Friday, December 31, 2010

Days of Auld Lang What?

..."Auld Lang Syne"—the phrase can be translated as "long, long ago," or "old long since," but I like "old times past"—is a song that asks a question, a tender little question that has to do with the nature of being alive, of being a person on a journey in the world. It not only asks, it gives an answer.

It was written, or written down, by Robert Burns, lyric poet and Bard of Scotland. In 1788 he sent a copy of the poem to the Scots Musical Museum, with the words: "The following song, an old song, of the olden times, has never been in print." Burns was interested in the culture of Scotland, and collected old folk tales and poems. He said he got this one "from an old man"—no one knows who—and wrote it down. Being a writer, Burns revised and compressed. He found the phrase auld lang syne "exceedingly expressive" and thought whoever first wrote the poem "heaven inspired." The song spread throughout Scotland, where it was sung to mark the end of the old year, and soon to the English-speaking world, where it's sung to mark the new.
The question it asks is clear: Should those we knew and loved be forgotten and never thought of? Should old times past be forgotten? No, says the song, they shouldn't be. We'll remember those times and those people, we'll toast them now and always, we'll keep them close. "We'll take a cup of kindness yet."

"The phrase old acquaintance is important," says my friend John Whitehead, fabled figure of the old Goldman Sachs, the Reagan State Department, and D-Day. "It's not only your close friends and people you love, it's people you knew even casually, and you think of them and it brings tears to my eyes." For him, acquaintance includes, "your heroes, my heroes—the Winston Churchills of life, the ones you admire. They're old acquaintances too."

But "the interesting, more serious message in the song is that the past is important, we mustn't forget it, the old has something for us."

So does the present, as the last stanza makes clear. The song is not only about those who were in your life, but those who are in your life. "And there's a hand, my trusty friend, and give a hand of thine, We'll take a right good-will draught for auld lang syne."...more

Pardon for Billy the Kid gets shot down

New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson announced Friday he will not grant a pardon to infamous Wild West outlaw Billy the Kid. Richardson, who has been mulling the pardon since he first became governor in 2002, made the announcement on ABC's Good Morning America on his last day in office. There are reports that 130 years ago, territorial governor Lew Wallace promised the Kid — whose real name was William Bonney, though he was also known by Henry McCarty and Henry Antrim — a pardon in exchange for testimony about killings he'd witnessed, but that Wallace failed to meet his end of the bargain. The pardon would have covered the the Kid's 1878 murder of Lincoln County Sheriff William Brady. "I have decided not to pardon Billy the Kid because of a lack of conclusiveness, and also the historical ambiguity as to why governor Wallace reneged on his pardon," Richardson announced on ABC television...more

Looks like a political decision to me. Richardson may run for office again and didn't want to alienate the law enforcement community nor Pat Garret's descendants.


BLM to post ranchers names and mailing address on website

In a move that will increase the transparency of its records, the Bureau of Land Management published in Wednesday, Dec. 29's Federal Register a notice announcing a change in the way that the agency handles certain personal information relating to public land ranchers. With the change, which is consistent with a recent ruling of the U.S. District Court for Idaho, the BLM will post on a publicly accessible website reports that include the official mailing addresses of nearly 18,000 BLM grazing permittees and lessees. Personal telephone numbers of and financial information about public land ranchers will not be made available on the publicly accessible website. The record system change, formally known as a notice of amendment to an existing system of records, seeks to balance mandates from two Federal laws with different purposes -- the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) of 1966 (as amended), which calls for full or partial disclosure of certain government records and the Privacy Act of 1974 (as amended), which establishes procedures governing the collection, maintenance, use and dissemination of personal identifying information about individuals.
Unless comments are received that would require a contrary determination, the change will take effect after a 40-day public comment period that began Dec. 29 and ends Feb. 7, 2011. Anyone interested in commenting on the amendment may do so by submitting written comments to: BLM Privacy Office, 1849 C Street, N.W., Room 725 LS, Washington, D.C. 20240. E-mailed comments should be sent to Commenters should be aware that the entire content of their comments, including their personal identifying information, may be made publicly available at any time. For further information, please contact Robert Roudabush, Division Chief, Rangeland Resources, Bureau of Land Management, 1849 C Street, N.W., Room 201 LS, Washington, D.C. 20240; phone number: 202-912-7222; e-mail:

Go here to view the Federal Register notice.

And this is from the Carlsbad Current-Argus

..."That's a little disturbing. I have misgiving about this," said Alisa Ogden, a Carlsbad rancher and past president of the New Mexico Cattle Grower's Association. "This is something several environmental groups have been trying to get done with Forest Service leases and permits on other public lands."... But Woods Houghton, Eddy County Extension Service agriculture agent, said he is not so sure that the financial information concerning BLM permitees and lessees can be kept confidential. "It probably wouldn't take a genius to figure it out. Anyone with a calculator can figure out the financial situation of the rancher if certain information is made available," Houghton said. "It might be harder to figure that out in states where there is more private land mixed in with federal leases. But in this part of the country it is different. "We have year-round grazing and if someone knows the number of acres in the grazing permit and the number of cattle, it is easy to figure out the rancher's financial situation. Can you imagine someone publishing the inventory of a hardware store, or any business? It would give their competitors an edge." Ogden agreed and added that any information about a rancher's business made publically accessible could be detrimental to the rancher. "A lot of the time, when applying for a loan for any type of work on the ranch, what you have is taken into consideration," Ogden said. "Having information about the rancher on the Website could be detrimental. It can be used against you by a lender. The leasing of public lands is a contract between you and the government. You usually don't publically disclose contract information. That's something that should not be let out." Eddy County Commissioner Lewis Derrick, a rancher from Artesia whose ranching operation is about 50 percent on BLM leased lands, said he intends to read the notice in the Federal Register before determining the full impact of the measure.

EPA Rules Will Trump Your Rights

Ignoring both Congress and the voters, the Environmental Protection Agency starts the new year governing by decree with job-killing regulations. Take a deep breath, but if you exhale you're a polluter. Cap-and-trade is dead, long live cap-and-trade in the form of regulations promulgated in the coming year by what George Orwell might call the Ministry of Environment. It claims that the Clean Air Act and a Supreme Court ruling in 2007 let the EPA regulate carbon dioxide as a planet-warming pollutant. We recently commented on the EPA's recent commandeering of the permitting process from Texas, with which it is in a legal tussle over federalism, states' rights and the Constitution's enumeration of powers and who may exercise them. The federal agency also plans to issue greenhouse gas permits in seven other states — Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Idaho, Kansas, Oregon and Wyoming. So now just as rationing and death panels return under regulations written "as the secretary shall determine," a phrase rapidly replacing "we the people" under this administration, the EPA plans to propose so-called performance standards for oil- and coal-fired power plants in July 2011 and for refineries in December 2022...more

Federal court denies stay for Texas in EPA case

A federal appeals court has blocked Texas' effort to stop the Environmental Protection Agency from forcing states to regulate carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit on Wednesday declined to issue a stay that would delay the EPA's plans as Texas' lawsuit against the federal agency moves forward. Texas is suing to stop the EPA from implementing a plan to regulate the gases that will start on Jan. 2. The EPA took the unprecedented step this month of announcing it will directly issue permits to Texas industries after the state openly refused to comply with the regulations...more

An Evangelical Backlash Against Environmentalism

Over the last decade, many evangelical Christians have embraced the doctrine called creation care, which uses a scriptural basis to promote good stewardship of the Earth and its resources. For these believers, problems such as climate change threaten to greatly intensify third-world poverty, making actions to reduce global warming emissions an urgent Christian issue. “We are convinced that evangelicals must engage this issue without any further lingering over the basic reality of the problem or humanity’s responsibility to address it,” hundreds of evangelical leaders declared in a 2006 statement on climate change. But while a growing number of local and national nonprofit groups have formed to spread the “creation care” message, an increasingly fierce backlash against the mingling of Christianity and environmentalism has emerged from other quarters of the evangelical movement. Leading the Christian counterargument on the environment is the Cornwall Alliance, an evangelical nonprofit that strenuously opposes action on climate change and describes the environmental movement as a “false religion” that Christians must avoid at all costs.This December, the group released a 12-part educational video series, “Resisting the Green Dragon,” warning Christians that radical environmentalism “is striving to put America, and the world, under its destructive control.”...more

Here is an introductory video by the Cornwallis Alliance

Resisting the Green Dragon full promo

And here is a video put together by Right Wing Watch.

