Saturday, September 06, 2014

Obama punts on immigration action until after midterm election

President Obama is pushing back any executive action on immigration until after the November. After numerous conversations with his cabinet, members of Congress, and stakeholders, the official said, Obama decided that postponing any executive action was the best route. The decision goes against the pledge Obama made less than 24 hours earlier on Friday that he would act "soon." The president does plan to act before the end of the year, the official added. The White House cited what they called Republican exploitation of the humanitarian situation near the Rio Grande Valley for further justification to delay any executive action by the president. The White House official touted the decrease in the number of unaccompanied minors entering the U.S. along the southwest border in recent month on Saturday, stating the "border is more secure than ever before -- without any help from Republicans in Congress." While the move by Obama may help vulnerable Democrats in tight reelection races as control of the Senate hangs in the balance, immigration advocates were quick to slam the president's decision on Saturday. “The president’s latest broken promise is another slap to the face of the Latino and immigrant community," said Cristina Jimenez, director of the larger youth-led group United we Dream...more

Friday, September 05, 2014

NM pronghorn shot last year is new world record

A pronghorn buck shot last year in New Mexico has been certified by the Boone and Crockett Club as a new world record. The huge buck, hunted in Socorro County, N.M., by Mike Gallo, scored 96-4/8 B&C points. Outstanding features of Gallo's trophy are: lengths of horns: 18-3/8 right, 18-4/8 left; total mass: 23-3/8 right, 23-2/8 left; lengths of prongs: 7 right, 6-5/8 left. The new record breaks a tie between two specimens from Arizona. One was taken in Coconino County in 2000, the other in Mohave County in 2002. Both scored 95 B&C points. Club officials say the difference between these old records and the new — a full inch-and-a-half — is an extraordinary jump. In fact, the margin between the now No. 1- and No. 2-ranked trophies is the largest in Boone and Crockett pronghorn records, which contain more than 3,400 entries. Overall, New Mexico is second in pronghorn entries in Boone and Crockett records, with 627. Wyoming is first with 1,154. Rounding out the top five are Arizona (339), Nevada (288) and Montana (183).  AP

BLM takes steps to separate hikers and sheep protection dogs

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management is taking some novel steps in southwest Colorado to lessen potentially dangerous encounters between backcountry recreationalists and livestock-protection dogs. The BLM is posting a map of grazing allotments to let hikers and mountain bikers know where sheep herds and the dogs protecting them might be encountered. The map is centered on the Silverton area and the Colorado Trail, where many of the confrontations between recreationalists and the dogs have been reported. The BLM also is working with sheep ranchers to develop a pilot program for next year that will give herders global positioning system devices. The herders will download flocks' locations so the public can check that information online and learn where protection dogs are. That project will go into effect at the beginning of the grazing season next summer. This year's grazing season ends this month...more

Thumbs up to the BLM for this reasonable and balanced approach, and for using the latest technology to help resolve a resource issue.  Note the cooperative attitude displayed by the District Manager:

"We recognize the use of livestock-protection dogs as an important nonlethal method for predator control, and we are working to improve our outreach efforts to ensure the public is aware of potential interactions between various users on the trails as we manage for all the important multiple uses in and around the Silverton area," said Connie Clements, manager of the BLM's eight-county Tres Rios Field area.

Congress deadlocks on solutions to wildfire funding

Every year, the same story plays out somewhere in the West. The Forest Service allocates about 40 percent of its budget to firefighting, but in extreme years, that funding burns up by July or August, a month or more before fire season officially ends. Then the borrowing begins. Staffers call it "fire stealing"taking money to fight fires from research, forest stewardship and recreation. Congress is supposed to return that borrowed money, but even when it does, the work has already been disrupted. Ironically, funding is often yanked from projects that could help reduce the risk and intensity of wildfires. During 2012 and 2013, roughly $1 billion was pilfered, leaving the agency too broke to thin trees in the Verde watershed wildland-urban interface in Arizona or reduce hazardous fuels in California's Tahoe National Forest. Federal and state officials and policymakers agree that the current budgeting model, also used by the Department of Interior, is broken. And firefighting costs keep climbing: Wildfire season is two months longer than it used to be, and since the 1970s, the average acreage burned has increased five-fold. Plus, development keeps encroaching on forests, forcing firefighters to defend homes, an expensive—and dangerous—task. The most promising remedy has stalled out in the House. The bipartisan Wildfire Disaster Funding Act would treat the biggest wildfires like any other natural disaster (the same approach proposed by President Obama's 2015 budget). When firefighting costs exceed 70 percent of the 10-year average, land-management agencies could tap a $2.7 billion federal disaster relief account. That would enable agencies to fully fund existing programs, including those that reduce fire danger. Yet the Wildfire Disaster Funding Act has gone nowhere, apparently due mostly to opposition from two powerful House members: Budget Chair Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and Natural Resources Chair Doc Hastings, R-Wash. In July, Ryan sent his colleagues a letter stating that the bill would break the federal budget by increasing spending and deficits. Simpson and Schrader countered that their proposal doesn't change total spending. (The Congressional Budget Office concurs, but notes that the bill could lead to greater spending in future years.) Ryan and Hastings are pushing instead for Senate action on Hastings' Restoring Healthy Forests for Healthy Communities Act, which the House passed last fall. It doesn't address the fire-borrowing problem, but would purportedly reduce fire danger, and hence suppression costs, by expediting projects that remove fuel from forests, including grazing and logging. The Forest Service would have to designate "revenue" areas in national forests, and log at least half of each area. The bill would reduce environmental review and limit public comment on many projects, and make it much harder to file lawsuits. President Obama has said he would veto it...more

Hawaii Is a State. Can It Be a Country, Too?

For years, native Hawaiians, whose islands were once a kingdom, have fought for recognition of that distinctive history from the U.S. government. They’ve won an array of federally funded benefits for those who can claim they’re descended from the state’s aboriginal people, including housing, education, and health-care programs. Yet they’ve been repeatedly stymied in their efforts to win sovereign recognition like that of American Indian tribes on the mainland. Now the Obama administration is considering a plan to establish “government-to-government” relations with native Hawaiians. Announced by Interior Secretary Sally Jewell in June, the plan could lead to greater legal protection for programs favoring native Hawaiians and add momentum to an effort by the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, a state agency, to build a self-governing entity. While Republican senators have called the proposal divisive and say it goes too far, hundreds of Hawaiians turned out at public hearings to protest because they say it doesn’t go far enough. “If the United States is truly intent on reestablishing a government-to-government relationship, it needs to be with the reformed independent Hawaiian nation-state,” Ethan Onipa’a Porter, a teacher, said at a forum in Honolulu. “I think the Department of the Interior completely misread the pulse out here before they decided to go down this road,” says former Hawaii Attorney General Michael Lilly, a Republican. The roots of the dispute date back to the 1890s, when Hawaii’s Queen Lili‘uokalani was overthrown by sugar planters. The islands were annexed by the U.S. in 1895 and became the 50th state in 1955. Congress passed a resolution in 1993 apologizing to Hawaiians for the government’s role in ousting the monarchy. Now the administration is moving ahead without Congress. In an Aug. 1 letter to Jewell, Republican Senators Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, Mike Lee of Utah, Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, and Jeff Flake of Arizona called the proposed move “at worst unconstitutional, and at best offensive to the character of a country devoted to the advancement of all its citizens regardless of race.” The senators accused the administration of moving to usurp congressional authority and to enshrine “the type of arbitrary race-based classification that the Supreme Court has found anathema to the Constitution.” They cited a 2000 Supreme Court ruling that found the state of Hawaii couldn’t limit eligibility to vote in elections for the OHA’s board to people who could prove Hawaiian ancestry without violating the 15th Amendment ban on race-based voting restrictions. That raised concerns that social programs run by the OHA that favor native Hawaiians—some financed by trusts that precede the islands’ annexation—could also come under constitutional scrutiny. Yet some Hawaiian independence activists want the federal government to open a discussion with them about full sovereignty. “It should be the Department of State addressing the question of any relationship between the U.S. government and the Hawaiian nation,” Wesleyan University anthropology professor J. Kehaulani Kauanui wrote in an e-mail. “This proposal is a trapdoor.”...more

