Saturday, October 12, 2013

Should We Live Shorter Lives to Save the Planet?

by Wesley J. Smith

Humans are the enemy! A new study published in Ecology and Society claims that longer life expectancy for us is bad news for the planet. From the study by Aaron Lotz and Craig R. Allen:
We found a positive relationship between life expectancy and the percentage of endangered and invasive species in a country…The overall trend in high-income countries with improvements to the Human Development Index, which includes human life expectancy as one of its variables, is toward a disproportionately larger negative impact on a country’s ecological footprint. However, some lower-income countries have a high level of development without a high impact on ecosystem services (Moran et al. 2008).

Increased life expectancy means that people live longer and affect the planet longer; each year is another year of carbon footprint, ecological footprint, use of natural resources, etc. The magnitude of this impact is increased as more people live longer.
Bad humans!  Bad, bad humans.
The answer is supposedly–it’s becoming a cliché–that we see ourselves as just part of nature:
Fischer et al. (2012) propose a “transformation strategy” that assumes that direct links between people and nature are better than indirect links. This paradigm shift would recouple the social-ecological system.
Wrong. We are the exceptional species. The environment benefits most when we see that it is our duty to manage the environment responsibly because we are human. If we redefine ourselves as just another animal in the forest, that’s just how we will act. The authors don’t say whether we should try and live shorter lives. But that certainly seems an implication.


As incomes rise, so does life expectancy, and so does environmental protection:

The good that the twin goals of environmental protection and increased prosperity are not as contradictory as many environmentalists would have the public believe. A recent study by Princeton University economists Gene Grossman and Alan Krueger found that "economic growth brings an initial phase of deterioration followed by a subsequent phase of improvement." They found, for instance, that light particulates, a pervasive form of air pollution, tend to increase until a country reaches per capita income levels of around $9,000. After that air pollution declines as countries become wealthier. According to Grossman and Krueger "contrary to the alarmist cries of some environmental groups, we find no evidence that economic growth does unavoidable harm to the natural habitat." This relationship between economic growth and environmental quality, which resembles an inverted-U, has been found for many other environmental indices such as water quality and waste disposal.

Property rights and free markets are good for the environment.

Ca. Sheriff Detectives Thwart $100K Almond Heist

Kern County Sheriff's detectives arrested one man for attempting to steal $100,000 worth of almonds, Thursday. The Kern County Sheriff’s Office Rural Crime Investigation Unit was originally contacted by a representative of Inland Express, after they contracted with a company to transport the almonds from Sunny Gem in Wasco to North Carolina. Inland Express officials said they believed the company they contracted with to haul the almonds was a fraudulent company attempting to steal the load of almonds. Once detectives arrived to Sunny Gem, they said they found Francisco Javier Lopez Martinez with a semi-truck and trailer. Detectives said they found out that Martinez had a fake driver’s license, fake immigration documents, fake company emblems on his semi-truck, and a stolen license plate on his trailer. Detectives determined Martinez was not going to transport the almonds to the buyer in North Carolina and was attempting to steal $100,000 worth of almonds...more

Just wonderin'...

If all non-essentials have been furloughed, why is Congress still in session?

How To Access Government Websites During The Shutdown

The U.S. government has shut down. Sadly, so have most of its websites. No astronomy picture of the day at No food pyramid guide at No scanned images of old-timey baseball cards at That's the bad news. Now here's the good news: There are two easy methods to try accessing shut-down government sites. Your first option is Google's (or some other search engine's) "Cached" feature. Enter your keywords, hit search, then look for a tiny green arrow next to the URL of the government-hosted search result that you're interested in. Click the arrow to open a menu, click "Cached", and presto—you get the last version of the page that the search engine crawled. If the "Cached" option fails, your second option is the WayBack Machine by Since 1996, its software robots have scoured the Internet and saved copies of the most trafficked websites. You can tap this 10-petabyte-plus collection of website snapshots as long as you have a URL (easily had through search engines). The WayBack machine is more thorough and burrows several layers into a given site, caching multimedia left and right, but it's not always foolproof, either. The Internet is growing at a faster and faster rate, and the WayBack Machine has struggled to keep up. Another problem related to ever-limited archiving power is that the deeper you click into an archived site, the less likely you are to find cached photos...more

Bloomberg sued over guns, soda ban, 'meatless Mondays'

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg has been hit with two suits this week, one demanding information on his anti-gun campaign, and the other targeting his soda and fat bans. The public watchdog group Judicial Watch on Thursday filed their suit demanding emails between Bloomberg's office, his group Mayors Against Illegal Guns and Vice President Biden. The group charges that the anti-gun lobbying effort is being funded in part by taxpayers. Also this week, the group Keep Food Legal sued for information providing the basis for the mayor's restrictive food laws. The group also wants information backing up the city's plan to limit salt or sodium in foods; restrict tavern licenses and happy hours; adopt so-called ‘Meatless Mondays,' and crack down on food trucks.  Source

