Saturday, August 09, 2014

Obama Eyes Emancipation Proclamation as Model for Amnesty Executive Order

Insiders say that President Obama will use President Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation as the model for his anticipated Executive Order granting amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants. In 1862 Lincoln declared that all slaves in territory held by the Rebels were "forever free." He justified it as a wartime necessity. Those close to Obama say he views the parallels as "striking." "As he sees it," says an off-the-record source, "the vast majority of the illegal immigrants reside in states that at war with his efforts to transform the nation. Thus, as Commander-in-Chief he believes it is his right to act alone to both serve a broader justice and to weaken the strength of his political enemies."...more 

OK, its satire, but we must have a little fun from time to time.

The Bizarre Life (and Death) of "Mr. Organic"

On June 7, 1971, Jerome Irving Rodale appeared on "The Dick Cavett Show." The elder statesman of a growing organic food trend, he gushed about the health benefits of his diet, boasting that he “never felt better” and that he “decided to live to a hundred.” But after a commercial break, as Cavett interviewed his second guest, what sounded like a loud snore rose from Rodale’s end of the couch. The audience twittered, thinking that he was pulling a prank. But Cavett knew. When he looked over at Rodale’s bloodless pallor and gaping mouth his suspicion was confirmedAmerica’s most famous natural-health figure was dead of a heart attack at 72. It was almost as if, having sought fame for decades, finally achieving it was too much for Rodale's heart to bear. A first-generation American and son of a Lower East Side Jewish grocer, Rodale had always dreamed of making it big as an entertainer. In the 1930s, he self-published entertainment guidebooksThe Clown and The American Humoristbut they flopped. In the early 1960s, he authored or produced 30 health-themed plays, many of which were performed in his off-Broadway vanity project, the Rodale Theater. These, too, bombed commercially and critically, and Rodale angrily rebutted his critics in page-long ads he took out in the New York Times. For over two decades, Rodale also dispensed nutritional and lifestyle advice in his monthly magazines, Organic Farming and Gardening (est. 1945) and Prevention (est. 1950). In their pages, Rodale summarily rejected postwar medical advances. “Isn’t there a better way of conquering polio than jabbing all the children in the country with a needle?” he wondered in a September 1955 Prevention article. And he made wacky, unfounded claims about what causes and cures various diseases. “Rimless glasses” and saltwater cause cancer, Rodale contended, whereas the earth’s “electricity … aids the body to combat cancer." Foreshadowing the counterculture’s pastoral idealism, he wrote in an October 1955 Prevention editorial, “We must go back to nature, if we wish to live long. … We do not have to stop the advances of technology [but] we must not industrialize and technologize our own bodies.”...more

Mexico stops migrants from climbing 'Beast' train

Mexican authorities have launched operations to block Central American migrants from illegally heading to the United States, stopping them from hitching rides on a freight train known as "The Beast." The operations came after officials pledged to take action to stem a wave of unaccompanied child migrants who have flooded into the United States in record numbers in recent months. Migrant rights activists and a consular official from a Central American nation said Mexican federal police and immigration agents conducted patrols late Thursday along the train tracks in the southern state of Chiapas, which borders Guatemala. The train through Mexico is used by migrants who pay smugglers for the dangerous ride. It has been the scene of robberies and falls leading to severe injuries...more

Friday, August 08, 2014

Last piece of land acquired for South Valley wildlife refuge

Albuquerque’s representatives in Congress celebrated acquisition this afternoon of the last piece of land needed to complete Valle de Oro, the 570-acre wildlife refuge in the South Valley. They were joined by U.S. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell, who said the community partnership that pushed for the refuge is “a model for other parts of the country.” Federal, state, local and private sources contributed the $18.5 million needed to assemble the land, which used to be the old Price’s Dairy, on south Second Street. It’s the first urban wildlife refuge in the Southwest. “Valle de Oro is tremendously important to the entire region and, in particular, to the urban region of Albuquerque, New Mexico,” U.S. Senator Tom Udall, D-N.M., told the crowd gathered at the site about noon. “Today is about partnership and perseverance.” Sen. Martin Heinrich and Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham, both Democrats from New Mexico, said it was important for children to spend time outdoors, forging a connection with nature. Seen from the air, Heinrich said, Valle de Oro “is the last big, undeveloped chunk” of land in the South Valley. Lujan Grisham said the space will provide education, health and other benefits. “This is an economic boost for a community that really needs it,” she said. Today’s celebration focused on acquisition of the last 81 acres needed to complete the refuge. The work will now turn to planning out how to use the site. A permanent center for visitors is among the first priorities...more

Little Tommy You-Dull opposes the transfer of federal lands to the state, but he sure doesn't oppose transferring our lands to the feds.

Co-op members protest BIA proposal

Jemez Mountain Electrical Cooperative officials and some of their customers are speaking out against proposed federal rule changes they believe could lead to higher utility costs. The Co-op’s Board of Trustees and Northern New Mexicans Protecting Land, Water and Rights, a citizen group comprised of El Rancho and other Northern New Mexico residents, are voicing concerns, through public comments, over what they see as deregulation of the tribal easement negotiations. The Bureau of Indian Affairs is accepting comments on proposed changes to the Code of Federal Regulations that “would comprehensively update and streamline the process for obtaining BIA grants of rights-of-way on Indian land,” at the same time, “supporting tribal self-determination and self governance.” However, Co-op officials and Northern New Mexicans believe the rule changes to 25 CFR Part 169 would also set the foundation for future gas, telephone and Internet fee increases. Northern New Mexicans’ organizer Heather Nordquist said the rule change would aggravate an already tumultuous system and have a long-lasting negative impact on the community’s progress. “So this affects more than our electric bill,” Nordquist said. “Due to the difficulties with negotiating utility easements with this Pueblo (San Ildefonso), I have a propane tank to provide me heat, and I have satellite TV and Internet connections because standard commercial options may not be run across land held in trust by this tribe.” She said incurring the extra cost associated with non-standard services is both expensive and inconvenient...more

Redskins foundation seeks Native artwork with team logo

Wanted: Native artwork, preferably of a specific sort. The Zuni Pueblo tribe sent notice to Native artists that representatives of the Washington NFL team's Original Americans Foundation will be in Zuni, N.M., on Monday afternoon to buy jewelry, pottery, etchings and other artwork. "Preferred items will be those that have the Washington Redskins team logo, or use of team colors … embedded in the art work," the notice says. It also asks artists to "spread the word" to others who may have logo art to sell. "We have a very depressed economy and the (tribal) governor wanted to help local Zuni artists," tribal administrator Hanna Weeke told USA TODAY Sports. She said buyers often insist artists cut their prices but she believes foundation buyers will pay in full. Washington team owner Daniel Snyder has visited the tribe...more

USGS to Begin Drilling "Sentinel" Wells Near Kirtland Air Force Base

Beginning around August 7, scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey will be drilling “sentinel” wells at the first of three locations in the Trumbull Village neighborhood in Albuquerque to provide early alerts for groundwater contamination. These new sentinel wells will provide early warning if there is a northeastward movement of the Kirtland Air Force Base Bulk Fuels Facility plume, and would provide Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Utility Authority (ABCWUA) and Air Force officials lead time to implement plans to protect nearby groundwater drinking water supply wells. A sentinel well is a groundwater-monitoring well located between a known area of groundwater contamination and drinking-water supply wells. The purpose of a sentinel well is to provide advanced warning of movement of groundwater contamination towards the drinking water supply wells. During March and April 2013, the USGS drilled a similar sentinel well, funded by the ABCWUA, near the corner of Trumbull Avenue SE and Mesilla Street SE. This year, the USGS will be drilling at three locations in the Trumbull Village neighborhood: On the north side of the Cesar Chavez Community Center; near the eastern end of Phil Chacon Park; and in the parking lot at Trumbull Park. This work is being funded by the Air Force...more

Ranch Radio Song Of The Day #1263

Here's one for you Rodeo Romeos & Weekend Warriors, as it gives you a pick up line that is absolutely, 100%, guaranteed to work.  Try it and let me know what wonderful things it brings you.  The tune is by Del Reeves and titled Gettin' Any Feed For Your Chickens and is from his 1966 album by the same name.

