Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Power lines top western governors’ agenda

New transmission lines are critical to developing the alternative electricity production needed to meet demand in the coming years, governors of states in the West said Monday. The need for new energy development and dangers of climate change topped the agenda at the annual meeting of the Western Governors Association, where participants recognized that more renewable energy is a priority that will require considerable private investment. About half of the governors in the West are participating in the event. The governors want to find a way to fast-track the construction of expensive, lengthy transmission lines to carry wind and solar power from rural to large urban areas. But a conflict exists over the placement of such lines. Environmentalists don’t want the lines dissecting national forests, and many private landowners are also resistant. Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer, who chairs the association, said without new lines there won’t be much more new energy development. The lines must be placed on federal public land that dominates much of the region, and traditional delays in permits and other disputes must end, he said...more

Protecting wildlife will require collaboration, Western governors told

he challenge for state leaders, said Idaho wildlife professor Michael Scott, is to protect landscapes large enough to be ecologically significant while at the same time keeping those lands economically viable. The task will require transboundary partnerships, he said, because local solutions fail in a world of global problems. Within this century, he said, the country's population is expected to balloon to half a billion - and managing for wildlife will be a tremendous challenge in that world. Scott, who also is a research scientist with the U.S. Geological Survey, recommends finding ways to generate public support for wild corridors. Large landowners will be necessary partners with government, he said, because "this is a changing landscape; it's moving from ‘wildlife friendly' to ‘wildlife challenged.' " Down in Colorado and New Mexico, the governors already have signed an agreement creating corridors for elk along their shared border. Canada and the Pacific states have joined in a collaborative effort to protect their shared ocean. Up in Montana and British Columbia, leaders have crafted plans to protect the transboundary wilds around Glacier and Waterton national parks. Future agreements must focus on the best habitat, Scott said, rather than on the high mountain scenery usually associated with protected places. "We have done a heck of a job protecting rocks and ice," Scott said, but in the process have left our parks isolated - too small and too fragmented to sustain natural systems...more

These articles should tell you who is calling the shots at the WGA. Unemployment is up, economy is down and state sovereignty is being trampled each day, and they are worrying about wildlife corridors.

Besides, what happens when one of those renewable energy pipelines needs to go through one of their wildlife corridors? Will they still be calling for environmental short cuts?

The Windsurfer's Windfall - Kerry Cashes In

Last year, in his ongoing struggle to remain relevant, Senator John Kerry (D-Mass) took the legislative reins on the contentious issue of climate change. Now Kerry, against the backdrop of an oil-soaked Gulf, is hoping to ride the current crisis to push his American Power Act to the top of the Democrats' legislative agenda and propel himself back into the national spotlight. Kerry has campaigned unusually hard for the bill, berating Senate colleagues on both sides of the aisle, often cornering and lecturing them on the imminent perils of climate change and the necessity of his bill...According to Senator Kerry's statements for the last fiscal year, as of December 31, 2009, he and his wife owned large stakes in numerous prominent energy companies, many of which are currently lobbying Congress for legislation aimed at energy reform and stand the most to gain from passage of the APA. Yeatman and Lott singled out GE, BP, ConocoPhillips, Dupont, and Exelon as among the big winners in the APA scheme. GE in particular has been a staunch advocate of the APA. Surprisingly, or not, Kerry holds about $20 million worth of investments in all of these companies, among a slew of other energy sector giants...From these investments Kerry accrued anywhere from $753,000 to roughly $5 million in unearned income from dividends and capital gains in the last year alone. In one instance, Senator Kerry sold his stake in Apache Corp. for a nifty dividend of up to $1 million...more

Settlement reached in large N.D. saltwater spill

A settlement has been reached in a federal lawsuit by two ranchers over damages from a million-gallon saltwater spill in what has been called the worst oil patch environmental accident in North Dakota history. Attorneys for both sides said Tuesday they finished details on the settlement and would file documents in federal court to have the case dismissed. Terms of the settlement are confidential, the attorneys said. The 2008 lawsuit against Zenergy stems from an early 2006 spill of nearly 1 million gallons of saltwater, a byproduct of drilling for oil, from a pipeline. While most of the saltwater was quickly captured, enough of it spilled into a stock pond, a beaver dam and Charbonneau Creek southwest of Williston, N.D., to kill fish and turtles for miles and make the fresh water unfit for cattle or people...more

Groups Speak Out on FDA’s Antibiotic Proposal

The Food and Drug Administration's proposal to limit antibiotic use in food-animal production is drawing more fire. The basic premise of the proposed guidelines is to limit the use of antibiotics deemed “medically important antibiotics for humans”. The reasoning, which is highly debated, relates to the prospect of trying to address antibiotic resistance. "Top scientists with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institutes of Health recently told a U.S. House committee that there is no scientific study linking antibiotic use in food-animal production with antibiotic resistance," cites the National Pork Producers Council. Among the FDA provisions is a significant increase in prescriptions and veterinarian oversight or consultation required for antibiotic use on the farm. But there is serious concern as to whether there are even enough veterinarians available for such oversight, as the shortage of food-animal veterinarians is well known and growing. The National Cattlemen's Beef Association also defended current producer practices, noting the industry's Beef Quality Assurance program has been training cattle ranchers about the safe and appropriate use of antibiotics for more than two decades. The U.S. pork industry has a similar program called Pork Quality Assurance Plus, which the FDA has reviewed and approved. "Producers work with their veterinarians to develop animal health plans that include the judicious use of antibiotics," says NPPC President Sam Carney...more

Boxing: Rickard brought famous fight to Reno

Tex Rickard dreamt big and did big things. He chased gold in the Klondike and Nevada, sought diamonds in South Africa, built a cattle empire in South America and brought boxing out of the back alleys and smoky saloons and into the mainstream of American society. In his heyday, he promoted fights so big that even he remarked, "I ain't seen anything like it," when more than 100,000 people, including an estimated 2,000 millionaires, attended one of his fights. Most of all, the man who got his start in Nevada was a leader, the man who would step forward when others held back and be willing to let the chips fall as they may. Former heavyweight champion Jack Dempsey, a principal in Rickard's greatest successes, called him "the greatest fight promoter of all time" and "as great a man as I ever met." He was born George Lewis Rickard in 1871 to Bob and Lucretia Rickard in Clay County, Mo. His family's nearest neighbor was Mrs. Zerelda Samuels, whose sons were Jesse and Frank James, the notorious outlaws...more

Baxter Black - Food Deserts

Many of us in the food producing business are watching with a suspicious eye, Mrs. Obama’s pending federally funded efforts to combat obesity in children. Our skepticism is justified because every special interest group from global warming to UFO conspirators somehow wind up casting blame on modern agriculture. Nevertheless, obesity apparently is a serious problem and worthy of attention. Her “Let’s Move!” web page states that “6.5 million children (live) more than a mile away from a supermarket. These communities are now called “Food Deserts.” More than a mile! It is obvious that Mrs. Obama and I live in different realities. I would guess many who read this column live more than a mile from a supermarket. I can picture a rancher’s wife twenty miles north of Ekalaka, MT, a farmer’s wife in Oyen, Alberta who gets snowed in for 3 days, or a family riding out a hurricane, flood and 5-day power outage on the South Carolina coast. Food Desert? I guess what is most unsettling for me, is the helplessness Mrs. Obama ascribes to the urban parents of obese children. She assumes they are incapable of planning a trip to the store, teaching their children discipline, managing a budget and, God forbid, having to walk, drive or bus more than a mile of couple times a week to shop. Truthfully, no one expects them to grow a garden or can their own food. But I would bet that if these helpless parents had a grocery store right next door it still wouldn’t decrease children’s obesity...more

The real aridity is in the minds of these DC do gooders.

Song Of The Day #348

Staying out west this week Ranch Radio brings you Saddle Serenade by Johnny Bond & The Red River Valley Boys. I sure like the way they handle the yodel break.

You will find the tune on his 31 track CD Country & Western: Standard Trascriptions.

