Saturday, October 05, 2013

Claims of shackles, beatings at NM ranch for troubled boys

State investigators are looking into allegations that teenage boys living at an unlicensed southern New Mexico ranch for troubled youth were beaten by a former staff member and forced to wear leg shackles and handcuffs for minor infractions of ranch rules. The $80-a-day program at the 30,000-acre Tierra Blanca Ranch in Sierra County near Hillsboro caters to parents who can no longer deal with their children’s drug use or other behaviors. It promises a careful balance between love, discipline and structure. It also promises education based on sound biblical principles. State Police Sgt. Emmanuel Gutierrez and general counsel Jennifer Saavedra of the Children, Youth and Families Department have confirmed the investigation. According to State Police reports, residents of the program say they saw one teen beaten by an employee while the boy was shackled after he had been forced to run all day. Witnesses said the employee, now living in Texas, beat the boy in the face with what the teens described as a Kubaton, which is akin to a nightstick. In other cases, employees allegedly had groups of teenage residents beat another resident for being uncooperative, according to police reports. Officers called to the ranch on at least one occasion found one of the boys in shackles. He had escaped and called State Police on a telephone he had taken from the ranch. Officers returned the boy to the ranch and had to serve a search warrant later to retrieve him at his mother’s request. Tierra Blanca owner Scott Chandler said through his attorney, Pete Domenici Jr. of Albuquerque, that the ranch is “proud of its success in serving families and their at-risk children over the years.” “While at TBR, most youth get on track to successful and rewarding lives outside the ranch,” Chandler said in the statement. The ranch averages about 15 teens placed there voluntarily by parents. Some stay for more than a year...more

Friday, October 04, 2013

County commissioner - Shutdown proves state should manage public lands

Idaho County Commissioner Skip Brandt isn’t pointing fingers at Democrats or Republicans in Washington for the fact that national wildlife refuges, Bureau of Land Management campgrounds, boat ramps, visitor centers and other developed recreation sites, national forest developed areas and all national parks are closed. “Federal employees have decided to make their furloughs as painful as possible for the public,” Brandt wrote in an email. “So apparently the ‘Federal’ lands/ facilities are not 'true public' lands/ property after all, but rather are the bureaucracy’s property,” Brandt wrote in a email. “Thus if the bureaucrats/ Federal employees do not have a pay check the properties are off limits to the ‘subjects’” Brandt has a solution: “It is time that the Federal lands become managed/ accountable State lands.” Brandt is one of the supporters of a resolution that was approved by the Idaho Legislature earlier this year demanding the federal government hand over all of the more than 32 million acres of federally owned public land in Idaho to the state. Critics question the legal theory the resolution is based on and say the state would suffer economically unless it sold all of the land, which lawmakers say they don’t want to do. “So the next question; How long until ‘they’ put up their signs on all Federally managed lands?” Brandt asked...more

State DNR refuses federal directive to close some popular parks

The state Department of Natural Resources on Wednesday refused a directive from the National Park Service to close a host of popular state properties because of the federal government shutdown. The park service ordered state officials to close the northern unit of the Kettle Moraine, Devil's Lake, and Interstate state parks and the state-owned portion of the Horicon Marsh, but state authorities rebuffed the request because the lion's share of the funding came from state, not federal coffers. Even though federal lands such as the Apostle Islands National Lakeshorehave been shuttered, the DNR issued a statement saying all state parks, trails and other recreational properties were open and not affected by the federal government's budget problems. The agency also reopened a boat launch Wednesdayat Wyalusing State Park on the Mississippi River. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service closed the launch on Tuesday because it was on federal land. But in a sign of defiance, the DNR removed the barricades at the landing, saying it had the legal authority to operate the launch under a 1961 agreement with the federal government. On Tuesday, vast swaths of land were closed by the federal government because of the budget stalemate. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service closed all its properties, including the Upper Mississippi National Wildlife Refuge and the Horicon National Wildlife Refuge. The agency said that fishing and hunting on those lands were prohibited. The Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest also was closed. But the status of hunting and fishing on the 1.5 million acres was unclear. DNR officials gave no indication they would try to stop the public from using the forests. On Wednesday, state and federal authorities came to loggerheads over access to state land when the Park Service directed the DNR to close properties in which the state and the federal government had a cooperative financial agreement. The federal agency provided the DNR $701,000 for the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, according to the DNR. The DNR said the majority of money for the parks comes from the state and that it would usestate funds to continue operations. On Tuesday, the Fish and Wildlife Service announced it was closing the federal portion of the sprawling Horicon Marsh, which attracts thousands of visitors during the fall bird migration. The federal Interior Department has also closed the St. Croix National Scenic Riverway, which includes the St. Croix and Namekegon rivers in northwestern Wisconsin. As the shutdown took effect, federal authorities notified the DNR to authorize the closing of Devil's Lake State Park near Baraboo, Interstate State Park near St. Croix and the northern unit of Kettle Moraine State Forest north of Milwaukee, because they shared in the funding. A U.S. Forest Service memo says that law enforcement and fire protection services will continueon federal lands...more

This is Wisconsin, but what is happening in your state?  Are they in lock-step with the federales or have they grown a pair?

Enviros sue over another logging project

A timber sale in the Kootenai National Forest faces a court challenge for allegedly failing to protect a small population of grizzly bears. The Alliance for the Wild Rockies filed the lawsuit in Missoula’s U.S. District Court office on Tuesday. The Helena-based group charges the Pilgrim timber sale would open 50 miles of roads in the Cabinet Ranger District, where fewer than 50 grizzlies live. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service population target is 100 bears. “The Fish and Wildlife Service has declared that ‘(i)f human-related disturbances such as road use or timber harvest continue in preferred habitats for extended periods of time, historical bear use of the area may be lost.’ “ AWR director Michael Garrity said in an email. “But instead of refraining from logging and road-building in occupied grizzly bear habitat until the bear shows signs of recovery – or at least stabilization – the Forest Service has just approved another road-building and commercial logging project in occupied bear habitat: the Pilgrim Creek Project. Obviously the Forest Service isn’t doing its job to recover the grizzlies in the Cabinet-Yaak, so unfortunately, we have no choice but to take them to court to force the agency to follow the law.” The project would log or burn 1,434 acres in the Kootenai National Forest, including 898 acres of clearcuts. It also plans to use helicopters for prescribed burning of another 3,250 acres in the Huckleberry Mountain and Lone Cliff Smeads inventoried roadless areas, which Garrity said was also occupied bear habitat...more

Three days ago I posted the following, which so far has received quadruple the hits of an average post:

 You are not going to obtain better management as long as the current laws, and the judicial interpretation of those laws, remain in place.  

