Saturday, March 17, 2012

The Westerner's Radio Theater #24

 Some, including me, like the old country music programs. Others, like Jerry Schickedanz, like the old western radio programs.  So I'll try to bring you both.  Give them time to download, as these are three times larger than the song files.

Grand Ol' Opry November 22, 1952

Gunsmoke May 10, 1952.

Pro-pipeline group presses EPA for Keystone XL documents

The Institute for Energy Research is seeking internal Obama administration documents about the proposed Keystone XL oil sands pipeline to determine whether President Obama’s rejection of the project was a political decision. The group, which supports the Alberta-to-Texas pipeline and frequently bashes White House energy policy, already believes the answer is yes. But on Friday it filed a broad Freedom of Information Act request with the Environmental Protection Agency. The group is seeking EPA communications about the project with the State Department (which has led federal review of Keystone), the White House, several environmental groups, and Nebraska lawmakers. “One troubling aspect of the President’s decision is that it appears to have been influenced by political factors and not whether the pipeline is in the national interest,” the nonprofit group’s request states, pointing to major anti-pipeline demonstrations that environmental groups staged last year...more

EIB repeals greenhouse gas rule in New Mexico

A little more than a month after repealing New Mexico’s cap and trade program, the Environmental Improvement Board (EIB) on Friday (March 16) repealed the second of two climate regulations passed in the final weeks of the administration of former Gov. Bill Richardson – this one calling for a limit on greenhouse gas emissions. “We examined the rule thoroughly,” EIB chairwoman Deborah Peacock told reporters moments after the board voted 5-0 to repeal what’s commonly called Rule 100, that mandated that generating facilities in the state could not emit more than 25,000 metric tons of CO2. “I think we had the benefit of information that the previous board didn’t have in order to repeal it.” Members of the board listed a number of reasons for repealing the regulation, ranging from questions about whether it would have any effect on improving air quality to the economic burdens the rule might have on industries to what the board called its vague language to whether the regulation has been superseded by federal action by the Environmental Protection Agency that went into effect in January of 2011. It didn’t take long for environmentalists to blast the decision. “Polluters have spent so much money tying this carbon reduction rule in legal knots,” said Mariel Nanasi, the executive director of New Energy Economy. “And they finally succeeded in orchestrating a sham process that has them profiting at the expense of New Mexican families and businesses.” The original rule was adopted by a board appointed by Gov. Richardson and critics called it stacked with environmentalists determined to institute sweeping regulations...more

Green bullies upend Campbell’s Soup

Recently, the news came out that Campbell's Soup Co. will “phase out” bisphenol A (BPA) in its soup cans despite the company’s faith that the packaging is perfectly safe for its consumers. So why did Campbell's make that decision? Green activists have been bullying companies that use BPA, creating a controversy about its safety. Like any good company, Campbell's has a desire to maintain the trust of its consumers. That consumer trust was jeopardized, not by Campbell's, but by left-wing anti-BPA activist groups and the liberal news media, which have campaigned against the chemical for more than a decade. As recently as September 2011, Campbell's was targeted by a “report” from the liberal anti-chemical group the Breast Cancer Fund (BCF), which had come up with the obvious conclusion that BPA was in several canned goods, including a “Disney Princess” soup from Campbell's. Stop the presses. There is BPA in canned soups? Bisphenol A has been used in can liners since the 1950s to preserve food and protect consumers from food-borne illness, such as botulism. And it has done a fine job of protecting them. So this wasn’t news, nor was it reason for great concern, as BCF claimed...more

While portrayed as a cancer group, Seymour found:

An examination of BCF’s goals, partners and propaganda makes it clear that it’s just another extreme eco-group cloaked in pink. The current president is left-wing activist Jeanne Rizzo, who also sued to overturn California’s ban on homosexual marriage a few years ago. The major alliances of the group are with other green organizations, including Earthjustice, National Resources Defense Council and the Collaborative on Health and the Environment, which calls itself CHE, reminiscent of the Marxist revolutionary Che Guevara. CHE actually was founded by Ms. Rizzo.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Feds: Kill the lions to save the fish

Oregon, Washington and Idaho will be allowed to resume killing California sea lions at Bonneville Dam this spring, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said today. The agency authorized removal of up to 92 sea lions annually through May 2016 but estimates that 25 to 30 will be taken each year. The authorization allows taking only sea lions having a "significant negative impact" on salmon and steelhead...more

Well, how 'bout those wolves that are having a "significant negative impact" on ranchers?

Evidence hidden in Sen. Stevens' corruption case

Ted Stevens
Many will recall the criminal charges brought by the Justice Dept. against former Senator Ted Stevens.  He was found guilty and within days lost his bid for re-election.  The Justice Dept. later dropped all charges citing prosecutor misconduct and the judge in the case appointed an investigator whose report was just released.  Check this out for another glaring example of federal law enforcement being out of control:

° The 525-page report, the fullest review yet of the government's actions, described a rogue team of prosecutors and federal agents who allegedly concealed critical information from the senator's lawyers and allowed its star witness to give false testimony before a jury, which later found Stevens guilty of seven counts of lying on Senate financial disclosure statements.

° Schuelke's report, ordered by federal Judge Emmet Sullivan, who threw out the charges in 2009, found that the prosecution was "permeated by the systematic concealment" of evidence favorable to the defense. The evidence prosecutors failed to disclose, the report concluded, "seriously damaged the testimony and credibility of the government's key witness."

° The report found that federal prosecutors made "astonishing misstatements" to Stevens' attorneys in an attempt to conceal information suggesting that Allen had pressured a former child prostitute to sign a false declaration that he never had sex with her when she was underage. Prosecutors worried this information might undermine his credibility in the case against Stevens and never disclosed it to Stevens' attorneys, the report says.

So I'm sure the prosecutors will be prosecuted. Nope.

Schuelke's report said the prosecutors could not be charged with criminal contempt of court for their conduct because Sullivan had never given them a "clear and unequivocal" order that they "follow the law."

Think of that.  They have to be told to follow the law or they are immune from the law.  This makes me sick. 

Song Of The Day #794

Ranch Radio today will conclude our week of songs about "Ol Boys Julie Carter Has Known."

At first I thought you can't do this without at least one rodeo song. So I was going to select one of my favorites, Jerry Ambler by Ian Tyson.

Then I thought, no, he was a pro and Julie usually writes about those of us a little lower on the rodeo rung. And usually ropers.

She also writes about our tendency to get in wrecks and how our western sense of right and wrong can sometimes result in a humorous outcome.

So here's a tune about a cowboy with a rope in his hand, a sense of justice in his heart and all told with a Julie Carter type sense of humor.

The tune is The Fireman Cowboy by Rex Allen and is available on his Voice Of The West CD.

And let's hope Julie Carter keeps ropin' in new fans and to hell with the bystanders.