California water agency wins damage suit against feds

A federal appeals court has delivered a big victory to a small water district in California’s parched San Joaquin Valley. Judges concluded that the government owes additional damages for the Bureau of Reclamation’s failure to deliver enough water to the Stockton-based Central San Joaquin Water Conservation District. Potentially, the district could collect millions of dollars. “We are thrilled that the court of appeals has seen the justice of Central’s claim,” attorney Roger J. Marzulla said Monday, adding the decision “now clears the way for Central to recover at least a portion of the tremendous damage done . . . by Reclamation’s unexcused breach of contract.” The ruling issued Friday by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit reversed a trial judge, who had rejected the water district’s claims for “expectancy” damages. In this case, these cover things like damages to farmers and the local groundwater aquifer resulting from the shortfalls in surface water deliveries. The water district has previously asked for about $13.1 million in damages...more

Public phones in to comment on closing Idaho sheep station

Sheep producers touted research on climate change, sage grouse and grazing as reasons to retain the troubled U.S. Department of Agriculture Sheep Experimental Station in Dubois, Idaho. Twenty commenters called in to a USDA Agricultural Research Service conference call Wednesday to weigh in on the proposed closure of the Sheep Experimental Station, which has summer grazing areas in the Centennial Mountains of southwestern Montana. Three-quarters of the commenters were sheep producers, those who worked in agriculture or Idaho politicians, who opposed the station's closing. Several said the station has done essential long-term research that they did not want abandoned, including research on climate change and the effects of grazing on wildfires, sage grouse, weeds and wildlife. Others, such as county commissioners, said the Dubois economy would be affected by the loss of 5 percent of the area's jobs. Retired Montana State University extension specialist Rodney Cott said the sheep station was the only facility that served the sheep industry in the intermountain region...more

Kottonwood Kills Kamel in KRQE - video

A longtime inhabitant at the ABQ BioPark Zoo died suddenly Wednesday after a tree limb fell on Bea the Bactrian camel. For the past two decades, Bea made the BioPark her home. “Just about closing time, one of the keepers heard a loud crack and boom,” ABQ BioPark Director Rick Janser said. Keepers rushed to the exhibit. They say a large limb fell off a seemingly healthy cottonwood tree, striking and killing Bea. Janser called her death a freak accident. “It’s huge, you know, Bea was that camel who greeted us every morning,” Rhonda Saiers, assistant curator at the BioPark, said. “It wouldn’t be extremely difficult to replace her as a camel, but as an individual it would be incredibly difficult to replace her.”...more

Here's the KRQE video report:

Thursday, August 07, 2014

Global Warming Pause Puts 'Crisis' In Perspective

Much has been written and argued, from all sides in the global warming debate, about the meaning of the asserted 17-year pause in global warming. Is a 17-year pause significant? Is a pause even occurring? Does the pause signal a longer-term halt to global warming or even a long-term cooling trend? Would a resumption of global warming to pre-pause rates end the global warming debate? A look at recent temperatures and their appropriate context provides helpful meaning to the much-discussed global warming pause.
Satellite instruments began uniformly measuring temperatures throughout the Earth’s lower atmosphere in 1979. Climate scientists overseeing these NASA satellite instruments produced the chart below showing the following temperature trends:
  • a plateau of temperatures, with absolutely no warming, from 1979 through 1997
  • a large temperature spike in 1998
  • a return to the 1979-1997 mean in 1999-2000
  • a modest escalation of temperatures in 2001
  • an elevated plateau of essentially flat temperatures from 2002-2014
If we choose a starting point of mid-1998, the planet has cooled during the past 16 years. If we choose a starting point of late 1997 or early 1999, temperatures have been flat during the past 15 and 17 years. Examining the totality of the 35-year temperature record, we see approximately 1/3 of 1 degree Celsius warming during the period. Accordingly, global warming has occurred at a pace of approximately 1 degree Celsius per century over the duration of the satellite record.

Ebola's spread to US is 'inevitable' says CDC chief

Ebola's spread to the United States is "inevitable" due to the nature of global airline travel, but any outbreak is not likely to be large, US health authorities said Thursday. Already one man with dual US-Liberian citizenship has died from Ebola, after becoming sick on a plane from Monrovia to Lagos and exposing as many as seven other people in Nigeria. More cases of Ebola moving across borders via air travel are expected, as West Africa faces the largest outbreak of the hemorrhagic virus in history, said Tom Frieden, the head of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The virus spreads by close contact with bodily fluids and has killed 932 people and infected more than 1,700 since March in Sierra Leone, Guinea, Nigeria and Liberia. "It is certainly possible that we could have ill people in the US who develop Ebola after having been exposed elsewhere," Frieden told a hearing of the House Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights and International Organizations...more

Ranch Radio Song Of The Day #1262

Johnny & Jack - (Oh Baby Mine) I Get So Lonely was recorded in 1954 on the RCA label and went to #1 on the charts.  Most country fans know the duo was composed of Johnnie Wright (1914–2011) and Jack Anglin (1916–1963), that Johnnie was married to Kitty Wells and the duo's 25 year career together ended in 1963 when Jack was killed in a car wreck while going to Patsy Cline's funeral.

'Doesn't Matter Anymore': Border Patrol Agent Voices Frustration to Trucker - video

It's only a few seconds of video, but it illustrates the frustration of many Americans over the crisis at the southern border. On Fox and Friends this morning, we heard from the truck driver who captured footage of an exasperated U.S. Border Patrol agent. As Travis Pope passed through a checkpoint on I-10 in Sierra Blanca, Texas, he was asked how many people were in his vehicle and whether he's a U.S. citizen. To the second question, Pope answered, "Yeah, but does it really matter?" Amazingly, the Border Patrol agent responded, "Not anymore, unfortunately. Thank you." Pope said he usually puts on glasses equipped with a camera in case he is stopped for any reason at checkpoints. Frequently driving through southern border states, Pope explained that he usually asks that question to the guards he encounters and gets that response often. "He's an American. All of them down there are just as frustrated as all of us. ... They're just all fed up that they can't do their job," said Pope, adding the country has a "government problem" because the laws are not being enforced. Pope believes Border Patrol agents like the one he filmed want to protect the border, but "can't do nothing" because of the policies of the Obama administration.