Rescue Group Launches Anti-Slaughter Awareness Campaign

A Pennsylvania-based equine rescue organization hopes a billboard advertising campaign will raise awareness of horse slaughter issues, particularly among non-horse owners. Angel Acres Horse Haven Rescue in Glenville launched the campaign this week by placing billboards depicting two horses and the message "Stop Killing Us" in two Baltimore, Md., locations. The campaign's companion website,, contains information about horse slaughter issues, and encourages visitors to urge their legislators to oppose local horse processing plant development and to pass federal anti-slaughter legislation. A court decision halted horse processing in the United States in 2007. Processing plants in Mexico and Canada have since become destinations for slaughter-bound horses from the U.S. Legislation (HR 503/S727 The Prevention of Equine Cruelty Act) remains pending that would prohibit the transport, sale, delivery, or export of horses for slaughter for human consumption. It also criminalizes the purchase, sale, delivery, or export of horse meat intended for human consumption. Meanwhile, in 2009, legislation allowing private sector horse processing plant development was introduced in some states with mixed results. Plant development legislation became law in Montana and Wyoming in 2009. No processing plants have yet opened in those states...more

HSUS Releases 2010 Humane State Ranking

The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) has released its second annual “Humane State Ranking,” a comprehensive report rating all 50 states on a wide range of animal protection laws dealing with horses, pets, animal cruelty and fighting, farm animals, wildlife, and animals in research. Last year, California topped the list, followed by New Jersey, Colorado, Maine, and Massachusetts. “Our Humane State Ranking provides a big-picture look at how states are faring on animal-protection policies, and how they rank in the nation,” said Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of HSUS. “There are some states that are adopting innovative and strong policies to protect animals, while others are lagging badly.” The rankings are based on 65 different animal protection issues in 10 major animal protection categories including equine protection, animal fighting animal cruelty, use of animals in research, wildlife abuse, and companion animal laws...more

See the complete list of rankings here.

NM denies discharge permit for Hobbs, NM, dairy

The New Mexico Environment Department contends a Hobbs dairy is not complying with state groundwater regulations, and has denied a discharge permit for the business. The department says four members of the community urged Environment Secretary Ron Curry also to deny Ruch Dairy's permit because of odors and flies. Dairy owners John and Marta Ruch sought permission to discharge up to 40,000 gallons of dairy wastewater a day and apply it to 100 acres of crop land. The state alleges the dairy operated without a permit despite the Ground Water Bureau telling it in November 2009 it did not have permission to discharge until the bureau issued a final permit. Ruch attorney Pete Domenici Jr. says problems stem from previous owners who were buying the dairy, but defaulted. AP

Cannon Air Force Base holds meeting on land use

Cannon Air Force Base officials say a joint land use study is a way to open communications with nearby eastern New Mexico communities, but some fear study recommendations could curtail some land use. The study was commissioned by Curry and Roosevelt counties to evaluate the area and provide information to help Cannon and communities coexist. Joint land use committees are to meet about a draft of the study at 1:30 p.m. Monday in the Clovis-Carver Public Library. The meeting is open to the public. The draft includes Air Force recommendations about how entities in areas around the base and Melrose Air Force Range should regulate such things as wind turbine height, easements, occupancy density or lighting. Cannon officials say recommendations are intended to promote comprehensive planning. AP

Portales dairy fire destroys 500 tons of hay

A fire at a Portales dairy has destroyed about 500 tons of hay and damaged a barn. Portales Fire Department Battalion Chief Lance Hill says the cause of Sunday's blaze was not known, and he had no damage estimate. Hill says firefighters from Portales and Arch battled the blaze for nearly seven hours. He says they provided protection for dairy workers to use fork lifts to save some bales from the burning hay barn. Hill says the dairy owner said he had been by the barn about an hour before the fire was discovered, but saw no smoke. AP

Will 'Billy the Kid' get a pardon 130 years later?

The New Mexico governor will announce Friday whether he will pardon the Wild West's legendary outlaw Billy the Kid in the death of a law enforcement officer more than a century ago. Gov. Bill Richardson will make the announcement during a live broadcast of ABC's "Good Morning America," his office said. The announcement will be about 7 a.m. ET on the same day the governor leaves office. Billy the Kid was born Henry McCarty, but was also known as William H. Bonney and Henry Antrim. He died at the hands of Sheriff Pat Garrett, 129 years ago. He was 21 at the time of his death. Some members of the Garrett family oppose the pardon. Besides arguing that Billy the Kid was an incorrigible killer, they want to make sure the sheriff is absolved of any wrongdoing related to the killing. But the governor has said he will not do anything that casts a cloud on Pat Garrett. Some residents, including Gov.-elect Susana Martinez, have said there are more pressing issues facing the state...more

Say what you want to about Richardson, the guy is superb at generating publicity. From Korea to The Kid, he's milking every last minute of his governorship.

Here is his CNN interview

Song Of The Day #472

Ranch Radio continues to highlight female artists with Anita Carter and her 1956 recording of Believe It Or Not.

The tune is available on her 7 CD Box Set Appalachian Angel: Her Recordings 1950-1972 & 1996.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Japan shelves carbon emissions trading scheme

Japan postponed plans for a national emissions trading scheme on Tuesday, bowing to powerful business groups that warned of job losses as they compete against overseas rivals facing fewer emissions regulations. The government has submitted a climate bill to parliament that includes a one-year deadline to design a national trading scheme. After Tuesday's delay, that bill faces revisions in the next parliamentary session that begins in January. The decision is a blow to the European Union's hopes that other top greenhouse gas polluters will introduce emissions trading schemes and follows setbacks to similar efforts in the United States and Australia...more

Oil Industry's Spending To Rise In Hunt For Energy

The global oil industry, far from chastened by the catastrophic spill in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico, is planning record spending next year, including a large amount for deep-water development. From giants Saudi Aramco and Exxon Mobil Corp. to five-person wildcat outfits, the industry plans to spend nearly a half-trillion dollars next year to find and extract oil and natural gas, according to a new survey by investment bank Barclays Capital. For the first time in several years, large Western oil companies are leading the industry's charge, increasing their budgets faster than the state-run national oil companies that have dominated spending in recent years. "This is being driven by the appetite to find more oil, comfort that today's oil prices will be sustained and companies getting out of a hunker-down, recession mode," said James West, an energy analyst with Barclays, who co- authored the survey, which has been produced every year since 1982. Barclays estimates spending on new wells, producing platforms and other energy infrastructure will total $490 billion next year, up 11% from 2010. The figure is based on a survey of 402 companies. In part, the planned spending increases reflect the higher costs for finding and extracting oil in harder-to-access areas.