Gunfire from Mexico pelts El Paso City Hall, enters office

Several gunshots apparently fired from Juárez hit El Paso City Hall on Tuesday afternoon. No one was hurt, but nerves were rattled at City Hall in what is thought to be the first cross-border gunfire during a drug war that has engulfed Juárez since 2008. El Paso police spokesman Darrel Petry said investigators do not think City Hall was intentionally targeted but rather was struck by stray shots. "It does appear the rounds may have come from an incident in Juárez," Petry said. City Hall, whose east and west sides are covered by glass windows, sits on a hill about a half-mile north of the Rio Grande. About 4:50 p.m., city workers were going about a regular day when a bullet penetrated a ninth-floor west side window of the office of Assistant City Manager Pat Adauto. Police said the bullet flew through the window, then through an interior wall before hitting a picture frame and stopping. Petry said an inspection by police and city staff found that City Hall was hit by seven gunshots, which appeared to be losing velocity when they struck. Six of the rounds hit stucco walls on the north and south sides of the building. Two bullets were recovered -- the one that went through the window and one that bounced off an exterior wall. The size of the bullets was not disclosed...more

Mexico: Where Bullets Are Intimidating the Ballot

Last Friday, June 25, gubernatorial candidate Rodolfo Torre raised both his arms to the sky in front of 15,000 cheering white-shirted supporters in a baseball stadium minutes from the Rio Grande. After he promised security in his violence-ridden border state of Tamaulipas, the crowd erupted to his campaign anthem, sung to the catchy tune of the smash hit "I Gotta Feeling" by U.S. pop band Black Eyed Peas. They had reason for celebration. Opinion polls all concurred that the mustachioed physician would win the July 4 election by a landslide of more than 30 points. But on Monday, as Torre left the state capital to conclude his campaign, assailants showered his convoy with gunfire from automatic rifles and heavy-caliber weapons, killing him instantly. Army commanders said the attack bore all the signs of the Zetas, a paramilitary drug gang that was born in the state. Mexico's highest-profile political assassination since the 1994 murder of presidential candidate Luis Donaldo Colosio was a blow not only to Torre's supporters but to the nation's entire ailing democracy. A key problem is that many of the polls are in the states hardest hit by the relentless drug war, including Chihuahua, home to Ciudad Juárez, which has a reputation for being one of the most dangerous cities in the world, and Sinaloa, the cradle of Mexican organized crime. Tamaulipas, a state that shares a border with Texas and has three of the busiest land cargo-crossing points into the U.S., has this year been engulfed by bloody battles between the Zetas and their old masters in the Gulf cartel...more

Fewer troops coming to NM border than in previous deployment

The increase in troops to protect New Mexico's border with Mexico will only be a fraction of what it was during Operation Jump Start. During the height of Operation Jump Start, which was conducted from June 2006 until August 2008, there were about 1,000 National Guard soldiers in New Mexico. They built bollards to try to deter illegal immigrants from coming into the U.S. from Mexico, they built portions of a border fence near Columbus, and they provided surveillance and patrol along the border. But this time, only 72 National Guard soldiers - all coming from the New Mexico National Guard - will be added at the border. Currently, there are as many as 100 state National Guard troops at the border on a daily basis. The soldiers to be assigned to the New Mexico border will account for only six percent of the 1,200 National Guard soldiers that President Obama has ordered to patrol the 1,954 miles of shared border the U.S. has with Mexico. But Bingaman said the additional troops, combined with added National Guard troops that Gov. Bill Richardson sent to the border in early April, could make New Mexico's border safer. "While we have made important strides in reducing the number of people illegally entering our country, we still have some more work to do when it comes to addressing drug-related criminal activity along the border," Bingaman said. "This increased National Guard presence will be helpful as we continue to find permanent solutions to securing our border communities." But Bingaman added he and other members of New Mexico's congressional delegation will be keeping close watch on the border to ensure that there is no increase in activity as a result of stepped-up enforcement in neighboring states. "We want to make sure there is no more shift of illegal activity," McCartin said...more

Let's see, Arizona gets 524 agents and NM get 72.

Bingaman wants to designate a quarter of a million acres near the border as wilderness where the Border Patrol can't use motorized vehicles.

Increased enforcement in Arizona, when combined with Bingaman's wilderness designations, will definitely lead to a "shift of illegal activity" and the Senator knows it.

I continue to hope he will drop the band-aide changes he's offered so far, and instead adopt the compromise proposed by the Las Cruces Chamber of Commerce which has been endorsed by many important groups and entities.

Inside the tunnel: Boys used in drug-smuggling route

Mexican drug cartels used boys and small adults to dig a tunnel crawling the width of the Rio Grande. Through it, smugglers would bring contraband to the United States, officials said. Border Patrol agents thought the river would be an obstacle to building tunnels in El Paso and east of the city. They were wrong. Agents were surprised Friday to find a cross-border tunnel extending underneath the Rio Grande from the Mexican side to a maze of storm drains on the U.S. side. "El Paso sector hasn't seen anything like this before," said Joe Perez, a Border Patrol agent at the site. The El Paso sector covers all of New Mexico and West Texas. The Border Patrol has discovered more than 100 tunnels along the U.S.-Mexico border in Arizona and California. The man-made tunnel is the first of its kind in the El Paso sector. Smugglers dug the tunnel two feet under the Rio Grande, Border Patrol agents said. Because the riverbed is covered in concrete, water did not enter the tunnel, which allowed smugglers to continue excavating dirt. Perez said the Border Patrol had not noticed the man-made tunnel before because smugglers would not come out of it near the border. Instead, they would navigate the arteries of the storm-drain system of El Paso. These spacious tunnels lead to places such as Paisano Drive and the University of Texas at El Paso. ..more


570 F. 3d 1130, reversed and remanded.


No. 09–475. Argued April 27, 2010—Decided June 21, 2010 _______________________________________

