Friday, October 19, 2012

Song Of The Day #953

Its Flatt & Scruggs on Ranch Radio today performing Just Ain't.

Government report on secret flying saucer program made available

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The truth isn’t out there … it’s been stored in a warehouse for 56 years. The National Declassification Center in College Park, Md., opened one of more than 100 cardboard boxes from the Air Force recently and came across a 114-page document from 1956 sure to interest the tin-foil-hat crowd: a document describing a secret program by the Air Force to build a flying saucer. "These records have been classified probably since their creation during the '50s," Neil Carmichael, director of the declassification review division at NDC, told Popular Mechanics, which first posted news of the complete document. "It’s like somebody went into somebody’s office, emptied out a filing cabinet, stuck it in a box, sealed it, and sent it off to the federal records center. It was deemed permanently valuable at some point in its life and that’s why we have it today."  The newly released documents, not yet posted on the website of the National Declassification Center, offer details on a Cold War-era plan to build a round, vertical takeoff and landing aircraft that can only be described as a flying saucer. The disk-shaped craft -- which comes complete with an ejector seat and was powered by a “ram jet” -- was designed to reach a top speed of Mach 4 and reach a ceiling of more than 100,000 feet, according to the lengthy document, which is titled “Project 1794, Final Development Summary Report” and dated 1956. It reveals that the Air Force had contracted the construction of the craft to a Canadian company, Avro Aircraft Limited in Ontario...more

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Proposed Jaguar habitat in Arizona and New Mexico is scientifically and legally indefensible

A new report from the Pima Natural Resource Conservation District (PNRCD) shows that the proposal by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) to designate Critical Habitat for the jaguar under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) is scientifically indefensible because it is based on flawed data, and it violates laws such as the Data Quality Act. PNRCD requests that FWS withdraw its proposed rule “because habitat ‘essential’ to the conservation of the jaguar as a species does not exist in either Arizona or New Mexico under any scientifically credible definition of that term, because designation of critical habitat therein cannot possibly help save jaguars, and because the economic consequences of adding yet another layer of regulation and restriction on national security, resource production, water use, hunting and recreation during the worst recession on record since 1929 far outweigh any possibly discernible benefit to jaguars as a species that might be gained by designating critical habitat for them north of the Mexican border where they are but rarely transient…”...more

Read the report here.

Arizona voters face an IQ test on public lands

Arizona voters face two land-related ballot measures this November, and together, they reveal not just the state’s split personality but that of the West as well. You can think of Proposition 119 as a respectable Dr. Jekyll, a 19th century gentleman who wants the state and federal government to exchange land to improve management and to protect the “mission readiness” of the state’s military bases. By carefully consolidating state and federal land, Prop. 119 would also promote solar energy while protecting public lands for conservation and public use. The measure requires an extraordinary degree of openness, including a requirement that the voters must specifically approve future land exchanges. Proposition 120, however, can be thought of as Robert Louis Stevenson’s sinister character, Mr. Hyde. This measure authorizes Arizona to seize federal lands in the state, excluding Indian reservations and “land for the erection of forts, magazines, arsenals, dock-yards and other needful buildings,” quoting the U.S. Constitution. And where are these dockyards in Arizona?  Arizona already struggles to manage 9.3 million acres of state trust land ––  12.7 percent of the state. That land’s management is a tribute to the Herculean efforts of Land Commissioner Maria Baier and her recently slashed staff. The Arizona Legislature cut the Land Department’s annual general fund appropriation from $29 million in 2006, to $1.2 million in 2012. That’s not a typo. Appropriations dropped from $3.13 per acre in 2006, to 13 cents per acre today.  Compare that to the Bureau of Land Management, which spends somewhere around $3.79 per acre, and the National Park Service, which spends more than $20 per acre. And Prop. 120 would put the Legislature in charge of the Grand Canyon!...more 

Wyo. county pursues prescriptive easement over private property

Casper City Manager John Patterson stood at the courtroom’s podium in front of a full house during a Natrona County commissioners’ work session in late September, asking the commission to consider consequences before going to court to settle a dispute over easement rights with Casper Mountain landowner Howard Christman. “I don’t think you’re going to want to ask the question about prescriptive easements,” Patterson said at the work session. “Because the risk would be too great if you’re not right.” Patterson said he spoke that day not as a city official or government pundit, but as a trail user — a Natrona County resident concerned that, should a court decision deny the public’s right to use a private road in front of Christman’s Casper Mountain cabin, trail systems statewide could feel painful reverberations. “All my thinking is predicated on the belief I have that a negotiated settlement is possible here,” Patterson said. “If the answer comes back that, no, we don’t have prescriptive easement rights, then [landowners] could shut down the trail.” Patterson thinks the consequences of being wrong are severe enough for the county to opt not to ask the question of prescriptive easement rights in the first place. Landowners statewide could stand on this case as a legal precedent, Patterson said, to justify their objections to longstanding public use of trails running through their own private property. In the Bridle Trail case, ending public use of the private road in question would require rerouting the current trail to skirt around Christman’s property and still complete the Casper Mountain loop. But according to County Attorney Bill Knight, the Christman case is not just about prescriptive easements, and any risk of landowners rallying to end Bridle Trail public use on their land as a result of this potential court case is purely hypothetical. Should the dispute move to court in a little under six months, Knight said the county would argue not just for prescriptive but also implied and express easement rights on the private road running through Christman’s property. While an express easement is a willful and written agreement between two parties allowing use of certain land, rights of access granted by prescriptive and implied easements are established in Wyoming by demonstrating at least 10 years of obvious and consistent public use of the land...more

Salazar gives historic designation to 2 sites in NM

Two sites in New Mexico are being designated as national historic landmarks. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar's designation of 27 sites nationwide includes the Denver and Rio Grande Railroad's San Juan Extension in New Mexico's Rio Arriba County and Colorado's Conejos and Archuleta counties. The narrow-gauge line is now owned by the two states and operated as the Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railroad. New Mexico's other new landmark is the San José de los Jémez Mission and Gíusewa Pueblo Site. The Interior Department says the site is associated with the spread of Spanish control into the present-day American Southwest and is an early representation of the intersection of European and native cultures. The department says landmark designations mean each site gets a designation letter, a plaque, and technical preservation advice. AP

NM shooting range to hold coyote killing contest, winning team gets AR-15 assault rifles

Coyote hunters in New Mexico will have the chance to compete for a couple of high-caliber grand prizes just in time for the holidays — a pair of Bushmaster AR-15 assault rifles. A shooting range and gun store in Albuquerque is hosting a two-day contest to see who can kill the most coyotes, despite protests from environmentalists. KOB-TV reports that Calibers Shooting Sports Center is holding the challenge for two-member teams beginning Dec. 1. Susan Weiss, an advocate for the “Coexist with Coyotes” group, calls the competition “immoral and disgusting.” Caliber’s owner, Ryan Burt, says he came up with the idea after he was approached by several ranchers from around the state who have been dealing with coyotes harming livestock. Coyotes have no protection under New Mexico law. AP

