Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Four jaguar captures, three deaths

Octavio Rosas, a doctoral student at New Mexico State University, had set out snares in an area near Nacori Chico in the Sierra Madre mountains of eastern Sonora. Early that warm morning, he and another biologist found a jaguar trapped in one of their leg snares. The jaguar lunged at the pair, but they were able to get a dart loaded with the sedative ketamine into its hindquarters. When the first dart didn't sedate the animal, Rosas applied two more doses, half the quantity of the first. The animal never recovered from sedation and died as the warm morning turned hot. Rosas attributed the death to "heat stress."...ArizonaStar

Congressmen Say They Didn't Have Chance to Read Full 1,200-Page Climate Change Bill Before Vote

Almost all of the House members surveyed Friday by CNSNews.com had not read the entire 1,200-page climate-change bill before they were to cast their vote Friday evening. But almost all of them knew how they were going to vote. Rep. Neil Abercrombie (D-Hawaii) said that he supported the bill the House was considering (and subsequently approved Friday evening by a narrow 219-212 vote), but he had not read the whole bill. “You’d have to have hours and hours and hours to be able to do all that, but we’re well aware of the main items,” Rep. Abercrombie told CNSNews.com. But the liberal member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus also said he was skeptical about “how it works out in practice.” The 300-page amendment became an issue on the House floor Friday. House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) took time to read parts of it to the House and comment on its provisions, complaining that House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) had added it to the bill at 3:05 a.m. Friday morning. “Don’t you think the American people expect us to understand what is in this bill before we vote on it?” Boehner asked on the floor Friday afternoon. Boehner voted against the bill...CNSNews

Only a few staff, and fewer Congressman, actually knew what was in the bill.

The Politically Superior Ones don't really need to read something to know whether it is good or bad.

They just know they need to "do something", and that something is always to make the government larger and more powerful.

Climate bill shaped by compromise

That strategy yielded a narrow victory in the House on Friday. The question was, did Obama, Waxman and other supporters give away so much in the process that the benefits to the environment ended up being slim to none -- especially since the bill now goes to the even less sympathetic Senate? "There's a point at which you've got to ask yourself, what are we doing here? What's the point?" said Elaine Kamarck of Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, who was a Clinton administration official and advisor to then-Vice President Gore. So far, most of the major environmental groups are sticking with Obama. Most groups calculated that, in sum, the bill was worth moving, said Emily Figdor, the federal global warming policy director for Environment America. "We think there's a lot of problems in the bill," she said, but "we need to take that first step. We're so long overdue."...Environmentalists watched the deals go down with varying cases of nerves. Greenpeace labeled the final bill "a victory for coal industry lobbyists, oil industry lobbyists, agriculture industry lobbyists, steel and cement industry lobbyists." An Environmental Protection Agency analysis this month suggested the bill would barely make a dent in the nation's oil imports, even though Obama repeatedly promised it would. A study by the environmentalist Union of Concerned Scientists said the renewable electricity standard, watered down by compromise, might spur less wind and solar use than no standard at all...LATimes

The Ag Deal & The Climate Bill

I've posted links here to many articles about the deals cut to get the climate bill passed in the House.

One of the deals made was by reps from agricultural districts, and Steve Pearlstein at the Washington Post is not too happy about it. He writes:

But, for farmers, it wasn't enough to get a free pass on carbon emissions. They are unhappy that the effect of the caps and pollution permits will be to raise the price of their fuel, fertilizer and electricity. No matter that other Americans will suffer similar effects. In the mind of the entitled American farmer, any increase in costs or reduction in revenue -- whether from natural causes, market forces or government regulation -- must be compensated for by the government.

So farmers demanded that they be allowed to earn some extra cash by reducing the carbon footprint on their farms and selling these "offsets" to the factories and power plants unlucky enough to be subject to the carbon-cap regime. They want to be paid extra if they change the feedstock to cut down on cow burps and farts. Or if they use the no-till method for planting seeds, which doesn't release the carbon trapped in the soil. Or if they put in devices to trap the methane released from animal poop.

And they demanded to be paid not just if they do these things in the future, but also if they did them last year or the year before. They demanded the payments even if they are already getting a check from the government to do the same things as part of some other conservation program. And perhaps most notably, they demanded that the job of supervising this offset program be shifted from the Environmental Protection Agency, whose focus would actually be ensuring that the reductions are real, to the Department of Agriculture, which sees its mission as preserving, protecting and defending American farm subsidies.

He goes on to say "Elmer" also cut a deal on an ethanol issue, and then farm groups, such as the Farm Bureau still had the audacity to oppose the bill. He closes by saying the next time ag comes to DC for emergency drought aid, they should be told "to go pound sand."

You see, no one except the Politically Superior Ones, or those they have annointed, are supposed to exercise political power. All you "Elmers" should get ready to "pound sand" (unless, of course, there are turtle eggs nearby).

HT: Reason

EPA Did Not Release Internal Report That Dissented from Conclusion That Carbon Emissions Cause Global Warming

The EPA did not publicly release a March report that raised questions about the validity of the agency's conclusions that carbon emissions were a cause of global warming and an endangerment to human health--primary assumptions behind the cap and trade bill that passed the House on Friday. Critics--including eight congressmen--say the document was suppressed in spite of an Obama administration pledge to bring greater transparency to government. The report was an evaluation of the EPA’s current Technical Support Document (TSD), analyzing the endangerment of human health caused by greenhouse gas emissions. Despite the unpublished report's argument that the TSD was not conclusive in its findings, the EPA told the White House that carbon emissions did indeed endanger the health and welfare of Americans. The Competitive Enterprise Institute obtained and released a draft of the dissenting document last week, along with internal correspondence CEI says proves the report “was kept under wraps and its author silenced because of pressure to support the Administration’s agenda of regulating carbon dioxide.”...CNSNews

How and why science is buried or distorted depends on only one thing - which party controls the Executive Branch. Will groups spring up, like they did under Bush, to monitor Obama's corruption of science?

Audubon sues FEMA over issuance of flood insurance in Oregon

The Audubon Society of Portland and other environmental groups are suing the Federal Emergency Management Agency over its issuance of flood insurance in Oregon, saying the government doesn't adequately consider the effect of floodplain development on wild salmon and steelhead. The suit, filed last week in the U.S. District Court of Oregon, says floodplain development has hindered recovery of fish listed under the Endangered Species Act. Oregonians currently hold 32,757 individual flood insurance policies providing $6.8 billion of coverage in 259 local communities, the suit says, with a 17 percent increase in policies from September 2004 to October 2007. The "overwhelming majority" of the participating communities are within the geographic range of ESA-listed species, the suit says...Oregonian

Here you have the Politically Superior Ones supporting two policies at cross purposes. On the one hand, for votes, subsidize those who prefer to live in a floodplain, and on the other, for the enviros, restrict human activity to protect plants and animals. Too bad our enlightened leaders didn't realize the first policy does damage to the second.

Anyway, it's poorly thought out public policy to subsidize development anywhere, endangered species or not.

So, have the Politically Superior Ones figured this out?

Apparently not, as a post at Open Market on a similar issue points out:

...Case in point: The Homeowner’s Defense Act proposed by Representative Ron Klein (D-Fla.). The bill proposed by Rep. Klein would, among other things, set up a large “catastrophe” fund for state insurers in the Gulf, particularly for Florida. The fund would be a pre-funded bailout of state run insurers in the event of a hurricane disaster. The special fund would allow state insurers to continue charging below-market rates for the risks being taken without having to collect enough assets to stay solvent in the event of a large disaster. The benefits of the fund would come specifically to those living along the coastlines of the Gulf, yet the costs would be spread out across the entire U.S. It should come as no big shock then that the act’s main supporters are a congressman from Florida and Florida Governor Charlie Crist.

Given that one group is getting all the benefits of the bill, it should also be no surprise that many groups would stand up against it, including some very unlikely partners. As reported in a piece in Politico last week, both environmentalist and free market groups are uniting to oppose the legislation. Free market groups like CEI are against the legislation on the basis that it intervenes in the market process and spreads the burden of risk on undeserving parties. Furthermore, the subsidizing of insurance rates for these Gulf States incentivizes building homes in areas at higher risk during hurricane disasters, as well as the construction of less safe homes. Environmentalist groups, despite their different mission, are opposed to the bill on the grounds that it would incentivize building homes in environmentally sensitive habitats, like those where sea turtles lay their eggs...

Just give it a nice title, like The Homeowner’s Defense Act, and then enact the same old wrong-headed policy.

