Saturday, June 29, 2013

Bottled-water purchase leads to night in jail for UVa student

When a half-dozen men and a woman in street clothes closed in on University of Virginia student Elizabeth Daly, 20, she and two roommates panicked. That led to Daly spending a night and an afternoon in the Albemarle-Charlottesville Regional Jail. Her initial offense? Walking to her car with bottled water, cookie dough and ice cream just purchased from the Harris Teeter in the Barracks Road Shopping Center for a sorority benefit fundraiser. A group of state Alcoholic Beverage Control agents clad in plainclothes approached her, suspecting the blue carton of LaCroix sparkling water to be a 12-pack of beer. Police say one of the agents jumped on the hood of her car. She says one drew a gun. Unsure of who they were, Daly tried to flee the darkened parking lot. "They were showing unidentifiable badges after they approached us, but we became frightened, as they were not in anything close to a uniform," she recalled Thursday in a written account of the April 11 incident. "I couldn't put my windows down unless I started my car, and when I started my car they began yelling to not move the car, not to start the car. They began trying to break the windows. My roommates and I were ... terrified," Daly stated. Charlottesville Commonwealth's Attorney Dave Chapman read Daly's account and said it was factually consistent. Prosecutors say she apologized profusely when she realized who the agents were. But that wasn't good enough for ABC agents, who charged her with three felonies. Prosecutors withdrew those charges Thursday in Charlottesville General District Court, but Daly still can't understand why she sat in jail. "This has been an extremely trying experience," she wrote. "It is something to this day I cannot understand or believe has come to this point."...more

Residents angry as RCMP seize guns from High River homes (with video)

RCMP revealed Thursday that officers have seized a “substantial amount” of firearms from homes in the evacuated town of High River. “We just want to make sure that all of those things are in a spot that we control, simply because of what they are,” said Sgt. Brian Topham. “People have a significant amount of money invested in firearms ... so we put them in a place that we control and that they’re safe.” That news didn’t sit well with a crowd of frustrated residents who had planned to breach a police checkpoint northwest of the town as an evacuation order stretched into its eighth day. “I find that absolutely incredible that they have the right to go into a person’s belongings out of their home,” said resident Brenda Lackey, after learning Mounties have been taking residents’ guns. “When people find out about this there’s going to be untold hell to pay.” About 30 RCMP officers set up a blockade at the checkpoint, preventing 50 residents from walking into the town. Dozens more police cars, lights on, could be seen lining streets in the town on standby. Officers laid down a spike belt to stop anyone from attempting to drive past the blockade. That action sent the crowd of residents into a rage. “What’s next? Tear gas?” shouted one resident. “It’s just like Nazi Germany, just taking orders,” shouted another. “This is the reason the U.S. has the right to bear arms,” said Charles Timpano, pointing to the group of Mounties. Officers were ordered to fall back about an hour into the standoff in order to diffuse the situation and listen to residents’ concerns...more

Angst at the A.S.P.C.A.

But over the next couple of years, as Ms. Adams continued to serve on the board, dressed in a more politically correct manner, she was certainly an energetic patron. She plugged the A.S.P.C.A. relentlessly in her column in The New York Post; started an annual blessing of the animals at Christ Church on Park Avenue; and arranged a meeting between Christine Quinn, the City Council speaker, and A.S.P.C.A. executives, who’d had a tough time getting traction with elected officials. That relationship with Ms. Adams came to a sudden end this spring, however, when she resigned from the board after receiving, she said, a letter from someone on the board criticizing her for various offenses during her five-year tenure, though she did not want to discuss the details. The news made its way to The Post, where Ms. Adams is an enduring star. The article, quoting unnamed sources, said the A.S.P.C.A. was riven by “internal disagreements” and noted another recent defector from the board, Randy Levine, the president of the New York Yankees. The defections allowed a glimpse into an organization that, for all its good works and undeniable fund-raising prowess, seems to be a place of warring factions and competing agendas. Indeed, over the last seven years, the A.S.P.C.A. has occupied one of the most fractious places in New York City philanthropy, with more than 15 members of the roughly 20-person board resigning and being replaced. Last summer, the A.S.P.C.A.’s president, Ed Sayres, announced he was stepping down after almost a decade, as it was becoming clear his contract would likely not be renewed. Several board members had voiced misgivings about his $566,064 salary, more than double that of Wayne Pacelle, his counterpart at the Humane Society of the United States. And Mr. Sayres’s generous payment of a consultant, Mal Schwartz, back in 2006, sowed deep resentments in the board and staff, some of whom began a sub rosa e-mail campaign suggesting financial improprieties (none have been found). A new president, Matthew E. Bershadker, was named in May. “The A.S.P.C.A. board, for whatever reason, is not a happy place to be,” said Penelope Ayers, who left the board in 2008. Ms. Adams’s take: “It’s Iraq and Iran with all the varying sects.” How did it get to this? And why now, when the endowment has been on a seemingly nonstop upward trajectory for about a decade, aided by smart ad campaigns and a hit reality show?...more

Eager beaver blamed for New Mexico Internet outage

Officials have finally identified the culprit behind a 20-hour Internet and cellphone outage last week in northern New Mexico - an eager beaver. CenturyLink spokesman David Gonzales told The Associated Press on Friday that a hungry beaver chewed through the fiber line last week. He says the biting evidence was discovered by contractors who worked to repair the outage. Officials say more than 1,800 Internet users were affected by the blackout. The number of cellphone users without service during that time is still unknown. CenturyLink owns a fiber-optic cable that runs from Taos to Interstate 25. The cable carries wireless data for many residents around Taos County.

Horse slaughterhouse in New Mexico approved

Federal officials cleared the way Friday for a return to domestic horse slaughter, granting a southeastern New Mexico company's application to convert its cattle facility into a horse processing plant. In approving Valley Meat Co.'s plans to produce horse meat, Department of Agriculture officials also indicated they would grant similar permits to companies in Iowa and Missouri as early as next week. With the action, the Roswell, N.M., company becomes the first operation in the nation licensed to process horses into meat since Congress effectively banned the practice seven years ago. But the company's attorney said on Friday that he remained skeptical about Valley Meat Co.'s chances of opening any time soon, as the USDA must send an inspector to oversee operations and two animal rights groups have threatened lawsuits to block the opening. "This is very far from over," attorney Blair Dunn said. "The company is going to plan to begin operating in July. But with the potential lawsuits and the USDA - they have been dragging their feet for a year - so to now believe they are going to start supplying inspectors, we're not going to hold our breath."...more

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Farmington hosts Professional Bull Riders' Four Corners Ryan McConnel Invitational

San Juan County will get a taste of some of the best bull riding in the country this weekend. The Professional Bull Rider's first Four Corners Ryan McConnel Invitational begins today at the McGee Park Coliseum in Farmington. McConnel, a 2005 Bloomfield High graduate, said he couldn't be more exicted to come back home and compete in the event that bears his name. "I think it's one of my biggest milestones for my career," McConnel said. The Farmington stop was added to the Professional Bull Riders schedule as part of its Touring Pro Division. "This is going to be huge for the community," McConnel said. "This will be something that they've only seen on TV. It will be a star-studded lineup. They'll see bull riding like they've never seen before." The Touring Pro Division acts as a minor-league tour for the PBR, giving its riders a chance to earn points and money while trying to qualify for the PBR's main tour, the Built Ford Tough Series. One young rider attempting to establish himself on the tour is McConnel's younger brother Joseph, who will be competing in the event. Joseph McConnel, a 2012 Bloomfield High graduate, is currently ranked 20th in the Touring Pro Division thanks to a win in January at an event in Denver in which he took home $23,000 for first place. Joseph McConnel said having his older brother on tour has helped to ease his transition into the professional ranks a year after he won the National High School Finals Rodeo national title. "He's always pushed me, and now we're pushing each other," Joseph McConnel said...more