The Plant Protection Act (PPA) provides that the Secretary of the Department of Agriculture may issue regulations “to prevent the introduction of plant pests into the United States or the dissemination of plant pests within the United States.” 7 U. S. C. §7711(a). Pursuant to that grant of authority, the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) promulgated regulations that presume genetically engineered plants to be “plant pests”—and thus “regulated articles” under the PPA—until APHIS determines otherwise. However, any person may petition APHIS for a determination that a regulated article does not present a plant pest risk and therefore should not be subject to the applicable regulations. APHIS may grant such a petition in whole or in part.
In determining whether to grant nonregulated status to a genetically engineered plant variety, APHIS must comply with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA), which requires federal agencies “to the fullest extent possible” to prepare a detailed environmental impact statement (EIS) for “every … major Federal actio[n] significantly affecting the quality of the human environment.” 42 U. S. C. §4332(2)(C). The agency need not complete an EIS if it finds, based on a shorter statement known as an environmental assessment (EA), that the proposed action will not have a significant environmental impact.
This case involves a challenge to APHIS’s decision to approve the unconditional deregulation of Roundup Ready Alfalfa (RRA), a variety of alfalfa that has been genetically engineered to tolerate the herbicide Roundup. Petitioners are the owner and the licensee of the intellectual property rights to RRA. In response to petitioners’ deregulation request, APHIS prepared a draft EA and solicited public comments on its proposed course of action. Based on its EA and the comments submitted, the agency determined that the introduction of RRA would not have any significant adverse impact on the environment. Accordingly, APHIS decided to deregulate RRA unconditionally and without preparing an EIS. Respondents, conventional alfalfa growers and environmental groups, filed this action challenging that decision on the ground that it violated NEPA and other federal laws. The District Court held, inter alia, that APHIS violated NEPA when it deregulated RRA without first completing a detailed EIS. To remedy that violation, the court vacated the agency’s decision completely deregulating RRA; enjoined APHIS from deregulating RRA, in whole or in part, pending completion of the EIS; and entered a nationwide permanent injunction prohibiting almost all future planting of RRA during the pendency of the EIS process. Petitioners and the Government appealed, challenging the scope of the relief granted but not disputing that APHIS’s deregulation decision violated NEPA. The Ninth Circuit affirmed, concluding, among other things, that the District Court had not abused its discretion in rejecting APHIS’s proposed mitigation measures in favor of a broader injunction.
1. Respondents have standing to seek injunctive relief, and petitioners have standing to seek this Court’s review of the Ninth Circuit’s judgment affirming the entry of such relief. Pp. 7–14.
(a) Petitioners have constitutional standing to seek review here. Article III standing requires an injury that is (i) concrete, particularized, and actual or imminent, (ii) fairly traceable to the challenged action, and (iii) redressable by a favorable ruling. See Horne v. Flores , 557 U. S. ___, ___. Petitioners satisfy all three criteria. Petitioners are injured by their inability to sell or license RRA to prospective customers until APHIS completes the EIS. Because that injury is caused by the very remedial order that petitioners challenge on appeal, it would be redressed by a favorable ruling from this Court. Respondents nevertheless contend that petitioners lack standing because their complained-of injury is independently caused by a part of the District Court’s order that petitioners failed to challenge, the vacatur of APHIS’s deregulation decision. That argument fails for two independent reasons. First, one of the main disputes between the parties throughout this litigation has been whether the District Court should have adopted APHIS’s proposed judgment, which would have replaced the vacated deregulation decision with an order expressly authorizing the continued sale and planting of RRA. Accordingly, if the District Court had adopted APHIS’s proposed judgment, there would still be authority for the continued sale of RRA notwithstanding the District Court’s vacatur, because there would, in effect, be a new deregulation decision. Second, petitioners in any case have standing to challenge the part of the District Court’s order enjoining a partial deregulation. Respondents focus their argument on the part of the judgment that enjoins planting, but the judgment also states that before granting the deregulation petition, even in part, the agency must prepare an EIS. That part of the judgment inflicts an injury not also caused by the vacatur. Pp. 7–11.
(b) Respondents have constitutional standing to seek injunctive relief from the complete deregulation order at issue here. The Court disagrees with petitioners’ argument that respondents have failed to show that any of them is likely to suffer a constitutionally cognizable injury absent injunctive relief. The District Court found that respondent farmers had established a reasonable probability that their conventional alfalfa crops would be infected with the engineered Roundup Ready gene if RRA were completely deregulated. A substantial risk of such gene flow injures respondents in several ways that are sufficiently concrete to satisfy the injury-in-fact prong of the constitutional standing analysis. Moreover, those harms are readily attributable to APHIS’s deregulation decision, which gives rise to a significant risk of gene flow to non-genetically-engineered alfalfa varieties. Finally, a judicial order prohibiting the planting or deregulation of all or some genetically engineered alfalfa would redress respondents’ injuries by eliminating or minimizing the risk of gene flow to their crops. Pp. 11–14.
2. The District Court abused its discretion in enjoining APHIS from effecting a partial deregulation and in prohibiting the planting of RRA pending the agency’s completion of its detailed environmental review. Pp. 14–22.
(a) Because petitioners and the Government do not argue otherwise, the Court assumes without deciding that the District Court acted lawfully in vacating the agency’s decision to completely deregulate RRA. The Court therefore addresses only the injunction prohibiting APHIS from deregulating RRA pending completion of the EIS, and the nationwide injunction prohibiting almost all RRA planting during the pendency of the EIS process. P. 14.
(b) Before a court may grant a permanent injunction, the plaintiff must satisfy a four-factor test, demonstrating: “(1) that it has suffered an irreparable injury; (2) that remedies available at law, such as monetary damages, are inadequate to compensate for that injury; (3) that, considering the balance of hardships between the plaintiff and defendant, a remedy in equity is warranted; and (4) that the public interest would not be disserved by a permanent injunction.” eBay Inc. v. MercExchange, L. L. C. , 547 U. S. 388 . This test fully applies in NEPA cases. See Winter v. Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc., 555 U. S. ___, ___. Thus, the existence of a NEPA violation does not create a presumption that injunctive relief is available and should be granted absent unusual circumstances. Pp. 15–16.
(c) None of the four factors supports the District Court’s order enjoining APHIS from partially deregulating RRA during the pendency of the EIS process. Most importantly, respondents cannot show that they will suffer irreparable injury if APHIS is allowed to proceed with any partial deregulation, for at least two reasons. First, if and when APHIS pursues a partial deregulation that arguably runs afoul of NEPA, respondents may file a new suit challenging such action and seeking appropriate preliminary relief. Accordingly, a permanent injunction is not now needed to guard against any present or imminent risk of likely irreparable harm. Second, a partial deregulation need not cause respondents any injury at all; if its scope is sufficiently limited, the risk of gene flow could be virtually nonexistent. Indeed, the broad injunction entered below essentially pre-empts the very procedure by which APHIS could determine, independently of the pending EIS process for assessing the effects of a complete deregulation, that a limited deregulation would not pose any appreciable risk of environmental harm. Pp. 16–23.
(d) The District Court also erred in entering the nationwide injunction against planting RRA, for two independent reasons. First, because it was inappropriate for the District Court to foreclose even the possibility of a partial and temporary deregulation, it follows that it was inappropriate to enjoin planting in accordance with such a deregulation decision. Second, an injunction is a drastic and extraordinary remedy, which should not be granted as a matter of course. See, e.g. , Weinberger v. Romero-Barcelo , 456 U. S. 305 . If, as respondents now concede, a less drastic remedy (such as partial or complete vacatur of APHIS’s deregulation decision) was sufficient to redress their injury, no recourse to the additional and extraordinary relief of an injunction was warranted. Pp. 23–24.
(e) Given the District Court’s errors, this Court need not address whether injunctive relief of some kind was available to respondents on the record below. Pp. 24–25.
570 F. 3d 1130, reversed and remanded.
ALITO, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which ROBERTS, C. J., and SCALIA, KENNEDY, THOMAS, GINSBURG, and SOTOMAYOR, JJ., joined. STEVENS, J., filed a dissenting opinion. BREYER, J., took no part in the consideration or decision of the case.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Harry Reid's high-stakes climate bill gamble

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) is planning a high-risk, high-stakes strategy for bringing climate and energy legislation to the floor ahead of the August recess. The gamble: yoking a bipartisan, fast-track measure to overhaul offshore drilling rules with a broad, contentious bill capping greenhouse gas emissions that otherwise would have almost no chance of passage on its own. Reid’s own Democrats are mixed on the strategy for notching 60 votes. Some argue that public perception of fossil fuels in the wake of the BP oil spill will sway enough of the party’s swing votes and open Republicans to attack if they oppose the measure as their reelection campaigns head into the homestretch. Thus far, Reid can’t count on all Democrats coalescing around this approach. Several say they are fearful that hitching a popular oil reform bill to a big, unwieldy climate plan will just sink legislation that could otherwise serve as a quick, easy and politically popular win...more

Ban begins this week on sale of phosphate-laden dishwasher soap in Oregon, Washington

Oregon and Washington are banning the sale of phosphate-laden dishwasher detergent starting Thursday. Familiar brands are still available but they will have lower levels of phosphates. Experts say phosphates promote plant growth and may degrade water quality in lakes and streams. "It's more effective and less expensive to decrease what goes down the drain than it is to treat it at the plant. This way, we're all part of the solution," said Washington Rep. Timm Ormsby, D-Spokane, to the the Kitsap Sun. Ormbsy sponsored the 2006 bill to limit phosphates in dishwasher detergents. The ban has already been in place in Spokane and Whatcom counties in Washington state since 2008. The Oregon Legislature passed a law in 2009 that lowered the phosphorous limit for automatic dishwasher detergents from 8.7 percent to 0.5 percent. Dennis Griesing, vice president of government affairs for the American Cleaning Institute, said low-phosphate formulas available in 2008 did not work as well in hard water, so some shoppers in Spokane had been crossing into Idaho to buy dishwasher soap with phosphates...more some shoppers in Spokane had been crossing into Idaho to buy dishwasher soap with phosphates...

So you can cross state lines with phosphates but you can't cross state lines with raw milk.

You can use a phosphate detergent to wash your milk glass, but you can't put raw milk in your milk glass.

I'm sure this makes sense to government officials.

Here's what makes sense to me: This November, the strongest detergent available to man should be applied to these idiots.

Group seeks endangered listing for bumblebee from southern Oregon and northern California

The Society for Invertebrate Conservation and University of California at Davis entomologist Robbin Thorp formally petitioned the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to protect the insect -- called a Franklin's bumblebee -- under the Endangered Species Act. Scott Hoffman Black, executive director of the of the Xerces Society in Portland, said the petition is part of an effort to reverse the decline of bumblebees and other native bees around the world due to habitat loss, pesticides and diseases spilling out of commercial greenhouses. The group is preparing petitions to protect other bumblebee species as well. The Franklin's bee was chosen for this petition because documentation of its decline is more detailed than for other species...more

Justices Extend Gun Owner Rights Nationwide

The Supreme Court held Monday that the Constitution's Second Amendment restrains government's ability to significantly limit "the right to keep and bear arms," advancing a recent trend by the John Roberts-led bench to embrace gun rights. By a narrow, 5-4 vote, the justices also signaled, however, that some limitations on the right could survive legal challenges. Writing for the court in a case involving restrictive laws in Chicago and one of its suburbs, Justice Samuel Alito said that the Second Amendment right "applies equally to the federal government and the states." The court was split along familiar ideological lines, with five conservative-moderate justices in favor of gun rights and four liberals opposed. Chief Justice Roberts voted with the majority...more

So, you can take your gun across state lines, but you better leave that raw milk at home.

You can view the opinion here.

