Saturday, April 14, 2012

The Westerner's Radio Theater #028


Today's program is the Aug. 11, 1946 broadcast the All-Star Western Theater.



NM governor asks feds to stop horse slaughterhouse

New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez said Friday she is asking federal officials not to allow a southeastern New Mexico company to open the nation's first slaughterhouse for horses since 2007. Martinez plans to send a letter to the U.S. Department of Agriculture asking it deny a Roswell meat company's request for inspections that would allow it to operate. "Despite the federal government's decision to legalize horse slaughter for human consumption, I believe creating a horse slaughtering industry in New Mexico is wrong and I am strongly opposed," Martinez said in a statement. Valley Meat Co. has filed an application with the U.S. Department of Agriculture for its 7,300-square-foot plant outside of town. Documents obtained by the Humane Society of the United States and Front Range Equine Rescue show that horses would be "custom slaughtered" and processed for human consumption at the plant, the Albuquerque Journal reported. Valley Meat didn't immediately returns calls from the Associated Press on Friday. A spokesman for New Mexico Attorney General Gary King said his office so far has found no legal basis for stopping the plant, but a lawyer has been assigned to continue looking into the matter. "A horse slaughtering plant in Roswell is a terrible idea. Such a practice, while not illegal, is certainly abhorrent to public sentiment, and I strongly suggest it be abandoned," King, a Democrat, said in a written statement. "Horses are different and should be treated differently," he said...more

Something about the strong arm of the government slamming down on an entrepreneur is "abhorrent" to me. In this case you have the Governor and the Attorney General siding with the animal rightists and other anti-agriculture and anti-hunting groups. This time it's horses, but what is next?  Deer?  Cattle?

I guess the Governor doesn't  realize the cruelest thing done to horses has been the banning of the slaughter industry in the U.S.   Apparently she would rather have the horses abandoned and slowly starve to death. See here, here, here, here and the official GAO report Action Needed to Address Unintended Consequences from Cessation of Domestic Slaughter.

It also seems strange that neither the Governor nor the Attorney General mentioned the crippling and death-causing injuries to horses perpetrated by the horse racing industry in N.M., which has the worst safety record in the U.S.  Come on Governor.  You have direct control over the racing industry.  Are you going to ban that too?

Friday, April 13, 2012

This Week


Whew, it's been a firestorm week for the kid, with all kinds of things hitting, both personal and professional.  I definitely let my alligator mouth overload my hummingbird ass.  It's topping off with the Frank DuBois Bronc Riding & Calf Roping this evening and my column for the New Mexico Stockman due Monday!

I'll be getting back to The Westerner on a more regular basis next week.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

BLM cattle roundup called off

Rancher Cliven Bundy
The decision that this week halted the government-threatened roundup of hundreds of cattle owned by Bunkerville rancher Cliven Bundy from Gold Butte southwest of Mesquite came from the highest level of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in Washington, D.C. The cattle that for years have been the focus of an intense dispute between Bundy and the BLM were scheduled to be corralled and taken off the land Wednesday by “contract cowboys,” Cattoor Livestock Roundup Inc., Bundy told the Desert Valley Times. Bundy said he learned weeks ago that his long-standing disagreement with the BLM over the cattle was once again coming to a head after simmering with little or no action for years. “I had been working with the sheriff (Clark County Sheriff Doug Gillespie) for about six weeks and I was aware things were changing,” Bundy said. During a recent personal visit from Gillespie at his ranch, the 65-year-old Bundy said he learned the government intended to enforce this week an impound notice that had been issued July 26, 2011. Bundy and family members immediately began notifying and contacting various friends, groups and others sensitive to his position about the land and proposed roundup. He also notified the Cattoors, the County Commission and the sheriff that he intended to hold them liable for all of his cattle and equipment. In the notice, the rancher said there was a “volatile situation currently taking place. “Cliven Bundy will do whatever it takes to protect his property and rights and liberty and freedoms and those of We the People of Clark County Nevada,” Bundy wrote. Within 24 hours Bundy said he received a call from Gillespie who informed him the roundup had been cancelled, “it was not going to happen.” “He told me he’d received a call from Washington, D.C. that said, ‘We’re not going to take Bundy’s livestock tomorrow,’” Bundy said. “He told me to go ahead and get to ranchin’.”..more

House Dems seek new DOI Alaska offshore air pollution rules

Four Democratic leaders from two key US House committees and subcommittees asked US Interior Sec. Ken Salazar to issue new regulations controlling air pollution from oil drilling off Alaska’s north coast. Authority to do so was transferred from the US Environmental Protection Agency to Interior under the Fiscal 2012 Consolidated Appropriations Act, they noted. Ranking Minority Members Henry A. Waxman (Calif.), of the Energy and Commerce Committee; Bobby L. Rush (Ill.), of that committee’s Energy and Power Subcommittee; Edward J. Markey (Mass.), of the Natural Resources Committee; and Rush D. Holt (NJ), also recommended specific measures they said would match the level of protection EPA previously offered under the Clean Air Act. The four Democrats urged Salazar, in an Apr. 11 letter, to require all major drilling operations off Alaska’s Arctic coast to meet specific air pollution requirements, instead of simply requiring each drilling permit applicant to estimate its projected emissions levels. They said they also want DOI to require offshore drilling operations to account for emissions from support vessels, and to measure air-quality impacts at the pollution’s source instead of onshore. Interior also should provide adequate public comment opportunities on a drilling applicant’s air-pollution analysis; and ensure permitting regulations fully consider the Arctic’s unique characteristics and vulnerabilities, they recommended...more

Boulder residents debate Ted Turner's buffalo

They say not to look a gift horse in the mouth, but they never said what to do about a gift buffalo. Opinions on whether the city of Boulder should accept a buffalo herd ranged Wednesday night from those who said the animals would fit in well on the plains along U.S. 36 to those who felt the move would turn the city's open space into a "zoo." Ted Turner, founder of CNN, announced on an October visit to his bison-serving restaurant -- Ted's Montana Grill -- that he wanted to donate a buffalo herd to the city for viewing along U.S. 36 between Davidson Mesa and Boulder. Before accepting the gift, the Boulder City Council in December approved a study to determine the costs of caring for the herd of American buffalo. On Wednesday, Open Space and Mountain Parks staff members presented the initial findings of that study at an Open Space Board of Trustees meeting. Officials said the land would only be able to support 10 to 12 of the buffalo, with likely only one male, as opposed to the 25 animals Turner proposed. Edie Stevens, of Friends of Boulder Open Space, said the group is concerned that the extensive fencing needed to keep the herd contained would rob the native wildlife as well as Boulder residents of the chance to enjoy the open space...more

Judge upholds block on more bison moves

Wild bison transported last month from Yellowstone National Park will remain at northeastern Montana’s Fort Peck Indian Reservation, but a judge ruled Wednesday that no additional bison can be transferred in the state for at least 30 days. Montana District Judge John McKeon upheld a restraining order barring further bison relocations after an eight-hour hearing challenging the state’s return of the animals to tribal lands. More than 60 bison from Yellowstone National Park were relocated to the Fort Peck Indian Reservation in March. Half of those bison are slated to be transferred to the Fort Belknap Reservation, but property rights groups, ranchers and some state lawmakers have filed a lawsuit in opposition to the move. They say bison could spread disease, knock down fences and eat hay meant for cattle. Before the hearing began, the plaintiffs withdrew a request to send the bison at Fort Peck back to a quarantine facility near Yellowstone National Park. The Havre Daily News reports that McKeon will come to a final decision on future bison relocations in the next 30 days, and until then a restraining order on additional transfers will remain in place...more

