older youths outdoors and recruit them for BLM careers, so the book is a way to expose younger kids to environmental education, Mathis explained - "so they have a place in their heart for environmental stewardship."

I know you can't wait, so read about Tori The Tortoise here.

Then take a look at what the Interior and  Education Dept's are up to:

Using National Parks as Classrooms Such is the case of an agreement between the Departments of Interior and Education to help local schools use national parks, wildlife refuges and other public lands as classrooms. In a Memorandum of Understanding signed last week by Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and Education Secretary Arne Duncan, the Departments of Interior and Education will pool their existing resources to develop new and effective ways to help local school districts connect young Americans to the outdoors, build their environmental knowledge and experience the benefits of learning outside the classroom. The Obama Administration hopes the agreement will help achieve one of the major goal in its Great Outdoors Initiative of helping more young Americans gain the skills needed to succeed in the conservation and outdoor recreation economy...more

Clearly, the enviros and the federales will use the public schools as a political tool to further their agenda.  There are, however, more productive things we can do.

For instance, let's consider Myrtle The Turtle.  She has survived for hundreds of years on private land and in a free market.  On the other hand, Tori The Tortoise has been coddled by federales in government-issued costumes.  How do we determine which represents the best long-term survival for the species?  I propose a UFC-type MMA battle between Myrtle The Turtle and Tori The Tortoise.  I'm calling Dana White immediately.  My prediction?  Myrtle The Turtle wins at 1 minute in the first round with a rear naked choke (what the hell else can a turtle do?). 

All proceeds from the fight will go to the DuBois Rodeo Scholarship.

Now, for using National Parks in our schools.  I think this is a good idea.  For instance, I know of many schools that need new football fields, and many that would like to have a rodeo arena for their students.  Both would be great uses of Park Service lands!

No, no, I'm wrong.  Instead, tell the feds to keep their clutches off our kids.

Wind farms in Pacific Northwest paid to not produce

Wind farms in the Pacific Northwest -- built with government subsidies and maintained with tax credits for every megawatt produced -- are now getting paid to shut down as the federal agency charged with managing the region's electricity grid says there's an oversupply of renewable power at certain times of the year. The problem arose during the late spring and early summer last year. Rapid snow melt filled the Columbia River Basin. The water rushed through the 31 dams run by the Bonneville Power Administration, a federal agency based in Portland, Ore., allowing for peak hydropower generation. At the very same time, the wind howled, leading to maximum wind power production. Demand could not keep up with supply, so BPA shut down the wind farms for nearly 200 hours over 38 days. Now, Bonneville is offering to compensate wind companies for half their lost revenue. The bill could reach up to $50 million a year. The extra payout means energy users will eventually have to pay more. "We require taxpayers to subsidize the production of renewable energy, and now we want ratepayers to pay renewable energy companies when they lose money?" asked Todd Myers, director of the Center for the Environment of the Washington Policy Center...more

Clearing the air on the EPA

In his opening statement at last week’s House Energy and Commerce hearing about the EPA’s 2013 budget, Mr. Barton of Texas came as close as any Republican ever has to reading EPA Director Lisa P. Jackson the riot act about the agency’s ever-increasing contempt for science, economics, Congress and even the Constitution. While much of the aforesaid is widely known but typically left unsaid by timid congressional Republicans, Mr. Barton also raised an issue that should shock the conscience of anyone concerned about ethics in government: financial conflict-of-interest among EPA science advisers. “I want to discuss the EPA’s science and research funding and support activities such as the quality assurance supervisory budget and the committees that monitor the EPA’s internal activities,” Mr. Barton told Ms. Jackson. “You fund research with grants to people who also serve on your review committees. Is this a conflict of interest? Almost every single member of your Clean Air Science Advisory Committee has been directly or indirectly funded for research. This hand-and-glove policymaking by those appointed to also do your research and being funded by you at the same time is not appropriate. They are often asked to review other research they themselves were a party to on the original research team.How could one possibly expect them to be objective in any way?” undertook to put some meat on the bones of what Mr. Barton alleged and discovered that of the seven members of CASAC, six have received or still are receiving substantial sums in the form of research grants from the agency...more

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

CBO Debunks Myth That Tax Code Favors Oil Over Renewables

Environmental activists and liberal politicians are fond of bemoaning the supposedly disproportionate tax benefits that go to the fossil fuel industry compared to its renewable energy competitors. The president specifically has made “ending tax breaks for oil companies” a pillar of his paltry efforts to reduce the federal deficit. But a new report from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) handily debunks the myth that oil companies uniquely or excessively benefit from the tax code. One devastating chart sums up CBO’s key findings:

  As the chart shows, renewable energy is far more heavily subsidized by tax carveouts than any other energy sector, including fossil fuels. The chart does not, however, take into account the level of those subsidies in proportion to the amount of energy that each sector creates. By that measure, renewables’ federal subsidies are even more lopsided. As Heritage’s David Kreutzer has pointed out, wind energy companies, for instance, get about 1000 times the subsidies that oil companies do, per kilowatt-hour of energy produced...more

Hunters-Gatherers: The Original Libertarians

Hunter-gatherer societies can shed light on one of the most fundamental issues bearing on political economy—whether man is better adapted to individualism or to collectivism. The evidence suggests that for millennia before the agricultural revolution, man lived in a state of political autonomy and economic freedom and acted basically as a self-interested individualist, not as the altruist depicted in much of the socialist literature.

