Tuesday, January 21, 2020

The Media Was Desperate, But Virginia’s Gun Rally Proved Them All Wrong

  • The media worked hard to spread misinformation and fear leading up to Virginia’s gun rights rally Monday.
  • Multiple outlets and reporters made false claims about the event being either totally “white nationalist” or that “thousands” of white nationalists would be in attendance. Neither was true.
  • Several reporters on the ground, including at least one from CNN, found the prevailing narrative about the rally to be deeply inaccurate.

If you have any interest in the role some media played in this event, read the entire post.

Ranch Radio Song of the Day

Our selection today is Down Texas Way by Hank Locklin (1952). THE WESTERNER https://thewesterner.blogspot.com/


Monday, January 20, 2020

Environment And Conservation Finally Become Urgent Issues For Philanthropists

Environmental concerns have crept up philanthropist's agendas as they realise the urgency of climate change, a pair of reports published on Friday show. The environment and conservation are a top focus of time-limited philanthropic institutions, a report from Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisers shows. Time-limited, or spend-down organisations, aim to complete their philanthropic projects within a specific time-frame and they have grown rapidly: Nearly half of all organisations established since 2010 are time-limited and most of them want to spend their entire budget within 20 years. This contrasts with previous philanthropists that have traditionally built long lasting foundations focusing on issues like education, health or the arts. However, the status quo has slowly been changing since the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation said it would spend all its resources within 20 years of the Gates' deaths. Driving this change is the more immediate demands of the next generation of philanthropists, the report shows. "They're seeking new approaches and instruments to address acute social and environmental issues effectively," says Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors CEO, Melissa A. Berman. Extinction Rebellion protests as well as wildfires in Australia and the Amazon have also been cited as motives by new environmental philanthropists. In the past 12 months, several billionaires have pledged funds to help wildfires as they have caught the world's attention.A separate report created for Rockefeller by Campden Wealth, a wealth research firm, put the global figure slightly higher at 8%. But, in order of philanthropists' priorities, the environment sits in ninth place. Nor is the time-limited model always a good fit for countering environmental threats. “While today’s problems may seem dire, tomorrow’s are likely worse," said one philanthropist who was asked why they wanted to keep an in-perpetuity model...MORE

Finally?? That's not exactly the word I'd use to describe the impact on those of us who are on the receiving end of the results of these grants. Millions of dollars are given each year to environmental organizations who push for larger government and who organize assaults on industry and private property.

Extension Rebellion protests...been cited as motives by new environmental philanthropists.
Even if the protests do not result in the change the enviros want, they can provide something else they want ---money.

For a companion article to the one above see New Report Reveals How The World’s Richest Families Give Away Their Money

Family visiting this afternoon

May return to posting this evening.

China confirms new coronavirus can spread between humans; cases triple over the weekend

A mysterious respiratory virus that has killed at least three people and sickened more than 200 in China can be transmitted between humans, a Chinese government-appointed expert has said, fueling fears about the possibility of a deadly epidemic as millions prepare to travel for the Lunar New Year holiday. Zhong Nanshan, head of the team set up by China's National Health Commission to investigate the pneumonia-like virus, confirmed that at least two cases had been spread from person to person and medical staff had also been infected.Authorities had previously said that the new strain of coronavirus, which was traced by health officials to a seafood market in the central Chinese city of Wuhan, was primarily passed from animals to humans. But at least two people have become infected in recent days, despite living hundreds of miles from Wuhan."The current cases show there is definitely human-to-human transmission," Zhong told Chinese state-run CCTV, explaining that two people in China's Guangdong province were infected by a family member who had recently returned from Wuhan. Earlier on Monday, Chinese authorities reported that the number of cases had tripled over the weekend to 218. The outbreak has spread to Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzen, hundreds of miles from Wuhan, where the virus first surfaced last month.Thailand has also reported two cases, while Japan and South Korea reported one each, taking the global total to 222...MORE