Y’stone drone pilot charged after crash

Federal authorities filed charges this week against a German man who Yellowstone National Park rangers believe crashed a drone into Grant Village Marina in July. Andreas Meissner, of Koenigswinter, Germany, faces four federal charges after a Yellowstone investigation uncovered proof that Meissner flew a drone in the park, filmed without a permit, left his property unattended in the park and gave a false report to park authorities. Meissner was filming as part of a documentary about a charity cycling tour when his drone’s battery died flying over the marina area of Yellowstone Lake. Rangers recovered the drone July 30 and filed charges against Meissner in federal magistrate court Aug. 27. Rangers say video files found on a GoPro camera mounted to the Phantom 2 show Meissner flew it within park boundaries at least three times, once in the Midway Geyser Basin area and twice along Grant Village Road...more

USDA to buy up to $13M in canned pink salmon

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has agreed to buy up to $13 million in canned pink salmon to ease a glut that has weighed down prices for Alaska fishermen. In July, Gov. Sean Parnell asked the USDA to buy $37 million worth of canned fish under a federal law that allows the government to purchase surplus food from farmers and donate it to food banks or other programs. Earlier this year, the agency purchased $20 million worth of canned salmon. U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski announced USDA’s plans Wednesday. She says she isn’t focused on a specific dollar amount but on the government considering using existing funds to take excess salmon off warehouse shelves and provide a nutritious food to Americans in need.  AP

The feds protect one or more species if they are threatened or endangered and buys up the surplus of another species.  Gov't fish all the way.  And look who supports this - two Republicans.

Military Experts: With ISIS in El Paso, Ft. Bliss in Danger of Terrorist Attack

The recent increase in security at a key Army base near a Mexican border city where Islamic terrorists are confirmed to be operating and planning an attack on the United States indicates that the facility is a target, according to senior military experts contacted by Judicial Watch. Last week JW reported that the militant group Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) is working in the Mexican border city of Ciudad Juarez and planning to attack the United States with car bombs or other vehicle borne improvised explosive devices (VBIED). High-level federal law enforcement, intelligence and other sources confirmed to JW that a warning bulletin for an imminent terrorist attack on the border has been issued. Agents across a number of Homeland Security, Justice and Defense agencies have all been placed on alert and instructed to aggressively work all possible leads and sources concerning this imminent terrorist threat. Juarez is a famously crime-infested narcotics hotbed situated across from El Paso, Texas. Ft. Bliss is the Army’s second-largest installation, spanning more than 1 million acres with an active duty force of 34,411 and headquartered in El Paso. Two days after JW broke the story on ISIS operating in Juarez, Ft. Bliss announced it was increasing security measures. A statement that went out to the media was rather vague, attributing the move to several recent security assessments and the constant concern for the safety of military members, families, employees and civilians. But senior military officials contacted by JW this week reveal that military installations in the U.S. only make changes to security measures when there are clear and present threats. “It’s a significant issue when this is done,” says retired Army Lt. Gen. Jerry Boykin, former commander of the Army’s elite Delta Force who also served four years as Deputy Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence. “That means they’re getting a threat stream. Ft. Bliss had to have a clear and present threat.” The inaccuracies to the public appear to be part of a broader effort by the Obama administration to downplay the bloodshed that has long plagued the southern border and now the imminent threat of Islamic jihadists planning a strike as the 13th anniversary of the worst terrorist attack on U.S. soil approaches. Remember that Obama’s first Homeland Security Secretary, Janet Napolitano, famously proclaimed that the border is as secure as it’s ever been even as organized syndicates took over portions of the region, smuggling drugs, humans, weapons and money into the U.S.Back in 2010 a veteran federal agent disclosed that the government was covering up the growing threat by Middle Eastern terrorists entering the country through Mexico. The U.S. Border Patrol classifies them as OTM (Other Than Mexican) and many come from terrorist nations like Yemen, Iran, Sudan, Somalia and Afghanistan. The feds call them SIAs (Special Interest Aliens) and the government doesn’t want Americans to know about them or that ISIS is operating adjacent to a major American city. “ISIS is working with the drug cartels,” confirms retired U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Paul E. Vallely, who’s regularly briefed by high-level contacts in the region....more

Are ISIS militants coming across the Texas-Mexico border?

In recent public settings, Gov. Rick Perry has mentioned ISIS terrorists could be using the Texas-Mexico border to gain access to the U.S. On Tuesday, KXAN spoke with one of the foremost authorities on terrorism and security about the threat. “We have not seen any evidence of ISIS amassed at the border ready to come into the United States,” said Fred Burton, vice president of intelligence at Austin-based Stratfor, a firm that analyzes security threats around the world. Two gates at Fort Bliss in El Paso were shut down over the Labor Day weekend because of security precautions. The closures came amid recent Defense Department guidance and internal security assessments, a U.S. Army spokesperson said...more

Ranch Radio Song Of The Day #1286

Here's another uptempo, rockin' type country tune: Elmer Bryant - Gertie's Garter Broke

Thursday, September 04, 2014

Lack of charges in Cliven Bundy standoff poses risk, group says

Federal land managers want criminal charges filed in 35 cases related to the armed standoff between officers and militia members supporting Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy — and delay by prosecutors may be putting other federal officials at risk, an advocacy group charged Tuesday. More than four months ago, the federal Bureau of Land Management referred the cases to Nevada’s U.S. attorney’s office, according to data released by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER).  The group contends the feds’ failure to promptly charge those who pointed high-powered weapons at officers will encourage more defiance of federal authority over public lands, and may even endanger BLM employees in Utah and other Western states, where anti-federal sentiment has run high. "A criminal referral is the toughest option available to a land management agency like BLM, but that action is toothless if the U.S. attorney ignores it," said PEER’s executive director, Jeff Ruch. "BLM cannot do its job without legal support from the Justice Department." Similar concerns have been raised about the absence of citations issued in connection with an illegal ATV ride in Utah’s Recapture Canyon on May 10 led by San Juan County Commissioner Phil Lyman to protest federal "overreach." During the week prior, BLM Utah director Juan Palma had warned that those who violated the law would face legal consequences. Nevada U.S. Attorney Daniel Bogden said in a prepared statement to the Las Vegas Review-Journal on Tuesday that his office does not "sit on criminal referrals from BLM." Adding to PEER’s frustration is the feds’ refusal to release the names of those recommended for prosecution and the specific charges requested. "Cloaking these cases only adds to the impression that this is a stall, not a deliberative pause," Ruch said. "Tolerating flagrant lawbreaking for years is how the present situation festered to fruition." PEER’s assertions are anchored in a database compiled by Syracuse University to track the criminal workloads of various U.S. attorneys offices. PEER intends to follow the outcome of the Recapture Canyon ride, but the database is current only through April 30, according to Ruch. It is not clear whether the BLM has requested that charges be filed against any of the 50 people who rode into the Utah canyon May 10. BLM’s Utah office recently handed the results of its investigation to the U.S. attorney’s office in Salt Lake City, according to BLM spokeswoman Megan Crandall. But her Justice Department counterpart, Melodie Rydalch, declined to comment...more

Could be there's some things they don't want to come out at trial.  Most likely, they don't want what would surely be a messy arrest of Bundy, plus the arrest of a County Commissioner, prior to election day.  December could be an exciting month.