Here is the segment referred to:

Slain Border Patrol Agent’s Blood ‘On Hands of Congress and President,’ Says Union

EL PASO, Texas — The murder of an off-duty Border Patrol agent in front of his entire family has sparked outrage within the Border Patrol community. The murder occurred at the hands of illegal aliens — one of whom had been deported four times prior — according to authorities, near the town of Santa Monica, Texas. The slain agent was fishing with his mother, father, wife, and two kids approximately 40 miles inside the U.S. when the pair of illegal aliens allegedly targeted them for armed robbery. The agent took action to defend his family before being shot dead. The murder occurred on Sunday, August 3, 2014. Chris Cabrera, the vice president of the Local 3307 National Border Patrol Council (NBPC), spoke with Breitbart Texas and said, “We are deeply saddened by the loss of one of our agents. We are outraged that illegal aliens entered our nation and targeted a family while they enjoyed time together fishing. Agent Javier Vega fought to defend his mother, his father, his wife, and his children. It is saddening that Agent Vega was killed by illegal aliens in front of his entire family. These criminals should not have been on U.S. soil.” Vice President Cabrera continued, “This is just sickening that a family was targeted while they were fishing. A wife had to witness her husband being killed. Children had to witness their father being killed. A mother and father had to witness their child being killed. What these illegal aliens did is just heart wrenching and sickening. The man was brutally taken from his loved ones.”...more

Russia Bans Food Imports in Retaliation for Western Sanctions

Russia banned imports of a wide range of U.S. and European foods on Thursday in response to Western sanctions, confronting Russians with a breed of economic isolation largely unseen since the Soviet era. Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev outlined the products subject to the one-year ban—beef, pork, poultry, fish, fruit, vegetables, cheese, milk and other dairy products—at a government meeting, marking a radical response to Western penalties imposed on Russia over the crisis in Ukraine. But while the list appeared tailored to avoid hitting ordinary consumers too much, some economists said it could backfire by driving up domestic food prices, at least in the short term. Russia's showy demonstration of defiance came in the face of the harshest Western sanctions to hit Russia since the outcry over the Kremlin's annexation of Crimea in March. Last week, in response to the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 over separatist-held territory in eastern Ukraine, the West targeted wide swaths of the Russian economy, including finance, oil and weaponry. The wide-ranging ban on foodstuffs underscored Russia's dramatic retreat from the West under President Vladimir Putin this year. "It's symptomatic of a much deeper economic and psychological change going on, which is that Russia is being cut off," said Charles Grant, director of the London-based think tank Centre for European Reform. The import ban also serves Mr. Putin's domestic agenda by potentially boosting agricultural production at home and encouraging consumers to buy homemade goods amid a sluggish economic outlook. Mr. Putin has promoted greater self-sufficiency for Russia, a message that plays well to a political base nostalgic for the days when the Soviet Union celebrated domestic production...more

BLM, local law enforcement tensions near breaking point in the West

James Perkins sees the federal Bureau of Land Management more as a belligerent occupying army than a government agency serving U.S. citizens, including those like him in south-central Utah. Perkins is the sheriff of Garfield County, a rural bastion the size of Connecticut with only 5,500 residents, where 90% of the land is maintained by the BLM. The relationship between local law enforcement and often heavily armed federal officers has always been tense, and now threatens to reach a breaking point. He and others attribute the deteriorating relations to what he calls BLM's culture of elitism, which provoked Garfield County to join two other Utah counties this year to pass a resolution restricting or banning federal law enforcement within their borders. "I don't know any sheriff who doesn't want a good relationship with the BLM," he said. "We're a rural agency and we'd like a partnership, but it seems they have a hard time recognizing our authority. They'd rather be independent." The BLM has faced a string of challenges. In April, it called off a cattle roundup after rebellious Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy was backed by an armed citizen militia that stood its ground with semiautomatic weapons. The BLM looked, in turns, overzealous and ineffectual. Then, in May, citizens of rural San Juan County in Utah staged a protest, driving all-terrain vehicles into a canyon the BLM had closed to such traffic. Perkins and others recently addressed a House public lands subcommittee that was collecting testimony about concerns over the BLM, including claims about bullying ranchers and refusing to respond to emergency calls. They didn't mince words. "Over the past decade or so we have observed and experienced a militarization of BLM's officers," said Leland Pollack, a Garfield County commissioner. "Right or wrong, some equate BLM's law enforcement operations to the Gestapo of the World War II era." BLM officials in Washington call the claims "vague and inaccurate."... In an interview, he (Sheriff Perkins)described an incident this year in which a county detective was investigating whether a BLM officer had failed to report a traffic accident, as required by law. "I was told by the chief of BLM law enforcement in Utah that we had no right to investigate one of his officers and that the matter should have been turned over to their internal affairs division," Perkins said. "When I'm told by the federal government that I don't have the authority to investigate crimes in my county, well, that's just troublesome to me."...more

Illegal border crossings effects felt miles away

While much of the focus of foreigners and drugs crossing the Texas border is on the serpentine Rio Grande River, its effects are felt 20 and 30 miles north in the rural ranches that blanket South Texas. In just one constable's precinct in Hidalgo County that reaches into the ranch land, there have been 47 calls from ranchers concerning traffickers busting through fences on ranches in the first six months of 2014, according to crime statistics provided by officials with Precinct 4. "I promise you the number of incidents of ranch crossings is double or triple that," Precinct 4 Sgt. Aaron Moreno told ABC-13. Those stats also show a total of 64 "bailouts," in those ranch areas in that six-month span. That's where an officer stops a vehicle, or a vehicle crashes and the passengers scatter. On Wednesday alone between 1 and 3 pm, in the ranches covered by Precinct 4's constables, there were three incidents of vehicles carrying large groups of people that busted through fences. Those vehicles were either were stopped by officers or crashed and the passengers fled. One of those incidents, involving a white Ford truck registered in Houston, took place near the ranch of Fred Cappadona. "The numbers are overwhelming," Fred Cappadona told ABC-13. He's in a position to know. Cappadona works cattle on a Hidalgo County ranch about 30 miles north of the border. And he said the coyote traffic across his land has never been as bad as it's been this summer...more

Combine this story with the one above concerning BLM law enforcement and you have the DC Deep Thinkers at their best:  We have federal officers where we don't need them and not enough officers where they are needed.  A prime example of central planning and just wait till till these idiots take over our healthcare system.

Wednesday, August 06, 2014

Baxter Black - The attack on RFDtv

Who would like RFDtv off the air? Or “U.S. Farm Report”? Who would like Farm Bureaus shut down, along with the National Cattlemen’s Association, Pork Producers, Egg Council, Northern Ag Network, Range Magazine, the Farm Journal, and the Brownfield Ag Network? Who would like to make it illegal for movie stars, sports stars, heroes, singers and baby calves to be pictured with a milk moustache?

Answer: Any person or group that does not want people to know where their food comes from. The first one that comes to mind is the Humane Society of the U.S. (not associated with the local Humane Society in your hometown). This group makes a living trying to make farmers and ranchers look bad. I don’t question their motive; it’s a job, it’s how they pay the bills. They come to work each day and send out letters asking for the cash so they can fight evil farmers and ranchers. As long as they can keep donors misinformed and misled about the truth, the cash keeps comin’ in.

Another critical factor is to portray agriculture, be it modern or homegrown, as inhumane, environmentally harmful and run by insensitive country hicks who have no real moral attachment to the animals and the land ... that it’s all about money. This is easy for them because so much of their own time and effort is dedicated to the pursuit of cash. There seem to be endless quasi-associations seeking funds to “protect and enhance the wildlife and habitat, the heritage and natural resources.” They pop up every time someone can find a cause that will stimulate the cash flow. But just having a good cause is not enough. They must create a straw man to portray the enemy. That eliminates any deep inspection of the validity of their cause, and ranchers and farmers, hunters, miners, lumberjacks and oilfield roughnecks fill their bill.

Another influential group that doesn’t want people to know where their food comes from are politicians with a prejudice against those who work the land. Their reasons are usually personal, some childhood animosity now being repaid because they have the power or a guilt complex because they were born with a golden spoon.

RFDtv is being dropped from some media networks intent on merging. The reason given is that a network about and for agriculture is not relevant to modern urban viewers. But agriculture on television is one of the few places where consumers can get to know where their food comes from. The presence of agriculture is growing. It’s not uncommon to see or hear news stories about farmers and ranchers. Most are good. Most reporters are reasonable folks who eat bacon and hamburger. They have a general concept that global population growth will demand more food, and that the USDA is involved with keeping our food safe.