Police: Search on for 9 boys from NM youth ranch

Authorities were searching Friday night for nine teenagers reported missing from a ranch for troubled youth despite an earlier statement from the facility's attorney that the boys were safe and being returned to their parents. New Mexico State Police said they executed a search warrant at the Tierra Blanca High Country Youth Program as part of an investigation of abuse. But the teens between the ages of 13 and 17 weren't at the 30,000-acre compound in Sierra County and neither was program operator Scott Chandler. Police said Children Youth and Families Department officials also went to the ranch to serve orders to Chandler to hand over the custody of the teens. "At this time, Scott Chandler is a person if interest in this case," said Sgt. Emmanuel Gutierrez, a state police spokesman. "This is an active investigation and all leads are still being followed. At this point and time, State Police has not been able to confirm a location or the safety" of the teens. Program operators had been ordered to send the kids back to their parents or surrender them to the state after staff members were accused of beating and shackling students. Ranch attorney Pete Domenici Jr. said in a statement earlier Friday that the boys had been "on a previously scheduled activity away from the ranch for several days. They are safe and have already been picked up by their parents, or their parents are en route to pick them up." Domenici accused the state of escalating the situation by failing to agree to an emergency hearing in a lawsuit the ranch filed earlier this week over what the suit contends was an improperly handled investigation. "We attempted to avoid exactly this type of situation by requesting an emergency hearing," he said...more

Friday, October 11, 2013

Ecoterrrorist pleads guilty

The posters located around the Pacific Northwest were a study in contrasts. "Wanted" they screamed in bold, red type, "Should be considered armed and dangerous." Pictured inside the space usually reserved for hardened and dangerous suspects was instead the slight, unassuming countenance of a 25-year-old Canadian, her hair pulled back, her mouth pursed. It was this image that defined Rebecca Rubin during her seven years on the run, from the month before charges were filed in January 2006 until Thursday, when she eased herself into a leather-backed chair in a Portland, Ore., federal courtroom and pleaded guilty. Rubin, now 40, was a member of the eco-terrorism group "The Family," which claimed responsibility for 20 fires across the West that caused $40 million in damage between 1996 to 2001, when the group effectively disbanded. But federal investigators, working under the aegis of "Operation Backfire," used a former member's drug habit to turn him into an informant, and one by one, members of the group fell into prosecutors' hands. Ten of them pleaded guilty to arson and conspiracy charges in 2007. Two of them remain in hiding. That only left Rubin...more

Utah’s national parks begin to reopen after state strikes deal

It didn’t take long for the National Park Service to begin opening closed gates and taking down barricades in Utah Friday morning. Even as Gov. Gary Herbert was announcing that the $1.7 million loan to get Utah’s national parks open had been sent to Washington, D.C., the gates at Zion National Park in Washington County were swinging open. "We are starting to open the park now," Zion spokesperson Aly Baltrus said via a text message about 9 a.m. "Normal park operations will be underway by Saturday."...more

Fred Thompson tweet

Mountain lion spotted roaming around DC area. Natl Park Service officials working diligently to make sure no tourists look at it

How to Secede from a State Without Really Trying

by Jacob Gershman

Secession fever is spreading. In red and blue pockets of America, disgruntled residents are organizing efforts to split up with their home states, from liberals in southern Arizona to conservatives in rural Colorado and Western Maryland.

The biggest obstacle for these movements would seem to be the Constitution, which requires secessionists to get the blessing of their state Legislature and then Congress.

There might be an easier way, says Eugene Kontorovich, a law professor at Northwestern University, in a provocative post at Volokh Conspiracy. Rather than forming a new “51st” state, how about seceding to join an existing state?

“The Constitution’s requirement of home-state and congressional consent only clearly applies to the creation of a ‘new state,’ ” Mr. Kontorovich writes.

Here’s what Article IV, Section 3 of the Constitution says:
New states may be admitted by the Congress into this union; but no new state shall be formed or erected within the jurisdiction of any other state, nor any state be formed by the junction of two or more states, without the consent of the legislatures of the states concerned, as well as of the Congress.
Mr. Kontorovich concedes that it’s not totally clear what it means to “form” a new state. But he thinks one can make a more compelling case that merely shrinking or enlarging boundaries isn’t the same thing as creating a new state.

“If western Maryland secedes to join West Virginia, would one say West Virginia has been ‘formed’ by the merger of West Virginia and parts of Maryland? I would say ‘West Virginia’ has already been formed,” he writes.

He says the historical context also jibes with his reading of it. The Founders, he says, inserted that provision to deal with carving up the western territories and the incorporation of the Republic of Vermont.

Mr. Kontorovich is clear that he’s not advocating for secession, saying he doesn’t take all this secessionist talk too seriously. And it’s not exactly clear how one would go about the process of interstate secession. “The state secessionists’ best bet would be to have some local referendum or Convention that would overwhelmingly favor joining another state,” he writes.

But here’s the kicker: While it may be more convenient, there’s no constitutional requirement that states be contiguous. That means, he writes, “potential secessionists could go ‘on the market’ to find the best potential state to unify with.”