NM game officers kill bear after attack

A 250-pound black bear was captured and killed Monday after the animal ate a dog and dragged a camper from her tent in the middle of the night at a picnic area. The male bear believed to be about 5 years old was shot after it was caught in a trap that officers set at the picnic area in the Sandia Mountains east of Albuquerque. Officers said the 20-year-old woman was camping Sunday with two male companions when the bear pulled her from the tent to get to food stored inside. The woman told authorities the bear released her after she punched it in the nose. She and the two men then ran for their truck, climbed on the roof and called for help. The woman sustained minor injuries to her hip and calves and was treated at University of New Mexico Hospital, authorities said. She was expected to recover...more

An eco-friendly floor finish – from cows

Andrew Meyer believes that he's found a "whey" to help Vermont's dairy farms by turning a cheesemaking byproduct into an eco-friendly wood finish. Like other water-based substitutes for traditional (oil-based) polyurethane, Vermont Natural Coatings' (VNC) PolyWhey dries fast and emits no toxic fumes. It releases very low levels of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), about one-quarter the amount released by some polyurethanes. Unlike other waterborne finishes, its hardness makes it a viable option for professional-grade work, experts say. Building Green, a private publisher that researches green building products and practices for contractors and policymakers, named PolyWhey one of its Top 10 products in 2008...more

FDA urging limited antibiotics in meat

The Food and Drug Administration is urging meat producers to limit the amount of antibiotics they give animals in response to public health concerns about the drugs. The FDA said the use of antibiotics in meat poses a "serious public health threat" because they create antibiotic-resistant bacteria that can infect humans who eat the meat. The agency is recommending that producers use the drugs judiciously, limiting their use unless they are medically necessary and only using them with the oversight of a veterinarian. "Developing strategies for reducing (antibiotic) resistance is critically important for protecting both public and animal health," the agency said in draft guidelines printed in the Federal Register on Monday. The agency said misuse and overuse of the drugs has led to the development of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Antibiotics have been used in meat to kill pathogens for more than 50 years, and the FDA acknowledged that practice has had "tremendous benefits" to animal and human health. Of greater concern, the agency said, is when producers use antibiotics on healthy animals to speed growth and reduce feed costs. The agency is also concerned about antibiotics that are given continuously through feed or water to entire herds or flocks of animals. The agency said it is expecting to issue more specific guidelines in the near future. AP

Song Of The Day #347

Ranch Radio will head out west this week.

We'll begin with Gene Autry and his recording of Gallivantin' Galveston Gal.

This tune is from his 40 track, 2 CD collection The Essential Gene Autry.

Mexican governor candidate killed by gunmen, Calderon says assassination tied to drug gang violence

Just two days after singer Sergio Vega's murder rocked Mexico, the country reeled again Monday with the news that gunmen had assassinated Rodolfo Torre, the leading candidate for governor of a Mexican border state. Torre was ambushed by attackers as he headed to the airport in Tamaulipas, the Associated Press reported, a state ravaged by violent drug gangs. At least four people traveling with him were also killed. President Felipe Calderon condemned the murders in a televised press conference, warning against the efforts of organized crime to affect the country's elections...more

Killing Escalates Mexico Drug War

Although lower-level politicians have been killed by drug gangs, the killing of a gubernatorial candidate is a sign that cartels are increasingly willing to fight back against the government. The assassination was seen by many as evidence that Mexico could be going down the same road as Colombia, where drug cartels challenged the state through bombings and assassinations during the 1980s and 1990s in order to get the government to back off. Such a development would increase political instability in a nation of 105 million that shares a 2,000-mile border with the U.S. and is a top trade partner...more

524 Guard Soldiers Headed to Arizona-Mexico Border

Federal officials told Arizona's attorney general and a congresswoman on Monday that 524 of the 1,200 National Guard troops headed to the U.S. Mexican border will be deployed in the state by August or September. U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and Attorney General Terry Goddard, both Democrats, met with Obama administration officials in Tucson along with dozens of law enforcement officials and community leaders. The federal officials included John Brennan, deputy national security adviser for homeland security. Giffords spokesman C.J. Karamargin said the 524 troops are now being trained for deployment in August, and Goddard said two drone aircraft also will be used in Arizona...more

Decision on Guard troops criticized - 72 for NM

Fewer than half the National Guard soldiers the president is planning to put along the border will end up in Arizona...And even the 524 number is misleading, Brewer said Monday, noting that she was told in the 90-minute briefing there would be a "ramp up" period, and all 524 would only be here at the same time for about 120 days. Speaking for the Defense Department, Lt. Col. Robert Ditchey II confirmed the full deployment will be in place for only about four months. He said there will be a "steep ramp-up" early next month, peaking at 524 by October. But at the end of January there will be "a gradual ramp-down to mission completion on June 30, 2011." C.J. Karamargin, spokesman for U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., said Giffords was told 250 of the troops will be sent to Texas, 224 to California and 72 to New Mexico, and 130 have yet to be allocated...more

Monday, June 28, 2010

Plans for Colorado's new-energy economy get tangled in "green tape"

Politicians have been quick to pledge increasing use of clean energy and set ambitious production goals for solar, wind, biomass, geothermal and nuclear. Colorado lawmakers last spring upped the state's goal for renewable energy to 30 percent by 2020. Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Andrew Romanoff promises 50 percent by 2030. But when land managers and investors float plans for building wind farms or tapping geothermal energy or stringing new transmission lines or processing uranium for nuclear power, the potential impacts to neighbors stir passionate resistance, the regulatory maze lengthens, lawsuits stack up and the lofty talk of a brave new economy falls flat. Karen Alderman Harbert, president and chief executive of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's Institute for 21st Century Energy, says the layers of federal, state and local "green tape" hindering new energy projects are "a plague on our economy and our energy security and our environment." Harbert recently surveyed all the U.S. energy projects seeking licensing and siting approval and found 380 stalled or canceled "as a result of the abuse of the environmental permitting process." More than 40 percent of those are renewable-energy projects...more

Why wasn't Schultz Pass thinned?

The same area where the Schultz fire ignited and began burning heavily was due to be thinned three years ago, from Schultz Pass to the forest west of Timberline. But after an appeal from an environmental group delayed the project, the economy went into a tailspin, closing the window on starting the project. A similar project on the west side of the Peaks on Hart Prairie also has been appealed and will be delayed. The idea at Schultz Pass was to protect residents living near the Coconino National Forest from wildfires by thinning and starting low-intensity prescribed burns across a total of 9,660 acres. The Center for Biological Diversity appealed the project planned for Schultz Pass in 2007...more

Big Brother eyes your freedom to drink milk

A legal brief filed in a federal court dispute over the purchase and use of raw milk contends the court ultimately will determine "whether the people control the government, or whether the government controls the people." "The decision of this court will either ensure that people have fundamental rights endowed to them by their Creator, or that the people have no rights except those that are conferred upon them bygovernment," attorneys for the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund have argued in their newest brief, which opposes the government's demand that the case be dismissed. "Our research shows that this nation has a long history of consuming raw dairy products and that FDA's prohibition against taking raw dairy for human consumption across state lines runs counter to that national history," said fund President Pete Kennedy. The brief argues, contrary to allegations by the FDA, everyone has the right to travel across state lines with raw dairy products in their possession, that everyone has the right to consume the foods of their choice, that parents have the right to feed their children the foods of their choice and that all have the right to be responsible for their own health...more

Not so say the feds. In their brief they assert:

"There is no 'deeply rooted' historical tradition of unfettered access to foods of all kinds," states the document signed by U.S. Attorney Stephanie Rose, assistant Martha Fagg and Roger Gural, trial attorney for the U.S. Department of Justice. "Plaintiffs' assertion of a 'fundamental right to their own bodily and physical health, which includes what foods they do and do not choose to consume for themselves and their families' is similarly unavailing because plaintiffs do not have a fundamental right to obtain any food they wish," thegovernment has argued.
Current FDA regulations basically ban taking raw milk across state lines, even for your own consumption.

Salted Popcorn Soon to Be a Federal Offense?

