Saturday, July 14, 2012

Friday, July 13, 2012

A Bison So Rare It’s Sacred

If one were asked to pick a typical home where the buffalo roam, the answer probably would not be Litchfield County amid the rolling hills and understated rural chic of Northwest Connecticut. But when Bison No. 7 on Peter Fay’s farm gave birth to a white, 30-pound bull calf a month ago, it made the Fay farm below Mohawk Mountain, for the moment at least, the unlikely epicenter of the bison universe. For Mr. Fay, what happened was an astoundingly unexpected oddity — white bison are so rare that each birth is viewed as akin to a historic event. For Marian White Mouse of Wanblee, S.D., and other American Indians, it is a supremely auspicious message from the spirits. She will fly with her family to Connecticut for naming ceremonies at the end of the month that are expected to draw large crowds. And for those to whom the bison is an iconic part of the American experience, the birth is, at the least, a remarkable coincidence, coming at a time that wildlife, tribal and producer groups are lobbying Congress to have the bison officially designated as the national mammal and a national symbol alongside the bald eagle. Mrs. White Mouse, a member of the Oglala Lakota people, said a white bison was believed to be a manifestation of the White Buffalo Calf Maiden, or Ptesan Wi. She is revered as a prophet, who in a time of famine taught the Lakotas seven sacred rituals and gave them their most important symbol of worship, the sacred pipe. “They are very rare, and when a white bison is born there is a reason for each one to be here,” Mrs. White Mouse said...more

Lawsuit seeks Grand Staircase grazing plan

An Idaho-based conservation group is suing the U.S. Bureau of Land Management to force creation of a grazing plan to improve rangeland conditions at Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. The agency promised a plan for 88 grazing allotments — currently permitted for 11,000 cow-calf pairs — shortly after President Bill Clinton created the 1.9 million-acre southern Utah monument in 1996. Range surveys after that showed 21 allotments failed to meet BLM standards and needed improved grazing practices, but agency officials this year said the process never fully unfolded because it was so controversial with ranchers and area officials. "We should expect better than this out of the BLM [everywhere], let alone where we’re dealing with a national monument," said Jonathan Ratner, a Wyoming-based representative for Western Watersheds Project. Now Western Watersheds and an ecologist formerly employed by the group are suing to demand a plan to improve the range on those 21 allotments along with a proposal to maintain the rest. The lawsuit, filed July 6 in the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., seeks timing restrictions and rotating rest periods on grazing in the affected grazing leases...more

Forest Service rules a burden for hunters

Not all the infernos are raging in the nation's forests. A huge conflagration has erupted over the public's ability to use the national forests, especially people who want to drive a wheeled vehicle off designated roads. Things are changing on the forest edge. On instructions from Washington, D.C., the U.S. Forest Service has reviewed access policies in each forest region and, as a result, serious cutbacks are under way. Motorized vehicles, including camper trailers and motor homes, must park no further than 30 feet from a designated roadway. The access issue gets dicier for hunters. The new rules will allow elk hunters who make a kill to drive a motorized vehicle no more than 1 mile into the forest, but only once. And if your 900-pound elk happens to have fallen 2 miles from a designated road? You and your friends had better have broad shoulders. Or, perhaps, you should consider borrowing someone's mule. It gets more problematic for deer hunters, who must find non-motorized means of retrieving their quarry regardless where the animal is taken...more

House Agriculture Committee OKs Farm Bill With Ban on Permits for Pesticide Spraying

The House Agriculture Committee adopted a farm bill July 12 that would provide $57 billion for conservation programs over the next 10 years and prohibit the Environmental Protection Agency from requiring Clean Water Act discharge permits for pesticide spraying on or near water bodies. In addition to the pesticide spraying language, the legislation includes environmental provisions on pesticide registration, biotechnology in crop production, pine beetle infestations in the West, research on bed bugs, and procedures for forestry projects under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). The pesticide-spraying language, taken from a bill (H.R. 872) that passed by the House in March 2011, would bar the agency from requiring National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permits for pesticides that already are registered for use, sale, and distribution under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act. In another environmental provision, Rep. Glenn Thompson (R-Pa.) successfully offered an amendment that would exempt the U.S. Forest Service from providing public comment and environmental appeals of day-to-day “routine” activities in national forests. Under NEPA, routine activities that do not have an environmental impact can be grouped as categorical exclusions and are exempt from detailed environmental impact analyses. However, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California ruled in March that the Forest Service is required to provide a public comment and an environmental appeals process for what Thompson said was “something as minor as repairing a power line.” “Under this ruling, this decision will add at least 30 days, and up to 145 days, for all these noncontroversial, everyday activities,” Thompson said. Thompson said there are 600 routine projects that are tied up at the Forest Service because of this requirement...more

Ranchers lose grazing land to fire

Ranchers and farmers recently affected by fires in the Southeastern Montana Complex met with agency officials Thursday night, to learn their options. Hundreds showed up to the St. Labre Mission School auditorium, for the meeting organized by Congressman Denny Rehberg. A lot of the conversations involved ranchers who have lost grazing land in the fire. Custer National Forest officials say 58 ranchers use forest land in the district, and 37 have been affected by the fires. As for grazing, the US Forest Service says 151 miles of fence need repairing on forest land, and 256 miles of fence has been damaged on land separating forest from private land. The 58 ranchers have 17,000 head of cattle, 9,000 in the burned areas. Fire destroyed enough of the grass, that cattle will not be allowed to graze on forest land this year. "The livestock that are out there now in the black won't be allowed to go for almost two growing seasons," said Scott Studiner, supervisor/range specialist for the US Forest Service...more

Song Of The Day #878

Ranch Radio brings you a tune from an album I bought as a junior in high school. The tune is I Don't Hurt Anymore by Tennessee Ernie Ford from his 1964 album Country Hits...Feelin' Blue.

Hey Mom, do you remember?

Win, Place or Cheat... video

For some time, New Mexico horse racing officials suspected that racehorses in the state were being doped with a new clandestine drug called “frog juice.” The problem was state tests couldn’t detect the exotic drug, which is a potent narcotic called dermorphin said to be more powerful than morphine. Some believe the drug can make a horse run faster. “The drugs that we are talking about here are the worst case,” said Rob Doughty, chairman of the New Mexico Racing Commission. “They are Class A drugs that have no reason to be in a horse. And it’s very serious.” Rumors about dermorphin use became so pronounced that racing officials worried about tarnishing the Ruidoso Futurity, held in June, and the Ruidoso Derby, held in July. Together the two races promised purses of a combined $1.7 million. “When I first heard about it, I was extremely upset,” said R.D. Hubbard, who owns Ruidoso Downs. “I’ve been upset for some time just on the rumors.” So the racing commission laid a trap for the crooks who they suspected of rigging races. The Racing Commission secretly sent urine samples from the time trials held May 25-26 to an out-of-state laboratory with a newly developed test for dermorphin. Two weeks later, the commission had its results: 40 percent of the horses finishing ‘in the money’ in the 25 time trial races on May 25 were illegally drugged...more

Here's the KRQE news report:

Win, Place or Cheat...:

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Another judge stops another timber sale

A federal judge filed a lengthy opinion Wednesday explaining his decision last month to block the Colt-Summit timber sale, ruling that the U.S. Forest Service’s analysis of the project’s cumulative effects on lynx – as required by the National Environmental Policy Act – was not sufficient. The Forest Service will now have to conduct that analysis before the plan can move forward. The proposed timber sale is located in the Seeley-Swan Valley off of Montana Highway 83. The 46-page opinion by U.S. District Judge Donald Molloy comes on the heels of a June 20 order granting summary judgment on one issue raised by a host of conservation groups that sued the Forest Service in an effort to halt the Colt-Summit project: That the Forest Service “violated NEPA by failing to adequately analyze the project’s cumulative impacts on lynx.” The plaintiffs are Alliance for the Wild Rockies, Friends of the Wild Swan, Native Ecosystems Council and Montana Ecosystems Defense Council. Although Molloy ruled that Colt-Summit complied with lynx critical habitat standards, inland native fish strategy standards and Endangered Species Act protections for lynx, bull trout and grizzly bears, he said it needed more work on the NEPA evaluation...more

You can read the decision here.

