Saturday, May 05, 2012

The Westerner's Radio Theater #029

First up this morning is the Country Syle USA program with special guest Bill Carlisle.

That's followed by a Wild Bill Hickok program first aired on Oct. 14, 1951. The episode is titled Mission in Alamogordo. I was always suspicious of that Alamogordo bunch and now I found out they were a bunch of jewelry thieves. Thank goodness for Wild Bill Hickok.

Friday, May 04, 2012

Al-Qaida magazine urges terrorists to set wildfires in Montana

Terrorists who want to strike fear in the hearts of Americans would do well to set wildfires in Montana, al-Qaida advises in the most recent issue of its English-language magazine, Inspire. “It is difficult to choose a better place other than in the valleys of Montana where the population increases rapidly,” Inspire’s “AQ Chef” columnist writes. The magazine disappeared for a while after its founders, Anwar al-Awlaki and Samir Khan, were killed last year in a U.S. missile strike. But it recently reappeared online, its grammatically challenged cover urging “It is of your freedom to ignite a firebomb.” Inside, the AQ Chef gives three pages detailing the recipe for an “ember bomb” – along with the suggestion to deploy such bombs in Montana. The Inspire article states that America has more houses in the “country sides” than cities, and tells readers that on Aug. 6, 2000, “wildfires extended on the sides of a valley, south of Darby town. Six separated fires started and then met to form a massive fire that burnt down tens of houses.” The 2000 wildfires were the Northern Rockies’ worst in 50 years. In Montana alone, nearly 1 million acres burned, more than one-third of that in the Bitterroot National Forest. The article also mentions destructive wildfires in Australia in 2002 and in 1983, and asks, “Is it possible for us to cause a similar destructive impact using a similar weapon?” That’s where the ember bomb comes in. The instructions include using a clock, washing machine timer or acid to set the bomb afire. After the list of complicated instructions, Inspire also suggests simply using a lit cigarette or a magnifying glass placed atop tinder in the sunlight. The magazine says wildfires can cause “significant losses to the factories and companies of wooden products and everything that is linked to this trade.” Its research apparently did not uncover the disastrous effects of the recession upon the wood products industry...more

Interior Department sets rules for gas drilling on public lands

The Obama administration said Friday it will require companies drilling for natural gas on public and Indian lands to publicly disclose chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing operations. The proposed "fracking" rules also set standards for proper construction of wells and wastewater disposal. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said the long-awaited rules will allow continued expansion of natural gas drilling while protecting public health and safety. "As we continue to offer millions of acres of America's public lands for oil and gas development, it is critical that the public have full confidence that the right safety and environmental protections are in place," Salazar said. The proposed rule will "modernize our management of well-stimulation activities, including hydraulic fracturing, to make sure that fracturing operations conducted on public and Indian lands follow common-sense industry best practices," he said. Industry groups and Republican lawmakers say federal rules are unnecessary, arguing that states already regulate hydraulic fracturing, in which water, sand and chemicals are in injected underground to break up dense rock that holds oil and gas. Critics say the chemicals have polluted water supplies, but supporters say there is no proof...more

Ranchers, Rangers to saw up cattle - Enviros want cabin burned down

Three rangers and three ranchers headed up a mountain near Aspen on Thursday to carve up cattle found frozen in a cabin before the carcasses thaw and contaminate a popular hot springs nearby. Bill Kight of the U.S. Forest Service said the group planned to cut up the remains and scatter them over a wide area in an effort to draw bears and mountain lions away. "It would be like predators having a buffet," Kight said.The cabin is located less than 100 feet from the Conundrum Hot Springs, a popular camping area and a nine-mile hike from the Aspen area in the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness area. The animals came from a herd of 29 cows that went missing last fall from the nearby Gunnison National Forest where the rancher had a permit. An aerial search failed to turn up any sign of the animals. Kight declined to identify the rancher, saying the owner did all he could to round up the animals. Kight said no one knows what happened to the other cows. Michael Carroll, a spokesman for the Wilderness Society in Colorado, said environmentalists would prefer removing the cattle and burning down the building because it's located in a wilderness area, but Kight said that would require an environmental assessment that could be too expensive. "We just don't have the funds to do it right now," he said...more 

All the Wilderness Society cares about is getting rid of the last vestiges of man.

Third-deadliest U.S. food outbreak was preventable, experts say

On a sunny morning early last September, Susanna Gaxiola fed her husband a healthy breakfast of fresh cantaloupe in their Albuquerque, New Mexico, home. Her husband, Rene, a Pentecostal pastor and minister, had been fighting a rare blood cancer and he was eating fresh cantaloupe and other fruit daily.
Around the same time, Paul Schwarz ate fresh cantaloupe in his home in Independence, Missouri. Though 92 years old, Schwarz was still active and healthy, and ate fresh fruit often. And Dr. Mike Hauser, a podiatrist, also ate fresh cantaloupe with his family in Monument, Colorado. Hauser, 68, had been fighting myeloma, a blood cancer, but he was recovering well, even planning a bow-hunting trip in the mountains.
Within days or weeks of eating the cantaloupe, all three men became horribly sick, and all eventually died painful deaths. Their deaths were directly caused by the cantaloupe, which was contaminated with the deadly bacteria Listeria, according to health officials. After a months-long investigation surrounding the outbreak, CNN has found serious gaps in the federal food safety net meant to protect American consumers of fresh produce, a system that results in few or no government inspections of farms and with only voluntary guidelines of how fresh produce can be kept safe...more

Song Of The Day #828

Today's song on Ranch Radio is Knocking At Your Door by Hank Locklin.

 The tune was recorded in May of 1949 in Houston.

Vilsack promises new animal ID rule

A proposal to strengthen the tracking of U.S. cattle has been sent to the White House for a fast-track review, after a case of mad cow disease was discovered in California and spurred calls for a more stringent system.“We have a lot of confidence in a rule we think will work,” Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack told reporters Friday in Washington. He said he hopes the Office of Management and Budget will approve the new animal-identification plan quickly.Routine testing recently uncovered the nation’s fourth case of mad cow disease in a dairy animal at a rendering facility in central California. The discovery spurred fresh calls for increased monitoring of the U.S. meat supply. A nationwide animal identification system that would let officials track sick livestock back to their farms of origin — and help identify other infected animals — has been promised by the Department of Agriculture since 2003, after the first BSE case surfaced. Cattle futures plummeted 22 percent in the week after the announcement, and beef exports didn’t top 2003 levels until 2010.A voluntary animal ID plan was abandoned in 2010 after some ranchers refused to participate, citing cost and concerns the proposed registry would give competitors proprietary information.The rule Vilsack referred to, which the USDA proposed in August, would require registration and tagging of livestock moved between states, with guidelines tailored to different species. It would be put in place gradually, applying first to older animals in the U.S. cattle herd.The case shows the U.S. surveillance system is working, according to the United Nations’ Food & Agriculture Organization and the World Organisation for Animal Health.
The case shouldn’t affect the U.S. status of “controlled risk” for BSE, the Paris-based intergovernmental animal health group, known by its French acronym OIE, wrote in an emailed statement. “This detection demonstrates that the national surveillance system is efficient,” the OIE said. “This case should not have implications for the current U.S. risk categorization.” The finding of the disease before it entered the food chain should reassure importers of U.S. beef, FAO Chief Veterinary Officer Juan Lubroth said by phone from Rome Wednesday. “The fact that the U.S. picked it up before it entered the food chain and the fact that they were transparent should give more confidence to the trading partners, not less,” Lubroth said...more

