Tuesday, May 31, 2011

This Just In

According to Biz Ladner, the Lesser Prairie Chickens have eaten all the Sand Dunes Lizards.

Wife of Utah doctor in Indian artifacts case sues FBI, BLM for his suicide

Jeanne & James Redd
The widow of a Blanding doctor who killed himself after being arrested in an American Indian artifacts trafficking sting contends the federal agencies that conducted the raid caused his death. Jeanne H. Redd filed a wrongful death lawsuit Friday against a dozen agents with the Bureau of Land Management and the FBI, claiming they pushed her husband, James D. Redd, to suicide. Federal agents armed with semi-automatic weapons arrested the Redds along with 22 others June 10, 2009, after a two-year undercover operation in the Four Corners area of southern Utah. "The next day, June 11, 2009, reflecting on the excessive, overreaching and abusive treatment he had been subjected to, after making a recording based upon his tragic experience, Dr. Redd took his own life. His final words connected his death to the defendants' egregious actions," according to the 31-page suit filed in U.S. District Court. Redd, 60, asphyxiated himself by connecting a hose to the exhaust pipe of his car. Two others associated with the case also committed suicide. Jeanne Redd is represented by Montana attorney Edward Moriarty, who worked as a partner with famed Wyoming attorney Gerry Spence for 30 years. Federal prosecutors charged James Redd with one felony count of theft of tribal property, specifically an effigy bird pendant. Redd found the quarter-inch-long relic while on a family walk. "Little did he know, federal agents inebriated with power and acting with no remorse, would use this shell to attempt to justify the arrest of Dr. Redd for a felony, ultimately shattering the sanctity of his life," the lawsuit states...more

The article goes on to report:

The suit lambastes what the BLM and FBI dubbed Operation Cerberus Action as overkill. In Greek mythology, Cerberus is a three-headed dog that guards the underworld.

Cerberus was a three-headed monster with a mane of live serpents and a snake's tail, who guarded the entrance to Hades. It was Heracles (Hercules) who had to enter the Gates of Hell to capture the beast.

Let's hope we don't have to go to the same lengths to get agents like this under control.

Pickens slams Koch brothers on gas bill: 'They don't answer to anybody'

When not helping his wife try to save wild horses, T. Boone Pickens is on the hill pushing for a bill to jump start natural usage in the trucking industry by providing federal tax breaks.

The Koch Brothers oppose the bill as "undue government meddling in the energy markets."

For that and since they aren't playing his political game Pickens finds the brothers "mysterious" and he's concerned "they don't have to answer to anybody."

Not answering to anybody - why that's down right Un-American. Opposing "government meddling" is apparently something Pickens doesn't understand either.

Pickens better stick to wild horses, all of which are owned by the government. And Congress has also outlawed any market for the critters. Sounds like a system he would be more comfortable in.

Ag conservation may be permanent

Congressmen Mike Thompson and Jim Gerlach have introduced the Conservation Easement Incentive Act, landmark legislation that would provide family farmers, ranchers, and other moderate-income landowners with a permanent incentive to donate development rights to their land. By providing tax benefits to landowners who choose conservation, the bill would help preserve our nation's cherished farm lands and open spaces for future generations. The bill has received broad bipartisan support in the House of Representatives, with 251 original co-sponsors. Under Thompson and Gerlach's bill, landowners who donate a conservation easement would maintain ownership and management of the land, but forgo their rights to develop the land in the future. The Conservation Easement Incentive Act would make permanent a tax incentive for donating development rights that will otherwise expire at the end of 2011. Eliminating this ever-changing deadline will give more farmers, ranchers, and forest owners the assurance they need to choose land conservation over development. "Tax incentives can be a powerful tool to help green our economy and protect our natural resources," said Thompson, D-Napa. "Conservation easements have been particularly effective, encouraging landowners to conserve millions of acres of farm lands and scenic open spaces. By making this important conservation tool permanent, my bill would help preserve even more land for future generations."...more

These same Congress critters are funding agencies that are regulating ag producers out of business and they are supporting tax laws that prohibit the inheriting of these properties by family. Those are the problems that need to be fixed. Instead they try to skirt these government-created problems by starting another "gimme" government program. I hope I'm still around when the public finally wakes up to these shenanigans.

Obama administration buying 101 Chevrolet Volts despite their high cost

The Obama administration is buying 116 Chevrolet Volts and other plug-in electric vehicles -- despite their high cost -- and installing charging stations in five cities. All but 15 of the electric vehicles will be General Motors' Volt extended-range electric. The General Services Administration didn't say what price it is going to pay, but the Volt compact cars are priced at $41,000 for consumers. Although the move is aimed at spurring electric-car adoption, it's not that the Volt was a slow seller: GM is basically sold out of the car through the end of the year because of limited production. At least the electrics will be pittance compared to the 650,000 vehicles that the government manages overall in its fleet. The charging stations for government vehicles will be installed in Washington, Detroit, Los Angeles, San Diego and San Francisco, the Associated Press reports. The moves are mostly symbolic to show the government is doing its part in trying to reduce America's dependence on oil...more

No, they are doing their best to waste taxpayers' money. Besides, what they are really buying are votes, not Volts.

Americans say 'no' to electrics despite high gas prices

Nearly six of 10 Americans — 57% — say they won't buy an all-electric car no matter the price of gas, according to a USA TODAY/Gallup Poll. That's a stiff headwind just as automakers are developing electrics to help meet tighter federal rules that could require their fleets to average as high as 62 miles per gallon in 2025. And President Obama has set a goal of a million electric vehicles in use in the U.S. by 2015. The anti-electric sentiment unmasked by the poll shows that pure electrics — defined in the poll question as "an electric car that you could only drive for a limited number of miles at one time" — could have trouble getting a foothold in the U.S...more

Hatch, Barrasso Bill Helps Ranchers by Preserving Grazing Rights

WASHINGTON –Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) has joined Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) in introducing legislation that will bring greater certainly to ranchers and farmers in rural Utah and other states who graze livestock in the face of constant legal challenges from environmental extremists. The Grazing Improvement Act of 2011 (S. 1129) helps ranching communities by preserving the use of livestock grazing permits. It provides more flexibility to the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and Forest Service, allowing them to continue issuing grazing permits while required environmental analyses are pending. Under current law, livestock grazing permits expire after 10 years, and a new environmental analysis is mandatory before a new one can be issued. Unfortunately, federal agencies have been hamstrung in renewing permits because of the backlog of environmentalist lawsuits aimed at delaying the process. For more than a decade, grazing permit holders and public land agencies have relied on Congress to temporarily grant continued use of grazing permits every year. The Grazing Improvement Act changes this by allowing the BLM and Forest Service to continue issuing grazing permits while an environmental analysis is being completed. It also provides more flexibility with categorical exclusions and other needed reforms to grazing permits...
Press Release

