Saturday, March 09, 2013

Florida State Senator Files Bill Requiring Anger Management Before Buying Ammunition

A mandatory anger management program before you can buy ammunition? That’s what one Florida lawmaker who represents part of Duval County wants to see happen. State Senator Audrey Gibson, a Democrat representing District 9, said she is surprised at the reaction the bill she filed Friday is getting. She intended the bill to reduce anger not cause anger, but she says her office has gotten phone calls not only from Floridians but even some from out of state. Bill 1678 is two-fold. It would require a three day waiting period for the sale of any firearm, but what is stirring the most controversy is a requirement that would make it a crime to buy ammunition unless you presented a certificate showing you completed a minimum two hour anger management program either online or face to face. If it becomes law, you would be required to renew the certification every 10 years...more

CBO Report Shows Excessive Spending, Not Insufficient Taxation, Explains Our Deficits

 by Timothy H. Lee

In 2007, the federal government took in an all-time record $2.6 trillion in revenues. 

That year’s deficit was merely $161 billion – quaint in retrospect. 

This year, according to a report from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), incoming federal revenues will break that 2007 record and reach a new all-time high of $2.7 trillion. 

Yet this year’s deficit will be nearly $1 trillion. 

So if revenues for 2007 and 2013 are the same, yet the 2013 deficit is nearly one trillion dollars, we can isolate the obvious culprit:  excessive spending. 

For the record, it should also be noted that 2007 was the last year in which Republicans controlled Congress and the White House; it was several years into the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts, and it was the year in which cumulative spending on the Iraq and Afghan wars peaked.

Accordingly, it is false for anyone to blame the “Bush tax cuts,” wars “that weren’t paid for” or supposedly spendthrift Republicans as the deficit bogeymen.  We had never witnessed a trillion-dollar deficit in our nation’s history, but in the years since Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid captured Congressional control and Barack Obama captured the White House, we have seen four trillion-dollar deficits in a row. 

Like metronomes, however, liberals continue to insist that insufficient taxation is our problem.  Just weeks ago on January 1, Barack Obama and his allies secured tax increases with no corresponding spending cuts through the “fiscal cliff” resolution.  Yet they now claim that both the March 1 sequester and the March 27 funding expiration demand a new round of tax increases. 

But the straightforward budgetary numbers, brought into stark relief by the CBO projection, contradict that logic.

Friday, March 08, 2013

Song Of The Day #1036

Today is my Aunt Shirley McCarey's 89th birthday. Shirley is a fan of country music but her real love is big band music. So here is Benny Goodman's 1938 recording of Don't Be That Way.

Happy Birthday Shirley!

Sally Jewell’s links to conservationists draw GOP questions during confirmation hearing

...some GOP senators raised repeated concerns about Jewell’s environmental advocacy, including efforts to designate more federal lands as wilderness and an effort to get Americans, particularly children, in touch with nature. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, of Alaska, the top Republican on the panel, called that part of Jewell’s biography “unsettling to many.” Murkowski pressed Jewell on how vigorously she would push for more oil and gas drilling on federal lands. “Can you tell the committee anything that might surprise or even concern some of your friends in the environmental community?” Murkowski asked. Jewell replied that she would strike a balance between protecting public lands and tapping them for coal, oil, gas and other resources. Though a political novice, Jewell deftly handled several contentious questions. She skirted a demand from Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.V., on whether she’d support a carbon tax saying, “A carbon tax is not something that would come before me in a role as secretary of the Interior. I would not be in a position to take a position, frankly, around this issue.” In a 2008 interview, Jewell was more explicit. “We are not paying for the cost to the environment, of the carbon that we use, and we should be paying for that,” she said. “I know tax is a dirty word, but if we were paying a carbon tax that accounted for our impact on greenhouse gases, that would in fact change our consumption.” Some of the sharpest grilling came from Sen. John Barrasso, a Wyoming Republican. Echoing criticisms from other conservatives, he asked about Jewell’s vice chairmanship of the board of the National Parks Conservation Association, which has sued to cut emissions from coal-fired power plants and filed other environmental suits. Barrasso said the parks association has filed five dozen lawsuits against the federal government. He asked Jewell, if confirmed as secretary, to recuse herself from implementing any settlements from the suits. Jewell said she’s one of some 30 association board members and that “I have nothing to do with their litigation strategy.”...more

Would you serve on the board of an organization where you didn't agree with their litigation strategy?

Anyway, she will answer some questions in writing and, barring any holds, sail through the Senate. 


State asks Forest Service to collaborate on land management

While a bill that would call on the state to take over much U.S. Forest Service and BLM lands in New Mexico appears to be floundering in the state Legislature, another measure that would request the Forest Service work collaboratively in land management has been approved without a dissenting vote. A House Memorial will ask the federal Forest Service to engage with state agencies and local governments in "meaningful" watershed health planning and management. The House of Representatives message contends the Forest Service has done a poor job, "in light of the history of wildfires on public land in New Mexico and it light of the United States Forest Service's breach of regulatory and fiduciary responsibilities to New Mexico." The memorial calls on the state engineer, attorney general and state forester to take steps to enforce the obligations of the Forest Service under an 1897 federal act to protect watershed health in New Mexico's forests. The state agencies will be requested to integrate local, state and tribal watershed plans and management with the efforts of the Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Federal Bureau of Reclamation. The memorial was introduced by Rep. Yvette Herrell, R-Alamogordo, who also offered the measure for New Mexico to take over much of the Forest Service and BLM property in the state...more