Occupy This

Why It Took So Long to Invent the Wheel

Wheels are the archetype of a primitive, caveman-level technology. But in fact, they're so ingenious that it took until 3500 B.C. for someone to invent them. By that time — it was the Bronze Age — humans were already casting metal alloys, constructing canals and sailboats, and even designing complex musical instruments such as harps.The tricky thing about the wheel is not conceiving of a cylinder rolling on its edge. It's figuring out how to connect a stable, stationary platform to that cylinder."The stroke of brilliance was the wheel-and-axle concept," said David Anthony, a professor of anthropology at Hartwick College and author of "The Horse, the Wheel, and Language" (Princeton, 2007). "But then making it was also difficult."To make a fixed axle with revolving wheels, Anthony explained, the ends of the axle had to be nearly perfectly smooth and round, as did the holes in the center of the wheels; otherwise, there would be too much friction for the wheels to turn. Furthermore, the axles had to fit snugly inside the wheels' holes, but not too snugly — they had to be free to rotate.The success of the whole structure was extremely sensitive to the size of the axle. While a narrow one would reduce the amount of friction, it would also be too weak to support a load. Meanwhile, a thick axle would hugely increase the amount of friction. "They solved this problem by making the earliest wagons quite narrow, so they could have short axles, which made it possible to have an axle that wasn't very thick," Anthony told Life's Little Mysteries.The sensitivity of the wheel-and-axle system to all these factors meant that it could not have been developed in phases, he said. It was an all-or-nothing structure.Whoever invented it must have had access to wide slabs of wood from thick-trunked trees in order to carve large, round wheels. They also needed metal tools to chisel fine-fitted holes and axles. And they must have had a need for hauling heavy burdens over land. According to Anthony, "It was the carpentry that probably delayed the invention until 3500 B.C. or so, because it was only after about 4000 B.C. that cast copper chisels and gouges became common in the Near East."The invention of the wheel was so challenging that it probably happened only once, in one place. However, from that place, it seems to have spread so rapidly across Eurasia and the Middle East that experts cannot say for sure where it originated. The earliest images of wheeled carts have been excavated in Poland and elsewhere in the Eurasian steppes, and this region is overtaking Mesopotamia (present-day Iraq) as the wheel's most likely birthplace. According to Asko Parpola, an Indologist at the University of Helsinki in Finland, there are linguistic reasons to believe the wheel originated with the Tripolye people of modern-day Ukraine. That is, the words associated with wheels and wagons derive from the language of that culture...more

Three thousand years and they had no EPA, OSHA, etc. to put up with.  No telling how long it would take today.

Cutting the Army Corps of Engineers

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is a federal agency that constructs and maintains a wide range of infrastructure for military and civilian purposes.1 This essay concerns the civilian part of the agency, which employs about 23,000 people and will spend about $9.2 billion in fiscal 2012.2 The civilian part of the Corps—called "civil works"—builds and operates locks, channels, and other navigation infrastructure on river systems. It also builds flood control structures, dredges seaports, manages thousands of recreation sites, and owns and operates hydroelectric power plants across the country. While the Army Corps has built some impressive infrastructure, many of its projects have been economically or environmentally dubious. The agency's activities have often subsidized private interests at the expense of federal taxpayers. Furthermore, the Corps has a history of distorting its cost-benefit analyses in order to justify its projects. The civilian side of the Corps grew out of the engineering expertise gained by the agency's military activities early in the nation's history. In mid-19th century, Congress began adding civilian missions to the Corps in response to political demands and various natural disasters. Today we are left with an agency involved in far flung activities such as beach replenishment, upgrades to city water systems, agriculture irrigation, clean-up of hazardous waste sites, and efforts to revive the Florida Everglades. The Corps has been greatly mismanaged over the decades, with problems ranging from frequent cost overruns on projects to the major engineering failures that contributed to the disaster of Hurricane Katrina. In addition, the dominance of special-interest politics on the agency's activities has resulted in it supporting many wasteful projects. Fortunately, most of the Corps' activities do not need to be carried out by the federal government. Some of its activities—such as flood control and the management of recreational areas—should be turned over to state and local governments. Other activities—such as seaport dredging and hydropower generation—should be turned over to the private sector. This essay focuses on cutting the Corps' spending activities, and does not address the calls for reforming the agency's regulatory functions.3...more

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Drill Our Way to Lower Oil Prices? Yes We Can!

Just as President Obama was lecturing the country about how more drilling won't lower gas prices, oil markets called his lie — cutting prices $2 a barrel in mere talk of releasing some oil from the strategic reserve. As the Washington Post reported on Thursday, oil prices "dropped quickly ... on a news report that Britain and the United States would cooperate on a release of crude oil from strategic reserves." Got that? On a news report. No oil has been released. It's not even clear if any ever will, since the Obama administration can't get its story straight. And even if the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) were tapped, it would only be for a relatively small amount. Still, it was a glimmer of hope that Obama was actually taking the oil crisis seriously, instead of making excuses. And that was enough to knock $2 off the price of a barrel of oil. Clearly, markets respond to changes in policy, long before any oil actually reaches the tank. Yet Obama continues to peddle the fiction that drilling doesn't matter. To be clear, we oppose releasing oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, and if Obama were to do so, it would be a gross dereliction of duty. By law, the sole use of the reserve is to protect the country from a serious, short-term supply disruption, not to paper over Obama's policy failures in an election year. But Thursday's market swing makes it clear that Obama could lower oil prices today if he wanted. All he has to do is reverse course and put the country on a mission to tap into its incredibly vast supply of domestic oil...more

Forest Road Battle; Rob Bishop: Hearing raises new questions

U.S. Rep. Rob Bishop said after a congressional field hearing Monday in Elko that “more questions came out than answers.” He said that was especially true on the question of how the U.S. Forest Service came up with the authority to close roads as part of its Travel Management Plans. Bishop, R-Utah, and U.S. Rep. Mark Amodei, R-Nev., listened to the testimony of six witnesses, mainly on travel plans. They also heard testimony on the issue of the Forest Service seeking a share of water rights for improvements to grazing allotments, and testimony touching on the sage grouse issue. Elko County Commissioners led the way in protesting the Travel Management Plan for Elko County that has yet to be put into effect. Commissioner Charlie Myers testified the county has concerns that the Forest Service developed the plan in violation of the National Environmental Policy Act and has yet to provide scientific data to back up its plans. He said the county has even filed requests under the Freedom of Information Act and not heard back. “Elko County has spent countless hours and many thousands of dollars attempting to coordinate and cooperate with the U.S. Forest Service in their planning efforts to implement the Forest Travel Management Plan,” he testified. Myers also said the plan would have a devastating impact on Elko County. Howard Hutchinson, executive director of the Coalition of Arizona/New Mexico counties, said the Forest Service has failed to meaningfully include local governments in the public in the process for developing travel plans. “There is clear direction in the laws and regulations for inclusion of state, tribal and local governments to coordinate planning and include these governments as cooperating agencies in the NEPA document preparation,” he testified. He said Congress needs to make it clear that local governments and tribes must be involved “in a meaningful way, not just creating the appearance of participation.” Hutchinson testified that there has been “extreme resistance” from federal agencies to cooperate. He also said sometimes agency personnel are members of “radical environmental organizations whose agenda is to thwart or discontinue resource access and use by humans.” J.J. Goicoechea, president of the Nevada Cattlemen’s Association and also speaking for the Public Lands Council and National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, centered his testimony on water issues. He pointed out that many water rights have been handed down for generations, and any Forest Service effort to acquire the rights is basically a taking. Nevada is the only state that specifies water rights on grazing allotments can only be held by those who own livestock, but Goicoechea said the Forest Service is refusing to issue permits for water improvements on grazing allotments. The regional forester testified that the Forest Service is trying to protect the rights of the public with acquisition of water rights. Forsgren testified it is intermountain region policy that the Forest Service have a water right on an allotment before funds are spent for any livestock water development project...more

Song Of The Day #793

Ranch Radio presents another "Ol Boys Julie Carter May Have Known" tune. Today's selection is Man With The Big Hat by Jerry Jeff Walker.  The song is on his Live at Gruene Hall CD.

I can just see the old cowboy leaning with his back to the bar, telling his stories to the cowboys gathered round.  And look, right over there is Julie Carter.  She's borrowed someone's tally book and is writing it all down.

