Saturday, September 27, 2014

Ca. Woman, 65, is attacked by 300-pound bear, fights back and survives

One minute, Emily Miles was walking her dogs in a Santa Barbara County avocado grove, the next, a hulking 300-pound black bear was sinking its teeth into her left thigh after tackling her to the ground. "Looking at him, I knew he could kill me in an instant," Miles, 65, said in an interview aired by KTLA. But the Carpinteria woman wasn't going to go without a fight. She started screaming and kicking the 6-foot-tall bear until she was able to get away. In addition to the bite, Miles suffered a cracked rib and deep claw marks on her back during Monday's attack. Traps have since been set in the area, but California Department of Fish and Wildlife officials are not actively pursuing the bear with tracking dogs or other methods, department spokeswoman Janice Mackey said. Mackey said the department evaluates every incident on a case-by-case basis. Setting traps, she said, was the method they decided to take given the rugged terrain. Bear saliva and other physical evidence were gathered from Miles' wounds and taken to the Department of Fish and Wildlife's forensic lab to be compared with any ursine that is captured, she added. If there's a match, the bear will be "humanely euthanized," Miles said. As an avocado farmer, Miles said she had seen bears before -- they enjoy the high-fat fruit. But she had never encountered an aggressive bear before Monday's attack...more

Fatal bear attack in West Milford preserve is first recorded in New Jersey in 150 years

Around the Apshawa Preserve, residents seal garbage containers, bring their dogs inside and scrub their barbecue grills clean, daily chores to ensure that ever-present bears keep their distance. But the fatal bear attack on a 22-year-old Rutgers student Sunday — the first recorded in more than 150 years, state officials say — came as a startling reminder of the dangers that can arise from the rare bear-human confrontation. Five friends had been hiking at the preserve in West Milford on Sunday afternoon when they scattered in fear upon realizing a black bear was following them, a move experts say put each individual at greater risk. Four of them regrouped and called authorities just before 4 p.m. about their missing friend. Two hours later, the body of Darsh Patel of Edison was found. It’s the first killing by a bear in New Jersey since the 1850s, said Larry Ragonese, a spokesman for Department of Environmental Protection. Tim Storbeck, the West Milford police chief, said there were “bite marks and claw marks” on Patel’s body during a noon news conference at borough hall. When officers arrived on scene and found Patel’s body, a bear lurked in the area and “would not leave the victim,” he said. An officer fired twice with a shotgun and killed it...more

Police Kill a Bear Cornered at Urban New Jersey Home

...Taking no chances, the police shot and killed the 218-pound bear about 1:30 p.m. Wednesday. It was the second bear in five days to be killed after wandering into an urban area where a new state bear management policy allows the animals to be shot and killed. Wildlife officials said the Irvington bear was 1 or 2 years old. New Jersey's most densely populated areas have been designated "bear management zones," where local authorities are being trained to tranquilize bears and move them to state-run wildlife areas. But if a bear creates a hazard, Department of Environmental Protection officials can order that it be killed, as happened on Wednesday, said Elaine Makatura, a department spokeswoman. That was also the case near downtown Trenton Saturday, when environmental protection officials fatally shot a 225-pound, 3-year-old black bear. On Tuesday, a bear was spotted in Livingston, and sightings were reported Wednesday in Newark, Orange and South Orange. As the Irvington police carried the bear's body in a blue plastic tarpaulin from the backyard of a blue shingled house three blocks west of the Garden State Parkway, Deputy Chief Steven Palamara said he had hoped to tranquilize the bear and get it back to the woods. But during the chase, the bear had moved from backyards to sidewalks, jumping fences "as if they were curbs," he said. The police had summoned animal control officers with tranquilizer guns from Morristown. But as two police officers and an animal control officer approached to within about 10 feet of the bear, it reared up on its hind legs, and the plan changed...more

Drone Exemptions for Hollywood Pave the Way for Widespread Use

The commercial use of drones in American skies took a leap forward on Thursday with the help of Hollywood. The Federal Aviation Administration, responding to applications from seven filmmaking companies and pressure from the Motion Picture Association of America, said six of those companies could use camera-equipped drones on certain movie and television sets. Until now, the F.A.A. has not permitted commercial drone use except for extremely limited circumstances in wilderness areas of Alaska. Put bluntly, this is the first time that companies in the United States will be able to legally use drones to fly over people. The decision has implications for a broad range of industries including agriculture, energy, real estate, the news media and online retailing. “While the approval for Hollywood is very limited in scope, it’s a message to everyone that this ball is rolling,” said Greg Cirillo, chairman of the aviation practice at Wiley Rein, a law firm in Washington. Michael P. Huerta, the administrator of the F.A.A., said at least 40 similar applications were pending from companies beyond Hollywood. One is Amazon, which wants permission to move forward with a drone-delivery service. Google has acknowledged “self-flying vehicle” tests in the Australian outback. Under the six waivers granted on Thursday — a seventh, for a company called Flying-Cam, is still under review — the companies can use camera-equipped drones on outdoor movie and television sets that are closed to the public. The equipment must be inspected before each flight, fly no higher than 400 feet and be operated by a technician with a pilot’s license. The F.A.A. must be notified of filming. Night use is prohibited, at least for now...more

Video - A Wearable Camera That Turns Into a Drone and Flies Off Your Wrist

Meet Nixie, a wearable camera that flies off your wrist and turns into a remote-controlled quadcopter. It's the bizarre-yet-appealing wearable camera drone nobody asked for... and now we kind of want it. Intel is holding a competition to encourage new wearable technology ideas, and the Nixie is one of the finalists. So far, it's still in development, so the flying wristlet camera is rough around the edges. Team captain Christoph Kohstall eventually wants you to be able to send the the Nixie flying with a gesture. It would recognize where you're standing, snap a picture, then return to the wrist, like a futuristic paparazzi boomerang. If sticking your arm out to capture photos makes you feel like a lo-tech peasant, you're probably Nixie's target demographic...more

How long will it be before your friendly Forest ranger, county tax assessor, etc. has one of these?  Here's the video.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Obama Creates World’s Largest Marine Reserve

Palmyra Atoll
In the remote reaches of the Pacific Ocean, President Barack Obama Thursday created the world’s most extensive marine reserve by expanding a National Monument established in the waning days of the Bush Administration. These pristine waters in the south-central Pacific are now protected from commercial resource extraction and fishing. President Obama’s proclamation expands the existing Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument, one of the most intact, ecologically sound marine environments in the world, to six times its previous size – from 87,000 square miles to more than 490,000 square miles. The Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument was established on January 6, 2009 by outgoing President George W. Bush to protect the marine environment around Wake, Baker, Howland, and Jarvis Islands, Johnston and Palmyra Atolls, and Kingman Reef. The expansion was achieved by extending the Monument boundaries to edge of the United States Exclusive Economic Zone up to 200 nautical miles from the the territorial seas around each of these seven Pacific Remote Islands...more

George W. Bush designated the original monument as he was walking out the door.  Several years ago a gentleman who was in the Bush White House told me they had no studies or anything, just drew some lines on a map.

Under the same authority, The Antiquities Act, a President could designate most of the Western U.S. a national monument and no one seems to care.  So much for the separation of powers envisioned by our Founding Fathers.

Navajo to get $554 million in settlement with U.S.