Obama’s big gun slip

    President Obama is in a fix over firearms. He needs to win undecided voters in the swing states to be re-elected, but these areas are largely pro-gun. So after years of trying to dodge the issue, Mr. Obama let it slip in Tuesday’s presidential debate that he’d push a gun ban in a second term. It’s a revelation that could sway the election.
    In the town-hall event at Hofstra University, “undecided” voter Nina Gonzalez asked the president what he’d done to limit the availability of assault weapons. Mr. Obama feigned support for the Second Amendment before calling for regulation of inexpensive handguns, automatic weapons and resurrecting the so-called assault-weapons ban. “I’m not in favor of new pieces of legislation on guns and taking guns away or making certain guns illegal,” Mitt Romney countered.
    The president’s plan to revive the Clinton-era gun law won’t make America safer. “He wants to reinstate and expand on a ban that was in place for 10 years which, by all evidence, did nothing to reduce crime,” Larry Keane, general counsel for the National Shooting Sports Foundation, told The Washington Times. “In the eight years since the ban sunsetted, gun ownership has gone up, so more firearms are in civilian possession than ever before in the United States. At the same time, crime is at its lowest level since the early 1960s and so are accidents.”
    The controversial law had no effect because it prohibited weapons that came with accessories like pistol grips, collapsing stocks and bayonet lugs. “This ‘assault-weapon’ ban didn’t impact the rate of fire, still one trigger pull for one bullet. It just took away some of the cosmetics,” Pete Brownell, CEO of Brownells, Inc. — the world’s largest retailer of gun parts, accessories and ammunition — explained in an interview. “Going forward, if they re-identify the characteristics, and it’s not in line with the American people, it could be anything that falls into that category of appearing to be an ‘assault weapon.’ “
    Mr. Obama said he wants to do something to get “automatic weapons that kill folks in amazing numbers out of the hands of criminals and the mentally ill” because they “are weapons that were designed for soldiers in war theaters [that] don’t belong on our streets.” He’s being deliberately confusing. Automatic firearms, also known as machine guns, have been heavily regulated in the civilian market since 1934, and their manufacture for civilian use has been banned since 1986.
    The president’s most ominous suggestion was that a ban on “cheap handguns” could be next on the agenda. “It would just hurt people who live in high-crime, poor areas and can’t spend more on a firearm,” said Mr. Keane.
    Gun owners finally got Mr. Obama on the record about what he would do if he wins Nov. 6. Consider it fair warning.

Emily Miller is a senior editor for the Opinion pages at The Washington Times.

Winners and losers of energy policies

Governor Mitt Romney strongly supports North American energy independence as the foundation of renewed U.S. employment and prosperity. President Obama is waging war on fossil fuels, job creation, and efforts to end our economic recession and reduce dependence on Middle Eastern and Russian oil. Romney’s emphasis on careful analysis and due diligence brought him and Bain Capital notable winners like AMC Entertainment, Burger King, Burlington Coat Factory, Domino’s Pizza, Dunkin’ Donuts and Staples. Obama’s focus on ideology, political calculation, cronyism and campaign contributors produced scandalous losers like A123, Abound Solar, Crescent Dunes, Ener1, Fisker, Mountain Plaza, Solyndra, Tesla, and a host of wind and biofuel projects that would collapse if their taxpayer subsidies were cut off. Not surprisingly, U.S. gasoline prices are double what they were the day Obama took office. Some 25 million Americans are without full-time jobs — leaving 23 percent of the workforce unemployed, involuntarily working part-time or at jobs where they are overqualified, making far less money than they did previously, or no longer looking for a job. Our 64 percent “labor participation rate” is at a 30-year low...Since oil is sold in a world market, producing more in the United States means we could import less from abroad, free up more oil for other nations, and push prices down. Exporting US natural gas and drilling, fracking and production expertise would make other nations less dependent on the Middle East and Russia, bring natural gas prices down further, turbo-charge economies, and encourage African countries to use gas to generate electricity, rather than “flaring” it as an unwanted byproduct of oil production. Romney understands this. He is calling for more oil and natural gas production here in the United States, changes to excessive and counterproductive federal regulations that raise energy costs and kill jobs, and increased use of friendly Canadian oil to serve America’s consumers. He knows this will protect us against disruptions in Middle East oil supplies, reduce the flow of American dollars to totalitarian human rights violators, create American jobs, increase tax revenues, and jumpstart our sluggish economy. President Obama, by contrast, continues to ignore reality and embrace policies based on hope, green dreams, and a determination to “fundamentally transform” America’s Constitution, economy, society and business system. He continues to waste billions of taxpayer dollars to subsidize unreliable, unsustainable, inefficient, insufficient energy forms that are at best decades from competing in the free market — even as 80 percent of Department of Energy grants and loans went to companies owned or controlled by Obama contributors; DOE restructured its $465 million loan to Tesla, to make sure the electric-car company doesn’t run out of cash right before the election; and President Obama says malnourished, energy-deprived Africans should avoid fossil fuels and rely instead on wind, solar and biofuel power. Many recipients of involuntary taxpayer largesse are donors to Obama and Democrat re-election campaigns; have electoral clout in crucial swing states, where corn growers and others benefit from ethanol, wind and solar schemes; or provide crucial propaganda and campaign services via government employee and labor unions and tax-exempt radical environmentalist organizations...Environmental activists and the Obama Administration express outrage about subsidies for traditional, efficient means of generating electricity, which amount to $0.25-$0.44 (25-44 cents) per megawatt-hour for coal and natural gas and $1.59 per MWH for nuclear. But they are eerily silent about enormous subsidies for wind ($23.37 per MWH) and solar electricity ($24.34 per MWH). They express equal outrage about importing petroleum from Canada’s oil sands via the Keystone Pipeline — but are silent about imports of thick, gooey crude from Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez. They brag about increased U.S. oil and gas production on private lands, but insist that there be little or no drilling in the Outer Continental Shelf, Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Rocky Mountains or even National Petroleum Reserve Alaska, which Congress set aside decades ago specifically to safeguard our national security by increasing exploration in areas with the best potential for oil and gas...more

Public or private? Dispute pits access versus property rights

Howard Zehntner stops his four-wheel drive pickup high in the Little Belt Mountains 12 miles north of here. His son, Lee, hops out and unhooks the barbed-wire gate so his father can pass. “This is the gate that’s causing all the problems,” Howard Zehntner says. Attorney General Steve Bullock, on behalf of Montana, on Monday announced that he’s suing 73-year-old Zehntner for putting up the gate on a road through his remote private land, which is surrounded by national forest, state and private lands. Bullock says the road is public. Zehntner says it’s not. “This action is yet another escalation of efforts by the state and U.S. Forest Service to force a public access across a Montana landowner’s private property where they do not have proper access,” Zehntner’s attorneys said in motion filed Wednesday in Meagher County to dismiss a preliminary injunction sought by the state to remove the gate. The public access-private property rights dispute comes as Montana hunters prepare for this weekend’s big-game opener. Many will use old rutted roads like the one that crosses Zehntner’s land to access prized hunting spots — if they’re public. Meanwhile, Lewis and Clark National Forest is in the process of purchasing private lands in the area with the aim of making the Tenderfoot Creek area, known for its elk, trout fishing and stunning views, more accessible to the public. Lee Zehntner says it’s not coming down unless the order comes from the Meagher County sheriff or county commissioners. They contend Bullock doesn’t have standing in the matter...more

