Saturday, August 16, 2014

State-Run New Mexico Museum Scrambled to Cover Up Collaboration with Atheistic Groups

In previous articles this week (here and here) we saw that New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science (NMMNHS) worked with atheist groups to put on 2014 Darwin Day events that included anti-religious lectures. While the taxpayer-funded and publicly operated museum actively outreached to evolutionary atheist groups to involve them in the events, the partnership excluded participation by groups with other viewpoints, raising serious constitutional questions about freedom of speech and state endorsement of a religious belief, namely atheism. That's bad enough. The situation was made more egregious by a subsequent cover up by the museum, a division of the New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs.

Here's what happened. Concerned citizen James Campbell saw flyers distributed by the museum showing this collaboration. On February 3, 2014, he filed an inquiry with the governor of New Mexico, asking, "Is it appropriate for a state-funded museum to join forces with organizations such as the Humanist Society and the Freedom from Religion group to promote an anti-religious agenda?"
Dr. Campbell (who holds a PhD in physics) continued:
The agenda for the NMMNH[S] program on Darwin includes a talk by Ron Herman from Freedom from Religion, Albuquerque, who will compare science and religion to decide which is "false or corrupt and dangerous." It seems unlikely that he will conclude that science is "false or corrupt and dangerous." Jerry Gilbert of the Humanist Society of New Mexico will make a presentation in which he will talk about "religious extremists." Are these appropriate presentations to be sponsored by the State of New Mexico through its Museum of Natural History and Science?
Those anti-religious lectures were scheduled to take place at the museum on Wednesday, February 12. But after receiving Campbell's letter, the museum's top staff, including the director, scrambled to find a way to distance itself from the lectures, making it look as if the museum was only sponsoring the Darwin Day events on Sunday, February 9.

San Juan County schools districts adjust to new federal nutrition standards

As San Juan County students head back to school over the next several days, they may see changes in the food served at their school cafeterias and sold in the vending machines. New federal standards are expected to affect local school food programs by tightening nutrition requirements for meals and snacks and governing the types of items that can be sold during school-day fundraisers. On July 1, the Smart Snacks in Schools nutritional standards were implemented as part of the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. Under the law, the U.S. Department of Agriculture was directed to establish a set of nutritional standards for all foods and beverages sold during the school day. Schools that fail to comply with the new regulations could lose their federal funding, according to local officials. Changes to school nutrition in the last two years focused on breakfast and lunches, said Kevin Concannon, undersecretary of the USDA's Food and Nutrition Services, in a phone interview on Wednesday. This year's changes will apply to à la carte lines, snack bars, vending machines and club fundraisers during the school day. About 50 million students nationwide will be affected by the changes. Jaynelle Minor, the Farmington Municipal Schools District's student nutrition supervisor, said it has been difficult to adhere to the new guidelines. But, she added, the changes will help students eat healthier snacks...more

Friday, August 15, 2014

Should You Fear the Pizzly Bear?

In New England today, trees cover more land than they have at any time since the colonial era. Roughly 80 percent of the region is now forested, compared with just 30 percent in the late 19th century. Moose and turkey again roam the backwoods. Beavers, long ago driven from the area by trappers seeking pelts, once more dam streams. White-tailed deer are so numerous that they are often considered pests. And an unlikely predator has crept back into the woods, too: what some have called the coywolf. It is both old and new — roughly one-quarter wolf and two-thirds coyote, with the rest being dog. The animal comes from an area above the Great Lakes, where wolves and coyotes live — and sometimes breed — together. At one end of this canid continuum, there are wolves with coyote genes in their makeup; at the other, there are coyotes with wolf genes. Another source of genetic ingredients comes from farther north, where the gray wolf, a migrant species originally from Eurasia, resides. “We call it canis soup,” says Bradley White, a scientist at Trent University in Peterborough, Ontario, referring to the wolf-coyote hybrid population. The creation story White and his colleagues have pieced together begins during European colonization, when the Eastern wolf was hunted and poisoned out of existence in its native Northeast. A remnant population — “loyalists” is how White refers to them — migrated to Canada. At the same time, coyotes, native to the Great Plains, began pushing eastward and mated with the refugee wolves. Their descendants in turn bred with coyotes and dogs. The result has been a creature with enough strength to hunt the abundant woodland deer, which it followed into the recovering Eastern forests. Coywolves, or Eastern coyotes, as White prefers to call them, have since pushed south to Virginia and east to Newfoundland...In Maine, Minnesota and New Brunswick, Canadian lynx have lately produced cubs with the more southerly bobcat. A Southern flying squirrel has pushed north into southern Ontario and begun mating with its larger, boreal cousin. The best-known examples of this process are the polar bear-grizzly hybrids, sometimes referred to as grolar or pizzly bears, four of which have been shot by hunters in recent years; genetic testing indicated that one of them was a second-generation animal. There have been several other sightings of bears suspected of being hybrids, and this spring a mother thought to be one, accompanied by grizzly-looking cubs, was captured (tests are pending). Better management of grizzly hunting may have also contributed to this mixing by enabling males to advance into polar-bear country. “A warming Arctic is not a bad thing for grizzly bears,” says Andrew Derocher, a biologist at the University of Alberta. We might regard these developments as unintended consequences of intensifying human activity on the planet. Yet in the past decade or so, scientists have discovered that the genomes of many species — far more than previously thought — contain what seem to be snippets of DNA from other species, suggesting they were shaped not only through divergent evolution but also by occasional hybridization...more

Man pleads guilty to killing cattle and horses

CARLSBAD - A 19-year-old man pleaded guilty Thursday to three charges of shooting and using a knife on cattle and horses in March 2013 near County Road 604. But state District Court Judge Raymond L. Romero decided he needed more information before sentencing Jade Ryan Jenkins, a Texas resident who was visiting family in Carlsbad. He was dove-hunting with friends, both minors, when the group turned their guns on the livestock. The three charges to which Jenkins pleaded are fourth-degree felonies, with a possible maximum prison sentence of 18 months each. The judge ordered Jenkins, who was free on a $35,000 bond, to be taken into custody and committed to the New Mexico Department of Corrections, where he will undergo a 60-day diagnostic evaluation. As part of his plea agreement, Jenkins agreed to pay restitution to the owners of the three cows and two horses. Prosecutor Stephanie Erickson said investigators have narrowed the value of the animals to between $13,000 and $15,000. In delaying the sentencing, Romero noted that the animals were shot with a 12-gauge shotgun and a .22-caliber rifle, weapons that were designed to kill birds, not large animals. Two of the animals also suffered cuts from some sort of knife, and all took some time to die. Romero said the killings showed "cruelty beyond anything that would be considered property damage."...more

Ranch Radio Song Of The Day #1269

The Lilly Brothers perform Dig A Hole In The Meadow as we continue the "brother sound" on Ranch Radio. A short bio follows below the video.