Congress has given the Secretary of Homeland Security the authority to waive some 30+ environmental laws to speed construction of the border fence.  Congress should now grant similar authority to the Secretaries of Agriculture and Interior for the purpose of thinning our forests.  Otherwise, save the picture above, for it is an image of our future.
This is just another example of what's happening.  In this particular instance they are using the grizzly, in other instances they use different critters or plants, or they sue on process under NEPA or other planning laws. 

These are just some of the headlines from the last week of news.

Conservationists look to end old-growth logging 

Groups, US House members, seek cancellation of southeast Alaska old-growth timber sale

U.S. Forest Service to Reevaluate Big Thorne Timber Sale Due to Effects on Wolves and Deer 

Timber from Yosemite fire sparks debate over salvage plan

Obama threatens to veto timber bill

ead more here:

Desert monument is no Place for Target Practice, Suit Says

North America's most biologically diverse desert, the Sonoran Desert National Monument, should not have to endure recreational shooting, three groups say. In a new complaint, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the Wilderness Society and Archaeology Southwest claim that the Bureau of Land Management's new resource-management plan allows recreational shooting on the monument in violation of a presidential proclamation and the Federal Land Management Policy and Management Act protecting the land. The monument, located in Maricopa and Pinal Counties about 50 miles southwest of Phoenix, contains 486,400 acres of bureau-administered lands. It is home to "prized saguaro cacti forests, high quality habitat for Sonoran pronghorn and desert tortoise, designated wilderness areas, and popular historic trail corridors and cultural areas frequently used by visitors to the monument for sightseeing, camping, and hiking," according to the complaint. The bureau's new resource-management plan allows recreational target shooting throughout the monument, despite the agency's studies that show "that opening the monument to recreational target shooting - as authorized by the management plan - has resulted and will continue to result in significant and direct adverse impacts to the monument's objects and natural resources," the environmental groups claim...more

All you hunters and shooters who are supporting national monument designations, take note. 

Ranch Radio Song Of The Day #1118

Patsy Montana - Cowboy Rhythm (1938)

Thursday, October 03, 2013

Government Looking for Witches Will Find Them (NSA, FISA)


While the nation’s political class has been fixated on a potential government shutdown in Washington this week, the NSA has continued to spy on all Americans and by its ambiguity and shrewd silence seems to be acknowledging slowly that the scope of its spying is truly breathtaking.

The Obama administration is of the view that the NSA can spy on anyone anywhere. The president believes that federal statutes enable the secret FISA court to authorize the NSA to capture any information it desires about any persons without identifying the persons and without a showing of probable cause of criminal behavior on the part of the persons to be spied upon. This is the same mindset that the British government had with respect to the colonists. It, too, believed that British law permitted a judge in secret in Britain to issue general warrants to be executed in the colonies at the whim of British agents.
General warrants do not state the name of the place to be searched or the person or thing to be seized, and they do not have the necessity of individualized probable cause as their linchpin. They simply authorize the bearer to search wherever he wishes for whatever he wants. General warrants were universally condemned by colonial leaders across the ideological spectrum — from those as radical as Sam Adams to those as establishment as George Washington, and from those as individualistic as Thomas Jefferson to those as big-government as Alexander Hamilton. We know from the literature of the times that the whole purpose of the Fourth Amendment — with its requirements of individualized probable cause and specifically identifying the target — is to prohibit general warrants.

And yet, the FISA court has been issuing general warrants and the NSA executing them since at least 2004.

Last week we learned in a curious colloquy between members of the Senate Select Intelligence Committee and Gen. Keith Alexander and Deputy Attorney General James Cole that it is more likely than not that the FISA court has permitted the NSA to seize not only telephone, Internet and texting records, but also utility bills, credit card bills, banking records, social media records and digital images of mail, and that there is no upper limit on the number of Americans’ records seized or the nature of those records.

The judges of the FISA court are sworn to secrecy. They can’t even possess the records of what they have done. There is no case or controversy before them. There is no one before them to oppose what the NSA seeks. They don’t listen to challenged testimony. All of this violates the Constitution because it requires a real case or controversy before the jurisdiction of federal courts may be invoked. So when a FISA court judge issues an opinion declaring that NSA agents may spy to their hearts’ content, such an opinion is meaningless because it did not emanate out of a case or controversy. It is merely self-serving rhetoric, unchallenged and untested by the adversarial process. Think about it: Without an adversary, who will challenge the NSA when it exceeds the “permission” given by the FISA court or when it spies in defiance of “permission” denied? Who will know?

For this reason, the FISA court is unconstitutional at best and not even a court at worst. It consists of federal judges administratively approving in secret the wishes of the government. By not adjudicating a dispute, which is all that federal judges can do under the Constitution, these judges are not performing a judicial function. Rather, they are performing a clerical or an executive one, neither of which is contemplated by the Constitution.

Western water under assault, US reps say

The federal government is asking ski areas for their water rights, and Eagle County’s two U.S. congressmen are fighting against it. Scott Tipton and Jared Polis are battling a U.S. Forest Service policy that would force ski areas and other stakeholders to turn over the private water rights that ski areas need to operate. The Forest Service is requiring it before they’ll renew the permits that ski areas need to do business. Tipton, a Western Slope Republican, and Polis, a Boulder Democrat, introduced the Water Rights Protection Act. Their congressional districts split the valley: Polis in the east and Tipton in the west. The federal government has already done something similar to one Colorado ski area, Powderhorn on Western Colorado’s Grand Mesa, and may have Breckenridge in the crosshairs. Vail local Andy Daly is part of the group that bought Powderhorn. “We were forced to turn over all the water rights for all the water that originates on the forest land,” Daly said. “We’re waiting for a new water policy that hopefully will be negotiated between water users and the U.S. Forest Service.” The feds have done the same thing to California’s Alpine Meadows and Washington’s Stevens Pass. The Forest Service counters that water rights established on national forest land should be tied to the land, and that the federal government should own those water rights. Not the way of the West “That’s not the system we use out here in the West,” said Geraldine Link, the National Ski Areas Association’s director of public policy. “We were pleased to see a bipartisan bill. To us, this is about one of the most crucial issues in the West — water.” The NSAA filed a lawsuit in federal court. No federal statute gives the Forest Service the authority for the water, and the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled repeatedly that water is regulated by the states, Link said. “If the Forest Service wants to own water rights, they need to get in line like everyone else and acquire them under the requirements of state law,” Link said. The Forest Service says the policy is designed to keep ski areas from selling water rights for other purposes. Tipton said that has never happened, pointing out that ski areas use most of their water for snowmaking. Polis said concern about ski area water rights being sold or moved is misguided. Ski areas have already offered to provide successor owners with an option to purchase sufficient water if that area were to be sold...more