Thomas (Tom) S. Cooper 1940 - 2012

Early in the morning of Wednesday, October 17, 2012, our beloved Thomas S. Cooper passed into the loving arms of our Lord. Tom was born on July 27, 1940 in Cooper, NM to Mark and Faye Cooper. Tom was the 3rd of 4 children, and was preceded in death by his parents, his sister Leta Fern and one brother, Doyle. His remaining brother Carl Cooper and sister-in-law Mardine reside in Roswell. Tom is survived by his loving wife, Carol Cooper of Las Cruces. He is also survived by his three daughters, Marla Cooper of Las Cruces, Carla Bell & husband Michel of Midland, TX, and Carrie Cooper of Hobbs, as well as one son, Greg Cooper of Las Cruces, and step sons Gary Thurm, Jr. of Minden, NV and Evan & Renee Thurm of Portland, OR. He loved and was dearly loved by his 4 grandchildren, Jessie and Christie Rankin, Scott Macatee and Brenna Bell. Tom was raised on a ranch northeast of Roswell, NM, and was a proud graduate of Roswell High School's Class of 1958. He met Mary Jean Witte (now deceased) while attending New Mexico State University, and they married in November; Mary Jean was the mother of their four children. Tom graduated from NMSU after which he began his life-long career in public accounting. In 1976, he purchased the first of several ranches that would become Cooper Cattle Company. He loved the cattle business - the cattle, the horses, and being outdoors in God's country - almost as much as he loved his children. Tom was a leader in issues he held dear to his heart, especially regarding private property rights and public lands issues, constitutional policy making and private enterprise. He served as an officer in Las Cruces Tea Party, chaired People for Preserving our Western Heritage, and also served on the Las Cruces Chamber of Commerce Agricultural Committee. He was a firm believer in capitalism and free enterprise. As an accountant and businessman, he was devoted to his clients, who have often spoken of him as the most honest, knowledgeable and clear thinking individual with whom they had ever worked. Tom was a member of Mission Lutheran Church, coming to regard his fellow parishioners as brothers and sisters in Christ. He will be greatly missed by his family and many good friends, but they rest secure in the assurance that Tom now resides with our Lord. A memorial service will be held at 2:00 PM on Saturday, October 20, 2012 at Mission Lutheran Church, 2752 Roadrunner Parkway in Las Cruces. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the charity of your choice to honor Tom's memory.

Song Of The Day #952

On Ranch Radio today Dudley Connell & Don Rigsby revive the old tune Goodbye Maggie.

The song is on their 12 track CD Meet Me In The Moonlight.

A Tussle Over Sacred Land In NM

Native Americans in northwest New Mexico and Arizona see Mount Taylor as a sacred place where they can still connect with ancestors. Local ranchers view their lands near the 11,300-foot peak as private property. The two sides are fighting in the courts over whether the 700-square-mile area surrounding the mountain—where private groups are seeking permits to mine for uranium on federal lands—should be considered a "traditional cultural property" under state law. The dispute, which the New Mexico Supreme Court is weighing after hearing arguments from both sides last month, is part of a growing series of scuffles among Native American groups and private interests over how much, if any, sway tribes should have over development of lands they don't own but consider part of their heritage. As such cases have become more common, the National Park Service, keeper of the National Register of Historic Places, is updating federal guidelines on what constitutes a traditional cultural property. It is consulting with tribes and soliciting comments through the end of October. The rules apply to federal lands, although some states, including New Mexico, have used them as a guide when designating culturally important sites within their jurisdiction. Separately, the U.S. Forest Service is reviewing laws in a bid to better protect land it manages that Native Americans consider sacred. A final report is in the works. The designated area around Mount Taylor is public land. But local landowners are concerned that under state rules, any development on adjacent private land that could damage the sacred site has to be reviewed by cultural authorities. Some also say their private land has been misidentified as public. "It ceases to be my private property," said Marron Lee Nelson, a fourth-generation cattle rancher...more

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Spending the day with grandkids...back tomorrow.

Sec. of Interior Ken Salazar Violated Hatch Act?

Former White House counsel associate Scott Coffina accused U.S. Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar of violating the Hatch Act during a recent campaign trip to Colorado. The Colorado Observer broke the story of the possible Hatch Act violation today. Salazar, along with Sen. Udall, Sen. Bennet, and Gov. Hickenlooper participated in an RV tour of Colorado in support of President Obama’s reelection. As reported by the Colorado Observer, the Montrose County Democratic Party listed the RV tour stop featuring Salazar on its website. In the event listing Salazar was billed as the Secretary of the Interior, a possible violation of the Hatch Act’s prohibition on engaging in partisan political activity while acting in the capacity of a civil servant. Media Trackers consulted legal sources familiar with Hatch Act violations who agreed to comment on background. Media Trackers’ source stated that if Salazar “took time off to go on the campaign trail, he will not have violated the Hatch Act.” The source continued saying, “If, however, he used government resources for the travel or was on the government clock, then Secretary Salazar, like Secretary Sebelius before him, would be guilty.” Media Trackers has filed a FOIA request with the Dept. of Interior to obtain Salazar’s calendar and travel arrangements surrounding the Obama RV tour...more

Leaked docs expose Interior scheme for Navajo water rights in Lame Duck Congress

US Interior Secretary Ken Salazar wants to push the Navajo-Hopi Little Colorado River Water Rights Settlement, already rejected by Navajos, through an upcoming Lame Duck Congress, according to documents leaked to Censored News. A memo from the Navajo Nation Washington Office states there will be a meeting on Nov. 14 in Washington, between Salazar and Navajo and Hopi officials to discuss the water rights settlement. Already numerous Arizona Indian Nations have accepted “water rights settlements,” which opponents say are the theft of Indian water for the benefit of non-Indians, pushed through by non-Indian attorneys. Navajos opposing the Little Colorado River settlement say it requires the Navajo Nation to give up expansive water rights under the Winter’s Doctrine and future generations of Navajos would suffer. Navajos earlier protested the water settlement and the council rejected it. The current Interior scheme to seize Navajo and Hopi water rights involves Salazar meeting with Navajo and Hopi officials, then persuading Arizona Sen. Jon Kyl to modify the legislation that has already been rejected and then pushing it through an upcoming Lame Duck session of Congress following the elections. The Navajo Washington Office memo to Navajo officials states, "The Secretary believes that if the Tribes can come to agreement on the portions of the settlement that raised the most objections, he can convince Senator Kyl to make changes to the settlement. If the settlement can be changed there may be a window of opportunity for passage during the upcoming 'Lame Duck' Congress after the November election." The memo from the Navajo Washington Office is addressed to Navajo President Ben Shelly and Navajo Council Speaker Johnny Naize...more

Did you like that headline?  So did I.  Thought maybe we had something from Wikileaks.

Nope, just an excellent example of terrible journalism.

The memo cited clearly states the tribes must "come to agreement" before Salazar would approach Kyl.