Feds list ways to save the Rio Grande

Rethinking water supply and demand along one of the West's most important river systems is among the recommendations being considered by Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and other officials in a report released Wednesday on conservation efforts along the Middle Rio Grande. Salazar stopped in Albuquerque to host a town-hall meeting with state, federal and community leaders to discuss the 180-mile stretch of the river that cuts through central New Mexico. Salazar appointed an eight-member committee in January to work with the Bureau of Reclamation and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to develop a plan for the river that incorporates water management, endangered species concerns and educational and recreational opportunities. Some of the committee's recommendations call for more aggressive water conservation, a system for building a strategic water reserve and development of more upstream storage under the state's water delivery compact with Texas. The committee also suggested developing the Rio Grande Trail, which would extend through as much of the wooded area along the river as possible. Granting access would require approval from various federal, regional and tribal officials...more

It's the other way around:  The river needs to be saved from the feds.

Now what are these "officials" really after.  The article says:

In the report, the committee likened the effort to campaigns that have been aimed at preserving other iconic American landscapes, such as the Florida Everglades.

That means they are after one thing:  M-O-N-E-Y

Interior pledges $1.7 million to purchase Price’s Dairy

U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar has pledged $1.7 million from the Land and Water Conservation Fund to begin the first phase to purchase Price’s Dairy. The formerly operational dairy is a few miles south of Albuquerque and is part of a proposed 570-acre national wildlife refuge. The site would serve as an “urban oasis for both wildlife and people,” a news release said. The former dairy land contains one of the largest remaining farms in the Middle Rio Grande Valley and is one of the largest agricultural properties within the Albuquerque metro region. “With the support of Bernalillo County, the Trust for Public Land, New Mexico’s Congressional delegation, and many partners, New Mexico will gain its first urban national wildlife refuge,” Salazar said. “Once complete, this refuge, which is within a half hour drive of nearly half of New Mexico’s population, will be a place for people to connect with and learn about the natural world and will provide valuable habitat for wildlife.”...more

Hope they continue to focus on "urban oasis" projects, because right now their "rural oasis" is on fire all across the West.

A Rancher, A Logger, And Economic Fate In Rural Idaho

Rancher Chris Black and his son, Justin, manage a thousand head of cattle on 135,000 acres in the foothills of southwest Idaho’s Owyhee Mountains. They spend most of their time miles apart – miles from anyone, in fact – working cattle. But this day is a little different. They’re walking to the corral not far from the small solar and propane-fueled house where Chris Black lives on and off from April through November. “Are you going to catch a horse?” Chris Black asks his son. “I’ll ride Happy,” he says. They’re saddling up so they can move a group of cattle, grazing a few miles away. Chris Black was up before daylight, and now the sun is blazing overhead. Ranching is hard work and not for everyone. He admits that. But lately, business has been good. “We’ve fared well in the last two to three years,” he says. “We’ve fared quite well.” Cattle prices are up. That means he can breathe easy for now, and put money back into his operation. Farming and ranching are known for their hard luck and slim profit margins, but for the last few years high commodity prices have buoyed the farm economy. For the most part, the Idaho counties associated with agriculture have seen their unemployment rates remain low throughout the recession. Take Owyhee County, where Chris Black’s family has ranched for generations. Here, unemployment has seldom crept above six percent since the downturn began. Four hours north, in Adams County, the story is different. The appliance store in Council broadcasts a steady stream of old country hits onto the main street. A 1960s Buck Owens classic blares as trucks pass by. But the town’s reality is less cheerful than its soundtrack. In this county, unemployment has soared from pre-recession lows of three and four percent to more than 19 percent last fall. That’s one reason I reached out to Mark Mahon, a fourth generation logger, born and raised in Council...more

Bonito Lake 'ruined': Flooding dumps ash, silt into water source

Once a fishing and camping retreat among cool Ponderosa pines, Bonito Lake today is filled with silt and ash from the Little Bear Fire and is no longer viable as a drinking water source for the city of Alamogordo. The odor of charred trees and rotting fish permeates the air. "The lake is ruined," Justin King said. "It will take several years of major dredging to correct this. It's holding more than 40 feet of silt." Crews working around the lake are focusing on keeping the level below the spillway to prevent more damage downstream, he said Tuesday during a multiple agency morning briefing. "We have three pumps working the lake now, moving 10,000 gallons per minute, but we're unable to keep up with the inflow," King said. Two more pumps will be installed by Wednesday to increase the pumpage to 20,000 gpm, he said. Pipelines removing the water, silt and ash are being run down the spillway and along the roadsides. While the fire that approached the lake stayed mostly on the ground, reaching only one area of the canopy, it devastated the drainages and canyons leading into the lake. People who have no business on Bonito Lake Road or in the recreation areas run by the city at West Lake or the U.S. Forest Service at South Fork should stay out. Heavy equipment is operating, many workers will be on foot and the road is down to one lane. "Drivers should have their headlights on and not exceed 15 mph," Scott said...more

Another example of the enviros and the courts controlling federal land management.

Dems target Fischer over grazing fees

Nebraska Democrats are rolling out a new campaign ad calling Republican Senate candidate Deb Fischer a “welfare rancher.” The ad goes after Fischer for what was, until recently, a relatively obscure point. Fischer leases public land for her ranch in Cherry County, and like other ranchers who lease federal land, pays far lower rates than market value. “Fischer’s a millionaire rancher collecting special subsidies from the federal government,” narrates a looming voice. The ad was released statewide by the Nebraska Democratic Party this week. Vince Powers, chair-elect of the Nebraska Democratic Party, says the amount of money Fischer has saved by leasing federal land at reduced rates adds up to approximately $125,000 each year. “It would be as if you were renting a warehouse for your business and your competitors only had to pay $5,000 a month and you only had to pay $500 a month,” Powers said. “It’s just a subsidy.” Fischer’s campaign released a statement Tuesday afternoon, responding to the Democrats’ ad, saying they have launched a “false and misleading smear campaign.” Fischer’s lease is “not a subsidy, and it’s certainly not welfare,” the statement read, adding “Ranchers are required to pay for additional maintenance costs and abide by strict federal regulations in exchange for leasing the land.”...more

Dems, criticizing someone for receiving a subsidy?  Amazing.  Guess it would have been ok if she had received a bailout or a stimulus grant.