Mexico halts Honduran migrant caravan at Guatemala entry point

A new caravan formed in Honduras with about 2,500 migrants traveling toward the U.S.- Mexico border. Saturday the Mexican National Guard stepped up and honored the “safe third country” agreement. The migrants were denied entry into Mexico at the Guatemala-Mexico border. Last November the Trump administration entered into a series of regional agreements with countries including Mexico, Guatemala, and El Salvador. The goal is to reduce the burden of Central American migrant caravans arriving at the U.S. border. Migrants are being returned to Guatemala, sent back to their home country, or allowed to enter the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP) and wait in Mexico. In this case, Mexico stopped the caravan at a point of entry as they crossed a bridge over the Suchiate River between Mexico and Guatemala. The scene was tense but Mexican National Guardsmen kept the migrant caravan back. There was some orderly entry allowed in small groups.
Honduran migrants waved their country’s flag and sang the national anthem as they approached the bridge. At the height of the confrontation, Guatemalan authorities estimated 2,500 migrants were on the bridge, or attempting to get on it.
Mexican National Guardsmen slammed down a metal fence that reads “Welcome to Mexico” to block the path of the migrants.
Babies cried and tempers flared as the crowd swelled. Amid shoves, Mexican officials did allow a few migrants to enter the country in groups of 20, while a voice over a loudspeaker warned migrants against trying to slip into Mexico without passing through immigration filters.

Precision Fermentation: What It Is, and How It Could Make Farming Obsolete

Concerns around the environmental impact of modern farming are causing us to reassess our relationship with food. But are claims that lab-grown food will replace agriculture in the coming decades realistic? British journalist and environmental activist George Monbiot made a stir last week with the release of his documentary Apocalypse Cow, in which he claims that a technology called “precision fermentation” could make traditional farming obsolete in just a few decades. In an article for The Guardian he contends that we will be able to produce the vast majority of our nutrients through industrial-scale brewing of single-celled organisms specially designed to produce particular compounds. This idea of lab-grown food is certainly in the ascendancy at the minute. Concerns about the ethics and environmental impact of meat-eating are leading to growing numbers of people adopting vegetarianism and veganism, but they’ve also spawned a host of startups promising to grow “cultured meat” in the lab without ever involving real animals. But Monbiot goes further, claiming the same technology could also replace arable farming and would be orders of magnitude more energy, water, and space-efficient than current farming practices, which could reverse agriculture’s hugely damaging effect on the environment. Monbiot isn’t alone in predicting how disruptive precision fermentation could be. A recent report from think tank RethinkX predicted that lab-grown protein will be 10 times cheaper than animal protein by 2035, which will see the US beef and dairy industries’ production fall 50 percent by 2030, effectively bankrupting them. Others are more skeptical, pointing to the huge practical and cultural barriers to such change—not least, what to do with the 28 percent of the planet that relies on agriculture for employment. Some of these criticisms are ideological ripostes to Monbiot’s equally ideological framing of the case, while farming lobbies have inevitably had their say. But others have highlighted some of the holes in the logic behind his claims. In making his case for lab-grown food, Monbiot highlights the technology of Solar Foods, which uses solar energy to split water into oxygen and hydrogen to provide energy for microbes that then produce feedstocks. He claims this process is ten times as efficient as photosynthesis, and because everything is done in vats the land efficiency is roughly 20,000 times greater than arable farming. But the company clarified to New Scientist that when you take into account the land required for solar panels, it would only be around ten times more efficient than farming soya. More importantly, renewable energy like solar is still a limited resource at present, and one that can only be expanded so fast. Diverting it to power agriculture would inevitably lead to boosting carbon emissions elsewhere. And research has already shown that cultured meat produced using less sustainable energy sources could actually be worse for the climate...MORE

Baseball Cheating Scandal: The Rise and Sudden Fall of the Houston Astros

The Houston Astros took four years to mutate from baseball’s worst team to its best. But even at their lowest point, as they stumbled to a franchise-record 111 losses in 2013, they constantly emphasized their brand of ambition.
Everywhere they went that season, the Astros took an upright, game show-style spinning wheel for their clubhouse. Words like “leadership,” “trust” and “desire” filled the slots. So did an image of the World Series trophy.
It was a gimmick to encourage the players: Keep pushing the wheel in hopes of a breakthrough. The club soared to the pinnacle of the sport, propelled by an unapologetic desire to change the game, and won the franchise’s first World Series in 2017.
But on Monday, a scathing report by Major League Baseball exposed the Astros as cheaters, trashing their reputation, ousting their leaders and igniting the sport’s biggest scandal since the steroid revelations of the 2000s.