Artist Biography by Sandra Brennan

the Lilly Brothers, Charles Everett and Bea, played old-time/bluegrass music together for over three decades. They may best be remembered in New England, where they were a fixture in the downtown Boston music scene from the early '60s through 1980.
Charles Everett and older sibling Mitchell Burt "Bea" Lilly were born three years apart in Clear Creek, West Virginia. Everett played the mandolin, banjo, and fiddle while Bea played guitar; both brothers sang; early influences included the Delmore Brothers, the Callahan Brothers, and the Monroes. the Lillys debuted in 1938 singing old-time country on a West Virginia radio station. They initially billed themselves as the Lonesome Holler Boys. Later they added a banjo and became a bluegrass group. In 1939, they began performing regularly at the newly established WJLS Beckley, where they performed together and with other musicians. After that they spent a few years at various Southern stations playing in such groups as the Smiling Mountain Boys and Red Belcher's Kentucky Ridgerunners.
They made their recording debut in 1948 while working with the latter group at WWVA. They remained at the station through 1950, whereupon they returned home after a heated fight with Belcher over money. From there the Lillys split up for a time; Charles became a mandolin player and tenor with Flatt & Scruggs' Foggy Mountain Boys, and remained with them through early 1952 when he left to join his brother, fiddler Tex Logan, and banjo picker Don Stover in Boston. They got their first job playing on WCOP's Hayloft Jamboree and from there hit the local club circuit.
the Lilly Brothers recorded fairly frequently during the '50s. Between 1958 and 1959, Charles spent another year with Flatt & Scruggs while Stover did a bit of touring with other bands. But for that, the Lilly Brothers remained intact through 1970. In addition to playing downtown Boston, they also played the local festival circuit and were instrumental in the development of urban bluegrass. In the early '70s, Charles' son was killed in a car crash, causing him and his wife Joann to leave Beantown and return to West Virginia. Bea Lilly came down a while later to help Everett host a local television show, but eventually returned to the city. After 1971, Charles infrequently joined the band to perform at festivals during the summers and occasionally recorded with them. the Lilly Brothers' career was later chronicled in a 1979 documentary, True Facts in a Country Song. Suffering from Alzheimers disease, Bea Lilly died on September 18, 2005 in Plymouth, Massachusetts at the age of 83; Everett Lilly died at his home in Clear Creek on May 8, 2012; he was 87 years old.

A new home for some bighorns

About 45 Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep rounded up in the past few days on the slopes of Wheeler Peak near Taos Ski Valley are on the way to establish a new herd in the Jemez Mountains. The helicopter and netting operation took place Monday through Wednesday when teams from the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish left as early as 5 a.m. to scramble up mountain slopes to a location where the sheep were netted. “It went really well,” said Game and Fish wildlife biologist Elise Goldstein. “The animals were cooperative. They went under the net so we could drop it,” she said. “Some years they are more willing to come under the net than others.” Once netted, the sheep were airlifted to a staging area where their health was checked before they were loaded on trailers for a ride to the Jemez. All the animals are in good health and none was injured, said Goldstein. She explained that bighorn sheep crave salt and salt licks normally left for the animals were withheld before their capture, and “right before we trap, we put a little salt out.” The captured sheep have already found their way to freedom. “We have had at least one release every day,” said Goldstein. The sheep have been released in historic bighorn sheep habitat near Cochiti Canyon in the Santa Fe National Forest for a specific reason, said Goldstein. It was there that the 2011 Las Conchas Fire burned about 150,000 acres and changed the landscape so it is now more friendly to bighorn sheep...more

Supervisors want hearing on mexican wolf reintroduction; concerned U.S. releasing wolves in Mexico

Saying the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service failed to consider the concerns of county residents in the Mexican Gray Wolf reintroduction program comment period, the county Board of Supervisors requested a public meeting be held. “The county originally requested a public meeting be held in Cochise County in July 2013 and is dismayed to hear that the only public meeting will be held 300 miles away. It is not practical for people to travel that far for a meeting, especially in light of the fact they may only receive three minutes of time to present their issues,” the letter notes. “A meeting in the county would allow those from much of the area south of I-10 to have the opportunity to provide much needed input.” USFWS was asked to hold the public hearing in the county at least 60 days prior to the close of the comment period to allow adequate time for comments.  The supervisors also requested an extension of the comment period by an additional 120 days past the current Sept. 23 deadline so residents can provide constructive comments. Ever since the USFWS decided to reintroduce the wolf species to parts of Arizona and New Mexico, the supervisors have been at loggerheads with the federal agency. There is much concern over a number of Mexican gray wolves that have been “subversively released” by the USFWS to the Mexican government just 30 miles south of the border with Cochise County. Some wolves could migrate up into the county, putting the stock of ranchers and the pets of residents at risk, making input from county residents and ranchers essential to the process, the letter continues. “These Mexican wolves that come north from Old Mexico gain immediate, endangered species status once they cross into Cochise County,” the letter states. “If the proposed action is implemented, additional wolves are expected to be located in Cochise County. These wolves jeopardize the economic and social stability of the citizens of Cochise County and for this reason, we deserve to be heard and ask questions.”...more

Why the NRDC’s Montana “Wolf Stamp” Must Be Stopped


Recently one of our county’s most highly respected environmental organizations, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), proposed that wildlife advocates improve the plight of wolves in Montana by purchasing a special wolf “conservation” stamp for $20. The money raised would allegedly be used to resolve wolf conflicts nonlethally, as well as for public education, habitat improvement and procurement, and law enforcement.

Sounds great, right?


The problem is the money will go directly to the state agency in charge of managing wolves—Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks (FWP). If you’ve been following our work at Predator Defense for any length of time you’ll know that, for the state of Montana, “managing” means “killing.” It is also worth noting that the state has renamed what the NRDC calls a wolf “conservation” stamp a wolf “management” stamp.

We believe we must speak out against the NRDC’s wolf stamp, and here’s why. The best available science tells us that territorial, apex predators like wolves do not need to be managed.

Asking wildlife advocates to donate funds to a government wildlife management agency is an endorsement of sorts that implies that agency is deserving of and will use your donation in the best interest of wildlife, in this case wolves. Such an endorsement promotes what we would like to call “The Myth,” which is that wildlife management agencies are using current science and conservation biology, as well as ethical principles, to create responsible programs to benefit wildlife, primarily predators. The truth is they are not.

Instead, generous hunting and trapping quotas are the backbone of all agency predator management. The quotas cannot be supported scientifically or ethically. Most hunters and trappers see wolves as competition and “the enemy” and their license fees pay the salaries of wildlife agency staff.

Fahy is Executive Director of Predator Defense

After Bundy, Ranchers Continue to Bully Federal Government Without Consequence


After years of landscape scale drought in Nevada, irrational grazing practices continue. While the Bureau of Land Management is required by federal law to protect wildlife habitat on our public lands, the agency has been woefully lax in addressing the combined impacts of livestock grazing and drought on habitat essential to sage-grouse, antelope, mule deer and countless other species.

This February, one local Nevada office of the Bureau of Land Management finally took a small step to address this issue, and recommended closing an area of priority sage-grouse habitat to grazing in order to protect the remaining habitat. The BLM proposed closing the severely degraded Argenta allotment to grazing for one year to allow the ravaged landscape to begin a healing process.

Then the Cliven Bundy debacle unfolded, and public lands ranchers saw that those who refuse to follow the rule of law face, well, no consequence. And so the ranchers who graze the Argenta allotment for less than 10 percent of fair market value refused to rest the land. Instead, this anti-government faction began a "Grass March" to Reno, supposedly modeled after Gandhi's 1930 "Salt March" in protest of the British colonial monopoly on salt. However, a protest centered on refusal to rest a resource in the interest of sustainability, when use of that resource is heavily subsidized year after year, seems far from Ghandiesque.

Following the "Grass March" in May, the BLM surrendered to the pressure and drafted a new agreement to allow the ranchers back on the Argenta allotment this year. It allowed cattle to turn out, but required their removal when stream-use standards were met. While spring rains had greened up some invasive weeds on the land, the long-term drought issues impacting wildlife habitat remained unaddressed.

The terms laid out by that new agreement were exceeded last month. Streams and springs were severely damaged by livestock grazing and trampling. But now, the ranchers are failing to live up to the very agreement that their bullying forced BLM to capitulate to in the first place. Consistent with its mandate as managers of federal land, BLM has demanded the removal of cattle from the Argenta allotment, and the subsidized public lands ranchers have refused. Cattle remain loose, wreaking havoc on the landscape (see photo below). Next, the ranchers plan to take this bullying and intimidation on the road from Nevada to Washington, DC, with a march across the country branded the "Cowboy Express."