Import Rule Seen Weakening Mad Cow Safeguards, Group Says

A proposed U.S. Department of Agriculture rule designed to boost beef exports would ease some mad cow disease import restrictions and weaken protections against the illness, a coalition of 31 mostly farm and rancher groups said. Under the rule, proposed in March, the USDA would adopt the same criteria used by the World Organization for Animal Health to identify a country’s risk status for mad cow disease, or bovine spongiform encephalopathy. This creates a loophole in which beef or cattle could be imported from nations that don’t have effective feed bans, the main U.S. safeguard against BSE, Bill Bullard, chief executive officer of R-CALF United Stockgrowers of America, said yesterday in an e-mail. “We were astounded that USDA would propose to further weaken our already weakened BSE protections,” Bullard said, a week after the agency announced that the nation’s first case of mad cow disease had been found in six years. The groups, which include ranchers in Kansas, Colorado, Nevada and other states along with the Center for Food Safety, have written to the USDA asking that the rule’s comment period, set to expire May 15, be extended for 60 days. Some trading partners have cited inconsistencies between U.S. and international standards as a reason to maintain restrictions on American beef imposed after the first U.S. mad-cow case in 2003. Bob McCan, vice president of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, the largest U.S. rancher group, said the proposed rule should be made final without delay. The proposal is “science-based,” something the cattlemen have been pushing for since the first U.S. BSE case almost a decade ago, he said...more

Thursday, May 03, 2012

Popular NM ghost town struck by tragedy set to reopen next week after restoration

A popular southwestern New Mexico ghost town, struck by the tragic and mysterious shooting death of its longtime owner, is reopening to the public after being closed nearly a year. Steins Railroad Ghost Town will formally reopen May 11, said Melissa Lamoree, granddaughter of the late Larry Link. Lamoree, 29, said the family has been raising money and working to restore the old western town near the Arizona border to its original state. They want to keep it running because it reminds them of happier times, she said. “My grandfather put so much work into this ghost town,” Lamoree said. “Instead of focusing on how he died, we wanted to remember the happy moments that this place brought him and share that with everyone.” Larry Link bought Steins in 1988 with his wife, Linda, and gave private tours. He was shot and killed last June at age 68, in what state police believe may have been a robbery gone wrong. Police said a semi-trailer used for storage on the property appeared to have been broken into, with items from inside strewn on the ground. Steins, once populated with 1,300 people, was largely abandoned by the mid-1940s after the railroad stopped delivering water. It is about 80 miles north of Mexico in New Mexico’s Hidalgo County. Steins is among many ghost towns, managed publically and privately, that dot the southern New Mexico landscape. The town was once a bustling mining and railroad town, which survived on water freighted in by the Southern Pacific and had competing bordellos. Before he bought the ghost town, Larry Link ran a rattlesnake farm and had worked as a butcher and in the grocery business in Arizona, family said...more

Tularosa marks 144th 'Solemn Promise'

The St. Francis de Paula Fiesta continues a series of events today through Sunday for its 144th annual commemoration celebrating the historic founding events of the St. Francis de Paula Church in 1865.
The fiesta begins tonight with a recitation of a rosary at 6 p.m. at the base of Round Mountain, an almost perfect cone-shaped mountain landmark between Tularosa and Bent on U.S. 70 where an armed conflict between the Apache and the first settlers of Tularosa took place. According to history, the settlers in that battle vowed to memorialize their survival with a "Solemn Promise" by building a church dedicated to St. Francis de Paula. Since then, the parish communities of Bent, Mescalero and Tularosa acknowledge the close relationship between the people that has evolved over the last 144 years. Following the battle, in which only one person was killed, families have intermarried and traded; schools have shared students and teachers; and churches have held services for marriages, baptisms and deaths for members of all three communities. After a mass at 5 p.m. Saturday, a traditional processional will be enacted in ancient choreography in a form unique to Tularosa. This is a Matachine dance and is carried out by circling the church with the statue of the saint and traditional costumed Matachine danzantes accompany a young lady selected from the first communion. It is led with drums in a dance found throughout Mexico and New Mexico tracing back hundreds of years. The form that has evolved in Tularosa has been passed from one generation to the next. The number of danzantes participating has been growing in recent years and the costumes are becoming more elaborate...more

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Note to readers

I give a presentation tomorrow on wilderness and national monuments and another presentation to Congressman Pearce's Forum on Friday, so posts on The Westerner may be kinda scarce.

Behind ‘Fakegate’

The centerpiece of Mr. Gleick’s counterfeit cornucopia was an alleged insider memo outlining plans to stop teachers from “teaching science,” and to “undermine” reports from the United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The memo also claimed the Charles G. Koch Foundation was funding Heartland’s climate-change efforts. None of this was true, but it didn’t stop Mr. Gleick from loading his “smoking gun.” Unfortunately for him, his ammunition turned out to be blanks. Computer forensic work showed that the memo couldn’t have come from any Heartland computers. It references only the documents that Mr. Gleick stole (a theft which he later was forced to admit). It also contains factual errors that no one at Heartland would have made. So why create this spectacularly inept forgery that has come to be known as “Fakegate”? It seems to be an obvious attempt to build a counterversion of “Climategate,” a genuine scandal that erupted when emails from the University of East Anglia were leaked in 2009 and 2011. They showed that certain scientists were manipulating data that didn’t support the left’s climate-change agenda and were blackballing scientists who refused to go along with that agenda. Climategate gave the radical environmental movement a well-deserved and very public black eye - and apparently, a thirst for revenge. Is “Fakegate” the extremists’ way of admitting that they cannot compete in the environmental debate on a level playing field? The polls aren’t going their way. Nor is the science. In the face of all this, has it just become too much work for them to engage in a fair fight over the facts? Considering that the odds of them winning a fair fight get longer every day, it appears that the answer is yes...more

Horse racing industry backs New Mexico reforms

The horse racing industry Wednesday lined up behind a proposal to adopt tougher oversight and penalties at New Mexico's tracks, which were recently identified as having the worst safety record in the nation. Horse and track owners and a jockey's union were among those who spoke in support of a New Mexico Racing Commission proposal to adopt model regulations developed by the Association of Racing Commissioners International. No one spoke against the reforms. The meeting Wednesday focused on penalties and restrictions for the illegal doping of horses, but Commission Chairman Rob Doughty said it is just " the first step in a long series of reforms" the commission would like to make "to send a message that the state of New Mexico does not allow cheaters." Although the commission said it wants to join ARCI and move toward more uniform, consistent national standards, it is initially focused on penalties for illegal doping under the ARCI rules. One key change is that horse owners could for the first time be held responsible for the actions of trainers. Also under the proposed rules, violations by trainers and owners in other states could be considered under rules that set penalties based on the number of previous offenses...more

The Next "Dancing With Stars" (video)