Montana rancher assesses livestock devastation caused by wildfire

Crews continue to fight wildfires in southeastern Montana, and even though containment is nearing 100 percent, ranchers are just beginning to assess the effects. Cecil Kolka, 80, has lived at his ranch near Ashland since 1935. He's witnessed crippling fires, but none as devastating as the Ash Creek Fire, which scorched more than 200,000 acres. Kolka owns more than 800 head of cattle and half have been taken by the fire, he estimated. Scattered deep in the pastures lay dead cattle, some piled on top of other another not able to escape. For those cattle that remained on the ridges of the fire, some have become so badly burned, they aren't expect to survive. Another issue facing owners is the lack of adequate food and water for remaining cattle. More than 8,500 cattle are considered to be affected...more

Ranch Rodeo/Dutch Oven Cook-Off To Benefit Wounded Warrior Fund

Drought conditions could lead to higher grocery prices - video

Drought conditions could be leading to more expensive trips to the grocery store. Inside the auction house at the Saint Joseph Stockyards, cattlemen are already past nervous. After an encouraging start to their season, that optimism has taken a 180. "We've had the highest cattle prices we've ever had in history," said Merrill Karr, livestock commissioner with St. Joseph Stockyards. "The cattle numbers are down and the demand was good. Then the drought hit and it's changed things all around." Hay fields, cut once so far this season, may not grow back. "I am very, very short on grass and feeding hay already," said cattle rancher Dan Hensley. If Hensley runs out, it'll get costly to feed his 200 head of cattle at his Clinton County operation. With corn prices high, up 28 percent over the last month at seven dollars a bushel, it's reaching a point where raising his herd is just too expensive. He may soon have to sell. "If you give $1,500 for a pair and you gotta sell them for $1,000 now, it really hurts $500 a pair," said Hensley. Ranchers are starting to take that loss. Bad news for them and your grocery bill...more

Here's the KGET news report:

New Mexicans weren't alone in the New World

Stone spearheads and human DNA found in Oregon caves, anthropologists say, have produced firmer evidence that these are the oldest directly dated remains of people in North America. They also show that at least two cultures with distinct technologies — not a single one, as had been supposed — shared the continent more than 13,000 years ago. In other words, the Clovis people, long known for their graceful fluted projectile points, were not alone in the New World. The occupants of Paisley Caves, on the east side of the Cascade Range, near the town of Paisley, left narrow-stemmed spear points shaped by different flaking techniques. These hunting implements are classified as the Western Stemmed Tradition, previously thought to be younger than the Clovis technology. The findings lend support to an emerging hypothesis that the Clovis technology, named for the town in New Mexico where the first specimens were discovered, actually arose in what is now the Southeastern United States and moved west to the Plains and the Southwest. The Western Stemmed technology began, perhaps earlier, in the West. Most artifacts of that kind have been found on the West Coast and in Idaho, Nevada, Utah and Wyoming...more

Also see Stone tools from Oregon cave show 2 separate technologies used by earliest Americans

Server farms could rival smelters in power use

The amount of electricity used by giant server farms in the Pacific Northwest that power the Internet continues to grow and will eventually approach the consumption rate of the region’s aluminum smelters 30 years ago. According to a recent analysis by the Northwest Power and Conservation Council, demand from these data centers by 2030 could be about two-thirds of the power consumption of the Pacific Northwest aluminum industry during its heyday in the 1980s. Facebook, Google, Apple, Microsoft and other companies have built data centers in the region. Facebook estimates about 526 million people will log in every day this year through a desktop computer or a mobile device — a 41 percent increase over 2011 usage. Facebook users also upload more than 300 million photos a day. While growth in demand by server farms in the region is proceeding as anticipated, the council reported, it should be improved. “The amount of data these centers handle is growing at an explosive rate, making it imperative that data centers continue to improve their energy efficiency to keep power demand from exploding as well,” the council reported. Custom data centers house digital electronic equipment for Internet site hosting, electronic storage and transfer, credit card and financial transaction processing, telecommunications, and other activities that support the growing electronic information-based economy, the council reported...more

DNA study of Native Americans finds 3 waves of migration

The biggest survey of the DNA of Native Americans finds that the New World was settled in three big waves from Siberia and not one big migration as previously believed, the BBC reports, quoting from the journal Nature. Most of today's indigenous Americans, however, came from a single group that crossed into Alaska from Asia 15,000 years or more ago. The second and third migrations left an impact only in Arctic populations, the study finds. The team, which published its report in Nature this week, analyzed DNA from 52 Native American and 17 Siberian groups. The migrants moved over a natural bridge at the Bering Strait that appeared during the last Ice Age when sea levels were lower and hunters could cross...more

Song Of The Day #877

Ranch Radio's tune today is Song Of The Old Waterwheel recorded in 1952 by Slim Whitman.

Solyndra-Linked Executive to Lead Pentagon’s Advanced Tech Agency

A venture capital executive with ties to defunct solar company Solyndra has been hired as the new chief of the Defense Department program heading up the Pentagon’s renewable energy push. Arati Prabhakar, a former partner at U.S. Venture Partners, a Silicon Valley-based venture capital firm that backed Solyndra, has been named the new director of DoD’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). Prabhakaker will administer DARPA’s roughly $3 billion budget, some of which will likely continue funding projects in renewable energy. DARPA itself has been scrutinized for some of its green energy deals. Former chief Regina Dugan was investigated by federal watchdogs after her family’s company won $400,000 in DARPA contracts while she headed the division. DARPA was also responsible for the $21.8 million deal with biofuel company Solazyme, inviting further scrutiny. A member of Solazyme’s corporate board sat on President Obama’s transition team, where he helped form renewable energy policy...more

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Salazar to visit NM to talk water issues

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar is slated to visit historic Taos Pueblo and Albuquerque's National Hispanic Cultural Center to discuss water issues in New Mexico. Salazar is scheduled to tour Taos Pueblo on Wednesday. During his visit, he plans to execute three contracts related to the settlement of one of the longest-standing water rights cases in the state. He then will host a town hall in Albuquerque on the Middle Rio Grande and efforts by state, federal and local stakeholders to address water management and endangered species concerns along the 180-mile stretch of the river. In January, Salazar urged officials to work together on the Rio Grande's management while considering elements of conservation, education and recreational opportunities. A report on their progress is expected to be released during Thursday's town hall. AP

Forest Service must change its approach

This year, New Mexico had its largest fire on record, while last year Arizona saw its largest fire ever. Large fires have also ravished Colorado. The increasing number of large fires across New Mexico and the western United States is a trend that must be reversed. The Forest Service is reviewing the procedures it followed in the fighting of the Little Bear fire. This review is very important to those who lost homes and property. It is also important to those in Ruidoso and the surrounding area who face changes in property values and increased costs to protect their property from another fire. We can't allow countless restrictions, regulations and special interests to limit or impede the Forest Service's ability to properly manage our forests. Congressman Steve Pearce expresses the frustration many feel as he calls for change that will protect the forests, its watersheds, the firefighters and the people who live in and near the forests. The fires that narrowly missed destroying all of Ruidoso, Los Alamos, Colorado Springs, Colo., and Fort Collins, Colo., clearly show that change is imperative. We must act before the next fire destroys an entire community, much needed water supplies or really makes the Mexican spotted owl an endangered species. Otero County is leading the charge to bring control of forest management to the county governments. I don't know if or when they will ultimately be successful. I have, however, long advocated a different approach. That approach would require the Forest Service, BLM or any other government agency that controls property adjacent to a community to transfer a defined amount of that property to the community. The local government can then determine what use may occur on that property. Local planning and your direct input would take the place of Washington's failed policies...more

WALDO CANYON FIRE: A third of burn scar is 'severe', will take years to recover

Soil expert Brad Rust dug a hole in the blackened dirt on a hillside scorched by the Waldo Canyon fire and poured water into it Tuesday morning. The water pooled. That’s not a good thing. “It beads up and will not penetrate the soil,” said Rust, who works for the U.S. Forest Service. The charred soil poses a threat to thousands of people who live downslope, because it — and ash and debris — can wash downhill in a rainstorm.  The water-repelling layer is known as hydrophobic soil, and it’s the biggest cause for concern following the Waldo Canyon fire, which started June 23 near a popular hiking trail west of Colorado Springs and has been 98 percent contained for several days. “We know there’s going to be severe flooding potential, flooding coming off the burn area. The landscape has changed,” said Dana Butler, co-leader of the Burned Area Emergency Response team, a group of experts that has converged on the region to devise ways to minimize post-fire hazards. The group’s analysis of the burn scar will be released July 16, followed by a request for money for mitigation work. But post-fire problems have already begun. As officials led a tour of the burn area Tuesday morning, road crews were removing debris from a mudslide that forced the closure of U.S. Highway 24 in Ute Pass on Monday night, brought on by heavy rain on the burn scar. A slide also tore through the Crystal Mountain area in Cascade, where some residents piled sandbags to keep the stream of ash and mud from their homes...more