Obama Administration Decided to Block Access to Memorials

The Obama Administration has decided to block access to public memorials on the National Mall as a result of the government shutdown. Like its decision to end White House tours when the sequester cuts took effect, there is no rational reason for this. The Park Police, nominally in charge of monitoring these spaces, isn't even effected by the shutdown. Shutting off access to these sites is gratuitous and petulant. On Monday, the first day of the government shutdown, a number of WWII veterans showed up at a memorial to their service to find that access had been blocked. The memorial is in a public space and is open 24/7, with almost no oversight from Park Police personnel. (Who, by the way, are exempt from the government shutdown.) The White House was, according to reports, informed of the veterans' visit and chose to block access. Having lived in DC for 18 years, I can tell you, the WWII Memorial is simply an architectural structure in an open public space. There is no official "access" to it. There are no guards. It's a building in a park. Yet, the Obama Administration tried to block veterans from viewing the public memorial, even after hearing about the planned visit. Fortunately, the "greatest generation" was having nothing of this and easily overcame the government barricades. (Do we yet again have to rely on this generation to show the promise of America?)...more

Wildland Firefighting Agencies Ready Despite Shutdown

If a fire sparks in the mountains this weekend it's going to very hard to stop it, weather officials said as hot and dry winds are expected to move into areas of Southern California. Fire officials say despite the federal government shutdown, resources will be available in the event of a fire during the expected Santa Ana conditions. "Our firefighters -- hotshot crews, smokejumpers and others -- are excepted employees under the government shutdown. Given the potential for fire activity in Southern California now and in the near future, we do have resources in the area and stationed in other parts of the country ready to respond if needed," said Leo Kay, U.S. Forest Service spokesman via email on Wednesday. "If we don't have adequate resources on board to handle new incidents, we have mechanisms to call employees back. We are doing everything we can to be ready but also to comply with the shutdown situation."...more

Colorado trail closed at least until spring after rock slide that killed 5 members of family

A popular Colorado trail where a rock slide killed five members of the same family will remain closed at least until spring, the U.S. Forest Service said Wednesday, and one local official believes the closure should be permanent. Forest Service experts will have to inspect the site to see if it is feasible and safe to rebuild the trail after it was buried by boulders on Monday, said John Peterson, deputy supervisor for the San Isabel National Forest, which manages the trail. That inspection won't happen until after the coming winter, he said. Chaffee County Undersheriff John Spezze said the trail should be closed permanently, calling it a "public safety hazard." Spezze said geologists from Climax Molybdenum, a Colorado mining operation, went to the site and thought it was too dangerous to reopen. A spokesman for Climax Molybdenum's parent company, Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc., said the geologists would not be made available for interviews. What triggered the slide is still under investigation. Life-threatening rock slides are rare and difficult for hikers to prepare for and protect against, Peterson said. "It's such an extreme event, and it's so uncommon, I don't know what you do," he said. Peterson said the Forest Service will consult with the sheriff's office and area residents before deciding whether to reopen the trail. The slide killed a couple from the nearby town of Buena Vista, one of their daughters and two of their nephews from Missouri. Another daughter survived with a broken leg after her father shielded her...more

Despite Shutdown, Rim Fire Recovery Moves Forward

National parks across the country may be off-limits to visitors due to the government shutdown, but in the Sierra, it hasn’t stopped efforts to recover from the Rim Fire. A crew of around 50 fire response specialists are still on the job in the Stanislaus National Forest and in Yosemite National Park. “We have an emergency situation going on, so we have funding for emergency stabilization treatments during the furlough because of life and property and safety - so we are allowed to continue to work,” says Anna Payne, a spokeswoman for the Burned Area Emergency Response effort of the Forest Service. A few weeks ago the team received $300,000 for safety measures, like repairing road signs and felling hazardous burnt trees devastated by the fire. Then on Monday, hours before the government shut down, the Forest Service allocated another $4 million dollars to help prevent flooding and erosion. Firefighters are currently monitoring the last eight percent of the blaze still burning in wilderness areas between Cherry Lake and Hetch Hetchy Reservoir. Full containment is expected by Sunday. So far the fire has burned over 250,000 acres. The total fire effort has cost over $126 million...more

iowahawk on shut down

Once again, Washington is a 13-year old brat trashing his own room because you won't give him a credit card.

Ranch Radio Song Of The Day #1117

Continuing with Yodel Week, here's Elton Britt & Rosalie Allen performing The Yodel Blues.

Wednesday, October 02, 2013

Arrowhead hunters ready for 'world's biggest (illegal) Easter egg hunt' on federal lands

The artifact collectors are watching. They're checking TVA's website this week when the federal agency begins lowering water levels in the Tennessee River system to make room in lakes and reservoirs for winter's rainfall. The collectors know the magic number - the magic water level - that will expose summer-flooded mud flats to sunlight and, later, hiking boots. Some of these mud flats, such as the Quad Site near Decatur, are famous. When the water goes down, "the world's largest Easter egg hunt" begins, in the words of Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge reserve officer Jason Vehrs. Artifact hunting is legal on private land, if you have the owner's permission, but since 1979 it has been against federal law to remove anything more than 100 years old from federal land. That includes 11,000 miles of public shoreline controlled by the Tennessee Valley Authority, and it includes 20 miles of Tennessee River shoreline in the Wheeler refuge. This isn't a story about dad and the kids spotting a "worked" piece of flint on the ground while hiking in the refuge. They're not supposed to take it, but it's a matter of debate what happens if they do and get caught. The 1979 federal law specifically exempted arrowheads found on the surface from fines, but federal land managers including Wheeler's say subsequent regulations have essentially banned all artifact collecting on federal land - arrowheads included. Argue the point if you want, but get caught with a point and it's a $275 first offense fine if you lose that argument...more

