Friday, April 20, 2012

Editorial: A 'stupid bird'?

Environmentalists have identified the ground-dwelling sage grouse as a promising pawn in their drive to force productive users off land through much of the West. A listing of the bird as endangered or threatened could cripple mining, ranching and energy development over vast tracts where the creature is now or once was found–even areas where it can't be proved indigenous. Thus, Gov. Brian Sandoval last week re-established Nevada's greater sage grouse advisory committee. The nine-person panel–whose members have yet to be named–is charged with recommending an action plan by July 31. Concern about the sage grouse already has stalled some energy projects. Last month, the BLM removed 33 parcels amounting to 61,000 acres of public land in Nevada from an oil and gas lease sale because they are within sage grouse habitat. That decision came shortly after BLM deferred ruling on the proposed China Mountain Wind Energy project on the Nevada-Idaho line until the agency completes a study of the potential environmental impact of that project on sage grouse. News of that delay was met with anger in Elko County, where one county commissioner said the prospect of high-paying jobs in the region could be killed by a "stupid bird." Rep. Amodei said wildfires are the biggest threat to the bird. In fact, a Nevada study that placed chicken eggs in mock sage grouse nests had to be ended early when virtually all of the eggs were eaten by ravens or coyotes–predators that have experienced population explosions as ranchers have increasingly been driven off Nevada lands. Coincidentally, that reduced livestock grazing has allowed a buildup of excessive dry grasses that fuel bigger wildfires...more

Congressman May Subpoena DOE on Stimulus Funding for Ecotality

The Energy Department has yet to comply with a congressional request for information on a stimulus-backed company under investigation for insider trading and facing serious financial difficulties. Rep. Andy Harris (R-MD), who chairs the House Energy and Environment Subcommittee on Science, Space, and Technology, asked Energy Secretary Steven Chu for “a detailed summary of the Ecotality project” in a letter in late March.
Ecotality is a poster-child for the administration’s push to get a million electric vehicles on the road by 2015. The company manufactures charging stations for those vehicles, but after receiving more than $115 million to install those charging stations, Ecotality is far behind schedule. As Scribe reported last year, Ecotality is under investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission for insider trading. Scribe’s three-part series examined the subpoena sent to the CEO of an Ecotality subsidiary, the company’s political connections, and its tenuous financial footing. Harris said DOE had not responded to his request by the April 13 deadline. In an exclusive interview with Scribe, he said he would give DOE “until the middle of next week” before exploring other avenues for obtaining the requested information...more

Lawsuit draws line in sand over mining ban

Mineral exploration company Quaterra Resources and the governing body of Mohave County in Arizona have filed a joint lawsuit against the US government in an attempt to overturn the withdrawal of federal lands from mining. The suit filed on behalf of Quaterra and the Board of Supervisors of Mohave County against the US Department of the Interior, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, the US Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and its director Robert Addey, claims that the US government did not adhere to mandated statutory procedures when it issued a decision to close the land in northern Arizona to all mining in January. It alleges that the withdrawal, regardless of evidence that mining would not harm the Grand Canyon was "arbitrary and capricious". Amongst other considerations, the suit also alleges that Salazar did not comply with requirements under the National Environmental Policy Act in making the decision. Similar contentions were made in a lawsuit against the withdrawal filed in February by the National Mining Association (NMA) and the Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI). The suit seeks to have the withdrawal order declared unlawful and set aside permanently...more

Obama is named gun ‘salesman of the year’

The Obama years have proved to be a boon to the nation’s gun industry, which has posted strong gains in jobs, sales, economic impact and taxes paid in the teeth of an economic downturn. The economic impact of the firearms and ammunition industry - a figure that includes jobs, taxes and sales - hit $31 billion in 2011, up from $19 billion in 2008, according to a survey released Thursday by the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF). Background check requests for firearms purchases set records in 2010 and 2011, according to FBI data. Jobs in the firearms business jumped 30 percent from 2008 to 2011, when the industry employed 98,750. The industry paid $2.5 billion in federal taxes in 2011, up 66 percent in three years. Some in the industry attribute the jump in sales in no small part to fears - fed in part by leading gun lobbies - that the Obama administration will tighten gun control laws if the president wins re-election...more

Song Of The Day #819

It's Tax Week on Ranch Radio and we'll finish up the week with After Taxes by Johnny Cash.

Hookers Downgrade US Credit Rating

Days after Secret Service agents shortchanged a group of prostitutes in Colombia, the international trade group representing hookers downgraded the United States’ credit rating from AAA to B. The strong rebuke from the International Alliance of Professional Escorts came after a Secret Service agent reportedly paid one of its members $30 for an $800 service, or only 4% of the stated price. The statement from the International Alliance of Professional Escorts said that in downgrading the United States’ credit rating it was sending a clear message that its “members should be aware that doing business with the government of the United States carries with it a significant risk.” “We are urging our members to avoid conducting transactions with the United States and to focus on more reliable customers, like the International Monetary Fund,” the statement added. Just hours after the announcement from the escorts’ group, the U.S. Congress passed the following resolution blasting the Secret Service for its actions: “We strongly denounce the Secret Service for consorting with prostitutes, which has traditionally been Congress’s role.” But it was not all bad news this week for the Secret Service, which today reported a 5000% jump in enlistment...more

