Saturday, October 26, 2013

Ranch Radio Song Of The Day #1134

Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver - Jesus Gave Me Water.  From their 1981 album "Rock My Soul".

History comes alive during tours of Shakespeare Ghost town today

The West's most authentic Ghost Town, Shakespeare, will give visitors a peek into the past with living history tours, performances and reenactments today at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Walk the streets trod by Billy The Kid, John Ringo, The Clantons and others and hear stories of the Old West as it really was. Shakespeare has a long and interesting history in the building of the Southwest. Shakespeare has also been known as Mexican Springs and Ralston City. Walk a portion of the Butterfield Trail, and see other points of interest during a public tour today. Shakespeare's public tours are limited to specific days each month and private tours and are no longer provided under any circumstances, and un-escorted walk-thru tours are not permitted due to liability and safety concerns. Demonstrations include shootings, and reenactments by characters in period costume. Reservations or pre-purchased tickets are not required for admission to Shakespeare. Just arrive at the gate and you'll be able to have an escorted tour. Shakespeare is completely uncommercialized. On a hot summer day, guests are offered a drink of cold well water and a comfortable chair in the shade. People who bring their own lunches may eat in the Grant House Dining room where there are tables and benches. ..more

The ultimate indulgence - beer ice cream

The unique beer ice cream, called Frozen Pints, comes in seven different flavours and the strongest tub has a alcohol level of 3.2 per cent. Peach Lambic is the weakest at 1 per cent, while Pumpkin Ale at 3.2 per cent is the strongest ice cream on offer. Ari Fleischer, founder of Frozen Pints from New York, said how the quirky concept actually started by accident. The 29-year-old said: "We were having a party and a friend brought over an ice cream maker to make homemade ice cream. "But another friend spilled a beer nearby, and I watched it happen and thought - 'this is a great idea!' "I'm really passionate about craft beer, and love ice cream, so I picked it up as a hobby and started experimenting with different flavor combinations. "We start with the beer as it is all about finding the best, most flavourful craft brews - and then build a flavour around them." Because of its alcoholic content, you have to be of legal age to purchase a tub of the ice cream...more

Ancient Bees May Have Been Wiped Out with the Dinosaurs

Carpenter bee
The ancestors of modern carpenter bees may have vanished from Earth roughly 65 million years ago, around the same time the dinosaurs were wiped out, a new study finds. Researchers examined the DNA of four types of carpenter bees — belonging to the group Xylocopinae — from every continent, except Antarctica, to search for clues about their evolutionary relationships. Peering back into the lineages of the bees, the scientists noticed something unusual with all four groups, beginning roughly 65 million years ago, at the boundary between the Cretaceous and Paleogene periods. "We can track periods of diversification and stasis," lead study author Sandra Rehan, an assistant professor of biological sciences at the University of New Hampshire,told LiveScience. "There was a period where there was no genetic diversification happening for millions of years — a real dearth of speciation. This is an indication of a mass extinction event." The end of the Cretaceous Period, corresponding to the beginning of the Paleogene Period, was already known to be a dynamic time in history. It is commonly thought that a massive asteroid or comet slammed into Earth 65 million years ago, wiping out the dinosaurs and killing up to 80 percent of all species. "We found this mass extinction event signature in the DNA that just happened to correspond to the extinction of dinosaurs, which was a major change in the global diversity at the time," Rehan said...more

DOJ faces questions over grenade linked to US smuggler, murder in Mexico

In a case that is prompting comparisons to the botched Operation Fast and Furious, police believe explosives found at a murder scene in Mexico may have come from an American bomb-maker whom the U.S. attorney in Arizona refused to prosecute. According to an internal U.S. Department of Justice memo, a "Kingery grenade" was among the 10 explosives found at the scene of a shootout between police and drug cartels in Guadalajara on Oct. 10 in which three officers were killed. The "Kingery grenade" refers to those manufactured by Jean Baptiste Kingery, a California resident who made grenades in Mexico from parts sourced in the U.S. He also converted AK-47s from semi- to fully-automatic weapons. ATF agents arrested Kingery in 2010, but the assistant U.S. attorney in Arizona at the time, Emory Hurley, referred to the grenades as harmless toys and told the ATF the case "lacked jury appeal," according to the ATF supervisor in charge, Pete Forcelli. Forcelli had handled the case until the U.S. attorney declined to prosecute. Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., compared the situation to Fast and Furious, in which U.S. officials let weapons "walk" across the U.S.-Mexico border; weapons from the program were later found at the murder scene of Border Patrol agent Brian Terry. "These aren't the only deaths that undoubtedly will come from weapons being allowed to walk and an individual allowed to escape justice for more than 18 months after he was in our hands and released," Issa said...more

Friday, October 25, 2013

Downfall of Ancient Greece Caused by 300-Year Drought

A 300-year drought may have caused the demise of several Mediterranean cultures, including ancient Greece, new research suggests. A sharp drop in rainfall may have led to the collapse of several eastern Mediterranean civilizations, including ancient Greece, around 3,200 years ago. The resulting famine and conflict may help explain why the entire Hittite culture, chariot-riding people who ruled most of the region of Anatolia, vanished from the planet, according to a study published in August in the journal PLOS ONE. "The classical Greek folks knew from the very beginning that they were coming out of a dark age," said Brandon Lee Drake, an archaeologist at the University of New Mexico, who was not involved in the study. The ancient Hittite empire of Anatolia began a precipitous decline around 3,300 B.C. Around the same time, the Egyptian empire was invaded by marauding sea bandits, called the Sea People, and the ancient Mycenaean culture of Greece collapsed. Over the next 400 years, ancient cities were burned to the ground and were never rebuilt, Drake said. But the cause of this Bronze Age collapse has been shrouded in mystery. Some archaeologists believed economic hardships caused the demise, while others proposed that massive tsunamis, earthquakes or a mega-drought was the cause. Past studies looking for drought typically only found evidence showing it occurred for short periods of time, making it hard to make conclusions about the whole period, Drake said...more