Who Owns ‘Big Oil'? Not Who You Think

According to a report published in 2007 by Sonecon, an economic advisory firm that analyses U.S. markets and public policy, corporate management owns only 1.5 percent of the U.S. oil and natural gas industry. The rest is owned by tens of millions of Americans through retirement accounts (14 percent) and pension funds (26 percent). Mutual funds or other firms account for 29.5 percent ownership and individual investors own 23 percent of oil stock holdings. Institutional investors hold the remaining 5 percent...more

Food makers resist lawmakers’ proposal for guidelines in marketing to children

The food and advertising industries are pushing back against an Obama administration proposal that calls for food makers to voluntarily limit the way they market sugary cereals, salty snacks and other foods to children and teens. From yogurt makers to candy manufacturers, they lined up Tuesday to tell regulators that the first-ever proposed guidelines for marketing to children would not stop the childhood obesity problem but would certainly hurt their businesses and abridge their right to free speech. The guidelines, ordered by Congress and written by a team from the Federal Trade Commission, the Food and Drug Administration, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Agriculture Department, ignited a debate about the role of marketing in soaring obesity rates among children. The far-reaching guidelines would cover a wide array of marketing, from traditional media such as television, print and radio to pop-up ads on Internet sites. They would apply to social media, toys in fast-food meals, ads shown in movie theaters , sponsorship of athletic teams and philanthropic activities, as well as product placement in movies and video games...more

First they will regulate the food makers...and that won't work.
Then they will regulate the parents...and that won't work.
Then they will regulate the children...and that won' work.

In the meantime new programs will be created, billions of dollars will be spent and they will be praised for "doing something" about obesity.

In the end, folks will be fatter and less free.

Stephen Harrigan's mesmerizing tale 'Remember' weaves ties of people, places

It's not too early to anoint "Remember Ben Clayton" as one of the best novels of 2011. Author Stephen Harrigan has written a moving, profound book about art, the wages of war and family, brilliantly condensed into 352 pages. Skillfully composed, emotionally engaging, the story (set just after World War I ends) of a Texas rancher trying to reclaim his son by the commission of a statue is alternately heartbreaking and uplifting. Like Ian McEwan's "Atonement" and Michael Chabon's "The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay," Harrigan magically re-creates a point in history while engaging readers with a mesmerizing story...more

Over Regulation All Across The Nation Blues - Music Video

Check this out from NCBA.

Song Of The Day #586

Instead of Swingin' Monday Ranch Radio will have Swingin' Tuesday this shortened week. To get that blood flowing this morning we bring you the Rhythm Rascals blasting out Milenburg Joys.

U.S. Senate report: Mexico violence is not slowing down

As gun battles raged across western Mexico this week, a new U.S. Senate report warns the United States must do more to bolster the south-of-the-border war on drug-trafficking cartels. “Violence in Mexico continues unhindered without any signs of slowing,” states an accompanying letter signed by the seven members of the U.S. Senate's Caucus on International Narcotics Control, including Texas' Sen. John Cornyn. Skirmishes more akin to guerrilla warfare than underworld score-settling killed dozens of people and drove several thousand more from their homes this week as gunmen battled both criminal rivals and security forces. Mexico has about 450,000 law enforcement personnel, notes the report, which contends police remain under trained, under equipped and that corruption runs rampant. Among the glaring shortcomings pointed out is the need by both governments to learn more about how the cartels sneak home between $18 billion and $39 billion in cash proceeds each year: “Trucks filled with bulk cash literally are being driven across the U.S.-Mexico border,” notes the report. “Far too little is known about the financial structures and procedures of Mexican drug-trafficking organizations,” it continues...more

29 dead after drug gangs battle in Mexico

A gunbattle between rival drug gangs in western Mexico left 29 bodies in fake military uniforms heaped across a roadway and inside bullet-riddled vehicles in the Pacific coast state of Nayarit, the army said Thursday. The bodies, all male, were found Wednesday scattered around 14 shot-up pickup trucks and sport utility vehicles, two of which had bulletproofing. Television images of the scene near the town of Ruiz showed what appeared to have been a convoy of cartel vehicles that was ambushed or engaged by another column of gunmen on a stretch of rural highway. Military-style boots, bulletproof vests, hand grenades and thousands of rounds of ammunition were found at the scene...more

Sunday, May 29, 2011

DHS: An Acceptable Level of Illegal Migration; a Downsized Border Patrol?

A variety of Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials on the US border with Mexico interviewed by Homeland Security Today offered a candidly astonishing revelation. They said because of the decrease in apprehensions of illegals and the increase in seizures of narcotics trying to be smuggled into the country, Department of Homeland Security (DHS) leaders in Washington, DC are mulling over the notion of whether, as a matter of official policy, there's an acceptable level of illegal migration into the United States - and whether the CBP workforce needs to be slashed as a result. The officials said the decrease in apprehensions has caused some officials to believe that some Border Patrol stations and outposts and CBP operations along the southern border are “over-manned” and not as busy as they’d been in recent years. Some of the officials even said "things" have had to be "found ... to [keep some agents] busy." But officials and former officials said the notion that there’s an acceptable level of illegal migration fails to take into account the lack of sufficient numbers of CBP agents at land Ports of Entry (PoEs); not enough Border Patrol agents on patrol in the most inhospitable areas of the northern border; and Border Patrol’s insufficient policing of federally owned lands on both borders because Border Patrol agents aren’t allowed to routinely patrol these lands without first “jumping through all sorts of environmental and other hoops," as an agent complained. Consequently, according to senior Border Patrol agents and officials Homeland Security Today interviewed, there are significant stretches of land along both the US/Mexico and US/Canadian border that aren’t adequately patrolled by boots on the ground...more

A must read for those interested in this issue. Also please note the following:

Ferguson was referring to the discovery earlier this month in Mexico of more than 500 persons in two 18-wheelers bound for the the US border. According to the Chiapas, Mexico, Attorney General's office, specialized X-ray machines that were used on the two tractor-trailer rigs at a checkpoint at Chiapas detected the illegal aliens, who were from El Salvador, Ecuador, China, Japan, Guatemala, India, Nepal, Honduras and the Dominican Republic. The illegals represented a $3.5 million cargo. Another tractor-trailer packed with 219 people was discovered in January. The two trucks' drivers tried to speed away from the Chiapas checkpoint, but they were quickly apprehended by law enforcement. The illegal immigrants reportedly told Mexican authorities they’d paid $7,000 to be transported and smuggled into the US. Mexican authorities said some have paid as much as $30,000, and that the illegal human-trafficking business into America operated by Mexican transnational criminal organizations (TCOs) is a $6.6 billion annual business.