Obama faces defeat on Keystone pipeline

While much of the political world obsesses over Twitter fights and Seamus the dog, Barack Obama has set himself up for a high-profile defeat on one of the most important issues of the campaign. The president has put his feet in cement in opposition to the Keystone oil pipeline. But on Capitol Hill, more and more Democrats are joining Republicans to force approval of the pipeline, whether Obama wants it or not. The latest action happened Wednesday, when the House passed a measure to move the pipeline forward. Before the vote, Obama issued a veto threat. The House approved the pipeline anyway -- by a veto-proof majority, 293 to 127. Sixty-nine Democrats abandoned the president to vote with Republicans. That's a lot of defections. When the House voted on the pipeline in July of last year, 47 Democrats broke with the president. Now that it's an election year and the number is up to 69, look for Republicans to hold more pipeline votes before November. GOP leaders expect even more Democrats to join them. Then there is the Senate. Democrats are using the filibuster to stop the pipeline, which means 60 votes are required to pass it. (Some Democrats who bitterly opposed the filibuster when Republicans used it against Obama initiatives are notably silent these days.) In a vote last month, 11 Senate Democrats stood up against Obama to vote in favor of the pipeline. Add those 11 to the Republicans' 47 votes, and the pro-pipeline forces are just a couple of votes away from breaking Harry Reid's filibuster. "We're right around the corner from actually passing it," says a well-informed Senate source. "Two-hundred-ninety-three votes in the House is a gigantic number. People want this thing."...more

The Mustang Becomes an Obamamobile

The Ford Motor Company is giving its Mustang a unique 50th birthday present: death.
Detroit will still market an automobile called the Mustang. It just won't bear much of a resemblance to the iconic roadster driven by the likes of Lt. Frank Bullitt and James Bond. Ford's new "Evos" concept features gull-wing doors, a rounded, aerodynamic body, and a smaller design clearly inspired by Europe. When Ford officially unveils its new Mustang in 2014, company insiders insist it will embrace this visual transformation. More pertinent than its changing look will be its changing feel. Rumors abound, to the chagrin of drag racers, regarding the introduction of independent rear suspension. The five-liter engine supposedly morphs into a two-liter one. There is even talk of a hybrid Mustang. Why not a hang-glider F-18?...more

Thursday, April 19, 2012

TransCanada pitches new Keystone XL route in Nebraska

The process to select a new route for TransCanada Corp.’s proposed Alberta-to-Texas Keystone XL pipeline project around ecologically sensitive lands in Nebraska is underway. The Calgary company submitted a report including a preferred corridor and a number of potential routes for the oil line around the state’s Sandhills region to the Department of Environmental Quality conducting the review in Nebraska on Wednesday, TransCanada spokesman Shawn Howard confirmed. Howard said the proposed corridor extends east and then south about 160 kilometres from the main pipeline path around the Sandhills region, which contains the vast Ogallala aquifer. The Nebraska department is expected to post all documents related to the submission and process online on Thursday, he said. A new Nebraska route lets TransCanada refile for a presidential approval to build the cross-border line with the U.S. State Department, though Howard wouldn’t say when the company expects that to happen...more

EPA Caps Emissions in Drilling for Fuel

Oil and gas companies will have to capture toxic and climate-altering gases from wells, storage sites and pipelines under new air quality standards issued on Wednesday by the Environmental Protection Agency. The rule is the first federal effort to address serious air pollution associated with the natural gas drilling process known as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, which releases toxic and cancer-causing chemicals like benzene and hexane, as well as methane, a powerful greenhouse gas. The standards were proposed last summer in response to complaints from citizens and environmental groups that gases escaping from the 13,000 wells drilled each year by fracking were causing health problems and widespread air pollution. Industry groups said meeting the proposed standards would cost hundreds of millions of dollars and slow the boom in domestic natural gas production. The original proposal was significantly revised, giving industry more than two years to comply and lowering the cost...more

Can Heather Wilson pick up a Senate seat in New Mexico?

A nice piece on Heather in the Washington Post.

The issue of the enviros' proposal for National Monuments came up and here's what she had to say:

On the topic of immigration, she said, “I support legal immigration.” However, she added, “I don’t support amnesty because it is not fair to people standing in line at consulates around the world.” But for her, “Border security is a safety issue.” The danger and crime threat to her state from smugglers, narcotics traffickers and corruption make it essential to control who is coming into the country. She pointed out that her likely opponent wrote to the president requesting that he bypass Congress and designate an Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument in Doña Ana County. If that huge area along the border were designated a monument, it would, Wilson argued, quickly become a point for illegal border entry by the drug cartels and a sanctuary from law enforcement, who wouldn’t be able to use motorized vehicles on the land.

