Friday, November 06, 2015

9 Reasons Why Obama Just Made Wrong Decision on Keystone Pipeline

by Nicolas Loris 

It took President Barack Obama only 2,604 days to reject the permit application for the Keystone XL pipeline.

“America is now a global leader when it comes to taking serious action to fight climate change,” Obama added. “And frankly, approving this project would have undercut that global leadership.”
Former Obama administration Secretary of Energy Stephen Chu hit the nail on the head: “The decision on whether the construction should happen was a political one and not a scientific one.”

Here are the top nine reasons Obama is wrong on Keystone XL.
  1. Jobs and economic growth. Opponents will minimize the job numbers, saying that the pipeline will create only “a handful” of permanent jobs—and that’s correct. In his speech Obama said, “So if Congress is serious about wanting to create jobs, this was not the way to do it.” But here’s what that argument misses: the tens of thousands of construction jobs that the pipeline project will create. In fact, simply building the southern portion—which didn’t need Obama’s approval—has already created 4,000 construction jobs. And if opponents are dismissive of Keystone XL, they should be dismissive of all construction projects, as they’re all temporary—because they’re construction jobs. Further, Keystone XL would add economic value, transport an important energy resource efficiently, and result in billions of dollars of tax revenue for states it runs through.
  2. Stable supply of oil from an important trading partner that will lower gas prices. The pipeline would carry up to 830,000 barrels of oil from Canada to the Gulf Coast, where U.S. refineries are already equipped to handle heavier crudes. The pipeline will efficiently provide supply from a secure source and a friendly and important trading partner. Contra Obama’s claim today that “the pipeline would not lower gas prices for American consumers,” increased oil supplies will lower gas prices, though the impact may be small.
  3. Safest mode of getting oil and gas to Americans. Many in the United States live near a pipeline without even knowing about it. America has more than 500,000 miles of crude oil, petroleum, and natural gas pipelines and another 2 million miles of natural gas distribution pipelines. When it comes to accidents, injuries, and fatalities, pipelines are the safest mode of transporting oil and gas.
  4. Environmentally safe. It was Albert Einstein who said the definition of insanity is “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” The State Department must be teetering on the edge of insanity, because after multiple environmental reviews concluding that Keystone XL poses minimal environmental risk to soil, wetlands, water resources, vegetation, fish, and wildlife, the Obama administration still rejected the permit application.

Judge finds flaw in Gila diversion approval process

A state district judge has ruled that the Interstate Stream Commission violated the Open Meetings Act when approving two multimillion-dollar contracts involving a controversial diversion project on the Gila River in southwestern New Mexico. Norm Gaume, a former director of the Interstate Stream Commission, filed a lawsuit last year alleging the commission had violated the act in several ways, including by having four of nine commissioners on a subcommittee make decisions in secret and by awarding contracts without providing the public with an opportunity to give input. District Judge Francis J. Mathew of Santa Fe ruled Oct. 13 that the full commission, appointed by Gov. Susana Martinez, must retroactively approve the contracts with engineering firm Bohannan Huston ($1.4 million) and RJH Consultants ($2 million) for work on the project to divert water from the Gila River. The commission is scheduled to ratify those contracts and several other previously awarded contracts at a public meeting Tuesday in Albuquerque. In a partial win for the state, Mathew ruled that the commission’s approval of the contracts in public meetings before they were signed did not violate the state procurement code. He also ruled that the commission’s Gila subcommittee did not violate the state’s Open Meeting Act. Both sides claim they prevailed in the case and are trying to recover legal costs and court fees from each other...more

Obama Rejects Construction of Keystone XL Oil Pipeline

President Obama announced on Friday that he had rejected the request from a Canadian company to build the Keystone XL oil pipeline, ending a seven-year review that had become a symbol of the debate over his climate policies. Stories from Our Advertisers Mr. Obama’s denial of the proposed 1,179-mile pipeline, which would have carried 800,000 barrels a day of carbon-heavy petroleum from the Canadian oil sands to the Gulf Coast, comes as he seeks to build an ambitious legacy on climate change. “America is now a global leader when it comes to taking serious action to fight climate change,’’ Mr. Obama said in remarks from the White House. “And frankly, approving this project would have undercut that global leadership.’’ Continue reading the main story Related Coverage The move was made ahead of a major United Nations summit meeting on climate change to be held in Paris in December, when Mr. Obama hopes to help broker a historic agreement committing the world’s nations to enacting new policies to counter global warming. While the rejection of the pipeline is largely symbolic, Mr. Obama has sought to telegraph to other world leaders that the United States is serious about acting on climate change...more

Pipeline rejection must be part of U.S. package in Paris -- Sanders

President Obama should pull the plug on the Keystone XL oil pipeline before global climate talks kick off in Paris later this month, Sen. Bernie Sanders said yesterday. The Vermont independent and 2016 presidential candidate said that by shelving the proposed Alberta-to-Texas conduit, Obama could "send a very strong signal to the entire world that the United States is deadly serious that we are going to combat the international crisis of climate change, that we are going to transform our energy system away from fossil fuel to energy efficiency and sustainable energy." Sanders spoke at the Senate lawn rollout of a bill by Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) that would end the sale of new fossil fuel leases on public lands and renewal of all nonproducing leases. The senator, whom polls show running second to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination, has been against the project since before it was an environmental litmus test. Clinton came out against it this year after stopping just short of endorsing it as secretary of State. Sanders challenged the front-runner to join him in opposing new leasing on federal lands, too...more

DOI announces initiative to spur economic development, expansion in Indian Country

As part of President Obama’s 7th annual White House Tribal Nations Conference, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell and Assistant Secretary-Indian Affairs Kevin Washburn today announced that the Department of the Interior has expanded leasing provisions to give Indian landowners greater control over the use and development of their land. They also announced the launch of Native One Stop, a website where tribal members can locate important federal resources they may be eligible to receive.

The article quotes Secretary Jewell:  “These reforms help expand opportunities for individual landowners and tribal governments to generate investment, expand economic opportunity and provide greater transparency and workability through the Bureau of Indian Affairs’s leasing and right-of-way processes.” 

Can you imagine Obama announcing a new policy to give states and individual landowners "greater control over the use and development of their land" to "generate investment" and "expand economic opportunity" for the rest of us?


NMSU part of strategic plan for NM ag industry

New Mexico’s agriculture and food processing industries face many challenges and are looking to the future. The combination of agriculture and food processing is an important part of New Mexico’s economy. Together, the two broad industries accounted for $10.6 billion, roughly 12.3 percent of New Mexico’s $85 billion gross state product in 2012. The future will bring opportunities to these industries that are important to the state’s economy, ranging from expanding sales to out-of-state markets to supplying New Mexico consumers with locally grown fresh fruits and vegetables. It will also bring the challenges of an aging agricultural workforce and the growing demand for water in a period of prolonged drought. New Mexico State University and New Mexico First are joining forces to develop a strategic plan to help maintain a resilient New Mexico food and agricultural system. The Thornburg Foundation is coordinating the funding of the project...more

Ranch Radio Song Of The Day #1512

Some Roots Music today with G.B. Grayson & Henry Whitter performing A Dark Road Is A Hard Road To Travel.  The tune was recorded in NY City on July 31, 1928.

Thursday, November 05, 2015

Bishop Releases Land and Water Conservation Fund Reforms

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Chairman Rob Bishop (R-UT) released a discussion draft of legislation titled the “Protecting America’s Recreation and Conservation (PARC) Act,” which includes several substantive reforms to update the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), enacted in 1965.