Homeowner questions firefighter tactics used to fight Seeley Fire

 A property owner in Sanpete County is upset with the Forest Service’s response to the Seeley Fire. David Cunningham accuses the agency of churning up some private property with bulldozers and backfires to avoid damaging roadless areas in the national forest. A couple of weeks ago, when the fire was about two miles away, he said the U.S. Forest Service told him it might have to bulldoze part of his land because it was the best place to fight the wildfire. He claimed an official told him it couldn't do the work in a roadless area of the national forest, closer to the fire, because there's a policy against bulldozers. "The issue to me is: Why can't they do everything possible to fight the fire on national forest lands before it affects private lands?" Cunningham asked. "They would set backfires on natural firebreaks, but they wouldn't create a firebreak with a bulldozer in a roadless area." Allen Rowley, forest supervisor for the Manti-La Sal National Forest, said there is no such policy. He said firefighters made their stand on private ground because there was just too much beetle-killed timber on federal land. "Where you have the most fuel is where you have the most resistance to control," Rowley said. "The fire's hardest to put out." He said the private land had different fuels: aspen, sagebrush, meadows and grasses. "Where we could make a stand and be successful in managing the fire … it just so happened that most of that was off the national forest where we had that type of fuel change,” Rowley said. Some property owners believe that situation reflects bad long-term forest management: Private land was thinned and logged, making it safer. They wonder why the Forest Service didn’t treat the public lands...more

So which is it?  Did the "official" lie to the landowner about roadless area policy? Why would the official make that statement if he or she didn't believe that was Forest Service policy?

The second explanation is even worse.  The FS lands are so poorly managed they have to go to private land to manage the fire.  What a stark contrast between federal and private management.  

Fire victims exempt from 30-day waiting period for flood insurance coverage

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) today announced, based on consultation with the U.S. Forest Service, that residents in Colorado affected by flooding as a result of the uncontained wildfire in Waldo Canyon in the Pike National Forest and the contained wildfire in High Park in the Arapaho-Roosevelt National Forest could be eligible for an exception from the 30-day waiting period usually required for flood insurance coverage. The Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012, signed into law Friday by President Obama, increases access to the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) for some residents whose homes were impacted by flooding from federal land that resulted from wildfires. The new law exempts these residents from a 30-day waiting period for flood insurance coverage to become effective. Eligibility for the exception is determined on a case-by-case basis...more

Let's look into the "minds" of the DC Deep Thinkers:

--The feds poor management of their lands leads to hot fires followed by flooding which damages federal and private property
--The feds are critical of those building close to forests, saying they put themselves in harms way and increase the costs of firefighting 

And the response is:

--Create a subsidized federal insurance policy for those having property close to the poorly managed forests, thereby creating an incentive for others to build close to the federal property

Pretty clear thinking from the DC types, ain't it.

Governor John Hickenlooper urges fire mitigation in farm bill

Gov. John Hickenlooper is urging Congress to keep provisions in the farm bill that he says are critical for wildfire mitigation in Western states. The Democratic governor says in a letter to the House Committee on Agriculture that some provisions in the bill "would be very helpful in addressing the forest conditions that lead to catastrophic wildfires." The committee meets Wednesday. Some of the areas of the bill that Hickenlooper highlighted include allowing the U.S. Forest Service the flexibility to remove trees and convert them for other uses, and allowing state foresters to perform fuels reduction on federal forest lands. Hickenlooper says he also supports identifying "critical areas" in national forests implementing thinning projects there. Colorado's wildfire season this year has been one of the worst ever. AP

Utah to Ban Target Shooting Because of Fire Hazard

Utah’s state forester says he plans to restrict target shooting in rural areas within days because of wildfire hazard. Dick Buehler says it’s the first time Utah will resort to a ban on target shooting. He expects to impose the rule at specific sites in four or five counties that are asking for restrictions. Officials say sparks from bullets have caused 21 of Utah’s 486 wildfires so far this year. Buehler has authority over all unincorporated private and state lands inside Utah. U.S. Forest Service officials don’t believe their agency has ever banned target practicing on federal lands in Utah or anywhere else and have no plans to follow suit. AP

Obama orders health insurance for government's seasonal firefighters

President Barack Obama has ordered his administration to offer health insurance to seasonal firefighters employed by the U.S. government, after an outcry over the lack of affordable coverage available to thousands of such workers. Obama's directive, confirmed by the White House on Tuesday, capped a 2-month-old electronic petition drive started by a member of a U.S. Forest Service "hot-shot" crew based in South Dakota that has drawn more than 125,000 signatures. No details were given, but a formal announcement of the policy change was expected soon, a White House official told Reuters. In the meantime, Obama has instructed the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, the Interior Department and the Agriculture Department -- parent agency of the Forest Service -- to "ensure temporary federal firefighters who are bravely battling fires have access to the health insurance they deserve," the official said...more

Lawsuit Launched to Protect Rare Alaskan Wolf

The Center for Biological Diversity and Greenpeace notified the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today of their intent to file suit against the agency for delaying Endangered Species Act protection for the Alexander Archipelago wolf, a rare subspecies of gray wolf found only in the old-growth forests of southeast Alaska. In August 2011 the groups filed a petition to protect the wolves, which are at risk of extinction because of the U.S. Forest Service’s unsustainable logging and road-building practices in the Tongass National Forest. The Service, which was required by the Endangered Species Act to determine whether listing may be warranted within 90 days of the filing, has not yet responded to the petition. “The existence of this unique wolf is imperiled by ongoing old-growth logging that adds to the high loss of quality wildlife habitat, which has occurred across all land ownerships in the forests of southeast Alaska over the past six decades,” said Greenpeace forest campaigner Larry Edwards. “The ongoing logging is further reducing and fragmenting forest habitat, to the detriment of the wolf and its deer prey.” Logging on the Tongass also brings new roads, making wolves vulnerable to hunting and trapping...more

UN arms treaty could put U.S. gun owners in foreign sights, say critics

A treaty being hammered out this month at the United Nations -- with Iran playing a key role -- could expose the records of America's gun owners to foreign governments -- and, critics warn, eventually put the Second Amendment on global trial. International talks in New York are going on throughout July on the final wording of the so-called Arms Trade Treaty, which supporters such as Amnesty International USA say would rein in unregulated weapons that kill an estimated 1,500 people daily around the world. But critics, including the National Rifle Association’s Wayne LaPierre, warn the treaty would mark a major step toward the eventual erosion of the U.S. Constitution’s Second Amendment gun-ownership rights. Americans “just don’t want the UN to be acting as a global nanny with a global permission slip stating whether they can own a gun or not,” LaPierre said. “It cheapens our rights as American citizens, and weakens our sovereignty,” he warned in an exclusive interview with from the halls of the UN negotiating chambers...more

Ag Reform Bill, At $969 Billion, Is A Mammoth Waste

Although our friends in the U.S. Senate routinely dismiss common sense solutions to our fiscal crisis, they have shown little resistance in considering an expensive 1,010-page farm bill. Dubbed the Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act of 2012, this $969 billion monstrosity speaks to exactly why the American people sent us to Washington: To stop the spending, waste and corruption. Only in Washington could this bill be considered fiscally responsible. Despite the fact the Senate cosponsors claim this farm bill could save $23.6 billion over the next decade, the actual 10-year cost of this bill dwarfs the 2008 farm bill at a CBO-projected $604 billion. It does not take an economist to note that a 62% increase in spending while we approach $16 trillion in debt is simply unsustainable. In addition to its bloated numbers, this bill includes an endless parade of special interests. Washington is picking winners and losers through a combination of price controls, import restrictions, subsidies and cash payments; and it reeks of corporate welfare in an era of record-high farm incomes and record-low debt ratios...more