Sunland in Portales closes operations — files bankruptcy

For Terri Lancaster, it started like any other work day at Sunland Inc., a place she said felt like home. Her world was shaken Wednesday morning when she was called into a company-wide meeting and told Sunland’s plants were closing. Citing the impact of a voluntary product recall and a government enforced plant shutdown last year, the Portales peanut processor filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy Wednesday, according to a company press release. Lancaster was one of the more than 100 employees laid off. Sunland President and CEO Jimmie Shearer declined comment Wednesday afternoon. Chapter 7 means the company shuts down and liquidates its assets. Sunland, a major employer in Roosevelt County where the Valencia peanut is king, was linked to a salmonella outbreak in September 2012 that caused 41 illnesses in 20 states. Sunland recalled more than 100 nut and peanut butter products after the outbreak. It reopened production of its peanut butter plant in March. “Sunland voluntarily recalled all of its products in October 2012, a precautionary measure with enormous financial consequences,” Wednesday’s press release said. “Subsequent administrative actions by the Food and Drug Administration and Sunland’s own commitment to re-double its efforts in the areas of food safety and quality control resulted in the prolonged shutdown of the company’s manufacturing facility to allow for necessary renovations to its facility and the implementation of new food safety procedures.” In May, Sunland received authorization to resume full operations, but “ongoing financial and liquidity challenges made it necessary for the company to file for bankruptcy under Chapter 7 of the Bankruptcy Code,” the press release said. Sunland board member and peanut producer Wayne Baker said the FDA required more than the company could afford to do. “It’s a very unfair deal,” Baker said. “It’s a sad day for Portales, for the community and for peanut growers.” Baker said the 25-year-old company just couldn’t recover from the recall. “It was just kind of sudden. We thought we could pull it together but it was a steeper mountain to climb. We tried to meet the FDA requirements. There was no end,” Baker said. “We were a great company. We’re proud of what we did and proud of what we accomplished.”...more

Firebug suspected in Valencia County haystack blazes - video

It's happened again.  More suspicious fires in Valencia County. There have been at least six in the last month costing farmers in the area thousands of dollars. Now fire officials are warning residents to be on the lookout for a possible arsonist. For the farmers that have been victimized, these fires have really hurt their livelihood. And other incidents have investigators trying to figure out who's behind this. Fire crews in Valencia County have been busy lately putting out blazing haystacks, many along State Road 314 south of Los Lunas. “We are suspecting arson,” said Chief Steven Gonzales, of the Valencia County Fire Department.  "We've taken some samples from some of the fires that we've had and actually sent them in and have come back positive for accelerants." Valencia County firefighters are now going door-to-door warning people with haystacks to be on the lookout for suspicious activity. Just recently a hay barn stacked with 560 bales went up in flames. “A big haystack of bales and the fire engines, they had to destroy it to turn out the fire because they keep on smoking,” said Rudy Cordova, who lives next door to the victim. Cordova’s neighbor's yard is burned. Nearly $3,000 worth of hay is destroyed. “Hay has a tendency for spontaneous combustion," Gonzales said.  "However. hay burns from the inside out, and all of the fires that we have responded to have been burnt from the outside in." Another haystack fire sparked off Seabell Road ruined at least 66 one-ton bales of hay. And, last month, News 13 reported on the destruction at Toby's Doors where 2,000 bales of hay, along with 1,000 metal doors went up in flames...more

Here's the KRQE video report

ND farmer finds oil spill while harvesting wheat

A North Dakota farmer who discovered an oil spill the size of seven football fields while out harvesting wheat says that when he found it, crude was bubbling up out of the ground. Farmer Steve Jensen says he smelled the crude for days before the tires on his combines were coated in it. At the apparent break in the Tesoro Corp.'s underground pipeline, the oil was "spewing and bubbling 6 inches high," he said in a telephone interview Thursday. What Jensen had found on Sept. 29 turned out it was one of the largest spills recorded in the state. At 20,600 barrels it was four times the size of a pipeline rupture in late March that forced the evacuation of more than 20 homes in Arkansas. But it was 12 days after Jensen reported the spill before state officials told the public what had happened, raising questions about how North Dakota, which is in the midst of an oil boom, reports such incidents. The spill happened in a remote area in the northwest corner of the state. The nearest home is a half-mile away, and Tesoro says no water sources were contaminated, no wildlife was hurt and no one was injured...more

White House will open parks if states pay

The Interior Department will reopen national parks if states fund the National Park Service personnel who have been furloughed in the government shutdown. The decision, announced Thursday, follows political attacks from Republicans who allege the Obama administration has gone overboard in closing off access to popular tourist spots. “Responding to the economic impacts that the park closures are having on many communities and local businesses, [Interior] Secretary Jewell will consider agreements with Governors who indicate an interest and ability to fully fund National Park Service personnel to re-open national parks in their states,” Interior spokesman Blake Androff said in a statement. Governors from South Dakota, Arizona and Colorado have also asked permission to reopen their states’ national parks, according to The Associated Press. Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer (R), whose state is home to the Grand Canyon National Park, last week urged Obama to allow state and private funding to be used to open national parks...more

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Utah Governor willing to loan feds money to open national parks

While one southern Utah county backed off plans to take over a shuttered federal recreation area, Gov. Gary Herbert said he's willing to put up state money to reopen and manage national parks. Following a strongly worded letter to President Barack Obama, Herbert said he called Interior Secretary Sally Jewell on Wednesday. "I just suggested to her, 'Hey, we know there's dysfunctionality in Washington, D.C. Let us run the parks,'" he said. Herbert said he told Jewell that Utah would lend the federal government money and use state and local resources to get the parks running again. The governor said Jewell wants to know whether it could be done legally. "She recognizes the challenge in Utah," he said. "She's a businesswoman herself. She certainly understands the outdoors and understands our concern for the economic degradation that's occurring because of the closing of the parks." Herbert suggested the state could dip into its $288 million Rainy Day Fund or use dollars from travel and tourism budgets to cover management costs. He said the state is giving Jewell a list of "common sensible" areas to reopen. "We'll lend them money with the idea they'll pay us back once they get their act together back in Washington, D.C.," he said...more  

But now an Interior spokesman is saying the states won't be reimbursed unless Congress gives them the authority to do so. 

 The feds bailed out GM, now Utah is bailing out the feds...are National Parks "to big to fail"?

