Saturday, September 15, 2012

Farmers fight to preserve New Mexico chile as harvest season begins

Fall ushers in the chile harvest in the Southwest and the smell of roasted peppers fills the air in Southern New Mexico. The demand for hot peppers in this country continues to grow. But the number of acres of chile planted is dwindling as farmers in New Mexico face competition from cheaper foreign grown peppers. “Other crops produce more money and are less labor intensive. They’re mechanically harvested and grown and produced whereas chile is very hands on,” said Chris Biad whose family has been growing Chile in New Mexico for four generations. During harvest season, Biad’s Chile plant roasts 100,000 pounds of chile every six weeks. But as the appetite for chile grows so has the competition from China, India, and Mexico where farm labor is much cheaper. “Over the last ten years when you lose so much so quickly, 20,000 acres of chile gone and it’s what you do for a living and you grow up doing it you get concerned,” said Biad. Last year state lawmakers passed the New Mexico Chile Advertising Act to keep impostors from labeling their fresh or processed chile as New Mexican unless it was grown in the state. Others say quality is the key to coping with competition. They want to preserve chile plants that are native to New Mexico. Some hope heirloom varieties will boost sales. “They have five times the flavor of the standard green chiles being grown today. Not five times the heat but the actual green chile flavor,” said Professor Paul Bosland, of New Mexico State University’s Chile Pepper Institute...more

Tribal casinos report record profits

Sandia Casino
The sluggish economy isn't keeping New Mexicans away from the casinos. The state's tribal gambling palaces are on track for record profits this year. In the first six months of 2012:

Sandia Casino's take was $91 million before taxes
Laguna Pueblo's Route 66 Casino banked $50 million
Isleta's Hard Rock raked in about $45 million
Santa Ana Casino pulled in about $38 million.

The net win is based off earnings on just slot machines and do not include table games. In all, New Mexico's 14 tribes have made nearly $30 million more this year than they did in the first six months of last year. Tribal casinos bordering Albuquerque will soon be getting some stiffer competition. The Downs at Albuquerque, which has not been much of an operation, is building a new casino with 600 slots on the state fairgrounds closer to the intersection of Central Avenue and Louisiana Boulevard NE. New Mexico's five racetrack casinos, commonly called racinos, combined made about $250 million on their slots last year. Racinos pay a tax rate of 26 percent...more

The Westerner's Radio Theater #046

First up on Ranch Radio is the 12/26/1947 broadcast of Dinner Bell Roundup, followed by the 12/07/1958 broadcast of Have Gun Will Travel.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Environmentalists want Herbert to end Utah ‘land grab’

Environmentalists and an outdoor retailer demanded Wednesday that Gov. Gary Herbert stop Utah’s bid to claim federal lands, calling it harmful to Utah’s image and tourism economy. "Our public lands are a powerful calling card that will continue to attract industry and jobs," said Dwight Butler, owner of Wasatch Touring, an outdoor outfitter, during a rally at the Capitol. "In the interest of our children and future of our economy, Utah should be a leader in preserving and protecting these lands. … [We] would like to see Governor Herbert end his quixotic lawsuits and ultimatums against the federal government." Afterward, the group delivered a petition and postcards from 5,400 Utahns, gathered by the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance, urging the governor to end the land wars. But the governor’s spokeswoman, Ally Isom, said that the governor is looking to ensure the use of the public lands is "optimized," which it is not under the current management regime. By controlling the land, Herbert and Republican lawmakers have argued, Utah could reap massive windfalls from oil, gas, coal and other natural resource development that could be used to fund public education. Jack Nelson, a retired outdoors writer and hunting enthusiast, said he believes that Utah’s public lands are at risk and Americans who recreate on them need to take action. And Laurel Legate, a public school teacher, said the legislation could cost Utah millions in legal fees that could be helping Utah’s underfunded schools, instead...more

1828 Resolution - video

From The American Lands Council:

Endangered Species

Check out all the ESA news, from just the last two days.  Clearly this is about land-use control, not saving species.

Environmentalists sue over Idaho logging project

Two environmental groups are suing the U.S. Forest Service over a planned logging project in north-central Idaho because they contend the logging will violate the Endangered Species Act. Alliance for the Wild Rockies and Friends of the Clearwater filed the lawsuit against the Forest Service, agency officials and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Idaho's U.S. District Court earlier this week. The groups say the government's decision to allow logging on about 4 square miles of the Nez Perce National Forest was arbitrary and capricious and that the work will threaten some endangered species by destroying habitat for animals including Canada lynx, northern goshawks and bull trout...more

Conservation Groups Challenge Federal Approval of Weak Montana Wildlife Protections

Conservation groups notified U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar of their intent to bring a legal challenge to federal approval of a forest development plan in Montana that will likely harm grizzly bears and bull trout. Both species are protected under the federal Endangered Species Act (ESA). Friends of the Wild Swan, Montana Environmental Information Center, and Natural Resources Defense Council, represented by Earthjustice, are challenging a 50-year permit given to the State of Montana to log and build roads on state forests lands in western Montana, activities that the state admits would harm federally protected species. The groups say that the permit fails to include essential protections for bull trout and grizzly bears. The Endangered Species Act requires the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) to ensure that its permit issuance to Montana’s Department Natural Resource and Conservation “is not likely to jeopardize” listed species’ survival. It restrains USFWS from approving a permit until Montana demonstrates that it will mitigate the impacts of its harm to the protected species. The permit given to Montana fails both of these requirements...more

Kill‐at‐will Policy for Wyoming Wolves Challenged by Conservation Groups

Conservation groups, represented by Earthjustice, served notice that they will file a court challenge to the federal government’s removal of Endangered Species Act (ESA) protections for Wyoming wolves. Earthjustice is representing Defenders of Wildlife, Center for Biological Diversity, Natural Resources Defense Council, and Sierra Club in this action. This announcement by the conservation groups comes on the heels of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s decision to turn wolf management in Wyoming over to state officials, despite the fact that Wyoming’s wolf management policies open the door to unlimited wolf killing throughout most of the state and provide inadequate protection for wolves even where killing is regulated. The Fish and Wildlife Service publicly announced the ESA delisting of wolves in Wyoming on August 31, 2012, but the agency’s delisting rule was not officially published in the Federal Register until this morning...more

Expert: Impending wolf suit could stick

A threat to genetic diversity and legal precedent could undermine a decision to give Wyoming control of its wolf population, a Vermont Law School professor says. As expected, on Monday environmental groups filed a notice of intent to sue the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for lifting wolf protections and opening the way for a hunt in Wyoming. Earthjustice, which has won a Wyoming wolf lawsuit in the past, remains dissatisfied with the Wyoming plan to manage wolves as predators in 85 percent of state when federal protections end Sept. 30. Because of Wyoming’s “stubborn” commitment to the predator zone plan, the lawsuit will make a “really strong argument,” said Pat Parenteau, an attorney who specializes in Endangered Species Act law. “There are a couple things about this decision that give Earthjustice a strong hand to play,” said Parenteau, who also teaches at Vermont Law School’s Environmental Law Center. “One is that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service itself made some very critical comments about the lack of genetic diversity in the population. “The second thing is this Wyoming plan is really no different than the 2003 plan that Fish and Wildlife trashed,” he said. “It’s fundamentally not that different.” The 61-page notice released by Earthjustice includes a four-point rationale for the challenge...more