The shock waves have been seismic. Three managers and one general manager have lost their jobs: A.J. Hinch and Jeff Luhnow of the Astros, Alex Cora of the Boston Red Sox and Carlos Beltran of the Mets — all implicated in a brazen scheme to illegally use electronics to steal opposing catchers’ signs and tip off their own batters to what pitch was coming.

Ranch Radio Song of the Day

Its Swingin' Monday and we feature Rex Allen and his 1946 recording of Texas Tornado. THE WESTERNER https://thewesterner.blogspot.com/


Sunday, January 19, 2020

Cowgirl Sass & Savvy (revisited)

Forty miles of dirt road

 by Julie Carter

Across the cattle guard somewhere, a long way from the pavement, is a cowboy's bride marveling over her practical Christmas gifts and dreading the next oncoming storm because the water pipes are still frozen from the last one.

Ranch wives have different phobias than their city counterparts.

No need for the common city phobias such as "claustro: and "agora." The wide open spaces prevent the former and the latter, said to be caused by social anxiety problems, would require a whole lot more "social" in her life than does actually happen.

The more common phobias experienced by ranch wives include fear of gifts and invitations.

This year's winner of the "practical Christmas gift" from the cowboy husband was the new floor for the kitchen.

That rates right up there with a former top-of-the-list item - a cattle guard so the little wife doesn't have to open and close the gate several times a day on her way to check waters, deliver the mail and other assorted chores requiring driving down the dirt road.

The 2-year-old colt he had been eyeing for himself but sacrificed his desires to give it to her to break and start in the spring, comes in a shaky third, especially when accompanied by a new saddle that, oddly, fits him and not her.

Big ticket items are as common as her phobia for them. Gifts such as the new mud grips for her "personal" feed pickup, or a new battery for the same, so that he does not have to come rescue her in the back pasture when the truck dies.

The very thoughtful love of her life has been known to give her new horn wraps for the roping steers because she was always complaining that the old ones were hard to put on and take off.

Past years have yielded new shotguns, new hotshots, new fence stretchers and the ever-popular, new red, wood-splitting maul.

And then there are those "invitations" from her loving partner.

"Honey, how would you like to go with me to check the grass and new calves all over the ranch?"

This innocent and thoughtful invitation is a city girl's dream to be a "cowboy" for a day. How-ever, the seasoned ranch wife knows that this invite will involve making burritos for the saddlebags, opening15 gates, tallying up everything seen, and making the list of whatever needs to be fixed that is encountered along this "pleasant" tour.

It also involves riding that half-broke colt that needs the miles and to date, has not quite grasped the concept of standing still while being mounted. Her cowboy has that pesky bad knee from an old roping injury, making gate duty her job forever.

The upside is that a refined skill is learned by the cowboy's bride. While maybe never actually consciously yearning to be an actress, she becomes one of Oscar quality.

Expressing enthusiasm for his newest brainstormed project, gratitude for those practical gifts, and excitement for yet another round of "Come go with me. We'll be right back," continually improves her forced smiling techniques.

One early morning the cowboy was lollygagging around, delaying his promise to help her with a project that required his stature and strength.

Her encouragement for progress pushed him to the limit.

Agitated, he barked at her, "You know I'm a slow starter."

Her reply was a sincere attempt to give him a compliment.

"But you're a real quick finisher."

For some reason, he was mad at her for days. Hard to figure. So goes life behind the cattle guard and down 40 miles of dirt road.