Left Begins to Recognize NEPA’s Role in Stimulus Failure

President Barack Obama’s $814 billion stimulus has been a tremendous objective failure. The White House promised that unemployment would never rise above 8%. But this month the unemployment rose to 9.8 percent, marking the 19th consecutive month that our nation’s unemployment rate topped 9 percent, a post–World War II record. The failure of Obama’s economic stimulus is so evident that now even the left is beginning to ask why. Former Democratic Socialist Organizing Committee member and Washington Post columnist Harold Meyerson notes in his op-ed today: Part of the answer is that big government (the stimulus) was slowed by good-government requirements (environmental impact reports, competitive bidding and the like) that didn’t exist in the ’30s.  This is undeniably true. As we predicted before the stimulus was even signed into law, the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) alone is red tape enough to kill the stimulative impact of any governemnt funded infrastructure project. Normally it takes a federal construction projects an average of 4.4 years to complete a NEPA review. Throw in the Clean Water Act’s section 404 requirements, and before a single shovel can hit the earth it usually takes 5.6 years for the average federal project to jump through all the normal environmental hoops...more

Hastings Announces Natural Resources Subcommittee Chairs

House Natural Resources Committee Chairman-elect Doc Hastings (WA-04) today named subcommittee chairmen for the 112th Congress. He also announced the establishment a new Subcommittee on Indian and Alaska Native Affairs. Article I, Section 8, Clause 3 of the Constitution delegates to Congress the power to regulate trade with Indian tribes, and in the House of Representatives the Natural Resources Committee is assigned jurisdiction over this power. Oversight and legislative responsibilities for Indian and Alaska Native matters were previously handled by the Full Committee...

Natural Resources Subcommittee Chairmen for the 112th Congress (listed in alphabetical order by subcommittee):

Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources
Chairman: Doug Lamborn (CO-05)

Subcommittee on Fisheries, Wildlife, Oceans and Insular Affairs
Chairman: John Fleming (LA-04)

Subcommittee on Indian and Alaska Native Affairs
Chairman: Don Young (AK-at large)

Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands
Chairman: Rob Bishop (UT-01)

Subcommittee on Water and Power
Chairman: Tom McClintock (CA-04)

Colorado energy companies take advantage of lower agricultural tax rate

When it comes to property taxes, some of Colorado's major oil and gas firms also rank as the state's largest farmers and ranchers. Energy companies own more than 150,000 acres of agricultural lands in the western part of the state where oil and gas wells and cattle mingle for significant tax breaks. Energy companies can get in on the lower agricultural property taxes because of changes made 13 years ago to the tax requirements. Lowered tax rates were originally established in 1982 to aid the state's food producers. However, restrictions on who could claim those taxes were eased in 1997. As a result, landowners are allowed to claim agricultural status, even if they are not in the farm and ranch business. But they must lease their property for that purpose. Another change specified that lands can be assessed at the agricultural rate no matter what the intended future use is. The energy behemoth Chevron Corp. owns more than 80,000 agriculturally taxed acres in the Piceance Basin. Company representative Scott Walker said most of that land was purchased decades ago for oil-shale development, but all of it is now leased to area ranchers who work around Chevron's natural-gas drilling...more

Ever wonder why they never cut spending?

Then just read Business groups, unions unite against GOP rule change.

There you will see the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has hooked up with Big Labor to oppose a proposed rule which would allow cuts to transportation spending.

Reminds me of when I was at Interior and cut the BLM grazing budget and the National Cattleman's Association testified against the cuts.

Both are instances where industry has fallen in with the Big Government types and make it so hard to cut federal spending. The problem isn't just on the left.

Obamanomics vs. Reaganomics

Groups aim to develop new Native American leaders

As special adviser for Indian affairs at Arizona State University, former Navajo Nation president Peterson Zah spent the past 16 years trying to develop Native American youth leaders. He pressed students to get educated, return to their villages and build a future on the reservation. But that message began to ring hollow over the past year as his own tribe became mired in power struggles and corruption scandals. Zah says students came to him filled with confusion and embarrassment, asking how they can make a difference. "I was just agonizing over this," says Zah, 73, who resigned his Arizona State job this month to return to the Navajo Nation as an ambassador for tribal civility, service and integrity. "The only thing you can say is, 'That's one example of what we need to correct. We're training you to be different.' " Zah's angst is shared by many Native American leaders who see a breakdown in Indian country leadership at a time when the 565 federally recognized tribes of the United States are pressing for greater sovereignty, with support from the U.S. government. Dozens of Native American organizations and tribes are pressing to cultivate youth leadership skills through programs that often combine cultural heritage and public service, personal responsibility and civic action...more

Banner Year for American Indians on Capitol Hill

By any measure, 2010 was a banner year on Capitol Hill for American Indians. And a huge factor was the pending retirement of a lone senator -- North Dakota's Byron Dorgan. After years of trying, Congress passed several landmark bills for Indians, including laws overhauling tribal health care and law enforcement and settling a 15-year legal battle over lost royalties for mismanaged Indian lands. Congress continued parceling out $2.5 billion in economic stimulus money to tribes and resolved four long-standing water disputes totaling more than $1 billion. Tribal leaders and advocates call the two-year session that ended last week the most productive for American Indians in four decades...more

2 Fined For Deer Rescue

Natural Resources Police fined two men who helped rescue a deer trapped in a frozen river because they were not wearing life jackets aboard their inflatable boat, but the duo said they'd do it again if they had to. Albert said that because the men didn't follow instructions, they were each fined $90. But the men said they did have flotation devices. "Everyone could see the two big black personal floating devices on the boat," Abusakran said. Natural Resources Police Superintendent Col. George Johnson said Monday evening that he reviewed the reports and is standing by the officer's decision to ticket the men...more

Demand grows for 'animal law' expertise

Sheriff's deputies knocked on Roger and Sandra Jenkins' front door in Taneytown early one Saturday in January to serve a court paper to the couple's teenage son. Within minutes, a chaotic scene unfolded, and the family's chocolate Labrador retriever was shot by one of the deputies and collapsed bleeding in the snow. The dog survived, but its owners say it is permanently disabled. The couple sued, alleging reckless endangerment and infliction of emotional distress. Their lawsuit, filed against the Frederick County Sheriff's Department in October, is part of a growing body of case law dealing with animal issues. The rapidly evolving field of animal law is not only being shaped by court decisions and new legislation, but has become a subject for study in law school. The University of Baltimore and University of Maryland both offer seminars in animal law. The demand for lawyers who specialize in animals has increased as people insist that the law treat their pets as part of the family rather than property, attorneys say. The allegations in the Jenkins' lawsuit point to the heart of the matter: While the law traditionally has considered pets possessions, to their owners they are irreplaceable companions. "The common law is that a dog is just chattel, a piece of property that's easily replaced," said Rebekah Lusk, an associate attorney with the Thienel Law Firm in Columbia who handles animal law cases and represents Roger and Sandra Jenkins. "People focusing on animal law are saying the courts need to see animals as not just a replacement piece of property." That is beginning to happen in Maryland and other states...more

U.S. Bison Ranchers Struggle to Meet Demand for Low-Fat Meat

The deep snow blanketing the Midwest prairie didn't bother the bison on Ed Eichten's ranch one bit. The hardy animals evolved to survive -- even thrive -- year-round on the open range, and with their big heads, they can plow right through drifts 5-feet tall or more. The majestic beasts are a hot commodity these days, as consumer demand for healthy meat has sent prices soaring. But although bison are what one rancher calls "a self-care animal," most farmers are struggling to increase their herds and keep up with demand. Bison grow slower than other livestock, and a heifer can't have her first calf until she's 3, said Dave Carter, executive director of the National Bison Association in Westminster, Colo. Beef cows can have calves at 2. Also, many producers are finding heifers more valuable for breeding than eating, which means fewer bison going to market -- at least temporarily, he said. The tight supply comes after bison farmers spent much of the past decade aggressively courting consumers by touting the health benefits of the low-fat, low-cholesterol meat. Bison caught on, and even in the economic slump, prices haven't discouraged consumers.