IF YOU GO What: Pro Bull Riders Touring Pro Ryan McConnel Invitational
When: June 28-29, 7:30 p.m.
Where: McGee Park Coliseum; 41 CR 5568
Cost: Tickets range from $5 to $35
More info: To purchase tickets, call 505-325-4515

Ground Squirrel vs. Bull Snake - Gold Canyon, AZ - video

A woman in Gold Canyon, Ariz., called 911 earlier this week to report a backyard brawl that had gotten out of control — between a feisty squirrel and a gopher snake. By the time firefighters arrived, the two had been fighting for about a half hour and were showing no signs of letting up. Watch some of the viral footage below:

Local 6 finds drone hovering over Central Florida - video

Local 6 has obtained nearly two hours of footage from a small, unmanned drone that was hovering over Central Florida -- watching and recording people. It literally fell out of the sky, crashing into a tree, where a Local 6 employee found it and turned it over. On the high-definition GoPro camera that was attached to the drone, you can see each flight starts innocently enough. But you can see the potential for bad behavior. In one shot, the drone races toward an apartment window, getting within feet of the glass. In another shot, the drone hovers over a female sunbather at a pool. She's completely unaware that it's there, and she never looks up. But the scariest shot of all shows the drone wobbling high over I-4 as cars zoom by down below. The drivers have no idea that the drone was out of control at that point, and only seconds away from crashing. There are also shots of the pilot. By carefully analyzing the footage, we discovered exactly where he lives -- an apartment in Altamonte Springs, right next to I-4. His name is Guimy Alexis -- a student who built the drone, and many other...more

Go here to see the video report.


Target for Surveillance: Cattle Eructation (Here come the federal fart police)

by Terence Jeffrey

President Obama explained his plan to save the planetary climate in a speech delivered at Georgetown University on Tuesday, he did not mention cattle, but he did state his desire "to make sure that we're not seeing methane emissions."

Some of those, the government has made clear, are of bovine origin.

Back in 2007, the Environmental Protection Agency published a paper explaining its effort to develop a model "to estimate methane from enteric fermentation in cattle."

"During digestion, microbes resident in an animal's digestive system ferment food consumed by the animal," the paper explained. "This microbial fermentation process, referred to as enteric fermentation, produces methane as a byproduct, which can be exhaled or eructated by the animal."

So? Have not animals been eructating methane for millennia?

"Cattle are the largest contributing livestock species to enteric fermentation in the United States, accounting for over 95 percent of the methane emissions from this source," said the EPA paper. "These emissions account for almost 20 percent of the total anthropogenic methane emissions in the United States."


Well, climate-change cognoscenti can find an answer in the Climate Action Plan the White House released Tuesday in conjunction with the president's speech.

"Curbing emissions of methane is critical to our overall effort to address global climate change," says the president's plan. "Methane currently accounts for roughly 9 percent of domestic greenhouse gas emissions and has a global warming potential that is more than 20 times greater than carbon dioxide."

In this view of things, the dairy cow that produced the milk you fed to your child and the steer that yielded the steak you hope to throw on the grill next Saturday are threatening the planet.

"Cattle Eructation Leads to Global Devastation" may be too simplistic a bumper sticker for their cause — but they are unmistakably saying cattle eructations are at least one cause leading toward global devastation via manmade (or is it man- and bovine-made?) global warming.

That is why, even back in 2007, when George W. Bush was president, the EPA's cattle-eructation experts were developing a plan for monitoring methane emissions.

"In order to more accurately characterize emissions from this source, EPA has recently focused its attention on adopting and improving the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Tier 2 method for estimating methane emission from cattle," said the EPA paper.

Indeed, EPA planned to track — at least through estimates — what American cattle were doing on on a month-by-month basis.

"The most significant modification to the IPCC Tier 2 method that EPA made was to model cattle sub-populations on a monthly basis," said the paper. "Factors such as weight gain, birth rates, pregnancy, feedlot placements and slaughter rates were tracked to characterize the U.S. cattle population in greater detail than in previous inventories, in which only end-of-year population data were used."

Is a federal government that seeks to measure and modulate the methane emissions of cattle overreaching?

One evening out on the flats a small herd of cattle are grazing.  A small drone, barely noticeable, appears and quietly hovers overhead. 

Thirty minutes later you start to hear the thump, thump, thump sounds of the blades on the hybrid helicopters.  The cows raise their heads but it's too late.   The EPA S.W.A.T units  are overhead and dropping biodegradable nets over the terrified bovine criminals.  Specially trained Federal Fart Collectors rappel to the ground and whip out their solar powered FCDs (U.N. approved Fart Collection Device).

Just as the EPA officers were approaching the trapped cattle a message came through on their green-certified radio.

Oh, No, they've been sequestered!

Come on Congress, keep cutting.

Otherwise the Pedo Police will once again raid our ranchos.

USDA Spending $167,650 to Lure Customers to D.C. Farmers' Markets

The U.S Department of Agriculture has awarded $167,650 in grants to increase participation in Washington, D.C. farmers markets. The two grants, part of the department's Farmers Market Promotion Program (FMPP), run from Sept. 2012 through September 2014. The grants include $94,150 to DC Greens Inc. and $73,500 to the University of the District of Columbia. According to the USDA release on the awards, The DC Greens Inc. program received $94,150 to:  “1) increase customer participation at 4 farmers markets; and 2) reach low income and Federal nutrition benefit recipients in the market neighborhoods, with a targeted outreach into neighboring communities, direct mailings, cooking demonstrations, and improved market signage, resulting in better health for market patrons and an increase in sales for 40 farmers.” Jezra Thompson, Food Access Program Director for DC Greens, tells her organization's efforts include more than cooking demonstrations and increased signage. “We are approaching our outreach campaign through a grassroots effort,” Thompson said. “We are going to meetings, we are working with people from the community that are invested in the same projects we are working on and the same mission that DC Greens is about; which is connecting DC residents to more healthy, affordable food.”...more 

$94,000 for "going to meetings".  These community organizers do quite well.

We subsidize crop production, which results in oversupply, which results in farmers being paid to not produce. Meanwhile, we've got all these surplus crops, which we are now told aren't  "healthy, affordable food" so we give money to these yahoos to jerk folks out of their homes and drag them down to a farmers market.

The DC Deep Thinkers and their ag policy on display.