The Navajo Nation is poised to receive $554 million from the federal government over mismanagement of tribal resources in the largest settlement of its kind for an American Indian tribe. Much of the land on the 27,000-square-mile reservation has been leased for things like farming, grazing, oil and gas development, mining and housing. The leases once were largely overseen by the U.S. government, which mismanaged the revenue and failed to properly invest and account for it, according to the tribe. The tribe agreed to settle the case earlier this year but was awaiting signatures from federal agencies before the deal could be finalized. The Navajo Nation originally sought $900 million when the lawsuit was filed in 2006. The Navajo Reservation is larger than any single American Indian land base, covering sections of Arizona, New Mexico and Utah. Almost two-thirds of the 300,000 Navajos live on the reservation that has some of the most iconic landscapes in the Southwest and is rich in natural resources...more

The feds were to hold these lands in trust for the Native Americans - and then screwed them.  Just like they were to hold the public domain for the Western States "pending disposal" - and then screwed them.  Do you see a common denominator here?

New Mexico police catch a 'ghost' on camera

Next time you see a ghost, ‘who you gonna call?’ For those who live in Espanola, New Mexico, it won’t be Bill Murray and his fellow Ghostbusters, but instead the local police department. On Sept. 20, Officer Karl Romero of the Espanola Police Department was on duty watching surveillance video from around the station when he spotted something strange. What he saw spooked him. In the surveillance footage, a foggy figure is seen moving through a parking lot and through a secured gate. “At first I thought it was a fly, a moth, and then I saw the legs and it was a human,” Romero told KOAT. While not entirely clear, the object in the video that moves across the screen appears to be walking. Skeptics might raise their eyebrows at Romero’s claims that the shape on the screen is something otherworldly, but it is the kind of spectral presence that Detective Solomon Romero said is not out of the ordinary at the station. “A lot of officers have seen certain things,” Det. Romero said. “Some officers have felt someone breathing down their necks as they’re working in the briefing room.” For those who have watched movies like “Poltergeist,” the question of whether or not the station is built over ancient burial grounds immediately comes up. KOAT reports that the department, which has been at this location since 2006, is not standing over any hallowed ground and no inmates have ever died on the premises...more

The KOAT version with the video is here.

Ranch Radio Song Of The Day #1301

Recorded in Los Angeles on April 14, 1939 and released as Vocalion 04947:  Gene Autry - Rhythm Of The Hoofbeats

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Grass March Cowboy Express to deliver petitions horseback from embattled counties to Congress

The Grass March Cowboy Express is a coast-to-coast cowboy express relay ride, beginning at the Pacific Ocean at Bodega Bay, Calif., on September 26.  Riders will travel a distance of over 2,800 miles to Washington, D.C., and ultimately to the Atlantic Ocean. They will deliver county resolutions and petitions calling for relief from federal agencies which operate outside the laws of Congress and support for transfer of federal lands to the states.
The Grass March calls attention to the plight of ranchers, miners, hunters and property owners everywhere carrying the slogan, “Government regulation without representation is tyranny.” 
Petitions seek relief from unlawful application of laws by federal agencies regarding endangered species, water, wildfires, wetlands, wilderness, livestock grazing and private property rights. Widespread mismanagement of lands by the federal government has not only destroyed the lands they purport to protect, but also families and the economy dependent upon those lands. 
Award-winning country-and-western music artist Michael Martin Murphey is expected to join the ride in Wyoming.  Cowboy poet favorite, Waddie Mitchell, will be holding a benefit concert in Salt Lake City, Utah, Oct. 2, 2014, at 7 p.m., at the Salt Lake City State Fairgrounds.
Those interested in meeting the crew can join the Cowboy Express at designated stops along the route. Riders are encouraged and welcome. Please contact Jess Jones at the number below if interested.  Donations are being accepted to support this monumental undertaking to shed light on federal abuse of power and its impact the land and people.
Find more information on our website at:
Contact:  Ramona Hage Morrison
EVENT COORDINATOR: KATE JONES (925) 640-1102; email:
TRAIL BOSS: JESS JONES (775) 340-1836
Grass March Cowboy Express
491 4th Street
Elko, NV 89801
(775) 738-2009
The Liberty and Property Rights Coalition is committed to promoting and preserving Constitutional rights to liberty and property in public policy and the law.
A service of Liberty and Property Rights Coalition, 2013.

New Mexico Small Businesses Blast US Fish & Wildlife Service Backroom Wolf Deal

For immediate release: September 25, 2014
For further information, contact:
Caren Cowan, New Mexico Cattle Growers’ Association

New Mexicans were outraged to learn that the U.S Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) and the Arizona Game & Fish Department (AGFD) have entered into a deal to accept an unpublished plan for Mexican wolf management in Arizona and New Mexico, according to Jose Varela Lopez, New Mexico Cattle Growers’ Association President, La Cieneguilla.
            “It is incomprehensible that a federal agency would engage in such an action,” said Varela Lopez. “We learned on September 22 that the deal had been made. Comments on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) and final revision of the Endangered Species Act 10j rule didn’t even close until September 23.”
            The Mexican wolf reintroduction has been the subject of great controversy for more than 20 years and has had significant economic impact on rural communities in the reintroduction areas of New Mexico, noted Jack McCormick, Northern New Mexico Safari Club President, Edgewood.
            Sources indicate that the deal cut between FWS and AGFD will do the following:
(I)             A Service commitment of no wolves north of Interstate 40.  Wolves that are identified north of I-40 will be trapped and returned to the Mexican Wolf Experimental Population Area utilizing a 10(a)1(a) permit.
(II)          An expressed upper population limit in the rule of 300-325 Mexican wolves in NM and AZ.  When the population objective of 300-325 is reached, strict removal will be implemented to reduce the population to the maximum of 300-325 individual animals.
(III)         Mexican wolves would be removed if impacting wild ungulate herds at a rate higher than 15% as determined by the States using state methodologies of population measurement.
(IV)        Zones of occupancy that are similar or the same as proposed by the Arizona Game and Fish Department in their previous comments and alternative.

            These items were all contained in an alternative for the EIS from Arizona that wasn’t even published in the EIS, McCormick continued, so members of the public have had no opportunity to review and comment on it.
            “This deal clearly violates the spirit, the intent, and the letter of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA),” noted Tom McDowell, New Mexico Trappers Association President, Corrales.
            While the deal will have tremendous impact on New Mexicans and land within New Mexico was included in the alternative developed by the AGFD, the effort had absolutely no support from any New Mexicans, said Kim Talbot, Southern New Mexico Chapter of the Safari Club. The New Mexico Department of Game & Fish withdrew from the wolf program two years ago because it was being run over by the FWS, he said.
            A dozen sportsmen and livestock organizations in New Mexico put FWS Director Dan Ashe on notice that the actions of the federal and state agency are pre-decisional and recommended withdrawal of the entire process with a letter on September 25, 2014.
            “The rush to judgment on this issue is  a result of a multi-species settlement entered into by the US. Department of Justice more than two years ago with two radical environmentalist groups,” reported Varela Lopez. “The FWS is set to complete the wolf program revisions by early 2015. Clearly there will be much more litigation on the issue.

Ranch Radio Song Of The Day #1300

He's A Wild & Reckless Cowboy was recorded by Patsy Montana & The Prairie Ramblers in Chicago on Jan. 26, 1937.  The Prairie Ramblers in the studio that day were Ken Houchins guitar, Charles Hurt Mandolin, Jack Taylor bass and Shelby Atkinson fiddle.  A short bio of the group is below.