NM: Tougher penalties, testing considered for horse racing

Tougher penalties for drugging racehorses to enhance their performance will soon be considered in New Mexico. The state Racing Commission on Thursday scheduled a public hearing for May 2 on adopting the penalties set forth by the Association of Racing Commissioners International. Robert M. Doughty, chairman of the five-member New Mexico commission, said those standards generally carry heavier penalties than the state now applies in drug cases. Doughty said he expected the commission to devise a hybrid system, combining the strengths of the international standards with elements of New Mexico drug enforcement policies that work well. If that happens at the May public hearing, the commission would be positioned to implement new rules for New Mexico's horseracing industry at its June 21 meeting, Doughty said. He said the commission was considering changes in drug policy and enforcement before The New York Times last month published a 6,000-word story on the failings of American horseracing tracks and regulators. The Times found that five of the seven U.S. tracks with the highest rates of horse breakdowns and deaths were in New Mexico. Doughty faulted a portion of the newspaper's statistical analysis. New Mexico tracks often "van off" horses as a medical precaution. The Times focused on that point, but missed the context that it was an extra step toward keeping horses safe, Doughty said. The method may have been skewed the newspaper's analysis and given the state's racing industry an inflated number of horse breakdowns, he said. But, Doughty said, there was no doubt that the Times' digging raised important issues, particularly on drug use and how it can imperil horses and jockeys...more

Greens to Hybrids: We Don't Love You No More

Over at National Review Online’s Planet Gore, Henry Payne has an intriguing little post pointing out that Obama’s forced marriage between car consumers and hybrids won’t work. That’s because even the most committed greens end up divorcing their hybrids and buying a non-hybrid the second time around – despite the hefty upfront dowry they have gotten from Uncle Sam for their first marriage. A study by a Michigan-based research firm Polk found that only 35 percent of hybrid-owners choose to purchase another hybrid. Even worse, if you remove the Toyota Prius, the most popular hybrid from the mix, commitment to hybrids drops to 25 percent. This means that a whopping 75 percent of non-Prius hybrid customers chose to ditch the hybrid – and this is for the greenest of green consumers, mind you. Payne notes:

That helps explain why hybrid sales have flat-lined at just 2 to 3 percent of vehicle sales after over a decade on the market — and despite huge buyer tax incentives and a doubling of hybrid model offerings since 2007…

No doubt because they can’t justify their $5,000-plus markup over a standard gas model, a markup they don’t get back in gas savings.
Read more

A Government of Waste

by Andrew Napolitano

What can we learn from allegations against a half-dozen supervisors in the Government Services Administration for wasting, and perhaps stealing, taxpayer dollars on foolishness in Las Vegas, and against a dozen Secret Service agents for dangerously procuring prostitutes in Cartagena, Colombia, while there to prepare for a visit by the president?

If the allegations are true – and they seem to be – the behavior of these government workers reflects a view of government hardly consistent with the idea of limited government and public trust. The United States is the only nation in history founded on the principle that people voluntarily gave up some personal freedom in order to form a central government of limited powers and for limited purposes. Those purposes, according to the Constitution, consist primarily of the maintenance of personal freedom, natural rights and property rights, civil liberties and commercial liberties.

In all other nations where there is some freedom, government power begrudgingly permitted limited freedoms. In the U.S., personal freedom has permitted the government to have limited powers.

Those powers were intended to be used in a stingy way, to maximize freedom and to minimize government. There is no other intellectually honest reading of the Constitution in the era of its creation than this. Even the Big Government folks present at the nation's creation, such as John Adams, who would one day prosecute people for speech critical of him, and Alexander Hamilton, who began our nefarious infatuation with government debt, agreed that the federal government was limited to the powers articulated in and delegated to it by the Constitution, and to those tools necessary and proper to execute the delegated powers.

But 230 years later, when governmental power is used for personal gain that is obviously nowhere countenanced in the Constitution, that use perverts the structure that established the government. It also tells us that those in government who have done this do not comport themselves as if they work for us. Rather, they use the power we gave them and the taxes they took from us for silly and tawdry behavior that in no way protects our freedom...

Song Of The Day #818


It's Tax Week on Ranch Radio and I'm sure many can relate to A Taxpayer's Letter by Buddy Starcher.

"Keep Our Forest Open" State Rally

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

U.S. offshore wind farms: The race is on?

Virginia may become the first state to actually have an operating offshore wind farm in the water. While approval from the U.S. Coast Guard and Army Corps of Engineers is yet to be given, the state could have a 479-foot tall in the water and under test about three miles off Cape Charles on the state's eastern shore by late next year. In February, the Interior Department said environmental reviews for wind energy areas off the coasts of Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey and Virginia did not foresee any "significant environmental impacts" from offshore wind farms. As Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said at the time "The wind potential off the Atlantic coast is staggering and no developer should have to wait nine to 10 years to get a lease." Salazar was, of course, referring to Cape Wind, the controversial wind farm proposed off the Massachusetts coast. The 130-turbine project has faced an intimidating array of roadblocks: vehement and well-financed local opposition, lawsuits and stalled government loan guarantees to name the big ones. That and it took 10 years of jumping through the siting, permitting and other hoops to get through the approval process. Things are looking better for Cape Wind these days. A Massachusetts court recently upheld a long-term for National Grid to buy half of the power generated, and earlier this month state regulators OK'd a merger that will allow NStar to buy a little more than a quarter of the power. Those positive developments mean Cape Wind can get the financing it needs to start construction next year – assuming all goes well. The other states mentioned – plus Texas – have been working fairly hard on establishing an offshore wind industry, too. It's going to take some doing to catch up with Europe and China which already have operating offshore wind farms...more