Idaho ranchers still waiting on wolf-kill cash

Idaho wildlife managers have yet to receive federal funding to compensate ranchers for 2012 livestock losses from wolves, as other Western states are also competing for a share of just $850,000 meant to offset sheep and cattle losses from the predators. The Times-News reports Dustin Miller, who heads Idaho's Office of Species Conservation, said the money will eventually be divided between paying ranchers for losses and funding efforts to avoid wolf-livestock conflicts. In 2011, the program paid Idaho ranchers about $100,000 for livestock losses. "Unfortunately, we usually have the highest level of depredations in the country, and if it's competitive, we may receive more funding than other states. But we can't be sure," Miller said. Federal officials say wolves killed 75 cattle and 330 sheep last year, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Wildlife Services agency that's tasked with assisting livestock producers in Idaho and the United States in protecting their herds from predators. Hunters' success rates for the canine predators also improved significantly last year: Hunters and trappers killed 320 wolves in the 2012-2013 season, up from 200 in 2011, to trim wolf numbers statewide to roughly 638. Last year, federal government wildlife agents also killed 69 wolves after determining they were targeting livestock. Todd Grimm, the director of Wildlife Services in Idaho, says it's difficult to draw too many conclusions from the number of cattle, sheep or wolves killed in a given year, as the number varies depending on numerous circumstances. For instance, wolves killed 103 cattle and 411 sheep and lambs in 2009, a year he remembers as particularly hard on producers' herds...more

Udall: Fish & Wildlife Service to Postpone Final Decision on Lesser Prairie Chicken Listing

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Tom Udall (D-N.M.) announced today that the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) has agreed to a six-month extension for a final decision on whether to list the lesser prairie chicken as a threatened species. The extension comes after Udall led a bipartisan call for delay of the final decision. The additional time will give the FWS an opportunity to study the science and the comments it has received, while enabling stakeholders to continue working on protection of the species — thus potentially providing enough protection to make a listing unnecessary.

Dan Ashe, Director of the Fish and Wildlife Service, informed Senator Udall in a letter today that the FWS will publish a notice in the Federal Register on a six-month extension of the final listing determination through March 30, 2014.

The FWS letter also confirmed it is reviewing a conservation plan drafted by state game and fish directors in the five states that would be affected by listing the lesser prairie chicken, something Udall has also strongly encouraged. "The Service appreciates your support for the five-state conservation plan and assures you that we will carefully evaluate application of the plan as part of our listing determination for the lesser prairie-chicken," Ashe wrote.

"I am pleased with the Fish and Wildlife Service's quick response to our request to delay the decision regarding a listing for the lesser prairie chicken," Udall said. "Any final determination must be made according to the best science available, so I am glad to see Director Ashe's commitment to reviewing the five-state plan that local leaders have worked so hard to craft, and that any decision will indeed 'reflect the comments and information submitted to the Service'."

The text of Director Ashe's letter today can be found here.

The original letter on June 14, 2013, requesting the extension can be found here.

In 2012, Udall also wrote to Director Ashe the day after the listing was first proposed, highlighting local efforts already being done to protect the chicken’s habitat and asking that these efforts help guide any possible listing decision.

“As you know, private citizens, companies and public land management agencies in New Mexico have been working for years to help maintain Lesser Prairie Chicken habitat and protect the species,” Udall said at the time.

Udall noted that in New Mexico, many private land owners have already coordinated with Fish and Wildlife Service and USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service, and Bureau of Land Management (BLM) have worked with permit and lease holders on Candidate Conservation Agreements (CCA) and Candidate Conservation Agreements with Assurances (CCAA). The Center of Excellence in Carlsbad has been successfully managing these agreements to ensure habitat for both the lesser prairie chicken and the sand dune lizard is maintained in almost two million acres throughout New Mexico. These agreements provide a safe-harbor for those enrolled to continue previously agreed upon operations and conservation activities regardless of the outcome of any listing decision.


Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Farm Bill Defeat Is a Chance to Get Things Right


The House’s rejection of the food stamp/farm bill was a major victory for fiscal responsibility and limited government. Instead of adopting a fundamentally flawed $1 trillion farm bill, the House shot down the legislation by a 195–234 bipartisan vote.
Bill proponents have consistently claimed throughout the farm bill debate that “something is better than nothing.” And within minutes of the bill’s defeat, the fear-mongering grew even louder. Representative Frank Lucas (R–OK), chairman of the House Agriculture Committee, alleged that the bill was necessary to avoid “farm crises.”
The World Isn’t Going to End
Congress needs to take a deep breath. The world isn’t about to end. Food stamps will still be provided to recipients. Subsidies will still go to farmers—current appropriations extend through late fall. And permanently authorized crop insurance subsidies will continue.
According to the Government Accountability Office, many programs, including food stamps, don’t even need to be authorized (the farm bill is an authorization bill) if there are appropriations for the specific program. Even the infamous “dairy cliff” won’t occur until after December 31, 2013.
Between existing and future appropriations and, if necessary, an extension of current law, nothing will be different tomorrow than it was this week. A bad farm bill didn’t pass last year, and we’ve lived to tell about it.
False Choice
Simply put, the claim that something is better than nothing is a false choice. The real choice isn’t between something and nothing; it’s between a flawed farm bill and real reform.

Editorial: Obama's Carbon Scam Jeopardizes Keystone Jobs

The president said Tuesday the pipeline from Canada should be built if the State Department finds it will not add to carbon pollution and is in our national interest. But State already has — twice. 'Allowing the Keystone pipeline to be built requires a finding that doing so would be in our nation's interest," the president said in his speech on climate change. "And our national interest will be served only if this project does not significantly exacerbate the problem of carbon pollution." As with Benghazi, President Obama must not talk to the State Department much. For in March, for the second time, the department, tasked with ultimate approval of Keystone XL because it crosses an international boundary, said Keystone XL will have no net impact on so-called greenhouse gas emissions. The State Department found it "very unlikely" that the pipeline would affect water quality in any of the four aquifers through which it crossed. It also concluded that along one part of the proposed route, in the case of a large-scale oil spill, "these impacts would typically be limited to within several hundred feet of the release source, and would not affect groundwater." There would be no greater danger than that posed by any of the more than 50,000 existing miles of safely operating pipeline already crisscrossing the U.S., including Nebraska and the Ogallala Aquifer...more

Al Gore calls Obama climate change speech the best ‘by any president ever’

Former Vice President Al Gore praised President Obama’s energy policy speech at Georgetown University on Tuesday as “the best address on climate by any president ever.” Writing on his blog, Gore, who won a Nobel Peace Price for his climate change activism, called Obama’s speech “historic.”  In his speech, Obama said the White House would direct the Environmental Protection Agency to draft new rules to limit the carbon pollution from both new and existing power plants that should be in effect by 2015. The president also said the controversial Keystone XL oil pipeline should only be approved if it didn’t increase greenhouse gas pollution. 
Gore called Obama’s EPA directive the most important part of the White House plan. “This action — if followed by skillful and thorough execution of the plan — has the potential to fundamentally alter the course of our nation’s energy infrastructure development and help to promote a sustainable future,” he wrote. “On the international front, this action will bolster U.S. credibility and moral authority in negotiations with other countries.”...more

Al Gore is just a big ole waste of skin and most people know it.  Nice to have around though when you're looking for ignorant comments.  Take for instance:

"the best address on climate by any president ever"

Better than George Washington?  Washington never said anything about it, cuz he would never tell a lie.

Better than Abe Lincoln?  Not a single word on climate.  He was too busy rippin' the former Republic apart.

Better than Woodrow Wilson?  Zero on climate.  Guess he was too busy gettin' us in a war, segregatin' federal depts. and messin' around with Mary Hulbert.