Work-Life Balance

Rolling Rocks
Work-Life Balance
Lessons at Hand
By Stephen L. Wilmeth

            From out of nowhere, it appeared.
            Seemingly, the world around us is obsessed with this issue of work-life balance. If nothing else, a review of American holidays is an indicator of the importance of leisure time and or congressional largesse in the designation of yet another paid day of vacation for the honored class.
            How else can it be explained?
            Implicit in government is the sanctity of time off and lots of it. Corporate America has long used the carrot of benefits as inducement of employment, too. It has become an indicator of the American psyche but hidden in the woodwork has been a silent consensus it is overplayed and destructive.
            Reality arrives and reminds the small business owner that any semblance of the fantasy of work-life balance really doesn’t exist. At a recent New York Produce show, Tim York of Markon summed it up very well. You don’t, can’t, and shouldn’t set that expectation for yourself.
            In last month’s Forbes an article was published saying the same thing. There is no such thing as work-life balance. Instead it noted some are now calling for work-life integration.
            How about just calling it reality?
            Rolling Rocks
            The lights were on when hay was thrown. The horses greeted me with soft nickers. They arrived to walk with me across the pen to turn the feed bins over and drag them back into place. I stopped to let Carter touch my cheek with his muzzle as our simple communication dictates and Samuel paused to have his belly scratched.
            An hour and fifteen minutes later, we were loaded and headed out. Sam was saddled. It was his turn to make the big circle.
            The Howard pens were the jump off point. Already, a cold wind was reaching for us. The jumper alone wouldn’t have been enough, but, with the higher tech underwear and vest, it was warm enough. With time, being warm and riding has become ever more enjoyable.
            The wild rag and the felt hat pulled down tight made the whole deal a bridge to the history of this business. So did the bulldog taps that covered the spurred Olathes.
            The ride across the big tabosa flat was a reminder that holes in that thick turf in those bottoms are serious business. Sam was fresh and wanted to trot, but a little pressure on the ‘little S’ held him up and made him walk.
            The four pairs Tertius had seen on Tuesday at the Mesquite Drinker weren’t there nor were any fresh tracks. Sam was allowed to drink if he wanted, but he just played in the water, so we left and found the trail through the brush on toward the Martin Storage and trough.
            He wanted to trot, and he was allowed to do so. Nearly a half mile later he wanted to drop to a walk, and he was allowed to that, too. He covers ground either way, and his big swinging walk is makes him look as good as he feels under saddle.
            At Martin, the first look was the water level in the storage. It was still about half full, but without cattle pressure that will last several weeks before it needs filling. No cattle or fresh tracks that were made after yesterday’s rain made it clear the pairs were not watering there.
            The ride up the canyon toward the Carter Tank was sheltered from the wind. A bobcat track was found before we had gone far. It was corrupted by numerous coyotes joining the procession in visual review.
            Dang, it was a good day to ride.
            Work-Life Balance
            The manuscript is not original. It is a copy, but it is a treasure.
            She had been on the journey from Texas to home in what was to be Grant County in 1884. The page that lies in view relates the story of the Indian raid in 1885. The scene was from their home where they stood watching Indians steal horses up the creek.
            We stood in front yard and watched them catch some horses. We could see one Indian riding Dutch.
            Her description continues relating how the family and neighbors sought safety in numbers down the creek on the Gila River Valley. At one point they took refuge in a one room rock house and prepared to battle the Indians. Humor and fear laced the narrative.
            When the buffalo soldiers arrived from Ft. Bayard, the immensity of the relief was clearly communicated. Not once did she mention anything other than the soldiers were welcome and appreciated. She did note their horses were jaded and worn out from the long ride.
Only a child who understood such things would make that comment. Although, she would become a member of the first graduating class of the New Mexico Normal School (Western New Mexico University of today), she would have had no idea what work-life balance meant.
She worked every day of her life.
Rolling Rocks, cont.
Carter Tank had some water, but no cows had been there for several days. That was the same for the double tanks at the Swope Place. Sam was a little unsure about the rock walled structure that remains at the latter. He was glad to leave and start the steep climb around the point along the fence to the south.
             The grass line against the fence was obvious. Without water on that side of the ridgeline, cattle pressure is always light.
            From the Corralitos’ double tank, the trail to the west through the saddle was found and we climbed out through the rocky chute. Tracks were seen all the way up through there, but they, too, were days old.
            A big headwind greeted us at the top and it blew hard in our face the entire mile and a half down the drainage back to where the canyon leaves the gap in the ridge and flows out onto Apache Flats. Sam was in his big swinging walk the whole way.
            At the juncture of the twin drainages above the tank, the trail back upslope to the southeast was taken still looking for cattle yet to be found. Up that draw and before the trail again tops out and drops into the Georgie Basin, we found where they had bedded the previous night. There was green, annual growth started there in abundance and they had worked it hard with tracks thick like a herd of goats.
            Lessons at Hand
            There are verbal renderings of my great grandmother hoeing in her gardens at sunup. There was proof she had written in her diary at 3:30 because she often noted the time of the entries.
            I don’t remember her singing, but one of her grandsons remembers hearing her singing spiritual hymns as she worked. She must have found joy in how she approached work.
            This narrative needs to be concluded because I need to once again go feed horses and start getting ready. It’s Carter’s turn to go. He and I are going to back this morning and find those cattle that should have but didn’t turn up in yesterday’s ride.
            It will start off with him stretching out to smell my cheek. He will resist when I go to catch him, but he will submit and will stand quietly as he is saddled. He’ll load as if it is not just his duty, but his pleasure.
            There is a lesson in that isn’t there?
            Our existence would be better if our ongoing endeavors were, in themselves, the work-life balance we seek.