Artist Biography by Eugene Chadbourne
Especially with the presence of the word "ramblers" in the name, this group which originated in Kentucky may seem on the surface like just another old-time music or traditional country band. But judging from the group's versatility and the number of different genres they were comfortable with, the Prairie Ramblers have more in common with groundbreaking music groups such as the Beatles. One of the group's recordings featuring its female vocalist Patsy Montana was the first record by a female country artist to sell a million copies, so hit-parade gold dust was hardly out of this band's reach. The Prairie Ramblers were originally formed as the Kentucky Ramblers by mandolinist Charles Chick Hurt, and "Happy" Jack Taylor, who played both bass and tenor banjo. Both men hailed from the Summershade area near Glasgow, KY. Relocating to Illinois, the two wound up collaborating with another pair of Kentucky players. These were fiddler and lead vocalist Tex Atchison, and Floyd "Salty" Holmes, a multi-instrumentalist who beside his spicy nickname was also known as the "maestro of the harmonica." The group began working together at the outset of the '30s and within a few years had made their radio debut on WOC out of Davenport, IA. Later, in 1932, the group moved to WLS Chicago, a station that would make country music history with innovative programs such as Merry Go-Round and National Barn Dance. As good as these players were, it was joining forces with Patsy Montana the following year that made the band really click. Born Rubye Blevins, the country gal was on-hand for the first set of Prairie Ramblers recordings, done for RCA-Victor's Bluebird label at the end of that year. The public's growing interest in cowboy songs and music had led to the name change; apparently, the prairie was more associated with cowboys than the state of Kentucky. After a six-month hiatus on New York City radio, the group returned to WLS with a new focus on both pop-styled cowboy songs and swing music. The cowboy image began to dominate the group's appearance, the players appearing at venues on horseback and Western dress, even rustling up Gene Autry's "Ridin' Down the Canyon" as a signature tune. The group made history in one clear-cut way, providing Montana with the chance to score a million-selling record, "I Want to Be a Cowboy's Sweetheart." The band signed with ARC Records and by the end of 1936 had already cut more than 100 sides. The repertoire just kept getting broader, including gospel numbers, cowboy songs, mountain music, Western swing, and comedy. Just like many sanctified artists who recorded scandalous pop music under other names, the Prairie Ramblers recorded several somewhat off-color incognito songs. The group even went to the trouble of trying to change its overall sound for this material, adding clarinetist and vocalist Bill Thawl for tracks recorded under the name of the Sweet Violet Boys. Apparently it wasn't much of a secret who the band was, but pianist Bob Miller, who had begun playing on some of the Prairie Rambler recordings, published the risqué numbers he had composed under the pseudonym of Trebor Rellim, again not such a sophisticated cover-up. The songs he was trying to keep his name off included "There's a Man Who Comes to Our House Every Single Day (Poppa Comes Home and the Man Goes Away)" and "I Love My Fruit," thought to be the first gay hillbilly song. Apparently Patsy Montana was allowed to leave the studio during these sessions rather than be scandalized. Atchison and Holmes rambled right out of the group in 1938, replaced by fiddler Alan Crockett and guitarist/vocalist Kenneth Houchens. In the early '40s, the band added in the accordion of Augie Kline and beefed up the sound further with the electric-guitar stylings of George Barnes. In 1941, something happened that just about anyone following the band might have predicted: Montana left to pursue her solo career. The Prairie Ramblers appeared in several Hollywood Western films, first through their connection with Gene Autry and later with cowboy singer Rex Allen. Both artists utilized the group for accompaniment on recording sessions. The final recordings by the Prairie Ramblers were done for Mercury at the end of 1947, and followers of the band tend to find this material to be somewhat generic. In the group's repertoire around the time of its breakup was a tune entitled "You Ain't Got No Hillbilly Anymore," which was probably a sad fact of life for these musicians. Hurt and Taylor worked as a duo around Chicago area before retiring.

Onerous ATF rules threaten to put gun dealers out of business

Doug Stockman always has had a passion for firearms, so 20 years ago he made a business out of it. Today, his shop, SSG Tactical, is one of the largest gun dealers in Virginia, with 10 employees, training classes and concealed-carry fashion bags. But Mr. Stockman and others in the industry worry that heightened federal scrutiny and government regulations will put them out of business. Last year, when an inspector from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives dropped by SSG Tactical’s Fredericksburg shop for an unannounced audit, Mr. Stockman thought he was prepared. Each of the roughly 7,500 guns his business sold that year required a Form 4473, the federal document that the purchaser and seller must complete, in addition to a background check. The Form 4473 asks questions such as where the purchaser lives and whether the person has ever committed a crime. Leaving one of the 132 items on the six-page questionnaire blank, or filling it in incorrectly, is an ATF violation. One violation can lead to a license revocation, which would put Mr. Stockman out of business. Out of SSG Tactical’s 7,500 guns sold, the company could have made as many as 990,000 mistakes from the Form 4473 alone. Turns out, Mr. Stockman’s team made about 180 errors — a 99.98 percent accuracy rate. The majority of the violations were on the 4473 and included incorrect information on ethnicity, wrong dates and leaving a box empty when the city and county go by the same name, Mr. Stockman said. “These mistakes were anything but willful — they were simply human error,” he said. “Now, if anything more turns up, in any future audit, we could lose our license — our business.” Federal law obligates licensed firearm dealers to record all transactions so guns connected to crimes can be traced. In addition to 100 percent compliance on the Form 4473, dealers must log all “acquisitions and dispositions” by manufacturer, purchaser, model, serial number and caliber, and the date the dealer bought and sold each gun. All paperwork needs to be kept for 20 years and be made available for inspection. Mr. Stockman’s audit took about seven months to complete and required him to make one of his full-time employees available to help ATF’s compliance officer sift through the shop’s records. “The government is making it virtually impossible to grow a business,” said Mr. Stockman. “The amount of oversight and regulations has only grown over the years and in this administration.”...more

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Federal Government to ATV Owners: One at a Time

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is looking into how to ban passengers from riding four wheelers in the name of public safety. The agency issued a “request for information” on Monday to learn the feasibility of prohibiting more than one person from riding an all-terrain vehicle (ATV). The notice will be published in the Federal Register on Tuesday. The notice will be open for public comment for 60 days. The CPSC is interested in learning how often passengers ride on ATVs and the weight, age, and gender of individuals involved in ATV accidents with more than one passenger. The ultimate result of the agency’s notice could be changing the way four wheelers and other ATVs are made to prevent two people from riding on them. “Specifically, staff seeks information on the prevalence of passengers riding on ATVs and the feasibility of establishing a performance requirement that would prevent or reduce the likelihood of passengers riding on an ATV,” the notice said. “For example, a performance requirement could prevent an ATV from being able to carry a passenger on a seat or cargo rack,” they said...more