New shrimp-like species found in New Mexico cave

Scientists have discovered a new shrimp-like species in a gypsum cave in southeastern New Mexico, only a few dozen miles from the famous caves at Carlsbad Caverns National Park. The species of amphipod was unknown before being discovered about a month ago in the Burton Flats area east of Carlsbad, said Jim Goodbar, the Bureau of Land Management's senior cave specialist. The agency announced the discovery Tuesday. Blind, about a half-inch long and almost translucent, the amphipod was found in a subterranean pool inside a cave no more than 80 feet from the surface. The cave had been explored before, but samples had never been taken of the water until a biological inventory was done as part of plans to expand potash mining in the area. Goodbar said the Bureau of Land Management is planning for a series of monitoring wells near the Burton Flats caves to keep an eye on water levels once the mining company begins pumping water for its proposed operations. The agency is developing mitigation plans that call for an end to pumping in the area if a certain threshold is reached...more

Investigating New Mexico's less-famous UFO landing

Roswell gets all the glory. It has a UFO festival, a UFO museum, and a prominent place in the national mindset. Roswell happened back in 1947, but it wasn't really popularized until the late 1970s. Before Roswell got famous, Socorro, N.M., made national news in 1964 after a very peculiar incident on an April evening. Socrorro gets its own UFO Police officer Lonnie Zamora was chasing a speeding car near the outskirts of town when he turned off to investigate a loud roaring sound and a flame in the sky. What he initially thought was a car turned over in an arroyo turned out to be what he described as a shiny whitish object, shaped like an "O" with legs.Two figures the size of small adults were near the object, he said. As he got closer, the object rose up and flew away. Indentations and burn marks on the ground marked the spot to corroborate his report. You can read the full report from Zamora, copied from the U.S. government's Project Blue Book files. There are plenty of theories about what he saw, but everybody seems to agree that Zamora was a well-regarded and reliable officer who spotted something mysterious. Some people believe it was an alien visitation, others that it may have been a hoax...more

Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation gives Montana $51K to collar, kill wolves

An extra $51,000 will fund federal wolf collaring and killing in Montana, thanks to a contribution by the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation. “The payment is made to (U.S.) Wildlife Services,” said Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks spokesman Ron Aasheim. “We’re just involved in the direction of how it’s used. We’re charged with managing wolves, and that’s what they’ve offered – to provide money that’s in line with what we’re currently doing.” FWP contracts with Wildlife Services to catch wolves for radio-collar monitoring, and to shoot wolves suspected of killing domestic livestock or pets. The Missoula-based Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation has been a vocal advocate of tougher wolf management. “RMEF supporters have stepped up to help biologists restore some balance in certain areas,” RMEF president David Allen said in an email. “Wildlife Services is a vital tool for controlling wolves in areas of heavy livestock depredation. That effort helps wildlife conservation, too.” The foundation raised the money from direct donations, and did not use any of its membership or habitat funds, Allen said. Since January, Montana wolves have killed nine cattle and are suspected of killing three more. They’ve also killed seven sheep, with four more probable wolf victims. Wildlife Services hunters have shot seven wolves and trapped one, while FWP biologists have trapped and collared two more. Hunters killed 45 wolves in the winter portion of the 2011-12 wolf season. Another six died of other causes...more

The article doesn't mention it, but I'm sure the little wolfies have munched on elk which is the foundation's primary interest.

Montana conservationists say water quality near coal mines needs protection

Two conservation groups representing citizens and landowners in southeastern Montana filed a lawsuit Tuesday alleging that the state Department of Environmental Quality is not doing enough to protect streams from coal mining. Officials with the groups, which represent ranchers, sportsmen and conservationists from that part of the state, said their way of life is threatened by poorly planned expansion of the mine. "Water is my life. Without it, I don't run cattle, I don't ranch, I don't have a business," said Doug McRae, who ranches cattle near Colstrip. "And so far, the state regulators who are supposed to be protecting our waterways seem to be asleep at the switch." The lawsuit asks the court to force the DEQ to require Westmoreland Coal Co. to take additional actions to address water-quality issues before granting permits for the expansion. McRae and other Montanans say they have tried repeatedly to get the DEQ to follow through on its legal duty to ensure that coal mining doesn't harm the quality and quantity of ground and surface waters in Montana. McRae said the case is not only important for him, but for all ranchers who operate near future coal mines anywhere in Montana...more

Song Of The Day #818

It's Tax Week on Ranch Radio and here's the Dixon Brothers with Sales Tax On Women.