Officials celebrate 50 years of conservation, wilderness laws

Obama administration officials and lawmakers celebrated Wednesday the 50th anniversary of a pair of laws that set aside wilderness areas and provide conservation funding. Officials took the opportunity of the anniversary to pressure Congress to renew the Land and Water Conservation Fund, whose authorization will soon run out. Wednesday was also the birthday of the Wilderness Act, which provides the means for designating wilderness areas and protecting them from development. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell celebrated the 50th anniversary of President Lyndon Johnson signing the laws with a speech at the Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge in New Jersey. “It was one of the most amazing days for conservation in the history of this country. Probably the most amazing day,” Jewell said. Great Swamp was the first wilderness area designated under the act, and more than 100 million acres followed. Jewell said the United States has learned a great deal about the importance of preserving old-growth forests, especially for the species that live there. The Land and Water Conservation Fund takes money from fees on offshore oil and gas drilling and gives it to various conservation and recreation efforts. New Jersey Reps. Rush Holt (D), Leonard Lance (R) and Rodney Frelinghuysen (R) have all endorsed renewing it. “It’s going to need reauthorization and I’m sure our three members of Congress who are up here are going to make sure that this Congress takes a step in the right direction with full funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund,” Jewell said...more

Dang, I wasn't invited to the celebration.  I see it was held in New Jersey, where the feds only own 176,00 acres, or  3.7% of the state.  Here's my suggestion to Congress and especially to those R's in NJ:  Spend the entire $900 million each and every year from the LWCF to acquire land in New Jersey, then pass laws to designate all acquired lands as Wilderness.  Then 50 years from now, let's see what kind of a celebration they host.

Green Markets

John Stosselby John Stossel

Last week I said the Environmental Protection Agency has become a monster that does more harm than good. But logical people say, "What else we got?" It's natural to assume greedy capitalists will run amok and destroy the Earth unless stopped by regulation.

These critics don't understand the real power of private ownership, says Terry Anderson of the Property and Environment Research Center.

"Long before the EPA was a glint in anyone's eye," said Anderson on my TV show, "property rights were dealing with pollution issues."

The worst pollution often happens on land owned by "the people" -- by government. Since no one person derives direct benefit from this property, it's often treated carelessly. Some of the worst environmental damage happens on military bases and government research facilities, such as the nuclear research site in Hanford, Washington.

Worse things may happen when government indifference combines with the greed of unrestrained businesspeople, like when the U.S. Forest Service lets logging companies cut trees on public land. Private forest owners are careful to replant and take steps to prevent forest fires. Government-owned forests are not as well managed. They are much more likely to burn.

When it's government land -- or any commonly held resource -- the incentive is to get in and take what you can, while you can. It's called the "tragedy of the commons."

"No one washes a rental car," says Anderson, but "when people own things, they take care of them. And when they have private property rights that they can enforce, other people can't dump gunk onto the property."

That's why, contrary to what environmentalists often assume, it's really property rights that encourage good stewardship. If you pollute, it's your neighbors who are most likely to complain, not lazy bureaucrats at the EPA.

"Here in Montana, for example, the Anaconda Mining Company, a copper and mining company, ruled the state," says Anderson.

"And yet when it was discovered that their tailings piles (the heaps left over after removing the valuable material by mining) had caused pollution on ranches that neighbored them, local property owners took them to court. (Anaconda Mining) had to cease and desist and pay for damages. ... They quickly took care of that problem." They also restored some of the land they had mined.

Property rights and a simple, honest court system -- institutions that can exist without big government -- solve problems that would be fought about for years by politicians, environmental bureaucrats and the corporations who lobby them.

In fact, it's harder to assess the benefits and damages in environmental disputes when these decisions are taken out of the marketplace and made by bureaucracies that have few objective ways to measure costs.

Yellowstone ‘Super Eruption’ Could Blanket U.S. in Ash, Study Finds

If Yellowstone erupted into a massive, ash-spewing volcano, how far might the plume travel across the continental United States? From coast to coast, blanketing every city in ash, according to an unsettling new study. Geophysicists developed a computer model of a Yellowstone “super eruption” that would spew 330 cubic kilometers of volcanic ash into the sky. The resulting ash cloud, depending on wind conditions, would blanket the continental United States in ash deposits of varying thickness, according to the study, published late August in the journal Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems. New York and Washington D.C., would get a light dusting of ash measuring roughly one-tenth of an inch, while San Francisco and Seattle would get a heaping 2 inches. Billings, Montana, meanwhile, would have to dig out from a 70-inch pile up...more

More than 57,000 gun-friendly bars, eateries crop up across America

The owners of TBonz Steakhouse in Augusta, Georgia, decided to be proactive when Republican Gov. Nathan Deal signed into law one of the most comprehensive pro-gun bills in the country this April, which allowed firearms into the state’s bars and restaurants. The eatery hung up a “No Guns” sign on its front door. Its customer backlash was so harsh and quick that the steakhouse immediately took down the sign and then posted a mea culpa on its Facebook page. “The sign that was put up regarding firearms has been removed,” TBonz said in its Facebook posting this May. “It was our intention to get the attention of IRRESPONSIBLE gun owners. But then we realized that irresponsible gun owners do not pay attention to signs.” Carrying rights are now a reality in every state, while only three states — Maine, North Dakota and Illinois — claim a complete ban on guns in restaurants or any establishment that derives more than half of its profits from alcohol. In many states, including Ohio, it’s up to the customer to refrain from drinking alcohol while carrying a firearm — which can be an operational headache. Some remain silent on the issue, essentially giving a free pass to carry. While each state’s bill is written differently and has varied licensing requirements, most give restaurant and bar owners the right to “post” their establishment — that is, to tack a sign onto their door either prohibiting or allowing guns. After the 2012 Newtown, Connecticut, school shooting, many national chain eateries, including Starbucks, Sonic and Chipotle, told their customers to leave behind their weapons — homing in on what they believed to be a rising national antigun sentiment. However, many smaller restaurants and bars are embracing guns, telling patrons to come in and eat armed for a variety of reasons, including not angering their own customer base, to attract Second Amendment rights activists and to not leave themselves vulnerable to crimes by blatantly stating everyone in the joint is unarmed. The Cajun Experience in Leesburg, Virginia, has Second Amendment Wednesdays, where patrons are encouraged to either go concealed carry or open carry. “This is a Virginia restaurant, and we abide by Virginia state laws, which allow for open carry or concealed carry in a restaurant — so why should I hinder it? It’s our constitutional right to bear arms,” said Bryan Crosswhite, owner of the Cajun Experience. “We definitely see more traffic since we started this. It’s been an overwhelming response.” In addition to owning a gun-friendly eatery, Mr. Crosswhite has started an organization that lists other pro-Second Amendment companies nationally, called He started the venture this winter and already has 57,000 businesses signed on. is another registry where Second Amendment activists keep a log of both gun-friendly shops and the anti-Second Amendment stores in Arizona and Kansas. They meet monthly to both update the list, converse and eat and drink with their weapons in a firearm-friendly establishment. Local shops who show the love to gun-toting customers are getting it in return...more

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Judge Sets Hearings for Illegal Alien Minors--4 Years From Now