Like most Americans, they trust farmers and ranchers and expect us to stay on top of things. We continue to educate and include curious urban consumers in our thinking. We invite them to see for themselves, to know the truth about our business and to show them where their food really comes from. And that, my friends, is the last thing the Humane Society of the U.S. and vengeful offended politicians want them to know.


Wild Earth Guardians buying grazing permits from ranchers in the Gila National Forest

Wild Earth Guardians, a regional nonprofit organization devoted to protecting and restoring wildlife and wild places in the west, has come up with a new proposal, and they claim, a possible solution to the long-standing confrontation between environmental groups and ranchers. Wild Earth Guardians is offering to buy back ranchers' grazing allotments in the Gila National Forest. "This is a free-market approach that gives ranchers an alternative during challenging times," Bryan Bird, wild places program director for Wild Earth Guardians said. "We're trying to provide a viable opportunity for grazing permittees to voluntarily sell their permit." According to the Wild Earth Guardians, range capacity due to drought and wild life is rapidly changing in the Apache and Gila national forests. They say nearly 90 percent of the 4.2 million acres of forest service lands is currently authorized annually for grazing, but the numbers of cattle grazing that land are in decline. The Wild Earth Guardians claim that between 2003 and 2013, the number of individual permit holders decreased by 25 percent, family-owned corporations increased by 35 percent and non-family owned corporations increased from one to six. The program is still in its earliest stages of development. Started this past spring, so far only one deal has been reached with a rancher in Catron County. But Bird said he has gotten expressions of interest from other ranchers. He thinks Wild Earth Guardians will get a greater response from the ranching community as word continues to get out about the conservationists' offer. Caren Cowan, executive director of the New Mexico Cattle Growers' Association, disagrees that this is a positive approach to a long-standing problem. Cowan calls the Wild Earth Guardians' claims "disingenuous." "Ranchers are being challenged because of Wild Earth Guardians and other people like them," Cowan said. Cowan claims that ranchers are struggling, not because of drought, but because of the regulations that she says come from the Forest Service as a result of litigation brought by the Wild Earth Guardians. Cowan said the litigation is aimed at getting animals added onto the endangered species' list...more

Tourist crashes drone into Yellowstone hot spring

Yellowstone officials saw few violators during the first few months of a new prohibition against drones launched from National Park Service land. But last weekend someone flew his drone into Yellowstone’s world famous Grand Prismatic Spring. The drone is still submerged somewhere in the massive hot spring’s 160-degree waters. “We have eyewitnesses that saw this unmanned aircraft system go into Grand Prismatic on Saturday,” Yellowstone park spokesman Al Nash said. “We are trying to determine if we can locate it, and if we locate it, if we’ll be able to remove it,” Nash said. “Our concern is about any potential impacts to the iconic Yellowstone thermal feature.” The drone operator reported the incident to rangers at the Old Faithful visitor center. Because the incident is under investigation, many details — such as the size of the drone, its whereabouts in the springs and whether its inept pilot will be ticketed — are not yet available, Nash said...more

"Foreign" Aid

Ranch Radio Song Of The Day #1261

Our song today is The Auctioneer by Leroy Van Dyke.  This is the song that made him famous, and this is the version that did it for him, recorded in 1956 for Dot Records and which sold two and a half million copies.  He recorded other versions for different labels, including a live version in 1962 and a 1967 version for the movie "What Am I Bid."  And by the way, Van Dyke was born on a farm in Missouri, attended the Univ. of Missouri where he was on the livestock judging team, became a professional auctioneer in 1951 and co-wrote The Auctioneer with Buddy Black. This song also brings back memories of being in the cafe at the old 70-80 Truck Stop and listening to Larry Cohorn sing The Auctioneer.

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

BLM Will Spend $450K to Help Native Americans Adapt to 'Climate Change’

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) plans to spend up to $450,000 in taxpayer dollars to teach Native American tribes in the Great Basin region ”climate adaptation plans” for their hunting, fishing and gathering activities. “Due to climate change, the natural landscapes are becoming impacted,” and the “traditional practices for hunting, fishing, and gathering for ceremonial purposes” can potentially create further impacts,” according to BLM’s Cooperative Agreement announcement. “It is important to educate those who are engaging in these gathering activities to reduce impacts on public lands. If tribes are able to develop adaptation plans for their gathering activities, they would have a process to follow that could reduce negative impacts on the landscape,” the Request for Applications (RFA) explains. (See RFA Template MLR (1).doc) The applicant “will focus on climate change impacts in the Great Basin region,[and] target tribes from the region to attend,” the grant application stated. “The course is intended for tribal environmental and natural resource professionals who expect to be involved in climate change adaptation planning.” The Great Basin Landscape Conservation Cooperative (GBLCC), is one of 22 LCCs nationwide established by the Department of the Interior (DOI) in 2010 to “better integrate science and management to address climate change and related issues.”  The Great Basin area covers parts of Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, Utah and California...more

At first glance I thought this must be a typo, that it should be the BIA, not the BLM.  But no, if you go to the RFA it really is the BLM.  Why?  Because, "Great Basin Native American Tribes annually gather natural items from the landscape on public lands managed by the BLM. Activities include traditional practices for hunting, fishing, and gathering for ceremonial purposes."    So friends and neighbors, rush out and gather something (cattle?) from BLM lands and then head to the district office for your grant.  Same if you hunt or fish.

I have two other thoughts on this.  1) This stinks of a political payoff during an election year, probably connected to Obama's White House Council on Native American Affairs, and 2)  Native Americans have survived here for a helluva long time and could probably teach the feds a thing or two about adapting to changes in the climate.

Grand Canyon Wolf Recovery Project

From the Grand Canyon Wolf Recovery Project:

Potential suitable wolf habitat exists in several additional connected recovery areas of the Southwest and Mexico, including the Grand Canyon region (see the Southwest fact sheet).  Please take a look at the Places for Wolves document by Defenders of Wildlife for more information.  Map and Places for Wolves document and fact sheet courtesy of Defenders of Wildlife.

Map of the Blue Range Wolf Recovery Area by USFWS.  Currently, Mexican wolves are only allowed to live in the wild in the Primary and Secondary Recovery Zones (surrounded by the pink boundary line) of the Apache National Forest in Arizona and the Gila National Forest in New Mexico, as well as the Fort Apache Indian Reservation (shown in yellow).

H/T:  Rachel Thomas

Horses talk with their EARS: Creatures use subtle body language to communicate their thoughts

Horse whisperers take note: If you want to better understand your equine friends, then study their ears. A study has revealed that just like humans, horses read each other’s faces. But, unlike us, they gain important information by specifically examining the ears. It seems that when a horse is interested in something, it pricks up its ears and swivels them towards whatever has caught its attention. This movement is so important that, if its ears are covered up, another horse struggles to know what it is thinking. The finding comes from University of Sussex researchers who studied what makes one horse pay attention to another horse. They began by taking photos of a horse looking to one side at bucket of food. They then placed a picture on a post between two buckets of food, led another horse into the barn and watched which bucket it went to. They almost always took their cue from the pictured animal and chose the bucket it seemed to be looking at. However, when the photo was manipulated, so that the horse’s eyes were covered up, the results were no better than chance. This suggests the horse’s gaze conveys important information. More surprisingly, covering up the ears had the same effect – meaning they are also key to communication. Researcher Jennifer Wathan (CORR), a PhD student, said: ‘Our study is the first to examine a potential cue to attention that humans do not have: the ears. ‘Previous work involving communication of attention in animals has focused on cues that humans use: body orientation, head orientation and eye gaze; no one has gone beyond that. ‘However, we found that in horses their ear position was also a crucial visual signal that other horses respond to.’...more

They also communicate with their hind legs and teeth - no study necessary.