TCO is government-speak for Drug Cartels. The drug cartels are fighting over the routes into the U.S not only for drug trafficking but also for human trafficking. And now that they control the border look at the prices they are charging for illegal entry - $7,000 to $30,000 per entrant.

The cartels are seeking routes into the U.S., especially on "federally owned lands on both borders because Border Patrol agents aren’t allowed to routinely patrol these lands." Bingaman's Bandito Boulevard, created by his wilderness legislation, will be very lucrative for them.

HT: Hugh Holub

Cowgirl Sass & Savvy

Any idea where he is?

by Julie Carter

The agriculture census taker was more than just a little determined to catch up with the head honcho at the ranch and showed up regularly trying to pin him down.
He'd ask the missus. "Do you know where your husband is?"

She'd smile kindly and think to herself, "You've got to be kidding me."

When a cowboy heads out in the morning, he may have a semblance of a plan for what he intends to get done in the day, but rarely does it ever work out that way.
A typical scenario would go something like this.

"I'm going to fix that hole in the fence on the north side of the Bull Pasture," he told his wife.

"Just how big is that hole?" she queried. "Didn't you do that yesterday?"

That had been his plan, but instead, this is what happened.

He'd left the house with that very project in mind, but on the way, he saw a prolapsed cow. So he went back to the house, got a horse and a trailer and herded the cow to the nearest corrals. He loaded her in the trailer and headed toward town and the vet.

On the way, he spotted his neighbor having trouble getting a very angry bull into a trailer. So he stopped to help. Noticing his neighbor had a broken spring on his trailer, he mentioned it and the pair loaded up in the pickup and went to get parts to fix it. That trip also involved stopping to fix a flat on the pickup they were driving.

After they got back and the trailer was fixed, the neighbor asks, "Got any cold beer on you?"

"No," said the cowboy, but they agreed it was probably closer to town to get cold beer than back to the house, so off to the Quik Stop Burrito and Beer store they go.

In summation, that would be the reason the fence didn't get fixed that day.

Mule-ish appetites

The rancher was headed to town for his weekly mail pickup and to buy a few groceries for himself and his hired hand. The list from the hired hand's wife was written in Spanish and he was a little concerned about selecting the correct grocery items.

However, the grocer was able to help him translate and the shopping went quickly. He loaded a dozen bags of groceries into the back of the pickup and headed toward the ranch.

A few miles out of town, an old buddy that he hadn't seen in years flagged him down. They pulled off to the side of the road, visited a spell and then decided to continue catching up at a local watering hole just up the road a ways.

The afternoon wore into the early evening and they decided it was time to get on home. At his pickup, the rancher found complete mayhem among the grocery sacks.
Flour was strung out over everything, cans rolled to the tailgate, heads of lettuce torn apart and left with but a few leaves along edges of the pickup bed. The afternoon shopping results had been turned into a garbage pile.

It seemed a rancher local to the bar area had some mules running in the pasture surrounding the establishment. While the two friends were tipping cool ones and telling tall tales, the mules had helped themselves to the groceries. What they didn't eat, they tore up.

Julie can be reached for comment at jcarternm@gmail.com

Safety On The Border

The Federal Response to Employee Safety
S.1024 Revelations
Discrimination of Values
By Stephen L. Wilmeth