Seventeen-year-old Cristian stepped through the swinging wooden door separating the crowded waiting area from the judge’s bench, straightening his slightly-too-big dress shirt as he slid behind the defendant's desk. As his lawyer took the seat beside him, Cristian slipped on the court-provided headphones so he could hear the Spanish-speaking translator as his lawyer began to speak. After a few pleasantries, Cristian’s lawyer told Immigration Judge John M. Bryant that his client conceded to the charge of being an undocumented alien in the United States and was subject to potential removal. Cristian wanted to plead for asylum for “protection from torture,” and “declined to state his country of removal at this time,” the lawyer added. Within a minute, Bryant had accepted the plea and scheduled a hearing in which the court will determine if Cristian is eligible to receive asylum. The date was set for June 11, 2018. “Are you available that day?” Bryant jokingly asked the lawyer. “I don’t have my 2018 calendar in front of me, but yes, I believe so,” the lawyer responded. “Okay, good. Have a good school year,” Bryant told Cristian. “I’ll see you in a few years, okay?” The entire ordeal was over in less than five minutes. The revolving door of the U.S. immigration system was in constant motion Tuesday morning in Courtroom 6 of the Arlington Immigration Court, as a steady stream of undocumented alien children piled in to the small space in hopes of being granted permission to stay in the United States. Three cases were ready to plead for asylum, and all received hearing dates set for June, 2018. By that time, all three children -- currently teenagers -- will be well into adulthood. Most of the children had shown up for a “master hearing,” or a first appearance in court, and were not yet required to make an official plea. To help put them at ease, Bryant began the long line of hearings by telling the assembled children that they were “special.” “This is all about you,” he told the children. “You’re so special we have a docket just for you.”...more

Ranch Radio Song Of The Day #1285

Our "Rockabilly Week" tune today is The Train's Done Gone by Ray Scott

Ranchers concerned about grazing fees if state takes over from feds

Should Montana Republican lawmakers saddle up to take control of federal lands, they might be without one important, generally conservative group – cowboys. The U.S. Bureau of Land Management manages 7.8 million acres of land in Montana and all but a few hundred thousand acres are leased for grazing at the incredibly low rate of $1.34 for enough forage to feed an animal for a month. The U.S. Forest Service also leases grazing land for the same low price. Montana also leases grazing land using the same forage formula, but the state charges no less than $11.41, with the possibility of the price being driven higher by competitive bidding. The price difference between the state and federal government, as well as the difference in leasing terms, has ranchers pulling back on the reins as Republicans, who have made a state takeover of federal lands part of their party platform, ride ahead. “I think it’s a pretty big decision,” said Jay Bodner of the Montana Stockgrowers Association. “The topic has been discussed, but I don’t know if we’ve ever gotten down to the finer details.” The ranch groups that tend to align themselves with Republican lawmakers are being cautious in what they say about a state takeover of federal land. As one industry representative said, there’s a real “with us or against us” attitude among Republicans supporting a takeover. No one wants to be alienated for pointing out the potential negatives for the livestock industry. The Montana Farm Bureau Federation, the state’s largest agriculture group, recognizes a need to at least discuss the state taking over federal lands, but stops short of endorsing the move. “I think it’s a discussion that should be held because of the mismanagement of our federal lands,” said John Youngberg, Montana Farm Bureau Federation CEO. “Do I think we should just take over 30 million acres of federal land in Montana tomorrow? I don’t think that’s reasonable.”...more

Nobody is saying this will happen "tomorrow", so I don't understand Youngberg's comment.  After all, that's why the states are setting up these study committees.

There are fees and there are costs.  At the federal level there are the "costs" of scoping, EAs, EISs, Land Use Plans, AMPs and myriad appeals and lawsuits by outside interests, plus dictates on type of livestock, where and when you can place salt or feed, and on and on.

The total cost of doing business on state land will be, in many instances, less than the total cost of dealing with the feds.

Let's hope its not the livestock industry who kills the deal in Montana.  Better read the tea leaves ladies and gentlemen.  Look back at what's happened over the last thirty years and surely you can see what's going to happen in the future.

Interior's'rock star' budget chief has left the building

When word began to spread that the Interior Department's top career budget chief was calling it quits after nearly four decades of government service, congressional aides of both parties began fretting. Pam Haze is one of Interior's most experienced ambassadors to Congress and a vital resource for appropriators who decide how to fund the $12 billion department. "All of us are nervous," said a Senate Appropriations Committee aide, who was distraught enough to call a meeting earlier this month with his counterpart across the aisle to discuss Haze's departure. Haze -- Interior's deputy assistant secretary for budget, finance, performance and acquisition -- retired Friday after nearly a decade shaping the department's fiscal programs. Her departure leaves a gaping hole in Interior's budget and policy shop, say current and former agency officials and congressional staff. "She is one of the best, or maybe the best, public servant I have worked with," said Chris Topik, who worked with Haze as an aide to former Rep. Norm Dicks of Washington. Dicks left Congress in early 2013 as the Appropriations Committee's top Democrat. "Her reliability is legendary." Her knowledge of the agency and its 70,000 employees is unparalleled, according to those who have worked with her. Described as a "rock star" by two Interior colleagues, Haze is credited with helping keep the department afloat during the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, the federal sequester and the government shutdown of October 2013. Her Interior career began in 1975 as a clerk for the Bureau of Outdoor Recreation, an agency that was later folded into Interior's Heritage Conservation and Recreation Service before being abolished by former Interior Secretary James Watt during the Reagan administration...more

Oh yeah, Watt shut that Bureau down.  He came to DC first to work for Wyo. Senator Simpson, then did a stint at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.  When Nixon was elected he held several positions at Interior, including heading up the Bureau of Outdoor Recreation, so he had more than a little familiarity with the Bureau.

On exactly how this happened we turn to Perry Pendley's Sagebrush Rebel: Reagan's Battle With Environmental Extremists....  Pendley tells us that early on Secretary Watt and Under Secretary Hodel met with career employees and bureau chiefs. At one of those meetings "a career official from the Heritage Conservation and Recreation Service (HCRS) - the organization once headed by Watt when it was the Bureau of Outdoor Recreation - asked, 'Mr. Secretary, do you plan to abolish the HCRS?'  Without hesitating, Watt replied, 'Yes.'  Afterward, as Watt and Hodel strode down the hallway, Hodel asked, 'Jim, when did you decide to abolish the HCRS?' 'I decided to do it as soon as he asked the question,' said Watt. 'If an official asks if his agency is going to be abolished, then he knows the answer already.' "

Pendley also advises Interior requested a 15.3 percent cut in funding for the '82 budget.  Congress didn't go along, in fact over the entire Reagan administration Congress appropriated $4 billion more than Interior requested.  However, over that same period employees were reduced by 11 percent. Not exactly how things are done today.

My review of Pendley's book is here.  Better get yourself a copy, before Obama bans it by Executive Order.

Outdoors users doubt state takeover of federal land is right fix

A lot of hunters, hikers and horseback riders have problems with federal land managers in Montana, but few of them are ready to take over the job. “I think there’s an incredibly bureaucratic system when it comes to operating recreational opportunities on federal lands, especially speaking as an outfitter,” said Mac Minard, director of the Montana Outfitters and Guides Association in Helena. “I don’t think anyone in the federal government is blatantly trying to poorly manage the land.” The Montana Republican Party in June passed a platform resolution calling for state takeover of 25 million acres of federally controlled land. Minard said MOGA’s membership hasn’t taken a position on the GOP move. “But I think the Montana model is pretty strong,” Minard said. “I’m not aware of a system that’s better in terms of affording public access to public resources. I think our relationships with the Forest Service, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Park Service are pretty darn good. I do think it could be done better. There are a lot of logging issues and recreational issues that tend to get wrapped up in federal processes or federal court challenges that prevent full utilization and benefit that could accrue from federal lands. There’s a step where we could help federal land managers do a better job than just transfer the land over.” The Legislature’s Environmental Quality Council last month considered a report on problems with federal land management in Montana that contained numerous “risks and concerns” about federal oversight, and recommendations for speeding up decisions on issues like logging, mining permits and road construction on public lands. Sen. Jennifer Fielder, R-Thompson Falls, chaired the drafting committee and is an advocate for full state management of public property. “It appears in early 1990s, we saw a shift from responsible productive land management to the downward spiral of dysfunction we have today,” Fielder said. “Federal policies like the Federal Land Management Policy Act of 1976 promised us land management would be performed with local planning and sustained yield, multiple use, and that counties would receive payment in lieu of taxes for the federal property within their borders. They’ve broken every promise since that was enacted. They’re giving us pennies in lieu of trillions.” Montana’s recreation economy generates about $5.8 billion a year in consumer spending and supports 64,000 direct jobs, according to the Outdoor Industry Association. The state receives 9.8 million visitors a year from outside its boundaries, and the state Fish, Wildlife and Parks Department said wildlife viewing is one of the top two reasons for coming. That outside interest can’t be ignored in the federal land management debate, according to Public Land and Water Access director John Gibson...more