Nutrition labels on cuts of meat to debut in 2012

Those familiar nutrition labels found on everything from soda to cereal to mayonnaise will also be required on meats beginning Jan. 1, 2012, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced Wednesday. The new labels will list calories, calories from fat, total fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, sodium, protein and vitamins for 40 of the most commonly purchased cuts of beef, poultry, pork and lamb, according to an early look at the labels provided to USA TODAY. The new rules will be published today in the Federal Register. Federal officials say they hope the labels will make Americans as conscious about health choices in the meats they buy as they have become in scouring labels on other packaged food products. "This will be very helpful to people who are bewildered by what's in meat," says Marion Nestle, a professor of nutrition at New York University. "But people will be quite shocked at the calories and fat." A 4-ounce serving of regular ground beef that is 73% lean meat, for example, contains 350 calories, 270 of them from fat, according to the USDA, making up 60% of the suggested daily intake of saturated fat in a 2,000-calorie diet. The labels will help consumers "make sure they are doing right by their families as they prepare meals," Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says...more

When the lights went out at the Ben Grande Saloon

Ben Grande behind the bar serves a customer 1910
In this time of saloons, the city’s greatest saloon was the Grande Saloon, later called the Ben Grande. Frank Grande Sr. built the Grande Saloon at Waco and Leopard. The family lived upstairs. In time, there was a whole Grande complex — the Grande Hotel, the Grande Restaurant, the Grande Pool Hall. The Ben Grande Saloon had cockfights and, it was said, a man could ride up on his horse and a drink would be brought out to him. When he was a boy, William Fuller was wandering around while his father conducted business. He heard music coming from the door of a big two-story building. It was the Ben Grande. “Some men came out laughing and talking in a jovial mood. A female voice from the inside called goodbye a couple of times. I peeked in and saw the long, shiny bar. The smell of whiskey and beer was strong. A man at the bar turned, saw me, and yelled a good-natured hello. I scampered back toward Papa and his friends. It was my first sight of the famous, or infamous, Ben Grande.” A rancher shot and killed a man in the Ben Grande Saloon. The rancher, riding away, warned: “Tell Mike I’ll kill anybody who comes after me.” Sheriff Mike Wright rode out to the ranch. He was unarmed, as he usually was. The rancher met him with rifle. “I’ll kill you before I let you take me in.” Wright told him, “You see, I came, but I’m not wearing a gun.” After a little talk, the rancher put down his rifle and rode back to town with the sheriff...more

Song Of The Day #471

Today Ranch Radio brings you Rosalie Allen singing and yodelling the Mountain Polka.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

EPA-Texas Feud Escalates Over New Carbon Regulations

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said it will take control of carbon-emission rules in Texas after Governor Rick Perry rejected new federal regulations intended to combat climate change. The EPA will decide directly on greenhouse-gas permits for companies seeking to build or upgrade power plants and oil refineries in Texas, the agency said today in a statement. The EPA’s nationwide carbon rules, imposed under the Clean Air Act, take effect Jan. 2. Texas is the only state that has refused to implement the new rules. President Barack Obama is pressing ahead with the regulations after Congress failed to pass legislation capping carbon emissions. Perry, a Republican, calls the rules overreaching by the federal government that will cripple his state’s economy. “The EPA’s misguided plan paints a huge target on the backs of Texas agriculture and energy producers by implementing unnecessary, burdensome mandates on our state’s energy sector, threatening hundreds of thousands of Texas jobs and imposing increased living costs on Texas families,” Katherine Cesinger, a Perry spokeswoman, said in an e-mailed statement...more

And Ed Morrissey writes:
The timing is certainly interesting. The EPA made this move two days before Christmas, when most people had stopped paying attention to political news. The EPA’s move thus got missed by most of the national media, even though it demonstrates well the Obama strategy in 2011 to win through regulation what it could not win through legislation...This also will vault Rick Perry to the highest level of national politics, even as he continues to insist that he won’t run for President.

Federal judge seeks Arctic offshore moratorium answer

Is there a federal moratorium on offshore drilling in the Arctic or not? U.S. District Court Judge Ralph Beistline is ordering federal and state attorneys to answer that seemingly simple question once and for all -- and soon. In September, Gov. Sean Parnell called a press conference to announce the state was filing suit against the Interior Department and Secretary Ken Salazar to force the government to lift a moratorium on Arctic offshore oil exploration. Shell Offshore Inc. is the only operator seeking to do any work off the coast of Alaska in the foreseeable future, and Parnell has said he wants the moratorium lifted so Shell can drill, which would create jobs for Alaskans and help the economy. Whether that moratorium exists has always been the subject of dispute, and in announcing the lawsuit even Parnell acknowledged it could just be a "de facto moratorium" based on statements made by Salazar at a press conference. Interior officials, including Michael Bromwich, director of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement which oversees offshore work, have said there is no moratorium for the Arctic. On Tuesday afternoon, Beistline issued a terse two-paragraph order, saying the court is trying to resolve this case but "is faced with a glaring factual dispute that must be addressed, i.e. whether or not there is a moratorium in place, actual or implied, on shallow well oil drilling in Alaska." "Plaintiffs say there is, Defendants say there is not. But there should be no reason for secrecy or obfuscation. Either there is or there is not. The public, and certainly the Court, is entitled to know."...more

Carlsbad Mexican gray wolf to mate with Mexican female in breeding program

After several months of talks and mounds of paper work, a male Mexican gray wolf from the Living Desert Zoo & Gardens State Park was flown earlier this month to a facility in Mexico where it will be paired with a female of the same species. The wolf, sent to Centro Encologico de Sonora in Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico, is one of six Mexican gray wolf brothers housed at the park that came from the Wild Canid Research and Survival Center in Eureka, Mo. The endangered wolves are placed in institutions by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums through the Mexican Wolf Species Survival Plan, said Holly Payne, park general curator. The six wolves have been fostered at the park since 2005 and have not been bred, Payne said. "The AZA Species Survival Plan contacted us and said the facility in Mexico has a single female that is genetically important and since our six brothers also are important genetic-wise, they recommended breeding one of our males with the female in Mexico," Payne explained...more

NY Times - A New Day for Wilderness

One of the sorrier blots on George W. Bush’s sorry environmental record was a midnight deal in 2003 between Gale Norton, then the secretary of the interior, and Michael Leavitt, then the governor of Utah, that withdrew 2.6 million acres of public land in Utah from consideration as protected wilderness. As part of the deal, Ms. Norton also renounced her department’s longstanding authority to recommend vulnerable public lands of special beauty for permanent wilderness protection, thus sparing them from oil-and-gas drilling and other forms of commercial development. The “no more wilderness” policy did more than threaten some of Utah’s most fragile wild lands. What it said, in effect, was that none of the lands administered by the department’s Bureau of Land Management, about 250 million acres, mostly in the Rocky Mountain West, would be considered for wilderness designation. Last week, in a very welcome move, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar reversed the Norton/Leavitt agreement on the Utah lands while reaffirming his department’s right to preserve other public lands in their natural state for future generations. The question now — and it’s a big one — is whether the bureau will exercise its restored authority...more

Denver Post - Interior right to end "no more wilderness" policy

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar's decision last week to reverse a Bush-era wilderness policy should be a relief to those who favor a balanced and sensible approach to wildland preservation. The move, announced Thursday in Denver, supersedes a flawed 2003 decision and returns to the federal Bureau of Land Management the authority to identify and suggest new areas for permanent protection. The implications for Colorado and the West are far-reaching. The BLM will once again have the power to set aside tracts of unspoiled land while Congress contemplates whether to give those areas permanent protection against energy exploration and other activities. It makes sense for the administration to have the ability to safeguard these special places temporarily. Yet the policy change has provoked criticism from some who call it a monumental land grab that amounts to a gift to radical environmentalists. Such a characterization ignores history and distorts the potential impact...more

Ranchers, pecan growers and experts say coal-fired power plant emissions killing Texas trees