Fight over Lesser Prairie Chicken to be settled in Tulsa

A federal judge has decided a lawsuit challenging increased federal regulation of economic activity and land use in the area that is habitat for the Lesser Prairie Chicken will be litigated in Oklahoma and not transferred to Washington, D.C., Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt said today. The decision yesterday by U.S. District Judge James H. Payne is the second time in the last two months that the federal judiciary has rejected an attempt by the federal government to move the litigation from Oklahoma to Washington, D.C. “This is good news for Kansas,” Schmidt said.  “It means our case will be decided here in our region where the actual effect of heightened federal regulation is already being felt by landowners, energy producers and other affected parties.  The case will not be sent to Washington where it would be at risk of becoming just another abstract bureaucratic fight.” Kansas, Oklahoma and North Dakota filed suit in April challenging the decision by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service to list the Lesser Prairie Chicken as “threatened.”  Nebraska and the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish also are requesting to join in the litigation...more

Judge Reinstates Protections for Wyoming Wolves

Wyoming wolves are back under federal projection after a ruling Tuesday by a federal judge in Washington, D.C. U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson on Tuesday rejected a Wyoming wolf-management plan that had declared wolves unprotected predators that could be shot on sight in most of the state. Her ruling sided with national environmental groups that had argued Wyoming's management plan afforded insufficient protection for wolves. "We're thrilled that protections for Wyoming's fragile population of wolves have been restored," said Noah Greenwald, endangered species director with the Center for Biological Diversity. "With Wyoming allowing wolves to be shot on sight across more than 80 percent of the state, there is no way protections for wolves should have ever been removed." Berman ruled that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service was wrong to trust nonbinding promises from the state of Wyoming to maintain at least 100 wolves, including 10 breeding pairs, outside of Yellowstone and the Wind River Indian Reservation. Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead issued a statement Tuesday saying that he expects the state to seek a stay of the Jackson's decision. He said the state will seek an emergency rule from the Fish and Wildlife Service to allow continued state wolf management. "We believe an emergency rule can remedy this, and I have instructed the Wyoming Game and Fish Department and the Attorney General to proceed accordingly," Mead said. He added that until the judge's order is stayed or modified, the killing of wolves in Wyoming will be under federal jurisdiction...more

Grizzly prompts road closure in Grand Teton Park

JACKSON, Wyo. (AP) -- A grizzly bear with a penchant for chokecherries and a dislike of crowds has led to the indefinite closure of part of a popular road in Grand Teton National Park. The Jackson Hole News & Guide reports ( ) the park previously closed the Moose-Wilson Road for about 10 days because grizzly No. 760 was filling up on chokecherries in the area. The road reopened Friday, but park managers closed it again Sunday afternoon because the 4- or 5-year-old grizzly was still in the area and drawing a crowd of onlookers. The Moose-Wilson Road is an 8-mile scenic drive between Teton Village and Moose, Wyoming. Park spokeswoman Jackie Skaggs says the bear's movements created a traffic jam as visitors tried to see and photograph the animal. The bear also became agitated.

Deer are pests for airports, threats to pilots

Long the bane of gardeners and unwary motorists, soaring deer populations are also nuisances for airports and threats to pilots, especially at this time of year, according to aviation and wildlife experts. Whether driven by hunger or just crazy for love, deer will do seemingly anything to get onto airport grounds and runways, including leaping over tall fences or squeezing under them. Once there, they like to warm themselves by sauntering on runways, which hold heat longer than bare ground. But put a deer and a plane together on a runway and both can have a very bad day. From 1990 to 2013, there were 1,088 collisions between planes and deer, elk, moose and caribou, according to a recent joint report by the Federal Aviation Administration and the Agriculture Department. Most of the planes suffered damage, and some were destroyed, the report said. One person was killed and 29 others injured. No mention is made of the fate of the deer.  The vast majority of collisions involved white-tailed deer, the smallest member of the North American deer family, but big enough to wreck a plane. There were only about 350,000 of the creatures in the U.S. in 1900. By 1984 there were 15 million and by 2010 more than 28 million. They've caused $44 million in aircraft damage and 238,000 hours of lost flying time over the past 24 years. About 30 percent of collisions occurred during the October-November mating season...more

Grain Piles Up, Waiting for a Ride, as Trains Move North Dakota Oil

The furious pace of energy exploration in North Dakota is creating a crisis for farmers whose grain shipments have been held up by a vast new movement of oil by rail, leading to millions of dollars in agricultural losses and slower production for breakfast cereal giants like General Mills. The backlog is only going to get worse, farmers said, as they prepared this week for what is expected to be a record crop of wheat and soybeans. “If we can’t get this stuff out soon, a lot of it is simply going to go on the ground and rot,” said Bill Hejl, who grows soybeans, wheat and sugar beets in the town of Casselton, about 20 miles west of here. Although the energy boom in North Dakota has led to a 2.8 percent unemployment rate, the lowest in the nation, the downside has been harder times for farmers who have long been mainstays of the state’s economy. Agriculture was North Dakota’s No. 1 industry for decades, representing a quarter of its economic base, but recent statistics show that oil and gas have become the biggest contributors to the state’s gross domestic product...more

Federal court rules SWAT raid of barber shop excessive, unreasonable

A panel of judges chastised Florida sheriffs for a routine inspection of a barbershop that included masked officers, handcuffs, and illegal search as being a violation of the Constitution. The three-judge panel held that deputes of the Orange County Sheriff’s Office violated the civil rights of those inside an Orlando barber shop during a warrantless raid of the business conducted in 2010. The court maintained that the deputies violated the barber’s Fourth Amendment rights to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures as they served as the “muscle” for a routine inspection of the business by the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR). Although the action had been ostensibly to check the licenses of the barbers as allowed by law, court documents tell of an armored and masked group of deputies who stormed the business with guns drawn, barking orders. “We first held nineteen years ago that conducting a run-of-the-mill administrative inspection as though it is a criminal raid, when no indication exists that safety will be threatened by the inspection, violates clearly established Fourth Amendment rights,” wrote Judge Robin S. Rosenbaum of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit in the panel’s ruling on Berry v Leslie last week. “We reaffirmed that principle in 2007 when we held that other deputies of the very same Orange County Sheriff’s Office who participated in a similar warrantless criminal raid under the guise of executing an administrative inspection were not entitled to qualified immunity…Today, we repeat that same message once again. We hope that the third time will be the charm,” Rosenbaum said...more

Ruidoso Downs announces strict new policies to ensure racing integrity

Calling those who attempt to cheat a "cancer to horse racing," Ruidoso Downs Race Track Chairman R.D. Hubbard announced the first steps in a program to deal with those who would attempt to break the rules of racing in "our on-going effort to ensure the integrity and safety of the sport and its participants." All of the rules will be clearly identified to all owners and trainers through the stall applications and condition books. In addition, the current nomination blanks require all owners abide by all rules of the New Mexico Racing Commission and the track. The new rules include: All horses must be on the grounds in the Ruidoso barn area 10 days before running in the trials of each of the Ruidoso Triple Crown futurities and derbies run during the Ruidoso race season. Total estimated purses for the six Grade 1 futurities and derbies is more than $8.5 million. There is also a $4 million bonus to the connections of any horse who can sweep the three futurities. All horses that qualify for the finals of one of the futurities or derbies will be required to stay on the grounds through the running of the finals. All horses will be subject to a "roll call" at any time during these periods. These "spot checks" will be conducted by (but not limited to) the horse identifier and track security. The track will install new surveillance cameras at the stable gate(s), test barn along with barns and stalls of the 20 qualifiers to the futurities and derbies. The new rules will require that any horse not in compliance will be scratched from the trials and/or finals...more