     The legislation, “The Organ Mountain – Desert Peaks Wilderness Act” included in S.1689 by Senators Bingaman and Udall died without action in 2010.  Now, the legislation has been reintroduced as S.1024.  Once again, the citizenry must endure the ramifications of the discussion and the divisive process.  Bingaman supporters are already reminding their base of the wonder of such a legacy for the senator.
     Border Patrol Insight
     The fact that Senator Bingaman has had to address the border security issue in this iteration is very apparent.  In the news releases surrounding S.1024, the majority of the wording now deals with that issue.  That wasn’t the case in similar releases accompanying S.1689 when Mr. Bingaman and his staff left the matter silent.
     Much information has come to light since then and Mr. Bingaman can no longer dismiss the matter without qualification.  Evidence even this week has come from David Aguilar, Acting Deputy Commissioner of Customs and Border Protection (CBP).   In his tour of the Arizona border, Mr. Aguilar said, “it is a third country that joins Mexico and the United States.”  Experience shows that the Bingaman legislation will expand that “third country”.
     Recent comments by the Tucson Sector Chief also add another twist to the debate.  Realize that only about 25% of the total numbers of illegals breaching the border are apprehended, but he has divulged that CBP can apprehend about 80% of those illegals when unencumbered access is allowed within five miles of the border.  Most of the others are apprehended within a 25 mile distance, but, beyond that, illegals have gained entry into the United States.  What the Bingaman bill will clearly do is to allow the five mile metric to take place, but will disallow the 25 mile component. 
    What is silent is what happens when designated Wilderness or de facto managed wilderness is installed.  The nearest example is firmly embedded 70 miles west in New Mexico’s Bootheel.  It is there that intrusions, as measured by apprehensions, are running ten times the rest of the El Paso Sector on a border mile basis.  The de facto wilderness restrictions installed there clearly demonstrate the real risk in the Bingaman legislation.
     To the Book
     The danger of the legislation is no longer a message from the bill’s opponents.  It is being elevated within the federal land agencies in protocol adjustments and operating procedures.  The best source to evaluate the concern the agencies are placing on the escalating danger is in the new interagency safety training handbook, Borderlands Field Work.  This safety guide was written for federal employees by federal employees whose duties require them to be exposed to the real border story.
     Inside the front cover, an “Incident Contact Information” record can be kept.  It should be noted that of 11 generalized categories 10 were reserved for emergency related responders.  Those responder references ranged from reporting border crossers to notification requirements for each incident. 
     Next, there was an exposé on the generalized characteristics of the border.  The sentence that gets your attention is “the land is characterized by a harsh desert environment and illegal activities associated with the border.”  It went on to say that, in addition to the physical characteristics of the border, federal employees must be prepared to “face dangers including armed confrontations with drug smugglers . . .”
    Locals could view the preparatory suggestions for a new federal agent with more than a bit of disdain.  “Prepare yourself mentally and physically” gets your attention.  Likewise, the required individual preparation by employees for “Job Hazard Analysis (JHA) or Risk Assessment (RA)” would have been well worth scrutiny, but no examples were given.
     The mention of the fact that a day in the life of a federal employee might be “physically strenuous” and will take an “emotional toll” perhaps prompted a bit of stronger cynical response, but when it was learned that the feds can seek counseling as to how to improve their general physical and mental health in such matters at a special website created just for them, www.mypyramid.gov, local citizens are left a bit dazed.
     The field guide was a continuing plethora of insightful advice especially the portions devoted to dealing with stress, but the little buzz word, “Yikes” kept confounding the reading.  It was learned that “Yikes” was nothing more than a synonym for “Hazards” that the featured federal employees “Heebie and Jeebie” might encounter.  Heebie and Jeebie were reminded that “Yikes” can always be reduced by “your preparation, knowledge and skill, physical and mental fitness, your compassion for others, and the environment . . . all depicted in the Circle of Stones”.  Huh?
     Onward the information rolled with stops at charts and skill set development checklists that would take half day intervals to complete.  It was demonstrated the employees can even learn how to employ techniques to scare mountain lions off the trails if they are encountered.  Bottom line for the big cats and other border encounters such as “try to remember how long it has been since you last knew where your were” was for federal employees to “hike, walk, or work in groups and make noise” . . . !
     The public safety aspects of the border finally came to life on page 77 and, then, 83 when the issues of S.1024 are elevated into perspective.  The introductive narrative included “the potential for (federal) employees to encounter drug smugglers in the borderlands is heightened because drug smugglers transport large quantities of drugs across Federal, State, and Tribal lands.  The smugglers intentionally use remote locations for transportation routes . . .” For the record, that is exactly what Senators Bingaman and Udall have assured us will not happen with their wilderness legislation.
    The “Yikes” continue with topics of “Avoiding Illegal Immigrants”, “Encountering scouts”, “Dealing with trash”, “Abandoned vehicles”, “Hazardous materials”, “Evasive drivers and High Speed pursuits”, “Decoys” and on and on.  They were also explicitly given authority to break certain state laws.  For example, when camping, they were told they could camp within 200’ of any water source even though New Mexico law prohibits any camping within 300 yards of any man made water supplies. 
     As a standard default, the federal employees were instructed to consult additional websites for help, reduced stress, and assistance in matters of emergency, but always . . . “watch your step”, “deal with criticism objectively”, and “trust that problems will work themselves out”!
     The citizen left standing
     The book ends on page 110.  In all those pages, there is not a single word or reference to the existence of private citizens who must address their duties, responsibilities and investments on the same lands.  Not a rancher, not a hunter, not an off road enthusiast, and not a resident who resides in a remote dwelling is mentioned. In terms of any federal reference of care or concern for stakeholders or private citizens, the citizen reader is left with no other choice but to assume he or she is strictly on his or her own while the feds install a safety net for their employees.
     Why does environmentalism trump other values?
     That is exactly the continuing frustration that unprotected citizens feel when the subject of Mr. Bingaman’s “Organ Peak – Desert Peaks Wilderness Act” is brought up.  The record in Arizona clearly demonstrates that every time designated wilderness legislation on or near the border is enacted human and drug smuggling increases.  There is not a single example that offers a contrary result.
     This whole affair is a growing awareness of the preferential treatment of environmental and ecological values.  Why else would the senators disregard all opposition? 
     S.1024 prompts the need to take this discussion in a new direction.  The question Americans must start asking is why are environmental and ecological values managed preferentially over the other values set forth in the organic legislation of these federal lands?
     FLPMA dictated that scientific, historic, scenic, air and atmospheric, environmental, ecological, water resource, and archeological values were equal and protected under the law.  Each of the values was important, but environmental and ecological values have been elevated in intent and policy.
    Americans can come to their own conclusions why six of the promised eight values have been minimized, but there are ramifications.  The Arizona Border is not just a dangerous place . . . “a third country”.  The Arizona Border has the foundational characteristics to put the entire public safety of the United States at even higher levels of risk.      
     It is time for a fundamental change in the entire discussion.  It is time to elevate all eight values to equal status.
     It is also time for land agencies to address the problem.  A review of the border lands’ safety manual is just one of the many places to start. Modify it, and . . . characterize the adult world that exists and for which it was intended. 
     There are legitimate reasons why eight values were promised.  Each of those values has a core group of American stakeholders at risk or exposed to processes that have experienced value discrimination.  Six of the eight have been forgotten.  When that is rectified . . . and the cartel war addressed . . . the border will be a safer place.

Stephen L. Wilmeth is a rancher from southern New Mexico.  “Pick any of the silent values set forth in FLPMA and consider an aspect of the border that reflects its silence.  It is an amazing process.”
     First, the discussion must start with recent agency protocol changes for employees who must travel into those areas.  Among the many changes instituted by government agencies include, but are not limited to the following:
  1. NMDA’s Weights and Measures employees must be accompanied by an armed escort entering all lands bounded by I10 to the east and north from Dona Ana County to the Arizona line.
  2. All NRCS employees can no longer enter into what is being described as the danger zone along the border without a GPS transmitter and a fellow employee.
  3. BLM employees are disallowed south of HW 92 in the San Pedro NCA without armed escort.
  4. Federal inspectors will no longer enter Mexico to inspect cattle.  Private contractors must bring the sealed loads across the border for such inspections.
  5. At Organ Pipe, federal employees are alerted to danger on the basis of color coded levels of danger.  If red alerts are present, federal employees must have armed escorts.

Soros’ Lefty Media Reaches More Than 300 Million Every Month

Books, newspapers, radio stations, TV stations, websites and cutting edge videos. The pieces of the George Soros media empire are as diverse as the nations of the world and just as widespread. From nakedly partisan left-wing media like Think Progress, the blog for the Center for American Progress, and a TV show on MSNBC, to the supposedly impartial National Public Radio, Soros has influence on the flow of information worldwide. It gives him incredible influence. Every month, reporters, writers and bloggers at the many outlets he funds easily reach more than 330 million people around the globe. The U.S. Census estimates the population of the entire United States to be just less than 310 million. That’s roughly the entire population of the United States with the population of Australia thrown in for good measure – every single month. This information is part of an upcoming report by the Media Research Center’s Business & Media Institute which has been looking into George Soros and his influence on the media...more

Trew: 'Tumbleweeds' took outlaws to prison

Among the more famous conveyances adapted and used by man were the "tumbleweed wagons." Actually, they were only common canvas covered farm wagons put to use hauling captured prisoners being taken to the Fort Smith prison. This Western District Prison, presided over by Federal Judge Parker, oversaw the Indian Lands, consisting of 19 counties in rough wild country. It contained the dregs of the outlaw world having fled the fast dwindling law-abiding West. The judge had 200 federal marshals hired to clean up the problem. The miscreants were so numerous and the marshals so tough and successful, that expeditions were organized with prison wagons, accompanied by chuck wagons to feed the prisoners and guards and supply wagons to haul food and water. The country was thinly settled with few towns around for service. The entourage followed the hard-riding marshals who scattered across the rough timbered lands acting on tips by the public who mostly wanted the outlaws removed. The title of tumbleweed wagons came from the erratic turns and side trips made as word came of arrests made by the marshals. Most expeditions began with one wagon loaded with handcuffs, leg shackles and log chains. Next came a chuck wagon, supply wagon and a tough selection of guards mounted on horseback and heavily armed...more

Song Of The Day #585

Ranch Radio's Gospel tune will close out the week of autoharp music with Precious Memories by Neal Waters and Heidi Cerrigione.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