Read the article here

UPDATE:  This link will work...

Soros, others set to cash in on Natural Gas Act payday

George Soros and other top contributors to Democrats are one step closer to making millions of dollars off their natural gas investments, thanks to tax breaks and subsidies included in the Natural Gas Act which was filed March 5 as an amendment to the highway bill. Capitol Hill sources report that a ruling by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) will allow the Natural Gas Act to be included in Senate Res. 1813, “Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century America Fast Forward Financing Innovation Act of 2011,” commonly referred to as the highway bill. The highway bill was debated by the Senate Tuesday. Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), who filed the Senate’s version of the Nat Gas Act in November, told us he added it to the highway bill last night. Chief among the beneficiaries of the Natural Gas Act is Soros Fund Management, which according to federal filings, owns 6.6 percent of Westport Innovations, a Vancouver, British Columbia-based natural gas engine distributor and manufacturer. The fund’s position is worth more than $135 million at today’s stock market price. Westport, with three partner factories in China, is a global leader in fuel systems and conversion kits. Known on Capitol Hill as the “Nat Gas Act,” the proposal will extend federal tax credits for the purchase and operation of natural gas-powered vehicles; provide subsidies for the manufacture of natural gas engines, the establishment of a national system of privately held natural gas storage facilities and refueling stations. The legislation would also facilitate the migration of government-owned vehicle fleets to natural gas use. The largest individual shareholder in Westport is Kevin G. Douglas, whose 2,990.431 shares are worth more than $125 million. With his wife Michelle, the couple own, directly and indirectly, 17 percent of Westport, according to the couple’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Douglas and his wife Michelle M. contributed more than $130,000 to President Barack Obama and Democrats, according to Federal Election Commission records...more

Song Of The Day #788

 Ranch Radio's song today is Carl Smith's recording of Don't Just Stand There.  The tune was recorded in Nashville on June 8, 1951 and that's Grady Martin on the electric guitar and Bob Foster on the steel.

The tune is available on several of his collections, including his Essential CD.

Coal heats up as campaign issue for Obama

As gasoline prices continue to rise and keep the heat on President Obama’s energy policies, critics also are accusing the president of shifting support away from the coal industry, a major source of fuel and jobs in several battleground states, including Colorado, Michigan and Ohio. Lawmakers on both sides of the partisan aisle say Obama administration environmental regulations aimed at cutting greenhouse gas emissionsare poised to hit jobs and consumers harder than the Keystone XL decision at the same time the president seems to have abandoned his stated support for the coal industry and clean-coal technology. House Speaker John A. Boehner, Ohio Republican, wrote a letter to Mr. Obama last week taking issue with the Environmental Protection Agency’s greenhouse gas rule-making, naming an anti-mercury rule among several regulations that he said would cost a combined 180,000 jobs. In late February, a bipartisan group of 219 members of Congress led by Reps. Ed Whitfield, Kentucky Republican, and John Barrow, Georgia Democrat, sent a letter to the Office of Management and Budget calling for a stop to the EPA’s greenhouse gas rule-making. “Affordable, reliable electricity is critical to keeping and growing jobs in the United States, and such a standard will likely drive up energy prices and threaten domestic jobs,” they wrote. “Forcing a transition to commercially unproven technologies could send thousands of jobs overseas and raise electricity rates on families and seniors at a time when the nation can least afford it.”...more

Ranching practice being challenged as animal cruelty

A fight between a Southern Arizona rancher and Pima County animal control officials could determine this week whether legislators will create a new exemption from state and local animal cruelty laws. Legislation awaiting a final House vote would provide an exemption from the laws for "any activity involving the possession and training, exhibition or use of a dog in the otherwise lawful pursuit of ranching or farming work activities.' But HB 2780 goes even farther. It spells out that counties, which now are empowered to adopt more stringent standards, also have to take a hands-off approach to ranching. Rep. Peggy Judd, R-Willcox, acknowledged her legislation is aimed squarely at Pima County, which has an ordinance which makes it illegal to tie out a dog under any circumstances. She said one Cochise County resident who ranches in Pima County with his dogs was cited for violating it. "They were out in a remote location and they tied them to keep them out of the way of the stock,' she said. The legislation got the support of several lawmakers with ranching experience like Rep. Chester Crandell, R-Heber. "Picture yourself on a horse riding out 25-30 miles away from anywhere and your dogs are with you pulling cattle out of brush, helping you to corral them,' he said. "Dogs are very exuberant and they want to help,' Crandell said. "Sometimes when you get in a corral with wild cows, that's not the best situation to be in.' He said the best thing is to "simply tie them with a leash to a post or under the shade of a tree or someplace where they can be comfortable out of the way so they're not getting hurt, the cows are not getting stampeded and those who are working the cows are not going to get run over.'...more