New Bill Would Preserve Clean Water Act

The American Farm Bureau Federation this week asked members of Congress to support H.R. 4965, a bill that would preserve existing U.S. water rights and responsibilities to the Clean Water Act. The bipartisan bill was introduced by Reps. John Mica (R-Fla.), Nick Rahall (D-W.Va.), Frank Lucas (R-Okla.), Collin Peterson (D-Minn.) and Bob Gibbs (R-Ohio). According to AFBF, H.R. 4965 does not alter the Clean Water Act, but it merely reaffirms longstanding provisions in the law. It would prevent the Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers from pursuing the agencies’ proposed Final Guidance on Identifying Waters Protected by the Clean Water Act and from using it as a basis for regulation. “In Farm Bureau’s view, the agencies’ proposal improperly changes the law of the land,” said AFBF President Bob Stallman in a letter to House members. “The Guidance effectively eliminates the term ‘navigable’ from the Clean Water Act. It dramatically expands the scope of federal jurisdiction under the act and virtually eliminates a central precept of the act, which reserves certain waters to the exclusive jurisdiction of the states.” Allowing the agencies to pursue the Final Guidance raises three critical considerations: (1) whether the law permits such a major policy shift to be pursued through guidance; (2) whether the agencies are exceeding the authority granted them by Congress; and (3) the profound impact this policy change would have on the economic health of the agricultural sector, which is vital to assuring a thriving national economy that produces jobs and raises living standards for all Americans. “The Guidance expands jurisdiction well beyond the words and intent of Congress and the limits affirmed by the Supreme Court,” continued Stallman. “While Farm Bureau would be concerned if the proposed policy were advanced through a rule-making, for EPA and the Corps to implement such a significant change to the Clean Water Act through guidance is indefensible. The issues raised by the guidance should be decided by elected officeholders on Capitol Hill. In the absence of congressional approval, the agencies should not move forward and assert federal regulatory power – especially through an informal guidance document – where Congress has not approved such a step.” Press Release

Song Of The Day #827

Ranch Radio's song today is Down At The Roadside Inn by Al Dexter.

The tune was recorded in Fort Worth on March 4, 1941 and that's Cecil Brower on the fiddle break.

Utah County puts agricultural-protection zone in path of Provo river delta

The Utah County Commission voted 2-0 Tuesday to create an agricultural protection zone in west Provo, where the federal Utah Reclamation Mitigation and Conservation Commission has proposed creating a new, June sucker-friendly outlet for the river. The delta, a fan of sediment with meandering channels and pools, would offer warm, shallow water and plants that would serve as a nursery for June sucker larvae. Utah Lake is its only native habitat. But critics say the project will destroy farmland by both turning land into a swamp while diverting water away from other landowners. The agricultural protection zone won’t necessarily stop the project, proponents say. It will force the federal government to conduct additional public meetings and require a commission vote to lift the zone...more

Trout's ear bone reveals its life travels

Like a tree’s concentric growth rings, a small bone within a fish’s ear reveals a history of its growth. And according to a new study of westslope cutthroat trout in the Flathead River system, the bone also contains a record of its migration pathways – a kind of geochemical diary of its life. The bone, called an otolith, acquires a new ring every day of the fish’s life. All fish have them, and for decades scientists have counted the bands of the bone to determine the age of a fish, as well as estimate population growth. But a study published last week by a slate of Montana researchers in the Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences brings to light new information that the ear bones also contain a unique fingerprint of the water chemistry where the fish swims on a given day, which can be used to map the entire life history of a fish within a river network. When a fish leaves its natal stream and begins its life cycle, it drifts between geographically separate spawning and rearing beds, and embarks on the occasional foray to distant waters within a river system. During these sojourns, the fish absorbs the unique combination of isotopes and chemical elements contained within the water, and the otolith records them like a passport stamp. “It worked so well. The values in the water matched those in the otoliths, which grow like rings in a tree,” said Clint Muhlfeld, an aquatic ecologist at the U.S. Geological Survey's Glacier Park field office and lead author of the study. “As fish grow and move into new environments, the otoliths record that information and we matched that with stream statistics to reconstruct the entire life cycle of a fish.”...more

20 Years for Standing Her Ground

"I got five baby mammas, and I put my hands on every last one of them except for one," Rico Gray confessed during a November 2010 deposition. "The way I was with women…they had to walk on eggshells around me." He recalled punching women in the face, shoving them, choking them, and tossing them out the door. Yet somehow, after one of those women fired a warning shot into the ceiling of her Jacksonville, Florida, home to scare him away during yet another violent outburst, prosecutors managed to convince a jury that Gray was the victim. As a result, Marissa Alexander, a 31-year-old mother of three, faces 20 years in prison for standing her ground against an abusive husband. Gray has been arrested twice for domestic battery, including an assault that sent Alexander to the hospital. In September 2009 Alexander obtained a protective order against Gray that was still in effect on August 1, 2010, when he flew into a jealous rage after discovering, while poking through her cellphone, that she had sent pictures of their newborn daughter to her first husband. Alexander was in the master bathroom at the time, and Gray tried to force his way in. When she came out, he screamed and cursed at her while preventing her from leaving the bedroom. "I was like forcing her back with my body," reported Gray, who is seven inches taller than Alexander and outweighs her by 100 pounds.  When Alexander managed to get by, she ran through the kitchen to the garage, where she says she realized she did not have the keys to her car, could not call for help because she had left her cellphone behind, and could not escape because the garage door was not working. Instead she grabbed her handgun from her car and headed back through the kitchen, where Gray confronted her again...more

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Rancher's Wild horse lawsuit still on

A federal judge will require further evidence before deciding if federal management of wild horses has harmed threatened steelhead in Oregon’s Malheur National Forest. Dayville ranchers Loren and Piper Stout contend that the U.S. Forest Service has violated the Endangered Species Act by allowing too many wild horses to “take” the federally protected fish by harming its habitat. Their lawsuit alleges the horses cause damage to streams, resulting in grazing curtailments in the area. U.S. District Judge Ancer Haggerty recently heard oral arguments in the case in Portland and has decided that there “are legitimate and material disputes” over the methods of assessing habitat damage. “These disputes cannot be resolved on summary judgment, and require the benefit of live testimony and exhibits during trial,” said Haggerty in a ruling April 24. The percentage of a stream bank altered by hooves, known as bank alteration, is used to gauge damage to habitat. Caroline Lobdell, an attorney for Stout, said her client believes that standard should apply equally to horses as well as cattle. “We don’t think there ought to be a double standard,” she said...more

Photographer says he reported now dead cows when they were alive

While the U.S. Forest Service wants people to now stay away from a popular hiking destination near Aspen, some hikers wonder how no one saw and reported a small herd of cows near Conundrum Hot Springs before they were found dead in late March. The rancher who lost the cattle says it cost him tens of thousands of dollars. 9NEWS spoke to Bill Trampe, the rancher who owned the cattle, on Tuesday evening. "The hardest part for us is the lack of being able to take care of our cattle," Trampe, a third-generation rancher, said. "That really hurts. We're still shaken over it. There is an emotional part of it that continues to drag on us. You get to the point you don't know if you want to continue in the business after something like this." Trampe has been a rancher in Gunnison for 40 years. He told 9NEWS the cows would've lived on the ranch for eight to 10 years, producing calves. "We lost part of our mother cow factory in the mountains this fall," he said. He says the dead cows represent $30,000 worth of cattle. A hiker who's taken this trail for the last 10 years sent 9NEWS pictures of the cows while they were still alive. Bill Kight, spokesperson for the U.S. Forest Service, told 9NEWS the agency did not receive any notice of the animals being stranded until their bodies were found by Air Force Academy cadets snowshoeing in late March. Kight believes the cows came over the Elk Mountains and West Elk, which would've been at least 12 to 15 miles from where they started out in the Gunnison National Forest. "In my 35 years of government service I've never known a situation like this for the cows to come over the entire mountain range down into a different forest. This is a new one for me," Kight said. Kight says Trampe reported 29 cows missing - all but 19 are accounted for and six were found inside the cabin...more