Mixed reviews for new FDA guidance

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday issued a new guidance on the use of antibiotics in livestock production, drawing mixed responses from livestock organizations and groups opposed to antibiotics in agriculture. The final Guidance 209 calls for voluntary suspension of non-therapeutic use of certain antibiotics in livestock. "Under this new voluntary initiative, certain antibiotics would not be used for so-called 'production' purposes, such as to enhance growth or improve feed efficiency in an animal," said the FDA in a statement. "These antibiotics would still be available to prevent, control or treat illnesses in food-producing animals under the supervision of a veterinarian." FDA also issued a draft proposed rule, which would encourage pharmaceutical companies to remove production uses of certain antibiotics from their FDA-approved product labels. “NCBA raised concern with FDA’s Guidance 209 in 2010 because the agency lacked the necessary science in its recommendations,” says Tom Talbot, a California beef producer, large animal veterinarian and current chairman of the NCBA’s Cattle Health and Well-Being Committee...more

Bronc Riding & Calf Roping April 13


Shame on the men who can court exemption from present trouble and expense at the price of their own posterity's liberty! ---Samuel Adams

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Scientific group critical of USDA's lethal wildlife control

The USDA's practice of lethally removing wildlife from the landscape is counterproductive, favors certain game animals and fails to serve any long-term goals, the American Society of Mammalogists says in a letter to the agency. The ASM, a scientific organization with 3,000 members from 50 states and 60 countries, is asking the USDA's Wildlife Services division to move away from the practice of lethal removal — killing — and focus instead on building public education to reduce the need for exterminating wildlife. The group of biologists and educators is asking the USDA to reduce funding for its lethal control efforts and to reshape a program that, it says, has changed little from the days when the Bureau of Biological Survey waged a war against wolves and prairie dogs a century ago...more

Slaughter Plant in NM Plans to Butcher Horses

Through its own investigation, Front Range Equine Rescue (FRER) has discovered that Valley Meats Co., 3845 Cedarvale Rd., in Roswell, NM, has applied for inspection of horses to be “custom slaughtered” and “processed” for human consumption. According to the facts uncovered, the facility has been involved in extended discussions with the Denver office of the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS). The FSIS inspects animals and meat in American slaughterhouses under the auspices of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. If it is allowed to open, the Roswell plant would be the first U.S. horse slaughterhouse opened since horse slaughter in the U.S. ended five years ago...more

A Death in Yellowstone: On the trail of a killer grizzly bear

While the mother bear was sedated, government biologists pulled hairs from her body, and took a vial of blood from her wrist. Then they trucked her to a large area at Yellowstone Headquarters known as the “bear room,” and kept her there in the tube for three days, fed and cared for by Yellowstone staff. Her cubs were being held in the bear room, too, but she couldn’t touch them, couldn’t cuff them affectionately with the back of her paw if they were misbehaving. On the morning of Oct. 2, 2011—the sow’s fourth day in captivity—the bear management team at Yellowstone did something they absolutely hate to do. Kerry Gunther, the head bear manager at Yellowstone, stopped by the headquarters with his wife. It was his 53rd birthday, and he wanted the company for the grim task he faced. His wife was keeping notes when Gunther and his technician injected the bear with a dose of Telazol, a larger helping of the same sedative they had used earlier to take the blood sample. Then one of them shot a captive deadbolt—the kind used in industrial slaughterhouses—directly into the animal's brain...more

Space-Based Tool Offers Early Forest Warning

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Warmer winters, dryer conditions, changing pest challenges - all are signs of altered climate conditions. Recently the U.S. Forest Service unveiled a product that helps natural resource managers rapidly detect, identify and respond to unexpected changes in the nation's forest using web-based tools. The satellite-based monitoring and assessment tool - called ForWarn - recognizes and tracks potential forest disturbances caused by insects, diseases, wildfires, extreme weather and other natural or human-caused events. Whether its climate change or other factors, this system helps the Forest Service track problems. "This tool literally puts space-age technology into the hands of forest resource professionals," says Danny C. Lee, Director of the Eastern Threat Center. "The tool helps them to better identify and react to environmental disturbances." Federal and state natural resource managers throughout the country are currently using ForWarn which complements efforts of other more specialized forest monitoring programs. The tool is intended to generate time and cost savings, and, ultimately, a new network of users working together to sustain the health of the nation's forest resources. Visit www.forwarn.forestthreats.org to learn more.

Hi-tech Smokey will use the satellites to tell them where to send the drones.


Global warming: Forest Service researchers examine the role of pathogens in a world that’s heating up

Forest Service scientists say warmer and drier conditions could lead to more Armillaria root disease in some conifers and hardwoods, as well as more Cytospora canker on aspens and dwarf mistletoe, which poses a high risk under drought conditions. Under a warmer and wet climate change scenario, sudden oak death and other Phytophthora tree diseases could become more common, as the pathogens reproduce and spread quickly under favorable moist and warm conditions. The report from the agency’s Pacific Southwest Research Station surveyed existing scientific literature to try and rate potential risks to forests under different climate change scenarios, looking specifically at eight diseases that affect forests in the Western United States and Canada. The results suggest that climate change will affect forest health, but there is still some uncertainty about the degree of climate change and how it will affect pathogen biology, the potential direct impacts to host species and the interactions between the pathogen, host, and climate. To read the full report, “A Risk Assessment of Climate Change and the Impact of Forest Diseases on Forest Ecosystems in the Western United States and Canada,” go to: http://www.fs.fed.us/psw/publications/documents/psw_gtr236/

Feds, Arizona and Groups offer $57,000 reward for Info in Wolf Shooting

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says a single gunshot wound is to blame for the death of a Mexican gray wolf that was found in southeastern Arizona in late March. The agency identified the wolf as a female pup that belonged to the Hawks Nest Pack. Agents with the Fish and Wildlife Service and the Arizona Game and Fish Department recovered the pup's carcass along Forest Road 249 west of Alpine. A necropsy determined the cause of death. The Fish and Wildlife Service is offering up to $10,000 and Arizona's Operation Game Thief is offering another $1,000 for information leading to the conviction of the person or people responsible for the illegal shooting of this wolf or any other Mexican gray wolf. Other organizations and private individuals have pledged an additional $46,000 in reward money. AP

Song Of The Day #814

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The tune on Ranch Radio today is Ernest Tubb's 1950 recording of I Need Attention Bad.