Adequate Land Ranks as Top Concern of Young Farmers

Securing adequate land to grow crops and raise livestock was the top challenge identified in the latest survey of participants in the American Farm Bureau Federation’s Young Farmers & Ranchers program. That challenge was identified by 20 percent of respondents, followed by burdensome government regulations and “red tape,” which was identified by15 percent of the young farmers and ranchers responding. “Access to adequate land to begin farming or expand an established operation is a major concern for today’s young farmers,” said Zach Hunnicutt, AFBF’s national YF&R Committee chair and a crop farmer from Nebraska. “Another major challenge we all face in one form or another is the cost of complying with a maze of government regulations.” Other issues ranked as top concerns included economic challenges, particularly profitability, 12 percent; water availability, 10 percent; taxes, 9 percent; health care availability and cost, 9 percent; availability of farm labor and related regulations, 8 percent; and willingness of parents to turn over the reins of the farm or ranch, 7 percent. When asked to name the top three steps the federal government should take to help young farmers and ranchers, cutting government spending was the top response, with 24 percent listing this as most important. Twelve percent of those surveyed said maintaining the farm safety net was most important, while financial assistance for beginning farmers and tax reform were each cited by 11 percent as the priority that should be first on the list...more

Ranch Tradition: Hanging On

The tools of a rancher’s trade are scattered around the office in Saginaw. Leather chaps, spurs, dusters, bridles, and sweat-stained cowboy hats hang on hooks and racks. They’re utilitarian, not d├ęcor. Still, they give the office a rustic appeal. Old black-and-white photos depict men roping calves and sitting astride horses. The room’s centerpiece is a big oak desk cluttered with papers and knickknacks but clearly marked by a wooden plaque inscribed “John M. (Pete) Bonds.” Bonds loads Copenhagen in his bot-tom lip, pets one of several dogs roaming around, and takes a break from his most important tool of all — the computer. Missy, one of his three daughters, shares office space with her dad and helps manage the ranch. They study crop reports, weather patterns, spreadsheets, and feed and cattle prices from around the world. Thinking ahead is crucial in ranching, particularly when the industry is reeling from a myriad of problems due mostly to one sad fact — Texas is mired in a record-setting drought. “I don’t know if we’ve been smart or lucky,” Bonds said, trying to explain how his ranch has grown from a 5,000-acre spread north of Fort Worth to one of the country’s largest cattle operations, with land and stock scattered across a dozen states and Canada. Bonds is a burly, raspy-voiced cattleman who wears scuffed boots and denim clothes and lives in the same house where he was born more than 60 years ago. Cuss words and country expressions sprinkle his speech, his hair is disheveled, and he’d look more at home on a horse or a tractor than hunched over a computer with “Argentina Crop Report” glowing onscreen. But the fact that Bonds is surfing the ’net and can talk with precise insight about every facet of the cattle industry proves he’s smarter than he is lucky. Even so, he’s not immune to the mounting pressures that have put Texas ranchers in a vise in recent years. “We’ve had to cut our cow numbers down by about half since 2010,” he said...Ranchers like to say that Texas is in perpetual drought broken only by occasional floods. Even the worst drought, they figure, will break eventually. “Five years from now we’re going to be talking about an expanding cattle herd in the United States and increased beef production because I assume the drought will be over,” said David Anderson, a Texas A&M University livestock economist. But many hydrologists and climate scientists no longer think that assumption is a safe one. Some believe that the current arid conditions are going to become the new normal for much of Texas and the Southwest, as global warming advances. In that case, the wait for rain and grass and, therefore, cattle herds to come back to past levels could be a long one indeed. John Nielsen-Gammon, the state climatologist, said much of Texas is in a long-term drought that could last another 15 or 20 years with only intermittent wet spells. “What we’ve seen so far may continue:  a few dry years and a wet year, a few dry years and a wet year,” he said. “We will get rain sooner or later, but it is likely that there will be another drought to follow.”...more

Thursday, March 07, 2013

Song Of The Day #1035

My Grandmother on my mother's side, Helen Enid Keith, was born on March 7, 1895.  Her favorite song was Bully Of The Town.  Mom said she would run into the house anytime it played on the radio.  There was also some speculation that one of the reasons she liked the tune was because of the fightin' ways of my grandfather, John Robert McCarey.

So Ranch Radio's selection today is the 1936 recording of Bully Of The Town by the Prairie Ramblers.  The tune is on their Oregon Trail CD.

This one is for you Nana.

Bill would designate Escalante ‘grazing zone’

The House on Tuesday unanimously passed a bill to designate a ‘grazing zone’ over and around southern Utah’s Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument. HB382 is needed because grazing in the 1.9 million-acre monument is "severely threatened," according to Rep. Mike Noel, R-Kanab, even though this historic use was specifically authorized under the federal monument’s 1996 proclamation. The designation is "an opportunity to identify grazing as a very important use and priority use within the Escalante region in Garfield and Kane County," Noel, himself a cattleman, told colleagues Tuesday. Noel’s claims were backed by lobbyists who alleged that the Bureau of Land Management is not sufficiently accommodating livestock, which forms the backbone of Utah’s $16 billion agriculture industry. "The counties have witnessed time after time where managers have lost their moorings and use the presence of the monument to minimize and take away grazing," Mark Ward, policy director of the Utah Association of Counties, told a House committee on Monday...more

Appeals court weighs arguments in SE Oregon grazing case

Environmentalists want a federal appeals court to halt grazing on a half-million acres of public land in Oregon because they say cattle are hazardous to the sage grouse. The Oregon Natural Desert Association claims that grazing threatens "irreparable harm" to the bird's habitat in the Louse Canyon area of southeast Oregon overseen by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management. The group recently asked the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to issue an injunction against grazing in 2013 to prevent multiple threats to the sage grouse, such as a potential outbreak of West Nile virus. Mosquitos breed in water troughs and puddles from hoof prints, encouraging the spread of the virus, which kills virtually all infected sage grouse, ONDA said. "There's a clear and inescapable risk of exposure if these cows are released," said Mac Lacy, an attorney for the group, during March 6 oral arguments before the 9th Circuit in Portland. An attorney for the BLM countered ONDA hasn't met the burden of proof that such an injunction is necessary. The livestock troughs used in the region are deep and designed to keep water flowing to prevent mosquito reproduction, said John Smeltzer, attorney for the government. The connection between hoof prints and West Nile virus is a "conjectural possibility" but there's no evidence to suggest it's a "significant game changer," Smeltzer said...more

Hoof prints and puddles left by elk, deer and snoopy environmentalists don't result in West Nile virus.  No sir, it's just those damned old cow tracks that breed skeeters.