Saving Species No Longer a Beauty Contest

Are we ready to start saving ugly species? When it began compiling lists of threatened and endangered animals and plants more than 35 years ago, the U.S. government gave itself the same mandate as Noah's Ark: Save everything. But in practice, the effort has often worked more like a velvet-rope nightclub: Glamour rules. The furry, the feathered, the famous and the edible have dominated government funding for protected species, to the point that one subpopulation of threatened salmon gets more money than 956 other plants and animals combined. Now, though, scientists say they're noticing a little more love for the unlovely. They say plain-Jane plants, birds with fluorescent goiters and beetles that meet their mates at rat corpses are getting new money and respect -- finally valued as homely canaries inside treasured ecosystems. But it still can be a hard sell. That's obvious here in California's Central Valley, where farmers are locked in a bitter fight with a glassy-eyed smelt. "Over a stupid fish," said Mendota Mayor Robert Silva...WPost

Possum Plays Dead Inside Gym’s Soda Machine

A baby opossum's instinct to play dead evidently didn't help matters after it got wedged inside a soda machine at an upstate New York fitness club. The animal ran into the Court Jester Athletic Club in Johnson City, N.Y., near Binghamton, and scurried behind a soda machine in the front vestibule Wednesday evening. The club's assistant manager called police realizing the critter was stuck inside, hanging upside down in a compartment below the soda dispenser. A police officer tried to pull the animal from the bottom of the machine, but it was lodged in place and making no apparent move to escape. About a half hour later, an employee arrived with a key for the machine, the front panel was opened and the animal rescued. The officer released it in a nearby cemetery. AP

It's all Trew: During hard times, Americans find a way

Some of the younger set may not believe it, but this is not the first financial setback in America. Many arriving on the Mayflower during the initial discovery of America were there because of indebtedness, legal convictions and thankful for the opportunity to pay off their debts by fulfilling service contracts by settling in the new world. It seems America has always been made up of opportunists who can make something of nothing, create wealth and well-being. Yet sooner or later, push the envelope too far, overreach and go bust. Just wait a while and those same people will be right back making something of nothing and the cycle continues. The reason why the cycle continues is there are always a few of the more conservative who remember the boom-and-bust cycle, build up a reserve and keep the cycle going at some speed or another. It never seems to change from generation to generation. We once had a neighbor with a large family and whose farming practices and work habits were not the best. When hard times came, a crop missed or a financial setback occurred, he felt called by the Lord to preach. A few revivals here and there, baskets of food donated, and the bad season was weathered. He would return to his old farming and labor practices...Amarillo.com

Song Of The Day #074

I'm in the mood for fiddle music this morning, so we're gonna have a fiddle fest featuring two of my favorite fiddlers, Tommy Jackson and Howdy Forrester. Funny how Ranch Radio always seems to play what I'm wanting to hear.

So give a listen to Forrester doing High Level Hornpipe and Cruel Willie, and Jackson playing Stony Point and Trouble Among The Yearlings.

Good luck trying to find their stuff. Here's hoping some reissues will be forthcoming.

Monday, June 29, 2009

High court losses stun environmentalists

Environmentalists suffered a stunning 0-for-5 outcome in the U.S. Supreme Court this term, their "worst term ever," according to advocates and scholars. The defeats left the environmental community, and even its traditional antagonist in these cases — the business community — wondering where the Court is heading in this increasingly important area of the law. Is the Roberts Court pro-business, anti-environment, pro-government — or something else? Their answers are as varied as the issues raised in the five cases that the justices decided. What is clear is the Court's heightened interest in environmental law. The justices have decided 15 cases in just the past five terms, but in none of those terms, in fact in none of the past nine terms, have environmentalists experienced a complete shutout. For environmentalists, the defeats were particularly painful because their interests had prevailed in the courts below in all five cases. The justices granted review at the behest of business, even when the solicitor general of the United States recommended denying review. "They were all victories below for environmentalists, so you wonder if the Court is making some strategic choices in the cases it picks," said Jonathan Cannon, director of the environmental and land use program at the University of Virginia School of Law...NationalLawJournal

Major economies consider halving world CO2

Major economies including the United States and China are considering setting a goal of halving world greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 when they hold a summit in Italy next month, a draft document showed. The text also says the 17-member Major Economies Forum (MEF) will seek to double public investments in low-carbon technology by 2015 and boost funding from both public and private sources as well as from carbon markets to fight global warming. The draft was put forward by the United States and Mexico at talks in Mexico this week, without reaching accord before a MEF summit on July 9. U.S. President Barack Obama launched the MEF to help toward a new U.N. climate pact due in December. "We support an aspirational global goal of reducing global emissions by 50 percent by 2050, with developed countries reducing emissions by at least 80 percent by 2050," according to the draft text, obtained by Reuters and dated June 22...Reuters

Texas businesses fret about climate change bill

While many Texans see the need to address global warming, the potential impact of climate-change legislation narrowly passed by the U.S. House of Representatives on Friday is stirring concern among businesses and industry groups in Texas. John Fainter, president of the Texas Association of Electric Companies, said his organization is worried about the Waxman-Markey bill’s effect on power generators and electricity consumers. It is virtually certain to mean higher costs for consumers, whose utility bills are already raised by the state’s torrid summers, Fainter said. Texas also uses huge volumes of power because of industrial activity such as petroleum refining and chemical manufacturing. In a letter to the Texas congressional delegation, the Fort Worth-based Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association urged lawmakers to reject Waxman-Markey, saying the cost would outweigh any benefit. The organization can’t support legislation that "would push more family ranches in Texas out of business," said association President Dave Scott, a rancher from Richmond, near Houston. "We are very concerned about the increased costs of fuel, electricity, feed, fertilizer, equipment and other production costs necessary to maintain a successful ranching operation should this bill become law," he said...Star-Telegram

Beetles Add New Dynamic to Forest Fire Control Efforts

Summer fire seasons in the great forests of the West have always hinged on elements of chance: a heat wave in August, a random lightning strike, a passing storm front that whips a small fire into an inferno or dampens it with cooling rain. But tiny bark beetles, munching and killing pine trees by the millions from Colorado to Canada, are now increasingly adding their own new dynamic. As the height of summer fire season approaches, more than seven million acres of forest in the United States have been declared all but dead, throwing a swath of land bigger than Massachusetts into a kind of fire-cycle purgatory that forestry officials admit they do not yet have a good handle on for fire prediction or assessment. Dead trees, depending on how recently they died, may be much more flammable than living trees, or slightly more flammable, or even for a certain period less flammable. The only certainties are that dead forests are growing in size and scale — 22 million more acres are expected to die over the next 15 years — and that foresters, like the fire-tower lookouts of old, are keeping their eyes peeled and their fingers crossed...NYTimes

Funds to fight fires going up in smoke

This year's forest fire season has arrived across the West, bringing with it the disturbing trends of ever larger fire suppression costs mostly paid for by the national taxpayer, and often to protect second homes that are only seasonally occupied. The price of fighting forest fires has increased substantially, now accounting for half of the Forest Service's budget and costing taxpayers billions. Just this month, the U.S. House of Representatives unveiled its war-related supplemental spending bill that also includes $250 million for fighting wildfires this summer — funding that is in addition to the $1.1 billion already appropriated for federal firefighting this year. Yet we have failed to address one reason why forest fires have become so expensive: the increasing number of private homes, many of them second residences, near forested public lands. Across the West today, only 14 percent of private land adjacent to forests has homes on it. But this relatively small percentage is tremendously expensive. When combining local, state and federal efforts, the cost to protect homes from forest fires exceeds $1 billion per year. If 50 percent of the forested private lands were developed, firefighting costs could exceed $4 billion. In addition, climate change is expanding the length and severity of fire seasons...DenverPost

Video - Assignment Earth: Mexican Wolves

For a green perspective on the issue...

Qatar makes bid for Northwest water

If there’s one thing Aberdeen has, it’s water. Coming from the sky in the form of rain and, more importantly, coming out of its industrial pipelines and reservoirs. And a company with ties to the Middle East has approached the city about buying huge quantities of water, Public Works Director Larry Bledsoe told the Aberdeen City Council Wednesday night. Bledsoe said this morning that the Gulf Pacific Rim Group from Doha, Qatar, has made official inquiries with him to purchase upward of 30 million gallons of water per day, probably even more. The Middle Eastern company has contracted with a Renton outfit to start negotiations. Bledsoe said the City of Aberdeen has more than enough water to spare, especially with the closure of Weyerhaeuser’s pulp mill in Cosmopolis, which used 30 million gallons per day...DailyWorld

California lawmakers lose bid to change water rules

Central California lawmakers have failed again in their effort to block the environmental rules steering irrigation water toward the protection of endangered species. With Interior Secretary Ken Salazar planning a Fresno town-hall meeting for Sunday, a powerful House panel decided to quietly bury the controversial San Joaquin Valley amendment. Unlike a similar effort last week, this latest amendment never reached the House floor. The proposed amendment to a $32 billion Interior Department funding bill would have blocked spending on two so-called "biological opinions" governing crucial California water flow. These biological opinions mount to federal water management rules that protect the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and species including salmon and the delta smelt. "For the San Joaquin Valley, the majority in this House has chosen fish over working families," Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Visalia, declared Thursday. Last week, Nunes won permission from the House Rules Committee to offer a similar amendment to a Commerce Department spending bill. The amendment failed by a closer-than-expected 218-208 margin, with 37 Democrats supporting it...McClatchy


I was contacted by The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles and they let me know of some interesting posts on HSUS and PETA, including the video Where Do the HSUS Donations Really Go? It's a TV report from the ABC affiliate in Atlanta, Ga. Rasch points out the news station quickly removed the story and video but he has managed to obtain it anyway. You might want to check it out.

