Saturday, June 23, 2012

The Westerner's Radio Theater #036

Ranch Radio brings you the Gene Autry Melody Ranch Show and an episode titled Clem Olson.



Friday, June 22, 2012

Fire Threat Up as Vintage Air Arsenal Shrinks

With a low roar, the 1954-vintage warplane barreled down the runway and heaved itself into the air, wobbling for a moment as its engines toiled to pull skyward. “They’re not exactly leaping off the runway,” said Paul Buxton-Carr, a Canadian pilot, as he watched the potbellied plane, designed to hunt submarines, climb toward its latest mission: dousing wildfires in the American West. As federal authorities confront the destructive start of what threatens to be one of the fiercest wildfire seasons in memory, they are relying on a fleet of ancient planes converted from other purposes to do the dangerous, often deadly, work of skimming the smoldering treetops to bomb fires with water and flame retardant. A decade ago, the government had 44 large tanker planes at its command. Now, with fires raging from California to Colorado to Wyoming, the regular fleet is down to nine. “The bottom line is the fires are getting bigger as the fleet gets smaller,” said Senator Ron Wyden, Democrat of Oregon and the chairman of the Senate’s forestry subcommittee. “That is a prescription for trouble.”...more

They can afford to build bridges over Interstate Hwys. for wildlife, but not adequately equip the firefighters.

New rules guide use of retardant on forest blazes

Add another concern for the tanker plane pilots who barnstorm low over treacherous terrain, in vintage aircraft, to bomb fire retardant around raging mountain wildfires: endangered species. New U.S. Forest Service rules for the use of fire retardant in dozens of national forests seek to prevent the millions of gallons of fire retardant spread over the landscape every year from poisoning streams and killing off protected plants and fish. Forest Service officials insist the new rules won’t hinder firefighting. The company that operates almost half of the U.S. private fleet of large tanker planes agrees, for the most part. “It is an increasing workload, there’s no doubt about that,” said Dan Snyder, president of Missoula-based Neptune Aviation Services, which operates eight Lockheed P2V planes. “It may reduce the speed at which they can affect the fire because they do need to take those few extra minutes to study the charts and plan on how they can put the retardant on the ground and still comply with the rules.” The U.S. Forest Service spent $19 million on 23 million gallons of retardant last year, which was unusually busy for wildfires. Documented cases of fish killed by fire retardant are relatively rare. But they’ve happened...more

Residents rebuild in the aftermath of the Little Bear Fire

Sifting through the ash and debris Wednesday of the two-story redwood home they built 30 years ago on a mountaintop between Ruidoso and Capitan, Linda Jameson found pieces of her mother's dishes. They were about all the Little Bear Fire left them. One of the 254 house or business owners in Lincoln County who lost their structures, she's angry that the lightning-strike blaze wasn't extinguished when it stood at a quarter of an acre. But she's thankful for the work of the firefighters and grateful that she and her husband, L.J., escaped unharmed, along with what they were able to pack and that they were insured. "We packed all day while we were watching the fire move closer," Linda said. "We packed photo albums, my mother's dolls, two items of my grandmother's, but a lot was left and can't ever be replaced. When your parents are gone, all that is left is their stuff." From the time a New Mexico state police officer arrived at their home, they had about 30 minutes to leave. "It sounded like a freight train," Linda said of the fire that roared through the property, melting steel beams and storage buildings. "It was snowing ash."...more

Song Of The Day #863

Ranch Radio continues the Cattle Records week with A Year Of City Living by Texas Jim Lewis.  Yes, sometimes you have to go to Germany to get good American country music.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Aid sought for state to combat 'rock snot'

Sen. Bob Casey has asked the Department of the Interior to aid state officials in combating an invasive alga that threatens the state's $1.6 billion sport fishing industry. Pennsylvania's Democratic senator on Monday sent a letter to Interior Secretary Ken Salazar calling on him to quickly assist state agencies' efforts to stop the spread of didymo, a cold water alga also commonly known as "rock snot," which was recently found in the Youghiogheny River in southwestern Pennsylvania and has spread through 100 miles of the Delaware River since its discovery there in 2007. Didymo is a brownish-yellow to cream-colored alga that thrives in cold, fast-moving, rocky rivers. It can carpet a river bottom in mats up to 8 inches thick and crowd out native plant and animal species in an aquatic food chain needed to support a thriving fishery...more

Not sure what Interior can do in Pa. I know, give them a guaranteed loan to turn the algae known as "rock snot" into a renewable energy source! Obama can campaign in Pa. on Triple S, Salazar's Snot Supply. Bet its green too.