Ranch Radio Song Of The Day #1124

One of my favorites: Bob Wills - Dusty Skies.  Recorded in Hollywood on July 24, 1941.  In the studio that day with Wills were Tommy Duncan, Eldon Shamblin, Leon McAuliffe, Jesse Ashlock, Al Stricklin and three others.

'Shutdown' - Government Buys $47,174 Mechanical Bull

The government shutdown may be keeping furloughed federal workers at home, but on Monday the U.S. Army contracted to buy a mechanical bull. The $47,174 contract was awarded on Oct. 7 to Mechanical Bull Sales Inc. of State College, Penn. According to the General Services Administration (GSA) listing, the National Guard of Utah made the request for a “bull which needs to be durable and low maintenance.” The bull that was sold to the Utah National Guard should meet any state safety requirements. The Mechanical Bull Sales website says, “Our mechanical bulls are approved for use in all 50 states and Canada. This includes: Pennsylvania, New Jersey and California which have stringent safety requirements for amusement rides.” Lt. Col. Hank McIntire of the Utah National Guard tells that the mechanical bull is regularly used as a tool by recruiters at fairs and other events. “It draws attention to their message,” McIntire said...more

Update:  The order has been canceled.

EPA proposes big reduction in 2014 ethanol blend volume

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has proposed a surprisingly deep cut in the amount of ethanol that must be blended into U.S. gasoline next year, according to an agency document seen by Reuters. In a historic retreat from an ambitious 2007 law and a victory for refiners, the agency proposes a "significant" reduction in the overall renewable fuel requirements to 15.21 billion gallons, far less than the 18.15 billion gallon 2014 target established by law, the documents show. That would reduce the volume of corn-based ethanol to about 800 million gallons less than this year's 13.8 billion gallons, a much larger cut than many industry observers had been expecting. The law had required 14.4 billion gallons for 2014. The figures match those reported earlier on Thursday by news agencies including Reuters, but the document also includes previously unreported details on the EPA's proposal. The agency laid out three different approaches, one calling for a larger volume of corn-based ethanol and one calling for less, but it advocated the 13 billion gallons in the middle. The apparent proposal stirred shock and some disbelief across biofuel and energy industries, as most officials and traders had not expected any further word on next year's rules until the White House had approved them. Shares of independent refiners surged, while the price of ethanol credits dived...more

Congressional report shows the high costs of transferring public land to Idaho

Idaho Federal Lands
Three federal agencies spent $392 million to manage 32 million acres of public land in Idaho in the 2012 budget year, a Congressional Research Service report shows. The report shows that Idaho would have to make up for much of those costs if it succeeded in getting control over the land, as a resolution passed by the Idaho Legislature demands. The Idaho Department of Lands has estimated that the state could raise $50 million to $75 million annually in timber receipts from federal land. But one cost not figured into the estimate could swallow that revenue by itself — $58 million in payments to counties under two programs, one that makes up for former timber revenues and another compensating for the fact that counties can't tax federal land. The CRS report also suggests the state would have to significantly raise grazing fees to make up for the substantial subsidy federal managers provide. The congressional report examines three federal agencies: the Forest Service, the Bureau of Land Management and the Fish and Wildlife Service. A large portion of the management costs for the first two — $96 million — came from fighting wildfires...more

Haven't seen the report, but there appears to be holes in it. For instance, what is the cost/acre to manage state lands versus similar costs to the feds, and how much would Idaho save versus federal spending.  The state could also expand grazing, timber, mining and recreation to increase revenues, etc.(for forests, see State Forests Management Superior to Federal Forests for Job Creation, Revenue Production, Local Economies and Fire Prevention).

Most importantly, much of the federal spending is used to inflict harm on the citizens and communities of Idaho.

I'm curious why Simpson requested this report.  Was it requested by either the proponents or opponents of the legislation, or the Interim Committee?  Did Simpson or his staff come up with the idea?  Anybody could have added up the budgets of the agencies, so why the CRS report?  Note the article says the CRS report "suggests the state would have to significantly raise grazing fees", so it appears to be more than just a budget summary.

Needless to say, Simpson's position as Chair of the Subcommittee on Interior Appropriations would be less powerful and of less value to Idaho if certain federal lands were transferred to the states.

Simpson hasn't taken a position on the state resolution, which to me suggests he opposes it (don't alienate the folks back home while maintaining credibility with the DC establishment).  If he truly supported the concept, he would introduce legislation in Congress to accomplish the transfer.  Simpson's Idaho colleague, Rep. Raul Labrador, has introduced H.R. 1294, the Self-Sufficient Community Lands Act, which would transfer 200,000 acres of Forest Service land to the state for a demonstration project.  Simpson is not a cosponsor.  It is highly unusual for a Republican to introduce a federal lands bill without the support of his fellow Republican from his home state.  If Simpson doesn't support the transfer of 1% of Idaho's 20 million acres of federal land, it seems rather unlikely he would support total transfer.

Ranch Radio Song Of The Day #1123

Sons of the Pioneers - There's A Rainbow Over The Range.  Recorded in Chicago in January of 1941.  The members of the group at that session were Lloyd Perry, Karl Farr, Hugh Farr, Bob Nolan, Tim Spencer and Robert E. O'Brady.