BLM employee pleads guilty to threatening to kill co-workers

A federal Bureau of Land Management engineer pleaded guilty Tuesday to a federal charge after authorities said he threatened to kill a fellow employee at the bureau’s Amarillo office, federal court records said. A sentencing date was not set. Peter J. Madrid III, 38, of Albuquerque, N.M., pleaded guilty Tuesday in Amarillo’s U.S. District Court to one count of making a threat against a federal employee. The charge carries a maximum penalty of one year in prison, a $100,000 fine and a one-year term of supervised release following the prison sentence...more

Man sentenced for striking BLM officer in the face

A Colorado man was sentenced to six months in federal prison Tuesday for assaulting a Bureau of Land Management officer last summer in San Juan County, near Silverton.Jeffrey Brondum, 28, of Clifton, apologized for the incident but made no apology to the federal ranger who he assaulted. It was a detail Magistrate David L. West noted before handing down the sentence Tuesday morning in federal court in Durango. Brondum was immediately taken into custody to begin his sentence. In addition to serving six months in prison, Brondum will be on supervised release for one year. As a condition of his release, he must receive mental-health treatment and substance-abuse treatment. He also is prohibited from being on BLM, U.S. Forest Service or U.S. National Park Service lands for one year...more

Tail seen in photo was Ariz. jaguar's, 9 of 10 experts say

The mystery of the spotted cat is no more - it was, indeed, a jaguar that was seen in Southern Arizona last month, state game officials said Friday. After consulting with 10 outside experts and conducting its own analysis, the Game and Fish Department reached a consensus: The photo the department released last week is of a jaguar's tail and a small portion of its hindquarter. Because of the limited portion of the animal shown in the photo, taken by a hunter, Game and Fish had been trying to determine if it was of a jaguar or an ocelot. "Analysis of the spot pattern on its tail as well as the animal's size when compared to the surrounding vegetation and to other animals led us to believe the photo showed a jaguar," Game and Fish officials said in a news release. Nine of the outside experts said it was a jaguar while the 10th was undecided, said Jim Paxon, a Game and Fish spokesman. Only five jaguars have been photographed in the United States since 1996. All but one of those were seen in Arizona, with one seen in New Mexico. Tucson large cat biologist Sergio Avila, one of the 10 experts consulted on the mystery tail, said the jaguars are letting people know by their very presence what good jaguar habitat is and where they want to live. He works for the Tucson conservation group Sky Island Alliance. Southern Arizona's high mountain ranges that rise from the desert floor are known as Sky Islands. "What this shows is that these animals continue to use the Sky Islands and continue to be present in our region," Avila said...more

And right during the comment period on the critical habitat proposed by USFWS...isn't that amazing?

Noah Greenwald writing at the Huntington Post, says:

The image, which was confirmed as a jaguar on Friday by state wildlife officials, also adds a new sense of urgency for protecting the Southwest's few remaining wild deserts and mountains considered prime habitat for jaguars...


Greenwald and the enviros aren't satisfied with the 838,000 acres in the USFWS proposal:

That's an area larger than the state of Rhode Island, but still leaves out some of the best possible habitat farther north in New Mexico's Gila National Forest and Arizona's Mogollon Rim.

Get ready New Mexico.  I wonder what the NM Game & Fish Dept's comments will say?

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Utah lawmaker; Wyoming in good position to take ownership of federal lands

Back when “men were men and states were states,” midwestern officials demanded that the federal government transfer ownership of land to the states, said Utah lawmaker Ken Ivory. The laws needed to transfer federal lands to states have been in place for some time — most of them more than 100 years ago — and Wyoming is well-positioned to join a growing coalition in the West determined to make an historic land grab, according to Ivory. “We’re going to draw significatly from our sister state of Wyoming in this great (effort),” Ivory said during his 1-plus hours of testimony before Wyoming’s Joint Minerals, Business and Economic Development Interim Committee on Monday. Ivory is the lead proponent behind Utah’s Transfer of Public Lands Act, which was signed into law earlier this year. The state law demands that the federal government sign over ownership of federal lands to Utah by the end of 2014. Oh, national parks and monuments can remain with the federal government, said Ivory. Except for Escalante, he said. That’s an area that Ivory and his backers want to reconsider. Worried about public access, hunting, fishing, climbing and myriad activities the world has come to love on federal lands in the West? Well don’t, because under Utah’s model, multiple use will remain the priority, according to Ivory. Land use decisions would reside with a state-level Public Lands Commission, which would draw its members from the county government level, said Ivory...more

Alaska Timber Task Force Releases Report

Governor Parnell
The Alaska Timber Task Force today released its report to Governor Sean Parnell recommending steps to improve economic conditions in Alaska’s forest-dependent communities. “Inadequate federal timber sales and reckless lawsuits by environmental groups bent on stopping all logging, and wiping out Alaska jobs along the way, are unacceptable,” Governor Parnell said. “This report provides clear and reasonable steps that can assist communities, schools, small businesses, and families in Southeast Alaska.” Key recommendations include placing up to 2 million acres of federal land in a trust managed by the state, and seeking federal legislation granting states the option of running timber sale programs on federal lands. A state-run program would operate under state forestry standards and state laws. The report looked at the state of the timber industry throughout Alaska. The industry is small but growing in the Interior and Southcentral Alaska, largely due to a dependable supply from state-managed timberland, according to the report. The Alaska Department of Natural Resources and businesses are working together as woody biomass becomes a cost-effective heating and energy option in rural Alaska. In Southeast Alaska, however, the downward spiral of lost jobs and closed schools has continued. Despite federal law requiring enough timber sales to meet demand, the Forest Service choked off the timber supply; two of the last three mid-sized mills have closed...more

EPIC requests Forest Service analyze impacts of marijuana grows

On Oct. 11 the Environmental Protection Information Center (EPIC) sent a letter to Regional Forester Randy Moore, and four Forest Supervisors in northwestern California, that requests the United States Forest Service initiate analysis under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) regarding the impacts of marijuana cultivation on national forest lands. In addition, EPIC requested that the Forest Service reinitiate consultation under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) over the impacts of marijuana cultivation on imperiled species, including coho salmon, steelhead, northern spotted owl and pacific fisher. This letter follows a previous letter sent to the Mendocino National Forest in the summer of 2011, and to which the Acting Supervisor of the Mendocino National Forest had replied negatively, denying EPIC’s request that the USFS initiate analysis of the environmental impacts of marijuana cultivation on public lands. Besides the ongoing threats posed by damaging marijuana cultivation on public lands, EPIC has identified effects of Forest Service management actions that may be exacerbating or facilitating marijuana cultivation on our public lands. “The letter sets forth legal obligations of the Forest Service in the face of new information about environmental impacts not previously considered by the agency in the development and implementation of Land and Resource Management Plans, Travel Management Plans, logging, grazing, and other projects,” said Andrew Orahoske, EPIC conservation director. “The Forest Service is obligated to analyze and respond to new information pursuant to NEPA and meet ongoing duties under the ESA,” continued Orahoske...more

This is hard to believe.  After reading their letter, it appears they are mainly after roads.  Use the marijuana grows to shut down the roads, push later for it to be a Roadless Area and then possibly Wilderness or some other designation that limits access by the public.  The enviros are trying to use the wrong-headed War On Drugs to control land-use.  Imagine that.

Electric Car Battery Maker A123 Systems Files Bankruptcy

A123 Systems Inc. (AONE), the electric car battery maker that received a $249.1 million federal grant, filed for bankruptcy protection and said it would sell its automotive business assets to Johnson Controls Inc. (JCI). The company listed assets of $459.8 million and debt of $376 million as of Aug. 31 in Chapter 11 documents filed today in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Wilmington, Delaware. Johnson Controls plans to acquire A123’s automotive business assets, including its facilities in Livonia and Romulus, Michigan. The Milwaukee-based company also will obtain A123’s cathode powder plant in China and its equity interest in Shanghai Advanced Traction Battery Systems Co., A123’s joint venture with Shanghai Automotive Industry Corp. A123 has used $132 million of the $249.1 million grant awarded by the U.S. in 2009 toward building the two Michigan factories, the Energy Department said today in a posting on its website. A123 was required to spend up to one dollar of its funds for every incentive dollar received from the government, according to regulatory filings. The company also received a $6 million grant from the George W. Bush administration in 2007. A123 and its debtor and non-debtor affiliates, collectively, have about 1,763 active employees, located in 10 facilities across the U.S., China and Germany, according to court papers. Its businesses consist of three primary business segments: transportation, grid-energy storage and commercial...more