Pentagon Spent $5 Billion on Weapons on the Eve of the Shutdown

The Pentagon pumped billions of dollars into contractors' bank accounts on the eve of the U.S. government's shutdown that saw 400,000 Defense Department employees furloughed. All told, the Pentagon awarded 94 contracts yesterday evening on its annual end-of-the-fiscal-year spending spree, spending more than five billion dollars on everything from robot submarines to Finnish hand grenades and a radar base mounted on an offshore oil platform. To put things in perspective, the Pentagon gave out only 14 contracts on September 3, the first workday of the month. Here are some of the more interesting purchases from Monday's dollar-dump. First up: the Defense Logistics Agency, the Pentagon branch that provides the armed services with things like fuel and spare parts. DLA has the honor of dropping the most cash in one contract last night with the $2.5 billion award it gave to aircraft engine-maker Pratt & Whitney for "various weapons system spare parts" used by the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines. Other highlights of DLA's last-minute spree included: $65 million for military helmets from BAE Systems, $24 million for "traveling wave tubes" to amplify radio signals from Thales, $17 million for liquid nitrogen, $15 million for helium and $19 million on cots. Yes, cots. Then came the Navy. The sea service spent hundreds of millions of dollars on 31 contracts buying everything from high-tech Finnish hand grenades to janitorial services...more

BLM's $98,670 toilet

Romtec waterless toilet
The Federal Bureau of Land Management (BLM) recently paid $98,670 for the purchase and installation of an outhouse at the Swede Park Trail Head in Alaska. The purchase includes a single-vault Romtec 1011 "Aspen Single" prefabricated waterless toilet and its installation at the parking area for the trail head. KJ Mushovic of the BLM tells, “Almost half of it (contract expense) is for the cost of the toilet.” The Oregon based company Romtec lists the "Aspen Single" model on its website for “as low as $9,999”, but the BLM says the price they paid likely includes shipping to Alaska. “And the cost of all the materials that will have to be taken to the site, Mushovic said. “There will be earthwork that’ll have to be done.” The $98,670 contract does not include the pumping out and maintenance of the facility. Those issues are addressed in a separate contract...more

Almost all the news this morning is about the gov't shut down.  This little jewel shows why they deserve it.

Editorial - Climate of Uncertainty

Between 1998 and 2012 the global economy more than doubled in size—to some $71 trillion in GDP from $30 trillion. That's the good news. Over the same period the world pumped more than 100 billion tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. That is supposedly the bad news. Yet global surface temperatures have remained essentially flat. That's the mystery: If emitting CO2 into the atmosphere causes global warming, why hasn't the globe been warming?

That's the question we would have liked to see answered by the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which Friday published the summary of its fifth report on what co-chairman Thomas Stocker calls "the greatest challenge of our times." It would have also been nice to see some humility from the IPCC, which since its last report in 2007 has seen some of its leading scientists exposed as bullies, and some of its most eye-catching predictions debunked. (Remember the vanishing Himalayan glaciers?)

No such luck. "Warming of the climate system is unequivocal," insists the report in its first bold-face conclusion, followed by the claim that "each of the last three decades has been successively warmer at the Earth's surface than any preceding decade since 1850." What follows are warnings of shrinking ice sheets, rapidly rising sea levels and other scary events.

So what about the warming that hasn't been happening since 1998? Here's the key paragraph, buried on page 10: "The observed reduction in surface warming trend over the period 1998-2012 as compared to the period 1951-2012, is due in roughly equal measure to a reduced trend in radiative forcing and a cooling contribution from internal variability, which includes a possible redistribution of heat within the ocean."

After noting that scientists have only low or medium confidence in various theories for this reduced warming trend, the report adds that "there may also be a contribution from forcing inadequacies and, in some models, an overestimate of the response to increasing greenhouse gas and other anthropogenic forcing." (Our emphasis.)

Translation: Temperatures have been flat for 15 years, nobody can properly explain it (though there are some theories), and the IPCC doesn't want to spend much time doing so because it is politically inconvenient and shows that the computer models on which all climate-change predictions depend remain unreliable.

Supreme Court to hear challenge to Forest Service's 'rails to trails' program

The Supreme Court today granted review of a Wyoming man's challenge to a Forest Service claim that it has a right to build a trail on his land. At issue in Marvin M. Brandt Revocable Trust v. USA is the Forest Service's program for turning abandoned railways into trails, or rails-to-trails. Brandt, of Fox Park, owns 83 acres of land he acquired from the Forest Service in 1976. The land was once part of a government easement for a railroad that operated from 1904 to 1995. The Laramie, Hahn's Peak and Pacific Railroad Co. operated the track, which ran 66 miles from Laramie, Wyo., to the Colorado line. In April 2005, the Forest Service announced it wanted to convert the railway into a public trail. About a year later, the agency sued Brandt and others, claiming it has a right to roughly 28 miles of land. The service said it has a "reversionary interest" in the land under the 1875 General Railroad Right-of-Way Act. A federal district court and later a federal appeals court agreed, ordering Brandt to turn over title to the land. William Perry Pendley, president of the Mountain States Legal Foundation, a nonprofit representing the Brandts, said the case may settle long-standing legal issues surrounding the rails-to-trails program. "We are thrilled that the Supreme Court agreed to hear this vitally important matter in which the federal government has embarked upon a massive, nationwide land grab," he said in a statement...more

A Tale of Two Parks

In 2010, Arizona announced it would have to close Red Rock State Park near Sedona due to budget shortfalls. Despite collecting nearly $300,000 a year in admissions fees, the park needed hundreds of thousands of dollars to meet its operating costs—money the state did not have. The park also had a growing maintenance backlog, as years of budget shortfalls forced park staff to skip critical repairs.

Next door, the U.S. Forest Service owns Crescent Moon Ranch, a nearly identical public park with similar facilities, visitation, and revenues. The fee revenue at this park, however, not only keeps the park fully maintained, it adds more than $60,000 to the local Forest Service recreation budget—all without requiring tax money to operate.