Forest Service Hits Reverse on Firefighting Policy

For decades, the U.S. Forest Service let small fires in remote areas burn naturally in recognition that fire was part of the natural landscape - and that by letting some fires burn, future large fires could be prevented. Last year, however, every fire was battled unless granted special status. That's been recognized as part of the reason the Forest Service spent more than $1 billion fighting fires in 2012. Now, the agency is taking the "fight all fires" directive off the books. Jonathan Oppenheimer, senior conservation associate at the Idaho Conservation League, said plenty of science and economic sense are behind the decision. "Putting out every single fire is not good for firefighter safety, it's not good for the environment, and it's not good for the bottom line and the taxpayers," he said. The forest official who required that all fires be suppressed in 2012 had a goal of keeping all fires small...more

Appeals heard on 2011 grazing allotment ruling

A hearing that could decide the future of livestock grazing on the former Green Mountain Common allotment is continuing. Since late February, Department of the Interior administrative law judge Andrew Pearlstein has been hearing appeals to a 2011 decision by the Bureau of Land Management's Lander Field office regarding the grazing area. Permittees and the Western Watersheds Project are appealing the decision, and the State of Wyoming is an intervener in both appeals. In 2011, Lander field office manager Rick Vander Voet broke the Green Mountain Common Allotment into four pieces, established deferred grazing systems, reduced the number of animals ranchers could stock, implemented standards for forage use and initiated range improvement projects. The former Green Mountain Common allotment's area covers 522,000 acres in southern Fremont County and parts of Sweetwater County. Sixteen permittees hold 19 grazing licenses for those rangelands. Pearlstein began the hearing at the Pronghorn Lodge in Lander by asking for opening statements from all parties. The first speaker was John Retrum, an attorney with the Department of the Interior Office of the Solicitor who is representing the BLM in the hearing. He said the case will turn on two questions: whether the level of permitted use in the 2011 decisions exceeds the carrying capacity of the rangeland and whether the permitees' issues with the decision warrant a modification. Western Watershed Project's lawyer Judy Brawer spoke next. She asserted that ranching activities in the former GMCA degraded its uplands and downlands. "Any continued livestock grazing, at least in the short term, will continue this degradation, and the new monitoring strategy will do nothing to prevent their loss," Brawer said. "Ultimately the GMCA is overstocked." Wyoming senior assistant attorney general James Kaste took aim at WWP's appeal in his opening. He said the BLM understands the rangeland conditions and called the 2011 decision a "balanced and well informed decision to walk rather than run" to rectify those conditions. He said Wyoming will bring knowledgeable rangeland managers to testify that there is more than enough forage for the number of livestock currently permitted and the allotment is conservatively stocked...more

Report: Search for oil, not drilling rules, driving rigs off federal lands

Overproduction of U.S. natural gas, not burdensome drilling regulations, is driving energy developers from western public mineral leases to non-federal lands rich in oil to the east. A new think-tank report found that liquid hydrocarbons, particularly shale oil, are where the drilling action is because of low natural gas prices. And this oil is found under private and state property, not the expanses of federal land in the Intermountain West. Aggressive production since 2003 has pushed down natural gas prices to historic lows, while surging global demand has made oil a more attractive target for energy development, according to report author Greg Zimmerman, policy director for Denver-based Center for Western Priorities...more

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Sierra Club taps new political director

The Sierra Club named a new national political director on Wednesday. The green group tapped Melissa Williams for the slot. She will assume the role in the middle of March. Williams is a former deputy director of the WOMEN VOTE! program at Emily's List, where she headed an independent expenditure program targeting House races. The effort saw 15 of its 17 preferred candidates get elected. “We are thrilled to have Melissa join our team. With her skill, her experience, and her proven record of success, she will make significant contributions to continue the momentum from the clean energy victories we achieved in 2012 and help find new opportunities to build the movement to fix our climate crisis,” Cathy Duvall, Sierra Club director of strategic partnerships, said in a Wednesday statement. Williams also has worked as an outside consultant for the AFL-CIO labor federation, helping it implement a get out the vote campaign and communications strategy. E-Wire

7 Questions About Wild Horses for Interior Secretary Nominee Sally Jewell

On Thursday on Capitol Hill, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will hold a confirmation hearing to consider the nomination of Sally Jewell for the position of Secretary of the Interior. She comes to the room offering some measure of comfort to two of the primary constituencies that care most about the post. Big oil? Check -- she worked for years for Mobil Oil, out in the oil and gas fields of Oklahoma. Environmentalists? Check -- she comes to Washington, D.C., from R.E.I., the "outdoor recreation" company, where she was a longtime advocate for conservation. But Jewell is mostly a blank slate when it comes to two key areas of the Interior Department's portfolio which are in famous and direct conflict with one another. The first relates to the federal government's complicated relationship with the ranching and livestock industries. Jewell does not appear to have much of a public record when it comes to her views on the concept of welfare ranching -- the age-old, under-reported pork-barrel policy by which the federal government practically gives away the use of our public land to private ranching and farming interests by means of well-below-market lease rates. The second unknown area of Jewell's resume involves the fate of nation's wild horses, which roam public lands and which have suffered greatly over the past few years as a result of the ruinous policies of Jewell's would-be predecessor, Ken Salazar. For wild horse advocates, the good news is that Jewell doesn't come from a longtime ranching family, as Salazar did, or have a long record of hostility to the nation's herds, as he does...more