The LWCF’s current lopsided funding ratio makes limited funds available to establish recreation projects and facilities that can be responsibly managed and maintained by State and local entities while continuing to vastly expand the federal estate,” Bishop said. “Even more troubling on the federal side is that the money is being spent with little transparency, scant oversight, and minimal local input.”

Provisions in the discussion draft include: changing appropriation ratios for state and federal programs, emphasizing urban recreational access, limiting funds that may be made available for federal land acquisition or for eminent domain, and designing programs to increase revenues and streamline permitting for offshore energy projects.

Bishop is not alone in calling for much needed improvements to the law.

Updating this law is a bipartisan effort.  Pennsylvania’s Governor Tom Wolf, a Democrat, in a recent letter called upon Congress ‘to rebalance funding toward the states’ and ‘renew the Act with a restored commitment to an equitable share for state grants” said Bishop. “Other groups such as the American Wildlife Conservation Partners have called on Congress to ‘modernize LWCF to address contemporary issues’ and secure funding for programs that ‘continue its legacy of success.’”   

In early October Bishop sent a letter to Interior Secretary Sally Jewell and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack inquiring about the use of LWCF funds for federal land acquisition. The Department of Interior’s response letter failed to answer Bishop’s pressing questions about the use and abuse of LWCF funds.

To read the legislative draft, click here.
To listen to the press call, click here.
For a backgrounder, click here.


EPA Official Behind Pebble Mine Defeat Fled The Country Amid Congressional Probe

by Michael Bastasch

A government ecologist was instrumental in the Environmental Protection Agency’s blocking of a major Alaska gold mine left the U.S. after congressional investigators found out he flouted federal records law.

A report published by Republicans on the House science committee found that Phil North, an EPA ecologist, came up with the plan to use the Clean Water Act to block the Pebble Mine from ever being built in Alaska’s Bristol Bay. North convinced the EPA to use an “unprecedented” method for shutting down the mining project, according to the report.

House science committee staff found out about North’s involvement in Pebble from a 2013 news article. The committee quickly sent a request to EPA “to request North’s relevant documents and communications.” The committee also wanted North to come in for a transcribed interview, but North was less than compliant.

...“North then left the country and avoided service by the U.S. Marshals Service of a subpoena to be deposed by the Committee,” the House committee wrote. “According to press reports, North was most recently in Australia.”

...Republicans also shows how EPA employees, including North, convinced Alaskan tribes in the region to write a letter to the agency asking them to preemptively veto Pebble — something the EPA had never done before. The whole “grassroots” push against the mine was orchestrated by EPA and its allies, according to the report.

 A great example of "collaboration".

Crisis mgt. team to help Sheriff’s Office after outcry over shooting of Idaho rancher

An officer-involved shooting that left a longtime Adams County rancher dead Sunday has shocked the community and brought a tidal wave of recriminations for the county’s small sheriff’s department. The Adams County Sheriff’s Office has been bombarded with angry calls and hate mail from people upset by the shooting, which left 62-year-old Jack Yantis dead on U.S. 95 in front of his home north of Council. Adams County Sheriff Ryan Zollman said people in the office are being called “murderers” and said the calls coming in forced one emergency dispatcher to leave her post Tuesday. “She was so upset,” he said. Yantis was one of two ranchers summoned Sunday night to a highway car crash that injured a bull; deputies were unsure whose animal it was, Zollman said. The bull was reportedly charging at first responders working to extricate two people from the Subaru station wagon that hit him. As deputies prepared to kill the bull, Yantis showed up — with a rifle. What transpired to cause Yantis and the two deputies to all fire their weapons is under investigation by Idaho State Police. On Tuesday, ISP said that anyone who was in the area around the time of the shooting should contact them at 208-884-7110. “It’s a supreme tragedy,” Council Schools Superintendent Murray Dalgleish said. “It’s a tragedy for the town. It’s a tragedy for the families. It’s inexplicable, and you’re trying to find some rationality. This is difficult, very difficult.  Yantis was also an expert logger, according to friend Buck Rekow. “Jack was probably about the best faller in this part of the country. The Forest Service still came to him to deal with problem trees,” said Rekow, a 36-year-old Emmett man who got to know Yantis while working for his son-in-law about a decade ago. Rekow said he admired the way Yantis lived. “He made his living from the ground and the woods,” Rekow said. “What he didn’t raise, he shot. He was an avid outdoorsman. He had a great deal of skill and knowledge about life on the farm and in the woods. That is truly an example of what an Idahoan should be.”...more

Read more here:

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Slain rancher’s wife in serious condition at Boise hospital Wednesday

Yantis’ wife, Donna, who reportedly suffered a heart attack after hearing about the shooting, was listed in serious condition Wednesday morning at Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center in Boise. She had previously been listed in critical condition. A hospital spokesman said Wednesday that the family has asked that no more status updates be released to the media. The names of the Subaru driver and passenger, a man and woman who were transported by air ambulance from Council to Boise, have not been released by police, and their medical condition has not been disclosed...more

Senate approves resolution to withdraw Waters of the U.S. (Udall & Heinrich vote no)

The Senate on Wednesday voted 53-44 on S.J. Res. 22, a resolution to withdraw the Waters of the U.S. regulation, drawing praise from farm groups. "America's farmers and ranchers care deeply about clean water, and we are committed to protecting it for future generations," said Chip Bowling, president of the National Corn Growers Association. "But this rule is not based on science or law, does not clarify farmers' responsibilities under the Clean Water Act and will not improve water quality." Though the resolution to eliminate the rule was approved, the Senate previously voted down a bill that would have revised the WOTUS regulation, S. 1140.  The National Cattlemen's Beef Association and the Public Lands Council also supported the resolution vote. "America's cattlemen and women are drowning in federal regulation that adds burdens, costs and uncertainty to our businesses," said NCBA President Philip Ellis "The WOTUS regulation is the greatest overreach yet. If allowed to take effect, it would give EPA jurisdiction over millions of acres of state and private property. Without action by Congress and the President to withdraw this rule; producers, stakeholders and states will be forced to continue litigation, adding millions of dollars in expenses and years in delay." The joint resolution passed by the Senate was brought by Senator Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, under the Congressional Review Act. This resolution would order the EPA and Corps to withdraw the WOTUS rule and would prevent the agencies from further similar rulemaking. The joint resolution must now be passed by the House and signed by the President...more

Feds ignored state, local input on land use plans


You have the right to remain silent.

No, you have the obligation to remain silent, because if you don’t you’ll be slapped with the very thing you’ve worked against for four years at the cost of millions of dollars and countless man-hours — listing of the greater sage grouse under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) — and then be sent to bed without your supper.

Talk about being treated like the proverbial red-headed stepchild.

This essentially is what the U.S. Attorney for Nevada has said in reply to a federal lawsuit that seeks an injunction to stop draconian land use restrictions, which almost entirely ignore state and local input, despite repeated promises of cooperation, coordination and adherence to strict scientific standards.

U.S. Attorney Daniel Bogden’s reply to the suit filed by Attorney General Adam Laxalt could be paraphrased thusly: Shut up, sit down, move to the back of the bus, or we’ll list the damn bird anyway.

...Bogden repeatedly tells the court the injunction should be denied because the claims are not “ripe.” Though the plans have been drafted and appeals have been denied, the plans have not yet been fully implemented.

Translation: No one may sue the federal bureaucracy until it has actually carried out its threat to put you out of business, making it impossible to afford to hire a stable of attorneys to fight the bottomless taxpayer well of cash for the next two or three generations.

...With utter disregard for economic realities, Bogden also argues that the plaintiffs have failed to demonstrate “imminent irreparable injury,” providing merely speculation.