Better than FDR?  Nada on climate.  He was too busy packin' the Supreme Court, gettin' us in a war and messin' around with Lucy Mercer.

Better than JFK?  CQC - Camelot was Quiet on Climate.  Guess he was too busy backin' down from Kruschev and messin' around with Mimi Alford, Judith Exner, Marilyn Monroe, Mary Meyer and...(no wonder he had a bad back).

Better than Clinton?  Ole Party Boy did talk about it and even signed the 1997 Global Warming Accord.  But let's be honest.  Slick Willie was too busy Bombin' Kosovo, Boppin' Babes and Hidin' from Hillary to put much emphasis on climate.

All this leads me to two conclusions:

One, Al Gore could actually be right about this speech.

Two, we need to find Obama a girlfriend or two.

Judge stops 3 timber sales over lynx habitat concerns

A federal judge has ordered the Helena National Forest to stop work on a logging project northeast of Townsend in the Big Belt Mountains pending a further analysis of endangered Canada lynx in the area. In an order in a different case, Missoula-based Federal District Judge Dana Christensen also stopped two projects in the Gallatin National Forest, also citing issues with lynx. On the Cabin Gulch Vegetation and Treatment Project near the Deep Creek sale in the Big Belts, Christensen in an order Monday agreed with environmental groups the Alliance for the Wild Rockies and the Native Ecosystems Council that the forest had failed to consider whether the lynx “may be present” in the area of the project. The forest instead considered the lynx under an improper and more rigorous “occupancy” standard, he wrote. Mike Garrity, executive director of the Alliance for the Wild Rockies, called the order “a great win for the lynx.” Christensen ordered the forest to consult with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to determine whether the lynx “may be present,” as the environmental groups claim. If they determine that, the forest would have to launch a supplemental Environmental Impact Statement for the sale, Garrity said, complete with an opportunity for public comment. The project calls for logging and burning trees on 2,891 acres in a 15,600-acre area. It was first proposed in 2005 and went through about three versions before the final decision was signed in March 2012. Tuesday, Christensen ordered the Gallatin National Forest to halt work on the East Boulder Project near Big Timber and the Bozeman Municipal Watershed Project, pending new consultation with USFWS. The agencies “failed to meet their burden of showing that the Projects will not adversely modify critical lynx habitat,” he wrote in a 48-page order. In fact, he wrote, the forest has said the East Boulder Project would degrade hundreds of acres of habitat for snowshoe hare (a key prey species for the lynx). The Bozeman project “‘would affect about 2,673 acres of lynx habitat in some way’ including altering hundreds of acres ‘to an unsuitable condition,’ reducing denning habitat, impacting foraging habitat, and negatively impacting snowshoe hare habitat,” Christensen wrote, citing the U.S. Forest Service...more

8 years of planning and analysis and they still can't harvest less than 3,000 acres of timber.  Great example of why our forests are a mess and the West is burning up.  Just give these judges a Smokey cap and let them manage it seems to be the attitude of most in Congress.

Judge rules Jesus statue can stay on Forest Service land

U.S. District Court Judge Dana Christensen, in Missoula, ruled June 24 in favor of allowing a statue of Jesus to remain where it is on government land on the side of Big Mountain. Christensen, a former Kalispell attorney, ruled against the Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation, which had challenged the legality of the statue’s location. The Knights of Columbus, a Catholic fraternal organization, placed the statue on Forest Service land inside the Whitefish Mountain Ski Resort about 60 years ago and has maintained it since then. They have renewed their Forest Service lease every 10 years. Christensen granted the Forest Service’s request for summary judgment and allowed the agency to reissue the permit for the statue, which sits on a 25-by-25-foot plot of land leased by the Knights of Columbus. Flathead National Forest Supervisor Chip Weber supported Christensen’s ruling. “I am pleased that the court validated the re-issuance of this special-use permit,” Weber said. “It is my position that the statue has been a long-standing object in the community since 1955. It is important to the community for its historical heritage in association with the early development of the ski area on Big Mountain.”...more

Growing fire makes matters worse for NM ranchers

A furious wildfire torching through the mountains of southern New Mexico’s Gila National Forest has grown to 127 square miles, forcing some ranchers to ship their cattle out of state as the blaze burns through entire grazing areas. The Silver Fire was still about 5 miles west of the nearest community, but it has left ranchers in this drought-stricken corner of the state with few choices for feeding their cattle. State agriculture officials said the combination of drought and fire has forced some ranchers to ship what remaining cattle they have to other areas, including South Texas. “There are poor range conditions statewide,” said Les Owen, a range resource specialist with the New Mexico Department of Agriculture. “Finding grass that doesn’t have some cattle on it or some areas of rangeland that haven’t been destocked because there’s just no grass left is nearly impossible in New Mexico.” Agriculture officials have reached out to the U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management in an effort to find public or even private land where any displaced ranchers might be able to graze their cattle while the Silver Fire continues to eat up parts of the Gila forest. While forest officials had already limited the number of cattle allowed on the Gila this year due to the dry conditions, at least 150 cattle were forced from one allotment due to the fire. There have been no reports of livestock lost, officials said...more

Conflicts Rise Between Idaho Ranchers, Gray Wolves

As the federal government seeks to pull the gray wolf off the endangered species list, conflicts between ranchers and gray wolves in south-central Idaho are on the rise, with record livestock losses last year. Gray wolves killed 34 cattle and 79 sheep last year in the Southern Mountain region of the Sawtooth Range, which includes Camas and Blaine counties. Statewide, they destroyed 90 cattle and 251 sheep, said Todd Grimm, state wildlife services director for the U.S. Department of Agriculture. In turn, hunters killed 330 wolves in Idaho in 2012, up from 200 the year before. While other states could be affected if the wolf loses its endangered species status, Idaho has been managing its own wolf population since 2009, said Craig White, staff biologist for the state Department of Fish and Game. Idaho had 683 wolves and at least 117 packs last year, far more than the 150 wolves and 15 breeding pairs required to avoid a federal relisting of the species in the state...more

Get your "pickled" grass...for cows

Republic Services, which collects garbage and recyclables in the three cities, is hoping for 5,000 to 8,000 participants, business development manager Rachele Klein said. The company has a list of about 200 people who've already said they want service when it's available, Klein said. Starting in July, participants will pay about $8 a month for a 95-gallon cart in which they can dump clippings after mowing their lawns. Each additional cart will cost about $5. Republic will pick up the clippings once a week, hopefully a day or two after mowing. The company will put the clippings in a pit, pack them and cover them with tarps to induce a fermentation process that's similar to pickling, Klein said. When they're ready, the pickled clippings will be added to a mixture of hay, corn and other ingredients and fed to cows...more

Read more here:

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

In climate speech, Obama sets carbon limits on Keystone project

President Obama said Tuesday that the controversial Keystone XL pipeline should only be approved if the project would not “significantly exacerbate” greenhouse gas pollution. “Allowing the Keystone pipeline to be built requires a finding that doing so would be in our national interest,” Obama said during a speech at Georgetown University on his climate change plans. “Our national interest will be served only if this project doesn't significantly exacerbate the problem of carbon pollution,” Obama said. “The net effects of the pipeline's impact on our climate will be absolutely critical to determining whether this project can go forward.” The State Department already said in a March draft environmental review that the proposed Canada-to-Texas pipeline wouldn't significantly boost greenhouse gas emissions, but the White House has thus far avoided weighing in on the pipeline. Republicans, who have hailed the pipeline as a way to create jobs, said Obama's comments should lead to a speedy approval of the project. “The standard the president set today should lead to speedy approval of the Keystone pipeline," Brendan Buck, a spokesman for Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), said in a statement. "Based on the lengthy review by the State Department, construction of the pipeline would not have a significant environmental impact. It’s time to sign off on Keystone and put Americans to work.”...more

Congress & The Klamath Water Crisis, revisited

Yesterday I posted Congress weighs in again on Klamath water crisis, but isn't likely to act and commented:

Gotta love that headline.  They'll "weigh in" but "do nothing".  Pretty typical, and this time blaming the current budget environment.