Rancher, 85, faces sentencing in water pollution case

Scappoose, Ore., rancher William Holdner describes himself as a conservationist with a love of wildlife. "I'm an environmentalist, going back to when I was born," Holdner, 85, said in an interview March 5. "Other than spot spraying for tansy ragwort, I never use chemicals. I use no insecticides or chemical fertilizers." But last month Holdner, who runs a beef-cattle operation, was found guilty of two Class B felonies for polluting waters of the state and 25 misdemeanor counts. Columbia County Circuit Court on March 6 put off sentencing to give Holdner a chance to come into compliance with state law, according to Ray Jaindl, administrator of the Oregon Department of Agriculture's natural resources division, who was at the sentencing. Holdner refused to obtain a confined animal feeding operation permit from the state despite attempts by state officials to convince him. Holdner said several conditions of the permit were unworkable, including one that prevented him from capturing runoff during storms and applying it to a nearby field. The permit, in essence, would have forced him to funnel the runoff into the creeks, he said. The ODA's Jaindl said just the opposite is true. By spraying the runoff onto fields, Jaindl said, Holdner was saturating fields during storms and contaminated runoff was escaping into the Mid Creek and South Scappoose Creek, which border Holdner's Dutch Canyon facility...more

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Utah’s oil boom would be bigger without feds, officials say

Times are good in the Utah oil patch. Could they be better without federal meddling? Record gas production and a rebounding crude output are pumping hundreds of millions of dollars into the state budget. Uintah County, the state’s hydrocarbon mother lode, had just 4.2 percent unemployment in December — the state’s lowest rate and half the national average. The main drag along U.S. 40 in Vernal and Naples is a hopscotch run of chain-linked oil-field service companies, which supplies workers well beyond the Beehive State, including to North Dakota’s oil boom. Utah officials predict a long, lucrative future in the business (bigger than the $4 billion that the state says flowed from the ground last year), and the government has leased far more lands and permitted more wells than industry has developed. So why all the fuss about federal obstruction of drilling? “They can say whatever they want,” Bill Ryan, a Vernal-based oil-field services consultant, said of an Interior Department that he believes is blocking what could be a much larger industry. “[President Barack] Obama’s administration can say they’re pro-development, but they always add ‘as long as it’s environmentally sound.’ They’re using the environmental argument to hamper development.” While state lawmakers threaten a long-shot legal bid to own Utah’s federal lands and prime the petroleum pump, the congressional delegation rails against an administration it calls anti-energy. State and county officials say the problem is with a bureaucracy that strings out permitting long enough to deter some would-be bidders. “We’re seeing more exploitation of state and private lands just because companies are seeing that it’s getting more difficult on federal lands,” said John Baza, director of the Utah Division of Oil, Gas and Mining...more

Song Of The Day #787 - Election Commentary?

Today Ranch Radio brings you Jimmie Dolan's 1953 recording of The Wheel That Does The Squeakin'.

The whole tune reminds me of the election season here in the U.S.  But this line seems most appropriate:

The pig that does the squealin' is the one who gets the slop

Video: The cost of Obama’s broken promises

Wolves in Oregon: Bigger, badder than before?

As wolves continue to re-establish themselves in Oregon, a debate simmers over whether they are similar to the animals wiped out following state-sponsored hunts that ended in the 1940s. Many ranchers and critics of wolf revival say they’re bigger and nastier than the ones that once roamed the state. Supporters of wolves and those behind their reintroduction say those claims are overblown and are used to vilify the predator. As a rancher near Dayville, about 120 miles east of Bend, Harry Stangel, 66, doesn’t want to see wolf packs return to Central Oregon. He says the wolves are an exotic species. “It’s a Canadian wolf,” he said. “It’s not the wolf that (was) indigenous to Oregon and Idaho.” While old-timers say Oregon’s native wolves were just slightly larger than a coyote, with males weighing about 80 pounds, there are reports on the Internet of wolves in Idaho weighing over 170 pounds, said Rod Childers, a rancher near Enterprise and chairman of the Oregon Cattlemen’s Association. “They are bigger, and they are going to demand more food,” he said. That food is deer, elk and, possibly, cattle. Bangs, who lives in Helena, Mont., said examinations of skulls from modern wolves and ancient wolves from Oregon show that today’s wolves in the West are bigger, but only by a matter of millimeters when it comes to the head size...more

K.C. JONES Ropes his 5th TEC Title!