"For every action there is an equal and opposite government program." -- Bob Wells

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Jean Barton: Mountain lions raid ranches

The ranchers in Indian Valley, Genesee and Taylorsville, Plumas Co. have had 7 mountain lions killed this year after they had lost pets and livestock. One after this one was killed. Alicia Knadler, Indian Valley editor, wrote the following story in the March 27 Lassen County Times. "Blood and gore and the blank stares of his baby and adult goats greeted Genesee youth Paul Astles when he went to do his chores in the barn before school Monday, March 12. "He discoved a full-scale slaughter of his kids and adults. (Heather Kingdon told me he lost nine head that night.) "It was a mess in there," said a fellow rancher who saw it. "Astles is the same young man who lost several goats to mountain lions in late January. "There were four lions together on that hunt, according to Heather Kingdon, the neighbor whose border collie puppy was snatched off the porch by a lion the day before. That lion was killed with the dog's body still in its mouth...more

Malheur grazing rules target stream bank impacts

Federal agencies have concluded that grazing in Oregon's Malheur National Forest won't likely jeopardize threatened steelhead as long as stream bank impacts are mitigated. Rules intended to protect the fish have undergone some significant changes under the new "biological opinion," which is intended to govern grazing from 2012 to 2016. Similar to a biological opinion issued in 2007, the percentage of stream bank altered by hooves remains a key measure of cattle effects on steelhead habitat. Under the new plan, the allowable bank alteration is 15 percent for particularly sensitive portions of streams, up from 10 percent under the previous plan. For other areas, the allowable level remains 20 percent. If those limits were exceeded under the previous plan, the entire biological opinion would be invalidated, said Spencer Hovekamp, branch chief of the National Marine Fisheries Service in Eastern Oregon. Ranchers could be held liable for unlawful take of steelhead under the Endangered Species Act if their cattle continue to graze the area, he said. "What we learned in our experience is that is impractical," Hovekamp said. The goal of conservation measures isn't to prevent all "take" -- harm to protected species -- but to allow the fish to recover in spite of it, he said. The agency didn't want trivial violations voiding the entire biological opinion, so for the first time established accommodations of accidental overages under the new plan, he said. Minor overages can result in a review from U.S. Forest Service staff for advice on how to avoid future violations, Hovekamp said. More serious overages will be penalized with written notifications that may affect future permitting decisions, reductions in the amount of forage available to cattle and even the loss of grazing privileges in the subsequent year, he said...more

Older but maybe not wiser, Butch Cassidy rides again

Sam Shepard seems to be enjoying himself, writes Colin Covert, of the Minneapolis Star Tribune, reprising the iconic role of Butch Cassidy in Blackthorn. Sam Shepard made a big entrance into the world of movie acting as the doomed romantic farmer in Terrence Malick's critically acclaimed Days of Heaven. He has appeared in 40-odd films since that 1978 breakthrough. He has played iconic roles (heroic test pilot Chuck Yeager in The Right Stuff), walk-ons (Valerie Plame's father in Fair Game) and a whole lot of sheriffs. But rarely has he appeared to enjoy himself so thoroughly as in the new Western Blackthorn. Shepard (67) stars as an ageing Butch Cassidy, who evaded an army ambush to live out his golden years as a solitary rancher. A Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright and Oscar-nominated actor, Shepard chooses his scripts with some care. This one offered him several irresistible lures: the best screenplay he had seen in a decade, a nine-week trip to Bolivia's gorgeous high-desert plateau and the chance to ride lots of horses. "This was a special script, I could recognise that from the get-go," Shepard said. The film is more than a latter-day epilogue to 1969's Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. Spanish director Mateo Gil, who co-wrote Abre Los Ojos (Open Your Eyes) and The Sea Inside, toys with Western lore, imagining the old outlaw returning to his daredevil ways after a long retirement. Cassidy wants to visit America to meet the grown son of Etta Place, who might be his child. A chance encounter with a crooked Spanish mining engineer (Eduardo Noriega) hauls the old fugitive back into trouble with the law...more

Dry Winter Ropes Ranchers

The dry winter has left the Bay Area beef business parched. With precipitation about 50% below normal, and long stretches of cold, rainless days through mid-March, "the grass has just stalled," says Kevin Maloney, who has 60 head of cattle on his Fallon Hills Ranch in Tomales, near the Marin County coast. As a result, cattle grazing in pastures from Sonoma in the North Bay to the rangelands of San Benito County south of San Jose spent much of the winter picking over brown stubble and subsisting on baled hay rather than munching the lush green grasses that typically blanket the hills. These tough conditions are eating up profits in an industry undergoing big changes. Over the past decade or so, some Bay Area ranchers have ditched the old wholesale beef business—in which ranchers raise cattle for a year before selling them to feedlots—to sell directly to restaurants and consumers who pay a premium for local, grass-fed beef. Direct selling has boosted profitability, ranchers say, but higher expenses and slower cattle growth rates this winter have taken a toll. To feed their herds, ranchers bought hay at double the typical market price, leased additional rangeland, or cut the size of their herds. "It's probably costing us from a quarter to a third more to produce a steer now," compared with last year, Mr. Maloney says. Cattle farmers in the North Bay, East Bay and South Bay say profits this year will be down 10% to 50% from last year...more

Silver Creek rancher an Idaho original

One of Idaho’s most beloved ranchers, Bud Purdy, explains the joy of ranching in a handful of words.“Every morning, you get up and do something different,” Purdy told writer, producer and author Steve Stuebner. Purdy continues: “You turn out on the range and ride a horse every day. Even now, I go out and make sure the water is OK, check the fences and make sure the gates are closed. “It’s just a constant going out there and doing it. I was never a cowboy, but I’ve ridden a million miles.”
Purdy, 94, is one of the rare Idaho ranchers respected for his skills raising livestock, his business acumen and his environmental values. His shift to rest-rotation grazing on public grazing lands and other innovations became models for the industry that improved the quality of the land and productivity of the beef. His private conservation values led him to donate a 3,500-acre easement on all of the ranch along Silver Creek in the 1990s. This priceless contribution to the Nature Conservancy helps it protect its own Silver Creek Preserve, a place visited and loved by tens of thousands of anglers and other outdoor enthusiasts...more

Koopmann Ranch Tour to Demonstrate Importance of Private Land Conservation

A tour of the San Francisco Bay-area Koopmann Ranch will demonstrate how ranchers on the urban edge promote clean water, open space, healthy wildlife and quality food. The California Farm Bureau Federation, Sustainable Conservation and the Wisconsin-based Sand County Foundation are hosting an environmental stewardship tour to demonstrate how vital America's farmers and ranchers are to the health of natural resources. --Tour one of the Bay Area's last remaining ranches, located between Freemont and Pleasanton, to explore the important conservation efforts Bay Area ranchers undertake to protect the environment and Bay Area communities. --Learn how sound stewardship of Bay Area ranchlands is helping improve water quality in the Alameda Creek watershed and San Francisco Bay to benefit people and wildlife. --Meet one of California's leading ranchers and conservationists, Tim Koopmann, recipient of the 2011 California Leopold Conservation Award...Press Release

Where should the buffalo roam? Tribes, ranchers battle over bison relocation

The Great Plains of northern Montana once again have wild American buffalo roaming their vast expanse. Nearly hunted to extinction in the 1880s, genetically pure bison now number in the few thousands -- and for the first time, several dozen have been handed over to Native Americans who relied on American buffalo for thousands of years. "This is the most significant development in many, many generations," said Stoney Anketell, who sits on the Assiniboine and Sioux Tribal Board. "When I think of my ancestors, they would be so pleased this occurred, it's finally a reversal of fortune for the Indian people." Yet the tribes are now in the middle of a culture clash over the animal. One people's treasured beast is another's nuisance. "They want everything," fourth generation rancher Dustin Hofeldt said. "All the fences gone, all the cattle out of here -- they just want this to be a giant game refuge." Hofeldt is one of many plaintiffs who successfully sued to block future bison relocations. He is no stranger to bison problems. In 2005, he shot and killed five in a single day after they had escaped from a neighboring reservation and were harassing his cattle. Last year, he claims bison broke his fencing and ate his hay, costing him $20,000. Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer said Hofeldt and the other opponents are being irrational. "In a hundred years, this herd will still only grow to a few thousand, and we have 3 million cattle in Montana," Schweitzer said. "I think there's room for them to coexist."...more

Song Of The Day #813

Ranch Radio will meander all over the musical landscape this week. Let's go with Mark David Mander's 2000 recording of Scars and Souvenirs.