Wyden and Merkley should offer an alternative that costs nothing.  Either legislatively remove the two species of sucker fish from the endangered list, or exempt the Klamath River from the provisions of the ESA during times of drought.

That's what Congress would do if they really wanted to help the ag producers.
Today the subcommittee on Energy and Water Development of the Senate Appropriations Committee has the markup on their approp's bill, and this would be an opportunity to insert language aimed at resolving the issue.  Senator Merkely of Oregon sits on the Appropriations Committee. Would an amendment similar to the ones suggested above pass?  Probably not.  But the question is will he even try to help the ag producers?

The other thing this approach does is pinpoint the problem: the Endangered Species Act.  The problem is not the "current budget environment", the problem is the ESA.  Now that they can't buy their way out of these type conflicts, the focus should be on the damage caused by the ESA. Do you want to protect two species of sucker fish or allow families to be productive on their own property?

In the meantime ag producers will have their water cut off.  This will be replicated across the West this year and continue into future years until and unless the people of the West stop sending these gutless types to represent them in Washington, D.C.

Sequestration causes rockslide at Dinosaur National Monument, closes trail and surrounding area

A massive and active rockslide that has been slowly occurring the past couple of days has closed parts of the Dinosaur National Monument. The slide is located near the Jones Hole Trail, creek and fish hatchery. The first report of a rock slide occurred on Tuesday. A large slab of rock broke free from a cliff face near the boundary of the Dinosaur National Monument, about a  quarter-mile from the Jones Hole Fish Hatchery, National Park Service officials said. A fisherman reported having to run from a boulder that landed in the stream not too far where he was, park officials said.  After hearing the reports, park rangers checked the scene and did not see any activity. Then on Thursday morning another small slide occurred just before a massive slide was reported in that area. The slide was large enough to send boulders across Jones Hole Creek and knock down trees, blocking the trail, officials with the National Park Service said...more

OK, they didn't say anything about the sequester...but you know they will.  Either that or it was caused by Global Warming. 

Baucus bill orders coordinated response to global warming (FS, BLM, FWS, NPS, NOAA)

...“In 2007, no one was doing anything,” said Jennifer Donohue, a spokeswoman for Montana Sen. Max Baucus, who’s proposing legislation to make the agencies work together and help state governments get involved. “Now some agencies are out there doing good things, but we need to coordinate it.” Baucus and Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., introduced S. 1202 on Thursday to make the five agencies cooperate on adaptation-specific policies. Doing so would not only improve those public lands, but protect the multi-billion-dollar community economies that depend on them.  This bill will provide some direction – it won’t just be changing terms,” said Dave Dittloff of the National Wildlife Federation in Missoula. “A lot of what needs to be done to help critters and plants is good conservation work, regardless of climate-change labels.”
But getting the agencies on the same page is important, Dittloff added. For instance, a grizzly bear wandering through the Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex could touch the jurisdictions of the National Park Service, Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management and Fish and Wildlife Service – as well as Montana’s Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks and Department of Natural Resources and Conservation. “This bill is about making sure that’s all being managed as one coordinated system, particularly since some of the critters inside are going to need to move,” Dittloff said. “We need to allow them to move regardless of agency boundaries.” In addition to the agency management directive, the bill would make climate change projects a specific qualifier in grant programs for state and tribal land managers. If states create climate adaptation plans, they would have greater access to State and Tribal Wildlife grants, Coastal Zone Management Act grants and Coastal and Estuarine Land Conservation Program funding...more

“We need to allow them to move regardless of agency boundaries.”

I'm curious as to when grizzly bears started sweating agency boundaries?  Are they lumbering along and all of a sudden stop and say "can't go there, that's Park Service land"?

I can understand if a female bear wants to have a rendezvous with Smokey, why she's gonna stick to FS land.  But if Smokey ain't her type no damn boundary line on a map will keep her from prowling for, say, Yogi Bear.  Ain't no coordination by the agencies needed.

Besides, can you think of what a love affair coordinated by Five federal agencies would be like?  I can, but I can't use that word here.

Don't worry about those endangered clams - gov't divers to the rescue

Divers with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources completed removal and relocation of more than 4,000 rare and endangered mussel species from the St. Croix Crossing worksite. The freshwater mussels–including specimens of the rare Higgins eye mussel–were relocated during a two-week period as part of preparations for the earliest bridge work. Without moving the mussels, the work could have threatened their habitat on the river shores. Efforts included locating, identifying and tallying each distinctive mussel species. The Minnesota Department of Transportation contracted with divers from the Minnesota DNR after several rare mussels were found in fall 2012. The process involved divers crisscrossing an area about 75 feet by 400 feet along the Wisconsin side of the river to locate any mussels. Crews documented and etched a number into the shell of each Higgins eye found. Minnesota DNR divers will check on the relocated clams again in roughly a year to assess how they survived the move...move

Sleepy NM Mouse May Get Protections and Habitat

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has proposed the New Mexico meadow jumping mouse for endangered status under the Endangered Species Act, with over 14,500 acres of critical habitat. The mouse's unusual eight to nine month hibernation period contributes to the species' vulnerability, the agency said in a press release. With an active period of only three to four months during the summer, there is little time to breed, give birth, raise young, and also eat enough to survive the hibernation period. The species is short-lived, generally living only three years or less, and they have small litters. "If resources are not available in a single season, jumping mice populations would be greatly stressed," the agency said. The species has specialized habitat requirements of tall vegetation near flowing water. "Over-grazing destroys the streamside riparian and wet meadow habitat on which the meadow jumping mice depend," the WildEarth Guardians (WEG) noted in a statement. "The most important thing we can do to protect the jumping mouse and the ecosystem they call home is to reign in grazing on public lands," Bethany Cotton, Wildlife Program Director at WEG was quoted as saying in the group's statement. While the USFWS acknowledges that grazing has contributed to the species' habitat fragmentation, it maintains that "water management and use (which causes vegetation loss from mowing and drying of soils), lack of water due to drought (exacerbated by climate change), and wildfires (also exacerbated by climate change)," add to the problem as well as "scouring floods, loss of beaver ponds, highway reconstruction, residential and commercial development, coalbed methane development, and unregulated recreation," according to the listing proposal. The agency has proposed 193.1 miles, or 14,560 acres in eight units as critical habitat in twelve counties in Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona. Comments on the two proposals are due Aug. 19, with public hearing requests due by Aug. 5...more