Forest service continues user fee despite court ruling

Last month a federal appeals court issued a ruling that prohibited the U.S. Forest Service from asking visitors to pay user fees to park and walk in the national forest. “It is clear that the Forest Service cannot collect a fee from someone who does nothing other than park,” wrote District Judge Robert Gettleman for the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, in a 15-page opinion. But Sue Exline, the district ranger in Ojai who oversees Forest Service operations in the Los Padres National Forest in the Ventura County area, said that her office will continue to collect the fee. “The agency’s direction to the field offices was to continue administering the Adventure Pass until further notice,” she said. “Nothing’s really changed. We still require visitors in Rose Valley to display an Adventure Pass, and yes, we are still checking to see that it’s displayed.”...more

They are giving a "notice of noncompliance" instead of a ticket.

Peer review OKs dam removal report

The U.S. Department of the Interior Tuesday announced another step toward a determination by Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar on whether removing dams along the Klamath River will advance salmon and steelhead fisheries in the Basin and be in the public interest. The interior department released results from an independent peer review panel evaluating the draft Klamath Overview Report, just one of many steps toward the secretarial decision. The peer review — completed by a panel of six experts from across the country — found the overview report “connects to the sound science that underlies its conclusions, provides a depth of coverage suitable for the anticipated audience and provides clearly stated concepts and conclusions,” a news release said. It also said the “science appears to be reliable for a secretarial determination.” The Klamath Overview Report draft, published in January 2012, combines the findings of the 50 federal science reports and the four expert panel reports. The overview report also addressed the impact of the Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement on local communities, American Indian tribes and the environment, Tuesday’s news release said...more


Plaintiff environmental groups seek to enjoin the implementation of a statute, Section 1713 of the 2011 Appropriations Act, that orders the Secretary of the Interior to remove a portion of a distinct population of gray wolves from the protections of the Endangered Species Act ("ESA") without regard to any statute or regulation that might otherwise apply. Section 1713 effectively undid an earlier district court decision that found that such an action by the government, a "partial delisting," would violate the ESA. Plaintiffs brought this action contending that Section 1713 violates the separation of powers. The district court rejected plaintiffs' claims on the ground that Congress had acted within its constitutional authority to change the laws applicable to pending litigation. Because this case is controlled by Robertson v. Seattle Audubon Society, 503 U.S. 429 (1992), we affirm.


HBO cancels ‘Luck’ after three on-set horse deaths

The critically acclaimed but little watched HBO series, “Luck,” ran out of it pretty quickly. The series was abruptly cancelled Wednesday after a third horse died while filming, The Los Angeles Times reports. Starring Dustin Hoffman and Nick Nolte, the series revolved around life at a horse racetrack. Although the series debuted to low ratings in January, “Luck” was renewed for a second season. The abrupt cancellation comes after People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals sent HBO a letter that said the network ignored advice from animal experts and created a hazardous work environment. Two horses also died while filming the first season in 2011. The network disputed any wrongdoing. “Recent assertions of lax attitudes or negligence could not be further from the truth,” HBO said in a statement last year. The network said that it partnered with the American Humane Association as well as racing experts to consult the series...more

And yet PETA kills 95 percent of the animals in its care.

The EPA’s Alt-Fuels Tax

An oil and gas trade group filed a lawsuit Monday challenging the Environmental Protection Agency’s renewable fuel regulations, saying the rules are unachievable and amount to a stealth tax on the industry. The American Petroleum Institute has requested that the D.C. Circuit Court review the EPA’s rules for cellulosic biofuel, a renewable fuel source made out of plant material such as switch grass and woodchips. In a statement, API Director of Downstream and Industry Operations Bob Greco said the EPA’s mandate was “divorced from reality” and “forces refiners to purchase credits for cellulosic fuels that do not exist.” The EPA’s renewable fuel standards were first passed in 2007 and require refiners to blend certain amounts of renewable fuel annually, including cellulosic biofuel. In 2010 the mandate for cellulosic fuel was 100 million gallons, rising to 250 million in 2011 and 500 million in 2012. However, there is no commercially available cellulosic fuel available in the United States. Rather than waive the mandate, which it has the power to do, the EPA lowered the target to 6.6 million gallons for 2011 and 8.65 million gallons for this year. Refiners must buy a 78-cent waiver credit for every gallon under the target, amounting to approximately $6.8 million in penalties paid to the Treasury. And that’s not counting the other costs of the mandate...more

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Wyoming tribe gets rare permit to kill bald eagles

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has taken the unusual step of issuing a permit allowing an American Indian tribe to kill two bald eagles for religious purposes. The agency's decision comes after the Northern Arapaho Tribe in Wyoming filed a federal lawsuit last year contending the refusal to issue such permits violates tribal members' religious freedom. Although thousands of American Indians apply for eagle feathers and carcasses from a federal repository, permits allowing the killing of bald eagles are exceedingly rare, according to both tribal and legal experts on the matter. "I've not heard of a take permit for a bald eagle," Steve Moore, lawyer with the Native American Rights Fund, or NARF, in Boulder, Colo., said Tuesday. "I see it and NARF would see it as a legitimate expression of sovereignty by the tribe, and respect for that sovereignty by the Fish and Wildlife Service." Federal law prohibits the killing of bald eagles, the national bird, in almost all cases. The government keeps eagle feathers and body parts in a federal repository and tribal members can apply for them for use in religious ceremonies. The bald eagle was removed from the federal list of threatened species in 2007, following its reclassification in 1995 from endangered to threatened. However, the species has remained protected under the federal Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act...more

Petroleum Industry Calls Interior Secretary’s Oil Claims ‘Fundamentally Absurd’

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar’s claim that the oil and gas industry is not taking advantage of the leases it already holds is "fundamentally absurd," says Erik Milito of the American Petroleum Institute (API). During a conference call with reporters on Tuesday, asked Milito about Secretary Salazar’s claim on Mar. 12 that the oil and gas industry is not using 72 million acres of leased land and ocean and is “sitting on 7,000 permits.” “That’s fundamentally absurd and that’s the kind of rhetoric we need to end as quickly as possible,” Milito said. API’s Milito dismissed Salazar’s claims and said that even if leases are in place, permits are needed to start the process that results in productive oil and gas operations and cited Alaska as an example. “The government, over the course of the past five years, has not provided the permits to allow the industry to develop any – let alone one – of hundreds of leases that they currently have in Alaska,” Milito said...more

Obama’s Claim That Energy Production Is at All-Time High Selective on Facts, Experts Say

On Saturday, President Barack Obama claimed that under his administration, oil production in America was “at an eight-year high,” that the number of operating oil rigs had quadrupled, and that millions of acres had been opened for drilling, which were assertions that did not present all the facts, said energy experts. While Obama’s comments were technically accurate, he was leaving out vital information that gives a fuller picture of the situation, according to the Institute for Energy Research (IER). “Of course, he’s right — to a point,” the DC-based energy group told in an e-mail. “In classic fashion, he’s using a technicality to skirt the facts and keep the myth of energy scarcity alive,” the IER email said. “The reality is that the U.S. has enough recoverable oil for the next 200 years, despite only having 2 percent of the world’s current proven oil reserves.”...more

The article also points out:

As has reported, oil production on federal lands declined in fiscal year 2011 from fiscal year 2010 by 11 percent, and natural gas production on federal lands dropped by 6 percent during the same timeframe. In contrast, oil production on private and state lands accounted for the entire increase, reported the IER, as production was up 14 percent from 2010 to 2011. Natural gas also was up 12 percent from 2010 to 2011.

Survey Indicates Americans Don't See Energy-Efficient Cars As Solution to Rising Gas Prices

A new survey shows that rising gasoline prices will force changes in the driving habits of American adults, but only six percent of them said they plan to buy a hybrid/energy-efficient vehicle to alleviate pain at the pump. The online survey, conducted by Harris Interactive on behalf of CouponCabin from March 6-8, found that 3 in 4 adults in this country said they are changing their driving habits. The survey, based on the responses of 2,254 adults, reflects the current low demand for electric hybrid vehicles. General Motors halted production of its Chevy Volt on March 19 for five weeks because of rising inventories. The car, which costs around $40,000, just isn't selling, even though President Obama said he will buy one when he leaves off. Ford, meanwhile, is now rolling out its all-electric Focus. "We have a limited production run for 2012 and will be increasing production in future model years," the Ford website says...more

Stop giving your money to the enemy

Take a look at this list of company political donations. 