High school cheerleader car wash violates environmental laws

It’s hard to wave your spirit fingers when the city shuts down the cheerleading squad’s fundraising car wash to protect the environment. This is what happened to Lincoln High School cheerleaders trying to raise money to attend a national competition in April. The San Jose Mercury reports that local environmental officials warned the high school cheerleaders that their car wash violated the city’s water discharge laws. “We had a visit from the city of San Jose Environmental Services Department who said that the car washes at Hoover [Middle School] are in violation of water discharge laws, therefore we had to cancel this and all future car washes,” said an email that was sent out to neighborhood email lists on Oct. 18. “Anything that is not storm water or rain water is considered a pollutant,” said Jennie Loft, acting communications manager for San Jose’s Environmental Services Department. “If it goes into a storm drain, that pollutant will harm wildlife and habitats in the creeks. Water goes directly from the storm drains into our creeks.”...more

Ranch Radio Song Of The Day #1133

Jimmy Wakely - There's A Blue Star Shining Bright.  This is a World Transcription and is available on the BACM cd "Red River Rose".

Frank DuBois Bronc Riding & Calf Roping - October 25

Nevada resident complains to county about BLM law enforcement

A Bureau of Land Management law enforcement officer, accused of erroneously ticketing a local for cutting wood, isn’t allowed to tell his side until the agency completes an internal investigation. Resident Brad Nelson said he and two friends were cited by Ranger Brad Sones near Spruce Mountain for cutting wood in a wilderness study area. They each received a ticket for about $275. Nelson addressed the county commission Wednesday, which has discussed BLM law enforcement issues before. But BLM representatives felt blindsided by the complaint. BLM Elko District Manager Jill Silvey said she called Commissioner Grant Gerber prior to the meeting to prepare for it. She said she was told it would be a follow-up to a discussion that occurred in January, in which the commission talked about the inconvenience of driving to Reno to fight a ticket issued by a federal employee. “I came prepared to discuss that. I did not come prepared to discuss anything else,” she said. Gerber said he told Silvey some dissatisfied residents might be in attendance but he wasn’t authorized to say who at that time. Nelson came prepared with evidence, including the GPS coordinates where he received the ticket and two recorded phone messages left on his friend’s voice mail from Sones. In one message, a voice identified as Sones said the court date had been changed. Nelson said he thought it odd the officer who issued the ticket would be responsible to call about a change of date, and he decided to double check with the court. According to Nelson, the court date hadn’t been changed. As the trial date approached, Nelson and his friends received another phone message from Sones, which he also shared for the commission. In it, Sones said the case was dismissed and Nelson could toss out the citation. Nelson called the court again to find out that the trial hadn’t been canceled, he said, although he added that two or three days later, he received a letter confirming the charges were dismissed. Even though the charge was resolved, Nelson said he felt compelled to tell the commission because he viewed the incident as a slippery slope toward an abuse of authority...more

They can do all the internal investigation they want, but you better damn well believe the BLM officer erred or the charges would never have been dropped.  No one would have known the difference if Nelson hadn't spoken to the Commission.

Firm pays $255K fine after prosecutors say it ran unauthorized gravel pit on BLM land for 19 years

MESA COUNTY, Colo. - A company has paid a $255,000 fine after federal prosecutors accused it of removing and selling about 153,429 tons of sand and gravel taken from public land in western Colorado without authorization from the Bureau of Land Management. Merial I. Currier and Currier Gravel Pit Inc. denies trespassing and had filed an appeal challenging whether the 9-acre gravel mining pit was on BLM land, said Jeff Dorschner, spokesman for the U.S Attorney's Office. The firm agreed to the monetary settlement without admitting any wrongdoing. However, prosecutors say the gravel company operated the 9-acre mining pit on public land in Mesa County for 19 years until 2010...more

It took the BLM 19 years to discover this?  Somebody get them some maps.  They don't know their boundaries in Colo., don't know where WSAs are in Nevada...

Investigations pin Stuart Creek 2 fire on Army training

Two Defense Department investigations into the cause and handling of a large and costly Interior wildfire have led to immediate changes in training procedures in Alaska, Sen. Lisa Murkowski said Oct. 22. The first investigation into the Stuart Creek 2 fire, which burned more than 87,000 acres west of Fairbanks over two months, confirmed a suspicion that the fire had been caused by artillery training by Fort Wainwright Army post personnel. Murkowski said she is pleased the Army responded to the situation and has taken swift action to prevent a similar situation from happening again, but she has not heard if Defense will reimburse the Interior Department for the cost of fighting the Stuart Creek 2 fire...more

Fed to fed, the Army may or may not "reimburse" the other agencies.  If this had been a private firm they would be in court right now over a "fine" of $21 million.

1st auction of solar rights on public lands in Colorado draws no bids

The plan to auction rights to federal land across the West for solar-power plants got off to a rocky start Thursday when no bidders showed up for the first auction in Colorado. Uncertainties about the solar market and federal rules probably were major factors in the auction's failure, industry officials said. Five companies had filed preliminary applications for the three San Luis Valley parcels, and there were another 27 inquires about the sites, according to Bureau of Land Management officials. Based on that interest, officials scheduled an auction at the BLM Colorado office in Lakewood for the 3,700 acres of valley land. "We are going to have to regroup and figure out what didn't work," said Maryanne Kurtinaitis, renewable-energy program manager for the BLM in Colorado...more