It is merely speculation that Elko County anticipates an annual loss of approximately $31 million of agricultural productivity.

The claim the federal government has been collaborative in reaching its decisions is a joke. Laxalt’s lawsuit uses a variant of the word “ignore” 22 times.

Before Laxalt filed suit, appeals by Gov. Brian Sandoval to both the head of the state BLM and the national BLM were summarily snubbed with cursory explanation.

This whole case is illustrative of the real problem with having 85 percent of Nevada land under the tight-fisted control of power-drunk Washington bureaucrats.

Another Climate Alarmist Lets It Slip: Why They Want To Scare You

World savers are anything but. They always have an unspoken motive. H.L. Mencken saw the self-appointed saviors for what they were almost a century ago, when he said the "whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary."

The most persistent hobgoblin of the last quarter-century has been global warming, now called climate change but eventually to be known as extreme weather, or some such other fright-inducing name. The climate activists are constantly bombarding us with warnings, hectoring, hysteria, pleading and threats. Apocalyptic books have been written and shrill movies made, all in an effort to slow man's combustion of fossil fuels.

Included among these is a new documentary "inspired" by Naomi Klein's book "This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate." If the title isn't enough to give away Klein's motives for attacking the climate "crisis," then a comment she makes in the trailer — please forgive: watching the entire documentary would be as agonizing as any medieval torture — should.

"So here's the big question," says Klein. "What if global warming isn't only a crisis? What if it's the best chance we're ever going to get to build a better world?"

Then comes the threat:

"Change, or be changed."

Klein says she "spent six years wandering through the wreckage caused by the carbon in the air and the economic system that put it there." Clearly, it is her goal to shatter the free-market system. The climate? It's just a vehicle, a pretext for uprooting the only economic system in history that has brought prosperity and good health.

Klein's statement is perfectly in line with Christiana Figueres, executive secretary of United Nation's Framework Convention on Climate Change, and in fact is almost an echo. Figueres acknowledged earlier this year that the environmental activists' goal is not to spare the world an ecological disaster, but to destroy capitalism.

Inslee caught advising other Democrats how to spread climate change lies

Extreme “greenies” rallied around the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) new power plant regulations earlier this year by attacking the credibility of critics. Memos circulated by a dozen Democrat governors spelled out talking points and political messaging tips in support of the regulations, the purpose being to “sow doubts about our opponents [sic] motives.” One memo, sent specifically to Jay Inslee and disgraced former Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber by the Democrat polling firm Hart Research Associates, warns that voters generally shared the concerns of Republican critics of the regulation. In order to combat public opinion, the memo essentially advises the governors to begin circulating lies. Via the Washington Free Beacon,

“The memo, based on Hart research, was particularly troubled by rate hike concerns among ‘our most vulnerable support groups (independents, younger women, moderate Democrats).’ Supporters of the regulation needed to prevent them ‘from turning against the plan,’ the memo said.

“It proposed that Democrats ‘strongly and consistently sow doubts about our opponents motives when responding to any criticism of the Climate Action Plan or its components,’ including EPA regulations.

“‘The key to success is a visible adversary,’ the memo said. ‘In this case, that adversary is power companies, though this line of messaging easily could be adapted to encompass the coal industry or any other dirty energy advocate.’

Another talking points memo urged governors to attack power companies by labeling them “polluters” who “avoid paying their fair share” on taxes. If this sounds familiar, it’s because these are the exact words Inslee used to push his cap-and-tax proposal during the 2015 legislative session.

The Calcification of Climate Science

by Ian Tuttle

According to Lord Christopher Monckton, Thomas R. Karl’s much-feted paper refuting “the Pause,” the inexplicable 19-year standstill in the earth’s average global surface temperature, has a small problem: To disappear the warming hiatus as Karl and his co-authors purport to do, you have to repeal the laws of thermodynamics. (Not even the current president can do that.)

Karl and his colleagues, whose work appeared in the June issue of Science, “updated” previous data sets used to assess changes in surface temperatures, which supporters maintain is merely Science being self-critical and Scientific. Others — a lot of others — say different. E. Calvin Beisner rounds up criticisms at the website Watts Up With That, and quotes with approval the verdict of Georgia Tech climate scientist Judith Curry: 
This short paper in Science is not adequate to explain and explore the very large changes that have been made to the NOAA data set. . . . So while I’m sure this latest analysis from NOAA will be regarded as politically useful for the Obama administration, I don’t regard it as a particularly useful contribution to our scientific understanding of what is going on. 
This would be an in-the-weeds scientific scuffle were it not that Karl is director of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Center for Environmental Information and the study was the work of his outfit. Since even the apocalypse-minded Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has acknowledged the hiatus, NOAA’s startling findings caught the eye of Lamar Smith, chairman of the House’s Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, the job of which is to oversee the work of NOAA and other federal scientific bodies. In mid July, the committee requested that NOAA pass along a host of data related to the study, noting in its letter to NOAA administrator Kathryn D. Sullivan, “The conclusions brought forth in this new study have lasting impacts and provide the basis for further action through regulations. With such broad implications, it is imperative that the underlying data and the analysis are made publicly available to ensure that the conclusions found and methods used are of the highest quality.”

NOAA cooperated — until it didn’t. After partially fulfilling the committee’s request (for “documents and information related to NOAA’s new updated global datasets, as well as the communications referring or relating to corrections to sea temperature data from ships and buoys”) in August, NOAA let pass two extended deadlines for the missing information, prompting a subpoena. This week, though, NOAA announced that it has no plans to comply with the subpoena. The agency cited “confidentiality concerns and the integrity of the scientific process,” according to The Hill.


COOL: Countdown to a showdown

With the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) final report on U.S. country-of-origin labeling (COOL) retaliation now due December 7, the issues seem intractable, despite non-stop conversations among all parties since May, said Sarah Little, communications director for U.S. Senator Pat Roberts (R-Kans.), chairman of the Senate Ag Committee. Canada and Mexico could implement retaliatory tariffs as soon as 11 days after the decision is announced. A primary problem is that while some of the die-hard supporters of COOL are long-standing senators, some of opponents, including Sen. Roberts, are equally well-placed. Roberts has said it doesn’t matter if it’s a dollar in retaliation or if it’s $3.2 billion in retaliation, no amount is acceptable, Little said. Also, while COOL supporters have been unwilling to back away from their demands that the wording including “born, raised and slaughtered,” the Canadian and Mexican governments have been equally adamant that the language be dropped...more (registration)

Kraft Heinz to shut 7 plants, including Wisconsin Oscar Mayer plant

Kraft Heinz told employees on Wednesday it plans to shut seven manufacturing facilities over the next one to two years, eliminating 2,600 jobs, including an Oscar Mayer plant in Madison, Wis., Michael Mullen, senior vice president corporate and government affairs, said in an emailed statement. The Oscar Mayer plant employs about 1,250 workers. “Additionally, Kraft Heinz is announcing that in 2016 we will move Oscar Mayer and our U.S. Meats Business Unit from Madison, Wis., to our co-headquarters in Chicago. The move will bring 250 jobs to the Chicago area,” Mullen said. “Members of the Oscar Mayer and U.S. Meats Business Unit will have the opportunity to move with the business to Chicago. The move centralizes all our U.S. Business Units to our co-headquarters of Chicago and Pittsburgh, which will drive increased collaboration and efficiency.” The seven Kraft Heinz North American manufacturing facilities that will close include plants in Fullerton and San Leandro, Calif., Federalsburg, Md., St. Marys, Ontario, Canada; Campbell, N.Y., Lehigh Valley, Penn. and Madison, Wis...more (registration)

Ranch Radio Song Of The Day #1511

Shady Grove is an 18th century folk song which has many varying verses and has been recorded hundreds of times.  Here's one of my favorite versions by James Alan Shelton & Tim Stafford from the 2006 CD True Bluegrass Essentials

Elite Rodeo Athletes announces 2017 qualifying race

BOERNE, TX (November 4, 2015) – The much-anticipated 2017 ERA Qualifying Race will provide rodeo athletes an opportunity to earn their way onto the tour and compete against the ERA’s League of Champions. This innovative system has never been executed in the history of rodeo, proving that it’s a “New ERA in professional rodeo.”  Much like in other professional sports, the ERA Qualifying Race and the ERA Tour will be point based, with heavier point values associated with winning at a higher level of competition (ERA Tour).