            Stephen L. Wilmeth is a rancher from southern New Mexico.

Eric Schwennesen: Terry Wheeler

Many others are able to better document Terry’s biography than I can; but that said, he has been a great friend, colleague and guide for the forty-three years we have worked together.

I first met Terry in 1977, shortly after I came off the northern Nevada range as a working cowboy/ranch manager, still carrying the impression that there weren’t any actual people in the world. (Nevada can have that effect.) Together with wife Jean we made the move closer to grandparents in Prescott, jumping at the promise of work with the UA Extension on the Navajo Nation. Our first official activity was at the Extension Annual Conference in Tucson, and I still recall a vast roomful of technical people dominated by one rowdy voice which seemed unimpressed by the academic pomp all around us. That was Terry posing, as I later learned, as himself.

Even at that time he was a fixture as THE Extension agent for the San Carlos Apache. He was well-known for his sometimes unorthodox but always-effective programs in support of good livestock, and good range management. During his many years there he was central to the UA Animal Science cooperative effort with the Apache, helping to bring about the noted R-100 Hereford herd.

Rarely have field programs meshed more effectively with academia, as Terry helped keep UA’s AnSci and Range Departments on their toes, on the range, and in the manure.

(following initial comments)

In light of Terry’s unintended life as a figurehead of pioneer Arizona cowboy existence, it seems only right to propose a Memorial to his underappreciated efforts. A proposal for such a Memorial has now been suggested with the following criteria, inviting any and all craftsmen and artists to submit designs and appropriate themes:

  1. Central figure to be offered as a larger than life-size, realistic representation of Terence (Terry) Wheeler, standing, possibly attended by his horse held loosely by the reins; figure to be in an attitude of relieving himself, from a point somewhat above surrounding secondary figures.
  2. Central figure should be so designed or assembled that active plumbing will be installed internally, to render actuality to the figure’s relieving stance.
  3. Such active plumbing should be so designed as to allow a controllable rate of flow, this being of importance to the overall message conveyed by the Memorial. (Rate of flow calibrated from “Light Sprinkling” to “Pressure-Wash”, possibly individually targeting secondary figures,)
  4. In the event that the successful design includes Mr. Wheeler’s horse, the horse should also be presented and designed in an attitude of relieving himself, such plumbing and design to be added into the overall effect of the Memorial, possibly in the form of a small waterfall.
  5. It is proposed that the central figure be installed on an actively rotating base, as this forms a critical piece of the Memorial’s message, viz.: a generalized urination upon the upturned heads of a substantial number of secondary figures.
  6. Secondary figures to be presented in classical forms of torment and anguish such as those created by Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci; some to be presented as clinging to, clambering over or wielding overhead, massive volumes of Regulatory Statutes.
  7. As it is anticipated that this Memorial will be installed on or near the present site of Mr. Wheeler’s triumphant “FLOSB Mine Spoils Reclamation Demonstration”, the secondary figures should be tastefully arranged such that the majority of them will have their backs turned, or faces turned away from, the dramatically transformed Demonstration landscape.
  8. Secondary figures are intended to metaphorically represent Government Agencies at all levels from Federal to local; therefore the majority of them should be represented as having hands unsoiled by labor.
Submissions, plans, proposals and contributions should be made to a designated receiver/coordinator c/o Gila County Cattlegrowers’ Association in Globe, Arizona.