DOJ Report: Nearly Half of Fed Crimes Near Mexican Border

Crime is so high along the Mexican border that nearly half of all the criminal cases filed by federal prosecutors in the United States last fiscal year were concentrated in a handful of districts located in that region, according to the U.S. government’s figures. It’s not as if this is new, but to see it spelled out in a government report with a detailed breakdown is truly alarming. The statistics illustrate that the Mexican-border region is a cesspool of crime that’s costing American taxpayers a chunk of change not to mention loads of grief. There are 94 federal court districts in this country and the five located near the southern border see a large portion of criminal cases, according to the Justice Department’s annual report on criminal prosecutions. The five federal districts also have the biggest number of defendants actually convicted of federal crimes. Of the 61,529 criminal cases initiated by federal prosecutors last fiscal year, more than 40%—or 24,746—were filed in court districts neighboring the Mexican border. This includes Arizona, New Mexico, Southern California, Western Texas and Southern Texas. The two Texas districts each had more than double the convictions of all four federal court districts in the state of New York combined, according to the DOJ report. The Western Texas District had the nation’s heaviest crime flow, with 6,341 cases filed by the feds. In Southern Texas 6,130 cases were filed, 4,848 in Southern California, 3,889 in New Mexico and 3,538 in Arizona. Not surprisingly, most of the offenses were immigration related. In fact, 38.6% of all federal cases (23,744) filed last year involved immigration, the DOJ report confirms. Nearly 22% (13,383) were drug related, 19.7% (12,123) were violent crimes and 10.2% (6,300) involved white-collar offenses that include a full range of frauds committed by business and government professionals. This is hardly earth-shattering news in fact, the nation’s southern border region has for years been known for its high crime rate compared to the rest of the country. However, the problem has escalated at an alarming rate in the last few years. In one of its last reports before getting axed, the National Drug Intelligence Center concluded that the “unprecedented levels of violence in Mexico” will continue for years. Inevitably the crimes have spread north because cartels—including Sinaloa, Los Zetas and Juarez—have joined forces with U.S. street gangs that operate in more than 1,000 cities throughout the country, the report said. This sort of “collaboration between U.S. gangs and Mexican-based” criminal organizations will continue to increase, facilitating wholesale drug trafficking into and within the United States, the three-year-old report said. It seems that nothing has changed...more

Suspects in murder of Border Patrol agent arrested and deported numerous times

Two illegal immigrants from Mexico who were charged with first-degree murder in the shooting death of an off-duty U.S. Border Patrol agent in front of his family in Texas have been arrested and deported numerous times, police sources told One suspect has been arrested no fewer than four times for entering the U.S. illegally, according to federal court records. The other has been deported twice after entering the U.S. illegally, sources said. Gustavo Tijerina, 30, and Ismael Hernandez, 40, were arraigned Tuesday afternoon inside the Willacy County jail library. They were ordered held without bail after being charged with capital murder of a peace officer, attempted murder, and a variety of lesser charges. The pair, who have been living in Texas illegally, confessed after being interviewed multiple times Monday to killing Border Patrol agent Javier Vega Jr. in front of his wife and two kids and his parents Sunday night while they were fishing in Santa Monica, Sheriff Larry Spence told

Robot Bees Invented to Provide Pollination as Honeybees Disappear

With honeybees on the decline because of Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) and Varroa mites, a virus-transmitting parasite, Harvard engineering and applied sciences professor, Robert Wood invented Robobees, bee-size robots "inspired by the biology of a bee and the insect's hive behavior." One of the goals for the robots is the pollination of fields, thereby assisting in the bee crisis: "The collaborators envision that the Nature-inspired research could lead to a greater understanding of how to artificially mimic the collective behavior and "intelligence" of a bee colony; foster novel methods for designing and building an electronic surrogate nervous system able to deftly sense and adapt to changing environments; and advance work on the construction of small-scale flying mechanical devices."...more

The dark, disturbing world of the visa-for-sale program

On Nov. 15, 2012, about 100 people gathered in a parking lot near O’Hare Airport in Chicago for a ceremonial occasion: the demolition of a fleabag motel to make way for what was intended to be a world-changing construction project. Next door to a Hooters restaurant, just off the Kennedy Expressway, was to rise a commercial and environmental wonder—the “World’s First Zero Carbon Platinum LEED-certified and 100% Allergen Free convention center and hotel complex.” Lest anyone doubt its global eco-import, the project’s developer was branding it as a “Kyoto Protocol Centre.” At a projected cost of $913 million, it was to include three connected towers—14, 17, and 19 stories tall—containing five upscale hotels with 995 suites and rooms, four levels of convention space, a green roof with a spa and yoga studio, a miniature golf course, and a 1,720-car “automatic robotic” parking garage. All this would be financed with the help of a government immigration program known as EB-5, which allows wealthy foreigners to obtain U.S. citizenship by sinking $500,000 apiece into a venture that creates American jobs. Spellbound by the sales pitch—which included “guarantees” that the project would deliver visas and juicy returns—nearly 300 eager Chinese investors had anted up a total of $147 million. You may never have heard of EB-5, the program that delivered $147 million to Sethi’s convention-center dream. It is one of the least explored of the many dark corners in America’s deeply troubled immigration process. Increasingly, the skilled and the poor are out of luck. But the rich are another matter. The program (EB-5 is short-hand for the government’s fifth employment-based visa “preference”) allows well-heeled foreigners to leap to the front of the line by simply plunking down $500,000. But that powerful objection was overcome with an even more potent counterforce: The program would generate jobs where they’re needed most. Immigrants seeking EB-5 visas must invest their half-a-million dollars in a new business that creates 10 full-time U.S. jobs in a high-unemployment or rural district. (Technically, one can obtain an EB-5 visa for $1 million with no requirement that the jobs benefit a struggling area; in reality, few apply under that provision.) Today EB-5 commands bipartisan support—and it’s booming. Believers tout the program as a “win-win-win” that helps immigrants and U.S. workers, and provides valuable investment in American communities. A trio of billionaires—Warren Buffett, Bill Gates, and Sheldon Adelson—recently endorsed the program in an op-ed column in the New York Times. But because the EB-5 industry is virtually unregulated, it has become a magnet for amateurs, pipe-dreamers, and charlatans, who see it as an easy way to score funding for ventures that banks would never touch. They’ve been encouraged and enabled by an array of dodgy middlemen, eager to cash in on the gold rush. Meanwhile, perhaps because wealthy foreigners are the main potential victims, U.S. authorities have seemed inattentive to abuses...more

How About Them Apples?