Stream Commission denies open meetings violations

A battle is brewing between the New Mexico Interstate Stream Commission and a former director who alleges the body has violated the state Open Meetings Act more than a dozen times. On Monday, retired Santa Fe engineer Norman Gaume told the commission he thought their Gila River subcommittee had met several times “without public notice, without publishing minutes of the meetings and without publishing agendas prior to meetings,” in violation of state law. Gaume, who served as Interstate Stream Commission director from 1997 to 2002, said the subcommittee also discussed public business and acted under the authority of the full commission in violation of the Open Meetings Act. The Interstate Stream Commission fired back a denial Tuesday. “Allegations of violations by the Interstate Stream Commission of the Open Meetings Act are nothing more than a show to cast aspersions on the Commission’s public process to consider projects under the federal Arizona Water Settlements Act,” the commission’s general counsel, Amy I. Haas, says in a letter. “Only meetings of a quorum of the full Commission are subject to the provisions of the Open Meetings Act. The Gila Committee does not constitute a quorum and its meetings are not public meetings requiring notice under the Act,” Haas’ letter says. “The Gila committee is merely advisory an not empowered to take action on behalf of the full Commission.” The Gila committee has been vetting some proposed projects for possible commission approval and federal funding under the 2004 Arizona Water Settlements Act. The act settled the water claims of the Gila Indians in Arizona. As part of the deal brokered by then U.S. Sen. Pete Domenici, New Mexico received the rights to 14,000 acre-feet of water from the Gila River Basin, $66 million to use on any water supply, or for reuse or conservation projects, and $34 million for a river diversion project...more

NM high court asked to weigh in on water fight

A ranching family is asking the state Supreme Court to weigh in on a fight over a $600 million proposal that calls for piping billions of gallons of water from rural western New Mexico to more populated areas of the drought-stricken state. Attorneys for Ray and Carol Pittman filed a motion Monday asking the court to order the state’s top water official to reject the latest application by Augustin Plains Ranch to pump and pipe water to supplement dwindling supplies in the Rio Grande Valley. The commercial venture’s previous application was rejected two years ago. It was one of the most contested filings in the history of the state engineer’s office, and critics also have raised concerns about the latest application. The court filing argues the application seeks to appropriate about 17.6 billion gallons of water a year but fails to indicate how or where the water will be used. “By keeping the intended use vague, the ranch hopes to speculate in future water markets and ultimately sell to whoever the highest bidders may be in seven counties,” said Bruce Frederick, an attorney with the New Mexico Environmental Law Center, which is representing the Pittmans. Frederick said that under state law, the state engineer has a duty to dismiss applications that fail to state a purpose for the water or an end user. The state engineer’s office is reviewing the latest application. Officials with Augustin Plains Ranch said the court filing is an attempt by opponents and special interests to block what would be a public process if the state engineer grants a hearing on the application...more

Last miners' union in New Mexico 'Salt of the Earth' county votes to end participation

It was an historic vote. The United Steelworkers Union members at Chino Mine voted against participating in the union. Grant County, once famous for its union activity, will no longer have union representation at any mine within the county lines. Officials at Freeport McMoRan, Inc. confirmed miners at Chino Mine voted 236 to 83 against participating in the union in last week's decertification election. Eric Kinneberg, director of external communications for Freeport McMoRan, said the company was informed by the National Labor Relations Board on Sept. 18 that the union lost and the company won. "We respect our employees' right to choose their representation in the workplace and are pleased in the high level of employee participation in the process and their focus on safety during this period," Kinneberg said via email about the vote. The decertification vote was brought about by one man who began a petition to end the union. That employee got 30 percent of the union members' signatures on the petition, which allowed the petitioner to bring the issue to a vote for all union employees. The union's contract was set to expire in early November, making this an "open-ended" period in which a decertification election could determine whether union employees would continue to be represented...more

College president backs skunk safety - will accept PETA posters - my personal experience

An Ohio college president says the school supports safety for skunks, and for other furry creatures, too. Miami University President David Hodge has thanked People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals for its offer to send safety posters after a skunk recently got its head stuck in a beer can near a fraternity house. The posters urge people to crush cans for animal safety. Hodge wrote to PETA to say that the Advocates for Animals student group will work on the poster safety campaign. He says the school appreciates the effort to remind the community to crush and recycle cans, not only to preserve resources but to protect animals from harm. "We share your desire to have no more stuck skunks!" Hodge wrote. The posters PETA offered Monday to send to Miami show a raccoon with head stuck in a tin can and says crush cans for animal safety, urging: "Don't let this happen again." "Aluminum cans, plastic cups, and open jars can become death traps for hungry or inquisitive animals if they aren't disposed of properly," PETA Senior Director Colleen O'Brien said in the letter to Hodge. An Oxford animal control officer was able to free the skunk without being sprayed. PETA says it is shipping vegan cookies to Oxford police in appreciation for their compassionate efforts to help the skunk...more

Its not just animals folks.  As a freshman at NMSU this happened to one of my first dates.  I was so traumatized it was 48 hours before I could drink again. 

Ranch Radio Song Of The Day #1299

Governor Jimmie Davis - I Dreamed Of An Old Love Affair, was recorded  in NY City on Dec. 4, 1941 and released as Decca 6070.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Monday, September 22, 2014

A wild guess...

Let's see...marching in the streets...Al Gore...sit-ins on Wall Street...John Kerry...the U.N....El Presidente him self...looks like a full court press.  Why now?  Because its an election year and global warming is at the bottom of the concerns listed by voters.  Its also aimed at "moderate" Republicans and Dem's from energy producing states, will give Obama political cover for whatever executive actions he takes and is a payback to the enviro community.

That's the way I'm reading the sign anyway.   

John Kerry: Mother Nature 'Is Screaming At Us' About Climate Change

Secretary of State John Kerry said Mother Nature "is screaming at us" about climate change. According to The Hill and the blog Responding to Climate Change, Kerry made the remarks on Monday, ahead of the United Nations' climate summit in New York. Kerry repeated a claim often made by himself and others in the Obama Administration, that climate change "is the most serious challenge we face on the planet." "You don't have to take my word, or [former Vice President] Al Gore's word on it," Kerry said. "You can wake up pretty much every day and listen to Mother Nature, who is screaming at us about [it]."...more

Protesters holding Wall Street sit-in on climate crisis

One day after a huge climate march in New York City, activists on Monday planned to flood Wall Street to protest what they say is corporate and economic institutions' role in the climate crisis. The protesters, dressed in blue, scheduled a rally in Battery Park before marching to the financial district in Lower Manhattan, according to organizers of #FloodWallStreet. Scheduled speakers at the rally include Canadian author-activist Naomi Klein, journalist Chris Hedges and San Francisco writer Rebecca Solnit. Environmentalist, activist and author Bill McKibben also was expected. Organizers said in a press release that the sit-in aimed to disrupt business in the financial district by targeting "corporate polluters and those profiting from the fossil fuel industry." "Two years ago, Superstorm Sandy literally flooded New York's financial district but it didn't faze Wall Street and their drive for the short term profits that flow from the cooking of the planet," Klein said in a statement. "Which is why we're going to flood them again." Dressed in a green wig and superhero outfit, protester Jenna DeBoisblanc, an environmental activist from New Orleans, Louisiana, said at a rally in a park near Wall Street before the protest that those assembled were expecting arrests at the sit-in. "I think arrests in particular are a very good way of conveying the gravity of an issue," she said. "If you're willing to risk arrest it certainly demonstrates that it's something very urgent."...more