Like Cliven Bundy and his supporters, these ranchers think they are above the law. They refuse to be held accountable for the condition of public lands after degradation by their livestock. When the "Cowboy Express" arrives in DC, those who sit in offices in Washington should know that it is not the arrival of heroic stewards of the western land. Instead, it is the descent upon the Capitol of an extremist group of rogue ranchers who refuse to acknowledge the authority of the federal government, while simultaneously demanding that the government continue its handouts in perpetuity.  Source

 Bruner is Executive Director of Western Watersheds Project

Ranch owners to pay $1.1 million for destroying vernal pools; Nature Conservancy gets $795,000

RED BLUFF, Calif. — Ranch owners here who were accused of destroying wetlands on their property have agreed to pay $1.1 million in a legal settlement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Anchordoguy and Co., which owns and operates the 1,036-acre Anchordoguy Ranch south of here, will pay $795,000 for wetlands preservation and $300,000 in penalties for allegedly destroying 80 acres of vernal pool wetlands and damaging two acres of a creek that crosses the ranch, according to an EPA news release. Between 2008 and 2010, the ranchers deep-ripped 872 acres of the ranch to make room for orchards without obtaining a needed Clean Water Act permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the EPA asserts. Under the agreement, the ranch owners will offset ecological losses of the destroyed vernal pool wetlands and streams by giving $795,000 to the Nature Conservancy to preserve vernal pool and salmon habitats in the Sacramento River watershed, the EPA's release explains. The funding will include the purchase of a conservation easement on the 515-acre Foor Ranch, a unique property connected to the vernal pool-rich Vina Plains preserve, according to the release...more

Up in Arms: Ranchers see more human smugglers crossing their land

Two bodies were found Thursday on a ranch in the Kleberg County area, signs that more undocumented immigrants are journeying north of the Rio Grande Valley amid an exodus that has led tens of thousands of Central Americans to cross the U.S. border, officials said. Investigators found a body near skeletal remains at the La Paloma Ranch near Riviera, said Capt. Charles Kirk of the Kenedy County Sheriff’s Office. Kirk said he ordered an autopsy to try to determine causes of death in the cases of the first dead bodies found in the area in about a month. “We’re seeing a lot more traffic,” Kirk said. “They’re coming through the country trying to get north.”...more

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Proposed EPA Regs Would Affect Climate by Eighteen-Thousandths of a Degree by 2100 — and Cost U.S. Economy $51 Billion Annually


The Environmental Protection Agency’s new proposed rules, which seek to limit carbon emissions from power plants, would cost the American economy $51 billion, as well as 224,000 jobs, every year through 2030, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce estimates.

With that significant of an economic impact, one would hope the EPA had a pretty good justification, right?

But I write today:
As the Cato Institute recently noted, the agency forgot to include one very important calculation in the information they released about the proposed rules: whether or not they will actually affect climate change.
“There’s really no reason to go after carbon emissions unless you think they cause climate change,” Chip Knappenberger, assistant director for Cato’s Center for the Study of Science, tells me. The impact on climate change is key. But the EPA hasn’t publicized any finding on that supposed link.
Knappenberger and his colleague Patrick J. Michaels crunched the numbers using an EPA-developed climate-model emulator. They found that the regulations would somewhat affect the climate — by eighteen-thousandths of a degree Celsius by 2100.
“We’re not even sure how to put such a small number into practical terms, because, basically, the number is so small as to be undetectable,” Knappenberg and Michaels wrote when they released their findings. “Which, no doubt, is why it’s not included in the EPA Fact Sheets. It is not too small, however, that it shouldn’t play a huge role in every and all discussions of the new regulations.”
That’s not the only time the EPA has used some suspect math.

Attkisson: Border Patrol Says They’re Told 'Let as Many People Go as Possible'

Former CBS News Correspondent and senior contributor to The Daily Signal said Border Patrol officers she has spoken to say they are being told to “let as many people go as possible.” “Whether spoken or unspoken, there is a policy coming from the top, that they’re basically to be very lenient and try to let as many people go as possible, that’s what they think, that’s the message they think they’re receiving,” she stated on Thursday’s broadcast of “The Laura Ingraham Show.” She added that agents she has talked to believe “they’re being told not to do the job.” Attkisson also reported that some of the court dates being given to illegal immigrants in the United States are for dates in 10 years, reporting, “I spoke to a member of Congress, if I understood him correctly, who said some of the court dates being given are 10 years out.”

Illegal Migrant Wave Overwhelming School Districts

Municipal school systems around the country are gearing up to absorb tens of thousands of children who arrived illegally from Central America for the new school year, The Wall Street Journal reported. The influx, mostly from El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala, will stress the resources of schools from large metropolitan areas to small towns from California to New York. A minimum of 37,000 children who have been placed with sponsors as of July 31 are eligible to attend public school, according to the Journal. Among the systems expected to be most heavily impacted are Texas, where over 5,000 illegal migrant pupils will be showing up for school as well as New York and California, which will each get about 4,000 arrivals, the Journal reported. Many will come with psychological scars requiring trauma counseling. Almost all will need remedial help in learning English. Every single one will have access to subsidized nutritional programs. Public schools are obligated by the federal government to enroll the children regardless of their immigration status. Alberto Carvalho of Miami-Dade County Public Schools said, "We have both a legal and moral obligation to teach these kids," the Journal reported. Superintendent James Meza of Louisiana's Jefferson Parish Public School System said, "I don't think we can handle it without hiring additional personnel." Some schools put the added cost at $2,000 per pupil...more

Immigrant Children to Be Classified as 'Homeless' to Avoid School Enrollment Documentation Requirements

In response to an inquiry about unaccompanied minors from one of its school divisions, Virginia’s Department of Education issued a memo this month reminding its 132 divisions about their obligation to educate all children. “In light of the heightened media coverage of the issue of undocumented immigrant children, VDOE provides the following updated information for your use in responding to community questions or issues,” says the memo distributed to the commonwealth’s 132 school divisions and obtained by Breitbart News. The memo to Virginia’s school divisions stressed the need to provide all children “equal access to an education” and highlighted the updated guidance from the Obama administration providing more flexibility on the documentation students need to enroll in public schools. “Such equal access extends to children who come into the United States from other countries without an adult guardian. These children are referred to as unaccompanied alien children (UAC) in federal statutes,” the memo explains. More than 2,850 unaccompanied illegal immigrant minors have been placed with sponsors in Virginia. According to the memo, under federal and Virginia law, the state expects that many of the unaccompanied minors who enroll in public school will be considered “homeless.”...more

First National Guard troops at Texas-Mexico border

The first wave of National Guard troops has taken up observation posts along the Texas-Mexico border. Several dozen soldiers deployed in the Rio Grande Valley are part of the up to 1,000 troops called up by Gov. Rick Perry last month, Texas National Guard Master Sgt. Ken Walker of the Joint Counterdrug Task Force said Thursday. Several guardsmen were seen Thursday afternoon manning an observation tower along the busy road leading to the Hidalgo International Bridge. This first batch of soldiers was specifically trained to man such observation towers in the area belonging to local law enforcement agencies and U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Walker said. They will serve as extra eyes on the border and report suspicious activity to authorities...more

Fish and Wildlife declines to list wolverines as endangered

Not enough evidence of climate harm to list wolverines, says Fish and Wildlife Climate change is a real force disrupting wildlife populations. But for the 300 or so wolverines living in the lower 48, there’s still not enough evidence of present or future danger to protect them under the Endangered Species Act, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced Tuesday. In February 2013, the agency proposed to list wolverines as threatened because climate change is eating away at spring snowpack in the northern Rockies, which in turn will harm wolverines since they raise their young in snowy dens. After more than a year of analysis, the agency officially withdrew its proposal this week. It’s an important listing decision, not only for dictating future wolverine management, but also for gauging the Fish and Wildlife Service’s tolerance for using climate models to list species...more