U.S. Central Gulf Lease Sale Drew $1.7 Billion in Winning Bids

U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said Wednesday that the first lease sale in the central U.S. Gulf of Mexico since the Deepwater Horizon oil spill drew $1.7 billion in winning bids from energy companies. The central area of the Gulf is considered the most promising by the oil and gas industry, and has yielded a huge bounty of oil in the past two decades. It is also where in 2010, a well blow-out destroyed the Deepwater Horizon rig, killed 11 and unleashed the largest offshore spill in U.S. history. The high demand for drilling leases in the central region underscores both its potential and the eagerness of oil and gas companies to ramp up activities in the area after months of acrimonious exchanges with U.S. authorities over tough revisions of drilling regulations...more

Feds approve Utah gas-drilling project

Federal officials are giving approval to nearly 1,300 natural gas wells in eastern Utah despite protests from environmental groups. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar says the government is mandating a number of environmental safeguards for drilling by Englewood, Colo.-based Gasco Energy Inc. Salazar says no drilling will take place within five miles of the Green River's Desolation Canyon, one of the largest roadless areas in the Lower 48 states. Environmental groups wanted federal officials to shrink the project area more than it did in a last-minute compromise with the company. Gasco was authorized to use no more than 575 drilling pads for 1,298 wells, using directional drilling to reach out-of-the-way gas pockets deep underground. AP

Let' see, leases offered in the Gulf of Mexico, drilling approved in Utah...is this an election year?

Song Of The Day #862

More from Cattle Records on Ranch Radio and we bring you Slim Bryant & His Wildcats performing Bessie James.

Local groups applaud ‘standing’ ruling

The president of a local environmental watchdog group is “very pleased” with a U.S. Supreme Court ruling Monday in favor of a Michigan man challenging a decision by the Secretary of the Interior to take land into trust for an Indian tribe to build a casino. In an 8-1 decision, the Supreme Court said David Patchak has legal “standing” to challenge Interior Secretary Ken Salazar‘s acquisition for the Gun Lake Tribe, thus allowing his lawsuit to proceed. Patchak challenged the way the government took the land into trust for the tribe, saying that the move was illegal because the tribe had not been recognized by the government in 1934 when the Indian Reorganization Act was passed. In the Santa Ynez Valley, the decision in favor of the plaintiff will essentially allow residents and community groups to legally dispute attempts by the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians to expand their reservation. Hildy Medina, spokeswoman for the Chumash, said the tribe would have no comment on this week’s Supreme Court ruling. The Chumash have indicated their desire to add 1,400 acres, about 2 miles east of the casino, at Highways 246 and 154 to their 130-acre reservation either through the Bureau of Indian Affairs’ fee-to-trust process or by direct federal legislation. If made part of the reservation, the land would become exempt from local and state taxes and local planning and zoning laws...more

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

255 Illegals From Countries That ‘Promote, Produce, or Protect’ Terrorists Apprehended Along U.S.-Mexico Border

There were 255 illegal aliens from countries such as Pakistan and Iran that have been officially linked to terrorism by the U.S. government apprehended along the southwest border by Border Patrol in fiscal 2011, data from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) show. In fiscal 2011 (Oct. 1, 2010 thru Sept. 30, 2011), the Border Patrol -- under the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) component of the DHS -- arrested a total of 327,577 illegal aliens along the U.S.-Mexico border. Among those arrested, 46,997 were “Other than Mexican” (OTM), including the 255 who originated from what DHS referred to as “special interest countries,” the data showed. CNSNews.com obtained from Customs and Border Protection a country-by-country breakdown of the nations of origin for the 327,577 total apprehensions along the southwest border, including the 46,997 OTMs...more

Idaho Senators question proposed 600 square mile habitat for two caribou

On Tuesday, Sens. Mike Crapo (R-ID) and Jim Risch (R-ID) expressed concern to U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) Director Daniel Ashe over the size of the proposed critical habitat for caribou in north Idaho. While only two of the endangered animals were found in Idaho at the time they were listed, the FWS proposed designating 375,562 acres - about 600 square miles - of critical habitat for the Southern Selkirk Mountains population of woodland caribou. The proposed habitat includes land in Boundary and Bonner counties in Idaho and Pend Oreille County in Washington State. County commissioners and the public from those areas have expressed many concerns about the proposed habitat designation, questioning the size and the science behind it, as well as the estimated recreational and economic impact to the region...more

That's approximately one caribou/300 sections.  Must by mighty poor country up there.