Fiscal Cliff? Real Threat Is The 'Entitlement Cliff'

...Most people think of entitlement programs as Social Security and Medicare for seniors, Medicaid and perhaps some other means-tested welfare programs. But there are many more: veteran benefits, unemployment, the children's health insurance program, disability income, the GI bill, Head Start.
    The U.S. Census Bureau says 108 million Americans live in households where at least one person participates in a means-tested program. We estimate that 80 million are the primary recipients, though millions more share those benefits. That number has been growing rapidly under President Obama.
    Since the president took office:
• Medicaid is up from 46.9 million to 56 million people.
• Disability beneficiaries are up from 7.5 million to 8.8 million.
• The food stamp program has grown from 32 million Americans to 47 million.
    Add to that 80 million beneficiaries 40 million Americans age 65 or older on Social Security and Medicare (9 million of the 49 million on Medicare, including some under age 65, also receive means-tested benefits).
    That 120 million does not include the numerous smaller entitlement programs.
    Put them all together, and a number approaching half of the country participates in an entitlement program.
Now add in the 16 million new Medicaid beneficiaries, thanks to ObamaCare, plus an estimated 12 million people who enter the health insurance exchanges by 2014, where most will receive federal subsidies.
    The budget implications of these programs are huge. For fiscal 2012, America spent $2.2 trillion of its $3.7 trillion budget on entitlement programs — $400 billion less than the $2.6 trillion in gross annual revenues.
    Oh, and interest on the federal debt was $220 billion.
    Thus, the cost of entitlement programs plus interest on the debt are nearly equal to total federal revenues today.
    Virtually everything else the government does is with borrowed, or printed, money.
    Entitlement spending is also growing much faster than the economy.
    Since 1980, Social Security and the various income security programs have grown at an average annual rate of 6%, while Medicare and Medicaid have both grown at more than 9% annually, which includes population growth.


Forest Service reports several new fires in Four Corners area

The Durango Interagency Fire Dispatchis reporting several new fires in the Four Corners area Tuesday.
The largest of them is the Vallecito Fire, which is estimated to be burning 40 to 50 acres about one mile west of the southern end of Vallecito Reservoir up Jack Creek in the National Forest. The fire was reported at noon Tuesday - its origin is not known but suspected to be from lightning that has been smoldering since last week’s storm. About two dozen firefighters from the US Forest Service, Upper Pine and Los Pinos fire districts have responded. A type 3 helicopter is making water drops. Durango Interagency Fire Dispatch has ordered two heavy air tankers, two single engine air tankers, and a type 1 helicopter. No structures threatened at this time, but there is private property is about one mile below the fire. The Jack Fire is believed to be burning within the area burned by the Missionary Ridge Fire of 2002. In addition, the San Juan National Forest is currently flying a reconnaissance flight north of Durango to check on reports of smoke in the Rockwood and Needleton areas, which are not believed to be coming from the remnants of the Goblin Fire...more

Sen. Udall pushes for lowering cost of timber

Colorado finally revived a timber mill on the Western Slope. But after one month at the mill, Montrose Wood Products chief Jim Neiman has found he can afford to run it only three days a week. "We have not been able to get enough logs," Neiman said. Meanwhile, 4.2 million acres of dead and dying beetle-killed pines sit in Colorado and Wyoming forests — some in areas prone to catastrophic wildfires. U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack weighed into this dilemma Friday, calling for greater flexibility in Forest Service contracting to guarantee a consistent timber supply. Viable sawmills are considered important links in the increasingly urgent task of restoring the health of overgrown forests. They can serve emerging industries that need wood fibers to create super-strong materials, Vilsack said, citing advances in automobile, electronics and armor technology. But to stay in business, the sawmills require a steady supply of timber — "not for a year but for 10 to 20 years," Vilsack said. Democratic Sen. Mark Udall, who helped pull the Montrose mill out of receivership, has redoubled his own push to make appropriate logging feasible. Given the numbers of beetle-killed lodgepole pines, "we ought to be able to do that," Udall said. "One of the ideas I am exploring: Do you value the trees at zero dollars?" Congressional action would be required to direct selective cutting of trees on public lands at no charge. Forest Service managers currently must charge loggers market value for trees — adding to costs of labor and diesel. "We want to protect the taxpayer asset — the forest — but there are other assets that are at risk if we have catastrophic fires," Udall said. "And one of the ways in which you might be able to protect taxpayer assets — like clean air and clean water and wildlife — would be to value the trees at a very low rate so that the cost model then works for the loggers, mills and industries we want to generate." Restoring forest health, after a summer of devastating wildfires, was the focus of a Forest Health Summit that Gov. John Hickenlooper convened in Denver on Friday...more 

Sorry New Mexicans. This is not Tom Udall, its his more reasonable cousin from Colo.

Song Of The Day #951

The selection on Ranch Radio today is Cowpuncher's Waltz by Tex Williams & His Western Caravan.

The tune is on his 20 track Bronco Buster CD Artistry In Western Swing.

As fire issues grow, forest management more important

The trend toward larger, hotter wildfires in this part of the country is rapidly becoming the new normal. In the four decades between 1960 and 1999, wildfires in the United States scorched more than 7 million acres in a single year just once. Since 2000? Eight times, with 2012 at 8.8 million acres and still climbing. The annual number of wildfires exceeding 25,000 acres in 11 Western states has quintupled since the 1970s, according to a Climate Central report released last month.  The fire season across the West, according to the Climate Central analysis, is 2½ months longer than it was 40 years ago. This year’s Yakima and Wenatchee Complex fires didn’t even begin until the second week of September, and in extending the statewide burn ban last week, Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark said Washington had "not seen wildfire conditions this bad in October in a lifetime." But it almost certainly will again. Soon. And for years to come. Eighteen years ago, U.S. Forest Service officials proposed setting aside large blocks of forest as spotted owl habitat, in which there would be little management. When they bounced the idea off Agee, then the service’s forest fire consultant, he told them in no uncertain terms: No. Bad idea. Minus active land management — thinning operations and prescribed burns — those de facto reserves, Agee warned, would simply fuel increasingly larger wildfires. "If you could treat about a third of the forest area, that would have a major impact on the rate of spread of these large wildfires, and they would also have less debilitating effects on the vegetation," Agee said. "But the rate we’re treating is maybe 1 to 2 percent per year at most, out of the context of being effective at all."...more

New Forest Service Rules Hurting More Recreation Businesses In High Country

Some businesses in the high country told CBS4 a new policy by the U.S. Forest Service could wipe them out. CBS4 first reported on a story of one business being hurt by the policy in August. Now nearly 20 more businesses say they’re struggling because of it. It was about a decade ago when small businesses in Eagle and Summit counties realized they could profit from the recreation available there. In August CBS4′s Jeff Todd reported on an ATV and snowmobile company that had been told to stop operating until they were permitted. Now the popular summertime activity of being shuttled to Vail Pass and riding a bicycle back into the town of the rider’s choice is being put under the same strict guidelines. “When I talk to the forestry service, they haven’t issued a use permit in the White River National Forest in 20 years. Why are they going start now? They tell me they don’t have a permitting procedure in place,” Alpine Sports owner Thos McDonald said. For 10 years Alpine Sports in Breckenridge has run a shuttle service to Vail Pass in the summer. This year alone they had over 2,300 customers, and they are one of nearly 20 companies that run that kind of a business there. McDonald says he’s allowed to employ more than 20 people in the summer. “If I were to stop running Vail Pass I’d probably go down to five or six employees total,” McDonald said. Last week letters were sent out by the Forest Service saying Vail Pass bike path shuttles need to stop at the end of the month and can’t return until a special use permit is awarded. Every business CBS4 has spoke with said they’ve asked for permits in the past but were told they weren’t necessary. Now those shop owners say they feel like they were blindsided by the de-facto cease-and-desist letter...more

You see how they manage a bike path.  Can't wait until the feds manage my healthcare.