Interior Department Nominee Owned Oil Firm Shares

If confirmed for the job, Ms. Jewell will be in a position to decide how much oil and natural gas drilling takes place on federal lands and waters, while also weighing whether the administration's conservation and environmental goals should prevent new production. According to the financial disclosure documents, Ms. Jewell has agreed to sell her shares in the energy companies if confirmed and will recuse herself from making any decisions affecting those companies until shedding the assets. The documents were sent to the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee by the Obama administration. Mr. Obama nominated Ms. Jewell for the Interior post in early February. The Senate energy committee will hold her confirmation hearing on Thursday. According to a Feb. 8 letter sent to the Interior Department's ethics office, Ms. Jewell owned stock in more than a dozen energy companies. Among them are major producers, such Exxon Mobil, ConocoPhillips, Anadarko Petroleum Corp. (APC) and Apache Corp. (APA). Ms. Jewell also owned shares in service companies like Halliburton Co. (HAL) and Baker Hughes Inc. (BHI) that operate in shale formations largely responsible for the recent boom in natural gas production. The companies conduct hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," a controversial practice that the Interior Department is proposing to regulate...more

Utah's public land issues will demand Jewell's attention

Should business executive Sally Jewell secure the nomination to become the next interior secretary, she'll become the landlord of the West at a time seldom more critical to Utah's destiny. Jewell faces controversial public lands issues that are at the groundswell of states' rights, with Utah leading the charge to re-assert its dominion over federal lands within its borders and threatening to sue if the feds don't acquiesce. Among those divisive, complex and costly public lands issues are oil and gas drilling, threats over the creation of new national monuments and Utah's struggle to fend off new species designations under the Endangered Species Act. 1. Federal land control Last year's passage of HB148, sponsored by Rep. Ken Ivory, R-West Jordan, has thrust Utah into the national spotlight epitomizing the West's newest incantation of the Sagebrush Rebellion. With more than two-thirds of the land mass in Utah under control of some federal agency, the state's conservative political leadership maintains economic development is held hostage, and it's the schoolchildren who suffer because of diminished state and local property taxes. The law demands the land promised to Utah at its statehood and allows Utah the flexibility to manage for "multiple use," with some narrow exceptions such as National Parks and wilderness areas. Critics such as the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance have launched a high-profile media campaign to derail the effort, which has been lambasted by top Democratic leaders in Utah who say it is pure fiscal foolishness to wage such a battle...more

Historic liberty letter returns to the Alamo after 177 years

“The Letter” has returned to The Alamo. Texans need no further explanation, so they can stop reading now and go see it. Renowned for its declaration of defiance against a tyrannical Mexican government, William B. Travis’ “Victory or Death” letter is easily one of the most celebrated documents in Texas history. This masterpiece of patriotism is world-famous in its appeal to all who love freedom from an oppressive government. Penned during the siege on the Alamo in February 1836, it is addressed “To the People of Texas & all Americans in the world” as it pleaded on behalf of 100+ Texans for volunteer reinforcements in a dire situation against a Mexican Army that had gathered in the thousands. Capt. Albert Martin carried The Letter on horseback across enemy lines under the cover of darkness. He tried desperately to rally troops to help in the fight, managing to return with less than 100 reinforcements, brave men who knew they were almost certainly going to fight to their deaths. The Letter has not been back to the Alamo since it was written 177 years ago. It has, however, had an interesting journey. After its contents spread like wildfire around the United States and much of Europe during the early days of the sovereign Republic of Texas, The Letter itself made it back to the Travis family...more

Song Of The Day #1034

Another dusty old 78 is featured on Ranch Radio today with Jerry Irby & His Texas Ranchers performing Texas Gal Polka, released on Imperial 8003-B.

Internal Government Email: Make Sequester Cuts As Painful As Possible

On the same day this story broke Secretary Vilsack testified before the House Ag Committee To Review The State Of The Rural Economy.  He began his testimony by stating: is my hope that Congress will support these efforts and provide more certainty for American agriculture by stopping the across-the-board spending cuts that went into effect on March 1, and through passage of a comprehensive, multi-year Food, Farm and Jobs Bill.

He concluded his remarks by repeating the sequester mantra:

Finally today, I want to reiterate the critical nature of providing certainty through a balanced and sensible plan to stop the sequester that took effect on March 1...

Now read this post to understand what is really going on.

An internal government email sent Monday instructed an official with a subdivision of the U.S. Department of Agriculture to make sure that sequester-related cuts inflict as much pain as possible to make sure “you are not contradicting what we said the impact would be.” When Charles Brown of the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service asked “if there was any latitude” in how officials might allocate sequester cuts to reduce negatively impacting fish inspections, Brown received the following reply: “We have gone on record with a notification to Congress and whoever else that ‘APHIS would eliminate assistance to producers in 24 states in managing wildlife damage to the aquaculture industry, unless they provide funding to cover the costs.’ So it is our opinion that however you manage that reduction, you need to make sure you are not contradicting what we said the impact would be.” Lawmakers say the email is further evidence that the Obama Administration is seeking to inflict maximum pain for the minimal $85 billion in cuts...more

A program manager asks for flexibility in implementing the small cuts, but is told his first priority is stopping wildlife damage control in 24 states.  Not good management, but what they think is good politics.  Their biggest fear is the initial stages of these cuts will result in nothing the public sees or cares about.  That's not good for the tax eaters in D.C.

Sen. Coburn urges USDA to nix wine-tasting 'getaways' amid sequester warnings

Instead of furloughing meat inspectors, why not cancel the wine-tasting getaway in California? Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., posed that question this week to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, noting that two USDA-sponsored conferences are coming up despite the budget anxiety in Washington over the sequester. One in California includes a "tasting reception;" another in Oregon includes a "wine tasting" element, according to Coburn. "While these conferences may be fun, interesting and even educational getaways for department employees, food inspecting rather than food tasting should be USDA's priority at this time," Coburn said in the letter...more

TSA Sealed $50-Million Sequester-Eve Deal to Buy New Uniforms

The impending sequester did not prevent the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) from acting in late February to seal a $50-million deal to purchase new uniforms for its agents--uniforms that will be partly manufactured in Mexico. Soon after this new investment in TSA uniforms, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano warned Americans that the lines are already lengthening at airports due to the sequester. "We are already seeing the effect on the ports of entry, the big airports for example," Napolitano told Politico on Monday. "Some of them had very long lines this weekend."...more  

They will take care of themselves first, then think about public safety.