Song Of The Day #876

Today Ranch Radio brings you Anita Carter singing in 1954 about that dirty low-down scoundrel Faithless Johnny Lee.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Second Obama cabinet official faces contempt of Congress charge

Could a second Obama cabinet member be found in contempt of Congress? The possibility arose on Friday when House investigators escalated their efforts to make Interior Secretary Ken Salazar comply with a subpoena pertaining to the drilling moratorium that he imposed after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. After the spill, Salazar had released a report recommending a moratorium — a report protested by the very group of experts that it cited, who said their opinions were misrepresented in order to justify the moratorium. “For more than three months, the [Interior] Department has flouted a duly authorized and issued Congressional subpoena for documents that would shed light on these actions, which led to thousands of lost jobs and decreased American energy production in the Gulf of Mexico,” House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Doc Hastings, R-Wash., wrote in a letter to Salazar on Friday. “The Department’s failure to respond to the request to schedule interviews calls into question the sincerity of its recent statements about wanting to reach a mutually agreeable accommodation of the Committee’s oversight interest into this matter.” Hastings said Salazar must arrange for several Interior Department officials who worked on the report to interview with the Natural Resources Committee by the week of July 16. Failing that, Hastings told Salazar that his committee “is left with no choice other than to continue to pursue compliance with the subpoena, as well as seek necessary information directly from the officials who were most involved in interacting with the peer reviewers and drafting and editing the Drilling Moratorium ReportA contempt of Congress charge for Salazar is not “off the table” if he does not comply, committee spokesman Spencer Pederson told USA Today. .”...more

In a new twist, Indian tribes are moving to open more casinos far from home

After buying a new chunk of land 50 miles north of San Francisco, the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria just broke ground on a new, Las Vegas-style casino. It will be the largest in the Bay Area, with 3,000 slot machines, 200 hotel rooms, a spa, bars, restaurants and parking for more than 5,000 cars. In New York, the Shinnecock Indian Nation is considering Long Island as a site on which to build the Big Apple’s first tribal casino. And in Washington state, the Spokane Tribe of Indians wants a new 13-story casino and hotel next to the Fairchild Air Force Base, prompting fears that the city will become “Spo-Vegas.” The plans are extraordinary for one reason: In all three cases, the tribes want to build their palaces on new land that’s not part of their original reservations. The expansions are the latest twist in the nation’s Indian casino wars, and they mark a major shift for the tribes, which already run 385 casinos and bingo halls in 29 states. Since the U.S. Supreme Court cleared the way for large-scale Indian gambling 25 years ago, tribes have been forced to keep the majority of their casinos on reservation land held in trust by the federal government, usually in remote regions far from public view. But now, thanks in part to the Obama administration, Indian tribes across the country are ready to bust out, bringing gambling to the same land that was taken from them so long ago...more

A Gold Rush in the Abyss

Mr. Dettweiler has now turned from recovering lost treasures to prospecting for natural ones that litter the seabed: craggy deposits rich in gold and silver, copper and cobalt, lead and zinc. A new understanding of marine geology has led to the discovery of hundreds of these unexpected ore bodies, known as massive sulfides because of their sulfurous nature. These finds are fueling a gold rush as nations, companies and entrepreneurs race to stake claims to the sulfide-rich areas, which dot the volcanic springs of the frigid seabed. The prospectors — motivated by dwindling resources on land as well as record prices for gold and other metals — are busy hauling up samples and assessing deposits valued at trillions of dollars. “We’ve had extreme success,” Mr. Dettweiler said in a recent interview about the deepwater efforts of his company, Odyssey Marine Exploration of Tampa, Fla. Skeptics once likened mining the deep to looking for riches on the moon. No more. Progress in marine geology, predictions of metal shortages in the decades ahead and improving access to the abyss are combining to make it real...more

Seasonal firefighters ask to buy into federal health care coverage

They work the front lines of the nation’s most explosive wildfires, navigating treacherous terrain, dense walls of smoke and tall curtains of flame. Yet thousands of the nation’s seasonal firefighters have no health insurance for themselves or their families. Many firefighters are now asking to buy into a federal government health plan, largely out of anger over a colleague who was left with a $70,000 hospital bill after his son was born prematurely. Their request has been bolstered by more than 125,000 signatures gathered in an online petition during this year’s historic fire season in the West and the ongoing national debate over health care. Firefighters do get workers’ compensation if they are hurt on the job, but that doesn’t cover them in the offseason. The National Interagency Fire Center in Boise, Idaho, which coordinates firefighting efforts nationwide, says 15,000 wildland firefighters are on the federal payroll this year. Of that number, some 8,000 are classified as temporary seasonal employees, who work on a season-to-season basis with no guarantee of a job the following year and no access to federal benefits...more

Montana: Feds kill 45 wolves so far this year

In June, 13 wolves from two packs roaming on ranches just north of Helena were shot and killed for ongoing livestock depredation. The wolves in the Granite Butte and Canyon Creek packs were more than one-quarter of the 45 wolves killed so far this year by agents with Wildlife Services, a division of the federal Department of Agriculture. The total removal of the seven-member Canyon Creek Pack, and the killing of six — about half — of the Granite Butte Pack, plus the collaring of one female came after the wolves killed livestock last year, then struck again in May. Typically, FWP or Wildlife Service agents initially put radio collars on a pack member when depredation is suspected or confirmed to monitor the pack’s movement. If livestock depredation continues, FWP can ask Wildlife Services or the landowner to remove one or more pack members. If the livestock killing continues, entire packs can be taken out. According to FWP reports, 771 wolves were killed between 1987 and 2011 for depredation reasons...more

FBI Says Zetas Laundering Scheme Used BofA Accounts

The brother of the alleged leader of a Mexican cocaine-trafficking cartel used Bank of America Corp. (BAC) accounts to invest the organization’s drug proceeds in U.S. racehorses, a FBI agent said. Jose Trevino-Morales, one of 14 people indicted by a federal grand jury in Texas on June 12, used a personal account and a business account under the name of Tremor Enterprises LLC to buy and sell horses using money generated from cocaine trafficking, extortion and bribery, Jason Preece, a special agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, said in a June 11 sworn statement filed in federal court in Dallas. “The ultimate goal of this money laundering operation was to provide Jose Trevino with apparent legitimate assets purchased and maintained by illegally obtained money,” Preece said. Bank of America isn’t accused of any wrongdoing in the agent’s statement. Details of the transactions were revealed in a probe of the Los Zetas drug cartel, which according to the filing, funnels thousands of kilograms of cocaine into the U.S. each year. Los Zetas is the biggest drug cartel in Mexico, in geographical presence, and controls 11 states in the country, generating millions of dollars of revenue, Preece said in the statement filed in a bid to gain a search warrant for Trevino’s property...more

Astronaut's photo shows wildfire smoke at night

A photograph snapped from the International Space Station shows the bright lights of El Paso and Ciudad Juarez, across the border in Mexico, with smoke from wildfires wafting to the right. The photo was taken on June 2, and appears to show the Whitewater-Baldy wildfire. A docked Russian spacecraft is seen in the foreground.