by Mike Shedlock

On July 30, Moscow blocks Polish fruit, veg imports, mulls EU ban citing "systematic violations of international and Russian phytosanitary requirements". Everyone understands this was retaliation for further EU sanctions on Russia.
Russia has slapped a temporary ban on fruit and vegetable imports from Poland, claiming the products breach its standards. Rosselkhoznador, the country's federal veterinary and phytosanitary control agency, issued a statement yesterday (30 July) saying it is to introduce a ban on several Polish fruit and vegetable products after it discovered "systematic violations of international and Russian phytosanitary requirements". "Rosselkhoznadzor considers it necessary to introduce from 1 August 2014 as a temporary emergency phytosanitary measures restrictions on imports to Russia from Poland and Polish imports through third countries," the Russian food safety body said. Items affected include apples, pears and quince, apricot, cherries, plus all vegetables except mushrooms. In an interview with Reuters, a spokesperson for Rosselkhoznador said the move "was part of a VPSS plan to consider restricting all or some fruit imports from the entire EU". However he denied the restrictions stemmed from the EU sanctions. Bloomberg had reported Russia was also mulling the ban of chicken from the US, which has joined the EU in imposing sanctions on parts of the Russian economy.
In response to the ban, Poland Mocks Russia With Eat More Apples Campaign.
The produce ban is expected to affect Polish apples more than any other product. Poland is Europe’s largest producer of apples, with more than half of its production going to Russia. The "Puls Biznesu" newspaper called on Wednesday for a show of support for Poland's apple producers, urging people to eat more apples and to drink cider. Poles responded with humorous posts on Twitter under the hashtag #jedzjablka – Polish for “eat apples”. One Twitter user predicted that half of Warsaw would get drunk on cider over the weekend. “An apple a day keeps Putin away!” wrote another Twitter user, in a reference to the Russian president. Poland is only the latest in a series of countries that Russia has targeted with import bans. Russia announced on Thursday that it would ban the import of soy products, cornmeal and sunflowers from Ukraine. The move comes following bans on Ukrainian dairy products and canned foods that were imposed in recent days. Russia has a history of banning imports from the countries it is in disputes with, usually citing safety concerns or violations. Last year it blocked the import of Ukrainian chocolates made by the company owned by candy magnate Petro Poroshenko, a pro-Western politician who is now Ukraine’s president. Earlier this month Russia blocked the import of Moldovan fruit after the country signed an association agreement with the EU. And it banned shipments of Georgian wine and mineral water just before the 2008 war with Georgia over South Ossetia.

Would an apple a day keep Obama away?  If that be the case there'd be a huge market in The West for those surplus Polish apples.  I can see it now:  Anti-Obama Apple Pie washed down with some Contra-Obama Apple Cider.  Then we could also have Forest Service Apple Fritters, BLM Apple Butter, EPA Apple Empanadas and a whole freedom-loving menu.  Can you think of any others deserving this Apple Assholes Award?

Secrecy Surrounding Shelter for Illegal Immigrant Minors


A thought-provoking article in Time regarding the federal contracts given to house tens of thousands of illegal immigrant children.

It highlights the role of a nonprofit called “BCFS” which, according to Time, has received more than $280 million since December to operate temporary housing shelters for children who illegally cross the Mexican border into the U.S.

On July 7, two days before [the charity head] met Obama in Dallas, the Department of Health and Human Services awarded BCFS $190,707,505 in a single grant.
The Time article also brings attention to an ongoing theme under the Obama administration: its penchant to withhold public information of public interest. According to Time, “To shield vulnerable kids from angry opponents of immigration and the media spotlight, the government declines to disclose the locations and activities of many of the facilities operated by BCFS and similar organizations. That protectiveness comes at a political cost. Governors in states across the U.S. have assailed the federal government for sending kids to their states without notifying local officials, and congressional critics say that massive amounts of taxpayer money are being spent without proper oversight.”

BCFS’s job is massive. According to Time, it has devoted 1,400 employees to manage its temporary shelters this year. At least one U.S. Senator, Charles Grassley (R-Iowa), is concerned about possible lack of appropriate oversight. He has asked Health and Human Services for information about BCFS contracts.

Despite being almost completely dependent on the public, BCFS has faced heavy criticism for attempting to avoid public scrutiny. This aversion to basic transparency is extremely disturbing.”
Time reports that the BCFS’ leader received nearly $450,000 in compensation in 2012. At least four other top officials earned more than $200,000.

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame to evict ashes of Alan Freed, DJ who gave birth to rock 'n' rol

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum is in Cleveland thanks in large part to Alan Freed. But Freed is no longer welcome in the Rock Hall, according to his son, Lance Freed. Lance Freed says he was told several months ago by Rock Hall President and Chief Executive Officer Greg Harris that he would have to "immediately" remove his father's ashes, which had been on display since 2002, from the building. "He said, 'look Lance, there's something strange, people walk past the exhibit and your dad's ashes and they scratch their heads and can't figure out what this thing is, and we'd like you to come pick up the ashes." Freed said he told Harris he would need some time to talk to his family and "think about where we're going to put my father. Six weeks ago I called him and said I would be up in July." Harris, reached by cell phone as he was driving with his family in the mountains of Pennsylvania stressed that the Rock Hall still realizes the role Freed played both in rock 'n' roll and in the museum itself. "First and foremost, not all of [Freed's artifacts] are being moved out of the museum,'' Harris said. "We are returning the ashes to his family.''...more

Ranch Radio Song Of The Day #1260

Ranch Radio's tune today is 'Neath The Purple Of The Hills by Jimmy Wakely, and check out the beautiful artwork by Tim Cox.

Monday, August 04, 2014

Federal officials, lawmakers to tour to promote conservation fund

Interior Secretary Sally Jewell will join lawmakers and local officials to tour the country this week to promote the Land and Water Conservation Fund and push for its reauthorization. The fund is coming up to its 50th anniversary in September, but only once has Congress authorized it to its full funding of $900 million. The fund uses a fee on offshore oil and gas drilling to fund wildlife, recreation and similar programs on public land. “President Johnson and a bipartisan Congress got it right when they established the Land and Water Conservation Fund, embracing the simple concept that when we take something from the earth — namely, oil and gas from public lands offshore — we should return something back to the earth by investing in our land, water and wildlife heritage,” Jewell said in a Monday statement. Jewell’s tour will bring her to North Carolina, Indiana, New Mexico and Arizona to speak at facilities that have received money through the fund. Local officials or lawmakers will join her at each stop. This is Jewell’s second national tour to promote the fund in as many months. In July, she went to Texas, Alabama and Virginia, and some of her top deputies went to Oregon, Florida and Alaska as well...more

Brazos River minnows added to endangered species list; could impact Lubbock water plan

The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service added the sharpnose shiner and the smalleye shiner minnows to the “endangered” species list Monday. Tom Fulton, general manager for the White River Municipal Water District in Spur, said he’s not sure what all the implications will be, but he’s sure of one thing: The designation is going to be costly. “Any time you have to deal with something like this it’s going to be more money,” Fulton said. “Once something’s endangered, we’ll have to make accommodations.” The White River Municipal Water District serves communities of Spur, Crosbyton, Post and Ralls. An endangered listing accompanies a critical-habitat listing of the minnows’ dwelling grounds, which include 623 miles of the upper Brazos River basin and the upland area extending beyond the river channel in Crosby, Garza and more than a half-dozen other counties...more

Praire chicken complicates pursuit for a spaceport license

It appears the mating rituals of the lesser prairie chicken are imposing on Midland International Airport’s pursuit of a spaceport license. After the chicken was federally listed in March, the airport submitted an addendum to its environmental assessment explaining why the spaceport wouldn’t be a threat to the now “threatened” species. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, worried about sonic booms negatively impacting the small chicken’s early-morning spring mating habits, has yet to approve the addendum. But Midland Director of Airports Marv Esterly -- who offered to send biologists to Andrews County to study how the first five launches would impact the chickens -- fully expects the service to sign off and the Federal Aviation Administration to deliver a finding of “no significant impact.” After final approval of the environmental assessment, the FAA has until Sept. 15 to issue a spaceport license -- a process that has taken nearly two years. Once approved, Midland International will become the first airport in the nation to offer commercial and space flights from its runways...more

Will the sage grouse stop energy development out West?