Why the difference? In this PERC Case Study, Warren Meyer explores a radically different model for operating public parks—one in which park agencies partner with private companies to substantially reduce costs while providing more accountability and customer service. Although both parks are similar, the state-operated Red Rocks Park costs more than twice as much to operate as the privately operated Crescent Moon Ranch, which remains fully maintained and generates a return for the U.S. Forest Service.

Today, more than 1,000 campgrounds and recreation areas are operated by private companies under the supervision of the Forest Service. All of these parks remain open and well-maintained without the need for tax money. As Meyer explains, this public-private partnership provides a model for keeping parks open and cared for into the next century. 

Task force: Colorado homeowners should pay to live in burn zones

Gov. John Hickenlooper's wildfire team unveiled an overhaul of how Colorado deals with the growing problem of people building houses in forests prone to burn, shifting more of the responsibility to homeowners. The overhaul recommends that lawmakers charge fees on homes built in woods, rate the wildfire risk of the 556,000 houses already built in burn zones on a 1-10 scale and inform insurers, and establish a state building code for use of fire-resistant materials and defensible space. Sellers of homes would have to disclose wildfire risks, just as they must disclose flood risks. And state health officials would adjust air-quality permit rules to give greater flexibility for conducting controlled burns in overly dense forests to reduce the risk of ruinous superfires. "People want to live in these forested areas. What we need to do is come together to figure out how we can do that, whether that is stiffer building codes in those communities or having industries develop building materials that put homeowners at less risk," Hickenlooper said Monday at the Capitol, where lawmakers are poised to discuss these and other recommendations. The plan "is Colorado taking steps to address a Colorado problem," Hickenlooper said. Citing the report by his 18-member Wildfire Insurance and Forest Health Task Force, Hickenlooper talked about the growing burden of dealing with wildfire in Colorado at a time when federal support is unlikely to increase. Colorado terrain ravaged by wildfire has quadrupled from 200,000 acres in the 1990s to nearly 900,000 acres in the 2000s. "Scientists tell us this pattern isn't going to change," Hickenlooper said. State authorities and the insurance industry have key roles to play, "but so do local governments," he said. "The state has to be as strong a supporter as we possibly can be and make sure we do provide risk mitigation at the state level — even as implementation will fall primarily to counties and municipalities."...more

U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service seeks protection of northern long-eared bat

The U. S. Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) wants to protect the northern long-eared bat through the Endangered Species Act, Richmond-based environmental group Center for Biological Diversity said. The environmental group said FWS proposed granting Endangered Species Act protection to the long-eared species of bat that suffered deadly disease called white-nose syndrome. White-nose syndrome, which has so far spread to as many as 22 states in America and several parts of Canada, has killed an estimate 7 million bats...more

And I thought short-eared bats were ugly.

Florida Bat Secures Endangered Species Act Protection

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced Endangered Species Act protection for the Florida bonneted bat today — the largest, rarest bat in the state. The Service delayed proposing lifesaving critical habitat for the species. The decision is a result of a historic settlement agreement signed with the Center for Biological Diversity that requires expedited decisions on protection for 757 plants and animals around the country...more

And I thought the long-eared bat was ugly.

Ranch Radio Song Of The Day #1116

Continuing with Yodel Week.  Roy Rogers - Hadie Brown (My Little Lady). Recorded in Los Angeles on October 28, 1937.  Rogers chose this Jimmie Rogers song for his audition at Republic Pictures.

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Which states have drone laws? (Map)

Do you live in a state with enacted or pending drone legislation? Odds are yes, according to a map from the National Conference of State Legislatures that outlines the states that have drone-restricting legislation. Forty-three states have introduced 115 bills over the use of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) — or drones. Thirteen bills have been enacted in 11 states, with resolutions being adopting in 14 states, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

In April, Virginia became the first state to draw up legislation to restrict free-flying drones. According to their legislation, drones can be used for Amber Alerts and purposes laid out by the National Guard.

Idaho, Illinois, Oregon and Montana all require a warrant for drone usage.

Florida requires law enforcement to obtain a warrant to use a drone. The state allows drones for emergency situations, such as a terrorist threats, Amber Alerts, or to prevent a loss of life. Like Florida, Tennessee requires a search warrant for drones, but allows them for emergency situations.

Texas’ legislation outlines that drone usage is usually restricted to those who have obtained a search warrant. But the Lone Star state also says that drones may be used in oil pipeline safety and for academic research.

All other states currently have no law restricting drone usage.

Better forest management sought after Rim fire

A logging machine moved across a Tuolumne County hillside last week, felling blackened trees at a rate of nearly 1,000 a day. Salvage logging has begun on the Rim fire, an early step in a restoration effort that will take many decades. But the task at hand goes far beyond the 250,000 acres of timber and brush that have burned in the Stanislaus National Forest and Yosemite National Park. The Rim fire has renewed calls to better manage forests all over the Sierra Nevada so they can resist fire while providing timber, habitat, water and recreation. "Otherwise, the result will be more Rim fires," said Steve Brink, a vice president at the California Forestry Association in Sacramento. "And the sad thing is, they will be common up and down the Sierra." He spoke Thursday on a tour bus making its way out Cottonwood Road to a portion of the burn near Cherry Lake. It was chartered by the Tuolumne County Alliance for Resources and Environment, which long has promoted logging as a way to thin timber stands dense with fuel. The group often has clashed with environmentalists, but many of the latter agree in general on the need for salvage logging and replanting on much of the burn. The Tuolumne County Alliance for Resources and Environment got rare permission to get inside the still-closed fire area for the tour. The visitors saw large expanses where the flames wiped out nearly all of the vegetation, along with areas with low to moderate scarring and a prospect for faster recovery. They watched the logging machine at work on land that Sierra Pacific Industries owns within the national forest boundary. Salvage logging on private and public land will produce raw material for sawmills in volumes that have yet to be determined, but likely will be huge...more

You are not going to obtain better management as long as the current laws, and the judicial interpretation of those laws, remain in place.  

Congress has given the Secretary of Homeland Security the authority to waive some 30+ environmental laws to speed construction of the border fence.  Congress should now grant similar authority to the Secretaries of Agriculture and Interior for the purpose of thinning our forests.  Otherwise, save the picture above, for it is an image of our future.