Some may surprise you, like Levis Strauss, whose donations went 97% to Democrats.

Hatch, Bishop pledge help for state control of federal lands

U.S. Rep. Rob Bishop and Sen. Orrin Hatch appeared with state officials at the Utah Capitol to pledge support Tuesday in the state’s effort to wrest control of most federal lands from Washington. The two Republicans applauded the Utah Legislature’s passage of a bill demanding transfer of all federal lands not in national parks or designated wilderness to state control. They said because Washington controls nearly two-thirds of the state and unnecessarily impedes development that could fund schools, only state control can put Utah on equal footing with largely private-ownership Eastern states. "This debate is over 100 years old," Hatch said. "I believe we’re in a climate where, if we do it right, the lands in our state can finally come under control of our state." State legislation now awaiting Gov. Gary Herbert’s signature demands Congress relinquish control — as proponents contend the state’s enabling act required long ago — by 2014 or face a legal claim for the lands. Critics say the legislators are misreading both the law and Congress’ constitutional power to control land, and legislative attorneys said the measure has a high probability of failing a constitutional test in court. Bishop, though, said the state’s delegation will work to help the state achieve its goal — perhaps with more luck after the fall election. Some Utah lands deserve preservation, he said, but the state is just as equipped as Washington bureaucrats to accomplish that. State control would mean more development and more revenues to fund schools that currently rank last in the nation for per-pupil expenditures. "We are hurting our kids in the West by our refusal to simply use the resources we have," Bishop said...more

Song Of The Day #792

Ranch Radio brings you day two of "Ol' Boys Julie Carter May Have Known."  These selections are based solely on her columns and a few phone conversations.  But I'll betcha she's run in to characters like this.

Today's selection is Horses by Slaid Cleaves.  It's really about horses and divorces.

The tune is on his 2004 CD Wish Bones.

Hatch will retire in 2018 if he wins reelection

Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) will make his next term in the Senate his last if he wins reelection, the seven-term senator said Tuesday. Hatch will turn 78 in March, and would be in his mid-80s when he would be running for an eighth term. “I was a leader of the Sagebrush Rebellion that started during my first term in the Senate. The state has made it clear that they expect the land to be conveyed by the end of 2014," Hatch said, referring to his advocacy for Utah's public lands. "I want to see the transfer of land happen, and the end of the need for a Sagebrush Rebellion, during my last term in the Senate." Hatch is facing major primary challenges this cycle, the most threatening coming from former state Sen. Dan Liljenquist (R). Tea Party groups and others who see Hatch as insufficiently conservative are eager to knock off the incumbent, who has served in the Senate for more than three decades...more

Truck dealers study says EPA regulations worthless, costly

Environmental Protection Agency regulations over the past decade that were designed to reduce the environmental impact of emissions from trucks have backfired, according to a study conducted by the American Truck Dealers division of the National Automobile Dealers Association. The new rules, published in 1997, 2000 and 2001, targeted trucks in model years 2004 through 2010. The regulations were “designed to reduce emissions of three diesel fuel combustion products,” but instead prompted trucking companies to creatively adapt to the rules, said the report, undermining the environmental goals. The industry association’s report says that costs to implement the regulations were two to five times higher than the EPA projected, damaged the truck market and have not provided the expected environmental benefits. Compliance with the EPA’s requirements “directly resulted in higher truck prices, increased operating costs, reduced reliability, and lower file economic performance,” the NADA alleges. Presumably to avoid the hassle and cost of the rules, many truck companies bought up trucks before the regulations went into effect, causing spikes in purchases the year before EPA regulations took effect, followed by a “slump” in sales once the new technology had been mandated...more

U.S. Interior Secretary orders OSM/BLM consolidation to proceed

A senior leadership team, comprised of executives who all report to U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, have produced a report that endorses Salazar's plan to consolidate the administrative functions of the Office of Surface Mining and the Bureau of Land Management. Not surprisingly, Salazar announced that OSM "will pursue administrative and program consolidations within the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) that are expected to generate savings and efficiencies, while continuing to operate as an independent bureau within Interior." Not surprisingly, both the report and Salazar favor new fees on hardrock mining operators, the same type now collected from coal mining operations, "so that the BLM can pursue a more vigorous abandoned mine cleanup program." The Obama Administration and environmental groups have long supported levying such a fee on hardrock miners. The report calls for OSM services, such as national fleet and property management, equal employment opportunity, ethics, safety and occupational health, non-technical employee training and space allocation management, be integrated with the BLM. The team also suggested reimbursable agreements for department-level services should be considered for HR operations, acquisition and procurement, information technology, and space co-location. Nonetheless, the report insists current OSM communications, budget and emergency management programs remain independent and within the agency...more

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Saving our border beef

As we examine what can be done, we must reluctantly acknowledge a change in what’s happening at our southern border. It has become far more dangerous than at any time since pioneer days. If you’re from Texas you know the border has always been a challenge with illegal immigration and smuggling, which has ebbed and flowed in severity over the decades. Like all criminal activity, vigorous law enforcement efforts have controlled the problems but will never totally eradicate it. But where just a few short years ago we dealt primarily with non-violent folks crossing illegally to look for work, we now deal with the most vicious drug gangs in the world, who have killed over 60,000 people on the Mexican side of the river. And the killings are now spilling over onto our side. I personally have friends who have sold their border property after it became just too dangerous to work anymore. Many have to carry arms suitable for a war zone on their own land. The drug cartels are becoming more aggressive every year, with many no longer fearing being spotted. And it’s not just ranches adjoining the river, the cartels are impacting farms and ranches 60 miles and more inside our country, as the drug caravans make their way past Border Patrol check-points. This is not tolerable for free Americans in their own country in their own homes and on their own land. Defending the borders of the United States is the duty of the federal government, and in spite of our fine Border Patrol officers doing their jobs, we have not provided adequate resources to protect our citizens. Last year I introduced two specific bills to beef up – no pun intended – border security without undermining our border economy. The Border States Security Improvement Act, H.R. 2025, would allow our border Governors to call out the National Guard, highway patrol, Texas Rangers, state Defense Force and whoever else necessary to secure our border at federal expense for up to 180 days at a time, with the ability to renew the deployment an additional 90 days if needed. The Southern Border Sheriff’s Community Impact Aid Act, HR 2217, would provide federal funding for border county sheriffs to increase their in-the-field deputy manpower by 30 percent to provide the additional boots needed to keep the cartels off-balance full-time...more

Mountain Lion Goes on Llama Killing Spree in Montana

A mountain lion went on a llama killing spree near Helena, Montana earlier this month -- but strangely enough -- it didn't eat any of its prey. The 175-pound, healthy male lion was leaving the llama carcasses behind after mauling them for their owners to find. He killed a total of six llamas, according to The llama killings were first reported late last month after ranchers from the Birdseye, MT area started reporting dead animals. The ranchers contacted Wildlife Services, who sent federal agent Kraig Glazier to investigate. “Even though the tracking conditions were extremely poor, it was evident from the kill pattern and the little feeding pattern that it wasn’t a wolf but a mountain lion,” Glazier said. “This one was 20 yards from Birdseye Road and the lion had pulled the llama under the fence where there’s an old bus stop shelter where kids can wait for the bus." Eventually, Glazier was able to locate and kill the lion. “Usually, the damage I see with livestock is it’s either a young juvenile delinquent seeing how to do it; or it’s a female teaching her young; or an old one going downhill looking for groceries," Glazier told “But this was a big healthy mature male lion and I have no idea why he made the kills.” link