Tribe Laments Grueling Tribal Federal Recognition Bureaucracy

U.S. Department of the Interior Secretary Sally Jewell is calling for the Little Shell Tribe of Montana to have another chance at federal recognition after it was preliminarily approved under the Clinton administration, delayed for eight years under the George W. Bush administration, and then denied in 2009 by the Obama administration. Tribal citizens are cautiously optimistic, as they have been down this potentially positive road before only to find themselves lost in the continuing bureaucratic maze that is the federal recognition process for tribes today. It is a maze that never seems to get any easier, even after several congressional inquiries in recent years, as well as promises from multiple administrations to streamline the process. The decision to deny under the Obama administration was originally made by George Skibine, former Acting Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs, in October 2009 after then-Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs Larry EchoHawk recused himself from deciding. Skibine said at the time that the tribe did not satisfy three of seven criteria for acknowledgment, specifically the requirements that a tribe has been identified as an Indian entity on a substantially continuous basis at least since 1900; comprises a distinct community since historical times and maintains significant social relationships and interaction as part of a distinct community; and maintains political influence over a community of its members or over communities that combined into the petitioner...more

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Al Gore: Keystone XL Pipeline Is 'Ridiculous'

The proposed Keystone XL pipeline is "ridiculous" and "an atrocity," said former Vice President Al Gore on Thursday. Speaking at an event honoring the 10th anniversary of the progressive think tank Center for American Progress, Gore praised President Barack Obama's efforts on climate change, stating that he thinks the president is sincere and that it will be a legacy issue for him. But on Keystone XL, which is waiting to hear its fate from the Obama administration, Gore was unequivocal. "I hope as he gets down to the licklog, as he gets down to the decision on the Keystone XL pipeline, that he understands what this means," Gore said. "This should be vetoed. It's an atrocity, it's a threat." Gore, who just concluded his third annual 24 Hours of Reality event, compared the reliance on fossil fuels -- particularly those derived from tar sands, which the Keystone pipeline would spur further development of -- to a drug addiction. "Junkies find veins in their toes when their arms and legs go out," Gore said. "We are now at a point where we are going after dangerous and dirty fuels."...more

House GOP presses federal agencies for climate change plans

The House GOP is pressing federal agencies for more information about President Obama's climate change plans. Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.), along with other Republican members of the panel, sent letters on Thursday to 11 agencies requesting information about what their roles would be in Obama's climate agenda. Upton asked 13 agencies to attend a hearing on Obama's climate change policies in September, but the Environmental Protection Agency and the Energy Department were the only two that showed up. The committee also sent a letter to Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Director Sylvia Mathews Burwell, requesting information on the entire scope of climate change actions planned by the White House. A report by the OMB released in August said spending on climate change activities across 18 agencies would be over $22 billion in 2013...more

COOL rules lead Tyson to close door on Canadian cattle

The Canadian cattle industry is losing business from a major purchaser as Tyson Foods won’t accept cattle directly from the country to avoid added expenses associated with country-of-origin labeling rules. The decision is likely to increase feeder-cattle exports. Tyson will continue to purchase Canadian-born cattle sent to U.S. feedlots, however the decision removes the third largest buyer from the Canadian fed cattle market. Tyson says it doesn’t have the space necessary to separate, categorize and label products in line with COOL requirements. The added process would also raise costs. “These new rules significantly increase costs because they require additional product codes, production breaks and product segregation, including a separate category for cattle shipped directly from Canada to U.S. beef plants without providing any incremental value to our customers,” Worth Sparkman, a spokesman for Tyson, told Businessweek. U.S. meat packers have voiced opposition to the rule with claims that it will drive up costs and pose a bookkeeping nightmare. Mexico and Canada are challenging COOL before the World Trade Organization which isn’t expected to be resolved until 2015...more

UN looking for $100 billion annually for climate initiatives

Today’s Climate Finance Meeting at the United Nations village in Copenhagen will be seeking to build a USD 100 billion per year framework for climate initiatives in the developing world from 2020 onwards. “100 billion dollars per year from 2020 is a major challenge. It’s a lot of funding but it is possible if there is a political will to do so. Where there’s a will there’s a way,” UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said prior to the meeting. Such a major amount of funding cannot come from public funds alone, and today’s meeting will be discussing how private funds – such as those from insurance companies and pension funds – can be incorporated. “The main part of the funding will come from the private sector, so it’s important that they are given the right conditions. The framework will be developed further at the next COP meeting in Warsaw,” says the meeting’s host, Climate Minister Martin Lidegaard...more

8 states join forces to promote clean cars

Eight states, including California and New York, pledged Thursday to work together to dramatically multiply the number of zero-emission cars on the nation's roads by speeding the construction of charging stations and other infrastructure. The goal is to put 3.3 million battery-powered cars, plug-in hybrids and other clean-burning vehicles on the roads in those states by 2025. That's more than 15 times as many zero-emission vehicles projected to be in use in the entire U.S. by 2015. Auto dealers say networks of charging stations and other conveniences are crucial to winning over drivers who are accustomed to pulling up to the gas pump and fear getting stranded by a dead battery. The other states in the pact are Massachusetts, Maryland, Oregon, Connecticut, Rhode Island and Vermont. The eight states together represent about 23 percent of the U.S. auto market...more

Who Owns the Mineral Rights under Your Home?

When Robert and Julie Davidson paid $255,385 in 2011 for their house at the Valencia Golf and Country Club in Naples, Florida, they didn't know that they had, in essence, bought only from the ground up, and that their homebuilder, D.R. Horton, had kept everything underneath, says Reuters.
In golf clubs, gated communities and other housing developments across the United States, tens of thousands of families like the Davidsons have in recent years moved into new homes where their developers or homebuilders, with little or no prior disclosure, kept all the underlying mineral rights for themselves, a Reuters review of county property records in 25 states shows. In dozens of cases, the buyers were in the dark.
  • In most states, sellers aren't legally required to disclose to home buyers whether they are severing the mineral rights to a property.
  • Builders sometimes flag the move in sales contracts or deeds and other documents they are required to file with local authorities.
  • But buyers don't necessarily review their paperwork very closely, especially if, as real estate agents say happens often, they don't hire a lawyer to help them with the transaction.
  • Severed rights are usually not factored into tax assessments.
  • Thus homeowners who don't own their mineral rights often end up paying just as much in property taxes as those who do -- even though their properties are worth less.
D.R. Horton, the biggest U.S. homebuilder, is a heavy user of the practice. The Fort Worth, Texas, company has separated the mineral rights from tens of thousands of homes in states where shale plays are either well under way or possible. In Florida alone, the builder has kept the mineral rights underneath more than 10,000 lots.
Source: Michelle Conlin and Brian Grow, "U.S. Builders Hoard Mineral Rights under New Homes," Reuters, October 9, 2013.