Along a stretch of Highway 21, in a pastoral, hilly region of Texas, is a vegetative wasteland. Trees are barren, or covered in gray, dying foliage and peeling bark. Fallen, dead limbs litter the ground where pecan growers and ranchers have watched trees die slow, agonizing deaths. Visible above the horizon is what many plant specialists, environmentalists and scientists believe to be the culprit: the Fayette Power Project — a coal-fired power plant for nearly 30 years has operated mostly without equipment designed to decrease emissions of sulfur dioxide, a component of acid rain. The plant's operator and the state's environmental regulator deny sulfur dioxide pollution is to blame for the swaths of plant devastation across Central Texas. But evidence collected from the Appalachian Mountains to New Mexico indicates sulfur dioxide pollution kills vegetation, especially pecan trees. Pecan growers in Albany, Ga., have received millions of dollars in an out-of-court settlement with a power plant whose sulfur dioxide emissions harmed their orchards. Pecan grower Harvey Hayek said he has watched his once-prosperous, 3,000-tree orchard in Ellinger, just south of the Fayette plant, dwindle to barely 1,000 trees. Skeletal trunks and swaths of yellowed prairie grass make up what had been a family orchard so thick the sun's rays barely broke through the thick canopy of leaves. "Everywhere you look, it's just dead, dead, dead," Hayek said...more

BLM rounds up thousands of wild horses in Wyoming

Southwest Wyoming's wild horses galloped into the headlines on both a state and national level this year. Federal officials in 2010 embarked on a new, nationwide management strategy and also funded increased contraceptive research, while wranglers on the ground in Wyoming gathered thousands of wild horse from public rangelands. Bureau of Land Management cowboys completed one of the largest wild horse roundups in Wyoming history this year and gathered more horses from public lands than has been done in a decade, according to agency figures. "It was a long month and a half, I'll tell you .... more than 2,000 horses captured," BLM wild horse and burro specialist Jay D'Ewart said about the historic gathering operation in the Adobe Town and Salt Wells Creek herd management areas. On the national front, federal officials began work on a broader strategy that aims to better manage and reduce wild horse numbers in 10 Western states. BLM Director Bob Abbey announced in June the agency was beginning work on a new, long-term national strategy that he said will take the program in an "unprecedented, new direction." At the same time, federal lawmakers pushed for a two-year, independent review of the national wild horse and burro program by the esteemed National Academy of Sciences/National Research Council...more

Property rights conserve the land and the fish

A simple thought experiment explains the logic of extending property rights to environmental goods. Suppose our beef cattle industry were organized the same way our ocean fishing tends to operate -- a world in which ranchers did not have ranches surrounded by fences, but instead roamed the plains, and shot or rounded up as many cows as they wanted. Obviously, we'd run out of cows fairly soon, because the incentives would be wrong; anyone who left a cow behind would be risking that anyone else would get to it next. This is a well known concept referred to as the "tragedy of the commons," arising from the Medieval practice in England of allowing anyone to graze as many animals as they wished to on public land. The land quickly became over grazed. Yet, this is exactly how we manage ocean fisheries -- fish are a "common pool" resource in the ocean owned by no one, such that the perverse incentive for every individual fisher is to catch as many fish as possible. A fish left behind is a fish for someone else. This is the chief cause of the collapse of so many ocean fisheries. Some nations -- Iceland and New Zealand are the best examples -- have effectively preserved and expanded their fisheries through a property rights system known as "catch shares." Essentially, this means designating ownership of territorial waters to individual fishers, who can buy, sell, and trade the rights to catch fish in the area. It is the oceanic equivalent of fencing ranch land for the private ownership and cultivation of cattle and sheep on land...more

Conservation tax incentive extended by Congress: Benefits apply to landowners who donate toward easement on property

One of the lesser-known elements of the recently passed federal tax package is a provision that allows landowners to get substantial benefits for protecting their land under conservation easements. The incentive has been key in the past for North Coast landowners who have opted to sell development rights on their land and often undertake different management strategies. The provision applies to donations landowners make toward the value of the conservation easement, and local land trust representatives say it's vital for projects going forward. The bill -- which was authored by Rep. Mike Thompson but rolled into the larger tax package -- allows landowners to take a 50 percent income tax deduction for donating a conservation easement. It allows farmers and ranchers to deduct all of their income for such a donation, and it increases the number of years in which a landowner can take deductions from six to 16 years, according to the Land Trust Alliance. The extended incentive applies to donations in 2010 and 2011. Thompson said the conservation easement incentives are vital and have gone toward helping put 500,000 acres of land across the country under development protection...more

111th Congress Added More Debt Than First 100 Congresses Combined: $10,429 Per Person in U.S.

The federal government has accumulated more new debt--$3.22 trillion ($3,220,103,625,307.29)—during the tenure of the 111th Congress than it did during the first 100 Congresses combined, according to official debt figures published by the U.S. Treasury. That equals $10,429.64 in new debt for each and every one of the 308,745,538 people counted in the United States by the 2010 Census. The total national debt of $13,858,529,371,601.09 (or $13.859 trillion), as recorded by the U.S. Treasury at the close of business on Dec. 22, now equals $44,886.57 for every man, woman and child in the United States. In fact, the 111th Congress not only has set the record as the most debt-accumulating Congress in U.S. history, but also has out-stripped its nearest competitor, the 110th, by an astounding $1.262 trillion in new debt...more

How can this be? Didn't Pelosi promise us there would be no new deficit spending? This is from her inaugural address to the House:

"After years of historic deficits, this 110th Congress will commit itself to a higher standard: Pay as you go, no new deficit spending,” she said in an address from the speaker’s podium. “Our new America will provide unlimited opportunity for future generations, not burden them with mountains of debt."

For those who have to see it to believe it, here is the video of her making the statement:

This Week's Big Government Bozo

KWTV Pilot Uses News Chopper to Rescue Stranded Calf

KWTV helicopter pilot Mason Dunn is building a reputation for himself in Oklahoma as a local hero. On Monday, Dunn rescued a calf that had gotten stuck in an icy pond. A rancher near Watonga, OK called KWTV, Oklahoma City’s CBS-affiliate, when one of his calves became stranded in the middle of a pond. The pond had a thick layer of ice on top of it and the rancher remembered that Dunn had used his KWTV chopper a few years ago to save a deer that was trapped in ice. Dunn came to the rescue, using the wind from the whirling helicopter blades to crack the ice and push the calf back to shore. KWTV

Here is the video of the rescue:

Cattlemen consider eliminating brand inspections

The Nebraska Cattlemen have floated a plan to do away with the state’s nearly 60-year-old brand-inspection requirement. Branding, which dates to the 1800s, was started to counter cattle rustling. Brand inspection became state law with the creation of the Nebraska Brand Committee in 1941. But many ranchers are no longer willing to pay the 75-cent per head fee that’s charged for inspection whenever cattle are sold or cross the north-south inspection line in central Nebraska that divides farming and ranching country. “Why is it that there are only 13 states out of 50 that have cattle that find it necessary to have inspection of some sort?” Melody Benjamin of the Cattlemen’s office in Alliance asked the Lincoln Journal Star. “Why are we special? Why is this necessary here?” The Cattlemen aren’t aiming to get rid of branding, Benjamin said, just the inspections. They plan to hold a series of informational and educational meetings across the state before deciding whether to approach a state senator about sponsoring a bill to do so...more

Last witness dies, leaving Okla. rancher's murder unsolved

The lifeless body was slumped on a living room couch. E.C. Mullendore III looked like a dirty rag doll, only it wasn't red earth from the millionaire rancher's spread that camouflaged his face. It was his blood, and lots of it, retired Osage County Sheriff George Wayman said. "He suffered a bad beating and was shot," Wayman said. "His whole skull was caved in." It was a sight the 85-year-old Wayman said he never forgot. On Sept. 26, 1970, Mullendore, 32, was killed while at home on his family ranch near Pawhuska. His death has remained a mystery with only one man knowing the truth of what occurred that night. That man, Damon "Chub" Anderson, died Nov. 24. No charges have ever been filed in the case. Wayman said Anderson swore to him he'd take the secret to his grave. Mullendore grew up on his family's Cross Bell Ranch, a massive cattle operation near Hulah in northeast Oklahoma. He married his college sweetheart, Linda, who had a pageant-queen figure even after giving him four children. The young couple lived in a spacious modern home with a horseshoe-shaped swimming pool not far from his parents' mansion. Mullendore enjoyed all the extravagances wealth allowed him, but he also was a hands-on, hardworking rancher. He managed 130,000 acres of ranch land in Oklahoma and Kansas established by his grandfather, E.C. Mullendore, and expanded by his father, E.C. "Gene" Mullendore...more