Senate Highway Bill moves forward with agricultural exemptions

Although the Highway Bill (S.1813) has been a victim of partisan politics, according to National Cattlemen’s Beef Association Associate Director of Legislative Affairs Kent Bacus, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) reached an agreement on the consideration of a series of amendments to the Highway Bill. Two of those amendments, which passed today, are of particular importance for farm and ranch families. Specifically, an amendment brought forth by Senator Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) will exempt drivers of farm vehicles from having to acquire a commercial driver’s license. Another amendment, introduced by Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), will waive hours of service restrictions during harvest seasons...more

Colorado Hat Company — Makers of fine custom hats for ranchers

There is probably no more iconic symbol of the west than the cowboy hat, and there is certainly no shortage of places to buy cowboy hats. Like any other product, there are hats that vary in quality and in price. If you are a rancher or farmer and want a hat that will last for many years and not a hat that is the latest in fashion, then you probably want to look at a custom hat. You are not going to find a custom made hat in a catalog or off of a shelf. It is a face to face project of discussions and measurements. Fortunately, one of the best custom hat companies in the country is located in Colorado. Ted and Susan Williams of Colorado Hat Company have been in the custom hat business for 20 years and have made Estes Park their home for the past 11 years. Colorado Hats is proud to be recognized as one of the three established major brands of Estes Park, Colo. — Colorado Hats, The Stanley Hotel and Rocky Mountain Nation Park. The quality of a custom hat is based on the original measurements, the quality of the felt, and the skill of the people in the manufacturing process. At Colorado Hat Company only two people are involved in the construction of custom hats. Ted Williams makes and shapes the hats and Susan Williams does the trim and finishing, or, as Ted puts it, “makes them beautiful.” All of the custom hats made at Colorado Hat Company are literally made by hand. “There are no machines used in making our hats. These are my machines,” says Ted, as he holds up his hands, “This is manual labor — not easy, but it is the best way to do it. It's not about doing it fast. It's about doing it right.”...more

A once radical Mitch Friedman now collaborates for a wilder Northwest

That last fact has both everything and nothing to do with Friedman's recent run of wildlife-habitat successes, most created by some degree of quiet collaboration with traditional environmental foes such as federal land managers, ranchers, loggers and hound hunters. He is probably violating numerous green-movement codes even broaching this subject, but Friedman at 48 has achieved what a twenty-something Friedman, the rabble-rousing Earth First! tree-sitter, could not have imagined: demonstrable success in the battle to save wild critters many Northwesterners hold dear. It's true: Friedman is declaring victory in at least one battle for the Northwest environment. "The Cascades are wilder today than they have been in 50 years," he says. "Fewer clear cuts, fewer logging roads, fewer people on those roads." Most of it was done quietly, by tweaking federal policies, securing conservation easements or using money from Seattle-area tech titans to buy land outright. The payoff: critical habitat "connectivity," allowing animals to migrate between islands of land still "wild." Invisible to most of us, these pathways have been a boon to black bears and coyotes, lynx, cougar and fishers. Moose. Woodland caribou. And now, the rapidly recolonizing — and intensely polarizing — northern gray wolf...more

Wind project delay simplifies bird plan

Former Idaho State Sen. Stan Hawkins is a rancher, a farmer and foe to wind turbines in Idaho. Hawkins is a smart, irascible, iconoclastic conservative Republican from Ucon who often out-maneuvered his opponents by knowing their issue better than they did. He has returned to Boise to convince his colleagues that a two-year moratorium on building new wind-generation plants is needed. Long a voice for regionalism and local control, Hawkins has decided to push for a state-enforced moratorium because he thinks wind energy is too costly. He also believes that wind projects proposed across Idaho’s sagebrush sea will lead to a listing of sage grouse under the federal Endangered Species Act. And he thinks Gov. Butch Otter’s stated efforts to increase renewable energy development at the same time he’s working on a plan to protect sage grouse will conflict. “For the governor to say he’s trying to keep sage grouse off the endangered species list and supporting all these wind turbines in prime sage grouse habitat defies reason,” said Hawkins, who is running again for the Legislature. Otter will convene a task force Monday to formally begin writing an Idaho sage grouse management plan. He may have gotten some help from the U.S. Bureau of Land Management Thursday when it deferred for two years a decision on the $500 million China Mountain Wind project on the Nevada border. This is a project that would have produced a lot of power and a lot of jobs. But it also was to be built in the middle of some of the best sage grouse habitat in both states...more

New Reality Series, Dancing With Wolves

I’m Susan Allen with an idea for a new reality show when Open Range returns. Heck with Survivor, A better reality series would be, no not Dancing With Wolves, Ranching With Wolves ! I’m serious, I know of several ranchers, regulars to my Open Range Facebook page that want to invite wolf lovers and activists to spend a week with them in wolf country for a dose of the daily reality of dealing with vicious carnivores. You see they believe that’s the only fair way for outsiders to formulate an opinion regarding the current wolf measures and the cattle industry...more

Susan Allen's idea is a winner!

Song Of The Day #791

Julie Carter has become famous writing about modern day cowboys and cowgirls and their rural brethren.  This week Ranch Radio will feature some songs about "Ol' Boys Julie May Have Known".

First up is Dub Miller's recording of 21st Century Cowboy.

The tune is on his 11 track CD Post Country.

"When he was younger he rode the broncs, now he sits in his pickup and honks"

Republicans won't like it, but why Obama will release stockpiled oil anyway

Look for President Barack Obama to order a significant release of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, the emergency stockpile held by the federal government. At most, it may trigger a short-lived drop in today's high gasoline prices. But Obama is battling history: Since Richard Nixon, gas prices have snuck up and startled otherwise occupied presidents, and led them into a flurry of actions that, while usually ineffective, have the virtue of making them look like they are doing something. Now is Obama's turn at the rite.
In a news conference yesterday, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar reached further into the past, noting that "all the way back to 1857, but bring it into the post-World War II era, you see the price shocks for both oil and gas that have occurred in this country and the different responses that are made." Salazar might have added that this vexing malady has afflicted not just U.S. leaders, but presidents and prime ministers around the world...But the pursuit of sanctuary in history will do little good at the ballot box: Fresh polls in the New York Times and the Washington Post suggest that gas prices might be contributing to a drop in Obama's approval numbers. Though Obama spokesman Jay Carney yesterday assured reporters that "the Administration is not focused on polling data," that is belied by an outbreak of news conferences by members of Obama's team. The White House also yesterday released an update on its energy policy...more 

Terrorists Target American Agriculture

Is there a bulls eye on the backs of America’s farmers and ranchers? With troops in various places around the globe protecting our freedoms, the impact of 9-11 is still fresh in our memories. How many lives were forever changed when those planes hit the Twin Towers and the U.S. Pentagon? How far did our economy fall as a result of the disruption of our financial markets? In a nutshell, al Qaeda wanted to hit us where it hurts. That’s why we must be vigilant and proactive in protecting U.S. agriculture, a trillion-dollar industry that employs one in every six Americans. “Terrorists consider America’s agriculture and food production tempting targets,” reports the FBI. “They have noticed that its food supply is among the most vulnerable and least protected of all potential targets of attack. When American and allied forces overran al Qaeda sanctuaries in the caves of eastern Afghanistan in 2002, among the thousands of documents they discovered were U.S. agricultural documents and al Qaeda training manuals targeting agriculture. “A subset of bioterrorism, agro terrorism is defined as ‘the deliberate introduction of an animal or plant disease for the purpose of generating fear, causing economic losses, or undermining social stability.’ It represents a tactic to attack the economic stability of the U.S. Killing livestock and plants or contaminating food can help terrorists cause economic crises in the agriculture and food industries. Secondary goals include social unrest and loss of confidence in government.” Obviously, the FBI is seriously concerned with this threat, and although agro terrorism isn’t a new concept, the agency continues to warn producers to be wary of the potential dangers of agro terrorism...more

The FBI report is here.