NM horse dies from equine herpes virus

A Bernalillo County horse died Thursday from a dangerous and spreading viral disease that now appears to have infected a horse in Torrance County, the New Mexico Department of Agriculture reported Friday. “Two horses in central New Mexico have died from the virus. One horse in Lea County has recovered and two in the state are still ill,” State Veterinarian Dr. Dave Fly said in a statement released by NMDA. “All cases being reported involve horses already placed in one of the three quarantined facilities we have in the state.” The outbreak of equine herpes virus EHV-1 and equine herpes virus myeloencephalopathy EHM is believed to have started with horses that attended the National Cutting Horse Association Championships in Ogden, Utah, earlier this month. A tot Fifteen horses from New Mexico attended the show. “Although the horses that attended the show have been quarantined for several days, there is still a threat of secondary exposures that may have occurred at other events or by horses that have not yet been identified,” Fly said. “We believe that an additional seven to 10 days is needed before normal equine movement is recommended.”...more

Friday, May 27, 2011

Forget Libya - Obama threatens "No-Fly Zone" over Texas

The Lone Star state's efforts to protect its citizens from the wandering hands of the federal behemoth fail as the administration says the Constitution gives it the right to touch our "junk." Once leaders such as Patrick Henry proudly proclaimed, "Give me liberty or give me death!" Now our government offers us the choice of scanning our bodies in an arguably unsafe manner or submitting to an enhanced "pat down" usually reserved for law enforcement officers apprehending criminals. The Texas of Gov. Rick Perry has objected — as it has in other areas of federal encroachment or neglect, such as with ObamaCare, EPA regulations, border security, etc. — that grandmothers and grandchildren flying from Dallas to Houston had to submit to this without what the courts would call "probable cause." A bill passed by the Texas House of Representatives 138—0, HR 1937, explicitly made it a felony for a security officer to intentionally touch someone's private parts — even outside their clothing — "as a condition of travel or as a condition of entry into a public place" unless the agent could show probable cause...more

So far, so good. Texans protecting the rights of their fellow Texans. The bill passed their House 138-0, so what on earth happened?

When the bill was on its way to the state Senate, U.S. attorney John Murphy, acting on behalf of the Transportation Security Administration, drafted a letter, which was sent to Texas lawmakers, including Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, House Speaker Joe Strauss, the House Clerk, and the Senate Secretary. The letter stated that if the Texas Senate passed the bill the TSA would halt all flights leaving Texas. Federal intimidation of a state challenging the authority of a federal government created by the states held sway.
Obama threatened a "No-Fly Zone" over Texas and they caved. In 1836 a band of Texians, out numbered almost 10 to one, took on Santa Ana at the Alamo. They lost but a month later the Texians defeated the Mexican Army at San Jacinto. Fast forward to 2011: Texas receives a piece of paper from Santa Obama and they scurry for cover.
Republican Dan Patrick, who was the sponsor of the bill in the Senate, withdrew it, telling the Texas Tribune: "There was a time in this state, there was a time in our history, where we stood up to the federal government and we did not cower to rules and policies that invaded the privacy of Texans."

No large army, no cannons, just a piece of paper. And look at the power exercised by the feds against a state and it's people. Want to fly? Then bend over.

Little Tommy You-Dull displays his ignorance once again

States News Service
May 26, 2011

The following information was released by New Mexico Senator Tom Udall:

U.S. Senators Jeff Bingaman and Tom Udall today announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture has approved an emergency application that allows ranchers from Curry County to graze their livestock on federal lands not typically used for grazing. The senators wrote a letter of support for the application.

Due to severe drought and wildfires, there is little forage available for livestock grazing. As a result, Bingaman and Udall wrote to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack urging him to quickly approve a request to allow ranchers from the following counties to graze their livestock on Conservation Reserve Lands: Colfax, Union, Harding, Quay, Guadalupe, De Baca, Curry, Roosevelt, Lea, Torrance and Santa Fe. So far, USDA has granted approval for 154,685 acres in Curry County, but the senators are hopeful approval for the other counties will be forthcoming...more or see Udall's press release here.

Even when he's trying to do right (which isn't very often), Little Tommy You-Dull just can't get it accurate.

U.S. Senators Jeff Bingaman and Tom Udall today announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture has approved an emergency application that allows ranchers from Curry County to graze their livestock on federal lands not typically used for grazing.

You-Dull has always had a hard time distinguishing between private property and federal lands. You see CRP lands are private lands that are enrolled in a federal program, they are not federal lands.

Someone please explain to You-Dull that just because I'm enrolled in the Social Security program that doesn't make my house federal property.

Poor Little Tommy You-Dull.  Every time I look at him all I see is dark at the end of the tunnel.

Tester defends Forest Jobs Act

Under attack by some environmentalists, ranchers and outdoor recreational groups, Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., on Wednesday defended his ambitious plan to rescue Montana's flagging timber industry by opening thousands of acres of national forestland for logging, while protecting hundreds of thousands more as wilderness. The Forest Jobs and Recreation Act not only would create jobs, establish permanent recreation areas and preserve ecologically sensitive land, Tester told members of a Senate Energy and Natural Resources subcommittee Wednesday, but it also would resolve long-simmering differences between factions in Montana who came together to forge this compromise. Unlike Tester's last version, this bill has the full backing of the Obama administration. Agriculture Undersecretary Harris Sherman told senators that Tester made some concessions, and that only "largely technical" concerns remain. Tester's bill is not out of the woods. It still must get through the committee, and its chairman, New Mexico Democrat Jeff Bingaman, has expressed reservations about it. Tester said he does not have Bingaman's support at this time...more

It's green enough for Obama, but still doesn't satisfy Bingaman. Even a fellow Democrat from the West can't work with Bingaman when it comes to Wilderness. Tell Tester there's a whole lot of folks in Dona Ana County, NM who know just how he feels.

Still Hiding The Decline?