Bemis takes helm at state department

John Bemis, litigator, helicopter pilot, Army veteran and government executive, never wanted to succeed New Mexico's living legend. As it turned out, the path he did not care to travel has taken him on the ride of a lifetime. "I was looking for my last great job and I found it," said Bemis, secretary of the state Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department. A combination of timing, Bemis' compelling biography and a healthy dose of luck put him in the office. Republican Gov. Susana Martinez, in one of her first moves early in 2011, chose former astronaut and former U.S. senator Harrison Schmitt to run the energy department. But Schmitt, who was 75 years old and famous for having walked on the moon in 1972, was wary of private investigators who handle background checks for the state Senate. Schmitt declined to go through the Senate confirmation process. That left Martinez with no choice but to find a new cabinet secretary, her shooting star having flamed out. She turned to Bemis, who had been attorney for oil companies and later an assistant commissioner of the State Land Office under another Republican, Patrick Lyons. Bemis, 61, said he never aspired to any cabinet position. But in this case, good fortune grabbed him and lifted him to his version of Eden. Since taking office 13 months ago, Bemis has visited 20 of the 35 state parks that his department oversees. He said he is equally captivated by the state's forests, also managed by his agency. At times, Bemis said, Martinez gently reminds him that energy, especially the oil and gas industry that is so critical to the state's economy, should his primary concern...more

Southwestern ranchers living in a “forgotten” drought

Eastern Texas has been blessed with abundant moisture the past few months, leaving many with the impression that the great drought is over. But that’s far from true for west Texas and New Mexico, where drought conditions remain classified as “severe” to “exceptional.” The December-February period was called the 11th wettest on record for much of the eastern portion of Texas, with records going back 117 years. But that leaves the western two-thirds of the state bone dry, and it has become the forgotten drought because west Texas and New Mexico are sparsely populated. Nielson-Gammon now says instead of a “Texas drought,” there are different regions in different levels of recovery, and some regions are not recovering at all. The U.S. Drought Monitor still shows the heavy dark brown drought indicators covering west Texas and New Mexico, but normal colorings have returned for eastern Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi. This year the lingering drought that also hit Georgia and Florida last year is working its way up the East Coast...more

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Forest Service may "blow up" cows, burn cabin

Several dead cows at Conundrum Hot Springs have U.S. Forest Service officials scratching their heads in an attempt to hatch a scheme to remove them before the spring thaw and hikers descend upon the popular backcountry destination at 11,200 feet. The cows were discovered by two Air Force Academy cadets when they snowshoed up in late March. They had planned to sleep in a Forest Service cabin but couldn’t because the animals were piled up in it, frozen solid. Upon their return to Aspen, they informed the Aspen ranger district for the White River National Forest. Initially Forest Service officials said they planned to blow the cows up with explosives — and they still might — but with high fire danger and a current ban on prescribed burns, it could be an issue. Hauling them out via horses is not feasible since there’s still a lot of snow on the 8.5-mile trail down to the Castle Creek Valley floor. And employing a helicopter is too expensive, Forest Service officials said. Motorized vehicles are barred from wilderness-designated areas, creating another limitation. Burning the cows and the cabin, which is not historic and was going to be razed at some point, is an option. There is enough snow there now that lifting the fire ban for this particular instance also could be considered. And an effort to locate the rancher who owned — and apparently lost the cows — is underway...more

The are sure producing some wimpy cadets at The Air Force Academy.

Instead of blowing up the cows and burning the cabin, give them Academy boys some practice and let them bomb the hell out of it.

Oh, but its in a wilderness area.  Add that to my list against wilderness areas:  you can't drag out dead cattle.  That's really not a problem, as livestock grazing is slowly phased out in wilderness anyway.  I do find it hilarious that you can set off explosives in a wilderness but you can't use a motorized vehicle.  I guess dynamite doesn't disturb your wilderness experience??

Their concern about water quality is also interesting.  I guess the dead carcasses of elk, deer, bear, etc. produce no bacteria, whereas those evil cows...

The Forest Service folks should meet up with the GSA folks in Las Vegas and figure out a solution.  I'm sure it will be a dandy.

Zoning the ocean (and land too)

by Audrey Hudson

President Barack Obama has an ambitious plan for Washington bureaucrats to take command of the oceans—and with it control over much of the nation’s energy, fisheries, even recreation in a move described by lawmakers as the ultimate power grab to zone the seas.

The massive undertaking also includes control over key inland waterways and rivers that reach hundreds of miles upstream, and began with little fanfare when Obama signed an executive order in 2010 to protect the aquatic environment.

“This one to me could be the sleeping power grab that Americans will wake up to one day and wonder what the heck hit them,” said Rep. Bill Flores (R –Texas).

“This is pure administrative fiat,” said Sen. David Vitter (R –La.). “It’s very troubling.”

“This is purely a unilateral administrative action with no real congressional input or oversight,” Vitter said. “I think it clearly threatens to have a big impact on a lot of industry, starting with energy, oil and gas, and fishing.”

But in his zeal to curb sea sprawl, lawmakers say the president’s executive order also gives Washington officialdom unprecedented reach to control land use as well.

“The order says they shall develop a scheme for oversight of oceans and all the sources thereof,” Flores said. “So you could have a snowflake land on Pikes Peak and ultimately it’s going to wind up in the water, so as a result they could regulate on every square inch of U.S. soil.”