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is planning an assault on salt. The government intends to set regulations to limit the use of salt intake by Americans. The regulations would set “legal limits on the amount of salt allowed in food products.” Of course, the excuse is “protection” of the health of the American people. Say the feds, limiting salt would prevent thousands of deaths from hypertension and heart disease. In a complicated process, the FDA would analyze the salt in spaghetti sauces, breads, and thousands of other products that make up the $600 billion food and beverage market. The main culprits behind the effort to have the FDA regulate salt is the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), which has led a fight against salt for 30 years. CSPI wants the FDA to revoke salt’s GRAS statue (Generally Recognized As Safe). CSPI is the undisputed leader among the food police. It has launched an all out campaign against the eating habits of Americans, attacking Italian, Chinese, fast foods, soft drinks, French fries, extra cheese pizza, and almost anything else that tastes good. You might guess that Michael Jacobson, the head of CSPI, is a rabid Vegetarian, horrified by nearly anything man chooses to eat. CSPI calls for taxes on foods with fat, sugar, and sodium (called the “Twinkie Tax”). They want government-mandated warning labels on high-fat, high-calorie menu items. They advocate that broadcasters be required to give free “equal time” to government-advertisements of “healthy” foods every time Burger King runs an ad. They want warning labels of contamination from fresh, unpasteurized juices. And they constantly threaten restaurants with legal action over nutritional labeling. CSPI opposed consumption of animals (no meat or fish) and all of their byproducts, including cheese, milk, and ice cream...more

Property case shows mining power in 1875 Nevada

An attempt by a Canada-based mining company to use eminent domain to obtain Elko-area ranch land is dividing northern Nevada miners and ranchers, and prompting reconsideration of 19th-century mining-friendly provisions in state law. In a legal case filed in Elko County District Court, Fronteer Development Inc. seeks to compel a property owner to sell about 12.5 square miles of the Big Springs Ranch, a spread of more than 59 square miles at the eastern flank of the Pequop Mountains. The land about 30 miles southeast of Wells is currently leased to Dixie Valley Cattle for grazing. The case highlights laws dating back some 135 years that make mining a “paramount interest” to the state and gives mining companies eminent domain rights similar to governments seeking to take land for public use. The case pits the pro-mining provisions of the state’s eminent domain statutes against legal restrictions adopted in 2008 due to the People’s Initiative to Stop the Taking of Our Land. Kermitt Waters, a prominent Las Vegas lawyer who backed the PISTOL initiative, is representing owners of Big Springs Ranch, including southern Nevada businessmen Ray Koroghli...more

Court tosses $1.25 million award in ranching feud

Some fences make good neighbors, but others lead to ranching feuds that grow so bitter, the Texas Supreme Court has to step in. This legal issue harkens to the 2000 drought, when the Colorado River slowed to a trickle, allowing 13 head of Randy Reynolds' cattle to walk along the dry riverbed and onto an adjacent San Saba County ranch, where they were rounded up and sold for $5,327 without Reynolds' knowledge. His neighbor, Thomas Bennett Jr., avoided spending up to 10 years in jail when he was acquitted of felony theft charges. But a civil jury found that Bennett's actions amounted to cattle theft and ordered him to pay his neighbor $5,327 for the sold cattle. The jury also slapped Bennett with $1.25 million in punitive damages for "reprehensible" behavior that included allegations of attempted blackmail, bribery, witness tampering and doctored evidence by Bennett or associates, according to testimony and court documents. The 3rd Court of Appeals in Austin later approved the huge punitive damages award, concluding that "Texans know better than to steal cattle and then attempt to subvert the legal system to cover their tracks, and can fairly expect...severe penalties for such acts."...more

Two Census Bureau managers fired for creating at least 10,000 bogus questionnaires

Two Census Bureau managers from a Brooklyn field office were fired after their bosses found they faked household surveys to meet deadlines, the Daily News learned. Instead of pounding the pavement and knocking on doors, the corner-cutting people-counters mined the phone book and Internet to make up answers to questionnaires, regional director Tony Farthing said. Census officials in Washington only admitted to a string of incomplete forms and poor tracking in disclosing the firings Friday afternoon. But Farthing corroborated worker accounts to the Daily News that managers Alvin Aviles and Sonya Merritt began dummying up responses in the final crush to finish the surveys, which field workers are supposed to compile from in-person household visits...more

Man struck by lightning is attacked by bear

Some guys have all the luck. And then there’s Rick Oliver, who might be one of the unluckiest men in North Carolina, if not the world. Oliver was mauled by a bear in his otherwise peaceful front yard a few weeks ago. “It was like getting struck by lightning,” he said. Turns out, Oliver might be one of the few people in the world capable of accurately making the that analogy. And for Oliver, 51, the two incidents seem to go hand in hand. Oliver was struck by lightning in 2006. Ever since then, he’s had trouble sleeping, he says. On restless nights, he tends to putter about his farm, checking on his chickens, working on his tractors and, as he was in the wee hours of June 3, fixing up his Chevy Malibu. About 2 a.m., he heard a distant rustling on his 17-acre spread in an unincorporated sliver of Wake County between Cary and Raleigh. As he turned to investigate, he was dealt a heavy blow. “I heard this strange huffing,” Oliver said. “And the next thing I know I had been run over and stepped on by a bear.”...more

Maybe my luck isn't so bad after all.

Song Of The Day #346

It's Swingin' Monday on Ranch Radio, where we try to get your heart pumping and your blood flowing for the week.

Today's selection is by Pirates of the Mississippi, where for once they reached back for that traditional sound and swing out on Too Much.

You will find the tune on their 12 track Best Of CD.

MEXICO MAYHEM: Drug Violence Claims 20

Gunmen murdered nine people at a drug rehabilitation center in northern Mexico, while 10 other people were reported killed in drug-related violence in the country, officials said. The gunmen entered the Fuerza Para Vivir drug treatment center in Gomez Palacio, a city in the northern state of Durango, around 1:40 p.m. on Saturday and opened fire, killing nine people and wounding five others, police spokesmen told Efe. The drug rehabilitation center's owner, Roberto Mayoral, was among those killed, the Reforma newspaper reported. Gunmen employed by Mexico's drug cartels have attacked several drug treatment centers in recent months. Durango ranked third among Mexico's states last year in terms of homicides, with 734. A woman and four men were gunned down early Saturday at the Habana bar in Ciudad Juarez, a border city in the northern state of Chihuahua, prosecutors said. Gunmen opened fire on the table where the victims were sitting, a Chihuahua state Attorney General's Office spokesman told Efe. The gunmen managed to carry out the attack even though the bar is on El Trigal Plaza, one of the areas most watched by military and state police patrols. Ciudad Juarez, Mexico's murder capital, is located across the border from El Paso, Texas...more

Congresswoman Raises Red Flag on Hezbollah-Cartel Nexus on U.S. Border

Iran-tied terror group Hezbollah may be colluding with drug cartels along the U.S.-Mexico border, a Republican congresswoman warned, calling on Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano to establish a special task force to figure out how to "clamp down" on this "national security" threat. The Lebanon-based group has long-standing and documented ties to South America and its drug gangs, but reports have recently surfaced that it may be expanding its influence to Mexico and the U.S. border. In her letter to Napolitano, Rep. Sue Myrick, R-N.C., called on Homeland Security to find out and report more on the extent of the problem. She cited several troubling developments that would point to Hezbollah creeping closer to and inside the United States, with the help of Mexican drug gangs. Myrick outlined a complex set of potential threats and evidence of their existence. She said "Iranian agents and members of Hezbollah" are thought to be learning Spanish in Hugo Chavez-run Venezuela before trying to obtain false documents to enter the United States as purported Mexicans. She said Hezbollah, known for its tunnel-digging skill, could be receiving drug money from cartel operations in exchange for help forging better tunnels across the U.S. border for trafficking. She said gang members in prisons in the American southwest are starting to show up with tattoos in Farsi, implying a "Persian influence that can likely be traced back to Iran and its proxy army, Hezbollah."...more

You can read Myrick's letter here.