Ranch Radio Song Of The Day #1132

Rusty Gill & The Westernairs - Let Me Wake Up In Wyoming.  From their BACM cd "Cowboy Songs, Mountain Ballads".

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Can Utah profit from its dying forests?

More than 1 billion cubic feet of beetle-killed trees could be pulled from Utah forests, but harvesting the timber is not economically viable since the state lacks the mills and markets to absorb this resource, according to a new assessment by the U.S. Forest Service. Even so, at least one Utah mill owner sure would like to try. John Blazzard, owner of Blazzard Lumber, concedes that much of the bug-bitten wood isn’t worth pursuing. "Those trees have been dead so long they are cracked open," he said. "It’s hard to make anything out of them other than firewood." But Blazzard would like to have greater access to the Engelmann spruce, which are succumbing to beetle infestations in the Uinta Mountains. He said he could double the output at his Kamas operation to 3 million board feet without any upgrades at his mill. Across Utah, though, clearing thousands of acres choked with dead timber would require a massive public investment, states the Forest Service report released Monday by its Southern Research Station. Same goes for Wyoming and Colorado. "Salvage doesn’t always pay off. Sometimes the cost of removing the wood, getting it to the mill and administering the sale is greater than anything you could get for that wood, so it is out of reach economically for people who want to cover their costs," said lead author Jeff Prestemon, a forestry economist based in North Carolina...more 

Everyone knows it will cost too much if you have the gov't do it.  Let the timber industry bid on tracts to decide what is commercially feasible.

As for lack of mills and infrastructure, you can thank the Forest Service for that.  They killed off the industry years ago.

During the past decade, a native pest, the mountain pine beetle, has devastated forests across the West, chewing through more than 40 million acres. Nearly 20 billion cubic feet of standing dead timber could be salvaged on 20 million acres in 12 Western states, according to Prestemon’s assessment. About 88 percent of this wood, a disproportionate share, is on national forests...

88 percent on gov't land, what does that tell ya? 


Kinky Friedman In Field For Texas Agriculture Commissioner

Country music icon, satirist and one-time gubernatorial candidate Richard "Kinky" Friedman has announced his bid for agriculture commissioner in 2014. Friedman will run in the Democratic primary. The 68 year old said he’s interested in legalizing and regulating marijuana as an agricultural crop to revitalize the Texas farming industry. "In a year or two I’m predicting [that] if I’m elected, the Poteet Strawberry Festival may well be called something else,"Friedman said. "And as soon as the farmers understand that they may make 25 times as much money cultivating marijuana and hemp, that’s going to make a big difference."...more

D.C. businessman faces two years in jail for unregistered ammunition, brass casing

by Emily Miller

Mark Witaschek, a successful financial adviser with no criminal record, is facing two years in prison for possession of unregistered ammunition after D.C. police raided his house looking for guns. Mr. Witaschek has never had a firearm in the city, but he is being prosecuted to the full extent of the law. The trial starts on Nov. 4.

The police banged on the front door of Mr. Witaschek’s Georgetown home at 8:20 p.m. on July 7, 2012, to execute a search warrant for “firearms and ammunition … gun cleaning equipment, holsters, bullet holders and ammunition receipts.”

Mr. Witaschek’s 14-year-old daughter let inside some 30 armed officers in full tactical gear.
D.C. law requires residents to register every firearm with the police, and only registered gun owners can possess ammunition, which includes spent shells and casings. The maximum penalty for violating these laws is a $1,000 fine and a year in jail.

Police based their search on a charge made by Mr. Witaschek’s estranged wife, who had earlier convinced a court clerk to issue a temporary restraining order against her husband for threatening her with a gun, although a judge later found the charge to be without merit.

After entering the house, the police immediately went upstairs, pointed guns at the heads of Mr. Witaschek and his girlfriend, Bonnie Harris, and demanded they surrender, facedown and be handcuffed.
In recalling what followed, Mr. Witaschek became visibly emotional in describing how the police treated him, Ms. Harris and the four children in the house.

His 16-year-old son was in the shower when the police arrived. “They used a battering ram to bash down the bathroom door and pull him out of the shower, naked,” said his father. “The police put all the children together in a room, while we were handcuffed upstairs. I could hear them crying, not knowing what was happening.”

 The police shut down the streets for blocks and spent more than two hours going over every inch of his house. “They tossed the place,” said Mr. Witaschek. He provided photos that he took of his home after the raid to document the damage, which he estimated at $10,000.