Rebellion on the Range Over a Cattle ID Plan

HORSE SPRINGS, N.M. - Wranglers at the Platt ranch were marking calves the old-fashioned way last week, roping them from horseback and burning a brand onto their haunches. What they were emphatically not doing, said Jay Platt, the third-generation proprietor of the ranch, was abiding by a federally recommended livestock identification plan, intended to speed the tracing of animal diseases, that has caused an uproar among ranchers. They were not attaching the recommended tags with microchips that would allow the computerized recording of livestock movements from birth to the slaughterhouse. "This plan is expensive, it's intrusive, and there's no need for it," Mr. Platt said. Mr. Platt said he already did all he could to fight epidemics. He does not bring any outside animals into his herds, and he happily staples on metal tags that identify animals to help with brucellosis control. But as he drove his pickup from grasslands into dense thickets of piñon pine on this highland desert that requires 100 acres per cow, he explained why he thought the federal plan was wrongheaded...NYTimes

JBS Swift Beef Co. expands beef recall over possible E. coli contamination

JBS Swift Beef Co. of Greeley, Colo., is voluntarily expanding its beef recall to include about 380,000 pounds of products because of possible E. coli contamination. A recall earlier this week involved about 41,000 pounds of products. The U.S. Department of Agriculture said Sunday that all the beef products in the expanded recall were produced April 21 and are in boxes bearing "EST. 969," a package date of "042109" and a time stamp ranging from "0618" to "1130." The USDA says an investigation by its Food Safety and Inspection Service of 24 illnesses in multiple states prompted the company to re-examine its food safety system. The department says 18 of the illnesses appear to have the same cause, and the company is conducting the recall "out of an abundance of caution."...AP

'Food, Inc.' chews up Monsanto, agribusiness cousins

The movie "Food, Inc." begins in the aisles of a grocery store, then eventually makes its way through Southern chicken coops, western feedlots and Indiana cornfields. The film ventures into hog slaughterhouses, through the hallways of Congress and to a celebrated farm in Virginia, exploring how food makes its way to American dining tables and skewering the industrialized food system along the way. It's not a scenic drive. The documentary attempts to demonstrate that the food Americans eat is largely controlled by a handful of corporations — and all at the expense of the environment, human health and the economic well-being of farmers. Many farmers likely haven't seen the film yet because it hasn't made its way out of larger cities. But the documentary has incited some farmers, who, along with food activists, have filled blogs and social media sites with debate and rancor. "The thing the film does is attempt to pit everyone against the agribusiness sector," said Trent Loos, a cattle and goat rancher in central Nebraska, who runs a nonprofit organization called Faces of Ag. "Farmers understand we have to work in conjunction with agribusiness." "Basically they're implying we need to go back 80 years," Loos said. "Kenner thinks he's siding with farmers and he's not. He's ignoring the farmers' willingness in implementing the science and technology in today's food system."...STLToday

Horse remorse

As many a remorseful horse owner learns too late, the animals aren't just lawn adornments - they tend to represent a considerable investment of time and money. On average, horses need about 1.5 percent of their body's weight in food each day, on top of 5 to 10 gallons of water. Throw in a visit from the farrier (for hoof care) every six weeks, a dentist appointment each year and essentials such as salt licks, dewormer, supplements and shoes, and the cost to keep a horse in acceptable health for a year ends up at about $1,500. Then multiply that by 30, the number of years in a typical horse's life. Or you could multiply it by 50, the number of horses Diane McCracken and her small staff of volunteers care for at the Spring Creek Horse Rescue, the only rescue of its kind in La Plata County. A convergence of factors has helped dim Spring Creek's outlook, along with the fates of many unwanted horses in the U.S. Federal legislation banning horse slaughter passed in 2007, and has so far yielded a glut of older and infirm horses that might otherwise have become entrée meat for Europeans and others who hold no taboo against eating horse. Restrictions against interstate travel and the transportation of horses across the Canadian and Mexican borders, where horse slaughter is still permitted, have made the process more clandestine and the conditions for transported horses unmonitored. And with a recession winnowing the finances of most Americans, some horse owners are faced with a dilemma, said Jon Patla, director of the La Plata County Humane Society's Animal Protection unit...DurangoHeraldNews

National Tribal Horse Coalition Joins the United Organizations of the Horse

At a historic meeting in Fort Hall, Idaho, on May 13, 2009 the Northwest Tribal Horse Coalition became the National Tribal Horse Coalition and joined with the United Organizations of the Horse. The ability of tribes to manage their horse herds is severely constrained by the loss of markets for unusable horses, and they are coming together to find solutions that will benefit all tribes. The meeting was hosted by the Shoshone Bannock Fish & Game Law Enforcement Department. Among the topics of the day were how to prevent animal rights groups from using a romantic ideal of Native Americans in their propaganda which is at exact cross purposes to the reality that tribes are facing on the ground; what to do about all of the horses that are abandoned on tribal lands; internal policies that tribes can adopt to help manage the surplus of horses; and efforts to collaborate with non-Indian organizations like the United Organizations in order to further the best interests of horses and horse people at the state and federal levels...UOH

American Indians support horse slaughter

Katherine Minthorn Good Luck, representative of the National Tribal Horse Coalition on the United Organizations of the Horse's Founding Leadership Team, reports that the National Congress of American Indians has passed a resolution expressing the tribes' views in regards to federal interference with their ability to sustainably manage horses on tribal lands, and supporting the reopening of US processing facilities. Tribes in at least four states-Oregon, Montana, North and South Dakota-are working to establish humane processing facilities on tribal lands to provide an economic boost, jobs, and a much-needed valuable use for excess horses on tribal lands, and as a service to all horse owners. This resolution was passed at their Mid Year Conference in Niagara Falls, NY, June 14-17. DroversJournal

Florida horse rider helmet law signed by Gov.

Nicole Hornstein was riding a horse when the animal stumbled and fell, tossing her, and her head slammed into the pavement. The 12-year-old girl, who wasn't wearing a helmet, died in 2006 after 20 days in a coma. But her death was not in vain, her father and state legislators said Monday, moments before Gov. Charlie Crist signed a safety bill into "Nicole's Law." About 80 people attended the signing at The Acreage's Hamlin Equestrian Park, adjacent to an equestrian ring. The signing comes three years after Nicole's accident. Her father, Gary, traveled regularly to Tallahassee to push for the law. As legislators pondered the bill, two other children were injured in horse-related accidents. Similar to the youth-helmet law for riding bicycles, Nicole's Law requires horseback riders 16 and younger to wear a helmet when riding on public roads and rights of way and while taking riding lessons. Rodeos, parades and private property are exempt...SunSentinel

How Portales won the battle for Eastern New Mexico University

Louise H. Coe, the senator from Hondo, was unescorted while in Santa Fe. Her husband, a paraplegic, stayed in Hondo and managed their ranch while she was at the Legislature. She was the only senator undecided on the college location issue. Bryant was a gruff, serious-minded man. It was hard to imagine passionate thoughts ever crossing his mind. When the future of Portales was at stake, however, he started having romantic ideas. Who could persuade Coe to vote for Portales? She would be needing an escort to a Santa Fe celebration on the eve of the big vote. Who could escort her and sell Portales in the process? Bryant’s prospects for success brightened as he selected the man. Napoleon Bonaparte Fields, known as “Boney,” was a handsome, debonair, smooth-talking men’s clothing-store owner in Portales. He was an impeccable dresser and drove a new Buick Roadster convertible. More important, he was the most eligible bachelor in Portales. Bryant appeared to be a rock of power who never asked for help. On that day, however, he knew he needed help from a man with different talents than he possessed. He needed a lady’s man. Soon after Bryant explained the situation, “Boney” Fields washed his car, packed his best suit and was on his way to Santa Fe. He carried the hopes of Portales with him...ClovisNewsJournal

Baxter Black: Prepare for over-mess ups

When we talk about someone who is over-prepared, we think of a person who is very thorough and able to handle all possible contingencies. It is a good habit to have especially if you are someone who regularly messes up and therefore must be ready to respond when you over-mess up! A case in point; my friend Robin qualifies as this particular trip illustrates. He left the Coachella Valley headed west on California Highway 91 in his newly acquired 20-year-old pickup. It was pulling a slightly older 16-foot C&W stock trailer missing two rails with one new tire and two horses on board. Traffic was heavy. A motorist passed him on the left and pointed behind. Robin looked in the side mirror to see black smoke boiling from beneath his trailer's left wheel well. As he watched, the tire exploded. Pieces of tread and sidewall filled the air as if he had hit a land mine. "No sweat," he thought, taking full control. "I've been here before. I've got a spare."...Amarillo.com

Song Of The Day #073

Today's song is I Wanna Be Hugged To Death By You, recorded in 1954 by Hawkshaw Hawkins. More on Hawkins later.