A 15 stop 2017 ERA Tour will consist of 10 athletes in each event and will have tour cuts before tour stops 1, 6 and 11 where the bottom 3 contestants in each event’s standings will fall off and the top 3 contestants from the Qualifying Race will be promoted onto the tour. This will ensure that the world’s top rodeo athletes will be competing at each and every ERA tour stop and give future talent a way to quickly rise to the top based on their ability. The contestants that find themselves in the bottom 3 of the ERA Tour will have the ability to rise again through the ERA Qualifying Race. Contestants on the ERA Tour are not eligible for Qualifying Race points, while they are on tour.  After ERA Tour stop 15, the 10 ERA Tour contestants in each event will be joined at the World Championships by the top 2 ERA Qualifying Race contestants that advanced to compete at the World Championships. Those qualifiers will have a shot to compete against the other tour members for the 3 million dollars in added money at the ERA World Championships held in Dallas at the American Airlines Center in 2017.


The 2017 Qualifying Race will begin November 14, 2016 (the day after ERA’s First World Championships in Dallas, Texas). Rodeo athletes can earn points by placing at any rodeo they choose that fits the ERA’s definition of a qualifying rodeo (see definition below). The qualifying system can be broken down into 5 steps:
  1. Join: Any athlete desiring to earn their way onto the ERA Tour will join by going to and registering to become an ERA Qualifier. Each athlete will be given a secured login to his or her Qualifier page. The registration process will begin during the 2016 ERA Tour.
  2. Declare & Compete: On their personal qualifier page, each athlete can declare the rodeos they would like for ERA to count towards their qualifying points. This must be done 24 hours before the beginning competition in the event you are designating and meet the ERA’s qualifying rodeo requirements. Athlete can only designate 10 rodeos per Qualifying Race Quarter (definition of Qualifying Race Quarters below).
  3. Win=Points: After the completion of the declared rodeo, the qualifier will earn points based on any paid place they receive. Points will be given in all rounds where they won a paid place.
  4. Get on Tour: Athletes that find themselves in the top 3 of their discipline’s Qualifying Race at the designated time of ERA Tour Cuts will be promoted onto the ERA Tour.  
  5. Compete at Dallas: Athletes that find themselves in the top 2 of their discipline’s standings at the end of the qualifying race will advance to the 2017 ERA World Championships in Dallas, Texas.

The structure of the ERA Qualifying Race will potentially revolutionize the sport of rodeo as a whole, as it will encourage the production of high quality events and increase contestant participation at those events regardless of organization type. It will also ensure that fans will be watching the top talent in rodeo at each and every ERA Tour stop.  Contestants will be able to qualify for the tour by declaring rodeos in their own area. These rodeos will be events they are already competing in, which will not extend their schedules and benefit both their families and animals.  Bobby Mote, 4-time World Champion Bareback Rider and ERA Athlete, served on the committee that developed the qualification system. He said, “The fact that the ERA qualifying race is limited to 10 rodeo’s per quarter does two things. First, it means that the maximum number of rodeos you’d have to go to in order to qualify to the ERA World Championships is 40. Secondly, we wanted to give the qualifiers twice the chances to get on tour as the athletes on tour had and since the athletes on tour can not count qualifier race points that levels the playing field.”  Mote also explained the reasoning behind why qualifiers can declare their rodeo up to 24 hours before the rodeo he said, “We wanted to take “luck of the draw” out of the equation as much as possible so the qualifying athletes will be able to get their position and stock call backs before they decide to designate that rodeo for ERA points.”  “By introducing a unique concept like the ERA, it is our hope to increase the awareness of the sport of rodeo on a national stage” said 21-time World Champion Cowboy and ERA Athlete, Trevor Brazile upon the launch of the ERA in February.  “Enhancing the sport of professional rodeo and building something greater for the future generations of rodeo cowboys and cowgirls is the goal of the ERA. We look forward to working with the entire rodeo industry.”


1st Quarter- November 14, 2016 through cut before ERA Tour Stop 1
2nd Quarter – Tour Stop 1 through cut before Tour Stop 6
3rd Quarter – Tour Stop 6 through cut before Tour Stop 11
4th Quarter – Tour Stop 11 through promotion of Top 2 Event Qualifiers to World Championships.


-Must have all 7 standard rodeo events , unless competition is an ERA approved event.      
  • Bareback Riding
  • Steer Wrestling
  • Saddle Bronc Riding
  • Tie-down Roping
  • Team Roping
  • Bull Riding
  • Barrel Racing
 - Must have a minimum of $5,000 added money in the event that you are declaring points in.
- Can be any organization or open rodeo whose results are public and verifiable.

Click the link to learn more about the 2016 ERA Qualifying Race to Dallas.

Wednesday, November 04, 2015

‘New Mexico is not New Jersey:’ EPA’s new ozone rule gets another opponent

New Mexico is one of the most topographically diverse states in the country — from arid Chihuahuan Desert regions to sections in the cool Sangre de Christo Mountains climbing 13,000 feet and forming the southern subrange of the Rockies. It’s a big reason the New Mexico Environment Department under Republican Gov. Susana Martinez announced Friday it’s joining four states in a lawsuit against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, complaining the federal government’s new ozone rule is unfair. “Our state has background ozone conditions which are not effectively and equally addressed by the EPA’s new and autocratic ozone standards,” NMED secretary Ryan Flynn said in a statement, adding “New Mexico is not New Jersey.” New Mexico complains the stricter rule penalizes the Land of Enchantment more than other states and puts New Mexico at greater risk to face potential EPA fines...more

Obama Won’t Yield to Company’s Bid to Delay Keystone Pipeline Decision

The White House on Tuesday said President Obama had no intention of bowing to a request from the company behind the Keystone XL oil pipeline to delay a decision on the project, saying he wanted to take action before his tenure ends. The State Department is reviewing a request made on Monday by the company, TransCanada, to pause its yearslong evaluation of the proposed 1,179-mile pipeline, which has become part of a broader debate over Mr. Obama’s environmental agenda. Josh Earnest, the White House press secretary, said on Tuesday that “there’s reason to suspect that there may be politics at play” in TransCanada’s request. He strongly suggested that the review, which has been widely expected to result in a rejection of the pipeline as soon as this month, remained on track. Environmental protection advocates say Mr. Obama is poised to reject the pipeline project in large part to make a bold statement about his commitment to curb climate change in advance of a United Nations summit meeting in Paris. He will seek to broker an accord at the December gathering, committing every nation to enacting new policies to counter global warming...more

Global Warming Activists Don’t Like When Someone Follows The Money

by Andrew Follett

...Studies that receive financial support from the public sector don’t have to disclose it as a conflict of interest, even when that support is in the millions of dollars. Recent studies that the Environmental Protection Agency is using to support the scientific case for its Clean Power Plan saw the EPA itself give $31.2 million, $9.5 million, and $3.65 million in public funds to lead authors according to EPA public disclosures.