First 2014 case of equine West Nile virus confirmed in New Mexico

State officials are recommending mosquito control measures to protect both humans and horses after lab tests confirmed the state’s first known case of equine West Nile virus this year. The horse, which resided at a property in Albuquerque’s South Valley, had to be euthanized last week after developing West Nile virus. The animal had not been vaccinated against the disease. The case comes two months into New Mexico’s monsoon season, which has given rise to mosquito populations that can carry West Nile virus and transmit it to horses and human alike. “Because of the large amounts of rainfall New Mexico received recently, mosquito populations are increasing, and we should expect West Nile virus activity throughout the state,” said Dr. Paul Ettestad, public health veterinarian for the New Mexico Department of Health. There have been no human cases of West Nile virus infections in New Mexico this year. The state typically sees most of its West Nile virus cases in both humans and horses in August and September...more

Population Controllers Call Babies “Carbon Legacies,” a Threat to the Environment

by Wesley J. Smith

I guess it takes global warming hysteria to get the bioethics movement to criticize what is known in the trade as “artificial reproductive technologies” or ART.

But now, in the ever more radical Journal of Medical Ethics, Cristina Richie, of Boston College’s Department of Theology, argues that these technologies should be regulated to limit the number of children–called “carbon legacies,” as a means of fighting climate change. From the article:
A carbon footprint is the aggregate of resource use and carbon emissions over a person’s life. A carbon legacy occurs when a person chooses to procreate. All people have carbon footprints; only people with biological children have carbon legacies.
I don’t know if Richie coined the term, but it is ridiculous. Children are children, not bundles of carbon producers.

ART is an almost unregulated industry, a lamentable circumstance with which many bioethicists are content. But Richie says global warming has to change the field’s thinking about ART.
Through the use of ARTs multiple children are born, adding to worldwide carbon emissions. This is a burden on the already over-taxed ecosystem to support new beings who might not have existed without medical intervention. It is therefore the obligation of environmental policymakers, the ethical and medical communities, and even society to carefully weigh the interests of our shared planet with a business that intentionally creates more humans when we must reduce our carbon impact.

Passions And Tempers Flare Over Wild Horses In New Mexico Town

For decades, free-ranging horses have roamed this mountain village in New Mexico, galloping on residents' property, dashing along roads and attracting tourists and wildlife fans hoping to catch a glimpse. Their presence has long defined Placitas. But the horses are now drawing the ire of some residents who say their growing numbers are hurting the delicate desert landscape because they eat what little vegetation there is amid an ongoing drought. "We're going to be living in a dust bowl in a few years," said resident Peter Hurley, noting that it may take possibly a decade before the vegetation in some areas in the village north of Albuquerque returns to normal. Horse advocates say the drought is to blame for damaging landscape and state officials have blocked their attempts to administer a female contraceptive to help control the horse population. A round-up of some of the 125 or so horses by state authorities and a plan by federal officials to remove some from nearby federal land have raised the potential for a standoff between horses advocates and federal officials over the animals' fate. "People are willing to die for these horses," said Gary Miles of the Placitas Animal Rescue. "I know I am." Miles said any new roundup of horses could spark a "Cliven Bundy situation," referring to the Nevada rancher and his armed supporters who got into a confrontation in April with federal government over public land use. Sandoval County officials say they understand the passion around the horses and their importance to village, but Commissioner Orlando Lucero said the horses pose safety concerns, especially for motorists in the increasingly busy area. "My biggest fear is that someone will be killed or maimed for the rest of his life by hitting one of these horses at night," said Lucero, who has long sought a compromise. He and others have proposed a private horse sanctuary to house the animals.
"No county in the country is in the livestock business," he said. "So we can't be the ones who pay for these horses." There are differing stories about how the horses ended up in Placitas...more

Ranch Radio Song Of The Day #1268

Staying with Brothers this week here are the Louvin Brothers and their 1956 recording of In The Pines.  This tune goes out to Carolyn Nunez.

Sally Jewell responds to King Cove’s letter

In the latest drama over a 10-mile road between two communities in the Aleutian Islands, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell again told residents she is preventing it from being built. Jewell said she was rejecting the road back in December. But the community of King Cove wrote Jewell a letter asking her to reconsider, laying out their points as to why any other option besides a road just wouldn’t work. Wednesday, Jewell sent a letter to King Cove residents, rejecting their request. Those residents say that road is a life-saving way to medical care in Cold Bay. Jewell is concerned the road will harm wildlife, as it would run through the Izembek National Wildlife Refuge. Residents expressed their outrage. They say if animals are put before people, then lives will be lost. “To say that the birds have precedence over people in this community is very wrong. Someone needs to take a look at priorities and hope that nothing serious happens because I tell you when it does, if it does, it’s coming right back,” said Della Trumble, spokeswoman for the Agdaagux Tribe and the King Cove Corporation...more

“To say that the birds have precedence over people in this community is very wrong."

Folks have been saying this about animals and plants over our entire nation, yet Congress continues to fund the ESA.

Tribal protesters urge Secretary Jewell to stop Klamath River fish kill

Tribal members from the Trinity and Klamath rivers, carrying an array of colorful signs, converged on a press conference in Redding, California on Tuesday, August 12 to urge Sally Jewell, Obama's Secretary of Interior, to release Trinity River water out of Lewiston Dam to stop a massive fish kill from taking place on the Klamath. Jewell met with the protesters, including Hoopa Valley Tribal Chairwoman, Danielle Vigil-Masten, outside the press conference, but made no promises, according to a press release from Got Water and the Alliance to Stop a Klamath River Fish Kill. Slogans on the signs held by tribal members included "Free Our River," "Water + Fish = Life," and "Save the Salmon." River advocates say releasing water from the Trinity River, the largest tributary to the Klamath, could prevent a large scale Klamath adult fish kill as seen in September 2002, when over 68,000 salmon perished, due to disease fostered by low, warm water conditions. Although the press conference was focused on California fires, fishermen and Tribal members said Jewell is ignoring an even more dire looming disaster, according to Dania Colegrove, Hoopa Tribal member and activist with Got Water. “The Klamath fish kill of 2002 led to poor salmon returns devastating west coast fisheries for years afterward. Since then Tribes, scientists and the Department of Interior have worked together to avert fish kills by preventively releasing water during drought years, ” said Colegrove. Colegrove said preventively releasing water from the Lewiston Dam into the Trinity River cools water and curtails fish diseases in the Klamath River. This scientifically proven method has worked in past years. "This year Secretary of the Interior Jewell and the Bureau of the Reclamation say fish must begin to die and test positive for disease before emergency flows will be considered," explained Colegrove...more

Heinrich: Deal with feds paves way for SunZia transmission line

The 515-mile SunZia transmission line, which would carry wind and solar energy for Western states, has a “very high” probability of finally being built in New Mexico and Arizona, U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich said Monday. Heinrich, a Democrat from Albuquerque, said the biggest obstacle to the project in New Mexico had been removed with a compromise between the developer and the U.S. Defense Department. SunZia agreed last spring to bury sections of its transmission line so as not to interfere with training missions at the northern extension of White Sands Missile Range. This change in the construction plan will increase the project’s cost, which initially was estimated at $1.2 billion, said Ian Calkins, a spokesman for SunZia. But a volunteer organization in the San Pedro River Valley of Arizona that opposes the SunZia project said Heinrich’s assessment was off base. “We do not believe that the entirety of this project can be funded and built,” said Norm “Mick” Meader, co-chairman of the Cascabel Working Group. He said the eastern portion of the line that is so important to New Mexico is not feasible economically. Utilities in California would have to commit to buying blocks of power for the project ever to reach construction, and that has not happened, Meader said. “I think that Sen. Heinrich is entirely unrealistic about this project. He is enamored with it for its mythical renewable energy potential, and history is likely to show him how naive he was,” Meader said. “Pardon my harsh words for the senator, but someone has to inject some realism into this discussion.”...more