Why Al Gore Is a Natural-Gas Skeptic

The U.S. natural-gas boom is a big reason why the nation's carbon emissions have dropped by around 10 percent over the past decade. But don't look for climate crusader Al Gore to cheer the rise of gas, even though gas produces just half the carbon-dioxide emissions of coal. In an interview with National Journal, Gore explained why he's no fan of natural gas, which has enjoyed support from the Obama administration and has eaten into a big chunk of coal's leading share of U.S. power generation. He's skeptical of the fuel even if regulators decide to clamp down hard on leaks of methane from natural-gas production and distribution, which he believes EPA should do. Those leaks erode at least a portion—some researchers believe a huge amount—of the climate edge gas holds over coal as a power source. "[I]t is still a losing game for two reasons: It is still a carbon fuel. [Gas] still contributes to the problem, and the skies are already saturated. They say it is a glass half-full, glass half-empty issue, because, in theory, gas has only 50 percent of the CO2 of coal, two-thirds of that of oil. But the atmosphere is already completely full. That is one reason why I don't think it is the best option," Gore said in an interview with National Journal in New York City on Wednesday...more

Forget the national debt. The new budget threat is climate change

Shaun Donovan gave his first speech as White House budget director Friday, and he didn't even mention that Washington obsession of recent years, the $17.8 trillion national debt. No, in the run-up to next week's United Nations climate summit in New York, the Obama administration is focused like a laser on a different threat to federal finances and the U.S. economy: the consequences of global warming. "From where I sit, climate action is a must do; climate inaction is a can’t do; and climate denial scores – and I don’t mean scoring points on the board. I mean that it scores in the budget. Climate denial will cost us billions of dollars," Donovan said before a friendly crowd at the liberal Center for American Progress. "The failure to invest in climate solutions and climate preparedness doesn’t get you membership in a Fiscal Conservatives’ Caucus – it makes you a member of the Flat Earth Society," Donovan continued. "The costs of climate change add up and ignoring the problem only makes it worse." What is Donovan talking about? The White House has yet to do a particularly thorough job of translating the risk into cold, hard budget facts, but they've taken stab at it. So let's go to the numbers: 1) Research suggests that if warming reaches 3° Celsius above pre-industrial levels, instead of an international target of 2°, global output could suffer by roughly 0.9 percent. In the United States, that would amount to whacking GDP by roughly $150 billion a year. And as we all learned during the Great Recession, "even a small reduction in real GDP growth can dramatically reduce Federal revenue, drive up our deficits, and impact the government’s ability to serve the public," Donovan said...more

If they can't scare you enough with environmental damage, then they'll scare you with economic damage while going after the chamber of commerce types. 

Ranch Radio Song Of The Day #1298

Its Swingin' Monday and I was just wondering - are there any handymen out there?  If so you could sure help out Suzy Bogguss. Here she is with Handyman's Dream from her 1989 CD titled Somewhere Between.

Hundreds Of Thousands Turn Out For People's Climate March In New York City

More than 300,000 people turned out for the People's Climate March in New York City on Sunday, just days before many of the world's leaders are expected to debate environmental action at the United Nations climate summit. Early reports from event organizers are hailing the turnout as the largest climate march in history, far bigger than the Forward on Climate rally held in Washington, D.C., last year. High-profile environmentalists including Bill McKibben, Leonardo DiCaprio, Jane Goodall and Vandana Shiva marched alongside policymakers such as Sens. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.). U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and former Vice President Al Gore were also there, and more than 550 buses carried in people from around the country. The rally comes at an opportune time as 120 world leaders, including President Barack Obama, are expected to convene Tuesday at the United Nations in New York to discuss ways to tackle the growing threat of carbon pollution...more

People's Climate Demarche

Tens of thousands of environmental protestors paraded through New York City on Sunday, in a "people's climate march" designed to lobby world leaders arriving for the latest United Nations climate summit. The march did succeed in messing up traffic, but President Obama won't achieve much more when he speaks Tuesday at this latest pit stop on the global warming grand prix. Six years after the failure of the Copenhagen summit whose extravagant ambition was to secure a binding global treaty on carbon emissions, Mr. Obama is trying again. The Turtle Bay gathering of world leaders isn't formally a part of the international U.N. climate negotiations that are supposed to climax late next year in Paris, but the venue is meant to be an ice-breaker for more than 125 presidents, prime ministers and heads of state to start to reach consensus. One not-so-minor problem: The world's largest emitters are declining to show up, even for appearances. The Chinese economy has been the No. 1 global producer of carbon dioxide since 2008, but President Xi Jinping won't be gracing the U.N. with his presence. India's new Prime Minister Narendra Modi (No. 3) will be in New York but is skipping the climate parley. Russian President Vladimir Putin (No. 4) has other priorities, while Japan (No. 5) is uncooperative after the Fukushima disaster that has damaged support for nuclear power. Saudi Arabia is dispatching its petroleum minister. To understand the coldness of this brush off, global CO2 emissions increased to 35.1 billion metric tons in 2013, a new record and a 29% increase over a decade ago. Of the year-over-year carbon climb, China at 358 million metric tons jumped by more than the rest of the world combined and is responsible for 24.8% of emissions over the last five years. Over the same period, developing nations accounted for 57.5%...more

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Cowgirl Sass & Savvy

Spending money to make money

by Julie Carter

Superstition suggests bad luck comes in threes and for Rob, the third had just hit. Actually, it was the fourth, but the rules say after three, quit counting.

Rob and his wife had been subsidizing their cattle ranching in the usual sweaty, working ways. Lately, those hadn't been too successful. Perpetually looking for a way to keep the wolf from the door, Rob had a plan.

The cutting horse reject colt he had bought to make a heeling horse to sell was working out fairly well. That is, until a steer came out of the roping chute, cut hard to the right and the colt, true to his training, did the same.

Rob had not cleared the end of the roping box when everybody went "hard right" and his boot caught on the corner. The sickening sound told the story before anyone had to look. The bone was broke and the shin was split. This didn't bode well for any money-making activity in the near future.

Later, with a walking cast in place, Rob decided he would cut a few cedar stays out of the brush pastures to sell, but his chainsaw was on the blink. His wife Sue recalled an ad in the paper where a chainsaw was offered at a weekend garage sale.

When Rob returned with his treasure, his plan was to show it off to his bride. He pulled the rope and got the usual chainsaw resistance to starting. He pulled it again. Nothing. After about a dozen tries with no luck, Sue remembered something she had to do in the house, knowing it was a good time to remove herself from the premises.

When she went back a couple hours later, Rob was nowhere around. The bar and chain were lying to one side and a thousand pieces of orange plastic were scattered throughout the area. The sledgehammer was leaning up against the barn door.

Next, Rob decided that since their ranch had some good coastal Bermuda, he'd sell some of the upcoming hay crop. He laid down a good-sized field of it in anticipation of the income that it would bring. Of course, it had not rained in that part of the world in anybody's distant memory, but that night it poured down three inches.

He also had some farm ground and decided a crop of peanuts would be just the thing. He worked the ground, planted his peanuts, and went to bed that night counting his millions.