new link

Forest Service road closure affecting hunters

Brian Davis and his wife have hunted elk up on public land above Vail Mountain ski resort for years. This season, however, will present new challenges. Mill Creek Road, a dirt U.S. Forest Service road that leads up the ski resort and 10 miles up to Benchmark, is among a number of public roads that are now closed to vehicle traffic. That poses a problem for hunters like the Davises, who are unhappy that their favorite hunting grounds are now much more difficult to access. “It’s going to be really different now,” he said. “Now we’re going to have to hike up there, and I’m a little concerned about parking in the Vail structure and having my wife walk up Bridge Street with a rifle. We’ll probably have to carry our kill down Bridge Street. That’s not a problem, but as a respectable hunter, I try not to do that to other non-hunters.” Mill Creek is one of a few heavily used roads that are now closed to motor vehicles as part of the Forest Service’s 2011 land management plan. Other popular roads that are now restricted include Davos Trail in West Vail and Spraddle Creek north of Vail. District Ranger Dave Neely said the closures went into effect several years ago as part of the White River National Forests’ travel management plan after a public process — but many people are just starting to take notice now as gates go up to block cars, ATVs and dirt bikes. “It’s nothing new. In 2005, regulations directed all national forests to make a travel management plan, and that included designating the roads that people use for travel and recreation,” said Neely. “What people are seeing now is the implementation.” In the case of Mill Creek, the road was closed to motor traffic both to protect wildlife habitat and to keep vehicles from interfering with summer resort work and operations...more

Brandborg recalls effort to pass Wilderness Act 50 years ago

Stewart Brandborg speaks in slow, precise, fully formed paragraphs. “Lots of people never set foot in a wilderness sanctuary, but they like the idea, the concept that somewhere Nature is working her will in the absence of the heavy hand of man,” he explains. “Whether it’s a trip to the zoo, or a heavily used city park, there’s something in the American people, inherited from their grandfathers and grandmothers who were the frontier vanguard that developed this country, for the outdoors. Even if they’ve never had a camping trip, never sampled Nature, they are an alliance of people who speak for unspoiled landscapes, rivers, mountains and deserts.” Brandborg has been shepherding that alliance nearly all his 89 years. He’s one of the last surviving witnesses to the creation of the Wilderness act of 1964, picking up the standard after its drafter, Howard Zahniser, died of a heart attack just weeks before President Lyndon Johnson signed it into law on Sept. 3, 50 years ago. “He was one of the originals who was right there,” said Brock Evans, former top legal representative of the Sierra Club during the Wilderness Act’s birthing and now board member of the Endangered Species Coalition in Washington, D.C. “He was a master of getting grassroots people who actually live in the threatened country together, and bringing them to learn the habitat of Washington. He taught me about the importance of grassroots organizing. From Brandy, I learned how to be a warrior and a fighter.” “Zahniser wrote this bill on an old white tablet with blue lines on his kitchen table,” Brandborg said. “I don’t think the term – I know damned well the term ‘wilderness’ wasn’t in common usage yet. But Zahniser was relentless in keeping attention on the only agency that used the term and that dedicated wilderness lands, because of the insights of a few in the U.S. Forest Service.” Brandborg referred in particular to Bob Marshall, the Forest Service explorer and founder of the Wilderness Society, whom he once met hiking through the West Fork of the Bitterroot River. Marshall died in 1939 at the age of 38. Two years later, The Forest Service set aside 950,000 acres of Montana’s Rocky Mountains in his memory – what’s now the Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex...more

Ranch Radio Song Of The Day #1284

Its a short week but we'll keep things moving with some rockabilly. Here's the Miller Brothers and their 1956 recording for the 4 Star label titled Loco Choo Choo.

Bio from   The Miller Brothers started singing in front of audiences as far back as when they were in grade school - at school functions and civic events. On the weekends, they would at dances and with other show groups. The 1955 version of The Miller Brothers group had been together sine 1940 and were continually doing the proverbial one-night stands. During the World War II period of 1943 and 1946, the group got split up a bit by serving in the military. For much of the early part of their career, they were playing mainly in Texas and southern Oklahoma. But in 1950, they decided to branch out a bit and started appearing in places such as New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado, Wyoming and occasionally over to Louisiana and Mississippi. Leon Miller was the leader of the group, and was an instrumentalist and composer, too. In high school, he was a concertmaster of his junior and senior year orchestras. Lee Miller helped Leon organize the group and handled a lot of the business arrangements. The group achieved a fair bit of fame in the mid-1950s. Billboard magazine named them the number 3 band in 1956. Downbeat magazine awarded them the number 4 spot in their new big bands contest. And they also got 29% of the vote as one of the most promising up and coming band in a Cash Box magazine survey. In Texas, they were rated the top Lone Star unit. In addition to their dance music, they also put on a bit of a floor show, trying to give their fans a bit entertainment for their admission price. The band also owned their own place to play when they weren't making appearances elsewhere - the MB Corral in Wichita Falls, Texas. It was able to seat 1,000 folks and had a roomy dance floor. The Miller Brothers did a radio show that aired twice a day over KFDX out of Wichita Falls, Texas. They also recorded for the 4 Star record label and had releases on "Rose of Tiajuana", "That's How Long I'll Love", "Alligator Rag", "Today Tomorrow" and "Nursery Rhyme Blues". Group members included: Leon Miller Lee Miller Sam Miller Bill Jourdan Madge Suttee Dutch Ingram Bill Taylor Dale Wilson

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Proposal to transfer federal lands to state ownership divisive, and debated

Whether debated over a steaming cup of coffee in a rural café or deliberated in the chambers of the Montana Capitol, the transfer of federal lands to state or private ownership has become a divisive political issue from Eureka to Ekalaka. Proponents and many opponents of a transfer argue that the state outperforms the federal government in management of public lands, and that the wood products industry needs more access to national forests for timber and other natural resource development. Escalating the debate was the Montana Republican Party’s June 2014 resolution making support for the land transfer an official party platform. The language in the resolution calls for a timely and orderly transfer, with government officials working in concert and providing resources to state and local governments to manage the lands, said one of the state’s major supporters of a transfer, Sen. Jennifer Fielder, R-Thompson Falls. The resolution also eliminates any sale of transferred lands without the consent of Montana’s citizens, she said. “I think the resolution is very thoughtful, filled with fact and the belief that Montanans can do a lot better than the federal government managing our lands,” Fielder said. “What right does the federal government have to control 80 percent of Mineral County? The fundamental question is do we want more federal control of Montana or do we want less?” Fielder chairs the SJ-15 working group under the Environmental Quality Council. The working group studies federal management of public lands, and makes recommendations to the Legislature on solutions to management shortfalls. Similar committees examining federal land issues have convened in Utah, Idaho, Wyoming and Nevada. SJ-15 studied a variety of management solutions like better coordination between federal and county governments, but extensive discussion and testimony about a land transfer garnered the most statewide attention...more