Jim Beers Presents "Aesop Story Award for 2013"

Aesop Story Award for 2013

by Jim Beers

Now didn’t you know this would be the case? What else except “deformity” and “brain damage” could ever cause a wolf to bite a young man? Especially in Minnesota, where such an incident is classified as an “unprecedented freak attack”. It is all so, scientific and inarguable. In fact, this will be removed from any report or documentation over time since it was not an attack and not due to a wolf responsible for its actions. In a month or so it will only be recalled or documented as a “laceration due to physical deformity and brain damage for which suitable treatment was unavailable due to federal sequester constriction of necessary federal funding to hire sufficient state veterinarians to provide medical assistance to various animals experiencing difficulty in adjusting to environmental and physical factors beyond their ability to adjust”. Translation: Wolves no longer behave as wolves have for millennia, worldwide; science says so.

In addition to giving these boys and girls that compose and circulate this tripe (blaming deformity AND brain damage for a wolf behaving as wolves always have behaved) the Aesop Fable Award for 2013: let us remember them. When inevitable human attacks by wolves and disease impacts on humans caused by wolf densities and wolf numbers CREATED by these charlatans are no longer deniable, and when hunting and animal husbandry are no longer possible; remember these bureaucrats, academics and ideologues. Little Red Riding Hood, Goldilocks, the lady teacher on the Alaskan Peninsula, the young man in Saskatchewan were all real at one time whether immortalized in tales to warn children or when found in horrible circumstances in the snow. When their story is repeated with a Minnesota child remember that once upon a time, Minnesotans recognized and controlled a danger in their midst. Then they allowed liars and bureaucrats (an oxymoron) to impose wolf densities and numbers that any Greek writer 200 years before Christ knew were excessive and exceedingly dangerous to men, their families and their communities as well as destructive to the goods and property that they needed to live.

Ladies and Gentlemen I give you this year’s award winner:

 Deformed wolf that bit Minnesota teen had brain damage

Tests results show that a wolf that bit a 16-year-old boy’s head at a northern Minnesota campground had severe deformities as well as brain damage, which likely explains the reason for the “unprecedented” freak attack, wildlife specialists said Thursday. DNA tests results also confirmed that the gray wolf that was trapped and killed two days after the late-night attack is in fact the same wolf that bit the teen. The wolf tested negative for rabies. All of that is a relief for the family of Noah Graham, the Solway, Minn., teen who was bit last month while lying on the ground, but not inside a tent, at a Chippewa National Forest campground near Lake Winnibigoshish. “We all felt 98 percent sure that was the animal,” Noah’s father, Scott Graham, said Thursday after Department of Natural Resources officials called him with the test results. “My concern was that the wolf was diseased and Noah could contract something. But that wasn’t the case.” The rare encounter last month was Minnesota’s first documented wild wolf attack on a human that resulted in a significant injury...more

Canadian rancher losing cattle to grizzlies

In his 63 years ranging cattle at Pine Butte Ranch in Wycliffe, Ray Van Steinburg has never had grizzly bears take down a cow. That is, until earlier this month, when he and other ranch workers found the carcasses of two cows about 100 feet apart on the 15,000 hectare property. The cows weigh about 1,400 pounds each. They set up a motion-detected camera at the site of one of the kills and caught amazing footage of not one but two grizzlies approaching the kill, feeding on it, and even wrestling with each other. Van Steinburg said that while his 800 head of cattle are ranging, he doesn't know how many cows the grizzlies have taken. But he has observed cows who no longer have calves, and calves who no longer have mothers. Pine Butte Ranch is part of an agreement with the Nature Conservancy of Canada. Van Steinburg, who purchased the property when he returned from World War 2, is a wildlife and conservation enthusiast. Pine Butte is grazed so that native grassland can prosper on the ranch. In his time on Pine Butte, Van Steinburg has seen the wildlife population grow from zero to what it is today. Last fall, Van Steinburg said there were around 3,700 elk on the property. But since the grizzly kills, there have been no elk at Pine Butte Ranch, which he thinks is because they have been scared away. “We need to be doing something about it,” said Van Steinburg. “But just what the answer is, nobody seems to know.”...more

“We need to be doing something about it,” said Van Steinburg. “But just what the answer is, nobody seems to know.”

Nobody seems to know?  The city slickers got it handled.

Earlier this month, two grizzlies spent a week in Kimberley, eating from fruit trees. Conservation officers were forced to euthanize one, and relocated the other up the St. Mary Valley.

Guess they don't have an agreement with the Nature Conservancy.

For some, rare birds mean more government

An odd-looking grouse with an intricate mating dance is at the center of an intense battle over wildlife conservation among energy companies, Texas officials and environmental advocates and the federal government. But as is frequently the case in debates about threatened species, the private landowner has the most at stake — and often seems absent from the negotiating table. That is especially true for Texas and the lesser prairie chicken, whose U.S. population has decreased to 17,000 from 34,000 in the past year. The bird is believed to roam on 3 million acres of mostly private property in the western portion of the state and the Texas Panhandle. Ranchers own and operate much of the native grassland prairie that the chicken loves, and are crucial to conserving the species. If protections for the chicken are to work, the ranchers must overcome their suspicion of any efforts associated with government. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service may decide by March whether to list the bird as threatened. Should that happen, landowners could be subject to hefty fines and jail time under the Endangered Species Act if the birds are harmed on their property. Dozens of other species in Texas will be up for such listings in the coming years. “This is very serious, and it very well could put our 100-year operation out of business,” said Evertt Harrel, whose West Texas family cattle ranch has long been a home to lesser prairie chickens. A chunk of it, like many in Texas, is leased for oil and gas activities. Harrel’s face is familiar to state and federal officials at nearly every public meeting on the topic. But as are most ranchers, he is skeptical of participating in government programs that pay them to conserve land, even though the payments would help offset huge income losses in the face of drought...more

Conservation Groups Challenge Drastic 93 Percent Cut in Protection of Mountain Caribou Habitat in Idaho and Washington

A coalition of six conservation groups filed a lawsuit today challenging the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s decision to cut more than 93 percent of protected critical habitat for the endangered mountain caribou — from a proposed 375,562 acres to a mere 30,010 acres.  The November decision was a major setback for the struggling animals, which in recent decades have only survived in the lower 48 states in a small area in northern Idaho and northeastern Washington. Caribou numbers have dwindled due to logging of old-growth forests, road construction and growing recreational use of snowmobiles...more