 5-Time Champion Pushes Career TEC Earnings to $445,500

No multi-champion of the Timed Event Championship of the World had gone more than six years between titles.
          That is until Sunday.
          K.C. Jones, 44, who claimed his fourth TEC title in 2001, won the 2012 Timed Event with 360.6 seconds on 25 head at the Lazy E Arena. Jones is only the second cowboy in the 28-year history of the Timed Event to win five or more titles. Trevor Brazile, out this year with an injury, has won six times.
“Just thank God,” said Jones of Burlington, Wyo., who also has been a runner-up five times. “I’ve been fortunate and had a lot of people help me and worked hard at it and worked hard with my horses. It’s just great.”
After finishing second in 2010, Jones went penniless at the event a year ago in Guthrie. This time around though, he not only won the average for $50,000 but had the fourth and fifth fastest rounds to total $57,000 in three days. That runs his career TEC earnings to $445,500.
“The finances are great and that’s why we do it,” he said. “The money’s great, but I don’t know if we’d work quite this hard for the money, but we do this because we love it.”
At the Timed Event, each contestant has to compete in the team roping–heading, tie-down roping, team roping–heeling, steer wrestling and steer roping. The latest version of the “Ironman Event of Pro Rodeo” certainly was not without suspense.
Jones was 57.2 seconds ahead of the field after 14 runs. But after 24 head, his lead was 21.8 seconds over Russell Cardoza of Terrebonne, Ore., who was second in the average and Jones was 38.7 seconds ahead of Josh Peek of Pueblo, Colo., who was third. In the steer roping, Peek used two loops to go 28.0 for 400.0 seconds, while Cardoza was solid with a 20.9 for 376.0.
So Jones rode into the box needing to be 42.6 seconds or faster to win the Championship.
Jones said the late Clem McSpadden, “Voice of the Lazy E Arena,” often teased him about needing a good steer roping horse of his own. The cowboy trained one in recent years and was riding the horse he calls “Clem” to a steer roping run of 27.3 seconds Sunday to clinch the title.
In addition to his runner-up finish, Cardoza placed third and sixth in the fast rounds for earnings of $32,000. He is fourth in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA) heeling world standings with $20,495. The 25-year-old was never lower than ninth in the average at the TEC. Cardoza led after the sixth and seventh runs and then suffered a 60-second penalty (the equivalent of a no-time) in the tie-down roping of the second round. However, he worked his way back into contention.
Peek, 32, the 2010 Timed Event champion, finished third in the average for $15,000. The two-time PRCA reserve all-around World Champion, was never lower than fifth in the average after the first round, and he was second or third in the average after the last dozen runs. 
Daniel Green, 39, of Oakdale, Calif., the 2002 and 2008 TEC champion, was fourth in the average with 426.6 on 25 and posted the fastest round of the weekend with a 54.0 in the fourth-go to total $20,000.
“Everybody that was entered here knows it was the ‘Ironman’ here this year,” Jones said.
The contestants were 20 of the most established, versatile cowboys in the game, and they earned the right to be part of the by-invitation-only crowd to compete at the Lazy E, which developed the Timed Event Championship in 1985 to determine the best all-around timed-event cowboy in the world – the man who could stand out in more than his specialty event, the man who could be consistent in all five timed events.
Most of today’s ProRodeo cowboys focus on a single discipline, maybe two, but the Timed Event Championship allows each contestant the opportunity to spread his wings and fly in a different direction. It’s an outstanding test of all the skills that have made the sport of rodeo what it is today. It’s a challenge, and those who have walked away with the coveted Gist Gold Buckle and $50,000 carry the admiration of thousands of other great athletes who make up ProRodeo. They also carry the bragging rights to one of rodeo’s greatest accomplishments. The winner of each Timed Event Championship of the World is in a special class of competitor. It’s a small fraternity, and only the best are included.
The 2012 Timed Event Championship was sponsored by Priefert Ranch & Rodeo Equipment, Pendleton Whisky, Wrangler, American Farmers and Ranchers Insurance, Cross Bar Gallery, Ram Trucks, John Vance Motors, Energy Force, R.K. Black Inc., Gist Silversmiths, Spin to Win Magazine, National Saddlery, Hot Heels, The Oklahoman, Shorty’s Caboy Hattery, CSI Saddlepads, the Best Western Edmond, and the Fairfield Inn & Suites – Edmond.
The 2012 Timed Event Championship was a Lazy E Production.  For more information on the Timed Event Championship or other Lazy E events, contact the Lazy E Arena, 9600 Lazy E Drive, Guthrie, OK  73044, (405) 282-RIDE, (800) 595-RIDE or visit

FINAL RESULTS – Timed Event Championship 2012

AVERAGE: 1. K.C. Jones, Burlington, Wyo., 360.6 seconds on 25 runs, $50,000; Russell Cardoza, Terrebonne, Ore., 376.0, $25,000; 3. Josh Peek, 400, $15,000; 4. Daniel Green, Oakdale, Calif., 426.6, $10,000; 5. Jess Tierney, Hermosa, S.D., 450.2, $7,500; 6. Kyle Lockett, Visalia, Calif., 481.0, $5,000; 7. Paul David Tierney, Oral, S.D., 482.0, $4,500; 8. Chad Masters, Clarksville, Tenn., 498.9, $3,000

FASTEST GO-ROUND: 1. Daniel Green, 54 seconds, $10,000; 2. Chad Masters, 57.6, $6,000; 3. Russell Cardoza, 58.6, $5,000; 4. K.C. Jones, 59.5, $4,000; 5. K.C. Jones, 60.4, $3,000; 6. Russell Cardoza, 61.5, $2,000.

OVERALL MONEY: 1. K.C. Jones, $57,000; 2. Russell Cardoza, $32,000; 3. Daniel Green, $20,000; 4. Josh Peek, $15,000; 5. Chad Masters, $9,000; 6. Jess Tierney, $7,500; 7. Kyle Lockett, $5,000; 8. Paul David Tierney, $4,500.

Monday, March 05, 2012

Another Tombstone showdown: The town vs. wilderness

Wyatt Earp might be long gone, but there is another showdown underway in Tombstone, Ariz. — this time between the town and the federal government. The “Town Too Tough to Die” is currently having to rely on two ground wells (one of which has been compromised by arsenic) to meet the water needs of its 1,500 residents and more than 400,000 annual visitors because the federal government will not allow the town to repair the waterlines damaged and destroyed during the 2011 Monument Fire. George Barnes, Tombstone’s city clerk and manager, explained to The Daily Caller that since many of the pipelines are in a “wilderness area,” the U.S. Forest Service will not allow the mechanized equipment needed to fix the waterlines into the area for environmental reasons...more  

And there is this:

The City of Tombstone is squaring off against the U.S. Forest Service over water rights in a fight to rescue “The Town Too Tough to Die.” Citing the Wilderness Act, the Forest Service is refusing to allow the city to repair its waterlines to mountain springs it has owned for nearly seventy years – and which date back to the 1880s. This refusal is threatening residents, private property and public safety with the risk of a total loss of fire protection and safe drinking water.  