Five gunmen killed near border in Ciudad Mier battle

Authorities are reporting that five gunmen were killed in a gun battle south of the border in Ciudad Mier. Mexico's Ministry of National Defense (SEDENA) reported that the deadly shootout took place around 11:50 a.m. Thursday. In a statement released over the weekend, SEDENA officials said soldiers were patrolling an area near a PEMEX facility when they came under fire. SEDENA officials reported that five of the attacking gunmen were killed in the battle. Authorities seized nine high-powered rifles, more than 11,000 rounds of ammunition and two vehicles that had been reported stolen. Ciudad Mier is located in an area across the border from the Zapata and Starr County lines...more

Armed Assailants Fire Shots at Televisa Offices in Northern Mexico

A group of men armed with automatic rifles fired shots at the offices of Mexican TV network Televisa in the northern state of Coahuila, in what was the second attack on media outlet in that state in less than a week, officials said. The Coahuila state Attorney General’s Office said a group of gunmen fired more than 160 rounds with AR-15 assault rifles and 9mm pistols Friday afternoon at the antenna and offices of Mexico’s main TV network in the city of Torreon. The AG office said the attack occurred when the employees were having their lunch break and that therefore no personnel were killed or injured by the gunshots, which caused only material damage. The prosecutors added that because the gunmen fired at the antenna, bullets also struck the top floors of a luxury apartment building located behind the installations...more

Famed Mexican Singer Gunned Down In Border State

Singer Sergio Vega ‘El Shaka’ was killed Saturday, while heading toward the San Miguel toll booth in Sinaloa, Mexico. Martin Gastelum, a spokesperson for the state Attorney General’s Office told the Associated Press that Vega was driving a red Cadillac when he and his translator were ambushed by a group of men in another vehicle. Vega was scheduled to perform Sunday night. His representative, Ana Luisa Gomez Vega told El Debate that a memorial for the singer will be held in Ciudad Obregon in the state of Sonora, where the Banda La Carbonera will perform the songs he loved...more

AZ Gov Jan Brewer’s Smart New Border Ad

Arizona Governor Jan Brewer, who is up for election this November, is throwing her hat in YouTube campaign commercial ring. Brewer, perhaps taking a page from John McCain, filmed her new spot 80 miles from the AZ border in front of new signs erected by the Federal government this month warning visitors that traveling in the desert is not safe because it is a “active drug and human smuggling area” and that visitors may encounter armed vehicles. Says Brewer: Two weeks ago I met with President Obama, he promised that we would get word from his administration on what he would do to secure the border, well, we finally got the message…these signs…These signs warning people of danger and telling them to stay away…I’m 80 miles away from the border and only 30 miles away from Arizona’s capital. This is an outrage! Washington says our border is as safe as it’s ever been. Does this look safe to you?

Here's the video ad:

It’s your land ...

There is another land grab currently taking place in our country and our own citizens, who own this piece of federal land, are forbidden to enter it because the United States government has essentially handed control to criminals from another nation. There is nothing comical about this turf war. This fairly sizeable piece of land (3,500 acres) situated in taxpayer-funded Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge in southern Arizona, has officially been off-base to U.S. citizens since 2006. The reason? Marauding gangs of Mexican thugs have taken over and have essentially claimed their stake to a piece of land our government cannot control. Signs surrounding the area offer this grim warning: “Visitors may encounter armed criminals and smuggling vehicles travelling at a high rate of speed. Stay away from trash, clothing, backpacks and abandoned vehicles.” Compounding the issue is the difficulty U.S. Border Patrol and other agencies have had in policing the area due to environmental restrictions imposed by the federal government. These restrictions prohibit the Border Patrol from using vehicles to patrol the area, leaving agents to use horses and other arcane methods...more

Dem lawmakers feel the heat on border security

As the White House bolsters security along the U.S.-Mexico border while declaring that the region has never been safer, Democratic lawmakers are demanding further action, saying that they are feeling the heat from dissatisfied voters. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano this week laid out several new initiatives aimed at strengthening the federal government’s partnership with local law enforcement, and President Barack Obama requested $600 million in emergency border funds from Congress. But Arizona Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (D) pointed to recent drug cartel threats against local law enforcement officials in her home state as evidence that the ongoing drug cartels are escalating the levels of violence along the border. If the U.S. fails to tighten border security, it could pay the price, said Kirkpatrick -- one of roughly a dozen lawmakers who, over the July Fourth recess, will likely face voters who are not satisfied with the status quo...more

Mexican cops retreat as violence rages on

Police are increasingly fleeing their posts in rural communities in the Mexican border state of Nuevo Leon after the killings of more than 60 officers in the area so far this year. Authorities blame warring drug traffickers for growing violence in the northern state which has registered more than 250 violent deaths so far in 2010, including 61 police officers, according to the Public Security Ministry. Agualeguas Mayor Guadalupe Garcia, said that state police had requested volunteers to be sent for training in Monterrey. "But they're all afraid, no one wants to be a police officer," he said...more

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Cowgirl Sass & Savvy

Class reunions -- aging gracefully

by Julie Carter

Summer - when class reunions reign and people travel great distances to reunite with former classmates they hope they recognize after decades.

Not unlike family reunions, alumni gatherings bring together all ages of people from all demographics with one sure thing in common - time spent in a classroom in a land and time far away from present "life" in progress.

This year was my daughter's 20th class reunion and my 40th. The differences are as comical as the similarities are notable.

When my class stepped off the bus at the conclusion of our senior trip in June 1970, we had nothing on our minds except this perfect, exciting, dynamic future ahead of us. We were sure of it.

It didn't even remotely occur to us then that we might never see each other again or at best, rarely. At 18, we had no appreciation for the relationships we'd forged through years of school and related events.

And yet, placed in the same room 40 years later, it all so easily and quickly came flooding back. However, this time, it was through the eyes and emotions of adults who had seen enough of life, good and bad, to know how special each of us is in our own way.

The 20-year "youngsters" at 38 years of age were surprised at their lack of ability to "party like they used to." The 40-year crowd, fast approaching the new decade of 60- years-old, were well aware of their limitations and without mention of it, moved quickly to coffee and ice water after one drink.

The 20-year kids were scrutinizing each others' aging with comments such as "Remember Jan House? Well she fits her name now." Or "Remember how pretty Sissy Ahrens was? Well, she now paints her eyebrows on and in the wrong color, and Missy Little, the homely high school girl, she moved to Texas and came back a beauty queen."

The 40-year "kids" were, first, happy to be alive, and then very proud of how great we all looked. No one thought any differently, and all of us knew we are better now than we will be in 10 more years. So it's all good.

We didn't have to mention that we whitened our teeth, scheduled manicures, sorted through what to wear, got new hair cuts and fresh hair color, plucked chin hairs, and took our medications including ache-and-pain minimizers hoping for at least one good day.

Our class was always a little on the rowdy side with strong personalities and plenty of drive to be the best at whatever we were doing. Our class sponsor told us at the reunion that the reason he took us to Moab, Utah, and the Canyonlands National Park for our senior trip was because it was a place he knew we couldn't tear up.

It was refreshing to see that, even now, we are still a strong and determined group and oh so much fun. We are the same, except better. As one classmate noted, "Now, we are all grown up."

I liked being all grown up and I liked being with my classmates more now than ever. It was my first time to attend a class reunion or alumni event but it certainly won't be my last.

In a gymnasium full of 300 former Custer County High School alumni, I have to say, name tags are an excellent idea. While we are all aging well, we aren't necessarily aging recognizably.

I would like to remind people to use large letters when writing their name, we're old you know. See you next year, one year older.

Julie can be reached for comment at

Ridin’, ropin’ and ‘Rithmatic

By Stephen L. Wilmeth

“Well, what did you do out on the range today, Little Buckaroo?” the tourist had asked. “Were you riding and roping and singing along?” The fact of the matter was I really didn’t know what to say because we didn’t use the term “range” in our speech. We used the term “country”. The actual response was probably vague and the dude probably went away thinking that this little kid was a lot like his kin and the rest of this hick community. What I did know was that I didn’t like the feel of it. Somehow my little story was left incomplete.

I had been standing next to the old time ice box at the Cliff Trading Company with my hat tipped back drinking a grape Nehi when the fellow had asked the question. What a great place that old store was. You had to open the lid of the box and reach down and pick out a pop. It always took a couple of times to make up your mind, and it was always so cold down in there with your hands going through the standing glass bottles. If Mr. Mullison caught you opening the box too many times he would say something, but he was very tolerant of the little cowboys that gathered around that box.

Ridin’ the range, eh? Actually, I had been out with Grandpa Albert checking waters and putting out cotton seed cake. It had to be June. It was hot and dry and the cattle were “falling away”. We were still checking heifers at least two times a day, and there were still a big number of them that needed assistance calving.

There was not yet any understanding of EPD’s or bulls that consistently produced low birth weight calves. School was finally out, though, and the ranch kids would all be available to start branding. By the fourth of July the work would be done and we could all go to the rodeo in Silver City. It was 1957 and the “sky was still 1950 blue and green was the color of the greenback dollar” and local ropers were a heck of a lot more popular than any professional. If the latter came to a Grant County rodeo there was a better than even chance the former would win, too.

Through time, the tune the tourist sounded that day would echo through my mind. It would make me wince. I got the same feeling when, years later, I attended a musical production and the cowboy was made to look too much like a fool. The other characters were pretty well impersonated. The charros, the miners, the loggers, and the town characters were all on target, but the cowboy, well, he wasn’t the cowboy of my world. His hat looked like it had been sat on before the fool took the stage and he pulled it down so far he had look up to see down. A real cowboy wouldn’t do that.