The TSA employs 50,000 security officers, inspectors, air marshals and managers. That means that the uniform contract will pay the equivalent of $1,000 per TSA employee over the course of the year. 

Remember that as you wait in line. 

Go Utah! - Bills aiming to curb federal clout in Utah are gaining momentum

    Agents in tactical gear and armed with assault weapons asking for your fishing license. Others appearing in camp at night to peer into your cooler, pulling you over for trivial traffic infractions, and arresting you for maintaining a trail.
    Confrontations such as these, instigated by federal employees with minimal law-enforcement training and accountability, are common on Utah’s public lands, according to testimony given last week in the Legislature’s latest installment of an anti-federal campaign that appears to be gaining momentum.
    Three southern Utah sheriffs leveled these allegations in support of HB155, sponsored by Rep. Mike Noel, R-Kanab, which would bar U.S. Forest Service officers and Bureau of Land Management rangers from enforcing the law in Utah except in emergencies or when a sheriff has given prior approval under cooperative agreements.
    HB155, which cleared the House on Monday, is just one of several pieces of legislation this session aimed at limiting or mitigating federal influence in the management of public land, natural resources and endangered species in Utah.
     "We are the decider. We have to act like it," Rep. Ken Ivory, the West Jordan Republican championing the transfer of federal lands to the states, told colleagues on the committee last week in debating HB155.
     At a previous meeting, he yoked the legacy of Frederick Douglass to his cause, quoting the early civil rights leader’s pronouncement that the federal government rarely cedes authority without a demand.
    Last week, Ivory and his allies unveiled two new demands in House resolutions, which do not carry the force of law, but express the Legislature’s position.
    One resolution, HJR14 sponsored by Ivory, says federal agencies cannot claim water rights. The other, HJR15 sponsored by Rep. Marc Roberts, R-Santaquin, and passed out of committee Monday on its way to the full House, says they have so badly managed forests they now pose a "public nuisance and safety issue."
Both resolutions cite the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision on the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, stating that the states are "separate and independent sovereigns."
    And both resolutions amount to indictments against the Forest Service, alleging the agency has botched its duty to safeguard the public from wildfire, to treat forests that have burned and to take care of the land.Ivory’s water-rights bill, which the House natural resources committee is to consider Tuesday, asserts the Forest Service is pressuring grazing-allotment holders to sign over their water rights in a clear abuse of state sovereignty. It also alleges the agency has messed up forest hydrology by restricting grazing and logging, resulted in dangerous fuel loads and "inordinate water absorption for unhealthy vegetation densities."
    That committee on Monday endorsed Roberts’ HJR15 and its sister bill, HB164, which would enable local government officials to "mitigate" situations on federal land that they deem "may adversely affect the health, safety or welfare of the people of the municipality or county."

Montana wolf numbers in, but hunting impact remains unclear

At least 377 wolves were removed from the Montana population during the past 14 months by hunters, trappers, the federal government, landowners and others. Hunters took out 166 wolves, trappers caught 97, Wildlife Services — part of the federal Department of Agriculture — removed 113 “problem” wolves for depredation and ranchers killed seven that preyed on livestock. Another 32 wolves died last year from a variety of causes, ranging from illegal kills to malnutrition to being hit by a vehicle. Some argue that drops the known, minimal population from 653 wolves in Montana to about 276. However, factoring in that the state has 39 known breeding packs, which could average about five pups per litter, the known population level could hover around 471...more

Tuesday, March 05, 2013

U.S. to allow small knives to be carried onto airplanes

The U.S. Transportation Security Administration said on Tuesday that travelers can soon bring small pocket knives on board airplanes for the first time since the September 11 attacks, sparking outrage from flight attendants who said the decision would endanger passengers and crew. The TSA said that effective April 25, it would allow knives with blades that are 2.36 inches or less in length and less than 1/2 inch wide. Other items that will be allowed on board again as part of a passenger's carry-on luggage include billiard cues, ski poles, hockey sticks and lacrosse sticks. Items that had been prohibited like razors, box cutters or knives with a fixed blade are still not allowed on board...more

No-kill wolf ban spurs nonlethal options

As long as wolves have been making their comeback, biologists and ranchers have had a decidedly Old West option for dealing with those that develop a taste for beef: Shoot to kill. But for the past year, Oregon has been a "wolf-safe" zone, with ranchers turning to more modern, nonlethal ways to protect livestock. While the number of wolves roaming the state has gone up, livestock kills haven’t _ and now conservation groups are hoping Oregon can serve as a model for other Western states working to return the predator to the wild. "Once the easy option of killing wolves is taken off the table, we’ve seen reluctant but responsible ranchers stepping up," said Rob Klavins of the advocacy group Oregon Wild. "Conflict is going down. And wolf recovery has got back on track." The no-kill ban has been in place since September 2011. That’s when the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife announced it planned to kill two members of the Imnaha wolf pack in northeastern Wallowa County for taking livestock. Conservation groups sued, arguing that rules allowing wolves to be killed to reduce livestock attacks did not comply with the state Endangered Species Act. The Oregon Court of Appeals stepped in, prohibiting wolf kills while the two sides work to settle, although ranchers who catch wolves in the act of killing livestock may still shoot them. At the end of 2012, wolf numbers in the state had risen to 46 from 29 in 2011, according to state fish and wildlife officials. Meantime, four cows and eight sheep were killed last year by two separate packs, while 13 cows were killed by one pack in 2011...more

New Report Chronicles Oil and Gas Production on Federal Lands Declining Under Obama’s Watch