The effects of Obama’s far-reaching policy would be felt by numerous industries including wind farms and other renewable energy undertakings, ports, shipping vessels, and other marine commerce, and upstream it would also affect mining, timber, even farming.

It will impact consumers directly through rules addressing recreational uses such as fishing and boating, and restricting the multiple use development of the ocean’s resources would also increase the cost of fuel and food, lawmakers say.

                                                         READ THE ENTIRE ARTICLE

Song Of The Day #817

It's Tax Week on Ranch Radio and here's Eddie Noack with Raise The Taxes.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Song Of The Day #816

It's Swingin' Monday on Ranch Radio and tax time too.  Here to swing it for you is Hank Penny singing Taxes, Taxes.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Cowgirl Sass & Savvy

First love on the hoof

by Julie Carter

He was tall and beautiful with a gentleness that captured my heart. And he loved me like he loved no other. For me, it was this love that defined unconditional love and forever measured the standard.

His name was Ranger. I would stand in the meadow and call his name and he would come to me. With a can of grain and a small rope in my hand, he would let me catch him.

When my dad would try to catch him, he would run off and keep running until dad would have to give up. If Ranger needed caught for anything, I had to do it. I’m sure it was the very foundation of any self-confidence I was to gain in life.  He made me feel very special.

He was a dark sorrel gelding that for whatever reason in his golden years, took a liking to a scrawny little girl. I rode him everywhere on a daily basis.

I thought he was the greatest horse in the world never realizing what cautious care he took of me as I explored my world from his back. He jumped over deadfall logs and irrigation ditches slowly and with such caution I thought I was National Velvet and a Grand Prix qualified rider.

I was five years old and didn’t know what magic that was, but only that he stirred in me a love for horses that has lasted beyond the dust-to-dust of his loss.

I never forgot what Ranger meant to me. Years later I watched my own children form attachments to critters – not always horses, but the concepts were the same and memories just as powerful. It seems that for a space of time in the life of child, an animal comes to raise them in a way no human can.

I was sorting through old photos for my now 18-year-old and soon to graduate son and found evidence of his “first loves” on the hoof.

Little cowboys are pretty big in their minds at a very young age. A three year old will pull his hat down tight, buckle up his chaps and insist that he can rope anything that needs roped. In his mind, if dad can do it, by golly so can he.

His first babysitter horse was named Old Man. The solid, seasoned and aged palomino took care of him with only a little indignation for being relegated to the task. But he never wavered in his job.

I watched that horse avoid wreck after wreck and the little cowboy on his back never knew what could have happened. If horses have wings in Heaven, this one was indeed a guardian angel.

When old age finally took the old guy it was a blessing for him, but a sad day for the cowboys, big and little. Now, all these years later, he holds that place in a young man’s heart that none other will ever have. First loves are just that. Always first.

Julie can be reached for comment at

Of Lilacs and Aprons

The value of history expanded
Of Lilacs and Aprons
Women of a special generation
By Stephen L. Wilmeth