How Obama Bureaucrats Fueled Western Wildfires

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- The smell of singed air here is inescapable. Less than 50 miles west of my neighborhood, the latest wildfire has spread across 1,100 acres. It's the fifth active blaze to erupt in our state over the past month. But ashes aren't the only things smoldering. The Obama administration's neglect of the federal government's aerial tanker fleet raises acrid questions about its core public safety priorities. Bipartisan complaints goaded the White House into signing a Band-Aid fix last week. But it smacks more of election-year gesture politics: Too little, too late, too fake. Ten years ago, the feds had a fleet of 44 firefighting planes. Today, the number is down to nine for the entire country. Last summer, Obama's National Forest Service canceled a key federal contract with Sacramento-based Aero Union just as last season's wildfires were raging. Aero Union had supplied eight vital air tankers to Washington's dwindling aerial firefighting fleet. Two weeks later, the company closed down, and 60 employees lost their jobs. Aero Union had been a leader in the business for a half-century. Why were they grounded? National Forest Service bureaucrats and some media accounts cite "safety" concerns. But as California GOP Rep. Dan Lungren noted in a letter obtained by reporter Audrey Hudson of the conservative D.C. newspaper Human Events last year, a Federal Aviation Administration representative said it was a contractual/compliance matter, not safety, that doomed Aero Union's fleet...more

Wildfire has Glenwood ‘sandbagging’ it: N.M. town preps for major flooding

These days, sandbagging has a very different meaning for the residents of Glenwood, N.M. People in the western New Mexico community are busy filling sandbags to protect their homes from flooding they fear may soon occur. The main sources of their concern are damage to the watershed of the San Francisco River, which flows through Glenwood, and the possible advent of seasonal heavy rainfall, or so-called monsoons. The Whitewater-Baldy fire, which is in the San Francisco’s watershed, has burned for more than a month in the Gila National Forest just 15 miles from Glenwood. As of June 18, the lighting-caused wildfire had burned nearly 300,000 acres, more than 463 square miles, and was 80 percent contained. It is the largest-ever wildfire in New Mexico history. How much soil damage the fire has caused, as in becoming too hard and unable to absorb rainfall, will be a critical factor. The sandbag project in Glenwood involves providing bags, sand or dirt, showing people how to correctly fill sandbags and how to place them to protect their homes. Residents are being encouraged to team up to fill sandbags...more

House spending panel unveils deep cuts to EPA

House Republican appropriators on Tuesday unveiled a 2013 spending bill with deep cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency. The bill cuts the EPA by $1.4 billion, about 17 percent, compared to current funding. The GOP points out that this brings the EPA below fiscal 1998 levels. Overall the newly revealed 2013 Interior and Environment bill has $28 billion in funding – a cut of $1.2 billion below 2012 levels. “The bill reins in funding and out-of-control regulation at the EPA, and reduces overall spending for the third year in a row,” said Rep. Mike Simpson (R-Idaho), the spending cardinal in charge of the bill. The GOP says the bill keeps the number of EPA personnel at 1992 levels and cuts the administrator’s office by 30 percent and the congressional affairs office by 50 percent. It also contains numerous riders that prevent environmental rules. They include riders to limit the reach of Clean Water Act regulations and block President Obama’s National Ocean Policy...more

Military May Be Using Drones In US To Help Police

As the Federal Aviation Administration helps usher in an age of drones for U.S. law enforcement agencies, the use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV’s) domestically by the U.S. military — and the sharing of collected data with police agencies — is raising its own concerns about possible violations of privacy and Constitutional law, according to drone critics. A non-classified U.S. Air Force intelligence report obtained by KNX 1070 NEWSRADIO dated April 23, 2012, is helping fuel concern that video and other data inadvertently captured by Air Force drones already flying through some U.S. airspace, might end up in the hands of federal or local law enforcement, doing an end-run around normal procedures requiring police to obtain court issued warrants. “We’ve seen in some records that were released by the Air Force just recently, that under their rules, they are allowed to fly drones in public areas and record information on domestic situations,” says Jennifer Lynch, an attorney with the San Francisco based Electronic Frontier Association, who is looking into various government surveillance techniques...more

NYC health panel talks about wider food ban


The board hand-picked by Mayor Michael Bloomberg that must approve his ban of selling large sugar-filled drinks at restaurants might be looking at other targets. The New York City Board of Health showed support for limiting sizes of sugary drinks at a Tuesday meeting in Queens. They agreed to start the process to formalize the large-drink ban by agreeing to start a six-week public comment period. At the meeting, some of the members of board said they should be considering other limits on high-calorie foods. One member, Bruce Vladeck, thinks limiting the sizes for movie theater popcorn should be considered. "The popcorn isn't a whole lot better than the soda," Vladeck said. Another board member thinks milk drinks should fall under the size limits. "There are certainly milkshakes and milk-coffee beverages that have monstrous amounts of calories," said board member Dr. Joel Forman...more

Those monkeys and their Pop Tarts are really gonna be in trouble.  Surely Mayor Bloomberg is concerned about the epidemic of obese monkeys.

Your meat on drugs: Will grocery stores cut out antibiotics?