Wyo: Rare Earth Minerals

The world wants what Wyoming has; the 17 once obscure scientific curiosities found at the bottom of the periodic table. With names like europium, terbium and dysprosium, these chemically complex rare-earth elements have become essential in everything from wind turbines to smart phones, from flat-screen TVs to compact fluorescent light bulbs. Maybe, just maybe, this is a first date that might lead to something. Certainly, Rare Element Resources thinks it will. With plans for $400 million in infrastructure in and near the towns of Sundance and Upton, the mining company specializing in rare earth metals believes it has a rock-star project to compete with China’s near monopoly on these useful substances. The deposit, nine miles northwest of Sundance on the fringes of the Black Hills, has rare earth in spades. It is especially blessed with the heaviest of the rare earths, the ones projected to be in highest demand during coming years for use in high-performance magnets and compact fluorescents, say company officials. One of the elements, dysprosium – which allows magnets to retain their effectiveness up to 250 degrees Fahrenheit, compared to 80 to 100 degrees for ordinary iron magnets – has fetched up to $1.2 million per ton in the last year. Analysts don’t expect that to last, but they do expect it to stay close to $300,000 to $400,000 a ton...more

Song Of The Day #826

Today's feature on Ranch Radio is You Oughta See Pickles Now by Tommy Collins.

The tune was recorded in Hollywood on June 17, 1955 and that is Alvis E. Owens, otherwise known as "Buck", playing guitar in the band.

Elephant Butte Dam: Irrigation shaped Mesilla Valley's history

For almost a century, the Rio Grande has come to a stop at what was once the largest man-made reservoir in the world. From there, through the spillway of the Elephant Butte Dam, the river waters become part of a complex irrigation network feeding farms and orchards from Rincon to the El Paso Valley. With the beginning of another dry irrigation season this week, farmers already know they'll be getting precious little — in most cases, the equivalent of one good irrigation — of that river water this year. Yet without Elephant Butte, it's possible some wouldn't be getting any at all. Before the dam, the Rio Grande was a naturally flowing ribbon of water. But it was erratic, either flowing strong or at a trickle. In 1902, the newly created U.S. Reclamation Service assumed control over a proposed dam some wanted built 90 miles north of Las Cruces. That dam would impact the growth, development and history of the Mesilla Valley like nothing else. Irrigation ditches were some of the first things built in the early days of Doña Ana, Mesilla and Las Cruces. In the early years, primitive dams made of intertwined sticks and rocks guided river water into a main ditch that fed smaller ditches extending for miles. The centuries-old acequia system only worked well when river water was plentiful. During drought, some farmers used steam pumps, and even windmills, to draw groundwater, but few could afford the high cost.In addition, by the 1880s, newcomers to New Mexico were farming all along the Rio Grande. Farmers in El Paso were complaining of no water, and Mexican farmers were headed to U.S. courts to file grievances. Sometimes lack of river water wasn't the problem. The river changed paths, most notably in 1865 when it left Mesilla on its east side once and for all. It flooded the valley a dozen times since 1849, destroying homes, railroad lines, farms, roads and ditches...more

HSUS files FTC complaint against NPPC

The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) filed a complaint at the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) last week asserting that the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) has been engaged in "deceptive advertising" related to animal welfare claims in violation of FTC rules. HSUS said the complaint states that NPPC's "Pork Quality Assurance Plus" (PQA Plus) and "We Care" initiatives "are riddled" with false and misleading claims that all swine receive humane care and handling. PQA Plus and We Care "are fundamentally inconsistent" with those claims, HSUS said, pointing specifically to the confinement of gestating sows in narrow stalls and "painful procedures" such as tail docking that are normally performed without any form of pain relief. The pork sector spends millions of dollars misleading the public about its animal welfare record, HSUS senior counsel for animal protection litigation Jonathon Lovvorn said. NPPC "is betting the farm on a deceptive public relations campaign," he said.  HSUS said its complaint asks for prompt FTC action to stop NPPC from deceiving consumers with this campaign. NPPC, in a statement, said it has yet to receive the complaint but will analyze the complaint when it is served and "will vigorously defend" itself against what are "absolutely false claims made by HSUS."...more

The Feds Love Their Cars

Americans love their cars, and federal employ- ees are no different. Bureaucrats espe- cially love when those wheels are paid for and maintained at taxpayer expense. With gas prices sky-high, ordinary citizens have had to cut back. Uncle Sam ought to follow suit...The Energy Department’s inspector general, Greg Friedman, informed committee members the federal organization spends about $60 million a year on transportation, which he characterized as “a paltry sum.” At the current federal mileage reimbursement rate of 55.5 cents per mile, that’s enough cash to cover expenses for each of Energy’s employees to climb into a separate department vehicle at D.C. headquarters, drive to San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge, return to Washington, and then turn around and head out west again, stopping just short of Denver. As out of control as that might seem, Energy’s car collection pales in comparison to the rest of Uncle Sam's garage, which the General Services Administration says contains about 662,000 vehicles. If those vehicles were parked bumper to bumper, they would stretch from the White House out Interstate 270 in Maryland, then extend along I-70 all the way to Denver - with more than 13,000 autos left over. If only all those vehicles were parked. Instead, they are tooling over hill and dale in every state, racking up 5.1 billion miles during fiscal 2010 while guzzling 414 million gallons of gas, the GAO reported. Of course with a country as expansive as the United States, automobiles are an essential tool for getting around. The question is whether some of these free rides have become yet another perk for pampered bureaucrats with lifetime job security...more

Monday, April 30, 2012

No gold rush on Oregon's federal lands even with record prices

With mountain snows melting and gold prices at $1,620 per ounce, miners should be stampeding into Oregon's historic minerals districts around Baker City, Sumpter, Granite and Grants Pass. It's not happening. In fact, mining seems to be on the wane. Take previous hot spot Baker County: It has 802 active claims, down from 1,057 six years ago when gold brought $575 an ounce. Several factors appear to be dampening gold fever across Oregon. It takes seven to 10 years on average to get approval for a permit to develop a mine on land managed by the U.S. Forest Service or U.S. Bureau of Land Management, said Mark Compton, spokesman for the 2,000-member Northwest Mining Association in Spokane. "If we could improve the permitting time line, we would see more investment in the U.S. mining industry," Compton said. "That would lead to more jobs, as well as decreasing our dependence on foreign sources of minerals." The Metals Economics Group, which monitors mining companies worldwide, reported recently that only 8 percent of spending on minerals exploration occurs in the United States -- down from 20 percent in the 1990s. The U.S. is tied with Papua New Guinea for last place among the 25 leading nations where mining occurs because of permitting delays, according to Behre Dolbear Group Inc., minerals industry advisers. That's better than last year, when the U.S. was dead last...more

And just multiply that regulatory drag across our entire economy.  Way to go Feds.