The tune is on his 12 track CD Chili Pepper Sunset.

Lawsuit looks to force separation of Medicine Bow bighorns, domestic sheep

An environmental group has filed a federal lawsuit in an attempt to force the U.S. Forest Service to separate domesticated sheep from a small herd of wild bighorn sheep in Medicine Bow-Routt National Forest.
The lawsuit, filed Friday in U.S. District Court by the Laramie-based Biodiversity Conservation Alliance, renews an eight-year-old fight over whether special protection should be provided for the 50 or so bighorn sheep in the Sierra Madre Range near Encampment. If that happens, opponents of the suit say, sheep herding will be all but wiped out in the area. Unless the 50 or so bighorns stay separated from domestic sheep, they’re the ones likely to be wiped out, said Duane Short, wild species program director with the BCA. That’s because the bighorns will likely contract diseases such as pasteurella carried by domestic sheep grazing in the same area, he said. All three Medicine Bow-area bighorn herds were established by the Wyoming Game and Fish Department through transplants in 1964, 1970 and 1977. The Encampment herd has held steady at around 50 animals for the past 25 years, far below the number thought necessary for a bighorn population to survive over the long term. The debate over the sheep dates to 2004, when ranchers and wildlife advocates reached a compromise agreement that emphasized separation of bighorn sheep and domestic sheep in areas of northwest Wyoming, where historic bighorn sheep populations have persisted, but placed less emphasis on protection of transplanted herds elsewhere in the state. The BCA subsequently challenged a portion of the Medicine Bow National Forest plan that called for no separation in the Sierra Madres...more

Water release to Mexico strikes angry response from Texas officials

World leaders, diplomats and even scientists have been warning us for years that the next Great War will be over water and not oil, a resounding sentiment echoing across the U.S. /Mexico border this week as disgruntled farmers, politicians and community leaders from both sides worry about where the water will come from to grow their crops this year. Harsh words have already started to fly over a recently announced International Boundary and Water Commission (IBWC) plan to release water from the Rio Grande River to Mexico this month, earlier in the year than usual, a move Texas and New Mexico irrigation districts say will cause serious loss of water to evaporation at a time when U.S. farmers are going to need every inch they can find following last year’s drought. Texas Commission on Environmental Quality Commissioner Carlos Rubinstein and Texas Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples are the latest to join the ranks of those opposed to the release of water from Elephant Butte Reservoir in New Mexico that will send millions of gallons of water across the U.S. border into Northern Mexico where drought stricken farmers say they desperately need the resource to recover from last year’s mega drought. In a joint letter from Staples and Rubinstein to IBWC Commissioner Edward Drusina last week, they urged that authorities “act immediately to rescind the decision to release the water because it will result in significant harm to American farmers and ranchers and [will be a] waste of water during this time of drought.” The Mexican branch of the IBWC had made formal request earlier this month for the early release of water, a provision they say is authorized by a 1944 treaty between the two countries that outlines how water in the watersheds of both countries is shared...more

Monday, April 09, 2012

Graphic photograph of legally trapped wolf sparks heated debate

A photo now gone viral on the Internet of a smiling man in front of a dying black wolf caught in a foothold trap surrounded by blood-soaked snow has fueled a maelstrom of emotional debate about wolf reintroduction.   The photo was originally posted on Trapperman.com by U.S. Forest Service employee Josh Bransford, who had trapped the animal in northern Idaho and posed for the photo shoot. The website described how a passersby had taken gun shots at the wolf from a nearby road and injured the animal.  An anti-trapping organization, Footloose Montana, posted the photo on its Web site to demonstrate the cruelty inherent in trapping and received more than 1,000 comments in the first few days. Footloose Montana soon received an emailed death threat: “I would like to donate [sic] a gun to your childs [sic] head to make sure you can watch it die slowly so I can have my picture taken with it’s [sic] bleeding dying screaming for mercy body.” It went on to threaten the lives of the staff.  Footloose Montana removed the photo but it had already become widely circulated around the Internet on sites on both sides of the debate...more

Support waning for Mexican gray wolf program - NMDA pulls out

For the third time in recent weeks, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has had one of its partners abandon an agreement that was meant to bring more collaboration to the troubled effort to reintroduce Mexican gray wolves to the Southwest. While it's no secret the effort has been a point of contention among ranchers and environmentalists, one federal official says there will undoubtedly be a loss of perspective with fewer partners at the table. "We like to have that collaboration and that kind of thought process that leads to better decisions," said Wally Murphy, supervisor of the Fish and Wildlife Service's ecological services field office in New Mexico. Murphy called the recent developments "disheartening," given that the wolf program is facing critical decisions this year that will affect its future direction. The Fish and Wildlife Service is working on revamping the wolf recovery plan, which, among other things, will spell out what it will take to eventually get the animal off the federal endangered species list. The exodus started last summer with the New Mexico Game and Fish Department. In late March, Grant and Sierra counties abandoned the agreement, and the New Mexico Department of Agriculture joined them earlier this week. Caren Cowen, executive director of the New Mexico Cattle Grower's Association, said the withdrawal is "indicative of how far awry the process is with people on the ground." For New Mexico Agriculture Secretary Jeff Witte, the decision to withdraw came down to staffing levels, budget limitations and the program's lack of progress. "If we get to the point where we get staffed up again and things start moving and input is requested and desired, then we'll reconsider," he said...more

Groups file bighorn lawsuit

Three environmental groups are challenging the Payette National Forest contention that a 2011 Congressional rider prevents further implementation of grazing restrictions designed to protect bighorn sheep. The rider championed by Mike Simpson, R-Idaho, forbids the Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management from spending money implementing domestic sheep grazing reductions beyond those in place on July 1 of 2011. Because of the rider Payette Forest officials announced they will not implement grazing reductions that were set to take effect this summer. A 2010 plan commonly referred to as the Payette Decision called for domestic sheep grazing to be cut by about 70 percent over a three-year period starting in 2011. The plan is designed to protect bighorn sheep from a disease carried by domestic sheep. Craig Gehrke of the Wilderness Society at Boise contends the rider language does not forbid the agency from implementing the grazing restrictions because they were announced in 2010, prior to the July 1, 2011 deadline. He says the reductions were further solidified when the agency and ranchers agreed to grazing permit terms in February of 2011, also prior to the deadline...more