Estimates: State management of federal lands could cost Montana $500M

Determining the cost to the state of Montana to take over management of roughly 25 million acres of federal land within its borders is no easy task, but a back-of-the-envelope calculation puts such a deal at close to half a billion dollars. “There’s a whole new sector of land management that would be needed to manage public lands,” said John Grassy, information officer for the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation. “We’re being asked to project how we would staff and program an additional 25 million acres. It’s something we’ve never done before.” Despite the difficulties, the DNRC is still trying to come up with some figures, possibly by this fall. Gov. Steve Bullock has made it clear that he does not endorse a takeover of federal lands in Montana, calling such public property the birthright of state residents. But the Montana Republican Party in June endorsed such a move, including it as one of the planks of its platform. The GOP resolution states, among other things, that such a takeover would benefit Montana residents by allowing a larger timber harvest and clearing forests of fuels that are now burning in historically large wildland fires – thereby creating jobs and reducing air pollution; increase access to public lands, especially for motorized users; and give local governments a greater say in land management in their counties. The state of Utah, which has been leading the federal land takeover charge in the West, has excluded tribal lands, national parks and wilderness areas from its proposed takeover. Given that Montana has about 3.4 million acres of designated wilderness, then the amount of federal land the state might lay claim to is about 21.6 million acres. The BLM also manages about 37.8 million subsurface acres for mineral, oil and gas extraction. The DNRC oversees management of 5.1 million acres, so in acreage alone if the DNRC were to take on the responsibility of Forest Service and BLM land, its workload would increase fourfold...more

Cost of educating new class of illegal immigrant minors estimated at over $760M

A new report puts the price of educating the thousands of illegal immigrant children who recently crossed into the U.S. at a whopping $761 million this school year -- as some school systems push for the feds to pick up the tab. The estimate comes from the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), which issued a report on the 37,000 “unaccompanied minors” – who mainly are from Central America – after analyzing data from the Department of Health and Human Services and education funding formulas in all 50 states. The numbers underscore the concerns critics have raised for months about the burden the surge is putting on local school systems and governments. “We’re not doing American students any favors by dumping in tens of thousands of additional illegal alien children,” FAIR’s Bob Dane told Fox News. The report breaks down the costs by state. The biggest impact reportedly will be seen in California, Texas, Florida and New York. The Empire State leads the list with a bill of more than $147 million. Immigrant rights groups, though, say it’s a small price to pay for helping kids in need...more

‘Militarization’ Critics Want to Review a Pentagon Program After Ferguson. But Police Get Gear This Way, Too.

President Obama has led a chorus of cries for a review of a Pentagon program supplying “excess” weaponry and equipment to state and local police following events in Ferguson, Mo., but it turns out that another federal agency is a major player behind the “militarization” trend. The Department of Homeland Security offers grants designed to increase the preparedness of state, county and local law enforcement agencies in the event of a terrorist attack or other hazards. Besides equipment, the grants cover planning, organization, training and exercise. In fiscal year 2014, DHS awarded more than $1 billion in “homeland security grants” to states and local governments through three channels: the State Homeland Security Program, the Urban Areas Security Initiative and Operation Stonegarden. Missouri participates in the first two. The Show-Me State first signed up for the State Homeland Security Program in October 2003, Mike O’Connell, communications director for the Missouri Department of Public Safety, told The Daily Signal. More than three dozen jurisdictions around the nation got grants in fiscal 2014 under DHS’ Urban Areas initiative, David Inserra, an expert in homeland security at The Heritage Foundation, told The Daily Signal. Cities are picked through an analysis of “relative risk of terrorism.”...more

Having solved all other problems, Obama to fix your dishwasher

by Jazz Shaw

I guess he really was multitasking out on the golf course. The President’s team has been hard at work behind the scenes, coming up with a strategy … well, maybe we should say plan, to address the nation’s many challenges.
Spurred by President Obama’s climate action plan, the Department of Energy is pumping out new standards for refrigerators, dishwashers, air conditioners, ceiling fans, furnaces, boilers, water heaters, lamps and many more appliances. The administration says the standards will not only help the planet but also stimulate the economy by saving consumers money on their energy bills that they can spend elsewhere.
After what we’ve been through with energy regulations, you’d think the administration would be at least a little hesitant to leap in for another grab at that brass ring. I mean, won’t a sudden raft of new requirements for the products everyone has to purchase have some, er… unintended consequences? William Teach seems to have been thinking along the same lines.
While the rules may save a bit of energy (and there is nothing wrong with that, though it should be the consumer choice, not Government Mandate), it will also drive up the cost of the appliances/devices, which will harm the lower and middle classes.
Apparently this was obvious to everyone except the White House...more

How much is the Department of Interior spending on conferences? Don’t ask the Department of Interior

A new report released Thursday says the Department of Interior is not tracking the money it spends on conferences, and is failing to report conference costs publicly, a violation of the Obama administration’s own policy. The department’s Office of Inspector General’s report noted that the White House Office of Management and Budget has set out rules for conference spending, but said the Department of Interior isn’t following them at all. “We found that DOI provides OMB and the public with estimated expenses rather than actual costs because actual conference expenditures are not tracked,” it said. “As a result, DOI cannot effectively determine if conference or travel expenses have been reduced and, thus, if it has met OMB’s policy guidance to control costs.” In 2011, OMB required federal agencies to ensure a senior-level person reviewed and approved all conferences with expenses above $100,000, and prohibited spending on $500,000 for any single conference. Details on all conferences above $100,000 must be reported publicly. The OIG warned in 2012 that the Department of Interior was not prepared to track this spending, something that is still true today. “We found that DOI was inadequately prepared to accurately track and monitor its conferences and related expenses as required by public law and OMB policy guidance,” it said...more

They can't manage the lands they are responsible for and they can't track federal funds for which they are also responsible.  Do we really need these clowns?

The High Cost of Climate-Change Politics

By Anthony J. Sadar

“Environmental science is a contentious and intensely politicized field,” as the late Michael Crichton correctly noted in his 2004 best-selling novel State of Fear.  And, without a doubt, one particular subset of environmental science - climate science - has been intensely politicized.

Today, the politics of change is investing heavily in a climate of fear.  Based on faulty climate model predictions, the Administration is employing social engineering to grind ahead with a program to crush coal use. Coal and other fossil fuels relied upon for power generation are proffered as scary because they supposedly cause “dirty weather” and other global warming hobgoblins to materialize around the world.

But, although the administration defers to the “settled,” “consensus” view that increased carbon dioxide emissions from power plants will cause global temperatures to rise dramatically, that rise has dramatically not happened for more than 15 years.  Nor is it likely to happen any time in the next few decades, because water vapor, ocean circulations, and solar activity play a dominant role in climate regulation.

Regardless, essential power-generation jobs in the U.S. will be lost over the Administration's obsessive actions based on the dubious climate claim. And, so will relief for those in desperate need of low-cost abundant fossil-fuel energy worldwide.

Right now, there’s a billion-dollar bonanza in government funding for climate-change research, education and reeducation, engineering and reengineering, and state and local government programs.  Heaps of public dollars are ready for the taking for anyone willing to help the feds continue generating and fine-tuning the gloomy “gospel” that preaches “The end is near for low-cost, home-grown, abundant energy use.”  Furthermore, financing is readily available for subsequently fixing a climate problem that doesn’t exist with solutions that don’t work.

Forest Service publishes detailed instructions on how to safely roast marshmallows

The U.S. Forest Service on Friday published a nearly 700-word article on how to safely roast marshmallows, all in preparation for Saturday, which is National Roasted Marshmallow Day. As one might expect, the article is riddled with safety tips that might make you think twice about even carrying matches into the forest at all, let alone actually igniting a marshmallow and putting your family’s life at risk. “First, let’s talk safety,” the article says. “Never start a campfire when there are fire restrictions in place. The restrictions are put in place for your safety and for the safety of others.” It also warns that children should be given a stern talking-to before any of the “fun” begins. “Some experts advocate a 10-foot rule between young children and a campfire,” it reads. “For more information about campfire safety, let Smokey Bear guide you.” Finally, the article gets down to “marshmallow basics,” and starts by recommending the use of a roasting stick “of at least 30 inches.” That’s two and a half feet, or about half as long or more as the children roasting the marshmallows. The article doesn’t recommend a maximum length for a roasting stick...more

Is Michelle Obama running the Forest Service?