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Sorry! Your national parks do not belong to you

by Warren L. Dean

The Public Broadcasting System has a promotional television commercial that starts off with a picture of Lincoln's statue in the memorial on the Mall in Washington and continues with pictures of national and local parks and other public facilities. It is accompanied by the soundtrack from the film “Dances with Wolves.” It is both majestic and inspiring. The theme of the commercial, set out in bold letters in front of Lincoln, is “THIS BELONGS TO YOU.” It ends with a picture of the United States Capitol.

We just found out the commercial is a lie.

Apparently, our national parks, monuments and treasures no longer belong to the people of the United States. They belong to a capricious federal establishment that is intent on punishing the American public for its temerity to elect representatives who think there should be a limit to the resources and power the government can take from its citizens. At the root of this vindictiveness is contempt for the very democratic processes that the Constitution prescribes.

For the first time during one of many government shutdowns, the National Park Service has closed the monuments and memorials in its care. It even closed the World War II Memorial to Honor Flight veterans who sacrificed far more for their country than anyone in this administration could imagine. It also roped off the overlooks on parkways that were otherwise still open, for no apparent reason. The government shuttered parks, beaches, historic sites, waterways and other facilities putatively owned by the public, regardless of the source of funding for those facilities. Never mind that these facilities are still patrolled by police that continue to be paid.

On the other hand, President Obama’s Camp David retreat and favorite golf courses remain open — at least for him. To make it absolutely clear that the closings are nothing more than political retribution against American voters, a pro-immigration rally was allowed to proceed Tuesday on the otherwise closed National Mall.

What this tells us is that the noble ideal — championed by PBS — that these national treasures actually belong to the people of the United States is false. They belong to a government that prints and borrows its own money, tells its citizens how to behave, and demands whatever tribute from them it may require for its purposes. When the people — 60 percent of which already think the government is too powerful — try to insist on some accountability through their elected representatives, the federal government sets out to exact its revenge from the public for exercising that right. In other words, it resorts to petty tyranny.

It is a sad irony that Congress is considering legislation to give federal employees back pay for the days they were furloughed by the legislative impasse. That is a horrible mistake. The budget of the National Park Service and the salaries of its employees should be cut, and cut permanently, for each day that the public was denied access to these supposedly public facilities. Perhaps that might bring the administration to its senses.

Warren L. Dean Jr. is a lawyer and an adjunct professor of law at Georgetown University Law Center.

Forest Service Reverses Itself and Suddenly Closes Hundreds of Private Concession-Run Campgrounds

In an unprecedented order, and reversing a decision made early last week, the US Forest Service has ordered all private, concession-run recreation areas on Forest Service lands to close for the duration of the Federal government shutdown. This means that many of the most popular recreation areas and camping destinations in Arizona will close until further notice, despite the fact that these sites are not operated with Federal funds or employees. Private concession operators run hundreds of recreation areas within the National Forests, including the majority of the largest and most popular sites. These privately-run concessions typically are funded solely via the user fees paid at the gate, which go to paying for the employees, utilities, trash collection, maintenance, and even insurance on the site. These privately-operated parks do not require any federal funding, and in fact these concessions pay millions of dollars into the Treasury each year in the form of concession fees. "We were certainly taken by surprise by this closure order," said Warren Meyer, CEO of Recreation Resource Management. "In all past government shutdowns, such as those in the mid-1990's, concession recreation operations have always remained open. This only makes sense, since our operations don't use any government funds or employees. While we do partner with the US Forest Service on certain activities, none of these are critical to day-to-day operations. We are convinced this closure is an unjustified and unnecessarily punitive action that hurts the recreating public while doing nothing to reduce government spending."...more

Its all about the government shut down...

Alaska bears make a meal out of federal shutdown Many recreation sites are closed (Idaho)

Government Shutdown Could Shut Down Filming Of In Performance at the White House

Mule Deer Foundation Concerned for Hunters & Habitat Due to Government Shutdown Federal 

shutdown suspends most activities on Arizona BLM lands

No impact seen on ski season from furloughs

Bend Rafters Stymied By Government Shutdown

Colorado mountain industries brace for shutdown fallout

Government’s shutdown has impact on ag

US shutdown: Park rangers 'bear brunt' of public anger

Food bank helps furloughed Grand Canyon workers as business owners protest closure

Nation’s oldest full-time park ranger furloughed

And this is just a sample from the last 24 hours.

House Intel panel working on bill to save NSA spying

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) hinted on Tuesday that his National Security Agency reform legislation would preserve the bulk of the agency's surveillance powers. He said he and ranking member Dutch Ruppersberger (D-Md.) have held a series of meeting with their Senate counterparts, Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.), to discuss the legislation. "We went over some of these confidence-builders to rebuild trust in these programs and at the end of the day still allow us to do it [conduct surveillance]," Rogers said during a panel discussion hosted by Politico. Privacy advocates are urging Congress to rein in the NSA's power in the wake of leaks by Edward Snowden, but Rogers argued that the surveillance programs are critical for thwarting terrorist attacks. He said his legislation would rebuild trust in the NSA by requiring "as much transparency as we can possibly get" and "showing the level of oversight."...more

So there you have it, the Republicans in the House are leading a bipartisan effort to allow NSA to keep sweeping up your phone calls, emails, texts, website visits and social media comments without a warrant. 

Where is this bipartisanship on funding ObamaCare?  Reach across the aisle on that one Mr. Rogers. 

I predict the Republican NSA bill will only poke around the edges of the issue, in a PR attempt to satisfy (fool?) the public.  This will pass the House. 

I also predict ObamaCare will be funded.  There may be a delay in implementation, but eventually the Republicans in the House will pass a budget that funds the beast. 