Despite a high-profile lawsuit, a recent court order, and a much-hyped set of voluntary rules, it’s still not clear that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) plans to do anything of substance to stop meat producers from using antibiotics on a massive — and massively destructive — scale. It has been three decades since the FDA first identified the use of these drugs in livestock production as a problem. But they’re still mulling it over, apparently. Thinking long and hard. While they think, 80 percent of all the antibiotics sold in the U.S. are being used on animals to spur growth and compensate for crowded, dirty conditions. Antibiotic-resistant bacteria or “superbugs” continue to show up in food and cause infections in tens of thousands of people every year (99,000 people died of hospital-acquired infections in 2002, the most recent year for which data are available). It’s no coincidence then that Meat without Drugs, the campaign launched today by Consumers Union, doesn’t target the FDA or any government agency, for that matter. Instead, the advocacy group, which has been pushing for a ban on antibiotics in agriculture since the late 1970s, is targeting grocery stores. In a companion report released today called Meat On Drugs: The overuse of antibiotics in food animals and what supermarkets and consumers can do to stop it” [PDF], the Consumers Union looked at the cost, labeling, and availability of antibiotic-free meat in grocery stores and combined that data with a consumer survey...more

Stack of Farm Proposals Is Coming Up for Votes

The Senate began voting Tuesday on a slimmed-down list of amendments to a farm bill that would set the nation’s food and agriculture policy for the next five years. The number of proposed amendments had grown to about 300, covering a range of issues like crop insurance subsidies and aid to Pakistan. But late Monday, the Senate majority leader, Harry Reid, Democrat of Nevada, reached an agreement that narrowed the list to 73. “This is not a great agreement, but it’s a good agreement,” Mr. Reid said Monday night. Among the amendments approved on Tuesday was a proposal by Senator Maria Cantwell, Democrat of Washington, to add more peas, lentils and chickpeas to the federal school lunch program. The vote was 58 to 41. Another amendment, by Senator Chris Coons, Democrat of Delaware, would require the Agriculture Department to study an insurance program for poultry producers that would protect them from disease outbreaks or bankruptcies. It passed on a voice vote. The Senate voted down amendments by Senator Jeff Sessions, Republican of Alabama, that would have changed the eligibility requirements for recipients of food stamps and would have ended bonuses to states for increasing enrollments in the food stamp program...more

Song Of The Day #861


Ranch Radio will continue this week featuring selections from my Cattle Records collection.  Today's tune is Roll Out, Cowboy by Frank Luther & Zora Laymen.

Rio+20 is Greatest Threat to Biodiversity

The UN Conference on Sustainable Development is underway in Rio de Janeiro. This time, 20 years after the original 1992 Rio “Earth Summit,” thousands of politicians, bureaucrats and environmental activists are toning down references to “dangerous man-made climate change,” to avoid repeating the acrimony and failures that characterized its recent climate conferences in Copenhagen, Cancun and Durban. Instead, “Rio+20” is trying to shift attention to “biodiversity” and alleged threats to plant and animal species, as the new “greatest threat” facing Planet Earth. This rebranding is “by design,” according to conference organizers, who say sustainable development and biodiversity is an “easier sell” these days than climate change: a simpler path to advance the same radical goals. Those goals include expanded powers and budgets for the United Nations, UN Environment Programme, US Environmental Protection Agency and other government agencies, and their allied Green pressure groups; new taxes on international financial transactions (to ensure perpetual independent funding for the UN and UNEP); and more mandates and money for “clean, green, renewable” energy...more

Electric car battery company hits road bumps

The White House has bet billions of tax dollars on lithium ion batteries for electric vehicles. But has that money been well spent? Here's one company's story. This week, electric car battery maker A123 Systems announced a breakthrough: the next generation electric car battery -- better in extreme temperatures and cheaper. The company desperately needs the good news after two battery recalls, slow demand and layoffs. The road wasn't always so bumpy. When President Obama announced 90-billion stimulus tax dollars for green energy, A123 stepped up for a slice of the pie. It spent $1 million lobbying Congress and federal agencies, and won 249 million in stimulus dollars. CBS News spoke with CEO David Vieau last fall. "Approximately half the people here were unemployed, so we put people back to work," he said. But one month after that interview, A123 laid off 125 employees. Then the luxury electric car Fisker Karma failed. It was powered by a faulty A123 battery. "It's low, it's sleek, it's sensuous... it's also broken! " said Consumer Reports. A123 isn't giving up. It still has more than 100 million federal stimulus tax dollars left to spend...more

Here is the CBS video report:

Group concerned about NM bear management

No one knows exactly how many black bears are roaming the mountains that border New Mexico's most populous area, but conservationists on Tuesday accused state wildlife managers of targeting the area's bears for removal to bring an end to nuisance calls. The state Game and Fish Department adamantly denied the accusations, saying the number of bears in the Sandia Mountains that were removed or killed in 2010 and 2011 is far below what the group is alleging. Sandia Mountain BearWatch contends a review of logs kept by Game and Fish conservation officers showed 49 bears in the mountain range were trapped and either relocated or killed during the two-year period. In the last five years, the group said 69 bears have been killed or relocated. "This is very, very destructive to the overall population," said Jan Hayes, founder of the bear-conservation group. Hayes argued the agency's policies are based on inflated estimates of bear populations statewide, and said the Sandia Mountains need a healthy population to maintain an ecological balance...more

History: Boom to bust — Organ once a thriving mining town

The Modoc Mine
Van Elliott and his brother Robert were finishing a long day's work in their Organ Mountain mine when a friend rode up carrying a message. The Elliotts were soon headed back full steam toward their home in Organ. While they were gone, Sam Hester, one of several men who delivered water by mule to the waterless town, had entered the back door of his home and, as reported in May 1883 by the Rio Grande Republican, "made an indecent proposal" to his wife, who was there alone. The paper said Hester was "repulsed with scorn and indignation and slapped in the face." Mrs. Elliott raced across the street to N.J. Kennedy's store. Hester fired a shot as a warning for her to "keep quiet." The next day, Hester came to town with a friend, both fully armed. According to Elliott, he approached Hester to demand he apologize to his wife, but Hester raised his pistol and fired, narrowly missing. Elliott and his brother fired back, with Van twice hitting Hester, who died later that evening. The brothers were arrested and Van was charged. Witnesses said Elliott acted in self-defense, though Hester told a deputy Elliott had shot him as he delivered water. It wouldn't be the last shooting or violent episode in the little mining town, though most were perhaps less chivalrous and more alcohol-induced. Organ had its wild period, with seven saloons and prostitutes operating in "cribs" set up behind the Blue Adobe Saloon...more

Professor fired after expressing climate change skepticism

Oregon State University chemistry professor Nicholas Drapela was fired without warning three weeks ago and has still been given no reason for the university’s decision to “not renew his contract.” Drapela, an outspoken critic of man-made climate change, worked at the university for 10 years. In the early years of his career, he published a number of textbooks, received a promotion to senior instructor and, in 2004, received a Loyd F. Carter award for outstanding and inspirational teacher. In 2007, Drapela began giving talks on his own climate change skepticism. He often and openly questioned the science behind man-made global warming. Drapela told the Daily Caller he was “blindsided” when the department chair called Drapela into his office to fire him on May 29. “He read a prepared statement and took my key,” Drapela said, adding that he was given no reason in this meeting as to why he was being let go. The timing of the termination was odd because Oregon State University was still in session, with finals approaching...more

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Watching the House debate the Federal Lands & Water Projects bill on C-Span...so not posting.

Photography exhibit captures ‘100 Years/100 Ranchers’

Over the last 10 years, photographer Scott Baxter has driven tens of thousands of miles throughout Arizona taking more than 15,000 images in the making of “100 Years/100 Ranchers” exhibition in time for Arizona’s Centennial. Baxter photographed 100 ranchers throughout Arizona who have been ranching the same land since 1912 or earlier. By doing so, Baxter has preserved Arizona’s ranching legacy by leaving a lasting record in print and paying homage to the families that have persevered since or before Arizona’s statehood. Designated as an official Arizona Centennial Legacy Project, “100 Years/100 Ranchers” shines a spotlight on a vital part of Arizona’s heritage as well as a source of the state’s identity. Baxter’s subjects are synonymous with the independent spirit of Arizona...more

Song Of The Day #860

On Ranch Radio today is Smiley Burnette telling us all about Lawyer Skinner.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Cowboy Monkey Rodeo sparks concerns

The Cowboy Monkey Rodeo will ride into Harry Grove Stadium on Friday amid protests and concerns about the act. Animal rights groups claim the event, which involves monkeys riding dogs to herd cattle, is dangerous and demeaning to the primates. "The monkeys are not designed to be in a traveling show. They're designed to be in the forest," said Kelly Myers, a Frederick resident who is planning a protest outside the stadium before the game. But Frederick Keys General Manager Dave Ziedelis said he has checked carefully with other venues and believes the act is safe and tasteful. "We always listen and respond to the community and do our due diligence," he said. "We obviously have not only spoken to the act but to other professional sports teams that have hosted them." Tim Lepard, owner of the Cowboy Monkey Rodeo, says the event is safe and the animals are treated well. But the most serious concern for many activists is that the monkeys are tied to the dogs and forced to participate in the act. Lepard said that's absolutely false. He's heard the complaint so often that he makes a point to pick up a monkey off a dog every show so the public can see that they're not forced to ride. He also heavily pads each dog and puts the more experienced monkeys with the faster dogs. "I don't want the monkey to be afraid," he said. "I put myself in their place." Lepard said the monkeys perform in exchange for Pop-Tarts. "There's something about them Pop-Tarts that the monkeys always like," he said...more

Demeaning to a monkey?