USFS turns to saws to get rid of frozen cows

Federal forest officials are thinking of using hand saws to break up the carcasses of frozen cows that died inside a cabin at 11,000 feet near Aspen. The U.S. Forest Service had been exploring whether to burn the cabin or blow it up with explosives to get rid of the cabin and the cows. But a plan explored this week involves using hand saws to cut up carcasses of six cows frozen inside the cabin and four or five buried in the snow outside. Rangers believe the cows wandered into the cabin near the popular Conundrum Hot Springs during a snowstorm but couldn't find their way out. Air Force Academy cadets found their frozen carcasses while snowshoeing in late March. Forest officials wanted to remove the carcasses before they thaw. AP

Top EPA Official Resigns over 'Crucify' Comment

The Obama administration's top environmental official in the oil-rich South and Southwest region has resigned after Republicans targeted him over remarks made two years ago when he used the word "crucify" to describe his approach to enforcement. In a letter to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson sent Sunday, Al Armendariz says he regrets his words and stresses that they do not reflect his work as administrator of the five-state region including Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Louisiana...more

My original post on this story is here.

Obama’s green team comes out swinging as election proceeds

President Obama's top energy and environmental officials are casting their work as a core piece of White House efforts to boost the economy while using rough-and-tumble language to parry Republican attacks. Four speeches over four days by Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson signal a political all-hands-on-deck approach to defending the White House’s economic record ahead of the 2012 elections. The tactic signals the extent to which the White House response to criticism over high gasoline prices, green-energy spending and environmental rules is extending well beyond a recent series of speeches by the president. It also arrives amid signs of continued economic sluggishness that’s likely to worry the White House heading into the fall campaign. Jackson, in remarks Thursday and Friday, made perhaps her most direct argument to date that the administration’s green agenda has an economic focus, repeatedly invoking the president’s call for an economy “built to last.” Salazar, in speeches on Tuesday and Wednesday, blasted House Republicans for claiming his department is stifling energy production. He accused them of pursuing “fairy tale” energy policies aimed at scoring election-season political points and spreading falsehoods about the administration’s energy record...more

Lee Responds to Interior Secretary’s Comments on Utah Lands

Senator Mike Lee responded to comments made by Interior Secretary Ken Salazar regarding recent Utah state land transfer legislation. The bill sets a deadline for the federal government to transfer all lands not designated as “wilderness” or as a national park to state control by 2014. “More than two-thirds of all the land within Utah’s borders is owned by the federal government, which makes it very difficult to grow our state economy, pay for education, and create new opportunities for Utahns. The President and his advisers like to talk about “fairness,” yet how fair is it that the state of Utah must ask for federal permission to use the vast majority of their own land?" “Thankfully, states like Arizona are joining Utah in standing up for their rights and I certainly expect more to support our effort soon."...Press Release

Conservation group plans to sue county, feds over halted Gold Butte cattle roundup

The other shoe has dropped in the long-simmering feud between the Bureau of Land Management and Bunkerville rancher Cliven Bundy over the bureau's insistence but reluctance to round up hundreds of Bundy's renegade cattle in the Gold Butte area. An environmental watchdog, the Center for Biological Diversity, served a 60-day notice Monday of its intent to sue the BLM, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Clark County for failing to implement provisions of the Endangered Species Act. The act mandates the agencies comply with a permit for the Clark County Multiple Species Habitat Conservation Plan. The permit allows the county to remove federally protected desert tortoises, a threatened species, in areas targeted for development in exchange for protecting critical habitat, including where 700 head of Bundy's cattle roam near his former grazing allotment. The allotment was closed in 1994 to preserve tortoise habitat, 80 miles northeast of Las Vegas, but Bundy continued to graze his cattle there despite a 1998 federal court order to remove them. The BLM had hired a helicopter roundup company to gather Bundy's cattle on April 11 and impound the cattle but bureau officials decided to postpone the gather indefinitely after Bundy stated he would do "whatever it takes" to stop the impoundment action...more

Governors from 4 Western states discussing federal control of public lands

Seeking a unified front on common concerns, the governors of four Western states held discussions Friday on issues ranging from federal land control to immigration. "The Western states need to bind together and unite their voices," said Utah Gov. Gary Herbert, who hosted the talks at the governor's mansion near downtown Salt Lake City. "We have a uniqueness that other people don't understand." The participating governors, all Republicans, included Idaho's Butch Otter, Wyoming's Matt Mead and Nevada's Brian Sandoval, who joined the conference by phone. The all-day gathering, which Herbert dubbed the Rocky Mountain Roundtable, focused heavily on the management of public lands by the federal government. All of the states represented have large swaths under federal control, whether it's national forest, national parks or acreage owned by Bureau of Land Management. The participating governors say that federal policies can impede energy development, which can be important catalysts for job creation and increased tax revenue. But they worry their concerns are downplayed or ignored in Washington...more

Gov. Perry weighs in on Idle Iron policy

Texas game fish and the oil rigs they depend on for habitat have some friends in high places. In a letter to U.S. Department of Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, Texas Governor Rick Perry is calling for a review of the federal government’s “Idle Iron” policy that threatens to dismantle what is regarded as the largest artificial reef system in the world. In the letter, Perry says that the policy, which orders non-producing oil and gas rigs and other structures in offshore waters to be removed within five years of the issuance of the directive, will have profound negative implications for marine fisheries and the local coastal communities and businesses that rely on the fishing opportunities that these structures provide in the Gulf. “I understand the factors that may have influenced the decision to order the blanket removal of these structures in the aftermath of the tragic oil spill of 2010,” Perry said. “However, a more balanced, reasoned response is required in light of irrefutable evidence that these structures are the basis for thriving ecosystems that harbor and sustain an immense diversity of life above and below the waterline, including seabirds, fish, turtles, marine mammals and corals.”...more

Ag Subsidy Database Released

The Environmental Working Group released today the latest update of its widely referenced farm subsidy database after months of reviewing millions of new government records. The 2011 database tracks $222.8 billion in subsidies paid from 1995 to 2010. Initially published online in 2004, the EWG Farm Subsidy Database has logged 300 million searches and been widely recognized for upending outdated perceptions about who benefits from these programs. Three of the largest longtime recipients of commodity crop subsidies continued to do well in 2010. California’s SJR Farms raked in $565,798, Louisiana’s Balmoral Farming Partnership banked $929,956 and Arizona’s Gila River Farms received $781,901...more


Senate panel votes new start for U.S. farm subsidies

U.S. farmers will get a new crop-subsidy program that protects them from ruinous declines in revenue, the biggest threat to survival with today's high and volatile prices, a Senate committee decided on Thursday. The Agriculture Committee approved the new path for the U.S. farm program by a 16-5 vote. The package would erase almost all traditional farm supports, especially the $5 billion a year "direct payment" subsidy paid regardless of cost, and save $23 billion over 10 years. Instead, an insurance-like program would compensate grain and soybean growers when revenue from a crop was 11-21 percent below the five-year average with a maximum payment of $50,000. The federally subsidized crop insurance system would cover deeper losses. Cotton growers would use a separate, but similar, program. Stabenow said the bill could be called for Senate debate in a few weeks and she aimed for enacting a new farm law before the current one expires on Sept. 30. The House of Representatives wants much bigger cuts -- $180 billion. Analysts say budget and election-year pressures may delay the new law until a post-election session or even 2013...more