 In both instances liberty is lessened and we will all suffer the consequences.

Ranch Radio Song Of The Day #1122

Jimmy Wakely - Song of the Sierras (1947)

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

GOP Senators rip public land shutdown

Hunters and tourists are needlessly being kept away from public lands during the shutdown, Republicans claimed Tuesday. GOP members of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee accused the Interior Department of closing roads and lands that could have been kept open in Western states. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) said the Interior Department’s Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) is wrongly blocking access for hunters as the Alaskan winter approaches. “This is moose season. This is hunting season. This is when Alaskans are filling up their freezer for a long winter. In so many of our communities there is no Costco; there is no Safeway; there is no grocery store,” said Murkowski, the panel’s top Republican. “Our hunting areas are the grocery store.” Several GOP lawmakers spoke after the committee unanimously approved two nominees for roles in the Energy and Interior departments. The committee plans to hold a hearing as soon as next week on the shutdown's effects. Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) blasted the Interior Department's closures of areas in his state. He said scenic highway overlooks to view Grand Teton National Park have been closed even though they don’t have trash cans or restrooms that would require staffing. “No money has been saved by doing this,” he said. “The Obama administration has made a concerted effort to intentionally hurt the public,” Barrasso said. “Maybe the [National] Park Service could study how to drop a large curtain in front of the mountains to block the view from the road,” he said with sarcasm. Barrasso also said the FWS has closed a bike path that runs next to Highway 89 outside of Jackson, Wyo., for no good reason. “Small and petty actions like these have been taken all across the West,” he said...more

The hearings next week should be very interesting.

Industry sues EPA over Renewable Fuel Standard

The American Petroleum Institute filed a federal lawsuit Tuesday challenging Obama administration regulations requiring biofuel to be mixed with conventional gas. The suit, filed in the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, drew immediate criticism from the renewable fuels industry, which derided the action as “frivolous” and “slavish.” The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued the Renewable Fuel Standard in August, long after the agency’s statutory deadline in November of last year. The industry has repeatedly called the standards unworkable. “EPA’s unrealistic ethanol mandates for 2013 are simply bad public policy,” said Harry Ng, American Petroleum Institute (API) vice president and general counsel. “EPA issued this year’s requirements nine months late and has once again mandated significantly more cellulosic ethanol than is available in the marketplace.” The standards require refiners to use millions of gallons of cellulosic ethanol this year, but the API argues that only 142,000 gallons have been made available to refiners thus far for blending...more

Idaho mine claim owners sue over access to forests

Several Idaho mining claim owners sued the federal government late last week, the latest front in an effort by groups across the West that want to expand motorized backcountry access using a Civil War-era law. The lawsuit, filed Friday in U.S. District Court in Boise, argues the U.S. Forest Service illegally restricted use of four roads in Idaho County that make up the so-called “Buckhorn Creek Trail System.” The claim is similar to a lawsuit in Utah that was resolved earlier this year when the federal government agreed to open three roads, allowing all-terrain vehicles into that state’s western desert. In the Idaho County case, owners of historic mining claims accessed by roads extending deep into the Nez Perce National Forest are demanding a judge affirm the public’s right to use the roads. They contend Forest Service officials outstripped their authority since at least 2001 by barring people from accessing roads used for more than a century, not only to reach mining claims, but also to hunt, fish, camp and sightsee. “I don’t see this as a part of a movement, other than people are kind of waking up and figuring out their rights are being taken away by a federal government that’s being oppressive,” said Wesley Hoyt, a Clearwater, Idaho-based attorney for the group that calls itself Open Roads 4 Idaho, on Monday. “We’re going to do a quiet title action, so we can determine whether or not the Forest Service has the authority to restrict access.”...more

End gun-free zones on military bases

by William Perry Pendley

One can almost forgive the “Democratic strategist” who opined about the Washington Navy Yard massacre, “Everybody with the guns stood around and watched or apparently were unable to stop him. The guns were present. It was a Navy facility!” He should have known better, but most Americans assume, not unreasonably, that our military bases host scores of armed personnel. That has not been the case since 1992 when George H.W. Bush’s Department of Defense ordered the disarming of almost all military personnel across the country. The DOD regulation was reissued in 2011.

One cannot forgive the CNN reporter who proclaimed, “This seems so unusual to me that a gunman could create this kind of havoc at a U.S. military facility. Have you ever heard of this happening before?” As every American but her knows, it happened at Fort Hood in Texas in November of 2009 when thirteen people, including an unborn baby, died and thirty were wounded. A room of unarmed military men and women, many of whom were combat veterans, were attacked by an Army major and Islamic Jihadist who cried “Allahu Akbar” and opened fire with his FN Five-seven pistol. Specialist Frederick Greene, 29, of Mountain City, Tennessee, was killed when he used the only weapon he had, his body, and charged the assailant — he was shot 12 times.

One U.S. senator, responding to the Fort Hood murders, told Army Chief of Staff General George Casey that officers and senior NCOs should be permitted to carry weapons. Casey was “incredulous.” (That is hardly surprising; it was Casey who, as to the massacre that the Obama Administration labels “workplace violence,” declared, “[A]s horrific as this tragedy was, if our diversity becomes a casualty, I think that’s worse.”) Therefore, as were the officers and soldiers at Fort Hood, and the officers and sailors at the Navy Yard, the men and women of our Armed Forces remain unarmed and, as these two events demonstrate, in mortal danger.