Rewilding the American West

 by Chip Ward

...Enter John Davis and Trek West. At this very moment, Davis is walking, biking, paddling, and horseback riding 6,000 miles through a chain of mountain ranges that stretches like a spine across North America from the Sierra Madres of Mexico through the Rockies of the American West up into Canada. He started this winter in the Sonoran desert we share with our southern neighbor and has been heading northward for months. He will cross many of our most treasured national parks like Yellowstone and Grand Canyon, the ones that tourists love, but his trek is no sightseeing adventure.
    Davis and his Trek West partners along the route are advocating for what they call "landscape connectivity" on a continental scale. Two years ago, Davis trekked from Key West to Quebec, 8,000 human-powered miles. Same theme: conserve and connect.
A Conservation Revolution
    Gone are the days when conservation was all about bullets, hooks, and cameras. Fishermen and hunters are still an important constituency in the conservation community, but birdwatchers now outnumber them. Ecological criteria increasingly frame any debate about how to heal degraded habitat. What the nineteenth century naturalist and Sierra Club founder John Muir knew intuitively—that everything in the universe is "hitched to everything else"—has been confirmed beyond doubt by hard science.
    Davis is one of the founders of a new school of thought called conservation biology. Its proponents argue that it is not faintly enough to preserve scenic rock and ice parks and isolated islands of wildlife. Wild creatures need room to roam so they can find the necessary water, food, and mates. In the long run, many of America's wild creatures from salamanders to bears will survive only in Disney movies if we box out genetic diversity, block migration routes, destroy nesting grounds, and save only carefully preserved, isolated populations of a species. Connectivity is the keel of an emerging conservation ethic for helping to heal this country.
    John Davis envisions an unbroken chain of wild lands spanning North America from Mexico to Canada. When completed, a necklace of "core" areas, including national parks, wildlife reserves, and protected wilderness areas will be linked together and buffered by national forests and private lands. Creatures now boxed into wild islands surrounded by a sea of development will have room to roam...
A Greater Canyonlands National Monument Moment?
The decision to lift wolf protection is consistent with the Obama administration's disappointing record on Western environmental issues. Nevertheless, conservation advocacy groups like the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance and the Sierra Club are urging the president to take a cue from Bill Clinton's example. Back in 1996, he created the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument under the Antiquities Act that allows presidents to set aside natural and archaeological treasures. Now, the conservation groups want Obama to do something similar on an even grander scale and create a "Greater Canyonlands National Monument" from some of the healthiest wild lands in southern Utah.

Farmland prices up 20 percent

Auctioneers have had to count higher than ever in recent farm and ranch land sales. Low interest rates and high income per acre have allowed farmland prices to soar, according to a report by the Omaha World-Herald. Premium land in York County, Nebraska reached $15,000 an acre recently, and farmland in neighboring Iowa sold for nearly $19,000 an acre. “In the last three months of last year, we sold more dollar-wise than in 12 months,” reported Jim Farrell, Omaha-based Farmers National's chief executive. “We sold $360 million worth of real estate.”  In April, Cody Staudt, a nineteen-year-old Iowa State University undergraduate, made headlines after paying $1.13 million for 80 acres of farmland near Rockwell, Iowa. He paid nearly $14,000 per acre. While these prices didn’t ruffle Staudt, a survey by the American Farm Bureau Federation’s Young Farmers & Ranchers program found that securing adequate land to grow crops and raise livestock is the top challenge for young people who want to join the industry. With the average age of a U.S. farmer at 57 years old, it’s time for a new generation of farmers and ranchers to enter the fields, yet current land prices present a staggering startup cost...more

Monday, June 24, 2013

So God Made a 4-Her - video

Published on Jun 21, 2013
Video written, compiled and edited by Leslie Creighton for 2013 Southeast District Contests in Roosevelt County, NM
Music is "Marie" by the Delk Band and is on their new CD For Those Who Came To Dance 

Mexican Amusement Park Offers Fake Border Crossing Attraction

An unusual amusement park attraction in the central Mexican state of Hidalgo offers visitors the thrills and chills of an illegal border crossing. The attraction takes visitors through a fake United States-Mexico border, complete with fake smugglers and fake border patrol agents. The aim is to dissuade would be migrants from making the trip. The coyote, or smuggler, leading this simulated illegal border crossing used the name Simon and wore a face mask. Before setting off, he addressed his charges that evening, about 40 students from a private school in Mexico City. "Tonight we're going to talk about migration," Simon said in Spanish. "But for us it isn't just something rhetorical, but rather the opposite. Because we have endured, we have suffered, of hunger, thirst, injustice, heat, cold, we have suffered from everything." Then, under the cover of night, Simon herded them into the woods, toward the fake frontera...more

Feds must give local land control back to N.M.

by Paul Gessing

...By and large, Americans have gone on with their lives giving little thought to the over-hyped sequester. However, in an effort to inflict some pain on state governments, the Obama administration saw fit to cancel royalty payments to the various Western states earlier this year. Royalties are the fees paid by companies that engage in certain activities on publicly owned land. A vast majority of this money in New Mexico and around the West is derived from the various extractive industries.
    For New Mexico, the loss amounts to $26 million this year – $109 million in total was cut from the budgets of the several Western states. New Mexico had the second-largest cut to Wyoming. Sen. Tom Udall and a bipartisan group of Western senators recently penned a letter to the Obama administration urging that such cuts not be made again next year.
    While I appreciate efforts to stop future cuts by our delegation, this is not a discussion that should even be taking place. These lands are part of the respective states. They are supposed to be managed by the federal government on behalf of the states, but the funds are rightfully ours. Unfortunately, Washington doesn’t play by the rules.
    If Washington did obey its own rules, many of these lands – excluding national parks and tribal lands – would have been transferred to the various Western states decades ago. After all, this was the pattern set up at the founding of our nation. Dating back to 1780, the Continental Congress designed a process by which the national government would “dispose of” lands under its control for the benefit of the nation. That process held true for two centuries but was not allowed to work when it came to Western states like New Mexico, which remains more than 40 percent federally-owned.
    Whether federal or state government owns land may appear trivial at first blush, but we already have seen that federal budgetary mismanagement has resulted in the withholding of funds meant to support the activities of New Mexico government. And of course we have well-documented problems with federal management of lands, including the lack of willingness to extract dead and dying trees, thus creating a “tinderbox” in New Mexico’s mountainous regions that have regularly caught fire in recent years.
    Lastly, there is the basic reality that government’s functions are best managed locally. Washington instead enforces “one-size-fits-all” management policies that don’t work well for anyone.
    The individual states, unlike Washington, have both the incentive and the local knowledge to manage local lands. They can often do so more effectively, without jumping through the hoops of Washington’s bureaucracy. The “rights of way” used by utilities on federal lands are but one recent example. The fact that these areas are too narrow and allowed falling power lines to start several of the fires burning in New Mexico has generated consternation from our Congressional delegation, but any federal action to expand or alter these “rights of way” is likely years away.
    The good news is that New Mexico policymakers have seen the problem and are in the midst of working on solutions. HB 292, the Transfer of Public Lands Bill, was introduced on a bipartisan basis by Reps. Yvette Herrell and Richard Martinez during the 2013 legislative session. Although it failed to pass, it began the discussion about who is best able to manage New Mexico’s public lands. Utah and four other states have already passed similar legislation.