            I walked out into the dawn this morning and smelled the clusters of lilacs emerging just outside and a few steps from our bedroom door. I had to share the discovery.
I got Kathy’s attention and she and our big Golden, Freddie Mack, joined me in deeply inhaling that fragrance. There may be nothing more powerful and reassuring that the smell of lilac blossoms...
Always the same
We talked about the same things that are always prompted when those first clusters emerge in the spring. It has always started with the memory of my paternal grandmother, Sabre Wilmeth, who dearly loved lilacs. She, like so many ranch wives of her time, had few material things. Her special joys came in little capsules of delight that had nothing to do with spending a penny.
In succession, my lilac journey then jumped to the big bush just south from the house at the Inman Place on Mogollon Creek. Always stressed from lack of water, that plant produced the most beautiful and fragrant blossoms. Every time I was there, I would always try to go and inspect it in hopes that there may be a lingering bloom.
Its hardy constitution was no different than the many other counterparts that remain in memory. They are all associated with settings of limited water and mighty and abundant struggle. Perhaps those memories are becoming more hit and miss as to actual locations, but they are lovingly tied to the memories of women who blessed our lives variously in blood … or faith … or respect.
From blooms to aprons
I never saw Grandma Wilmeth in jeans. She wore only a dress. Of course there are many memories, but one that always bubbles to life was her hoeing in her melon patch where it lay between the corral and the milk pen. I was with Grandpa at the milk pen ‘helping’ him milk his white milk cow, Easter.
She called to us to come see the melons. She was dressed as usual in a long sleeved dress and a big sunbonnet to protect her skin. She protected her dress with an apron.
Her appearance was no different than the majority of women of her generation in that setting. They had few clothes and those clothes were protected by an ever present apron.
Ten miles due west of Grandma’s melon patch that day Provy McCauley would have been dressed exactly the same. Mrs. McCauley had arrived in the Gila Valley of New Mexico four years after my grandmother was born in Missouri in 1900. Provy was a southern lady and she remained so until her death.
Her life was spent caring for her family in one way or another and that equated to work schedules that today cannot be comprehended. Her material pleasures were few and her indulgences were fewer yet. Like my grandmother, the protection of her skin was a priority that modern women would find curious and even obsessive. She seldom stepped from the house without her sunbonnet, and … she always wore an apron.
Provy’s aprons were significant enough in her life that a section in the McCauley book was devoted to them. She developed a particular pattern preference of simple design. It always had a pocket and she preferred the color gray although she wore different dark colors and prints in chambray, percale, and gingham. Her daughter did not remember her wearing a white apron.
As you read about Mrs. McCauley or talk to the few people who still remember her, you are struck with the notion that aprons were one of her few excesses. If she splurged on anything personally, it was a new apron to add to her collection. When she dressed, her decisions were probably not the dress she selected, but, rather, the apron she would wear that day. What would a modern woman think of such extravagance?
The color white and the implied comforts
Although, I suspect Mrs. McCauley’s aversion to white related to the practical matter of covering the accumulation of stains during a day’s work, I believe other ranch women sought white. My maternal great grandmother, Mary Belle (Shelley) Rice always wore white. Her dresses and her aprons were white.
Starched and pressed, her white apparel was as much a part of her as her speech and her personality. Although, I can’t remember, family members still talk of seeing her from great distances working in her garden and yard and knowing exactly who it was because they could identify her white garments.
There will likely be those who disagree, but I believe ‘Ma’ Rice’s preference to white was a matter of elevating order into her life. She had arrived in New Mexico in 1884 amidst an outside world that was primitive by any standards. In surroundings that were harsh, dangerous, and raw, her life was made more tidy and organized by her ultimate choice of white in her dress.
She made it more precise by starching and ironing everything she wore. Like Mrs. McCauley, it was her escape into a private place of personal sanctity.
What those women didn’t realize was how their consistency and habits affected others. Even though Ma Rice died when I was only two years old I remember her. I remember the physical image of her and that image is comforting. 
Her apron simply has to be part of that relationship. As kids, we existed in that world, too. Everything outside was a blend of excitement and yet scarcity … opportunity and yet difficulty … hope and yet stark and often unkind reality. By no means was Life always happy and secure.
The world centering on the aprons was largely different. The world of the aprons was associated with the warmth and smells of the house and kindness. The house was normally a place to escape harshness. Likewise, breakfast, dinner, and supper were always part of the apron world. There was normally joy in those occasions.
Moreover, tears dabbed with an apron always seemed to diminish the pain after being held down and having mercurochrome applied to some scrape or puncture. Fresh eggs collected and deposited into a waiting apron were part of the next great meal in the house. Having your face wiped with the apron was also much preferred to the screaming from others who protested your appearance, and, too often …your presence.
Words of a poem
I must admit the words of a recently read poem didn’t prompt the imagery of aprons as much as the smell of lilacs this morning, but the words did hit the mark. The fact is fewer and fewer folks will have heart strings tugged by memory responses of aprons.
The poem set forth the use of aprons to clean dirty ears, substitute the use of a potholder to remove a skillet from the stove, wipe the sweat from a hot, dirty child, and carrying all kinds of stuff out of the garden. These were all precious reminders of image that is profound. What the poem missed was the importance of the apron on a grander scale. It is akin to the smell of those lilacs. It is about the courageous women in our past who indeed contributed to our lands and our lives.
Those women, and their aprons … the apron … you didn’t have to reload it in the heat of battle, and it offered a continuing shield of immense proportions. That combination is supremely important.
As a descendent and child of those women, I have a perspective that is most important to me personally. Yes, all the images are there of the cutesy stuff, but there is something more important.
When Grandma Wilmeth took her apron off, she shed the stains of life. Symbolically and practically she continually separated the trials and tribulations of living from everything else. In more ways than one, she did that with her entire life. She did it for everyone around her as much as she did it for me. We were more important to her than she was to herself. We don’t have enough of that, and I am fearful the majority of people don’t even know what I am trying to describe.
To them, I suggest to go find a lilac cluster to smell. For the rest of you … go find a lilac cluster and savor the joy … and remember the aprons of your past!   

Stephen L. Wilmeth is a rancher from southern New Mexico. “The essence of a lilac bloom is indeed profound … it always rings nostalgic.”

Baxter Black: Confessions Accompany Shoeing Quote

I was asked by Ron Tatum, the author of “Confessions of a Horseshoer,” if he could use one of my quotes in his book. I agreed. He sent me a copy. The quote he used was, “It’s not that horseshoeing is so hard; it’s just the dread of doing it.”

My first confession: It was not original; a horseshoer said it to me. Alas, I can’t remember who it was, so I will simply attribute it to the anonymous horseshoer.

My second confession: I shoe my horse. I don’t shoe other people’s; most can’t afford to have them lame that long!

As I read Ron’s experience as a horseshoer, my own personal catastrophes kept popping up. He never wears a wedding ring while shoeing. I still tell the story of the newly married artificial insemination technician (a type of theriogenologist) from Cedar City, Utah. He ran out of sleeves one afternoon, so he finished the last cows bare-handed. When he got home he discovered he had lost his shiny, one-of-a-kind, 24-
payment wedding ring! He went back to the farm the next day with a metal detector but never found it. His mother-in-law was vindicated. She had warned her daughter, “Never marry someone whose job you can’t pronounce!”