Experts plead for protection of obscure but at risk animals

Obscure flora and fauna that few people have ever heard of such as the Jamaican rock iguana need to be much better protected if the world is to achieve a goal of preventing species dying out by 2020, a study said on Tuesday. The report, “Priceless or Worthless?,” listed the 100 most threatened species and said critically endangered plants and animals such as Tarzan’s chameleon in Madagascar merited conservation since they were irreplaceable for the Earth even if they had no economic value for people. “Over half (of the 100 most endangered species) are receiving little or no attention,” Professor Jonathan Baillie, director of Conservation at the Zoological Society of London (ZSL), told Reuters by telephone from South Korea. “We need a rethink” of conservation priorities, Mr. Baillie said of the 124-page report issued by the ZSL and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), which is meeting in South Korea and groups governments, scientists and activists...more

Lawsuit Filed to Protect Springsnails Threatened by Las Vegas Water Grab

The Center for Biological Diversity filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today for failing to protect four springsnail species under the Endangered Species Act. The snails are threatened by a proposed 306-mile pipeline that would carry up to 57 billion gallons of groundwater annually from Nevada’s Great Basin to Las Vegas. The plan could cause the water table in rural Nevada to drop more than 200 feet, drying up the springs that support the snails and countless other species. “Scientists say this scheme to feed urban sprawl in Las Vegas could drive these springsnails to extinction,” said Rob Mrowka, a Center ecologist. “The Southern Nevada Water Authority’s water grab threatens hundreds of species of native wildlife, and important water supplies for rural residents and future generations.” In 2010 the Center and allies petitioned for protection for the Lake Valley springsnail, hardy springsnail, flag springsnail and bifid duct springsnail under the Endangered Species Act. The Service determined that the springsnails “may warrant” protection as endangered species but has failed to make a final determination within 12 months, as required...more

Ferrets’ return on hold

The black-footed ferret, which had been thought twice extinct and has been on the endangered species list since 1967, is making a comeback. The resurgence of black-footed ferrets is due in large part to the National Black-Footed Ferret Recovery Program, a multi-partner project lead by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. But plans to bring the ferrets back to North Dakota aren’t concrete. “We don’t have any firm plans to reintroduce black-footed ferrets,” said Jeff Towner, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service North Dakota field supervisor. “Our long-term desires would be to, at some point, reintroduce black-footed ferrets to North Dakota, because it’s part of their historic range. “The Fish and Wildlife Service is interested in starting up as many new colonies as we can.” Since the recovery program started in 1981, the black-footed ferrets have grown in number from 18 to about 1,000 ferrets in the wild...more

Saving Nemo: Could this be a Pixar sequel?

Almost a decade after the Pixar hit "Finding Nemo" made clownfish seem downright warm and fuzzy, environmentalists are now looking for a real-life sequel: Saving Nemo. The Center for Biological Diversity is petitioning the National Marine Fisheries Service to extend the protections of the Endangered Species Act to the clownfish as well as several other coral reef dwellers. Does this mean that Nemo has disappeared? Not exactly. In fact, there's no documented loss of clownfish population. For that matter, no one has a real grasp of how many of the orange-and-white striped fish there are or what's been happening to their population. The request is based on the declining health of coral reefs from climate change and related ocean acidification...more


Lawsuit Filed to Protect Rare Turtle in Florida, Georgia and Alabama

Lawsuit Filed to Protect Imperiled Florida Bird, Crayfish

Group asks Federal Court to order a deadline for listing of ringed, bearded seals

Local authorities fight endangered species listing

Montana fire kills recently transplanted Yellowstone bison

Environmental group serves notice of intent to sue BLM re fracking in California

Patriot missile test sparks hundreds of phone calls in Southwest

People across the Southwest got an early morning show in the sky, courtesy of missiles fired from New Mexico that left a brilliant white contrail. The twisting cloud-like formation was visible in southern Colorado, Phoenix, Salt Lake City and Las Vegas just before sunrise and led to hundreds of calls and emails to area television stations. A spokesman for the U.S. Army's White Sands Missile Range tells The Associated Press the contrail was from a Juno ballistic missile that was fired at 6:30 a.m. MDT Thursday from Fort Wingate near Gallup, N.M. The Juno missile was then targeted by an advanced version of the Patriot missile fired from White Sands. The rising sun backlit the Juno missile's contrail and provided a spectacular morning sight for early risers across the region. AP

Motor Vehicle Dept. this am, soccer game this afternoon, volleyball game this evening, not sure I'll get much blogging done.

Song Of The Day #929

Ranch Radio continues with your requests. For the folks in Amarillo here is Patsy Cline singing Leavin' On Your Mind.  The tune was recorded in Nashville on Jan. 15, 1963.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Taxpayers to get charged as Pentagon buys up Chevy Volts

Fox News reports:

The Chevy Volt, the plug-in car that has been plagued by sluggish sales and mounting losses since General Motors rolled it out in 2010, has one deep-pocketed customer: the Pentagon. The Department of Defense is planning to purchase 1,500 electric cars including Volts as part of its effort to make the military more environmentally friendly. But given the federal government’s bailout of Chevy maker General Motors, President Obama’s praise of the Volt and the car’s long-running problems, the federal purchase is likely to become the latest controversy in the Volt’s short life.

Stars and Stripes has more info:

Electric vehicles are becoming a more common sight on military bases as the Department of Defense adds “road-capable” electric cars such as the Chevy Volt to a fleet of thousands of smaller battery-powered vehicles. The moves are part of the Defense Department’s “green initiatives,” which seek to reduce the country’s dependence on foreign energy sources. The Volts, which can run on gas or electricity, join more than 3,000 electric vehicles already in the military fleet, according to the 2011 Federal Fleet Report. The Army alone is placing electric vehicles at more than 40 installations, she said, and the DOD aims to integrate about 1,500 road-capable electric vehicles over the next few years. To power its electric vehicles, the military is installing the quick charging points at many of its bases. Opconnect, a company that makes electric vehicle charging stations, announced earlier this year that it would install them at Navy bases in Washington; Indian Head, Md.; and San Diego...

And about all this, Erika Johnson at Hot Air says:

So, let me get this straight: The defense budget is looking at billions of dollars in budget cuts to create a “leaner military” over the next decade, and Secretary Panetta has said that the upcoming half-a-trillion sequester would be a “disaster” as-is, but now we’re using our limited defense funds to buy cars that the free market is rejecting in order to prop up the Obama administration’s green agenda?