The song is available on the 3 disc collection Hawk 1953-1961, a Bear Family Records product.


Sunday, June 28, 2009

Song Of The Day #072

Today's gospel tune on the Radio Ranch is Methodist Pie by Hylo Brown and The Timberliners.

It's available on his 20 Gospel Favorites CD.

Cowgirl Sass & Savvy

Honeybees and the cowboy

Julie Carter

Fighting honeybees. Not something that would immediately come to mind when you think about cowboys, but then, there is a long list of things that cowboys do because it needs doing.

Doesn't mean they are good at it, or that they ought to, they just do.

It takes a lot to back down a cowboy because his very nature is to fight things until the bitter end. Wisdom is rarely involved.

So, when a cowboy finally throws up his hands and says, "Call for help," you know he's reached the end of it.

Our hero had been fighting uninvited honeybees for most of the spring. He managed to convince them to relocate a number of times.

The last had been from the front porch where he used a guaranteed bee-removal spray that had a range of 27 feet.

If you hit them square in the eye, they would get only mildly ill on their way to find a new nest.

Decimation was minimal.

After feeling somewhat confident that visitors were now safe at the front door, the cowboy realized his opponents had taken up residence in the horse pasture.

Using height as a human deterrent, they were busy buzzing in a huge oak tree, about 25 feet from the ground.

Not wanting to be on a ladder with hundreds of angry, buzzing, stinging bees on attack, the cowboy wisely called in a professional.

Everyone, in theory, finds his or her specialty in life and in the geographical area of this bee infestation, there is a man known as the "bee guy."

When telephoned, he promised to come that very morning and ended the phone call with some bee knowledge.

"The bees are just like the English. Kill the queen and the whole colony will fold up."

He promised his mission would be the assassination of the queen.

The bee guy arrived and offered his business card that read, "Beez-R-Us, If you've got'em, we'll come swat'em."

He said his fee would be $150 but he guaranteed his work.

Upon arrival, the bee guy donned a rather spectacular suit similar to those used for moon walks, along with a fetching hat reminiscent of a cross between "Dr. Livingston, I presume" head covering and a diving helmet.

The cowboy felt this was one project he did not particularly need to supervise personally, which in itself, was a rare occurrence.

The only other time in recent memory was when the rattlesnake hunters arrived at the New Mexico ranch.

The goofy snake hunter insisted on showing the cowboy his biggest catch of the day.
He scooped him out of the snake box and laid him on the ground at the cowboy's feet. Didn't take the cowboy long to look at him.

Meanwhile back at the beehive, it was only a day after the bee guy's attack on the oak tree bees that the lady of house was startled to find bees swarming in her master bath.

The queen-less colony of bees apparently had a Lady Camilla bee-in-waiting.

They had migrated to the eaves over the bathroom window, set up housekeeping and were coming through the attic, down the light fixture and into the bathroom.

The little lady's effort to discourage them from joining her bath was to fog them with an entire can of spray, aimed at their general vicinity.

The bee guy was promptly requested to return, based on the guarantee of his work.

When the cowboy called, he explained that the bees had migrated back to the house.

With a wily tone to his voice, the bee guy asked the cowboy how was it he recognized them to be the same bees?

Warranty coverage may prove difficult with that looming question.

Stay tuned. Bee season is just now in full swing.

New Border Fear: Militia Violence

“Somebody just came in and shot my daughter and my husband!” the woman shouted to the 911 dispatcher. “They’re coming back in! They’re coming back in!” Multiple gunshots are then heard on a tape of the call. The woman, Gina Gonzalez, survived the attack after arming herself with her husband’s handgun, but both he and their 10-year-old daughter died. The killings, last month, have terrified this small town near the Mexican border, in part because the authorities have now tied them to what they describe as a rogue group engaged in citizen border patrols. The three people arrested in the crime include the leader of Minutemen American Defense, a Washington State-based offshoot of the Minutemen movement, in which citizens roam the border looking for people crossing into the country illegally. Former members describe the group’s leader, Shawna Forde, 41, as having anti-immigrant sentiments that are extreme, at times frightening, even to people accustomed to hard-line views on border policing. The authorities say that the three suspects were after money and drugs that they intended to use to finance vigilantism, and that members of the group may have been involved in at least one other home invasion, in California...NYTimes

Pentagon & Homeland Security To Work With Local Police

The Pentagon and Department of Homeland Security recently hosted a teleconference for law enforcement agencies and associations such as the National Association of Chiefs of Police to discuss the Obama Administration's interest in using the military during "emergencies." Officials announced during the teleconference that the Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator W. Craig Fugate met with the Commander, US Northern Command, General Gene Renuart, to discuss "pre-disaster planning, response and recovery in support of the federal response to the 2009 hurricane season as well as wild fires, floods and other potential disasters." The meeting reinforced the important relationship between the two organizations and focused on the operational role of US Northern Command and what resources and skills they bring to any major Federal effort related to all-hazards preparedness, response, recovery and mitigation. It was also an opportunity to meet operational leaders who would fill key positions in those support efforts. However, many law enforcement executives and organizations went on the record saying they did not appreciate the prospect of federal troops usurping the authority of local and state law enforcement agencies or the role of the National Guard unit currently under the control of governors. "My initial reaction is: why are we allowing federal troops to basically invade the sovereignty of individual states when each state has its own law enforcement agencies and each state possesses an armed and trained National Guard and, in the case of some states such as New York, a trained militia?" according to New York police officer Edna Aquino. "We have not used armed federal troops in New York since the Civil War when Union troops and Navy battleships attacked dissenters who opposed conscription by the Union Army," she added...NewsWithViews

Saturday, June 27, 2009

In Close Vote, House Passes Climate Bill

The House narrowly passed an ambitious climate bill yesterday that would establish national limits on greenhouse gases, create a complex trading system for emission permits and provide incentives to alter how individuals and corporations use energy. The bill passed 219 to 212 after a furious lobbying push by the White House and party leaders won over farm-state Democrats who had complained that it was too costly, and liberals who wondered if it was too watered down to work. Even after that effort, 44 Democrats voted against the legislation. The bill, if it became law, would lead to vast changes in the ways energy is made, sold and used in the United States -- putting new costs over time on electricity from fossil fuels and directing new billions to "clean" power from sources such as the wind and the sun. It would require U.S. emissions to decline 17 percent by 2020. To make that happen, the bill would create an economy that trades in greenhouse gases. Polluters would be required to buy "credits" to cover their emissions; Midwestern farmers, among others, could sell "offsets" for things they didn't emit; and Wall Street could turn those commodities into a new market...WPost

All three NM members voted YES.

Friday, June 26, 2009

EPA Sees Limited Renewable Energy Growth under Waxman-Markey

President Obama says the greenhouse-gas emissions cutting Waxman-Markey bill before Congress will “spark a clean energy transformation.” But a new analysis by the Environmental Protection Agency casts doubt on that claim. According to page 27 of the analysis, published Tuesday, the legislation, sponsored by Reps. Henry Waxman, a California Democrat, and Edward Markey, a Massachusetts Democrat, would actually result in slightly less new renewable energy generation capacity by the year 2020 than if the U.S. continued on a business-as-usual path with no emissions caps. The reason for this, the EPA says, is twofold. First, the bill’s efficiency measures – such as those that requiring more efficient buildings and appliances - would reduce overall electricity demand “significantly.” Less demand means less need for new generation, including power from the wind, sun and biomass. The bill also won’t sufficiently drive up the price of dirty fossil fuels to encourage a big switch to renewables, the analysis says. (Here’s how that sounds in untranslated EPA-speak: “Allowances prices are not high enough to drive a significant amount of additional low or zero-carbon energy . . . in the shorter term.”)This isn’t quite consistent with White House talking points...WSJ

From Washington to Texas, Biodiesel Makers Sitting Idle

Imperium Renewables’ dream of profiting from peddling biodiesel while doing its part to save the planet has turned out to be just that: a dream. The two-year old biodiesel facility that was meant to be the cornerstone of the Seattle company’s renewable-energy empire hasn’t produced a drop of fuel since February. And it’s not the only one sitting idle. The 100 million-gallon-a-year plant – once the largest such facility in the U.S. – located in an isolated logging town on Washington’s coast now serves as a storage depot for biodiesel – and a symbol of America’s stalled biofuels industry. From the beginning it was a tall order for biodiesel makers to turn a penny. Even though petroleum prices skyrocketed last year, providing the rationale for a renewable alternative to diesel, the cost of agricultural feedstocks needed to make biodiesel also went through the roof, eating up profit margins. But Imperium chief executive John Plaza also places the blame on the U.S. politicians’ failure to create a market for the product. Ethanol enjoys a well-defined federal mandate, but the administration has been slow at enacting rules that would compel fuel blenders to take in more of the fuel. “We invested in building these facilities based on the efforts and legislation put forward by the government,” he says. Mr. Plaza’s comments underscore how the first wave of biodiesel producers – many of whom took on substantial debt to build commercial-scale facilities – anticipated a huge upturn in demand that never materialized...WSJ

Society is better off when entrepreneurs take risks to produce a new product for which there is sufficient demand to turn a profit.