Land managers, ranchers working to avert Big Open's sage grouse from listing

On a bare patch of ground 15 miles northwest of Winnett, more than 20 male sage grouse have gathered in the pre-dawn to get their strut on. Sporting spiked feathers on the backs of their necks and a wide fan of tail feathers, the birds jockey for position and puff out air sacks within their chests like pillows, causing a distinctive drumming sound when air is released. "What these guys are trying to do is show off for the girls," whispers Matt Comer, a Lewistown-based wildlife biologist with the U.S. Bureau of Land Management who watches the birds through binoculars from his pickup truck. To be sure, the exotic spring ritual — mating season peaks in April — is an entertaining show, but Comer is here to work, counting the number of birds to better focus conservation efforts in the area. Across the West, the iconic bird with the showy mating dance is experiencing population declines, and government land managers, with help from ranchers and conservation groups, are pouring tens of millions of dollars and rewriting dozens of management plans to protect habitat where the birds still thrive. The goal of the sweeping plans, occurring on both private and public lands in 11 states including Montana, is to increase the population and avert the listing of the bird as a threatened and endangered species, which experts say would bring tougher restrictions on grazing and energy development. "It would just have catastrophic impacts on our food and energy security, much of which comes out of the West," said Dave Naugle, a wildlife professor at the University of Montana who is serving as science adviser for the national sage grouse initiative headed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS)...more

They are spending "tens of millions of dollars and rewriting dozens of management plans" just to keep it from being listed. This could serve as a real study of the cost of the ESA. How much has the BLM,FS,USFWS,NRCS, etc. spent so far? Then keep track of all future spending. Query the states for their spending. Would be hard for the federal agencies to dodge this one like they have for listed species.

Song Of The Day #825

It's Swingin' Monday on Ranch Radio and here's Kristin Scott Benson picking Sandy River Belle to get your toe tappin'.

The tune is on her 12 track CD Second Season.

US introduces $60 LED light bulb

A prize-winning light bulb that lasts for 20 years is going on sale in the US on Sunday - also known as Earth Day. Made by Dutch electronics giant Philips, the bulb swaps filaments for light-emitting diodes to provide illumination. Using LEDs endows the light with a long life and a hefty price tag. The first versions are set to cost $60 (£37). Philips has arranged discounts with shops that will sell the bulb meaning some could buy it for only $20 (£12). The bulb triumphed in the Bright Tomorrow competition run by the US Department of Energy that aimed to find an energy efficient alternative to the 60-watt incandescent light bulb. A cheaper and less efficient version of the LED bulb is already sold by Philips in the US and Europe...more

Burger King makes cage-free eggs, pork promise

Hi, I Just Caved to HSUS
In a boost to animal welfare activists looking to get livestock out of cramped cages, Burger King will be the first major U.S. fast-food chain to give all of its chickens and pigs some room to roam. On Wednesday, the world's second-biggest burger chain pledged that all of its eggs and pork will come from cage-free chickens and pigs by 2017, hoping to satisfy rising consumer demand for humanely produced fare and increase its sales in the process. Other companies have made similar but less broad announcements this year, part of an industrywide shift to consider animal welfare when buying food supplies. The hens would still be housed in a barn, but they have room to move and perches and nesting boxes. Sows are also held indoors, but they would not be confined in the cramped crates while they are pregnant. The Miami-based company has been steadily increasing its use of the eggs and pork as the industry has become better able to meet demand, said Jonathan Fitzpatrick, chief brand and operations officer. Fitzpatrick said the decision is part of the company's social responsibility policy. Animal welfare groups applauded Burger King's decision...more

Video: Green-tech bust Solyndra busted for abandoning toxic waste

Isn't the entire idea behind solar power to go "green" and help save the environment? Apparently not in the case of Solyndra. Not only did the company go bankrupt after receiving $500 million in taxpayer funding, but now workers at the Solyndra plant have left behind tons of toxic waste. CBS 5 found the building locked up, with no one around. At the back, a hazardous storage area was found. There were discarded buckets half filled with liquids and barrels labeled “hazardous waste.” The building’s owner, a company called iStar, claimed in court documents, “there may be serious environmental, health and safety issues” at the premises. According to the documents, they include, “numerous containers of solvents and chemicals…and processing equipment contaminated with lead.”...more

Here's the TV news report:

Blogger/Commentator Job Available

The Rio Grande Foundation is passing this information along to potentially-interested parties. The position is NOT with the Foundation:

Citizen Media is looking for a commentator/blogger about New Mexico
politics, policy and people.

The right person is a self-starter with sharp research, analytical and
writing skills who would work as an independent contractor, starting
May 2012. The Website will be provided. An ability to scout the
political landscape, track relevant news (particularly video-based)
and write with authority and credibility is essential. Compensation is

To see a current approach by Citizen Media in Colorado, visit

Anyone interested, please send an inquiry and published writing
samples to

Predator drones have yet to prove their worth on border

The drug runners call it "el mosco," the mosquito, and one recent evening on the southern tip of Texas, a Predator B drone armed with cameras buzzed softly over the beach on South Padre Island and headed inland. "We're going to get some bad guys tonight, I've got a feeling," said Scott Peterson, a U.S. Customs and Border Protection supervisory air interdiction agent. He watched the drone's live video feed in the Predator Ops room at Naval Air Station Corpus Christi, about 50 miles away. As the unmanned plane flew up the winding Rio Grande, which forms the border with Mexico, Peterson fielded excited phone calls. One agent had seen known scouts for a Mexican cartel at a Dairy Queen, suggesting a load of drugs was coming through. Another called in the precise spot where the shipment would land. Soon the drone's infrared camera picked up a man hauling bales of marijuana from an inflatable rubber boat into a minivan on the Texas side of the river. Then it spotted a second boat. Agents readied for a major bust. But the April 18 raid was not the success Peterson had envisioned. He wanted the drone to track the smugglers to a stash house, and perhaps to ranking cartel members. Instead, Border Patrol agents rushed to the riverbank, sirens blaring. They seized half a ton of pot, a 1996 Plymouth Voyager van and a boat. The smugglers escaped and no one was arrested. The mixed results highlight a glaring problem for Homeland Security officials who have spent six years and more than $250 million building the nation's largest fleet of domestic surveillance drones: The nine Predators that help police America's borders have yet to prove very useful in stopping contraband or illegal immigrants...more

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Commentary: Advise and dissent

by Dan Murphy

Whenever the Humane Society of the United States does anything related to the industry, producers ought to evaluate their actions with a heapin’ helping of skepticism.

That caveat applies to the activist group’s most recent initiative, the formation of an advisory group in Colorado ostensibly aimed at “promoting more humane practices on farms and ranches and to promote food producers who share that goal,” to quote the HSUS news release.

The Colorado Agriculture Council of The Humane Society of the United States, as the group is named (way to create an aura of independence by including your own name, HSUS), is supposed to pursue market opportunities for farmers and ranchers whose agricultural practices adhere to animal welfare standards, as well as “facilitate a dialogue with individual farmers, ranchers and the organizations that represent them.”

The members of the Colorado agriculture council include Mike Callicrate, livestock producer and owner of Ranch Foods Direct retail center in Colorado Springs; Matt Kautz, a Colorado poultry and egg producer; Carrie Balkcom, director of American Grassfed Association; and Brad Buchanan, a Colorado cattleman.