    The nonpartisan Congressional Research Services has issued a new report showing the effects of the Obama administration’s “all-of-the-above but nothing-from-below” energy policy on oil and gas production on federal lands. While U.S oil production is at its highest levels in two decades, evidence suggests this increase is largely a result of production on state and private lands where the federal government plays little or no role. CRS found that ALL the increases in production since 2007 have taken place on non-federal lands. The report reveals a similar story for natural gas. Since 2007, natural gas production on federal lands fell by 33 percent while production on state and private lands grew by 40 percent.
    President Obama often boasts that overall energy production has increased under his administration, but this report confirms the energy boom is occurring in spite of the president’s policies, not because of them. Oil and gas production on federal lands are down due to a complex regulatory regime and an inefficient permitting process. According to CRS, the average time to process an Application for Permits to Drill (APD) on federal lands increased 41 percent from 2006 to 2011, extending the process by nearly 90 days.
    “Private sector investment and new technologies are driving increases in oil and gas production. Where the states have been in charge, we have seen energy development boom in a safe and responsible way, but under federal control we have seen a sharp decline in production. A web of red tape and a backlog of delayed permits are blocking important energy production opportunities on federal lands,” said Energy and Power Subcommittee Chairman Ed Whitfield (R-KY). “As gas prices continue to rise past $4.00 a gallon, American families are looking to Washington for solutions to help provide relief at the pump. Expanding oil production on federal lands offers a real opportunity to help increase domestic supplies and stabilize prices as well as boost federal revenues.”

Key Findings of the Report:
  • “All of the increased production from FY2007 to FY2012 took place on non-federal lands…”
  • For natural gas production in the U.S. since 2007 “…production on federal lands (onshore and offshore) fell by about 33% and production on non-federal lands grew by 40%.”
  • Because of declines in oil production on federal lands in FY2011 and FY2012, production is now below FY2007 production levels.
  • The average daily production of natural gas on federal lands decreased by 19% from FY2011 to FY2012 and by 33% from FY2008 to FY2012.
  • The average time to process an Application for Permits to Drill (APD) on federal land increased 41% from 2006 to 2011, from 218 days in 2006 to 307 in 2011.
  • “A more efficient permitting process may be an added incentive for the industry to invest in developing federal resources, which may allow for some oil and gas to come onstream sooner, but in general, the regulatory framework for developing resources on federal lands will likely remain more involved and time-consuming than that on private land.”
To view the full report, click HERE.

Press Release

Song Of The Day #1033

Ranch Radio will dust off some ol' 78s this week and we'll start with a song about a Crayola Cowboy type of gal. Here's the Sweet Violet Boys (aka Prairie Ramblers) performing I Give In So Easy.

The tune was released as Vocalion 5368.

Retired Valier rancher grows a tall tale

Retired rancher John Holden’s tales are retold, stretched and invented slices of life along the Rocky Mountain Front. Ranchers prank the Fish, Wildlife and Parks’ bear guys (who are at least better than the feds), neighbors gather ’round at Kitty’s Bar and Grille in a one-parking-meter town called Pot Hole and Big Harry, Little Herbert and Fat John try to make a living raising sheep and cattle in his stories. Old-timers have passed on bear stories, embellished truth or pure fiction, and he’s drawn composites of locals he’s known. “There’s a guy or two I mighta got even with here,” Holden said. “It’s stuff that went on and stuff I dreamed up. “Some of these guys give you ideas, and I twist them around,” he said. “If it didn’t happen, it could have happened.” His stories are not “politically correct,” he allows. He occasionally rags on feds, environmentalists, nudists and liberals. The stories “say some things I think about society,” he said. Mostly he’s known for humorous yarns inspired by life on the Westwind Ranch between Dupuyer and Valier and the foibles of those who surround him, from Wolf Creek to the Canadian border. Holden has collected bear stories in “Grizzly Bears: Catch Me Now or Catch Me Later” and quips, jokes and observations in “Windscapes of Western Thoughts: Truisms of a Lesser Kind From an Older Montana Mind.”...more

Grazing fee stays same, rekindles debate

The federal grazing fee will stay at the minimum allowable level for a seventh consecutive year, a development that has rekindled a longstanding debate in the West between conservationists and ranchers. U.S. Bureau of Land Management and Forest Service officials last month said the fee of $1.35 per animal unit month will remain in effect this year for ranchers who hold 26,000 grazing permits on public lands in more than a dozen Western states. The formula used to determine the grazing fee, set by Congress in 1978, is based on market conditions, including private grazing lease rates, beef cattle prices and the cost of livestock production. An AUM is the amount of forage a cow and her calf can eat in one month. Katie Fite, biodiversity director of the Western Watersheds Project based in Hailey, Idaho, said the fee is unrealistically low because it’s set by an outdated formula that allows ranchers to pay far less than they would for grazing on private land.  J.J. Goicoechea, president of the Nevada Cattlemen’s Association, said conservationists fail to take into account that rancher-funded improvements for pipelines, water troughs and fences also benefit wildlife. Ranchers already are struggling because of drought and wildfires across the West, he said, and they play an important role in rural economies. Studies show each AUM has an overall economic impact of more than $75, he added...more

Monday, March 04, 2013

Song Of The Day #1032

It's Swingin' Monday on Ranch Radio and here is Carpenter & May and their swingin' version of Lady Be Good.  The tune is on their 2010 CD Carpenter & May.

Cowgirl Sass & Savvy

When the light fades to dust

by Julie Carter

They stood on the snow-covered ground in leather boots under tall pines while a whisper of wind moved the long needles into a rustling sound. Huddled against the chill of the morning, shoulder-to-shoulder, goodbyes were murmured and memories shared while hearts beat with the pain of loss. 

Tombstones that marked living and dying in two centuries peppered the hillside as a last testament to the early settlers and those that came after them. They too were silent reminders of the inevitability of life.