Political Cartoons

Got a wet yard? EPA will take control

The EPA, according to critics in Congress, “intends to expand federal regulatory authority under the Clean Water Act to include even the most isolated wetlands, seasonal drainages, and prairie depressions.” The proposed rushed change in regulations would assert “unprecedented control” over private property across the United States, opponents assert. Several members of Congress and a legal team that won related battles in the U.S. Supreme Court against previous claims staked out by the EPA now are positioning themselves to oppose Washington bureaucrats pressing for the change. According to Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas, the chairman of the Science, Space, and Technology Committee, and Rep. Chris Stewart, R-Utah, the chairman of the Environment Subcommittee, the proposal is a “sweeping reinterpretation of EPA jurisdiction would give the agency unprecedented control over private property across the nation.” They warned the EPA in a letter  that any “attempt to issue a proposed rule before completing an independent examination by the agency’s own science advisers would be to put the cart before the horse.” The congressmen expressed concern that the expansion of the Clean Water Act “appears to represent a rushed, politicized regulatory process lacking the proper consultation with scientific peer reviewers and the American people.”...more

City of Seattle abuses eminent domain so a parking lot can become a parking lot

Seattle’s City Council voted unanimously Monday to use eminent domain to take private property. They say they must seize the private property, which is currently being used as a parking lot, in order to turn it into … a parking lot. (Here is the link to the original notice).  Local Station Q13Foxnews discussed this story here.  In addition to eminent domain abuse, the City of Seattle has recently been in the news for hiding public records, and sinking the farm boat. The common thread among all three of these stories is that, in Seattle, central planning takes priority over people. In this case, they decided it was critically important to seize a parking lot from its 103-year-old owner so that it can be a parking lot. At least this is their stated justification. The desire of the Central Planners for control is once again permitted to outweigh the people’s need for government to make rational decisions that benefit taxpayers and citizens (Of course, the City of Seattle just banned using the term "Citizen").  In this case, a 103-year old lady’s property is slated to be taken “for the greater good.” Yet that “good” is really just the personal aspirations of city planners and officials...more

LA Times bans letters from climate skeptics

The Los Angeles Times is giving the cold shoulder to global warming skeptics. Paul Thornton, editor of the paper’s letters section, recently wrote a letter of his own, stating flatly that he won't publish some letters from those skeptical of man’s role in our planet’s warming climate. In Thornton’s eyes, those people are often wrong -- and he doesn’t print obviously wrong statements. “Simply put, I do my best to keep errors of fact off the letters page; when one does run, a correction is published,” Thornton wrote. “Saying ‘there’s no sign humans have caused climate change’ is not stating an opinion, it’s asserting a factual inaccuracy.” What amounts to a ban on discourse about climate change stirred outrage among scientists who have written exactly that sort of letter. "In a word, the LA Times should be ashamed of itself," William Happer, a physics professor at Princeton, told "There was an effective embargo on alternative opinions, so making it official really does not change things," said Jan Breslow, head of the Laboratory of Biochemical Genetics and Metabolism at The Rockefeller University in New York...more

Sen. David Vitter Calls on DOJ to Investigate Armed EPA Raid in Alaska

Sen. David Vitter (R., La.) called on the Justice Department (DOJ) Tuesday to investigate an armed raid by Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) agents on an Alaskan gold mine that occurred earlier this year. Vitter, in a letter sent Tuesday to Attorney General Eric Holder, requested the Justice Department investigate the EPA raid, which occurred at a gold mine in Chicken, Alaska earlier this year as part of an investigation into violations of the Clean Water Act. “The EPA’s use of unnecessary armed intimidation tactics against Alaska miners this summer was extreme, especially to investigate potential Clean Water Act violations from what are essentially a handful of small business owners,” said Vitter, the ranking member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. “At the very least, EPA owes Congress and the American people a thorough explanation, but since they have refused to publicly explain their raid, I hope DOJ will investigate EPA’s excessive actions.” Vitter and Sen. John Barrasso (R., Wyo.) sent a letter in September calling on EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy to explain the circumstances of the inspection, which rankled Alaskan politicians and residents already distrustful of the nation’s top environmental enforcer...more

Monday, October 21, 2013

New book says government, not aliens, were behind Dulce cattle mutilations, UFO sightings

by  Leigh Black Irvin   

    For decades, strange lights in the night sky and mysterious cattle mutilations have sparked rumors of a secret underground alien base near the small northern New Mexico town of Dulce, which is tribal headquarters of the Jicarilla Apache Nation.
    A new book, "Dulce Base: the Truth and Evidence from the Case Files of Gabe Valdez," purports to solve the mystery. It claims that humans, not aliens, are behind the strange happenings. The book's author is Greg Valdez, son of former New Mexico State Police Officer Gabe Valdez.
In 1976, ranchers found many mutilated cows, and Gabe Valdez became one of the lead investigators into the case, his son said.
    Greg Valdez says his father began a decades-long investigation into the large number of mutilations in northern New Mexico. Prior to his death in 2011, the former police officer determined that the mutilations and strange aircraft were, in fact, human-caused.
    After pouring over recently declassified documents, Gabe Valdez concluded that the federal government was using the Jicarilla Apache Nation to test environmental contamination caused by nuclear testing in the late 1960s.
    Greg Valdez says this contamination was caused by an experiment known as "Project Gasbuggy" that took place 21 miles southwest of Dulce on Dec. 10, 1967. The project's goal was to identify peaceful uses for nuclear explosions, and it involved the detonation of a 29-kiloton device located 4,227 feet underground. The intent was to release pockets of natural gas that could be used commercially.
    Gasbuggy was carried out by the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission, the Lawrence Radiation Laboratory and the El Paso Natural Gas Company, according to the book.
    While the device was successfully detonated and gas wells were drilled at the site, the gas was too radioactive for commercial use.
    Greg Valdez said his father found out that the federal government conducted the cattle mutilations to determine the effects of radiation from Gasbuggy.
    "They were testing the cattle to avoid panicking the public," he said. "They were also testing advanced aircraft from a nearby off-site air base. The aircraft was invisible and silent and used optic camouflage. The technology has since been declassified."
    Greg Valdez alleges that several government agencies and military entities, such as the U.S. Air Force, were heavily involved in the cover-up. He says that the CIA and National Security Agency also became involved when Albuquerque businessman Paul Bennewitz discovered evidence of secret military projects on the Kirtland Air Force Base, which also had ties to Dulce.
    To protect the secrecy of their operations, Gabe Valdez learned that the government started a disinformation campaign and encouraged rumors about UFOs and aliens, said Greg Valdez.
    By 1979, when the government realized Gabe Valdez had discovered the truth about who was behind the strange happenings, they began monitoring him, his son said. He said the family found hidden listening devices in their home.
     Aztec resident Brooks Marshall is a UFO enthusiast and local paranormal expert. Marshall has followed reports of the supposed Dulce underground base for years and has attended many symposiums and lectures on the issue.
    Marshall believes there is truth to a secret military presence centered around Dulce. But he doesn't think government involvement comes close to explaining the cattle mutilations.
    "From early on, the mutilations indicated a technology that we just didn't have," he said. "There was a complete absence of blood, and the incisions looked like microsurgery and laser technology had been used -- technology humans didn't have at the time. Plus, there were no tracks, and other animals -- even predators -- would avoid the carcasses, which also looked like they had been dropped from a very high distance. Many of the bones would be broken."
    Marshall said specific organs, like the tongue and reproductive organs, were removed from the cattle. The mutilations still periodically occur, he said.
    From his research, Marshall concludes there are two pieces to the Dulce mystery: the cattle mutilations, which he says remain unexplainable, and the government activity.