Better stay away from NY City or Mayor Bloomberg will ban Pop Tarts.

Call for Quotes – Lincoln NF “Little Bear” Fire


Call for Quotes – Lincoln NF “Little Bear” Fire

In my column for the New Mexico Stockman I don’t want to just write about the fire.  I think it would be more powerful to have a series of quotes from people affected by the fire.

I’m requesting quotes from county commissioners and other locally elected officials, ranchers, hunters, business owners, home owners, etc.

Quotes can be from one sentence to a couple of paragraphs.  Suggested topics could be the impact on you, your family or business; what role did wilderness play in the fire; how decades of mismanagement contributed to the fire; the management of the fire and or whatever is important to you.

Your quote “”should be followed by your name and profession or title.

If you are concerned about retaliation from the Forest Service or others I can list you as Anonymous.

Please send your quote to flankcinch@hotmail.com  If you have any questions email me.

Note:  MY DEADLINE IS WEDNESDAY, JUNE 20 AT NOON.

Please share this post.  Quotes not used for The Stockman will appear at my blog, The Westerner:  www.thewesterner.blogspot.com  and will be picked up by the NM Congressional Delegation and other decision makers.  Let the Feds here from you!



Call for Quotes – Gila Fire


Call for Quotes – Gila Fire

In my column for the New Mexico Stockman I don’t want to just write about the fire.  I think it would be more powerful to have a series of quotes from people affected by the fire.

I’m requesting quotes from county commissioners and other locally elected officials, ranchers, hunters, business owners, home owners, etc.

Quotes can be from one sentence to a couple of paragraphs.  Suggested topics could be the impact on you, your family or business; what role did wilderness play in the fire; how decades of mismanagement contributed to the fire; the management of the fire and or whatever is important to you.

Your quote “”should be followed by your name and profession or title.

If you are concerned about retaliation from the Forest Service or others I can list you as Anonymous.

Please send your quote to mscowboy@gmail.com   If you have any questions email me.

Note:  MY DEADLINE IS WEDNESDAY, JUNE 20 AT NOON.

Please share this post.  Quotes not used for The Stockman will appear at my blog, The Westerner:  www.thewesterner.blogspot.com  and will be picked up by the NM Congressional Delegation and other decision makers.  Let the Feds here from you!

Rio +20 Earth Summit: 436 Visions of Sustainability, At Least

How many definitions are there to the concept of sustainable development? At least 436, according to the panel on assessing sustainability at the Rio +20 Corporate Sustainability Forum. The figure for 436 different definitions and visions of sustainable development comes from the private volU.N.tary social and environmental product labeling schemes identified by the Committee on Sustainability Assessment (COSA) have identified. That number includes labels like Fairtrade, Rainforest Alliance, UTZ, and Marine Stewardship CoU.N.cil and so forth. Other panelists would later ratchet that number to more than 800 just in Europe alone. The head of COSA is Daniele Giovannucci who declared at a panel discussion devoted to Making Sustainability Standards Work for those Most in Need that the goal of COSA is to set up a consistent set of standards and indicators that can be used to assess the impact of the labels – are they actually accomplishing what they claim to be doing? Even if a person thinks that some of the goals of the certifying groups are silly, checking up on them is a laudable enterprise. His organization aims to gather evidence for effectiveness using 135 different indicators of economic, social, and environmental effects. The group has sought the advice of hU.N.dreds of groups ranging from major food companies to radical leftwing NGOs. Giovannucci declared, “If we are going to drive sustainability, we can’t drive it from a charitable or donor perspective; it must be driven through markets.”...

Big business is right there with them, calling for more gov't regulation.

...The corporate participants in that panel were intent on seeking government mandates as way to boost their profits. For example, Gabriela Werner who was representing the appliance manufacturer Embraco noted that her company currently makes a refrigerator that turns on its compressor only when cooling is needed, making it 40 percent more efficient than earlier models. However, she said her company was quite frustrated by the fact that government energy efficiency standards vary quite a bit aroU.N.d the globe, making it hard for this improved refrigerator to compete with cheaper, less efficient competitors. This lack of government regulation and standard setting was big theme in the discussion that followed. “Government policies and legislation are the main drivers to how fast we introduce new products,” explained Werner. Another panelist, Stephen Harper from Intel, was asked what it would take to drive radical innovation inside of companies. Harper declared that there is already a tremendous amoU.N.t of innovation available. He then added that companies will only invest in more energy efficiency innovation for two reasons: They have to get a regulatory signal, such as carbon tax. Or they must get a price signal. Neil Hawkins from Dow Chemical argued that governments need to set minimum building code energy efficiency standards. “It’s hard for private companies to invest without minimum energy efficiency standards,” he said...