It was a simple ending for a man who lived life fully but with his feet firmly planted in the basics. His eulogy struggled to tell the story of a man who was legendary for his own brand of storytelling. 

Born in the 30s, the innocence of youth slipped away from him early. He was only 12 when his dad died suddenly and forced him to seek manhood in the footsteps of his four older brothers. Like many of that era, he went quickly from school classrooms to military boot camp, returning home with a hardened edge and a discipline that lasted a lifetime.

Back at home, he spotted the prettiest girl at a dance and married her. They danced for more than four decades until death cheated him once again and took her first.

He found humor in everything and delivered every one of his stories with his signature cuss words and a laugh that invited the same from those listening.

He was of pioneer stock as well as a soldier, cowboy, hunter, fisherman, mountain man, lawman, husband and father. He was a good neighbor and a kind benefactor. He did a lifetime of good deeds quietly and asked nothing in return. He gave honor to every title he wore.

You never had to wonder what he was thinking. He would tell you and it never took asking. If he was your friend, he was a friend for life. 

His youthful memories were highlighted by a three-day cattle drive he took part in where he was treated as an equal with the men. He experienced his first beers with the cowboys at the end of the trail. “When we headed back, Bill Ed and I had to ride in the back of the truck where we hung our saddles on the stock racks. We rode those saddles all the way home,” he recalled.   “It’s a wonder we didn’t fall off and kill ourselves.”

He was the kind of tough that men from that era often were. Tough in a fight, tough in his beliefs. “One of the worst times I was ever hurt was when I jumped out of the car at about 45 mph out on one of the back roads. I rolled and rolled and it hurt for days.” 

“Why did you do that?” I asked.

“Because my brother wouldn’t stop the car and I wanted out. So I got out.” And 60 years later he laughed about it like it happened yesterday.

He and his wife helped raise not just their own three kids but a bunch of strays that passed through their lives. I happened to be one of the latter. They were no-nonsense about the way things should be and yet could foster a friendship of love and respect from each that carried them into adulthood. 

This man was the beacon light from “home” for a generation of family that came after him. He was the constant in a life full of change and uncertainty. He stood in the gap between the family’s early pioneers and the far-flung lineage of today that has scattered to the world. 

As powerful in death as in life, his final breath brought them home. They vowed to pick up the mantle and not let the family legacy fade from the mountain valley that once held them all together. 

Perhaps his final purpose was not to leave a void in the tapestry of life, but to remind us of our duty to fill it.

Julie can be reached for comment at

Charles Goodnight

Son of Illinois … “joined” Texas
Charles Goodnight
Making the Gather
By Stephen L. Wilmeth