The Forest Service admits that most people use roasted marshmallows to make s’mores, and even offers detailed instructions for making one. But it then suggests ways to make s’mores healthy. “Think fruit,” it suggests without any hint that it’s joking around. “Grill thin slices of pineapple and substitute chocolate for the sweet, warm fruit,” it reads. “You will still get a tasty treat but by substituting with fruit, it is healthier – as long as you watch the amount of marshmallows used. If you want to cut down even more on calories, try using slices of angel food cake instead of graham crackers.” It offers several other ideas, a possible sign that even the U.S. Forest Service has been caught up in First Lady Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” campaign.And if a whole marshmallow is a little too much for your overweight kids, the article suggests scrapping the whole idea of roasting marshmallows, and instead using marshmallow creme out of a jar. “Put a piece of fruit on a roasting stick, dip quickly in the crème and roast over indirect heat until a delicious golden brown,” it says. “You’re still having campfire fun, but the focus is on a healthier evening snack.”



The man who tried to shut down a kid’s lemonade stand is now under investigation

A Florida man who became an Internet villain after his quest to shut down a child’s lemonade stand went viral is now under investigation for potentially running an unlicensed home business. Doug Wilkey, 61, has contacted city officials in Dunedin at least four times in the past two years in an attempt to get law enforcement to shut down the lemonade stand operated by his young neighbor, T.J. Guerrero. Wilkey’s complaint, the Tampa Bay Times reported last weekend, is that the lemonade stand is an “‘illegal business’ that causes excessive traffic, noise, trash, illegal parking and other problems that reduce his property values.” CNN said the city sent a community police officer to look into the complaints, which came only from Wilkey. But after speaking to neighbors, the city concluded that the stand run by Guerrero, who is 12, wasn’t really an issue. Well. The city of Dunedin’s planning director is finally going to give a robust response to Wilkey’s complaints — except probably not in the way he’d hoped, the Tampa newspaper reported in a follow-up story. “(Wilkey’s) not following the rules either, or doesn’t seem to be,” planning director Greg Rice told the Times. Wilkey uses his home address for a business he runs, according to the Times. An anonymous individual brought this to the attention of Rice, who told the paper that he’s in the process of writing a letter to Wilkey, informing him that he needs to purchase a business license and sign an affidavit in order to operate a business within Dunedin city limits. If he doesn’t comply with the ordinance he seems to be violating, Wilkey potentially faces a daily fine, the Times reported...more

How New York’s New Gun Control Law Is Working Out (Hint: Not Great)

Which state has the largest National Rifle Association chapter in the nation? No, it’s not Texas. As a matter of fact, it’s not located anywhere near the Wild West or the south. The answer is New York.
In just one year, the New York State Rifle & Pistol Association saw its membership almost double – from 22,000 to 41,000.   The National Rifle Association credits the increase to the “Safe Act” (Safe Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act), one of the strictest gun control laws in the country, hurriedly pushed through by Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the state legislature in 2013 following the Newtown, Conn., school shootings. The NRA says the law is “a largely cosmetic legislative offering” that “instantly turned hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers into potential felons.” Interestingly, very similar to other legislation that was rammed through with little time for lawmakers or the public to analyze (such as Obamacare), the state is providing no numbers on how many people are complying with the law (probably because the numbers are very low), and courts and other government officials have either overturned, suspended or refused to enforce various elements of the law. All to say that evidence to suggest the law is working or making New York safer is hard to find. Unfortunately, there are indicators the law has affected New York in a negative way. Last week, 105 workers were laid off at Remington Arms, one of the largest employers in upstate New York. In February, when Remington announced it would be opening a new plant in Alabama one of Cuomo’s “spokesguys” (that is how he describes himself on his Twitter page) said that “no Remington jobs are leaving NY.” This was Rich Azzopardi’s full tweet from February 15: “Some are misinformed, others gleefully spreading misinformation, but to be clear, no Remington jobs are leaving NY.” Sounds like the only folks who turned out to be “misinformed” and “spreading misinformation” are the folks in Cuomo’s office...more

'Miracle' breaks through in Futurity

After having qualified for all three futurity races this season at Ruidoso Downs, J & M Racing and Farm's Jm Miracle finally delivered on all that promise. Under a perfect ride from Ramon Sanchez, the Oklahoma-bred son of Volcom posted a stirring win in Monday's $2.6 million All American Futurity in front of a capacity crowd on closing day of the 2014 racing season at Ruidoso Downs. Jm Miracle, bred by P.K. Thomas and trained by Umberto Belloc, broke sharply from the three post, dueled for the lead with railsitter Apollitical Blood early in the 400-yard dash. After putting that one away, he dueled with Bodacious Eagle further down the lane before gradually inching clear to post the win as the sixth choice in the wagering at odds of 7.40-1. "He warmed up pretty good, but he was a little excited in the gate, turning his head and looking around," said Sanchez. "He got settled down ,and he got quiet. We got the lead about the middle way. And after that he finished strong." Jm Miracle ran the 440 yards in a fast time of 21.38 seconds, finishing a half-length in front of Mad About The Moon and jockey Sergio Becerra, Jr., who rallied late to earn the place, a neck in front of Sam Crow and rider Ricky Ramirez. Rounding out the order of finish was Apollitcal Blood, followed by Bodacious Eagle, post-time favorite Exquisite Stride, Tempting Destiny, Thunderball B with This Fire Is Cold finishing last. Im a Fancy Pyc was scratched earlier in the day. For Belloc and the J & M Racing Farm stables, Monday was a banner day, winning both the All American Futurity, and earlier in the day, the $100,000 All American Juvenile with Jm Specialwynn. The win in the All American was a particularly satisfying one for the connections. Having earned his way into the Ruidoso Futurity on June 8, then the Rainbow Futurity on July 20 and coming up short on both occasions, Jm Miracle easily picked up the biggest win in his six-race career...more

Ranch Radio Song Of The Day #1283

We missed Swingin' Monday so we'll have a Swingin' Tuesday.  I found out last night my 94 year-old Mother likes Dale Watson, so here he is with South Of Round Rock, Texas. The tune is on his 1995 CD Cheatin' Heart Attack

Texting Southern Style

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Cowgirl Sass & Savvy

Modern medicine in the cowboy world

by Julie Carter

I once told a story about a blind yearling calf that, in the middle of the pasture, loaded up in the stock trailer on his own. I knew the doubters would come running but what surprised me was where the doubt was directed.

Not at the event itself -- the calf actually ending up in the trailer and the three cowboys with ropes but no horses were as surprised as anyone. One of them was sporting recent shoulder surgery and could be of no help except to claim credit for parking the pickup and trailer at a perfect angle.

One skeptic said he suspected the influence of Crown Royal or at the very minimum, an anesthesia overdose not-yet-worn-off the cowboy sporting the $27,000 shoulder surgery. He called that the second lie. “Greg wouldn’t spend $27,000 on shoulder surgery,” he said. “He won’t spend that on a truck.”

This led to group reflection on cowboys and medicine.

Cowboys are sometimes the biggest babies—too tough to take the doc’s advice or medication but world class at moaning and groaning for the 90-mile-drive back to the ranch. It’s not unusual for the Mrs. to grab the pain pill bottle saying “Give me those blasted pills! One of us needs to feel better.”

Most cowboys will sell their soul to get a body part fixed so they can go back out and do whatever it was they did to hurt it in the first place. And first, always, they will self-medicate with an assortment of over-the-counter offerings even if that counter is at the local honky tonk.

Jeff, on the wise-side of his fifth decade, had a stout three-year old colt buck him off resulting in an emergency room visit. This was followed by time spent with triage nurses, doctors, radiology technicians, family practice physicians, orthopedic specialists and a bona fide physical therapist.