Trade Fight Flares on China Minerals

China's state media warned on Tuesday that U.S. plans to push a case involving rare earths before the World Trade Organization could trigger a backlash and hurt ties. China's state-run Xinhua news agency on Tuesday said in a commentary that Beijing will defend the nation's rare-earth industry, which involves the mining and processing of key minerals used in everything from consumer gadgets to electric cars to defense systems. "It is rash and unfair for the United States to put forward a lawsuit against China before the WTO, which may hurt economic relations between the world's largest and second-largest economies," it said. "In face of such unreasonable and unfair charges, China will make no hesitation in defending its legitimate rights in trade disputes." A spokesman for China's Foreign Ministry was more reserved, saying at a daily briefing that the U.S. allegations were "groundless" and reiterating that its export restrictions on rare earths were aimed that making the industry more environmentally sound and economically sustainable. The Obama administration Tuesday intends to escalate its trade offensive against China, a move heavy with political overtones, by pressing the World Trade Organization to force the export giant to ease its stranglehold on rare-earth minerals critical to high-tech manufacturing. The announcement, which will be made by President Barack Obama, marks a new front in the administration's election-year effort to turn up the heat on China, amid competition from the president's potential Republican rivals on the matter. It could also pressure China to respond to the WTO on an issue that is of high importance to a range of manufacturers...more

Monday, March 12, 2012

Free the American West

Like much else in government, U.S. public land policy is a vestige of the past, established in 1910 when America's population was just 92.2 million and a Western state such as Nevada had only 81,000 residents. Most public land decisions are made by two federal agencies, the U.S. Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management, and involve matters such as the number of cows that will be allowed to graze, the areas available to off-road recreational vehicles, the prevention and fighting of forest fires, the building of local roads, the amount of timber harvesting, the leasing of land for oil and gas drilling, mineral rights and other such details. Outside the rural West, most such decisions are made by private landowners or by state and local governments. In the West, Washington acts as if it knows best. Like other grand designs of the "progressive" era, public land policy has failed the test of time. Public lands have not been managed efficiently to maximize national benefits but instead in response to political pressures. Past mismanagement has turned many national forests into flammable tinderboxes where intense crown fires reaching to the top of the trees — once a rarity — consume entire forests...more

Here's what Dr. Nelson recommends:

A rational public lands policy more suited to current and future needs would put the nationally important lands into a newly reorganized federal environmental protection system. Ordinary recreational lands would be managed at the state and local level, perhaps by transferring them to local counties. What better steward of a local recreation area than the people who live in the area? The commercially most valuable lands, meanwhile, would be transferred to new ownership or put under long-term federal leases. Lands that have real commercial value could produce a double benefit: revenue from leases and land sales, and additional revenue from the jobs, minerals, oil, gas, lumber and other commodities the freed-up lands would produce.

Obama Cartoon

USFS Roads Target of House Panel Hearing in Elko

A congressional panel is in northeast Nevada for a field hearing on what critics say is excessive environmental regulation on federal lands across the West. The House Resources subcommittee on national parks, forests and public lands will hear from a number of witnesses from Nevada, Utah, New Mexico and Arizona at the hearing beginning at 1 p.m. Monday at the Elko Convention Center. The House panel is chaired by Utah Republican Rob Bishop. He says the hearing will examine the "Explosion of Federal Regulations Threatening Jobs and Economic Survival in the West." Nevada Republican Congressman Mark Amodei requested the hearing based on criticism of the U.S. Forest Service's travel management plans. Critics say the agency wants to make criminals out of anyone who travels on closed roads on national forests. Fox News

Howard Hutchinson is testifying and you can read his testimony here.

Hay For Sale

Originated in Texas , stopped in Arizona and headed to California!

Uh Oh.  Looks like there is weed in that hay.  No more happy horses in Ca.

End The Hysteria! Pink Slime Is A Myth!

Media hype has created another wave of hysteria among American consumers. The latest rumor targets beef, with journalists accusing food chains like McDonald’s of using "pink slime" in their hamburger patties. ABC News reported on this topic, spurring a frenzy of related articles, blogs, tweets and Facebook posts all related to the scary ground beef debacle.  However, beef experts are working hard to keep the rumor mill from scaring consumers from enjoying a great-tasting burger. Last week, beef supplier Beef Products Inc. (BPI), and the American Meat Institute (AMI) shared the facts about beef.  BPI has launched an educational consumer-friendly website called, “Pink Slime Is A Myth,” which aims to debunk the myths spread by the sensational coverage.  Meanwhile, AMI explains the science behind it all, stressing the safety and wholesomeness of ground beef and its production. Here is part of a statement.

Song Of The Day #791

It's Swingin' Monday on Ranch Radio.  Been humming this song all weekend, and who better to perform Sweet Georgia Brown than Django Reinhardt and The Hot Club of France.  This is the 1938 version.

‘Sluts Unite’ against conservative talker Rush Limbaugh

Forget slut-shamming. Sir Richard’s Condoms and the ad agency TDA_Boulder are using the Rush Limbaugh/Sandra Fluke flap to encourage the Georgetown law student’s supporters to embrace their inner and outer slut. The effort to mock Limbaugh includes a “Sluts Unite” website and social media campaign, which urge supporters to change their social media avatars to one of their 24 slogan-logos. Popular picks include “In Sluts We Trust,” “Proud Father of a Slut,” “You Can Call Me Slut,” “I Believe In Slut,” and “Pro-Slut.” Limbaugh created a rumble earlier in the month when he called the 30-year-old law student Fluke a “slut” following her testimony urging Democratic lawmakers to mandate free birth control...more

California Assemblyman drops campaign to oust wildlife official who shot and killed mountain lion

Dan Richards
Democratic Assemblyman Ben Hueso said Friday that he is dropping his effort to oust Fish and Game Commission President Dan Richards. Richards recently came under heavy fire from animal-rights groups and Democratic lawmakers after a photo in a hunting publication showed him posing with a mountain lion he shot in Idaho. Unlike in California, where voters banned killing cougars in 1990, Idaho allows the animals to be hunted. Critics said his actions, while not illegal, raised doubts about his ability to lead the commission. But hunting and fishing groups, as well as GOP lawmakers, have come to Richards' defense. Hueso, a Democrat from San Diego, drafted a resolution to oust the Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger appointee after Richards dismissed calls to step down. But the fate of the resolution, which required a majority vote in both houses, became uncertain this week when Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg signaled he wasn't interested in taking up the issue in the upper house...more

Shoot a lion and lose your chair? They still want to terminate The Terminator's appointee:

More than four dozen people turned out Wednesday at the Fish and Game Commission's meeting in Riverside to speak in support of Richards. But, as first reported by this newspaper Friday, hours after the largely pro-hunting crowd left, Richards' fellow commissioners sprung a parliamentary trap on him. The commission voted 4-1 to place an item on the commission's May 23 agenda that would repeal the current rules and allow the panel to remove Richards as president when it meets in Monterey that day.

Rednecks for Romney?

A press release Sunday from the presidential campaign of Mitt Romney announced three Monday campaign events in Mississippi and Alabama where “Blue Collar Comedy Tour” comedian Jeff Foxworthy will stump for votes with the former Massachusetts governor. The comic, an Atlanta native, first tweeted his endorsement on Thursday. Foxworthy is best known for turning “You might be a redneck” one-liners into an eight-figure salary, and for hosting the television quiz show “Are You Smarter than a 5th Grader?” The lone Alabama event will take place at the Whistle Stop Bar & Grill in Mobile. The Alabama Republican Party, which had been publicizing the campaign stop on its website until late Saturday night, removed the event’s Web page on Sunday without explanation. The Mississippi events will be at Shaggy’s Bar & Grill on Biloxi, and at Empire Truck Sales in the town of Richland, a suburb of Jackson...more

Did Stone Age cavemen talk to each other in symbols?