9 killed in 3 apparent drug attacks in Mexico

Shootings erupted over the weekend in three Mexican cities where drug gangs are fighting turf battles, killing at least nine people and wounding six more, officials said Sunday. Gunmen on motorcycles arrived at a bar in the resort city of Cuernavaca and opened fire, killing three young men and a 22-year-old woman, the Morelos state prosecutor's office said. The attack near midnight Saturday also injured four people, who were recovering in local hospitals under police guard, a common practice when officials consider victims' lives still in danger. In the northern city of Fresnillo, a group of armed men shot three people dead Saturday afternoon outside a convenience store. Federal and local police launched a wide search in the city of about 230,000 people that sits on a main drug trafficking route, but the attackers were still at large, the Zacatecas state attorney general's office said in a statement. In the northern industrial hub of Monterrey, attackers shot at a group standing outside a bar in the early hours of Sunday, killing two men and wounding two. The shooting came three days after two masked gunmen killed four people and wounded two others inside a bar in a nearby suburb. Authorities have not said whether the shooting were related, but the assailants in both attacks arrived in taxis. The weekend bloodshed raised fears that drug cartel violence may stir up again in areas where authorities had already applauded a reduction in drug-related homicides...more

After Federal Change, Border Cattle Industry Struggles

OJINAGA, MEXICO — This remote town on the Texas-Mexico border used to enjoy the distinction of being one of the busiest ports for importing Mexican cattle into the U.S. But citing concerns about escalating drug violence in Mexico, the U.S. Department of Agriculture last year moved its cattle inspectors across the Rio Grande into Texas — a decision residents on both sides of the border say has crippled the local livestock industry. Before the change, cattle were inspected and weighed — and sales finalized — on the Mexican side of the border at a multi-acre facility that could hold 15,000 animals. Ranchers from at least nine of Mexico’s 31 states would send their cattle for inspection and subsequent import, said Mexican customs agent Severo Santiago Baeza. Jimmy McNeil, a cattle importer who has been buying in Ojinaga for 30 years, said the Mexican ranchers can’t be blamed for moving their product to the New Mexico border instead. “They have a legitimate gripe.” The towns have enlisted the help of U.S. Rep. Pete Gallego, D-Alpine, who sits on the House Agriculture Committee, and El Paso state Sen. José Rodríguez, a Democrat whose district now includes part of the Big Bend area. They reached out, they say, because for a year they couldn’t get a clear answer on who made the ultimate decision: the U.S. State Department or the USDA...more

Obama, Udall and Heinrich tell us the border is safe.  So safe we should designate Wilderness along our border even though law enforcement would have no, or very limited, access to these areas.

They tell us that while at the same time USDA is pulling their employees who work just across the border back into the U.S.  Either OUH or USDA is wrong about the border.  Whom do you think has it right:  the folks who work along the border or the politicians in DC?

Monday, September 30, 2013

Ranch Radio Song Of The Day #1115

Rex Allen - Yodelin' Crazy.  Looks like we'll have a yodelin' week.

Madison Rising - The Star Spangled Banner

Not a fan of most modern rock music, but this is quite a video.

Horse Bones that Date 50 Years Prior to the Spanish

Archaeologists working against the clock in Carlsbad have unearthed another nearly intact skeleton of a horse that may have lived and died 50 years before the Spanish began their conquest of California. Last week's discovery, high on a hill overlooking the Agua Hedionda lagoon, follows the discovery in June of the skeletal remains of another horse and a small burro, said project manager Dennis Gallegos of Gallegos and Associates, the contractor hired to explore the site. The finds are significant because native North American horses were thought to have been extinct more than 10,000 years ago, and the remains are older than the recorded conquests by the Spanish, who reintroduced horses to the New World. "This is a story untold," said Mark Mojado, the cultural representative for the San Luis Rey Band of Mission Indians. Why the animals were buried at all, why they were buried together, and why they appear to have been buried in a ritualistic way is a matter of academic conjecture, according to archaeologists, paleontologists and others who have seen the site. Radiocarbon dating of 340 years, plus or minus 40 years, puts the death of the horse sometime between 1625 and 1705, Mojado said. Therefore, the horses died at least 50 years before San Diego Mission de Alcala, the first of the California missions, was founded in 1769. The other horse and the burro were buried at the same level, suggesting that they were buried about the same time. The bones of the horses and the donkey showed no signs of having been shod, an indicator that the horses were not brought by the Spanish, who fitted their horses with iron shoes, said Larry Tift, a researcher with Gallegos.  The radiocarbon date, if corroborated by more elaborate tests, may be remarkable since North American horses were thought to have been extinct by the late Pleistocene era more than 10,000 years ago, said Bradford Riney, a paleontology specialist with the San Diego Natural History Museum. "That would make (the site) extremely important," he said Thursday. "It would be an early example of domestication." Alternately, Mojado postulated that the horses may have been Spanish in origin, perhaps from an ill-fated exploration  that never returned and so was lost to history. Perhaps the lost Spanish explorers offered the horses and donkey to the American Indians as a gift, Mojado said.  As a gift, and an unusual gift at that, the animals most certainly would have been revered, which could explain why they were buried high on a hill in the same way some Indians buried their own, Mojado said. One horse and the donkey appear to have been buried ritualistically with their heads to the north, faces to the left, and their bodies "flexed" in the fetal position, an American Indian method of burial. The newly discovered horse, its ocher-colored bones already fading to yellow from exposure to sun and air, was not similarly posed.  Researchers said they know horses were deliberately buried because they can see definite lines where someone cut into the shell layers to dig a burial pit...more

NM Rep. Attempts Power Grab That Could Kill Keystone Pipeline

Rep. Ben Ray Lujan

by Mike Flynn

With all eyes trained on the fight over government spending and Obamacare, the House is scheduled to take up a non-controversial land-swap bill that would trade 2000 acres of  federal land in Arizona for 5000 acres of pristine land owned by Resolution Copper mine.  The bill has bipartisan support and should it be enacted, it is estimated that nearly 4,000 jobs will be created in the area.  Radical environmentalists of course oppose this swap and have joined with local tribes to offer an amendment to the swap bill that, if adopted, would become the environmentalists' most powerful tool to kill economic development throughout the nation.