New Mexico wildfire threatens Smokey the Bear's home

One of the serious forest fires in New Mexico is in the area where the legendary Smokey the Bear was found as a cub. The "Little Bear" fire is burning in the Smokey the Bear Ranger District, White Mountain Wilderness and Lincoln National Forest in southern New Mexico near Ruidoso. The forest is where the scared bear cub was rescued in 1950. He went on to become the symbol of the U.S. Forest Service, with an animated version growling, "Only YOU can prevent forest fires!" in public service announcements.The good news is that so far, fire has not threatened Smokey's grave, which is in nearby Capitan, N.M. As of late Sunday, the Smokey Bear Motel and Restaurant there was open for business. A restaurant staffer said Capitan was not affected by the fire. And late Sunday also brought encouraging reports that the Little Bear fire was 60% contained...more

Climate activists target Bieber Twitter record in push to end oil subsidies

Environmentalists pushing U.S. officials and other nations to end subsidies for fossil fuel industries are hunting big game: Teen pop star Justin Bieber. The climate advocacy group 350.org and other activists are launching a 24-hour “Twitterstorm” Monday to get as many messages over the social media site as possible using the hashtag #endfossilfuelsubsidies. Their goal is to break the record for the most identical social media messages sent over a 24 hour period. According to fan sites and other reports, it currently belongs to Bieber fans who jointly tallied 322,224 of the same messages for Bieber on his 18th birthday in early March. The effort is timed to coincide with the launch of the G20 meeting in Mexico on Monday, and activists are also highlighting the issue at the upcoming United Nations sustainable development conference, dubbed Rio+20, in Brazil that starts June 20...more

Blueribbon Coalition Criticizes U.S. Forest Service Proposed Rule

The BlueRibbon Coalition (BRC) today strongly criticized a U.S. Forest Service proposal to exempt major ground disturbing activities from environmental analysis and public comment. The U.S. Forest Service (USFS) today began accepting public comment on a proposed change in regulations that would allow certain activities, including road obliteration, to be exempt from any public comment or analysis under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). The proposed rule would allow the agency to bypass normal environmental review for projects that remove, replace or modify water control structures and remove debris and sediment after natural or human-caused events including floods, hurricanes and tornadoes. The rule would also exempt road decommissioning efforts such, as stabilizing slopes, restoring vegetation, blocking the entrance to the road, installing waterbars and removing culverts. However, the proposal would also exempt major ground disturbing activities such as completely eliminating the road bed by restoring natural contours and slopes. “Some of the agency’s recommendations make sense, but as usual, they go too far,” said Brian Hawthorne, Public Lands Policy Director for BRC. Hawthorne said, “If 40 years of NEPA has taught us anything it is that noble intentions don’t justify half-baked analysis. A bulldozer moving dirt is a bulldozer moving dirt. Environmental impacts don’t magically disappear because the source of sediment is called a restoration project.” “This borderlines on willful mismanagement,” said Greg Mumm, BRC’s Executive Director. “The Forest Service is sitting on 20 to 40 million acres of beetle-killed fire hazard and the fuse is lit. Their priorities are out of whack.” Mumm said. As an example, Mumm said that just in Colorado some 6.6 million acres are affected by the mountain bark beetle epidemic. The agency estimates that, over the next 10 years, an average of 100,000 trees will fall daily. Visitors to USFS lands are affected not only by the visual impacts, falling trees pose serious risk to human life and the infrastructure our rural communities rely on. Dead trees across the state have created heavy fuel loading which can result in intense, so-called “fatal wildfires.” Beetle-killed trees now threaten thousands of miles of roads, trails and developed recreation sites. Mumm said; “Exempting culvert removal is all well and good, but the agency crosses a line when, at the same time, they increase analysis on such things as maintaining safe power transmission corridors.” Hawthorne also expressed frustration with the proposed changes. He noted that the USFS is saying the majority of issues associated with road and trail decommissioning arise from the initial decision whether to close a road or trail via the travel planning process. “That’s not our experience,” Hawthorne said...more

Court: Catholic Group Can 'Intervene' In Montana Dispute Over Jesus Statue On Public Land

According to a Montana federal judge, a Catholic benefits organization has the right to intervene in an attempt to keep a statue of Jesus Christ on Forest Service land on Big Mountain. U.S. District Judge Dana Christensen in Missoula, Montana, ruled that the Knights of Columbus group "has a protectable interest in the lawsuit since it holds a special use permit for the statue," as reported by the Courthouse News Service.
"Should the plaintiff obtain the relief it seeks, the resulting removal of the statute from federal land would constitute a serious impairment of the ability of the Knights of Columbus to protect their interest in the special use permit," Christensen wrote. "This matter has not been set for trial and no pretrial schedule is yet in place; thus, the application to intervene is timely."
The statue has remained at this 25-by-25 plot of land since 1954, and been renewed without question every 10 years. However, earlier this year Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF), a national organization of agnostics and atheists, sued the U.S. government for the placement of this statue at a memorial commemorating the U.S. Army's 10th Mountain Division...more

Rand Paul Tries To Shoot Down Drone Surveillance

The junior senator from Kentucky seeks to protect the Fourth Amendment from the advance of technology and require that all forms of surveillance by law enforcement require a warrant from a judge.