Government Has No Receipts for Thousands of Unaccompanied Alien Children

The Department of Justice does not have receipts for more than half of the unaccompanied alien children apprehended at the southwest border by Border Patrol since the start of fiscal year 2013, government records show. U.S. Customs and Border Protection data show more than 85,000 total apprehensions of unaccompanied alien children during fiscal year 2013 and fiscal year 2014 through June. Information from the same time period provided to National Review Online by the DOJ’s Executive Office for Immigration Review shows 41,592 total receipts marked as juvenile in immigration courts. Kathryn Mattingly, spokesperson for EOIR, tells NRO the receipts refer to new Notices to Appear (NTA) — the document the Department of Homeland Security uses to charge an illegal immigrant with being removable from the United States. EOIR has recorded 20,814 receipts marked as juvenile in fiscal year 2014 as of June 30, but Border Patrol recorded 57,525 apprehensions of unaccompanied alien children during the same time frame. This means immigration courts have receipts for fewer than four out of every ten unaccompanied alien children apprehended by Border Patrol this fiscal year. Mattingly said EOIR stands behind the numbers of receipts it has recorded, but would not speak about the difference between the number of juvenile receipts and CBP’s apprehension data...more

Rancher arms workers

Rancher Frank Yturria said Wednesday that he is arming his ranch hands as more armed smugglers are walking across his land amid a steady flow of undocumented immigrants crossing the U.S. border. Smugglers are cutting through fences, tearing down gates and breaking water lines, Yturria said, as they cross through the region’s expansive ranches to lead undocumented immigrants past the U.S. Border Patrol’s checkpoint in Sarita. “I’m going to have all my people armed,” Yturria said. “I can’t have armed people breaking into my property. I’m not putting up with this anymore.” This summer, Yturria said, more smugglers began breaking onto his ranch that stretches from northern Willacy County to Kenedy County amid the stream of undocumented immigrants that include tens of thousands of children from Central America continues. “It’s never been this bad,” Yturria said. “It’s ‘coyotes,’” he said, referring to the smugglers who lead the undocumented immigrants into the U.S. “It started this summer with all these children coming over.”...more

Bear River Rendezvous returns

Tee pees, traditional garb, but is fellow on far right using a cell phone?
Nearly 190 years later, the site for the Bear Lake Rendezvous hasn’t changed much. “The only things missing are the cottonwood trees,” said Kash Johnson, organizer of the second annual event. “Ranchers and pioneers wiped them out, building houses and as firewood. But everything else is still here, including the springs that feed the creek on the property.” Kash knows the lay of the land because of a detailed diary kept by Philip Covington, who traveled west to the annual rendezvous in the pioneer times, to sell goods. Rendezvous — annual events that were vital to mountain dwellers for selling furs and stocking up on supplies otherwise unavailable — were held on the same site in 1827 and 1828, Johnson said. Johnson used to host a similar event in Wyoming, he said, and traded for Utah when he heard the modern version of Cache County’s Rendezvous had been discontinued several years earlier. Johnson met the rancher who owned the 1820s rendezvous site, and they agreed on arrangements to restart the tradition. The first year we had 28 traders and another 25 campers,” Johnson said. “Quite a few members of the public came in and enjoyed the fun and festivities. We really had a good showing, and we’re expecting to at least double what we had last year.” Demonstrations and activities will include shooting, archery and American Indian dancing. A group called Women of the Fur Trade is coming...more

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Food fight: Military leaders deploying to save Michelle O’s school lunch overhaul

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Some 500 former military leaders are deploying to Capitol Hill in an attempt to save Michelle Obama’s changes to the National School Lunch Program.

Politico reports:

Mission: Readiness, a group of nearly 500 former military leaders, is planning to “storm the Hill” when Congress comes back to town next month and urge lawmakers to keep new school nutrition standards intact.
“We’re not going to retreat our way out of the problem,” said Lt. Gen. Norman Seip, who served in the Air Force for 35 years and is now a vocal advocate for the group.
Formed in 2008, Mission: Readiness aims to ensure kids are healthy and educated enough to serve in the military — or just be productive civilians. For the top military brass, the obesity epidemic is increasingly seen as a threat to national security.
About 75 percent of young adults are not eligible to serve in the military because of obesity, lack of education and/or criminal records, according to Defense Department data cited by the retired military leaders.

While that certainly a worthy concern, some people with common sense would question what overhauling school lunches would have to do with curbing obesity. Based on a 180-day school year, a school lunch amounts to 15 percent of a child’s meals. And, as parent Pamela Paulsen tells the Chicago Tribune, “Childhood obesity isn’t what happens between 7 and 3 (o’clock).” She’s right. Proper eating habits are instilled by responsible parents, not one-size-fits-all government edicts. Mission: Readiness has been using retired generals and admirals for some time in the school food fight and will dispatch them to any hot spot.
The group “flew in four retired generals from Kentucky last month to meet with Rep. Hal Rogers (R-Ky.), chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, to discuss their concerns,” according to Politico. The site claims Maj. Gen. D. Allen Youngman visited with Rogers and told him they used to sell cigarettes in Kentucky schools, too, and they don’t do that anymore, either. So now a Twinkie is the same as a cigarette?
“A far better course is to ensure schools that are struggling to implement these standards get more support,” Youngman wrote in a recent letter to lawmakers, according to Politico. By saying “more support,” we can only assume that means more money. “Simply put, we cannot have a sound battle plan for the war on obesity if our children are chowing down on unhealthy foods in the places where they spend so much of their time.” Mission: Readiness vows to “bring out the big guns for the kids” this fall to preserve Michelle Obama’s signature initiative, which is taking heavy fire in communities across America.  source

The War On Obesity?  Attention Mr. Generals:  Do not deploy.  Put your "big guns" away and go back into retirement.  This will go the same way as the War on Poverty and the War on Drugs.  Besides, we all know your involvement is not "for the kids", but is because you're afraid there won't be enough fodder for your next military adventure over seas.

Gun dealers have 48 hours to report firearms lost in transit, ATF proposes in new rule

Firearms dealers will soon have more regulatory reporting requirements hoisted on them with a new rule proposed by the nation’s top gun-enforcement agency Tuesday. The new rule will require firearm dealers, manufacturers and importers to report any guns that are shipped but then lost in transit within two days, according to a proposal issued by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. The rule’s goal is to crack down on potential guns lost in transit and then used in crimes. Federal regulations already require firearm dealers to report guns lost in their inventories within 48 hours after discovery, but there’s no reporting regulations on guns lost in transit. Within the last 15 years, gun thefts that happen during transport have increased 20 percent, the ATF said. From 2008 to 2012 there were about 1,500 cases where agents traced guns that weren’t reported as missing and dealers said they never received them, the agency said. Out of the millions of guns shipped each year, the number lost in transit is minimal, said Larry Keane, a senior vice president for the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the trade association for the firearms industry. What this proposed rule will do is add increased burden and cost on the dealers who ship the guns, leading to fewer jobs and higher prices on the consumers who want to purchase the firearms, he said. “There’s already in place voluntary reporting when guns are lost or stolen in transit, and ATF has never said members aren’t cooperating or this is even a problem,” Mr. Keane said. “Manufactures work very closely with ATF when situations arise to help in the investigation — which usually ends up to be someone in the common carrier — but these cases are exceedingly rare.”...more