                                         READ ENTIRE REVIEW


Goodbye OPEC, Hello Independence

by Marita Noon

October 17 was the fortieth anniversary of the oil embargo slapped on America by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). That action changed the entire geopolitical map—taking the power from the United States and giving it to the Middle East. As a result of the embargo, the price of gasoline quadrupled, gas stations had multi-hour long lines, and the stock market plummeted—kicking off a serious recession.

My entire driving life has been impacted by OPEC’s actions. On October 17, 1973, I was 15—days away from turning 16. I got my driver’s license on my sixteenth birthday.

It was a different world prior to the embargo. America was the dominant player in the energy market—supplying 63 percent of the world’s oil at the beginning of World War II—and had surplus supply. The surplus neutered OPEC’s previous embargo attempts in 1956 and 1967, as the U.S. was able to fill the demand gap OPEC created.

It wasn’t the embargo itself that changed the dynamic, but the timing of it.
U.S. oil production peaked in 1970 and declined sharply in the subsequent years. When OPEC chose to use oil as a diplomatic weapon in 1973, America was no longer the swing producer with the ability to fill in the gaps. We’d become increasingly dependent on suppliers from the oil-rich Middle East. Scarcity was our reality.

To punish the U.S. for supporting Israel in the Yom Kippur War, OPEC banned oil exports to the U.S. and, eventually, other countries. OPEC then reduced production by 5 percent per month until the embargo ended in March of 1974.

For the past forty years, OPEC has controlled the geopolitical equation. Every president since Richard Nixon has urged the country to strive for energy independence so that we don’t face another energy crisis like 1973.

Remembering the embargo, Henry Kissinger, who was Secretary of State during the 1973 oil shock, said at a national summit on energy security: “You could not make plans in the Middle East or involving the Middle East, without keeping in mind the considerations of the oil market.”

While the social, political, and economic impacts of the embargo have been harsh, there’s also a silver lining: North American producers were forced to find new ways to explore for and produce hydrocarbons—and those technologies and techniques developed by individuals and industry have, once again, changed the geopolitical equation.

Why JPMorgan Wants to See More Americans on Food Stamps

Every time an American signs up for food stamps in one of 23 states, JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE: JPM) adds to its revenue stream. That because JPMorgan Chase contracts to operate as the processor of the Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) cards in those states. JPMorgan earns a fee for each recipient, ranging from 31 cents to $2.30, depending on the state, every month for the term of the contract. JPMorgan's seven-year Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, the official name for the federal food stamp program) contract with New York state, for example, brought in more than $126 million of revenue to the big bank. Florida has paid JPMorgan more than $90 million since 2007. Pennsylvania's seven-year contract exceeded $112 million. It brings a whole new meaning to "corporate welfare." A decade ago, servicing SNAP recipients wasn't nearly so big a business as it has become in recent years. The number of Americans receiving SNAP benefits has more than doubled since 2000, to an astounding 46.6 million people as of 2012, according to government data. That's nearly 15% of the U.S. population. So it's no surprise that U.S. government spending on food stamp benefits has grown from $18 billion in 2000 to $85 billion in 2012 - a steep increase that has given JPMorgan a nice boost...more

This article is several months old but helps explain why big business opposed the shut down and why they are going after Tea Party candidates in Republican primaries.

Counting their losses in the Dakotas; first rancher suicide

"The first rancher I know of committed suicide yesterday," said Mike McIntyre. "This is just a devastating time." McIntyre, a full-time veterinarian in Sioux Falls, partners in ranching operations in both the eastern and western parts of South Dakota. He had about 800 pair of cattle prior to the stormy weekend of Oct. 4. At this point he still doesn't have a clear count as to how many of his cattle are alive. He said rains and snowmelt have flooded creeks and many ranchers have been unable to reach their herds to see if they are alive or dead. McIntyre estimated he's lost 50 to 60 head at this point. That includes cows, calves and a bull. "I believe losses are going to come in well over the state estimates we're hearing," McIntyre said. "Within a few miles of two of my places there are over 2,000 dead alone."  The early-October storm responsible for the tragedy dropped 2 to 4 feet of snow on unsuspecting ranchers in western South Dakota. The snowfall was joined by winds that blew at 70 to 80 miles per hour and piled drifts 7 to 8 feet tall, burying cattle and driving many onto the roadways seeking higher ground.  At this point in recovery, Oedekoven said he is very concerned about animal health. The immune system is depressed after an event like this, he said, creating the perfect opportunity for disease and health issues. He urged producers to watch surviving cattle closely and catch any signs of illness early. Keep surviving cattle away from streams that are contaminated by carcasses, as well as the carcasses themselves...more