Society is not better off when an entrepreneur produces a product so the government can "compel" us to purchase it. In fact, we are worse off. We end up with a shoddy product and a larger, more intrusive government.

Entrepreneurs of the second type we don't need. I hope more of them go bankrupt and the sooner the better.

Two Utilities Are Leaving Clean Coal Initiative

Two of the nation’s biggest coal-burning utilities said Thursday that they were withdrawing from a $2.4 billion project to demonstrate carbon capture and storage, and would instead pursue their own work in the field. The announcement by the utilities, Southern Company and American Electric Power, is a blow to the multinational consortium called the FutureGen Alliance. The group is seeking to build a $2.4 billion plant in Mattoon, Ill., that would convert coal to a fuel gas, capture the carbon dioxide and then burn the gas in a turbine to make electricity. Financing for the project was uncertain even before the announcement by the two utilities. The Bush administration had tried to kill FutureGen, saying it was too expensive. But the Obama administration said last week it would restore financing...NYTimes

Secretary Salazar Names Liz Birnbaum Director of the Minerals Management Service

Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar today appointed Liz Birnbaum, an attorney with two decades of Federal Government and private sector experience in energy and environmental policy, as Director of the Department’s Minerals Management Service. The appointment does not require Senate confirmation. “As a former Associate Solicitor here at Interior with extensive experience as counsel and staff director for congressional committees, Liz brings a number of strengths to this key position at Interior,” Secretary Salazar said. “Her in-depth knowledge of energy issues, natural resource policy and environmental law as well as her managerial expertise and work in coalition building will be especially important as we advance President Obama’s new energy frontier and lay the foundation for a clean energy economy.” At Interior, Birnbaum was Associate Solicitor for Minerals Resources from 2000 to 2001, supervising and managing a staff of attorneys that provided legal advice, developed regulations and conducted litigation on minerals issues for the Minerals Management Service, Bureau of Land Management and Office of Surface Mining and Reclamation. Before that she was a special assistant to the Interior Solicitor, from 1999 to 2000, overseeing legal policy on a range of natural resource issues, including mining law, public land management and hydropower licensing. From 1991 to 1999 she was counsel to the House Committee on Natural Resources, where she handled legislative and oversight activities for the Department of the Interior, U.S. Forest Service and electric power marketing administrations. From 1987 to 1991 she was counsel for the Water Resources Program of the National Wildlife Federation...PressRelease

Colorado Springs will take up fate of coyotes

To kill or not to kill. That is the question the Colorado Springs City Council will take up Monday when it discusses a proposed ordinance that would allow gun-toting residents to shoot and "exterminate" coyotes. The proposal was initiated by former Councilwoman Margaret Radford after a constituent approached her with concerns about aggressive coyotes and existing city laws that prevented him from using a firearm to kill the animals. "Radford indicated that she and others believe that coyotes are a physical danger and potential public health threat," according to a city memo. "It is this concern that led to the Colorado Springs Police Department being asked to investigate the proposed ordinance for coyote control." A spokesman for the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals said the city of Colorado Springs doesn't have to be so trigger-happy...gazette

HT: Outdoor Pressroom

Deer have killed two dogs, injured several others in Helena

Two dogs have been killed by does in the last few weeks, prompting Helena Police Chief Troy McGee to warn residents. “Be careful. The does are really protective of their fawns right now,” McGee said. A dachshund was killed in its yard on the 600 block of Highland Street, he said. A 3-month-old Yorkshire terrier was stomped to death by a doe in a side yard on the 1600 block of Chestnut Street. McGee said it is believed the same deer that killed the Yorkie also broke a schnauzer’s jaw on the 1600 block of Walnut Street. That doe was put down by Fish, Wildlife and Parks officials, he said. McGee urges residents to use caution when walking their dogs and also when pets are in their yards...Missoulian

Border restrictions grow over VS outbreak in two US states

States are imposing border restrictions on stock from Texas and New Mexico as more cases of vesicular stomatitis (VS) are reported. Horses on a total of three sites in Texas and four premises in New Mexico are known to be infected VS, a painful blistering disease of livestock, such as horses, cattle, sheep, swine and deer. The symptoms mimick those of highly contagious foot and mouth disease. The viral disease appears spontaneously and sporadically in the southwestern United States and is thought to be transmitted by sand flies and black flies. Border restrictions are growing daily. At least 13 states have so far imposed an array of restrictions on livestock orginating from Texas. Canada has restrictions in place affecting both Texas and New Mexico livestocks. Authorities urge livestock owners to make appropriate checks before moving any livestock out of the two affected states...Horsetalk

EEE Horse Death Reported in Louisiana

Following the first confirmed case of Eastern equine encephalitis (EEE) this year, Louisiana Agriculture and Forestry Commissioner Mike Strain, DVM, is reminding horse owners to vaccinate their horses. The affected horse died. Strain said Louisiana Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory in Baton Rouge identified EEE as the cause of death from blood samples drawn from the horse. The horse was stabled in Rapides Parish. "Since there is no cure for Eastern equine encephalitis, I urge horse owners to vaccinate their animals," Strain said. "This is a very preventable disease, but often horse owners wait until it's too late. "Only rarely do horses recover from Eastern equine encephalitis," Strain said. "Even when an animal doesn't die, it is almost always brain damaged and is never usable again."...TheHorse

'Good ride' ends at stockyards: Final cattle sale marks passing of 92-year run

On a recent Sunday, Jim Woster felt the need to visit the Sioux Falls Stockyards and stand atop the rickety wooden catwalk that overlooks the mostly empty cattle pens. There were no cattle sales that day, he recalled, and the yards were quiet. "I just stood up there," said Woster, 68, who began working at the stockyards in 1962 and stayed for the next four decades. "If you ask me why I went down there on Sunday, I couldn't even tell you," he said. "But for 40 years, that's what I did. It was a way of life." Woster, now retired, was among the many stockyard workers, farmers and ranchers - and their children and grandchildren - who made final trips this month across the catwalk with the white peeling paint. The last cattle sale was Thursday, bringing to an end an era that began when the Sioux Falls Stockyards opened in 1917 and grew to become the focal point for livestock in this part of the country. Thursday's final cattle sale silenced the rumbling of trucks heading to market down East Rice Street and the sound of the auctioneer's rapid-fire salesmanship in the Cattle Arena. "Everything has its time," Woster said, pausing for a moment, "but it's a pretty special place."...ArgusLeader

Song Of The Day #071

I've always felt Anita Carter had one of the best female voices in country music. She was the youngest daughter of Mother Maybelle Carter. She, along with her sisters Helen and June, made up the Carter Sisters, in which Anita sang and played the upright bass.

She also had a career as a solo artist.

For real fans, you can't beat the 7 disc box set Appalachian Angel: Her Recordings 1950-1972

Today we have her 1951 duet with Hank Snow Down The Trail Of Achin' Hearts. This recording went to No.2 on the charts.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Wilderness & Border Security - An Amendment To Interior Appropriations

Since I try to cover both land use designations and law enforcement issues, many readers of this blog are aware of the problems encountered by the Border Patrol and other law enforcement agencies when trying to perform their duties in wilderness areas, wildlife refuges, etc. In other words, they are either denied access or the access granted is so restrictive it renders their efforts ineffective.

U.S. Rep. Rob Bishop (R-Utah) has filed the following amendment to the Interior Appropriations bill.

Insiders say the Rules Committee will block the amendment, preventing it from going to the House Floor.

Stay tuned.


At the end of the bill (before the short title), insert
the following:

1 SEC. lll. None of the funds made available under
2 this Act may be used to enforce the Wilderness Act (16
3 U.S.C. 1131 et seq) with respect to Department of Home-
land Security personnel.