 Visit the caves of Pech Merle, Font-de-Gaume and Rouffignac in southern France and you will witness some of the most breathtaking art our planet has to offer. Images of bisons, lions and other creatures loom from the cavern walls. Herds of horses and the occasional rhino, not to mention the odd mammoth and giant bull, parade across the rocks. Many animals are depicted in vivid colours, with a sense of perspective and anatomical detail that suggest these artists had acquired considerable skill. These underground galleries, found mostly in France and Spain, also turn out to be remarkably old. The works at Rouffignac have been dated to around 13,000 years old, while those at nearby Chauvet and Lascaux are thought to be more than 30,000 years old. This testimony on rock walls – in daubs of ochre and charcoal mixed with spittle and fat – shows that our hunter-gatherer ancestors could depict the world around them in a startlingly sophisticated way. As the art critic John Berger once said of these painters, they appear to have had "grace from the start". Picasso was even more awestruck. "We have invented nothing," he remarked gloomily, after a visit to Lascaux in 1940 to inspect the handiwork of his Stone Age predecessors. Not surprisingly, these paintings attract tens of thousands of visitors every year. However, there is another aspect to this art that often escapes attention, but which is now providing scientists with fresh insights into our recent evolution. Instead of studying those magnificent galloping horses and bisons, researchers are investigating the symbols painted beside them...more

Early man encryption?

Amish teenagers party, buggy race, collide with sheriff's vehicle

Four county residents face charges following the collision of an Amish buggy with a Chautauqua County Sheriff's Department patrol vehicle Sunday evening in Sherman. Police were responding to a report of an underage drinking part on Heslink Hollow Road and en route to the location, deputies encountered several Amish buggies traveling north and taking up both lanes of traffic on Clymer Hill Road. When a buggy in the southbound lane moved into the northbound lane, a second buggy moved from the northbound lane into the southbound lane occupied by the Sheriff's patrol car. The buggy and the vehicle collided causing the buggy to flip onto its side and a horse to become disconnected from the buggy. Police say Marty Troyer, 20, of 8466 Raspas Hill Road, Panama, was operating the flipped buggy and admitted to having the party at his property. Marvin Byler, 19, of Mount Pleasant Road, Sherman, was a passenger in the buggy and was injured when his leg was trapped underneath the flipped buggy. The injury is considered minor. Marianne Troyer, 18, of 1804 Waits Corners Road, Panama, was also a passenger in the flipped buggy, but was uninjured in the incident. Leroy Troyer, 20, of 1834 Clymer-Sherman Road, Clymer, was operating the second buggy and stopped following the accident. The detached horse ran into a nearby barn. Several containers of alcoholic beverages were found in the buggies and all four subjects were allegedly found to be consuming alcohol. They were all charged with underage possession of alcohol and Marty Troyer was additionally charged with unlawfully dealing with a child because he was hosting the party. All four subjects will appear in Sherman Town Court at a later date. link

How do you say YeeHaw in Amish?

First, Let’s Kill All the Animals

What does PETA stand for, again? People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, you say? More like People Eradicating Thousands of Animals. The nonprofit Center for Consumer Freedom last week reported that PETA slaughtered fully 95 percent of the stray dogs and cats it “rescued” in 2011. And that’s par for the cat-killing course: Overall, PETA has killed more than 90 percent of the animals it’s taken in since 2005. Bottom line: The organization that claims its members would “rather go naked than wear fur” prefers to kill dogs and cats rather than find homes for them. Yes, making the effort to find homes for stray pets takes time — of which PETA apparently has precious little. In 2010, the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services discovered that fully 84 percent of the strays taken in by PETA were killed within 24 hours. No wonder: The report concluded that PETA’s headquarters “does not contain sufficient animal enclosures to routinely house the number of animals annually reported as taken into custody.” So, off they go to the gas chamber. No surprise, though, that the organization is much more adept at fund-raising than it is at finding homes for kittens and puppies...more

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Before well-known Battle of Glorieta Pass, Texans captured Santa Fe

The Confederates who briefly occupied Santa Fe 150 years ago this month found it an inhospitable city with Jewish merchants who refused their money, terrified nuns and a Hispanic majority neutral in the fight between Anglos. Much has been written about the Battle of Glorieta Pass, known as the Gettysburg of the West, which took place from March 26 to 28, 1862. But less is known about Santa Fe's few weeks as a Confederate territory. That is partly because just about anyone who openly sided with the Union had left Santa Fe -- heading either to Fort Craig, south of Socorro, where New Mexico's Union troops had hoped but failed to stop the advancing Rebels, or to Fort Union, north of Las Vegas, N.M., where the Union contingency awaited reinforcements from Colorado. One rare local perspective comes from the Santa Fe Weekly Gazette of April 26, 1862 -- the first edition the newspaper had published since being shut down by the Rebels. The issue is preserved on microfilm at the Museum of New Mexico's Fray Angélico Chávez History Library, but the original could be not located. According to the Gazette...more

U.S. defends treated meat dubbed "pink slime" in school meals

The Department of Agriculture is defending the use of ammonium-treated beef, dubbed "pink slime" by detractors, in meals destined for schoolchildren as part of the national school lunch program. The Internet news source The Daily reported this week that 7 million pounds (3.2 million kg) of the product -- beef trimmings treated partly with ammonium hydroxide to fight contamination -- would appear in school lunches this spring. "All USDA ground beef purchases must meet the highest standards for food safety," the agency said in a statement. "USDA has strengthened ground beef food safety standards in recent years and only allows products into commerce that we have confidence are safe." Fast-food chain McDonald's stopped putting the USDA-approved ammonium-treated meat into its hamburgers in August after a number of food activists, including celebrity chef Jamie Oliver, drew attention to the additive. The USDA, schools and school districts plan to buy the treated meat, categorized as "lean fine textured beef," from South Dakota's Beef Products Inc for the national school lunch program...more

Cowgirl Sass & Savvy

Honey Bun done gone

by Julie Carter

Sam Thompson was the most inconsiderate human that ever lived and could go further on a nickel than anyone in my recall.

He owned a big, very remote, spread in the Texas Panhandle that was a half-day’s drive from the nearest civilized settlement. Same lived in that little town so as to keep an eye on his numerous other investments that included a partnership in a nearby feed yard and pasture cattle scattered around the landscape.

When it was cattle working time, he’d round up a crew from his neighborhood to help with the job.

He had a foreman residing at the ranch that handily had a wife who would cook a meal for any crew Sam brought to the ranch. But that didn’t include breakfast.

The collected cowboy crew would load up their horses and head up to the ranch the night before the cattle working, utilizing a ramshackle camp trailer to roll their bedrolls out for a few hours of shut-eye.

Long before daylight they’d rise and breakfast was usually something as substantial as a candy bar. One time the candy bars had been forgotten, so after a head count, the package of Honey Buns was shared. Each cowboy got one and a quarter Honey Buns for breakfast along with some instant coffee.

Still in the dark of the morning, they’d head to the backside and start gathering pairs. About lunch time they were back at headquarters with the cattle. The foreman’s wife was up to her elbows in getting lunch ready to set out when Sam says to his foreman, “Think we ought to take these cattle on to the hill pasture before lunch?”

With the smell of brisket, beans and fresh bread out of the oven wafting through the air and homemade pies waiting on the counter, the foreman begrudgingly agreed they could move the cows now, be done for the day and then eat.

One of the cowboys on his first trip to Sam’s place thought this pasture was probably not far off and likely his grumbling stomach would survive a little longer.