The next morning he found that every peanut had been rooted up. Feral hogs had never been a problem on his place, that is, until the peanuts were in the ground. He did reflect with some gratitude that the pigs hadn't helped themselves to his beer stash in the barn to wash down the peanuts.

As soon as he could find someone to tell him what pigs wouldn't eat, he'd consider replanting.

However, there was a big team roping coming to town. He had many bills to pay, but amazing enough, he had just the right amount of money to pay entry fees. He called a former roping buddy and they entered up.

It worked out better than anything had so far. They won the roping, got their names called by the announcer, new trophy buckles and a big payout.

On the way home, Rob bought new tires for Sue's pickup and an extra case of ropers' aiming fluid (beer) which help his logical thought process.

He could ride in a cast and had proven he could still catch his share at the ropings. Subsidizing the ranch in this manner was going to be a whole lot more fun than riding colts, chainsaws, hay or peanuts.

And that folks, is how all roads lead to the roping arena.

Julie can be reached for comment at

 Was Caesar a header or heeler?  With a name like Julius...probably a heeler.

Endurance and Fortitude - ‘Laura’s Theme’

Endurance and Fortitude
‘Laura’s Theme’
A deep line in the sand
By Stephen L. Wilmeth

            There is something savagely becoming when a person realizes there is nobody between them and the jaws of hell, and … decides not to retreat a step further.
Certainly such selflessness takes place in war, but, in a modern sense, it must be rare. It was commonplace in our western history. Tough men and women fought odds and adversaries for their lives and their rights. Today, few of us can remember first hand those earliest generation pioneers who staked their claims with real threats to their lives. We know they existed. Many were our direct predecessors and relatives. There is enough verbal history to convince us they were either tough people by nature or they became that way through adversity and principle.
   Their stories created enough impact on us to make us believe we could identify those who might exist amongst us who would respond similarly if and when their lives and or their heritage were threatened. Today in the Black Range of the Gila, we can identify one living member of those … courageous pioneers.
First, to the witnesses
Nat Straw came to the Gila before the date of increasing civility, 1880.
He made his living hunting and trapping. Predators were the focus. Straw was best known for his lion and bear hunts, but he is associated with more wolf kills than anybody. Although, his name didn’t appear on official “Application for Bounty” requests, his name was associated with many such bounties paid to the ranchers for whom he hunted. There are at least 38 documented wolf kills by Straw but there were likely many more.
Perhaps the real reason Straw was associated with wolves was his observation and subsequent methods of attracting them. Arguably, by default, Nat became a kingpin of southwestern wolf trappers.
 Bill Rogers came up with a copy of original transcriptions of the J. Frank Dobie discussions with Ben Lilly on the matter of the big predators. Ben was born in 1845 in Mississippi and left home at 12 to begin a process that culminated in a hunting career that ended only two years before he died at the “poor farm” on Big Dry Creek near the Grant County line in 1936.
My great great grandfather, Peter Shelley, maintained a satellite commissary at his 916 headquarters on Mogollon Creek for pioneers who roamed the Gila like Lilly. Mr. Lilly was a frequent customer. He came through, his ‘sound’ dog tied with a rope around his waste, following his pack on his continuous hunts. He picked up supplies, signed his account record, and left.
My maternal grandfather told a story of an encounter with Ben. He heard him coming long before he saw him. Lilly was talking uninterrupted. He came by him without breaking stride and without acknowledging his presence.
That sort of characteristic became a prevailing mannerism as Mr. Lilly grew frail and couldn’t care for himself. Mumbling, he trailed himself around the indigent house following his own footprints.
That Lilly was a hunter of renown, though, is unquestioned.
The transcripts are fascinating. When read and reread, there emerges a growing perception that the presence of newly arriving ranchers and their cattle likely boosted the numbers of predators in that era (the exception being the grizzly). The government moratorium disallowing the fencing of allotment created huge problems for ranchers in dealing with feral cattle. Those feral cattle became a nuisance for many reasons not the least of which was the increased food source for predators. They supported increases in predators. That increase elevated the demand for hunters like Lilly and Straw.
By 1918, government hunters and ranchers themselves became impact players in the hunt for predators. Without exception, those fellows were tied inexorably to the lore and the love of the land and the hunt. A common thread was observed within their ranks. They respected and admired lions, they were fairly tolerant of bears, they endured coyotes, and they hated wolves.
More of that phenomenon can be discerned from other verbal and written history. There was a belief that, given the choice, wolves preferred cattle over deer because they were easier to kill. Arguably, Lilly’s observation of the elevated livestock kills suggests the increase in cattle altered the killing habits of all predators. In 1912-1913, Lilly was paid for 95 bear and lions killed between Alma, New Mexico and Alpine, Arizona.  He spoke repeatedly about the dominance of cattle kills he found.
 The bears and lions were killing cattle every day on the different ranges. The lions were killing cows calves and colts horses and sheep,” the transcripts read.
He believed the majority of those kills were unknown to the ranchers on whose range he was hunting, or, in the case of feral cattle, unknown, period. He remarked about the magnitude of the revenue loss from those kills.
What he didn’t predict and Straw didn’t discuss was the benefit to the predator population those cattle became. The year Straw killed 32 wolves on the V†T, cattle had become a highly vulnerable prey.
That highlights a growing realization. The presence of numbers of cattle was the guiding factor that likely pushed predator numbers to supposed historic peaks. If the reason high predator numbers did not stem from natural population dynamics with suggested hints of wilderness contributions, but, rather, the presence of ranchers and their cattle, the blame cast on cattle has been historically … exaggerated and unjustified.
‘Laura’s Theme’
Laura Schneberger is, in every measure, the epitome of a true rancher’s wife. She now fights the wolf similarly to Straw and Lilly, but her battle is more vicious.
She grew up in cow camps of the greater Bootheel where her father worked. The harshness of her surroundings was accepted as normal to her family and others like them. They never had much in material possessions living in remote camps, making due with cowboy wages, riding for the brand, and devoting immeasurable time to the stewardship of the land. They displayed endurance and fortitude. They were thrifty beyond the pale, and they were self sufficient beyond any measure of urban comparison. They were displaced historically. They have become rare and precious people.
Laura was younger than I expected the first time I met her.
That meeting took place in Beaverhead at the Diamond family headquarters. It had snowed, and, as we came by the intersection where the paved road intersected the road to the Schneberger Ranch headquarters, there was only one set of fresh tire tracks.
The meeting subject was wolves. The outcome of the meeting appeared in Range Magazine, but the full measure of what I saw wasn’t part of that article. What wasn’t described was the measure of the impact of the wolf reintroduction debate … the magnitude of the social disruption of the people impaled in the contrived fight that threatens their existence.
Laura is the president of the Gila Livestock Growers Association, the body of citizens in the bulls-eye of the wolf fight. They are the modern survivors of the Gila pioneers. They live with wolves. Their livelihoods and their families are constantly at risk to the travails and the corruption of the bureaucratic thuggery that rules the program.
In her capacity, Laura is the chief spokesperson, the lightning rod, and the executive administrator of the fight for what is left of the customs and culture of the Gila ranching industry. It is a thankless job, a job of huge emotional strains, but a job that cannot go away or the full measure of the cleansing of the Gila will surely take place. Her responsibility is immense and even greater than she realizes.
Many of us have found ourselves in forums with Laura … gatherings that none of us wanted to face.
What we have seen in her is a maturing and evolution of effective leadership. By natural inclination very reserved, she has become not just an astute observer of political drama, but one of the West’s foremost authorities of the nuances of the fight she faces. She is a force and her actions are no longer based only on passion or emotion. She is the true science based spokesperson in the debate.
One of the great characters of the Gila was Henry Woodrow, the famous early forester. He, like Laura, came from pioneering ranching stock that faced life on the basis of fair dealing and self determination. He was once cornered by a pair of wolves on the West Fork and they took turns holding him hostage in a tree. His comment is reflective of the foes, human and canine, that Laura faces. She will understand the implication.
“Sugarfoot,” he began. “That was the only time I was killed by wild animals.”