NM archaeological treasures find new home

State archaeologists and some of the artifacts — from chipped stone and pottery to blankets and human remains — they have collected over almost a century soon will be reunited in a new building west of Santa Fe. The Center for New Mexico Archaeology, west of N.M. 599 on Caja del Rio Road, plans to hold an open house on Saturday, Oct. 20. The 34,000-square-foot, single-story, modern-looking, energy- and water-efficient building will house the 33 New Mexico Archaeological Studies employees as well as 10 million artifacts held by the state Museum of Indian Arts and Culture. Don’t expect to find regular exhibits at the new center. That sort of activity is prohibited in the deal through which the state obtained the land from the U.S. Bureau of Land Management. Don’t expect to find regular exhibits at the new center. That sort of activity is prohibited in the deal through which the state obtained the land from the U.S. Bureau of Land Management. But Eric Blinman, director of the Office of Archaeological Studies, doesn’t want the center to be seen as elitist. “It is a public facility,” he said. “People can come in. It’s obviously more convenient if they have an appointment. We can hold educational programs. We can have tours. We can hold workshops, training sessions. We just can’t have exhibitions for which we sell tickets. … If we wanted a museum in the technical sense, the land would cost us half the appraised value. As it is, with our current use, the land has cost us $520.” The Office of Archaeological Studies began in the late 1920s as an arm of the then-private institution known as the Laboratory of Anthropology. The lab eventually was absorbed into the Museum of Indian Arts & Culture, but its building on Museum Hill continues to be known by the same name. It was the first home to the New Mexico Office of Archaeological Studies — a state agency charged, beginning about 1954, with investigating and documenting potentially significant cultural sites on state land and, via contracts, on federal, other governmental and private lands in anthropologically rich New Mexico...more

Oregon volcano power project gets green light

Disturbing a dormant volcano might seem ill-advised, but that's what a company will do this month in a bid to exploit an untapped source of clean energy. Engineers working for Seattle-based AltaRock Energy and the firm's partners have been given the green light by the US Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to start injecting water into a series of connected cracks 3 kilometres down at Oregon's Newberry volcano (pictured, right). Their goal is to heat the water, before returning it to the surface as steam to drive turbines and generate electricity. Geothermal power projects usually tap into naturally convecting hot water below Earth's surface, but most geothermal energy is actually stored in impermeable hot rocks. The $44-million Newberry project is one of a new wave of enhanced geothermal systems (EGS) that aims to exploit these rocks by fracturing them with pressurised water. This boosts permeability enough to support geothermal operations. The BLM gave permission for the project only after independent studies had demonstrated that the project did not risk triggering earthquakes near the volcano or contaminating groundwater. The testing phase should be complete by 2014. If the results are as good as AltaRock hopes, the system could rival the cost-efficiency of fossil fuels, says Susan Petty, the firm's CEO. A study at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2007 suggested that EGS resources could supply 10 per cent of the US's energy needs, mainly because it can be located anywhere where there is hot rock within 3 kilometres of the surface...more

The Bureau of Land Management has new rules governing the collection of meteorites found on public lands

It’s official! A fishing license for the sky. The Bureau of Land Management, under the U.S. Department of the Interior, has issued Instruction Memorandum No. 2012-182. It establishes policy governing the collection of meteorites found on public lands. The policy, issued Sept. 10, provides guidance to the BLM’s field office managers for administering the collection of meteorites on public lands in three "use categories," said Derrick Henry, a public affairs specialist for BLM in Washington, D.C. They are:

  • Casual collection of small quantities without a permit
  • Scientific and educational use by permit under the authority of the Antiquities Act
  • Commercial collection of meteorites through the issuance of land-use permits

"The policy recognizes that there is interest in collecting meteorites by hobbyists … but it also is recognition that there are science and commercial interests as well," Henry told

Monday, October 15, 2012

Former executive claims Bill Koch held him captive at Colorado ranch

A former executive of Oxbow Carbon has accused company founder and chief executive William "Bill" Koch of kidnapping and holding him captive at Koch's Bear Ranch in Gunnison County. Kirby Martensen, formerly senior vice president-Asia with Oxbow Carbon and Minerals International, sued Koch and others in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California on Thursday. Martensen said Koch invited him in March to the 420-acre ranch, where the billionaire has built a faux Old West town with 50 buildings. While there, Martensen was questioned about allegations that he and other employees had engaged in theft, fraud and self-dealing, he claims. He was taken for a drive and served termination papers and a lawsuit, Martensen said. He was placed in a cabin and "imprisoned" and held in "captivity" for three hours.Martensen asked to be driven to Aspen for his scheduled flight back to California but was instead "kidnapped and kept captive," while being driven to a small airport near Denver, he alleges...more

Alberta ranchers wait for XL Foods to catch up

CALGARY -- Work to process 2,500 remaining cow carcasses will resume in Brooks, Alta., Tuesday while Alberta ranchers bide their time and the volume of cattle shipped to the U.S. for slaughter climbs. Anne Dunford, an industry market analyst with Gateway Livestock, said all summer long, exports of cattle for slaughter from Canada to the U.S. were steady at approximately 5,000 head per week, about 85% of which were from Western Canada. The most recent data, which goes up to Sept. 29, the week the XL Foods plant in Brooks was shuttered, shows an increase to 8,600 head. Though the 5,000-head-per-week average was on the low end of what Canada has been known to export, Dunford said the sharp jump can mainly be attributed to the XL plant closure. "It's fair to expect that number to increase more," she said. On Thursday, the XL Foods Lakeside Packers plant was given a green light by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) to resume limited operations after 5,100 carcasses were tested for E. coli and 99% turned up negative...more

Obama's Great Alaska Shutout : Interior bans drilling on 11.5 million acres of 'petroleum reserve.'