Supreme Court Takes Gun Rights Case on Convicted Policeman

Gun rights return to the Supreme Court this year, challenging a federal regulation that resulted in a police officer’s felony conviction when he purchased a firearm for his uncle. Bruce Abramski is a former police officer whose uncle wanted to buy a firearm. His uncle is a law-abiding person who can legally purchase, but since Abramski is a former policeman, there are gun shops where he can buy firearms at a discount. Thus, he decided to buy the gun for his uncle. Everyone who purchases a firearm at a federally-licensed firearm retail store is familiar with Form 4473. The form is created by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and, among other things, asks whether you are the actual purchaser of the firearm, versus purchasing for someone else. Form 4473 tells you that if you say you are not the actual buyer, you cannot purchase the gun. Abramski and his uncle checked with several gun dealers, all of whom said the legal way to proceed was for Abramski to purchase in his home state of Virginia as the actual buyer, then go to his uncle’s home in Pennsylvania, where they could go to another federally-licensed firearm dealer to have his uncle fill out the same ATF paperwork and undergo the same background check, then have the firearm transferred to the uncle. Abramski did so. Then he was charged and convicted of a federal felony for making a false statement that is “intended or likely to deceive” a gun dealer “with respect to any fact material to the lawfulness of the [gun] sale.” Federal appeals courts with jurisdiction over many of the states in America understand that this provision of federal law is designed only to prevent “straw man” sales, where a buyer obtains the firearm on behalf of a convicted felon, domestic batterer, mentally ill person, or some other sort of person prohibited from buying guns. It is to make sure someone doesn’t get a gun on behalf of someone else who would be refused the sale after they failed a federal background check. In the Supreme Court’s words from 1976, it is to “keep firearms out of the hands of those not legally entitled to possess them because of age, criminal background, or incompetency.” It was not written to prevent a policeman from being a nephew who tried to save his law-abiding uncle some money. Nonetheless, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in Richmond (with jurisdiction over the Mid-Atlantic states) agreed with two other federal appeals courts in holding that when Abramski checked the box affirming he was the purchaser, he committed a serious federal crime. If Abramski purchased the gun on his own, then decided to give it to his uncle as a free gift, that would be legal. Or if Abramski bought it for himself, then the following week decided to sell it to his uncle, that would be legal. But because his uncle wrote him a check for the gun before Abramski went to the store to buy the gun, and thus was acting as his uncle’s agent to buy a gun, Abramski became a federal felon...more


Ranch Radio Song Of The Day #1131

For Swingin' Monday we have Pee Wee King & His Golden West Cowboys - Ragtime Annie Lee.  Recorded at RCA studio A in Chicago on Nov. 4, 1951.  That's Redd Stewart on fiddle and vocals, Shorty Boyle on fiddle and Gene Engle on piano.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Cowgirl Sass & Savvy

Muses in cowboy boots 

By Julie Carter

Writers, poets, musicians and many artists will tell you their creative work has been inspired by someone, or something, they refer to as their “muse”.

A muse can be someone who has such an influence on another that he or she is the focus and inspiration for the creativity put to paper or music. Historically, the term has been used by men to describe the women that they loved and made the subject of their work.

The word “muse” originates from Greek mythology where the Greek gods Zeus and Mnemosyne had nine daughters called the Muses. The nine daughters were of one being in heart, spirit and thought. If these female muses loved a man, then the man’s worries instantly disappeared.

I will say that, unequivocally, the muses in my life have all worn cowboy boots in some phase of a worn-out, with spurs, genuine cowboy work-related scuff to them. Inspiration has come as a powerful desire to paint their picture into the words that not only documents their existence, but preserves their essence for all time.

Picasso painted the women he met and loved – his muses. My muse connection is more general with not just the cowboy, but his life, lifestyle and what is actually the foundation of my very heritage. I’m very familiar with my muses’ complete being without it being personal.

I have no data to back it up, but I feel fairly safe in saying that “cowboy” is one of the most emulated professions on earth, ranking right up there with fireman and mythical action heroes. Men wearing suits and entering high rise office buildings daily for work carry within them that tiny flame of hope that one day they could be a cowboy.

And the cowboys themselves? They never take what they have for granted but prefer to live simply, usually poor in dollars but rich in life and to remain where they are, doing what they do. They know it’s a gift that fewer and fewer enjoy.

They aren’t above trying “to do it all” but often find their skills streamlined to things that have to do with horse and cow. Some are singers and others are writers, poets and artists. But usually you’ll hear a comment regarding an effort made out of their usual scope of work saying, “He’s sure not a carpenter but he is a real good cowboy.”

It’s important to me to keep writing it down, sharing their stories and keeping their lives out in front of the world in living color. There are few left with any mileage of looking at the south end of a cow. Without my muses, people will not know what the life of a cowboy was really like.

I no longer qualify as a working cowboy, but I will always have those that are to fill that place in my life. And metaphorically, when I turn out my last good horse, I will go to the house, lie down for a final time and remember the good days.

Julie can be reached for comment at

Julie, otherwise known as the Picasso of the Prairie, keep painting with words.  You definitely get the "essence" and let's hope its many moons before you turn out that last good horse.

Seems as though this time of the year folks are thinking of genuine, old-time cowboys.  See Wilmeth's excellent "painting" below.