So you want flood control Las Cruces? Then don't surround the community with wilderness areas.

Activists: Birth control can fight global warming

During a discussion series on Monday at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C., speaker and activist Kavita Ramdas argued that contraceptives should be part of a strategy to save the planet, calling lower birth rates a “common sense” part of a climate-change reduction strategy. At the event, titled “Women’s Health: Key to Climate Adaptation Strategies,” Ramdas pointed to studies conducted by health consultants at the for-profit Futures Group, the government-funded National Center for Atmospheric Research and the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, in Austria, to connect contraception with climate change. Ramdas told The Daily Caller that the research shows “empowering women to time their pregnancies” and avoid unwanted births would reduce carbon emissions between 8 to 15 percent globally...more

New Mexico signs conservation agreement

New Mexico on Friday signed a conservation agreement with the federal government to protect more than 387 square miles of habitat for two species that have been the focus of a bitter battle among environmentalists, politicians and oil and gas developers in New Mexico and West Texas. New Mexico Land Commissioner Ray Powell said the agreement represents a "monumental step" toward finding a way to protect the lesser prairie-chicken and dunes sagebrush lizard while allowing for oil and gas development to continue in the Permian Basin. "We've had enough of the circular firing squads," Powell said during a signing ceremony attended by biologists, project managers and others from state and federal agencies who have worked for nearly a decade to line up conservation agreements with oil companies, ranchers and private land owners. With New Mexico signing on, nearly 248,000 acres are being added to the conservation effort. Officials with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said that is the largest area to be set aside by a single state as part of a conservation agreement. In all, 29 oil and gas companies and 39 ranchers have enrolled in the effort in New Mexico to cover more than 2.5 million acres...more

Have things really changed?

Sen. Thad Cochran, R-Miss is upset over Interior's $200 million cut in Gulf projects and Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn is praising Secretary Salazar for not closing two fish hatcheries.

As you can see, the Republicans are charging hard to control spending and limit gov't.

Song Of The Day #786

 It's Swingin' Monday on Ranch Radio and we'll get your toe tappin' with Natural Bridge Blues by Greg Hooven and Riley Baugus.

National Parks Pump $31 Billion Into Local Economies

If you've ever visited Yosemite in the summer, you have an idea of just how popular America's national parks are. And according to a new National Parks Service report, our love for the great outdoors generated more than $31 billion for local economies and supported more than 258,000 jobs in 2010. The Parks Service's report, Economic Benefits to Local Communities from National Park Visitation and Payroll, 2010, shows that the $31 billion and 258,000 jobs generated by the National Parks system alone in 2010 represented increases of $689 million and 11,500 jobs over 2009. According to Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, recreation in national parks, refuges, and other public lands combined led to nearly $55 billion in local economic benefits and 440,000 jobs in 2009. Hoping to further increase the economic contribution of the nation's parks and public lands, President Obama in January issued an executive order intended to promote travel and tourism in the United States and has made promotion of the national parks system a key element of his administration's Great Outdoor Initiative...more

Don'tcha just love propaganda?

Spotted Owl: Logging, and Shooting of Hoot Owls Planned

Barred Owl
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service released court-ordered critical habitat proposal for the endangered northern spotted owl that emphasizes "active management" of habitat, which includes logging and shooting the invasive barred owl, or "hoot owl."  The proposal, which preliminarily identifies areas to be included in the final habitat designation, stresses the benefits of excluding any private lands and importance of economic considerations in indentifying suitable habitat, according to a statement from the Department of the Interior. Reinforcing Interior's own emphasis on excluding as much land as possible from designation, President Barack Obama issued a Presidential Memorandum to Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar ordering him to pay special attention to the impact on jobs of any plan, and to "give careful consideration to providing the maximum exclusion [of land] from the final revised critical habitat." In addition, Obama ordered Salazar to break with 30 years of practice and produce an economic impact statement on the proposed rule at the same time the critical habitat designation is made. The proposal identifies nearly 14 million acres of land in California, Oregon and Washington that meet the definition of critical habitat for the spotted owl. However the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has already proposed to exclude 2.6 million acres of national parks and federal wilderness areas where protections for the spotted owl already exist, and nearly 1 million acres of state and private lands already subject to conservation agreements...more

Obama Administration Creates National Water Trails System

President Barack Obama said Friday that his personal experiences with America's national parks - both as an 11-year-old with his mother and grandmother and later as a father - have made a conservationist out of him.
The President was speaking at a conference hosted by the White House linking conservation with strong local economies through tourism, outdoor recreation, and healthy lands, waters and wildlife. In connection with the conference, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar announced the National Water Trails System, a new network intended to increase access to water-based outdoor recreation, encourage community stewardship of local waterways, and promote tourism that fuels local economies. Salazar signed a Secretarial Order that establishes national water trails as a class of national recreational trails under the National Trails System Act of 1968...more 

They've got the land.  Now they'll have the water...are Air Trails next?