Alarmist academics are being forced to show their work and they don't like it. Do they fear that a web of deception will unravel if their data are made public? A state judge has ordered the University of Virginia to cough up documents that pertain to the climate change research of Michael Mann, a former professor known for the hockey stick chart that supposedly shows the earth warming sharply over the last 100 years. Mann's response has been to accuse "fossil fuel industry-funded climate change deniers" with harassing the university, NASA "and scientific institutions with these frivolous attacks." Across the Atlantic, Paul Nurse, head of a scientific group, is moaning about how unfair it is for British scientists to put up with freedom-of-information laws. Requests for drafts and notes, he says, are intimidating and "will consume a huge amount of time" to comply with. If the scientists who are pushing the clown's nose of a global warming panic button aren't willing to share their work and show how they reached their positions, the only logical conclusion is that they are hiding something. If not, then a full release of their documents would back them up. Because their work influences public policy that affects lives, the public needs to know what the scientists who are predicting doom have been up to. Taxpayers who fund the public universities where research is being done deserve a full accounting, too. The many whose lives have been and will be touched by global warming-related legislation have earned the right to see behind the curtain, as well...more

Montana ranchers push for Korea trade deal

Eager to expand beef markets, Montana ranchers are throwing their weight behind a pending trade agreement with South Korea. The agreement, under review in Congress, would reduce tariffs and increase annual exports of U.S. beef by as much as $1.8 billion once fully implemented, according to some estimates. “Ranchers must have access to the additional demand for beef from consumers that live outside the United States,” said Errol Rice, a fifth-generation Montana rancher who serves as the executive vice president of the Montana Stockgrowers Association. “Our ranch families’ livelihoods depend on exports, which are our most dynamic and vibrant opportunities for long-term sustainability.” Rice was speaking Thursday to the Senate Finance Committee, which oversees trade agreements and decides whether to recommend full Senate approval for such pacts. The panel is chaired by Sen. Max Baucus, a Montana Democrat who was reluctant to move on the Korean agreement unless the Obama administration stepped up pressure on South Korea to ease restrictions on American beef. Those restrictions had been in place for several years because of concerns related to mad cow disease...more

WTO seen putting chill on U.S. COOL

Claims that a new preliminary World Trade Organization ruling favours Canada's 2009 challenge of U.S. country-of-origin labelling (COOL) have popped up from all manner of sources -- just not from official Ottawa or Washington or the WTO itself. Sources reporting at least a partial victory for Canada's challenge include the Washington-based National Cattlemen's Beef Association (NCBA), which on Thursday said a preliminary ruling had been handed down last Friday (May 20) to the parties involved. The NCBA, which has long been on record as opposing mandatory COOL, claims the ruling from the WTO's Dispute Settlement Body finds COOL requirements violate provisions of the WTO's agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT). The WTO body "ruled U.S. COOL requirements do not fulfill the stated U.S. objective of helping inform consumers of the origin of meat and, consequently, violate the TBT agreement," the NCBA said Thursday. "It is also very important to note that this ruling is very much preliminary and all of the details are not yet known," NCBA president Bill Donald said in the association's release. The NCBA said the WTO will "reportedly make the ruling public sometime in September," after which the U.S. government gets two months to decide whether to file an appeal...more

Ranchers witness rare birth

Around 2 p.m. on May 3, ranchers Gordon and Rosalind Alger checked in on one of their Charolais cows due to give birth. "It was a warm, beautiful day," Rosalind recalled. "She was standing there and there were two calves standing near her." "Twins!" she said at the time. The Algers took the baby bulls to the corral, then walked back to the field. "We saw a third baby bull standing all by himself," she said. The Algers led him to the corral to be with the others, then took the cow to join them. The cow walked up to the third bull right away, she said. "It never once crossed our minds she had three," Rosalind said. "This will never happen again in my lifetime." The first three nights, the triplets snuggled close together in the hay. But on May 6, the Algers separated one of the bulls from his mother and put him in the barn. "The cow's barely got enough milk for two," Gordon said...more

Song Of The Day #584

Still featuring autoharp music, Ranch Radio brings you Deep Elm Blues by Bill Martin & Joe Riggs.

All the tunes this week are available on the 3 CD box set Autoharp Legacy.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

There’s a Secret Patriot Act, Senator Says

You may think you understand how the Patriot Act allows the government to spy on its citizens. Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) says it’s worse than you’ve heard.  Congress is set to reauthorize three controversial provisions of the surveillance law as early as Thursday. But Wyden says that what Congress will renew is a mere fig leaf for a far broader legal interpretation of the Patriot Act that the government keeps to itself — entirely in secret. Worse, there are hints that the government uses this secret interpretation to gather what one Patriot-watcher calls a “dragnet” for massive amounts of information on private citizens; the government portrays its data-collection efforts much differently. “We’re getting to a gap between what the public thinks the law says and what the American government secretly thinks the law says,” Wyden tells Danger Room in an interview in his Senate office. “When you’ve got that kind of a gap, you’re going to have a problem on your hands.” What exactly does Wyden mean by that? As a member of the intelligence committee, he laments that he can’t precisely explain without disclosing classified information. But one component of the Patriot Act in particular gives him immense pause: the so-called “business-records provision,” which empowers the FBI to get businesses, medical offices, banks and other organizations to turn over any “tangible things” it deems relevant to a security investigation. “It is fair to say that the business-records provision is a part of the Patriot Act that I am extremely interested in reforming,” Wyden says. “I know a fair amount about how it’s interpreted, and I am going to keep pushing, as I have, to get more information about how the Patriot Act is being interpreted declassified. I think the public has a right to public debate about it.” That’s why Wyden and his  colleague Sen. Mark Udall offered an amendment on Tuesday to the Patriot Act reauthorization. The amendment, first reported by Marcy Wheeler, blasts the administration for “secretly reinterpret[ing] public laws and statutes.” It would compel the Attorney General to “publicly disclose the United States Government’s official interpretation of the USA Patriot Act.” And, intriguingly, it refers to “intelligence-collection authorities” embedded in the Patriot Act that the administration briefed the Senate about in February...more

Texas Rancher's Pictures Are Worth 1,000 Words About Death and Danger at the Border

This is about a rancher who lives 69 miles north of the border with Mexico.

Please note this is happening on a ranch that far north of the border in a private lands State where the Border Patrol has unfettered access.

We New Mexicans shouldn't worry though. After all, in his wilderness bill Senator Bingaman grants the Border Patrol access for the first five miles north of the border. From there it turns into Bingaman's Bandito Boulevard where no federal, state or local law enforcement can patrol.

Below is the video or you can go here for the video report from the Greta Van Sustern Show on Fox News and/or read the entire transcript.

Montana shines light on fracking industry, but watchdogs see shadows

A state board is moving to require oil and gas companies in Montana to publically disclose what chemicals they pump thousands of feet underground to release fossil fuels trapped there. The rule dealing with hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, comes as the American public has become suspicious of the drilling procedure that some say puts ground water at risk. However, while environmental watchdogs see it as a first step for a state that now requires very little in the way of disclosure, they also worry that it provides loopholes for industry - in particular a provision allowing companies to keep a chemical secret if it is deemed a trade secret. Under the proposed rule, companies could either file the chemical names with the state board or publish them on a nationwide website, FracFocus.org, which allows people to search for specific wells by state, county or well number. The website shows what chemicals are used and in what proportion in each well. "As a rancher who has leased the minerals, I expect to know what chemicals are being pumped into the ground so that I can protect my water resources from possible contamination," said Paul Hawks, a Melville-area rancher...more

TSA Pokey Pokey

From Reason TV

Song Of The Day #583

Ranch Radio brings you more autoharp music with a beautiful rendition of St. Louis Blues by Bill Bryant.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

SUVs saved Chrysler

Chrysler and the White House will celebrate the Detroit icon's $5.9 billion repayment of government loans Tuesday in a ceremony that will be hailed by both sides for the same reason: The government bailout had become a liability for both entities...more

Recall that as part of the bailout, Obama insisted that green-friendly Fiat be brought in to manage Chrysler, "to reform the immoral, gas-swigging, SUV-dependent Chrysler."