Perhaps I had been around mentors that made the clarity of thought and action more distinct. Perhaps, too, I had seen a world through the interpretation of their eyes. I have become convinced their world was a process of study and work more akin to oriental medicine than western medicine approaches. They would observe results and make decisions without needing to understand the complexities of the process. Their aptitude in a world where they had to be anything and everything they faced was amazing.

But, can I finally come to grips with the unanswered question from 1957? What does a day in the life of a cowboy, a cowman, really mean? Let’s start by saying that my ranching colleagues and I are becoming as much or more interested in genetics of feed conversion than we are in carcass traits in our cattle herds under desert conditions. Milk production in our cows probably needs to be more moderate than we have been trending toward in the last two decades. We probably need to spend more time and effort maximizing our cull cow weights and dropping our average age of cows in the general herd. Although every operation is different, our operation is really showing robust turf growth if we can concentrate our herd and minimize herd presence on the majority of pastures during the monsoons. To duplicate that, though, water supply has to be enhanced in order to support those concentrated herd numbers.

Mature cow size has dramatic impact on the standing feed bank. A 1400 pound cow is always impressive coming down the alley at you, but her 1100 pound counterpart is just more efficient. We will prefer that she is red, but the majority of our colleagues will still take the $.05 to $.08 premium on the black cows’ calves unless a March 15 shipping date can be accommodated and that always increases management demands. A good problem to have is decadence in Tabosa stands while black grama, drop seed, and other summer grasses are still above 60% usage at the time AUMs are depleted, but wouldn’t it be better if those Tabosa stands could be better utilized?

Cow size, as a general rule, will tend to reflect conditions of our “ranges” . . . and there it is at last . . . range! We’ve come full circle to what started this little diddy. The question from 1957 with all of its suggestions and unanswered qualifications is not an easy question to answer. Life on the range is a continuum of constraints, long and short term decisions, and risk. It isn’t just ridin’ and ropin’. It requires a bit of ‘rithmetic, too. Would that dude have understood if I could have answered the question? Would he even care? How about the rest of the world?

Will Oil Drilling Become a Pipe Dream?

If President Obama’s Oval Office speech made one thing clear, it is that his administration and the activists who back it view the Gulf oil spill as simply an opportunity to advance their pre-existing agenda—which has nothing to do with cleaning up the Gulf, protecting the fragile coastal environment or fostering the region’s economy. The Obama administration’s May 27 order to stop all deep-water exploratory drilling in U.S. waters of the Gulf of Mexico for six months, pending the report of a commission investigating the causes of BP’s Deepwater Horizon accident, is a case in point. Public and political reaction to the devastating oil release in the Gulf has revitalized a coalition of environmental and anti-energy lobbies that oppose not only deep-water drilling, but all offshore oil production and, in some cases, all use of fossil fuels. As usual, political opportunists have been quick to seize the moment. “You don’t want to let a good crisis get away,” declares Athan Manuel, director of lands protection in the Sierra Club’s legislative office. The organization is urging a permanent moratorium on new offshore drilling. Kieran Suckling, executive director of the Center for Biological Diversity, disputes industry claims that shallow-water drilling is much safer than deep-water drilling. The center wants the existing six-month moratorium extended to all offshore drilling. Such lobbying already has born fruit. On June 8, the administration issued new safety standards for shallow-water drilling. According to Bloomberg Businessweek, “as many as 50 shallow-water drilling rigs that employ about 5,000 workers may need new permits in the next six weeks under the administration’s new review.” According to Vikki Spruill, president and chief executive of the Ocean Conservancy, Mr. Obama’s moratorium is merely the beginning: “the first step needed in broader reform of a broken system.”...more

Song Of The Day #345

Ranch Radio's Gospel tune this Sunday morning is Brand New Man by the bluegrass group 5 For The Gospel.

The tune is on their 14 track CD Working In The Vineyards. Look at that price! This CD has become rare.

Ohio 6-Year-Old Turns Up on Terror Watch List

The father of a 6-year-old Ohio girl who turned up on the U.S. government's terror watch list says the worst thing his daughter has ever done is probably been mean to her sister. But Santhosh Thomas, a doctor from Westlake, Ohio, says he's sure that's not enough to land his 6-year-old Alyssa on the no-fly list of suspected terrorists. "She may have threatened her sister, but I don't think that constitutes Homeland Security triggers," he told CNN. An airline ticket agent informed the family of their predicament when they embarked on recent trip from Cleveland to Minneapolis. The Thomases were allowed to fly that day, but authorities told them to contact the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to clear up the matter. Now they've received a letter from the government addressed to 6-year-old Alyssa, telling her that nothing in her file will be changed. Federal authorities have acknowledged that such a no-fly list exists, but as a matter of national security, they won't comment on whose names are on it nor why."The watch lists are an important layer of security to prevent individuals with known or suspected ties to terrorism from flying," an unnamed spokesman for the Transportation Security Administration told Fox News. "She's been flying since she was two-months old, so that has not been an issue," Alyssa's dad said. "In fact, we had traveled to Mexico in February and there were no issues at that time." That's likely because of a recent change by the Transportation Security Administration, which used to check only international passengers' names against the no-fly list, but since earlier this month has been checking domestic passengers as well...more

Guns Save Lives

Now I know that I was totally wrong about guns. Now I know that more guns means -- hold onto your seat -- less crime. How can that be, when guns kill almost 30,000 Americans a year? Because while we hear about the murders and accidents, we don't often hear about the crimes stopped because would-be victims showed a gun and scared criminals away. Those thwarted crimes and lives saved usually aren't reported to police (sometimes for fear the gun will be confiscated), and when they are reported, the media tend to ignore them. No bang, no news. This state of affairs produces a distorted public impression of guns. If you only hear about the crimes and accidents, and never about lives saved, you might think gun ownership is folly. But, hey, if guns save lives, it logically follows that gun laws cost lives...more

Guns to be allowed onboard Amtrak trains

Under language inserted into a transportation funding bill last year, Amtrak passengers will be allowed to carry firearms in checked luggage beginning in December. Though the provision was thought to expire later this year, the Government Accountability Office recently held that the legislation is permanent law. According to the provision, firearms and ammunition may be transported in secure baggage onboard Amtrak trains under several guidelines including: - Passengers must declare to Amtrak within 24-hours of departure that the firearm will be placed in their checked baggage. - The gun must not be loaded and must also be carried in a hard-sided container. - The hard-sided container must be locked with only the passenger having the combination or key for the container...more

Friday, June 25, 2010

Ken Salazar Gets a Kick in the You-Know-What

For all his John Wayne rhetoric on the BP oil spill, President Obama has failed to administer a swift kick to the ample, deserving rump of Interior Secretary Ken Salazar. No matter: Federal judge Martin Feldman has now done the job the White House won’t do. In a scathing ruling issued Tuesday afternoon, New Orleans–based Feldman overturned the administration’s radical six-month moratorium on deepwater drilling — and he singled out Salazar’s central role in jury-rigging a federal panel’s scientific report to bolster flagrantly politicized conclusions. In a sane world, Salazar’s head would roll. In Obama’s world, he gets immunity. The suit challenging Obama’s desperately political ban was filed by Louisiana rig company Hornbeck Offshore Services, which sued on behalf of all the “small people” in the industry whose economic survival is at stake. As the plaintiffs’ lawyer argued in court, the overbroad ban promised to be more devastating to Gulf workers than the spill itself. “This is an unprecedented industry-wide shutdown. Never before has the government done this,” attorney Carl Rosenblum said. Scientists who served on the committee expressed outrage upon discovering earlier this month that Salazar had — unilaterally and without warning — inserted a blanket drilling-ban recommendation into their report. Allow me to be more injudicious: Salazar lied. Salazar committed fraud. Salazar sullied the reputations of the experts involved and abused his authority...more

The Bait-And-Switch On Cap-And-Trade

President Obama's speech to the nation last week about the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico followed a predictable script. Whenever a problem confronts this administration, the president's answer is sure to include one of a trio of his 2008 campaign initiatives: health care reform, action to address climate change or education reform. Obama claimed in 2008, for instance, that these long-term, slowly acting changes were a fix for a temporary downturn in the economy. Now, in an even greater leap of logic, he contends that the 1,427-page Waxman-Markey bill (which addresses climate change) is the proper response to the oil spill. Obama's advocacy of this bill exemplifies the incoherence and dishonesty of our present debate about energy policy. Two distinct problems — those associated with oil imports and those associated with greenhouse gas emissions — are treated as if they were one and the same...more

Top oil-rig regulator plans "SWAT team" to root out agency's corruption

Three days into his new job, the man President Barack Obama chose to clean up the Minerals Management Service announced Wednesday that he would create an investigative "SWAT team" to scour the agency and root out corruption and conflict of interest. Michael Bromwich said he's using a model he developed as inspector general at the Justice Department in the 1990s, creating a team of lawyers and investigators reporting directly to him and who can quickly follow up leads or anonymous tips from within the imploded agency. Bromwich — who will direct the agency's former regulatory functions under the newly christened Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement — described the team as potentially the most powerful tool to change an agency culture that lawmakers from both major parties blasted Wednesday, with Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine calling it "rife with cronyism and corruption."...more

So it goes from the MMS to the BOEMRE...pretty impressive don't ya think? Problem solved I'm sure. Guess this is the last time you will see the MMS logo on this blog.