As tempting as it is to lay all of this on Obama, there are other culprits involved.  One commenter points out:

Federal agencies are mandated by the Energy Policy Act, Executive Order 13423, and the Energy Independence and Security Act to purchase alternative fuel vehicles (AFV), to increase consumption of alternative fuels, and to reduce petroleum consumption.

So I checked it out. EO 13423 was issued by George W. Bush. The Energy Policy Act of 2005 and the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 were both signed into law by George W. Bush.  The Energy Policy Act was signed by Bush at Sandia Labs in Albuquerque!  The Senate vote was 74-26 and the House vote was 249-183.  The votes on the 2007 bill were 86-8 and 314-100.  So there is plenty of blame to go around, in both parties.

Large fires show need for new Forest Service policies

by Steve Pearce

The summer season is drawing to a close and as we reflect upon the months that defined it, many of us will long remember it for the destruction resulting from our state's historic forest fires. This season, New Mexico's Little Bear and Whitewater-Baldy fires claimed nearly a half-million acres, thousands of acres of wildlife habitat and nearly 300 homes and businesses...

As I have stated previously, my concerns are with Washington policies and not with our brave firefighters. Decades-long mismanagement of our federal lands has allowed the fuels to build into what we see today and explode into the raging blazes that we witnessed this summer.

Progress into changing these long-established failed policies has been made. Just recently, on Aug. 7, Joe Walsh, Washington spokesman for the US Forest Service, stated that the agency would "more aggressively extinguish small fires before they become larger ones." (Los Angeles Times) This is the correct mindset that Americans need.

In another shift, on Aug. 16, Tom Harbor, director of Fire and Aviation Management for the US Forest Service, said that it was changing policy and would begin allowing helicopters to attack wildfires at night in southern California. (Washington Post)

However, here in New Mexico, in the Aug. 8 issue of the Ruidoso News, the chief ranger of the Lincoln National Forest's Smokey Bear Ranger District said he "would do nothing different." It is extremely concerning to hear that locally, the Forest Service demonstrates no concern with existing policies. Policies that very likely allowed for the destruction of our local communities, impacting families, businesses, and public health.

It is my intention to see that the Forest Service re-evaluates its policies and implements basic changes that can better improve prevention of these large, out-of-control fires in the future. Nothing sweeping. Nothing radical. Just commonsense, such as, thinning areas that are overgrown, establishing safety zones around at-risk communities and aggressively/immediately putting out fires in these areas. We all, especially our federal land managers, must be open-minded to make our rural and urban areas safe.

Democrats Don’t Think Climate Change Winning Issue

by Marita Noon

...With the scare tactics involved—calling climate change “one of the biggest threats of this generation,” a “catastrophe in the making,” a “national security threat” that is “real, urgent and severe,” and one of “the greatest dangers we face” likened to “terrorism, nuclear proliferation, cyber and biological attacks,” and “transnational crime”—you’d think it deserved at least as much mention on the podium as abortion or gay marriage. There shouldn’t have been “a speech without it.” However, according to a report by the Daily Caller, it received only one mention in more than 80 speeches during the first two days. Additionally, none of its big supporters were given a spot on the podium. Neither Representatives Henry Waxman or Ed Markey—the authors of the failed cap-and-trade bill, nor the high priest of global warming, Al Gore, were given a role in Charlotte. At the 2012 DNC, unlike 2008 where he “strode onto the stage at Denver’s Invesco Field to a hero's welcome,” Gore reportedly was “nowhere in sight.” Markey was in town and did participate in an off-site panel discussion on energy hosted by Politico. There he called clean energy “a debate that wins.” He said, “We think this revolution is something to brag about.” Yet, the best attention the green energy/climate change issue got was a vague reference to “increasing climate volatility” from a “least watched” speech by Tom Steyer, co-founder of the Advanced Energy Economy trade association, a “passing reference” from Bill Clinton regarding “reducing greenhouse gases,” and, on Thursday, former presidential candidate, Senator John Kerry added: “an exceptional country does care about the rise of the oceans and the future of the planet.”

Why so little attention for an issue that is one of the “biggest threats of this generation?”

Perhaps, just days away from the anniversary of the Solyndra scandal, they didn’t want to remind people of President Obama bragging about how Solyndra is the model for green jobs of the future, only to have them fail—costing more than a thousand jobs and hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars. Or, how the failed green-energy loan guarantee program exposed the favor his friends in high places received.

Maybe they didn’t want to draw attention to Obama’s failed promise to push through a cap-and-trade program—as was a part of the 2008 Democratic Party Platform. Or, to the higher energy costs the green-energy emphasis has brought to manufacturing—causing jobs to be outsourced—and that “disproportionately affect the poor.”

They probably didn’t want to have to answer questions about CO2 emissions being the lowest in twenty years without the onerous, job-killing policies favored by the Democrats. Or, why European countries are abandoning their green-energy policies, ending green-energy subsidies, and are pursuing coal, shale gas, and off-shore drilling.

Whatever the reason, the obvious exclusion at the DNC makes clear that the Democrats don’t view climate change as a winning issue.

Blind Spider Discovery Halts Development Of Texas Highway

What has eight legs, is no bigger than a dime, and can stop a $15-million-dollar highway construction project? Why of course, it’s a Braken Bat Cave Meshweaver!  It seems the San Antonio, Texas underpass project was halted when the rare spider was discovered after rain exposed a 6-foot-deep natural hole in a highway median at Texas 151 and Loop 1604. The endangered arachnid, which had not been seen in more than 30 years, gave biologists a chance to rejoice for the chance discovery. While the find is a significant one for science, area commuters will likely not be pleased as the discovery has halted the construction project indefinitely–in the battle of highway vs. nature, nature wins. The Zara Environmental biologist who found the tiny critter was working as a consultant for the Texas Department of Transportation on the road project. Construction has been under way since April, but will now cease after a taxonomist confirmed late last week that the spider was in fact the endangered Meshweaver, named for the type of web it weaves. It was added to the Federal endangered species list in 2000, along with eight other “karst invertebrates” found only in Bexar County. Because the region where the underpass project was ongoing is steeped with natural resources, such as songbirds and cave animals, biologists were on scene to observe and preserve, said Stirling J. Robertson, biology team leader for the Texas DOT’s environmental affairs division...more

Feds propose protections for rare Jemez salamander

A rare salamander found only in northern New Mexico would be added to the federal endangered species list under a proposal unveiled Tuesday by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The plan highlights questions about how many Jemez Mountain salamanders still exist following back-to-back years of wildfire, drought and other changes to their moist, forested habitat. Researchers with the Center for Conservation Biology at the University of Washington and The Nature Conservancy spent the last three weeks in the Jemez Mountains using a team of specially trained dogs to sniff out populations of the salamanders in an effort to learn more about what makes them tick. "Salamanders are ancient creatures, but we don't know if they've been in the Jemez Mountains for 10,000 years or 100,000 years," said Anne Bradley, forest conservation program manager for The Nature Conservancy. "We don't really know what kind of environments the salamander has experienced over its evolutionary history to know how it is adapting to these changes that we're seeing now," she said. Dependent on moisture in the air and soil, the salamanders breathe through their skin and spend much of their lives underground. One of the chief threats facing the lung-less amphibian is the combination of an overgrown forest and the likelihood of severe wildfire, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Aside from the proposed listing, the agency is suggesting setting aside more than 140 square miles in three New Mexico counties as critical habitat for the salamander...more

"One of the chief threats facing the lung-less amphibian is the combination of an overgrown forest and the likelihood of severe wildfire"

 In other words, the Forest Service is the chief threat to the salamander.