Does the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures include aerial surveillance of your house and property? Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., thinks so.

He introduced the Preserving Freedom from Unwarranted Surveillance Act, which would require the government to get a warrant before using aerial drones to surveil U.S. citizens.

"Like other tools used to collect information in law enforcement, in order to use drones a warrant needs to be issued," Paul said Tuesday. "Americans going about their everyday lives should not be treated like criminals or terrorists and have their rights infringed upon by military tactics."

We live in an age awash with cameras in stores, banks, parking lots, and most public places. Many cities have red light cameras at intersections to catch scofflaws and cameras on neighborhood corners to monitor gangs and other bad guys lurking in high-crime neighborhoods. Police cars are constantly on patrol.

The operative word here is public and in these situations the expectation of privacy does not apply. Certainly as we fight an ongoing war on terror we tolerate, despite the excesses, an invasion of our privacy in the form of body scans, luggage searches and the like.

We accept these actions because they aid law enforcement in its legitimate duty and help protect us from the dangerous and the criminal.

The argument is that if you have nothing to hide you have nothing to fear. Yet we know the store is looking for shoplifters, the camera on that pole is looking for people running red lights or gangbangers selling drugs. We can see the police car driving down the street. We can't see the drone over our house as we barbecue with friends and family.

To tap our phones or search our premises, law enforcement must go before a judge and demonstrate that there is probable cause that a crime is being or has been committed. How are these things different from a drone flying over our homes taking pictures of our homes and equipped perhaps with infrared and radar that can "see" through the walls of our homes?

Sen. Paul says his bill allows exceptions "such as the patrol of our national borders, when immediate action is needed to prevent 'imminent danger to life,' and when we are under a high risk of a terrorist attack."

IBD Editorial

63rd Rodeo de Santa Fe June 20-23

The 63rd Annual Rodeo de Santa Fe is set for June 20-23th, 2012. The Annual Rodeo de Santa Fe is sanctioned by the PRCA (Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association). Because this is a PRCA sanctioned rodeo and the fact this is a popular small town rodeo, some of the top names from the world of Professional Rodeo are scheduled to compete in the 2012 Rodeo De Santa Fe including World Champion cowboys Taos Muncy, Trevor Brazile and JW Harris. This event is a SantaFe.com featured event on the company’s event calendar. The Rodeo began in 1949 when Roy Butler, Austin “slim” Green, Gene Petchesky, Paul Ragle, Paul Rutledge and few others had a dream and determination to organize a PRO rodeo in Santa Fe. This dream exceeded their expectations and became what is today, one of the top 60 Pro rodeos in the nation. In 2010 the Rodeo De Santa Fe had 540 contestants...more

Song Of The Day #859

It's Swingin' Monday on Ranch Radio. There's plenty of cajun cowboys out there, so here's a ripped up version of The Crawdad Song by Cajun Bayou. See if this won't get your toes tappin' this morning.

LA Times - Mexico violence escalates as elections approach

With presidential and local elections slightly more than two weeks away, violence — some of it political, some of it part of a raging drug war — is surging in Mexico, with candidates killed, journalists snatched and major arrests threatening to touch off a wave of reprisals. And in a sign of the profound corruption that a new president will face, a video released this week shows police officers marching men from a hotel in the middle of the night. The men turned up dead the next day, and the police are suspected of acting on orders from drug gangs. In the coastal state of Veracruz, the body of reporter Victor Baez was discovered early Thursday in the main plaza of the state capital, Xalapa, hours after gunmen intercepted him as he left his newsroom. Baez is the eighth journalist killed in Veracruz in the last year, and one of dozens killed or kidnapped across Mexico since the government of President Felipe Calderon launched a military-led offensive against powerful drug cartels. Many of the reporters killed, like Baez, covered the crime beat. Journalists in Veracruz have said they think they are being targeted before the July 1 vote because the long-dominant Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, fears electoral losses in the region and doesn't want coverage of campaign shenanigans. Residents in vote-rich Veracruz will choose, in addition to the president, members of the federal Congress and scores of local officials. The scandal is also threatening to engulf prominent Mexican businessmen, some of them with ties to the PRI, whose standard-bearer appears poised to reach the presidency, according to nearly all polls. That candidate, Enrique Peña Nieto, has disavowed the violence that is creeping into the election campaign...more