Court order closes 42 off-highway routes in Eldorado forest

The Eldorado National Forest will close 42 popular off-highway-vehicle routes that cross meadows due to a February court order, Forest Supervisor Kathy Hardy announced this week. The routes could be closed through this year's recreation season while the U.S. Forest Service conducts an environmental analysis ordered by the court. U.S. District Court Judge Lawrence Karlton said the Forest Service had failed to comply with the National Forest Management Act when it designated routes as open for motor vehicle use, according to a release from the Forest Service. Online discussion groups for off-roaders have attacked the closures as senseless, and State Senator Ted Gaines (R-Rocklin) has added his voice to the criticism. "Closing these trails for a solid year or more is absolutely the wrong approach," said Gaines, in a prepared statement. "Off-roading is a major hobby enjoyed by people from across the country and is a contributor to our state and region's economy. I don't see why these trails, which have been used for decades, can't remain open until the environmental study is complete."...more

Coral Links Ice Sheet Collapse to Ancient Warming Period

Coral off Tahiti has linked the collapse of massive ice sheets 14,600 years ago to a dramatic and rapid rise in global sea-levels of around 14 metres. Previous research could not accurately date the sea-level rise but now an Aix-Marseille University-led team, including Oxford University scientists Alex Thomas and Gideon Henderson, has confirmed that the event occurred 14,650-14,310 years ago at the same time as a period of rapid climate change known as the Bølling warming. The finding will help scientists currently modelling future climate change scenarios to factor in the dynamic behaviour of major ice sheets. During the Bølling warming high latitudes of the Northern hemisphere warmed as much as 15 degrees Celsius in a few tens of decades. What exactly caused the Bølling warming is a matter of intense debate: a leading theory is that the ocean's circulation changed so that more heat was transported into Northern latitudes. The new sea-level evidence suggests that a considerable portion of the water causing the sea-level rise at this time must have come from melting of the ice sheets in Antarctica, which sent a 'pulse' of freshwater around the globe. However, whether the freshwater pulse helped to warm the climate or was a result of an already warming world remains unclear...more

Navajo comedians draw from real-life funnies

The joke goes like this: A tourist wanders onto the Navajo Nation and asks a resident if American Indians still live in teepees, hunt buffalo and cook the meat over an open fire. The Navajo looks at the tourist and says, "Yeah, we still eat buffalo, but only the wings." This is a snapshot of life on the country's largest American Indian reservation, where residents battle long-held stereotypes and humor runs just as rampant as the oft-reported social ills. The scenario also is a favorite joke for famed Navajo comedy duo James Junes and Ernie Tsosie, who this month celebrate 10 years of making people laugh. James and Ernie pull humor from real-life situations on the 27,000-square-mile reservation, where challenges and laughter go hand in hand. Comedy blossoms with an understanding of American Indians' rich history and often-misunderstood culture. Humor stretches back to early American Indian traditions, and time has only added depth to the jokes, which are told in every community and shared among generations. Native culture is ripe with one-liners that poke fun at the historic clashes between American Indians and the dominant society while only thinly veiling the pain such tensions caused. The story goes that one native asked another why American Indians were the first people on this continent. The second native, without hesitation, answered, "Because they had reservations." The first native followed with another question: What did American Indians call America before the Anglos came? "Ours," the second native said. Jokes, though humorous or sarcastic, often serve as a way to understand a culture or learn about history...more

NAPI wins corn contest

Navajo Agricultural Products Industry was recognized recently for planting the highest-yield corn plot in New Mexico in 2011. NAPI, the tribe-owned agricultural enterprise south of Farmington, achieved a yield of 270.7 bushels per acre. The U.S. average was 146.7 bushels per acre. The best yield in the nation was 429 bushels per acre by David Hula of Charles City, Va. "We've got a lot of teamwork," said Albert Etcitty, NAPI's corn crop manager. "There's so many different departments that get involved in this. Without them, we wouldn't have done it." The contest is held annually by the National Corn Growers Association, based in St. Louis. NAPI last year planted 18,000 acres of corn. The crop is one of NAPI's major products, along with alfalfa hay and beans. Corn is near record high prices, said Dalene Hodnett, spokeswoman for the New Mexico Farm and Livestock Bureau. "Corn is doing well right now as a commodity," she said. Corn futures for May delivery rose last week to $6.58 a bushel on the Chicago Board of Trade. The high prices are because, in part, demand for ethanol and drought in much of the Southwest that increased demand for feed, Hodnett said. NAPI harvests its corn crop in October and November...more

Song Of The Day #812

It's Swingin' Monday on Ranch Radio and here is Lil Johnson and her 1937 recording of Goofer Dust Swing.

Anybody need some of that Goofer Dust?

Sunday, April 08, 2012

Book Review: Hollywood Hypocrites

Hollywood Hypocrites: The Devastating Truth About Obama's Backers
By Jason Mattera (Simon & Schuster - Threshold Editions)

Reviewed by Frank DuBois

Jason Mattera is a young, associate editor-at-large for Human Events and has become famous for confronting the liberal elite.  In this, his second book, he takes on the Hollywood crowd, their political views and the reality of their life-styles.

Of special interest to readers of The Westerner is his skewering of the Hollywood "eco-crites" on their environmental pronouncements and no one is better at heaping disrespect on those who desperately need it than Mr. Mattera.

All the stuff on Al Gore is here, along with Robert Redford, Harrison Ford, Sting and the other usual culprits. However, Laurie David and Leonardo DiCaprio are given special attention in his chapter Private Jets Against Global Warming.

Laurie David, the former wife of Seinfeld co-creator Larry David, used David's sizable collection of dinero to finance Gore's An Inconvenient Truth documentary.

Mattera writes:

Afterall, it was Gore himself who said, "Laurie David has done more than any one person I know to raise awareness of the climate crisis."  Indeed, prior to her divorce-inducing affair with her building contractor, Bart Thorpe, when she wasn't out condemning SUV owners as "terrorist enablers" or bragging that she forced her kids to take shorter showers, David could be found 25,000-square-foot house on Martha's Vineyard.  I mention this affair because it's relevant to the rest of the story.  You see, David's Martha's Vineyard has been cited as a serial violator of Massachusetts's Wetlands Protection Act.  The eco-fractions occurred while erecting her tennis court and, previously, "when construction of a stone fire pit, barbecue grill area and wooden stage for a children's theatre with seating was begun in a wetland without a permit."
I doubt they were barbecuing  tofu, so at least she was eating meat.

Next up is Mattera's "favorite Hollywood hypocrite", Leonardo DiCaprio.  One of many examples provided by the author is DiCaprio's involvement in a particular movie.  DiCaprio starred in a flick titled The Beach, which was shot on an island, designated as anational park, just off the coast of Thailand.  Local enviros were outraged but DiCaprio told them, "Preservation of the environment has always been of utmost concern to me" and "I would never be part of any project that did anything to harm nature."  He said "extraordinary measures" were being taken for protection of the island and he would "remain vigilant" in monitoring everything.

So what happened?

Mattera reports:

What resulted say Thailand's environmental protestors, nothing short of a pillaging of the beach.  Coconut trees were ripped up, dunes were bulldozed, coral reefs were damaged, and vegetation was yanked out.  Protestors camped out on the beach, several hundred miles southwest of Bangkok, and watched as DiCaprio's eco-pillaging took place.  When a dozen villagers tried to peacefully tried to peacefully stage a sit-in on the beach - something you would think Hollywood types would support - a group of "thugs" who villagers say were led by government officials forced them to leave...
Want more?  Say about Bruce Springsteen, Alec Baldwin, Cameron Diaz or Madonna?  Well then you'll have to read this book which is filled with Hollywood hypocrisy.