His wife carried a dictionary around to translate their diagnosis, prognosis, treatment protocols, medication and device advice. This was followed by a barrage of bills in the mailbox that took a fair amount of accounting expertise to decipher.

The real problem at hand was getting to the cure. His actual diagnosis was Type 2 acromioclavicular separation, as in “hurt shoulder.” That made logical sense as that is where he landed. If he had just had the foresight to find a soft spot to land all this could have, in theory, been avoided.

Each of the specialists, with a serious direct eye-to-eye gaze, told him to wear the immobilization device. We call that a splint. They advised he not lift anything including his arm and it would be six weeks before he move anything except his lips to moan.

Next was the electric stimulation to the muscles to facilitate healing and a very dedicated physical therapist determined to bring wellness no matter the pain level. In a moment’s time the cowboy was promoted from complete immobility to lifting weights over his head.

A series of repetitive moves with pulleys, weights and other devices ensued, moving the cowboy into a realm of exercises he couldn’t have done before the accident, let alone while on injured reserve.

The cowboy declared there was nothing about roping that was as physically hard as what the therapist had him doing. So he went home from therapy, saddled his horse and roped a pen of steers just because he could.

Hee Haw’s multi-talented Archie Campbell played many rolls on the 60s-70s variety TV program, one of which was the leering doctor giving sage advice to his patients that would hold true still today.  “If it hurts when you do that, don’t do that.”

Julie can be reached for comment at

A bunch of heifers and a future

School House Pasture
A bunch of heifers and a future
Prince Albert tins
By Stephen L. Wilmeth

            The empty Prince Albert tobacco tin was the clue.
            Dusty and I were coming down the main drainage of Brock Canyon just west from his headquarters when we saw it. The conversation immediately shifted to Albert Wilmeth.
‘Mr. Wilmeth’ left an esoteric legacy among the circle who knew him. Prince Albert tins were a lingering part of it. For years after he was gone and Dusty had acquired the School House allotment, he or others would occasionally find one of those rusting tins. Most of them were found where they were tossed when the tin was emptied and the last cigarette was rolled. Others were found and used as chats with notes in a pile of rocks signifying a mining claim.
            I can remember the process very well. Rain or shine, hot or cold, still or in a spring wind, he would reach for his makings. He would tear off a piece of paper and put the rest back. He’d crease the wrap in his left hand and then reach for the Prince Albert in his jumper. Never pulling the horse up, he’d tap the tobacco out, spread it, lick the paper and spin it into a perfect roll.
He’d then reach for a match and strike it across his Levis. If the wind was blowing, he’d use his jumper as a windbreak.
I loved the smell of those freshly lit cigarettes.
            I can’t remember what Dusty and I did with the tin that day. I wish I had kept it. It would mean a lot to me, and … it would certainly prompt memories.
“Time to jingle, son”
            That nudge was from Grandpa Albert and the clock in the front of the house would have just chimed 5:15.
Indeed, time to jingle and that meant gathering the horses. In our vernacular, it was simply, horses. That meant the dozen or so horses that were kept in the pasture that ran between the headquarters on the west side of the Mangus and across the creek to the filling station at Mangus Springs.
            I never dreaded waking. It was always a thrill to be on the cusp of making a ride. The only regret I have now is not spending yet more time with Grandpa. Perhaps that is now impacted by the desire to converse with him in terms of years of experience as opposed to being a kid that just wanted to follow him around horseback.
            The sweet smell of predawn greeted us as we walked to the barn.
            We talked sparingly. Grandpa was not a great detail communicator. He would keep you between the posts, but he would make you work most things out by yourself. Other than catching the horse on which we jingled, that meant catching your own day horse. That meant throwing your own saddle. That meant figuring out how to do what he told you to do.
            As you got your saddle and pads out of the barn, he’d be off into the dark to catch the lone horse “kept up” for the purpose of gathering the horses those mornings. That one time he’d throw the saddle, and, when we were little, he’d boost us into the saddle.
            He’d walk with you to the gate, open it, and then … you were on your own.
            The gather was an experience of immense freedom. The predawn, the cool morning, the feel of the fresh horse, the anticipation of the inevitable run back to the corral, and the responsibility were learning experiences few ten year old and younger kids could fathom today. Wrapped in the security of that little silver horned saddle, all the tools of making a young cowboy were brought to bear.
It was exhilarating.
            The order of business that day was to move replacement heifers from the windmill trap to School House pasture. After eating breakfast, we were saddled and gone promptly at 7:00. Goofus, the sorrel gelding, was mine for the day. Jack was bowed up and walking sideways under Grandpa as we left the corral. We were in full ranch regalia that morning. We were going to be in the brush for part of the ride and leggins’ were the order.
            Grandpa would have a hard time striking a match across his split hide batwings. He’d have to strike them under the nail of his right thumb.
            I was always told it was exactly one mile to the windmill in the windmill trap. We made the ride without ever letting the horses trot. By the time we got there and started gathering, both horses were reaching and walking. That was the mandatory rule of horsemanship with my grandfather. He could get as much out of a horse as anybody I ever saw. Even at the end of hard days, he still had a horse under him. He taught you those things without ever saying anything.
            The heifers were heifers.
            Like young girls that didn’t know whether they were still little girls or women, they simply reacted to the herd responses. Days like that taught me something Grandpa didn’t. I don’t recall him ever putting older cows with his weaned calves. We now believe the influence of an older cow that knows the country and has been with those home grown replacements is a stabilizing factor. The calves won’t be as silly and unpredictable with a nurse cow.
            The first quarter mile was fast and furious. It was the right stuff for ten year old cowboys who have been exposed to a few runoff cattle.
            The climb out of the trap helped settle the cattle, and, by the time we topped out, we had things in pretty good order. There was still little talking as our attention was on the calves and the expectation that the descent down the other side would present another challenge of holding them up and together.
            When they did try to run, Grandpa got them headed and I kept the drags up and close. By the time we hit the extended canyon bottom off the other side of the divide, we had them lined out and acting like young ladies. It was then time for a bit of conversation back and forth.
            The cut in the bottom of the canyon along the two tracked road helped split the herd and I was coming down the left side of the drive across the cut from the rest of the calves and Grandpa. There was order, though, and we let the calves set their own pace.
            “What are you going to do with your life, Stevie?” he asked out of the blue.
            I suppose my delayed reaction was typical of that ten year old. He asked me again and there was insistence in his demeanor.
            “I am going to be a cowboy just like you, Grandpa”, was my natural inclination and reaction on a day like that one.
His response was not at all like I had expected. He was very negative about it and told me there were better things that needed to be pursued. I didn’t like that response and felt very intimidated by his less than patronizing drilling that continued. He was pretty tough with me.
We finished our drive by holding the heifers up at the corral and water lot in the bottom of School House Canyon. We forced them to hang around the water to make sure they all saw what was there and the importance it would be to them and they wintered in that pasture.
The ride out
Grandpa was never just my friend. He was my abuelo who seldom wavered from seriousness. It was always work and sticking to business. The fact we finished the drive didn’t mean the day was over, and … far from it.
Since we were over in that part of the country, it was necessary to make a little soiree out across it. I now know he was looking at feed. We also looked at water gaps. We checked for tracks of cattle that were not supposed to be there, and we checked waters.
When we finally turned and headed for the house, we topped out and crossed the divide right in the same place Dusty and I found that empty tin of Prince Albert tobacco 32 years later. Very likely Grandpa had lit another smoke and settled in for that ride off the ridge. He would have been thinking what he needed to do next, and I was doing what was most important … I was following him horseback.

Stephen L. Wilmeth is a rancher from southern New Mexico. “Grandpa was the only man of his standing and his generation that I know whose children all earned college degrees. Of that, I hope he was proud, but, like it or not, his words didn’t sway me. I dreamed every day of owning those heifers we put over that ridgeline.”