“As a Colorado cattle rancher, I believe family farmers and ranchers have much common ground with the [Humane Society of the United States] when it comes to the treatment of farm animals,” said Tom Parks, DVM, a veterinarian who chairs the new council. “It’s a positive step to work together to address the future of animal agriculture and find solutions to animal welfare challenges.”

Of course, there’s been a whole lot of “dialogue” going on between livestock producers and HSUS, given the group’s relentless media attacks against standard industry practices, its continual use of phony employees to capture potentially damaging video footage at production sites, feedlots and packing plants and well-funded state-by-state referenda aimed at forcing restrictions on egg, poultry and pork producers...

U.N. to investigate plight of Native Americans for first time

The UN is to conduct an investigation into the plight of US Native Americans, the first such mission in its history. The human rights inquiry led by James Anaya, the UN special rapporteur on indigenous peoples, is scheduled to begin on Monday. Many of the country’s estimated 2.7 million Native Americans live in federally recognised tribal areas which are plagued with unemployment, alcoholism, high suicide rates, incest and other social problems. The UN mission is potentially contentious, with some conservatives almost certain to object to international interference in US domestic matters. Since his appointment as rapporteur in 2008, Anaya has focused on indigenous people in Central and South America. A UN statement said: “This will be the first mission to the US by an independent expert designated by the UN human rights council to report on the rights of the indigenous peoples.” Anaya, a University of Arizona professor on human rights, said: “I will examine the situation of the American Indian/Native American, Alaska Native and Hawaiian peoples against the background of the United States’ endorsement of the UN declaration on the rights of indigenous peoples.” The US signed up in 2010 to the declaration, which establishes minimum basic rights for indigenous people round the word first adopted in 2007...more

TSA pair accused of accepting bribes from drug smugglers at LA airport

Two airport security employees have been arrested on drug trafficking and corruption charges, accused of taking bribes to allow large shipments of drugs to pass through the screening process at Los Angeles airport. The pair were arrested along with two former airport screeners. Authorities said on Wednesday the screeners allowed drugs to pass through X-ray machine checkpoints in five incidents in exchange for payments of as much as $2,400. The arrests mark one of the first instances in which employees of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), which oversees screening checkpoints at airports across the nation, have been accused of complicity in drug smuggling, a spokesman for the agency said...more

Cowgirl Sass & Savvy

Redneck runneth deep

by Julie Carter

Whoever started the rumor that rednecks have no style just simply has never spent much time in their presence. 

Why just days ago I was buzzing down the highway and as I passed the used junk store a flash of color caught my eye. Lo and behold, there stood the ultimate redneck patio table set. It is the season you know.

It was one of those large wooden cable spools, laid on its side and painted a bright neon  sunshine yellow. It was accompanied by four very yellow plastic chairs and obviously sold as a set.

It is nothing out of the ordinary to see such redneck culture in my world. I’ve come to revere the ingenuity of the lifestyle.

More often than not, frugal is carried to new heights -- or lows, depending how you look at it.  A qualified redneck is a regular patron at any and all auctions held within a two hour driving distance of home and where bargains need not have an identifiable label or use. If the price is right, it will have a new home.

One such prime example of redneckhood said that he had somehow become the proud owner of a Godzilla-size box of coffee filters. He has a percolator so does not use coffee filters. Not being wasteful, he utilized the filters as toilet paper. An added benefit was that it often kept company from over-staying their welcome.

Rednecks are born into the definition.

Some years back, I was watching the “Blue Collar Comedy Tour” on television. It is very funny when you hear what is so true told in stories in which you recognize your relatives.

My son was about 10 years old at the time and after a number of Jeff Foxworthy’s  “you might be a redneck” jokes he asked, “Mom, what is a redneck?” 

I looked directly at him and said, “You are.”

He immediately laid his hand on his neck and started to ask the logical question. I quickly explained that it didn’t mean the color of his neck exactly. It was more about his closet full of camouflage clothing, the hunting stories he already had stored in his memory and dreams of owning bigger guns, more ATVs and better hunting hounds.

Like the two generations before him, he wears a tag that is supposed to explain how we think and what we like. It seems normal to us and before they came up with the label “redneck,” it had no name, except maybe “hillbilly.”

Not long after this revealing moment in family genealogy, this same boy spent some time grounded from the television except for allowable educational programming.  When I set the terms and conditions for his viewing, I had no idea how difficult it would be for this genetically predisposed redneck child to determine what was educational.

In passing through the room, I had to point out to him that “County Music Television” was not considered educational programming.

“Well okay then. Mom, is “Gunsmoke” educational?”

I knew then that the road to civilization was going to be a tricky, slippery slope. And that very likely, I wasn’t the one with the skills to teach him. After all, I was part of those redneck genetics.

Time to clean the shotgun.

Julie can be reached for comment at

Image by Karmel Timmons

Judged by what is right … or what we do?

Adams Doctrine
Judged by what is right … or what we do?
Water, mammary Supports and free ranging Chickens
By Stephen L. Wilmeth