Rabid beaver chases children in Fairfax; 2nd attack in a week

A rabid beaver leaped from a pond and chased a group of children who had gathered for a fishing competition in a Fairfax County park on Saturday — the second beaver attack in the county in a week. Judy Pedersen, spokeswoman for the Fairfax County Park Authority, said the beaver attacked the children around 11:30 a.m. at the Hidden Pond Nature Center in Springfield. According to a staff member on duty during the competition, part of the park’s Safari Saturday program, the beaver swam over to a dock where about four or five children were standing with two parents. “There was a 4-year-old girl a little bit on one side by herself,” Ms. Pedersen said. “The beaver got up on the dock, staggering, and jumped toward the young girl.” The beaver didn’t touch the girl, and the parents grabbed the children and ran, she said...more

San Lorenzo photographer Michael Berman launches book on the Gila National Forest

For most artists, it's all about the work, rather than the awards and accolades, but for San Lorenzo-based landscape photographer Michael Berman, it goes even deeper than that. For Berman, who has been photographing the Gila National Forest for more than three decades, it's less about the work, which is stunning, starkly beautiful photographs of a land he loves, and more about the subject matter - the beloved Gila. Now, the Guggeheim Foundation Fellow has a new book coming out, "The Gila: Radical Visions/Enduring Silence," which will be unveiled in a book release party and reception at Bear Mountain Lodge from 4 to 7 p.m. Thursday. The book is actually a two-book folio that will include Berman's book of beautiful photographs, and another with essays by authors who have something passionate to say about the Gila. Authors include Phillip Connors, Martha Cooper, Dave Foreman, Jorge Garcia, John Horning, Rex Johnson Jr., Sharman Apt Russell and Victor Masayesva. A selection of Berman's photographs from the book will be displayed at Bear Mountain Lodge during the opening reception, refreshments provided by Bear Mountain Lodge will also be available and many of the essayists from Berman's book will be at the opening reception. Also for a limited time - this week only during the Gila River Festival - copies of Berman's book, along with a print of Berman's work, will be available for a donation of $75 to benefit the Gila Conservation Coalition's efforts to protect the Gila River. Berman will autograph copies of his book at the reception, as well as at the Saturday evening event "The Great Conversation" and at the Sunday fundraising brunch in honor of Dutch Salmon...more

Song Of The Day #928

Since yesterday, Ranch Radio has received a bunch of requests for Patsy Cline.  Looks like this will be a Patsy Cline week.  By request here is Walking After Midnight, recorded in Nashville on Nov. 8, 1956.  In the studio with her were Grady Martin guitar, Don Helms steel, and Tommy Jackson fiddle.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

A Dangerous Delusion Is Back In The Form Of Carbon Tax


After hovering in the shadows for several years, calls for a carbon tax have re-emerged from diverse quarters including the Brookings Institution, MIT, the International Monetary Fund, self-professed conservatives, supply-side economists and the usual left-of-center suspects.

On Aug. 2, Congressman Jim McDermott introduced H.R. 6338, "The Managed Carbon Price Act." There is even hope of a grand tax compromise in the coming lame duck session of Congress: swapping the looming massive income-tax hike for a carbon tax as part of a proposed tax system overhaul.

Unless there is a cabal of renewable energy investors and select natural-gas interests desperate to increase the cost of their competitors' fuels (oil or coal), what could be motivating these ill-timed initiatives to tax fossil fuel-based energy — what is now the most productive sector of the U.S. economy?

Whether proffered as revenue-neutral tax swaps, a source of new revenue to reduce the deficit or the market-friendly method to avert catastrophic global warming, the benefits attributed to these carbon tax schemes are as lofty as they are implausible and irrelevant to the exigencies of the day.

What a whoppingly inopportune time to resuscitate a politically defeated, publicly unpopular, economically damaging policy with no measurable benefits! With 85% of our energy derived from carbon-rich fossil fuels, a carbon tax is simply a tax on energy not unlike the BTU tax summarily squelched during the Clinton administration.

Energy's role in the economy remains remarkably misunderstood. Energy — aptly called the "master resource" by economist Julian Simon — drives modern industrial economies. The cost of energy is imbedded in the price of all goods and services. There are no near- or medium-term alternatives to the abundance, affordability and efficiency of fossil fuels.

Renewables, such as wind and solar, are not on the cusp of some game-changing deployment at scale. After an increase of some 500-fold in the last few years — driven by lavish government subsidies and mandates — renewable energy still provides only a sliver of U.S. demand at a much higher cost than fossil fuels.

The U.S. has long claimed to offer the highest standard of living in the world. Since the 1950s, the comparatively lower costs of food, energy and housing in the U.S. left families with disposable income unmatched elsewhere. Increasing energy prices, however, presage real poverty.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, slightly more than one-half of U.S. households (with a median income of $50,000) spent an average of 21% of average after-tax income on energy in 2012. These same households, in 2001, spent an average of 12% on energy.


Flake Blasts Management Of Forests In Senate Bid

U.S. Republican Senate candidate Jeff Flake last week organized a meeting in Show Low to push for a waiver of environmental laws and regulations to speed up forest thinning and restoration projects in the wake of wildfires. Flake largely blamed lawsuits filed by “radical environmentalists” and the administration of President Barack Obama for failing to cut through “red tape” to undertake large-scale thinning and restoration projects. He highlighted various bills he has sponsored to facilitate forest thinning and restoration efforts and to repeal environmental regulations that have limited cattle grazing and other private economic uses of federal lands. In another position that would have a big impact on Gila County, Flake also called for legislation that would accelerate land trades near Globe to clear the way for what could become one of the world’s largest copper mines. Mostly, Flake called for eliminating “red tape and excessive regulation” to expedite “cattle grazing and forest thinning.” He noted that he has “consistently taken on radical environmentalists who abuse existing law like the Endangered Species Act to stall and prevent fuel reduction projects from moving forward — something the Obama administration and Senate Democrats refuse to do.”...more