New Mexico Pueblos Highlight Their History In New Echibit

New Mexico's pueblos have a history of their own. Being the only indigenous tribe that never signed any treaties with the federal government left them with a dual existence. On one hand, they didn't fit the mold the government had established for native people. Still, they were indigenous enough to be subjected to policies that called for them to trade in their native languages and send their children to boarding school. Now, for the first time, the pueblos have come together to offer their own historical perspective on the effects of 100 years of state and federal policy as part of an exhibit at the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center in Albuquerque. Simple black and white designs meant to represent turkey feathers form the basis of a timeline that runs through the museum. Photographs, letters, pottery and other crafts fill the space, while touch screens and QR codes link to more videos, audio interviews and documents...more

Song Of The Day #875

On Ranch Radio today is Jim Reeves tryin' to put an A-10 hornswoggle on this gal in his 1953 recording Let Me Love You Just A Little.

Monday, July 09, 2012

Bears’ Taste for Chicken Sets Up Collision Course

Longing for fresh eggs, Levi and Nauni Griffith began raising chickens in their backyard. They started with a few, and eventually had 116. Until late last summer, that is, when a grizzly sow and her cub, filling the night with fearful growling, got in among the shrieking chickens and then lumbered off, leaving bits of 99 birds behind. “There were feathers all over the yard and deep into the forest,” Mr. Griffith said. “And legs,” said his 9-year-old daughter, Arriana, wrinkling her nose. The few survivors were found in the trees. In northwestern Montana, as in much of the country, more people are keeping chickens. And bears of all kinds are developing a taste for poultry that lures them into populated areas, presenting a dangerous situation for both people and, especially, for bears. “You have a clash of cultures where there are increasing numbers of bears and increasing numbers of people,” said Chris Servheen, the grizzly bear recovery coordinator in the Missoula office of the federal Fish and Wildlife Service. “Bears that are habituated and food-conditioned don’t have much of a future.” Wildlife managers say they must euthanize repeat offenders because once bears develop a taste for chicken, the habit cannot be kicked, making the bear a continual danger to people. But for managers like Dr. Servheen, who has worked for 20 years restoring grizzly bears to the northern Rockies, the new chicken-grizzly dynamic is infuriating. “Does it make sense to kill a grizzly because of a 25-cent chicken?” he asks...more

Let's see, the DC Deep Thinkers so screw up our economy that folks have to raise chickens just to make ends meet.  Then they criticize those folks for raising chickens because they end up being harmful to an endangered species.  Next thing you know there will be a chicken provision in the farm bill.  They pay farmers not to farm, so why not pay chicken growers to not raise chickens? 

Ranchers: Fire crews ignored us

Ranchers in the Edgemont area said Friday they would like better communication with interagency wildfire officials when crews fight the blazes in South Dakota’s Black Hills. Sen. John Thune visited with firefighters and ranchers Friday in the corner of southwest South Dakota, where a blaze scorched almost 14 square miles of grasslands and timber, primarily on National Forest lands. Some ranchers said interagency officials ignored local expertise that could have helped crews battle the fire. “They feel like they have a lot of know-how,” said Thune, R-S.D. “They’ve in many cases lived in the area for generations and understand the terrain.” Edgemont rancher Mark Hollenbeck said locals at the fire’s onset tried to tell crews where roads were, and officials responded that there weren’t roads there because they weren’t on their maps. Hollenbeck said officials were planning to get ambulances out of Custer and didn’t know the much closer town of Edgemont had ambulances. “They didn’t talk to the local fire chief,” he said. “They didn’t communicate with the locals.”

What We Know About the Mysterious Cattle Deaths in Central Texas

“There was nothing we could do.” It’s a phrase that rancher Jerry Abel returns to often when talking about the the day that his cattle dropped dead on his ranch. Listening to him talk about it, one is struck by the sense of powerlessness he felt watching the animals succumb. Abel raises cattle for rodeo events, and it was after a roping exercise last May that he set his cows to pasture. “The field adjacent to their pen, it wasn’t really good enough because of the drought for haying,” Abel told StateImpact Texas. “But there was quite a bit of grass on there. So we decided we could just turn the cattle out on it so they could graze some.” It was about two hours later that the cows started to bellow. Abel and his trainer rushed back to see what was the matter. “There were some already dead and the rest of them were on the ground, in convulsions and obviously dying. And there was really nothing we could do. Out of the 18 that had been there 15 of them died,” he said. The shock of watching the cows die gave way to a new surprise when researchers determined what had killed them. The cattle died after eating the fresh growth in the pasture. Prussic acid, a compound much like cyanide, had formed in the grass. At first, both USDA scientists and Texas Agrilife Extension researchers couldn’t believe what they had found...more

Wireless Firms Are Flooded by Requests to Aid Surveillance

In the first public accounting of its kind, cellphone carriers reported that they responded to a daunting 1.3 million demands for subscriber data last year from law enforcement agencies seeking text messages, caller locations and other information in the course of investigations. The data, which comes in response to a congressional inquiry, documents an explosion in cellphone surveillance in the last five years, with the wireless carriers turning over records thousands of times a day in response to police emergencies, court orders, law enforcement subpoenas and other requests. The cell carriers’ reports also reveal a sometimes uneasy partnership with law enforcement agencies, with the carriers frequently rejecting demands they considered legally questionable or unjustified. Carriers even referred some inappropriate requests to the F.B.I. The statistics represent the first time data has been collected nationally on the frequency of cell surveillance by law enforcement. The volume of the requests reported by the carriers — which most likely involve several million subscribers — even surprised some officials who have closely followed the growth of cell surveillance. AT&T alone now responds to 230 emergency requests a day nationwide — triple the number it fielded in 2007, the company told Mr. Markey. Law enforcement requests of all kinds have been rising quickly among the other carriers as well, with annual increases of 12 percent to 16 percent in the last five years. Sprint led the way last year, reporting more than 500,000 law enforcement requests for data. ..more

The Drone Zone - Pilots Trained At Holloman AFB

Holloman Air Force Base, at the eastern edge of New Mexico’s White Sands Missile Range, 60 miles north of El Paso, was once famous for the daredevil maneuvers of those who trained there. Today many of the pilots at Holloman never get off the ground. The base has been converted into the U.S. Air Force’s primary training center for drone operators, where pilots spend their days in sand-colored trailers near a runway from which their planes take off without them. Inside each trailer, a pilot flies his plane from a padded chair, using a joystick and throttle, as his partner, the “sensor operator,” focuses on the grainy images moving across a video screen, directing missiles to their targets with a laser. Holloman sits on almost 60,000 acres of desert badlands, near jagged hills that are frosted with snow for several months of the year — a perfect training ground for pilots who will fly Predators and Reapers over the similarly hostile terrain of Afghanistan. When I visited the base earlier this year with a small group of reporters, we were taken into a command post where a large flat-screen television was broadcasting a video feed from a drone flying overhead. It took a few seconds to figure out exactly what we were looking at. A white SUV traveling along a highway adjacent to the base came into the cross hairs in the center of the screen and was tracked as it headed south along the desert road. When the SUV drove out of the picture, the drone began following another car. “Wait, you guys practice tracking enemies by using civilian cars?” a reporter asked. One Air Force officer responded that this was only a training mission, and then the group was quickly hustled out of the room...more

Inside the Beltway: Hank Williams Jr. tunes up

Country music kingpin and patriot Hank Williams Jr. continues to sing of his politics, not to mention his vision for America and its citizenry. The man’s got a new album out Tuesday titled “Old School, New Rules,” complete with a few lyrics that go a little something like this: “Don’t tread on me, political correctness has run its course’,” “Barack, pack your bags, head to Chicago, take your teleprompter with you,” “I got a list of taxes I thought were a joke — inheritance, death, say, any quarters in that coffin?” All are gleaned from Mr. Williams‘ 12 new songs; see the collection here: He’s still rowdy. Consider a few of those titles: “Takin’ Back The Country”, “I’m Gonna Get Drunk And Play Hank Williams” — a duet with Brad Paisley) — plus “We Don’t Apologize for America” and “Stock Market Blues”. Politically inclined but a canny good old boy, Mr. Williams has appeared on both Fox News and CBS in the last 48 hours. But he’s got some burgeoning business afoot. He now heads up Bocephus Records, his own label, complete with a licensing deal with Blaster Records...more

Song Of The Day #874

It's Swingin' Monday on Ranch Radio and here is Wanda Vick and her rendition of Deep Water.