Stephen L. Wilmeth is a rancher from southern New Mexico. “We are proud of Laura Schneberger. She is, in every sense, a noble native daughter of the American West, a lady, and … our friend.”

Wilmeth's "Laura's Theme" is a reference to "Lara's Theme", a beautiful tune from the soundtrack of the 1965 movie Dr. Zhivago.   Too bad the Ruskies didn't know how to spell Laura.  Out here Lara is a last name.

I thought it appropriate to take that tune and make a video as a tribute and thank you to Laura Schneberger for her many hours of work on behalf of the livestock industry and rural residents throughout The West.

Lara's Theme, more popularly known as Somewhere My Love, has been recorded many times in many different genres of music.  Given my proclivities for country and western, I found this acoustic version by Doug Bartlett to be my favorite.

Thank you Laura, and hope you enjoy my humble effort.

DuBois Stockman Column

My column this month covers reform of the ESA; the EPA and privacy; and Michelle O, the military and school lunch.

Is the Endangered Species Act (ESA) ripe for some reasonable reform? 

The ESA was passed four decades ago and hasn’t been renewed by Congress since 1988.  Under its authority over 1,500 species and subspecies have been listed.  Unfortunately there has only been a two percent recovery rate, which doesn’t say much for the effectiveness of the Act.

Furthermore, any objective observer will admit the ESA has become a litigation-driven monstrosity.  The Department of Justice reports that more than 500 ESA-related lawsuits were filed or opened against federal agencies since 2009, and more than $21 million has been awarded in taxpayer funded attorneys’ fees to environmental lawyers through the Judgment Fund and the Equal Access to Justice Act.  For federal fiscal years 2009-2012, concerning cases in Region 2 of the Fish & Wildlife Service (which includes New Mexico), environmental groups received $2.5 million in attorneys’ fees.  The championship for raiding the federal treasury during this time period, however, goes to Region 8 (Nevada & California) where environmental groups received $7.2 million.

Which environmental groups are filing all these lawsuits?  You can probably guess, but here is a list of the top five and the number of cases filed during the time period under consideration: 

1) Center for Biological Diversity – 117
2) WildEarth Guardians – 55
3) Sierra Club – 30
4) Defenders of Wildlife – 29
5) Western Watersheds Project – 21

Adding urgency to all this is the so-called 2011 “mega-settlement” negotiated behind closed doors by the Department of Interior and the Center for Biological Diversity/WildEarth Guardians, which may result in an additional 799 species being listed as threatened or endangered.  In the year following the settlement the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service listed 107 more species.  Most recently has been the listing of the meadow jumping mouse which is wreaking havoc on livestock grazing across Forest Service lands in New Mexico, Arizona and Colorado.

Then there is the transparency issue.  The ESA requires listings to be based on the “best available scientific and commercial data” but in many instances the public is denied access to this data.  Doc Hastings, Chairman of the House Committee on Natural Resources, has stated, “It is troubling that hundreds of sweeping listing decisions by the Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service cite unpublished studies, professional opinions, and other sources that are inaccessible to the public yet this data would be used to regulate the very people who don’t have access to this information.  This secrecy goes against the grain of good science and transparency.” 
Not only is the ESA ripe for reform, its actually rotting on the vine, and in response the U.S. House of Representatives has just passed H.R. 4315, the Endangered Species Transparency and Reasonableness Act. 
This is no huge reform of the ESA, but is an attempt to make the Act’s implementation more reasonable for humans and more effective for wildlife and plants.  According to a release by the House Natural Resources Committee, H.R. 4315 would specifically:

° Require data used by federal agencies for ESA listing decisions to be made publicly available and accessible through the Internet, while respecting state data privacy laws and private property.
° Require the federal government to disclose to affected states data used prior to an ESA listing decision and it would require the “best available scientific and commercial data” used by the federal government to incorporate data provided by states, tribes, and local county governments.
° Require the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to track, report to Congress, and make available online the federal taxpayer funds used to respond to ESA lawsuits, the number of employees dedicated to ESA litigation, and attorneys’ fees awarded in the course of ESA litigation and settlement agreements.
° Prioritize species protection and protect taxpayer dollars by placing reasonable caps on attorneys’ fees to make the ESA consistent with existing federal law. For example, the federal government limits the prevailing attorneys’ fees to $125 per hour in most circumstances, including federal suits involving veterans, Social Security, and disability. But under the ESA, attorneys are being awarded huge sums, in many cases, at a rate as much as $600 per hour.

When an environmental lawyer is awarded four times as much for defending jumping mice and long-eared bats as other attorneys are awarded for defending our veterans and the handicapped, I’d say its way past time for “reform”.  The House of Representatives agreed and passed these simple reforms on July 29th.   

Some apparently didn’t agree, as New Mexico rep’s Ben Ray Lujan and Michelle Lujan Grisham voted against the bill.


The EPA stands for an Ever Present Attack on liberty. 

Recall how hard it is to get the data on endangered species. Well that’s certainly not the case if you are an environmental group and request data on farmers and ranchers.  Many folks were surprised last year when the Environmental Protection Agency, in response to a Freedom of Information Act request, publicly released to three environmental groups a huge database of personal information about thousands of livestock producers and their families in 29 states.  What kind of information was released?  The database included the names of the producers and other family members, home addresses, GPS coordinates, telephone numbers and emails. How would you like HSUS, PETA, ADF or some other agriterrorist group to have that kind of info on your property and family?

Thankfully, the American Farm Bureau Federation and others have filed suit to stop the EPA from future releases of this type. We’ll keep a close watch on that.

Michelle, the military, and war

Politico reports that Mission: Readiness, a group of nearly 500 former military leaders, is planning to “storm the Hill”and “bring out the big guns for the kids” when Congress comes back to town in an attempt to save Michelle Obama’s increasingly unpopular changes to the National School Lunch Program. The military brass says the obesity epidemic is seen as a “threat to national security.”

Now we have a War on Obesity?  Attention Mr. Generals:  Do not deploy.  This will go the same way as the War on Poverty and the War on Drugs. Besides, one educational group points out that based on a 180 day school year, a school lunch only amounts to 15 percent of a child’s meals.  Better to aim your “big guns” at adequately funding P.E. programs and forget about this silly, sissified, anti-meat program.  Besides, do we really want a bunch of tofu toughies running the military?

Till next time, be a nuisance to the devil and don’t forget to check that cinch.

Frank DuBois was the NM Secretary of Agriculture from 1988 to 2003, is the author of a blog: The Westerner ( and is the founder of The DuBois Rodeo Scholarship (

This column first appeared in the September editions of New Mexico Stockman and Livestock Market Digest.