EPA plan targets vast DDT deposit off Calif. coast

A plan to cap a vast, long-neglected deposit of the pesticide DDT on the ocean floor off Southern California got its first public airing Tuesday — nearly four decades after the poison was banned from use. The estimated $36 million proposal by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency calls for a cover of sand and silt to be placed over the most contaminated part of the estimated 17-square-mile area declared a Superfund site in 1996. The cap won't clean the site, but it could reduce the health risks for people who eat fish caught off the Palos Verdes coast, said Mark Gold, executive director of the watchdog group Heal the Bay. "I think it's a huge development," he said. "We have the worst DDT hotspot in the entire U.S." From 1947 to 1971, the Montrose Chemical Corp. released more than 1,700 tons of the pesticide into Los Angeles sewers that emptied into the Pacific Ocean. Several other industries discharged PCBs into the sewer system. DDT was banned in 1972, but more than 110 tons of DDT remain in the contaminated sediment on the Palos Verdes shelf. In 2000, the now-defunct Montrose firm and three other chemical companies agreed to pay a total of $73 million to help restore the ocean environment off Palos Verdes, located southwest of the Port of Los Angeles...AP

Sen. Bingaman to Receive Conservation Award

Sen. Jeff Bingaman will be awarded today by an environmental group for his role in passing a bill in March that protected 2 million acres of wilderness. Bingaman, D-N.M., will receive the Ansel Adams Award from The Wilderness Society, according to a prepared statement from the nonprofit environmental group, founded in 1935 to protect wilderness. That legislation Bingaman helped pass preserved wilderness in nine states, designated more than 1,000 miles of wild and scenic rivers and protected places such as the Wyoming Range, according to The Wilderness Society. Bingaman helped designate as wilderness more than 17,000 acres in northern New Mexico's Sabinoso area. Sen. Tom Udall wrote the Sabinoso bill when he served in the House, and Bingaman included it in his package of public land bills that became law earlier this year, according to Udall's office. This month, Bingaman defended the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge from an attempt to open the refuge to oil and gas development, according to the Wilderness Society. "Throughout his career, Sen. Bingaman has played an enormously important role in protecting our natural heritage for future generations," William H. Meadows, president of The Wilderness Society, said in the statement. The award is named for Adams, the photographer who was an outspoken advocate for wilderness and the environment until his death. "Guarding our public lands ensures that we protect our nation's natural, cultural and historical legacies," Bingaman said in the statement. "Being a Western senator, I am well aware of the importance of protecting our special places, so I am especially proud to receive this prestigious honor."...DailyTimes

Salazar plans Fresno meeting Sunday on ESA & water supplies

One person who may have enough juice to help flip on the federal water pumps in the delta plans to visit Fresno Sunday for a town hall meeting on drought. U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, along with Deputy Secretary David J. Hayes, Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Mike Connor and members of the California Congressional delegation, will hold the meeting on Sunday from 2:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. at a location yet to be disclosed. Local growers have lobbied hard for the attention of federal officials to relax Endangered Species Act regulations to allow more water to flow through U.S. Bureau of Reclamation pumps to Valley farms. The last time Salazar was in the area was in April, when he took an aerial tour of the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta with Gov. Schwarzenegger and announced $260 million in federal stimulus aid for drought related projects — a gesture derided by local farming advocates as hollow. Salazar in his position would be included in the so-called "God Squad," a committee of cabinet-level White House administrators who could decide if federal actions would be exempt from the Endangered Species Act. BusinessJournal

Electric Cars Will Not Decrease Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Says Federal Study

The stimulus law enacted in February promoted the purchase of plug-in electric cars by the federal government and the broader market, but a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report released this month says that the use of plug-in electric vehicles will not by itself decrease greenhouse gas emissions. To do that, the report argues, the United States would have to switch from coal-burning plants to lower-emission sources to generate electricity such as nuclear power. “If you are using coal fired power plants and half the country’s electricity comes from coal powered plants, are you just trading one greenhouse gas emitter for another?” Mark Gaffigan, co-author of the GAO report and a specialist in energy issues told CNSNews.com. The report found that the adoption of plug-in cars could result in benefits, including reduced petroleum consumption and dependency. But it concedes that in regions of the country heavily reliant on coal for power generation, electric plug-in vehicles will not result in a decrease in green house gas emissions...CNSNews

Marmots plague Eastern Washington neighborhoods

Talk about an uninvited dinner guest. Diners at a restaurant in Prosser were startled Monday when a furry marmot wandered through the front door and settled into a corner. That was no surprise to city Administrator Charlie Bush, who says the big rodents have long been a problem in the central Washington wine town. "I know there's a lot of marmots in Prosser, there's no question," Bush told the Tri-City Herald. "They're happy marmots. They're fat, they're having a good time." Many species of marmots, including some known as woodchucks and groundhogs, are found across North America. They are closely related to ground squirrels and are among the largest of rodents, some reaching 30 pounds. The burrowing critters have long been a nuisance in this Yakima Valley city, where they dig through gardens, add unwanted mounds to yards and even chew through electrical wires...AP

Rodeo Is a Family Tradition

Yippee ki-yay time is here again. And for Rodeo de Santa Fe President Jim Butler, it couldn't have come soon enough. “We started planning for this thing a month after last year's rodeo — so we've been at it for a while,” he said. “This is a job that you have to love rodeo to do. It has to come from the heart.” Rodeo is more than that for the Butlers; it's in their blood. Jim's grandfather, Roy, was one of the founding fathers of the Rodeo de Santa Fe and, he said, while some may have doubted that the event would ever make it to its 10th anniversary — let alone its 60th — Jim, 48, said he always had faith. “I was at this rodeo since I was in diapers,” he said. “I saw my granddad work day and night to keep this thing going, so I knew what I had to do.” The recipe for the rodeo's longevity? That's simple, Butler said. “It's through the dedication of a lot of people that got us to 60 years,” he said. More specifically: Take one part marketing and word of mouth, add two parts hard work, then sprinkle in top-name riders such as this year's competitors, ropers Trevor Brazile and Joe Beaver, and rough stock riders Billy Etbauer and B.J. Schumacher, and there you have it. But, Butler added, over the years, a few more ingredients have been added to the mix — elements the founding fathers may not have envisioned. “Like I told the (Rodeo de Santa Fe board of directors), rodeo isn't rodeo anymore — it's entertainment,” Butler said. “I'd like nothing more than put together an old-fashion strictly rodeo. But you can't survive like that. “You've got to have your specialty acts that appeal to a broad range of people. In today's environment, where you have so much out there to do, it doesn't matter how good the competitors are. Your goal is to get butts in the seats to keep this thing going.”...AlbqJournal(subscription)

Snake-bitten chicken banned

CHINA has placed a ban on one of its most controversial foods after thousands of angry complaints. The popular dish of chicken bitten to death by poisonous snakes has been removed from restaurant menus in the south of the country. The odd dish — which is supposedly a detoxing meal — has provoked outrage among Chinese media. A video showing a cook holding a snake and forcing it to bite a live chicken until it dies has been circulated on the internet to the disgust of many. One blogger wrote online: "Not only is it cruel and blood-thirsty, but totally amoral." Another added: "It's disgusting and really cruel." Health authorities in Guangdong have already told restaurants to stop serving the dish saying: "Although nobody has been poisoned, this at the very least is an irregular way of slaughtering poultry." Guangdong has attracted criticism in the past for its local delicacies which include monkey brains scooped from a live animal...TheSun

I take it this wasn't on the menu of the local Kung Fu KFC.

Got to wonder though, was this eaten by their female disc and hammer throwers?

Sagebrush plants warn their neighbors of danger

Ever heard some sagebrush shout, Look out? New research says plants like the brush common in eastern Oregon can warn their clones of impending danger. The study suggests plants have a more complex system of communication than we tend to think, even if we're not sure how they "talk" to one another. The study published in Ecology Letters found that the plants communicate to their genetically identical neighbors about predators like grasshoppers, perhaps be emitting chemical cues into the air. "Plants are capable of responding to complex cues that involve multiple stimuli," Richard Karban of the Department of Entomology, University of California, Davis. "Plants not only respond to reliable cues in their environments but also produce cues that communicate with other plants and with other organisms, such as pollinators, seed disperses, herbivores and enemies of those herbivores." Oregonian

I saw some of those "sagebrush sentries" yesterday. Sharon was heading out to the garden and I could hear them screaming clear up to the house.

Believe me, I know how they felt. I've experienced that same gut-wrenching fear when she came walking toward me with that hoe in her hands.

How Green Is a Nudist Vacation?

With summer upon us, how many green vacationers’ fancies will turn to thoughts of nudism? Going without clothes on beaches and other vacation spots is commonly called naturism — a description that implies helping the planet, as some practitioners claim to be doing. Spending more time with nothing on stems waste and pollution in all sorts of ways, according to an article by Kathy Blanchard on The Naturist Society’s Web site. “Living more hours naked each day results in a dramatic drop in my laundry, which in turn reduces my water and energy use (along with my related bills),” Ms. Blanchard wrote. “It also reduces the amount of soap I release, in my case, into the Puget Sound.” She also advocates naturist holidays — staying close to home wherever possible, to cut down on fuel usage — but sometimes traveling to places where it is possible to leave the car behind and backpack or paddle naked into the wild...NYTimes

I think I've spotted a new source of income for our beleaguered ranchers.