Gov. Martinez weighs in on Magdalena water situation - video

Governor Susana Martinez says the water well in Magdalena was not maintained for more than 45 years. KOB Eyewitness News 4 talked to the governor about the water issues in the town over the weekend. Engineers think there is a chance they may be able to rehab and re-use an old well that was shut down to fix the issue. Meanwhile the water authority is sending truckloads of water to the town every day. “This isn't the best way of doing things but we're making sure they have water every day and have plenty of water and that's the truck loads that are going up there,” says Martinez. Albuquerque police are also helping out. The police department held a water drive last week for Magdalena and delivered the water they collected on Friday.

KOB tv report:

Congress weighs in again on Klamath water crisis, but isn't likely to act

U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden's hearing Thursday on the Klamath Basin water crisis has sparked hope among supporters that landmark deals reached three years to unite many of the basin's combatants will finally get through Congress. But prospects for the Klamath Basin deals to win approval still look slim. That's despite a drought emergency, and the likely cutoff of water to hundreds of cattle ranches and hay farms this summer. Both deals were approved in 2010, after five years of work, triggering celebrations in Salem. "There is no need for this conflict to rage on," then Gov. Ted Kulongoski said at the time. One agreement requires removal of four PacifiCorp dams along the Klamath River. A separate restoration deal calls for an extra $500 million toward environmental restoration, and for water-sharing between irrigators and tribes seeking more water for fish. But given political realities, Wyden views the restoration agreement as a take-off point for negotiations, not a done deal, said Tom Towslee, spokesman for the Oregon Democrat. The restoration agreement "as written is unaffordable given the current federal budget environment," Towslee said. U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Oregon, introduced a bill last year to implement the deals. It never got a committee hearing...more

Gotta love that headline.  They'll "weigh in" but "do nothing".  Pretty typical, and this time blaming the current budget environment.

Wyden and Merkley should offer an alternative that costs nothing.  Either legislatively remove the two species of sucker fish from the endangered list, or exempt the Klamath River from the provisions of the ESA during times of drought.

That's what Congress would do if they really wanted to help the ag producers.

In rare burst of productivity, Senate passes more than a dozen wilderness, river, energy bills

By unanimous consent, the Senate quietly passed more than a dozen bills to designate wilderness in three states, protect new wild and scenic rivers and to accelerate drilling permits in the oil-rich Bakken Shale, among other provisions. It was a significant victory for wilderness advocates who have long complained that the 112th Congress was the first since the 1960s not to designate any new acres of wilderness or conserve any additional acres of public lands. It was a also a victory for energy proponents including Sens. John Hoeven (R-N.D.) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), whose bills to accelerate Bakken Shale drilling and to permit a natural gas pipeline and hydropower development in Alaska also passed. The bills' passage en bloc could build bipartisan momentum for other public lands bills that have lingered in Congress for years. The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee has reported dozens of additional wilderness, parks, forestry, energy and lands bills to the Senate floor over the past few months. Committee Chairman Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Murkowski, the ranking member, have told colleagues they plan to assemble lands packages on a regular basis, breaking the partisanship that snarled the panel for most of last Congress...more

New Plan To Offset Development Impacts On Public Lands

by Tom Kenworthy

Name a big issue that the Department of the Interior has been involved in during the Obama and Clinton administrations, and more likely than not David J. Hayes has been in the thick of it.

Now Hayes, who has served as the department’s number two in both administrations, is leaving government service — but not before he leaves his fingerprints on one more big initiative, and a critical one at that.

Historically, the Interior Department, especially its Bureau of Land Management, which oversees energy development on some 700 million acres of land, has tended to look at public land development projects like mining and oil and gas in isolation, without enough consideration for broad ecosystem effects stretching across large landscapes. That orientation began to shift as the Obama administration ramped up efforts to bring large-scale solar energy development to federal lands in the states in the southwest.

Instead of a piecemeal approach, project by project, Interior under Secretary Ken Salazar devised a kind of super zoning plan, analyzing the solar resources and the likely areas of conflict with wildlife and other important uses of those federal lands across millions of acres. The idea was to determine in advance which areas were best for development and which would likely involve the most potential damage to, and fights over, wildlife habitat, archaeological sites, and longstanding recreation uses. Not only would that be good for the land, but it would be good for the companies eager to build large solar energy plants who were looking for more regulatory certainty.

That look-before-you-leap, landscape-scale approach is now going to be expanded. The Bureau of Land Management is issuing draft guidelines for how its employees should develop and implement regional strategies to mitigate the impacts of development projects; not just by finding ways to compensate on its own lands, but also on other federal, state, tribal and even private lands.

Of course the enviros like it because it "dovetails nicely" with their Equal Ground proposal.

Obama Administration Cuts Oil Shale Development on Federal Land

The Obama administration is calling for cutting the amount of federal lands open for oil shale and tars sands development in the Western states, a plan that industry officials say may force companies to look overseas for opportunities. A new Bureau of Land Management plan calls for allowing 700,000 acres of land for development, reports Fox News. This is a drastic cut from the Bush administration, which had set aside 1.3 million acres, and the oil industry is outraged by the change. "What they basically did was make it so that nobody is going to want to spend money going after oil shale on federal government lands," said Dan Kish, Senior Vice President of Institute for Energy Research. Oil shale drilling is different from the hydraulic fracking process being used in places like the Bakken shale region in North Dakota or the Niobrara in Colorado. Fracking breaks through lwyers of shale rock and pumps out oil. But oil shale refers to the rock itself. When companies subject the rock to pressure or high temperatures, either by leaving it in place or removing it, oil develops. The Bureau of Land Management said it is not against the oil shale and tar sands development, but is restricting the amount of public lands until the processes prove safe, and may release more federal lands in coming years if it is safe to do so. But Kish said the reduction will force the energy industry to look elsewhere, even in other countries, for development. "The Chinese are inviting companies in, companies that may have done business in the United States if we'd had a better approach," said Kish. "And we don't even know the total extent (of the potential for oil from shale in America) but it's basically around a trillion barrels...which would be as much as the world has used since the first oil well was drilled 150 years ago."...more

An attack from the left - aimed at the livestock industry

Things can get pretty silly in the world of politics.  Take for instance, RJ Eskow's 'B.S. It's What's For Dinner': Conservatives and Cattlemen Coddle Rich Kids, Stiff Seniors.

Read it, and you will see that all cattlemen have to do is oppose cuts in government spending and quit trying to remove the death tax.  It's in their best interest don't you see.

Yes, more government spending and higher inheritance taxes are what's best for the industry, and RJ says, "If they're willing to discuss this issue with an open mind, on the other hand, some of us who would be happy to meet with them to explain how these pro-wealthy austerity policies are hurting their members. We'd be happy to form an alliance against these economically harmful moves."

RJ, you best go visit with the National Farmers Union.  Stay away from my place, or any other place where they understand economics.