Mattera is a happy warrior, chunking spears at the "do as I say, not as I do" types in Tinsel Town.  I can tell he enjoyed writing this and you should enjoy it too.  Unfortunately, there is no index provided but there are almost thirty pages of footnotes for the nine chapters of excellent "chunking".

Not to be limited by the written word, Mattera is also releasing some videos on the making of this book. Check out this Fox News segment on his confrontation with Chris Rock:

Happy Easter

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Cowgirl Sass & Savvy

Shakin’ out the ropes
 By Julie Carter

Spring winds bring blowing dirt, maybe a rain cloud and sure enough, the ropers start coming out of the woodwork in droves.

Blowing off the stink of winter is no cheap feat for a roper. He is sure to find that he needs new ropes, his trailer needs a new tire or two and of course, the horses need shod and his entry fee savings didn’t quite grow like he’d planned for it to.

Forcing him to do a little scratchin’ on paper, he’ll run a quick tally for an estimate of what the roping and rodeo season ahead is going to cost him. What does it all mean to him? Absolutely nothing.

Serious discussion around the watering hole has the cowboy making rash statements like “the price of diesel may keep me home a little more this summer.” What he really means is “I may not be able to pay the rent, but I’m not missing a roping!”

Taking an extra job to try help with his personal budget deficit comes up in conversation from time to time.  The suggestion of becoming a part time bartender brought a round of applause from fellow ropers followed immediately by requests for confirmed discounts from “friends” who he had not yet met.

If someone with a bookkeeping background were to put the roper’s financials on paper, it would read something like “Income and Expense Statement, Profit Center: Competition Roping.”

The expense column would have a long list of “must haves” that total to a shocking number. The cowboy will qualify the sum with “estimate only - exact records are not required.”

It is hard to tell which comes first, the rope, the horse or the rig. They are listed here in no particular order of importance.

Expense:
Top notch #1 winning rope horse $10,000
Back-up practice horse $9,500
Three-horse slant aluminum trailer $30,000
Two-seater truck to pull trailer $40,000
Seasonal Fuel Costs –Not to be discussed
Ten Corriente steers for practice $5,000
Worthless Blue Heeler dog named Radar $200
Arena for practicing and socializing $5,000
Hydraulic chute (cheaper than a divorce) $3,500
Roping school with National Finals winner $700
Different roping school with a good teacher $700
Entry fees (to date) $900
Equipment upgrade:
·         New saddle $1,200
·         EXTREME go and slow bit, $125
·         Polyethylene urethane no-pressure saddle pad, $125
·         A  box of “no miss” ropes $250
·         “Never get’em hurt” horse leg-protection  $125
Image enhancement:
·         Space-age biothane tie down $20
·         Straw hat (came with full-size George Strait picture) $70
·         Headstall with turquoise $200

Total estimated expense before fuel $107,615

Income:
First in the average at Podunk Arena, Anywhere, USA
3:14 p.m., Sunday, April 1, 2012  $228

Total income (exact figure)         $228

In spite of the math, every rodeo ground in America continues to be covered over in trucks, trailers, hats, and swinging ropes throughout the spring, summer, fall and well into winter. It’s a man’s sport, a woman’s sport and a family sport. It appeals to doctors, lawyers, a few Indian chiefs and every now and then, even a genuine cowboy.

If you happen to be looking for a way to put a little disposable income into circulation, buy a rope. The rest will just come naturally.

Julie can be reached for comment at jcarternm@gmail.com

Easter

The Organs and Churubusco
Easter
The San Patricio Effect
By Stephen L. Wilmeth
            Today, Christianity celebrates the most sacred of holy days … Easter.
            To refer to this day as a holiday seems inappropriate. It isn’t or at least it shouldn’t be a day of festive flair. It is a day of most profound sacredness.
            HE has risen … HE has risen indeed!
            The Case of Easter   
            There is no season of the Christian Year that mirrors the parallel of the state of our world as does Easter. Within three days, the fulcrum of emotion has swung from utter despair to the promise of … everything.
            On Friday, Jesus was crucified on the cross at Calvary. He had forewarned of the most incredible series of events continuously and repeatedly leading up to that day. His forewarning had been preceded by the same reminders of the Prophets, and, yet, the shock and horror of the event of crucifixion rattled the faith and the senses of more than just the Believers.
            Nothing more raw and evil could have been conceptualized for the underlying message intended for the Christians that day. Humiliate him publicly, break his legs with a hammer in order to position his body for the act, hold him down and drive nails through his hands and feet, and then raise him for all to witness his monumental suffering had the desired effect. It was profound and ultimate degradation.
            “That’ll teach those people to honor and worship something other than prevailing popular causes and political correctness!”
            After Christ was removed from the Cross and prepared for burial dignity, the shock of the event set in for those in attendance. We can only imagine their mounting horror.
            Saturday must have been a day void of anything meaningful. Nothing made sense. Deep, dark despair engulfed those impacted, but something was about to change. That something was so profound and unpredictable that our words remain insignificant, understated, and underwhelming. What we know is that the world would forever be changed. 
            On Sunday, this day in remembrance … He had arisen!
            He has arisen indeed!
            The March to Churubusco
            There are too few Americans … perhaps human beings that stand in sharp contrast to the propensity to join in the fight against a true underdog. In the spirit of this day, it will be suffice to say a particular military leader remained resistant to most human tendencies to elevate his self interests into his profession. That is so rare that leaving his name unsaid and immersed in the sanctity of this day is complimentary to his memory. His actions were commendable and must equate to the foundational teachings of Christianity.
            He was an engineer by training, but his talent was observation and the application of resulting logic. He believed in the spirit and actions of free and independent men. He believed in God.
            When he observed mistreatment and condescension of actions directed at members of the Catholic Church within the ranks of his government and his army as well as the ranks of the Mexican army foes he was appalled. There were more foundational foes to fight than picking that fight and making it an issue.
            He came to the conclusion that the prejudice was structural, but it was exacerbated and elevated by none other than Washington politics. The most divisive influence came from the conflict between the President with his coterie of political influences standing in stark contrast against his commanding officer. It was a classic divided house. It is a house modern America knows only too well.
            From the banks of the Rio Grande to the Halls of Montezuma, the fallout escalated.
            The San Patricio Effect
            Escaping the horrors of the Potato Famine, the Irish immigrants in the American army sought a home in every measure of the word and idea. When they found no literal or figurative sanctuary in their new world, they turned to the only retreat they had … the Catholic Church.
There was no tripartite alternative of God, family and country for them. There became only God and those Catholic boys decided their guns were not going to be used against any Catholic brothers. At least with such brethren there would be some degree of commonality, unity, and understanding.
They deserted and fought for the only cause that seemed to matter. For years, the outcome was a huge and guarded blemish on the American Army. The deserters fought symbolically for the Catholic Church. The army of sanctuary became the Mexican Army, but it could have been … and should have been their first choice, the American Army.
Many, many Americans are feeling the same dilemma today. In every corner, they are failing to sense any measure of respect for their existence. They have played the game as they perceived the rules. They have defended their belief in God, family, and country, and yet the actions of their government are eroding hope and long standing promises.
As history will remind us, mistreatment and condescension of foundational mores always results in push back. God fearing men hammered enough will face the challenge and their actions will be not be predicated on some ribbon worn around their wrist or message on a T shirt. It will come from their heart.
The Environmental Front
Once again, there is another pincer movement in Dona Ana County, New Mexico to declare off limits the greater mix of historical human endeavors on federal lands. In a county that already suffers from the restrictive dominion of federal land ownership, 35% of those federal lands and an unstated mix of state and private lands are being packaged into a National Monument proposal. The proposal is being postured to make an end run around congressional action by taking it directly to the President for administrative action.
The effort is not new. It has come to life in at least four separate attempts. The most recent three attempts have included an increasing footprint of acreages from 118,000 acres, to 400,000 acres, and, most recently, to more than 600,000 acres.
It should be noted that each time the effort has been mounted, the publicity framed by the NGOs formulating the action has suggested wide ranging public support. Newspapers, radio spots, television commercials, and purchased public appeal all present a rosy, cheerful attempt to save these lands. Save these lands?
The line has been drawn once more, but it is interesting to note the continuing theme. There is not a known backer of the effort who actually has duties, responsibilities, and or investments on these lands.
More importantly, not a single individual who is affected as such was given the courtesy to participate. The full measure of the news came in a landslide of unexpected news releases.
Interestingly, the defining legal qualification of a national monument has yet to be divulged. National Monuments are predicated on a single purpose and they are limited in scale to define that purpose. What does 600,000 acres in four locations in one county in southern New Mexico seek to define? If it is the Organ Mountains … which everyone can agree upon … why does the most expansive portion of the plan lie well beyond the only talking point?
Congress promised in legislation the privilege of coordination of matters of local planning. The breach and manipulation of that promise is again glaring and orchestrated. It was wrong prior to Buena Vista and it is equally wrong again in southern New Mexico.
Acknowledgements and the Value of History
There is a lingering awkwardness felt in these hands on this keyboard this morning. To mix the purity of Easter with the ugliness of our world is fundamentally troubling. For any offense, please accept all necessary apologies.
Those of us in the crosshairs of this action, though, have grown to assume the matter of prejudice and condescension cast our way by too many of our elected officials and agency managers is automatic. To us, that is troubling beyond all comprehension.
Across these lands are remnants of every measure of the concept of Historical Value. Each has become part of the fabric of the landscape and the key to all models of future natural system management, and, yet, we are under siege. It is little wonder that New Mexico now has the oldest body of land stewards in the nation.
Like the San Patricio Battalion, we are also human. In the constant assault on our existence and our industry, we, too, seek sanctuary. We feel most aligned with the rare leader who is not intimidated by and believes in the actions of free and independent men.
Lastly and forever, we have no qualms of proclaiming our belief in our Christian faith and … our Lord and Savior.
HE has risen … HE has risen indeed!