Plan for Giant Sequoia monument limits felling

The federal government's long-awaited plan for managing the health of the largest forest of giant sequoias on earth limits logging and emphasizes fire as the primary means to restore the forest's health. The U.S. Forest Service's plan for the Giant Sequoia National Monument in the Sierra Nevada was released Tuesday, and initial readings have environmental groups cheering that logging would be a method of last resort. Then-President Bill Clinton signed a proclamation in 2000 that made the 33 sequoia groves in the forest a national monument. Since then, scientists and environmentalists have been debating how to best protect them after decades of logging and fire suppression across the Sequoia National Forest created unnatural ecosystems across swaths of the monument. The first attempt under President George W. Bush's administration ended when a federal judge rejected a logging-heavy plan as too favorable to timber interests. Sierra Club spokesman Sarah Matsumoto said the plan unveiled Tuesday appears to be an improvement...more

Wyoming Gov. Mead to Interior: Back off on fracking rules

Gov. Matt Mead has asked the Interior Department to scale back — or abandon altogether — proposed rules that would require petroleum companies to disclose the chemicals they inject down well bores during hydraulic fracturing. The proposed U.S. Bureau of Land Management rule resembles one already in place in Wyoming. For two years now, Wyoming has required companies to disclose the ingredients in their “fracking” chemicals. Having similar rules on both the federal and state level is duplicative and unnecessary, Mead wrote Interior Secretary Ken Salazar on Monday. “The effect is fewer jobs, less economic development and a dangerous precedent for future regulatory actions,” the governor wrote. The BLM should either reject the proposal, he wrote, or at least “give maximum deference to states” with regard to fracking regulation. Monday was the deadline for public comment on the proposed rules...more

Western Legal Group Wins In Pennsylvania Court

Energy operators in Pennsylvania, after winning at the U. S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit in Philadelphia in September 2011, which upheld a December 2009 ruling by a Pennsylvania federal district court regarding the property rights of oil and gas operators, today celebrated the district court’s final ruling in their favor and against three environmental groups. The energy operators sued the U. S. Forest Service for settling the groups’ lawsuit. In its 2009 ruling, the district court barred the agency from implementing its settlement agreement with the groups, prohibited it from doing studies on the use of privately owned oil, gas, and mineral rights beneath the Allegheny National Forest (ANF), and lifted the moratorium on oil and gas drilling in the ANF. The district court converted its preliminary injunction into a final declaratory judgment. Minard Run Oil Company and the Pennsylvania Independent Oil and Gas Association are represented by Mountain States Legal Foundation (MSLF), the District of Columbia law firm of Crowell & Moring, and the Wolford Law Firm of Erie. “We are delighted with this final ruling, with the vacatur of the illegal settlement agreement, and with the permanent lifting of the ban on oil and gas drilling on private property,” said William Perry Pendley, MSLF president. The ANF, which covers 500,000 acres in Elk, Forest, McKean, and Warren Counties in northwestern Pennsylvania, comprises lands that were once privately owned and were purchased under the 1911 Weeks Act during the 1920s. Because the United States bought only the surface estate, most of the mineral rights in the ANF are privately owned. Thus, there is no contractual basis for any federal government regulatory authority over outstanding oil, gas, and mineral (OGM) rights in the ANF. Although, under Pennsylvania law, owners of OGM estates have the right to go onto the surface to access their property and to use as much of the surface as necessary to remove it, the law provides for accommodation; therefore, OGM rights must be exercised with “due regard” for the interests of surface owners. That the United States owns the surface does not change the law. In accordance with the Forest Service Manual, the Forest Service has only limited rights as to the use of OGM rights within the ANF...more

Portland Police target shooting in Columbia River Gorge raises Forest Service concerns over safety, resources

Note to Portland police: If you're going to go target shooting on someone else's property, you might want to give them a heads-up. Especially if that property happens to be part of a federally designated scenic area that includes peregrine falcon habitat, centuries-old petroglyphs carved in the rock and a public hiking trail wending above the shooting zone. Police didn't notify the U.S. Forest Service about the training they organized for 35 tactical team officers from Portland and elsewhere around the metro area, said Stan Hinatsu, a Forest Service manager. The federal agency oversees the site -- Cape Horn -- where the targets were set up. Cape Horn, located in the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area, is across from Bridal Veil along the Washington side of the river. The Forest Service found out only after a Portland man who was kayaking along the Columbia came upon officers staging approaches from their boats and firing live ammunition at steel targets set up on the shoreline in front of Cape Horn's distinct basalt cliffs. It sounded, he said, "like a war." He then notified conservation groups. Hinatsu, recreation program manager for the Forest Service in the scenic area, said he was concerned that the shooting could compromise Cape Horn as well as threaten public safety. The scenic area is subject to a management plan that seeks to protect such resources as the cliff's petroglyphs, which appear when water levels are low. But the Forest Service won't seek to ticket the police for the Aug. 29 training. "We feel a conversation will resolve the issue," said Hinatsu. "I think it's an awareness thing. They probably didn't even realize there was a trail there nor the other significant concerns with regard to cultural and natural resources."...more

If instead of a police dept. this had been a private gun club doing some target shooting, do you think the Forest Service would have chosen to not ticket them and handle the whole thing with a "conversation"?

Feds take search for NM refuge name online

Federal wildlife managers are stepping into uncharted territory and are asking social media users for help in naming what will be one of the nation's newest urban wildlife refuges. The refuge in New Mexico has yet to be formally established, but the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Southwest Region is getting a jump on things by asking people to suggest names on its Facebook page. Voting started Friday and the list of suggestions has grown. The favorites include Valle de Oro — Spanish for Valley of Gold — National Wildlife Refuge. Southwest Regional Director Benjamin Tuggle says the agency wanted to invite everyone to help name what he described as a unique addition to the refuge system. The refuge would include about 570 acres of cottonwoods and agricultural land along the Rio Grande south of Albuquerque. Online:

U.S. boom in oil production spells peril for Canadian crude

A torrent of oil pumped from new wells across the U.S. is setting in motion a decade of dramatic change that promises to wean the country off OPEC, and threatens the growth of energy imports from Canada. The U.S. is now staring at an energy future awash with its own crude, with far-reaching consequences for Canada’s oil sands, the U.S. economy and global geopolitics. This massive shift has been sparked by changing political sentiment and technological advances that have allowed crude to be tapped in new places – from North Dakota to Oklahoma, Colorado, Michigan, and even Florida. The United States, according to new data released Monday by Bentek, a U.S. energy analysis firm, will see its oil production rise nearly five million barrels a day, or 74 per cent, in the next decade. In that time, reliance on countries outside Canada will largely disappear. The U.S. today imports 45 per cent of its petroleum, half from OPEC countries. But by 2022, Bentek projects, only a million barrels per day will be delivered to U.S. shores by tanker – down from 6.7 million in 2011 and just 5 per cent of total demand – and at least some of those won’t come from OPEC, but from countries like Mexico and Brazil. The coming change, according to Bentek, is startling: By 2016, the U.S. will surpass its 1970 oil production peak of 9.6 million barrels a day; by 2022, it will have leapt to 11.6 million barrels a day...more