Embudo Library to host program on ‘New Mexico’s Livestock Heritage’

Author Bill Dunmire will give a free slide talk titled “New Mexico’s Livestock Heritage” Thursday, June 27 at the Embudo Valley Library in Dixon. Dunmire’s talk, which begins 7 p.m., will be based upon his book, “New Mexico’s Spanish Livestock Heritage: Four Centuries of Animals, Land, and People,” just released by UNM Press. His book explores the history of livestock in New Mexico, and the preparation of it required more than three years of intensive academic research. The program will present some background on the several species of domestic livestock and then describe how Puebloans and Navajos slowly adopted horses, donkeys, sheep, goats, cattle, pigs, and chickens after their arrival with the Spanish colonists in 1598. It will cover the spread of livestock during colonial times, how quickly the Plains Indians learned to steal and ride horses, and how horses became central to their economy. The talk will describe how sheep became New Mexico’s most important economic animal, growing to a population of five million animals in the province by the end of the 19th century. It will cover the arrival of cattlemen from Texas on the eastern plains, the rising economic importance of cattle in our state, how speculators and politicians became involved in that industry, and how cattle on our eastern plains have replaced the historic herds of bison and have become a vital positive element of grassland perpetuation there today. The effects of introduced livestock upon Native peoples — both the good and the bad — will be included...more

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Senator: Obama climate rules a ‘game-changer’ for carbon tax proposal

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) said President Obama’s upcoming plan to impose new greenhouse gas regulations could create traction for carbon tax proposals that currently lack political support in Congress. “There is no chance right now, but that chance can change dramatically if the president takes strong action,” Whitehouse said in an interview that aired Sunday on Platts Energy Week TV.  The liberal Democrat, in the interview taped last week, said Obama’s plan “could be a political game-changer to open the door to a more comprehensive solution.” Obama will roll out his second-term climate agenda Tuesday, a series of executive actions expected to include regulating emissions from existing power plants, among other provisions.  Whitehouse and Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) have floated draft legislation that would impose fees on emissions from industrial pollution sources like power plants and refineries. He applauded Obama’s plan to move ahead with new regulations, calling regulation of carbon emissions from new and existing power plants a vital step...more

New ID rules would threaten citizens' rights (Immigration bill)

by Richard Sobel

    Sensible immigration reform will strengthen American society and economy. But it must also respect the rights of U.S. citizens and those aspiring to join them.
    Buried in the comprehensive immigration reform legislation before the Senate are obscure provisions that impose on Americans expansive national identification systems, tied to electronic verification schemes. Under the guise of "reform," these trample fundamental rights and freedoms.
    Requirements in Senate Bill 744 for mandatory worker IDs and electronic verification remove the right of citizens to take employment and "give" it back as a privilege only when proper proof is presented and the government agrees. Such systems are inimical to a free society and are costly to the economy and treasury.
    Any citizen wanting to take a job would face the regulation that his or her digitized high-resolution passport or driver's license photo be collected and stored centrally in a Department of Homeland Security Citizenship and Immigration Services database.
    The pictures in the national database would then need to be matched against the job applicant's government-issued "enhanced" ID card, using a Homeland Security-mandated facial-recognition "photo tool." Only when those systems worked perfectly could the new hire take the job.
    Immigrant employees would probably have to get biometric (based on body measurements like fingerprint scans and digital images) worker ID cards. Social Security cards may soon become biometric as well. Any citizen or immigrant whose digital image in the Homeland Security databank did not match the one embedded in their government-issued ID would be without a job and benefits.
    Yet, citizens have a constitutional right to take employment. Since the Butchers Union Co. decision in 1884, the U.S. Supreme Court has held that "the right to follow any of the common occupations of life is an inalienable right ... under the phrase 'pursuit of happiness.' " This right is a large ingredient in the civil liberties of each citizen.
    The digital ID requirements in S. 744 eliminate that fundamental right to take employment and transform it into a privilege. This constitutional guarantee could in effect be taken away by bureaucratic rules or deleted by a database mistake.
    As philosopher John Locke, whose phrase "consent of the governed" animates the Declaration of Independence, once said, everybody "has a property in his own person." Who is a citizen is today determined by his or her American personhood. Under S. 744, that would no longer be true.
    Instead, the determination of whether someone has a right to take a job would be made by two computer files: one in a Department of Homeland Security database and the other on a government-issued ID card. Identity and IDs become "property of the U.S. government."
    Moreover, S. 744 undermines constitutional federalism by resurrecting ID provisions that most states have rejected. Not only does S. 744 mandate "E-Verify" as a national electronic verification system for employment for the 33 states that have not joined it (Illinois actually outlawed its use), the bill also revives the moribund "Real ID" requirement for sharing of driver's license photos among the states and federal government, which 25 states opposed by law or resolution. Only 13 states joined as of last year.

Cowgirl Sass & Savvy

Fun in the fire

by Julie Carter

As record breaking drought brings with it a fire season that has the West in a choke hold, finding something to laugh about is critical. As usual, out here in the country, we tend to just laugh at ourselves.

It happened one night on the unpopulated open plains in the middle of the state. An errant strike of lightning flared the tinder-dry pasture grass into a threatening blaze.

In the heart of miles of nothingness, the only landmark that gave the fire a notable location was what remained of a long-ago deserted town. All that was left were a few deserted buildings and a name. The fire was at least two hours by highway from any real fire-fighting agency.

The nearest rancher to this ghost-stop along the road served as mayor and fire chief by title and reputation. High desert ranching requires a great sense of humor and the occasional ego boost that an important sounding title can provide.

One of the items left behind in the population exodus from Ramon, New Mexico was an ancient fire truck. The battery required constant charging, which didn't happen, and the water tank leaked so it was never full. Other than that, it was in fine shape.

The night of this specific grass fire, the phone calls went out to neighboring ranchers. Waking up the chief of the Ramon Volunteer Fire Department took some doing, but he finally answered the phone.

Pulling on his britches and his hat, he hollered at his nearly adult son and out the door they went. The process of charging the battery and finding a hose to fill the water truck began.

Meanwhile, another area cowboy with an addiction to farm sales knew he had a cattle sprayer parked somewhere "over yonder on the hill."

The most recent endorsement of this antiquated piece of equipment had been at a cattle-spraying event. A cowboy there had commented that he could pee further than the sprayer could spray, leaving its validity as fire fighting equipment certainly at least questionable.

However, it did hold water, so after the tires were aired up, the cowboy hooked it to the pickup and off he went to join the fire fight. By this time, the fire had gotten large enough that the glow in the dark summoned country folks from near and far.

Back at the Ramon Fire Department, aka the chief’s ranch headquarters, the fire truck was revved up ready to go. It was quite dark and very difficult to see where to drive as the truck made its way through the pasture toward the flames.

The chief was at the wheel of the truck, barreling through the night to the rescue like a caped crusader, while his son rode fireman-style on the truck fender hollering "YEEEE, HAAWWW," at the top of his lungs.

Directly, the chief drove the truck off in a wash and it came to a sudden, solid halt, nose down. The son on the fender was tossed through the air, landing somewhere in the near vicinity. He came up dusting himself off. Nothing was broken except the fire truck.

Nearly everyone in close proximity of the fire left what they were doing to go check out the fire truck wreck.

In the meantime, the cowboy with the sprayer coming to save the day blew out a tire. When the chore of dragging the chief and his fire truck out of the wash was finished, the crew all went to see what the problem was with the sprayer cowboy.

Meanwhile back at the fire, the rancher who owned the flaming property put his road grader into operation. He made a fire-line circle around the burning grass and eventually the fire burned itself out.

In the wee hours of the morning with everyone wide-awake, nobody wanted to go back home. So they circled their rigs, drug out the food they'd brought (another country folk standard) and had their version of a block party.

The exhausted rancher thanked everyone for their help as he headed off to tend to his livestock and ranch chores.

All this, while you slept.

Julie can be reached for comment at