Radio rancher ruled the sky

My first acquaintance with this show's cast of characters actually began when they were just images in mind on their radio program in 1946. I'd catch their 15-minute episode in the afternoon after school in front of my Grandma's console radio. If he hadn't had a catchy nickname, I'd probably not have been captivated by a western hero named Schuyler. However, Schuyler became "Sky King," and the concept of a modern-day flying rancher who fought the bad guys caught me (as it did many other impressionable kids). The television show premiered in September 1951 and lasted only a year on NBC, but it lived on in reruns on both the other major networks and even in syndication in the 1980s. Sky and his niece, Penny, and nephew, Clipper, hung out at his Flying Crown Ranch near Grover City, Ariz. Sky flew a twin-engined Cessna named "The Songbird" as well as being able in the saddle when called upon by his sheriff buddy to apprehend some criminals. Sky was played by Kirby Grant on television. The radio program actually overlapped the TV show as it ran from 1946 to 1954...more

Giving sausage a face

A Berlin initiative is on a mission to revolutionise meat consumption. At Meine Kleine Farm, consumers can see a picture of the pig they're eating on the packaging. They can even choose which pig will be slaughtered to make their sausages. “Pig 3” has become an online star. The sow was the winner of the latest Meine Kleine Farm Facebook competition. The prize? Slaughter. Pig 3 met its fate on Friday in Brandenburg at farmer Bernd Schulz’s pig farm - its memory will live on in the form of pork products. The pig’s face will appear on the packaging of 250 glasses of Leberwurst, 50 cotechino or Schlackwurst (a type of boiled Italian sausage) and 25 Mettringe sausages, already promised to buyers over the online shop. Meine Kleine Farm is the brainchild of Berlin student Denni Buchmann, who is on a mission to change the way consumers think about meat. He thinks people should eat less meat and show more respect to the animals. Buchmann regularly selects and buys pigs from Schulz’s farm, photographs them and posts the photos online. Users can then vote on which pig looks most tasty. The winner is slaughtered and its photo appears on the products...more

Sunday, March 04, 2012

Cowboy girl lives one-of-a-kind life

There was nobody quite like Caroline Lockhart. Rancher, novelist, journalist, newspaper publisher and one of the organizers of the Cody Stampede, Lockhart lived most of her long life in Wyoming and Montana. When Red Lodge writer John Clayton stumbled onto her ranch near the Bighorn Canyon more than a decade ago, he was surprised that he had never heard of the woman who was known across the country during her lifetime. Clayton began researching her life, turning what he found into a 2007 book, “The Cowboy Girl: The Life of Caroline Lockhart,” published by the University of Nebraska Press. Raised in Kansas, Lockhart grew into a superb horsewoman. From the start she was smart, willful and independent — talents that she put to good use after her father cut her off financially when she finished school. After a brief stint as an actress, Lockhart started a career as a “stunt girl” journalist on East Coast newspapers where she would engage in an activity — sometimes in disguise — and then write about it. Lockhart came to Montana in 1901 to write about what would become Glacier National Park. She traveled unchaperoned with a guide from the east side of the mountains over the divide to Lake McDonald. That wasn’t the first or last time she ignored societal norms about what a proper single woman should or shouldn’t do. She came to Cody, Wyo., in 1904 because of her acquaintance with William F. “Buffalo Bill” Cody, she would later say. More likely, Clayton writes that Lockhart was trailing one of her boyfriends. Lockhart would be in and out of Cody for the rest of her life, spending long stretches at her ranch, continuing to write for publications around the country and publishing seven Western-themed novels...more

Obama: Conservation boosts the economy

The argument that environmental conservation stands in the way of economic growth is “a false choice,” President Barack Obama told conservation leaders Friday. On the contrary, Obama said in remarks at the Interior Department, conservation provides a boost. “We’re not just preserving our land and water for the next generation, we’re also making more land available for hunting and fishing, and we’re bolstering an outdoor economy that supports more than nine million jobs and brings in more than $1 trillion a year,” he said.
He also spoke about rising gas prices, repeating his now-standard joke that Republicans’ only solution is a three-point plan, where all three points are more drilling for oil. “If we’re going to take control of our energy future and avoid these gas price spikes in the future, then we’ve got to have a sustained, all-of-the-above strategy that develops every available source of American energy,” he said. Before Obama spoke, Newt Gingrich called for Interior Secretary Ken Salazar’s ouster, adding him to a list that already includes Energy Secretary Steven Chu, who Gingrich said Thursday should be fired. “If the president would replace Dr. Chu with one of the people who has developed North Dakota oil and then replace the secretary of the interior with one of the people who has developed North Dakota oil, in about 90 days you would have a revolution in developing oil and gas in the United States,” the Republican presidential candidate said Friday while campaigning in Savannah, Ga...more

What’s ailing the Chevy Volt?