Sometime next year, the Fish and Wildlife Service will decide whether to include the greater sage grouse on an updated endangered species list. The decision could have profound impact on energy development in Western states. The energy industry is now making a push to keep the bird off the list. That's because the grouse, a ground-dwelling, two-foot-tall bird with brown and white feathers, has a massive habitat, running from California to Colorado and all states further north of that, encompassing 2.4 million acres. The total area of federal oil and gas leases currently on hold in Wyoming alone while the federal government mulls the decision is 10,000 acres. The Western Energy Alliance, an industry group, is trying to build public pressure against a designation. It argues that government is "using flawed science" in its decision. This is in turn discouraging efforts that are better suited to finding ways to protect the species without also harming the economy. The alliance is making its case in a series of radio and online ads. One ad states: "Across the American west, scientists, universities, states and local governments work closely with the energy industry, ranchers and sportsmen to revitalize and protect the sage grouse. Unfortunately, an upcoming federal ruling threatens to bring state and local conservation efforts to a screeching halt, and with it our rural, Western way of life. Let's work together to give the sage grouse and our Western economy a fighting chance." The ads will run through August and appear in Colorado, Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota, Utah and Wyoming...more

In modern-day Kansas, cowboys practice an ancient art

Jake Betts looked every bit a cowboy as he tugged the reins of a horse named Leroy and jangled up a ridge. He wore Levi’s, wrapped with leather chaps. Cowboy boots with spurs. Rope coiled off the side of his saddle. Cattle in the distance, almost 1,100 head to be driven on this day earlier this week. And all went well until Leroy bucked and Betts fell backward onto some rocks. The crew laughed for the rest of the day as the aching cattleman winced watching cows march into tractor trailers. “I’ll be fine if I can just make it through the shipping season,” Betts said. It’s that time of year — late July, the shipping season — when the Flint Hills cowboys saddle up. Meet the modern-day wrangler: Betts and 10 other cowboys and cowgirls commenced this roundup at the first break of light. The bovines they corral are speckled across a vast, spectacular stage. For the last four months, the cows have munched on a thick carpet of native bluestem grasses. And in keeping with Old West tradition, they’re rounded up by men, women and children on horseback, not in the four-wheelers or pickups that many ranchers favor. “For 50 years — since about 1890, actually — we’ve been talking about the disappearing cowboy,” said James F. Hoy, director of Emporia State University’s Center for Great Plains Studies and an author of books on Kansas history. “But if you get off the interstate a ways, cowboys are still out there. They don’t carry a pistol anymore in their holster. Now it’s a cellphone.” A cellphone and intricate spreadsheets help Cliff Cole manage the ranching operations here, and they’re extensive: A half-dozen caretakers reside on 80,000 acres owned by West Bottoms businessman Bill Haw, who with a Texas partner also owns the cattle — all 40,000 head...more

EnviroMacho - Western Watersheds Project Not Backing Down in Wyoming Lawsuit

A month ago the Western Watersheds Project was sued by a group of Wyoming ranchers who alleged the group trespassed in order to collect samples of poor quality water from streams within public grazing allotments on federal land. Now the Western Watersheds Project (WWP) has filed its answer to those claims, refuting all of the ranchers’ allegations and raising counterclaims against the plaintiffs, including their abuse of process for bringing the lawsuit in order to intimidate and destroy Western Watersheds Project and to conceal their own wrongdoing and the illegal environmental conditions on these lands. “The ranchers really didn’t want the public to find out how much harm their cows were causing to the public waters,” said Travis Bruner, WWP Executive Director. “Instead of spending time and money cleaning up their operations, the ranchers and Karen Budd-Falen are bringing a frivolous lawsuit. It is so clearly intended to silence us, but you’ll note that no one is claiming the data showing the astoundingly poor water quality conditions were wrong.”...more

Humane Society Of The United States Attempts To Drive Hunters, Shooters From Public Lands

In a July 23 letter submitted to Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell, NRA and 32 other conservation organizations call the recent lead-ammo ban petition filed with the Department of the Interior (DOI) by the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and other anti-hunting groups “quite simply an attempt to drive hunters, and subsequently recreational target shooters, off of Federal public lands. It is unnecessary, has no basis in sound science and should be rejected by the Department.” The HSUS petition, filed in early June, demands DOI implement rules that ban hunting with traditional ammunition containing lead on more than 160 million acres of public lands managed by the National Park Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. As outlined in “The HSUS Lead-Free Campaign” handbook, the petition is the first step in a three-pronged, “comprehensive approach to ending the use of lead ammunition for hunting purposes—hitting the issue at every level and utilizing animal welfare concerns as the primary rationale—[that] will achieve lasting results and save millions of animals’ lives in the process.” Despite its emotional pleas to pet lovers, “animal welfare” appears to be the least of concerns for HSUS. As reported by HumaneWatch, HSUS tax forms show less than 1 percent of the $131 million it raised in 2011 went to support animal shelters. In its 2012 tax return, HSUS—a registered 501(c)(3) organization—reported investing a whopping $25.7 million in offshore funds. “But why would a U.S. charity be putting $26 million in the Caribbean?” asked HumaneWatch in a recent blog post. “HSUS is a non-profit. It’s not in the business of investing money in hedge funds to make a profit. … It’s because money seems to come first for the cynics and the bean-counters running HSUS.”...more

Official's Interference in Wolverine Protection Slammed by Scientists

A group of independent scientists is speaking out in response to an order from a high-ranking U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service official to not protect wolverines under the U. S. Endangered Species Act. The scientists are saying the order ignores the best available science and could set a dangerous precedent for future candidates for ESA protection. That order came in the form of a May 30 memo from Noreen Walsh, a regional director, in which she cited "uncertainty" about the effect of climate change on specific pieces of wolverine habitat as justification for her order to abandon the listing process for the species. But in a letter sent Thursday to Interior Secretary Sally Jewell and USFWS director Dan Ashe, a group of 56 wildlife ecologists and conservation biologists say that Walsh's order violates USFWS's obligation to use the best available science. And a second letter sent the same day on behalf of two prestigious scientific organizations echoed that charge. The issue: snow. The wolverine, Gulo gulo, needs deep, persistent snow in order to reproduce, as females of the species dig birthing dens in snowbanks five feet deep or more, and those snowbanks have to last until at least May before melting. Though it's true that climate modeling can't yet predict exactly how deep snowbanks will be under specific trees in the early spring of 2073, scientists have reached consensus that the warmer it gets, the faster snow melts. The warmer North America becomes, the harder it will be to find deep snowbanks that last until May. And that poses a serious threat to an already rare carnivore. Which is what USFWS staff had said in their recommendation that the wolverine be listed as a Threatened species. An assistant regional director working under Walsh drew up a formal memo recommending that listing, which would apparently have been a done deal if not for Walsh's subsequent order to back off...more

Senators' letter calls for creation of Greater Canyonlands National Monument

Environmentalists are celebrating a letter sent last week to President Barack Obama by 14 U.S. senators asking him to use his power under the Antiquities Act to create a Greater Canyonlands National Monument in Utah. "I think other groups will jump on," said Marc Thomas, a Moab-based Sierra Club member who is among the leaders of the campaign to create the new monument. "Other groups will follow the lead of this letter to keep the pressure on President Obama and other politicians." But such a designation — and the letter — runs counter to an effort being shepherded by Rep. Rob Bishop, R-Utah, called the "Grand Bargain" or the Public Lands Initiative. The effort has involved meetings and field trips across the state and collaboratively draws on diverse interests such as environmental groups, the oil and gas industry, ranchers, local county commissioners and federal land agencies. Bishop also met with Interior Secretary Sally Jewell at her request at the end of June to keep her up to date on the collaborative effort. The letter last week by more than a dozen U.S. senators follows another letter sent in late July by more than 200 health care professionals from Utah asking for the creation of the monument. In that missive, the group stressed that protecting Greater Canyonlands would provide physical, psychological and public health benefits. The most recent letter, which included signatures by U.S. Sens. Richard Durbin, D-Ill., and Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., urges Obama to make the designation, calling the action a "meaningful part of your conservation legacy."...more

It only took two Senators to get him to designate one down here, but of course, they were both from NM.