            One morning in 1860, a young man climbed off a spent horse in front of a frontier Texas home. He was sorely in need of a cup of coffee and he knew the frontiersman, Isaac Lynn, would have one.
Lynn barely acknowledged young Charles Goodnight’s arrival.
            What drew Goodnight’s attention wasn’t the subtlety of the greeting. It was what Lynn was roasting over the fire. On the end of a dogwood stick, Isaac was roasting a human scalp.
            “As he turned it carefully over the fire,” Goodnight remembered, “the grease oozed out of it.”
            Goodnight, then a 24 year old Texas Ranger, had been sent on a long circle by Captain Jack Cureton to warn settlers of the Indian raid at Stagg’s Prairie in eastern Parker County. It was there that Ezra Sherman’s pregnant wife, Martha, was raped, stabbed, shot with arrows, scalped and left for dead by a war party.
            Lynn was no stranger to such violence. He had started collecting scalps after his daughter and son-in-law, Mary and Tom Mason and their baby, had been killed by Indians two years before.
            Texas was wild.
            Son of Illinois becomes a Texan
            The cowman’s cowman, Charles Goodnight, was not native to Texas. He was born in Illinois in 1836 to Charles and Charlotte Goodnight. He arrived in Texas the year of its statehood, 1845. He reminded folks that when Texas joined the Union he “joined” Texas.
            He arrived on a blazed face mare he, in fact, called “Blaze”. His father had died and his mother remarried a neighboring farmer.
            By age 11, he was working on farms. He had only six months of formal education.
            In 1851, he was a jockey in Port Sullivan. When his mother became a widow again he returned home. He continued working on farms and even supervised a black slave crew.
            Two years later his mother remarried. The man was a preacher by the name of Adam Sheen. It was with Sheen’s son, John Wesley, with whom Goodnight got into the cow business. They became partners on 400 head of Texas cattle.
            A year later they trailed cattle into Palo Pinto County. It was there young Goodnight met the man who would influence his future. Oliver Loving had arrived two years earlier.
            Mr. Loving was 24 years older than Goodnight, but their partnership would become legend. A decade later they were trailing cattle out of Texas in a big way. Before that time, though, Charles would ride across west Texas and glimpse his future on the Llano (Estacado), the Staked Plains.
            Indian trouble offered the first step of that adventure. Goodnight joined the Texas Rangers in 1860.    He knew enough to serve as scout and guide.
    That year he guided the Cureton and Sul Ross lead Rangers to Peta Nocona’s Comanche Indian encampment where Cynthia Ann Parker was found.
            As the raid unfolded, Ross had his finger on the trigger of his pistol aiming at a running Indian wrapped in a buffalo robe. He was about to shoot when the Indian stopped running and whirled around exposing her breasts and holding a small baby out for him to see.
     “Americano, Americano, Americano,” she screamed. 
    She would verify who she was when she was questioned by Isaac Parker. When he spoke of Cynthia Ann she responded, “Me Cincee Ann …”  
The Big Gather
    In 1864, Goodnight’s Ranger enlistment expired and he returned to Palo Pinto County. It was then Texas started putting the cattle herds back together that had been neglected from war on both fronts … the frontier and the War Between the States.             
    What became known as the Big Gather commenced. Across Texas cattle were rounded up. For two years, the work continued, and, by the end of the Civil War, Texas was cattle rich, and … broke.
In 1866, Charles was in Throckmorton County. He joined forces with Loving and they struck west into New Mexico and on to Colorado for markets.
    Several things stand out in reviewing their first trip ‘up the Trail’. The trip with its horrendous walk west to Horsehead Crossing on the Pecos was itself an achievement. Other things, though, are also significant.
In addition to Goodnight and Loving, the 18 cowboys on the trip included the black cowboy Bose Ikard, Robert Clay Allison, and “One Arm” Bill Wilson. Who the ‘cocinero’ was is lost in time, but he was driving an iconic western invention, the chuck wagon.
    Goodnight took a military Studebaker wagon and designed an arrangement now known as a chuck box. In that box he built compartments that contained all the essential equipment to cook on the open range. The hinged door of the box could be lowered to serve as a work table for the cook. There was a water barrel intended to provide two full days of water, a canvas ‘catch’ slung under the wagon to serve as a wood or cow chip storage, and, or course, a mounted coffee grinder. The cowboy’s beds were thrown in the wagon forward of the chuck box.
    It provided a huge improvement in the lives of those drovers. It was a place of refuge. It was home.   
The partnership collected $12,000 from the Army at Ft. Sumner. Goodnight returned home for another herd and Loving drove cattle on to Colorado. They reunited on the Pecos at Bosque Grande for the winter.
    By the time of the third drive in 1867, the trail was known as the Goodnight-Loving Trail.
From the onset, the third trip was fateful. Bogged down by rain and mud, Loving went ahead to seek buyers while Goodnight brought the herd.
    Goodnight demanded that Loving travel only at night while in Indian country.  “One-Arm’ went with Loving, and, impatient to make better time, Loving pressed ahead in daylight. As feared, they encountered Indians and Loving was wounded in a fight. He paid for the error with his life.
    Sending Wilson for help, Loving was helped by some Mexicans and reached Ft. Sumner. He died there of gangrene.
     Devastated, Goodnight finished the drive and returned to Ft. Sumner, exhumed the body, and took his partner home to Texas for burial. That noble excursion was recaptured in a classic western.
Lonesome Dove
    Captain Call, Gus McRae, Deets and the boys were the characters immortalized in Larry McMurtry’s made-for-TV movie, Lonesome Dove. They were, of course, patterned after the real life cowboys in that fateful Goodnight-Loving trip.
    The solo mission by Captain Call hauling Gus’ body wasn’t what transpired although it made a great screen story. The body was returned to Texas by the crew.
    Deets was Bose Ikard. He likely carried the money from the sale of that herd. Mr. Ikard was highly regarded and often carried the proceeds from Goodnight cattle sales in a money belt. No one suspected a black cowboy to have money.
Palo Duro
    Over the next several years, Goodnight continued trailing cattle into New Mexico and on to Colorado. They were sold to the military, into mining camps, and for stocking ranges. As a result, not all herds were mature steers. Cows and calves were also trailed.
    At Pueblo, Mr. Goodnight established a ranch and demonstrated the character of a blossoming community leader. He started a cattlemen’s association, commenced irrigated farming, invested in a meat packing business, and bought land within the town of Pueblo. He extended a trail of his own name to Granada, Colorado.
    He also married. His bride was a ‘school marm’ he had known by the name of Mary Ann Dyer. He and “Molly” were married for 56 years, had no children, and were separated upon her death in 1926.
In 1873, the bottom fell out of the market. Hurt economically, Charles sent his bride to her family in California and made plans to return to Texas.
    Trailing 1600 head of mixed cattle he encamped on the upper Canadian at a place called Rincon de las Piedras. From there a cowboy called Panchito accompanied him into Texas to look at the Panhandle. The two decided Palo Duro Canyon would be the destination of that herd.
    Charles then went looking for financing.
    In a Goodnight inspired buffalo hunt in Colorado, a man by the name of John George Adair shot his horse out from under himself and was injured. The incident apparently didn’t turn him against his host and Adair became the major partner and financier in what became the famous JA Ranch.
    After the construction of the ‘home ranch’, Goodnight, Adair, and four cowboys arrived in the canyon with 100 Durham bulls and supplies. It was the start of a relatively short but famous relationship between the men.
    By 1885, the two had put together 2070 sections of country and were running 100,000 head of cattle.
Their market was Dodge City, Kansas and its railroad connections.
    During those years, Goodnight expanded Hereford influence into the herd, secured a remnant buffalo herd for posterity, and contributed to the legend of Panhandle ranching.
    In 1888, he withdrew from the partnership. Adair had died, but that death probably didn’t trigger the departure. His history of adventure was the likely cause. Goodnight was becoming interested in other matters including Mexican gold mining. He went charging off in a new direction. The decision was not good.
    In 1898, he and his wife did start their Goodnight College, but by 1900 he was limiting his ranching endeavors to a ranch immediately around home. Age was a factor.
After Molly died, he did two things important to his story. He joined a church and he got remarried.
The church relationship was likely something he felt compelled to accomplish. He was fairly high brow. He disliked drinking and carousing amongst his cowboys. Like many men, he probably sought spiritual wholeness through that church commitment.
    His marriage was a bit more controversial. By 1927, he was corresponding with a young lady with his sir name. She became his nurse, and they were married. Corinne Goodnight was 26, and Charles was … 91!
The Cattleman’s Cattleman, Charles Goodnight died in 1929. His last breath was taken in Phoenix.    Panhandle winters were colder than those of his youth.

            Stephen L. Wilmeth is a rancher from southern New Mexico. “It is inconceivable there will ever be another Texas or New Mexico of Goodnight’s prime. Can any of us imagine the capability of a society where the strength of character and grit of Goodnight partnered with the technology of today? Only then would we conceive of man being bold enough to go again to places he has never been.”  

A longer version of this article can be found in the most recent Range Magazine, a publication to which every reader of The Westerner should subscribe.