Confession No. 3: It was such a good story I filmed it for my television program. While shooting the B-roll, I lent the film crew my own wedding ring to use as a prop. I never saw it again, except in reruns, atop a cowpie.

I use what I call a “punch” to enlarge the nail holes in the horseshoes. In his book, Ron calls it a “pritchell.” While he was heating his up to reshape the tip with a hammer, the pritchell slipped from his grip. It spun upwards and the sharp, hot end went up his right nostril! He said he could hear it hiss as it cauterized his membranes.

Astronauts condemn NASA’s global warming endorsement

In an unprecedented slap at NASA’s endorsement of global warming science, nearly 50 former astronauts and scientists--including the ex-boss of the Johnson Space Center--claim the agency is on the wrong side of science and must change course or ruin the reputation of the world’s top space agency. Challenging statements from NASA that man is causing climate change, the former NASA executives demanded in a letter to Administrator Charles Bolden that he and the agency “refrain from including unproven remarks” supporting global warming in the media. “We feel that NASA’s advocacy of an extreme position, prior to a thorough study of the possible overwhelming impact of natural climate drivers is inappropriate,” they wrote. “At risk is damage to the exemplary reputation of NASA, NASA’s current or former scientists and employees, and even the reputation of science itself.” The letter was signed by seven Apollo astronauts, a deputy associate administrator, several scientists, and even the deputy director of the space shuttle program...more

EPA Again Denies Ammo Ban Petition

On Monday, the Environmental Protection Agency denied for the second time a petition by the Center for Biological Diversity and other anti-hunting groups asking the EPA to impose a nationwide ban on the use of ammunition containing lead. The petition was essentially a repetition of a similar petition submitted by the CBD in 2010. The EPA found that the new petition was “almost identical” to the earlier petition, had no “substantive difference,” and “contains no new information” as compared to the earlier petition. In rejecting the new petition, the EPA reiterated its earlier finding that that it has no authority to issue an ammunition ban. To ensure a positive outcome on this matter, NRA-ILA is actively supporting Representative Jeff Miller’s (R-Fla.) “Sportsmen's Heritage Act of 2012 (H.R. 4089), which will be voted on by the House of Representatives next week.  This legislation also contains provisions “to facilitate use of and access to Federal public lands and waters for fishing, sport hunting, and recreational shooting,” and to increase the number of shooting ranges on federal lands. To read a letter in support of H.R. 4089 signed by NRA and dozens of other organizations from the recreational fishing, hunting, shooting, and wildlife conservation community, click here...more

Owner of New Mexico meat packing plant defends horse slaughter plan

The owner of a New Mexico slaughterhouse is defending his plan to become the first plant in the nation since 2007 to handle horses after an outcry from politicians and animal activists. In interviews with the Roswell Daily Record and the Albuquerque Journal on Friday, Valley Meat Co. owner Rick De Los Santos said he’s trying to revive his failing business and that what he’s proposing is legal. If his application to the USDA is approved, De Los Santos said horse meat will be exported to Mexico and be for Mexican consumption. He said the exportation of horse carcasses might be a better option than exporting live horses to Mexico, which involves holding the horses at the border. De Los Santos also said horse slaughter methods in Mexico may be less humane than in the U.S. “There’s no regulation as to how they (slaughter horses) in Mexico,” De Los Santos told the Daily Record. “It’s nowhere close to the USDA standards.” De Los Santos said the official number for live American horses exported to other countries for slaughter is 100,000; but the figure may be closer to 130,000. “All I’m saying is we can take some of those and slaughter them here,” De Los Santos told the Journal. The company, which has a 7,290 square-foot plant on a 10-acre site, has been slaughtering cattle for about 20 years, but has recently been unable to continue doing business because the cost of cattle has risen dramatically with the recession. The company that once had 40 to 45 employees is currently not operating. Slaughtering horses, De Los Santos said, might be the only way to save his company. He laid off his last 10 employees three weeks ago. “All we’re doing is trying to make a living,” he said. “My whole life is invested in this business.” He said he was unaware until recently that, if approved, his company would be the only slaughterhouse in the U.S. to slaughter equines...more

See my previous post here.

The greatest obituary of all time

Michael “Flathead” Blanchard, a Colorado citizen and community activist, died this week at the age of 68 — but we sure wish we could have known him when he was alive. Blanchard’s obituary in the Denver Post is probably the greatest thing you will read all day: “Mike wanted it known that he died as a result of being stubborn, refusing to follow doctors’ orders and raising hell for more than six decades. He enjoyed booze, guns, cars and younger women until the day he died.” The obit continues to say that Blanchard was an avid Republican and NRA member. He also takes jabs at some of his former friends from the grave: “So many of [Blanchard's] childhood friends that weren’t killed in Vietnam went on to become criminals, prostitutes and/or Democrats. He asks that you stop by and re-tell the stories he can no longer tell.” The last line of the obituary reads: “As the Celebration will contain Adult material we respectfully ask that no children under 18 attend.”...more

Song Of The Day #815

Ranch Radio's Gospel tune this morning is Walkin' and Talkin' With MY Lord by the Blackwood Brothers.