On Friday, GM announced it was halting production of the Chevrolet Volt until April, so as to maintain “proper inventory levels.” Sales of the electric vehicle have been disappointing, with the company missing its target of 10,000 Volts sold last year. Why hasn’t the car caught on?  But the scare over batteries is only a partial explanation. After all, Volt sales rebounded in February to 1,023 vehicles sold, and it looks like the fire scare is slowly subsiding. But neither the pre-panic nor post-panic numbers were anywhere near the rate needed to meet GM’s goal of 45,000 Volt deliveries this year. A more likely explanation is that the Volt is just far too expensive for many customers. The car gets about 94 miles per gallon, according to the EPA, but it starts at $39,195, and only upper-income buyers with a big tax bill can qualify for the $7,500 federal tax credit. As auto blogger Jonathan Welsh writes, “Even if you never used gasoline in the Volt, you’d wait about 12 years before you saved enough on gas to make up for the Volt’s price premium.”...more

Five PA coal-fueled power plants to close due to Obama administration regulation

GenOn Energy Inc. plans to close five of its older coal-fired power plants in Pennsylvania over the next four years. The company, based in Houston, said Wednesday that tough new environmental rules make it unprofitable to operate the plants, which generate a total of 3,140 megawatts of electricity. The plants are in Portland, Shawville, Titus, New Castle and Elrama. Two plants in Ohio and one in New Jersey will also be closed. The company said the timeframes are subject to further review based on market conditions. The Sierra Club said in a statement that closing the plants will prevent about 179 premature deaths, 300 heart attacks and 2,800 asthma attacks each year. "Above all, this is a win for public health and for families who have been breathing polluted air from these outdated plants," said Bruce Nilles, Senior Director of the Sierra Club's Beyond Coal campaign. But Sen. Pat Toomey, a Republican, said that as many as 315 people could lose their jobs. "I am dismayed by the news that hundreds of Pennsylvanians will lose their jobs because of this impending wave of federal regulations. While I fully support sensible, existing power plant regulations to protect our air, the cumulative effect of these new rules, which are some of the costliest in the EPA's history, is overwhelming."...more

A big victory for restoring private property rights

Property rights advocates across the country are cheering for the U.S. House of Representatives, which unanimously passed the Private Property Rights Protection Act on a voice vote Tuesday. The measure, sponsored by Rep. James Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., was part of the furious backlash against the U.S. Supreme Court's wildly unpopular 2005 decision in Kelo v. City of New London, which approved taking property from one private citizen and giving it to another for the purpose of "economic development." Specifically, five of the nine justices voted that it was permissible to take Susette Kelo's little pink bungalow and the homes of her neighbors, and use the ground under them for a multimillion-dollar urban redevelopment project. Eminent domain condemnations must satisfy the Fifth Amendment's takings clause -- "nor shall private property be taken for public use without just compensation." The Kelo decision muddied the meaning of "public use" by claiming that an urban redevelopment project might produce economic benefits that might be a public purpose that might be a public use...more

Cowgirl Sass & Savvy

Batteries not required

By Julie Carter

Is the world a whole lot more complicated, or is there simply more of it to understand? That can be argued by the boys in agriculture, leaning on the hood of a pickup while waiting for the brand inspector to show up.

The cow business might possibly be the last bastion of commerce conducted on a man’s word. Cattlemen of good repute can still buy and sell cattle over the phone.

A generation has passed since the day of signature loans for large amounts of money for cattle, equipment, feed or whatever. Now you need to have a credit report from some place in the sky. You will also need to mortgage whatever you were using the money for and sometimes even throw in the first-born male child for security.

And counter checks?  Remember when you just walked into any place of business and filled out a blank check they had on the counter and then signed it? Now you have to have three picture IDs, your home and cell phone numbers, your blood type and recent dental records to cash a $12 check in a business you frequent three times a week.

Along with the economic changes we have also lost an entire language that was common to rural living. If you hear it now, it is usually prefaced with “my grandmother used to say,” or “my Dad used to call it that.”

“Store bought” was an indicator of a slight increase in financial status, usually indicated extra-value and often came with bragging rights. If one was eating “light bread” as opposed to biscuits or cornbread, it meant it came from the store.

Getting big enough to reach the “foot feed” in the pickup so I could drive was a milestone. I remember my first “picture show,” and when my brothers got their “ears lowered.”

Does anyone get lumbago anymore or self-medicate with castor oil and prune juice? And remember Mentholatum rub and that stinkin’ rag around your neck if you had a cough?

There was a time when the saddle was the workbench for making Western history. Later it became a throne in a tradition of “cowboy” that endures today.

But just as fishing became a sport, so also did cowboying. Horses have gained recreational value and saddles are created specific to the job (cutting, steer roping, team roping, calf roping, barrel racing, reining).  A one-saddle-does-all is an endangered species.

And remember the horse racks that fit in the bed of the pickup? The fancier ones had a hood right over the top of the cab to protect the eyes and head of the horse.

These memories are like the “I remember when Hershey bars were a nickel and I walked five miles to school, uphill both directions” discussions. There is no ending and it serves no real purpose other than reminiscing the “good old days.”

We now live in a high-tech fast-paced world that swallows up time faster than we can get comfortable with each new thing. Most fads of the new millennium involve some sort of electronic, computerized, digitized gadget that your grandchildren have to show you how to use.

Anyone recall Big Chief tablets with pages of paper that had wood chips embedded in them so big that your pencil skipped when you wrote over one? However, no batteries were required.