El Rancho Nudo is on it's way.

Just don't tell the lady with the hoe in her hands.

Song Of The Day #070

Will you help me find a song?

When I was in high school or maybe a little older I had an LP with a fiddle breakdown on it named Look Sharp Be Sharp. It was based on the Gillete razor blade jingle that I would hear on Friday Night Fights.

I think it was on a Rural Rhythm LP, a cheap record label from whom I used to mail order albums.

Anyway, I just loved that fiddle breakdown. I think it was the only song on the LP that I liked.

I don't remember the fiddle player or the band (I'm pretty sure it was a bluegrass LP).

So, if you know the the band or where I can obtain this fiddle breakdown, please let me know. I will be forever greatful.

The first item is one of the old Gillette tv adds, followed by the look sharp march.

The second item is Look Sharp Be Sharp done up dixieland style, which comes a little closer to how the fiddle breakdown sounded.

Less Than 24 Percent of Guns Seized by Mexican Authorities in 2008 Were Traced Back to U.S.

Less than 24 percent of the guns seized last year by Mexican authorities, mostly from drug trafficking organizations, were traced back to the United States, according to data released in a report by the Government Accountability Office. Of the 30,000 guns seized by Mexican authorities in 2008, only 7,200, or approximately 24 percent, were submitted to the U.S. for tracing. Of those 7,200 firearms, 6,700 (or about 22 percent) were actually determined to have originated in the United States. The country of origin for the remaining 22,800 guns seized by Mexico that were not traced cannot be known. In addition, CNSNews.com reported on April 2 that, according to an ATF spokesperson, the bureau does not actually count, acquire, inspect and warehouse the weapons confiscated in Mexico, but relies on the Mexican government to submit information on the guns such as the serial number, make, and model for e-tracing. Jess Ford, the GAO’s director of international affairs and trade, told CNSNews.com that the calculations in the report about he flow of guns from the U.S. to Mexico are based on the guns submitted for tracing during the observation period...CNSNews

Is the REAL ID revival bill, "PASS ID" a national ID?

With the move in the Senate to revive our moribund national ID law, the REAL ID Act, under the name “PASS ID,” it’s important to look at whether we’re still dealing with a national ID law. My assessment is that we are. First, PASS ID is modeled directly on REAL ID. The structure and major provisions of the two bills are the same. Just like REAL ID, PASS ID sets national standards for identity cards and drivers’ licenses, withholding federal recognition if they are not met. There is no precise definition of a national identification card or system, of course, but its elements are relatively easy to identify. First, it is national. That is, it is intended to be used throughout the country, and to be nationally uniform in its key elements. REAL ID and PASS ID have the exact same purpose - to create a nationally uniform identity system. Second, its possession or use is either practically or legally required. A card or system that is one of many options for proving identity or other information is not a national ID if people can decline to use it and still easily access goods, services, or infrastructure. But if law or regulation make it very difficult to avoid carrying or using a card, this presses it into the national ID category...CATO

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Spy Satellite Program Is Eliminated

The Obama administration is planning to eliminate a spy satellite program at the Department of Homeland Security that had produced concerns about domestic spying, officials said. The program would have given state and local law enforcement officials access to high-resolution imagery from spy satellites to aid them in disaster relief efforts, bolster border security and help secure major events like the Super Bowl. The program, the National Applications Office, was first proposed two years ago by the Bush administration but had not yet begun operations. Civil libertarians and some influential lawmakers had criticized it. Officials said the homeland security secretary, Janet Napolitano, ordered a review of the program shortly after she was confirmed. The decision to close the office was first reported by The Associated Press. NYTimes

FBI Arrests Blogger for Allegedly Threatening Judges

A New Jersey man described as an Internet radio talk show host and blogger was arrested for allegedly threatening to kill three U.S. Appeals Court judges in Chicago who earlier this month upheld a law banning handguns. Hal Turner, 47, of North Bergen was arrested by U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation agents at his home today, according to a statement issued by Chicago U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald. In the days after the judges’ June 2 decision to uphold a lower court’s dismissal of a National Rifle Association lawsuit challenging the ban, Turner posted on his Web site their names, photographs, phone numbers and work addresses, together with a picture of the courthouse delineating stanchions he called “anti-truck bomb barriers,” according to Fitzgerald. “Let me be the first to say this plainly: These judges deserve to be killed,” Turner allegedly said in one Web site posting, according to Fitzgerald. Threatening to kill a federal judge is punishable by as many as 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, the prosecutor said...Bloomberg

Climate Bill Set for Vote After Deal Is Reached

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has scheduled a vote Friday on a sprawling climate-change bill, signaling the Democratic leadership's confidence that it can overcome objections from Farm Belt Democrats. Opponents and supporters of landmark climate legislation are ramping up their public-relations campaigns ahead of the planned vote. The Obama administration is pushing the measure as a job-creator, while critics, including many Republicans, are portraying the bill as an energy tax that could slow the economy. The legislation, co-sponsored by House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Henry A. Waxman (D., Calif.) and Rep. Edward Markey (D., Mass.), had stalled last week because of opposition from Farm Belt Democrats concerned their states will face heavier costs under the proposed law to curb greenhouse-gas emissions. Discussions were still continuing Tuesday. Josh Syrjamaki, chief of staff for one of those Democrats, Minnesota Rep. Timothy Walz, said his boss hadn't yet given his support for the bill because he hadn't yet seen details of a deal. Drew Hammill, a spokesman for Ms. Pelosi, said in an email late Monday evening: "There are some issues still under discussion, but we are confident we can resolve them by the time the bill goes to the floor on Friday."...WSJ

Agreement on Energy Bill Reached by Peterson, Waxman

A major obstacle of the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009 appears to have been removed, as House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson, D-Minn., announced that he and Energy Chairman Henry Waxman, D-Calif., have reached an agreement that works for agriculture and contributes to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States. "The climate change bill will include a strong agriculture offset program run by the U.S. Department of Agriculture that will allow farmers, ranchers, and forestland owners to participate fully in a market-based carbon offset program," said Peterson. "This agreement also addresses concerns about international indirect land use provisions that unfairly restricted U.S. biofuels producers and exempts agriculture and forestry from the definition of a capped sector." It has been thought by many that a favorable vote on the legislation was unlikely until an agreement was reached by Peterson and Waxman...FarmFutures

On the Wild Border, A Revival of Nature

Between the United States and Mexico, where the Continental Divide bisects the deserts of Chihuahua and Sonora, lies one of the most vital wildlife corridors in the hemisphere. This is a big, unpeopled place, dominated by sprawling cattle ranches, home to lions, beavers, coyotes -- and plenty of dope smugglers. There is the rare black hawk and 400 species of bee. Within miles of each other, you might see parrots and bison, and also trash piles left by wandering migrants trying to cross over the international frontier. The Mexican government wants to reintroduce the gray wolf in the corridor in a project similar to the one that brought wolves back to Yellowstone National Park. Scientists have found jaguar here, and also drug runners with AK-47s leading a forced march of men carrying bales of marijuana. Austin, 67, is a well-to-do artist from the Upper East Side of New York who moved to the Southwest desert 25 years ago with her husband, Josiah, a Dallas investor. The couple bought a ranch in Arizona, then two more in Mexico. To recharge wetlands and revive rivers, the Austins and their ranch hands, with bulldozers, have erected thousands of low rock dams along the creek beds in Mexico, which usually run dry before the summer monsoons bring water back to the Sonoran desert all at once. "What we're doing is what nature would do if we weren't here," she said. The Austins are part of a growing movement of eco-ranchers along the border. The best known is the Malpai Borderlands Group along the Arizona-New Mexico state line, a coalition of landowners, scientists, environmentalists and the government working to protect endangered wildlife and endangered ranchers. Austin is beginning to organize a similar group in Mexico...WPost

U.S. Chamber Calls for Transparency on EPA's Endangerment Finding

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce today called on the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to exhibit transparency in moving forward with a rulemaking on regulation of greenhouse gas emissions under the Clean Air Act, warning of the unprecedented cost to American businesses and families. Simultaneously, the Chamber petitioned the EPA for an "on the record" formal hearing, before a neutral party, to openly review the data the agency is using to justify its endangerment proposal. "The administration has imposed strict requirements for transparency in the regulatory process, however, in this case EPA has been anything but," said William Kovacs, the Chamber's senior vice president of Environment, Technology and Regulatory Affairs. "This regulation could impose the most significant cost on Americans than any other government program in history, yet on the key scientific data required to make the finding-specifically, the link between greenhouse gas emissions from new cars and so-called 'endangerment' of public health or welfare-EPA plays fast and loose with the facts." "In the endangerment proposal, EPA routinely ignores relevant, credible scientific information that contradicts its findings, including information generated by EPA's own staff," continued Kovacs. "If they're going to move forward with their regulatory cascade to regulate almost every aspect of the economy from lawn mowers to large churches and ranchers with over 25 cows, then they need to be open and transparent about the justification and impacts."...PressRelease