New Mexico moves up to No. 5 in U.S. oil reserves

Move over, Oklahoma. New Mexico has regained its position as the fifth-richest oil state in the country. In an annual report of the top 10 oil states put together by the financial website 24/7 Wall St., New Mexico supplanted the Sooner State with 965 million barrels of proved oil reserves. That’s an 11.4 percent increase over the previous year’s total of 866 million barrels. “A new oil field and 170 extensions in 2012 also buoyed oil production,” wrote the editors at 24/7 Wall St., who based their survey on numbers compiled at the end of 2012 by the International Energy Agency. In last year’s report, New Mexico slipped from No. 5 to No. 6, but the oil boom in the Permian Basin, which extends from West Texas into eastern New Mexico, put the Land of Enchantment back into the fifth-highest spot...more

Obama's border-surge actions began in 2010

While it is being reported that presidential executive actions blamed for the current surge in young illegal aliens began in 2011, the Obama administration began suspending deportations a year earlier. The Obama administration issued two interagency directives in 2010 that prioritized the removal of certain illegal aliens above others and set the tone for prosecutorial discretion. The move coincided with a considerable increase in illegal aliens from Central American countries other than Mexico. A timeline indicated President Obama’s executive actions on immigration began in 2011 with his announcement of “prosecutorial discretion.” A few months later, Breitbart reported, the U.S. Border Patrol documented “the first uptick in unaccompanied children at the border.” And the first recent uptick of unaccompanied children arriving from Central America reportedly took place not in 2011 but in 2010, with 4,444 arriving that year. The total was up from 3,294 the year before, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection data....more

US Marijuana Legalization Already Weakening Mexican Cartels,

     America’s first foray into rolling back prohibition 2.0 is barely underway, and already marijuana prices have dropped low enough to convince some cartel farmers in Mexico to abandon the crop. Mere months after two US states legalized marijuana sales, five Nobel Prize-winning economists released a UN report recommending that countries end their war on drugs. It would seem they were onto something. But in order to further decrease drug-trade violence in so-called producer states, the US first needs to legalize marijuana, but then also the US must stop using the UN to pressure producer countries into supply-based drug prohibition.
     Latin America is the largest global exporter of cannabis and cocaine. In 2011 the DOJ’s now-shuttered National Drug Intelligence Center found that the top cartels controlled the majority of drug trade in marijuana, heroin, and methamphetamine in over 1,000 US cities.
     Research into black markets shows that producer countries experience more violence than consumer countries. In essence, the global war on drugs is a UN scheme to shrug drug war costs off rich countries’ shoulders and onto poor Latin American countries, with horrifyingly violent results. Much of the recent child migrant crisis is a direct result of children fleeing cartel violence and conscription into criminal gangs.
     When drug prices are high, cartels will step up and produce. By keeping demand for cannabis and cocaine high, but supply low, the US in essence forced the Latin America economy to revolve around drugs. Under prohibition, there is no more profitable export. And of course violence proliferates in illegal industries. So in countries where the dominant export is illegal, violence will be endemic.
     That’s exactly what the five economists found.
kidnapping hotspots are Latin American countries. Time magazine reports that the violence in the murder capital of the world, San Pedro Sula, Honduras, is due to the influx of Mexican drug cartels that funnel U.S.-bound drugs through the country. The cartels are also responsible for an increase in “atrocious crimes” like decapitation, usually used against rival gangs.
     Ending the Drug Wars describes drug prohibition as “a transfer of the costs of the drug problem from consumer to producer and transit countries.” It references a report called Drugs and Democracy: Toward a Paradigm Shift by the Latin American Commission on Drugs and Democracy, headed by former Latin American presidents Fernando Henrique Cardoso, Cesar Gaviria and Ernesto Zedillo...

Ranch Radio Song Of The Day #1267

Yesterday was the Wilburn Brothers and today is the Delmore Brothers with Freight Train Boogie.  The tune was recorded in Cincinnati in September of 1946 and that's Wayne Rayney on the harmonica. Here is their bio: 
    The Delmore Brothers are not nearly as well-known as such early country giants as the Carter Family, Jimmie Rodgers, Bob Wills, and Hank Williams. The reasons for this, upon close inspection of their work, are not readily apparent. They were one of the greatest early country harmonizers, drawing from both gospel and Appalachian folk. They were skilled songwriters, penning literally hundreds of songs, many of which have proven to be durable. Most important, they were among the few early traditional country acts to change with the times, and pioneer some of those changes. Their recordings from the latter half of the 1940s married traditional country to boogie beats and bluesy riffs. In this respect they laid a foundation for rockabilly and early rock & roll, and rate among the most important white progenitors of those forms.
    The Delmores were born into poverty in Elkmont, AL, as the sons of tenant farmers. Alton (b. December 25, 1908) would write most of the duo's original material, although his younger brother Rabon (b. December 3, 1916) was also a competent writer. Performing on guitar and vocals from early ages, they were playing as a pair by the time Rabon was ten years old. In the early '30s, they were confident enough to enter professional music, auditioning for Columbia in 1931 and successfully auditioning for Nashville radio station WSM the following year.
    Throughout the 1930s, the Delmore Brothers recorded often, as well as performing on several radio stations. They probably gained their most early fame, however, from their long-running stint with the Grand Ole Opry between 1932 and 1938. The music emphasized their beautiful soft harmonies, accomplished guitar picking, and strong original compositions. Unusually for that time (or any other), the Delmores would switch high and low harmony parts from song to song (or even within the same song), although Alton would usually sing lead. Whether performing their own songs, traditional ones, or gospel, they brought a strong bluesy feeling to both their music and their vocals. It's that element, perhaps, that enables the Delmores, more than many other acts of the time, to speak to listeners of subsequent generations. Not to be underestimated either are their down-to-earth lyrical concerns, which address commonplace struggles and lost love with grace and redeeming, good-natured humor, rarely resorting to cornball tears.
    In 1944, the Delmores signed with King, inaugurating an era which found them delving into and innovating more modern forms of country. Although their first sides for the label stuck to a traditional mold, in 1946 they expanded from their acoustic two-piece arrangements into full-band backup, with bass, mandolin, steel guitar, fiddle, harmonica, and additional guitars. Some of those additional guitars were supplied by Merle Travis, who credited Alton Delmore as a key influence.
    In retrospect, however, the most important backup musician on these sides was Wayne Raney, who played a "choke" style of harmonica that was heavily influenced by the blues. The Delmores were also leaning increasingly toward up-tempo material that reflected the upsurge in Western swing and boogie-woogie. By the end of 1947, they were also using electric guitar and drums. Raney (who also sang) in effect acted as a third member of the Delmores in the late '40s and early '50s, when they plunged full-tilt into hillbilly the rest of their CMT bio here

Fight over remote Idaho airstrip underscores tough balancing act - video

Two groups that have never liked airfields in Idaho wilderness areas are seeking to stop the expansion of the Fish Lake Airstrip in the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness. But instead of trying to use the 50-year-old Wilderness Act - which bans buildings and motors, but allows some historic uses - Wilderness Watch and Friends of the Clearwater are tapping the National Environmental Policy Act and the far stronger powers of the Endangered Species Act to keep the U.S. Forest Service from lengthening the strip from 2,745 feet to 3,000 feet. The Fish Lake strip is legendary among backcountry fliers. The swirling winds in the canyon make it essentially a one-way strip, which means a pilot has to wait for the right conditions to take off. Pilots say the strip's grassy runway is soggy until July and has wallows and an uneven surface. The Forest Service has kept it open with patchwork repairs, but says it needs a major overhaul. For Friends of the Clearwater, the concern is the potential impacts to threatened bull trout and Canada lynx. The two groups filed a 60-day notice of their intent to sue because the Forest Service plans to avoid conducting a full environmental-impact statement. Pilots want to continue a largely nonconforming use they successfully protected when the Selway-Bitterroot was made a wilderness. Preservationists would prefer to see the strip closed. The Forest Service proposed expanding the strip and began its environmental review process by putting the proposal before the public to gauge reactions. That step triggered the 60-day notice. The agency now has to decide whether to endure a lawsuit, spend the money to do a full environmental-impact analysis or keep patching...more 

Do you want access to hunt and fish?  Then oppose Wilderness. 