The tune is on her 14 track CD Romance At The Rodeo Dance.

Sunday, July 08, 2012

Roswell UFO Was Not Of This Earth And There Were ET Cadavers: Ex-CIA Agent Says

Happy anniversary, Roswell, N.M. It was 65 years ago today that the Roswell Daily Record blasted an infamous headline claiming local military officials had captured a flying saucer on a nearby ranch. And now, a former CIA agent says it really happened. "It was not a damn weather balloon -- it was what it was billed when people first reported it," said Chase Brandon, a 35-year CIA veteran. "It was a craft that clearly did not come from this planet, it crashed and I don't doubt for a second that the use of the word 'remains' and 'cadavers' was exactly what people were talking about." Brandon served as an undercover, covert operations officer in the agency's Clandestine Service for 25 years, where he was assigned missions in international terrorism, counterinsurgency, global narcotics trafficking and weapons smuggling. He spent his final 10 years of CIA service on the director's staff as the agency's first official liaison to the entertainment and publication industries. It was during this time, in the mid-1990s, that he walked into a special section of CIA headquarters in Langley, Va., called the Historical Intelligence Collection. "It was a vaulted area and not everybody could get in it," Brandon told The Huffington Post. "One day, I was looking around in there and reading some of the titles that were mostly hand-scribbled summations of what was in the boxes. And there was one box that really caught my eye. It had one word on it: Roswell. "I took the box down, lifted the lid up, rummaged around inside it, put the box back on the shelf and said, 'My god, it really happened!'" What exactly did the box contain that had such a powerful impact on Brandon? "Some written material and some photographs, and that's all I will ever say to anybody about the contents of that box," he said. "But it absolutely, for me, was the single validating moment that everything I had believed, and knew that so many other people believed had happened, truly was what occurred."...more

Cowgirl Sass & Savvy

Buyer beware

By Julie Carter

Cowboys are born with a trading gene. Usually this involves swapping horses, livestock, trailers, saddles or even pocketknives.

Horse-trading requires a special language. When cowboys are involved, the buyer should always be in "beware" mode. For those who were not born down dirt roads, here is an example of a few choice phrases of trading vernacular used mostly in print advertisements.

"Very alert 12-year-old gelding, foundation stock, strong, heavy-muscled, will watch a cow. Friendly nature, quiet in the arena. Must see to appreciate. $27,000 or best offer."

The literal translation is:

* Alert - he will spook if even so much as bug within five miles moves. Nothing is going to sneak up on him.

* Twelve years old is about the age where horses can no longer be positively aged by their teeth. He could be 34.

* Foundation-bred means he looks exactly like a mustang and was adopted from the BLM in their effort to preserve the world before the wild horses eat it up.

* Strong -- means your best antique, foot-long, 40-pound “Made in Mexico” bit won't hold him.

* Will watch a cow means he will watch the cow go right by.

* Friendly nature - he will pick your gloves out of your back pocket as well as gnaw on everything in the barn and everybody else's saddle if tied next to another horse.

* Quiet in the box - he will sit there until next Friday if you don't liberally apply the spurs when you nod for your steer.

* Must see - the seller is hoping to get you to their pen, lock the gate and not let you out until you buy something.

* The price - that's always a starting place. Actually, the guy would be happy to see $800 and that horse's backside out his gate.

The trading world has three basic components: sellers, buyers and tire kickers. The variety of descriptive phrases applied to horses would enchant any clever wordsmith.

"Not the prettiest head you ever saw, but it's full of cow sense." That means his head looks like a pump jack, is exactly the same length as his back and it would give most horses whiplash to hold it up.

"He has a smooth little cowboy lope that you'll love." This is supposed to infer that he can cover the miles smoothly. Nobody mentioned that it takes the first five miles to get him worked up to this cowboy lope and only 15 steps for him to fall back to that teeth-jarring trot.

"This is a horse that will let you do all the thinking." A good bit of this required thinking will also involve your spurs.

A buyer might comment that the horse "looks a mite lively." To which the seller will reply, "He's just fun-loving. Don't take that little bucking streak too seriously."

When faced with tire kickers or reluctant buyers, the seller will sometimes offer incentives.

* "He's an easy keeper, and we've had him turned out for about six months resting him. He may be a little fresh." Which really means this fat, fresh horse hasn't been touched in the six months it took for the seller to get his leg cast off after the last time this horse bucked him off.

* "This horse can be ridden by little kids." This invariably refers to the little kid who was raised at the head of the creek and whose normal working attire includes a turkey feather in his hat and his britches tucked in his high top boots.

When all the insults and high-flying rhetoric are over, generally both the buyer and seller will be secretly happy. Both will be heard down at the feed store in a day or two describing exactly how they got the better of the trade.

Trading is an art and nobody does it better than the cowboys.

Julie can be reached for comment at

Hail Arizona!

Hold him up and …Spur!
Hail Arizona!
The Ultimate Conundrum
By Stephen L. Wilmeth