Editorial: Greater Canyonlands: right idea, wrong method

It may be more a question of when than if President Obama will wave his presidential scepter and create a new national monument in southern Utah. If he does, it will be a good end but a bad means. When the president created the half-million-acre Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument in New Mexico in May, he said he wasn’t done using the 1906 Antiquities Act, which grants him the power to create monuments without any role or input from either Congress or the states. We’ve been here before with President Bill Clinton’s 1996 declaration of the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument, which killed a potential coal mine on the Kaiparowitz plateau. In both cases, Utah’s political leadership strenuously, and legitimately, objected to such a change with no negotiation with the people living on or near the monuments. The monument’s supporters can make the case, as they did 18 years ago, that political inertia forces the president’s hand — an inertia illustrated by the 50-year failure to negotiate what should be considered wilderness on BLM land in Utah. As Clinton said, and Obama likely will say, action was necessary because the extractors were poised to exploit. But the reality was that there were lots of hurdles to developing the Kaiparowitz coal. While there were always mine proposals floated, there were factors — environmental regulation, coal prices, distance to market, among others — that made it so no bulldozers were about to start digging. Even without the monument, the Kaiparowitz coal might still be sitting there. In other words, President Clinton’s urgency was overstated, and President Obama’s likely will be, too. Rep. Rob Bishop, who heads a House subcommittee on federal lands, deserves credit for trying to negotiate. Long a defender of oil and gas development, Bishop has reached across to environmental groups recently. It may have taken the imminent threat of a monument to make him do that, but at least he did...more

Obama’s Mass Executive Amnesty Plan Rejected by Bush Admin as Unconstitutional

The AP buried the lede in its report Saturday on President Barack Obama’s drive to grant by executive order legal status and work permits to millions of illegal aliens in defiance of Congress. At the very end of the 22 paragraph article, entitled Experts: Obama Can Do a Lot to Change Immigration, is mention that President George W. Bush considered doing what Obama is pushing for now after being similarly stymied by Congress on amnesty but his advisors concluded the presidency did not have the constitutional authority to act in such manner:

“After a broad immigration bill failed in 2007, President George W. Bush ordered his staff to come up with every possible change he could make without the approval of Congress.
“Gregory Jacob, who worked on immigration issues with the president’s Domestic Policy Council, said the list included similarly broad protections from deportation as those implemented by Obama. But Bush’s staff concluded that the president didn’t have the legal authority to grant such “sweeping and categorical” protections, Jacob said.

read more

DC Defines Pepper Spray as a Firearm

Just when I thought the District of Columbia government couldn’t stoop to new lows of incompetence and non-sensical behavior, it does. Apparently, self-defense spray is defined as a firearm in DC and must be registered by its owner with the Metropolitan Police Department. I kid you not! You heard me correctly. The DC Police wants to make it even more difficult for people, especially women, in a town where it’s tortuous to purchase a gun to use in self-defense. Recently, US District Judge Frederick J. Schulling Jr. ruled DC’s ban on people carrying guns in public was unconstitutional. Yet, DC lawmakers and the Police department demonstrate a tenacity for trying to make it onerous for residents to legally defend themselves against maniacs. How did I stumble upon this little gem of lunacy? My neighbor who lives in DC has an 18-year old daughter who decided it was probably a good idea that she carried some pepper spray to defend herself in the city and when she heads off to college in South Carolina later this month. She explained to me when she went to buy the pepper spray at the Ace Hardware store in the Tenley Town neighborhood of DC, the sales clerk handed her the “The District of Columbia Self-Defense Spray Registration Form” which is part of the Gun Control and Firearms Registration. To say that she and her mother were perplexed and stunned by the request was an understatement. The law requires a person be a minimum of 18 years old or older to own self-defense sprays because I guess it wouldn’t make any sense to allow teenagers to defend themselves against predators and the like. The DC law governing this “firearm” specifies only sprays consisting of permissible ingredients may be used in the city. “However, under D.C. Official Code § 7-2502.12, the only legal types of self-defense sprays are “a mixture of a lacrimator including chloroacetophenone, alphacloracetophenone, phenylchloromethylketone, orthochlorobenazalm-alononitrile or oleoresin capsicum.” And then the law goes onto note that: “A person may use a self-defense spray only as reasonable force to defend themselves or their property and only if the self-defense spray meets the requirements above.”...more

Bundy: Showdown with feds a spiritual battle

Nevada cattle rancher Cliven Bundy told members of the Independent American Party gathered to hear him Saturday that the April confrontation between his family, federal agencies and Bundy's armed militia supporters was part of an age-old battle between good and evil. "There was people from almost every state in this United States was there. Some of them told me they'd traveled for 40 hours to get there," Bundy said in the common language of a man who has spent his life and livelihood in the Silver State's desert climate. "Why did they come? … Because they felt like they needed to. They was spiritually touched." Bundy's daughter-in-law, Briana, spoke of how the members of the family fasted and prayed for the spirit of their forefathers to be with them as they prepared on horseback to defy the Bureau of Land Management's efforts to impound cattle deemed to be "trespassing" on federal lands. The Bundys pointed out that the family was unarmed when the initial confrontation with federal agents turned violent, and Mack referred to a Book of Mormon account of women "softening the hearts" of a militant enemy in praising Bundy's daughters and daughters-in-law for helping to bring about a peaceful resolution. "If the standoff with the Bundys was wrong, would the Lord have been with us?" Bundy asked, noting that no one was killed as tensions escalated. "Could those people that stood without fear and went through that spiritual experience … have done that without the Lord being there? No they couldn't." Bundy also cited personal inspiration from God in establishing his course of action. "The Lord told me ... if (the sheriff doesn't) take away these arms (from federal agents), we the people will have to face these arms in a civil war. He said, 'This is your chance to straighten this thing up,'" Bundy said...more

3 NM groups awarded grants for environmental education

The Board of Directors of Talking Talons Youth Leadership, Inc., has announced the award of three new Talking Talons Community Fund grants to local, youth-oriented non-profits: the University of New Mexico's Wild Friends Program, Ciudad Soil and Water Conservation District and the Moriarty-Edgewood Schools Early Childhood Center. The University of New Mexico Foundation's Wild Friends program grant will fund live wildlife presentations to the seven Wild Friends schools in Bernalillo and Sandoval counties. A program of the UNM School of Law, Wild Friends provides experiential education integrating civics with wildlife science to teach students about the democratic process. Students develop good citizenship skills, and contribute to wildlife conservation by becoming involved in public policy projects. Ciudad Soil and Water Conservation District has been awarded a grant to fund supplemental classroom education for 6th grade students in some Albuquerque Public Schools. Focusing on the impacts of human activity in the urban environment and how it affects water quality in the Rio Grande, this program shows students the importance of reducing human-caused pollution in order to sustain the integrity of the Rio Grande as a source of drinking water, as habitat for endangered species, and as a recreational resource. The Moriarty-Edgewood Early Childhood Center has been awarded a grant in support of its program that enriches early childhood learning with hands-on exposure to and exploration of their environment. Throughout the school year, children will mainly learn the "Why?" behind our collective need to protect our water resources...more

So the UNM School of Law has a "Wild Friends" program.  I wonder what "public policy projects" they have the students involved in.