And the results were?

...the resurgence of America's appetite for trucks that has brought Chrysler back from the dead. Chrysler Group reported sales were up 17 percent to 1.1 million vehicles in 2010 on the strength of its wildly popular, redesigned Jeep Grand Cherokee and Dodge Durango SUVs.

And what did Fiat's CEO learn from all this?

For CEO Marchionne, the SUVs success in the U.S. market has been a revelation and he is planning to expand the SUV lineup into Europe with Alfa Romeo and Maserati-badged trucks.

As a result of Obama's bailout, there will be large, energy inefficient, pollutin' and earthwarmin' SUVs and trucks running all over Europe.  Gotta love it.

I propose they have Obama lanes on the Autobahn, reserved for SUVs and pickup trucks that travel at least 100 mph.  Yeehaw!

Now we know that big government bailouts are not only bad for the economy and hard on the taxpayer, they are bad for the environment too.  Kind of a government oil spill if you see what I mean.

No doubt all of this has given Obama a bad case of the bailout blues. Any song writers out there?

White House: No more full-size vehicles

President Barack Obama has an order for federal agencies: No more driving full-size sedans or SUVs unless it is absolutely necessary. That means fewer Chevrolet Impalas and more Cruzes. Fewer Ford Taurus sedans and more Ford Fiestas. More federal workers driving around in smaller vehicles rather than gas-guzzling SUVs. Within six months, "any executive fleet vehicles that are larger than a midsize sedan or do not comply with alternative fueled vehicle requirements must be disclosed on agency websites," the order said. It is part of Obama's plan to make the 600,000-vehicle federal fleet smaller and more fuel efficient...more

Why just vehicles Mr. Obama? Let's make the entire gov't "smaller and more...efficient."

My, what a horrible punishment: disclosure of noncompliance must be posted on the agency's website! If that were to happen, can't you just see all those federal employees walking around with their heads down because of the shame.

Now, for a more fuel efficient federal workforce I would propose as a beginning that all IRS agents ride donkeys.

You take it from there...give me your ideas.

Salazar alleges ‘coercion’ from Vitter on drilling, asks Senate to nix pay-raise bill

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar is urging Senate leaders to set aside legislation to increase his salary, arguing that Sen. David Vitter’s (R-La.) threat to block the bill unless Salazar speeds up oil drilling permits amounts to “attempted coercion.” Salazar’s request — spelled out in a Tuesday letter obtained by The Hill — comes as the Democratic leadership attacks Vitter’s action by suggesting it could amount to bribery. "This crosses the line. The bribery statute makes it a crime to offer anything of value to a public official to influence an official act,” a Democratic leadership aide told The Hill. Salazar’s letter and the Democratic aide’s statement come a day after Vitter vowed to block legislation to raise the Interior secretary's salary until the Interior Department issues six permits for new deepwater exploratory wells in the Gulf of Mexico every month...more

US looks to simplify oil royalties

The initiative is aimed at streamlining the process by using negotiated regional market prices to determine royalty payments. Under the current system, royalty payments are determined on a transaction-by-transaction basis, with transportation costs and contract particulars worked into the calculations. The Interior Department says the overhaul would make the process more transparent and would reduce administrative costs for energy companies. “Regulations that were initially developed in the 1980s have not kept pace with the significant changes that have occurred in the oil and natural gas markets,” Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said in a statement...more

Using the West’s Water to Extract the West’s Energy: How Much is Too Much?

Water and energy have been inexorably linked in human history at least back to ancient Babylonia, where windmills helped power irrigation as early as 1700 BC. Since then, that relationship has become one of the great axioms of the industrial age – that is, it takes great volumes of water to extract and convert energy resources, and often great energy resources to move and treat water. And in a world in which such resources are under increased pressure, the interconnection between the two – known as the water-energy nexus to some—may never have been more pronounced. That is particularly true in the arid West, where rapidly increasing populations are expected to more than double the need for more power by 2030, which will compete with agriculture and growing municipal use for freshwater supplies...more

Outbreak of horse herpes spooks owners across Western U.S.; plus headlines

The horse named Powered By Pep had just won his class at a competition in Bakersfield when his owner, David Booth, noticed that the animal was not quite himself. "A little slow-footed," the 22-year-old Acton rancher recalled Monday. Booth had Pep's temperature taken and soon discovered that his 7-year-old bay gelding had fallen victim to a dire outbreak of equine herpes virus-1, a highly contagious airborne virus that has killed or resulted in the euthanizing of at least seven horses this month and sown fear in equine circles across the Western states. The outbreak started, authorities agree, at an event in Ogden, Utah, between April 18 and May 3, and has spread to nine states, including California, New Mexico, Oregon and Washington. Horse events from Tulsa, Okla., to San Diego County have been canceled because of the scare. Colorado, which has reported 22 suspected cases and two euthanizings, is requiring health certifications for horses crossing its border. In California, the Department of Food and Agriculture reported one new case of EHV-1 on Monday. That brought the state's total to 18, including Pep in Acton and another horse in Ventura County. Seven of the horses displayed the more severe neurological signs, including one whose condition grew so grave that he had to be put down, authorities said. The 17 survivors are under a state-ordered quarantine and are being treated by private veterinarians, said Steve Lyle, public affairs director at the state Department of Food and Agriculture. Lyle said the department is not ordering or recommending that horse events in the state be cancelled, although "that could change at some point." ..more

EHV-1 updates from across the US

Oregon: Threat of equine virus cancels horse events

Ca: Rodeo rules will help minimize threat of EHV-1A

No EHV-1 cases in Texas as of Tuesday

Texas: Bar-None bars all due to animal health concerns

Canada: Virus puts kibosh on high school rodeo

NCHA Cutting Weekend Cancelled - All NCHA shows will be cancelled through June 5, 2011

EHV-1 Outbreak: Case Total Holding Steady

Nebraska: Five horse premises quarantined

Arizona: Virus fears cancel horse show

Kansas: Briar Fox Farm Spring Horse Trials Has Been Canceled Due To EHV-1 Outbreak

Republicans Defund Packer Rules

House Republicans introduced a bill that would cut off funding for new rules aimed at reducing the power of meat packers in the marketplace. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has been working on a set of regulations that would give more power to farmers, ranchers and poultry growers in their relations with meat packers. The proposed House budget would remove all funding for the preparation of these rules...more