I asked one Marine Officer what he, his fellow officers and NCOs, and Marine staff had been advised regarding a possible attack on their isolated office building by an armed assailant moving down the hallway firing methodically into each office. “We were told first, to attempt to flee, second, to hide, and third, if discovered, to resist with ‘maximum force’,” he said. “I guess I could throw my stapler at him.” This is a Marine with a tour in Iraq under his belt, qualified as an expert with the Berretta 9mm pistol he owns, and authorized by the laws of the state in which he resides to carry concealed his Smith & Wesson XDM .45 pistol, equipped with a 13-round magazine. He can protect himself and his wife and children from intruders and, when outside his home — where authorized by state law — he can protect himself and others; however, when he puts on his uniform, drives to, works at, and returns home from his duty station, he is unarmed.

These things happen in threes, or so they say. It is not difficult to imagine the third of this tragic trilogy, just as the Jihadist attacks by land (New York in 1993) and by sea (the USS Cole in 2000), presaged the one by air in 2001. The closest thing to a Marine Corps “petting zoo” is the graduation of young Marines at the Parris Island, South Carolina, and San Diego, California, Recruit Depots. The gates are opened to any vehicle whose driver has a driver’s license; no vehicle inspections are conducted. Signs show the way to the parade ground where bleachers are filled with hundreds of fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters, and other proud relatives and friends. There are also scores of officers, NCOs, and enlisted Marines, including a number of flag-grade general officers. With the exception of the ceremonial M16s held by some new privates, there is not a functional weapon among them.

Pendley is a former Marine, the father of an active duty Marine and author of the widely acclaimed Sagebrush Rebel:  Reagan's Battle with Environmental Extremists and Why It Matters Today. 

The Civil War in COLOR for the first time: Painstakingly remastered images

Two professional colorists have combined their skills with photographs and fascination with the American Civil War to create a remarkable series of color photographs from the era. British colorist Jordan Lloyd, 27, met fellow colorist Mads Madsen, 19, from Denmark when he started posting on Madsen's subreddit 'Colorized History'. Initially it was Madsen who was colorizing images from the Civil War era, but Lloyd eventually got interested and now the two work together restoring the images, improving their technique by giving each other critiques. Madsen has been interested in the Civil War since he was 12, and was especially fascinated by all the images that emerged from the conflict. 'I love the fact that you can see veins in the eyes of humans born over 200 years ago as clear as day,' Madsen told MailOnline. With amazing attention to detail, the pictures that Lloyd and Madsen have rendered in color paint a picture of the era and its characters, heroes and villains...more

Of those published by Mail Online, I've selected the following to share here:

Abe Lincoln 1861

Robert E. Lee

U.S. Grant

Lt. General Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson

Major General George Armstrong Custer

16 year old Confederate Soldier Edwin Francis Jemison, killed a year later at the battle of Malvern Hill 

Ranch Radio Song Of The Day #1121

In response to several requests for more "cowboy" and western music, that's what we'll spin this week. Here's Gene Autry performing "Good Ole Fashioned Hoedown".  The tune was recorded in Los Angeles on August 27, 1940 and released as Conqueror 9425.

Monday, October 07, 2013

Forest Service to shut down logging operations on 150 forests

The U.S. Forest Service confirmed it is shutting down logging operations on national forests across the country due to the partial shutdown of the federal government. The agency plans to notify 450 timber purchasers across the country early next week that timber sales and stewardship contracts will be suspended, Forest Service spokesman Leo Kay said in an email. Tom Partin, president of the timber industry group America Forest Resource Council, said he got word that the agency would be posting details of the shutdown on a White House website on Monday. The Forest Service will be contacting each logging company in writing to tell them how to close down operations. In general, loggers will have seven days to finish cutting and hauling out logs on timber sales where they are already working. The shutdown comes as loggers typically look forward to one more month of work before winter weather makes conditions tougher. Rep. Greg Walden, R-Ore., said the shutdown was another reason the Senate should join the House in passing legislation to increase logging on national forests, in part by putting them under local control. That bill has passed the House but is considered unlikely to pass the Senate...more

Farm bill expires with fed shutdown

Among its widespread effects, the government shutdown assured the lapse of the farm bill and left many Coloradans with questions about their immediate future. The bill, originally a five-year agricultural plan, was set to expire last year but was given a one-year extension, which officially ended Tuesday. Some Southwest Colorado farmers are frustrated with the government’s inability to pass the bill. “This is the second straight year that this has expired, so I’m not sure when they were planning to pass it,” said Jim Dyer, a rancher near Marvel. The lapse of the farm bill because of the government shutdown will revert agricultural policies back to those instated in 1949...more

I can assure you they won't let this stand.  Because of politics?  Sure, that's always there.  But the real reason is if you implemented the 1949 farm bill today it would be a huge budget buster...costing much more than the current or proposed farm bills.