Montana kills bear that bit man's ear through tent

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks wardens captured and killed the black bear on Thursday that was suspected of biting a camper in the ear near St. Regis. The wardens also killed the sow's cub of the year after confirming reports the bears had become accustomed to human food. "It's a sad ending," FWP Warden Capt. Jeff Darrah said on Thursday afternoon. "This bear had been seen by several local residents in garbage. Once she was seen chewing a hot-tub pool cover." On Monday, the 170-pound sow bear chewed through the tent of Ellensburg, Wash., resident Rob Holmes. It took 21 stitches to reattach Holmes' earlobe. He and a friend were camped by the Little Joe River about four miles from St. Regis, at a U.S. Forest Service primitive camping site...more

Group: Feds fail to protect Mexican spotted owl

An environmental group is suing the U.S. Forest Service, claiming the agency has violated the Endangered Species Act by failing to uphold protections won more than a decade ago for the Mexican spotted owl in the Southwest. WildEarth Guardian's lawsuit, filed late Wednesday in Tucson, Ariz., asks the court to keep the Forest Service from approving or implementing any permits or projects on national forests in Arizona and New Mexico that would negatively impact the owl until the agency prepares a biological assessment and consults with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The group claims the federal government has ignored its responsibility to track the owl's numbers throughout the two states and that the Forest Service continues to approve logging, grazing and other activities on the region's 11 forests that could potentially harm the bird...more

Brewer asks Obama for Arizona border plan details

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer is telling President Barack Obama she's anxious for details on how his administration's plans to tighten border security will apply to Arizona. Brewer tells Obama in a letter released Thursday that she'd like specifics on National Guard deployments and other steps to be taken in Arizona before a planned Monday visit to Phoenix by Obama administration officials to discuss his plans. The meeting is an outgrowth of Brewer's June 3 visit to the White House, where she and Obama discussed border security and immigration...more

FBI reviews complaint about BLM wild horse roundup

The FBI is reviewing a Las Vegas woman's claim that U.S. land managers broke a federal law protecting wild horses when they removed nearly 2,000 mustangs from public rangeland in Nevada about six months ago. FBI Special Agent Joseph Dickey confirmed Wednesday they received a formal request for an investigation earlier this week from Cindy MacDonald, a horse protection advocate who has challenged roundups before. She claims the Bureau of Land Management gathered far more horses than allowed during the roundup in the Calico mountains about 200 miles north of Reno. Dickey says the FBI takes all complaints seriously. He tells The Associated Press they are evaluating her claims and should make a decision in the coming days on whether to open a formal investigation. AP

BLM to Impound 175 Stray Wild Horses Near Nevada-Utah Line

State and federal officials have announced plans this weekend to impound about 175 horses near the Nevada-Utah line that are believed to be strays or descendants of horses abandoned by private owners over the years. Officials for the U.S. Bureau of Land Management say the herd north of West Wendover has grown in size and is causing considerable impacts to BLM-managed public land resources. State officials will try to establish legal ownership and offer the horses back to the lawful owner. Those without owners will become state property. The estray horses are separate from and not subject to the federal protections afforded wild roaming horses and burros. The roundup begins Friday and is expected to last three or four days. AP

Loss Of Faith

It's an awful thing in a country when its people no longer believe the government protects them and their rights. Yet, a new poll shows that's exactly where Americans are headed right now. In a Rasmussen poll of 1,000 adults taken last Friday and Saturday, nearly half, or 48%, said they see government today as a threat to their rights. Just 37% disagreed. The poll also found that only one in five (21%) believe current government has the consent of the governed. In other words, people think much of what our government does today is illegitimate — possibly even illegal. For a democratic republic such as our own, this is extraordinarily dangerous. The Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were created explicitly to protect Americans' rights by limiting the scope, reach and power of the federal government. The Declaration promises "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness," and goes on to say that "to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed." In short, our government was designed to protect our rights — not to serve as an all-embracing nanny state that slowly, silently strips us of our ability to act as free individuals...more

On the topic of faith in government, I've been an avowed atheist for many years.

Polling data like Rasmussen's does have positive benefits, such as this:

Senate defeats federal jobs bill Republicans on Thursday defeated the Democrats' showcase election-year jobs bill, including an extension of weekly unemployment benefits for people out of work more than six months. The 57-41 vote fell three votes short of the 60 required to crack a GOP filibuster, delivering a major blow to President Obama and Democrats facing big losses of House and Senate seats in the fall election. The rejected bill would have provided $16 billion in new aid to states, preserving the jobs of thousands of state and local government workers and providing what White House officials called an insurance policy against a double-dip recession. It also included dozens of tax breaks sought by business lobbyists, and tax increases on domestically produced oil and on investment fund managers.

Portales auction owner charged with embezzlement

The owner of the closed Portales Livestock Auction has been charged with embezzling nearly half a million dollars from a customer. Randy Bouldin, 39, was arrested June 2 on a charge of embezzlement over $20,000, court records show. He was released on a $10,000 bond the same day. Bouldin is accused of keeping more than $450,000 for 1,000 head of cattle he sold for a Portales dairy in December 2008, according to a press release from the 9th Judicial District Attorney’s office. The dairy owners told investigators with the district attorney’s office Bouldin wrote them a worthless check for $478,669 and when the check did not clear, they were unable to collect their money from him, according to the release. A telephone listing in Bouldin’s name was not a working number. Bouldin’s attorney Wesley Pool declined to comment on the case. An investigation by Senior Agent Dan Blair with the district attorney’s office indicated Bouldin deposited the money he received for selling the cattle into his account and spent it for personal uses, the release said...more

Song Of The Day #344

Ranch Radio brings you Tommy Collins performing What'cha Gonna Do Now and hopes everyone has a great weekend.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Border Patrol Cancels Arizona Conference

Two federal agencies have joined the "boycott Arizona" trend and nixed conferences there out of concern over the state's immigration law, a Democratic Arizona congresswoman said, calling the development "very troubling." Further, her office said the Border Patrol "verbally" canceled a conference set for May at a resort in Prescott after an official asked that it be moved out of concern over the immigration law debate. The Border Patrol -- which has more than 4,000 agents in Arizona, representing nearly a quarter of its force -- had booked 40 rooms for the event before canceling, though there was no contract signed for the event, according to Giffords' office. Giffords' office said the cancellations were confirmed by the Arizona Hotel and Lodging Association. The congresswoman is among a number of Arizona officials who argue that the boycotts imposed by cities across the country do nothing to change the law and only punish workers and businesses there. The boycotts would hit the hospitality industry, which is made up in large part of Hispanic workers, particularly hard...more

Al Gore A "Crazed Sex Poodle?"

In a bizarre statement to police, the Oregon woman who claims that Al Gore fondled and groped her during a massage session described the former Vice President as a giggling "crazed sex poodle" who gave a "come hither" look before pouncing on her in a Portland hotel suite. In a taped January 2009 interview with cops, the 54-year-old woman, a licensed masseuse whose name has been redacted from police records, read from a lengthy prepared statement that detailed her alleged October 2006 encounter with Gore at the Hotel Lucia. It is unclear why, two years later, she approached Portland police and sought to memorialize her allegations against Gore, who she portrayed as a tipsy, handsy predator who forced her to drink Grand Marnier, pinned her to a bed, and forcibly French kissed her. The woman's statement--which could be mistaken for R-rated Vice Presidential fan fiction--describes Gore as a man with a "violent temper as well as extremely dictatorial commanding attitude besides his Mr. Smiley Global Warming concern persona."...more