Scorpion sting leaves Az. woman with a big bill

Marcie Edmonds was tearing open a box of air-conditioner filters in her garage last June when she felt a sharp sting in her abdomen. The 52-year-old Ahwatukee Foothills woman had never felt a scorpion sting before that day. She had no intention of seeking medical help, but within an hour of the sting, Edmonds' mild tingling sensation worsened with throat tightness, blurry vision, darting eyes and tense muscles. She could not walk and had trouble breathing. With the help of a friend, she called Poison Control and was advised to go to the nearest hospital that had scorpion antivenom, Chandler Regional Medical Center. At the hospital, an emergency room doctor told her about the antivenom, called Anascorp, that could quickly relieve her symptoms. Edmonds said the physician never talked with her about the cost of the drug or treatment alternatives. Her symptoms subsided after she received two doses of the drug Anascorp through an IV, and she was discharged from the hospital in about three hours. Weeks later, she received a bill for $83,046 from Chandler Regional Medical Center. The hospital, owned by Dignity Health, charged her $39,652 per dose of Anascorp. The Arizona Republic reported last year about the pricey markup Arizona hospitals were charging for the antivenom made in Mexico. Pharmacies in Mexico charge about $100 per dose...more

Thief, or thieves, make hay with horse, cattle feed in Larimer County

A brazen thief hot-wired a front-end loader to steal hay valued at $5,000 from fields on a farm north of Wellington. It was the latest in a series of northern Colorado hay and alfalfa thefts reported in the wake of prices pushed high by prolonged drought and extreme heat throughout the country. "This is the third or fourth one in the last five or six weeks," said Larimer County sheriff's spokesman John Schulz. "It was one of the larger ones." The thief — or, more likely, team of thieves — took 10 round bales, which can stand more than 6 feet high, five 4-foot-by-4-foot alfalfa bales and eight 3-foot-by-4-foot alfalfa bales. Another $800 worth of hay was damaged. The ignition switch of the front-end loader was damaged when the machine was hot-wired, the sheriff's department said. The theft took place sometime between 1 p.m. on Aug. 30 and noon on Sept. 4, Schulz said...more

Beetles kill fewer trees in West, but more at higher elevations

A pine beetle outbreak that has left many Western states with vast stands of dead and dying trees has eased for the second consecutive year, the U.S. Forest Service said Monday. With fewer trees left for the beetles to eat, officials said a 2011 aerial survey recorded beetle-killed trees on 3.8 million acres of public and private land. That's down by more than half from 2009, when about 9 million acres with dead trees were tallied. But the good news is tempered by more trees dying at higher elevations as beetles take advantage of warm winters to gain a new foothold, said Robert Mangold, the Forest Service's acting associate deputy chief for research and development. And with trees on roughly 42 million acres killed by various beetles since 2000, it could take decades for some forests to fully recover. Beetle outbreaks can lead to more intense wildfires and hurt timber companies by making some trees unsuitable to harvest. Montana recorded the most beetle kill acreage in 2011, with dead trees across almost one million acres. Idaho, Colorado, Wyoming and Oregon also had significant losses...more

Cows heal the land in heart of Coal Basin

Help is being harnessed from an unlikely source to repair a damaged and desolate landscape in the White River National Forest in the mountains west of Redstone. Cows were enlisted to help break up the thin layer of soil covering waste-coal piles in Coal Basin, roughly six miles from Redstone. The ground on a 1-acre test plot on the massive pile has been covered with straw mixed with grass and hay seed. The cows' split hooves till the hard ground and work in the seeds, while their waste provides the fertilizer. The hope is that the grass germinates, takes hold and allows the slopes to hold water better, said Ben Carlson, a range technician with the Aspen-Sopris Ranger District of the Forest Service. That way rainfall won't immediately run off the hardened soil and carry sediment into Coal Creek and ultimately to the Crystal River...more

As panther population grows, so will territory

Florida's favorite big cat may be on the prowl, heading this way from its established haunts in the swamps and hammocks of the Everglades. The state agency that monitors wildlife says the population of Florida panthers is growing large enough to consider expanding its territory north from the million-acre refuge in South Florida into areas they roamed decades and, perhaps, centuries ago. So the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is examining potential Central Florida locations to establish suitable populations of big cats. There's a lot of work to be done before expansion takes place, including discussions with residents, farmers, ranchers and motorists about the habits of the panthers. Conservationists admit that finding space north of the expansive Everglades could be an issue. Biologists with the state and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service figure each adult male needs 200 square miles of territory in which to feel comfortable, so panthers may hunt beyond the preserves on private land. "Panther expansion northward is going to be, in large part, due to cooperation with private landowners," commission Chairman Kenneth Wright said during a meeting in Tampa last week. Jim Strickland, who owns a ranch near Duette Park, said he would love to see panthers in the wild and he expected someday the big cats would migrate north. However, panthers and cattle in the same area can only mean financial losses for the rancher, said Strickland, also a Florida Cattlemen's Association executive committee member. "If you're a rancher losing $20,000 a year, then, you are supplying that habitat for the expansion," he said. "There's nothing I like better than a good glass of orange juice in the morning but a panther would rather have a big piece of red meat."...more

In Louisiana marshlands, ranchers struggle after losing hundreds of cattle to Hurricane Isaac

In August, the ranchlands spreading over the boot of Louisiana were dotted with hundreds of cows and calves grazing on a smorgasbord of tall marsh grasses. But Hurricane Isaac took all that away, turning some of the best cattle country on the Mississippi River delta into brackish, foul-smelling floodwater stretching for miles. A lot of the livestock raised here by a handful of ranching families drowned in Isaac’s storm surge along with birds, snakes and other wildlife. The storm overwhelmed weak levees protecting this farm country south of New Orleans. “It’s heart-breaking,” said Charmion Delesdermier Cosse, a third-generation rancher with about 300 mother cows in Citrus Lands. “This year was probably the best calf crop we’ve seen in a long time.” South Louisiana’s cattle industry consists mostly of pockets of ranchers along the coast sandwiched between the Mississippi and Texas borders. Almost all of them raise calves to be sold to others to be fattened for market. It is a region with its own flair. A Louisiana a cowpoke is just as likely to work the herd by airboats as four-wheelers, and graze cattle in cane brakes and gooey marshes — unlike brethren in Texas or further out West who ride herd on the dry, high plains. The lowland cattle are different too, a derivation of the heat-tolerant and bug-resistant hump-backed Brahman cattle found in India. The animals are striking to come across in the open marshes, standing like water buffalo up to their necks in the wetlands. For centuries, Cajuns of French ancestry and Spaniards wintered cattle in the bountiful marsh country rimming the Gulf of Mexico. In summers, to beat the stifling heat, they would send the herds northward to Louisiana’s upland plains and pines...more

Song Of The Day #927

Virginia Patterson Hensley was born on September 8, 1932 in Winchester, Virginia. That's Patsy Cline to you and me and her birthday was Saturday, so today Ranch Radio brings you her recording of I Love You, Honey.