The author who received $3.65 million, Charles Driscoll, even admitted to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that the result of his study was predetermined, saying “in doing this study we wanted to bring attention to the additional benefits from carbon controls.”

Universities typically received about 50 percent of the money that their researchers get in public funds if their research finds positive results, making them deeply dependent upon federal funding and likely to encourage studies which will come to conclusions that the government wants.

Even counting only private money, environmental groups massively outspend their opposition. Opposition to global warming activism only raises $46 million annually across 91 conservative think tanks according to analysis by Forbes. That’s almost 6 times less than Greenpeace’s 2011 budget of $260 million, and Greenpeace is only one of many environmental groups. The undeniable truth is that global warming activists raise and spend far more money than their opponents.

Attempts by governments to encourage solar and wind power have created incentives for corruption that even environmentalists acknowledge. The push to encourage “green” systems has already led to serious corruption, such as the Solyndra scandal, which “crowds out” investment dollars that could be better spent on more workable solutions.

Obama overhauls process for offsetting environmental harm

President Obama today ordered five federal agencies to streamline regulations for offsetting environmental harm and to promote independent mitigation efforts. The memorandum -- sent to the secretaries of Defense, Interior and Agriculture and the administrators of U.S. EPA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration -- establishes for the first time a "net benefit goal" for natural resource use. At minimum, the memo calls for no net loss of land, water, wildlife and other ecological resources from federal actions or permitting. The directive will affect everything from government construction projects to oil and gas production on public lands. It does not, however, apply to "military testing, training, and readiness activities," the memo says. To reach their new net-benefit goal, Obama said the agencies should "adopt a clear and consistent approach for avoidance and minimization of, and compensatory mitigation for, the impacts of their activities and the projects they approve." The agencies, he said, should also use landscape- or watershed-scale planning to take the full impacts of their decisions into account and to pick the best spots for mitigation. Going forward, the president directed the Department of Agriculture's Forest Service to develop and implement additional manual and handbook guidance on mitigation within 180 days. Those policies should be finalized within two years. At Interior, the Bureau of Land Management and Fish and Wildlife Service each have a year to finalize their mitigation policies...more

Obama Administration Adopts Wide-Ranging Natural Resource Mitigation Requirements

Earlier today, the Obama Administration adopted an expansive set of mitigation requirements for all its natural resource management agencies. Under the voluntary policy, the Department of Defense, Department of the Interior, Department of Agriculture, Environmental Protection Agency, and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration will aim “to avoid and then minimize harmful effects to land, water, wildlife, and other ecological resources (natural resources) caused by land- or water-disturbing activities, and to ensure that any remaining harmful effects” are effectively mitigated. The mitigation policies are intended to “establish a net benefit goal or, at a minimum, a no net loss goal for natural resources the agency manages that are important, scarce, or sensitive, or wherever doing so is consistent with agency mission and established natural resource objectives.” This policy essentially applies to all natural resources what the Clean Water Act and Executive Order have required of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) with respect to wetland impacts (namely avoidance, minimization and mitigation, with mitigation aiming for no net loss of wetland functions and values). This is an expansive additional set of analyses and mitigation requirements and has the potential to significantly expand these agencies’ permitting obligations and timelines. Depending on how it is implemented, the policy has the potential to overshadow the procedural environmental review requirement mandated under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) by imposing a substantive environmental action obligation on agencies such as the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Corps, National Park Service (NPS), and U.S. Forest Service...more

Bishop: President Obama Disregards Law to Fundamentally Transform Federal Lands Policy

WASHINGTON, D.C. – House Committee on Natural Resources Chairman Rob Bishop (R-UT) issued the following statement in response to the White House’s memorandum on “Mitigating Impacts on Natural Resources from Development and Encouraging Related Private Investment.”
“Memorandum, executive order…call it what you will. President Obama is throwing the principle of multiple-use of our nation’s federal land out the window and blatantly disregarding our nation’s laws to do so. Economic development can coexist with environmental protection and it has for decades. The President pays lip service to this idea, but nothing in this new policy supports it. He will take what he has done to the West with his oppressive sage grouse land management plans and spread the damage as far as he can.  This dogma will drive economic investment from our nation’s federal land and hurt people that depend upon that land.”

Time for the Obama administration to come clean on potential national monument

by Greg Walden

We’ve seen this movie before. A lame duck president uses the Antiquities Act to declare huge swaths of public lands off limits so he can have an environmental legacy. Right up until the night before he declared the Grand Staircase Escalante a national monument, the Clinton White House told the Utah congressional delegation no such plans were in the works. And in his final month in office, President Bill Clinton declared seven national monuments.

I fear the Obama administration — urged on by outside interests groups and wealthy corporations seeking a marketing niche — is up to the same “dark-of-night” declaration on the Owyhee River canyon.

Last Thursday night, in Adrian, more than 500 people turned out to a public meeting organized by state Rep. Cliff Bentz to voice their deep concerns about this possibility. Extra chairs had to be brought in to the local gymnasium, and people were still standing in the aisles.

One person who wasn’t there? Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell. Although I called on her or a senior representative to attend the meeting, no senior members of the administration attended.

If they had, they would have heard a message loud and clear: Residents of eastern Oregon don’t want another “Washington, D.C., knows best,” federal designation that would further destroy our way of life.

Yet, despite this public outcry, I believe the administration is playing hide the ball from the public. The Obama administration needs to come clean about what is has planned for these millions of acres of land in eastern Oregon...

Greg Walden represents Oregon’s Second Congressional District, which covers 20 counties in southern, central and eastern Oregon.

Senate blocks revised WOTUS, but will debate its elimination

Senators on Tuesday voted narrowly to block a measure that would revise the Waters of the U.S. regulation, though the legislators voted to proceed on consideration of a resolution that would effectively eliminate the rule completely. S. 1140, offered by Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., and others, directed managing agencies the U.S. EPA and Army Corps of Engineers to repeal WOTUS in favor of a regulation that "protects traditional navigable water and wetlands from water pollution, while also protecting farmers, ranchers and private landowners."  After the bill was blocked, Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, offered S.J. Res 22 to eliminate the Waters of the U.S. rule entirely. S.J. Res. 22 requires a simple majority to pass. Following the 57-41 vote on S.1140, sponsor Barrasso said while the bill fell short, Republicans will not stop to ensure the rule is withdrawn. "A clear bipartisan majority of senators voted today to stop the Environmental Protection Agency’s federal water grab. Regrettably, too many Senate Democrats chose to block this first real opportunity to vote yes to clean water and no to extreme bureaucracy," he said...more

Wall Street Journal Editorial - Government Land Grab

The Obama Administration has spent years invading broad parts of the economy from finance to health care, but less noticed is the takeover of, well, actual land. Witness the standoff over a 50-year-old public land program that has devolved into a watering hole for seizing private property.

The Land and Water Conservation Fund, whose Congressional authorization expired on Sept. 30, has since 1965 shelled out more than $16 billion for preserving natural resources and providing “recreation opportunities to all Americans.” Taxing oil and gas leases feeds the fund’s land acquisition program and a state initiative that offers grants for community projects—baseball diamonds, playgrounds and the like.

The fund originally set aside six of every $10 for state priorities, but last year more than 80% of the cash helped the feds buy acreage. Keep in mind that the government already owns roughly 30% of the U.S., including 80% of Nevada and nearly 70% of Utah. The 635 million acre portfolio is so immense that less than 15% of National Forest boundaries are even surveyed and marked. The state program, on the other hand, received $48 million of 2014’s $306 million pot, which is better than the nothing states have reaped in some previous years.