Through five generations, Park County ranch one of few still in the original family

Wendell Lovely, 85, has ranching in his bones. His grandfather homesteaded here in the Shields Valley in the 1800s, building a ranch nine miles east of Wilsall, which he eventually passed on to his son, who in turn passed it on to Wendell. The 2,000-acre Lovely ranch climbs up into the foothills of the Crazy Mountains. The original, big red barn Wendell's grandfather built on the property still stands. It's one of few ranches in Park County that still belongs to the same family. Over five generations, the Lovelys have raised cattle, dairy cows and chickens on the ground. They've grown wheat, hunted the land and even built a groomed cross-country ski trail. "There's a certain satisfaction in seeing a calf drop and then seeing him grow," Wendell says, his bushy gray eyebrows bouncing above his thick, dark-framed glasses. The ranch is 121 years old, and Wendell has the original deed to prove it, with Theodore Roosevelt's neat cursive signature is at the bottom. It was Wendell's grandfather, Charles "Moab" Lovely, who came to Montana from Kansas in the late 1800s. Moab's parents had come to the United States from Norway. He settled on 320 acres on Cottonwood Bench. At that time, land cost about 50 cents an acre. Moab filed a "desert claim" on the land, which gave twice the land as a traditional homestead, but the owner had to irrigate it or plant trees on it within a certain time. Moab and his neighbors dug a 7-mile-long ditch with horse teams towing scrapers. The same ditch is still in use today...more

Song Of The Day #470

As Ranch Radio continues to highlight the early female pioneers of country music, we bring you Patsy Montana's 1937 recording of I Only Want A Buddy (Not A Sweetheart).

The tune is available on her 24 track CD The Best of Patsy Montana on Collector's Choice Records as well as several other collections.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Monte Wolfe cabin debate heats up

A United States Forest Service volunteer has publicly admitted he took part in the partial destruction of a historical cabin in the Mokelumne Wilderness, and said local federal officials not only participated in the action, but sanctioned it. The revelation came during the regular meeting of the Amador County Board of Supervisors Dec. 21, during a discussion on whether or not to send a letter of support for a preservation effort involving a structure in the wilderness area known as "Monte Wolfe's Cabin." Local officials have described the damage as "illegal vandalism." Board Chairman Brian Oneto said supervisors had been approached by historians from the Monte Wolfe Foundation to draft a letter of support to nominate the cabin as one of America's 11 most endangered places, as listed by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. "They requested that we be supportive of nominating Monte Wolfe's cabin," said Oneto. "There's some controversy over whether that cabin should stay intact in the wilderness or not, and that's what this is about." Oneto added he felt the cabin, in place long before the land on which it sits was included in the Mokelumne Wilderness Area by Congressional action in 1964, should be preserved. He voiced his displeasure at learning the structure had been vandalized, allegedly by a ranger of the USFS and two USFS volunteers, in an action apparently approved by the now-retired Ross. Supervisor John Plasse provided a detailed report about the damage done to the cabin and said the actions carried out by USFS employees, acting without higher authorization, played a large part in his determination to support placing the structure on the National Register of Historic Places. "Sometime about a year-and-a-half ago," explained Plasse, "a group of three individuals ... hiked into this remote cabin in the wilderness and intentionally caused harm to this cabin through tearing the door off ... and smashing it into kindling-size pieces, taking the stovepipe down out of the cabin and ... a roofjack off the roof, thereby exposing the cabin itself to the elements, literally a couple of days before the first storms of that year." Plasse said when USFS officials were notified of the vandalism, they denied any knowledge of it. "Local district rangers initially claimed there was no management-level authorization or knowledge of this action being taken by their employees," he said. "You've got to wonder what the hell is wrong with people that they would go in and do damage like that," said Supervisor Louis Boitano. "They should be held accountable for it and anybody else involved in this should be ashamed of themselves."...more

The Wilderness Act defines Wilderness as "an area where the earth and its community of life are untrammeled by man, where man himself is a visitor who does not remain...without permanent improvements or human habitation...which generally appears to have been affected primarily by the forces of nature, with the imprint of man's work substantially unnoticeable."

The Forest Service for many years has been getting rid of cabins in Wilderness areas. Usually they rely on nature, such as a fire, to get the job done. It now appears nature is too slow, so they are sending their own employees to tear them down.

Now if a cabin is in a Wilderness area, that must mean it is "substantially unnoticeable", otherwise it wouldn't qualify as Wilderness. And if it is "substantially unnoticeable" then why is the Forest Service so hell-bent on removing them? The article quotes the former Forest Service Supervisor as saying "The Monte Wolfe cabin is offensive to anyone that truly values wilderness." Do they find this small remnant of humans so objectionable that they will tear it down with their own hands?

On this issue, the Forest Service is in cahoots with the enviros. From the article:

Plasse said he was aware of at least three organizations threatening litigation concerning the cabin. "Forest Service Employees for Environmental Ethics is one of the organizations," explained Plasse. "I was also at a recent meeting where both the Wilderness Watch and the High Sierra Hikers Association are also either threatening lawsuits or legal action if the forest service repairs the damage done to this cabin ... or they're seeking to string out the process so long that the natural environmental harm will have its greatest effect."

This whole situation is deserving of a Congressional investigation and oversight hearing. Maybe the new leadership in the House will take note.

Land taken into trust for Navajo Nation

The Bureau of Indian Affairs' Navajo Area director, Omar Bradley, has signed the final documents taking 405 acres of land into trust for the Navajo Nation. Assistant Secretary of Indian Affairs Larry Echo Hawk announced last month that the land east of Flagstaff was placed into trust for the tribe. Thursday's signing clears the way for construction of the $120 million Twin Arrows Casino, the Navajo Nation's fourth casino. It will be the tribe's first casino in Arizona...more

The Navajo Nation is one of the most recent tribes to take advantage of the White Man's stupid policy of outlawing gambling.

If current tribal lands don't provide an ideal location for gambling, no problem. Just go purchase the location and than have the feds place it in trust status so the gambling will be legal. Indian entrepreneurs, so to speak.

The State and DC Deep thinkers have created the following: A Casino on private land - illegal. A casino on acquired tribal lands - illegal. A casino on acquired tribal lands that are held in trust by the federal government - legal. The same federal government who enforces laws against gambling takes action on behalf of the tribes which results in the expansion of gambling.

Is this a Government Gong Show or what?

Proposal to poison watershed meets resistance from Patagonia Town Council

The Patagonia Town Council has hired Tubac-based attorney Hugh Holub to look into a U.S. Forest Service project that calls for poisoning the watershed in Red Rock Canyon. The vote, which was made during the council’s regular meeting on Dec. 8, followed an hourlong presentation by local attorney Dennis Parker. Parker asked council members to oppose the project, saying that it would not work and could potentially poison the town’s drinking water if anything should go wrong. A proposal by the Coronado National Forest Service and the Arizona Game and Fish Department calls for poisoning the Red Rock watershed in order to kill off exotic species such as bullfrogs and mosquito fish. The idea is that by killing off the invaders, native species such as the Gila topminnow will return. “We do believe this is an important project for the recovery of the endangered species,” said Heidi Schewel, spokeswoman for the Coronado National Forest...more

The Fedzilla is poisonous in many ways, this being one of the more blatant.