The tune was recorded on Jan. 5, 1956 in Nashville and was released as Coral 61583.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Western Watersheds Project Files Notice to Challenge Delisting of Wyoming Wolves

Today, Western Watersheds Project in a coalition of eight western grassroots conservation groups filed a notice of intent to sue the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service over its decision to remove Endangered Species Act (ESA) protection from Wyoming's gray wolves.  If the delisting of wolves in Wyoming is successful, wolves will be subjected to Wyoming's management plan which entails unregulated killing year-round in over 80 percent of the state. Western Watersheds Project and our allies intend to stop this illegal killing of wolves.  According to the US Fish and Wildlife Service's Federal Register notice, the federal government and the state agreed to manage for a minimum of 100 wolves outside of Yellowstone National Park and the Wind River Reservation. The current population in the entire state of Wyoming is about 330 individuals. Key points to be raised in WWP's upcoming legal challenge include the government's failure to use the best available science, failure to base its decision solely on science, failure to consider the genetic isolation of the Wyoming populations from other wolves in the northern Rockies, and the agency's flawed conclusion that Wyoming will implement adequate regulatory mechanisms to prevent the extirpation of the species. There is nothing in the Wyoming wolf management plan that will or can ensure that the wolf populations won't drop below the limit of 10 breeding pairs or 100 wolves, largely because the killing of wolves for any reason and by any means is likely to go unregulated. The Wyoming Fish and Game Department has stated that people will be allowed to bait and kill wolves by such means as staking out live dogs or animal carcasses to entice wolves that can then be shot...more

Guess we'll find out if Salazar did this right, or if this was just an election-year move that will be thrown out by the courts

Rocky Barker: BLM plan on Owyhee grazing written for a judge’s eye

I have never seen a 500-page environmental assessment. But the Bureau of Land Management is poised to release one on its renewal of several grazing allotments in Owyhee County. You can expect this document to land with a thud on Idaho’s political world. It analyzes the effects of grazing on sage grouse and bighorn sheep, not just on the 252,000 acres of the four BLM grazing allotments, but on the entire landscape. It is a part of a grazing permit renewal package the BLM was ordered to conduct by U.S. District Judge B Lynn Winmill after a lawsuit by Western Watersheds Project, the group whose stated aim is to force ranchers off public land. So it starts out with a polarized political backdrop. Add the Winmill-imposed deadline of 2015 for developing conservation plans — to protect sage grouse so they are not listed as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act — and you have a tough challenge for the BLM. Usually environmental assessments are about 20 pages. They outline alternatives in cases where agencies expect to get a “finding of no significant impact,” or FONSI in agency gibberish. If the agency thinks there may be impacts, it does a full-blown environmental-impact statement under the National Environmental Policy Act. So a 500-page environmental assessment is both an act of confidence and an act of covering an agency’s rear. The BLM has until 2013 to finish all 75 permit renewals; anywhere it can cut out a step saves it time...more

A great example of managing for the courts, rather than for the resource. Think of the cost of time and money, and multiply that across the federal estate. Rocky Barker ends his column with:

But while the BLM will listen, its audience for this is really only one man: Judge Winmill. I hope he’s ready for some late-night reading.

BLM to trap wild burros around Blue Diamond community

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management is rounding up wild burros that have taken up residence in the Blue Diamond community near Red Rock National Conservation Area. The BLM says it will use a bait trap at the community baseball field to corral the animals. The corral and hay will be removed at night so the field can be used. About 30 burros will be rounded up in the gather that began Monday and will last about five days. Officials say removing the animals is necessary because they pose a safety hazard along State Route 159 and cause property damage in Blue Diamond. Since October 2010, at least 13 burros were killed or had to be destroyed because of collisions with vehicles. The burros will be put up for adoption. AP

Salazar still coy about a second term as Interior Secretary

Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar said Thursday he would work hard as a surrogate in the next 61 days to get President Barack Obama elected. What happens after that is anyone’s guess. Salazar has been famously mum on whether he’d like to serve a second term with Obama, if he wins re-election this fall. Again, Thursday, in an interview with The Denver Post at the Democratic National Convention, Salazar said his job at Interior was the best cabinet position in the country, that he has a lot of work to do, and that he wants to get the president re-elected. “We’ll get the president re-elected and we’ll sit down after the election and the president and I will have a discussion about my future,” he said...more

Fracking-regulations battle on federal lands heats up

Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar is on record as saying that hydraulic fracturing methods to extract oil and gas "can be done safely," but he's not overly impressed with varying state rules overseeing the drilling process. He's been pushing in recent months for his department to tighten its requirements for "well stimulation" procedures on federal lands -- and that's prompted some pushing back from energy interests, claiming that the proposed fracking crackdown could cost $1.5 billion a year in unnecessary delays and red tape. "The proposed rule is a poorly conceived solution to a nonexistent problem," a consortium of independent oil and gas associations claim in a recently released and lengthy set of comments blasting the proposed rule change. "Unfounded concerns without a basis in fact should not be the justification for a rule that will impose significant costs on small businesses, independent producers and society at large in terms of decreased access to energy resources, job loss and slowed economic growth."...more

Hackers catch FBI spying on millions of Apple customers

Hackers with the amorphous protest movement “Anonymous” and “AntiSec” said Monday night they caught the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) red-handed spying on Apple customers, and published over 1 million unique device identification numbers they allegedly pulled out of an FBI database. In all, the hackers claimed that the FBI files they accessed had more than 12 million Apple UDIDs, the unique identifier associated with every iPhone and iPad that comes off the production line. They also said that most UDIDs in the FBI’s database had names, cell phone numbers and addresses attached to them, which were edited out before publication. Apple has sold nearly 200 million iPhones and more than 50 million iPads since both devices’ debut. They claimed to have tapped into a Dell laptop owned by Special Agent Christopher K. Stangl, an FBI cyber security expert. They downloaded several files, including one that contained “12,367,232 Apple iOS devices including Unique Device Identifiers (UDID)” and other personal information, they wrote in a text file published online.  While it’s not immediately clear what the FBI is doing with the Apple UDIDs and detailed information on device owners, Gizmodo pointed out that the acronym “NCFTA” could stand for the National Cyber-Forensics & Training Alliance, a nonprofit that acts as an information-sharing gateway between private industry and law enforcement...more

GM losing $49,000 on each Volt it builds

Nearly two years after the introduction of the path-breaking plug-in hybrid, GM is still losing as much as $49,000 on each Volt it builds, according to estimates provided to Reuters by industry analysts and manufacturing experts. GM on Monday issued a statement disputing the estimates. Cheap Volt lease offers meant to drive more customers to Chevy showrooms this summer may have pushed that loss even higher. There are some Americans paying just $5,050 to drive around for two years in a vehicle that cost as much as $89,000 to produce. GM's basic problem is that "the Volt is over-engineered and over-priced," said Dennis Virag, president of the Michigan-based Automotive Consulting Group. And in a sign that there may be a wider market problem, Nissan, Honda and Mitsubishi have been struggling to sell their electric and hybrid vehicles, though Toyota's Prius models have been in increasing demand...more

Honduras sets stage for 3 privately run cities

Investors can begin construction in six months on three privately run cities in Honduras that will have their own police, laws, government and tax systems now that the government has signed a memorandum of agreement approving the project. An international group of investors and government representatives signed the memorandum Tuesday for the project that some say will bring badly needed economic growth to this small Central American country and that at least one detractor describes as "a catastrophe." The project's aim is to strengthen Honduras' weak government and failing infrastructure, overwhelmed by corruption, drug-related crime and lingering political instability after a 2009 coup. The project "has the potential to turn Honduras into an engine of wealth," said Carlos Pineda, president of the Commission for the Promotion of Public-Private Partnerships. It can be "a development instrument typical of first world countries." The "model cities" will have their own judiciary, laws, governments and police forces. They also will be empowered to sign international agreements on trade and investment and set their own immigration policy...more

Will be interesting to see if they allow competition amongst the three cities, so that folks can move to their city of choice.