Shades of old time Cowboys

Shades of old time Cowboys
Early Fall Works
Cultural Heritage
By Stephen L. Wilmeth

            Where is Duke Davis these days?
            At dawn this morning, I listened once again to the haunting phrasing of the old grey headed gentleman as he was prompted to reminisce about bygone days. He sat there to himself in that big town saloon listening to those fellows talk about places they’d been and things they’d seen. They finally called him out and ask him where he preferred to be.
            It wasn’t Chicago, or New Orleans, or New York for him. As a top hand of widespread renown, he took his hat off and his words took him home to Texas in the early spring.
His eyes betrayed his presence. He wasn’t there as he began his response. He was on a hundred hills with ten thousand head of cattle. He saw the smoke from campfires before dawn and the call of the cocinero. He heard the nickering of the horses and the song of the nighthawk as he jingled the remuda. He remembered the green grass of yet another promised year. He remembered home.
“I’d like to be in Texas, Boys, for the Roundup in the spring … “
Fall Work
For a bit of fancy, I switched to another Davis ditty. ‘Fall Work’ it was. Altered nostalgia, it was blue. Everything was a bit more subdued. The cook had been up since 4:30 and coffee was commenced to be poured. The Boss had ordered the horses to be wrangled, but the fall works would soon be over. Nobody was saying much.
I understand the blues. Fall offers them in abundance. Given a choice, though, fall works are my preferred days and memories.
There is too much New Mexico in my blood. When we were little kids we eventually learned at school about the beauty of spring from words. We had to nod our heads, ‘yes’, but our experience belied that as truth. Big winds, cold, hot, dust, dry, and more wind were what we knew. Green grass … we wouldn’t see green grass until the rains fell starting July 4 during the first afternoon performance of the Frontier Days Rodeo in Silver City.
Sure it was always a hopeful time, but spring in our country is just hard. I can only imagine now how fitfully those old time cowmen slept facing that time of the year. I do the same thing now, and our world is so much better equipped to face the horrors of spring and early summer.
So, let’s wait until spring to revisit a fresh start. Fall is with us, and it is time to saddle a horse for a different kind of ride.
Already saddled
At sunup Saturday morning, the four of us were headed to the ranch. Papolote was up front breaking the big wind in the open stock trailer. Bailey was in close and snug against him with her head dropped and relaxed. Tom was behind her pushed up and tight without having to be tied. Each of them would fill a special role today. Each had a job of importance, and each would spare the others.
Leonard and I decided we would start together from the south end of our Burris Pasture. That would put us at the pens earlier than the rest of the crew so we could start sorting cattle. Normally, Leonard goes north with the big crew sweeping south while I start from the south where I enter the ranch. Saturday, we had two other riders with us to cover the six sections on our end of the drive.
I called to Tom and he backed out of the trailer. He was quiet and alert. I was first out and on the west side of the road. That became my side of the drive by simple courtesy of position. Tom and I would cover the section and a half west of the road and throw cattle to our ‘half way drinker’ to join up with Leonard and the other two cowboys and make the final mile drive to the headquarters.
With big sweeping zigzags, we had 45 pairs at the trough when the other three cowboys appeared with at least another 100. We never hesitated and started the whole bunch north together.
In our current system, fall calves are easier to drive. Bigger and strong from abundant feed and milk, the calves of fall are strongly paired and growing. They drive much easier.  Pitching and wringing their tails they’ll make jueltes around as they are started. They’ll then fall in with their mothers and stay close.
As the drive to the headquarters commenced, I was reminded of what I was seeing as I observed Leonard and a vaquero friend with us that day, Miguel. Without discussion, we assumed the position in the drive where we were when the cattle came together. That put me on the left quarter and side, Leonard in drag and left and right quarter, and Mike in right quarter and side.  Sweeping left and right and front and back, the movements were synchronized and coordinated.
The cattle quickly fell into a steady movement northward. The vocalization of split pairs was minimal. A spring drive would have been just the opposite. Confusion and chaos accompanies those drives with young mothers and young calves split and lost from each other.
 At that moment in that scene, something special was taking place. There were real cowboys at hand. It was timeless. It could have been 1900 or 1950. The only difference was no cowboy was smoking hand rolled cigarettes or riding broncs. If the latter was the case, those cowboys would have been quietly schooling horses with their hands and their actions as they rode.
Our horses were veterans. Today’s operations cannot afford many horses. Those that make the grade are valuable and important. If anything, good ranch horses are rarer that good cowboys. So much has changed.
Leonard and I both swapped horses after we penned our drive and got a drink. Our drink was a sports drink with electrolytes rather than water. That, too, has changed.
I rode Papolote into the pens to start sorting. In the old days, we would have sorted the bulls off, lit a juniper and oak fire and started dragging calves to the fire. Today, we sort everything, in part, to look at each animal. That is done whether we rope and drag or use our calf table. The work this day called only for branding late season calves and sorting off some neighbors’ cattle we knew we had mixed with ours. There was no intention of weaning anything and there was no intention to work cows unless something was found in the sort.
It was a rare day of a single purpose and departed only on the basis of encountering calves too big to go in our table. Those calves had to be further sorted to go through the chute.
We broke at 1:00 PM after we completed the cut on our initial draft of cattle. We ate Doris’ home cooked ‘dinner’. She had fried round steak, beans, salad, white bread and butter, a squash casserole, and apple pies. That meal, too, was a glimpse of time past.
After ‘dinner’ I pulled the cinch on Bailey and we rode into the pen of cattle that had come from the north end of the gather. Those were the cattle we knew had neighbor cattle mixed. We sorted off a black bull. It then took us a full hour to pair the seven cows but we still had one, a cow with a big, fresh bag, we couldn’t pair. The calf had to be a new baby and we concluded we just didn’t have that calf in the pens.
By 4:00 it was apparent the delay would cost us finishing before dark. We made the decision to finish sorting and hold off until morning to finish branding. We paired the branded calves, unsaddled, and the crew headed to the house. I headed home. My three horses were worked, but fresh from their division of labor. Before sundown, Leonard found the missing calf and paired it with the strutted bag cow. Tomorrow, we would finish branding, pair everything, and turn them back into the same pasture at least a month before we thought about weaning.
As I drove down through the Coldiron Pasture, I thought about those visions of old time cowboys. I concluded that at least four of them had been with us today. I miss the smell of their freshly lit cigarettes rolled with Prince Albert tobacco, though, as I miss their predominance of silver belly hats.
I would fix one of the two … I wore my old 20X Bailey the next morning.

Stephen L. Wilmeth is a rancher from southern New Mexico. “We had no idea of the skill level of cowboys in our midst 45 years ago. God bless them and … their memories.”