See what its like to land at Fish Lake in this 3 minute video:

Editorial - Bighorn sheep, helicopters don't mix

The translocation of sheep began in November and stirred controversy. Some wildlife advocates were aghast when the newly transplanted sheep became easy dinner for mountain lions in the area. Of the 31 transplanted sheep, 16 died. Most were killed by hungry lions.

The decision by Arizona Game and Fish to kill three mutton-loving lions stirred more controversy. It just didn't seem right to sentence lions to death for eating the prey that had been delivered to their hunting grounds.

Yet the larger goal of restoring a population of bighorns to this area made sense. The iconic animals were once common there, and Game and Fish wildlife biologists have been successful in reestablishing herds in other parts of the state.

The group of bighorns on Pusch Ridge have produced five lambs since arriving, and no bighorns have died for more than four months. There are tentative plans for bringing about 30 more bighorns to Pusch Ridge this fall, and more next year. The success of this effort would be good news for Arizona.

But Game and Fish is also asking the U.S. Forest Service to grant permission to use helicopters to manage and monitor the bighorns in remote areas of the wilderness. This could include killing mountain lions who prey on bighorns.

Do you want scientific management of wildlife?  Then oppose Wilderness.

EPA is declared a ‘rogue agency’

But it seemed like such a good idea at the time: The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency was founded with much fanfare and good will in 1970, when green thinking and eco-mindedness was a righteous thing indeed. Now the EPA is deemed “a rogue agency” that has outlived its purpose and “should be dismantled and replaced.” So says the Heartland Institute, a Chicago-based nonprofit that has a plan on how to do just that. “It made sense for there to be a single national agency given authority to enforce the nation’s new environmental protection laws in the first decade of the 1970s. But by the end of that decade, the lion’s share of benefits from that noble experiment were already achieved and the states could have been, and should have been, allowed to play their intended role in implementing the new programs,” says science director Jay Lehr, who authored the policy study. Instead of reforming the EPA, he proposes creating something called a “Committee of the Whole,” which has a certain 1970s ring to it. It would include all 50 state environmental protection agencies, and would replace the federal agency over a five-year period. “Fifty state environmental protection agencies with more than 30 years of experience have the talent to do the job without the oversight of 15,000 federal employees. It is, after all, well known that government close to the location of the governed is best for all,” Mr. Lehr says.  Source

NannyState - New federal law puts restrictions on bake sale items

Bake sales used to fuel school's sports teams and clubs, raising money for the kids going away games, nicer uniforms, field trips and so on. But, a new law limits the amount of sugary treats that many bake sales offer. So, starting this Fall bake sales won't be as sweet anymore. Parents are allowed to sell candy and goodies, but it must meet the smart snack calculator requirement. If it meets all the nutritional requirements, the calories, sugar, fat and sodium, it's ok to sell that cookie. But, if it goes over well it's not allowed and the schools can be fined. "The Smart Snacks in School Nutrition Program" took effect July 1, it's part of Michelle Obama's 2010 Healthy Hungry Free Kids Act. Some mom's, though, like Lee Ann Melson love baking goodies for her kid's class. The new law will make it even harder for parents to bring in homemade treats straight from their kitchen. "You have to be really good at your ingredient list and keeping up with everything you put into it to come up with a nutrition label,'' said TISD Food Service Director Victor Olivares. "It calculates everything from the serving size, to the amount of sugar, the amount of sodium, calories and it's a formulated program once you put it in there, it will tell you if it's good or bad," said Olivares...more

Well, since they control the size of our toilets, it was to be expected they would attempt to control what goes in the other end.  Gov't schools = Gov't control.

Horseback Emergency Response Team provides disaster assistance - video

The Horseback Emergency Response Team, comprised of Texas Animal Health Commission (TAHC) livestock inspectors and United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) mounted patrol inspectors, was created in 2012 with a primary duty to locate, contain, identify, and move abandoned, stray, or injured livestock in the aftermath of a disaster. "There has been some research done on this. People's activities and movement are influenced by their animals, whether they are small companion animals or large animals, and they often end up putting themselves in danger. We recognized that we needed a way to help deal with such animal issues during an emergency, which would not only make animals a lot safer but ultimately their owners as well," said Dr. Dee Ellis, Texas State Veterinarian and Executive Director of the Texas Animal Health Commission...more

Here's the TAHC video:

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Obama Administration Released Over 600 Illegal Immigrants With Criminal Convictions

by Sharyl Attkisson

More than 600 convicted criminals, including felons, were among thousands of illegal immigrants freed under the Obama administration in advance of 2013 budget cuts mandated under sequestration.

That’s according to a new report today from the inspector general for the Department of Homeland Security. The report provides a scathing portrayal of budget mismanagement and flawed processes at the highest levels inside the nation’s immigration enforcement agency.

Politically Motivated Decisions?

The atmosphere leading up to sequestration in early 2013 was politically charged. President Obama claimed the automatic budget cuts would hurt the economy, health care and emergency responders, and that federal prosecutors would have to “let criminals go.”

Republicans accused the administration of trying to create the appearance of a crisis by making high-profile cuts they claimed were unnecessary, such as halting White House public tours and mass-releasing illegal immigrants.

During the three weeks leading up to sequestration, from Feb. 9 to March 1, ICE released 2,226 immigrant detainees—617 of whom had criminal convictions. Approximately 1,450 were freed the last weekend before sequestration. The field offices that released the most criminal convicts include Phoenix, Houston, Atlanta and Chicago.

Las Cruces conservationist group clashes with Hidalgo County official over Mexican wolves, free speech

Darr Shannon
The ongoing debate over Mexican wolves flared up late last week, and now a Las Cruces conservation group alleges a Lordsburg-area official silenced the free speech rights of one of its employees. But Hidalgo County Commissioner Darr Shannon said she was protecting her constituency and the sanctity of the fledgling farmers market there when she sent home a representative from the Southwest Environmental Center, also known as SWEC, a Las Cruces-based nonprofit that works to protect and restore wildlife and wildlife habitat. Last Friday at the Hidalgo Farmers Market and Mercado, about 120 miles west of Las Cruces, SWEC field organizer Patricia Snyder set up an information table and petition in support of the Mexican wolf, an endangered species that has been reintroduced in the desert southwest since 1998 thanks to a controversial U.S. Fish and Wildlife program. Many of the Hidalgo Farmers Market and Mercado vendors are ranchers in the county and vehemently opposed to having more Mexican wolves in the area because of the threat to their cattle and sheep, officials said. Sensing that a conflict was brewing, John Allen called Shannon. Allen helped organize the market through his work with the New Mexico State University Cooperative Extension Office. Then Shannon kicked out Snyder. "This was not the venue for her endeavor," said Shannon in a phone interview with the Sun-News on Monday. "That should not be brought into such a wholesome thing ... I'm here to protect what the people of our county believe in." Kevin Bixby, executive director of SWEC, said Shannon's actions violated free speech rights...more

Where were Bixby & SWEC when the NM Wilderness Alliance bused in people from Santa Fe, Albuquerque & El Paso for the meeting with Secretary Jewell, and by doing so silenced the voice of many locals who weren't admitted?  Where were they when the Dona Ana County Sheriff was prevented from entering the same meeting?  Not a peep was heard from them then on free speech.  Another example of "Free Speech For Me But Not For Thee".