‘Sierra checkerboard' threatens species continuity

Large, continuous swaths of open space may play an important role beyond recreation in the future. As the climate warms, both plants and animals are making the move uphill, according to biologists and ecologists with groups including the University of California, Davis, and the U.S. Forest Service. But species need continuous open space to make such a move — or they could die off. Areas with large east-west swaths of undeveloped land in the Sierra Nevada — such as Nevada County — could be critical for species' survival. “The recommendation we're consistently getting from the scientific community regarding climate change is to accommodate species adaptation. Large blocks of land — about 50,000 acres or larger — are critical,” said David Sutton, Northern California and Nevada Director for the Trust for Public Land, in a previews interview. That continuity is threatened in the northern Sierra by a land ownership pattern known as the “Sierra checkerboard,” a remnant of the federal government's granting of every other square mile of land in the region to the Southern Pacific Railroad to build the transcontinental railway. Today, that means some checker squares are forest service open space, while others are privately owned, and could be developed in the future...more

Just as the feds use terrorism to spy on us, they will now use global warming to increase their land acquisition.

USFS study recommends methods to mitigate climate change

The U.S. Forest Service Rocky Mountain Research Station (RMRS) has released a new scientific summary regarding forest management methods to mitigate the effects of climate change. The full report is available at "Integrated Management of Carbon Sequestration and Biomass Utilization Opportunities in a Changing Climate: Proceedings of the 2009 National Silviculture Workshop; 2009 June 15-18; Boise, ID, (RMRS-P- 61)" contains scientific findings concerning how the forest environment is changing, treatment effects on carbon pools such as forests, computerized tools for simulating forest growth, models for collaboration and more. The ability of trees to withdraw carbon from the atmosphere---carbon sequestration---is considered one of the most important steps in reducing the effects of climate change. Forests and soils act as carbon pools because of their ability to store carbon from the atmosphere. Foresters challenged by how to manage vegetation in a changing climate will benefit from research findings summarized in these proceedings...more

Wilderness advocate persuades government to protect 14 million acres

Montanans who know nothing else about Bob Marshall know about "the Bob" — the Bob Marshall Wilderness, 950,000 acres of mountainous splendor from the Rocky Mountain Front westward, named in his memory. Marshall convinced the federal government to protect 14 million acres of national forestland along with 4.8 million acres on Indian reservations. The son of a wealthy New York lawyer, he was captivated by the outdoors when he was a child. In the 1920s, Marshall worked at a U.S. Forest Service experiment station in Missoula, where he was renowned for his long tramps through the woods that now bear his name. Armed with degrees from Harvard and Johns Hopkins, Marshall wrote three books and numerous articles about the outdoors. In 1937, he was named chief of recreation for the U.S. Forest Service, using his position to inventory all roadless lands and protect as many as he could by opposing logging and roads. Marshall also fought rules forbidding blacks and Jews from camping in national forests. Because of his efforts, dude ranchers and other forest permittees were barred from discriminating on the basis of race or creed. Jewish himself and a Socialist, Marshall never married and, despite his family's wealth, never owned a house or even a car...more

Enviros threaten squirrely lawsuit

Three environmental groups have threatened to sue the U.S. Forest Service unless the agency seeks a new federal Endangered Species Act evaluation on the impact of the Mount Graham International Observatory on endangered squirrels. The Center for Biological Diversity, Maricopa Audubon Society and the Mount Graham Coalition put the Forest Service on notice Dec. 22, saying unless a new ESA evaluation of the telescope project is sought from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service by Feb. 22, 2011, a lawsuit will be filed. The Endangered Species Act requires all federal agencies consult with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service if their actions jeopardize an endangered species. The U.S. Forest Service manages the land occupied by the University of Arizona's telescopes on Mount Graham, a news release from the Center of Biological Diversity states. The university has been in the process of renewing its 20-year permit for the telescope project, but the process has been delayed by several hurdles, including the threatened lawsuit. "The effects of this (telescope) project have gone far beyond what they were supposed to be," said Dr. Robin Silver, the center's founder. "We are not going to let the Mount Graham red squirrel be pushed over the brink of extinction."...more

Judge Denies Motion to Dismiss Pryor Mustang Herd Case

A federal court judge sided with wild horse advocates earlier this month when he declined to dismiss their lawsuit opposing a U.S. Forest Service (USFS) plan to construct a fence at the Custer National Forest, which spans from South Dakota to Montana. The fence would border the Pryor Mountain Wild Horse Range, located near Lovell, Wyo. The suit, filed in July by The Cloud Foundation, Front Range Equine Rescue, and photographer and author Carol Walker, alleges that the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) new Herd Area Management Plan and the USFS Plan to construct the two-mile-long fence violates the Free Roaming Wild Horse and Burro Act of 1971 because it denies mustangs access to traditional grazing areas...more

Canada passes Codex food law that permits police to trespass, seize private property without warrant

Passed on December 14 by the Canadian Senate, Bill C-36 allows government authorities and health inspectors to invade personal property and arbitrarily confiscate any items deemed "unsafe". It completely bypasses all existing privacy and confidentiality laws that protect citizens from such unlawful interference, and restricts citizen access to courts for due process in such matters. And perhaps worst of all is Canadian citizens are now considered guilty until proven innocent rather than innocent until proven guilty as has long been the standard. Several Canadian Senators, including Elaine McCoy, Josephy Day, Celine Hervieux-Payette, George Furey and Tommy Banks all spoke out against the bill as a violation of civil liberties. Banks even told the Natural Health Products Protection Association (NHPPA) that the bill "is undoing 400 years of common law." In accordance with CODEX Alimentarius guidelines, Bill C-36 will harmonize Canadian law with international law and trade restrictions concerning food. So whatever outside groups like the World Health Organization (WHO) and United Nations (UN) decide concerning food safety will now hold sway over Canadian law...more

NM pueblo, Santa Fe forest reach agreement

The Santa Fe National Forest and Jemez Pueblo have entered into a cooperative agreement that formalizes government-to-government relations between the two entities. Forest and tribal officials say they're committed to working together to address issues related to the management of forest lands that are considered to be Jemez's ancestral lands. The memorandum of understanding was signed Monday. It recognizes impacts to the pueblo's religion and culture that have occurred since the forest service began operations in the area in 1905. Pueblo Gov. Joshua Madalena says the agreement details that the forest has legal commitments and federal trust responsibilities to protect and preserve the pueblo's ancestral sites, cultural properties, human remains, religious freedoms and sacred objects. AP

Northern NM forest closing roads to protect wildlife

The Carson National Forest in northern New Mexico will close forest roads between the Rock Wall and Taos along N.M. 518 and forest roads between Taos and Angel Fire along U.S. 64 Thursday to protect designated wildlife wintering areas. Gates on those roads will remain locked until May 2. Some of the roads were closed earlier because of icy and dangerous conditions. Carson officials say people who plan to travel on the remaining open forest roads should be cautious because recent snow and rain in the area have made travel dangerous...more

Warmer winter worries area farmers dependent on runoff from snow

Those in southern New Mexico who rely on winter snowfall and the runoff that is the state's lifeblood are eyeing forecasts uneasily. The reason? A winter weather pattern, which tends to mean a warmer, drier winter for New Mexico and southern Colorado, is predicted. And for farmers in Do-a Ana County, who rely on that water once it reaches Elephant Butte Lake in the spring and summer, the problem is compounded because there's not much water in the reservoirs designated for the Elephant Butte Irrigation District. Water in the reservoirs is allocated to different interests, including El Paso and Mexican irrigators. "It was not a rosy picture," said EBID board member Tom Simpson. "Our water bank is very, very low." But it means the district and how much water it can distribute next spring will rely entirely on the snowfall in northern New Mexico and southern Colorado over the winter, Narvaez said. Because 16,000 acre-feet - in comparison to the 282,000 acre-feet the district distributed in 2010 to farmers - "is essentially zero."...more

Famed NM guitar maker dies at 82

A legendary New Mexico guitar maker has died. The family of Lorenzo Pimentel says he lost his battle with prostate cancer Monday morning, December 27, 2010. Lorenzo and his wife founded Albuquerque-based Pimentel Guitars in 1951. Last year Governor Richardson signed a bill making the “New Mexico Sunrise” -a model created by his sons- the state’s official guitar. Pimentel was 82. KOB-TV

Here is the KRQE video report:

Will Bill pardon the Kid?