The federal PacMan hopes to gobble up more than 160 plots in 2015, yet the government can’t manage what it already controls. The Interior Department has estimated $20 billion in deferred maintenance among land-management agencies, no surprise to anyone who has fled a public bathroom in Yosemite. Nine in 10 miles of National Park Service roads are crumbling, along with structurally deficient bridges and some 6,700 miles of dirt described as trails in bad shape. Yellowstone’s tab alone exceeds $650 million.

Environmental outfits are howling for the fund’s renewal, and they’re defending a revenue source. Green groups purchase land the feds have been eyeing and then hawk it to the government at a premium. Another abuse: At least 19 states channel Donald Trump and deploy the funds for eminent-domain projects.

Ranch Radio Song Of The Day #1510

Today we feature Ernest Tubb's 1954 recording of Journey's End

Tuesday, November 03, 2015

Protecting U.S. Waterways from the EPA (S. 1140)

Today, the Senate will begin floor debate to overturn the Waters of the U.S.  (WOTUS) rulemaking by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Leading the charge is Senator Barrasso who authored the Federal Water Quality Protection Act (S.1140). The bill directs the EPA and Army Corps of Engineers to issue a revised WOTUS rule that does not include terms such as “isolated ponds, ditches, agriculture water, storm water, groundwater, floodwater, municipal water supply systems, wastewater management systems, and streams without enough flow to carry pollutants to navigable waters.” The bill is intended to protect private landowners from significant and unnecessary federal overreach.  The controversial water pollution rule embodies the EPA expanding the term “navigable waters”; those that fall under the purview of the Clean Water Act (CWA). Under current definitions, the EPA has the authority to unilaterally enact regulation on bodies of water on private property, particularly ones utilized by ranchers and farmers to facilitate their needs such as ponds, ditches, and irrigation. Basically the EPA will have authority over your backyard.  In May, the House voted to pass a similar bill, H.R. 1732, the “Regulatory Protection Act” which is currently awaiting Senate approval. In April, S.980 was introduced by Senators Paul, Cruz and Rubio entitled the “Defense of Environment and Property Act of 2015.” Both bills are currently stalled in the Senate and presumably have the same veto fate as S.1140...more

Hispanic Caucus wants civil rights answers

Members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus are raising questions about the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s treatment of Latino farmers and ranchers. Caucus Chairwoman Rep. Linda Sanchez of California and fellow Democrats Michelle Lujan-Grisham and Ben Ray Luján, representatives of Albuquerque and Santa Fe districts, respectively, sent a letter to the agency last week and requested a meeting with Secretary Tom Vilsack. They say many caucus members have received reports from constituents indicating significant civil rights violations and discrimination by the agency. They also pointed to a 2013 review that found noncompliance with civil rights requirements and regulations by U.S. Forest Service offices in New Mexico and Colorado. David Sanchez, a New Mexico rancher and vice president of the Northern New Mexico Stockmen’s Association, said he was pleased that the caucus weighed in. He said he hoped the congressional attention would spur more accountability...more

California Fires Could Reshape Pot Landscape

As the smoke cleared from California’s wildfires, analysts agreed that the marijuana industry may never be the same. Legal, illegal and quasi-legal pot farms all faced an extraordinary risk from the blazes. And those which were wiped out were not expected to return. In a report, the International Business Times noted, “because their crops are still illegal federally, these farmers can’t take advantage of wildfire safety net programs offered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to other farmers and ranchers, and very few of these growers likely had marijuana insurance policies that have only recently been developed.” That augured a sea change in the way marijuana is cultivated and sold in California, whose voters are expected to give strong consideration to legalizing recreational use of the product on the 2016 ballot. The risks posed to marijuana farmers by fire exceed those of other crops. “Unlike an apple or tomato, you can’t wash a cannabis plant off. The sticky resin is going to grab onto any environmental grit or grime from the air,” Anderson told NBC...more

Obama, Jewell To Address Tribal Leaders At Tribal Nations Conference

President Obama will join Interior Secretary Sally Jewell and other cabinet members at the White House Tribal Nations Conference on Thursday. They’ll be meeting with the leaders of 566 federally recognized tribes to discuss issues like tribal sovereignty, opportunities for Native youth, and improving government to government relations...more

Agriculture secretary: Cancel leases on sacred Badger-Two Medicine land

Energy leases in the Badger-Two Medicine Traditional Cultural District should be canceled to avoid hurting land sacred to the Blackfeet Indians, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has recommended. “I agree that the Solenex APD (application for permit to drill) in the Badger-Two Medicine TCD will pose adverse effects to the TCD in ways that cannot be fully mitigated,” Vilsack wrote to Interior Secretary Sally Jewell on Friday. “Based on this information, gained through the full consideration of the spiritual and cultural significance of the Badger-Two Medicine TCD … I find that the balance of considerations weigh in favor of not lifting the suspension of operations and production. Therefore, I recommend that you take action as you deem consistent with your statutory and regulatory authorities to cancel the Solenex lease.” The recommendation was released just after some legal players moved to revive a 1997 lawsuit challenging the leases. And it puts increased focus on Interior Secretary Jewell’s Nov. 23 deadline to rule if the leases are legal. “The Forest Service has reaffirmed what we’ve said all along,” said Harry Barnes, chairman of the Blackfeet Business Council. “Drilling for oil in the Badger-Two Medicine would cause irreparable damage. We demand the cancellation of all illegal leases and the permanent protection of our sacred lands.”...more

Senators urge Obama admin to include carbon costs in coal program

Democratic U.S. senators on Monday urged the Obama administration to reform the federal coal mine program to include costs of the fuel's carbon emissions and potentially raise royalties paid by companies that mine the fuel on public lands. Advertisement Senator Maria Cantwell of Washington, the top Democrat on the senate energy panel, and seven other senators asked Interior Secretary Sally Jewell in a letter to use the agency's existing powers to develop a plan on federal coal mining. The federal leasing program on coal is nearly 40 years old and does not account for costs associated with carbon emissions. "We must be much more aggressive in reforming the outdated federal coal program," said Cantwell. "Taxpayers deserve a fair return on the sale of resources they own, but the current program is broken." A senate aide said one path Interior could take is to raise royalties on publicly mined coal above the current 12.5 percent. Public lands provide 40 percent of coal production. The lawmakers estimate that coal produced there accounts for 14 percent of all U.S. carbon pollution produced by energy...more

Local conservation plan: a national model

The Upper Santa Ana River Habitat Conservation Plan is getting national attention. The plan, which is being developed by two Inland Empire cities and eight water agencies to protect the Santa Ana sucker and 22 other threatened or endangered species, is one of a handful of major Habitat Conservation Plans that are being showcased Nov. 9 - 10 at the inaugural meeting of the National Habitat Conservation Plan Coalition meeting in Shepherdstown, W.V. U.S. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell and Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe are expected to attend the meeting. “We’re trying to promote the fact that it is far more cost effective for agencies to work together to develop and implement landscape-level Habitat Conservation Plans (HCP) than to shoulder the cost of these plans individually,” said Heather Dyer, water resources project manager for San Bernardino Valley Municipal Water District. Valley District is sharing the cost of developing the Upper Santa Ana River Habitat Conservation Plan with nine other agencies in San Bernardino and Riverside counties. While the Santa Ana sucker has received the most publicity in recent years, the HCP will actually cover 23 federal or state-listed endangered or threatened species as well as non-listed species determined to be at risk for future listing. The Upper Santa Ana River HCP is on the forefront of HCP planning as it primarily focuses on water supply projects as its covered activities. Approximately 100,000 acre-feet per year of water would be captured by the projects proposed for Endangered Species Act coverage in the plan. To offset the impacts of removing surface water from a system inhabited by federally and state protected aquatic-dependent species, the HCP team will collaboratively provide water augmentation in new or existing streams that will benefit the sucker and other species while simultaneously recharging groundwater basins and providing riparian habitat...more