Justices Say Waste Can Be Dumped in Lake

The Supreme Court ruled Monday that the Clean Water Act does not prevent the Army Corps of Engineers from allowing mining waste to be dumped into rivers, streams and other waters. In a 6-to-3 decision that drew fierce criticism from environmentalists, the court said the Corps of Engineers had the authority to grant Coeur Alaska Inc., a gold mining company, permission to dump the waste known as slurry into Lower Slate Lake, north of Juneau. “We conclude that the corps was the appropriate agency to issue the permit and that the permit is lawful,” Justice Anthony M. Kennedy wrote for the majority. The corps permit, issued in 2005, said that 4.5 million tons of waste from the Kensington mine could be dumped into the lake even though it would obliterate life in its waters. The corps found that disposing of it there was less environmentally damaging than other options. Environmental advocacy organizations sued, saying the Bush administration was violating 30 years of tradition under the Clean Water Act in which such waste was regulated under the much more stringent standards of the federal Environment Protection Agency. In 2007, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, in San Francisco, agreed and invalidated the permit. The Supreme Court overturned that decision Monday in Coeur Alaska Inc. v. Southeast Alaska Conservation Council, No. 07-984, saying there was nothing in the Clean Water Act that prevented the corps from making the decision...NYTimes

Senator: U.S. needs 100 more nuclear power plants

Sen. Bob Bennett says the path to a clean energy future isn't by capping and trading carbon emissions, but by building, building, building. Bennett said Monday the nation needs to construct 100 new nuclear reactors by 2030 -- doubling the nation's current number of 104 plants -- if it is serious about slashing carbon emissions while still producing enough electricity to keep up with American needs. Bennett also brought together three other Republican senators and pro-nuclear energy witnesses to argue for constructing new nuke plants. "It's been my experience and my position...that one of the driving forces behind America's economic growth has been our access to cheap energy," Bennett said at a Republican-only hearing on energy development he organized. "If we're going to survive in the kind of economy we want, we need to have access to cheap energy." That means, Bennett says, reviving the idea of building new nuclear reactors, a move the United States hasn't made since 1977. He wasn't alone in that thought...SaltLakeTribune

Ranchers Attempt to Hold Off Army's Expansion in Colorado

The U.S. Army owns nearly 10 million acres of land across the U.S., and it wants more in remote southeastern Colorado, which it says is ideal for intense combat training. The problem is that much of that prairie is owned by ranchers who have run cattle across the plains for generations. And they have balked at turning over their rangeland to Uncle Sam. For three years now, local ranchers have battled the Army to a standstill, blocking a planned expansion of the Piñon Canyon Maneuver Site, just north of the New Mexico border. That fight is reaching a crescendo, with the ranchers pushing Congress to permanently block the Army from expanding, potentially through eminent-domain claims. The ranchers have opened a second front with a federal lawsuit filed last year that aims to force the Army to do more environmental-impact studies before intensifying training drills on land it already owns. The current training site, created in the early 1980s, covers about 370 square miles and includes six rail spurs, a landing strip that can handle four C-130 aircraft at a time, and room to maneuver as many as 10,000 soldiers through live-fire drills with tanks and armored vehicles. But to support its modern fighting force, the Army says it needs nearly triple the space -- 1,025 square miles -- so brigade combat teams can practice defensive maneuvers, battalions can coordinate mock attacks with air support and special forces can drill in a separate zone. Southeast Colorado is considered ideal because it is convenient to several Army bases; the terrain simulates Middle East war zones; and it is so remote that troops can test night-vision gear without interference from city lights, according to a 2004 analysis prepared by Army officials at Fort Carson, some 120 miles to the north. That same analysis urged the Army to try to buy as much as seven million acres in an area that is now home to 17,000 residents. But an Army spokesman said that plan was never adopted by headquarters; the goal, he said, is to buy 418,000 acres to expand the maneuver site. The first phase calls for a 100,000-acre acquisition...WSJ

U.S. loans $8 billion to Ford, Nissan for green vehicles

U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu presented Ford Motor Co. with $5.9 billion in loans today to help the automaker develop and manufacture a new generation of fuel-efficient vehicles. "The American innovation machine, when it revs up, is the greatest in the world," he said during a press conference here. "Today, we're putting that engine into gear." Chu also announced a $1.6 billion loan to Japan's Nissan Motor Co. to produce electric vehicles and batteries in Tennessee and a $465 million loan to California's Tesla Motors to produce a cheaper version of its electric vehicle, as well as powertrain components for Daimler AG...DetroitNews

Stimulus dollars to fund stimulus publicity signs

After U.S. taxpayers shelled out $1.1 trillion on stimulus legislation this year, the government plans to use stimulus money to post $300 signs next to each project hyping the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act...WND

The Politically Superior Ones are adept at self-promotion, using your money of course.

Can you think of something else to put on these signs?

Daryl Hannah, NASA scientist arrested at W.Va. protest

Actress Daryl Hannah, NASA scientist James Hansen and more than two dozen other mountaintop removal mining opponents have been arrested during a protest in southern West Virginia. State Police said about 30 people were charged Tuesday afternoon after they blocked State Route 3 near a Massey Energy subsidiary's coal processing plant in Raleigh County. They were among several hundred protesters who held a rally outside an elementary school that sits about 300 feet away from the plant's coal storage silo. After the rally, the crowd marched quietly to the plant and attempted to enter the property. They were blocked by several hundred coal miners chanting "Massey." Hannah, Hansen, former Rep. Ken Hechler and 27 others then sat on the road and were arrested on misdemeanor charges of obstruction and impeding traffic. AP

Washing machine that uses one cup of water

An environmentally-friendly washing machine developed in Britain that uses only one cup of water to clean clothes could be on sale next year. The appliance, which could save billions of litres of water a year, has been developed at the University of Leeds. It uses less than 10 per cent of the water of conventional machines and 30 per cent less energy by replacing most of the water with thousands of tiny reusable plastic beads to attract and absorb dirt under humid conditions. Xeros, the company behind the technology, will start selling the machine to commercial customers such as hotels and dry cleaners before taking the idea to ordinary household consumers...Telegraph

Consumers Say They Want Healthy, but Aren't Buying It

A note to food marketers: Consumers who say they want healthy options are unlikely to actually order off the healthy menu. "There's definitely a dichotomy between what people say they want and what they actually do when it comes to healthy restaurant eating," Maria Caranfa, a registered dietitian and director at Mintel Menu Insights, said in a statement. "Over eight in 10 adults told us it's very or somewhat important to them to eat healthy, but when it comes to dining out, most people are really looking for taste, texture and experience." According to Mintel, price was also a deterrent in selecting better-for-you meals. As cash-strapped consumers tighten their belts, they're choosing cheap and tasty comfort food. Mintel found that only one in five consumers rank a food's health attributes as an important factor when choosing dinner. But 77% of them thought about "taste," and 44% considered "hunger satisfaction." And a particular problem for restaurants: While roughly 75% of those surveyed said they would like to see more healthy options, only 51% order from those selections...AdvertisingAge

Imagine that: Price, taste and fulfillment influence a consumer's choice.

A real shocker to the Politically Superior Ones.

Alligators Found In Rio Grande

KFOX has a picture proving alligators live in the Rio Grande. The Texas Game Warden Ray Spears said they are just east of Fort Hancock in Hudspeth County and there isn't just one or two of them. “There were approximately six alligators that were observed, three of them that were in the 2-to 4-foot range, and about three of them in the 5-to 6-foot range,” Spears said. Spears said people have nothing to fear with these alligators especially since they are in a rural area. He believes someone dropped them off in the area. There is a chance the alligators could reproduce, but the warden said they will be monitoring the alligators to make sure there is no present danger. KFOX-TV

Grasshoppers invading central Utah

Grasshoppers, when leaping on Tony Atherley's front door, make a "pop" like the sound of cooking popcorn. Atherley has been hearing thousands of pops since June 1, when the grasshoppers infested his Pine Canyon neighborhood, about four miles northeast of Tooele. One neighborhood child is so afraid of the swarms of grasshoppers outside her bedroom window that she sleeps away from home. Atherley's 4-year-old daughter was so scared when the grasshoppers first arrived that she asked her parents to carry her into the house. Swarms of grasshoppers infest Utah agricultural lands in 10-year cycles, and by all accounts, the summer of 2009 is the beginning of another cycle in central Utah — the Uintah Basin and Sanpepte, Millard, Sevier and Tooele counties. For the next few summers, the grasshopper population will increase until it peaks, said Clint Burfitt, an entomologist with the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food. Shortly after the grasshopper population peaks, they get infected with a deadly fungus, and the population quickly drops off. The cycle will begin again in seven years...DeseretNews