As Governor Bill Richardson mulls over a possible pardon for Billy the Kid during his last four days in office, KOB discovers that hundreds of residents have already weighed in on the issue. A spokesperson for the governor says 809 people sent emails and letters about the subject; 430 argued for a pardon and 379 argued against a pardon...more

The website established by the state is here.

Song Of The Day #469

Ranch Radio will feature the ladies of early country music this week. We'll start with Jean Shepard and her 1954 recording of You'll Come Crawling.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Ratings Hit: Palin‘s ’Alaska’ May Return for Second Season

The television popularity of Alaska’s “mama grizzly” former governor may mean a second season for TLC’s “Sarah Palin’s Alaska.” According to PopEater, the rugged outdoors and folksy charm of the Palin family have been “such a huge hit” for TLC that the network is working to get the former governor to sign up for season two. Last week’s episode — guest-staring reality TV diva Kate Gosselin and her eight kids — drew more than 3 million viewers for the cable network. “That is more people than are watching Bravo‘s ’Housewives’ series or most other cable shows,” PopEater reports...more

Obama's regulators kowtow to Big Green, imperil economy

Who's doing the most to hobble the productive power of the U.S. economy, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson or Department of the Interior Secretary Ken Salazar? President Obama's top two Cabinet appointees on environmental issues are running neck and neck in their race to see who can issue the most job-killing, growth-suffocating bureaucratic edicts. Regardless of who "wins" their contest, of course, the losers will be the rest of us. We will have to endure long-term double-digit unemployment, skyrocketing energy and utility costs, and the loss of individual freedom that inevitably accompanies the growth of government regulation. Jackson temporarily nosed ahead early last week when she got a green light from the White House to move forward with new regulations to combat greenhouse gases. Jackson threatened to issue these regulations last year if Congress failed to approve "cap-and-trade" legislation sought by Obama. Cap and trade was decisively defeated by a bipartisan coalition in Congress earlier this year, and now Jackson is making good on her threat. Her move elicited a chorus of pre-Christmas squeals of delight from the legions of Big Green activists angered over congressional rejection of cap and trade. Not to be outdone, Salazar countered toward the end of the week with an audacious end-around play of his own. The Constitution gives Congress exclusive authority to manage U.S. public lands. Thus, the wilderness areas, national parks system and other public lands are overseen by Interior only because Congress authorized the executive branch department to do so. Big Green environmentalists went nuts in 2003 when Gail Norton, Salazar's predecessor in the Bush administration, liberalized Interior's public lands management process to enable more energy development. So Salazar has invented out of whole cloth a "Wild Lands" designation that entirely circumvents the congressionally sanctioned process...more

'Iceberg Cowboy' Finds Archway in Middle of Ocean

Forget moving mountains. Marine biologist Andrew Perry moves icebergs. And his latest adventure led to the discovery of an icy archway, right in the middle of the ocean. Perry was out trawling for icebergs with Oceans Limited, a Canadian company that identifies which of the tremendous floaters are drifting towards stationary deep-water oil rigs, when he found the arch -- think Stargate meets portal to Narnia. "It was a beautiful day, hardly a wave on the water. And then there it was -- a big beautiful arch," Perry told "No one had seen anything like this. We thought it was amazing." Icebergs routinely break off Greenland and float down the Labrador coast, Perry explained, a corridor he called "iceberg alley." Along the way, they post a direct threat to deep-water oil installations. Though they don't move particularly quickly -- typically one to four knots -- they've got enough bulk to do major damage if they hit anything, he explained...more

Forest Service in drug bust at private residence

Nearly $13,000 was recovered last week during a narcotics bust of a Dent County home. According to Dent County Sheriff Rick Stallings, the bust took place at a residence in the 500 block of County Road on Thursday, December 9 at 1 p.m. The Dent County Sheriff's Office, Missouri State Highway Patrol, Salem Police Department and Federal Forest Service Agents were involved in the investigation. The residence belonged to Leslee Cook...more

Keep this raid in mind for the next time you hear the Forest Service claim they just don't have enough people or money to police federal land.

Uncle Sam Will Help Buy You an Alpaca

Congressmen say our government should "support and strengthen family-based agriculture." Abstractly, supporting family-based agriculture sounds good. Government policies often harm small farms by favoring corporate agribusinesses. Government could help family farms by ending the subsidies that mostly go to the big guys. But that doesn't interest the politicians. They prefer to do things like creating tax breaks to encourage livestock breeding. The tax breaks have led to a boom in alpaca breeding. Twenty-five years ago, there were 150 alpacas in America. Now, there are 150,000. One website even advertises: "Have Uncle Sam Help You Buy Your Alpacas." Yes, alpacas are cute. They are also valued for the fiber made from their fleece. But selling the fleece doesn't explain the growth in alpaca raising. At auctions, prices have gotten absurdly high. Half-ownership of one male alpaca sold for $750,000. This is not necessarily a good thing. Economists at the University of California, Davis warn that the industry is in a speculative bubble. "Alpacas sold today as breeding stock have values wildly in excess of even the most optimistic scenarios based upon current fiber prices and production costs," Tina L. Saitone and Richard J. Sexton write...more

Wikileaks Memos Reveal U.S. Gov't Pushing Gene-Altered Crops Worldwide

Wikileaks has so far released just a fraction of the total 251,287 United States embassy cables in its possession, but the documents currently available provide interesting insights into how aggressively the U.S. State Department is pushing genetically modified organisms (GMOs) abroad. THE DETAILS: In one cable, an unnamed State Department official tells a Pakistan finance minister, who notes that drought and water issues remain a primary barrier to increasing the country's agricultural capacity, that "the integration of genetically modified seeds is critical to increasing agricultural productivity." The official then requested "enhanced U.S.–Pakistan collaboration" on biotechnology research. State Department officials have also been fighting the European Union's tight labeling restrictions on GMOs, as evidenced by cables involving Spanish and Austrian officials and French President Nicolas Sarkozy...more

Shipwrecked 2,000-Year-Old Pills Give Clues to Ancient Medicine

Scientists are trying to unravel the mystery of whether pills found in a 2,000-year-old shipwreck were, in fact, created and used as effective plant-based medicines. And the bigger question: Could the ingredients of these ancient tablets still work to help with modern illnesses? Around 130 B.C., a ship, identified as the Relitto del Pozzino, sank off Tuscany, Italy. Among the artifacts found on board in 1989 were glass cups, a pitcher and ceramics, all of which suggested that the ship was sailing from the eastern Mediterranean area. Its cargo also included a chest that contained various items related to the medical profession: a copper bleeding cup and 136 boxwood vials and tin containers. Inside one of the tin vessels, archaeologists found several circular tablets, many still completely dry...more

Scientists launch fightback against mite that is wiping out our bees... by making it self-destruct

For 20 years it has ruthlessly attacked Britain's hives - wiping out millions of bees and bringing misery to honey producers. But now scientists have launched the fightback against the invasive, blood sucking varroa mite parasite - the world's biggest killer of bees. The bug drills a hole in the honey bee's back and drinks its blood while injecting viruses to suppress the bee's immune system leaving it vulnerable to disease. Attempts tried to wipe it out but they failed as it becomes increasingly resistant to chemicals. Now researchers have developed a new technique that turns off genes in the pest's DNA, forcing the bugs to self-destruct. Although the treatment is still experimental, it could eventually kill the mites without harming bees within years...more