Rep. Ben Lujan (D-NM) has promised to offer an amendment to the legislation that would empower the Secretary of Interior to override existing laws that protect tribal sacred sites and designate land as an Indian “cultural site.”  Such a designation would kill the mine project, its 4,000 jobs and serve as a model to kill other projects.  Federal law already protects Native America “sacred” land. 

So, what is  a “cultural” site?  No one knows for sure.  Proponents of the Lujan Amendment argue that any land where Native Americans have prayed and gathered is enough to trigger the designation.  Is there any land in the United States that does not meet that threshold?

The impact of the Lujan amendment cannot be measured.  The copper mine in Arizona, for instance, is 20 miles form the nearest reservation.  The Forest Service did an impact study and found there were no sacred sites to be found on the land.  That’s why Mr. Lujan and his supporters are trying to lower the threshold.  The lower threshold kills the project and its 4,000 jobs.  But more critically, the amendment sets the precedent that has environmentalists’ mouths watering.

Many observers believe that this precedent-setting amendment is a dry run to kill the Keystone Pipeline project specifically and set up a new paradigm for development in America.  Can anyone say with a straight face that somewhere along the thousands of miles of pipes, there will not be a parcel of land where Native Americans once slept, gathered or ate?

Wolves, not hunters

At first glance, you may think these were hunter harvested moose racks. The fact is, these are biologist's and undergraduates on Isle Royale, showing off wolf killed moose. Hunters have financed this failed experiment through Pittman/Robertson excise tax funds, a self imposed tax to help fund habitat improvement and perpetual populations of wildlife. These corrupt biologists squandered our money to invent wolf science, and advance the myth, balance of nature. This picture should anger every person, not just hunters who financed it.  Save Western Wildlife

More Bad News for Rural America

 by Jim Beers

With all of the winds currently buffeting rural America from government wolves and state governments becoming federal contractors for federal intrusions to federal land and water controls; a new wrinkle has been added.  When federal politicians talk about “redistributing wealth”, who knew one of the “redistribution” vehicles for rural wealth would be federal health legislation?  Not me.

Minnesota is a state that apparently seldom questions government growth of any sort, so it is not surprising that we formed one of the first state health care exchanges called MNsure as the federal Obamacare legislation rolls forward.  A recent newspaper article explains the expected differences in cost for Minnesotans divided into 9 “regions”.

Under the MNsure rules and charges, the Twin Cities to St. Cloud corridor (our most urban and most populous region) will be charged a monthly premium of $634 for a family of four. All other (rural Minnesota) regions will be charged $668, $704, $742, $816, $854, and $1,200 respectively.  These very significant differences are mysteriously credited to nonsense like “people might be sicker in some regions”, “doctors in some regions might opt for treatments that are more or less expensive” and “differences in the prices that different health care providers get paid for performing the same service”.

Dismissing all the associated smoke and mirrors; rural Minnesotans, and most likely all rural Americans as Obamacare becomes the only game in town, are embarking on a massive transfer of wealth to urban precincts in their state.  This is yet another result of this Red/Blue – Rural/Urban voting shift in our country.  Federal schemes from wolves to healthcare are at base thinly veiled political pandering for votes in concentrated urban precincts.  Giving them more and more government services and the granting of their imaginary environmental dreams in rural precincts (despite the harms to farmers, ranchers, hunters, dog owners, parents, and rural economies) are what keep federal politicians and their parties in power.

Recognizing what is happening and why it is happening is the first step.  The second step is seeing what must be done.  The third step is doing it despite the names they call you and the accusations they hurl at you.  Freedom is never cheap and rights must always be protected.  Rural Americans have been in the crosshairs long enough.  Transferring wealth for health is right up there with destroying a village to save it. 

 Jim Beers is a retired US Fish & Wildlife Service Wildlife Biologist, Special Agent, and Refuge Manager and is available to speak or for consulting

The Unintended – But Expected – Consequences of Obamacare

by Edmond S. Bradley  

    The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act – aka Obamacare – was expected by economists to cause economic changes.  (Here is the act in a handy 906-page .pdf file.)  Some predicted lower employment, either from employers’ reducing employees’ hours to keep them from being deemed full-time, or simply by firing employees whose marginal productivity isn’t more than the $300+ additional cost, per month, of complying with some of the employer mandates.
    Put simply, mandating increased per-employee costs will cause employers to react, and the employees most at risk of losing hours or jobs will be the ones with the lowest productivity:  the minimum-wagers the government says it’s trying to protect.  Any time the government takes control of (more of) an industry, the result inevitably will be unintended consequences. People seek to do what produces the best outcomes for themselves; we are not the static, obedient walking statistics government pretends we are.  We actively seek ways to avoid burdens, because we need to feed our families...
    Those of you who told Trader Joe’s you won’t shop there any longer because they’re not covering health care for their part-timers should first read Trader Joe’s explanation (Trader Joe’s will give the employees cash and let them shop for themselves; that way, the employees get a tax break, and at any rate Trader Joe’s can’t offer the giveaway deal the government is forcing on everyone); and second, should be prepared not to shop in very many places any more:  Forbes writes of Walgreen and 17 other large retailers doing the same thing. Worse, 301 employers (that we know of so far) are cutting employee hours and firing people.  The most perverse part of that:  62 of the employers are private-sector, and 239 are government employers, including school districts.  In one survey of small businesses, 41% have delayed hiring, 20% have reduced hours, and 20% have reduced payroll, all because Obamacare would be too burdensome otherwise.
    Another unintended consequence of creating government tax-and-spend “giveaways” that (as we saw above) threaten to harm the poor more than the rich:  Fraud.  Obamacare-related scams were and are being predicted—by federal officials, no less.  Thieves are expected to prey on the poor, the old, and the ignorant.  The fear is strong enough that the White House and the Justice Department have felt the need to reassure the public, with DOJ having to build a special initiative around the issue.  Here’s a list of the scams that have already been reported to law enforcement.
    Some unintended consequences were not predicted by many, if at all.  Labor unions, the darling of the political left, are stung because they somehow could not foresee that employers would cut hours; and the Obama administration remarkably has refused to add special subsidies for them...
Obamacare subsidizes the health care of people who stay below certain income maxima.  The obvious and foreseeable unintended consequence of that, of course, is that some people at the margins will face incentives to earn less.  A dollar of additional income, for some, will mean losing a $5,000 subsidy.  It would be foolish for anyone facing that choice to work an additional hour and lose almost $5,000.