Stephen L. Wilmeth is a rancher from southern New Mexico and has recently learned his endeavors are under the footprint of a newly proposed national monument. “Lord, God in your mercy … hear our prayer.”

Locals Level Concerns Against Forest Service's Law Officers

Both Enterprise resident Ron Thies and Wallowa County Sheriff Fred Steen presented reports to the Wallowa County Board of Commissioners Monday morning that shed mountains of doubt upon the enforcement wing of the United States Forest Service. A trifle of Internet research and it’s obvious this is a trend seen many places in the country, including Colorado and California. Regional Patrol Commander Dan Hawkes of the USFS, who has 44 people working under him in a jurisdiction that covers most of Oregon, acknowledges the differences between federal and local law enforcement agencies and says strides are being made “to establish a basis of dialogue.” Thies, who’d earlier been requested by the local commissioners to research the actions of USFS enforcement officers that impact county residents, said he’d found that such officers, “ … were rude and disrespectful on and off of Forest Service land.” After introducing the fact that such complaints are becoming more and more common here and “in several other counties,” Steen reported that in January he, at a meeting attended by Wallowa County Commissioner Paul Castelleja and Hawkes, met with 24 of the state’s 36 county sheriffs at the Oregon State Sheriffs’ Association gathering in Portland. A major topic of discussion, said Steen, was how the law enforcement arm of the USFS was trying to gain for its officers the same policing powers as police officers. “This greatly disturbs the Oregon State Sheriffs’ Association,” said Steen...more

The ugly battle between rural residents and alternative energy mandates in California

Seems the Mojave evictions were to make way for solar and wind projects

 by Alec Rawls
 
In 2006 California’s Senate Bill 107 codified a requirement that by 2010 all electricity retailers in the state were to procure 20% of their electricity from “renewables.” That same year L.A. County Supervisor Michael Antonovich established Nuisance Abatement Teams that started combing the Mojave desert hitting isolated residents with ever-expanding lists of code violations, imposing whatever it took to drive residents out, and they made their intentions perfectly clear:
As her ordeal wore on, she heard one agent, looking inside their comfortable cabin, say to another: “This one’s a real shame — this is a real nice one.”
A “shame” because the authorities eventually would enact some of the most powerful rules imaginable against rural residents: the order to bring the home up to current codes or dismantle the 26-year-old cabin, leaving only bare ground.
“They wouldn’t let me grandfather in the water tank,” Jacques Dupuis says. “It is so heart-wrenching because there was a way to salvage this, but they wouldn’t work with me. It was, ‘Tear it down. Period.’ ”
The immediate object in this case was actual confiscation of the land:
In order to clear the title on their land, the Dupuises are spending what would have been peaceful retirement days dismantling every board and nail of their home — by hand — because they can’t afford to hire a crew.
As the de facto evictions and confiscations multiplied, Antonovich’s motives were questioned. Was he trying to clear the land for redevelopment? In August of 2011, Antonivich Press Secretary Tony Bell denied it (at 8:40):
The county is simply responding to code violation complaints from neighbors in the area and any speculation about redevelopment was purely a conspiracy theory.
I did some Google searching at the time to see if any major wind or solar developments were planned for the area where the evictions were centered (the western Mojave’s Antelope Valley), but couldn’t pin down the connection. When First Solar recently cleared a permit for a massive Antelope Valley project I tried again and found some things I should have seen before.

It seems the wraps were already off when Antonovich issued his denials. Newspapers had reported just a month before that Antelope Valley had “33 utility-scale renewable energy installations” in the works. The updated map above shows how much of the valley has been sectioned off for various wind and solar projects.
These are presumably the anonymous “neighbors” who were asking for previous residents to be evicted. Apparently it is not enough that our green crony capitalists are getting billions in taxpayer subsidies, or that that rate-payers are forced to buy their “renewable” energy at extra-high prices. They also need their pet politicians to steal the land for them.