Pearce seeks federal drought assistance for NM ranchers

U.S. Rep. Steve Pearce is asking the head of the Farm Service Agency for emergency drought assistance to help New Mexico livestock producers. The New Mexico Republican sent a letter this week to the agency's acting administrator, Val Dolcini. Pearce says New Mexico and many other western states are suffering from severe drought and fire has consumed millions of acres in the region. He says continuing drought and constant wildfires spread by strong winds are rapidly destroying grazing lands and ranchers have already started liquidating their herds. Pearce is asking that New Mexico be granted help under the Emergency Haying and Grazing of Conservation Reserve Program. It provides technical and financial help to eligible farmers and ranchers. AP

Drought and fire jeopardize ranching lifestyle in Texas

A miserable sea of dry brown West Texas grass and charred scrub could cripple ranching operations in the country's top beef-producing state. "Right now, it's literally day-to-day, and Mother Nature's holding all the cards," said Dennis Braden, general manager of the 130,000-acre Swenson Land and Cattle Co. In the state where cowboys riding the open range on horseback herding cattle spawned a whole western culture, modern-day ranchers are hurting. Severe drought and millions of acres of wildfires have delivered a potent one-two punch this year, forcing tough decisions on ranchland across Texas. The state's livestock industry has lost $1.2 billion under withering conditions, according to the Texas Agrilife Extension Service, part of Texas A&M University. It's a bitter pill for Braden and the more than 120-year-old ranch located 170 miles west of Fort Worth...more

Song Of The Day #582

Continuing with our week featuring the autoharp, here is John Hollandsworth performing Remington Ride.

Yesterday and today's tunes are available on the 3 CD box set Autoharp Legacy.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Pinon Canyon funding ban reinstated

Rep. Scott Tipton, R-Colo., has convinced the chairman of a crucial House appropriations subcommittee to restore the annual funding ban that has blocked the Army from spending any money to expand the Pinon Canyon Maneuver Site for the past four years. Rep. John Culverson, R-Texas, is expected to restore the funding ban to the 2012 military construction budget when it is considered by the full House Appropriations Committee today. Culverson chairs the Military Construction Subcommittee and his backing of the Pinon Canyon moratorium almost certainly guarantees the ban will remain. For Tipton, the new GOP congressman in the 3rd Congressional District, the funding ban has been a critical issue because it has been the centerpiece of the opposition to the Army's controversial efforts to expand the 235,000-acre training site northeast of Trinidad...more

Good for Tipton. The story I linked to yesterday said:

"Congressman Tipton is going to offer an amendment — to restore the funding ban — when the military construction bill comes to the full House floor for consideration," Josh Green, Tipton's spokesman, said Thursday. "We've gotten permission from the House (Republican) leadership to offer that amendment." Whether that means that House Speaker John Boehner's leadership team will support Tipton's amendment is less certain. Other Colorado Republicans, especially Reps. Doug Lamborn and Mike Coffman, have opposed the funding ban in the past and backed the Army's effort to expand Pinon Canyon.

If he gets it in the Committee version of the bill it does assure passage in the House. Those Republicans who feel we need a larger federal government and less private land would have to offer an amendment on the floor to remove the ban, which is highly unlikely.

Scientists debate ‘magic number’ of wolves needed for species' survival

One of the biggest arguments left unresolved by last year's wolf lawsuit was the most obvious: How many wolves are enough? The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service took the gray wolf off the endangered species list in 2009, with the caveat that at least 150 wolves and 15 breeding pairs endure in each of the three states in the northern Rocky Mountain population (Montana, Idaho and Wyoming). Recent surveys found at least 1,700 wolves in that area - more than enough to justify delisting. But a coalition of environmental groups sued the government, claiming those numbers were wrong. To survive and thrive, they argued, the population needed at least 2,000 and preferably 5,000 wolves. FWS biologists said they used the best available science to pick their number. Coalition members cited the well-established rules of conservation biology to justify their threshold. While the scientists dueled, U.S. District Judge Donald Molloy decided the case on a technicality and Congress reversed him with a budget rider. Wolves in the Northern Rockies are now delisted, but almost nobody's happy...more

In a Beef Over Branding

Branding day has unfolded this way for generations on ranches all across the West. But ranchers from Colorado to Oregon, from Montana to Texas, worry that the tradition is under threat. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has announced plans to rewrite its regulations so that hot-iron brands will no longer be recognized as an official form of identification for cattle sold or shipped across state lines. Instead, the USDA wants every cow to have a unique numerical ID, stamped on an inexpensive ear tag, to make it easier to track animals from ranch to feedlot to slaughterhouse. The proposed regulation won't bar ranchers from branding their livestock. Individual states will be free to recognize brands as official ID if they so choose. And some ranchers who have tried the numerical IDs say they are no hassle and can actually be an asset, as they allow more detailed record-keeping on each individual cow or steer. Nonetheless, ranchers across the West are up in arms. The new rules, which the USDA will publish in draft form within weeks and which are scheduled to take effect in about a year, threaten "the United States cattle industry's iconic, centuries-old, hot-iron brand," a national coalition of cattle ranchers, known as R-Calf, wrote in a letter to the USDA. Rep. Dennis Rehberg, a Montana Republican and fifth-generation rancher, filed a similar protest. Ranchers say they fear the withdrawal of federal support for branding might embolden animal-rights activists who call the practice barbaric. Some ranchers fear the new rules could even erode the legal standing of the brand as proof of ownership in cases of lost or stolen cattle...more

Cattle Mutilation returns to the San Luis Valley

Manuel Sanchez, a rancher outside of the town of San Luis, Colorado suffered the loss of four calves due to mysterious mutilations in 2009, and this month he has lost another. The string of mutilations in 2009 began with a fury in March with two animals on three different ranches in and around the San Luis Valley dying of mysterious causes. Authorities, including the local branding inspector, and ranchers could not determine how the animals were killed. In each case there were no signs of a struggle, nor a speck of blood nearby, indicators of a predator kill. The deaths didn’t end in March; by the end of 2009 eight animals were killed, four of those belonging to Sanchez. Upset with the authorities’ inability to explain what happened to his animals, and feeling helpless to stop the killings, Sanchez sold off his remaining calves in 2009. His animals have been safe up until this month, when on May 17 he found one of his missing adult female cows apparently mutilated similarly to the calves in 2009. Upon inspection, as with the earlier cases, there were no signs of a struggle, nor splattering of blood, so it didn’t look like a predator had killed it. They also noted that the animal’s tracks leading to the area looked normal, the animal’s pace was not abnormal and did not indicate that it was having problems walking. It appeared that the cow just fell over, with no indication as to why or how it died. There was also a missing area of hide under the animal, exposing the rib cage. Zukowski measured the missing hide to be 27 by 42 inches...more