'Teacher of the Year' quits when told she's unqualified

A longtime Alabama educator who has won Teacher of the Year honors resigned last week when her "frustration boiled over" with bureaucracy. Informed that she lacked the state qualifications to teach 5th grade, Ann Marie Corgill resigned from Birmingham City Schools, NPR reports. "After 21 years of teaching in grades 1-6, I have no answers as to why this is a problem now, so instead of paying more fees, taking more tests, and proving once again that I am qualified to teach, I am resigning," she wrote in her resignation letter. Corgill, who was 2014-2015 Alabama Teacher of the Year and a 2015 National Teacher of the Year finalist, this year joined the staff at Oliver Elementary as a 2nd-grade teacher; she was then shifted to teach 5th grade. But roughly a month into her new role, a state education administrator called and said she lacked the certification to continue, reports...more

Here's where the $35 billion in foreign aid paid by taxpayers goes

According to, the U.S. government provided roughly $35 billion in economic and military aid to more than 140 countries in fiscal 2014. The biggest beneficiaries were the country’s two closest allies in the Middle East: Israel, which received $3.1 billion, and Egypt, with $1.5 billion. Next in line were Afghanistan ($1.1 billion), Jordan ($1 billion) and Pakistan ($933 million). Below is a map showing the global reach and distribution of U.S. foreign aid.

Leaked DHS memo shows Obama might circumvent DAPA injunction

A newly leaked internal DHS memorandum produced for an off-the-record agency conclave reveals that the Obama administration is actively planning to circumvent a federal court injunction that suspended part of last November’s deferral-based amnesty initiative. The document, apparently prepared as follow-up from a DHS “Regulations Retreat” last summer, appears sure to re-ignite concerns in Congress as well as federal judges in the Fifth Circuit. The Administration has already been criticized from the bench for handing out work permits to hundreds of thousands of deferred action beneficiaries, in direct violation of a district court’s order. With the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals deciding any day now whether to deny the Administration’s request to reverse that injunction, this public leak has come at a critical juncture for U.S. enforcement policy...more

Rancher dies in shootout with deputies planning to kill bull

A crash between a car and a bull near a tiny Idaho town turned into a bizarre tragedy when an armed rancher confronted Idaho deputies planning to shoot the animal that was charged rescuers, leading to a gunbattle that left the well-known businessman dead, authorities said Monday. A Subaru station wagon struck a bull on a highway Sunday just north of Council, a town of roughly 800 people, and Adams County sheriff's deputies responded to the crash. The injured bull began charging emergency responders as they worked to get the driver and passenger out of the car, said Idaho State Police, the agency that is investigating the shooting. "The bull was very agitated and was aggressive to emergency services, as well as the other cars coming up and down the highway," Adams County Sheriff Ryan Zollman said. Jack Yantis, the bull's owner, arrived with a rifle just as deputies decided to put down the animal. There was an altercation, and Yantis and two deputies all fired their weapons, State Police said in a statement. Yantis died at the scene, and one deputy suffered a minor injury. The bull also was shot and killed...more

U.N. planning court to judge U.S. for 'climate justice'

At the upcoming United Nations Climate Summit in Paris, participating nations have prepared a treaty that would create an “International Tribunal of Climate Justice” giving Third World countries the power to haul the U.S. into a global court with enforcement powers. Congress would be bypassed – left out in the cold – by this climate deal, critics say. Policies once left to sovereign nations could be turned over to a U.N. body if the U.S. and its allies approve the proposed deal in Paris during the summit scheduled for Nov. 30-Dec. 11. According to the proposed draft text of the climate treaty, the tribunal would take up issues such as “climate justice,” “climate finance,” “technology transfers,” and “climate debt.” Buried on page 19 of the 34-page document is the critical text – still heavily bracketed with text that hasn’t been completely resolved and agreed upon – reads:  [An International Tribunal of Climate Justice as][A] [compliance mechanism] is hereby established to address cases of non-compliance of the commitments of developed country Parties on mitigation, adaptation, [provision of] finance, technology development and transfer [and][,] capacity-building[,] and transparency of action and support, including through the development of an indicative list of consequences, taking into account the cause, type, degree and frequency of non-compliance...more

Ranch Radio Song Of The Day #1509

Some great fiddling today with Howdy Forrester's 1958 recording of Gray Eagle Hornpipe.  The tune is on the 2010 CD The MGM Recordings.

Monday, November 02, 2015

Fred Thompson: Success in Four Different Careers

by John Fund

Despite a recurrence of lymphoma, former Senator Fred Thompson kept working up until nearly the end of his life, which ended today at age 73. His last film, released just after Labor Day this year, was ironically called “90 Minutes in Heaven.” Fred will keep everyone beyond St. Peter’s gate educated and entertained for far longer than that. 
Fred Thompson had a humble background as the grandson of a sharecropper and son of a used-car salesman in Tennessee but succeeded in four different careers: law, politics, lobbying, and acting. He was a sports star but an indifferent student until age 17 when he read the autobiography of Clarence Darrow, the great attorney from the Scopes “Monkey” trial that took place in his native Tennessee. “I just knew it. I was 17 and I wanted be a lawyer. It’s the only thing I considered for five minutes,” Thompson told the Boston Globe in 2007. “Until I was 17, it never occurred to me I had to be anything, but at 17 I knew I wanted to be a lawyer.” 
He soon became not only a good one, but a famous one. At age 30, he was Republican counsel in the Watergate hearings, and he began building a reputation as a straight-shooter. It was he who asked the question that forced a White House deputy to admit that Richard Nixon had secretly recorded his Oval Office conversations. 
 Later in the 1970s he played a key role in exposing a Tennessee cash-for-pardons scandal; his acting career began when he won the part of playing himself in the 1985 movie version of the story. He eventually starred in over 20 movies, replaced radio legend Paul Harvey, and played the district attorney on Law and Order for years. 
In 1994, he left a comfortable lobbying career to run for the U.S. Senate, proving himself to be a popular down-home campaigner who won twice by over 20 points in a state that Bill Clinton carried twice. In 1997, he chaired the investigation of both Clinton-Gore and GOP campaign fundraising abuses: He was largely stymied when key witnesses declined to testify or fled the country, though evidence eventually surfaced of a Chinese plan to influence U.S. politics. 
In 2002, he lost his daughter after she failed to come out of a drug-overdose induced coma. Already frustrated with the Senate’s endless maneuvering over minutiae, he decided to retire at age 60 only two months later and change his life. In June of that year, he married his second wife, Jeri (his first marriage at age 17 ended amicably in divorce in 1985). In 2003, they had their first child (a second was born in 2006). 
 “I had the deepest lows and the greatest highs in the space of 18 months,” Thompson told me back then. “I count my blessings, and I have a real focused sense of purpose now.”

Is Tesla Doomed?