            Many of us have come to recognize secularism is a religion. It has all the character of any religion complete with saints, and apostles, prophets, and, of course, the precious deity.
            The deity forms the basis of the greatest distinction that separates it from Christianity. That distinction is the focus and the object of the adulation.
In the case of environmental secularism, ‘object’ gives way to ‘objects’, and those objects are constantly transforming. Today, it could be a loveable, intrinsic fuzz ball. To deep thinking subjects of the extrinsic domain, tomorrow it could be a viewscape of a sewer farm.
The intrinsic objects range from the sun itself, to spike dace and loach minnows, wolves, and even prairie chickens. The extrinsic counterparts can get even more complicated. They could range from abortion rights to the objections of the use of leaf blowers. Bottom line, there is something new to each and every secularist each and every moment … it is simply the prerogative of the new secularist to declare his or her newest object of adulation!
The Adams Doctrine
For too long, too many conscientious Americans have been snookered into believing there are certain constants that cannot be challenged. Here in parched New Mexico, we have become locked into the mindset our water supply is finite, what we have is what we get, and for all of eternity we have to continue to trim our meager portion for the good of all.
To this, I must defer to John Adams. Idiosyncrasies aside, anybody who could run a farm, maintain a legal practice, contribute the astounding body of ideas and foundation that became fundamental to our political system, and maintain a life long, loving relationship with his wife was a man of qualities that we should all emulate.
It is profound that President Adams was a nonbeliever of the premise we should pray only for what we perceive is right. His belief was we could pray for what we perceive as right, but, if we didn’t act, no amount of divine intervention would ever help us.
Rather, his belief was predicated on the creator’s gift of freewill to us for us to act on our own behalf to change our lives and our predicaments. In the Adams belief system, we are to be judged not on the basis of our purity of thought, but on the purity and resourcefulness of our actions.  Even if we are wrong, we will still be judged on the courage and commitment to prevail.
Think of that. Adams believed a man could spend a lifetime enduring what he perceived was adherence to the high road, but, without self action to correct the problem, no amount of praying will save him.
There is such abundant relief in that!
Gila Fever
The folks in the New Mexico watershed of the Gila River have long lived with the long knives of the New Age secularists. The latter can be spotted variously but they first arrived in the ‘60s. They became more abundant in the decades since. Today, they entrenched in a network of national influence. Too many of them still think that free ranging chickens and mammary truss assists are incongruous!
In a settlement with the State of Arizona, New Mexico was awarded additional 14,000 acre feet of Gila River water, annually. The award remains conditional on the capture and storage of flood water. There is a deadline to act and the time is running out. A real threat to the loss of the settlement is looming.
The folks trying to make something happen face a dual problem. The first is the polarization of New Mexico congressional leadership. The second stems from the Church of Secularism doctrine impasse.
The Gila is a free flowing river. It is a wonderful place. I know. I call Cliff, New Mexico my real heritage home. Most of the things I hold dear were derived from my childhood spent there with my grandparents. Solutions, though, are best fashioned for the benefit of a community that can support itself. The secular alternative threatens all self support.
‘Can’t’ is the byline. In every approach, a viable solution is being squelched. In every alternative, an environmental obstacle surfaces to block an idea and a solution. Secularists don’t want solutions. They want control and they must have division to maintain control.
Then their propaganda machine goes to work. In the press are reoccurring references to the abstract concept of the real need for the water. No, a desert community doesn’t need 14,000 acre feet of water! What were those folks thinking anyway?
To the Butte and a bigger picture
Water constraints in New Mexico aren’t confined to the Gila. The storage in the state’s largest reservoir, Elephant Butte, remains near historical low levels. The snow pack of the southern Rockies and the Rio Grande watershed is dismal. Water users in the Elephant Butte Water District are expecting to receive six acre inches for the year. That is two and a half acre feet under what is considered a normal allocation.
Politics has played into the edginess as the United States has forced the release of waters demanded downstream by Mexico. All sides are posturing and fidgeting under the specter of an increasing conflict. Does a water war loom on the Rio Grande?
How about the West?
How about the world?
It can be documented that drought and its aftermath with famine pose the greatest natural risk to all of mankind. In the drought of October, 2010 to October, 2011 our ranch received 1.75” of rain. We thought we were hard hit.
In the same period, the drought in Somalia was yet more devastating. As much as 80% of all livestock owned by nomadic tribesmen died of starvation. As many as 50,000 people died and as many as 13 million needed assistance.
Drought can be horrendous, but it is also the most manageable of all natural disasters. A hurricane cannot be tamed nor can a tornado, a tsunami, or even a hailstorm. We can manage drought, though, and we are managing it more effectively than most suspect or give credit.
 We have and we can build water supply infrastructure. We can and we have engineered delivery systems. We can and we have contained floods. We can and we have learned to convert drought conditions to centers of recreation and national pastimes.
As last year’s historic floods in the Mississippi basin were being chronicled daily on national news, New Mexicans simply could not comprehend the amount of water flowing through those relief structures along the river. There was idle speculation there was enough water boiling through those gates to fill Elephant Butte in a couple of days.
We were wrong. There was enough water boiling through one of those gates in Louisiana to fill the more than 2.3 million acre foot pool at Elephant Butte in 18 hours!
Such factors reveal a larger truth. We are only temporarily water short. We have come to the next series of constraints and must deal with the issue.
Our situation today is not unlike those folks who first tried to farm in the Rio Grande Valley before the dam was built. It was the same in the Phoenix Valley and every other valley across the West. None of those early settlers could have envisioned what was done when free and independent men were allowed to act to create managed systems for the control and distribution to life giving water.
The reality is we have been conditioned to believe that our system is at its zenith … that what water supply we have is all we are entitled to get under the secular manuscript of morality.
The Adams persistence
The environmental agenda has hamstrung us because we are trapped in the deficient juxtaposition of the Adams doctrine. We pray for relief in various forms of actions that have not and will not solve our problems. Solutions will come only from the allowance to act, and, more importantly, the direct actions of motivated, issue focused free and independent men and women.
If you believe in that premise you must also believe in the inherent mechanism for self correction. Each constraint revealed will prompt a new and issue focused body of free and independent men and women.
Can this be tested? It has … enough logic was built into our system that the system has survived the onslaught of the secularists from the onset of our history. We have survived in spite of them!
Are there modern era prophets? If there are, there must be several from that body of men who conceived the concepts of our system, and … John Adams must be included.

Stephen L. Wilmeth is a rancher from southern New Mexico. “I have come to admire men who seek not help from many, but prefer the trust of few.”



Baxter Black: World without cows difficult to imagine

Can you imagine a world without cows?

In 1535, Francisco Coronado brought cows into what is now the United States. He crossed the border 40 miles south of Benson, Ariz., with horses and cows. Some think he went as far as Kansas. Looking for a good veterinarian, I guess.

In the ensuing five centuries, the domestic bovine has mooed itself into virtually every county in the western hemisphere. But, for the sake of our initial question, what if we had been conquered by marauding Latvians, Amazonian dart blowers or a powerful vegetarian brokerage firm in Fiji who did not bring cattle into the country and/or prohibited their importation?

My first observation is, there would be no Big Macs! Beef, milk and cheese might not be available in abundance. Would we have tried to domesticate deer, buffalo, elk, wild goats or moose? We’d hear, “Pork, it’s what’s for dinner!” “Where’s the Mutton?” “Goat, the other white meat!” “Got okra?” and “Certified Angus Drumstick.”

“I’ll have a fungus burger with shredded Styrofoam and a side of those Thistle Poppers.”

“Does your horsemeat pudding come with splashguards? I’ll have some cold mutton gravy with hair in it.”

Three Choices


The death of superstition

by Lee Pitts

I've never been very superstitious. I've never used the services of a fortune teller, shaman or palm reader and I think the predictions offered up by a star gazer are as reliable as the defroster in my old 1964 Chevy pickup was. And Chinese food advice is as hollow as the inside of the fortune cookie it comes in.

I don't eat black-eyed peas on New Year's, or any other day for that matter, and other than having a fear of heights, I'd have no trouble staying on the 13th floor of a hotel, if they had them. I even wore jersey number 13 when my basketball coach in high school assigned it to me. I don't carry on my person a lucky penny, four leaf clover or rabbit's foot and black cats and ladders don't scare me.

Knock on wood, of course.

I don't know why these superstitions have been handed down from one generation to the next or why farmers and ranchers in the old days thought they were so important for their economic and physical well being. I can't for the life of me understand why otherwise smart people would plant their crop only when oak leaves were the size of a squirrel's ear, or that planting a cow's horn on your property would make your land any more fertile than a good load of cow manure would.

Fortunately, I don't believe that kid's today have a working knowledge of all this balderdash and they are much too smart anyway to believe in such witchcraft. We're all getting better at understanding that sometimes positive results are not the result of silly superstitions, but of simple science. Take, for example, the case of what I call “The Curse of the Dead Champions.”

Many years ago there was a bull sale in the west that many ranchers thought was jinxed. This was because the Ideal Range Bull, the bull determined to be the best of all the entrants, seemed to always die shortly after some rancher had paid a lot of money for him. Every year when I'd arrive at the sale to work ring a rancher friend who everyone called “Speedy” was eager tell me of the latest misfortune to befall last year's champion. According to Speedy, past champions had died of strange diseases, been run over by a train, shot by deer hunters, stolen by a drug ring and one was drug to death, if you can imagine that horror. Every year's death seemed to be more horrific than the last and word of the of the dead champion's jinx spread like wildfire.


I always heard it was bad luck to be superstitious.

Four Horsemen of the American Apocalypse


Song Of The Day #824

Today's Gospel tune on Ranch Radio is The Right Hand of Fellowship by Cordle, Jackson & Salley.

The song is on their 13 track CD Lonesome Cafe.