Administration plans 100,000 new highway deaths

by Vin Suprinowicz

It's wonderful what the government can accomplish with a little gentle arm-twisting, especially after it's set an example by seizing control of General Motors and turning over part ownership to the unions, as their reward for driving the car-maker to the brink of bankruptcy in the first place.

On Aug. 28, for instance, the Obama administration announced a final "agreement" with auto makers which by 2025 will increase the cost of an average new car by $3,000 to $4,800.

Even better, the flimsier, lighter-weight cars that manufacturers just "agreed" to build (at a time when their biggest profits come from pickups) will result in thousands of additional highway deaths per year, and tens of thousands more serious injuries.

Actually, correcting for inflation, gasoline costs less now than it did in the 1960s. It's about as likely that we can impact the earth's climate by throwing salt over our left shoulders as by choosing which cars to build and buy. And we could also "create new jobs" by drafting 10 million Americans to dig ditches and another 10 million to fill them in - a plan that reportedly came in second, but is still under consideration.

Meantime, "Media discussions of the administration's new mileage rules have covered about everything except how many people they will kill," notes J.R. Dunn, consulting editor of American Thinker, at

Like most Green initiatives, manipulating fuel efficiency standards "is essentially ritualistic," Mr. Dunn notes. It is "intended to instill a sense of virtue ... while at the same time acting as a punitive measure against those opposed to Green ideology. As is true of many environmentalist programs, it has the unintended side-effect of killing large numbers of unknowing individuals."

Microstamping won't save lives or help solve gun crimes

by Gary Reed   

    The idea and implementation of firearm microstamping is riddled with holes, yet its allure still fires up the gun control crowd that knows nothing about guns.
    From a Fox News article: "Microstamping, or ballistic imprinting, is a patented process that uses laser technology to engrave a tiny marking of the make, model and serial number on the tip of a gun’s firing pin to allow an imprint of that information on spent cartridge cases."
    New York politicians are targeting Remington Arms in their state with microstamping legislation and Connecticut has Colt in its sights.
    But both gun makers say microstamping is expensive and unreliable and they will leave their respective states if these laws are passed, resulting in job losses for the Yankee states and job gains for unspecified Western states.
    Proponents claim microstamping will allow authorities "to quickly identify the registered guns used in crimes."
    Unless, of course, criminals use only revolvers which don't eject spent cartridge cases.
    Unless, of course, criminals pick up their spent cartridge cases and carry them away from the crime scene along with their microstamped guns.
    Unless, of course, criminals buy their guns outside of New York and Connecticut.
    Unless, of course, criminals buy foreign-made guns through the black market once the entire US is required to adopt microstamping.
    Unless, of course, glove-wearing criminals use registered microstamped guns stolen from honest citizens and simply leave the guns at the crime scene along with the spent cartridge cases.
    Unless, of course, criminals pay their underworld gunsmiths to replace the microstamped firing pins for un-microstamped firing pins.
    These are just some of the problems.
    New York Assemblywoman Michelle Schimel, identified in the article as "a Democrat and the chief sponsor of the microstamping legislation" said of Remington and Colt, "It’s unfair of them to resist sensible regulation to save lives."
    But, of course, microstamping won't save a single life because the spent cartridge cases are not "spent" until after they have been fired and the victim is already dead.

Song Of The Day #926

It's Swingin' Monday on Ranch Radio and here's Willy Lindner with Bluetick Boogie Woogie.

The tune is on his 15 track CD Life, Still, With Mandolin.

Sunday, September 09, 2012

Cowgirl Sass & Savvy

Moonin' around

Julie Carter

The moon has always provoked the imagination of men and held a fascination carried out in mythology, folklore and fables.

Cultures around the world have lived and died by the seasons of the moon believing a mysterious power comes with the lighted orb as it crawls across the night sky.
They have planted crops, romanced, predicted weather, and castrated cattle and colts by the sign of the moon. Birthing babies also required the scheduling of the moon when predicting arrivals.

The Aztecs believed the moon was a headless evil goddess who enjoyed inflicting pain and instilling fear in her worshipers. The Mayans thought the moon to be a goddess who brought floods and storms with a little help from her serpentine assistants.

No full moon anthology would be complete without mention of the five centuries of mystery surrounding the werewolf. Even in this modern world, hospital emergency rooms and law enforcement will attest to the "inner werewolf" of man cycling to a peak during periods of a full moon.

A little closer to home in Texas, a full moon is called a Comanche moon because of the night raids made by the Comanches. They used the light of the moon to cross the river into Mexico to steal horses, women, and weapons as well as collect a few scalps while they were there.

Still today, proud Texans will watch the legendary Comanche moon come over the horizon and believe they can see horses and riders silhouetted single file
against the light.

Feathers adorning men, lances, and manes flutter in the movement as the procession moves silently across the light. The victory will be celebrated when the warriors return with their plunder and the moon has gone dark.

Larry McMurtry brought the image to life in his 1997 western novel "Comanche Moon."
"The thing that Buffalo Hump was most grateful for, as he rode into the emptiness, was the knowledge that in the years of his youth and manhood he had drawn the lifeblood of so many enemies. He had been a great killer; it was his way and the way of his people; no one in his tribe had killed so often and so well. The killings were good to remember, as he rode his old horse deeper into the llano, away from all the places where people came."

This year's "blue moon" brought out the cameras to capture the occasion of the second full moon in the month of August. For the record, there won't be another until July 2015 in case you were keeping track.

All the blue moon chatter brought to me a childhood memory that made me laugh all over again at my goofy brother who was always looking for a fishing or hunting partner.

We must have been maybe 10 and 12 years old at the time. He begged and begged me to go fishing with him and with my usual lack of enthusiasm, I told him sure, the next time there is a blue moon.

That night he took a crayon and drew a blue moon on the pane of my bedroom window. He seemed to have missed the point that "once in a blue moon" meant never or at least extremely unlikely.

Julie, who did go fishing a time or two, can be reached for comment at