President Obama is campaigning as a champion of the oil and gas boom he's had nothing to do with, and even as his regulators try to stifle it. The latest example is the Interior Department's little-noticed August decision to close off from drilling nearly half of the 23.5 million acre National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska. The area is called the National Petroleum Reserve because in 1976 Congress designated it as a strategic oil and natural gas stockpile to meet the "energy needs of the nation." Alaska favors exploration in nearly the entire reserve. The feds had been reviewing four potential development plans, and the state of Alaska had strongly objected to the most restrictive of the four. Sure enough, that was the plan Interior chose. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar says his plan "will help the industry bring energy safely to market from this remote location, while also protecting wildlife and subsistence rights of Alaska Natives." He added that the proposal will expand "safe and responsible oil and gas development, and builds on our efforts to help companies develop the infrastructure that's needed to bring supplies online." The problem is almost no one in the energy industry and few in Alaska agree with him. In an August 22 letter to Mr. Salazar, the entire Alaska delegation in Congress—Senators Mark Begich and Lisa Murkowski and Representative Don Young—call it "the largest wholesale land withdrawal and blocking of access to an energy resource by the federal government in decades." This decision, they add, "will cause serious harm to the economy and energy security of the United States, as well as to the state of Alaska." Mr. Begich is a Democrat. The letter also says the ruling "will significantly limit options for a pipeline" through the reserve. This pipeline has long been sought to transport oil and gas from the Chukchi Sea, the North Slope and future Arctic drilling. Mr. Salazar insists that a pipeline could still be built, but given the Obama Administration's decision to block the Keystone XL pipeline, Alaskans are right to be skeptical...more

The animal rights movement wrongs animals

You’ve heard this anecdote: A boy shoots his parents dead. At his sentencing hearing, he begs the judge for mercy: “I’m an orphan, Your Honor.” In Washington, there’s no shortage of people who talk out of both sides of their mouths, or who have the solutions to problems of their own creation. Lately, the guilty party has been the animal rights lobby, which has been oddly obsessed with — and sadly successful in — undermining animal welfare. About five years ago, the domestic processing of horsemeat for human consumption ended after animal rights activists were able to shut down the industry. Killing horses, even those abandoned and starving, was not to be tolerated. What’s happened since then is nothing for an animal lover to cheer. Horses are now increasingly shipped to Mexico, where they have to endure a longer trip in crammed trailers and tenuous humane-slaughter standards. Meanwhile, horse abandonment and starvation is up, in part due to the economy, and in part because one outlet for these animals was banned. Horse rescues, meanwhile, have no vacancies. One recent study estimates that 100,000 unwanted American horses turn up every year, but the capacity of all the U.S. equine rescues and sanctuaries is only about 13,000 animals. From an animal welfare point of view, it’s a net loss because horses are worse off. A 2011 Government Accountability Office report recommended that Congress reconsider the ban on funding for domestic horse processing. But what do the animal rights activists behind this decrease in animal welfare have to say? The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), a proponent of the domestic ban, now complains that horses are “being exported live to Canada and Mexico … suffering in this trade and meeting an ignominious demise” and cries that “transporting horses long distances … [is] fundamentally inhumane.” In other words, HSUS is whining about a problem it perpetuated — and, of course, the donate button never seems far from these emotional appeals. HSUS’s latest legislative push would ban the export of horses to be used for human food. That would just compound the problem of horse abandonment and starvation that’s already occurring...more

Skydiver Baumgartner sets YouTube live view record

More than eight million people flocked to their devices to watch the 43-year-old break the speed of sound live on Google's YouTube site. It is the largest number of concurrent live streams in the website's history, Google UK confirmed to the BBC. Mr Baumgartner broke the record for the highest freefall. He jumped from a capsule taken to 128,100ft (24 miles; 39km) above New Mexico in the US by a giant helium balloon. It took nine minutes for him to reach the ground. The adventurer plummeted at an estimated 833.9mph (1,343km/h), hitting Mach 1.24. "On the step, I felt that the whole world is watching," Mr Baumgartner said after the jump."I said I wish they would see what I see. It was amazing." The capsule from which the skydiver fell was equipped with cameras to provide a live internet feed to millions of people around the world. A Google spokesperson confirmed to the BBC that the number of viewers simultaneously watching the Red Bull Stratos stunt live on YouTube was the site's highest...more

Here is the complete fall, copped from a Chinese website:

Brazil Is Saving The World From Corn-mageddon

Despite the historic drought that crushed US corn crops this summer, today's feedstock report from the USDA projects record worldwide corn supplies for 2012/2013. Thank the Brazilians. "Brazil’s corn exports for trade year 2012/13 are raised over 30 percent this month to a record 19.0 million tons, supporting an increase in forecast corn trade and a sharp reduction in U.S. exports to the lowest level in almost 40 years," wrote the USDA. That will translate into record foreign corn supplies of 673.5 million tons.
Here's what the story looks like in graph form:

From the report:
Brazil reportedly shipped a record pace of corn exports in September 2012 of over 3 million tons, boosting estimated 2011/12 exports 0.7 million this month to 12.7 million. Brazil has demonstrated that without soybeans and products taking priority for ports and other transportation infrastructure, it can ship very large volumes of corn if prices are attractive. From October 2012 to February 2013, Brazil is expected to ship large volumes of corn, with a secondary increase in August and September 2013 if soybean shipments tail off or transportation bottlenecks are reduced.


Song Of The Day #950

It's Swingin' Monday on Ranch Radio. The Dog Run Boys take the old song Anywhere Below The Dixon Line and make it swing.

The tune is on their 11 track LP album Unleashed.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Cowgirl Sass & Savvy

Time To Go Hunting  

by Julie Carter

October is when it all gets started, cooler temperatures and the turning of leaves. It is time to go hunting.

Something about fall air that brings out the camo jackets, crock pot recipes and the smell of cedar burning in a wood stove. It is also Mother Nature’s call of the wild to the world of hunters.

The primal instinct to hunt and kill “a little winter meat” rises up like sap in a maple tree. It brings out the stalk, kill and drag it home instinct that has been man’s since time began. Only now it’s not so much about needing to eat.

Today’s mind set declares the season practically a national holiday. Ask any crew boss with hunters in his employ –half his crew will be gone for days or weeks at a time. Vacations are scheduled, marriages arranged, babies birthed –all around the calendar of hunting seasons. I’ve known men that actually would quit a job to be able to go hunting. 
An age-old tradition in some families, the season opener is reason for celebration. Groups of friends and family gather at the “camp” to cook, catch up on news and start the hunting season.

I grew up in a family of hunters. We lived in the mountains, so the hunters hunted early in the mornings, did a day’s work, squeezed in some hunting before sundown, and slept in their own bed each night.  It was a generational skill passed on from the days of actually needing winter meat.

In every small town are signs announcing the sale of licenses, ammo, food and beer flashing up and down the streets and often free meals are offered to the hunters by grateful merchants. One fella said he spent $200 in gas driving from burg to burg to take part in the meals. He declared he wasn’t a hunter, just an eater.

The motels and restaurants are a sea of camouflage. As one local commented when he went into the grocery store to get a loaf of bread and the line was very long with hunters, “I decided it was faster to go home and make biscuits.”

And like everything else, technology has stealthily crept into the sport in both the weaponry and the methods.

One website lists the Ten Best Hunting Apps for the Tech-Savvy Outdoorsman. It declares, and I quote, “One of the biggest thrills about hunting (besides taking home your big trophy) is the ability to detach from the daily grind and feel at one with nature.”

The text then launches into the benefits of taking your smart phone with you. “It could even save your life.”

Among the popular apps is one that provides sunrise and sunset times as well as lunar phases and weather updates. Yet another provides vital information on safety and survival, a photo gallery with detailed descriptions of anything from deadly mushrooms to poisonous plants, a survival checklist, key information supported with illustrations, a Morse code signaling device, a compass and more.

Primos Hunting Calls “allows you to speak the language of nature to attract prey.” There is also an app that has a blood tracking filter that enhances the visibility of the blood trail left by wounded game.

The Ballistic app is for calculating trajectory, windage, velocity, energy, and bullet flight time ensuring the best possible targeted shot. It takes into account temperature, humidity, barometric pressure and altitude.
And my personal favorite -- the Bug Spray app. It emits high frequency tones that will keep the bugs away. Note to the rookie hunter: it will also keep your prey away. I honestly don’t know how mankind survived before all these techno aids to bag a buck. But I do think I hear my kinfolk heartily laughing from the great beyond.