Tesla's showing all the signs of a company in trouble: bleeding cash, securitized assets, and mounting inventory. It's the trifecta of doom for any automaker, and anyone paying attention probably saw this coming a mile away. Like most big puzzles, the company's woes don't have just one source. It's true that the world may be running light on buyers who will spring for a big-dollar electric vehicle that can't make the hike from Detroit to Chicago without stopping for a long charge. And cheap gasoline isn't helping Tesla's case. Right now, prices around the country are hovering close to $2 a gallon. If that's bad news for the Prius and the Volt, it's worse for the Model S. In addition, there's never been any secret sauce to the company's battery technology. The automakers that bought into Tesla's tech early did so to avoid having to pony up development dollars on first-generation battery packs of their own. Now that Audi has announced it's getting into the EV game, Tesla should be even more concerned. I think Tesla CEO Elon Musk figured that if factory stores work for Apple, they'll work for Tesla. But the fixed costs for an Apple store are next to nothing compared with a car dealership's. Smartphones and laptops don't need anything beyond a mall storefront and a staff of kids. A car dealership is very different. It sits on multiple acres. You need a big building with service bays, chargers, and a trained sales force, plus all the necessary finance and accounting people. It ties up a staggering amount of capital, especially when you factor in inventory. Under a traditional franchise arrangement, the factory never has to carry that burden. Right now, Tesla does...more

Keystone XL pipeline project in doubt after builder asks U.S. to suspend permit

The future of the Keystone XL oil pipeline is in doubt after the company proposing the project, TransCanada, asked the Obama administration Monday to indefinitely halt its ongoing review process. The development is the latest in a long series of delays for Keystone and could push ultimate approval or rejection of the project until after President Obama leaves office. In a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry, the Alberta-based company says new questions about the pipeline’s route through Nebraska must be resolved before the administration can finally finish its work. The delay, TransCanada said, will let Nebraska state regulators conduct a full review of the pipeline’s proposed course. “In order to allow time for certainty regarding the Nebraska route, TransCanada requests that the State Department pause in its review of the presidential permit application for Keystone XL,” said Kristine Delkus, TransCanada’s executive vice president of stakeholder relations and general counsel, in the letter to Mr. Kerry. “This will allow a decision on the permit to be made later based on certainty with respect to the route of the pipeline,” she said...more

Emotions run high when pondering Owyhee Canyonlands future (video)

Thursday's meeting at Adrian in southeast Oregon's Malheur County, about the possible proclamation of the Owyhee Canyonlands as a national monument, could be the first cog in forming a partnership. Environmentalists have been trying for years to get the state congressional delegation to act and also to bring Malheur County residents to the bargaining table to create the Owyhee Canyonlands Conservation Area. Whether possible designation as a national monument by President Barack Obama brings the groups together should be learned in the coming weeks...more

Nothing like a little good old fashioned bribery to bring the local folks to their knees.  Work with the enviros on a legislative proposal or Señor Obama will bash you over the head with a National Monument.  This is going on all over the West.

And this article says:

These lands, one of the most pristine settings in the contiguous 48 states with colorful rock formations and outstanding wildlife habitat, drew a crowd of 500 to a town hall meeting Thursday night in the high school gymnasium of Adrian, a small farm town. The meeting was called by elected officials of Malheur County, spearheaded by Rep. Cliff Bentz of Ontario, to mobilize residents against an environmental community initiative. Environmental groups hope to persuade President Barack Obama to declare 2.5 million acres of federal land as the Owyhee Canyonlands National Monument before he leaves office in 2017. It didn't seem to matter that the Obama administration has not formally addressed the subject, nor that any legislation is before Congress that would determine the future of Oregon's vast Owyhee country...The cloud of uncertainty has left a coalition against a monument proclamation, the Citizens in Opposition to the Owyhee Canyonlands Monument Committee, pondering its next move.  "We know there is a lot of work to be done, at any table we gather around, to do a credible job of determining the size and scope of whatever designation is chosen,'' Bentz said, "be it national monument, conservation area or wilderness. "It's going to require much time and money, of which we and the people of a half-dozen eastern Oregon counties are willing to give. But there's no reason to invest that time and effort if the president can shortcut the process.''
Below is the Oregonian's live video:

Why Did the Environmental Protection Agency Spend $1.4 Million on Guns?

 By Ed Feulner

...The second thing that hits you is where the rest of the money goes. The headline of an op-ed by economist Stephen Moore in Investor’s Business Daily sums it up well: “Why Does the EPA Need Guns, Ammo, and Armor to Protect the Environment?”

And not just a few weapons. Open the Books found that the agency has spent millions of dollars over the last decade on guns, ammo, body armor, camouflage equipment, unmanned aircraft, amphibious assault ships, radar and night-vision gear, and other military-style weaponry and surveillance activities.

“We were shocked ourselves to find these kinds of pervasive expenditures at an agency that is supposed to be involved in clean air and clean water,” said Open the Books founder Adam Andrzejewski. “Some of these weapons are for full-scale military operations.”

Among the EPA’s purchases:
  • $1.4 million for “guns up to 300mm.”
  • $380,000 for “ammunition.”
  • $210,000 for “camouflage and other deceptive equipment.”
  • $208,000 for “radar and night-vision equipment.”
  • $31,000 for “armament training devices.”
The list goes on. It’s filled with the kind of equipment you’d expect to be purchased by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, not an agency ostensibly designed to protect the environment.

But as it turns out, armed, commando-style raids by the EPA are not unheard of. One such raid occurred in 2013, in a small Alaskan town where armed agents in full body armor reportedly confronted local miners accused of polluting local waters. Perhaps the agency is gearing up for more operations like that one?

If so, the EPA wouldn’t be all that unique. According to the Justice Department, there are now 40 federal agencies with more than 100,000 officers authorized to carry guns and make arrests. They include the National Park Service, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Bureau of Land Management, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

F.B.I. Tool to Identify Extremists Is Criticized

The F.B.I. is about to introduce an interactive program it developed for teachers and students, aimed at training them to prevent young people from being drawn into violent extremism. But Muslim, Arab and other religious and civil rights leaders who were invited to preview the program have raised strong objections, saying it focuses almost entirely on Islamic extremism, which they say has not been a factor in the epidemic of school shootings and attacks in the United States. The program, according to those who saw it at F.B.I. headquarters, called “Don’t Be a Puppet,” leads the viewer through a series of games and tips intended to teach how to identify someone who may be falling prey to radical extremists. With each successful answer, scissors cut a puppet’s string, until the puppet is free. “Teachers in classrooms should not become an extension of law enforcement,” said Arjun S. Sethi, an adjunct professor of law at the Georgetown University Law Center. Mr. Sethi, who specializes in counterterrorism and law enforcement, was invited by the F.B.I. to give feedback on the program...more

Sens. Grassley, Leahy Demand Answers on IRS Secret Cellphone Tracking

Two top senators Thursday demanded that the Obama administration explain why the Internal Revenue Service is using technology to secretly track cellphones that is normally the domain of law-enforcement agencies. The move by Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa and Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont followed IRS Commissioner John Koskinen's admission to the Senate Finance Committee on Tuesday that the agency uses the technology. The technology is known as cell-site simulators, or StingRays, The Washington Times reports. The Guardian recently reported that the IRS had spent more than $71,000 on upgrading a version of the device and for training from a company that makes the devices. The technology can sweep up the cellphone signals of innocent Americans, the senators contended in a letter to Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew. Grassley chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee, while Leahy serves as the panel's ranking Democrat.  "We were surprised to learn that IRS investigators may be using these devices," the senators said in their letter. "Cell-site simulators mimic cell towers, forcing cell phones in the area to convey their approximate location and registration information. "While the devices can be useful tools for identifying the location of a suspect’s cell phone or identifying an unknown cell phone, we have previously expressed concerns about the privacy implications of these devices, as well as the inconsistent practices and policies across the federal, state and local agencies that employ them...more