             I have felt it. I have seen it. In the pecans groves, I finally rationalized in my mind what the analogy was that properly described it.
            It is like a young horse that is being forced to do something he doesn’t understand, but the constraints imposed on him disallow him to find his way out of his dilemma. He is expected to do everything right, but he is given no latitude to do anything. He is spurred ruthlessly, but, at the same time he is being held up … unfeeling hands are trying to drag the bit out the back of his mouth and up through his head.
            His confusion elevates, and, yet, no rational alternative is presented. His mind shuts down and he seeks mental and physical relief. He explodes …
            Irrelevance of Congress
            Those of us who live on the Mexican border don’t look at Congress with any more contempt than our ancestors did when those Texas kinfolks were left exposed to the cruelty of cross border conflict following the Mexican American War.
Our relationship with them is much like trying to get a quick update on an evening storm. Our little corner of the world is hidden behind the derriere of the weather chick who is giving a brief summary of national weather. Just about the time she is going to step aside to expose a glimpse of our storm update, she has to cut to a commercial. We remain hidden from view. We are entrenched at the back of the line.
            If Darrell Issa and I had gone to school together, chances are we’d get along. We may or may not get to be close friends depending on Mr. Issa’s view of second and short, Savage .99 rifles, and swelled fork saddles, but I would surmise our politics would hold us clinging to some degree of kinship.
            The problem I have with Mr. Issa, though, is the outcome we all witness in too many congressional actions. We hear bold discourse, and, then … we are repeatedly left unfulfilled. How many nights did we hear Mr. Issa telling us how he was going to get to the bottom of the ‘Fast and Furious’ debacle?
What he orchestrated with the Contempt of Congress vote is to shuffle the whole discussion to the sidelines until after the election. It is now a non-issue, and we will never hear the truth of the intent to use the whole affair to attack our Second Amendment rights.
Thank you very much, Congressman Issa, and thank you, Congress.
            Legislating from the Bench
            June 28, 2012 will go down as one of the low points in our longing to be in touch with the Supreme Court. Yes, we were all simply deflated over the Obama Care ruling.
Each and every person I made contact with who was trying to hold his or her business together that day at 103° was simply limp, and … it wasn’t just the heat.
            Maybe Justice Roberts was sincere in demonstrating apolitical unity of the Court, but he proved something much grander. We must now fear the Court on the basis of two developments. First, we fear the liberal propensity of legislating from the bench.  
Second, we now have a Chief Justice who is so self-inflicted with the need to demonstrate political inertness he has no grasp of the difference in theoretical or real world results.  Roberts seems to have no memory that when you shift gears you still have to hold onto the steering wheel.  
            That started earlier in the week when the Chief Justice sided against Arizona in the matter of that state’s 1070 judgment. Arizona must feel much like those same Texas counterparts of so many years ago when Washington leadership decided by intent and action that they had generated enough world contempt in their expeditionary conquest of Mexico. They took the high road appearance by halting further prosecution of the conflict. Americans on the border were left standing in a hailstorm. Those citizens were vilified and accused of risking an international incident if they protected themselves. They were dead if they didn’t.
Arizona has no choice but to feel similarly.
The highest court in our land supported the Administration’s assault on the sovereignty of our 48th state. We are all mindful of the tedium Washington must regard in our existence, but when words in our Constitution say, “No State shall, without the consent of Congress … engage in War … unless actually invaded ...” shouldn’t they mean what they say?
Hail Arizona!
We support your efforts, and, furthermore, we admire your fortitude! There are many of us out here equally mystified over the actions of Chief Justice Roberts this week.
Shut up and take it
It appears two mandates were flung at us. The first Roberts’ vote effectively set the stage for Arizona to stand down without any assurance of federal protection of the border. The second vote cast doubt on the breadth of federal manhandling of the Commerce Clause, but expanded the horizons on the expansion of taxing us on any matter that hastens a special interest agenda.
Living on the border creates a much different perspective of Washington’s reaction to our world. My mind drifts back to the analogy of that young horse. We are compelled to perform without hesitation, but we are disallowed to do anything that offends any special interest mission.
Arizona faces the same dilemma my state faces on border issues … logjams of polarizing politics at the federal level. What we observe is rhetoric, but what is manifested is the mandate to shut up and accept the consequences.
The Obama administration no longer maintains a veiled suggestion of hidden intentions. Equally alarming is the evolution of the Roberts’ led Court that demonstrates such unimpeachable inertness that our hopes and needs don’t appear to exist in Washington.
The realization is that if we, the electorate, don’t take control of what we can affect on a local level there is no assurance of altering this free fall. 
There are signs of push back. The first is the awakening of state and local governments that are trying to act.
Arizona has led the charge from the standpoint of state legislation and governorship priorities and intentions. Folks like the lady titans, Jan Brewer and Sylvia Allen, have joined with fellow elected state leaders and taken a stand. No ordinary person seeks such exposure to public conflict, but that is where they find themselves.  
New Mexico has joined Arizona in a defensive stance, but only at a local level. New Mexico’s state legislature still exists in the 1912 paradigm of corruption spelled with a capital C. Their Roundhouse ranks exist in a displaced universe that has no concern of pending cataclysm on the border. After all, they are the crew intent on selling New Mexico driver’s licenses to illegals of the world to stimulate visitation to the Land of Enchantment!
The Arizona mentality in New Mexico is coming from local government. Border and the near border counties are leading the way. Last week a number of those counties met in Silver City to discuss the formation of a coalition of counties to stand united against federal absolutism. Their approach is patterned after a group calling itself the Council of Border Conservation Districts (Council).
The Council, made up of conservation districts from Catron, Dona Ana, Hidalgo, Luna, and Sierra Counties, was formed in defense of federal border land plans that would elevate restrictions on another ⅔ of a million acres of border landscape. The land schemes were all conceptualized and promulgated without any legislative courtesies extended to local planning.
The Council participants finally said, “No … you (federal government) will no longer run roughshod over us without our input.”
Truth is in the outcome
The outcome of the fights the Council endured was extremely important. Every participant would agree battles and skirmishes may have been won, but there is no notion the successes were absolute. The land agency and nongovernmental organization agendas to coerce the land schemes remain fully in place and committed for advancement.
What has changed, though, is the realization of what it took to achieve those conditional victories. Any success that stems from standing exposed and alone in the defense of such an assault is very powerful. There is a realization and a sense of independence, strength, and hope.
The ultimate injustice, though, is the antagonism that such efforts have generated from federal leadership. That can only be fixed one way. November is supremely important … or there is unfathomable risk to each and every one of us.  

Stephen L. Wilmeth is a rancher from southern New Mexico. “A word about committed leadership Congressman Issa … if George Patton had been the chair of your committee … either he or Eric Holder may not have walked away. Where are you, General, when we need original American fortitude?”

Global warming blame-ologists play with fire

By: Michelle Malkin

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Good news: The Waldo Canyon fire, which forced 32,000 residents (including our family) to flee, claimed two lives and destroyed 347 homes, is now 100 percent contained. Bad news: Radical environmentalists won’t stop blowing hot air about this year’s infernal season across the West.

Al Gore slithered out of the political morgue to bemoan nationwide heat records and pimp his new “Climate Reality Project,” which blames global warming for the wildfire outbreak. NBC meteorologist Doug Kammerer asserted: “If we did not have global warming, we wouldn’t see this.” Agriculture Department Undersecretary Harris Sherman, who oversees the Forest Service, claimed to the Washington Post: “The climate is changing, and these fires are a very strong indicator of that.”

And the Associated Press (or rather, the Activist Press) lit the fear-mongering torch with an eco-propaganda piece titled “U.S. summer is what ‘global warming will look like.’”

The problem is that the actual conclusions of scientists included in AP’s screed don’t back up the apocalyptic headline. As the reporter acknowledges under that panicky banner:

“Scientifically linking individual weather events to climate change takes intensive study, complicated mathematics, computer models and lots of time. Sometimes it isn’t caused by global warming. Weather is always variable; freak things happen.”

So, this U.S. summer may or may not really look like “what global warming looks like.” Kinda. Sorta. Possibly. Possibly not.

Furthermore, the AP reporter concedes, the “global” nature of the warming and its supposed catastrophic events have “been local. Europe, Asia and Africa aren’t having similar disasters now, although they’ve had their own extreme events in recent years.”

A more hedging headline would have been journalistically responsible, but Chicken Little-ism better serves the global warming blame-ologists’ agenda.

More inconvenient truths: As The Washington Times noted this week, the National Climatic Data Center shows that “Colorado has actually seen its average temperature drop slightly from 1998 to 2011, when data is collected only from rural stations and not those that have been urbanized since 1900.”

Radical green efforts to block logging and timber sales in national forests since the 1990s are the real culprits. Wildlife mitigation experts point to incompetent forest management and militant opposition to thinning the timber fuel supply.

Another symptom of green obstructionism: widespread bark beetle infestations. The U.S. Forest Service itself reported last year:

“During the last part of the 20th century, widespread treatments in lodgepole pine stands that would have created age class diversity, enhanced the vigor of remaining trees, and improved stand resiliency to drought or insect attack — such as timber harvest and thinning — lacked public acceptance. Proposals for such practices were routinely appealed and litigated, constraining the ability of the Forest Service to manage what had become large expanses of even-aged stands susceptible to a bark beetle outbreak.”

Capitulation to lawsuit-happy green thugs, in others, undermined “public acceptance” of common sense, biodiversity-preserving and lifesaving timber harvest and thinning practices.

Local, state and federal officials offered effusive praise for my fellow Colorado Springs residents who engaged in preventive mitigation efforts in their neighborhoods. The government flacks said it made a life-and-death difference. Yet, litigious environmental groups have sabotaged such mitigation efforts at the national level — in effect, creating an explosive tinderbox out of the West.

Stoking global warming alarms may make for titillating headlines and posh Al Gore confabs. But it’s a human blame avoidance strategy rooted in ideological extremism and flaming idiocy.

Originally posted at Human Events.