Julie can be reached at

Heaven on Earth

Where’s the Cavalry been?
Heaven on Earth
Of gods and men
By Stephen L. Wilmeth

            The budget sessions we sat through at Concordia were exercises in patience. When Andy Anderson chose to challenge the expenditure of the porch extension at the parsonage, I thought enough was enough. The pastor didn’t make enough as it was, but to challenge him on submitting a request to extend the porch on his own time was unconscionable. Rethinking my reaction today … I was probably wrong.
            The Potrillo Wilderness
            For five years, “five angry ranchers” have fought against the unwavering intent by Democratic Senators Jeff Bingaman and Tom Udall to designate a quarter of a million acres of Wilderness largely on the Mexican border in southern New Mexico. What those opponents of the bill have preached has been proven correct.
Mexico is out of control. The state of its affairs emanates from the turf war surrounding the safe havens of the smuggling corridors allowing illicit drugs and illegal immigrants to breach American lines of defense.
            Catholic invisibility and the big question
            When the decision was made outside of Dona Ana County to designate the Wilderness, a host of governmental bodies were solicited by the well oiled PR structure of the Wilderness Society umbrella groups. This included the Catholic Diocese of Dona Ana County. The Diocese went right along with the progressive agenda and signed up to support the effort.
            Several members of the “five angry ranchers” met with the bishop and suggested there was an entirely different side of the story and that his actions might be served better by considering all members of the community. He was cordial, but his ultimate approach was a timid call for reconciliation. He was confident a solution could be found, but he was clearly unwilling to support political incorrectness.
            In light of the bishop’s reaction and the birth control debacle last month emanating from Washington, a question needs to be asked.
Where has the hierarchy of the Catholic Church been in the last 85 years in the fight for right and wrong? Whether they want to admit the truth or not, their propensity to defer to, agree, and even enable the progressive front is destroying the underpinnings of their faith, and it has weakened our society.
            Granted, it isn’t just the Catholic Church. The Presbyterians are attempting to get a measure passed through their hierarchy to label Israel an apartheid state.
            And, yes, while these questions are being asked and the issue of Israel is brought up, we might as well ask the big question that leaves us dumbfounded. Why do the Jews insist on supporting the very progressive fronts that will inevitably turn on them and seek their destruction? How many times will their predictable actions serve to wreak havoc on their existence … and serve to further weaken all of us?
            The majority of the world I live in supports Israel as an unerring principle. Time and again, though, there is the same old dilemma of trying to understand their affinity of ignoring allies and giving way to conspire with the very agents that will seek their destruction.
It is a conundrum of gigantic proportions. It is almost as if their true allies are attempting to defend them while they are drawn to stand repeatedly in the onslaught. Was God similarly perplexed with his chosen people?
A moth to the flame
How many times over the years have we wondered where the Judeo – Christian hierarchy of our society was when the memberships and ranks of communicants desperately needed their reassurance, guidance, and public support?
When their memberships fought for family values in a public arena, they fought alone. When they recoiled from the horrors of the implications of abortion, they found themselves alone. When they watched the actions of their elected representatives double down on public assistance, and, at the same time, disrespect all fiduciary responsibilities to taxpayers, they found themselves alone.
We have no alternative but to acknowledge that that the hierarchy was a willing partner in the grand cataclysm that has netted us nearly $16 trillion in debt and the promise of adding another $9 trillion to that unfathomable balance in the next 4½ years. The hierarchy became willing accomplices in schemes of social justice and wealth redistribution as much or more than any elected official.
 Under their watch, the sovereign individual became the last to be considered and the first to be vilified, condemned, and blamed.
 The ranks of the hierarchy have become what all foundational Judeo – Christian teachings have fought to avoid and to cast aside. They joined the ranks of leaders who came to view their actions as not just men and women of importance, but … creators of heaven on this earth.
The bastion of Hope
Is there hope? We are taught there is and our instinct remains intact, but our collective leadership has demonstrated no ability to change direction. If they haven’t noticed, their collective elected buffoonery has resulted in another $5 trillion in debt and not a single check on bureaucracy.
Our leaders don’t govern. They sit in observance of an ever expanding officialdom that has allowed a myriad of extrinsic resource kingdoms to expand the role of government. In order to hold that claim, officials and agencies alike will have to further expand their role as protector, benefactor and enforcer.
In its current trajectory, this is worse than medieval monarchies. At least those dominions produced a monarch who could be identified. Our system has produced an army of trustees who are demonstrating they will burn our cities and our hopes if their well being is jeopardized, antagonized, or otherwise challenged.
The lessons of self reliance
If there is hope, it must exist in a most basic form. It can only rediscover its strength through original roots. The sovereign individual, the family unit, a courageous individual pulpit voice may be the only points of hope … just as they always were.
The southern New Mexico border wilderness fight has revealed an important lesson. Those who have been on the front lines of the fight are curiously lucky. They have seen a completely different view of the proceedings. They have learned simple, but hugely important lessons.
If our system is to survive, vested citizens, those at actual risk of loss of life and freedom, must be willing to fight for the original premise of the Constitution. Our government has demonstrated it is incapable of interpreting and enforcing those values on our behalf so our actions must serve as the proxy to that failed leadership.
It is actually an exhilarating prospect. To think that the sovereign individual has control of his destiny is a powerful concept. What we must realize, though, is that such a concept in not new. It is the moral battle of right and wrong.
This battle, like all battles, promises nothing in its current form. In fact, failure is probably more assured than success, but the original premise is gloriously correct. We have simply put our trust in the wrong places. A place to start is to go look in the mirror, and, then, go read our two most sacred documents.
Only then will we be prepared to stand for unwavering compromise of principle and make changes in the only things we have any hope of actually controlling … our own actions and our own fate.

Stephen L. Wilmeth is a rancher from southern New Mexico. “Judges, Kings, and … professional legislators have failed us.”