They drove the cows, drove the cows and drove the cows, crossed a creek, drove them down the creek bed and finally got them up the other side and continued driving them.

It was several hours later before they finally arrived where they were going, settled the cattle and started back. Sam decided to take another route on the return to headquarters and the new cowboy was thinking, “If there’s a shorter way back, how come we didn’t bring the cows that way?”

As it turned out, the route home was longer and no one really knew why Sam decided on that route except likely out of pure meanness.

It was near on 5 o’clock when they finally got back to headquarters, took care of their horses and at last, got to eat. The honey bun and a fourth was more than long gone.

The foreman’s wife fed the crew “pretty darn good” and there was plenty of it. However, it became abundantly clear why there were always new faces at the table every time Sam brought a crew to work. The new cowboy on this trip determined he had made his last trip.

Ranch hospitality is legendary, second only to Southern hospitality. It just sometimes takes a little longer to get to the place where one can enjoy it.

Julie can be reached for comment at

Daylight Savings Time

Leave us Alone!
Daylight Savings Time
Lobby Power
By Stephen L. Wilmeth

            So, how did we all feel this morning with the time change? Was the newest manipulation by government in our lives a welcome guest or were there gestures made at clocks about their rank as our number one most favorite thing?
Did we run out on tippy toes and breathe deeply in the freshness of the morning? How about all the energy savings? Did you turn your lights on or did you stumble around in the dark until the sun came up?
Ben Franklin missed the Boat
One of the greatest of Americans should have stuck with the definition of summertime. He should have adhered to a standard that was held inviolate by nature. Ben Franklin had no business dreaming another French delusion when he came up with the idea of Daylight Savings Time (DST) in 1784. Summertime should never have been reinvented as ‘Summer Time’.
Time is the purest and most basic of natural rhythms. It equates to the rotation of the earth.
The measurement of time, however, is purely a human invention. The Egyptians started the process in 4500 BC. They came up with a measure of 24 units that maintained even sun marks on the ground as days passed.
The separation of dark and light was the next mystery solved. The Mesopotamians separated light from dark in their recognition of hours. They were annoyed, though, that nights and days were always getting longer or shorter.
The refined use of 60 unit spans, seconds, came from the Babylonians. Those people had a strange adoration for the unit of 60. They even based their system of counting on it.
With the units of measure defined, the next step was to put it all together and plot time through the day. The Egyptians went back to their marks on the ground and created the sundial. They must have been ecstatic to find that the sun cast the same shadow on a surface when it stood at its zenith.
That method was used for 1500 years before another Egyptian found he could duplicate the measure with a device that dripped water into a vessel that could be measured. The water clock was invented.
The hourglass came later in the 11th Century. It was followed by the mechanical clock run with weights in the 14th Century. That was altered by a similar spring powered device in the 16th Century. Finally, the pendulum clock made its debut in the 17th Century.
For 300 years, the world was content to measure time by adhering to the natural rhythm of light and dark. There was the peculiar change of the duration of light, but the chickens didn’t care as long as their internal clocks were not disrupted. The cows were equally unimpressed as long as a schedule was followed.
The world of time was at peace other than the human worry of its passage.
The art gets high tech
The year 1927 should be ranked as a milestone in human history. That year, one W.A. Marrison invented a clock run by quartz crystal vibrations. His brainchild would serve as a near perfect measurement of time.
In 1948, a yet more advanced clock was introduced. The Atomic clock became the world’s most accurate platform to measure time. It even provided a more precise method to measure the standard of one second. A second no longer is simply 1/60th of a minute. It now equates to 9,192,631,770 vibrations of a cesium atom … Yehaw!
Government trial balloons
The world was unconcerned about saving daylight for nearly 125 years after Franklin concocted his idea. The chickens got fed on time and the cows didn’t need any clock to tell them it was time to head to the barn. The discomfort of a tight bag was ample reason to respond to the ‘HOOEY’ from the milker.
Then along came the bureaucrats that disrupted natural rhythms that haunt us to this day. In 1907, a fellow by the name of William Willet suggested advancing clocks 20 minutes each Sunday in April and retarding them similar each Sunday in September.
His logic is lost, but the outcome can be described by every American who makes a living by his own wits. Quitting time is not a function of a measure of time. It is a function of daylight. DST to a farmer or a rancher is a disruptor of all natural functions. At least another work hour is added to the work schedule.
In 1916, England tried DST. The Agricultural Sector became so enraged and disgruntled the idea was scuttled.
The United States tried the same thing in 1918. It was so unpopular it was repealed in 1919.
Roosevelt installed DST for the duration of World War II.  The real gain of the change, the added hour of work and thus the added level of productivity, was accepted as a war time necessity. When the war was over, though, the influence of Agriculture demanded a reversal of the government mandate.
Government more Intrusive
President Johnson started the modern cavalcade in 1966. He declared that DST would commence on the last Sunday in April and end on the last Sunday in October.
In the energy crisis of the ‘70s, the assault into the lives of Americans by government became more overt. Federal studies suggested that electrical demand would decrease. Americans were told the decrease would equate from one to 3.5%.
The Department of Transportation (DOT) declared Americans enjoyed DST. Their study didn’t reveal the polls were taken after people were accustomed and had adjusted to the longer evening periods. Data was data. Agenda was agenda.
The studies also laid claim to enhanced safety attributed to DST. With more daylight and enhanced visibility, driving was safer.
Contrasting the DOT study supporting the practice, the National Bureau of Standards (NBS) disputed the results. In their study a year later, it was disclosed that people who must arise before sunup used more energy than less following the time change. That was particularly true of rural residents.
 The DOT claims also failed to mention automobile accidents invariably increase immediately following the change in time. They failed to note the risk of heart attacks in the first week goes up by double digit percentage rates, sleep disorders become exacerbated, productivity initially plummets, and … chickens and cows don’t have any inclination to change their schedules!
Indiana, which has been one of the fiercest resistors of the practice, was talked into trying the change on a statewide basis. Their citizenry was told the state would save $7 million from energy savings. Following the switch, researchers found the savings was more than offset when they spent $8.6 million more in gasoline purchases driving more in the longer evening hours!
In fact, the NBS claims that the expanded use of gasoline with DST has been a known factor since 1930! At a time when gasoline prices are skyrocketing, the real question must be asked. Why is our government so intent on maintaining this lunacy?
Same old story
A hint of the reason can be gleaned from the creep of the dates of change back to standard times in the fall. The initial changes were made in September. That was bumped to October, and, then, in 2007 it was bumped again to the first Sunday in November. What happens in America during the last week in October?  Yes, Halloween!
Just before the legislative action was made little candy pumpkins were found on the desk of every Congressional representative. It seems that the preservation of DST through Halloween meant more little ‘Trick or Treaters’ would be present on the streets of America. Parents were becoming less inclined to allow their young ones on the streets after dark!
There is also evidence that the lobby for indoor theaters was more active through the years than outdoor drive-ins. What happened to drive-ins in the face of DST?
Folks, it isn’t energy savings that keep us gyrating to the nonsense of DST! It is the lobby efforts that push for more productive hours for businesses that benefit from DST … we are merely the minions that fuel their machine.
The world should know that if it was left to Agriculture we wouldn’t have to put up with the manipulative nonsense of this meddling! The timelessness of the industry beat back the harebrained idea first in England when it was first tried near the end of World War I and then following World War II in America. Cows and chickens get used to a routine and don’t understand the rationale of a clock. Neither responds well to an hour’s worth of change in their circadian rhythm, but, then … neither do humans.

Stephen L. Wilmeth is a rancher from southern New Mexico. “There is a dove in a nest on our porch. She has been cooing promptly at 5:55 AM MST. This morning it was … 6:55 DST. Her clock remains free of bureaucracy.”