Julie can be reached for comment at

Border Woe: The Ivie League

Another Drug Corridor Tragedy
Border Woe
The Ivie League
By Stephen L. Wilmeth

            Walter Workman spent the night in our casita on his way to Arizona to interview border ranchers for an article that appeared in the Western Horseman. We sat up talking about the cartel conflict and its impact on our border ranching community.
            Walter called me late one afternoon on his return trip home to Texas. He was hoping he could take some ranch pictures before he ran out of light. In trying to sort out a plan, he told me about a recent night he spent in another border casita.
Promptly at 2:00 AM he was awakened to the sound of a high pitched engine of an ultralight aircraft approaching from the south. For two hours, the sound of ultralights could be heard as they hauled loads of dope north to waiting cartel crews.
            “Welcome to the real world of the border, Herr Walter,” was my response.
            The Ivie League
            On the bright, moonlit night of October 2, a fire fight erupted in the border region Workman visited. Three Border Patrol agents responded to a tripped motion sensor. They were working out of the Brian Terry Station at Naco, Arizona.
            In a sputtering radio call, Agent Nicholas Ivie communicated a fateful plea. “We’re taking fire,” he reported.
            Those were very likely Agent Ivie’s last words. Minutes … seconds later he was dead from a head wound.
            Soon, the area was inundated by local and federal agents. At least one high powered rifle and a one pistol were recovered.
 Four sets of tracks were also found. Three of them were headed south to Mexico. A fourth set was headed east toward the American border towns of Bisbee or Douglas.
            Reuters soon reported that Mexican authorities had apprehended two suspects and had information regarding a third involved in the incident.
            What we knew…what the nation would soon know was that Nicholas Ivie, age 30, was dead. He left a young family and all the promise of a productive and spiritual life. His family, his church and his brothers wearing the Border Patrol green, the Ivie League, joined in remembrance of him.
            Nothing but good things was said about this young man.
            Recapitulation begins
            Soon, information coming out of the investigation would take a sobering turn. Word suggested the agents had engaged in a firefight against themselves! An ominous mood settled over the border community. We were being told the Border Patrol was shooting at one other.
Quite frankly, that just didn’t ring true. First of all, the whole system the Border Patrol faces works to preclude them from protecting themselves. They are trained to shoot only upon being fired upon. Those three agents knew full well they were approaching tripped sensors. They were working in full moonlight. Regardless of the approaches they were making they would be profoundly aware of their presence for nothing more than unit protection.
Then, there remains the greater picture. Too many aspects of the whole border conflict remain in play. The story must revert to the last murder. As in this case, there was the same initial, confounding suggestion of friendly fire that had been fed to the American public at the onset of the Brian Terry murder investigation back in 2010. That bit of nonsense would blow up, and the whole debacle of Fast and Furious would emerge.
Is there an underlying agenda again in play here? Precedent doesn’t discount such a development. Is there something more ominous? Is the Border Patrol being framed as a bunch of gundsells who are not capable of playing with real bullets?
As in the case of Brian Terry, the fallacy of arming any agent with bean bag rounds rather than arming them to the teeth with lethality to protect themselves and thus the American public teeters on the insane. Perhaps criminality is the more appropriate term.
This will become more profound as the horror stories continue to emerge from the missing guns that disappeared in Fast and Furious. The recent UniVision story about the 16 teenagers killed in Juarez by Fast and Furious weaponry is a good example. Those of us who live within sight of the pollution haze of Ciudad Juarez knew long ago about that blood bath, and yet it became only politically imperative to demonstrate outrage when the Spanish language outlet aired their piece.
The Feds and the mainstream media have, at a minimum, a dysfunctional relationship with Americans who live on the border. There may be little regard by those groups collectively for the lives of those Americans who have to deal with this continued butchery, but, rest assured, that street runs both ways and the disconnect is only growing.
The border war, and … woe continues
The fact is the Obama administration, the open borders inclined elected representation, and the environmental cartels are perpetuating a battle ground that threatens the very soul of our nation. The First Mexican Civil War of this century is being fought over the control of the drug smuggling corridors coming into sovereign American territory from the south.
At the heart of the Arizona debacle continues to be the federal land managed as “commons” across the borderland. Recently obtained FOIA documents reveal the true danger as New Mexico Senators Jeff Bingaman and Tom Udall seek to duplicate the same conditions in southern New Mexico that exist in the smuggling corridors of Arizona.
The FOIA exchanges reveal the concern the Border Patrol has had from the onset of the wilderness expansion discussions. Exchanges between Customs and Border Protection David Aguilar, Border Patrol Chief Michael Fisher, Senators Udall and Bingaman, and former drug czar Alan Bersin reveal the danger was communicated well before the Terry murder.
In a particularly revealing and curiously unredacted exchange from the Border Patrol’s El Paso Sector Chief, the situation was condensed to fairly straight forward English. He wrote, “If completely realized, the restrictions of WD (wilderness) will re-define the very nature of how the objectives and elements of the national security are carried out in pursuit of gaining operational control of our nation’s borders.”
Border County sheriffs supported his stance. New Mexico Dona Ana County’s Todd Garrison writes and speaks about the “(Wilderness) Height of Folley!” Luna County’s Sheriff Raymond Cobos claims the unrelenting agenda will “hamstring effective law enforcement.” Arizonan and Pinal County Sheriff, Paul Babeu, expands his frustration. “Local law enforcement and ranchers relentlessly warn Feds of problem of wilderness that lead to national security breaches and murder.”
The results are too predictable. Udall and Bingaman charged ahead with their border wilderness legislation, and … the Obama administration clearly deemed the loss of American life and liberty as acceptable collateral damage for their agenda. Senator Bingaman has even been praised by the environmental movement for his genius in strengthening border security through his efforts to place wilderness along the southern border with Mexico!
But … the slaughter continues.
Deaths amongst illegal aliens in the 90 miles of ‘hot’ border in the Tucson Sector ran just at 250 in 2011. How much coverage do we hear about those individual horror stories? That total isn’t set forth to imply they are all murders by cartel operatives, but the number does suggest grand cartel implications.
On night shortly after the Ivie incident, the Border Patrol evacuated an illegal alien shot in another cartel firefight. What was interesting about the incident wasn’t the absence of news. What was interesting was the operational map history of the event. From the point of the shoot out, there were no less than eight other groups known to be accessing the area and a known quantity of 12 double bundles of marijuana.
Where Agents Nicholas Ivie, Brian Terry, and their brothers-in-arms and colleagues operate … Americans who are charged maintaining sanity and security of our borders … is a war zone of gigantic proportions. The suggestion of a friendly fire shootout among trained professionals may indeed prove to be true, but it is fishy. In fact, it stinks to high heaven, but the conditions and the danger surrounding it are certainly conducive to dangers of war zone calamity.
 Guilty until innocent
 There is yet another story reduced to footnote. What about those two suspects that Mexican authorities picked up supposedly tied to the Ivie shooting death? When they got a call from their Yankee counterparts to come up with some fall guy, did the Mexican authorities simply grab two unsuspecting innocents and throw them in the holding cell to be squeezed? Isn’t that the developing implication?
What about the third, silent suspect? His fate is worse. He is dead. He committed suicide. He is being represented to be dead from a self inflicted head wound. Well, that isn’t quite accurate. He had to shoot himself twice in the head to get the job done!

Stephen L. Wilmeth is a rancher from southern New Mexico. “Isn’t there irony in the fact that the news of the border is coming from horsemen?”