Ranch Radio Song Of The Day #1266

From their 1957 album here are the Wilburn Brothers performing Don't Sweetheart Me.

Ski area owner shocked by added price to environmental impact statement

The owner of Lookout Pass Ski Area is baffled and frustrated by a recent $120,000 increase in the original bid price that a consultant is charging the ski area to write an Environmental Impact Statement for its proposed expansion. But officials with the Idaho Panhandle National Forest still hope the warring parties can resolve their issues. Phil Edholm, CEO and president of the ski area on the Montana-Idaho border, said that in his opinion, the delays and extra costs are beginning to become serious issues. “There is so much incompetence and lack of knowledge on how to proceed with this process from the Forest Service,” he explained. “There are so many undue delays. We’re going in circles here trying to get this thing resolved, but I’m optimistic it will get resolved.” Earlier this summer, Oregon-based SWCA Environmental Consultants informed Edholm that the cost of the EIS will be $120,000 more than their original bid of $500,000 for the work. Edholm sent a letter to forest supervisor Mary Farnsworth detailing his concerns. “This cost increase raises significant concerns for Lookout Pass, which strategically budgeted $500,000, based off the Forest Service’s actions, to pay for the cost of SWCA’s preparation of the Third-Party EIS,” he wrote. “Neither law nor policy requires the type and scope of cultural and archaeological field investigation studies proposed by the Scope of Work and described in the Fieldwork Plan. Furthermore, SWCA has not provided sufficient information to support its decision to perform such extensive studies described in the Scope of Work and Fieldwork Plan. This Scope of Work and increased cost estimate to conduct fieldwork and to prepare two technical reports for the Third-Party EIS is simply not appropriate.” Edholm wrote that the failure to include these costs in the original proposal is detrimental to Lookout Pass’ project planning...more

Federal grand jury charges man with starting Rim Fire

A federal grand jury charged Keith Emerald of Tuolumne County on Thursday with starting the Rim Fire, a wildfire that began in August 2013 and burned more than 250,000 acres in California. According to his indictment, Emerald, 32, is charged with starting an illegal fire in the Stanislaus National Forest on August 17 last year and letting it spread beyond his control. The nine-week blaze that followed was the third largest in California history and resulted in the evacuation of the Cal Alumni Association’s Lair of the Golden Bear camp. Aside from felony charges of setting timber afire and giving false statements to a government agency, Emerald was charged with the misdemeanors of leaving a fire unattended and unextinguished and violating a fire restriction order...more

Monday, August 11, 2014

In Idaho and across the West, aspen trees are disappearing

The most widespread tree in North America is disappearing. East Idaho's aspen community, once estimated to cover 40 percent of the region's forested areas, has declined by an estimated 60 percent in the past 100 years, while Arizona has seen a 90 percent decline during that time, said Aren Eddingsaas, chairman of the science and technology committee for the Eastern Idaho Aspen Working Group and a wildlife biologist for the Shoshone-Bannock Tribe. "I would consider it a very big issue," said Ben Dyer, ecologist for the Bureau of Land Management. "It's a keystone species and vital to other plant, animal and insect survival." Experts agree that the decline of aspen, locally and around the West, largely is the result of two things: lack of fire and encroachment of conifers and juniper. Because the root system of aspen runs deeper than most trees, aspen can survive forest fires that competing trees can't. But as wildfire fighting becomes more prevalent, aspen benefit less. "When you have juniper encroachment, they have a wide root system and take in a lot more water and can choke out the aspen," Dyer said. The trees also are susceptible to "sudden aspen decline" - a condition that claims entire groves without conifer invasion...more

Mules Bring Supplies to Wildland Crews in California

Though they use satellites, air tankers and radios to battle blazes, firefighters also are turning to a four-legged solution in the wilds of Trinity County. The Shasta-Trinity National Forest is using teams of mules to move supplies to firefighters on the Coffee Fire, which was at 6,098 acres and 45 percent containment Saturday morning, said Jay C. Nichols of the fire’s command team. The Trinity Alps Pack mules are divided into strings, or teams of five, and haul everything from food to fire hoses, led by Mike McFadin, said Lisa Radosevich-Craig of the U.S. Forest Service. Each animal carries about 160 pounds of gear. The mules are normally used to carry supplies to California Conservation Corps crews on trails, but they’re suited to the rugged terrain, Nichols said. They can travel up to 30 miles in one delivery. Each string of mules saves a helicopter up to 12 supply trips, Radosevich-Craig said. They were “instrumental” in saving the historic Hodges Cabin in the early days of the fire, she said. The Trinity Alps has 18 mules, though they’re switched out for each delivery, Nichols said. “They’re entitled to some rest,” he said...more

BLM drilling permit bill attracts broad support at Senate hearing

Witnesses and committee members argued over the extent of oil and gas drilling permit delays at US Bureau of Land Management field offices. But they strongly supported a bill that would make permanent a pilot program enacted in 2005 to begin relieving the problem at a July 29 US Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing. "For years, federal policies have put federal lands at a competitive disadvantage with the state lands and private lands. This is especially true when it comes to oil and natural gas production," said Sen. John A. Barrasso (R-Wyo.), who cosponsored the June 5 measure with US Sen. Tom Udall (D-NM). "We should stop making it harder to produce energy on federal lands. S. 2440 is one way to do that," he said. Barrasso continued, "This bill will give local BLM offices the financial resources necessary to process oil and gas permits in a timely manner. It will also give BLM the ability to anticipate where permitting backlogs may develop in the future and take steps to prevent them from occurring." Asked if allowing the pilot program to expire in 2015 would affect the US Department of the Interior agency's hiring, BLM Director Neil Kornze said, "The short answer is yes. With that authorization expiring, we aren't able to offer certainty." Kornze noted in his written testimony that the pilot program was established under Section 365 of the 2005 Energy Policy Act (EPACT) in seven BLM field offices in Miles City, Mont.; Buffalo and Rawlins, Wyo.; Grand Junction/Glenwood Springs, Colo.; Vernal, Utah; and Farmington and Carlsbad, NM. US President Barrack Obama expanded the boundaries of two of the project offices—Miles City, to include the growing Bakken shale development, and Buffalo—in response to changing demand for federal oil and gas resource development on Dec. 26, 2013, Kornze said...more

Endangered species get in the way of forest-thinning projects

Forest-thinning projects in Arizona and California have been put on hold amid concerns over the health and safety of endangered species in the forest. In Flagstaff, Ariz., environmentalists are worried about the negative effects tree-thinning efforts might have on the endangered Mexican spotted owl and the prey it relies upon to survive. In California, wildlife advocates concerned about the well-being of the Sierra Nevada yellow-legged frog. Lawsuits in both Arizona and Utah are just two of many legal standoffs, pitting forest managers against environmental groups. In California, the Forest Service's "Upper Echo Lakes Hazardous Fuels Reduction Project" is on hold as it awaits the resolution over two separate lawsuits. Plaintiffs in the suit say the thinning would unnecessarily harm the protected frog. A similar suit has slowed another thinning plan in Arizona. Proponents of the thinning plan say environmentalists are missing the big picture -- that forest thinning is good for the forest and thus good for the owl. "The Schultz fire showed us the price of inaction, and the fact that the voters of Flagstaff are willing to spend $10 million on the Dry Lake Hills project shows that they want this problem addressed," Stephen Dewhurst, an associate professor in Northern Arizona University's School of Forestry, recently told the Arizona Daily Sun. "Over the long term, that's going to be good for the owl and for us too."...more