Environmentalists feeling burned by rush to build solar projects

April Sall gazed out at the Mojave Desert flashing past the car window and unreeled a story of frustration and backroom dealings. Her small California group, the Wildlands Conservancy, wanted to preserve 600,000 acres of the Mojave. The group raised $45 million, bought the land and deeded it to the federal government. The conservancy intended that the land be protected forever. Instead, 12 years after accepting the largest land gift in American history, the federal government is on the verge of opening 50,000 acres of that bequest to solar development. Even worse, in Sall's view, the nation's largest environmental organizations are scarcely voicing opposition. Their silence leaves the conservancy and a smattering of other small environmental organizations nearly alone in opposing energy development across 33,000 square miles of desert land. Similar stories can be heard across the desert Southwest. Small environmental groups are fighting utility-scale solar projects without the support of what they refer to as "Gang Green," the nation's big environmental players. Local activists accuse the Sierra Club, the Natural Resources Defense Council, Defenders of Wildlife, the Wilderness Society and other venerable environmental groups of acquiescing to the industrialization of the desert because they believe large-scale solar power is essential to slowing climate change...more

'Fakegate': Climate Change Fanatics Wage War on Dissenters

Why would Dr. Peter Gleick, president of the Pacific Institute, a MacArthur Foundation Fellow, and chairman of an American Geophysical Union task force on "scientific ethics and integrity," break the law to engage in a smear campaign against a small think-tank called The Heartland Institute that resulted in "Fakegate"? As Alan Caruba related in the opening paragraph of his article published on Tuesday, April 3rd, titled "Fatetgate: The War on Science," "[g]enerations of Americans have been raised to venerate science and those who have enhanced and extended our lives through its application. The rise of environmentalism, however, has generated a war on science, first by distorting it, and then by propagandizing the 'findings', studies' and resulting claims based on them." The Heartland Institute, as a leading voice, led the effort to debunk the hoax through its sponsorship of six international conferences featuring scientists and others who presented papers demonstrating "that 0.038 percent of CO2 in the atmosphere had little or no "greenhouse" effect on the Earth's climate or weather events." Heartland's six International Conferences on Climate Change (ICCC) attracted scientists worldwide, who employed science rather than pseudo-science in their presentations. So it was, on January 27 of this year, that Peter Gleick stole the identity of a member of Heartland's board of directors and then used that identity to steal corporate documents describing Heartland's budget, fundraising plans, and more. When those documents failed to produce a "smoking gun" -- for example, they showed that Heartland received only small amounts of funding from the Koch brothers and from fossil fuel companies -- Gleick or an ally forged a memo alleging to describe Heartland's "Global Warning Strategy." On February 14, Gleick sent the stolen and forged documents to fifteen allies in the environmental movement and mainstream media, resulting in a wave of criticism of Heartland's supposed plans to "infiltrate schools" and "undermine" climate science. Gleick confessed to stealing the documents on February 20, but media coverage of the event focused overwhelmingly on the false claims in the fake memo rather than on Gleick's criminal actions. Gleick's allies immediately used the forged memo and stolen documents to target Heartland's donors and the scientists who have helped write its publications...more

Nasa scientist: climate change is a moral issue on a par with slavery

Averting the worst consequences of human-induced climate change is a "great moral issue" on a par with slavery, according to the leading Nasa climate scientist Prof Jim Hansen. He argues that storing up expensive and destructive consequences for society in future is an "injustice of one generation to others". Hansen, who will next Tuesday be awarded the prestigious Edinburgh Medal for his contribution to science, will also in his acceptance speech call for a worldwide tax on all carbon emissions. In his lecture, Hansen will argue that the challenge facing future generations from climate change is so urgent that a flat-rate global tax is needed to force immediate cuts in fossil fuel use. Hansen will argue in his lecture that current generations have an over-riding moral duty to their children and grandchildren to take immediate action. Describing this as an issue of inter-generational justice on a par with ending slavery, Hansen said: "Our parents didn't know that they were causing a problem for future generations but we can only pretend we don't know because the science is now crystal clear. Hansen said his proposal for a global carbon tax was based on the latest analysis of CO2 levels in the atmosphere and their impact on global temperatures and weather patterns...more

Lib Logic: Global Warming Skeptics are Crazy Racists

 by Daniel Mitchell

    I’ve written about the government’s war on light bulbs, its rule against working toilets, and its prohibition of washing machines that actually clean, so I sometimes cover environmental issues.
    But I usually limit myself to examples of silly radicalism, such as the crazy claim that climate change causes AIDS, a reprehensible example of EPA thuggery, and a column about pointless recycling mandates.
    Notwithstanding these criticisms, environmental protection is a legitimate role of government. Simply stated, we don’t want polluters to violate our property rights.
    The challenge, of course, is how to conduct sensible cost-benefit analysis.
    Where do we draw the line, for instance, on how much pollution cars should be allowed to emit? Or what are the best rules to ensure landfills don’t pollute groundwater?
    These are important issues, but I will admit a bias. I am instinctively skeptical whenever self-proclaimed environmentalists start pontificating.
    In part, this is because everyone has an incentive to exaggerate. The business community will always say that a new regulation imposes astronomically high costs, while environmentalists will claim minimal costs and say that thousands of premature deaths will be averted.
    Since exaggeration is omnipresent in Washington, that’s not what really bothers me. My main problem with environmentalists is that they want to use so-called green issues to give government more power. And if you oppose them, you’re an evil person.
    Consider the example of Professor Kari Norgaard of the University of Oregon. She thinks you’re mentally ill if you don’t agree with her.

Friends for Life

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Runoff forecast looks dismal for NM, farmers bracing for another year of slim water allotments

Gary Esslinger's chosen profession, delivering irrigation water to southern New Mexico farmers, looks like some sort of cruel joke these days. The latest punch line came this week in the form the federal government's April Rio Grande runoff forecast, which calls for just 29 percent of normal spring and summer runoff into Elephant Butte Reservoir. That's the reservoir that supplies water to farmers in the Elephant Butte Irrigation District, in the Hatch and Mesilla valleys of southern New Mexico. Esslinger, the district's general manager, faces the unhappy task of going back to his farmers next week and telling them to expect even less than the meager allotment they had been counting on. "The business that I'm in, of supplying surface water, is kinda like going out of business," Esslinger said Thursday. This week's preliminary forecast, after a hot, dry March, showed a drop from expectations just a month ago that New Mexico State University hydrologist Phil King called "pretty catastrophic." "Things in one month basically just went away," said Rolf Schmidt-Petersen, Rio Grande basin manager for the New Mexico Interstate Stream Commission. Low elevation snow is largely gone, and much of what has already melted has soaked into soil left bone dry from last year's drought, rather than flowing into New Mexico's rivers, King said Thursday. The latest weekly federal Drought Monitor showed an expansion of dry conditions, with the entire state ranging from "abnormally dry" in the northwest to "exceptional drought" in the southeast. The federal forecast calls for 151,000 acre feet of water flowing into Elephant Butte between now and the end of July, which is the main snowmelt runoff season. That is 29 percent of the 1971-2000 average, which federal managers define as their long term "normal" for water management planning purposes. Combined with what little water is left in Elephant Butte from last year, that could translate to enough water to irrigate each acre in the Elephant Butte Irrigation District 6 inches deep, Esslinger said, compared with an average allocation of three feet. The district's farmers will have to depend on their groundwater pumps to make up the difference, which drives up their cost of operations, Esslinger said. With similar drought conditions last year, the aquifers in the area dropped an average of 3 to 5 feet because of pumping, he said...more

Song Of The Day #811

Ranch Radio will close out our week of songs as a tribute to the recent passing of Earl Scruggs.  Our Gospel tune today is God Loves His Children by Flatt & Scruggs.  It was recorded in 1948 at their first session after leaving Monroe.  You won't hear Scruggs on the banjo because that's him finger pickin' the guitar which he did on most of their Gospel tunes.