9th Circuit asked to stop USDA predator killing

Conservationists have appealed a federal judge's rejection of their lawsuit in Nevada aimed at shutting down a federal program that spends more than $100 million a year to subsidize the killing of coyotes, mountain lions and other predators that threaten livestock. The appeal filed Thursday targets a ruling in March by U.S. District Judge Miranda Du, who dismissed most of the WildEarth Guardians lawsuit that claims the Depression-era program of the U.S. Agriculture Department is illegal because it relies on scientific and environmental data that is nearly two decades old. Among other things, Du said the harm cited by the conservationists would not be alleviated by shutting down the Wildlife Services operation in Nevada — where 6,000 coyotes are killed annually and federal officials spend about $1.5 million a year — because the state has said it would carry out the killings itself. Lawyers for WildEarth Guardians said in its appeal to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals that Nevada doesn't have the resources to continue all the work. A state wildlife official agreed. "We wouldn't have the manpower," Nevada Department of Wildlife spokesman Chris Healy said Friday. "They are in some wild places in Nevada doing that kind of predator work where we have zero personnel. We already have a full plate." The conservationists said the program that spent $127 million to exterminate more than 5 million animals in 2010 should be suspended nationally until USDA updates its scientific analysis that's based largely on an environmental impact statement conducted in 1994 when the program was much smaller. In 1988, Wildlife Services spent $26 million to control 17 target species, compared to 2010 when it spent $126 million on a list of about 300 species, court documents state...more

Ranch Radio Song Of The Day #1120

Bob Wills - Swing Blues #1 (1937)

Sunday, October 06, 2013

Government shutdown? There is no government shutdown

But there is no government shutdown. Is the IRS still operating? Are millions of Americans still paying taxes under the threat of government persecution? Are taxpayer salaried federal minions still collecting those taxes and funneling them into the national treasury? Are political swine still poking their snouts deep into the stolen loot to fund their pet projects while skimming as much as possible into their own bank accounts? Then the government hasn't shut down. The people at the very top of the criminal enterprise that ordinary citizens have been trained to call "government" have become adjusted to this status quo. Since neither can gain the total control they truly desire they're willing to divvy up the loot amongst themselves. That means their primary goal is to keep the loot coming. What political form the government takes is irrelevant...more

Obama's Golf Course Has Been Spared from the Shutdown


One of Obama's preferred golf courses, the course on Andrews Airforce Base remains open during the government shutdown. The grocery stores on the base, where troops get discounted groceries for their families are, however, closed. They will shop "at local stores that cost about 30 percent more, Lieutenant General Raymond Mason, the service’s deputy chief of staff for logistics, said yesterday at a House hearing."

The Andrews Air Force Base golf course is funded through user fees and that’s why it remains open, said Air Force Captain Lindy Singleton, chief of public affairs for the 11th Wing at Andrews.
 .Obama hit the links last weekend for a round, on the eve of the possible shutdown. Last week the President played his 35th round of golf this year.


Petty Tirade: Selective Shutdowns at 12 National Parks Across America

Washington’s grown a bit nastier and colder since the last government shutdown, and the casualties of the partisan fight are the family memories lost from being denied access to public landmarks that are supposed to belong to the people. The government doesn’t see it that way anymore – it’s all just a “damn game” and the folks running the Capitol are just toying with the American people. That’s right – public memorials, monuments and parks remained open under President Clinton and the Republican Congress in 1995/96, causing one to wonder how much inconvenience and financial hardship this partial government shutdown is creating is actually necessary. Nonetheless, American parks, memorials and monuments across are shuttered today, despite many of them being privately funded and run at no expense to the taxpayer and despite Republicans passing bills to keep them running while the two parties negotiate on funding the government. The following list of 13 parks and monuments and how they were affected by the government slowdown shows exactly what kind of ridiculous nonsense is going on in America nowadays...more

Iwo Jima Memorial Closed, Barricades Erected (Update: Vets Break Through)

Another open-air memorial in the Washington area is closed and barricaded off: the Iwo Jima Memorial, just across the bridge from D.C. in Rosslyn, Virginia. A source sends along this picture of the barricade set-up at the memorial, which is also called the U.S. Marine Corps War Memorial:
"I took the picture yesterday afternoon. Those barricades had been there at least a day. People can still walk into the Memorial area, but for many elderly and disabled vets, it is important they be driven and park right next to the statue," the person who took this picture emails.
"There has been no coverage of Iwo Jima being closed and it is a routine stop for Honor Flight visitors."
The source adds: "This picture is from North Marshall Drive (100 yards up the hill from the 110) facing the only road in and out of the Memorial for cars. There are parking spots for cars and buses right next the Memorial that can only be accessed via this road. Interestingly too, the view you see is also the last 200 yards of the Marine Corps Marathon which is in three weeks. That would be 20,000 pissed off runners who have trained for months."
The stop is a popular destination for veterans and tourists alike, and, in my observation, is usually completely unmanned and unguarded. But, for some reason, it's closed to the public during this federal government shutdown.
UPDATE: I'm told, "The Syracuse Honor Flight just knocked down the barrier and a couple hundred of them are at the Memorial now."
Here's a picture:

Obama Shuts Down Ocean

In a move that is being driven by monumental hubris, the Obama Administration has informed Florida charter boat operators that they are not allowed to take customers fishing in the Florida Bay until the feds get back to work. The Park Service has verboten use of 1,100 square miles or prime fishing between the tip of Florida to the Keys. They've prohibited access to the ocean. Heck, why not the air? There's air in those national parks that belongs to the federal government -- not the people, the government. It's been clear since before it started that the shutdown was just theater and that Obama would try to make it as painful as possible for us little people. We've seen this with the closing of national parks, the barricading of national monuments. The images of elderly WWII veterans being blocked from visiting the memorial dedicated to them has angered people across the country. When the veterans tore down the barricades the first day, the Park Service went back and put up stronger fences with double locks...more

A tweet on the shutdown

America has deployed to protect Monuments from visitors quicker & better than Embassy's from Terrorists.